Friday, September 19, 2014

How his "Raghu Vamsa Sudha" changed my life

The Mandolin Samrat Passes Away

The period was the mid 80's. . We owned a panasonic cassette player and some of the earliest cassettes were devotional and movie songs like sankarabharanam which were a smash hit of that period..

One day, my mother brought home a bhajan cassette of ISCKON named Samarpan , sung by  Jagjit Singh. While we enjoyed the bhajan on one side of the cassette, suddenly , the cassette played out a Veena like rendering at the end- obviously the tradition of local recording centres who fill up the end pieces of cassettes with tid bit music. 

But this tid bit music was different. I was all about twenty years then, with no knowledge of music. But this music kept ringing in my mind. I would rewind the cassette and often play this part, not even knowing who played it, what the instrument was, what the song was and what Raga it was.

After nearly 25 years  in 2009 that I started learning music and learnt the Veena. At this time , I heard many recordings of musicians. When listening to M S Subbulakshmi, I recognised one particular song  to be the same as the bit of music at the end of the cassette heard by me long ago. The song was Raghu Vamsa Sudha, a Kirtana by Pattanam Subrahmanya Ayyar, in Telugu. My music teacher explained to me that the Raga was kathana kuthookalam. And most important, I found out from the internet that it was Mandolin Mastro U Srinivas, who played it. I also heard's Srinivas's full recording on youtube. The pep and joy in that song was indescribable. This period was a creative period for me and I learnt many songs and Ragas including this one in my Veena. 

Here is U Srinivas's rendering of the song on youtube.

My joy was immeasurable when I first played Raghuvamsa Sudha in my Veena. Every time I play that, I keep telling that Srinivas's rendering should be my goal to reach in that particular song. I do not know whether I will do it, but I have resolved to try. 

Khalil Gibron made a remark somewhere that children are born because of life's longing for itself.   I question this philosophically, and can point out a flaw in this theory. But, the prodigies like Srinivas make me wonder if that is so. Prodigies are the flavours of the dull monotony of our times. U Srinivas, that wonder boy from Andhra,  took the conservative Tamilnadu by storm with his unconventional instrument. His nimble fingers poured complicated kirtanas with effortless ease. The simultaneous playing of the madhyama sthayi (normal octave) and the mandra sthayi (lower octave) together in Veena recitals was a  consummate art which only renowned masters like Emani Sankara Sastri could do. Srinivas made that complicated art look child's play. His vintage record Vatapi Ganapatim is still wonderful and compares with any of the best albums released.

Osho once wrote that the virtuous and good karma laden Atmas wait long to take birth in this Bhu loka since such a womb is hard to get. They need to quickly wash off bad karmas of some previous life. And Srinivas looks a similar example of such a life. He came ,  entertained a whole generation and silently passed away. His life is like a fragrant one and it will continue to attract many more generations.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What Sri Modi should have done in the Linguistic issue ?

Tamil nadu is a queer place. Its people are one kind and its politicians are altogether another kind in every issue. In all the cities, district headquarters and towns across Tamilnadu, Hindi teaching academies make a killing with offers like '30 day Hindi" to "30 hour Hindi"  programmes. Posters and flyers advertising for 'fluency in Hindi' are quite common across Tamilnadu. Gandhi is on record saying the Hindi spoken by South Indians is sweet.

Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha , organises Hindi courses in a proper manner and conducts exams here. To top it, almost all the matriculation schools in Tamilnadu has Hindi as an option in their curriculum not to speak of the CBSE pattern public schools where Hindi is normal.

It was in such a time that the politicians of the state went to war with Prime minister Sri Narendra Modiji  for his remark to patronize Hindi in online media. They called it an imposition. The minions of these politicians parroted their leaders' voice all over the state and local media. The Prime minister's office had to work extra time to 'clarify' the PM's remark.

As a person who privately studied Hindi while in school , I know its value today and the advantage it gives me in my personal and business lives .   Now looking back, I do not at all regret that long  walk  to the Hindi teacher's house. As I look at Modi ji's remark, I see no harm in it but, feel that there was another wonderful way this matter could have been handled. Only imagination and understanding of the Indian psyche was needed.

What Modiji  wanted to achieve in the end ? Was it the acceptance of Hindi in Social media ? No, it was to decrease the dominance of English. When that was the case, why did Modi ji went to town patronising Hindi ?

He could have simply asked Indians to depend less and less on English and instead focus on other National languages instead. This would have been an instant hit and could have triggered a nationwide debate. I call that a 'win win situation' where no Indian stands to lose. We all know what a havoc English is wrecking on young indian minds. Stripping English language layer by layer to its barbaric and colonial levels will happen within quick time. Modi ji  does not need any ministry to do this. He has enough followers on the internet to do this at zero cost and in a day.

Modiji  would have had the whole nation behind him had he jumbled his words and said the same thing in different words. No doubt, Hindi has the maximum acceptance in India. But being the statesman that he is, Modi should have considered the non Hindi states. By consensus, Hindi could have become a second official language to teach technical subjects and arts subjects in colleges. At least a beginning could have been made. The crux of the matter is that English should not have such an unchallenged run and should be curtailed and relegated to an 'optional' language of Indians.

The Chinese, Japanes, German, French, Russian , Spanish, Italian - all of them study in their mother tongue. Only Indians on  mass scale study in English. I also suspect that there is a coterie which works overtime to safeguard and impose the interests of the English language in India. For example, the dravidian lobby, while pretending to protect Tamil, has, in a short span of 10 years , pushed Tamil out of all government schools. Now Tamil is only an optional language there. This is an alarming situation. Children studying in a foreign language are undergoing an enormous stress which was highlighted by Gandhiji  even 75 years back.

Modiji could have highlighted these and could have asked for our opinion. I know that he is a man of sincere intentions and he should simply reverse strategies to further his objectives in this. Side by side, Modi can also appoint expert committees to purge non hindi words from the present biriyani Hindi taught in school books and college texts.

For all the non Hindi states, Modi can leave them to use their languages. But, the underlying warning should be to rid English.There will come a time, when non Hindi students who study outside their state carry this language to their society. There is already a silent population which knows Hindi and welcomes it.  And slowly but surely , we can have a NATURAL, UNIVERALLY LOVED NATIONAL LANGUAGE in our midst.

Once, Hindi starts to kindle our interests,   side by side its grand parent language, Sanskrit, the mother of all languages will also start to bloom and emerge from its hibernation and will show its secular and spiritual treasures to us and the world at large.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

So, you want to meditate ?

