Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Love Guru vs Hinduism

Mike Myers is the Canadian entertainer known for characters as Austin Powers, Shrek and Wayne Campbell. The Love Guru, his latest film, was nominated for seven dishonours. It took home trophies for worst picture, worst actor and worst screenplay. Sri. Rajan Zed said that The Love Guru "appears to be lampooning Hinduism and Hindus" and uses sacred terms frivolously. He also said that "If Myers visited a Hindu temple, paid his obeisance, expressed remorse, and promised not to denigrate Hinduism in his future movies, Hindus would not only absolve him but might also pray for his success in his future ventures."

It is not that the movie is meant for the purpose of denigrating Hinduism, but the fact that for most Westerners, movies like this might be the introduction to the great culture of India. Hence the movies have a responsibility to portray the Indian culture appropriately. There should be a balance between artistic freedom and responsibility to convey the truth.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

The True History and the Religion of India

The True History and the Religion of India is a concise encyclopedia of authentic Hinduism. It reveals the true theme of Indian scriptures and describes the history of India and the religion of India of more than 155 trillion years. This online book aims to reveal the hidden evidences of the workings of the British regime and how the Indian history and culture was misinterpreted. All the issues of all the scriptures and the Puranas have been precisely described and concisely incorporated in this book with scriptural, logical and scientific evidences.

The author, His Divinity Swami Prakashanand Saraswati (Shree Swamiji) is a teacher of Raganuga Bhakti (divine-love-consciousness) since 1972. He is the founder of the “International Society of Divine Love” and “Barsana Dham” in the USA, and the “International Society of Divine Love” and “Rangeeli Mahal Pratishthan” in India.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sri Krishna Karnamrutham - a nectar to the ears

The author of Sri Krishna Karnamrutham is Bilva Mangala. He belonged to a place called Mukkutalai, originally mukti-sthalam, in kerala. He came to be known as Leela Shuka. Leelasuka belonged to a saivite family by tradition. But he became a devotee of Krishna. Hence he refers to his traditional background by saying that he wears the feet of Lord Siva on his head. He belongs to the tradition of great devotees of Krishna of Kerala such as Narayana Bhattatiri, the author of Sri NarayaNeeyam, Poonthaanam and Vasudeva Namboodiri and other great scholars of Dasama skhandham of Srimad Bhagavatham.

In his early life, he was very fond of a Deva Daasi by the name Chintamani. She teased him once about his scholarship in Vyaakaranam, Naatakam and Alankaara Saastram and told him that if he had one thousandth of the affection for Bhagavaan, he would easily save his life. That was the turning point for Bilva Mangala. He thanked Lord Krishna for showing the true destiny of his life.

You can download the ebook in PDF format or read online.
Links: Download PDF ebook
Read Online

You may also consider editing the article in wikipedia appropriately. Search for keyword Sri Krishna Karnamrutham.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Akshardham experience

The sprawling Rs.200-crore pink sandstone cultural complex in New Delhi is spread over 100 acres and showcases the grandeur of Indian history, art, culture and values. It was built in only five years through the blessings of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) and the efforts of 11,000 artisans and BAPS volunteers and was inaugurated on 6 November, 2005. Dr. Prasanth R Krishna who is a scientist at a renowned S.Korean Institute has posted an elaborate experience of the Akshardham complex in his blog.

Giirvaani - Word-for-word transliterations of Sanskrit classics

To bring word-for-word transliterations of Sanskrit classics is the motto of Giirvaani. This website attempts to bring long-forgotten lane of Sanskrit Classics to the modern audience. It is an ongoing work and some of the translations are yet to be completed. The contents include the following works.
  • Valmiki Ramayanam - One of the 2 greatest epic poems of India
  • Gita Govindam - A beautiful romantic poem by Jayadeva
  • Raghuvamsham - An epic poem by Kalidasa
  • Harivamsham - A sequel of Mahabharata
  • Bharatasavitri - Mahabharata in a nutshell
  • Ritusamharam - A medley of seasons by poet Kalidasa
  • Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnayam - Elucidation of Mahabharata by Madhvacharya
  • Sri Krishna Karnamrutham - A beautiful and delectable praises of Lord Krishna by Sri Leela Shuka of Kerala a.k.a Bilwa Mangala Swami 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Download Hindu tithi calendar in ics format

