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Showing posts from August, 2014

Natural Rough Diamond in the Shape of Ganesha in Surat

A natural rough diamond in the Shape of Ganesha is owned by Kanubhai Asodaria, chairman of Karam Group of Mahidarpura. It is worth millions of rupees and the owner allows darshan of the Ganesh only during Ganesh Chaturthi puja and that too after taking prior appointment.
The yellowish grey diamond is approximately 48 mm high, 32 mm wide and 20mm thick. It weighs 36.50 grams.
The 182.53 carat rough diamond was mined somewhere in Africa.
Times of India reports 
Kanubhai told TOI, "It is a priceless blessing in the form of diamond showered on us by Lord Ganesha himself. The darshan can be had only during Ganesha puja days. Only one natural diamond Ganesha exists in this world. I keep it in the safe vault throughout the year at an undisclosed location." Kanubhai found this diamond 12 years ago when he had gone to Antwerp to purchase rough diamonds.

Belief with most people is simply another name for mental laziness – Swami Ranganathananda

Belief with most people is simply another name for mental laziness.
Faith in India did not mean a cozy belief in which to find comfort, but a torch by which to set the soul on fire with a longing for spiritual realization.
In the absence of this longing and struggle, the belief of the faithful does not differ from the unbelief of the faithless.
Religious earnestness for many means, especially when organized under a militant church or theocratic state, either the pursuit of aggressive proselytism or jehads and crusades.
They cannot understand the meaning of that earnestness that proceeds from an inner spiritual hunger. No dogma or creed or frenzied acts can satisfy this hunger of a religious heart. Its only bread is spiritual realization.
Religion is a matter of inner experience, a getting in touch with spiritual facts of the supersensory levels of experience, not a matter of belief, dogma or conformity.
Source Human Being in Depth: A Scientific Approach to Religion by Swami Ranganat…

Surpakarna Ganesh – Story of the Surpakarna form of Ganesha

Surpakarna Ganesha is one among the names of Ganapati. The story of Surpakarna form of Ganesh is associated with Agni, the Hindu fire god. Surpa means winnowing basket and indicates the big ear of the elephant-headed god.
Legend has it that once Agni, the fire god, was cursed by a group of Rishis to lose his luster. They cursed him to become extinguished and be lost forever.
This curse made Agni powerless. He started losing his luster. There was commotion in the universe. Without fire there was no yajna, there was no food and there was imbalance in the universe.
Ganesha took pity on Agni and in order to save the universe fanned Agni into life again with his ears. He used his ears like a surpa or winnowing basket.
For this divine act, Ganesh earned the name Surpakarna.

Simple Ganesha Prayers and Mantras for Ganesh Chaturthi

Here are few simple Ganesha Prayers and Mantras you can chant during Ganesh Chaturthi

OM Sri Ganeshaya Namah

Prostrations to the Great Lord Ganesha

OM Sri Maha Ganapataye Namah

Prostrations to the Great Lord Ganapati.

Shuklaambaradharam Vishnum
Shashivarnam Chaturbhujam
Prasannavadanam Dhyaayeth

He who is attired in a white garment
Who is all-pervading and has the complexion of the moon
Who has four arms and a bright and gracious countenance
On him we meditate for the removal of obstacles.

Varkratunda Mahakaya
Surya Koti Sama Prabha
Nirvighnam Kurumedeva
Sarva Karyeshu Sarvada

O Lord, with a twisted trunk and immense body,
Radiant with the effulgence of a million suns:
O Lord, may all our endeavors
Always be accomplished without obstacles.

Ganesha vachanam shruthva pranathaa
Bhakthi bhaavathah
Paprachchustham punah shaanthaa
Gnyaanam broohi Gajaanana

Listening to the words of Ganesha
With prayer and devotion we ask again-
Teach us the knowledge of peace, oh Gajanana!


Book – Historic Temples in Pakistan – A Call to Conscience

Historic Temples in Pakistan – A Call to Conscience documents HinduTemples and pilgrimage sites in Pakistan through 400 photographs. The book is the result of the combined effort of writer Reema Abbasi and photographer Madiha Aijaz.
The book chronicles various Hindu scared pilgrimage sites like Hinglaj, Katas Raj, Kalka cave temple, Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir and Shivala Mandir located in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan.
The book is published by Niyogi Books.
From the flyer
Historic Temples in Pakistan: A Call to Conscience makes a case for keeping ancient emblems of faith alive and for pluralism in a land of irony that has been home to multiple ancient faiths yet stands besieged by unpalatable extremism. It also aspires to enshrine the ideal of liberty.  By framing an all-inclusive piety, this book sets out to ignite a discourse and the collective conscience of a nation numbed into silence, fear or the false conviction of the supremacy of a singular rel…

Why is Ganesh Chaturthi So Important in Maharashtra - The Reason for the Prominence of Ganesha in Maharashtra

Talk about Ganesh Chaturthi and the first thing that comes to mind is the celebrations in Maharashtra. Ever thought why is Ganesha one of the most popular deities in Maharashtra? Even though Lord Ganesh is one of the most popular gods in Hindu pantheon, in the state of Maharashtra in India Lord Ganesh has an edge over other deities.
Adi Shankaracharya in ninth century AD popularized the panchayatana - the worship of five major deities in Hindu homes. Shiva, Vishnu, Surya, Shakti and Ganesha were the five idols that Adi Shankara asked people to worship at home. In tenth century AD, Ganapataya Sampradaya, a religious movement with Lord Ganesha as the supreme deity, gained momentum among Marathi speaking people. The sect equated Ganapati with Brahman and believed that Ganesha is the visual representation of ‘OM’ – the very first sound or Vaak.
The Bhakti cult that revolved around Ganesha produced several famous saints like the Moraya Gosavi who lived at Morav near Pune in early seventee…

