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Showing posts from August, 2008

American Sanskrit Rock Band Shanti-Shanti presents new album Veda

Shanti Shanti, the only Sanskrit Rock Band in United States of America, has released a new album titled Veda: Selections of Sanskrit Chanting from the 4 Vedas. The album contains verses Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva Veda.Shanti Shanti is a unique family Rock Band - Sisters Andrea Devi Forman and Sara Anjuli Forman, their younger brother Micah Mahdev Forman and father Robert Henry Forman and mother Linda Forman are the performers.Veda: Selections of Sanskrit Chanting from the 4 Vedas consists of 11 tracks: Narayan Suktam (Yajur Veda)Shanti Mantra (Yajur Veda)Narayana Upanishad (Atharva Veda)Mantra Pushpam (Rig Veda)Sama Veda (selection) (Sama Veda)Upanishat Sarasamgraha (Atharva Veda)Raag Saraswati (Gandarva Veda)Sri Suktam (RigVeda)Shri Rudra Prashna (Yajur Veda)Ganesha Upanishad (Atharva Veda)Ayu Suktam (Atharva Veda)You can find more details about the Rock Band and Veda here.Veda: Selections of Sanskrit Chanting from the 4 Vedas (2008)
By Shanti Shanti
Price: $15.00

Automatic Drum and Bell Ringing Machine for Hindu Temples

The automatic drumming and bell ringing machines made exclusively for Hindu temples by RKS Metal Screens based in Coimbatore is today used in over thousands of temples around the world. The idea of the automatic drum and bell is the brainchild of Krushnaswami, the owner of RKS Metal Screens, who produced the first machine in 1980.Samanth Subramanian writes about the automatic drum and bell in LivemintThe simple machine consists of a metal frame with two bells, two cymbals, and a large drum. When switched on, a motor kicks clappers and drumsticks into operation. In perfect rhythm, the clappers ring on the bells and cymbals, and the drumsticks mark out a background tattoo.RKS Metal Screens sells around 300 units a month, many for export to Singapore, Indonesia, Canada, the UK and the US. It is in India, however, that the RKS auto drum bell has truly found fame. Despite competitors having sprung up over the last few years, the auto drum bell of choice remains RKS – ‘partly because ours w…

Atham Nakshatram in Chingam Month – Preparations for Onam Festival Begin in Kerala

There is a famous saying in Kerala – Atham Pathinu Ponnonam. In 2018, the date of Atham is August 15. It means the tenth day from Atham day is Thiru Onam – the day King Mahabali or Maveli visits his citizens. The famous Atha Pookalam (floral designs) made during Onam has ten rings. On the Atham day there is a single ring and as each day progress a ring is added to the Pookalam and finally there are ten rings on the Thiruonam day. Thiruonam in 2018 is on August 25.
Square clay pyramids are made on the Atham day and is kept outside the house and a small pookalam is made and it signifies the beginning of Onam festival. Atham is one among the 27 nakshatrams (Asterism) in Kerala astrological calendar. 
The ten stars (nakshatrams) that lead to Onam are - Atham, Chithira, Chodhi, Visakam, Anizham, Thriketa, Moolam, Pooradam, Uthradam, Thiruvonam. The days are meant for the preparation of Onam. Houses get cleaned, menu is decided, pickles are prepared, banana chips and other delicacies are pr…

Yet another Success Story of Hindu Priestesses in an Indian City

Hindu women are today conducting prayers, pujas and rituals in different parts of India. Many Hindus have started to prefer women priests over male priests because the Hindu Priestess is never in a hurry, she performs the puja neatly, she explains what she is doing, and why she is doing it to the family. Hindu women in the family are more comfortable as they get a chance to clear their doubts regarding rituals. No wonder why there are more than 600 Hindu Priestesses in a city like Nagpur in Maharashtra.In North and Western India, Hindu Priestesses are today conducting pujas like Vaastu Puja, Maha Rudra, pujas associated with birth and death, Satya Narayan Katha puja, Satya Vinayak, Satya Dutta, Satya Amba, Satya Shiv, Satya Gajanan, Udakshanti, Rudra, Ati Rudra, Pranpratishtha, Atharvashirsha, Bramhanspatisukta, Shripurushsukta, Shrisukta, Shri Soursukt and several other pujas. Today there are several organizations and ashrams in India and abroad that are actively training women to pe…

