Wednesday, September 4, 2019

micchami dukkadam - મિચ્ચામી દૂકડમ - ક્ષમા પ્રાર્થના - Gujarati - English

|| Shri Ganeshay NamaH ||

|| Hari OM ||

Micchami dukkadam, is one of the important spiritual practice of Jain Dharma. It is a result of inner reflection of a truth seeker in which one is able to recall if s/he has done any harm in any form be it verbal, physical or even mentally cursing anyone. 

It can be closely related to another important practice of Self Reflection or introspection known as pratikramaNa. pratikramaNa would generally be understood as to negate or do pratikramaNa of those issues that one has done ati-kramaNa i.e. done in excess. ati means 'excess', here it means 'that which is done in excess'. It is a daily practice. So when one introspects about the past actions of yesterday, one realises that one might be obsessed with some result or has wrongly hurt someone, or is hurt by someone's behaviour, then one neutralises the negative emotions in one's heart and mind by a spiritual process like forgiveness or begging for forgiveness or by blessing someone i.e. wishing for good or those being hurt or those who have hurt or by simply being witness of thoughts and emotions and let them pass by thereby releasing them and making one feel light in heart, as if a burden is removed. This also helps one retain physical health as mind is healthy and in sound condition. Another spiritual meaning of pratikramaNa can be 'to attack (oneself) without attacking'. Here the word 'attack' means to be aware and alert by being witness. It means the one should not be absent minded and let emotions control one's actions. As explained earlier, by being witness, one's thoughts and emotions can be released. It also does make one's heart soft and fills it with deep peace and retains a sense of awareness throughout the day (if done properly and diligently everyday).

Coming back to Micchami Dikkadam, if in such daily spiritual practice, even if little residue is left or that one needs to physically apologize for any kind of wrong doing, then once a year, a day is reserved. This day is the last day of paryushana in which Jains fast for inner purity. So after getting purified (inwardly), one meets or calls up friends and relatives and with deep respect of all living beings, one begins the conversation with the self explanatory words 'Micchami Dukkadam' and gets reciprocated with same words. Micchami dukkadam is also helpful to those who do not do pratikramaNa or regular basis. 

While there are mistakes which one know to have committed, there are mistakes and sins which one does not realise and so one's heart does not feel guilty or them. Hence Micchami Dukkadam can be extended to all living being including nature and anything that has jiva in it.

However, most important person to whom we can never repay his debts is sadguru. Hence we must also ask for forgiveness to him too, as it is the guru who protects his disciples from unseen forces,  covers our errors and protects us from getting sidetracked. Guru's grace is incomparable and we often do not recognise it. When one does, one is left speechless, as words are too little to describe guru's grace. 

Tirthankara's hold special place in Jain's heart, hence Micchami Dukkadam has to be done to them too.

The ideal way of life is to rise above likes and dislikes. It helps one not to do ati-kramaNa (doing excess). Here, ati-kramaNa does not mean excess expression of negative emotions, but also positive emotions like love, etc, as one has to rise above emotions. Divine emotions help one transcend beyond mind easily. So the ultimate aim, in my humble opinion, is to not let anything enter into our mind so that there will not be any need to practice pratikramaNa and reach the ideal state as taught by the great tirthankara-s and be a 'Jina' in a true sense. 

There are many sects and sub-sects within Jainism. Each one has their own day of practising paryushan and for saying micchAmi Dukkadam.

With prayers and gratitude of this beautiful spiritual practice aimed as inner purification, let us do 'Micchami Dukkadam'. Please find a prayer which one may find helpful in one's spiritual progress. 

મિચ્ચામી દૂકડમ - ક્ષમા પ્રાર્થના

|| શ્રી સદગુરુ શરણમ ||

હે પ્રભુ, જેમની કૃપાથી અંતઃકરણની શુદ્ધિ થાયા છે, જેમની કૃપાથી જ્ઞાન પ્રાપ્ત થાય છે એવા જ્ઞાનસ્વરૂપ શ્રી સદગુરુદેવનું જો મે કોઈ કોઈપણ કારણવશ એમની આજ્ઞા ન માનવાનું ઈત્યાદી દુષ્કર્મ થયું હોય તો હે ગુરુદેવ મને ક્ષમા કરવાની કૃપા કરો. 

