Month: October 2014

The Struggle of Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda was the spiritual heir of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa. Given below are some quotes from Swami Vivekananda’s biography & conversations with his disciples:

After Sri Ramakrishna’s passing away, all forsook us as so many worthless, ragged boys… Then came a terrible time – for me personally and for all the other boys as well.

On the one side was my mother, my brothers [blood relations]. My father died at that time, [sometime before Sri Ramakrishna’s demise] and we were left poor. Oh, very poor, almost starving all the time! I was the only hope of the family, the only one who could do anything to help them. I [Swami Vivekananda] had to stand between my two worlds. On the one hand, I would have to see my mother and brothers starve unto death; on the other, I had believed that [Sri Ramakrishna’s ] ideas were for the good of India and the world, and had to be preached and worked out. And so the fight went on in my mind for days and months…. I was living in hell!

I could not bear to see those who were the nearest and dearest to me, suffering…. Who would sympathize with the imaginations of a boy – imaginations that caused so much suffering to others? Who would sympathize with me? None- except one [Sri Sarada Devi]. That one’s sympathy brought blessing and hope. Well, that lady, [Sri Ramakrishna’s wife] was the only one who sympathized with the idea of those boys. But she was powerless. She was poorer than we were.

I believed, as I was living, that those ideas were going to rationalize India and bring bring better days to many lands and foreign races. With that belief, came the realization that it is better that a few persons suffer than that such ideas should die out of the world. What if a mother or, two brothers die? It is one kind of sacrifice. Let it be done. No great thing can be done without sacrifice. The heart must be plucked out and the bleeding heart placed upon the alter. Then great things are done. I appeal to each one of you, to those who have accomplished any great thing. Oh, how much it has cost. What agony! What torture! What terrible suffering is behind every deed of success in every life.

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda

And thus we went on, that band of boys. The only thing we got from those around us was a kick and a curse- that was all. Of course, we had to beg from door to door for our food: a piece of bread here and there. We got hold [rented] of a broken-down old house [a ruin, left alone for a haunted house], with hissing cobras living underneath; and because that was the cheapest, we went into that house and lived there.

Thus we went on for some years, in the meanwhile making excursions all over India, trying about the idea gradually. Ten years were spent without a ray of light [any hope]. A 1000 times despondency came; but there was one thing always to keep us hopeful – tremendous faithfulness to each other, the tremendous love between us…. That is a great blessing. In happiness, in misery, in famine, in pain, in the grave, in heaven or, in hell, who never gives me up is my friend. Is such friendship a joke? A man may have salvation through such friendship…. If we have that faithfulness, why, there is the essence of all concentration….And that was there with us all throughout that hard time. That made us go from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin[Kanyakumari], from the Indus to the Brahmaputra.

Swami Vivekananda swam to that rocky island and meditated, before going to the West. Later a temple was erected in his memory.

Swami Vivekananda swam to that rocky island and meditated, before going to the West. Later a temple was erected in his memory.

This band of boys began to travel about. Gradually we began to draw attention: 90% was antagonism, very little of it was helpful. For we had one fault: we were boys- in poverty and with all the roughness of boys. He who has to make his own way in life is a bit rough, he has not much time to be smooth and suave and polite- “my lady & my gentleman,” and all that. [a fashionable attire to be socially acceptable; and verbal smoothness and deliberately polished behavior] He is a rough diamond, he has not much polish, he is a jewel in an indifferent casket. “No compromise!” was the watchword. “That is the ideal, and this has got to be carried out. If we meet the king, though we die, we must give him a bit of our minds; if the peasant, the same.” Naturally, we met with antagonism.

But, mind you, this is life’s experience; If you really want the good of others, [bring a lofty ideal into life, by living it] the whole universe may stand against you and cannot hurt you. It must crumble before your power of the Lord Himself in you, if you are sincere and really unselfish. And those boys were that. They were as children, pure and fresh from the hands of nature. Said our Master [Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa]: “I want to offer at the alter of the Lord, only those flowers that have not even been smelled, fruits that have not been touched with the fingers.”… People used to laugh at him [Guru Sri Ramakrishna] when he said, “You will see – this boy, that boy, what he becomes.” His faith was unalterable: “Mother showed it to me. I may be weak, but when She says this is so – She can never make mistakes – it must be so.” [Sri Ramakrishna could see and talk to Ma Kali, the mother of all worlds.]

Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, the perfect bhakta, Jnani, yogi and devotee of Ma Kali

Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, the perfect bhakta, Jnani, yogi and devotee of Ma Kali

[Amitabha Chatterjee: Swami-Vivekananda was an adept in meditation and a perfect karma-yogi, he was an incarnation of Nara Rishi, an emanation of Narayana, much revered in the Puranas. This fact was witnessed by Sri Ramakrishna, in his samadhi. What Swami-ji accomplished in a single short life span of 39 years, cannot be attained by a thousand men put together. The words inside brackets are mine, put there to clarify the subject. The name of the book from which the above is cited is: Swami Vivekananda, on himself, ISBN 81-7505280-5. ]


The Heart of Advaita Vedanta

By Amitabha Chatterjee

Vedanta is the essence of all Veda-s. Upanishad literally means, “to sit nearer to the Truth”. Along with the Upanishads, Rishi Vyasa’s Brahma-Sutra and Bhagavad-Gita are included as the 3 Prasthanas of Vedanta philosophy. Now, without going to any more of this headache causing Metaphysical Blah blah, let us take a dive directly into the heart of Vedanta, and see what it is. The following is a gist of what the whole Vedanta Philosophy says in thousands of verses.

God lives in me as the silent Witness and the source of all power.
Me as my personality, my looks, my name and status,
My life’s work, my love & hate, all my thought ripples:
Are just bubbles of ILLUSION, false thoughts floating over the TRUTH.
The only Truth is, the Atman (soul), One underlying consciousness without beginning or, end.

Knowledge of Paramatman in Yoga Vashistha Ramayana

Knowledge of Paramatman in Yoga-Vasistha Ramayana

Analogy of the Fruit Pulp:

We only eat the Juicy Pulp from a fruit and discard the seeds, hard outer shell, etc as they are inedible. But in reality, the pulp, seed and skin constitute the whole fruit. Similarly, we meditate on the pure unblemished consciousness Paramatman, which is like the juiciest essence and try to overcome this muddy turbidity of mundane existence, which is like the inedible part. During meditation or, contemplation, we reject this miserable external world and focus the rays of the mind upon the inner Spirit. Yet, in a broader sense, Absolute God of Vedanta is Omnipresent, it’s within us as the soul and everywhere around us. There is nothing to discard.

