Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

I'll be grateful if you...

Apr 28, 2011

WANDERLUST: Jagannath Puri - The Lord Krishna's powerful temple

Whenever I used to get time from work at the capital city of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, I would make a conscious effort to visit the nearby town, Puri where the famous temple of Lord Krishna also known as Jagganath, is located. It’s believed by Hindu’s that once in a life time, one has to visit this temple. I find this temple, full of positive energy and spiritually very uplifting. Sitting in the vaulted hall in front of Lord Jagganath and chanting mantra has been one of my most exquisite and peaceful times. So below is the account of one such journey today, as its one of special days of my life and soak once again in the positivity of this holy place.
Main deities - Balbhadra, Subhadra and Lord Krishna
Image source Wikipedia

But before the journey, let me give you a brief introduction on the History and back ground of the temple.

The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath (Vishnu) and located in the coastal town of Puri in the state of Odisha. The name Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) is a combination of the Sanskrit words Jagat (Universe) andNath (Lord of). The temple is an important pilgrimage destination for many Hindu traditions, particularly worshippers of Krishna and Vishnu, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimages that a Hindu has to be visited in one's lifetime.
The big wheels of the Chariot, on which Krishna travels to the temple
3KM's down the road, pulled by thousands of devotees

The temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three main temple deities are hauled on huge and elaborately decorated chariots. Since medieval times, it is also associated with intense religious fervour.

The Jagamohana and the Vimana portions of the temple were built during his reign (1078 - 1148 CE). However it was only in the year 1174 CE that the Odia ruler Ananga Bhima Deva rebuilt the temple to give a shape in which it stands today.
It was hard for me to wake up early in the morning as the night before, me and my team had a party and could come back to my hotel room only in the late hours, yet the call from Krishna was more powerful than sleep. So by the time my driver reach hotel lobby, I was up and ready for the journey. As we sped along the highway, the sun was breaking out of early morning clouds ...

The journey of almost 50 Kilometers to the town of Puri from Bhubaneswar is a beautiful drive... the river that skirts the town, was softly flowing out in the day. I have always enjoyed being near the river or the sea as it gives me a lot of energy... any water body for that matter is full of positivity and peace.

As this was month of Shravan, when most of the devotees of Lord Shiva take long journey’s from their villages to take pots of Holy ganges water to bathe lord Shiva to cool Him from the heat of Poison that according to the Veda’s and Purana’s, Lord Shiva has taken, when it came out of the great churning of the sea, to save the mankind. So there were long lines of devotees (in north India, they are known as Kanwar’s) carrying pots of Holy water hung from their bamboo sticks...

To take care of these devotees, the local people on the way arrange for food shelter and general upkeep of the devotees. As its a ritual where the holy water that they are carrying should not be kept on the ground, hence a temporary stand is made like this one...

On the way, there are many road side temples and this one of Lord Krishna – locally known as Thakur ji is bang on the road and its believed by almost all the drivers on this way, that any vehicle that passes by has to take the blessings of thakur Ji for a smooth journey. So at this juncture, almost all the vehicles stop and blessings are taken... and in turn creates a welcome bottle neck so that even the people inside the vehicles can pay their respects and take blessings from far.

By the time I reached the town of Puri, it was full of light and the path to the temple full of people, devotees, Sadhu’s and beggars alike. The road was, as usual, dotted by livestock and animals, who were in no hurry to reach anywhere.

The temple itself was towering above all this and architecturally most beautiful. Among the existing temples in Odisha, the temple of Shri Jagannath is the highest. The huge temple complex covers an area of over 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2), and is surrounded by a high fortified wall. It contains at least 120 temples and shrines. With its sculptural richness and fluidity of the Odia style of temple architecture, it is one of the most magnificent monuments of India. The main temple is a curvilinear temple and crowning the top is the 'srichakra' (a eight spoked wheel) of Vishnu. Also known as the "Nilachakra", it is made out of Ashtadhatu and is considered sacrosanct. The temple tower was built on a raised platform of stone and, rising to 214 feet (65 m) above the inner sanctum where the deities reside, dominates the surrounding landscape.

On the periphery there are many more smaller temples with the main deity’s image like this. I have had taken this picture to give you the simple yet beautiful concept of the artisans who made these wooden figure of Lord Krishna, Subhadra and Balabhadra, as I was not allowed to take my camera, even the mobile phone, as usual, inside the temple

As I left the temple premises after my hour long meditation and chanting, I felt peaceful and calm. As I looked back, the sun was up and shining besides the temple tower...

Soon I left for one of the most beautiful beaches in India, the beach of puri, that is almost 3 KM’s away from the temple. It’s interesting to note that this is one of the beaches, so geographically located that one can actually see the sunset as well as sun rise over the sea....

Below is one of the legends about the origin of the temple...

