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  1. namaste everyone. ShrI Abhinava VidyAtIrtha SwamigaL who was an earlier pontiff of the Shringeri ShAradA MaTham explains* that the term 'prasanna-vadanaM' in the shlokam refers to GaNesha because "it is the opinion of our ancestors that the term 'prasanna' includes a meaning 'elephant' among its many meanings." Orthodox VaiShNavas who rarely if ever worship GaNesha, would have none of any reference to GaNesha in this shloka. Orthodox Shaivas and smArthas on the other hand see only the reference to GaNesha because this is always the first shloka of any pUjA or dhyAna--meditation or other kind of karma--religious performance. Typically, whenever this shloka is recited, the reciter gently taps the sides of his head just over the ears with his/her knuckles. This is to let the amRutam--nectar in the shiras--brain chakra to course down the nADis. I remember to have read somewhere that the names of five Rishis are mentioned in this shloka, but I can't place the reference or remember the names of the Rishis. I vaguely know that there was a Rishi by name ViShNu, Bharata was another, but the others? Any idea? ********** Here is a connection between the phrase 'prasanna vadanaM' and GaNesha: pra = forward, to extend sad = droop, sunk vadanam = face prasanna vadanam = forward sunk face, as that of an elephant pra = forward, to extend sad = droop, sunk vadanaM = mouth prasanna vadanam = a mouth that is drooping, as that of an elephant pra = forward, to extend sana = the flapping of an elephant's ears prasanna vadanaM = extended mouth with flapping ears, so an elephant Additionally, it is amazing to note the connection of the root 'sad' with the elephant! sadAdAna = always exuding rut-fluid (as an elephant); an elephant in rut sadAmada, sadAmatta = always in rut sadAna = being in rut sadri = an elephant sajjana = caparisoning an elephant sana = the flapping of an elephant's ears GaNesha of this shloka, is thus of prasanna vadanaM = an elephant face which is bright and with flapping ears. ********** Note: *in the book titled 'sandhyAvandanam' published by shrI VidyAtIrtha Foundation, Chennai.
  2. Mind can never be the master. It is only a witness. This is the reason we have the term 'manasakshi' or conscience. It is the Buddhi that is the master of the mind. For a practical discussion on mind, visit: swamij.com/fourfunctionsmind.htm
  3. Emotions have colors. Not just theoretically, but in reality. Sustained anger, for example, generates a reddish spike targetted at the source of your anger. If that source has a sympathetic vibration in his/her astral body, the colors adds to the dullness of it. Or else, it returns to you with a double force and muddies your astral body. The astral body is where our emotions manifest. It is this body that you use as the vehicle of consciousness in clear dreams. The more healthy colors you add to this body, the lesser you will be affected by negative emotions. This book might be of help: 'Thoughtforms' by Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, downloadable at anandgholap.net
  4. For an elaborate discussion on the issue check out this link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_moon_landing_hoax_accusations.
