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Showing posts from September, 2014


Belnauti – Bilva Amantran Sashti during Durga Puja

Belnauti, Bilva Abhimantran Sashti, is one of the initial rituals performed during Durga Puja. It is performed on the sixth day, or Sashti day, of the Shukla Paksha of Ashwin month. Belnauti 2017 date is September 26.

Amantran is inviting Goddess Durga into the puja area. The rituals on the day are performed by qualified priests. The most important rituals of Durga Puja begin from the next day morning – Saptami Day.

The important rituals on the Belnauti day include unveiling the face of Durga Idol and Kalparambho. Bodhon, Amantron and Adibas are some of the other main rituals on Sashti day.

Thandu Mariamman Kovil Timings – Opening and Closing Time at Dhandumariamman Temple in Coimbatore

DhandumariammanTemple in Coimbatore is dedicated to Mother Goddess Mariamman. The temple timings are given below in detail. Opening and Closing Time at Thandu Mariamman Kovil might change during festival, important rituals and during Grahan – lunar and solar eclipse.
Opening and Closing Time at Thandu Mariamman Kovil
Morning hours – 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM Evening hours – 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM 
Important Pujas in a day Kaala Santhi – 8:00 AM
Uchie Kalam – 12:00 PM
Saya Rachai – 6:30 PM
Artha Jamam – 8:30 PM

The river that flows in you also flows in me – Sant Kabir

The river that flows in you also flows in me.
Whether I be in the temple or in the balcony, in the camp or the flower garden, I tell you truly that every moment my Lord is taking His delight in me.
Do not go to the garden of flowers! O friend! Go not there; In your body is the garden of flowers. Take your seat on the thousand petals of the lotus, and there gaze on the Infinite Beauty.
If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth: Listen to the secret sound, the real sound, which is inside you.
All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop. Sant Kabir

Belur Temple Timings – Opening and closing Darshan Time at Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu, the BelurChennakeshavaTemple houses Chaturbhuja Vishnu who is popular here as Chenna Keshava – the handsome god. Detail Belur Timings is given below. Please note that the opening and closing darshan time will be extended especially during the car festival in March – April. The darshan time will be short when there will be grahan – lunar or solar eclipse.
BelurTemple Timings
Morning hours Darshan Time is from 7:30 AM to 1:00 PM Evening hours Darshan Time is from 2:30 PM to 7:30 PM

Thandu Mariamman Kovil Contact Address with Phone number – Location Map of Dhandumariamman Temple in Coimbatore

DhandumariammanTemple in Coimbatore is dedicated to Mother Goddess Mariamman. The temple location, contact address with phone number is given below. Thandu Mariamman Kovil is one of the popular shrines in the city and is more than 300 years old.
Thandu Mariamman Kovil Contact Address:
ArulmiguDhandumariammanTemple,
Avinashi Road,
Coimbatore - 641018 Phone  : 0422 - 2300360 E-Mail   : dhandumari@bsnl.in

The Sixteen Sanskars in Hinduism in Hindi with meaning in English

There are sixteen sanskars in Hinduism. They are the important functions during a life time of Hindus. The sixteen sanskars are given in Hindi with their meaning in English:
Grabhadhan: Conception,Punsavana: Fetus protection,Simanta: Satisfying wishes of the pregnant Mother,Jaat-Karma: Child Birth,Naam Karma: Naming Child,Nishkramana: Taking the child outdoors,Annaprashana: Giving the child solid food,Mundan or Choula: Hair cutting,Karna Vedh: Ear piercing,Yagyopaveet: Sacred thread,Vedarambh: Study of Vedas and Scriptures,Samaavartana: Completing education,Vivaah: Marriage,Sarvasanskaar: Preparing for Renouncing,Sanyas (Awasthadhyan): Renouncing,Antyeshti: Last rite, or funeral rites.

Uttaraphalguni Nakshatra Tarabalam – Good Tarabalam for Uttara Phalguni Birth Star Born People

Uttaraphalguni Nakshatra (birth star) born people will have good Tarabalam generally with following Nakshatra born people: Uttara Phalguni Tarabalam is used for looking marriage compatibility, business partnership and other deals.
Uttaraphalguni Good Nakshatra Tarabalam with:
Ashwini Bharani Nakshtra Rohini Arudra Aslesha Magha Nakshtra Purvaphalguni Hasta Swati Jyeshta Nakshtra Moola Nakshtra Purvashada Sravanam Shatabhisha Revati Nakshtra
Please note that this is only a general list. Please note that in some regions Tarabalam is calculated daily based on the day’s Nakshatra. In such cases the general list should be ignored.

Durga Puja Story in Bengal – Uma Visiting Her Parents

The murti (idol) of Durga in Bengal during Durga Puja is sometimes flanked by Ganesh, Kartik (Muruga), Goddess Saraswathi and Goddess Lakshmi. But what are these four important gods and goddesses in Hindu pantheon doing with Mahishasuramardini during Durga Puja? The popular story of Durga Puja and Navratri is that of Goddess Durga slaying demon Mahishasura. But in Bengal and in Eastern India, there is another story too and that is Goddess Durga along with her children coming to the earth to visit her parents. Confused?... Well, in Bengali story Goddess Durga is Uma or Sati the consort of Lord Shiva. The legend goes like this.
Uma or Sati Marrying Lord Shiva Uma, also known as Sati, was the beautiful daughter of Daksha, the king of Himalayas, and Menaka. Uma was in love with Lord Shiva and she worshipped and prayed to him to make her his wife. Pleased with Uma’s devotion, Lord Shiva accepted to marry Uma or Sati.
But Daksha was not ready to give her daughter to Lord Shiva who wore ti…

Kumari Puja 2018 date – Kanya Pooja during Navratri and Durga Puja

Kumari Puja is the worship of young girls (girl child) during Navratri and Durga Puja. Kumari Puja 2018 date is October 17 and October 18. Also known as Kanya Pooja or Kanjak Ashtami Puja, it is observed on Durga Ashtami day (September 28) in some regions and on Mahanavami (September 29) in some regions. Young girls who are considered to be the living incarnations of Goddess Durga are worshipped on the day.

