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8.24.2008

Divine Love in the Gita Govinda of Sri Jayadeva

When it comes to divine love, Lord Krishna describes it best. Love, that captures the mind, where he conquers every mind at the same time, where each woman feels he belongs to her, where every man admires his relationship with Radha. What an amazing leela that would be!

Such divine chemistry, such charm experienced, where he grips the emotions and leaves the heart wishing for more. Krishna, probably defined love a lot differently. The Leelas of Radha and Krishna as described by Jayadeva bring alive love of a different nature, one that is selfless, and one that is of complete surrender.

Jayadeva places a condition before one attempts to read the divine love verses in the Gita Govinda.

yadi hari-smaraëe sarasaà mano
yadi viläsa-kaläsu kutühalam
madhura-komala-känta-padävaléà
çåëu tadä jayadeva-sarasvatém

"If your heart yearns to delight in remembrance of Sri Hari; if you are hankering to contemplate upon him with intense affection; if you are over whelmed with curiosity to know about his skill in amorous pastimes; then by all means read the Gita Govinda. You will relish my lovely poetry. Although it is so emotive and mellifluous, if you are not possessed of the aforementioned qualifications then you must not read it. This literature is not for you."

Although the issues of eligibility to read the Gita Govinda are clearly stated by Sri Jayadeva, the unqualified section of society fail to understand him and try reading this poetry with enthusiasm for its charming linguistic embellishment. They do not grasp the real significance of his verses and hold his compositions to be something crude. They are not inclined to enter into sweet contemplation of Lord Krishna as they remain confined to their experience of misidentifying themselves with the physical body and consider sensual gratification to being the ultimate limit of happiness. Such slaves of love cannot understand the meaning of transcendental love described by the poet.

Sri Chaitanya-Charitamrita states:

(Ädi-lilä 4.164–66):

käma, prema—dõhäkära vibhinna lakñaëa
lauha ära hema yaiche svarüpe-vilakñaëa
ätmendriya-préti-väïchä—täre bali ‘käma’
kåñëendriya-préti-icchä dhare ‘prema’ näma
kämera tätparya—nija-sambhoga kevala
kåñëa-sukha-tätparya—prema mahä-bala

"The characteristics of worldly lust and transcendental love are completely different. If mundane lust is likened to iron then spiritual love can be likened to gold. The desire to give satisfaction to one’s own senses is called lust. However, the desire to satisfy the senses of Sri Krishna is called pure love or prema. The goal of lust is one’s own enjoyment, whereas the purpose of love is to please Sri Krishna. Such prema is immensely powerful."

Sri Jayadeva Goswamy has defined the qualifications required to read this poem:

yadi hari-smaraëe sarasaà mano
yadi viläsa-kaläsu kutühalam
madhura-komala-känta-padävaléà
çåëu tadä jayadeva-sarasvatém

"If you want your mind to be deeply attached to the constant remembrance of Sri Hari, or your heart is already absorbed in contemplation upon him; and if you are curious to taste the mellows of his pastimes – that is, you hanker exclusively for this and for nothing else – then by all means listen to these gentle, appealing and honeyed verses of the transcendental poetry of Jayadeva."

The poetry of Jayadeva is a literary work that needs to be imbibed, and realized in the pursuit of one's own spiritualism. Be it Krishna or Lord Shiva, the path in devotion is the same, bhava needs to be felt, mano laya needs to be achieved.

As the Bhagavad Geeta states:

ManushyANAm sahasrEshu kaschidyathi siddhayE
yathathAmapi siddhAnAm kaschinmAm vEtthi ttatvaha
7-3

There are a lot of people but only a few are inclined to enter into the spiritual path. Out of these, fewer still pray deeply for liberation of the soul from the constant cycle of birth and death. From this handful of people, only one turns out to be the blessed one. It is metaphorically compared to flowers. There are many flowers but only a few are entitled to be offered to God. Out of these only a few are plucked and offered to God in prayer and finally only one flower reaches His bossom. Even if one steps into the spiritual path, it is difficult to pursue it till the end. Self realization requires dedication, and will power, sacrifice, control over the senses and equanimity.

Courtesy:
Stories of Bhaktas (telugubhakti.com)

Sri Gita-Govinda of Sri Jayadeva Gosvami

8.17.2008

Varalakshmi Puja - Amman descends into the rice

Tradition brings with it certain happiness, which is first followed mechanically and then realized along the way as the heart grows fonder.

