Archive for September, 2012

Sree Prasanna Venkata Dasaru

My Brother Ramesh sent me an amazing article he wrote on one of our great Dasaru’s.Thanks so much Ramesh for sharing this.

Sept 27 is an important date in Haridasa movement. It is the Aradhana of Prasanna Venkata Dasaru.
This Haridasa saint occupies an important place in Haridasa Sahitya. For one, it was Raghavendra Swami who sent him on way to Tirupathi for Darshana of Srinivasa when Prasanna Venkata (As a boy he was known as Venkanna) was just 12 years old. Once he reached Tirupathi and had darshan of Srinivasa, it was the lord himself who scribbled the ankita nama Prasanna Venkata on Venkanna’s tongue. Not only that, Srinivasa appeared in the dream of the then Chief Priest of the temple and asked him to hand over a packet and other items, including a tamboori to Venkata Dasa.
Venkanna was the second son of Narasappiah and Laskhmi of Bagalkot and was born in 1680. Venkanna’s elder brother was Raghavendra. Narasappaiah belonged to the famous Kakhandiki family in Kakhandiki near Bijapur.  He was a contemporary of other Haridasa greats such as Jangganatha Dasa (the writers of Hari Kathamrutasara), Vijaya Dasaru amd Gopala Dasaru. Not many people know that another notable Haridasa-Mahipati Dasa, was also from the same village and the same agrahara-Brahamanara Agrahara of Kakhandiki.
When Aurangzeb conquered Bijapur in 1686 and took the last Adil Shahi Sultan, Sikander, prisoner, he named a Moghul Governor for Bijapur. The Mughals, unlike the Adil Shahis, began harassing Hindus, particularly Brahmins, and many Brahmin families, including Venkanna’s father left Kakhandiki and decided to settle down at Bagalkot which was under Maratta rule. The family choose Bagalkot as it hosted some of  the best known Dwaitha and Vedas schools of the region.
Narasapaiah and his family settled down on 70th Street which then was known as Killa street, where a large number of Brahmin and Veda pandits lived. It was here that Venkanna was born.By this time, Venkanna’s parents were pretty old but they were determined to make Venkanna an erudite Dwaitha scholar like their first son Raghavendra. They performed Upanayanam of Venkanna when he was eight years old. Venkanna’s parents died thereafter.
Raghavendra then married Cauvery. He took up job as a priest. Venkanna was left unattended-his brother did not have the time and his sister-in-law too could not take good care of Venkanna. One day, Venkanna decides to go away from home and joins a group going to Tirupathi. He was just 12 years old then and it is from here that his remarkable journey as a Haridasa starts.
Haridasa, as a movement, began in Karnataka. The Haridasas were essentially in love with Hari and sang his praises. The first Haridasa is Achalananda of Bangalore. He lived in the ninth century. After him, there was a lull and the movement resurfaced during the time of Madhwa. One of his direct disciples, Narahari, wrote several devotional songs. It was with the arrival of Srip[ada Rayaru that the movement really took off. Sripada is generally termed as the pioneer of the movement as for the very first time he wrote songs in Kannada which till then was unheard of. After him came Vyasa Theertha,Purandara, Kanaka and other Dasas and this period which corresponded to the Vijayanagar ear was the peak of Haridasa movement.
The dasa movement wanes again and it is then left to Gopala Dasa, Jagganatha Dasa, Gopala Dasa and Prasanna Venkata Dasa to give it a second life.

After his Tirupathi trip, Prasanna Venkata Dasa visits Mantralaya and sees Guru Raghavendra Sitting in the Brindavana. Both have a talk and then Dasaru proceeds towards Bagalkot where he rejoins his brother and sister-in-law. He writes scores of songs and also meets Jagganatha Dasa at his home in Bagalkot.

Read more about our Dasaru here as shared by Mr.Mukund. Thanks Mukund.

http://www.prasannavenkatadasaru.org/index.html

Symbol of Love – Taj Mahal

Is there anything to be said about this marvelous monument? I don’t think so. The arrangement including security and parking is just horrible. I am amazed that this monument being so precious our Indian Government cannot do much here to protect this. Too many vendors and kids trying to pull you and cheat you left, right and center. Not really happy about that.

The way the lady police officers carry out security checks is just awful.  If you have visited any place in India where there is tight security, I am sure you will know what I meant here. I kept grumbling and frowning, and as soon as I saw the monument, all my disappointment about the arrangements just vanished. We should thank Emperor Shah Jahan for that. And until the time you leave the premises, you keep saying “Oh My God, how did they build this marvelous monument”.

Anyway, what cannot be cured must be endured. Enjoy the pictures.

Entrance to Taj.

The marble stone with intricate design:

The border which can be seen all across Taj Mahal:

River Yamuna at the back of Taj Mahal:

The flooring on Taj looks like carpet:

Finally, a look at TajMahal itself.