It is true that the Spirit pervades everything: mundane and absolute. That only is, and this multiplicity is an illusion. But the mind cannot grasp that pure effulgence in this dusty world of ordinary reality. So, for all practical purposes, the Spirit is hiding behind this variety of existence. We try to dive deep within the mind, in search of this soul, as we cannot see it outside.

The Atman is one and all pervading.
Every form of existence, or, even the void is the one Atman… but under a mask of limited expression. The mask of Maya has rendered it unrecognizable. Maya is nature’s illusive power. It covers the truth from our awareness like a blanket.

One may ask, God with Name & Form—— OR,——- One Formless Absolute, which one is the reality?

There are numerous examples from the Vedas, Upanishads, Gita, Puranas and Tantras establishing the Oneness of all phenomena. Bitter argument is futile, as, in so doing, we might lose sight of the peaceful reality in our hearts.

To each his own. Whatever philosophy liberates the mind from the bondage of mundane cravings, is valid for you. Unity, duality, what does it matter? In essence, we are looking at the same thing. One wants to become Sugar itself, another is satisfied with remaining separate and tasting it. One wants to merge into the Infinite, another wants to retain his individuality and appreciate it. This remaining separate from the Absolute is called Duality, or, Dvaita. And becoming one with Truth is called Advaita, Nonduality. Those who walk the path of devotion to a personified God (like Krishna, Shiva, Jesus), prefer Duality. Those who walk the path of Vedanta analysis, and practice Soham (I am That), or, Tat-twam-Asi (Thou art that), Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahma. or, Absolute), they prefer becoming one… Non-duality or, Advaita. Those who walk the path of Yoga and Tantra, attain Kaivalya, Unmani states, which is more than the above said oneness. The subject of Liberation, Mukti, highest state, Brahma-Jnana has been discussed in Tantra at great length.

Vihaya Naam-rupani nitye Brahmani nischale.
Parinischita tattvo yah, sa Mukta-h karma-bandhanath.

(from MahaNirvana Tantra)
meaning: He who can recognize the Brahman Absolute and Eternal, which is beyond all names and visible appearances, such a sage is liberated from the bondage of Karma. (To clarify the concept of Karma, read this.)

Na Muktir-Japad-homad-upavasa shatairapi,
Brahmaivaham-iti Jnatva Mukto bhavati dehabhrith.

(from MahaNirvana Tantra)
meaning: One cannot attain liberation through the recitation of a mantra a million times (Japa), or, through fire sacrifice (called Homa / Yajna), through holding fasts (Abstain from eating, Upavasa) hundreds of times. “Aham-Brahmasmi“, that, I Am Brahman, the Absolute Truth, only this realization is the cause of Liberation ( Mukti).

One may find peace in analyzing his own mind and its may become his highest sadhana (spiritual practice). Yet I believe in a conscious all pervading Force. It cannot be seen with these physical eyes, but yogi adepts can see it in their hearts, through the eye of intuition. “Adesh” as the Nath yogi-s say… Adesh means, command. It hints us in subtle ways and shows us the way. For the yogi-s, the invisible Guru and all phenomena that propel us towards spiritual awareness, are emanations of this Power. I don’t wish to give a name to this force, or, paint my selfish colours over it and imagine it as a physical deity.

IT EXISTS, that’s all. It’s like, I AM that I AM, from the Bible. If I impart a name and form to That, it would be an abomination, an insult, I will be pulling it down to my pygmy status… for it is beyond all limits.
In Katha Upanishad, verse 2/2/15, it says,

Na tatra suryo bhati, na candra-tarakam,
Nema Vidyuto bhanti kutohayam Agnih?
Tameva bhantam anubhati sarvam,
Tasya bhasa sarvamidam vibhati.

meaning: In the Supreme Abode of Paramatman, there shines no sun, no moon or, stars, not flashes of lightning, how then can you expect fire to illuminate such an exalted place? The Supreme Spirit Itself is effulgent and He gives light to everything else. The sun doesn’t light up His abode, rather He lights up the sun and the universe. He is the only source of existence and power in the whole world.
In Gita, Krishna has uttered a very similar sentence to give expression to the supreme state. The Highest state of spiritual attainment has been described in most scriptures, as the Supreme Abode from which one doesn’t have to return. This “no return” means, Liberation from the cycle of death and consecutive rebirth. Gita, verse 15/6 says:

Na tad bhasayate suryo, na shashanko, na pavakah.
Yad gatwa na nibartante, Tad Dham Paramam Mama.

meaning: The sun, moon or, fire are not necessary to provide light in there. Where from there is no return (to this world of pain and rebirth), such is My Supreme Abode (Param Dham).


Question: What is “the “mask of Maya”?

To go to the heart of the matter, we must question the nature of Maya. What is Maya? It is the Illusion of this world of many-fold existence, when in reality, there is only the One All Pervading consciousness. There are not even 2 things, but one undivided infinite effulgence. That Oneness is called as Atman, Param-Atman, Param-Brahman (in the Vedas), Brahma Niranjan, Alakh Niranjan by the mystic Yogis, Shunyata by the Buddhists. One thing, many names.

Why then did we exist as different entities, why do we perceive these stupendous countless varieties in the Universe (or, Multiverse)? This is Maya. It is not the result of interpretations by mystics, men perceived this many-ness before the mystics. This difference is part and parcel of this mundane world. What then is in the root of this?

Its the Mind. The perception and faulty interpretation of the outside world by the mind. This illusion is not observed by only one culture, but all cultures. Its a mass hypnotism by the minds of organisms. This illusion is continuous and unending. That is because, we become aware of the outside through the senses and we take everything analyzed and thought by the mind as valid. So the Diverseness of the world appear to us as a valid and verified fact. ====> If we can go deeper inside the mind and observe the thoughts as they arise, we will identify the root of this world.

Yogis arrive at the Reality, which is Oneness, by stopping all thought-waves. Then the illusion stops and the world as we see it, vanishes. Only Atman remains, which is constant.

The sages of Vedanta stopped it by the reverse hypnosis of “I am not this, not that, but the One Infinite Truth.” They uprooted the small ego that pins us to our body, personality and identification with name and form. When the ego vanishes, all thoughts associated to our little-self existence, vanish. Thus they arrived at the naked Truth, where there is nothing else.