મારા દ્વારા જો કોઈ ફણા અપરાધ – કાયિક, વાચિક કે માનસિક અપરાધ થયો હોય તો મારી હૃદયપૂર્વક ક્ષમા યાચના સ્વીકાર કરો

નવકાર મંત્રમાં વર્ણવેલા સરવા દિવ્ય આત્માઓ, તીર્થંકરો, દેવો, માતા-પિતા, મિત્ર, સગા-સ્નેહીઓ, સ્થાવર-જંગમ યોની, સર્વ કોઈને મારી હૃદયપૂર્વક ક્ષમા યાચના અર્પણ પરુ છું. 

હે પ્રભુ, સ્થૂળ અને સૂક્ષ્મ, સર્વ પ્રકારના, દોષોથી મુક્ત કરો. મારૂ અને સર્વ કોઈનું હૃદય વિશાળ કરો અને શુદ્ધ, પરિત્ર અને દિવ્ય ભાવરૂપી ઐશ્વર્યથી અલંકૃત કરવાની કૃપા કરો

|| નામો જીણાનામ || 

Micchami Dikkadam – English

|| Shri Sadguru Sharanam ||

Oh Prabhu!, with whose grace antaHkaraNa is purified, with whose grace, GYAna (knowledge of Self realisation) is attained, to him, the embodiment of knowledge itself, the sadguru, I pray with the bottom of my heart that if I have incurred sin due to any wrong doing (like not following your orders / advices), I beg for forgiveness. Please be kind enough to forgive my sins

If I have incurred any sins by any kind of wrong doing either from mind, body or speech, I pray to all those to whom I have caused harm to forgive my sins 

To all the divine Jivas mentioned to the great navakAra mantra, to the tirthankara-s, Gods and Goddesses, father-mother, friends, relatives and well wishers, to sthAvara and jangam yoni-s (moving and immovable Jiva-s) and to everybody else, I pray for forgiveness 

OH Prabhu! Please release me from any kind of wrong doings be it from gross or subtle level. Please purifiy my heart and make me big hearted and kindly fill my heart with divine qualities. 

|| Namo JiNAnam ||

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Blog dedicated to Sri Anandagiri Maharaj Alias Tanjore Swamigal


Dear Divine Atman, 

Our land is blessed with the descend of many avatars and saints who have uplifted vibrations of consciousness and upheld dharma. Our country, Bharat, is revered as Maa or the holy mother who has nurtured great saints and civilisation which teaches one to respect everything and rise above it into the untouched, pure Brahman. Among many great saints, one of them is Sri Anandagiri Maharaj (1898-1942) also known as Tanjore Swamigal. A book accounting the holy saint’s life was compiled and published in 1956 by Late Shri Shri H S Narasiah titled “Anandagiri’. The author’s son, Shri H N Ananda Giri has dedicated a blog to the Life and Teachings of holy saint extracted from his father’s book. 

As per the book, Sri Anandagiri Maharaj was one of the rare saints who had shown the world bhakti, Jnana and Yoga and remained in exalted state or at times beyond them. Many of the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna’s order were attracted towards him for his holiness. 

There are few saints whose subtle bodies would transform into their Ishtadevata while they leave their physical body. Some saints have ability to manifest the energies of other saints so that their devotes can feel their guru’s presence in the saint’s body. There are many miracles that are associated with saints which cannot be explained. They can only be experienced.

It would be worth reading his biography and teachings. Please find the link below to the blog 



Monday, May 13, 2019

Why do Gods Pray?

Why does avatAra show human emotions like anger, grief, faith, surrender or pray to somebody or meditate on sombody?

Some may have a doubt as to why avatArs like RAma, kRSNa or even Gods like trimUrtis (brahma, viShNu and mahesha) show emotions. They are also seen praying to somebody or meditating on someone or something.

The question arises, if they are Gods, who by definition is perfect, complete and eternal, then why does a God need to pray or meditate or show any human emotion like anger, grief, etc. Afterall emotions arise from ego and attachment. The very Gods teach us of detachment then why do they show the same weakness that we pray to God to remove from us?

There are many reasons for this behaviour. Our shAstra-s teach us dharma, artha, kAma and moksha. They also teach us various other arts and disciplines. In general, each incident has it’s own teaching and it’s own ‘moral of the story’. There is a way to interpret and understand any incident. Any incident has to be understood by either ‘vidhi’ (positive) or ‘nishedha’ (negative) says Puri SankarAchArya SrI nishchalAnanda sarasvatI ji. Either by positive learning or negaive learning it should be understood. So either you emaluate or you do not i.e. not to repeat the mistake or do evil karma.

Let us first consider the case of avatars like bhagavAna rAma. We have seen him Praying to sUryadeva, the Sun God. When rAma was tired of fighting rAvaNa, he saw rAvaNa full of vigour ready of next session of face-to-face fight. In the midst of fierce battle, losing hope and confidence and so losing inner strength to fight rAvaNa. In this state of mind, rAma was taught the famous Adityahridayam by Rishi agastya. 

