grandeur of avadhAnam

I was listening to pravachanams on Andhra mahAbharatam by Sri. Dr. garikapATi narasimhA rao gAru. In one of the episodes on vishNu-sahasra-nAma of apaamnidhi, he mentioned the grandeur of pANDityam that too in avadhAnam, i.e. realtime expression of one’s excellence.

Sri. pisupATi chidambara SAStry is an erstwhile legend in samskRtAvadhAnam. In one of his programs, one of the pRchchakAs gave him a line for samasyA pooraNam. The line was: “अम्भोधिः जलधिः पयोधिः उदधिः वारान्निधिः वारिधिः ” This line has 6 words, which are all synonyms of samudra (sea). Now see how well he composed the poem keeping this line, and showing his excellence in pANDityam, purANam and common sense.

And if you don’t know avadhAnam, here is a brief explanation of the prakriya. there are various real-time questions posed by each prichchaka (participant) and the avadhAni has to answer them composing one line at a time for each one of them in sequence and come back and continue with composition of second line in sequence for all of them and so on. Meanwhile, there are other distractions such as: 1) one rings a bell once in a while and the avadhAni should keep counting them and tell the count while he is busy composing poems for all others one line at a time for each participant. 2) aprastuta-prasangi is one who brings up some irrelevant question in trying to distract him and the avadhAni can’t disregard him; he should be engaged with him as well in answering his irrelevant questions while continuing with his real-time compostion of peoms. samasyA-pUraNam is one of the multiple challenges posed to an avadhAni, where in he is given one line or phrase or a few irrelevant or often contradictory words and asked to compose a poem using those words.

So, the context of his poem composition is pArvati’s envy of Siva keeping gangA on his head even after repeated complaints by her. So, she asks her son, ShaNmukha who is a vidwAn to convince his father to get rid of gangA. In this context, this poem is a conversation between shaNmukha and Siva. The poem is as follows:

अम्बा कुप्यति तात, मूर्ध्नि विहिता गङ्गेयं उत्सृज्यताम् |
विद्वन्षाण्मुख का गतिर्मयि चिरं  तस्यास्स्थितायाः वद | 
रोषोत्कर्षवशात् अशेषवदनैः प्रत्युत्तरं दत्तवान् |
अम्बोधिः जलधिः पयोधिः उदधिः वारान्निधिः वारिधिः ||
ShaNmukha tells his father Siva, the first line of the poem. The meaning of the first line is: तात (O father!) अम्बा कुप्यति (mother is angry) मूर्ध्नि (on the top of your head) विहिता (living) गङ्गेयं(the gangA) उत्सृज्यताम् (may you give up);
“O Father, mother is angry and so you may give up gangA who is living on the top of your head.”
Siva replies in the second line saying विद्वन्षाण्मुख (O knowledgeable ShaNmukha) वद (Please say) का गति: (what will be the way) तस्या: (of her) स्स्थितायाः (who is present) र्मयि (on me) चिरं (for so long?);
“O wise ShaNmukha, tell me what will be the way for her who has been living on my head for so long?”
Here as a standard answer leading to the fourth line, we have a standard saying “नदीनां सागरो गतिः” hence, ShaNmukha’s answer can be sAgaraH. but how to get it six times?
So, in the third line, the poet narrates:
रोषोत्कर्षवशात् (out of fury and anger) अशेषवदनैः (by several, i.e six faces) प्रत्युत्तरं (reply) दत्तवान् (gave); out of fury and anger, ShaNmukha replied through his six furious faces, the six synonyms of sea, such as अम्बोधिः, जलधिः, पयोधिः, उदधिः, वारान्निधिः, वारिधिः
Even we when we are angry we repeat the same word couple times; since we are not good at synonyms, we change a consonant and repeat the same word, for example, “paisA vaisA”. Like wise, however since shaNmukha is a wise person, he instead of repeating same sAgaraH six times, he mentioned six synonyms of it, one from each face.
if you also got elated and delighted and filled with joy after reading this, like I did, please comment with your expression of that joy.

prajA – children of the ruler

प्रजानां विनयाधानाद् रक्षणाद्भरणादपि।
स पिता पितरस्तासां केवलं जन्महेतवः॥ १-२४

This is the 24th shloka of the first sarga of raghuvamSam by mahAkavi kALidAsa. In this, he is describing various qualities of King Dileep in the shlokas before and after this. In this he says, “Orienting his subjects in good conduct, protecting them from fears or dangers, according succour with welfare facilities, king dilIpa became their de facto father while their actual parents remained parents de jure.”

