Mantra(mantram) is one of the most popular Sanskrit words in the world. The new age philosophies have made it extremely popular. The other popular terms are Yoga, Guru, Kundalini and Pranayama. I have covered them in previous issues under this feature. So today let’s look at Mantra in brief. Mantra is made of two words Mana and Tra. Mana( Man, manus, manu all come from the same root!) means mind and Tra means something which liberates. Mantra is a sound or group of sounds which liberates the mind. Mind is the cause of suffering as well as liberation. There are sounds which liberate mind by increasing its frequency of vibration gradually. When its frequency is good enough it gets rid of negative thoughts which are lower frequency vibrations and eat up the energy of your organism.
Celibacy is one of the cornerstones of many spiritual disciplines. Gandhi practiced celibacy beginning at an age of 36 till he lived. Monks practice celibacy. What is it, spiritually and physically? Is it simply not getting married or abstaining from sex? In english language a celibate is someone who hasn’t married. But in Yoga, a celibate is someone who is Urdhvaretas.
A great mystery solved today by itself as I was watching a Bollywood film “Manjhi: The Mountain Man.” I am yet to finish watching the film as I easily get bored watching it and get busy with other things. It’s a typical Bollywood bioscope-drama so it’s a given. The film is based on real-life events. Dashrath Manjhi, the protagonist was actually a person living in Gehlore village of Gaya district in Bihar, India. He worked tirelessly for two decades to break a mountain(literally) to pave a way for villagers. It reduced the time taken by villagers to reach nearby city(and all facilities like medicines and such) considerably from 55 Kms to a mere 15 kms!
Well, what more can I say, man was a legend and I have not finished watching the film to review it. Navazul Siddiqui is a great actor who is playing Manjhi. The point of this article is the word Moosar. Continue reading “Moosar!”
Have you ever heard about Parkour? I heard about it while watching movie Cop Out. In the film, a thief uses this french technique of martial art. I have practiced it myself in my boyhood days, but of-course without having heard about its name! Parkour’s English equivalent is Free Running.
Parkour has similarities to martial arts and has a very interesting philosophy of freedom behind it. Its founder says that he was inspired by Bruce Lee’s philosophy. He says “There’s a quote by Bruce Lee that’s my motto: ‘There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. A man must constantly exceed his level.’ If you’re not better than you were the day before, then what are you doing—what’s the point?” Continue reading “Parkour: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY!”
It’s already Saturday. I planned on publishing a longer post with some descriptions about various types of yoga and details about harmony of Yoga but other duties( forum and we had some discussion on forum today) took my time so I am late and with a small post. My apologies to all of you!
Yoga is one of the most popular terms which originated in India. Yoga is degeneration of word Yog which comes from Sanskrit root Yuj, which means ‘to yoke’ ( to use) as in to use animals like oxen or horse and sometimes also used to mean ‘concentrate’ or ‘combine’ or ‘add.’
Yoga is a widely used term in Sanskrit and Hindi. In West it became popularized as physical exercises which create felicity of endocrine system and hence better health but it is only a limited meaning of Yoga which was a group of practices aimed at union of soul with supersoul. Actually there is just one element, which is primordial element and you may call it by any names like God, Brahman, Self or Tao. It alone is. You are it. All the differences you see in the universe are temporary and permanent truth is just one reality and one energy. This is reasonable but you don’t know any other perspective except yours. You inhabit only one world. By this you infer that you must be that energy which is absolute. And this limited experience of yours is just that–limited experience for reasons inexplicable and unknown. The goal of Yoga is to firmly realize this truth.
Yoga is of many types such as Hatha Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga. These types are not totally isolated from each other-they keep overlapping and every yogi is practicing many yogas simultaneously. A devotee might be serving god but helping other people too and by seeing god in everyone his realization becomes deeper and heart become purer.
Yoga is also used in Astrology for ‘combinations’ and in Ayurveda for compounds. Addition in arithmetic is also called Yoga in Hindi.
Aum is an Onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia are sound imitative words, like ‘meow’(imitates the sound made by a cat), ‘bang-bang’( imitates the sound made by a gun) and so on. Aum has been misunderstood mostly. It has been taken for a holy word. It is not only a holy word, it is much more than that . Aum is also called ‘Pranava’. If you observe you will find that almost every mantra in Hinduism, which is considered holy and important, begins with Aum. Aum has been given much importance by the tradition but a lot has been lost in the mystic fog over the eons since its importance was understood at first.
What was the true importance of Aum? Continue reading “Aum: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY!”
What Are Gandanta Moola Signs?
