11. Kanakadhara Sloka 5


“कालाम्बुदालिललितोरसि कैटभारेर्
धाराधरे स्फुरति या तडिदङ्गनेव
मातुः समस्तजगतां महनीयमूर्तिर्
भद्राणि मे दिशतु भार्गवनन्दनायाः”

“Kaala-Ambu-Da-Ali-Lalito[a-U]rasi Kaittabha-Arer
Dhaaraadhare Sphurati Yaa Taddid-Anggane[a-I]va
Maatuh Samasta-Jagataam Mahaniiya-Muurtir
Bhadraanni Me Dishatu Bhaargava-Nandanaayaah”

(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).

Aacharana: Means to put the concepts of Sanatana Dharma into implementation in our daily lives. Not everyone understands the concepts to the fullest from birth, but with a confidence in parents, Guru and Ishwara, and constantly exploring Shastra we put our concepts into practice. This hand-in-hand approach helps us one day to merge the gap between implementaions and its concepts, helping us evolve in the understanding of the underlaying tatva(m). Hence a Guru who puts one’s dharma into aacharana (implementation) and becomes a living example of that ashram(am) is called an Aacharya.

Upasana: Is to practice and strive constantly towards achieving something. But the word upasana as per Shastra(m) is to constantly strive to explore and put to practice of Shastra(m) into one’s life, which is aacharana. Virtue and Sat:buddhi is not something that is available for purchase, nor can they be achieved in a day. They come through constant struggle, even if the effort is small, it grows under constant daily practice and implementation.

At the beginning of our journey we discussed that this discourse is not just to translate the slokas of Kanakadhara but an exploration of tatva(m), and its through this exploration that we as a human being will have the opportunity to understand the vital concepts of Sanatana Dharma. This sloka is one such vital part of Kanakadhara that will take our journey in depth into various such concepts.

Before we head towards understand this sloka lets dwell in the answer towards a vital question, can one live a life free from fear? Only when one possesses the confidence that there is someone who is watching over us and will always protect us gives us such relief. This so-called protector or savior should hence possess two vital characteristics, first to have the ability and the strength to protect us from any danger, with confidence in someone without such potential, only time and situation can prove if such a confidence will result in our safety or will only lead to superstition. The second character for the so-called savior is to have compassion and the readiness to help us, without which even with all that power, there is no basis to cultivate trust.

Sri Shankara when composing this sloka was striving for the well-being of this brahmin family, but He is not limiting His essence and His prayers only to that very instance. His slokas are not limited to time and place, in other words, His slokas are not limited to a particular situation alone. We will slowly consume and realize that essence of Sri Shankara, as we journey through each sloka.

Kaladi, as we have seen earlier was the birthplace of Sri Shankara and the place He grew up, and so attained its greatness and purity by His presence, but then, what made Kaladi be adobe of such great personality to begin with. Also, was there a situation or an event which inspired Sri Shankara, at such young age, to give us such magnificence. Many great personalities and elders investigated Kanakadhara from various angles to understand the source and inspiration behind Sir Shankara’s composition apart from the obvious fact of Him being a Jagath Guru.

In Kerala, there are few families called the Nambudiri brahmin families that even today are very dedicated to Vedic discipline, fostering children to this Vedic discipline and Bhramo:Dhyana(m) at a very young age. These Aagra:hara(m) (colonies) populated with Nambudiri residences were known as ‘Kaavu’. These residences were not just designed to stay but also to grow many types of vegetation (vegetables and roots like beetroot or potato), trees (like banana) and many flowering vines. Such a construct was to cultivate various essentials within the residence and also for long-term storage. Such construct was to support events wherein the males of the household could dedicate months of Upasana (practice) of a specific discipline. Vedic disciplines like the school of Mimamsa, which constitutes performing Sandhya Vandanam three times a day, also known as Threekala Sandhya Vandanam, or inviting a Guru to resides for the course of that Upasana. During such practice the males wouldn’t leave for work or farming for five to six months at a stretch, such a discipline is known as ‘Aatruthi’. Rice and wheat were few things that were purchased from others in exchange for various flowers and others vegetation grown within the residence. It’s through such great families and their dedication that helped flourish and retain the significance of Shastras and Vedic literature in many such places.

It’s to be noted that, just because a place facilitates the teaching of Shastra, one cannot automatically conclude it to be a great or well-respected location, Why? Because both the narrator and the listener should possess a level of respect and purity towards Shastra(m) and towards each other. Just by mere recitation or narration of Shastra, or by mere listening for the sake of desire or fear, without respect, is to have no Shraddha. Without Shraddha toward both learning and also its implementation in one’s life, will lead to uncertainty towards one’s own knowledge and also in the concept of Sanatana Dharma. Sanatana Dharma is an approach of life and not a religion, hence, it’s teaching are meant to be applied to life in each of its respective disciplines. The karma (Actions) of each individual in his/her respective disciplines are defined in detail by the mantras of various Shastras from the time we wake up in the morning till we go back to sleep, from the stage a human fetus starts to form, till the human form dissolves back into this universe. If one attempts to learn them without implementing its tatva(m) in life, is similar to what Ravana did in Ramayana Itihaasa(m). Ravan was an amazing scholar of Vedas and Shastra(m) but never applied it’s essence in his life, he rather used it to gain strength and wealth, though acceptable by Shastra, he in many occasions used it towards a:dharma. Hence in Sri Valmiki Ramayanam, Sundara Kanda, book 5, Sarga (Chapter) 21, Sloka 9, Sita Devi asks Ravana:

“इह सन्तो न वा सन्ति सतो वा नानुवर्तसे ||तथाहि विपरीता ते बुद्धिराचारवर्जिता |”

“iha santo na vaa santi sato vaa naanuvartase ||
tathaahi vipariitaa te buddhiraachaaravarjitaa |”

(Valmiki Ramayana. S.K. n.d.)

Meaning, Sita Devi says to Ravana, “through you know Shastra(m) yet you are not implementing or living by that dharma because of your Buddhi (Mind) now devoid of Shastra(m) and its application to your life”.

Hence from above, we can conclude, that no matter how much we know about Shastra, what matters most is its application in life and living by the path of dharma. A good analogy is to have a lot of sticks in the house but unable to use them to protect oneself when attached, say by animals or harmful entities. Similarly knowing dharma is not sufficient, of course it’s a great step towards evolving, but the significance is in its aacharana and upasana, otherwise with such knowledge one might try to misuse it to cheat people or foster pride. Knowing how to perform Sandhya Vandanam or ability to beautifully recite Gayatri is to be fortunate, but not implementing it in one’s life is to have such a great opportunity go in waste. Dharma itself is what constitutes Sanatana Dharma (again it’s not a religion). Hence Sanatana Dharma commands aacharana at its highest significance, without which one cannot declare to live the life of Sanatana Dharma. Without acharana the chances of intertwining or unifying karma with devotion are very slim. Having understood this, we can say, that in Kaladi Aagrahara(m), those families in that time lived the life of Shastra(m) through aacharana. Sri Shankara being the jagad guru, incarnated towards revitalizing Sanatana Dharma, choose Kaladi as it was one among many that could emulate Sri Shankara’s cause. Now that we understand the times in which these families and Shastra(m) flourished, that day when Sri Shankara walked to the poor brahmin family’s house, saw their disparity. On one side, there were people with the opportunity to immerse themselves in Shastra(m) through acharana, with the help of Kaavu and all the vegetation available, on the other hand, this poor brahmin family had to starve and struggle each day for their previous karma. But they lived without devoid from the path of dharma. This situation moved Sri Shankara’s heart, the heart of a jagad Guru and His compassion, and so come the Ganga Herself as the flow of Kanakadhara. To recognize and understand someone’s compassion, one needs to know compassion and love firsthand. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.12)

Note: Love is to give and not to expect anything in return hence love is unconditional, whereas desire is to quench one’s own want.

