Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Artwork Images of Indigenous Culture at Law Building, University of Melbourne

Today, I happened to visit the Law building at the University of Melbourne campus for a team activity on level 9, Common room.There, I came across these interesting artwork.I thought, they are awesome, mystical, charming and intriguing.
Artist: Ande K Terare
Language group: Bundjalung
Tribe/clan: Minjungbal
Titles of image:‘Food Sites’

Ande K Terare was born in 1970 on the North Coast of New South Wales. He gained knowledge of traditional culture from older siblings and other relatives in his family. His paintings depict the traditional ways of life: the land, the natural resources, ceremonies, stories and legends, and contemporary works which are largely influenced by his Aboriginal heritage. He currently shows his work at Art Yarramunua Gallery (www.artyarramunua.com.au)
Indigenous Artwork

Indigenous Artwork
Indigenous Artwork
It's me, Ofcourse

Indigenous Artwork

Indigenous Artwork

Friday, 24 June 2016

Let me get some Good Karma

Saving a Butterfly for Good Karma
One day as I got into the lift at my workplace and noticed that One of my colleague was standing in a stiff and funny way. 'What's wrong with him', I thought and then I noticed that he is having a butterfly sitting on his shoulder."What are you upto Mate ?." I asked him, trying to not disturb his mood of whatever that he is upto.Looking a little bit embarrassed and proud my colleague replied." Oh, You see ! Found him trapped in the lift.Obviously, he is in the wrong place. I am going to take him out of the building and leave him in the nature. Let me get some Good Karma". I thought this is a good act by my colleague. If someone wants to bestow kindness, there are so many ways he can.Man is endowed with a higher sense, which is different to the animals. For animals in the jungle, the laws are different. There, the strongest will survive. But, laws of human beings are different.It is not the survival of the fittest but, Live and let live. It is showing compassion and taking care of other living beings suffering in the world.What could be the intention of my colleague - I wondered. Because, most of the times people consider Karma to be something straight forward and black and white. Also, some people visualize it as a dramatic event of equal justice, ' An eye for eye' etc.I also remember seeing a movie, long time ago where the villian is a Mafia Don and getting people killed.Once he hears the news of someone dead, he dramatically saves a Ant or a insect drowing in a glass of water or somthing and says something like ‘One killed and another saved.It is now even..Ha ha ha’ Actually, it is not so. The laws of Karma are so intricate and difficult that even the most knowledgeable persons are sometimes bewildered. Bhagavad Gita advises the same thing. There is a story of  a King Nrga in Bhagavatam who performed a wonderful Fire sacrifice and donated a lots of Cows to brahmanas but, had to take birth as a lizard for a simple mistake of donating same cow twice.Similarly, we see a rich person who has practically everything like fleet of Cars, Bank balance and a huge mansion can only eat so much or may be cannot eat sweets due to health reasons, or he might have a 20 bedrooms but, cannot go to sleep suffering with insomnia. So, the Karma for a living entity as Mahabharata explains, especially an evil deed is like a indigestible food in the belly- which is its own punishment, if not experienced in this life will follow us to the next life. No one can escape the laws of Karma (Not even by suicide)
So, it is completely wrong to consider that one wrong act or deed can be counteracted by another noble act or a good deed.

An Evil Act - Law of Karma

As per Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 and 3 Krishna explains karma, akarma and vikarma. Karma Yoga is essentially acting, or doing one's duties in life as per his/her dharma, or duty, without attachment to results – a sort of constant sacrifice of action to the Supreme. It is action done without thought of gain. In a more modern interpretation, it can be viewed as duty bound deeds done without letting the nature of the result affect one's actions. Krishna advocates Nishkama Karma yoga (Selfless Action) as the ideal path to realize the Truth. The most important theme of Karma Yoga is not focused on renouncing the work, but doing the work in the spirit of detachment and sacrifice.

Thus, there are various paths or Yogas explained in Bhagavad Gita like, Karma Yoga which is further subdivided into Sakama Karma Yoga which is performing a work with a God Consciousness but there is still an attachment to the fruits of the work, and Nishkama Karma Yoga where one is completely detached from the fruits of work with God as center.
Lord Krishna, advises Arjuna to fight without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat and informs him that by this he will not incur Bad Karma, Vikarma or Sin. And, then further on Lord Krishna talks about various other yoga, like Jnana Yoga, Dhyana or Ashtanga Yoga and  finally Bhakti Yoga, which is the devotional service to God.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Dhruva Teela,Dauji and Shatrughna Temples at Madhuvan Forest

