An Upanayana and Guru Tatva

Having begun the month with a piece on a Guru Pujya Gurudev HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji of The Art of Living I sign of the month also with a piece of Guru Principle or the Tattva. Cutting down on the verbosity, this would be almost a photo blog of an Amazing place I happened to visit to attend an Upanayana ceremony of Vatu Chinmay, son my friend Deepak Naik and Sister Sushma Naik . The venue was Sri Sadguru Chaitanya Mandira. A few interesting snaps uploaded here.  Do not miss this place at any cost when you visit Bangalore.

Firstly, my tributes to the Vatu, Chinmay, who became a Dwija (Twice-born) in the Honor of Sanatana Dharma and the ancient Vedic Tradition. He was given Upadesha (instruction) as part of introduction to the concept of  Brahman. He is vested with a Three-Stranded Sacred Thread (Janivara) representing Goddesses Gayatri (Mind) Saraswati (Word) and Savitri (Deed). He was also initiated into the all powerful Gayatri Mantra formally today. My respects to the Vatu

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Chinmay with his Father Deepak Naik
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Being Explained various Concepts of the Sadhana
Bhiksha Karanam
Bhiksha Karanam

Wishing him all the prosperity, wisdom and success in his life. 

Coming to the main purpose of this blog, some interesting details on the venue where this Upanayana Happened, Sri Sadguru Chaitanya Mandira

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Sri Sadguru Chaitanya Mandir
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The Entrance – Couldn’t capture Beautiful Padukas
Mahaganapthy Temple as we enter
Mahaganapthy Temple as we enter
Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya
Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya
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Sri Sadguru Paduka Mandir Entrance – 1st Floor
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The Gallery and Sthapana Stala of Padukas
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Another Row of Paduka Sthapana Stala
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The 3rd Row
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The Primary Paduka Puja and Ashtottara performed here – Sri Dattatreya
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Sadguru Dhyana Mandira – 2nd Floor
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Extremely Rare Comination – Sri Dakshina Murthy and Sri Dattatreya Together
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A very Happy me – customary sit-down in a Temple
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A Photo-op Proud me with that Dwaj

A brief write-up on the Presiding Deity Sri Dattatreya and this Mandira would not be out of place here. It is believed that Sri Dattatreya is a Deity encompassing the Holy Trinity or Trimurthy – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. (depicted with 3 heads). He is the Author of Tripura Rahasya, a treatise on Advaita Vedaanta (which incidentally is my current reading) that was instructed by Him personally to Parashurama.

This Mandira was primarily built to showcase and make available in a single place Padukas of  various Gurus including that of the present and previous Acharyas of Shringeri Sharada Peetha, Avadhutas of Sri Dattatreya lineage, Sri Raghavendra of Mantralaya,  Sri Gondavale Maharaj of Hebballi. Sri Bharathi
Teertha Mahaswami, The Jagadguru of Dakshinanmaya Sri Sringeri Sharadha Peetha, His Holiness Bharathi Theertha Swami blessed the trust members with Sri Dattatreya Paduka with a mandate to worship in all Guru Peethas – thus each of the Padukas in the Paduka Mandira has been worshipped in over 40 holy Peethas.

Sri Sadguru Chaitanya Mandira’s Prathista Kumbhabhisheka of Sri Dakshinamurthy, Sri Dattatreya and Sri Sadguru Shila Paduka by His Holiness Bharathi Theertha Swami was performed on 4th March 2012

Another highlight of this Mandira is Ganesha Prapancha, where unbelievable variety of Lord Ganesh in different Postures and made of different materials are on display. Will update with some pictures after my next visit

The Mandira Address :

Sri Sadguru Chaitanya Mandira, Bharat Housing Layout, Thurahalli, near Poornaprajna Layout, Uttarahalli-Kengeri Road, Bengaluru.

