Jagadguru Speaks...06 Helping others will edify our spiritual growth. Gems of Sankara...12 The deep Advaitic lesson on Consciousness

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1 Welcome to

2 40/- Nov 2015

3 CONTENTS Jagadguru Speaks...06 Helping others will edify our spiritual growth The Practice of Concentrative Meditation...08 The art of staying on one thought Gems of Sankara...12 The deep Advaitic lesson on Consciousness Is Desire a Blessing or Evil?...14 The scriptures support legitimate desires. Arunachala the Hill that is God...18 Siva as a column of flame Sparks of Wisdom...22 Spiritual Quote...24 Youth Vox...26 Choosing the academic stream Lessons on Soft Skills from Sri Krishna...30 Guidance from Madhurashtakam The Restless Manager...32 Enduring remedy to anxiety and vague fear Role of Guru in Resolving Confusions...36 Strive for clarity while communicating Vedantic thoughts Tickles

4 Eight Great Qualities...44 Sagely advice from Sri Abhinava Vidya Tirtha Mahaswamigal News and Events...50 The edifying Vidwat Sadas in Sringeri The Wellness Sense...60 The Vatas, Pittas and Kaphas Holistic Culinary Art Maize or Corn...66 The amazing properties of maize Yoga Posture: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana...70 Art of Positive Feeling...72 Condensation of the book by Swami Jyotirmayananda Story with a Moral...86 The story of a boy with an impossible dream Jai Ho Bharat...88 The beauty of Chamundi Hills 5

5 6

6 Selfless Help Enhances Spiritual Growth Man must be inclined to help others. There, too, helping without any expectation comes first. By extension, helping them in return for a help rendered earlier is only secondary. Still one must always develop the tendency to help others. Some persons take help from others, but do not even remember it, rather they talk about shortcomings in the help and sometimes entertain enmity towards the one who rendered the help. It is a heinous sin. Such a person is known as evil minded. None of us should be like that. CnH$mana: àda: àë wnh$ma H$amo{V _Ü ñw: & ZrMñVX{n Z Hw$éVo CnH$madðmmX² ^d{v ðmìw: g: && However, some people do not mind whatever difficulties they undergo in helping others. They boldly persist in doing so just as the wick of the lamp gives light even as it burns out. They are indeed noble persons. CnH ${Vgmhm{gH$V m j{v_{n JU pýv Zmo Jw{UZ: & OZ pýv {h àh$mðm XrnpðmIm: ñdm XmhoZ&& If we understand this well and help others, our mind will become pure, which will help edify our spiritual growth. 7

7 Adoring Siva in his lustrous form, Parvati went around the Hill and joined the Lord. 18

8 A runachala delineates the awesome glory of Siva as Jyotirlinga in the form of the Arunachala Hill in south India, about 200 km. from Chennai. This sacred hill is called Annamalai in Tamil. The word, Arunachala, has five syllables (A-Ru-NaCha-La) like the Panchakshari mantra of Siva, Na-MahSi-Va-Ya. The mantra reminds one of the pancha bhutas which are the five elements that are the basis of all creations. Enlightened sages saw Siva as representing Fire among the five elements, i.e. Earth (Prithvi), Water (Aapah), Fire (Agni), Wind (Vayu) and Space (Akasa). Column of Flame Aruna-achala literally means red-coloured mountain. Lord Siva manifested as an unending red-hued brilliant flame. The Skanda Purana has a legend in which sage Markandeya requested Nandi to name the kshetra of Siva the mere thought (smarana) of which was enough to bestow salvation to the bhakta. Nandi went into deep samadhi and realised that while Mount Kailas and Mount Meru were only the 'abodes' of Siva, Arunachala was the embodiment of Siva himself. According to another legend, once while Parvati was engaged in severe penance, the demon, Mahishasura, who had received a boon that he could not be killed by any male, was harassing all living beings. Realising that his boon did not include freedom from being killed by a woman, the gods beseeched Devi Parvati to help in getting rid of this great menace. They are said to have offered their special powers and 19

9 weapons to Devi to aid the mission, and Siva blessed the annihilation of Mahisha. svarupa. The flame is a glorious sight (Deepa darshanam) even from a great distance. After an intense fight and vanquishing the demon, Parvati undertook a month-long penance as prayas-chitta (atonement). At the end of the period, on the full moon day when the star Krittika was in ascendance, Parvati wished to see Siva as effulgent light. Bare-footed pilgrims go round the hill during the Purnima day (and night), singing bhajans and keertans, with many devotees observing silence, re-creating the Divine Mother s circumambulation of the hill to join her consort. As Siva appeared as a column of Fire, Parvati went around the Arunachala hill adoring the lustrous Lord, and joined him. Legends have it that in response to Parvati's desire, Siva manifests as a flame on top of the Arunachala hill every year on the Purnima day during the solar month of Vrischika (which occurs during November-December). The event is celebrated in Arunachala when a huge copper lamp is lit with ghee, oil and camphor at the foothills and kept aflame for ten days. On the tenth day the flame is carried to the top of the hill. Devotees throng the temple chanting the Pancha-akshara mantra, and go into raptures at the spectacle of Siva's Agni 20 No Beginning or End The Arunachala Hill is sacred and considered a lingam, the iconic representation of Siva in itself. The Siva Purana mentions that once Brahma and Vishnu were engaged in an argument about who was greater. The dispute grew intense and the devas requested Lord Siva to intervene. Siva appeared before Brahma and Vishnu in the form of a fiery column of light, called Jyotirlinga, of which they could perceive neither the beginning nor the end. A contest was devised by the two determining that the one who first found either end of the Jyotirlinga would prevail as the greater. While Vishnu mounted his boar (varaha) and tunnelled downward through the nether worlds, Brahma mounting his

10 swan (hamsa), ascended through the upper worlds. Neither of them could fathom the beginning or the end of the column and, in the process, they realised the triviality of their rivalry. Following their prayers, Siva chose to abide in the form of a hill as Tejolinga at Arunachala. Hidden Secrets Scriptures related to Arunachala claim that the hill existed from time immemorial, with its antiquity beyond comprehension. Foreign geologists have corroborated this after examining samples of rocks from the hill, and declared that the stones were older than those of Himalayas. automatically and effortlessly merges in him through great love. Therefore, Arunachala shines as the foremost and most powerful kshetra. According to the Maharishi, there are innumerable secrets hidden in the hills. There are several caves in the hill, where Siddhas (realised souls) are said to live in invisible form. The Maharishi has attested to this fact and advised devotees against exploring deep in the hills as curious pilgrims. He has also referred to a huge banyan tree deep within which is the abode of many Siddhas and anyone trying to get close would be turned away by unnatural forces. The diary notes of Sri Ramana Ashram mention that once a few inmates, including a westerner, had ventured to verify the existence of this mysterious tree (without the knowledge of the master) and had paid a price by losing their way and getting bruised by thorny bushes. This confirms the Master's teaching that Arunachala is the supreme Self that shines as 'I' in the hearts of all living beings H Arunachala was the home of the modern day saint, Sri Ramana Maharishi, who stayed for over 54 years in the hill and its vicinity. The Maharishi revered the hill as the embodiment of Siva, and had often mentioned to visiting devotees that a simple Smarana (thought) of Arunachala is capable of arresting the wandering mind and preparing for deep introspection. He has said in Arunachala Lord Siva remains ever motionless (achala), and hence Sakti Lalita Ramakrishna 21

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