Potharaju During Bonalu Procession

Potharaju is the brother of Goddess Mahankali. He is a fierce looking man and is part of procession to Mother Goddess temples. Today many people dress like Potharaju and leads the Bonalu procession. He walks ahead of the procession whipping himself. He is part of Bonalu procession, Pochamma Thalli and Ellamma Thalli.

Potharaju symbolically represents masculine power, which can weed out all physical evils affecting the devotees of Goddess Mahankali. Thus, he is a protector or guardian deity.

Usually Potharaju is a well-built man, whose body is covered with turmeric powder and red vermilion on forehead. He wears a red dhoti. Bells are tied to the ankle and dances to the sound of drums.

Potharaju carries a whip and lashes it against his body to the sound of drum beats. He is followed by women carrying bonam or by females who tie neem leaves around their waist and are in a trance.

Sometimes Potharaju goes into a trance and predicts the future of the community.

Bol Bom Dedicated to Shiva in Shravan Month

The Hindu Shravan month witnesses thousands of devotees visiting various shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. The pilgrims shout ‘Bol Bom’ or ‘Bhol Bom’ meaning ‘Say Shiva’ during the pilgrimage. In some places the pilgrimage itself is referred as Bol Bom. The term is used mainly during the pilgrimage to Deograh Baba Baidyanath Temple from Sultanganj (Shravani Mela).

In Nepal, Hindu devotees take part in a ‘Bol Bom’ pilgrimage in Kathmandu on Monday in Shravana Month. The devotees run or walk barefooted for kilometers to reach the Pashupatinath Temple seeking good health, wealth and happiness.

The Bol Bom yatris are also known as Kanwarias in India and they participate in the Kanwar Yatra. They carry the sacred Gangajal to home and Shiva Temples to bath the Shivling.


Kanwarias – Hindu Pilgrims carrying Ganga Water to bathe Shivling

In the month of Shravan (July – August) the roads of Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar and Jharkhand will be taken over by saffron-clad Hindu devotees carrying Ganga water. They are the Kanwarias who are undertaking the Kanwar Yatra. They collect water from the Ganga in Haridwar, Gangotri, Gaumukh, Allahabad, Sultanganj and other holy places and return home to bathe the Shiva Lingam in their homes or villages on the Amavasi day in the Shravan month.

The name Kanwarias because they carry a pole called ‘Kanwar’ on their shoulders and pots with Ganga Water hang from the two sides of the pole. It is estimated that more than six million Kanwarias visit various holy places through which Ganga flows in Uttarakhand.

Another one million devotees carry Ganga water from Sultanganj – the only place where Ganga flows towards north – to the famous Deogarh Shiva temple during Shravan Mela. Some devotees in Uttar Pradesh collect water from numerous places in the state including Allahabad or Prayag.

Each devotee approaches the Kanwar Yatra differently. Some prefer to walk the entire stretch silently chanting prayers. Some go in groups singing praise of Lord Shiva. Some devotees create a mela atmosphere by traveling in trucks and carts with loudspeakers playing different types of music. Then there are the relay marthon runners called ‘dak kanwarias.’ In it each yatri runs a certain distance and is then taken over by another yatri.

Numerous voluntary organizations setup camps along the National Highway during the Kanwar Yatra. The Kanwarias are proved food, shelter and safe place to keep the Ganga water.

The movement of Kanwarias during the July – August period is a major concern for authorities, especially the traffic blockade created by them in the major National Highways. The young Kanwarias create a carnival atmosphere and often get into quarrel with the public.

Hindu Festivals in August 2015 – Hindu Vrat – Fasting – Rituals in August 2015

Dates of important festivals associated with Hinduism in August 2015 – based on major Hindu calendars and Panchang used in India. The festivals, Vrats and ritual days in August 2015 are based on Indian Standard Time (IST).

