Posts Tagged ‘Rama’

The Hindus revere the Ramayana.

It is like a scripture for many Hindus. But even as they revere the Ramayana they don’t hold every word of it as inerrant. In fact the Hindus have freely built their racial imagination on the Ramayana.

Kamban, who lived during a highpoint of Tamil history in the 12th century, adored Rama and wrote one of the grandest works of Tamil literature on the theme of the Ramayana. He was ostensibly making Rama an example for future Tamil kings.

Though Kamban made changes here and there to suit the literary conventions and social mores of the Tamils, he was an ardent admirer of Valmiki and drunk deep from the Sanskrit fount.

Bharati, Tamil’s own national poet imagined that Kamban’s Ramayana was his attempt at indicating Infinity through symbols.

For Thyagaraja, who passed away some thirty-odd years before Bharati’s birth, Rama was more than a magnificent hero or a potent incarnation of Vishnu, he was the Supreme Being itself.

The Hindus have sought transcendence through symbols. And Rama has been a channel through whom they have sought to voyage into the divine.

There are those who belittle Rama’s story as a myth. But no religion knew how to make a myth work for uplifting the race as did the Hindus. For them the word myth did not translate into untruth…it was for them a way to the truth! Every region viewed itself through Rama, every art configured the Ramayana, every tongue lisped the name of Rama and his ilk.

Thyagaraja worshipped a family icon of Rama and swore by the name of Rama…and what did he achieve? A supreme musical creativity and a spotless life of giving himself off to hundreds of disciples.

Amudhanar of Srirangam, who celebrated the Vaishnava Acharya Ramanuja wrote of the Ramayana as the flood of devotion. He had it that Ramanuja was the temple where this flood of devotion was stored (Ramayanam Ennum Bhakti VelLam, Kudi Konda Kovil Iraaamanuja………….)

Monotheists who tomtom their dogmas against the worship of ‘idols’ should remember that Hindus have the example of thousands of great souls who have shown that the worship of icons of the divine is a way to god.

Should we follow a Ramanuja, a Raghavendra, a Tukaram, a Gnanasambanda, a Namdev or should we believe unscrupulous dogmatists thumping on their heavily manipulated books?

Tulsi took Rama’s story to the masses in the North in their own tongue…but he spoke a language redolent with the sacred fragrance of devotion. And great kathakars like Morari Bapu and Kanakeshwari take this sanctifying story to its soulful heights.

Rajaji, scarcely given to exaggeration and literary effervescence, declared in the foreword to his rendering of the Valmiki Ramayana, that Rama and Sita and Hanuman and Bharata would serve as armour to Hindu children and protect them.

Dec. 1, this day that I am writing this post, is the birth anniversary of Yogi Ramsurat Kumar, a seeker from Kashi who became a saint in the streets of Tiruvannamalai. His mantra was the name of Ram. And through it he attained a spiritual clarity and many could see and feel. And Ram is a name that even the likes of Kabir, who look askance at story and myth, swear by as the path to the world beyond all paths.

Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama…

Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama…


Oh with what eloquence US President Obama announces the killing of Al -Qaeda leader Bin Laden!

Oh the determination and resoluteness the US intelligence agencies have shown in their pursuit of their aim — capture of the 9/11 perpetrator.

Oh the pusillnanimity of the Indian government in dealing with the Pakistani murderers who unleashed Bombay on us!

Oh the mercy petition that hangs in the balance for aeons in the case of the attack on the Indian Parliament!

Mother India sheds bloody tears at the unavenged war that was visited on our financial capital.

India hangs its head in shame that the savage attack on its Parliament is not being brought to its logical and just end.

The US, whatever be its other faults and hegemonic ends at least behaves as a proud nation.

India, whatever its great traditions of peace, of Buddha and Gandhi, slouches in the shadows like a eunuch, incapable of action.

Klaibyam Maa Sma Gamaha..Paartha…
Na Ethath Tvayi Upapadhyathe…
Kshudhram Hridya Daurbalyam Tyaktva
Uththishta Paranthapa…

‘’O Scorcher of foes..Don’t succumb to impotence…This does not befit you. Get rid of your weakness of heart and stand up…’’ Krishna said this to our own warrior of warriors, Arjuna.