A few years back, I was talking with some female employees of my company. The topic was pranayama and I was telling them the value of mudras in pranayama. For  a demonstration, I asked them to close their eyes to observe the flow of breath with each mudra. These women, who were not even matriculates,   would have hesitated if I asked them to do a pooja . But, asked to do this eye closing pose, I was surprised to see their eagerness. They were following all that I told with great attention.  They always mentioned that session later with much pride and called that session as "dhyanam" though it was a pranayama.

That was a lesson to me. Meditation or Dhyanam has become a sure catch phrase in today's India. Being Macaulay's programmed children, the whole of India sees value in anything that is endorsed by the white man and Meditation is on top of the list.

Does Meditation play a crucial role in a Hindu's everyday life ? The answer is a clear no. If, the majority is induced into meditate every day, will it bring qualitative changes in their lives and bring our society to the level it was a thousand years ago ?

As I analysed this question, I get a big NO as the answer. But today's Hindu media is abuzz with the idea of meditation as a must for the modern person. The corporate gurus are advocating meditation to all their followers. Given this scenario, is there real truth that meditation or dhyanam is the key for spiritual progress of an average man. Let us see my own case.

Meditation and Myself

I was twenty years old then and was a keen student of Vivekananda and Ramakrishna. When  Chinmayananda toured Coimbatore in 1984, I went to his Gita lectures. With  a seat in the last rows of the crowd  all the days I could only see the swamy from a great distance. He was taking the 6 th chapter, Atma Samyama Yogam of the Gita. It is also called the Dhyana Yogam. The language was flowery, the contents seemed so beautiful and I felt I had received some great messages in those evenings.

Within a month all the euphoria vanished as all my attempts to 'meditate' failed. I tried to do as per Chinmayananda's guidelines. Sit down, Close your eyes,  let the thoughts flow by, do not interfere with them. I tried to desperately succeed in this and I was even confused whether this was correct or wrong. Every time I sat down for meditation, I emerged a more confused person than I was before. The peace, the experience of yourself alone were simply words in the book which I could hardly even begin to experience.

Then started my experiments with other meditation 'techniques' like the Transcendental meditation , The simplified Kundalini Yoga of Vedaththiri, and the brahma kumari types.

I immediately rejected Vedathiri and Brahma kumaris for their absurd philosophies and also because their meditation sessions were just  eye closing ones.They had nothing for a person of burning spiritual ambition like me.  Vedaththiri's SKY gave me some headaches too.

At this juncture, my professional life started and these experiments were in the backburner.. But my was reading a lot and  kept  searching for a good meditation technique. Meantime, I became a great admirer of Ayn Rand, America's intellectual lady who wrote such books as " Atlas Shrugged", "Fountainhead" "We the living" etc. Slowly I was losing faith in rituals and meditation. I  almost became an atheist. But not quite. I still believed in that " Supreme Brahman" since I had read the grand lives of Vivekananda, Ramakrishna and Ramana.

Then I got married and had two children in a span of six years. At around this time, I restarted doing hatha yoga and tried to do some meditation at the end of each session. My family reported to me that I had become very irritable. On close observation , I noticed that I was irritable only on the days on which I meditated. On some days, I even flew into a rage. On one such day my blood pressure was 160/120 !!! So, one fine day, my wife banned my mediation sessions.

I had started Gita reading regularly at this time due to some  circumstances which I call divine. . Along with Gita sadhana, a change happened in me. I was experiencing Bhakti for the first time in decades. I had horripilating sessions, tearful prarthanas and many stunning experiences during the Gita Parayana. I was very peaceful till I came to the 6 th chapter. This time I attempted the dhyanam as mentioned and all my previous troubles like that  rage and reslessness came back in a fury.

 But I kept questioning many Gurus who claimed to have knowledge on this. Their 'remedies' only worsened my situation. All the modern gurus said that spiritual progress is impossible without meditation , and here I was , not able to close my eyes for a few minutes . I became frustrated and totally abandoned meditation.

Many of my friends also reported such things. My brother in law said, he was raving mad at anyone interpreting him in his meditation. Another person reported sleeplessness, another friend had headaches. Every time, the picture of Buddha in the famous dhyana pose  teased me.

After many years, I read two very important works which changed the way I looked at Dhyanam. They broke the halo around the word 'Dhyanam' and destroyed many miconceptions I had about it. The first book was "the Orange book of Meditation" by Osho. The next and more important book was "Meditation" by Swamy Bhajananda (of Ramakrishna Mission).

Osho's book " The Orange Book Of Meditation:

In this book Osho listed 101 techniques. Though the book tiltle is meditation  , Osho called them as methods of Catharsis (or Purging methods). For example, Osho would tell a student to hit a pillow, kick it, bite and do whatever you like to vent your feelings or emotions. (In privacy). Another method is breathing through the mouth in a most irregular way. Another one is to run in a chaotic manner not following any rhythm.

Notice that all the above are not 'normal' acts. You will look at them as a joke. It is not. Osho says that a modern man is not fit for meditation. He is full of dirt and needs a mental purgatory technique. He prompted the readers to choose any one of those techniques that suited him best.One day I tried the pillow technique for fifteen minutes and felt relaxation fully. I felt I was fit for meditation now. But my confidence level was still low to attempt it.

This was my half awakening only. The next revelation was awaiting me in the other book by Bhajanananda.

Bhajanananda's book - "Meditation"

This book was another divine twist in my life. Nowhere in this book you will find a single line of instruction for meditation. But then, you may ask, what is the speciality of this book ? Why then, was it named as "Meditation" ?

Yes, these are valid questions. Bhajanananda was a higher soul who has had some rare insights. Plus, he describes in a straightforward and innocent language. And, he drew his content from the Magnum Opus of Yoga of all time which is known as "Patanjali Yoga Sutras"

What changed my concept of Meditation was the revelation that it is a part of the mosaic called Yoga. In other words it is  a limb of Yoga. I knew this . Everyone knows this. Why then such a fuss ?  But pause here. Have you ever spent as much time to think about the other limbs of yoga as you have done with  Meditation ? Most probably not . Dhyanam is the seventh limb in an ascending order. I am giving a list of them followed by the sutra by Patanjali describing that particular limb.

1. Yama
अहिंसा सत्यास्तेय ब्रह्मचर्यापरिग्रहा यामा: ।
The five qualities of ahimsa, adherence to  truthful ways, non coveting of other's property, brahmacharya, and non interest in accumulating wealth make up the first limb called yama.

