To God, With Love

My first book in Malayalam has been released:  a translation of spiritual poetry. My gratitude to DC books and K.R.Meera.

Meera, what a scintillating preface you have written! I loved it!

 

http://onlinestore.dcbooks.com/books/eswarante-pranaya-geethangal

img_1484img_1485

 

Matibhram Tor Pragat Mai Jana(22): I See That You Have Lost Your Sense Of Right And Wrong

img_1427

Hanumanji’s tail is set on fire( SundarKanda continued)
*
Mrityu nikat aayi khal tohi /lagesy adham sikhavan mohi//
Ulta hoyihi kah Hanumana/matibhram tor pragat mai jana//
(Ravan said) Hey Wicked One!  Your end is very close, You Despicable One! You have arrived to teach me lessons?
Hanumanji said, ‘ The opposite is going to happen'( Your end is close, not mine), Your discretion is totally lost, I have recognised that( matibhram- losing sense of right and wrong)
*
Suni kapi bachan bahut khisiaana/ begi na harahu moodh kar praana//
Sunat nisachar maaran dhaye /sachivanhu sahit Bibheeshan aaye//
Hearing Hanumanji’s words, Ravan was infuriated, ( He said)- ‘Why not kill this fool immediately?’
Hearing his words, Rakshasas ran to kill Hanumanji, by that time Bibheeshan accompanied by other ministers reached the court
*
Nayi sees kari binay bahootha/ neeti birodh na mariya doota//
Aan dand kacchu kariya Gosai/sabahim kaha mantra bhal bhai//
He bowed his head and very politely requested Ravan not to kill the messenger, since it was against the accepted rules of royal behaviour ( Neeti sastra is a science in itself)
Perhaps he could be given some other punishment, everyone agreed that the advice was excellent
*
Sunath bihasi bola Daskandar/Ang bhang kari padayiya bandar//
Hearing this, Ravan laughed and said- alright, let us tear his limbs apart and send him back
*
Doha:
Kapi keim mamata poonch par sabahi kahavu samuchayi/
Tel bori pat baandhi puni paavak dehu lagayi//
I am telling you that the monkey’s pride rests in his tail
So, dip clothes in  oil and wrap those around his tail, then set fire to it!
*
Poonchheen banar tah jayihi/tab sad nij nadhahi lai aayihi//
Jinh hai keenhisi bahut badayi/dekhavu mai tinh kai prabhutai//
When this tail less monkey reaches his Lord, he will accompany him back here
He has been praising his Lord so much, let me also take a look at his Lord’s capabilities
*

High Energy Musings

becoming-beowulf-Joseph-Campbell (1)

So the story goes that one day, someone offered money, to SriRamKrishna Paramahansa.

“I do not want it,” said RamKrishna.

“Why not? You are a Yogi- you will not misuse it. You should keep it,” the man insisted.

“If you know there is a poisonous snake inside a hole and still insert your hand inside, what would happen?”Ramkrishna laughed in merriment, “I do not want it.”

“But you are an evolved soul. Oil drops rise up even if they are mixed with water,” the man was indefatigable.

“But think of the rancid stink of that oil…,” chuckled RamKrishna. “It is better to avoid temptation altogether.”

****

In the classic “The Power of Myth “, the great  scholar Joseph Campbell exhorts to do the same.

When Bill Moyers asked him whether a Hero lurked in each of us, he answered thus:

“Our life evokes our character. You find out more about yourself as you go on. That is why it’s good to put yourself in situations that will evoke your higher nature rather than your lower. “Lead us not into temptation.”

*****

Explaining how Ego gets into a competitive race wanting to prove oneself better than others, even in one’s spirituality, Wayne Dyer says, “Ego thinks that feeling more spiritual is equivalent to being in an elite classification and will try to get more spiritual points than your opponents.”

Personal Note:)

Replace “spiritual” with beautiful/popular/successful/prosperous/cool/adored/wooed/desired/whatever..

Wayne Dyer  writes, “It is that very elitist world of lower vibrations that you want to leave behind. ”

****

 

 

The Radiance of Grace

When my mother emphasizes her point, she does it very firmly.

She sent me three different interpretations of Melpattur Narayana Bhattatiry’s  1036 shloka summary of the great Sreemad Bhagavatham: Narayaneeyam.

Published in different decades, translated from Sanskrit by various scholars, in different stages of  use ( one had her green inked notes to the sides, another had pictures of my nephew and Sree Krishna  within its pages, the third was dedicated to my daughters, her writing in blue black ink..) the three books grace my home today.

In the seventh century, Mayur Bhatta/Mayura MahaKavi, afflicted with leprosy, had written 100 shlokas praising the Sun God, namely the ‘Surya Sataka’. In a similiar manner, Melpathoor Narayana Bhattathiry, being afflicted by acute rheumatism, stayed in the divine precincts of Lord Guruvayoorappan temple, and wrote the 1036 shlokas in 100 days, in a format called dasakam (10 each).