Traditional Story:
The traditional story concerning the origins of the temple is that here the original image of Jagannath (a deity form of Vishnu) at the end of Krita yuga manifested near a banyan tree, near seashore in the form of an Indranila nilamani or the Blue Jewel. It was so dazzling that it could grant instant moksha, so the god Dharma or Yama wanted to hide it in the earth, and was successful. In Dvapara Yuga King Indradyumna of Malwa wanted to find that mysterious image and to do so he performed harsh penances to obtain his goal. Vishnu then instructed him to go to the Puri seashore and find a floating log to make an image from its trunk.
Gundicha Temple or the Garden House of Lord Jagannath

The King found the log of wood. He did a magnum yajna from which god Yajna Nrisimha appeared and instructed that Narayana should be made as fourfold expansion, i.e. Paramatma as Vasudeva, his Vyuha as Samkarshana, Yogamaya as Subhadra, and his Vibhava  as Sudarsana.  Vishwakarma appeared in the form of artist and prepared images of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra from the tree.
Part of the Text Source: Wikipedia

Hope you have enjoyed this journey with me and feel the same spiritual energy that I always enjoy when I look at these pictures.... May you all be blessed for reading this and being with me on this journey again...

To see my Impressions from this journey, please visit the STILL LIFE: On the way to Puri...

नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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STILL LIFE : On the way to Puri

STILL LIFE : On the way to Puri - Lord KrishNa's abode, A powerful spiritual center

Applique Village on the way - A beautiful style of Fabric design

The way to Temple Town Puri is dotted by many temples
This one is on the bank of a river

Interestingly, you will find many deities also making a home
At the base of Pipul Tree

Two young devotees on the way to temple in traditional dress...

Usually the temples have a pond attached for the devotees to bath before
entering temple... first step towards cleansing process

Some are waiting ... 

A Sadhu... sets up his begging bowl...

Its a ritual... for some

For some, its tourism
Puri beach

And for some, its school as usual...

Or the daily grind....

Day to day life... in living

And some lives are lived in devotion... all the time
नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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               The village life                          Wanderlust: Jagannath Temple - Puri

Apr 27, 2011

Whispers: Feelings and loss...

Below are some of my Haiku for you to read...

Some hurts
Dig in too deep
To take hold of your soul

Time affects all
I remain changed
All the time

Trying to find myself
By words
Buddha smiles with feelings

I carry the burden
Of wasted dreams
Within my open eyes
That are dying to sleep
In the wakefulness of

Loss, too powerful
To put to sleep; by words
So scratched them out of existence
The smudged up darkness
Of white paper
Is more like it

Time can be ruthless
In cutting present into
Pieces of past
But the loss
Is more like a soul
Undying, un-living, uncut

A throbbing lump
Stuck in my heart
Living, into my being
नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

Submitted to One Shot Poetry Wednesday – Week 43
A great place for Poets to meet...
To submit your own and read great poetry, click here... 

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Seed and Senseless Living                                              Buddha and Life   

Benjamin Zander: On Classical music and why you should listen to it...

It’s a very interesting TED talk where he starts from telling you that no one is ‘Tone Deaf’ as if you are then you cannot really know its your mother on the phone call. Then goes on to show what is it that grabs you in classical music.... A very interesting talk and you must watch till the end where he talks about a woman he met, who had survived Auschwitz concentration camp...

Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it -- and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.

Benjamin Zander

Since 1979, Benjamin Zander has been the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic. He is known around the world as both a guest conductor and a speaker on leadership -- and he's been known to do both in a single performance. He uses music to help people open their minds and create joyful harmonies that bring out the best in themselves and their colleagues.

Brief note on Benjamin Zander
His provocative ideas about leadership are rooted in a partnership with Rosamund Stone Zander, with whom he co-wrote The Art of Possibility.

"Arguably the most accessible communicator about classical music since Leonard Bernstein, Zander moves audiences with his unbridled passion and enthusiasm."
Sue Fox, London Sunday Times

Source: Text and Video TED Talk See it here...

"The best review I ever got was not from a music critic, but from my father. He was 94 years old at the time and completely blind. He attended a Master Class I gave in London and sat there in his wheelchair for about three hours. When it was over, I went to speak with him. He lifted up his finger in his characteristic way and said, "I see that you are actually a member of the healing profession." It seemed to me the highest accolade."
- Benjamin Zander

ॐ नमः शिवाय 
Om Namah Shivaya

Apr 26, 2011

Akiane Kramarik - An artist paints her visions given by God

Recently, I came across this interview Akiane Kramarik on CNN – Drawing heaven and was interested in knowing more about her.  Did some research and as I get to know more and more about her, I was drawn to try and understand her, connect with her.  I am sure that you would also like to know more about a child that started painting beautiful self portraits at 4 and then by the time she was 7, writing beautiful poetry and all the while she was drawing the cosmic designs on her canvass of life... 

