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The Essence of Hindu Tradition & Culture

E-book from Kanchi Periva Forum

Volume 3
Published: July 2012

Secrets to Staying Positive with Vedic Tradition

Author: Subi Anna

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Table of Contents

Introduction ........................................................................................................................... 3 About the Author ................................................................................................................... 6 1.0 The Power of Thoughts ................................................................................................... 7 2.0 The Effect of Sound ...................................................................................................... 10 3.0 The Human Mind .......................................................................................................... 13 4.0 The Importance of Guru ................................................................................................ 16 5.0 Vedic Wisdom ............................................................................................................... 19 6.0 The Tradition of Temple Worship .................................................................................. 23 7.0 Current Developments .................................................................................................. 27 8.0 Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 28 9.0 Suggested further reading............................................................................................. 30

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Shri Kanchi Maha Periva Thiruvadigal Saranam

Hari Om! We are pleased to bring you the third edition of the e-book series from the Kanchi Periva Forum. This e-book series is the result of great efforts from the members of the Kanchi Periva Forum www.periva.proboards.com. Like minded members of the Forum have come together realizing the need to insist upon the present generation to observe and keep alive the rich traditions of the Hindu Religion, as prescribed in the Vedas and Sastras. In the previous two editions of Kanchi Forum e-books (Vol 1, May 2012 and Vol 2, June 2012), we had explained why rituals are important and discussed some of the daily important rituals. We had also included Perivas comments and advice on rituals. We received an encouraging feedback to these two e-books. As a sequel to the earlier two issues, we present in this edition some of the secrets to staying positive with Vedic tradition. Most rituals that we follow today are based on Vedic prescriptions. The beauty of the

Vedas is that they provide immense value not only by the vibrations they produce all round during recitation but also by their content that nurture healthy thoughts in our minds. Vedas deal both with worldly life and the inner life of
the Self. They contain valuable truths that find expression in the various mantras. Many of the complexities that we see in daily life stem from issues related to the mind and thoughts. In today's dynamic and competitive world, people are often under great social and work pressures. Working or living in such an environment is a daunting task as they have to cope with demands in tune with local conditions. It is challenging but at the same time it provides an opportunity to see the value in our Vedic tradition.

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Through many centuries, the ancient Indian culture has been gradually transformed to adopt western ways of life. As a result, Vedic tradition is viewed by many as irrelevant in the fast-changing modern world. The main reason for unhappiness is not really about a situation but thoughts about it. If you can separate the thoughts from the situation, you will not be unhappy. Modern psychologists support the belief that human beings are greatly influenced by their own thoughts. Numerous books are published on the influence of mind on personal achievements. The components in Vedas provide valuable tools to control

the mind, regulate the thought process, acquire self-knowledge, and attain higher levels of personal fulfillment. In this edition, we explore some of the
secrets in our ancient Vedic tradition that help us to stay positive and effectively meet the challenges that confront us every day in our lives. This is not a book about Vedas rather, this book is a small attempt to unravel some of the secrets in the Vedic tradition that help us to stay positive and face lifes challenges more confidently. In general, many people are interested to know more about our rich Vedic tradition but are so busy with their work that they find little time to source and read large books. In order to specially help such people, the author has intentionally kept the number of pages of this e-book to about 30 pages a size that one may find comfortable to read and remember. In writing this e-book, as in previous volumes, the author has derived great inspiration from Periva and other sources including Deivathin Kural. Wherever available, references to the source of information are indicated in this edition too. The author expresses sincere gratitude to all the external sources of relevant information to support this e-book. We would like to express our profound thanks to Shri Sundaresan Subramanian from Chicago, USA for authoring this book. We would also like to thank Smt Sumathi Agambaranathan from Chennai, India and Shri K. Raman from Santa Clara USA, the moderators of the Kanchi Periva Forum for their assistance in the making of this e-book. We welcome your comments and suggestions to improve the quality and coverage of subjects in future editions. Feedback about the e-book may be shared with us at kanchiperiva@gmail.com or with the author directly at the email addresses given in the profile that follows.

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For those who are not familiar about our website and forum, we welcome you to visit www.periva.org for a collection of rare videos and complete online audio library of upanyasams of Sri Maha Periva. Please also register on the forum www.periva.proboards.com to stay updated on devotees experiences and to receive our regular newsletters. In case you are new to our Forum, and missed getting our previous ebooks, here are the links: Vol 1 - "Why Rituals are Important" Vol 2 - "Important Daily Rituals" We humbly submit this third e-book at the lotus feet of Shri Maha Periva. Administrator - Kanchi Periva Forum kanchiperiva@gmail.com

Jaya Jaya Shankara, Hara Hara Shankara!

