Hanuman Mandir Picket Rd Mumbai

Hanuman Jayanti Maruti at the Picket Rd Hanuman Temple pics by Arun Shanbhag



Shree guru charan saroj raj, nija manu mukuru sudhari |
Baranau raghubar bimal jasu, jo dayak phal chaari ||

With the mirror of the mind, cleansed by the dust of the lotus feet of my Guru;
(listen) to the unblemished glory of Hanuman, exalted one of the Raghu dynasty, who can bestow the four fruits (dharma, artha, kaama and moksha)

Wishing you all a wonderful Hanuman Jayanti!

Continue reading “Hanuman Mandir Picket Rd Mumbai”

Monks at Baudhanath Stupa, Nepal

At the Baudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal:
In a world full of temptation, these novices maintain their inner peace and walk the path of dharma


Next on the Kailash Manasarovar Travelogue: Kids at the Baudhanath Stupa
To start at the beginning: Rendevous with Sagarmatha (Everest)

Chinmaya Maruti; New Year Greetings 2011

Picture of Hanuman Maruti by Arun Shanbhag


Jai Hanuman Gyan Guna Sagar
Jai Kapis Tihun Lok Ujaagar

Glory to Hanuman
Limitless ocean of wisdom and virtue,
Glory to leader of primates
Whose fame lights the three worlds

In the New Year!
May the gracious Hanuman guide you
To overcome weakness, and
Use your strength to serve the Divine!

Meera, M & A

Continue reading “Chinmaya Maruti; New Year Greetings 2011”

Diwali: Festival of Lights

Diwali Deepavali Greetings

On this festive occasion of Deepavali,
May the Gods grace you and your loved ones
with
Peace, Good Health and Success!

Happy Deepavali!
Meera, M & A


Previous Greetings:

Ganesh Chaturthi – The Day Before

Picture photograph of Ganapati murthy, Ganesh utsav murthy during Ganesh Chaturthi by Arun Shanbhag
After a few days respite in Goa and Kumta, we returned home for the Ganesh Chaturthi Utsav (festival). Over the next few days, our extended family home transformed into a festive temple. Resident cooks arrived and made traditional Konkani snacks (chivda, mando, shankar paLLan, masala shaenga, chuklee, etc). Siblings and cousins descended on our home. Professional flower stringers decorated our main hall in elaborate arrangements of plump marigolds. Humongous pots and pans, giant oil lamps and other puja accompaniments were retrieved from storage and polished to a high gleam. Continue reading “Ganesh Chaturthi – The Day Before”

Reading: Wide Angle Lens

A few interesting things. Lets start with wine!


  • An eco-smart alternative to the wine bottle.
  • Slideshow: “Making French Rabbit’s New Eco-Smart Wine Bottle,” Fast Company.

    Seeing this feature in Fast Company, I tried French Rabbit’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Fantastic and it goes superbly well with my grilled salmon. Importantly, a tetra pack has 1 L wine compared to 750 ml of a regular bottle and it was inexpensive ~ $7.99! Our guests loved it too!

    See more reviews here.

  • Plain vanilla gets you to your retirement goals faster!
  • Made to Stick: The Myth of Mutual Funds | Fast Company.

    These authors of the bestseller, Made to Stick, remind us why investing in Vanguard’s S&P 500 Index fund is the way to go! And don’t be mesmerized by the glib talking financial advisers, who are looking after their own retirement! Make money for yourself, not for the financial adviser!

  • AdventNet’s Sridhar Vembu: Deflating IT
  • So fabulous to see Sridhar Vembu featured in The Economist.
    AdventNet’s Sridhar Vembu | The Economist.

    “SRIDHAR VEMBU is a dangerous man. If he succeeds, a lot of people will lose a lot of money: software developers, consultants, shareholders and others. The chief executive of AdventNet does not have fraud in mind. Instead, he wants to remove what he calls the “value-pad” from corporate IT in general and business software in particular: all those millions of dollars he thinks are wasted on inefficient production structures, marketing and, not least, proprietary standards. “In the world of corporate IT”, he says, “the low-cost revolution is very much unfinished business.”

  • Racist policies of the LPGA
  • The recent policy of the LPGA, that all players pass an oral english test was rightly criticized. From the New York Times: Editorial – A Bad Idea From the LPGA.

    The LPGA has since revised its policy: L.P.G.A. Will Revise Its Policy on English – NYTimes.com, but as the following quote from their Deputy Commissioner suggests, they just don’t get it!

    “In an interview with The New York Times last week, Libba Galloway, the deputy commissioner of the L.P.G.A., defended the policy and said the suspension penalty was fundamental to it.

