Art of Living Courses.

In the recent “Mann Ki Baat” by our Honourable PM Shri Narendra Modi ji, on “Drug Free India“, He mentioned about the dire need for awareness among youth about the impact that drugs have on any human being.

 

What may seem to be fun for a short duration of time, can ruin your entire life. They say that about 98% of cocaine users started with cigarettes. According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, over 10 lakh people die due to tobacco addiction and related diseases in India every year. Those who smoke tobacco easily fall prey to other addictions. 44 per cent of tobacco users (in the age group of 12 to 15 years) have been found to be addicted drugs such as ganja, cocaine and heroine, according to various studies 65% of ganja and 98% cocaine users surveyed said they began with tobacco Those who smoke 15 cigarettes and more per day were found to be addicted to using ganja frequently.

 

Well, there is no dearth of research on this topic, but what is the need of the hour for the drug addicts is a loving, caring environment, where they can shun such addictions and rehabilitate their lives.

 

 Art of Living’s De-addiction program is the natural Solution to Drug & Alcohol De-addiction. The program gives a natural and clean intoxication from breathing techniques or pranayama gears one to take on life’s challenges without resorting to old addictive behaviours. It purifies the nervous system  which is worst affected by substance abuse. In turn, one regain good health.

 

In one of the worst affected states of India, Punjab; De-addiction program has helped transform lives of many.

 

A small video shows the work done.

 

You can also visit http://www.vvmrc.com/  for more details

 

May our society be free from this curse of Addiction of Alcohol and Drugs.

By Namita Bohara

Art of Living Wisdom.

Seeing God as a Child

One can see an expression of the Indian love for children in the manner in which they have idolized even their gods in the form of a child.

We thus see portrayals of Shiva as Bala Shiva, Rama as Bala Rama, Krishna as Bala Krishna, Ganesha as Bala Ganapathy, Karthikeya as Bala Muruga and Hanuman as Bala Hanuman.

Seeing god

Godly Children

Indian legends, the Purana are replete with enjoyable stories of the acts of various divinities in their child like form, some among these divinities being Tattva, cosmic principles and some others being historic personages.

The history epic, Valmiki’s Ramayana contains portrayals of Lord Rama and His brothers as ideal children. Through the behavior and life of these historic and ideal children, the Ramayana conveys the message of obligations of brotherhood, obedience to parents and obeisance to teachers. It celebrates childhood as the budding point for all qualities displayed in later adulthood.

The other history epic, Vyasa’s Mahabharata, through the lives of the five Pandava and the 100 Kaurava brothers, brings to focus competitive spirit amongst children. It showcases how impressions both positive and negative, formed during childhood can assume far greater proportions and cause great impacts to society in years to follow. It alerts us of the propensity of children to retain impressions and emotions well into their lives.

Purana dealing with tattva divinities such as Ganesha, Kartikeya have portrayed them symbolically in child like forms and through symbolic stories of symbolic acts of these divinities, have conveyed principles of the cosmos, of mankind, of mind, of intellect and of ego to help elevate man’s thinking and behavior.

Yet other Purana have immortalized some of the children of long bygone eras, in the saga of the land for generations that have followed in the last many millennia. The story of the boy Sravana’s devotion to his parents, the story of Markandeya’s unshakeable faith in the divinity Shiva, even in the face of death are known to most, through the land, even in this day.

The Purana legends have also showcased scientific possibilities involving children and their upbringing. We thus have legends showcasing the ability of the foetus to grasp happenings and sounds outside the womb. The story of Prahalada showcases how he imbibed devotion towards Narayana while in his mother’s womb and carried it forth as a little boy. The story of Ashtavakra again highlights how Ashtavakra imbibed the Upanishad while in his mother’s womb and used it later to help his father in times of need. Yet again, the story of Abhimanyu reiterates how a child starts gaining knowledge right from the time it is in the womb of its mother.

The legend of Dhruva symbolically narrates the scientific phenomenon of precession of the earth and its effect on the pole star seen in the skies. It is a beautiful way in which the principles of astronomy have been woven into a simple legend.

