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Manthana – Contemplation

Manthana literally means churning. One should churn the mind to constantly think of spiritual matters. Hence, here is my collection of quotes, questions, thoughts and reflections that I keep asking and reminding myself all the time.

P.S.: The one next to Gregorian date is amānta lunisolar date.

2023–08–06 | 5124-(05)-K06

Dedicating this verse to Tirumala-Tirupati Ṡrī Vēṅkaṭēṡa 🙏:

padmāvatīṡaṃ gōvindaṃ ṡēṣācalaprabhuṃ harim
pādau prapadyē ṡaraṇaṃ mukundaṃ vakuḻāsutam

“I offer full surrender at the feet of Gōvinda – the husband of Padmāvatī, Hari – the lord of Ṡēṣācala Hills, Mukunda – the son of Vakuḻā Dēvī.”

The word Govinda is rich in meaning, as already expounded. Hari is He who removes one’s sins (harir harati pāpāni). Mukunda is He who grants liberation (mōkṣaṃ dadāti yaḥ).

The Divine couple are sought after together, because they are never without each other. Padmāvatī is She who is seated on a lotus (padmā) – Mother Lakṣmī. Govinda is always in love with Her. Though Ṡrī Vēṅkaṭēṡvara is the son of Vakuḻā Dēvī in this līlāvatāra, He is the Supreme Being who alone can grant release from this saṃsāra, hence Mukunda.

The words “ṡaraṇaṃ”, “hari” and “mukunda” are in reference to Gita 18.66 – “mām ēkaṃ ṡaraṇaṃ vraja. ahaṃ tvā sarva pāpēbhyō mokṣyiṣyāmi” – surrender, removal of sins and deliverence of mōkṣa.

The idea is to never meditate on the Lord alone but always in association with His beloved consort (Ṡrīdēvī), His devotees (Vakuḻā Dēvī) and His divine abode (Ṡēṣācala aka Bhū-Vaikuṇṭha).

2023–05–21 | 5124–03-S02

Names of 12 Ādityas (dvādaṡādityāḥ)

Wikipedia lists the names of 12 Adityas. Their names are somewhat divergent in various scriptures. The Mahābhārata itself contains three different lists! Bhāgavata Purāṇa ties it up with month names found in the Yajur Veda and Vedāṅga jyōtiṣa (Madhu, Mādhava, etc.) and lunar months (Caitra, Vaiṡākha, etc.). Its list matches somewhat with the one in M.Bh. The Hari Vaṃṡa has same names but in a completely different order. The Viṣṇu Purana copies the one from Hari Vaṃṡa.

The names of 11 Ādityas are common to all of these (ignoring order). The twelfth one is either Savitṛ or Parjanya.

MBh 1.59.15–16 MBh 1.114.55–56 MBh 12.201.15–16 HV 3.50–51 BhP 12.11.33–44 Tropical
1 dhātā dhātā bhaga viṣṇu dhātā Mar 22
2 mitrā aryamā aṃṡa ṡakra (=indra) aryamā Apr 21
3 aryamā mitra aryamā aryamā mitra May 22
4 ṡakra (=indra) varuṇa mitrā dhātā varuṇa Jun 22
5 varuṇa aṃṡa varuṇa tvaṣṭā indra Jul 23
6 aṃṡa bhaga savitā pūṣā vivasvān Aug 23
7 bhaga indra dhātā vivasvān tvaṣṭā [pūṣā] Sep 23
8 vivasvān vivasvān vivasvān savitā viṣṇu [parjanya] Oct 23
9 pūṣā pūṣā puṣā¹ mitra aṃṡa Nov 22
10 savitā parjanya² tvaṣṭā¹ varuṇa bhaga Dec 22
11 tvaṣṭā tvaṣṭā² indra aṃṡa pūṣā [tvaṣṭā] Jan 21
12 viṣṇu viṣṇu viṣṇu bhaga parjanya [viṣṇu] Feb 20

¹ Pūṣā and Tvaṣṭā are transposed in Nilakanṭha and all southern mss.
² All southern mss. agree with this reading. But critical ed. lists 13 (!) names in total, in this order, after Pūṡā: Tvaṣṭā, Savitā, Parjanya, Viṣṇu.

What’s the right order?

The hint is in the Bhāgavatam. Viṣṇu is listed last (12th) in the verse but He is mapped to eighth month (not 12th). So it means that the order of listing is in accordance with significance/superiority (ajaghanyō jaghanyajaḥ, see below), not necessarily the order in which the Sun traverses the months. Another reason could be lingustic/metrical restrictrions (chandas) so the poet has chosen a particular order different from others. Only the Bhāgavatam gives explicit mapping to month names, all other scriptures just give out a list. We cannot assume that the list is in the order of month names, unless explicitly stated. Another example would be in Hari Vaṃṡa (v.i.), where the Vēdānġa months are given out-of-order, to fit Sanskrit metre.


From the critical edition:

01059015a dhātā mitrō’ryamā ṡakrō varuṇaṡ cāṃṡa ēva ca
01059015c bhagō vivasvān pūṣā ca savitā daṡamas tathā
01059016a ēkādaṡas tathā tvaṣṭā viṣṇur dvādaṡa ucyatē

01114055a dhātāryamā ca mitraṡ ca varuṇō’ṃṡō bhagas tathā
01114055c indrō vivasvān pūṣā ca ‡tvaṣṭā ca savitā tathā
01114056a ‡parjanyaṡ caiva viṣṇuṡ ca ādityāḥ pāvakārciṣaḥ

‡ All southern mss. read: parjanyō daṡamaḥ smṛtaḥ //
01114056a tatas tvaṣṭā tatō viṣṇur ajaghanyō jaghanyajaḥ //
01114*1227 ity ētē dvādaṡādityā jvalantaḥ sūryavarcasaḥ //

