Devavani

The Sanskrit language is called DEVAVANI (Divine Language).  The Upanishads are written in Sanskrit.  The very word “Sanskrit” means transformed, adorned, crowned, decorated, refined,  —— but remember the word “transformed”.  The language itself was transformed because so many people attained to the ultimate, and because they were using the language, something of their joy penetrated into it, something of their poetry entered into the very cells, the very fibre of the language.  Even the language became transformed, illuminated.  It was bound to happen.  Languages in the West are becoming more and more scientific, accurate, mathematical and precise.  Science is giving languages colour, shape and form.
Sanskrit hymnThe same happened with Sanskrit 5,000 years ago.  So many people became enlightened and they were all speaking Sanskrit, their enlightenment entered into it with all its music, poetry, with all its celebration.  Sanskrit became luminous; it is the most poetic and musical language.
A “poetic language” is just the opposite of a “scientific language”.  In “scientific language” every word has to be very precise in meaning; it has to have only one meaning.  — In “poetic language” the word has to be liquid, flowing, dynamic, not static, allowing many meanings, many possibilities.  The word has to be not precise at all; the more imprecise it is better, because then it will be able to express all kinds of nuances.
There are 800 roots in Sanskrit and out of those thousands of words have been derived just as out of one root a tree grows and many branches and thousands of leaves and hundreds of flowers.  Each single root becomes a vast tree with great foliage.
oshoFor example, the root RAM can mean first ‘to be calm’, second ‘to rest’, third ‘to delight in’, fourth ’cause delight to’, fifth ‘to make love’, sixth ‘to join’, seventh ‘to make happy’, eighth ‘to be blissful’, ninth ‘to play’, tenth ‘to be peaceful’, eleventh ‘ to stand still’, twelfth ‘to stop’ and thirteenth ‘God, divine, the absolute’.  Sometimes the meanings are related to each other, sometimes they are contradictory to each other.  Hence the language has a multi-dimensional quality to it.  You can play with those words and through that play you can express the inexpressible; the inexpressible can be hinted.
The script in which Sanskrit is written is called DEVANAGRI (dwelling-place of the Gods), and so it certainly is.  Each word has become divine, just because it has been used by people who had known God or godliness.
(Abridged from I AM THAT, Osho Times International, http://www.osho.com)   ——– Talk : Osho 
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Mattur

Mattur Sanskrit Village

MATTUR is a village near the city of Shivamogga in Karnataka State, India, known for the usage of the “language of the Gods” —SANSKRIT, for day-to-day communication, although the general language of the State is Kannada.  You will be greeted, on arrival, thus : HARI OM.  KATHAM AASTHI ? (Hello.  How are you ? )
Mattur and Hosahalli are known for their efforts to support GAMAKA ART, which is an unique form of singing and storytelling in Karnataka.  Theses are two of the very rare villages in India, where SANSKRIT is spoken as a regional language.  SANSKRIT is the vernacular of the majority of the 5,000 residents of this quaint, sleepy hamlet situated a little over 4km from Shivamgga.The village speaks the language of the Gods  ————- SANSKRIT.  Siddique Ahmad and Kysar Khan, both 9th standard students of Sharada Vilas School, recite “shlokas” effortlessly along with their classmates.  Even after lessons whether they are at play or back home, they slip into SANSKRIT.  Indeed, they are even teaching their parents to speak the language of the Gods.

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Walk down a few paces from the school where you touch the RATHA BEEDHI ( Cart Street) and graffiti, on the wall, grabs your attention :  Maargaha swacchatya viraajithe, gramaha sujanai viraajithe ( Cleanliness is as important for a road as good people are for a village).  Other slogans such as “Keep the Temple premises clean”, “Keep the river clean” and “Trees are a nation’s wealth” —— all in SANSKRIT  ——- are painted on walls everywhere.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the district headquarters, Mattur sits pretty with a garland of arecanuts and coconut plantations along the Tunga River, which has now been swelling, thanks to a good monsoon.

