Renuka Narayanan

Renuka Narayanan

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

Articles by Renuka Narayanan
The Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan are opening to the public on February 5.(HT File Photo)
The Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan are opening to the public on February 5.(HT File Photo)

Sermons in stones, and good in everything: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON FEB 05, 2017 09:56 AM IST
Once, the most important garden in the Gangetic Plain was Jetavana, the Grove of Prince Jeta (Kumar).
‘In my gradually evolving view, the uprising in Tamil Nadu is not so much about cattle or even Hindi. I see it as the outpouring of accumulated despair about the health of Tamil Nadu.’
‘In my gradually evolving view, the uprising in Tamil Nadu is not so much about cattle or even Hindi. I see it as the outpouring of accumulated despair about the health of Tamil Nadu.’

A love letter to India about her farthest state: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2017 09:25 PM IST
The outpouring regarding the jallikattu issue is of accumulated despair about the health of Tamil Nadu.
It’s never too late to learn to read and write.(Shutterstock)
It’s never too late to learn to read and write.(Shutterstock)

A search for dignity and self-respect

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2017 10:17 PM IST
A school for grannies in Maharashtra is saving elderly women in the villages from facing embarrassment for being illiterate
I wouldn’t give up my old gods for new every thousand years.(Getty Images/Vetta)
I wouldn’t give up my old gods for new every thousand years.(Getty Images/Vetta)

The best of luck to Aristotle... and us: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2017 07:55 PM IST
Some values are enduring and come in handy as we struggle to stay grounded through our times.
The deities seem remarkably united on how we’re supposed to express gratitude - appreciate the good things, and be kind.(Getty Images/iStock Photo)
The deities seem remarkably united on how we’re supposed to express gratitude - appreciate the good things, and be kind.(Getty Images/iStock Photo)

This year, show gratitude: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON JAN 08, 2017 11:02 AM IST
Irrespective of belief and unbelief, plot a personal plan, never mind the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Love among members is the best fortune that a family can have.(Shutterstock)
Love among members is the best fortune that a family can have.(Shutterstock)

The boon from the goddess of good fortune

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON DEC 31, 2016 09:42 PM IST
A classic parable explains how affection and loyalty among people is the best kind of good fortune
On Christmas Day, it is not submission we rejoice in, but righteous resistance.(ISTOCK)
On Christmas Day, it is not submission we rejoice in, but righteous resistance.(ISTOCK)

Those lives unparalleled, spirits sublime: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON DEC 24, 2016 08:24 PM IST
Christmas, like Janmashtami, is beloved to us for its spirit of joyous welcome and positive transformation.
A bauhinia tree in bloom(Getty Images)
A bauhinia tree in bloom(Getty Images)

A haiku for beauty, health and hap

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON DEC 18, 2016 11:54 AM IST
it’s not only our physical health but also our mental and spiritual well-being that trees profoundly affect
People had predicted ritos at the funeral of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Instead, as with the floods in Chennai, what we saw was a lesson in dignity and restraint.(HT File Photo)
People had predicted ritos at the funeral of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Instead, as with the floods in Chennai, what we saw was a lesson in dignity and restraint.(HT File Photo)

Once again in Chennai, a collective sense of decency

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON DEC 11, 2016 09:55 AM IST
Jayalalithaa’s funeral was a perfect example of the Tamil rule principle of adakkam or public self-restraint.
At the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. We’ve been using plants like the sanseviera to clean our air since about 1,000 BC. Maybe it’s time to bring them home again.(AFP)
At the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. We’ve been using plants like the sanseviera to clean our air since about 1,000 BC. Maybe it’s time to bring them home again.(AFP)

Ancient wisdom to fight against pollution: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON DEC 03, 2016 08:35 PM IST
How on earth did they know back in 1,000 BC that sansevieria would reduce pollution at the burning grounds?
When we offer food to a deity, it does not mean we expect ‘God’ to eat it. It just means we acknowledge that the food is a gift.(Getty Images/iStock)
When we offer food to a deity, it does not mean we expect ‘God’ to eat it. It just means we acknowledge that the food is a gift.(Getty Images/iStock)