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About the Author

Shri Sundaresan Subramanian

Shri. Sundaresan Subramanian, affectionately called as Subi Anna, is an international consultant with an array of global experiences in the field of energy and environment. In his long professional career, he has worked for many years in senior management positions with multinational corporations in India and later with U.S. government agencies. His demonstrated success includes building US-Asia energy and environmental partnerships in cooperation with American and Asian government agencies, non-government organizations and the corporate sector. His professional accomplishments are recognized through several awards from both India and the U.S. Deriving great inspiration from Maha Periva, the Sage of Kanchi, Subi Anna developed a deep personal interest in religion and the ancient scriptures. Based on his continuing study and research, Subi Anna is engaged in propagating Maha Perivas teachings and unfolding the secrets and wisdom of Sanatana Dharma. His published e-books include: Mantras and Management and Managing Anger Lessons from the Ancient. On the academic side, Subi Anna is Graduate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Poona; qualified in Production Engineering, London; in Business Management at St. Xaviers Institute, Bombay; and as a LEED Green Associate of the U.S. Green Business Council. He was trained in Japan in corporate management and was conferred with an honorary doctorate degree by the University of Berkley, USA. His honorary activities benefited several communities. He served as a member of the selection panel for Fulbright environmental fellowships, a senior member of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and the Association of Energy Engineers, USA. He has authored many articles and studies related to energy and environment and served for 3 years as an editor of The Urja Watch a publication of the Indian Association of Energy Management Professionals (IAEMP). He serves as an honorary member of the committee of Sri Veda Vyas Gurukul a Veda PAtashala functioning on the lines of Gurukula system at the Kanchi Mutt in Pune, Maharashtra. Subi Anna is based out of Chicago, USA and can be reached at s.subi@yahoo.com

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Secrets to Staying Positive with Vedic Tradition

Sri Gurubhyo Namah Salutations to the Guru

no bhadr kratavo yantu vivata (1.89.1 rigveda) Let noble thoughts come from everywhere in the world

Shri Maha Periva

1.0 The Power of Thoughts

Many of us do not realize that our thoughts are endowed with tremendous power. Thoughts can do wonders. They have the power to communicate without the need for wires. You become what you think about.

Negative thoughts reap negative results. If you think positive, you will get positive results.
Vedic tradition handed down to us through generations helps us to think positively and reap rewards. The following verse from Brihadaranyakopanishat illustrates the point: kmamaya evyam purusha iti | sa yathkmo bhavati tatkratur bhavati | yatkratur bhavati tat karma kurute | yat karma kurute tad abhisampadyate ||

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Roughly translated, the verse means: You are what your deep, driving desire is As your desire is, so is your will As your will is, so is your deed As your deed is, so is your destiny (Source: Brihadaranyakopanishat 4.4.5) Sometimes, when we meet a person for the first time, dont we get a nice warm feeling a feeling of friendliness and trust? Its also true that some times when we speak to a person, we get an exactly opposite feeling somewhat like disdain or even repulsion. It is because thoughts can transform the attitude and looks of persons. As an old adage goes - face is an index of mind.

Thought can do anything. It can work wonders.

The velocity of thought is unimaginable. The person who thinks he is inferior, regardless of what his qualifications are, is in fact inferior. For thinking regulates actions. Personal power comes from your mind feeling good about yourself, not really from eating more or sleeping more. If you observe children, they enjoy playing and having lots of fun without concern about eating or sleeping on time. It is possible to adopt the mind of a child so long as we focus our thoughts clear and positive. We all have dreams; we all face challenges; Life is all about how effectively we face those challenges to achieve our dreams. The strength to meet those challenges is within you - in your mind not in your physical body. The proof of this strength can be witnessed in physically challenged people who achieve great things despite their terrible disabilities. Helen Keller was a deaf and blind person but she earned a degree in arts and became a world famous speaker and author. She said, Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved." Thoughts are often influenced by what we keep listening to. If you keep listening to negative comments, you will tend to develop negative thoughts.

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The nature and quality of food that we consume also plays a role in the thought process. If the food we eat is pure and saatwic, if we keep listening to positive words, our thoughts are less likely to be polluted. A person with pure thoughts has better powers to speak effectively and influence others. A simple analogy will illustrate how pure thoughts work - A stone thrown over water in a pool produces a succession of concentric waves travelling outwards. Similarly, it is believed that a thought, produces vibrations in the mind with potential to reach all around through the medium of ether. The Vedic tradition helps us sow the seeds for positive thoughts that have the potential to spread all round.

A pure thought is sharper than the edge of a razor.

Remember, within you is the Power. If you will unleash even a little of it, you can achieve many things that you thought were impossible.

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2.0 The Effect of Sound

Sound has a noticeable effect on all living beings. Don't we see people dancing with joy to different types of musical sounds? Some of the Raagas are said to produce a certain healing and elevating effect. We often hear soft music played in public places like hotel lobbies, restaurants and even in cell phones. Even animals respond to certain specific sounds. For example, snake charmers attract cobras by playing a flute. The cobra raises its hood when the music is played. Likewise, the sounds produced by the proper recitation of Veda mantras have an effect on people. In fact, the effect of sound becomes clearly visible in the form of joy, radiance or sorrow on the faces of people who get exposed to it.

