23 January 2009

Radha Ma Ashram

Radha Ma invited me to come and visit the recently built Narasimha Temple on the grounds of her Ashram. I love my gardens and my Temples, so didn't need to be asked twice! The below photographs show the lovely Ashram garden which 4-5 years ago was just a patch of scrub land.

The below photographs are of the Temple area.

At this time I wasn't allowed to take a photograph of the actual Narasimha statue inside the Temple, but outside is a well known photograph of the Vishnu avatar, upon which the statue inside the Temple is modelled. The statue was crafted by artisans in Mahabalipuram and the installation ceremony was performed by priests from the Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane, Chennai where the god Narasimha is worshipped.

Outside the entrance to the Narasimha Temple are paintings of GajaLakshmi and Kamadhenu.

Below is a photograph of Sarada Devi from inside Radha Ma's quarters.

Tale of Narasimha

Few of the thousands of stories found in Hindu mythology have as much beauty, poignancy, and moral and intellectual daring as the tale of Narasimha, the man-lion who is the fourth incarnation or avatar of Vishnu. The circumstances under which Vishnu descends to earth in the form of Narasimha are to be found in the fact, as enumerated in the Puranas, that in his previous incarnation as the boar, Vishnu had killed the asura or demon Hiranyaksha, and consequently filled his elder brother, Hiranyakashipu, with a burning desire for revenge.

While commanding the asuras to create havoc on earth, Hiranyakashipu himself prepared for the battle with Vishnu by practicing the most severe austerities, the effect of which was that he acquired the most tremendous powers. For scores of years he stood still on Mount Mandara, and though ant hills, grass, and plants grew on his body, he would not stir; the rivers and oceans trembled; the volcanoes roared and the earth shook; and the astral bodies went astray. The fiery smoke emanating from Hiranyakashipu’s very head left a massive trail of destruction, and the panic-stricken devas or gods, led by Indra, finally made their way to Brahma’s abode. Warning him that the worlds of his own creation would soon become extinct, the devas pleaded with Brahma to intercede, whereupon Brahma, declaring himself pleased at the immense austerities practiced by Hiranyakashipu, agreed to grant him any boon, hopeful that he would cease to terrorize the world and the devas.

Such is the tapas, the fire of Hiranyakashipu’s sacrifice and discipline, that even the gods must render him obeisance. Much like Ravana, his fellow asura, Hiranyakashipu receives from Brahma a boon that he shall "never be killed by these means: the striking and throwing weapons of my enemies, thunderbolt, dried tree-trunks, high mountains, by water or fire." Drought, fire, earthquakes, thunder, hurricanes, and all other manner of natural calamities: from all these he shall have immunity. Most decisively, Hiranyakashipu appears to have clinched his immortality when it is agreed that he shall "not be slain in heaven, on earth, in the daytime, at night, from neither above nor below", and most importantly neither by man nor animal.

Emboldened by the boon, Hiranyakashipu and his asuras lose no time in bringing the entire world under their jurisdiction, dominating the devas, and creating a reign of absolute terror. Hiranyakashipu’s own son, Prahlad, is a devoted follower of Vishnu, and his father’s ceaseless efforts to make him abandon his faith do not bear fruit. He is subjected to much pain and suffering; asuras are let loose at him; and he is thrown down a cliff. Yet Prahlad outlives all these attempts at terminating his life. Immensely pleased by his devotion, Vishnu at last decides to intercede directly. Descending to earth in the form of Narasimha, Vishnu appears before the complaisant Hiranyakashipu. As half man (nara) and half lion (simha), he is neither man nor lion; he springs out of a pillar; he strikes at twilight, when it is neither day nor light; and he attacks Hiranyakashipu at the threshold of his palace, under the arch of the doorway, neither on earth nor in the sky. Narasimha throws Hiranyakashipu upon his thighs and rips apart his bowels with his claws.

