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Showing posts from June, 2008

Online Video Series on Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra

An online video series titled ‘Jeebana Jagannath’ by ETV Oriya News explores the history, mythology, temples, scared places, rituals and traditions associated with Lord Jagannath and the famous Puri Rath Yatra. Each episode deals with a particular aspect of Lord Jagannath and the length of the program is around five minutes. The online video series is in Oriya and the website provides a synopsis in English for each episode. There are total 30 episodes and each episode has interviews with learned men and priests and explores the importance of a ritual or a sacred place or a temple. This video series is part of ETV Oriya programs on Puri Rath Yatra 2008.You can find the video series on Jagannath here on ETV Website - Jeebana Jagannath.

A poem by Tulsidas – Explaining the value of a lamp lit before Lord Ram

The flame offered to Ram
extinguishes the flame of pain;
It burns up sin and sorrow,
burns down to the root of lust.

In a lovely mist of incense,
in a row of splendid lamps
Its ritual rhythm – the hand claps –
scares the bird of sin away.

It dissipates the darkness, the dumbness
from the house, the heart, of devotees;
It casts wide the net of purest truth.
Tulsidas (Source: Song of the Saints of India, Translated by J.S.Hawley and Mark Juergensmeyer.)

Swami Ramdas on what is God Consciousness

You should know you are not the body, but the divine reality, pure wisdom, all-pervading light, infinite love, everlasting joy, all put together. That you are. Ordinarily man things he is a body subject to birth, growth, decay, disease and death. But he is truly the changeless, birthless, deathless Atman, whose nature is bliss and peace. To realize this is to attain God consciousness.Man, in his state of ignorance, dwells in body-consciousness. When he rises to God-consciousness, he knows he is God.An IncidentOnce when Swami Ramdas visited the house of a devotee in Seattle in United States of America, a person who introduced Swami Ramdas to a group of spiritual aspirants said them, “I have brought God to show you.”Swami Ramdas said, “God has come to see God.” Swami Ramdas (1884 – 1963)(Source: Book - God Experience, Swami Ramdas)

Bahuda Jatra – The Return Journey of Puri Rath Yatra Festival

Bahuda Yatra, or Jatra, is the return journey of the three chariots in the Puri Rath Yatra Car Festival. In 2018, the date of Bahuda Yatra is July 22. In the Puri Rath Yatra, the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra after reaching the Gundicha Temple stays there in the Garden House or ‘Adapa Mandapa’ for seven days. On the ninth day, the deities return to the PuriJagannathTemple.
During Bahuda Jatra, the three chariots stop for awhile at the MausimaTemple.

This temple is dedicated to the aunt of Lord Jagannath and three deities are offered ‘poda pitha’, a special sweet made of rice, coconut, lentils and jaggery.
You May Also Like To Read The Size and Dimension of Puri Rath Yatra Chariots

Sri Srinivasa Kalyanotsavam – Celestial Wedding Ritual at Tirupati Balaji Temple

Sri Srinivasa Kalyanotsavam is an important ritual or ‘Seva’ held at the TirumalaTirupatiVenkateswaraTemple. The utsava murti or idol of Lord Balaji is the bridegroom and his consorts Sridevi and Bhoodevi are the brides in the celestial wedding. The rituals followed in the divine marriage ceremony are similar to those observed during Hindu marriages. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the governing body of TirupatiTemple, also conducts the ceremony in important cities and towns in India.

Sri Padmavathi - Srinivasa Kalyanotsavam is a daily ritual performed at the TiruaptiTemple. In the Kalyanotsavam, the idols of Lord Malayappaswami (Balaji) and Sridevi and Bhoodevi face each other. A screen is placed in between the bridegroom and brides. The screen is removed during appropriate time in the ritual for the deities to see each other. The wedding ceremony is held amidst recitation of the Vedic mantras and pronouncing the family pedigree of the brides and bridegroom.
All the traditiona…

New Book: The Pregnant King – narrates the unknown tale of Yuvanashva and other minor characters in Mahabharata