Sri Ganesha – Animated movie based on Lord Ganesh in Tamil

Sri Ganesha is an animated movie based on Lord Ganesh in Tamil produced by Chennai based Magic Box. The 45-minute 2-d and 3-d animated movie released in DVD and VCD narrates the origin, childhood of Lord Ganesha and about the rat - his Vahana or vehicle. The makers claim Sri Ganesha has been produced in such a way that it will attract both youngsters and elders.The CD is priced at Rs 99 and the DVD is priced at Rs 125 and is marketed by Abirami Recording Company.RelatedAnimated Movies based on Gods in Hindu Religion

Lord Ganesha Shaped Women's Strapless Purse from Judith Leiber – Price $5595

Famous clutch-maker Judith Leiber has introduced a women's strapless purse in the shape of Lord Ganesh, which is a collectors item. The price of Ganesh Evening Bags is $5595 and around 285,000 rupees in India. The bag is adorned with multi-tone Austrian crystals and has a swirl-embossed gold-tone circular bottom.Famous Porcelain masters like Lladro and Lenox have already introduced several Ganesha sculptures. Most of them are limited editions and unique sculptures. The only one released by Lenox was priced around $2000. Lladro has already created a series of Ganesha porcelain figures which is a major hit around the world and the price ranges around $900. In recent years, there is a craze for Lord Ganesha shaped idols, paintings etc. This cute-faced Hindu God who is the remover of obstacles (Vigneshwara) and the Lord of the Ganas (Ganapati) is slowly and steadily becoming the face of Hinduism around the world.

NDTV Imagine’s Ramayan in VCD and DVD

The hugely popular Ramayan serial being telecast on NDTV Imagine television channel in India will be soon released in VCD and DVD packs. The home video of NDTV Imagine’s Ramayan will hit the market before Diwali. The TV channel will release the mythological series in three- to four-volume VCD packs. (Business Standard)The Ramayan on NDTV is available free online on Bigflix.

New Book on the Women of the Mahabharata

‘Women of the Mahabharata, the Question of Truth’ by Chaturvedi Badrinath critically looks into the stories of twelve women in the epic Mahabharata. Each woman in the Mahabharata has a tale to tell and through it some valuable lessons are imparted provided you are ready to empathize with her. There is something more to each woman in the Mahabharata provided you are ready to look beyond the established narratives. Chaturvedi Badrinath provides new insight into the stories of Shakuntala, Savitri, Damayanti, Sulabha, Suvarchala, Uttara Disha, Madhavi, Kapoti, Draupadi, Anamika, Devyani, and Madhavi.The stories of some of these women are already well known but majority are unknown. From Orient Longman’s Flyer to the bookThe women of the Mahabharata are incarnate in the women of today. To read the stories of their relationships is to read the stories of our relationships. They demand from the men of today the same reflection on their perceptions, attitudes, and pretensions too, as they did…

Sankatahara Ganesha

Sankatahara Ganesha, or Sangadahara Ganapati, is one among the 32 forms of Lord Ganesh. As the name indicates, he is the remover of sorrows – ‘Sankata hara’. In this form Ganesha is shown as seated on a red lotus and his Shakti (female energy) sits on his lap. Ganesha and Shakti together are depicted in Tantric form of worship.
The complexion of Sankatahara Ganesha is that of the rising sun and is shown wearing blue color dress. He has four arms and holds a goad, another a noose, a bowl of sweet milk and the right hand is in boon giving posture.
Sankatahara Ganesh is shown as a celibate in non-Tantric forms. The female energy or Shakti that is depicted is green in color and holds a blue flower. You may also like to read Ashtavinayaka - eight forms of Ganesha

Idols of Hindu Gods and Sculptures to auctioned by Christie’s in September 2008

Christie’s, one of world’s leading art business and a fine arts auction house, is auctioning several idols of Hindu gods and sculptures, stone works, miniatures at its auction of artworks in New York on September 16, 2008. The idols on sale range from the 1st century BC to 18th century AD. Bronze figure of Shiva as Nataraja, Vishnu, Skanda (Muruga), Ganesha, Goddess Durga, Goddess Ambika, Goddess Parvati, Kamadeva and idols of numerous other deities and paintings are part of the auction. Around 85 idols and paintings related to Hinduism will be auctioned by Christie’s on the day.Most of these idols were stolen from India during the British rule and some after independence. What is baffling is that nearly 60 Hindu idols and around 15 paintings of ancient India is going to be auctioned and there is not even an attempt from any quarters in India to get back these priceless idols and artifacts.The costliest is Shiva Nataraja of Chola Period (975 AD), estimated at 1.5 million dollars from …