Chaitra Navratri Kanya Puja 2018 is on March 25. Most people perform it on Ashtami.

Kumari Puja means ‘Virgin Worship.’ The details of age and rituals of Kumari Puja are mentioned in the Nila Tantra.
How to Perform Kumari Puja? On the each day of Navrati, puja and worship of a girl child is performed by some communities. On Ashtami (eighth) and Navami (ninth) tithi, nine girl child are worshiped.

On Kumari Pooja day, young girls aged between two and eight are invited to homes and their feet are washed.

Two-year-old girl child is known as Kumari; she is worshiped for attaining peac…

Darpan during Durga Puja – Mirror offered to Goddess Durga during Pooja

Puranas and Hindu Holy Scriptures are filled with instructions regarding various aspects of Durga Puja. On the third day of the puja – the third day from Mahalaya – a mirror, vermilion and thin cotton dipped in dye are offered. Usually only a silver coated looking glass is offered as a mirror. But in some instances Darpan – a speculum mirror is also offered.

The darpan mirror is used while bathing the murti of Goddess Durga – whenever there is a ritual bathing of Goddess Durga, it is the reflection on the darpan mirror that is bathed not the original murti.

The darpan is also immersed in a pot of water on the morning of Dasami day when the murtis bid farewell.

It must be noted that many Puranas talk about pujas and rituals that are performed from the Mahalaya day to Dasami day but most of them are not followed today. Today the puja only starts from the sixth day after Mahalaya and the important days are seventh, eighth and ninth.

Giving is the secret of abundance – Swami Sivananda

There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore acquire contentment.
Man sees his own reflection in all people but foolishly imagines that they are different from him and he fights with them.
Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.
Giving is the secret of abundance.
Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.
Real spiritual progress is really and accurately measured by the peacefulness, serenity and calmness that you manifest in waking state.
Life has meaning only in the struggle. Triumph or defeat is in the hands of the gods. So let us celebrate the struggle. Swami Sivananda

One primary mantra to success is to digest failure – Sri Sri Ravishankar

One’s goal in life should be contentment.
The one primary mantra to success is to digest failure.
Why someone is negative? Because they do not feel good about themselves.
Your body is changing, your thoughts are changing, the mind is changing, emotions are changing, situations are changing… But still you feel there is something in me which is not changing. So that something which is the basis of all change, that something through which you notice the change is the self – the atma, the spirit.
Spirituality is the skill of nurturing, purifying and blossoming one’s all levels of existence.
The antidote for fear is love and service.
The signs of success are a smile that does not fade, confidence that does not wither and a personality that does not get shaken.
Sri Sri Ravishankar

Kati Bihu or Kangali Bihu

Kati Bihu, also known as Kangali Bihu, is a festival observed in Assam and is also known as the poor man’s Bihu. Kati Bihu is observed on the last day of Aswhin Month. In 2018, Kati Bihu is on October 17. Kati Bihu takes its name from the Kartik month which starts from the next day.
It is the time of when the agricultural crops especially the paddy begins to grown. It is known as Poor Man’s Bihu because there is little to eat during the period.
On the day of Kati Bihu, special prayers and offerings are made to Tulsi plant. Earthern lamps or diyas are lit near the Tulsi plant. Prayers are made for improved yields of crops. In some regions, the lamps are lit for an entire month (the Kartik month).
Farmers on the day hung lights from bamboo poles, known as Askash Banti or Sky Lamp, in their farm to keep out pests and other insects.

Goddess Kameshwari

Goddess Kameshwari is a manifestation of Mother Goddess Shakti. She is closely associated with the Goddess Lalitha form. She is the queen of love. When Mother Goddess is Kameshwari, Shiva becomes Kameshwara, the lord of desire who is ever youthful.
Prayers, stories and worship of Goddess are mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana.
In some scriptures, Goddess Kameshwari is equated with Goddess Kamakshi.
There is a legend which states that once Brahma performed intense tapas to please Mother Goddess. She is said to have appeared before. Brahma called Her Kameshwari because her eyes were brimming with love for humanity.
Some scholars are of the view that Kameshwari is Kundalini – the psychic power coiled at the base of the spine as per yoga.
Goddess Kameshwari form is mainly worshipped in Srinagar and Kanchipuram.
Today, the true Sadhana of the Goddess is very rare and is mainly followed by rare Tantric followers.

