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Showing posts from June, 2016

Story of Bahina Bai – A Great Devotee of Vithal and Sant Tukaram in Maharashtra

Bahina Bai (1628 – 1700) was a great devotee of Lord Vithal and disciple of Sant Tukaram. Her devotion was the cause of great conflict and suffering in the early years of her marriage. Her story is one of suffering for the devotion of god. She is counted among one of the great Bhakti saints in Maharashtra.

Bahina Bai’s husband was jealous and he disapproved of her devotion to Sant Tukaram. One day he beat her mercilessly. The cow and calf that had been gifted to the family moaned and refused to eat.

The cow and calf were devoted to Bahina and took food only from her. Some days later the calf died, and Bahina was so distressed that she was in coma for eight days.

Later she had a vision of Sant Tukaram who blessed her and with a mantra. She became famous and attracted devotees.

Her husband became distressed all the more and decided to leave home and undertake sanyasa. But he fell ill. Unable to endure the pain, he prayed to Sant Tukaram.

An elderly person appeared and advised him to le…

Vijaysanar Perumal Temple at Natham in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu – Second Nava Tirupati Temple Associated with Chandra or Moon

Natham Vishnu Temple, also known as Vijaysanar Perumal Temple or Varagunamangai, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is located at Natham in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the Nava Tirupati Temples and one among 108 Divya Desams. This is the second Nava Tirupathi Temple and is associated with Moon (Navagraha Chandra). Natham Vishnu Temple is around 1 km from Srivaikuntam.

There is no separate Navgraha Chandra Murti in the temple. The main deity represents the Navgraha.
The main murti of Vishnu worshiped in the temple faces east and is in sitting posture with one leg folded and the other feet on the ground. Adi Sesha forms a canopy over the head of Lord Vishnu. Moolavar is known as Vijayasanar or Paramapatha Nathan. Urchavar is known as Emmidar Kadivan.

Consorts of Vishnu worshiped here are Varagunavalli and Varagunamangai

The sacred temple pond is known as Agni Tirtha and Deva Pushkarini.

The shrine is noted for its carved pillars and sculptures. There is also a five-tier rajago…

Swami Tejomayananda Thoughts – Sayings – Wisdom and Advice

First we must understand that we are born in this world and we have to live our own life. It is not possible to live the life of another person. This is a simple statement with far reaching implications. Primarily we must take responsibility for our life and secondly learn to mind our own business.
Generally we do not hold ourselves accountable for the sorrows of our life. We shift blame onto somebody, some place or event since it is much easier to pin the cause of our unhappiness on something other than ourselves.
We spend our time wanting to, and trying to change the people we encounter in life and also the world itself! However our best intentions and efforts do not meet with much success, because we are unable to change anyone.
If we understand this one simple point, we will not longer need to meddle in the affairs of others. We can then concentrate on the work of changing or improving our own lives because the only life we can change is our own. The greatest service anyone can d…

Eklavya in the Mahabharata – Story of Ekalavya and Guru Dronacharya

Eklavya in the Mahabharata is the son of Nishada King Hiranyadhanu. His story begins when he approached Guru Dronacharya to learn the art of archery. Ekalavya was an excellent archer but Dronacharya refused to teach him.

Guru Drona refused to teach him because he did not belong to the warrior class (Kshatriya). But the real reason was Drona feared that Ekalavya will surpass his favorite student Arjuna.

Eklavya then installed a clay image of Dronacharya, took blessings and started practicing archery. In due course of time, he mastered the art of archery on his own.

One day Dronacharya saw a barking dog being quietened with arrows. Seven arrows where shot into the mouth of the dog without injuring it. Dronacharya was amazed at this demonstration of archery. Upon searching, he found out that it was Ekalavya who had done this; as the dog was barking and disturbing his practice.

Guru Drona found that Eklavya was practicing archery in front of his clay image.

Guru soon realized that his un…

Kallapiran Temple at Srivaikuntam in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu – First Nava Tirupati Temple Associated with Surya or Sun

Kallapiran Temple, also known as Sri Vaikuntanatha Swamy temple, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is located at Srivaikuntam in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the Nava Tirupati Temples and one among 108 Divya Desams. This is the first Nava Tirupathi Temple and is associated with Sun (Navagraha Surya). Srivaikuntam Kallapiran Temple is around 40 km from Thoothukudi.

There is no separate Navgraha Murti in the temple. The main deity represents the Navgraha.

The main murti of Vishnu worshipped in the temple faces east and is in standing posture with Adi Sesha forming a canopy over His head. Moolavar is known as Sri Vaikuntanatha Swamy. Urchavar is known as Sri Kallapiran.

Consorts of Vishnu worshipped here are Vaikuntanayaki and Chornathanayaki.

The sacred temple pond is known as Bhrigu Tirtha.

The shrine is noted for its carved pillars and sculptures of Yalis and animals. There is also a nine tier rajagopuram.

Sun rays Fall on the Murti in Chithirai

On the sixth day of Tamil Mont…

Mokshapuri in Hinduism

Mokshapuri in Hinduism is a sacred place that secures moksha or liberation to a devotee. Mokshapuri cities are Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya (Haridwar), Varanasi, Kanchi, Avantika and Dwaraka. It is believed that visit to each of the holy city will help a devotee to escape from the cycle of births and deaths.

Ayodhya is holy because it is the birthplace of Bhagavan Sri Ram.

Mathura is the birthplace of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Haridwar is the sacred place, which is associated with Ganga entering the plain. It is also the gateway to holy places in the Himalayas.

Varanasi is associated with Lord Shiva.

Kanchi or Kanchipuram is associated with both Shiva and Vishnu.

Avantika or Ujjain houses the famous Mahakala Temple.
Dwaraka is the place associated with Lord Krishna.

Nava Tirupathi Temples in Tamil Nadu

Nava Tirupathi is the combined name for nine temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu located on the banks of Thamiraparani River in Thoothukudi District. The nine temples lie on the main Tiruchendur – Tirunelveli roadand are within a radius of 12 kilometers. All the Nava Tirupati temples are Divya Desams (part the 108 temples of Vishnu). The nine temples are also associated with the nine planets or Navagrahas.

