Friday, October 31, 2014



Ravana was greater scholar than Rama. He was the master of 64 categories of knowledge. He had also the knowledge about the training of cows and elephants. Despite all these accomplishments, Ravana was described by Valmiki is a fool (Moorkha). Rama was described as the very image of righteousness. Despite all his knowledge, Ravana failed to keep his senses under control. Because he let his senses have a free play, he became a fool. Anyone who misuses his senses is a fool, whatever be the extent of his knowledge.
There was no limit to Ravana’s riches. Kubera (the God of wealth) was his cousin. His fort and city was paved with gold What was the use of all riches and affluence? He had no character. Ultimately, he lost everything.
We know that there was not an individual who had access to property and wealth more than Ravana had. He also had all the position which one could command. He had all the authority that one could have. In spite of that Ravana was subjected to great difficulties towards the end and he lost his life in battle. We should compare this with Rama who intentionally and willingly gave up all his property, his kingdom and went to the forest for fourteen years. Ultimately, he was given the honour of having maintained Dharma in this country. From this difference between Rama and Ravana who had all the property, position, and authority, we should conclude that one cannot attach any importance to material wealth. We can only attach importance to the character and to the pursuit of right conduct.
Ravana was a great scholar and master of many arts. Ravana looked at Sita with a bad vision. The eye is a sacred organ. Good vision generates good thoughts. In Ravana, the bad look created bad thoughts, which led to his downfall.
Ravana knew all Dharma, but without putting into practice what is the use of having known them simply through the texts? Ravana had expertise in all the branches of learning. He also knew very thoroughly the four vedas. He was fully aware of the contents of the six Shastras. His knowledge of the six shastras and his knowledge of the four vedas (together ten) is the inner meaning of the belief that Ravana had ten heads. It is a symbolic way of saying that he was an expert in all the ten branches of knowledge. Ignoring this inner meaning we simply keep on saying that Ravana had ten heads, in the ordinary daily parlance, we have to ask how he is going to sleep with those ten heads? How does he go to do his daily duties with those ten heads? This is the short of making things appear ridiculous. The writers and the historians may simply have described him as a person having ten heads, but the inner meaning of such a description is that Ravana was having such knowledge and deep wisdom. He with all those strengths and knowledge, was not minding the people’s security and people’s happiness. To him his own enjoyment, his own safety, his own pleasure were all that mattered. We should note here that in spite of all his great and good qualities, he was behaving in a bad manner. Towards the end of his life, he realised that what he did all was sin and the paths he adopted were bad paths, and that whatever Vibhishana had told him was right and that he could not follow the advice given to him by his wife Mandodari also.
Ravana had fallen from the yogic heights he had reached in his previous lives because of his bad qualities, he was roaming about as Rakshasa (demon), really speaking he was a great devotee of God. He was aware deep within his consciousness of the universal absolute named Narayana. He was aware of the fact that Rama was Narayana himself come in human form in order to confer joy and peace on the Godly and in order to destroy all traces of demonic wickedness an earth. However, since there was no other route for Ravana to reach Narayana, he had to cultivate wanton wickedness, violence and hatred, and invite Rama to kill him. Of course, this might be called a type of devotion that is stupid and infamous. But his inner aim was to cross the ocean of birth and death, through that act of self abnegation and surrender to Narayana.
