Ennapadam Bhagavati

Bhagavathi at Ennapadam Temple at Kerala

Thursday, December 23, 2010



Today (21-11-2010) is Karthigai Deepam Day in Tamilnadu and Karthik Purnima Day in Northern India. It falls in the month of Karthigai when the star Krithigai is on the ascendant according to the Tamil Calendar on a full moon day. Karthigai is essentially a festival of lamps. The lighted lamp is considered an auspicious symbol. Traditional belief is that it wards off evil forces and ushers in prosperity and joy. While the lighted lamp is important for all Hindu rituals and festivals, it is indispensable for Karthigai.

When we live in darkness, our human life is a constant want.
When we live in Light, our Divine Life is a constant achievement.
Light in the physical is beauty.
Light in the vital is capacity.
Light in the mind is glory.
Light in the heart is victory’ — Sri Chinmoy

ROWS OF agal vilakkus in front of every house... this is the celestial image that at once comes to mind when we think of Karthigai Deepam—the festival of lights that is celebrated throughout Tamil Nadu during the month of Karthigai (November-December).

The lamps lit on Karthigai Deepam Day are of varied sizes, shapes and colours. Traditionally, huge lamps are lit in temples and agal vilakkus adorn the thinnais (front portico) of houses. Bigger lamps made of mud, stone and metal are lit inside homes. Many modern families in Chennai no longer prefer the oil lamps that stain the floor and the walls. Instead, they use scented candles, including those shaped in the form of the agal vilakku. In flats that do not have balconies or open spaces, the single candle lit next to the front door is a testimony to a hoary tradition.

The ancient Tamils are said to have even imported lamps from as far as Greece and Rome, through the ports of Arikamedu (near Pondicherry), Mallai or Mamallapuram and Mylai or Mylapore (part of present-day Chennai). One such imported lamp was of the hanging variety, designed in the shape of a swan with a fish placed at the top.  At Arikamedu, archaeologists have unearthed a flat circular clay lamp with 12 nozzles or petals or openings for 12 wicks.

Behind every important Hindu Festival lies an interesting and fascinating mythological story. ‘Karthigai’ is no exception to this general rule, hallowed and enriched by song, myth and legend. There is an interesting story explaining the link between Karthigai and lamps. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma began to quarrel as to who was the more powerful of the two. While they were fighting, Lord Shiva appeared before them in the form of a huge Pillar of Fire.

Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma gave up quarrelling and decided to find the top and the bottom of this Pillar of Fire which seemed to have neither any beginning nor any end. Since Lord Shiva took a gigantic form, they were not able to find him anywhere.

Then Lord Shiva appeared before them in the form of a flaming light whose ends cannot be defined on the hill of Thiruvannamalai. Therefore, this festival is also known as Annamalai Deepam. In short, Karthigai Deepam day commemorates the appearance of the Lord as a Jothi Sthambam, an infinite pillar of light at Arunachala.

Another exciting story about the ‘Karthigai Festival’ runs like this. In pre-historic antiquity, there was a demon called Tripurasura. He had, through his severe austerities, obtained the Divine Boon that he could be invincible and immortal so long as the three forts in which he had entrenched himself, were not demolished in one stroke. The forts were impregnable, one within the other. If only one or two of them were destroyed at a time by his opponents, they would immediately spring up again as strong as ever and the demon remained unconquerable and unshakeable.

Such was the invincible might and transcendental power of the Divine Boon obtained by Tripurasura. Finallystroke could Tripurasura be vanquished and destroyed. In despair the defeated gods approached Lord Shiva t all the Gods came to understand that only when all the three forts were demolished and razed to the ground in one o come to their help and protect the world.

According to tradition, Lord Shiva destroyed Tripurasura on Karthigai Deepam Day. The whole creation heaved a sigh of relief and once again righteousness reigned in the world. Thus this auspicious Kartika Purnima-Full Moon Day saw the great victory of good over evil and so this day is observed as a day of rejoicing from times immemorial. On Karthigai Deepam Day at night a big light is lighted in honour of the Lord’s victory.