The novel ‘The Pregnant King’ by Devdutt Pattanaik is based on the less known character King Yuvanashva in the Mahabharat. There are hundreds of characters in the Mahabharata but we only hear about a select few. Some of these lesser known characters were extraordinary individuals and their tales are interesting and equally appealing like the tales of the famous Pandavas and Kauravas. Devdutt Pattanaik in ‘The Pregnant King’ brings to light the journey of Yuvanashva, a childless king, who accidentally drinks a magic potion meant to make his queens pregnant and gives birth to a son.From the Novel – The Pregnant King‘I am not sure that I am a man,’ said Yuvanashva. ‘I have created life outside me as men do. But I have also created life inside me, as women do. What does that make me? Will a body such as mine fetter or free me?’The novel uses materials from the Mahabarata and from the folk versions of Mahabharat in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.This unusual novel is also the story of Yuvan…

Pandarpur Yatra - Pandharpur Ashadhi Ekadasi Wari Pilgrimage

The annual Pandharpur Yatra to the famous VithobaTemple at Pandarpur in Maharashtra is an unparalleled pilgrimage that breaks the barriers of caste, creed, rich and poor. In 2017, the Pandarpur Yatra Palki of Tukaram Maharaj from Dehu near Pune will start on June 16 and will end on July 4, 2017 at Pandarpur on Ashadi Ekadasi. VithobaTemple is also known as VitthalRukhminiTemple and is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The most important annual pilgrimage is a 21-day trek known as Pandharpur Ashadhi Ekadasi Waari and culminates on the Ekadasi day in the Marathi month Ashadi.


One of the most famous pilgrimages in Maharashtra, Pandharpur Ashadhi Ekadashi Wari has been taking place for more than 700 years. The procession was started in the current form by Sant Tukaram's son Narayanmaharaj in 1685. But it is believed that the first pilgrimage was done by the parents of Saint Dnyaneshwar in the 13th century and Sant Dnyaneshwar during his time popularized it.

The main Pandharpur Yatra starts …

Watch New Ramayana Serial Online for Free – NDTV Imagine Ramayan on Bigflix

The new Ramayana television serial currently being telecast on NDTV Imagine can be viewed online for free on BIGFlix. The online broadband version of the Ramayan serial is available for viewers in India and around the world. BIGFlix, a part of Reliance ADA group, and NDTV Imagine channel have joined together to provide the free online version. You can also download a high-definition episode of the serial for $ 1.49. The free episodes are a low resolution version. Each episode of the serial is around 22 minutes and the language is Hindi. Each episode on the BIGFlix website comes with an English synopsis. Also there are trailers of each episode intended to help the viewers to choose the episode they would like to watch or download.You will also need to register with BIGflix to view the Ramayana for free. You can find New Ramayana Serial Online for Free here on BIGFlix. OR here NDTV Ramayan.

New Hindi Mahabharata Serial on 9X Television Channel

The new Mahabharat Serial in Hindi on 9X Channel, titled Kahaani Hammaray Mahabharat Ki, will start on July 7, 2008. The immortal epic Mahabharata is being produced by Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms and is already creating news in India for its star cast and special effects. As per the latest news reports, the television series will go on air on July 7, 2008. It will be telecast from Monday to Friday at 9 PM Indian Standard Time. So will Ekta Kapoor’s Kahaani Hamaaray Mahabharat Ki be able to generate the same hype and viewership enjoyed by the famous adaptation of Mahabahara by BR Chopra for Doordarshan. Even though crude and lacked the modern day special effects, the Mahabahara Serial of BR Chopra garnered attention through its dialogues and innocent presentation. The latest Mahabharat from Balaji Telefilms for 9X channel boasts of some of the best talent in the country. The series is being shot on High Definition format and the trailer gives the feel of a high definition video game…

Traditional Hindu Birthday Celebration – How do Hindus Celebrate Birthday?

Janam Dhin, Birthday, is celebrated in a unique way in Hinduism. In Hindu religion, the Hindi Tithi or the Nakshatra or Nallu is chosen to celebrate the birthday. The annual birthday celebration is not on a fixed date as in the English Calendar. Hindus give importance to the Tithi and in some regions it is based on the 27 Nakshatras. There is also a debate whether it is right to light candles on a cake and then blow it off on birthdays in Hindu tradition. Feeding the poor is an important part of Hindu birthday celebrations. Visiting the temple on birthday and performing Ganesh Puja is considered highly auspicious. Other important pujas performed on birthday include pujas to Shiva, Rudra Abhishek, Navgraha Puja and pujas to ‘Ishta Devta’ or personal deity. Blessings of parents, especially that of Mother is very important on birthday.Now, if the person believes in astrology, then depending on the position of the grahas etc there will be other pujas that will be needed to be performed on…