12201015a bhagō’ṃṡaṡ cāryamā caiva mitrō’tha varuṇas tathā
12201015c savitā caiva dhātā ca vivasvāṃṡ ca mahābalaḥ
12201016a pūṣā tvaṣṭā tathaivēndrō dvādaṡō viṣṇur ucyatē
12201016c ta ētē dvādaṡādityāḥ kaṡyapasyātmasaṃbhavāḥ


From the critical edition:

tatra viṣṇuṡ ca ṡakraṡ ca jajn̄ātē punar ēva hi
aryamā caiva dhātā ca tvaṣṭā pūṣā tathaiva ca // HV_3.50
vivasvān savitā caiva mitrō varuṇa ēva ca
aṃṡō bhagaṡ cātitējā ādityā dvādaṡa smṛtāḥ // HV_3.51

Similarly, certain northern mss. of HV (starred passages, not found in C.E.) quote same verses as MBh. 1.114.55–56 above (aligned with southern recension of MBh):

dhātāryamā ca mitraṡ ca varuṇō’ṃṡō bhagas tathā | *HV_8.35*158:5
indrō vivasvān pūṣā ca parjanyō daṡamas tathā | *HV_8.35*158:6
tatas tvaṣṭā tatō viṣṇur ajaghanyō jaghanyajaḥ || *HV_8.35*158:7

The words “viṣṇur ajaghanyō jaghanyajaḥ” (Viṣṇu is last-born but the best) are quoted by Srīmān Vēṅkaṭanātha Vedānta Dēṡika, the foremost commentator on Bhagavad Rāmanuja’s works, in the former’s gloss on Gita 10.21 (“ādityānām ahaṃ viṣṇuḥ”).

On a side note, the following verse lists the Vedic months in the order: 7, 8, 11, 12, 1, 2, 4, 3, 9, 10, 6, 5:

iṣa ūrjas tanūpaṡ ca madhur mādhava ēva ca
ṡuciḥ ṡukraḥ sahaṡ caiva nabhasyō nabha ēva ca
bhānavas tatra dēvāṡ ca manvantaram udāhṛtam // HV_7.17

Vishnu Purana

The the critical edition quotes same verses as Hari Vaṃṡa (q.v.):

tatra viṣṇuṡ ca ṡakraṡ ca jajn̄ātē punar ēva hi
aryamā caiva dhātā ca tvaṣṭā pūṣā tathaiva ca // ViP_1,15.130
vivasvān savitā caiva mitrō varuṇa ēva ca
aṃṡō bhagaṡ cātitējā ādityā dvādaṡa smṛtāḥ // ViP_1,15.131


  3. (cites Viṡvakarma Saṃhita, aligns exactly with Column 1 in above table)

2023–05–16 | 5124–02-K12

Typing the rupee sign ₹ on Linux using XKB keyboard layout

Linux’s XKB setup (X11 Keyboard) stores its keymaps in directory /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/. All the Indian languages (e.g. Hindi, etc.) are in the file in. Similarly Latin-based scripts are in the file us. I mostly use the “English (intl., with AltGr dead keys)” because it gives me access to create pretty much any imaginable character, especially those used in transliteration (e.g. ā, ṛ, ṅ, etc.). However, one annoying thing is that it doesn’t have a way to let me type the Indian rupee symbol ₹.

It is rather easy to patch the file.

  1. Open the us file (needs root)
  2. Scroll until you find the section titled xkb_symbols "altgr-intl". Notice that the first line is include "us(intl)" meaning it includes the US Intl. layout but goes on to modify it.
  3. Scroll down to a comment which says diversions from the MS Intl keyboard.
  4. Add this newline in that hunk somewhere:
   key <AE04> { [        4, dollar,      U20b9,        sterling        ] }; // Rupee

U20b9 is the Unicode codepoint for ₹. The normal Intl. keyboard has a generic currency sign (¤) which is not used these days. I I replaced it with U+20B9. Now you can type ₹ with “AltGr” followed by “4”.

Once you save the file and exit, reload the keymaps with:

sudo udevadm trigger --subsystem-match=input --action=change

You can also display a figure of the keyboard layout mapping (without activating or using it):

gkbd-keyboard-display -l $'us\taltgr-intl'

-l selects the layout and\t selects the variant ($country\tvariant).

2023–05–15 | 5124–02-K11

Tarpaṇa mantras from Baudhāyana Dharmasūtra – Viṣṇu and Lakṣṃi

I just discovered that Baudhāyana Dharmasūtra (aka Bodhayana Dh.) mentions tarpaṇa mantras for a host of divinities. Bau.Dh. is special for me:

Baudh2.5.9.10 / ōṃ kēṡavaṃ tarpayāmi / ōṃ nārāyaṇaṃ tarpayāmi/ ōṃ mādhavaṃ tarpayāmi / ōṃ gōvindaṃ tarpayāmi / ōṃ viṣṇuṃ tarpayāmi / ōṃ madhusūdanaṃ tarpayāmi / ōṃ trivikramaṃ tarpayāmi / ōṃ vāmanaṃ tarpayāmi / ōṃ ṡrīdharaṃ tarpayāmi / ōṃ hṛṣīkēṡaṃ tarpayāmi / ōṃ padmanābhaṃ tarpayāmi / ōṃ dāmōdaraṃ tarpayāmi /
ōṃ ṡriyaṃ dēvīṃ tarpayāmi / ōṃ sarasvatīṃ dēvīṃ tarpayāmi/ ōṃ puṣṭiṃ [K: puṣṭiṃ dēvīṃ] tarpayāmi / ōṃ tuṣṭiṃ [K: tuṣṭiṃ dēvīṃ] tarpayāmi / ōṃ garutmantaṃ [K:vainatēyaṃ] tarpayāmi / ōṃ viṣṇu-pārṣadāṃs tarpayāmi /ōṃ viṣṇu-pārṣadīṡ ca tarpayāmi //

Keshava-Narayana-Madhava is the usual one.

