Archive for the 'Father’s Day' Category

Minimal Kannada Movie Poster (Premada Kanike & Andaman)

March 19, 2014



Design: Bellur RK / Rambling with Bellur


June 17, 2012

There was a time when we studied: Man is a social animal.

But people around me today have taught me: Without diving into social networking sites, man is nothing but animal.

So, I finally thought – LIKE FB, even if you are not LIKED by many!

I don’t remember

May 18, 2012

Was he in my team while playing Carrom that Saturday?
Was he playing white or black?
Who hit the last shot of the game?
Who won the final board?And the match?
I don’t remember.

Did he share a joke?
Did he scold me? Or did he give me a stare?
Did he pat me on the back?
Or did he smile at me that Saturday?
I don’t remember.

Did I say anything to him?
Did I ask anything?
Did I smile at what he told?
Or did I get angry at him that Saturday?
I don’t remember.

What did he say to me?
What did he ask me to do?
What did I give him?
What did he give me that Saturday?
I don’t remember.

What did I have for dinner with him that Saturday?
Where did he take me that Saturday?
What did I watch with him on TV that Saturday?
What song did he ask me to listen that Saturday?
I don’t remember.

Did he ask me to sing?
Or learn something new that Saturday?
I don’t remember.

Did I cry when he left me the day after Saturday?
Did I control my tears?
Did I sit still and benumbed?
Did I get angry? Was I shocked?
I don’t remember.

Has anyone showered me the same affection like HIM?
Has anyone motivated me like how HE would?
Has anyone corrected me like how HE would?
Has anyone ever understood me like how HE had?
I don’t remember.

Twenty Three years since he left me
Has there been a day
when I have not missed him?
And has there been a day
that I have written about him so much?
I don’t remember.
I don’t remember.
I don’t remember.

SD Burman and RD Burman

June 20, 2009

Caricature: RK

Also in this series:

Ilayaraja and AR Rahman


August 17, 2007

by Latha Vidyaranya

Congrats, RK, for that lovely article on the pleasures of fathering a young kid! It is very rare in these days of hectic work schedules that I hear a parent speaking in such exultation about the little achievements of the kid or the happy quiet moments of togetherness with the kid! Narayan is truly blessed!

I agree that parenting is the toughest job on earth. It seldom gets its due share of acknowledgement, and generally goes unsung. It is the most difficult job, where you get hands-on training on the spot, on the real platform always! No prior rehearsals are possible and no ‘undo’ or ‘delete’ options are available if the errors are committed. Though there are thousands of parenting manuals available in the market, all suggestions given are at the most guidelines only and not the absolute truths. That is because no two kids or two parents or two families are similar. Each one is unique with their own amusing characteristics that one man’s Visha (poison) can become another’s Amrutha (nectar) in this matter.

And don’t we all agree that we start realizing and appreciating our parents’ efforts only when we become a parent ourselves!?

And how soon the birds are ready to fly out of the nest! And then starts our lamentation of how I could have spent that time with my kid and how I should not have done this or that and how I could be a totally different parent if only I am given one more chance now to parent my little kid all over again! 

So all you young parents, come on, slow down with your other “more important businesses of life”, grab this chance of spending good time with your kids helping him or her to evolve into a beautiful human being tomorrow. Be there for him or her when he or she needs you the most. If not physically possible, at least be there ALWAYS with your kid EMOTIONALLY. Say it in words how much you love him/her, say that you always trust and respect his/her views, you are always there for them both in their achievements and more importantly in their failures too! 

I am reminded of a child’s words to its parents:

“Papa and Mama, Love me most when I deserve it the least for it is then that I need it most”.

(Latha Vidyaranya is a Special Educator and Counsellor and has founded ‘Empower Counselling Centre’ in Malleswaram, Bangalore.)

Celebrating Differences in Life

June 18, 2007

by Latha Vidyaranya

While reading an old post here, the very title A son need not be like his father made me wonder why we are all so bent upon finding the parent in the child always. Why do we expect the son to be like father and the daughter to be like mother?! Why do we not allow the son to be the son himself and daughter to be the daughter herself?? At one point we all say ‘variety is the spice of life’ and at other times we do not want to see variety but expect everybody to conform to certain ‘standards’ that society has defined. Anybody not conforming to these standards are shunned and not accepted easily. Instead, if we find variations why not we celebrate the differences?