Navakumari – Nine Goddesses or Navkumari

Many of must be aware of the Navdurga concept or the nine goddesses worshipped during Navratri. Another concept is that of Navakumari. The concept of Navkumari is not very famous as the Navadurga concept but these nine goddesses are also worshipped during Navratri by many Hindu communities. Just like the Navdurgas, Navkumaris are also invoked on each day of the nine-day Navratri festival. Nine Goddesses who are considered as Navkumari and worshipped during Navratri are – MahakaliMahalakshmiMahasaraswati (In some lists instead of Mahasaraswati it is Chamundi)Lokamaya (All that we see around is nothing but the beauty of the Supreme Goddess and not realizing the Supreme Truth behind all that is around we crave for material possessions. Due to Her this quality she is known as Lokamaya.)Rakta Dantika (This form of Shakti appeared when Shiva was fighting Andakasura – she is believed to have appeared from the Sweat of Shiva)Shakambari Devi (In this form of Goddess Shakti – she nourishes the …

Card Game Based on 108 Divyadesams

Srimaan Card Game is based on the 108 Divyadesams – the 108 temples dedicated to Bhagvan Srihari Vishnu in South India. The card game helps in understanding each Divya Desam and it also helps in identifying the Perumal and Nachiar worshipped in each shrine. The main aim of the card game is to create a spiritual atmosphere while playing and also help in gathering crucial knowledge regarding Vaishnavism.


You can find more details about the game and how to buy it here at the Srimaan Trust Website.

Significance Meaning and Symbolism of Ringing Bell in Hindu Temple - OSHO

When you ring the bell of a temple – not half asleep but with alertness – that creates a discontinuity in your thoughts, a sort of break in the chain of your thoughts, and you become aware of a changed atmosphere. There is a similarity between the sound of the bell and the sound of OM; in fact there is some inner relationship. The sound of the bell continues charging the temple all the day long and the sound of OM also charges the temple with its vibrations.
No one should enter the temple through that door of doors without ringing the bell, for only through the sound itself can you enter. The uniqueness of a bell is that it keeps resounding long after you ring it, so the resonance keeps sounding as you enter the main entrance. In that sound alone is the key to your entry into the temple.
Through the sound, as it were, you enter into God's abode. The temple is a symbol of God's dwelling. When it is sounding constantly you need not ring the bell, but we have formulated a metho…

Boyakonda Gangagamma – Goddess Durga Temple on top of Boyakonda hill Near Punganur in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh

GoddessDurgaTemple located on top of Boyakonda hill Near Punganur in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh is a famous shrine in the region. The murti worshipped here is famous as Boyakonda Gangagamma and the temple which is around 60 km from Chittoor is visited by thousands of people. Legend has it that Goddess Durga appeared here in the form of an old woman to protect the tribes of the region and defeat the forces of a greedy Nawab.

The tribal people who lived in the region were constantly harassed by the army of the Nawab. The escape from the violence, the tribal people propitiated Goddess Durga in the form of Jaganmatha.
The tribal people got the darshan of Goddess in the form of an old woman. She then took a ferocious form and annihilated the army of the Nawab. The sword used by the goddess in the battle fell on a rock atop the Boyakonda hill and it cracked. It is today worshipped and seen as a living testimony of the divine power of Maa Durga.

Navratri – Dasara is the most impor…

Bombe Habba during Navratri – Gombe Pooja in Karnataka

The nine-day Navratri festival in Karnataka is famous for the Bombe Habba or Gombe Pooja – it is the display of traditional dolls and miniatures of characters in Hindu Scriptures. The dolls display also includes miniatures of gurus and saints. Other highlights are agriculture and industrial related dolls, flora and fauna and other traditional aspects of the particular regions.
Bombe Habba is enthusiastically followed by many families. On the first day of Navratri, Kalash is installed and arrangements of dolls are made on a stepped platform. There are also devotees who arrange dolls as per a particular theme.
The most important dolls are the Pattada Gombe – the main dolls. The Pattade Gombe is usually handed over for generations. It is a pride of the family.
The steps are in odd numbers with the pride of place given to the Pattada Gombe (the main dolls). This couple, mostly a family heirloom, is made of wood. The top rows of the display are occupied by gods and goddesses. In the lower…

Saptamatrikas – Seven Divine Mothers – Saptamatris

In Hinduism, Saptamatrikas are the seven divine mothers and is often associated with Shiva and Shakti. The Saptamatrikas are Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Kaumari, Varahi, Indrani and Chamundi. Stories about Sapta Matrikas are found in the Varaha Purana, Kurma Purana and the Mahabharata. Yogeshwari, a Shakti created by Shiva, is also mentioned among the Saptamatris and then the count becomes eight.
Saptamatrikas are among the numerous incarnations of Goddess Shakti. But their characteristics differ from region to region and from scriptures to scriptures. General belief is that the Saptamatrikas appeared to defeat the thousands of Anadhakas that were born from the blood of demon Andhaka.
Andhaka was actually the third son of Shiva. Lord Shiva injured demon Andhaka when he tried to take away Goddess Parvati. Andhaka had received a boon that a single drop of blood spilled from his body will create thousands of Andhakas. So when Shiva injured Andhaka thousands of Andhakas appeared fr…

Bathukamma Festival in Telangana during Navratri

Bathukamma during Navratri is an important festival in Telangana region. The festival is mainly observed by women and is dedicated to Goddess Bathkamma – who is an incarnation of Goddess Sati. The festival is of great importance at the Thousand Pillar temple, Bhadrakali temple and Padmakshi temple in Hanamkonda.  The Hindu reportsWomen, young and old, in their best attire head to the nearby temples and street corners to celebrate Bathukamma.  They carry trays arranged with a variety of flowers in a cone shape. They vie with one another in arranging the flowers as high as possible. Though the evening rituals last for an hour, the women wake up early and prompt their children to collect as many flowers as possible from the neighborhood.  All the flowers available during the season “Cassia (thangedu), luffa (bera), celosia (gunugu), nelumbo (thamara) cucurbita (gummadi), marigold (banthi), crossandra (kanakambaram), ixora (ramabanam), hibiscus (mandhara), and so on are collected and attr…

