The story of Aravan, the God of the Transgender

Most of us find Mahabharata to be a very mystifying chronicle. This is because Mahabharata has a lot of characters and each character is associated to the other in some or the other way.

As this epic has so many legendary characters such as Pandavas, Draupadi, Kauravas around whom the whole story revolves, people are not quite familiar with the other characters that also have a crucial role in the epic.

Today, I will try to narrate you the story of Aravan or Iravan, one such minor yet crucial character of Mahabharata. It is from his lineage that the transgender are said to have been born. That is why the transgenders or hijras are also known as Aravanis.

The story of Lord Aravan can be called one of the most tragic tales of Mahabharata where he sacrifices himself for the greater good. But he does leave a lineage before he dies which makes him immortal in the history of mankind. Want to know his story? Then, read on.

Aravan was the son of the great Mahabharata warrior, Arjuna and his wife Ulupi, the Naga princess. Aravan is the central God of the cult of Kuttantavar. Like his father, Aravan was a fierce warrior.

Aravan

He participated in the Kurukshetra war with his father and the other Pandavas. He fought bravely and gave himself up for a huge sacrifice.

The earliest source of mention regarding Aravan is found in Peruntevanar’s Parata Venpa, a 9th-century Tamil version of the Mahabharata.

There it talks about a special sacrificial ritual known as the ‘Kalappali’, which means sacrifice to the battlefield. It was believed that whoever performs this sacrifice ensures victory in the battlefield.

In this ritual, the most valiant warrior must sacrifice his life in front of Goddess Kali in order to ensure the victory of his side. Aravan volunteered to sacrifice himself in the ritual.

In Parata Venpa, Aravan asks Krishna to grant him the boon of a heroic death in the battlefield. Aravan is believed to have been granted a second boon – to see the entire 18-day war.

The third boon is found only in the folk rituals. This third boon provides Aravan to be married before the sacrifice, entitling him to the right of cremation and funerary offerings (bachelors were buried).

However, no woman wanted to marry Aravan, fearing the inevitable doom of widowhood. In the Kuttantavar cult version, Krishna solves this dilemma by taking on his female form, Mohini, marries Aravan and spends that night with him.

The Koovagam version additionally relates Krishna’s mourning as a widow after Aravan’s sacrifice the next day, after which he returns to his original masculine form for the duration of the war.

Aravanis Aravan is known as Kuttantavar in the cult which bears his name, and in which he is the chief deity.

Here, the marriage of Aravan and Mohini, her widowhood and mourning after Aravan’s sacrifice form the central theme of an 18-day annual festival either side of the night of the full moon in the Tamil month of Cittirai.

The Alis or the Aravanis (transgenders) take part in the Koovagam festival by re-enacting the marriage of Aravan and Mohini. It is believed that all the Aravanis are married to Aravan and hence, when the sacrifice is re-enacted, the Aravanis become widows of Aravan and mourn his death.

 

 

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Ramayana

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Written by Valmiki
Re-told by C. Rajagopalachari
Edited and narrated by Amala Bhakta Dasa (ACBSP)
With background music and sound effects.
One of the most-loved epic stories of ancient India, the Ramayan takes hold of the imagination and works its way into the heart.

This narration is not just an in-depth story of the life of Lord Ramachandra, but is a revelation of some of the most fascinating personalities in Vedic history. It portrays ideals–the ideal husband, wife, brother, friend and servant–under the most trying, if not overwhelming circumstances.

In this slightly abridged edition, the multiple-voice characterizations, traditional Indian background music, and realistic sound effects will keep you engrossed in the story for hours at a time. Your imagination will see Lord Rama’s father, King Dasaratha banish him from the kingdom to the forest for 14 years; His wife Sita kidnapped by the demon Ravana; His servant Hanuman discover Her whereabouts; and Rama lead the monkey troops into battle and finally kill Ravana.

Listen or download the audio here

Jnana Yoga by Sri Swami Sivananda

Jnana is knowledge. To know Brahman as one’s own Self is Jnana. To say, “I am Brahman, the pure, all-pervading Consciousness, the non-enjoyer, non-doer and silent witness,” is Jnana. To behold the one Self everywhere is Jnana.

Ajnana is ignorance. To identify oneself with the illusory vehicles of body, mind, Prana and the senses is Ajnana. To say, ” I am the doer, the enjoyer, I am a Brahmin, a Brahmachari, this is mine, he is my son,” is Ajnana. Jnana alone can destroy Ajnana, even as light alone can remove darkness.

