SRI RUDRAM AND CHAMAKAM - AN INTERPRETATION


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Śrī Rudram is considered as the heart of Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda, because Śrī Rudram occupies the central part of Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda. Out of entire Śrī Rudram, नमःशिवाय (namaḥśivāya), the Pañcākṣara mantra occupies the central point. Śrī Rudram is also known as Rudra Upaniṣad. It is called so because, recitation of Śrī Rudram removes our vāsanā-s (the impression of anything remaining unconsciously in the mind, the present consciousness of past perceptions), by imparting higher spiritual knowledge like Upaniṣad-s.  It is also said that gods are satiated if Śrī Rudram is chanted and hence it is also called Śatarudrīya, which means one hundred ways of glorifying Rudra. If a tree is watered regularly, it grows with huge foliage. Similarly, if Śrī Rudram is chanted, all gods are pleased. Further, recitation of Śrī Rudram is considered as a remedy for all types of sins. References are available in certain Upaniṣad-s about Śrī Rudram.
Śrī Rudram is an exclusive gift of Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda and only selected verses are found in Rig Veda. It is also known as “namakam” as it contains number of नमः namaḥ. There are 11 stanzas (anuvāka – division or subdivision of Vedas) in Śrī Rudram. These anuvāka-s are arranged in an order. In the first anuvāka is a prayer to an angry Rudra. Rudra is upset with those who did not obey His orders and in order to calm Him, prayers are offered to Him. Rudra becomes angry when adharma prevails over dharma.
Camakam makes tears roll down the eyes due to its wonderful formation producing rhythmic waves. Camakam follows Śri Rudram recitation. There are repetition of ca after each word and hence it is called Camakam. It is also called vasordhārā, which involves continuous flow of ghee (clarified butter) into the yajñā fire, by reciting Camakam non-stop. Camakam is a prayer seeking riches and mental strength. There are 11 anuvāka-s and each word is followed by “च मे ca me, where ca means and/also; and me means me (I). It is important to note that all the prayers are only for the benefit of the individual concerned. From the ritualistic point of view, unless saṅkalapa is taken, benefits of these mantras will not accrue to others. However, benefits of listening to Camakam will always be there for others.

This book contains interpretation of both Śrī Rudram and Camakam. 

GLIMPSE OF ADVAITA

Advaita philosophy is considered as the supreme, as according to Advaita, Brahman alone prevails everywhere. There is no second in Advaita. Everything is the superimposition on the Brahman, giving rise to various shapes and forms. When one understands the appearance of the universe, as different from the Brahman is illusory in nature and the underlying factor is the Brahman, he is considered as a Self-realised person. But this thought does not occur when one begins to pursue the spiritual path. One may claim to be an advaitin, but in reality, he may not. He may understand the fundamental philosophy of non-dualism; but understanding is different and experience. Advaita says “I am Brahman”. If one simply repeats “I am the Brahman”, he does not become an advatin nor does he become Brahman. This is merely his statement. Only when his statement transforms into experience, he is said to have understood the true Advaita philosophy. Therefore, in the initial stages of spirituality, one is bound to feel the difference between the Brahman and his self.  This happens because of ignorance. This ignorance can be dissolved not only by acquiring knowledge but also by personal experience. He has to transcend several stages and cross several impediments to ultimately realise, that Brahman and he are one. For this practice is essential. Practice is called sādhana. Sādhana can be explained as the practice that ultimately leads to the goal.

Tattvabodha says, “sādhanacatuṣṭayaṁ” which means practice is of four types. These four are 1. Discrimination between permanent and impermanent.  2. Renouncing the fruits of actions. 3. Six fold wealth. (They are – i. mind control, ii. control of external sensory organs, iii. observance of one’s dharma, iv. endurance of pleasure and pain, v. faith in the words of guru and Holy Scriptures and vi. single pointed attention.) and 4. Desire for liberation. 

The four, discrimination, dispassion, six fold wealth and desire for liberation are the fundamental requirements to progress in spirituality.  It can be observed that each one of them is interconnected. It is only the sensory organs that make a person to discriminate. Sensory organs are by default, associated only with the gross forms. Renunciation of fruits of actions leads to mind control. When the mind is not subjected to sensory afflictions, it begins to explore the inner Self. When mind gets used to the state of joy of looking within, it yearns for inner peace. When the mind is trained to look within, it will no longer get addicted to the external world. Training and taming of the mind against its inherent nature is surely a difficult task. But all these hurdles have to be crossed in stages, to be with the Brahman all the time and enjoy the state of inexplicable bliss. Spiritual progression always should happen in stages.
   
In this book, brief analysis of Śaṃkarācārya’s teachings on Advaita through Ātmabodha, Vivekacūḍāmaṇi and Sādhanā Pañcakam are discussed.

