Friday, December 31, 2010

The Lotus -Kamal - for Aspiration & Purity.

The Lotus -Kamal -Aspiration & Purity

 January 1st 2010.
Namaskar -
WE start the Prakruti -Mother Nature blog for 2011 on the Lotus -Padma, Pankaja, Ambuja, Kamal, Tamarai etc. It is also is our National Flower. The Lotus (or the Water Lily) grows  in shallow waters of ponds and lakes.It is described as an aquatic plant, has broad  green leaves that float on the water and beautiful flowers with large petals that bloom out can be seen when we pass Temple tanks.The lotus flower comes  in several shades of colour esp Red, Pinkish, White and Bluish.
It  has this  unique quality of growing in muddy water -Roots in muddy soil and yet it rises on a lengthy  stalk above the surface of the water with the sunrise-and so often called as "Surya Kamal"-to bloom and gloriously REACH OUT -UPWARDS -in a  perfect sign of Aspiration. It does not allow the muddy waters to stain or effect its beauty or purity. It is thus taken as a symbol of perfection in many ways viz. Peace, Bliss, Aspiration. It thus  sees very many analogies in sanskrit prayers, prose  and poetry. 
See paintings of Raja RaviVarma .  

The lotus flower is associated with so many deities,verses- and spiritual analogies with valuable lessons and  our loved  Goddess Shree Maha Lakshmi, Vishnu. Krishna, Brahma, Saraswati. Shree Mahalakshmi holds it in both hands -seated or standing on a Lotus and in a lake of Lotus flowers -the elephants even hold a lotus in offering .

The 108 names starting with Shree Prakruti namaha in stotram has apart from Shree KamalaayaiNamaha-
The names with with Padma --prefix eg 
Shree Padma priyaai, PadmaHastayai,Padmaakshyai, Padmasundaryai, Padmodhbhavayai, Padmamukhayai, Padmanabhapriyai,Padmamaaladhaarayai, Padminyai, Padmagandhinyai-NAMAHA, --comes 10 times.

Shree Vishnu in the Chaturbhuja aspect holds the Shanka, Chakra, Gadha --& Padma.
Then we have the  poetical  reference  in the expressions Kamala Naayan, Charana Kamal or lotus feet of the Almighty. 
The Ananth Padmanabha Swamy Temple- vigraha also see the lotus emerge from Vishnu.

The Gita Upadesh & and Gajendra Moksha analogy in Srimad Bhagavatam to ilustrate
Lord Krishna takes  the  the analogy of the Lotus  flower as a symbol of Detachment-in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita :
 "One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.
" be like the lotus and be unaffected by karma by working without attachment.

The Elephant King Gajendra is a beautiful lesson of Seeking the Lords Grace "Moksha" -after all efforts in the material world pursuits leave us  or  fail and difficulty grips us in the final struggle viz. the analogy of a crocodile (problems ) catching his feet in its jaws- symbolising the eternal stuggle of Mankind caught in turmoil of Bhava roga i.e. Samsara- Finally-- takes a  Lotus and in Prayers offers to to Lord Vishnu in total Surrender "Sharanagati" and is relieved- hence called the "Gajendra Moksha". 
The symbolism and analogy is profound and this is not a simple story..

The lotus flower represents long life, health, honor and good luck. Lotus seeds are known to last generations and still are able to Germinate-Egyptians knew this and revered the Lotus in many ways. In Buddhism, this flower is valued very highly-"Om Mani Padme" meditation. RK mission also has this  .
In Yoga and Buddhist teachings, the Anahata Chakra -Heart is seen as as Lotus -an unopened flower and in Mediation it Blooms-is thought to be like the heart of man – blossoming only when touched by the virtues of Loving kindness and forgiveness. In Christian Faith it represents Purity.
Many years ago we were taught this in a guided meditation session at a Camp in Bangalore called "Anahata Brahma" - or Kamal Chakra meditation.Experience this to believe it.
- Om Shree Kamalaayai Namaha -
Kind Rgds

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sandal wood tree story in pictures is on the site below: (Part 2)

The Sandal wood tree story in pictures 
 Sandal paste has a special significance in our Worship- we refer to the sweet scent of Chandana esp in Pooja
We invoke the Gods with Gandha -sandal paste too- esp Shree Mahalakshmi Devi  pooja. 
Step 9 – Aroma

We continue to venerate the Goddess by offering her chandan, or sandalwood paste, kumkum, abir, and gulal. Chandan has always been considered sacred in our traditions. It is stimulating and cooling, and it quiets the mind. Swami Chinmayananda said, "Sandalwood perfumes even the axe that hurls it down! The more we rub the sandalwood against a stone, the more its fragrance spreads. Burn it, and it wafts its glory through the entire neighborhood." Such is the grace of God.--(gandhaan samarpayaami)
The details of the origin from the Sandal Tree is on the site below, with :photos of Sandaltree-products and all; Abt 14 pages with > 100 photos from Sapling to tree to products to even the logs of sandalwood a full series is on Google at -
Have reproduced  a few pages below for easy ref- in order to create awareness on this subject as many have not seen the the sandalwood tree- only the products are shown in cities in the stores.