The tale of Narasimha speaks to the critical importance of liminality in forging any kind of emancipatory politics or theology. It is at the cusp, in the moment of liminality, in the state of in-betweenness, that ignorance is defeated and knowledge is acquired. If we go only so far as common-sense logic appears to take us, we might not travel very far at all. The tale of Narasimha is also there to remind us of the risks which we must take if we seek to be true moral agents."


Sri said...

Good to see a Picture of Enlightened Mother Sharada.
However, the picture of Narasimha is scary.
Sooner than later we need to get rid of this Concept of Righteous Kill by Gods and Follow true Godhood a la Buddha, RamaKrishna, Ramana.

Meenakshi Ammal said...

The meaning of the picture is very unscary because it signifies the victory of purity over ego. Narasimha is the only avatar of God who descended to earth to protect an individual devotee - which illustrates the immense love and compassion God has for the sincere devotee. It gives one hope.

sri said...

Yep. But The Problem with Scriptures is its Spiritual essence take a backseat and Depiction or Folklore hogs devotees mind. Then it becomes What your God can do versus Mine? which is the Mother of World Disorder Today.
All Gods who depict violence in any religion needs a Gracious retirement from our lives. If we seek Truth without inherited mindset, Guru will appear.
Sri Ramana was one such Deathless master and there are many more waiting for the children of World to discover them.

Anonymous said...

Sri's attitude is that of the modern liberal, dangerously naive in regard to the real and necessary cosmic interplay between forces of good (devonic) and evil (asuric). Fortunately, Puranic wisdom guides us properly, and we do not need to have a squeemish modern pacifist expunge the fierce side of God. After "getting rid of" Narasimha should we delete Rudra from the Vedas? Personally, I humbly and thankfully bow to Narasimha, as well as to Sri Durga another great demon-slayer. Killing demons is a righteous act, often entailing self-sacrifice. Trying to whitewash away these facts with a superficial understanding of advaitic truth is a hallmark of spiritual innocence. Spiritual maturity entails an understanding of the real struggle and self-sacrifice at the core of the eternal universal cycle.

sri said...

How do you know the exact levels of my understanding of Advaita that you call it Superficial?
Are you Parabramha to read other peoples mind and Soul?
Just introspect deeply How you retorted to Speculation to sell your points.
And, you cant even take a name that speaks about your honesty? Is this what all the Puranic wisdom taught you so far in Life?
You are trained to believe, you believe but Truth is not what you believe in Mind, it is What you feel.
Then you will know that God does not destroy demons by Force because everything is its Creation rather God changes him/her by showing the right path of Self-knowledge.
Btw, Shiva Linga is a Union of Male and Female. Since Books were not easily made those days people of Ancient India resorted to this Symbol for spreading knowledge.
Millions of people are dying in War everyday, Where is Shiva, Rama, Krishna who fought Wars according to Scriptures?
God is highly consistent do not make people doubt God by selling False Truths.
I know its hard for you to take it anyways I wish you Peace!

sri said...

"Spiritual maturity entails an understanding of the real struggle and self-sacrifice at the core of the eternal universal cycle. "

To add up: Religion needs Understanding and learning. Spirituality demands only Unlearning, Shedding mind made concepts about God and World with the help of a Truth realized Master.
Religions have not helped the World. It has only divided and Categorized us as this and that.
Religions create Rituals, Spirituality flowers Oneness.
Oneness is the Truth. Oneness is Love. Oneness is what AdiShankara preached!
Ask yourself Why Am i here?
To recite Rudrams and Chamakams?

Put the same question to a Muslim.
To do Namas 5 times a day.

Is life all about just Rudrams, Namas, Bible?

Now take a Birdseye view to this issue, you will might find the insanity of Organized Religions.

Anonymous said...

"Then you will know that God does not destroy demons by Force because everything is its Creation rather God changes him/her by showing the right path of Self-knowledge."

So in every cycle Sri Durga always gives Mahishasura a loving ten-armed hug, whereupon he forsakes his evil ways for the path of righteousness? No, She terminates him by force. I suggest that this represents an actual process in the divine lila of the Self undergoing the rigors of tapas or self-overcoming necessary to attain the robustness required to be an eternally self-regenerating being.