Varalakshmi Amman, is worshiped on this day, as she is brought alive within the Kalash and coconut that hold her divine presence in a seat of mango leaves. What is visible to the eye is her presence dressed as a Bride, dressed as a Goddess, residing at her seat as all the lamps lights dance around her in joy.

What lies beneath this amazing spectacle, is her form that every lady draws on the surface of pot, covered in rice powder. Going back to the context of the Vishnudharmottara, this is what is called divine art. Every woman of the house takes part in this art, and draws the form of the Goddess onto the rice laden surface of the pot.

Divine art, the first step to pave the way for the Mother to descend into her residence.
Divine art, a drawing that is meditated upon, by every woman, that imbibes every good quality of a divine wife, that she aspires to be
Divine art, a sketch in kumkum, that signifies that her marriage is like that of Shiva and Parvati, intact, happy, and prosperous.
Divine art, that brings out the beauty of the perfect wife, the aspiration every sumangali worships Amman for, in her house, in her puja room, in her heart.
Divine art, she draws, that is the imprint of the Mother brought down to life, from the depths of her hopeful heart that she would render the most beautiful form.

What a lovely moment, to see a lady sit at her seat, holding a kalash in her hand smeared with rice paste that has dried, her canvas to draw when she never learned this art. How beautiful to see her draw with every line, the beauty she wishes to imbibe, the perfection she hopes to achieve, the life she wishes to lead as a bride, the love and devout feeling she has, the power that she hopes to receive, that will aid her to grow her family.

This moment, the lady of the house communes with the Goddess, sings to her, worships her, loves her, adores her, and looks up to the Mother with awe and asks her to bless her family with love, prosperity, happiness and peace.

There is such beauty in divine art, there is such potency in divine art! Its about the power of the mind, the sincerity of the lady, the love that she has in abundance to draw, to describe the beauty of the Goddess.

Divine Art, is that which is described by the Vishnudharmottara, to be superior art, because its not about skill but the Bhakti, the love for divinity, love for the Goddess, that makes even a non artist, one who would otherwise shy away, draw from the depths of their imagination and give it power, give it life.

Sage Agastya drew the form of Urvashi to describe the beauty of an Apsara, the Indian woman draws the form of the Divine Mother, Amman, the beauty of life, the beauty in character, the power center of the universe. Such power is not realized and yet the picture is drawn.

Divine art, we may not know its presence, but we live it every moment. This is tradition.


Related topics:
The mark of a brahmin woman
Meaning of the Bindi
The fun in a brahmin household

8.11.2008

Realm of the supreme, a step closer.

The ancient occult sciences refer to yantra and mantra as a method used to connect with the divine in a realm of orthodoxy, and purity if one can follow it. It may not always be easy to understand the root character of a deity through a geometrical pattern.

How does one accept or understand the meaning of a deity and his/her captured character within a few lines of geometry with syllables scattered around?

How does one attempt to feel their presence in a set of complicated lines that fail to keep our intrigue though they are permanent residents of our puja room?

How does one go to explain the existence of the inanimate, who can only be felt within the mind and are not for everyone's curious idle entertainment?

Is framing this potent nature of the deity into a frame and lighting a lamp really enough?

How would you react if I said, he/she lives there within that metal, a breathing living entity whom you need to realize, is waiting to be a part of your life every day, but maybe you are not making him/her part of your life?

How would you react if I stated from the Thirumantiram, that you are meditating without knowing so...having been given a life, you are a jiva, and since you breath, you utter the sacred syllables with every breath, that which is a rhythm in ajapa (not vocally).

Would it change your outlook if you were made aware that with every breath you meditate on, is Sa while inhaling and Hom on exhaling in a constant rhythm of Sahom, or Hamsa.

Would it bring wonder to you that SaHom means "I am he" or "I am Siva" and Hamsa means swan. That unconsciously you are in constant meditation and if you made a conscious effort you would be well past that in your spiritual career?

Does it tickle your curiosity if I had to give you a very tiny example on how to identify this character or essence of the divine in a very simple way?

Look at the image below and try to identify it. As a hint read clock wise. Read the letters drawn on the outside and then read the letters drawn within the 3 petaled lotus.
When you realize that the outer set of letter inscribed are Om Na Ma Shi Va Ya you would come to realize that the letters in the inner petals are Ka Vi Tha. This is a possible yantra that describes the nature and character of a person, more human, so you can connect with as well as represented in a geometric form more commonly known as yantras.

