Sacred Mark on forehead of Vishnu Devotees – Urdhva Pundra or Naamam

Lord Vishnu devotees identify themselves with a sacred mark on the forehead known as Urdhva Pundra or Namam. This Tilak in Hindu religion is only worn by Vaishnavas. Urdhva means vertical and Pundram means mark. Urdhva Pundra is in the shape of the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu with a red dot or red line in the middle. The red dot in the middle represents Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. Urdhva Pundra is also referred as Naamam or Thiruman kappu.

Urdhva Pundra is marked on forehead using sandal paste or white clay. Two vertical lines meet at the base and in between the lines is a red dot or line. For some devotees the vertical lines meet on the starting of the nose.
Importance of Urdhva Pundra is mentioned in the Varaha Purana and Brahmanda Purana.

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Jaya Parvati Vrat and Jagran in Gujarat

Jaya Pravati Vrata, also referred as Jayaparvati Vrat, is observed by married women in the Hindu month of Ashada. The ritual is observed mainly in Gujarat and is dedicated to Goddess Parvati and Shiva. In 2015, Jaya Parvati Vrat begins (date) on July 29 and ends on August 3 morning. Married women stay awake on the last day of the Vrat and therefore the day is referred as Jayaparvati Jagran (on August 2 in 2015).

Jaya Pravathi Vrat starts on the 13th day in the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) in the month Ashada (July) and is observed for five consecutive days. A partial fast is observed during the five-day period of the Vrata. Salt is avoided by most married women.

Legend has it that a childless couple prayed to Lord Shiva and Parvati for a child. Pleased with their devotion, Shiva appeared them in their dream and asked them to worship a Shivling existing in a nearby dense forest.

The couple went to the forest and found the Shivling and cleaned the place for worship. The husband then went to get flowers but was bitten by a snake on the way.

A worried wife found the husband in an unconscious state; she returned to the Shivling and started praying for the safety of her husband.

The true devotion of the wife melted the heart of Shiva and Parvati and they brought the husband back to life. The couple then continued their worship and in due course was blessed with a child.

Jaya Parvati Vrat is based on this ancient tale and it is believed that those who observe the Vrat will have a long married life and will be blessed with healthy children.

Salt is completely avoided during the five days of Vrata. Wheat and vegetables are also avoided. Various poojas dedicated to Shiva and Parvati like the Uma Maheshwar puja are performed during this period.

On the fifth day, an all night vigil or ‘jagran’ is kept by those observing the Vrata. This staying awake during the night is referred as Jayaparvati Jagran.

Jaya Parvati Vrat is broken by eating food containing wheat and salt on the final day.

There is a tradition that those who observe Jaya Parvati Vrat should do it for five or seven years consecutively.

During the same period, unmarried women and young girls observe the Gauri Vrat in Gujarat.

Ashadi Ekadasi 2015 – Devsayani Ashadi Ekadashi date in 2015

Ashadhi Ekadasi, or Ashada Devasayani Ekadashi, is observed during the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) in Ashada Month (June – July). In 2015, the date of Ashadi Ekadasi is July 27. Pandarpur Yatra culminates on Ashadi Ekadasi and is of great importance in Maharashtra. The day is of a great significance at the Lord Vithal Temple in Pandarpur.

The Palaki of Tukaram Maharaj from Dehu, Palki of Sant Jnaneshwar from Alandi and numerous other Palaki (Palanquin) carrying the silver Padukas of various saints arrives at Lord Vithal Temple in Pandarpur on Ashadi Ekadasi after a 21-day journey. Lord Vithal is an incarnation of Lord Krishna and is a popular deity in Marathi culture.

The day is also of great importance in several other places. Thousands of devotees also take a holy dip in Godavari River on the day and pay obeisance to Lord Rama at Kala Ram temple. This Ekadasi is popularly known as Devshayani Ekadasi.

You can find more details about Ashadi Ekadasi Yatra in this article.

