Sharad Hunnime or Poornima- Night of Awakening

Hunnime or Poornima is the day of Full moon, And the full moon night of Sharad ritu (season) is Sharad Purnima. It officially marks beginning of the Winter Season and end of Monsoon (rain).

It is believed that the Pious dance, Raas by Radha and Krishna took place with Gopis on this night (and Sharad Poornima is also referred to as Raas Purnima). It is also the only day in the entire year when Moon has all the 16 Kalas

Reproducing part of talk by Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji of The Art of Living on the significance of Kala.

Kala usually refers to the extent by which the moon waxes (or wanes) in one day. Moon possesses 16 different Kalas (different phases of the Moon). You can observe this from one Amavasya(No-moon day) to the next Purnima (Full moon day). So if you count the number of days from one Amavasya to the next Purnima, it turns out to be 16. And the transition from No-Moon to the Full Moon also symbolizes moving from Zero (nothingness) to Fullness.

Kala is a unit of measure of one’s power, or by what degree one has blossomed or progressed. So, someone may be like a half-moon, someone else may have reached to three quarters of the moon and so on. This was a means of measurement in the ancient days.

In those days, it was said that the life or Prana in a stone is equal to one Kala, the water element is said to have two Kalas. Fire has three Kalas, Vayu (Air element) has four, and the Space or Akash has five. Plants and trees are said to have six Kalas. Animals have seven Kalas. Human beings have eight Kalas.

If it is an extraordinary human being then he is said to have nine Kalas. It is said that Lord Parashurama (one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu) had nine Kalas. They say Lord Rama has 12 Kalas. Lord Hanuman is greater than Him in this regard and is said to have 14 Kalas. That is why he could help Lord Rama. Only a person who is stronger than us can help us.

The Devi (Mother Divine) is called Shodashakala (The One with all 16 Divine qualities or attributes). It means that she possess all divine and noble qualities, and lacks nothing.

Lord Krishna too is said to have all 16 Kalas, which is why He is called as the Solah Kala sampurna or the Purna Avataar.
To have all 16 Kalas means to possess all the 16 qualities or signs attributed to the total blossoming and manifestation of Divinity.

On the day when moon has all 16 Kalas it is believed that its rays has special and healing effects on humans. Since each of the 16 Kalas signify 16 qualities, exposing ourselves after due preparation of our mind and body, makes us a perfect human being. Some also believe that it is the night when Moon emits Amrutha (Elixir). Moon is at closest distance tonight and hence will be the brightest

Typically a vrat is observed on the day preceding the Full moon night and Goddess Lakshmi comes in search of those who are awake (and hence called Kojagiri Purnima). Being awake is not just about not sleeping but being spiritually awake for which Upavasa, Meditation and Jagarane is observed. Devotees stay awake engaged in prayers, singing and dancing (Raas) so that Goddess Lakshmi finds them awake and blesses them in Abundance.

Radha Krishna
Uma Maheshwara
Laksmi Narayana

An important thing to note, though it is dedicated to Divine couples, Radha-Krishna, Lakshmi-Narayana or Shiva-Parvati – umarried ones observe this day to get a good spouse and married ones for longevity of the spouse, the first puja is offered to Bhagwan Surya early in the morning and then begin the vrata and to end the same with worship of the Moon.

On this day, all food items made as prasad is predominantly of White color – what we prepare is Coconut Rice (not the Sanjeev Kapoor types, but typical and real South Indian Coconut Rice), Milk Payasa, Curd Rice, Cobbari Mithai (Coconut Burfi) and all of us go to the terrace (weather permitting) and dine under the moon. We also wear white dress for the night, sing a few Bhajans and do what I like the most – have prasada.

Some regions leave all these overnight in the moon and have it as prasada in the morning.

Here is wishing all the readers a Happy Sharad Hunnime or Sharad Purnima. May Goddess Lakshmi bestow Her choicest blessings on you and all your near ones. Prayers that all unmarried looking for a partner to be blessed with a great one and those married for long, blissful journey of togetherness.

Thank You-from Happiest man alive

With her becoming better and better, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find words to write this tribute piece to the wonderful soul in my life. Like I said earlier, we are not celebrating her Birthday, but her presence in our lives.

To say that she is like that gift that we keep unwrapping every day of our lives – Someone who never stopped giving to all the kids (and Me). The better half whose missionary zeal to make everyone of us even better is something I never stopped admiring

I am truly at loss (otherwise over verbose) to find positive adjectives to prefix to her name, and gave up after a hour. Thought it is better to attach a thesauraus and still find there were more that could be added. That is the value she brings to the huge family – not just maternal or marital but to the huge extended family that we are so fortunate to possess.

All the DaMaKi family was unanimous in their agreement when I said “Thank you for being with us and for just being you” Personally, I am extremely proud and privileged to be a part of, the one who makes me feel like a hero, every single day for the past 43 years that we know each other (Oh yes, it is that long, and it seems like we just met a few years back for the first time).

She is my biggest fan (beesanige alla). The one who instilled all the confidence in me, when in those rare moments I lost belief in myself. I have gone through those moments and thanks to her presence in my life, those moments were so rare. She pushed, prodded along, and never allowed me to quit.

Not sure if I told this earlier but saying this nevertheless, on a trip abroad, a foreigner whom I met on the flight amidst our chat was shocked (mortified in fact) that I have been married for so many years and remain married to the same person. What is so normal in our part of the world is indeed a rarity there. He wanted to know how the journey has been. Humorously I replied (borrowing from someone more experienced) – “Yes indeed, we have been married for 30 SHORT years and it has been happiest 15 years of my life.” I was not kidding, life has not been without challenges. The co-passenger of my life never allowed me to even think it was a phase of trials and tribulations, ups and downs, elation and grief too. She navigated around all the bumps and waves to hold this vessel steady, ensuring that  we never crashed. Prouder moment for me was when he said – “this is what makes India & its tradition so different from other parts of the world” (INDEED). Thank you Aparna. You are the reason I was able to say that with a lot of conviction.

One of the significant achievement  of my life was my ability to convince Aparna to marry me (I should confess on the side that it is one of the best gifts she got *running*

She means a lot not because she is a perfect person but only because she is a perfect Aparna – That is good enough! On this special day, from all of us, a BIG thank you for being what you are. Have a wonderful day (which we are hoping to make) and a super duper year ahead (which we are hoping to make again)

I cannot sign off without a song dedicated to you. This is at the top of my mind today.

Happy Birthday

May the Divine’s and Gurudev Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji’s blessings be showered on you in abundance

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!