Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

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Mar 22, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: The Forest of Stories - Part 1 of The Mahabharata

(Selected by Blog Adda to Review this book)

It’s interesting to read what the author Ashok K Banker, whose earlier Ramayana Series catapulted him to one of the top Indian Authors, says in his introduction about the book, and I quote…
“Turn the page. Start the journey.  Discover the impossible. Remember the forgotten. And I guarantee that within few pages, you will forget all about me. And you will see only the story itself. Because, bloody hell bugger, its mother of a story.”

Curtsy Flipkart
 “Human beings must have an epic, a sublime account of how the world was created and how humanity became part of it ... Religious epics satisfy another primal need. They confirm we are part of something greater than ourselves (...) The way to achieve our epic that unites human spirituality, instead of cleave it, it is to compose it from the best empirical knowledge that science and history can provide” - Edward Osborne Wilson (two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and is considered as "the father of socio-biology")

Well I agree that ‘The Mahabharata’ written by Vyasa Muni is one such story. ‘The Mahabharata’ actually is not only a story, but also the life line and the soul of Indian spiritual psychology. The original was written in Sanskrit, and in my opinion, Ashok banker has done a great service to all, by meticulously researching and as he says, ‘retold by him’ in “The Forest of Stories”. This new avatar of The Mahabharata has taken such a beautiful form, that it will sink into the spiritual self of all the readers. This book will be an equally enjoyable reading for those people who has got no idea what Indian Spirituality is all about. I look forward to reading the forth coming books in this MBA series.

Deep into the haunted jungle of Naimisha-van at the ashram of Kulapati Shaunaka, a dusty traveller arrives with sad tidings that Maharishishi Vyasya has passed on Yet the great collator of the Vedas has left behind a fabulous legacy, the epic narrative poem called ‘The Mahabharata’. At the urging of the ashramites, the traveller Suta begins to recite the great composition, starting with incredible creation myths and tales of Gods and giants, snake mothers and gargantuan eagles. And as the night wears on over many nights, Suta feels the presence of the warriors and the slain soldiers of the great epic battle of Mahabharata, listening to this tale which will liberate them from the cycle of birth and death in this life time.

This book is actually the history of the present Bharata (India) through the ages of all the Yugas and to read this book is like reliving history, culture and one’s own spirituality.

Some of the thoughts that I think is worthwhile to repeat here.

‘Lack of knowledge is a temporary ailment easily remedied; its only when its not remedied that it becomes a permanent conditions.’

Many people believe that dividing property is the best way. But once it is devided, these same deluded fools are then driven apart. The more they think about the wealth and possessions, the more they wish to ensure that they have received their fair share, and obsess over dividing their properties and possessions, while retaining a semblance of friendship. In time this leads to enmity and selfish greed and eventually, utter ruin. … partition can only cause unhappiness and ruin.

When Nagas returned from their purification rites and found that they have been deceived by Garuda, who delivered the amrit (The Elixir of Immortality) after the churning of the seas… into receptacle of Darbha grass (Commonly known as doob in north india), they started licking the darbha grass, in the hope that there might be som traces left of amrit. But Indra had used his power to carry away every last droplet and the snakes only succeded in cutting their tongues on the razor sharp darbha grass. Thus did the snake get their forked tongues and Darbha grass became sacred.

The only way to gain true maturity and pregress as an ascetic is through peace and non-voilence. Any action or word that causes, or permits to be caused, harm to other living beings, is against Dhrama. There are no exceptions to this rule.

There is no use pursuing austerities and controlling your urges for decades, if in a single moment you allow anger to overcome you…. Shringi, (Who after venting his anger at Parikshit, by cursing him to death by snake bite within a week, after he learned the humiliation he meted out to his father Shamika Rishi) then asked his father, ‘But what does one do when someone commits such a transgression, insulting or humiliating oneself or one’s loved one?” Shamika put a hand gently on his son’s shoulder and said, ’one forgives’.

Parikshit conquered the six vices that plague mortal men – Kama (Desire), Krodha (Anger), Lobha (Greed), Mada (Intoxication of any kind), Moha (Attachment) and Ishraya (Envy) and he ruled for sixty years as the king of Hastinapur (The place in Delhi – from where actually the Dharam Yudha started between Pandava’s and Kauravas)

The best Mantra against SNAKE BITE
“All those who invoke your name Astika, will be protected from our bite. In addition, those who remember the great sages Asita, Artimana and Sunitha at any time,  day or night, shall also be safe from our venom always.”

The masterpieces like Veda, The Mahabharata etc. has such a beauty that one could begin at any point and one would always be able to finds one’s way to the ending. A great story is like a river… one could return to the river at any time, but in fact each time one came back, the river was changed and your were different as well.

… as time passed, all narrators must die. Only the tale itself lives on. Eternally.
Note: Kshapanaka is what? (Pg 125) Is it (He/she) a Buddhist, Jain mendicant or what as I believe when Mahabharata happened there was actually no Jainism or Buddhism in place. Although since I have not done research per se, I may be wrong too.

Plus some spelling mistakes that I could find or my English is not so perfect -:)
Wroth - Pg 264
Here (me now) – Pg 342
नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

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The Chicken Soup for Indian Soul

Mar 13, 2012

23rd Edition

Welcome to 23rd Edition of “Shadow Dancing With Mind”
This edition is in celebration of friends, who have helped me achieve 100K hits, 1000’s of comments with 215 posts and 356 followers.

