Sunday 29 March 2015


2015-13  Hindu Dharma - The Universal Way of LIfe - The Sage of Kanchi

Hindu Dharma - The Universal Way of Life - The Sage of Kanchi
To deal with Hindu Dharma or more correctly Veda Dharma or Sanatana Dharma, within the compass of a book, is like containing an ocean in a jar. 

It is a task which can be accomplished only by a Great Master like Pujyasri Chandra Sekarendra Saraswati Swami [1894-1994], the Sage of Kanchi.

In this book, the Jagadguru discusses the basic texts of the Veda Dharma -- the four Vedas, the six Vedangas, Meemamsa, Nyaya, Puranas and Dharma Sastra and make them part of one unified vision that is Hinduism. 

This book comprises the discourses originally delivered in Tamil by the Jagadguru and included in volumes 1 & 2 of Deivatthin Kural compiled by Ra. Ganapathi.


We shall see here briefly the section 22 on Dharmas Common to All

"Why do we keep sinning?" is a problem that always worries us. "Why do we get angry? And why do we desire this and that? Can't we remain always happy without sinning, without anger and desire?" We do not seem to know the answers to these questions.

Step-step by step, a man must become wholly sweet like a mellow fruit and free himself happily from the tree of samsara, the cycle of births and deaths. Desire, anger, and so on, are necessary stages in our development like bitterness, astringency, sourness and sweetness in the growth of a fruit.

When we are subject to urges like desire and anger we will not be to free ourselves fully from them but we must keep asking ourselves why we become subject to these urges and passions. We must constantly wonder whether they serve any purpose. If we do not remain vigilant about them we will become victims of their deception.

There must be astringency when it is time for astringency and sourness when it is time for sourness. But neither astringency nor sourness must remain a permanent state. Just as a tender fruit becomes mellow, we too must become mellow and sweet. If we do so there is no need to seek liberation on our own. If we are as we should be in the different stages of our life, liberation shall come in the natural process. 

Let us adhere to the dharma prescribed by the Vedas. If we do so, we will proceed gradually to the supreme jnana. Now we are aware only of outward matters. So let us start with the outward rites of our religion and the outward symbols and signs. By degrees then let us go to the inner reality through the different stages from that of the tender fruit to the fruit that is mellow and sweet.


How to Control the Mind

What is the obstacle to one-pointed meditation? The answer is the unstill mind. All problems are caused by the mind, by the desires arising in it. It is not easy to control the mind and keep it away effectively from desire. If we ask the mind to think of an object, it seems to obey us for a moment, but soon it takes its own course, wandering off. 

First we must train our mind not to keep wandering. One way of doing it is to apply it to good activities. It must be accustomed to think of noble and exalted objects like the Lord. Eventually, the very act of "thinking" will cease and we will dissolve in Isvara to become Isvara. Yoga is controlling the mind in this manner.

Who needs medicine? The sick. We suffer from mano-vyadhi, mental sickness. So we must take the medicine that cures it. There are two different ways of mastering the mind - the first is outward and the second is inward. We must have recourse to both. By employing both the outward and inward means, the mind must first be applied to good things one-pointedly and eventually lead to a state in which it does not think of anything at all.

The outward means consists, for example, of sandhyavandana, sacrifices, charity and so on. The best inward means is meditation. There are five means to aid meditation. They are 1] ahimsa (nonviolence), 2] satya (truthfulness), 3] asteyam (non-stealing), 4] sauca (cleanliness) and 5] indriya-nigraha [subduing the senses. 

To practise ahimsa is to imbue the mind with love for all and not even think of harming others. Asteyam means not coveting other people's goods. For satya, or truthfulness, to be complete one's entire being, including body, mind and speech*, must be involved in its practice. Sauca is hygiene, observing cleanliness by bathing, maintaining ritual purity, etc. Indriyanigraha implies limits placed on sensual enjoyment.

"The eyes must not see certain things, the ears must not hear certain things and the mouth must not eat certain things" - restrictions with regard to what you can see, listen to, eat and do with your body. The body is meant for sadhana, for Atmic discipline. The senses must be "fed" only to the extent necessary to keep the body alive. These five dharmas are to be practiced by all.