Brahman, the Supreme Self, is neither the doer of actions nor the enjoyer of the fruits of actions. The creation, preservation and destruction of the world are not due to Him. They are due to the action ofMaya, the Lord’s energy manifesting itself as the world-process.

Just as space appears to be of three kinds – absolute space, space limited by a jar, and space reflected in the water of a jar, – so also there are three kinds of intelligence. They are absolute intelligence, intelligence reflected in Maya, and intelligence reflected in the Jiva (the individual soul). The notion of the doer is the function of intelligence as reflected in the intellect. This, together with the notion of Jiva, is superimposed by the ignorant on the pure and limitless Brahman, the silent witness.

The illustration of space absolute, space limited by a jar and space reflected in water of a jar, is given to convey the idea that in reality Brahman alone is. Because of Maya, however, It appears as three.

The notion that the reflection of intelligence is real, is erroneous, and is due to ignorance. Brahman is without limitation; limitation is a superimposition on Brahman.

The identity of the Supreme Self and the Jiva or reflected self is established through the statement of the Upanishad ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ – ‘That Thou Art’. When the knowledge of the identity of the two arises, then world problems and ignorance, with all their offshoots, are destroyed and all doubts disappear.

Self-realization or direct intuitive perception of the Supreme Self is necessary for attaining freedom and perfection. This Jnana Yoga or the path of Wisdom is, however, not meant for the masses whose hearts are not pure enough and whose intellects are not sharp enough to understand and practice this razor-edge path. Hence, Karma Yoga and Upasana (Bhakti) are to be practiced first, which will render the heart pure and make it fit for the reception of Knowledge.

 

BRAHMAN AND MAYA

Brahman is Sat, the Absolute, Reality. That which exists in the past, present and future; which has no beginning, middle and end; which is unchanging and not conditioned by time, space and causation; which exists during the waking, dream and deep sleep states; which is of the nature of one homogeneous essence, is Sat. This is found in Brahman, the Absolute. The scriptures emphatically declare: “Only Sat was prior to the evolution of this universe.”

This phenomenal universe is unreal. Isvara created this universe out of His own body (Maya), just as a spider creates a web from its own saliva. It is merely an appearance, like a snake in a rope or like silver in mother-of-pearl. It has no independent existence.

It is difficult to conceive how the Infinite comes out of Itself and becomes the finite. The magician can bring forth a rabbit out of a hat. We see it happening but we cannot explain it; so we call it Maya or illusion.

Maya is a strange phenomenon which cannot be accounted for by any law of Nature. It is incapable of being described. Its relation to Brahman is like that of heat to fire. The heat of fire is neither one with it nor different from it.

Does Maya really exist or not ? The Advaitin gives this reply: “This inscrutable Maya cannot be said either to exist or not to exist”.

If we know the nature of Brahman, then all names, forms and limitations fall away. The world is Maya because it is not the essential truth of the infinite Reality – Brahman. Somehow the world exists and its relation to Brahman is indescribable. The illusion vanishes through the attainment of knowledge of Brahman. Sages, Rishis and scriptures declare that Maya vanishes entirely as soon as knowledge of the Supreme Self dawns.

Brahman alone really exists. The Jiva, the world and this little “I” are false. Rise above names and forms and kill the false egoism. Go beyond Maya and annihilate ignorance. Constantly meditate on the Supreme Brahman, your divine nature.

The world is unreal when compared to Brahman. It is a solid reality to a worldly and passionate man only. To a realized sage it exists like a burnt cloth. To a Videhamukta (disembodied sage) it does not exist at all. To a man of discrimination it loses its charm and attraction.

Do not leave the world to enter a forest because you now read that the world is unreal. You will be utterly ruined if you do this without proper qualifications. Be first established in the conviction that the world is unreal and Brahman alone is real. This will help you to develop dispassion and a strong yearning for liberation. Stay in the world but be not worldly; strive for liberation by the practice of Sadhana Chatushtaya.

SADHANA CHATUSHTAYA

Jnana Yoga of Brahma Vidya or the science of the Self is not a subject that can be understood and realized through mere intellectual study, reasoning, ratiocination, discussion or arguments. It is the most difficult of all sciences.

