MY FAVORITE PRAYER SONG

Annapurney,Sadaapurney,Shankara Praana vallabhey

Jnana Vairaagya Siddhyartham,Bhikshaam deyhi cha Paarvati.

 

MY FAVORITE PRAYER SONG :

Lord Krishna - My Favorite Prayer Song
Kasturi tilakam la laata palake, vakshasthale Kaustubham; Nasaagre nava mouktikam, Karatale Venum, Kare kankanam; Sarvaagre harichandanam cha kalayam, kanthe cha muktaavali; Gopastree pariveshtitho vijayate Gopaala Choodamanee.

Several years ago,my father sent me a prayer book,”PRAADHNAA TARANGINI”.The book originally belonged to my mother and she signed her name on the first page and dated the copy on 1-2-89.Apparently,she liked some prayers more than others and she check marked her favorite selections in the prayer book.I liked her choice of ” BRUUHI MUKUNDEYTI ” and Smt.M.S.Subbulakshmi in her melodious voice sang this song and the recording is available on cassette tape.

Bruuhi Mukundeyti,Hey rasaney,Paahi Mukundeyti

Akrura Priya Chakradhareyti

Hamsa Niranjana Kamsahareyti .

 

Radhaa Ramana Harey Raameyti

Rajeevaksha Ghana Shayaameti

 Kesava Madhava Govindeyti

Krishnaa ananta Sadaanamdeyti .

 Achyuta Krishna Harey Raameyti

Hari Naraayana Tirtha vareyti.

Bruuhi Mukundeyti,rasane Bruuhi Mukundeyti.

SRI KRISHNA – THE SWEET NAME :

Lord Krishna and His Sweet Names.
LORD MADHAVA, the Consort of MADHAVI( which also means Sweet, Honey, Sugar, and Sweet Wine) bestows KRUPA and it imparts the taste of Sweetness known as MADHURYA.

The name Sri Krishna is received by the ears of the listener with a sense of sweetness which is described as sweet as the heavenly nectar ” AMRUT “.Prahlada, a great devotee of Lord Vishnu has described nine ways to worship Vishnu.The acts of  SMARANAM( Recalling from memory ) ,  KIRTANAM ( Singing ), and  SRAVANAM ( Listening )  could be combined into a single act of worship by simply repeating the various sweet names with which Lord  Krishna is known.The best thing about this prayer is that one need not ask for any grant of wishes and need not express the desires of your heart.Kuchela who had traveled to Dwaaraka to meet with Krishna and seek His favors,had actually forgotten to mention the purpose of his visit and was feeling sorry on his way back home for he thought that he had missed a great opportunity to speak his mind to Krishna.Kuchela,when he eventually got back home,he was in for a big surprise.Krishna knew his problems and granted his wishes and much more even without hearing a word about it.The sweetness of the name makes it easier to carry on the burdens of life and comforts you during your journey.The sweet name cheers up your heart, brightens your mood, sooths your aching joints,and gives hope when there is nothing else you can do.Let that sweet name fulfill your unexpressed,unstated and unspoken desires of your heart.

Favorite Prayer of my uncle Sri.R.K.RAO:

 LORD HANUMAN - My Favorite Prayer Song.
Manojavam, Maaruta tulya vegam; Jitendriyam, Buddhimataam varishtam; Vaatatmajam, Vaanara Yuudha Mukhyam, Sri Raama duutam Saranam prapdhey.

ANJANI GARBHA SAMBHUTA,

KAPEENDRA SACHOTTAMA,

RAMA PRIYA NAMASTYUBHYAM,

HANUMAN SARVADARAKSHAHA.

Favorite Prayer of my brother Prof.R.SUBBARAO:

Asya Sri Lalitha Sahasranama Stothra Mahamanthrasya

Vashinyadhi Vag Devatha Rishaya

Anushtub Chandaha

SriLalitha Parameswari Devatha

SriMath Vagh Bhava Kootethi Bheejam

Madhya Kootethi Shakthihi

Shakthy Kootethi Keelakam

Moola prakruthihi Ithi Dhyanam.

Favorite Prayers of my pilot Uncle Capt.R.R.RAO :

Lord Ganesha - My Favorite Prayer Song
Sri Vakra tunda Mahaa kaaya, Koti Surya samaprabha; Nirvighnam kuru me Deva, Subha karyeshu Sarvadaa.

My Prayer in the morning:

Eka Dantam Maha Kayam, Tapta Kanchana Sannibham

Lambodaram Visalaksham, Vandeham Gana Nayakam.

Om Nama Savatre(six times)

Guna Suryam Adityam(eight times)

Vishnu Shakti Samutpanne, Shanka varna Maheetale,

Aneka Ratna Sambhuute, Bhumee Devi Namostutey.

Before going to bed at night:

Lord Rama - My Favorite Prayer Song
Jayatu, Jayatu Mantram, Janma saaphalya Mantram; Janana marana chheda klesha vichheda Mantram; Sakala nigama Mantram, Sarva Saastraika Mantram; Raghupati nija Mantram, Raama Raameti Mantram.

Sri Raama, Raama, Raameti, Rame Raame Mano Rame,

Sahsra Naama tha stulyam  Raama Naama, Varaa na ney.

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – THE ANN ARBOR NEWS

MY INDIAN PERSPECTIVE ON CURRENT EVENTS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS

Sunday, June 15, 2008

If China dominates oil, it will dominate region

As the gas prices across the nation hit record high levels, I am not concerned about the United States’ dependence upon oil from the Middle East.

If the United States is not willing to buy its oil from the Middle East, China is in a position to gobble it up. The position of the United States as a global superpower is dependent upon its level of oil consumption. If and when China steps in to dominate the oil market, it would proportionately increase its military supremacy and we would witness the Chinese war ships patrolling the Persian Gulf.

The United States may forego its need for oil from the Middle East, but could it step back from its role to provide peace and stability in that region ?

R. Rudra Narasimham, Ann Arbor

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

McCain’s pragmatic approach preferable

It has been claimed that what is good for America is good for the rest of the world. America’s total spending for the Iraq war is about $617 billion. Does this military spending boost the national economy and create jobs? The verdict is that the military spending is draining resources from the productive economy. It has a detrimental impact on many sectors of the economy. It has resulted in slow economic growth, less investment, higher trade deficits and fewer jobs. The American economy has slowed down. The federal deficit spending has weakened the U.S. dollar in the global currency market.

Meantime, the national debt is expanding at about $1.4 billion a day. Currently, the national debt stands at about $9.4 trillion. In the fiscal year 2006, the U.S. government spent$406 billion on interest payments to the holders of the national debt. The national debt is projected to grow beyond $10 trillion by January 2009 when the new president takes office.

In spite of this bleak economic forecast, American national security will remain hostage to events on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no easy way out. I would prefer to endorse the pragmatic approach of Sen. John McCain and that the U.S. troops can not really come home as being promised by his Democratic rivals.

Wednesday, February27, 2008

Celebrities’ boycott of China deserves support

I am filled with optimism when I heard the news about the boycott of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing by film director Steven Spielberg and actress Mia Farrow. I am hopeful that movements like the “Global Action Plan Day” would one day liberate the Tibetan people and people across the globe can work together to end the illegal occupation of Tibet and restore their rights for freedom and preserve their cultural identity.

R. Rudra Narasimham, Ann Arbor

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wage workers’ plight deserves attention

While The Ann Arbor News remains focused on the importance of hiring a new football coach, no one has the time to pay attention to the minimalistic existence of countless numbers of hourly wage workers who toil in your neighborhood friendly grocery stores/supermarkets and at the numerous strip malls that have sprung up in this city. These workers are unorganized, their wages are stagnant and their work-related benefits are getting gradually eliminated season after season. As the workers have no protection, they swallow unfair treatment which, if not rampant, is a fact of life.