Bonalu Festival

Bonalu is a major festival observed in the twin cities of Hyderabad – Secunderabad and Telangana Region in Andhra Pradesh. The festival is dedicated to Maha Kali – Mother Goddess. This unique festival mainly observed by women is held on Sundays in the Telugu Month of Ashada (June - July). Other important Bonalu festival is held at the SriJagadambaTemple in Golconda Fort and at Matheswari Temple of Laldarwaja.
The word 'Bonalu' is derived from Telugu word ‘Bhojanalu’ – the food offered to the Goddess Kali. The main ritual in Bonalu consist of offering cooked rice, jaggery, curd, water and other dishes which are brought in the pots to Goddess Shakti by women. The earthen pots are decorated with white, yellow and red colors and women arrive at the temples carrying it on their heads.
The festival ends on Monday with ‘Rangam,’ which involves a colorful elephant procession. Today, Bonalu is observed by all the temples in Hyderabad – Secunderabad and Telangana Region dedicated to Mot…

National Geographic Documentary on Indian Girl Lakshmi with Four Arms and Four Legs and her Successful Operation Garner World Attention

The little Indian Girl Lakshmi with four arms and four legs first made news in India when she was worshipped as an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi in her remote village in Bihar. In November 2007, when doctors at the SparshHospital performed a ground breaking survey to remove the conjoined twin, India and the world watched eagerly. National Geographic Channel has now created a documentary on Lakshmi titled ‘Girl with Eight Limbs.’The documentary narrates little Lakshmi’s journey from being worshipped as a Goddess to her successful operation at Sparsh – her family, doctors and the rare medical procedure to remove her four arms and four Legs never before performed in India.The operation to remove the extra limbs was ground breaking – surgeons at Sparsh were working in six to eight hour shifts, doctors transplanted a kidney from Lakshmi's conjoined twin, separated their spines and repaired her pelvis before finally removing the parasitic torso.National Geographic Channel’s one-hour pr…

Varalaxmi Vratam – Varalakshmi Puja

Varalakshmi Pooja or Vrata is an important puja dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi – the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. In 2017, the date of Varalakshmi Puja is August 4. This Lakshmi Puja is observed by married women in the Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and by some communities in Kerala and Goa.

Varalakshmi Puja is performed for the prosperity and welfare of the family. It is believed that worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on the day is equal to worshipping all the Ashtalakshmi (Eight Lakshmi).

The importance or significance of Varalakshmi Vrata was narrated by Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati. It is mentioned in the Skanda Purana that once Goddess Parvati wanted to know about a ‘Vrata’ that is beneficial to all women and Lord Shiva narrated the glory of Varalakshmi Vrata.

It is believed that taking part in the puja or even observing the Varalakshmi Pooja is highly auspicious. You May Also Like To Read How to do Varalakshmi Pooja?

Hindus in United States the Most Tolerant – Pew Forum Survey on Religion and Public Life

The ‘Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’ recently released the results of a survey on the religious beliefs and practices and social and political views of various religious traditions, including Hinduism, in the United States. The find indicates that Hindus are the most tolerant and majority believes all religions are true. Majority of people associated with Hindu religion are Democrats and have liberal view on homosexuality and abortion. This is the second part of a nation wide survey, the first part concentrated on the economic, education and other similar aspects and revealed that Hindus in United States are better educated and earned more. The survey titled ‘U.S. Religious Landscape Survey’ is based on interviews with more than 35,000 American adults.Here are some of the key findings from the survey regarding Hindus in United StatesBelief in God or Universal Spirit Among Hindus57% believe in god and certain about it35% believe in God and are only fairly certain9% not certain…

Indian Railway Package Tour to Shirdi Sai Baba Temple

As part of its spiritual tour package, Indian Railway is organizing pilgrimage to the world famous ShirdiSaiBabaTemple in Maharashtra from various cities in India. Presently, the India Railway is conducting tours from Vijayawada, Secunderabad (Hyderabad), and Bangalore. Some package tours also come along with a visit to the famous Shani Singanpur Shrine and other nearby spiritual and historical places.
Vijayawada – Nagarsol- Shiridi – Nagarsol- Vijayawada. - Rs.4,000/- per adult on the comfort option and Rs.2,200/- per person on the Standard option.Secunderabad – Nagarsol - Shridi - Nagarsol – Secunderabad. - Rs.1350/- per person. Secunderabad – Nagarsol- Shiridi - Shani Sinanapur - Shiridi - Nasik - Manmad - Secunderabad.BangaloreCity station by Karnataka Express (Train Number 2627) at 19:20 hours daily. Return from Kopargaon at 16:40 hrs, by Tr. 2628 Karnataka Express (Rs.3,100/- per person). The Deluxe version of the same pilgrimage costs Rs.5,500/.It must be noted here that the rai…

