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Showing posts from August, 2013


Arupalakshmi – About Goddess Arupalakshmi form of Goddess Lakshmi

Arupalakshmi is a form of Goddess Lakshmi that is worshipped in the surrounding area of the sanctum sanctorum in the world famous KamakshiTemple in Kanchipuram. There are two versions associated with the Arupalakshmi form.
Legend has it that during the churning of ocean, Samudra Manthan, the body of Bhagvan Srihari Vishnu turned blue due to the poison emitted by Snake Vasuki who was used as the rope.
Goddess Lakshmi was amused to see the change in the skin tone of Srihari Vishnu and made fun of Him. An angry Vishnu cursed Goddess Lakshmi to turn ugly (Arupa). Thus she became Arupalakshmi.
Goddess Lakshmi who felt bad went to the abode of Goddess Kamakshi who asked her to stay on the left side of Her.
It is said that the kumkum that is offered to Goddess Kamakshi, which is then given to devotees, is smeared on the murti of Arupalakshmi. The belief is that the Goddess regains her beauty each time.
Arupalakshmi is worshipped for prosperity and for solution to all financial problems.
T…

Situational Gita - Mobile Application on Bhagavad Gita That Answers to Daily Problems

Situational Gita is a mobile application on Bhagavad Gita designed by Sreekanth Sastry of Antarjaal Innovations. 100 important Shlokas from the Gita are use the in the App. Answers to modern problems are found in the Gita but people do not have patience and time to go through the Holy Book. The application provides answers found in Gita to a particular situation that you are facing in life.
Situational Gita App is available on Apple App Store and Google Play. The Hindu reports
“Everybody is looking for answers and the Gita is supposed to have them all,” says Sreekanth. “Nobody, however, reads the Gita because they think they won’t understand it. So we wanted to see if there was a way in which we can make it more accessible, so we broke it down into categories that we thought were everyday situations and looked for slokhas that would provide the answers to those questions,” says the youngster who quit his job in the software products industry in March to start Antarjaal.  “The gita has a…

Bangle on the Hands of Hindu Gods – Maharakandi

A single bangle worn by Hindu Gods is known as Maharakandi. Hindu women wear colorful bangles made of glass, gold and other metals as it is auspicious and symbolically represents positive aspects of life like love, marriage, marital bliss, joy, prosperity and mental peace. It is not just women but Hindu Gods also used to wear bangles during the Vedic period and also during the period of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
All the principal characters in the two epics – Mahabharata and Ramayana – wore bangles. A single bangle was worn by them and it was known as Maharakandi.
Bhagvan Sri Ram and Sri Krishna are seen wearing a single bangle.
The idea of men wearing bangle was dropped in the medieval period.
In modern times, women alone wear bangles in Hindu tradition.
It must be noted here that Shiva uses snakes as bangles. 
Related
Bangles in Hinduism – Importance and Symbolism

Story of Sri Krishna and Banasur

Story of Sri Krishna and Banasur is found in the Mahabharata (Sabha Parva Chapter 38) and Srimad Bhagavad Purana (Chapter X 61 – 63). Banasur was the son of pious king Mahabali (who was pushed to netherworld by Vamana Avatar of Vishnu). He ruled from the city of Sonitapura.
To become invincible, Banasur performed severe penance dedicated to Shiva. After several years, Shiva appeared before his devotee and offered him two boons.
Banasur asked for thousand hands to fight his enemies as his first boon and it was granted.
As his second boon, he wanted Shiva to guard the city of Sonitapura. This boon was also granted.
With such huge powers in his disposal, the demon wanted to fight with Shiva. A smiling Mahadev evaded Banasur by saying that he would meet his worthy foe pretty soon.
Banasur had a beautiful daughter named Usha. She once had a dream of a very handsome prince and fell deeply in love with him. Even after waking up, Usha was immersed in the prince and forgot her daily chores.…

Sri Krishna Jayanti Thoughts and Quotes by Hindu Blog

Sri Krishna appeared on earth to show us the perfect man. He is the ideal person to emulate to live in the society. He is the Upanishad man. He is the eternal teacher – who has been transforming the lives of millions of Arjunas. He does not impose his ideas and teachings. Instead He gives us the freedom to think and to act independently. He wants us to celebrate life by upholding Dharma. This is why Sri Krishna has friends, lovers but not followers.

Sri Krishna showed us the way to live in the society. To enjoy each phase of life to the fullest. To be sincere and honest in relationships. Look at child Krishna – he was the naughtiest, mischievous, loving, doting – he did not hold back. He lived in the moment.
Krishna was sincere and honest to the present without bothering about past and future. As a son, brother, friend, lover, husband, guide… all the roles that he took in his life span on earth are an example for us to follow. It contains valuable lessons for us to lead a happy and p…

What are the 16 Kalas of Lord Krishna? – Meaning of 16 Kalas of Sri Krishna

The 16 Kalas of Sri Krishna are the divine arts or attributes of Sri Krishna that makes him Purna Avatar – the complete avatar. What are the 16 Kalas of Lord Krishna? Below are the meanings of each Kala in English.

1. Daya – Compassion 2. Dharjya – Patience 3. Kshama – Forgiveness 4. Nyaya – Justice 5. Nirapeksha – Impartiality 6. Niraskata – Detachment 7. Tapasya – Meditation and Spiritual Powers 8. Aparchitta – Invincibility 9. Danasheel – Beneficience, Bestower of all wealth in the world and nature. 10. Saundarjyamaya – Beauty Incarnate 11. Nrityajna – Best of Dancers 12. Sangitajna – Best of Singers 13. Neetibadi – Embodiment of Honesty 14. Satyabadi – Truth Itself 15. Sarvagnata – Perfect master of all arts, such as poetry, drama, painting etc. 16. Sarvaniyanta – Controller of All
Source – Orissa Review Magazine published by Government of Orissa.