Nava Tirupathi Temples are: Kallappiran Temple at Srivaikuntam (40 KM from Thoothukudi) (Navagraha Surya or Sun)Vijayssana Perumal Temple at Natham (1km Srivaikundam) (Navgraha Chandra or Moon)Vaithamanidhi Perumal Temple at Thirukolur (8 KM Srivaikundam) (Navagraha Mars or Chevvai)Bhoomipalar Perumal Temple at Thirupulingudi (2 KM Srivaikundam) (Navagraha Mercury or Budha)Athinatha Alwar Temple, Thiruchendur (5 KM Srivaikundam) (Navagraha Guru or Jupiter)Makara Nedunkuzhai Kadhar Perumal Temple at Thenthirupperai (12 KM Srivaikundam) (Navagraha Shukra or Venus)Sri Mayakoothan Permual …

Neither happiness nor unhappiness can last forever – Vanamali

Boundless joy can never be got from a changing world.

All material pleasures have to end at some time or other because duality is the nature of the world. Neither happiness nor unhappiness can last forever.

We are always hankering for joy which lasts forever, not realizing that by the very nature of the world this is totally impossible.

The stage on which we are playing the drama of our life is the atman which is pure existence, pure consciousness and bliss. The only way to recapture the original state of bliss is to renew our relationship with that universal consciousness or Brahman which exists in us as the atman. This is Self Realizaiton – when we recognize the real ‘I.’ This realization alone can give us boundless joy. – Mataji Vanamali

Markandeshwar Mahadev in Ujjain – Story of Markandeshwar Form of Shiva – 36th Shiva Temple in Ujjain

Markandeshwar Mahadev is worshiped in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the 84 forms of Shiva worshiped in Ujjain. It is believed that those worshipping Markandeshwar form of Shiva will get healthy and intelligent children.

The temple dedicated to Markandeshwar Mahadev is located behind the Ram Janardan temple complex.

This form of Shiva is associated with Rishi Markandeya and devotee Mukand.

Markandeshwar Mahadev is counted among the 84 Shiva Temples in Ujjain and it is the 36th temple visited during the parikarama of Shiavalayas here.

Story of Markandeshwar Mahadev form of Shiva in Ujjain Mukand was an ardent devotee of Shiva. But he did not have any children. To overcome this, he performed intense austerities in the Himalayas. Pleased with his devotion, Shiva asked him to offer prayers to a Shivling located north of Pattaneshwar in Mahakaal Van (present day Ujjain).

Mukand went to Ujjain and performed austerities at the Shivling. Shiva and Parvati appeared from the Shivling a…

Bhuta Shuddhi in Tantric Worship

Bhuta Shuddhi is an important part of tantric worship and is performed before the worship of a deity in Tantrism. The human body is made of five bhutas or elements – earth, water, fire, air and vaccum or ether.

By purifying the five bhutas a tantric aspirant transforms his body into a divine form. The aspirant does this ritual so that the body can be fit to be an abode of the deity.

Primarily the body is cleansed so that it can be fit for the deity to enter it and reside in it.

Bhuta Shuddhi is attained by smearing body with ash, sprinkling it with water, reciting mantras and through breath control or pranayama.
It is one among the eight external steps in Tantra. It is known as Bahya Upasana.

Tree of Ego Only Produces Fruits of Destruction

When we realize and understand our ego it marks the beginning of our spiritual progress.

The tree of ego only produces fruits of destruction. So never water it. Remove it at the earliest.

To enjoy coconut, we need to first remove the tough outer layer and then break open the hard shell. Do not shy away from difficulties. All good things are hidden deep inside.

We often only see thorns not the beautiful rose flower. It is true there are thorns everywhere but in between there are beautiful flowers too. Focus on the flowers and try to reach our destination.
Attachment is like epiphytic plants that grow on trees. They will soon drain out the tree and will destroy it or make it appear ugly and deformed. Similarly, attachment will destroy us.


Our True Nature Is Bliss

If we think, others care if we are miserable then it is a wrong notion. Forget others and try to be happy.

If we are depressed, isolated, miserable, bored and lonely, it simply means that the key to our life and happiness is with someone else. So, only that outside force can make us happy. We are a slave of that outside force. What kind of life is it? Take control of our lives. Happiness reside inside not outside.

Instead of trying to find happiness, we should focus our energy in removing the veil of ignorance inside us.

Ignorance is made up of expectation, attachment, anger, desire, ego and false identification of things.
Our true nature is bliss. But it is ignorance that is stopping us from realizing it. We are happiness. All misery and unhappiness is the result of ignorance. So focus removing the veil of ignorance and discover happiness within.


Sankashti Chaturthi July 2017 date – Ganesh Sankatahara Chaturti Monthly Fasting in July 2017

Sankashti Chaturthi, or Ganesh Sankatahara Chaturti, is a monthly fasting dedicated to Hindu God Ganesh. Sankashti Chaturthi July 2017 date is July 12, Wednesday and the Chandrodaya or Moon rise time is 9:37 PM. Ganesha devotees observe Sankashta Chaturti day from sunrise till the sighting of the moon. The day falls on the fourth day during the waning phase of moon or Krishna Paksha in a Hindu lunar month. The day is known as Sankatahara Chaturthi in South India.

The importance and the holiness of Sankashta Chaturthi Vrata was explained by Lord Krishna to Yudhishtira, the eldest of the Pandavas. It is also found in the Narasimha Purana and Bhavishaya Purana.

Observing Ganesh Sankashta Chaturthi is said to bring wealth, peace, happiness and fulfillment of desires.

Fasting is observed by Ganesh devotees on the day. The fast begins at sunrise and ends after evening puja or after sighting of the moon. Lord Ganesha Temples conduct special pujas on the day.

Related How to observe Sankashti …

Goddess Binikei – Information about Maa Binikia

Goddess Binikei, also referred as Maa Binikia, is a manifestation of Mother Goddess and is worshipped mainly in Odisha. She is also a tantric deity. The main temple dedicated to the Goddess is located at Binikei in Angul District in Orissa and is known as Binikei Pitha.