Mattur village


At the door of K. N. Markandeya Avadhani, a well-known Vedic scholar, a sticker in Kannada greets you : You can speak in Sanskrit in this house.”  He says, “This is to tell visitors that in case they are fluent in the language, they can converse with us in Sanskrit.”
Perhaps this inspired BJP Leader, Sushma Swaraj to deliver a 20-minute power-packed speech in Sanskrit, when she visited Mattur in May during campaigning for the Shivamogga by-election. —— The practice, of speaking in Sanskrit, wasn’t born yesterday.  History has it that the Vijaynagar Emperor gifted Mattur and neighbouring Hosahalli, known as centres of learning for Sanskrit and Vedic Studies from time immemorial, to the “people” in 1512.  The “gift deed” inscriptions, on copper plates, have been preserved by the archaeology department.

Mattur riverbank


Mattur’s Sanskrit-speaking habit got a further boost when Pejawar Mutt Pontiff Vishvesha Theertha visited the place in 1982, and “christened” it “The Sanskrit Village”.  For long, a colony of SANKETI BRAHMINS, the village is now home to different communities including backward classes, Muslims and Lambanis.
Yet, conversing in Sanskrit, isn’t an “adult quirk”.  Study of the language begins from the Montessori Level, where children are taught rhymes and told stories in Sanskrit —— even Chandamama comics are printed in Sanskrit.  While Sanskrit is a compulsory subject in school, teachers and students even speak to each other only in Sanskrit. At the crack of dawn, the village resounds with Vedic chants in households ( homes are named : Tray, Pavanatmaja, Chintamani, Prasanna – Bhaskara Nilayaha)

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Some are teaching Sanskrit in Universities across the State and many others have found jobs as software engineers.  Gopal Avadhani, who is in his late 60s, says, ” After completing my Engineering Course, I came back to stay in Mattur.  I tend the land now and live with my family. ——- about 20 of us across generations.”  Meanwhile, Rukmini, another family member, pipes in : “Coffeya, chaaya kim ichchathi ? ( What will you have — coffee or tea ? ).  Outside children play and giggle, calling out to each other : Manojava, Savyasaachi, Ikshudhanwa, Niharika.
Avadhani recalls the names of many foreign students who stayed with them in true guru-shishya tradition to take crash courses in Sanskrit ——” Rutger, Kortemgorst and Vincent came down from Ireland last year.”  Vincent, he says, surprised everyone by speaking in Sanskrit at the farewell function.
As people go about their daily routine soon after, there’s more Sanskrit to be heard.  At times, the whole village sems like a “Pathashala” ——- everybody, children and menfolk alike, dressed in white dhotis and angasvatra greeting each other with : Hari Om.  Katham Aasthi ?
Mattur, though, isn’t a cloistered hermitage shy of the outside world.  Many of its youngsters have moved to cities in search of greener pastures. ——– SAMSKRUTA BHARATI, a New Delhi-headquartered association, is involved in promoting Sanskrit, has a branch here and Srinidhi, its secretary, runs the show.  The organisation teaches functional language for day-to-day conversation.

Gamaka


At dusk, the melodious chanting of the Vedas emerges from around the banks of the Tunga River, which is “unusually calm”.  The stillness removes one from “modernity” to another era when Sanskrit reigned and when there no NISHTANTU DOORVANI (mobile  phones).
Mattur has produced  over 30 Sanskrit Professors who are teaching in Kuvempu, Bengaluru, Mysore and Mangalore Universities.

Sanskrit Alphabet


The main source of livelihood is the cultivation of arecanut, coconut and vegetables.  The village has a primary health centre, a co-operative society, a few provision shops and two schools.  But the residents don’t raise a din over lack infra-structure.  In fact, the village is an ideal example of “self-governance” as it were.  They pump water from the river directly and have provided all their houses with separate connections.  Last year, when the village lake was filled with hyacinth and the government threw up its hands, as the cost of cleaning the lake was estimated at 1crore, they didn’t sulk.  About 70 of them got together, swam through the lake and physically removed the weeds.  The task was done in 45 days.

Wat Tham Suea

Tiger Cave Temple

WAT THAM SUEA (in Thai) or TIGER CAVE TEMPLE is a Buddhist Temple located  north east of KRABI, Southern Thailand’s so-called “ENCHANTED PROVINCE”.  One of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the province, it is well-known for “Tiger Paw Prints” in the cave, tall Buddha statues and the strenuous “flight of stairs”.