Related
Why is Sri Krishna Blue in Color? Reason for Krishna Being Blue Skinned

Diwali Postage Stamps in United States – Efforts are on to Issue Diwali Stamps

Several United States lawmakers have urged to the US Postal Service to issue a postage stamp on Diwali in 2014.  The Hindu reports
“The fight to have the Postal Service issue a Diwali commemorative stamp can be decided next week,” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said.
“For those who care about a Diwali stamp, it’s imperative that they write the Citizens Advisory Stamp Commission now,” Ms. Malony said.
Ms. Malony was joined by two other lawmakers, Ami Bera and Tulsi Gabbard to meet Scott Slusher, Manager of Government Liaison at the US Postal Service, to urge selection of Diwali as the topic for issuance of a commemorative stamp in 2014.
The Citizens Advisory Committee of the US Postal Service is scheduled to meet on July 18.
Mr. Bera is the only serving Indian American Congressman, and the third ever, in the current Congress, while Ms. Gabbard is the first Hindu Congresswomen.

Hindu Teachings on Purity of Mind

One cannot see God without purity of heart. Through attachment to woman and gold the mind has become stained – covered with dirt, as it were. A magnet cannot attract a needle if the needle is covered with mud. Wash away the mud and the magnet will draw it. Like wise, the dirt of the mind can be washed away with the tears of our eyes. This stain is removed if one sheds tears of repentance and says, ‘O God, I shall never again do such a thing.’ There upon God, who is like the magnet, draws Himself the mind, which is like the needle. (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, 173 – 4).
Where is God? He is where the world is not. If you wish to go to God, you must turn your back on the world. The senses must be controlled and turned in the opposite direction. God is seated in the heart; so all your sense energies and mental energies must converge to that one point and take you there. But this can be done only when you realize that He is the best, the highest, in the whole universe. (Swami Ramakrish…

Trinetra Shiva – About Shiva’s Third Eye – Shiva Trinetra

Trinetra is one of the important names of Shiva. It is also believed that at the end of a cycle of creation, Shiva opens his third eye to effect the change needed for the next cycle of creation. The story of the origin of Shiva’s third eye is interesting as it is not associated with destruction but with sustenance.
About Origin of Shiva’s Third Eye
Time immemorial, Shiva was sporting with Goddess Parvati in the Himalayas. The divine couple was in a playful mood – they were moving all around the cosmos taking various forms– and Goddess Parvati suddenly closed the two eyes of Shiva with her hands.
The entire universe was at once submerged in darkness. All activities came to a standstill due to cosmic darkness. There was no production of food, there was no light… Devas, Saints, Humans and all living beings became still. Everything was quiet.
Mahadev who realized what was happening in the universe dispelled the cosmic darkness by opening his third eye – Trinetra. A minutest part of the fi…

How to perform Gowri Ganesh Puja or Ganesha Gouri Habba?

Gouri Ganesha Puja, or Gowri Habba, is an important festival observed in Karnataka on the previous day of Ganesh Chaturthi. It is observed during waxing phase of moon or Krishna Paksha in the month of Bhadrapada in Karnataka and parts of Andhra Pradesh and in Aavani month in parts of Tamil Nadu. Gowri Habba celebrates the extraordinary creation of Ganesha by Goddess Parvati (Goddess Gowri), which symbolizes women’s power to create life. Here is a general idea to do or observe Gowri Ganesh Puja or Gowri Habba. It must be noted here that the method of performing puja varies from community to community and from region to region. Therefore what is more important is not the ritual but devotion and self-realization. Things needed Image of Gowri made using Turmeric paste or Clay idol of Parvati. Never use Plaster of Paris versions as it pollutes the water body. Threshing pan or MuramRiceLentilsBananasFlowers Betel leaves, betel nuts, coconut etc and other usual pooja accessories Purna Kumbh…

No University in India offers a Comprehensive Course in Hinduism Studies

Subadra Muthuswami, who has a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University, wanted to pursue her interest in Hinduism so she searched for a comprehensive course in Hinduism studies in universities in India. But no university in India offers a comprehensive course in Hinduism Studies. There are only programmes in Indian Philosophy. But most of the universities in India have separate departments for Christian and Islamic studies.  The Hindu reports She discovered that the University of Madras has programmes in vaishnavism and Indian philosophy. She enquired with universities such as Madurai Kamaraj, Annamalai and Sastra, but without success. Finally, she went to MadrasSanskritCollege in Mylapore, where she was informed that she could register as an independent research candidate or seek help from the University of Madras.  “While you may study Indian philosophy in the philosophy department or vaishnavism or saiva siddhanta, which is in Tamil medium only, you cannot study th…

Be spotlessly pure in heart – Tirukkural

Be spotlessly pure in heart.   Knowledge is an inner fortification that enemies cannot destroy, and is the ultimate impregnable defence.   (Tirukkural, 421)
That is righteousness which is free from these four things: envy, lust, wrath and harsh word. 
Virtue begets honour as well as riches and so can there be a greater good for mankind than virtue?
All lives on this earth will venerate the man who has gained control over his soul. (268) Tirukkural

