Sri Venkatachala Mahathyam CONCLUSION ( wedding chapter 436-446)

436) BHAGAVATHKRUTHASHANMAASAAVADHIKAAGASTHYAASHRAMAVAASA PRATHIGNYAA Padmaavathyanugo Devo Brahmarudraadikairyuthaha Suvarnamukharee...


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Veena wali Radhe

One day Radha and Krishna are playing together in a kunja when Krishna faints out of ecstasy. No matter what Radha tries, She can not bring Krishna back to His senses. The boat-like mind of enchanting Mohana has sunk in the bottomless ocean of Sri Radha's beauty and sweetness. Radha is desperate. She cannot find anyone who can pull Krishna out of this deep ocean-like swoon. Then Tulasi, who sits outside with her back against the wall of the kunja, begins to sing a beautiful song. When Krishna hears this song about Radha’s sweetness, He slowly comes back to His senses and becomes fit again to continue the loveplay. These songs cannot be taught in the presence of the sakhis, therefore they are taught within the caves of Govardhana Hill.
The subject of these songs are the various pastimes of Rasaraja Krishna and Madanakhya Mahabhavavati Sri Radha. Radha Herself is the subject of these songs, so She can't sing them Herself to bring Krishna back to life. A third person is necessary, and a maidservant of Sri Radha is the most fitting person to do it. Of all maidservants, Tulasi is again most intimate with Sri Radha, so Radha calls her into a cave of Govardhana Hill to teach her these intimate songs in different tunes. This is the limit of human perfection, the great gift of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Now Radha will examine if Tulasi has properly learned the songs. This examination is also so wonderful! The cave of Govardhana Hill is like a wonderful temple of play. Radha takes a veena in Her hand and teaches a sweet song. The song itself is endlessly sweet and on top of that there is Radha’s own nectarine voice. This sound attracts Krishna, who comes close and stares through a slit in the cave at the beauty of Radha’s form. She is there alone with Tulasi. Her head is not covered by Her veil and Her fingers, that defeat the beauty of golden Champaka-buds, twang the strings of the veena. Along with the strings of the veena She twangs the strings of Krishna’s heart! How wonderfully Her jewelled rings are blazing on Her golden fingers! It is as if Her beauty and sweetness comes gushing out of Her limbs!
Krishna is enchanted by Her lovely nectarine voice and can’t hide Himself anymore. He approaches slowly and enters into the cave as if He is enchanted by some mantra. Seeing Krishna, Radha at once stops singing, puts the veena away and quickly pulls Her veil over Her head. Gravely She says: "Krishna! Are You here?” Syama says: “What song have You taught to Tulasi?” Radha : “What’s that to You? Tulasi! Let us hear what song You have learned!” Tulasi takes the veena in her hand and begins to sing. How wonderful is the prowess of Tulasi, the object of Radha’s affection! She has learned the song after one single hearing. It is as if the song takes shape before Their eyes. Krishna does not hear a song -- He relishes Radha’s sweetness. Krishna is enchanted and sits down next to Radha to listen. Tulasi asks: “Did I pass the examination?” Radha and Krishna praise Tulasi!
Sloka No 49:-May Sri Radha, who, taking the sweet sounding Madhumathi Veena in Her hand, and then singing many songs describing Her pastimes with the crest jewel of lovers, suddenly bursts into tears, appear in my heart!
Sloka No 58:-When, on the Yamuna's shore, will I meet Sri Radha, as, like a passionate female elephant meeting e regal male elephant in the forest, She wealthy in musical skill, sweetly plays the veena as Krishna plays the fifth raga on His celestial flute?
A disciple of Srila Rupa Goswami's select verses indicating Sri Radha's expertise in veena:-
Meaning:-Her transcendental breasts are covered by Her saree in the form of affection and anger towards Krishna. She has a stringed instrument known as a 'Kachchapi-veena', which is the fame and fortune that actually dries up the faces and breasts of the other Gopis!(Sloka No.47)
Meaning:-In a forest courtyard by a lake, Radha played Her veena as Her friends sang sweetly. Pleased by Her musical skills,Krishna suddenly kissed the embarrassed Radha.(Sloka No.117)
Kalayonmadhya madhavam
smithva haritha-tad-venu
hara smera-visakhaya."
Meaning:-As a smiling Radha charms Madhava with Her exceptional music skills, smiling Visakha (one of the eight closest gopika friends [Ashta Sakhis] of Sri Radha )steals Krishna's garland and flute! (Sloka No.120)
Meaning:-The sound of Radha's veena makes Krishna tremble and the flute slips from His hand. The tinkling of Her bracelets and ornaments makes Him forget His own body and the path that leads to His home. (Sloka No.121)
Among Radha’s innumerable transcendental attributes, She has twenty-five principal qualities. 1) Radha is very sweet and most charming to look at; 2) Radha is adolescent and always freshly youthful; 3) Radha’s eyes are doe-like and restless; 4) Sri Radha’s face is smiling and every blissful; 5) Auspicious, beautiful lines adorn Sri Radha’s lotus hands and feet; 6) Radha maddens Krishna with Her fragrant bodily aroma; 7) Sri Radha is the most exceptional singer and veena player; 8) Radha’s words are charming and pleasing; 9) Radha is expert at telling jokes that delight Krishna; 10) Sri Radha is exceptionally humble; 11) Radha is the embodiment of mercy and compassion; 12) Sri Radha’s intelligence and wit surpasses all; 13) Radha is expert at performing all activities of love; 14) Shyness is the shining gem in Radha’s character; 15) Sri Radha is the beacon light of modesty and never swerves from the path of honesty; 16) Radha is never perturbed by worldly sorrow or misery; 17) Sri Radha has unbounded gravity and sublimity; 18) Radha is ever fascinated to unite Herself with Krishna; 19) Radha possesses Mahabhava, the highest sentiments of love; 20) Radha is the reservoir of loving affairs in Gokula; 21) Radha’s transcendental glories are shining in all the worlds; 22) Sri Radha is most affectionate to her superiors; 23) Radha is submissive to the love of Her senior girlfriends; 24) Radha is the chief among Krishna’s gopi lovers; 25) Radha always keeps Sri Krishna under Her control. Krishna submissively obeys Radha’s command.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


(Photograph of Moonstone )

Gems are not only precious, they can be semi-precious too! Gems and crystals are terrific energy-carriers. People who believe in the benefits of gems generally tend to overlook the importance of cleansing and energising the gem or crystal they wear on their body. The open-back style (for the rays of the gems to fall on the finger related to the corresponding mount)finger rings are meant for astrological purposes. Such rings are prone to dust and fungus collection between the metal and the gem behind the ring. Bad energies gather around fungus and dust collection, blocking the positive vibrations of the stone! Consequently the gem fails to yield the expected good results and gradually may even bring negativity into the life of the wearer.
Washing the rings with ordinary soap water is recommended. To clean the insides thoroughly, keep aside a new,unused toothbrush, which will ensure that every particle of dust and fungus is removed from the open-set ring. To energise, the rings have to be immersed in a copper glass of fresh water overnight. It is also recommended to wash the same in milk (unboiled). Finally incense sticks are used to energise the rings further.
Even the most beneficial gems operate effectively when they are worn periodically. Constant and continuous wear of the same gem-ring tends to gradually slow down to zero-activity. This could happen for apparently no reason, but the fact remains the same! By using it periodically (alternate between wearing for a month, or two weeks or 10 days to keeping it aside for a week , ten days, one fortnight or even a month!) the wearer gains the added benefit of experiencing a fresh surge of positivity, boosting his morale as well as his prosperity!
In a discussion with a gem specialist, I learnt that the wearer would attain instant wealth (money in the form of a bonus, gift or even lottery) by wearing or keeping a Garnet close to his body! But using the same stone for a longer period than the required amount of time could produce ulcers in the stomach, or any other abdominal problem! He even said the required period of using the Garnet varies from one person to another and it is difficult to determine the exact duration suitable for different individuals.
I also learnt that the usage of American diamond helps in weight reduction! Pearl and Moonstone are the friends of women. These stones set in an open ring (of gold or silver) are best worn on the index finger. Even though the index finger is identified with the mount of Jupiter and recommended for usage of Jupiter related stones like Yellow Saphire or Topaz, this finger is most suited for the usage of Pearl and Moonstone essentially because certain nerves of this finger are directly connected to the brain! The lustre, coolness and tranquility of Pearl or Moonstone when worn on index finger are transmitted to the brain, the effect of which is startlingly evident within just one week of using the stone. The wearer gets sound sleep, there is an added lustre in the countenance and complexion of the wearer and a general feeling of well-being. The negative aspect of continuous usage of either Pearl or Moonstone is hyper-senstivity. It makes the wearer highly emotional and touchy to the point of breaking into tears at the drop of a hat! Moon being the karaka of mind, its stones,Pearl and Moonstone naturally influence the mind.Whenever this point of touchiness is reached, it is advisable to remove the stone and keep it aside for a while. The best way to energise Pearl or Moonstone is by immersing them in a cup of purified water (not tap water) and keeping them exposed to the rays of a full-moon. For that matter, all other gems also benefit from energising in a similar manner. Pearl and Moonstone are representatives of the Goddess Herself! Most of the slokas of Soundarya Lahari compare Goddess to the moon and Her lustre to that of a Moonstone!
Moonstone brings out psychic abilities in people. Moonstone helps in heightening intuition and also fulfills wishes. For people suffering from insomnia, Moonstone is ideal. Even if it is not worn on the index finger, it could be held in the palm of the hand or kept under the pillow to drift into a dreamless slumber!
For anybody into gardening, they would see miraculous results by watering plants wearing a Moonstone pendant or carrying the stone close to the body. It is even better if the water runs down over the Moonstone and onto the plants for abundant growth and fertility!
It is highly recommended to carry a Moonstone in the shirt pocket to one's own business venue or for meetings to ensure maximum productivity!
The Moon Dasa (Chandra Dasa) and natives who belong to Kataka Rasi (Punarvasu 4th Padam, Pushyami, all the 4 Padams and Aslesha, all the four Padams) are generally advised to wear Pearl or Moonstone. This is a safe stone that can be used by anybody!
For people who believe in idealistic stuff, here is the method for wish fulfillment through Moonstone: Place a Moonstone on the palm of your hand and whisper your wish to it.Keep it exposed to the rays of a full moon and let it remain there till the next full moon, the moon will ensure that your wish gets fulfilled!
Diamonds and Blue Saphires are extremely potent stones capable of yielding remarkably good or bad results. It is always advisable to test them before buying them, like placing them under the pillow during night time and holding them close to the body during daytime. Princess Diana lost her precious life within hours of wearing a Diamond Solitaire gifted by Dodi Fayed.

