Many years ago, I used to work as a Product/Brand Manager with one of the top Nutritional companies in India. I handled their “Nutraceutical” portfolio – “condition-specific” nutritional supplements, that included products for people with compromised liver function, people recovering from TB or those with COPD, people with Diabetes and so on.

This company decided to expand their footprint into the area of “Sports Nutrition.” By that time I had quit the company but was still invited to attend the launch function of this SBU. The chief guest for the event was a Guru who has become very active in the Ayodhya dispute, meeting with stakeholders from both sides in an attempt at an out-of-court settlement.

This Guru was invited to speak on the occasion and he (of his own volition) chose to speak on the scientific importance of Nutrition, proteins etc. His speech was wholly unscientific and peppered with claims that were downright laughable and that is putting it mildly. I wondered for a long time after that why this Guru chose to talk on a subject that he had no clue about rather than focusing on his core competence.

A few years later I had my second run-in with the said Guru when I was working as a Brand Consultant for one of the oldest Ayurvedic companies in India. In fact it was an anecdote that the MD of this company shared with me about this Guru which I can unfortunately not reveal here but suffice to say that it made me very uncomfortable again.

Now this – see images below – The one on Tippu is bad enough and smacks of a poor understanding of History and a desire to pander to a section of the society. The other one which equates the great spiritual significance of the Sasta-rupa, Hari-Hara Putra, Ayyappan with Homosexuality is totally unacceptable. It is one thing to argue that Homosexuality should be decriminalized but how can someone who enjoys such a following say something like this?

Does he really not know the symbolic significance of Hari-Hara? That this is a symbolic representation of the fact that the para-brahman the underlying principle is one, that Vishnu and Shiva are but forms of the same Brahman. Also, this rupa was specifically consecrated to reconcile the differences that had sprung up between the Saivites and the Vaishnavites. “Sivasya hridayam Vishnur-Vishnoscha hridayam Sivah“Sasta” is also “Dharma-Sasta” the protector of the “Dharma” who came into being for the twin purposes of killing the demoness Mahishi who had received a boon from Brahma that she could not be killed by Shiva or Vishnu, and to re-establish the Hindu Dharma that had degenerated in Bharata varsha.

I usually don’t say anything about Gurus but this had to be said.

Sri-sri-AyappaSri sri-tippu



July 20, 1905 the colonial government announced the partition of Bengal. The announcement was made by the then Viceroy of India Lord Curzon and proposed to separate the muslim-majority East from the Hindu-majority West, with Dhaka and Kolkata as the respective capitals.

This led to tremendous agitation all across India and particularly in Bengal. Sri Aurobindo at that time was in Baroda but active in the revolutionary movement that wanted to overthrow the British government. From Baroda, he wrote to the revolutionary workers in Bengal “This is a fine opportunity. Carry on the anti-partition agitation powerfully. We will get many workers for the movement.” He also wrote and sent a pamphlet titled “No compromise” Not a single printing press in Bengal would print it, so it was typeset secretively in a friend’s house and a few 1000 distributed by hand.

This was also the time when Sri Aurobindo wrote the famous revolutionary booklet “Bhawani Mandir.” Although Sri Aurobindo wrote it, the idea for the booklet and indeed for the creation of a Bhawani Mandir which would be located in a forest on a mountain-top, where workers would dedicate themselves to the cause of India’s freedom in the spirit of complete renunciation and sharanagati to the great mother “Shakti” to that “Chandika / Bhawani” was Barindra Kumar Ghosh’ (Sri Aurobindo’s youngest brother) idea. 

Barindra Kumar Ghosh (Barin); 1880-1959 was very active in the revolutionary movement in Bengal and worked closely with Bagha Jatin (Jatindranath Mukherjee). Barin and Bagha Jatin recruited many young revolutionaries from across Bengal and formed the Maniktala group in Maniktala, Kolkata, a secret godown for manufacturing bombs which also served as a store for arms and ammunition.

In 1908 Khudiram and Prafulla two young revolutionaries attached to the Maniktala group failed in their attempt to kill Kingsford, the Chief Magistrate of the Calcutta Presidency (who was infamous for inflicting harsh and severe punishment on even young boys who were part of the revolution).

Khudiram Bose who was arrested and subsequently tried and sentenced to death was only 18 years old when he was hanged to death. The British Newspaper “The Empire” noted that “Khudiram Bose was executed this morning…It is alleged that he mounted the scaffold with his body erect. He was cheerful and smiling.”