Story of the Formation of Thar Desert in the Ramayana

Thar Desert is located in the northwestern part of India. There is an incident in the Ramayana which explains the story of formation of Thar Desert. The story begins with Sri Ram, Lakshman and Vanaras trying to find a way to cross the ocean to reach Lanka.
On the advice of Vibhishana, Sri Ram meditates to invoke the lord of ocean – Sagara or Varuna. But after three days and night of meditation, there was no sign of the lord of the ocean.
Sri Ram thought that his patience and politeness is seen as a sign of weakness by Varuna. He immediately took up bow and let fly a potent arrow into the ocean. Suddenly the waves grew tall as mountains and there was confusion and commotion in the ocean.
Sri Ram then took a second arrow but Lakshman caught Sri Ram’s arm before he could release it. Lakshman was worried at plight of the ocean and creatures in it.
However, since the arrow was mounted it had to be discharged. Hanuman then advised to shoot it in the opposite direction.
Sri Ram shot the arr…

Dharmar Theertham Dedicated to Yudhishtira at Rameswaram is Located after 60 years

Dharmar Theertham at Rameswaram is a sacred water body dedicated to Yudhishtira, the first of the Pandava Brothers. The Theerthams dedicated to the Pandavas and their wife Draupadi in Rameswaram had disappeared due neglect on the part of the authorities and also due to sand dunes built by strong winds. Swami Vivekananda Kendra of Ramakrishna Mission took up the hard task of finding the Theerthams and they discovered all the theerthams except the one dedicated to Yudhishtira.
Finally the Kendra was recently able to discover the Dharmar Theertham in Rameshwaram.  The Hindu reports
After it started the renovation under its Natural Resources Development Project to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the Kendra stumbled upon the ‘Theerthams’ of the Pandavas and their wife Draupadi, but could not locate them. Making strenuous efforts with the help of a map given by the temple authorities and information from the aged people, Kendra workers located the ‘Theerthams’ of Bhim…

Bhagavad Gita Teachings for Leaders

Anger gives rise to delusion. Delusion corrupts the mind, and a corrupt mind destroy the power to reason properly. Defeat is imminent when the power of reasoning is lost.
You have the right over your responsibilities, and the proper actions required for it, but you don’t have the right to the rewards resulting out of it.
You should never engage in an action only for the desire of the rewards, and you should not desire inaction.
The righteous one who accepts and shares the reward of his actions is freed from sins, while he who works for self interests incur sin.
Work for the common good without selfish interests; the rewards of selfless work will take you to the supreme state.
People follow the noble ones. People follow the standards created by them. Bhagavad Gita

Significance of Purna Kumbha

Purna Kumbha is an essential part of worship in Hinduism. Today it is also used in Hindu weddings, temple functions and other occasions associated with Hindu religion. Purna Kumbha, literally means a ‘full vessel’ and symbolically it is a sign of plenty. It is also referred as Kalash or Kalasha.

Reference of Purana Kumbha is found in the Skanda Purana and the Matsya Purana. In Skanda Purana it is mentioned that the ‘Purna Kumbha’ can be worshipped. Matsya Purana indicates that people placed it at their doors as a sign of plenty.

Purna Kumbha mainly contains ‘water’ – the veritable life principle. Thus it is a direct worship of Varuna – the God of rain. He is the harbinger of rain which ensures fertility on earth and which nourishes animals and human beings.
The earthen pot used as Purna Kumba is decorated with geometric designs and Swastika. The geometric design various from region to region and from community to community. Depending on the society and its wealth, earthenware gives …

Maharatha in War in Mahabharata – The Meaning of Maharathi

Maharatha, or Maharathi, is a term widely used to refer to a warrior in the Mahabharata, Ramayana and other ancient Hindu scriptures. The meaning of the term Maharathi is a might warrior.
A Maharatha is skilled in the use of all weapons – bow and arrow, spear, mace, sword and other weapons. He is also highly proficient in fist handing and other hand to hand combats.
Maharathi is also skilled in riding animals like horses and elephant.
What makes a Maharatha different from other warriors is that he can take on ten thousand warriors single handedly.

The main warriors in the side of Kauravas and Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war were all Maharathas.

World’s first Modern Eco Friendly Hindu Temple Opens in London

Shree Swaminarayan Mandir at Kingsbury in North London, with solar panels and rainwater harvesting system and many other eco-friendly measures, is believed to the first modern HinduTemple to be completely eco friendly. The temple is noted for its traditional Hindu architecture but what makes it stand out from some of the modern Hindu temples built in Europe and United States is the green initiatives.
The 20 million pound temple includes a multi-function hall with facilities for sports and receptions and was funded entirely by was funded entirely by Hindus.

You can find more about the construction of this unique Hindu temple here at the official website.