Goddess Binikei is fierce goddess. She is seen as standing on a man. She also holds the body of another man. Thus the murti symbolizes destruction of evil and protection of devotees.

She removes darkness caused by people practicing Adharma. She upholds righteousness by protecting those who practice Dharma.
She is worshipped for peace, prosperity, protection, healthy children, early cure of diseases and for victory over enemies.

Why is Full-Grown Banana Erected at the Entrance of the Venue of Hindu Marriage?

In a Hindu wedding, especially in South India, at the entrance of the marriage venue a full-grown banana with their peduncles (stalk bearing banana fruit and flower) is erected. Ever wondered why it is erected? It is erected because Banana plant symbolizes female beauty, fertility and prosperity.

A single banana plant produces dozens of young ones. Thus, the plant symbolically represents fertility and prosperity.
Banana is also considered highly auspicious, as it is one fruit that is offered to all Hindu deities on all days.

To Realize One’s Self in the All-Pervading God is the Essence of Goodness - Rabindranath Tagore

To be truly united in knowledge, love and service with all beings, and to realize one’s self in the all-pervading God is the essence of goodness.

When a man’s life rescued from distractions find unity in the soul, then the consciousness of the infinite becomes at once direct and natural to it as the light is to the flame. All the conflicts and contradictions of life are reconciled; knowledge, love and action harmonize; pleasure and pain become one in beauty,… it is only the soul, the one in man which by its very nature can overcome all limits, and finds its affinity with the Supreme One.

Evil cannot altogether arrest the course of life…for evil has to pass on, it has to grow into good; it cannot stand to give battle to All.
It is through the heightening of our consciousness into love and extending it all over the world, that we can attain Brahma-vihara, communion with this infinite joy.
- Rabindranath Tagore

Sundararaja Perumal – About God Soundararaja Perumal

Sundararaja Perumal is a form of Lord Vishnu and is worshipped in Vaishnava Temples in Tamil Nadu. As Soundararaja Perumal, Lord Vishnu is the handsome groom. Usually in this form, he marries Goddess Lakshmi, Bhudevi, Sridevi, or Andal.

Perumal simply means ‘god’. Sundaraja means the most handsome.
The divine beauty of Vishnu in this form is beyond comparison.

In Sundararaja Perumal temples, the most important festival is the wedding of Lord Vishnu with his consort.
The murti of Sundararaja Perumal is usually four armed. He is kind and benevolent. Two hands will be blessing posture. The other two hands usually hold conch, lotus or chakra.

Hutashana Yog in Hindu Astrology - Hutashani Tithi

Hutashana Yog in Hindu astrology is considered bad. Auspicious activities are avoided in this yog. The yoga is the result of a combination of certain days and tithi.

Following are the Hutasahan Yog Tithis

Monday – Sashti (sixth day of fortnight) Tuesday – Saptami (seventh day of a fortnight) Wednesday – Ashtami (eighth day of a fortnight) Thursday – Navami (ninth day of a fortnight) Friday – Dasami (tenth day of a fortnight) Saturday – Ekadasi (ninth day of a fortnight) Sunday – Dwadashi (12th day of fortnight)

All forms of travels should be discarded when Hutashana Yog is present.

Silence creates an inner sweetness – Swami Sukhabodhananda

Worry is absence of silence. Worry is like a rocking chair that keeps you busy and leads you nowhere.

If one learns the art of being in peace with ‘what is,’ then one experiences silence.

One of the greatest paradoxes of life is happiness is within but we never delve ‘within’ and continue to be beggars of happiness.
Existence unfolds the truth that joy is within and without effort, it exists.
 – Swami Sukhabodhananda

Rohini Nakshatra – Information – Importance of Rohini Birth Star

Rohini Nakshatra is the fourth birth star in Hindu astrology. The importance of birth star stems from the fact that Sri Krishna was born under this star in the month of Shravan.

The star has a longitude of 40 degrees and 01 seconds to 53 degrees and 20 seconds and it has the shape of a car. The nakshatra is entirely in Vrishabha Rashi.

The presiding deity of Rohini Nakshatram is Brahma. The ruling planet of the birth star is moon. A person born under this star will begin his life with a moon period.

Rohini is known as upward looking star and is considered good for planting. Rohini is auspicious for naming, commencement of learning, thread ceremony, marriage and other auspicious functions.

Rohini Nakshatra is considered not good for entering a house for dwelling purpose.

Generally, a person born under this star will be handsome, capable, rich, clever and religious. The person might suffer from eye diseases.

There is also a belief among some communities that this star is not good for …

Jhoola Mahotsav in Mathura and Vrindavan

Jhoola Mahotsav is a 13-day long festival observed from Shravan Shukla Paksha Tritiya to Purnima in Mathura, Vrindavan and the entire Braj Mandal. The festival is also of great importance at the famous Dwarkadheesh Temple in Mathura.

During Jhoola Mahotsav the murtis of Radha and Krishna are swing on a palna made of gold and silver.

The ritual is performed in temples, mutts and sacred places associated with Lord Krishna in the Brajmandal.

Melodious songs are sung during the occasion.
Various types of Prasad are made and distributed among devotees.

Story of Rukmi in the Mahabharata

Story of Rukmi is found in the Mahabharata. Rukmi was the son of Bhishmaka, King of Vidarbha, and brother of Rukmini (wife of Krishna). He performed intense austerities and attained Brahmastra (powerful arrow) from Parashurama and other Divyastras from Sage Druma. However, Rukmi was rude and arrogant and even his father could not control him.

Rukmi wanted Rukmini to marry Shishupala, king of Chedi. But Rukmini was in love with Krishna. Sri Krishna carried her away from temple on the day of her marriage.

Rukmi and his army chased Krishna but were defeated.

Feeling utterly humiliated, Rukmi did not return to Kundinapura, the capital of Vidarbha. He founded a new township named Bhojakata and it later became the capital of Vidarbha.

Rukmi then did intense penance and pleased Shiva who blessed him with Mahendra weapon. With this weapon, he expanded his kingdom.