Kaivalya Upanishad Wisdom

Making the Atman the (lower) Arani, and OM the upper Arani, by the repeated friction of knowledge, a wise man burns up the bond.
The being who sports in the three cities (viz., the states of wakefulness, dream and profound sleep) – from Him has sprung up all diversity. He is the substratum, the bliss, the indivisible Consciousness, in whom the three cities dissolve themselves.
That which is the Supreme Brahman, the soul of all, the great support of the universe, subtler than the subtle, and eternal – that is thyself, and thou art That.
That which manifests the phenomena, such as the states of wakefulness, dream and profound sleep, I am that Brahman” – realizing thus one is liberated from all bonds. 
Kaivalya Upanishad 

Difference between Parashakti and Adishakti

Parashakti and Adishakti are the forms of Supreme Mother Goddess. But is there difference between Parashakti and Adishakti? For a devotee who is immersed in unwavering devotion (Bhakti) they both lead to the same goal – Moksha or Liberation. For a devotee who is still struggling in the world of forms there is a difference.
The philosophy of various manifestations of Shiva and Shakti is associated with the Suddha Shaiva School of Shaivism.
As you might be aware that in Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), creation, sustenance and destruction follow a cyclic path. Thus at the end of one cycle - after destruction, Parashakti evolves from Shiva when His boundless mercy wills. She appears for the purpose of next cycle of creation and removal of dirt (Adharma) from the world. From this Shakti emerges other Shaktis.



For the purpose of next cycle creation and to remove dirt, from a thousandth part of Shiva emerges Parashakti.
From a thousandth part of Parashakti emerges Adishakti.
This is the differ…

Panchalimedu in Kerala – Place Associated with Pandavas and Panchali

Panchalimedu is a beautiful hillside spot located near Kuttikanam in Kerala. The place is associated with Pandavas of the Mahabharata and is named after their wife Panchali. A cave located at Panchalimedu has footprints of Bhima, the second of the Pandava brothers.
Legend has it that during the exile period in the Mahabharata, Pandavas and Panchali visited the place. There is a pond located here which is known as Panchalikulam.
Thousands of devotees witness the Makarajyoti lamp lit during the SabarimalaTemple pilgrimage on January 14 from the area near Panchalikulam.
There is temple dedicated to Goddess Bhuva­neshwari at Pancahlimedu. The areas near the temple have Shivling, Trishul and Naga murtis. They are spread across the hill.
Panchalimedu is located around 10 km from Kuttikanam.
Picture source – Mathurbhumi newspaper

To see diversity in unity is a sign of ignorance – Satya Sai Baba

All are the embodiments of Brahman. You should not belittle yourself, saying you are a mere human being based on the differences of names and forms.
To see diversity in unity is a sign of ignorance.
Not being able to understand the truth is also ignorance.
Knowledge and ignorance lies in the realization of truth.
Everything in this world is permeated with knowledge. Every individual, every society is endowed with knowledge. This knowledge is the very form of God. That is the truth. That is why it is said – Brahman is the embodiment of truth, wisdom and eternity.
Satya Sai Baba

Pillayar Meaning in English – Name of Ganesh in Tamil

Pillayar is the popular Tamil name of God Ganesha. Ganesh or Ganapati is widely known in Tamil Nadu and among Tamil speaking community as Pillayar. But what is the meaning of Pillayar or Pillaiyar. In Tami, Pille means child and Pillayar meant a noble child. Shiva is one of the popular deities in Tamil culture and therefore Ganesha was referred as the noble child.
Some scholars are of the view that Pallu or pella means tooth or tusk of an elephant – more generally elephant – thus Pillayar means young one of an elephant.
In South India, Ganesha is popularly known as Ganapati and Pillayar. The term ‘Pillayar’ is limited to Tamil communities.
Reference:Ganesh: studies of an Asian god. Edited by Robert L. Brown

Yajur Veda in Hindi in pdf – Download Yajur Veda in Hindi in pdf for free

Yajur Veda is one of the holiest texts in Hinduism and is one of the four Vedas. Now you can download Yajur Veda in Hindi thanks to the Vedpuran.net website. The Yajur Veda in Hindi is in pdf format and you can download it for free.
It is popularly believed the Vedas is of divine origin and composed by no man. Popular belief is that the divine words were first compiled and divided into four by Veda Vyasa. Vedas are considered to be an eternal text and is rediscovered during each new cosmic era.
LinkDownload Yajur Veda in Hindi in pdf (you can right click and save it or read it browser and then save)

Upanishads on Our Infinite Nature

That jiva is to be known as of the size of the tip of a hair, imagined to be divided into a hundredth of its hundredth part; yet it happens to be infinite. (Svetashvatara Upanishad, 5.9)
He who has realized and intimately known the Atman that has entered this perilous and inaccessible place (the body), is the maker of the universe, for he is the maker of all, (all is) his Atman, and he again is indeed the Atman (of all).  (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 4.4.13)
(Brahman is) without doubt, endless, beyond reason and analogy, beyond all proofs and causeless, knowing which the wise one becomes free. (Amritabindu Upanishad, 9)

This one is the Lord of all; this one is omniscient; this one is the inner director (of all); this one is the source of all; this one is verily the place of origin and dissolution of all beings. (Mandukya Upanishad, 6)
Source - Prabhudha Bharata Magazine February 2013 Issue.

