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Showing posts from September, 2009

Dwidala Vrat – Dvidala Vrata during Chaturmasa

Dwidala Vrat is part of the Chaturmasa Vrata and is the last phase of the four-month Chatur Mas Vrat. Dvidala Vrata begins on the Dwadashi day in Shukla Paksha (12th day during waxing phase of moon) of Ashwin month and ends with Kartik Shukla Ekadasi. In 2018, Dwidala Vrat begins on October 21 and ends on November 19. Dvidala Vrata is also known as Bahubeeja Vrat.

Dwidala here implies those grams, lentils and seeds that break into two equal parts. Such lentils and grams are avoided during the period. Those lentils that are avoided are black gram, green gram, bengal gram, masoor al, horse gram, red gram, etc,.

Some people also avoid green leaves during the period and those plants that produce vegetables with numerous seeds.

Dwidala Vrat is only observed by some Hindu communities.

Ramayana in Indonesia

The earliest known reference of Ramayana in Indonesia dates back to the 9th century AD and is in the form of bas-reliefs in Prambanan in Central Java. The various written version of Ramayana in Indonesia are Kakawin Ramayana, The Serat Ram, The Javanese Uttarakanda, the Carit Ramayana, the Serat Kanda, and the Rama Kling.Kakawin Ramayana is credited to Yogishvara and is considered to be the oldest version of Ramayana in Indonesia. It is believed to have been written between the 10th and 13th century AD. It sticks to the original version and is believed to be a translation of Bhattikavya, a 5th century version of Ramayana in Kashmir. The Uttarakanda and Balakanda are not found in Kakawin Ramayana.Two of the popular modern adaptations of Kakawin Ramayana are Serat Ram and Carit Ramayana. The Javanese Uttarakanda is an independent literary work and describes mainly the genealogy of demons and Vanar Sena (Monkeys). The Serat Kanda and Rama Kling version of Ramayana in Indonesia has strong…

Padmanabha Dwadashi

Padmanabha Dwadashi is observed on the 12th of Shukla Paksha (during the waxing phase of moon) in Ashwin month (September – October). Padmanabha Dwadashi 2018 date is October 21. Lord Vishnu is worshipped in the form of Anantha Padmanabha on the day. The worship on the day is a continuation of previous day, which is known as Pasanakusa Ekadasi.
On Pasankusa Ekadasi day, the Anantha Padmanabha form of Lord Vishnu is worshiped.
Worship on Padmanabha Dwadashi helps a person attain liberation and his desired results. Staunch Vishnu devotees believe that worship on Ekadasi and Dwadashi of the Anantha Padmanabha will help them attain Moksha.

The Story of Kullu Dussehra – Kullu Dasara Katha

The Dussehra celebrations in the Kullu valley in Himachal Pradesh begin on the Vijayadasami day or when the Dasara festivities end in other parts of India and the world. There is a famous story on why the Kullu Dussehra begins on Vijaya Dashami. Kullu Dussehra 2018 begins on October 18.
Raja Jagat Singh who ruled the Kullu valley during the seventeenth century once went on a pilgrimage to Manikaran. Here he was told by a person that a man in his kingdom named Durga Dutt had a collection fine gems and pearls. The king immediately sent his soldiers to Durga Dutt asking if he is interested in selling some of the gems.
But the pious Dutt had no pearls or gems. The soldiers who were sent by the king were not ready to believe Dutt and started beating him. Dutt, in order to escape the torture, said that he will sell the gems when the king returns back from his pilgrimage.
When the king returned, he along with the soldiers went to Durga Dutt asking for the gems. Durga Dutt locked himself and…

Papankusa Ekadasi – Aswhin Shukla Paksha Ekadashi

Papankusa Ekadasi is observed during waxing phase of moon (Shukla Paksha) in Ashwin month (September – October). The corresponding month in Tamil Calendar is Puratassi. Papankusa Ekadasi 2016 is on October 12 This Ekdashi is also known as Pasankusa Ekadasi.

Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Ananta Padmanabha is worshipped on Papankusa Ekadasi. A person who observes this Ekadashi gets his/her wishes fulfilled and attains Moksha.

The greatness of this Ekadasi was narrated to Yudhishtira by Lord Krishna and is mentioned in the Brahmavaivarta Purana.

People help the needy and perform charity on the day.

All the usual rules associated with Ekadasi fasting are followed on the day. Some people opt for partial fasting and skip the all night vigil.

Problems with Internet Reservation and Online Facility at Tirupati Tirumala Temple

Thousands of people face a unique problem when trying to reserve a Seva or accommodation through net booking – the problem is that online booking shows No Availability always.A reader of our blog, G Murali Mohana Rao, writes about this tough situation faced by numerous Balaji devotees and asks Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTDs) to take a serious note of the problem and improve the situation.G Murali Mohana Rao writesNamaskarams!

TTD can use technology for peaceful visit to TIRUMALA

Daily several thousands of devotees reach Tirumala on devotion.

TTD’s Sri Venkateshwara Bhakti channel continuously displays information to book accommodation and seva tickets in advance. Booking on internet is mere a myth. Trying to book over net any time for any seva or accommodation, the result will be –NOT AVAILABLE and practically is of no use as only a part of bookings are available on internet!