(To be continued.........)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ascent of Kundalini

When the Sringeri Jagathguru gave me the title of "Asthana Vidushi" of Sringeri Mutt in the year 2003, my joy knew no bounds! Sringeri and Sarada Kshetram are close to my heart. I feel there is a special sanctity attached to Sringeri Mutt and all the branches of Sringeri Mutt, wherever they are in India. The temples are maintained extremely well and there is immense dignity and discipline in the way the temple priests conduct the poojas in the temple.
His Holiness, Sri Bharathi Theertha Swamiji was born in Narasaraopet, Andhra Pradesh in 1951. As I am already attached to Sri Vidyaranya Swami's ashram in Narasaropet, I was overjoyed to learn that His Holiness, Sri Bharathi Theertha Swamiji also hailed from the same place!
The Jagadguru's Guru, Sri Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Mahaswamiji in His interview with Sri R.M.Umesh (in the book titled "Yoga, Enlightenment and Perfection") has described the ascent of 'kundalini' in detail.
Paramacharya of Sringeri states that one morning He sat in 'siddhasana' and did four pranayamas with 'jalandhara', 'uddiyaana', and 'moola-bandhas'. He began His meditation by directing His gaze to the middle of His eyebrows while mentally chanting "OM". Gradually a blue hue had manifested and He could not see any particular form. Suddenly He felt an electric shock at the middle of His soles. He felt intense heat and His body jerked sharply as the sensation moved upwards. His breathing stopped abruptly as the sensation continued to travel upwards and into His head. At that moment, He went deep into "savikalpa-samadhi".
The Acharya lost all sensation of His feet and legs and the lower portion of His body.The movement of the heat from the soles of His feet to His back had been swift and sudden, but from the base of His back to a little below the navel, the ascent was slower at the same time swift. From the navel to upwards, the heat moved with the speed of an ant.
The Acharya declared that when the heat reached the base of His back, He was able to momentarily view the lotus of the Mooladhara Chakra in full bloom. after that, He had a brief view of the Swadhishtana Chakra. As the sensation ascended His back to the level of His navel, He could clearly have a glimpse of the lotus of the manipooraka chakra facing downwards, with the petals fully closed. When the senstaion touched the chakra, the lotus instantly blossomed. The same pattern was repeated when the sensation reached the levels of Anahatha, Vishuddhi and Agna Chakras.
After the Acharya had briefly witnessed the Agna Chakra in full bloom, He experienced a bright flash of light like that of a lightning. Next He witnessed a beautiful, luminous, tiny blue orb. His attention became glued to this tiny blue orb and gradually its smallness became inapparent. Thereafter the Acharya apprehended the forms of Shiva and Parvathi within the blue orb. Acharya describes that moment as His "savikalpa-samadhi".

Friday, November 13, 2009


I have a book in telugu titled, "Nadichey Demudu" authored by Sri. Neelamraju Seshaiah. This book is a compilation of the experiences of many devotees (from Andhra Pradesh ) of Kanchi Maha Periyavaa, concerning His Holiness. Every essay is a moving account of feelings, devotion and experiences of the bhakthaas of Maha Periyavaa, I had read this book atleast twice.

The most touching version came from a devotee called Sri Kalloori Venkata Subrahmanya Dikshithulu. His experience strengthened my belief about 'bhakthi'. People usually misinterpret 'bhakthi' as overwhelming respect/fear, to the extent of distancing oneself from the deity instead of approaching and attaining the deity. I had always felt that 'bhakthi' meant overwhelming love aimed towards spiritual proximity packaged with intensity of passion and longing, same as the lovelorn sentiments expressed by Sri Thyagarja ('Nannu vidachi kadalakura'-Rithigowla, towards Lord Rama, ...'Ika thalanu nenu', Devibrova, Chinthamani by Sri Syama Sasthri towards Goddess Kamakshi, and innumerable other compositions of theirs in other ragas and compositons of various other saint composers, Azhwars and Nayanmars.)

I had read the article of Sri Kalloori Venkata Subrahmanya Deekshithulu many number of times as I found the dialogue in sanskrit between Maha Periyavaa and Sri Deekshithulu spiritually stimulating and emotionally fulfilling. The conversation between Maha Periyavaa and Sri. Deekshithulu in sanskrit left a deep impact in my heart. Here is a translation of the same from telugu to english in first person as narrated by Sri Kalloori Subrahmanya Deekshithulu:-
Srivaru ( devotees from Andhra address Maha Periyavaa as "Srivaru") was touring in Tamilnadu.I usually try to be in His divine presence( His 'Sannidhi' )during summer holidays. One evening, in a remote village in Tamilnadu, Srivaru commenced His discourse:-
" Birth and death are natural phenomena in human life. Manmatha is the cause of birth and Yama is the cause of death. If not for the misery caused by these two, there would be no birth or death. To avoid rebirth, we need to appeal to the One who had controlled Manmatha. To eradicate death, we need to propitiate to the One who had punished Yama. Both these jobs were done by only One Supreme being, who is none other than the Smarahara and Mrithyunjaya, Lord Shiva! Lord Srikantha (Maha Vishnu) is not easy to attain, whereas, Lord Shiva is very easy to please and attain. Let us all surrender to Lord Shiva,'Namah Parvathipathaye Harahara Mahadeva!"
I joined the chorus of voices. Srivaru then went on to another episode.
After the discourse Srivaru rested on the terrace of a small house in the village. The person who was appointed to attend on Srivaru was reclining on the steps. It was past midnight and I was unable to sleep. I sat downstairs on the 'arugu' ( a small cement slab in the frontyard of the house),pining for the Darshan of Srivaru. I mustered up some courage and decided to go upstairs. The man in attendance stopped me,"Periyavaa is taking rest, don't go upstairs." Feeling dejected, I went back downstairs to resume my earlier position. I tried to find solace in reading about the sentiments of the Gopikas towards Lord Krishna and the poetry of Sri Pothana. My mind refused to feel settled and I abruptly got up to go upstairs. I found the man in attendance half asleep. Without waiting for a second thought, I quickly jumped up the stairs towards the terrace.
I found Srivaru resting on His side, using His hand as a pillow. Without disturbing Him, I tiptoed to a distant corner, watching Him.
"Kaha?" (Who?) Srivaru asked me in sanskrit.
"It is me, Kalloori."
Srivaru asked immediately, "Nidraa Naayaathaa Kim? Naidaaghasthopo Baadhatheyvaa?" (Are you unable to sleep because of the heat?)
"Na Naidaaghasthaapaha (it is not because of the heat). From morning onwards I was trying to get atleast 5 minutes of time in your "sannidhi", I was pining to be with You! I want atleast five minutes of "Ekaantha Seva" (private darshan) in the presence of Your Holiness, You have to give me that." my voice was tremulous.
"Thvayi Gopikaathva Mathi Dishya Mayi Krishnathvam Sambhaavya Kimapi Sambhaavitham Khalu-"(Are you attributing Gopika tattvam [nature of Gopikas] to yourself and Krishna tattvam [nature of Lord Krishna] to me and imagining further?)
I wondered how He had guessed! I could not bring myself to reply.
Srivaru continued, "Adya Asmaabhi sthamila Bhaashaayaam Prasangaha Kruthaha Thvam Bhaashaanabhignyaha Kim Jaanaasi Maduktham" (We were conversing in Tamil, were you able to understand?)
I replied,"Srivaru ordained that I should understand, that is why I could understand." I had been travelling extensively in Tamilnadu for the sake of Srivaru, yet I could never understand the native language. Most surprisingly, I could follow the discourse of Srivaru on that day, as per His 'sankalpam'(His wish).Srivaru asked me to tell Him what I inferred from His discourse. I narrated the essence of His discourse in the form of a small sloka:-
"Janimrithi Virathirbhavedithithvaam Rathipathi Shaashakameesha Kaalakaalam
Himagiri Thanayaa Dvitheeya Meedey Parama Dayaarasa Meesha Madvitheeyam."
Translation:-"Manmatha is the cause of birth, Yama is cause of death. The Supreme Lord who had supressed both of them is Kamavairi Mruthyunjaya, Chandrasekhara, Lord Shiva. He presented half of His body to the daughter of Himalayas, He is merciful and compassionate. To defeat birth and death, we should surrender to Him!"
Srivaru listened with a smile. His smile felt like moonlight.
"You asked me for 5 minutes of my private time, how many minutes have passed?" Srivaru asked.
"Maybe 15 minutes have passed..."I replied.
I felt remorseful and guilty for disturbing His rest, I said,"I am unable to bear the sight of Srivaru resting on this hard floor."
He immediately replied,"Kim Nashrutham?"( have you not heard?)
'Kshithithala Shayanam Tharuthalavaasaha
Karathalabhikshaa, Kowpeenavanthaha Khalubhaagyavanthaha!"
(The most prosperous are the ones who wear nothing other than a loin cloth. Sleeping on hard floors, living under trees, food in the palm of the hand - who can be more prosperous than this? A materialist can never be so prosperous!)
He consoled me and sent me back.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Coffee /Self-Defense!