A prayer from Durga Stotram from Mahabharata

When worshipped by your devotees, You remove their ignorance and bondage, Their fear, disease and threat of death.
You protect their children and their goods.
I, who have lost everything, appeal to you for help. Protect me, O lotus-eyed savior.
I am fighting for truth, Protect me with al the power of truth, O Durga, shelter me in your wide lap.
You who are ever loving and merciful to devotees, Help me!
Durga Stotram from Mahabharata

Kalash Sthapana Mantra – Prayer While Keeping Navratri Pot - Navratri Kalash Sthapana Mantra

Navratri Kalash Sthapana Mantra is chanted by those people who keep the Navratri pot as part of the nine day puja. The prayer given below is in Hindi. The lamp lit during Kalashsthapana should use ghee as medium not oil. If you are opting for a full prayer then you should perform the 16-step puja.
Kalash Sthapana Mantra

Apart from the above mantra one should also chant Durga Saptashloki

In Kalash Sthapana, a pot or kalash with an image of Goddess Durga is installed in the house on the day. The pot or kalash is filled with water and is covered with cow dung and seeds (like barely or wheat) are sown on the dung. The pot is kept on a sand bed and seeds are sown on this too.
Special pujas are conducted on the pot and water is sprinkled daily. The seeds sprout and reach about 3 or 5 five inches on the tenth day. They are distributed as Prasad on the Vijayadashami day.
Related
How to do Kalash Sthapana?

Navratri Puja Lamp – For How many days should one keep lamp or Diya during Navaratri?

The lighting of the lamp for Navratri Puja is known as Deepa Stamba Sthapana in some regions. The Navratri lights (diya) are lit for nine or seven or five or three days. The lamp should be lit using ghee and it should be continuously lit for 9 or 7 or 5 or 3 days. The number of wick used in lamp varies from region to region – but generally during auspicious occasions like Navratri puja people light 5 or 7 wicks in a traditional lamp. You can also light one or two wicks.

The lamp that is lit during Navratri should be adorned with flowers or garland.

It is believed that while prayers are offered before the lamp – 27 nakshatras or birth stars are invoked atop the lamp.

Only rule that should be carefully followed is that once the lamp is lit is should be continuously lit for 9, 7, 5 or 3 days. You should not stop after the first day and then start two days after.

Matunga Temple – Marubai Gavdevi Temple

MarubaiGavdeviTemple located at Matunga in Mumbai is a 400-year-old shrine dedicated to Mother Goddess Shakti. The goddess worshipped here is known as Goddess Marubai. She is a combined manifestation of Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.



Legend has it that the original murti of the Goddess Worshipped in temple appeared under a neem tree during the 18th century. The local villagers worshipped the deity and therefore the temple got the name Marubai Gavdevi.
The local villagers who used to worship the deity believed that she had the capacity to heal people. That's why she is called Marubai, because she saves people from various illnesses. It is said that during epidemics people drank the water used for abhishekam in the temple and used to get cured.
Navratri is the most important festival observed in the temple.
Daily morning routine includes Aarti and Abhisheks. Bhajans are organized during the afternoon. Daily evening aarti also attracts thousands of devotees.
Chandi Havan on …

Navratri Essential Food Items – Ingredients Used to Prepare Dishes during Navratri

There are some essential food items needed during Navratri festival. These ingredients are used to prepare dishes mostly by people who opt for partial fasting or only eat vegetarian food.
Kuttu ka Atta (buckwheat flour) – This is very much part of nine days as most people only eat food prepared using Kuttu ka Atta.
Rock Salt – Rock salt is widely used during the nine days as all other types of salt are prohibited.
Rice – A special rice known as ‘Vrat ka Chawal’ is used widely in western and northern parts of India for cooking.
Sabudana or Sago – This is widely used during fasting. Vada, Khichdi and Upma is prepared using Sabudana.
Khoya – Sweets are prepared using khoya. So large quantities of khoya is used during the period.
Peanuts – It is widely used in dishes and on its own during Navratri.
Mixtures, chips, farsan without salt is widely consumed during the period.
Another type of atta or flour that is used during the period is Singhare Ka Atta. Singhare is prepared from water caltro…

Navratri Bommai Kolu Display at Madurai Meenakshi Temple

Each year during Navratri, the MaduraiMeenakshiTemple in Tamil Nadu displays nearly 800 kolu dolls. The thematic kolu display attracts thousands devotees during the period. The display is on for 17 days. The Hindu reports
The thematic ‘kolu’ which consists of over 800 dolls will be kept in 17 bays put up with flex boards and wooden planks on one side of the second corridor near the sanctum sanctorum of Goddess Meenakshi as has been done for the last three years. The ‘vaahanams’ of the temple will also be kept in nine separate bays. The thematic ‘kolu’ will also have working replicas of the Meenakshi temple and the festivals celebrated, on display. These include one replica of the Teppam festival held at the Teppakulam, one of the various ‘vaahanams’ which include the ‘Rishaba vahanam’ and the ‘Garuda vahanam,’ circling the temple.  “Apart from this, we have made a replica of the sanctum sanctorum of goddess Meenakshi which will have the golden chariot encircling it. The famous legend o…