At Tirumala there are multiple reservation buildings, where in the devotees stand in serpentine queues to ob…

Goddess Uma, Parvati, Annapurna, Durga are Prakriti – A Parthasarathy

Uma is the consort of Shiva, the Lord of constructive destruction. Uma represents Prakriti (matter). The power of destruction has always to be associated with destructible matter in order that this power could manifest. In other words, destruction ceases to have any meaning without destructible objects. Lord Shiva has, therefore, chosen Uma to be his partner.The god and goddess are the first self-revelation of the Absolute, the male being the personification of the passive aspect and the female, the activating energy (Shakti). Goddess Parvati (Uma) represents this Universal Power (Shakti). Uma and Parvati are her Maiden names; and Mrudani and Ambika are her post-marriage names.The Goddess is also referred to as Annapurna meaning ‘Bestower of Food’ ‘Anna’, though translated as ‘food,’ has a wider connotation and includes all material objects/wealth, which are food for the five-sense organs. The Goddess is possessed of all types of ‘food’ to offer Her devotees.All the three Goddesses to…

Watch a Short Video of Panachikadu Saraswati Temple near Kottayam in Kerala

PanachikaduSaraswatiTemple is popularly known as DakshinaMookambikaTemple. This is one of the rare temples that is dedicated exclusively to Goddess Saraswati. The idol of Goddess Saraswati is located in the middle of a pond and it is covered by climbing plants. Puja and rituals are performed on another idol that is placed opposite to the original idol. The original idol of the Goddess Saraswati here is always covered by a climbing plant and the feet of the idol is constantly washed by small flow of water.PanachikaduSaraswatiTemple attracts thousands of people during Vidyarambham – young children are initiated into the world of letters on the day here. Vidayarmbham is observed on the Vijayadasami day.Malayala Manorama, a popular daily in Kerala, has created a small video on PanachikaduSaraswatiTemple as part of the Navratri and Vidyarambham in Kerala. You can watch the video here – PanachikaduSaraswatiTemple

Watch Sani Peyarchi Festival from Live Online from Tirunallar Shani Temple at the official website

Sani Peyarchi Festival is held at the famous TirunallarShaniTemple on September 26, 2009. The movement of Sani from one rashi to another Rashi in Tamil Hindu astrology is known as Sanipeyarachi. On the day thousands of devotees will be visiting Lord Saneeswara Bhagavan temple at Tirunallar and special pujas and rituals will be held here. You can watch live online the pujas and other ceremonies from the TirunallarShaniTemple at the official website. You can watch the live webcasting here – TirunallarShaniTempleIn 2009, Shani transits from Simha Rasi (Leo) to Kaniya Rasi (Virgo) at 03.27 p.m. on Saturday, September 26th (Indian Standard Time).

Animal Sacrifice during Durga Puja Navratri and Dashain is Himsa and should not be practiced – Swami Sivananda

Animal sacrifice or Bali or Balidana is practiced in some regions during Durga Puja and Navratri. It is also widely practiced on Durga Ashtami and Navami during Dashain in Nepal. Swami Sivananda says that we are to offer our inner evil traits of passion, greed, anger, ego, avarice etc as Bali and not poor animals.Worship the Mother of the Universe, the Shakti of Brahman, in her Supreme Form or in her manifested form according to your capacity. I need not stress over the obvious fact that you should strictly practice Ahimsa, Satya and Brahmacharya, if you are to realize Devi, the glorious Divine Power of the Supreme Reality. I stress upon the moral side and the ethical side of Sadhana, because no valuable achievement is possible with out it. Without it, high-flying idealisms will bring nothing; they will be a waste like oblations thrown on ashes. Worship of God or Goddess, if it is to result in spiritual illumination, the observance of Yama and Niyama is absolutely necessary. These for…

Durga Puja Story in Bengali Tradition – Goddess Durga Coming to Visit Her Parents

During the Durga Puja in Ashwin month the popular belief in Bengal is that Goddess Durga visits her parents along with her sons and daughters. The story of Durga Puja in Bengali Tradition begins during incarnation of Goddess Shakti as Sati, the daughter Daksha. Sati is also known as Uma. Sati married Lord Shiva despite the opposition of Daksha. Uma had to pay the price for it with her life. Daksha conducted a yagna and did not invite Shiva; and when Uma came to enquire about it, she was insulted and as per Bengali Tradition Uma starved herself to death. Shiva who came to know about the death of Uma arrived at the scene and destroyed the entire palace of Daksha. But this did not calm Shiva’s rage. He took the body of Uma and started performing Tandava. Lord Vishnu soon realized that the Tandava would destroy all living beings. Lord Vishnu then used his Sudarshana Chakra to cut Uma’s body into 51 pieces. The places where Sati’s body fell came to be known as Shaktipeetah. Daksha, father o…

Garuda Vahanam Procession during Sri Vari Brahmotsavam at Tirupati Balaji Temple

On the fifth day of the famous nine-day Brahmotsavam festival at TirupatiBalajiTemple, Lord Venkateswara is taken around the Mada streets in procession on Lord Garuda. This procession of Sri Vari is known as Garuda Vahanam and Garuda Seva. On the day, Lord Balaji is shown atop Garuda, the half-eagle half-man Vahana or Vehicle of Lord Vishnu. In 2018, Garuda Vahana dates are October 16.

