It could have been Worse is My Answer!

This post comes in the wake of recent medical incidents of some sincere seekers, who have been doing/done everything that materially every Jigyasu is expected to do – Sadhana, Seva, Satsangs etc. Yet when some tragedy or misfortune strikes, the obvious doubt is on the efficacy of God/Guru. The faith is terribly shaken and trust flies out of the window. Everything associated becomes a suspect and sadly some may even conclude on the futility of the spiritual journey itself.

Firstly, as Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji of The Art of Living says – Everyone dies, Good person dies, Bad person dies; Doctors die, Patients die; Rich die, Poor die; King dies so also subjects; So one thing that is truth at the time of birth, known to everyone is that one day a person born has to die some day. Yet there is a sense of non-acceptance of this irrefutable and unchangeable truth.  Immediate response of the near ones (I experienced it twice, when I lost my Father and recently my Elder brother, both departed quite young by today’s standards) Our trust and faith was shaken terribly (thankfully for not very long). Why us? is the obvious question (as if it is ok, if this were to happen to someone else). The first response was What is the point in worshiping God or having a Guru when they “ditch” us like this? (when they are actually carrying us to bear this pain) . Why couldn’t they stop this? (the inevitable truth is forgotten). Now, cut to the next set of examples 

We had examples of some ardent followers in the path, who never missed a day’s Sadhana, did their Seva at every opportunity presented, regular organised and conducted Satsangs, who fell seriously sick (I have been witnessing this in very close quarters in the recent months, one as late as 3 days ago in a Satsang). Again the faith of near ones and many observers was challenged. What is the point of all the 3Ss (Sadhana, Seva and Satsang) if they fall seriously sick (at the time of occurrence, some were even written off and even indicated by doctors that if they survived they would be vegetables all their lives. Much to the surprise of the thorough Medical professional and naysayers, they recovered miraculously. Certainly, I believe it is due to power of collective blessings just as those very rational Engineers and Medical Professionals who were around concede to it. To some who asked me, why did it happen in the first place, my answer as an ordinary mortal – it could have been worse!

Today Vadi is back to near normal and leading a life he lead before (yes after a Mid Brain Hemorrhage episode)
Atharv back home, as active as ever!!!
Miraculous and inexplicable arrest of Blood leakage in brain (Status as of today in this screenshot)

As Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar expounds during a Q&A session during a Satsang – Keep the faith intact

We often mistake our intense craving for our intense faith and try to manipulate the divine to fulfill our desires and get our work done. If you have faith in God only for the sake of having your desires fulfilled, then that will simply not work.

Which is greater: God, or your desire? Just think about it. You want to use God like currency for transactions, and you want to do the same with your Guru. Faith and devotion are needed to help you rise higher in life and go deeper within yourself.

Difficulties and unpleasant times come in everyone’s life. Is there anyone who does not have problems in their life? Lord Krishna faced so many obstacles during his lifetime. Lord Rama also faced many problems in his life. Mahatma Gandhi also faced many hurdles in his life. So difficulties come and go in life. When your faith and devotion remain intact and unshaken during those turbulent times, then you do not feel the unpleasantness of those situations. Faith becomes your anchor during these difficult times and keeps you steady.

On a completely dark night, even a flickering lamp can help you find your way and keep walking forward. But if you try to extinguish that very source of light, then it is no good. People who do this then try other ways to handle difficult situations, such as drinking alcohol, etc. Faith is a great wealth and gives you strength. Just because a few small things did not go in your favor, it does not mean that you should make your faith so fragile and delicate that it breaks every now and then.

That is why I said that it is good that you feel your faith is becoming weak and failing because something you wanted did not happen. It is alright. Eventually you will put your faith into someone or something.

Faith that is built in such a way surely will shake at some point of time. Every time your faith shakes, your devotion will be renewed from within once again. Truth never fails or gets shaken. True faith remains unshaken regardless of everything that happens. That which shakes is just some small belief at a very superficial level. It is your own expectations and desires which shake you

 

Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji in a knowledge sheet had put forth this profound thoughts for us to chew on. This is universal and eternally applicable.