Pandarpur Yatra 2015 date – Pandharpur Yatra - Waari in 2015 in Maharashtra

The annual Pandharpur Yatra (Waari) to the famous Vithoba Temple at Pandharpur in Maharashtra from Dehu and Alandi attracts thousands of people and pilgrims known as warkaris. In 2015, Pandarpur Yatra date on Ashadi Ekadasi on July 27, 2015. In 2015, the date of commencement of Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi from Dehu is July 8. Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi from Alandi begins on July 9, 2015. Pilgrims follow the Shri Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi from Dehu and Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi from Alandi, which is a 21-day travel by foot to Pandarpur.

The Pandarpur Yatra is a pilgrimage to the Vithoba Temple, also known as Vitthal Rukhmini Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Pandharpur Ashadi Ekadasi Wari Yatra has been taking place for more than 700 years.

The main Pandarpur Yatra starts from the Sant Tukaram Temple at Dehu in Pune District. The warkaris or pilgrims follow the Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi procession. This main procession is joined by Sant Dnyaneshwar palkhi from Alandi near Pune. Numerous other palkhis from other towns and villages join the yatra on the way.

The pilgrimage ends on the Ekadasi day during the waxing phase of moon in the Ashada Month as per traditional Marathi calendar.

You can read more about Pandarpur Yatra in this article.

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Virabhadra – Shiva Gana – Hindu God Veerabhadra Swamy

Virabhadra, also known as Veerabhadra Swamy, is one of the Shiva Ganas. Virabhadra is also worshipped as an independent Hindu God in some temples and in such worships He is considered as the son of Lord Shiva. Virabhadra originated from a single strand of hair that was thrown on to earth by Lord Shiva on hearing the death through self immolation by Goddess Sati. Thus Virabhadra is manifestation of Shiva’s anger or the human form given to his unparalleled fury.

Despite Shiva’s warnings, Goddess Sati went to her father, Daksha’s Yajna to ask why her husband, Shiva, was not invited for Yajna (sacrifice). Daksha insulted Sati and Shiva and unable to stand her fathers insults, She immolated herself.

Shiva Gana Veerabhadra SwamyUpon hearing the news of Sati’s immolation, Shiva’s anger knew no bounds and he removed a strand of hair from his matted locks and threw to the ground. A huge volcano leaped from the spot and from the fire came – Virabhadra – Shiva’s anger personified. From every spark of fire from the volcano arose another smaller volcano and from it came out a smaller figure resembling Virabhadra.

Virabhadra is usually depicted as having several hands with different weapons and an angry face.

An army of millions of Virabhadras marched towards Daksha’s palace and they only knew death and vengeance. They destroyed whatever they saw. Finally, Virabhadra found Daksha and cut off his head.

But wife of Daksha, Prasuti, prayed to Lord Shiva for her husband’s life. Shiva granted it and Virabhadra placed a goat’s head on Daksha’s body.
Then Lord Shiva took the body of Goddess Sati and walked away – but the anger did not subside. The universe was being consumed by Shiva’s anger. To save the universe and bring back Shiva to the world, Lord Vishnu shot arrows at Sati’s body. Wherever a part of Sati’s body fell became Shaktipeetahs and Shiva’s anger subsided. When Shiva’s anger was fully subsided – Lord Virabhadra, the manifestation of Shiva’s anger too vanished.

Although the soul is reflected through different material bodies it remains undivided - Uddhava Gita

Just as fire manifests differently in pieces of wood of different sizes and qualities, the omnipotent Supreme Soul, having entered the bodies of higher and lower life forms created by His own potency, appears to assume the identity of each.

The various phases of one’s material life, beginning with birth and culminating in death, are all properties of the body and do not affect the soul, just as the apparent waxing and waning of the moon does not affect the moon itself. Such changes are enforced by the imperceptible movements of time.

Even when reflected in various objects, the sun is never divided, nor does it merge into its reflection. Only those with dull brains would consider the sun in this way. Similarly, although the soul is reflected through different material bodies, the soul remains undivided and nonmaterial.

