Sri Gayathri Maha Mantra…

In June-July 2019, we went to India during summer vacation. With blessings from near and dear and support from immediate family, we were able to perform the upanayana of our son Vismai in the serene, spiritual place of Sringeri, where my mother, brother and family reside currently. The divine sannidhi of Sri Sharadamba, Sri Chandramouleshwara and the Guru parampara of Sringeri Shankara Mutt are close to heart of our family. My father never used to forego the opportunity to visit this place, and we used to accompany him when possible. I feel we were able to celebrate his life by performing the upanayana in the picturesque Sringeri.

Once we returned from India, I have tried to religiously follow the daily Sandhyavandana rituals, partly to also help my son Vismai to learn and make it a habit to continue chanting the Gayathri mantra. This gives us peace of mind and confidence to go about our daily activities. Looking back, I feel sad to notice I was not an obedient son, when my father suggested to do these daily rituals and nitya prarthana when I was young. As some other posts in this blog indicate, Manjaiah mestru was very punctual in daily prayers.

I also remember, my father had asked me to daily practice the recitation of Gayathri Maha Mantra, which is a very elaborate form of the Gayathri mantra we are all familiar with.

Om bhuh om bhuvah om suvah om mahah om janah 

Om tapah om satyam om tatsavitur varenyam 

bhargo devasya dheemahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat||

1.Tat 2.Sa 3.Vi 4.Tur 5.Va 6.Re 7.Ni 8.Yum

9.Bha 10.Rgo 11.De 12.Va 13.Sya 14.Dhee 15.Ma 16.Hi

17.Dhee 18.Yo 19.Yo 20.Nah 21.Pra 22.Cho 23.Da 24.Yat

I have seen the original printed document he showed me and used regularly from more than 50 years ago which contained the text. At this point I don’t have more information about the origins of this maha mantra. The maha mantra (again in Sanskrit) identifies the rishi who added the mantra, the adhi devata, the chandas (meter of the mantra), the phala (benefit of the mantra) etc etc.. as shown in the table below: – (please scroll left-right to view the complete table).