  5. Dear mahaksadasa, According to Occult Science, dreams involve participation of three bodies or vehicles of consciousness of the human soul: physical body, etheric double and the astral body. The etheric double (called pranamaya kosha) is the exact double of the physical body comprising matter from the four etheric sub-planes of the seven physical sub-planes. (The other three sub-panes are solid, liquid and gaseous). The etheric double is where the seven chakras are located, with their counterparts in the astral body. The etheric double is also responsible for a human's health aura. It functions on the physical plane. The astral body is made of the astral matter of the seven sub-planes of the astral world. It penetrates and extends a couple of inches above the surface of the physical body. It is this astral body that humans use in dreams to travel in the astral world and have experiences. To understand the nature of dreams as explained in Occult Science and Theosophy, we need to bear in mind that we humans are surrounded by a pulsating current of physical, astral and mental matter which interpenetrate each other and eddy around us. These currents carry concreate thought shapes and thought-forms generated by emotions that emanate from us and from other people near and far. The etheric brain is usually sympathetic to these thought currents and picks up some of it that create sympathetic vibrations. The human brain dramatizes the conglomerate of thought currents during sleep and plays them out in the etheric plane. This is the reason for totally unconnected and illogical dreams where the scenery and people change abruptly, often at an alarming pace. The other kind of dream is the clear dream which is actually due to the astral travel (an OBE, not NDE). This usually follows the first set of etheric dreams and happens to every human during sleep, though most of us remember only occasional fragments of these dreams. During astral travel, the astral body slips out of the physical body and wanders about the astral world. Nevertheless, it is always connected to the physical body (by what is known as a silver cord). We usually don't remember the experiences of our astral body because there is no continuity in consciousness as it shifts from the astral body during sleep to the physical when we wake up from sleep. To have a lucid dream and remember most of it in the physical state, one needs to practice maintaining the continuity of consciousness in the physical and astral bodies. In your case it seems, since you do remember your dreams vividly, you are able to keep your consciousness continuous during sleep. As to the recurrence and fear of the electrocution in your dreams (even though you know that your astral body is not affected by physical forces), I think your bad experiences of electrocution in physical life have made a lasting mark on your chitta or subconsciousness, which keeps bubbling up in dreams. From what I have read on the subject of astral travel, one way to overcome the problem may be intense self assertion. Watch for the exact moment you slip to the sleep state and at that time assert to your mind that in any dreams that might happen that day, you would not have any fear of electrocution and that you would successfully overcome any problems with the wires that might bind you. Doing this repeatedly, I think, would enable you to erase the subconscious fear in a short time. I suggest that you practice the relaxation techniques descirbed in this website: swamij.com Some specific info about astral projection might be found in these links: dimensional-doorways.com/NEW/index.htm astralvoyage.com beyondtheveil.net
  6. I have a small collection of clean humour. I shall post them under three heads in this thread: Jokes, Episodes and Trivia. Definition of quality humour: Humour is the quick perception of lack of proportion and kind expression of it. Jokes 1. "You know the difference between a priest and a donkey?" asked the lawyer. "What's that?", said the priest. "The priest prays, the donkey brays." "Well", said the priest calmly, "you know the difference between a lawyer and a donkey?" "No", said the lawyer. "There's no difference." 2. The greatest trial of patience is a stammering barrister examining a stuttering witness in the presence of a deaf judge. 3. Snakeskins make the best shoes. And banana skins make the best slippers. Episodes Michael DeBakey Morris was removing some engine valves from a car on the lift when he spotted the famous heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey, who was standing off to the side, waiting for the service manager. Morris, somewhat of a loud mouth, shouted across the garage, "Hey DeBakey...Is dat you? Come over here a minute." The famous surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to where Morris was working on a car. Morris in a loud voice that all could hear, said argumentatively, "So Mr. fancy doctor, look at this work. I also take valves out, grind 'em, put in new parts, and when I finish, this baby will purr like a kitten. So how come you get the big bucks, when you and me are doing basically the same work?" DeBakey, very embarrassed, walked away, and said softly to Morris, "Try doing your work with the engine running." Trivia Birds and Animals Why did the chicken cross the road? It wanted to get to the other side of the road. Why did it cross back? It was a double crosser. Why did the chicken cross the road at 11:00 pm? It was working overtime. Why did the turkey cross the road? The chicken was off duty. Why do cows wear bells? Because their horns don't work. See you later.
  7. saidevo


    Education is another word that has all the vowels occuring once. Rhythm, myth are words that have no vowels. Are there others? Antidisestablishmentarianism is the longest coinage of a word. Are there others?