Desire nothing, give up all desires and be happy – Swami Sivananda

Humility is not cowardice. Meekness is not weakness. Humility and meekness are indeed spiritual powers .
Desire nothing, give up all desires and be happy.
Let us not depend upon the world for pleasure.
It is divinity that shapes, not only your ends, but also your acts, your words and thoughts.
Terrible is the fight put up by the senses. Fight bravely! Conquer them you must.
It is only by doing good to others that one attains to one's own good.
The highest manifestation of strength is to keep ourselves calm and on our own feet.
Crave for a thing, you will not get it. Renounce the craving, the object will follow you by itself.
Swami Sivananda

Story of the Birth of Nandi – The Bull of Shiva

Nandi is the bull associated with Shiva. The story of the birth of Nandi begins with Sage Shilada doing intense penance to be blessed with a child. He offered the prayers to Indra, the king of Devas.
When Indra appeared before him, Sage Shilada prayed for a son who would be immortal. But Indra was incapable of granting such a boon and so he asked the sage to pray to Shiva.
Sage Shilada performed intense penance for several years. The tapas was so intense that he was reduced to a bony figure.
Finally Shiva appeared and gave the boon that He Himself will appear as his son. To get the son, He asked the sage to perform a yajna.
The sage performed the yajna and at the end of it a child appeared from the fire.
As the child brought joy and happiness to everyone, he was called Nandi.
The sage took the child to his hermitage. But the child did not show any signs of his divinity. He moved around like an ordinary child.
One day Mitra and Varuna, Vedic gods, visited the ashram and told the sage…

Mahalaxmi Puja after Ganesh Chaturthi in North India in Bhadrapad Month – Lakshmi Puja after Ganapati Festival

Mahalaxmi Puja after Ganesh Chaturthi in North India in Bhadrapad Month begins after four and half days on Ashtami. Mahalaxmi Puja after Ganesh Chaturthi in 2018 is on September 17.
In some regions the Mahalaxmi Puja is observed for a fortnight. In some regions it is limited to five days.
In places in Madhya Pradesh, a special murti of the Goddess is brought on the Shukla Paksha Ashtami day in Bhadrapad month. When Goddess Lakshmi arrives, Ganesha is shifted to next to Her and he is considered as the son of the Goddess.
A Mahapuja is performed. Simple puja is performed two times a day for next couple of days.
The murti of goddess is adorned beautifully with brass masks, saries, and other jewelry.
A symbolic immersion of the murti is performed on Dasami day in some regions.
In some regions the Mahalaxmi Puja and Vrata concludes on the Krishna Paksha Ashtami in Ashwin month (15 days after the ritual begins).
You can read more about the Mahalakshmi Puja here.

Ego sense is the source of all sins – Yoga Vasishta

Even as a tree is consumed by a forest fire, the youth’s heart is consumed by the fire of lust when his beloved leaves him.
The selfish person’s violent efforts to gain his selfish ends often lead to other results.
Ego sense is the source of all sins. Cut at the very root of this ego sense with the sword of wisdom of non ego.
There is indeed nothing which is worth desiring or renouncing.
Good and evil, great and small, worthy or unworthy are all based on the notion of desirability.
They alone are friends that generate in one’s heart true dispassion and self knowledge. Yoga Vasishta

Swami Madhavananda Thoughts based on Vairagya Sutram of Bhartrhari

One must realize the futility of good deeds performed in our earthly life with the object of enjoying happiness in the heaven or the higher Lokas, for heavenly enjoyments are transitory as being the result produced by our virtuous merits; when the force of these merits is spent out, the enjoyments must cease and the soul will again be drawn back to the cycle of births an deaths, until by jnana or spiritual illumination, it has obtained Moksha or final release from the wheel of transmigration.
Ordinary persons when they give themselves up to enjoyments, lose all control and become slaves to them; so even when satiety comes, they cannot detach themselves from them, as the force of blind attachment has enslave them. But Shiva, who has subdued His mind, is unaffected by them, as in His state of mental poise of Yoga, pleasure and pain are the same to Him.
The worldly happiness is but the temporary remedy we constantly seek for all the disease with which worldly life is beset. When this r…

How to make Ganesh idols at home?

If you are looking to be creative and eco-friendly this Ganesh Chaturthi, then you can make Ganesh idols at home. Ganesh idols can be made at home using clay, paper, wood, flowers and vegetables. If you are buying a Ganesh idol, please opt for an environment friendly Ganesha.

How to make clay Ganesha? Materials needed: Clay, paints, coil, aluminum foil, paint brushes, sandpaper, putty or glue and clothes. Mix the clay. You can get clay from riverbeds or buy it from stationary stores. While mixing the clay and using it, make sure that your hand is slightly wet. Make a skeleton – round face, hands, body and leg – using the coil or copper wire. Next create Ganesha by adding clay to each body part on the coil skeleton.First create the body and large stomach by filling that part of the coil with clay.Next create the head.Next create the trunk and stick it at the center of the head.Next fill the coil ears with clay. Create small balls of clay and flatten them like ears.Next fill the coil h…

Pradosh Vrat September 2017 - Monthly Shiva Pradosha Vrat Dates in September 2017

Pradosh is a highly auspicious day dedicated to Lord Shiva on the 13th day of every lunar fortnight in traditional Hindu calendar. The date of Pradosh in September 2017 are September 3, 2017 and September 17, 2017. Shiva devotees undertake a fasting from sunrise to sunset on the Pradosh day. The Pradosha puja is performed during the twilight period. 
Pradosh as the name indicates is a period just before sunset and after sunset. The period is between 1.5 hours before sunset and 1 hour after sunset.
Some people only observe fasting on anyone Pradosh day in a month. There are staunch Shiva devotees who observe fast on the both the days in a month.
Special pujas are performed in Shiva temples during the period. It is said that Lord Shiva and Parvati are in a happy mood during Pradosh period and they shower blessings on devotees.

