Krishna Muth, Udupi

Photos of Main Gopuram of the Shri Krishna Muth, Udupi, Karnataka by Arun Shanbhag

After a long hiatus, I recently returned to the Shri Krishna Muth in Udupi, Karnataka. What a joyous, uplifting experience it was getting darshan of BālaKrishna (child Krishna). The temple and seminary were founded by Sant Madhavāchārya, in the late 13th century; it has since become the center of Krishna bhakti and Dvaita Philosophy. It is here that Krishna showed us his grace. One night as Kanak Dās sat outside the temple singing the glories of Krishna, the mischievously smiling child Krishna was overcome by the soul-stirring music and turned to listen to his devotee. Thus turned, he stands today. A tiny stone grill is cut in the granite side wall from which we get darshan. Continue reading “Krishna Muth, Udupi”

Meera: When do we grow

pictures of Meera in Boston by Arun Shanbhag

On her annual visit, the doctor told Meera how much she had grown over the last year. That night Meera comes to me, her shoulders are hunched and a concerned look on her face. Continue reading “Meera: When do we grow”

Krishna Janmashtami – Shri Krishna Muth Udupi

Murti of Udupi Shri Krishna with Alankar during Paryaya

Greetings for Krishna Janmashtami!

The Shri Krishna Muth in Udupi, Karnataka was founded by Sant Madhvāchārya, a Vaishnava Saint (1238-1317) who also propounded the Dvaita philosophy of Vedanta.
Continue reading “Krishna Janmashtami – Shri Krishna Muth Udupi”

Gita Press Bookstore: Karma Yoga in Action

Gita Press Gorakhpur Bookstore

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 around which the Universe rotated. We studied Browning, Byron, Keats and O’Henry, and passed on Dnyaneshwar, Eknath, Kanaka Dās and Tukaram. I knew more about priests and nuns, and zilch about Alvars and Nayanmars. Romeo & Juliet was a Classic, Ramayana a myth. We doted on Shelley, Hemingway and Shakespeare, but skipped Tulsidās, Mirābai, Tyāgarājā and Kālidās. I knew more about St Peter than Bhagwān Ādi Shankarāchāryā or Swami Madhvāchāryā.

Thankfully I graduated and real education could begin. A tiny booklet of Swami Vivekananda’s lectures bought at a railway station was the spark. And what a roaring fire it kindled. Was engrossed in it for days. Followed hungrily by the Bhagavad Gitā, Upanishads, Purānās, commentaries of various masters and Bhakti poetry. I had just scratched the surface. Continue reading “Gita Press Bookstore: Karma Yoga in Action”

Krishna Janmashtami: Celebrating Krishna

drawing of Radha krishna in Vrindavan celebrating Gokulashtami by Arun Shanbhag

Whenever there is a decay of dharma (righteousness), O Bharata
and good people are persecuted,
then I will manifest myself.
~ Shri Krishna to Arjuna in the Srimad Bhagvad Gita: 4:7

Wishing you all a
Joyous Krishna Janmashtami!

M&m&A

Continue reading “Krishna Janmashtami: Celebrating Krishna”

Dwijā – The Twice Born

Composite image of fetus overlaid on pic of cosmos by Arun Shanbhag, Who is a Dwija or Twice born?

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

What two births are implied here? Continue reading “Dwijā – The Twice Born”

Krishna Mandap @ Mamallāpuram

photos of Pallava Krishna Mandap in Mamallapuram by Arun ShanbhagPerspective of the interior of the Krishna Mandap, Mamallapuram; larger version

Earlier you saw the Varāha Gudi (Varāha Mandap) from early in the reign of Pallavā, Mahendravarman (571-630 ce). In addition to other fabulous caves, he commissioned carvings into the side of mountains, combining creativity and artistic excellence.