The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a socio-spiritual organization. The organization's website offers Hindu tithi calendar to your calendar program - Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Sunbird and Google Calendar. You can select and download the Calendar with Nom, Ekadashi, Punam, Festivals and Tithis. Any calendar programs that support .ics files will be able to use this calendar.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ramayana of Valmiki in Sanskrit(abridged)with English translation

laghuvaalmIkIyam is Valmiki's Ramayana abridged in Sanskrit by Sri. G.S.S.Murthy. He studied Sanskrit during his student days under Vidwan H. V. Narayana Sastry and Vidwan N. Ramaswamy Iyengar. After retirement from service he has devoted most of his time to studies in Sanskrit classics and literature.

This abridged version is long enough to preserve most of the beauty of the original but is short enough to attract the modern day reader. The author describes the technique he used to abridge the original Ramayana as "the cut and paste technique", in which portions of continuous text of the original are removed and the remaining re-pasted to form a seamless narration as true to the original. At some places, where this technique was not found to be suitable a few bridging words, phrases, and stanzas have been added which are not in the original.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Types of Hinduism

In the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion (ISBN 0195170210 ), June McDaniel, Professor of Religious Studies at the College of Charleston classifies Hinduism into 6 generic types. This kind of classification makes more sense to the diverse variety in which Hinduism is practised.

  1. Folk Hinduism - Hinduism according to local customs spanning thousands of years; even beyond vedic era.
  2. Vedic Hinduism - Traditional Hinduism practised by Brahmins, especially Shrautins.
  3. Vedantic Hinduism - One of the modern types of Hinduism; practised by Smartins based on Upanishads
  4. Yogic Hinduism - Based on Patanjali's Yoga sutras
  5. Dharmic Hinduism - Based on the concept of Karma, societal rituals etc
  6. Bhakti (Devotional) type - Based on pure devotion to God; eg: Vaishnavism, Saivism etc.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vedas and Puranas in Sanskrit with Hindi translation

The Vedas are the four ancient Indian collection of knowledge from the vedic period. The four vedas are Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda.

The Purāṇas are vedic Hindu texts containing myths and legends and is even considered as the fifth veda. The Puranas are often attributed to the sage Vyasa, the author of Mahabharata. The concept of devotion (bhakti) is the most important theme in the puranas. The puranas are sometimes referred to as the fifth veda.

You can read the puranas in Sanskrit with their translation in Hindi at the following link.

Sivaratri Fast

I observed that a couple of users have searched about the food that can be taken on Sivaratri (Shivaratri or Shivratri). It is believed that if a devotee observes a Sivaratri Vrata, he will be cleansed from all sins and will attain the abode of Siva after his death. Generally the Sivaratri fast is observed in the following manner.

A Sivaratri fast continues all through the day and night. Most people observing fast consume a mid-day meal consisting of non-cereal food. The items that are an absolute no-no are non-vegetarian food, onion, garlic, turmeric and ginger. Many people stick to a fruits only diet. No meal is eaten at night (i.e. after sunset). It is only in the following morning that a devotee breaks the fast by consuming the food offered to Lord Shankar.(prasadam or prasad)

Related posts:
Maha Sivaratri / Maha Shivaratri a.k.a Great night of Lord Siva

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hindu Dharma by Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji

Learn Hinduism from one of the most revered Hindu spiritual leaders of the twentieth century. "Hindu Dharma" is a book published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan which contains English translation of two volumes of the Tamil Book "Deivatthin Kural"; which is a collection of invaluable and engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji who was the 68th head of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