Gandanta are conjunction constellations–they’re also known as Gandanta Moola nakshatras. You know there are 12 zodiac signs and there are 6 Gandanta Moola nakshatras. Mula literally means the root. The constellations are subtler than signs–so Gandanta Moola constellations are those portions of signs which fall at the conjunction point or say transition point between two signs. For example–there are two constellations between Scorpio and Sagittarius–Jyestha and Moola.
The easy way to remember where Gandanta signs is to realize that Gandanta Moola signs are just before fiery signs begin. Alternatively, Gandanta Moola constellations are immediately after water signs– I mean it’s not like what we feel it should be–that’s every Gandanta Moola sign should be between every two signs–no. It would be more accurate to state that Gandanta Moola constellations fall at the junctions of watery and fiery signs. So there are two Gandanta constellations each at all 3 watery-fiery sign conjunctions. Why is it so that only transition from water to fiery signs is considered a very sensitive zodiacal zone isn’t yet clear to me– but there are so many mysteries in the Vedic system.
Why at Water-Fire transition?
Because water-fire transition is most sensitive transition. Earth signs are closer to water signs in characteristics and fiery signs are closer to airy signs but water and fire are just opposites. Water suppresses fire. Water is sensitive and emotional whereas fire is independent and inspiring.
Here are the names and a few details Gandanta Moola Nakshatra:
1. Revati and Ashwini: Revati is final nakshatra and comes in the sign Pisces (16:40 to 30:00 ) and Ashwini falls in Aries ( 00:00 to 13:19 ). Revati is ruled by Mercury and Ashwini is ruled by Ketu.
2. Ashlesha and Magha: Ashlesha is in the sign Cancer ( 16:40 to 30:00 ) and Magha is in Leo (00:00 to 13:19). Ashlesha is ruled by Mercury whereas Ketu rules Magha
3. Jyestha and Moola: Jyestha is in the sign Scorpio(16:40 to 30:00) while Moola is in the sign Sagittarius(00:00 to 13:19).
Some Observations on Moola!
1. All of these Gandanta Moola signs fall at the water-air transition. ( Pisces—->Aries / Cancer—->Leo
/Scorpio—>Sagittarius)–transition, as you know is shaky–change discomfort–that’s why for those people who are born under these Gandanta Moola signs propitiation is done. Without some rituals it’s considered that children born under these constellation might be inauspicious for family and society and might be under the risk of dying in the early childhood themselves.
2. Gandanta Mula rulers are Ashlesha–Mercury, Magha–Ketu, Jyeshta–Mercury, Moola–Ketu, Revati–Mercury and Ashwini–Ketu. You can easily observe that 3 of these are ruled by the Mercury and the other 3 are ruled by the Ketu. Mercury is a benefic planet and Ketu is a malefic– most detached headless planet destructive for worldly affairs but good for spiritual things.
3. I’ve observed that people born in Ketu ruled Gandanta Moola constellations are most inspirational spiritual figures. The reason being–fire elements are inspirational and Ketu is very good for spirituality–so since Ketu ruled Gandanta constellations all fall under the fiery signs–they make for inspirational spiritual figures.
A few spiritual figures born in Ketu ruled Moola Nakshatras:
Mystic poet Kabir–Mula.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu—Magha.
4. There are 3 Ketu based constellations–Ashwini( Aries–ruled by Mars), Magha(Leo–ruled by Sun), Mula( Sagittarius– ruled by Jupiter). In the Vedic system Jupiter is considered most benefic wisdom giving planet –and among Sun and Mars–Sun is more spiritual. Therefore, Ketu being common to all these three Moola nakshatras–their wisdom ingredient is determined by combined effect of Rashi/Nakshatra rulers–so for spirituality–Mula which has combined impact of Ketu/Jupiter is considered most powerful of all constellations.
5. It has also been observed that persons born in Moola face a lot of difficulties as children but if they survive they grow up to have charismatic personalities. Many saints in India were born in Moola constellations and way too many in all 6 Gandanta Moola constellations.
6. You might also be aware that though all 6 of the constellations mentioned above are called Gandanta Moola–only the one falling in the sign Sagittarius-in the first portion is called Moola(root). It’s so because It’s the core of our galaxy Milky Way. You might be aware that during winter solstice the alignment happens between the core of Milky Way, Sun and Earth when Sun is in the sign Sagittarius( perhaps in the constellation Moola—I’ve not examined that thoroughly.)
Spiritual Figures in Moola!
Here I would consider both ascendant nakshatra and Moon Nakshtra as an influence.