Ravana was suffering not only from ego, but he had also other bad qualities like jealousy, anger, lust and also power based on a wealth. Ravana was born to parents by name Visrawasa and Kaikasi. He had two brothers with names Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana. From his childhood Ravana was a great devotee and was also habituated to perform tapas. By continuous penance, he earned the Grace of Iswara and secured boons from him.
On one occasion when he was engaged in deep penance, Brahma appeared before him and asked Ravana what boon he wanted. Then Ravana asked Brahma to grant him a boon by which he will not be killed by any being or animal other than a human being. At that time, there lived a rakshasa by name Maya. He had beautiful city for himself. That city was more beautiful than the city of Indra. The daughter of Maya was Mandodari. Ravana married Mandodari. She had many good qualities like, chastity, shanti, kindness and prema and Ravana never had any one of them in him.
The daughter of Maya, Mandodari with all such good qualities was married to Ravana. From the time of marriage, his wife Mandodari tried her best to communicate her good qualities to Ravana and save him, but Ravana made no attempt to change his bad qualities. As a man reaches his end his bad qualities will also go on increasing. So also Ravana’s bad qualities began to increase. His brother Vibhishna tried to teach him several good ideals. Ravana also knew all about good conduct and dharma. What is the use of knowing what good conduct and dharma are if they are not to put into use.
Whatever one may learn it is of no use unless he puts it into practice. Ravana was proficient in all the different branches of knowledge. What is the use of having all these things if one cannot use such knowledge to reach the Lord? If bad ideas enter one’s head, his wisdom and knowledge will dry up. Ravana was ruling over a kingdom and his capital city would compare well with heaven. But because of his bad qualities he lost his own happiness, his kingdom, his life, and everything that he had. In fact, he destroyed his own dynasty and family. He knew all the codes of conduct of a king and he knew everything and yet he was behaving like a monkey.
When Hanuman entered Lanka as Rama’s messenger and spoke to Sita. Ravana came to know about Hanuman’s presence in Lanka and ordered Hanuman to be punished. This is quite contrary to the accepted code of conduct of a king. To kill or punish a messenger on behalf of someone else is not the right code of conduct for a king of the country. Vibhishana tried to explain to Ravana this principle, by which he wanted not to punish.
Vibhishana tried his best to get Hanuman released. Ravana in fact, had so many other bad qualities and bad ideas in him, and he often undertook to do things which he should not have done. Many times, he made attempts to kill even Sita.
Mandodari the wife of Ravana tried to teach Ravana that to kill a woman is very wrong and that by doing so he was committing a great sin. The bad qualities that were in him made him take always the wrong path and subject him to many difficulties.
On one occasion Madodari went to her husband and asked him, "You know all the dharma and all the codes of right conduct. With all your wisdom why is it that you are doing wrong things? What is the matter? How can you explain? What is the inner meaning of your behaviour? Not only this, you have all the capacity and you have all the strength to assume any form that you like. On the day when you brought Sita to Lanka, you were in the form of a sanyasi (ascetic)and you deceived her. Why are you taking all this trouble in order to win over the sacred Sita? If only you assume the form of Ramachandra then Sita would be yours. Why did you not adopt that path?"
Then Ravana replied that Ramachandra’s form was a sacred and Divine one. If he really took that form how will he have any bad qualities at all. This means Ravana knew very well that the qualities which one possesses should be appropriate to his form. Because he had the form of a rakshasa, the qualities of a rakshasa were showing up.