His relationship with Sri Krishna became cordial in later years. Subhagi, daughter of Rukmi, married Pradyumna, son of Sri Krishn…

Hemakuta Temple – Group Temples on Hemakuta Hill in Hampi

Hemakuta Hill at Hampi consists of some of the earliest temples built by the Vijayanagara rulers. The hill is dotted with many smaller temples. The shrines do not exhibit any great architectural features.

All the temples at Hemakuta hill have three peaks, three vestibules a common navaranga mandapa and an entrance porch.

The temples are built of granite. A band of floral designs are found in the temple. Navaranga has devakosas (niches for gods), which are now empty but once contained images of gods and goddesses which were destroyed by Muslim invaders.
The sanctums of the temple are too empty.

The most striking aspect of the temples are its shikhara, which belongs to Kadamba-Nagara style with stepped pyramidal variety.
Majority of the temple in Hemakuta hills belongs to Hindu God Shiva. There are many rock-cut lingas. There are also shrines dedicated to Prasanna Virupaksha and Prasanna Anjaneya.

Shiveshwar Mahadev in Ujjain – Story of Shiveshwar Form of Shiva – 37th Shiva Temple in Ujjain

Shiveshwar Mahadev is worshiped in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the 84 forms of Shiva worshiped in Ujjain. It is believed that those worshipping Shiveshwar form of Shiva will help in getting redemption and attaining moksha.

The temple dedicated to Shiveshwar Mahadev is located in the Ram Janardan temple complex. This form of Shiva is associated with King Ripujaya.

Shiveshwar Mahadev is counted among the 84 Shiva Temples in Ujjain and it is the 37th temple visited during the parikarama of Shiavalayas here.

Story of Shiveshwar Mahadev form of Shiva in Ujjain

There once lived a good king named Ripujaya. He was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. But he neglected Shiva. One day Shiva asked a Gana to go to Ujjain and perform prayers to a Shivling there.

The Gana there went in the form of a priest and started worshipping the Shivling. People began going to the priest as they god their problems solved. Childless couples were blessed with children, desires were fulfilled and diseases were …

Baba Kapileshwar Mandir at Pandra Village near Nirsa in Dhanbad, Jharkhand – Nirsa Shiva Temple

Baba Kapileshwar Mandir is an ancient temple dedicated to Shiva at Pandra Village near Nirsa in Dhanbad, Jharkhand. The temple is around 30 km from Dhanbad. It is believed that Pandavas visit the place during their exile period in the Mahabharata.

The popular belief is that Yudhishtira, the eldest of the Pandavas, installed the Shivling worshipped in the shrine.

Other murtis in the temple include that of Goddess Parvati, Baba Baneshwar, Baba Bhuvaneshwar, Tarkeshwar and Manikeshwar.

It is believed that the various murtis worshiped in the temple were installed by Kunti, Draupadi and the Pandavas.

The most important festival at Baba Kapileshwar Mandir is Shivratri. On the day, Bharat, or wedding procession, of Shiva goes nearby Kalinger Temple dedicated to Goddess Durga.
For wish fulfillment, devotees observe complete fasting and end it only when they sense approval of the deity.

Kabir plays in the open spaces that have no boundaries – Sant Kabir

Serve the Lord with attributes; contemplate the Lord without attributes. Our goal is to reach the State beyond attributes and no attributes.

Infidels are those who kill the innocent and steal.

Diamonds are not found in heaps. The fragrant sandalwood trees do not grow in rows. Lions do not move in herds. The spiritual man has no followers.

The life where there are no stirrings of love is comparable to a cremation ground. Just as the bellows of a blacksmith have a process of breathing in and breathing out, but with no vitality.
Everyone has gone upto their limits and boundaries no one has crossed over the frontiers. Kabir plays in the open spaces that have no boundaries.
– Sant Kabir

What Happens After Death in Hinduism?

There is no death in Hinduism. This is because all animate and inanimate is Supreme Truth (God). It is neither born nor does it die. There is only transformation of the body.

Look at waves, each wave gets a form for few seconds and then again merges with the ocean. The ocean and the wave are one. Similarly, God and living being are one. Waves keeps forming and merging in ocean. Living beings are born and merge in the Supreme Truth.

When we realize that we are a wave in the large ocean, all fear will disappear.

Move through the world detached. Forget results, work without fear.
And when the moment comes, drop everything, loosen and merge in the Ocean.


Pradosh Vrat July 2017 Dates – Shiva Pradosha Fasting Dates in July 2017

Pradosh Vrat is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is observed on the 13th day of a lunar fortnight in a traditional Hindu calendar. In July 2017, Pradosh Vrat dates are July 6 and July 31. The fasting on the day begins at sunrise and ends at the Pradosha or twilight period.

The Pradosh Vrat Falling on July 13 is Som Pradosh - highly auspicious as it is on Monday, the day dedicated to Shiva.

Some Shiva devotees only fast during the Pradosh falling during the waning phase of moon.

The strictness of the fast depends on the devotee. The fast is broken in the evening after prayers. The puja and worship is done in the evening.

The Pradosh period is in the evening from 1.5 hours before sunset and 1 hour after sunset. Most devotees make it a point to be present at a Shiva temple during this period.

You may also like to read Importance of Pradosh How to Observe Pradosha Vrata?

Fear and Faith

If our faith is based on fear; then we are always looking for miracles in life. For miracles to happen there should be an external force (God). So God is ultimately based on fear.

Fear of failure, fear of diseases, fear of death, fear of accidents… there is no end to fears. Each time we have a fear we pray to God to overcome it.

This understanding of the God is not correct.

Fear is the result of ignorance. The right method to overcome it is through knowledge.

Fear of darkness should be overcome through the light of knowledge.

The right knowledge is understanding that all fears arise from the thought of another. But there is no another. There is only One. All attachments and desires are the result of ignorance.
The day we realize there is only Supreme Truth we will understand that faith is not based on fear.

Story of Apsara Rambha and Ravana

Rambha is one of the most beautiful divine apsaras (damsels) in the court of Indra. There are numerous stories associated with Apsara Rambha. As per a story in the Ramayana, Rambha was the reason for a curse on Ravana due to which he could not touch Mata Sita.

Rambha was betrothed to Nalakubera, son of Vaishravana (Kuber). Vaishravana was the brother of demon king Ravana.