NoteKaaraRishiDevataChandasVarnaTatvaShaktiMudraKalaPhalaBeejaSvaraSvarupaSthaanaSiddhi
1.TatTatVasisthaAgniGayathriChampakaPrithviPrahladiniSumukhamTapaniMokshadamAamUdattaTrimurthy atmakaPadaa angusthaAgnanadosa hara
2.SaTsaBharadvajaVaayuUshnikAsitaAapPrabhaSamputamSakalaArogyadamEemAnudaattaVayvatmakaGulma madhyamUpapataka harana
3.ViViGauthamaSomaAnushtupVidrumaTejaSathyaVitatamVishvaaAishvaryadamOomAnudaattaSomatmakaJanghaMahapataka harana
4.TurTuBhruguEeshanaBrihateeSpatikaVayuVishva bhadraVistrutamTushtaDhanadamJOmUdaattaVidyadharatmakaJaanuDusthagraha Doshaharana
5.VaRvaKaundinyaAdityaPankthiPadmaAkashaVilasiniDvimukhamVaradaKamadamNyamUdattaSomatmakaOoruBhroona hatya dosha vinasha
6.ReReLohitaBrihaspatiTrishtupTarunadityaGandhaPrabhavatiTrimukhamRevatiVidyadamImUdattaTaruna atmakamGuhyamAgamyagamana doshanashana
7.NiNiGargaPitaroJagathiShankaRasaaJayaChatur mukhamSookshmaKamadamAumSvaritahBrihaspati atmakaVrishanaAbhakshya bhakshana doshavinasha
8.YamYamShatatapaBhargoAtijagatiKundaRoopaaShantaaPancha mukhamJnanaDhanadamSamPrayachaChandra atmakakatiBrahmahatya doshavinasha
9.BhaBhaSanat kumaraAaryamaPada panktiInduSparshaKaliShan mukhamBhargaSantatiHamUdattaParjanya atmakaNabhiPurushahatya doshavinasha
10.RgoRgoKashyapaSavitaVishtara panktiPravalaShabdaDurgaAdho mukhamGomathiAbhistidamLamSvaritahIndra atmakamUdaramGohatya krita papavinasha
11.DeDeAtriTvasthaVirataPadmaUpasthaSarasvathiVyapika anjalikaDarvikaIstha kanyadamKshamAnudaattaGandharva atmakaStanamStree hatya krita paapa vinasha
12.VaVaBhargavaPushtiAkshara panktiPadmaragaVayuVidrumaShakatamVaraShantiKamUdaattaPusha atmakaHridayamGuru hatya krita paapa vinasha
13.SyaSyaParasharaIndraKatyayiniVajraPaadaaVishalaYama paashamSiddhantaChintita siddhidamKhamSvaritahMitra atmakaKanthamManokrita paapa vinashane
14.DheeDheePundarikaVayuJotishmatiChandraPaniEeshaniGrathithamDhyanaKeerthi dayakamGamAnudaattaTvashtra atmakamVadanamPitru maatru vadha krita paapa vinasha
15.MaMaKrathuVamadevaTrishtupMauktikaVaakVyapaniSanmukha unmukhaMaryada SaubhagyadamGhamAnudattaVasuva atmakaTala madhyamPurva janma arjita papa vinasha
16.HiHiDaksha prajapatiMitra varunaJagarithamKumkumaPraanaVimalaPralambhamSpataAphisthida siddhidamNgamAnudaattaMaruda atmakaNasa agramAshesha paapa vinasha
17.DheeDheeAngirasaDhidhataJagatiAnjanaJihvaTama upahariniMushtikamBuddhiTrailokya mohakaramChamUdattaSoma atmakaNetramPrani vadha krita papa vinashana
18.YoYoKartikeyaVishva devarSamyuGangaChakshuSookshmaMatsyaYogamaataParashraya ghanatCHamSvaritahYamatmakaBhroo madhyamPratigraha paapa vinasha
19.YoYoMudgalaVishnuMahahVaidhooryaTvakVishva yoniKoormaYogantaraDeva prati graha doshanatJamUdattaVishve deva atmakamLalatamSarva paapa vinashan
20.NahNaUshanaVasavoBhooKshadraShotraJayavahVarahakamPrithviTaillokadamJHamAnudaattaAshvini atmakaPaschima mukhamEeshvara pada praptyarthe viniyoga
21.PraPraRomashaSarva daivatvamBhavahHaridraManaPadma alyaSimha krantaPrabhavaParanugraha shaktidamIiimAnudattaPrajapati atmakaUttaraVishnu pada sidhyarthe
22.ChoChoMrigaKuberaSuvahDughdaBuddhiPadma shobhaMahakrantamVritmaTejasa atishayadamTamAnudattaSarva devatmakaDakshinaRudra pada praptyarthe
23.DaDaAgasthyaAshviniBhorbhuvahSuryaChittaPadma roopaMudgaramNidhyamanaSvargadamTHamUdattaRudra atmakaPurva mukhambrahmapada
24.YaatYaatVishvamitraBrahmaGayatriChampakaAhankara vyaptiBraahmiPallavaNiranjanaSvargalokaVam Jam Sam HamUdattaBrahma atmakaOordhvaBrahma Vishnu Rudra

To illustrate the table’s use, a few examples of the mantra stubs are in order.

1.Tat kaarasya Vashishta rishih Agni devata Gayathri chandah champaka varnam prithvi tatvam prahladini shaktih sumukham mudra tapani kala mokshadam phalam aam beejam udaatta svaram trimurthyatmaka svarupam paadangushta sthaanam agnaana doshahara siddhir viniyogah||

23.Da kaarasya Agasthya rishih Ashvini devata Bhurbhuvah chandah Surya varnam chitta tatvam padmaroopa shaktih mudgaram mudra nidhyamana kala svargadam phalam tham beejam udatta svaram rudratmaka svarupam purvatmaka sthaanam brahmapada siddhir viniyogah||

24.Yaat kaarasya Vishvamitra rishih Brahma devata Gayathri chandah Champaka varnam Akankara vyapthi tatvam Braahmi shaktih pallava mudra niranjana kala svargalokadam phalam Vam Jam Sam Ham beejam udatta svaram brahmaatmaka svarupam oordhva sthaanam brahmavishnu rudra pada siddhir viniyogah||

We belong to Agasthya gotra. A lot of you already know the various instances in our puranas where Sage Agasthya was mentioned. I was curious to know more about the relevance of Sage Agasthya with regard to Gayathri maha mantra. The above segment must have given enough indication to all about the contribution this great rishi in this regard.