About 3 km from Uttarahalli Circle, towards Kengeri (a left turn before Patalamma Temple)

Wikimap of Sri Sadguru Chaitanya Mandira

||Namo Namaha Sri Gurupadukabhyam||

We, the Philanthropists

My eyes popped up when I saw this headline while surfing on the web – “Salaried class : IT exemption limit raised” To my disappointment and utter sense of disbelief, I discovered when I read it the 3rd time that it was not a “:” but a “Want” in that headline. A classic case of “Mind read what it wanted not what the eyes saw”

Mind reads what it wants, not what eyes see
Mind reads what it wants not what eyes saw

After all,  it was “only” a demand from a lowly Class of downtrodden and roughshod population of this nation – the salaried class, as if they have any rights to demand.

When I walk into the Income Tax Department office, my heart swells with pride for what I do, the most philanthropic act anyone can do, in fact. Looking at those seated, snoring, behind their desks amidst the pile of files – I couldn’t help watch them with a glint in my eyes and wonder with pride, ” here are those folks in India that I feed, nourish and nurture”

Taxes that we Pay help a needy man catch up on sleep
Taxes that we Pay help a needy man catch up on sleep

And when over ambitious Justice Katju blames me for malnutrition, I obviously have reasons to take offense. And I distinctly remember I also fed this juvenile Katjus via my tax payment (even today feed him in the form of  post retirement doles, pension and position) and yet this thankless luminary debunks this and cites malnutrition. I would accept if he appears anything but malnourished, I am not speaking mentally malnourished here, for which I cannot be held responsible. Here is another friend Mediacrooks delivering the Justice that Justice demanded for 10000 killed in Gujarat.

And we have yet another Member of Parliament – the famous one whose “sweat” costed him a cabinet “seat”.  Do I pay my taxes to pay this Chivalrous MP who “takes a good 10 days (NaMo said this on 6th Feb 2013)” to discover that Air is not important and think of something else to pour (a Whiskey or Rum?) to make the glass full. Not surprised someone who has worked hard(ly) to earn that Sweat Equity for his “then” invaluable Friend.

Rejoinder for NaMo Half Glass Remark at #SRCC
Rejoinder for NaMo Half Glass Remark at #SRCC

As someone said, while Optimistic Tax Payer who saw the Glass Half full haggled with Pessimistic Tax Payer who saw it as Half empty, an Opportunist mixed his drink and walked away evading his taxes (not naming since he is already busy suing a famous journalist and why add myself into his “To-Be-Sued” list)

I have some serious doubts on how my Tax money is spent.  Why should I pay for upkeep of Mughul Gardens just for the enjoyment of  the “One” who has been rewarded by Tax Collector (Government) as a perquisite for favor done earlier?  Just an old couple who are past their prime to enjoy them, walking with a bunch of guests who drop in once in a while all for free.

Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhavan
Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhavan

Why not ask them to “pay and use” like our Sulabh Shouchalayas. I am sure it is not as taxing for them as it is for me to pay for it

Unlike Rashtrapti Bhavan this place keeps my neighbourhood clean
Unlike Rashtrapti Bhavan this place keeps my neighbourhood clean

I was travelling in Mangalore some time back. Saw that Government has hired so many life guards, again paid by taxes we pay. I am not forcing those going for a swim and why the heck should I pay to pull them out of troubled waters? Let those who want to go for a swim realize that every action has its consequences and cannot be spoilt by this Nanny Government at my cost.

Panambur Beach - Rocky & Dangerous
Panambur Beach – Rocky & Dangerous
The Samaritans who risk their lives to save others' lives
The Samaritans who risk their lives to save others’ lives & I pay for it

We are slowly becoming a nation of entitlement. Free Water supply in  Bengaluru‘s Lalbaugh  is another such overindulgence. Early morning joggers (Yes they have united under the banner of Lalbagh Walker’s Association) come there to enjoy their freebie at taxpayer’s expense (During later hours there is an entrance fee) and if they feel thirsty let them carry their water bottles (and not litter the place with empty ones – cleaning up for which I pay again)

Glass House, Lalbagh, Bengaluru
Glass House, Lalbagh, Bengaluru

Now that I have given very few examples to buttress my point, Increasing Taxes or the exemption limit is no solution. NO TAXES is the solution. We are a nation who probably spend more to collect our taxes than the tax amount itself. Do away with them. Anyway we are taxed on every item that we buy. Go after those big fishes. Taxes from just 100 of them, who anyway pay pittance as as taxes are enough to take care of the nation. Salaried Middle class has been more than philanthropic till date. Spare us now. Finance Minister of UPA please note the above. In case you are not able to do anything much, pass this on to Finance minister of the NDA.