Lord rAma, who though being supreme brahman himself, has, by his own wish, endowned himself with mAyA and restricted himself to act within human limits, as he is maryAdA puruSottama, and engages himself in some deep thoughts. He cannot vanquish rAvaNa acting as All powerful invincible God, as rAmA must respect the boon given by Lord brahmA jI that rAvaNa cannot be killed by anyone except humans including Gods except humans. He didn’t cared to include protection from Humans in the boon as he considered them as weak.

rAma had to behave in a human way and show emotions of tiredness, dejection, loss of faith and confidence. Then his guru shows him the path to remove negative emotions like tiredness, dejection, loss of faith, etc and replace them and reinstate energy, strength, confidence and faith. Finally rAma manages to kill rAvaNa and so the victory of dharma is established. 

We all pass through these emotions in some phase of our life. Even a spiritual person who is walking on the path of moksha also experiences such emotions when his / her sAdhanA does not seem to bear fruit or one may feel s/he is stuck up in a mental frame and not able to progress. Slowly enthusiasm decreases and so does faith in God. At such a time, guru approaches such sAdhaka and offer advice similar to what rishi agasthya did to his disciple rAma and our spiritual progress resumes again. If we continue to walk on this path, one day surely we will also become jivan mukta.

So, such incidents are pointers which have to be understood correctly. 

Now let us understand why any avatAra like SrI rAma prays. The doubt here is why Ishvara who is perfect, complete and above guNa-s need to pray and to whom does Ishvara pray? Are there many Ishvara-s? Can there be many Gods? How is it possible?

The answer to this is, in sanAtana dharma, there is only one supreme Godhead. Hinduism, if it can be roughly classified, is Henotheistic. The supreme Godhead, which is formless, when acts for creation, preservation and destruction, takes the help of mAyA. Ishvara, which is ‘it’ not ‘he’ or ‘she’ (neuter gender) assumes the role of masculine force which acts as an anvil and mAyA becomes feminine force shapes the world on that anvil. Same Ishvara or paramAtmA or Brahman as mentioned in upanishads, can take as many forms, male or female, as per his wish and each form is equally powerful.  Our mind is habituated of seeing shapes and forms. It is difficult to comprehend formless infinite tatva (essence). It is easy for mind to be emotionally attached to a form. We get attached to our loved ones. Same is the case with a form of Ishavara like kRSNa or rAma. They also do have a unique character which helps us get attached to that form of Ishvara. For devotional purpose, a form of Ishvara like rAma or kRSNa or Siva or devI is established in our shAstra-s. For a partcular devotee his / her form of Ishvara, known as IshTa devatA (the chosen deity) is the supreme Godhead. For hanumAna, rAma is the supreme Godhead. No one is above him, all Gods and Goddesses are under his sway. He was not satisfied with the form of kRSNa and so prayed to him to give him darshan in the form of ‘rAma’. HanumAna ji very well knew both are same, still he was devotionally attached to the form of rAma. When a character is created, there will be incidences in his / her life and from that, as said earlier, we have to understand those incidences in a right way – i.e by ‘vidhi’ or ‘nshedha’. 

Let us return to the case of rAma praying to sUrya deva. The doubt arises, why does he need to pray? Let us understand it from another angle. In case of avatAra, from day one of birth, an avatAra has great clarity of thoughts. He is technically not attached to anything, so his mind is very pure. His emotions are highly purified. The words that come from their mouth have deep meaning, highly purifed emotions said from the bottom of the heart. Sri Ramakrshna says, that mind of avatAra or jivan mukta is such that it can easily enter samAdhi, just like there is a big window from which one can jump to outdoor i.e. from finite to infinite. Their heart is always rooted in Brahman. This is the reason why their prayers or eulogising any form of Ishvara, will touch our hearts. Their words have great strength and devotion. Their bhAva, i.e. spiritual emotion, is highly purified and it touches the heart of a sincere devotee. Such a prayer is very helpful for spiritual progress. In order to make the prayer more effective a pUrvabhUmikA, i.e. a prima faci environment, is created which leads to an incident and then a prayer is composed. This pUrvabhUmikA helps devotee too as a story is easy to remember. One can easily construct whole scene mentally and enjoy the bliss of divine play of Ishvara. Same is the case with the stutis and prayers composed by great devotees like prahlAda and dhruva. They are spiritually highly matured and their prayers come from intense longing for Ishvara. They sing glory of Ishvara in estacy which touches us all, cleanses our heart, purifies it and helps one progress spiritually.