Yet, there is familiarity, there is a connection with someone human, whose character has been drawn, depicting their nature which to your knowledge is that of a blogger intrigued by the depth of Lord Shiva's realm. You identify with this character, you know she exists, you know this is probably the most perfect inanimate description of her vibrant nature.

Similarly, when you go back to your Puja room, and stare again at the yantra of the deities within the frames of your puja room, wouldn't they be living entities who had just been reduced to metal in your ignorance? Or would they be living there, waiting for your attention, your time and your mind space to be noticed?

And now that you have identified their presence as living entities, just neglected by your mind till now, how do you make the first step to communicate with them? Mantra. You talk to them in a language they know best. The associated mantra of the deity who resides within your puja room chamber. It could be as simple as Om Na Ma shi Va Ya or Om Na Mo Na Ra Ya Na Ya or any other depending on who you prefer.

How about extending the warmth, give them food maybe... and a conversation in song? Flowers, fruit, dates, and agarbatti with a lamp lit. An offering to them to fecilitate this relationship. With a drop of water, this is an offering in their language, "Neyvediam samarpayami" to tell them you care, you love them, you want to know them better.

And then the song, in mantra, not many, just one or two which you can repeat in a certain pattern, for a few minutes with bhakti for them to be pleased, for them to know your attention and mind space is with them. End the conversation with the Arti, showing them the flame of your life, inscribing the letter Om in the air and then circulating it clockwise around the form of the deity. This divine conversation has ended.

Its simple, really. Just switch off the world from your mind and your cell phone for a little while and divinity is in every breath you roll out. And then You and Divinity are one, nothing else exists.

8.04.2008

Kalighat, where death meets you face to face

The idea of a Shamshan ghat brings darkness and death to the mind. It brings a gloomy picture to those who visit it to cremate their dead. Yet to a few others it is a place of intrigue and for some others its a strange place of worship. Kalighat is a place that brings you so powerfully close to the truth and we just wonder about what is beyond this familiar world.

Kalighat's shamshan ghat is one such mystical place. Few come here though this cremation ground is well lit and has enough architecture to leave you dizzy in its overpowering presence. The glint of turquoise blue is felt in the presence of the Mother here who paints the night with her hue.

Kalighat is silent, a little cut away from the bustling streets just outside. Kali reigns here in all her supremacy. Feared as she is, and deadly as she appears, the world of Kali and Lord Shiva means different things to different people. It brings fear to those who know little or nothing about them; it brings love in the hearts of those who have familiarized with her terrific form. Here she resides keeping control and living with all the lesser spirits that inhabit the other world.

She stands here, over the body of Lord Shiva in shavasana. With a foot over his thigh and the other over his chest, Kali signifies the transition of the soul from one world to the other in the blazing fire of cremation as Shiva whispers the Taraka mantra into the ears of the dead as they burn to ash. Kali at the Kalighat temple, has fury in her eyes and yet within this wild nature there is a coy side. A coy side brought forth by her posture as she stands on Shiva.

Kali belongs to the realm of death, she brings alive a different world which can be felt very deep but cannot be expressed in words. While we assume that death is all about light and darkness, there is a different feeling that is invoked when one comes close to Kali and Bhairava Shiva, and looks at them through the eyes of the Aghoris and tantriks.

Aghoris might have a strange approach, and might have an even more stranger lifestyle that is completely indigestible to us. Yet they bring one truth to us that death is not about light and darkness which is an extension of an illusion but that of magnetic power.

Shiva sadhana and Kali worship and associated mantras increase the magnetic power of the self. The energy is that which attracts and not that which can be seen. This power is not entirely dependent on light, though at some stage it might bring the person to glow extraordinarily, that is they almost seems to have a halo around them.

One thing we need to realize is that when we feel the power of sacred shrine, we actually feel its magnitude, we feel its power to attract us and intrigue us, a kind of magnetism. We do not see any light either internal or external. The unknown magnetic power of these sacred shrines is what draws us close to them.

This is the supreme power, this is the power that gives rise to siddis, this is the power that makes us walk on water, or levitate, or exude light or live longer and cut out external dependencies of food and water. This is the power of the Gods we search for, this is the power that wakes our Nadis and gives us that extra strength which separates us from all others. This is when we are at Nirvana, this is when the lotus blooms at the Sahasraha, this is when we walk into samadhi, this is when Lord Shiva and Kali embrace us. This is when we attain Mrityunjaya.

Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantihi

Related topics:
Awakening the Nadi Gantham at the Nabhi Kamalam
Taraka Mantra - Passage to heaven
Manikarnika Ghat: Where life meets the world beyond