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What is a successful life ?


Maharaja Swathi Thirunal died at the young age of 33, but his achievement within that short span of life was amazing. 

His musical achievements were on par with that of the musical trinities.  He composed over 400 classical music compositions in both Carnatic and Hindustani style. He learned many languages, encouraged musicians and other artists. 

He was a great ruler and administrator. He established a well-formulated code of laws, courts of justice, introduced English education, constructed an observatory, installed the first Government printing press, established the first manuscripts library in Trivandrum . 

There were many great men like him,  Adi 

Sankaracharya, Mathematician Ramanjam etc, who died young after great achievements. Other mortals can’t even dream of a small percentage of what the great men achieved. 

Their life was successful?  Yes, you will say. 

But, in a personal level, when a close relative of mine, extremely benevolent, extraordinary intelligent, died at the peak of his life and career, I DIDN’T feel that his life was successful. He grew right before my eyes. I was witness for his humanitarian activities, compassion for all living beings, but with all that, he died miserably.  

On what ground do I say his life was successful? Going by his brilliant academic or his career achievements or the palatial houses he built or the love and affection he showered on his family? 

For me and his mother, it would have been enough had he scored average marks in studies and lived with minimum facilities, but lived long. 

We would have, then called his life as successful. 

What is the purpose of living for a hundred years, without name and fame and without enjoying the pleasures of life, you may ask.

That creates another question what is enjoyment ? Are not passing exams creditably and holding coveted positions, causes for enjoyment? You may ask. 

Btw, one thing I want to tell you. I had no courage to meet, face to face, the mother of the boy mentioned above. After a long gap of more than a year, when I gathered courage and met her, I didn’t console her with the words:

‘His life was successful. So, don’t worry’

No I didn’t say that. 

As a coward, I took shelter under an oft quoted one word- Vidhi ( Fate ) 

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Pranamams to all Ganapathies

Man is born selfish and I can’t be an exception. Close to Kalpathy Shivan kovil, Kshipraprasada Ganapathy is there. A few yards away Mandakara Mahaganapathy dwells. But, my practice has been rush to Chathapuram, crack a coconut before God and come out after darisanam with the satisfaction that all the obstacles on the path to my success have vanished ! Only during my recent visit, I went to the Mandakara temple, as it is adjacent to the function hall of my interest. 

This time too, I went to the Chathapuram Ganesh temple . After cracking a coconut on the granite slab, I enjoyed the sound emanated from the metal wall and expressed my happiness to a mama standing nearby. 

Apparently, he was standing there for a long time or he used to stand there every day watching many devotees cracking coconuts. He didn’t, therefore, take my observation with the seriousness it deserved. For me, however, that sound was enjoyable. The only lapse was I forgot to pray God but that has been my general practice. If not for knowing my problems what for is my Lord sitting there? 

Frankly speaking what problems do I have? Getting food in time, getting good sleep, varieties of clothes I have, friends are there to recognize and smile at me wherever I go, sons, daughter, daughters in law, son in law, sambandhies and their sambandhies are all kind to me,  the good I eat and the water I drink goes down and not up, I have enough money in my wallet always to buy a soda when I go out- does one need anything more other these facilities? 

Pranamams to that Ganapathy whether he belongs to Chathapuram or Puthiya Kalpathy or my TVM Arsummoodu or Pazhavangadi. 

I like all Ganapathies as they all like modakams and appams. 

I will continue liking them as long as they continue liking modakams and appams. 

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Gurupoornima musing


I don’t claim to have a sadhu  or sanyasi as my Guru, though I respect many honest and holy personalities. As  an ordinary person, for me, Guru is transmitter of knowledge. Transmitter, according to me can be a living or non living being, even an experience. Like others, for me too, my parents were the first teachers who taught me to eat, walk, alphabets etc followed by school and college teachers , colleagues, friends etc etc. who guided me to gain knowledge in various fields. 

My father was the cause for my developing interest in literature and spirituality. I used to sit close to him watching his reading Adhyatma Ramayanam, in a melodious tone, before a brass lamp, vibhoothi prominently drawn on the appropriate part of his big frame. 

“JagdAsrayan, Bhavan, JagathAyathum,

JagadAmAdibhoothanAyathum Bhavanallo—-

I have forgotten the Physics and Chemistry learned but not the hymns taught by my father in my childhood.