The work was compiled by R. Ganapathi, a devotee of Periyava. It contains English translation of certain invaluable and engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji (at various times during the years 1907 to 1994). The Mahaswami presents the Sanatana Dharma in a lucid manner. Readers are left in no doubt about any aspect of out eternal Dharma. You may also choose to receive pages from Hindu Dharma in your email everyday.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Sanskrit mantras to open Colorado House of Representatives

Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu statesman, will be reciting opening prayer from Rigveda before Colorado House of Representatives on February 17, 2009. You can read the news article at

About Vedanta

It is a system of Hindu philosophy that forms the basis of modern schools of Hinduism. The foundation of this system is the principle of Brahman - Essence of all reality i.e. absolute. It also stresses on the fact that the aim of human life is to transcend the limitations of self identity and realize one's unity with Brahman. The three pillars of this school of thought are the Upanishads, Bhagavadgita and the Brahma sutras.

Several sub-schools of Vedanta have evolved based on their concept of the relationship between the self (atman) and the absolute (Brahman). Some of the sub-schools are Advaita, Vishisthadvaita, Dvaita, Dvaitadvaita, Shuddhadvaita, Achintya Bhedabheda and Purnadvaita. The term "modern Vedanta" is sometimes used to describe the interpretation of Advaita Vedanta given by Swami Vivekananda.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The ten principles of Arya Samaj

The Arya Samaj is one of the most important revolutionary Hindu reform movements in the Indian history. It was founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Arya Samaj had very practical ideologies based on pure common sense and the vedas. It opposes idol worship, animal sacrifice, ancestor worship, temple offerings and pilgrimages. The founding principles were simplified into ten rules. Nothing beyond these 10 Principles has any binding force on the members of the Arya Samaj. The ten binding principles are the following.

1. God is the original source of all true knowledge and all that is known by the . physical sciences.
2. God is existent, intelligent and blissful. He is formless, almighty, just, merciful,unborn, endless, unchangeable, incomparable, the support and master of all. He is omnipresent, immortal, fearless, eternal, holy and the maker of the universe. He alone is worthy of worship.
3. The Vedas are the scriptures of all true knowledge. It is the duty of all Aryas to read them, hear them being read and teach them to others.
4. One should always be ready to accept truth and give up untruth.
5. All acts should be performed in accordance with Dharma, after deliberating what is right and wrong.
6. The primary object of Arya Samaj is to do good to the world, by promoting physical, spiritual and social good of everyone
7. Our conduct towards all should be guided by love, righteousness and justice.
8. We should dispel ignorance and promote knowledge.
9. One should see one’s own greatest welfare as residing in the welfare of others.
10. One should regard oneself under restriction to follow the rules of society calculated to promote the well being of all, while one should be free in matters of individual welfare.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Download Yoga ebooks for free

Thanks to sfauthor for giving me the link to Yogavidya website. You can download the original Yoga books in PDF format for free. You can choose to buy printed version if you wish.

The available ebooks are the following.
Bhagavad Gita
Gheranda Samhita
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Shiva Samhita


Tracing the path of Lord Rama from Ramayana

Wikimedia hosts an image of the map tracing the route of Lord Rama in his epic journey to Sri Lanka. It is very interesting to see the different names of places in ancient India correlating with the modern day names in the map. Locations are based on the Indian epics and the Buddhist texts. 100% accuracy is not claimed. You can see the map at the following link.

Tourslanka hosts a page for places of interests connected to Ramayana in Sri Lanka. You can read the description and watch a video at the following link.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mahabharata Online

The Mahabharata is one of the two most important epics of ancient India. The title may be translated as the great tale of the Bharata dynasty. Authored by sage Veda Vyasa, The Mahabharata, comprising more than 90,000 couplets, usually of 32 syllables, is the longest single poem in world literature. The epic is an important part of the Hindu history and is supposed to be all inclusive. In other words; what is found in Mahabharata may be found elsewhere, but what is not found there will not be found elsewhere. Bhagavad Gita, which is the single most sacred text of Hindu culture is itself a part of Mahabharata.