Karthigai Deepam is the oldest festival of Tamilnadu. There are extensive references to ‘Deepam’ in several works of Sangam Literature.   It is believed that Lord Muruga, the divine light of Lord Shiva, took his form during this month. The ten-day festival is also known as ‘the Festival of Lights’ and is said to be the extension of the Deepavali festival of India. In some communities, people keep doubling the number of lamps every day from the day of Deepavali till Karthigai Deepam and thus the burning lamps present an enchanting spectacle during the night.

One of the earliest references to the festival can be seen in the Ahananuru, a book of poems, which dates back to the Sangam Age (200 B.C. to 300 A.D.). The Ahananuru clearly states that Karthigai is celebrated on the full moon day (Pournami) of the Tamil Month of Karthigai. It was one of the most important festivals (Peruvizha) of the ancient Tamils. Avvaiyyar, the renowned poetess of those times, refers to the festival in one of her famous songs. Avvayar in Poem No.11 in Agananuru compares an arid region where the Elavam Flowers are in full bloom which is now rightly identified as the Flame of the Forest.

The blossoming elevam flowers are compared to the bevy of beautiful maidens joyously lighting the Karthigai lamps in a steady methodical row in an organized manner. Nakkirar in Poem No. 141 refers to the physical fact of the full moon day attached with Karthigai star which is called Arumeen (Six stars). Tolkapiyar in his Tolkappiyam refers to the Karthigai lamp in these words: “Like the lamp’s flame pointing upwards”.

In another Tamil Epic Jeevakachintamani written by Thiruthakka Thevar, a Jain poet in the 8th century, the poet describes how the people celebrated the Karthikai Deepam festival with great enthusiasm and devotion. In another Tamil work, the Kalavazhi Narpadu dating back to the third Sangam period (after 1000 B.C) the poet says, “In the battle the blood oozing out from the dead soldiers´ bodies is like the red coloured flame of the lamps lit during Karthikai Deepam festival”.

There are many temple inscriptions which describe the importance and religious significance of Karthigai Deepam in Tamilnadu. For example, a mid-sixteenth Century inscription at the Arulalaperumal Temple in Kancheepuram, refers to the festival as Thiru Karthikai Thirunal.

In Sambandar´s Tevaram, while trying to raise a young girl Poompavai from the dead, he asks with deep feeling soaked in sorrow, “O Poompavai, have you gone without seeing the ancient Karthikai festival?” Another song in Tevaram says that the Lord is verily the Deepam (lit during the Karthikai festival

When the great poet Muruganar asked Ramana Maharishi about the significance of the Karthikai Deepam festival, Ramana Maharishi composed a stanza of four lines in which he says, “The true significance of the Karthikai Deepam festival is that it turns the intellect inwards and having fixed it in the Heart merges it with the indweller of the Heart”.

Arunachaleswara Temple in Tiruvannamalai

Today lakhs of people would be flocking to the Arunachaleswara Temple in Tiruvannamalai to worship the BHARANI DEEPAM. According to tradition the flame this Deepam does not flicker on this day and reveals the transcendental form of Lord Muruga reaching up to the sky. 

Jyoti Vilakku at Thiruvannamalai

The Deepam actually a colossal circular metal vessel with a capacity to hold about 2,000 litres of ghee, a height of five and half feet and diameter of five feet. The wick of the lamp itself is made up of 30 meters of ‘Ghada’ cloth, burnt with 2 kilos of camphor, in order to keep the light steady, firm and unflickering. On the night of ‘Karthigai Pournami’, when the lamp is lit in Tiruvannamalai it can be seen across an area of 35km around the shrine.

In Deepam Day is celebrated as ‘Karthik Purnima’ Day.  Having a holy dip in a sacred river on this day is considered as very auspicious in different parts of Northern India like Pushkar, Northern India, Karthigai Kurukshetra, Haridwar, Ayodhya, Kasi or Patna. The Kartik Purnima Snan (holy bath) on the banks of Gandak River in Sonepur, near Patna in Bihar coincides with the Asia’s largest cattle fair there.








Large fairs are also held on Karthik Purnima Day in Bijnor (Khari Jhalu block), Moradabad (Tigri), Budaun (Kakora), Bareilly (Chaubari), Muzaffarnagar (Shukra Tal), Garhmukteshwar, Anupshahr, Unnao (Ganga Ghat), Kanpur, Faizabad (Ayodhya), Varanasi and Ballia (Dadri) in U.P., drawing crowds from one lakh to four lakhs.