I had done my first level in Pranic Healing under Master Cliff Saldanha who is a great pranic healer and a clairvoyant. His training had been most absorbing and enlightening! I was fascinated to learn about chakras bearing different names ( there are additional chakras in pranic healing) according to Grand Master Choa Kok Sui's Pranic Healing, the founder of Pranic Healing. A Filipino of Chinese descent, he also holds a degree in Chemical Engineering and is a succesful businessman. He has authored many books and had extensively used his God-given gifts to touch countless lives. He had also conducted many lectures and workshops worldwide on pranic healing.
Pranic healing has eleven major chakras against our 'Shat Chakras' (6)or seven chakras including the Sahasrara Chakra (which are the 1)Mooladhara, 2)Swadhishtana, 3)Manipooraka, 4)Anahatha, 5)Vishudhi, 6)Agna and 7)Sahasrara Chakras).
The eleven major chakras in pranic healing are:-1) Basic Chakra, 2)Sex Chakra, 3)Meng Mein Chakra, 4)Navel Chakra, 5)Spleen Chakra, 6)Solar Plexus Chakra, 7)Heart Chakra, 8)Throat Chakra, 9)Ajna Chakra, 10)Forehead Chakra and 11)Crown Chakra.
Pranic healing is all about cleansing and energising the chakras mentioned above while treating a particular ailment or for general health. Meng Mein Chakra should never be energised, it can be cleansed- BUT NEVER ENERGISED! Energising or over-energising this chakra is bound to cause severe high blood pressure! (Master Cliff Saldanha, during his class joked -"Even if you fight with your mother-in-law, don't energise her Meng Mein Chakra!")
I was fascinated by the chakra-theory behind pranic healing, but all the extensive sweeping and gestures required to carry out a healing session came in way of my veena practice, as a result I do self-healing when absolutely necessary.
In the advanced therapy, colours are used for healing. I remember the time when I had cut my left hand middle finger while I was chopping carrots and I had to perform in The Music Academy the very next evening! Frantic with worry I rang up my musician friend (who has done his basic as well as advanced courses in pranic healing) for some quick colour prana-remedy. He advised me to apply Blue Prana which relieved me of my pain within no time and despite an ugly gash on my left hand middle finger, I gave a pain-free concert on the very next day in Academy!
Apart from healing physical ailments, Pranic Healing also deals with psychic self-defense against attacks by black magicians. Master Choa Kok Sui recommends water, salt and coffee bath for psychic self-defense. The method is as follows:-
Prepare a bath of warm water. Put 2 or 3 kilos of salt in it, then add 250-300 grams of pure instant coffee. Soak in the bath tub for 15-20 minutes. While in the bath, you may invoke for divine help and protection. After this, take a shower to wash the body.
The water, salt and coffee bath has a deep cleansing effect. People usually feel much lighte after taking it. It can also be used for self-healing. Salt breaks down dirty, diseased/destructive energies while coffee has the abiltiy to expel them. Unfortunately, to a slight degree, it also expels some of the healthy pranic energy from the body. This may cause some people to temporarily feel tired after taking the bath. To neutralize this possible effect, it is necessary to take food supplements with high pranic energy content such as juices, powders or tablet of barley grass, wheat grass and other green stuff, ginseng and bee pollen before taking the bath. In severe cases of psychic attacks by black magicians, it is necessary to take the above mentioned bath once or twice a day for the next several days or weeks until the condition in normalised.

Monday, November 2, 2009


When we analyse the image of Goddess Saraswathi, we realise that She is normally picturised as holding the Veena in an inclined position (like a sitar). As a result, the upper trunk of Her physical body is required to be absolutely straight and erect in order to reach across to the lowest frets of the Veena. Playing the Veena in an erect posture facilitates the kundalini to flow freely in an upward motion (starting from the Mooladhara Chakra towards Sahasrara Chakra). My postings on "Veena Rahasya" and "Deiva Veena-Maanushi Veena" contain further details with regard to this subject.
A few years back, while in conversation with a man who is well-versed in 'tantrik yoga', I was advised to wear an abdomen belt while playing the veena. He said it was necessary to always keep in mind my posture even while engrossed in the melody of the Veena. Practitioners tend to stoop (especially when they are tall and broad-shouldered) while they are absorbed in playing the Veena.
That is precisely the reason why one should start learning to play the veena at a very young age, when the child's head barely reaches the veena dandi. The child's spine is naturally erect, owing to the small trunk of the child. The spinal chord is straight as the the child reaches upwards to run the left hand over the veena frets. By starting from a very young age, the practitioner gains enormous pranic-strength, as the naturally erect spine facilitates the smooth, upward flow of the life-force energy arising from the Mooladhara Chakra.
Looking at Teacher (Smt. Kalpagam Swaminathan), I was able to understand her capacity to play so effortlessly at the age of 87! For somebody who needs to be assisted while walking, she is remarkably at ease as her hands work out the most complicated prayogas on veena. Being of average build, her height seems to have lessened further (due to ageing), forming a natural alignment of her chin and the veena-dandi. Her build, almost like that of a child of 10/12 years, is ideally suited for veena-playing, as her erect spine allows the smooth, upward flow of Kundalini. Physical strength is no match for life-force energy (kundalini shakthi) which can be activated only through erect posture of the upper trunk of the practitioner.

As a matter of interest, anybody could practically witness /experience the difference between playing the veena by a)hunching over the instrument and by b) sitting absolutely erect (without even the slightest bend in the upper trunk of the body). The player would feel tired and insipid while playing in the former position, whereas he/she is instantly rejuvenated when the shoulders are pushed back and the entire upper portion of the trunk is stiff and erect as per the latter position.
One need not worry about posture while playing the modern, distorted versions of Veena that are available in the market. While playing the Saraswathi Veena, every note produced has to be nurtured through Kundalini Yoga which is possible only through correct posture.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Exactly a week after Teacher's stupendous performance in the Veena Festival, I made up my mind to visit her. I wondered how I would get to the point of knowing whether she experienced certain things as a yogi in her advanced stages of nada yoga. Knowing her, she would only speak through her veena and her music. I even wondered if she was aware of her status as an advanced yogi! She only knew to breathe, drink and live veena/music.
I was tense and worried about whether she would understand the purpose of my visit. I thought I would plunge headlong into the issue of 'yogic experiences' after our initial small talk. The last thing I expected was for Teacher herself to volunteer the much needed information, and that too, most innocently! I was excited to say the least!
After enquiring about her health and other general issues, I asked her if she liked going to the US (she went to Cleveland last year and had also received an award). She was more excited to relate about her experience during her flight to the US. She told me that something extraordinary had happened in the flight. While all the passengers were fast asleep, Teacher alone was awake, feeling extremely thirsty. Teacher was unable to wake up her escort who was fast asleep and she was also not aware of the bell to summon the stewardess. I felt moved to tears when Teacher told me that she almost fainted due to thirst. Her parched throat felt so dry that she could not even whisper a word! Suddenly Teacher could hear her veena playing loudly in the aircraft. She said the loud volume could have easily woken up all the sleeping passengers. Teacher was utterly surprised that nobody woke up to the sound of the loud veena that was being played as inflight music! Her veena continued even after everybody woke up and Teacher was finally able to quench her thirst. Teacher asked all the other musicians who were travelling with her if they could listen to her veena. Despite straining their ears, none of them could hear the sound of veena and Teacher was totally puzzled.
Looking awestruck, Teacher told me that till date she was trying to figure out how none of them could listen to her veena that was being played at a high volume on board the flight.
As she was narrating the incident, I realised that Teacher heard the "Anahatha Nada" (unmanifested sound).Yogis of high order and in advanced stages of 'sadhana' acquire the power to detect sounds of bells, veena, conch, mridangam, ocean waves and thunders in the cosmos that is within and outside oneself. Teacher, though not consciously practising the veena for the sake of attaining meditative powers, has gained yogic experiences in her journey of nada yoga. She was able to invoke the veena from within her being, the unstruck sound became audible only for her ears. At this juncture, I was also reminded of the advice of a Reiki healer whom I had known. He had asked me to meditate during flights where the air prana (life-force energy of air) is visible to the naked eye. Meditation is most effective and yields faster results when performed on high altitudes, like hill tops, mountains and on board aircrafts. This healer even related to me an incident about a flight journey where his co-passenger had a cardiac arrest and had passed away during the flight. The healer told me that he was able to witness the light as it went out of the body of the dying passenger. The healer claims that even for a trained eye, a similar sight would have been nearly impossible had it occurred on a ground level.
Precisely the reason why Teacher could listen to the unmanifested sound so loudly and clearly in high altitude!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