On the fifth day at night, after Unjal Seva, Lord Balaji is mounted atop the Garuda Vahana. Lord Venkateswara is specially decorated with Mahakanti and Sahasranaramala. The Vahana is then pulled around the Mada streets.

Garuda Vahanam procession attracts maximum devotees during Sri Vari Brahmotsavam as Garuda Vahana is the greatest of all Vahanas.

You may also like to read The concept of Vahana in Hinduism

Watch Online Popular Durga Pandals of Jamshedpur Durga Puja 2010

A newly launched website Jamshedpurpuja is offering pictures and videos of Durga Puja pandals in Jamshedpur city in Jharkhand. Known as the steel city of India, the Durga Puja is one of the most important festivals in Jamshedpur. The website is launched by Apostle Technologies and Kendriya Durga Puja Committee (KDPC) and provides an online tour of a majority of puja pandals located on the urban periphery of Jamshedpur.

If you are looking for an online virtual Durga Puja Pandal hopping then Jamshedpur Puja could satisfy you. You can view the website here – Jamshedpurpuja. (the website is no longer functioning)

Durga Ashtami 2017 date during Durga Puja

Durga Ashtami is third day of main Durga Puja celebrations and the eighth day of the Navratri festival. Durga Ashtami 2017 date is September 28. A fast is undertaken on the day many devotees. Other important rituals on the day include Astra Puja, Sandhya Puja and also Kumari Puja. The day is also known as Virashtami and Maha Ashtami.

Note - Durga Ashami during Chaitra Navratri is on April 4, 2017.

Legend has it that Goddess Kali appeared from the forehead of Goddess Durga to kill Chanda and Munda and Rakthabhija on the Ashtami day. On the day 64 Yoginis and Ashtanayikas – the eight consorts – of Durga are also worshipped.

Special rituals dedicated to Chamunda are also worshipped on the Durga Ashtami day. Related
Origin of Goddess Kali Goddess Worship in Hinduism

Durga Puja Global Warming Message – Sand Sculpture of Goddess Durga on Puri Beach in Orissa

During important Hindu festivals, world famous sand sculptor and artists Sudarshan Pattnaik from Orissa uses the festival to spread the message of global warming, eco-friendly festivals and environmental awareness. For Durga Puja 2009, Sudarshan Pattnaik has created a Sand idol of Goddess Durga on PuriBeach in Orissa with the message to grow plants to protect environment. In the sand sculpture, Goddess Durga wears green leaves as ornament and there is a burning globe behind her.
Sudarshan Pattnaik requested all the Puja committees in India to spend some money on planting trees to save the Earth.RelatedWorld’s Longest Sand Ganesha Idol

Curse of Mata Sita – The Reason Why Some Hindu Temple Priests are Greedy for Money

Hindu devotees who have visited some of the most popular temples in India might have had numerous experiences of greedy temple priests, or Pandas, demanding more money. They are never satisfied with the normal token amount. Some priests are always on the look out to cheat innocent devotees. And fights between pandas over sharing money are very common. It is believed that the Pandas are greedy due to a curse of Mata Sita. Anita Ratnam who had to face such greedy priests writes about the curse in the New Indian Express  While performing the annual rituals for my parents at Gaya, I heard this amazing story from the Ramayana. After Lord Ram, Mata Sita and Lakshman had left Ayodhya for the forests, they received news of King Dasaratha’s demise. The two brothers immediately went to the banks of the PhalguniRiver in Gaya and performed their prayers for the passing of the soul.  Meanwhile, King Dasaratha’s hungry spirit demanded food from Mata Sita. Reluctantly she rolled some wet mud and fed …

Thoughts on Hindu Festivals – Time to Brush up Spiritual Roots and Help the Needy

This thought provoking article is an excerpt from the editorial of Vedanta Kesari published in October 2007 – which asks people to look beyond mere celebrations during Hindu festivals. Festivals need not be celebrated with a great lot of pomp and show. One can also observe them with due solemnity and religious fervor. One can celebrate a festival in a sattvika manner rather than getting lost in a rajasic or tamasic display of one’s wealth or emotions. Sattva is the element of purity and calmness. If a person wishes to celebrate a festival in a spirit of sattva, it means he does not want to indulge in meaningless show-off and waste of one’s energies and resources. Instead of just hosting a social gathering, he could then think of making better use of his resources. He could extend help to the needy (feeding the poor or gifting financial help) and make use of time in meditating on God and thinking of spiritual matters. Or make use of this opportunity to relax and brush up one’s spiritua…

Shami Puja on Vijayadashami Day - Importance of Shami Tree Worshipped on Dussehra

Shami Puja is an important ritual held during Vijayadashami and Dussehra day. In 2018, the date of Shami Puja is October 18. The rituals and pujas on the day are dedicated to the Shami Tree and is of great importance. Ganesha Purana mentions that those worshipping Shami Tree on Dussehra will be free from sins.
Story of Worshipping Shami Tree Legend has it that Shami the daughter of learned sage Aurva was married to Mandar, son of Dhaumya. The newlywed couple once happened to see sage Bhrushundi who bore a trunk on his forehead as a mark of devotion to Ganesha.

On seeing the sage with a trunk, Shami and Mandar could not control their laughter and they started laughing mockingly. An angry Sage Bhrushundi cursed them to become trees.