I consider as a God given gift, my interest  to watch and learn from the Nature. So, is the experience life has taught me. These two gurus have contributed considerably for my mental tranquility and ability to take life as it unfolds before me. 

And it is my friendship with Nature that helped me to realize that there is a Super Power and installed in me an unshakeable trust in the Almighty.  I feel God’s presence everywhere with the result that I’m not particular to visit temples or do pooja at home, though I do both.  Being a man of emotion, the changes in life do upset me, but I have the capacity, thanks to my trust in God, to regain my balance soon.

Longer I live more I realize that with all our merits and capabilities we are not the sole decision maker of our life. 

I take that Supernatural Source which guides my intellect as my Guru. 

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Shivarathri' should have reminded me

imageThe word ‘Shivaratri’ brings to my mind my Bhavani Periammai, a short, frail figure, wrapped in a white cloth extended to cover her shaven head too, crossing the Kalpathy River with a grass mat tugged in her arm pit, with empty stomach but elevated bakthi feelings, going to the Shiva temple for worship and then hearing kathakalakshepam or Bajhan but dozing off half way through the sathsang, encouraged by the streams of cold wind rushing in from the western ghats to recite Rudram and Chamakam at the sanctum of the Lord Shiva.
‘Shivaratri’ brings to my mind Perinkulam Krishnavadhyar , who comes all the way from our native village by walk to watch Kathakali, and my Appa taking me to Kallaikulankara Eamoor Bhaghavathy temple , holding my hand and crossing the hillock to watch the Kathakali at night, and me dozing off after watching the colourful dance for a while, under the breezy tree, unmindful of the sound from the percussion instruments, metallic musical sound from the Chengala, ( the brass disc) and the yelling of the ‘kathi veshams ‘ or villainous characters, on the stage. Appa doesn’t scold me for taking a nap in between as there are many old women still in sound sleep though the sun is about to arise on the eastern gate and many are moving towards the ponds around for a bath.
Ideally Shivarathri should bring to my mind the Ardhayama pooja at the Baba Viswanath temple in Kashi, where the sound from the multi instruments create an ambience of the Mount Kailas where the Celestial dance takes place, enthusiastically watched by the devas, kinnaras, gandharvas etc. and I sit among the crowd forgetting myself, after a fresh bath in the cold waters of the holy Ganges and reciting ‘Om Namashivaya’.
Shivarathri should remind me, the Procession of the Lord of Kalpathy, seated on the Nandi whose sharp ears absorb with immense joy, the shouts of ‘kailasapathe’ coming out of the throat of those carrying the heavy idols on their shoulders and me trying to push in between and try to reach one of the heavy poles on which stays the base holding the idols.
Ideally Shivarathri should remind me the scene in the Kiraathajuneeyam Kathakali show I was watching, where
Mother Parvathy tormented by the sight of Arjuna’s sharp arrows piercing her Lord and cursing him,
‘Nee, noonam eyyunna baanangal okkayum
Soonmai poka Pandava’
( Let the sharp arrows you shower at my Lord turn into flowers! )
Shivarathri, ideally should have reminded me the Rudram, Chamakam, Shivanandalahari and other Devine hymns taught by my Appa and learned by me on my own or at least the ‘Shambho MahAdeva, Deva’ which I used to recite standing before the sanctums of the Vaikathappan or Sreekanteswaran of TVM .
Shivarathri should have at least reminded me just two or three words, ‘Om Namah Shivaaya:’ or Shivaya namah Ohm’
Shivarathri should have attest reminded me, my own name and prompted me to utter a single word, ‘Shivoham’.
No, no such things happen. Instead, I remember the banana chips and neyyappam, I had for the evening coffee on Friday, before leaving for New Jersey and Megh’s strong warning this morning, using the familiar appellation of my FB friends, ‘no, SPji, no fasting this year; you are under treatment!
Shivaaya namah Ohm!