  8. There are several Hindu schools but they can't teach our religious and cultural values because they need to use the government syllabus for the curriculam. Again there are Hindu ashram-originated schools such as the Chinmaya mission, DAV, Sathya Sai schools and other residential schools, but how many of us do send our children to those schools? I think the solution lies in teaching our values in addition the school or college curriculam. As a swamiji said in a recent Hindu conference in USA, family is the first school. Hindu parents who don't expose their children to our religious values are the first sinners against Hinduism. The Internet is ubiquitous in today's world, and is increasingly being used by our kids and youth in India. It would be ideal if some of our religious institutions unite to create a Hindu Web University, recruit people (not just students) who have faith in Hinduism and train them on a syllabus that suits the modern world. The financial needs for such an effort might be met our patriotic and religious NRIs and resident Indians.
  9. Sanatana Dharma is under siege in our great Bharat today. One way we can deal with the situation is to unite and create awareness and knowledge, specially among the Hindu kids and youth throughout the world, about our religious and cultural values. For, the future of our nation lies in their hands. This series is a small attempt in this direction. -- saidevo The family was at the dining table. Mummy, and the twins Arvind and Padma, were happy that daddy was back home early for dinner. When everybody was seated, mummy served the first course of dinner--roti, dal and onion raita--and took a seat near Arvind. Padma sat near her daddy, who seemed very relaxed that evening. "Daddy", began the kids together, "can we ask you something?" "Shoot it", said daddy. "We're really confused, daddy", began Padma. "Our class teacher said today that we Hindus have really only one God named Brahman and not many Gods as we think." "Before the teacher could explain it", Arvind added, "the bell rang and the class was over." "Daddy", said Padma, "is it true that we have only one God?" "No, we have several in the Puja room!", pleaded Arvind. Counting on his fingers, he continued, "Ganesha, Shiva, Vishnu, Muruga, Rama, Krishna, Durga, Lakshmi, Sarasvati and many more!" "And Ganesha is our favourite God!", said Padma. "I don't know who is Brahman." said Arvind. "I have not seen him. How does he look like, dad?" "I am not giving up Ganesha for Brahman", said Padma sternly. "Or any other God for that matter", said Arvind. "Don't worry, I will explain to you." said daddy. "What did your mummy say to your question?" "Well I said, just like we are a family of four people, the one God is a family of many gods." "We will put it this way. Padma, who are you?" "I am a girl, daddy." "Who are you to me?" "I am your daughter." "So, Padma has two forms, a girl and a daughter. She is a girl basically, but to me and mummy, she is a daughter." "Same way, I am a boy and a son", observed Arvind. "You understand? Now, Padma, do you have any more forms?" Padma was quick to grasp the idea. Nodding her head, she said, "Yes daddy, many more! I am a sister to Arvind, a student in the class, a friend of Valarmathi, a granddaughter to my four grandparents..." "Are you the same or different in each form?" "The same, of course!" "No she is different", corrected Arvind. "She goes to school smartly dressed, she is often naughty to me, a helping daughter at home and, always the pet granddaughter!" "You both are right. Padma looks different in each form or role, but she is the same girl in all of them. In the same way Arvind, you are what Padma is in each of your roles, but only your form is different." "I understand that dad," said Arvind. "But Padma and I are different, aren't we? She is a girl and I am a boy." "Yes and no. You are a boy and she is a girl alright, but both of you, and me and mummy too, are humans. Therefore, all of us are human forms." "But dad", said Arvinid, "Is God a human too? Because every God we have is in the human form." "Except our Ganesha", said Padma. "He is special. He is a human with an animal head." "Yes, God takes a human form when He wants to take a form. Because a human is the best of all the forms that God has made in this world." "But aren't these forms different, dad?" said Arvind, "just as you and mummy and Padma and I are different?" "Yes Arvind. The God forms are different, but the God in them is the same One God, whom we call Brahman." "But daddy", asked Padma, "why do we worship God in many human forms when He is Brahman, the only one?" "This world of ours is a colorful world. We have different types of humans here. Some want wealth, some want health, some knowledge, and some, nothing except what God would give them. Since God creates, gives and controls everything in this world, He appears as Lakshmi to those who want wealth, as Ganesha to those who want health, as Sarasvati to those who want knowledge, and so on; generally, as any personal God according to human nature." "We have many Gods in our Puja room", said Arvind. "Does