Question: What is reverse hypnosis?

Amitabha Chatterjee: Its the negating of the firm ideas in the mind that we carry around. These thought cycles identify us to names and forms and this physical body, pranic body, mental body, intellectual body and causal body. We constantly think like “I am this body”, “Amitabha is my name”, “This is my personality, my identity”, or, “I am this child’s father, I am this person’s son, I am this woman’s husband” and so on. These thoughts pin us to this worldly existence and all the little pleasures and agonies that arise from this samsara (world of many-ness).

The reverse hypnosis of Vedantins is the opposite cycle of thoughts that free our consciousness from this samsaric cycle. It is called as Neti-Neti Vichara, or, “Not-this_Not-this Logical analysis”. Like, “I am not this body, or, this mind, but I am Pure Unblemished consciousness.” Its unplugging the identification to this body and linking it to the Omnipresent consciousness. This line of thought gives rise to a mental wave or, Vritti, called Brahmakara Vritti. (Vibration resembling Brahman) This Vritti destroys all other waves of the mind and in the end, it vanishes. Thus the mental waves totally stop by this Neti-neti meditation, causing Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha state of Patanjali. Cessation of ripples inside the cognizant mind (Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha) shows us our real nature like a mirror. When there is no remaining reflection of this world in the mind, only what had been always there Remains. That is the Truth, or, Param-Atman. What remains is unnamed, unspeakable, it cannot be conceptualized, as it has no similarity with anything of this world. So, how can it ever be described? So, the Vedas have become silent.

Question: So, can we arrive there by just analyzing the mind?

  • No, that which is beyond the mind, cannot be arrived at by it’s analysis. One must stop the mind itself from thinking, and still retain the awareness. This is important. Deep sleep is a natural state without any thoughts. So, we should have attained the knowledge of the Supreme Soul, by just going to sleep! We didn’t, as we lost awareness on the way. This trick can only be performed by Yoga.

A state of equipoise, where there are only a few thoughts can be reached by analysis, or, savitarka samadhi of Yoga. But as the name suggests, sa-vitarka means “with-logical-analysis”, that is not yet devoid of ripples. Even when one sees the Light of the soul, that is savikalpa samadhi. Sa-vikalpa means, with mental cognition and thoughts arriving at concepts. Even that has to go. The Yogi, in the most advanced condition, has to give up everything, even the hope of retaining his individual consciousness. Then he may arrive at a state beyond the mind or, intellect, called, Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Only then can he become one with the Truth. Those who rarely manage to come back from this Nirvikalpa state are called SadGuru, Brahmavid-varistha, Yogeshwara.

Namaste Nath Bhagwan Shivaya Guru-Rupiney.
Vidyavatar Samsiddhou Svikritaneka Vigrahah.

 meaning: Thou, my master, my Guru, are the embodiment of knowledge. You are Shiva, you are the highest truth. You have accepted many forms to come down to this world to spread the light of knowledge. I bow down to you. (Guru Stavam, Tantra)

Narayana svarupaya Paramatmaika Murtaye.
Sarva-Gyana-Tamo-Bhedbhavena Chidghanaya te.

meaning: O Guru, you are Narayana, you are the embodiment of Paramatman. You are the all-knowing pillar of light that pierces through the curtain of this dark Tamasic world. You are concentrated awareness Itself. (Guru Stavam, Tantra)

Gyana Shakti Samarudham Tattvamala Vibhushitam,
Bhukti Mukti Pradataram Tasmai Shree Gurave Namah.

meaning– O Guru, you are adorned with the garland of Tattva-s (all that is to be known). Gyana (wisdom of Paramatman) and Power (Shakti) have become your seat. I bow to you, my Guru, who is capable of granting Bhukti (worldly desires) and Mukti (Highest liberation). (A quote from Vishwasara Tantra).

Such a wise Guru may utter the lofty words of Shvetashvetara Upanishad, as if pouring out of his own heart: Shvetashvetara Upanishad, verse 3/21:

Vedahametam Ajaram Puranam,
Sarvatmanam Sarvagatam Vibhutwat.
Janma-Nirodham Prabadanti Yasya,
Brahmavadino hi vadanti nityam.

meaning: I know the One Reality that is most ancient, beyond decay, the soul of all things, omnipresent and it encloses everything within Itself. They say that rebirth can end by knowing Him. Those who know (Brahma-vid), call Him Eternal.

Most human beings who try to achieve this highest of samadhi-s (Nirvikalpa samadhi), become dazzled by the splendor and power of Paramatman and merge into THAT, like a fly burns itself, plunging into a flame. Their lifeless bodies remain intact up to 21 days and then disintegrate like an ordinary corpse. Their souls merge into the Supreme Being and remain there forever. In a way this is a good thing, better than heaven or, other exalted states. The Vedanta adherents who desire Oneness, reach this end. But it is not the highest state.

This loss of individuality during Nirvikalpa samadhi, may be prevented only by the gradual accumulation of Power, before attempting the Nirvikalpa Trance. This accumulation of power can only be achieved by Tantra, or, Shakti-Sadhana. That’s why Tantra declares, Thy abode, O Highest Goddess, is beyond everything. The Yogi reaches your realm, after emerging from Paramatman. See the verse below: Kankalmalini Tantra 3/34.

Tava Chakram Maheshani, Atitah Paramatmanah.

The highest state is becoming One and non-dual and then returning back to duality. Once that happens, one can see that everything is God. The whole universe, the air, water, rocks, ants, bacteria, human beings, angels and gods alike, are all the same. That one Absolute Being has become everything. That One Supreme Being is pretending to be the ant. The pulp, seeds and skin are all that one whole fruit.

Who destroyed Nalanda University?

Destruction of Nalanda (from my earlier post in
There is wild speculation about the actual culprits responsible for burning down the magnificent Nalanda Mahavihara, one of the largest seats of Buddhist learning in ancient India. The usual rumour that is circulated maliciously is, “Five Brahmin youths burnt it down!” That sounds so ridiculous, when one has seen the amazing spread of Nalanda, the vast area it covered!! Nalanda is nearly 100 Kms away Patna, in modern Bihar, India. In ancient times it used to be referred to as, Nalanda, center of Buddhist learning, spread over an area of 50 Acres, near Rajagriha, in the kingdom of Magadha. At the peak of it’s existence, Nalanda University was the biggest Buddhist stronghold in the whole of India. The sheer number of occupants in Nalanda used to be 20,000, taking into account students, tutors, Bhikshu-s, Nuns, etc. It was world famous for it’s collection of scrolls, learned Buddhist philosophers, Vajrayana adepts & masters and for the magnificent architecture. Pupils thirsty of knowledge used to pour in from other countries like Tibet, China, Central Asia, Persia, Kabul (Afghanistan. Remember the gigantic Bamiyan Buddha statues?). So, whoever started the belief of those so-called Killer-Brahmins, is quite ignorant and has never consulted ancient history.

