Friday, October 20, 2017

Now about the word "Diwali" - Difference between "Diwali" and "Deepavali"

In my previous post posted on 18/10/2017 about celebrating the festival of Deepavali without crackers, I requested all of you to not to use the word "Diwali" while talking about the Festival of Deepavali.

I will tell you now why we should not use that negative word "Diwali".

You must know that one of the popular languages of India is Hindi. In Hindi language, people refer to a bankrupted person as a "Diwala" (दीवाला). The feminine word for it is "Diwali" (दीवाली). 

"उसने दीवाला पिट गया"  or "उसने दीवाली पिट गयी"|    

So, the word Diwali refers to a loser or a pauper.

That is why I am asking everybody to refrain from referring to "Deepavali" as "Diwali". Please do not get embarrassed at this negative feedback. Try to understand the situation.

Deepavali is a festival of celebrating the Happiness by driving away the darkness and negative thoughts from our mind and the humanity. It is a festival where Goddess Lakshmi gifts you with Prosperity.

So, how can you call it as "Diwali"?

That bad name to the festival was given by the Britishers and other foreigners who could not spell Deepavali and so misspelled and shortened it as "Diwali" only for their own convenience.

Now, our modern so called civilized people have become addicted to that easy word and using it permanently (spelling it like those foreigners) without knowing the negative message that it passes all over there.

So, from next time onward, kindly try to refer to this auspicious festival of prosperity as "Deepavali".

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Happy Deepavali - A Festival of Lights (Not Diwali Festival)


Wish you all "A Happy Deepavali" celebrations.

It is a festival celebrated with lights arranged in a row or in some particular shape. So, it is called as "Deepavali" meaning Row of Lights.

Kindly don't spell it as "Diwali". Diwali is an inauspicious word for Hindus. That name was given by the Britishers and foreigners who could not spell Deepavali.

It is a very sad point to note that when you search with the spelling of "Deepavali" you get only 7.60 lac results whereas when you search with the spelling of "Diwali" you are getting 760 lac search results!!! It shows how that corrupted word has entered the blood of people.

Anyway, celebrate Deepavali now on with "NO CRACKERS".

The firecrackers are very dangerous to lives creating accidents and pollution. The air gets polluted and the sound becomes unbearable throughout the night of this Deepavali Day. Nowadays, they are using the crackers to celebrate weddings and any other pleasant occasion making it very horrific for people living around.

Please care for the Humanity and celebrate all festive and happy occasions peacefully with love and kindness and with a sense of care for others.

For those who may need to know some facts about the Festival and the way of celebration throughout the five days, I am providing a link here to my own post about this festival's significance and the method of celebrating it on all the five days. Please read here for it.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Navratri Celebrations (Dussehra) - Its Meaning and Significance for Hindus

Wish You All "A Happy Navratri Celebrations".



May Goddess Durga Maa bestow all favors upon you and your family members.


The Navratri celebrations are most important and popular festive occasion for Hindus living all over the world. It is a festival of worshipping Goddess in nine forms during the nine days of this festive occasion which generally occurs during the last week of September or the first half of October at the starting point of the Autumn season. According to the Hindu calendar, it is the first nine days of the month known as Ashwin or Ashwayuja.

Navratri or Navaratri means nine nights. Even though people may perform worship during morning time also both at homes and at temples, the most important type of worshipping takes place during evenings hours during all these nine days of Navratri. The tenth day is also celebrated as a festive occasion to enjoy festivities for one more day.

It is also known as Dussehra Festival as it is celebrated to enjoy happiness and great relief on the death of ten kinds of Demons (killed by Goddess during this period).

The festival is celebrated to worship the Goddess who destroyed evil and protected people always in her different forms of appearance. She is mainly worshipped in three most popular forms of the embodiment of Power/ Force, Wealth/ Prosperity, and Wisdom/ Education.


Nine forms of Goddess

Chronologically these are the nine forms of Mother Goddess (or Devi as referred in Hindu scripts) as per citations in many scriptures.

1)Devi Adi Parashakti or Siddhidhatri: This is a pure form of energy with no shape whom Lord Shiva worshipped before starting the creation. She appeared on the left side of Shiva. She sits on a lotus and rides on a lion holding Shank, Chakra, Gada, and a Lotus in each of her four hands.

2)Devi Kushmanda: After taking the form of Siddhidhatri, the Goddess lived inside the Sun so as to release some of the Sun's energy to the Universe and provide life to the living beings. She has eight hands holding a Kamandalu, Bow, Arrow, and Kamal with her right hands and Chakra, Gada, Japa Mala, Pot of Nectar with her left hands. She also rides on a lion.

3)Devi Brahmacharini: After Kushmanda's form, the Goddess took the form of a Brahmacharin born to Daksha Prajapati. She was supposed to marry Lord Shiva. But Daksha insults Shiva and she gets self-immolated herself vowing to marry Shiva in her next birth. She holds a Kamandalu and a Japa Mala in her hands and walks bare-footed.

4)Devi Shailaputri: After self-immolation, she takes birth as Shailaputri (Daughter of a Mountain named Himalaya) to marry Shiva. She rides on a Bull, carrying a Trishul and Lotus in her hands.

5)Devi Maha Gauri: Shailaputri, after reaching her age of sixteen years, is believed to be of extremely beautiful with a splendid and sparkling glow. So, she is called as MahaGauri meaning extremely beautiful. She also rides on a Bull with her four hands holding a Trishul in the right hand, A Damaru in the left hand, and making the Blessing sign with the other right hand and a gifting sign with the other left hand.

6)Devi Chandraghanta: On marrying Lord Shiva, she begins wearing the half-moon sign on her forehead shaped in the form of a bell. So, she is known as Chandraghanta. She mounts on a tigress with her ten hands. She holds the Arrow, Bow, Lotus, and Mala of her neck with four right hands, keeping the fifth hand in Abhayamudra (a blessing sign). She holds the Trishul, Gada, Sword, and Kamandalu in her four left hands, posting the fifth hand in a gifting sign (Varadamudra).

7)Devi Skanda Mata: Skanda is the other name for Lord Kartikeya, the son of Shiva, Parvati.So, she is called as Skanda Mata meaning mother of Skanda. Skanda Mata rides on a fierce lion. She has four hands. She holds Lotus in her upper two hands and holds her son Skanda (who is a six-headed child) with her right hand. She keeps the other left hand in a blessing mode.

8)Devi Katyayani: Katyayani Mata was formed from the waves of anger exuded of all Gods who have been angry with the atrocities of the demons. She was entrusted with the task of killing Mahishasura and other demons. She is red in color and rides on a majestic lion. She holds a Lotus and Sword in her left hands and keeps her both right hands in blessing and bestowing modes.

9)Devi Kali: This is the most fierce form of the Mother Goddess. She is black in color and rides on a donkey killing the deadly demons named Sumbha and Nisumbha in a very frightening manner. She holds her both right hands in Varada and Abhaya mudras and carries a huge Sword and fierce Iron hook in her left hands.


The worshipping sequence of the nine forms of Goddess Durga

Day One: Shailaputri
Day Two: Brahmacharini
Day Three: Chandra Ghanta
Day Four: Kusmanda
Day Five: Skandamata
Day Six: Katyayani
Day Seven: Kali Mata
Day Eight: MahaGauri
Day Nine: Sidhidhatri

For more comprehensive details of Dussehra celebrations like Ram Leela and Vijaya Dashami, you may like to visit this article of mine posted 3 years back with full details at this link.
 https://vnktchari.blogspot.in/2013/10/dussehra-festival-celebrating-victory.html#.Wc4Rwo-Cy1t

Friday, September 15, 2017

Pancha Samskaram in Vaishnavism- Chakrankitam/ Samashrayanam

Samskaram Meaning

SamskAram refers to the character of a human being. If a person is referred to as possessing Samskaram it means that he is wise and possesses exemplary qualities. He is supposed to be very good charactered and full of great knowledge/ virtues- both worldly and spiritual. This knowledge is attained from his teachers and through his own activities while leading a pious life with a pure mind and honest conscience. It doesn't mean that he should completely renounce worldly engagements and enjoyments. It is a controlled way of living the morally enlightened life.


Pancha Samskaram (or Samashrayanam) / పంచసంస్కారాలు / సమాశ్రయణం  
There are five components of SamskAram. So, it is referred to as Panch (meaning five) + SamskAram (qualities or elements) = Pancha SamskAram.
These five components are bestowed upon the Bachelor step by step after his Upanayanam in a ceremony held that is known as SamAshrAyaNam. SamAshrAyaNam is a way of leading a humble (submissive) life in the shelter of a simple, holy atmosphere with no unwarranted desires or ego. This ceremony is known as SamAshrayaNam as it is bestowed to the person through the chanting of Vedic mantras by a Guru in a ceremonial way. And, the five elements of SamskAram are known as Panch SamskArams.