Thank you for the food we eat: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON NOV 27, 2016 10:33 AM IST
If all things belong to the Creator, then to eat without acknowledging the provider is equal to theft, say our sages and saints.
The Khon Thai dance represents one of the many versions of the Ramayana.(Getty Images)
The Khon Thai dance represents one of the many versions of the Ramayana.(Getty Images)

The truth is, truth has many faces: Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON NOV 20, 2016 09:45 AM IST
There are two sides to the demonetisation debate, but then there are at least two sides to all things.
Isn’t it quaint, and convenient, to expect Donald Trump to personify liberal perfection, when we don’t?(AP)
Isn’t it quaint, and convenient, to expect Donald Trump to personify liberal perfection, when we don’t?(AP)

Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan: Please do as you would be done by

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON NOV 13, 2016 08:54 AM IST
Our Constitution mandates equality between men and women, castes and communities. Are we there yet?
The dawn is personified as Chhatthi Ma, the term coming from the Sanskrit ‘Shashti’, meaning ‘the sixth day’, in this case of the Indian lunar month of Kartik.(iStock / Getty Images)
The dawn is personified as Chhatthi Ma, the term coming from the Sanskrit ‘Shashti’, meaning ‘the sixth day’, in this case of the Indian lunar month of Kartik.(iStock / Getty Images)

Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan: A personal bond with health and sunshine

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON NOV 06, 2016 10:07 AM IST
At the core of the Chhath Puja festival is the idea of acknowledging the sun as the source of life and health.
Building a home, any home, requires love, trust and delicacy. It’s an exercise in giving each other space.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Building a home, any home, requires love, trust and delicacy. It’s an exercise in giving each other space.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Shebaba by Renuka Narayanan: A cottage of leaves by the lotus lake

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON OCT 29, 2016 07:30 PM IST
The manner in which Ram, Sita and Lakshman built their home in exile can be a lesson to us all.
The festival of lights is also a festival of mithai, jalebi and rabdi, and other things sweet. But did you know there used to be a right way, even for gorging?(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The festival of lights is also a festival of mithai, jalebi and rabdi, and other things sweet. But did you know there used to be a right way, even for gorging?(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Effigies of Ravan and Kumbhkaran being set on fire during the Dussehra celebrations in Delhi on Tuesday.(Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO)
Effigies of Ravan and Kumbhkaran being set on fire during the Dussehra celebrations in Delhi on Tuesday.(Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO)

Dussehra with a difference: No smoke or fire but so much fun

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON OCT 16, 2016 10:26 AM IST
The spirit of Dussehra past lingered with a twist, with a laser Ramayana on a large screen with excellent images and sound
The break-up of Brangelina brings to mind the saying, ’Ram naam saga, baki sab daga’, meaning, ‘Only God’s name is truly ‘ours’, all else is a hoax [an illusion]’.(Mario Anzuoni / Reuters File Photo)
The break-up of Brangelina brings to mind the saying, ’Ram naam saga, baki sab daga’, meaning, ‘Only God’s name is truly ‘ours’, all else is a hoax [an illusion]’.(Mario Anzuoni / Reuters File Photo)

SheBaba by Renuka Narayanan: All we need is love – but whose, exactly?

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON SEP 25, 2016 10:28 AM IST
The idea of everything being an illusion, even love, is actually deep Advaita.
We cannot know what God thinks of it all, but festivals are a good time to at least attempt to know ourselves.(HT File Photo)
We cannot know what God thinks of it all, but festivals are a good time to at least attempt to know ourselves.(HT File Photo)

SheBaba by Renuka Narayanan: Trampled, trodden under in the name of God

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON SEP 18, 2016 11:06 AM IST
Do we go templing as a socio-religious combo pack?
If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have a disability of some sort. So be nice about those whose affliction just happens to be more visible.(iStock Photo)
If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have a disability of some sort. So be nice about those whose affliction just happens to be more visible.(iStock Photo)

Take a moment to think about how words said out of thoughtlessness can hurt

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON JUN 26, 2016 11:19 AM IST
Too much political correctness can be a pain, but it’s worth being a little careful if it means one can escape the sin of unintentionally wounding others
Respecting water has everything to do with believing in God.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Respecting water has everything to do with believing in God.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

