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Friday, February 27, 2015

on vāsanās

इन्द्रियाध्यशनेऽतृष्णा वासनातानवे स्पृहा ।
कार्यालये रमाचिन्ता गृहे कार्यस्य चिन्तनम् ॥

When you feast on the senses, you attain dispassion; and when you do the opposite you attain desire. After all, when you at at work, you are thinking about your wife (home life). And, when you are at home, you are busy thinking of work !  (i.e. When you overload the senses at home, you attain dispassion about home and instead desire work. And vice versa)

Molai Forest


"Almost three decades ago, a teenager, after noticing the deaths of a large number of reptiles due to a lack of a tree cover, started planting Bamboo in an area that had been washed away by floods. Today, that same land hosts 1,360 acres of Jungle called Molai Forest, named after Jadav “Molai” Payeng, the man who made this possible single handedly!"

"That forest is now home to Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, over 100 deer and rabbits besides apes and several varieties of birds, including a large number of vultures. There are several thousand trees. Bamboo covers an area of over 300 hectares. A herd of around 100 elephants regularly visits the forest every year and generally stays for around six months. They have given birth to 10 calves in the forest in recent years."

उन्निद्रवारिनिधिजृम्भपरिप्लुता सा
वन्ध्येव पुष्परहिता समभूरनन्ता ।
व्याघ्रादिजन्तुगणपोषयुतान्नपूर्णा ॥

When the ocean expanded and yawned, it overflowed onto the land and rendered her barren for an infinite stretch. Then, by a life's work of painstakingly planting seed after seed, mother annapūrṇā has once again become the nourishing haunt of tigers and other herds.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

perfect circumstances

In a recent thread, an āstika was commenting on the dire straits in which many of the vedic traditions find themselves. In order to revive them, he was looking for utterly ideal circumstances to be provided by those in places of authority. He wanted "crown wearing" sannyāsis to take care of his every want. I found the situation comical --

चण्डे मरौ श्रुतितरुं समुपेत्य सन्धौ
सन्ध्याजलं कुत अहो विसृजामि सोऽहम् ।
संन्यस्तराजमुकुटं हि समर्थपात्रम् ॥

Having approached the vedic-tree which is in a crisis state in terrifying desert conditions, he wonders -- "Where should I release my sandhyā waters? The only vessel fit to receive the waters that contain my mantra śakti is a royal crown laid down before me". The words sandhau, so'ham and sannyāsa all have a secondary meaning as well.

Monday, February 23, 2015

half-baked knowledge

I had an opportunity to engage with someone that encourages and teaches śloka recitation. Unfortunately, instead of sticking to simple basics, he attempts to teach nuances that are poorly grounded.

विना ज्ञानं विनादेशं लोककल्याणकाङ्क्षिणः ।
बोधयन्ति वयोवृद्धान् रिङ्खनं पादपातनम् ॥
रिङ्खनं मे सुप्रख्यातं कर्तव्यं तस्य बोधनम् ।
इत्येवं व्याहरन्तीमे कुर्वन्त्यन्धपरम्पराम् ॥

Sometimes well meaning people forge ahead to teach others, though they themselves lack a proper foundation, and lack any clear direction. They end up resembling children that attempt to teach adults how to crawl and move about. They believe that their celebrated method of crawling deserves to be taught. Unfortunately, this is simply a case of the blind leading the blind.

भाषास्वभावमनुपेत्य विमूढवत् ते
पाशादिकेन विनिहन्ति गतिप्रसारम् ।
इन्द्रादिचारुविहिता मुनिशक्तिसत्ता
पर्यश्रुनेत्रनदिकास्रवसिक्तदेहा ॥

Without understanding saṁskṛta bhāṣā's nature, they foolishly try to restrain her gait with nooses and the like. She who has been used elegantly by Indra and the devas, and she who is the very existence underlying the śakti of the munis ... her body is now soaked by the river borne out of her tear-filled eyes.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

ṛṣyādi nyāsaḥ

The locations for the ṛṣyādi nyāsa are given in the following verse in the prapañca sāra sāra saṁgraha --