Significance of Navratri

The nine-day festival symbolically represents the victory of good over evil – Goddess Durga slaying Demon Mahishasura and Lord Rama killing Ravana - this is the main significance of Navratri. This same struggle is constantly taking place in human hearts and the nine-day Navratri Vrat gradually prepares a devotee to shed evil and merge with the Brahman - Supreme Truth or God. Like Mahishasura, the human mind armed with ego, anger, greed, lust and envy negate the Supreme Truth. The nine-day Navratri vrat slowly annihilates the Mahishasura in us and help us to realize us that we are part of Brahman – the supreme spirit present in all animate and inanimate.
The physical fight between Goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura has its ups and downs. Goddess Durga fought Mahishasura and his army for nine days and nine nights. Similarly, in the fight against evil tendencies like ego, anger, lust and other animal instincts make us weak and a person too faces and downs. The destructive aspect of…

Words of Wisdom – Dnyaneshwari

Wisdom is that, by which all troublesome activities melt away.
He, who does not jump in the floods, need not be afraid of being drowned. He, who observes rules of health, will remain healthy. Similarly he, who on all occasions of activity and non-activity will not entertain the sense of "I" (Ahankar), need have no fear in this world. Thus when the sense of unity has dawned and when everybody else appears as part of self, how can the feeling of fear arise?
When salt is put in the water, it becomes water. So with unity, there remains no animosity.
The true mark, therefore, of purity of intelligence is, that the mind is directed towards the true form (of Self) and the intelligence has no other purpose except this.
Like the tree which gives the leaves, the flowers, the shade, the fruits and the roots without distinction; give to the needy with a cheerful heart. This is true charity.
Dnyaneshwari

Construction of Vedic Fire Altar – Agnichayana in Vedas

Agnichanaya is the term used to refer to the Vedic fire altar construction in the Vedas. All yajnas are perfumed after constructing the altar. Details regarding the construction of Vedic fire altar are found in the Shatapatha Brahmana. It is mentioned in this scripture that the mere construction of the altar is highly meritorious.
The vedic fire altar symbolizes the universe and is the representation of the body of prajapati, the creator.
The mantras and prayers to be chanted while constructing the altar is mentioned in the Vajasaneyi Samhita of Yajur Veda.
Thousands of bricks are used in the construction and many of the bricks have special shapes and names.
The most common shape of a Vedic altar was in the form of a hawk with outstretched wings. There were numerous other shapes like trough, chariot wheel etc.
The Vedic fire altar of the Soma sacrifice had five layers.
A sacrifice is performed when a layer is built. When the first layer is built soma sacrifice is performed; when the…

On Hindu Temples Destroyed by Mughal Ruler Aurangazeb

The religious intolerance practiced by Mughal Ruler Aurangazeb is well known. The number of Hindu temples destroyed during his ruler is yet to be ascertained as the left historians who dominated the universities after independence and who also had a free hand in deciding the history of Hindustan conveniently tried to destroy all documents that could have helped in determining the atrocities committed by the Mughal rulers on the Hindus in Hindustan.
Truth can be hidden for a small period of time but cannot be destroyed. Truth will come out one day. Slowly many Indian newspapers and magazines are attempting to unravel to what happened to Hindus during the rule of Mughal rulers like Aurangazeb. The New Indian Express writes  Aurangzeb, like his predecessors, was determined to reinforce and expand the might of the Mughal Empire to the farthest corners of Hindustan. His principal obsession was to live his life true to the guiding principles of the Sharia. But his ability to successfully …

Thoughts from Atharva Veda

The creator is perfect, He possesses perfect power, Whence is created perfect Nature. The perfect universe derives life, From the perfect Creator. Let us comprehend this perfect power, That bestows life on all beings.
In the beginning was the golden womb The seed of elemental existence, The only Lord of all that was born, He upheld the heaven and earth together To what God other than Him, should we dedicate our life?
I am “Satya,” the Truth. I manifest myself in the great epic. I appear as the Truth through the “jataveda” fire. None is above me. I am the Ultimate.
Atharva Veda

Story – Why Shiva Devotees Wear Matted Hair?

Shiva devotees (Aghoris, Tantrics, Naga Sadhus) have matted hair. There is story that happened during the reign of Daksha Prajapati which explains why Shiva devotees wear matted hair.
A great yajna was performed once by sages at Prayag, the confluence of three rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Shiva arrived at the yajna with Sati and all those assembled there stood up and paid obeisance to Mahadev and Mata Sati.  Shiva was seated with great honor.
Soon, Daksha Prajapati arrived at the yajna and everyone stood up and paid respects to him out of fear. Daksha was arrogant due to his superior status in Vedic society. Shiva remained in his seat and did not acknowledge Daksha.
Daksha Prajapati considered this as a mark of disrespect and angrily spoke in the yajna against Shiva. Daksha said that Shiva was uncultured and mannerless. He continued insulting Mahadev by stating that he did not expect anything more from his son-in-law whose attendants are goblins and ghosts and who lives in c…