The Veena Yogi, Smt. Kalpagam Swaminathan is 'Akka' to my mother ,Smt.Kamala Aswathama(who was from Hubli and did her gurukulavasam for 2 years in Smt.Kalpagam Swaminathan's house in the years 1956 to 1958). My mother had the honour of accompanying the stalwart in many kutcheris, and got to meet many legends like Sri. Boodalur Krishnamurthy, Sri Tiger Varadachary,Sri. Musiri Subramani Iyer, Sri. T.L.Venkatarama Iyer and others. Earlier as a student of Kalakshetra, she had the great fortune of coming under the direct tutelage of greats like Sri Mysore Vasudevachar, Sri M.D.Ramanathan and Sri.Karikkudi Sambasiva Iyer.
(Incidentally,during Sri.Mysore Vasudevachar's tenure in Kalakshetra, my mother, as a student and hostelite of Kalakshetra had the greatest fortune of washing his "panchapathram" (pooja utensils), sweeping his pooja room and decorating the pooja altar with "kolam" everyday throughout her student career. Since she was the only student who had sound knowledge of Kannada, Sri.Vasudevachar was able to communicate with/through her.
My mother met him for the last time when I was little baby. Carrying me to his house, she sought his blessings while he was in bed. He had blessed me by placing his hand on my head! The very next day the newspapers announced his sad demise!)
My parents' alliance materialised during my mother's gurukulavasam days in Smt. Kalpagam Swaminathan's house. I literaly owe my life to Smt.Kalpagam Swaminathan, who is more like a grandmother to me, but I call her "Teacher" like all her other students.
I remember the days when I was a mere child of 6. I would walk from 2nd main road to 7th main road, R.A.Puram to learn from Teacher. I used to love the sight of the "parijatham" flowers lying scattered in her garden, I used to rush to pick them up to tie them carefully in my handkerchief. All the while Teacher used to call out from the house, "Gayathri, SeekkiramVaamma!" Till today I associate the smell of Parijatham with Teacher.( Listening to her veena today, I am not surprised that she reminds me of a divine flower like "parijatham"!)
I had the honour of accompanying Teacher in Stella Maris College as a tiny tot of 7 ( in 1968 or 69). On stage she encouraged me like a loving grandmother and let me play the veena in my own childish way.
After so many years, in the recent Veenotsav09, when Teacher opted to play on my veena after my performance. I was thrilled! I felt that her touch on my veena had sanctified the vedic instrument even further.
As I watched the amazing display of her true nature, which is veena, she seemed like the colossus straddling the Veena arena, formidable and imposing in her knowledge of every aspect of veena playing and musicanship. Years of veena-sadhana without aiming for anything other than the divine pleasure of veena-playing have elevated her to the status of a nada yogi. Veena is an extension of herself and vice versa. Any distinction between herself and the veena has been dissolved through her soulful penance on veena, today the veena and Teacher have become one and the same!
Yesterday's "Samvada" held by Sampradaya had Teacher sharing her experiences and ancedotes with Smt.Suguna Varadacari. Her spontaneous expressions, disarming in their innocence were as forthright and assertive as her veena-playing. With Teacher seated in front of the banner that read "Sampradaya", she figuratively seemed to convey that she was many steps ahead of "sampradayam", reaching out to the Absolute through her veena. This veenayogi lives and breathes veena most naturally, and veena is simply her way of life. Natural dedication and devotion towards veena and traditional veena technique have laid the pathway towards contacting the divinity within herself. Divine radiance gushes forth in the form of heavenly resonance through every note that she produces on the veena. The heaviness (azhuththam) of every note produced by her fingers is laden with heavenly nectar! She is a yogi living in our midst today!
What are the striking aspects of her yogic abilities?

(Photograph-Veenotsav09, organised by Brahma Gana Sabha and Mudhra on 10/10/2009.Teacher playing on my veena, I am sitting behind her.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sant Kabir's message through my father's music!

'Shabda is the power of the Supreme Being that has created even the Creator of the three worlds. The world of illusory manifest-ation came into being from the power of Shabda, the Divine Word, and it is sustained by it. The Lord pervades the entire creation in the form of Shabda.
True secret of Shabda is known only to the perfect Masters and it can be experienced by their Grace (Gurukripa), neither to be expounded nor to be analysed. This is one of the most important reasons why musicians have to religiously render the compositions of the "Mummoorthi Composers" for attaining the Grace of these saint composers.
Saint Kabir distinguishes the divine word or Shabda from the words that can be spoken, written or read.
This is the distinction between "Dhunyathmika Shabda" and "Varnathmika Shabda". The latter originates from the former. Spoken language originates from pure, unarticulated sound. This is the Shabda Kabir refers to. The mantra leads to that pure Shabda, that has the nature of Space. That is why it is also called the "Chidaakaasha Vani", the song of the Space of Consciousness.
True detachment and desirelessness come as a natural result of the practice of Sound/Shabda. Therefore it is useless to pursue austerities as an end in themselves.
When the aspirant goes within and contacts the Shabda, he naturally develops "premabhakthi" or love for God.
Kabir says: Apply yourself, my friend, to the pracitce of Shabda. The Shabda from which even the Creator came into being. Imprint Shabda in your heart, O friend! The vedas and the scriptures extol the merits of Shabda. The Shabda that sustains all shabdas in the world (that is: the primordial Shabda).Men, sages and God sing its praises yet they do not fully know its mystery. Shabda is the Master, listening to the Shabda one becomes the disciple.(The Shabda that Kabir refers to cannot be repeated, it can only be heard and listened to. By attending to that Shabda which rsides in the heart region, one naturally attunes to the Shabda to attain liberation.)
Kabir further states that people who repeat mantras mechanically do not enter the door of the Shabda that is behind every mantra. There is a difference between external repitition of the name (mantra) and internal listening of the True Word or Shabda which is primordial (inarticulated).Kabir reaffirms in His Sant kabir Ki Shabdavali that a person's life, achievements and material possessions are wasted if he is unable to taste the True Word or Shabda.He also states that between Shabda and Shabda there is a vast difference.He instructs,"Churn the Primal Shabda and realise the truth, O Friend!"
The Kabir Bhajans which my father, film music director, late Sri. G. Aswathama had composed for "Bhakta Ramadasu" (1964,Telugu) were sung by the legendary singer, Mohammed Rafi. Each bhajan had been composed soulfully by my father and sung soulfully by Mohd. Rafi Saab.After recording these numbers for my father, Sri.Rafi had given the title of "Naushad of the South" to my father. In this movie Sri. Chittoor Nagaiah Garu had tuned all the Ramadasu Krithis and also acted as Bhakta Ramadasu, the bhajans were composed by my father. These songs move me to tears out of missing my father, as I can touch my father's soul through these songs! I have provided links for my father's compositions sung by Mohd. Rafi for Bhakta Ramadasu below:-
The music direction for all Kabir Bhajans in the film is by my father, Sri.G.Aswathama and not Sri.Chittoor V.Nagaiah ( composer of only Ramadasu Krithis and enacting the role of Bhakta Ramadasu in the film) as wrongly mentioned in musicindiaonline.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"..........in the eyes of the Beholder!"