सौचसन्तोष तप: स्वादयायेस्वर प्राणिदानानी  नियमा:।
cleanliness, pleasantness regardless of one's status, life of sadhana, self study of works of  adhyatma path,  dedication of all oneself to Iswara constitute Niyama

3. Asanam
  स्थिरसुखमासनम् ।
 A proper posture which can afford painless sessions of sadhana is asanam. This is also a victory over our posture which allows us to do long sadhanas.

बाह्याभ्यन्तरस्तम्भ वृद्धिर्देशकाल संख्याभि: परिदृष्टो दीर्घसुष्म : ।

Retaining the prana inside or outsidewith regard to the place time and count are called the deergha and sookshma pranayamas.

5. Pratyahara
स्वविषय सम्प्रयोगे चित्तस्वरूपानुकार इवेन्द्रियाणाम प्रत्याहार : ।

The stage in which the senses are withdrawn from the sense objects and dwell in the chitta is called pratyahara.

6. Dharana:

दसबंदश्चित्तस्य धारणा : ।

Focussing the mind for quite a lenth of time is called dharana.

7. Dhyanam:

तत्र प्रत्यैकतानना  ध्यानम् ।

Ability to focus the chitta  further for much longer periods is called dhyaanam.

8. Samadhi:

तदेवार्थ मात्र निर्भासम स्वरूपसुनयमिव समाधि : ।

When the feeling of I vanishes during dhyaanam and only the meditated object remains, that state is samadhi.

Now you see, dhyanam is possible only after total sense control, physical ability to dwell for long periods in sadhana and subtle breath control followed by withdrawal of senses from pleasure objects.

My mistake was to have started the seventh step without the least idea of the basic steps. How can a man drenched to the neck in worldly affairs in an energetic manner ever succeed in yoga ? So my failure to meditate is a normal outcome. I thank myself for not having pushed too vigorously. I might have even gone insane.

It was Bhajanananda who so beautifully illustrated the faultlines in the modern understanding of dhyanam. His book was the first book I read which stated explicitly that pooja is a very very sure and safe  path for a beginner of yoga. I am in total agreement with this since for the last ten years I was drawing much spiritual strength from my daily pooja and sloka chanting. Many modern gurus do not even mention the value of pooja. Some other gurus mention them in a passing manner only.

I am doing intense pooja and prarthana to cleanse myself of the dirt of many lives . That is the elementary step.  Sense control has hardly been begun.. Then there will be a natural progress. If I then try to withdraw my senses from  objects that might be another great leap.

Then, and then only I can gain enough spiritual strength to do dharana and dhyanam.

I am writing this to warn the sadhaks of the dangers in spiritual path. My life experience may be a life changer for many an aspirant.

Spiritual path is a lonely one and you have only your ishta devata for support and your guru's diksha as the guiding post.  Do not fall for high sounding talks on Dhyanam. Shun all the modern day gurus. All that we need to do has already been given in black and white by our ancestors. We already have our traditional mutts who have preserved those knowledge.

I am humbled at the power of puja, which gave me so much. If only I had done enough sadhana in those years in the wilderness, I would have been a mature sadhaka now. But, I remain still a beginner due to the glittering talks and books that led me astray.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The suicidal route taken by "The Hindu" newspaper for more than a decade

"The Hindu" Newspaper and Anti Hindu writings !!

It was the year 2001 and I was not much versed in the teachings of the great scriptures of my desam. I was just doing my bit as another father of two,   a proud son to my parents  and a loving and concerned husband to my wife.

This article shook me. It appeared in the open page of the Hindu newspaper, which was my must read every morning (like lakhs of brahmins of that time). I thought it was good on the paper's part to put contrary opinion. Nevertheless, I wrote a rejoinder to the article. The Hindu never published it. It took me some more time to understand the machinations going on in the Hindu group and how the whole new management became anti India and Anti Hindu. I severed my twenty five year connection with the newspaper suddenly. I have successfully argued with hundreds of friends to stop patronizing this newspaper.

The article is here (click on the title)

Hindutva: the religious incongruity

My friends will be infuriated even now reading the nonsense that Debashis Chakrabarti wrote in that article. Believe me, it was 2001 and BJP was in power and newspapers were not known to spit falsity and venom on religious ideas. Yet, the Hindu did it. As I predicted, they continue doing it without the least regret.

By the way my friends might be interested to see what I wrote against that article. Though, it did not see the light during that period, internet is now helping me to share it. It is in immature language and the references are poor. But, I am posting out of an impulse somewhat blinded by nostalgia. 
The article “Hindutva: The religious incongruity” in the open page of The Hindu dated 6-2-1001 by Mr Debashis Chakraborty lacks substance from the heading onwards. His equating  Hinduism with Hindutva shows how poor his understanding is. Hindutwa is the reactionary voice of a self proclaimed tribe out to protect the religion or rather its symbols. Hinduism, if it is to be defined, can be largely called a collection of theisms with a common root.

The ancient thinkers or sages, through various routes of thinking realised the futility of materialistic pursuit and self enlightenment was the purpose of human life. This further led to their understanding of other schools of thinking. Armed with the knowledge that self realisation will answer man’s all questions about him, the world around and power behind both, they were clearly able to see the quest of other religions were also the same though the route taken was different. Even atheism was accepted as part of Hindu thinking. The nobel laurate and Astro- physicist, Prof Chandrasekar called himself as a Hindu athiest.  If Mr Chakraborty calls this colossal discovery “ the truth is one, sages call it in different names” as a political statement, even a lay Hindu will smile at his ignorance. Even politics needs philosophies, and hence it has hijacked this theory. It is  this grand discovery from where one of the world’s most inclusivist culture was born.

The author quotes conveniently from many scriptures which support his incongruity theory and, that too, in part. The author’s singling out of a statement from Brighu that matter is ultimate as without first reading all the text is nothing short of a mischief. He conveniently forgot to mention that Brighu was a full blown sage who renounced marerial object( read matter) and also a devout bhaktha as the Hindu knows from other literature. From Krishna to Shri Ramana of recent times have explained that matter lies in thought form only in human consciousness and  subject to the law of change and that self realisation is possible only when man is free of all bondages (which are his thoughts). Can there be anything apart from truth that matter is ultimate ?

After terming the religion as incongruous, he takes the opinions of its   ‘scholars’  about what they think of the vedas and upanishads without, at  any time talking about the Gita for the fear that all his innocent questions had answers there. Krishna ridicules the institunalisation of religion ( read spiritual pursuit) and cautions that the saguna upasana or symbolic prayer is for the uninitiated and that prayer for prayer’s sake, gathering knowledge for knowledge’s sake in short work or Karma for its own sake will lead man to self realisation. In this process, he criticises exploiting people in the name of the vedas. But he stresses the importances of a symbol for a starter. Even the sage Thiruvalluvar says ‘ catch Him with no bondage- for there is your liberation from Bondage’. So much so for the necessity of symbols. From this only flowed the ishta devata concept which let every man choose his own symbol or God. The single most failure of the author has been a gross misunderstanding of this and which the christian missionaries labelled as paganism.

