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Showing posts from August 1, 2008

Flowers and Leaves used in Ganesh Puja

Each deity in Hinduism has its own favorite flowers and leaves and they are used by Hindus during worship and while performing pujas on festivals. All festivals and rituals in Hindu religion begin with Ganesh Pooja. Red colored flowers are the favorite of Lord Ganesha.Here is a list of flowers and leaves that are offered while praying to Lord Ganesha: Red Flowers: Any usual red color flower used in Hindu rituals.Durva Grass is an important offering to Ganesh. Especially in South India, you will find vendors selling garlands of Durva outside Ganesh Temples. It is known as arugam pul in Tamil, Dhub, Durva and Haritali in Hindi (North India). Bermuda or Bahama Grass is the English name.Another important flower offered is the Milkweed flower. It is known as Arka in Hindi and Eruku or Erukkum Poo in South India. Jilledi is the name used in Eastern India.Pomegranate leaves and flowers are also offered in many places. Another important flower and leaf offered is the Sanku Pushpam or Conch …

Naga Panchami Myths

Nag Panchami festival observed in India during the Shravan month is a classic example of Hinduism’s deep rooted connections with Nature. Local folklore in India is full of stories associated with Nagas or Snakes. In South, the Nag Panchami festival legends revolve around the brother sister relationship. An important ritual in South Indian on the day include rubbing of milk or ghee on the back, spine and navel of brothers by sisters.

An important story or Nag Panchami Katha goes like this. Once a young girl asks her brother to get some Ketaki flower for Naga Puja. Screwpine or Ketaki is used to worship Nagaraja (Snake God). But unfortunately the brother who went in search of Ketaki is bitten by a snake and is killed. The sister then prays and performs Vrata and propitiates Nagaraja and the brother is brought back to life.
There are numerous such stories in local folklore and in most stories the sister resurrects the dead brother. Thus on the Nag Panchami day in some regions the brother…

Understanding Atman - Dr S Radhakrishnan

The word ‘atman’ is derived from ‘an’ – to breathe. It is the breath of life – atma te vatah (Rig Veda VII 87.2).Gradually its meaning is extended to cover life, soul, self or essential being of the individual. Shankaracharya derives atman from the root which means ‘to obtain’ ‘to eat or enjoy or pervade all.’ Atman is the principle of man’s life, the soul that pervades his being, his breath (prana), his intellect (prajna), and transcends them. Atman is what remains when everything that is not the self is eliminated.The Rig Veda speaks of the unborn part ‘ajo bhagh’ (Rig Veda X 16. 4) – There is an unborn and so immortal element in man which is not to be confused with body, life, mind and intellect. These are not the self but its forms, its external expressions. Our true self is pure existence, self-aware, unconditioned by the forms of mind and intellect. When we cast the self free from all outward events, there arises from the inward depths an experience, secret and wonderful strange…

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