Periva asks a question about sound and answers it too in his own inimitable way. The following are relevant excerpts from his discourses:
What is sound? According to modern science, it is vibration. If you examine the core of an atom you will realise that all matter is one. This Advaitic conclusion is arrived at according to nuclear science and the concepts of Einstein. This entire world is one flood of energy (sakthi); everything is an electromagnetic flow. But how do we account for the manifestation of different objects? It is to be attributed to different type of vibrations. Where there is vibration there is a sound. Conversely, to produce a sound the vibration corresponding to it must also be created. The scientific concept that the different vibrations of the same energy are the cause of creation is the same as the belief that world was created with the breath of the Paramatman manifesting itself as the sound of the Vedas. Consider human beings and other creatures. What is it that determines their health and feelings? During respiration, our breathing produces vibrations that have effect on our nadis (cells) and blood vessels. Our state of health depends on this effect. Those who keep their breathing under control through the practice of yoga are healthy to an amazing degree.

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They do not bleed even if their veins are cut. They are able to remain buried in the earth in samadhi stopping their pulse and heartbeat. They are not poisoned even if they are bitten by a snake or stung by a scorpion. The reason is that they keep the vibrations of the nadis under control during breathing. Breath is vital not only to the body but also to the mind. The mind which is the source of thought and the vital (pranik) energy that is the source of breath are the same. Healthy or unhealthy thoughts are to be attributed to different vibrations of the nadis. You may test this for yourself. See for yourself how you breathe when you are at peace before the sanctum of a deity or in the presence of a great and wise person and how you breathe when your mind is quickened by desire or anger. The happiness you experience when you take part in something divine, like a bhajan or a temple festival, must be different from the pleasure that sensual gratification gives you; the vibrations of the concerned nadis will also be correspondingly different.

When you experience joy of an elevated kind the passage of breath will be through the right nostril, but when you are enjoying sensual pleasure it will be through the left.
When you meditate, with increasing concentration, on the Reality Serene which is the source of all your urges and feelings, the breath will pass through both nostrils slowly, evenly and rhythmically. Science tells us that there are sounds outside the range of human hearing in the same way as there is light that does not pass through the lens of the human eye. However, it is possible to bring within us (within our reach) that which is without. When a musician sings on the radio, the sound of his music is converted into electromagnetic waves which travel through space. But how do we hear music? The receiving set captures the electromagnetic waves and reconverts them into sound waves.

Science is not opposed to religion.

It seems to me that it even helps in the growth of religion. A century ago, before the radio and the telephone were invented, it would not have been easy to counter the arguments of an atheist who dismisses claims made on behalf of the sound of the Vedas as absurd. Now the discoveries of science have come to our rescue.

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The Vedas are called "Sruti. That which is heard is Sruti. "Srotra" means the "ear". The Vedas have been handed down orally from generation to generation and have not been taught or learned from any written text. That is how they got the name of "Sruti". When the wavelength shifts even minutely on our radio we receive the broadcast of different transmitting station. Fine-tuning has to be done to get the required station. So the case with the intonation of Vedic mantras. There should not be the slightest mistake the svaras. Just as we receive a different station on our radio when the wavelength changed, so the result is different when we go wrong in the intonation. a is in is

The vibrations of the Vedas serve the purpose not only of creation and the conduct of life. There are indeed Vedic mantras that help us to transcend this life and become one with the Ultimate Truth. When a man returns by the same way as he comes, does he not arrive at the starting point? In the same way when we go seeking how creation came about, we are led to the point where there are no vibrations, no movements, where there is utter stillness. Some mantras that create vibrations in our nadis accomplish the same noble task of taking us to such a goal. We often see reports in the newspapers of trees flowering or fruiting in abundance in response to the vibrations of certain sounds. Some vibrations have also the effect of stunting the growth of plants. Here is proof of the fact that sound can create, sustain and destroy. (Source: www.kamakoti.org) Vedas must be chanted with grandeur so that the pronunciation of the words is done correctly and the sound can be properly heard.

Chanting mantras with the right intonations produce certain rhythmic sounds that in turn set up vibrations in body cells and the mind.
Vedic Mantras not only produce beneficial vibrations in the pulse (nadis) of the one who chants them in a proper manner, but also similar vibrations in those who hear them. Just as melodious music impacts people, the sound of Vedic mantras produces beneficial effects in people. How exactly such vibrations influence the mind and body is mysterious. Experience of people indicates that chanting or listening to mantras prepares the mind to become tranquil, releases mental stresses and helps to develop positive thoughts.