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The diverse approaches to Divinity

Saranagati or Prapatti or total, absolute, unconditional surrender to the Supreme God, means Mahavishnu and his consort Mahalakshmy, is the core principle of devotion as per the Sri SampradAya of RamAnjacharya.
‘Na Dharma Nishthosmi Na Cha Atmavedi
Na BhaktimansTvat Charanaravinde |
Akinchanonanyagati Sharanyam
Tvat Padamoolam Sharanam Prapadye ||’
I know neither Dharmam nor Dyanam, righteousness nor meditation.
In fact, I know nothing . I totally surrender at your lotus feet.
Adi Sankara too, does the same in his ShivamAnaspooja stotram.
After offering the Asana, snAna, vastraaadi upacharams, all in imagination, he does a total surrender of to God.
करचरणकृतं वाक्कायजं कर्मजं वा
श्रवणनयनजं वा मानसं वापराधम् ।
विहितमविहितं वा सर्वमेतत्क्षमस्व
जय जय करुणाब्धे श्रीमहादेव शम्भो ॥५॥
Kara-Caranna-Krtam Vaak-Kaaya-Jam Karma-Jam Vaa
Shravanna-Nayana-Jam Vaa Maanasam Va-Aparaadham |
Vihitam-Avihitam Vaa Sarvam-Etat-Kssamasva
Jaya Jaya Karunna-Abdhe Shrii-Mahaadeva Shambho ||5||
Pardon me for every wrong committed by me, by my body or mind, knowingly or unknowingly , you the ocean of compassion, Mahadeva, Sambho!
Before that, he submits:
आत्मा त्वं गिरिजा मतिः सहचराः प्राणाः शरीरं गृहं
पूजा ते विषयोपभोगरचना निद्रा समाधिस्थितिः ।
सञ्चारः पदयोः प्रदक्षिणविधिः स्तोत्राणि सर्वा गिरो
यद्यत्कर्म करोमि तत्तदखिलं शम्भो तवाराधनम् ॥४॥
Aatmaa Tvam Girijaa Matih Sahacaraah Praannaah Shariiram Grham
Puujaa Te Vissayo[a-U]pabhoga-Racanaa Nidraa Samaadhi-Sthitih |
San.caarah Padayoh Pradakssinna-Vidhih Stotraanni Sarvaa Giro
Yad-Yat-Karma Karomi Tat-Tad-Akhilam Shambho Tava-Araadhanam ||4||
You, my Lord, are my Atma, soul. My budhy, pure intellect, the Divine Mother. Your companions ,Shiva ganas are my Prana, breath. My body is your temple. My worldly living is your worship and my sleep, Samadhi absolute absorption in you. My walking about you is pradakshinam for you. All my words, my hymns to you.
In short, every action, every movement of mine , Shambho, is your Worship.
This is complete identification with the absolute Reality.
The Atmasadakam of Sankara amplifies Acharya’s conviction that he is not different from Shiva, the Ultimate Reality.
Mano Buddhi Ahankara Chitta Ninaham
Nacha Shrotra Jihve Na Cha Ghrana Netre
Nacha Vyoma Bhoomir Na Tejo Na Vayu
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham
‘When a mere stripling he was asked by his teacher,
‘Whence do you come; who are you;whither bound!’
Sankara answered:
I am not in the senses, nor in the mind.
I’m not in touch, nor am I taste;
Breathing and beating of the heart
Even they can hold me not;
Ears that hear, hear not my silence!
For I’m not the earth, nor in the air;
The light that scorches, and the spaces of the ether,
Even they are tongue-tied when they seek to name me;
For I’m infinite Knowledge,
I’m life that is beyond the living,
I’m the absolute,
Existence infinite–
I’m bliss.’
From the book ‘Sri Ramakrishna, the face of silence’
So, there lies the difference between the two streams, the thoughts propagated by Sankara and those of Sri Rananuja.
I’m the Dasan of God and I’m the God- both are not the same. But, Adwaitham was not Sankara’s finding. He only propagated it.
Sankara’s commentary on VushnusahasranAmam, which is considered to be of a great value and his Baja Govindam’ and several other stotrams and also his PanchAyathana pooja paddathi shows that for hiim, all gods are manifestations of the Absolute Truth.
I quote from the book, ‘Sri Ramakrishna, the face if silence’:
Enter the garden, eat sweet mangoes, and depart. You didn’t enter the garden to count the leaves on the mango tree. Why waste time discussing whether worship of God should be through idols or without idols? ‘
Various streams of thoughts are, fortunately, available for us.
Choose one or don’t choose any. But the fact is that the Ultimate Truth is Single, solid, unbreakable.
To quote again from the same book:.
“The teacher propounded, “Thou knowest the story of Rama and Hanuman.
When the incarnation of God said to Hanuman, ‘How dost though perceive me, O,my dearest devote?’ – What did Hanuman answer?”
“Hanuman replied, said Ramakrishna, “‘ when I feel you, my Lord, I’m your son and servant. When I think you, I’m part of you. But when I realized you, I am you”
That is Adwaitham

