Friday, November 25, 2011

Shree Saraswati- The Divine Mother -and also a River Godess.

(Meaning, - Among Goddesses, Among .Mothers .and Among Rivers - 
Saraswati is Supreme."

There are several sites-blogs on River Saraswati.
During 3 Teerth Yatras of 2007-2009 organised by SC Math , the first was Saraswati Yatra 2007 from 30th October 2007 to 3rd November 2007-Kurukshetra area.
We had several Scholars speak on this subject esp at Kurukshetra.
The talks included the variations in in historical perspective with scientific discovery viz:
Whether Saraswati is now a Underground River or has disappeared , is underground etc--Gupt /Luft Nadi etc. has left many views.Teerth Yatras have a tremendous impact on us and without doubt adds to our swadhyay and generates  enthusiasm that spreads out.The Tapovan Prasad of CCMT also featured as photo of River Saraswati in 2009 on their cover. 
Teerth Yatras  inspire us all-

1) Recommended sites for study:

This blog was developed by my Co Yatri-& colleague's son Rohan Dhareshwar-

2) Power Point slides -presentation covering history - 

by late Shri Ramdas Thaggarse – a wonderful concise collection .

By Shri Vivek Hattangadi- a good compilation

4) Publications from SC Math-members also to be referred.Shri Katre Bangalore, Late Shri Heranjal.
 5) Dr. Kalyanaramans  & Shri D.K. Hari & Hema's  studies at ."Bharath Gyan"

"Know your Roots"-

We today address a 5000 yrs old civilisation spread from Kashmir origin to Kanaras-in South--
 The Saraswat Community holds an identity  all across India--in fact all across each state esp in North India. It is not just us in South but a much larger Group
We  have people who identify as "Saraswat Brahmins" (obviously a generic term)-- who have  so many similar traditions and customs and to be noted when we take up -- "Know your Roots" and to continue the excellent work  of the dedicated Authors and esp those Volunteers at all places on the 3 major Teerth Yatras in 2007-9. 

Saraswats are now all across in a Global spread –diaspora -all across.
Finally, we have a personal choice -to seek out and study our roots and ancestry.

Leave a Heritage for coming generations.

With Respect



  A good letter on this--



The only name of a river appearing in Rig Veda is name of Saraswati Hence, River Saraswati is the not only Punya (holy) river, it is also the Deva (Gods’) river.  It appears that River Saraswati is older than the Vedas whose time is unknown (Sanatana) to the mankind. She starts from the Mount Everest a place known as “Plaksha Prasravana”.

The fertile & holy land in between River Saraswati & River Dhrishadwati is termed as Aryavarta or Bhrmavarta where Saraswat Brahmins were settled.  These Brahmins were performing Yajna, Japa and Tapa acquiring the Divya Jnan (World Knowledge) and became authority to propagate Vedas and Vedantik Knowledge.

In other literatures like Mahabharata and Matsya Purana, the same area of Bhramavarta is called as Kurukshetra.  It is 70 miles in length and 30 miles in width where Pavitra (Holy) grass by name ‘DARBE” was growing abundantly.  This is the place where the Pandavas and Kavravas had their battle known as Dharma Yudh.  In another reference, the Kurukshetra was formed by Sage Parashuram after he destroyed all Kshatryas to perform Yajna.  He formed 4 villages known as Tarantuk, Arantuk, Ramahrad and Machutnak marking as boarders to the Aryavarta.

In Vedas you find the name of 3 Goddesses namely,  Gayatri, Savitri  and Saraswati   The sloka in Veda about the Goddess Saraswati is, ,

"DEVI TAME, AMBI TAME, NADI TAME, SARASWATI” (Meaning, - Among Goddesses, Among .Mothers .and Among Rivers - Saraswati is Supreme."