As we journey through Sri Shankara’s compositions (Kanakadhara, Soundarya Lahiri and more) we will notice the compassion and love He has towards people and how Sanatana Dharma manifested in Him becoming a Jagath Guru. Let’s discuss one such incredible story of Sri Shankara that took place in Srishailam, Andhra Pradesh (adobe of Sri Mallikarjuna and Devi Bhramarambha) in His later years. One day as He was meditating in the forest of Srishailam, a master of Dark Arts (Black arts or magic) approached Sri Shankara and explained his ritual towards attaining mastery in dark arts, which requires the head or an emperor or the head of a ‘sarva sangha parityagi’, meaning a person who relinquished desire, living a life free from fear, untouched by worldly attachments. He continues by explaining that he is incapable of attaining the head of an emperor, so his only choice is someone like Sri Shankara, for which Sir Shankara gladly agreed. Such was the Sri Shankara’s detachment towards His own body and such was his compassion towards others. There were many such instances in Sri Shankara’s life, but let’s discuss them at a later time. The story continues like this, Sri Shankara after agreeing, told the dark arts master that his students were here and so will never allow their Guru to be harmed in any way, hence, suggested to come the next morning to an isolated location while the students go for their morning bath. The dark arts master agreed and came back the next morning and saw Sri Shankara meditating as agreed. As the dark arts master was getting ready to sever, one of Sri Shankara’s students (Sri Padmapada Charya) sensed danger and bad omen. He immediately recited and called for the help of Sri Lakshmi Narashima. At the very moment, the dark arts master raised his sword, Sri Lakshmi Narashima appeared and consumed the dark arts master saving Sri Shankara.

From this event, we can understand the level of Sri Shankara’s conscience and compassion. In our earlier reading if we recollect we came across a word called ‘tadi’ possessed by the divine Mother, which represents the moisture in Her eyes for Her love and compassion towards this world. The same ‘tadi’ can be felt here in these slokas of Sri Shankara and His stories because He Himself is a manifestation of that ‘tadi’.

कालाम्बुदालिललितोरसि कैटभारेर्
धाराधरे स्फुरति या तडिदङ्गनेव
मातुः समस्तजगतां महनीयमूर्तिर्
भद्राणि मे दिशतु भार्गवनन्दनायाः

Kaala-Ambu-Da-Ali-Lalito[a-U]rasi Kaittabha-Arer
Dhaaraadhare Sphurati Yaa Taddid-Anggane[a-I]va
Maatuh Samasta-Jagataam Mahaniiya-Muurtir
Bhadraanni Me Dishatu Bhaargava-Nandanaayaah

(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).

Sri Shankara starts by introducing us to the essence of Sriman Narayana in the first stance by calling Him ‘Kaala-ambu-Daali’, meaning Dark heavy clouds, filling the sky and ready to rain. Like always, let’s ask the obvious question, why reference Him with a dark cloud. Because Sriman Narayana, like the dark cloud, has a dark completion, filled with mercy and is ready to shower upon us. Many poets in the past have referred him with a similar title, for example, ‘Neela Megha Shama’ which also means dark blue cloud. Addressing Sri Vishnu with such titles for poetical beauty is one thing, but for someone who had an opportunity to be drenched under Ishwara’s anugraham (grace) is a different experience altogether, and hence has a different approach towards the choice of words in their composition. Please note that it’s not an intent to compare one poet or scholar’s devotion with another, because for Ishwara we are all His children. Coming to Sri Shankara who at the age of five, used an analogy, wherein He is not just addressing Sri Vishnu by His physical appearance (physical manifestation) but also His unmatched abundance of anugraham (grace) and compassion with which He can bestow safety and prosperity.

Let’s walk through a scenario, a very hot summer day, we prefer to stay indoors, but the heat still makes us urge for coolness. As the day sets, imagine the sky getting darker with dark black clouds, gusts of cool wind filled with humidity and a unique smell in the air. In such an environment one wishes to seek solace hoping for it to rain and to smell the fragrance of the wet soil. Such is the feeling of solace experienced by those who get drenched in His anugraham (grace). White clouds, however, are light, with moonlight emitting through them and so move very fast but, these dark clouds have two significant features, first, they are dark because they are filled with humidity and are heavy spanning the sky and so are called the souffle of clouds. The second feature is their readiness to shower anytime and drench its surroundings. Similarly, Sri Vishnu, who like those dark clouds is filled with an abundance of mercy and forgiveness, and has the same readiness to shower upon us. This is the distinction we are trying to discuss, between the words chosen for poetic beauty versus an advocacy by Sri Shankara on our behalf, which makes this stotram to stand apart.

Now, from our earlier reading if we recollect, when we trust someone to protect us and help us in our need, there are two characteristics that person should have, one to possess the power and capacity to help us, and second, the willingness and generosity to do so. In a sloka from Srimad Bhagavata(m) (Sri Bhagavata Purana(m)) composed by Bammera Pothana, states the nature of being ungrateful, and gives us an example. Say someone with a lot of wealth and authority, but holds no compassion towards helping others, even if such people are related. What good will that do if we put our faith in such people? The word ‘Vishnu’ derived from the word ‘Vishvam’ itself means to spread across everything and anything, like these dark clouds that spread across the sky. Sri Vishnu is one to have both these qualities, the capability being the preserver of creation and the generosity to help even the smallest entity of His creation since it’s He who encompasses everything and Has the Hruday(am) (heart) filled with compassion which is Sri Lakshmi Herself.

(Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.12)


Let’s talk about ability and eligibility. Even with Sri Vishnu having the power and generosity, the question is, are we eligible, and what ability of ours makes us eligible to receive His anugraham (grace)? Let’s think about this for a movement, consider if one attains eligibility for Sri Vishnu’s anugraham (grace) solely based on one’s ability, then what is the need to pray? What is the need to urge for forgiveness? It would be like an examiner grading a student solely based on the validity of the answers. If that’s how reality works, then who do we convey our prayers and Namaskar? The creator (Brahma Deva) has already done His part and thus we exist. In that case if-at-all we must bow and convey our Namaskar, then it’s only to convey our gratitude for our very existence. That leaves only Shiva, to whom we can convey our Namaskar and urge for Gyana(m), with which we can eventually exit and dissolve into Him through the concept known as ‘laya’ (dissolution) which is but imminent. Based on this discussion, we can close all doors for any rituals or worship and prayers to many manifested forms of Ishwara. If that’s the case, what is the significance of the concept of preservation, and how can this misconception be clarified? Sri Shankara explains this misconception by stating that, though we reap the outcome of our Karma of current and previous lives, when one walks the path of dharma, in both good and tough times, with truth and honesty, and prays for a dharmic desire, then Sri Vishnu like the readiness of the dark cloud is ready to grant us and uplift us. Like these dark clouds when they shower, drenches everything around, and similarly Sri Vishnu doesn’t just shower on one person, but on everyone with us (like our family, friends and students). In a way, that anugraham (grace) will follow us forever. Sri Shankara with this example is being very specific about Sri Vishnu so that our thirst of desire and knowledge is quenched.

Kalidash, a prominent poet and scholar, devote of Divine Mother Kali, before becoming scholar, urged for skill and knowledge. The Divine Mother scribbled ‘Beeja-Akashara’ (meaning seed-letters of all literature) on his tongue, for which he attained not just knowledge but mastery in literature evolving into a magnificent scholar and poet. He finally attained the great opportunity of unifying with The Divine Mother.