this mean that we want everything dad?" Daddy laughed. "You are right in a way. For you and Padma, Ganesha is your favourite God. In the same way, everyone has a personal God, an Ishta Devata. But since we all love everyone of our God forms, we worship them in many forms." "If Lakshmi gives wealth and Sarasvati knowledge, what do Shiva and Vishnu give daddy?" said Padma. "That will be a long discussion. We can have it some other day. For now, you understand two things: firstly, God is only one, called Brahman, but is worshipped by us Hindus in many forms. And secondly, though we worship God in many forms, we know that God is only one." "Yes, we now understand Daddy", said the children in chorus. Arvind continued, "Dad, if God appears in human form, then we are God, too?" "Yes we are, basically, but most of us don't realize it. That is why we think of ourselves as separate human beings." "If God is human, then daddy is my favourite human God!", said Padma. "And mummy is my favourite human God!", said Arvind. "Don't forget your teacher and the guest", said mummy, who was listening to the whole chat with interest. "Yes mom", said the children together. "We now understand what you often tell us. Matru Devo Bhava; Pitru Devo Bhava; Acharya Devo Bhava; Athithi Devo Bhava.". --::--
  10. A situation is fast developing in India today (and the cause is the politicians and their greed for power and wealth) that bright and talented Indians, if they belong to the so-called forward castes can no longer even persue their higher studies (let alone work) in India. Among other considerations, the exchange difference of the currencies of India and the western countries is a main reason that propels Indians to work abroad, even risking treatment as second-rate citizens. If the Indian rupee is as strong as the dollar or the euro, and if talent and merit are respected in India, I don't think that our youth might think of working abroad, because all those material comforts are now available in every Indian city. It is my dream that patriotic, talented and powerful young people take over the reigns of our democracy and restore the ancient culture and glory of Bharat. I sincerely wish and pray that this dream comes true in the next decade or so.
  11. The two concepts of rebirth I have presented are not condictory. The permanent human form is the view presented in Theosophy (which is based on Sanatana Dharma). On the other hand, we also read in our puranas about humans being reborn in a lower form. If that is true, it should be due to an excessive propensity of the human. Theosophy says that in rare cases a human after death takes the form of an animal and born as a werewolf or a dracula and these represent the case of lost souls whose redemption is far, far away in future. But then a sage like Prabhupada could not be wrong also. Therefore I need to conclude that if such a fate should befall a leader like Nehru, how depraved he had to be in his previous human life. And this serves as a caution for us normal humans to check any excessive animal propensities in our personality.
  12. I have read that a human form is the ultimate for a soul and that a soul never descends into the lower forms after it gets a human form, however much its bad karma be. I have also read about a story of a rishi being born as a deer that he was very affectionate with. The dog form for Nehru might be because of his excessive sexual indulgence, a characteristic trait of dogs. But even then they do it only during mating seasons. Perhaps God was kind enough to give the great political leader a form that best suited his propensity. It is a shame that our great Bharat is still being ruled by the dyansty of Nehru. This is the true karmic punishment for us Hindus for our neglect of our great religion.
  13. As I get up in the morning and look out of the window, I am reminded of the Microsoft Windows operating system of my computer. As I sit at the dining table for my early morning cup of coffee, I am reminded of Sun Microsystem's Java coffee cup. If only I were reminded of Lord Krishna in the same way, looking at things, with something of a Bharathi in me, I could have been a far better person! Have we ever stopped for a moment to think how many icons we meet in our daily life? Virtual hieroglyphics haunt me, taunt me, and control me like a friend, philospher and guide. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps an icon is worth a thousand pictures. Icons everywhere! In petrol bunks, travel points like airports, railway stations, bus shelters; shops, offices, hospitals; traffic signs on the roadside; and the emoticons in my email! Icons forcefully change the way I walk, talk, write and think. The slew of technology that has permeated my daily life, is gradually replacing the language, leading me slowly back to the days of the hieroglyphics. Idols are the icons of Godhood in Hinduism. Installed everywhere in the Hindu world like the modern-day icons, they remind a Hindu of his/her daily dharma. When I need a plethora of icons for my daily life, is it not sheer arrogance on my part to frown upon the people who use idols?