Upon hearing their children’s misfortune, Sage Dhaumya and Aurva prayed to Ganesh to rescue their Children. Lord Ganesh was not ready to displease his staunch devotee Sage Bhrushundi.

So Ganesh gave the boon that Mandar Tree will be used to worship Lord Shi…

Durga Puja in Toronto - Durga Puja Celebrations by Bengali Associations in Canada

Durga Puja celebrations in Toronto, Canada, are conducted by Bengali Associations and in Hindu temples especially those dedicated to Goddess Durga. Toronto Durga Puja festival is observed in the traditional way by Bengalis and Hindus and people make an earnest effort to observe all important rituals. Durga Puja 2017 in Toronto is held in Greater Toronto Area, Mississauga etc
Bangiyo Parishad and Probasi Bengali Cultural Association (PBCA) - Greater Toronto Area will be observing Durga Puja during the last week of September 2017. You can get the details of Durga Puja celebrations of Bangiyo Parishad here at the official website.
Toronto Kalibari will be organizing Durga Puja during the last week of September 2017. Apart from regular pujas and rituals there will also be cultural programs. You can get information on Durga Puja celebrations of Kalibari here at the official website.

Ganesha, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kartikeya worshipped with Goddess Durga during Durga Puja

During Durga Puja four deities – Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati and Lord Kartikeya – are worshipped along with Goddess Durga in the Pooja Pandal or Puja area. The popular belief is that Ganesh, Laxmi, Saraswathi and Kartik are children of Goddess Parvati or Goddess Durga. It is believed that Goddess Parvati comes to the home of her father Himavat along with her children. This legend is found in the folk songs sung during Durga Puja. In the Puja area, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha are placed to the right of Goddess Durga idol. Goddess Saraswati and Lord Kariteya are placed to the left of Durga idol. Goddess Lakshmi is portrayed as standing on a lotus.Goddess Saraswati is depicted as standing on a lotus and holding a Veena. Lord Ganesha is shown in sitting posture. Lord Kartikeya is shown mounted on a peacock.Lord Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is also known Muruga and Subrahmanya.
Other deities that are shown in the Durga Puja Pandal are Lord Shiva…

Shukacharya Jayanti

Shukacharya Jayanti is observed on the fifth day of the Shukla Paksha (waning phase of moon) of Ashwin month (September – October). Shukacharya Jayanti 2018 is on October 13. It is the birthday of Saint Shukacharya who narrated the Srimad Bhagavad Purana to King Parikshit. The King was cursed that he would be bitten by Snake Takshaka in seven days time. The king listened to the glory of Lord Vishnu as mentioned in Srimad Bhagavad Purana to attain Moksha.
Sage Shukacharya was born on the fifth day of Navratri and the day is also observed as Lalita Panchami.

Sage Shukacharya is believed to be the son of Veda Vyasa. Some holy scriptures mention that Shukacharya is an incarnation of Lord Rudra and some also of Lord Vayu.
It is believed that Ved Vyasa taught Sri Shukacharya the Vedas, Mahabharata and Srimad Bhagavad Purana.

A popular legend associated with Lord Venkateswara also mentions about Shukacharya. It is Shukacharyaru who went to Lord Venkateswara’s (Srinivasa) house to give the “…

Book: The Secrets of Bhakti As Narrated by Sage Narada

‘The Secrets of Bhakti as Narrated by Sage Narada’ is a commentary on Narad Bhakti Sutras. Narad Bhatki Stutras are attributed to Devarishi Narada and is a philosophy of love for God. ‘Secrets of Bhakti’ is authored by Taoshobuddha, officially known as Brij K Saksena. Taoshobuddha calls the Narad Sutras as Aphorisms of LoveSwami Chinmayananda explains that Narad Bhakti Sutras are an authoritative text upon the philosophy of Devotion. Bhakti Sutras consists of eighty four sutras - mostly one liner which are pregnant with meaning and explaining the path of devotion. The Secrets of Bhakti as Narrated by Sage Narada by Taoshobuddha tries to unlock the world of Bhakti as explained by Sage Narada - Bhakti is the Union of Formless to Formless.Here is an example of a Sutra explained in the book (excerpt):

Mahalakshmi Puja 2018 during Navratri

The second set of the three days of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. Mahalakshmi Puja during Navratri 2018 begins on October 16 and October 17. This puja is mostly observed in western parts of India.

Mahalakshmi is worshipped on the fourth, fifth and sixth day of Navratri festival. She is worshipped for prosperity. Her help is sought for remaining in the path of Dharma and for leading a life of righteousness.

Special pujas are performed on the day. Goddess Lakshmi is offered special ‘prasad.’

Lakshmi Ashtotram and Lakshmi Sahasranamam are chanted during the Mahalakshmi Puja days.

The final three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi.

Angarak Vinayaka Chaturthi

Angarak Vinayaka Chaturthi is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is observed on the fourth day after Amavasi (No moon day). Also known as Angaraki Vinayaki Chaturthi, this auspicious day happens when Chaturthi after Amavasi falls on a Tuesday.

The monthly Chaturthi after Amavas (fourth day during waxing phase of moon) is Vinayaka Chaturthi for Ganesha devotees. Some staunch Ganesh devotees observe a fast from sunrise to sunset on the day.