Prafulla the other young revolutionary took his own life when he ran out of bullets in a standoff with the British police (I will write about these two in a separate post).

The investigations that followed this assasination attempt led to the arrest of Barin Ghosh on 2 May 1908, along with many of his comrades. The trial (known as the Alipore Bomb Case) initially sentenced Barin Ghosh to death. However, the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment, and Barin was deported to the Cellular Jail in Andaman in 1909. He was released only in 1920 after 11 long years in one of the worst detention camps in history. His detention was not like that of the false heroes – Gandhi and Nehru spending their time in relative comfort even when under arrest – writing letters, books, and chatting with friends and prison staff.

Barin Ghosh later became a journalist and was even associated with “The Statesman” before he also followed his brother into spirituality. He died in 1959.

How many remember Barin Ghosh, or for that matter Khudiram or Prafulla? That is what was done to our history by the leftists and communists who usurped control over educational institutions in a Quid pro quo with the Congress and specifically Indira Gandhi – intellectual power to the Left and Political power to the Congress

Below is a passage from the booklet “Bhawani Mandir” which not only reflects the sorry and rotten state of the Hindus today but should (hopefully) also serve as a source of inspiration to take the fight forward. For, although the battle to reclaim our culture maybe lost for now, the war is still to be won and we shall prevail. That is how we Hindus are – it is the few, the committed who have kept the flame burning and so shall it be even now.

Is it knowledge that is wanting? We Indians, born and bred in a country where Jnana has been stored and accumulated since the race began, bear about in us the inherited gains of many thousands of years. Great giants of knowledge rise among us even today to add to the store. Our capacity has not shrunk, the edge of our intellect has not been dulled or blunted, its receptivity and flexibility are as varied as of old. But it is a dead knowledge, a burden under which we are bowed, a poison which is corroding us, rather than as it should be a staff to support our feet and a weapon in our hands; for this is the nature of all great things that when they are not used or are ill used, they turn upon the bearer and destroy him.

Our knowledge then, weighed down with a heavy load of Tamas, lies under the curse of impotence and inertia. We choose to fancy indeed, nowadays, that if we acquire Science, all will be well. Let us first ask ourselves what we have done with the knowledge we already possess, or what have those who have already acquired Science been able to do for India. Imitative and incapable of initiative, we have striven to copy the methods of England, and we had not the strength; we would now copy the methods of the Japanese, a still more energetic people; are we likely to succeed any better? The mighty force of knowledge which European Science bestows is a weapon for the hands of a giant, it is the mace of Bheemsen; what can a weakling do with it but crush himself in the attempt to wield it?

Opinion, Politics


Talk about a bad start to the day 😡. I see this  full-page ad in “THE (anti) HINDU” where Karnataka CM Siddu wants to “…SEE THE FUTURE THAT TIPPU SAW…”. I thought I should help him out with a quick listing of how that future would have been if “Hazrat Tippu Sultan” and his successors had ruled over Karnataka any longer:


  1. People outraging against GST would have been silently and submissively paying DST (Dhimmi Survival Tax)
  2. Hindu and Christian men would have been castrated, converted and a few sturdy men would have been included into the Sultan’s slave army
  3. Mysuru would still be called Nazarbad
  4. Hindu and Christian women would have been fair game – raped, ravaged, many handed over as trophies to Tippu’s soldiers. A select few inducted into the Sultan’s harem.
  5. His harem would have grown from 335 (the number of women who were released when the tyrant was killed) to 3,350.
  6. Brahmins would have been given special privileges – their “Cudumi’s/Shika’s) cut and then all of them castrated and converted
  7. Mysuru Sanskrit college and Manasagangotri University would have been razed to the ground.
  8. Urdu would have replaced Kannada completely and those seen conversing in Kannada would have been killed on the spot.
  9. Temple Gopurams would have been replaced by Spires and the idols broken and used to construct steps leading up to public toilets so that they could be stomped on by all and sundry.
  10. All these people celebrating/participating in this program would not have had even nominal Hindu names.

I wrote this too on the benevolence of the great Tippu Sultan:
Tipu Sultan was a Compassionate Man. Don’t believe us? Read




Reading Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsam which traces the illustrious lineage of Sri Rama’s ancestors – the line of Ikshavaku, one is amazed at how morally upright, cultured, erudite, and sophisticated the Hindus of Bharat were.