My Mother had a Sandal wood Fan-(see pic.) and it was made of fine Sandalwood --in Burma where we lived earlier in 50s. Tanaka is the Burmese word--name, for Sandal paste prepared by grinding a stick of sandalwood on a flat grinding stone /plate and used on face and body as a coolant and to refresh;also a perfume. 
Today Aroma therapy has caught on. I have used the  Attar Sandal oil and like it -not all may agree as perfume is very much a personal choice and taste. But, I have always like Chandan paste and the oil very much; perhaps because it reminds me of my late Mother. 
  sandalwood hand fanThe Indian sandalwood tree has become endangered in recent years, and in an attempt to curb its possible extinction the Indian government is trying to limit the exportation of sandalwood.
The tree is already government controlled, and removal is prohibited whether on private or temple grounds until the tree is thirty years old. This has not stopped many poachers from cutting trees down as soon as authorities are not watching. Smuggling of sandalwood has created socio-economic and law and order problems in areas bordering the state of Tamil Nadu.



Family:  Santalaceae

:  White Sandalwood, Yellow Sandalwood, East Indian Sandalwood
Geographical Source: 
Native to tropical asia, especially India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia.  The region of Mysore exports the highest quality of oil.
Extraction:  Steam distillation of the heartwood of the Sandalwood tree.

Sandalwood heartwood 

Characteristics: A pale yellow, greenish or brownish viscous liquid with a deep soft sweet woody scent.  The aroma of sandalwood has real staying power and you don't need much to experience its benefits.

Principal Constituents: About 90% santalols, 6% sesquiterpene hydrocarbons; santene, teresantol, borneol, santalone among others.

Therapeutic Actions:  Antidepressant, antiseptic (urinary and pulmonary), aphrodisiac, astringent, cicatrisant, diuretic, expectorant, sedative.

Benefits of Sandalwood:
>Genito-uritary tract:  Sandalwood is recognized as having a pronounced effect on the genito-urinary tract and is helpful for cystitis (along with Bergamot).   If you're troubled by a urinary tract infection, try adding 5 drops of sandalwood and 5 of bergamot to a tepid sitz bath and well, sitting, for about 20 minutes each time.  
>Lungs: This oil is a good pulmonary antiseptic and great for coughs ~ especially those nagging, dry persistent ones ~  as well as chronic bronchitis and sore throat (use 3 drops in a gargle with 1 teaspoon saltwater).   Sandalwood's relaxing properties might also help someone with a cough to get a good night's sleep.
One of the more pleasant aspects of Sandalwood is it's well-known aphrodisiac properties, equally useful in cases of frigidity and impotence.  Try a blend of 1 oz carrier oil with 5 d sandalwood and 2 d ylang ylang for a sensual massage.  You can use any vegetable oil as a carrier.  This blend is gentle enough that it won't burn delicate "nether-regions".  Scientists have done research and discovered that Men's underarm perspiration releases androsterone, a substance very similar in chemical structure to the male hormone testosterone.  Androsterone in light concentrations smells similar to sandalwood which seems to send out barely perceptible erotic signals to the opposite sex.
  • Sandalwood's calming and harmonizing effect acts like deep, slow waves and is a good choice for in the diffuser as a fabulous aid to your meditation session. It helps to realize the divine within. 
  • Its grounding and calming action is helpful for coping with our hectic 21st century lifestyle and can be particularly helpful when in the grip of fear or obsession. 
  • Sandalwood is good for helping cut ties with the past and to move through grief and feelings of isolation.  It opens us to receive love, warmth and understanding.   I've often fantisized how great it would be to get all the world leaders together for a meeting in a giant hot tub with sandalwood heavily diffused in the room!
  • Sandalwood is one of the world’s most widely used essential oils, prized for its scent in perfumery, for its therapeutic effects in Chinese, Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine systems, and for its ability to focus the mind in meditative yogic traditions.
    Sandalwood essential oil is most often extracted via steam distillation from the wood of the sandalwood tree, with the heartwood of the roots producing the highest-quality oil. Sandalwood is an evergreen tree, growing to a height of 9 m, with leathery leaves and small purple flowers. Native to southern tropical Asia, the tree is parasitic, gaining its nutrients from one of several other tree species. Because it can only be grown this way, and as a result of its seemingly strict set of environmental conditions, sandalwood is difficult to propagate. To add to the challenge of successful cultivation, sandalwood takes nearly 30 years to mature before yielding oil of any worth.
    Sandalwood oil has a woody, balsamic, sweet and slightly musky aroma; it is a pale yellow, greenish or brownish liquid with excellent tenacity (the aroma tends to last a long time) and superior fixative properties. There are several varieties available, with Sandalum album considered the most important therapeutically. The Mysore region of eastern India is thought to produce the highest quality of this oil type, although its harvesting is creating a strain on the area’s natural environment. Recently, an oil of the Austrocaledonia species has been produced on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu from successfully cultivated sandalwood trees. This oil has a fantastic aroma, with a woody, smoky scent that is an excellent base note in perfume and cosmetic blends.
    In the West, sandalwood oil is perhaps best known as a natural, woody, sweet body perfume used “as is”, or as a familiar aroma in many cosmetics, aftershaves and the like. In the East, however, sandalwood’s importance in cultural and spiritual traditions cannot be overstated. The wood is carved into furniture and religious icons, used to build temples and burned as incense in a great variety of ceremonies. The oil is used to anoint the dead. In Myanmar, women sprinkle it on passers-by on the last day of the year. In Hindu marriages, sandalwood is burned in a tent so that the smoke surrounds the bridal couple. For the meditative yogi, the oil and incense encourage a serene state of mind.
    Sandalwood is valued in the traditional Indian medicine system of Ayurveda. It is indicated for inflammatory, intestinal and genito-urinary conditions that require cooling. Modern aromatherapy considers the oil an effective skin care agent for dry skin, general irritation and acne; it can help in cases of bronchitis, catarrh, dry persistent coughs, laryngitis and sore throats; it may relieve diarrhoea and nausea, and can be supportive in cases of cystitis. Sandalwood essential oil is also a great tonic for the hyperactive mind.Finally, sandalwood is one of the few essential oils that improve with age. Because of increasing demand, the price of the oil is climbing significantly every year.

