Parnika: February 2017
Shri Gurubhyo Namaha!
Guru Kripa! We are happy to present the eighth issue of Parnika. It is our humble offering to the rich parampara of India. Parnika – Leaflets of Insights is a monthly magazine to share and discuss insights on life based on Indian principles.
January has been a happening month for Anaadi Foundation. Starting with the Pada Yatra to Marudamalai on January 8th, the month has been exciting. A lot has been going in the outside world too with the Jallikattu ban and protests by youngsters gaining national and international attention. This month’s Parnika is packed with amazing articles detailing our various programs in January, a new diet for Shivarathri, remedies for headache, Q and A on Bhuta Shuddhi which happened during the train journey while returning from Rishikesh and some excellent inputs for youngsters who feel insignificant in their current roles. We have dedicated an article to the Great Pitamaha for Bhishma ashtami (Feb 4, 2017). The deep insights of Siddhar Gorakhnath have been captured in Siddha Charithiram.
Mahashivaratri “Cheat Diet” (serves 1)
On Mahashivaratri, one undertakes a vrata (a firm vow unto oneself) to fast throughout the whole day and night, staying awake the whole night. Sometimes, pangs of hunger become difficult to ignore and one may feel like eating something, although one is on a vrata. The good news is you can cheat even during your vrata, provided you eat only as per this diet, given below! So here are two recipes of the “cheat diet” – don’t cheat too much! When you are a beginner its okay!
The day before Shivaratri, at noon, soak a handful of green gram in a bowl of water. After 10 hours, (that is, at night), drain the water and drink it. Leave a little water in the bowl containing the green gram, just to keep it moist. Make sure that the water does not soak the gram, as it just needs to be moist. Cover the bowl with a lid and leave it to sprout overnight. The next morning (on Shivaratri), the green gram would have sprouted.
*To the bowl containing sprouted green gram, add a handful of dry aval(flattened rice).
*Add some freshly grated coconut and jaggery.
*Mix well and eat.
*Take a handful of aval(flattened rice) in a bowl and add a spoonful of porikadalai (roasted gram).
*Add fresh grated coconut.
*It is important to chew well and eat mindfully, as aval being dry, has to get mixed with the saliva properly before you swallow. Eating in a hurry can cause the aval to get stuck in your throat.
Aval and porikadalai: the yogi’s diet
Aval and porikadalai is a complete diet in itself. It is a highly nutritious and sattvic diet that yogis follow. Instead of dry aval, pori (puffed rice) can be used. Both are sattvic in nature, the difference being that aval is filling and pori is light. Coupled with Yoga asanas and pranayama, a yogi can go on a complete aval and porikadalai diet. It makes the body sattvic. The stomach is always light, no matter how much is eaten. One can engage in vigorous action throughout the day, with a sleep requirement of only about 2-3 hours. One can wake up from sleep anytime, whether it is a long sleep or a short one, and actively engage in action, without the usual grogginess after sleep. One will be always happy, as one’s energies are high, and depression cannot find an entry point. Going on this diet opens up the senses, enabling one to perceive rich colours in the world. One will see one’s consciousness expand. Meditation happens beautifully and sadhana takes off. Aval and porikadalai is very cheap. One can take this while going on pilgrimages, thus one need not depend on external sources for one’s food. The body may become very thin, but one will be very healthy and energetic. However, it is important to understand that a sadhaka can take up this diet only under the guidance and instruction of the Guru.
8 JAN 2017
January has been a happening month for Anaadi. The programs for the year started with the Pada Yatra to Marudamalai on January 8. Each of our programs have been designed to push the boundaries a bit, be it the Mahabharata programs where the expansion of cognition happens by listening to the complex story line or the Himalayan yatras where people scale distances they never imagined and that too on foot. The Pada Yatra was a unique and first time experience for many. It was heartening to see the yatris keep up the enthusiasm throughout the walk. In the Indian tradition, especially in the South, Pada yatras are not uncommon. People walk nearly 100 kms to reach Palani during “thai” month. In our life and journey on earth, we gather so much from people and circumstances around us. This creates strong impressions which contributes to our karmic load. Pada yatras can be extremely beneficial in “reducing” this load. Why or How? We can dedicate a whole article to this, may be in the future.
CLAP : Children’s Leadership Awakening Program
13-15 JAN 2017
The Children’s Leadership Awakening Program (CLAP) that we organized with EduSeva, was a unique event in many ways. It was an amazing experience interacting with children and the kind of vibrancy they bring into the environment is indescribable.
57 children in the age group of 14 to 17 and 6 teachers from nearly 10 schools in Tamilnadu including Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, SSVM World School, Chandrakanti Public School, Vidyapeetham Sholingur, Kamala Niketan Trichy and Sudarshan Vidya Vikas, Pudukottai participated in the camp.
Hosted at The Arya Vaidya Chikitsalayam & Research Institute, Navakkarai, Coimbatore, the program was inaugurated by Padmashri Dr. P.R Krishnakumar, Managing Director, Arya Vaidya Pharmacy and Chancellor of Avinashilingam University for Women and Dr. B.K Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, Chairman, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Coimbatore.
This children’s camp, with an Indic approach, provided children with the physical, mental and emotional tools to awaken their leadership potential. The vision that children set for themselves at this right age, will flow as beneficial actions in the future. This camp was designed to enable children to imbibe the qualities that make for a true leader and a successful individual: compassion, vision for the larger good, a sense of ownership, self-reliance, energetic action, decision-making with clarity, inspirational stewardship and self-poise. The program blended Yoga and Meditation, Inspirational stories from Indian epics, Social Leadership project, astronomy and music.
|This programme was a foundation for everything we do in future and paved our way in becoming a diligent and successful citizen. We learnt 36 qualities of a leader by connecting the epics and real life incidents of personalities. For example Arjuna, Draupadi etc. in epics and famous Indian personality Srikanth Bola who is a blind person in Andhra Pradhesh .
Most of the leaders in our country in the current scenario are not thinking about the welfare of the people. We learnt the foremost qualities, a leader should possess in his life. For instance:
1. He/she should be a open-minded person.
2. A leader should possess self-discipline because he/she would be considered as a reliable person for the long run and he will be victorious in life.
3. A leader is a person who should be fearless and they should understand the fear of the people and act accordingly.
4. A leader should have the qualities of honesty and integrity which forms the foundations of trustworthiness and essential values for our life.
We learnt that success is not important in your life. Whatever we do, we have to perform things with joy, then finally the success is yours. ~ Students of Vidya Peetam School, Sholingur
During the Inaugural address, Dr. P.R Krishnakumar spoke about his life journey and inspired the students with interesting anecdotes from his life. He highlighted the importance of personal conviction and courage in gaining success as a leader. He encouraged the students to look beyond mainstream education and set a vision for their lives.