But the only one who seems to have taken Krishna’s call is the Australian Julian Assange.

Are Indians then a spent force?

Will ever our Arjunas, Ashokas and Ramas rise?

Leaving criminal wrongs unpunished is not a quest for peace…it is the murder of justice.

India, Stand up…Punish those who harass your people. Otherwise you are a nation only in name.

Rajaraja Chola, was a great king, a mighty emperor and imperialist, if you have…

But with the passing of time, he is mainly known for the temple(s) he built.

His son Rajendra celebrated his northern victory with the raising of Gangaikondacholapuram, and marked his new capital with a gigantic temple.

Today that capital Gangaikondacholapuram is a nondescript spot, identified only by the temple which is looked after by the Archaeological survey of India.

Whatever happened to the great warriors? They died like everyone of us will.

The temples will live, but the kings and their kaliyugan counterparts will be consigned to the dungheaps of history.

It is so because the temples are part of the lives of the people while kings are meant to change…and die…and be forgotten.

If this is what happens to noble kings, one can imagine the fate of rulers who swindle the people to fatten their families.

Sri Rama is quite another matter. He was not only the king of Ayodhya, he is the king of the hearts of the Hindu people.

Whatever ‘Dravidian’ Don Quixotes may think, he is the symbol of all that is great in India.

That is why a Tamil Kamban, the greatest of all Tamil poets who lived and will ever live, built his magnus opus on Rama’s life. Kamban must have known Rajaraja too…but he knew who was the Rajadhiraja…the King of all kings.

That is why a Thyagaraja, who lived in stark poverty to keep his creative fires dazzling, poured out his sublime musical heart in tribute to Rama.

I challenge present day politicians to impel one noble work on themselves with their ill-earned crores.

They will have only crows cawing inane tributes.

Some petty poetaster can perhaps think of something as original as a Ravana Kaaviyam…but that will shrivel sooner than the tenheads of the demon in a Ram Lila fest.

Rajaraja lives today because he reventially bowed to the glory of Shiva…

He lives because he was Sivapadashekaran….he who decorated his crown with the feet of Shiva.

If he was just Rajaraja, there would be no place for Mr. Karunanidhi to enter.

Let everybody remember….every mortal who wants a little bit of immortality should bow before the immortals.

At least you have people wondering where Rajaraja’s resting place could be…there will be no one to do even that for those who question the gods and trample upon their values.

And for those who want true immortality there is the great Vedic vision and achievement of the Vedic seers on whose unshakeable foundations India rests.

This is the vision that the mighty Subramania Bharati, who gave new life to the Tamil tongue, called on all of us to take to…if we want to become truly immortal. Mrityor Maa Amritam Gamaya…Take us from the shores of death to the horizons of everlasting life.