Vedic Mathematics Helps School Children and IIM and MBA Aspirants

Thanks to Vedic Mathematics, school children that hated Maths are falling in love with it. And many IIM and MBA aspirants are cracking their entrances with the help of Vedic Mathematics. There was never a doubt about the usability and greatness of Vedic Mathematics, but some critics were of the view that it had no relevance with the arrival computers and calculators. But School Children, IIM, MBA and IIT and other entrance aspirants who do not have the luxury of using a calculator in their examinations are falling in love with Vedic Maths as it helps in fast mental calculation and this saves time, a crucial factor in entrance examinations.Today, there are several numerous online resources for Vedic Mathematics. Also helping those interested in Vedic Mathematics are numerous books on the subject and several institutions and organizations. So, how are children getting interested in Vedic Maths? By converting Maths into simple games. This is what Magical Methods, an organization explorin…

Quotes from Vedas on Knowledge

Let the knower discriminate the knowledge and the Ignorance, the straight open levels and the crooked that shut in mortals. (Rig Veda 4.2.11)Interpretation: He who would know the Truth should constantly discriminate between the real and the unreal, between oneness and division, between what leads to the Truth and what pushes away from it. When one so discriminates and follows only the way of Knowledge, the path is straight, wide, open and free. But if one were to choose the ways of ignorance, his path becomes crooked, devious, narrow and imprisoning.To increase one’s consciousness is to grow in knowledge; to persist in unconsciousness and sink into it is to wallow in ignorance. One is the royal road to liberation; the other is the way to stay in captivity. (Source: ‘Wisdom of Veda’ by Sri Aurobindo Kapali Shastry Institute of Vedic Culture)

How to clean Rudraksha Beads or Rudraksh Malas?

Rudraksh Beads or Malas made of original Rudraksha are very strong and have a life of thousands of years. It is usually passed on from one generation to another. Due to such prolong use Rudraksha beads and malas might get dirty or accumulate fungus. Those beads that are regularly worn also might require periodical cleaning.To clean the Rudraksha beads, first dip them in warm soapy water overnight. Do not use hard detergents or soap or chemicals. A natural or organic cleaning agent will be the right choice.After overnight dipping, take the Rudraksha out and scrub thoroughly with a soft toothbrush. (Please note that if there is any discoloration in the Rudraksha then it is a fake.)After scrubbing, wash with normal water and allow the Rudraksha to dry.Once thoroughly dried, you can wear it again. If you need to give a better shine, you can apply olive oil or sandalwood oil on the beads with a soft toothbrush. Allow the oil to dry away.

Simple Hindu Prayers and Mantras – Japas in Hinduism

Prayers or Mantras are used by spiritual aspirants to achieve god realization, to invoke the blessing of the deity and for meditation. Mantras aid in the conceptualization process and constant recitation of it gives rise to the actual form of the particular deity in the mind of the devotee.
All prayers and mantras in Hinduism are the many paths to realize the ONE – Brahman.The continuous recitation of a particular mantra is Japa. A simple prayer dedicated to Lord GaneshOM Sri Maha Ganapataye NamahProstrations to the Great Lord Ganesha. A Prayer to Lord ShivaOM Namah ShivayaProstrations to Lord ShivaPrayer to Lord VishnuOM Namo NarayanayaProstrations to Shri VishnuPrayer to Lord KrishnaOM Namo Bhagavate VasudevayaPrayers to the Lord Krishna. ‘Vasudeva’ means he who abides in all things and in whom all things abide.Prayer to Lord RamOM Sri Ramaya NamahProstrations to Lord RamPrayer to Durga – Mother GoddessOM Sri Durgayai NamahProstrations to Mother DurgaPrayer to Goddess LakshmiOM Sri M…