In another sweeping statement, he terms Christianity, Buddhism and islam as the three great religions of the world. Without any prejudice to those three, a religion, on whose name not a single war has been waged, the oldest in age but an ever evolving religion whose base neither the sword of the moghuls nor the tyranny of the trader-ruler-missionary network of the Christians and which integrated Buddhism into its own- deserves to be at the top

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What is 'Jaya' in the Itihasa Mahabharatam ?

I recently finished reading Amish Tripathi's Shiva Trilogy. He has been of good service to the cause of re-establishing the greatness of Bharat and its culture.

At the fag end of his third book, The Oath of the Vayuputras, he has hinted that he is going to write on the Mahabharatam. I think it will be a sort of retelling the entire story. Good intentions on his part and wish him the best. But he has thrown another hint , that the Mahabharata was originally named as 'Jaya' and that further it was changed to its present name.

We need to be assertive when such immature claims are made. I believe , Amish will not prove another of those cut and paste kind of historical and maythological fiction writers.

All my readers will be eager to know what, then, does  the word 'Jaya' mean. Read on.

Katapayadi Sankhya and the number coding in Samskrita language: 

The word 'Jaya' finds mention in the very first sloka of Mahbharata

naaraayaNam namaskrutya naram chaiva narOththamam |
deveem saraswatim vyaasam tathO jaya mudheerayet  ||

The meaning of this sloka is this " After prostrating (before) NarayaNa , the best among men, and Saraswati and Vyasa , I narrate this story of "Jaya".

This "Jaya" should not directly translated as vicory. In Mahabharata , there are no true victors. The whole epic is not alone about the great war. It is an amazing collection of numerous stories, chronicles, philosophies, life styles stitched into a befitting canvas. So, for finding the meaning of Jaya, we should look elsewhere.

All through the ages Samskritam continued to be a dominating language in Spirituality(aathmeeka) , Religion(Dharmika) , Ganitham (mathematics) Pure Sciences (vigyaanika) , technology, Medicine(Ayurvedika) , Astronomy (Jyotisha), and Music (sangeeta)  fields .

In Jyotisha and other fields , a kind of coding was developed for each akshara (letter) in Samskritam languagae. By this arrangement, each akshara was assigned a number in the 0 to 9 range. The arrangement goes thus

kaadi nava-
taadi nava
padi pancha
yadi ashta


S a

The way of calculating of a code as per the Katapayadi sankhya is also a bit peculiar. First the two starting numbers belonging to each letter of a given word should be found out and written down. Then they are reversed. The reversed number is the equivalent code.

Applying this rule to Jaya, we get  8 for Ja and 1 for ya. They constitute the number 81. Reversing, we get the number 18.

It is this number that Vyasa is stressing to have a connection with his epic. How ?

1. Mahabharatam has eighteen Kandams.
2. The great Mahabharatam war lasted 18 days
3. There were 18 akshouhini of soldiers and animals that participated in the war.
4. In the Bhagavad gita also there are eighteen chapters

This is the reason why Vyasa symbolically referred his itihasa as "Jaya". But its name is Mahabharatam only. Our writers should take note of this and write accordingly and avoid confusion among our new generation

Thursday, June 28, 2012

James Hilton's Tyrst with Tibet and Mount Kailash

When I was still in my late teens, I took a coverless, battered book which my sister had studied for her pre university course as a supplementary reader.

That book was " Lost Horizon' - a novel by the pre war English writer James Hilton. A strange feeling enveloped me as I went through the book. The initial curiosity gave way to awe and admiration. Then finally they also vanished when I was into the core of the novel.

It was more than a novel. It was a mystery. No, it was no mystery, it was a spiritual novel. Not a spiritual quest perhaps, but what awaits one when one faces the most bizarre and intriguing circumstances in life.

It is about a group lost in the wilderness of Tibet.  Hilton coined the now famous 'shangri la' in this book only. Now it is meant to denote any sanctuary for a noble cause.

This book is noble. The cause for which the party lost themselves in the wilderness is noble. This book is not for understanding. It is for experiencing.

I am sure that the Mountain that Hilton talks about is Kailash. The pyramid shaped pinnacle, and the sheer inaccessibility all point to Kailash only where we still believe life originated and where lies the key to all divinity.

It is this Mountain that Hilton uses as a setting to elaborate the keys to immortality, though rather in an occidental way of explanation. But, that exactly was what  made me an eternal fan of this book. An eastern philosophy emerging out of a western writer. James Hilton is an accomplished fiction writer but his inadequacy in philosophy has made him look odd especially to an Indian reader. His narration of buddhist philosophy is like the enthusiasm of a school boy who thinks he has a measure of the whole world after taking a good look at an atlas.

I reread the book at periodic intervals just to relive my original admiration. Now I have a new copy which I intend to pass on to my son after he comes out of school.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the book available online for free download. Get the book at

You might be required to register at scribd site before downloading. Do it. It is worth it. If you find your palms perspiring, feet cold, and sighing in admiration and excitement, it is all a sign you are the most suitable one to receive this gift.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Significance of Arghyam in Sandhyavandanam

This is my next post in the series 'SandhyAvandanam'. I believe most of my posts on this series have been well received. Over the past year, I gave a few lectures in the functions convened by 'Tamilnadu Brahmin Association' (Thambhraas) on these topics and was happy to see a sea change in the approach of Brahmins towards Sandhyavandanam. The message that Sandhya routine is a rejuvenator, spiritual builder, a personality enhancer and a health invigorator seems to have gone well with my brAhmaNa brothers.

In my first coverage I did not write about Arghyam, a very important kriya in Sandhya Vandanam. Arghyam literally means 'offering'. Like Achamanam, mArjanam, and prAsanam, this is also a water based one. Water is taken in the right palm of the sAdhaka and (slightly) thrown skyward after chanting the gAyatri mantra.This offering is thrice per session. Smartha sandhyAvandanam has one extra arghyam for any errors in the offering time- the kAlAtheetha prAyaschitta arghya pradhAnam.

