Tag Archives: Hindu

Brindavana of Sri Vyasatirtha

Brindavana of Sri Vyasatirtha (Rajaguru of Krishnadevaraya) has been destroyed last night by miscreants. Nava Brundavana Kshetra, an island in Tungabhadra river, adjacent to Hampi. Outrageous!

Navabrundaavana (also known as Navavrundhaavana and Navabrindavan) ನವ ಬೃಂದಾವನ is located at Hampi, Karnataka. It contains the Brundaavanas of nine Hindu Acharyas, who belong to Uttaradi Mutt, Sri Raghavendra mutt, Sri Vyasaraja mutt and the Sri SriPadaraja mutt and other prominent Madhwa Mutts. It is located on an island in the Tungabhadra River. The nine Dharmacharyas are:

Shree Padmanabha Tirtha, direct Sishya of Jagadguru Shri Madhvacharya

Shree Kavindra Teertharu

Shree Vageesha Teertharu

Shree Raghuvarya Teertharu

Shree Vyaasa Teertharu or Vyasaraajaru

Shree Sudheendhra Teertharu (Guru of Mantralaya Shri Raghavendra Tirtha)

Shree Srinivaasa Teertharu

Shree Raama Teertharu

Shree Govinda Vodeyaru

Narayanan Krishnan – Restoring Dignity of Human Life

Once an award winning chef, 32-year old Narayanan Krishnan of Madurai has served meals to over 19 lakh mentally disabled, sick, old and homeless destitutes living on roads, under bridges or crannies between the temples.

Out of country’s total 21,906,769 disabled population about three lakh of them are mentally disabled. Large number of them are found living uncared on roadsides without clothes, food, and in highly unhygienic conditions. Madurai-based Narayanan Krishnan left the lucrative job of a chef in Switzerland and started serving the mentally disabled, old, sick and homeless destitute living or dying on roadsides in his hometown Madurai. His life mission totally changed when he saw a mentally disabled eating his own waste out of hunger. He started serving meals to such people utilising his own personal savings in 2002, and till now has served meals to around 19 lakh destitutes. Interestingly, he himself cooks and serves the meals. Not only this, he also learnt hair cutting when the local barbers refused to shave such people. It is an outstanding example of restoring dignity to the human life.

Tonnes of cooked food go waste in the parties whether hosted in hotels, banquets or parks of the cities almost every day. On the other hand, lakhs of people go to bed without food everyday. The condition of those who are mentally disabled is very miserable, as they are not aware of their basic needs—when to eat, what to eat. This thought changed the life mission of Madurai based Narayanan Krishnan to such an extent that he turned down the offer of a chef’s job in Switzerland and started serving this most neglected section of the society living and dying on the roads in Madurai.

Narayanan Krishnan

Since 2002, Narayanan has served millions of meals, three times a day — breakfast, lunch and dinner — to the mentally ill, destitute and abandoned in the city. Now he has set-up Akshaya Home in Madurai and housed more than 450 mentally disabled people after rescuing them from the roads. It is a complete home equipped with modern kitchen, hospital and entertainment facilities. Narayanan personally devotes time for preparing and serving the meals. The gratitude and happiness seen on the faces of the inmates after taking the meals cannot be expressed in words.

Apart from feeding, Narayanan also provides quality medical care to all the residents with the help of doctors. Periodically, dental camps are also conducted to improve the personal hygiene. If any of the residents falls sick, he or she is immediately is taken for emergency care. The Trust also gives special care to beneficiaries who are very sick bringing back to normal life. “Since I personally know all the beneficiaries since the last 12 years, I spend almost 18 hours a day interacting and mingling with them. They get a secured feeling,” says Narayanan.

At the age of 19, with a degree in hand, Krishnan was selected to be a chef in a five star hotel of Switzerland. A single moment changed his life; seeing a man eating his own waste out of hunger. This made him realise how much we take for granted and how much we waste (even if it is unintentional), by throwing parties at banquet halls to honour people. So much food is wasted. Hundreds of people come, but only a handful eats the food.

When Narayanan decided to quit his dream job to serve such people, it was a little harder for his middle class parents to understand completely until the day he took his parents to show them why he was giving up his dream. A man on the street looked up at Narayanan’s parents and boldly said, “We are able to get three meals a day because of your son.” Touched by that man’s words, Narayanan’s mother said to him, “My dear son, you feed all these people, I will feed you till I am alive.”