ṛṣir gurutvāt śirasaiva dhāryaḥ chando'kṣaratvāt rasanāgataṁ syāt |
dhiyā'vagantavyatayā sadaiva hṛdi pradiṣṭā manudevatā ca ||

i.e. the ṛṣi is placed on the head, the chandas on the tongue, and the devatā is established in the heart.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

on meetings and projections

चर्चासभा सकललोकसुखप्रदात्री
पश्यन्ति शुभ्रफलकं पुरतश्च सभ्याः ।
ताराश्च सूर्यकिरणान् फलकानि तद्वत्
दृष्ट्वा प्रभातसमये प्रणमन्ति भक्ताः ॥

Everyone loves meetings, and those who partake in them love to stare at the shining white board (projector screen) in front of them. These bhaktas wake up in the morning, and salute the stars and the sun, and projector screens !

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


There are two major versions of the mahānyāsa

  • bodhāyanokta -- the shorter version codified by bodhāyana
  • rāvaṇokta -- the longer version codified by rāvaṇa

Here is an outline of the mahānyāsa
  • pañcāṅga rudra nyāsaḥ (rāvaṇokta)
  • pañca mukha nyāsaḥ (rāvaṇokta)
  • keśādi pādānta nyāsaḥ
  • daśāṅga nyāsaḥ
  • pañcāṅga nyāsaḥ
  • haṁsa gāyatrī
  • dik saṁpuṭa nyāsaḥ
  • ṣoḍaśāṅga raudrīkaraṇam
  • prārthanā
  • guhyādi mastakānta ṣaḍaṅga nyāsaḥ
  • ātma rakṣā
  • śiva saṁkalpaḥ
  • puruṣa sūktam
  • uttara nārāyaṇam
  • apratirathaḥ
  • pratipūruṣam
  • śatarudrīyam
  • pañcāṅga japaḥ
  • aṣṭāñga praṇāmaḥ
  • laghunyāsaḥ

  • The pañcāṅga rudra nyāsa and pañca mukha nyāsa are only found in the rāvaṇokta version.
  • Many of the nyāsas feature "saṁpuṭīkaraṇam", where they are enclosed by bījas, or with the "namah śambhave ca mayobhave ..." mantras. In some traditions, "saṁpuṭīkaraṇam" is taken to be the añjali-mudrā. As a result, only the core mantras are chanted.
  • There are two passages for the śatarudrīyam, one from the taittirīya saṁhitā, and another from the taittirīya brāhmaṇa. Both of them start with the same mantra. The brāhmaṇa portion is chanted everywhere. Some traditions also include the saṁhitā version.
  • The śiva saṁkalpa is a mix of mantras and ślokas. Some of the mantras are taken from the śukla yajur veda, though many traditions seem to have changed the svaras. This section has the greatest amount of variation -- in the wording of the ślokas, the svaras, and their ordering.
  • There are two different versions of the pañcāṅga japa.

In general, there is a trend towards a "longer is better" mentality. However, it is sometimes better to stick to the shorter core pāṭha of the mahānyāsa.

Monday, February 16, 2015

prāṇa, tejas, ojas

An interesting excerpt from an article titled "An introduction to understanding the science of Prana Tejas and Ojas" --

Prana is responsible for the adaptability and creativity of the psyche, without which we suffer from depression and mental stagnation. Tejas govern mental digestion and absorption without which we lack clarity and determination. Ojas provides psychological stability and endurance without which we experience fear and anxiety.

And some additional words from Robert Svoboda --

Prana is the energy that drives life, the power that animates the body, enlivens the mind, spurs the soul. Prana is life's inspiration, its foundation, its tenacity; it is the sure hand on the tiller, the wise voice of good counsel, the urge to health and harmony that craves to turn our bodies into havens where we can take shelter from the storms of the hectic modern world. Prana is at work at every instant in every cell of every living organism, seeking ever to deliver us from disease and confirm us in health, but only in those few people who are genetically fated to be healthy does prana automatically regulate its momentum. The rest of us must learn how to cultivate our prana.