Usually, the monthly fast on Chaturthi is observed during the Chaturthi that falls after Purnima and it is popularly known as Sankashta or Sankatahara Chaturthi.

Popular belief is that observing Chaturthi Vrat will bring prosperity, happiness and fulfillment of desires. The greatness of Chaturthi Vrata dedicated to Lord Ganesha was explained by Lord Krishna to Yudhishtira, the eldest of the Pandavas. It is also detailed in the Narasimha Purana and Bhavishaya Purana.

Sindoor Tritiya

Sindoor Tritiya is observed on the third day of the 9-day Navartri festival. On this day Maa Chandraghanta is worshiped. In 2018, Sindoor Tritiya is observed on October 11. This day is of great significance in North India.

This is a ritual during Navratri, which is closely associated with Sindoor – the red powder or Vermilion – which is an essential part of Hindu ritual and closely associated with Mother Goddess worship.

The day also marks the end of the first three days of Navratri, especially in South India. The first three days of Navratri is here dedicated to Goddess Durga. The next three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.

Symbolism of Goddess Lakshmi Worship

Purification of the Mind is obtained through worship of Lakshmi Devi. Contrary to popular belief, Mother Laxmi is worshipped not for material wealth, but for good and noble values (spiritual wealth). More important than material wealth is the inner wealth of spiritual values such as love, kindness, sincerity, self-control, self-discipline, etc. By the practice of such spiritual values in our daily lives, our minds become purified.
The lotus on which the Goddess is seated symbolizes the Supreme Goal of Self -Realization. Source:Excerpt from an article published in the magazine October 2000 edition of Chinmayam a magazine of Chinmayamission.

Official website of Vijayawada Kanaka Durga Temple – Watch 10-different forms of Mother Goddess Durga

KanakaDurgaTemple at Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh is one of the popular Durga shrines in South India. During the 10-days of Navratri and Dasara festival, 10 different types of Alankarams will be performed to Sri Ammavaru. Mother Goddess will appear in ten different forms during the ten days of the festival.
You can now view the 10-different forms of Mother Goddess here at the official VijayawadaKanakaDurgaTemple.
The website also contains the detailed information on the 10-days of Navratri and Dasara festival.

Online Virtual Tour of Amma Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram

Amma Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram located at Vallikavu in Kollam District of Kerala attracts millions of devotees annually. This is the main Ashram of Mata Amritanandamayi who is popularly known as the Hugging Saint around the world. In India, She is Amma who through Her philanthropic and charity activities have given economic freedom and spiritual upliftment to millions of people. Mathurbhumi, a Kerala-based newspaper, has created an online virtual tour of Amma Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram. In the virtual tour you can view a 360 degree panoramic view of the temple. The images used are of high quality.You can view the Virtual Tour of Amma Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram here –Click on the image for the Virtual Tour of Amma Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram.Note: Virtual Tour might not be compatible with Internet Explorer 6 or other older versions of the browser.
Image copyrighted to Mathurbhumi.


Sharadotsav is the traditional name of Durga Puja and also for Navratri in different parts of India. The season after the monsoon rains in India is referred as Sharad and the festivals that are held during the period are referred as Sharadotsav. In Bengal, Durga Puja is also known by the name of Shardotsav. In North India, some Hindu communities refer to the nine-day Navratri and Vijayadasami as Sharadotsav.
Sharad season, or Sharath Ritu, falls during the Ashwin and Kartik months in traditional Hindu calendars. 
Sharad season is between monsoon season and the early winter season and is noted for pleasant climate with Mother Nature adorning a green cover. In India, Sharad season is from September to November as per Gregorian calendar.
Navratri, Durga Puja, Sharad Purnima, Diwali are some of the important festivals held during the period. Except for Diwali all other festivals that are observed during the period are occasionally referred as Sharadotsav.
Sharadotsav at Vrindavan during …

Book: Indian Saris – Traditions, Perspectives, Design

If you are a lover of traditional Indian saris, then this is a book that you wouldn’t want to miss – ‘Indian Saris – Traditions, Perspectives, Design’ by Vijai Singh Katiyar. The books takes a reader through the evolution of the sari from the Vedic times to today, the cultural and religious tradition of designs, Sari during Indian independence movement, the families that create the magic of saree, styles of draping sari… Vijai Singh Katiyar, a designer, writes with passion about Saree – a unique Indian tradition and what makes the book so attractive and tempting is the colorful photographs and pictures of traditional Indian Saris from different parts of India.If you are a lover of Saris, perhaps the only aspect that might keep you away from purchasing the book is the price. The book published by Wisdom Tree is priced at Rs/- 3495 ($75). The flyer of the book saysThe book lends a new dimension to the way the traditional Indian sari is looked at, and upholds it as an epitome of holistic…

Bhasani Yatra in Orissa

Bhasani Yatra, or Basani Jatra, is observed on the day after Vijaya Dasami and Dasara in Orissa. All the murtis, or idols, of Goddess Durga that participated in Durga Puja are taken out in a procession on Bhasanai day and immersed in sea, river, lake or pond. In 2018, Bhasani Yatra in Orissa is October 19. This visarjan ceremony of Goddess Durga is witnessed by thousands of people.
At JagannathTemple in Puri, all the Durga Puja murtis assemble in front of the temple and pays tribute to Lord Jagannath. Thousands of people assemble to witness this unique ritual involving Goddess Durga and Lord Jagannath.
In the evening, the murtis of Goddess Durga are taken to a nearby sea, river or lake and the visarjan or immersion ceremony takes place.
This ceremony marks the end of Durga Puja festivities in Orissa.