    Source: Weipa


Chandan-Sandal wood tree "Gandha "- a Divine Tree

We in India use Gandha -sandal powder in pooja and also it other products in so many ways -but seldom see a Sandal wood tree.  The Karnataka Govt. gave much encouragement to grow Sandal Trees. This feature is on the growing of  Sandal Tree. 

न हि स्वदेहशैत्याय जायन्ते चन्दनद्रुमा: ।।
Sandalwood trees do not come to life and grow for providing coolness to themselves.
The virtuous spend their lives helping others. 
This is a role model story in such work.

Sandalwood Tree Grower – Shyam Prasad Shastri.

Article by: Kishore, B C Road: Pics by: Karthik Studio, B C Road
Bantwal :  Shyam Prasad Shastri is the first farmer in Karnataka who has started and achieved a remarkable success in Sandal Tree Plantation. India contributes 85% of the whole world’s sandal wood production. As sandal plantation is very rare, Shyam Prasad is famous all over the state.  

Shyam Prasad is recognized on the state level for his achievement in growing sandal trees. He was encouraged and given financial assistance by the Chief Minister of Karnataka during his recent visit to Mangalore, on behalf of National Medicinal Herbs Mission through Horticulture Department.

Two years back Shastri with his elder brother Divakar, started growing sandal at Annengala. Started with 100 plants two years ago, now 4000 plants are spread in 12 acres of farmland called Nethra Farm.

Government is encouraging sandal wood plantation. Earlier the farmers who want to grow sandal trees were required to go under many formalities. Now government has passed a resolution declaring ‘grower is the owner’. Government also provides training, marketing and storing facility.

A tree has to be watered and nurtured for 7 years to 8 years. It becomes ready to cut within 12 to 15 years. One tree gives around 40 kgs of pulp. One kg of pulp costs around Rs 4,000/- and the waste pulp costs around Rs 150/- per kg. Even the seeds cost Rs 60 to 80/- per kg. Each part of this tree is valuable.

There is a great demand for sandal all over the world. Karnataka Soap and Detergent Company buy around 40 lakhs kg pulps every year.
Shastri says, “People are proficient in different fields. Being a farmer I wanted to get into this field. I bought plants from the nursery owned by Nelyadi Balya Jayaram Sharma who encouraged me in this endevour. My brother and sister-in-law supported me on all the levels. I read book in this regard, got training and started plantation in my own style. I am thankful to the Government and Horticulture Department and all the people who have helped me in making my dream come true.”

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Love of nature--- caring for it -a worthwhile new year project and resolution.

dt 30th Dec 2010. 

TR/ Nature series.

 Love of nature--- caring for it -

a worthwhile new year project and resolution

 Love of nature---
"All things bright and beautiful " The Lord God made them all, by Cecil Alexander was a song we all sang at school in primary years.It was the morning song-hymn- prayer in School till 2nd standard- and with teacher playing the piano; Most of us used to even hum and sing it at other times and this spoke  of the emphasis &  standards of educational systems then-
Thank You GOD.  

