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God’s Ways -2

God’s Ways -2

I had sometime back as a part of series for children written a story with a similar title. My constant search within, to find answers to the ever increasing unease, over what I perceive as His scheme of things, unfortunately is quite often rudely shaken up, by experiences in my- to-day mundane existence, and forces me to draw parallels. A remarkable similarity, between the latter, and God’s apparent ways, makes me wonder as to who is imitating whom; Are The Gods ways exactly similar to what we see in our daily lives, or We the people have no choice but to imitate His ways. The end result of this internal dilemma, inevitably is the break of my “inward” looking efforts. Let me cite a few instances which make my point more clear.

(A) In my school days there used to be a Physics tutor, who though an extremely good man, was so unpredictable in his behavior, that it was difficult not to brand him an eccentric. As was the practice, the students had to show our “practical class” notebook to him and get them assessed by him. The notebook carried a certain valuation number and students were keen that the assessments carried some nice remarks.

This man would be so carried away by the first few students who showed him the assignments that without asking, he would rate them “excellent” “good” etc. A third or fourth on line would have done a much better job, but seeing no kind of such ratings coming from him, would make the mistake of a very humble plea for some nice remark. As if on cue our tutor would just go berserk, and put a big “red” cross mark along the page, making this brilliant boy to just go into tears, as this unexpected reaction would be beyond the point of one getting angry.

(B) One would be very familiar with this scene; A group of elder children

would be playing say cricket. A smaller child would be forced on this group for inclusion by his mother. The other boys would have no choice but to accept, but they know what is to be done. They would have this boy fielding almost all the time. At last when there is too much protest, they will just hand over the bat and humor him with a few loose balls. Before the little boy even begins to get partly thrilled, he will get a nice delivery and will be declared “out” and the poor boy has no choice but to continue his fielding drill. The boy slowly then gets to realize that this is an useless pursuit and wisely walks away. The game however continues with the others not even noticing the boy’s absence…. This was their real intent in any case by the way.

The “nishkama” karma (action without any attachment and without an expectation of results) is what pleases Him we are taught. The Physics tutor in a true tradition, awards the students who ask nothing, and when the boy who thinks he has done a good job, and expects a result namely a pat, and even asks for one, gets a deservedly huge punishment, notwithstanding the manifestly better performance. Is the Providence similar or the tutor is imitating the Gods?

At almost every step, my experience is that He chooses to be just like my Physics tutor. Nobody dared call or hint the tutor’s idiosyncrasy, let alone call him an idiot/eccentric, but when Providence gives you absolutely no clue as to whether He hears you, or considers your effort sincere, but worse, almost invariably seems to reserve His best for that allegedly great “Nishkama” karma guy rendering you helpless, frustrated, and nay extremely surprised, where do I appeal? Patronizing advice to grin, bear, look inside and realize the non dual self is appallingly frustrating.

(After a 26 year wait and a disastrous verdict in the Bhopal tragedy, Mani Shankara Iyer when asked about his reactions harangues about some fundamentals of constitutional and rubbishes all “faltu” opposition charges.)

( Ambus of the world may pardon me, the quote of Arthur Ashe methinks was just a romanticized piece, and in fact one which triggered this blog.)

As to the other example, fielding is a bore if you are told that it is going to be a perpetual affair. One is also familiar with this scenario; the batting side just goes home after batting saying that it’s dark and play is not possible. It would seem that He has His favorites; they enjoy batting all the time, and just like the child when I am given the bat once in a while in a life time, and takes it away almost immediately making me wonder as to what it was that I was happy about, I am unable to feel overwhelmingly thrilled like His Bhakhthas who swoon over His overflowing Grace & Kindness.

The child in that game of cricket has a choice; it leaves the field and finds very soon other ways to keep itself happy. The problem for me is how and where do I leave, excepting to go to the same field where I will have to continuously toil, with the hope that I will have a fleeting moment of illusory happiness when I get to bat a few deliveries which is decided by His mood and mercy.

Looking “inward” sort of a patronizing advice seems to be a cruelly hilarious joke. Laughing it off is also alas not allowed as there seems to be no place for humor in the scripts, and realization process mandates abjuring humor.

I wonder if Hiranyakasibu was a devout man as a child and decided that the only way to merge unto Him is to enrage Him so thoroughly that He has no choice but to liberate you!!!!!!! Perhaps instead of being surprised all the time, we should feel angry, as we have nothing to lose but there can be a favorable succour..