A student who treads the path of Truth must, therefore, first equip himself with Sadhana Chatushtaya – the “four means of salvation”. They are discrimination, dispassion, the sixfold qualities of perfection, and intense longing for liberation – Viveka, Vairagya, Shad-Sampat and Mumukshutva. Then alone will he be able to march forward fearlessly on the path. Not an iota of spiritual progress is possible unless one is endowed with these four qualifications.

These four means are as old as the Vedas and this world itself. Every religion prescribes them; the names differ from path to path but this is immaterial. Only ignorant people have the undesirable habit of practicing lingual warfare and raising unnecessary questions. Pay no attention to them. It is your duty to try to eat the fruit instead of wasting time in counting the leaves of the tree. Try now to understand these four essential requisites for salvation.

Viveka is discrimination between the real and the unreal, between the permanent and the impermanent, between the Self and the non-Self. Viveka dawns in a man through the Grace of God. The Grace can come only after one has done unceasing selfless service in countless births with the feeling that he is an instrument of the Lord and that the work is an offering to the Lord. The door to the higher mind is flung open when there is an awakening of discrimination.

There is an eternal, changeless principle amidst the ever-changing phenomena of this vast universe and the fleeting movements and oscillations of the mind.

The aspirant should separate himself also from the six waves of the ocean of Samsara – birth and death, hunger and thirst, and exhilaration and grief. Birth and death belong to the physical body; hunger and thirst belong to Prana; exhilaration and grief are the attributes of the mind. The Soul is unattached. The six waves cannot touch Brahman which is as subtle as the all-pervading ether.

Association with saints and study of Vedantic literature will infuse discrimination in man. Viveka should be developed to the maximum degree. One should be well established in it.

Vairagya is dispassion for the pleasures of this world and of heaven. The Vairagya that is born of Viveka is enduring and lasting. It will not fail the aspirant. But the Vairagya that comes temporarily to a woman when she gives birth to a child or when one attends a funeral at a crematorium, is of no use. The view that everything in the world is unreal causes indifference to the enjoyments of this world and the heaven-world also. One has to return from heaven to this plane of existence when the fruits of good works are all exhausted. Hence they are not worth striving for.

Vairagya does not mean abandoning one’s social duties and responsibilities of life. It does not mean abandoning the world, for life in a solitary cave of the Himalayas. Vairagya is mental detachment from all worldly objects. One may remain in the world and discharge all duties with detachment. He may be a householder with a large family, yet at the same time he may have perfect mental detachment from everything. He can do spiritual Sadhana amidst his worldly activities. He who has perfect mental detachment in the world is a hero indeed. He is better than a Sadhu living in a Himalayan cave, for the former has to face innumerable temptations every moment of his life.

The third requisite is Shad-Sampat, the sixfold virtue. It consists of Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana. All these six qualities are taken as one because they are calculated to bring about mental control and discipline, without which concentration and meditation are impossible.

  1. Sama is serenity or tranquillity of mind which is brought about through the eradication of desires.
  2. Dama is rational control of the senses.
  3. Uparati is satiety; it is resolutely turning the mind away from desire for sensual enjoyment. This state of mind comes naturally when one has practiced Viveka, Vairagya, Sama and Dama.
  4. Titiksha is the power of endurance. An aspirant should patiently bear the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, pleasure and pain, etc.
  5. Sraddha is intense faith in the word of the Guru, in Vedantic scriptures and, above all, in one’s own self. It is not blind faith but is based on accurate reasoning, evidence and experience. As such, it is lasting, perfect and unshakable. Such a faith is capable of achieving anything.
  6. Samadhana is fixing the mind on Brahman or the Self, without allowing it to run towards objects. The mind is free from anxiety amid pains and troubles. There is stability, mental poise and indifference amid pleasures. The aspirant has neither like nor dislikes. He has great inner strength and enjoys unruffled peace of mind, due to the practices of Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha and Sraddha.

Mumukshutva is intense desire for liberation or deliverance from the wheel of births and deaths with its concomitant evils of old age, disease, delusion and sorrow. If one is equipped with the previous three qualifications (Viveka, Vairagya and Shad-Sampat), then the intense desire for liberation will come without any difficulty. The mind moves towards the Source of its own accord when it has lost its charm for external objects. When purification of mind and mental discipline are achieved, the longing for liberation dawns by itself.