Dr. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, through his thought provoking presidential speech, awakened the students to Swami Vivekananda’s thoughts. He emphasized on the need for such camps and how they can become a means of growing from being ordinary to extraordinary. The session started with the children being introduced to the CLAP song, a rhythmic and melodious tune which conveyed the purpose and goals every individual should adhere to. We shared interesting stories from the Mahabharata and their relevance to modern times. The stories showed the students an expanded view of the leadership qualities mentioned in Indian epics and how they are applicable in the contemporary context. Children were exposed to decision making frameworks from Indian Philosophy. The curiosity and enthusiasm of the children was visible through the numerous questions they asked. Adinarayanan and Smrithi expanded the questions and patiently answered them.
Children learn something better when they put it into action. The Social Leadership Project designed by EduSeva gave the children an opportunity to put the leadership principles into practice and that too for a social cause. Children worked in groups on specific case studies in the areas of Education, Health, Food and Environment. The case studies described specific problems in rural and urban settings. A few case studies were also based on model villages which had achieved success in Education or Health. Teams were given frameworks to analyze problem space. They were guided to identify the various factors and sub-factors that led to the problem and the consequences. An in-depth exploration of the problem space gave them insights on identifying the core issues. Once they identified the core problem, they were guided to move to the solution space. Team members ideated on various solutions. They were provided with a guidelines sheet highlighting various parameters to evaluate their solutions. The guidelines sheet had different dimensions of the solution like : legality, ethicality, revenue opportunities and volunteers participation. The outcomes were evaluated based on Empathy, Creativity of the Solution and Depth of Exploration of problem space. The activity gave the children an opportunity to look at social issues and ideate on practical solutions.
Shri. Jagannathan of Kalycito Infotech who is passionate about Education, shared his thoughts on joy and success. He emphasized on focusing on the inherent joy in doing things rather than the end goal. Being disciplined, committed and courageous can bring success automatically.
Smt. Hema Ramesh, a freelance educator who believes in lifelong learning, inspired the stories from real-life anecdotes of great achievers. She encouraged the students be respectful to elders, cultivate qualities of love, empathy and compassion and contribute to the society.
The astronomy sessions caught the imagination of the children. Using latest astronomy software, children learnt about the various celestial events and how they were significant in mapping history. They travelled back in time to the Mahabharata ages and viewed the celestial map at that point in time.
An Unending Quest: IIT Delhi
22 JAN 2017
Right after CLAP, we headed to Delhi to address a group of students at IITD who were interested in things beyond their daily lives.
We live in exciting times of choices and possibilities. Many times, we find ourselves eternally at crossroads with numerous ideas and choices where every choice seems valid. These myriads of choices could be a boon but could also be a source of confusion and misery. That is when we are faced with a lot of questions and doubts – “Should I do this or should I do that?” These micro questions snowball into deeper philosophical questions like, “What is the purpose of my life?” Appropriate models and tools can help transform these questions into a meaningful quest leading to success, happiness, prosperity and philosophical fulfillment. All young people, especially students, want to pack their lives with a lot of meaningful and exciting activities and achievements. Everyone wishes to be a super-achiever in whatever they take up. In the process of engaging in these activities, students face a lot of challenges. These challenges could be on 3 dimensions: Physical, Emotional and Intellectual.
Physical challenges like lack of energy, lethargy, sleepiness, lack of robust health can be concrete obstacles that can limit our productivity and capability. Emotional challenges like oversensitivity to comments and criticisms, imbalance of mind, excitation and depression, inability to sustain enthusiasm, low self-worth based on comparison and boredom can derail all the progress that we might have achieved till date. Intellectual challenges like lack of perspective or big picture visualization, limited cognitive capabilities, lack of trans disciplinary exposure, myopic decision-making constructs, narrow aspirational window can seriously limit the heights to which we can aspire and grow.
This Workshop provided theories and practices (based on rich Indic Tradition) necessary to lead a life of health, happiness and success.
Be it the narration of the humorous anecdote from personal life or the story of Arjuna’s competence, the sessions kept the audience in rapt attention. IITD has some of the best minds in the country and when they start on an inner journey, they can truly transform many things around them.
We are making available the audio and transcription of the talk on our FB page and blog:
Beyond the binary of cruelty and pride
Shyam Kumar and Venkatapathy
The massive, student led protests at Marina Beach in Chennai has made the nation take notice of the anger in Tamil Nadu over the Jallikattu Ban where it seen as an intrusion by the Supreme Court on Tamil culture. There is a sense of disappointment against the Central Government for failing to ensure Jallikattu is held this Pongal. Against this backdrop, Maneka Gandhi’s recent article calling the Pongal a day of “violence and killing” where “boys jump on each one (bulls) and try to tear its horns off” has left people fuming.
In the article Maneka Gandhi claims that “Everyone in India looks down upon it – as civilized people should”. This statement typifies a cosmopolitan elitism that considers itself to be modern and progressive and rural India to be backward and barbaric, in need of being saved. There is little effort taken to understand and sincerely engage with their lives and worldviews, there is merely the civilising mission to be force-fed to everyone, for their own good of course. This imagined sense of nobility makes the courts and cosmopolitan elite interfere with and pronounce binding decrees on their lives and cultural traditions without an adequate consultation and understanding of the stakeholder community.
Who passed legislation, which court called for a ban, who is fighting the case against it – these things do not linger in public memory. What stays is the fact that they have been denied the right to continue the cultural traditions of their land by a distant power which does not understand the significance Jallikattu carries in their world. This cognitive dissonance is best exemplified by the Supreme Court which called Jallikattu an “imported roman-style gladiator sport”. Each of these words is incorrect – it is not “imported”, is not a gladiatorial death match, nor is it a sport. It’s an indigenous, bio-cultural tradition which has been practised for over 3000 years.
Cultural traditions are deeply interwoven into the social and economic lives of the people. Restrictions on these impact not only the tradition, but also directly affect economy and society. Therefore it becomes imperative to understand the context of Jallikattu. The first depictions of Jallikattu are found in Indus Valley Seals. Sangam literature, written over 2500 years ago, refers to Jallikattu as “eru thazhuvudhal” or embracing the bull.
|Krishna played a very important role in the revival of many traditional games such as Jallikattu. K.M. Munshi, in his book Krishnavatara, describes how Krishna introduced many games such as Jallikattu, Malyudam (combat-wrestling), Rekla (bullock cart racing), etc., that challenged the youth of Yadavas. This helped Yadavas to strengthen their army as well as to keep the youth busy with learning.
let us see what Tamil literature has to say about it, since at this point in time Jallikattu largely is related to the region of Tamil Nadu.