"I am That!', "You are That!"... an age-old saying coming from great spiritual masters, the import of which we understand without realising, we empathize without experiencing and trust without attaining! The end result is frustration which we supress by rigorous pooja-meditation or even charity routine.
I remember discussing the "there-and-yet-not-there" syndrome with a musician who observed that the attuning of Jeevatma and Paramatma could be compared to fine-tuning a radio towards achieving accurate band frequency. As we all know, it is very simple, yet not that simple ,especially when the radio is out of range (like our lives which are entangled in this material world), and worse still, without an antenna (bhakthi).
I came very close to "feeling"God during one of my visits to Tirupathi. Inside the sanctum-santorum of the temple, I caught a fleeting glimpse of the Lord from His Feet to His Head ("Aapadamasthakam") trying to literally "sponge-Him-off" with my concentrated gaze. Realising that any amout of time is not sufficient to drink in the sight of Him, and any number of eyes insufficient to feast themselves on Him, I resignedly turned back to walk out of the sanctum santorum. Normally I move backwards, trying not to lose sight of the Lord as far as possible, but that was the first time I turned back to walk out without a backward glance. As I did so, my breath stopped at the sight I witnessed! A God, Whom I could not absorb in the given few moments of Darshan, had manifested everywhere in front of me!!!! I felt as though lightning had struck me when I caught a glimpse of everybody's EYES!!!!!Every devotee was staring at the super-imposing figure of Lord Venkateswara,their eyes wide-open with an expression of limitless rapture and wonder! The sight of so many pairs of eyes exuding naked and wondrous devotion seemed like an extension of God Himself!The devotees were oblivious to their surroundings, looking entranced and mesmerised by the sight of the Lord. Their eyes were aglow with the dazzling radiance cast by the precious gems adorning God and the bright lamps lit around Him. Becoming aware of God, in the eyes of everybody present there, my palms felt sweaty and I got goosebumps instantly!!! Had I receded with my back towards the exit and facing God, I would have missed God! Lord Venkateswara's conveyed Himself through the eyes of His devotees!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Chinnamasta is a deity who has always been in my thoughts. She is responsible for veena and the power behind veena-playing. Chinnamasta is the sixth Goddess in the "Dasa Maha Vidya". She resides in the Surya Mandala. She is the deity who represents the planet Rahu. The other deities of Dasa Maha Vidya and their planetary associations are as follows:-
Rahu is the planet which is reponsible for the nervous system (also for breath, bones, nails etc.) that supports veena playing, and veena strings made of the metal associated with Saturn , steel-("Sani Vat Rahu"-which means Saturn and Rahu have similar qualities as per authentic vedic astrology).
Chinnamasta is also known as "Prachanda-Chanda-Chandika" or "Prachanda Chandika". Lord Parasurama was a Sadhaka of Chinnamasta. Guru Sri. Gorakhnath, who belonged to the Natha Sampradaya was a Sadhaka of Chinnamasta.The most popular temple for Chinnamasta Devi is in Himachal Pradesh , in a town called Chintapurni. This temple is among the "Sakthi-Peethas", and known as Chinnapurni, which means, the Goddess who fulfills the desires of Her devotees. People throng to this temple to find solutions for their problems and to achieve peace of mind.
Scriptures state that Goddess Parvathi, accompanied by Her two attendants, Jaya and Vijaya went to bathe in the River Mandakini. The Goddess was deeply engrossed in Her own thoughts, unaware of the hunger pangs of Her attendants. On repeated demands from Jaya -Vijaya for food, the merciful Goddess severed Her own head, which fell on the palm of Her left hand. Three bloodstreams gushed out of Her throat, the right and left falling respectively into the waiting mouths of Jaya and Vijaya and the centre stream falling into Her own mouth.
According to the vedic tale of Rishi Dadhyach Atharvana (who appears as Kabanda Atharvana in the Brihadaranyaka, with the later name of Chinnamasta's spouse) the attendants were known as Dakini and Vamani. This tale states that the two Ashwins, known for their mystic powers had approached Dadhyach for the secret knowledge of "Soma", the nectar of immortality and food of the Devas, 'amrutham'. Lord Indra warned Dadhyach that his head would fall off if he did so, and the sage continued headless, till the Ashwins fixed the head of a horse to his body.
Dadhyach personifies Indra's thunderbolt or Vajra, whose head is cut off in order to reveal "Soma"(Rig Veda 1. 134. 13-15) According to Rig Veda (IX. 108.3) Dadhyach also grants the amrutham and is the Lord of "Soma".
Chinnamasta is Vajra Vairochani, the effulgent thunderbolt, as much as Dadhyach is.The three streams of blood gushing out of Chinnamasta symbolises "granthis"(knots). Chinnamasta is said to remove the three granthis or knots in the Sushumna (representing the three Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra and the three worlds).
While the above is the story, I had the good fortune of receiving more information on Chinnamasta from Sri Duddu Sarma, General Manager of a major Pharmaceutical Company in Minneapolis/St.Paul, US, and a devotee of Sri Vasishta Ganapathi Muni (also known as "Nayana garu"), who was a great follower of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi. Sri Nayana Garu (1878-1936) who is a mighty spiritual personality had a large following and famously known as Kavyakantha.He recognised the uniqueness of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi's teachings, accepted Him as his Guru and proclaimed Him as the Maharishi to the whole world.
Nayana Garu, in his work, "Uma Sahasram" interprets Sahasrara Chakram as Kamadhenu and Mooladhara Chakram as the calf. He further states that Sahasrara Chakram is Goddess Uma in the form of Renuka and Her son, Lord Vinayaka, the Lord of space and physical existence, as the calf at Mooladhara Chakram. The one who milks is the "atman".
Nayana Garu's belief was that Chinnamasta was none other than Renuka (personified as Lord Parashurama's mother and saint Jamadagni's wife). As Parashurama beheads Her (Lord Parashurama who is an avatara of Lord Vishnu, literally beheads His own mother with an aim to teach Her perfection in 'kundalini' for achieving moksha through Sahasraram). Goddess Uma induced Her own Shakthi into Renuka, making Her the immortal "Prachanda Chandi" and hence She is the Maha Vidya of Shakthi. The sahasrara chakram (1000 petalled) is represented by Kartha Veeryarjun (the demon with 1000 hands). Lord Parashurama cutting off the 1000 hands of Kartha Veeryarjun to release His mother from sin is depicted by His act of severing Her head to attain salvation through Sahasrara chakra. It is also likely that Renuka Devi was probably the first female in human form to have achieved this, with Goddess Uma making her immortal by inducing Her own Energy into her.Renuka Devi was also known as Kamadhenu like the Sahasrara Chakra, that which continuously delivers the nectar of life and gnana.
Sri Nayana Garu's message about Chinnamasta is echoed in the beautiful composition of Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar (Raga-Kannada Bangala, Thala- Khanda Jampa).
Renuka Devi Samrakshithoham Anisham
Venu Vaadyaadiyutha Vijaya Nagarasthithey
Maanikya Bhooshani Madhura Rasa Bhaashini
Baana Sadrusaakshini
Parashurama Janani
Konatraya Vaasini Guruguha Vishvaasini
Kannada Bangaley Gaandharva Bhanjani
Sri Renuka Devi's temple is in Vijayapuram, a small village located towards the north of Thiruvarur. The krithi mentioned above, states that the Goddess is the mother of Lord Parashurama and is very closely associated with all the musical instruments ("venu vaadyaadiyutha") and resided in Vijayapuram ("Vijayanagara sthithey!"). Renuka Devi, who manifested as Chinnamasta is an important deity to propitiate for achieving expertise in the field of arts.
Chinnamasta is naked,the jewel on Her forehead is tied with a serpent. She has three eyes. Her breasts are adorned with lotuses and She represents Indrani Shakthi, which is associated with Swadhishtana Chakram which is responsible for creativity and lust.
Her mantra as per Mantra Mahodadhi :
"Om Shreem Hreem HreemAim Vajra Vairochaniyai Shreem Hreem Hreem Phat Swaha!"
More information is availble in an article by Sri Prakhya Madhubabu on Chinnamasta. He quotes Sri Nayana Garu's sloka-
"Chinnaam Bhinnaam Sutharaam Sannaa
Mannaa Bhaavadabhithaha Khinnaam
Ethaam Paathum Bharatha Kshoneem
Jaaye Jishnoho Kurumaam Shakthaha!"
("Uma Sahasram"- Nayana Garu, November 26th, 1907).
Meaning:Oh Devi, please give me the strength to protect the Mother land which is scattered and deprived of food.
In the same article, Sri Prakhya Madhubabu has stated that Renuka (Chinnamasta) is the source of atomic energy. Meditating on Her is extremely powerful and intricate. This practice is conducted in secrecy by tantriks of high order in Himalayas, all the way upto Kerala.In Nepal and Tibet, She is known as 'Vajrayogini' and Buddhists consider Her as the Goddess who grants meditative powers and salvation. Even the harijans in Andhra Pradesh worship Her as the village Goddess, "Ellamma".The villagers and devotees of Ellamma recount the many miracles performed by Ellamma. In Andhra,there used to be a practice of decorating young girls in households as Ellamma and worshipping her. They would also address her as "Mathangi"!
Mathangi or Raja Mathangi, is the presiding deity for veena! Chinnamasta's represents Rahu (the most important planet for veena-playing). The kundalini-sadhana intended through veena -playing derives stength through worship of Chinnamasta, who cuts off the 'ida' and'pingala' nadis for salvation through "Sahasraram".

Saturday, October 10, 2009

King of Veena Aesthetics!