Perhaps this is due to the fact that we all desire immortality in some way or the other. If a doctor’s son/daughter becomes a doctor, the father feels a pride in perpetuating his profession through his son/daughter thus preserving himself through his profession to posterity, amounting to a degree of immortality. He is going to outlive himself through his child! Same may be the reason why people hanker after constructing houses or hoarding jewellery. When their children live in those houses after them, they would still continue to live through those houses or when the daughter wears a mother’s jewellery, mother’s memories are kept intact thus immortalizing the person!

When this is the state we are in, we can imagine how difficult it is to de-identify oneself from this body-mind-intellect complex – as directed in our spiritual texts, Ashtavakra being one of them. When people are scared of retiring from a job because of losing so many of their identities in the form of power, designation, their earnings, their name and fame, can ordinary mortal be expected to drop his/her identity from body, from mind and from their highly placed intellect?! It requires guts to pursue the path of spirituality. That’s why it is said in our Upanishads – “cowards can not attain aatma” or “naayamaatmaa balahiinena labhyah”.

The line Adi Sankara in his ‘Viveka Choodamani’ says that “the body should be shunned as one would a disgusting object”, reminded me of a funny observation that I had made recently. In Malleshwaram, there is a Sringeri Shankaramutt where we were taught the tenets of advaita philosophy that constantly used to remind us, “you are not your body” and so on. And as we finished our classes and used to come out of the compound, we used to encounter a jarring display board of a body fitness and beautifying clinic right opposite the mutt that used to entice people by telling them “you are your body. Beautify it”! What a paradox!

The sentence, “There is only a thin dividing line between the attitude of escapism and acceptance” made me wonder how so many of us take the easy route of saying that something is “my karma and hence I have to bear it”, instead of putting sincere effort to alleviate the difficult situation! Whenever we feel lazy to put in the “purusha prayatna”, we simply attribute the negative result to our fate and keep quiet! And there is always a big debate going on about the supremacy of “Fate versus Free Will”. Here once again I am reminded of the words full of wisdom from our Poojya Swamiji Sri Sri Chandrashekhara Bharathi, the 34th Pontiff of Sringeri Shankaramutt, Sringeri. He once said that Fate is nothing but the outcome of the free will that we ourselves had once exercised earlier. Hence to overcome the Fate, we just have to exercise our free will once again now with an intensified force. He gives a beautiful analogy of our trying to pull out a hard hit nail from the wall. When the nail does not come out inspite of our trying repeatedly, we just drop our effort saying that it is my fate and accept the failure. Instead of giving up our effort, if only I can remember that it was I who had driven the nail inside the wall with many a hard hits, then I will realize that it now requires from me much more intensified effort to pull the nail out of the wall. I am bound to succeed!

Similar to the words in Ashtavakra Geetha, in Viveka Choodamani also Sri Shankaracharya says “Mana Eeva Kaaranah Manushyaanaam Bandha Mokshayoh”. It is our mind which either makes us bound or makes us free. I have realized the truth of this sentence all the more now that I am in the profession of Psychological Counselling. Most of the problems that our clients come up with are self-created or self-contributed. But we seldom realize the truth of it, because we find it so easy to shift the blame on someone else for all our problems. Once we shift the blame, we falsely believe that we can shirk from the responsibility of setting the problem right! And as counsellors, it falls upon us to help them develop an insight into their problems thus helping them to discover a new perspective to the whole issue. And once acceptance dawns we find it so much easier to pave the way to resolve the issue.

Also read:
Happy Father’s Day

(Latha Vidyaranya is a Special Educator and Counsellor and has founded ‘Empower Counselling Centre’ in Malleswaram, Bangalore.)

Happy Father’s Day

June 15, 2007

Thirty or Forty years ago, it was taken for granted that the father was the breadwinner and head of the family. Nowadays, there is far less rigid expectations of a father’s responsibilities – couples often work together, both in and outside the home, and they share responsibilites.