Rama. The two-syllable name spells worlds of incomparable beauty.
Rama was born on the Navami of waxing moon of Chaitra, the moon rising in the fourth paada of the Punarvasu nakshatra, Jupiter and Moon occupying Cancer, Mars occupying Capricorn, Venus in Pices, and the Sun and Mercury posited in Aries. This is Valmiki’s word.
Rama is not only real for us, he is the greatest Reality. Guru Vydhyanatha says that Rama’s spiritual sphere is close to the earth, an orange mandala of divine energy.
Rama is fact, fiction, fantasy and philosophy rolled into one…everything that the eyes can see, the mind imagine and the soul divine.
What a resounding impact Rama made! A man like no other, his life, the greatest story ever told to humanity.
If he is just an overblown fiction to pseudo secularists, thatha astu for them.
Apparenty, Rama is the reality that hare-brained realists cannot touch! They cry out that Rama is a mere mortal…brave and self-righteous…..a man who was banished to the forests by his step mother, and lost his wife to another king. And this is the man whom some chaps worship, what fools!
Even when these know-alls consider the life of Rama as a story, they prefer to dwell on details of their own choice.
What about the underpinnings of the story…that Vishnu, in deference to the wishes of the gods, chose to be born as the son of Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya? Conveniently forgotten. Interpolation or extrapolation perhaps. Rama, by axiom, cannot have been anything worthwhile.
When god was born as man, he chose to tread the earth as man, as a great man with great aspirations great standards and great might no doubt…but as a man…incomplete, unknowing, faltering. How great a concept, how beautiful!
Hindus of course worship Rama in a million images, but they don’t claim that he is above all doubt and humanity. They don’t make a law of his every act, they don’t take out statutes about what is right and wrong from his life. In short, they don’t make a burden of his life. In fact, in the manner of Joseph Campbell, they have internalised Rama’s life as an ever-living myth, its grand dimensions flowing in and out of their lives for ever. Rama is not a historical character — though he well might have trod this earth once — frozen for ever in the chilly arctics of time. Rama has to be a myth, in the best sense of the word, so that Rama is happening for all time. Rama is a not a sepulchre…Rama does not have to rise from his death…he is the ever living reality for whoever will see….Rama is happening today, the day of his birth millenias before, and will keep on happening…because he is endless.
If Rama was a passing earthling, how come the Tiruvaiyyaru bard hitched his creative cavalcade to him and rose as a god himself in the pantheon of eternal composers?
If Rama was a blundering mortal, how come Kamban, whom Bharati celebrated as the greatest Tamil of all times, delved into the Rama’s life and leapt into the skies as a cloudburst of immense creativity?  Bharati held that Kamban was trying to point to infinitude through signs and symbols.
If Rama’s story was just a fancy tale and nothing else, how come it has a myriad meanings for millions of people!
I dwell with him and savour the extraordinary human aspects of his personality.
When  Rama’s stepmother, even after having easily secured an aye for his  banishment, goads him into leaving Ayodhya swiftly, he is forced to make a stirring declaration which is almost a slap on her face…
”Who do you think I am? I am not one who greeds for wealth and royalty. Know me to be a rishi, walking the unsullied path of righteousness!”.
When Rama leaves Ayodhya, he salutes the city of his forefathers….honouring it with his respect and reverence. Do we urbanites think for a moment about the city that gives us our life, our dwelling and our world? That we need to give back something to the city that gave us all.
Based on Valmiki’s descriptions, Kamban pictures Rama meeting the people of his city with great love and consideration. Wasn’t he the Poorvabhaashi, ever the one to take the initiative in conversing with people?
When Rama came to the banks of the Ganges, and sighted Guha, the hunter and leader of boatmen, he alighted from his chariot and walked towards him in warm friendship.
Vibheeshana was unwilling to perform the obsequies of Ravana, but Rama declared that all enmity dies with death. And the phrase that follows is unbelievable…’He is to me now, what he is to you’ (A brother).
Can people who fight under cover of darkness and stab in the back understand the nobility of a warrior who even gave the kidnapper of his wife another chance to come back and fight?
Not only Rama, but all those who came within his ambit…his mother Kausalya, his other stepmother Sumitra, his brothers Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna, his friends the boatman Guha, his envoy and adorer Hanuman, his devotee the tribal woman Shabari…all of them are not names and tales and characters floating in our minds…they are living realities…they are our blessings. In the words of Sri Aurobindo, they are the living human images of India’s ideals.
As Rajaji said, they not only live in our hearts but also envelop us in their worlds….When the children of India know their Ramayana truly, India will be a great nation in the world. A nation that lives by great ideas and uplifting values.
The life of Rama (as embodied in the Valmiki Ramayana and its variations in the other languages of India) signifies for the Indian imagination, ”its highest and tenderest human ideals of character, making strength and courage and gentleness and purity and fidelity and self sacrifice familiar to it in the suavest and most harmonious forms” (Sri Aurobindo).
Rama is near to us as a human…Rama is our ideal as a follower of dharma…In these days when fake politics speaks of love and equality and democracy and every man’s right and loots people in their own name, Rama’s righteousness is a far cry. But it is a stirring word for the likes of the Satyendra Dubeys, Manjunaths and Satish Shettys. In the Rama way, Truth is Supreme.
Let Rama take birth in your heart today…your life will enlarge into fragrant spiritual horizons.
Rama visualFrom Gods and Goddesses of India, and Temples of India – Tamil Nadu written and directed by Vamanan ; cinematography B. Sainanda

Script of video, Gods and Goddesses of India, written and directed by Vamanan (Superaudio)

Why are there many gods and goddesses in Hinduism? What is their meaning and import?