Here is a brief biography sourced from Wikipedia

Akiane Kramarik was born in Mount Morris, Illinois to a Lithuanian mother and an American father. She is homeschooled.
She is primarily a self-taught painter. However, she states that God has given her the visions and abilities to create her artwork, which is unusual for her family, considering both her parents were atheist at the time (they later converted to Christianity on account of Kramarik's paintings and visions). Kramarik started drawing at the age of four, advancing to painting at six, and writing poetry at seven. Her first completed self-portrait sold for US$10,000. A large portion of the money generated from sales is donated by Kramarik to charities.  According to Kramarik, her art is inspired by her visions of heaven, and her personal connection with God. Kramarik's art depicts life, landscape, and people.
At the age of 10, she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and on CNN at the age of 12

Some of her thoughts... That I have taken from her blog

By Akiane - The Swing

I define spirituality as a search for love, beauty, happiness and wisdom. Spirituality is a journey that we never finish. It has nothing to do with our levels of development, achievement, awareness or intention. 
How do we weigh levels of spirituality? Are alternative lifestyles less spiritual than traditional ones? Some people abstain from all intimate relationships, because they believe they have to devote their time to love all mankind in a childlike genuineness. Others form monogamous heterosexual relationships. While others create bonds outside all traditional rules. 

From the standpoint of eternity each level of maturity is relative. We are all spiritual, and we are all different. Neither higher, nor lower. Neither farther, nor closer. Neither deeper, nor more shallow. Just uniquely different. Looking at a blossom from a different direction one will see it completely foreign, special, beautiful or revolting depending on where we stand. If the close-up is of a spider attached to the stem, then for those who don’t like spiders the sight will look distasteful. If the image is of a butterfly on a petal the view may appear peaceful to us, but not for a bird hungrily watching the scene.

Many of us suspect that we had seen a better world than this one, our true home somewhere we had been living. Our desire for excellence, for peace, for enlightenment, for wisdom and love is the vague reminiscence of that perfect place we had come from.
Our craving for great architecture, aesthetic surroundings, comfort, and loving relationships stems from the forgotten source of abundance. It is as if we are constantly comparing the two states, but rarely feeling full contentment.
Our yearning for profound connections is always inside us, but this world often does not meet our expectations. Even those who completely forgot our past keep on striving for perfection as a compass. But those who vividly remember it, as I had in my childhood, experience conflicting emotions, on one hand, reassurance about our infinite destiny and the purpose of our earthly journey, on another hand – missing our home, and the sharp the contrasts between different dimensions.

An interesting story from her blog...
By Akiane

I was always interested in Asian culture, and recently my interest focused on Southeast Asia—India, in particular.
My dilemma was that there were virtually no Asian Indians in our local area, and if I had worked only from my imagination, it still would not have been enough, because any authentic culture demands a thorough knowledge of traditions and customs.
Ironically, a few months later a gentleman from England called my gallery to make an appointment with me. When he arrived to our Idaho gallery we were stunned to see a Hindu Swami from top to bottom dressed in his own traditional robes.

Her beautiful poetry...
By Akiane


Love is never alone
Love is always crowded
Love is the shared self

We cannot own our love
And we cannot teach our love

The longest breath of love
is the shortest distance to heaven

The deepest life is love
The deepest love is an embrace

Love is not rest
Love is peace
Love is the purpose

A Kiss

The chased wave
becomes my bait—
I shut my eyes with larks.

When I blow the larks away
an iceberg
gets carved.

Sitting on nails
that rip up the covered cross
I pause on a white stain.

When I turn around
the rain soaks through.
My last breath is a kiss.
Read more of her poetry at her blog

ॐ नमः शिवाय 
Om Namah Shivaya

Apr 5, 2011

STILL LIFE : The Village life ....

FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS - Travelling, Photography and writing Haiku - So here it is all together. Hope you will enjoy it.

Recently I have been to a village near Varanasi India. It's a lovely place and I got very positive and vibrant feeling from there. As usual, I have had my camera which went about capturing my impressions and the essence of the village, which I am sharing below. Just to make your viewing more interesting, I have also posted some of the Haiku I have written in past and liked; loosely based around the images...
The way to the village... near Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh - India) 

Without direction
One step after another

Birds on Wire... 

Small happiness’s
Like the bird on the wire
Music for the soul

Daily burden of living...

Thoughts in mind
Your pain in heart
Carrying karmic baggage


Paints her picture
On my deep sighs

Why I find
The longing, beating inside my heart still
That has passed under the bridge

The colorful harvesting...

Tea is brewing its own thoughts
Mine is in mind
As she plucks in the tea plantation

Tending to the field...

Life, in heights of pleasure
In slow moments of pain
Empties into living

Catching up... with young life ...

Some words are so effective
Before you realise
They suck the happiness out of life

Time to reflect .... on the past

Desire to see you now
So heavy in my heart
I almost sunk it in tears

Sunrise over the temple...

Breeze, Mist and ripples still, in awe
Temple is dressing up
In sunrise

Dew drops hang on to the grass...

Dew drops
Settles softly on lips
Love, flowers

Night softly settles on my bed of grass
Crickets stopped singing
Waiting for my footfall

नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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POETRY POTLUCK - These are a few of my favorite things...
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