What is special is that it mentions four women: Ṡrī, Sarasvatī, Puṣṭi and Tuṣṭi. This is a direct proof that Sarasvati is considered different from Sri and yet both are consorts of Bhagavān Viṣṇu. To be even clear, it mentions tarpaṇa to Caturmukha Brahmā but no mention of his wife:

Baudh2.5.9.5 / oṃ brahmāṇaṃ tarpayāmi / oṃ prajāpatiṃ tarpayāmi / oṃ caturmukhaṃ tarpayāmi / oṃ parameṣṭhinaṃ tarpayāmi / oṃ hiraṇyagarbhaṃ tarpayāmi / oṃ svayaṃbhuvaṃ tarpayāmi / oṃ brahma-pārṣadāṃs tarpayāmi / oṃ brahma-pārṣadīś catarpayāmi /

So it is clear that, there was a time when the name “Sarasvatī” was the associated as the wife solely of Viṣṇu and not of Caturmukha Brahma.

Puṣṭi and Tuṣṭi are also mentioned in the Harivaṃṡa as daughters of Dakṣa prajāpati, so they at some point were considered consorts of Viṣṇu.

And Garuḍa is the only nitya-sūri explicitly listed. Both the male and female attendants (pārṣada) are acknowledged.

2023–05–13 | 5124–02-K09

Interesting word, Dūr. In the Ṡatapatha Brāhmaṇa, the vital breath Prāṇa is personified as a deity too, named “Dūr” (not to be confused with “dūra” far/distant)

dūr N. of the Prāṇa or vital breath regarded as a deity, ŚBr. [ID=94894]

12,121.023a yathoktā brahmakanyeti lakṣmīr nītiḥ sarasvatī 12,121.023c daṇḍanītir jagaddhātrī daṇḍo hi bahuvigrahaḥ

2023–05–03 | 5124–02-S13

All that is masculine is Hari and all that is feminine is Lakṣmī

In the Vishnu Purana, when describing the greatness of Ṡrī, maharṣi Parāṡara says:

devatiryaṅmanuṣyeṣu puṃnāmni bhagavān hariḥ
strīnāmni lakṣmīr maitreya nānayor vidyate param // ViP_1,8.34

O Maitreya! Among the gods (dēva-), animals (tiryak-), and humans (manuṣyēṣu), Bhagavān Hari is all that is named masculine; Lakshmi is all that is named feminine – there is nothing else beyond Them.

The entire section is very interesting. A rough translation (verse 1.8.16 onwards):

"Parāṡara says: Ṡrī, the mother of the world, is eternal and inseperable (anapāyinī) from Viṣṇu; just as He is all-pervading (sarvagata), so also is She omnipresent, oh best of Dvijas. Viṣṇu is meaning; She is speech. Hari is polity (naya); She is prudence (nīti). Viṣṇu is understanding (bōdha); She is intellect (buddhi). He is Dharma; She is good action. He is the creator; She is creation. Ṡrī is the earth; Hari the support of it. The Deity is bliss; the eternal Lakṣmī is contentment. He is desire (kāma); Ṡrī is wish (icchā). He is Yajn̄a; She is donation (dakṣiṇā). The goddess is the invocation which attends the oblation (āhuti); Janārdana is the oblation (purōḍaṡa). Lakṣmī is the chamber where the females are present (at a religious ceremony); Madhusūdana the apartment of the males of the family. Lakṣmī is the altar (citi); Hari the pillar (yūpa-sthamba, to which the victim is bound). Ṡrī is the fuel (idhmā); Hari the Kuṡa grass. He is the personified Sāma Veda; the goddess, lotus-throned, is the tone of its chanting (udgīti). Lakṣmī is the prayer of oblation (svāhā); Vāsudeva, the lord of the world, is the sacrificial fire (hutāṡana). O best of dvijas! O Maitrēya! Bhagavān Ṡauri (Viṣṇu) is Ṡaṅkara (Ṡiva); and Ṡrī is Gaurī Herself, the bride of Ṡaṅkara. Kēṡava, is the sun (sūrya); and its radiance (prabhā) is the lotus-seated goddess. Viṣṇu is the tribe of progenitors (pitṛgaṇāḥ); Padmā is their bride (svadhā), the eternal bestower of nutriment (puṣṭidā). Ṡrī is the heavens (dyauḥ); Viṣṇu, who is the soul of everything (sarvātmaka), is wide-extended space (avakāṡa). The lord Ṡrīdhara is the moon; She is his inseperable, unfading light (kānti). She who is Dhṛti, is called the moving principle of the world (jagac-cēṣṭā); Hari, the wind which blows everywhere. Govinda is the ocean; Lakṣmī its shore. Indrānī, the wife of Indra, is of the nature of Lakṣmī; Madhusūdana is Dēvēndra. Cakradhara, the holder of the discus, is Yama; the lotus-throned goddess is his spouse Dhūmōrṇā. Ṡrī is wealth (ṛddhi); Ṡridhara is Himself the god of riches (Kubēra). Oh highly-illustrious one! Lakṣmī is Gaurī; and Keṡava is her husband, the deity of ocean (Varuṇa). Ṡrī is the host of the celestials (Devasenā); Hari is her husband. Gadāpāṇi, the holder of the mace, is resistance; the power to oppose thus is Ṡrī. Lakṣmī is the kāṣṭhā and the kalā; Hari the nimēṣa and the muhūrta (all are units of time). Lakṣmī is the light (jyōtsnā); and Hari, who is all, and lord of all, is the lamp (pradīpa). She, the mother of the world, is the creeping vine; and Viṣṇu the tree round which She clings. She is the starry night (vibhāvarī); the god who is armed with the mace and discus, is the day (divasa). He, the bestower of blessings, is the bridegroom; the lotus-throned goddess is the bride. The god is one with all male rivers; the goddess one with all female rivers. The lotus-eyed Puṇḍarīkākṣa is the flag-staff; the goddess seated on a lotus is the flag. Lakṣmī is thirst (tṛṣṇā); Nārāyaṇa, the master of the world, is its desire (lobha). O knower of dharma! Govinda is love (rati); and Lakṣmī, his gentle spouse, is pleasure (rāga).