The aspirant who is endowed with all these four qualification should then approach the Guru who will instruct him on the knowledge of his real nature. The Guru is one who has a thorough knowledge of the scriptures and is also established in that knowledge in direct experience. He should then reflect and meditate on the inner Self and strive earnestly to attain the goal of Self-realization.

A Sadhaka should reflect and meditate. Sravana is hearing of Srutis, Manana is thinking and reflecting, Nididhyasana is constant and profound meditation. Then comes Atma-Sakshatkara or direct realization.

THE SEVEN STAGES OF JNANA

There are seven stages of Jnana or the seven Jnana Bhumikas. First, Jnana should be developed through a deep study of Atma Jnana Sastras and association with the wise and the performance of virtuous actions without any expectation of fruits. This is Subheccha or good desire, which forms the first Bhumika or stage of Jnana. This will irrigate the mind with the waters of discrimination and protect it. There will be non-attraction or indifference to sensual objects in this stage. The first stage is the substratum of the other stages. From it the next two stages, viz., Vicharana and Tanumanasi will be reached. Constant Atma Vichara (Atmic enquiry) forms the second stage. The third stage is Tanumanasi. This is attained through the cultivation of special indifference to objects. The mind becomes thin like a thread. Hence the name Tanumanasi. Tanu means thread – threadlike state of mind. The third stage is also known by the name Asanga Bhavana. In the third stage, the aspirant is free from all attractions. If any one dies in the third stage, he will remain in heaven for a long time and will reincarnate on earth again as a Jnani. The above three stages can be included under the Jagrat state. The fourth stage is Sattvapatti. This stage will destroy all Vasanas to the root. This can be included under the Svapana state. The world appears like a dream. Those who have reached the fourth stage will look upon all things of the universe with an equal eye. The fifth stage is Asamsakti. There is perfect non-attachment to the objects of the world. There is no Upadhi or waking or sleeping in this stage. This is the Jivanmukti stage in which there is the experience of Ananda Svaroopa (the Eternal Bliss of Brahman) replete with spotless Jnana. This will come under Sushupti. The sixth stage is Padartha Bhavana. There is knowledge of Truth. The seventh stage is Turiya, or the state of superconsciousness. This is Moksha. This is also known by the name Turiyatita. There are no Sankalpas. All the Gunas disappear. This is above the reach of mind and speech. Disembodied salvation (Videhamukti) is attained in the seventh stage.

Remaining in the certitude of Atma, without desires, and with an equal vision over all, having completely eradicated all complications of differentiations of ‘I’ or ‘he’, existence or non-existence, is Turiya.

 

PRACTICAL HINTS

Purify the Chitta by doing Nishkama Karma for twelve years. The effect of Chitta Suddhi is the attainment of Viveka and Vairagya. Acquire the four qualifications (Sadhana Chatushtaya), – Viveka, Vairagya, Shad Sampat and Mumukshuttva. Then approach a Guru. Have Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana. Study carefully and constantly the twelve classical Upanishads and Yoga Vasishtha. Have a comprehensive and thorough understanding of the Lakshyartha or indicative (real) meaning of the Maha-Vakya ‘Tat Tvam Asi’. Then, constantly reflect over this real meaning throughout the twenty-four hours. This is Brahma-Chintana or Brahma-Vichara. Do not allow any worldly thoughts to enter the mind. Vedantic realization comes not through mere reasoning but through constant Nididhyasana, like the analogy of Brahmarakita Nyaya (caterpillar and wasp). You get Tadakara, Tadrupa, Tanmaya, Tadiyata, Talleenata (Oneness, identity).

Generate the Brahmakara Vritti from your Sattvic Antahkarana through the influence of reflection on the real meaning of the Maha-Vakyas, ‘Aham Brahma Asmi’ or ‘Tat Tvam Asi’. When you try to feel that you are infinity, this Brahmakara Vritti is produced. This Vritti destroys Avidya, induces Brahma Jnana and dies by itself eventually, like Nirmal seed which removes sediment in the water and itself settles down along with the mud and other dirty matter.

