Thursday, October 9, 2008 is closing down!

Yes my dear friends, this is the last post here. is closing down.

But wait a minute... don't conclude that this is the end of jnanagni blog. It's just that the blog is moving to a new location -- The everyday 'thought for the day' blog posting will continue in the new site, but I hope that the new site will evolve and become more than just a 'thought for the day' blog. But seriously, i have no idea where this is going to go.

I thank everybody who has been supportive of this blog, you have been great source of encouragement for me... people who comment regularly, other regular visitors, casual visitors, people who read this blog in a feedreader, a handful of those who receive email updates, people who come here through search engines, and the ones who accidentally stumble into this blog without any idea of what the heck this is all about...... I invite everybody to visit and join the celebration of wisdom and life and love and spirituality. See you there.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Savitri -- the embodiment of 'never give up' and 'never say die' attitude

Savitri, the legendary character, is the ideal of womanhood (and of humanhood), the embodiment of 'never give up' and 'never say die' attitude. The oldest known version of the story of Savitri and Satyavan is found in Vyasa's Mahabharata. The following is the story of Savitri as told by Dr. Prema Nandakumar in her article "The Kanyā Tejasvinī of Indian Culture", published in the September 2008 issue of Prabuddha Bharata.


Ashwapati, the king of the Madra country, is pious, virtuous, and a protector of his people. He has only one sorrow—no child has been born to him to continue his line. Therefore he performs tapasya for eighteen years and prays to goddess Savitri for the boon of a child. The goddess appears and grants his wish: "You will soon have a radiantly beautiful daughter, kanyā tejasvinī." When the girl child is born, Ashwapati names her Savitri. She grows up to be a divine damsel. Since she is very brilliant, no suitor dares to ask for her hand.

One day she approaches Ashwapati with the prasada of her puja, and he, feeling that the time has come for her to find a bridegroom, asks her—who looks like Goddess Lakshmi, śrīriva rūpiṇī—to go and choose her husband: "Tell me then of him whom you would choose and after giving due consideration to it, I shall make the marriage proposal; choose him whom you will acceptably desire."

Savitri goes out on her quest. When she returns home after some time, she finds Rishi Narada conversing with her parents. Asked by the king, she says that she has chosen Satyavan, the son of the exiled and blind king Dyumatsena of Shalwa. Narada exclaims that the choice is a mistake, though Satyavan is a fine young man. Asked to explain himself, the sage says that Satyavan has only one more year to live. Ashwapati asks Savitri to reconsider her choice, but she is firm: "May he be of a short life or a long life, with virtuous qualities or else without them; I have chosen him as my husband and I shall choose not again. By perception does one first come to a certain conclusion, and then one holds it by speech; only afterwards is it put into action. That perception of mine for me is the one single authority here."

Finding her unyielding, Narada tells Ashwapati to go ahead with the marriage and suggests that all would be well. Ashwapati obtains Dyumatsena's permission, and the marriage is celebrated. After Ashwapati and his entourage return to Madra, Savitri settles down to the simple and hard life of the forest. Placing aside her ornaments and rich garments, she looks after her parents-in-law and husband with great devotion and care. Thus she wins the love and respect of her family and others who are living in the hermitage.

Three days prior to the dire end foretold by Narada, Savitri performs the difficult tri-rātra vrata, the penance of three nights. She fasts for three days, at the end of which she offers oblations to the fire, salutes the elders of the hermitage, and obtains their blessings. According to Vyasa she is now dhyāna-yoga-parāyaṇā, one who has entered the yoga of meditation. On the fated day she accompanies Satyavan to collect firewood from the forest. When he falls down in a swoon, she finds a god-like person near her. She salutes him and wants to know who he is. Her reaction is just what it should be. Even in that dire moment, she stands up with folded hands, kṛtānjali, salutes the stranger, and says: "I take you to be some noble god as you have a form other than the human; if it pleases you, pray tell me who you are and what you propose to do, O god!"

Yama compliments her as one who is devoted to her husband and is full of tapasya—pativratāsi sāvitri tathaiva ca tapo’nvitā—and tells her that he has come to take the life of Satyavan away. He instructs her to return to her people. But Savitri has performed her vrata well: she is able to follow him. She tells Yama that she considers him a friend because they have walked seven steps together and utters the first of her righteous statements, dharma-vacanas.

The dharma-vacanas make a compendium for faultless living: One must have self-discipline to achieve anything worthwhile. Those who do not have self-possession cannot follow dharma. Following one's dharma is the only excellent way of life. Sat-sanga, company of the righteous, is most important for achieving a blameless life. One must not have malice towards anyone nor hurt anyone in thought or deed. One must always give in charity. One should be kind even to an enemy. Men put their trust in sages more than in themselves, for sages never fail to help. Sages do not have ill will or selfishness and never regret the good they have done. Hence sages are the protectors of the world.

