Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ganesh Utsav 2015


Ganesh Utsav

September 17th 2015 - to - September 27th 2015

The annual festival of Ganesh Utsav is heralded on Ganesh Chaturthi day, fourth day after new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada. People (especially in Maharashtra) celebrate this occasion with great fanfare, gaiety and piety. Devotees establish small and big statues of Lord Ganesh in their homes, offices, and public puja places. 'Puja',  'Archana' or prayers are offered to the lord and people fast, chant Mantras, and offer 'modak' or ladoo sweets to Ganapati dev. 

Ganesh Utsav lasts for eleven days and ends on Anant Chaturdashi or fourteenth day of the month.

Ganesh Chaturthi is believed to be the birthday of Lord Ganesh. Ganesh is the son of God Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Parvati made Ganesh with the 'ubtan' or exfoliating paste from off her body and gave it life. Once Ganesh was assigned the task, by his mother, of gate keeper while his mother bathed inside the house. Just then, Shiva unaware of anything, wanted to enter his home but was not allowed entry by little Ganesh. Shiva, in a rage, severed the head of the child. On hearing the noise, Parvati appeared and on seeing her beheaded child, demanded that the child be brought back to life. On hearing all the story, Shiva replaced Ganesh's head with an elephant's head and brought the child back to life.

Ganesh is 'Mangalkari' or auspicious. He is first among all Gods and prayed to first. He is also known as 'Vinayaka' or 'Vighnaraja' or one who removes all obstacles and impediments in the path of completion of any task or work. Ganesh is the God of wisdom and prosperity and is usually depicted as sitting next to Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi. Ganesh is also 'Shubh' or auspicious and all major work is started with an invocation to him.



Happy Ganesh Utsav


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Janmashtami 2015


The festival of Janmashtami marks the birth of Lord Shri Krishna and is celebrated all over india with great fervor and merriment. This day falls on the eighth day or 'Ashtami' of the month of Bhadrapad in the 'Krishna paksha' or dark phase of the moon.

Janamashtami is also known as Gokulashtami, Shree Jayanti, or Sri Krishna Jayanti.

It is widely believed Lord Krishna was the avatar of Lord Vishnu and had taken birth on this earth to fight and annihilate evil and restore good and righteousness or 'Dharma'. In the Geeta, Shri Krishna tells Arjuna that whenever evil will raise its might to overpower goodness and Dharma, he will take birth to fight evil and restore balance. 

Janamashtami is celebrated with great pomp in homes and temples. People observe fasts the whole day. At midnight, prayers are offered to the Lord. Many kinds of sweets and fruits are offered as 'prasad' and songs, bhajans, prayers are chanted. Little statues of baby Krishna or 'Ladoo Gopal' or 'Bal Krishna' are decorated in cradles and swings. People swing the child Krishna as a token of their love and adoration for the Lord. Fasts are broken after the night prayers while some continue to fast till the next morning. However, one should not feel any compulsion to follow rituals. Prayers to God is all about your faith and there are no hard rules. Do what feels right and good to you. 

Lord Krishna was a fun loving, joyful avatar. He was also called 'Nat Nagar'. 'Nat' or dance and 'Nagar' or town - So one who danced with the whole town, community or group. As in the 'Raas Leela', where Krishna danced with the Gopis. He was a guide, a leader, and a teacher. As when he reveals the lessons of the Geeta to Arjuna. People thus celebrate Janmashtami with songs, dance, merriment and some introspection and prayers.

 'Dahi Handi' is also an example of both an enjoyable game and a lesson in teamwork and co-operation where people enact the scenes from Lord Krishna's childhood. Krishna was a mischievous child and out of fun and a way to tease the Gopis, he would break their 'matki' or earthen pots  and steal 'makhan' or churned butter from them, for eating and enjoyment. The Gopis loved him and would chase him smiling and complaining. "Dahi Handi" is celebrated the next day, after Janamashtami. People form human pyramids while one person climbs on top to break a pot hanging high above full of 'dahi' or yogurt or makhan. 


Lord Krishna's main teaching was that people should live with each other with love and harmony, follow Dharma, and do our given duties or Karma. 


