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Showing posts from September, 2009

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…

Pasankusa Ekadasi – Ashwin Shukla Paksha Ekadashi

Pasankusa Ekadasi is observed during waxing phase of moon (Shukla Paksha) in Ashwin month (September – October). The corresponding month in Tamil Calendar is Puratasi. Pasankusa Ekadasi 2019 is on October 9. This Ekadashi is also known as Pasankusa Ekadasi.

Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Anantha Padmanabha is worshipped on Pasankusa 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 Brahma Vaivarta 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.

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…

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 2019, Garuda Vahana dates are October 6.

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 spiri…

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, Saraswati 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 Kartikeya 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 Lo…

Shuka Acharya Jayanti

Shuka Acharya Jayanti is observed on the fifth day of the Shukla Paksha (waning phase of moon) of Ashwin month (September – October). Shuka Acharya Jayanti 2019 is on October 13. It is the birthday of Saint Shuka Acharya 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 Bhagavata Purana to attain Moksha.
Sage Shuka Acharya was born on the fifth day of Navratri and the day is also observed as Lalita Panchami.

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

A popular legend associated with Lord Venkateswara also mentions about Shuka Acharya. It is Shuka Acharya who went to Lord Venkateswara (Srinivasa) hou…

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 2019 during Navratri

The second set of the three days of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. Mahalakshmi Puja during Navratri 2019 begins on October 5 and October 6. 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 Ashtothram 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.

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 Chinmaya Mission.

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.


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 Odisha

Bhasani Yatra, or Basani Jatra, is observed on the day after Vijaya Dashami and Dasara in Odisha. 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 2019, Bhasani Yatra in Odisha is October 8. 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 Odisha.

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 2018, Puratassi month begins on September 17 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 water - 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. Navag…

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 Udd…

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…

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 2019 – Dussehra 2019 in Mysuru 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 2019 festival begins on September 29 and ends on October 8. 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 2018.

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 …

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

What is Avidhava Navami? – How to perform Pitrupaksha Shradh for Sumangali Women?

Vidhava means Widow. “Avidhava” means not a Widow – Sumangali. Avidhava Navami in the context of Pitru Paksham is the day on which ceremonies/rituals are to be performed for those Women (Mothers) who died as Sumangali. Avidhava Navami 2018 date is October 3.
It should be performed by the son/s on the Navami tithi day during Pithru Paksha.
On this day, brahmana – muthaide bhojana should be arranged, apart from regular Shradha. Some people perform Sankalpa Shradha on this day, whereas some people only do Shradha.
During Avidhava Navami, unlike paksha (wherein all the forefathers will be called), only his mother, mother’s in law and great grand mother (maata, maatamahi, and prapitaamahi) will be called and panda pradhana will be done. (This is also called as anvasthaka shraddha).
Avidhavanavami has to be done as long as the husband of the muthaide is surviving. After father’s death, Avidhavanami need not be done.
shraaddham navamyaam kuryaattu mRutE bhartari lupyatE | - We have t…

Ghat Chaturdashi Shradh Tarpan Rituals for Accidental and Other Unnatural Deaths

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 etc. The day is known as Ghat Chaturdashi in some regions. Observed in Ashwin month, Ghat Chaturdashi 2017 date is September 18.
There is a popular belief among some devout Hindus that the souls of those people who had an unnatural death wander around and do not rest in peace. Hindus perform special pujas, rites and rituals for the dead person’s soul to rest in peace.
Pitru Paksha fortnight Shradh rites and rituals observed during the Krishna Paksha of Ashwin month are considered apt for giving peace to the souls of all types of unnatural deaths. All Shradh rituals are best performed with the help of knowledgeable elderly person or a qualified priest.

For the First Time Women Priests to Perform Pujas during Durga Puja in Bengal

Four women in Bengal have passed the priesthood course conducted by Uttar Pratik Sangashkirita Shuiksha Prachar Shangashtha (North Pratik Agency for Expansion of Sanskrit Education) and qualified to perform pujas and rituals of Hinduism. They have also become members of the Bangiya Purahit Parishad (West Bengal Priests' Association), the largest association of Hindu priests in West Bengal, which nominates priests for Durga Puja rituals.This means daughters of Goddess Shakti will be performing pujas to Mother – Durga Maa during this Durga Puja. Women always perform all the pre-puja arrangements in all important Hindu festivals and rituals. Now they have moved a step ahead and will conduct pujas also.DNA reportsAccording to Somnath Shashtri, the chief instructor of Uttar Pratik Sangashkirita Shuiksha Prachar Shangashtha, the women – Shampa Roy, Aparna Chatterjee, Sujata Mukherjee and Mita Mukherjee – have graduated from the programme with distinction. "This is the time that fou…

Ashta Panchami – Importance of Ashtapanjami

Ashta Panjami, or Achtapanchami, is a highly auspicious day as per traditional Malayalam Panchangam and Kerala Astrology. Ashta Panchami occurs on the ashtami day (eighth day after full moon) in Chingam month. In 2019, Ashta Panchami date is August 23.

Ashta Panchami is something quite similar to Akshaya Tritiya or Pushya Nakshatra. The day is considered highly auspicious to buy new properties and houses.

Ashta Panchami day is presently marketed by real estate agents and flat builders to sell properties and flats.