One day Rambha was on her way to meet Nalakubera.

Ravana happened to see her and tried to lure her into satisfying his lust.

She told him that she was going to Nalakubera, who was son of his brother and this made her his daughter-in-law.

Ravana was not ready to listen to Rambha and forcefully violated her.

A dishonored, Rambha went to Nalakubera and told him about Ravana violating her.
Nalakubera cursed Ravana that he would die if he sought to violate the chastity of another woman against her will.

Shukra Niti – About Sukraniti Text

Shukra Niti is a text credited to Shukracharya. It is basically a text on morals. Sukraniti also provides lot of information on ancient Hindu culture, sociology and political science.

It is an abridged form of several earlier nitishastras. There is no single opinion regarding the date of composition or origin of the text.

The entire treatise consists of five chapters and it has 2,567 verses.

The first chapter deals with duties and functions of princes.
The second chapter deals with duties of crown prince and other officials. The third chapter narrates the general rules of morality to be observed by kings and his men. The fourth chapter is the longest one and it has several subsections and deals with majority of the aspects of a kingdom. The fifth chapter is miscellaneous in nature.

The non-political part of the book deals with architecture, sculpture, painting, manners and morals, arts, literature and economics.

Supreme Truth cannot be defined in words – Bhagavad Gita Chapter II

Know that all-pervading self is eternally existent. Nobody can destroy it. But the body through which this eternal, indestructible, spirit express is perishable. So why don’t you fight? One who thinks that the Spirit kills or that the Spirit is killed is a fool.

The spirit does not kill, nor can it ever be killed. It knows neither birth nor death. It cannot come to exist or cease to exist.

It is unborn, eternal, changeless and ancient. It is not slain when the body is slain. When one knows the self to be indestructible, eternal and changeless, tell me, Arjuna, who kills whom?
Just as we discard old clothes and put on new ones, the embodies casts off its useless body taking a new one. Weapons do not injure the Self. Fire does not burn It. Water does not drench it. Wind does not dry it. Thus the self cannot be affected by anything. It, at all times, remains as ever-lasting, all pervading, stable, immovable and ancient. It cannot be perceived by the naked eye. It cannot be defined in wo…

Abar Mata – Information About Hindu Goddess Ma Abar

Goddess Abar Mata, also referred as Ma Abar, is a manifestation of Mother Goddess and is worshipped mainly in certain parts of Madhya Pradesh. She is a village deity. The main temples dedicated to the Goddess are located in Chhatarpur and neighboring districts in Madhya pradesh.

Goddess Abar Mata is a fierce form of Goddess Shakti. The murti of Goddess has four or eight arms. She depicts the characteristics of Durga, Kali and Chamunda. She rides on her vehicle which is a tiger or lion.

She is worshipped for peace, prosperity, protection, good agriculture, healthy children, early cure of diseases and for victory over enemies.
Abar Mata removes darkness caused by Adharma. She upholds righteousness by protecting those who practice Dharma.

Aswathy Nakshatra in Tamil

Aswathy is the first birth star among 27 Nakshatram in Hindu Jyothisha or astrology. In Tamil  Jyothisham, Aswathy occurs is Mesha Rashi.

Aswathy Nakshatra is known as Ashwini in Tamil.

The term Aswathy or Ashwathy is used in Malayalm. In most regions, the Nakshatra is known as Ashwini. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the Nakshatra is also known as Ashwini.

Aswathy Nakshatra Tree – Which is the tree associated with Ashwathy birth star Born People in Malayalam?

There are trees associated with each 27 nakshatrams or birth stars. Aswathy Nakshatra also has a particular tree dedicated to it. People born on each nakshatra should worship the particular tree. The tree associated and worshipped by Ashwathy Nakshatra Born People is strychnine tree or snake wood. In Malayalam it is known as Chamram or Kanjiram.

Strychnine tree is the English name and the scientific name is strychnos nux-vomica.

The Hindi name of the Aswathy Nakshatra Tree is Kuchala The Telugu name is Mushidi The Malayalam name is Chamram or Kanjiram Tamil Name is Etti or Kagodi Kannada name is Hemmushti or Ittangi In Marathi it is known as Kajra. Bengali name is Kuchila 
Aswathy Nakshatra born people should plant the Strychnine tree. Water it. They should also protect the tree.

Gopal Mandir in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh – About Ujjain Gopal Temple

Gopal Mandir is located in the middle of the big market square in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. Bayajibai Shinde, the queen of Maharajah Daulat Rao Shinde, constructed the Gopal Temple in 1833 AD. The shrine is dedicated to the Gopal Krishna form of Hindu God Krishna.

The main murti of Bhagavan Sri Krishna in the sanctum sanctorum is two feet tall and is made out of silver.  The garbha griha, or sanctum sanctorum, is inlaid with marble. Consorts of Sri Krishna are worshipped here.
Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Garuda are also worshipped in the temple complex. There is also a murti of Maharani Baija Bai in the mandir.

Gopal Mandir is a beautiful example of Maratha architecture. Surrounded by high walls, the shrine has a lofty and ornate gateway with bangaldar roof.
The silver-plated doors of the inner sanctum of Gopal Temple originally belonged to Somnath Temple in Gujarat. Mahmud of Ghazni vandalized and looted Somnath Mandir in 1026 AD and took the silver doors to Afghanistan. Afghan inva…

How Jackfruit Came to Have Spikes? Story from Mahabharata

An interesting story as to how jackfruits came to have spikes is found in the Mahabharata. The folktale begins with Bhima pretending to have fever. He requested Draupadi to massage his legs.

Bhima then took large jackfruits and covered it with clothes.

Draupadi massaged the jackfruits thinking it to be the firm limbs of Bhima.

When Draupadi saw the other Pandavas laughing, she removed the clothes and discovered the jackfruits.
An embarrassed Draupadi in anger cursed the jackfruits to have spikes. Thus, jackfruits were no longer smooth.