A horrible thought or a reasonably logical sublime one….. You take a call…..

Love

Vichu

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Namaskaram

It is a tradition, as you all know, especially in South Indian families, where one often does a “shashtanga namaskaram” to elders on any special occasion, including the times, when one goes visiting an elder.

While there is no problem when this is done voluntarily, but when it becomes almost mandatory, ( as it often does when on occasions, one can be subjected to repeat this umpteen times to every deserving/undeserving elder on site) it becomes a bit of a bore.

Once I came of an age of being eligible for receiving namaskars, and whenever some younger one expressed a desire to do this, I felt more uncomfortable; as not only, a hug or a mere touch of hands seemed to me to express much more warmth, but being raised on a “traditional” wicket, the former mode being allegedly the correct way, kind of message was drilled in the mind.

I had tried to get the precise significance of this tradition — which is in the nature of expressing respect for one’s elders – and did not quite succeed, in getting comforting answers. Especially, the usual intimidating explanations namely (a) if some one does a namaskar he/she takes away all the punya from the receiver and (b) by not doing this one’s shreyas is affected etc, ( pure manure?) being dished out by the devoutly traditional gang.

The subject got a more-than-expected kind of urgency to find a deeper meaning, especially after Anand came visiting us last week, and did namaskarams before leaving. Call it luck, or Grace, I had a chance reading of a Tamil translation of our acharyal’s book on “sandhya vandhanam” and lo behold a couple of pages on the meaning/significance of this tradition was just there. It’s worth sharing folks, and here I am…….

“Manu Smiriti”, the Hindu dharma legal compendium, talks of those who are eligible (for receiving) and the purpose of the tradition itself. It says

“ One who always does namskaram to elders, gets (a) long life (b) sharp intellect/wisdom (c) fame and (d) strength.” And goes on to define “elders”, thus,

“Mere gray hairs do not qualify one to be an elder, even a young boy with knowledge/wisdom, is considered an elder by the gods.”

The word “tarka” in Samskrit means logic, and the set of people who use logic to define various traditions etc, are termed “thaarkikaal” . As per them,

“The exertion/effort, which during its process, brings forth the feeling that the other person is superior to me/is eminent, is termed namaskaram”.

In other words, (a) Unless I feel the other person is eminent, the act has no meaning and (b) unless I am confident that I am superior, I do not qualify to receive such a form of respect.

And going by manusmiriti, the age of the person to whom I bow down is obviously not very relevant. So it would seem. And may be, perhaps, if one does not deserve, and yet accepts such respect from others, one loses his earned “punya”.

To borrow from Confucius “one who knows and knows that he knows, is the only one who can accept namaskar offered to him in respect”.

My unease in either giving this to every elderly folk, or receive from any youngster, therefore justifiably continues……

May God bless us all……..

Vichu

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Blog Cover

“Image of Lakshmi Hayagreeva”
“udgeetha pranavodgeetha,sarva vageeswareswaraha,
Sarva veda maya chinthaya sarvam bodhaya bodhaya.

(Our most humble salutations and prayers to that sublime preceptor of all preceptors, Lord Hayagreeva, who symbolizes the essence of divine melodies of the Omkara and Samaveda, to completely permeate our innermost thoughts, and merge into that eternal consciousness of “I Am Him”.)

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Cover for our blog book

Snakes and Ladders game board. – As cover of Blog.

This game board reflects perfectly our life cycle in the secular world. There are ups and downs at every stage of the game, and even at the very close stage to reaching the destination, danger lurks, to take you to the bottom of the table.

So is our life; the purpose is to realize that it is just a game, and not getting to the 100 mark. So long as we are in the game, And till realization dawns, every moment appears real; we are disappointed when we reach the mouth of a snake, and we rejoice when we get to a ladder and climb!!!

So long as our aim is just to reach the top, we only continue to get fascinated by the sheer thrill of it; we get back again and again to the game. We pray for a favorable turn of the dice, without a clue as to what is favorable and what is not, and blame everyone including Him for an unfavorable dispensation.

The turning of the dice is akin to our karma. We are nay condemned to do our duty just like the turning of the dice which cannot be avoided as long as we are in the game. But once His Grace is showered, being delivered, we realize that the game, the dice, just like our universe, our lives etc are nothing but our own creation to amuse ourselves, as we are but part of Him. Without reaching this stage of liberation, talking about dispensing with karma with “I Am” kind of imagined wisdom is unlikely to get one there.