The first part of the three qualities of a father is orienting his children in good conduct. Citizens are like children for the ruler, according to Hindu/bhArateeya traditions. How can such a father like ruler license liquor, pubs etc? Alright, even if you can’t stop them, atleast orient your subjects on what to do, what is good to do. Don’t shy based on western thought of secular democracy where the government need not interfere in personal lives of people.

Here is our new PM, who upon winning elections, the very next day, goes to Varanasi from where he contested, and addresses public. He says “I want to make Varanasi the ‘Spiritual Capital’ of the world.” For that, he says, “I have a dream and I want to start it from Kashi. But government can’t do it. You have to do it. By 2019, it will the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi, however never compromised on one thing. And that is cleanliness. While we praise Singapore for cleanliness, did any one of you see anyone littering out in Singapore? But, the same guy, even after offering worship in the temple, comes out and spits out, like a piston. Can we not start this project of cleaning up from Kashi?”

This is pitA. who is orienting his citizens to keep the city, premises and the country clean. He is a mentor.

This country is now blessed that it has chosen such a Leader, who, forget giving any freebies, is now shouldering the responsibility of keeping the country clean on the citizens. And he is also assuring them that such small steps only lead to big change and development.

jaya ho Sreemaan narendra-bhai. Fellow citizens, let’s live for the country and be responsible participants in the collective development of this nation.

rAkhasas then and now are the same

I started studying daSama skandam of SrImad bhAgavatam, in preparation for my kAtha in IT Milans’ prAthamika SikshA varga on Dec 25th 2013 and found the following shlokas of 10.4 chapter very relevant, however sorrowful it is, even today:
the ministers and advisors of kamsa are instigating him the following after he regretted killing several children of devakI-vasudeva:
मूलम् हि विष्णु: देवानाम्, यत्र धर्मः सनातनः ।
तस्य च ब्रह्म-गो-विप्राः, तपः यज्ञः सदक्षिणः ॥ ३९ ॥
foundation of all Gods (good people) is viShNu, who lives where sanAtana-dharma is practised and vedas, cows and brAhmaNas (good people) live doing tapas and yajna with compensation.
तस्मात् सर्वात्मना राजन्, ब्राह्मणान् ब्रह्मवादिनः ।
तपस्विनः यज्ञशीलान्, गाश्च हन्मः हविर्दुग्धाः ॥ 40 ॥
So, rAja kamsa, we shall kill, in all aspects, all brAhmaNas (good people) who perform yajnAs (good activities) and the cows who feed milk from which the ghee is prepared to offer in yajnAs.
I can’t see more relevance than that happening in Kerala and tamilnadu, old city of HYD where they kill cows, kill good Hindu leaders (who are like brAhmaNas referred above.) They subtly and forcefully evacuate and takeover Hindu neighborhoods, by first moving in there and there by with their acts, force Hindu neighbors to get pissed off and move out.
विप्राः गावाः च वेदाः च, तपः सत्यम् दमः शमः ।
श्रद्धा दया तितीक्षा च, क्रतवः च हरेः तनुः ॥ ४१ ॥
because Hari’s body is: intellectuals, cows, vedAs, tapas, Truth, control of mind & senses, faith, mercy, tolerance and sacrifices, i.e. Bhagavan’s manifestation is in all the above qualities and beings and His enemies want to fight him by eliminating these.
Hence, I remember the prayer again by Gods to mahAviShNu in bAla kANDa which we all should pray everyday:
त्वम् गतिः परमा देव, सर्वेषाम् नः परन्तप ।
वधाय देव शत्रूणाम् नृणाम् लोके मनः कुरु ॥
You are the ultimate resort for us O God. Please put your mind towards us here, for the sake of killing ‘God-foes’ (enemies of Go[o]d people.) 
शुभम् भवतु । धर्मस्य जयोस्तु । अधर्मस्य नाशोस्तु ।

samudra-vasane-devi, pAda-sparSam kshamasva me

Long time back, I posted this article, but didn’t go out of my Drafts. Reposting it now.