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Sundara kandam is sundaram. Part. 3

While treading the tedious, tormenting forests, following her husband’s steps, and even subsequently, the horrible incidents of her last day in the Palace would have been haunting Sita.
But, in captivity under the simsupa tree in the the Asoka grove of Ravana, her nightmare might have been the day of kidnapping by the demon king and her misjudgment of Lakshmana’s character and the rebukes, she showered on him.
‘How could Kaikeyi mother be so cruel to hand over the bark pieces for me to wear, she herself being a woman!’ Sita would have mused, for several days after leaving Ayodhya. ‘She cared neither for her heart-broken husband nor for the respected seniors like Sumantra and Sidhartha who pleaded with her to reconsider her arrogant and unjustified imposition to the king. She didn’t not care even for Raja Guru VasishtA’s advice.
‘There was not even a shade of change in her face,’ says the saint poet:
नैवसाक्षुभ्यते देवी न च स्म परिदूयते |
न चास्या मुखवर्णस्य विक्रिया लक्ष्यते तदा || २-३५-३७
naivasaakshubhyate devii na cha sma pariduuyate |
na chaasyaa mukhavarNasya vikriyaa lakshyate tadaa || 2-35-37
‘That queen Kaikeyi, however, was neither excited nor repented in her heart nor was any change observed in the colour of her face’.
Her mukhavarnam remained the same!
Once it was clear that the cruel lady would never change her imposition, the king orders to provide plenty of weapons, fighters and all materials required for a fearless and comfortable living in the forest for Rama, but even that was not agreeable to Kaikeyi.
aayudhaani cha mukhyaani naagaraaH shakaTaani cha |
anugachchhantu kaakutthsam vyaadhaashchaaraNyagocharaaH || 2-36-5
“Let important weapons, chiefs of police and vehicles, hunters knowing the secrets of forest accompany Rama(scion of Kakutsa)”
धान्य कोशः च यः कश्चित् धन कोशः च मामकः |
तौ रामम् अनुगच्चेताम् वसन्तम् निर्जने वने || २-३६-७
dhaanya koshaH ca yaH kashcit dhana koshaH ca maamakaH |
tau raamam anugacchetaam vasantam nirjane vane || 2-36-7
“Let the granary and the treasury belonging to me be sent to Rama residing in the uninhabited forest.”
No, even that was not acceptable to Kaikeyi.
How could Kaikeyi be so cruel ? We too wonder.
अथ चीराणि कैकेयी स्वयम् आहृत्य राघवम् |
उवाच परिधत्स्व इति जन ओघे निरपत्रपा || २-३७-६
‘Put these on,’ she told Rama to wear the bark pieces, she herself had brought shamelessly, to the gathering of men.
परिधत्स्व इति demanded Kaikeyi- ‘don these’
She, निरपत्रपा – shameless ( woman ).
Rama and Lakshmana wore the ascetic garb but Sita struggled with those when Rama helped her to wear them. What a treatment to the eldest daughter in law of theKingdom!
Sita’s leaving the palace was her decision but Kaikeyi endorsed and encouraged it. She also opposed the orders of the king to send men and materials for a comfortable living in the forest. It was a well planned strategy to keep Rama away from Ayodhya, along with his wife and most loving brother so that Bharatha’s throne is safe and secure.
A careful study of these two chapters will reveal that there was a concealed ambition in
Kaikeyi’s mind to make her son the monarch by somehow sidelining Rama. Mandara became an ignition torch. Selfishness was in Kaikeyi’s blood .
For me, it looks that the palace coup was well planned in advance, in Kaikeyi’s mind.

