Portrayal of Lord Sri Rama

The birth-day of Sri Rama is being celebrated to-day and to-morrow
25th & 26th March, 2018
Rama was a Treta-yuga avatar of Vishnu, when the unmixed goodness of the earlier Krita (Satya) yuga got diluted by wide-spread wickedness from Indra down to mortals like Ravana.
Mother Earth could not put up with so much of outrage, she begs help from Vishnu who assures to remedy this.   After planning with his associates about disposing of the Ravana threats, Vishnu chooses to be born as Rama to kill him, assisted by other Gods and demi-Gods to incarnate on earth.   Lakshmi, for her part, plays the key-role of Sita and aids the plot superbly.
Rama is banished from the Kosala kingdom for fourteen years, to enable Bharata  succeed Dasaratha.   Kaikeyi plays the most unenviable, detestable role to ensure this happens; to this day, she remains unrehabilitated.   More, Bharata neutralises and humiliates her by staying away from home and made Rama’s sandals rule the kingdom instead.
Only Rama was banished but Lakshmana intimidates and overpowers him for permission to accompany.   Without his role, the golden-deer episode was not possible.  Sita was never on the radar to go either, but she first requests, then insists, finally humiliates Rama (says he is a woman in man’s garb) to be part of the team.   
Without her, Ravana would not become vulnerable and, without Hanuman, the Ramayana would be like ‘Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark’.
Ravana sets a time-limit of two months for Sita to surrender and be his consort, when Hanuman confronts her in the Ashoka-vana.   Sita exhibits her worry over Rama’s ability to cross over the sea and rescue her, Hanuman offers to fly her back, Sita feels trapped.   Being resourceful (somewhat sharp-tongued too when occasion demanded) she turns down the offer saying ‘ it will be unbecoming of her illustrious husband’s valour’ to be rescued that way.   True to his faith, Hanuman mentions this to Rama.   Thereafter, the story moves on predictable lines, save the initial rejection of Sita by Rama and the patch-up by the Gods who intervene.
Throught the great epic, Rama seldom discloses his divinity, it does exhibit on a few occasions though, he behaves like any ordinary mortal, would easily win the Oscar for ‘best acting performance’.   
‘Consistency’ was his chief trait, ‘self confidence’ his strategy.   He never did anything on the sly or against the established norms.   When finally, Ravana was toppled from his chariot, fallen on ground with no one to lift, another arrow from Rama would have finished him off. Rama tells him ‘ You fought well, you are tired, utterly helpless. go home and rest well for the night, come back to-morrow, fully armed and assisted,  ‘THEN, SEATED ON YOUR CHARIOT, YOU SHALL SEE MY PROWESS’ .
For a contrast, Sri Krishna came during the Dwapara Yuga (Dharma had lost two of its four legs) and consistent with the times, He was a strategist par excellence, ends mattered more than means,
He was happy to be just one among the many.   Born in jail, abandoned by biological parents ( He met them in jail only after killing Kamsa) his entire life was full of toils and turmoils.   We of the Kali-yuga (Dharma has lost three legs already) find easier purpose with Sri Krishna rather than with Sri Rama, possibly why more temples exist for the former.
Finally, would recall what I heard as a boy of fourteen from one of the traditional story-tellers.   Rama was born on Navami (number 9) and Krishna on Ashtami (Number 8), the preacher said ‘Number 9 has consistency, multiply it any number of times, add the product numbers, it will still be 9, ‘ad infinitum’.   Number 8, on the contrary will do the vanishing trick, one by one.   Do the same type multiplication and add the product nos. it will go on decreasing, one at a time.   
RAMA symbolises CONSISTENCY, KRISHNA represents the transitoriness of the Universe.
Greetings on Sri Rama Navami.