Retire into your meditation chamber. Sit on Padma, Siddha, Svastika or Sukha Asana to begin with. Relax the muscles. Close the eyes. Concentrate on or gaze at the Trikute, the space between the two eyebrows. Repeat ‘Om’ mentally with Brahma-Bhavana. This Bhavana is a sine qua non, very very important. Silence the conscious mind. Repeat mentally, feel constantly:

All-pervading ocean of Light I am OM OM OM
Infinity I am OM OM OM
All-pervading infinite Light I am OM OM OM
Vyapaka Paripoorna Jyotirmaya Brahman I am OM OM OM
Omnipotent I am OM OM OM
Omniscient I am OM OM OM
All Bliss I am OM OM OM
Satchidananda I am OM OM OM
All purity I am OM OM OM
All glory I am OM OM OM

All Upadhis (limiting adjuncts such as body, mind, etc.,) will be sublated. All Granthis (knots of heart, viz., Avidya, Kama and Karma – ignorance, desire and action) will be cut asunder. The thin veil, Avarana, will be pierced. The Pancha Kosha Adhyasa (superimposition) will be removed. You will rest doubtless in Satchidananda state. You will get highest Knowledge, highest Bliss, highest Realization and highest end of life. ‘Brahma Vit Brahmaiva Bhavati’. You will become Suddha Satchidananda Vyapaka Paripoorna Brahman. Nasti Atra Samsayah’, there is no doubt of that.

There is no difficulty at all in Atma-Darshan, in Self-Realization. You can have this within the twinkling of an eye as Raja Janaka had, before you can squeeze a flower with fingers, within the time taken for a grain to fall when rolled over a pot. You must do earnest, constant and intense practice. You are bound to succeed in two or three years.

Now-a-days there are plenty of ‘Talking Brahman’. No flowery talk or verbosity can make a man Brahman. It is constant, intense, earnest Sadhana and Sadhana alone can give a man direct Aparoksha Brahmic realization (Svanubhava or Sakshatkara) wherein he sees Brahman just as he sees the solid white wall in front of him and feels Brahman, just as he feels the table behind him. Practice, practice, practice and become established in Brahman.

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Atma Samyama Yoga

“The yoga of concentrated meditation” has many similarities with the classical yoga. In this essay we will study  the meaning, importance, practice and techniques of Atma Samyama Yoga according to the Bhagavad gita.

Atma samyama yoga is the practice of restraining the mind and the senses for concentrated meditation, which culminates in the state of self­absorption. Atma means self. Samyama means restraint. Atma samyama yoga means the yoga of self­restraint to control the mind, cultivate equanimity and stabilize it in the Self for union with it.

In this yoga, the body is disciplined and purified, the senses are firmly restrained, and the mind is withdrawn and firmly established in the Self. By its regular practice, a yogi remains immersed in the contemplation of the Self or God, while his mind remains stable, free from distractions and modifications.

The purpose of atma samyama yoga is twofold. Firstly, it is to overcome desire­ridden actions, attachments, dualities, attraction and aversion, instability, delusion, egoism and such other impurities. Secondly, it is to integrate the mind and body with the Self to achieve oneness and liberation. As the Bhagavadgita affirms, the yoga is helpful to align the (lower or physical) Self with the (higher of spiritual) Self, remove the impurities of rajas and tamas from the mind and body, and thereby facilitate self­purification, equanimity, concentration, stability, and sameness towards all.

Its practice consists of renunciation (sanyasam), desireless actions, even mindedness or sameness (samatvam), detachment, the control of the mind and body (jitaatma), concentration and contemplation of the Self (paramatma samahita). In addition, contentment (tripti), celibacy, concentrated restraint of the mind (samyama), celibacy (brahmacharya), balance and moderation, practice of selfabsorption (Samadhi), truthfulness, discernment, and devotion to God are also important. The yoga is not for weak people who cannot control themselves, or whose minds are fickle and turbulent. The yoga becomes easier for those who have practiced it in their past lives, and who have earned great merit. They are irresistibly drawn to it. Discipline is at the root of this yoga. Without discipline neither the senses nor the mind can be controlled. A disturbed and unstable mind is the enemy of the Self. Only a yogi who controls his mind and strives hard attains the state of equanimity or sameness. Thus, discipline and restraint are the foundation of atma samyama yoga.

Discipline is at the heart of spiritual life. The mind cannot be tamed without it. While a person may achieve success in worldly life without discipline or virtue, in spiritual life it is not possible, because the very success of the practice depends upon physical and mental purity and self­discipline. Therefore, the Bhagavadgita recognizes the importance of self­discipline and declares that a person who cannot control himself is his own worst enemy. The Practice of atma samyama yoga The sixth chapter of the Bhagavadgita is entirely dedicated to the practice of atma samyama yoga. It states that atma samyama is important to sharpen the mind through the practice of buddhi yoga. The practice of both are important to achieve self­realization. The following are a few important aspects of how atma samyama yoga should be practiced.

