Jo Sukh Lav Satsang( 5) – Meeting great souls for a moment


( Picture courtesy Internet)

SundarKanda continued…


Masak samaan roop kapi dhari/Lankahi chalevu sumari Narhari//

Naam Lankini ek nisichari/ So kah chalesu mohi nindari//

Hanumanji assumed a tiny form( as small as a mosquito), remembering NarHari( Bhagwan in the form of human, Ramji) started off to Lanka

Lankini, the Rakshasy who resided by the main door asked him, ‘Without  asking me( disrespecting me), where are you off to?’


Janehy nahi marmu sad mora/ mor ahaar jahan lagy chora//

Muddika ek mana kapi hani/ rudhir bamath dharnim danmani//

Hey, fool! You did not recognise me? All the thieves are my food

Hanumanji hit her with his fist, she fell down on the earth, vomiting blood


Puni sambhary udi so Lanka/ jori pani kar binay sasanka//

Jab Ravanhi Brahma bar deenha/chalath biranchi kaha mohi cheenha//

Lankini somehow got up from the ground, and  fearfully folding her hands, started pleading

( She said)

After Brahmaji gave a boon to Ravana, he had told me the signs of the oncoming destruction of Rakshasas- that is..


Bikal hosi taim kapi kem mare/ tab janesu nisichar samghare//

Tat mor ati punya bahutha/ dekhevu nayan Ram kar doota//

‘When you are distressed by the hit of a vanar, know that the time of the demise of Rakshasas is imminent.’

Hey son! It is my great fortune that I am able to see SreeRamchandra’s messenger( You) with my own eyes.



Tat swarg apabarg sukh dhariya Tula ek ang/

Tul na tahi sakal mili jo sukh lav satsang//

Hey son!  Even if you place all the pleasures of heaven and moksha on one scale of a balance

It will not be equal  to the joy (kept in the second scale)  obtained by meeting great souls( satsang)  for a moment( lav aka kshan)


Jai Hauman Ki

Raghubeer Sar Teeradh (4)- The Holy Water of SreeRam’s Arrows


SundarKanda Continued…

Kanak koti bichitra mani krita sundarayatana khana/

Chauhatt hatt subatt beedhim charu pur bahu bidhi bana//

Gaj baji khachhar nikar padchar radh barudhanih ko ganai/

Bahuroopi nisichar joodh athibal sen barnath nahim bani//

The boundary walls were of gold, studded with brilliant and strange jewels, inside the walls were beautiful houses

Junctions, markets, roads, and pathways were there, the lovely city was decorated in many ways

Elephants, horses, mules, passers by, chariots – who could count these groups!

Troupes of Rakshasa of various forms, their extraordinary strong army, describing these becomes impossible.


Ban baag upban batika sar koop baapim sohahim/

Nar nag sur gandharba kanya roop muni man mohahim//

Kahu maal deh bisaal sail samaan athibal garjahim/

Nana aghorenh bhirahim bahubidhi ek ekanh tarjahim//

Forests, orchards, gardens, fountains, ponds,wells, water tanks- all in fine shape

Human, Nag, Devta, Gandharva – young women from all these clans are there, with beauty which can intoxicate even the sages

There are majestic and strong  wrestlers of mountain like sizes, roaring hither and thither

They are practising in many akhadas( wrestling pits) and challenging one another.


Kari jatan bhat kotinh bikat tan nagar charu disy rachchahim/

Kahu mahish manush dhenu khar aj khal nisachar bhachchahim//

Ehi laagi Tulsidas inh Ki katha kachu ek hai kahi/

Raghubeer sar teeradh sareeranh tyagi gati paihahim sahi//

Monstrous bodied crores of soldiers, are protecting the city from all sides, working  with great alertness

In some places, evil Rakshasas are eating buffaloes,humans,cows,donkeys and goats

Tulsidas is telling their story in a quick manner

Since they are all sure to reach Param- Gati( die and reach heaven), relinquishing their bodies in the holy water of SreeRamchandraji’s arrows.



Pur rakhaware dekhi bahu kapi man keenh bichar/

Ati laghu roop dharaum nisi nagar karaum paisar//

Seeing the huge numbers of city guards, Hanumanji decided

He will assume a very small form and enter the city at night time.


