Saturday, March 31, 2007

Meera - a prayer of love

I dont recall when and how my love of Krishna began. But i dont know if i ever really cared for any other god as i cared for this one being. I first read and learnt about Mirabai, in my early childhood thru' the Amar Chitra Katha series. Being a kid, it was another story. But slowly as i started facing problems in life, which could be as simple as losing a pen or book, and at the other end of the spectrum to farcical wish that a girl respond to my affections, i slowly but steadily relied on my one god to help me out, when i needed it. I also had a chance to get some formal (if you can call it that) training on a few slokhas and the Bhagavad Gita in my youth. Soon Krishna became more spiritual than real, but remained as real as any other human being can be in me.

It was during this time, i was reintroduced to Mirabai, albeit thru' a movie. The movie had nothing to do about Mirabai, but the director tried to present a waylaid lover as Meera. What affected me most was the song or poem written by the bling muscian and composer Ravindra Jain, 'ek radha ek meera'. I soon forgot the movie, no sooner than i had watched it, but the song played on, for a long time. I pick this up again now, because of my recent visit to the temple here in metro Washington DC, where i picked up a CD of Meera Bhajans.

I read some more about Meera, thanks to the internet. But then again, as is common in the internet, it was the same information doing its circles. I also happened to come across a few sites about people who are following this tradition of Meera. What struck out was the Bhakti tradition. Like i indicated before, knowledge acquired from a guru (altho' this is the first time i speak of him as such), there are three paths to attain mukti. Mukti is defined as relief from the cycle of birth and death, and attaining oneness with god. Bhakti, is one such path, where you surrender yourself to god, and sing and praise his love and name.

Meera, through the many trials and tribulations in her life, devoted her life to Krishna. She believed from her childhood that she was Krishna's wife, and was meant to please him and love only him. It is difficult to fathom such impact on a small child. But then like she proved with her life, she was no ordinary soul either. It couldnt have been a physical attraction, because to Meera, Krishna was but a doll, made from clay or stone. It could be the stories about Krishna, his consort Radha, and his many gopis that may have moved her. I read that Meera considered herself to be a re-incarnation of a gopi, Lalitha.

Meera surrendered herself to her lord. She even sings that her family (her husband's family) tried to poison her, to kill her. She is said to have consumed the poison, and letting Krishna decide her fate. It requires a lot of courage and patience, and the destruction of the ego, to be able to wander thru' the path of Bhakti. When i read about the different paths, i, like most other mortals on this planet, knew it wasnt for me. How can you ignore your family and people around you and wander about singing the praise of the lord? Well, you can, but its not easy. Today, just as it happened then, people around you will curse, spite and ridicule you. This path where you live amongst others but surrender and devote your life to the love of someone else, could easily be construed as insanity.

Meera, thru' her life and poems, prove that it is possible to reach mukti or salvation. Whether you believe her story and conjure up the doubts regarding it or not. You cannot but ignore the fact that salvation at one level, is to be at peace with oneself. Through out the teaching of Krishna, in The Gita, this point sticks out. Meera was at peace with herself, because she devoted every emotion regarding her self to someone else. She put her being, present and future in the hands of someone else, thereby transferring responsibility to other person.

Is all of this practical today or for that practical ever ? I too am not sure of that. But then each person has to take that journey alone. Lives, teachings, Vedas, books and gurus can only give you information so as to make a learned choice. The life after making such a choice is entirely yours. Or is it ? Even as i write this, i can see two sides of me, pulling me towards to 'complete surrender' and 'choice'. It is not going to be solved by one discussion of Mirabai and her life.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Another Blog

Well, as is usual, there are a lot of ideas that float around in the head. Most are usually wasted verbosity, but quite a few of them are gems. They tend to last in your head for a few moments, as you ponder your thought and build on it. Idle brain, is not always used by the devil.

In such a weak moment, i came up with the idea of another blog. Not like i have a lot of friends or other blogger friends thirsting for my vomit of knowledge. But its nice place to pour out your thoughts, with the hope that sometime, i can go back and read all of it, or someone else will and will be benefited from the same (talk about bloated egos).

The weak moment, came, i believe as i was on my way back from a restaurant, and wanted to rave about the food. I also found that not too many search results showed me the kind of feedback, i was looking for about good eating places. I focussed on chennai, because Yahoo's Local Reviews made up for lack of info on local eateries in the US.

So, if you are a visitor to this blog, stop over at my other blogspot called, I have not been able to add much since i started it, but it has a fledgling list of reviews, 12 to be exact of today. I hope to add more, and am also keen to know if other would like to co-author, or are willing to share their thoughts about the same concept. I havent made much noise about it, and i guess this is a start. I am going to take this one step at a time.