The Saraswats are those Brahmins who were residing on the banks of Saraswati River . as per the evidences available as on date.  They were Yajna Brahmins besides the Scholars in Vedas as they were well known to the entire Brahmin segments. 
The reason being, Lord Vishnu and Devatas have thought that during the time of Pralaya, the Vedas are to be kept in a secured place where the Demons are not able to locate easily.  Earlier the Vedas were hidden under  the bottoms  the oceans (Bhu Garbh).  That is how in the previous case, Lord Vishnu was to take up the Matsy avatar to protect the Vedas and liberate from the hands of Demons.  The Saraswati River was a river on the land and may not be easily forecasted by the Demons.  Vedas are the most precious wealth from the time immemorial and it was the duty of Devas to protect them at any cost for the Humanity.  Vedas contain Mantras/Slokas and all Gods and Spirits. .

Saraswati River was the most Holy river  and a Vedic River as per Shalya Parva from  .  A dip in Saraswati River starting from Plaksha Praravana  from Mount  Everest  which runs  upto Prabhas (near Somnath- Kutch) at Gujarat all along was surrounded by fertile lands, landscapes and clean environment.  People around the River were more religious, creative and scholarly.  This is the power of the River Saraswati.


Sage Bhragu was the son of Lord Brahma.  Bhrigu's son was Sage Dadhich.  Sage Dadhich was a great Jnani due to his penance for thousands of years in Himalayas  once decided to come down to the planes to stay on the banks  of a  Holy River .  He found that place is River Saraswati. Saraswati.   Large numbers  of  humanity used to take dip in River Saraswati like River Ganga and River, to eradicate their sin.  Hence  the River Saraswati was to ease out the sins left by the pilgrims.  By giving service to the great Sage doing his Meditation and the daily anustan, the sins of the river gets eased out.   Hence in the night, the Goddess Saraswati carrying  sins used to keep the hermitage and surrounding clean, in the process the sin used to get rid off by the penance power of the Sage.
One evening as usual when he was performing the evening Sandhya, Sage Dadhich  saw the mating of Gandharvs (angels) on the sky. Dadhich became emotionally energized and as a result, his semen  was discharged in the River Saraswati.  Being a devotee of Sage Dadhich and by knowing that his semen is most powerful due to his long penance and that , it should not go waste, River Saraswathi  accepted  to protect the semen under the water  (Bhu Garbh).  The child born in that semen of Dadhich was named after his mother Saraswati as SARASWAT.   In the Vedic times, the mother's name was more prominent like Ganga Putr, Kaunteya, Yashodha Nandan etc.

The Saraswat as a child sage,  has learnt all the 4 Vedas from his mother Saraswati.  He became a custodian of these scripts and thus became the owner or authority of the Vedas because he was the First Person to read the Vedas after pralaya.   To learn Vedas, one has to worship Saraswati by chanting the Sloka as  contained in Rig Veda

 Dorbhiryukta chaturbhim sphatika maninibhai rakshamalandadhana Hastenaikena padmam sitamapicha shukam pustakam chaparena |  Bhasa kundendushankhasphatikamaninibha bhasamana.asamana Sa me vagdevateyam nivasatu vadane sarvada suprasanna || "

Saraswat was the first sage who was performing Yajnas by chanting Mantras near the Saraswati
River.  This news went around the Bharath Khand that the Vedas are the collection of Mantras and those Vedas were in the custody of a young sage by name Saraswat.

They all came to see him and requested him to give the Vedas.  Saraswat tells them that Vedas cannot be just possessed.  It should be administered by (learned from) a Guru.  That shocked the so called Brahmins who were following mantra less rituals.  They were all elderly and refused to touch the feet of a young boy and accept him as their Guru.  Saraswat remained firm and they all went back.  Again they thought that by accepting him as a Guru they get precious Vedas and what if they touch his feet? 