Components of the Pancha SamskAram or SamAshrAyaNam
  1. ChakrAmkanam or ChakrAmkitam (Making marks of Chakra and Conch on the shoulders)
  2. Pundra DhaaraNam (Wearing of two vertical white stripes with a red line in the middle on the forehead like a Trishul with base) 
  3. MantrOpadEsham (Receiving the Thiru Mantra from the teacher)
  4. Daasa Naama Sweekaaram (Accepting the name as a servant of God)
  5. Bhagavad AshrayaNam (Taking the refuge of God)
Now, let me explain each one of this SamskAram with more stress on ChakrAmkitam


1) Chakraamkitam / చక్రాంకితము 
ChakrAmkitam is an advanced ceremony performed after the Upanayanam to a married person. It is performed both to either male or female. It is a ceremony that confers the right and entitlement to the person undergoing this ritual to perform all the holistic rituals and duties of any kind that require a pure and holistic body and mind.

You must be aware that God Vishnu holds the Sudarshan Chakram and the Shankham or Conch in His hands. Both these weapons are most important for the Vaishnava community. They both signify one's status and identity as a great valorous person and enlightened being.

ChakrAmkitam is the ritual through which one is branded with these two auspicious symbols on his or her shoulders. It is done by heating the metal shapes representing these symbols  (which are normally kept at God's altar) and branding them on the shoulders- the right shoulder with Chakram and the left shoulder with the Conch. It is done by a family Guru, Priest or even by the father. Some medicines are applied later to heal the burns caused in this process.

A person is deemed to be fit for cooking the food required which gets offered to the departed souls during their death rites or at their annual death ceremonies ( which is known as Pinda PradAnam) only when he undergoes this ceremony of getting branded by these auspicious symbols on his or her shoulders.

So, ChakrAmkitam is a must for all Vaishnavas to be able to prepare the death rites for their deceased parents and ancestors.


2) Pundra DhAraNam / పుండ్ర ధారణము 


(This image is created By Padmavasantha - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, taken from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9556854)

Pundram means to the auspicious Tilak with three stripes that people wear on their forehead especially when they are performing some religious duties like worship at home or at temples and during ceremonies and festive occasions, etc. When you are in the company of your elders, it is deemed as a good gesture to your elders if you wear these stripes.

The Pundra DhAraNam is also known as Urdhwa Pundra DhAraNam in case of Vaishnavas because the Vaishnava community people wear the stripes vertically whereas the Brahmin people wear it with horizontal stripes.

Two vertical white stripes are made in the shape of the letter "Y" with a white chalk known as ThirumaNi as shown in the above image at center. After drawing this Y shape, in the middle of these two white stripes, one red stripe is created with a red powder or chalk known as Sri ChoorNam or Thiru ChoorNam.

The white shape of Y is known as ThirumAn and it represents the feet of Vishnu. The red mark is known as Sri CharaNam associated with feet of Goddess Lakshmi. It is considered that Vishnu and Lakshmi are inseparable and the devotees often need to obtain the blessings of Goddess Laksmi first to seek Moksha from God Vishnu.


3) Mantropadesham / మంత్రోపదేశం 

This step refers to the imparting of the auspicious Tirumantram by the teacher to the disciple after his Upanayanam, ChakrAmkitam, and the application of the tilak on his forehead.

The MantrOpadesham consists of three mantras that are imparted one after the other along with their significance and complete knowledge. They are known as the AshtAkshari Mantra imparted by NArAyaN to Nara (both are incarnations of God) in the Badari Dham, Dwaya Mantra imparted by God to his consort Lakshmi in Vaikunt, and the Charam Sloka (last stanza of Bhagavad Gita) imparted by Sri Krishna to Arjun in Kurukshetra.

I may provide more detailed information about these three mantras in my subsequent posts.


4) Daasanaama Sweekaaram / దాసనామ స్వీకారము 

Through this ritual, the disciple accepts himself as a servant of his teacher and the God. This is not to be considered as any disgrace or degradation of his status. It is a state of submitting himself in full confidence and faith to the supremacy of his teacher's unlimited virtues and the Supreme Powers of God for the purpose of increasing his knowledge and thereby attain self-realization.


5) Bhagavad AashrayaNam / భగవదాశ్రయణం 
Bhagavad or Bhagavat refers to that pertaining to God. It can also be referred to pertaining to the seekers of God and enlightened people. Aashraya means refuge or shelter. Aashrayanam means taking to or seeking the refuge of God.

So, through this process of Bhagavad AashrayaNam, the person seeks and pursues the shelter and refuge of God and of those people nearer to God's grace. This is done through selfless service to those pious people and through continuous meditation. It is also done through voluntary services to helpless and poor people in their troubles and ailments. It should be a selfless service with no desire for any favors or benefits in return.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

పరిషేచనము - Parishechana - An Eating Procedure with Sanskrit Prayer before eating food

Parishechanam - (spelled as పరిషేచనము in Telugu)

Parishechanam or Pariseshanam is a Hindu custom practiced by Brahmins and Vaishnava communities while eating meals both times of the day.  Actually, it is a procedure wherein we utter some Sanskrit prayer before eating food.

This practice is widely seen in Southern India also where they recite some mantra before eating food Telugu Brahmins and Tamil Brahmins.

The significance of this practice is that it establishes the respect, sanctity, and value that we attach to the food which is a divine gift to us.

Further, by practicing this custom, we are offering the first grains of food to the heavenly Gods before we ourselves eat it.

Please note that this ritual is to be performed only by those who have undergone the Upanayanam ceremony and wearing the sacred thread daily.


Three parts of Parishechanam 

This custom of doing Pariseshanam is divided into three parts to have a better understanding of the procedure. They are:
  1. Aabhojanam (before starting to eat) - ఆభోజనము 
  2. PrANAhuti (offering food to the Supreme Soul) - ప్రాణాహుతి 
  3. UttarAbhojanam (after completion of eating food) - ఉత్తరాభోజనం 




1) Aabhojanam

This is a ritual done before taking the meal. Aa + BhOjanam refers to the procedure to be followed prior to eating.

When we sit for the meals, we will be served with the food in a leaf or plate along with water in a glass.

After the food is served, before starting the meal, you need to sprinkle some drops of water around your plate twice chanting some slokas and then drink some drops of water to start the meal.

It is done in the following manner.

i) Take some drops of water into your right hand, chant the Gayatri mantra of "Om bhoor bhuva........" while circumambulating the water around your plate.

ii) Again take some drops of water and chant "Sathyam Twarthena Parishinchaami" while sprinkling the water again around the food. (It is a combination of the words "Satyam + thva + Ruthena). The meaning of it is that "I am sprinkling water around Sathyam and Righteousness". (Both Sathyam and Right mean the same thing and they refer to the "Food" which is the Eternal Truth in this context. You may also refer to "Annam Parabrahmam" which means Food is equal to the Supreme God. So, by sprinkling water around it, you are paying your respects to the Supreme Being.)

While performing this ritual at dinner time, you need to chant "Rutham thva satyena Parishinchaami".

iii) Now, again take some drops of water in the right hand and drink it chanting this mantra.
"AmruthOpastharaNamasi". Here, "Amrutham" refers to the heavenly nectar. "Apastharanam" refers to the spreading nature of water or liquid. "Asi" is uttered to proclaim some Omen. It means "Let it Be". So, the meaning of "AmruthOpastharaNamasi" is that "Let You Be the Spreading Nectar".
But, in this context, the meaning of this mantra must be that "Let You (God) Be the Receiver of this Food".

2) PrANAhuti or Praanaahuthi

This is the step of offering food to God before eating it oneself. It is a kind of Thanksgiving to God for providing you with the Food and the Life that you are able to enjoy daily with His grace.

You need to take some grains of the cooked, ghee-mixed rice by picking it from the plate with your three auspicious fingers of the thumb, the middle finger and the ring finger and swallow it without using the teeth. Because you are offering it to God, you are not supposed to chew it and enjoy the food while doing so. Repeat this procedure for six times, each time chanting one mantra each of the following six mantras in the given sequence.

These mantras refer to the most important element of your life which is the breath and its related controlling activities in your body.

i) Om PrANAya Swahaaha (This is the principal breath providing you the life)
ii) Om ApAnAya Swaahaaha (This controls the excretion process)
iii) Om VyAnAya Swaahaaha (This is responsible for the circulation activities)
iv) Om UdhaanAya Swaahaaha (This controls the respiratory process)
v) Om SamaanAya Swaahaaha (This is the center and controls the digestion process)
vi) Om BrahmaNE Swaahaaha (This function links your soul with God and refers to immortality also)

So, by offering the food to all these processes of your life, you are improving your health conditions and, in the end, are able to associate yourself with self-realization.

3) Uttaraabhojanam

This is the last step of Parishechanam to be performed after completely eating your food.

After finishing the meals, take some drops of water again into your palm and drink half of it and circumambulate the rest around the meal plate chanting this mantra of "AmruthOpastaraNamasi".

The meaning of this mantra is that " Let you be the abode of immortality". You are praising the value of the food and water consumed by you and at the same time wishing for a long blessed life from God. It is also a kind of Thanksgiving to God for blessing you with this tasty, energetic food.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Hell of Noise and Pollution- Please Be More Humane

Don't you think it is time to speak out?