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3.0 The Human Mind

For him, who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy. - Quote from Bhagavad Gita

Mind is like a monkey. It keeps wandering and jumping without control. It gets attracted by looking
at many objects of pleasure and makes you fall a prey to them unless you control it. To quote Periva: The human mind can go astray to any length. Indeed it keeps wandering aimlessly like a globin or an imp. Whatever the extent to which cosmic life is orderly, it (the human mind) breaks free from all control and runs about like a mad dog. When the powers of nature are unfavourable to us, is there a way to change their behaviour and make them favourable to us? Is there also a means by which our mind could be brought under control when it goes haywire? If everything is caused by vibration, by sound, there must be a way of making the forces of nature favourable to us and of purifying our mind and bringing it under control through this very sound. The Vedas constitute such sound.

Mind anyway preoccupies itself with many things! By giving it an anchor in the form of a mantra, you are actually limiting the minds wanderings. If this specific pre-occupation minimized many other (and worse) preoccupations, it is not a bad thing at all. It is like a monkey that keeps jumping from one place to another place being tied to a pole with a chain to limit its jumping. The monkey may still be jumping up and down, but the chain at least limits its movement around one pole. Of course, if the monkey learns to stay in one place without jumping, it no longer needs a chain or a pole. Anything that works as an anchor to limit the mind from straying away too much is useful. An image or visualization of an object dear to a person may work well for some. Focusing on a mantra may work for some. The goal is to minimize invasion of other thoughts.

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Thinking of one's goals will usually make the mind stray away into unnecessary pre-occupations.
It is easy to focus on a deity or mantra. There is an interesting story to illustrate how mind strays away if not controlled. Once a person was caught stealing someones wallet. He was handed over to the police. On investigation, it was found that he had a long history of stealing cash and jewels from his neighbours and friends, and that day he had been caught red-handed. Charges were framed against him and he was produced in the court. The magistrate asked if he had anything to say before the judgment was delivered. The accused then said, Your honour! I plead guilty of all the charges and I am also aware that I am going to be punished. But I have a request to make. It is my request that my mother should have an equal share of the punishment being accorded. The magistrate was confused at these words and asked him to clarify. The accused said, In my childhood, I used to sneak into my neighbours homes, filch petty stuffs, bring them home and show them to my mother. Every time I did so, my mother would feel proud of my feat and would highly appreciate my behaviour. Today, I stand before you as a thief, thanks to my mothers encouragement. Had my mother been severe with me the first time I committed thievery and stopped me from repeating it, I would have grown into a good citizen. So my mother is equally responsible for these crimes. The famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tse said -"Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom." Mind is a wonderful force inherent in the Self. Socrates' guiding rule was, "Know Thyself." These words are of eternal significance. No better advice has ever been given to man or woman. When one begins to explore this dictate it leads to profound understandings about all of creation.

It makes unhappiness, fear, sadness, doubt, and all the negative emotions meaningless. Could it be that we are not recognizing the goodness, the god-within all of creation?
When we do not recognize this goodness the dark side of our nature begins to find excuses for what is happening in our life. It is then that we begin to feel 'other than happiness' feelings.

Happiness of course is our birthright.

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When we came into existence our soul was pure love. Our first relationships here in this new environment seem to have taught us to forget from whence we came and why we are here. We tried valiantly to let everyone see our virtue, our love, our innocence and this is proven by how many times people came to look at us and smile and say sweet things to us in our stroller or crib. But then what happened? Through our mother we had been hearing and feeling the negative emotions as well as the positive ones from the time of our conception. At birth the negative began to be reinforced over and over again until we became convinced that in order to survive we needed both positive and negative feelings. Our ego now had a directive, defend against those who would hurt us in some way. Do what it takes to live! As adults we are still functioning from that mistaken decision and as a result live a life that is insane. Just as you need a mirror to see your face, you need a spiritual/psychological mirror to know yourself. Veda derived from the Sanskrit verb 'vid-to know' itself means knowledge. Vedas stimulate you to think, make you wonder and thus serve to know yourself. The Greek philosopher Socrates supplemented it by saying, Wisdom begins with wonder and expanded the concept of 'Know Thyself' further. To know yourself means to know who you are and accept all that is. The Bhagavad Gita describes three primary qualities (gunas) that exist in all beings: Satva, Rajas and Tamas. Satva is the best of the three gunas it represents the quality of purity, an angelic quality that reflects truthfulness, the behavior of being good, doing good and a healthy attitude towards life; Rajas represents activities and passion born out of intense desire; and Tamas represents inertia, ignorance and the darker side of oneself. There is no judgment as to which aspect of these gunas is dominant at any given moment. However, it is best to accept all aspects and to know when to be which. An understanding of these three qualities is required to overcome the challenges we all face in daily life. The knowing of oneself is thus most important. How can we know ourselves? There is no single path. A Sanskrit adage says: Ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti meaning The truth is one, the wise speak of it in different ways. Vedic tradition shows several paths to better understand and manage the self. An easy path is to get guidance from a guru.