I just saw another good initiative,

Heights of ignorance of the individuals in the society. With more and more processed and packaged food, we are generating lot of dry waste, but unfortunately mixing it up with wet-waste as well.

  • Try not to generate any wastage. don’t buy bottled/canned items. buy lose that you can carry in your own vessels/bags.
  • Be very cautious before you throw anything on the ground.
  • Diapers is one big wastage that can be avoided, unlike sanitary napkins of women. when the child is at home, he may not need a diaper. so, atleast, the diaper consumption can be reduced.

For the rest, separate out, as suggested into :
1. bio-waste, which can be composted;
2. recyclable waste
3. rest of the waste;

the city authorities should levy significant amount of fees/taxes on the third item to discourage people from generating/producing that waste.

Most of all, be a good Hindu which teaches:
1. everything belongs to God, so use it with care and caution as a trustee would expend the funds of a Trust.
2. samudravasane devi parvatastana-manDale, vishNupatnee namastubhyam paada-sparsham kshamasvame. A society which prays this daily begging pardon for just putting the feet on the earth, seeing her as Mother earth and Goddess earth; how can one dump trash into her? so, such conscious society will abuse/consume less and hence produce less trash.

Jogulaamba devi temple, alampuram

History of Jogulamba devi temple

Jogulaamba devi temple is one of the prominent Ashtadasha Sakti-peethas in our country. It is located in the Alampuram village of Paalamooru (Mahaboob Nagar) district of Andhra Pradesh.

Sati-devi immolated herself up in the Daksha prajapati’s yajna, because she felt  insulted that she was not invited and Daksha was vilifying Her husband, Siva. Siva kills Daksha prajapati and does tandava with the body of Sati, called Daakshaayani (daughter of Daksha.) He later brings Daksha back to life, upon Gods’ prayers. To keep the universe from vilaya tandava destruction, Sudarshana chakra is fired which cuts the body of Sati-devi into pieces and different parts of her body are thrown across Bhaarat. It is said that the upper teeth of Sati-devi fell in Alampur, where Jogulaamba devi temple is constructed.

In this kshetra, Siva is called by the name Sri Baala-Brahmeshwara swamy. Jogulaamba devi is a very furious manifestation. The prarthana shloka here is:

लम्बस्तनीं विकृताक्षीं घोररूपां महाबलां | प्रेतासन-समारूढां, जोगुलाम्बां नमाम्यहं ||

This is one of the ancient temples. It was constructed by Baadaami Chaalukyas. Several other kings have contributed to the enhancements of the temples here. But in 1390 CE, the Bahamani-sultans have started destroying these temples. The local leaders gave tough fight. As part of that, the devotees there have taken away the deity of Jogulaamba and hidden it in the Paataaleshwara temple of the Baala-Brahmeshwara temple premises. After independence, ASI (Archaeological Society of India) has declared it as a protected monument and didn’t allow reconstruction of Jogulaamba temple. Several local leaders including Sri Gadiyaram Ramakrishna Sarma have worked to force the authorities to initiate construction of the temple, which was completed and opened for public darsan in 2005. This is was consecrated by the Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti peetham.

The new temple is surrounded by a water pool, beautifully constructed with sandstone sculptures. Alampur is a place of temples, all constructed along the bank of river tunga-bhadra. In addition to Jogulaamba and Baala-Brahmeshwara temples, there are nava Brahma, yoga Naarasimha swamy, Kanchi Kaamaakshi, Veeraanjaneya swamy, Paapa-vinaashaneshwara swamy temples.