The whole group came back to the Saraswati River to meet the young Sage Saraswat.  They prayed to him that all of them have  accepted Sage Sarsawat  as their Guru.  Saraswat held Training Camps to the lakhs of Brahmin aspirants on the banks of River Saraswati.  After training them, he awarded them the Degrees such as Agni-hotri, Dwivedi, Thrivedi, Chaturvedi, Misra, Thripati, Puranik, Purohit, Joshi, Vaidya,  Avdhari, Samaga etc depending on the specialization they have made in Vedic scripts.   

Hence the First Guru of Vedic Brahmins was Sage Saraswat.  We are the descendents of Saraswat Rishi and we have become Saraswat Brahmins - the Vedic Brahmins.  We have studied all Vedas and rituals.  We became Avdhanis, Upadhyayas, Pandits, Acharyas, Joshis, Sharmas, Mishras, and Bhats (Purohits) etc by profession. . 

 Part 4 Added on 23rd Sept 2011.

The Land Of Dharma

On Kurukshetra- TOI by Ranjeni. A Singhon,%202011

By : Ranjeni A Singhon Sep 19, 2011 | Views (132) | Responses (3)


The Land Of Dharma
The epic battle and memorable incidents of the Mahabharata era live on in the numerous shrines that Ranjeni A Singh visited in Kurukshetra.

During my first visit to Kurukshetra, I was put off by the numerous ‘historical religious sites’ that dotted the landscape — they all looked picture-perfect, touristy and too new. Did the epic Mahabharata battle really take place here? Did Brahma create the Universe from here? Did Krishna, in 700 verses, tutor Arjuna about life, death and the beyond? Nah, it couldn’t be. There seemed nothing ancient or spiritual about the place.

My perception about the place, however, changed during my second visit. I realised that the religious aura was in the elements of nature and not in the sandstone structures.

I was moved by the sight and faith of thousands of pilgrims jostling with one another to take a dip in the holy waters of the Brahm Sarovar during the solar eclipse, faces glowing with devotional fervour.

Earn Vedic Merits

The Matsya Purana and Padma Purana tell us that if a person takes a dip in the sacred tanks of Kurukshetra during an eclipse, he attains the merits of thousands of Ashwamedha Yagnas, a Vedic ritual conducted by kings to acquire power and glory. Krishna, along with his family, is believed to have come here from Dwaraka to participate in the solar eclipse fair at Kurukshetra.

Interestingly, Mughal Emperor Akbar, accompanied by his court historian Abul Fazl, visited Kurukshetra during the 1567 solar eclipse.

Brahma is believed to have created mother earth from here. Therefore, Brahm Sarovar is often called the cradle of Indian civilisation. The lake finds mention in Kitab-ul-Hind, written by the medieval Islamic scholar Alberuni. Surrounded by a number of shrines, the largest man-made tank in India — the Brahma Sarovar — presents an enchanting environ to the devout.

A Unique Experience

The best way to experience the religious fervour of the place is to visit Kurukshetra during festivals such as Kartik Purnima and Gita Jayanti. One can sit on the banks of the sarovar or the smaller Sannihit Sarovar nearby for hours and observe the way faith moves people; here, I saw a poor cycle-rickshaw puller and a man emerging from his C-class sedan bathing side by side — praying fervently as they disappeared into the water, and emerging yet again.

A few steps away, a young girl was helping an old Tamil mami come out of the waters; faith is a great leveller, too.

While there are several sacred water bodies across the country, Kurukshetra offers a unique religious experience. The place gets its name from King Kuru, the ancestor of the Kauravas and Pandavas.

The Bhagavad Gita describes Kurukshetra as Dharmakshetra, the field of justice, Brajmakshetra, the field of Brahma and as Nardak, without sorrow.
No visit to Kurukshetra is complete without a visit to the Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple or Jyotisar. Reportedly, Shiva was first worshipped in the form of a lingam in this very temple. Five km from Kurukshetra is Jyotisar, where Krishna delivered the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. The huge banyan tree is believed to be the offshoot of the original tree beneath which Krishna spoke.