You may also like to read How to observe Pradosh?

Sri Ramakrishna Teaches on Ripe and Unripe Ego

Sri Ramakrishna teaches: ‘I said to Keshab, “You must renounce your ego.”
Keshab replied, “If I do, how can I keep my organization together?”
“I said to him: ‘How slow you are to understand! I am not asking you to renounce the “ripe ego”, the ego that makes a man feel he is a servant of God or His devotee.
Give up the “unripe ego”, the ego that creates attachment to “woman and gold”.
The ego that makes a man feel he is God’s servant, His child, is the “ripe ego”. It doesn’t harm one.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa

Story of Lakshman Going through Trial of Fire in the Ramayana of Baiga Tribe of Central India

There is a unique story in the Ramayana of Baiga Tribe of Central India. In the story Lakshman goes through trial of fire to prove his fidelity. Lakshman was leading a life of Brahmachari during the exile period in the Ramayana.
During the exile in the forest, Lakshman used to play the Kingri musical instrument. He played it so beautifully that Apsara Indrakamini of heaven was attracted to Lakshman.
She tried to induce him into love making. But all her efforts failed. The apsara was jealous and angry. To avenge her insult, one night when Lakshman was fast asleep she broke her bangles and scattered it on his bed. She also left an earring of her on the bed.
Next day morning when Mata Sita came to sweep the room, she discovered the bangles and earring. She reported the matter to Sri Ram.
Lakshman was unable to convince his brother and Mata Sita that he was innocent.
An angry Lakshman then decided to take the trial of fire to prove his fidelity. He jumped into a huge fire pit and cam…

Manav Mandir Temple at Brevard in Florida – Hindu Temple at Suntree at Brevard County in United States

ManavMandirTemple – House of Humanity – is a new HinduTemple at BrevardCounty in Florida in United States. The temple was thrown open to devotees during the second week of August 2014. The temple is located off Wickham Road at Suntree in Brevard.

The $9.4 million Manav Mandir Temple has separate shrines in the complex dedicated to Ganesha, Shreenathji (Sri Krishna), Goddess Saraswati, Radha Krishna, Satyanarayan, Shiva, Mahalakshmi, Goddess Durga, Kartikeya, Rajarajeshwari, Ram Parivar, Hanuman, Shirdi Sai Baba, Bhudevi, Sridevi, Balaji and Navgrahas.
The temple is dedicated to the Hindu community in BrevardCounty.
Some information about the ManavMandirTemple: Total cost - $9.4 millionLocated on 37 acres of landAll murtis (idols) worshipped in the temple are hand carved from white marble or black granite in IndiaThe temple features grand columns, intricately molded, 25-foot tall gopurams — or steeples — and other design elements that follow Hindu scriptural guidelines.The temple compl…

Why we should not look at the Moon on Ganesh Chaturthi day? - The Story of Ganesha Cursing Moon

There is a common belief that one should not look at the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi (Vinayaka Chaturthi) day. There is an interesting story to this regard in Hindu scriptures. On a Ganesh Chaturthi day, Ganesha was eating sweets from the houses that were celebrating his birthday. Ganesha’s stomach was overfilled with ‘Modaks’ and other sweets and he could not move. So, he decided to ride on his vehicle mouse.

Mouse or Moshika was happily carrying Ganesha but suddenly a snake appeared and the mouse lost his balance and Ganesha fell down. Due to the intensity of the fall, the sweets in the over bloated stomach of Ganesha came tumbling out. Ganesha was not ready to give up the sweets and stuffed them back into his stomach and used the snake as rope to keep the stomach and the sweets intact.

Suddenly, Ganesha heard someone laughing and on looking he found that the moon was making fun of his fall. In a fit of rage, Ganesha removed one of his tusks and hurled it at the moon and cursed that he…

Chandrasekharendra Saraswati of Kamakoti on To Be a True Man

The first step in this process of enlightenment is to make a man truly a man, by ensuring that he does not live on an animal level.
The second step is to raise him to the heights of divinity.
All religions have this goal. They may represent different systems of thought and philosophy. But their concern ought to be that man is not condemned as he is today to a life of desire and anger.
All religions speak in one voice that man must be rendered good and that he must be invested with the qualities of love, humility, serenity, and the spirit of sacrifice.
Chandrasekharendra Saraswati of Kamakoti

Story of Brihannala – The Eunuch form Arjuna took in the Mahabharata

Arjuna, the third of the Pandava brothers, took the form of Brihannala – a eunuch during the incognito (staying in disguise for a year) exile period in the Mahabharata. As Brihannala, Arjuna taught dance and music to Uttara, the daughter of King of Virata.
Arjuna did not need to act like Brihannala as he made use of a curse by Apsara Urvasi – the damsel in the court of Indra. Arjuna once did not show any interest to the sexual innuendos of Urvasi. The frustrated Apsara cursed him to be a eunuch. The curse was later changed by Indra to a year. Thus Arjuna used the curse during the incognito exile period and lived like a Eunuch.
Brihannala was the charioteer of Uttara Kumara who went to fight against the Kauravas. After the death of Kichaka, there was no one to defend the kingdom of Virata. Using this opportunity, Kauravas took away the cattle of Virata.
Uttaran went to fight the Kauravas with Brihannala as charioteer. But the young prince was frightened at the sight of the great warr…