How can we bear all this nonsense when it is affecting our day to day life? Are we free to enjoy our lives peacefully and happily amidst such a deafening noise? It makes your heart beat violently being held up imprisoned in such an inescapable situation of pounding noise. All those marriage processions, processions of Gods during dispersal after worship ( carried for nimajjanam). The people beating drums and playing tens of violent musical instruments, dancing in a very rude and uncivilized manner. I think you will definitely visualize the scenario of Hell if you are present nearby.

Why such unnecessary processions and wastage of money?

It is very silly and meaningless practice to take the procession of the bridegroom along the whole streets for such a lengthy period of time trapping him in such violent atmosphere. 

Experience how tired he will get on completion of that procession looking for some respite. He could not even enjoy his marriage happily in such a mood.

What about those Gods who are taken on processions. Do you feel they will be happy?
They will also be restlessly waiting for their freedom from your clutches. He will only need your love from the heart and not this kind of deafening noise and vulgar dances.

The People

Please celebrate all your celebrations more sensibly and humanely.

Be aware that the celebration is only for you and your family circles. It is not for the people around you.

Nobody likes disturbance to his private life and happiness.

You have no right to deprive the people of their basic rights of peace and happiness. They like a good sleep and good atmosphere.

It is absurd if you are taking processions in the entire colony and create chaos in lives.

Limit it to your own smallest area with no deafening noises.

Do not spend millions of wasteful money on irrational celebrations and activities.

You can use that money in feeding deprived people.


The Government/ Police

It is the duty of our government and the Police Department to ensure a peaceful, happy environment for its citizens.

The Government should make necessary prudent laws to prevent people from encroaching upon others' lives so that they can live in a peaceful atmosphere.

The Police should enforce the laws sincerely without any exceptions to ascertain peaceful atmosphere in the colonies of their jurisdiction.

Fix certain sound levels that are bearable and also the hours of all such celebrations. No night time loud-speakers should be allowed. Not even at the cost of paying some penalty.


Come, Let us make it a Beautiful World to live in.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

శ్రావణ శుక్రవారములు - వరలక్ష్మీ వ్రతము | Vara Lakshmi Vratam Significance

శ్రావణ మంగళవారముల లాగే శ్రావణ శుక్రవారములు కూడా చాలా ముఖ్యమైనవి, మహత్తరకర మైనవి కూడా.

మామూలుగా ప్రతీ శుక్రవారాన్ని మనం అనాదిగా లక్ష్మి దేవితో జత కూరుస్తుంటాము. శుక్రవారము లక్ష్మీదేవి మన ఇంటికి వస్తుంటుంది అని. ఆ రోజు అందుకే ప్రత్యేకంగా ఇల్లు, వాకిలీ శుభ్రపరుచుకుని కడుక్కుని, ముగ్గులేసుకుని, సాయంకాలం పెందరాళే దీపాలేసుకుని, వాకిలి తెరిచి ఉంచుతాము. శుభ్రత అంటే ఆ దేవికి చాలా ఇష్టము.

అందులోనూ శ్రావణ మాసం లో వచ్చే శుక్రవారాలన్నింటికీ కూడా ఇంకా ఎక్కువ ప్రత్యేకత ఉంది. ఎందుకంటే శ్రావణ శుక్రవారాలంటే లక్ష్మీదేవికి గాని, ఏ దేవికైనా కాని చాలా చాలా ఇష్టమని మనము  చిన్నప్పటి నుంచి వింటూ వస్తున్నదే. ఆ రోజుల్లో లక్ష్మీదేవిని శ్రద్ధతో పూజించిన వాళ్ళని ఆ దేవి కరుణించి వరాలనిస్తుంది, సకల సౌభాగ్యాలతో  ముంచెత్తుతుంది.

వర లక్ష్మి అంటే వారాలని ఇచ్చే లక్ష్మీదేవి.
అలాగే వరులని ఇచ్చే లక్ష్మి కూడా. కన్యలు ఈ వరలక్ష్మీ వ్రతము చేసుకుంటే వాళ్లకి మంచి భర్తలని ప్రసాదిస్తుంది ఆ దేవి. పెళ్లి అయిన గృహిణులు  చేస్తే వారికి చిరకాలము పసుపు కుంకుమలు నిలబడునట్లుగాను, భర్తల ఇంకా పిల్లల అభివృద్ధి కలిగేట్లుగాను ఆ తల్లి ఆశీర్వదిస్తుంది.

వరలక్ష్మి పూజ నాడు శుచిగా తయారయ్యి ఆ దేవి పటము లేక విగ్రహమో పెట్టుకుని వాటిని అలంకరించి, పసుపు ముద్దతో ఒక చిన్న దేవి ఆకారము లాగ తయారు చేసుకుని పళ్లెం లోనో ఆకులోనో పెట్టి దీపం వెలిగించి, పువ్వులతోను పసుపు కుంకుమలతోను పూజించాలి. లక్ష్మి అష్టతోత్తర నామాలు కానీ, సహస్రనామాలు కానీ చదువుతూ ఆ పువ్వులూ పసుపు కుంకుమలూ జల్లుతూ పూజ చేయాలి. ఆ తరువాత పళ్ళు పాయసం లాంటివి ఆరగింపు పెట్టాలి . కర్పూరం వెలిగించి మంగళ హారతులు పాడి ఆమె ఆశీర్వాదాలు పొంది ప్రసాదం అందరికి పంచి, తామూ ఆరగించాలి. చుట్టూ పక్కల ముత్తైదువలనూ కన్యలనూ పిలిచి వాళ్లకి కూడా ప్రసాదంతో బాటు ఏదైనా బ్లౌజ్ పీస్, పండు, పసుపుకుంకం పంచుకుంటే చాలా మంచిది. అవి లక్ష్మీదేవికి సమర్పించినట్లే అవుతాయి. ఇలా సింపుల్ గా చేసుకోవచ్చును.

వరలక్ష్మి వ్రతం అదే రోజున ఒక వేళ చేసుకోలేక పోయినా ఆ తరువాతి మూడు శుక్రవారాలలో ఏ శుక్రవారమైనా చేసుకున్న పర్వాలేదు. కానీ పూర్తి భక్తి తోనూ నమ్మకంతోనూ చేసుకోవాలి. అప్పుడే సరైన ఫలితం దక్కుతుంది.



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hayagriva Jayanthi / Mangala Gauri Vrat - మంగళ గౌరీ వ్రతము / హయగ్రీవ జయంతి

శ్రావణ మాసం పౌర్ణమి రోజున జరుపుకునే హయగ్రీవ జయంతి మరియు శ్రావణ మంగళ వారములు ఆచరించే (నాలుగు వారములు) మంగళ గౌరీ వ్రతముల వెనుక చాల కథలు, అర్థాలు ఉన్నాయి.

మానవ కళ్యాణము కోసం భగవంతుడు ఎన్నో లీలలు చేస్తుంటాడు. అవతారాలు ఎత్తుతుంటాడు. అయితే అలా చెయ్యడానికి కారణాలు, మార్గాలు కూడా తానే సృష్టించుకుంటుంటాడు.

హయగ్రీవ అవతారం కూడా అలాంటిదే. దానితో పాటు మంగళ గౌరీ వ్రతం కూడా తానే ఏర్పాటు చేసుకున్నాడు.

హయగ్రీవ అవతారము 
రాక్షసులు మితిమీరి దుండగలు చేయ సాగారు. భగవంతుడుని పూజించడం, పూజలు పునస్కారాలు చేయడం వల్ల తమకు హాని కలుగుతోంది అని అసలు వేదాలనే హరించేస్తే అందరూ పూజలు మర్చి పోతారని చాలా సార్లు వేదాలని దొంగిలించడమూ మళ్ళీ వాటిని భగవంతుడు ఏదో విధంగా కాపాడడమూ జరుగుతూ వచ్చాయి.

ఈ సారి రాక్షసుడు  గుర్రం రూపంలో వాటిని దొంగిలించి పారిపోయాడు. అప్పుడు బ్రహ్మ మళ్ళీ వెళ్లి విష్ణు మూర్తి శరణు జొచ్చాడు.  విష్ణు మూర్తి ఈ సారి పెర్మనెంట్ సొల్యూషన్ వెదికాడు. బ్రాహ్మణి పంపించేసి తాను వ్యూహం రచించాడు.

