Renuka Narayanan

Renuka Narayanan

Renuka Narayanan is a commentator and columnist on religion and culture.

Articles by Renuka Narayanan
The many moods of May: Mahavishnu’s fourth avatar, Narasimha, had manifested in Adhik Maas to save his devotee Prahlad.(Getty Images / iStock)
The many moods of May: Mahavishnu’s fourth avatar, Narasimha, had manifested in Adhik Maas to save his devotee Prahlad.(Getty Images / iStock)

A month of fasts, feasts and reaching out: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON MAY 06, 2018 09:23 AM IST
Take a cue from stories, old and not so old, to mark this time with kindness.
British royals William and Kate wave to photographers hours after the birth of their third child.(Tim Ireland / AP Photo)
British royals William and Kate wave to photographers hours after the birth of their third child.(Tim Ireland / AP Photo)

The beauty of a job well done: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON APR 29, 2018 09:51 AM IST
It’s easy to scoff and make light of them, but it takes tonnes of discipline and commitment to do what real princesses must do.
People from across communities participate in a peaceful march in Kolkata to condemn the rape and murder of an 8-year-old in Kathua.(Samir Jana / HT Photo)
People from across communities participate in a peaceful march in Kolkata to condemn the rape and murder of an 8-year-old in Kathua.(Samir Jana / HT Photo)

Accepting our errors, expressing remorse: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON APR 21, 2018 04:52 PM IST
Each one of us can and must do what we can to make things better.
(Getty Images / iStockphoto)
(Getty Images / iStockphoto)

A curious old tale for a new cycle of time: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON APR 15, 2018 08:40 AM IST
A quaint story from the annual Kapalishwar festival of Mylapore is a reminder that the Eternal God is far above human conflicts and quarrels.
In Babette’s Feast, sumptuous dishes like the cailles en sarcophage (quail in puff pastry shell with foie gras and truffle sauce) become a metaphor for the perceived conflict between pleasure and piety. You can read Karen Blixen’s elegant short story online, and watch the film on YouTube.
In Babette’s Feast, sumptuous dishes like the cailles en sarcophage (quail in puff pastry shell with foie gras and truffle sauce) become a metaphor for the perceived conflict between pleasure and piety. You can read Karen Blixen’s elegant short story online, and watch the film on YouTube.

The many metaphors hidden within a feast: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON APR 08, 2018 08:57 AM IST
In a time of food wars, we would do well to remember that God’s grace is reflected in every plate and palate.
Hanuman in Lanka, by Raja Ravi Varma. Indians love the ‘action hero’ personality of Hanuman, but the wise and gentle giant is also upheld as an ideal of humility and devotion despite being a superstar.
Hanuman in Lanka, by Raja Ravi Varma. Indians love the ‘action hero’ personality of Hanuman, but the wise and gentle giant is also upheld as an ideal of humility and devotion despite being a superstar.

From an epic hero, lessons in humility: SheBaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON MAR 31, 2018 06:44 PM IST
The verses glorifying Hanuman are more about ‘personality development’, meant to inspire the reciter to become a positive person and an asset to society
How stories unite us: The Pandavas depicted as shadow puppets at an Indonesian museum.
How stories unite us: The Pandavas depicted as shadow puppets at an Indonesian museum.

A living river of sermons, stories, songs: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON MAR 25, 2018 11:42 AM IST
The Harikatha, a piece of inner India, draws from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Here’s why we need it more than ever today.
Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Sankaracharya.(HT Photo)
Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Sankaracharya.(HT Photo)

A mystic moment of historic holy flow

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON MAR 16, 2018 10:01 PM IST
Thanks to the Kanchi Srimatam’s efforts, we have properly-trained Vedic priests and scholars today.
Lalita Tripurasundari is worshipped across India, from Tripura in the northeast to Tamil Nadu in the south.(Wikimedia Commons)
Lalita Tripurasundari is worshipped across India, from Tripura in the northeast to Tamil Nadu in the south.(Wikimedia Commons)