Many of Tamil literature mention about Nappinnai who is the daughter of a Pandya King. Nappinnai is largely referred to as Nila Devi in non-Tamil literature. Many works describe Nappinnai. Legend has it that Krishna tamed 7 bulls to become eligible for the marriage with Nappinnai. It was a tradition of the people of Ayar (cowherds) that for men to be eligible for marriage, they should tame a bull during Jallikattu. A Pulavar (poet) Nalgoor Velviyar (‘நல்கூர் வேள்வியார்’) praises Thiruvalluvar with Krishna this way:
உப்பக்க நோக்கி உபகேசி தோள் மணந்தான்
உத்தர மாமதுரைக்கு அச்சு என்ப — இப்பக்கம்
மாதானு பங்கி மறுவில் புலச் செந்நாப்
போதார் புனற்கூடற் கச்சு.
It roughly translates to: How Krishna, who tamed a bull to marry Upagesi (Nappinnai), is like an axis for the North Madurai, so is Thiruvalluvar- who is faultless, is like an axis for the South Madurai. There are ample works of Azhvars which describe this event, and I leave it to the readers to explore further.  In the same reference I found another very interesting fact that a Sangam Pulavar (poet from the classical Tamil period) called Irayanar (இறையனார்) mentions that the Head of Dwaraka (Krishna) attended the Second Classical Tamil Conference that happened at Kapadapuram! Quoting from the reference:கடல் கொள்ளும் முன்பு 2 -ஆம் தமிழ் சங்கம் நடைபெற்ற கபாடபுரத்தில், துவரைக் கோமான் கலந்து கொண்டார் என்று இறையனார் உரை தெரிவிக்கின்றது.
Describing Jallikattu as a bullfight conjures visuals of the Spanish bullfight – of matadors who systematically stab the bull until it bleeds to death. But Jallikattu and other bull sports in India are entirely different – evolving from a worldview that worships creation, especially the bovine. In Jallikattu, the bulls are let out one at a time to run a distance of about 100 meters. The bull charges wildly and tries to reach the exit gate. Victory is not in killing the bull or overpowering it, but in holding on to its hump for a period of a few minutes. Only one man can hold the hump at any point of time. Usually within ten minutes, the bull reaches the finish line.
On a typical Jallikattu day, hundreds of bulls are released. Men who succeed become local heroes and successful bulls become the pride of their owners and are sometimes nominated as the temple bull. For the rest of the year, the bulls don’t do farm work but undergo rigorous training, including running and swimming exercises, to build their stamina for Jallikattu. They are fed a special diet of wheat flour, corn flour and cottonseed. The victorious bulls are used as stud bulls for the village and impregnation is usually done for free. Jallikattu and the training routine ensure the secretion of male hormones for maintaining virility. The temple bull, being village commons, make every village economically independent with regard to cattle gene pool. Jallikattu therefore becomes a method to identify the best bull as stud bull for selective breeding. It also carries a sense of egalitarianism as people from all classes and castes participate with equal enthusiasm. Mock taming sessions are held before the event to help tamers hone their skills in controlled conditions. There is a strong economic dimension to Jallikattu as well. Successful bulls fetch a few lakhs in market value and the Jallikattu committees offer prizes to owners and tamers.
Court rulings and legislation have ensured that Jallikattu is subject to strict guidelines. The bulls have to be certified by the Animal Welfare Board. Usually, both man and bull are insured. Vets are present to check for animal cruelty. Intoxicants, chilli powder and other substances are banned.
A key aspect of Jallikattu is that only indigenous regional breeds are used. Tamil Nadu has six indigenous species- Kangeyam, Umbalachery, Barugurs, Malai Madu, Pulikulam and Alambadi. Many centuries of breeding has ensured that each species is highly suited to its region. With farm mechanisation steadily eroding the value of bulls, Jallikattu provides the necessary social pride and economic incentive to rear stud bulls and sustain indigenous breeds.
Underlying all of this is a worldview of bovine reverence and a deep understanding of interdependence. On the third day of the Pongal Festivities, called Mattu pongal (Cattle Pongal), bulls and cows are washed and decorated. They are given the best of fodder and Poojas are performed for their wellbeing. The stud bulls are maintained and cared for until they die. They even pose in family photographs! When they die they are given a ceremonial burial.
The discourse on Jallikattu cannot be exclusively from the lens of animal cruelty. It has to analyse cultural and economic dimensions as well. Unless we engage with those who preserve traditional livestock, villages will rapidly lose breeds and their stud bull population. In the last three years, native stud populations have dropped drastically. One species, the Alambadi is already extinct.
Advocates of a ban don’t seem to understand that there is no economic incentive in raising bulls. Their utility in the traditional farming system has been replaced by machinery and automation. With Jallikattu banned, the farming communities have no choice but to send bulls to slaughter houses. This not only increases cruelty but ensures the loss of indigenous stud bulls. This in turn forces villages to become dependent on buying semen for artificial insemination, a market dominated by a few players. In the age of patenting germplasms, this can become a dangerous liability. Until we ensure the protection of the species and economic independence of villages through alternative mechanisms, we cannot consider blanket ban traditions that have been the reason for sustenance of these bulls. By doing so, we unwittingly abet the gradual demise and extinction of indigenous species. A reasonable approach that takes in considerations of ensuring fair treatment to the bulls would be to explore appropriate formulation and enforcement of regulations- something that the Jallikattu organisers are open to.
“Remembering the Great Pitamaha on Bhishma Ashtami”
Even today, we remember Bhishma’s life, message and liberation from earth with great reverence.
In the Indian calendar, February 4 2017 happens to be a Shukla Paksha Ashtami, the 8th Day in the brighter half of the lunar month. It is mentioned in the Mahabharata that one of the most revered persons, Pitamah Bhishma who was always clad in silvery white clothes, chose to leave his body on this very day. In many parts of the country, people perform Tarpan with kusha grass, sesame seeds and water in his memory. On this significant day, it would be appropriate to know the story of Bhishma and how he shaped the narrative of the Mahabharata. In times when Kingship was looked at as the rightful inheritance by a son who qualifies in every respect, Bhishma, in his prime of youth gave that up without a second thought and even vowed to remain unmarried. That shows his magnanimity, tyaga bhava and why he shines as the most revered character in the Mahabharata.
King Shantanu of the Kuru lineage who was the son of Pratipa was wandering in the forest. His eyes fell upon a beautiful woman. Instantly attracted by her beauty and radiance, Shantanu enquired her origin and expressed his desire to marry her. The beautiful damsel reveals that she is Ganga and agreed to marry the king but placed a condition before him. She said that after their marriage, the king should neither interfere nor question any of her actions. Intoxicated by her beauty, Shantanu agreed to the condition. They led a virtuous life in the palace. After many years, the queen Ganga who was a beauty in form and character gave birth to a child and let it go in the river. Remembering his agreement, Shantanu did not interfere with her actions. She let go of seven such children and when she was about put the eighth child into the river, Shantanu, unable to bear the pain and rage, questioned her action.