Shirdi Sai Baba Punyatithi 2018 date - Samadi Day

Shirdi Sai Baba Punyatithi is observed on the Vijayadasami, or Dasara, day. It is the Mahasamadhi day of Shirdi Sai Baba. Shirdi Sai Baba Punyatithi 2018 date is October 18. The Punyatithi festival is of great importance at ShirdiTemple and is spread over three days.
The popular belief is that Shirdi Sai Baba took His Mahasamadhi on October 15, 1918 on a Vijaya Dasami day. Only his physical body has vanished. His presence is felt by thousands of devotees. His teachings continue to guide and inspire millions of people.
The important rituals during the Punyatithi period include - Kakad Arti of Shri Sai Baba, Procession of Portrait of Shri Saibaba and Pothi, Akhand Parayan of Shri Sai Satcharitra in Dwarkamai, Chariot Procession etc.

Samadhi Mandir will remain open for Parayan throughout the night on the Shirdi Sai Baba Punyatithi day.

Chandra Darshan during Navratri – Worship of Moon

Chandra Darshan is the viewing of the moon and worship of it during the second day of Navratri. Nine nights of Navratri dedicated to Mother Goddess Shakti begins on the day after Amavasi (September/October) – the no moon day. Chandra Darshan is observed on the second day of Navaratri. In 2018, Chandra Darshan is on October 10.
Chandra Darshan is of great significance in North India, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
On the first day of Navratri, Ghatsthapana is performed in North India but the moon is not clearly visible on the day as it is the Pratipada – the first day after Amavasi.
Chandra Darshan takes place on the second day when the moon becomes brighter.

Book: Human Values and Professional Ethics

Written by S. Kannan and K. Srilakshmi, ‘Human Values and Professional Ethics’ focus on using ancient wisdom of Vedas for solving today's problems. The book is of scholarly nature and has been included in the Uttar Pradesh Technical University Syllabus. The book delves into Green IT – “as IT adoption increases in India, we also need to ensure that green IT is inculcated right from the beginning in order to avoid a situation where the nation gets saddled with a legacy and obsolete infrastructure.”The Book contains case studies for practical understanding of the concept of professional ethics. Certain philosophical insights based on Scriptures have also been added in order to enrich the understanding of the value system and harmony in a holistic manner.Human Values and Professional Ethics consist of five Divisions and twenty nine Chapters. The first Division deals with value education, self exploration, natural acceptance, human aspirations, prosperity, happiness and living in harm…

Puratassi Fasting - Puratasi Vratam

Puratassi Fasting, or Puratasi Vratam, is observed in the Tamil month of Puratasi (September – October). In 2015, Puratassi month begins on September 18 and ends on October 17. Puratasi Masam is of great importance to Tamilians as it is believed that Lord Venkateswara (Balaji) appeared on the earth in this month. Puratassi Saturdays are dedicated to Lord Shani or Sani dev. Some people observe partial fasting on all days in Puratassi others limit it to Puratasi Saturdays.
Some devotees of Lord Venkateswara opt for strict fast on Puratasi Saturdays which involves not even drinking a drop of watr - Nirjala Vratam.
Some devotees only eat vegetarian food during the entire month. They also quit smoking and consuming alcohol for one month.
On Saturdays, Naamum, the two feet symbol of Lord Vishnu’s feet, is drawn on the forehead by males and women opt for a red dot.
Hymns dedicated to Lord Balaji are chanted on Saturdays.
Devotees offer Ghee or Ellu Lamp to Lord Shani in the month. Navagr…

Brahmachari Uddhav Chaitanya on being Spiritual

Brahmachari Uddhav Chaitanya is associated with the Chinmaya Mission.Spirituality is a process of reversal. Mind you, the process is reversing and not “aversing”. It is a technique to reverse the focus from the external world to the internal world. That does not mean that we become averse to the world outside. It is just that we reorient our focus to something internal. It is a habit that has to be gradually developed and inculcated. For instance, people in India habitually drive on the left-hand side because that is the rule. When we first come here to the United States and see people driving on the right-hand side and when we ourselves have to drive on the right-hand side, it takes us at least a few weeks to reorient ourselves. For some it may take even longer! So the habit of outwardly-ness which has been a part of our nature through the ages, through so many lives, as so many different species has to be changed to turn inwards. That is called being spiritual.Brahmachari Uddhav Cha…

Wheelchairs to be allowed in Puri Jagannath Temple – Why was it not allowed till now?