Bhauma – About God Bhauma in Hindu Religion

Bhauma or Mangal or Mars is a popular deity in Hindu Religion and is one among the Navagrahas. He is also known as Angarak. Bhauma is represented as either seated on a goat or on a throne or on a golden chariot drawn by eight horses.
The color of Bhauma is red – it should be like fire.
This planetary deity has four arms. One of the right hands is in Varada or Abhaya posture. The other arms carry weapon Shakti, Gada and Shoola.
Flowers offered are red in color.  Cloth offered is also red in color.
The Pradosh observed on Tuesday or Mangalwar is known as Bhauma Pradosh. The belief is that those having trouble in horoscope related to Mangal Grah will get relief by observing Pradosh Vrat dedicated to Shiva on the day.

Bada Ganapati Temple in Ujjain Receives Rakhi during Raksha Bandhan

Devotees sent Rakhi from India and around the world to Bada Ganapati worshipped in the famous Bada Ganapati Temple in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. The belief is that Shiva and Goddess Parvati are the father and mother of the universe and their son Ganesha is the brother of all women.
Devotees sent huge number of Rakhis which are tied on the murti of Ganesha worshipped in the temple. Some devotees also offer rakhis made of gold and silver.

One of the Biggest Ganesh Murti (idol) worshipped in a temple is found at Bada Ganapati Temple.

Why is Ganesha the Lord of Obstacles?

An interesting story in the Skanda Purana mentions why Ganesha is the Lord of Obstacles? – One who removes obstacles and one who creates obstacles. It is said that all kinds of people attained moksha as a result of visiting the SomeshwaraTemple (Somnath temple in Gujarat) – due to a boon granted by Shiva to Soma (moon god). People stopped all sort of ascetic practices, austerities and sacrifices. All sinners were purified by visiting Somnath. This caused imbalance in the universe.
Indra, the king of Devas, wanted to find a solution to the problem and approached Shiva. He said He could not change the boon given to Soma. Shiva directed Indra to Goddess Parvati.
Goddess Parvati gauged the situation and Mother Goddess decided to rectify the imbalance.
She slowly rubbed Her body and from Her body appeared a four-armed divine being with an elephant head. This was Ganesha.
Ganesha was asked to create obstacles in the path of sinners who visited SomnathTemple to attain Moksha. Ganesha thus c…

Hindu Marriage Act Applies only if domiciled in India

The supreme court of India has ruled that Hindu Marriage Act applies to Hindu couples residing in other countries or holding citizenship of other countries only if there is proof of domicile in India. India Today reports An SC bench said the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 can have extra-territorial operation on non-Indian Hindu couples or on couples residing in other countries only if they are domiciled in India.  The judgment assumes relevance for Hindu couples of Indian origin as it removes confusion created by conflicting opinions by different high courts in the country. The law is often invoked by women who settle abroad after marriage but come back to India after estrangement and take to legal recourse.  The SC said it did not agree with judgments by the Calcutta, Rajasthan and Kerala HCs holding that the Hindu Marriage Act applied to all Hindu couples around the world, irrespective of the fact that they were domiciled in India or not.  Since the HCs took religion to be the nexus, they …

Story of Rati in Hinduism

Rati was the daughter of Daksha Prajapati and was the wife of Kamdev, god of love in Hinduism. Kamdev was burned to ashes when he attempted to disturb the Tapas of Shiva. Rati lost her husband and it was impossible to control her. Shiva consoled Rati by saying that she would meet her husband again in his next birth as the son of Sri Krishna. Rati then stayed with Brahman and performed austerities.
In her next birth, Rati was born as Mayavati and married Pradyumna, son of Krishna, who was the rebirth of Kamadeva.

Rati means repose, rest, pleasure, enjoyment, delight, fondness. Pleasures of love, and sexual passion or union were personified as Rati.

Unique Rudra Shiv Murti – Idol – at Devrani-Jethani Temple complex in Chhattisgarh

Rudra Shiva Murtis (Idol) are very rare. Devrani-JethaniTemple complex is located at Talegaon village, also known as Talagram and Amerikapagram. The temple is around 90 km from Raipur, the capital of ChhattisgarhState in India. The temple houses Rudra Shiv Murti – one of the earliest known forms of Shiva.
Seven-foot-tall image of Rudra Shiva is believed to be one of its kind in the world. Creation, sustenance and destruction continuously takes place in Rudra Shiva. Deccan Herald reports
The idol, placed under lock and key, is believed to weigh well over five tons and is characteristic of the tantric cult much in practice among the villagers and tribals of the region in those times. The anatomy of the idol is a curious mix of the Almighty’s creation at all levels — amphibians to avian to mammals! While nothing is known about the artiste who created this masterpiece, it may be surmised that the serpent was his favorite subject. A pair of coiled serpents represents the head gear.  Serpent…

Story of Kannappa – Shiva Devotee Who Donated His Eyes

Story of Kannappa is mentioned in the Peria Puranas. Kannappa was one of the 63 Tamil Saints – the 63 Nayanars. Before becoming a saint, Kannappa was known as Thinnan and he was a hunter by profession.
Thinnan was attracted to Shiva and he was an innocent devotee. He had no knowledge about rituals and pujas. So he used to offer flowers, water and flesh of the animals he killed to Shivling.
To the society, Thinnan’s offering were impure. But Shiva accepted them because it was offered with devotion and with no malice. Purity of devotion made the offering the best.
One day Kannappa noticed that one of the eyes of the Shivling was bleeding. He tried to cure the bleeding eye with herbs. But it did not work. As his efforts failed, Kannappa plucked his one eye and transplanted it on the lingam. Then suddenly the second eye of the lingam began to bleed. Kannappa plucked his second eye and transplanted it on the lingam.
Pleased with his devotion, Shiva gave darshan to Kannappa and restored hi…