Photo Bank of Madurai Meenakshi Temple Tower Sculptures

Each sculpture adorning the famed towers of MaduraiMeenakshiTempleTower is to be photographed and digitally stored. The nine towers have thousands of sculptures and the digital pictures will help in restoration works and will be a great asset for future.The digital photograph of each sculpture is being shot in such a way that no minute details are missed – including position, facial expressions, dress, ornaments and other unique features. Such a vast collection of pictures of the tower sculptures will be a great help for future restoration works and for history and architecture studies.Pictures of select sculptures that have been already photographed are on display inside the temple complex. It is quite impossible to have a clear view of all the tower sculptures from ground level. The digital pictures are surely going to be a great help to visitors.Hope, the temple authorities will display some pictures online too.(via)

An Invocation Prayer to Lord Balaji by Tallapaka Annamacharya

Invocation Prayer to Lord Venkateswara





O Paramapurusha! O Matchless One!
I surrender unto you! O true abode of Lakshmi!
O one with a lotus navel! O lotus eyed!
O Lord with lotus like feet!
O Lord of all demigods and sages!
O Lord of the herds! O Granter of boons!
O four formed one! O one with four arms!
O one who wields the conch and discus!
O supreme Lord of Venkata hill!
O enjoyer of the praises of Anjana!
I surrender unto you!
Tallapaka Annamacharya

Sanskrit Voice Digest – a Compilation of Blog Posts by Sanskrit Bloggers

Sanskrit Voice Digest is an initiative by the website Sanskrit Voice and the main aim is to compile Sanskrit related blogs and articles under one roof. Sanskrit Voice Digest has partnered with nearly 10 Sanskrit bloggers and few organizations for the purpose.All Sanskrit bloggers can join the Sanskrit Voice Digest provided the articles are approved. This is how the Sanskrit Voice Digest works. The Sanskrit Digest will publish a few starting lines of the selected blog posts and to read the full article the readers will be redirected to the parent article. You can find more details about Sanskrit Voice Digest here.You May Also Like To ReadTop Sanskrit Blogs

Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple to have Television Channel - Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel

Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel is a devotional television channel floated by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the body that administers Lord Balaji Temple at Tirupati. The 24-hour channel aims to propagate the glory of Venkateswara and the teachings of Hinduism.

Newspapers have been reporting about the channel for more than a year including reports about its inauguration. But the launch of the channel was postponed several times. 

It seems the Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel will go on air in July 2008, during Amritotsavam – the diamond jubilee celebration of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 

Hope the channel, apart from the regional language programs, will air some content in English so that youngsters can understand more about the glory of Sri Venkateswara.

Instrumental Music Album Inspired by the Bhagavad Gita

A new instrumental music album titled 'Ocean of Consciousness' by Jeffrey Fisher explores the subjects of war and spirituality in relation to the Bhagavad Gita. The Music Album crosses a variety of styles from jazz to classical. Fisher equates Arjuna’s initial turmoil at the start of the Bhagavad Gita with that of present day soldiers and other people who are faced with war and other challenges.

Jeffrey Fisher is an award winning composer and multi-instrumentalist. The 'Ocean of Consciousness' consists of two discs – ‘The Bhagavad Gita Suite’ and ‘The River’.

The music and concept of the album inspired by the Bhagavad Gita is expected to especially appeal to individuals interested in jazz, classical, world and New Age music, ancient Sanskrit texts, the Indian and Hindu communities, scholars, healers, massage therapists, spiritual writers, green activists, peace activists and Lohas converts.

Disc One: 'The Bhagavad Gita Suite' consists of following tracks:
The Field…

Siddheshvari Devi on How to do Meditation on Sri Krishna

In your daily devotional practice, visualize Shri Krishna standing in front of you. You have complete freedom in choosing how to meditate on Him. If you find it difficult to visualize Him, feel free to take the help of a picture or a statue. Images of God help us concentrate on God. Use the image as a base for your meditation.Many people close their eyes and claim to be meditating on God. They have a picture or statue of God in front of them. They look at it and then with closed eyes visualize that image. This is not meditation on God. It is meditation on an inert object. You must visualize Shri Krishna. Do keep a photo or idol of Shri Krishna in front of you, but keep it only as a base for your visualization. That photo may be very small, but out of that photo, visualize a six-foot tall Krishna coming out and standing in front of you.The important thing is to visualize Him standing in front of you. Not as an inert statue, but as a living personality.Siddheshvari DeviSource: Excerpts …

