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Showing posts from November 14, 2015

Manikantan – Why is God Ayyappa Known as Manikanta?

One of the popular names of Hindu God Ayyappa is Manikantan. Ayyappa was first found by the king of Panthalam in Kerala during one of his hunting expeditions. The little boy who was lying alone in the dark deep forest had a jewel round his neck. Since he was found with this jewel he was named as Manikanta. Another version of the story says that it was not jewel but Ayyappa was found with a small bell. In Malayalam 'mani' is the term used for small ghanta, or bell, and also for precious stone. Ayyappa is a symbolic creation from a fusion of Vishnu and Shiva. Ayyappan is the son of Shiva and Vishnu who takes the form of  Mohini . The queen of Panthalam sends Manikanta to the forest to bring leopard's milk to cure her stomach pain. The stomach pain was a method feigned by the queen to eliminate Manikantan and install her son as the next king. Manikanta goes to the forest and returns to the palace riding a leopard, said to be Lord Indra Himself, with ot

Bhishma Panchaka Vrata Procedure – How to observe Bhishma Panchaka Upavasa?

Bhishma Panchaka Vrata is observed during the last five days of the waxing phase of moon (Shukla Paksha) of Kartik month. Bhishma Panchak begins on Kartik Suddha Ekadasi day. The Vrata gets it name from Bhishma of Mahabharata as it was he observed it first after hearing about it from Lord Krishna. In 2023, Bheema Panchaka Vrata begins on November 23 and ends on November 27. Period of Bhishma Panchaka and the story Karthika Shuddha Ekadashi to Karthika Shudda Hunnime (Kartik Purnima). Bheeshma did the upavasa for five days from Karthika Shuddha Ekadashi to Karthika Shudda Hunnime, lying on Sharapanjara – bed of arrows. On the tenth day of the Mahabharata battle, Bheeshma was hit by a volley of arrows from Arjuna and the arrows pierced through the body of Bhishma and it formed a bed. Since Bhishma had got the boon that he can decide the time of his death he chose to see the end of the battle lying on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. While lying on the Sharapanjara on