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Bhishma and Sri Krishna

Bhishma and Sri Krishna are much alike, share the same outlook on life, environs, societal relationships, at the same time focussed on themselves ‘in the real sense’.   Bhishma was totally confident of who he was, his mission, just like Sri Krishna.   Both had a giant responsibility or mission of eliminating the ‘aggregation of bad’ during their times   Both Kaurava and Pandava dynasties needed to be eliminated, the World ushered into the Kali Yuga (started when Sri Krishna ascended to the Heavens) and Parikshit to start his innings.
Therefore, actions of these heroes need to be seen in this background of a ‘magnificent divine purpose’.    The reason why I said to a learned author that ‘Krishna did not kill, He delivered them from clutches of sinning’.   Bhishma knew he was on the wrong side, yet he owed allegiance to a faulty Dhritarashtra for whom he was the C-in-C for the first ten days.   At the same time, he predicted victory for the Pandavas, told Dharmaputra how to kill himself in battle, using Sikhandi.   Similarly, Krishna sent the hunter who killed Him to Heaven for doing this.
Bottom-line, these two cannot be judged on our earthy-standards, they were not mere mortals, were Divines with a purpose amidst us.


Bhishma Pitamaha Instructions from Death Bed

Interesting to read but,  difficult to practice, in real world…?
Despite all the good advice Bhishma preaches,  in real life, was he too logical, arithmetical, & inflexible? Would we agree that `art of living` in the real world is not “syllogism”? It involves dealing with illogical occurrences, asymmetrical  encounters
and mostly, non-euclidean and crooked hemlines?
Did the oaths  Bhishma bound himself to, only become a millstone around his neck and dragged everyone to war?
Perhaps, Bhishma Pita should have included a `MAC clause` while taking the oaths and things would have been different?
Bhishma Pitamaha Instructions from Death Bed


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Delightful Karadaiyan Nombu

Must take the opportunity to re-state the rationale of the ‘Nombu’ ritual, as understood by me.
‘Brahman’ (Absolute Reality) for no known reason desired to create the ‘phenomenal Universe’, it meditated, the outcome was ‘heat energy’, which in turn created ‘water’, in turn, it created ‘food’. (Chand. Upa. 6 – 2 – 1 to 3 and Taitt. Upa 2 – 6 – 4).   Prof. Einstein established the same process in his famous E = mc2.
The Sun is the repository of all the energy of the Universe, the driving force behind it.   Its influence on Earth is oscillating across the year taken to go around it and the trajectory.   This, in turn, creates the seasons.   The Sun is God, made visible across the Universe ( NAMAH SAVITHRE JAGADEKA CHAKSHUSHE) and, women being the ones charged by Nature to bring out life offer homage to Sun at the precise time He transits to the Pisces (Meena) constellation.   The summer starts with this followed by the fury of its heat.
Above is a response to a comment by Mohan Murti…
As I write this, most round pot (or, beer) bellied Tamil Iyer Mama`s around the globe would either be chewing `after tiffin` vetrilai pakku or,  preparing to gobble up  a sumptuous fill of the delicious Karadayan Nonbu with white butter.

The already dieting Tamil Iyer Mamis` must have been following the strict vratham and prayers for the well-being and longevity of the Mamas. I have no problem with this. In fact, I too am awaiting the delicious, gourmet treat, after the Sun downs…
I do not want to sound patronising but, as as a mark of respect, sign of acknowledgement and the deep urge of “unmitigated communion” to say “thank you”, I put a small patch of sacred manjal on my `poonal` and uttered the simple words “thank you”!
Here`s my question – In the modern day Tamil Iyer Mamis`, are equally or more qualified academically, compared to the Mamas. They are also, breadwinners. Perhaps, the Tamil Iyer Mama too, must dedicate a day of `Vratham` and prayers for the longevity of the Mami ?
Enjoy Karadaiyan Nombu!
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The Secrets of the Vedas – India Has Lost It…

“The wealth of the indifferent will be appropriated by the shameless”

I believe India has lost it, intelligent and inquisitive people in the west are beginning to look into our ancient wisdom, encouraged by the condescending references made here and there by their own scientists and philosophers.   I am yet to come across any worthwhile scientist – Indian or western – admit that most discoveries in Physics are rooted in the distinct revelations of the Upanishadic Rishis.
India today does not seem to know how to protest this travesty.   To give just one instance, sloka 7 of Chapter 7 of the BHAGAVAD GITA  reads:
Meaning ‘Other than Me ( Sri Krishna is vouching to Arjuna) there is nothing else as the cause of the Universe.   This entire Universe is woven into me like clothes or strung like beads on a string’.   The same idea in the same terminology was articulated by Prof. Stephen Hawking as an improvement on the Theory of Relativity, and the world hailed him in admiration.   I remember writing about this some years ago, to Wall Street Journal (WSJ). They ignored it!
There is a Malayalam proverb ” SOOKSHMAM ILLATHAVANTE  DHANAM – NAANAM ILLATHAVAN KODUPOKUM ” meaning ‘the wealth of the indifferent will be appropriated by the shameless’.