Ramayana Coloring Book and Stickers for Children

The coloring book based on the epic Ramayan is presented by the publication division of the British Library. The images are based on the book 'Ramayana: Love and Valour in India's Great Epic'. The picture book Ramayana also comes with 18 stickers with which kids can create their own Ramayana scene.Currently British Library is holding a Ramayana Exhibition based on this 17th century illustrated Ramayana. The paintings in 'Ramayana: Love and Valour in India's Great Epic' can also be viewed online.The fun and coloring book can be brought from the online shop of British Library. It is also available in select book stores.Ramayana Colouring Book with Stickers
Published by: British Library Publishing
Published: May 2008
Price:£5.99

Ambubasi Festival – The Tantric Shakti Fertility Festival at Kamakhya Temple Assam

Ambubasi Festival or Tantric Fertility Festival is held annually during the monsoon in the famous Kamakhya temple at Guwahati, Assam. Ambubhasi is also known as Kamakhya Devi Puja or Ambubachi and is closely associated with the Tantric Shakti cult prevalent in eastern parts of India. In 2017, Ambubasi Festival begins on June 22 and ends on June 25. This festival associated with Tantrism is observed for four days.

Legend has it that Goddess Kamakhya goes through her yearly menstrual cycle during the Ambubachi days. The temple remains closed for three days – the menstruation period. Due to this unique observance the ritual is also known as fertility festival or Ameti in local language. A fair takes place in the vicinity of KamakhyaTemple during this period and is known as Ambubasi Mela – a rural craft fair.

Shakti devotees in large numbers visit the shrine during the period and thousands of devotees wait outside the temple on the fourth day to have a glimpse of the deity – when the God…

The Guardian Article Says Baba Ramdev is Fake but No Proof Offered

An article titled ‘TV swami offers a cure for all ills’ by Randeep Ramesh in The Guardian newspaper refers to Baba Ramdev as the television yoga evangelist. The main aim of the article is to prove that Baba Ramdev is fake but no solid proof is offered. It seems that the author of the article is irked by the millions of followers that Baba Ramdev has around the world. The article revolves around these points The large amount of money collected from patients.India's Aastha channel is Baba Ramdev’s propaganda arm.The Swami sells himself as a one-person health service and pranayama, the ancient Indian art of breath control, is his main medicine.Swami Ramdev makes ridiculous claims of healing HIV AIDS and Cancer. Baba Ramdev is so powerful that he can overthrow the Indian government and the Indian politicians.
If Baba Ramdev is fake, why has the Indian government not taken any action against him? The article author does not answer the question but finds the answer in the words of Sanal E…

Paintings and Book – An Illustrated Colored Version of the Ramayana

The illustrated version of the epic Ramayana (paperback), titled ‘Ramayana – Love and Valour in India’s Great Epic’ is from the British Library Publishing. The book is published to coincide with a major exhibition conducted by British Library in London and is also available online for viewing, reading and listening.The book is adapted from the illustrated Ramayana commissioned by Rana Jagat Singh of Mewar in Rajasthan between in the 17th century. The book contains more than 130 paintings and it helps the reader to follow the story. The epic manuscript was compiled in book format by J.P. Losty, formerly Head of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, at the British Library’s Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections.Published by: British Library Publishing
Author: J.P. Losty
Published: May 2008
Price:£15.95The book can be brought from the online shop of British Library. It is also available in select book stores.

Learning Sanskrit in India – Washington Post Poorly Explores the Debates, Politics and Controversy of Teaching Sanskrit

An article titled ‘Summer Camps Revive India's Ancient Sanskrit’ in the Washington Post by Rama Lakshmi tries to explore the controversies, debates and politics behind learning Sanskrit in India. The author in the beginning of the article tries to prove that the learning and teaching of Sanskrit is an attempt made by Hindu nationalists to instill in Hindus religious and cultural pride. Then the author narrates the sad plight of Sanskrit in India. As usual the article ends with glorifying Sanskrit by suggesting that it is very suitable for computing.The author uses Sanskrit Samvad Shala and a two-week course conducted by it to prove her point. The article wrongly gives the feel that Sanskrit Samvad Shala is an all India phenomenon and that all Hindu students attend it. It also ignores and disrespects the large number of Sanskrit Scholars who are secular.Some of the points detailed by the authorSummer Sanskrit Camps in India attempts to promote Sanskrit, which is a dead language.The…