Similarly, there may be a doubt as why rAma or Siva meditates and what is the need for them to meditate, as a perfect Ishvaa never meditates, he does not need to. Technically this is correct. Ishvara does not need to meditate for himself, but for the sake of devotees, avatAra meditates. If an avatAra meditates on a particular place, that place gets purified. It vibrates with spiritual energy. If rAma prays to Siva, the thoughts, emotions, faith, surrender and love for Siva is so strong that the entire atmosphere vibrates with such lofty spiritual emotions. Such amtosphere is highly pure. Meditating on that spot or even in it’s vicinity will greatly benefit a devotee. Thoughts will calm down, speed of thoughts will decreases and inner peace and bliss will increase, there will be natural attraction for Siva. sAdhanA will happen effortlessly. Same is the case of a place where avatAra of a siddha or even a devotee who had darshan of his / her IshTa devatA (chosen, or had experienced Self Realization is very pure and vibrates with spiritual energy.

Another reason for avatAra to undergo penance or do sAdhanA is to establish a benchmark for devotees. An avatAra undergoes rigorous austerities, does penance for long time, faces harsh conditions that a common man many not be able to withstand. He will mentally collapse. In order to push up our efforts to progress spiritually and increase the longing and intensity of sAdhanA or to intensity the longing for IshTa devatA such accounts of intense sAdhanA and austerity gives a sAdhaka much needed moral and spiritual boosting, giving hope, increasing surrender and love for Ishvara.

To sum up, 

1. There is a way to interpret any incident mentioned in our shAstra-s. Understand it by ‘vidhi’ (positive learnng) or ‘nishedha’ (negative learning)

2. avatAra acts or shows human emotions or prays for the benefit of devotees. We need to understand it correctly. An incident leads to the composition of heart touching, spiritually uplifting poems, hymns, and stuti-s. It gives us inner strength to overcome our negative feelings and progress spiritually.

3. Story that leads to composition of poem helps devotee to stay immersed in the bliss of divine play of his / her IshTa devatA

4. sAdhanA or tapa (penance) by an avatAra or a siddha purifies a place and fills that place with uplifting spiritual vibrations. If one meditates on such a place or even in it’s vicinity, one’s spiritual progress is greatly accelarated. 

All that is mentioned in our shAstra-s is for our own good. We need to understand it in a correct way with a positive approach. As time passes, one becomes spiritually mature. At a proper time, secrets will unfold. There are certain things that one may not be able to find in shAstra-s, but can find only from guru, there are certain things which one experiences during sAdhanA. Till then one needs to keep the faith in our guru and our shAstra-s and continue to walk on the path that leads one to immortality.

Hari OM

Friday, March 1, 2019

Sri Ramakrishna on Nitya-Siddha, the ever-perfect Jivas

(Sri Ramakrishna To Amrita and Trailokya) "Youngsters like Narendra and Rakhal are nitya-siddha ( ever-perfect). Every time they are born they are devoted to God. An ordinary man acquires a little devotion after austerities and a hard struggle. But these boys have love of God from the very moment of their birth. They are like the natural image of Siva, which springs forth from the earth and is not set up by human hands.

"The ever-perfect form a class by themselves. Not all birds have crooked beaks. The ever-perfect are never attached to the world. There is the instance of Prahlada.

"Ordinary people practice spiritual discipline and cultivate devotion to God; but they also become attached to the world and are caught in the glamour of 'woman and gold'. They are like flies, which sit on a flower or a sweetmeat and light on filth as well.

"But the ever-perfect are like bees, which light only on flowers and sip the honey. The ever-perfect drink only the Nectar of Divine Bliss. They are never inclined to worldly pleasures.

"The devotion of the ever-perfect is not like the ordinary devotion that one acquires as a result of strenuous spiritual discipline. Ritualistic devotion consists in repeating the name of God and performing worship in a prescribed manner. It is like crossing a rice-field in a roundabout way along the balk. Again, it is like reaching a near-by village by boat in a roundabout way along a winding river.

"One does not follow the injunctions of ceremonial worship when one develops raga-bhakti, when one loves God as one's own. Then it is like crossing a rice-field after the harvest. You don't have to walk along the balk. You can go straight across the field in any direction.

"When the country is flooded deep with water, one doesn't have to follow the winding river. Then the fields are deep under water. You can row your boat straight to the village.

"Without this intense attachment, this passionate love, one cannot realize God."
Source: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

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