Nalanda University ruins

Nalanda University ruins

Here are the actual facts, with names and figures and proofs backing them up.
The Nalanda University was plundered, sacked and utterly destroyed by the Moslem invader Bakhtiyar Khilji, (Turkish) in 1193 AD. This devastating event contributed considerably to the decline of Buddhism in India, since Nalanda and similar universities, libraries and monasteries were like Buddhist fortresses in India. They were the pillars, supporting Buddhism, both philosophically and otherwise.

terracotta seal of Nalanda with the emblem

terracotta seal of Nalanda with the emblem

Bakhtiyar Khilji was not only cruel but also an Islamic Fanatic. He entered Nalanda to plunder it’s riches, but found only books and statues of Deities. Just Imagine his frustration! He then asked if they had even a single copy of the Islamic holy book Koran in the library. His soldiers found none!

Allow me to put down a little bit of Linguistics here.
The Muslim Turks upon entering the mainland of India, attacked the Viharas and Sanghas, the Buddhist monasteries, suspecting that they could be plundered for riches and gold. But they were filled with books and numerous idols of Vajrayana Gods and goddesses and of course, images of Buddha. The Indo-Islamic words Buth, Buth-parasti, etc, were coined during these conquests. “Buth” meaning statue, or, idol, came from the word, “Buddh” or, Buddha. “Buth-Parasti” means “worship of Idols“. The Islamic invaders wanted to utterly destroy these idol worshipers. In that Vajrayana period, the doctrines of Shunyata, Void and pure thoughts had vanished and were replaced by the worship of various deities… like Tara, Vajradhara, Mahakala…etc. You can find many brass, copper, bronze and stone statues of those deities in the Nalanda museum today. They have been excavated from the ruins.

The senseless genocide that followed has been recorded in detail in the historical book “Tabaquat-i-Nasiri” from the account of eye-witnesses and soldiers who took part in the killings. The Persian poet/ author /historian Minhaj-i-Siraj in his chronicle the “Tabaquat-i-Nasiri” described the rise of Muslim rule in Bengal up-to 1259, including the exploits of Bakhtiyar Khilji. We can also refer to the coins found from this period and validate the truth.

Tabaquat-i-Nasiri goes on like this: Khalji’s soldiers were ordered to pull down the structures, kill the inmates and burn all the worthless books. Several thousands of monks were thrown into the fire, while they were still alive. Some were beheaded. Khilji wanted to punish those idol-worshipers and devastate their culture, wipe it off the face of the earth, if possible. The millions of rare and invaluable books, scrolls and manuscripts burnt for months!!! Even after they turned to ashes, the sky above the surrounding villages was covered by a dark smoke that hung for weeks.

Shakya-Shribhadra, the Grand Abbot of Nalanda somehow escaped this killing. He received invitations from the Tibetan translator “Tropu Lotsaba Byams-Padpal” and this safe refuge was a heaven sent offer in those troubled times. So, he went to Tibet in 1204 AD and started another Mulasarvastivadin monastery there.

Another famous Tibetan translator “Chag Lotsawa” (1197–1264 AD) returned to India and visited in 1235 AD, the site where once Nalanda stood proudly. To his dismay, he found the place in ruins. Chag however discovered “Rahula Shribhadra“, the last remaining hermit, then 90 years old, still teaching a class of 70 students! This old master was kept alive by his Brahmin student named Jayadeva. (In India, numerous religions have been born and they flourished for thousands of years because of the natural spiritual tolerance of the people here. The only resistance Brahmins ever offered was by way of peaceful debates!) Jayadeva, however, was imprisoned in Odantapura, for supporting idolatry, where he heard of yet another invasion to take place. He notified his master Rahula and requested him to leave before any such a mishap. Rahula was left with only one student, a Tibetan, who carried his master on his shoulders, along with a few books, some rice and sugar. They took refuge in a temple. In-fact, during the stay of Chag Lotsawa, the remaining few Nalanda students were again attacked by 300 Muslim Turks. When Old Rahula and his student returned, nothing recognizable was left of Nalanda. ~(from the chronicles of Chag Lotsaba)

This article was originally composed by Amitabha Chatterjee (me) for here and edited on Oct 19th, 2014, before posting in WordPress.

Vatuka Bhairava Stotram in English

Vatuka Bhairava Apaduddhara Stotram consists of 108 names of Bhairava (Wrathful form of Shiva), which confers blessings and delivers the practitioner from danger. Kavacha, or, Kavacham means amulet or, armor. These verses or, hymns constitute a mantra armor. Apada (trouble / danger) + Uddhara means release from danger. After protracted practice, anyone is miraculously rescued  by Bhairava, once these 108 names are invoked. Whoever recites them is delivered from diseases, the malefic effects of planets, the evil influences of ghosts, demons and black-magic. The harmful entities flee from the spot on hearing the powerful invocation of the names of Bhairava.

Shiva-Nataraja and consort Parvati in dance posture.

Shiva-Nataraja and consort Parvati in dance posture.

The seer or, Rishi (who first realized this mantra in his trance) of these mantras is Brihadaranyaka; the rhythm (chhanda) in which this mantra must be uttered is Anustupa. The god appeased here is Vatuka Bhairava ; the viniyoga or, application is siddhi (Attainment of something), well-being and success in life. The principal mantra for Vatuka Bhairava, with Shakti Bija (root syllable) is this:

Om Hreem Vatukaya Apad-uddharanaya kuru kuru Vatukaya Hreem

As in all Tantras, the presentation of Apaduddhara Stotra begins as a dialogue between the supreme being Shiva and his consort, goddess Parvati. Parvati asks Shiva to tell her the 108 names of Vatuk Bhairava, such that, pious devotees may find a way to get rid of all problems and sorrows in life and find happiness.