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SundarakAndam is sundaram Page. 2

After mentioning that he was Rama’s messenger and that Rama was eager to secure her from her imprisonment and was fully capable of it, the great Hanuman talks about Lakshmana.
लक्ष्मणः च महातेजा भर्तुः ते अनुचरः प्रियः |
कृतवान् शोक सम्तप्तः शिरसा ते अभिवादनम् || ५-३४-४
The follower and favorite brother of your husband, the splendorous Lakshmana, himself tormented with grief, saluted you with his head’
mahaatejaaH, anucharaH, shoka santaptaH are the words Hanuman selected to qualify
Lakshmana. And ‘he did abhivaadanam to you shirasaa’
It is natural that Sita’s thoughts, next to her husband, would have been around Lakshmana, who, like her, opted willingly to follow them to the forest and served most unselfishly the couple, throughout their living together. When Maricha screamed imitating Rama’s voice and Lakshmanan assured her that it could be nothing but deceptive, she disbelieved him ,abused and chased him to go for Rama’s help. Despite that, he drew a protective line and asked her never to cross it, which she did for her ruin. The feeling of misunderstanding a noble and unselfish brother-like was bound to pinch her mind and she could have even gone to the extend of assuming that Lakshmanan would have never excused her for her ill treatment. It is to assuage that feeling Hanuman tells her that Lakshmanan still continues to nourish the same respect he had earlier and salutes you with all humility.
There was a concealed message. Lakshmanan is still with your husband! He still continues to be AnucharaH- walks with Rama! Don’t worry about your husband’s safety and daily needs- the best medicine for a wife, separated since months.
Spirituality is subtle in Valmiki’s RAmAyanam. The Adikavi recognizes Sri Rama as an incarnation of Mahavishnu but his treatment of Rama in his epic is, as an ideal son, ideal brother, ideal husband, ideal King, super archer and above all a Dharma purusha or superman of righteousness. It is humanness more than divinity highlighted in the great work, which is a faithful narration of the life of the great Rama, his wife, siblings, father, mothers and others with whom he had to come into contact by design or by accident. We read the book as a Royal history or biography and there are other studies like geography, civics etc. too. Every character, every incident is more or less what happens even today in our country and outside. It can happen even in our homes. There are a few lines where the head queen Kousalia complains that the junior queens are not giving her due respect. Lakshmana threatens to chop of his father’s head for succumbing to the greedy dictation of his favorite queen. Mandara, an ordinary servant woman could play such a havoc in the royal kingdom which caused the loss of a mighty King and irreparable damage to millions, near and far! Nd the hunchback was neither Dhuryodhana, Sakuni or Dhrutarashtra- just a servant, invalid, old woman! Remember, this is a 5000 year- old story ! But, the difference is that the hero of the epic and many others sacrificed their lives, comforts, fortunes to uphold Dharma, come what may! That is how Vamiki RAmAyanam became a spiritual book.
Sita could have said, ‘sorry Ram. You obey the orders of your cranky dad, but why should I? Buy a ticket for my natal home by the next available flight’
So too, Lakshmana. ‘Annayya, nu poi ra- you carry on’ And will there be another fool like Bharatha, who threw away the golden crown offered in a golden platter? If the characters had behaved as many of us would be doing, we would have lost an invaluable life guide, an indestructible lighthouse like RAmAyanam.
Adyadmaramayanams in vernaculars, as the name suggests are deep in Adyadmeekam, spiritual, Devine thinking. Tunjathu Ezuthatchan, for example never allowed to slip an opportunity to sing the glory of Sri Rama. The book commences with
RamanAmam, recitation and repetition of Rama’s name.
‘Sri Rama Rama Rama Sri Ramachandra jaya,
Sri Rama Rama Rama Sri Ramabadra jaya—–
There are many hymns, songs on the glory of Sri Rama, all of them melt the heart of devotees. Ahalya, Kabandhan, Shabhari and many other characters, forget themselves by singing Rama’s greatness. The poet was addicted to alcohol as per the hearsay stories and once he was under its influence, he used to go on singing the glory of Rama.