I have known through many readings that the sandhyAvandanam , though done by the brAhmaNa, is in fact for the welfare of the humanity at large. This kriya, Arghyam, is no different. The sAdhaka's chanting of the gAyatri while holding the water in the palm is a selfless kriya and aimed at the world. The agent to which it is given is Surya (sun).

I will try to give the traditional, philosophical as well as scientific background for Arghyam.

Traditional Understanding

Garuda purANa states that a kind of asuras called mandeha , who originally reside in an island called aruNa are trying to destroy Surya in the day at daybreak and sunset. The arghyam given at these times serves as a weapon to destroy them.Look at the following slokas (1-213-62)

"A Brahmachirin shall bathe only once a day. Having performed the rite of Achamanam,
and invoked the sacred pools therein, one shall take a bath in the river. Thirty
million is the number of the malignant spirits, called Mandehas, who manifest
a desire of devouring the sun at day break. He, who does not attend to his
Sandhya rite at the meetings of the day and night, verily kills the sun, inasmuch
as the libations of consecrated water (offered unto the sun-god in the course of
a SandhyA) tend to consume these monsters (Mandehas) like streams of liquid fire."

Philosophical Significance

The philosophical significance is in the symbolism. The Mandehas are nothing but the man- dehas or mind -
body which are clouding the sun of resplendent atman in us. The gayatri purifies us by this offering so that
the inner light can be perceived by us. Also, the sAdhaks , after the arghyam, say, 'asAvAdityo brahma,
brahmaiva ahamasmi" (the sun is verily the brahman. Brahman is myself). In the adhyAtmic sense, arghyam
is a reminder of the brahman in us and its honouring by the offer of mantra and water.

Scientific Significance

The scientific meaning is even more interesting. Only recently I chanced upon the work of Mr Masaru Emoto
of Japan who did some critical experiments with water.He took a glass of water and spoke 'thank you' to it.
He then freezed the water.

You make me sick
Tibetan Sutra

 Thank you                                                                           Before Prayer
When he magnified the crystallized water, he was amazed to see symmetric patterns.Curious, he then cursed
a glass of water with , " I hate you" and crystallized it.This time the magnified image of crystals were ugly 
and random. He then used Tibetan Sutras and the resulting image was of a beautiful pattern.
See this video on his experiments
It was here that I wondered at the wisdom of our Maharishis. All of our Sandhyavandanam is water based.
We either partake or offer water while uttering sacred mantrams. Imagine the effect of these mantrams on the 
water ! During Arghyam, we chant the greatest of all mantrams- the Gayatri. Though Mr Emoto did not 
experiment with Gayatri mantra, we can guess what will happen. The thought waves generated by the 
Arghya Danam will  penetrate all the three worlds. 
The same explanation will hold for our Achamanam , prokshanam, kalasa pooja, temple teertham etc. 
I also would like to add a speculation here. Like water, all the pancha Bhootas must have memory. In our yagyas, 
Agni is called 'havya vahana' since it carries the havis to the devas.Soon, our scientists will declare that air, 
earth and space has memory ! 
I have heard that Rishis chant Gayatri ceaselessly. They do so for protecting the mankind and for preserving 
the Surya (sun) from extinguishing ! In Dhanur Vidya (Archery and missile warfare), only  the variants of 
Gayatri mantra were used for launching the sastras - right upto the most potent Brahmastra !
This is another great aspect of our Sandhya Vandanam. Arghyam is not a meaningless exercise  but a
profoundly meaningful, spiritual Kriya that is also physically purifying. Arghyam later was adapted into daily 
upasana in Temples and homes. It is one of the 'sodasa' upachara (sixteen honours) to Paramatman.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What Dan Brown did not know

What were the facts left out of the "Da Vinci Code"?

Over the last weekend, I picked up and reread  my copy of Dan Brown's sensational bestseller novel , " Da Vinci Code ". As usual, it was an addiction compulsion syndrome with such books. It just could not be kept down despite the telephone interruptions and my wife's continuous calls  and threats. This is my second reading and this time I made several new conclusions. I assure you that these have a good connection with Bharat and Hinduism that is, Sanatana Dharma.

Many of you might be aware that the book " Da Vinci Code" is the severest yet indictment of Christianity by a Christian himself.  The author Dan Brown has compiled an excellently researched  book and 80 million copies were sold.

For those who haven't read it,  I will recommend reading this book online or download it from this site.

Dan Brown has presented a well argued case of how Christianity in its 'Church first' form has usurped from the Europeans and many natives a far more beautiful, thoughtful, insightful and tolerant religion and replaced  a priest friendly setup that is based on a  doctrine , later to be called the bible. Dan argues through the characters that the new testament is a carefully compiled version of gospels that an emperor thought will be useful for consolidating his territory. And it worked so well that people so well advanced in spiritual pursuit were  turned into sheep. That same strategy, Dan says, is being  followed by the Catholic Church and other churches to brainwash the billion odd Christians worldwide.

Well, these are known facts. My essay is about what Dan Brown did not know (or did not say ?).

The most stunning revelation of the book is about  the religion that  predated the current Christianity. He says that the people practiced a mystic way   which evolved around the male- female axis of creation. He goes on to say that a form of Goddess worship prevailed which had its origins in Judaism. Rites like sun worship , mystic sexual union were all part of that religion. The symbolism of a 'V' shape and the inverted 'V' emerging from Da Vinci's stucco " The last Supper" are clear pointers to the practices of that society.

In one place Dan Brown talks about the 'pagan mantras' inside  temples of the mystic societies. It was precisely here that I started looking at the pagan religion differently. The sun worship, the mantras, the mystical sexual union all rang a familiar tune. I have heard and read it being practiced in India even today- The Tantras !!! In fact, so many are the variations of Tantra in Bharat that comparing them to the acts of the pagan religion is like  an ocean compared to a bucket.

From the snow clad Kashmir to the tropical south, the tantras had held sway sometime before the Bhakti Period to be merged into the vast body of Hinduism later. The tantric depiction of male- female axis is clearly taken from the Tantric Shiva- Shakti concept at the macro (cosmic) level and the Nada- Vindu concept at the micro (individual) level. This has beautifully been portrayed in the Ardhanareeswarar story of Lord Shiva as told in Puranas. Look at the statue symbolizing the male female balance in life in this spell binding depiction of Ardha nareeswara . (Lord with the female half). The left is female.

A secret sect called Priory de Sion believed in a similar theory and has carried forward the original  teachings for close to two millennia. These people were so much prosecuted by the marauding Church and its patron kings that these societies worked underground or in carefully assumed disguises. Dan brown describes the Priory de Sion   as a Goddess worship sect just because they glorified feminism.It is here that he has gone wrong. First, because he did not understand the principles of Tantra.