The lost-and-found realm of a great goddess: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON MAR 10, 2018 05:20 PM IST
In our forgotten links to common deities is a reminder of the unity that we all culturally share.
Jatayu Moksham: The epics teach us to look closely at the dynamics of love, duty and discipline. To ask why Jatayu, who was just another bird of prey, died with his head on Rama’s lap, reciting Rama’s name
Jatayu Moksham: The epics teach us to look closely at the dynamics of love, duty and discipline. To ask why Jatayu, who was just another bird of prey, died with his head on Rama’s lap, reciting Rama’s name

Of a brave, old bird that died in the woods: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2018 08:48 AM IST
There’s still a lot to learn from the epics, about virtues and discipline, and the importance of God-awareness.
In later versions of the Ramayana, no one could handle the thought of Ravan laying hands on Sita and so they respectfully or prudishly changed it.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
In later versions of the Ramayana, no one could handle the thought of Ravan laying hands on Sita and so they respectfully or prudishly changed it.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

No zari curtains on Valmiki’s Ramayana: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2018 04:58 PM IST
The root Ramayana didn’t have a ‘Lakshman rekha’ or a terrible last parting, but the versions after it have been revised to suit the writers
All nature, all creation is pervaded by God, says the Isha Upanishad.(Shutterstock)
All nature, all creation is pervaded by God, says the Isha Upanishad.(Shutterstock)

When you (fairly) civilly disagree about God: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON FEB 17, 2018 10:40 AM IST
There is a crucial difference between the ‘godly’ and the ‘godless’ regarding what actually constituted ‘godliness’
Pandharpur temple town, Solapur district in south Maharashtra, 400 km from Mumbai.(Hindustan Times)
Pandharpur temple town, Solapur district in south Maharashtra, 400 km from Mumbai.(Hindustan Times)

Many languages maybe, but a common prayer

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 02, 2018 12:18 PM IST
The Naam Samkeertan tradition centred on Vitthala that originated with the great medieval Marathi saints, is hugely popular across the Deccan or Indian peninsula.
A downpour in New Delhi. Rain-making, at its heart, even in our oldest myths, is about faith and good intentions.(HT File Photo)
A downpour in New Delhi. Rain-making, at its heart, even in our oldest myths, is about faith and good intentions.(HT File Photo)

To good thoughts, good deeds, and rain: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2018 09:41 PM IST
From Ramayana’s Rishyashringa to Honi, the Circle-Drawer of Galilee, legends of seers who could make it pour abound.
Raja Ravi Varma’s Sarasvati.
Raja Ravi Varma’s Sarasvati.

An easy path to a happier you: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2018 05:16 PM IST
Spring is a time to celebrate Sarasvati, the patron deity of knowledge and the arts. And also to ask, how well do you really know yourself?
Along with festivals like Buddha Purnima, Vesak and Kartik Purnima, Makara Sankaranti is another ancient festival shared by regions across South and South-East Asia - with the added benefit of kite-flying thrown in!(iStock)
Along with festivals like Buddha Purnima, Vesak and Kartik Purnima, Makara Sankaranti is another ancient festival shared by regions across South and South-East Asia - with the added benefit of kite-flying thrown in!(iStock)

A sweet way to hit refresh on friendship, unity: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 13, 2018 07:25 PM IST
A significant positive aspect to Makara Sankaranti is that it unites the regions of India in a profoundly meaningful but baggage-free way.
(iStock)
(iStock)

Understanding the purpose of human life: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 06, 2018 07:47 PM IST
As we start a new year, let’s remember that our true purpose is to show loving kindness to all.
(Illustration:Shrikrishna Patkar)
(Illustration:Shrikrishna Patkar)

May we be kinder, better in the new year: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON DEC 31, 2017 08:29 AM IST
Let us cultivate the patience and good humour we need to keep us from going to pieces when tired or unhappy.
The Bible tells us that Jesus ate bread, wine and fish. Scholars say other chief crops during Christ’s time were wheat, grapes and lentils.(Getty Images / iStock)
The Bible tells us that Jesus ate bread, wine and fish. Scholars say other chief crops during Christ’s time were wheat, grapes and lentils.(Getty Images / iStock)

Visions of a feast in the time of Christ: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON DEC 24, 2017 09:54 AM IST
It is believed Jesus and his disciples ate simply. As Christmas draws closer, a look back at feasts of the old Judeo-Christian tradition.
(iStock)
(iStock)

