Saturday, 18 March 2017

THE UNASSUMING TEMPLE AT CHILUKURU


THE SIMPLE YET POWERFUL BALAJI TEMPLE


Image result for chilkur balaji temple images


Image result for chilkur balaji temple images

Balaji is another name for Lord Vishnu, who is one of the three main Hindu deities.

There is an internationally famous Balaji hill temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh in South India. This temple has lakhs of devotees thronging for a Darshan (Sighting) of the Lord Balaji deity all year around. Devotees sometimes have to wait several hours for a quick Darshan of the Lord. The crowds get even larger on festival and other auspicious days.

There are several other Balaji temples across India of course, especially in the South of India.

But there is one, relatively less known Balaji temple on the outskirts of Hyderabad in Telangana, India, which is quite special indeed.

This is called the Chilukuru Balaji temple because it is located in a small village called Chilukuru, about 30 kms from Hyderabad.

What then is special about this temple?

Firstly, this unassumingly small temple is among the very few probably which doesn’t have a money donation hundi. In fact, during my visit to the temple, I have even heard announcements requesting devotees not to make any cash donations. Rather, they were encouraged to buy-only if they wished to help out-some very low cost religious publications from the temple.

Another specialty is its interesting history. There was a Balaji devotee from Chilukuru who used to visit the hill temple at Tirupati every year without fail. When he became old, he could no longer undertake the arduous pilgrimage to Tirupati and was very sad about this.

It is said that Lord Balaji Himself appeared to his beloved devotee and assured him that then on, He would come to the devotee’s place Himself to enable his ardent devotee to continue his worship of Balaji. Thus a small idol of the Lord was discovered in the devotee’s place and was installed as the presiding deity in Chilukuru temple.

Though small, the temple attracts quite a sizable crowd every day in proportion to its size. Most go there hoping for some wish to be granted by Lord Balaji. There is an unwritten system followed by many for this. They make eleven Pradakshins (Circumambulations) of the Lord when making a wish.

Later, when the wish is granted, they are supposed to return and make hundred and eight Pradakshins as a token of thanksgiving. The demand for this vow is so high and the temple so small that some days it is quite difficult in the jostling crowd to make the Pradakshins. Still it goes on with Spiritual ardour due to the glory of Balaji.

Quite a few years back, I had the good fortune of being able to offer this thanksgiving to Chilukuru Balaji.

Have you been there, dear friend? If so, kindly share your experiences.
   

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

OFFERING TO GOD THROUGH THULABARAM



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A large common balance is kept in many Indian temples, notably in the famous Guruvayoor Krishna temple in Kerala, among others.

Thulabaram is a Hindu religious practice wherein a believer makes a sacred vow to make offerings to the Lord by weighment in the large set of scales kept for the purpose.

The offerings can be any single thing which the devotee wants to make, ranging from rice, sugar, fruits, vegetables, silver or currency coins… as he or she pleases.

Generally, such offerings are promised to the Lord while praying for some boon-for instance-recovery of an ailing child. In this case, the parents might undertake to give sugar, specified fruits or vegetables equal to the child’s weight as measured on the Thulabaram.

It is a matter of faith, like many other such vows across the world religions.

But I, as a firm believer had the benediction to see and experience firsthand the miracle of Lord Krishna in Guruvayoor.

It was back in the late 1990s when I was suspected to have a serious ailment and had be admitted in a well known hospital. My family members undertook to do a Thulabaram at Guruvayoor after my recovery.

As the Lord willed, I recovered fast and we proceeded to Guruvayoor to fulfill the vow. Before our turn, there was another couple with a small child who were trying to weigh their child against yam. But as we watched in utter astonishment, the priest who was overseeing the ritual kept on heaping huge quantities of yam (procured by the parents) on the pan of the balance, but the Thulabaram balance did not balance! That too against a puny underweight child!

As we all watched in awe and amazement, the priest slowly turned to the devotee parents and asked, “What indeed did you undertake to offer to the Lord?” The mother of the child replied, “Actually it was raw bananas, but we couldn’t get that in sufficient quantity at that time…”

Before she could complete, the priest lifted the child off the balance and told them firmly, but kindly, “Go get the bananas and come back! Else it won’t balance.”

As we bowed to the Lord with moist eyes, the priest related another miracle in Guruvayoor Thulabaram history- A very pious but poor lady had committed to offer her baby’s weight in coins to the lord upon his recovery from some ailment. But when she came to Guruvayoor for fulfilling the vow, she had very little money left.

As she came sobbing to the priest who was there at the Thulabaram, he said, “Let us try with what you have… The ways of the Lord Krishna are mysterious.”

With a single coin, the Lord made the Thulabaram balance!

Jai Sri Krishna!