A Child's Life has seen many complications in the last two decades -especially with new millennium changes and stress and strain affecting all.What has really happened  to us now;..we seem to just forget what Childhood is all about.

Today  the focus is only on progress reports,  tuition- marks, report cards and then Chill Outs- TV to cool off!!- etc and we forget the most basic part of humanity viz:

Sensitivity is what  we alone can demonstrate to children.
Studies confirm that  lecture-sermon-tell- teach have limitations.  
Nature Watch ---study and to help plant grow ---is a better way. 
Also an important part of Childhood.

Remember the news about vanishing Sparrows and many small birds going extinct esp in cities as we humans take over all space. This subject was taken up by AIR, Vividh Bharti in a recent Radio broad cast in Tamil and extremely well conducted with tel/radio talk- 
Most enchanting well and very done.

The world will always have some with just economic priorities only---. summed up as Money & Matlab ---but we need to just look beyond and try our best to add value to flora & fauna- 
In fact it also develops us more than we realise.

Looking after an abandoned cat, dog or an injured bird or tending a garden can be most therapeutic too- medical science acknowledges this."Compassion" -"Karuna"  is partly an "inner quality within" --the nature of a person , but  also can be  a nurtured quality - We develop ....gain by the relationship we have with loved ones, elders,  our  pets.. a dog or a cat - bird--or in a garden -a creative hobby where responsibility, care and concern takes a prominent role.

I have found that Gardening is also  great way to spend time-esp. for us grandads & grandmoms with  children and to teach them some important things about LIFE.

This will be enjoyable for all ages and alos give a opportunity to refresh ourselves on  our reliance on Mother nature-in some cases  the fragility of our environment when misused, 
the “law of sow and the harvest” and above the importance of work and personal responsibility in sustainability. 

Spending peaceful hours with Nature is our Choice.
Doing something to make it a better  is a worthwhile new year project and resolution- 
and makes all happier...a better place  to live in.

Best Wishes


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Bael Tree -or Bilwa Tree (Aegle marmelos) Bilwa Patra- samarpan

                                                           BhavaniShankara in Green leaves-
                                             Above Photo courtesy ackd.from Shri Gourang Kodikal)
        The Bilwa stotra starts with this stotra line and offering a Bilwa Patra  -Tridalam trigunakaaram   
        trinethram cha triyayusham, Trijanma papa samharam Eka bilwam shivarpanam.

                                                                       Pooja at Our home -
The Bael Tree -or Bilwa Tree (Aegle marmelos), and its tri -leaves of Bilwa, each leaf consisting of three leaves is used specially  for the Worship of Lord Shiva- at all poojas and especially on Mondays, Pradosh Vrata and annual Shree Maha Shivarathri.

The trifoliate leaf or tripatra of the bael tree symbolizes the three functions of the Lord- viz. the creation, preservation and destruction as well as his three eyes-third eye being the Tri netra of  " Seeing Eye" .

The Bilwa 3 in 1 leaf represents all the various 3 Aspects in Vedic Shastras that we follow- inc all asppects of the TRIAD inc of Past Present & Future -Trikaal .But in our Prayers we seek to awaken our dormant self and so this has great significance-esp in Shiva Ratri pooja of Jagraan and sadhana -
Man lives in 3 + 1 states. . We all experience the first 3 states:
1.JAGRAT-Waking State
2.SWAPNA-Dream State
3.SUSHUPTI-Deep Sleep
4 Turiya only Great masters experience -
but we can at least awaken our  minds from routine to be receptive for Shiva Tattvas
                                            Lord Shiva Sannidhi- at Vithal 
                                        Shreemath Ananthehshwar Temple

Om Namah Shivaya
This mantra is also explained thus:
OM - Pranava is Absolute Brahman i.e. God without Form, name, shape.
NA – Prithvi tattva (earth - material as ash)
MA – Jala tattva (water content in our body)
SHI – Agni tattva of Tejas as in the Sun & Heat of body temperature.
VA-  Vayu tattva  as the vital energy force of pancha prana
YAH –Akash (sukshma aspect) and is the  space  for circulation in our body and in universe for the spirit to move.                                               
HaraHar Mahadeva -

Monday, December 27, 2010

NATURE-Gardening at Home --- with kids & family.

Subject: NATURE-Gardening--- with kids & family.  
Jottings year ending time--
I was seeing the never ending debates on TV from Copenhagen of Earth protection and finally switched it off. What has been achieved? Don't know really!!

I was then going through my albums and saw a pic of my grandson watering our garden with a hose when he was just 3 years old---- Also a pic of  cluster of April lillies grown by my sister in a pot -sheer delight to see;maybe will have to call it a surprise May Flower - as it bloomed in May...peak summer mind you! see pic.