Jignyaasaa is all about the journey to understand this mystery, exemplified by the snakes and ladders game board, striving to get His Grace to be able to take the ups and downs in perfect equanimity, and not return to the game once reaching the top in absolution with Him.

Vichu

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Kiddos pictures

Two collages of Rishabh and Supriyaa capturing their moods and expressions –
Rishabh loves the soccer game, learns the guitar, listens to a wide range of music from Hindi film songs to fusion music to ‘Rocketman’ (Elton John)…

Supriyaa likes to draw, paint, listen to Hindi film songs, loves anything in pink!

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Astrology-4

Just a few additions to the list of god’s special people, (Ref Astrology series 2.)

The second bahu of our kaushika clan Kalyani -Houses 10/11/12/1/2/3 occupied Total 6. Plus one not in a sequence though ( nine out of ten marks)
Sriram Alamu’s son – 4 in a row, 8 squares filled up
Geetha’s Aunt Janaki Chithi 5 houses in a row, occupied.
Sashaank Remember Kuttiamma athai’s daughter Papa? Her daughter Usha’s son Sashaank
5 houses in a row occupied
I am convinced that these have some special thing going on……
Could you spot some more pl?
Love
Vichu
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Astrology – Sr No 3

In my experience of repeated study into the few horoscopes that I have access to, I have on many occasions been bewildered at the mismatch between the texts and the reality facing me in the form of living proof, of the person whose chart is under scrutiny.

As a skeptic, one can immediately pooh-pooh the theory wholesomely, but as a faithful, it (a) humbles me to realize how little I know (b) makes me ponder seriously as to whether it’s His will which prevents me from grasping the facts, or it is His same will which has the capacity to overturn whatever is astrologically predictable from known texts, thus making the surprise element out of place, and (c) only when He wills, I will understand (Period.)

It is impossible for any one (at least me) to wholeheartedly belong to either category, as this would make my attempts to learn (jignyaasaa?) more frustrating all the time. So at times when I am not so bewildered, I try and discern some give-away patterns. The previous piece on the adjacent boxes being filled, is one such insight, and though not great, keeps one alert to identify a specimen who has His benign dispensation. Lest I forget, another member of our family circle Malini ( our Amma’s cousin Shanta’s daughter in the US) has her 2nd to fifth box occupied.

The next piece of info which is fascinating to me is the 4 purushaarthams being allotted to different houses as I had mentioned in my last piece. A quick look into what they actually (“Probably” would be a better word, as it is my surmise, but let that pass), represent, in the context of astrological predictions.

Dharma – is a righteous duty. Artha – is temporal riches, Kama – is passion, and finally Moksha – is liberation.

In our scheme of things the lagna, and its lord – are given huge importance. If therefore a person has his lagna house and the lord of such house matching with any of the above characteristic, it is possible to guess to a certain degree, about what the person’s outlook towards life in general could possibly be.

If a person has lagna, its lord, and also other planets in predominantly Dharma houses, will most likely be a stickler for what-is-right kind of frame of mind, and can be quite an unsuccessful player in business. Similarly a fellow similarly having the combination predominantly in artha houses, is likely to be successful in his material life.

During the running dasa of a planet which is in a “ artha” house, the subject would earn material riches even when the planet otherwise is weak. The two major planets which have a bearing on riches are Jupiter (Guru) and Venus (Sukra). The artha houses are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Jupiter or Venus in these houses and in their dasa give “lucre”, my dear. This is my theory and a finding which however needs further corroboration. Jupiter is weakest in Capricorn, and Venus is weakest in Virgo are points to be noted.

The reverse will be true, say if planets are all in Moksha houses, money/temporal happiness become difficult to come by.

Only Artha houses and Kama houses are beneficial, while Dharma/Moksha houses generally tend to impede great material sukham. Before I take up a few known illustrations, another important point is to know that since Rahu and Ketu are exactly 180 degrees apart; one can reckon only 8 planets and see their respective placing.

Yours truly, has 6 planets in “moksha” houses, and 2 in Dharma houses, none in Artha. Guru the most beneficial in religious affairs, aspects from a moksha house all the other planets (4 in number) in other moksha houses. There is another terminology for these Moksha houses, namely watery/fruitful signs. Our Lokanatha thatha-my father- saw this aspect, and derived a different meaning; that I am prone to water borne accidents. My take? I can dream of material benefits, but they will be extremely difficult to come by, almost as if there is a message that I have no other choice but to transcend from losing my cool over denial of material sukham. Will I be able to grin and get there? That is a question very difficult to answer. (Lagna is in a Kama house, it’s lord is in moksha. I have to develop a passion for detachment, as ingredients are available, I guess).