Here, I reflect on Canto-7 “The marriage of Aja” and in particular two verses from this Canto: Aja, the son of Raghu; father of Dasharatha; and the grandfather of Rama was chosen as husband by the greatest beauty of the land – Indumathi in a Swayamvara attended by all the Kings of the land. The disappointed Kings (who were rejected by Indumati) decided to ambush Aja and his retinue made up of his core group of trusted warriors and kidnap the princess Indumati.

They set a trap near a cul-de-sac and waited for Aja and Indumati. As soon as Aja and his retinue reached this point in the forest they were attacked by these angry Kings.

Aja directed one of his ministers to guard Indumati along with a select group of bodyguards and turned to face the combined might of the kings of Bharatavarsha.

It was a bloody, gory battle and Kalidasa describes the battle scenes in great detail. What struck me were two verses (see attached photos):

Verse-37: The foot soldiers fought the foot soldiers; those on chariots attacked only those warriors equipped with chariots; horsemen engaged horsemen; and elephant troops fought elephant troops. Never did the charioteer attack the foot soldier or the horsemen – this moral warrior code was followed even in the heat of battle.

Verse-47: When a horseman struck another horseman and saw that he was badly wounded and lying supine across his horse’s back, he did not attack him again to kill him, instead he prayed for his recovery so that they could fight like true warriors – face-to-face.

Such was the chivalry and culture of the people of Bharata.

Aja won and bore Indumati to Ayodhya but that is not the point of this post.

I reflected on how the Islamic invasion must have been such a shock for a people so chivalrous, urbane, sophisticated, and cultured. The muslim invasion of India was characterized by unimaginable brutality, complete lack of morality, no respect for warrior codes, and remains unparalleled in the history of the world in terms of brutality, scale and mode of killing, enslavement, humiliation, and subjugation – and to think that such a cultured civilization was made to go through all this, sends a shiver down one’s spine.

It was this more than anything else that changed the culture of India. The principles of freedom, liberty, and culture were all lost. The targeting of women and even children, the wanton destruction and loot of of temples, monuments, works of art and architecture were all aimed at subjugating a proud civilization and removing all traces of its existence.
I suspect the Hindus went into a deep shock and have never really recovered from it ever since. When the British arrived here all they saw was a people living in the shadows of the brutality of Islam. All they had to do was to read the last rites…


Now is as good a time as any to start

Saw this Nerium Oleander (Arali, Kanagalu, Karaveera, Kaner) plant all abloom in our garden and was reminded of this:

माली आवत देख के, कलियन करे पुकारि।
फूले फूले चुनि लिये, कालि हमारी बारि॥

Seeing the gardener approach, the buds spoke to one another: “Today he shall pluck the flowers that are abloom, tomorrow it shall be our turn” (Kabir)

Once during a Satsang with Sri M he responded to a young man who said that he was making the necessary preparations to start Sadhana and would start in a few months…

“What is the guarantee that you shall be able to start your sadhana in a few month’s time? No one is sure of when his time will be up. Now is as good a time as any to start…”


Culture, Religion, Spirituality


Starting today (Prathama Tithi), October 20, 2017 and leading up to the day of Sura Samharam on Shashti is dedicated to Skanda Shakthi. The Skanda Rupa personified as the Skanda-Shakthi in the beautiful swaroopa of Shanmukha or Subrahmanya or Muruga, Karthikeya, or Kumara, is the personification of the total Yoga-shakti and Sadhana Shakti of the world.

Born out of the explosive Tejas of Shiva’s Ajna Chakra, (his Tejas having been built up over several years of deep meditation), Shanmukha is the Agni swarupa, the Jnana Jyothi.

The sparks from the Ajna Chakra flew through the cosmos and even the divine messengers Vayu and Agni who decided to carry him could not hold the Tejas and they dropped it into the Ganga. Even she could not bear the divine energy impregnated as it was with the Divya Tejas of Shiva and the Shakti of Parvati.

Ganga in order to save herself, shoved the divine energy onto the banks of the river, upon a shrub of reeds in a pool of water called the “Saravana Poigai” The divine shakti congealed into six aspects each lying on a lotus bloom. The Universal mother Parvati picked up the six aspects and that energy transformed into the aspect of Shanmukha in the hands of the Universal mother.

Symbolically, Shanmukha and his six faces represent the attainment of “Aparoksha Anubhuti” attained through the process of “Shat-Chakra-Bheda”. This is why Skanda is the destroyer of Ajnana, a concentration of supreme shakti like none other.