Ashta Vinayak Temples – eight Swayambhu form of Ganesha

Ashta Vinayak is the eight swayambhu (self made or naturally formed) forms of Lord Ganesh on earth. The Ashta Vinayak temples are located in eight places in Maharashtra, India. The idol of Lord Ganesh in these temples is formed on a single large stone. The form of Vinayaka can be clearly recognized on the stone. It is believed that Lord Ganesha appeared at these eight places. Ashta Vinayak or the eight SwayambhuTemples dedicated to Lord Ganesh in Maharashtra are:
Mayureshwar or MoreshwarTemple: Located along the banks of KarhaRiver in Morgaon village in Pune District, Lord Ganesh is known as Mayureshwar or Moreshwar. Ganesha is here depicted as riding a peacock. It is believed that Lord Ganesha appeared in this form to destroy a demon named Sindhu. Morgaon village is located in Baramati Taluk and is around 55 km southeast of Pune city.
ChintamaniVinayakTemple:ChintamaniGaneshTemple is located in Theur in Pune District. It is believed that Lord Ganesha took the form of Chintamani to get…

Meet Mata Bhakti Priyananda who leads a Solitary Life at the Origin of River Ganga

Mata Bhakti Priyananda, or Bhakti Priya, lives in a cave at Tapovan meadow (more than 13500 feet) near Gangotri Glacier, the origin of River Ganga. She is 51 and has a Master's Degree in Special Education from NorthernIllinoisStateUniversity. And her religion is peace. She worships a god who, she believes, created this wonderful Nature.David's Journal from India in talks about Mata Bhakti Priyananda, who lives at Tapovan meadow, a destination beyond source of River Ganges and reaching the place is torturous with vertical climbs. Mata Bhakti Priyananda shares her experience at the Tapovan Meadow and also talks about global warming and other issues affecting the area. But what is she doing is doing in a cave faraway from civilization, friends and families. The article does not give a direct answer. Real quest for inner peace and search for truth often takes daring human beings to places where many are scared to go or only dream to go. You can read about this unique women…

New Book – This IS No Secret – Explores the Wisdom of Mystics and Saints of India

The book ‘This is No Secret’- Path to Abundance and Heart Awakening by Joy Kapur claims that contains the essence of the wisdom of India’s ancient seers. It will give you insights and show you how to create abundance from anywhere, anytime and at any age. ‘This Is No Secret’ is an E-book in a downloadable PDF format. So, is it yet another book on the long list of books dealing with self-improvement, goal setting, positive thinking and wealth generating? Here is what the author says about the bookThe ancient Vedic seers believed that heart is the seat of consciousness and how it holds the key to manifesting your destiny. Heart is the most powerful antenna that receives and emits powerful vibrations known to the modern day scientist as the electro-magnetic field of the heart and how it is interconnected to world around us and its role in the interconnectedness to non-physical realm of mind, psyche and consciousness.This is not my knowledge. I became a conduit in the hands of an unseen p…

Sudharma – The Sanskrit Newspaper Goes Online

Sudharma, the only Sanskrit daily newspaper in India, began its online version in June 2008. Started in 1970, Sudharma daily sells around 3000 copies through subscription. The internet version of Sudharma is aimed at reaching a wider audience. Published from Mysore, the only income generated by Sudharma is from the 250 rupees of annual subscription. By going online Sudharma is planning to attract advertisers, which is essential for the survival of the only Sanskrit daily.Like any other newspaper, Sudharma publishes daily news and happenings in Sanskrit. But importance is given to Sanskrit language and news related to the latest developments in Sanskrit. You can find the online version of Sudharma – the Sanskrit Daily here.

Hartalika Teej Vrat 2008

Hartalika Teej Vrat is an important Hindu fasting dedicated to Goddess Parvati in North India. It is one among the three Teej festivals observed in North India. The other two are Hariyali Teej and Kajari Teej. Hartalika is observed mainly in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and is some parts of Maharashtra. There is a widespread belief that by observing Hartalika Teej Vrat unmarried women will get desired husband. In 2008, the date of Hartalika Teej Vrat is September 2. Hartalika Teej Vrat is observed by both married and unmarried women. Married women observe the Vrat for a happy married life. Hartalika Teej is based on the intense austerities (tapas) observed by Goddess Parvathi to get Lord Shiva as her husband. It is believed that Goddess Parvati will bless those women who observe the Vrat. The fasting rules of Hartalika Teej Vrat are very tough and some women even don’t drink water during the fasting period. You may also like to readHow to do Hartalika Teej…