Bhagavad Gita on Service – Helping Others

The inferior (tamasic) kind of service is that which is offered without respect or with disdain to an unworthy person at the wrong place and time.
The mediocre (rajasic) kind of service is offered grudgingly and with the expectation of a return of favor or the meritorious fruit of the act. (17.21)
The superior (sattvic) kind of service is offered with a feeling that it is one’s duty to give. Such an offering is made to a worthy person who can make no return and at the right time and place. (17.20)
The following factors emerge from the Gita analysis.
Service should be offered (1) to a worthy recipient; (2) at the right time and place; (3) without expectation of a return of favour; (4) without desire for the fruits of action; and (5) with due respect to the recipient.
In the Bhagavadgita Sri Krishna gives a threefold prescription for purification: ‘Sacrifice (yajna), service (dana) and austerities (tapas) should not be relinquished, but should be performed with detachment and without c…

Sri Ramakrishna on God and the Universe through the Metaphor of Bel Fruit

Sri Ramakrishna sums up with a simple illustration the truth of the unified ultimate Reality and the multiplicity of the manifest universe: ‘…he who has attained God knows that it is God who has become all this. Then he sees that God, Maya, living beings and the universe form one whole. God includes the universe and its living beings.’
He goes on to give the illustration of a bel fruit:
Suppose you have separated the shell, flesh, and a seed of a bel-fruit and someone asks you the weight of the fruit. Will you leave aside the shell and the seeds, and weigh only the flesh? Not at all. To know the real weight of the fruit, you must weigh the whole of it—the shell, the flesh and the seeds. Only then can you tell its real weight.
Sri Ramakrishna explains this metaphor: The shell may be likened to the universe, and the seeds to living beings. While one is engaged in discrimination one says to oneself that the universe and living beings are non-Self and unsubstantial. At that time one th…

Pippalad Shiva – Story of the Pipalad manifestation of Shiva

Story of the Pippalad Shiva manifestation of Shiva is associated with Sage Dadhichi sacrificing and courting death for saving Devas. Shiva as Pipalad was born as the son of Dadhichi and Suvarcha.
Legend has it that a demon named Vritasura was creating havoc in heaven and earth. To defeat him, Indra needed to make a special weapon. Brahma told that the weapon can be created only from the bones of Sage Dadhichi.
Sage Dadhichi offered prayers to Shiva and sacrificed himself. From the backbone of the Sage, divine architect Vishwakarma created the weapon Vajra. Indra used this weapon to annihilate demon Vritasura.
Suvarcha was angry on hearing the news of the death of her husband. She decided to jump into the pyre of her husband. But suddenly a voice from sky stated that she was carrying the child of the Sage in her womb.
It is said that Suvarcha tore open her stomach and the embryo in womb came out. It was so bright that it lit up the entire universe. It was none other than Shiva.
Suvar…

Spirituality begins when God is the end and world is only the means to attain the end – Swami Vivekananda

We pray for material things. To attain some end we worship God with shop keeping worship. Go on and pray for food and clothes! Worship is good. Something is always better than nothing.
A very rich young man becomes ill, and then to get rid of his disease he begins to give to the poor. That is good, but it is not religion yet, not spiritual religion. It is all on the material plane.
What is material, and what is not? When the world is the end and God the means to attain that end, that is material. When God is the end and the world is only the means to attain that end, spirituality has begun.
Material science can only give worldly prosperity, whilst spiritual science is for eternal life. If there be no eternal life, still the enjoyment of spiritual thoughts as ideas is keener and makes a man happier, whilst the foolery of materialism leads to competition and undue ambition and ultimate death, individual and national.
Swami Vivekananda (Complete works 6.66 and 6.391)

Story of Lakshman and Atikaya, son of Ravana, in the Ramayana

Atikaya, son of Ravana, was huge like Kumbhakarna. It was Lakshman who defeated Atikaya in the Ramayana. The story of Atikaya fighting Lakshmana is found in the Yuddha Kanda of Ramayana. Atikaya’s mother was Dhanyamalini, one of the wives of Ravana.
Atikaya was huge as a mountain and his eyes were yellowish-brown. His chariot was large and there were fierce weapons in it – both the chariot and weapons were given to him by Brahma. He was conversant in all weapons. He had defeated the Devas in the battle.
Atikaya brushed aside the Vanaras in the battle and headed towards Rama and Lakshman. He proclaimed that he did not want to fight against ordinary warriors and wanted to fight only with Rama or Lakshman.
Lakshman went to fight with Atikaya. The battle was fierce and both warriors were injured. When Lakshman attacked with arrows presided by Agni; Atikaya replied to them with Surayastra. Both continued to nullify each others arrows.
When it seemed there was no end to the fight, Vayu, wi…

Thillai Kali Temple – Thillai Kali Amman Temple in Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu

ThillaiKaliAmmanTemple at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu is dedicated to Goddess Shakti. Goddess Thillai Kali is a ferocious form of Shakthi. She has four faces like Brahma and is also known as Brahma Chamundeswari. The temple is very unique as Dakshinamurti form of Shiva is also worshipped in this temple in the female form.
The murti of Brahma Chamundeswari face east and she is in standing posture. Special pujas are held during the Rahu Kalam period on Sundays.
StoryThillaiKaliTemple Legend has it that once there was a debate between Shiva and Goddess Shakti as to who is the best dancer. They entered into a dance contest. They both matched each other in steps and no one was superior. Then Shiva performed the Ugra Tandava. But Goddess Shakti could not dance in Ugra Tandava as it involved lifting the leg up.
Goddess Shakti accepted defeat but she was furious as it was not a fair competition. Brahma appeared and asked her to calm down. He praised her as Veda Nayaki – one who represents the V…