Jai Hanuman Ki


Jo Kalahi Khayi (3) : Eating Death Himself


Nisachary ek sindhu mahu rahai/ kari maya nabhu ke khag gahayi/

Jeevjanthu he gagan udahi/ jal biloki tinh kai parichahi//

There was a Nisachary( one who walks in the night aka rakshasy) who resided in the ocean, using Maya, she used to catch the flying birds in the sky

By looking at the shadows of those birds in the sky,reflected in the waters


Gahayi chaah sak so na udayi/ ehi bidhi sada gaganchar khayi/

Soyi chal Hanuman kah keenha/ tasu kapatu kapi turatahim cheenha//

She used to catch the shadow, so the bird could not fly( and would fall into the ocean waters), in this manner she used to eat the beings in the sky

She tried the same trick with Hanumanji, Hanumanji immediately recognised her vile trap


Taahi mari maruthsuth beera/ baridhi par gayavu matidheera/

Tahan jayi dekhi ban sobha/ gunjath chanchareek madhu lobha//

The son of Wind God, dheer- buddhi( one of steady intelligence), valorous Hanumanji killed her and  crossed the ocean

Reaching the shore, he looked at the beauty of the forests, intoxicated by the honey, the wild bees were buzzing loudly


Nana taru bhal bhool suhaye/ khag mrig brindh dekhi man bhaye/

Sail bisal dekhi ek aage/ ta par Dhabi chadevu bhay tyage//

Different types of trees stood resplendent with flowers and fruits, He became very joyous on seeing many birds and animals

Seeing a huge mountain nearby,  Hanumanji  fearlessly ran  to it and leapt to its top


Uma na kachu kapi kai adhikayi/ Prabhu pratap jo Kalahi khayi/

Giri par chadi Lanka tehi dekhi/ kahi na jayi athi durg biseshi//

( Shivji speaks thus-) Hey Uma! This is not about the prowess of Hanuman. This showcases the powers of the Lord, which can consume Death himself (  eat Kal)

Climbing the mountain, he looked at Lanka, there were many  intriguing forts, it was difficult to assess anything


Ati utang jaladhi chahu paasa/ kanak kot kar param prakaasa//

He was at great height, around him on four sides was the ocean, the  four golden walls  surrounding the city were shining magnificently.


Jai Hanuman Ki!

Bal Buddhi Nidhaan(2) The Embodiment of Strength and Intelligence


Continuing from previous blog…SundarKanda , Hanuman’s journey to Lanka.


Jaath Pavansuth devan dekha/janaim kahu bal buddhi bishesha/

Sursa namak Ahinh Kai Mata/Padainhy ayi kahi tehi batha//

The Devas watched the son of the WindGod flying thus, in order to test his special powers

They send  forth the Mother of Serpents named Sursa, and she, meeting Hanuman spoke thus.


Aaj suranh mohi deenh ahaara/sunath bachan kaha pavankumara/

Ram kaju kari bhiry mai avai/ Sita kai sudhi Prabhuhi sunavaim//

Today the Devas have given me food.Hearing this, Son of Wind God said,

Let me finish the task assigned by Sree Ramji and return, let me appraise the Lord about Sitaji


Tab tak badan paidihau ayi/ satya kahavu mohi jan de mai/

Kavenuhu jatan dei nahi jaana/ grasasy na mohi kahevu hanumana//

I will then enter your mouth( I shall let you eat me), Hey Mata, I am speaking the truth, now let me go

When she did not listen to any of his pleas,  Hanumanji said- Go ahead and eat me.


Jojan bhary tehi  badanu pasara/ kapi tanu keenh dugun bistara/

Sorah jojan mukh tehi dayavu/ turat pavansuta batees bayavu//

She enlarged her mouth to a Yojana, Hanumanji became twice as big

She made her mouth sixteen yojanas wide, Hanumanji became thirty two yojanas in size


Jas Jas Surasa badanu badava/ tasu doon kapi roop dikhava/

Sat jojan tehi aanan keenha/Ati laghu roop pavansuta leenha//

As Surasa kept on increasing the size of her mouth, Hanumanji kept on becoming twice its size,

Surasa made a hundred Yojana mouth, then Hanumanji assumed a very tiny form.


Badan paidi puni baher aava/magaa bidaa taahi siru naava/

Mohi suranh jehi laagi padava/Buddhi bal marmu tor mai paava//

He entered her mouth and came out so fast, and bowing his head bid her bye,

( She said) I have understood your strength and intelligence, the task for which the Devas had sent me.