Srimad Bhagavatham contains many anecdotes on the pranks played by Lord Krishna, His brother Balarama and their gang of friends, Gopa and Gopi. This text highlights the qualities of innocence as well as impishness in children. It celebrates children for the adorable and affable beings that they are

Seeing God in a Child

Children by nature are mischievous. To be mischievous is an innate quality of children.

Krishna’s precocious pranks are part of the rich folklore of this land

Krishna's pranks

Krishna, His pranks and His lovable, playful ways, set the trend for how people regarded children, in the land of India across millennia.

This land, by culture, for the last 5,100 years since the times of Krishna, has viewed children as a replica of Krishna and has relished their pranks as they would Krishna’s. The mischief of children has rarely been associated with punishment and reprimanding. It has instead been eulogized and happily expressed as an imitation of Krishna.

Given this ethos, when elders admonish their children for their harmless pranks, it is not stern and wrathful. It has in it an admiration for their innocence and a tolerance with an understanding that by nature, children are given to their ways of pranks.

A culture that gives space for children to grow up with their mischief also automatically gives them the space to grow out of their mischief as a part of the transition from childhood to adolescence.

Holding Children in High Esteem

It is no wonder that various political, religious as well as social leaders have focused specially on the children in the society. They have not only showered affection on them, but they have also invested time and effort in grooming the children in society, in morals, ethics and values. We thus have in many languages, simple couplets composed specially for inculcating good conduct and values in children. These couplets served as the nursery rhymes in this civilization much before the British replaced them with theirs.

Children’s day celebrations are a facet of the high esteem in which this civilization holds the development of its children.  Classic examples of this commitment, even till a couple of centuries ago, can be seen from the quote of Brigadier General Alexander Walker of East India Company from 1780 to 1810.

Children

Dedicating November 14th, the birth anniversary of prominent leader Jawaharlal Nehru, who was close to children, as Children’s Day, is a representative gesture of the high esteem in which children have been held through the ages.

Nehru with Children

It is a day for us to recognize the value of children, the values in children and the values that have to be taken to the children for the development of a valued society.

It is a day to rededicate ourselves to the cause and joys of children.

By

Rahul Kaimal

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

Others.

It is in the white of light of truth and red light of emotion that I write about one of a legendary performing artist. My lessons as a shishya have surmounted to a realization that truth remains meaningless without emotion and emotion is in vain if it is not for the sake of truth. Thus, if I had to explain what Maharaj ji represents in one phrase, it would be with something I heard say in a moment of emotion once, “Khudrat ki meherbaani” or a gift of nature.

natalia

As the wonder of nature lies in its power to infinitely create and recreate itself, in turn, Maharaj ji is constantly composing landscapes of rhythm, movement, song, and poetry. As nature can only be complete onto itself, likewise, his approach to art expresses an internal aesthetic logic connecting culture, spirituality, and humanity. This is especially needed in a world that is becoming increasingly mechanized and commercial, impersonal, and ready-made. On the contrary, Maharaj ji makes an effort to connect his work to those around him.

Born at the perfect time in Indian history, at the perfect place in the artistic heart of Lucknow, and with the several personal qualities to imbibe such a family legacy, Pt. Birju Maharaj ji has done much to advance the art form of Kathak. I have often thought that even if colonialism took the Kohinoor away from India, no one would ever be able to take away India’s true cultural richness which is embodied by such artists as Maharaj ji.

Therefore as a student, I can say that from the first footwork I ever witnessed him dance…to the first tihai I ever learned at his Kalashram academy…to the first words of Hindi I ever spoke to him…to the first smiles I shared with his grandchildren…to the first paran or bhav he encouraged me to perform…to the first meal he had in my home… to the last time I bowed to offer him a Pranaam – today and always, this person will live as a symbol in his fans’ and his students’ reflections as a constant call to duty: to honor the legacy we have inherited.

Be this art or tradition, if called by any other name, remains our way of sharing and understanding that which matters most in life.