    “…, this is puzzling to us because we think we are ensuring that our membership is better equipped to succeed by having them effectively communicate in English,” she said. “We are equipping them with the necessary tools for maximizing their potential off-course earning opportunities. The suspension demonstrates the importance we are placing on effective communication in English.”

    Nearly half a millennia ago, when the Portuguese butchered and forcibly converted the Konkanis in Goa, their rationale was similar: “They don’t know it yet, we are just saving their souls!”

    Centuries later when the British colonized India, their rationale was similar, “we are bringing culture and civilization to these savages.”

    And similarly in Iraq: We have to destroy them to save them!


Shādi in the Family

Last week we enjoyed a shaadi in the family. It was a magnificent production over four days, amidst the beautiful rolling hills of upstate South Carolina. And yes, it was a respite from the Fall here, to greenery, well manicured, lush lawns and Southern hospitality.

And what a great occasion for a family reunion! For four days we reveled in family panchadika (chit-chat), gorged on a wide variety of indian dishes (no dish was repeated over four days!) and the reception had a teeth chattering, gut expanding array of 28 desserts!

Of course, on returning to gray skies and cafeteria goop we are clinically depressed. I want my masala dosa and south indian kaapi for breakfast!

So, here are a few pics.

During one of the pre-wedding services, the women in the house are getting ready to bless the bride. The priests says: ashta putra sowbhagyavati bhava and translates it: May you be a blessed mother of eight children. My cousin sister lets out a hearty laugh!

Continue reading “Shādi in the Family”

Cave Temples of Badami – Cave 3

I previously shared pictures of two cave temples of Badami. These represented the zenith of the Chalukyan cave temple architecture from the 6th century. Cave one was dedicated to Shiva as the impressive Nataraja; and Devi as Mahisasuramardini. Cave two honors Vishnu and his avataars Varaha and Trivikrama (Vamana).

Cave Three is also dedicated to Vishnu and his avataars, and holds some of the most impressive works of art.

As we approach the caves, they appear as narrow slits in the sandstone mountain side. As you walk up and step onto the verandah that the true beauty of the sculptures becomes evident. Note that these caves are ‘open’ and have no doors or other forms of protection from the weather. Yet their grandeur has survived nearly 1,500 years.

Cave 3 of the Cave Temples of Badami

As you walk up the stairs, you step in between a row of beautifully carved pillars and on the right is the larger than life-size carving of Vishnu, as avataar Narasimha (man-lion). And what a majestic Narasimha it is. On the lower left is Prahalad, whose entreaties caused Vishnu to take this form to alleviate suffering of his devotee; and on the right is the cruel king Hiranyakashipu, who Narasimha disembowels on the threshold.
Continue reading “Cave Temples of Badami – Cave 3”

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 of compiling Prarthana in this form. With that also comes a responsibility of taking this message of our dharma to a wider audience. So I ask you to support this by purchasing a copy for yourself and your family.

With the festive season of Diwali soon approaching, you may want to pick extra copies for your friends and colleagues. Prarthana makes an excellent gift!

Get more details of Prarthana, as well as text excerpts at http://www.arunsprarthana.com
There you can also see details of the special pricing and how to buy it by credit card or check.

Prarthana is also available at Amazon for the List price.

I leave you with part of a review from Ellen Duranceau

… these prayers speak to something common to all of humanity: a spiritual impulse for light to dispel darkness; for connection to nature, to other people, and to the universe itself; for the courage to rise above our anguish or fears, to find hope and the best within ourselves, and to share our best selves with the world. In a time of great divisions, it is heart-warming to dip into another faith tradition and find common bonds, rather than alienation.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Painting of Dancing Ganesh Chaturthi by Arun Shanbhag

On Ganesh Chaturthi
Wishing you all
A Blessed Ganesha’s Grace!

M&A

Notes are excerpted from my book, Prarthana: A Book of Hindu Psalms;
© Arun Shanbhag 2007

Ganesha Stotram – Hymn to Ganesha
The visage of Gaṇeśa (or Gaṇapati) is easily recognizable as the elephant-headed God of Knowledge and Wisdom. Gaṇeśa is very popular in all parts of India, and amongst all sects: Vaiśnavās, Śaivās, Śaktās, Buddhists and Jainās. He is considered the controller of, and thus remover of, all obstacles (Vighnéśwar), thus he is remembered at the beginning of all religious services. The likeness of Gaṇeśa in the form of artwork, sculptures or murtī adorn many homes and offices. Tiny Gaṇeśa figurines also grace dashboard of cars, and Gaṇeśa icons in a variety of poses is a popular gift for family and friends (from Prarthana).
Continue reading “Ganesh Chaturthi”

Cave Temples of Badami – 2

Badami in Northern Karnataka, was the capital of the Chalukyan empire. During the 5th to the 8th century, skilled artisans cut caves in the mountainside and decorated the insides with stunning craftsmanship.