But why speak here numerously? It is enough to say, briefly, O Maitrēya!, that among the gods, animals, and humans, Hari is all that is named masculine; Lakṣmī is all that is named feminine – there is nothing else beyond Them."

Note that Lakṣmī is equated to Gauri twice, once as the wife of Ṡaṅkara and once again as the wife of Varuṇa, the latter usage of which is visible also in the Mahābhārata (fifth and thirteenth cantos).


2022–12–07 | 5123–09-S15

Meaning of ōṃkāra and ōṃ tat sat

Prof.Dr.K.S.N in his Kathopanishad lecture S1E13 elucidates the meaning and significance of the sacred syllable Ōṃ. He says, “put a necklace of the symbol OM around your child’s neck”. It is our identity.

When doing an offering or dāna, we must conclude it with “hariḥ ōṃ tat sat. ṡrī kṛṣṇārpaṇam astu”. Those who are forbidden to recite OM, must say “tat” and “sat”.

Around 1:32:00 in the same video, he explains the idea of wakefulness, sleepfulness and dreamfulness in relation to the three letters of ōmkāra (A-U-M) vide Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad. Those three letters also denote creation, maintenance and dissolution. ’A’kāra is for Aniruddha (jāgrati), ’U’kāra is for Pradyumna (svapna), ’M’akāra is for Saṅkarṣaṇa (suṣupti). All these states are real (satya), not an illusion. Why? Self-certitude. Denying it goes against experience (anubhava). The act of dreaming and deep sleep are real. What we see in those dreams need not be real (e.g. stabbing yourself in a dream doesn’t kill you in reality).

2022–11–14 | 5123–08-K10

Are ṛṣi’s born in today’s world? Can new Vedic mantras be “heard” by them even today?

Prof.Dr.K.S.N in his Kathopanishad lecture S1E10 shares an anecdote. He recalls the work of a Vedic scholar from Gokarna, KA, who published a book “Chandō-darṡana” in Kannada and Sanskrit. It contains hitherto unknown Veda mantras revealed to him in 1917. He is a nitya-agnihōtri, sāmpradīkṣita, Brahmarshi Daivarata Sharma. The entire revelation including intonation and translation is available on What’s surprising is that the work was written down by his own spiritual master, Kāvayaṇṭha Gaṇapati Muni, when the Brahmarshi spontaneously started speaking the mantras in his sleep/yoga-nidrā (see pg 11). No one knows, even the Brahmarshi himself, why or what happened at that moment. The guru himself says that “He (Daivarata) is not specially learned in Sanskrit, but he has been devoting much of his time to austerities, yoga and spiritual practices.” Many mantras could not be written down and are lost forever.

Dr. K.S.N says that when certain mantras get disused and lost, they are revealed to the deserving ones at later times.

Who is a Brahmin?

In the same disourse, U.Ve. K.S.N narrates a story from the Mahabharata. It’s about two donkeys and two Brahmins. He who does not have sympathy or mercy is not a Brahmin. He who does not speak truth is not a Brahmin. Listen to the full story!

2022–09–20 | 5123–06-K10

Few useful linux utlities:

  1. cpulimit is a great tool to make a process or program to run on ‘N’ number of CPUs or a given processor load (in percentage). It is a cpu-limiter.
  2. trickle is a program to limit the download or upload speed of a program, kinda throttle it. It can be used to simulate slow networks or not overload bulk downloads, etc. It is a bandwidth-limiter.
  3. chafa is a program to display images (png, jpg, etc.) on the console itself, especially if your terminal is 256-color enabled.

All are available in your nearest software repository, just an apt-get away.

2022–08–14 | 5123–05-K03

Radical Islamist attempts to murder Salman Rushie in U.S.A

Indian-born author Salman Rushdie survived an assassination attempt while delivering a lecture in U.S.A. His attacker, Hadi Matar, a Lebanese-American, showed no guilt over his attempt to murder. They’ve found him to be sympathetic to Iran and Shia Islam in his social media accounts.

If you want to know why Salman was attacked, you must read his books.

You can also find his books on Library Genesis

Salman is a self-proclaimed atheist, though born in a Muslim heritage. He strongly criticizes Islam for its teachings and message. Praying for his speedy recovery.

2022–06–24 | 5123–03-K11

Countering kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam with Bhagavatam itself

Many Krishnaites, especially Gaudiyas and ISKCONites, cite “kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam” as the proof that Ṡrī Kṛṣṇa is Supreme and the source of other forms of God like Viṣṇu or Nārāyaṇa. We have no qualms with the claim that Kṛṣṇa is Supreme – indeed He is. However, we do not agree that Kṛṣṇa is the source of Viṣṇu but the converse is true. Proof is in Ṡrīmad-Bhāgavatam itself (10.26.23):

ity addhā māṃ samādiṡya gargē ca sva-gṛhaṃ gatē
manyē nārāyaṇasyāṃṡaṃ kṛṣṇam akliṣṭa-kāriṇam

Ṡrīla Prabhupāda Maharaj translates it as follows:

“[Nanda Mahārāja continued:] After Garga Ṛṣi spoke these words to me and returned home, I began to consider that Kṛṣṇa, who keeps us free from trouble, is actually an expansion of Lord Nārāyaṇa.

The verse clearly says nārāyaṇasya aṃṡaṃ kṛṣṇam – Kṛṣṇa is an aṃṡa of Nārāyaṇa! Aṃṡa means a portion, a part (not whole) and yet the revered ācārya translates it as “expansion”. And there is no commentary on this verse, so 🤷.

2022–06–21 | 5123–03-K08

Different gayatri mantras for different varnas

It is commonly accepted that the famous Gayatri mantra must be used by all dvijas (brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiṡya) for their sandhyāvandana. However, the Ṡāṅkhāyana Gṛhya-sūtra (also chap. 7) gives a different opinion.