Some unique features

  1. This is the third kshetra for Soorya Naaraayana swamy, next to Konark and Arasavalli
  2. All temples are sculpted out of sand-stone, unlike granite which is popular in all other south Indian temples
  3. The only Sakti peetha which is situated on the banks of a running river, tunga-bhadra
  4. In the premises of Baala-Brahmeshwara swamy temple, there are several named lingas around the parikrama of the temple. One with the base (panavaTTam) is the linga worshipped by Sri Raama, and the other one, plain linga, was worshipped by LakshmaNa, when they were here during their aranya vaasa.

Renuka devi temple

It is told that Rishi Jamadagni lived here with his wife Renuka and four sons. Upon a mistake done by Renuka-devi, Jamadagni asks his sons to kill her. The elder three sons dare not and refuse. Parashurama kills her with his axe. Pleased, Jamadagni then gives him a boon to ask for. Parashurama in return asks for his mother. Jamadagni brings her back to life.

Muslim invasion

It is said that Jogulaamba devi is a very powerful, ferocious deity. During the fight of  invasion and destruction by Bahmani sultans, one of their leaders was killed there. So, they constructed a tomb for him and built a compound wall around one of our temples there. The temple captured inside their compound is an unfortunate and a rare event. In all other temples in the country like Varanasi, Mathura, ayodhya, vemulavada etc, the current muslim structures are adjacent to, or inside our temples. Whereas, in this city, they have occupied our land, and constructed a darga around our temple.

When the author visited Jogulaamba recently, the muslims from the darga were pleading the visitors and devotees to visit their darga and do dharma (donate money.) It’s very sad to see a muslim structure arund every prominent, ancient Hindu temple, which is a symbol of the terrorism they exerted on Hindus, the society, their temples, culture and civilization.

It seems, there is no historical muslim structure in India which is not built on the ruins of, or after attempting to ruin Hindu temples. In this context, Bhagyalakshmi temple of Hyderabad, is another instance of an existing temple, which was ruined as part of the constructions of Charminar and Jama Masjid. The city got the name ‘Bhagyanagar’ from this temple. Late Chief Minister Sri N.T. Rama Rao also used to refer Hyderabad as ‘Bhagyanagar’. He didn’t invent this name. He only popularized the original name of the city, which existed for long, before him.


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Emergency time : Sangh’s contribution in restoring democracy

Indira Gandhi declared emergency through the President, Mr. Fakruddin Ali Ahmed on 25th June 1975 which ran for almost two years till May 1977. Many of us know that this Emergency costed Indira Gandhi her next elections. But, how did it happen? How was RSS a catalyst in the big movement that threw Indira Gandhi out?

In this blog, a few details on what led to Emergency and what was RSS’ role in it, are captured.

What led to Emergency?

During 1970 mid-terms polls were called for and Indira Gandhi won the elections with thumping victory. Over the several years after that, the power vested in the hands of Indira Gandhi gave her over-confidence which built arrogance in her about people’s trust in her. She slowly started ruling the nation autocratically.

In March 1973, in his last bouddhik – “vijay hi vijay”, P.P Sri Guruji had clearly predicted that Dictatorial leadership is imminent on the nation.

During 1971 and 1972, first in Gujarat and then in Bihar, students led movements against corruption. This movement later attracted support from all political parties. Jai Prakash Narayan led this movement across. This built a massive public opinion against corruption, and as a result in 1973, Congress lost elections in Gujarat.

Meanwhile, Raj Narain went to Allahabad High Court alleging that Indira Gandhi won the election unconstitutionally and hence her election should be annulled. The court gave a verdict in favor of Raj Narain.

This verdict gave energy to the opposition in demanding resignation of Indira Gandhi as the Prime Minister. All political parties led several agitations demanding Indira Gandhi’s ouster.

Feeling Insecure and being arrogant, Indira Gandhi recommended to the then President, Mr. Fakruddin Ali Ahmed, to declare emergency. Thus came emergency on June 25th 1975, even though there was no external threat to the country from any neighbors from invasion, nor any internal disturbances to the constitutional government.

What is Emergency?

Constitution provides powers to declare Emergency during the times when there are either external security threats or internal disturbances leading to lawless situations.