Reason is reeling in the known. Faith is moving in the unknown. Reason is repetition. Faith is exploration. Reason is routine. Faith is adventure.

They are completely opposite, yet an integral part of life. Not having faith itself is misery; faith gives instant comfort. While reasoning keeps you sane and grounded, no miracle can happen without faith. Faith takes you beyond limitations. In faith you can transcend the laws of nature but it needs to be pure. Faith is beyond reason, yet you need to have faith in your own reasoning! Faith and reason cannot exist without each other. Every reason is based on some faith. Whenever reason or faith breaks, confusion and chaos prevails which is often a step for growth.

There are two types of faith. Faith out of fear, greed and insecurity; and faith born out of love like the faith between the mother and the child, the Master and disciple. Whereas the faith out of love cannot be broken, faith out of fear and greed is shaky.

An atheist bases himself on reason, and a believer on faith. A believer uses God as an insurance policy! He thinks he is special. In the eyes of God there is no “mine” and “others”; all are the same. An atheist rationalizes to keep his eyes shut to reality. Death shakes them both! When someone close dies, an atheist’s eyes are opened, and a believer’s faith cracks. Only a Yogi – a wise one – remains unshaken. For that person has transcended both reason and faith.

You need a balance between faith and reason.

Cut to the present, in both cases these distrust was soon overcome and life moved on. Back to going on pilgrimage to Sabarimala, for Darshan and blessings of Guru. The unpleasantness was taken in the stride using exactly whatever we lost trust on. We tend to lose faith or tend to distrust the only Truth, God or the Guru that is our real & eternal support, all other kind of supports are fleeting. Even the best of medicine will not work if we don’t trust the doctor and the medicine itself. Remember, Medicine Cures! Faith Heals!

One more learning! Faith and trust doesn’t mean rely on Blessings or healing process solely. Our part of the action is a prerequisite and understanding that just those actions may not guarantee results. We allow the Grace to work through our action by being in a state of Gratitude.

Come what may! Keep your faith up! It will hold you up!

#KeralaFloods: Devaprashnam – Conversation with the Divine in Sabarimala & Warnings Ignored

Now the the worst phase of the man made (to be specific, Communists made, click here #CommieMadeDisaster for what Twitter felt about it)  disaster in Kerala, the worst flood of the century, is over and has entered Rehabilitation phase, time to look back at possible lessons (that we will still not learn). Starting this series with a Mystical Event (based on experiences shared by many who have partaken it in the past) that took place in Sabarimala – The Ashtamangala Devaprashnam. While the focus of this piece is not to explain or defend the practice (I am a non-entity to write a commentary on much revered Prasna Marga, leave alone Deva Prashna which is altogether a different realm. It is to highlight the findings which got published in various media way back in June 2018 (that is 2 months before the disaster struck Kerala). Point is not even that, why selectively some recommendations (that got material or pecuniary benefit to some) got accepted and implemented in a jiffy but that which (with benefit of hindisight) affected much larger population were not even deemed worthy of a look-in

The Devaprashnam was primarily called for, because of the incident where an Elephant carrying the Idol from Sannidhanama to Arattu Kadavu ran amok injuing a few pilgrims and setting panic. (Manorama News Report below)

The Devaprashnam was delayed and held only in June 2018, because of passing away of Tantri Kandararu Maheshwararu.

Here is the article published in June 2018 Edition of “Sree Ayyappan” official monthly of Akhila Bharatha Ayyapa Seva Sangham on the findings of the Devaprashnam.

The one below is another clipping I recieved on Whatsapp from a friend

There was a Television report telecast (according to information given to me) on June 18th 2018, where the findings and warning about disasters in Pamba was mentioned.