In this Krishna Mandap, devotionally carved reliefs pays tribute to Krishna lifting Mount Govardhan. The shallow cave-like slot cut in the mountain is infused with warm light, bringing to life the villagers of Gokul huddled under the mountain.
Continue reading “Krishna Mandap @ Mamallāpuram”

Gokulashtami Food Spread

Over the last several weeks I have found scores of excellent Indian Food Blogs. These are not written by celebrity chefs, but by regular, albeit very talented women cooking everyday meals at home for their families. And many are based in the US and use locally available ingredients. The collection is truly spectacular and makes me drool.

Even M has taken to following their recipes and trying them at home!

Many of these home chefs also organize ‘Round-ups’ with a theme such as ingredients (Rice, Banana, etc) or festivals; and have others submit their related posts. Latha from the Yum Blog recently compiled a virtual gathering of Janmashtami foods. She had more than 30 submissions and they are all posted in this Janmashtami Round-up.

Browse, link through and revel in these beautiful culinary creations. A lot of easy to make desserts!!! Of course, I was thrilled she highlighted my Gokulashtami post. 🙂

Celebrating Gokulashtami – Tribute to Krishna

RadhaKrishna Sculpture in White Wood for Gokulashtami Krishna Janmashtami

Wishing you all a
Joyous & Enlightening Gokulashtami!

M&A


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

Krishna Vandana – Tribute to Krishna
Krishna is the most beloved of Hindu Gods and a popular avataar of Vishnu, the eternal soul of the Universe. While other incarnations of Vishnu crystallize divine traits in ordinary beings, Krishna’s life and experiences on earth symbolize the humanness of the divine.

Continue reading “Celebrating Gokulashtami – Tribute to Krishna”

RadhaKrishna – Miniature Painting

Miniature Madhubani painting of RadhaKrishna dancing in Vrindavan pic by Arun Shanbhag

I found this exquisite miniature painting of RadhaKrishna dancing in Vrindavan. Its about 5 x 10 inches on heavy stock paper. The bright colors and fine details are captivating.
Continue reading “RadhaKrishna – Miniature Painting”

Krishna

Here is a baby Krishna statuette I was gifted received during a recent visit to the Balaji Temple in Chicago. I was pleasantly surprised at the fine detail and the vibrant colors in this piece. It is made of a polymer (thus very light) and Made in China (of course).

Hare Krishna!

Home Shrine: Where I bow my head

photo of Home Shrine: Shanteri Kamakshi Ramnath; Udupi Krishna by Arun Shanbhag

Every morning I pay my respects to the universal divine at a small altar in our home. It started with the brass Om from my student days. I purchased the Om along with a booklet of Swami Vivekananda’s lectures, at a road-side stall in Kanya Kumari. Reading Vivekananda’s 1893 lecture to the World Congress of Religions in Chicago, was a pivotal moment in my life. It sparked self-realization and kindled a life long journey of self discovery. This Om graces the top of my home shrine.

As I left home to start my studies, my mother gave me the framed photograph of our kuladevata, Shanteri Kamakshi Ramnath, our family deity in Goa. A tulsi bead rosary is wrapped around the frame. On either side of the frame are antique figurines holding lamps. To the right is a silver 'throne' with two Ganapati murthis and a Lakshmi. To the left is a baby Krishna crawling on both his knees and one hand; the right hand is raised.

On the lower shelf is a sandal wood murthy of Udupi Shri Krishna in a wooden mandap. Three silver medallions with beautifully engraved facsimiles of Venkatesha, Satya Narayana and Sudarshan – memories of the spirituality at the Balaji Temple in Pittsburgh. The round silver ball to the left has a delicately carved peacock on top, and twists open to store vermilion. Silver dabbas on each end contain vibhuti. Hanging off the frame is a Swiss cowbell, with a ring reminiscent of temples bells.

The wood stand is from the Bombay store. The rabbit-motif backdrop was left over from the previous owners.

Below the stand is a cedar chest on which I light a small oil lamp every morning. Then I say a small prayer, thanking him 'the knower of all' for all the good that I have been blessed with, recollect the challenges of the day, and ask for her guidance. I pray for wisdom for all in our extended family, so we can carry out our destiny with our heads held high. And then I lower my head to the floor in namaskar.

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