During last year’s visit, we had an opportunity to visit Kalasa, Horanaadu, Dharmasthala, Udipi and Kolluru along with the relaxing vacation in Sringeri. When we breezed through the parikrama of Sri Kalasheswara temple in Kalasa, we came across a large sequence of paintings depicting Sage Agasthya’s involvement in purana incidents. I hope to learn more about all the rishis associated with Gayathri mahamantra and document them in coming years.

I would like to end this post, with pranams to my dear father, who passed away 10 years ago, on this day according to hindu panchanga. Every passing year, we miss his guidance, in all aspects of our life. His memories continue to guide us in our day to day life.

I also hope this post provides solace to all in these trying times when the world is reeling from the pandemic and other natural – man made disasters. You all take care and stay safe…

Maasti – Kannadada aasti

Maasti Venkatesha Iyengar has been part of our life and times by his immense contribution to the literary field. Though I cannot talk about his life and work as an authority, I have been fortunate enough to read some of his works. The best part of his story-telling is the simplicity. Nevertheless, as you can see, his influence on me has been on a daily basis. I am quite happy to share something relevant to him in my life. I have been thinking of writing this entry For the past few weeks, culminating in his birthday on june 6 th. Coincidentally, my mother, back in india was trying to remember something related to my father.

I have already written about my father, Manjaiah Mestru previously. His immense influence in my upbringing has helped me till date. On March 24th 2010, two days before his passing away, my brother Dr Nagesh informed about taking him to hospital in a couple of hours, as his condition was not good. I didn’t realize the gravity of the situation, and didn’t even talk to him at that time. I didn’t realize then, that I will never be able to talk to him again. For most part of the last four decades, I have seen appa doing his morning rituals, and prayers. Unless there is an urgent work to be done early in the morning, he used to put some time to do sandhya-vandanam and prarthana before getting on wth his work. Always, his prayers used to end with the following lines…

ಯಾವ ರೂಪದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿನ್ನನು ಪೂಜಿಸಿದರೇನು ಯಾವ ನಾಮದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿನ್ನನು ಕರೆದರೇನು!

ಚೆನ್ನ ಕೇಶವ ನೀನು ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸನು ನೀನು ಸನ್ನುತ ಪಿತಾಮಹ ಮಹೇಶ್ವರನು ನೀನು

ಪೊನ್ನ ಬೆಟ್ಟದ  ಮೇಲೆ ವಿಹರಿಸುವರೆಂದೆನುವ ಮುನ್ನೂರು ಮೂವತ್ತು ಕೋಟಿ ದೇವರು ನೀನು!

ಯಾವ ರೂಪದಲಿ ನಿನ್ನನು ಪೂಜಿಸಿದರೇನು……

ದೇಶಾಂತರಂಗ ದೊಳು ನೂರಾರು ಕಾಲದೊಳು ಸಾವಿರಾರು ಹೆಸರನಿಟ್ಟು ಕರೆದು

ದೇಶ ದೇಶದ ಜನರು ಗೈದ ಪೂಜೆಗಳು ಜಗದೀಶ ನಿನ್ನಡಿಗಳನ್ನೂ ಸೇರಿದವಲೇ!

ಯಾವ ರೂಪದಲಿ ನಿನ್ನನು ಪೂಜಿಸಿದರೇನು……

ಜೀವ ಕೋಟಿಗಳ ಮನದ ಆಸೆಗಳನನುಸರಿಸಿ ಭಾವ ಭೇದಕ್ಕೆ ತಕ್ಕ ರೂಪಗಳ ತಳೆದು

ಸಾವಿರಾರು ನಾಮಗಳ ಪೊತ್ತು ಎಲ್ಲರನು ಸಲಹುವವನು ಓರ್ವ ನೀನೆ!!

