post

Jñana Yoga or Karma Yoga, a difficult choice

pics of sadhu and lady at Panchavati Nashik by Arun Shanbhag

At the ghats in Panchavati, Nāshik, I was intrigued by this sādhu pondering the mysteries of sat and asat, while a lady was busy washing her cooking utensils. Verily a juxtaposition of the paths of Jñāna yoga and Karma Yoga. Which path to follow? This is a difficult decision for many to make. If you […]

post

Peigutso Lake towards Saga

photos of Peigutso Lake in Tibet by Arun Shanbhag

Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, Day 6: Peigutso Lake (4,400 m; 14,436 ft) on the Tibetan Plateau (noticed this in my private posts; edited and posted in Dec 2014) After lunch and pics of local kids, we headed west along a ravine and climbed a pass. There before us was the serenely beautiful Peigutso Lake. Overcast skies […]

post

Meeting Amma in Boston

Prema rasāmrta varshini mātā amrtānandamayi | Prema bhakti sandāyani mātā amrtānandamayi || Showers us with immortal nectar of love, O mother; Grant us the capacity for love & bhakti (selfless devotion), O mother Amritanandamayi || Two weeks ago, I got the opportunity to experience darshan of Mata Amritanandamay, better known as Amma. What started as […]

post

Gita Press Bookstore: Karma Yoga in Action

Tucked away on gritty Princess St and across from Parsi Dairy Farm is one of my favorite book stores: Gita Press Ki Dukan (Bookstore of the Gita Press). See, I came late to this genre of Hindu scriptures. Educated in a convent school, I drank deeply of the Kool-Aid that western writers were the axis […]

post

Dwijā – The Twice Born

In the Vedās, Upanishads, Gita and the Purān, we often encounter the term, Dwijā – twice born (Dwe – two; jā – born). A person is called a Dwijā, after his thread ceremony. What two births are implied here?

post

Celebrating Rām Navami

photo of 13th century Chola Bronze at Arthur Sackler Museum, Harvard by Arun Shanbhag

The Divine Consciousness – manifest or unmanifest, there is no difference So chant Sages, Puranas, Buddha and Veda. That which has no attributes, is formless, unseen and unborn Manifests itself (as Sri Ram) purely out of love for his devotees. Wishing All Bliss in Śri Rām’s Grace M&m and A

post

Ganesh Chaturthi

vakratunda mahaakaaya kotisurya samaprabhaa | nirvighna kuru mae deva sarvakaaryeshu sarvadaa || With a curved trunk and generous form Whose splendor matches ten million Suns Remove obstacles Deva! In all that I do! _____ Ganapati Bappa, Mowrya! M & A Ganesh Vandana – Tribute to Ganesh The light of the Sun imbues our existence with […]

post

Tirth Yātra: Temples of Tāmil Nādu

Pics of Kapaleeshwara Temple in Mylapore Chennai by Arun Shanbhag

Even as a child, I enjoyed visiting temples. The prasad was certainly a big draw. I’d stop by random SatyaNarayana Pujas, just to receive of the nectarine prasad. Aarti bhajans were equally soothing. At annual Wadala GSB Ganapati celebrations, while we were enticed by stalls selling bhajiyas and bondas, we first paid our respects to […]

post

Uma: Quencher of Thirst

It was a blazing hot summer afternoon in Hampi. As I walked out of the magnificent Vithala Temple, my throat was parched. Even my sweat had dried in this arid North Karnataka summer. The sight of this woman under a bright red umbrella, tending a cooler with drinks was an oasis of bliss to a […]

post

Girl in Saga

Enroute to Saga [Elevation: 4,600 m (15,091 ft)], a Chinese army outpost on the Tibetan Plateau After a long drive from Nyalam, past the Sishapangma Base Camp office, we had stopped literally in the middle of nowhere, for a lunch break. Our team of cooks had left a few hours earlier, so they could find […]

post

Prarthana: At New England Mobile Book Fair

Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms on sale at: The New England Mobile Book Fair 82-84 Needham Street Newton Highlands, MA 02461 http://www.nebookfair.com

post

Prarthana: At Harvard Book Store

Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms now on sale at: The Harvard Book Store 1256 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138

post

Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms

After five years of research and writing, Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms was released on Ganesh Chaturthi, September 15, 2007. This was my second book. When you see both my books juxtaposed on Amazon, you will nod: yup! only a Gemini could pull this off! I am grateful that I was given this gift […]

post

Perceiving your true form

Spent the last few days at a family gathering celebrating my father's 80th birthday. During the relaxing holiday, I came across these lines extending a verse (sada sarvada yog tuzha ghadava) which I had frequently recited as a child: jhya jhya sthaLi hey mun jaaya mazhe, tyaa tyaa sthaLi hey nijarupa tuzhe mi thevito mastak […]

post

Kailash Manasarovar: Brahmaputra and Onwards to Paryang

Kailash Manasarovar Yatra: Brahmaputra, Day 6,7: Paryang Elevation: 4,540 m (14,895 ft) Considering the spectacular Peigutso Lake, the 185 km drive from Saga to Paryang was tedious. We made a bee-line to the western edge of the Tibetan Plateau, which remained featureless; the skies were overcast and in the distant south we discerned the grey-brown […]

post

Meaning of Puja

What is a Puja? I generally translate puja to mean a devotional service. But based on a query in my previous post, Pratik provided a beautiful and succinct explanation. Considering no single word or phrase comes even close to incorporating this meaning, I recommend not translating it, but using the word puja as is, in […]

post

Sandhya Vandan

My nephew Varun, learning to do the Sandhya Vandan, a service in preparation for reciting the Gayatri Mantra. It was about 3 weeks since his Upanayana (thread ceremony) during which he was invested with the sacred thread (see it on his left shoulder) and had his head shaved, marking his re-birth as a student of […]

post

Faith

Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark ~ Rabindranath Tagore

post

Nature’s Shrine: A place to give thanks

For me, God exists in Nature and I see him in a beautiful sunrise. I can add, I see her in the blue skies, towering mountains, the chirping birds, the butterfly and the serene lake. Wherever you see her, take off your shoes and gaze in awe at her munificence! The pic was taken many, […]

post

Worship at a small shrine

Here and on I posted pics from the Chicago Balaji Temple and the Durga Devi Shrine within the Atlanta Temple. These are both very elaborate temple structures. However, not all worship occurs in such embellished temple complexes. On a regular basis worship takes place at the simple home altar. Routinely folks worship at small road […]