Book – The Power of the Female: Devangana Sculptures on Indian Temple Architecture

The book titled “The Power of the Female: Devangana Sculptures on Indian TempleArchitecture” is written by Gauri Parimoo Krishnan, curator with the AsianCivilisationsMuseum in Singapore.
The main theme of the book is the celestial women sculptures in Hindu temples in Central and Western India. The sculptures are known as Devanganas, surasundaris and apsaras. The book is based on the Phd thesis of the author.
The highlight of the book is more than 250 black and white photos. Eight chapters explore all the important aspects of the celestial women sculptures.
Times of India reports 
Usually, most scholars make a token reference to the apsaras as decorative appendages and relegate them to be minor images of semi-divine nature, erotically charged and supposed to offer a titillating thrill when seen on the walls of temples. Puranic literature has also depicted them as alluring men, rishis, and gods from their path of righteousness and spirituality. "They have to be seen in relation t…

Watch What You Watch

In the beginning it was theaters, and then came television, then computer, then laptop, then mobiles, then tabs…We are now able to watch anything wherever we want at our convenience. It is a positive change. But are we watching what we watch?
Are we aware that we are mentally being prepared through visuals to become addict to a particular product? It is not just products but ideas and thoughts. Quite often we are being made vulnerable. Fear and insecurity is being directly and indirectly injected into our minds. Our minds are slowly poisoned against people and nations. We are made to believe that we are superior to a particular group of people. All these are done daily through what we watch.
To not to become a slave of media just don’t be satisfied with just one point of view. Take a look at what other people are saying on the subject.
The generation that came after the media revolution is finding it difficult to relate on an intimate level to the opposite sex – the reason is constan…

Garuda Seva – Importance of Garuda Vahana

Garuda Seva is an important ceremony during the Brahmotsavam in Vishnu Temples in South India. It is popularly known as Garuda Vahana procession. The importance of Garuda Seva is due to the fact that it is the most auspicious ritual during the Brahmotsavam.
In the ritual, the processional murti of the form of Bhagvan Srihari Vishnu worshipped is taken around the temple street atop Garuda – the holy bird which is also the vehicle or Vahana of Vishnu. Seeing the sit of Vishnu atop Garuda is highly meritorious.
Garuda Vahana procession is usually held during the night.  It continues for several hours. The deity is fully attired and wears rare ancient jewels.
The most important Garuda Vahana procession is held at the world famous TirupatiBalajiTemple. The day attracts more than 100,000 devotees.

World around Me is Changing Quickly – Should I Follow the Changes?

There is no doubt that the world around us is changing quickly both technologically and morally. The changes in technology and its influence on our culture are happening at a very fast rate that we are not even aware of it. But should I follow the changes.
Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) is not a closed book. It is a living religion. It accepts all positive changes. If you are a Hindu, then your religion gives the permission to adapt, change and assimilate positive changes.
But are these changes positive? Has the change made you a better human being? Are you happy due to all the technological developments?
A decade ago a teenager was happy if he had a cycle. But today he is unhappy even if he has a bike and the best smart phone. Why? Because each day a new bike is appearing in the market. Every hour there is a new smart phone. So what is in possession of him is obsolete within a day or an hour. So he is never happy. It this a positive change?
Today your body is an object. It is controll…

Varadaraja Perumal Temple Golden Lizard – Story

At the famous VaradarajaPerumalTemple in Kanchipuram you can touch lizard made of gold and silver for luck. Devotees also touch it to overcome bad results of lizard falling on a person’s body. The story of golden lizard at the Kanchipuram Varadaraja Perumal temple begins with a curse by Sage Gautama.
Sage Gautama had two disciples who were brothers. One day the water they offered to the sage contained two lizards. The angry sage cursed the disciples to become lizards.
The terrified students begged for forgiveness. The sage relented and asked the brothers to perform penance at the VaradarajaPerumalTemple.
Bhagvan Vishnu as Varadaraja was pleased with the penance and blessed them with liberation. He then turned the body of the two brothers into sliver and golden lizard.
He then declared that those who visit the temple should also touch and worship the two lizards which will help in removing all sins and curing all illness.

Somvar Vrat – Monday Fasting Dedicated to Hindu God Shiva

Upvaas, or fasting, in Hinduism is mainly observed for the fulfillment of a vow. Upvas is also referred as 'Vrats.' But 'Vrat' has a wider meaning and it is not just curtailed to the fasting observed for material or other gains. Each day in a week is dedicated to one or more of the gods in the Hindu pantheon. A particular deity is appeased by the devotee on a particular day. Thus Monday is usually dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Upvass, or fasting, on Mondays begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. On the day, food is only eaten after evening prayer. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are worshipped on the day. Of course, no worship begins without remembering Lord Ganesha. The fasting on Mondays in the Shravan month is considered even more auspicious.

It is believed that those people who observe Upvaas on Monday will have their desires fulfilled and will be blessed with wisdom. In some areas, fasting on Mondays is observed by unmarried women to get an ideal husband.

