Saturday, March 24, 2012

The student learns...

Walking in the footsteps of a great is a special joy reserved for few. And uncovering a path which has been previously explored by someone and was thus far hidden from you means that the joy reaches another level altogether. The serendipity of stumbling upon something which was left there precisely to help you can bring a smile to your face. The student always remembers what he learnt by doing or discovering something himself rather than learning by rote.

The Shiva Panchakshara Stotram took me a few weeks to memorise. The stotra praises Lord Shiva and each stanza ends bowing to the five letters (hence 'Panchakshara') that constitute Namah Shivaya.

It isn't that the meanings or the words are difficult to understand. What I was grappling with, however, was the order in which the stanzas were to be recited.

Till one morning, while I was reciting the said stotra during my morning prayers, it struck me like lightning: as a mnemonic clue, the first word of each of the stanzas begins with the letter in the order in which it appears in Namah Shivaya.

The thrill of excitement that I experienced with this discovery cannot be expressed. More than the fact that I will never get the order of the stanzas wrong, I was super kicked about the fact that I had discovered this clue on my own: no elder or website or book had alluded to this hidden fact.

For benefit of the readers, here is the text of the Shiva Panchakshara Stotram:

Nagendra Haaraaya Thrilochanaaya
Bhasmaanga Raagaaya Maheshvaraaya
Nityaaya Suddhaaya Digambaraaya
Tasmai Nakaaraaya Namah Shivaaya.

Mandaakini Salila Chandana Chaarthitaaya
Nandeesvara Pramatha Naatha Mahesvaraaya
Mandaara Pushpa Vahu Pushpa Supoojitaaya
Makaaraaya Namah Shivaaya

Shivaaya Gauri Vadana Aravinda
Sooryaaya Dakshaadhvara Naashakaaya
Sree Neelakantaaya Vrisha Dhvajaaya
Shikaaraaya Namah Shivaaya

Vasishta Kumbhodbhava Gautamaaya
Muneendra Devaarchita Sekharaaya
Chandraarka Vaishvaanara Lochanaaya
Vakaaraaya Namah Shivaaya

Yajna Swaroopaaya Jataadharaaya
Pinaaka Hasthaaya Sanaatanaaya
Divyaaya Devaaya Digambaraaya
Yakaraaya Namah Shivaaya.

Panchaaksharam Idam Punyam
Yah Pateh Shiva Sannidhau
Shivaloka Mavaapnothee
Shivena Saha Modate

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Super 8: The Play

A little late in the day, but these are memories from a wonderful Sunday afternoon spent with good folks a few weeks ago:

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Two masters and their books

Swami Vivekananda and Osho are two intellectual greats who I have always admired. Whilst in college, one of the earliest salaries from my job was spent on the 12 volumes of the collected works of Swami Vivekananda. To this day, they remain a source of inspiration and guidance whenever I feel lost.

Osho's works, on the other hand, are a source of great joy. The refreshingly different look at the world and the concepts that we have been fed from a "conventional" point of view always make me smile when I read his works. It is not only the sense of challenging the accepted truth but the very logical arguments that he presents to state his case which are a joy to read.

For those who would like to read more:

The complete works of Swami Vivekananda can be found here; and

Quite a few of Osho's ebooks are available here for free download.