Rta, Satya and Dharma:

* The word "dharma" is derived from "dhr" to uphold, sustain or nourish. The seers often use it in close association with "rta" and "satya". Sri Vidyaranya defines rta as the mental perception and realization of God. The Taittriya Upanishad uses it with "satya" and "dharma". It exhorts students to speak the truth and practise dharma ["satyam vada"; "dharmam chara"]. According to Sri Sankara, satya means speaking the truth and dharma means translating it [satya] into action.

"An analysis of the significance of these three words [ ऋत,  सत्य, धर्मं  rta, satya and dharma] brings out clearly to us the fundamental basis of dharma as the ideal for an individual. While rta denotes the mental perception and realization of truth and satya denotes the expression in words of truth as perceived by the mind, dharma is the observance of truth, in the conduct of life. 

In fact, dharma is the way of life which translates into action the truth perceived by the man of insight as expressed by him truly. In short, rta is truth in thought, satya is truth in words and dharma is truth in deed."


For the full text of HINDU DHARMA in pdf -- Click Here or on Picture

For the full text of DEIVATTHIN KURAL in pdf -- Click Here or on Picture


Sunday 22 March 2015


2015-12  "Aahara suddhau sattva shuddhi"  [Chandogya Upanishad 7.26.2]

Sattvic Food
Sattvic Mind 

The constitution of a man's mind is determined by the kind of food he takes; and
a man's faith corresponds to his mental constitution.

If a man's diet is pure, his mind too, will be pure as a matter of course.
"Purity of mind follows from purity of food." [Chandogya Upanishad]*

आहार  शुद्धौ   सत्त्व  शुद्धिः 
सत्त्व शुद्धौ  स्मृतिः   ध्रुवा 
स्मृति लम्भे   सर्व ग्रन्थीनां 
Chandogya Upanishad
विप्र  मोक्षः ||             [Chandogya Upanishad 7.26.2]  

"Ahara suddhau sattva-suddhih 
Sattva-suddhau dhruva smrtihi dhruva
smrti-lambhe sarva-granthinam 
vipra-moksah"        [Chandogya Upanishad 7.26.2]

"From purity of food comes purity of mind
from purity of mind comes constant remembrance of God, and from constant remembrance of God one becomes free from all bondage - one becomes liberated." 



Why do Hindus offer Food to God? [Click Here]


Sunday 15 March 2015


2015-11 "Sattvic, Rajasic, Tamasic" Foods [Bhagavad Gita 17.8-10]

Sattvic Food

The foods which augment longevity, intellect, strength, health, cheerfulness and appetite, which are juicy and oleaginous, wholesome and naturally agreeable, are liked by the 'sattvic'.

आयुः सत्व बल आरोग्य प्रीति विवर्द्दनाः |
रस्याः स्निग्द्धा: स्थिरा हृध्या आहाराः सात्विक प्रियाः ||               BG 17.8

rasyāḥ snigdhāḥ sthirā hṛdyā āhārāḥ sāttvika-priyāh    

āyuḥ — duration of life; sattva — intellect; bala — strength; ārogya — health; sukha — happiness; [and] prīti — satisfaction; vivardhanāḥ — increasing; rasyāḥ — juicy; snigdhāḥ — fatty; sthirāḥ — enduring; hṛdyāḥ — pleasing to the heart; āhārāḥ — food; sāttvika —to one in goodness; priyāḥ — dear.



The foods that are bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, pungent, dry and burning are liked by the 'Rajasic' and are productive of pain, grief and disease.

कट् म्ल लव त्युष्ण तीक्ष्ण रूक्ष विदाहिनः |
आहारा राजस स्येष्टा दुःख शोकामय प्रदाः  ||                        BG 17.9 

āhārā rājasasyeṣṭā duḥkha-śokāmaya-pradāḥ.

kaṭu — bitter; amla — sour; lavaṇa — salty; ati-uṣṇa — very hot; tīkṣṇa — pungent; rūkṣa — dry; vidāhinaḥ — burning; āhārāḥ — food; rājasasya —to one in the mode of passion; iṣṭāḥ — liked; duḥkha — distress; śoka — misery; āmaya — disease; pradāḥ — causing. 