Tiger Cave Temple


The founding of the Temple dates back to 1975, when a Vipassana monk named Jumnean Seela Settho went to meditate under the cave.  During his meditation, he witnessed tigers roaming around the cave.  This discovery led to naming the Temple WAT THAM SUEA.  Another legend says that a real huge tiger used to live and roam in the cave.  The naming of the Temple also comes from the discovery of “tiger paw prints” on the cave walls, and also the “bulge” of the cave resembling a “tiger’s paw”.

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The Tiger Cave Temple is Krabi Province’s most prominent beacon for the love and hope of the religion it represents.  It is a prominent centre for meditation, and its spectacular setting in the Ao Luk Thanu mountain ranges provides the necessary “quiet atmosphere” for meditation.  The main “vihara” or the “holy of holies” is inside a small shallow limestone cave.  Both side are lined by monastic cells which are called KUTIS.  The area is well-lit and very well maintained thus preserving the environment.

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The Temple has one stairway leading to the summit, with a total number of 1,256 steps, some of them more than a foot high.  The top of the stairs is 278 metres high.  Another set of stairs, with 184 steps, leads to the foothill area where the monks live in the caves.  Monkeys often roam around the stairs and Temple grounds.  Occasionally people are bitten and require hospital treatment.  Do not tease the monkeys or get between the adults and young.

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At the top of the mountain is a large Golden Buddha Statue.  This statue, other Temple buildings and much of Krabi town can be seen from the shrine at the top of the stairs.  So, you can either have a “moderately strenuous” or a “very strenuous” climb, depending on which of the two staircases you choose.  The view from the top combined with the Buddhist statuary makes the summit of the hill an unforgettably beautiful place.  Sunset ascents are becoming increasingly popular, especially on a full moon, when it is possible to see the sun setting in the islands in the Andaman Sea on fire in the west, while a golden moon rises over the Krabi lowlands in the east.

Tiger Cave Temple steps


The surroundings of WAT THAM SUEA consist of tropical rain-forest, including many old trees in the KIRIWONG VALLEY.  There are many places to be seen, but the places to visit are the caves —— TUM KHON THAN, TUM LOD, TUM CHANG KAEO & TUM LUK.  Many THANU ancient artifacts were found around the caves and Temple grounds.  Mountains also cover most of the land around the THAM SUA region along with many other small caves that are not accessible to tourists.  The THAM SUA TEMPLE is a Thai-Buddhist meditation centre and also has places of archaeological and historical significance.  Examples of these historical attractions are stone tools, pottery remains and moulded Buddha footprints.

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For a naturalist, the site is a “microcosm” of Krabi’s former natural environment.  WONDERFUL TREE, not far from the main shrine and adorned in a sacred cloth, may well have the largest “root base” of any tree remaining in Thailand.

Golden Buddha
The view from the “platform in the clouds”, makes you feel closer to the twin spirits of the Temple’s faith ——– VIPASSANA (clear-seeing) and ANAPANASATI (mindfulness with breathing), which are essentially mental health therapies which are compatible with all religions, and which have reduced the suffering (caused by excessive attachment to impermanent phenomena) of millions, maybe as many as billions of people.  They are predominant in THERAVADA BUDDHISM, which is mainly practised in South-East Asia, and which, maybe, contributes to the fact that Thai people, most of whom adhere to these beliefs, are amongst the MOST CONTENT IN THE WORLD.