Dev Deepavali is celebrated on the occasion of Kartik Purnima in Varanasi when the Ghats of the River Ganga come alive with thousands of Diyas (earthen lamps). Dev Deepavali, celebrated on the fifteenth day of Diwali, is a tribute to river Ganga by the people of Varanasi.

It is believed that on the day of Dev Deepavali, the Gods descend on Earth. It is interesting to note that the Kartik Purnima festival also coincides with GURU NANAK JAYANTI and the Jain Light Festival.

GURU NANAK (1469 - 1539)


India is a land of cultural unity amidst diversity.  Languages, dialects, customs, festivals, dress, codes, cuisine, conduct, religions, philosophy, art, craft, literature, politics—there is nothing that is the same and certainly nothing that can be held together by just singing a national anthem.

There has to be something more, ‘something’ deeper than a national bird and national symbol.  In ‘Atharva Veda’ there is a poem which describes this ‘something’.

“Unified am I, quite undivided, That something’ which unifies is what this country leans upon as a source of strength for the ages to come. Once upon a time long ago, the great Saints and Sages who lived on this sacred soil injected this sense of unity into our life-streams. Our festivals like Deepavali, Dashera and Karthik Purnima are not simply a show of lights, asking for light to dawn on our minds, in our hearts, letting its warm glow mix wi.  When we celebrate festivals like Karthik Purnima, we celebrate the Festival of Eternal Illumination th our life and blood. 

Unified my soul
Unified my sight, unified my hearing
Unified my breathing—both in and out
Unified is my continuous breath
Unified, quite undivided am I
The whole of me”

On such festival days we celebrate the victory of good over evil, of virtue over vice, of immortal a God that lives in the heart of man, a God that works through the hazy networks of life after life, life over mortal death. How can I pay my tribute to my motherland of Bharatvarsha that believes in not just a God, but waiting, hoping and eternally confident that one day will arrive –what words can possibly fit to describe such fervour, such conviction, such immensity of plan and purpose.

To, an inexhaustible vital creativeness and gust of life and, mediating between them, a powerful, penetrating conclude in the soul-stirring words of Shri.Aurobindo: “Thus an ingrained and dominant spirituality and scrupulous intelligence combined of the rational, ethical and aesthetic mind each at a high intensity of action, created the harmony of the ancient Indian culture”.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010



Today (7-10-2010) is Mahalaya Amavasya Day. This day of Pitr Paksha or Mahalaya Amavasya has great significance and importance for all Hindus in all parts of the world. It is the annual festival for worshipping and propitiating the spirits of our ancestors, with devout prayers for peace and spiritual tranquility.

Mahalaya Amavasya Tarpanam

According to age-old tradition going back to the beginnings of pre-history, earnest performance of the rites of Shrardha on this day would positively gratify the immortal souls of our ancestors unto eternity. Our forefathers/ancestors cannot come to this world whenever they think, except on Amavasai, Srardha day and the starting day of every month and during Malaya Paksha. So they all come in sookshma (means not visible to naked eyes) dehas and if we offer them the til (gingili) and water they accept that, and bless us directly. According to Hindu religious belief, on the Mahalaya Amavasya day, there is a conjunction of the sun and the moon and that the sun enters the sign Virgo (Kanya). Tradition has it that on this day the departed ancestors leave their abode of Yama and come down to the earth to take their duly ordained rites from their descendants. The most vital difference between ‘Funeral’ rites and Shrardha is that, while the funeral rites are considered inauspicious, the Shrardha is considered as ritually auspicious and spiritually gratifying.

Mahalaya Amavasya Day is the day of Ancestor Worship for all the Hindu castes and communities in India cutting across linguistic and other local ritualistic and cultural differences. Ancestor Worship, also known as Ancestor Veneration or Ancestorism, is a religious practice based on the belief that deceased family members have a continued existence, take an interest in the affairs of the world, and possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. All cultures attach ritual significance to the passing of loved ones, but this is not equivalent to ancestor worship among the Hindus.