The Secrets of the Vedas

One finds two theorems in modern science which have a profound spiritual echo, wrote in 1926 Sri Aurobindo, India’s avatar of the Modern Age : first that atoms are masses of swirling structures, like the solar system; and then that all the atoms are constituted of the same elements. If one considered these two theorems under their true light, they could lead science to new discoveries which are today unfathomable and in comparison of which the present realisations would look very primitive”.

And Sri Aurobindo to add: “our ancient vedic rishis knew of a triple fire, which they had named agni: the ordinary fire – jada agni; the electric fire – vaidyuta agni; and the solar fire – saura agni. Modern science knows only these first two fires and the fact that the atom is like a solar system could lead them to the third discovery”. This prophecy of course, came to be fulfilled when the Americans exploded their first nuclear device in the Nevada desert in 1944. But how could Sri Aurobindo have guessed twenty years before this momentous event, that solar heat is the result of a nuclear fusion and that nuclear power is locked in the atoms ?

Because seven thousand years ago, the Vedic rishis had experienced within themselves the different subtle properties of agni, the inner fire, which becomes solar, saura-agni ,when one reaches the supra-mental levels of consciousness and of which nuclear energy is only the most material manifestation. “It is through agni that man can reach superior states of being and come into contact with the Gods: agni is the mouth of the Gods and it is through this mouth that they breathe”, says the Shatapâ-brâhmana. Who then were these “sages” who may have already pierced the secrets of our universe many thousands of years ago ?

“I seek not science, not religion, not Theosophy, but Veda – the truth about Brahman, not only about His essentiality, but also about His manifestation, not a lamp on the way to the forest, but a light and a guide to joy and action in the world, the truth which is beyond opinion, the knowledge which all thought strives after -‘yasmin vijnate sarvam vijnatam’ (which being known, all is known). I believe that Veda be the foundation of the Sanatana Dharma; I believe it to be the concealed divinity within Hinduism, -but a veil has to be drawn aside, a curtain has to be lifted. I believe it to be knowable and discoverable. I believe the future of India and the world depends on its discovery and on its application, not to the renunciation of life, but to life in the world and among men”. (India’s Rebirth, page 90)

Sri Aurobindo contended that Europeans have seen in the Vedas “only the rude chants of an antique and pastoral race sung in honor of the forces of nature and succeeded in imposing them on the Indian intellect”. But he insisted that a time must come “when the Indian mind will shake off the darkness that has fallen upon it, cease to think or hold opinions at second and third hand and reassert its right to judge and enquire in perfect freedom into the meaning of its own scriptures”. He argued that the Veda remains the foundation of Indian culture: “the Veda was the beginning of our spiritual knowledge; the Veda will remain its end. The recovery of the perfect truth of the Veda is therefore not merely a desideratum for our modern intellectual curiosity, but a practical necessity for the future of the human race. For I firmly believe that the secret concealed in the Veda, when entirely discovered, will be found to formulate perfectly that knowledge and practice of divine life to which the march of humanity, after long wanderings in the satisfaction of the intellect and senses, must inevitably return.” (India’s rebirth, 94)

What is the Secret of the Vedas? First we have to discard the ridiculously early dates given by historians and bring it back to at least 4000 BC. Why did historians show such eagerness in post-dating the Vedas and making of them just a mumble-jumble of pagan superstition? Because it would have destroyed the West’s idea of its own supremacy: primitive barbarism could not possibly have risen to such high conceptions so early, particularly when the Westerners have started our era after the birth of Christ and decreed that the world began on 23rd October 4004 B.C…! Secondly, the Vedic seers, who had attained the ultimate truth, had clothed their oral findings in symbols and images, so that only the initiated would understand the true meaning of their aphorisms.