The bad qualities should be given up and sacrificed. Because Ravana had these qualities which go contrary to the purusharthas, he became a rakshasa. Ravana might have been a devotee, might have been a very learned person, but in spite of this, because he had the four bad qualities which, contrary to the purusharthas viz Dharma, Artha, Kama, And Moksha, he became a sinner. To such people, whatever Dharma you may preach it will appear as if it is only wrong.
Ravana had many great qualities, he was a great devotee; earned Gods Grace by his penance and in spite of all that he had no peace and he did not secure a good end for himself. He could invade the city of Kubera defeat him and take away the Pushpaka Vimana (celestial vehicle) ancient flying machine. This showed that in him there was the quality of jealousy. He could not bear Kubera being greater than him. Not only this, he invaded the city of Maya his father-in-law’s, defeated him, took away all his attendants and annexed this city which was the principal city of Lanka in his kingdom.
At the same time we should try to understand the good qualities of Ravana. It is not as if there were not good qualities in Ravana. When he was fully immersed in the thought of God, he was prepared to sacrifice even his entire body. He was truly a follower of Dharma and protector of Dharma. The bad qualities of Ravana did not come as natural qualities to Ravana. All the bad qualities and bad thoughts came to him because of a certain curse to which he was subjected to at one time. For such a curse, his own karma was responsible.
Through Ravana the story of Ramayana is teaching a lesson to the world that no one should have bad qualities as he had. Ravana was a wicked person and he adopted several trickeries. He spoke untruth and told Rama that he brought the head of Sita, while he actually brought only an artificially created head of Sita, a deceit. He told that he killed Sita and brought her head. Since Rama was all knowing, he realised that this was a trick and told Ravana that it could not be the truth. Similarly, he did the trick of getting the head of Rama and showing it to Sita and telling her that he had killed Rama. Ravana could not bear the happiness of other people. The normal human nature should be to become happy by looking at the happiness of others.
Ravana had as his guru Sukracharya who taught him the conduct of a king. Ravana was the one who acquired proficiency in all different kinds of action. His warriors and the leaders of his army were very strong and proficient in the art of warfare.
His wife was a very good and chaste lady (pativratha) with good qualities. In spite of the fact that he had such good teaching from such a guru and a good wife and a strong army, he did not change his methods and this simply means that it is a result of his Janmantara Karma (deeds of his previous lives). He was living in utter foolishness. In his foolishness, he would not 
accept any advice from any one else. This foolishness is a great enemy of a human being. We must also remove this aspect of foolishness in us. On certain occasions, Ravana used to appear as a Satwic person and on other occasions, he used to appear as an innocent person. Sometimes, he would pretend and appear as a great devotee. In reality, there is no one greater than him in the matter of wickedness. He would not hesitate to harm even his own wife or son. Vibhishana, his own brother, was a Satwic person. Yet he showed no kindness to him. He simply drove him away. The wife of Vibhishana touched the feet of Ravana and begged him in many ways to save Vibhishana. This lady, who was the wife of his own brother, should be like his daughter, yet he gave so much trouble to her. The significance of all these points is that we should not simply think that Ravana was just a person with that name. The bad qualities and the cruel ideas that are in us are symbolic of the aspects of Ravana.