Narada Bhakti Sutra on Divine Love

Inexpressible is the nature of love,
Like sweetness tasted by a mute,
And rare, expressing itself in a bosom fit,
Bereft of qualities,
Devoid of desires,
Continuous and ever increasing,
All pervasive,
Subtle in extreme,
Of the form of experiencing,
Gaining which one sees Him only,
Hears only of Him,
Speak about Him
And contemplates upon Him alone.Narada Bhakti Sutra (51 to 55)

Book: Rudra – The Idea of Shiva

The book ‘Rudra – The Idea of Shiva’ by Nilima Chitgopekar tries to understand Lord Shiva through the eyes of Lord Vishnu, Mata Sati, Daksha, Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha. An authority on Shaivism, Nilima Chitgopekar delves deep into the classical texts dealing with Shiva and picks up vital information and narrates it through the eyes of Hindu gods associated with Lord Shiva.The views of the different gods in Hindu pantheon about Shiva are presented as first-person accounts. The accounts of the various gods are aided by the author’s scholarly notes and comments.About the book from Penguin flyerNa punyam na papam, Na saukhyam na duhkham
Na mantro na tirtham, Na vedam na yajna
Aham bhojanam naiva bhojyam na bhokta
Chidananda rupah Shivoham Shivo’ham

Beyond sin and virtue, beyond joy and sorrow, beyond scripture, ritual and pilgrimage, and beyond familiar experience. This is Shiva, in essence.

Once feared as the capricious and terrifying Rudra, Shiva, the most ‘un-Brahmanic’ of gods, has…

Trees Cut from Orissa Forests for Puri Rath Yatra Chariots Could Create Environmental Problems

Each year three new chariots are built for the annual Puri Rath Yatra festival held at the famous JagannathTemple. Big trees are cut annually from the forests of Orissa for the car festival and the woods are never reused. This is slowly eating away the forests of Orissa and inviting an environmental disaster. But luckily some people are trying to avert the ecological disaster by planting new trees.The wood needed for the making of the chariots for Puri Rath Yatra is provided free by the Orissa government. In fact, the temple authorities have been finding it difficult to find the right timber needed for making the huge chariots.The Rath Yatra at the PuriJagannathTemple has been taking place for centuries. Each year nearly 1000 trees are felled for building the three chariots. The chariot construction requires about 1,135 big logs of about 400 cubic meters.Trees preferred for chariot making are Phasi, Kadamba, Dharua, Devadaru, Simili, Asana, Mahalima, Moi, Kalachua, Paldhua etc. The Na…

Tirumala Tirupati Temple Introduces Online Sale of Hindu Religious Publications, Audio and Video CDs and DVDs

The Tirumala Tirupati Lord Venkateswara Temple has introduced E-sales enabling devotees from all over the world to buy Hindu Religious Publications, devotional books, Audio CDs, Video CDs and DVDs. With introduction of the new service devotees can buy TTD publications in Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Urdu and English online.Items available online will include devotional audio CDs including the sacred Suprabhatham sung by M S Subbalakshmi and Video DVDs of festivals conducted at Tirumala including Navratri Brahmotsavam festivals. The TirupatiBalajiTemple was one of the first Hindu Temples in the world to introduce a host of online internet services including sale of Pooja and darshan tickets.

The new E-sale adds to the existing online services offered by the TirupatiVenkateswaraTemple like E-Seva, E-Darshan, E-Accommodation, E-Hundi and E-Donations.You can find the E-sale page here – Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanams e-sales.

Shri Gajanan Maharaj Sayings

Those who can lead one to the truth without any expectations alone are called Sadguru. One does not have to hunt high and low from place to place for Sadguru. One comes across one's Master spontaneously.No religious opinion ordains or supports violence.Fundamental religion of the mankind is only one. During the course of time, the intellectuals, while interpreting it, have caused confusion and mislead simple people.Purpose of religious observances (fasting, vows etc.) is only to realize God.
Shri Gajanan Maharaj