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4.0 The Importance of Guru Gurur- Brahma Gurur- Vishnuh Gurur-devo Maheswarah Gurur - Sakshat Param Brahma Tasmai Sri Gurave namah The Preceptor is Brahma, Vishnu, is the God Maheswara, is verily Brahma itself. Salutation to such a Preceptor. Hindus in general attach a great importance to gurus. Guru is a general term used for almost all types of teachers including those who teach the fine arts like music and dancing. In the olden days of Gurukul system, a knowledgeable guru taught a group young shishyas (students) Vedas and other subjects to prepare them for their future lives.

Beginning with the tradition of oral teaching of the Vedas, the guru-shishya relationship has gradually matured into a deep guru-devotee component of sanatana dharma.
The planet Guru (Jupiter), also known as Brihaspati, is considered as the teacher to the celestial beings (Devas). In Vedic astrology, Guru is seen as an auspicious planet. Thursday is called "guruvaar" meaning Guru's day. It is generally chosen as the best day for worshipping Guru (Jupiter). Worshipping Guru is said to bring many benefits such as wealth, wedding, intelligence and fame. Even in the western world, the term "guru" is widely used to describe anyone who is known for his specialised knowledge in a specific field. India has a rich history of saintly gurus. Their lives are absolutely inspiring. They came from different regions of India and from all castes. Not many were formally educated but they had unique qualities to attract followers and guide them in the spiritual path. The paths they chose to remove ignorance and enlighten their devotees were different like the karma marg, the yoga marg and the bhakti marg.

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One of the greatest gurus of ancient India was the revered Adi Shankara who established the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. Traveling all over the country in a short life span of 32 years, Adi Shankara wrote commentaries on the Vedas and various other scriptures such as the Vishnu Sahasranamam. Besides commentaries, Adi Shankara also wrote several treatises such as the Vivekachudmani (Crest-Jewel of Wisdom), Upadeashasri (A thousand teachings) and Prasnottara Ratna Malika (The Gem-Garland of Questions and Answers). These treatises are treasures that have the potential to influence our mind to develop positive thoughts and derive great inspiration. By the grace of Adi Shankara, sanatana dharma got significantly strengthened through centuries. There were many other remarkable saints like Appar, Gnanasambandar, Tyagaraja Swamigal, Sridhar Ayyaval, Thiruvalluvar, Mirabai, Sai Baba, Tukaram who had contributed immensely to enhancing Bhakti (devotion) and strengthening sanatana dharma. Their deeply spiritual lives have inspired and uplifted millions of Hindus and others worldwide. Many Hindu saints preached and continue to preach the importance of Bhakti (devotion) to God. Some of the well-known saints of the Bhakti Movement include Sri Bodhendra Swamigal, the Vaishnavite Alvars and the Saivite Nayanars. History indicates that many kings in India held their gurus in high esteem and were inspired by their gurus. In Mahbhrata, Dronacharya was the royal teacher (guru) to Kauravas and Pandavas. Even in present days, the Government of India presents Dronacharya Award for excellence in sports coaching. Shivaji Maharaj who established the Maratha kingdom had Samartha Ramdas as his guru. Samartha Ramdas inspired Shivaji to fight against the Mughals and get freedom for the Marathas. However, it is believed that when Shivaji proposed to Ramdas to become the king of the Maratha kingdom, Ramdas declined - such was the greatness of Shivajis guru! Most of us are blessed to live in the era of Mahaperiva of Kanchi. As the head of Kanchi Matam for the longest span of 87 years, Periva was a satguru whose sole aim was to help his devotees and steer them to the dharmic path on the lines of Vedic tradition. He led a very simple life. Many of his devotees have shared their fulfilling experiences in the Kanchi Forum.

Periva traces the growth of religion to the quality of its leaders. His
comments are summarized below: The decay of a religion in any country could be attributed to the lack of character of its leaders and of the people constituting the establishment responsible for its growth.

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Adi Shankara came after the Buddha. People were drawn to Adi Shankara for his knowledge, incomparable good qualities and greatness. Later appeared Ramanuja and Madhva who, in their personal lives, stood out as men of lofty character. They too were able to gather round them a large following and extend the sway of their respective systems. If religions that resort neither to force nor to money power have grown, it is solely because of the noble qualities of their teachers (gurus).

Outward guise alone is not what constitutes the qualities of a representative or a spokesman of a religion.
Whatever the persuasion to which he belongs he must be utterly selfless, bear ill-will towards none, in addition to being morally blameless. He must live an austere life, and must be calm and compassionate by nature. Such a man will be able to help those who come to him by removing their shortcomings and dispelling the evil in them. Producing men of such noble qualities from amongst us is the way to make our religion flourish. The need is for representatives, for preceptors, capable of providing an example through their very life of the teachings of our religion. It is through such men that, age after age, sanatana dharma has been sustained as a living force. Hereafter too it will be through them that it will continue to remain a living force.

One of the secrets to staying positive with Vedic tradition is to find and seek the grace of a satguru.
It is very important that every seeker of inspiration and positive thoughts must have a satguru, a guru who will lead them out of ignorance and misplaced desires. When you have such a guru, the way to honour your guru is to follow his teachings and be a humble devotee. When you do so, you will see the difference in yourself!

