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Showing posts from October, 2008


The Book of Ram by Devdutt Pattanaik

‘The Book of Ram’ by Devdutt Pattanaik delves into the life of Lord Ram through his relationships – son of Dashrath, student of various sages, husband of Sita, enemy of Ravana and many more. What the book deals about is better understood from the words of the author - ‘As Vishwamitra's student, aged 13, he had one of his first lessons. That decisions must be made in context,’ says Pattanaik. On the one hand, Ram had to protect Rishi Vishwamitra's yagna from the rakshasi, Tadaka, which means he had to kill her but wasn't killing a woman – a creator of life – one of the worst crimes in the Vedic world?
On the other hand, with one touch of his hand, he liberated Ahalya, wife of Rishi Gautam, who had been sexually unfaithful and cursed to turn to stone. But wasn't infidelity a sin?
‘It showed him that everything had to be dealt with in context,’ says Pattanaik. ‘When do you kill a woman? When do you save a woman? Tadaka had to be killed whatever her sex because she interfere…

Difference between Nagula Chavithi and Nag Panchami

Nagula Chavithi and Nag Panchami are two important festivals dedicated to Nagas (Sankes) in South India. Nag Panchami is widely observed throughout South India after Amavasi in Shravan month (July – August) and is a major festival in Karnataka. Nagula Chavithi is observed on the fourth day after Amavasi in Kartik month (October – November) and is a major festival dedicated to Cobras (Nagraj) in Andhra Pradesh.Nagula Chavithi is a three day event – first day is Nagula Chavithi, second day is Nag Panchami and third day is Nagasashti.Nag Panchami festival in south India is mostly restricted to one day and is observed on the fifth day after Amavasi (new moon day) in the Shravan Month. Nagula Chavithi is observed on the fourth day after Amavasi (new moon) in the month of Kartik and is observed for three days. The main festival is held on the Nagula Chavithi day.In South India, during Nag Panchami importance is given to worship of Snakes. There is no feeding of milk or giving eggs to snakes…

Bhaubeej

Bhaubeej, also known as Bhaibeej, is celebrated on the fifth day of Diwali. The festival is also known as Bhai Tika. The name Bhaubeej is commonly used in Maharashtra and Goa and it is also known as Yama Dvitiya in many parts of Maharashtra. In 2017, the date of Bhaubeej is October 21. The festival is popularly known as Bhai Dooj and is observed on the same day throughout North India. In South India, especially in Karnataka the festival is known as Yama Dvitiya.
The celebration of Bhaubeej is based on the famous visit by Lord Yama, the god of death, to his sister Yami’s home. Legend has it that Yamaraj visited his sister Yami on this day after Diwali. Yami welcomed her brother with aarati and by applying the auspicious Tika on his forehead. She also served him his favorite dishes and in return Yamraj gave her gifts.
Yamraj who was overwhelmed by his sister’s love and care said to Yami that who receives tilak on this day from his sister will have to never suffer hell. Since then Bha…

Annakut – Nutan Varsh – Gujarati New Year – Kartik Sud 1

Annakut, also known as Nutan Varsh or Bestu Varsh, is the New Year’s Day in Gujarat. The first day in Gujarati Calendar is the day after Diwali – Kartik sud 1. This calendar is also known as Hindu Vikram Calendar and the year is known as Vikram Year. Hindu Vikram Year 2074 begins on October 20, 2017.

The huge amount of food offerings on the day made to deities, especially to Sri Krishna, used to take the form of a mountain. Thus the day also got the name – Annakut – 'Anna' meaning food and 'kut', mountain. It is said that Veda Vyas once revealed to Yudhishtira, the eldest of the Pandava brothers, that one who remains peaceful and happy on Kartik sud 1 will experience the same throughout the year. The day is also observed as Bali Padyami and Govardhan Puja.

Offering sumptuous food to the favorite deity is the most important ritual on the day. People also wish each other for a peaceful and happy year.

It must be noted here that the calendar followed in North India begi…

Teachings from Rig Veda - A Collection of Teachings and Wisdom of Rig Veda

Meet together, talk together:
May your minds comprehend alike:
Common be your action and achievement:
Common be your thoughts and intentions:
Common be the wishes of your hearts
So may there be union amongst you.

Let your aims be common, and your hearts of one accord, and all of you be of one mind, so you may live well together.

The truth is One; the wise call it by many names.

Kindled in various forms, the perennial flame is One; sprinkling the world with golden beams at dawn; painting the evening clouds with changing colors, the sun is one.

One should perform karma with nonchalance without expecting the benefits because sooner or later one shall definitely get the fruits.

He who gives liberally goes straight to the gods; on the high ridge of heaven he stands exalted.

Look upon all the animate beings as your bosom friends, for in all of them there resides one soul.

Humility and charity are the two main parts of the spiritual edifice.