Details of the Course:

Dates: 27th – 30th November 2014
(Check-in: 26th evening, Check-out: 30th 6 pm onwards)

Programs: Basic and Advanced Levels

Eligibility:  Basic(Beginners)- Open for all above 17yrs
Advanced- Above 17 yrs with minimum 3 years training in Kathak

Pre-Registration Required.

For More Details
Email: aolnrityasadhana@gmail.com
For Details call: 080 67262637, 8123474509
Register: www.bangaloreashram.org

Source : www.artofliving.org 

 

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

After taking stock of wealth and setting up new books of accounts, it is now time to share this wealth with kith and kin.

The 2nd day after the Amavasya, is therefore celebrated as Bhai Dhuj in the West and North of India.

 

bhaidooj

 

Bhai Dhuj is a festival celebrated during this Kaumudi Mahotsava month, Deepavali period, when the brother goes to the sister’s house to greet her family and give her gifts. Post-harvest, there is abundance and prosperity all around. This is the time of sharing. Given this, it is but natural that the brother visits his married sister bringing goodies for her from her parent’s house. For the married sister, the brother’s house is after all her house of birth. It is an occasion for reunion.

By

Rahul Kaimal

E-Mail bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

Govardhana Pooja

The Govardhana episode is a very popular legend related to the deeds of Krishna. Krishna, who was born in Mathura around 5,100 years back was a very precocious child, a child prodigy. Krishna is the central character of the Mahabharatha events. It is Krishna who gave us the sermon of the Bhagavad Gita, which is one of the primary texts of the Indian lore, speaking of the duties of man and his relationship between himself, his soul and the divine Creation.

 

Govardhan

 

More on Krishna and his historical personage can be read in the book, ‘Historical Krishna’, a part of the Bharath Gyan series.

 

Historical Krishna series

 

Krishna in his childhood, once questioned his elders as to why they were praying to Indra, when instead they should be praying to the hills, the rivers, the forests, the fields and the cows which were so immediate to them, which were near them, which gave them succour in their daily lives.

Krishna opined that instead of praying to Indra, the people of Vrindavan, among others should be praying to Nature and such aspect that gave them the immediate succour. Hearing Krishna’s wrongs of wisdom the people turned their prayers from Indra to the hills, the orchards, the rivers and the cows that were nearby which gave the people the daily nourishment. Indra, the leader of the divine forces obviously did not like being neglected. Indra unsheathed his wrath and sent down lightning after lightning and torrential hailstorms.

The common people who had listened to the advice of Krishna were frightened by the turn of events and turned to Krishna for help. Krishna literally rose to the occasion and lifted up a nearby hillock, collected the local people under it and shielded them from the wrath of Indra, which eventually subsided after wearing out against the steadfastness of Krishna.

This episode was one among the many defining moments in the life and deeds of Krishna. This event which happened over 5,100 years ago, is commemorated to this day as Govardhana Pooja, a day after Deepavali.

While at one level this legend seems like a miracle performed by Krishna, at a ground level, the Govardhana Giri episode is symbolic of Krishna steering people towards achieving harmony with Nature by focusing their attention on performing their daily chores bearing in mind the dependency of man on Nature. Through this Govardhan Giri episode and bringing people under the shade of Govardhan, Krishna was bringing people to the fountainhead of knowledge and re-emphasizing the need for rational thought, physical sciences and knowledge in one’s daily life.

Annakut

 

This event of Govaradhan Giri is also celebrated as Annakut where varieties of food preparation are decorated in the form of a mountain, symbolizing Govardhana Giri and offered to the divine and later distributed to all.

After all the celebrations and feasting, the Govardhan Pooja is a reminder to people to pay obeisance to the Nature around them that has given them all this prosperity and to pledge to work in harmony with Nature in the forthcoming seasons.

 

Annakut

Start of New Accounting Year

The 1st day of the Karthik month, is celebrated as the start of the New Accounting year by the trading community, especially in Western India, the gateway for trade since the times of Krishna, 5100 years ago. More on this can be found in our work Historical Krishna of the Bharath Gyan Series.