Death of a river is the death of an ecosystem

UPDATED ON JUN 04, 2016 08:52 PM IST
In human terms the death of a river or a lake or a sea is as though somebody important in the family, somebody central to its well-being, has suddenly died.
Locals line up their boats at the Assi Ghat in Varanasi.(Ajay Aggarwal/HT photo)
Locals line up their boats at the Assi Ghat in Varanasi.(Ajay Aggarwal/HT photo)

Two otters and an expectedly wily jackal

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON APR 24, 2016 02:31 PM IST
The moral of a Jataka tale that still rings true.
Dear Yamuna, you deserved better from modern India.(iStock Photo)
Dear Yamuna, you deserved better from modern India.(iStock Photo)

Yamuna: A very foolish, humane and loving river

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON MAR 20, 2016 03:17 PM IST
Over the years I built up an impression of a charming, wistful sweetness about the Yamuna compared to her grand sisters.
Anger has become the ‘sthayi bhava’ or dominant mood of our public life.(istock)
Anger has become the ‘sthayi bhava’ or dominant mood of our public life.(istock)

What lies beneath that moral policing?

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 14, 2016 04:28 PM IST
It seemed yet another sorry instance to me of the way anger has become the sthayi bhava or dominant mood of our public life, says Renuka Narayanan.
The moral of the ‘goose with a golden feathers’ still holds true. If we exhaust our health capital, we will suffer a burnout.
The moral of the ‘goose with a golden feathers’ still holds true. If we exhaust our health capital, we will suffer a burnout.

If we exhaust our health capital, we will suffer a burnout

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 31, 2016 03:10 PM IST
The moral of the ‘goose with a golden feathers’ still holds true. If we exhaust our health capital, we will suffer a burnout.
The conch was featured in the Indian Science Congress last week for its ‘meditative and soothing effect’ on the human mind.(IStock)
The conch was featured in the Indian Science Congress last week for its ‘meditative and soothing effect’ on the human mind.(IStock)

Why shankh (conch) is so important in Hindu consciousness

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2016 04:56 PM IST
From stories of how Krishna’s Panchajanya who strike terror in the enemy’s heart to its recent mention at the Indian Science Congress for its curative and meditative properties, the conch occupies an important place in collective Hindu consciousness.
“My creation is for the benefit of my creatures. I have no need of praise and worship...” said God to Hazrat Moosa.(iStock)
“My creation is for the benefit of my creatures. I have no need of praise and worship...” said God to Hazrat Moosa.(iStock)

Hazrat Moosa and the ‘errant’ shepherd

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 03, 2016 05:15 PM IST
A story that went straight to my heart years ago and that I like retelling comes from Maulana Jalaludin Rumi’s ‘Mathnavi’, which is hailed as the Persian Quran.
May our people be well-fed, safe and kind. May the New Year bring you health, wealth and much happiness.
May our people be well-fed, safe and kind. May the New Year bring you health, wealth and much happiness.

Another chance for us to get it right

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON DEC 27, 2015 01:26 PM IST
This year, as a New Year pro, I know what I’m not going to do, which includes sneaking into the shrubbery on a winter night in Delhi. I’m not going to make New Year resolutions
National Disaster Response Force personnel rescue people stranded in floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Dec. 04, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed southern India's Tamil Nadu state have eased on Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over.(AP)
National Disaster Response Force personnel rescue people stranded in floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Dec. 04, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed southern India's Tamil Nadu state have eased on Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over.(AP)

Enduring eloquence of a poetic race

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
PUBLISHED ON DEC 13, 2015 05:04 PM IST
In normal circumstances, I would have read aloud my verses in English at the ninth Chennai poetry festival last week, but the event was naturally cancelled following the terrible calamity of the floods. A far greater ‘poetry of life’ poured from the hearts of the Chennaivasis through calls and posts offering free practical help to one another.
In darkness, they’ve brought light. People wade through a flooded road in Chennai.e(REUTERS)
In darkness, they’ve brought light. People wade through a flooded road in Chennai.e(REUTERS)

The Big Idli sets a fine example in citizenship

Hindustan Times | By Renuka Narayanan
UPDATED ON DEC 06, 2015 02:07 PM IST
These boring, dark Madrasis of Madras who don’t eat and speak so funny and were the first to compensate their Sikhs for losses caused in ’84 have shown utter and absolute grace under pressure.
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