Shri Krishna Museum at Kurukshetra in Haryana

The SriKrishnaMuseum at Kurukshetra in Haryana is the only museum in the world exclusively dedicated to Lord Krishna. Bhagavad Gita was rendered by Lord Krishna at Kurukshetra. Conceived by Gulzari Lal Nanda, who was twice the acting Prime Minister of India, in 1987, the Museum in its present form was inaugurated by, Shri R Venkatraman, President of India on July 28, 1991.
Today, two blocks of ShriKrishnaMuseum at Kurukshetra have six different galleries which present and preserve ideals associated with Lord Krishna. The main attraction here is the huge paintings depicting the battle of Kurukshetra.
Wood carvings, metal castings, ivory carvings dedicated to Lord Krishna are the main attraction in the first gallery. Second gallery consists of archeological objects associated with Lord Krishna. Miniature paintings, palm leaf etchings, Pahari and Rajasthani paintings, murals and illustrated manuscripts are part of the third gallery. Important episodes in the Life of Krishna are presented…

Osho on Lord Krishna - Thoughts - Teachings - Quotes

There are thousand statements about who Krishna is and Krishna belies all the statements. How does one understand a man with so many sides to him? No statement however severe and astute can wholly encompass Krishna's wholeness. It lies in the fact that he has no personality of his own, that he is not a person, an individual – he is existence itself.
You can say that he is like a mirror; he just mirrors everything that comes before him…and when you see yourself mirrored in him, you think Krishna is like you. But the moment you move away from him, he is empty again. That's leadership. One wants to see in Krishna what one wants to see in him. Nothing more nothing less.
There are thousand statements about who Krishna is and Krishna belies all the statements. How does one understand a man with so many sides to him? No statement however severe and astute can wholly encompass Krishna's wholeness. It lies in the fact that he has no personality of his own, that he is not a person,…

Book on the Hindu Temple Architecture in India

The book titled ‘The Temple Architecture of India’ by Adam Hardy delves into the principles and processes underlying the designs of ancient Hindu Temples in India, which are architectural gems. The book traces the origins and formation of the Northern Nagara and Southern Dravida style of architecture. The period of these two classical architectures between 6th and 13th centuries is referred as the great age of Hindu temple construction.‘The Temple Architecture of India’ traces the extraordinarily development of Northern Nagara and Southern Dravida style of architecture and role played by the cultural and religious values between 6th and 13th centuries in it. A short historical background of the temples without the usual dynasty categorization is major attraction. The highlight of the book is the illustrations. In the quality drawings in the book, the complex Hindu temple architecture is dissected and is presented as simple components. ‘The TempleArchitecture of India’ is divided into …

Kajli or Kajari Teej

Kajari Teej, or Kajli Teej, is observed on the third day after Shravan Purnima and it one among the three Teej festivals – the other two being Hariyali and Hartalika Teej. In 2017, the date of Kajari Teej is August 10. Kajari Teej is dedicated to Lord Krishna and special pujas are also performed to the neem tree. The festival is mainly celebrated in Bundi in Rajasthan and in some parts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar.
Festivals associated with Lord Krishna are always filled joy and dance. Women and girls wear colorful new clothes and dance and enjoy on the day. Special Swings are prepared for the day and women take turns in swinging while other women sing and dance. Songs sung on the day welcome monsoons and praise the love of Krishna and Radha.
A community puja is performed around a neem tree in the village. Specific rituals are performed by elderly women and young women learn the tradition and perform it.
Kajli Teej in Bundi in Rajasthan is no…

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 …

Kolkata Badamtala Ashar Sangha Durga Puja Pandal Rights Sold to US Company

Badamtala Ashar Sangha Durga Puja Pandal in South Kolkata is one of the famous Durga Puja mandals in the city – especially noted for its innovative themes. The rights of the 2008 Durga Puja pandal and celebrations of Badamtala Ashar Sangha Durga Puja committee has been sold to ‘Media Morphosis,’ a US Company. Yep, Corporatization of Durga Puja – in common man’s term privatization.According to Times of IndiaThe entire expenses of the Badamtala Ashar Sangha Puja in south Kolkata will be borne by the US Company 'Media Morphosis' which will promote it in the media and the web.

In another trend-setting move, the organizers have got superstar Mithun Chakraborty to endorse the pujaIn the beginning there were no sponsors. Durga Puja committees managed with funds collected from public. Then came sponsors. And now corporates! Public is happy!In Hinduism, spirituality is in the mind and not in external objects. The religious aspect of a festival – prayers, pujas, food etc – is confined to…

Alfred North Whitehead Quotes on Religion

Religion is the vision of something that stands beyond, behind and within, the passing flux of immediate things; something which is real, and yet waiting to be realized; something which is a remote possibility, and the greatest of present facts; something that gives meaning to all the passes, and yet eludes apprehension; something whose possession is the final good, and yet it is beyond all reach; something which is the ultimate deal, and the hopeless quest.Alfred North Whitehead – Science and the Modern World. P. 191. (published in 1925)
(Don’t be surprised if the sentences above have striking similarities to ideas mentioned in Brihadaranyaka and Mandukya Upanishads.)