Not long ago, a typical mother’s warning to a child was: “Wait till your father gets home”, and that showed who was supposed to be responsible for discipline in a family. Today, there is a more positive approach to parenting in which either of the parent uses warmth, encouragement and praise to get good behaviour from the child.

We need to remember that for children, parents are the most important role models. They will be watching and copying their parents to learn how to behave. When they see the father or the mother behaving in a sensitive and respectful way, they’ll copy and understand this is how others should be treated.

It is almost two years since I became a father, and I can see to an extent the transformation within myself into a more sentimental and sensitive being. Ever since he has come into our lives, my son has reminded me and my wife that we are loved and needed.

The best thing about being a father started the day he was born. And I was fortunate to have seen him enter this world, which is rare in this part of the globe.

I consider it a blessing to spend each moment with my son. Watching him develop his personality provides lots of laughs and brings joy into our home. Watching his reactions to learning and seeing new things brings tremendous happiness to our life. The highlight of my day is hearing his little voice exclaiming “Appa!”

Spending time with my son has become my favourite pastime. It is a wonderful feeling to be with him, whether playing sports or just sitting in our balcony and watching a little dog on the street. The innocent joy on my son’s face when I play with him, sing for him his favourite song, narrate him his favourite stories or the excitement he shows when he sees a cow or a horse or a dog or some fishes near a mall up the road, are simply priceless experiences. The small moments of genuine connection of emotion cannot be described.

My son reminds me again and again that this world is full of wonders. For him, everything is new and everything must be explored with all his senses. And I am grateful and honoured to guide and encourage him as he sets out on this great journey of discovery that is life.

Experiencing the many moments when, without warning, I become completely overwhelmed by the happiness my son brings to my life, is simply great. These are moments that you don’t expect — when he’s sleeping in a contorted position, when he splashes water while giving him a bath, when he reveals his unique personality in a spontaneous comment, when he’s scared about seeing an elephant really close to him.

The great thing about being a dad is coming home after work, and seeing his face light up like you just gave him the best gift he could ever receive. (There are times when he makes me feel that he loves my Helmet more than me!) Hearing him say what he did the whole day brings so much contentment.

Before signing off, just want to say that I am not a perfect father, which is a statement that should be understood as a given for anyone in this profession. I cherish my son for the remarkable human being he is at the moment, and for everything he can become.

Happy Father’s Day!

Related links:

A son need not be like his father

June 9, 2006

On a walk last week, I met an old friend with whom I had a long chat near MES College. My son, whom I was carrying, got restless that I was ‘standing’ instead of ‘walking’. My friend saw him and jokingly asked, “Yenappa, nim appana thara neenu Graphic Designer aagthiya?” (Will you also become a Graphic Designer like your father?) for which I replied that a son need not be like his father.On the way back home, I remembered the story of ‘Ashtavakra’. When my son asks me to tell him a bed time story, will certainly tell this one. I had read about Ashtavakra in C.Rajagopalachari’s “Mahabharata”. Worth recollecting the story (Rajaji’s version):

While the Pandavas were wandering among holy place in the forest, they came one day to the hermitage of the personages immortalised in the Upanishads. Lomasa told Yudhishtira the story of that place.

Uddalaka, a great sage and teacher of Vedanta, had a disciple named Kagola, who was virtuous and devoted, but had no great learning. So the other disciples used to laugh and mock at him. Uddalaka, however, attached no great weight to his disciple’s lack of erudition but really appreciated his virtues, devotion and good conduct and gave his daughter Sujata in marriage to him.

The couple was blessed with a son. A child generally inherits the characteristics of both parents, but fortunately the grandson of Uddalaka took after his grandfather rather than his father and knew the Vedas even while he was in his mother’s womb. When Kagola made mistakes, as he often did in reciting the Vedas, the child in the womb would twist his body with pain, and so it came to pass that he had eight crooks in his body when he was born. These crooks earned him the name of ‘Ashtavakra’ which means eight crooks.

Kagola, one ill-fated day, provoked a polemical contest with Vandi, the court scholar of Mithila, and having been defeated, was made to drown himself.

Meanwhile Ashtavakra grew up to be a towering scholar even in his boyhood, and at the age of twelve he had already completed the study of the Vedas and the Vedanta.