Gardening can be great fun for grandparents, family and young children - and and an opportunity to commune with nature. Watering a garden, digging and helping is a part of SUPW in some schools and  is a delight  for a child of  any age. Watching a plant grow and a flower bloom is sheer joy- We used to study about Trees & Plants in middle school--- which then was simply called " NATURE STUDY"-(not  Botany) and it  it was  mainly outdoors as we had sprawling acres of grounds in our school -all wooded and filled with trees, bushes and plants- we used to call it our Woods -Jungle etc .

Then collect different kinds of  Leaves- -drawing it and preserving it in a book as it dried , softened and was smooth; used as a book mark sometimes- still do this till date esp with Bilwa leaves in prayer books.

Add nature study experiment like with a soft bean -and a glass bottle with water  lined with blotting paper done in class /home on  "GERMINATION" in 1954/55 Nature study class. Watch the sprouting.....

Nearly 3 decades later in 1985  wrote a research paper on "Raw Cashew shipment imports  from Africa"-  on moisture damage to cargo with sprouting on voyage on just a experimental basis wit the help of my Lab Chemist - and this set in motion many papers. The Raw Cashew claims review Paper was even accepted by the trade & local  Lloyds Agents appreciated this too.  

Nature Appreciation & meditation recd a great boost from several Existential Labs- attended in early 90s was  great experience- and place to get further inspired.

Why do we tend to forget it all as we grow up in in a tech-gadget  crazy world and stay indoors-
Space limitation is a silly argument- Even 5 plants in pots on a porch or verandah is a good gardening  start and brings in much beauty and joy. The ambience is also much improved. This project has taken off in Chennai with Veg gardens now after a family at Mylapore initiated the Project---on a terrace or balcony in Mylapore.

Frankly, feel this all helps more in Eco- protection- Earth Day -Environment -Green Peace and all-   and children also like this- Let this love of nature not be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of life today?

Also, as the  poet said on Flowers " A thing of Beauty is a Joy for ever "


To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk
or an evening saunter;
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird's nest
or a wildflower in spring
- these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
~ John Burroughs, Naturalist (1837-1921) ~

The Glory of a Tree-near to Sri Ram Temple ,close to Anandashram, Kanhangad.

The Ficus genus tree -Ashwattha--Peepul, Bodhi, Arasa maram-

 The Glory of a Tree
This  tree photographed by me years ago -at  Mavungal, Kanhangad,near  to Sri Ram Temple -and close to Anandashram, Kanhangad.White Flower tree (frangipani type) Entwined to each other and buried in soil. Remarkable Tree-

 Peepul Trees -"an Elder Couple "Senior Citizens" -at Gulwady Village-
pic taken when I visited our Kula -Nagaban site
3rd Pic is of Peepul Tree at Anandashram Kanhamgad

The Ashwattha--Peepul, Bodhi, Arasamaram -( Ficus genus) tree - has been written about in many papers - But some times a paper comes that it is so well written -and just has to be shared and read with care-
Sharing with all Nature Lovers.
A tree as old as the hills
SANJAY DEV, Mar 25, 2010, Times news- 
Tags:Buddha|Enlightenment|bodhi tree
I am God's creation; He who created the cosmos also created me. I am one of the elements of the natural world, and so am perhaps as old as the hills, existing say, for more than 210 million years now, going by the estimates of cosmogonists.
Genesis makes mention of me as the Tree of Knowledge planted by God along with the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, embodying knowledge of good and evil. The one whose fruit was forbidden to eat and which both Adam and Eve ended up eating, succumbing to temptation. And for which transgression they were banished from the Garden of Eden, to toil and sweat for survival.
I am also the Bo Tree, the tree under whose shade Gautama attained enlightenment and became known as the Buddha. I am produced by spore or seed and thus self-perpetuate, as per phytogenesis. That's about my age, origin and evolution. I have witnessed vicissitudes of times; rise and fall of civilisations. I have survived the Apocalypse that flattened entire Creation and reduced me to a fossil or several fossils - proof of my once-being-there.
Years of survival and the struggle to live, inherent in all living beings, have conditioned me to stand the ground and acclimatise to surroundings, hostile or friendly, no matter! I first make sure that I stand on my own, and then prepare the ground for my near and dear ones. I not only create a habitat for myself but do so for others, too, who flock to my arborous arms. As a tree, one must be pliable when young. You can't shape me into a mould once I am grown up and my limbs get ossified.
I understand the language of inter-dependence. And hence have a pact with those who tend to me. I fill their lungs with life-giving oxygen and take in the discarded carbon dioxide to fill mine and nourish myself. To reward others for my upkeep, I give them wood, fruits, rubber, nectar, gum, food and medicinal substances. This constitutes the material exchange. Besides, I also give protection from sun and rain; help stabilise the ground they make their homes on; offer them green cover to counter pollution and rarify the air they inhale.
I can't be faulted because I keep teaching lessons -- audible enough when it blows; visible enough when it blows and pours. I keep beckoning my arm-like branches and fluttering my wing-like leaves. What can I do if the woods and its inhabitants collectively and separately miss my lessons of peaceful coexistence, communion with nature, symbiotic relationship, self-reliance, coalescence, assimilation and absorption, virtues of charity and giving, growing closely yet apart, vertical growth rooted in horizontal development, unobtrusive communication, standing tall, yet bending with one's own weight without throwing it around -- all this and much more. But alas, it seems they miss the woods for the trees!
I have always known my place in the vast cosmos and respect its limits in the context of my existence or not. Unfortunately, those who study the vastness of the cosmos believe in invading others' space. Why don’t they just let me ne? Ought you to judge a tree by its bark? The tree is known by its fruit, sometimes. How long will I take kindly to it all? If there is no more eco-mindfulness in the world and consumerism becomes the main driver of life and living, would that not impact the entire system? What if ultimately trees lose their `treeness’?