See also Jan Gonda’s “Indian mantra”.

2022–06–20 | 5123–03-K07

When does a soul enter the physical body?

There are various theories about when a jīvātma enters the physical body. Some say it is after the fusion of the sperm and egg. Others disagree, and opine that the jīvātma already exists in the sperm of a man.

Ṡrī Ranga-rāmānuja muni, in his commentary on the Chandogya Upanishad 5.10.6, says:

It is rare to be born as a human being because, the souls in close contact with rain and that are being born as paddy, corn, etc., are likely to be swept away by rivers and others and they will be getting into ocean and others. There is no chance of such corn to be eaten by man to be transformed into the form of semen. It is only when eaten by men and ablated in woman through the seed is he capable of being born as man. Here also it is to be noted that the descending jīva does not become semen and other things but he will have a close contact with them in that form and only when man sprinkles the semen in the generative organ of the woman he is liable to be born as a man. Even here chances are very rare. The Upanishat makes out that it is very difficult to get out of the state of corn and others and attain the form of a man.

[Translation taken from Dr.N.S.Anantha Rangacharya’s, “Principal Upanishads according to Sri Ranga Ramanuja Muni”, Volume 2, pg. 197–198.]

2022–06–19 | 5123–03-K06

Three unsolvable riddles of logic

Prof. Dr. K.S. Narayanacharya, the revered Vedic teacher, narrates an episode from Bhagavad Yāmunācārya’s life. There was a Chola king, whose āsthāna was once visited by a learned scholar of logic (tarka ṡāstra) names Sarvajn̄a Paṇḍita (Bhaṭṭa) from north India. There ensued a debate between him and the eight-year old Ṡrī Yāmuna. In the presence of the king’s wife and his mother (rājamāta), Ṡrī Yāmuna posed these questions to the opponent:

  1. Prove that the king’s mother is a childless woman. (Rājamāta’s child, the king, is right there!)
  2. Prove that the king’s wife is not a pativratā (chaste or virgin).
  3. What exists in this my fist? (which was empty, nothing was in Yāmuna’s hand).

Intrigued? Check the answers from his lecture!

2022–06–18 | 5123–03-K05

Unworthy Brahmins: not all Brāhmaṇas are upper-caste

Chapter 8 of Atri-Saṃhitā is dedicated entirely to “nindya brāhmaṇas”, condemnable Brahmins. Verses 371–381 describe ten types of Brahmins: the good ones – “dēva” Brahmin, “vipra” Brahmin, “dvija” Brahmin; and the deplorable ones – niṣāda-brāhmaṇa, paṡu-brāhmaṇa, ṡūdra-brāhmaṇa, mlēccha-brāhmaṇa, vipra-cāṇḍāla. It says that, such despicable Brahmins, even if they are well-versed in the scriptures, should not be honoured or respected. Such people are ineligible to conduct rituals like the ṡrāddha.

2022–06–18 | 5123–03-K05

Cāṇḍālas in the Vedas

Like we all know, there are four varṇas: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiṣya and ṡūdra. However, inter-marriage between these four has been going on for a long-time. The Gautama Dharmasūtra gives a matrix of names:

Wife ↓ / Husband → Brāhmaṇa Kṣatriya Vaiṡya Ṡūdra
Brāhmaṇa Brāhmaṇa Sūta Māgadha Caṇḍāla
Kṣatriya Mūrdhāvasiktha Kṣatriya Dhīvara Pulkasa
Vaiṡya Bhṛjyakaṇṭha Māhiṣya Vaiṡya Vaidēhaka
Ṡūdra Pāraṡava Yavana Karaṇa Ṡūdra

Caṇḍāla and Pulkasa are mentioned in the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.3.22 (= Ṡatapatha Brāhmaṇa 14.7.1.[22]). Caṇḍāla are again mentioned in Chāndōgya Upaniṣad (5.10.7 and 5.24.4). Karaṇa is mentioned in the Yājnavalkya Smṛti with the same definition as above. However, Manu Smṛti (10.22) mentions Karaṇa as the child of an outcaste Kṣatriya. Mahabharata Ādiparva elaborates it as the child of Kṣatriya man with a Vaiṡya wife.

Ādi-Ṡaṅkara Bhagavatpada’s commentary on Bṛ.Up. 4.3.22 immediately clarifies:

cāṇḍālo nāma śūdreṇa brāhmaṇyāmutpannaścaṇḍāla eva cāṇḍālaḥ
sa jātinimittena karmaṇāsaṃbaddhatvādacāṇḍālo bhavati

Caṇḍāla or Cāṇḍāla is the offspring by a Ṡudra (husband) with a Brāhmaṇa (wife). Though he is that by his jāti, he becomes an acāṇḍāla (non-Cāṇḍāla) by connection with his actions.

So, again, one’s works and actions override one’s parentage.

Note that these mixed groups are not set in stone forever. One can jump among the jāti:s. The same Gautama Dharmasūtra specifies these conditions in the same chapter.

2022–06–17 | 5123–03-K04

What do the Indian scriptures say about decentralisation and federalism? It says that law enforcement must prevail at the lowest administrative municipality as possible.

Chapter 3 of Vishnu Smriti gives a glimpse of law enforcement, where the territory is divided in powers of 10:

(While he [the King] resides) there, let him appoint chiefs (or governors) in every village; (7)
Also, lords of every ten villages; (8)
And lords of every hundred villages; (9)
And lords of a whole district. (10)

Presumably even 100+ villages could be grouped into a district.

If any offence has been committed in a village, let the lord of that village suppress the evil (and give redress to those that have been wronged). (11)
If he is unable to do so, let him announce it to the lord of ten villages; (12)
If he too is unable, let him announce it to the lord of a hundred villages; (13)
If he too is unable, let him announce it to the lord of the whole district. (14)
The lord of the whole district must eradicate the evil to the best of his power. (15)

2022–06–16 | 5123–03-K02

The ZFQ Rule

Whenever any Hindi word’s spelling in English contains one of these letters – z, f or q – then it is an imported word from Urdu/Arabic/Persian. This is a sufficient but not necessary rule.