ಯಾವ ರೂಪದಲಿ ನಿನ್ನನು ಪೂಜಿಸಿದರೇನು……

When I was young, I didnt know much about the author of this poem, which my father was able to use for his prayers. Also, the idea that god has different manifestations but is one and the same has been presented beautifully in this poem. It was attractive to me, because  ‘Jagadeesha’, my elder brother’s name was also mentioned here. Later, when I heard this song being rendered by Shri H.K.Narayana, noted kannada singer, I came to know that this was written by Maasti, using ‘sreenivasa’ as his pen-name.

I apologise for the spelling errors while typing the kannada lyrics using Kannada keyboard. Thanks to the kannada editor on app store, iKannada, by our close friend, Prathibha, life is far more simpler now..

As long as my father was alive, and as long as I was in place when he was doing prayers, I definitely used to hear him sing this song. It is a great loss for me, personally that I never got to record his voice, though. Now, when I try to search for this song online, i don’t see the lyrics or any audio/video.

Now, when I am in Mysore for four weeks, I got an opportunity to complete this blog entry. Hope you will enjoy, though the script in kannada may be alien for many.

MacBookPro..Safari..and my blog

The last blog entry I wrote was more than a year ago. There I mentioned about some links which provided me with insight into how to write blogs using ubuntu OS and kannada unicode fonts.

Now, after almost one year of equipping myself with a Macbook Pro, courtesy my wife’s gift, I tried to view my blog. For some reason, the page fails to load up on safari browser. I also noticed that the RAM available as free memory(using FreeMemory app) during load of this page drops drastically to 8mb(from a normal 2.5+ GB). I am able to view the same page in other browsers.

After further search on Apple forums, the issue seems to be deep-rooted without a solution so far. As suggested in the forum, I installed Mozilla firefox on my MacBookPro, and am able to see the same browser page with little effort!! So, this entry is an adhoc post to check if my blog loads up properly in Safari browser on my laptop. Further, I have tried to add new categories to my blog and classify my previous posts to belong to those categories. As is normal with my blog entries, I have to mention that I got support from a couple of web-sites and forums on using Kannada in Macbook pro and Mac OS environment in general. My next goal is to write a full kannada page using these pointers. Till then, take care!

ಕಳೆದ ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷ..

ನಮ್ಮ ಪ್ರೀತಿಯ ಅಪ್ಪ, ಮಂಜಯ್ಯ ಮೇಷ್ಟ್ರು ನಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಅಗಲಿ ಇಂದಿಗೆ ೧ ವರ್ಷ ಕಳೆಯುತ್ತದೆ. ತಿಥಿ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಹದಿನೈದು ದಿನಗಳು (ಚೈತ್ರ ಶುದ್ಧ ಏಕಾದಶಿ). ಕಳೆದ ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷ ನನ್ನಿಂದ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಬರೆಯಲು ಆಗಿಲ್ಲ. ಆಸ್ಟಿನ್ ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಂಘದ ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಂಚಿಕೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಎರಡು ಬರಹಗಳನ್ನು ಬರೆಯಲು ಮಾತ್ರ ಸಾಧ್ಯ ಆಗಿದೆ.

ಈ ಬೆಳಿಗ್ಗೆ ಸಂಘದ ೨೦೧೧ ಯುಗಾದಿ ಸಂಚಿಕೆಗೆ ಒಂದು ಬರಹ ಬರೆಯಲು ಹೊರಟಾಗ, ಮನೆಯ ಕ್ಂಪ್ಯೂಟರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಉಬುಂಟು (ubuntu) ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವ   ನೆನಪಾಯಿತು. ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆಯುವ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ತಡಕಾಡುವಾಗ ಪ್ರಸಾದ್ ಶೆಟ್ಟಿ ಅವರ ಈ ಬರಹ ಸಹಾಯಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂತು. ಅದನ್ನೇ ಹಿಂಬಾಲಿಸಿ kn-itrans ಅನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕೂಡ ಬಳಸಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ‘ಪರಿಸರ’ಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಕಳೆದ ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷದಲ್ಲಿ ಏನನ್ನು ಸಾಧಿಸಲಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂಬ ಬೇಸರ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪವಾದರು ಕಡಿಮೆಯಾಯ್ತು.