Ram kaaju sabu karihahu tumh bal buddhi nidhaan/

Aasish deyi gayi so harashy chalevu Hanuman//?/

You will fulfill the assignment given by SreeRamchandraji, because you are the embodiment of intelligence and strength,

Blessing him thus, she left, and Hanumanji renewed his journey, full of joy.


Jai Hanuman Ki

Mohi Kahan Bishram?(1) How Can I Rest?


In school, I had a love- hate relationship with Hindi.  I opted to pursue Malayalam than Hindi, as my second language, at college.As fate would have it, my civil service career was to be in Hindi heartland, where every nook and corner has its  own dialect, its own sweetness and nuances of  this intriguing language. Awadhi, Braj Bhasha, Bundelkhandi, Khariboli…et al..

Tulsidasji’s SreeRamCharit Manas, the Ramayana in Hindi, is an outstanding classic, revered as a gem of devotional literature as well as the epitome of poetic mastery. The narrative, the rhymes, the play of words, the simplicity, the wisdom are  resplendent  with unparalleled beauty.

And slowly, as my confidence in the language increased, I realised that this beauty was accessible to me too: a gift so precious,  that it was worth travelling thousands of kilometres to the land of its birth, albeit in pursuit of a career in public service.


I  have decided to translate a few shlokas  from Goswami Tulsidasji’s SundarKanda, as part of my own learning,  my own personal growth, my  own form of worshipping this beautiful classic.

Often, when you try to translate, the understanding deepens, vocabulary in both languages increase, and one starts catching delicate nuances that usually are not apparent at the first casual reading.

Of course, fools rush in where angels fear to tread. However, I trust in the Lord’s sense of humour and indulgence with fools, and dedicate it to HIM:)

Reference: Tulsidasji SriRamCharitManas, interpreted by Shri.Hanuman Prasad Poddar


Shantam saswatamprameyamanagham nirvanasanthipradam

Brahmashambhubhaneendrasevyamanisham vedanthavedyam vibhum/

Ramakhyam jagadeeshwaram suragurum mayamanushyam Harim

Vandeham karunakaram Raghuvaram bhoopalachoodamanim//

Serene,Eternal, Ineffable,Pure, bestowing  ultimate peace  in the form of Moksha, served by Brahma, Shiva, Seshnag,  the One which Vedanta speaks about, omnipresent, the foremost amongst the Devas, the one who assumes human form using Maya(illusion), the one who removes all sins,the treasury of compassion,the revered among Raghu clan, the jewel in the crown among all Kings- I bow before Ram, as he is called, the Lord Supreme( Jagadeeshwar- the God of the Universe)


Nanya spriha Raghupathe hridayesmadeeye

Satyam vadami cha bhavanakhilandaratma/

Bhaktim prayatscha Raghupungavam nirbharam mei

Kamadidosharahitam Kuru Manasam Cha//

Hey Raghunathji! I am speaking the truth, and You are within all souls ( Antaratma),

You know that I have no other  wish in my heart

Give me complete faith in You

Make my mind free of all weaknesses like Kama(  desire).





Raghupathypriyabhaktam/Vatajatam namami//

Epitome of incomparable strength,  of radiant body shining like the golden mountain( Sumeru)

The fire- bodied one who destroys the forests of daityas, the first among the learned scholars

The seating place of all good qualities, the leader of vanaras

The devotee, very dear to the scion of Raghus,son of Wind God,I offer my salutations to thee.


Jamavanth ke bachan suhaye/ suni Hanumanth Hriday athi bhaye

Tab lagi mohi parideh tum bhaye/ sahi dukh khand mool bhal khaye//

Hearing Jambavan speak thus, Hanuman felt deeply touched

(He said)

Hey brother, wait for me, sustain yourself  till then with fruits and roots.


Jab lagi avaim sitahi dekhi/hoyi hi kaju mohi harsh biseshy/

Yeh kahi nai sabnhi kahu matha/ chalehu harshy hiyam hari Raghunatha//

( Wait for me…) Until I return after seeing Sitaji. I am sure the task will be done, for I feel happy

Saying thus, bowing to all, carrying Raghunatha in his heart, Hanuman left joyously.


Sindhu teer ek bhudhar sundar/Kautuk kudy chadehu ta upar

Bar bar Raghubeer sambhary/ tarkeyu pavantanay bal bhary//

By the side of the ocean stood a huge mountain, Hanuman leapt atop playfully( easily)

Remembering Raghubeer often, the mighty Son of the WindGod jumped with great force from his perch.