1. Renunciation

Renunciation is the foundation of yoga. What people consider renunciation is but yoga only. A renunciant becomes established in yoga only when he renounces all desires and intentions. Renuncation is also important to restrain the mind.

2. Self­ effort

Self­effort is important in the practice of the yoga because one has to control oneself. The Bhagavadgita states that a person becomes his own enemy when does not restrain himself and becomes his friend when he practices selfcontrol, restraint and discipline to stabilize his mind and body to achieve self­realization.

3. Self­ purification

The yoga of self­restraint cannot be successfully practiced without self­purification (atma suddhi) and without cultivating equanimity, stability and sameness. One has to be equal to the pairs of opposites and treat alike both friends and foes, and saints and sinners, without judgement. For that, one should cultivate sattva.

4. Right environment

The yoga requires suitable environment and prior preparation. For its successful practice, one has to choose a clean place, and arrange a firm seat covered with a cloth, deer skin or kusa grass. Then he should sit upon it, holding his body, head and neck straight, and closing his eyes, he should concentrate his attention upon the tip of his nose.

5. Mental stability

As he practices unwavering concentration, he should keep his mind, senses, and activities under firm control, and remain seated with a tranquil mind, without fear, with his thoughts restrained, his mind chaste, and his consciousness absorbed in the Self.

6. Self­ absorption

Resting in the self alone, freed from all desires, when he is established in the yoga of equanimity, he realizes his hidden Self and becomes satisfied in the Self (Ch6:20). With that, he finds unlimited happiness, and with the help of his pure intelligence, he develops an understanding of the transcendental state, whereby he remains immobile to all sorrow. In the self­absorbed state, he enjoys the extreme bliss of union with Brahman and develops the unified vision of the Universal Self, seeing the Self in all and all in the Self (6.21­29).

7. Balance

Balance and moderation are important in the practice of the yoga. There is no place for extremities (6.16­18). The yoga is neither for a voracious eater nor for a non­eater. It is not for one, who eats too much or sleeps for too long nor the person who does not eat or sleep well. It is for the yogi who controls his eating and enjoyment, restrains his mind and leads a balanced life.

8. Removal of impurities

The mind is unstable because of impurities, especially rajas and tamas. The scripture states that supreme happiness comes to him whose mind is pure and calm and fixed in Brahman or the Self, whose desires are under control, in whom the mode of rajas is suppressed, who is pure, and who thinks of nothing except the Self.

9. God vision

The practice of atma samyama leads to universal and unified vision and a direct rapport with God. In that state, yogi sees God everywhere and all things in him. He worships God as the dweller of all things, irrespective of his surroundings and circumstances. God does not cease to exist for him and he does not cease to exist for God.

10. Remedy for failure

Since the mind is fickle and difficult to control, the yoga is very difficult to practice. However, there is no downfall or destruction, here or hereafter, for those who fail (6.40). They may not attain liberation, but upon rebirth they are born in pious families and return to the practice and strive more seriously than before.

 

Atma samyama yoga and Ashtanga yoga

Those who succeed in the practice of yoga because of the merit gained in the past and the effort made in this life go to the highest world of Brahman. According to Lord Krishna, the yogis who practice it, restraining their minds and bodies, are superior to those who practice austerities, or perform obligatory duties or pursue knowledge. Even among them, those who worship God with their minds drawn inwardly are considered the most skillful. From the above discussion, one can notice that atma samyama yoga shares many common features with classical yoga of Patanjali. Both recognize the importance of restraining the mind and body to achieve self­purification, concentration and self­absorption. Even the terminology used in both cases are also mostly common. However, Atma samyama yoga is more theistic. It believes in the existence of both individual Self and Supreme Self and emphasizes the importance of devotion to the latter, whereas Ashtaga yoga speaks about the individual Self only.