ಮೊದಲು ಕನ್ನಡಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಬೇರೆ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಬರೆಯುವ ಯೋಚನೆ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದೆ. ಅದರ ಬದಲು, ಈಗ ಇದೇ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಭಾಗಗಳನ್ನು ಮಾಡಬಹುದು ಎಂಬ ಯೋಚನೆ ಬಂದಿದೆ. ಬರುವ ದಿನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ, ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನ ಉತ್ಸಾಹದಿಂದ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡುತ್ತೇನೆ ಎಂಬ ಭರವಸೆ ಇದೆ.

ಕಾದು ನೋಡುವಾ.

Manjaiah Mestru

About eight months after my blog entry,  covering the happy part of our family reunion in July – Aug 2009 for Sahasrachandra Darshana Shanti for our beloved ‘anna’ Manjaiah Mestru, I am writing to inform about his passing away in mysooru on 03/26/2010 in the early morning hours.

For all of us it is a sad day, an irreparable loss and i don’t really have words to describe his support, guidance and protection to me in times good and bad. I pray to god almighty to give us all the courage to go through this difficult phase.

Madikeri 2009

It gives me immense pleasure to share a photograph or two from our recent visit to India.We had been to a day trip to places to the west of Mysore, including  Bylakuppe tibetan settlement, Abbey falls, Raja seat and outside view of Omkareshwara Temple in Madikeri.

bylakuppe Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe looks to me to be a self sufficient unit. I am not sure how the people inside the settlement interact with the kannadiga/kodava community outside. As a visitor, I was not able to see a single board in english or kannada inside the community. The minimum communication we had with some people there, was either hindi or english. When the settlement was first visualized, may be it was not thought of as running for generations to come. Unfortunately, India seems to be at odds with each of the neighbouring countries, and the oddity seems to get stronger.

Madikeri is a nice small city, with plenty of nature around. Abbey falls With rains falling most of the year, the roads are rugged, and only all terrain vehicles that suit the roads could be helpful. We could not take our mini bus to the visitor’s area in Abbey falls, and had to hire a jeep to take us down. I joined the party as a pillion rider in a bike; the maintenance officer explained the reason for not allowing the bigger vehicles.

Raja seat is located in a small park, which also hosts a children’s train for kid’s entertainment. We all enjoyed with kids in this train. The day went so fast, I personally was thrilled and rejuvenated with the visit to these places.

Today is the Blog Action Day to call on U.S. to act on climate changes. I believe, to keep our climate clean is a duty for all of us, and not just U.S. President Obama gets Nobel Peace Prize for showing the ‘hope for change’. We have seen plenty of comments for and against the award. I see it as a consolation for the loss of Chicago olympics bid. But, it is in Obama’s hands to try and justify whether he really deserves the award through his actions. Hope he will get a peace prize again a few years later for his positive actions!

Austin Marathon Relay 2009

Last weekend, I participated in the relay marathon held at Austin, thanks to my place of work, Sourcepulse. Needless to say it was my first attempt at running long distance; obviously, my part was just a small one considering there were around 2500 runners in all. I ran the 4th leg for our team Sourcepulse6, about 5km. It was hot, and the activity level in relay itself was waning when I started my leg at about 11:15 am. I took around 50 minutes to complete my jog-walk. Most of the people who started after me, and completed the leg, overtook me by the first mile. In spite of all these, I completed my task and my name appears in the result list here . By the way, six teams from Sourcepulse took part in the relay. Some of my colleagues are regular in marathons, and they have full length marathon to their credit. This day also, few of them ran more than one leg, due to absence of some of the team members. backFromRelay

You must have read my previous entries about healthy body –  happy mind here.  I was not all that active for a few weeks, after coming back from India,  till the weekend of the marathon. My intention in trying to keep up good spirits both physically and mentally is just to keep me occupied and healthy. I would probably have tried to do a 10k sometime next year, if all went well. But, last weeks event prematurely pushed me into the thick of things.

I  jogged close to 3 miles the previous day, to check if I am ready for the full distance on the D-day. But, that was at around 8am, and weather was very  pleasant. On the contrary, on Sunday, when my leg started, it was 11:15ish, and it was hot for the season.  I mentioned close to 3 miles, based on what shows on my car’s speedometer, because google maps are not yet updated for Speidel Dr, though the road is complete end-to-end and extensively used for more than a year now. The other day, I found out that the road runs upto 2.4 miles; a round trip on this road would be close to 5 miles (8km).