Sad that he had broken the promise, the queen revealed that she was the River Goddess Ganga and that she would have to leave the King and take the child with her. She went on to explain the real reason for her actions. It so happened that on a certain day, the eight Vasus, who were celestial beings, had come down to earth. They happened to see the divine cow Kamadhenu in Sage Vashistha’s ashram. The wife of one of the Vasus named Dyu expressed that she would like to gift the cow to her friend. Unable to refuse her request, the Vasu stole Kamadhenu. Upon knowing this, Sage Vashistha cursed the Vasus to be born on earth and that the Vasu Dyu will lead a long life of on earth. Ganga mentioned that the Vasus had taken her help to be born on earth and that she had to keep their birth and liberation a secret. The eighth child was destined to be on earth and he was named Devavratta, whom we know as Bhishma.
Bhishma of Terrible Oath
After Ganga had departed, Shantanu was deeply saddened. On one of his other expeditions, he was attracted by the fragrance of a woman. He came to know that she was the daughter of a fisherman. When he expressed his desire to marry her, the fisherman placed a condition that the child born to them should be crowned the next king. Unable to make such a promise, he returned to the palace discouraged. Looking at the King’s sorrow, Bhishma took it upon himself to meet and convince the fisherman. He promised the fisherman that he would never marry and that the child born to the fisherman’s daughter shall become the king.
It was unthinkable that someone born in the royal family and who was next in line would take such a strong oath. This beautiful yet terrible oath earned him the name Bhishma. The oath is terrible because a prince vowing to remain unmarried will mean that the royal lineage stops with him. Giving up the kingship made the oath all the more terrible. This oath also earned him a boon from his father who said “Death shall never come to thee as long as thou desirest to live. Truly death shall approach thee, O sinless one, having first obtained thy command.”.
While Bhishma’s oath gained him a boon of choosing his time of death, there was a woman’s oath that caused his death. Amba along with her two sisters, the princesses of Kashi, were carried away in a chariot by Bhishma to get them married to his brother Vichitravirya. Amba who was already in love with King Salva, expressed her anger and demanded that she be let go. Refused to be accepted by Salva, then by Vichitravirya and also by Bhishma, Amba took a terrible oath to defeat Bhishma. Unable to accomplish this in her present lifetime, she was reborn as Shikandin, the daughter of Drupada, who later became a man through the exchange of gender with a yaksha.
Bhishma’s Role in Hastinapura
Those who read the abridged version of the Mahabharata often miss the significant role that Bhishma played in the welfare of Hastinapura. Hastinapura was always going through turbulent times, either because of untimely death of Kings or weak lineage or a blind king’s rule. Bhishma, who was in Hastinapura across generations, was the pillar who protected and stabilized the throne. He was instrumental in identifying the right Gurus – Dronacharya and Kripacharya – for the Kuru princes. He identified appropriate wives for Dhritarashtra, Vidura and Pandu. Throughout the Mahabharata, one can see that Bhishma always shared his wisdom to bring stability in the kingdom. He actively participated in war to protect the Kingdom and always advised them on proper niti to be adopted at all times to maintain the prosperity of the Kurus. One often has the question: Could Bhishma have stopped the Mahabharata war from happening?
Vyasa Maharishi narrates that Bhishma had tried on many occasions to stop the war but the words of Duryodhana were so strong and Dhritarashtra was so blind to his son’s attitude that Bhishma could not do much. Though he knew very well that a war would be disastrous, having been with the Kurus for so many generations, he decided to stay on the side of the Kauravas to fight the war.
Felling of Bhishma
The Kurukshetra war started on the Shukla Paksha Ekadasi of Margashirsha month. This is also the day when the Bhagavad Gita was delivered and observed as Mokshada Ekadasi. The war had started and it was the ninth day and both the sides were creating severe damages. Bhishma as a commander-in-chief seemed invincible. It is mentioned that in the war, Bhishma single-handedly destroyed 1.27 Akshauhinis. On the ninth night the Pandavas and Shri Krishna approach Bhishma and they ask Bhishma the means to kill him. Bhishma reveals that he would never fight a woman or a woman who has become a man. The next day, the Pandavas place Shikandin in front of Arjuna and shower arrows on him. Bhishma refused to retort as he could not fight Shikandin, who was born a woman.
When Bhishma fell on the ground, the entire place came to a stand still and vaidyas rushed to provide medical aid. Even at the moment, Bhishma made one last appeal to Duryodhana to give up war and make peace with the Pandavas but he refused. He even requests Karna to fight on the side of the Pandavas as Dharma was on their side. He too refused. As suggested by the Rishis, Bhishma lay on a bed of arrows waiting for an appropriate Muhurtha to leave his body.
Bhishma’s Words of Wisdom
The depth of Bhishma’s understanding of life, governance and liberation are beautifully presented in the Shanti Parva which is the longest chapter in the Mahabharata. After the war is over, Yudhishthira is dejected and wants to renounce his position as King. Shri Krishna takes him to Bhishma, who is lying on the bed of arrows, for the transfer of knowledge of Purusharthas (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha) from Bhishma to Yudhisthira. Shri Krishna expresses that with the passing away of Bhishma, all the wonderful knowledge will vanish with him and hence it was important to imbibe them from him. When Yudhisthira and Krishna meet Bhishma, he mentions that he is weak after having fought the war and is in tremendous pain. Also, he questions – In the presence of the all-knowing divine Krishna, of what value could his meagre knowledge be? Krishna affirms that Bhishma is the foremost of the Kurus and blesses him that he would not experience the pain from the wounds caused by the arrows. Krishna adds that Bhishma sharing the knowledge himself, will establish him as one of the wisest beings in the collective memory of future generations.
No wonder even now we remember Bhishma’s life, message and liberation from the earth with great reverence. Bhishma niti is still considered to be one of the foremost reference texts expounding the principles of Dharmic living and conduct. The word Pitamaha (the Grandfather) immediately invokes the remembrance of Bhishma in the minds of Bharat vasis. Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha (Dharma protects the one who protects Dharma).
Siddha Parampara of India
Venkatapathy and Sooryanarayan
This is an ongoing series on the Siddhar Paramabarai of India. Siddhas refer to perfected masters who have achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. We look at various Siddhas who have graced upon this earth with their Presence – their life and the wisdom they shared in the form of poems, couplets that are referred to as Siddhar Padalgal. To begin with, we are looking at Siddhas from the tradition of “Pathinen Siddhargal”. In the previous issues, we saw about Kudhambai Siddhar, Pambatti Siddhar, Idaikkaattu Siddhar, Sattaimuni Siddhar, Sundaraanandar Siddhar and Karuvoorar Siddhar. We also saw how the Siddhargal poetry is presented in Sandhya Bhasha. In this article, we will see the glory of Goraknatha Siddhar.
