Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Conclusion of the story: He who worships God with all his love, faith and devotion, gets all that he wants without asking.
Monday, March 24, 2008
After Pandava completed their exile of 12 years, they came to Duryodhan to get back their kingdom. Duryodhan refused to do so. So Krishna went to meet him on behalf of the Pandavas. Duryodhan welcomed him with pomp and show; the kingdom was decorated lavishly. However, when he invited Krishna for lunch, he (Krishna) refused. Taken aback and humiliated, Duryodhan asked him what was his reason for declining the invitation. Then Krishna told him that a person has a meal at somebody's house only because of two reasons:
- The host proffers the food with lot of love in which case one can eat anything, or
- The guest is dying with hunger in which case he can eat anywhere, anything and anyhow.
Further, he said that the former wasn't true in Duryodhan's case; and Krishna would never die of hunger so he doesn't have to bother about the latter. Thus Krishna could see no reason why he should accept Duryodhan's invitation. He (Krishna), instead went to the house of his true devotee - Vidoor - where he was not even invited. All the senior persons in Duryodhan's kingdom like Bheeshma, Dronacharya, etc. insisted him to come to their respective houses. However, Krishna would listen to none. He happily ate whatever was offered by Vidoor. There's a famous shloka in Mahabharat which is often quoted:
दुर्योधन की मेवा त्यागी, साग विदुर घर खायो
English translation: Krishna gave up the rich food at Duryodhan's to eat a humble meal at Vidoor's.Conclusion of the story: God doesn't care about how expensive your offerings are, all he cares about is how much love you've put in them.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The following stories exemplify this:
Some people worship a deity, follow the rules prescribed for a particular ritual for that deity, sing their hymns, etc. As a result of this worship, they gain that which was the purpose of their worship. Some people worship their ancestors (pitra), perform ceremonies in their honor and follow certain rituals for them; after death they go to their ancestors. Neither of the above is bad; if they're done with some expectation then they provide the fruit at the end and nullifies. However, if they're done without any desires then they facilitate one's way to God.
Worshipping of ghosts and dead bodies is however not good, because it's considered the dark world and results in evil, so one must not do it.
Those who worship God, without any desires, submit all their work to him, meditate about him and perform various devotion-related functions, go to the divine world of His. Hence they attain moksha - freedom from this world forever.
A beautiful analogy is given with respect to a mother and her infant. An infant knows only his mother, he doesn't know what he would need or what he needs to take care of; everything is done by his mother. She make sure that he gets what he needs and take cares of those things which are essential for him, as well as ensures that he gets them when he needs them.
Similarly, God provides for the worldly and spiritual needs of his such undying devotees and also shelters those objects which he deems would be required by them.
A mother doesn't depend on the wisdom of her infant, she does what would be good for the development of the infant। Likewise and more, for such devotees God does what is good for them and depending on that gets them what they need and protects them. This reminds of Kabir's doha:
बिन मांगे मोटी मिले, मांगे मिले न भीक।
Literal English translation: One who doesn't ask, gets the pearls; but one who asks, gets nothing.
Hence, one who has submitted himself to God, prays to him with all his love and devotion, thinks of no one and nothing but Him, for such devotees God takes over the burden of their life. Thus the devotee is freed from all troubles of this world and beyond.
The essence of this post is: if you have faith in God and worship him, nothing can go wrong in your life.
Monday, March 17, 2008
1.5 cups all purpose flour
0.5 tsp sugar
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tbsp yeast
1.5 tsp Italian seasoning (the original recipe called for oregano, thyme and basil but since I'd this seasoning I used it instead)
a pinch of black pepper
0.5 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp olive oil
0.5-0.75 cups water (you'll know as you knead)
0.5 cups Cheese (the original recipe asked for mozarella but since I'd cheddar I used that)
0.5 tsp chopped chillies (optional, any kind is fine we used serrano pepper. I think pickled jalapenos would also be nice)
- Mix all the above ingredients except olive oil, water, cheese and chillies.