The reason for…

Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple Management to Start Old Age Home For Cows and Bulls

The management committee of the world famous Guruvayur SriKrishnaTemple in Kerala is planning to start a convert a cattle-rearing centre into an old age home for cows and bulls.  Times of India reports  The idea is to use the Vengad facility (at the Devaswom's 90acre facility near Perinthalmanna in Malappuram district) as a care station for aged and unwell cows without any emphasis on milk production, Devaswom managing committee member A Suresan said. Cows in good health will be moved to the Devaswom's milk production centre at Kaveedu near Guruvayur. Even otherwise, milk production from 1,000-odd animals at the facility is just 40 litres per day. The aging cows will be given proper feed and veterinary care.  Bulls there will be isolated so that cows in poor health will not subject to their unwanted attention, veterinarians at the centre said. There are about 25 sheds currently and more will be required for augmenting the care.

Nothing is gained except by sacrifice – Swami Vivekananda

Our thought make things beautiful, our thoughts make things ugly. The whole world is in our own minds.
All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that.
If you project hatred and jealousy, they will rebound on you with compound interest.
Compare the lowest with the highest man. The difference is in the degree of concentration. This is the only difference.
Vedanta says, ‘We are free and not free at the same time.’ That means that we are never free on the earthly plane, but ever free on the spiritual side. The Self is beyond both freedom and bondage. We are Brahman, we are immortal knowledge beyond the senses, we are Bliss Absolute.
Nothing is gained except by sacrifice.
If you can conserve and use the energy properly, it leads you to God. Inverted, it is hell itself.
Swami Vivekananda

Story of the fight between Krishna and King Salva of Saubha

King Salva of Saubha was a friend of Shishupala – who was to marry Rukmini. Salva was also present at the Rukmini Swayamvara where he faced embarrassment when Rukmini ran away with Krishna and he and other warriors were defeated by Balarama.
King Salva had then taken the wow to defeat Sri Krishna and Balarama and get the world rid of the Yadavas.
In order to accomplish his mission, he did intense penance to please Shiva. He was able to please Shiva who gave him an aerial vehicle called Saubha. The vehicle was big as a palace and it could become invisible.
When he heard about the beading of Shishupala by Sri Krishna, he thought this as the right opportunity to attack the Yadavas.
Sri Krishna and Balarama were away at Indraprastha and Dwaraka was guarded by Sri Krishna’s son Pradyumna.
King Salva attacked Dwaraka from the Saubha and caused havoc. Pradyumna and other sons of Krishna defended the city for 27 days. Finally, Salva mortally wounded Pradyumna who was removed to safety by hi…

Budhvar Vrat: Wednesday Hindu fasting dedicated to Krishna and Mercury

Budhvar, Wednesday, is dedicated to Lord Krishna and the planet Budh or Mercury. The day is also associated with Lord Vithal, an incarnation of Krishna. In some regions, Lord Vishnu is worshiped. Keeping a fast (Upvaas) on Budhvar is believed to help in leading a peaceful family life.

Those devotees who undertake a fast on the day only take a single meal in the afternoon. The fasting is observed mainly by husband and wife together. Green color is considered highly auspicious on the day. In Astrology, mercury is considered to be compassionate and generous. Mercury is usually depicted riding a lion.
In some regions, people start new ventures on Wednesday as Mercury or Budh is considered to help new business ventures. Educational activities begin on Wednesday in some places.
You may also like to read How to observe Budhvar Vrat? Budhavar Vrat Katha
Related Monday Dedicated to Lord Shiva About Tuesday Fasting Dedicated to Hanuman Thursday Dedicated to Lord Vishnu Friday Dedicated to Santoshi Ma

Annual Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair

Hindu Spiritual and Service Foundation organizes an annual Hindu Spiritual and Service fairs to show case the large scale, but mostly unknown and invariably unpublicized service activities undertaken by the Hindu spiritual organizations. The 6th edition of the fair was held in July 2014.
Once in a while you read one-off reports… about a village being adopted, a rural school being started, health camp organized in a slum, an old dilapidated temple being renewed, children attending a cultural class, youth engaged in planting trees, women organizing themselves into self help groups.  But now come and witness the power of collective work! More than 100 organizations- traditional and modern- are now collectively exhibiting their spiritual and service activities.
The fair may be over but you can learn more about the activities of Hindu Spiritual and Service Foundation here.

Radha Vallabha Temple in Vrindavan

RadhaVallabhaTemple in Vrindavan was built by Harivamsa Goswami, who had founded the Radha Vallabha sect. This temple is unique as there is no murti of Radha in the temple. She is worshipped in the form of a crown. The RadhaVallabhaTemple is located near the famous BankeBihariTemple in Vrindavan.
Like many other temples in Vrindavan, the RadhaVallabhaTemple too was destroyed by Aurangzeb in 1670. The present temple was constructed in 1972 near the destroyed temple.

A black murti of Sri Krishna is worshipped in the temple. The crown of Radha is kept near the murti of Sri Krishna. All prayers are first offered to Radha Rani.
The temple has a huge courtyard. One can find the Samadhi of Harivamsa Goswami here.
Devotees here can pull a huge rope which is connected to a fan inside the main altar. Devotees stand in queue to fan the murti of Sri Krishna.

