The story of Kulashekara Azhwar

A short wonderful video depicting the life of Sri Kulashekara Azhwar, an ardent devotee of Lord Sri Rama.

Done by the bagavatha behind this beautiful soulful blog http://vaadinen.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/the-story-of-kulashekara-azhwar/

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Natural & Healthy Living

Updated after inputs from a Doctor, who is also a devout Sri Vaishnava.

The human body is a wonder of nature.  Our Acharyas and ancestors lived along with nature and lived hale & healthy for a long time. But these days, in the guise of fighting for and leading a so called Luxurious life has resulted us in becoming unhealthy at a very young age. Nothing can be a bigger pointer than doctors advising people aged just above 35 to regularly undergo checks. (My grouse is not against the doctors, but the unfortunate situation we have put ourselves in.) I chanced upon to read few books on healthy & natural living and have attempted to write down the best ideas from them. Along with the information in the books, I have added my own observations too. Please feel free to leave your thoughts (health professionals especially) and correct adiyean wherever wrong.

Spices

The following tips might not relieve you of all ailments, but they very well help in our body becoming naturally healthy, so we are better prepared to avoid illness and recover quickly and naturally, when we fall ill. It’s just a natural way to take the body to healthiest possible.

Daily Activities

  • Early morning 4 to 6 is Brahma Muhurtham. At this time the atmosphere is charged with energy. Getting up in this time helps us gain this wonderful energy.
  • Get up with a small Prayer of your favourite slokam or the Dhvayam.
  • Wash your face and Splash cold water on your eyes for 8 – 10 times. This helps your eyese refresh & relax.
  • Drink a glass of plain water or warm lemon water (withour Sugar) the first thing in the morning.
  • Practice Pranayama for 5 – 15 mins. I have practised and felt Nadi Shodhan or Anuloma Viloma to be very useful. Joining Yoga classes that help you understand the basics would be very useful.
  • Chant the “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna” mahamantra for 15 – 20 mins. Keep uttering the Lord’s name right through the day.
  • Bathing – Remember bathing in lakes / rivers? Early in the mornings the water is just little warm, in noon it’s mildly chill. This is the ideal temperature for bathing, just a little warmer or colder than room temperature. Never boiling hot or too cold.
  • Whenever possible, prostrate before the Lord fully (Sashtanga Namaskaram) as many times as possible and try to walk as much as possible. This will not only save transportation costs but also increase your good cholesterol (HDL).
  • In the evenings also chant this Mahamantra in evenings. This helps us relax after a tiring day and also get a better sleep in the night.
  • Never sleep immediately after eating.

Food

  • Needless to say, Home cooked food is the best. Avoid readymade foods – the 2 minutes stuff, preserved gravies, fry & serve foods, etc – please don’t consider such readymade food to be home cooked.
  • Cooking in Mud Pots – I have been trying it for past 6 months and it is definitely not as difficult to use as one might feel. In-fact its easier than stainless steel – After cooking the food inside remains hot much longer, while the pot is just warm enough to serve / handle. Food tastes much better when cooked in pots. I have observed food doesn’t either rapidly heat of get cold in a mud pot. I have a feeling food should not be rapidly heated or cooled to preserve its nutrient value. And when the pots get old, just break it in your backyard and it just decomposes – extremely eco friendly. I can assure it is completely worth the effort of searching a potter and buying it.
  • Traditional Indian foods often have medicinal values (For ex: Ragi, Kambhu dishes). Internet is abound with many recipes for traditional Indian food (This blog might be useful). A lot of booklets are also available. Once you get an idea of nutritional value of foods and the recipes, you might very well find it very interesting and rewarding too (with good health).
  • Try to eat more of uncooked and partly cooked vegetables, do not drain away all the water after cooking. Ratio of food should be: 2 parts of vegetables to 1 part of rice or chapathi and 1 part of protein in the form of sambar and/or curd. Do not eat fruit at the end of the meal but may be in the evening or at the time of going to bed (light quantity only at night).
  • Always eat in a relaxed way and enjoy your meal. When you chew your food well, you can digest the food much better and easily.
  • Please have your dinner by 7.30 pm. There should be a gap of at least 2 hrs between night food and sleep.
  • Use Silver Plates / Jugs. Here’s a scientific proof to silver inhibiting growth of bacteria. Copper jugs too can be used for water. Plantain leaf for food is preferable. Avoid plastic plates / spoons – especially with hot dishes.
  • In case you are dining outside, the following tips can help. The thumb rule is to start and end with something healthy & easily digestible. Start with fresh salads (please don’t think why spend so much on just vegetables / fruits; health is invaluable). Go for gravies with a lot of vegetables or something simple like Dhal etc. Choose breads made of Atta instead of Maida (Roti instead of Naan). Drink warm water, or if you are not comfortable, plain water, avoid Chilled water. But the best is to drink warm / plain water half an hour before or after meal and not while eating. If you have dined heavily, make sure to eat lightly with fruits & vegetables the next day.

Sleep (Some are from my personal observations too, feel free to share your thoughts)

  • An average person’s sleep requirements vary from 7 – 9 hours. When your body gets the right amount of sleep, you would wake up much fresher & active. Track & identify the number of hours required by you over a period of 2 or 3 weeks and tweak your sleep schedule accordingly.
  • I have observed I have a much better & sound sleep when I calmly lull myself into sleep for 10 – 15 mins and also wake up much fresher. During days when I was already very sleepy and just crashed into bed and slept off, I couldn’t sleep well and woke up earlier and feeling less active or fresh. My theory is that along with your body, we need to slowly relax and calm down our minds too for a better sleep, it’s not just the body alone. This is just my personal observation. Feel free to leave your thoughts in comments.
  • Avoid using Computer / TV / Mobiles / Tablets at least 60 mts before you go to sleep. This may be difficult, but please do try. It is very, very helpful.
  • During the 10 – 15 mins I lull myself into sleep, I do nothing other than just chant the wonderful “Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare! Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!!“. I also wake up with the same Mahamantra. (You may chant any mantra that is close to your heart.) Starting and ending the day thinking of Lord Sri Rama, gives me so much calm all through the day.