There is good in us all, even despite ourselves: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON DEC 17, 2017 03:56 PM IST
As Christmas draws near, tales about the nature of God-love come to mind with renewed joy.
It said in religious discourses that the Dharma Shastras hold duty to one’s mother paramount.(Shutterstock)
It said in religious discourses that the Dharma Shastras hold duty to one’s mother paramount.(Shutterstock)

The mother and mother-goddess as the teacher: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON DEC 09, 2017 11:13 PM IST
The mother is revered as one’s first guru, who not only teaches us the basics of existence but also our human duty.
(iStock)
(iStock)

It’s not just what, learn how to give too: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON DEC 02, 2017 07:35 PM IST
On the anniversary of the revelation of the Bhagavad Gita, revisit its lessons on generosity, charity.
Attributed to Agastya, the Aditya Hrudayam praises the Sun in its many aspects, and reaffirms it as a giver, sustainer and taker of life.(Getty Images / iStock)
Attributed to Agastya, the Aditya Hrudayam praises the Sun in its many aspects, and reaffirms it as a giver, sustainer and taker of life.(Getty Images / iStock)

Take a moment to tune in to the Sun: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON NOV 25, 2017 06:08 PM IST
One can chant the Aditya Hrudayam as a prayer of praise to the Sun, or enjoy it as inspiring Indian poetry.
All religions embrace harmony, and a move towards anbey swarupam or the embodiment of love.(Getty Images / iStock)
All religions embrace harmony, and a move towards anbey swarupam or the embodiment of love.(Getty Images / iStock)

Lost lessons in love from long ago: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON NOV 18, 2017 08:37 PM IST
No matter which legends we were raised on, mutual love and respect was the moral of the story
Sarasvati rules every field of knowledge. She does not care for complacency or ego.(Getty Images / iStock)
Sarasvati rules every field of knowledge. She does not care for complacency or ego.(Getty Images / iStock)

Themes that will never ever leave us: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON NOV 12, 2017 08:43 AM IST
Set language politics aside and you will find that there is, indeed, much to admire in early Indian poetry in English.
The saptaparni is the state tree of West Bengal. It’s called chatim in Bengali. Graduating students of Vishvabharati University are ceremonially handed a sprig at convocation.(iStock)
The saptaparni is the state tree of West Bengal. It’s called chatim in Bengali. Graduating students of Vishvabharati University are ceremonially handed a sprig at convocation.(iStock)

Seven leaves to a sprig and other stories: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON NOV 05, 2017 08:51 AM IST
Saptaparni has an ancient past in the annals of Ayurveda. Its bark-extract is said to boost immunity and help treat deep tummy disorders, malaria and epilepsy.
Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten .(AFP)
Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten .(AFP)

An affection for flowers and a respect for tradition: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON OCT 28, 2017 07:07 PM IST
Fashion designer Dries Van Noten made it big from his small hometown, Antwerp.
Thoughts of Shiva and a Sanskrit verse can prompt unsparing introspection.(iStock)
Thoughts of Shiva and a Sanskrit verse can prompt unsparing introspection.(iStock)

A verse to warm you on a winter dawn: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON OCT 21, 2017 08:49 PM IST
I treasure memories of enchanted evenings at the annual Bhakti Utsavs in Delhi, particularly the year I heard a certain, moving Sanskrit verse on Shiva...
This Dipavali, light lamps of good thoughts and small, sweet acts of loving kindness.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
This Dipavali, light lamps of good thoughts and small, sweet acts of loving kindness.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Another story of Dipavali: SheBaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON OCT 15, 2017 09:36 AM IST
The personality of the Kanchi Paramacharya is an inspiration for the spirit of the festival of lights
Rural brides in the Mithila region are said to weave many dainty boxes and baskets from Sikki grass for their trousseau and it’s a skill to be proud of.(iStock)
Rural brides in the Mithila region are said to weave many dainty boxes and baskets from Sikki grass for their trousseau and it’s a skill to be proud of.(iStock)

When the journey is lawn, think green: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON OCT 08, 2017 10:56 AM IST
From being used in traditional crafts to finding mention in the Ramayana, grass has an interesting place in Indian culture
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