లక్ష్మీ దేవికి కోపం వచ్చేలా ప్రవర్తించి ఆమెతో శాపం తీసుకున్నాడు తలా తెగి పోయేట్లా. మళ్ళీ తనే దానికి విరుగుడు కూడా ఏర్పాటు చేసుకున్నాడు. తల తెగగానే గుఱ్ఱపు ముఖము ఒకటి తెచ్చి తనకి అతికించేలా. తాను హయగ్రీవ మూర్తి అయ్యాడు. ఆ రూపంలో వెళ్లి ఆ రక్షస్సుని సంహారించి వేదాలని తెచ్చాడు. కాని అలా చేస్తే మళ్ళీ బ్రహ్మ వాటిని పారేసుకుంటాడని ఆలోచించి తిన్నగా వేదాలనే బ్రహ్మ బట్టీ పట్టే లాగా ఆ అవతారంలోనే అతనికి భోధించి వేద జ్ఞానాన్ని శాశ్వతం చేశాడు. అప్పటి నుండి విష్ణు మూర్తిని హయగ్రీవ మూర్తిగా కూడ పూజించడం మొదలెట్టారు. హయగ్రీవ మూర్తి జ్ఞానాలను ప్రసాదించే మూర్తిగా పూజింపబడుతున్నాడు.

హయగ్రీవ స్వామిని ముఖ్యంగా అక్షరాభ్యాసం, ఏమైనా పెద్ద పరీక్షలు కట్టేటప్పుడు, లేదా మామూలుగా ప్రతిరోజూ జ్ఞానము వెలుగు చూపించమనీ ఆరాధించవచ్చును. హయగ్రీవ స్వామి అష్టోత్తరం చదివి పూజించవచ్చు లేదా వట్టి "జ్ఞానానందమయం" శ్లోకం చదివినా చాలు.

శ్లోకము:
జ్ఞానానందమయం దేవం నిర్మల స్ఫటికాకృతిమ్ |
ఆధారం సర్వ విద్యానాం హయగ్రీవ ముపాస్మహే ||
అర్థము: జ్ఞానము, ఆనందములతో నిండిపోయి నిర్మలమైన స్ఫటికము వలె ప్రకాశించుచున్న దైవమా, సకల విద్యలకు ఆధారమైన హయగ్రీవ స్వామీ, మిమ్మల్నే శరణు వేడుకుంటున్నాను.  (నాకు జ్ఞానం ప్రసాదించి ఉద్ధరించుమా).


మంగళ గౌరీ వ్రతము 
ఇక మంగళ గౌరీ వ్రతం గురుంచి చెప్పుకుందాము.

లక్ష్మీ దేవి తన పొరపాటుకి చింతిస్తూండగా దేవతలూ బ్రహ్మ కలిసి గౌరీ దేవిని పూజించి ఆమె కటాక్షము తో మరల విష్ణువు లక్ష్మి దేవిని జేరుకున్నట్లుగా అంతా విష్ణువే సృష్టించెను. లక్ష్మి దేవి మహదానందం తో ఆ మంగళవారం నాడు ఎవరైతే గౌరీ దేవిని పూజిస్తారో వాళ్ళకి సౌభాగ్యము, ఇంకా కోరిన కోరికలన్నీ కూడా తీరేట్లాగా వరమిచ్చింది.
అప్పటినుండి అందరూ శ్రావణ మాసంలో గౌరీ వ్రతం చేయడం మొదలు పెట్టారు. మంగళవారం నాడు చేస్తున్నారు గనుక దానికి మంగళ గౌరీ వ్రతం అనీ, అదీ కాక శ్రావణ మాసంలో చేస్తున్నారు గనుక శ్రావణ మంగళ గౌరీవ్రతం అనీ పేర్లు వచ్చాయి.

ఈ మంగళ గౌరీ వ్రతం ఒక నోము లాగ మొత్తం శ్రావణ మాసంలోని అన్ని మంగళవారములు చేయవచ్చును లేదా ఒకసారి అయినా కనీసం చేస్తే మంచి జరుగుతుంది. గౌరీ దేవిని నామాల తోనూ, స్తోత్రాలతోను, పసుపు, కుంకుమ, పూల తోనూ పూజించి ప్రసన్నురాలిని చేసుకుని ఆమె కటాక్షము తో సకల సౌభాగ్యములూ పొందవచ్చును.


ఈ విధంగా దేవుడు ఎప్పటికప్పుడు అవసరమైనప్పుడల్లా అవతార మెత్తుతూ మానవజాతిని రాక్షసుల నుండి కాపాడుతూ లోక కళ్యాణ మొనరించుచున్నాడు.

ఇవన్నీ కూడా ఆడ మగా తారతమ్యం లేకుండా ఎవరైనా సరే తమ పూర్తి కుటుంబ సంక్షేమం కోసం చేయవచ్చును.

పురుషుడు, స్త్రీ, ఇద్దరూ కూడా బండికి రెండు చక్రాల లాంటి వారు. ఇద్దరూ ఒకే దిశగా  నడుస్తూ జీవిత మనే బండిని ఒద్దికగా గమ్యానికి జేర్చాలి.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Need for Revamp of those Anti-Tobacco Campaigns with Tobacco Prevention Camps


The other day, I went to a movie and was much disturbed at the way of presentation of the anti-tobacco awareness advertisement. These are being done too much horrifically and more frequently even on TV sets with no actual positive results from them.

Nowadays, it seems as if there is a lot of great useless and fruitless activity among these so-called public health campaigners and trying to portray the ill effects of tobacco consumption by putting up very frightening and scary images of the body parts that get rotten by this killer habit of the people in our society. The campaigners think, as per my perception, that by focusing on scary to scariest images of the affected organs so as to frighten the people as much as they can, will definitely prohibit those addicts from consuming tobacco. I pity their unfruitful efforts and at their ignorance of the mentality of those victims of tobacco who never care for their destruction.

In my opinion, the victims turn to these unhealthy habits of eating or smoking tobacco as a solace to their wretched conditions in life. They want to get rid of the mental agony and physical torture being experienced by them in their everyday lives due to the lack of money, lack of a status in the society, lack of basic needs or amenities necessary for their livelihood, lack of happiness in life, etc. This addiction may be providing them some immediate relief by forgetting all those daily chores of life, taking them to some peaceful state. So, whatsoever you may try to scare them by narrating all those bad effects of their addiction through dreadful images and campaigns, they will never listen to you nor quit those habits.

What should be done to Prevent Tobacco Addiction?
So, in order to address the issues of tobacco addiction, we need to organize anti-tobacco camps and help centers in all corners of the world instead of mere promotion of campaigns displaying those useless images and quotes on the bad effects of tobacco consumption.


  • Establish free camps in cities, towns, and villages with well-trained staff who are able to communicate with people very nicely and influence them towards quitting tobacco.
  • The Doctors and staff should talk to the customers and impress them with their friendliness and sweet talk.
  • Provide regularly daily free consultancy to those coming to them for help. 
  • Both the Guardians and the patients should also be involved in those discourses and treatments.
  • Use both vocal guidance and medication during treatment.
  • Your approach should be always constructive. Educate them instead of making them scared of the consequences of their bad habits or not listening to their advice.
  • The Budget spent on advertisement campaigns should be used for this purpose by adding more funds through public contributions and donations obtained for such human welfare activities.
Do not Waste Money on Useless Advertisement Campaigns
So, better stop all that useless nonsense and consider this kind approach to deal with the situation. Spend the money for their real welfare instead of wasting it with no results obtained. Our great visionary can think of some more good ways of solving this problem. So, the government and all welfare organizations should consider this very tiny piece of advice from me and act in a better way for the sake of our human welfare.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Upanayanam Ceremony- Step by Step procedures involved in it

Most people who love to celebrate important ceremonies in a traditional way, perform even this yajnopavita or Upanayanam ceremony also in a grand manner inviting many guests and devoting much time to each and every moment of it just like a marriage.

A muhurat or an auspicious time is fixed with the advice of pundits to celebrate it at some special time and date according to the horoscope of the person for whom it is celebrated.

The parents and the child hand over the pooja thali to the Pundit
The preparations also need to be started on an auspicious day so that everything gets arranged by the time of the actual commencement of the ceremony without any hindrances. At an auspicious time, the child or the person is declared in front of some close relatives and other neighbors that he is going to be adorned with the sacred thread after giving him an oil bath, applying a tika on his forehead and offering him Aarti in the midst of some devotional songs sung by young girls and married women. Thereafter, invitations are sent to all their relatives and other friends, etc. requesting them to attend the ceremony on that actual date of the function and to bless the child with good wishes.

Most people perform a Udaka Shanti ritual before starting this Upanayanam ceremony to obtain the blessings of God for making it an auspicious and a successful celebration without any hindrances.

On the Upanayanam Day, the parents and the child take the oil baths and wear the pure and auspicious clothes and get ready by the time the pundit arrives there.


Major components of the Upanayanam Ceremony
  • As I already mentioned in this post, on an auspicious day, the parents announce their decision of performing the Upanayanam to their son in front of some close family members by dressing him like a groom ready for the auspicious event offering some Aarti to him and performing some puja.
  • Thereafter, a puja is done to the sacred thread also at your convenience. You may get it done during the actual Upanayanam ceremony also as per your purohit's advice.
  • Some people may perform Cow Puja also and offer daanam (giving away some gifts) to Brahmins. 
Now, I will narrate in a sequence some of those important stages and elements or steps involved in this ritual of Upanayanam Ceremony.