The four caves are dated to 578 CE. The first cave is dedicated to Shiva and you saw some impressive high relief figures of Nataraja and Ardhanareshwara in my earlier post. I hope you did not miss the cute Ganapati providing mridangam support for Shiva’s dance! In a prominent niche in this cave, is also housed a beautiful sculpture of Durga Devi in the form of Mahisasuramardini, which I previously used in a Dussehra greeting.

Cave two is dedicated to Vishnu. Near the entrance is an impressive carving of Varaha Murthy representing the avataar of Vishnu. He is accompanied by the king Naga (lower right). He is holding goddess Prithvi, representing the earth, which he rescued from the deluge.
Vishnu as Varaha Murthy, Cave Temples of Badami
Continue reading “Cave Temples of Badami – 2”

Cave Temples of Badami

Cave Temples of Badami

The Cave Temples of Badami in Northern Karnataka are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. They are well maintained, and the sculptures are mind blowingly exquisite. Highly recommended. The above is an image of Shiva as Nataraja, Lord of the Dance. Apparently, his 9 arms on each side create the 81 combinations of Bharatnatyam poses.
Continue reading “Cave Temples of Badami”

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 jhya thikani, tethe tuzhe sadguru paay doni

Loose translation:
Wherever my mind wanders, there I perceive your true form.
Wherever I place my forehead, there appear your two feet.

Such a beautiful verse and it resonates well with my own belief in the Universal Consciousness. The divine exists everywhere and where ever I bow in reverence, there she is! Any suggestions for improving this translation. Also, anyone know the author?

Portuguese Inquisition and Revisionism

Due to my heritage and interest in Konkani Temples in Goa, and particularly our Kuldevata Ramnathi Devasthan I have been researching books on the Portuguese occupation in Goa. During the Portuguese Inquisition lasting more than 150 years (1560 – 1812), the Jesuits made a systematic attempt at wiping out the Konkani heritage in Goa. Konkanis were either tortured and killed, forced to convert, or give up their lands and migrate. In a desperate attempt at genocide, all Konkani temples in older Goa were ransacked, wealth stolen and destroyed. It was the men-of-the cloth, who spread the horrors of the Inquisition, and later Anglicans who put political pressure on the Portuguese forcing it to end the Inquisition.

I have tracked scores of such books from the 18th and 19th century which shed a grim light on the atrocities of the Portuguese, all in the name of their God. In the midst of an enormous amount of historical literature, there are always the revisionists, trying to cast a softer glow on the Portuguese Inquisition. This one by an ordained priest takes the cake.

A few lines from his work and my related comments.
An Historical Sketch of Goa, Rev. Denis L. Cottineau de Kloguen (DK)
Gazette Press, Madras (1831), Reprinted pp 44-45
Also available digitized from the Library at Harvard College, Cambridge, MA; Pg 69 – 70.

Original text in italics is contiguous in one paragraph; my comments are in regular text. In this paragraph, the Kloguen is trying to defend the Archbishop D Alexins de Menezes.

DK – … Some acts of violence by the Portuguese agents may have been committed, both before and after him, but they are not to be imputed to him.
AS – Really! Everyone else is to blame, but not the Archbishop who actually had more power in Goa than the political appointee?

DK – It is equally false, that, followed by the officers of the Inquisition, he went armed with fire and sword, to compel the inhabitants of Salsette to embrace the Christian religion. The Jesuits converted a great part of them by the usual and most laudable means;
AS – Reminded me of the recent controversial remarks by Pope Benedict 16th: (from the NY Times) “… in Brazil, … native populations had been “silently longing” for the Christian faith brought to South America by colonizers.” The Rev is probably alluding to such an “innate longing” for torture and death.

DK – but in order as they thought, the better to detach the remainder of the inhabitants from worship of idols, they destroyed all the temples and pagodas.
AS – Much to the embarrassment of the Jesuits, many forced converts continued to visit temples and kept to their traditional Hindu ways. The only way to prevent this was to destroy the temples. How many is “all”? How many temples were destroyed in Goa?