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5.0 Vedic Wisdom

The ancient saints spread the message of Vedas based on their own inner experience. Much of their wisdom emanated from intuitive knowledge, not logical reasoning. Their primary aim was to dispel ignorance through Vedic enlightenment.

How did those ancient saints more appropriately called Rishis acquire the Vedic revelations? Periva explains the historic background to Vedas in a very simple way:
The Vedic seers have the name of "mantra-drastas" - a "drasta" is one who sees. In Tamil it is "parppavan". "Parppan" also means the same thing. If the sages "saw" the mantras it would mean that they did not "hear" them. Which of the two versions is correct? Did the sages see the mantras or did they hear them? If they saw them, in what script did they appear? There was no script at the time, neither Devanagari nor Grantha nor Brahmi, the basis of all. But, then, the sound of Vedas, their svaras, cannot be truly written down in any script. The answer to this problem is that when the sages were meditating the mantras of the Vedas appeared to them in a flash in their hearts. It may be that in this state of theirs they could neither see nor hear anything. The mantras must have appeared in a flash in the inner recesses of their minds.

"Seeing" or "looking" does not denote merely what is perceived by the eye. It is a term that covers a variety of perceptions and experiences. When we say that a
man has "seen" all sorrows in his life, does the term "seen" imply only what he "saw" with his eyes? Does it not mean what he has "experienced"? The term "mantra-drasta" also could be taken in a similar manner as referring to what is perceived through experience. It is further believed that the sages were able to hear the Vedas with their divine ears. Arjuna wished to see the Lord's cosmic form (visvarupa). The Gita has it that Krishna Paramatman said to him: You will not be able to see my cosmic form with these eyes of yours. I will give you a celestial eye. . . . . "

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Just as Arjuna was endowed by the Lord with a divine eye, the sages must have been invested with celestial ears to grasp the sound emanating from the Paramatman and pervading the vast space. The vibrations of the Vedas serve the purpose not only of creation and the conduct of life. There are indeed Vedic mantras that help us to transcend this life and become one with the Ultimate Truth. When a man returns by the same way as he comes, does he not arrive at the starting point?

In the same way when we go seeking how creation came about, we are led to the point where there are no vibrations, no movements, where there is utter stillness.
Some mantras that create vibrations in our nadis accomplish the same noble task of taking us to such a goal. Such are the Upanishad mahavakyas and Pranava.

In sum, the Vedas are not anyone's compositions. The sages did not create them, nor were inscribed by the Paramatman on palm-leaves.
Sri Aurobindo, author of the book on 'The Secret of the Veda' says: "In the Vedic idea of the revelation there is no suggestion of the miraculous or the supernatural. The Rishi who employed these faculties, had acquired them by a progressive self-culture. Knowledge itself was a travelling and a reaching, or a finding and a winning; the revelation came only at the end, the light was the prize of a final victory. There is continually in the Veda this image of the journey, the souls march on the path of Truth. On that path, as it advances, it also ascends; new vistas of power and light open to its aspiration; it wins by a heroic effort its enlarged spiritual possessions." Let us see some samples of inspiring Vedic verses that help us stay positive: Om Serve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Shantu Nir-Aamayaah | Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

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If you look at the meaning of this verse, youll understand how positive and inspiring are the sentiments expressed by it and how much it cares about everyones well-being. Let us see what the verse means. Om, May All become Happy, May All become free from Illness. May all see what is Auspicious, Let no one Suffer. Om Peace, Peace, Peace. Even by merely reading it, one should feel happy, enthusiastic and positive! Om Sarveshaam Svastirbhavatu | Sarveshaam Shaantirbhavatu | Sarveshaam Purnam Bhavatu | Sarveshaam Mangalam Bravado ||

If you take a look at the meaning of this verse, youll see how positive it is:

Auspiciousness be unto all. Perfect peace be unto all. Fullness be unto all. Prosperity be unto all.
Om Saha Nav-avatu | Saha Nau Bhunaktu | Saha Viiryam Karava-Avahai |

TejasviNavAdhii-Tam-AstuMaa VidvishAavahai| Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Roughly translated, the verse would mean: Om, May the Almighty God protect us both (the teacher and the student) May God nourish us both. May we work together with energy and vigour May our study be enlightening, not giving rise to hostility Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.