TALKING POINT : The things that have made me think

'LOVE – The most powerful brain system' says Dr. Helen Fisher. In this TEDTalk by Dr. Helen Fisher, I find the anatomy of Love discussed thread bare with an interesting result that we are built in such a way that we can love many people at any point of time. It’s a great talk and I would recommend you to watch the video, where in her own beautiful style with Stories, poetry, humour and lot of intelligence and hard research thrown in, she proves and I quote,
“I don't think, honestly, we're an animal that was built to be happy; we are an animal that was built to reproduce”

UP, CLOSE & PERSONAL : People who have touched a chord in my heart

I rediscovered her while watching the movie "When Nietzsche Wept" few days back recommended by one of my friend. I had read about her while doing a little research on Nietzsche and found her to be a very interesting character in real life too. Her relationship with distinguished western luminaries, like NietzscheWagnerFreud, and Rilke, got me thinking about what actually made her out to be, what kind of person she was... 

WANDERLUST : Following passions of heart, mind and soul

Today is the most Holy day of Lord Shiva, Maha Shiva Ratri, which according Hindu Scripture's is supposed to be the most favorite day of Lord Shiva. Its also believed that today, Lord Shiva married His consort Parvati. On this lovely and auspicious day, walk with me to some auspicious place across India, associated with Lord Shiva  that has touched me deeply and blessed me with peace and love...

New Year usually brings me to the most spiritual place – Rishikesh on the foothills of Himalayas. I am sharing my journey to one of the most powerful temples of Shiva around Rishikesh - Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. The 4 hour trek passes through picturesque dense forest alongside serene rivers Pankaja and Madhumati. But before I take you on to a journey through my images captured on the way, I would like to share…

BOOK REVIEW : Reading and then sharing books

This lovely book is compilation of ‘inspiring 101 stories about meeting challenges and growing up’ in life, which took me back to the dreams I have had, the aspiration that I aspired for and the childhood I grew up in. This is not a book only for the teens but for many of the older generation, who will benefit by reading these inspiring stories…

WHISPERS : My words, Poetry and Haiku

People in our life come and go but sometimes one chooses to remain with someone, forever, even though the farewells have happened. The reason for this deep rooted attachment, may not be in the soil of this life, but probably in all the other lives you have lived… so here I am trying to explore the “Lost Soul” among the debris of lives, lived along with some of my Haiku about love and its expression in verse (To know more about Haiku, Click here…)

St. Valentine’s Day for me means as the day of remembering those who have been with you on your journey for some time or forever. Who precipitated the essence of your living, into the seed within, that burst forth in flowering, as time passes by. Making the path of living more vibrant and beautiful for the travellers in your wake... so here I am again with some of my Haiku about the path and then a longer verse about the journey…

Haiku about a beautiful moonrise and the longer verse “Where Ever I Will Fall...” 

Sharing some Haiku on LOVE and a longer verse “Withered Dreams...”

Well this month beginning, my blog reached a great milestone of 100,000 hits. To celebrate this, I am sharing the top five posts (From 200+ posts) that have been read most… though there are many posts, that I personally like and are good features but since some of them are posted a little later, hence I guess those didn’t make it to the top five… though I am happy to see that Rishikesh made it to the tops too... :-)
Hope you will enjoy this edition... look forward to your comments and visit to the next Edition... please click on the “Join this Site” button on the right hand side top corner to follow my activities here...
Shashi @ March 2012
नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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22nd Edition

Mar 2, 2012

100,000 Hits and my Top Five blog posts...

Well today, my blog reached a great milestone of 100,000 hits. To celebrate this, I am sharing the top five posts (From 200+ posts) that have been read most… though there are many posts, that I personally like and are good features but since some of them are posted a little later, hence I guess those didn’t make it to the top five…  though I am happy to see that Rishikesh made it to the tops too... :-)

I am grateful to all my readers, followers (346) for the support and liking my posts about various things that interest me…

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... 

The Best Buildings of the Year
The American Institute of Architects announces its Honor Awards for architecture
The 11 projects recognized with this year's AIA Honor Awards for Architecture include several museums, as might be expected given the undiminished power of museum mania. But there are also an equal number of libraries and government buildings — a happy sign that municipal agencies are increasingly respectful of good design.

A best kept secret since 1975 - A New Age Commune 
Recently I came across an interesting and typical new-age commune located in the Alps of Italy, Damanhur, through a link provided by my brother Animesh. Some consider the Temple structure buried 100 ft under a hill, (constructed in secret by Amateurs over a period of 13 years, without any drawings and plans) 8th Wonder of the world. In exploring further, I realise the beauty of the self made architecture  as well as the guiding philosophy of the commune i.e. The Damanhurians see the temple as a pathway to the divine inside and outside of one's self. (From the book "Damanhur Temples of Humankind"). So here is an introduction... for you to explore further and possibly move in...

I have had come across a great book "Man's Search For Meaning" recommended by a friend and thought of sharing with all. So here is it is ...
Dr. Viktor Frankl, a survivor of Auschwitz and then went on to write one of the best books on Human Psyche and developed his ideas, now generally known as the Third School of Viennese Psychiatry - The school of Logotherapy.

Rishikesh has always been my favourite place to download all the negative energy that gets accumulated in me, while living in the concrete jungle of various metro’s and the cities over the year. Rishikesh, as some say, Devbhoomi (Land ofGods) is one place, where yoga took its roots and slowly over the time has become the world’s spiritual capital (Well!! according to some). Many of theIndia’s enlightened Yogi’s have lived here in meditation for years and given the world, many powerful spiritual and yogic techniques. 

I appreciate all my followers support to my thoughts, poetry and my posts and look forward to sharing the best of the best in coming years… Thank you very much.


नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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201st post and 22nd Edition
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