Language Milestones

Our younger daughter is a major lover of languages. This 2 and 1/2 year old kiddo can recognize upper case, lower case letters in the english language, knows Tamil alphabets and is rapidly learning Sanskrit and Hindi script (the Devanagari). She can recognize the vowels in Hindi/Sanskrit and also can say A – Anaar (equivalent of A for Apple in the English language. She says those too).  Every day she studiously learns all the alphabets without fail. It’s just surprising to me how much she cares about the shapes of the alphabets. 🙂 If I had had half the interest in language as the Fierce-Young-One, I would have been the modern Shakespeare by now! 🙂 I love my sweet little kiddo! <3 God bless you, my baby. <3

Cycling fun

Last couple of weeks have been real fun. I bought a bicycle (it’s called bike here in the U.S.). A somewhat expensive one called Specialized Ariel Sport costing me 750 USD and I haven’t even got accessories like a lock or lights. The cycles here are top notch machines that have beautiful gears that can take you smoothly across all kinds of terrains. Mine is a hybrid bike that I can use for cycling on the road and also across dirt and gravel paths as well as over moutain. I am super happy with the bike. 

I have so much fun and excitement that my kids (aged 10 and 2) are now totally into cycling. My elder one wants an adult size bike as she has grown quite tall. My younger one pretty much acts like a Olympic cyclist, always riding in her cycle in the backyard or the school’s big parking lot. Hubby is also inspired and he is soon going to get his own cycle. 

My long term goal is to ride my cycle for doing basic errands like getting groceries, picking up kids from school and also use it for training and fitness. I am sure that the bicycle is probably infinitely more useful in a place like India. I just am not sure if I want to breathe the polluted metro air. Rural living in India is kinda intriguing to me. Imagine a nice big piece of land for farming with a house in the village doing a lot of good to the people and the environment and living a much simpler lifestyle. I am very interested. 

Coming back to the U.S., here I am also doing Zumba dance. It’s a fitness dance program that has got lots of exotic moves. It makes me feel at least 20 years younger. I giggle and have a big smiling face and it’s like a nice partying style of dance.

I am just overall psyched about life. Yoga is also going on. I am training to be a Yoga instructor. I aspire to always live my life with full of positivity, love, compassion and mindfulness. There is nothing better than that to be your best self. 

What is your quest?

So, the question just came to me today. What is the purpose of life? How do you say if a life is a successful life? What is that parameter that decides this? Is the purpose of life furthering your own joy? Is the purpose of life just chilling in the most luxurious of places? Is it just to be around your own family, work hard for them and raise children as good human beings? What is that success that we are all hoping for?

At this point of time (especially after a busy day), I feel that this question must be answered individually by each and every person. A standard one size fit all idea will not work for all.

I used to have my own definition of how a happy life would be. I thought when people were poor, they were sad. I thought when people did not have their families around, they felt lonely. I thought when people had no one at their wedding, they felt miserable. But well, those were my thoughts and I might have felt these if I was in any of these situations. I just projected these thoughts on the world and assumed it is true for all. Until I saw the reality. There are exceptions and exceptional people all around.

Now A little background about myself: Our wedding was grand. We had beautiful loving people all around us who wished us the best. Our love was (and is) recognized by all of them. A beautiful moment to cherish. Ours was not like a super luxurious most expensive wedding but it was nice as per our own taste. It was religious, it was romantic, it was filled with so many people who loved us. Now, I came across many weddings in my family and close friends who had really grand weddings. I feel happy that they were happy but never do I ever think if I could have had grand royal weddings like them.My husband is just like me in this. He cares not about outside grandeur. But to some people around me, it matters. The grander the wedding, the more wonderful and successful the people were, or so people thought. 🙂

My mind opened when I met people who got married at a courthouse by themselves and just two other witnesses, had a pizza for dinner and just were in love and truly enjoyed the company of each other. Is that wedding any less than mine? Of course not. I am smiling at this thought.

Now, the matter of success takes on an interesting turn. I thought having a big house with garden is the measure of a person’s success in their 20s. For many years when I was growing up, I remember vividly having dreams of being in houses that were really big, almost castle-like . I do have a much much larger house than my parents. I do have garden with trees, fruits, herbs and flowers. Indeed it is a beautiful life.

But then my mind opened. I see people who build their tiny houses (tinier than my living room) and living happily in deserts and forests, with not a care in their hearts but with lot of love and hope. Aren’t they successful? Of course, to me, they surely are.