1. MISA (Maintenance of Internal SecurityAct) was used by the Government in arresting all major opposition Leaders, in the name of pre-empting any potential commotions. It also banned organizations like RSS, Jammat e-Islam, the naxaliste based CPI(ML). Even though RSS did not pose any threat to the Government, it banned RSS the second time (the first time being after Gandhi-ji’s assassination in 1948.)

2. Government also enforced censorship on newspaper content. So, any publication in news papers would be censored by the Government. If any publication manages to publish any content which is not liked by the Government, it would ban the organization.

What did Sangh do?

1. Sangha took a resolve to focus on restoring democracy than working towards lifting the ban on RSS.

2. Since newspapers were censored and public were not aware of the ruthless emergency affairs, Sangha planned to distribute the same news across the country through alternate media of informal printing and distribution of pamphlets.

3. Alternate Media:

Within the first one month, Sangha identified a network of anonymous people who would form the infrastructure of passing information/news of any undemocratic events in any part of India. News would go from villages to Delhi and from Delhi back to various villages. For example, Sri dwArakAchAry would send news to Delhi. Since printing is traceable and the printing house could be confiscated by the Government, Sangha took to cyclostyling  of the content.

Swayamsevaks would take the cyclostyled documents and distribute them anonymously to houses, public reading rooms etc. Based on the response of reception by individuals and houses, Swayamsevaks would continue/repeat distribution there.

This continued for about 8 to 10 months. This built confidence in the society to slowly come out in public and join the movement.

4. Satyagraha:

Sangha planned for satyAgraha from 14th November 1975 to sankrAnti of 1976 with only four demands:

  1. Remove Emergency and restore democracy
  2. Lift Censorship on Media house publications
  3. Release arrested leaders and lastly
  4. Lift ban on RSS

In the beginning, except RSS and Akali dal in Punjab, not many used to participate in the Satyagraha. Several Swayamsevaks would come out and participate in satyagraha to build confidence in the society to fight emergency and also to bring awareness of what is going on in the country. For example, ringing all the bells in the temple and continuously ringing bicycle bells while riding them, for no reason, but to attract attention of the people.

Government used another law called ‘Defense of Indian Rules (DIR)’ and arrested several Swayamsevaks. For example, Sri. umAmaheSwara Rao from Visakhapatnam was arrested as part of this DIR. One magistrate however ruled out this arrest and freed the arrested. Other magistrates also attempted in taking this as precedence and denying arrest of Swayamsevaks.

5. As part of this Satyagraha, several locally popular leaders were encouraged and invited to speak in public places, to eradicate fear in the minds of people so that the society can come out and join the movement.

Sri Chilukuru Subrahmanya Sastry also came in public in defiance, only to get arrested. He utilized this opportunity in daily bringing together all the Swayamsevaks in the jail and give them bouddhiks to boost their confidence and keep up their self confidence, since they don’t know how long would they be in the jails. Excepting sharIrik activities, it used to be like a sangha SikshA varga.

Literature was exchanged between sangha and communist parties as well.

Senior adhikaris and karyakartas in jails did their best in keeping lively atmosphere in jails, by singing songs, bhajans etc.

Any anti-public atrocities conducted by police were immediately documented and shared with the public through the pamphlets.

6. Swayamsevaks outside would go collecting nominal funds, in the amounts of five rupees atleast, from common people like Govt employees, to be able to support the families of those who were arrested. Swayamsevaks, outside the jail, raised funds and do activities that would:

  1. help run the movement
  2. boost the morale of those arrested
  3. raise funds to support the families of those arrested
  4. exchange communication between the arrested and their families.

One of the kAryakartAs from Godavarikhani of Karimnagar district was arrested when he was distributing these pamphlets. He was tortured by the police in trying to find out the source and authors of the pamphlets. He didn’t give even one name. In all, they have lit 200 candles on his back making him lie down. He still kept the secret. Once, when he went to the bathroom, secretly some photographs of his back were taken and published again in the pamphlets.

7. Kerala DIG once told Indira Gandhi on Dec 31st 1975 that it was tough to arrest RSS workers as the RSS offices were deserted and Swayamsevak homes were RSS offices and that it is tough to go after so many families.