Until then let me go and meditate to find my Solace in His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ‘s The Art of Living Ashram hoping against hope that I see a NO-TAX regime.

Sunset Through Vishalakshmi Mantap is The Art of Living Ashram
Sunset Through Vishalakshmi Mantap is The Art of Living Ashram

Friend or Friendly?

This is dedicated to everyone who are friendly (“Friendship Day”  is a redundant concept generally in my life anyway because I celebrate friendship and friends every day of the year and every year) I go as usual with a nice story which is topical. Incidentally my friends in the media, have found more important things on this day,

While at it, food for thought –  Should I look out for a friend or be friendly to people. A deep hard thought and I guess it is always better to be friendly rather than be a friend. A friend is always a deal, you do this, I return the favour by doing that. But being friendly doesnt involve a trade-off. More than that, having friends limits our capability (after all how many can you physically reach out) but you can be friendly to the world, even with a rank stranger anywhere in the world, cant we?  For me personally, I have a living example in the form of  His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar of Art of Living. The ultimate sense of belongingness that HE displays anywhere on this planet is a sight to behold. He “may not” be friend to everyone (in the context I mentioned earlier)  but is friendly with everyone indeed. Jai Gurudev from depth of my hearts.

Chew on this and let me have you views.

In the meanwhile, read a wonderful story that someone shared with me, lest we become the mountain missing to see a friend right under our nose.

Friendly-ly yours 

Once upon a time there lived a mountain, which was so high that it might have been the very tallest mountain in the whole world – and so he had very few friends. Only the big fluffy clouds could reach all the way to the peak. But what fun it was to poke his pointed summit into their fluffy, snowy whiteness! How it tickled! The clouds would burst into laughter, and sometimes they would even laugh so hard they would cry, and then it would rain on the earth below.

One hot summer the sun shone down so relentlessly that for several days there wasn’t a single little cloud in the sky, and the mountain felt very sad. Finally, when he couldn’t bear being lonely any longer, he asked the great wide sky, “Why won’t you let the little ones run and play in your big bright blueness?”

The sky replied, “All my children have gone to the kingdom of winter, which is very far from here. They won’t come back until the end of summer.”

“But I miss them so much!” the mountain said with a sigh. “Maybe I should go to the winter kingdom too, and visit my friends?”

“You are a mountain, and mountains are heavy and can’t fly like the clouds. Mountains always stay in the same place,” the sky stated firmly.

From that day the mountain became even sadder. “Everyone else moves around and finds exciting new things and I have to sit still, nobody and nothing needs me,” he wailed. Tears began to flow down the mountain face as, for the first time in his life, the mountain cried. Even as he cried, the dried and cracked soil in the plain below heaved a sigh of relief and started to thirstily drink in the long-awaited water. Even before the end of the day the plain was covered with fresh green growth.

The plain called out to the mountain, “O, kind mountain! Thank you for saving me from a terrible fate! Your water is so pure it has healed all my wounds. Look at how much it has changed me!”

The mountain was so surprised that he stopped crying. Until then nobody had even spoken to him from down below. He was, after all, so very high, and the plain so far below, that the mountain had forgotten that it even existed. The mountain looked down and gasped in surprise as he saw the flourishing green carpet, shining and fresh. The plain was so beautiful that the mountain felt like kissing it, and tingled with delight at the thought. At that the wise old sky whispered to him, “Now, mountain, you see that you can find friends anywhere. You just have to notice them!”

The picture above is Shivanasamudra  – the Gaganachukki Falls near Mysore about 110 kms from Bangalore, in its resplendent best what with heavy rainfall in the area, it was a sight to behold.

True indeed is the nature’s ways to keep us happy. But then how long do we let it enthrall us with the beauty- not for long the way we are raping the nature 😦 It remains in pictures for our future generation. and a nice folk tale – Once upon a time…there existed…. but living happily ever after is a remote possibility. Long live Man’s Greed!!!