Thakurani Yatra at Ganjam District in Orissa – Visit of Budhi Thakurani

Thakurani Yatra is annually held in Ganjam District in Orissa. It is the visit of Goddess Budhi Thakurani to Berhampur and Chatrapur. Thakurani Yatra is held once in two years at Berhampur. When the yatra is held at Berhampur it is not held at Chatrapur.
People from both the towns invite the Goddess worshipped in Buddhi Thakurani temple to their towns. She is the daughter of one of the important household in the town and her visit is marked by numerous rituals, fairs and festivals.
A temporary temple is raised to accommodate the Devi.
The visit lasts for a month. Chants of shlokas, mantras, conchs, beating of bells, firecrackers and dancing set the tone for the month long festivity.
Nowadays, the festival is famous for people adorning numerous costumes of characters from Hindu scriptures and other characters from day-to-day life.

Goddess Shubhoconi – Goddess of Auspicious Beginning in Eastern Parts of India

Shubosuconi means good beginnings. Goddess Shubhoconi is local deity worshipped in Bengal, parts of Assam, Orissa and Jharkhand. Puja of her brings good luck and prosperity. Women perform the rituals and puja associated with Goddess Shubhoconi.

Goddess is mainly worshipped when daughter returns to her maternal home for first time after marriage. It is also performed for the wellbeing of pregnant women.

The puja is offered to a metal pot with picture of duck drawn on its sides.

A popular story associated with the worship of Goddess Shubhoconi – involves a boy, his mother, a king and a duck.

It is said that the boy once stole a lame duck. The duck belonged to the king. The mother of the boy chided her son for stealing the duck.

Next day the king’s soldiers found about the robbery and imprisoned the son.

The mother did not know what to do. She fell unconscious and she had a dream. In the dream, an old woman told her to perform puja to Goddess Shubhoconi.

She woke up and did the puja as…

Love is a Ladder to the Supreme – Swami Sivananda

Free thyself from egoism and attachment.

Discipline thy minds and senses through detachment.

Identify not with the body, which is  illusory.

Have a balance of mind in pleasure and misery.

Service purifies the heart and the soul.

Service leads to Knowledge.
Love all, embrace all, be kind to all; ove unites, love elevates, love knows no fall, love leads, love purifies, love, begets love, love is a ladder to the Supreme; therefore do love.
– Swami Sivananda

Kusumeshwar Mahadev in Ujjain – Story of Kusumeshwar Form of Shiva – 38th Shiva Temple in Ujjain

Kusumeshwar Mahadev is worshiped in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the 84 forms of Shiva worshiped in Ujjain. It is believed that those worshipping Kusumeshwar form of Shiva will never be afflicted by sins.

The temple dedicated to Kusumeshwar Mahadev is located in the Ram Janardan temple complex. This form of Shiva is associated with Ganesha and Goddess Parvati.

Kusumeshwar Mahadev is counted among the 84 Shiva Temples in Ujjain and it is the 38th temple visited during the parikarama of Shiavalayas here.

Story of Kusumeshwar Mahadev form of Shiva in Ujjain

Story of Kusumeshwar Mahadev is associated with Ganesha playing with flowers. One day when Shiva and Goddess Parvati visited Ujjain, Ganesha started playing with the children there. All children started showering flowers on Ganesha. Ganesha then offered the flowers to a Shivling at Mahakaal Vana (present day Ujjain)
Pleased with this devotion, Shiva told Goddess Parvati that the Shivling made by Ganesha would be known as Kus…

Tambula in Hindu Rituals

Tambula is an auspicious item used in Hindu rituals. It is known as betel leaf or pan. Devotees offer it to Hindu gods and goddesses in temples, sacred places and in homes.

It is an important item while performing 16-step puja to various deities.

It symbolizes auspiciousness, prosperity and fertility.

In some regions, Tambula, along with betel nut and a coin are given to elders and there blessings are taken before auspicious functions like marriage etc.

In eastern parts of India, Tambula is used to welcome the groom and bride.
It is also used as a mouth freshener. It also helps in the digestion of food.

Desire is at the root of all actions, good or evil – Chinmayananda

Among men, it is he whose mind is ever fixed on Brahman; the best and noblest.

Anger is nothing but an attachment for an object, when express towards an obstacle between ourselves and the object of our attachment.

Wherever there is the concept of the ‘other,’ there is fear, restlessness, agitation, worry, anxiety, each following the other.

Desire is at the root of all actions, good or evil.
Act efficiently whenever you work. The results of action depend upon the very quality of action.
– Chinmayananda

Khalilagi Ekadasi in Orissa - The Ekadasi before Jagannath Rath Yatra

Khalilagi Ekadasi is observed on the 11th day during the waning phase of moon in the month of June/July. Khalilagi Ekadashi is observed mainly in Orissa and in Jagannath temples. It falls before Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra.  The corresponding Ekadasi fasting in other regions is known as Yogini Ekadashi. In 2018, the date of Khalilagi Ekadasi is July 9.
Sarbhanga neeti ritual which involves use of large amount of Sandalwood paste is performed on Khalilagi Ekadasi at Jagannath Temples. This is also an important ritual at PuriJagannathTemple.

The murtis of Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra will not be there in PuriJagannathTemple during Khalilagi Ekadashi as they will be recuperating after the Snan Purnima.

Symbolism in the Ritualistic Marriage of Peepal Tree and Neem Tree

In some regions, Hindus perform ritualistic marriage of peepal tree and neem tree. This form of worship is associated with fertility and there is a symbolism associated with it. It is a kind of prayer and ritual to the almighty.

Peepal tree is considered as male principle (ashwatta narayana) having multiple seeds for maximum propagation. The neem tree is always associated with Mother Goddess Shakti or female principle. This is because it has a single large egg like seed.
The ritual and prayer thus unites male principle with female principle. Thus it is a fertility rite performed for healthy children.

Four Legs of a Cow and Four Yugas – Decadence of Dharma

There is a very popular symbolism in Hinduism regarding the degradation of Dharma in the four yugas based on the four legs of a cow. At the beginning the Satya Yuga, the cow had four legs but by the end of the Satya Yuga the cow had only three legs.

By the end of the Treta Yuga, the cow lost another leg.

By the end of the Dwapara Yuga, the cow lost another leg.