(Offscreen Narrator)

From the mighty peaks of the Himalayas in the north to the oceans in the south, India is a great nation with more than a billion people.
About eighty percent of the population, follows broadly the Hindu religion, which is based on manifold texts, many teachers and many gods.

Hinduism is founded on the deep experience of sages and mystics. It is therefore called the Sanatana Dharma, or the Eternal Way of Life.
Nourished by the faith and adoration of the people, the living truths of Hinduism journey from a diverse world of manifold deities to one godhead

(Vamanan on Screen)

We hear it said often that God is one.
Of course god is one. God is singular and has to be one.
But perhaps it is as true, that gods are many. And not only because gods is plural.
We see a world of multiplicity…and this multitudinous world as it were, has to have many deities, many powers, many gods…
And this is the basis on which Hinduism works…
It gives many gods, because we see many worlds…
Actually, the experience of the Oneness of God, is the highest experience as Hinduism sees it….
So Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita… that, that man who has experienced the oneness of god behind the multiple worlds that he sees, that man is rare….
Vaasudeva Sarvamiti sa Mahatma sudurlabaha…
That is why Hinduism shows many gods to people who see many worlds….

Subtitles :
The Gods Beckon….
Ganesha, First Worshipped, First to Bless…
Ganesha, Son of the Universal Parents
Mother, the Matrix of All Creation
Shiva Infinite, Limiting Himself in name and form
All Pervasive Vishnu, the Protector
Karthikeya, Commander of the Celestials
Sun God and the God in the Sun
Saraswathi, Goddess of Learning
Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth
And all the Great Avatars of Vishnu
Hinduism also adores those immersed in God

(Offscreen Narrator)
The ancient Vedas are taken to be the spiritual anchor of the truths of Hinduism.
The Vedas speak of many gods like Indra, Agni and Varuna….but their final discovery is that of one ultimate reality ….that reality after knowing which everything becomes known..after experiencing which nothing more needs to be experienced….
The Vedic sages, so India believes, found that One truth which can make man realize immortality…give his temporary life the light of eternity.
To lead common people to that One Truth, the Vedic visionaries unfolded a system of adoration that would lead them from the known to the unknown….from the finite to the infinite….
(Famous Sloka on Vinayaka Sung) – Gajananan Bhootha Ganaadhi Sevitham…

(Interviewee – Art critic Lakshmi Venkatraman) –
We have also given characteristics to every personality of the gods…Some Gods we take as very genial …kind…very friendly kind of god like Ganesha…

Affable Ganesha relates to common folk…from shrines by water tanks …
..and from under the shade of sacred trees…

Ganesha has become the darling of devotees who celebrate his blessings with glee…

(Interviewee – Sculptor Murugan)

People cuddle up to Ganesha as if to a child. That way Vinayaka Chathurthi is being celebrated in India and even all over the world with fanfare…Vinayaka is shown with computer or playing instruments like violin, flute or veena. These are instruments we use..We link them with god and picture him as using them. This is the impetus for making such images. As the computer is everywhere now, we make an image of Vinayaka as using the computer…

(Offscreen Narrator)
The young are taught to worship Ganesha for knowledge and clarity of thought. Women fulfil vows when he answers their prayers.
But Ganesha also beckons his devotees to wider spiritual horizons. A poetic work credited to the legendary Tamil poetess Avvai celebrates the power of Ganesha in liberating the coiled psychic energy at the base of our spine.
Tilak, the freedom-fighter, revived the Ganesh festival to instill patriotism. Today it is Maharashtra’s greatest social and religious event.
Muthuswami Dikshithar, the classical composer, celebrated Ganesha as the auspicious form of the Ultimate Truth…the very fountain of consciousness, truth and joy. Elements of Tantra and Mantra sastra mingle in his worship of Ganesha.