About Bhimsen Rath Jatra of Lalitpur in Nepal – Pandava Bhima Worship

Bhimsen Rath Jatra of Lalitpur in Nepal is associated with traders and is observed on the tenth day during the waning phase of moon in Bhadra month as per traditional Nepali Calendar. The festival is dedicated to Bhima, the second of the Pandava brothers.
Bhimsen, who possess unimaginable strength, is worshipped as the God of Commerce by Newar communities or traders. It is believed by the traders that those who worship Bhimsen will be blessed with profit in their business and Bhima will remove all the impediments in their business. The Himalayan Times reports Talking about the Jatra’s beginnings, Kiran Man Pradhan, President of Mangal Tole Sudhar Sangh and the organiser of the festival informed, “It was king Yog Narendra Malla in 1701 who began the chariot festival of Bhimsen which continues till today.”  According to him, King Sri Niwas Malla, father of Yog Narendra, built the three-storied Bhimsen temple on the premises of Patan Durbar Square. And the festival begins once the idol …

Nine Qualities of Devotion as told by Shiva to Sati

Some of the important teachings in Sanatana Dharma were revealed through the dialogue between Shiva and Sati. Here Shiva explains the nine qualities of devotion.
Listening to the names of Supreme Truth Praising God Remembering God at all times Serving God Surrendering the ego to the Supreme Truth Worshiping God in various ways Prostrating before God Dedication to God Friendliness and kindness to all this creatures.

Navratri Fast in Gujarat – Food Eaten During Navratras Vrat

Navratri Fast in Gujarat is slightly different from other regions. Here is a brief idea on how fasting is observed during Navratras. The fast is observed during Chaitra Navratri (March – April) and also during the Saran Navrarti (September – October). It is a partial fast on all nine days. Special food devoid of onion and garlic are prepared during the period.

The food that is eaten during Navratras is prepared on the day after bathing and performing pujas.

Rotis made of Kuttu, or Singhare ka Atta, is widely eaten during the period.

Potatoes, cucumber, pumpkin and shakarkandi (Pink colored sweet potato) are widely used to prepare dishes during the period.

Spices are generally avoided. But some people use it mildly. Rock salt is preferred in all cooking.

Milk products are recommended during the period therefore dishes made using paneer, curd and sweets from milk are widely consumed.

All types of fruits are also consumed during the period.

Food made using garlic and onions are strictly…

Wise Words – Swami Adbhutananda

If you compare yourself with a person lying on the street, you will not feel pain, rather you will feel peace. As soon as you compare your own situation with that of a rich person, suffering will come to you. Give thanks to God that you are not suffering like the one lying on the street. You have at least a place to stand and some morsels of food to eat; you are not suffering much due to any particular need. One should pray to God when pain and suffering come. Moreover, one should see how many people are suffering more than you. If one can think in this way, one gets the power to endure one’s suffering and obtain peace of mind.
A small part of one’s mind turns towards religion and one starts to grow one’s hair long. My dear, if one grows one’s hair long, will that make one religious? Religion means one will have to realize God in this very life. One does not become religious only by saying: ‘dharma! dharma!’ One needs to do some karma; one needs to perform spiritual practices.

In o…

This is a world of good and evil – Swami Vivekananda

This is a world of good and evil. Wherever there is good, evil follows, but beyond and behind all these manifestations, all these contradictions, the Vedanta finds out that Unity. It says, “Give up what is evil and give up what is good.” What remains then? Behind good and evil stands something which is yours, the real you, beyond every evil, and beyond every good too, and it is that which is manifesting itself as good and bad.
It is grand and good to know the laws that govern the stars and planets; it is infinitely grander and better to know the laws that govern the passions, the feelings, the will, of mankind. This conquering of the inner man, understanding the secrets of the subtle workings that are within the human mind, and knowing its wonderful secrets, belong entirely to religion.

Do not recognize wickedness in others. Wickedness is ignorance, weakness. What is the good of telling people they are weak? Criticism and destruction are of no avail. We must give them something highe…

Goddess Naina Devi

Goddess Naina Devi is a manifestation of Mother Goddess Shakti. The Origin of Goddess Naina Devi is associated with the death of Goddess Sati. After her self immolation, Shiva carried her body around the world and this caused great imbalance in the universe. To put an end to the suffering on earth, Vishnu cut the body of Sati into several pieces. Goddess Naina Devi is believed to have manifested from the left eye of Goddess Sati.
Naina Devi temples are mainly located in North India.  Two of the famous temples dedicated to Goddess Naina Devi are located at Nainital in Uttarakhand in India and at Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh.
All Naina Devi temples have the same story. The place where eyes of Goddess Sati fell is from where Goddess Naina Devi appeared.
She blesses devotees by destroying all evil. She is kind Mother to those that follow Dharma. To those that follow Adharma, she takes the all vanquishing fierce form.
The main offerings made to Naina Devi are Red Chunni, coconut, items o…

Kapaleshwar Temple in Nashik Asks Devotees Not To Pour Milk on the Shivling

The management of KapaleshwarTemple in Nashik in Maharashtra has asked devotees not to pour milk on the Shivling in the temple as it is polluting the GodavariRiver. Kapaleshwar temple, located on the banks of Godavari river, is one of the oldest temples in Nashik. Times of India reports According to the temple management, at least 3,000 people pour milk over the shivling at the temple every day. Flower sellers at the entrance and near the steps of the temple also sell milk and other articles required for the 'puja'. Each packet sold for Rs 10 has about 250 ml of milk, which means that nearly 750 litre milk is poured on the shivlings - one inside the temple and others around the temple premises. The temple management said that they have created a channel so that the milk poured on the shivling inside the temple is ultimately released into the river. But the milk poured on the shivlings around the premises flows over the steps and comes under the feet of devotees.  The trust'…