Above : The symbol of the Free Masons. the V showing the female and the inverted V showing the male. The masons to this day have been very secretive about their mystic practices.

Tantras hold that the Siva (or the primordial Purusha) and Sakti (the primordial energy or Prakriti) are eternal and without beginning or end. It is their interaction that paved the way for the manifest universe.  Note that I am not talking of creation. This is just talk about manifest to unmanifest. Creation is a dirty word in philosophy that makes a teacher  uncomfortable since it tosses the God theory which further paves the way for  'chicken or egg first' question. That was the reason why the secret societies despised the Christian doctrine which said the world was created and even gave a date to it !!

Vedic and Tantric Philosophies hold that time is a cyclic one. But , with a 'created world' theory, Christianity taught it as a linear one. Modern science is in perfect harmony with Vedic teaching that there is no destruction of matter but simply a rearrangement. Also, Eisntein  gave us a theory that the sum total of all energies in the universe at any point is the same at all times. Christianity directly contradicts this with its 'created world' theory. Creation means new energy and new matter without anything to emanate from. Classical situation to ask how God came into being. Chicken or egg first ?   No wonder Christianity was a hated and feared religion of its times

Recently many articles have appeared analyzing the similarity in the names of Abraham  to that of Indian Puranic 'Brahma'. Similarly stunning is the name of Abraham's wife Sara. It resembles the name of Saraswati , the consort of Brahma. Brahma and Saraswati are mythological characters in India but their name sake counterparts are supposedly historic characters in Israel.

Tantra is a post Vedic teaching that has liberally borrowed from Sankhya philosophy. They deviated from the Nidhidhyasana path of Vedism and introduced a new upasana based on symbology. Thus were born the six tantric religions of Saiva, Vaishnava,  Sakta, Saura, Ganapatya and Kaumara. Fundamentally they accepted the 24 principles of Sankhya but added twelve more. Thus the 36 tattvas of Saiva Siddhanta were born. The first Tattva is Shiva and the next is Shakti. It is the interaction between these two that results in the manifestation of the gross universe, as per tantra. It is these two tattvas, that are depicted in the so called pagan religions as the yin and yang or male and female.

At every turn of the novel " Da Vinci Code", as Dan goes on describing the religion of pagans, I could clearly see the stamp of tantras. One may ask, how tantra spread as early as 2000 years before Christ ? The pagan religion of Europe was a sophisticated one handed to them from the Sumerian civilization. The Sumerians spoke a language very closely related to the Dravidian languages like Tamil and Telugu. A Sumerian city called 'Ur' (place) is clearly recorded in History. 'Ur' is still used in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada to denote a village or town. Writers like Srinivasa Iyengar aver that it was the Tamils who travelled along the Konkan coast and established the Sumerian civilization. Since Tamil is a prehistoric language and supposedly spoken across the length and breadth of India, this is a clear possibility.

There is another hitch. Tantras are post Vedic. When the Vedas themselves are dated to 1500 BC by the current indologists, how come the tantras  predate the Sumerian Civilization which flourished in 4000 BC ? This is because of the bogus 'Aryan Invasion Theory" coined, propagated and maintained by a coterie of western indologists. Only now, some honest research has found that Vedas are in fact older than Sumerian period.

Osho, in one of his speeches, said that the 'Vigyana Bhairava Tantra' the oldest existing tantric script, is over 5000 years old. Subbaraya Sastry of Mysore, in his book 'Vaimanika Sastra' which, he said was received by him in a meditative state, says that in Satya Yuga people were adept in   tapas , in Treta yuga they were proficient in Mantras, in Dwapara yuga they were  good in Tantric practices. So that explains how Tantric exercises  were found to be  practiced in far off places at such old dates.

But, what made me sad was that, despite a thorough research, Dan Brown did not give credit to India that is Bharat, the birth place of the religion and  ideology which he proudly eulogised. Not only the Priory de Sion, but also the Masons are living heirs to the mystical tantric religions of pre Christian era. When the politically motivated Church raided their temples and started killing the so called pagan people, they went underground and formed secret societies. That they have continued their existence well into the 21 st century,without any royal patronage  is a proof of their superior doctrines than their aggressor counterpart.

Look at the above pictures. They show a priestly man with the familiar Vedic tilak applied all over his body. This statue is in Egypt and the man is a pyramid designer. Also, the Pharoah is seen with similar Vedic marks. All these go to show that the religion predating Christianity was Vedic Tantrism. It is precisely this that Dan Brown did not know (or did not say).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dayananda- A fearless son of a great Tradition

Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati's name evokes a great deal of awe and admiration in me. He is a hero of Modern spiritual Hinduism who achieved much more than Swami Vivekananda but acknowledged much much lesser.

He arose when his country and the people were in both spiritual and monetary poverty. My single point of admiration for him is that he revived the true spirit of the Vedas almost single handedly. No one living in the current pseudo secular India can ever imagine his contribution to the country and its people.

Dayananda was a BrAhmana of the highest order, a spotless brahmachAri, a great logician, a fearless thinker, a grand orator and above all, a magnificient  scholar of the Vedas. If you think I am generous in my use of adjectives, I will say I have only used the most conservative terms.

What I liked most about him was his understanding of the Vedas which he had learnt from the blind guru Vrajananda.  Dayananda differed from the classical understanding that the Samhitas along with Brahmanas and the Aranyakas form the total Vedic corpus . He declared that the Samhitas were the true Vedas and alone are  qualified for the title "Apaurusheya " (not man made) as called by the rishis.

I see merit in his argument. The BrAhmaNas and the AraNyakams of the Vedas are man made texts which are obvious as per their own content. That leaves us with the Samhitas alone. Dayananda also gave us a touchstone to verify the ' apaurusheyatvam' of the Vedas. The criterion was that if the Vedas were in fact an eternal knowledge , they should be timeless. In other words, they should contain an eternal content unlimited by time  and SHOULD NEVER CONTAIN HISTORY OF ANY PERIOD. Thus all names, places and incidents must not be found in the Vedas.

I understood the significance of his argument recently. I was learning the Sri Rudram, a praise of Rudra. Classically this is understood to be taken from the Yajur Veda. Normally all chants of Rudram accompany the Chamakam also. Sri Rudram is taken from the Taitreeya AraNyakam of Yajur Veda  and the Chamakam is from the Yajur Veda Samhita. While Sri Rudram was full of praise for Rudra calling his names, his attributes and praising his features like 'tryambakAya' (the three eyed), 'tripurAndhagAya' (one who burnt the three cities), 'neelakantthAya' (the one with blue scarred neck) etc. One can easily guess that these names are associated with mythological event and hence depict history.