  1. Udakashanti: This ritual can be performed on the previous day itself if you are to start the Upanayanam ceremony early in the morning. This is the purification of the water that is to be used for puja and other purposes of purifying the home and surroundings. It is already discussed elaborately in one of my previous articles.
    Udakashanthi at previous evening
  2. Kalash Sthaapana and Kalash Puja:  This is the ritual of the invocation and worship of Lord Ganesha, and the 5 elements of the universe known as Prithvi, Ap, Tejas, Vayu, Akash (respectively referring to Earth, Water, Agni signifying light, Vayu signifying air, and Akash is the sky). The Kalasha as a whole represents also the God Vishnu/ Shiva and Goddess Lakshmi/ Gauri. It is the small round vessel full of water (the shape of the vessel is like a pot) which is placed at the worship place decorated by applying turmeric paste around it and some red tilak spots, a flower garland, and some mango leaves inside it and topped with a coconut wearing a turban on its head as shown in the below images. This Kalasha is worshiped with Vedic hymns and prayers invocating God. The water in the big pot is already purified with the Udaka Shaanti water and kept there for use as and when required while performing the rituals. After this ritual is over, they have kept aside and only the water required for each proceeding ritual is kept at the pooja sthal.
Water in a big pot and for Kalash in the small pot
Kalash decoration









3. Now, the actual ceremony of Upanayanam begins with Puja and Yajna. 
The yajna sthal is set arranged and the couple brings the pooja material and the sacred threads in a wide plate to sit in the ceremony along with their child.
The yajnasthal with all puja materials around it

The Raksha being tied to the child
First, the worship is done to Lord Ganesha and other Gods. A red or yellow colored thread known as Raksha is tied to the wrists (right hand of males and to left hand only of females) of the persons performing the ritual. The pundit ties it to the adult male. Then he is given other threads to be tied to his wife and to his son. All the three do the puja lighting the diyas, worshipping with flowers, showing the lighted incense sticks and offering the naivedyam. The fire is ignited placing some sandal sticks on the sand inside those arranged bricks there. Worship of Agni and the Panchabhootas (the five elements of nature) and God Vishnu are done. Ghee and Navadhanya get offered during that yajna ritual amidst chanting of Vedic hymns by the pundit.
The yajna being performed

4. A Replay of early Childhood life
After the yajna is over, a mimic of Naam Karan, Annapraashan, and playing in mother's lap are enacted to relive the moments of the child's childhood days. Both the child and the parents enjoy this occasion.

Naamkaran or naming ceremony

Naam Karan is the naming ceremony of the child done after the birth of a child which is normally done on the 12th Day or 21st Day. Some do it at the age of 3 months or 6 months or even on the First Birth Day.




Annaprashan


Anna Prashan is the ceremony of feeding solid food to the baby for the first time. It is usually celebrated at the age of above 6 months when the teeth begin to appear in the baby's mouth. During even months for Boys and Odd months for Girls. Usually, mother's brother known as Mama does the annapraashan.


playing in mother's lap




Playing in mother's lap enjoying the childhood days very happily. Normally this happens during the child's babyhood days to his pre-school period.





The above rituals are a reminder of his childhood days before he is entrusted with the yajnopavita. The parents and the child spend some nice time together by remembering those happy celebrations through this process of Upanayanam ceremony.

5. The Panchasikha ceremony or Tonsure ritual
The boy is now taken to the barber waiting outside the house or inside the balcony to get his head shaven leaving 5 locks of hair, four around the scalp and one at the top center. It is a ritual which is regarded as the prerequisite for a child to receive his education. It signifies the simplicity and purity of the boy who has decided to obtain the education with full concentration leaving all other enjoyments and distractions of life behind. The sikha signifies his determination.

The child with parents after Panchasikha

6. The Sacred thread wearing ceremony
After getting the tonsure done, the child takes a complete bath and sits again with his parents at the yajnasthal to perform the homam.
Ghee is offered to Gods in the sacred fire while Vedic hymns are chanted by the pundit for 10 minutes or so. After that, an oath taking is performed to treat the sacred thread as sacred in all respects with great respect and puja is performed to the sacred thread placed in the puja plate in front of the fire place.
Thereafter, the thread is worn to the child's body by the parents keeping one end on his left shoulder and the other hanging across his chest towards right-side from under the right shoulder while the priest chants the mantras.

worship to the sacred thread

The sacred thread wearing ceremony
The child receives the blessings of his parents who drop over his head the puja flowers and rice known as akshatha wishing for his supreme knowledge, health, and prosperity during his life. Other relatives and elders also bless him after that starting with the Mama, then grandfather and others.
Receiving blessings from parents

7. Kumara Bhojan and Muttaiduva or Sumangali Bhojanam
This is the ritual of the child taking meals along with at least two other unmarried and sacred-thread wearing youths and three married (having their husband presently) women.
At this ceremony, it is the first time for the eight-year-old child eating on his own. Till then, he has been fed by his mother and doesn't know the proper way of eating according to the scriptures. Now, is the time for him to learn how to eat by seeing the other sacred thread wearing lads who eat along with him. He watches them and does the actions according to them while eating.

8. Gayatri Mantropadesam, Homam, and Bhikshatana
After the meals taking ceremony is over, the co-eaters are gifted with some cloth, fruit, and money as a respect to them by the child and they bless him.

Now, the Gayatri Mantram or sloka is to be imparted to the child. First, the child is entrusted with the Krishnajinam. A small piece of the black deer skin is tied to his sacred thread by the priest. and then they perform puja to the Gods for some minutes.

Mantropadesham

Thereafter, the priest and the child along with his father sit in a round group covered with a cloth over them. The Gayatri mantra is treated as an auspicious possession and it is uttered by the priest into the father's ear who then utters it in the child's ear, each word of it separately so that the child can properly understand it. When it is fully imparted, they remove the cloth and come again to the puja sthal.

The priest elaborately teaches the child how to perform the daily rituals relating to the Gayatri Japa and Sandhyavandanam and makes the child understand it properly. He is advised to perform it daily three times without failure at the prescribed timings. The father is advised to oversee the child and help him in doing it properly.

Then the child performs the homam to Agni as per instructions of the priest who chants the prayers and guides the child to place the sandal wood pieces to ignite the fire and offer the ghee, etc to the sacred fire.

After these rituals, the child is instructed to seek alms from his elders. The first giver of alms will be his own mother. He should first bow to his mother and seek alms from her. Then he will take her permission to seek the alms from other relatives starting from Mama, maternal Grandfather, maternal grandmother, then the paternal grandfather, and in that sequence.

Seeking alms and permission from Mother


9. Getting Basic ideas and principles of Vedic Knowledge
Now, the child sits with the priest again without the company of the parents. All guests get engaged in the Dinner while these two sit there. The priest who is the Guru at this stage imparts the child with some fundamental basic principles that are to be practiced in his daily life as a Brahmachari and the process of obtaining spiritual knowledge as per lessons from the Vedic Texts. Through this, the child develops an idea of what is religion and philosophy and what is the essence and importance or objective of all this human life on earth. With this foundation, he can go on the search for a deep knowledge of Vedas, Upanishads, and Spirituality in the years to come.

There is a full description of all the ceremonies performed by Brahmins and Vaishnava community people at this link which runs into many pages (Page no.267 to 322).

Monday, July 10, 2017

Rules about Upanayanam and wearing of the sacred thread - Yajgyopavitam

What is Upanayanam?
The sacred thread wearing ceremony that is performed to grant the male child with the right to attend the Vedic schools and also the right to wear the thread called yajnopavita for the first time is known as Upanayanam. It is a ceremony performed by Hindus as per some guidelines issued in the Vedas.

Who is entitled to Upanayanam?
The males from the upper three castes of the Hindu religion are entitled to Upanayanam or with the right of wearing the sacred thread called as Janevu. But, some Vedic scholars treated the Shudras also as entitled to Upanayanam and to obtain the Vedic education.

We found that women were also allowed to go through Upanayana and get the Vedic knowledge prior to their marriage in some cases.


When to perform the Upanayanam or the sacred thread ceremony?
As per majority opinion that prevailed from ancient periods, the following ages have been prescribed as the minimum entitlement to receive the sacred thread (yajnopavita) and to receive the formal education.

  • Brahmins at the age of 8 years.
  • Kshatriyas at the age of 11.
  • Vaishyas at the age of 12.
  • The upper age limit was set as 24 years in most cases and as unlimited in other cases. But, it should be done before the marriage in either of the cases.