Book on Sun Temples in Gujarat – Ugta Rehjo Bhan in Gujarati

Ugta Rehjo Bhan in Gujarati published by the Gujarat State Archeology Department is dedicated to the sun temples in Gujarat. The book explores not just the famous ModheraSunTemple but nearly 100 sun temples scattered from Koteshwar in Sabarkantha to Rander near Surat in Gujarat.
The book is the result of the dedicated work of over a decade by Navinchandra Parekh and Dahyabhai Patel.  Times of India reports  The book says sun worship is as old as the Indian civilization. However, the tradition of worship in an idol form came in the third century BC. Sun worship took its roots from third to the 13th century across the subcontinent including Gujarat after which the trend waned. Places such as Vadnagar, Muli, Than, Delmal, Kotyark and Gop were thriving centers of sun worship and many of these have idols preserved for centuries.  "There have been two traditions of sun worship found in the state. While the idols of Mag Brahmins have Iranian influence (completed with boots and headgear)…

How to perform Mundan ceremony of new born child?

The mundan ceremony of new born child should be performed after child’s first birthday and before the child turns three years old. Here is a brief account on how to perform mundan ceremony.
On the auspicious day of the Mundan ceremony, the child is duly bathed and clothed and sits on the mother’s lap or any female member in the house.
Father or a male member moistens the hair of the child with warm water. He offers prayers to Ganesha, Shiva, Vishnu and Devi.
He then uses a porcupine quill, three blades of Darbha or Durva Grass and cuts off a tuft of hair. While cutting he prayers for the longevity of life and prosperity of the child.
The act is repeated thrice.
He then leaves the shaving of the hair to the barber.
Top hair or tuft of the child is left intact by some Hindu communities.
Note - if a priest is present during the function, then he will chant the relevant mantras.
If there is no priest then the family members can pray to Ganesha.

Koppudai Amman Temple Karaikudi - Koppudai Nayaki Amman temple in Tamil Nadu

KoppudaiAmmanTemple is located at Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu and is dedicated to Koppudai Nayaki Amman. The murti of Amman is made from Panchaloha. She wears a crown like burning fire. She muri is four armed. The hands hold trident, rope and skull. On hand is in Abhaya posture.
The temple was visited by Adi Shankaracharya and he is believed to have installed Sri Chakra in the temple. Amman blesses devotees with prosperity, knowledge and peace.
The most important festival in the temple is held from the last Tuesday of Chithirai month to the first week of Vaigasi Month. The showering of flowers on the murti is an important festival in Chithirai month and it is held on the second Tuesday of the Chithirai month. Other important festivals are Tamil New Year day (Chithirai 1), Purattasi Navratri, Aadi Chovai (Tuesday in Aadi month), Margazhi and Painguni.
Tuesday, Friday and Sunday are important dates in the temple.
A unique aspect of the temple is that the processional deity and presiding deity i…

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Murti in Spadikam – Glass – Buy Replica of Ananthashayanam Murti Worshipped in Trivandrum Padmanabha Swamy Temple

KowdiyarPalace, which manages the world famous TrivandrumPadmanabhaSwamyTemple, is releasing Ananthashayanam Murti in Spadikam (or Glass) of Sri Padmanabha Swamy. It is a replica of the murti worshipped in the SriPadmanabhaswamyTemple.
The murti is depicted as sleeping on Ananta Sesha and with one hand in Abhaya Mudra posture.
Sculptors from Chennai who are specialized in making sculptors of Hindu Gods are preparing the murti of Sri Padmanabha Swamy in Spadikam. The design of the murti is in such a way that a small amount of light can be passed through it. This would give the effect of Ananthashayanam or Vishnu sleeping on the milky ocean.
As per KowdiyarPalace, the Spadikam murti can be used for worship in homes.
You need to make a booking for the Sri Padmanabha Swamy Murti in Spadikam directly in the KowdiyarPalace office in Trivandrum.
KowdiyarPalace used to earlier make the same murti in mud. But as time goes by the mud murti used get deteriorated. To avoid this deterioration, Sr…

Sugriva Fights Ravana in the Ramayana

Before the actual battle in the Ramayana begins, Sugriva acts impulsively and jumps toward Lanka to fight Ravana. In anger he rushes towards Ravana who was standing on the terrace of his palace.
Ravana was surprised by the visit of Sugriva. But Ravana gained his composure and got hold of Sugriva and pushed him to the ground.
Sugriva then caught hold of Ravana and threw him down.
The two then was engaged in wrestling and both were wounded.
When Ravana realized that he cannot defeat Sugriva in combat, he adapted Maya (magic). Ravana began to disappear and appear to confuse Sugriva.
Sugriva who realized his limitations jumped back to where the Vanara army was stationed.
Rama then chided Sugriva for acting impulsively. Rama said that he cannot bear the loss of Sugriva and he should not act rashly again.

Vaijayanti Mala – Garland – Necklace of Vishnu – Vaijayantimala

Vaijayanti Mala is the long garland or necklace worn by Bhagvan Vishnu. Symbolically this garland made of gems implies victory. Vaijayantimala is made upon five gems – Pancharatnas. The five gems are pearl, ruby, sapphire, diamond and emerald.