‘Jago Tumi Jago’ Wake up, Oh Goddess Durga! Wake up

On Mahalaya Amavasya Day, food is offered to the ancestors in different forms by people belonging to different Hindu castes and communities in all parts of India. Seen in this light, Mahalaya Amavasya is the only common festival for all the Hindu castes and communities and this serves as a strong cementing and integrating factor, instilling in the minds of the people the sacred fact of immortality of the soul and the continuity of existence through rebirth and transmigration of souls from generation to generation. The goal of ancestor worship by the Hindus is to ensure the ancestors’ continued well-being and positive disposition towards the living and sometimes to ask for special favours or assistance. The social or non-religious function of ancestor worship is to cultivate kinship values like filial piety, family loyalty, and continuity of the family lineage. Generally speaking, however, the purpose of ancestor worship is not to ask for favours but to do one’s filial duty. Some people believe that their ancestors actually need to be provided for by their descendants. Others do not believe that the ancestors are even aware of what their descendants do for them, but that the expression of filial piety is what is important. Whether or not the ancestor receives what is offered is not the issue. Therefore, for people unfamiliar with how ‘ancestor worship’ in Hindu India is actually practiced and thought of, the use of the translation ‘worship’ can be a cause of misunderstanding and is a misnomer in many ways. In English, the word ‘worship’ usually refers to the reverent love and devotion accorded a deity or divine being. However, in Hindu culture, this act of ‘worship’ does not mean the belief that the departed ancestors have become some kind of deity. Rather the act is a way to respect, honour and look after ancestors in their afterlife, in addition to seeking their guidance and benediction for their living descendants. In this sense, ‘ancestor veneration’ may convey a more accurate sense of Tarpanam and Srardha in the Sanatana Dharma tradition.

According to the age-old Hindu tradition, when one refers to ANCESTORS, it includes the following:

* Subtle bodies of all our known and unknown departed relations from all the previous generations are included in the category of our ancestors.

* Relatives from all the previous generations from the father’s and mother’s side; for a woman from her parent’s side as well as from her husband’s side are included in this category.

* Along with this subtle bodies of departed relatives from previous births are also included in ancestors.

* Normally a daughter married away to another family will never visit her previous generation and will instead visit her husband’s previous generation because it’s a custom for the women to follow the family tradition of their husbands.

Mahalaya Amavasya Day is an auspicious Hindu occasion observed seven days before the Durga Puja, and heralds the advent of DURGA, the Goddess of Supreme Power. The dark fortnight of Aswayuja is known as the Mahalaya Paksha or the fortnight especially sacred for offering oblations to the departed ancestors. Durga, Goddess of deliverance, comes to earth on the seventh day after the autumn new moon. She is depicted by the ‘kumors’ or potters as a resplendent golden figure standing on a lion’s back, each of her ten arms bearing a particular weapon, as she triumphs over the demon Mahisasura. Mahalaya Amavasya Day, the day Durga was assigned the task of eliminating all evils from the world, is a sacred day of invitation to the Mother Goddess Durga to descend on earth like a celestial lightning to put down evil and to restore Dharma on earth. The whole of Bengal, for centuries, has reverberated with the rapturous cries of ‘Jago Tumi Jago’ in Bengali which means ‘Wake up, Oh! Goddess Durga! Wake up’

From this day starts ‘Devipaksha’ and marks the end of ‘Pitri-paksha’. It is the day when many throng to the banks of river Ganga, clad in dhotis to offer prayers to their dead relatives and forefathers. People in the pre-dawn hours pray for their dead relatives and take holy dips in the Ganges. This ritual is known as ‘Torpon’ in Bengal and ‘Tarpan’ in the rest of India. According to Hindu mythology Sri Rama performed Durga Puja on a war footing, just before he set out for Lanka to rescue Sita from Ravana. It was on the day of Mahalaya, the beginning of ‘devipoksha’, the Gods and Goddesses woke up to prepare themselves for Durga Puja.

Having born as Hindus, we have to perform two types of ‘Kaaryaas’ namely ‘Deva Kaarya’ and ‘Pithru Kaarya’. The first one is to please the ‘Devas’, who are the representatives of The Almighty and it must be done with ‘Bakthi’, by means of ‘Homams’ and ‘Yagnas’, so that, the Devas bless us all with natural requirements and resources. The second one is to please our ancestors (Pitrus) and it must be done with ‘Srardha’ and hence known as ‘Srardham’ & ‘Tarpanam’, so that, they bless us with a life full of health, happiness and peace. As the ‘Mahalaya Paksha’ time of 15 days fall in the month of ‘Purattasi’ during the ‘Dakshynayana’ period, the ‘Srardham’ & ‘Tarpanam’ becomes more auspicious and important, because of the fact that, ‘Dakshin’ denotes ‘South’ and our ancestors (Pitrus) are supposed to be resting in the southern hemisphere. That is why the great Tamil poet, sage Thiruvalluvar addressed our ancestors as ‘Thenpulathaar’(Ilvaazhkai).