Looking back, the whole experience of running up and down the 1st Street bridge,  along Caeser Chavez close to water, and volunteers trying to cheer you up by providing water not caring for what stage, leg and place you are in the marathon made a memorable day for me. When I was in 6th class at Shishu Vihar, Lakshmipuram, Mysore in the school competition for 50 m sprint, I think I finished last in our group. That was the last outdoor competition I was involved in. By choosing not to try another time to be actively involved in outdoor activities, I sure must have missed a whole world out there. Later, after coming to USA and being part of TIERS family in Austin, I tried to be physically active, by taking part in tennis, cricket etc. I was brave enough to  skydive once during this period. An unexpected knee problem forced me out of all these activities a couple of years later. The last few months have kept me in good physical spirits, again.

VismaiIsReadyWhen I mentioned the relay to my buddies in facebook, they were proud of my activities at this age. I have tried, for the nth time in my life, to be fit physically. It may be akin to a person trying to get out of his bad habits. Difference is that I am trying to get into good habits every now and then, but my body doesn’t like the fun. God willing, and Vismai liking the fun, I would help make him more active, talkative, sportive, appreciative etc etc etc.

Manjaiah family reunion!

In the last two months when I didn’t blog, plenty of water h as flown through Kaveri near Mysore and much less in Colorado in Austin. We were happy to be out of Austin for one month of record summer. We were blessed with plenty of rain, pleasant weather and happiness in India, while Austin was going through one of the worst summers in recent years. Even then, we are very happy to be back where we belong for now.

We traveled from Austin to Mysore via Washington DC – Frankfurt – Bangalore; for me it was the first time on Luftansa. We didn’t have any issues while going and coming back. I feel the economy class passengers go through a lot of hardship with limited leg room, complaining co-passengers etc, especially if you are travelling with kids; this time around, we managed to keep Vismai in a reasonably good mood when he was awake. The airport in Bangalore is pretty good and user friendly now. Previously, we used to have issues in customs; this time the procedure is streamlined, and people are around to help, charging on a per cart basis! I haven’t seen this service on any international airports visited so far. Believe it or not, we didn’t visit Bangalore city, except for going into and out of the airport. The last time we went into Bangalore, to meet friends and relatives was in September 2004. I hope to see the city next time around, at least to show the city to Vismai.

Once in Mysore, we had fun time all through the next four weeks. For the first time in over six years, the whole Manjaiah family was together. The last time was during my wedding in Dec 2002. Obviously, Vismai was not there then. My eldest brother Jagadeesha, Sujatha, Vijay and Rashmi were in Mysore by the time we reached there. For all of them, this was the first time physically meeting Vismai. For Nagesha, Asha, Manuj and my parents, it was the second time around.

Manjaiah Family

Manjaiah Family

In Pflugerville, we live in a single floor independent house; Vismai gets to playon the staircase when we visit our friends, as all friends have steps to go to the second floor. In mysore, Vismai enjoyed a lot, going up and down the staircase for most of the days in Hebbal.

We visited  mysore zoo. Vismai and Rashmi had fun identifying the various animals; from what I had seen last, the zoo shows lots of improvement, with battery operated vans to help mobility. Personally, I like to walk around; i thought of going back another day leisurely, but that didnt happen this time. We were able to see the peacock dance, cheetah, tiger, lion, Ostrich etc etc.

Giraffe

Giraffe

We had planned to perform choula- ayushya homa for Vismai and SahasrachandraDarshana shanti for our father Mr Manjaiah, on the occasion of his 84th birthday. SahasrachandraDarshana is performed on a person who has seen 1000 full moons in his lifetime.  As a part of the celebration, we had to perform different homas including Pavamaana homa, Mrutyunjaya homa etc. That evening was memorable and meaningful for all of us. The next morning, on the day of Choula (sunday, 2nd August 09), we were fortunate to meet many close friends and relatives after a long gap. The function was well organised, and despite intermittent rain, went well with most of the invitiees coming.

The series of functions concluded with the Upanayana for Vinay, Archana’s brother on August 12th 2009. We came back to Austin on 18th Aug 2009, with everlasting memories of the vacation.