Thursday, October 30, 2014



Veera-Bhadra though an attendant or one of Shiva Ghanas is usually identified with a variant form of Lord Shiva himself as one among the SIXTY-FOUR forms of Lord Shiva. He is said to have flashed forth from the matted locks of an indignant Shiva ( Rudra-Jata-Sambhava / Rudra-Kopa-Samudbhuta ). After Sati immolated herself in the Yagna of her father Daksha-Brahma, Shiva sent Veera-Bhadra to kill Daksha and destroy his sacrifice. So he is usually represented as Yanaka-Murthi or as one on his mission of destruction. There are several forms in which Veera-Bhadra is shown. Usually he is black in colour, three eyed, sporting a garland of severed heads or Skulls and having a Sword and Shield in two hands and Bow and Arrow in upper hands. He also wears Serpents as his ornaments.
As per Karanagama Bhadrakali stands on his left while Daksha with Goat head and horns is on his right in Anjali posture. Veera-Bhadra after beheading Daksha, at the bequest of the Gods replaced it with the head of a sacrificial Goat. Daksha after recovering his life remained in Shiva-Dhyana-Parayana.
Shilpa-Samgraha enumerates three varieties in Veera-Bhadra Images as
1. Sattvic ( Two armed ),
2. Rajasic ( Four armed ) and
3. Tamasic ( Eight armed ) in nature.
All of them have a dark complexion, have Jata-Makuta and wield various arms.
Thus the Yoga-vira is seated in Sukasana with only Sword and Shield in his two arms and his right leg resting on the ground.
The Bhoga-vira is standing with four arms and has a bow and arrow in the other two hands. He also wears a Munda-Mala and Daksha is seen standing on his right side.
The Vira-vira with eight arms, is shown in walking posture and carries a Trident, Sword, Arrow and Antelope in right arms and the Skull-cup ( Kapala ), Shield ( Khadga ), Bow and Goad ( Mazhu ) in his left hands. This form is beautifully sculptured in Thiruvannamalai Temple and is worshipped as Aghora-Rudra-Murthi or Maha-Bhairava-Murthi.
In Shilpa-Ratna he is eight armed and rides a Vedala-Vahana ( Vampire ) and is surrounded by his Bhuta-Ghanas ( Nija-Gana-Sahita ). He is white complexioned and fierce looking. His tawny red matted locks are tied into a Knot in the top of his head ( Jata-Bhandha ) and adorned with the crescent Moon. His hands carry Battle-Axe, Hand-Drum, Sword, Shield, Skull-cap, Spear and his front two hands are in Abhaya-Varadha gestures. He is clad in Tiger skin.
In his Digambara Form, his body is adorned with many Serpents ( Bhujanga-Gana-Bhushana ) and his third eye is equally awesome. His eyebrows are knit in anger and his hair is like flames ( Jvala-kesa ). His body is smeared with the blood of the enemies slain by him and he also carried a Gada ( Club ) and Trishula ( Trident ).
In Sapta-Matruka Panels we find Veera-Bhadra is in the right end and Ganapathi is in the left end flanking the Seven Mother Goddesses in between.
As per Roopamandanam :-
Veereswaracha Bhagavan Vrisharoodo Dhanur dhara :
Veena hastha : Trisulamcha Mathrunaam akradho bavedh //
Veerabhadra when placed along with the Sapta-Matrukas is seen holding the Bow, Arrow, Veena and Trisula, with a Varadha-Hasta in sitting posture with the Nandhi Vahana at his foot.
The Utsava-Murthi of Thiru-Pariyalur on the South Bank of Cauvery near Sembonnar Kovil ( In Mayiladuthurai-Tarangampadi Road ) is six armed with Trishula, Club, Sword, Bell, Skull-cup, and Ax. The Veerateswarar Temple is one of the Ashta-Veeratanam ( Eight Places of Valour of Shiva ) and the place is also called as Keezha-Parasalur. There is a sculpture of Daksha in Shiva-Pooja in the wall of Sanctorum. The Ardha-Jama Pooja ( Last pooja of the day before closing the temple ) is done for Lord Bhairava in this temple.