R. Rudra Narasimham, Ann Arbor

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cartoon of beheaded Buddha reprehensible

The editorial cartoon picture of a decapitated Buddha that was published in The Ann Arbor News on Oct 3 is plainly disgusting and is clearly an insult. It serves no purpose other than to hurt the feelings of people who respect Lord Gautama Buddha. Having worked for the Central Intelligence Agency’s “Campaign for Tibet” for more than four years in the past, I have come to the following conclusions.

1. America’s support for democracy and human rights is good when and where it serves its selfish interests.

2. America does not care to give a hoot to Buddha.

R.Rudra Narasimham, Ann Arbor

Friday,July 27, 2007

Encourage immigrants to become taxpayers

I would like to commend Jean Miller for her July 23 Other Voices essay asking that each and every immigrant should be treated with dignity.There is also a valid and genuine concern expressed by others who claim that some of the undocumented immigrants may avail services without paying for them and become a burden upon the society.

I would suggest that every person arriving in the country should be encouraged and be given the opportunity to pay federal,state and local taxes on every penny they earn,even without showing any proof of legal immigrant status.The government has an obligation to protect the borders as best as is feasible and it will be easier to identify taxpaying aliens.Individuals who earn enough credits to derive benefits such as Social Security and Medicare should be given a preferential treatment to adjust their status,provided they maintain a clean, crime-free record during their stay.

Wednesday, April 25 , 2007

U.S. could give Iraqi families assistance

On Easter Sunday morning I contemplated if the search for insurgents in Iraq could also include providing immediate relief to the inhabitants of the homes that are entered by the American troops.If no evidence of involvement in insurgency is discovered, the inmates of a home that is searched should be compensated for any property damage, their living conditions should be evaluated and relief aid should be delivered simultaneously.

The assistance could include giving bottled water, non-perishable food, nutritional supplements and oral rehydration fluids for children. Very sick persons when found should be transported to a field hospital.

Before I had arrived in Ann Arbor in 1986, I was taking part in a military operation of village patrolling to adddress the threat of Iranian infiltration across the narrow Strait of Hormuz. I could successfully reidrect the military intelligence operation into providing relief to people living in the remote and inaccessible villages of Musandam Peninsula of Sultanate of Oman.Amongst other things, I could use the military helicopters to transport people to visit the dentist at Khasab hospital.The air base at Khasab plays a significant role in the Persian Gulf and could be used to provide humanitarian services.

Money spent upon the reconstruction effort is not making a positive impact on the quality of life of ordinary Iraqi people. The principle of dignity of human life should be upheld at all times. The military security and intelligence oper
ation to find insurgents in Iraq should include some elements of mercy and compassion.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sound of the ‘big bang’ impossible to prove

Writers of Other Voices and letters to the editor on the subject of creation/evolution frequently mention the “big bang theory.”

On this planet Earth, a sudden loud noise is often accompanied by destruction.Our telescopes and other instruments observe dramatic stellar events like supernovae, but do not record any evidence of loud sounds.Sound needs an elastic medium such as solid, liquid or gas through which sound waves could propagate.Sound cannot exist in a vacuum. There is no way a scientist could prove or verify the sound the “big bang” might have caused.

So, who created this “void” and made it impossible to hear the bang?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gratitude for the rising and the setting sun

This Thanksgiving Day, I want to give my thanks to The Ann Arbor News editor who is in charge of publishing the daily weather report. The weather forecast includes two tiny bits of information which I value immensely. The time of sunrise and sunset are the most important events that shape my life. The reality of my human existence is totally dependent upon this illusionary effect of sunrise and sunset. Apart from the physiological functions of my body, the existence of my mind in its three different states (awake and alert, resting and at sleep, partly conscious and dreaming) depend upon these cycles of periods of light and darkness.Dreaming is a very valuable human experience and I would not like to have that experience during daytime. In reality, the sun shines all the time but I am more happy with the illusion. In India, our people had given beautiful names to the sun. Some of those names are Aditya, Bharga, Divakar, Prabhakar, Ravi, Savitur and Surya.

The daily weather report reminds me that I should remain thankful for my existence and remember the Creator who made possible day and night without turning out sunlight.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Gay relationships deserve respect

As another election season arrives in this country, we need to recognize the unfortunate fact that the issue of according equal rights to gay and lesbian couples got buried in the quagmire of ignorance, religious fanaticism and political opportunism.

Gay and lesbian relationships are neither deviant nor represent the overstepping of any spiritual laws. All human relationships, whether between members of the same sex or members of the opposite sexes, are motivated and driven by the same emotional factors that are an integral part of human nature. Humans are ruled by their emotional needs and less so by the biological insticts of reproduction. Any woman on this planet with the strongest of maternal instincts would still desire companionship as much as motherhood.

Reproductive success or failure does not determine if the relationship survives or perishes. The relationships among humans neither succeed nor fail on account of the sexual orientation of the partners. Partners in a married relationship could stay together for decades even in the total absence of sexual activity and no social benefits are denied to such couples.

Truthfulness is the core value of human existence. Being truthful, you would hope to build up a true relationship with your God.

Since all relationships are equal, no particular relationship should be placed on a pedestal while other relationships are ignored or put to ridicule. It is morally imperative to treat all relationships with a sense of fairness and equality.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Death penalty’s correct purpose is retribution

An article June 19 in The Ann Arbor News on state Rep. Dan Acciavatti’s initiative to amend the state’s constitution to provide the option of the death penalty doesn’t mention the word “retribution.” The purpose of the death penalty is not to protect the rest of the society from violent and vicious criminals. The state has a moral obligation to respect a natural entitlement of the murder victim. The victim’s right to retribution is the real issue in all cases of murder.

Murder is inhumane because it takes away a human being’s right to exist. Murder is immoral because it is a sign of disrespect and disobedience of law. The law that states that “thou shalt not kill” is not a law instituted by man. It is the law given to man. The state should impose death upon people who violate and disobey this law. The death penalty is a just and reasonable consequence of the murderous action of the violator.

Michigan should not shirk from its duty to recompense the murder victims. The state should join the ranks of the rest of the civilized society where people have the opportunity to learn and understand the consequences for their actions and appreciate the values of personal responsibility and accountability.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Nature hasn’t given humans right to choose

The words choice and autonomy are frequently mentioned while people express their opinions about issues that pertain to life, issues such as when life begins and the manner in which it may end.

The right to abortion and the right to assisted suicide may lead us to this question. Is there choice or autonomy in the biological existence of human life?

The human body is made up of billions of cells. The cells perform a variety of fuctions. For human growth and development, a very important function would be that of cell division and multiplication, also known as reproduction. Is there a single cell whose functions we can choose to control and regulate as we please? There is no choice if we do not have the freedom to choose. Is there a single cell whose functions we can directly govern? There is no autonomy when we do not have the ability to govern.

We may cause cellular death to protect the rest of the body from death. This principle is widely used in treating various cancers and to safeguard maternal health while managing complications of pregnancy.

Nature has neither endowed us with the liberty to choose nor bestowed us with the right to govern the cells that make up the human being. The cycle of birth and death may give us pain and we may experience severe loss of function.

Fortunately, there is hope.We can cope with the problems of human existence with our great ability to show compassion.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Embryo has natural right to growth, development

The ethical concerns that are involved in the conduct of research on living human embryos stem from the unique status of the embryo. It is prudent to discuss if the embryo could be assigned any rights that are entitled by a research subject. The embryo has a natural right to growth and development. We need to ask what actions constitute the misuse or abuse of an embryo.

