Is Hinduism really a Religion?

“Bala, what according to you is Hinduism? Any explanation that I give seems to be insufficient.” A question that someone asked me recently. I said, “So your question is how to explain Hinduism to others”. “Yes”. “Christianity and Islam seem easier to explain. Judaism as well. We struggle when it comes to explaining Hinduism”. “Is…

The Secluded Cave.

A two-hour journey involving a bus ride from the temple town of Palani and an auto ride from the nearest town takes you to this small village tucked in wilderness. The mountain arises like a pyramid near the snout of the village resembling a linga. The steep mountaintop is a magical destination and houses Shiva…

Never Born, Never Died.

This was my first trip to Tallinn, Europe’s newest capitals. The capital city of Estonia has some striking structures based on decades of Soviet influence. I had taken a tram as the first choice for transportation from the airport to the city centre. My hotel was booked three kilometres from the city in the historical…

Tara.

The Tibetan mall in Bangalore’s Brigade road is rather disappointing. I had expected a mini version of Lhasa’s Barkhor street. Lhasa’s Barkhor street encircles Jokhang temple in the heart of Lhasa. This street is filled with numerous shops selling fascinating Tibetan craft. In contrast, this Tibetan Mall is a rundown place selling cheap apparel. I…

The End of Knowing.

I just finished a simple rice-gruel breakfast in the Ashram kitchen. I was told the Swami will meet me at 10:30 AM. I sat down on the stone bench and waited. I was eager to meet a Swami steeped in non-duality. The call came minutes later. A short walk brought me to the hall and in…

Kirtimukha, The Desireless state.

Hinduism is abundant with mythological stories. The aim of mythology is to convey a concept through stories, rituals and symbols. Mithya is the concept or idea conveyed by mythology. From mythology arises sects, religion and customs. From mithya arises several belief systems. Behind mythology and mithya is absolute reality or truth. The aim of Hinduism…

The Seer.

  It was past noon as we sat with our hungry tummies in front of the banana leaves waiting to be served. The dining area was filled with about 50 people. Men and women sat opposite to each other on the ground in two rows. The place was airy and neatly maintained. The meal was…

Escape to Shambala

“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.” “If aliens visit us, the outcome could be much like when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans,” These are words of Stephen…

The face of Aghora

I recently visited the ancient Pashupatinath temple in Nepal. Pashupatinath is a significant place for Tantra worship. Earth, water, fire, ether and space represent the five elements of the universe.  The Shiva linga in Pashupatinath represents all the five elements.  The masculine part of the stone is its phallic shape and the feminine is the…

The spinning wheel

Physical things are cyclical in nature and cease to exist at a point in time.  The universe is physical in nature and undergoes endless creation and destruction within a span of time. This is the cyclical nature of the universe. All manifestations in the physical universe are also cyclical in nature. For example the Earth,…

Flames of Life

Cemeteries are peaceful places that I have always admired. I have been to cemeteries number of times and twice during the past two years. The term graveyard and cemetery are often used interchangeably. Graveyard is the older of the two terms. Graveyards used to be burial grounds adjoining the church where people preferred to be buried….

Transcendental Wisdom

You can feel the power of nature up here high on the shoulder of the hill. I had reached the summit at 6 PM. The place was empty of the usual crowds. The temple at the summit has thousand years of historical importance and is neatly maintained. I spent time in the sanctorum witnessing the…