One verse and its meaning over years

Whenever I wanted to please someone else, it was always an effort to understand what would please them first, learn about it, and then do it meticulously. It was interesting to see the same concept being explained in a verse. My understanding has evolved over years.

There is a verse that goes like this…


Namaskara priyo Bhanuhu (Please the Sun by performing Surya Namaskaras)
Abhisheka priyo Shivaha (Please Shiva by performing abhishekam)
Alankara priyo Vishnuhu (Please Vishnu by adorning / decorating him)
Brahmana bhojana priya (Please mankind by feeding them good food)

When I heard it for the first time as a child, I could instantly relate to the bhojana priya part, as I am a food-lover and I always used to love eating a variety of dishes. My mother or grandmother who made tasty food for me, were the best in the world. Which means, the other statements must be true as well. I thought when I want to please the others in the verse, this is exactly what I would do.

A decade passed. I heard this verse again.

Over years, I wanted to learn more about the Sun, our solar system, how it impacts our life on earth and how the Sun is the key to all life on this planet. Of course, saluting him (Namaskaras) made a lot of sense. My admiration & respect for Sun had increased.

When we visit temples, I used to get the opportunity to see Shiva abhishekam and Vishnu alankarams beautifully done, adorning him with flowers, perfumes, gold & jewelry, silk clothes etc. I thought there were so many devotees doing these regularly, which was very good.

I still loved food, and had started learning more about the other three, my respect increasing by the day. I felt, if I loved food so much, others around me also would love food. There were people who lacked food, whom my father used to give them money to eat a good meal, or bring them home for a meal. I started observing those around me and whether they get food or not, and how they were being helped. The government had started schemes to feed the hungry children free-lunch at school. I admired the nobility of the deeds.

A few decades passed. I heard this verse again.

Surya namaskaras are known to activate all the nadis and chakras, increasing the health of the muscles, bones, spine, intestines and all organs of our body. Learning to do it the proper way from a teacher helps us relieve ourselves from many health issues.

When we do abhishekam to Shiva, it is a process for us to get into a meditative state. For anyone who is looking to meditate, this simple activity would lead the way. Calming our minds, being able to understand ourselves intrinsically, being able to connect with the divine, this is a simple step to start the journey.

When we decorate and beautify anything, we feel happy seeing the beautiful decorations. It fills our heart with happiness. For those moments, no worry in the world can grip us. That state of mind to focus on doing an activity that fills us with happiness is what alankaram does to us. When we clad ourselves in beautiful clothes, adorn jewelry, set our hairstyles, wear good shoes – we feel good. That feel good factor amidst our day to day worries go away when we make an effort & keep an eye to decorate. Even a simple twig of Tulasi leaf is sufficient when placed in front of Him with love filled in our hearts. Growing flowers, fruits, making arts and crafts & garlands to adorn Him became a habit.

I started learning to cook a variety of dishes for my family and ensured we donated food for charity on a regular basis. Participating in community events, school and homeless shelter events, soup kitchen donations became part of life. Inculcating the thought and habit in children was important to continue the habit. Focus shifted to passing it across generations.

A few decades passed. I heard this verse again.

Health is wealth. Surya namaskaras help us maintain our physical health, leading to good mental health all through our lives. Meditation helps us calm our minds down and initiates our spiritual journey. Adorning the Lord with flowers fills us with happiness when no other source can get us out of our sorrow. Serving in the local community (in whatever way we can) helps remain humble while helping those in need.

I also realize that with age, what we seem to understand from the verses seems to evolve and we grow more mature when we try to apply it to our lives and benefit from the same. While I started to figure our how to please others, somewhere along the way, it stopped being about pleasing them, but learning about the underlying intent of it!

2 thoughts on “One verse and its meaning over years

  1. Great post on pleasing others Shanthy. The slokas you mentioned are an eye opener to the same concept. As you said , with age we evolve and understand things better. Thanks for sharing.

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