Bhairavo Bhuta-Nath-ascha Bhutatma Bhuta-Bhavanah,
Kshetradah kshetrapal-ascha Kshetragya Kshatriyo Virat.

Bhairava is Bhutanath (lord of all living things), Bhuta-atman (soul of all life-forms), Bhuta-bhavana (always contemplates on the welfare of living beings). He is the giver (Kshetra-da) of Kshetra (physical body/Prakriti with 3 gunas) & it’s guardian (Kshetra-pala), the holder of Kshetra-wisdom ( Yogic wisdom ), Kshatrya (warrior), Virata (all pervading, gigantic).

Smashan-vasi Mangsashi Kharparashi-r Makhanta-krit.
Raktapah Pranapah Siddhah Siddhidah Siddha-sevitah.

He, being a form of Shiva, resides in Charnel grounds or, lonely cremation grounds (smashana), he accepts offerings of flesh (mangsa), his bowl is a skull (kharpar). He is the ender (or, he completes Makha = yajna) (fire-sacrifice) (meaning, an auspicious Tantric ritual is incomplete without him.) (also, destroyer, like Veerbhadra destroyed Dakhsa Yajna, on Shiva’s order.) He drinks blood and Prana (Vital force) [Bhairava bestows superior vital energy as blessing, or, diminishes vital power as a curse]. He is a Siddha (Complete Adept/Accomplished) himself, and a Giver of Siddhis (Power over some aspect of nature), and is worshipped by other Siddhas.

Karaalah Kaala-shamanah Kala-kastha-tanuh Kavih.
TriNetra BahuNetra_scha tatha Pingala-Lochanah.
Shula-panih Khadga-panih Kankali Dhumra-Lochanah.

Bhairava is Karaala (Terrible), Kaala(Death)-Shamana (Yama, God of death) [he is the Death of death, Kills death], Kala-kastha(units of measurement of time)-Tanu (body) [He is the embodiment of Time], Kavi (Poet, also means, he can see beyond the limits of Time). He has 3 eyes (Tri-Netra), bahu-netra (many eyes), his eyes are Pingala (honey-yellow in color) [Lochana=Netra=eye]. The weapons in his hands are Shula(Spear/Trident), Khadga (Sword), Kankala(Skeleton or, may imply Vajra, made from the indestructible bones of sage Dadhichi). His eyes are also smoke-grey (Dhumra).

Abhirur Bhairavo Bheemo Bhutapo Yogini-pati.
Dhana-do Dhana-hari cha Dhanadah Pratibhava-van.

Bhairava is utterly fearless (Abhiru), gigantic and powerful (Bheema), He is the master of the 5 basic elements that constitute the universe(Pancha Bhuta ), He is the master of Yoginis. (master/Lord=Pati). He is the bestow-er of riches (Dhana-daata; dhana=riches), and also the Taker (He takes them away= Dhana-haari); He is Talented, a genius, the master of all ingenuity (Pratibha).

In case, you are wondering what the hyphens – and _underscores are for, here’s the explanation. I have used them to separate meaningful words in Sanskrit, so that the reader can clearly understand and pronounce them. Tri Netra (meaning, tri=three, netra=eye). Ascha & tatha are grammar parts that join sentences… they mean “and”, or, “also”. Tatha also means “there /likewise”. But for now, don’t worry about grammar. Stick to the meaning of the individual names of Bhairava. For, its only a list of 108 names, remember?

Naga-haro Naga-kesho Vyomkesha Kapala-bhrith.

Kaalah Kapala-mali cha Kamaniyo Kala-Nidhih.

meaning: Naga= snake, hara=garland, Kapala = skull, mala= garland, Kesha=hair. Sri Bhairava is described as wearing a garland of snakes around his neck. Snakes are slithering among his matted locks of hair. He shares the Name Vyomkesha with Shiva, which means that his hair covers the whole span of the sky. Shiva outspread his matted locks all over the sky to catch and bind the celestial river Ganga, as she descended from heaven.He holds a skull in his hand and a garland of skulls adorns his chest.


Kapala-bhrith (Bhairava carries Brahma’s skull like a bowl): Puranic story:

The skull in his hand is that of Brahma-deva, the creator of this universe. Brahma, the creator, became egoistic, and lied about finding the upper end of the pillar of divine light.  This endless pillar is eternal knowledge and Shiva himself. While Brahma was boasting of his superiority to Vishnu, who was humble and quiet (for Vishnu accepted that he failed to find the bottom of the Pillar, even after searching for thousands of years), Shiva came out of the pillar. Shiva looked at Brahma with disapproval and suddenly Bhairava emerged from his contorted brows. Shiva ordered Bhairava to chop off Brahma’s head for lying. As Brahma stood trembling with fear, Bhairava produced a divine sword and chopped off Brahma’s fifth head, which uttered the untruth. As Bhairava proceeded to cut-off all the remaining heads of the creator, Lord Vishnu requested Shiva to forgive Brahma. Shiva praised Vishnu for being humble, truthful and courageous and forbade Bhairava to kill Brahma. Shiva blessed Vishnu that all his 10 avatars will be worshiped on earth and Vishnu will be the protector of the Universe. And cursed Brahma that he will not be worshiped, in spite of being the creator.

Shakti’s skull and immortality

The skulls in his garland are those of goddess Shakti as Sati (Sati= Parvati’s previous incarnation) from all her previous births. Shakti left Shiva many times in the past, casting off her mortal body. Immortal Shiva collected her skulls & made a garland; and from her bones, he made a rosary. Shakti’s avatars, before Parvati were mortals. Shiva made Parvati perform astounding austerities and yoga, before accepting her as his consort. Parvati attained immortality and her yogic feats enabled her to emanate the various wrathful forms to slay demons (Durga, Ambika, Kali, Chandi, Chamunda, Kaushiki, Bhadrakali, etc.).

He is Kaala, time itself (also, Kaala= death). He is extremely beautiful & handsome. He is the god of all art-forms. All the classical music, Raga, Raginis, Dance postures have evolved from Lord Shiva.(Kala=art, nidhi=gem/treasure).

Tri-lochan-Ujjvala-netras Tri-shikhi cha Tri-loka-path.
Tri-britto-Nayano Dimbhah Shantah Shanta-jana-praiyah.