Rules for wearing the sacred thread or Janevu

  • The sacred thread is to be worn from the left shoulder towards the right side of right thigh crossing the chest so that it rests on your right shoulder and hangs towards your right.
  • It should be worn like that always ever after the Upanayanam ceremony till your death.
  • It should be treated as a holy and divine possession and kept pure always by washing the sacred thread also while taking your daily bath.
  • To maintain its purity, you need to protect it always from contamination and from getting contact with impure objects or substances.
  • Whenever you go to the urinal or toilet, you should tie it around your right ear to prevent it from hanging and getting polluted.
  • In case you happen to visit any house during their impure period (maila days) due to somebody's death, you should take a complete bath immediately after returning from there without touching any objects or people in your house.
  • In the case of death in your family, you should change the sacred thread with a new one chanting the Gayatri after the completion of the performance of the death rites.
  • If the sacred thread becomes worn and dirty or any strand of it gets broken, it should be changed with a new one chanting the Gayatri mantra.
  • In case the Janevu gets lost by slipping from your body or otherwise, you should wear a new one immediately after you realize that it is lost.
  • Whenever you wear a new sacred thread to replace the lost one or impure one, you should apply turmeric paste around it and the tilak lightly.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Yajgyopavitam - The sacred thread- Significance and Importance

What is the sacred thread or Janevu or Yajgyopavitam?

The sacred thread is a thread that is worn by Brahmins as well as Kshatriyas and Vaishyas after it is bestowed upon them amidst chanting of the Vedic hymns by pundits at a ceremony called the Upanayanam ceremony. It is made of three lines of pure cotton thread strands tied together with a single knot to form one sacred thread amidst the chanting of the Vedic mantras glorifying it. Thereafter, the person is required to perform the worship of Sun and Gayatri by performing a ritual known as Sandhyavandanam (three times a day), daily without fail, which I have discussed in two previous articles already.

The knot signifies the Brahma Granthi which should be passed by the soul or mind to attain self-realization or knowledge. It can also be interpreted as a stage where one is held up in doubts and in a very difficult situation unable to solve it.

Brahma Granthi is the first knot or obstruction in our spinal chord located at the base which prevents us from gaining knowledge. It tends to make you self-protective and afraid of accomplishing new tasks. Once you cross that barrier, you can attain knowledge.


Significance of Yajgyopavitam
యజ్జ్నోపవీతము లేదా జంధ్యము యొక్క ప్రాముఖ్యత 

Yajgyopavitam is to be spelled as "YajgnOpaveetam" the letter 't' spelled as in the word "......"
It signifies as a qualification sanctioned to the person certifying his ability or capability to acquire self-realization and to perform the Sandhyavandanam reciting the Gayatri mantra. A Brahmin boy possesses this ability at the age of 8 whereas the Kshatriya gets it at the age of 11 and a Vaishya at the age of 12 years as per norms set by Vedas.


Significance of the three strands in Yajgyopavitam

You might be wondering what do the three strands of the sacred thread represent.
The three strands of the sacred thread or Janevu refer to the three primary duties and responsibilities of a person in his life.

  1. His duty towards his teachers who lead him towards enlightenment.
  2. His responsibility towards his parents and ancestors who gave birth to him and took utmost care of him and handed over their invaluable culture and traditions to him.
  3. His duty towards the great Sages and Rishis who got enlightened through severe penance and devoted their lives to spreading their knowledge and services for the upliftment of the innocent people. It becomes the duty of a person to carry forward this incomplete mission of those great souls.
The three strands further signify the existence of three Nadis or passages of energy in our body. They are named as Ida, Pingala, and Shusumna in the Vedas. They are said to be existing in our spinal cord. They carry the vital powers of the energy of our life.

Ida Nadi and Pingala Nadi are referred to as Shiva and Shakti or Purusha and Prakriti without which there can be no life. Sushumna Nadi represents a stage of enlightenment which is above all physical attachments. So, the sacred thread or Yajgyopavitam signifies the reality and essential structure of the growth of knowledge in human life.



Variations in the thread count at different stages of life

There are some variations and stages of wearing the Yajgyopavitam as set by the Vedas.
  1. A bachelor boy can wear only one thread that consists of a knot and three strands.
  2. A married person is to wear two threads of the Yajgyopavitam that is made by combining two sets of threads. (Total six strands).
  3. A person, after possessing children, reaching the age of old age is endowed with three threads that are made with three individual sets of Yajgyopavitam. Thus he wears a total of nine strands.

Monday, June 19, 2017

How to Do Sandhyavandanam in a Simple Manner

In the previous post, I have explained the meaning and importance of performing SandhyAvandanam. Now, I am going to tell you about the method of performing Sandhyavanadanam in a very simple manner. The whole process of doing it may take 10 minutes approximately through these steps which I came to know through an elder member of our relatives family.

The article may be long as I am trying to explain it in a clear manner. But, once you understand the method, it will become very easy for you to perform it quickly within a week's time.

This SandhyAvandanam is to be performed only by men after they become eligible for it by way of undergoing the sacred thread ceremony (Upanayana). This sacred thread will be always on your body after once it is worn to you till your death. When it becomes old and torn, it needs to be replaced from time to time chanting the Gayatri mantra as prescribed by the Vedas.You need to wear the traditional men's dhoti and kanduva after having your bath in the morning and wear tilak on your forehead before performing the early morning session of Sandhyavandanam.

Items required for Sandhyavandan

  • Dhoti and Kanduva
  • One vessel (rounded pot either of steel, bronze, copper, etc.) or even a tumbler for holding water
  • One empty plate for dropping water
  • Another deep plate or wide bowl containing water for 'TarpaNam' purpose

సంధ్యావందనము సులువుగా తక్కువ సమయములో చేయు విధానము

While performing this SandhyAvandanam, face towards the east at the morning and mid-day times and towards the north at the evening time.


Step 1
Take a vessel (of rounded pot shape, generally) filled with water and a spoon in it for doing the Achamana. Also, take another shallow, deep plate for dropping the water into it while performing the SandhyAvandanam particularly if you are doing it inside the room so as to not wet the room.

Step 2
Purify yourself chanting this hymn and sprinkling some drops of water on your head with your right thumb.

"Apavitra pavitrOva sarvAvasthAngatOpiva, yah smarEt PundareekAksham sa bAhyAbhyantara suchihi". 
Otherwise, you may simply say "PundareekAkshAya Namah" 3 times and drop water on your head 3 times.

Step 3
Aachamanam

Sip water 3 times chanting these 3 names of God. You will take a little water each time into your palm with the spoon and sip it from the rear end of the palm.
The three names are "achyutAya Namah, anantAya Namah, and govindAya Namah".
Then, recite another 12 names of God knwon as the dwAdasha nAma of Lord Vishnu as below:

Om kEsavAya namah, Om nArAyanAya namah, Om mAdhavAya namah, Om gOvindAya namah, Om vishnavE namah, Om madhusUdanAya namah, Om trivikramAya namah, Om vAmanAya namah, Om sreedharAya namah, Om hrisheekEshAya namah, Om padmanAbhAya namah, Om dAmOdarAya namah.

Step 4 
PrANAyAmam (the breathing exercise)

Perform this exercise of prAnAyAmam chanting the below-mentioned mantra of Gayatri while inhaling and exhaling the air at each break of the mantra.

"Om bhooh, Om bhuvah, Om suvah, Om mahah,
Om janah, Om tapah, Om satyam,
Om tat savitru varENyam, bhargO dEvasya dheemahi
dhiyO yOnah prachOdayAt"

Recite this one also: "Om aapO jyOti rasOmrutam Brahma bhoor bhuva suvarOm"

Step 5
Sankalpam (the act of determining to perform something)

This step states the location of your place, year, season, time, and your name etc.
"Hari Om, Sri MahaVishnO rajyayA  pravarta mAnasya adyah BrahmaNah dwiteeya parArdhE,
swEta varAha kalpE, vaivasvata manvantarE kaliyugE, prathama pAdE, jamboo dweepE, bharatavarshE, bharatakhandE, mErOh dakshiNa dik bhAgE, gangaakAvErOr madhya dEshE,
Sreerangasya uttara pradEsE, asmin grihE, asya vyavahArika chAndramAsEna, SaShtee savatsarAnAm madhyE, ..........(tell the year,s name here), ......... (tell whether it is UttarAyan or dakshiNAyan), ............. (tell the season name), ....... (month's name), ......... (name of the fortnight), ........... (day's name), sree bhagavadAgNAyA bhagavat kainkarya roopam prAtah sandhyA upAshiSyE.
(This prAtah sandhyA word is applicable at morning sandhyAvandanam only. At midday, you will tell madhyAhna sandhyA upAshiSyE and at evening time, you need to tell sAyam sandhyA upAshiSyE)

Step 6
SamprOkshaNam and Surya namaskAram

Sprinkle water on your head with your right thumb reciting the following:
"AapOhistA mayO bhuvah, tAna oorjE dadhAtana, mahE raNAya chakshasE yOvashshivatamOrasah,
tasya bhAjayatE hanah, ushateeriva mAtarah, tasyAm arangamAmavO, yasyakshayAya jinvadhA, AapOjanayadhAchanah".

Folding your hands to Sun God,
"sooryascha mAmanyuscha, manyu patayascha, manyu krutEbhyah, pApEbhyO rakshamtAm,
yadrAtryAt pApamakArSam, manasA, vAchA, hastAbhyAm, padbhyAm, udarENa, shishnA,
rAtri stadavalumpatu, yatkincha duritam mayi, idam aham mAm amruta younau,
soorye jyOtiSi juhOmi swAhA"

Take water with your both hands and drop through your fingers towards Sun.

