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”

Celebrating Rām Navami

photo of 13th century Chola Bronze at Arthur Sackler Museum, Harvard by Arun Shanbhag
Gosvami Tulsidas Ramcharitamanas Ramayana Śri Rām Navami


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


Continue reading “Celebrating Rām Navami”

Shri Rām: The Holy Name

Shri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram japa mantra by Arun Shanbhag
For city bred siblings, summering at our grand parents’ home in Bhatkal was essential nirvana. In the orchard we tied strings to dragon flies and watched them jet away. We foraged for bird eggs in old trees. With sling shots we brought down mangoes, not because our aim was any good, but because the trees were laden with fruit. Listening to abbu (grandpa) in his pharmacy store, we learnt a smattering of Kannada and many more swear words. On dark nights without power, gazillion fireflies flickering on mud walls, guided us home. Continue reading “Shri Rām: The Holy Name”

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