Mookam Karoti Vachalam and other prayers to Sri Krishna

Mookam Karoti Vachalam Pangum Langayat Girim, Yad Kripa Tamaham Vande Paramananda Madhavam
I bow to that blissful Madhava (Krishna, by whose grace the dumb become orators and the lame cross mountains.
Krishnaya Vasudevaya Haraye Paramatmane, Pranatha Klesha Nashaya Govindaya Namo Namaha
Salutations to thee, O Krishna. Salutations to thee, the Supreme Being. Salutations to thee, O Govinda, who removes the sorrows of those who seek relief from their difficulties by prostrating to thee.
Janami Dharman Na Cha Me Pravritti, Janami Adharman Na Cha Me Nivritti Twaya Hrishikesha Hridastitena, Yada Niyunktosi Tada Karomi
I know that righteousness is, yet I am unable to do it, I know what unrighteousness is, yet I am forced to do it! I Hrishikesha (Krishna), thou art the dweller in my heart, As thou guide me, so shall I act.

Janmashtami Quotes and Thoughts

In an article written on Janmashtami, Swami Chimayananda, symbolically explores the meaning of Sri Krishna Jayanti or Janmashtami or Gokulashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna. This supreme essence born as a mass of beauty, music and joy, dazzling in wisdom, noisy with laughter, ever a master of circumstances, a king of events, frisking about in life’s melancholy contentions, meeting challenges with daring and confidence, at once a hero and a child all rolled in one – this is the perfect God-man, the eternal child of Vrindavan.
Krishna is Truth. He was born in the quite heart-caves of the Rishis. Those Rishis gradually transmitted their knowledge to their disciples. Thus Krishna was removed from the prison to Yasoda’s house – the disciple’s. There is no pain in this unique delivery. The Guru gives out the child without the agony of labor pains.
While we are sleeping in fatigue and exhaustion, wearied in production and destruction, we know not, that there is born a baby, called knowl…

Chinga Masam 2018 – Chingam Month in Kerala in 2018

Chinga Masam is the first month in a traditional Malayalam calendar followed in Kerala. Chinga Masam 2018 begins on August 17 and ends on September 16. The first day of Chingam month marks the beginning of the New Year according to the Malayalam calendar and is known as Chingam 1. Kollavarsham (Kolla Varsham) 1194 begins as per traditional Kerala calendar on August 17, 2018. Onam the biggest festival of Kerala is observed on the Thiruonam Nakshatram day in Chingam month.

Sri Narayana Guru Jayanti (August 27) is observed on the Chathayam Nakshatram day in the Chingam month.

Important Festivals in the Chingam Month in Kerala
Sri Krishna Jayanti - September 2
Gokulashtami – September 2 Vinayaka Chaturthi – September 13
First Onam – August 24 Thiruonam – August 25

Chinga Masam Ekadasi Fasting are on August 22 and September 6

Pradosham dates in Chinga Masam are August 23 and September 7
Muruga Sashti Fasting is on August 16

Full Moon and No Moon Day Veluthuvavu or full moon day (Purnima) – and A…

Radha Damodhar Temple in Vrindavan

RadhaDamodharTemple in Vrindavan is unique for many reasons as it has several pairs of murtis of Radha and Krishna. Srila Prabhupadaji translated the entire Srimad Bhagavad Purana here. There is also a Govardhan Shila here with footprints of Bhagvan Sri Krishna. The temple is located near the Seva Kunj and Loi Bazar in Vrindavan.

The main murti worshipped in the temple was carved by Rupa Goswami. He had given it to his disciple Jiva Goswami who built the temple in 1542. Goswamis who lived in the region used to meet and discuss the life of Sri Krishna and Radha here.
When Srila Prabhupada lived in Vrindavan he had made the temple his temporary residence. A small room used by Prabhupadaji can still be found here.
The temple has a huge courtyard. The cream colored main temple is noted for its arches and paintings. There is a huge bell in the right side of the sanctum sanctorum.
The sanctum sanctorum has different set of murtis of Radha and Krishna which were worshipped by different Gos…

Quotes on Devotion to Sri Krishna

Whether we live in a cave or in a place, in the forest or on a mountaintop, in water or in fire, there is no difference.
He who has entrusted himself into your (Krishna) keeping, O Lord, will ever be protected by you.
As the akola seed returns to the tree at night, as the iron filings rush to the magnet, as the faithful wife never deserts her husband in good and bad times, as the creeper clings to the tree and the river rushes to the ocean, so let my mind run to thee, O Lord, and stay there forever. Hari OM Tat Sat

Radha Shyamsundar Temple in Vrindavan

RadhaShyamsundarTemple is a very important temple in Vrindavan as the murti worshipped here is believed to have been created by Radha. Due to this reason this is one of the most sacred temples in Vrindavan. The temple is located near the RadhaDamodharTemple and Loi Bazaar in Vrindavan.
Legend has it that Radha had created the murti of Krishna worshipped in the Radha Shyamsundar Temple from her heart and had given to Shyamananda Pandita, an ardent devotee of Sri Krishna.
It was Shyamananda Pandita who installed the murti in the temple.
The temple has one of the biggest courtyards in Vrindavan and is completely open at the top. There is a murti of Vrinda Devi in the courtyard. She is the Holy Tulsi.
The sanctum sanctorum has a set of huge sandstone coloured arches in front. The sanctum sanctorum has three murtis. Two black murtis of Sri Krishna including the one installed by Shyamananda and a murti of Radha.