Tri= three, nayana=lochana=eye, Loka=world. shanta=peaceful, priya=favourite.
Bhairava has three large bright eyes. His hair is arranged in 3 matted locks (tri-shikha). He is the lord of the 3 worlds, he nurtures (Patha= who nurtures, maintains) and sustains them. He is the embodiment of Peace and loved by all those who have attained peace of mind. Dimbha= child, Vatuka also means small child.

Vatuko Vatukeshas cha khatvanga-vara-dharaka.
Bhutadhyakshah Pahupatir Bhikshukah Paricharakah.

He is called by all these names : Vatuka, Vatukesh, Bhutadhyaksha, Pashupati (lord of all animals), Bhikshuka and Paricharaka. He holds the Vara (blessing) gesture and the Khatvanga weapon in his hands. Now, Bhuta Preta= elemental lifeforms like Ghosts, made of subtler panchabhutas.


(Bhairava is the master of all animals ) Pashu literally means Animal. But those human beings who are not liberated, are also considered as Pashu (animals) in Tantra. Pash means bondage. Whoever is bound by ignorance is a Pashu, or, animal.
Bhairava wanders in this world taking the disguise of a beggar (Bhikshuka), with the skull of Brahmadeva as his begging bowl. Paricharaka = He who takes care of the distressed/ needy. So, Bhairava is both a beggar and the giver of alms in the form of riches, boons and knowledge.

Dhurtto digambarah shaurir-harinah pandu-lochanah.
Prashantah shantidah suddhah shankarah priyabandhavah

Dhurtto { धूर्त } = clever; cunning.
digambara= naked, Dik-Ambara, The directions(Dik) are his cover(ambar अम्बर )(= unclad);
Shauri { शौरि }=means Vishnu;
Harina { हरिण } = Shiva, Vishnu, Hamsa and white-colored;
Pandu-lochana= eyes are yellowish-white in color;
Pashanta= He who has attained total peace; Shanti= peace; Shanti-da = Peace-giver;
Shuddha= Pure;
shankarah priyabandhava= it may be interpreted like:
1) Dear friend of Shiva Shankara
2) He is Shankara (shiva) and Close-Friend of the devotee.
Pra-Shanta= He who has attained total peace;


Digambara (Dik + Ambara)= naked, unclad. Shiva is all-pervading, infinite, so the directions (Dik) are unable to envelop him like a cloth(Ambara). He is naked, as he is infinite.
shaurir-harinah= Divine like Shiva or, Vishnu.
Shanti-Da, Shanti-data= He who Grants or, Bestows peace.

Asta-murtir-Nidhisha-scha Gyan-chakshus Tamomayah.
Astadharah Kaladharah Sarpayukta Shashi-shikhah.

Asta=8, murti=form, Nidhi=Treasure, Isha=master/Lord, Gyan=knowledge, Chakshu=eye, Tamo=Tamo-guna, Adhar=support, Kala=Art, Sarpa=snake, yukta=with (snake), Shashi=moon, Shikha=Top of the head/Jata.

Vatuka / Batuk Bhairav appears in 8 forms and lends his support in 8 ways (I think, something about the 8 directions, 4 cardinals, 4 in-between), He is the Lord of all treasures and art. Although he appears in Tamasic forms(Like drinking wine, eating flesh, accepting animal sacrifices, wandering in cremation grounds, etc.), he is totally enlightened. He can see everything at all times, past, present and future. He like Shiva, has snakes around his neck and a crescent moon emits pleasant light from his matted Jata. (Diseases and fatigue of devotees disappear by meditating on this moon)

Bhu-dharo Bhudhar-adhisho, Bhupatir-Bhudhar-atmakah.
Kankaal-dhari Mundi cha Naag-Yajnopabita-vaan.

Bhu=Earth, Pati=lord, Kankaal=skeleton, Munda=head, Naag=snake,
Yajnopabita=Holy threads that Brahmins hang from their left shoulder. {NOTE:- But in the past Brahmins, as well as ksatriyas/kinsmen/warriors and Vaisyas/trader-clans used to take part in fire sacrifices ( All the first 3 of the 4 castes of ancient India. Only the Sudras were left out ). In the beginning of the sacrifice, after the initiation ceremony, they were given this threads to wear. Some sacrifices could take several days to complete.}

Vatuk Bhairav is the Lord of this world, this earth and this soil. He is also master over those who hold this world (like the King of snakes named Vasuki), or over those who rule earth. He wears ornaments made from bones and also garlands of human heads around his neck (Belonging to Brahma, Sati, etc. as explained earlier). His sacred-thread is made from a coil of snakes, instead of string. This snake symbolism signifies the mastery over Kundalini energy.


Jrimbhano Mohanah Stambhi Maranah Kshobhanas-tatha.
Shuddha Neelanjana Prakkho-deho Munda-Vibhushitah.

Jrimbhan=Yawning, inducing a sleepy state; Mohana=Hypnosis, Stamnhan=Stupefy/Paralyze, Marana=to kill, Kshobhan=to induce restlessness. These are actually weapons/Astra-vidyas. Ancient yogis going back to the Vedic era possessed these powers. In the Puranic era, and the era where Tantra prevailed, these were coveted and feared. Deva-Guru Vrihaspati’s brother paralyzed Indra’s hand, as the latter raised his Vajra to attack (Indra=Zeus, king of heaven)… through a fire ritual (Stambhan); Again, Arjuna single-handedly, put the whole Kaurava army to sleep by a weapon called Jrimbhakastra, in Virata- war.

Yogi Jalandhar Nath (Jalandhari Pa, guru of Kanipa Nath) was annoyed with some gods (who disagreed and displayed insubordination ) and put them under hypnosis (Mohana). When they came to their senses, they were hanging upside-down from trees, pleading for release! Yogi Gorakhnath induced unhappiness (Kshobhan) in the marital life of King Bhartrihari to pull him out of his household and royal pleasures. Bhartrihari became a great Nath yogi called Vichar Nath. He is also the author of Vairagya-Shataka (100 verses on Dispassion) & Vakyapadiya (an original work of Sanskrit grammar, at par with Panini’s sutras.). Sage Kapilmuni burnt to ashes with his gaze (Marana), 1000 princes of Sagara dynasty. On the hands of unselfish Yogis, these powers were always applied for some greater good. Like the Sagara king Bhagirath, who brought down river Ganga from heaven to deliver his burnt ancestors. So, in a way, Kapil Muni’s action was the cause and the descent of Ganga was the result.