In 2003, Krishnan founded Akshaya Trust. Akshaya means never-ending. That is exactly what he and his team of volunteers provide for the homeless– never ending aid. Over 12 years, he has been able to serve almost 1.9 million hot meals to the elderly and the mentally disabled—non-stop without any break, come rain or shine. Since the mentally sick people are not aware of their needs, they are found on the roads in very miserable condition—long hair, dirty clothes, lying in dirt and highly unhygienic condition. In 2005, Narayanan approached a team of barbers of Madurai to help give haircuts to such homeless people, but without any success, he took matters into his own hands, “I went to a hair cutting training school for six months, learnt hair cutting and till then has done thousands of haircuts for people.”

Before setting-up of Akshaya Home, Narayanan and his team travelled to great lengths to serve the meals. “We travelled 35 miles for breakfast, 35 miles for lunch and 35 miles for dinner.” Even now Krishnan’s day begins at 4 am. He and his team roam in a donated ambulance in the city and find the homeless poor souls under bridges, crannies between the city’s temples.

Another outstanding achievement of Narayanan is that some of the mentally disabled who were till just 6 months ago on the streets without hope or dignity, are today able to lead a life that has some semblance of normalcy. Some help in preparations of meals, while some have been trained to clean the dining hall, set the tables, clean-up after the meals, washing the clothes, housekeeping or look after the garden. Even the last rites are performed with full respect and honour. It is important because many of such people die on the roads and sometime last rites are not performed for days until the dead body starts decomposing and somebody complain to the police of foul smell. The inmates are also engaged in craft works and in indoor games. The quantum of happiness and satisfaction on their faces cannot be expressed in words. Surely, there can be no better rehabilitation of these people as has been done by Krishnan. The love and affection he shows while serving these people is outstanding.

Gandhiji had said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Narayanan Krishnan truly imbibed these words and set a precedent for all of us to follow.


Yeshwant Rao Kelkar puraskar

Shri Narayanan Krishnan of Akshaya Trust Madurai has been awarded with Prof. Yashwantrao Kelkar Yuva Puraskar 2013. This award is given to recognise his outstanding work in helping the helpless, homeless, sick, mentally ill and destitute by providing healthy food, care and opportunity to rehabilitate to restore human dignity.  The award comprises of Rs 50,000 cash, certificate and a memento. He was felicitated with the Award in a special function at the National Council of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad held on November 30 in Varanasi.

This award is given in the memory of the late Prof. Yashwantrao Kelkar, whose contribution was like a foundation stone to build up and flourish ABVP, the world’s largest students’ organisation. This award is being given since 1991. This is a collaborative activity of ‘ABVP’ and ‘Vidyarthi Nidhi Trust’, both committed for the cause of uplift of education and students.’ The idea behind this award is to encourage young social workers, engaged in various social welfare activities and to offer them a platform, thereby to motivate other youth for social work as well as to express gratitude to the young social workers.


Through character building, ordinary people can reach extra-ordinary height

Through character building, ordinary people can reach extra-ordinary height: Shridhar Sagar


Shridhar Sagar (or Shridhar anna as he is lovingly called), is the director of Hindu Seva Pratishthana. After his education, he worked as a Manager in a Bank for 2 years before he decided to dedicate his life for social service. He joined the Rashtriya Seva Bharati, a Social Service Organisation, as a coordinator and helped organize community activities and train volunteers. He worked in many service organisations in different capacities throughout Karnataka. In the year 1989, he joined Hindu Seva Pratishthana and started working as a coordinator. Since then he has been very active and has overseen the birth and the growth of many projects. He became the Managing Trustee and the Director of Hindu Seva Pratishthana in 1997. In this interview Shridhar Sagar talks of the concept of Seva, about the different projects of HSP and how HSP is helping people internalize the value of Seva. Excerpts from the interview.