DK – This however, had the contrary effect; and the Pagans, exasperated at this circumstance, rose up in arms, murdered five jesuits, and several Portuguese.
AS – Did the Jesuits really expect anything else? Note the choice of the word “murdered” when associated with the Jesuits and the Portuguese. BTW, when “all temples and pagodas” were destroyed, how many of the locals were killed? Smoothly overlooked. And really, when armed men go in and destroy peoples temples, wouldn’t you expect an equally violent response?

DK – The Governor then felt himself obliged to use arms likewise to reduce the rebels; and of course did not after wards permit the temples to be rebuilt.
AS – “reduce the rebels” here is an euphemism for “massacring the population”! And since when did the locals become the “rebels” in their own lands? Don’t the ‘rebels’ have the right to defend their lands, home and temples?

DK – But in all this, the Archbishop had nothing to do, and what is certainly better proved, are the good works and the pious establishments of Goa, of which he is the founder.
AS – Looks like he is an ideal candidate for sainthood, no?



My Posts Related to the Ramnathi Devasthan and other Konkani Temples:


Bookshelves

When I left India, I left behind my collections of Chandamama, Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, Louis L'Armour, Alistair Maclean and many others. Also left behind boxes of Amar Chitra Katha, Commando, Tintin and scores of other comics. On these shores my collection sprouted anew. But every time we moved, it was easier to give away books and restart in a new city. This has been eight years in the making.

We just got this new book case with glass doors for my favorite books. The top-shelf will carry a few of M's doll collection.

2. Travel shelf. I still have a lot of places to visit!
3. My collection of Hindu Scriptures. The four Vedas (multiple editions) and others.
Arun Shanbhag's book shelves in Boston

4 & 5. A grab bag of Hindu philosophy and history (and fairy tales!).
Arun Shanbhag's book shelves in Boston

Bottom Shelf. Art and other over sized books.
Arun Shanbhag's book shelves in Boston


In an open shelf bookcase are paperbacks and general fiction; a few miscellaneous thrown in. I'm still moving books around and organization is still in progress. You may notice some duplicates. If I see a second copy of a favorite book on sale, I will buy it. Perhaps visiting friends will ask for them. The Buddha head is from a visit to Korea.
Arun Shanbhag's book shelves in Boston

Arun Shanbhag's book shelves in Boston

Arun Shanbhag's book shelves in Boston

There are several more bookcases in different rooms and in closets. A nice shelf of poetry; indian fiction, business-related, more philosophy and language. You can see those when you visit! Welcome to my world!

Respite in Nyalam

Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra continues: Respite in Nyalam, Day 4
Nyalam Elevation: 3,750 m (12,300 ft)

Kailash Manasarovar Yatra to Tibet, Respite in Nyalam, written and photos by Arun Shanbhag

After the terrifyingly bizarre events in Kodari, we eagerly continued on our yatra. After crossing the border outpost in Kodari, we got in pre-arranged land-cruisers and our convoy of about 17 land-cruisers, cut through the Himalayas, climbed the mountain range to the town of Zhang-Mu, and onwards towards the Tibetan plateau. Continue reading “Respite in Nyalam”

Rendezvous with Sāgarmāthā (Everest)

 

Just returned from a 19-day Kailash-Manasarovar Tirth Yatra (pilgrimage).

We flew to Kathmandu, Nepal, got pinned in the midst of a mob-military firefight at the Nepal-Tibet border, and dashed across the Tibetan plateau. Here land cruisers go off-road, over hills, down valleys, through swollen streams, and over crumbling embankments. Five days later when we reached Manasarovar – the highest fresh water lake at an altitude of 15,000 ft, I was blabbering sick. High fever, body aches, and the ubiquitous high altitude-associated symptoms: chest ripping cough, persistent headaches, nausea and blurry vision. Throw in an asthma attack for good measure. And we were only getting started. Continue reading “Rendezvous with Sāgarmāthā (Everest)”

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 the english language. Interestingly, this meaning is not unique to Hinduism (or Sanatana Dharma) and applies to all religious beliefs.

Pratik writes:

Pu comes from the word Poorna in Sanskrit meaning complete, Ja comes from Aja meaning born. So Puja is that which is born out of completeness or fullness.

It signifies that you feel complete and happy, and you are grateful to the Divine for bestowing that completeness in life. In fact the offering that we give symbolizes all the good things bestowed upon us by the Divine. It (is) like we are imitating the Divine in gratitude.

Beautiful, no?

Baanganga: Satellite View

A satellite view of Baanganga. Its the dark green quadrangle on the left.

If you have Google Earth: enter the co-ordinates as above, or in fractional degrees as:
18.945454N 72.793612E
But first, in PREFERENCES and the default VIEW tab, select “Degrees.”

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