  14. We, humans, are divided by religion. Nevertheless, every human soul evolves in a cycle of births and rebirths caused by karma. Religions interpret such things differently, but in my opinion, Hinduism gives the best, logical and scientific explanation of the lokas that a soul inhabits after death and before another rebirth. Theosophy has extracted these truths in Hinduism and given a modern, holistic worldview. The gayatri mahamantra speaks of the three worlds in its opening line: aum bhur bhuva suvaha. The pranayamam mantra speaks of the seven worlds Avinash has indicated: Om Bhuhu, Om Bhuvaha, Ohum Suvaha, Om Mahaha, Om Janaha, Om Tapaha, Ohum Satyam. Om tat savitur varenyam, bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prachodayat. Om apo jyoti raso amritam brahma bhurbhuvasuvarom Here is a brief of the seven worlds that pranayamam mantra speaks of: 7. Bhur-loka: The lowest of the seven, the Bhumi we live or physical world we live. Its influence extends little farther than our atmosphere. 6. Bhuvar-loka: The middle of the three worlds bhu, bhuvar, suvar. This is the astral world we go to with our astral body to live with, after death of our physical body. The ethereal realm or sphere between the earth and the sun, this world is also the abode of the munis. The term bhuvar indicates air and atmosphere. 5. Svarloka: svarga or the heaven-world. The sphere of influence of svarloka is said to reach to the pole star. This is the mental world we live with our mental body, after the death of our astral body. We come to this world mainly to enjoy the good karma we have accumulated in previous births. 4. Maharloka: the abode of certain classes of pitris, certain of the manus, and the seven rishis, as well as of orders of celestial spirits and gods. Its sphere of influence is exoterically said to extend to the utmost limits of the solar system. This is the Intutional, casual or buddhic world. 3. Janarloka (also called Janoloka): Exoterically said to extend beyond the solar system, it is the abode of the kumaras belonging to a high plane, but one nevertheless inferior to those living in taparloka. The siddhas are stated to have their spiritual dwellings or rest periods in janarloka. This is the spiritual or atmic world. 2. Taparloka: Often called the mansion of the blessed in Hindu literature. It is considered to be the abode of vairaja-deities, agnishvattas, Sons of Brahma, the highest classes of manasaputras and kumaras. In Theosophy, this world is known as the monodic world or anupadaka. 1. Satyaloka: the innermost and closest to the radiating spiritual center, and yet extends its influence through and beyond all the inferior lokas. The three higher worlds Janarloka, Taparloka and Satyaloka are together known as Brahmaloka. Satyaloka is the abode of jivanmuktas, souls that are liberated for the remainder of the entire solar manvantara from the cycle of spiritual transmigrations through the various spheres of being. This is the divine or aadi world. Normal human souls in their cycle of reincarnation shuttle between the three worlds bhu, bhuva and suvaha. Corresponding to the seven worlds, human souls are clothed in seven sheaths or bodies or principles. They fall into two categories: the upper triad (atma-buddhi-manas) and the lower quartet (the lower mental body or kama rupa, the astral body or linga sarira, the etheric double or prana sarira, and the physical body). The sutrarma of the human soul comprises the three principles atma-buddhi-manas, which retain all our good and bad karma for future reincarnations. I am not a scholar of Hinduism; and I am not Sanskrit-literate. The above facts have been compiled by me from Hinduism and Theosophy sources. I have presented them here in the hope that they might be useful to the readers. ------------------------
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