Finding your way about the town, steeped in history and religion, might be tricky with the numerous narrow bylanes crisscrossing the place. But you will find your way and the locals are only too willing to help.

Wash Away Your Sins

Read up and decide where you want to start your tour of the district. There are too many shrines that vie for your attention: Sthaneshwar Mahadev and Bhadrakali temples, Gurudwara Sidhbati, Kamal Nabhi, Bhisham Kund, Narkatari, Jyotisar, Birla Mandir, Valmiki Ashram and the Krishna Museum, to name a few. Next to the museum is the Kurukshetra Panorama & Science Centre where the main attraction is a 34-feet high depiction of the Mahabharata battle scene.

Taking a dip in the Sannihit Sarovar on amavasya, or New Moon night, is known to absolve one of all sins. On the banks of the Sannihit Sarovar are smaller shrines like the Dhruv Narain Mandir, Vishnu Mandir, Hanuman Mandir, Durga Mata Mandir and the Laxmi Narain Temple. At the Krishna Museum, you can acquaint yourself with the various facets of the Mahabharata with the help of beautiful graphic depictions.

A visit to Kurukshetra will leave you yearning for more. The place has so much to reveal of Hindu philosophy that each visit will keep you engrossed.

Getting There
By Train: Kurukshetra is a major railway junction, well-connected with all important towns and cities of the country. Haryana Tourism runs special one-day conducted tour coaches from Delhi and Chandigarh.

By Road: Buses of Haryana Roadways and other state corporations ply through Kurukshetra and connect it to Delhi, Chandigarh and other important places.

By Air: The nearest airports are at Delhi and Chandigarh, which are well-connected by road and rail. Regular taxis are also available.

Other Attractions
Kalayat: The town is named after Kapil Muni, who wrote the Shankhya. On Kartik Purnima, devotees take a dip at the sacred tank in the town. Other places of historical interest from the medieval period include Pathar Masjid and Chini Masjid.

Water -the giver of Life

Water- for me in my profession the Sea was "Water, water every where" -but the salty kind as sea water is not potable due to the Chloride &Bromides content. Pure Drinking water is a dire need in many places and in summer we are often seeing long queues for just 2 pots of water in some sections of the Metros- esp Chennai. In all of  Creation,  water takes a very special place and so too for all Creatures & Plant Life it is vital.
Thus we find Water has been given a special place in our Rituals for purification as we sip water 3 times in Aachamana, before our daily prayers then chant Mantras.
It is so in all other Religions too- and a common factor to link.
Possibly more than any Element (Pancha Maha Bhutas)  in chants and prayers "Apa -sanskrit for Water"
 This pic is of Volunteers of a Water and Buttermilk distribution Programe in peak summer with 38-40deg C Temp in Chennai. They are Volunteers of Nandalal Temple Seva Samiti Mylapore -
I was at the junction when I went and spoke to them this summer. 

Plants &Trees are Sentient

dt. 25th Nov 2011.
trees have Consciousness & Feelings -If observed carefully even large trees respond to changes -even natural factors like excess water , heat , pollution etc  can withstand only so much (stop , stop) and no more---they say. Some take it for a while but later wilt or droop or die. We need to be more sensitive to plant Life.
The expression "Scream of a Flower"- when being plucked & Dr Bose findings is relevent here.

Delicate is what one can call the flower,  petals and all .

  • TOUCH- The power of love and concern -care radiates through Touch -even as a gentle mother's hand on a fore head of a worried or anxious child soothes ...Positive loving energy bodies do that--(reiki is one form ) but any one can do it with just a Loving Approach-easy way to understand is to observe and care for plants for some one ( or  Pets) and any show of sensitivity and kindness has a soothing effect very soon .

  • See TOI post on sensitivity 
     from Shanker Shenoy -( Many thanks).
    We have to be gentle with plants and Flowers.They are so sensitive.
    I may add  Sukshma Sharira(Subtle body) is Impacted with sheer Intention (++ Energy Aura) -this has been proven by Kirlean Photography as colour shades change indicate.