For the more ordinary souls, “those who were not yet twice born”, it meant only an outer worship which was fit for their level of spiritual evolution. The Vedic rituals, has lost its profound meaning to us. Therefore, as Sri Aurobindo elucidates, when we read: “Sarama by the path of the Truth discovers the herds”, the mind is stopped and baffled by an unfamiliar language. It has to be translated to us.. into a plainer and less figured thought:

“Intuitions by the way of Truth arrive at the hidden illuminations”. (India’s rebirth, 109) Lacking the clues, we only see in the Vedas a series of meaningless mouthings about the herds or the Sun. Sri Aurobindo remarks that the Vedic rishis “may not have yoked the lighting to their chariots, nor weighed sun and star, nor materialized all the destructive forces of Nature to aid them in massacre and domination, but they had measured and fathomed all the heavens and earth within us, they had cast their plummet into the inconscient and the subconscient and the supraconscient; they had read the riddle of death and found the secret of immortality; they had sought for and discovered the One and known and worshipped Him in the glories of His light and purity and wisdom and power”. (India’s rebirth, 116)

Ah, these are the two secrets of the Vedas, then, the reason why they have remained so obscure and lost their original meaning. Firstly, the Vedic rishis had realized that God is One, but He takes many faces in His manifestation; this is the very foundation of Hinduism. And Secondly, the Vedic rishis had gone down in their minds and their bodies all the way to the roots of Death, to that eternal question which haunts humanity since the beginning of times: why death? What is the purpose of living if one has always to die? Why the inevitable decay and oblivion? And there, in their own bodies, at the bottom rock of the Inconscient, they had discovered the secret of immortality, which Sri Aurobindo called later the Supramental and which he said was the next step in humanity’s evolution… “Not some mysterious elixir of youth, but the point, the spring where All is One and death disappears in the face of the Supreme Knowledge and Ananda.” (India’s rebirth, 95)

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Am now into the last twenty-five pages of the ‘over-hyped’ book on philosophy, THE WORLD AS WILL AND REPRESENTATION by – .   It was very tough reading, more because the noted author is totally confused – perhaps, mystified would be apter between his Biblical understanding of the Universe and the Indian Upanishadic perception of the same.   He does pay numerous left-handed compliments to the Rishis of India but is unable to get out of his religious conviction that the Universe is real, created by a God.   He thus falls between two stools, confuses the reader too.
While discussing space and time, he says the one begets the other, also space is limitless.   In this context, he says Indians have a different perception, cites the story of King Muchukunda (Krita Yuga), who went to Devaloka on a mission to help Indra.   When, finally, he returned to Earth after some heavenly-time, several yugas had passed here.
SRIMAD BHAGAVATHAM BOOK 10, Chapter 51 narrates this episode in detail.
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Bomb Hiroshima Changed the World

Cannot help mention that, but for the atom bomb, our World to-day would have been very different.   Democracy would have disappeared, back to ‘might is right’.
I lived through the second World War years, the contempt for other nations that Germany and Japan had needed to be seen to believe.   To-day the constitutions of both these countries have a declaraton that they will never, ever, rear an army or go to war with any other nation.   I can see a different world to-day, where, mostly, reason prevails, debates have a place, dissent is permitted.   All this change resulted from the dropping of the bomb in Hiroshima.
Our mythology is full of such instances where The Lord incarnates to destroy evil forces to restore some kind of equilibrium in society, kind of checks and balances.   The ‘bomb’ was one such.
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“Konthikku Kulam Naasthi”

Pattar is a term of much respect, it was the Zamorin of Calicut who gave this title to very wealthy, aristocratic Iyers, in his service, as advisors, treasurers etc.   Thus we had Swaminatha Pattar Kariakkar (my friend Swaminathan’s grand-father), Eena Samu Pattar, Banker from Pallipuram, Govindarajapuram Rama Pattar (land-lord), Mahadeva Pattar (Kumararapuram), my Periya-manni-s grand-father, Vilayannur Appu Pattar, banker (my friend Rajappan’s father) etc.
Yes, at school, some Nair boys used the term ‘pattar’ to tease us, we used to respond saying ‘konthi’ ( adding a mischievous sloka – konthikku kulam naasthi).   I feel, the term is in disuse because not many know the origin.
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