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Showing posts from August 11, 2008


Goddess Sheetala – Shitala Mata

In Hinduism, Goddess Shitala, or Sheetala Mata, is considered an aspect of Shakti. Popularly she is the Hindu goddess of small pox in North India and is known to spread the dreaded disease and cure it. In rural India, she is also considered as an incarnation of Goddess Parvati and Durga, which are two forms of Shakti. Goddess Shitala is popular as Mariamman in Tamil Nadu. She is undoubtedly one of the most popular rural deities and her origin can be traced to the days of Nature Worship.
Legend has it that Goddess Shitala wears a red-colored dress and rides around the villages in North India on a donkey (ass) and inflicting people with the dreaded pox – small pox, chicken pox etc. Symbolically, she represents Nature’s power of generating viruses causing disease and Nature’s healing power and is of tribal origin. She is depicted having four hands. In her four hands she carries a silver broom, winnow fan, small bowl and a pitcher with Gangajal, holy water from River Ganga. Occasionally,…

Gowri Habba – Swarna Gowri Vrata

Swarna Gowri Vrata, or Gowri Habba, is an important observance dedicated to Goddess Parvati in Karnataka and other parts of South India. In 2016, the date of Swarna Gowri Vrata is September 4. Goddess Parvathi is also known as Gowri or Gauri. Swarna Gauri Vratam is observed a day before Vinayaka Chaturthi or Ganesh Chaturthi and therefore the festival is also known as Gowri Ganesh Puja. The Vrata is observed by both married and unmarried women.
Swarna means ‘gold’ and in the ritual a golden image (usually made of any metal) of Goddess Parvati is worshipped along with Shivling. In some places clay images of Goddess Parvati is used. Legend has it that Goddess Parvati comes to earth to answer the prayers of married and unmarried women on Gowri Habba day.
Swarna Gowri Vrata is observed on the third day after new moon in the month of Bhadrapad. The next day is Ganesh Chaturthi; it is believed that Lord Shiva sends Ganesha to earth to bring back his mother.
It is believed that unmarried w…

Book on the Dog in Hindu Mythology and Sacred Texts

A new book titled ‘Sarama and Her Children: The Dog in Indian Myth’ by Bibek Debroy traces the role of dogs in Hindu scriptures like the Vedas, Epics, Puranas, Dharma Shastras and Niti Shastras. The most famous dog in the Hindu religion myths is the dog in the Mahabharata that accompanied the Pandavas. Yudhisthira, the eldest of the Pandavas, declined to enter heaven without the dog as he was not willing to ignore the loyalty of the dog that followed him till his death. There are also numerous other references to dogs in the classical texts. But still several Hindus consider dogs as inauspicious. The widespread assumption is that dogs have always been looked down upon in Hinduism and a legacy of that attitude persists even now. Tracing the Indian attitude towards dogs in a chronological fashion, beginning with the pre-Vedic Indus Valley civilization, Bibek Debroy in ‘Sarama and Her Children: The Dog in Indian Myth’ discovers that the truth is more complicated.Dog is mentioned for the …

Thoughts on God – Sri Sri Ravishankar

When you know you own God you will not be in a hurry to get something out of God.
When you have infinite patience, you will realize God belongs to you.
God does not test you because he knows you completely - your past, present and future.
God is calling you every moment.
God is the Seer himself. Who sees - that is God.
God is love. Being in love is sharing that love.
This entire universe is made up of God. There is nothing outside God.
God is responsibility, total responsibility.

Sri Sri Ravishankar

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