A closer Look:

Mahendi @ IndiaGate

I love applying Mahendi’s. Anytime I visit India, I get the cone and use it. I apply Mahendi to everyone at home, except Men. :)

I still remember when I was a kid, my Sister kept cleaning her hands each time I applied Mahendi saying mine was better than hers. I used to apply Mahendi to her and later to my hands, and she always felt mine was better than hers. Oh, how I wish we can rewind and go back to those ages.

So, there was a little girl standing near India Gate with a book full on intricate designs of Mahendi. She was charging Rs 100 for one hand. My Husband forced me to apply Mahendi and was willing to carry my purse until it dries. Nice no?

So, attached are a few pictures of the Mahendi I got applied for just one hand.

Krishna Janmabhoomi – Mathura

Our protector, our Savior Lord Krishna was born in Mathura. I know each and everyone who visits this blog know when and under what circumstances our Lord Krishna was born. Like I mentioned earlier, we visitied Mathura and Brindavan on Sunday 09/23/2012.

It was a great experience which I cannot explain when I went into the underground prison where Krishna was born. To know that Vasudeva and Devaki lived here, and our Almighty was carried from here, brings chills.

The temple was partially destroyed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. He built a Masjid on top of the temple, which is even now attached to the prison. There is a bigger Krishna Temple attached to the prison, called Dwarkadeesh temple a few meters away and  was built in 1815 by Seth Gokuldas Parikh.

The security in and around this place is very tight. No cameras, cell phones, purses or anything operated with batteries are allowed. The Prison is open at all times, however the Dwarakeesh temple closes around noon and opens only at 4.00 PM. We reached Mathura after seeing Agra around 2.30 PM. Had to walk quite a few kilometers due to some construction, and waited a few hours for the Dwarakeesh temple to open at 4.00 PM. The crowd is crazy here, no rules, no regulations. Everyone pushes around, and there is too much pickpocketing here also. So, if you are visiting Mathura make sure you keep all your valuables in the hotel and don’t carry anything except for the  money you need to travel. The roads are really bad, and walking bare foot without stamping on anything is a herculean task.

Once we were out of the temple premises I was able to get the pictures you are seeing above.

Definitely worth seeing the place where our Lord was born, just need to be more careful.

Visit to New Delhi’s Akshardham

Yesterday, 09/25/2012 Wednesday, we visited the world famous and biggest temple New Delhi’s Akshardham.  There are no words to express the beauty and elegance with which the temple is constructed.

The security is very tight in this temple. We are not allowed to carry handbags, cell phones, cameras, absolutely nothing. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t take pictures.

The temple is built over 100 acres of land. The temple has been included in the list of “Seven Wonders of the 21st Century ” by Reader’s Digest. It took 5 years to build the temple, and was finished in 2005. The temple doesn’t use any metals for its construction, and is  interlocked blocks with the most intricate design mostly made of marble and red-stone. This is breath taking.

We have been to several BAPS Swami Narayan temple in the US, and there is one close to my house in Maryland also. As soon as you enter the premises, you will feel like you are in Heaven. If we get a chance to see Heaven, I hope it is like this. :)

The temple is the most cleanest place I saw of all the places I visited until in India. I walked bare foot the entire premises without being scared of steeping on you know what. :)

They had plenty of food courts around the temple. There are volunteers who clean the premises constantly to keep it clean and tidy. We spent close to 3 hours which was not really sufficient.  We were able to see the Musical Fountain Show as well, which again was based on our Indian tradition depicting Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara.

If you visit Delhi, please take time to visit this wonder of the world, Akshardham.

A few links online to see pictures of Akshardham.

1. Wikipedia

The images belong to http://www.akshardham.com/ and http://www.tribuneindia.com/2005/20051108/delhi.htm

Iskcon Temple in Vrindavan, India

On our way back to Delhi from seeing Taj Mahal, and visting Mathura we also visited Vrindavan. Before going to the Krishna Temple in Vrindavan, we visited the Iskcon temple which is on the way. The temple was unbelievable. Attached are some pictures. May Lord Krishna Bless one and all.

Click on the images to see bigger picture.

 

Visting India

It has been an amazing two days in India. I came to New Delhi on Friday night. As I mentioned earlier, my Husband Raghavendra is here for more than a month on Work. I joined him on 21st. On Saturday, we visited the local attractions in Delhi like  India Gate, Rastrapathi Bhavan, Red Fort, Raj Ghat, Gandhi Museum, Indira Gandhi Museum, Qutub Minar.

On Sunday, yesterday we visited Taj Mahal, Mathura and Brindavan. I will be here in New Delhi Until October 7th, visit Bangalore for 2 days and be back in the US on October 9th.

I will post some of the amazing pictures we took of our visit. Attached below are pictures I took at the Mahatma Gandhi Museum, the place where Mahatma was assassinated. A big salute to our Mahatma.

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