Now the word ‘Attain’ or rather the word eligibility comes again, so what is the eligibility to receive Ishwara’s anugraham (grace)? It’s implied that a realization in conjunction with dharmic desire when urged with devotion and faith in Ishwara is what results in we getting drenched in His mercy. Does this mean Ishwara wishes that we urge Him and subjugate ourselves to Him? No, Ishwara wishes that we realize the reality that we live in, and understand that there is more to this creation than to chase mere materials and bodily comforts. For a human mind to see past the material word, Ishwara wants us to first learn humility, and when man becomes humble, its then that his mind opens towards knowledge and wisdom that is beyond mere desire.  (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.12)


Shastra(m) states that, in a maasam (month, two moon cycles) it should rain thrice. One rain depends on the dharma of the king of that land, such is the significance given by Shastra(m) towards a king. The second rain signifies the greatness of women in the kingdom and their honesty and ‘paativratayam’ (love and dedication towards husband and family) and the third rain signify the dharma of the rest of the people of that land. Shastra(m) gives such high position and value to King and Women of the kingdom and with their integrity towards dharma will quench the thirst of that land with two rains. A woman becomes a pride as a daughter to someone, and unifies two families by becoming a daughter in law, then moves the legacy of the family forward by becoming a mother and the first teacher to her child. She shares love and wisdom to the child while feeding, which the child never forgets. As we move forward we will learn more of the excellence and the significance of women proclaimed by Shastra.

Those who have seen drought know the importance of rain and water. We read incidents of many farmers and villagers who sell even cattle and leave their homes in the event of a drought. Without water, even the implementation of dharma gets difficult, as one cannot perfume their daily rituals of Sandhya Vandhanam, Gayatri or aachamaneyam.

When the clouds shower, the rain quenches the thirst of not just us but to all plants and animals of that land, but these clouds expect nothing in return. They sometimes come during the night when most of us are a sleep, shower and leave seeking no gratitude. We ourselves do not necessarily show our gratitude to those clouds when it rains. They show no dissatisfaction for having given everything, they become light and float away waiting for no acknowledgment. No one shows the path for these clouds, no one navigates or supports them in the sky. They come, give and leave by themselves. Such is the nature of Sri Vishnu. Such is the analogy of Sir Shankara towards explaining us Ishwara, His nature, making us realize His affection towards us.

In a sloka from Srimad Bhagavata(m) (Sri Bhagavata Purana(m)) composed by a Telugu poet and scholar Bammera Pothana lie a story of Kuchela. Kuchela was a friend and a classmate of Sri Krishna during their academic in gurukul under Sandeep Maharishi. Kuchela though in poverty walked the path of dharma. He initially was hesitant when asked by his wife to seek help of Sri Krishna. Noticing his hesitation his wife explained him the generosity and the forgiving nature of Sri Vishnu. She continues by saying, “those who don’t recollect Ishwara even in their dreams, yet when in crisis call upon Ishwara for help, giving up all ego, Ishwara will give himself to them, not judging their past ungratefulness”. One should take a moment and understand the wisdom of a women to help navigate her husband and her family. We have seen many references from Ramayana where Sita Devi shared so much wisdom and Her affection towards Rama and devotion towards Shastra. Kuchela’s wife explained the compassion of Ishwara as follows, in a sloka from Srimad Bhagavata(m) (Sri Bhagavata Purana(m)) composed by a poet and scholar Bammera Pothana, said:

కలలోనన్ మూన్:ఎరుంగని మహా:కష్టమూడ్:ఐనట్టి దుర్బలుడు
ఆప్త్:సమయమునం నిజపత:జాతము:ఉల్లంబునం  తలఁపన్
ఆన్: తనవచ్చి  ఆర్తి:హరుడై తన్నైనా:ఎచున్
సునిశ్చిత  భక్తి  భావముల భజించు:వారి:ఇతడే  సంపత్:విశేషాణతుల్

Kalalonan mun:erungani maha:kastathmood:eyenatti durbhaludu
aapth:samayamunan Nijapatha:jaathamu ullambhunan talapan anthana vacchi arthi:harudai tannaina echun
Sunis:chita bhakthi bhavamula bhajinchu:vaari:ithade sampath:visheshonathul

(Youtube. B.K.S. 2017).

Meaning, those who don’t recall or recognize Ishwara even in their dreams, yet during their tough times, call out to Ishwara truthfully understanding one’s limitations, for them Ishwara will come in such hast that He (Ishwara) will forget Himself. If that’s the case then what about those who are pure of heart, immersed in devotion chant the name of Ishwara? For them Ishwara will bestow riches so special that one can’t imagine. This is the reason why women in Sanatana Dharma take the highest importance.

In Sanatana Dharma, Ishwara is the supporter for those who worship Him and also for those who are ungrateful. Even to curse or badmouth Ishwara, one must have the strength that comes from the very food and facilities given by Ishwara. Yet even after cursing, Ishwara is like a mother who is gentle towards her baby, and forgives with love even if the baby bites Her during feeding. He uplifts those who curse Him, just because they used His name in their curse. From the above, the attempt of such explanation is to help understand the concept of Ishwara, how He operates and how He can be perceived by us. Because, without an attempt to understand Ishwara how can we comprehend the tatva(m) which Sri Shankara is trying to share. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.12-13)


The quintessential of Santana Dharma is that Devotees dictate Ishwara and can bind Him. Numerous magnificent kshetra(m) (holy sites) are a result of devotees who urged Ishwara to manifest. Many rishis and sages commanded Ishwara to reside in few places and bestow His anugraham (grace) and console mankind. When we say ‘commanded Ishwara to reside’, doesn’t mean to have a physical presence, but more a manifested form, because we discussed that Ishwara is a concept, not limited to a specific form or shape. What it means is, to help create a kshetra(m) (a hold site) or a sanctuary for people to congregate and foster devotion by performing various karma, like pooja, upacharas, dhyana(m), cultural events and more to seek Ishwara in a physical sense though our indriya (sense organs), because not every one can comprehend Ishwara at the atma level. This is the reason why time and again Ishwara manifested into various forms to uplift humanity. It also means that rishis asked Ishwara to create new karma (acts and events) through which one can counter and reduce the effects of our dush:karma and gain sat:karma. This is the reason why each kshetra(m) in Santana Dharma has a unique significance and a unique set of rituals presenting various unique results. It’s also said that, when a student with interest and a good listener meets a Guru from whom Shastra(m) flows like a dhara and who is eager to pass on his/her tatvam, then that place becomes a Kshetra(m).

Ishwara underwent abuse from His devotees, like in the story of Purandara Das who got angry and punished Panduranga, who came to him as his Servant. Another example was when Sri Anantacharya and his pregnant wife were digging a pond ‘teert(am)’ for Sri Venkateshwara in Tirumala, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. Seeing Sri Anantachaya’s wife getting exhausted, Sri Venkateshwara manifested in the form a young boy and started helping Her without Anantacharya’s permission. Anantacharya who got frustrated seeing him with his wife and throw his shovel that scared the boy’s chin. Even today sandalwood is applied to the chin of Sir Venkateshwara in Tirumala.