Step 7
Repeat the Aachamana process as mentioned at step 3 and do prAnAyAmam also.

Step 8
Arghya PradAnam

This is the process of welcoming Sun God offering water.

Recite "Sri bhagavadAjnayA, sri bhagavad kaimkaryArtham, sandhyAm uddishya, arghya pradAnam kariSyE".

Take water into your hands and recite this "Om bhoorbhuvassuvah, Om tatsavitruvarENyam, bhargO dEvasya dheemahi, dhiyOyOnah prachOdayAt". Now drop the water through your fingers.

Perform this act of offering water another two times.

Now welcoming the GAyatri:
Recite "Sri bhagavadAjnayA sri bhagavad Kaimkary roopam GAyatri mahAmantra japam kariSyE.

Touch water with your middle finger and fold your hands to Goddess while reciting these lines:

"praNavasya parabrahma rishihi, dEvi GAyatri chandah, paramAtmA srimannArAyaNO dEvatA,
aayaatu varadA dEvi, akSaram brahmasammitam, GAyatrim, chhandasAm, mAtEdam brahma rishah svamE OzOsi, sahOsi, balamasi, bhrAjOsi, dEvAnAmnAma nAmAsi, visvamasi, vishvAyuh, sarvamasi, sarvAyuh abhibhoorOm".

Pointing your hands towards your heart, recite the following:
"Om gAyatreem AvAhayAmi, Om sAvitreem AvAhayAmi, Om saraswateem AvAhayAmi,
daivee gaayatree chhandah prANAyAmE viniyOgah".

Step 9
Japam

Recite this mantra 10 times:
"Om bhoorbhuvassuvah Om tatsavitruvarENyam, bhargOdEvasya dheemahi, dhiyOyOna prachOdayAt".

After 10 times, do the prAnAyAmam again.

Step 10
Tarpanam (offering water with both hands)

"sri bhagavadAjnayA bhagavatkaimkarya roopam dEvatA tarpaNam kariSyE"

Touch the water with your middle finger. Then take water each time with your both hands and offer it to the Gods after each name while chanting the below-mentioned names.
Om kEshavam tarpayAmi
Om nArAyaNam tarpayAmi
Om mAdhavam tarpayAmi
Om gOvindam tarpayAmi
Om vishNum tarpayAmi
Om madhusoodanam tarpayAmi
Om trivikramam tarpayAmi
Om vAmanam tarpayAmi
Om sreedharam tarpayAmi
Om hrisheekesham tarpayAmi
Om padmanAbham tarpayAmi
Om daamOdaram tarpayAmi
Om sarvE dEvAnAm tarpayAmi
Om pitru dEvatAm tarpayAmi

Step 11
SandhyOpasthAnam (Requesting Goddess GAyatri to return to her abode after blessing us)

Recite the following with folded hands:
"uttamE shikharee dEvi, bhoomyAm parvata moordhani
brAhmaNEbhyO anujnAtA gachcha dEvi yAdAsukham
chatussAgara paryamtam gObrAhmaNEbhyah subham bhavatu"

This ending sloka is about the affirmation of performing everything with a pure heart and dedication to God expecting no results
.
"kAyEna vAchA manasEndriyairvA bhudhyAtmanAvA prakritE svabhAvAt
karOmi yadyat sakalam parasmai nArAyaNEti samarpayAmi".

So, this is the procedure of doing the sandhyavandanam in a simple manner which takes only 10 minutes of your time when you become habituated by performing it continuously for 4, 5 days.

Recently, I found a very detailed, in-depth  information regarding all the rituals performed by Brahmins including Vaishnavas at page no. 267 to 322 of this link:
https://archive.org/stream/castestribesofso01thur/castestribesofso01thur_djvu.txt

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sandhyavandanam- Meaning and Importance with 6 Components of it

SandhyAvandanam is a ritual performed by all Brahmins or Dvijas of Hindu faith. It is the oldest ritual in existence and in practice of this world. One needs to have gone through Upanayanam to observe this practice of SandhyAvandanam. I will discuss regarding Upanayanam later on.


Meaning of Sandhyavandanam
(సంధ్యావందనము)
Sandhyavandan is a Sanskrit term which is more popularly referred to as Sandhyavandanam.

The word "Sandhya" means or refers to the twilight time of a day. It may also be interpreted as the joint or transition period between the different phases of Sun during a day.

"Vandanam" means Salutation or offering respect with folded hands.

So, when both words are combined it becomes "SandhyAvandanam" and refers to the practice or ritual of offering salutations to the different transition times of the Sun.

There are three transition periods of the Sun in a day. The early morning time, the noon time, and the evening time.

So, SandhyAvandan is to be performed 3 times a day. These three periods are also known as "PrAtah Sandhya", MadhyAhnik Sandhya", and "SAyam Sandhya".

Importance of Performing Sandhyavandanam
There is much importance of SandhyAvandanam as it involves purification of the body and mind and boosts the concentration of the mind.

There are 6 main components of the SandhyAvandanam.
1. Achamanam and Angavandanam. This comprises the sipping of water to purify body and mind, and the touching of the various body parts chanting 12 names of Lord Vishnu.
2. PrAnAyAma. This is the breathing control exercise performed after Angavandanam and again at prescribed intervals during the whole process of Sandhyavandanam.
3. Sankalpam and Surya NamaskAram. This step involves the affirmation of the determination to perform the worship of Sun God and other Gods with a peaceful mind and the procedure of the worship itself chanting some hymns.
4. Gayatri Japam. This is the main component involving the reciting of Gayatri Mantra 10 times after invoking the Goddess.
5. TarpaNam. Tarpanam consists of offering water to the Gods by both hands chanting God's names and also to our deceased elder members of the family.
6. UpasthAnam. This is the ending part of SandhyAvandanam whereby we appease and pacify the Gods for the happiness of our family. During the morning, we address Mitra (a cool friendly God for will power and peace of mind). At noon, we address the glowing Sun (for power and energy) and in the evening, we address to Varuna (the God of clouds and water).


Benefits of performing Sandhyavandanam

  • SandhyAvandanam is the ritual which makes you self-controlled and determined. You are able to develop good healthy habits of rising early and control your body and mind perfectly.
  • It provides peace of mind and freedom from stress.
  • PrAnAyAma is a great exercise for your body which solves breathing problems and keeps you away from heart problems. It helps a good circulation of blood in your body.
  • Aachamanam purifies your body as it is believed that touching water again and again and sipping the water frequently during this ritual cleanses your hands and mouth and thereby your stomach also. Some supernatural powers are also associated with this process.
  • Gayatri Japam makes you concentrate on your goals and helps you achieve tasks more easily with the help of that concentration power gained by you.
  • As you are performing this ritual at early morning and evening hours, you benefit from the peaceful mind and the determination of it either for concentrating in your studies or performing some complicated tasks involving much concentration and peace of mind.
  • When you are performing this ritual in open spaces in front of the Sun, you are receiving the sun rays direct on your body which are a rich source of Vitamin D besides enjoying the beautiful nature.
  • The ritual can connect you with the elderly family members and relatives, if performed jointly, and thereby increase your confidence and communication skills.
In my next article, I will deal with the actual process of performing SandhyAvandanam, step by step, in a simple manner.

I hope you may like to view some beautiful images of children performing SandhyAvandanam and other Vedi rituals at this Link of chinnajeeyar.guru (Vedic Schools) website.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Importance and purpose of Udaka Shaanti Pooja


I recently had the privilege to attend one Upanayana Sanskaara ceremony (ఉపనయన సంస్కారము) where I witnessed the full Udaka Shanti ritual.

Udaka Shanti (ఉదకశాంతి పూజ ) is one very important ritual performed by all Hindu people.

It is a ritual through which water gets purified and becomes auspicious through the chanting of mantras and invitation of Lord of Water Varuna and other various Gods and Goddesses. The purified water is considered as equal to the celestial nectar and the holy waters of the Holi River Ganga. The water is used as Ganga Jal for all purposes.

The chief purpose of Udaka Shanti is to protect the house or the family performing this ritual and all its members from evil spirits and bad happenings.

Normal water that is being used in the household procured from taps, wells or from rivers is collected in a small pot-like vessel made up either of copper, bronze, five metals, or even of silver and gold. The pot gets applied with wet turmeric powder and kumkum dots and is placed on a cleaned floor that is decorated with rangoli. Rice is spread over the spot before placing the pot on it. A coconut is placed over that pot vertically after arranging mango leaves around it into the water. This is known as the Kalasha.

Two oil lamps are placed on either side of the Kalash and Mantras from Yajurveda are recited invoking Gods and Goddesses. Flowers are also offered during worship. The recitation of mantras takes around two hours time after which dhoop (agarbatti), deep and naivedyam are offered to the Kalash and the water gets sprinkled on the heads of people performing the ritual as well as on the heads of all those who attend the function. This signifies that all of them are purified and bestowed with the blessings of God.