Take Jinji. Lagna in Kama, and its lord in Dharma. Rest in Moksha. So he will not only do religious penance, he will justify every great dream ending in disasters. Gulpa and Ambu fare better; the former has one in Artha, the other in Kama, and 3 each in Dharma and Moksha houses. Ambu has 3 in kama and one in Artha house, 2 in Dharma and 2 in Moksha. Yet ask him; he will complain about 17000 (sathra hazaar lafdas). Which proves my earlier point, namely there is a great mismatch.

There are therefore two things which trouble me constantly. One, this mismatch almost always pertains to material comforts, and without any corresponding visible spiritual experience, and second all the 4 brothers have the most benific of planets namely Guru & Sukra in Moksha/Dharma houses, making easy money eluding us constantly, without again any perceptible experience of the spiritual progress .

Jignyaasaa continues. But the regret is that, this can or perhaps already “is” turning out to be a huge “bore” for every one else except 3 of us brothers save perhaps Ambu,

My unconditional apologies to all.

Love


Vichu

Love

Vichu

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Prologue

Jignyaasaa Portal – A prologue

Jignyaasaa is a samskrit word which broadly translated means (a) curiosity, (b) inquisitiveness and (c) desire to know. On a deeper level the word is more often used when this desire to know transcends from the normal and secular level and gets into the realm of “what is right” and thence to the profound “who am I” kind of internal enquiry.

It is a Hindu belief that a child in the womb of its mother is a truly realized soul. It keeps this beautiful knowledge in its palms as it were, keeping it firm and secure by keeping its fingers closed. The moment it is delivered and comes to our terra-firma, its palm is fully open. It is then that it realizes that the knowledge it had of itself just a moment ago, is gone. It closes its fingers in desperation thinking that it can regain that blissful state of awareness, and cries out aloud “kwa” Kwa” which in samskrit means “where, where?”.

From that moment onwards jignyaasaa starts, and while it has to be logically for knowing itself, and to be able to be in that perfect peace, harmony, and bliss, it dilutes gradually into a desire for everything else which it now comes into contact with, becoming a prisoner of this unreal secular world, and starts wondering as to how lucky it is to escape from the prison of its mother’s womb, where it was in absolute ignorance!!

As one grows old, getting more and more experienced in the affairs of this secular world, barring a few exceptions, a wise one tends to dwell inward, in the face of being helpless witnesses to the overwhelming greed for power, a cynical disregard for other beings’ sufferings, a subversion of every known ethical, moral value systems, all of which pervades every sphere of our environment, and starts in earnest a journey to get to that peace, harmony and happiness which left him the moment he was born.

Being old and other siblings also in their later years, Brahma Jignyaasaa (quest to identify with that Universal soul) was an inevitable pursuit which found a mutual resonance with them. Thanks to the next generation kids, the blog idea to exchange opinions was born. As the journey progressed, this gen-next started to show a keen interest and pitched in occasionally, and finally even kids joined in.

One thing was therefore becoming clearer; the elders’ quest for that final beatitude, the kids curiosity to learn and share, and the youngsters decidedly superior grasp and understanding of subjects both temporal and spiritual, thus increasing there inquisitiveness to know more and more, every one of these jignyaasaas are indeed genuine. A common platform like this family blog portal to express, share, debate, things of these diverse interests was perhaps one of the best things that could happen which has something for every one and is there for the future generations. The blog has space to accommodate views of every hue, be it skepticism, poetry, children’s stories, or metaphysical concepts or individual insights into interpretations of spiritual texts etc.

The youngest contributor is Dhruv who came to this world, about a decade back, on a day coinciding with the day the enlightened Gauthama Budha was born. His piece is as much a delight as the other child shruti’s -a 12 year old’s- fictional attempt, and as absorbing as the contribution of the so called (wiser?) old men like me, and others, making this portal a truly universal one.

With such diverse contributions, there was this desire for seeing it all in a printed form for the benefit of some of the elders, who feel more comfortable with such form rather than a computer screen. Like the female protagonist in the latest Chetan Bhagat’s novel, Madhuri is a wonderfully savvy marketing management product, from one of the prime institutes in India. She was more than kind to take this up in the earnest, without much ado and thus allaying anxious expectations of this set.