During the biological life cycle, the human being should have a constitutional right to live with dignity at every stage of natural existence. The society has no inherent right to conduct research on embryos. We need to spell out the role of biological parents. Parental accountability and responsibility should be stated in clear terms to ensur
e that the embryo receives fair and ethical treatment.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Court decision in Schiavo case is insensitive

The attitude displayed by the U.S. judicial system is very shocking and disturbing.Justice proved itself to be not only blind but also totally insensitive to the human condition.

To offer water to a dying person is an ultimate act of kindness and compassion. Customs and traditions established in the ancient land of India make it obligatory to pour water into the mouth of a dying person even if the person is totally unconscious.

A person may not vocalize the sensation, but thirst is experienced till the final moments of life.

The U.S. Supreme Court helped to transform the legal guardian into a brutal dictator. Terri Schiavo was a disabled person who was murdered in broad day light. A handicapped person was legally exterminated in a very calculated and deliberate manner by the acts of a heartless, loveless, materialistic society.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 1999

We can attain peace if price is affordable

As we await the dawn of a new year, a phrase that comes to my mind is that of “peace on Earth.”

The history of international peace keeping efforts and the various peace movements is well documented. The annual costs of peace keeping efforts in Bosnia have been reported as $5 billion.If the assessment of Israeli officials is correct, they can make peace with Syria at a nominal price of $18 billion. It appears that we can attain peace if the price is right and affordable.

Is peace a mere absence of war and international conflicts? If society and the times we are witnessing are any reflection on the state of peace, we should definitely ask ourselves the question, is peace attainable?

The various manifestations of violence in our society, whether it is gun violence at schools, violence at work-places, or domestic violence are all aspects of a lack of peace-keeping ability. In general terms, violence is seen as a law and order problem. We can approach the problem of violence in a different manner. Violence may be seen as the expression of a mind that is not at peace. Violence may be attributable to a mind, which is not experiencing an inner feeling of tranquility.

The way to prevent violence would be through promoting self-awareness. You do not really need a teacher to achieve self-awareness. You are the observed as well as the observer. Your inner eye keeps a constant watch on all of your thoughts, feelings, emotions and moods. Your vigilance would have an effect and subdue the anger or rage you may be experiencing.

People need to learn and practice the simple task of observing their own thoughts. The essence of human existence is self-knowledge and the ultimate goal of living would be self-awareness. Every human being is capable of exhibiting kindness and tolerance, is capable of expressing sympathy and is capable of sensing happiness.

While the government is busy spending billions of dollars to secure peace elsewhere on this planet, it will be a wise and inexpensive step on our part to pay attention to our own inner peace and attaining that peace through self-awareness.

INDIA – THE LAND OF GAUTAMA BUDDHA

I belong to ‘The Land of Gautama Buddha’ and I had whole heartedly pledged my support to His Holiness Dalai Lama and to the people of his Land and I firmly believe that we should seek and give our support for a ‘ FREE TIBET ‘.
 

 

  

 

  

Buddham Saranam Gachhami  

Dhammam Saranam Gachhami  

Sangham Saranam Gachhami 

 

 

  

 

 

This entry is dedicated to the loving memory of those brave men who had sacrificed their lives while nurturing fond hopes to win freedom for TIBET and they cherished a dream to preserve the Tibetan Identity.

For India is the Land of Gautama Buddha, we have a duty to defend Tibetan Identity.

 

Pradesh.State of Andhrainfluence of Buddha on our hearts and minds.Acharya Nagarjuna,another great Teacher lived in the present  India is the blessed Land where Lord Gautama Buddha had lived and preached.His great compassion and noble qualities made a great impact on our character and our identity as Indians.The symbols such as the National Flag and the National Emblem that we have chosen to represent us speak volumes about the long-lasting

  

I had the good fortune to visit Buddhist temples known as ” GOMPAS ” and got acquainted with the Buddhist religious traditions for over four years while I lived with Tibetan Buddhists.I had also visited Tibetan Camps at Bylakuppe and Mundgod in the State of Karnataka.In December 1974,when I had arrived in Secunderabad,I thought that I am posted to a military station away from my camp life with Buddhists.The motto of our military formation in Secunderabad is ” BASH ON REGARDLESS “.I reached Secunderabad from the Himalayan frontier with the hope that I could bring my wife and my daughter from Kadapa where they had been living while I was serving at a field location where families are not permitted to live.As I arrived at my new Unit,the first thing that I was told was that I need to immediately proceed on an exercise and that I am not allowed to bring my family to Secunderabad as my services are urgently needed for the exercise.I dutifully took my place in a military convoy and after a few hours my vehicle went past the government quarters where my parents lived while my father worked as Principal of the Nagarjuna Government College in NALGONDA.I reached the exercise location near NAGARJUNA SAGAR and that was my first visit to that area even though I had lived in Andhra Pradesh for a fairly long time.I took the opportunity to visit the historical site of Acharya Nagarjuna’s ‘VIHARA’.Buddha had left his wife and son in the middle of the night and abandoned his life of comfort in a royal palace as he desired to find the “TRUTH”.I had no intention to travel in the foot steps of Gautama Buddha,but I chose to stay away from my family if that could help His followers to reclaim their lost possessions and preserve their identity.Even today when I look back,I do not regret the time I spent away from my family and my mission to support Tibetan Buddhists was indeed a serious one.I was willing to put my life on-line if that could make a difference in the lives of those Buddhists who needed my services.I want to share the following essay which was published in ‘The Ann Arbor News’ on Thursday,October 14,1999 and hopefully this essay may convey you the passion with which I had served to support the followers of Gautama Buddha: 

  

DON’T NEGLECT TIBET FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING MONEY IN CHINA 

The United States-China relationship has naturally come under a critical review because of the nuclear espionage charges.It is irrelevant if China has actually benefited from the sensitive information that the U.S. has lost.What is far more important is the fact that the U.S. has lost its ability to keep sensitive information secure. 

Presidential candidate George W.Bush has very correctly pointed out that the U.S. needs to prepare against a potential military threat that China might pose. 

A review of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship should take us back 30 years to the time it actually began.The relationship,from the beginning,has no solid foundation.In spite of the huge trade and commerce relationship that the U.S. built up with China over these years,there is a basic lack of trust. 

The reason for this mistrust is political.The Chinese political system derives its strength from the ideology of communism.The U.S. essentially adheres to the values of democracy,freedom and liberty. 

China, as of today, is not a free society.Its political philosophy does not inspire us and is not trustworthy.Whatever the U.S. business investments may be,whatever the market reforms that China has introduced in recent times may be, there is a huge gap in terms of our political ideologies. 

Communism and democracy cannot become good partners in a bilateral relationship. 

The reason that I believe would end the U.S.-China bilateral relationship is the problem of Tibet. 

The identity of Tibetan people could not be destroyed by all these years of Chinese oppression.The passion of Tibetan people for their freedom could not be subdued by prolonged, brutal occupation. Tibetan people are brave and courageous. They are willing to pay the price to regain their land and liberate it. They have the strength, will power and commitment to achieve this goal. 

I witnessed this fact when I marched with hundreds of Tibetans through dense inhospitable forests for three months some years ago. 

This was not a camping expedition.We had sick people and severely injured people who were sent to hospitals.We had beautiful people who lost their lives in those remote forests and they lay buried or cremated there. Their sacrifices are etched into my memory. 

The only reason for taking that risk to suffer loss of life is the issue of winning back Tibetan freedom. 

I also had an opportunity to speak with hundreds of Tibetan boys.Each one of them had a clear idea of their national identity and a compelling desire to win their freedom even if they had to pay for it with their lives. 