The restless swan – the human soul – is on the jo…

Environment management system for Hindu Temples in Pune – unique idea by Pune students

Environment Management System (EMS) for temples is a unique and highly praiseworthy idea by some students from the University of Pune. An environmental database of major temples in Pune city and around, sensitizing temple management about environmental issues related to temples, exchange of ideas, and solutions to manage and minimize the environmental damage taking place due the huge crowd that throng the temples are some of the areas that the Environment Management System (EMS) will be dealing with. Innovative methods and new initiatives employed by temples will part of the database and this exchange of ideas will help all the temples in the region. The project has already covered important temples at Mandhardevi, Alandi, Dehu, Jejuri, Narayanpur, Ranjangaon and Morgaon. Kalpesh Gupta, Pradnya Khodke and Priyanka Patange are the three students working on the project.Prasad Kulkarni writes in Times of India about this commendable project“The database will have all the necessary inform…

Thoughts – Religion is not the destination but just a path

All religions, including Hinduism, are mere roadways for making spiritual progress; they are not the destination. We mistake the roadways for the destination and create confusion. If the roadways are viewed as the destination, automatically we elevate them to an absolute status. Then by default our roadway, or our religion, becomes the one and only way. Even though we may not say so, through this error, we undermine all other religions.Jay Dilip Lakhani – VivekanandaCenter, London(Source: The Vedanta Kesari, December, 2006, Article – A fresh look at Interfaith Relationships.) The Vedanta Kesari is published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai

Hindu Thoughts on Bhakti

Religion to us (Hindus) is not any formal cult or dogmatic creed. The heart is the birthplace of religious life and God and man meet naturally there. The heart’s hunger for God is ‘bhakti.’ It is essentially inward, a life of earnestness and sincerity. The ‘bhakta’ is happy because of his communion with or centering himself in God.T V Viswanatha Iyer(Source : Bhavan’s Journal, Annual Number: Vol XVIII No.1;Aug 8 1971, page.207)

Veda Vidyalayam at Yelamanchili in Andhra Pradesh – Spreading Vedic Knowledge through Vedic School

The Veda Vidyalayam at YelamanchiliTown in Visakhapatnam District of Andhra Pradesh is quietly and steadily imparting Vedic knowledge to young students. The first batch of 16 students started learning at the Veda Pathasala in the first month of 2008. Another batch of 15 students is getting ready to be initiated. The school of Vedic learning is promoted by Gayatri Seva Trust, formed by Senior Citizens in the town.VKL Gayatri writes about this unique initiative in expressbuzz.comVeda Vidya is a residential, eight-year course, and integrated post-graduation takes 12 years.After the course, one has to take a test in yagna, yaga, aagama and mantra-related rituals.An interesting aspect is the effort to blend the modern with the ancient. IT mingles with Vedic learning here. Thanks to a donor from Chennai who gifted systems, printer, scanner and a copier, the students are learning to use computers for astrological computing.Women teachers lend another touch of modernity to this unique Vedic s…

Simple Ideas and Tips to decorate home during Diwali

Financial crisis or prosperity, rich or poor, decorating the house during Diwali is a must for all people. Utmost importance is given to cleanliness during Deepavali because Goddess Lakshmi is welcomed to home on this day. Decoration during Diwali is not all about costly renovation and new paint. Time, few constructive ideas, determination and patience can give every home a makeover and new look during Diwali. Here are few simple tips and ideas for decorating home during Diwali:
Who is going to clean the entire house? Don’t try to clean and decorate the entire house in a day. Forget the big picture. Find time daily to do some work. Make it a point to clean a room daily. Within a week the entire house will be clean. This will help in better concentration and less work.
Forget about painting the house in a short period. Instead give the walls a new look by tickling your creativity. Use floor rugs, wall rugs, old colorful Saris, rangolis, flowers, colorful clothes etc on the wall. Go f…

Thula Snanam – Holy Bath in River Kaveri in Tamil Nadu

Thula Snaanam, also referred as Tula Punya Snanam, is an important bathing ritual observed in Tamil Nadu. It is observed in the Tamil Month Aipassi (October – November), which is also referred as Thula – Aipassi. In the month, people wake up in the early morning and take holy dip in the River Cauvery (Kaveri). Puranas like Agni Purana narrates about the importance of the holy bath. Thula Snaanam begins on October 17 and ends on November 16 with Muduvan Muzhuku.
Interestingly, during the same period the Kartik Snaan takes place in North India. Lord Krishna explained about the importance of this period of year to Satyabhama.
Scriptures indicate that bathing in River Kaveri during Tula-Aipassi month will help in absolving all the sins. Taking a holy dip in morning in Cauvery is equated to taking a dip in Ganga at Prayag and at other holy Tirthas.
Special pujas dedicated to Kaveri are also held during the month.
Temples along the banks of KaveriRiver attracts large number of devotees dur…