Understand your natural affinity with prana and you gain insight into which method of prana cultivation will work most efficiently and effortlessly for you. Sound prana handling is methodical, and the rishis, India's seers who spent their long lives poring over the many facets of the paradox that is life, proposed an variety of methods to encourage prana to adopt an suitable pace. They advised at the outset that we use the principles of Ayurveda, India's life-science, to balance vata, pitta and kapha, the three energy strategies of embodied beings. These Three Doshas encourage ailments when they are permitted to struggle with one another, and work to support the organism when taught to cooperate. When the Three Doshas strive toward amity they serve to strengthen agni, or tejas, the fire of transformation that permits us to feed and nourish ourselves. Strong fire digests cleanly the prana that we consume through our breath and through our food, and strong agni and prana facilitate the development of ojas, the pure "juice" that makes living worthwhile by cementing together body, mind and spirit and fueling immunity from illness.

Strong tejas and ojas in a body provide prana a good seat (asana) there. Well-seated prana provides us the visceral resolve we need to perform our every action precisely, rightly, with great resolve and enthusiasm. Such a body moves not from obligation but from the joy of movement that is prana's nature. Well-seated prana enhances immeasurably our ability to perform any yoga posture (asana). As prana becomes carefully settled through the practice of asana our bodies become fit for pranayama, which can promote control of the senses and the mind. Breath, prana and mind are mutually and inherently related; cultivate one well and the other two will fall into line. While many yogis do use breathing exercises to cultivate prana and mind, others use meditation to regulate the breath and prana. Some practice Svara Yoga, control of prana and mind by means of song, and some align breath, prana and mind by means of undiluted devotion to Divinity.

a verse in vasantatilaka

शैवागमोक्त-गुरुवर्य-कृता प्रतिष्ठा
तद्वंशजैः सुविवृता शिव-सङ्घ-पद्या ।
वेदानुचारिण इमे शिव-शक्ति-सक्ताः
धन्या वयं कलि-कुलेऽपि पवित्र-नेत्राः ॥

śaivāgamokta-guruvarya-kṛtā pratiṣṭhā
tadvaṁśajaiḥ suvivṛtā śiva-saṅgha-padyā |
vedānucāriṇa ime śiva-śakti-saktāḥ
dhanyā vayaṁ kali-kule 'pi pavitra-netrāḥ ||

In my very first composition in the vasantatilaka meter, the subject matter is the śivācāryas who officiated at a recent śiva pratiṣthā in a local temple. The pratiṣṭhā was done by those who are designated as śivācāryas in the śaivāgamas, and it is their forefathers who described and opened up the path towards śiva. In addition to being devoted to śiva and his consort śakti, these ācāryas also follow the vedas. Those of us who attended the pratīṣṭhā event are blessed, are our eyes were purified from witnessing this festive occasion, in spite of being born in the age of kali.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

viśeṣa sandhyā

One step in the pratiṣthā vidhi is the viśeṣa sandhyā (sandhiḥ). This is better described as a "viśeṣa tarpaṇa" in the prayoga candrikā. Interestingly, tarpaṇa is not offered with the word "tarpayāmi". Instead, it is offered with svāhā, namaḥ, vaṣaṭ, vauṣaṭ and svadhā ... as noted below. The following tarpaṇas are part of the sandhyā.
  • samhitā mantra tarpaṇam (svāhā 'ntam)
  • vidyeśvara mantra tarpaṇam (svāhā 'ntam)
  • tattvādhipa mantra tarpaṇam (svāhā 'ntam)
  • deva gaṇa tarpaṇam (svāhā 'ntam)
  • ṛṣi tarpaṇam (namo 'ntam)
  • manuṣya tarpaṇam (vaṣaḍ antam)
  • pañca bhūta tarpaṇam (vaūṣaḍ antam)
  • deva pitṛ tarpaṇam (svadhā 'ntam)
  • viśeṣa pitṛ tarpaṇam (svadhā 'ntam)
  • sva pitṛ tarpaṇam (svadhā 'ntam)
Interesting links:
  • link ] partial youtube video of this kriyā from a kumbhābhiṣeka
  • [ linkviśeṣa tarpaṇa vidhiḥ from the prayoga candrikā (grantha script)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

mahākumbhābhiṣeka rituals

Here are some short notes on the kumbhābhiṣeka, published by the "Kovil Montagne (Siva Subramanya Temple, Q-Bornes)"
  • [ Part 1 ] vinākaya pūjā, puṇyāhavācanam, gaṇapati homaḥ, anujñā saṅkalpaḥ
  • [ Part 2 ] vāstu śāntiḥ, navagraha homaḥ, praveśa baliḥ
  • [ Part 3 ] mṛt saṁgrahaṇam, aṅkurārpaṇam, rakṣābandhanam, kumbhasthāpanam, yāgārambhaḥ, dīpasthāpanam, kalaśasthāpanam, aṣṭabandhanam

Monday, February 9, 2015

śiva pratiṣṭhā vidhi

To better understand the overall śiva pratiṣṭhā vidhi, I've listed the majority of the book's table of contents below. I've chosen to group the entries into logical sections.