August 1 – Shravan month begins in North India
August 1, 2015 – Ashoonyashayan Vrat
August 3 – Aadi Perukku in Tamil Nadu
August 3 – Shravan Somvar Vrat in North India
August 3 – Sankashti Chaturthi Vrat
August 5 – Manasa Devi Puja
August 8 – Kher Puja
August 10 – Shravan Somvar Vrat in North India
August 10 – Ekadasi Fasting

Shivling Worshipped in Lingaraj Temple in Orissa to have Silver Cover

The Shivling worshipped in Lingaraj Temple in Orissa will be covered with silver cladding. The stone Shiv Lingam was earlier covered with silver cover but was discontinued.
The New Indian Express reports
The ‘Shiv Linga’ at Lingaraj temple will once again have a silver cladding from Monday. The decision was taken at a meeting of Lingaraj Temple Trust Board presided by its chairman, Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Abanikanta Patnaik.
Patnaik said the board decided to clad the ‘Linga’ with silver cover again from Monday. The silver cover had adorned the ‘Linga’ for a few days after it was donated by a devotee last year. But, it was removed following a dispute, he said.
The ADM said the meeting of the board was convened following the decision of the sub-committee to clad the ‘Linga’ with silver from any Monday.

Thoughts on Guru Purnima from Hindu Blog

Human beings or animals or birds or any other living being or whatever thing in the universe that removes ignorance and ushers in the light of self realization is Guru. Guru Purnima is dedicated to this Guru. A Guru need not always be a Swami or a teacher. It can be a small child that gives you the most important lesson in life. 

Guru Purnima is not dedicated to those modern Gurus who promise miracles. Not to those Gurus who promises to make you rich. Not to those Gurus who promises to solve your family problems or any other issues. These are not Gurus but people who make their living by giving false hopes and promises. They thrive on donations. 

Those Gurus that directly or indirectly encourage fear, jealousy, avarice and desires are not gurus.

True Guru never puts the blame to your problems on astrology or bad luck or enemies.

True Guru never advertises.

Blessing of a Guru is not a substitute to hard work. 

The greatest Guru is Bhagavan Sri Krishna. He did not perform a single miracle on the battlefield of Kurukshetra in the Mahabharata. He only made Arjuna realize his Dharma. He made Arjuna perform his Karma. Arjuna had to pick up each arrow and hit the target. Similarly each one of us has to perform our Dharma – focus on our aim, do not diversify, concentrate, do the hard work, be patient, be determined and have single minded devotion.

A true Guru helps in removing ignorance which is stopping us from attaining bliss on earth. For a true Guru happiness is not based on external aspects but it is internal.

A real teacher will never seek blind followers. A true Guru is one who gives intellectual freedom – advises a disciple to think for himself and do as he chooses. 

by hindu-blog.com - Abhilash Rajendran

Importance of Guru Poornima

Guru Poornima or Guru Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day in month of Ashadh (July). The day is dedicated to Gurus, especially to sage Veda Vyas, and therefore Guru Poornima is also known as Vyas Poornima. On this day, disciples venerate their Guru. Guru Purnima 2015 date is July 31.

The Guru Gita in the Skanda Purana written by Sage Ved Vyasa hails guru in this famous verse:
Guru brahma Guru vishnu Gururdevo Maheshwaraha
Guruhu sakshaat Parambrahman tasmai Shrigurave namaha
“Guru is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva,
Veneration to the Guru who has manifested as Parabrahman.”
It must be noted here that Guru is a person who removes darkness or ignorance. The true Guru is the one who removes ‘Maya’ and puts us on the path to Brahman.

School and college teachers are Guru but not the Guru mentioned in the Sanatana Dharma.

Guru can be anyone – sometimes even a child – who removes darkness or ignorance.

The day is celebrated as Vyas Poornima because Sage Vyas is the original Guru of Santana Dharma who has composed several Hindu scriptures.

The day is also known as Vyas puja or Guru puja day.