Long live Jignyaasaa. May god bless us all in finding true happiness in our own individual ways, without any preconditioning.

Love

Vichu

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Raja yogam in horoscopes

Astrology Series number 2

After a brief (?) but great sojourn in Mumbai, I am back in Delhi, and to reality. With 3 senior citizens and two aspiring ones for company, there was hardly any scope for blogging especially, since the intended subject was second chapter of Bhagawad Geetha.

To be in a position to even start, I need a bit of loosening up with a lighter piece, where there is a comfort of assumed rudimentary knowledge, and an enthusiasm for sharing tid-bits of some of my own derived wisdom. This could only be astrology, and from my own observations of a variety of horoscopes. This needed taking you all thru some basics, which is pleasing enough, and which I hope will kindle some interest in looking up to this subject with a bit more than a casual attitude. Well, that’s a hope and here I go without further ado.

I take it that you are all familiar with a “rasi” chart prepared the south Indian way. It is basically a square – with 4 boxes (houses) on each side along the perimeter. The corner 4 are common to both horizontal, and the vertical.

The second box (horizontal) from the left on the top is Aries or Mesha. We go in clockwise direction and the second is Taurus (vrishaba) and the last box is Gemini(mithuna). Here you go down; the next box is Cancer(kataka) , the next Leo (Simha) and the bottom most right side is Virgo (kanni).

We now proceed left; the next is Libra ( tula) followed by Scorpio (vrischika) and finally the LHS last box Sagittarius( Dhanus). We now move up; the next box is Capricorn (makara) and the next Aquarius (Kumba) and finally the topmost box on LHS is Pisces (Meena).

Mesha, Simha, and Dhanus are termed Dharma houses, Vrishaba, Kanni and Makara are Artha houses, Mithuna Tula and Kumbha, Kama houses, Kataka Vrischika, and Meena are Moksha houses.

The term lagna denotes the star that rises at the time of one’s birth, in the east. Since every house has two and a quarter of 27 stars we know, this detail will determine the lagna house. Irrespective of which one of the houses is rising at the time of birth, this is taken as house number 1. Hope you are all not too tired already with the prelims, as the subject is yet to be placed on the table.

Now to the texts and my own stretching of those to innovative interpretations;, These have been tested, and to my pleasant surprise I have found them relate-able.

I wonder if any one of you has observed the idols in a navagraha temple: they are placed in such a manner that none of them faces any one of the other eight. In other words no one has any great love for the other, and as a corollary, and to be in sync with modern parlance, every one wants to have his space!!.

One of the texts says that, when planets occupy 7 boxes in a horoscope, the result is an excellent raja-yoga. (As per texts Rahu Ketu are not considered true planets, and if 7 planets occupy 7 houses you have what can be called the best one, but if these are included then the maximum is 8, as irrespective of where you put one, the other has to be within the occupied 7)

My take; the dharma, artha, Kama moksha, the 4 purushaatha houses run concurrently, and the cycle repeats itself, every 5th house. So if you have planets in 4 consecutive boxes or more, you get into this elite club of “good dispensation” award from providence is one of my theories. The top candidates for the award in my list are

1. Swati, the 7th to 12th, 6 houses are occupied, lagna is occupied by rahu, and you have moon in 2nd. All 8 a perfect 10.

2 Our Mami (from Chennai) has a sister nicknamed china baby. She has planets in every house from 2nd house to 7th , (6) plus one in 9th.
3 Geetha’s sis-in- law Latha has planets in first 5.
4 Murali has from 1st to 4, as also 7,8 10 &11. Four in a row, 4 spread out.
5 Neethi has planets in 4 houses in a row.
6 Kumar has planets in 5 houses in a row.
7 Umashankar has 4 in a row.
8 Annapoorni has 4 in a row and others spread in 2 houses

All these candidates, save Neethi Annaporni, and Umashankar, to a lesser extent, to my belief, fully exemplify the assumption, that they have that something extra; a kind of a benign providential dispensation, and the grit+stuff sort of combination in them, to face up to challenges. Perhaps you may find some other special feature to add here.

Since looking for these types is not all that difficult (one has to only see if boxes are filled in a row/sequence. As to the 4 purushaarthas I will reserve it for the next. This piece was meant to be a loosener, remember?

Hopefully the piece after a gap of over 5 weeks is good enough.

Love

Vichu

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