Goraknatha Siddhar is a great Siddha and a disciple of the great Matsyendranatha Siddhar and both the Guru and his Sishya are among the revered Pathinen Siddhargal. Also known as Goraknath amongst the Navnath yogis, Goraknathar wrote texts with verses on medicine, philosophy, and alchemy. Agathiar and Bogar were also his Parama-Gurus. Like other Siddhas, Goraknathar has produced many works on Medicine, Philosophy, and Alchemy. Agathiyar is said to have given Goraknathar the duty of safeguarding the secrets of alchemy: the student of alchemy must worship Goraknathar and seek his grace to excel in the field.
Gorakar Muligai and Gorakar Vaippu are revered texts in Siddha medicine given by Goraknatha Siddhar. Goraknathar also gave Avadhootha Gita, a classic text and one among the major works propounding hatha yoga – Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Legends state that Goraknatha Siddhar’s Jeeva samadhi temple is in Vadukupoigainallur of Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. Many also consider to be in Poyur, Girnar. Goraknatha Siddhar is said to have also spent a portion of his growing-up years in the Velliangiri Mountains in Coimbatore. Other sanctums related with Goraknathar are Perur (Coimbatore), Thiruchendur, and Triconamalli. Goraknathar caves can also be found in Chaturagiri and Kolli Hills.
Goraknatha Siddhar is such a powerful being that his influence can be seen on the Spiritual evolution of the entire Indian subcontinent. Goraknatha Siddhar was an influential founder of the Nath Hindu monastic movement in India. In Nath tradition, he is considered as one of the two notable disciples of Matsyendranath.
The Gurkhas of Nepal and Indian Gorkhas take their name from this siddha. Gorkha, a historical district of Nepal, is named after him. There is a cave with his paduka (footwear) and an idol of him there. Every year on the day of Baisakh Purnima there is a great celebration in Gorkha at his cave, called Rot Mahotsav. It has been celebrated for the last seven hundred years.
Like Gorkhas in the North there is also a group of people called “Yogeeswarar” in South India, Kanyakumari district, Sucheeendram taluk, Akkarai village- whose Kula Guru is Goraknatha Siddhar.
Legend says that long back Goraknatha Siddhar, during one of his many wanderings, came to the Akkarai village and stayed with these people. They accepted the Yogeeswarar as their guru. When Goraknatha Siddhar wished to leave them, the sad group followed him for some miles till he entered a small Lord Shiva temple for meditation at a village called Korrandy. The long awaiting group in front of the temple finally decided to check for Goraknatha Siddhar inside the temple and they were all surprised on not finding him there. They believed that this is the samadhi of Goraknatha temple and they still conduct Poojas there. This temple is called as Korikkanathar Thirukkoil located at the village called as Korrandy, Therur, nearby Sucheendram, Kanyakumari District.
Including Goraknatha Siddhar and Matsyendranatha Siddhar, the Nath sect consists of nine Naths. It is stated that the nine Naths and 84 Siddhas (a more detailed list of Siddhars including Pathinen Siddhas) are all human forms created as yogic manifestations to spread the message of yoga and meditation to the world.
It is our blessing and privilege to expound some of the works of the great and venerated Goraknatha Siddhar. Many songs of Goraknatha Siddhar are replete with Sandhya Bhasha, medicinal recipes, documentation of experiences and instructions to sadhakas of various levels of progression and intensity. In the mystical first poem we present here, Goraknathar speaks of the secrets he has left for seekers such as us and invites us with a promise that the deserving seeker is blessed for sure.
|மறைத்திட்டே னென்குகையி லனேக சித்தை
மைந்தனே வுன்றன்பேர்ச் சொல்லி வைத்தேன்
துறையதனைக் கண்டுநீ யெடுத்துக் கொள்ளு
சொல்லாதே யொருவருக்கும் தொசந் தோசம்
முறையாக விதையறிந்து நடந்தா யானால்
முனிவர்ளுஞ் சித்தர்களும் புகழு வார்கள்
நிறையாக தெரிந்துகொள் மைந்தா நீயும்
நீடூழி காலம்வரை வாழ்கு வாயே
|I have hid many secrets in the cave.
Oh Son, I have signified your name!
Go to your section and take it!
Do not speak of it, for it isn’t appropriate.
If you follow the proper instructions,
The Sages and Siddhas shall shower praises.
Understand completely, oh my son!
May you live for eternity!
Reading this song was so welcoming and seemed as an invitation by Goraknatha Peruman to dip into what he offers us, for it is his blessing and destiny that we are even reading these lines of Goraknatha Siddhar.
And in the following lines, Goraknatha Siddhar reveals how the immaculate Shakthi beholds the entire creation and is beyond the time cycles of maha yugas and maha pralayas. Goraknatha Siddhar also instructs that the immaculate Shakthi resides in the rising Kundalini.
|நாட்டியே ஈஸ்பரியுந் தனித் திருந்து
நன்மைபெற சிருஷ்டிப்பா ளண்டந் தன்னை
ஆட்டியே யுகமதுதான் முடிந்த காலம்
அப்பனே பரமசத்தி யழியாள் பாரு
தாட்டிகமாய்ச் சத்திக்கு ளெலாம டங்கும்
தன்மையுள்ள வல்லசத்தி தரிக்கும் வீடு
மூட்டியதோர் குண்டலித்தாய் வாசஞ் செய்யும்
மூலமதை யறிந்துநீ குருவைக் காணே
|The Mother stands all alone
And delivers creation to attain the good!
Even when the Yuga winds up and time runs out,
My dear, see! The Mother does not perish.
All creation is contained within Shakthi!
The infinite space is the immaculate Shakthi’s home!
Mother resides in the rising Kundalini,
Realize the Source and see the Guru!
In order to understand the intricacies of the cosmic time cycles, we recommend you read “ Unending Quest: Rishikesh Reflections” book by Anaadi Foundation. The book is a compilation of Q&A with Shri. Adinarayanan covering a wide array of interesting questions and eye-opening answers documented during the Anaadi Foundation Rishikesh Retreat 2015.
In the following song, Goraknatha Siddhar extols the thundering flood of Grace bestowed by the Guru. He points out that the holy feet of the Guru are the roots for liberation. Goraknatha Peruman also shares the subtle experiences of the states as one raises in spiritual consciousness, leading to a flame of tapasya that will burn the impurities of ignorance and the seeds of karma.
|குருகண்டு கால்பிடித் தேறும் போது
குபீரென்று தள்ளுமடா வேகத் தாலே
திருகண்டு வாயுவுக்கு மேல தாகத்
திகழொளியு மெத்தவடா சப்த மேகம்
இருட்கொண்டு மழைபொழியு மிருட்டுங் கனமும்
இயற்க்கைதனை யறியாமல் மாண்டார் கோடி
அருட்கொண்டு மதைக்கடந் தப்பாற் சென்றால்
அப்பனே வொளிவீசுங் கண்கொள் ளாதே
|Attaining the Guru, holding onto Guru’s feet
As you raise, the speed shall thwart and throw you!
