Did you know? 18th July 2008

When the Pandavas conducted the Rajasuya Yagna, Lord Krishna was in-charge of assigning various tasks. He made Bhima responsible for the kitchen and Duryodhana responsible for collecting the gifts and taxes that people brought!! and himself took on the task of welcoming guests and elders by washing their feet!!!

Did you know? 17th July 2008

When Sri Akshobhya Tirtha spotted a young Dhondupant Deshpande drinking water by directly bending down to the river, he asked him “kim pashuH pûrva-dehe?” which meant “Did you have an animal’s body previously”. This triggered memories of the previous life in the kid’s mind and he ended up renouncing the world. The kid went on to be known as Sri Jayatirtha, the greatest commentator of the Dvaita philosophy!

Psychology of Losers

I was recently listening to a discourse by Sri Bannanje Govindacharya. In addition to being a great scholar, he is also an amazing speaker. In addition, his ability to look at our scriptures and epics from a fresh perspective is unmatched.

The topic he was speaking about was the Bhagavadgita and he was talking about the psychology of Duryodhana just before the beginning of the war. Duryodhana approaches Dronacharya, the commander of his army and starts to describe the two sides and their leaders. While he outwardly appears to be boasting of his side’s capability, his statements are a giveaway that he does not have any confidence in his own side and is already aware of the impending defeat.

Duryodhana starts by first talking about the army of the Pandavas and not his own army. He names Bhima first amongst the Pandavas, even though the Pandavas are led by Dhrishtadyumna and not Bhima. Duryodhana is first of all aware of the power of Bhima and further indirectly concedes that Bhima is his biggest obstacle.

He names 11 people from the Pandavas’ side as being the people who are leading their army. From his own side, he only names 7!! (one of the other figures in the Mahabharata which add up to 18!).

The most interesting aspect in the whole conversation between Duryodhana and Drona is the names of the 7 people whom Duryodhana mentions. Bhishma is very old and is well known as a sympathizer of the Pandavas. He also names Kripa and Ashwatthama. Both are brahmins and not really warriors at all, though very well qualified in warfare. He also names Bhurishravas who is extremely aged. Karna, whom he also mentions, is his good friend but is actually the brother of the Pandavas.  He also names Vikarna, who is one of his 99 brothers. It is interesting that he does not name Dushashana here but Vikarna. Strangely, Vikarna is the only one amongst the 100 Kaurava brothers who had protested the Vastrapaharana of Draupadi!! And Duryodhana thinks of him! He also names Jayadratha, his brother-in-law.

Finally, he mentions to Drona that all these great warriors are preparing to protect Bhishma!!

It is very clear that Duryodhana is well aware and prepared for the inevitable consequence of the war.

I am sure most people who commit mistakes and still appear unfazed offer many clues exposing their lack of confidence in themselves. It is just a matter of identifying the same.

Tapta Mudra Dharana

On the ocassion of Shayani Ekadashi and Tapta Mudra Dharana this Monday, I thought of jotting down a few lines about this special ritual. I was going through the book “Sadachara Vinoda” by Sri Vyasanakere Prabhanjanacharya and he has provided an amazing amount of information about this.

  • Tapta Mudra Dharana is a ritual where one gets the embossment of Vishnu’s Mudras on one’s body.
  • The Mudra’s are Shankha, Chakra, Gada, Padma
  • Mudra Dharana must be undertaken by one and all, irrespective of caste, creed, gender and age
  • Mudra Dharana is done annually on the Ekadashi of Shukla Paksha of Ashadha month. This Ekadashi is called Shayani Ekadashi and signifies the beginning of Chatur Masya Vrata. It is also done on three subsequent Shukla Ekadashis (for those who could not get it done on the first ocassion)
  • Mudra Dharana must be given only by Sanyasis. It should not be done by oneself
  • In addition to getting it done annually, it is good if performed on the ocassion of Upanayana for boys and upon marriage for ladies
  • For the really weak people, only one Chakra mudra is at least prescribed. For others, at least Shankha and Chakra are prescribed. For the able ones, 5 mudras are prescribed.
  • It is preferred to have the mudras made from Gold.
  • Sudarshana homa is typically done prior to the Mudra Dharana ceremony
  • Gents get the Mudras done on the shoulders, chest and stomach. For ladies, the mudras are embossed on the forearms.
  • The importance of Mudra Dharana are mentioned in various scriptures such as the Vayu Purana, Ramamruta Maharnava, etc
  • It is not enough to get Mudra Dharana done once. It should be obtained every year (of course, at least once is better than never!)

Did you know? 7th July 2008

The attention to detail in Sri Vyasa Deva’s Mahabharata is astounding. Details such as even the names of the families of snakes (tens of them) that were sacrificed in the great snake-sacrifice conducted by King Janamejaya are mentioned! But strangely, the name of Duryodhana’s wife is not mentioned even once!