The U.S. should understand that the issue of Tibet is not going to fade away. 

When China occupied Tibet, the U.S. sent its citizens to help these people to plan their resistance.The U.S. sent tons and tons of supplies to aid their struggle. U.S. did not cover itself in glory when it withdrew this support it gave to Tibetans. The U.S. personnel were withdrawn and the aid dried up. That was an intensely painful moment for people like me who were then living with Tibetan people.
 

All of us had an understanding of the event that led the U.S. to backstab the Tibetan people. The U.S. sacrificed the freedom of the Tibetan people in its quest for establishing bilateral ties with communist China. 

Thirty years after this betrayal, the United States should reevaluate the basic principles for which it stands today. The U.S. flag has been always a symbol of freedom. The issue is not that of containment of China.The issue is not that of engagement of China.The real issue is that of the freedom of the Tibetan people. We need to stand up for our own fundamental values and do the right thing.
  
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY – GURU PUJA

Karmanye vadhikaraste Maa Phaleshu kadachana 

Maa Karma Phala hetur bhoor maate sangostwa Karmana. 

  

  

  

THE TRADITION OF “GURU” WORSHIP(PUJA) : 

Since Vedic times,in the Land of India ,teachers are held in high esteem and the reverence is reflected in the following verse.According to my uncle,Capt.R.R.Rao,”there is no ‘Mantra’ greater than this”:
 

Guru Brahma,Guru Vishnu,Guru Devo Maheswara
Guru Sakshaat ParaBrahmam,Tasmai Shri Gurave Namah.
 

 

 MY GURU : 

After joining Kurnool Medical College in 1965,I had started visualizing Lord Sri Krishna as my personal Guru.I had a pocket-size edition of BHAGAVAD GITA published in Gorakhpur,Uttar Pradesh.The book included the verses in Sanskrit with its literal meaning in English.That format had allowed me to read the verse in its original form and understand its purport through my own efforts.I had a hectic time at the School and was exposed to new information every day.Over four and half years time,I had studied Physics,Anatomy,Physiology,Biochemistry,Pharmacology,Microbiology, Pathology,
Forensic Medicine,Ear,Nose&Throat diseases,Ophthalmology,Social&Preventive Medicine,General Medicine,Surgery, and Obstetrics&Gynecology.Simultaneously,I was reading one or more chapters from Gita every day and was slowly incorporating Krishna as my Guru.I was more attracted to His teaching of ” KARMA YOGA ” and I would still consider Him as my Guru even if “GITA” is the only known contribution made by Him.My elder brother Pratap stressed about the importance of ” GURU KRUPA “( Master’s Compassion).My Guru’s Mercy is revealed to me in the fact that I am able to work seven days a week.I can very easily manage to work eighty or more hours per week on account of this Guru-Sishya relationship.I do not experience any stress or mental fatigue on account of sixteen hour work schedules.At the same time,I am mentally alert and could indulge in a bit of creative writing every now and then.Apart from this ability to work 365 days each year while I am 59 years old, the following verse shows that they are advantages in having Krishna as personal Guru :
 

Bhagavad Gitaa kimchi dhadheetaa, 

Gangaa jala lava kanikaa peetaa 

Sakrudapi yena Murari samarchaa, 

Kriyatey tasya Yamena na charchaa. 

Bhaja Govindam,Bhaja Govindam 

Govindam Bhaja muuda matey.
 

  

MY OTHER GURU : 

Adi Shankaracharya has emphatically stated that his identity is neither that of Guru nor that of a student or disciple. I am not free to describe him as my Guru and I cannot call myself his disciple. I need to reflect upon my Identity and seek that Identity to experience the Reality.

 

Fortunately,I did not spend any time and energy to search and discover the right Guru.The choice was made for me the moment I had arrived on this planet.I grew up in a family which followed the ” SMARTHA ” tradition established by Adi Sankaracharya.I had the freedom to designate SHIVA as my personal Protector.I am free to choose RAMA as my Benefactor.I seek favors from SARASWATHI in my pursuit of Pure Knowledge.I make the perilous journey across the ocean with encouragement from HANUMAN.GANESHA assures me of success in my personal endeavors.In my struggles and battle of life,Krishna guides me to find the winning strategy.If I have to defend my self,I draw courage from Bhavani.With the blessings from my other Guru,I had described my attitude about human existence as that of                            ” INDIVIDUALISM “. I love to read and memorize the beautiful verses composed by him.I would just quote a verse which my eldest brother,Prof.R.Subbarao had observed to be a very powerful thought: 

Shadamgaadi Vedo mukhe sastra vidyaa 

Kavitvaadi gadyam supadyam karoti 

Guroramghri padme manachenna lagnam 

Tatah kim, Tatah kim,Tatah kim,Tatah kim. 

Even after learning every thing that is humanly possible,we still need to desire and focus upon the lotus feet of the Master,the giver of Knowledge. 

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, 

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, A.P., India., 

M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY – THE TRADITION OF SPEECH ETIQUETTE

Doribhiryuktaa chaturbhi spatika manimayee makshamalaamda dhaanaa  

Hastey nie kena padmam sita mapicha sukam pustakam chapareyna  

Bhaasaa kumdendu shanka spatika mani nibhaa bhasamaanaa asamaanaa  

Saamey Vagdeevateyam nivasatu vadaney sarvadaa suprasanaa.  

   

   

Goddess Sarasvati is known as the Goddess of Speech or Vag Devi and She symbolizes the importance of Speech Etiquette and Speech Discipline.

Mother India, or Bharat Mata is defined by Her Speech which is Sweet, Elegant, Pleasant, and gives pleasure and Happiness to all Her listeners.
India's National Song, popularly known as 'VANDE MATARAM' was composed by Shri. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee/Chattopadhyay. It describes India's Speech Tradition.

 Bankim Chandra Chatterjee composed India’s  National Song ” BANDE MATARAM “(“Hail to thee,Mother”).’Vande Mataram’ became the mantra(“hymn”) and slogan of people of India in their struggle for independence.In this song, the Land of India is described as ” SU HASINI “, and ” SU MADHURA BHASINI “.’Suhasini’ refers to a person who can speak in a pleasant manner without being rude or offensive and provides a sense of cheer and humor to the listener.’Su madhura bhasini’ refers to a person who speaks good and sweet words which gives a sense of pleasure to the listener.  

Speech is the oral, audible expression of human language while talking.Man became characteristically human when he learned to speak. All human Culture and its propagation appears to depend on some form of language to serve as the vehicle for teaching, persuasion and tradition.Speech is a very important aspect of human personality.Culture plays a significant role in the development of speech behavior.Particularly, in the Indian society, there are social expectations in the use of speech, speech mannerisms and in the observation of speech etiquette.The manner of speech is predictive of human behavior. Indians are expected to speak softly, in a sweet and pleasant manner.A loud mouthed person is generally viewed as disrespectful, disobedient and disruptive.In the following poem,the famous Telugu Poet VEMANA had described the importance of speech behavior. 

   

Telugu Poet, 'SARVAJNA', Yogi Vemana had described the importance of Speech Etiquette in a few simple sentences.

 Alpu depudu balku naadambaramu gaanu  

Sajjanundu baluku jalla gaanu  

Kanchu mrogu natlu Kanakambu mrogunaa  

Viswadhabhi Rama venara Vema.  

Brass metal can produce a high volume sound as compared to Gold metal but we would only consider Gold to be a precious metal and value its high quality in spite of its lack of ability to generate loud sound. People who are mean-spirited and low in virtue speak in tones that reflects a sense of arrogance and self-importance. People of high virtue and good character would speak in a gentle and pleasant manner that reflects a sense of humility and the listeners would be pleased by listening to the words spoken. While speaking, the pitch and the volume of the sound is less important and we need to focus on the contents of our speech. 