Quote From Sringeri Math --
Trees are noble -they bear the brunt of the hot sun but yet  give others ...all anyone shade, fruits & flowers, prevent soil erosion (in floods control).   Even when cut it gives warmth and shelter as fuel or building material. So our ancients call a tree  Vriksha Kalpa-(tree treasure). 

Plants, trees .....all are Divinity Manifested 
"Om Shree Prakruti Mata Namaha"


Banyan Tree " Vata Vriksha"

dt 27th Dec 2010.

Banyan Tree " Vata Vriksha"

The Banyan tree is associated with Shri Dakshinamurthy – Adishtana Devata of Vidya Sampradaya and Adi Guru.Lord Dakshinamurthy, is worshiped as the "ultimate guru", is depicted seated beneath a banyan tree.

Dhyana Sloka:
Chitram Vat Tharor moole, vruddha, Shishya Gurur Yuva--Gurustu Mouna Vyakya Naam -
Shishya thu chinn-saunsaya, Shree Dakshinamurtaye Namaha
He symbolizes Lord Shiva and is seen as the the destroyer of ignorance and embodiment of knowledge.

The term used for a Banyan Tree is Vata-vriksha and the significance of the Tree and its arial roots is quite profound.
1.     The tree gives immense shade and protection like a Guru.
2.     The arial roots hanging will grow other Banyan Trees when they touch the ground and this likened to the Guru Parampara where the lineage continues for generation and centuries.

The  Banyan Tree also is seen as a symbol of the Trinity of  -Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma.


At ADYAR-Theosophical Society HQ is located 0.5 Kilometres away from Old Banyan Tree.
It measures 238ft from north to south and 250ft from east to west. The total area exceed 59,500-sq-ft. This tree is a unique specimen. There are people who often say that this is the largest Banyan tree in the world. People, who have some doubts about this statement, claim this to be the second largest Banyan tree. Some say that the largest is in Kolkata (Calcutta). Others say it is in Kashi and in Prayag too.

About 10 years ago, a devastating cyclone uprooted this tree. To bring back the tree to its original position, huge cranes were brought to the scene. A vast pit was dug and the tree was kept back in its position. But all these efforts went in vain. The aerial roots of this tree have become well rooted and the entire tree appears like a bunch of several trees. Adyar is very famous for its Banyan tree. The vast area occupied by the Banyan tree belongs to the Theosophical Society, which stretches from a bridge at the banks of Adyar River to the Seashore and the Banyan tree is in the center. The great philosopher J. Krishnamurti used to deliver lectures under this Banyan tree.

see also pic on site:

The Cactus and LIFE-

Subject: :Morning Reflections The Cactus and LIFE-
For Dec.- I had purchased a few plants-In this lot was a small Cactus Flower -pic attached
with pics from Semmozi park on cactus flowers-Chennai.
Morning Reflections
"Yad Bhava Tad Bhavati"- -Chandogh Upanishad
In LIFE,  the external is not always what matters -
The Inner matters much  more.
Our thoughts and aspirations to do good....and "doing"
The Cactus also has water within and Desert travellers often cut it and consume the watery pulp inside;
and this has has saved LIFE many a time in desert travels.
Every bit of nature has a role to play .
Sharing this---
The Cactus Author: Unknown
A cactus stood all alone in the desert, wondering why it was stuck in the middle of nowhere.
"I do nothing but stand here all day," it sighed. "What use am I? I'm the ugliest plant in the desert. My spines are thick and prickly, my leaves are rubbery and tough, my skin is thick and bumpy. I can't offer shade or juicy fruit to any passing traveler. I don't see that I'm any use at all."