The doors of liberation are opened wide to one who has achieved human life. But if a human being simply devotes himself to family life, then he is to be considered as one who has climbed to a high place only to rip and fall down.
Uddhava Gita

Today’s Hindu Calendar – July 4, 2015 – Tithi, Vrat, Good Time, Nakshatra, Rashi and Festival

Tithi in Hindu Calendar on Saturday, July 4, 2015 (Today) – Krishna Paksha Tritiya Tithi or the third day during the waning phase of moon in Hindu calendar and Panchang in most regions. It is Krishna Paksha Dwitiya Tithi or the second day during the waning phase of moon till 4:57 AM on July 4. Then onward it is Krishna Paksha Tritiya Tithi or the third day during the waning phase of moon. All time based on India Standard Time.

How is July 4, 2015 as per Hindu Panchang? – It is a good day till 2:00 PM

Nakshatra – Uttarashada or Uthiradam Nakshatra till 2:47 AM on July 4. Then onward it is Shravan or Sravana or Tiruonam Nakshatram.

Rashi or Moon Sign – Makar Rashi.

Festivals, Vrat and Auspicious days –

Kali Yuga Year – 5117

Vikram Samvant 2072 – Adhik Ashada Krishna Paksha Tritiya Tithi or the third day during the waning phase of moon in Extra Ashada month in North India - Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jammu and Kashmir.

Manmathanama Samvatsar/ Shalivahana Saka 1937 – Adhik Ashada Krishna Paksha Tritiya Tithi or the third day during the waning phase of moon in Extra Ashada month in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Manmathanama Samvatsar/ Shalivahana Saka 1937 – Adhik Ashada Krishna Paksha Tritiya Tithi or the third day during the waning phase of moon in Extra Ashada month in Maharashtra and Goa. (It is Adhik Ashada Krishna Paksha Dwitiya Tithi till 3:18 AM on July 4. Then onward it is Adhik Ashada Krishna Paksha Tritiya Tithi.) This time is only applicable in western parts of India.

Vikram Samvant 2071 - Adhik Ashada Krishna Paksha Dwitiya Tithi or the second day during the waning phase of moon in Extra Ashada month in Gujarat. (It is Adhik Ashada Krishna Paksha Dwitiya Tithi till 3:18 AM on July 4. Then onward it is Adhik Ashada Krishna Paksha Tritiya Tithi.) This time is only applicable in western parts of India.

19th day of Aani Masam in Tamil Calendar followed in Tamil Nadu. (Manmatha Year)
19th day of Mithuna Masam in Malayalam Calendar in Kerala. (Kolla Varsham 1190)
18th day of Ashada Month in Calendars followed in Assam and Bengal. (Bengali Year 1422)

Bad Period on July 4, 2015
Rahukalam – 9:09 AM to 10:50 AM
Yamagandam – 2:12 PM to 3:53 PM
Gulikai – 5:47 AM to 7:28 AM
Durmuhurtham – 5:47 AM to 7:35 AM
Varjyam – 4:23 AM to 5:52 AM

Panchak (bad) - not present

Good Time on July 4, 2015
Abhijita Muhurta – 12:07 PM to 12:55 PM
Amirta Kalam – 1:17 PM to 2:46 PM
Sarvartha Siddhi Yog – 2:47 AM on July 4 to 1:39 AM on July 5
Amrita Siddhi Yog - not present
Tripushkar Yog – not present
Dwipushkar Yog - not present

Yog – Vaidhriti (Bad) till 4:38 AM. Then onward it is Vishkamba (Bad)

Karana – Garaja (good) till 3:18 AM. Then onward it is Vanija (good) till 2:02 PM. Then onward it is Vishti or Bhadra (Bad).

Rest all hours that are not part of Bad Period are Good time. When bad period overlaps into good period, that much time of bad period should be eliminated from good period.