SPEECH ETIQUETTE AND INDIAN CULTURE :  

Indian Culture describes “SARASWATI” as the Goddess of speech or “VAK”. She is known as ” VAG DEVI “. Indians worship her to obtain fluency and to become talented speakers. Our identity is related to the quality and content of our speech. Speech mannerisms, speech etiquette and speech discipline are an part of the grooming process of the children in our homes.Children are generally counseled to use some restraint in their speech. There are several words and phrases that identify an Indian speaker according to their speech quality and content.The phrase ‘ Su Bhasini ‘ directs us to use good and pleasing words. The phrase ‘ Mita Bhasini ‘ directs us to speak to the point using only a few appropriate words. The phrase ‘ Manjula Vani ‘ directs us to speak in a beautiful and elegant manner. Our traditional greeting “NAMASKAR” represents our devotion to showing respect and displaying an attitude of obedience in our public conduct. We can only meet this Cultural expectation by using a manner of speech which would convey the qualities of respect and obedience.  

Dr.Martin Luther King,the famous Civil Rights Leader of the United States had wished for that day when his son would not be judged by the color of his skin but by the content of his character. Similarly, a person’s identity should not be assumed by the person’s physical attributes but by his attitude and behavior. As an Indian, I wish to be identified not by the color of my skin. ” SU MADHURA BHASINI ” is the Cultural standard of our speech behavior. If you care enough, listen to me, my speech would reveal to you the country of my origin.  

Please also view a related blog post titled ‘Defining Indian Identity – The Pursuit of Pure and Perfect Knowledge’.  

https://bhavanajagat.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/defining-indian-identity-the-pursuit-of-pure-and-perfect-knowledge/  

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,  

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,  

M.B.B.S.,  Class  of  April, 1970. 

DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY – IDOL WORSHIP – A LEARNING EXPERIENCE

Papikonda Andhra Pradesh, Godavari,
Image via Wikipedia

 

   

Sree Raghavam Dasarathatmaaja maprameyam  

Sitapatim Raghu kulaanvaya ratna deepam  

Ajaanubaahu maravinda dalaayataaksham  

Ramam nisaachara vinaasakaram namaame.  

IDOL WORSHIP – A WAY OF LIFE :  

Worship of idols and images is an part of daily life in many Indian homes. Long before its birth as a political entity, the Land of India was recognized by the outside world as a Land where people worship idols. The plurality of gods in daily  worship is a way of life. Indian people worship idols and images of one or another of the innumerable gods in their homes, in public places as well as in temples.  

  

MAHANANDI - The Great Bull - This idol is always worshiped before worshiping the Idol of Lord Shiva.

 

Childhood is a time of great learning experiences. A child imbibes Cultural values and learns Cultural traditions mainly at home while the child is dependent on and is educated by parents and other adults. Children acquire the Culture of the society they live in through a gradual learning process.  

My childhood learning experience of idol worship occurred in two places. While I was in MYLAPORE(Madras city), the day would generally begin with a small errand. Myself and my elder brother Pratap would go out with a basket and gather flowers by just walking around in the neighborhood. Every home would keep some flowering plants which are traditionally used in daily worship. We were fond of gathering a variety of flowers for my maternal grandmother’s morning worship. It was a pleasant task and the fragrance of ‘Parijatham’ flowers that we gathered still lingers in my memory. I also spent my early childhood in RAJAHMUNDRY at my paternal grandfather’s home in Innispeta. My grandmother would also worship the morning rising ‘SUN’ before starting her idol worship. Very often, we wait in the courtyard and alert our grandmother when ‘SUN’ shows up in the sky. During the monsoon season, one has to patiently wait for the rain clouds to drift and let the ‘SUN’ come out. At the end of her worship, we were always ready to receive the offerings(PRASAD)and there was always a sense of pleasure while waiting for these daily morning treats. Childhood was spent in observing the adults and on special occasions, the children at home participate in the worship while the elders give directions. The worship at temples was done in the company of parents and elders.  

A LEARNING EXPERIENCE FROM 1954 :  

I was six years old and was a fourth class student at King George Elementary School, in Innispeta of Rajahmundry. One evening, just after it became dark, my father experienced sudden abdominal pain. The intensity of his pain was very severe and he was alarmed by his condition. As the pain persisted, he started pressing people to notify others about his predicament and I remember that he had wanted that his younger brother( a doctor ) who was living in NAGPUR, should be alerted with a telegram. At one point of this painful state, my father had even asked that he should be laid on the floor in anticipation of an impending death. My two elder brothers, Hari and Pratap and myself watched this scene and were moved into action. At my eldest brother Hari’s initiative, the three of us proceeded to “RAMALAYAM”, Lord Sri Rama‘s temple which is located near the Godavari river bank, a short walking distance from our home. The temple was still open and had only a very few worshipers as night had set in. We stood before the idols in total silence and paid our respects with the traditional greeting of ‘NAMASKAR’. Temple worship is a simple act. You just need to come before the idol and you are not really required to speak out your concerns and spell out the reasons for seeking the ‘DARSHAN'(viewing the idol). It took a couple of minutes and the priest graciously gave us a mango fruit as ‘PRASAD’. Those few minutes that I had spent standing mutely before RAMA’s idol at night-time, is the reason that I would still remember and recall my father’s abdominal pain after a lapse of about fifty-three years. I had reached the temple with a sense of anxiety and with a sense of expectation that visiting the idol of RAMA would somehow help my father to get rid of that terrible pain. I had silently communicated my concern to the idol and I had received a response. The response that I had received was that of reassurance and comfort. I felt immediately relieved of a burden and felt upbeat and the feeling was one of instant gratification. Myself and my brothers returned home from the temple. I wanted to tell my father about our visiting the temple and I wanted to assure him that he would be alright if he would take a few drops of the juice from the mango fruit that we received from the priest. When we got back, the scene had changed. I did not get a chance to speak to my father and offer him the mango fruit. He had a large vomiting and threw up the food that he ate before. It helped him, his pain started to subside and he could rest without further problems. We retired for the night and the next day was just a routine day at the school. We had never discussed that painful episode again and the communication that I had received from RAMA’s idol got preserved in my memory and my family had no chance to know about it. 

 

LORD RAMA. His image or idol is worshiped by Indian people. Is that a false belief? Is that a superstition? What is true Worship?

 The rest of the world would call my visiting RAMA’s idol as an act of ‘SUPERSTITION’. My mind knows and my heart remembers that the idol had given me a sense of relief and comfort and my experience was real and genuine. Every one is welcome to take the place of that idol and if they are willing to be a source of comfort, I am willing to have their ‘DARSHAN’ and worship them just like the idols that I would like to worship.  

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,  

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,  

M.B.B.S.,  Class  of  April,  1970.   

DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY – WHAT IS IN A NAME ?

Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore, Chennai.

Samsara koopa mati ghora magaadha moolam,  

Samprapasya dukha sata sarpa samaakulasya  

Deenasya Deva krupayaa saranaagatasya  

Lakshmee Nrusimha mama dehi karaavalambam.  

The name ‘ Indian ‘ is related to the great river SINDHU which is also known as Indus. In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed westwards towards setting sun to reach the shores of India. He had discovered people living on islands whom he had mistakenly named as Indians. Apart from those island dwellers, the natives of the entire American continent, the so-called ‘ NEW WORLD ‘, were named Indians. In spite of concerted efforts to rename them as ” Native Americans “, the name Indian is still in use.  Name is a very important tool to describe personal identity. The word name as a noun, describes a person, place or thing. It is also a word or words by which an object of thought is known. Indians did not choose the name India or Indian. However, the people of our Land of BHARAT, are extremely fond of choosing names. This fondness for selecting, using and remembering names is an important Cultural attribute which defines our identity.  