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sundara Kandam is Sundaram

This is Ramayana mAsam in my native land of Kerala. When the Sun god moves behind the Western ghats to do Sandhya, the great AdyaAtma RAmAyanam hymn, scented by the sacred Name of Rama in every line, overflows from most of the houses. I’m attempting to join the devotees in my own humble way, spending some time to meditate on Sundara Kandam, where Hanuman meets Sita, with Rama’s message, like the ThiruvAdira jnAttuvela , monsoon rains which cool and nourish the parched lands of the western coast.
SundarakAndam in RAmAyanam is really Sundaram!
The poetic talents and imagination of Valmiki is in full blossom in the SundarakAndam. In every stanza, there is a pearl or diamond or ruby, studded to it, most charismatically. This poetical extravaganza turns into needle -tip precision, when the great monkey king Hanuman, starts talking to Sita.
In the very first stanza, in the very first line, he has an amazing message for Sita, separated from her husband and starving to hear a word of consolation and assurance.
This is how Hanuman introduces himself to Sita:
अहम् रामस्य संदेशात् देवि दूतः तव आगतः |
वैदेहि कुशली रामः त्वाम् च कौशलम् अब्रवीत् ||
‘I have come with Rama’s message, Videha Raja putri! . The virtuous Rama Enquires about your welfare”
Imagine how Sita would have received the message, ‘ I have come with Rama’s message!’
Then the assurance:
‘your Rama, be assured, continuous to be virtuous. Don’t entertain any doubt on that account.
‘कुशली’ Rama: the virtuous Rama.
And also, Devi, don’t have any doubt in your mind whether he is interested in your welfare or not. He is anxious about it.
कौशलम् अब्रवीत् |
In the next verse, Hanuman reminds Sita that Rama is a great archer. He is a great Vedic too.
यो ब्राह्मम् अस्त्रम् वेदान् च वेद वेदविदाम् वरः |
स त्वाम् दाशरथी रामो देवि कौशलम् अब्रवीत् || ५-३
Rama possess BrhmAstram.
This is to remove any apprehension in her mind, if any, as to whether her husband would be able to conquer Ravana and free her.
And Rama is a great Vedic exponent too. He will never deviate from the Path of Dharma.
And then the next and most important message:
Devi, such a Rama enquired about your welfare!
Does Sita needed such an assurance about Rama’s intentions and ability and repeatedly to be told by Hanuman that he was anxious about her welfare?
Think about her situation, then. Absolutely hopeless, under the wrench-like grip of a mighty demon, with a huge army, who had been torturing her directly and indirectly. The Rakshasis, day in and day out had been praising the might of Ravana. Rama was a sanyasi and apart from his brother, he had no other support. Had he been in the throne, things would have been different with a mighty army and many other kings to support him.
In the guise of a sanyAsi, Ravana carried away Sita, by treachery. He could go to any extend to harm Sita. Rama was aware that the Jadayu bird, who intervened and tried to stop the kidnapping was mercilessly slashed to the ground by Ravana. Though he didn’t know where she was and in which state, Rama was worried about her and welfare was topmost in his mind. That was effectively conveyed by Hanuman. There cannot be anything more reassuring for a wife under the custody of the usurper than to learn that her husband is concerned about her safety and security.
To continue
Sent from my iPad

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Chutta pappadam- roasted pappad