Thus, Tiruvalluvar says:

To conclude, ‘performing ‘Tarpanam’ on Mahalaya Amavasya is a must for all Hindus and similarly, performing ‘Srardham’ and ‘Tarpanam’ at Prayag (Allahabad), Kaasi (Varanasi) and Gaya (Bihar) is compulsory for at least once in a life time, because, our ancestors are believed to be eagerly awaiting our ‘Tharpanam’ and ‘Pindams’ (rice balls or flour balls) at those places to attain ‘Moksha’. In Tamil it is called as ‘Munnorkalai Karai Aetral’.

The blessings of our ancestors are very important for us to lead a hassle- free life full of health, wealth, happiness and peace of mind.

Saturday, September 11, 2010



gananaam tvaa ganapatim havaamahe kavim kaveenaam upama

shravastamam ,

jyeshtharaajam brahmanaam brahmanaspata Aa nah shrunvannootibhih

seeda saadanam

(Rig Veda 2.23.1)

The great Vedic scholar Shri M.P.Pandit of Sri.Aurobindo Ashram, Pondichery translated the above verse as follows:

gananaam tvaa ganapatim=The leader of the host of mantras

havaamahe=We invoke thee

kavim kaveenaam=A superb poet amongst poets

upama shravastamam= Who causes the hearing of divine inspiration

jyeshtharaajam brahmanaam brahmanaspata= The leader, the Lord of Chants

Aa nah shrunvantu=May He hear us and

ootibhih seeda saadanam=May He manifest Himself in us with His protections

Ganesh Chaturthi or “Vinayak Chaturthiis one of the most important and hoary festivals celebrated by the Hindus. It is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). Typically the day falls sometime between August 20 and September 15. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi, and is traditionally celebrated as the birthday of LORD GANESHA.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is the son of Shiva (The God of Destruction in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer) and Parvati (Shiva’s consort). The cutest and most lovable Indian God, Ganesha or Ganpati has the head of an elephant on which rests an elegant tiara, four podgy hands joined to a sizeable belly with each hand holding its own symbolic object – a trishul or a trident in one, an ankush or goad (made from his very own broken tooth) in another, a lotus in the third and a rosary (which is sometimes replaced by modak, his favourite sweet) in the fourth. Revered as the deity of auspiciousness and wisdom, as the Divine remover of all obstacles/bottlenecks, Lord Ganesha is also famous for being a trickster, with a profound sense of humour.

Lord Ganesh was born on the fourth day (chaturthi) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Magh. Since then, the association between Ganesh and Chaturthi has become proverbial, legendary and eternal. Thus the festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha on Chaturthi day is named as Ganesh Chaturthi.

There is an interesting tale about the birth of Ganesha. It is believed that once when Parvati was bathing, she created a human figure from a paste which was an amalgam of an unguent and a balm, gave it life and charged it with the responsibility of guarding the door while she was bathing. After a long period of meditation on Mountain Kailash (Lord Shiva’s abode), Shiva chose that very moment to drop by to see his better half, but was abruptly stopped by the human figure which Parvati had created and installed at the door for keeping guard. Outraged by the cheek of this stranger, Shiva cut off his head only to discover moments later that he had killed Parvati’s son! For fear of enraging his wife, Shiva immediately dispatched his ganas (attendants) to get him the head of the first living creature they could find in the immediate neighborhood. Well, the first living creature that happened to be there in the vicinity was an elephant. As instructed by Lord Shiva, the head of the elephant was chopped off and brought back to Shiva, who placed it on the body of Parvati’s son, bringing him back to life instantaneously in the twinkling of an eye. This elephant-headed god was welcomed into the first family of the Hindu heavens and named Ganesha or Ganapati, which literally means the chief of the ganas, or the attendants of Shiva.