One day, Ashtavakra learnt that Janaka, the king of Mithila was performing a great sacrifice in the course of which the assembled scholars would, as usual, debate on the sastras. Ashtavakra set out for Mithila, accompanied by his uncle Swetaketu.

On their way to the place of sacrifice at Mithila, they came across the king and his retinue. The attendants of the king marched in front shouting: “Move away, move away for the king.” Ashtavakra instead of moving out of the way said to the retainers: ” O royal attendants, even the king, if he is righteous, has to move and make way for the blind, the deformed, the fair sex, persons bearing loads and brahmanas learned in Vedas. this is the rule enjoined by the scriptures.”

The king, surprised at these wise words of the brahmana boy, accepted the justness of the rebuke and made way, observing to his attendants: “What this brahmana stripling says is true. Fire is fire whether it is tiny or big and it has the power to burn.”

Ashtavakra and Swetaketu entered the sacrificial hall.

The gate-keeper stopped them and said: “Boys cannot go in. Only old men learned in the Vedas may go into the sacrificial hall.”

Ashtavakra replied: “We are not mere boys. We have observed the necessary vows and have learnt the Vedas. Those who have mastered the truths of the Vedanta will not judge another by mere considerations of age or appearance.”

The gate-keeper said: “Stop. Have done with your idle brag. how can you, a mere boy, have learnt and realised the Vedanta?”

The boy said: “You mean I am not big like an over-grown gourd with no substance in it? Size is no indication of knowledge or worth, nor is age. A very tall old man may be a tall old fool. Let me pass.”

The gate-keeper said: “You are certainly not old, nor tall, though you talk like all the hoary sages. Get out.”

Ashtavakra replied: “Gate-keeper, grey hairs do not prove the ripeness of the soul. The really mature man is the one who has learnt the Vedas and the Vedangas, mastered their gist and realised their essence. I am here to meet the court pandit Vandi. Inform king Janaka of my desire.”
At that moment the king himself came there and easily recognised Ashtavakra, the precociously wise boy he had met before. The king said: ” Do you know that my court pandit Vandi has overthrown in argument many great scholars in the past and caused them to be cast into the ocean? Does not that deter you from this dangerous adventure?

Ashtavakra replied: “Your eminent scholar has hitherto not encountered men like me who are proficient in the Vedas or Vedanta. He has become arrogant and vain with easy victories over good men who were not real scholars. I have come here to repay the debt due on account of my father, who was defeated by this man and made to drown himself, as I have heard from my mother. I have no doubt I will vanquish Vandi, whom you will see crumple up like a broken-wheeled cart. Please summon him.”

Ashtavakra met Vandi. They took up a debatable thesis and started an argument, each employing his utmost learning and wits to confound the other, and in the end the assembly unanimously declared the victory of Ashtavakra and the defeat of Vandi. The court pandit of Mithila bowed his head and paid the forfeit by drowning himself in the ocean and going to the abode of Varuna.

Then the spirit of Kagola, the father of Ashtavakra, gained peace and joy in the glory of his son. Sage Veda Vyasa instructs us through these words put in Kagola’s mouth: “A son need not be like his father. A father who is physically weak may have a very strong son and an ignorant father may have a scholarly son. It is wrong to assess the greatness of a man on his physical appearance or age. External appearances are deceptive.”

Which shows that the unlearned Kagola was not devoid of common-sense.

****** ****** ******

I was fortunate to have attended Swamy Paramahamsa Sri Nityananda’s lectures on ‘Ashtavakra Geeta’ held at Bangalore’s St. Joseph’s auditorium (next to Mallya Hospital) in December 2005. After hearing the lecture, I was eager to read the book ‘Ashtavakra Geetha’. And I could do it only a good 6 months later. Recently, I purchased the book Ashtavakra Geetha (The Song of the Self Supreme). The book opens with this paragraph:

Ashtavakra Geetha is a unique text among the world’s contemplative classics dealing systematically with the mystical experiences of the Self on its way to transcendence, peace and bliss. There are few ancient treatises in East or West which evince such profound and lively concern with the Supreme Self as the ultimate reality, embodied in mystical insight and experience, and written with such spiritual imagination and poetic fervour. It may indeed be compared with the Dialogues of Plato, the Tao Teh King and the Bhagavad Geetha that all record universal insights and experiences of meditation which belong to the heritage of entire mankind.