“Uncle wine or scotch?” enquires affectionately our host, an young doctor, our family friend, noticing me shivering from cold, despite it being fully protected from top to toe. The car was warm, the house I entered into was warm but the short exposure in between to the biting ( -7 degree C ) was horrible. I removed my warm jacket, monkey cap and gloves and our guest lead me to the comforts of a cosy sofa in the tastefully furnished drawing room and handed over a shining glass with scotch whisky.
That helped ! The mind -machine, started working.
‘Had I got acquainted with this young man much earlier, my sister Raji would have been alive today’ I thought. My guest is a leading gastroenterologist and liver specialist.
‘Foolish, you are’ admonishes another thought wave ‘She passed away some thirty years ago, when your host was a child. Moreover, she wimageas given the  best possible treatment available those days’
Raji was my second sister, dearest to me and others in the family. A very affectionate girl, simple mannered, smiling always, helpful in nature and what not. Her liver was damaged irreparably and our friend would have helped by transplanting a replacement. That was my first thought, demolished by the second one.
The passing away of our dear and nears always make us ask ourselves whether the death was preventable and would it have been possible timageo stop it, had we acted in a different way, in a better way.
A relative in my extended family, recently, returned home after a walk in the evening, dropped and died on the spot. Nothing could be done. His wife, on his request, was making dosa and before the first dosa came out of the iron tawa, her husband was dead! He was alive, visibly in good health, when she went into the kitchen, a moment ago!
We hear about many such cases. We can understand the Shock the family undergoes through at the end of the day, one wishes and pray for such ends to his own life. What a relief when compared to the agony in the inhospitable hospitable bed!
The arrival into this world is with a lot of preparations, fanfare and pre- announcements and the departure in many cases are abrupt, unannounced. The fellow who looked down upon you, a few minutes ago, as if you were nothing, in the next moment, is lying dead down below, like a log.
Is death predetermined? ‘Yes’, say many. ‘How?’ ask others.
If it is predetermined, why health care and other disciplines?
If it is not predetermined how do people die unexpectedly by accidents and other unforeseen reasons?
Now the inner engine turns towards some men of the past like SamkarachAraya, Ramanujan and Swamy Vivekananda who had short sojourn in this world but achieved great things. Were those great souls sent to this world with specific projects and called back when their job was over? That is supporting the theory that death is predetermined.
If death is predetermined, how did thousands got washed away in the Badarinath floods? Natural disasters and man – made calamities are carrying away hundreds of innocents into the oblivion and does it mean that all those unfortunate souls were assembled in a particular place like herds of animals pushed into a butchery?
“You go on asking the same questions again again. Give us the answer?” – a chorus from my inside machine.
My host comes with another glass of scotch. ‘Uncle?”
“No. Thanks, young man. I know when to stop. Now, my priority is chutta pappadams,
Roasted pappads on the dining table.
“Going away without answering us?” The chorus from inside again.
I quote from another wise man, as all wise men do, when they have no answer of their own for a difficult question.
“There is such a thing as the light of reason.
We all posses it. It illuminates everything.
So, rather than being caught up, step back into the cool, calm and dispassionate light of reason”
To be frank, I don’t know what it means!
But when I bite the chutta pappadam, it asks, “does that light tell you that I’m better than my deep -fried cousin?”
Ah, that language I follow -‘take care of your health and “leave unto the God, the rest”
I pick up one more Pappad and bite. It asks, ‘death is predetermined or accidental?’
I hate inconvenient questions. I give the chutta pappadam one more bite.
Feb 04, 2015
Something touched my heart very deeply but am unable to put in words anything mama!! Soul touching post! !
Gopalkrishanan Geetha
Mama profound and upanishadic article! I was roaming in the nooks and corners of your mind which has seen the rise and ebb of tidal thoughts and yet the very essential question on death remains unanswered to this day! Nachiketas not withstanding no one has a truly definite answer to this enigma. So as your conclusion goes I also believe that take care of health ( physical mental emotional financial etc) and don’t bother much!
Annapurna Muthuraman.
A very nice and a deeply ponderable subject, SPji.
KR Suryanarayanan
. Hi Siva subramanian Ji! I have been reading ur posts, this particular one is awesome, birth and death is explained in a different dimension….
Tks for this wonderful writing
Kakshmi Bhat
Great post. Enjoyed reading it. Then you stopped making the reader crave for more….
Lalitha Vydyanathan
. Reminds me of my dad.
Krish Chalat
You have your own distinct style of expression. ..It makes a good read. .
Srs Mani
A very nice and a deeply ponderable subject, SPji.
KR Suryanarayanan
Hi Siva subramanian Ji! I have been reading ur posts, this particular one is awesome, birth and death is explained in a different dimension….
Tks for this wonderful writing
Kakshmi Bhat
Great post. Enjoyed reading it. Then you stopped making the reader crave for more….
Lalitha Vydyanathan
Once again, well-written~
Bindya Viswanathan
Great read,mama
RoopA Ravi
Very nice post. But answers to the Q whether death is predetermined eludes us still.
Ganapathy C iyer
Very useful reading of your post. keep posting. your flow of english writing is very nice.
Padma Subramani
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Navaratri musing

” Sarvadapaani charanae, sarvodokshi siro mukhae,
Sarvadasravana khraanae, Narayani, namosthuthae”
The A wonderful image of the Paraskathi for meditation.
Recall the’ Sahasraseersha purusha: sahsrakksha saharapaad’ image of the Supreme Purusha:
“Anekha bahoodara vaktra nethram –‘ of the Viswaroopam in the Bagavath Gita.
Such a Universal Supreme Force, we are trying to confine into small idols, during the Navaratri festival and worship, as our power of imagination is limited.
Transcending time and space, the Universal mother , stands above and beyond everything in the world but at the same time, abides in every moving and unmoving thing, nay SHE IS every moving and unmoving thing.
Let us worship Her in small or big statues at home or in  temples, but also  look at the vast sky, crowding clouds, shining sun, moon and stars and try to see the Viswaroopam .
When we realize that verily we are a part of THAT, nay, WE ARE THAT, we achieve the purpose of our life.