At the conclusion of each dharma-vacana, Yama expresses his joy—"You speak as a reasonable person; your words are like water to a thirsty man", and so on—and grants her boons. He is delighted when she says finally that the sages protect the world. He says: "O devoted and chaste lady, the more in well-adorned verses, full of great significance and agreeable to perception, you speak of the noble things conformable to the dharma, the more does my excellent devotion for you increase; therefore, choose yet another but appropriate boon from me."

Savitri takes the cue and asks for the life of Satyavan. Yama grants Satyavan's life and blesses them both with long life and happiness. The way in which Savitri gently guides Satyavan back to the hermitage is described beautifully by Vyasa. ... "That is how Savitri had saved and upraised herself, her father and mother, her father-in-law and mother-in-law, and extricated the whole house of her husband from calamity. ...."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gandhi on religion

"I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian."

~ M. K. Gandhi

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My teaching is not the truth...

"My teaching is not the truth; it is only the finger pointing to the Moon. If you think my finger is the Moon, you are misled. ... Truth is not contained in concepts and ideologies; truth can only be found in life. Holy Scriptures are only the residues... When you strike a match and the flame is created, the flame consumes the match. Manifest Truth burns. Buddha said the raft is not the shore; it is only an instrument to reach the shore. Teaching is like the raft."

~ Thich Nhat Hanh


Friday, October 3, 2008

Not another can bring you wisdom

"The knowledge of others is of little value in the discovery of truth. It must be found by yourself, not another can give it to you, not another can bring you wisdom. Truth is not a reward, it is not the result of a practice, nor is it to be assumed nor formulated. If you formulate it you will miss it, your hypothesis will only cloud it. Through constant awareness you will discover what is true of the self."

~ J. Krishnamurti, 28 May 1944

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Violence and non-violence

"Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary."
—M. K. Gandhi

"Non-violence doesn't always work — but violence never does."
—Madge Micheels-Cyrus

"There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit."
—Napoleon Bonaparte

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

To Him, we shall return

"I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels bless'd; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e'er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones,
To Him we shall return."

~ Jalaluddin Rumi

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sincerity and intelligence

"When we have intelligence resulting from sincerity, this condition is to be ascribed to nature; when we have sincerity resulting from intelligence, this condition is to be ascribed to instruction. But given the sincerity, and there shall be the intelligence; given the intelligence, and there shall be the sincerity."

~ Confucius

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Recognizing truth

"We should get into an attitude of mind wherein we should recognize the truth wherever we may find it. The trouble with most of us is that unless we see sugar in a sugar bowl we think it must be something else, and so we stick to our petty prejudices instead of looking after principles."
~ Ernest Holmes

"The intelligent person should take the essence out of all sources, from scriptures small as well as great,—like the bee from flowers."
~ Bhagavatam

Friday, September 26, 2008

Where there is charity and wisdom...

"Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation. Where there is poverty [contentment?] and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice. Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt."

~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"You can make excuses, or you can make decisions." -- Steve Pavlina.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is there anything called destiny?

"What you call as destiny, are those dimensions of life which you created unconsciously. Whatever you create unconsciously, you can also create consciously. If you create consciously it will no more be destiny. If you create it unconsciously, it all seems to be destiny, but it's still your doing...."

~ Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.

Watch and listen to him speak about destiny.

Also check out, "Take charge of your life"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Marvels of Thought-vibrations

"Every thought that you send out is a vibration which never perishes. It goes on vibrating every particle of the universe and if your thoughts are noble, holy and forcible, they set in vibration every sympathetic mind.

Unconsciously all people who are like you take the thought you have projected and in accordance with the capacity that they have, they send out similar thoughts. The result is that, without your knowledge of the consequences of your own work, you will be setting in motion great forces which will work together and put down the lowly and mean thoughts generated by the selfish and the wicked"

~ Swami Sivananda, Thought Power

Saturday, September 20, 2008

That which you fight, you become.

"Surely that thing which you fight you become. If I am angry and you meet me with anger what is the result -- more anger. You have become that which I am. If I am evil and you fight me with evil means then you also become evil, however righteous you may feel. If I am brutal and you use brutal methods to overcome me, then you become brutal like me. And this we have done thousands of years. Surely there is a different approach than to meet hate by hate? If I use violent methods to quell anger in myself then I am using wrong means for a right end and thereby the right end ceases to be. In this there is no understanding; there is no transcending anger. Anger is to be studied tolerantly and understood; it is not to be overcome through violent means. Anger may be the result of many causes and without comprehending them there is no escape from anger.

"We have created the enemy, the bandit, and through becoming ourselves the enemy in no way brings about an end to enmity. We have to understand the cause of enmity and cease to feed it by our thought, feeling and action. This is an arduous task demanding constant self-awareness and intelligent pliability, for what we are the society, the State is. The enemy and the friend are the outcome of our thought and action. We are responsible for creating enmity and so it is more important to be aware of our own thought and action than to be concerned with the foe and the friend, for right thinking puts an end to division. Love transcends the friend and the enemy."

~ J. Krishnamurti, 21 May 1944