Hindu Fasting is turning into Feasting

Fasting food or Vrat recipes are in great demand especially during Hindu fasting dates like Ekadasi, Pradosh, Navratri etc. Oil friend Sabudana Vada, Ekadasi potato, varan bath…there is no end to the list. So Hindu fasting is slowly turning into feasting.
Ekadasi fasting which is observed on the 11th day of a fortnight is not meant to please Vishnu. It is meant to cleanse your body and mind. Avoiding all types of grains on the day means you are doing away with lot of carbohydrate. This once in a fortnight fasting gives the opportunity to throw out all toxins from the body.
The day before fasting in Hinduism one is supposed to eat moderately. After the fasting too one is supposed to eat moderately. This is to help the body to adjust and regulate.
Fasting is also an opportunity to remain silent. A day to reflect on one’s thoughts and feelings. It is also a day to stop all sorts of negative talking and gossiping.
Fasting also provides an opportunity to abstain from extravagance, arroga…

Why Balaram Did Not Participate in the Mahabharata War?

Balaram, the elder brother of Bhagvan Sri Krishna, did no participate in the Mahabharata war. But why did not Balarama participate in a war that saw the greatest warriors on earth assemble in the Kurukshetra. He did not side with Pandavas or Kauravas in the war.
Duryodhana, the elder brother of the Kauravas, was sure that Balaram would side with him. As Balaram was his Guru.
But Balarama did not side with the Kauravas as he did not want to fight against his brother Krishna who was on the side of the Pandavas.
He also did not side with the Pandavas as he did not want to fight against Duryodhana, who was his student.
So when the Mahabharat war was taking place, Balaram went on a pilgrimage.
Related Why Rukmi Did Not Participate in the Mahabharata War?

Peace is not a product of intellectual exercise but inner blossoming that occurs with meditation – Mata Amritanandamayi

Learn to be considerate. Don’t be obsessed with what you think is right.
Look at Nature. Nature is a book from which we must learn. Each object in it is a page of that book.
Peace is not a product of an intellectual exercise. It is an inner blossoming that occurs with meditation.
Where there is love, distance doesn't matter.
All prayers and remembrance of God or Guru remind you of the great truth that you are not a separate entity.
Strive to maintain a humble attitude by remembering God’s energy behind everything. Mata Amritanandamayi

Gof Gunthan – Navratri Garba Dance in Khumbharwad at Gandevi in Navsari district in Gujarat

Gof Gunthan is a traditional Navratri Garba Dance and it has a history of more than 300 years. The dance is performed annually during Sharada Navratri (September – October). Gof Gunthan is a popular dance form of Koli and Kanbi community in Saurashtra and is a variation of Dandiya Raas.
In the dance, each dancer holds a stick in one hand and a string in the other. The string is tied with a ring hung from the ceiling. The string is an important part of the dance. The dancers perform various raas such as fundadi, tappa and bethak and they then weave a braid using the string. The braid is then unweave. The dance includes the striking of the stick.
Traditional musical instruments like harmonium, tabla, dhol and manijra are used to create the desired music for the dance.

About God Bhaga – Vedic Deity Bhaga

Bhaga is a Vedic deity mentioned in the Rig Veda and is one of the Adityas. He is associated with Surya, the sun god. Bhaga is the God of the forenoon. Usha or dawn is mentioned as his sister.
Bhaga means patron, gracious god or dispenser.
It is believed that he distributed wealth. He also presides over matrimony and love.
He is prayed for wealth and for blessings in all ventures. He also bestows high status.
In the Mahabharata, Bhaga is one among the Devas or demi gods and is a member of Indra’s court.
In Puranas, he is also named as one of the Rudras.
It must be noted here that there is also deity named Bhaga in Zoroastrianism.

Siva Mooligai Trust of Thiruvengadu in Tamil Nadu Planting Rare Herbs Used by Ancient Siddhars

Siddha texts of Siddhars in South India are store house of traditional medicines. We are slowly losing this knowledge thanks to lack of interest is our traditional cures and medicines. People associated with Siva Mooligai Trust of Thiruvengadu in Tamil Nadu are attempting to revive the medicine of Siddhars by identifying various herbs and medicinal plants. The Hindu reports
Kalyanaraman of Siva Mooligai Trust of Thiruvengadu, has been trekking up hills in search of medicinal plants.

“Kanchi Paramacharya’s brother, Sivan sir, had studied Siddha texts and with his guidance I was able to identify many herbal plants, which we now grow in Thiruvengadu,” he said.

The yellow flower of the Palvalipoondu, when squeezed against an aching tooth, relieves pain; Sarkkarai vilvam helps relieve stomach cramps; Sarkkaraikkolli is good for diabetics.

Despite the fact that many of these plants grow in the hills, Kalyanaraman has successfully grown them in the plains. He said many of them could be grown…

Vrishchika Masam 2018 – Malayalam Vrishchikam Month in Kerala in 2018

Vrishchikam, or Vrishchika Masam, is the fourth month in a traditional Malayalam calendar and is a highly auspicious month. Vrishchika Masam 2018 begins on November 17 and ends on December 15. The 41-day Sabarimala Manadalam Kalam and Vratam begin from the first day of the month. SabarimalaAyyappaTemple opens on the day for the two-month long annual pilgrimage season.

Vrischikam 1 is known as Mandala Kala Arabham or beginning of the Sabarimala season.