All the above powers are granted to the proper devotee of Bhairava, who will not try to use them for evil ends. These are called Abhichara kriya or, Krura-Karma (Cruel deeds) in Tantra. A Tamasic meditation is suggested here. Vatuk Bhairava’s body is dark (blue black) like the purest Kajal/ Netra-Anjana (Prepared from Lamp-soot), he is decorated with a garland of human skulls.


Balibhuk balibhutatma kami kama-parakrama.
sarvapat-tarako durgo dusta-bhuta-nishevitah.

He accepts sacrifices(balibhuk=eater of sacrifices), Himself being the soul of all his sacrifices (bali bhutatma); he is the pinnacle of all desires of here and here-after. He is the destroyer of Kama (Shiva burnt Kama-deva, the god of desire, to ashes with a gaze from his third eye.)

He is difficult to reach (Durgo)(cannot easily be found), He is the Rescuer from all misfortunes and troubles ( sarva= all. Apada= trouble; Taraka = Rescuer, Saviour ).

He (puts down by force) curbs evil-spirits and withholds them. Bhairava is an emanation of Shiva. He was given the responsibility to protect & preserve Deva-sthana-s, especially shrines of Shiva and the 51 Shakti-Pithas that sprang up from the 51 body parts of mother goddess Sati. Lord Bhairava, who could cut off Brahma’s head, is a supremely powerful being. So, all malefic spirits meekly serve him for fear of destruction. Hence Bhairava is dusta-bhuta-nishevitah.

Kaalah Kalanidhi Kantah Kamini-Vashakridvashi.

Sarva-siddhi-prado Vaidyah Prabhavishnu Prabhavabaan.

He is Mahakala, Kala (the supreme destroyer, also means Time).

Kalanidhi = great artist, bestower of artistic talent. Shiva is the Poet of the Veda, Vedanta; The singer of Ragas; the supreme dancer of Tandava, he is also called Nataraja. The Nada or, primal sound flows from his Damaru (hand drum), Shiva taught Rishi Panini, the formulas (Shiva Sutra) of Sanskrit grammar with 14 beats of his drum. He didn’t have to utter a word! We find in Nandikeshwara Karika, the famous and poetically rich verse,

Nrityavasane Nataraja Rajo Ananda Dhakkam Navapancha-varam.
Uddhartu-kamah Sanakadi-siddhadin etad-vimarshe Shiva-sutra-Jalam.

Meaning: Shiva taught the four first-born sons of Brahma, who thirsted for eternal knowledge, in a silent manner. He is called as Dakshinamurti, who imparted silent knowledge to the Sanaka-adi (Sanak, Sanadana, Sanatana & Sanatkumara) siddha sages. As the Sanakadi Rishi-s witnessed Shiva’s Nataraja Nritya (dance), pure knowledge began to radiate like light from Shiva. At the end of the dance, Nataraja played his drum 9+5 = 14 times, to bless the sages, who were also his students. The Shiva Sutra-s of Panini’s grammar were hidden in those damaru beats. Later, Nandinath, (Shiva’s bull, his ride or, Vahana, also visualized as a liberated sage) who took note of all his teachings, imparted those grammar sutras to Panini. Elsewhere, it has been said that Shiva himself appeared to Panini, who was performing rigorous penance to appease the lord and played his drum 14 times. Strange complex hymn like sounds came out of the percussion instrument, and the formulas of Sanskrit language appeared out of the blue and dawned on Panini’s heart in samadhi. Thus Panini became a Rishi (seer of a mantra) and spread the new knowledge far and wide.

Kanta= extremely beautiful, handsome. All women desire a husband with similar qualities. His devotees get their desires for a suitable companion fulfilled.
Siddhi= success/ miraculous powers. He grants all siddhis; He cures all ailments (vaidya= doctor, Healer); He is supremely powerful (Prabhavishnu Prabhavabaan).

Astottara shatam nama Bhairavasya mahatmana.
Maya-te kathitang devi rahasyam sarva-kamadam.

Thus, O Goddess, I have spoken to you of the 108 names of the Supreme God Bhairava. These names are filled with secret powers which can accomplish anything.

After this verse, Shiva explains the benefits of practicing this Kavacham to some length. Later, he gives us the description of Vatuka Bhairava, for meditation.

Dadyath stotram-idam punyam sarva kama-phala-pradam,
Dhyanam vakshyami Devasya yatha dhyatva pathennarah.

By meditating on Bhairava, it is possible to achieve anything. Also vast merit (Punya, the opposite of sin) is acquired by doing so. Now, I will tell you the dhyana description, which a devotee must recite.

Shuddha sphatika sankasham sahasraAditya varchasam.
Astavaahum Trinayanam Chaturvaahum Dwivaahukam.

This is the Sattvic or, purest form of meditation. Contemplate on Bhairava, who is like a transparent crystal. He is radiant, as if, a thousand suns have illuminated the sky. He has three eyes. You may think of him with eight, four or, two hands.

Bhujanga-mekhalam Devam Agnivarna Shiroruham.
Digambaram Kumareesham Vatuk-akhyam Mahabalam.

This is the second purest visualization. It is Rajasic in nature. The supremely powerful god Bhairava is like a nude boy (the real meaning of Digambara has been explained above), who is wearing a thong of poisonous snakes around his waist. He is called Vatuka, as he has appeared in the form of a male child. His hair is reddish yellow like fire (usually in a top knot, or, matted locks).

Khatvangam-Asi-pasham-cha Shoolam-chaiva tatha punah.
Damarum-cha kapalam-cha Varadam Bhujagam tatha.

This verse is applicable to all forms of meditations, pure, semi-pure or, otherwise. This is a description of the weapons wielded by Vatuka Bhairava in his eight hands. Traditionally, they are counted from lower right hand of the deity upwards, ending in the lower left. Khatvaga (a long staff decorated with severed heads, ending in a club.), Asi (sword), Pash (noose, a rope made of raw energy that looks like lightning, used to ensnare the opponent.), Shoola (Trishula or, Trident, the ultimate destructive weapon. Usually Shiva and Durga weild it, to denote mastery over Triguna-s, Sattva, Rajas, Tamas.), Damaru (a hand held double drum, originally used by Shiva), Kapala (Skull bowl, probably from Brahma’s severed head), Vara-mudra (boon granting hand gesture), Bhujaga (king of snakes. The snakes slithering over shiva’s matted locks and neck are unique and have names and presiding domains.).

Each of the above is a terrible weapon that causes havoc and widespread destruction. They are capable of killing demons as well as gods, or, can cause great good.