Karanagama depicts Veerabhadra as one who redeems our Sins, relieves all our sufferings, destroyed the Yagna of Daksha, has four arms, three eyes and sports a Jatamakuta akin to the flames, has prominent teeth, wears a garland of bells and a garland of skulls. He is wearing a Paduka in his feet and wears ornaments in the ankles. His neck is blue and his dress called “Kanchugam” is tightly worn around his loin. The weapons that he carries are the Sword, Shield, Bow, Arrow, Skull, and Pindi-palam. His complexion is fiery red and has fierce eyes. He is also represented with 32 arms in some Agama works.
According to Sri-Tattwa Nidhi, he is four-armed, three-eyed, has a Jatamakuta, has Sword and Arrow in his right arms and Bow and Gada in his left arms. He also has a beard and wears a garland of Skulls
( Mundamala ) and also of Bones ( Rundamala ). He has Paduka in his feet and wears Serpents on his body and ears and is accompanied by Bhadrakali. Daksha-Brahma in the brahmanical form with Goat head and two horns is seen on his right in Anjali posture in Shiva-Dhyana.
Veerabhadra Dhyana-Shloka :-
Svethangam Sesha Bhushangam Khadga Veena dharam Subham /
Drutakrishnamrigam veeram Shaardhoolajidhavasam //
Arthonmeelita Netram dham Trinetramcha Jadataram /
Suganthi Pushpamalam Sri Veerabhadram Namamyaham //
“I worship thee, the White complexioned Veerabhadra, wearing Serpents as Ornaments, holds the Antelope in hand, wearing Tiger skin in his waist, with half closed eyes along with the Third eye in his forehead, his matted hair locked as Jatamakuta, and wearing a garland of Fragrant flowers”.
Another Dhyana Shloka of Veerabhadra :-
Shannetram Trimugam Bheemam Kalamegha Samaprabham /
Udharsijvalanam Neelaghatram Shatbhahu Shobinam //
Banapatrasi Soolekshu Chapa Khadga dharam Subham /
Bhoothapretadhi Dhamanm dushtarati vinasanam /
Meru vasam Mahesam tam Veerabhadram Namamyaham //
"I worship the Black complexioned Veerabhadra with Three Faces, Six eyes, in a Fierce form with flaming Fire as his hair-locks, and with six arms holding Banapatra, Sword, Trishulam, Bow, Arrow, and blesses all who worships him, tames and controls Bhutas and Pretas ( Demons and Vampires ), and kills all the evil enemies, and dwells forever in the Hill of Meru".
Amsumadbedagama Dhyana-Shloka :-
Chaturbhujam trinetram cha Jatamakuta manditham /
Saravabharana samyuktham swethavarnam vrushadvjam //
Soolam cha abhaya Hastham cha dakshinedhu karatvayam
Gadha varadha hastham cha Vama parshvey karathvayam //
Swetha Padmasanasoonam Vadavriksha Samasritam /
Veerabhadram Idhikyadam Brahmi roopam dhadha shrnu //
" I worship the White complexioned Lord Veerabhadra with four arms, three eyes, Jatamakutam, Sarva-abharanam ( variety of Jewellery ), Rishaba Kodi ( Flag with Nandhi ), Right arms having Trisula, Abhaya gesture, Left arms having Gadha and Varadha gestures, sitting under the Alamaram / Peepal Tree, on a White Lotus seat…"
Akasha-Veerabhadra Mantra :-
Kalarudra Rushihi
Jagadhee Chandaha
Veerabhadra Devata
Vam Beejam
Hoom Shakthihi
Dhyanam :-
Maragata Manineelam Kinginee Jalamaalam /
Prakadita Mugameesam Bhanu Soma-Aagni Netram ://
Hariharamasikedatraya Kradhandakra Hastham /
Vidhudharam ahi Bhusham Veerbhadram Namami : //
“I worship thee, Lord Veerabhadra, of Blue-Black complexion, wearing an Ornament of Bells, in a fierce looking form of Shiva with the Sun, Moon and Agni as three eyes, representing the Vibhuti of both Shiva and Vishnu, and holding the Sword, Shield and Club, wearing the Crescent Moon in his hair and Serpent garlands adorning the body...”
Mula Mantra :-
O Namo Veerabhadraya Vairi Vamsha Nivinasaya Sarvaloka Bayangaraya Beema Veshaya Hoom Phat Vijaya Vijaya Hreem Hoom Phat Svaha||