Trivandrum Venkataraman is a great veena vidwan, who has surpassed every requirement of veena playing through his sheer expertise and high 'gnana'. Today, his mere touch on the veena frets seem to unfold cascades of shimmering veena aesthetics, exquisitive and exotic!His lilting veena tells stories designed to capture the hearts of listeners.His exemplary performance for Veenotsav'09 on Oct. 10th was breathtaking! His rendition of Pantuvarali was divine, his Kharaharapriya touched the emotional core of every listener. His Behaag was the crowning glory, each and every nuance he produced was personal and intimate, naturally branching off into an emotionally charged javali, "Saramaina"! His every touch, even without intending to, brought out unheard of aesthetics out of the divine instrument he was handling. Playing sampradaya is a regular feature, but to combine awesome aesthetics with sampradaya is no mean feat!
All the veena aspirants are fortunate to share their times with this great vidwan!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Seven Hills/Seven Lakes

Whenever we go to Tirupathi, our eyes strain to locate and sustain within them the sight of the Lord of the hills, (even if it is only for a few seconds!). In the process we are not aware of nor do we pay attention to other wondrous details attached to the divine seven hills.
Narayana Giri which is situated 2 km. from the temple, is the highest point in Tirumala. It is believed that Lord Narayana, as he descended from Vaikuntham, first set His foot here on Narayana Giri. The foot print is said to be available here.
There are many lakes in Tirumala. Swami Pushkarini, which is situated towards the west of Sri Varahaswami Sannidhi and to the south of Sri Venkateswaraswami Sannidhi is said to be the purest and holiest lake. It is believed that Swami Pushkarini was brought all the way from Vaikuntham (where it had belonged to Lord Vishnu), to the Seven Hills by Garuda, for the sport of Lord Venkateswara.
Sri Venkatachala Mahathyam, which branches off from 'Sri Skaanda Puranam', states that Swami Pushkarini is among the seven most important lakes situated in Tirumala. They are the 1)-Kumaradhara Lake, 2)Thumburutheerdha Lake, 3) Akasha Ganga Lake, 4)Pandavatheerdha Lake, 5)Papanashana Lake, 6) Devatheerdha Lake.
Each lake has a special significance attached to it.
1)-SWAMI PUSHKARINI-The merging of three crore lakes in Swami pushkarini occurs on 'Mukkoti Dwadasi' (the twelfth day of the fortnight of Dhanur Masam). It is believed that bathing in Swami Pushkarini on this day, is equivalent to bathing in the Holy Ganges.
2)KUMARADHARA - This is where Lord Subrahmanya Swami and His spouse, Devasena had bathed and offered Their prayers to Lord Venkateswara. It is stated in Sri Venkatachala Mahathyam that bathing in Kumaradhara on a full moon day, while moon is in Makham constellation, during the month of "Magha"(between January 20th to February 20th) while sun is in Aquarius (kumbha rasi), during the afternoon time, yields great results equal to bathing for 12 long years in all the holy rivers including Ganges. It is also recommended that the devotee should give some charity on the shores of Kumaradhara after bathing.
3) THUMBURUTHEERDHAM- It is stated in Sri Venkatachala Mahathyam that bathing in Thumburutheerdham on a full moon day while moon is in the constellation of Utthara Phalguni, during 'Phalguna' month (between February 20th to March 20th), while sun is in Pisces, during brahma muhurtham (early hours of dawn) ends the cycle of births of the devotee. There will be no rebirth by bathing here on the above mentioned day and timing.
4)AKASHA GANGA-Sri Venkatachala Mahathyam states that by bathing in Akasha Ganga during the early hours of dawn, on a full moon day, while moon is in the constellation of Chitra, when sun is in Aries (between March 20th to April 20th) in the month of Chaitra, the devotee attains salvation.
5)PANDAVATHEERDHAM- Sri Venkatachala Mahathyam states that by bathing in Pandavatheerdham on Dwadasi, on a Sunday during waxing moon (Shukla Paksham) and on a Tuesday during waning moon (Krishna Paksham) in the month of Vaishakha, when sun is in Taurus (between April 20th to May 20th), during anytime of the day, the devotee will be released from difficulties and sorrows permanently and attains liberation.
6)PAPANASHANATHEERDHAM- The epic states that by bathing in Akashaganga during waxing/waning moon on Sunday, especially on a day that combines Hastha Nakshatram and Sapthami thithi or any other auspicious star and thithi eradicates all the sins committed in crores of births and relieves the devotee of karma.
7)DEVATHEERDHAM-The epic states that by bathing in Devatheerdham while Jupiter (Guru) is in Pushyami Nakshatram, moon is in Shravana Nakshatram and on a Monday, the devotee washes of all sins which he/she had committed knowingly/unknowingly for the past many births and attains soul-liberation.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturn chills in Virgo!

Today's transit of Saturn from Leo to Virgo is a great relief for all zodiac signs. Saturn is at its worst in Leo, an inimical sign, owned by Sun, a deadly enemy of Saturn.
Sun and Saturn are father and son, but mutual enemies.They are opposite to each other in their nature and qualities.Aries is where the Sun is exalted, it is here that Saturn is debilitated. Again Saturn is exalted in Libra, where Sun is debilitated. Sun is the ruler of East, whereas Saturn reigns over the West. Sun is aristocratic and the King, Saturn denotes labour and servant-class.
With an intolerance of the highest degree between them, Saturn's transit in the Sun-owned-Leo in the last two and a half years had every reason for causing shudders in natives, especially in their sade-sathi (seven and a half saturn), kantaka Sani (Saturn in 7th house), ashtama sani (Saturn in 8th house) and ardhaashtama Sani (Saturn in 4th house) and people who are running their Sani Mahadasa. All the natives belonging to Kataka, Mesha,Kumbha,Makara, Rishabha etc. have every reason rejoice. Vrischika Rasi, Mesha Rasi and Kataka Rasi are on the list of favourites of Saturn throughout its transit in Virgo.
Due to the bitter enemity between Sun-Saturn, the past two and a half year transit of Saturn in Sun's house has not been able to yield the best of results in favour of the so-called benefitting rasis like Mithuna, Meena and Thula. Saturn would have been capable of much more good from any other house as transiting planet in 3rd, 11th and 6th houses.
Saturn's grand entry into friendly Virgo (owned by Mercury) today to stay there for the coming two and a half years will cause overall good results for all zodiac signs, because the planet itself is heaving a great sigh of relief, after staying in an enemy's house for two and a half long years. All we have to do is to imagine how terrible we would feel if we had to stay in an enemy's house. What good can we do even if we are supposed to be favouring a chosen few (like Saturn as transiting planet of the 3rd, 6th and 11th houses?) The minute we are able to escape from the confines of an enemy's house, we will be so happy, we would end up smiling at everybody, whether they live in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th house from our residence, that is the kind of relief we all would feel! Saturn is sure to exhibit the same kind of relief and bestow His choicest blessings on all Rasis!
"Divakara Thanujam", the Krithi for Sani composed by Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar in the raga Yadukula Kambodhi is ideal for warding off Saturn- related evils. Playing, singing or even listening to it once a day and especially on Saturdays are ideal for pampering Saturn. Vishnu Sahasranamam is the best prayer for Saturn Maha Dasa and bad transits of Saturn.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


The first time I saw her , I was a tiny tot of 9. The venue was Sri Parthasarthy Swami Sabha, Triplicane, Chennai. Late Sri Venkatakrishnan, the former secretary of the sabha invited me to garland the legend during her concert. I remember Smt. Radha Viswanathan accompanying her, and nothing else. I could register the presence of Smt. Radha Viswanathan because of the legend's frequent and personal interaction with her on stage, through smiles and gestures. I was totally oblivious to anything or anybody other than late Smt. M.S. Amma, that was the power of her magnetism! The sheer beauty of herself and her voice swept me off my feet and my gaze remained unwaveringly glued to the sight of her all through her memorable concert.

When it was announced that Baby Gayathri would be garlanding Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi, I literally ran up the stage in my two plaits and half skirt. I had to be slowed down by Sri. Venkatakrishnan as he gave me the garland. As usual I was aware of bemused smiles of the audience and organisers at my childishness, (at the age of 9, crossing my silver jubilee concert, I had come to accept people's indulgent smiles as part of my life). As I neared the stage, I was aware of M.S. Amma's keen gaze on me and her sweet and loving smile. To the mind of a nine year old, she seemed motherly,yet out of reach due to something extraordinary about her. As years went by, I was able to define the extraordinary quality as divinity which lent her an almost visible golden aura around her figure, attracting and magnetising people by her physical presence and golden voice.

I have been one of her millions of admirers over the years, never attempting to disturb her by seeking an appointment. I knew she was a celestial being, a "Gandharva Sthree", and that her birth on earth was a karmic design.

In 1994, when Karthik Fine Arts conferred the Isai Peroli award, I was particular that I should receive the same from M.S. Amma with her blessings. I was overjoyed when she accepted to present the award and for the first time sought an appointment with her to invite her personally.
She received me warmly like a typical, traditional housewife. There was nothing even remotely starry about her! I was struck by her daintiness and her absolute femininity. She exuded vulnerability making her seem almost childish. It may sound weird, but I felt a strong surge of protectiveness towards her, I wanted to hug her. I was even awestruck by my own reaction to her, as I normally do not get overly carried away by feelings or sentiments and worse still, demonstrate the same (on the day of the function, my wish came true when she embraced me on the stage after presenting the award)! In the course of our conversation, I was surprised to learn that she listens to all the AIR morning and night concerts, and had great things to say about all the musicians, including myself. I told her that I listened to her Annamacharya Krithis (my favourite being ,the first volume which has "Sriman Narayana", "Manujudai Putti"' "Bhavamulona", etc.,) whenever I felt the pangs to visit Tirumala and her "Sri Rangapura Vihara" whenever I longed to go to Srirangam. She smiled humbly.