All it did was stand in the sun day after day, growing taller and fatter. Its spines grew longer and its leaves tougher, and it swelled here and there until it was lumpy and lopsided all over. It truly was strange- looking.
"I wish I could do something useful," it sighed.

By day hawks circled high overhead. "What can I do with my life?" the cactus called. Whether they heard or not, the hawks sailed away.

At night the moon floated into the sky and cast its pale glow on the desert floor. "What good can I do with my life?" the cactus called. The moon only stared coldly as it mounted its course.

A lizard crawled by, leaving a little trail in the sand with its tail.
"What worthy deed can I do?" the cactus called. "You?" the lizard laughed, pausing a moment. "Worthy deed? Why, you can't do anything! The hawks circle way overhead, tracing delicate patterns for us all to admire. The moon hangs high like a lantern at night, so we can see our ways home to our loved ones. Even I, the lowly lizard, have something to do. I decorate the sands with these beautiful brushstrokes as I pull my tail along. But you? You do nothing but get uglier every day."

And so it went on, year after year. At last the cactus grew old, and it knew its time was short. "Oh, Lord," it cried out, "I've wondered so long, and I've tried so hard. Forgive me if I've failed to find something worthy to do. I fear that now it's too late." But just then the cactus felt a strange stirring and unfolding, and it knew a surge of joy that erased all despair. At its very tip, like a sudden crown, a glorious flower suddenly opened in bloom.

Never had the desert known such a blossom. Its fragrance perfumed the air far and wide and brought happiness to all passing by. The butterflies paused to admire its beauty, and that night even the moon smiled when it rose to find such a treasure.

The cactus heard a voice.

"You have waited long," the Lord said. "The heart that seeks to do good reflects My glory, and will always bring something worthwhile to the world, something in which all can rejoice - even if for only a moment."


Saturday, December 25, 2010


No 002 dt. 25th Dec, 2010.
December -Jan time and Music in Chennai city -
Margashirsh-and Chennai city with december flowers in violet colour-
Mid December each year  marks a period when Music just vibrates in this city;temperatures drop and it is cool- Also a time when the "December Flowers" bloom-in their delightful Lavender colour used to make pooja malas, ladies wear in hair etc etc -Time to relax and feel good-After all, this is a special month  (Margarzhi in Tamil) -the king of months and in fact in the Bhagavad Gita has a mention of it.

The importance of Margashirsh is declared by Sri Krishna in Gita as the King of Months in the whole year.The Margarshirsh started on 6th Dec 2010,in our Panchangs -In Chennai esp---Tamil -Margazhi Masam from December 16, 2010 and ends on January 13, 2011, is one of Prayer - Bhakti and Music sabhas all across..

For Chennai-ites-esp Mylapore residents where I live, the time and season of MUSIC FESTIVALS ---
and in recent years  add  in social meets, chances for aspiring youth & children to give their friends &  public an opportunity  to Listen to their musical &  dance talents. Over the last decade,  word has spread  across India  with visiting musicans from all across-  Top Masters & Vidwans from Mumbai & North Indian Gharanas & Sabhas coming down in a blend of Carnatic, Hindustani, Devotional, FUSION  et al- plus many more like music in parks a.m.-open air concerts impromptu, Heritage Walks early mornings too-We see so many Western youth also attending and studying music too with all earnest-

Then we have Family Meets. Best of all are  food counters with simply great food esp-at interval time as these programes go late to make it a real celebration with friends &family.So many NRI Youth also come down to India and present their music talents too-
Relaxation time...after all Music is the food of Love.
Great time too for all-and a change much needed at the year end- ..

In in a city that is usually just Rush Hour 7x24.  it is simply wonderful.....( No Spa can equal this!!)
and is is so nice to just sit back, relax, drift into a musical journey and go thro 2 hrs of  a musical journey in Time and Space
Samskruti alone  leads to Sukha, Shanti & Samriddhi.
Best Rgds all-

No 001--dt 25nd Dec 2010- OUDAMBER Tree-

Salutations to our Guru Parampara - 
Guruve Sarva Lokaa Naam, Shree Dakshina murtaye Namaha. 
to start this series on Prakruti and with Blessings of  Guru and Ved Mata Shree Gayatri Devi

No 001--dt 25th Dec 2010
This Prakruti Mother Nature  subject, was initially taken up in emails to a small circle of friends some time back. in mid 2000. .Later it was developed as a Group document  in Face Book by me.. 
At Shree Datta Jayanti in December 2010 it was taken up as a Blog .