Monday, August 31, 2015

Angarak Ganesh Chaturthi

Angarak Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi
1st September 2015


Chaturthi is the fourth day of the Hindu lunar calendar and comes around twice in a month.Chaturthi is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. Ganesh devotees observe vrat or fast on Chaturthi day from dawn to dusk and break their fast only after sighting the moon. 

The Chaturthi that comes after Purnima or full moon night is called Sankashti Chaturthi. This is considered very auspicious for fasting and fulfilment of wishes or ‘manokamna’. The Chaturthi that comes after Amavas or new moon night is called Vinayaki Chaturthi.

On rare occasions in a year, the Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi happens to fall on a Tuesday. This day has a special name called ‘Angarak Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi ’. This is considered very potent and auspicious day for praying to Lord Ganesh. 

Mantra

वक्रतुण्ड   महाकाय   सूर्यकोटि   समप्रभ
Vakratunda Mahakaaya SuryaKoti Samaprabha
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Dev Sarva Karyesu Sarvada

Dear Lord Ganesh...The one with a curved Trunk and a large - huge body... The one who shines like a million radient sun... Please help me to always accomplish my work or task without any obstacles and complications...

Ganesh is the god who is ‘Shubh karta’, 'Dukh Harta' and ‘Mangalkari’ or one who makes anything auspicious. He is also ‘vighnharta’ or one who rids all obstacles. He grants knowledge, wisdom, wealth, and fortunes to his devotees.

Lord Ganesh is prayed to by offerings of Ladoo and Modak (Indian Sweets) and 'Durba' or green grass blades.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chaitra Purnima



Chaitra Purnima:
Today, April 15th is a day of prayers and festivities. Today it is Purnima or full moon day. It is also Hanuman Jayanti. Hanuman Jayanti is the day when lord Hanuman’s birth is celebrated. Today is also the beginning of New Year in many states. In Assam Rongali Bihu is celebrated. In Kerala Vishu is celebrated and in Bengal Phoela Baishakh is celebrated.
The Hanuman Jayanti this year is especially auspicious as it falls on a Tuesday. Tuesdays are usually the marked day in the Hindu calendar when devotees offer prayers to Lord Hanuman.
Lord Hanuman is the embodiment of devotion, strength, humility, intelligence and courage. He blesses his devotees with ‘bal’ or strength and courage, ‘Buddhi’ or wisdom and understanding and ‘vidya’ or knowledge, skills, and intelligence.
People fast on this day and read the Hanuman Chalisa, offer bananas and ladoos at Hanuman temples and smear sindoor on Lord Hanuman.
It is believed that Lord Hanuman once asked Sita mata why she applied sindoor every day. She replied that it was for the long life and welfare of Lord Ram. Immediately on hearing this Lord Hanuman smeared his entire body with sindoor.
As per the scriptures Hanuman is the only living God who is alive till today. Whenever one chants the name of Ram, Lord Hanuman is sure to come and listen and participate in the prayers. Such is the devotion of Hanuman for Ram.
Lord Ram was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Today is Purnima and people also perform Vishnu puja in many ways today, like Satya Narayan Puja. So in every way then, today is a day dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Ram and Hanuman.
...Jai Shri Ram...Jai Shri Ram...Jai Shri Ram...




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Shivratri

Shivratri

Mahashivratri - 27th Feb 2014

Shivratri or the 'night of Shiva' is celebrated with both austerities and festivities. This auspicious holy night falls in the month of Phalgun, a night before Amavasya night. 

You can  offer jal (water or Ganga water), kachcha dudh (raw or unboiled milk), Dhatura, Bilva leaves, Sandlewood paste, Panch Amrit (milk, yogurt, ghee, sugar, honey) etc. to Lord Shiva. Shiva is quick to please and even a little 'jal abhishek' or pouring water on the Shivling suffices. Incase nothing is available, a pure hearted prayer, chanting the Shiva Mantra is also enough to please Bholenath or Lord Shiva.

Usually, one fasts on Shivratri day from dawn till the next day's dawn. The night is spent in chanting, meditation, prayers, and bhajan. It is a night of introspection and realizing the deep connect with Parmeshwar.