Ganesha is the foremost god of the Hindu pantheon. This brave guardian of the door to Parvati’s bath is worshipped today as the most auspicious God for launching all new ventures. We can see him carefully guarding entrances to temples and homes, peeping out of calendars and happily gracing marriages and all such auspicious occasions.

No one knows when and how Ganesh Chaturthi came to be celebrated. But according to the historian Shri Rajwade, the earliest Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations can be traced back to the times of the rule of dynasties such as the Satavahanas, the Rashtrakutas and the Chalukyas.

Historical records reveal that Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations were started in Maharashtra by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, the great Maratha ruler, in the 17th century to promote Hindu culture and foster Hindu nationalism. And it has continued ever since to this day. There are also references in modern Maratta history to similar celebrations during the regime of the Peshwas. Lord Ganapati was the family deity of the Peshwas. After the end of Peshwa rule in 1818, Ganesh Chaturthi remained a family affair in Maharashtra till 1892.

Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) saw how Lord Ganesha was worshipped by the upper stratum as well as the rank and file of Maharashtra. This great visionary who declared “Swaraj is my birthright” fully realized the cultural importance of this deity and popularised Ganesha Chaturthi as a National Festival “to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins and to find an appropriate context in which to build a new unity at the grassroots level between them”. Tilak also understood that without such a social unity, it was not easy to drive the British out of Maharashtra or India. For creating such an fraternal atmosphere in Maharashtra, Tilak chose Lord Ganesha as a rallying point for Indian protest against British rule in 1893 because of His wide appeal as “THE GOD FOR EVERYMAN”.

From 1893, Tilak began to organize the Ganesh Utsav as a social and religious function. It was he who inaugurated the tradition of installing large public images of Ganesha on public platforms/pavilions and established the tradition of their immersion into a river, a lake or the sea on the tenth day. This grand Ganesh Festival facilitated enthusiastic community participation and vigorous involvement in the form of learned discourses, dance dramas, poetry recital, musical concerts, debates, etc. In short the Ganesh Festival became a focal point for common people of all castes and communities, for getting together at the same public place at a time when all social and political gatherings were forbidden by the British Government in India. Thus Ganesh Festivel became very popular in Maharashtra between 1893 and 1905 and after 1905 as India’s freedom Movement picked up, it became an all India festival and remains so even today. With the independence of India in 1947, it was proclaimed as a national festival.

In almost every town and village in India, statues of Lord Ganesa are made with great devotion and fervour and installed at public places at least two days prior to the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi. This year tomorrow—11th September 2010, Saturday-- is Ganesh Chathurthi Day.

Those who live in and around Hyderabad are very familiar with the beautiful Ganesh idols which are installed every year on the eve of Ganesh Chathurthi every year at a small suburban hub called Khairtabad (Telugu: ఖైరతాబాదు) . I have been greatly fascinated by these exquisitely designed and created Ganesh Idols which are more than 40 feet in height. I am presenting below the Ganesh idols of Khairtabad put up during Ganesh Chathurthi from 2004 to 2009.

GANESH CHATHURTHI 2004                    GANESH CHATHURTHI 2005

GANESH CHATHURTHI 2006                        GANESH CHATHURTHI 2007



Let me conclude with the first verse from Adi Shankara’s Ganesha Pancharatnam
 Mudakaraatha Modakam Sada Vimukti Saadhakam

Kalaadharaavatamsakam Vilasiloka Rakshakam
Anaaya Kaika Naayakam Vinasitebha Daityakam
Nataasubhasu Naashakam Namaami Tham Vinaayakam.

The free meaning of the above verse is as follows

I salute that remover of obstacles,
Who has modakas in his hand
Who always bestows salvation
Who wears a part of moon on his head
Who protects this world which is varied,
Who is the leader of those who cannot be lead,
Who is the cause of destruction of asuras,
And who destroys all things which are not good.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010



Tomorrow (1-9-2010) is JANMASHTAMI DAY – the Birthday of Bhagwan Krishna.

Sri Krishna is the Darling of Humanity. Hindu men, women and children in India and in all parts of the world are fascinated by His life, and teachings and soul-stirring stories of marvellous depth and sublime beauty have grown around him.

KRISHNA in HIS cosmic form watching baby Krishna and mother Yashoda.