For this community of traders, with new produce, fresh stocks have arrived for trading. New books of accounts were therefore opened to start fresh account keeping. This day was celebrated with prayers for a good financial year ahead and also to commit to conducting business in an honest and righteous manner.

Bali Pratipada

The day after Karthik Amavasya, i.e. the Prathama, Pratipada, according to legends is the day when Vishnu in the form of Vamana, a short statured scholar, sends the mighty Asura king, MahaBali to Patala Loka. More about this legend and where Patala Loka lies, is discussed in out book 2012 – The Real Story of the Bharath Gyan Series.

This event is a reminder to people on how arrogance can bring one down, irrespective of however good one is. Bali was a great king and was loved dearly by his people. He was known for his large hearted charity. But he was so arrogant about his greatness and goodness that he did not deem it fit to listen to his Guru’s advice at a critical juncture and this brought about his downfall

Vamana’s leg on Bali’s head

 

This day of Bali Partipada after Deepavali and all the wealth, is a reminder to people on how not to get arrogant like Bali, about the wealth one has gained but to accept it with grace and share it with all like Bali again

By

Rahul Kaimal

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

Karthik Amavasya, Deepavali

The day of Karthik Amavasya, New Moon, is celebrated as the main day of Deepavali and is ascribed to many reasons.

Lakshmi Pooja

In most parts of India, especially the north and west, the Deepavali festival is celebrated as Lakshmi PoojaLakshmi is the divinity for wealth. During this Lakshmi pooja traders start new accounting books for the next accounting year

Lakshmi

Why do the traders in India start new accounting year on Deepawali?

India as a land is a monsoon rain fed Country. The Southwest monsoon rain sets in in the first week of June. This South West monsoon rain lashes throughout India for the next four months. India being an agrarian Society, that is Agriculture being its main occasion, it is during these four months of continuous rain that the primary crop of India is sown and reaped.

By the time the abundance of this crop is harvested and brought to the market to be traded, it is the time of Deepavali. It is the time of plenty. It is the time of fresh arrivals.

Isn’t it but apt that the new financial, new accounts year for the traders start with Lakshmi Pooja? It has been so through the centuries and through the millennia.

In the word Lakshmi you have the root word Lakshya meaning aim, goal.  The aim of a society is to be productive, harmonious and noble. It is when there is bounty that all this is possible. This Lakshmi Pooja is not only significant for the traders to start new account but also encourages the people at large to relish their hard work from the bountiful harvest, share their bounty with one and all, which in turn brings out their nobility, their dharma –  the aim, the goal, the lakshya of people.

Thus Lakshmi Pooja is just not praying to the divinity of wealth but is in fact a culmination of four months of agrarian effort and is a form of thanks giving to the divinity of prosperity for the plentitude showered and also a time for setting goals to lead a noble and harmonious life.

Coronation of Rama and Rama Rajya

Rama, the legendary hero of India was born in Ayodhya and ruled the kingdom of Kosala about 7,100 years ago.

The historicity of Rama has been traced in our book, Historical Rama from the Bharath Gyan Series.  Rama, after his fourteen years vanavas, exile and after defeating Ravana who had kidnapped His wife Sita, Rama returned to His city Ayodhya with Sita and His brother Lakshmana, to begin His rule on this day. Rama ascended the throne in the year 5076 BCE.

This day of His return and the event of coronation as King of Ayodhya, Rama Pattabhishekh, was marked with joy by lighting series of lamps, Deepavali. It has been celebrated since then, every year as Deepavali in North India

Coronation of Rama

The noble rule of Rama, from then on through the Itihasa, Ramayana and the Puranic legends, have come down to our times, our knowledge, as the period of ideal rule. This ideal rule of Kingship is what is eloquently referred to as “Rama Rajya”. The details of this Rama Rajya, the components of this ideal rule and its relevance in the modern management scenario is discussed in our work “Rama Rajya” which is part of the Bharath Gyan Series.