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why lord Rama asked Laxmana to seek blessings of Ravana?

Why Lord Rama asked Laxmana to seek blessings of Ravana?
Ravana, though a Brahmin and well-educated, was punished by Lord Rama because of his ‘adharmic’ deeds . It’s a historic fact that Lord Rama was very impressed with Ravana’s knowledge and wisdom—which is why after defeating him, he praised Ravana and deputed brother Lakshmana to seek the blessings of the dying Ravana.
The story goes that after shooting the fatal arrow on the battlefield of Lanka, Rama told his brother, Lakshman, “Go to Ravan quickly before he dies and request him to share whatever knowledge he can. A brute he may be, but he is also a great scholar”. The obedient Lakshman rushed across the battlefield to Ravan’s side and whispered in his ears, “Demon-king, do not let your knowledge die with you. Share it with us and wash away your sins”. Ravan responded by simply turning away.
An angry Lakshman went back to Rama, “He is as arrogant as he always was, too proud to share anything”. Rama comforted his brother and asked him softly, “Where did you stand while asking Ravan for knowledge?” “Next to his head so that I hear what he had to say clearly”.
Rama smiled, placed his bow on the ground and walked to where Ravan lay. Lakshman watched in astonishment as his divine brother knelt at Ravan’s feet. With palms joined, and with extreme humility, Rama said, “Lord of Lanka, you abducted my wife, a terrible crime for which I have been forced to punish you. Now you are no more my enemy. I bow to you and request you to share your wisdom with me. Please do that for if you die without doing so, all your wisdom will be lost forever to the world”. To Lakshman’s surprise, Ravan opened his eyes and raised his arms to salute Rama, “If only I had more time as your teacher than as your enemy".
"Standing at my feet as a student should, unlike your rude younger brother, you are a worthy recipient of my knowledge. I have very little time, so I cannot share much, but let me tell you one important lesson I have learnt in my life. Things that are bad for you, seduce you easily; you run towards them impatiently. But things that are actually good for you fail to attract you; you shun them creatively, finding powerful excuses to justify your procrastination. That is why I was impatient to abduct Sita but avoided meeting you. This is the wisdom of my life, Rama. My last words. I give it to you”
After these words, Ravan died.
Valmiki describes Ravan as the greatest devotee of Shiva. In many folk versions of the epic, such as Ram-kathas and Ram-kiritis, we are informed that Ravan composed the Rudra Stotra in praise of Shiva, the ascetic-God. He designed the lute known as Rudra-Veena using one of his 10 heads as the lute’s gourd, one of his arms as the beam and his nerves as the strings.
Because Symbolism Of Ravana is depicted as the king of Raakshasas. He is said to have ten heads. He was not born with ten heads.
Who is this Ravana and what are his ten heads?
Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Moha (delusion), Lobha (greed), Mada (pride), Maatsyasya (envy), Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (will) and Ahamkara (the ego) -all these ten constitute the ten heads. Ravana is of all the ten qualities. Such is the wisdom of Ravan, no wonder Rama asked Laxman to learn from him. When Ravan was dying,
Shri Rama sent Laxman to him to learn something. Laxman stands near his head and asked for teaching Ravan rebuked him, saying sit near my feet if you want to be a disciple, not on my head. Laxman did so.Then Ravan Told him about Politics and Niti which mainly said
1- do not be enemy of your charioteer, your gatekeeper, your cook and your brother, they can harm you anytime
2- do not think you are always a winner, even if you are winning always
3- Always trust the minister, who criticises you
4- Never think your enemy is small or powerless, like i thought for Hanuman
5- never think you can outsmart the stars, they will bring you what you are destined to
6- Either love or hate god but both should be immense and strong.
Ravana taught him that a king who is eager to win glory must suppress greed as soon as it lifts its head, and welcome the smallest chance to do good to others, without the slightest procrastination. He (Ravana) had learnt the lesson through bitter experience. Greed arises from attachment to the senses and catering to them. Put them in their proper place; they are windows for knowledge, not the channels of contamination.
First of all: Ravan, Dashanan, was a PANDIT (son of the Maharishi Podassiya brother of the Kubera - god of money).He became an Assura because of his Mother and he died because of his Ahankar.
Rama said to Laxam to learn some important lessons of the ART of WAR and the lessons of LIFE. Infact the most important lesson was:"Don't tell anyone your secrets, even to your Brother... And if he betrayed you don't forgive him.". Actually, Rama wanted that trough Laxam Every one knows these things.
Uttam Vidya leejiya jadapi neech pe h oye|Sona apaawan thour pado tahu na tajiye koye ||
Take good knowledge, even from the worst person of this world because if we find gold in dirty place, we don't leave it.Though Ravana was a kidnapper, rapist etc. etc. yet his knowledge and gyan was invincible. That is why Rama sent Laxmana to get some Gyan or knowledge from him.Here I want to add one thing...............without the Kripa of Rama, Gyan is useless......the same thing happened with Ravana.........he couldn't use his Gyan in good works...........So keep your Dharma attached with Gyaan.(Though Ravana was also a part of the play of Lord Narayana, so only the life of Ravana and his attitude is described and What was he in his previous births is not taken here.)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

16 Samskaara's of Hindu...

16 Samskaara's of Hindu...

Sixteen Hindu Sanskars
The way Hindu lives,is wrapped around various rites called Sanskar. The Sanskar is said to be helping in achieving spiritual nourishment, peace of mind and ultimately moksha. Sansar give a spiritual touch to the important events at different stages of a Hindu life - right from pre-birth to post-death.