Lot of us grew up hearing the poignant anecdote of an ailing Melpattur sending a messenger to Ezhuthachan,  asking for guidance and the tongue-in-cheek reply from the latter: ” Meen tottu kootikollu” ( Wordplay being translated as :  Taste the fish/Start with the fish ). Brahmins of Kerala, being strict vegetarians, Ezhuthachan was showing the way out  of the ailment: by describing Lord Vishnu’s various avatars , starting withe the Avatar of the Fish. The young scholar, hardly 27 at that time, completes the feat in 100 days, and is cured of his disease.

In addition to this anecdote , comes the second one- the humble vernacular poet and extremely devoted Krishna Bhakt, Poonthanam Namboodiry, having completed his ‘Jnanapana ‘, ventured to show his manuscript to the erudite Melpathur, whose fame had already spread due to “Narayaneeyam.” The story goes that Melpattoor did not have time for the “vernacular” version .(  Indicating that the work was too low for his scholarship level ; he had mastered Sanskrit in all its glory and vernacular was a poor cousin indeed).

Poonthanam was very disappointed and hurt. The cured rheumatism  returned that night, and Melpathur had a dream. Little Krishna came to him and said, ” I like Poonthanam’s Bhakti than Melpathur’s Vibhakti (Vibhakti Pratyayam is a part of Sanskrit Grammar) Melpathur went seeking Poonthanam and corrected his manuscript with due humility. Both the works praising the Lord, remain masterpieces of spiritual literature, cherished by the recipients of these gifts.It is a joy to find many translations available online of Narayaneeyam and Jnanapana.

The depth of scholarship is mind boggling. Many scholars of that era(adept in Sanskrit, astrology and Mathematics equally) left clear clues of the time and month of their work, within their shlokas. Melpattur left a clue, ‘Ayurarogyasaughyam'( with life and health at its serene balance), which as per Astrological calculations left a clue that it was 763 Years, Kolla Varsham, Vrischikam, day 28th when he finished his endeavour.

The very erudite foreword explained about his life, other works with extracts, and that of his contemporaries; and how we can calculate the exact date of his demise, using the same strategy of numbers hidden in words. For example, Melpattur also wrote ‘Sree Pada Sapthathy,’ 70 shlokas praising the gorgeous feet of the Goddess Mukollakal Devi. One interpretation is that he was also 70 years old at that time. I was struck by the astounding shloka where the Devi, wife of Shiva, is angry at her husband and her  mesmerisingly beautiful feet  actively reject his bowed head! Beautiful online versions are available for Sreepada Sapthathy too.

Well, if you are interested in poetry of exquisite proportions, do dip into these scholarly classics. The mind and the spirit will emerge blossoming, much from the beauty of words as from the stories and enchanting lore.

And I finally get my mother’s point. Emphasized thrice.

Riches, scholarship and youth will make a person forget oneself; learn to step beyond and hold onto His lotus feet for a grace filled life.

*****

Two Autobiographies : Prof Veerankutty ( Poem Translation from Malayalam)

“Randu Atmakathakal” ; Original Poetry in Malayalam by VeraanKutty; published in Mathrubhumi Weekly, Onam Special edition, September 2014.

On reading it, I imagined the hundred rupee note mentioned  in it, as money in any denomination, in any currency, in any country in the world. The stories would remain the same- its own and ours.

A torn hundred rupee

Landed in my hand.

Stained

Faded

Weary and dirty.

I had purchased Gandhiji’s autobiography,

This was handed over as the leftover gain.

I tried to lodge it in between fresh rupees

And escape from it

Keep your trick  to yourself, they said.

When I left it at a busy cash counter

Someone caught my collar

And barked

I felt furious, ashamed.

Threw it inside my pocket

Wished to wash my hands

A hundred times.

It fluttered helplessly within my pocket

It leaned closer to my heart and whispered

In a voice which only I could hear:

“I have never hid inside a rich man’s pillow cover

Have been with the poor and the hard working

For a long time

With those you say, want to make you wash

A hundred times.

I had prayed that the dawn came much later

When I was inside the pocket

Of a thief who slept off.

The milk stain which spread over me

When a mother walked the street

To purchase medicines for her newborn

Is still not faded.

Within the pocket of the man who

Hanged himself

I was there, witnessing his death

Measuring it.

The fish scale from the fisher woman’s hands

The blood from the butcher’s hand

The crab meat curry stain from the toddy shop

Are tattooed over me

Like another skin.

In the gambler’s den and in the God’s coffers

I have lain equally calm.

Even though I disliked it

Was handed over as reward

After murders and pimping.

Through dark places

Hidden undergrounds

Touched by tears and sweat drops

Hit by spittle,  and human waste

Subtly and Openly

The path that I have traversed

Even your Mahatma

Might not have travelled.”

I sat down stunned

Unable to hear the story

Of a discarded rupee note.

I took it out from my pocket

And bowed before it

With absolute humility

Of someone who was deeply perplexed

By

The language-

Of the great book which was full of

Lives, I have never lived.

***************