 

 

 

Surya Ashtakam Stotra

The Surya Ashtakam, from the Samba Purana, is a prayer in praise of the Sun God, Surya. The Samba Purana is one of the Saura Upapuranas and is dedicated to Lord Surya. It narrates the story of Krishna’s son Samba who became a leper after being cursed by Rishi Durvasa and was consequently cured by worshiping Surya at the Konark temple constructed by him on the banks of the Chandrabhaga river in Mitravana . This is one of the most powerful Navagraha prayers to Lord Surya.

adideva-namastubhyam-hindi-lyrics

आदिदेव नमस्तुभ्यं प्रसीद मम भास्कर ।
दिवाकर नमस्तुभ्यं प्रभाकर नमोऽस्तु ते ॥१॥

Adideva Namastubhyam Praseeda Mama Bhaskara
Dhivakara Namastubhyam Prabhakara Namostute ||1|
Meaning: Bhāskara, Ādideva (the primodial Lord), bless me!
prostration unto thou, O Divākara (The deity responsible for the creation of Day),
O Prabhākara(the deity responsible for ushering light unto the world), prostrations
unto to thou.

सप्ताश्व रथमारूढं प्रचण्डं कश्यपात्मजम् ।
श्वेत पद्माधरं देवं तं सूर्यं प्रणमाम्यहम् ॥२॥
Saptasva Rathamaarudham Pracamdham Kasyapatmajam
Swetapadmadharam Devam Tam Sooryam Pranamaamyaham ||2||
Meaning: The Sun God (Sūrya) seated on a chariot drawn by seven horses,
the resplendent one, the son of Kaśyapa,

holding a lotus in the hand, unto Him I prostrate.


लोहितं रथमारूढं सर्वलोकपितामहम् ।
महापापहरं देवं तं सूर्यं प्रणमाम्यहम् ॥३॥

Lohitam Rathamarudham Sarvaloka Pitamaham

Mahapapaharam Devam Tam Suryam Pranamamyaham ||3|
Meaning: Seated on a red chariot, the father of the whole world,
the annihilator of deadly sins, unto him I prostrate.

त्रैगुण्यश्च महाशूरं ब्रह्माविष्णु महेश्वरम् ।
महापापहरं देवं तं सूर्यं प्रणमाम्यहम् ॥४॥

Treigunyam Cha Mahasuram Brahma Vishnu Maheswaram

Mahapapaharam Devam Tam Suryam Pranamamyaham ||4|

Meaning: The one who assumes the form of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas,
and also the form(s) of Brahmā, ViṢṇu and Maheśvara,

the great warrior, remover of deadly sins, unto that Sun God, I prostrate.


बृह्मितं तेजःपुञ्जञ्च वायुराकाशमेव च ।
प्रभुत्वं सर्वलोकानां तं सूर्यं प्रणमाम्यहम् ॥५॥

Brmhitam Tejasampumjam Vayurakasa Mevaca Prabhustvam
Sarvalokanam Tam Suryam Pranamamyaham ||5|
Meaning: The Omni-present and luminous Lord of the whole Universe,
unto that Sun God, I prostrate.

बन्धूकपुष्पसङ्काशं हारकुण्डलभूषितम् ।
एकचक्रधरं देवं तं सूर्यं प्रणमाम्यहम् ॥६॥

Bamdhukapushpa Samkasam Harakumdala Bhushitam

Ekacakra Dharam Devam Tam Suryam Pranamamyaham ||6|
Meaning: Sūryadeva of red complexion like that of the Bandhūka tree,
adorning a garland around His neck, Earrings on his ear,
holding the divine discus (cakra) in the shape of time, unto Him,

I prostrate.


तं सूर्यं लोककर्तारं महा तेजः प्रदीपनम् ।
महापाप हरं देवं तं सूर्यं प्रणमाम्यहम् ॥७॥

Viswesam Viswakartaram Mahatejaha Pradipanam

Mahapapaharam Devam Tam Suryam Pranamamyaham ||7||
Meaning: The supreme ruler of all the worlds, the administrator,

of all deadly sins, unto that Sun God I prostrate.


तं सूर्यं जगतां नाथं ज्ञानप्रकाशमोक्षदम् ।
महापापहरं देवं तं सूर्यं प्रणमाम्यहम् ॥८॥

Tam suryam Jagatamnatham,  gyana prakasha mokshadam,

Mahapapaharam Devam Tam Suryam Pranamamyaham  ||8||
Meaning: I prostrate the Lord of The world, the bestower of liberation through the effulgent rays of knowledge and the destroyer of great sins.
॥इति श्रीसूर्याष्टकम्॥