On the other hand, the Chamakam part is completely devoid of any names or history. One can very easily understand that it is a praise of Paramatman and it can readily be suited to all deities we worship, not just Rudra. I was just beginning to understand his monumental statement that Samhitas are the real Vedas. My friend ,a temple priest told me that Chamakam is used in some Vaishnava Shrines during abhishekam.

Sometime back, I read Subrahmania Bharatiar's introduction to his commentary on Bhagavad Gita. In it he also was backing Dayananda's statement.He says that the Samhitas are in one type of Vedic Samskrutam but the Aranyakams and BrahmaNas are in a typically later day Samskrutam.See the Tamil text by him here

இந்த உபநிஷத்துக்கள் வேதாந்தம் என்ற பெயர் படைத்தன. அதாவது வேதத்தின் நிச்சயம்.  இவை வேத ரிஷிகளால்  சமைக்கப பட்டனவல்ல. பிற்காலத்தவரால் சமைக்கப்பட்டன. ஸம்ஹிதைகள் என்று மந்திரங்கள் சொல்லப்படுவனவே உண்மையான வேதங்கள். அவையே ஹிந்து மதத்தின் வேர். அவை வசிஷ்ட வாமதேவாதி தேவ ரிஷிகளின் கொள்கைகளைக் காட்டுவன. உபநிஷத்துகள் மந்திரங்களுக்கு விரோதமல்ல. அவற்றுக்குச் சாஸ்திர முடிவு. அவற்றின் சிரோபூஷணம். ஆனால், பச்சை வேதமென்பது  மந்திரம் அல்லது சம்ஹிதை  எனப்படும் பகுதியேயாம்.

இந்த மந்திரங்கள் அல்லது ஸம்ஹிதைகள் பழைய மிகப் பழைய ஸம்ஸ்கிருத பாஷையில் எழுதப்பட்டிருக்கின்றன. அதாவது, வேதங்களின் ஸம்ஸ்கிருதம் மதுரைச் சங்கத்துக்கு முந்திய தமிழைப் போலவும் உபநிஷத்துக்களின் பாஷை சங்கத்துக்குப் பிந்திய தமிழைப் போலவும் இருக்கின்றன.

ஆனால், இந்த உவமானம் முற்றிலும் பொருந்தியதாகக்  கூறலாகாது. இன்னும் அதை உள்ளபடி விளக்குமிடத்தே. ஸம்ஸ்கிருத பாஷையிலுள்ள மற்றெல்லா
நூல்களும் ஒரு பாஷை, வேதம் மாத்திரம் - அதாவது, ஸம்ஹிதை அல்லது மந்திரம் மாத்திரம் -தனியான பாஷையாக இருக்கிறது. இஃதொரு பெருவியப்பு அன்றோ? வேத ஸம்ஸ்கிருதம் வேறெந்த நூலிலும் கிடையாது. உபநிஷத்தில் சில, மிகச் சில பகுதிகளில், விசேஷமாக வேத மந்திரங்களை மீட்டுமுரைக்குமிடத்தே, வேத பாஷையைக் காணலாம். மற்றபடி உபநிஷத்துக்கு முழுவதும் பிற்காலத்துப் பாஷையிலேயே சமைந்திருக்கிறது.

இங்ஙனமிருக்கப் பிற்காலத்து ஆசார்யர்களிலே சிலர் வேதத்தைக் கர்மகாண்டம் என்றும் அதனால் தாழ்ந்தபடியைச் சேர்ந்ததென்றும் உபநிஷத்தே ஞானகாண்டம் என்றும் ஆதலால் அது வேதத்தைக் காட்டிலும் உயர்ந்ததென்றும் கருதுவாராயினர்.

இங்ஙனம் பிற்காலத்து ஆசாரியர்கள் நினைப்பதற்கு உண்டான காரணங்கள் பல. அவற்றுட் சிலவற்றை இங்கே தருகிறேன். முதலாவது காரணம்,வேத பாஷை மிகவும் பழைமைப்பட்டுப் போனபடியால் அதன் உண்மையான பொருளைக் கண்டுபிடித்தல் மிகவும் துர்லபமாய்விட்டது. நிருத்தம் என்ற வேத நிகண்டையும் பிராம்மணங்கள் என்று சொல்லப்படும் பகுதிகளிலே  காணப்படும் வேத மந்திர விளக்கங்களையும் சுற்ற பின்னரே, ஒருவாறு வேத மந்திரங்களின் பொருளையறிதல் சாத்தியமாயிற்று. வேதம் பிரம்மாண்டமான நூல். அதில் இத்தகைய ஆராய்ச்சி செய்வோர மிக மிகச் சிலரேயாவார்.
Swamy  Dayananda lived in the 19 th century CE. The Arya Samaj movement he created was such a force in his times that most of the first generation freedom fighters came out of it. The first real attempt at reconversion of people back into Hindu religion was begun by him in right earnest through the Shuddhi movement. Entire north India seemed to be under his spell.

Swamy's puritan spirit could never accept vigraha ArAdhana in any form. He saw great value  in yagya and was a proponent of the six schools of vedic philosophy (shat darsanas). He reportedly shunned the vigraha ArAdhana due to an incident in his boyhood,  on one Shivaratri night, when a rat climbed over the Shiva Linga and ate the prasadam kept there. He vowed then and there that he will not worship that God who was so powerless to protect his offering from that lowly creature.

Because of this incident and his Vedic education from the venerable Swamy Vrajananda made him an enemy of Puranas, Temple worship,and  the Tantric pooja  rites etc. In my personal opinion , Puranas are a valuable medium of telling great truths in the form of fables, stories and history. I would have greatly loved it if Dayananda tried to appreciate them. But such was his passion for pure Vedic way of life that he wanted nothing less than the most perfect education for his people.

Swamy's commentaries on the Vedas are his last great contribution to mankind. It was he who retrieved Vedas which were hijacked by all and sundry to satisfy their particular Gods and their own theories. If the three Acharyas (Sankara , Maddhwa and Ramanuja)  revived Vedanta, Dayananda revived the Vedas.

Swamy died abruptly in the middle of his great work after being poisoned to death by a King's concubine who saw in him a threat should the King be reformed due to the Swamy's teachings. He had not travelled to the South part of India yet. He had completed only 5 mandalas of commentary on the Rigveda.

Another very very important contribution of Swamy Dayananda was that he was able to interpret great keys to the secrets of science in the Vedas. In fact Dayananda argued that the Vedas contain the keys of all secrets of creation.