Now, what is success to me? To live meaningfully and inspire others to live a life that is truly theirs. Let your heart decide what is your success. I know it is a vague answer but I know success is neither a life of luxury and convenience, nor a life of meditative visions. Success is being balanced in the here and now, and creating the space of possibility to live harmoniously with oneself and with all the species.

It is 12:30 AM, midnight right now. I wrote this post with a smile and joy that has opened my mind even further.

 

Copycat but a very cute cat

Two and half year old Baby B copies whatever her elder sister is doing. Nowadays She is dancing Pushpanjali (a Bharatanatyam sequence) and keeps watching her sister’s dance on youtube. Her elder sister has been learning Bharatanatyam for the last couple of years and is giving performances. So, Baby B watches her dance all the time.

Baby B also comes regularly to her sister’s Karate class and has been really showing a lot of interest in joining but she is way too young to join. She also sings Carnatic songs like Nagumomu Galavani, Ranjani Niranjani, Bho Shambo etc along with her sister as she practices.

She cheers her sister as she plays the violin. Baby B is one of the greatest learners that I have ever seen. She is constantly curious, always enthusiastic, very excited about everything and is into every kind of activity.

From around 1 year old, she has been showing a lot of interest in Yoga too. She has been doing many yoga postures like Bhujangasana, mountain pose, bridge pose, natarajasana etc from when she was a year old. Today, she saw a picture of Swami Vishnudevananda in a pamplet and started doing Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodana Pranayama) without even learning. My husband really had tears in his eyes when he saw that.

There is no doubt in my mind that my two daughters are Yogis from previous life. In the bhagavad gita, Lord Krishna says that a Yogi who has not attained full self realization but been practicing Yoga will be born in a family of Yogis and Yoga practitioners and they will restart their Yoga practice from where they stopped. I don’t know about myself. But my brother is a true yogi and my father is a great Bhakti Yogi. No doubt, the kids are blessed to be born around these great people.

I think Baby B has been following her daddy’s footsteps. Background story: I have been learning Yoga for some time. So, for fun, I asked my husband to show some asanas . This fellow, my dear hubby, is so good at anything that he does. He did Yoga much better than most Yoga instructors and that too with absolutely no training. He just focuses and holds the pose for far longer than anyone I personally know. What did I expect? I have never seen my hubby do anything half-heartedly or without focus. I can say that is something that I have always admired in him. That is one of the core reason for his success in whatever he chooses. 😉

Baby B and her elder sis even amaze my hubby! 🙂 May these kids be forever happy, healthy and strong, and have a long life. That is my wish and blessing for them. I wish the same for all kids in the world.

To be honest, God has been really kind to me. Every day, these kids just bring us so much joy! 🙂

 

Long distance walking

I have taken long distance walking as a hobby and exercise. My longest walk last week was 7.5 miles (12 Kms). I average at about 6 miles. 🙂 Uber fun meeting all kinds of people, feeling the fresh cool breeze on the skin, looking at the wonderful mountains all around our home and neighborhood and chatting with hubby and the kids when they do accompany for short distance walking.

Still eating healthy, doing Yoga twice a day and generally being my best in mind and body… 🙂 I feel Prana circulating and giving bliss. I’m so much more energetic eating lots of raw foods and vegetables… I’m thankful for every single second to experience life fully present with my family and friends.

Had an amazing Navaratri with lots of my friends, having golu, eating sundal, visiting my friends’ homes, dancing garba, dandiya and praying to Devi… I love Navaratri so much!

Gearing up for Deepavali fun… !!! Yay Yay Yay!

Raja Rajeswari Stavam Sloka, Lyrics & Translation

Raja Rajeswari Mantra Matruka Stavam
{Model Prayer to Mother Raja Rajeswari}
Translated by P. R. Ramachander

This great prayer is supposed to be written by Adi Sankara Bhagwat Pada. But is not included in the list of the works of the Acharya.

Kalyanayudha poorna Chandra vadanaam praneswaraanandinim,
Poornaam poorna tharam paresa mahishim poornamrutha swadinim,
Sampoornaam pramothamrutha kalam vidhyavathim bharatheem,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 1

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who is store house of all the good qualities,
Whose face resembles the shining full moon,
Who makes her lord of the soul happy,
Who is full and more than full,
Who is the consort of Lord Shiva,
Who enjoys nectar as her food,
Who is complete in all respects,
Whose only food is nectar,
And who is Goddess Saraswathy,
The Goddess of knowledge.