Thousands of devotees abstain from non-vegetarian food and observe certain austerities in the Vrishchika Masam mostly dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.

Some of the other important auspicious days in the month include Triprayar EkadasiGuruvayoor Ekadasi and Trikarthika.

The corresponding month in Tamil Calendar is Kartik or Karthigai.

Vrishchika Masam 2018 Ekadasi
November 19 (Guruvayur Ekadasi)
December 3 (Triprayar Ekadasi)

Vrishchika Masam 2018 Pradosham
November 20
December 4

Important festivals include:
November 23 - Chakulathukavu Pongala

Thoughts and Quotes on Vishwakarma Puja

In Hindu Religion, Vishwakarma is the divine architect of the universe. Biswakarma (as called in eastern parts of India) is also called the divine carpenter and is mentioned in the Rig Veda and is credited with Sthapatya Veda, the science of mechanics and architecture. Vishwakarma Puja is dedicated to the first carpenter – artisan who gave us all these wonderful knowledge.

Determination, hard work and patience make a good artisan. He becomes an excellent artisan when he remembers and pays respect to his ancestors and Lord Vishwakarma is the first ancestor of carpenters and artisans.
When we offer prayers to Him, we are offering prayers to all the ancestors who passed down the knowledge of various crafts. We are also praying to keep this knowledge and craft intact and also to pass it on to the next generation.
Daily prayers to Vishwakarma assure safety and success in the respective fields.

The greatness of Hindu tradition is that it respects and finds divinity in all activities of l…

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9 reflections

Delusion breeds sorrows, knowledge produces joy. The universe is pain-ridden because it is delusion-projected. (9.18)
Wherever and whenever an egocentric action, whipped by selfish desire, is undertaken, gross and painful reactions must necessarily ensue. (9.9)
To live in the ego as a mere embodied self is to live self-exiled from all the Divine potentialities that one is heir to. (9.17)
Complete happiness and satisfaction, perfect contentment and peace, lie only in the innermost precincts of the heart and not in the extrovert fields of profit and success, glory and fame. (9.24)
A devotee who can constantly remember the Divine in all his contacts in life is alone the one who can give to life the respect and reverence that it deserves. (9.27)
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9

Bishohori Puja at Nartiang Village in Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya – Bishohori Puja Dedicated to Snake Goddess

Bishohori Puja is quite similar to the Manasa Devi Puja observed in Bengal. The puja is dedicated to Snake Goddess and is very popular in the NartiangVillage in Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya. The puja and ritual on the day is dedicated to Goddess Bishohori or Monosha, who is worshipped as the Mother of Snakes.
The ritual is observed during the Bhadrapad Krishna Paksha Panchami Tithi or the fifth day during the waning phase of moon as per Hindu lunar calendar followed in North India. Times of India reports The temple of Bishohori was built by the ancient Jaintia Kings. Bishohori literally means one who takes away poison. "The Jaintia kings had inculcated this ritual from the plains of erstwhile undivided Bengal bordering their kingdom of Jaintiapur," said Naba Bhattacharjee, working president of the Central Puja Committee. "The kings had integrated this borrowed ritual with their own traditional form of worship, which can be witnessed even today among the followers at Nar…

Bengali Kartik Month in 2017 - Kartik Mash in Traditional Bengali Calendar in 2017

Kartik month is the seventh month in a traditional Bengali Calendar. In Gregorian calendar, the Kartik month begins in Mid October and ends in Mid November. The current year in traditional Bengali Calendar is 1424. In 2017, Kartik month in Bengal begins on (date) October 19 and ends on November 17.

The important rituals and festivals in the month include:
Kali Puja - October 19Diwali - October 19Bhai Ponta - October 21Chuat Puja - October 26Jagdhatri Puja - October 29 Ekadasi days - October 14 and November 14

Kartik Amabashya is on October 19. The day is also observed as Diwali and Kali Puja

Purnima is on November 4

Kartik Puja - November 17

Sri Ramakrishna on Symbolism of Goddess Kali Standing on Shiva

Whatever you perceive in the universe is the outcome of the union of Purusha and Prakriti. Take the image of Shiva and Kali.
Kali stands on the bosom of Shiva; Shiva lies under Her feet like a corpse; Kali looks at Shiva. All this denotes the union of Purusha and Prakriti.
Purusha is inactive; therefore Shiva lies on the ground like a corpse.
Prakriti performs all Her activities in conjunction with Purusha. Thus She creates, preserves, and destroys. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Source - The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna – (page 271 – 2)

How to Do or Perform Navratri Puja – The South Indian Way of Observing Navaratri

Navratri, the nine-night festival, honors Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswathi in South India. It is known as Bommla Koluvu in Andhra Pradesh, Bathukamma in Telangana and Navarathri in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Below is a brief idea on how to perform Navratri puja as per South India method.

In 2018, the date of Navratri is from October 10 to October 18. Chaitra month rituals are observed from March 18 to March 25. Navratri is observed as Dusshera in Karnataka, where it is observed for ten days. The main event during Navrathri in South India is the display of dolls and idols – Kolu and the placing of Kalash, which represents Goddess. 
Navratri puja might seem a huge complicated event for many. You can always perform a simple puja by worshipping the Goddess on nine days by lighting a lamp and offering a fruit as prasadam. Rituals are not important but devotion is important.
Here is a step by step method on how to perform Navratri Puja. Getting Ready Get the house cleaned …