Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Anjali - a divine offering

Anjali mudra - Divine offering
Why are half of our world's scriptures full of praise for the divine? Not just praise - beautiful, poetic, prayerful praise; as a divine offering - Anjali.
I feel that half the Veds are full of divine songs of praise, Devi Suktam, Sri Suktam, Narayana Suktam, Purusha Suktam (my favorite), and so on.
"vedAhametam puruSHam mahAntam | AdityavarNam tamasastu pAre |
sarvANi roopANi vicitya dheera: | nAmAni krtvAbhivadan yadAste ||" (Purusha Suktam v16)
Translation: This great Purusha, brilliant as the sun, who is beyond all darkness, I know him in my heart. Who knows the Purusha thus, attains immortality in this very birth. I know of no other way to salvation.
    From the various Suktams, to Stotrams, Panchakams, Shatakams, Ashtakams, to Stutis galore.

    "Iśvarah paramah krsnah, sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahah
    anādir ādir govindah, sarva-kārana-kāranam.
    Govindam ādi-puruṣaḿ tam ahaḿ bhajāmi" (Brahma Samhita 5.1)

    Translation: Krishna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritualbody. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes. I worship Govinda, the primeval cosmic Being.

    Brahma sang this Stuti to Narayan at the beginning of creation to Narayana, after emerging from His navel. This is one of my favorite Stutis. 

    Then there are the Lalita Sahasranama (1008 names), Vishnu Sahasranamas - full of brilliant praise,devotion, prayer, offered to the Lord as an Anjali.
    This is a brilliant design by the divine knowing the mechanics of Praise and Criticism.
    Notice how we feel inside, in our inner environment when we praise and when we criticize.

    When we Praise the divine qualities in us shine (Deva). Say, "You are so sweet, so loving, so beautiful...." and feel those qualities sprout within you. Praising itself is a divine quality.
    We can only recognize divine qualities in others, because they are present in us. We cannot recognize something that we can't identify with within. So often I say to a person praising me, this praise is a reflection of you! 
    When we criticize with emotion and intensity, "You have such a big ego! You are such an angry, hateful person!!" Then feel those same emotions burst within you.

    Our Praise and Criticism reflect a truth about us.

    Good things said about me, I often feel, are true about the person praising me, not me! Perhaps because I know my dark side, the demons within, and so I feel that I don't deserve praise. Don't some of us feel that way? But it should not be so. There is a time to face the inner demons and vanquish them, and there is a time to accept praise, as all praise goes to the divine within, that's what we are.

    When we praise the people, nature, God, those divine qualities come to life in us. So we should praise daily. That's why we have the rituals of prayer. Prayer, puja, rituals, are meant to purify us. It creates a sacred environment within and without.
    When someone praises us, know that it's the divine qualities in us that are being praised, not something we as an individual own. Therefore offer all the praise that comes to you to the divine. 
    Also, know that it is good for the person praising you, because it is kindling those already present qualities in them, so recognize those qualities in them. Sometimes it's very hard for us to accept praise. That is also subtle form of ego. Let us be simple and natural like a child. Praise or be praised!

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