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There are many short and crisp Vedic/Sanskrit phrases that reflect the greatness of ancient Vedic tradition. Some of these are used as corporate slogans. Such phrases are easy to remember and continuously inspire us to stay positive. Here are some samples of such phrases: 1. / shraddhAvAn labhate GYaanam Reverent attains wisdom (Rigveda) 2. / asato mA sadgamaya Lead us from untruth to truth 3. / tamaso mA jyotirgamaya Lead us from darkness unto light 4. / vidy dadti vinayam

Knowledge generates humility

5. / siddhirbhavati karmajA Success is born of action 6. / dharmo rakShati rakShitaH Values (dharma) protect the protector of values 7. / satye sarvaM pratiShThitam Everything is established in truth 8. / pragynam brahma

Knowledge is the attainment of God

9. / Nityam Yato Shubhodayam Let auspiciousness rise everyday 10. / vidyA vinayena shobhate

Knowledge shines by humility

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6.0 The Tradition of Temple Worship

God is considered Omni-present. Yet, we see thousands of temples all over the world and millions of people thronging to these temples. Why worship in temples? One reason is tradition built over centuries but a stronger reason seems to be peoples faith backed by personal experiences.

Temples are like powerful energy centers where one gets the spiritual batteries charged to clear clutters in mind and nurture positive thoughts.
In the 1973 New Delhi discourses, Periva spoke about temple worship. Following are relevant excerpts picked out from his extensive discourses (remarks in italics with * are the authors): We know that God exists everywhere, but still the idea does not get firmly established in our mind. It does not get reflected in our daily actions. If one remembers God all the time, how can one utter any falsehood or commit evil acts? If God is merely Omni-present, how can He help us? We all long for His grace somehow. So, we have to worship Him and get His grace. But the agama-shastras (* Agama means 'that which has come down' or tradition) tell us how this should be done. The suns rays contain a lot of heat energy. If we keep a piece of cloth in the sun, it does not catch fire by itself. But if we place a lens and focus the suns heat rays on that piece of cloth, after some time, we find that the cloth catches fire. Similarly, electrical energy is everywhere, but in order to bring it to our daily use, we need to have generators to channel that energy and transmission systems to distribute it at the places where we need it.

In the same way, in order to get the grace of the Omni-present Lord, we have to build temples, where we can focus the power of the Lord in a consecrated idol for our benefit in an easy way.

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The puja that we do in our houses is for our own welfare. We do it according to our convenience and, according to our mental frame of mind. But the puja done in the temples is for the whole of society and therefore, there is so much of fanfare, sounding of musical instruments and singing of auspicious tunes; the deity is taken out in a procession during festival days and there is display of fireworks. So, in our country, we find that there are many temples; of course, in other countries also, there are many places of worship, but there is no installation of any idols, as in the case of our temples. They have just a big prayer hall where people assemble and offer some prayers or do some silent meditation and then disperse after getting some peace of mind. But in our temples, the idols are installed and they have divinity infused into them and, as such, they have certain sanctity about them. We see divinity in our idols and, therefore, we do abhisheka, alankara or decoration, naivedyam, haarati and many other upacharas (*ritualistic services in worship).

Some people say that the places of worship, which belong to other religions, are quiet, but our Hindu temples are full of noise. Of course, this is true. Actually, there are two types of noises in our temples.
One is the desirable type of noise such as ringing of bells, the sounding of musical instruments like nadaswaram and the shahnai; the recitation of namavali archana, recitation of mantras and so on. Of course, there is also the undesirable type of noise in the form of people indulging in idle gossip and purposeless talk. It is our duty to see that this idle talk, which results in undesirable noise, is totally eliminated from our temples. In other places of worship, this type of fanfare that we have in our temples, is not there, because they do not recognize idol worship or worship of God in the saguna form and they believe in worship of God in his attribute less and shapeless form only. The divine presence in our idols, when we worship them, helps us to banish poverty as well as evil. Thus, the idol with divinity which we see in our temples is an object of beauty for us, and worthy of meditation.

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If our thoughts are of a high order, then we worship the deity in the above manner, so that we may get supreme happiness. It is with this idea that we perform abhisheka and decorate the idol with ornaments etc. Thus we worship God in these various ways by doing so many upacharas. This kind of worship is possible only in the Hindu religion. Idol worship is very important in our religion, for the ordinary people. When we bow before an idol or pray before the deity consecrated in the idol, we never think that it is only a piece of stone, but we think that the deity in the idol is the protector and the root cause of the whole world. Thus, temples help to increase the devotion of a person to God and this devotion helps him to overcome or reduce his sufferings.

Ordinary people may not have the capacity, and strength of mind to bear their sufferings. But with bhakti or devotion to Ishwara, they can face them, and get also the mental strength to bear them.
It is for this purpose that an ordinary person goes to the temple. He goes there, offers some prayers and then he feels all right. If one person talks about his sufferings to another, the other man will listen to him for some time, but after some time he will start narrating his own sufferings and say that he is having more sufferings than other individuals.

So, sharing ones sufferings with another person, who is also suffering, will not result in the removal of the sufferings.
Therefore, we go to temple and pray to Him, and we pour out before Him our tale of woe and sufferings. If we go and narrate our sufferings to another man for a long time he will start abusing us after some time, and he may even slap us if we persist with the narration of our tale of woe and suffering. But when we go to a temple, we can tell God whatever we like, Have you not ears to listen to my prayers? Have you no eyes to see my suffering? And we may ask Him why He is not giving His grace immediately to us.