(Devotee T. P,Ramamurthi) – My Priority in prayers was always to Lord Ganesha…Wherever I go…My deep faith is soaked only in Lord Ganesha…who I consider as God Absolute

….(Subtitles …)
Muthuswami Dikshithars Vathapi Ganapathim is a masterpiece on Ganesha
Subtitles shows translated lines from Vaathapi Ganapathim
Worshipped by Agastya (the pot-born one) from ancient times…
Ganesha resides in the triangular yantra…
Worshipped by Murari, Worshipped by Vishnu and other Gods
Is established in the Mooladhara…
Ganesha embodies the creative energies from the grossest to the subtlest form…
He is the very form of the mystic symbol Om and sports a curved trunk…

(Offscreen Narrator)
Salutations to the Divine Mother….who is the body, mind, life and soul of all beings…
As mother earth, she begets, sustains and nourishes all life….
As the cosmic mother, she is the progenitor of all the deities….
As Yogamaya, she is the matrix within which all the experiences, hopes and strivings of living creatures are configured…
As the mystic Ramprasad said, You can find mother in any
home…she is Bhairavi with Shiva, she is Sita for Lakshmana, she is mother, daughter, wife and sister…what more can one say…Who can understand the goddess in all her glory? Can ants grasp the moon? The scriptures say that she is the fount from which all life flows…she is the ocean into which all rivers merge…

(The song Nityanandakari….is heard…)
Ocean of Beauty, Bestower of Everlasting Joy, Destroyer of Sin, Great Goddess
The Heavens and the Stars are her ornament…Her graze brims with compassion…
Presiding deity of Kashi, holiest of cities…
Giver of Yogic Bliss, Destroyer of Foes…
Resplendant with the sun, moon and fire…

Giver of All wealth, fruits of penance,
And the great blessing of wisdom….
She is Durga and Kali, Destroyer of Fear
A veritable ocean of compassion

Mother, who art ever full, consort of Shiva
Grant us the blessing of wisdom and dispassion

(Offscreen Narrator)
The great Carnatic composer Syama Sastri adored the mother as the golden Kamakshi through musical masterpieces brimming with sublime devotion…the Maratha king Shivaji derived strength from mother Bhavani for his daring military exploits ..In our times the modern mystic Sri Aurobindo and the Tamil poet Bharati sought her blessings for the national cause… For Sri Ramakrishna, she was Bhavatarini, the mother who guides the soul past the ocean of phenomenal life to the plenitude of divine consciousness

(Offscreen Narrator)
Who can unfold the divine glory of the great Mahadeva, from whom the worlds emerge.
How can one contemplate the greatness of the Lord who transcends the ways of all thought. What offerings can be made to Him whose body is the entire cosmos. To which direction can one turn to pay tribute to the One who pervades all the directions and transcends all of them as well.
Yet, the Formless and nameless Lord, assumes names and forms and wears the apparels of time and space out of love for devotees who adore him. The Lord of the World, Vishwanatha, takes the form of a beggar. The Yogi of Yogis, becomes the greatest of Lovers who shares half of himself with his consort. The Silent Teacher becomes the Cosmic Dancer showing that eternal silence and eternal motion can unite in the divine. Who can comprehend the glory of Shiva?
(The song Bho Shambo…Hark O Shambu, Self revealed)

(Subtitles on Nataraja bronze…)
The Damaru Symbolises Creation
The Raised Hand Protection
Fire Means Destruction
The Smile signifies sport
Subtitle – The sacred names of Shiva….
(Recitation of the names of Shiva…)

Words of interviewee –

In Hinduism, we have what are called Sahasranamas or a thousand names for each of the main deities…
These names of god…these names of these deities…give certain particular names that are relevant only to them…but most of them are general names…and point to the infinitude, to the limitlessness…to the namelessness…to the transcending nature of god….
God is Ananta…he is beyond any limit…so each of these gods is like an ocean..which has its beach…which has its limit….but each of them calls us to the experience of the infinite,unnameable, ineffable divine experience…
Hinduism invites each of us…to have our own particular gods…but through them to see the Infinity…that is god…

(Srimannarayana…song )

Vishnu, the one who pervades all the worlds…
Vasudeva, the supreme who resides in every atom of the universe
In the classic four armed pose, he holds a mace, conch and discus
He is Shiva, Soorya and Narayana put together…
Beloved of Sri, the very embodiment of compassion
Flanked by Sridevi and Bhoodevi
Protector of Gajendra, the great elephant