Neel-Jeemuta-samkasham Neelanjana samaprabham.
Dangstra Karaala-vadanam nupur-angada samkulam.

This is the Tamasic form of meditation. It all depends on the mental make-up of the devotee. Any of meditation may be picked for practice, that harmonises with personal taste. Bhairava is blue-black in color that resembles the Jeemuta gem, (dark like the Kaajal Anjana applied on eyelashes). He provokes fear among the most horrendous of demons. He is extremely terrible in his wrathful form and bares his fangs. Vatuka Bhairava wears nupur, or, payal, which is a tiny belled anklet, put on both legs by dancers. Nupur emits a sweet tinkling sound when one walks. Angad is the Sanskrit name for bracelet or, armlet, hand ornaments adorning the arms of Vatuka.

Atmavarna samopeta sarameya samanvitam.
Dyatva japeth susam hrishtah sarvaan kaman-vapnuyat.

shivaa-bhoga, feeding the fox or, dog in Tantra

shivaa-bhoga, feeding the fox or, dog in Tantra

Vatuka Bhairava is the only other god, apart from Mahayogi Dattatreya, who is followed by a pack of dogs. According to the meditations given above, the dogs are either white, or, red or, black, matching the complexion of Bhairava himself. According to myths, Shiva has four dogs running around him. These are the four Veda-s in disguise. Also, in Tantra, the Goddess, or, her retinue come to the yogi in the form of a fox, or, dog, or, wolf. This animal is summonsed with proper mantras and they appear mysteriously and eat the yogi’s sacred offerings. They reveal secret events by omens for the benefit of the Tantra practitioner. This is called Shivaa-bhoga in Tantric terminology.

By reciting the above 108 names of Bhairava with devotion and contemplation, anything can be achieved in this world.

Originally translated from Apaduddhara Kalpa of Viswasara Tantra by Amitabha Chatterjee.

Kuladananda Brahmachari and Ajapa

Sri Kuladananda Brahmachari was one of the principal disciples of Sadguru (Guru who liberates his disciples from the cycle of birth and death) Sri Bijoykrishna Goswami. He achieved siddhi in Brahmacharya and devotion to the Guru. He is said to have revived a dead man once, by the power of faith in his master. He is remembered one century after his death for his great work, Sri Sri Sadguru Sanga, his day to day spiritual experiences with his master, recorded in his diaries. His samadhi/ tomb is in Puri, just opposite to the tomb of his master.
Kuladananda Brahmachari in Shiva dress, Neelkantha Vesh

Kuladananda Brahmachari in Shiva dress, Neelkantha Vesh

Here, Kuladananda-ji is shown in his usual Neelkantha Vesh (special attire, or, getup that resembles Shiva), as he ordered by his master. 108 Rudraksha beads are worn in a specific order, like x numbers in a garland, y numbers as ear-rings, z numbers in arm-lets, etc. Ash from his daily havan kunda was to be applied on the forehead, behind the neck, etc. Ash smearing was one of his daily rituals, as was hawan, yajna, nyasa parts of his sadhana. He had to remain celibate, physically and mentally. He also practiced Ajapa sadhana very seriously. He practiced pranayama, as taught by his Guruji Sri Bijoykrishna Goswami. Kuladananda Baba had the great fortune of meeting great sadhu, mahatma and sages like Sri Gambhirnath, the Mahasiddha Yogi of Gorakhpur, Baba Lokenath the godlike yogi of Baradi, Bangladesh, Mahatma Siddha Lengababa, Sri Ramdas Kathia Baba of Vrindavan, Baba Bholananda Giri (Bhola Giri) of Haridwar and many others and he received their blessings. These sages and his own Guru were like pillars of wisdom and spiritual power.
The lineage is considered important among the sadhus of India. Sri Kuladananda Brahmachari’s lineage is as follows:
(1) Sri Brahmananda Paramhamsa of Gyangunj, or, Siddhashram, situated in Tibet –> (2) Sri Bijoykrishna Goswami, who is famous all over West and East Bengal. He established his main Asram in Gendariya, Dhaka, Bangladesh –> (3) Sri Kuladananda Brahmachari.
AJAPA Practice ( a few words about his sadhana and ajapa breathing)
Ajapa means to recite the mantra with breathing, instead of using a rosary. This method is more effective than mala, or, rosary. This japa continues even when one is not consciously repeating the holy name, or, even if one is asleep, or, dreaming. God’s name gets bound with the breath and continues throughout one’s life uninterruptedly. Obviously, Kuladananda Brahmachari had to put great effort and practice for many years.

Gita and Karma

Krishna suggests his disciple Arjuna (as well as all mankind), how Karma works, how it binds us.
Your mind is your friend and your own enemy. He who has mastered his own mind, accepts feelings of  pain & pleasure, both physical and mental with the same measure of calmness. (As if his life and actions are optimally balanced)
Gita Chapter 6, Dyana-Yoga, verses 6 & 7.
gita, stevens, karma

gita, stevens, karma

This verse contains great wisdom. Let us understand the psychology and philosophy of Karma.

Hence it is said, that mind is the root cause of Bondage and Liberation. All the works we perform, all Karmas are actually mental. The physical work is just the external projection of the mind. The sense organs like eyes, ears, nose, skin, tongue, bring signals from the external environment into the brain, the mind interprets it, and then we respond to those impulses as we decide. We react through the organs of action like speech, hands, legs, sexual organ, etc. Now, all these organs are harmless tools that obey whatever order the mind issues. So, we actually create Karma (actions) through the mind, not this physical body. The mind is encased in the brain and spinal cord.

If we bring the reactions of the mind under control, we can take wise decisions and perform meritorious actions. Then the mind is our friend. If we let basic instinct and animal impulses overtake us, then we are bound to commit grave mistakes in life. This is like my own Mind acting as my Enemy. We must judge and consider, what is the right thing to do in the current situation and then act. Also, my personal opinion is, that one is much better off when he (or,  she) has made up one’s mind on the goal of life. Then half of the battle is won! In order to do so, you must have a clear idea about who you really are, what are your talents, virtues and problems. Then our actions will be more focused, and we will not be wandering aimlessly, dragging our lives along.

The picture is taken from  Sacred Calligraphy of the East-  by John Stevens. I am fond of Calligraphy. It soothes the mind, provides moral and emotional strength at some subtle level. And its very aesthetic.