THE TRADITION OF GIVING NAMES :  

Lord Shiva is known as Rudra, Neela Kantha, Pasupati and several other names. This fondness for selecting, using, and remembering names is an important cultural attribute which defines Indian Identity.

The name ” RUDRA ” is one of the earliest names known to humanity. According to legend, the Vedic God Rudra acquired His name from His Creator Brahma. As per the story, a boy was seen ‘crying’ and ‘wandering’. The father had asked the boy the reason for his ‘howling’. The boy had answered that he was ‘weeping’ for he was not given a name. So, the father created a name by bringing together two Sanskrit words which mean ‘crying’ and ‘wandering’. Thus the name Rudra was born. This legend is an example of our emotional dependence upon the need for names. The major Deities such as VISHNU and SHIVA that Indians worship are known by thousands of names and remembering those names is deemed as an act of devoted worship. The use of these names is a fundamental right and I understand the term religious freedom in the context of my freedom to choose the name that I would worship. The religious experience that I had gained while growing up in India relates to the use of names as an act of worship. Worship would have no meaning or purpose and would not give me a sense of direction if I do not remember the beautiful names that I have come to know.  

A PERSONAL NAME AND A PERSONAL STORY :  

This landmark Temple of Kapaleeswara binds me to my birthplace of Mylapore, Madras(Chennai). The Presiding Diety of this Temple is chosen as my personal Protector and hence I am given the name of "RUDRA".
This landmark Temple of Kapaleeswarar binds me to my birthplace of Mylapore, Madras(Chennai). The Presiding Deity of this Temple is chosen as my personal Protector and hence I am given the name of “RUDRA”.

My personal name is very much a part of my personal story. The name is chosen entirely due to the circumstances of my birth and I remain connected to the persons and the places for the rest of my life. I describe MYLAPORE of MADRAS city(CHENNAI) as my birth place and I describe RAJAHMUNDRY of East Godavari District as my native place. My mother had given birth to me at my maternal grandfather’s residence on KUTCHERY road in Mylapore. I spent the years of my early childhood at my paternal grandfather’s mansion in INNISPETA of Rajahmundry. As per the traditional belief and the practice of Vedic Astrology known as ‘ JYOTISH ‘(Science of Light),  my birth star predicted and warned about some forthcoming inauspicious events. The astrological calculations suggested that remedial action is needed to counter the negative aspects of the birth star. Accordingly, my father had performed a ritualistic worship popularly known as ” RUDRA ABHISHEKAM ” and worshiped SHIVA at the beautiful KAPALEESWARAR temple of Mylapore. To ensure that I would always enjoy the blessings from SHIVA, my father had decided to name me as RUDRA. Hence,this name of Rudra instantly connects me to my birth place of Mylapore and to KAPALEESWARAR as my personal protector. The birth star also had forewarned about consequences that would impact my paternal grandfather. There was no easy escape from the influences and the second part of my personal name was carefully chosen to please my paternal grandmother, Srimati. Lakshmi Narasamma. Because of the gender variation, the name Narasamma had become Narasimham. This name immediately connects me to the ” LAWS OF KARMA “. These names are well-known and particularly in the southern States of India, the name Narasimham or variations of that name are frequently used. As long as I remain a conscious entity, my grandparents live in my consciousness. Astrology or Jyotish may not be a perfect Science. Horoscopes may not predict the future course of events in a person’s life. I exist in this world and I am known by a name which was specifically selected for me because of the predictions cast by my horoscope and the prediction came true and  I find enough justification for this Indian Cultural Tradition called Jyotish.   

My paternal grandfather. The family astrologer who had prepared my horoscope predicted an inauspicious event and the prediction came true five months after my birth. But the prediction did not deter my grandfather in any manner. My grandmother whose name I had acquired  told me that my grandfather had loved me with all his heart without any concern about the astrological prediction.
My paternal grandfather. The family astrologer who had prepared my horoscope predicted an inauspicious event and the prediction came true five months after my birth. But the prediction did not deter my grandfather in any manner. My grandmother whose name I had acquired told me that my grandfather had loved me with all his heart without any concern about the astrological prediction.

 A UNIQUE NAME AND A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE :  

In 1965, I had joined Kurnool Medical College after I had obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Osmania University, Hyderabad. A batch of students were directly admitted into the second year of the medical education program that awards the M.B.B.S degree. Professor Rama Murthy of the Anatomy Department was very fond of knowing and recognizing each of his students by their personal names. On the first day of our Anatomy class, the attendance register was not ready and Professor Rama Murthy had decided to call out names from the list of selected candidates. He had very solemnly announced to the class that he had to begin with a very angry and fiery name. We were intently listening to know what that name could be. Apparently, the list of selected students was prepared according to merit and my name was placed at the top of the list. He called my name and expressed his sense of disbelief. He had asked me to verify my name and told the class that it was the first time in his life that he encountered a person with the personal name of Rudra Narasimham. His statement appears to be right and I have not known any other person who may have the same name. It is one of its own kind and is unique and special. 

   

Socrates implored people to ‘know thy self’. He had stated that the unexamined life is not worth living. Understanding life involves understanding personal identity and name is a word by which an object of thought is known.

The name Rudra is related to SHIVA who is recognized as the God of Learning. Shiva is like Socrates. Socrates of 5th century B.C. is claimed to be the father of western thought. He had implored people to “know thy self”. Socrates had stated that the ‘ unexamined life is not worth living ‘. Shiva guides me to reflect upon life. Shiva encourages introspection, reflecting upon your own mind and thoughts. Shiva defines that the purpose of learning is to acquire the ability to think for oneself. The name Narasimham represents to me a person who defends the right to choose the name for my worship. The story about  PRAHLADA represents the Cultural importance attached to personal choice in matters of religious worship. Names of persons, places and the legends form a part of Cultural legacy of our Land and define Indian Identity.  

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,  

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, A.P., India,  

M.B.B.S.,  Class  of  April,  1970.

A view of the eastern Gopuram from inside the ...
A view of the eastern Gopuram from inside the temple. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  

DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY-THE TRADITION OF RIVER WORSHIP

CULTURAL UNIFICATION OF INDIA – THE PRACTICE OF TIRTHA SNAAN ( BATHING IN HOLY RIVERS )

Water plays an important role in a variety of Cultures and religious practices prevalent in this world.The role of water constitutes one of the most remarkable aspects of Indian religious life.Hindu religion is often described as ” SANATANA DHARMA “.The practice of bathing in a river is an unusual example of the continuance of an ancient tradition and hence I can refer to the practice of ‘ TIRTHA SNAAN ‘ as “SANATANA” in its origin.Simply touching water is a purifying gesture in the Vedas.Pilgrimages(TIRTHA YATRAS) to holy rivers(TIRTHA) was already known in Vedic and Epic times and it remains extremely popular up to the present day.In fact,my impression is that the practice has become more popular and a far greater number of people are participating due to the availability of modern time conveniences for travel and lodging.The news media consistently report that our river festivals such as “KUMBH MELA” and “PUSHKARAMS”have established world records as the largest gathering of human beings upon this earth in one single day and for one single purpose.The sacredness of a place is often due to the sanctity it derives from its location on the bank of a holy river(TIRTHA STHAN or TIRTHA KSHETRA).The following verse is an example of such belief.The simple act of remembering the various places that River Ganges traverses through,would be equivalent to the worship of all Gods and would bestow great blessings(PUNYA).