- Knead the flour with water till smooth and elastic. Once the dough has pulled together, add water little by little till the dough becomes soft and smooth.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat it.
- Cover it with a damp cloth and keep in a warm place for 20-30 mins. I'd expected the dough to rise after this step, but it didn't or at least not perceptibly. So I kept it for another 15 mins or so in a warmer place (earlier it was in a switched-off oven), close to my burners where I was cooking. Even after that the dough didn't rise so I'm not sure if one should expect it to rise. However, since my bread came out nice and soft I don't think you need to worry whether it rose after this step or not.
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Punch down the dough and place on a greased baking tray. Pat it into a 0.5 inch rectangle.
- Brush with olive oil and sprinkle cheese and chillies over it.
- Bake for 15 mins. or until golden brown.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
He is the heavenly nectar, amrita. Just like by consuming amrita, man escapes death and becomes immortal; one who gets God, in other words attains moksha, escapes from the cycle of life and death. Hence forever elluding death.
For the smooth functioning of the nature, creation and destruction are two important tasks and both of these are performed by God. He is the one who timely annihilates different worlds. This also proves that one should consider death as destined by God; it happens only when he thinks it's time for somebody to leave this earth and he knows best.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
He is the giver of this world. He is responsible for the appropriate disposition of the fruits of labor of this world.
He is the object of knowledge. All the vedas contain knowledge on the essence of Him.
He is sacred. One who is pure and by who's influence others can become pure, is sacred. By worshipping Him, even a man can become sacred. All the devises in this world, be it prayer, meditation or anything else - they're all forms of Him and the power in all these devises to make one sacred is also God's power.
He is "Om".
He is the vedas. The vedas came into being because of God and they contain knowledge about God.
He is the supporter of this world. He is the one who takes care of everybody and nurtures them.
He is the master. He is the lord of all deities, master of all the worlds and the supreme power. All forces like sun, fire, wind, death, etc. are in control because of his fear.
He is the eye-witness. There's nothing which escapes his eyes. He sees the past, the present and the future. He sets the limit for omniscience.
He is the residence. Every being, at all moments, resides in God.
He is the shelter. There is none other who can mitigate the pain of the refugee like him.
He is the friend. He is everybody's well-wisher and loves all without expecting or wanting anything in return.
He is the origin and the annihilation of this world.
He is the repository. When the world annihilates, all beings live in some part of him.
He is the eternal seed. He is the genesis of all beings and their foundation.
Monday, March 3, 2008
The yagya performed for deities and ancestors is a form of Him. He is in the yagya as: plants, grains and herbs required to create the fire; vedic hymns chanted during the yagya; the ghee used to fuel the fire; the fire and the final invocation which ends the yagya. Hence, the materials, hymns, vessel and the human efforts that go into the performing of the yagya are all forms of God.
Everything is God. To those who don't understand the essence of God they appear to be in different forms, shapes and sizes; but in reality there is nothing but God in everything living or non-living.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
They worship God by: telling His story, narration of His influence, virtues, greatness, character, etc. in the presence of other devotees, chanting of his names - Ram, Krishna, Govind, Hari, Narayana, Vasudev, Keshav, Madhav, Shiva, etc. - and singing devotional songs, singing his praises in a loud or mellow voice, sitting or standing, with music and dance or without, reciting divine hymns and beautiful odes dedicated to Him or in any other way praising him.
Devotees pay their obeisance to God by bowing to Him with whole-hearted faith and devotion: at the temple, in front of the picture/idol of him at home, through his names, by touching his feet/sandals, in the form of religious scriptures which highlight the essence of God and relate stories that describe his love and influence, by thinking that God resides in every being.
On the other hand, thereis another kind of devotee who believe in the "brahma". They worship their form-less (niraakaar) God by: not neither taking pride in being the doer of any work nor expecting any fruit of the labor, condiering the world is ephimeral, believing that none is greater than the supreme "brahma" and continually practicing to stay in that state through meditation, etc.