No idea why wheelchairs were not allowed in PuriJagannathTemple earlier but better late than never. The PuriJagannathTemple has now decided to open its doors to wheelchair-bound devotees. Until now disabled persons cannot go into the temple on a wheelchair. Disabled, old and paralysed people had to enter the temple with the help of family members and temple servitors."Every human being passes through phases in his life where he or she is dependent on someone else. The Lord (Jagannath) himself is limbless. But the anomaly is that wheelchair-bound limbless devotees can't have access to the Lord," said Ravi Tripathy, a handicapped and disabled rights activist. (Times of India)Even though the temple authorities have agreed to allow wheelchairs they have not taken any decision on building ramps. It seems the administration won’t allow outside or personal wheelchairs. The temple authorities will provide wheel chair (hope it is free and not another way of minting money.)Times o…

Ghatha Chaturdashi – Bhadrapada Bahula Chaturdashi

The rites and rituals on the fourteenth day during the Pitru Paksha fortnight is offered to those people who passed away due to accidents or those that met with other unnatural deaths like snake bites, accidents, suicide, war etc. The day is known as Ghatt Chaturdashi or Ghatha Chaturdasi in some regions. In 2017, Ghatha Chaturdashi is on September 18.
There is a strong belief that the souls of those people who had an unnatural death, will be wandering around and do not rest in peace. Hindus perform special pujas, rites and rituals for the dead person’s soul to rest in peace. This Tithi is meant for Accidental Victims only. Others not to do paksha on this day.
For those who are doing “Sakrunmahaalaya” – that is Shraddha on only a particular of the Paksha Masa, they need not do it on this day. However, for those who are doing paksha daily, they can do it on this day also. This article is contributed by Sri Narahari Sumadhwa.

Online Virtual Tour of Kollur Mookambika Temple

MookambikaTemple located at Kollur in Udupi District of Karnataka is one of the most famous temples dedicated to Mother Goddess. Now Mathurbhumi, a Kerala-based newspaper, is providing an online virtual tour of KollurMookambikaTemple. In the virtual tour you can view a 360 degree panoramic view of the temple. The images used are of high quality.
You can view the Virtual Tour of Kollur Mookambika Temple here

Note: Virtual Tour might not be compatible with Internet Explorer 6 or other older versions of the browser.

On Challenges faced by Hindu Americans

The Hindu population in the United States is estimated to be between 1.5 million and 2 million people and they come from different parts of the world. Hindu religion is different from the majority religions practiced in United States – Hinduism gives importance to the personal quest of an individual to know the supreme truth, it is not a missionary religion and never practices conversion, it never brings religion to public policy issues and above all it is not monolithic and believes that God exists in all animate and inanimate.The Challenges faced by Hindu AmericansHinduism is the least understood among American religious traditions as the path it follows is different from most world religions - multiplicity of divine names and forms.Transmitting Hindu faith to younger generation in a Christian dominated society.Language to be used in temples during prayers and services.Aggressive conversion campaigns by various Christian organizations.Lack of unity. Micheal Paulson, winner of Pulitz…

Saraswati Puja during Navratri Puja

The last three days of the nine-day Navratri festival is observed as Saraswati Puja by many Hindu communities especially in western and southern parts of India. Goddess Saraswathi, the Hindu Goddess of Knowledge and Learning, is worshipped during the period. Saraswati Puja 2018 during Navratri begins on October 17 and ends on September 19 in most places especially in South India.
Different Hindu communities have different method of propitiating and worshipping Goddess Saraswati during Navratri.
In western parts of India especially in Maharashtra the rituals begin with Saraswati Avahan (October 14, 2018), Saraswati Pradan Puja (October 15, 2018) and Saraswati Balidan Puja  and Saraswati Visarjan (October 17, 2018).
In Kerala, the important Saraswati Puja is held on the last day of Navratri and on the Vijaya Dasami day. On the last day of Navratri all books are kept for Puja and is taken after proper rituals and worship on the next day which is observed as Vidyarambham day (October 1…

Daksha Smriti Quotes

If someone takes a bath with all the sand/soap and Ganges water during one’s whole life but not having an internal purification, then one cannot get Moksha or liberation. – Thus an internal purification is utmost important. God exists everywhere and inside everyone. Then why one should have a feeling of envy, hatred, anger, delusion/ignorance, greed etc towards anybody. When there is wind blowing the water does not stay still even for a second. Our mind is just like that. It will keep changing every second. Never trust it. Samadhi is that inner state wherein after renouncing craving / aversion towards fleeting material objects one steadies the mind and thus attains soul force.Daksha Smriti

Ramnagar Ramlila – A Ramleela Tradition Started in 1830

Ramleela is the theater presentation of the epic Ramayana - the story of Lord Rama as told in 'Ramcharitmanas' by Goswami Tulsidas. Ramlila play is often staged over ten or more successive nights, especially during the Dasara festival period. The Ramlila staging at Ramnagar in Uttar Pradesh is unique as it is held in multiple stages spread over several square kilometers. Various places in Ramnagar town become places in the epic - 'Ayodhya,' 'Janakpuri', 'Panchvati' and 'Lanka' – and sometimes viewers are part of the drama. Ramnagar Ramleela begins on the occasion of 'Anant Chaturdashi' lasts for a month and ends on 'Sharad Purnima' day.Electric lights, microphones and loudspeakers are not used in Ramnagar Ramleela and attract more 20,000 people daily.Ramnagar is around 15 km from Varanasi (Kashi) and the Ramleela here was started in 1830 by then ruler of Kashi Maharaja Udit Narayan Singh and it flourished with the patronage by th…

Yathi Mahalaya or Yati Dwadashi

Yathi Mahalaya is observed during Pitru Paksha on Bhadrapada Bahula Dwadashi is meant for Yathigalu. In 2017, Yathi Mahalaya is on September 17. On this day, Hastodaka will be given to all the Yathigalu who have entered Vrundavana. On this day, Pitru Paksha Shradh is not to be done for other forefathers. (Please note this custom is more famous in South India especially with some Hindu communities in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh).
We have to do Yathi Dwadashi shraddha to get ourselves free from Yathi Runa that is why it is called as ‘Yathi Dwadashi’. These yathigalu having prepared so many shastra granthas, vyaakhyaa, Teeka granthas has helped us a lot in learning ancient granthas. So, we have Runa to them – yathi runa. That is why we have to Yati Mahalaya.
This shradha is to be done by Yathiputras only. Who are yathiputraas? – Those who have Grantha/Shastra Runa from the yathigalu are termed as “Yathiputraas.”