Eekarathi samastha varna vividhakaraika chith roopineem,
Chithanyathmaka chakra raja nilayam chandranthe sancharineem,
Bala bhava vibhavaneem bhava param sadbhakthi chinthamneem,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 2

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who has several holy forms in words starting with “ea”,
Who resides in Sri Chakra as its soul,
Who travels in the universe of moon,
Who is child like, and who “exists” and “not exists”
Who is the soul of Lord Shiva,
And who is in the hearts of her great devotees.

Eeha digbara yoga vinuthaam, swananda bootham paraam,
Pasyanthi thanu madhyamam vilasineem, sri vaikarai roopineem,
Thmananda vicharineem, vivarakam vidhyaam, tribajathmikam,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 3

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who is worshipped by yogis who have forsaken everything,
Who is personification of her own enjoyment,
Who appears as to be at the outside,
Who shines in the middle of the body,
Who is the form of early dawn,
Who is a thoughtful philosopher,
Who explains philosophy to others,
Who is the form of Sri Vidhya,
And who is the form of three words-Iym, hreem and sreem.

Lakshyalakshya nireekshnaam, nirupamam, rudraksha maalam dharam,
Tryakshyartha kruthi daksha vamsa kalikaam deergaksha deerga swaraam,
Bhadraam, bhadra vara pradam bhagawatheem, padmeswareem mudrineem,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 4

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who sees everything with an aim and without it,
Who cannot be compared to any one else,
Who wears the garland of Rudrakshas,
Who has three eyes,
Who was born in the clan of Daksha,
Who has long eyes,
Who is the long sound “Eeee”,
Who does not need protection and who grants protection,
Who is extremely learned,
Who is the goddess sitting on the lotus,
And who can be attained by tantric symbols.

Hreem bheejagatha nada bindu bharithaam Omkara Nadathmikaam,
Brahmanda ganodhareem gunavathim, jnaneswareem jnanadam,
Ichagna kridineem mahim gathavadeem gandarwa sevitham,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 5

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who is full of the sound and bindu(dot) arising out of “Hreem”,
Whose soul is the holy sound “Om”,
Who is slightly bent because of her huge breasts,
Who is of a great character,
Who is the goddess of knowledge and who gives knowledge,
Who plays as per her wish,
Who goes around the world,
And who is served by celestial maidens.

Harshonmatha suvarna pathra barithaam peenondo koornikaam,
Hungara priya sabda jala niratham saraswathollasineem,
Sarasara vichara chathuram varnasramakaarineem,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 5

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who holds nectar, which is the greatest among drinks,
In a golden pot filled with happiness,
Who is happy with the holy sounds like “Hum”,
Who gets immensely pleased with the root called “:Saraswatha”,
Who thinks and sorts issues that have meaning and no-meaning,
And who is responsible for the duties of different varnas.

Sarveshanga viharineem sakarunam sannadhineem nadineem,
Samyoga priya roopineem priyavatheem preethaam prathaponnatham,
Sarvantharkathi shalineem siva dasai sandheepineem dheepineem,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 6

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who exists in the body of the greatest god,
Who is full of mercy and who has a very sweet voice,
Who is the sweet sound itself,
Who is interested in joining together,
Who is full of love and care,
Whose fame is the top most,
Who with her great character goes inside souls,
Who gives power to the bow of lord Shiva,
And who is the light herself.

Karmakarma vivarjithaam kulavatheem karma pradham koulineem,
Kaarunyaam sarvagama niradham sindhuprilosineem,
Pancha brahma sanathana sanakatham geyaam suyogathmikaam,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 7

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who exists in the body of the greatest god,
Who does not differentiate between duties and actions,
Who is the goddess of well bred women,
Who gives rewards to karmas,
Who can be approached by the koula* way,
Who is merciful and is engaged in all duties,
Who lives in the middle of the ocean of milk,
Who sits in the cots made of five brahmas**
And who is being sung about by her devotees,
Who are well versed in the art of yoga.

*Thathtric worship of the left ** Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Ishwara and Sadashiva

Hasthuyuthkumbha nibha sthanathvidayatha peenoonna dadanathaam,
Harathyabharanam surendra vinutham srungara peetalayam.
Yonyagaaraka yoni mudritha karaam nithyaam navaarnaathmikaam,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 8

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who has holy busts similar to the forehead of an elephant.
Who wears several jewels including golden chains,
Who is being worshipped by Devendra,
Who occupies the stage of passion,
Who gets pleased by the secret rites,
Who wears the seal of the joints,
Who is forever and is worshipped,
By the nine lettered mantras.