On the human plane, the Guru is the representative of the Skanda Shakti, because just like Shanmukha the Guru is our Senapati (commander) who leads us in the battle against our inner demons. Just as the Vel of Shanmukha destroyed the demon Surapadman, so also the Guru’s Vel tears asunder the veil of Maya and gives us a glimpse of the Divine.

Let the Shakti of Shanmukha permeate the collective consciousness of all Hindus. I also take this opportunity to pay my respects to all the Gurus who have guided me through my life.

“ॐ तत्पुरुषाय विद्महे महासेनया धीमहि !
तन्नः शंमुखा प्रचोदयात !”

“Om Tatpurushaya Vidhmahe Maha Senaya Dhimahi !
Tannah Shanmukha Prachodayat !


Photo; Source Credit: http://epuja.co.in/product-details.php?puja_id=2370&page=Rayamangalam-Koottumadom-Subramanya-Temple

Poems, Spirituality


Alagammal, Ramana’s mother decided to settle down in Tiruvannamalai sometime in the year 1916 and stayed there till her death in 1922.

Initially, she lived with Ramana and some of his fellow-sadhaks /friends, particularly Palaniswami in the Virupaksha cave. The son was the Guru and the mother his disciple. He taught her through his silence and she remained totally dedicated to her son/Guru.

When Kavya Kantha Ganapati Muni, the great Sanskrit scholar visited Virupaksha and announced to the world that “Here lives a great Rishi. I have found my Guru and for all of you, he is the Maharishi – Ramana Maharishi” crowds started flocking to Virupaksha and soon the crowds became unmanageable. It was then that one of Ramana’s disciples Kandaswami decided to build the “Skandashramam” further down the hill which would make it easier to manage the crowd of visitors. Also, many people, particularly the old found the steep climb to Virupaksha extremely difficult. The name “Skandashramam” is a play on this Kandaswami’s name and also a reference to Lord Subramanya.

Ramana’s mother ran the Skandashramam kitchen and things started to function with clockwork precision. It was also the time when Ramana slowly started to break his silence. It was soon after his second “death-experience” near the Tortoise rock not far from Virupaksha.

It was here that the mother’s spiritual progress took on a completely new turn – Perhaps the Maharishi realized that her end was near and he had to hasten the progress. He stopped calling her “Amma” and sometimes ignored her. When she wept, he told her “Now, every woman is my mother. So also every one here is your son or daughter” When Alagammal, started treating every disciple and every visitor as her own son or daughter, he resumed calling her mother. Alagammal thus became mother to everyone in the Ashram.

He would make fun of her orthodoxy and kept at it, till the time she dropped that too. However, there were times when motherly love overflowed and on one such occasion, Alagammal decided to make appalam (pappadum) specially for her son and asked him to help just as he used to do when he was a little boy. Ramana refused saying “if you are making it only for me, I cannot have it and since that thought has entered your mind you shall labour alone and then give it to everyone else…”

It was in this context that he wrote this “Appalam song” a brilliant poem on the science of realization. The English translation below and the original in Tamizh as an image (in the Maharishi’s own handwriting)

Verse 1
Here encased in the five sheaths of organs, Mind,
Intellect and Sleep of blissful-ignorance
And different from them, grows the kernel, the self, the abhiman felt as ‘I’.
Pound it with the wisdom-pestle of the enquiry “Who am I ?”
Reducing it to powder as “not I” “not I

Verse 2
Now mix the juice of the edible-cactus Pirandai
This is sat-sanga, the company of the elevating which removes discord
Add Jeera and Black-pepper which are Shama and Dama, equanimity and self-restraint
Toss in some salt of Uparati which is non-attachment
Round it off with Heeng which is good vasanas, the tendencies which free us

Verse 3
With an inward turned pestle of mind pound away ‘I-I’
Unrelenting at its stubborn out-going disobedience
Then with the rolling pin of Shanti, roll out on the platter of evenness
The Appalams and see for yourself !

Verse 4
Taking the bottomless vessel of endless-Mauna
With the wholesome oil of the One Self of all
Fired by the flames of wisdom’s enquiring
Fry the Papads without let-up
Till the questioning self reaches and remains The Source
Thus you can have the papad and eat it too !

Credits (For the English translation of the verses and the picture): http://www.arunachala.org/docs/appalam-ittup-paru/