Lord Shiva is an ideal householder God and guides one in fulfilling their domestic responsibility with gratitude and care. Devotees seek his blessings for a happy married and family life. Nothing is impossible at the feet of 'Devo ke Dev' or the God of all Gods - Shiva or Mahadev. He blesses his devotees with every fortune and opens the door of enlightenment, wisdom, and knowledge to everyone.

OM NAMAH SHIVAY



Monday, February 17, 2014

Angarak Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi


Angarak Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi Vrat




Chaturthi is the fourth day of the Hindu lunar calendar and comes around twice in a month. Chaturthi is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. Ganesh devotees observe vrat or fast on Chaturthi day from dawn to dusk and break their fast only after sighting the moon. 

The Chaturthi that comes after Purnima or full moon night is called Sankashti Chaturthi. This is considered very auspicious for fasting and fulfilment of wishes or ‘manokamna’.  The Chaturthi that comes after Amavas or new moon night is called Vinayaki Chaturthi.

On rare occasions in a year, the Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi happens to fall on a Tuesday. This day has a special name called ‘Angarak Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi ’. This is considered very potent and auspicious day for praying to Lord Ganesh. 

Ganesh is the god who is ‘Shubh karta’ and ‘Mangalkari’ or one who makes anything auspicious. He is also ‘vighnharta’ or one who rids all obstacles. He grants knowledge, wisdom, wealth, and fortunes to his devotees.

In 2014, Angarak Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi falls on 18th February, 15th July, and 9th December.

One also prays to Goddess Durga, Lord Hanuman, Lord Mangal Grah on Tuesdays.


 
 
 
 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Saraswati Puja 2014


Saraswati Puja 



Yaa Kundendu tushaara haara-dhavalaa, Yaa shubhra-vastra'avritaa
The one who is fair like the Kunda flower, white as the moon, who wears a garland made of Tushar flowers, and the one who wears white garments

Yaa veena-vara-danda-manditakara, Yaa shweta padma'asana
The one who is decorated with the Veena in her hands and the one who sits on the pristine white Lotus flower

Yaa brahma'achyuta shankara prabhritibhir Devai-sadaa Vanditaa
The one who is prayed to by the Trimurti, namely Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva along with all other Gods

Saa Maam Paatu Saraswati Bhagavatee Nihshesha jaadya'apahaa.
That Bhagwati Saraswati Devi (Ma Saraswati), please remove our ignorance and grant us knowledge, wisom and intelligence


Vasant Panchmi  is celebrated as Saraswati puja today. Vasant or Basant means spring and Panchmi is the fifth day of the Magh month of the Hindu lunar calendar. This day is important since it heralds the spring season after the bitter cold winter. The days are brighter, weather is pleasant, and trees are decorated with lush foliage and colorful buds.  Today mata Saraswati came into existence.

When Lord Brahma was asked to create the ‘Shrishti’ or world, he did so but was not satisfied with what he saw. It was bland. He then created Goddess Saraswati. Sarawati played the Veena (a stringed musical instrument) and at once the world came alive with music. People laughed and sang, the wind whistled, the birds chirped, and the water bubbled and gurgled. Everything had a sound.

Saraswati is regarded as the goddess of knowledge, skills, art, music, beauty, intelligence and wisdom. She is known as the mother of the Vedas. She also influences’s speech. Saraswati is symbolized as holding the Veena which plays the music of life and love. She rides a gracious swan, symbolizing the ‘satvic gunas’ or virtues of purity and righteousness. She is also known as ‘Bagishwari’, ‘Bhagwati Sharda’, and ‘Veena Vadini’.  She gives impetus and growth to our talents and abilities.  Praying to her today enhances our brilliance and mental growth.

Today also, people adorn themselves with yellow clothes. Yellow is the color of sunshine, newly ripe fruits, love, abundance and the beautiful fields filled with crops.  People also eat and distribute yellow sweets and fruits today.

Basant or Spring is also the time for love and romance.  Kamdev, the God of love is also worshiped today along with his wife Rati. It is believed Lord Krishna did most of his merriment and pranks-play with the gopis, during this season..

Jai Ma Saraswati