Another devotee named Surdas always used to sit in Sri Krishna’s temple singing bhajans (rhythmic songs praising Ishwara). On the day nearing his daughter’s wedding he requested the groom to wish for a gift along with the items needed for the wedding. The groom was surprised knowing his father-in-law’s poverty, and so modestly hesitated to ask. Surdas insisted and so the groom prepared a list based on his family’s desires. Upon submitting this list, Surdas further insisted the groom for his personal preference. The groom was even more surprised on how he would manage to arrange these items, but with sarcasm asked for a grinding stone. Surdas took this list and went to the temple, kept that list the feet of Sri Krishna went back to his bhajans. A deliveryman in a cart approached the in-laws place and delivered each item on that list including the grinding stone asked by the groom. Everyone was surprised and asked the deliveryman as of who the sender was, to which he replied it being Surdas. Everyone rushed to the temple and confronted Surdas who was deeply in his bhajan. Surdas unaware of the event urged his in-laws to patiently wait for few more days, and that he will arrange all the items demanded by them. To his surprise they confirmed to have received all the items, Surdas asked how and who delivered it but his in-laws were uncertain. Surdas realized it to be Sri Krishna himself who has delivered them and wept at his feet washing them with his tears. Such was the devotion that made Ishwara servile.

Sri Chaganti Koteshwar Rao garu once with many other devotees traveled to Sringeri Peetam, Karnataka, India, one of the four institutions founded by Sri Shankara. At that time the current inheritor of that that Matt (peetam) was Sri Bharathi Tirtha Swami. Sri Chaganti had the opportunity to meet the mother of Sri Bharathi Tirtha Swami and conveyed his devotion by bowing down to Her feet. She returned a namaskar(m) back for which Sri Chaganti requested Her not to since she was blessed being the mother of Sri Bharathi Tirtha Swami and it was her womb that gave birth to such great personality. Though true, she replied with modesty saying that she was no special. Sri Chaganti urged Her to explain the karma to be the reason behind such great fortune. Though hesitant in the beginning, upon further requests, she explained that during Her childhood where in each day she would get ready by taking bath and applying turmeric to Her feet and tag along with her father in joy to visit Kotappakonda temple in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh. Eventually, she said to have realized the temple’s significant deity was Dakshina Murthy who being Shiva’s manifestation as a Guru. This karma had the potential for which she had the great opportunity of being the mother of such significant personality.


How does Ishwara’s anugraham (grace) work? Is anugraham (grace) meaning to shower riches (riches are different from wealth)? This topic is very difficult to comprehend and also very difficult to accept. Ishwara’s anugraham (grace) sometimes lead to removing certain joys in life, sometimes it could be the very life itself, sometimes it’s health that is deteriorated, sometimes it is the inability to have children and or diminishing of wealth. All this is still the anugraham (grace) of Ishwara. Let’s try carefully and patiently understand this concept through some examples from Purana(m). Sri Ram killed Ravana, is that anugraham (grace)? Yes, it is, Sri Ram if after defeating Ravana, left him alive and took Sita Devi home, what would have happened? It would have resulted in great humiliation pushing Ravana to trickle down into the pits of darkness and vengeance. Sri Krishna eliminated Kamsa (his uncle), was there anugraham (grace) in this? From the time Sri Krishna was born, Kamsa lived under constant fear, and it’s through death that he was freed, because living in constant fear is to die each day. Not having children is very painful but sometimes it is anugraham (grace), because the karma that haunts certain people will also haunt their children. This is a very difficult topic to reason with, so let’s leave it at that. Sri Srungagiri Petaadipati, Bharathi Teertha Swamy told a couple to name their son Sri Rama Chandra, when they weren’t even expecting pregnancy at that time. Later they were blessed with a boy and so did name him Sri Rama Chandra. On contrary, He told another couple not to expect since their karma phala was not ordinary. The one who understands Ishwara, dwells in His anugraham (grace) even when receiving something and also when not getting or losing something. Hence only in Sanatana Dharma, death is considered as ‘Devata’ (Goddess). Devata meaning to bestow, then what does death have to bestow? Imagine even after crossing ninety-five years and if the body withers and skin hangs, sight diminishes and one is unable to address bodily functions by self, then in that case death is a blessing. Even with good health if one  happens to live twice the normal age then everything with that person and along side that person will start to diminish and disappear right in front, leaving that person alone. Death is the anugraham (grace) that should be bestowed, and hence it’s not a right to inflict upon oneself, which is the reason why suicide is a grave sin ‘Paapam’ that will haunt many lives to come. A doctor injects saline directly into the blood, though painful, it is for our good, similarly is the anugraham (grace) of Ishwara.

Ishwara’s anugraham (grace) are like clouds, lets see how that is related to anugraham (grace). Before the clouds and the rain, came the heat, the hot summer that dried the lakes, the ground and our bodies. The phenomena called summer makes the water to vaporize, did Ishwara keep that water for Himself? He gave it back through a different phenomenon known as rain. In this way Ishwara both takes and also gives, in both cases there is karuna (empathy).

Kalidas a great scholar and poet, composed ‘Megha Sandesam’ (A message delivered by clouds) and gave a sloka about a cloud. Megha Sandesam, Sloka 5,

“ధూమ జ్యోతి స్సలిల మరుతాం సన్నిపాతః క్వ మేఘః !
సందేశార్థాః క్వ పటుకరణైః ప్రాణిభిః ప్రాపణీయాః !
ఇత్యౌత్సుక్యా దపరిగణయన్‌ గుహ్యకస్తం యయాచే
కామార్తా హి ప్రకృతికృపణా శ్చేతనాచేతనేషు”

“dhuma jyoti ssalila marutAM sannipAtaah kva mEghaah !
saMdESArthAah kva paTukaraNeiah prANibhiah prApaNIyAah !
ityautsukyA daparigaNayan^ guhyakastaM yayAchE
kAmArtA hi prakRtikRpaNA SchEtanAchEtanEshu”

(Eemaata. M. n.d).

Where in ‘Dhuma’ meaning smoke,’joyti’ is light, ‘salila’ is water, ‘mrutham’ means air, and so asked the question how can these four elements constitute a cloud which floats in the sky without support?

He who takes also gives and sometimes makes us wait before giving, all of which is anugraham (grace). One, who notices both these aspects of Ishwara can live a life of gratitude and content. Gratitude is one of the vital aspects of Sanatana Dharma that as a human should cultivate towards everything.                   (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.13)


 There is a unique tradition followed in many villages in India, where in, a frog is rallied in the streets honoring it with an intent to request nature (Ishwara) for rains. Many might consider this superstition, but the intent behind this ritual is to show and learn gratitude. There are many customs created by man to express respect and gratitude and this is no different. When one needs help, from someone who is not well acquainted, then one would prefer to accompany someone who is, so as to appeal. Similarly, to urge nature (Ishwara who is Prakruti) for rain, people honor the frog by rallying it in the village streets. So, the obvious question, why a frog? Because only a frog gives gratitude by croaking from the point when the clouds gather filling the environment with moisture and rains, till the sun shines. Even when the rest of the world is fast asleep, the frog continues to embrace the rain. The gratitude shown by a frog towards welcoming the rain is significant, hence people recognized this significance and hence choose a creature from nature to both admire it and make an appeal to nature (Ishwara). Now the scientific reason behind the frog croaking might be many and every evolving, but man recognized this specie which cherishes the rain and embraces it. In Sanatana Dharma, we can find many such instances where animals and trees are honored in regards to expressing our gratitude. Only in Sanatana Dharma, it is encouraged towards grooming gratitude and kindness towards nature and to learn from nature.

In Aditya:hridayam, an excellent composition on Surya Narayana (Sun) composing thirty slokas by Rishi Agastya given to Sri Rama during His battle with Ravana. In this, Ishwara is addressed by the name ‘Aataphi’, meaning the one whose scorching heat dries us thirsty, making us realize the absence of what we take for granted.