  • mṛt sangrahanam
  • praveśa baliḥ
  • rakṣoghna havanam
  • vāstu śāntiḥ
  • viśeṣa sandhyā
  • aṅkurārpaṇam
  • pratisara bandhanam
  • sūrya pūjā

  • yāga śālā nirmāṇam
  • pūrva dvāra pūjā
  • dakṣīṇa dvāra pūjā
  • paścima dvāra pūjā
  • uttara dvāra pūjā

  • kara nyāsaḥ
  • bhūta śodhanam
  • sūkṣma deha śodhanam
  • sthūla deha śodhanam
  • aṅga nyāsaḥ
  • antar yāgaḥ

  • viśeṣārhgya karaṇam
  • pañcagavya sādanam

  • yāgeśārcanā
  • vedikārcanā

  • agnikāryam
  • sthālīpākaḥ

  • jalādhivāsanam
  • nayanonmīlanam
  • snapanam
  • pradakṣīṇam
  • śayanam
  • mantra nyāsaḥ

  • dvitīyāhnikavidhiḥ
  • ādhāra śilā sthāpanam
  • śiva liṅga sthāpanam
  • vyomavyāpi pada mantrāṇi
  • aṣṭa bandhanam
  • adhva ṣaṭka nyāsaḥ
  • prāyaścittāṅga śānti homaḥ
  • diśā homaḥ
  • saṁhitā homaḥ
  • mūrti homaḥ
  • snapanāṅga mūrti homaḥ

  • sāṅga ṣaḍadhva nyāsaḥ
  • antar mātṛkā nyāsaḥ
  • bahir mātṛkā nyāsaḥ
  • tantra nyāsaḥ
  • pañcākṣara nyāsaḥ
  • haṁsa nyāsaḥ
  • bhuvana nyāsaḥ
  • pañcāvaraṇa nyāsaḥ

aṣṭādaśa kriyāvali

The śiva pratiṣṭhā vidhi book, which forms part of the kiryākramadyotikā, starts with a kārikā listing the 18 primary steps in the pratiṣṭhā.

(1) mrit-saṁgrahaṇakam (2) vāstu-pūjanam (3) cāṅkurārpaṇam |
(4) maṇḍapeśārcanam (5) homam (6) ākārasya ca śodhanam |
(7) mokṣaṇam ca (8) jalāvāsam (9) snapanam ca (10) pradakṣiṇam |
(11) kautukam (12) śayanam (13-15) mantra-ratnanyāsāṣṭabandhanam |
(16) ghaṭasnānam (17) nāmakṛtir (18) vivāho 'ṣṭadaśa smṛtāḥ ||

  • Though I've numbered the 18 items above, it is not a strictly ordered list. The author of the kārikā has moved a few items around so that it fits the meter.
  • There is a grammatical peculiarity in this kārikā. It would read better as "(5) homa" and "(8) jalāvāsaḥ" respectively, without breaking the meter.

kriyā krama dyotikā

After observing a recent temple pratiṣthā performed by śaiva āgama priests (śivācāryas), I came across aghora śivācārya's "kriyā krama dyotikā". This is a multi-volume set of śaiva āgama prayoga books published in the grantha script in the 1960s. The incomplete book set that I came across can be divided into three logical parts.
  1. gṛhya prayoga -- nityāhnikaḥ, pūrva prayogaḥ, apara prayogaḥ
  2. temple pratiṣthā procedures for each devatā -- ganeśaḥ, śivaḥ, devī, subrahmaṇyaḥ 
  3. utsavas -- pavitrotsava vidḥīḥ, mahotsava vidhiḥ, dvajārohaṇa vidhiḥ, prāyaścitta vidhiḥ,