You can read the original sanskrit version in Devanagiri and Western scripts along with its english translation at internet sacred texts archive (link given below). The Ganguli English translation is cross-linked on a book-by-book basis with the Sanskrit text.



Sanskrit Documents Compilation

Sanskrit Documents website (link given at the bottom) is a compilation of Sanskrit Documents in Devanagari display and transliteration format. In addition to the sanskrit texts, you will find here various tools for learning Sanskrit such as the Online Sanskrit Dictionary, Sanskrit Tutorials, Sanskrit Pronunciation guides, and software for learning Sanskrit and producing documents in Devanagari and Roman formats, and much more. I could even find an archive of Sanskrit news in All India Radio which you can listen to sharpen your sanskrit listening and understanding skills. You can generate display in Devanagari or other scripts using the web-interface. There is even a resource for sanskrit tattoos!

For the sanskrit scholars, there is a long list of Sanskrit documents available elsewhere, hundreds of scanned books, and audio files on the internet which you can access from the site. If you have time to spare, please consider volunteering to proofread the texts. You may join the email-based lively discussions or just leave a note in the guest book to mark your presence.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Privacy Policy Statement

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Slumdog Millionaire raises controversies

If you have already watched the movie Slumdog Millionaire, you might already know what the issue is. It tells the story of a young man named Jamal Malik from the slums of Mumbai who appears on a game show. The name of the movie itself raised a controversy as many people felt offended by the usage of the word dog to refer poor people. In this movie, Lord Rama and Indian culture are shown in a controversial manner. The Hindu Janajagruthi Samithi is conducting a signature drive to protest against the movie. You can read the details of the protest from the HJS website.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bhageeratha - Epitome of perseverance

Bhageeratha is an epic character from Ramayana. His name is an epitome for great perseverance in any good cause.

King Sagara was waiting in vain for his sixty thousand sons who had gone in search of the sacrificial horse who went to Paatala. After some days he called his grandson, Amsumaan and asked his help to find them. At the nether world he found the sacrificial horse grazing but could not find the princes. But he found heaps of ashes all around. He was informed by Garuda, the bird-king, brother of Sumati, Sagara's second wife, that the princes were consumed by the wrathful glance of Sage Kapila and that if these ashes are to be watered according to custom so that the souls of the princes may rest in peace, Ganga should be brought down here from the land of the Devas.

Amsumaan returned back with the horse and informed the king all that he had found and learnt. According to the Ramayana, Sagara lived for 30,000 years. Amsumaan succeeded Sagara as King of Ayodhya and was, in turn, succeeded by Dileepa. Bhageeratha succeeded Dileepa. Bhageeratha was a childless King. He left his kingdom at the care of his ministers and went to Gokarna to perform a penance to obtain progeny and to bring Ganga to the earth". Bhageeratha went through severe austerities like eating only once in a month, standing in the sun with fire surrounding etc. Finally Lord Brahma appeared to grant him his wishes. But he informed him that the earth cannot withstand the force of Ganga landing on it and only Lord Siva can help. Bhageeratha had to perform another penance and severe austerities to please Lord Siva. Pleased by his penance, Lord Siva appeared in front of him and granted his wish. But when Ganga started her descent to earth, in her arrogance she thought she can sweep Lord Siva to the nether worlds (Paatala). Lord Siva became angry and wanted to teach Ganga a lesson. Ganga tried her best but not a drop could emerge from the tangled maze of Siva’s matted locks. This was an obvious disappointment for Bhageeratha who wanted Ganga to be bought to the earth. He had no choice but to perform another penance to please Lord Siva again who took pity on him and gently let out the waters of Ganga in Bindu Saras from where they flowed down in seven small separate streams. Three of them flowed west and three east; and the seventh river followed Bhageeratha. But on her course, Ganga damaged the yaga platform of a sage called Jahnu. The sage took the entire flood in his palm and sipped it off. The Devas and other rishis approached Jahnu and begged him to forgive Ganga and allow Bhageeratha to reap the fruit of his great austerities and perseverance. Finally, Ganga reached Paataala and with the holy waters, Bhageeratha performed the funeral rites for his arcestors and secured for them their entry to heaven.