The flame shall shine more
Than the wind; And the seven clouds shall
Shroud dark, shower rains and grow darker!
Ignorant of the nature many have passed away.
By the Grace, If you do not miss and attain,
Oh dear! The eyes cannot behold the radiant glow!
There are many stories that extol Goraknatha Siddhar’s guru bhakthi. It is said that Goraknatha Siddhar always followed vigorously and extensively, every instruction from his guru Matsyendranatha Siddhar. The Nath samprathaya pays their immense respect to these great masters. In his travels Goraknatha Siddhar had criss-crossed the Indian subcontinent and as pointed to earlier, a diverse geographical areas have significance to his historic presence. And diverse traditions hail his greatness. Even the writings of Sant Kabir and the Sikhs tradition have many references to Goraknatha Peruman.
In this edition, we have presented a few gems from the works of Goraknatha Siddhar from his tamil text “Brahma Jnana Suttiram”. We invite you to contemplate more on these lines and share with us your insights. We also invite you to share with us lines from Siddhar Padalgal that have deeply touched you. You could write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In absorbing this, may our abhyasa continue, may our shraddha in the Siddha Parampara strengthen and may revelations awaken as we grow within!
I was asked a question – “I feel very insignificant in my current role. I am working in a big multinational company, and I am in the beginning of my career, but I feel lost. I feel as though I am not contributing anything to the world. I don’t feel good about it. I don’t feel happy about it. I don’t feel satisfied. I don’t feel fulfilled. What is the reason for this and how can it be changed?”
Disillusionment and dissatisfaction
This is a very important question. When I speak to many of my past students, I have come across such a state of mind. A certain disillusionment – yes, the monthly salary is coming in. That is good, and one requires that salary. But that is about it. There is not much satisfaction, happiness or fulfillment, and they are also not sure how long they can continue with this. It almost seems like the beginning of one’s career itself is a tragedy! That is not a good thing. It should not happen that way. Life is beautiful. But for most people, the fact that life is beautiful is theory, not in practice – “Life is beautiful…yeah…yeah…I got that. But come on, be practical!” So I feel it is important to look at it and clarify it, because life is beautiful.
Seeking the feeling of being significant
So what happens? I will talk from my own experience in terms of moving with thousands of students – my own students. A typical four-year or three-year graduation. So you go through an undergraduate program, you learn half-heartedly, or don’t learn too much. Okay. But let’s say you learn properly, you get a good job, you get placed in a good MNC, a big multinational company, and you go in with a lot of expectations. You have these expectations – you want to be recognized, you want to do a good job, you want to feel happy about earning that income, and you want to feel important, that you have contributed something to the company and to the clients. So these are all valid expectations. But what might happen? You go into the company. A large multinational company actually provides a big platform. You might be one in a ten thousand, or one in a thousand. So it provides a large platform. But, when the size of the company grows, your job also becomes super specific. You are expected to do a specific job, and do it well. It fits into the larger picture, the bigger picture, and that is how the company delivers to its clients and customers. So you play a role – a definite role – but it is a small role. Small does not mean it is insignificant. But generally our expectation when we go in, is mostly in terms of – “Hey, I want to be significant.” Or at least, “I want to see myself as being significant.” So that perception of yourself becomes so very critical. But let’s say you just write some code or do some work, in a multinational company. You don’t get the feel – it is about the feel right? The perception is the feel – You don’t get the feel that you are doing anything significant. And that is where the catch is. It is not right or wrong, but it is important to feel good about what you are doing. It is important to feel fulfilled and satisfied and there is no one yardstick, using which everybody’s perception can be compared. There is no straitjacketed approach. It is about each one’s sense of fulfillment – that feeling of fulfillment. It is a feel – it cannot be certified by someone outside of yourself. It is an inner feel. If you feel right about it, that’s it. If you don’t feel right about it, you need to do something about it.
Realizing one’s significance by seeing the impact of one’s actions
So it is not a question of right or wrong. Working in large MNCs can be superb. It can be a very fulfilling experience for some. But for some others it might not be a very fulfilling experience. So going with that feel, for those who do not feel fulfilled about such a profile and role, from practical observation, what I have observed is this : Earlier, right after one graduated, there used to be the concept of apprenticeship. Even now, for example, those who aspire to become chartered accountants are supposed to apprentice in a firm or under somebody and then, over a period of time, graduate. I am not talking of apprenticeship. I am talking of small environments. For example, you go into a startup, right after your undergraduate education, assuming that your family does not expect too much in the matter of finance – “giving back” – from you yet. Over a period of time, you need to give back, but let us say that your family is financially comfortable. Then the feel good comes from the feeling that you are important. You are not dispensable. You are important. And it becomes critical to visibly see that what you are doing actually contributes to the organization. It is important for you to be able to see – “Oh! I am significant.” It is not -”I am in this vast ocean, and whether I am there or not, it does not matter.” – this might not build up your feel of being important, in good way. It might damage it.
The importance of building a proper career profile and personality
In the Indian tradition, when we bring up children, they are given a lot of attention, appreciation, love and care so that their ahamkara*, develops into a fully-balanced and well-formed ahamkara. Likewise, when we initially join a company, we might want to build up our profile and our personality, because our career depends on a proper building up of our profile. So there, it becomes useful to recognize that a small platform in terms of a startup ecosystem or an entrepreneurial venture can be richly rewarding. You might be a techie, but when you go in, you will see that you might start learning about finances, business administration, economics and how it impacts, the market and how it responds, the customers, the customers’ psychology, how they deal with it, and much more. You will see that there will be ups and downs. In a big environment, you are shielded away from all this. But in a small environment, you get exposed to all of this, but in this process, what happens is, your feeling of being significant becomes really important. You feel,”Yes, I am doing something worthwhile.”
*Ahamkara is loosely translated in English as the ego. Ahamkara comes from the root words ‘aham’, meaning ‘I’ and ‘kara’, meaning ‘doer’. Ahamkara is the principle of doership: the stamp “I did” that we place on the processes of the mind and body.
Social organizations as platforms for multidimensional grooming
Getting that feel, that you are doing something worthwhile, that there is meaning to your actions and to what you are doing, is so very critical. And getting that feel in a big environment, at the beginning of your career might be challenging. I am not saying that it cannot happen. But for some it might not happen. That is where a small environment, a start-up environment, or an entrepreneurial environment can provide you with this multidimensional role set, which is also challenging, but that challenge is what you want at that point in time to grow. Then, you will see that your actions have an impact. You will see the visible impact of your actions, especially, if you get into an NGO, or a social organization. You will see your actions have social impact, and that is superb! For the first time, you will start observing that how you speak and what you do, actually impacts society, and that gives you a great feel, and you will start feeling responsible. And responsibility is the basis for a well-developed personality – a well-balanced mature personality, which actually boosts your career later on. So after this initial exposure to an entrepreneurial environment, or an NGO, or a social organization – a small one – you get well-groomed, multi-dimensionally groomed, and then you go into a bigger environment, if you want to. Then you will see that you will shine there, and it will be exceptionally fulfilling, because you will be able to feel and sense how your actions impact your environment. So getting that feel, that each of your actions matter, that you matter, is so very important. So life is beautiful!