Tatra tatra sthitaa Gangaa,Sarva Punya Phala pradaa

Bhaveth smarana maatrena,Sarva Deva namaskrutaa.

Apart from bathing(SNAAN),holy waters are used in the ritualistic worship of deities,and the water used in the worship is used to sprinkle upon the heads of the devotees and also consumed by the devotee in acceptance of the blessings from the Deity.The devotee hopes for deliverance from sin or pollution(“PAAP”),seeks preservation or enrichment of his religious merit(“PUNYA”),hopes for a reward such as rebirth in a heaven(“SWARG LOK”)and even total emancipation(“MOKSHA or MUKTI”).There are instances when people had actually traveled to the holy city of VARANASI to die near the Ganges.More often,the cremated remains,the ashes are carried by the loved ones and are physically sprinkled and immersed in the holy rivers such as Ganges to help the onward journey of the departed soul.The worship of rivers and the practice of bathing is a belief that is connected with the traditional Indian views of earthly life.Indians believe in the theory of “KARMA”.They believe that the acts of their present lives and their past lives would be a factor that determines the condition into which a being is reborn.The “KARMA” binds the soul and compels it to go through an endless series of births and deaths.The cycle of birth,death and rebirth is called “SAMSARA”.In my previous entry,I had written about the fear of “SAMSARA”.The practice of bathing in a holy river is an example of “INDIVIDUALISM”.Even when millions of people travel and gather together to bathe in a river on one day,each is acting strictly to earn his own merit and to reap his own benefit and the community does not expect any share of the rewards that the bather may be granted.I could bathe and wash my own sins and I can not be of any help to others if they carry the burden of their own sins.Each person has to accept responsibility for their own actions and if necessary they can seek help from others to get to the river and ask for assistance to bathe in the river.River worship appears to be a communal event but its usefulness is strictly individualistic in nature.Bathing is not viewed as a simple act of personal hygiene,it constantly reminds us of the need to seek purification and makes us aware of our responsibility for own actions and challenges us to face the consequences in our future lives.People are encouraged to seek the blessings that bathing in holy rivers would contribute even while they may be showering at home.The following verse is an example of our connection to the rivers that flow across our Land.

Gangecha Yamunechiva,Godavari, Saraswathi

Narmade, Sindhu,Kaveri,Jalesmin sannidhim kuru.

MY INTRODUCTION TO RIVER WORSHIP :

I had described in my previous entry on traditional greeting,that Culture represents ideas and thoughts transmitted by one generation to the next.It indeed gives me a great pleasure to recall my learning of this unique Cultural Tradition while I lived at my Grandfather’s mansion in Innispeta of Rajahmundry town in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh.During 1950s,I lived with my parents,two brothers,grand mother,her sister and my great grand mother.The house had bath rooms and we had regular water supply from the municipality.We would generally shower at home and on important festival days,we would bathe in River Godavari.My great grand mother was an exception to this bathing practice.She firmly believed in the practice of river worship and adhered to it every single day and almost till her final days of earthly existence.She was of short stature and she was already in her ninety’s and due to her age,her spine curved and made her even smaller.Her vision had deteriorated and she was able to see only a few feet ahead of her.Our house was located at the corner of “KALABARGI VARI” street and the “RAMALAYAM” street.The Lord Sri Rama Temple of Innispeta is a well known land mark and it stands next to the protective river embankment.The river bank is fairly wide,it included railway tracks and a motor-able road.Much later,the second rail cum road bridge was built across Godavari river using these railway tracks.My great grand mother would walk to the river all by herself and used a walking stick to support herself.The journey to the river is short but she faced a lot of dangers on the street.Those days,vehicular traffic was not a problem and crossing the railway tracks was not a problem.The biggest threat was posed by the stray animals such as goats and cows that roam freely on the streets.She was practically defenseless.As young boys at home,myself and my elder brother were often given the chore of escorting my great grand mother during her walk to the river.When we followed her as her escort,the animals always behaved better and would not come to attack her.The reward myself and my brother Pratap reaped was that of getting into the emerald green,crystal clear,cool waters of GODAVARI and frolic in the shallow waters as my great grand mother did her worship.But for my great grand mother’s tenacity and perseverance,myself and my brother would never have ventured to make a trip to the river in the morning.It was a joyful experience and the Tradition of River Worship gave us some very fond memories of our life in Rajahmundry.The following verse speaks of the importance that we attach to rivers of India and they are treated with great respect as they are deemed to be the same as Ganges:

Kaveri,Tunga Bhadracha,Krishnavenicha,Gautamee

Bhagirathicha vikhyata,Pancha Ganga prakiirtitaa.

DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY-THE SPIRIT OF NATIONALISM

Jawahar Lal Nehru, India's First Prime Minister speaks eloquently about River Ganges shaping the lives of Indians throughout History.

 

“….The Ganges,above all is the river of India,which has held India’s heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history.The story of the Ganges,from her source to the sea,from old times to new,is the story of India’s civilization and culture,of the rise and fall of empires,of great and proud cities,of adventures of man….”  

Discovery of India,Jawaharlal Nehru  

  

  

JIS DESH MEIN GANGA BEHATI HAI (THE COUNTRY WHERE RIVER GANGES FLOWS)

WHAT IS INDIA ? INDIA IS DEFINED AS THE LAND OR COUNTRY WHERE RIVER GANGES FLOWS. INDIA CAME INTO EXISTENCE WHEN GANGES STARTED FLOWING THROUGH THIS LAND.

 

  

Raj Kapoor won Filmfare’s Best Actor Award in 1961 for his portrayal of ‘Raju’,a song writer,in his film titled ‘ Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behati Hai ‘.The picture was released during 1960 when I was twelve years old and was studying in VI-Form at the DANAVAIPETA MUNICIPAL HIGH SCHOOL in the town of RAJAHMUNDRY,East Godavari District , Andhra Pradesh.We had a beautiful marble statue of Mahatma Gandhi right in front of our school.I had studied Indian History as part of my school curriculum.I used to score well in my History tests.It was not difficult for me to remember all those dates,names and other facts that constitute the subject matter of History.I have a deep sense of appreciation for all those leaders who orchestrated the political struggle against the British Rule.The freedom movement did indeed foster a sense of purpose and had united people to achieve a common goal. It could be true that the fight against the Colonial powers gave a sense of Identity and very often the freedom fighters were called ‘SATYAGRAHIS.’I have great admiration for their sense of patriotism and I am ever grateful for the sacrifices they made to win our independence.I saw this movie ‘ Jis Desh Mein ‘ just once and may have heard the title song on the radio on a few occasions.But the song ,” Hotoan pe sachhai rahati hai,jahan dil me safaai rahati hai,Hum us desh ke vaasi hai,Hum us desh ke vaasi hai,Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behati Hai “, never faded from my memory.

 

Ten years after seeing the movie,in the year 1970,at the age of 22 years ,I was granted President’s Commission and joined the Indian Armed Forces in the rank of Lieutenant.While joining Service,we accept the risks that naturally accompany such an occupation and reflect upon the motivation that shapes the decision.I understand that the Freedom Struggle was important but that Struggle does not define my sense of National Identity.I have known that the country that we call India has existed long before the invasion by the Mughals,the country that we call India has existed during centuries of British Rule and now the country that we call India exists in spite of the changes in the political landscape and the political fortunes of the Parties that we elect from time to time.My sense of National Identity is not dependent upon the political history of our country.My sense of National Identity does not depend upon the language that I speak at home and it is not related to the regional customs pertaining to food or dress.I have known my country from its Cultural Traditions.In 1970,I had joined Army to defend the country which lives in my mind as the Land where River Ganga flows.