This is just my humble attempt in helping readers lead a healthy life. Please feel to share your views and correct adiyean wherever wrong. I also encourage to share your experiences  / tips cooking in Mudpots. It would be very useful for others too.

Sri Varaha Kavacham – Recitation & Meaning

In an earlier post on Srimushnam temple, a bagavatha asked about Shri Varaha Kavacham. Sriman Narayana blessed me with a beautiful recitation and an equally beautiful meaning for every line in english. My ignorance and initially I found the recitation to be normal. But seems Sriman Narayana wanted  me to show how beautiful it is; the net got disconnected and the recitation began to play from the beginning. And I just opened another link with the meanings. Suddenly as I heard the recitation and read the meaning, I realised how beautiful and powerful Shri Varaha Kavacham is. Sriman Narayana definitely plays with his devotees like a child 🙂 . Many thank to the Bagavatha for asking about Shri Varaha Kavacham.

For your reading pleasure the Recitation and the meaning are posted below. Continue reading

Swamy Velukkudi Krishnan’s wonderful talk with Mr.Cho Ramaswamy.

Journalist Cho Ramaswamy interviews Velukudi Krishnan in the second episode of travel show Sri Ramanin Padhayil telecast in Vijay TV (Sundays 10am).

Update : All the episodes can be watched here – youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsSTkBgqx7os9FRlz8J0wee-9IiWUeYxB

Blessed Creatures…

We are all humans and we consider ourselves lucky to be so, which is quite true. But there are many instances where some animals have been far more luckier than ourselves.

  1. Squirrel – In Ramayana, a humble squirrel helped Lord Sri Rama build the bridge to Lanka. Seeing their devout service, Sri Rama affectionately patted on its back. How many of us would be lucky enough to be affectionately touched by the Lord Himself? Size and power really doesn’t matter when it comes to Bhakthi!
  2. Jatayu – In Ramayana, Jatayu valiantly fought against Ravana to save Sita Devi. After Jatayu left for Moksha, Lord Sri Rama himself did the last rites for the bird, just like a son. No words to say how lucky Jatayu Maharaj was.
  3. The Vanaras – An entire army of vanaras helped Lord Sri Rama fight Ravana. How lucky would the vanaras be to see and talk to The Lord himself. And none could be more blessed than our Hanuman, the true eternal Bhaktha.
  4. Cows – The cows that Sri Krishna herded should be really blessed. Unlike others who were with the Lord in the times of war, the cows were with Sri Krishna when he was living peacefully in Brindhavanam. They had to just listen to the soulful music from Sri Krishna’s flute and rest under Sri Krishna’s lotus feet. What a bliss!!
  5. 5 horses that Sri Krishna used to drive his chariot in Mahabharata. Sri Krishna himself fed and took care of the horses.
  6. Gajendra Alwar – He called and The Lord came flying. No more words.
  7. Aadalma – While all others were with The Lord Himself, Aadalma was the horse of one of the most devout bakthas of The Lord – Thirumangai Alwar. It is with this wonderful horse that Thirumangai Alwar visited the 106 divyadesams (in earth). If you help The Lord, He is happy, but if you help his devotee, He is even more happy!!
Please feel free to add to the above list and share your thoughts in the comments section.

Kinchitkaram Divyadesa Thondu

Kinchitkaram Trust Divyadesa Thondu

Kinchitkaram Trust has come out with another really wonderful effort. Reading the leaflet I felt like this was just what every Sri Vaishnava would need. Here is what the scheme is…

Due to our commitments, most of us live in cities. Nevertheless, we all yearn to stay in a tranquil Divyadesam for some days and do some Kainkaryams for the Lord there. But we are unsure about food, accommodation & the kainkaryams that cane be done. Kinchitkaram Trust, through this service helps bagavathas to stay in Divyadesams. To start with, the trust has shortlisted 4 Divyadesams bagavathas can visit and do kainkaryams.

  • Food & Accomodation will be arranged by the Trust. Accomodation is being provided free of cost and food at a very nominal price.
  • Books & CD’s on the Divyadesam will be provided by the Trust.
  • Interested Bagavathas can register through Kinchitkaram Volunteers or through the Kinchitkaram site – http://www.kinchit.org

During the Stay

  • You can do Pushpa Kainkaryams (Garlands / Tulsi for the Lord), help keep the temple premises clean, draw kolams in temples etc.
  • You can also sing or play devotional tunes in Flute / Tabala etc.
  • You can also offer financial help to the Archakas, other swamis and even the temple workers. These donations are given directly by you to the divyadesa people and NOT through the Trust.

The 4 wonderful Divyadesams shortlisted

  1. Katumannar Kovil (Near Chidambaram)
  2. Sirupuliyur (Near Mayiladuthurai)
  3. ThiruKanangudi (Near Nagapattinam)
  4. Koviladi Appakuduthaan (Near Trichy)

All the 4 divyadesams are very beautiful but less visited by Bagavathas. Visiting the wonderful Perumals in these Divyadesmas offer a unforgettable experience. More than money, it encourages the Archakas when they see a lot of devotees coming daily to see the Lord and do Kainkaryams. We spend most of our lives running mindlessly in concrete jungles, catering to ourselves. Once in a while it is good to stop runing and live a couple of days for Him. For more information, please see Brochure below.