Once Devote Prahlada (Son of Asura King Hiranyakasap) asked Sri Vishnu (Sri Lakshmi Narasimha) on the concept of why He takes and deprives us of our desires and possessions. Sri Vishnu who doesn’t have to explain Himself, He the preserver of creation, that day answered to His dear devotee, and said,

“విత్త వైయో రూప విద్య బల ఐశ్వర్య కర్మ జన్మ గర్వ ఉడిగి
ఇక:విమలుడై  ఎవ్వడుండు వాడు నాకొరకు రక్షింప బాలాయువాడు”

“Vitta vaiyo ruupa vidya bala aishwarya karma janma garvam udyigi
Eeka:vemaludai evvadundu vaadu naakoraku rakshimpa bhalayuvaadu”

From this sloka Sri Vishnu said, those who shed their cravings and pride like possessing beauty, skill, strength, riches, previous karma that is helping them now, born in luxury and ego, its for them I manifest to protect them and foster them towards me. And said, its them I (Sri Vishnu) wish to shower My anugraham (grace) and uplift them, I, in some situations take away their riches, but why?  Those who are soaked into samsara and cultivating ego, further obsessing towards materialistic possessions, those who are preoccupied with their strengths, riches, their birth rights, those with their previous karma and skills are using them towards satisfying their own pride without moral or compassion, it’s towards them I (Sri Vishnu) will take up a responsibility to save them by detaching them from their compulsions. By such detachment, their spell towards their endless ego and pride will be broken, giving them an opportunity to realize the reality that nothing is forever and nothing is one’s to have created or owned and so the time in hand is precious. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.14)

Sri Shankara in His later compositions known by Bhaja Govindam states the following in Sloka 11.

“मा कुरु धनजनयौवनगर्वं  हरति निमेषात्कालः सर्वम् ।
मायामयमिदमखिलं हित्वा  (बुध्वा) ब्रह्मपदं त्वं प्रविश विदित्वा”

“mā kuru dhana jana yauvana garvam harati nimeṣātkālaḥ sarvam |
māyāmayamidamakhilaṁ hitvā brahmapadaṁ tvaṁ praviśa viditvā ||”

(Sanskrit Documents. B. 2017).

Meaning, Sri Shankara explains that pride cultivated from wealth, influence, and youth, are consumed by the concept known as kaal(am) (time), within a matter of minutes. The answer lies in freeing oneself from maya (illusion) cast by this reality and seeks the ultimate truth, which encompasses kaal(am) (time) and place.

In Shiva Aparatha Kshamapana stotram, sloka 15, says:

“ఆయుర్నశ్యతి పశ్యతాం ప్రతిదినం యాతి క్షయం యౌవనం
ప్రత్యాయాన్తి గతాః పునర్న దివసాః కాలో జగద్భక్షకః ।
లక్ష్మీస్తోయతరఙ్గభఙ్గచపలా విద్యుచ్చలం జీవితం
తస్మాత్త్వాం శరణాగతం శరణద త్వం రక్ష రక్షాధునా”

 “आयुर्नश्यति पश्यतां प्रतिदिनं याति क्षयं यौवनं प्रत्यायान्ति गताः पुनर्न दिवसाः कालो जगद्भक्षकः ।
लक्ष्मीस्तोयतरङ्गभङ्गचपला विद्युच्चलं जीवितं तस्मात्त्वां शरणागतं शरणद त्वं रक्ष रक्षाधुना”

 “aayurnashyati pashyataaM pratidinaM yaati kShayaM yauvanaM
praatyaayaanti gataaH punarna divasaaH kaalo jagadbhakShakaH “

(Sanskrit Documents. S.K.S. 2016).

Meaning, as each day passes we get older and our youth diminishes by the concept known as kaal(am) (time), Ishwara devours everything into Him and no wealth, fame or pride can stop or bring back that time.

By removing the source of one’s ego (like power, strength, riches, appearance and more) Ishwara provides an opportunity to focus our attention to reality. He also wants to see one’s resolve during tough times, and to notice if one would forsake one’s morality of his dharma, making such an individual a fake in one’s own principle and character. This approach of Ishwara, removing one’s comforts might sound cruel, but let’s walk through a real-life scenario. Say a child takes an important item from their parent’s possessions without asking. During an urgency, the parent searches for it in haste, upon realizing its missing, expresses anger towards his child. Now, if the child after being scolded, realizes the difficulty faced by their parent, and strives towards their well-being with good manners and respect, wouldn’t the parent be proud, bringing them even closer to the child? Wouldn’t such a state give more confidence to face any challenge and difficulty that might be thrown at them to protect their child? But on the other hand, if the child responds with disrespect and agitation, then wouldn’t it be natural for the parent to feel disappointed towards his own upliftment and feel misfortune to face such moment after years of sacrifices, hopes, and nourishment. Similarly, when Ishwara gives the opportunities to cultivate compassion, faith, and devotion, yet if one chooses to delude oneself into more and more materialistic acquisitions, leading to a never-ending cycle of ego and pride, then Ishwara like a parent must remove the source of such obsessions. Yet, if one realizes their mistakes during tough times and upholds Ishwara to the highest level without losing faith, then to those Ishwara takes up a personal responsibility to guide and uplift them. Ishwara like a father strives to mitigate the adverse effects of Karma preserving our existence and our happiness, presenting us a path to unify with Him. Ishwara Himself proclaimed that if He doesn’t do so, then creation would certainly loose hope and faith because it’s through hope and faith that humanity strives and moves forward.

It’s also to be noted that Ishwara like a parent cannot grant every wish of ours. As we discussed earlier Ishwara is both Karma and a:karma:phala-pradatha (the granter of the result of Karma and a:karma). We ourselves as a parent don’t grant every single wish of our children. We always put the well-being of our children as a priority in both agreeing and disagreeing to their wishes. Hence it’s unfair to blame Ishwara just because our grants are not met. We need to understand that our Karma from many lives is in play, yet with devotion and faith, Ishwara can help mitigate the ill effects of that Karma, how? That is what we are here to understand from Kanakadhara. The concept of Karma is one such concept in the creation of Ishwara that is self-executing and self-evaluating without the involvement of Ishwara, however, Ishwara can help us to mitigate its effects. He like a parent shares our suffering so that we suffer less. He acts as a shield, covering us from the adverse effect of the result of karma. Is there a proof to this? Yes, as we have discussed earlier during Kshera:sagara Madan(am) Devatas and Asuras churned the ocean with the desire to gain the elixir of immortality, but caused halahala(m) (anti-creation element) to emerge first? At this point, all bowed down to Ishwara and urged His help, He like a parent intervened and consumed it and didn’t blame His children, nor did He ask them why He should. Ishwara is not bound by karma, yet manifests as various beings and suffers on our behalf. He does this to even the scales of our paapa(m). Time and again He has come in different forms to re-establish morality in human, and save us from our own pride and misdoings. The least we can do is explore and recognize His efforts and His teachings, which are for our own benefit and not that He has anything personal to gain.

By proclaiming Ishwara as ‘Kalambhudhara’ and through its inherent meaning, Sri Shankara reminds Ishwara (not that Ishwara requires recollections) that like this dark heavy cloud, Ishwara filled with endless compassion and love towards us should shower His forgiveness and anugraham (grace) upon this brahmin family. Why? Because their karma has deprived them of riches and so are now suffering. Yet, in their misery, they haven’t devoid from the path of dharma. They stood firm in faith towards Ishwara by performing Eka:dashi fasting, not only that, this brahmin’s wife has made sure she doesn’t let this boy (Sri Shankara) leave in hunger, and so gave the only edible item in the house. So, He (Sri Shankara) assertively asks Ishwara, isn’t this what a parent would expect from their children?