Durga Puja Idols in Fiber Glass

If the Durga Puja tradition is to be strictly followed, the idol of Goddess Durga should be made from pure clay and should only be decorated with natural paints. But today majority of the Durga Puja idols are made from Plaster of Paris and painted using chemical paints. Another popular material used is paper mache. There are also plastic idols but are rarely used. A new entrant to the list of material used to make Durga idols is fiber glass. Fiberglass Durga idols are mostly exported from India to various Durga Puja celebrations take place around the world. The advantages are that the idol is lighter in weight and is easy to transport. Chances of breaking are minimal. It can be molded to look like clay idol. If the Durga idol is not to be immersed in water at the end of the festivities, then it can be reused. Fibre glass Durga Idols are not meant to be immersed in water. Today, Fiber glass Durga idols are the costliest and a medium sized idol will cost around $6000. Minimum sized clay…

Oyster Pearl in the Form of Lord Ganesha

Pearls are naturally formed an Oyster, a living creature - marine mollusks having a rough irregular shell; found on the sea bed mostly in coastal waters. There are natural pearls and cultured pearls. Cultured pearls are created by slight alteration in the natural pearl formation. Now an Indian scientist Ajai Kumar Sonkar has created cultured pearls in the form of Lord Ganesha. The 42 mm Lord Ganesha-shaped pearl was created at Ajai Kumar Sonkar’s farm and research project in Andamans and NicobarIsland. Pteria Penguin, a special species of pearl oyster, was used to create it. The cost of a single Lord Ganesh pearl is around $30000 (Rupees 12 lakhs).Press Trust of India reports‘Earlier no free cultured pearl had been formed in the species, Pteria Penguin, because of its features. They are very sensitive to outside element and usually die when any foreign body is implanted,’ Ajai Kumar Sonkar said.

Sonkar, who in 2003 had developed the world's biggest black pearl in Andamans, said the…

Sravana Mangala Gowri Puja Story

The various Vratas that are observed in Hinduism is based on a story. The general idea of the story remains the same but the characters and incidents change from region to region. This Shravana Mangala Gowri Vrata Katha is from Karnataka known as Mangala Gowri Haadu or Haddu. The shloka or song (prayer) narrated during the puja is also referred as Mangala Gouri Haadu.
Long long ago a boy who was studying under a guru went from house to house seeking alms. This was a tradition then and the Guru and shishya only took what was needed for the day. But strangely this boy refused alms given by the queen of the land and took alms from other women. The king and the queen of the land were staunch Shiva devotees but did not have any children.
The queen and the king discussed this strange incident and the next day, the queen again offered rice to the young boy. But the boy did not accept it.
The king came and asked why he was not taking the rice from the queen.
The boy said that the king and q…

Aitareya Aranyaka Quotes

He who knows more and more clearly, the self obtains fuller being. In plants and trees, sap only is seen, in animals only consciousness. The self is more and more clear in man for he is most endowed with intelligence. He knows tomorrow, he knows the world and what is not the world. By the mortal he desires the immortal, being thus endowed. As for animals, hunger and thirst comprise their knowledge. But this man is the sea, he is above the world. Whatever he reaches he desires to go beyond it.Aitareya Aranyaka (II. I.3)

Naina Devi Temple Tragedy – one more addition to the long list of Temple Stampedes

In a temple tragedy on Sunday at the famous Naina Devi temple in Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh more than 145 pilgrims have died in a stampede triggered by rumors of a landslide.Himachal Pradesh officials confirm that at least 145 devotees have died, majority of those dead were children and women. Many more have been injured in the incident.In spite of heavy rains, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 pilgrims had gathered at the popular NainaDeviTemple on Punjab – Himachal Pradesh border to offer prayers on the occasion of Sawan Navratri, a nine-day religious festival involving fasting dedicated to Goddess Durga. Shravan month (July – August) is considered highly auspicious throughout North India and millions of Hindus visit various Hindu shrines. Temples in India have witnessed numerous stampedes, the very latest during Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra, when 8 were killed, and most worst in recent history in 2005, about 265 pilgrims were killed at a stampede near WaiTemple in Maharashtra.G…

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…