Credit: TV Janam

Summary of the findings and remedies (from the Sree Ayyappan Magazine)

The changes that has been brought in the rituals is not to the liking of the Lord Ayyappa. The 5 day Ezhunallathu ritual (Procession) done after Makara Vilakku for Malikapurattamma has deviated a lot. There is a  displeasure seen in Lord for discontinuing the practice of using Elephant for this ezhunallathu during the Makara (Jan-Feb) month. If there has been trouble with Elephant, the remedy is not to discontinue using Elephants for the rituals, but to determine the causes for the trouble. However use of Elephant in the Meena (March-April) month is not mandatory. The defects on the Thidambu (The idol carried on the Elephant during ceremonial processions) has to be rectified immediately. Lord is unhappy for discontinuing the use of accompanying Vaal (Sword) from the ceremonial proceedings. This is an essential accessory for the Ezhunallathu.

Blocking the vision of Lord Ayyappa is the Shelter built on top of 18 Holy steps. This has to be rectified immediately. Ponnambalamedu has to be protected. Lot of shortcomings in the Naivedya also is seen. Along with Aravana, even Milk payasam has to be offered on all days. The night puja before Lord retires for resting, has to essentially have Paalpayasam as naivedya along with Tambula puja. The Tila Payasam (Sesame seed Payasam) which is currently only offered on Saturdays has to be done everyday. Ensure purity of all offerings including Sandal paste. Newly built Bhasma Kulam has no natural flow. It has to be rebuilt. ತ

Sharamkutti has been moved from its original place and is rendered impure. Vandiperiyar Subramanya Swamy temple which is closely associated with Sabarimala is totally neglected, which needs to be remedied. It is also seen that some Vaishnava temple has been destroyed which needs to be recovered and restored. Change of Kochukadutta Swamy temple also is not to Lord’s liking. Nagaraja or Snake that has a lot of significance in Sabarimala has seen some killings of snakes. Similarly, there has been killing of cow, to be remedied by building a Goshala and protect them.

Sri Rama Padam in Pamba Triveni has to be protected. There is Bhadrakali in Pamba. The change that has happened in the location where Guruthi (Symbolic blood offering to represent Vitality) has been reason for lot of repercussions.

Malikappuratamma also has to be given equal importance as in Sabarimala. THERE IS A POSSIBILITY OF A CALAMITY IN PAMBA 

TV Janam reports over and above that Kandararu Maheswararu, who expired in May, died out of pain due to removal of Mohanaru  as Sabarimala thantri over a scandal. It was found the cause for the demise of the thantri was due to son Kandararu Mohanaru’s misfortunes. Rectification of the senior thantri’s cause of worry was needed.

Translation of the picture that has point to point findings.

  1. Location of the Temple doesn’t indicate any fault
  2. Likelihood of land related disputes against Sabarimala for which some Prayaschitta (Atonement measures) have to be undertaken
  3. Increase Naivedyam (offerings) to Lord Ganapathi
  4. Need to give attention to satiating Lord Ganapathi which is ignored at this time
  5. The second installation of Lord Ganapathi in front of Homa Kunda (Sacrificial Fire place) has to be moved to appropriate location, installed and regular Puja and Abhishekham to be performed
  6. Tantri (Vedic and Spiritual Head  who decides on the Primary and core rituals and practices in a Temple) and Melshanti (Chief Priest) who currently reside within the compound of the Main Temple complex have to be moved out and located outside the compound walls.
  7. All the priests including Chief Priest should be given Orientation classes every year by Tantri on the rituals, traditions and practices.
  8. Kalabam (Sandal Paste) Abhishekam is not part of the Temple tradition. Since it is being done, ensure it is done the right way.
  9. As per the signs emerging, Lord Ayyappa is not getting comfortable and adequate rest. Tantri has to find a remedy for this.
  10. The doors of the Sanctum Sanctorum doesn’t close properly, this needs to be addressed on priority and changed at the earliest
  11. Many such defects on the structures outside the temples needs to be fixed too
  12. Most problems would be solved, just by proper worship of Lord Ayyappa
  13. Priests, Security and Police have not been noble and have been faulty through their deeds and words. This has to be remedied
  14. Priests, Police & Devaswom Security should behave properly with the Pilgrims.
  15. One of the primary reasons for these problems is misbehaviour with the devotees and pilgrims. Staff who are related to pilgrim management or interaction should be given proper training
  16. We can see signs that there is concerted efforts by various organization to defame Ayyappa Temple. Remedial (Parihaara) and Atonement (Prayaschitta) actions would help us to hear Good news in this regard.
  17. Lord is being used as a means of conducting business. This has to be stopped.
  18. Do not indicate in any forms sponsors inside the temple premises.
  19. THE DAIVAJNAS (ASTROLOGERS ASKING QUESTIONS) SEE IMPENDING CALAMITY IN PAMBA
  20. Proper puja and Naivedya (Divine Offering) to be performed in Ganapathi temple in Pamba
  21. Mahamrutjunajaya Homam to be performed every month in Sabarimala. This has to be done for one year.
  22. The rivalry between Alangad and Ambalapuzha petta thullal teams is not being liked by Lord Ayyappa. This is easy to be remedied. (For more reading about the ritualistic significance of these two teams, click HERE)
  23. Bhasmakulam (The temple pond in Sannidhanam) has to be rebuilt.
  24. Lord Ayyappa wants a part of the revenue to be earmarked for the needy.
  25. The current Devaswom board has the will to issue orders to the Management committee.