Now let’s agree, isn’t this argument good enough for Ishwara (Sri Lakshmi) to shower Her anugraham (grace)? As we have read earlier Sri Lakshmi at the very early stages of this sloka was ready to bestow Her forgiveness, however, She waited (Sri Lakshmi and Sri Vishnu), waited for this amazing dhara from Sri Shankara to flow, so that we today, and for generations to come can drench in its magnificence. With the understanding of this title ‘Kalambhudhara’ we can cherish our faith in Ishwara and the confidence in the path of dharma. Through constant exploration of Kanakadhara, we can be sure that Ishwara will accompany us and support us in every step during our tough times.

Dhurjati, a renowned devotee of Shiva and one among the eight chief poets for the King Sri Krishnadevaraya (King of Vijayanagara Empire 1509 till 1529 CE) composed Sri Kalahastiswara Sathakam and in sloka 12:

“నిను సేవింపగ నాపదల్పొడమనీ, / నిత్యోత్సవంబబ్బనీ
జనమాత్రుండననీ మహాత్ముడననీ / సంసార మోహంబు పై
కొననీ జ్ఞానముగల్గనీ గ్రహగతుల్ / కుందింపనీ, మేలు వ
చ్చిన రానీ యవి నాకు భూషణములే / శ్రీకాళహస్తీశ్వరా!”

“ninu sevimpaga nāpadal voḍamanī nityotsavaṃ babbanī
janamātruṇḍananī mahātmu ḍananī saṃsāramohambu pai
konanī ṅñānamu galganī grahaganul gundimpanī meluva
ccina rānī yavi nāku bhūṣaṇamulo śrī kāḷahastīśvarā!”

(Vaidika Vignanam. S.K.H.S. 2011).

Let’s move to the next word in the sloka which is ‘Lalitorasi’.

कालाम्बुदालिललितोरसि कैटभारेर्
धाराधरे स्फुरति या तडिदङ्गनेव
मातुः समस्तजगतां महनीयमूर्तिर्
भद्राणि मे दिशतु भार्गवनन्दनायाः

Kaala-Ambu-Da-Ali-Lalito[a-U]rasi Kaittabha-Arer
Dhaaraadhare Sphurati Yaa Taddid-Anggane[a-I]va
Maatuh Samasta-Jagataam Mahaniiya-Muurtir
Bhadraanni Me Dishatu Bhaargava-Nandanaayaah

(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).

Lalitorasi’ refers to the tender and a sensitive bhavana (imagination/feeling). It’s a difficult phrase to portray into words for it being a poetic expression pertaining to an emotion. So, let’s try to understand this through a scenario, during a pleasant morning stroll admiring Ishwara’s creation, we happen to notice a beautiful rose on the ground in front of a temple. If that flower happens to get crushed under a vehicle, one of many possible feelings would be to consider it a Prasad from Ishwari Herself. With our hearts filled with devotion, we might tend to remove it and place it gently on some nearby tree. This overwhelming tender and sensitive feeling that emerged towards that flower is hard to put into words and so is described as ‘lalitorasi’.

So, to whom is Sri Shankara referring by the word ‘lalitorasi’? It’s obviously to the one who is filled with compassion, and referred as ‘Kaalambhudhari’ (like a dark cloud filled with water ready to shower), ready to shower His Anugraham. In the above scenario, ‘lalitorasi’ was towards that rose, whereas here it’s Sri Vishnu’s lalitorasi towards us, to help us from our self-deluded ego and pride. Hence, even in Ishwara giving us Karma:phala, which might deprive us of some comforts, is out of His ‘lalitorasi’. So, why then do many take the wrong path? This creation and its reality with Kali:yuga being the dominant period, fosters man’s materialistic desires over compassion. It presents the option for us to dwell in pride and endless kama. The nature of Kali:yuga is to make man seek comfort through the possession of materials and in return define success in terms of such possessions, making morality and compassion secondary. Many are blessed with the opportunity of time and skill to read and explore magnificent literature, yet they rather choose to feed one’s deluded desires emerged from ego. Sri Vishnu will not enforce His will over our will and choice. He like a father strives towards presenting us with options to exit our cycle of kama. He presents opportunities to explore the worlds of higher conscience, leading to the ultimate supreme joy (Brahma:nandham).

When we say Sri Vishnu doesn’t enforce His will upon us but presents opportunities to us, it’s like this story. Once a king was traveling through his kingdom on an elephant. On his way back to his palace, saw a man in a pit. Though in hurry, he got down and lowered a branch into the pit to help him climb up. But the man in the pit declined the king’s offer because he didn’t like the branch and would rather prefer a soft beautiful rope. Now, what good is the opportunity for someone who fell in a pit and was offered help by the king himself? Ishwara the ultimate creator and supreme personality is always ready to offer his support. It’s we who have to make effort towards seeking the humility and greatness in literary compositions like Kanakadhara that has been passed on to us.  If we make a judgment and derive conclusions over dharma and Ishwara without an attempt towards exploring the knowledge of the Sruthi, even after so much availability and accessibility of information, we are no different from the man in the pit who is consumed by ego and pride. Exploration of Shastra(m) and Ishwara is not a competition, rather an everyday exploration during the course of our lives. One, with no such effort, can easily to be deluded by many deceptive believes that might sound very convincing since one lacks the knowledge to compare or evaluate. Man, dwells in so many desires and tends to memorize so many things yet many lack the conscience and resolve to learn and relish at least few delightful slokas passed on to us by great personalities. So, it’s Ishwara to whom we must reach out for knowledge and guidance and make Him a part of our family and lives.

Sri Vishwanatha Satyanarayana garu, a renowned poet once said “Cheliyani Katta”, meaning ‘sea shore’, it’s to be strongly rooted into our understanding that the sea doesn’t cross its shore because it’s we who command it. It’s not we who rotate this earth, change the climates, make the flowers bloom or make the birds sing in joy. Just because we already possess (not acquired) the intelligence to understand and recreate existing phenomenon, doesn’t make us the owners. Our very existence is a phenomenon of this reality. Realizing this and understanding Ishwara’s essence allows us to rise in one’s conscience using the ladder called devotion with compassion and humility being a part of it.

कालाम्बुदालिललितोरसि कैटभारेर्
धाराधरे स्फुरति या तडिदङ्गनेव
मातुः समस्तजगतां महनीयमूर्तिर्
भद्राणि मे दिशतु भार्गवनन्दनायाः

Kaala-Ambu-Da-Ali-Lalito[a-U]rasi Kaittabha-Arer
Dhaaraadhare Sphurati Yaa Taddid-Anggane[a-I]va
Maatuh Samasta-Jagataam Mahaniiya-Muurtir
Bhadraanni Me Dishatu Bhaargava-Nandanaayaah

(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).

Let’s move to the next word ‘Kaitabhari’, it means the one who condemns the Rakshasha (evil entities) Kaitabha. So, who is this Kaitabha? If we recall, Sri Shankara referred Sri Vishnu as Murare and Hare in the earlier slokas, now He is referring Him as ‘Kaitabhari’. As per an account in Devi Bhagavata Purana(m) there were two Rakshasha known as Madhu and Kaitabha. These two Rakshasas represent one of the primal human desire, which arises from one’s selfish reference to identify oneself as ‘me’ and ‘mine’. When one uses the reference ‘me’, meaning that person intends to disassociate oneself from the rest, and when uses the reference ‘mine’ then it’s to claim ownership over an entity of this creation. In our daily lives we mimic many of these features of Madhu and Kaitabha. Sri Shankara could have referred Sri Vishnu by the title ‘Madhusudana’ however, He chooses to address Him by the title ‘Kaitabhari’ because it’s Sri Vishnu who can dismiss the notion ‘mine’ (Kaitabha) and the ego that arises out of that notion. With this title, Sri Shankara refers to this brahmin family, who once lived in the notion ‘mine’ are now suffering, but they have endured this suffering without forsaking the path of dharma and gave the only edible item in the house relinquishing the notion ‘mine’, and so are eligible for Sri Vishnu’s forgiveness, hence Sri Shankara made sure to address Sri Vishnu with the word ‘lalitorais’. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.14)


Sat:karma: Karma(kriya or actions with an associated result) performed inline with dharma.
Brahma:preeti: Brahma meaning creation and nature, or the creator Who represents all of creation and ‘preeti’ meaning sanctity or affection. When read as a whole, it means to have sanctity towards nature and creation.
Tanubhava: next generations born of the same flesh like sons, and daughters.
Namaha: means to relinquish ownership over what we thought was ours. ‘Nama’ meaning mine, ‘aha’ meaning I relinquish it to you. Hence when we perform namaskar to Ishwara, it means to express gratitude to have received this existence which is not ours and hence we relinquish our ownership towards these materials and desires.