Example: zindagi (jeevan), waqt (samay), sirf (keval), zulf (kesh), azadi (svantrata), etc.

2022–06–08 | 5123–03-S08

Gītā is not for everyone.

It’s a common misconception that the Bhagavad Gita is a universal scripture meant for all. Such a thing goes against the word of Gita 18.67 itself:

idaṃ tē nātapaskāya nābhaktāya kadācana  
na cāṡuṡrūṣavē vācyaṃ na ca māṃ yō’bhyasūyati /18.67/  

This (that I, Bhagavān, have taught you) should not ever be taught to one
who is devoid of austerities and to one who is not a devotee; also,
neither to one who does not render service, nor as well to one who
traduces Me.

This verse speaks of the Vedic concept of adhikāra, i.e., eligibility or qualification of the ones to whom it can be taught. The Gita is not to be disclosed to:

  1. One who does not exercise control over his mind and body (i.e., not following tapasya).
  2. One who does not love Bhagavān Ṡrī Kṛṣṇa (i.e., not His bhakta)
  3. One who is not submissive to or servant of one’s guru (i.e., not doing ṡuṡrūṣa)
  4. One who is envious of or indignant at Bhagavān.

In short, all the atheists, secularists, communists, Abrahamics, brown sāhibs, colonialists, Western academics, etc. are completely ineligible to study the Gita. So, why bother to read their translations and commentaries?

Go in search of a guru, now!

2022–05–31 | 5123–03-S01

रामो राजमणिः सदा विजयते रामं रमेशं भजे
रामेणाभिहता निशाचरचमूः रामाय तस्मै नमः ।
रामान्नास्ति परायणंपरतरं रामस्य दासोस्म्यहं
रामे चित्तलयस्सदा भवतु मे भो राम मामुद्धर ॥

2022–05–26 | 5123–02-K11

On this auspicious day of Ekadashi, I came across this beautiful verse called Ekatmata mantra. Though not a “mantra”, in the sense that it is not revealed by the Rishis, it is a very accurate and inclusive view of Indian diversity of thought and religion:

यं वैदिका मन्त्रदृशः पुराणाः इन्द्रं यमं मातरिश्वा नमाहुः।
वेदान्तिनोऽनिर्वचनीयमेकम् यं ब्रह्म शब्देन विनिर्दिशन्ति॥
शैवायमीशं शिव इत्यवोचन् यं वैष्णवा विष्णुरिति स्तुवन्ति।
बुद्धस्तथार्हन् इति बौद्ध जैनाः सत् श्री अकालेति च सिख्ख सन्तः॥
शास्तेति केचित् प्रकृतीः कुमारः स्वामीति मातेति पितेति भक्त्या।
यं प्रार्थन्यन्ते जगदीशितारम् स एक एव प्रभुरद्वितीयः॥

There’s a typo in the linked page, where the avagraha (ऽ) is missing on the second line. Anyway, here is what it says:

"Whom (yam) the Vedic mantra-draṣṭas (those who have understood the Vedas and to whom the mantras were revealed), the Puranas (stories and history of ancient times) and other sacred scriptures call: Indra (the chief of all), Yama (the ruler of Dharma) and Mātariṡvā (present everywhere like air). Whom the Vedāntins (those who follow the philosophy of Vedānta), indicated by the word Brahman, as the One (ēkam) which cannot be described or explained (anirvacanīya).

Whom the Ṡaivas call (avōcan) the Controller (īṡam) Śiva and Vaishnavas praise (stuvanti) as Viṣṇu, the Buddhists and Jains (bauddha-jainaḥ) respectively call as Buddha and Arhant (without any end), whom the Sikh sages call Sat-Ṡrī-Akāl (the timeless Truth).

Some (kēcit) call Whom as the Commander (ṡāstā), as Mother Nature (prakṛti), as a Child (kumāra), some call It the Owner of the Universe (svāmī), some Mātā (the Divine Mother) or Pitā (the Divine Father). To whom they offer prayers, It (saḥ) is the same Master (prabhu), the only One (ēka ēva), without a second (advitīyaḥ)."

This is a beautiful prayer. Though I do not know who composed it or what their ideology is.

2022–05–19 | 5123–02-K04

Has the karma theory been mentioned in the Vedic literature? A resounding yes!

From the Ṡatapatha Brāhmaṇa of Ṡukla Yajurvēda:

ātmanō vā ētam adhijanayati yādṛṡādva jāyatē tādṛṅṅēva bhavati /ṠaBr_7.4.1.1/

“For, from out of his own self he causes him to be born, and wherefrom one is born, suchlike he becomes.”

From the Kaṭha Upaniṣad 5.7:

yōnim anyē prapadyantē ṡarīratvāya dēhinaḥ /
sthāṇum anyē’nusaṃyanti yathākarma yathāṡrutam /KaU_5.7/

“One enters the womb of a mother and attains a bodily form, another goes to a plant, each of these as per his or her own deeds and knowledge.”

From the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.5:

yathākārī yathācārī tathā bhavati | sādhukārī sādhur bhavati |
pāpakārī pāpō bhavati | puṇyaḥ puṇyēna karmaṇā pāpaḥ pāpēna |
athō khalv āhuḥ | kāmamaya ēvāyaṃ puruṣa iti |
sa yathākāmō bhavati tatkratur bhavati |
yatkratur bhavati tat karma kurutē |
yat karma kurutē tad abhisampadyatē /BrUp_4.4.5/

“Just as one acts and behaves, so will he be born. He becomes holy by holy deeds and he becomes evil by evil deeds. By meritorious acts, begets merits and by demeritorious acts, demerits. Thus indeed it is said. This man is filled with desire. As he desires, so he wills. As he wills, so he acts. Whatever actions he performs, that he obtains.”