Lord Vishnu deity in the temple at Dhruva Teela
Dhruv Teela
During my last visit to India, I visited Madhuvan, the forest near Mathura.Madhuvan is one of the 12 forests of Vraja Mandala,situated towards the western side of river Yamuna.This is a very special forest area with many interesting references in the scriptures. Although, today the forest area is reduced to a bare minimum, may be about 50 Acres, the place (Now a small Village) still has some magical charm to it.After visiting the temple and taking darshan of the deity of Lord Vishnu,we stepped on to explore the forest. There are a number of Peacocks and some small cottages, Huts where some Babaji's live.We entered the residence of one of the Babaji's, who had few Cows, I looked around nervously to see if there is any sign-boards like, 'Keep off, private property. Trespassers will be prosecuted, or something similar. However, there was nothing like that and our Guide, Radha Charan Prabhu being a local was quite at ease and patting the Cows there remarked to the old man relaxing on a Cot 'Beautiful Cows Babaji, are these yours?.' And, the old Babaji got up and with folded hands said 'Nothing is mine.They all belong to Tagore ji(Lord Krishna)'.
Walking around in the forest
Srimad Bhagavatam describes the pastime of Dhruva Maharaj in Satya Yuga, who at the tender age of five, left home in anger.He wanted to sit on the lap of his father while his step brother is already sitting.His step mother immediately stopped him saying that to gain the eligibility to sit on your father's lap, you should be born as a son to me.Angry and humiliated Dhruva went to his mother and told her that - as a revenge, he wanted to get a bigger kingdom than that of his father or anyone else in the world. His mother advised him that only Lord Vishnu can fulfil his desire and it is said that Lord gives his vision to people who worship him undergoing severe penances in the forests.
Selfie in the forest
Forest Walk

Then Dhruv left home and on his way met Narada Rishi on his way. Narada Rishi took pity on the boy and advised him to go back. But, upon seeing determination of the young Prince, Narada Rishi gave his blessings and advised him to go to Madhuvan forest,perform his tapasya there.He also gave initiation and the mantra 'Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya' to Dhruva.Interestingly, Narada Rishi gave a wonderful description of the appearance, features of how the Supreme God looks like and instructs Dhruva to meditate on this form of Lord Vishnu and not on any light or other forless aspects of God.
So there is a Hillock famously known as Dhruva Teela,the place where he performed his Tapasya meditation and attained the darshan, vision of lord Vishnu known as Prsni Garbha.Today, there is a small temple with deity of Lord Vishnu exists. There is also a Shiva Linga and a stone inscription by a sadhu who centuries old, which glorifies the power of this place and how he also performed the tapasya and had darshan of the Lord Vishnu.As instructed by Narada Rishi, Dhruva practiced controlling of Breath - Pranayama, Astanga yoga, devotional service and worship of Lord Vishnu for six months.

Bhagavatam explains that when Dhruva Maharaj performed tapasya or austerities, deity worship, devotional service, chanting the mantra given by Narada Rishi Lord Vishnu appeared and awarded him the kingdom of Dhruva Loka, which is famously called as Pole Star, which is the brightest star visible in the sky. 
Entrance to the cave of Lavanasura
Cave of Lavanasura
Dhruv Teela
Then there is also a small temple of Shatrughna, the brother of Lord Rama,who made his capital in Madhuvan.There is a small temple and Deity of Satrughna.Then, there is Krishna Kund which was made by Krishna striking his flute on the ground. There is also a cave in which the demon Lavanasura lived and who was killed by Satrughna.You can visit the cave of the demon Lavanasura today which was of course built with steps and walls, so that people can go and visit the place.Probably, this is the only place where there is a temple for Shatrugna (I thought but, later found out that there is one more temple for Shatrugna. Bharat and Shatrugna are the two demigods known as Ashwini Kumaras incarnated in human form).

Deity of Lord Shatrugna with his wife
It is also said that during the time of Lord Krishna's pastimes on earth, this used to be the pasturing ground for his cows.Lord Krishna, as Gopal would bring His cows for grazing to the forest of Madhuvan and would have His cows drink the cool nectarine waters of Madhu Kunda also known as  Krishna Kunda in Madhuvan.It is said that during the time of Krishna, Madhuvan was filled with Kalpavriksha trees covered with the most nectarine bee hives which would produce the sweetest Madhu (honey) in all the creation for the pleasure of Krishna. Therefore this forest came to be known as Madhuvan and Krishna would perform the sweet pastime of Rasa Leela with the Gopis on the banks of Madhu Kunda in the autumn season.
Temple of Dauo Ji - Lord Balaram
Dauo Ji - Balaram appearing in Black Complexion
There is also a temple of Balarama who is known as Dauo ji(Elder Brother) and the speciality of Balaram here is that instead of white color, here the deities complexion is black. The reason for which is explained that,Once while extolling the beautiful qualities of Krishna to the Gopis, in order to pacify their feelings of separation after Krishna’s departure from Vrindavan, Balaram ji Himself became so absorbed in thoughts of Krishna that His complexion turned blackish.Dauji is the village deity and we have also visited this temple and took darshan and blessings of Dauji. I went into a local village shop and bought some Mishri (sugar candy) and Yoghurt and offered them to Dauji because, apparently you should never go to a temple empty handed.