Vedic literature like Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Padma Purana(m), state the existence of millions of species (more than 8 million) inheriting the Earth. Among them, only a few have the unique ability to use its hand and thumb to perform various activities, especially to eat, making it a two-step processes like a human or ape, compared to other animals that eat directly through their mouth. An elephant is an exception, which also eats in a two-step process using its trunk. Only a human among so many has the unique ability to evolve to higher plains of conscience using this hand. With this hand, one can perform punya karma, such as Pitrukarya Tarpanam to honor their predecessors. With this hand, one can perform namaskar(am) to Ishwara showing gratitude and request for upliftment. With this hand one can donate, seeing Sriman Narayana in all those who are unfortunate. By doing so one can realize two vital things, first, the ability to give and second, recognize the opportunity to give which is a result of sat:karma from past lives, otherwise one would be on the receiving end and not the giving end. It’s also important to realize that having such an opportunity now will also help sustain that giving ability in future and in lives to come. This is the reason, in Sanatana Dharma, the man who gives bows down to the man who takes, because it’s the existence of the one who takes that, creates the opportunity to give and gain punya karma. Sanatana Dharma also says that one should donate with purity of heart as Brahma:preeti and not for personal benefit or fame. This is the reason why donations and charity are something that should be done in secrecy (gupto daana(m)). A human who learns respect and compassion with this hand by putting it forward to donate and help others, then that person is headed towards the unification of Om Namaha. At the same time if one uses this hand to point to himself saying ‘this is mine’, proclaiming ownership, resorting to a:dharma in possessing and retaining such objects of desire, then a day will surely come when Ishwara in the concept known as kaal(am) (time) will consume that hand making the tanubhava share those riches. Also, to be noted that these tanubhava do not accompany the jiva after its current physical form. Once the body is devoured by kaal(am) (time), none can take their riches along. One’s karma:phala alone continues to accompany the jiva, making this jiva hop from one life to another across various species.

The story of Gajendra Moksha(m) from Srimad Bhagavata Purana(m) is an excellent example that emphasizes the lives and relationships of a jiva. When Gajendra got trapped in water, soon realized that no family or acquaintance could help him when the effects of Karma finally caught up. All relationships are broken when the jiva exists the host. It makes new bonds and relationships in the next life. No matter how many relationships and how many lives, none accompany the jiva in its journey. At the best, these relationships endure sorrow and over time many resume normal life. There are many who don’t even honor their predecessors, such people are so consumed in lives built of desires and comforts that deprive them of gratitude towards those who are the reason for their very existence. Some are so consumed with ego that they couldn’t let go of their past disagreements and so don’t even put forward an effort to frame a good portrait of their own parents. When one understands both the significance of time and the insignificance of ego in the vastness of this creation and its illusions (maya), then the simplest and most important thing one can foster is gratitude. Gratitude makes us focus on the important things in life and allows us to prioritize things that give meaning to life. Gratitude is the key to understanding what one has and doesn’t, finally helping us reach the state where one sees no distinction with oneself and every other entity. This is one such crucial tatva(m) (essence) of Sanatana Dharma. But again, Dharma and Shastra(m) never force it’s teaching upon the will of man. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.15)



Manas: Shastra defines manas as “Sankalpa Vikalpa Sangatham”, meaning our manas is a reasoning which struggle between resolutions and instability towards making a resolution, or in other words a doubt. The manas is the thought process of a jiva which experiences various deformities because of its inherent vasana and guna. A jiva forgets its true self and keeps becoming a victim to its inherent vasana and constantly struggles with reasoning and decision making.

Vasana: is an inherent habit which constitutes the manas(u). This inherent habit is an impression over a jiva from its previous lives, which it carries over to the next.

Guna:  meaning default human nature and habits (vasana) based on the level of conscience. In the process of evolving in conscience a person strives to shed its inherent vasana. Each person is different and has a different interpretation and approach towards things, like a choice or perspective and more, but how can one define the reason why people are born with such interpretation. Circumstance does play a role by providing experience, however, the choice made by an individual when presented with options is defined by nature or guna. Guna can be classified into three evolving states, they are satva guna, rajas or rajo guna and thamas or thamo guna. The final evolved state is the Shudha Stava guna.

Jiva also, pronounced as jeeva, is the innate or primordial force of a being that is devoid of a physical body. It is not bound by kaal(am) (time) and is indestructible. Its an entity that inherits this body, or rather tethers both the Sthula:shareera(m) and Sukshma:sharera(m), and wears it like a cloth. This jiva makes us recognize oneself and one’s own existence in a given time and place, and explores its true self with its decisions and feelings like compassion. It can be interpreted as a soul, but a jiva is nothing but an extended spark of Para:brahma that seeks a host to shed its karma:phala. The destiny of a jiva is to shed its vasana (inherent habit which constitutes the manas(u)) and realize itself to be Para:brahma. In many cases, a jiva falsely associates itself to be this body.

Janma: A jiva to reside in the physical relams of this reality needs a physical host body like a human being or animal or a plant and more. The concept of taking that form is through birth in a given era of kaal(am) (time), which is known as Janma.

Athma is the conscience that acts an interface between this reality and the innate energy which is the jiva, and helps the jiva retaining an upaadi to realize itself and in-return realize Ishwar(a) who is the Para:matma. An atma is an extension of Para:matma.

Why traverse through various lives? A jiva’s destination is not the Swarga:loka(m) (closest reference in English is heaven), which is a common misinterpretation. There are seven lokas above Bhu:loka(m) (Earth in the Milky Way Galaxy), and seven lokas below. Swarga:loka(m) is one among the upper seven lokas and is only a temporary stop for a Jiva to shed it’s Punya.

A jiva’s final purpose and abode is its unification with Para:brahma, hence the phrase ‘Aham:brahmas:mi’. To reach this state of ‘Aham:brahmas:mi’, the jiva has to realize its own existence to be separate from its physical body and then realize itself to be none other than one Ishwara, this realization is called ‘jiva Brahma:ikya:siddhi’. To achieve this state, jiva looks for a container to become its host and wears it to shed it karma:phala. It also utilizes this host body to perform dharmic karma and gain Punya(m). Hence, the purpose of a human form is Dharm:anusthanam, meaning, implementation of one’s respective dharma. In order words, Ishwara bestowed this human form for Dharma:sadhana, meaning a means to practice dharma and uplift ourselves by shedding our karma. One can reap the benefit of punya(m) as comforts and riches and utilize them to help others, in return replenishing one’s Punya(m). One can also use these comforts and riches to educating oneself of Dharma and walk towards ‘jiva Brahma:ikya:siddhi’. However, the alternate way to deplete this punya(m) is by enjoying the comforts of the karma:phala and let kaal(am) (time) exhaust it leading them to put their hands forward to beg.

