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Showing posts from November 12, 2015

Chitragupta – Account Keeper of the Good and Bad deeds of Human Beings on Earth

As per Hindu belief, Chitragupta is the one who keeps accounts of the activities of human beings on earth. He is the keeper of both good and bad deeds. He helps Yama, the Hindu God of Death, to decide as to whether the dead person should suffer in hell or enjoy in heaven.

Legend has it that Yama was given the task of keeping records of virtues and sins of all living beings and rewarding them as per merit. Yama asked Brahma to assign him an accountant who would help in keeping the record of pious and sinful acts of a person on earth.
Brahma went into deep meditation for several thousand years. Finally, when he opened his eyes he saw a handsome and brilliant man in front of him, holding a pen and inkpot.

As he was created in secrecy (gupt) in the mind (chit) of Brahma, he was named Chitragupta. He resides in the region of Devas. Chitragupta had two wives, Irawati and Sudakshina. In some scriptures, the name of the wives are Nandini Devi and Shobavati Devi. He had twelve sons and they ar…

Konjaidevi Yatra – Utsav at Tala near Mangaon – Konjai Devi Temple Festival

Konjaidevi Yatra and Utsav is held in Paush month at Tala near Mangaon in Raigad District, Maharashtra. It the annual jatra and festival at this shrine dedicated to Goddess Konjai Deiv. Tala Konjaidevi Yatra – Utsav 2019 date is January 16.

Konjai Devi is a manifestation of Mother Goddess Shakti and is a popular village deity in this region of Maharashtra. She is mainly worshipped in western parts of India.

Hundreds of people participate in the annual yatra and festival. The temple is beautifully decorated during the fair. The murtis of Mother Goddess is adorned with special flowers and ornaments on the day.
Konjaidevi Yatra is annually held on Paush Shukla Paksha Dasami Tithi or the tenth day during the waxing phase of moon in Paush month as per traditional Hindu lunar calendar followed in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Gaudapada – Foremost Teacher of Advaita

Gaudapada was on the foremost teachers of the Advaita Philosophy. He was the spiritual guide and teacher of Govinda, who was the Guru of Adi Shankaracharya. Gaudapada is believed to have lived during the 5th century AD. The philosophy of Gaudapada may be characterized as absolute non-dualism and establishes this doctrine both by the method of affirmation and negation.
He commented on the Upanishads. The scattered knowledge of Advaita philosophy were gathered and its principles were explained in a systematic way first by Gaudapada.
His main ideas can be found in the ‘karika’ of Brahma Sutras, which is divided into four parts. Adi Shankaracharya further elaborated his teachings and ideas.
Some important teachings of Gaudapada
Gaudapada states that both waking and dreaming states are similar, as the objects seen in both are unreal. Only the subject, the constant witness that is the Self, can be real.
That which is complete in itself, inborn and never ceases to be itself, is the only rea…

Muringamangalam Temple near Konni in Kerala

Muringamangalam Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva and is popularly known as Muringamangala Sree Mahadeva temple. It is located about one kilometer from Konni in Pathanamthitta District in Kerala. The temple is more than 1000 years old and belongs to the Pandalam Royal family.

The main deity worshipped here is Shiva in the form of a Shivling.

Subsidiary deities worshipped in the temple include Ganesha, Devi and Muruga. Other subsidiary deities include Nagas, Krishna and Ayyappa.

Thanka Anki procession to Sabarimala halts in the shrine during night.
Apart from the annual temple festival, Shivratri, Navratri, Vrishickam month, Ganesh chaturthi and Sri Krishna Jayanti are observed here.

Kolangattukara Sreelakshmi Varahamurthy Temple

Kolangattukara Sreelakshmi Varahamurthy Temple is an ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu at Kolangattukara near Thrissur in Kerala. The shrine is located around 10 km from Thrissur town. Bhagavan Srihari Vishnu is worshipped here in the rare Sreelakshmi Varahamurthy form. This aspect of Vishnu is associated with the Varaha Avatar, the third manifestation.

The subsidiary deities worshipped in the temple are equally famous as the main deity. The most important subsidiary deities are Ganesha and Ayyappa. Special pujas are also held during Ganesh Chaturthi and VrishickaMasam.
The most important temple festival is the held during Varaha Jayanti. Another important festival here is the 9-day Navratri festival.
Numerous other rituals are held during various periods of a year.

Niraputhari Festival at Sabarimala Temple

Niraputhari Festival is a unique ritual observed at the famous Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala. It is the offering of first paddy to the deity. For the rituals devotees bring fresh paddy as well as threshed paddy as their offering to Lord Ayyappa.
Devotees trek the holy hills carrying bundles of paddy spikes on their head.
Lord Ayyappa is offered Naivedyam (cooked offering) made of the fresh paddy as part of the Niraputhari ritual.
The paddy spikes are also distributed as prasadam to devotees.
The festival falls in the Karkidakom month (July – August) as per traditional Malayalam calendar followed in Kerala.
Sahasrakalasabhishekom and Kalabhabhishekom are performed on the previous day.
The shrine opens for two days during the ritual.

Origin of Skanda Shasti Festival – The Story of Kanda Sashti

Skanda Shasti festival like most other Hindu festivals celebrates the victory of good over evil. Skanda is also known as Lord Muruga, Subramanya, Kartikeaya and Kartik. Skanda Puranam narrates the origin of Kanda Sashti fasting.

According to Skanda Puranam, the longest of the 18 Mahapuranas, the demons under the leadership of Surapadma, Simhamukha and Tarakasura defeated the Devas and took over the earth. They found immense pleasure in torturing the Devas and humans. They went on a massive rampage and destroyed anything that belonged to Devas.
Surapadma had got the boon that only a son of Shiva will kill him. The demon had thought that Shiva who had gone into deep meditation after death of Goddess Sati will never return to earthly life.
Devas took refuge at the feet of Lord Shiva but Shiva was in deep meditation. On the advice of Lord Brahma, Devas took the help of Kamdev or Manmatha to incite sexual desire in Shiva. Kamdev succeeded in his mission but an angry Shiva burnt him into a…

Story of Bali Pratipada or Bali Padyami – King Bali Pushed To Pathala Loka and His Return for One Day Rule

Bali Pratipada or Bali Padyami is observed the day after Diwali in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Here is the story associated with the festival.

King Bali was a very powerful demon (daithya) king. He was the most famous king and there was peace and prosperity in his Kingdom. He became so powerful that the entire world was under his control. He then attacked Indra and pushed him out and occupied Indraloka (heaven ruled by demi gods).
Bali wanted to have the seat of Indra (Indra Padavi) permanently. As per his guru Shukracharya’s advice he started performing Ashwamedha Yajna. He completed 99 Ashwamedha Yaagas. If he completes the 100th he will be eligible for the post of Indra.
Indra sought the help of Vishnu to avoid him being dethroned by King Bali. Aditi, the mother of Indra, also performed tapas to get back her son’s lost glory.
Lord Vishnu assured that he himself will come to rescue of Indra. For this divine mission, Lord Vishnu was born as Vamana, the dwarf. In this incarnati…