1. Ammachi–the hugging saint of Kerala: Asc-Magha
2. Sri Aurobindo: Moon-Moola/Asc-Ashlesha
3. Dalai Lama–Tenzin Gyatso: Moon-Ashlesha/Asc-Magha
4. George Gurdjieff: Asc-Revati
5. Jaggi Vasudev: Moon-Moola
6. Jiddu Krishnamurti: Moon-Moola
7. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: Moon-Magha
8. Paramhamsa Yogananda: Moon-Magha/Asc-Magha
9. Pandit Shriram Sharma: Moon-Magha
10. Baba Ramdev: Moon-Ashlesha
11. Mother Anandmayi: Moon-Jyestha
12. Swami Sivananda: Asc-Ashlesha
13. Lord Ramchandra: Asc-Ashlesha
The Dark Nights of Soul!
Sun stays about one month in any sign in its transit. It spends about 3 months in total in all Gandanta Moola signs. A friend asked me to work out Gandanta Moola timings because one of her friends suggested that these periods are of substantial importance for people who are undergoing spiritual awakening. Such periods according to her might be important for what is known as Dark Night of the Soul. These periods might signify purging out of karmic toxins or say opening of knots known as Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra knots in Yogic literature.
I quote this text about spiritual-psychic knots in the subtle body from Yogasara
Brahma Granthi: First knot. It is the lowest knot covering the area of muladhara & svadhisthana chakras. It is also known as perineal knot.
Vishnu Granthi: Second knot. It covers the area between manipura, anahata & vishuddhi chakras. It is also known as the navel knot.
Rudra Granthi: Third knot. It covers the areas of Ajna & Sahasrara chakras. It is also known as forehead knot.
If we want to find out these periods we can do so with the aid of panchangas and softwares which are used for Astrology. I would outline the Gandanta Moola periods for this year–they fall around the same time of year, more or less.
Sun entered into Ashlesha around August 3, 2015 and would be in Magha till September 1, 2015—so this one month’s period was Gandanta Period.
Similarly the next Dark Night should be calculated to be: When Sun enters into Jyestha–Moola: That would be the period of about one month between Dec 3, 2015 to Dec 29, 2015.
Then next Gandanta would be when Sun enters into Revati–Ashvini–which would be the period between March 20, 2016 to April 27, 2016–about one month.
image sources: 1 2
It’s time for the weekly feature! I have decided to take word Samskara for this week. It’s obviously a rare word for people who are not familiar with Hinduism and Buddhism, but quite common for people living in the Indian subcontinent. Here we use Samskar for many things. Please don’t confuse it with Samsara which is a word for world or cycles of birth and death in the theory of reincarnation in Buddhism and Hinduism.
Samskara is used for many ceremonies in Hindu families. There are 16 prime rites of passages which are performed for any native from their birth until their death. In that sense, the word means Putting together of things. Sam means to add and Kar means to do and together they make Samskar.
In a deeper sense, Samskaras are subtle impressions on psyche. Spiritual traditions believe that a soul is bound to a body because of the conscience. Conscience is called Antahkarna in Hinduism. It’s considered to have four parts: Continue reading “Samskara: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY!”
Primogeniture is the right of the eldest child of the family to inherit the entirety of estate or property from parents which excludes any other siblings from it.
In some cultures Primogeniture especially gives privilege to the firstborn boy and excludes any other siblings from gaining property. According to some traditions Primogeniture meant that the firstborn received all the estates, property and authority and then he apportioned it to other siblings as per his decision. Continue reading “Primogeniture: The WordY FrYdaY NerdY!”
I am going to share interesting words and their etymologies(stories behind their origins) every Friday on this blog.
Words have very interesting stories behind their origins and some of them are so peculiar that I am fond of them. This word ranks very highly when it comes to the peculiarity of its etymology.
In Greek Mythology Procrustes (Prokoptas or Damastes/”subduer”), was a rogue, smith and bandit from Attica who physically attacked people, stretching them, or cutting off their legs, so as to make them fit into an iron bed. In general, when something is Procrustean(prə(ʊ)ˈkrʌstɪən/), different lengths or sizes or properties are fitted to an arbitrary standard.
Procrustes used to offer an iron bed for relaxing to visitors who used to pass by the mountain where he lived. If the users of the bed were not fit to the bed he used to stretch them using his hammer, in turn killing them. Quite gory, I know! Nobody ever used to fit to his bed because he secretly had two of them.
In the modern sense, this word is used to suggest very arbitrary standards. You may insinuate towards social, educational or political norms of the day as being Procrustean mostly, because, no matter what you do, you will be a misfit! Education for example, has mostly been Procrustean, trying to fit students of all mental capacities into one frame–not providing for special needs of visual-spatial or ‘gifted’ students for most of the past century.