Aurobindo, wrote on Dayananda thus,."In the matter of Vedic interpretation I am convinced that whatever may be  the final complete interpretation, Dayananda will be honoured as the first  discoverer of the right clues. Amidst the chaos and obscurity of old ignorance and age-long misunderstanding his was the eye of direct vision that pierced to the truth and fastened on that which was essential. He has found the keys of the doors that time had closed and rent asunder the seals of the imprisoned fountains."

I prostrate before you Maharishi, may your light of truth shine always upon us.

Swamy's 'Satyartha Prakash'- His magnum Opus is available online <here>
Swamy's Vedic commentaries in Hindi can be accessed <here>

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What they do not teach you at the blogging help menu

Today, suddenly I had a flash idea. Why not blog on blogging itself ? I do not know whether you will like it or not, but I have obeyed my intuition. Here is my Chitra Poornima gift to you.

The essentials of Successful blogging

I have noted that despite being articulate, well read, and sharp, intelligent people often wane away without recording their thoughts in writing. The print and publishing industry operates in a way to favour the rich and the unmeritorious , leaving the genuine talent out of its consideration. I think that was the reason the phenomenal talents of commoners in this country got suppressed.

Not any more.Internet has changed every rule of the game. Blogging rewrote every rule of self expression.. What started as a weblog to jot down one's thoughts has grown leaps and bounds into what it stands today. The huge plus side being that every blog post has a unique URL and is listed in search engines. This means you have enormous visibility. Only you need to know the rules to fully utilise it.

I am a blogger for three years. I went to blogging after I started contributing to email groups. I noticed that people liked my style of presentation however crude it seemed to me. Then started this pleasant journey of self expression . In this journey , I learned many things, most of them belonging to the common sense domain. I will call it " what they don't teach you at the blogger help menu". These are secrets of successful blogging. These are gathered from my own and other's successes. Now we go


I know two of the world's greatest blog sites- and Enter these sites and learn to register as bloggers. Now you are ready to write to post on the internet. The registration is a routine one and anyone with some internet knowledge can handle that.

Deciding your line of expression:

Before you start, you must well know what you are going to tell the world. If you are a yoga specialist, decide on the topic you are going to share. Here are some rules

1. The content, even if technical, must be expressed in a language easily understandable to others.

2. The content, must not be more than one to one and a half pages of typed matter in an A4 sheet. I have learned that an ordinary person's concentration does not last more than 30 minutes at a stretch. Remember that people read in the night, and might already have gone through some material prior to yours. So safely limit your content to a readable limit of five minutes.

3. Dramatize your content: For this technique , I owe my gratitude to Dale Carnegie. Dramatization means simply adding more stuff that will enliven the reader. My most potent choice for this is a picture or a photo. Most of my posts have a photo. I add one even when these was no need for it. It works. It keeps your readers alive. While choosing pictures, you can choose from the internet, some photos from your digicam, scanned content from books, or your own photoshop work.

My next dramatizing weapon is the video. It is simply fabulous. Sites like youtube offer embedding codes which you can simply paste in your post. When the videos of your choice are not available, create one. Youtube accepts videos of ten minutes duration. Watching videos within a blog post is a tremendous advantage since the reader does not have to open many windows. You can also add voice or music content into your post. Even simple applications like windows movie maker will help you create and edit videos that can be uploaded into your blog.


I know you will be tempted to decorate your blog. Obviously you will choose some flashy scheme. My experiences tell something different. If you value the eyes of your readers, you will think differently. Not only should your window look simple, splashing colours will make your reader tired quickly and he will lose concentration. So, go with care here.

Choose your font style and size with equal care. Select fonts that are easily readable like Times New Roman, Arial etc., and your font size should be minimum 12. Do not use varying colours for your content in paragraphs, this is also unfriendly to your reader.

Split your typed content into small paragraphs of not more than three or four sentences. Make your sentences short with minimum of conjunctions. Use straight sentences unless you are presenting poetry. Don't use your linguistic skill in saying " it is not unheard of.... ". I would prefer it to be simply " It is learnt as ..".

Emotive and Intuitive content

Make sure your content contains, more 'I's. This is important. Without your personal touch you cannot reach the emotional side of your readers. " The early morning rising sun is a great sight" is a poor sentence. I would instead use " I feel great to see the rising sun in the morning". Do not question this. It is almost a law. A mere knowledge cannot a stir an emotional reaction . Only a person can. Without an emotional bondage, you can never make a reader come back to your blog.

Be target specific. You should have decided clearly what type of people you intend your blog to reach. Kids, Adults, students, mothers, etc. Do some research as to what appeals to these people. Mothers like to read about recipes, students like to see fun stuff, men like to discuss money. All your pictures and videos must confirm to your target. Remember the TV advertisement where they show a simply dressed woman when they advertise cheap soaps and shampoos. For the expensive Garnier, they will use the top celebrity in best costumes.

Respecting your intuitions

Wait for inspirations for a post. Wait for and look for hunches. When nothing seems forthcoming, just start the post and enter atleast a few lines. Then save the post in draft mode and leave it. Sleep with the idea for a day. By the morning, you will have more inspirations and hunches. The subconscious mind has to be tuned and trained to produce hunches.Always have a scribbling pad in your bed or nearby, so that you can record some out of the world idea when and where they come. Intuitions are what make a post sensational and separate it from the ordinary.

And, do not think you need some lengthy stuff to succeed. Even a small happening, like your encounter with an astrologer can become a blog post , provided you know how to start and enter the content. Remember whole movies have been made based on the happenings of a single day.

Pitching it right:

After you are done with the post, and having reread it at least once, you should start to pull readers. The post itself contains tags or keywords option. This is what the search engines will trace. So be careful with the choice of these key words. If I am writing about some special pranayama, I will enter Hinduism, Yoga, Pranayama, breathing technique, healing, revitalizing, immunity, longevity, spirituality, vital powers, etc. See what a far and wide net I have cast ! All the browsers who typed these search words , will see your post in their search.

Next, join emailing groups with like interests and send mail there with a few sentences of polite but powerful introduction to this post and send the URL of your post to the list. (Do not send the whole content). This is a sure way to visibility.

Next important way to pull people is to search for blogs with similar interests. Visit them , and comment on their blog posts after registering with the url of your blog. Whoever clicks on your name in the comment column will be directed to your blog. This method is a tried and tested one.

Finally, send notices to friends and relatives. Tell me whether your inbox is full of comments from your viewers. Happy blogging.