(Interviewee – S. Vijayaraghavan, vaishnavite devotee)
……I am referring to Anandasagarasthava by Neelakantha Diskshitha…Going through this particular work, my restlessness regarding the mode of worship ended…and I practiced single minded devotion to Mahavishnu…That has given me immense satisfaction…This is an important milestone in my lifetime…

(Offscreen Narrator)
Vishnu…the name itself means all pervading…even the thousand-hooded serpent on which he reclines is called Ananta, the infinite…The divine personality with a thousand heads, a thousand eyes and a thousand feet…he encompasses the worlds…but transcends it says the Purusha Sookta…Yet, the infinitude becomes embodied in its divine descents to restore equilibrium in the world…Vishnu’s divine embodiments are called avataras.

(Subtitles – the ten avatars from Matsya, Koorma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, Balarama, Krishna and Kalki…)

(Offscreen Narrator)
The avataras of Vishu embody great truths about momentous events in various epochs…But down the centuries, the worship of some of them has been more prevalent.
The Varaha or boar descent retrieved the earth from the waters of the nether regions. An embodiment of the spiritual wisdom, Varaha also destroyed the demon, Hiranyaksha, who represents the greed for absolute power.

Vamana, the divine dwarf, overcame King Bali, who also sought world dominion. Vamana sought three steps with his little feet, and measured the three worlds and crushed Mahabali’s greed. The little overcoming the awesome. Spirit conquering Matter.

Narasimha, the man-lion is an avatar adored by many. The terrific form was dictated by the boons a demon had gained against being killed by man or beast. The demon sought material might which his son Prahlada sought the spiritual vision. Ultimately Vishnu burst out of a pillar to show the son right, and gave the demon his just desserts.

The modernists and so called secularists like to think of him as a mythical hero, but Rama’s footprints are evident all over India and the spirit of the land bears the fingerprints of his deeds…great minds in India’s recorded the power of his personality in literary masterpieces in the many tongues of the nation…His name Ram became a mystical key to the metaphysical world…Literature, art, temple sculpture, mysticism and religion reflect the sway of Rama…

But it was left to one man to soar to the musical apogee on Rama’s wings…A great Telugu who burst into creative profusion in the heart of Tamil land on the banks of the Cauvery…Thyagaraja…(the song Jagadanandakaaaraka)

The call of the mystical flute player…the magic of Sri Krishna’s personality lures adorers down the millenia…Born in the darkness of prison, Krishna brings the light of divinity into our lives… Prankster kid, Supernatural hero, King and Diplomat, Master strategist, Inimitable lover, Greatest Philosopher of all times…the personas worn by Krishna, God in human form, challenge enumeration and escape description…

Andal, the Tamil poetess and other Alwar mystics deep in Tamil Nadu, penetrated through their mystical vision into the divine ambience of the Krishna of Mathura and Brindavan… They drank rapturously from the fount of Krishna’s divine personality.

Mira of Rajasthan breathed Krishna and is said to have merged in him. Chaitanya in Bengal lived and moved in Krishna and became a movement of Krishna consciousness….


Child Krishna crushing the
vicious serpent Kaliya

Krishna lifting the Govardhana hill
to quell the pride of Indra

Krishna dispatching the
demon Bakasura
Krishna sports with the cowherdesses
– the Raasa Leela

Andal, 8th century C.E.

Azhwars, Tamil adorers of Vishnu

Mirabhai, 16th century mystic

Chaitanya, 16th century saint, himself
considered to be an avatar of Krishna

(Bhavayami Gopalabaalam…)
(Maajhemanu…Namadeva abhang) Subtitles –

At Pandarpur in Maharashtra, Krishna is worshipped as Vithala

At Udaipur, Rajasthan Krishna is venerated as Srinath
At Puri, Krishna is worshipped with brother Balarama and sister Subhadra…
Deities worshipped in temples are also considered as divine descents…

Most promiment is Srinivasa, or Balaji,
Vishnu’s aspect in the Seven Hills

Without a wink of sleep perhaps, Balaji showers
Boons on the meek and the mighty
The meek give their hair and faith, the rich
Shower their riches
Karthikeya, the spiritual son of Shiva
And the paragon of youth and beauty