Next interaction with her came when news was out that she would be the recipient of the ultimate award, "Bharat Ratna". I rushed to Park Sheraton, where my florist friend, Mithra used to have a lovely showroom. I asked for the best and biggest bouquet to be sent to M.S. Amma!

Years went by, and I got a special offer from Symphony Recording Company to record a veena version of M.S.Amma's Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatham, Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam and Bhaja Govindam. Even though I wondered how any instrument (due to lack of sahithya) could fulfill such a mission, I readily agreed as it was primarily a divine project and not only that, it was a reproduction of the vocal version of none other than M.S.Amma herself!

Sri Rajesh Dhupad, who heads the recording company is another great admirer of M.S.Amma.He was particular that the album should be released by Amma. On being contacted, Sri Atma told us that she was extremely sick to go out anywhere.It was then decided that the album should be released at her bedside by M.S.Amma. The title of "Sangeetha Kala Saraswathi"(conferred by Symphony) was presented to me by Amma lying in bed, with her frail hands. I was extremely upset to see her so small and weak. As I reached for her feet to take her blessings, she stopped me and hugged me tightly with her bony arms, kissing my cheeks and forehead. I knew that I had received the ultimate blessing through outpouring of love in its purest form, coming from a celestial being like her.I was moved to tears, at the same time I was also concerned that she should not strain herself. Sri Atma, Sri Rajesh and my husband were standing at a distance watching us. Amma still held on to my hand tightly and spoke something about her childhood, which I could not comprehend due to her weak tone. I was worried about not being able to understand what she was trying to convey, all I could decipher was her frequent mention of "Meenakshi"(obvioulsy Madurai Meenakshi).The rest of it went over my head, as I had no inkling of the various names of friends and relatives she mentioned. I told her, "You are Meenakshi". She shook her head, not accepting what I said. I told her that is the truth and even she does not know of it. She kept refusing and I left it at that, not wanting to strain her.Parting was painful, I wondered if I would be able to see her again.

Mylapore Fine Arts Club awarded me "Sangeetha Kala Nipuna" in the year M.S.Amma passed away. While the sabha awarded me, I was painfully conscious of the fact that Amma was bang next door in Isabel Hospital(ICU) fighting for life. I thought of the irony of how close she was, yet so far! The very next day, her demise was announced and I was literally shattered! I rushed to see her body. There was a huge gathering and wading my way through the crowd I placed the garland on her. She looked calm, peaceful and divine. Her karma was over, her music had burnt any remnants of karma and she had gone back to where she belonged- to the astral plane of celestial beings. While I was doing the 'pradakshinam' around her body, Sri Atma stopped me midway to tell me, "She was extremely fond of you". As someone tuned to cosmic messages, I felt it was M.S.Amma who was expressing herself through Sri Atma. I felt comforted. My concert in Mylapore Fine Arts came a week after her funeral and I played all of M.S hits in my concert, dedicating the concert to her memory. I also instituted an annual price for music competition winners in the name of Smt. M.S.Subbulakshmi in MFAC.

In the following year, I dreamt of something fantastic! In my dream, I was listening to Smt. Raji Gopalakrishnan's performance (she is one of the artistes whose music I admire)and the venue was Hamsadhwani. Somebody was holding my hand and I turned to see that it was Amma who was holding my hand, sitting next to me. She smiled at me and told me, "I like Raji's singing so much, that is why I came." In the morning I woke up feeling happy about my dream and wondering if there was something significant in Amma figuring in my dream. I discovered that it was Bharani Nakshtram (Amma's star) that day! I was stunned at the significance of my dream!Drinking my morning cup of coffee, I wafted through the Hindu. To my astonishment, Raji Gopalakrishnan's name was in the entertainment column, announcing her concert that evening in Hamsadhwani in the memory of Smt. M.S.Subbulakshmi!!!!!!!!!!!It was not only Bharani Nakshatram that day, the same Raji Gopalakrishnan was performing in the same venue, Hamsadhwani and the subject was "M.S.Hits"!I was flabbergasted and immediately placed a call to Smt. Raji to share my dream with her. I also called Sri.Atma and late Sri Ramachandran, secretary of Hamsadhwani to share about my dream!

On every Bharani Nakshtram day, I think of her mentally seeking her blessings.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.100

SLOKA NO.100:-
Svakeeyairambhobhihi Salilanidhisouhithyakaranam
Thvadeeyaabhirvaagbhisthava Janani Vaachaam Sthuthiriyam!"
Literal Meaning:" Just as doing 'niraanjana'( the flame waving ritual)to the sun is only the offering of his own light to him; just as making an offering of arghya to the moon with water that oozes out of the moon-stone is only to give back what belongs to the moon, and just making 'tharpana' (water-offering) to the ocean is to return what belongs to it, -so is, O source of all Learning, this hymn is addressed to Thee composed of words that are already Thine."
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on gold plate. Sit facing East. Chant this sloka 1000 times daily for 16 (45) days.
Archana:Chant Lalitha Sahasranamam offering different kinds of flowers.
Offerings:Cooked rice, sweet gruel, fruits, betels and nut slices.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:All round success, freedom from diseases and accomplishment of all desires.
Literal Results:Retrieving lost property, gaining control of belongings and contentment.

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.99


"Saraswathyaa Lakshmyaa Vidhiharisapathno Viharathey
Rathey Paathivrathyam Shitthilayathi Ramyena Vapushaa!
Chiram Jeevanneyva Kshapithapashupaashavyathikaraha
Paraanandaabhikhyam Rasayathi Rasam Thvadbhajanavaan!"

Literal Meaning:"O Mother! A devotee of Thine sports with Saraswathi (learning) and Lakshmi (wealth), and courts the jealousy of their consorts, Brahma and Vishnu. By the charm of his body, he attracts the attention of Rathi, the wife of Kaama Deva (the God of love) and thus violates her chastity. And freed from the bondage of birth and ignorance, he lives long and enjoys the essence of Supreme Bliss."
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on gold plate. Sit facing East. Chant this sloka 1000 times daily for 16 days.
Archana:Chant Lalitha Thrishathi offering vermillion.
Offerings:Cooked rice, raw sugar, honey and plantain.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:Getting valour, happiness and God's grace.
Literal Results:All kinds of enjoyments , attractive looks and the grace of God.

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.98


"Kadaa Kaaley Mathaha Kathaya Kalithaalakthakarasam
Pibeyam Vidyaarthee Thava Charananirneyjanajalam!
Prakruthyaa Mookaanaamapi Cha Kavithaakaaranathayaa
Kadaa Dhatthey Vaaneemukhakamalathaamboolarasathaam!"

Literal Meaning:"O Mother! Tell me when I, a seeker of knowledge, shall have the privilege of imbibing the red-tinged water with which Thy lac-painted feet have been washed,- water that can generate poetic genius even in a naturally dumb person. When shall I expect it to flow out of my mouth as great poetry, which resembles the chewed betel leaf juice of Saraswathi, the Goddess of learning and poesy!"
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on gold or copper plate. Sit facing North-East. Chant this sloka 1000 times daily for 30 (16, 8) days.
Archana:Chant Lalitha Sahasranamam offering red flowers.
Offerings:Cooked rice, fruits and honey.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:Virility and divine knowledge for men, pregnancy for women desirous of children.
Literal Results: Eloquence, magnetic speech, creative prowess and great knowledge.

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.97


"Giraamaahurdevee Druhinagruhineemaagamavido
Hareyhe Pathneem Padmaam Harasahachareemadrithanayaam!
Thureeyaa Kaapi Thvam Duradhigamanihseemamahimaa
Mahaamaayaa Vishvam Bhramayathi Parabrahmamahishee!"

Literal Meaning:"O Consort of the Supreme God! The scholars who know the real meaning of the scriptures describe Thee as Saraswathi, the Goddess of learning and the wife of Brahma. Besides, they speak of Thee as the lotus-born Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu, as also as the daughter of Mountain and the Consort of Shiva. But Thou art, however, the unique fourth Power (that is the source of the three Deities mentioned) having inconceivable and limitless majesties- the indeterminable Mahamaya who revolves the wheel of this world."
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on stout white 'arka' (a type of wood) stem or white sandal plank. Sit facing East. Chant this sloka 1000 times daily for 8 (10) days.
Archana:Chant the 108 names of Saraswathi offering white flowers.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:Erudition, youthful energy and appearance, robust body.
Literal Results:Leadership,great physical strength.

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.96


"Kalathram Vaidhaathram Kathikathi Bhajanthey Na Kavayaha
Shriyo Devyaaha Kovaanabhavathipathihi Kairapi Dhanaihi!
Mahaadevam Hithvaa Thava Sathi Satheenaamacharamey
Kuchaabhyaasangaha Kuravakatharorapyasulabhaha!"

