Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Where do I get inspiration from?

I just wanted to try listing out some things that inspire me always:

* Great comebacks: They never cease to inspire me. Kumar Gandharva, Lance Armstrong
or all those sportstars who come back and win the game - these are just a
few names. There are lots of them out there who have emerged as
winners in spite of huge setbacks in life. They are may real life heroes.

*Great piece of music: Any calibre of music (be it western, classical, filmi or pop)
that appeals to me is always a great source of inspiration. That can vary from
Bhimsen Joshi's Lalit Bhatiyaar to R.Kelly's I BELIEVE I CAN FLY to
Kal Ho Na Ho title song to Shaan's BHOOL JA to Anup Jalota's
AISI LAAGI LAGAN.:) Sometimes the lyrics and the other times,
the tunes continue to brighten up my life.

*Books: Autobiographies or biographies, some self help books and spiritual books have
inspired me many a times. When I mean self help books, they are not all of them
that are available in the market. For me, authors like Norman Vincent Peale,
Robert Schuller, gurus from Ramakrishna Ashram, Osho, Robin Sharma have been
effective. And of course, any book of Swami Vivekananda is an energy booster for me.

*Movies: Well, not all of them:) But there have been some movies that have inspired me so much. To name a few - Life is Beautiful, Jerry Maguire, The Legend of Bhagat Singh,Taare Zameen Par, Sarfarosh, Bangarada Manushya and so on.

*Physically or mentally challenged people: Man, they rock! What determination and
enthusiasm these people have! I am amazed!
Hats off to them!

*Our jawans: They spend their precious moments protecting their country. They sacrifice their lives so selflessly for those people whom they do not even know. Their bravery never ceases to inspire me. Salute to all those bravehearts.:)

*Our National Anthem: I feel so awakened and alive whenever it is played. A dash of patriotism rushes through my veins wherever I hear it. Stupendous feeling!

*A prayer: Sitting in front of an idol/photo of my favorite deity and reciting a shloka inspires and encourages me on all bad days especially.:)

*A cup of tea: Ah! the joy of sipping hot cup of tea! I feel so refreshed and active with my cup of tea and I just can't do without it.:)

*My near and dear ones who always continue to inspire me with their day-to-day activities and of course, their selfless love for me.:)

*Nature: Of course, the nature around me is one of the greatest sources of inspiration to me. It brings in lot of energy into my life.

That might not be all but I think I have listed the main ones. Hmm...that helps.:)

Monday, March 09, 2009


I had borrowed "Agastya", written by Prof. K.S.Narayanacharya in Kannada, from a cousin of mine. I wanted to read it out of sheer curiosity. I had not heard about this book from anyone. I had read an Amar Chitra Katha about Agastya long back. I had really liked it then. So probably that inspired me to start reading "Agastya".

Initially I thought that I might not complete the whole book coz it looked like there were lot of Sanskrit verses that probably I would not be able to follow. So I began reading it half heartedly. And then, I just could not keep the book down till I finished it. It took a couple of days for me to finish it. The book kept me so interested that I visualized the characters of the books and dreamt about them too for two days.:)

For those of you who do not know, Agastya was a renowned Hindu rishi (sage). He is known for the creation of some of the famous shlokas like Aditya Hrudayam ( Agastya taught this to Rama during his war with Ravana). Stopping the growth of the Vindya mountains, drinking the entire ocean were some of his famous feats.

During the time of Vishnusharma Agastya who is popularly known as Agastya, the demons had started torturing the sages and their families. There were no strong kings at that time to protect these sages. So from the time of Agastya's father, their ashram not only taught vedas but also self defence techniques like horse riding, use of weapons, organization of the army and so on. ( I absolutely did not know that all these were taught at the ashram.)

The main threat to peace was Ilvala, one of the demon kings of the dravidian region. He had a brother -Vathapi. Ilvala had become more powerful after learning "mritasanjeevani" from his guru, Shukracharya.

Lopamudra, princess of Vidharbha, married Agastya as per the wish of Agastya's father. She had to wait for a long time for Agastya as he was busy integrating the kingdoms in India against the rakshasas. He travelled all over India trying to induce confidence and strength among the kings.

At this time, Vindhya wanted to be as famous and taller than Himavanta ( Himalaya). So he started growing indefinitely. To stop this, Agastya requested Vindhya to give way to him to travel the southern India. He asked Vindhya to lie down till he came back. Assuming that Agastya would come back, Vindhya did as told. But Agastya never went back. he settled on the banks of Kaveri river.

One day, Ilvala invited Agastya for a lunch at his place. He transformed his brother into goat and used his flesh to serve Agastya for lunch. Ilvala had planned this so he could use his Mritasanjeevani technique. According to his plan, after Agastya would finish his lunch, he would chant a mantra and Vatapi would come out thus killing Agastya. Agastya knew Ilvala's plan. He first converted everything that was served into vegetarian. And as soon as he finished his lunch, he uttered " Vathapi jeerno bhava" that meant Vathapi should be digested completely. Hence Ilvala's magic did not work and Vathapi died. Agastya then killed Ilvala, thus putting an end to the reign of a powerful Asura ( demon).

After Ilvala's death, lot of rakshasa took refuge in the ocean. Hence Agastya drank the whole ocean so that they could be brought out and punished by the Devathas ( angels). Before Rama slayed Ravana in the battlefield, Agastya appeared there and taught "Aditya Hrudaya "stotra.

All those above stories take us into a different world, don't they? :) The beauty with which the respected author has narrated the tale of Agastya ensures that you are not bored at any point of time. In fact, when you finish the book, you would have learnt some new things about the Vedic Age. I am absolutely thankful that I got to read this epic.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Spirituality in music

She is singing with her eyes closed. She is singing a devotional piece in Raag Bhairav. There is a very scarce crowd but an attentive one, in front of her. She sings as she if she does not care a damn about the world. She sings as if her music is only for her God and no one else. Her voice oozes with lot of confidence and dedication. Her music has captivated the audience and they all seem to be transported to another world. They are not thinking about any technicality of music or they are not reviewing her voice. The devotion in her voice is such that they are only able to listen to her and surrender to music, to the feeling of oneness. For a moment, they all have forgotten about their lives and sit in a trance.

Wonderful feeling, isn't it? It is a feeling that is beyond words. And when you feel that way, all your problems and tensions become so irrevelant. In fact, they all appear so silly and you feel a sense of serenity prevails over you. That happens to me when I listen to some of the raags sung by our eminent classical musicians. That is why I find myself retiring to classical music at some point of the day, no matter how much pop or filmi music I listen to.