Brave soldiers and security forces who give their lives fighting in the defense of innocents, such as those who recently sacrificed their lives to repel the evildoers in Mumbai, display the nobility and virtue that upholds the righteous order (dharma) and stability (rita) of the universe.

If Bhagavan Sri Ramana ever preached about ending war, please let us know the citation. In fact, he consistently brushed aside ideas about changing the world. He pointed the way to inner peace, not to a foolish notion that the painful aspects of earthly samsara can be ended.

Perhaps we would agree, Sri, that outer peace only comes from inner peace. Thus only far in the future just prior to mahapralaya when all souls have taken refuge at His Feet will complete peace reign.

Tejvan said...

As long as there is evil, there must be a struggle against it, sometimes even violent if necessary. Someone once said, 'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'.

Sri Aurobindo too took a strong line against pacifism -

"t is not enough that our own hands should remain clean and our souls unstained for the law of strife and destruction to die out of the world; that which is at its root must first disappear out of humanity. Much less will mere immobility and inertia unwilling to use or incapable of using any kind of resistance to evil abrogate the law."

sri said...

In reality there's no demon, the demon is human mind which can go extremes like Hitler, Saddam.
God does not manifest to destroy Hitlers, God leaves him to the Law of Karma.
God is Consistent in this Universe, He doesn't limit himself/herself to fighting wars if somebody abducts his Wife or for his loyal set of 5.
A wise Person trusts Worldly experience and does not wait for God to appear to Kill Evil.
It has not happened in hundreds of years even when humans were faced with Terrible Challenges.

Yep. Soldiers held their Dharma in Bombay but this Dharma is Transient in Nature.
If right Self-knowledge is spread over World there will be no Attacks

The Job of a Messengers (Ramana et all) is to guide people to Inner peace and not to correct the World. They clearly know the consequences of misuse of Free Will by Humans. They are treating the problem at grassroots level and not by treating a Scar (Anti-War).

"Thus only far in the future just prior to mahapralaya when all souls have taken refuge at His Feet will complete peace reign."

Scriptures might say that but We are here as Human beings to Coexist in Peace.
People snubbed Ramana, Buddha and so many Masters because they wanted stick to their Habits.

Violent depiction of Gods in all religions creates Violence in Human minds. Some people voluntarily suffer in Cross, some people wage Wars in the name of God, Some Hindus resort to False practises like walking on Fire Bed, Piercing themselves with Trishul and Eating Human Flesh.
It's time to have a new & correct understanding towards God.
If you are happy with your Practices, Good For you.
I rest my Case.

Anonymous said...

Sri said: "In reality there's no demon, the demon is human mind which can go extremes like Hitler, Saddam."

Wrong. Demons (asura and rakshasa) are as real as any object in the material world. Sri Aurobindo accepted their existence (see Life Divine), as have Hindu seers going back to the beginning. The arrogant modern man denies the traditional wisdom at great risk.

Tejvan, thank you for the reference from Aurobindo in regard to pacifism. This is an important issue. When Tipu Sultan attacked northern Tamil Nadu, including Tiruvannamalai, the people rightly resisted with armed force. If Tipu Sultan's men came over the hill now, would a single one of the seekers attending their advaita seminars be willing to resist? Tamil Nadu is the home of the last surviving classical civilization in the world because it could not be conquered by the Mughal invaders.

sri said...

You resort to Selective Amnesia for Cannibalism, Corporal Mortification, and Questions asked about God's Manifestation Mechanism yet you generalize ppl with Strong words as Arrogant Mordern man for his different Facet.
This is called Religious Fanatism. They speak for the Whole world based on their knowledge from Scriptures. Something the Taliban is Mastering now!
And there's the Bhurka Factor. You want to hide behind the Anonymous Viel :) Integrity and Honesty goes for Sale! This is a Spiritual place Dear, not a Chat Forum. In the Bare Minimum it warrants Self-Discipline.
The world needs more Liberals like Gandhi and Theresa now with Proactive mind not reactive minds Obsessed with Scriptures.
People obssessed with Scriptures resisted Ramana, Saibaba and many great God men. Now they are revered as Great Saints.
Ramana Said "Present is the Only reality"
Humanity needs courage to Ignore the Past (Tippu Sultan, Robert Clive, Idi Amin) as by gone and Create a Fresh world Now.
I give up.
Peace to you.