Sri Krishna Janmashtami and Radha Ashtami are the two important festivals in t…

Bharat Mata – India as the Mother

The concept of Bharat Mata, considering India as the Mother, is not associated with Hinduism. But the concept is borrowed from Hindu religion in which earth is considered as Mother. It is also inspired by the story of Goddess Durga. The idea of Bharata (India) personified as Mata (Mother) became popular during India’s freedom struggle. The slogan Bharat Mata ki jai (Glory to Mother India) became an important slogan of the freedom movement.
This idea along with Vande Mataram was taken from Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s famous novel Ananda Math (The Abbey of Bliss).

Sri Aurobindo Ghosh famously exclaimed how in the map of Bharat one could find the portrait of Bharatmata. He described the cities, the mountains, rivers and forests as the materials which go to make up her body. The people inhabiting the country are the cells, which go to make up her living tissues. Indian literature is her memory and speech; the happiness and freedom of her children are her salvation. He called upon the peo…

Radha Gokulananda Temple in Vrindavan

RadhaGokulanandaTemple is located between the RadhaRamanTemple and Kesi Ghat in Vrindavan. Sri Krishna is worshipped here as Gokulananda. The temple has two sets of murtis of Radha and Krishna. The two set of murtis were worshipped by Loknatha Goswami and Vishwanath Chakravarthi.
The temple has three courtyards. The first courtyard is a closed one and it has numerous Tulsi plants. The second courtyard is meant for prayers. The murtis are housed in the third courtyard.

One set of murtis are small and the other set is big. Both the murtis of Sri Krishna is black in color and is depicted as playing the flute.
Apart from the murti of four murtis of Sri Krishna and Radha, there is a golden colored murti of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. There is a Govardhan Shila (stone) in the temple which has the thumb impression of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Apart from the murtis, the temple also houses the Samadhis of Loknatha Goswami, Vishwanath Chakravarthi and Narottama Dasa.
Holi, Sri Krishna Janmashtami an…

Teaching from Vedas on Charity

He who gives liberally goes straight to the gods; on the high ridge of heaven he stands exalted (Rig Veda 1. 125. 5).
For the men of charity and yajna are these wonders of the world.
The men of knowledge, education and charity enjoy immortality beyond death, in life and after.
The wealth of the generous giver of charity does not diminish while the uncharitable finds no grace, none to comfort him.
O lord of universal wealth and grandeur, Agni, we pray, may the mortal come to sure success and good fortune who gives in charity and performs acts of yajna with love and without violence.
Peace, honor, prosperity is only for the men of charity, benevolence and self sacrifice.
May that service and spirit of charity bring him the grace of heaven.

Baba Kaal Bhairav

Baba Kaal Bhairav is a manifestation of Shiva worshipped in Varanasi. The popular belief is that darshan at KashiVishwanathTemple is incomplete with the permission of Baba Kaal Bhairav – it simply means that one should first visit His shrine before visiting KashiVishwanathTemple.
Baba Kaal Bhairav is also the guardian of Kashi – the kotwal of Varanasi.
Legend has it that Baba Kaal Bhairav appeared from the third eye of Shiva. He severed the arrogant fifth head of Brahma.
The local people believe that one needs the consent of the deity to live in Kashi.
The most important temple dedicated to Shiva as Baba Kaal Bhairav is located in Varanasi. There are also many other big and small shrines dedicated to this manifestation of Shiva in many places in North India.

Youth Who Could Not Speak Blessed with Power of Speech at Vakula Mata Temple in Tirupati

A youth was blessed with power of speech after he was offered Tirtham or holy water at the VakulaMataTemple in Tirumala Tirpuati. VakulaMataTemple is one of the subsidiary shrines in the world famous TirupatiBalajiTemple. It is believed that Venkateswara or Balaji is the lord of miracles and no one knows what blessings he showers on his devotees. New Indian Express reports  True to the devotees’ belief that Lord Venkateswara/Balaji of Tirumala showers different kinds of blessings on ardent devotees, the presiding deity showered an unusual boon on Deepak, 18, who did not have the power of speech,  when he managed to utter a few words. Deepak mouthed the words as soon as he swallowed the ‘teertham’ (holy water) offered by the priest of the Vakula Mata temple, one of the sub-temples of the TirumalaTemple.  When he called his mother ‘amma’ and said a few other words, his family members erupted in joy and they spread word about the miracle among the fellow-devotees and temple officials.  D…

Radha Gopinath Temple in Vrindavan

RadhaGopinathTemple in Vrindavan is dedicated to Bhagvan Sri Krishna and the murti worshipped here is known as Gopinathji. It is believed that Vajranabha, the great grandson of Sri Krishna installed the murti. The original and old temple was partially destroyed by Aurangazeb. The present new temple is located near the old temple.

The red colored sandstone building has an outer and inner courtyard. The outer courtyard has a black and white marble tiled floor. A huge painting of the Ras Lila of Sri Krishna can be seen on one of the walls.
There are five murtis in the Sanctum Sanctorum. In the center is the murti of Sri Krishna holding a flute and is worshipped as Gopinathji.
Murtis of two of Radha’s friends, Lalitha and Vishaka, are found in front of the murti of Gopinathji. Behind is found the murti of Radha and her sister Ananga Manjari.
Legend has it that Ananga Manjari was reborn as Jahnava Devi and she married Nityananda. She used to perform prayers daily at the temple. Moved by…