This ideal rule of Rama was so much cherished through the systems, practices, traditions and stories by generations and generations of people through the ages in this land that the people thought it fit to celebrate the coronation of Rama, His Pattabhishekham as the festival of Deepavali so that successive rulers of this land can try to emulate the good components, the good features of the rule of Rama that can make the land and its people prosperous, progressive and peaceful through the ages.

It is for this reason that to this day, the festival of Deepavali is remembered and celebrated year after year, yearning for a good rule from the rulers of the land.

The rule of India is in turmoil today. The rule of India is sans values.

Apart from bursting crackers, wearing new clothes, eating sweets, distributing gifts and sweets and wishing each other a Happy Deepavali, if we can reaffirm to ourselves the reason for which the festival of Deepavali has being celebrated continuously for the last 7,100 years and create in our times, an atmosphere of a Noble Rule and a value based living, then the festival of Deepavali will truly light up our lives.

Return of the Pandava

It was on this day, about 5100 years ago, that the Pandava returned to Hastinapura, after their 13 year exile. It was a day of joy for the people of Hastinapura which they too expressed by lighting lamps to welcome them. This formed another reason for the celebrations of Deepavali since then

Pandava return to Hastinapura

The historicity of the Pandava and the events in their lives can be found in our work Historical Krishna, from the Bharath Gyan Series.

Start of Vikram Samvat

About 2000 years ago, in 56 BCE, Vikramaditya was crowned king of Ujjain on this day. This day marked the start of the Vikram Samvat, Vikram Era which we follow to this day. It is one of the official calendars for the Government of India. The New Year as per this calendar start with Chaitra Amavasya, i.e. around April in present times.

Starting from the day of Rama’s return to Ayodhya with Sita and His coronation, to the day of Pandava’s return to Hastinapura with Draupadi, to the day Vikramaditya was crowned king, thereby starting the Vikaram Era, have all been celebrated across millennia, as days of joy and hope for good times ahead, by lighting lamps and sharing sweets.

Mahavira Pari Nirvana

Mahavira, the last Jain Tirthankara, attained PariNirvana, liberation from His mortal life, at Pavapuri, in present day Bihar, on the day of Deepavali.

Mahavir

This day is therefore celebrated by the Jains as a day of salvation and enlightenment.

By

Rahul Kaimal

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

Naraka Chathurdasi

 

Narakachaturdashi

 

The 14th phase of the dark moon, is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdasi in commemoration of the slaying of Narakasura who was causing menace to the people, by Krishna and His wife Satyabhama.

 

In South India, Deepavali is celebrated as Naraka Chathurdasi. Naraka was an Asura who lived about 5100 years ago. Narakasura ruled from his kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. His rule was a misery to the people of his land.

 

Krishna and his wife Satyabhama slayed Narakasura and freed people from his tyranny. This event of vanquishing Narakasura is celebrated as Naraka Chathurdasi. Chaturdasi is the 14th phase of the moon and is the night before Karthika Amavasya, the day of the Deepavali.

 

It is for this reason that Deepavali is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.

 

By

Rahul Kaimal

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

Dhanteras 

Deepavali season starts with Dhanteras on the 13th phase, also known as Dhanvantari Trayodasi, a day of paying obeisance to prosperity, today celebrated by acquiring gold or other forms of wealth.

Dhan Teras or Dhan Trayodasi – the name itself suggests prosperity. Dhan means wealth and terastrayodasi mean the thirteenth day of the waning moon cycle. This day is associated with the emergence of the divinities for health and wealth – Dhanvantri and Lakshmi respectively, when the Universe was created.

Emergence of Lakshmi and Dhanvantri

Emergence of Lakshmi and Dhanvantri  along with pot of Nectar, Amrut Kalash, during Creation of the Universe, Samudra Manthan, the churning of the ocean – A Painting by Raja Ravi Varma

Dhan Teras is the festival related to wealth. It comes just prior to Lakshmi Pooja. As we have already seen, this is the season post monsoon. Post the monsoon season, the crops would have been harvested and the farmers and the community at large have money in hand.