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SHIVA IN CONVERSATION WITH SHAKTI AND GURUJI SPEKAS

INDIAN EDITION ONLY

Kali Yuga is often described as age of darkness, because kali refers to the last and worst of the four Yugas or ages. Kali has got many interpretations depending upon the context. Some of the commonly understood meanings of Kali are strife, discord, quarrel, contention, etc. There is a reference to this in detail in Śrīmad Bhāgavata (IV.viii.3). In general, it is believed that God realization is difficult in kali yuga, due to the predominance of adharma (unrighteousness, injustice, wickedness) over dharma (virtue, morality). It is also interesting to note that kali also refers to symbolical expression for the numeric 1 (probably referring to numero uno). If we seriously investigate why adharma prevails over dharma in the recent times, we will find huge imbalance in the three guṇa-s - sattvic, rajas and tamas. Sattva guṇa means the quality of purity and knowledge. The presence of other two guṇa-s is not very prominent in sattva guṇa as this guṇa is endowed with the highest purity. Rajo guṇa is the activity of passion. Tamo guṇa is inertia or ignorance. These two guṇa-s have higher trace of other guṇa-s. Guṇa-s are the inherent qualities of Prakṛti. Ego and intellect originate from guṇa-s that are present in all the evolutes of Prakṛti at once, but distributed in unequal proportions in each individual. The predominant guṇa that prevails in an individual is reflected through his thoughts and actions. 

Kṛṣṇa explains guṇa-s in Bhagavad Gīta (IV.6 - 9) “Sattva, rajas and tamas - these three qualities born of Prakṛti (Nature) tie down the imperishable soul to the body. Of these, sattva being immaculate is illuminating and flawless; it binds through identification with joy and wisdom. The quality of rajas is in the nature of passion, as born of avariciousness and attachment. It binds the soul through attachment to actions and their fruits. Tamas, the deluder of all those who look upon the body as their own self, are born of ignorance. It binds the soul through error, sloth and sleep. Sattva drives one to joy, and rajas to action, while tamas clouding the wisdom incites one to err as well as sleep and sloth.” Kṛṣṇa again says (Bhagavad Gīta XIV.20), “Having transcended the aforesaid guṇa-s, which have caused the body, and freed from birth, death, old age and all kinds of sorrow, this soul attains the supreme bliss.” This book will make an attempt to explain how to transcend these guṇa-s to experience bliss, which is the infantile stage of our spiritual pursuit.

This book covers birth, death, transmigration of a soul after death, its requirements after exit, Self-realization, transmigration and finally, Liberation. The entire book will be logical, pragmatic and realistic in its approach and may not be based on certain practices that are being followed today.  Shiva and His Consort Shakti descend from Mount Kailāsa to the material world and while going around the material world, Shakti seeks various clarifications from Shiva. Hence this is titled as Shiva in conversation with Shakti. 

The next section is titled as Guruji Speaks. This is in the form of conversation between a Self-realized Guru and his disciple about various stages of spiritual life, Self-realization, meditation, etc.

SAUNDARYALAHARI - THE ETERNAL GRANDEUR


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Ādi Śaṃkarācārya, adored as Ācārya hails from the Guru lineage of Śrī Dakṣiṇāmūrti, who is an incarnation of Lord Śiva. Ācārya, who is considered as an incarnation of Śiva, had all the qualities of Śiva as well as Śakti. He was in the state of Saccidānanda and at the same time, he has authored many works and one of them being Saundaryalaharī. Majority of his works are related to imparting Advaita philosophy.   We know that Śakti is the Power of Śiva, who always remains silent and meditating. At the same time, He is aware of everything that happens in the universe, through His kinetic power known as Śakti, who is full of knowledge and wisdom. Śiva and Śakti always remain inseparable. Saundaryalaharī begins by emphasizing the union of Śiva and Śakti.
Apart from the fact that Saundaryalaharī was authored by Śaṃkarācārya, there are certain other versions about its origin. Once Śaṃkarācārya had darśan of Pārvatī and Parameśvara. During the darśan, Pārvatī handed over to him, a bunch of palm leaves containing all the verses of Saundaryalaharī. There is another version which says that it has been composed by Vāc Devi-s, authors of Lalitā Sahasranāma. Third version says that these verses were composed by Śiva Himself as an encomium of His Consort Pārvatī.
There is another version about its origin. Śaṃkarācārya went to Kailāsa, the Abode of Pārvatī and Parameśvara. At that time, Śiva gave him five Liṅga-s and Pārvatī gave him manuscripts in the form of palm leaves. Śiva’s vāhana Nandikeśvara was witnessing this and thought that some treasures of Kailāsa were going out of Kailāsa. In the fit of anger, he pulled the palm leaves. But Śaṃkara managed to hold on to some portions of it, though he had lost some, due to Nandikeśvara’s anger. He returned only with first 41 verses and the rest 59 verses were taken away by Nandikeśvara.
The first 41 verses belong to mantra Śātra and Kuṇḍalinī yoga, the subtlest form of Pārvatī. Being an incarnation of Śiva, He composed the remaining 59 verses on his own, describing Her, from Her head to Her feet. For Gods, description begins from feet to head and for Goddesses, it is from head to feet, which is known as keśādi pādāntaṁ. Saundaryalaharī is based on this principle. Original part containing 41 verses is termed as Ānandalaharī and the part composed by Śaṃkara, containing 59 verses, is termed as Saundaryalaharī and all the 100 verses put together is also known as Saundaryalaharī.
Parāśakti is worshiped either through mantras such as Pañcadaśī or through great poetic compositions like Lalitā Sahasranāma. But, Saundaryalaharī is the combination of both and hence is considered as crest jewel of all Her worship. While studying Saundaryalaharī, we should always remember that the entire work is that of Śiva, conveying both gross and subtle interpretations.
Every effort is taken to interpret these verses in simple language and with these few words, this book is placed at Her Lotus feet to bless us with puruṣārtha, the fourfold values of human life - dharma (righteousness or virtues), artha (wish or purpose), kāma (desires and pleasures) and mokṣa (the liberation).