The water from the Kalash is sprinkled in all the rooms of the house also to protect the house and the people in it from all evil spirits. People will take bath by adding some drops of that worshiped water for performing any auspicious ceremonies and functions.

If anybody is interested in reading or viewing these mantras, the same are available at this link-
http://sanskritdocuments.org/doc_veda/Udaka_Shanthi.pdf

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Republic Day celebration and its Specialty for Me

Happy Republic Day to all of you, my Dears.


Republic Day is celebrated by Indians to mark the occasion of India being proclaimed as a Republic from this 26th January Day of the year in 1950.

A "Republic" refers to the form of government where governing power resides with the elected representatives of the people of the country. The elections are conducted throughout the country in which all people above the age of some minimum age limit (either 18 or any other limit that is fixed by different countries as their norms) have the voting power to elect leaders to govern them. The whole country is divided into states or regions and each state or region have many constituencies within them for governing purpose. Each constituency is contested by many candidates of different political parties and one of them gets elected for that constituency according to the number of votes scored by him. These winning candidates again elect their leaders as CM of a particular state. The CM forms his government with the approval of the elected candidates by selecting the other ministers. The same thing happens for electing the country's central government also. All the voters elect their leaders for the Parliament through general elections. The elected parliamentarians, thereafter, elect their leader who becomes the Prime Minister of the country. And, he forms the central government by choosing the ministers with the approval of other elected leaders.

The government thus elected by the people of the Republic governs the state or country according to some constitution formed by the laws and mutual consent of the peoples' representatives. Our first constitution was prepared by B.R. Ambedkar and came into force with effect from January 26, 1950.

The first general elections in our country were held in November 1951 according to the new constitution of India after her becoming a Republic. The elections continued until February 1952 and the first Parliament got announced declaring Jawahar Lal Nehru as the First PM of Republic India.

So, we are celebrating each and every year on this Date, 26 January, as the Republic Day.

We salute our Country. We salute our martyrs who fought for our Independence and gifted us the independence on 15th August 1947.

These national festivals remind me of my forefathers who have also fought for the Independence of our country by taking an active part in the independence struggles and movements. My grandfather used to be referred to as Gandhiji of a village named Tallarevu near Kakinada of Andhra Pradesh during early 20th century. My uncles were born while my grandfather was in jail. So, they were named as Satyagrahacharya (born during the non-cooperation movement) and Pathakacharya ( 'pataak' means Flag and it refers to the Indian National Flag).

Our country abodes people of different cultures speaking different languages and yet they are united and bonded. They love to be called as Indians and feel always proud to be Indians.

We salute our National Flag by hoisting it with great respect and pride. We salute our soldiers and award gallantry awards to them. We salute our Scientists, Litterateurs, and all other great personalities whoever contributed and are contributing to the growth and development of our country in each and every field.

We celebrate the festival with sweets and flowers.

This festival is further associated with my God also for me and my family.

Just as it brought a people's republic and happiness for the people of our country, our God arrived in our house on this day some more than 30 years ago in the form of tiny silver idols. We installed the idols of Lord Narayana and Goddess Sri Lakshmi on this day in a small wooden temple in our puja room on that day in 1984 or 85. From that day, each year, we are celebrating this day as the birthday of our God also besides celebrating the Republic Day.

So, January 26 is a very special day for me in both the cases.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 30 - Vanga kadal kadaindha Madhavanai


This paasuram is the last one of the literary garland of thirty paasurams created by Goda Devi (Andal) to provide the people with a very simple and an easy spiritual path of attainment of moksha and the blessings of Lord Vishnu or Sriman Narayana through the observance of Dhanurmasam or the ritual of sacred Pavai Vrat.

Paasuram 30

Vanga kadal kadaindha Maadhavanai KEsavanai
ThingaL thirumugaththu sey izhayaar senRu iRainji
Anga paRai konda aaRtRai aNi pudhuvai
PaingamaLa ththandheriyal bhattar piraan kOdai sonna
Sanga thamizh maalai muppadhum thappaamE
Ingu ipparisuraippaar eerirandu maalvarai thOL
Sengan thirumugaththu selva thirumaalaal
Engum thiruvaruL petRu iNbuRuvar embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this paasuram

Thus, the gopis who are shining moon-like faced (adorned by new clothes and ornaments), attained moksha by approaching the Lord, who is called as Madhavan (because of possessing Goddess Lakshmi obtained during the churning of the Milky Ocean) and Keshavan (because of the curly hair head).
That story of their attaining moksha is told by Goda who is the daughter of Bhattar piraan (a superior or great person is referred to as Piraan) who used to wear the garlands prepared with Tulasi and lotus beads around his neck.

Whoever recites this garland of Tamil songs (especially recited in groups) honestly without any break will obtain eternal bliss, now itself and thereafter, through the overwhelming grace of that Lord, who has beautiful eyes with a red hue and divinely faced and glorious with all good qualities.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 30

Andal tells people, through this last paasuram, about her authorship and about her father cum teacher (Achaaryan) and regarding the benefit of performing this Pavai nonbu or Vrat. She also hints at the supreme qualities and benevolence of God who will definitely bless His devotees with the eternal bliss or moksha.

It asserts the importance and valuable worthiness of the Thiruppavai, the authenticity of its writer who is the disciple of a great worthy Achaaryan, the quality, and essence of the contents of this work, and the great benefits obtained by reciting or hearing of these paasurams with sincere honesty.

A concluding paragraph
Goda Devi performed the Vrat of Thiruppavai by preparing a garland of 30 paasurams in this manner and dedicating one paasuram each day to Lord Vatapatra Shaayi at Srivilliputtur temple. After completion of this penance by Goda Devi, Lord, one day, appeared in her father's dreams and also in the dreams of the King and a temple priest of the Sri Rangam Temple, and instructed them to arrange for the marriage of Goda Devi with Himself, the Lord, inside that temple of Sri Rangam. So, Goda married God and became an idol to his side there and is being worshiped as Andal since that time.

For full story of Andal, read at this link.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 29 - SitRam siRukaale on 13-01-2017

This paasuram once more asserts the determination and commitment by the gopis to keep the penance or performance of Paavai for attaining their goal of moksha and plead Lord to keep away all other desires and thoughts from their mind.

Paasuram 29

SitRam siRu kaalE vandhu unnai sEviththu unn
PotRaamarai adiyE pOtRum poruL kELaay
PetRam mEyuththu unnRum kulaththil piRandhu nee
KutREval engaLai koLLaamal pOgaadhu
ItRai paRai koLvaan AnRu kaaN Govindhaa
EtRaikkum EzhEL piravikkum undhannOdu
UtROmE aavOm unakkE naam aatseyivOm
MatRainam KaamangaL maatRelOr embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this Paasuram

Oh, Lord! We come early in the morning before the dawn to visit you. After the darshan bhaagyam, we get please and sing prayers at your lotus-like feet.
We are blessed to have you born in our clan (as we are very ordinary beings). You cannot do way without blessing us.
Oh, Govindha! We are not simply here to get the Parai from you.
We want to keep this relationship with you throughout the coming seven births and much more, and to perform your service.
Oh, Lord! Please remove all obstacles and fulfill our desires.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 29

Through this last paasuram in the voice of gopis, Goda Devi spreads the message that those who discard all their material desires and enjoyments and indulge in the services of God with sincere determination, seeking no return from Him for those services rendered, will be rewarded by Lord, on his own, the permanent bliss of moksha removing all the obstacles between Him and His devotees.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 28 - Karavaigal pin senru Dated 12-01-2017

In this paasuram, the gopis acknowledge their ignorance as they are simple cattle feeders and do not know what is good or bad and ask for his forgiveness if they committed any mistakes.

Paasuram 28

KaRavaigaL pin senru kaanam serndhu uNbOm
ARivonRum illaadha aay kulaththu undhannai
PiRavi peRundhanai puNNiyam yaam udayOm
KuRai onRum illaadha Kovindhaa undhannOdu
uRavEl namakku ingu ozhikka ozhiyaadhu
ARiyaadha piLLaigaLOm anbinaal undhannai
SiRu pEr azhaiththanamum seeRi aruzhaadhE
IRaivaa nee thaaraay paRaiElOr embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this paasuram

Oh, Krishna! We are very simple ignorant people going behind the cattle to the forests and eating there even without washing the hands.
In such a clan, you have arrived taking your birth. This is our great fortune.
Oh, Govinda! You are complete with all qualities and so capable of removing all our weaknesses.
This relationship between us cannot be undone even if we desire.
We are like little children unaware of any manners. So, kindly forgive us as we have addressed you with little names.
Please, oh God, bless us with the PaRai (moksha).

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 28

Through this paasuram, Andal refers to the ignorance of people in realizing the greatness of God.
We are unaware about His paramathmathathvam and His being the only savior of all our problems. But, once when we get some hints and glimpses of His image, we are able to recognize his Omnipotence and Omniscience qualities. Then, we discard all our lust for material pleasures and long for His union. We realize that we are too much inferior and discard all our ego and pride to seek His pardon and refuge.