MATHURA and VRINDAVAN are closely associated with the birth and childhood of Bhagwan Krishna, the guide, philosopher, lover and spiritual Being Supreme. Also known as BRAJ BHUMI, Mathura and Vrindavan are still alive—agleam with the light and aglow with the fire – of the time-defying splendour and glory of timeless Krishna legends. Mathura, a small village on the bank of the River Yamuna, was transformed into a place of light and pilgrimage after Krishna was born there.

Keshav Dev Temple at Mathura (Krishna Janma Bhoomi Temple)

Vrindavan, some 15 km away from Mathura, is the sacred place where Krishna spent most of his childhood, serenading Gopis and showing miracles one moment, and killing demons the next.


The divine Incarnation of Lord Krishna as the child of Devaki and Vasudeva is one of the most important events in the whole of Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana. According to Melpattur Narayana Bhattatiri(1559-1632), the auspicious occurrences prior to and at the time of, the birth of Lord Krishna augured well for the grandeur of the occasion. Even nature rejoiced. In Dasakam 38, he sang as follows:

The meaning of the above verse is: “When the time of Your incarnation as Lord Krishna with a form comprising of Suddha Sattvam (Pure Sattva-Guna with out any admixture of Rajas and Tamas) approached, dark clouds covered the entire sky and the rainy season set in. The bright clouds looked as though they were rays of brilliance emanating from Your Divine Body embedded in Devaki’s womb.

Lord Krishna incarnated at midnight of the holy day on which were conjoined the Star Rohini and the Ashtami Tithi of the Krishna Paksha (on the Eighth day of the waning moon), in the month of Sravana. Virtuous people, who were eagerly awaiting the happy occasion of Lord Krishna’s incarnation on the Earth, to destroy all evil and to re-establish Righteousness, were overjoyed at the Fulfilment of their wishes. As a result, their minds had also cooled down. This message is given in Dasakam 39 of Narayaneeyam below.

Krishna  is a deity worshiped in many traditions of Hinduism, marked by a vast spectrum of differing perspectives. And yet, no one can fail to notice the underlying spirit of cultural unity — the abiding message of Krishna Consciousness — that pervades the whole of India from Kashmir in the North to Kanya Kumari in the South, from Rann of Kuchch in the West to Lushai Hills bordering Burma in the East. While many Vaishnava groups recognize Krishna as an avatar of Vishnu, other traditions within Vaishnavism consider Krishna to be svayam bhagavan, or the Supreme Being.

Krishna is often depicted as an infant, as a young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana, or as a youthful prince giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita. The stories of Krishna appear across a broad spectrum of Hindu philosophical and theological traditions. They portray HIM in various dimensions: as a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero and above all as the Supreme Being. The principal scriptures discussing Krishna’s story are the Mahâbhârata, the Harivamsa, the Bhagavata Purana and the Vishnu Purana. Naraneeyam by Melpattur Narayana Bhattiri, of Kerala also belongs to this class.


The various traditions dedicated to different manifestations of Krishna, such as Vaasudeva, Bala Krishna and Gopala, existed as early as 4th century BC. The Krishna-bhakti Movement spread to southern India by the 9th century AD, while in northern India Krishna-bhakti schools were well established by 11th century AD. From the 10th century AD, with the growing Bhakti movement, Krishna became a favorite subject in performing arts and regional traditions of devotion for forms of Krishna developed such as Jagannatha in Orissa, Vithoba in Maharashtra and Shrinathji in Rajasthan. Devotion to Krishna is widely diffused and extends to Jains, Buddhists, and beyond India.





Since 1966, the Krishna-Bhakti Movement has spread extensively in the West, with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly known as the “Hare Krishna Movement”, growing into a global spiritual movement. The great Vaishnava Maharishi in the line of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who created this ISKON Movement was A. C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896–1977). His mission was to propagate the Gaudiya Vaishnavism form of Hinduism, that had been taught to him by his guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, throughout the world.Draupadi cried out in despair: “Oh! Lord Krishna! I have no other Saviour but YOU! Will you not rush and intervene like a heavenly lightning!” Her prayer was immediately answered. To the total astonishment of all present at the Royal Court, yards and yards of silk clothes appeared on the distraught Draupadi as if from no where. Each sari removed from her body was replaced by another, miraculously in an instant. Dushasana, overcome by fatigue arising from pulling the mysterious and seemingly endless stream of flowing saris appearing on Draupadi, fell back and collapsed. A tumult of joy and praise burst forth from the assemblage. A hundred throats cried out “GOVINDA! GOVINDA!” Govinda is the Protector of those in distress, the Aapat Baandava!