Yathi Shraddha does not mean that we need to give panda pradha…

Indira Ekadasi Vrat Katha – The story of Indira Ekadashi Fasting

Indira Ekadasi is observed during the waning phase of moon in the month of September/October. The Indira Ekadasi Vrat Katha is mentioned in the Brahmavaivarta Purana. The story of this Ekadashi fasting was narrated to Yudhishtira by Lord Krishna. This Ekadasi falls during the Pitru Paksha Shradh period and therefore observing it is considered apt for redemption of sins of one’s own and that of forefathers.Once there lived a powerful, honest and popular king named Indrasena. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Once Sage Narada visited King Indrasena and mentioned about his visit to the abode of Lord Yama, the Hindu God of death.At the abode of Lord Yama, Sage Narada found the father of King Indrasena. He had not got moksha and was living in the house of Yamraj. The father of Indrasena asked Sage Narada to ask his son to observe Indira Ekadasi so that he will escape from the house of Yama and attain Moksha and reach the feet of Lord Vishnu.Indrasena immediately agreed to observe In…

Teachings from Saubhagya Lakshmi Upanishad

Saubhagya Laksmi Upanishad is one of the minor Upanishads and is part of the Rig Veda.Identifying the finite with the infinite,
The fragments with the Whole, one meditates
On the vast Source; thus fulfilment found
One becomes immortal. Just as when salt mixes with water, it takes up the form of water, in the same way Samadhi (trance) means the mind merging into the cosmic soul (God).When a living being’s material desires come to an end, and the living being and God march in one direction, that state is called Samadhi (trance). Samadhi is that balanced state of the soul wherein one’s agitations are nullified. Saubhagya Lakshmi Upanishad

Mysore Dasara 2017 – Dusshera 2017 in Mysore Program Details

Mysore Dasara has to be experienced. Word cannot explain the beauty and magnificence of this royal festival of KarnatakaState in India. The ten-day Mysore Dasara 2017 festival begins on September 21 and ends on September 30. The State Government of Karnataka has put together an excellent website on the Mysore Dasara festival. The website is available in Kannada and English and has all the program schedule and details for 2017.

The website also has a photo gallery and videos plus information on accommodation, travel, train etc.

You can find the official website of Mysore Dasara festival here.

Shriram Sharma Acharya Teachings

Shriram Sharma Acharya (1911 – 1990) is a visionary of the New Golden Era and the Founder of the All World Gayatri Pariwar.O beloved child! While experiencing the truth always remember that your sense organs always oppose your soul (God). Hence it is imperative that you remain alert constantly. Never trust your sense organs. It always remains agitated due to experience of dualities like joy /sorrow etc. You must rise above the senses. You are the soul which is a part of the invincible form. The gross body can perish any moment. Tell me, who truly knows that moment? Hence always lay your sight on you divine goal. Your mind should overflow with divine thoughts. Not at the time of death, but while you are leading your life, liberate and purify your mind. Thus even if death engulfs you, your innate nature will continue to exist externally. Thus, while living remember that death can attack you any moment. Only then will you be able to lead a life of truth. Time is running relen…

Mahabharata is not a tale of war — it is the tale of the futility of war – Dev Dutt Pattanaik

Critics of Mahabharata have always described it as a story of war and violence. But when a reader, who is not a slave of any ideology or –ism, closes the Mahabharat after completely reading it, realizes the futility of war and violence. He will take to the path of non-violence and this is what happened with King Janamejaya, who first heard the entire Mahabharata during the Snake Sacrifice from the mouth of Vyasa's student Vaisampayan. King Janamejaya, who was conducting the Snake Sacrifice (Sarpasatra) to kill all the snakes on the earth to avenge the killing of his Parikshit by Snake Takshaka, changed his mind after hearing the Mahabharata tale.But modern narrations of Mahabharat focus only on war. An aspect of Kali Yuga (the present age as per Hindu tradition), is that people will focus more on the negative aspects, which gives momentary pleasure. War, violence and victory provide momentary pleasure to the readers. Modern writers and interpreters are interested in the war episod…

Mahopanishad Quotes

The wise man is not depressed by adversity, just as the golden lotus which does not fade at the approach of night. He does not set his heart on anything beyond his immediate concern, and his delight lies in the path of the virtuous. 
As alum clarifies water, so the nature of one who is enlightened becomes purified. Free from doubts, wickedness, inquisitiveness and delusion, his mind is perfectly integrated, and he shines like the full moon.
The space between bondage and liberation measures 2 feet only. Bondage says ‘this is mine’ and liberation says ‘nothing is mine.’ Mahopanishad