Dhyan moolam---  Guru Moorti (Image /Photo)
Pooja Guru ---Guru Padam i.e Feet /Padukas
Mantra Moolam--- Guru Vaakya (Words in mantra form)
Moksha Moola -Guru Kripa (as Anugraha only)
(Pandit Jasraj usually starts any music programe with this slokha)--
Pooja Guru -often father/mother or Grandfather/Grandmother -or an elder, who teaches /initiates us as children to daily Prayer.
Dhyana Guru, Mantra Guru and  Sat guru is mostly only a Math Head - i.e.usually a Spiritual Head- the "Mathadipathi".
In  rare cases-- an elder,a good mentor or teacher..and well wisher -who cares for you and Guides you in Life-So many people help us in life and guide us when in difficulty and when we look back  it all started  in child hood and continued at every stage,

We had a week of Pravachana on  Shree Datta Jayanti &Shree Dakshinamurthy by Sri. V.Rajgopal Bhat, at SA Sabha, Chennai.

DATTATREYA-DATTATRAYA: The phrase ‘Datta”actually has the meaning of ‘given' or ‘granted'. The common etomology for Dattatreya's name is ‘he who has given' (Datta) to Atri(Atreya)- as Atri desired a son and the gods were pleased with his penance and austerity, the God Vishnu gave himself up and was born to Anasuya. Another explanation is he was ‘given up' (Datta) the three-traya. “The three” were is a reference to three gunas- Rajo guna, Sattava guna and Tamo guna which is a tripartite scheme for classifying the physical world.”Datta” means not only “that which is given” but also as the ideal of “giving” without desire for reward, i.e., selfless giving. The whole life of Dattatreya shows us that this “giving” selflessly is the true renunciation/sacrifice.
Our Shree Chitrapur Math Guru 

 When do you find a Guru-


RELEVANCE TO OUDAMBER Tree- Sri Rajgopal Bhat Maam in his Pravachan on DattaJayanti of Dec 2009 at Chennai Sabha SA, referred to the greatness of the Oudamber Tree and Lord Dattatreya - as a Guru and the relationship from Srimad Bhgaavatam. 
This site gives details of the Oudamber tree-in 001 blog post.

Oudamber Tree-also known as Cluster Fig, Cluster Tree, Clustertree, Country Fig, Gular Fig, Redwood Fig . Between 37 and 43 genera and 1100 1400 species: widespread in tropical and subtropical areas, less common in temperate areas; nine genera and 144 species (26 endemic, five introduced ) in China.
Local names--
SANSKRIT- Gular, Hemadugdhaka, Jantuphala, Sadaphalah, Udumbar, Udumbara, Udumbarah, Yajnanga
HINDI----Ambar (Bombay), जािगया डूमर, Domoor, Doomar, Gular, Jagya Dumur, Udumbara, Umar, Umbar
TAMIL---Anai (As F Glomerata), Athi, Attee Marum, Atthi, Atti, Malaiyin Munivan (As F Glomerata), Utumparam (As F Glomerata), Vellaiatthi
Kannada - Alhi, Atthimara, Atti
Telugu- Arri, Athi, Bodda, Maydi, Paidi, Udumbaramu

Oudamber fruit is dear to the Lord Dattatreya -refer this site of fruit trees: 
See Oudumbar fruit sinhagad tree.JPG
Family Moraceae
Trees, shrubs,vines, or rarely herbs, frequently with milky or watery latex, sometimes spiny Fruit  enveloped by an enlarged calyx and/or immersed in a fleshy receptacle, often joined into a syncarp. Seed solitary; endosperm present or absent.

Quote from AOL -(TOI-)
 Life sometimes seems very complicated. There is pleasure, pain, happiness, suffering, generosity, greed, passion and dispassion. When our life is full of such opposing values, our mind sometimes becomes unable to handle these complications and just breaks down.

It is then that you need wisdom to guide you through troubled times. Guru is that wisdom. You might have noticed you give great advice when you are not involved in a situation but the same is not true when you are in trouble. This is because wisdom dawns when you are out of the mess. Guru is one who is out of the mess. He watches the chaos, amidst the chaos.

Guru is like a circuit breaker. When you cannot handle life, your guru comes and saves so that you remain sane and balanced. If there is a compelling desire that bothers you, your guru is there to offer solace. You offer all your desires and pain to your guru. Having a guru means being able to relax and smile all the time, walk with confidence, be fearless and have a vision. That is wisdom.

Guru is a tattva -- an element, a quality inside you. It is not limited to a body or form. Guru comes in your life in spite of your refusing or being rebellious. The guru principle is so vital in life. There is an element of the guru in every human being. That wisdom in each has to be invoked, awakened. When this element is awakened, misery in life disappears. In our consciousness, wisdom comes to life when guru tattva comes to life. When we have no desires of our own, then the guru tattva dawns in our life. Wake up and see that our life is changing every moment and feel grateful for whatever you have received.