The Sanskrit word k[cGa has the literal meaning of “black”, “dark” or “dark hued” and is used as a name to describe someone with dark skin. Krishna is often depicted in moortis (images) as black, and is generally shown in paintings with a blue skin.

Krishna is also known by various other names, epithets and titles, which reflect his many associations and attributes. Among the most common names are Govinda, “finder of cows”, or Gopala, “protector of cows”, which refer to Krishna’s childhood in Vraja. Some of the distinct names may be regionally important; for instance, Jagannatha (literally “Lord of the Universe”), a popular deity of Puri in eastern India.

Krishna is easily recognized by his representations. Though his skin colour may be depicted as black or dark in some representations, particularly in murtis, in other images such as modern pictorial representations, Krishna is usually shown with blue skin. He is often shown wearing a yellow silk dhoti and peacock feather headgear. Common depictions show him as a little boy or as a young man in a characteristic relaxed pose, playing the flute. In this form, he usually stands with one leg bent in front of the other and raises a flute to his lips, accompanied by cows, emphasising his position as the divine herdsman, Govinda, or with the gopis (milkmaids).

The scene on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, notably where he addresses Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, is another common subject for representation. In these depictions, he is shown as a man, often shown with typical god-like characteristics of Hindu religious art, such as multiple arms or heads, denoting power, and with attributes of Vishnu, such as the chakra or in his two-armed form as a charioteer.


Often, Krishna is pictured with his gopi-consort Radha. Manipuri Vaishnavas do not worship Krishna alone, but as Radha Krishna, a combined image of Krishna and Radha. This Radha-Krishna tradition is also a characteristic of the schools of Rudra and Nimbarka sampradaya, as well as that of Swaminarayan faith.


Justice A.S.P Iyer I.C.S (1899-1963) in his book, ‘Sri Krishna – The Darling of Humanity’, says: “Alexander the Great once asked a Brahmin scholar in the 4th century BC. “How can we know a man to be God?” and the scholar replied “When he does what no man can ever do.” To illustrate this divine point, I would refer to how Krishna saved the chastity, dignity and honour of Draupadi at the Royal Court of Hastinapura.

At that Court, Prince Duryodhana, egged on by Karna, ordered his younger brother Prince Dushasana to bring Draupadi, the Empress of Indraprasta and to disrobe her in front of all the assembled dignitaries. Dushasana dragged Draupadi by her hair and proceeded to remove her clothes. Humiliated, Draupadi wailed loudly appealing to the Pandavas and the Kuru elders to save her from dishonour. Draupadi, seeing no help forthcoming from the assembled dignitaries, now raised her fair dainty hands in complete surrender to Lord Krishna and implored HIM to save her from the clutches of the wicked Dushasana.


The Bhagawat Gita of Lord Krishna is one of the noblest scriptures of India, indeed one of the greatest scriptures of the world. It would be a tragic irony of fate if India were to throw away her spiritual heritage, at the altar of ‘Development’, at the very moment when in the rest of the world, there is more and more turning, towards her for spiritual help and a saving light.

Sage Maitreya, Bhishma, the Terrible, Grandsire of the rival clans, Pandavas as well as the Kauravas, and Guru Dronacharya, the military leader of the Kauravas, were united in their opinion:

“Yato Krishna, tato Dharma. Yato Dharma, tato Jaya.”

To conclude in the words of Sri Praveen Pillai, a great devotee of Lord Krishna: ‘Lord Krishna is the hope for the despairing, the teacher for the seekers of truth, protector of the righteous, the support in old age, the cure for terminal diseases, the journey as well as the destination, the greatest wealth, the object of desire for those who have renounced all desires. HE is the darling child for the childless couples. HE hears the quiet sobs and sees the tears of his true devotees being shed in solitude. HE is the Daridra-Naaraayan, the Lord of the destitute, the helpless and the defenceless. HE is LOVE Personified. HE is the Darling of the masses.’