What is the main objective of Hindu Seva Pratishthana?
HSP’s main objective has been to bring a positive change in the society through community development. We believe in character building and in making men and women who can contribute to the community. We believe that through character building, ordinary people can reach extra-ordinary heights. Through our various programs, we have been able to involve a large number of young people into community development.
What is the philosophy of Hindu Seva Pratishthana?
Hindu Seva Pratishthana believes in ‘Seva Dharma’. Seva, we believe, is one’s Dharma (one’s duty). It should not be done for name or fame or for any other returns. It has to be selfless. But more importantly Seva should restore the dignity and self-respect of its beneficiary. The compassion that accompanies our ‘Seva’ should be capable of transforming a person from a receiver of ‘Seva’ to a giver of ‘Seva’. It is also important that through our Seva we create a strong and a harmonious society.
What do you think of today’s youth? Are they socially responsible? Are they receptive to the ideas of Seva?
There is currently a very strong notion that today’s youth are careless or are not responsible. My experience with young people helps me refute this. Today’s youth are very much receptive to the ideas of Seva and community development. For example look at the Sevavrathi program of the Pratishthana. Every year we invite young people who have passed a minimum of tenth standard to come forward as volunteers. These people have to stay away from their homes in different service project locations sacrificing many of their material comforts for a period of three years. HSP has been successful in attracting and training as many as 4123 Sevavrathis in the past 31 years. Out of which notably 3681 are women. These volunteers have worked on rendering yeomen service in service projects in various states including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.  This Sevavrathi program is an example of what today’s youth are capable of achieving.
Give us a brief introduction to the projects run by the HSP.
Hindu Seva Pratisthana has been serving the needy, the under-privileged and the marginalized people, irrespective of their class, caste, creed and religion. It is trying to instill the values of seva in the society and helping thousands of people internalize Seva as part of their daily lives. Currently, HSP is mainly focusing on ten projects.

Aruna Chetana: Aruna Chetana is a school for differently-abled and special needs children.  This year, Aruna Chetana completes 24 years of its existence. The school aims to cater to the physical, psychological, educational and health needs of the children. Aruna Chetana has received an award from Women and Child Welfare Department, Govt of Karnataka, for being the best school for special needs children.
Nele: It is a project that has a number of shelter homes for street children, rag pickers and destitute children. We started this project in the year 2000 with one center and 15 children. Today, Nele has 283 children in 10 centers in Bengaluru, Shimoga, Mysore, Tumkur and Bagalkote.
Prasanna Counseling Center: We have been running a counseling center where hundreds of people avail psychiatric counseling free of cost every month. Reputed psychiatrists, doctors and specialists from centers such as the NIMHANS and Victoria Hospitals volunteer here every week. Trainings are also conducted for volunteers who wish to become counselors themselves.
Child Guidance Center: We also conduct free counseling for children who require psychiatric counseling.
Seva Kirana: Under this project, we have a number of non-formal schools for the children of slum dwellers across Bangalore. The project apart from providing education to these children also focuses on the holistic development of these children through cultural activities and sports.
Vidya Nidhi: Through this project we offer scholarships to poor students to enable them complete their education.
Samagra Shishu Shikshana: This project works towards providing comprehensive education to the children, mostly at the primary levels of schooling. The aim of this project is to help and guide the children in all their educational needs. Over a thousand children are being benefited through this project.
Youth for Seva: It is a platform that engages the youth mostly college students and young professionals into different community development activities. Thousands of young people have been connected to different service projects through this initiative.
Nele Swavalambana: Through this project, tailoring and other employment oriented training is provided to women and youth from the economically weaker sections of the society so that they can become self-reliant.
Yoga Bharati: HSP has trained more than a thousand people all over Karnataka in the ancient practice of Yoga through special yoga camps and workshops based on the traditional Patanjali School of yoga.

Any new projects of particular focus that are coming up?
HSP believes in investing in change-makers rather than in the change itself. We believe in creating dedicated volunteers and social entrepreneurs who can work on different existing projects and also start new projects of their own. Training of volunteers is also essential for the continuity, improvement and the growth of the social endeavor. We are planning a center at Yelhanka in North Bengaluru that has the infrastructure for training volunteers and social workers on a continuous basis. The permanent facility with all the modern amenities dedicated solely for volunteer training will help run the training programs on the sustained basis and with improvised methods. The proposed center shall be able to run training programs for over three hundred people and cater to 12 different types of trainings at a time, both occasional and continually run programs.
Our focus will be on inspiring new people to volunteer and on creating dedicated social workers.