  • Pic is taken by my neice Anjanaa Amarnath -also a Nature Enthusiast -

  • Friday, November 4, 2011

    The `Scarlet Cordia Tree`-flowers&fruit

    The Scarlet Cordia - is an unusual plant -in fact a Tree. I have seen one  atAdyar (abt 3 km near my house towering high) . It took me while top identify it, when we were given a Sapling, which is about 10 ft tall now.
    After seeking assistance and enquiry -we identified it. Then came the fruit ( bulbs part-) and from data sources learnt this below :

    QUOTE" From Source: 
    "The fruit of the `Scarlet Cordia Tree` is unique. They are of pure white colour and contain five lobes. They stay enclosed in the rest of the calyx. The flesh of the fruit has a scent that reminds us about that of bananas. 

    The leaves are unusual to look at and also to touch. They are large in size and oval shaped. They are dull at the top and very deeply concaved by the veins. On the underside the veins form hard ridges. The colour of the vein is dark green, particularly dark in the older leaves. The texture of the leaves is as harsh as sandpaper. Although limp, even the young leaves are also rough. 
    Both the parts of the fruit of this tree have some medicinal qualities. 

    Despite its softness, the wood is strong and durable and is claimed to be one of the timbers used to make Egyptian Mummy cases. It is also better than most of the woods used for the purpose of procuring fire by friction.

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Pongam tree--Leaf Galls-& Symbiotic Harmony-

    4th Nov, 2011
    Pongam tree--Leaf Galls-& Symbiotic Harmony-
    I saw this first time on an Oudamber tree in March 2011 at Mangalore in the temple. Now on the Pongam Tree on our Road also- See earlier blog posts

    It can seem a bit worrying-and so I sought all resources to check it out.
    Finally, learnt that in the "Symbiotic Relationship" in nature -esp Insects like Wasps & Bees --with TREES there is an Interdependance that is quite marvellous to see -
    Anyway Leaf Galls are harmless- 
    Read this-from Steve -in Forestry TREES-Leaf infections called "galls" are growths not harmful—

    Leaf infections called "galls" are bumps or growths caused as a result of the feeding and other activity of insects or mites. Powerful growth regulating chemicals produced by feeding insects or mites cause galls can occur on leaves, bark, flowers, buds, acorns, or roots. Although these galls may look like a serious problem, most are harmless to the overall health of the tree.
    From Steve Nix-
    Forestry Guide-
    Leaf Galls-& Symbiotic Harmony-pic no 1, 2,3:
    Anyway Leaf Galls are harmless- Read this more in detail, from Steve -in Forestry TREES-Leaf infections called "galls" are growths not harmful— 

    Pongam Tree(Karanje) in Summer,

    4th Nov 2011. 
    Pongam Tree(Karanje) in Summer We have two near my house on our road, that we we planted many years ago with Exxnora assisitance, in our "Greening Project"-
    Beautiful shining Green leaves --even in the heat-have such a cooling  look at and are so shady. Most valued  in Summer, but beautiful always.--- 
    The `Pongam Tree` is cultivated in gardens and as avenue trees on  roads in India grows easily -little effort only. Even grows wild in the coastal forests throughout India and beside the streams and rivers. 
    Botanical sources also confirm: 
    The tree is well suited to intense heat and sunlight and its dense network of lateral roots and its thick, long taproot make it drought tolerant.
    Flowering: March-April.
     Shady cooling trees - help us in the torrid heat of Summers -are a Blessing to all-

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Marvels of Nature -Trees of Flowers from Nalini

    13th Oct 2011.
    Dedicated to my Dear Late Sister Nalini-
    Some plants can be a surprise especially when their Botanical name or local name is even not known-
    This happens when Saplings are gifted by some one close- This is one such case and the result is ---that we have beautiful flowers;  in this case, the sapling  was gifted to dear Nalini (my late younger sister) who planted them near our home entrance -Today the plant stands nearly 10 feet tall!!.
    I now understand it is a Tree-
    Pity she did not see it Flower -she passed away on 22nd August 2011 morning athome
    but am sure that Plants &Trees are Sentient; 
    Spirit will  live on in this Garden in Flowers at "Mahalakshmi"- our Home for 32 years.

