New member introduction: shrI Subhanu Saxena
Ravisankar S. Mayavaram
msr at ISC.TAMU.EDU
Tue Aug 11 10:18:35 CDT 1998
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 15:58:13 +0100
From: "Saxena, Subhanu" <Subhanu.Saxena at intl.pepsi.com>
To: "'Ravisankar S. Mayavaram'" <msr at isc.tamu.edu>
Shankaram Shankaraachaaryam Keshavam Baadaraayanam
Sutrabhashyakritau vande bhagavantau punaf punaha.
I was delighted to find out about advaita-L as I searched through the
net. I am looking forward to some stimulating times ahead.
A brief backround about myself.
I was born in India in Margherita, Assam in 1964, but my family are from
Lucknow and Kanpur. My family moved to London when I was 3 years old,
but ensured I was kept in touch with my Indian roots by sending me to
India with my brother once every year. Through that I was introduced to
philosophy by my maternal grandfather (Nana) who I call my Adi Guru.
Through Urdu poetry he introduced me to a vast storehouse of literature
that awakened my interest in acquiring a deeper understanding of the
world around me.
In London, I studied Engineering Science at Oxford University, with a
special interest in quantum electronics and laser physics. While I was
at university my friends would ask me about Hinduism. I would give them
the basic platitudes about "One God, don't hurt anybody etc", but that
didn't satisfy them. Out of embarassment at my lack of knowledge, I
asked my parents to buy me some books. They got me Gita, Upanishads
(Advaita Ashrama editions with Shankarabhashyam) and some books on Veda.
I found the material both interesting but maddeningly frustrating. Some
of the translations sounded like "hippy talk" to me. Having always had
a love of languages (I speak French, German, Hindi and now Russian-see
later!) I resolved to learn Sanskrit after graduating from Oxford to
study the texts in their original, free from translators'
interpretations. I enroled at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, where the
teacher and Executive Director happened to come from the Village Mattur
in Karnataka. You probably know that this is Samskrta Graama where
everybody can speak in Sanskrit, and where there are many scholars
versed in Veda and Vedanta. Within 10 minutes I was lost to Sanskrit. I
would cherish my weekly lessons. I seemed to have an aptitude for the
language and was asked to teach at the Bhavan. This I did in my spare
time. My main job was as an investment banker with Citicorp. I
remember one evening thinking it would be nice to study Veda, but
resigned myself to the fact that this would be impossible in London. As
luck would have it, that week I was at the Bhavan, and Nandakumara my
teacher (and now close friend) told me his elder brother was coming to
London on holiday, and that he was a Veda scholar. I couldn't believe
my luck! When he visited, I went every night to him for 2 months and
learned Taittiriya Sakha mantras. If I was lost to Sanskrit in 10
minutes,I was lost to him as my Veda Guru in 10 seconds. A close bond
formed and over the years I visited him in Bangalore regularly, and went
to stay and study in Mattur village. This is where I made my Vedanta
Guru, who is a direct disciple of Sri Sri Swami Satchchidanandendra
Saraswati of Holenarsipur. Amongst all of this, I got married, had 2
beautiful daughters, did an MBA, worked for the Boston Consulting
Group, and have worked for Pepsi Cola for the last 5 years. Under my
Veda Guru, who performed my Upanayanam, I have mastered portions of the
Taittiriya Sakha (The complete Aranyaka portion, the famous Suktas, some
Samhita portions, including Ghana and Krama, plus the important Brahmana
portions. I can also recite Udaka Shanti and Mahanyasam, as well as
perform Homa etc).
I have given lectures in London (where I use to teach in my spare time)
and written articles on Veda and Vedanta covering such topics as the
Vedic view of man and nature, to how to live vedanta in the midst of our
modern day stressful lives.
But the heart of my life is to make the heritage of the ancient rishis
(call it Vedanta or anything-I live by the Rig Veda mantra "Ekam Sat
Vipraaha bahudha vadanti:That one truth the wise call by many different
names) a living breathing experience, and to show people that it is
possible to imbibe the ancient tradition into our fast paced modern day
living without having to give it all up to go to the forests.
I am currently planning a few articles on the following topics, based on
requests from my students following talks I gave on these topics:
1) A vedanta toolkit-Some basic concepts to help you understand vedanta
(Adhyaasa, Sarvatrika Anubhava, Adhyaropa Apavaada, The vyavahara and
paramartha points of view)
2) The heart of Shankara's message:The significance of Adhyasa Bhashyam,
Shankara's famous introduction to his Brahma Sutra Bhashyam
3) A Shankara reader-simple selections from Shankara's bhashya that
encapsulate his teaching.
I relish the prospect of interacting with like minded seekers through
your website. If you thought the above articles may be of interest to
anyone, then I would be happy to send it to you.
Above all, I am a big believer in "Aa no bhadraaha kratavo yantu
vishwataha. Let noble thoughts come to us from every side". I look
forward to being enriched by what I read and learn on the site.
Iti bhavataam mitram
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