Mahatma Gandhi is revered as the Father of the Nation and had promoted the Spirit of Nationalism during India's long Struggle for Freedom.

 In my opinion,the country that we call India is not a mere political entity.It is true that India gained its political freedom in 1947.The country is existing ever since the River Ganges had started flowing across its Land. 

I am not surprised that the song ” Jis Desh Mein ” still plays and I still hear the golden voice of immortal Mukesh ,whenever my heart dreams about India. Most certainly,the Spirit of Nationalism is inspired by a history which reaches back to a period earlier than the British occupation of India.

 

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,

M.B.B.S.,  Class  of  April,  1970. 

  

 

 

DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY-THE TRADITIONAL GREETING

A Keralite Dancer in Sari( Mohini Attam: a dan...
Image via Wikipedia

 

 

Om, Namah Sivaya - The Five Letter Mantra - Traditional Indian Greeting-Namaskar

THE TRADITION OF RESPECT AND OBEDIENCE : 

 

Deuteronomy, 5 th Book of Moses, The Old Testament, The Holy Bible:

Chapter 10, verse 16 : ” Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked “.

The word ” Namah ” means one that bends which implies obedience. The one word ” Namaskar ” represents the full spectrum of the legacy of India’s Culture.

NAMAH SHIVAYA :

 

Sree madaatmaney gunieka sindhavey Namah Shivaya,

Daamaleysa bhuuta loka bhandhiney Namah Shivaya

Naama soshitaa namadbhavaamdhasey Namah Shivaya,

Paamareytara pradhaana bhandhavey Namah Shivaya.

 

I shall begin this entry with a traditional greeting. As a kid I was trained to greet and acknowledge others.The greeting is called ‘NAMASKAR’ or ‘NAMASTE’. I would begin by greeting all of you who may read this entry with my ‘NAMASKAR’. Namaskar is the essence of our Culture and this single word can represent the full spectrum of our Cultural legacy. I had served in Uniform.The lesson I grasped is that to’ SALUTE ‘ is the foundation upon which the entire structure of military discipline is built.Service in the Armed Forces depends upon team work.The team structure depends upon the ability of team members to recognize and acknowledge each other at all times. I ‘ SALUTE ‘ to acknowledge the person as a member of my team. Army accomplishes great things only when the team members follow this ground rule for their conduct and behavior. Namaskar is the tool given to me by the Culture of my Land and this tool shapes my attitude and personal behavior and this tool helps me to attain my life’s goals.

DEFINING CULTURE :

Culture is defined as learned or acquired behavior in contrast to biological behavior which is genetically endowed. Human Culture is defined as learned behavior acquired by individuals as members of a social group.Culture denotes a people’s heritage of custom and belief. It is a system of ideas that has been transmitted down through the generations. It includes assumptions about the world, about life and existence, rules and ways to act, goals and ways of achieving them. People’s ideas about ways to live may shape the ways they actually do live.Beginning at birth,each individual is en cultured by a body of norms governing behavior and other knowledge that the society has.Thus Cultural heritage can be defined as the sum total of human knowledge and acquired behavior. Namaskar represents the essence of my Cultural heritage.Culture gives people a sense of personal identity.Defining that ‘identity’ helps in understanding the Culture.Namaskar is the behavior I learned and Namaskar defines my ‘identity’. It is a behavior transmitted to me through the generations.

CULTURE OF THE LAND :

The Land of India in our Culture and tradition is referred to as the land of BHARAT. My purpose is to learn the ideas and thoughts that have found their roots in this particular Land. Ideas and thoughts help in developing and defining our attitudes.Our attitudes are reflected in our behaviors.The behavior which springs from the seeds of ideas and thoughts that were planted in the soil could be described as the Culture of the Land. The ancient Hindu Scripture known as Rig Veda has recommended that we should keep our minds open to receive noble thoughts from all directions. I studied natural sciences and I gained much of my information from ideas and thoughts expressed in books that were published in the West.The basic idea and thought that I had received was that we need to carefully sort out the information that we gather. Assimilation of information would be possible only when facts are considered in a systematic manner. I learned about plants and animals as a part of my study called Biological Science. Living things are connected and are related to each other.This interconnectedness and the interrelatedness describes the ecological system.There is a great amount of diversity in nature.To understand living things, we need to group them and learn about them as a part of an ecological system. We can not understand existence if we look at individual creatures.The reactions between the players of a given geographical area gives a better understanding of life and existence. I would like to use this kind of scientific tool to identify ideas and thoughts.Some ideas and thoughts could be assigned to a particular land in the same manner that a natural scientist would identify some species are ‘ NATIVE ‘ and others as ‘NON-NATIVE ‘ in the description of an Ecological System.To prove that an idea is Culturally derived, we need to demonstrate that the idea is transmitted through generations.To arrive at ideas that originated in the Land of India, I would prefer to obtain a sense of direction from my great grand mother, my grand mothers and my mother. If an idea was not known to them, it may not be a part of my Cultural legacy. If they had known very little, I would deem it as my good fortune and that little is my whole inheritance. Namaskar thus represents the best of my acquired knowledge.

THE IMPORTANCE OF NAMASKAR :

The word Namaskar is usually accompanied with the action of joining hands and bringing them together in front of the body with the elbows flexed and the neck slightly bent forwards.The joining of hands symbolizes respect and the bending of the neck signifies obedience. A person with ‘stiff neck’ is generally considered to be disobedient, rude, arrogant or proud. Respect can not be shown if the person does not display an attitude of obedience.The very essence of Indian Culture can be stated as that of showing respect and obedience.This is the most important behavior that is expected of every one. It is not merely about showing respect and of obedience to the Gods that people worship. Even the Gods that people worship also implicitly observe the rule about showing respect and obedience.This social expectation rules every relationship and activity.It is the basic expectation, let it be parent-child relationship, husband-wife relationship, teacher-student relationship, employer-employee relationship, the Ruler and the subject relationship, the relationship between siblings and even between friends. Respectful conduct is expected while receiving guests, while dealing with any elderly person even though the person may not be related. In addition, several plants, trees, birds, animals, rivers, the sea and the the hills and mountains enjoy a special status and are treated with great respect.This social behavior is encouraged at all times and specially kids are trained and tutored to display this behavior. I grew up in India and my childhood is shaped by learning this behavior. Also my Culture has given the freedom of choice. I am free to worship several entities in addition to God. If I am not inclined to worship God, I may choose a living person, a plant, a tree, an animal, some element of nature or even a name and shapeless stone and I am free to worship that object with the same and similar amount of respect that one may give to God.The Gods of my Culture would not get angry or jealous if I am totally preoccupied with showing respect to an object of my choice. Most people of the Land of India get used to showing respect to a variety of objects.

Showing respect and obedience is considered as the most important learning tool to acquire humility.Through humility, the individual can subdue his ‘ego’. Ego is viewed as a great obstacle in the pursuit of self-knowledge. Self-Knowledge is the chisel that lets an individual to break the shackles of all attachments. Freedom from all attachments is described as ‘MOKSHA
‘ or LIBERATION and as ‘MUKTI’ or RELEASE.This Cultural norm of showing respect and obedience and the use of Namaskar would help us in attaining life’s goal or to realize man’s purpose in life.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Ex- Number. MS-8466 Rank. Captain AMC/SSC; Number. MR-03277K Rank. Major AMC/DPC

Medical Officer, South Column, Operation Eagle,

Directorate General of Security,

Office of Inspector General Special Frontier Force,

East Block V, Level IV, R.K. Puram, New Delhi – 110 022.