Will everyone reach ‘jiva Brahma:ikya:siddhi’? No, but, in the concept of maha:pralaya(m) (the process of devouring creation), Maheshwara in His Rudhra state, reaches those who couldn’t reach Him. So, the important question, how does one reach ‘jiva Brahma:ikya:siddhi’? This very research in pursuit of its tatva(m) itself is a path to ‘jiva Brahma:ikya:siddhi’. In short, pursue dharma and walking in its path, is the way to ‘jiva Brahma:ikya:siddhi’. This is exactly what Sri Rama showed us in Tretayuga and therefore even after so many yugas His name is still the taraka nama (the name which is mesmerizing and can give us shelter and comfort and this one name can make us reach Ishwara).  (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.14)

Can one be happy all the time? Yes, such a state is called Brahm:anandam which arises from Jiva:brahma:ikya:siddhi. However, if the question is can one be happy all the time, especially in this reality without reaching Jiva:brahma:ikya:siddhi, well, the answer is not straightforward, as per Shastram the very reason a species comes to existence in this loka is to shed both papa(m) and punya(m). If a jiva accumulates mostly punya(m) then that jiva will go to Swarga:loka(m), if that jiva accumulates mostly paapa(m) then it goes to Narka:loka(m), but if both paapa(m) and punya(m) are in certain ratio then they come to Bhu:loka(m) to shed it, at the same time accumulate more in the cycle of Samsara(m) through karma, or shed both and walk towards Ishwara in the path of dharma. There is a total of seventeen lokas, seven are considered higher lokas and seven lower, a specific set of punya(m) or paapa(m) leads a jiva to traverse through them. Indra is the title of kingship over Swarga:loka(m), Sri Vishnu directed King Bali to Satya:loka(m), there are many such examples in Purana(m) explaining various lokas. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.1-19)


Ashram(am): four stages and four disciplines of a human which are Brahma:chairya(m), Gruhastu, Vanaprastu(m) and finally Sanyasam.
Brahma:chairya(m): a stage in Youth wherein one takes resort under a Guru to learn about Ishwara and the life ahead.
Gruhastu: the discipline of a married stage of life wherein all its respective karma are followed.
Vanaprastu(m): A stage where household responsibilities are handed over to the next generation so as to take up the discipline to withdraw oneself from the worldly desires.
Sanyasam:  is a discipline to renounce worldly desires and pleasures and live on arms and focus one’s buddhi towards the unification and the realization of Ishwara.

So, what is dharma?

To define Dharma, let’s look at Amarakosham, a Sanskrit literature encompassing Sanskrit vyakaranam (vocabulary and grammar), composed by the scholar Amara:simha, explains the meaning of dharma as:

“ढ्रुयतेव जननाना:इति धर्मां”
“Dhruyateva Jannana:ithi Dharmam”

There is no equivalent word for dharma in English. Dharma is not a duty. Dharma is not a responsibility. Entire Vedic literature proclaims the concept of dharma and the concept known as Ishwara (Ishvar). So lets not try to find synonyms in English to collectively define dharma. Exploring and understanding dharma itself is a part of dharma, however, after learning one’s dharma, not implementing in one’s life is not dharma or a:dharma. Both Rama and Ravana explored and know dharma. Rama implemented it and lived by it, however, Ravana lived by his own convenience and enforced his choice and will over others. Dharma doesn’t define good and bad, as they both are outcomes of an action that in cases are favorable to some and so might be considered good and unfavorable to others and hence might be conceived as bad. If dharma is to define good and bad then there is no need for Sri Krishna to explain Arjuna (Partha) about his dharma (not duty) in the battle field of kurukshetra. Yet, a conscious attempt to explain dharma is what Shastra has put forward, which is a lifestyle for each man in his/her respective Ashram(am). Now, let’ s ask a good question, if one doesn’t follow this so called lifestyle, what happens? Sanatana Dharma doesn’t enforce its concepts upon man, it shares the nature of this reality with us, it explains the construct of this reality and also its constraints, hence, its our choice whether to explore it or not. Shastra explains dharma as a constraint of this reality whether we like it or not, so dharma is not a choice, it applies irrespective of our choice. Its like this creation, this reality and this existence that is not our choice, but it is here and we are here. This is the reason why dharma is not a duty nor a responsibility that one can choose or resign oneself from.

कालाम्बुदालिललितोरसि कैटभारेर्
धाराधरे स्फुरति या तडिदङ्गनेव
मातुः समस्तजगतां महनीयमूर्तिर्
भद्राणि मे दिशतु भार्गवनन्दनायाः

Kaala-Ambu-Da-Ali-Lalito[a-U]rasi KaittabhaArer
Dhaaradhare Sphurati Yaa Taddid-Anggane[a-I]va
Maatuh Samasta-Jagataam Mahaniiya-Muurtir
Bhadraanni Me Dishatu Bhaargava-Nandanaayaah

(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).

Dhaaradhare’ wherein ‘Dhara’ as we know from the title itself refers to the flow and ‘Dhare’ means to own or hold. Sri Shankara is referring to a Guru who holds this wisdom, from whom this wisdom flows. This reference is in analogous to the dark cloud that is holding the water ready to shower. Now it’s the student who has to explore and constantly recollect this dhara of wisdom from a Guru and get drenched it in.

This phrase ‘Dhaaradhare’ as beautiful as it sounds, lies a significance since Sri Shankara used a similar phrase in Soundarya Lahiri in sloka 49.

“विशाला कल्याणी स्फुतरुचि-रयोध्या कुवलयैः
कृपाधाराधारा किमपि मधुरा‌भोगवतिका ।
अवंती दृष्टिस्ते बहुनगर-विस्तार-विजया
ध्रुवं तत्तन्नाम-व्यवहरण-योग्याविजयते ॥“

“viSaalaa kalyaaNee sphutaruchi-rayOdhyaa kuvalayaiH
kRupaadhaaraadhaaraa kimapi madhuraabhOgavatikaa |
avantee dRuShTistE bahunagara-vistaara-vijayaa
dhruvaM tattannaama-vyavaharaNa-yOgyaavijayatE ||”

(Hindu Literature. S.L.L. n.d.)

The phrase ‘Dahara’ signifies the pouring of rain from those dark clouds and not a drizzle. So is the ‘Anugraham’ (grace) of Sri Lakshmi and Sri Vishnu. A famous poet and devote, Pottanna composed Srimad Bhagavata(m) (Sri Bhagavata Purana(m)) in Telugu, signified Ishwara’s Anugraham (grace) with the same phrase as follows:

“ఈ ఉరుములు ఈ మెరుపులు ఈ ఈశానాల గోశములను ఈ జల:ధరల
ఈ ఆన:మూన్:ఎరుంగము ఈ ముల్అంపగా దాయ:గోన రత్:నిధి”

“Ee urumulu ee merupulu ee eshanala goshamulanu ee jala:dharal
Ee aana:mun:erungamu ee mualimpaga daaya:gona ratna:nidhi”

Now Sri Shankara is referring to Sri Lakshmi, claiming that She to be the one to bring out kindness from the ever-splendid charming Sri Vishnu. So, what is this have to do with ‘Dhaaradhare’? Let’s recollect our discussion of the rain that happened not during the rainy season but on those scorching summer days, where prakruti (nature) is crying for humidity and thirst. In such a critical time imagine a dark night sky, with heaviness in the air and a gush of cool breeze, yet one cannot see the clouds or it’s fullness. Suddenly there comes a lightning, and in that flash of light, we get a glimpse of those magnificent dark clouds full and ready to shower. In the same way, it’s thought Sri Lakshmi’s luminescence that one can experience Sri Vishnu and His anugraham, who like this dark cloud is filled with kindness and compassion. It’s His kindness and forgiveness is what we need most during our tough times.  (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.14)

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