2022–05–18 | 5123–02-K03

Another great snippet from Swami Raghavacharya. He examines the verse na tasya pratimā asti which Arya Samaj interprets as “He has no form”.

आर्य समाज का सच arya samaj ka sach

The real meaning is “He has none equal”, in the sense that pratimā means similarity or reflection, like in a mirror. There is no one similar to Him. Swamiji also explains about sajātīya bhēda and vijatīya bhēda – God has none of these; He is advaita (nonduality) in these senses only. Instead, God does have bhēda (duality) but it is svagata bhēda, i.e., difference within Oneself. How so? Because animate and inanimate entities are “adjectives” (viṡēṣaṇa) to Him.

Jīva and Māyā, who are within Him are both different from Him. Just like hands and legs are within the body and yet different from the body. Swamiji gives example of a “blue lotus” (nīla-kamala). These two entities are apṛthak, i.e., inseparable from the Lord.

2022–05–10 | 5123–02-S09

Beautiful lyrics of Rukmini Ashtakam:

namas tē bhīṣmaka-sutē vāsudēva-vilāsini /
pradyumnāmba namas tubhyaṃ prasīda paramēṡvari /1/

namaḥ kamala-mālinyai kamalē kamalālayē /
jagan-mātar namas tubhyaṃ kṛṣṇa-prāṇādhika-priyē /2/

jānakī tvaṃ ca lakṣmīs tvaṃ viṣṇu-vakṣaḥ-sthala-sthitā /
vaikuṇṭha-pura-sāmrājn̄ī tvaṃ bhaktābhīṣṭa-dāyinī /3/

svarṇa-varṇē ramē ramyē saundaryākara-rūpiṇi /
māra-mātar mahā-lakṣmi kṛṣṇa-kandarpa-vardhini /4/

vardhinī subhagānāṃ ca varṣiṇī sarva-sampadām /
nārāyaṇāṅghri-yugmē tvaṃ nitya-dāsya-pradāyinī /5/

gōvinda-paṭṭa-mahiṣi dvārakā-pura-nāyikē /
ṡaraṇyē vatsalē saumyē bhīmā-tīra-nivāsini /6/

tvad-anyā kā gatir mātar agatīnāṃ jagat-trayē /
kṛṣṇa-kāruṇya-rūpā tvaṃ tat-kṣānti-parivardhinī /7/

kṛṣṇē tvayi ca hē mātar dṛḍhā bhaktiḥ sadā’stu naḥ /
jayō’stu jaya vaidarbhi rukmiṇy amba jayō’stu tē /8/

2022–05–05 | 5123–02-(S04)

Greetings on the occasion of Ṡrī Rāmānuja Tirunakṣatram! Ṡrīmatē Rāmānujāya Namaḥ 🙏

Another excellent discourse by Swami Raghavacharya Maharaj.

  1. Bhagavān laughs at you when you say “tvam ēva mātā ca pitā tvam ēva”. Why? Listen to the lecture!
  2. Ātman (individual self) is considered female. We all are female. Only He is the puruṣa. Story of Ṡaṭhakōpa Āẕvār, who was born 35 years after Kali Yuga, says in his Sahasra-gīti (Tiruvāymoẕi) that he is His lover.
  3. Beautiful morning prayer to Ṡrī Viṣṇu

    prātaḥ smarāmi bhava-bhīti-mahārtti-ṡāntyai
      nārāyaṇaṃ garuḍa-vāhanam-abjanābham
      cakrāyudhaṃ taruṇa-vārija-patra-netram

2022–04–22 | 5123–01-K06

I recently came across this 3-part Sanskrit-English bilingual series of articles (Part–1, Part–2, Part–3) by Dr.Sammod Acharya. He argues that the Vedics started their new year in the month of Māgha (not Caitra), corresponding to Vasanta-Ṛtu (spring season). He laments that the Indian Calendrical Committee (of Rashtriya Panchang fame) mistakenly considered the Vedic month names as purely solar months instead of luni-solar months. This confusion has led to the practice of celebrating Uttarayana/Dakshinayana at wrong times in recent years. His proposal is as follows:

Vedic month Season Lunar month Dates (2022)
Madhu Vasanta Māgha (winter solst.) 02-Feb
Mādhava Vasanta Phālguna 03-Mar
Ṡukra Grīṣma Caitra 02-Apr
Ṡuci Grīṣma Vaiṡākha (summer eqnx.) 01-May
Nabha Varṣā Jyaiṣṭha 31-May
Nabhasya Varṣā Āṣāḍha 30-Jun
Iṣa Ṡarad Ṡrāvaṇa (summer solst.) 29-Jul
Ūrja Ṡarad Bhādrapada 28-Aug
Sahas Hēmanta Āṡvina 26-Sep
Sahasya Hēmanta Kārtika (winter eqnx.) 26-Oct
Tapas Ṡiṡira Mārgaṡira 24-Nov
Tapasya Ṡiṡira Puṣya 24-Dec to 22-Jan
Aṃhasaspati N/A Adhika-māsa N/A

All the lunar months are in amānta (new-moon to new-moon, South Indian scheme). The intercalary leap month (adhika-māsa) occurs at the end of solstices (adhika-āṣāḍha or adhika-puṣya) only; leap months are not allowed elsewhere. The mapping between Vedic months and seasons (columns 1 and 2) is fixed. Where people disagree is which Vedic month maps to which lunar/solar month – with some counting them from Caitra (instead of Māgha), some from solar Mīna (=Madhu), etc. Sammod Acharya basically says that we’ve to call that month as “Magha” during which winter solstice occurs (22-Dec mostly) – he carefully notes that this “Magha” is not the sidereal month.

A curious result of this remapping is that “Vasanta Pan̄cami” festival, celebrated on Māgha-Ṡukla-Pan̄camī (05-Feb–2022), actually falls in Vasanta Ṛtu!