Questions and Answers
We look at all of creation as prapancha. Pancha means five. It is made up of the five ….
You can say elements. But bhutas are better wordings. They need not be looked at as physical. Not physical like this (body), still they are the fundamental sources of matter. Each has its nature. So what are the pancha bhutas? Space, air, fire, water, earth. Each bhuta is an evolute from the previous bhuta, in this order. So these (ie, air, fire, water and earth) are considered evolutes from space. Why? Because space, or akasha, is expansive. There is nothing specific to it. And space leads to the condition of sound. How does this happen? We shall look at it soon. And from that, after further transformation, comes the evolute of vayu, or air. From vayu evolves agni, or fire. From agni evolves jala, or water. From jala, evolves prithvi, or earth. Now, space is an evolute of a much more fundamental aspect, which is manas. Manas is an evolute of buddhi. Buddhi is an evolute of the aham tattva – “I AM” consciousness. Actually you can intuitively realize this within yourself. This is the whole process of creation, that is going forth from a fundamental Source. And hence the fundamental Source is not physical…
Q: Is it something which we cannot comprehend, but can only experience?
But, we are That. You can also understand it. You can simply understand it intellectually. That fundamental Source is not limited to the evolutes. That fundamental Source is all. And hence, it is not anything in particular. For example, this body is made up of cells. Cells are made up of atoms. Atoms are made up of subatomic particles, which are made of quarks. Beyond that you have the particle-wave duality. One way, it looks like a particle. But what is a particle? Actually if there are waves, specific spatially collocated high frequency waves can be called a particle. And then that wave is attenuated. There is no particular point where the wave starts and ends. The wave is continuous, but spatial collocation gives you the impression – “Okay, this particle is here.” That is what we call a particle. Otherwise, if you look at it as a wave, a wave has no beginning or end!
Now the question – what is vibrating to produce this wave?
So the answer is something more fundamental than this. If we look at cosmology, physicists talk about dark matter and dark energy.* But in the Indian sciences, we look at the universe in terms of much more fundamental aspect. For example, manas is also related to matter. In fact, that is more fundamental than matter.
*It turns out that roughly 68% of the universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest – everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter – adds up to less than 5% of the universe.
Q: Is the manas that you are talking about the same as the mind?
Mind is more generalized. Manas is more specific. We call it the antahkarana, meaning, the inner instrument. Manas is an evolute of the buddhi (intellect), which is an evolute of the Atman. The Atman can be explained in this way – for example, here (in this train compartment) you have space, and space is outside as well. But the space here gets a quality of its own right? Why? Because it is enclosed. Actually, if you take this compartment away, there is nothing but space. So that is called Atman, which is non-different from Brahman. And Brahman is actually very simple, it is not complicated at all. These evolutes are complicated. It is the differentiation that is complicated, the fundamentals are always simple. That from which all this has come, is very very simple! So, you have these evolutes, leading to the panchabhutas. And each bhuta is an evolute of the bhuta preceding it (in the order given above).
These bhutas are not exactly elements. That are not elemental in that sense. For instance, is an atom atomic? Modern science tells us today that it is not – the atom is not atomic. Earlier it was believed to be atomic. Atom means indivisible – that you cannot split it up any further. But now, through progress in scientific research, we have split it up, but we have not reworded the word ‘atom’. It is not said -”No, now it is ‘unatom’” [Laughter] So bhutas are not exactly elements.
Now, from space evolves movement, which is air, or vayu. So vayu tattva, leads to movement. Vayu or air has space, and it has movement. From the vayu tattva evolves fire, or the agni tattva, which has a form, but without substance. Form without substance is fire – tejah (another name for the agni tattva). Now, fire has space, it has movement, and it has form. From agni evolves water, or the jala tattva, which has substance, but the substance is fluid. So jala, or water has space, movement, form and fluid substance. Then, from the jala tattva, comes prithvi, or earth, which has space, movement, form, substance and solidity. So these are also interconnected to the sensory tattvas. So space, or akasha has the peculiar attribute of sound.
Q: Why do we talk about space and sound in a parallel way? In the Indian scriptures, it is said that in the very beginning, at the dawn of creation, along with space there was sound. I have never heard of sound being an attribute of space.
Because it is an attribute. It is interrelated. You cannot separate an attribute from the fundamental. For example, consider the jeans that you are wearing – can you separate the texture of these jeans, from the jeans material itself? No, because the material has that attribute. Likewise space has the attribute of sound. You get the essence, right? – the way of putting it across. The natural expression of space is sound. Vibration is a quality of space, isn’t it? Actually the Indian health systems and the Indian science looks at sound as an expression of space. In modern science we don’t study sound as an expression of space – sound does not propagate in vacuum. Hence sound and space cannot be spoken of together. But in the Indian context, for us, ‘sound’ is not just the audible sound. The whole of the electromagnetic spectrum is called sound. For instance, microwave radiation, and any wave is considered sound. It propagates. What do you need as a medium to propagate? That is a quality of vayu. You understand? Vayu has the attribute of movement.
It is the physical, audible sound that requires vayu to propagate. Microwave radiation does not need vayu to propagate. It can propagate in vacuum as well. It does not need a medium, but not so with physical sound. It is a quality of movement, which is different, but it carries sound within itself.
When we speak of space, or akasha, its concrete relation is with audio. For vayu, or air, its concrete relation is with touch, because that is how you get signals – that is how the signals are transported. For agni, or fire, its concrete relation is with the sense of sight, because we perceive form. Jala, or water, is to do with taste, because that is how the sensory signal is transferred. Finally, prithvi is to do with sense of smell.
So we see that in the whole of the prapancha, which is made up of the panchabhutas, you can actually classify all beings in terms of these evolutes. Hence, the more the complex the evolution, the more well-developed these evolutes, no matter which loka you go to. And there are various geometrical patterns by which you can identify how well-developed the being is, with their physical expression.
So these are the panchabhutas. Now each bhuta has to perform its role appropriately, right? For example, (speaking to a participant wearing glasses) what happens to your sight, if you take away your glasses? Do you see the world properly or is your vision distorted? Distorted. So you correct it. That is called shuddhi. But there are deeper and deeper levels of shuddhi. Here you are using a physical shuddhi, a physical correction. Shuddhi is also correction, purification. This takes us to deeper aspects. For example, when we perceive reality, our perception can be distorted. You can see and imagine things which are not there. Or you could see things in a distorted way. You might be seeing what is, in just the opposite manner! For example, when you see a rope, you can imagine it to be a snake. So, making efforts to correct these distortions, from the physical becomes so very important. For this you adopt bhuta shuddhi. There are various processes…
(…to be continued in Parnika Issue 9)
Indigenous remedies for common ailments
- Take a piece of chukku (dry ginger), rub it on a sandanakal (grinding stone) with a little water to make a paste.