Fast with a smile

lent-wordcloud_2Wednesday, the 18th of February marked the start of the season of Lent.  It was Ash Wednesday.  Currently, Christians are supposed to observe fasting and abstinence, in preparation for the greatest feast —–Easter.
“Fast foods” from McDonalds and KFC are fashionable.  Simultaneously, there’s a fad to “fast from foods”.  Fasting is “in”., especially among youth to downsize bloated bellies or develop hourglass figures.  Besides, many people fast with myriad motives —- religious, political and economic.
Most religious traditions stipulate some form of fasting.  Some Hindus fast monthly on Ekadasi, Pradosha or Purnima, while others fast weekly on specific days : Vaishnavites on Thursdays, Shaivites on Mondays and Ayyappa-devotees on Saturdays.  Muslims fast during Ramzan.
Nirjala-Ekadashi-Photo-1-9213Though fasting is commendable, it could induce a holier-than-thou attitude, when the one who is fasting expects admirers to exclaim, “Wow”.  When one’s fasting is directed outward for recognition, it loses merit.  Fasting is most meritorious when done for egoless motives, surrendering oneself totally to serve God, as a sign of penitence, to fortify one’s faith, as grateful acknowledgement of Mother Nature’s bounty are, in symbolic solidarity, with those who have little or nothing to eat.
The Bible berates those who fast while exploiting others.  Acts of love like setting the oppressed free, sharing food with the hungry and providing shelter to the homeless make fasting creditable.
gandhi-fastingWhen people fast to protest injustice, besides being “political”, fasting becomes a sacred duty, as in Gandhiji’s Satyagraha.  Linked to this is fasting’s economic dimension ——- the “forced fast” of millions of poor who have no money to buy food.  Why not donate what we save from our fasting towards filling their empty bellies ?
The Sanskrit “upvaas” for fasting draws the devotee to dwell in God’s presence and delight in God’s providence.  That is sufficient reason to be happy, isn’t it ?  And, if fasting decreases weight and waistline, THAT’S ADDED REASON TO SMILE.
—– Francis Gonsalves.   

Snow Lion

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The Snow Lion is a celestial animal of Tibet.  It symbolizes fearlessness, unconditional cheerfulness, East and the Earth element.  It is one of the Four Dignities.  It ranges over the mountains and is commonly pictured as being white with a turquoise mane.
From 1909 until 1959, a single snow lion or a pair of them was used as the National Emblem of Tibet.
In Tibetan folk lore, the milk of the Snow Lioness (Tibetan : Gangs Sengemo) contains special nutrients to heal the body and restore it to harmony.  Some holy medicinal remedies are believed to contain the essence of the Snow Lioness’ milk.  Her milk is also used to symbolise the Dharma and its purity.

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The Lion is a sacred and regal symbol in many ancient cultures from Egypt to the Greek and Roman Empires and further east to Persia and, ultimately, to India in the 2nd century.  In Buddhism, the Snow Lion is the protector of Buddha and, in paintings and sculpture, is usually seen as holding up the Buddha’s throne (one on the left side and one on the right side of the throne).

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The body of the Snow Lion is white, while its flowing mane, tail and curls on legs is either blue or green.  While most Snow Lions are gender neutral in Budhist art, there are some that are represented as obviously male and some as obviously female.  When represented as a symmetrical pair, the male is on the left and the female on the right.  Sculptural Snow Lions are often in REPOUSSE metal that has been gilt and painted.
sunyataThe ROAR of the Snow Lion embodies the sound of “emptiness” (Sanskrit : SUNYATA), courage and truth and because of this is often a synonym for the BUDDHADHARMA, the Buddha’s teachings, as it implies freedom from Karma and the challenging call to “awakening”.  The “roar” was considered to be so powerful that just a single “roar” could cause 7 dragons to fall from the sky.

Tibetan-Mastiff-Lion

The Lhasa Apso is called the Tibet Lion Dog, after its resemblance to the Snow Lion, however, it is unknown whether the dog was bred to resemble the Snow Lion or if the artistic design was influenced by the features of the dog.
contaktThe Snow Lion is a TULKU or personification of the primordial playfulness of “ananda” (joy, bliss) comparable to the Western “unicorn” (although without a horn).  Though, paradoxically, the Snow Lion does not fly but their feet never touch the ground, their existence is a playful continuum of leaping from mountain peak to mountain peak.  The energetic potency (wisdom or Shakti) of the Snow Lion is expressed in the attribute of the GANKYIL or ANANDA-WHEEL.  The Snow Lion keep in the eternal play.  The GANKYIL is the principal POLYVALENT SYMBOL and TEACHING TOOL of all the doctrinal trinaties of Dzogchen and is the energetic signature of the Trikaya.  The GANKYIL is the inner wheel of the DHARMACHAKRA of the ASHTAMANGALA path of VAJRAYANA BUDDHISM.