By the end of the Kali Yuga, the cow will lose its last leg and there will be Pralaya or the great deluge that will annihilate all Adharma. It will prepare ground for next creation.

The cow losing leg symbolically shows decadence of Dharma. In Satya Yuga there is only Dharma, no one steals, there is no anger, no dishonesty, and not frustration. Everyone is content with what they have. But by the end of Satya Yuga there is change in the attitude of people.

This attitude goes down the line and now we are in Kaliyuga when Dharma is negligible. Adharma flourishes today.

Thus cow who is considered mother earth will lose its last …

Vishnu Represents Which among Five Elements in Panchayatana form of Worship

Panchayatana form of worship introduced by Adi Shankaracharya has assigned one element to one of the five deities in Hinduism. Vishnu is the embodiment of Aakasha Mahabhuta (ether or space). The five elements are ether/space, air, fire, water and earth. The five deities in Panchayatana form of worship are Vishnu, Mother Goddess, Ganesha, Surya and Shiva.

In this concept, the five deities are worshipped in the form of sacred stones found in five holy rivers.
Bhagavan Vishnu the embodiment of Aakasha Mahabhuta is worshipped with Saligrama found in the Gandaki River in Nepal.

Temple with ponds in the shape of Conch – Wheel – Mace – Lotus – attributes of Vishnu

Narahari Parvatha Sadashiva Temple, located atop Narahari Hill in Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka, is dedicated to Mahadeva Shiva but the temple also has four unique water bodies or small ponds. These small ponds are in the shape of Shanka (Conch), Chakra (Wheel), Gada (Mace) and Padma (Lotus). These are important attributes of Bhagavan Vishnu.

Taking holy dip in the four ponds in the temple is considered highly meritorious. There is rush of devotees for holy dip on Mondays in Kartik Month (November – December) as per traditional lunar calendar in Karnataka.

Legend has it Nara and Hari forms of Bhagavan Vishnu did penance on the hill.

Paran or Parana – Ceremonial Break of Fasting or Vrat in Hindu Religion

Paran or Parana is the act, or vidhi, of breaking a fast, or vrat, by eating or drinking in Hindu religion. It is performed after the completion of the fast. Paran is only allowed after the successful completion of the fasting.

Paran is performed after prayers are offered to Ganesha and the deity to whom the fast was dedicated. Some people break the fast by just drinking after.
Some offer fruits or sweet as Prasad to the deity and it is then consumed to break the fast.

Popular Hindu Symbols

The universally accepted symbol of Hinduism is Om or Aum. This highly revered symbol is not just a mere visible symbol that represents Hindu religion. Om is the primordial sound and comprises of three independent sounds A, U, M. The sound ‘A’ represents the beginning (Adimatwa), ‘U’ represents progress (Utkarsha) and ‘M’ represents limit or dissolution (Miti). In nutshell, OM represents the Supreme Power responsible for creation, development and dissolution.

Ramtirth Mandir at Jagannathpur in Chaibasa

Ramtirth Mandir is located on the banks of Baitrani River at Jagannathpur, around 65 km from Chaibasa in Jharkhand. The temple is spread over 3 acres of land and is on the outskirts of Jagannathpur Village in Deogan Block. Rameerth Mandir is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Legend has it that Bhagavan Sri Ram visited the place during his exile period in the Ramayana. The Shivling worshipped in the temple is believed to have been installed by Bhagavan Sri Ram.

The Shivling worshipped in the main temple is very old. Murtis of Ganesha, Goddess Parvati and Nandi is nearby.

On the opposite side of the main mandir, there are murtis of Sri Ram, Mata Sita and Lakshman.

Other murtis worshipped in the temple are that of Radha Krishna, Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra.

From one of the banks of Baitrani River, one has to climb around 100 steps to reach the temple. The most important festival observed here are Shivratri, Ram Navami and Jagannath Yatra. The Shravan month attracts thousands of devotees.

Swami Bhaskarananda – Wise Words

According to Vedanta, love of God is identical with love of the Ultimate Truth. In the scriptures of Vedanta, God has been mentioned as Satyasya Satyam—the Truth of all truths.

Bhagavad Gita, the famous scripture of Hinduism, tells us how the emotion expressed as love of sense objects, if obstructed, can successively become transformed into anger, delusion and confused thinking, thus causing great harm to the individual’s mind.

According to Sri Ramakrishna, the emotion or thought of lustfulness cannot be suppressed, repressed, or annihilated with the thought of hatred toward the opposite sex. We have to learn the art of transforming lustfulness into love of God.

According to the ancient teachings of Vedanta, Divinity is equally present everywhere, but it is not equally manifest in all places. Manifesting our inherent Divinity in the fullest measure is called experiencing God. The only way to transcend suffering in this world is to experience this Divinity. And Divinity can be experi…

Kripi in the Mahabharata - Story of the Wife of Dronacharya

In the Mahabharata, Kripi is the wife of Drona and sister of Kripa or Kripacharya. Story of the birth of Kripi is found in the Agni Purana. She was the daughter of Rishi Sharadvan and celestial nymph Janapadi. Although Sharadvan was born in the lineage of saints, he was more interested in Dhanurveda (science of archery). To show his deep interest some scriptures states that he was born with bow and arrow.

An expert archer from a young age, Sharadvan did intense penance in the forest to learn all the nuisances of archery. Keeping his bow and arrow nearby he performed Tapas to get blessings from the Trimurtis.

As the intensity of the penance of Sharadvan increased, Indra, King of Devas, felt threatened. He saw Sharadvan as a potential threat to his throne and status.

To break the penance, Indra deputed celestial nymph Janapadi. She enticed Sharadvan in numerous ways but found on success. Finally she succeeded but just for a moment – Sharadvan lost his senses for a moment but he immedia…

Amaralingeswara Swamy Temple at Amaravati in Guntur District – Amareswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh

Amaralingeswara Swamy Temple, is one of the Pancharama Kshetras, and is located at Amaravati in Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh. Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Amareswara. The temple is located around 20 km northwest of Guntur at the sacred spot of Amararama in Amaravati.