The Tamils call him Murugan, most of their hills
Are the abode of the deity

Muruga’s six faces symbolize the six chakras, he
Is the truth that shines beyond

Ayyappa, the spiritual son of Shiva and Vishnu…
He reigns from his famous temple at Sabarimala

Ayyappa is reached after crossing dense forests
And a vow well kept

Past the symbolic eighteen steps, devotion
comes face to face with its object

Horseheaded Hayagreeva, a wisdom avatar of Vishnu
Dhanvantari, the divine physician

Dattatreya, combined aspect of the Trinity…
The ultimate spiritual master

The Buddha, once considered a heretic…then
Vishnu’s avatar

Hanuman…from the pages of the Ramayana
To the shrine…as Rama’s greatest devotee
Hanuman, the soul of strength, sincerity and humility
Hanuman, whose spirituality uplifts Hindus all over India

The Navagrahas…nine planets…are propitiated by Hindus…
They are considered to give humans the fruits of past actions

(Interviewee – Sanskrit scholar P. G. Subramanian)

Hinduism gives us the choice the path to the public…or the individual….We…as an individual have the right to choose the right path…to reach the ultimate destination…which is only one…We call that destination in Hinduism as the Parabrahman or the Atman…or the Paramatma…We are the Jeevatma…and we call that as Paramatma…it is up to this Jeevatma to reach that Paramatma in a hurdlefree path…To reach that destination in a hurdlefree path…we are given multiple choice to choose the deities…The deities are nothing but the different manifestations…of that Paramatma…which we would term as a cluster of energy…or the source from which the entire world is being created…To reach that Paramatma we can just choose any of the deities who are nothing but the different manifestations from that Paramatma…Whether it be lord Ganesha, whether it be lord Muruga, whether it be Ambika or Devi Parameswari…let it be Parameshwara…or let it be Mahavishnu…It can be any deity…it can be any deity…but the ultimate goal is to reach that Paramatma…or that salavation…or that mukti…
Hinduism has that much of leniency…It gives the individual that much of lenience or freedom to choose their own path…to reach that destination…

We have no differences ( as between the deities)…It is only the layman who has differences…as this is my god…this is your god…I like only Ganesha…I like only Muruga..I like only Mahavishnu…I like only Parameshwara…I like only Ambika…It is only the layman’s view…It is only the beginning stage…

Starting from putting bindi…or wearing vibhooti or thirumann…or gopichandana…whatever it is…has a scientific significance…having tuft…wearing earrings…each and every…part and parcel of our life…a scientific background behind it…

(Offscreen Subtitles)
Temple car festival – April 2009
Devotees from across the social spectrum
Pull the chariot of the deity together

A hot day when the founts of devotion
Flow in full strength….


Gods and Goddesses of India (on the jacket of the DVD )

Script and Direction – Vamanan

Elephant-headed Ganesha riding a mouse,

Flute-playing Krishna,

Kali sporting a garland of skulls,

Rama armed with a bow,

Shiva dancing with his matted locks aflying,

Vishnu reclining on the thousand-headed serpent,

Durga killing the buffalo-headed demon,

Karthikeya riding the peacock or flanked by his two wives,

and Hanuman, the superhuman monkey hero of the epic Ramayana are among the manifold gods worshipped by Hindus in India.

The gods and goddesses of India embody the divine forces at play in the inner and outer world and through symbolism, myth, philosophy, ritual and intuitive experience the modern-day inheritors of an ancient civilisation steeped in the wisdom of the wise men, easily connect with their divinities.

‘Gods and Goddesses of India’ presents the gods in all their multitudinous avatars, etching their dimensions in mythology, religion, iconography, yogic experience and the popular mind.

The interplay of imaginatively shot icons, great temples, classical texts, soothing music and an illuminating narrative show that there is a profound truth and meaning in the Indian forms of divinity. ‘Gods and Goddesses of India’ follows the deep inner urges of Hindu adoration and helps the viewer grasp the meaning of the gods who are but ‘rhythms of the one Infinite Spirit’.

The deities of Hinduism are not so many idols of a pantheon…they are the living symbols of a profound understanding of the implications of life on earth and the thirst for transcendence. Life, so vast, brilliant and all-encompassing is truly reflected in all its magnificence and beauty in the ‘Gods and Goddesses of India’.