I have submitted the same article on wikipedia. Please edit as needed in wikipedia.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Origin of Goddess Mariamman

Mariamman is a South Indian mother Goddess predominantly worshipped in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. She is worshipped mainly by the tamil speaking population in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.

The origin of Goddess Mariamman is unclear. Mari in Tamil means rain. Mariamman is an ancient village goddess related to fertility and rain. Mari also means change. Thus, the name Maria Amman would mean goddess who has changed. According to some, Mariamman is the sister of Lord Ranganatha (Maha Vishnu) and called Mahamaya. The Samayapuram Mariamman is worshipped on the first day of the Tamil month of Vaikasi by the Iyengar/Srivaishna Brahmins of Srirangam. Another version suggests that she is the mother of Parasurama, Renukadevi who is appeased for rains. Mariamman was the smallpox goddess before this disease was eradicated and is similar to Sitala Devi in this respect.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sree Janardana Swami Temple - Varkala

Wikipedia, as you know is the largest source of online reference and is edited by common people. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world; anyone can edit it. I have written an article about Sree Janardana Swami Temple in Varkala, Kerala. Please go through it and feel free to edit and add more information.

Some important festival dates for year 2009

I am sorry that I had to delete the original blog post. I had to delete it as many of the words used were Sanskrit which made the publication of podcast difficult. I am working on a google calendar which will be embedded into a page in this blog soon. Thank you for your patience.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thaipusam / Thaipooyam / Thaipoosam

Thaipooyam is celebrated on the pooyam day of Makaram (January-February) in the Tamil month of Thai. The festival commemorates when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (lance) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. The most important part of the celebration is the devotees carrying different types of Kavadi to the Murugan temple.
In 2009, the date of Thaipusam is February 8.
Read more about Palani and Lord Murugan

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chalisas - texts and videos

A chaupai is one verse of Indian poetry that uses a metre of four syllables. An example of a chaupai includes the Hanuman Chalisa about which I have mentioned in my previous post. There are other chalisas in praise of other Gods. 

Some of them are Durga Chalisa, Ganga Chalisa , Hanuman Chalisa, Santoshi Chalisa, Saraswati Chalisa, Shani Chalisa, Shitala Chalisa, Shirdi Sai Chalisa, Shiv Chalisa, Ganesh Chalisa, Gayatri Chalisa, Krishna Chalisa, Lakshmi (Laxmi) Chalisa , Ram Chalisa, Vindhyeshwari Chalisa, Vishnu Chalisa, Bhairav Chalisa and Navagraha Chalisa. You can read all these chalisas at the following link. Some of them have their English translations included.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Maha Sivaratri / Maha Shivaratri a.k.a Great night of Lord Siva

Maha Sivaratri or Maha Sivaratri (Great night of Lord Siva) is a Hindu festival celebrated every year on the the night before and day of the new moon of the month of Maagha or Phalguna in the Hindu Calendar. Shivaratri 2009 is on February 23, Monday. There are many legends surrounding the origin of Sivaratri. According to Hindu mythology, Shivaratri symbolizes the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati.

For some believers, Shivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava dance. During the churning of the ocean of milk, a terrible poison called Haalaa-hala arose. It was so poisonous that it could destroy all the worlds. The gods approached Mahadev and prayed to him to protect the entire life forms. Lord Siva drank the poison to save the worlds and held it in his throat by binding it with his snake. Because of the effect of the poison, his neck turned blue and since then Mahadeva is worshipped by the name Neelakantha (blue neck).