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After this prayer, when we come out, we shall have some peace of mind. The more we address God, the more is the peace that we get in our mind.
Saguna (Idol) Worship has got this capacity to give peace of mind because there is chaitanya (*Consciousness) in the idol installed in the temple and after pouring out our suffering before God in the temple, we get some peace of mind. That is why we have the habit of going to the temples. (Source: http://blog.periva.org/2011/02/1973-delhi-discourses-part-1-of-15.html) What a convincing explanation by Periva!

Those who are really seeking to stay positive should try this out this method. Choose a nice and quiet place in a temple, sit there crosslegged for some time, and gradually glide into a silent meditation mode. You will start feeling good with positive and soothing sentiments because of the divine vibrations all around you.
Praying and wishing in those moments can often produce beneficial results to you. Many devotees can vouch for this from their own personal experiences.

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7.0 Current Developments

In recent years, attitudes of many people around the world have been shifting dramatically. There seems to be an impulse to trust tradition that has built a set of codes for self-development and control. More people are looking past the age-old dogma to the underlying universal mystical concepts in Vedas that have existed for thousands of years. Science is beginning to explore the mystical or supernatural. People get thrilled to watch science fiction movies especially those depicting the acquisition of remarkable powers by humans such as Harry Potter or Spiderman. There is a growing body of scientific research that is trying to deal with mind, its latent power, and how it could be used to benefit living beings.

Water is considered holy by Hindus. It is used in all our rituals. Quite a lot of explanation about the holiness of water and its remarkable features are contained in the Aruna Prasnam also popularly called as Surya Namaskara mantras.
The research on water by Dr. Masaru Emoto of Japan has shown some remarkable results. In a series of experiments with water, Dr. Emoto began studying the effects of prayer, blessings, and spoken words. The results indicated that water crystal formation was sensitive to these thingsyielding to his hypothesis that Molecules of water are affected by our thoughts, words, and feelings. He has recorded the way that consciousness acts on water (ice) crystals, showing that intention can have a direct influence on the shape and form of the crystals. His work is generating a lot of excitement all over the world. Many thousands of people have experienced the power of meditation and prayer. Personal experiences of some people testify the effects of following the Vedic tradition. This development is a good sign to staying positive with Vedic tradition.

Periva says nicely with a simple analogy: Our scriptures are meant to be a living reality of our speech and action. Instead of putting them to such noble use, to consign them to the libraries, in the form of books, is like keeping living animals in the museum instead of in the zoo.

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8.0 Conclusion
The age old Vedic tradition has withstood the test of time. We cannot and should not discount the wisdom of our ancestors. Periva had taken the pains to explain this wisdom in various discourses. Fortunately, some devotees have recollected and recorded his lectures for the benefit of us and the future generations. In this e-book, the author has tried to present only a few but essential portions of Perivas talks revealing a small part of our Vedic tradition and the secrets to staying positive.

There is a treasure of information available from Perivas discourses - in audio and visual forms - at the Kanchi Periva Forum.
The author takes this opportunity to invite readers to register in the forum at http://www.periva.proboards.com. You can then enjoy the privilege of having all this information within your easy reach at no cost.

To help you understand more about Vedic tradition and stay positive, the author encourages you to listen to the "Divine Voice of Sri Maha Periva" though a huge collection of audio available on www.periva.org
We conclude this edition with the following verse from the Rig Veda: Faith is composed of the heart's intention, Light comes through faith, Through faith men come to prayer, Faith in the morning, faith at noon and at the setting of the sun. O Faith, give us faith! After reading this e-book, do you feel you have gained something of value? Do you think it offers some practical tips to stay positive? Whatever be your answer, the author gratefully acknowledges your sustained interest and time in reading this e-book.

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shruti smriti purananaam Alayam karunaalayam namaami bhagavatpaadam Sankaram lokasankaram Salutations to the sacred feet of Sri Sankara, the repository of all the wisdom that is contained in Shruti, Smriti and Puranas, the incarnation of grace, the bestower of blessedness on the world.

Jaya Jaya Sankara, Hara Hara Sankara !

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9.0 Suggested further reading

1. Hindu Dharma; the Vedas. http://www.kamakoti.org 2. The Secret of the Veda by Sri Aurobindo. Published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 3. The Vedas, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai 4. Deivathin Kural (in Tamil) Ra. Ganapathy, Vanathi Publications 5. Periva's discourses at http://blog.periva.org/ 6. Hindu Dharma - Universal Way of Life published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai 7. Sri Sankara Granthavali - Complete Works of Sri Sankaracarya in the original Sanskrit, v. 1-10, revised ed., Samata Books, Madras, 1998 8. The Hidden Messages in Water by Dr. Masaru Emoto, Japan 9. Sri Acharya Swamigal Upanyasangal in Tamil published by Kalaimagal, Mylapore, Chennai 10. "Indian Saints and Mystics" published by Sri Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture

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