A verse in the opening chapter of the Ashtavakra Geeta says that he who considers himself free becomes free and he who thinks he is bound remains bound. This goes to establish the proverbial saying, “As one thinks, so one becomes.” Such a shift in focus can be brought about only when the identification with the body-mind-intellect personality is transcended. The mind is the instrument for receiving Self- knowledge. Due to ignorance it identifies with the body which is transient. One who wants to abide in the Self (Atman) has to get over this mistaken identification by rooting out everything that falls in the category of the non-Self. By constantly identifying with the Self the seeker manifests his spiritual nature.

After Ashtavakra defeated Vandi, king Janaka accepted him as his preceptor and was taught this Samhita by him. ‘Ashtavakra Geetha is exclusively related to matters regarding the nature of the Self, means of realising the Self, state of mystic experience and the state of realisation in the embodied state. Throughout, it insists on detachment to worldly objects as essential to Self-realisation. One striking feature of its style is that it mostly weaves the words of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Geetha into its verses.

Adi Sankara in his ‘Viveka Choodamani’ says that the body should be shunned as one would a disgusting object. This is only to reinforce the truth that the body is only an instrument and hence it should be cared for only to the extent of keeping it fit for higher pursuits. Any more attention than this will amount to obsession. The Bhagavad Geetha also points out that it is difficult to meditate on the formless Absolute for one who is centred on the body.

How is it possible to overcome the identity with the body? When we do something for someone we love there is so much spontaneity and involvement that we forget the strain on the body. So the mind has to be charged with a higher value for it to transcend identification with the body. In spiritual life the path of selfless action is a powerful tool to transcend the body identity as thoughts get vitalised when the mind is selfless and the vision then expands beyond the body. This path requires one to perform actions that have to be done but without the motive for the result. Then there will be acceptance of the outcome as divine will. There is only a thin dividing line between the attitude of escapism and acceptance. Selfless action is not escapism but total acceptance of the divine will.

There is another Geetha called ‘Udhava Geetha’. It is a prose rendering based on the Sanskrit classic and Bhagavatha. Works of this kind may be needed more in future based on the other Geethas as well, as there is a great deal of interest among youth at present to go deep into Indian thought and tradition.

Udhava was an intimate friend and minister of Lord Krishna. In addition, he was a reputed student of Brihaspathi and was a great intellect. He acted as a messenger to Kamsa. Since he was aware that the Yadhava clan was going to be wiped out, he took the opportunity to clear some of his own doubts and put up about 21 questions to the Lord who answered them with clarity and authority. This portion forms the major part of the Udhava Geetha. It has about 1043 verses, which are presented in the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata.

I was surprised to know that as many as 45 Geethas exist, apart from Bhagavad Geetha. In the Mahabharatha, there are 16 Geethas (Manki geetha, Utathya geetha, Vaamadeva geetha, Rishabha geetha, Shadaja geetha, Sampaaka geetha, Bodhya geetha, Vichakhnu geetha, Haareetha geetha, Vritra geetha, Paraashara geetha, Hamsa geetha, Brahma geetha, Anu geetha, Braahmana geetha and Hari geetha).

Those found in Puranas – There are 20 Geethas here (2 nos. of Kapila geetha, 2 nos. of Rama geetha, 2 nos. of Brahma geetha, 3 nos. of Yama geetha and one no. of Hamsa, Bhikshu, Vaasistha, Soorya, Devi, Sootha, Shiva, Eeshwara, Vyaasa, Rudra and Ganesha geethas).

Independent works not found in any other works referred above – 4 Geethas in total (Ashtavakra geetha, Avadhootha geetha, Uttara geetha and Paandava geetha).

Those which glorify the greatness of the original Bhagavadgeetha and these come under category of ‘Geetha Maahaathmya’ – There are 5 in number and can be found in Yogavasistha, Agni Purana, Padma Purana, Vayu Purana and Varaaha Purana. Like this there are 45 Geethas in Total other than the great celestial song ‘Srimadbhagavadgeetha’.

Gita Jayanthi for the year 2006 falls on Thursday the 30th of November.


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