- Apply this paste on the forehead for relief from headache.
- Rub krambu (clove) on the grinding stone and apply to the forehead.
- Take some pepper powder in a pan, and heat on medium flame (to a temperature that is tolerable for you).
- Apply this heated pepper powder to the forehead.
Clove in Ayurveda
Known as krambu in Tamil, clove has been used in India and other parts of Asia for many centuries. It is an essential ingredient in Indian cooking. It is known for its antiseptic and analgesic properties.
In Ayurveda, clove is used for its medicinal properties such as improving digestion and relieving bloating, gas and abdominal colic pain. It is also used to relieve cold, cough and respiratory disorders.
Effect on the tridosha:
Clove balances kapha and pitta.
How to grow garlic
Clove is the aromatic dried flower buds of the clove tree, and are native to India and Indonesia. Cloves are propagated by seeds or by cuttings. The seeds can be directly planted, or soaked in water overnight to remove the outer lining.
Clove thrives best in a warm humid tropical climate with an annual rainfall from 150-250 cm. It prefers partial shade. Clove grows best in rich loamy soils in the wet tropics.
It can also grow in heavier red soils, but in either case, needs good drainage.
- Buy pollinated clove seeds from an organic source. Ensure that the seeds are recently gathered and not dried out, because dried clove seeds will not germinate. Plant the clove seeds as soon as they are bought, for successful germination.
- The seeds of the clove can be sown in polythene bags filled with soil, sand and fully decomposed cow dung mixture and kept in a shady cool place. The seedlings are ready for transplanting in the field when they are 18-24 months old.
- The pits (of dimension 75 cm x 75 cm x 75 cm) for planting the seedlings are partially filled with compost (vermicompost which is an excellent compost, can be used), green leaf manure or cattle manure and covered with topsoil.
- Watering is necessary in the first 3-4 years in clove cultivation.
- Keep the soil moist for your clove trees and place them in a sunny, warm location. Do not allow the soil to become waterlogged or your clove tree may die from root rot. Maintain a high humidity for your clove tree by misting it daily.
- Fertilize the clove tree using organic fertilizer and decomposed manure. Consult your local farmer (who practices organic agriculture) for instructions on the recommended dosage and time of application of fertilizer, and pesticides for pest control.
Clove trees produce clove buds after 20 years of growth. After 20 years of growth, the clove tree begins to produce flowering buds. Once flowering begins, cloves can be collected during both the spring and winter of tropical regions for at least several decades.
The unopened flower buds are harvested when they turn pink in colour. At this time, they are less than 2 cm long. Harvesting of cloves should be done using step ladders, without damaging the tree branches, as it adversely affects the succeeding growth.
Individual flower buds are separated from the cluster by hand and spread in the yard under the sun for drying. The cloves are considered well-dried when the stem of the clove is dark brown and the bud, light brown. Well-dried cloves are about one-third the weight of the original cloves.
Stories for the young
Bhajagovindam – 6
Bhajagovindam was composed by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. In this composition, Adi Sankaracharya talks about the repetitious cycles of birth and death that human beings go through, and how seeking the Grace of God can liberate us from this cycle. We have also shared a poem titled ”Quest for Freedom”, which beautifully brings out the meaning of this shloka.
|पुनरपि जननं पुनरपि मरणं
पुनरपि जननीजठरे शयनम् ।
इह संसारे बहुदुस्तारे
कृपयाऽपारे पाहि मुरारे ॥ २१॥
Punarapi Jananam Punarapi maranam
Punarapi janani jatare shayanam
Iha samsaare bahudustaare
kripaya pare paahi muraare (21)
Taking birth again, dying again and staying in the womb again. This is indeed difficult to break. O Killer of Mura! Please shower your mercy upon me.
Let us look at our life in two dimensions – the physical and mental. When we look back at our life after all these years, the body just seems to be an accumulation of the food that we eat, many things have been taken care of by nature and the structure seems to handed down from our ancestors (for example, my nose resembles my father’s and my ears resemble my mother’s). If we look at our thoughts, they seem to be a bundle of opinions accumulated from the environment we are in and most of them are from others For example, knowledge is from books, likings seem genetic and peer defined, etc. So what we call “I” suddenly seems fuzzy! The body is not “I” and the mind too is not “I”. In fact, it sometimes seems like they are not even “mine”, leave alone “I”. So when we are born again and again, we keep accumulating this “stuff” with nothing actually being “ours” or “I”. So why must we let this meaningless repetition happen? Doesn’t it become boring at one point? Wouldn’t we want to just quit this cycle? We do actions either for pleasure or when they serve a purpose. As we mature, we tend to do more meaningful tasks than those that are for pleasure.
For those who have attained a certain clarity in life, even taking birth seems to be meaningless until it serves a specific purpose. I think I have confused you enough!
Let us say you are aspiring for a high profile job (equivalent to a higher possibility in life). Now say there are two ways to getting there. In the first path, you need to study for 10 years and in case you do not perform well, you need to repeat the 10 years of study again to attain that position. Say you did this for 3 cycles (30 years). Then, suddenly, someone tells you that there is a way of working smart by which you will directly get the job. Now would you opt to work in a specific smart way and get the job, or would you be okay with working 10 more years and fumbling and not getting there at all? Its upto you to decide! There is no prescription!
When it comes to life, you don’t even know you have done these numerous cycles. We just think this is the one and only time. The moment the idea of repetition dawns, we will want to go. In this context it is very important to understand about sadhus and avataras* who are ready to take up this repetitive cycle voluntarily because of the compassion they have towards us. India is filled with such mahatmas who come and go by choice.
*incarnations of Divinity
|“Quest for Freedom”|
Moment by moment the days pass by
and one is caught in cycles
That are but whirlwinds of repetition
Oh how so boring…
Take me to a land
where moments don’t pass by
No repetitious cycles there
and stillness reigns supreme
The moment of eternity – the eternal now
From the lives of Mahatmas
Once Bhagavan’s school teacher visited Bhagavan who was now a fully realized Jnani. Bhagavan, out of love for His teacher, gifted him a book of poems composed by Him. The teacher who was astonished by the skill and adept knowledge of Bhagavan asked Bhagavan a doubt from the book.
Bhagavan turned to the people around and exclaimed “I ran away from Madurai only because I feared his questions in school. He is questioning me here too! Where do I run now?”. Everyone including the teacher burst into laughter!