The five gems – mukta, manikya, nila, vajra and marakata – are also associated with Panchabhootas – five elements of nature.
Vishnu Purana states that Vaijayantimala is also known as Bhuta Mala as it is associated with the five elements.
It must be noted that in some scriptures especially in Vishnurahasya, ruby, diamond and emerald are replaced by Kaustubha, cat’s eye (gomedakam) and Topaz (pusparagam).
Kaustubha is a jewel associated with Vishnu only. It appeared during the churning of ocean and Vishnu wears it.
Thus in this description Vaijayanti Mala is made up of Kaustubha, cat’s eye, topaz, pearl and sapphire. As per this description Sapphire represents earth, pearl represents water, kausthubha represents fire, cat’s eye represents air and…

Paramakudi Muthalamman Temple in Tamil Nadu

MuthalammanTemple is located at Paramakudi in Tamil Nadu and the shrine is dedicated to Muthala Parameswari or Muthalamman, a manifestation of Goddess Shakti. The temple is located on the banks of VaigaiRiver. The murti of Muthala Parameswari Amman is in kind and benevolent form. She has four arms and holds Trident, Kabala (skull), Kataka and damaruka. Her Vehicle lion is also present in the sanctum sanctorum.
The most important festivals in the temple are Panguni Brahmotsavam, Aadi and Masi festivals and Navratri. The Masi festival of showering flowers attracts thousands of people. The murti of Goddess is completely covered with flowers in the ritual. The Panguni Brahmotsavam is of great significance. In the Brahmotsavam, Muthalamman gives darshan to devotees riding on a Rishabha.
The temple also has murtis of Nagas, Marthandi Amman, Pothiraja, Karuppaswami and Hanuman.
The temple is an important shrine in the region for Naga Dosha. Mother Goddess is believed to cure diseases and also…

Online Course in Making Clay Ganesh Idol – Learn to make clay eco-friendly Ganapati Murti for Vinayaka Chaturthi

If you are interested in making eco-friendly clay Ganesh idol for this Vinayaka Chaturthi, then Pune-based Mandar Marathe is offering online course in making clay Ganapati Murti. He is also offering course at his workshop in Pune. The online course is priced at $30.
This course is divided into 4 sections. Making the basic structure, modelling the 4 hands, making the face, the trunk and lastly, adding ornaments and other details to the idol.
The course has videos that have cumulative run time of about 3.25 hours.
You can find more details about the course here.

Brahma Upanishad on the Supreme Indestructible One

Purusha has four seats, the navel, the heart, the throat, and the head. In these shines forth the Brahman with four aspects: the state of wakefulness, of dream, of dreamless sleep, and the fourth or transcendental state.
In the wakeful state, He is Brahma; in the dreaming state, He is Vishnu; in dreamless sleep He is Rudra; and the fourth state is the Supreme Indestructible One; and He again is the Sun, the Vishnu, the Ishwara, He is the Purusha, He is the Prana, He is the Jiva or the animate being, He is the Fire, The Ishwara, and the Resplendent; (yea) that Brahman which is transcendent shines within all these!
In Itself, It is devoid of mind, of ears, of hands and feet, of light. There neither are the worlds existing nor non-existing, neither are the Vedas or the Devas or the sacrifices existing nor non-existing, neither is the mother or father or daughter-in-law existing nor non-existing, neither is Chandala’s son or Pulkasa’s son existing nor non-existing, neither is the mendic…

Story of Monkey King Bali (Vali) and Ravana

Monkey King Bali or Vali, the brother of Sugriva in the Ramayana, was the ruler of Kishkinda. One of the most popular images of King Bali is that of him dragging the ten-headed Ravana. The story of Bali and Ravana is very popular as it is funny and also teaches the valuable lesson that arrogance only leads to downfall.

Bali had got the boon that he would get half the strength of his opponent who he chooses to fight. Ravana who heard about this wanted to kill Bali as the demon king thought that Bali would be a threat to him in future.
Ravana decided to kill Bali from behind when he went to take bath in the sea. He thought that the monkey could be easily overpowered. He then reached Kishkinda.
Ravana found Bali meditating on the seashore one morning and slowly reached him from behind. The idea of Ravana was to hold Bali by his tail and hit him on the ground and kill him.
Bali who realized the presence of Ravana behind him did not move. Instead he slowly put his long tail across the body…

Radhavallabh – About Hindu God Radhavallabha

Radhavallabh means lover of Radha. Thus Radhavallabh is Srimati Radha Rani and Sri Krishna. But prominence is given to Radha in this form of worship. It must be noted that Radhavallabh is not the name of a particular form of Sri Krishna. It is the name of the sect found in the 16th century by Hitaharivamsha.

In Radhavallabh worship – Radha is supreme. The two syllables Ra – Dha represents Supreme Knowledge. She is eternally married to Sri Krishna.
Radha is timeless. She is beyond form and qualities.
All living beings strive to be her companions. Therefore they can be devotees and friends to both Sri Krishna and Radha at the same time.
Where there is Radha, there is Krishna. Devotees of this sect merge in the constant Lila of Radha and Krishna – Marital bliss, separation, the romantic fights and the reunion.

Related
Story – Tulsi Leaf and Sri Krishna Weighed on Balance Scale – Which is Heavy Bhakti or Material Possessions

Ooty Mariamman Temple

OotyMariammanTemple is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, Goddess Kali and Goddess Katteri. OotyMariammanTemple festival is a major car festival in the region. Goddess is taken out in procession in various forms - Durga, Kamakshi, Parvathi, Meenkshi, Rajarajeswari, Heddhai Amman and Bhagavathi.