Literal Meaning:"O Chastity Embodied! How numerous are the poets who have courted and attained Saraswathi, the wife of Brahma and the deity of learning and fine arts! So also who with some wealth fails to become the Lord of Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu and the Goddess of wealth! But O the foremost of Chaste Ones!None besides Shiva, the great God, not even the tree called Kuravaka, has ever had the embrace of Thy breasts."
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on gold plate or gingely oil. Sit facing East. Chant this sloka 1000 (1008) times daily for 45 (3) days.
Archana:Chant Lalitha Sahasranamam offering vermillion.
Offerings:Cooked ric mixed with curds sesame, jaggery, coconut, honey and plantain.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:Healing of long-standing wounds, peace of mind, influence over others.
Literal Results:Women can attain loving spouse, strengthening marital relationships.

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.95

"Puraaraatheyranthaha Puramasi Thathasthvachcharanayoho
Saparyaamaryaadaa Tharalakaranaanaamasulabhaam!
Thattha Hyethey Neethaaha Shathamakhamukhaaha Siddhimathulaam
Thava Dvaaropaanthastthithibhiranimaadyaabhiramaraaha!"

Literal Meaning:"Thou rt the Consort of the Destroyer of the Cities, residing in His inner partment. Hence, the privilege of worshipping Thy feet is not easy for the fickle-minded. It is, therefore, that all the Deities headed by Indra have by their unparelleled austerities been able to attain only 'anima' and other nine psychic powers which are all but Thy gate keepers peripheral to Thee and far removed from Thy innermost attributes."
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on gold plate. Sit facing North-East. Chant this sloka 1000 times daily for 45 days.
Archana:Chant 108 names of Shiva at top triangle with bilva leaves and Lalitha Ashtotharam offering vermillion at bottom triangle of Yantra.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:Cure of nervous debility, relief from debts and sins, gift of poesy.
Literal Results: Security and nervous strength.

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.94


"Kalankaha Kasthooree Rajanikarabimbam Jalamayam
Kalaabhihi Karpoorairmarakathakarandam Nibiditham!
Athasthvadbhogeyna Prathidinamidam Rikthakuharam
Vidhirbhooyo Bhooyo Nibidayathi Noonam Thava Kruthey!"

Literal Meaning:The dark mark on the moon is musk. The moon's watery disc is an emerald cup fully filled with pieces of camphor in the form of the digits of moon. As and when the contents of that receptacle are exhausted by Thy using them, Brahma, fills it up day by day for Thee with the digits of the waxing moon."
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on gold plate or sandal paste. Sit facing East. Chant this sloka 108 (501) times for 45 days in a Devi temple before yantra and a lamp lit with ghee.
Archana:Chant Lalitha Sahasranamam offering red flowers.
Offerings:Rice cooked with green-gram pulse, milk-gruel, mangoes and honey.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:Getting great renown, moksha (liberation), bright face.
Literal Results:Ideal sloka for people born during waning moon period. Clears misunderstandings, blames, public scandals etc. Also suitable for reviving closed chapters (business/personal).Face becomes radiant.

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.93


"Araalaa Keysheyshu Prakruthisaralaa Mandahasithey
Shireeshaabhaa Chitthey Drushadupalashobhaa Kuchathatey!
Bhrushaam Thanvee Madhye Pruthururasijaarohavishaye
Jagatthraathum Shambhorjayathi Karunaa Kaachidarunaa!"

Literal Meaning:"Curly in hair and inherently artless in smile, heart soft as the 'sireesha' flower, breasts as tight and hard like a grinding stone, waist extremely slender, hips and breasts generous in size, the indescribable 'aruna shakthi', the grace of Shiva, shines gloriously for the protection of the Universe."
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on fine turmeric powder. Sit facing North-East. Chant this sloka 2000 (1000) times daily for 30 (45) days.
Archana:Chant Lalitha Ashtotharam and Lakshmi Ashtotharam offering lotus petals.
Offerings:Cooked rice, milk, honey and fruits.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:All desires fulfilled, obtaining wealth and prosperity.
Literal Results:Happiness, contentment, sound health and prosperity.

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.92


"Gathaasthey Manchathvam Druhinaharirudreyshwarabhruthaha
Shivaha Svachchachchaayaaghatithakapataprachchadapataha!
Thvadeeyaanaam Bhaasaam Prathiphalanaraagaarunathayaa
Shareeree Shrungaaro Rasa Iva Drushaam Dogdhi Kuthukam!"

Literal Meaning:"Thy functionaries Brahma, Vishnu,Rudra and Ishvara have taken the shape of the four legs of Thy cot in order to serve Thee very closely. And Sadashiva has formed Himself into Thy bedspread, reflecting Thy crimson glory in His lustrous whiteness, thereby causing amazement to Thee by presenting Himself as the very embodiment of erotic sentiment."
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on goldplate or plate made of alloy of five metals. Sit facing East. Chant this sloka 4000 (2000) times daily for 15 (45) days.
Archana:Chant Lalitha Thrishathi offering vermillion.
Offerings:Cooked rice mixed with milk, pulses, curd and pepper powder (4 different kinds), milk-gruel and betel with nut slices.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:Recovery of lost property, getting large estates and vast knowledge.
Literal Results:Support and patronage in high circles. Easy and lucky life.

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.91


Skhalanthasthey Kheylam Bhavanakalahamsa Na Jahathi!
Athastheyshaam Shikshaam Subhagamanimanjeerarnitha-
chchalaadaachakshaanam Charanakamalam Chaarucharithey!"

Literal Meaning:"O Goddess of graceful gait!The royal swans in Thy household are never abandoning their pursuit of Thee, in their effort to observe Thy gait for correcting their own defective ways. And Thy lotus feet are, it seems, giving instructions to them in the guise of tinkling sounds of the anklets on them, studded with precious stones."
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on gold plate. Sit facing South-East. Chant this sloka 2000 (1000) times daily for 45 (25) days.
Archana:Chant Lalitha Sahasranamam offering vermillion before recitation and Lakshmi Sahasranamam offering red lotus petals at the end.
Offerings:Cooked rice mixed with boiled milk, milk-gruel, coconut, fruits and betels with nut slices.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:Buying of lands, obtaining riches, contact with great men and scholars.
Literal Results:Ideal for dancers.Patronage and mass support.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.90


"Dadaaney Deeneybhyaha Shriyamanishamaashaanusadrusheem
Amandam Soundaryaprakaramakarandam Vikirathi!
Thavaasminmanmandaarasthabakasubhagey Yaathu Charanau
Nimajjanmajjeevaha Karanacharanaha Shatcharanathaam!"

Literal Meaning:"Thy feet form a veritable bunch of flowers dripping the honey of beauty and are a liberal supplier of wealth to Thy poor devotees. May my life with its six sensory organs (including the mind) become a six-footed honey-sucking bee at those feet forever."
Mode of worship:Yntra to be made on copper plate or holy ashes. Sit facing South-East. Chant this sloka 1000 times daily for 30 days.
Archana:Chant Durga Ashtotharam offering red flowers.
Offerings:Cooked rice mixed with tamarind soup, sweet-gruel, honey and fruits.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:Removal of charms and enchantments by enemies, dispel poverty.
Literal Results:Patronage of high society, gains influence, control of senses.

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.89


"Nakhairnaakasreenaam Karakamalasankochashashibhihi
Tharoonaam Divyaanaam Hasatha Iva They Chandi Charanau!
Phalaani Swahstheybhyaha Kisalayakaraagrena Dadathaam
Daridreybhyo Bhadraam Shriyamanishamahnaaya Dadathau!"

Literal Meaning:"Thy feet, with the moon-like nails, which cause the lotus-bud like palms of adoring heavenly damsels to close, do shower abundant wealth quickly on humble and poor devotees, and thus mock at the wish-yielding Kalpaka trees of Heaven, whose tender branches bestow desired gifts only to Gods who live in heavenly affluence."
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on gold plate or holy ashes. Sit facing East. Chant this sloka 1008 times daily for 30 days.
Archana:Chant Lalitha Ashtotharam offering red flowers.
Offerings:Cooked rice mixed with curd, sweet-gruel, honey and water.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:Cure of all diseases, physical strength.
Literal Results:Prayer to Chandi.Great physical strength, materialisation of wishes.

Soundarya Lahari Slokas/Yantras No.88


"Padam They Keertheenaam Prapadamapadam Devi Vipadaam
Katham Neetham Sadbhihi Kathinakamatheekarparathulaam!
Katham Vaa Baahubhyaamupayamanakaaley Purabhidaa
Yadaadaaya Nyastham Drushadi Dayamaaneyna Manasaa!"

Literal Meaning:" O Devi! How do great poets equate Thy fore-foot, a seat of fame and beyond the reach of mishaps, to the hardened back (shell) of the tortoise? And how did Thy Consort, the Destroyer of the Cities, inspite of all His tenderness towards Thee, have the heart to place Thy foot on a hard granite grinding stone at Thy marriage rite?"
Mode of worship:Yantra to be made on gold or silver plate. Sit facing South-East. Chant this sloka 1008 times daily for 182 (100) days.
Archana:Chant Lalitha Sahasranamam offering fried paddy grains.
Offerings:Cooked rice, jaggery gruel, raw sugar and plantains.
BENEFICIAL RESULTS:Controlling wild animals, freedom from troubles and prosperity.
Literal Results:Great fame, enhances creativity controls brutal force.