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.

Saturday, April 24, 2010



A fascinating journey into the theory of Vigraha Aradhana expounded in Bhagavad Gita

Krishna, after fully explaining Karma yoga in nearly five adhyAyAs (chapters), then starts his Bhakti discourse. The chapters six to twelve of Srimad Bhagavad Gita are called the Bhakti pradhana shatakam or in English where devotion is mainly discussed.

Krishna starightaway says in the first sloka of the seventh chapter

Sri BhagavAn uvAcha

mayyAsakta manA: pArtha, yOgam yunjan madAsraya : |

asamsayam samagram mAm, yathA jnAsyasi tachchruNu || ( 7-1)

Partha ! Listen how, with the mind intent on Me, taking refuge in Me, and practicing Yoga, you will know me in full, free from doubt.

On a cursory view, the above sloka will probably miss the attention it deserves , It is because the reader will be tempted to read on further as to what Bhagavan wants to reveal. But, here is a key to nearly six chapters. It is one word which , when understood carefully, will reveal why the chapters from seven to twelve has been told to Arjuna in that order.

That monumental and magic word, according to my understanding, is " samagram" meaning 'full' or 'complete'. If that word is not understood, then the present Hinduism can never be understood properly.

Bhagavad Gita is a bridge between the Vedic religion and our present Hinduism. Krishna was one of the key Avatars to approve Vigraha Aradhana in its present form in. And now let us go into that grand journey of unravelling 'samagram'.

Krishna says His 'Samagra Swarupam' has to be realized so that nothing more is to be known further. (7-2). What is that form like ?

I am the taste of water, the light of the Sun and the moon, the syllable Om of all Vedas, the virility in men, the fragrance of earth, life of all that lives, penance of all ascetics, the seed of all existence, intellect of the intelligent, the tejas of tajasvis, the righteous power, the righteous sexual urge, the goodness, passion , and ignorance. Though I am everything of these, I am independent and not under their influence.

Here , Krishna takes a deviation only to return to his description of Samagra swaroopam again in the 16 th sloka of the 9 th chapter.

My Powers

I am the ritual, the sacrifice, the yajna , the herb (offered in fire), the mantra, the ghee , the fire ,offering, am the father of this universe, am the mother, the supporter , and the grandsire. Am the object of knowledge, the purifier and Omkara. I am also the Rig, Sama and Yajur Vedas. Am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the wirness, the abode, the refuge and the most dear friend. Am the creation, dissolution, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.

I give heat, I send forth and withhold rain, am immortality and death, am also the manifest and unmanifest.

Then finally in the 10 th chapter Bhagavan formally tells Arjuna his vibhutis. “I am the Self, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings. Of the Adityas, I am Vishnu, Of lights I am the radiant sun, I am Marichi of the Maruts, and among the stars I am the moon.

Of the Vedas I am the Sama-veda; of the devatas I am Indra; of the senses I am the mind, and in living beings I am the living force. Of all the Rudras I am Sankara; of the Yaksas and Raksasas I am Kubera ; of the Vasus I am Agni , and of mountains I am Meru. Of priests, know Me to be the chief, Brhaspati, the lord of devotion. Of generals I am Skanda, ; and of bodies of water, I am the ocean.

My representations

Of the great sages I am Bhrgu; of vibrations I am the transcendental om. Of yajnas I am the Japa yajna , and of immovable things I am the Himalayas. Of all trees I am the holy fig tree, and among divine sages and I am Narada.

Of the singers of the gods [Gandharvas] I am Chitraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila. Of horses know Me to be Uccaihsrava, who rose out of the ocean, born of the elixir of immortality; of lordly elephants I am Airavata, and among men I am the monarch.

Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi, givers of abundant milk. Of procreators I am Manmada, and of serpents I am Vasuki. Of the celestial Naga snakes I am Ananta; of the aquatic deities I am Varuna.

Of pitrus I am Aryama, and among the dispensers of law I am Yama .Among the Asuras I am the Prahlada; among subduers I am time; among the beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda .

Of purifiers I am the wind; of the wielders of weapons I am Rama; of fishes I am the shark, and of rivers I am the Ganga. Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.

Of letters I am the akara, and among compounds I am the dual word. I am also inexhaustible time, and of creators I am Brahma, whose manifold faces turn everywhere. I am all-devouring death, and I am the generator of all things yet to be.

Among women I am fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, faithfulness and patience. Of hymns I am the Brhat-sama sung to the Lord Indra, and of mantras I am the Gayatri . Of months I am Margasirsa and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.

I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong. Of the descendants of Vrsni I am Vasudeva, and of the Pandavas I am Arjuna.

Of the sages I am Vyasa, and among great poets I am Sukracharya. Among punishments I am the rod of chastisement, and of those who seek victory, I am morality. Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am wisdom.

And, as a conclusion, the Lord says thus:

O mighty conqueror of enemies, there is no end to My divine manifestations. What I have spoken to you is but a mere indication of My infinite opulences.

This sums up the samagra rupam of Bhagavan. It is this form that Krishna wants Arjuna to see and realize. Bhakti is to be focused on the unlimited and absolute Lord. For we mortals, who have not had a taste of it, Bhagavan dwelt it in length in the Gita. And most importantly, Krishna showed this Swarupam which is famously called the Viswa Rupa Darsanam. The 11 th chapter describes it in all splendour.

This form once known, helps the Sadhak to choose an aspect of it so close to his nature and to start worshipping. He chooses the Vigraha of that aspect which appeal to his ideosyncracies and there blooms that chemistry which we famously call Bhakti.