    Nalini was with us for nearly last 9 years since she lost her husband and son most untimely in Mumbai. 
    When a younger person –a sibling and esp a younger sister who  shared a life time --with and cared for in childhood  passes away slowly—it is something else-In one month of her illness post a stroke  & kidney problems -I have learnt more about Life & Death & esp on Palliative Care.

    God Gives-- God Takes-

    God gave me a wonderful wife in Sudha who shares all -I can never thank her enough.
    Thank you all the friends who enquired-shared and helped me cope.

    Kind Rgds
    Photos taken in August posted below:  -


    Nalini had a green hand in my garden development work, since she came here 9 years ago-
    The April Lillies, select flower saplings, Sasambara Paan, Haldi Paan  and some crotons –all added by her.
    The neighbouring flat  watchman used to help dig and plant- .in his spare time and Nalini used to look after him.

    In July when she returned from hospital, she asked for a Pink Rose Sapling from the Green Plants seller who comes to our place-with his Auto Cart
    Had it planted and was in bloom for some time.
    In fact Bloomed so well –I have taken some pic of it –one is attached in earlier posts.
    Thanks.----BLESS HER

    FOR US: She Lives in the Flowers in our Garden.



    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Dance of the Trees in Squally Weather

    Squally weather- is a sudden gust of wind, heavy rain -pouring and often thunder and lightening . A sight to behold esp at Sea. It seldom cause harm to large ships but small craft and boats have a hard time. Recently we have experienced a few short bursts of squally weather in Chennai-Trees dancing and swaying in the wind-and lightening & thunder too.
    Observing Trees swaying and dancing in strong gusts of wind, with lightening in the background, rain drops falling, thunder rolling is like a veritable Light &Sound Show of Nature; It is an experience- 

    All last only a short while and with increasing wind -but in a short time the squall passes. The location has a Rain bathed look..clean and bright in green-
    Blessed by Mother Nature -

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Connect with nature-in peace

    9th Sept 2011.

    GREETINGS-Connect with nature-in  peace.

    ·         Nature Communes does wonders to us--following Shanti Mantras,     I am summarising some lessons I have learnt from Nature, in the Garden, in Parks, in Farms and the countryside. 

    ·         Nature speaks to us if we only quietly observe and reflect -then Connect. The swaying and dancing of Trees in the wind , the flowering of tiny buds, small plants emerging from seeds planted, a sunrise and sunset clouds passing by, the ocean waves and lapping of water on a quiet beach  


    • 7       simple lessons summarized in this period from our teachings  that I found useful are:

    1)     Shravanam –Learn to Listen-(mere questioning with IQ does not help without Anubhava & Mananam-plus periodical guidance from a good source.

    2)    Mananam- Reflect and then Do--Act.

    3)    De Clutter Mind &Body. Think the essential… talk and Do it.

    4)    Maintain  all breathing techniques- Pranayama, esp in outdoors as the air is clean and pure in gardens and parks Daily we can do at it at home with our daily prayers, bhajans an stotras.

    5)    Non Judgemental Approach –we are not here to judge each and every thing.Be Appreciative.

    6)    Acceptance Prayer- with Compassion.

    7)    Take short  breaks –Music, Satsang, Yoga, Nature walks- Holiday, Retreats, what ever helps and suits .

    Find time to play-relax with a hobby, with children, in the garden, with nature, on a beach –natural surroundings and stay refreshed and rejuvenated.