In the Indian ethos, gold has always been looked at, not just as an ornament to bedeck the women in the house but more importantly as an investment for future expansion or as a saving that one can dip into during a bleak period. With this thought in mind, the joy of having abundance to buy gold, ornaments and decorate one’s house for the festive season was itself a reason to celebrate, a reason for a festival.

Today, in towns, the focus has shifted from Agrarian needs to the needs and demand of a city life. In this commercial world, Dhan Teras has taken on a commercial dimension of buying ornamental gold jewellery and for picking up electronic gadgets.

Dhan is of two types. One Dhan is the material wealth – gold, silver, luxuries, land and such others. These are all ever flowing wealth as they do not stick to one place. They are constantly in circulation, with us one today, gone tomorrow. The other wealth is the wealth of health.

Dhanvantri Trayodasi – Health is Wealth

The wealth of health is denoted by Dhanvantri, the divine physician. Among the Indian pantheon of divinities, Dhanvantri is the divinity for health. In his very name itself, the first part of the name is Dhan. From this it is amply clear that the seers of ancient India believed that good health while one is living, is the most important wealth and the primary divinity for health aptly termed as Dhanvantri.

Dhanvantri

If you closely observe the image of Dhanvantri, you will see that Dhanvantri is coming out of water. Similarly good health in our body is dependent on the waters in our body as 70% of our body is after all, made up of water.

In one palm Dhanvantri holds a leach, Jalloka. The leach removes bad blood from our system so that fresh blood can rejuvenate our system. In the right hand is the Amrit kalasa, pot of nectar. Nectar is the elixir of life. It is that which gives us freshness and adds longevity to our life.

Along with celebrating Dhan teras as the festival of gold and wealth if we can celebrate it to bring about a right balance in our health, which is the true wealth, then celebrating Dhan teras gets a holistic perspective.

If we see, one of the popular traditions in the South of India, especially Tamil Nadu, is the tradition of preparing and consuming an Ayurvedic, herbal, medicinal preparation called Deepavali Lehiyam, paste. This is given along with the sweets and goodies prepared for Deepavali.

This Lehiyam contains herbs that primarily help with improving digestion as well as immunity – 2 important factors required for a season of festivities and chillness due to winter.

One of the important rituals of this day, is to prepare this Lehiyam and seek Dhanvantri’s blessings to endow all with a life rich with good health.

 

By

Rahul Kaimal

Bharath Gyan

Email bharathgyan@gmail.com
Website www.bharathgyan.com

Art of Living Wisdom.

Recordings of eclipses are available in texts, temple inscriptions, copper plates and legends of the land. Through the times, we see continuity in the understanding and recording of eclipses.

Animation_October_8_2014_lunar_eclipse_appearance

 

Why were our ancients interested in eclipses? Why did they learn to predict eclipses?

Dos and Donts surrounding eclipse

We see there are many elaborate dos and donts surrounding eclipses which have been a tradition of this civilization. Some interesting ones that have continued to this day are

 

  • eating food atleast 4 to 6 hours before an eclipse and not carrying forward food cooked prior to an eclipse
  • the use of Dharba grass to protect food items and other perishables
  • protection of pregnant women from the rays of sun during solar eclipses
  • not seeing solar eclipse with the naked eye

Advice for Pregnant Women

Scientists have shown today how during a Solar Eclipse, the amount of Ultra Violet rays and other cosmic rays reaching the earth are higher. These rays are harmful to the foetus. Hence pregnant women were advised to cover themselves and stay indoors during an eclipse to protect the foetus from these rays. Even today pregnant women are advised to stay away from radiation exposure of all kinds for example X Rays.

Contamination of Food

The increased exposure to such rays also contaminates food. Carrying forward of food cooked before an eclipse is therefore not advisable. Further more, there is the need to ensure that all food in one’s stomach is digested before the start of an eclipse.