Confusion in the date of Karva Chauth in 2008

Due to the various calculations adopted by different regional Hindu calendars there is always confusion regarding the dates of some Hindu rituals. In 2008, the date of Karva Chauth created some confusion as it was marked differently in different calendars. Majority of the calendars accepted October 17 as Karva Chauth date. But some regional calendars put the date as October 18.‘Chauth’ refers to the fourth day when the Karva Chauth is observed.Karva Chauth is observed on the fourth day after full moon in the Kartik month in North India. The corresponding period in Gujarat and Maharashtra is the fourth day after full moon in Ashwin month.In the Hindu lunar calendar, a day is calculated differently. The days overlap depending on the moon calculations.Thus in 2008, Chauth begins on October 17 and ends on October 18. Usually, a day like Chauth or Panchami is decided by looking whether the major portion falls on the particular day. Thus depending on the place and time astrologers mark the …

Diwali Lakshmi Puja – Mahalakshmi Pooja during Deepavali

Lakshmi Puja, or Laxmi Pooja, is an important ritual held during Diwali. During Mahalakshmi puja, Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, is worshipped. On the day, Goddess Lakshmi is invited into the houses by Hindus. She is propitiated along with Ganesha and Lord Kubera. In 2017, the date of Diwali Lakshmi Puja is October 19. People also choose special time or muhurats to perform the Lakshmi puja.

Lakshmi Puja during Diwali is an important event for business establishments. New account books are opened by shops and other establishments.

Lakshmi Puja is widely observed in North India, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. You may also like to read How to perform or do Lakshmi Puja during Diwali?

Theemidhi – Fire Walking Festival and Ritual at Sri Mariamman Temple in Singapore

Theemidhi is the annual Fire Walking Ceremony at the SriMariammanTemple in Singapore.The ritual is held on a Sunday in October. The unique ritual dedicated to queen Draupadi of Mahabharata attracts thousands of Hindus especially Tamilians settled in Singapore, who walks over a bed of hot burning coal. Draupadi, also known as Panchali, the wife of Pandavas, is worshipped as Draupadi Amman in South India.
Legend has it that Draupadi once walked over a bed of burning coal to prove her innocence. She walked over the burning coal bed and came out unscathed. Most devotees do the fire walking as a sort of thanksgiving for the favors received by praying at the SriMariammanTemple. Some do it for fulfilling longstanding wishes.
The highlight of the festival is devotees young and old walking over a four meter pit of burning coal specially prepared at the MariammanTemple. The chief priest of SriMariammanTemple after special prayers and pujas walks over the burning coal and he is followed by tho…

Heinrich Zimmer on the Importance of Myth and Symbols in Hindu Thought

The ultimate and real task of philosophy, according to Indian thought transcends the power and the task of reason. Access to truth demands a passage beyond the compass of ordered thought. And by the same token: the teaching of transcendent truth cannot be by logic, but only by pregnant paradox and by symbol and image.Indian philosophy insists that the sphere of logical thought is far exceeded by that of the mind's possible experiences of reality. To express and communicate knowledge gained in moments of grammar-transcending insight metaphors must be used, similes and allegories.Indian philosophy, therefore, frankly avails itself of the symbols and images of myth, and is not finally at variance with the patterns and sense of mythological belief.In the Hindu world, the folklore and popular mythology carry the truths and teachings of the philosophers to the masses. In this symbolic form the ideas do not have to be watered down to be popularized. The vivid, perfectly appropriate picto…

Thoughts and Quotes on Dasara and Vijaya Dashami by Swami Chinmayananda

Man’s real nature is Absolute Bliss and Knowledge. He tries to reach this state with the help of his mind and intellect. But the mind constantly gravitates to the sense objects for sensual pleasures from the external world. By such extroverted pursuits man gets involved more and more in the world of objects and accumulates desires which veil the divinity in him. Man is thus in a helpless condition consumed by numerous desires. The ancient masters knew that he has to turn his attention inwards to gain the state of Absolute Bliss and Knowledge which he foolishly seeks in the external world. With this view of mind, they introduced various rituals and festivals throughout the year to remind man of his supreme goal and ideal. And Dusserah and Vijaya Dasami are prominent among them. The great day of Dasara indicates, as the word suggests, Dasa-Papa-Hara or the end of the ten sins. The ten sins are attributed to the ten sense organs through which the mind contacts and gains knowledge of th…

Glen Peter Kezwer on the core teachings of Sanatana Dharma

From times immemorial India's message has been promulgated by her saints, sages, gurus and rishis and transmitted by them to those who were desirous of knowing the truth.The essence of this message is simple: Behind the eyes of every living being on earth there shines a light. This light is one and the same in all beings. This light is immortal, blissful, eternal and indestructible. This is the light of consciousness which makes each and every one of us alive and alert and gives us the power to breathe.Glen Peter Kezwer(Source: Meditation, Oneness and Physics by Glen Peter Kezwer – a physicist from Canada)

A Zen Story – Heaven and Hell

A samurai went to Master Hakuin and requested him to tell about heaven and hell. The master immediately started berating him. “What kind of samurai are you?”
“You look like a beggar!!” The master went on like this for a few minutes.The samurai became angry and drew his sword out.“Now opens the gates of hell!!” said Master.Samurai suddenly withdrew his sword and bowed before the master.“Now opens the gates of heaven” said Master.