Animation Series Based on Lord Shiva

Toonz Animation India, the makers of The Return of Hanuman, is planning an animated television series on Lord Shiva. According to the makers, the animation series on Shiva is in a totally different format and they loosely term it as ‘picture book animation.’ The low-cost series consist of 13 episodes of half hour and Cartoon Network India will in all probably start airing it in about six months. It seems that this experimental animation series based on Shiva will have no animation; instead, there will be sketches or paintings with voice over. The background music si composed by Pandit Ramesh Narayan.‘The Return of Hanuman’ was a disaster both content wise and financially and ‘The adventures of Tenali Raman’, the first animated series from Toonz Animation India, was a pathetic effort and the only saving grace was the animation part. So far the animated contents from Toonz have been neither Indian nor Western. They freely take Hindu Gods and other Indian characters and try to laboriou…

Significance of Shankh or Conch Shell in Hinduism

In Hindu religion, Shankh, or Samkha, is of great importance and symbolizes luster, brilliance, purity and auspicious beginning. It is a pious article and is used in all religious rituals. The most famous Shankha is the Panchajanaya of Lord Vishnu. In the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna and the five Pandavas had a separate conch shell and it is referred in the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita. In religious rituals, Shankh is used to announce the beginning of a prayer or arrival of deity and in some places sacred water is collected and distributed in it.
Shankh literally means ‘pacifying the inauspicious.’ In Hinduism, origin of the conch shell took place during the Samudra Manthan or churning of ocean. There are two types of Shankh – left handed conch shell and right handed conch shell. Valampiri Shankh or Lakshmi Shankh is the right handed conch shell and is considered auspicious.
Shankha is blown at every festival and auspicious beginning and the sound ushers in freshness and new hope. Ri…

Snana Yatra Festival at Puri Jagannath Temple – Bathing Ritual of Deities

Snana Yatra, or Snanayatra, is observed on the full moon day (Purnima) in the month of Jyeshtha (June – July) at the famous PuriJagannathTemple in Orissa. In 2012, the date of Snana Yatra is June 4. On this day, the idols of Jagannnatha, Balabhadra, Subhadra are bathed. This is also the first occasion in the course of a year in Oriya calendar when the deities come out of the temple.
Snana Yatra takes place around 15 days before the famous Rath Yatra. The ritual bathing of the deities take place at the Snana Bedi located in the northeastern compound of the Puri Temple complex. 108 pots of water are poured on the idols and after this the deities enter into Anavasara or Anasara.
For the next fifteen days, devotees are not allowed the darshan of the idols. It is believed that the deities catch fever after a long ritual bathing and therefore does not return to sanctum sanctorum for the next fifteen days. During this period, the Sabara daitas repaint the idols.
The three idols are brought t…

Khir Bhawani Mela - Kheer Bhavani Mela in Jammu and Kashmir

Khir Bhawani Mela is the annual festival held at the shrine of Mata Khir Bhawani in Tullamulla village in Jammu and Kashmir. The shrine is also referred as Ragyna Bhagwati and is noted for a unique holy spring whose water changes its color. The Khir Bhawani Mela is observed on the Ashtami day in the Jaishta Shukla paksha (June – July). In 2018, Khir Bhawani Mela date is June 22.
Khir Bhawani Mela celebrates the discovery of the holy spring by a pious Brahmin. And for many the festival celebrates the arrival of Mata Ragyana (Khir Bhawani) to the valley.
Legend has it that the idol of Goddess Bhawani was brought to Tula mula Village by Lord Hanuman from Lanka after the epic battle in Ramayana. The idol of Goddess Bhavani was worshipped by Ravana and he had got the idol after intense austerities. Once Ravana was defeated by Lord Ram, Goddess asked Hanuman to shift her from Lanka.
The name Khir Bhawani comes from the deities favorite offering, rice pudding, which consist of rice cooked …

Plan to Stop Special Paid Darshan Tickets at Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple

Tirumala Tirupati Lord Venkateshwara temple is considering to do away with all kinds of special darshan tickets, reserved sevas and paid worships. It is a welcome move as the so called VIP darshan tickets and other paid worships creates two classes of devotees at the world famous abode of Lord Balaji – poor and rich. Such tickets bought using money power by impatient devotees, cause inconvenience to poor devotees who stand in long queues for hours and often reminding them of their poor social status even before the Lord.M. L. Melly Maitreyi writes in The Hindu about the plan to de-commercialize the TirupatiTempleIn a significant initiative to ‘de-commercialise’ the world-famous temple of Lord Venkateshwara and enhance the spiritual experience for devotees, the Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Board is contemplating scrapping of special darshan tickets as also some of the ‘Arjita Sevas’ (paid worship). In tune with the reforms, the Board recently constituted a two-member committee t…