Lakshmi lakshana poorna bakthavruthaam leela vinoda sthithaam,
Laksharanchitha pada padma yugalam, brahmendra samsevitham,
Loka lokitha loka kama jananeem lokasrayangasthithaam,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 9

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who showers great grace as Lakshmi on her devotees,
Who is extremely playful,
Who has her feet with nails made red,
Which are Served by Brahma and Indra,
Who grants all wishes made by her devotees,
And who is delighted to sit in the lap of her lord.

Hreenngararchitha sankarapriyathama yogapeedeswareem,
Mangalyayudha pangajapa nayanam, mangalya sidhi pradham,
Karunyena viseshithanga sumahalavanya sam shobitham,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 10

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who gets happy by the chanting of “Hreem”,
Who is the darling of Lord Shiva,
Who sits on the dais of Yoga,
Who has weapons which do good,
Who has eyes like lotus flower,
Who grants all that is good,
Who has a mien drenched in mercy,
And who shined because of her extreme beauty.

Sarvagnana kalavatheem sakarunaam sarveshwareem sarvagam,
Sathyaam sarva mayeem sahasra dalajaam sathvarina vopasthitham,
Sanga sanga vivarjitham suga kareem balarka kodi prabhaam,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 11

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who is the store house of all knowledge and arts,
Who is filled with mercy.
Who is the goddess of all,
Who is everything in the world,
Who is the eternal truth,
Who is spread everywhere,
Who lives in the thousand petal lotus,
Who lives in the ocean of milk,
Who is the prime mover of uniting and detaching,
Who gives pleasure ,and who shines like billions of rising sun.

Kadhikshantha suvarna bindhu suthanum sarvanga samshobhithaam,
Nanavarna vichithra chithra charitham chaturya chinthamaneem,
Chithrananda vidhayineem suchapalam koodathraya karineem,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 12

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who is the golden dot in all consonants,
Who is praised by all good people,
Whose entire body shines,
Who has the peculiar multi coloured form,
Who is thoughtful intelligent gem,
Who is the dream of artists,
Who is never constant,
And who is the form of the triad of mantras.

Laksmisaana vidhineedra Chandra makudathyashtanga peedasrithaam.
Suryendumagnimayaika peeda nilayam, tristhaam trikoneswareem,
Gopthreem garvinigarvitham kakanakaa ganga ganesa priyam,
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 13

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who sits in the eight part stage held by,
Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, Chandra and other gods,
Whose stage shines like the moon, sun and fire,
Who is of three parts and who is the goddess of the triangle,
Who is not easily known, who destroys pride,
And who sits in the sky of Chit loving Ganesa and Ganga.

Hreem kooda thraya roopineem samayaneem samsarineem hamsineem,
Vamachara parayaneem sukulajam bheejavatheem mudrineem,
Kamaksheem karunardhra chitha samhitham, sreem sreem trimurthyathikaam.
Sri Chakra priya bindhu tharpana param Sri Raja rajeswarim. 14

Salutations to Goddess Rajarajeswari,
Who gets pleased by worship of Sree chakra,
Who is of the form of the three mantras ending with “Hreem”,
W ho is the eternal time and who leads a domestic life,
Who is being worshipped by the “Hamsa” mantra,
Who is being worshipped by the left based tantra,
Who is pleased by the mantras and mudras,
Who is having eyes of passion,
Who has a mind drenched in mercy,
And who is being worshipped by the trinity using “sreem” mantra.

Ya Vidhya shiva kesavadhi janani, ya vai jagan mohini,
Ya Brahmadi pipeeli kantha jagadanandaika sandhayini,
Ya Pancha pranavathi rebha nalini, ya chitkala malini,
Saa paayath para devatha bhagavathy Rajarajeswari. 15

Let her who is the mother of Vishnu and Shiva,
Who is the enchantress of the world,
Who takes care of every one from Brahma to an ant,
Who is tender and is the soul of the five pranavas,
And who wears all arts and knowledge as garland,
Take care of all of us as the great goddess Rajarajeswari.

Secret to happiness

Many times attachment and clinging are misidentified as love. Attachment to people and things is like getting attached to a mirage in desert. Neither does it quench one’s thirst, nor is it a really permanent thing. We need an oasis of love, a fountain of happiness.

When love is the quality of our being, compassionate listening the quality of our listening, mindfulness the quality of our awareness and stillness the essence of our mind, then our relationships get automatically transformed into abodes of great peace, strength and compassion. The result is that we transform into joyful, happy people. We also get a joyful relationship and a happy family. That is why being mindful and joyful is not a luxury. It is a need for every family.