Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Ashtavakra- Five Facts

1.He is described as one born with eight different deformities of the body (two feet, two knees, two hands, the chest and the head). In SanskritAṣṭāvakra means "one having eight bends".

2.Aṣṭāvakra is the author of the work Aṣṭāvakra Gītā, also known as Aṣṭāvakra Saṃhitā, a treatise on the instruction by Aṣṭāvakra to Janaka about the Self. Aṣṭāvakra is the Guru of the king Janaka and the sage Yājñavalkya.

3.Kahola was father of Aṣṭāvakra.Sujātā was mother.

4.One day, as Kahola was reciting the Vedas within the hearing distance of the child growing in the womb. The embryo was aware of the correct pronunciation of every syllable since its mother used to attend classes with rapt attention. The embryo heard the recitation of Kahola, but whenever Kahola pronounced a syllable wrong, it squirmed in distress. The embryo informed Kahola that he had pronounced the syllable wrongly as indicated by the child in the womb. This happened on eight occasions. Kahola perceived this as arrogance on the part of something, yet to manifest itself in the world. He cursed the fetus with eight deformities of the body. When the baby was born, it was crooked in eight places - the two feet, the two knees, the two hands, the chest and the head). He was named Aṣṭāvakra, which means "one having eight bends"

5.Ashtavakra went on to become the spiritual teacher of King Janaka and is the author of Ashtavakra Gita – one of the greatest books on Advaita Vedanta

Sunday, 10 November 2013

How to differentiate between Yogi and a Tapasvi


The Shiva-Samhita text defines the yogi as someone who knows that the entire cosmos is situated within his own body, and the Yoga-Shikha-Upanishad distinguishes two kinds of yogins: those who pierce through the "sun" (surya) by means of the various yogic techniques and those who access the door of the central conduit (sushumna-nadi) and drink the nectar. 

Yogis are males who practice, or are mastered in, yoga. Yogini is the term used for female yogins. 

Some Yogis: 

Sri Aurobindo 
Swami Yogananda Giri 
Swami Ramdev 
Swami Satchidananda 
Swami Sivananda 
Swami Rama Tirtha 
Swami Mahesh Yogi 
Swami Paramahansa Yogananda and many others. 


Sanskrit tapasya (neuter gender), literally "heat", refers to a personal endeavor of discipline, undertaken to achieve a goal, accompanying suffering and pain. Earliest reference of this word is to be found in the Rgveda-8.82.7, where its is used in the sense 'pain, suffering' . 

Tapasya is one of the Niyamas (observances of self-control) described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Tapasya implies a self-discipline or austerity willingly expended both in restraining physical urges and in actively pursuing a higher purpose in life. Through tapas, a yogi or spiritual seeker can "burn off" or prevent accumulation of negative energies, clearing a path toward spiritual evolution. 

One who undertakes tapas is a Tapasvin. From tapas the more widespread word tapasyā was derived, which is used in all three genders and was mentioned in Katyayana-Shrauta-Sutra, Baudhayana's Dharma-shashtra, Panini-4.4.128, etc. Rigveda has dozens of references to words derived from 'tapas' which indicate that "suffering, austerity" was its meaning from the Rigvedic times. 

Monks and gurus in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism practice tapasya as a means to purify and strengthen their devotion to God, practice a religious lifestyle and obtain moksha, or spiritual liberation. 

Tapas may be the striving for nirvana, or moksha. It may also be striving for perfection in a particular sport, field of knowledge or work. Tapasya may also be undertaken as penance, to liberate oneself from the consequences of a sin or sinful activities, or karma. 

Some Tapasvis: 

Vishwamitra (King Kaushika) undertakes a heavy penance, fasting and meditating for thousands of years to become the equal of Guru Vasishta, a Brahmarishi. 

Bhagiratha was an ancient Indian king who brought down the River Ganga to earth. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Difference between Rishi AND Muni

1.Rishis, Maharishis were expert in any subject, while Munis, Mahamunis were saintly persons who had renounced worldly pleasures. However both worked for welfare of humanity and environment.

2.Mahamunis were the one who had renounced all worldly pleasures, had extreme knowledge about at least one subject. ‘Rishis’ were expert in any subject and persons with better knowledge and human and environment friendly approach of the subject. Masters among experts were called ‘MAHARISHI’, and grandmasters, ‘BRAHMRISHI’. Remember it was extremely difficult to be called Bhramrishi.

3.The original Saptrishis were Bhramrishis. The main difference between rishis and munis was that munis were ‘saintly persons’ who had already started the process of renouncing worldly pleasures, while rishis were expert in any subject with aptitude and intention to use the knowledge for humanity and environment.

4.Saptrishis were experts in their respective subjects; but they had not renounced worldly pleasures and could NOT be classified as munis. Later the name of the Saptrishis became the title or ‘gotra’ of Brahmins and had since been used as such. This is one erosion that had taken place and is physically verifiable even today

5.According to  Buddhist and Janis,Munis   are the persons who have renounced worldly pleasures. During Dwaaper yug Parasher, the renowned Jyotish was a Mahamuni.

6.A RISHI is one who trancends the level of RIT(RIT is a wave of SOUL which attaches SOUL to the MIND through INTELLECT) towards SELF REALISATION.
   A MUNI means one whi explores one's MIND.
   To become RISHI one needs to be MUNI first.

7.Narad (son of Bramha) was known as Narad Muni.
  Agastys was with the kings and performing Havan/prayers etc in the forest - was a      (Maha) rishi

8.Thus, a muni is a spiritual philosopher. The answers to difficult existential questions that spiritual philosophers arrive at through logic are quite similar to those provided by rishis or mystics through experience.  The muni’s method needs a sharp intellect, which therishi’s method does not. Still, the muni’s method is considered inferior to the rishi’s method.  The reason is that the muni’s method provides answers that entertain the intellect but are open to doubts and questions, as is everything worked out by the intellect.  The rishi or mystic explores the same questions through intense concentration and self-purification, and is not satisfied till he has arrived at the answers through personal experience.