Sanskrit Academy Uses Hindi Film Dialogues to Popularize Sanskrit

‘Kaalia, tav ki bhavisyasi?’ this is the Sanskrit translation of the famous dialogue ‘Ab tera Kya Hoga Kalia?’ by Gabbar Singh in the famous film Sholay. Eklavya Sanskrit Academy (ESA) in Ahmedabad is translating popular Hindi film dialogues into Sanskrit to popularize Sanskrit language among youth and general public. The Week reports about this unique attempt to popularize Sanskrit"We want to show people that Sanskrit is easy and an interesting language. To popularize Sanskrit, we recently did an experiment by using dialogues of around 17 superhit Hindi films to attract people, mainly youths," director of Eklavya Sanskrit Academy (ESA) Mihir Upadhyay said."What we did was to translate some portions of popular dialogues from films like the one of Gabbar Singh in Amithabh Bachhan-starrer Sholay, and use it to teach people to speak in Sanskrit language," he added.Another dialogue between Amitabh Bachhan and Shashi Kapoor in the film 'Deewar' - "Mere paas…

Lord Ayyappa Temple at Scarborough in Ontario - New Canada Hindu Temple

After ten years of hard work, the Sri Ayyappa Samajam Ontario, Canada, has built an elaborate Hindu temple for Lord Ayyappa on Middlefield Rd. near Finch Ave. E, at Scarborough at Ontario. The inauguration of the temple and the murti puja and consecration took place on September 5 and September 6, 2009. The function was attended by more than 50,000 Ayyappa devotees residing in Canada who are mostly of South Indian and Sri Lankan origin. The main Murti of Lord Ayyappa is enclosed in a chamber similar to the one seen at Sabarimala and the temple also has eighteen steps. The temple also has specific spots for Murtis of other deities from Hindu Pantheon.Each chamber in the temple is noted for its intricate designs and paintings and the 22,000-square-foot temple cost $10 million. The Star Writes"It's a very important day for us," said Thiru Sivasamy, devotee, volunteer and treasurer of the temple board, during the inauguration yesterday. "The temple has been built by fir…

Salagramam Ashram at Trivandrum – A Place to Research, Learn and Explore Sanatana Dharma

Salagramam Ashram at Trivandrum in Kerala, found by Swami Sandeep Chaitanya of the School of Bhagavad Gita Trust, aims to help all those who want to learn about Sanatana Dharma by being faithful to the original teachings with the help of traditional and modern learning tools. Salagramam Ashram is located on the banks of the KaramanaRiver at Kundamonkadavu in Trivandrum and will be opened to the public on September 9, 2009.An important aspect of the Salagramam Ashram is the emphasis on environmental protection and the numerous projects to protect and spread awareness about environment.The ashram has various facilities, including guest rooms, dormitories, meditation hall, learning facilities for the young and old, classrooms with audio-visual equipment, dining hall, conference hall, bookshop, ‘koothambalam’, studio and a theater equipped with state-of-the art technology.Thakshasila Library Complex of the ashram will serve students, teachers, researchers and practitioners and common ma…

Ashtama Sani Effects – Shani in the eighth house for Meena Rashi or Pisces Zodiac

Ashtama Shani is of great importance for those following and believing in astrology. Ashtama Sani is the movement of Sani to the eighth house as per horoscope calculations and is considered highly inauspicious. Ashtama Sani 2011 Transition will take place on November 15 and Shani makes the transition to Tula Rashi or (Libra Zodiac). Ashtama Shani begins for Meena or Pisces. Ashtama sani will come to end for Kumbha Rasi on November 15, 2011. The date varies for different Panchangams. The transition is on December 21, 2011 for Pambu Panchang followed in South India - it is known as Shani Peyarachi.
For those born under Meena Rashi (Moon Sign Pisces), Sani makes the transition to the eighth house and is considered to be bad. He will stay in this Rashi in the eighth house till 2nd Nov 2014.
For Karka Raasi individuals (Cancer Zodiac), Sani is in the fourth house and this is known as Ardha Ashtama Sani and this is also considered bad.
Please note that during Ashtama Sani transition and Asht…

Hindu Blog Turns 3

Hindu Blog is three years old today. The blog that I started to learn about Sanatana Dharma has grown nicely over the years and the greatest achievement has been the interaction I had through the blog with some great minds – some valuable lessons and thoughts shared by people from around the world. The interaction still continues and each day a common man comes to the blog finds something interesting and he/she adds her thoughts to it – keeping the quest alive.So what have I learned about Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) so far by writing the blog? I remember the words of Dr S. Radhakrishnan in his book Bhagavad Gita. Hinduism is not just a faith. It is the union of reason and intuition that cannot be defined but is only to be experienced.Hinduism exhibits a complete independence and freedom of the human mind, its full confidence in its own powers.Hinduism is freedom, especially the freedom in thinking about God. In the search for the supernatural, it is like traveling in space without a bo…

Book: Gita for Everyday Living – By Ramakrishna Mission

‘Gita for Everyday Living’ published by Ramakrishna Mission attempts to rephrase and reiterate the eternal teachings of Bhagavad Gita for contemporary needs. The book is a collection of articles by scholars and Swamis of Ramakrishna Mission and has chapters like ‘Gita for commoners’, ‘Gita’s way of right activity’, ‘Keeping calm — the Gita way’, ‘Gita for Teachers’, ‘Gita and Service.’Gita for Everyday Living explores the message of the Gita in a contemporary and practical context. It attempts to remove the problems in life created mainly due to the lack of proper understanding of life and the nature of the Supreme Being. It also tries to alleviate confusion created by the mind through its wanderings.The book contains articles originally published in the December 2008 issue of The Vedanta Kesari (a monthly published by Ramakrishna Mission, Chennai) and also has 36 illuminating articles on various topics.Gita for Everyday Living
Price – Rupees 70/-
Published by - Sri Ramakrishna Math, M…