Source: http://hinduseva.org/uncategorized/interview-with-shridhar-sagar/

The story of Civilisation, Hindu Philosophy-Will Durant

The story of Civilisation

 Mental of moral decay from the strain, stimuli, and contacts of urban life, from the breakdown of traditional source of social discipline and the inability to replace them, the weakening of the stock by a disorderly sexual life, or by an epicurean, pessimist, or quietist philosophy, the decay of leadership through the infertility of the able, and the relative smallness of the families that bequeath most fully the cultural inheritance of the race; a a pathological concentration of wealth, leading to class wars, disruptive revolutions, and financial exhaustion; these are some of the ways in which a civilization may die, for civilization is not something inborn or imperishable; it must be acquired anew by every generation and any serious interruption in its financing or its transmission may bring it to an end. Man differs from the beast only by education, which may be defined as the technique of transmitting civilization.

2. The natives of Australia are incapable of any labour whose reward is not immediate. There is a mute wisdom in this improvidence.( For) the moment man begins to take thought of the morrow he passes out of the garden of Eden into the vale of anxiety; the pale cast of worry settles down upon him, greed is sharepened, property begins and the good cheer of the thoughtless native disappears.( Economic elements of civilization).

 3. Man merely had the saving wit to imitate nature and to improve upon her.

 4. Man is not willingly a political animal. The human male associates with his fellows less by desire than by habit, imitation and the compulsion of circumstances; he does not love society so much as he fears solitude. If he asks for any laws, it is only because he is sure that his neighbour needs them; privately he is an unphilosophical anarchist and thinks laws in his own case superfluous.


 State is a late development and hardly appears before the time of written history. For it pre-supposes a change in the very principle of social organization- from kinship to domination in the primitive societies the former was the rule. Time sanctifies everything; even the most errant thief, in the hands of robber’s grandchildren, becomes sacred and inviolable property. Every state begins in compulsion; but the habits of obedience becomes the content of conscience and soon every citizen thrills with loyalty to the flag.

 A state which should rely upon force alone would soon fall. For though men are naturally gullible, they are also onstinate and power, like taxes, succeeds best when it is invisible and indirect. Hence the state, in order to maintain itself, used and forged many instruments of indoctrination- the family, the church, the school- to build in the soul of the citizen a habit of patriotic loyalty and pride. This save a thousand policemen, and prepared the public mind for that docile coherence which is indispensable in war.

 –         Underneath all the phenomena of society is the great terra firma of custom, that bedrock of time hollowed modes of thought and action which provides a society with some measure of steadiness and order through all absence, changes and interruptions of law. Custom gives the same statbility to that group that heredity and instinct give to the species and habit to the individual. It is the routine that keeps men sane, for if there were no grooves along which thought might move with unconscious ease, the mind would be perpetually hesitant and would soon take refuge in lunacy.A law of economy works in instinct and habit in custom and convention, the most convenient mode of response to repeated stimuli, or traditional situations is automatic response. Thought and innovation are disturbances of regularity, and are tolerated only for indispensable re-adaptations, or promised gold- when to this natural basis of custom, a supernatural sanction is added by religion, and the ways of one’s ancestors are also the will of the gods, then custom becomes stronger than law, and subtracts substantially from primitive freedom. Custom rises out of the people, whereas law is forced upon them from above; law is usually a decree of the master but custom is the natural selection of those modes of action, that have been found most convenient in the experience of the group.


–         Since no society can exist without order , and no order without regulation, we may take is as a rule of history that the power of custom varies inversely as the multiplicity of laws, as the power of instinct varies inversely as the multiplicity of thoughts.

–         Conventions are forms of behaviour found expedient by a people, customs are conventions accepted by successive generations, after natural selection through trial and error and elimination; morals are such customs as the group considers vital to its welfare and development.

–         Through the slow magic of time such customs, by long repetition become a second nature in the individual. If he violates them, he feels a certain fear, discomfort or shame; this is the origin of that conscience, or moral sense. In its higher development, conscience is social consciousness- the feeling of the individual that he belongs to a group and owes it some measure of loyalty and consideration. Morality is the co-operation of the part with the whole, and of each group with some large whole. Civilization, of course, would be impossible without it.