These sixteen Sanskaras are as follows :-

Garbhadana. All sources recognize this as the first Sanskar. This is the enthusiastic prayer for a child. This is done for fulfillment of parental duty to continue the race. This sanskar is limited to the family members. This is performed by the husband.

 This second Sanskar is performed during the third or the fourth month of pregnancy. The significance of this Sanskar is to invoke divine and good qualities in the child. According to our ancient Shastras, this ritual is performed in the desire for a male child. The reason for expecting a male child is believed to be in the belief that it is the male child who carries the Vansha forward. Like the first Sanskar i.e. Garbhadhan, Punsavana Sanskar is also restricted to the family members. 

 This Sanskar is performed during the seventh month of pregnancy and prayers are offered for the healthy physical and mental growth of the child. The other importance of this Sankar is to free the expectant mother free from worries since the last 3 months are very difficult for pregnant woman- both physically and mentally. On the day of this Sanskar, the expectant mother gets food of her desire.Only women are invited for this ritual and the gathering is kept small The husband performs this ritual.

 This Sanskar is performed at the birth of a child as a welcome sign to the new born child in the family.

 This Sanskar is performed on the tenth , eleventh or twelth day with the recitation of Mantras. The baby child gets name on completion of this Sankar.

 This Sanskar is performed when the child is taken out of the home for the first time.The reason for this Sanskar is to show obedience to the sun, moon, fire, wind etc, -the Panchmahabhut .This is supposed to enhance the age and physical and mental development of the child.

 This Sanskar is performed on sixth month , when the child gets solid food for the first time. Mantras recited and oblations are offered to the various deities.

 This Sanskar is shaving the head of the child. This is done in first of third year of the child. The body of the child is protected and harmonized by these ceremonies. It's also known as Mundan ceremony. Brahmins chant Mantras for a healthy, long life of the child. This Sanskar is restricted to the family level. During this Sanskar, the father feeds honey to the baby and pierces the baby's ear. This ear piercing is supposed to enhance the memory of the child .

 This Sanskar is performed in the firth or the seventh year or at the end of the first year with Chudkaram Sanskar.

 This is the most important Sanskar , which marks the beginning of the next stage of life Youth. The word Upanayana means bringing near. The child is brought near to the Guru. This Sanskar is the second birth for child - A spiritual birth. This Sanskar is performed during six to nine years of childhood.

 This Sanskar is done along with Upanayana. The setting up with the Sacred thread entitles the child to study the Vedas and participate in Vedic functions.The child commences his journey on the road to spiritual life. This is contrasted with a life of eating, sleeping and procreating, which kinds of life animals also live.The child is sent to Gurukul.

 This Sanskar is performed before entering the grahstha ashram or the life of a householder. This is performed at the end of a child's study in Gurukul. The student has to take the permission of his guru before entering the ashram. After this the guru gives him important guidelines or tips for the grahstha ashram.

 This sanskar is entry into the second Ashram. The life as individual family begins. Entering this stage of life, man has to take on his duties and has to pay spiritual debts by sacrifice , by procreating children and study. The bride and groom walk around Agni hand in hand. The bride sacrifices grains in the fire and chants mantras.

 Man  withdraws himself from all worldly activities, retires into the forest and prepares himself for taking sanyas. This is the life of a Vanprastha.

 A  sanyasi renounces the world and leads a life of study and meditation by living on alms.

 When death is imminent, a small piece of gold, tulsi leaf and drops of Ganga water are put in the mouth of the person on the death bed. The body is laid on the ground with the head towards the north. The eldest son generally performs the last rites before which he takes a purificatory bath amidst the chanting of mantras. The dead body is washed, perfumed and wrapped in a new white cloth and decked with flowers.