Jehim giri charan dei Hanumantha/ chalehu so ga patal turantha/

Jimi amokh Raghupathy kar bana/ehi bhanty chalehuHanumantha//

The mountain from which Hanuman took his leap, went down to the Patal due to the force,

Hanuman travelled like the purposeful arrow of Raghupathy, which never falters from its aim.


Jaladhy Raghupathy dooth bichary/ Taim Mainak hohy shramhary/

The ocean, recognising  Hanuman as SreeRamji’s messenger, told Mainak mountain: ‘Hey, Mainak, help him to relieve his tiredness( Let him rest on you)’



Hanuman tehi parasa kar puni keenah pranaam/

Ram kaju keenhe binu mohi kahan bishram//?//

Hanumanji touched Mainak with his hand, and then bowing to it said thus,

Brother, without fulfilling the task of SriRamchandra, how can I rest?


JaiHanuman Ki!



Touching Iron

“Raise your words, not your voice.

It is the rain that grows flowers,

Not thunder.” ( Rumi)


Touching the hot


With fingers:

Some of us learn  about life

Like that-

Burn by burn,

Blister by blister,

One tear at a time

Falling silently.

Others touch  their fingers,

To cool waters

Tip by tip,

Love and friendship,

Trickling down smoothly.

But when water turns ice

Over the years,

It will burn too

When touched.

Skinning your fingers,

Right off.

Those who trained with fire,

Adapts faster in that game then,

And heal faster.


White stood for simplicity

The nuns had preferred white.

Black, for austerity

Sacrifice had worn a black flag.

Green was for normalcy

And blue for the poets;

But red, it enflamed minds

With lust, life and  hope.

That was  probably aeons before.


The palette has

A golden yellow

Of a sun dimming slowly-

Austere, simple, normal, poetic

Red buried deep within,

Shimmering in the ebbing tides

Useful on occasions;


When one has to smile

Or take a bow

Before interested eyes.




Samvedana and Other Snippets


Certain places drain me, certain people too.  Seeing me sapped after such pertinent encounters, and making excuses to recuperate, my daughters joke that their mother is over the hill already; the elder one telling me that she can actually visualise me in a rocking chair with a black cat by my side. True to character, of course. Mine, not hers.

And then, without the cat by my side, I settle myself in a comfortable sofa and stare at the sunlight outside- wondering why the energy has started resonating with others’ own.

I get put off with artificial people and surroundings. People who say one thing and mean another. Environments where what is valued is not what I value. Those who jump in to judge, without having a clue about the truth. And those who do not understand the word-‘No.’ Among others…


Little daughter is amused at the fact that her mother can cook. She hardly gets to see that back home. There, I am perpetually running.

“It is actually edible,” quoth she!

High praise indeed.

“C’mon, it is not that bad. It is good,” says my loyal first born.

“Cooking is a creative process. What do you want next? Chicken or egg?”

That sets them off.When the discussion, careening from chicken feed,  reaches the need for roughage in diet, and the various Veggies that can be of use in the context, I grin conspiratorially.

“Guess what’s for dinner?”

They groan. Cabbage by any other name smells just as unappetising.

But there is something inherently calming about cooking. Maybe it is the  wide choice of ingredients, the choice of timing and mixing them. Each permutation ends up with a different result. Fascinating, if you actually ruminate on that aspect.


“Amma, start some new project,” advises my  younger daughter. She is tired of being my  exclusive current project . The other one, has happily escaped into a picturesque campus and is enjoying her freedom.

Apparently, there is nothing more irritating, than to be taught Hindi by someone whose pronunciation leaves much to be desired. But there are portions to be covered.

A cough. Then…

“What is samvedana?”

“Sensitivity…tolerance, empathy…read the context first…”I suggest.

“Which of these? And how do you know?” She asks, genuinely surprised.

“Argh! Show some of it to your poor mother. I have used it in speeches.”

She makes an unconvincing sound of  acknowledgement.


I close my eyes. I see a rocking chair, a black cat, streaming sunlight.

Time to start another project. This time, a translation from Hindi perhaps? At least, I will garner some learning  in Hindi and consequent respect from a significant young member of my family. Someone who palpably lacks samvedana as of now!