 Imp: We must not conclude that morals are worthless because they differ according to time and place and that it would be wise to show our historic learning by at once discarding the moral customs of our group. A little anthropology is a dangerous thing. Our heroic rejection of the customs and morals of our tribe, upon our adolescent discovery of their relativity betrays the immaturity of our minds; given another decade and we begin to understand that there may be more wisdome in the moral code of the group- the formulated experience of genearations of the race- than can be explained in a college course. Sooner or later, the disturbing realization comes to us that even which we cannot understand may be true. The institutions, convenetions, customs, and laws that make up the complex structure of a society are the work of a hundred centuries and a billion minds; and one mind must not expect to comprehend them in one life time, much less in twenty years.

 –         Uncertainty is the origin of greed. Men are more easily ruled by imagination than by science.

–         For since magic often failed it because of advantage to the magician to discover natural operations by which he might help supernatural forces to produce the desired event. Slowly the natural means came to predominate even though the magician, to preserver his standing with the people, concealed these natural means as well as he could, and gave the credit to super-natural magic- much as  own people often credit natural cures to magical prescriptions and pills.

–         The priest did not create religion, he merely used it as a statesman uses the impulses and customs of mankind; religion arises not out of sacerdotal invention of chicanery, but out of the persistent wonder fear insecurity, hopefulness and loneliness of men.

–         Religion supports morality by two means chiefly: Myth and Taboo. Man is not naturally obedient or chaste; and next to that ancient compulsion which finally generates conscience, nothing so quietly and continuously conduces to these uncongenial virtues as the fear of the gods. The institutions of property and marriage rest in some measure upon religious sanctions, and tend to lose their vigor in the ages of the ignorance, of primitive men about food were expressed in dietetic taboos; and hygience was inculcated by religion rather than by science or secular medicine.

–         Religion is not the basis of morals, but an aid to them, conceivably they could exist without it , and not infrequently they have progressed against its indifference or its obstinate resistance. As a rule religion sanctions not any absolute good, but those norms of conduct which have established themselves by force of economic and social circumstances; like law it looks to the past for its judgements and is apt to be left behind as conditions change and morals alter with them. The moral function of religion is to conserve established values rather than to create new ones.

–         Hence a certain tension between religion and society marks the higher stages of every civilization, religion- culminates by giving to a people morals and belief which seems so favourable to statesmanship and art; For as knowledge grows or alters continually, it clashes with mythology and theology which change with geological leisureness, priestly control of arts and letters, is then felt as a galling shackle or hateful barrier; and intellectual history takes on the character of a “conflict between science and religion”. In situations which were at first at the hands of the clergy, like law and punishment, education and morals, marriage and divorce, tend to escape from  ecclesiastical control and become secular, perhaps, profane . The intellectual classes abandon the ancient theology and after some hesitation- the moral code allied with it. The movement of liberation rises to an exuberant worship of reason and falls to a paralyzing disillusionment with every dogma and every idea, conduct, deprived of its religious supports, deteriorates into epicurean chaos; and life itself, shorn of consoling faith, becomes a burden like to conscious poverty and to weary wealth.

–         For words are to thought what tools are to work; the product depends largely on the growth of the tools.

–         Onomatopocia – imitative works, eg: roar, giggle, hiss etc

 Pp 552– Hindu philosophy begins where European philosophy ends– with an enquiry into the nature of knowledge and the limitations of reason; it starts not with the physics of Thales an Democritus but with the epistemology of Locke and Kant; it takes mind as that which is most immediately known and therefore refuses to resolve it into a matter known only mediately and through mind. It accepts an external world, but does not believe that our senses can ever know it as it is. All science is charted ignorance, and belongs to Maya; it formulates, in ever changing concepts and phrases, the rationale of world in which reason is but a part-one shifting current in an interminable sea. Even the person that reasons is Maya, illusion; what is he but a temporary conjunction of events, a passing node in the curves of matter and mind through space and time ? What are this acts or his thoughts but the fulfillment of forces far ante-dating his births? Nothing is real but Brahman, that vast ocean of Being in which every form is a moment’s wave, or a fleck of froth on the wave. Virtue is not the quiet heroism of good works, nor any pious ecstasy; it is simply recognition of the identity of self with every other Self in Brahman; morality is such living as comes from a sense of union with all things.


The post above are excerpts from Will Durants, The Story of Civilisation where he talks about the uniqueness of Hindu philosophy.