For ten days following death, food is not prepared at home and relatives and friends take the responsibility of getting food for the family.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Significance of Bhai Dooj

Significance of Bhai Dooj

Nowhere is the bond of brotherly-sisterly love glorified with such grandeur as in India. Hindus celebrate this special relationship twice every year, with the festivals of Raksha Bandhan and Bhai Dooj.
After the high voltage celebrations of Diwali , the festival of lights and fire-crackers, sisters all over India get ready for 'Bhai Dooj' - when sisters ceremonize their love by putting an auspicious tilak or a vermilion mark on the forehead of their brothers and perform an aarti of him by showing him the light of the holy flame as a mark of love and protection from evil forces. Sisters are lavished with gifts, goodies and blessings from their brothers.
Bhai Dooj comes every year on the fifth and last day of Diwali, which falls on a new moon night. The name 'Dooj' means the second day after the new moon, the day of the festival, and 'Bhai' means brother.
The essence of the Bhai dooj festival is that it is celebrated to strengthen the love between brothers and sisters. It is a day of food-sharing, gift-giving and reaching out to the innermost depths of the heart.

Bhai Dooj is also called 'Yama Dwiteeya'
Once upon a time, long long ago, Surya, the sun God, was married to a beautiful princess called Samjna (also pronounced as Sangya). In the course of a year, she presented him with twins. The twins were christened Yama, and Varni or Yamuna, and they grew up together. However, Samjna, after some time, was unable to bear the brilliance of her husband, and so decided to go back to earth. However, she left her shadow, Chaya, her exact replica, behind, so that to Surya, it would appear that she was still there.
Chaya turned out to be a cruel stepmother and was very unkind to the twins. She soon gave birth to her own children, and then convinced Surya to drive out Samjna’s twins, Yama and Varni from the heavens. Varni fell to earth and became the river Yamuna, and Yama went to the underworld (hell) and became the Lord of Death.
Many years passed since this incident. Varni married a handsome prince and was content and happy in her life. But she missed her brother and yearned to see him. Yama, too, missed his sister and decided one day to visit her. Overjoyed by news of her brother's visit, Varni prepared a great feast in his honor. It was two days into Deepavali, so her home was already decorated with lamps. She lovingly prepared a feast, including all the sweets and delicacies that her brother loved. Her husband, the handsome prince, was very happy seeing Varni so dedicatedly preparing a welcome for her brother.
Yama, too, was delighted by his sister's loving welcome, and the brother and sister spent a pleasant evening in each other's company, after their long period of separation. When it was time for Yama to leave, he turned to his sister and said,
"Dear Varni, you have welcomed me so lovingly. But I did not bring you a gift. Ask, therefore, for something and it will be yours."
"Your visit is gift enough," replied Varni lovingly. "I have no need for anything else."
But Yama was persistent. "You must let me give you a gift," he insisted.
"Okay," agreed Varni, taking a moment to think. "I ask that all brother's should remember their sisters on this day and visit them if they can, and that, on this day, all sisters should pray for the happiness of their brothers."
"So be it!" proclaimed Yama, "And I grant all brothers who give their sisters a loving gift on this day a long and healthy life!"
According to one legend, on this day, Lord Krishna, after slaying the Narakasura demon, goes to his sister Subhadra who welcomes him the lamp, flowers and sweets, and puts the holy protective spot on her brother's forehead.
Yet another story behind the origin of Bhai Dooj says that when Mahavir, the founder of Jainism, attained nirvana, his brother King Nandivardhan was distressed because he missed him and was comforted by his sister Sudarshana. Since then, women have been revered during Bhai Dooj.
How did Yama get associated with this festival
According to Ishavasya Upanishad
"Pushan Ekarshe Yama-surya Praajaapatya Vyuha rashmin samuha.
Tejo Yat te rupam kalyaanatamam tat te pashyaami,
yo saa-vasau Purishah So aham asmi"
Yama and Surya (Sink and source) are the source of creation of Praja. The pair is also called Agni-soma, Atma-Jiva, or Shiva-Shakti etc.

Underlying Significance
Like all other Hindu festivals , Bhai Dooj too has got a lot to do with family ties and social attachments. It serves as a good time, especially for a married girl, to get together with her own family, and share the post-Diwali glee.