According to another version, Lord told his consort Parvathi that the 13th night of the new moon, during the month of Maagha, is his most favourite day. Goddess Parvathi in turn spread this word all over the world.

According to Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata epic and Garuda Purana, refers to the observance of Maha Shivaratri by King Chitrabhanu. In his previous birth he was a hunter called Suswara and lived in Varanasi. He was hunting and saw a deer. But he could not kill the deer as he was filled with sadness when he saw the family of deer on its impending death. It was soon night and he had to climb up a tree to seek shelter from wild animals. It was infact a Bilva tree. His water bottle was leaking and he ran out of water. He was hungry, thirsty and could not sleep. He engaged himself in plucking the Bael leaves and dropping them down onto the ground the whole night. The next day he returned home and bought with him some food for himself and his family. But before he could start eating, a person came to his door begging for some food and he shared his food with the guest. At the time of his death, messengers of Lord Siva appeared in front of him and informed him that his soul is bound to the sacred abode of Lord Siva. He was puzzled as what meritorious deed made him eligible for that. The messengers informed him that there was a Siva Linga under the Bilva tree and the leaking water bottle washed it as in an abhishekam (a sacred ritual). Also he was plucking the Bilva leaves and the leaves fell on top of the Linga which constituted archana (another sacred ritual). He was hungry and observed a fast. Thus the hunter was observing the rituals of a Mahasivaratri without knowing that he was actually doing it.

On Shivaratri, only cold water and Bilwa leaves are offered to the Lingam. It is accompanied by all day fasting and an all night long prayers on Lord Siva. It is not sufficient to just avoid sleeping whole night and spend the time in enjoyments like watching late night movies or playing cards.

Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India (SCFI) is maintaining a website dedicated for Mahasivaratri with links to prayers, greeting cards and other useful resources concerning the Mahasivaratri.

Hanuman Chalisa

Hanuman Chalisa is a beautiful work in poetry in praise of Lord Hanuman. It is written by Tulsidas whose another famous work is Ramcharitamanasa. It is widely read poem of 40 verses written in Hindi. Many devotees recite it as a prayer on a regular basis especially on Tuesdays and / or Saturdays. You can read, listen and download Hanuman chalisa from the following link. The website also provides an email address to which you can request a free  audio CD.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Artistic freedom vs popular sentiments

Maqbool Fida Husain, popularly known as M F Husain, was born in 1915 in Pandharpur, Maharashtra.He was called the "Picasso of India" by the Forbes magazine. He was awarded the Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan and is undoubtedly one of the most famous and highly paid artists of the modern India.

His works have become objects of controversy after some nude depictions of Hindu deities were exhibited. India is a secular and democratic country and artists must have freedom of expression. But it is when artistic freedom hurts the religious sentiments of a segment of the population, controversies arise. In response to the controversy, Husain's admirers have petitioned the government to grant Husain the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award. The Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti hosts a page in their website in protest against Mr. Husain's controversial paintings.

Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy outlined by the Sage Patanjali in his Yoga sutras. Raja yoga is concerned principally with the cultivation of the mind using meditation (dhyana) to finally attain moksha. Raja Yoga is sometimes called Aṣṭānga (eight-limbed) yoga because there are eight aspects to the path to which one must attend and is referred to as the king among yogas. The eight limbs are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. The first four limbs being parallel to the lower limbs of Hatha Yoga and the rest of the four are more specific to Raja Yoga. The first three limbs practiced simultaneously constitute the Samyama.  

There are different variations to the original Raja Yoga and is practised with some modifications by different schools of thoughts. The Brahmakumaris and the Shri Ram Chandra Mission are examples of such schools of thoughts. The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU) is an international non-governmental organisation headquartered at Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, India with over 8,500 centres in 100 countries, territories and islands. The Sahaj Marg system is freely offered to seekers worldwide through the Shri Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM) under the guidance of current living Master, Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari (also known as "Chariji").