The Indian astronomical ephemeris gives conflicting dates for the Vedānga-Jyōtiṣa new year date. For example, in 2022, it says that the Vēdāṅgaa-Jyōtiṣa New Year began on 13-Feb, using a solar calendar (kumbha saṅkrānti, Māgha starts 02-Feb–2022 though) whereas in earlier years, it counted the Jyōtiṣa New Year using a lunar calendar (12-Feb–2021, 25-Jan–2020, 05-Feb–2019 – all corresponding to māgha-ṡukla-pratipat). In any case, as mentioned before, it mistakenly maps the Vedic months to solar months (Madhu = mīna-māsa, …, Tapasya = kumbha-māsa).

Jyōtiṣa New Year 2019 Jyōtiṣa New Year 2022

2018 = Anuvatsara (4) of 388th cycle
2019 = Anuvatsara (4) of 389th cycle
2020 = Samvatsara (1) of 389th cycle
2021 = Parivatsara (2) of 389th cycle
2022 = Idavastara (3) of 389th cycle

2021–07–06 | 5122–03-K12

Bhagavan Ṡrī Kṛṣṇa is decorated by a Vanamāla garland. It has 5 flowers. What are they?

Tulasī, Kunda, Mandāra, Pārijāta, Sarōruh

Source: Swami Raghavachary’s discourse on Bhaktamāla

5 types of devotees:

  1. Sakhya - as a friend
  2. Vātsalya - as a parent or child
  3. Ṡānta - like that of a jn̄āna-yōgi
  4. Dāsya - as a servant
  5. Ṡṛṅgāra - as a lover

2021–07–01 | 5122–03-K07

A “liberal” from argues that price gouging (i.e. charging exorbitant prices than it costs to provide service) by private hospitals during the times of COVID is necessary(!).

Fact: There are 5 patients looking for a hospital bed but only one is available.
Question: Who should the hospital give the bed to?
Him: It should go to the one who pays the most.

Fact: There is only one ambulance but 5 patients are asking for it.
Question: Who should the ambulance be offers to?
Him: It should go to the one who pays the most.

Silly Me: But why not offer it at normal price to whoever calls in first, instead of auctioning it for whoever pays the most?

Yeah right, because “big pharma” wants more profits, even at the cost of human lives. “Pay me more, pay me more…”. The “invisible hand” of the markets is working so well at exploiting the gullible poor because they are acting in their “self-interest” as expected. Typical neolib/laissez-faire logic, because morality begone.

This is one of the reasons why I’m a Centrist social liberal and don’t go bonkers with liberalism.

2021–06–22 | 5122–02-K12

Many believe that the idea of Radha-like conjugal love towards Lord Krishna has its origins in “Gita Govinda” of Jayadeva or Gaudiya Vaishnavism or in the Bhagavatam. However, it is much older than Bhagavatam. Here’s a verse from the Mahabharata

% 3.123.4 % After 4, S ins.: 03@0598–01 namna caham sukanyeti nrloke’smin pratisthita 03@0598–02 saham sarvatmana nityam bhartaram anuvartini

Mahabharata 3.234.4–7, the love (sarvdtmandmdn bhajati or bhartrbhakti, bhaktir bhartari) of a wife for her husband “should be adopted toward Krsna himself.”

Southern recension of Kumbakonam:

etadyaṡasyaṃ bhagavetanaṃ ca svārthaṃ tadā ṡatrunibarhaṇaṃ ca. mahārhamālyābharaṇāṅgarāgā bhartāramārādhaya puṇyagandhaiḥ .. 3–235–12

2019–06–08 | 5120–03-S06

ಅವಧೂತ ಗೀತೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ೨೪ ಗುರುಗಳನ್ನು ಹೇಳಲಾಗಿದೆ: ಪಂಚಭೂತಗಳು, ಸೂರ್ಯ-ಚಂದ್ರ, ಪಾರಿವಾಳ, ಹೆಬ್ಬಾವು, ಸಮುದ್ರ, ಪತಂಗ, ಚಿಟ್ಟೆ, ಜೇನ್ನೊಣ, ಆನೆ, ಜೇನು ತೆಗೆಯುವವನು, ಜಿಂಕೆ, ಮೀನು, ಪಿಂಗಳಾ ಎನ್ನುವ ವೇಶ್ಯೆ, ಕುರರ ಎನ್ನುವ ಪಕ್ಷಿ, ಸಣ್ಣ ಮಗು, ಮದುವೆಯಾಗದ ಹೆಣ್ಣುಮಗಳು, ಬಾಣ ಮಾಡುವವ, ಸರ್ಪ, ಜೇಡರ ಹುಳು.

Ref: Brahmanyachar, Iskcon, SB 11.7.33–35

2019–05–09 | 5120–02-S05

How do we use the rejuvenated energy for a more promising attitude and action?

We must regulate all our actions by carefully asking some basic questions such as:

  1. Do I need to buy this or am I being greedy?
  2. Am I using/buying something that is non-friendly to the environment?
  3. What am I running for – a more luxurious lifestyle or purposeful life?
  4. Am I sharing all the benefits that God has bestowed on us with others?
  5. Am I being supportive of all those who are less fortunate?
  6. Am I being thankful to God for life or always complaining about the troubles?

Happy Sri Adi-Shankaracharya Jayanti and Sri Ramanujacharya Jayanti – the two great stalwarts of Hinduism.

2019–04–06 | 5120–01-S01

How to reach God?

Formula for reaching God (Bhagavad Gita):

mat-karma-kṛin mat-paramo mad-bhaktaḥ saṅga-varjitaḥ nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ sa mām eti pāṇḍava /11–55/

Happy Lunar New Year!

2019–02–12 | 5119–11-S08

What does it mean to be human?

Satisfy your need, not greed. We must learn to keep our desires in the limit. We must learn to utilize our knowledge and skills morally for meaningful purposes. Be a true human being by leading life like a Yajna! B.G. 3.11 states that, we must live in unison with nature for peaceful coexistence.

Greetings on Bhishma Ashtami!