Sunday, 12 March 2017

THE GREAT SHIVA DEVOTEE MANIKYAVACHAKAR


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Image wikipedia
He was a great Shiva devotee, this simple Brahmin called Vaadavurar,
Admired by Pandian king for his brilliance, he became his prime minister.
When charged with the task of procuring horses for the king at Madurai,
 He proceeded thereupon with plenty of Royal Gold to a village Tiruperundurai.

There at a temple, the minister did in great joy meet a learned Siddha,
And forgot everything realizing in bliss that it was indeed his Iswara.
Lord Shiva was indeed there to bless his devotee with Jnana Upadesa,
After conferring Divine Knowledge, he addressed him as Manikyavachaka.

Thereafter Manikyavachaka forgot the horses , forgot the king’s instruction,
Fully immersed as he was in the temple and Iswara’s benediction.
When all the Gold was for the temple spent, he realized he had empty purses
He then prayed to the Lord Shiva not knowing how to deliver the horses.

Though delivering miracle horses with the help of Divine intervention,
Manikyavachakar had however to suffer some minor tribulation.
Abandoning material life even though the King later realized his sincerity,
Manikyavachakar  gifted to the world Tiruvasakam  and other divine poetry.




Saturday, 4 March 2017

THE MIGHTY BEAR KING JAMBAVAN

 Image result for jambavan with hanuman free download



Mightiest Among warriors, wisest among counselors- all in one,
Was the great Bear king, the powerful but sagely Jambavan.
Created by God to help his Earthly Avatar, Lord Sri Rama,
He made service of the King Rama as his life’s Dharma.

Much is written about the might of the valiant Jambavan,
His most valuable role was the inspiration of Hanuman,
Encouraging him to dare and cross the ocean- a feat most remarkable,
By reminding Hanuman how mighty he really was- and capable.

When Lord Rama’s brother Laxman lay critically injured by Indrajit,
It was Jambavan again who refused to concede slightest defeat,
Advising Hanuman to bring from the Himalayas a wonder herb-very rare,
He ensured the recovery of Sri Laxman- this wondrous bear. 

 Jambavan and Hanuman, devotees of caliber very rare
 Were said to be the only ones blessed to there
 During both Rama and Krishna Avatar.






Tuesday, 28 February 2017

THE SAVIOR GODDESS MAHISHASUR MARDINI



Image result for mahishasura mardini images free download

She is dazzlingly beautiful and infinitely gracious in her benevolent aspect,
She is all powerful and blood curdlingly frightening in her terrifying aspect,
She is Shakti, the Mother of the Universe, the luminous embodiment of pure energy,
She is Simhavahini- astride a lion- and the destroyer of evil, the savior of the virtuous.

Durga was created by the trinity of Gods with their concentrated power and energy,

When the whole Earth and even the Heavens were shaking with fear and in jeopardy;
Ever since the menacing and terrifying Mahishasur, the buffalo demon,
Bagged a boon from Lord Shiva that he could be killed by no man.

 Thus ,created by the Gods themselves with a mission to destroy the powerful Mahishasur,
Durga is concentrated pure and Infinite Energy in woman form, built to annihilate evil.
Equipped by the Gods with spears, trident, conch, mace, sword and many a weapon,
Durga fought a terrible battle with the asur and destroyed him, this Goddess among women.

Finally the humans on Earth and the Gods in heaven danced in joy and glee;
So Durga is venerated and worshipped every year during nine days of Navrathri.
As the protector of the virtuous and benevolent savior of the needy,
She is known to her devotees as the great Mahishasur Mardini.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

FRIENDSHIP- AN ARTICLE REVIEW

Image result for FREE DOWNLOAD IMAGES FOR FRIENDS


The importance of Friendship, by Jane Collingwood is an interesting read and should take just three minutes of your valuable time.


“The noble man is most involved with wisdom and friendship.” -Epicurus

There is a vital cause for modern social problems, beyond just divorce, homelessness and obesity-and that is friendship-says the author.

Quoting researchers, the author says that our society is apparently ignoring its importance.

Referring to the Gallup Organization’s director, Tom Rath, the author says that the former believes that ‘we are all aware of the value of friendship especially during difficult times.’

 In his book, Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford To Live Without, Rath reportedly makes the point that if you ask people why they became homeless, why their marriage failed or why they overeat, they often say it is because of the poor quality, or nonexistence, of friendships. They feel outcast or unloved.

Rath’s research on ‘Friendship’ reportedly yielded some surprising statistics: If your best friend eats healthily, you are five times more likely to have a healthy diet yourself. Married people say friendship is more than five times as important as physical intimacy within marriage.

Quoting Vernon, the author says, in conclusion, that it is recommended to spend at least a fifth of your time with friends, since a close friend is a mirror of yourself.

Monday, 20 February 2017

www.thesmartlad.com

For those among you who love the great , open outdoor life, the following blog might be interesting:

www.thesmartlad.com

This blog has several interesting posts on tents in the shape of vans and SUVs, fishing apparatus, pontoons, hunting jackets and so on.