8. Dr. Subrahmanian Swamy formed Friends of India Society (FOIS) and toured countries like UK, USA and lectured to Indian public and others about the horrible state of affairs of the Indian Government and the society to build the public opinion against Indira Gandhi to pressurize her to lift Emergency.

9. Meanwhile, Sanjay Gandhi went on a massive movement of conducting vasectomy operations  in the name of family planning on a large scale. This drew obvious displeasure and antipathy in the pubic towards Sanjay Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Congress in general.

10. P.P Balasaheb-ji expressed that because of emergency, sangh work expanded beyond imagination. For example, sangh work was prevalent in about 350 villages before emergency, while after emergency, we have reach from 6 to 8 thousand villages to almost 10 thousand villages in Andhra Pradesh state itself.

How did it restore?

Intelligence reports to Indira Gandhi stated that it might be a good time to go for general elections as all the leaders were in jails. Indira Gandhi called for elections in May 1977. Only few leaders were released and several were still in the jail. Several leaders have filed their nominations while in Jail as well.

The Government tried to entice RSS adhikaris that it would lift ban on RSS if they stop supporting Janata Party. RSS had it clear in their minds that they are fighting for restoring democracy in the nation than for their personal, organizational benefit. In 1948, it fought for lifting the ban imposed on it wrongly alleging it for Gandhiji’s assassination. But it didn’t gain much public support. But during emergency, it fought only for the nation and public, hence it garnered support from all parties and corners of the society.

There was a mass sentiment in the public against Congress during the emergency period. All the political parties realized that  they should come together as one and fight elections. As expected communist parties didn’t join, but Jana Sangh, socialist party and others have come together and formed Janata Party. Youth on their own have come on the roads and would right graffiti against corruption, Congress and Indira Gandhi. Janata Party won elections under the leadership of Morarjee Desai, even though they won only one seat (Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy) in  Andhra Pradesh.

After losing elections, Indira Gandhi herself lifted Emergency and ban on RSS.

There are some accusations on P.P Balasaheb-ji that he offered in writing to the Government about surrendering. There was no such communication. The letters written in formal, courteous and respectful to the Prime Minister was misconstrued by the communists and the media as soft sided with the Government, which is absolutely wrong.

To summarize, following were the contributions by RSS during emergency :

  1. Several Swayamsevaks sacrificed their careers and life and went to jails (over lakhs of Swayamsevaks went to jail as part of the satyAgraha movement)
  2. Provided alternate media to the society in sharing the news of importance
  3. Provided moral support to those who were arrested by keeping constant exchange of communication between those arrested and their families
  4. Raised funds to support the families of those arrested
  5. Restored confidence in the society to come into foray in defiance, through speeches of several people and the distribution of pamphlets
  6. Brought together several political parties and groups to fight the corruption and the government.

Come June 25, 2012 it will be 37 years since the Emergency was imposed. History is to be studied to learn lessons from it to not repeat such mistakes and to keep up the great contributions of the past and go to param vaibhavam state.

Rama – a great Leader

Sri. UshaSri is an elderly, veteran writer on Hindu Scriptures and used to give discourses on AkAshavANi as well, in my childhood. He wrote books on rAmAyaNa. He used to answer questions in a column called “dharma sandehAlu.” swAti magazine recently started publishing this column again in their magazine.

One of the questions from a Subscriber was a simple oneliner: “Hanuman is said to be more powerful than Rama!?”

UshaSri is known to be very witty in his answers. He simply said, “It’s no big deal for a leader to have all dumb and less powerful people be under him as followers. It takes a great deal of a Leader to have even more powerful people than him do his bhajans.”

Sri Rama is one such divine Leader, who had several contemporaries of his, powerful than him, like Hanuman, Sugreeva, VibheeshaNa, his brothers Lakshmana, Bharta  etc. being his devotees. Sages like VaSiShTha, viSwAmitra, bharadwaja, gautama, agastya and several other RShis who were lot lot older than him also are his devotees, who eagerly look forward to worshipping him.