Out of so many findings and recommendations during the Devaprashnam, Media in Headlines speaks only about one finding that was in favor of Kandararu Mohanaru (Click on the link to know details of the scandal). Attaching screenshot of the Wiki page as of 31st August 2018, 1245pm. Posting image as one after the other all reference to this news (under the external link section of the “Wiki Page) has been removed

Since it is favorable to him, I am sure Kandararu Mohanaru will not have any objection to the findings of this Devaprashnam. Remember, he went all out to personally attack the astrologer Parappanangadi Unnikrishna Panikker who discovered the dirty stuff that defiled the Holy Temple.

References: (Don’t be surprised not to find any of the above details in these reports. They have an agenda which is  reported

  1. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2018/jun/17/devaprasnam-for-reinstatement-of-kandararu-mohanaru-as-thantri-1829247.html
  2. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thiruvananthapuram/decks-cleared-for-the-return-of-kandararu-mohanaru/articleshow/64628998.cms

25 can be Gold or Diamond too – And It is!

At the risk of sounding repetitive (since nothing has changed but it only got better), I start off this piece with almost same lines I have penned earlier

This is to the one who has colored up our lives for 25 years, a miracle who never ceased to be miraculous 

As it happens every year,  I am experiencing something called Blog-Fear (like Stage-Fear) when I thought of writing a few of my thoughts for this wonderful Angel of our lives – who is “Everything (Akhila)” literally ! It is considered Silver Birthday – but not for us. It is more valuable than Gold or Diamond. Here I go….

On this day 25 years ago, I was handed over a wonderful gift wrapped in woollens, a gift that me as a Father could have ever ask for: I am so proud of the fact that you have become so beautiful within heart and outside it, and you are not just my daughter but also my best friend.

Life was never the same for the entire family. The first Queen of the family after generations of waiting was not only cherished by all, but celebrated. With all those pampering, what I admired in you the ability to keep that head firmly on your shoulders and not getting carried away.

Every moment of the past 25 years has been filled with Joy thanks to whatever you did. Unfair not to mention Vishnu too who enhanced it for the 18 years of them.

What I also love is that love for life that as Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji advised – You “Lived” every moment, not just existed – You grew up, not just aged.  In the process, you ensured that you sprayed this perfume of happiness on everyone around you. If in doubt, ask everyone around who were touched by you and the difference you made in their lives. (Just confirm that it is not a blind love of a father, Was all those due to my genes? YES :-P)

A click that I cherish – 25 years back – Clinging to the treasure like my life dependent on it (Fact)

Here is a birthday Wish from all of us – we been trying to find the right words to say for quite a while now, but we just could not! So let us leave it at –  we love you for whatever you are. We thank the Divine for the wonderful gift we have in our lives. Happy Birthday to the Wonderful Soul, a friend and daughter, sibling, everything.

And both Sindhu Akka and Swathi di  also send their hearty wishes (and gifts in person)

Here is my customary song dedicated to you. Reserved it for your 25th (saw this about 5 years back)