Mind .. Body.. revisited

Last week you must have read about me trying to my physical and mental health by controlling my activities. So far nothing has happened to derail my commitment. That’s one good news; but i know my capacities and limitations. I have previously on occasions initiated some changes and sustained them for long durations. I have lived on strict no spice no oil no beverages diet for more than a year when the situation demanded. I used to do yoga every day for years together. I just didn’t know I can sustain strong will power some twenty years later.

Yesterday, we went to Austin Hindu Temple, for the second time this week. We were there to attend the talk about scientific relevance of going to Hindu temple by Dr N Gopalakrishnan, hon. director of Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage. The talk was interesting, meaningful, and educative. He mentioned tips on how to keep ourselves clean before/after going into temple, and their effect on our behavior. As Dr Gopalakrishnan rightly noted at the beginning, he has a content enough to talk for long about the topic, but the content was condensed to suit 45 minutes.  I may as well blog about this topic at a later time! Thanks to Krishna Govindan and family for organizing this event.

This morning, for the first time in 9 years in US, I ventured into a golf course while brisk-walking. Generally, environmentalists scoff about golf courses, as one of the reasons for bad things happening in our environment/ecology. My sympathy continues to be on their side irrespective of my visit today. But, I was able to see the beautiful landscaping, varieties in vegetation and creativity shown in developing the backyard of houses; very impressive! I don’t know if people maintain the backyard like that because of the golf course or the other way round. By the way, at that time in the morning, i had good company of the birds and bunny rabbits all around; so far I haven’t seen deer in our neighborhood.

My curfew with internet continues to impress me. Now, I think I am using 30 minutes a day on average. Meanwhile, I reduced coffee consumption by 50% a day. I don’t know how much time Barack Obama had to spend to start bringing ‘change’ in American lives; I hope my changes affect me and me only!! If the effect is positive, I don’t mind if it permeates around my parisara.

Healthy body Happy mind!

In a previous post, I had talked at length about my confused political identity. I had promised to get back to the topic after the election results from India. Fortunately for the rIeader, the results didn’t provide me the kind of recipe to talk about. Status quo is maintained in line with the current election results from Iran. But, world responded to the two results in two different ways, as it alway does. For now, though, I have taken the stand of neutrality on things happening around!

I have been a ‘heavy’ user of computer, internet and for that matter, ‘google’ in the past so many years. Beginning last friday, for whatever reason, my usage status turned to ‘light’. In the past eight days, my computer usage has been strictly ‘official’ in office, as it should be. At home, I have reduced it to ‘passing’ usage; i.e. for gathering information, I used internet for about 60 minutes in all. I have used ‘google’ may be 10 times in all in the past week. Of course, I have used my laptop for about two hours in all, to install ‘ubuntu’, and to write this blog entry. My primary source of information has been ‘NPR’ while driving and TV while at home. Also, don’t forget that we use ‘VOIP’ for our phone connection. Even though I brag about my limited use of internet, it is partially true for this reason. Statistics apart, my intentional usage of internet has come down by 90%. Is it not amazing?

Last week, our friend Vijai Natarajan visited from Hartford, CT. We had met hime about six months ago, may be on the new year eve. On that friday evening, when we saw him, the change in his physique was really visible. He spoke at length to me, Archana and Madhu Iyengar about how this transformation happened. He was eager to show us on how to do some of the things by taking us to the gym. His single-minded devotion to the task at hand is well known in our friend’s circle. I have not seen the e-material provided by him so far due to the above self imposed ‘curfew’. Eventually I will read the relevant details, and I may never be able to follow his methodology. I have  devised a simpler approach, which may not really give me the physique, but will probably keep my body healthier in the long run!

Starting this tuesday, I am doing a bit of jogging, walking every day between 6-7 am. I want to surprise myself and my body on the agenda, so there are no set rules. As a result, I slept till 7:30 on wednesday!!! To compensate for the lapse, we went to the swimming pool in the evening. Vismai enjoyed the water after a year’s break. I felt I was swimming better than ever. This eventful week has made personally happier and healthier. Hope I would have the inner strength to sustain this, till the summer ends. I am skeptical,  because we are visiting India next month!!