Ooty Mariamman Temple Goddess Durga represents three powers – Itcha Shakti, Gnana Shakti and Kriya Shakti.  Mari, Kali and Katteri represent the three Shaktis in the temple. It is very rare that all the three Shaktis are present in a single temple. Goddess Kali is not her furious form in the temple. She is calm and benign.
The temple is unique as the Navgrahas in the temple are present with their consorts.
Devotees offer black sari, cradles and lamps in the temple. Annadanam is another important offering made in the temple.
Mother blesses devotees with good health. Prayers offered to childless couples.
Mudikayiru, a special thread, prepared with Mantras in the KatteriAmmanTemple is believed to pro…

Bobbili Veena – About Saraswati Veena

Bobbili Veena, also known as Saraswati Veena, is a musical instrument that once enjoyed the status of a royal music instrument. Kings of Bobbili were responsible for the invention of the Veena.
Bobbili Veena is made using jackfruit wood and a full size Bobbili Veena is known as Saraswati Veena. With the lion’s head carved at one end, the frets of Bobbili Veenas are made of bell metal.
Bobbili Veenas were known as ‘ekanda veena’ for being made from one single piece of wood, today the veenas have two or more joints due to lack of availability the wood.  The New Indian Express reports  About 40 families belonging to the Sarvasidhi family in Gollapalli village near Bobbili, are the sole manufacturers of this instrument apart from about a dozen families of the same clan setting shops across the country. They obtained GI status for the instrument  in  March last year and thus, protected it from extinction. Sarvasidhi Achutanarayana, the descendent of Achanna who invented the Bobbili Veena,…

Gangadhara Shiva – Story of Shiva as Gangadhar

Gangadhara Shiva is the form of Shiva that holds Ganga on his matted locks. The story of Gangadhar Shiva is associated with the arrival of Ganga on earth. Legend has it that sixty sons of King Sagara were protecting the Ashwamedha horse.
In an Ashwamedha Yaga, the emperor releases a horse which travels through different kingdoms. Those kings who are ready to be a vassal of the emperor do not object the horse running through their kingdom. But those kings that are not ready to be a vassal stop the horse and then the issue is settled on the battleground.
The sixty sons of Sagara were known to be cruel and they practiced all forms of Adharma. Saints, human beings and Devas were fed up with their activities. All of them complained to Indra, the king of Devas. He promised to get solve the problem.
It must be noted that in some Puranas it is not sixty but King Sagara had sixty thousands sons as a result of a boon.
The sixty were following the horse released by King Sagara. One day Indra st…

On Mind – Teachings form Hindu Scriptures and Teachers

Teachings form Hindu Scriptures and Teachers on Mind
The mind alone is the cause of bondage and freedom. When associated with sense objects it leads to bondage; when dissociated from them it leads to liberation. (Amritabindu Upanishad)
The turbulent senses violently carry away the mind of even a wise man striving for perfection. (Bhagavad Gita, 2.60)
We should put our minds on things; they should not draw our minds to them. We are usually forced to concentrate. Our minds are forced to become fixed upon different things by an attraction in them which we cannot resist. To control the mind, to place it just where we want it, requires special training. It cannot be done in any other way. (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, 6.39)
The natural tendency of the mind is to run this way or that. Through japa it is directed to God. (Holy Mother Sarada Devi)

Bondage is of the mind; freedom too is of the mind. If you say, ‘I am a free soul. I am a son of God! Who can bind me?’ free you shall …

Story of Gopeshwar Mahadev – Shiva Taking the Form of a Gopi to Participate in Raas Lila

Gopeshwar Mahadev is a form of Shiva worshiped in the famous GopishvaraTemple at Vrindavan. The story of Gopeshwar Mahadev is associated with Sri Krishna’s Raas Lila in the Vrindavan. Legend has it that Shiva and Parvati wanted to take part in the Raas Lila in Vrindavan.
But Shiva could not enter the Raas Lila arena as He was a male. Gopi Vrinda explained to Shiva that only females could participate in the Raas Lila. But Shiva was not ready to budge. So Gopi Vrinda asked Shiva to take bath in YamunaRiver and come back. (Some scriptures suggest that she asked Shiva to take the dip in the ManasarovarRiver.)
After taking dip in the YamunaRiver, Shiva attained a female form. Sri Krishna who saw the new gopi addressed her as Gopishwara.
Gopishwara from that day onward stands guarding the Raas Lila arena. He only allows only those who are qualified to enter the arena.
The famous GopeshwarMahadevTemple located in Vrindavan is dedicated to this divine event. The temple is unique as worship…

Mathura Kaliamman Temple - Madurakalimman at Siruvachur near Maduari in Tamil Nadu

MathuraKaliammanTemple at Siruvachur near Madurai in Tamil Nadu is associated with the famous Kannagi legend. This is a highly powerful Shakti Shrine. People who have offered prayers here and led a dharmic life enjoy the blessing of Kaliamman. She protects her devotees and blesses them with peace and prosperity.
Story of Mathura Kaliamman Temple Legend has it that Kanngai’s husband Kovalan was falsely accused of stealing and he was beheaded by the Mathura King. Kannagi in anger is believed to have burnt the Madurai city and arrived at the village where the present MathuraKaliammanTemple is located.
Here there was a temple dedicated to Selliamman but she was under the control of an evil magician. Kannagi invokes Mathurai Kali Amman her family deity. She helps her in killing the magician.
Selliamman then asked Kannagi to stay in the temple as Mathura Kali Amman. Selliamman went to nearby Periasamy Hills.
Kannagi agreed to stay in temple but she said she will give darshan to devotees onl…