Bappa Morya Re!

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On Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, it is easiest to access the ENERGY OF GANESH.  Lord Ganesh is said to be the deity closest to the physical world: He is the God of Wisdom, Knowledge and prosperity.
 
The term Ganesh comes from the Sanskrit words “gan” which means “jan samooh” (general people) and “esh” which means the “Supreme”.  Thus, Lord Ganesh is the Supreme Deity of man.  He is, also, called VIGHNHARTA — the REMOVER OF OBSTACLES.  He is the Patron of letters and learning too.  He is the Guardian of the spiritual world, and the first energy to grant access to higher dimensions, also known as the PRATHAM PUJYA —– at the start of any ritual or ceremony, Lord Ganesh is invoked.
 
 
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The elephant-head symbolises supreme intelligence, the human body, with a huge belly, symbolises a reservoir of energy stored in the MANIPOORAKCHAKRA, which is located at the navel.  Ganesh is the child of Lord Shiva, the supreme PURUSH and Adi Shakti, the MOTHER of CREATION.  RIDDHI (prosperity) and SIDDHI ( spiritual powers) are married to Ganesh.
 
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In the SANATHAN KRIYA, the first ‘sadhna’ given to a ‘sadhak’ is GANAPATI SADHNA and GANAPATI JAAP, which open the doorway to LOKAS beyond the BHULOKA —– the physical dimension in creation.  Ganesh Chaturthi is the day, when the energy of Lord Ganesh is most easily accessible to human beings.  
 
—– Yogi Ashwini
 
 
 
 

Humility

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HUMILITY comes from the Latin word HUMILITAS, a noun related to the adjective HUMILIS, which may be translated as HUMBLE, but also as GROUNDED, FROM THE EARTH or LOW.  It is, variously, seen as the ACT or POSTURE of lowering oneself, in relation to others, or conversely, having a clear perspective, and therefore, respect for one’s place in context.  In a religious context, this can mean a recognition of self in relation to a deity, acceptance of one’s defects and submission to Divine Grace.  HUMILITY, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue, in many religions, in contrast to NARCISSIM, HUBRIS and PRIDE.—-The natural aim of the Buddhist life, is the state of enlightenment.  HUMILITY, in this context, is a characteristic, that is, both, part of the spiritual practices and a result of it.  It is deeply connected with the practice of FOUR ABODES (Brahmavihara) ——– love, compassion, emphatic joy and equanimity.  Humility, Compassion and Wisdom are intrinsic parts of the state of enlightenment. ———-Saint Augustine stresses the importance of HUMILITY.  “Blessed are the meek” and “He who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted”. 
 
22641bab74232e6304dca40355a87887In Sanskrit Literature of Hinduism, the virtue of HUMILITY, is explained with many terms.  The concept of AMANITVAM, is listed as the 1st virtue in the Bhagwad Gita.  The Sanskrit word AHAMKARA, literally translates in THE-SOUND-OF-I, or quite simply the SENSE OF THE SELF or EGO.
 
In the Qur’an, Arabic words conveying the meaning of HUMILITY are used, and the very term ISLAM, can be interpreted as meaning SURRENDER (to God).  Among the specific Arab words used to convey HUMILITY are TAWADU and KHOSHOU.   HUMILITY before Allah and the will of Allah (Sharia) is demanded from every Muslim.
 
Even business models, are now being constructed with HUMLITY included as a parameter for good leadership.  If you think aggression at work, relationships and markets make things work, you are mistaken.  You could be soft-spoken and yet achieve results.  Dada .J. Vaswani points out that HUMILITY is an attitude, which allows for others’ greatness, and thus helps the manager to create the right perspective which enables him —- not just to manage, direct and order people ——- but to help them discover their best potential.
 
HUMILITY is, perhaps, one of the most difficult virtues to cultivate or acquire at a time when everything is focussed on satiation of the individual’s wants or wishes.  TRUE HUMILITY is distinctly different from FALSE HUMILITY, which consists of deprecating one’s own talent, gifts and accomplishments for the sake of receiving praise from others.