Sujatha said...

It happened to Buddha and now it is happening to Ramana. When we have a diamond around the Corner, we often ignore it.
Ramana was Categorical that God cannot be found in Books. God can be only found by sadhana; practice. Luckily the other side of Globe has wakened up to the Truth, Many Spiritual Teachers in the West are Inspired by Ramana. West is now more curious about Realisation and Truth, East still throngs to Books. Not all but Many.
The Anonymous Person here sounds a Strong opinioned and his knowledge is based only on Books. He supports his Arguments with References from Ethihasas or Puranas. Just Remember For every Strong opinioned Hindu there will be a Fundamentalist Isalmic person. We have been living our lives by chance and not Choice ignoring Pure Truth.
Ramana often dissuaded such people who involve in Theological debates and asked them to involve in Practice either Enquiry or Surrender or meditations based on devotees Mental Strength.
To the Anonymous here, every country has its share of War Stories, if all Citizens of the world carry their Past in the Mind today there will be no Peace left.
United States after Spending Billions on War on Terror has realized the need to have a change in their Defense Strategy.
Your Examples of Tippu Sultan is really out of place in Spiritual Context.
Adwaita is not Mordern, it is as ancient as Jesus Christ. Dakshinamoorthy was a great exponent of adwaita said Ramana.
I agree with the other person who said God cannot be found in Books. That’s the Ramana way.
God has to be obtained in Practice and when a devotee regularly Meditates or Enquires, he can feel the Mind Subsiding in heart and experience Peace. From that Peace comes a Level of understanding about World, God and People which bookish knowledge Cannot Give.

Anonymous said...

Given the common rhetorical style (if one can call rambling, rhetoric) and fondness for non-standard capitalization, one might suspect the "sujatha" is a sock puppet (mouthpiece) of "sri".

Sri said: "You resort to Selective Amnesia for Cannibalism, Corporal Mortification, and Questions asked about God's Manifestation Mechanism.."

Huh? You are getting pretty far out there, Sri. Try some pranayama or take your meds.

"sujatha" has to drag in the U.S. for a bit of pummeling, so we can bet that his/her politics are to the left. Undoubtedly, he is no fan of the BJP and does not view the great Shivaji Bhosle as any hero.

Unfortunately, jihadis are not interested in atma vichara.
It is not the Hindus who are fomenting so much trouble around the world. So let us have more "strong opinioned Hindus" (sic).

Enough of this unpleasant realism from me.

Pranams to our hostess Meenakshi for her stellar service to Sri Arunachala in producing this informative and beautiful website.

sri said...

Again a Discordant reply to evade core issues sprinkled with Speculations about my Identity.
Look who is talking about Identity the one who remains Anon forever! Good Joke :)

"Enough of this unpleasant realism from me. "

Narcissism personified! Bye Bye.

Anonymous said...

Please explain how "Sri" is any less anonymous than "Anonymous'? Furthermore, I do not resort to using a "sock puppet" (a second alias) to provide fake support for myself.

Sri Nisargadatta, when asked about the use of force, said that the Self is not in every way non-violent.

Divine sacrifice goes on every moment of manifest existence. Some new arising worlds are extinguished so that the universal order and stability of Dharma in the world we inhabit is sustained. The universe(God/Self) has both a sweet side (like the Heart of Sri Bhagavan) and a rough and tough side (like Narasimha or Sri Kali). Anyone who claims that all is sweetness is deluded. My core point is that struggle and suffering have an unavoidable and even necessary place in the divine scheme.

Anonymous said...