The foods which are stale, tasteless, bad-smelling, decomposed, refuse and impure are liked by the 'tamasic'.

यातयामं गतरसं पूति पर्युषितं च यतु  |
उच्छिष्टं पि  मेध्यं भोजनं तामस प्रियम्  ||                    BG 17.10

yāta-yāmam — food cooked hours before being eaten; gata-rasam — tasteless; pūti — bad-smelling; paryuṣitam — decomposed; ca — also; yat — that which; ucchiṣṭam — remnants of food eaten by others; api — also; ca — and; amedhyam — untouchable; bhojanam — eating; tāmasa — to one in the mode of darkness; priyam — dear.

The purpose of food is to increase the duration of life, purify the mind and aid bodily strength. This is its only purpose. In the past, great authorities selected those foods that best aid health and increase life's duration, such as milk products, sugar, rice, wheat, fruits and vegetables. These foods are very dear to those in the mode of goodness. 
Some other foods, such as baked corn and molasses, while not very palatable in themselves, can be made pleasant when mixed with milk or other foods. They are then in the mode of goodness. All these foods are pure by nature. They are quite distinct from untouchable things like meat and liquor.  
Milk, butter, cheese and similar products give animal fat in a form which rules out any need for the killing of innocent creatures.  Protein is amply available through split peas, dāl, whole wheat, etc.
Foods in the mode of passion, which are bitter, too salty, too hot or overly mixed with red pepper, cause misery by reducing the mucus in the stomach, leading to disease. 
Foods in the mode of darkness of ignorance, are essentially those that are not fresh. Any food cooked more than three hours before it is eaten is considered to be in the mode of darkness. Because they are decomposing, such foods give a bad odor, which often attracts people in this mode but repulses those in the mode of goodness.

1] Bhagavad Gita, Tattva Vivechani Comm. by Jayadayal Goyandka
2] Bhagavad Gita, Universal Message of: Swami Ranganathananda
3] Bhagavad Gita As It is [17.8-10] Swami Prabhupada

Sunday 8 March 2015


2015-10 John Constable: Romantic Landscape Painter

John Constable [1776-1837]
One of the best English painters of the 19th century and a major contributor to English landscape painting, John Constable [1776-1837] ranks - along with William Turner [1775-1851] and Richard Parkes Bonington [1802-28] - as one of the three best landscape artists in Britain.

John Constable's focus was on the natural English landscape that he idolized since childhood. His paintings rebelled against the work of artists of the Neoclassical style who had simply used landscape to display historical and mythical scenes. 

Constable used his work to showcase the beauty and power of nature and his work is today synonymous with the Suffolk landscape and the Romantic Movement he embodied.

The artist's most famous works are all based on the Suffolk countryside with which he was so enamored. His techniques and methods of capturing natural light and movement were innovative and still inspire artists to this day. Now referred to by many as 'Constable Country' this county in the south of England will forever be associated with the artist and is thought by many to be the epitome of classical English countryside.

John Constable: Wivenhoe Park [1816]

John Constable: The Hay Wain [1821]

John Constable's Complete Works: [Click Here]

Slide Show of 340 Paintings by John Constable: [Click Here]


Sunday 1 March 2015


2015-09 William Turner: Romantic Landscape Painter

William Turner Self Portrait [1799]
Joseph Mallord William Turner [1775–1851] was one of the most original painters of landscapes and seascapes in Europe. He invented new techniques to make skies and clouds look luminous and expressive. His expressionistic studies of light, colour, and atmosphere were unmatched in their range and sublimity. Turner was also one of the greatest masters of British water-colour landscape painting and was commonly known as "the painter of light".

Turner started studying at the schools of the Royal Academy at the age of 14, and exhibited at the Academy nearly every year for the rest of his life. He was influenced by Claude Lorrain and studied Lorrain’s paintings obsessively. His collection of finished paintings was bequeathed to the British nation on his death and money to the Royal Academy of Arts.

William Turner: Capriccio Venice - Oil on Canvas

William Turner: Calais Pier - Oil on Canvas

Turner's Most Passionate Defender: John Ruskin [Click Here]