The white Shivling worshipped in the temple is 15 feet high. There is a red stain atop the Shivling. Legend has it that a nail was inserted to stop the Shivling from growing. The red color is blood. Even today one can see red color stains on the Shivling.

Mother Goddess Shakti is worshipped here as Bala Chandika.

Located on the banks of Krishna River, the architecture of the temple is typical Dravidian style. There are four gopurams or South Indian style temple towers. The temple is believed to have been built during the 10th century AD. It underwent renovation in the 14th and 17th centuries.

Saptarishis is believed to have worshipped the Shivling.

Temple timings 6 AM to 1 PM and 4 PM to 8 PM.

Mahadev Bibaha Panchami 2019 date in Orissa

Mahadev Shiva Bibaha Panchami, also known as Shiva Vivah Panchami, is the divine wedding of Shiva and Goddess Parvati and is observed during the Shitala Sasthi festival in Orissa, especially in Sambalpur. In 2019, the date of Mahadev Vivaha Panchami is June 7.

Legend has it that Lord Shiva after the death of Goddess Sati started leading the life of an ascetic and lost interest in worldly life. Finally, the intense austerities performed by Goddess Parvati changed the mind of Shiva and he became a family man. Mahadev Vivaha Panchami celebrates the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
On the Mahadev Vivaha Panchami day, Lord Shiva, the bridegroom, arrives for the marriage ceremony to the house of Goddess Parvati along with other gods and goddesses in Hindu pantheon.
Lord Hanuman and Narasimha lead the divine procession. All the rituals that are part of normal marriage ceremony in Orissa are followed for the divine wedding.
The divine wedding is held on the fifth day during the waxin…

What does Kali mean in Goddess Kali? - Meaning of Kali

Talk about Goddess Kali and we have a form of fierce women coming in our mind. But what does Kali mean? The meaning of Kali explains the entire concept of worship of this fierce goddess. Kali means one who has transcended even kala, or time.

It is impossible for human mind to understand the Supreme Truth. Goddess Kali is an attempt to understand the Supreme Truth through a ferocious form.

Related Goddess Kali Story Symbolism of Darkness associated with Goddess Kali Sri Ramakrishna on Goddess Kali Red Shoe Flower and Goddess Kali

Palakollu Shiva Temple – Ksheera Ramalingeswara Swamy Temple in Andhra Pradesh

Ksheera Ramalingeswara Swamy Temple, is one of the Pancharama Kshetras, and is located at Palakollu in West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh. Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Ksheerarama. The shrine is located around 24 km west of Bhimavaram and 100 km east of Kakinada.

The name ‘Ksheera Ramalingeswara Swamy’ because it is believed that the Shivling was discovered by Bhagavan Sri Ram. ‘Ksheera’ because the Shivling is white in color. There is another legend has it that Shiva blessed a saint and made the milky white ocean appear in the pond here.

The Shivling worshipped in the temple is white in color. Consort of Shiva here is Goddess Parvati. Nandi is as usual found infront of the sanctum sanctorum. One can have darshan of the Shivling from four sides.

Palakollu Shiva Temple Gopuram
The temple gopuram of tower is the tallest in Andhra Pradesh. It is believed to have been built during the 10th century AD. The gopuram is 120 feet high and has nine storeys.

The mandapa in the temple has…

Akrureshwar Mahadev in Ujjain – Story of Akrureshwar Form of Shiva – 39th Shiva Temple in Ujjain

Akrureshwar Mahadev is worshiped in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the 84 forms of Shiva worshiped in Ujjain. It is believed that worshipping Akrureshwar form of Shiva will help in attaining Shivalok.

The temple dedicated to Akrureshwar Mahadev is located in the Ram Janardan temple complex. This form of Shiva is associated with Akrur Shiva Gana.

Akrureshwar Mahadev is counted among the 84 Shiva Temples in Ujjain and it is the 39th temple visited during the parikarama of Shiavalayas here.

Story of Akrureshwar Mahadev form of Shiva in Ujjain Akrur was a Shiva Gana but he never worshipped Goddess Parvati. He constantly meditated on Shiva. Goddess Parvati tried to make him understand that it she who nourishes all beings. But Arkur was not ready to listen to her.

One day, an angry Goddess Parvati cursed him to be born on earth. Akrur immediately fell from the Kailash.

On earth, he performed intense austerities. Shiva then appeared before him and asked him to offer prayers to Godde…

Bhimavaram Someswara Swamy Temple – Gunupudi Bhimavaram Shiva Temple

Bhimavaram Someswara Swamy Temple, is one of the Pancharama Kshetras, and is located at Gunupudi Village in Bhimavaram, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh. Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Someswara. The shrine is at walking distance from Bhimavaram Junction Railway Station. Bhimavaram is located around 105 km east of Vijayawada. The shrine is around 140 km west of Kakinada.

Unique Shivling at Gunupudi Someswara Swamy Temple The unique aspect of the Shivling worshipped in the temple is that it changes color depending on the size of the moon. On Purnima or full moon days, the Shivling is white in form. The Shivling brightens. On Amavasya or no moon day it turns into black in form. The Shivling brightens during the waxing phase of moon and darkens during the waning phase of moon.

Goddess Murti atop Shivling Goddess Annapurneshwari is worshipped in the sanctum sanctorum and she is the divine consort of Shiva in the shrine. But the interesting aspect is that murti of Goddess Annapurna …

Uma Chaturti in Bengal and Odisha - Uma Chaturthi Vrat 2019

Uma Chaturthi is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, who is also known as Uma. Uma Chaturti 2019 date is June 7. It is observed on the fourth day during the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) of Jyeshta month. The rituals associated with this Chaturthi are more popular in eastern parts of India especially in Orissa, Jharkhand and Bengal.

Uma Chaturti is based on the tough austerities undertaken by Goddess Parvati to get Lord Shiva as her husband. It must be remembered that Shiva had forsaken the world after Sati’s death. Goddess Sati appeared again as Parvati but Shiva did not show any interest in marrying her and led a life of ascetic. Parvati then performed severe austerities to get Shiva as husband.

Women perform the rituals for the welfare of the family and for a happy and peaceful life.

The ritual is quite similar to the famous Hartalika Vrat observed in North India.