At nineteen,

I chose my path and all it had,

Unknowing of others

With more spirit, kindness and equal strength

Who could make my journey

True and meaningful.

At eighteen,

She chooses to follow galaxies

Laughing about observations made

From my own life.


I spent a lifetime struggling-

To survive, to just be.

My hands were calloused with holding

Weapons forged in life’s hot fires;

Fighting every inch of the way.

She tells me that life is better spent

If the tides are chosen well,

To swim easily, not fighting for every breath.


At cross roads, I often stumbled

Mistaking smiles for love:

Not realising that the sharpest fangs

Are hidden in the sweetest intonations

Of welcoming companionship.

She tells me that at cross roads,

All which matters is an unfailing compass

That marks out the pole star

Of your own destiny.


At  unforgiving transitions then,

May you fare better than I did, my child.

And may my failures be

Your inspirations

For always choosing better:

Cross checking with your inner eye-

That unfailing star, unerring compass,

That Kindly light,

Showing you the Way.


The Secret Brew



As she flies, smiling, I whisper the contents of the brew into her ears:


A mighty brew:

( Cognate of Character)

Remember this now-

Moment by moment,

Day by day

Month by month

Year by year

Never letting go of your dreams

Standing tall when laughter arises from all sides,

Heedless of all  mockery but your goals

Gritting your teeth

Keep moving onwards.


Sweat of your brow

Time well used

Talents polished golden

Humility, contentment



Passion and truth

Mix in love and friendship,

(Untouched by self centred pollutants)

Breathe deep

Courage and then,


(Remember this too

When the wings are tired:

HE walks with you,

The ONE who put the dream in you-

Never doubt,




Mastering the Fates


How about a film marathon? Watching movies based on the flaming human spirit that pursues excellence against all odds? In a coincidence that bordered on the mystical, I was recently afforded an opportunity to watch a few of such soulful ones: On Pele, on Jesse Owens, on Mandela, on Alan Turing.

‘The Imitation Game’ makes you weep- with overwhelming empathy for a tortured genius. Alan Turing the brilliant mathematician who was driven to suicide at 41, has been beautifully portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.  The enigmatic Turing pieces together the world’s first thinking machine amidst mind numbing pressures, battles deep human prejudices and yearns for life assuring friendships.  All the while, he is quietly saving millions of lives.The film makes us aware of how deeply flawed we are, as a human race. We are the most cruel of all living beings. I felt touched by an Angel after watching this beauty of a movie.

‘Invictus’, is named after William Ernest Henley’s poem that was Nelson Mandela’s favourite. It depicts the elegant Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, emerging from prison in 1994 after 27 years. He is faced with a divisive nation where mutual hatred and suspicions reign. The Rugby World Cup of 1995  is used as an opportunity by the great leader to  inspire a unifying sense of nationhood in the South Africans. One sees leadership in action, greatness in front of the eyes, making us dazzled with the purity of the undying human spirit and the enthralling power of sports.( I loved the Maori war dance, the Haka, before the finals.)

‘ Out of the darkness that covers me/Black as the pit from pole to pole/ I thank whatever Gods may be/ For my unconquerable soul…’

‘Race’- the movie on Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics under Hitler’s very eye, is  both informative and inspiring.We see that the White House  did not acknowledge Owens’ victory and that he was forced to enter his own victory party  at the Waldorf Astoria through the entrance meant for servants. Jesse Owens the quietly confident star, his encounter with German competitor Luz  Long that carries a beautiful story in its  own strength, the manipulations of power- all make for  a mesmerising watching. I  was stunned by the actor who enacted Joseph Goebbels with finesse- Barnaby Metschurat- for the sensitively portrayed body language, the look in his eyes, the palpable touch of evil power. The nexus between politics, business and sports was again high lighted through the story of Avery Brundage. Someone should study that character further for a management course in Power and Politics.

Pele-the birth of a legend, the biographical film, with music by A.R.Rehman, should not be missed by football fans. I wished that my father was watching it with me- when  I watched Pele’s father teaching him the Ginga style (inspired by the Capoeira martial arts )of playing football , using a mango fruit. The mind numbing poverty and the amazingly talented  Brazilian children playing football with cloth balls were eye openers in a literal sense too. Here too, was the human spirit at work, aiming for excellence amidst all odds. The beautiful game is showcased in a wonderful way.

‘ It matters not how strait the gate

How charged with punishment the scroll

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.’