SHIVA IN CONVERSATION WITH SHAKTHI




Kali Yuga is often described as age of darkness, because kali refers to the last and worst of the four Yugas or ages. Kali has got many interpretations depending upon the context. Some of the commonly understood meanings of Kali are strife, discord, quarrel, contention, etc. There is a reference to this in detail in Śrīmad Bhāgavata (IV.viii.3). In general, it is believed that God realization is difficult in kali yuga, due to the predominance of adharma (unrighteousness, injustice, wickedness) over dharma (virtue, morality). It is also interesting to note that kali also refers to symbolical expression for the numeric 1 (probably referring to numero uno). If we seriously investigate why adharma prevails over dharma in the recent times, we will find huge imbalance in the three guṇa-s - sattvic, rajas and tamas.  Sattva guṇa means the quality of purity and knowledge.  The presence of other two guṇa-s is not very prominent in sattva guṇa as this guṇa is endowed with the highest purity.  Rajo guṇa is the activity of passion. Tamo guṇa is inertia or ignorance.  These two guṇa-s have higher trace of other guṇa-s.  Guṇa-s are the inherent qualities of Prakṛti.  Ego and intellect originate from guṇa-s that are present in all the evolutes of Prakṛti at once, but distributed in unequal proportions in each individual.  The predominant guṇa that prevails in an individual is reflected through his thoughts and actions. 

Kṛṣṇa explains guṇa-s in Bhagavad Gīta (IV.6 - 9) “Sattva, rajas and tamas - these three qualities born of Prakṛti (Nature) tie down the imperishable soul to the body.  Of these, sattva being immaculate is illuminating and flawless; it binds through identification with joy and wisdom.  The quality of rajas is in the nature of passion, as born of avariciousness and attachment.  It binds the soul through attachment to actions and their fruits.  Tamas, the deluder of all those who look upon the body as their own self, are born of ignorance.  It binds the soul through error, sloth and sleep.  Sattva drives one to joy, and rajas to action, while tamas clouding the wisdom incites one to err as well as sleep and sloth.”   Kṛṣṇa again says (Bhagavad Gīta XIV.20), “Having transcended the aforesaid guṇa-s, which have caused the body, and freed from birth, death, old age and all kinds of sorrow, this soul attains the supreme bliss.”

This book will make an attempt to explain how to transcend these guṇa-s to experience bliss, which is the infantile stage of our spiritual pursuit. The entire series will be in the form imaginary conversation between Shiva and Shakti. It would be ideal to read this series after reading the following two series.

This book covers birth, death, transmigration of a soul after death, its requirements after exit, Self-realization, transmigration and finally, Liberation. The entire book will be logical, pragmatic and realistic in its approach and may not be based on certain practices that are being followed today.

Shiva and His Consort Shakti descend from Mount Kailāsa to the material world and while going around the material world, Shakti seeks various clarifications from Shiva. Hence this series is titled as SHIVA IN CONVERSATION WITH SHAKTI. 


GURUJI SPEAKS



This kindle edition deals with conversation between a Self-realized Guru and his disciple. The conversation covers various aspects of spirituality, Self-realization and beyond.

KUNDALINI MEDITATION THEORY AND PRACTICE



This book about Kundalini discusses about both theoretical and practical aspects of kundalini meditation, which is generally considered as a complex subject. There are many serious problems associated with kundalini meditation, known as kundalini syndrome. These syndromes manifest only due to lack of proper understanding and practice. This book dwells at length both theoretical and practical aspects of kundalini meditation.

This book also explains the importance of proper postures, breath control, meditative techniques, etc. A few explanatory images are also provided. Apart from dwelling in detail on preliminaries and practices, this book also explains step by step procedure to attain perfection in kundalini meditation.

Throughout this book, IAST font is used and a few characters of these fonts may not appear properly in some of the kindle devices.