 

Using Dharba grass

The antidote for preventing the food from contamination by radiation has been the practice of covering food with Dharba grass. This points to our ancients having used the Dharba grass as a shield to absorb the unwanted radiations in the atmosphere, especially those arising during eclipses.

Dharba grass absorbs X Rays

Nascent, independent research on Dharba grass has revealed its ability to absorb X Rays. These early finds make Dharba grass a very promising field of study.

 

We see a good grasp of astronomy, physics, biology and mathematics all rolled into the practice of predicting eclipses and the traditions followed during an eclipse. This holds good for a host of other astronomical observations and traditions followed too.

 

Donations During Eclipses

De Dhaan Chute Grahan – is a slogan one got to hear on the streets about 4 to 5 decades, during the time of eclipses.

 

It means Give Alms To Release The Eclipsed.

 

It was a common practice in India to give donations during eclipses and other cosmological events such as:

 

  1. Ayana, Solstices – Dakshinayana, Summer Solstice and Uttarayana, Winter Solstice
  2. Vishnuvrata Equinoxes – Mesha Vishu, Vernal Equinox and Tula Vishu, Autumnal Equinox
  3. Grahana, Eclipses – Surya Grahana, Solar eclipse and Chandra Grahana, Lunar eclipse
  4. Amavasya, New Moon
  5. Yugadi, New Year

 

Many explain that such Dhana were given in the superstitious belief that the donor will gain relief from the evil forces that were capable of even devouring the Sun and the Moon.

 

On the contrary, we find from traditional literature that the people were well aware of the scientific nature of these cosmological events. They could predict their occurrences due to their understanding of the motions of the earth, moon and various planets as well as their proficiency in Mathematics, which is needed to model these motions and calculate dates for their occurrences in advance.

 

Dhana for noble causes was given on these significant days as these days were considered as markers of time and hence would be easily remembered over time.

 

Every king, landlord, zamindar, royalty made it a point to give Dhana every year from their accumulated wealth. Various kings like Krishnadevaraya, Harshavardhana and others, repeatedly gave Dhana every year and during such events as eclipses.

 

Many temple inscriptions speak about such Dhana, endowments made to the temple and thereby to the people at large, on the occasion of eclipses.

 

Eclipses continue to happen and many just ignore them. Inscriptions continue to remain as evidences of the ones gone by but are hardly known to many.

 

The request for alms on eclipses is no longer heard on the streets. Neither are there donors, nor are there receivers on this day.

 

But misconceptions about the Indian perception of eclipses continue to loom large in everyone’s minds.

 

Rahul Kaimal

bharathgyan@gmail.com

www.bharathgyan.com

Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom.

After Chanda and Munda were slain, Shumbha sent his most powerful Asura Raktabija along with a huge army to attack the Devi and her army of all the shaktis (energies). A ferocious war broke out. Maa Kali with her spear and skull-topped staff killed thousands of Asuras. Seeing the Asuras being killed ruthlessly by the Devi and her shaktis, Raktabija strode forward to fight in wrath.

Raktabija had received a boon that whenever a drop of blood from his body will drop on the surface of the earth, immediately there would arise innumerable Asuras, equal in form and power to him. Elated with this boon, Raktabija entered into the battlefield with great force in order to kill Kali and Ambika Devi. The Devi struck Raktabija with different weapons and soon there were thousands of Raktabijas in the battlefield with similar forms and weapons. Then Ambika Devi said to the Kali, “O Kali, open your mouth quickly, and no sooner I strike Raktabîja with weapons, you would drink off the blood as fast as it runs out of his body. O large-eyed One! You would drink off all the jets of blood in such a way that not a drop of it escapes and falls on the ground.” Then Kali, hearing thus the Devî’s words, began to drink the jets of blood coming out of the body of Raktabija. Devi Ambika began to cut the Demon’s body into pieces and Kali, went on devouring them. All forms of Rakatabija;s and finally Raktabija himself was destroyed. When the dreadful Raktabija was thus slain in the battle, the other Asuras fled away trembling with fear. Then the final fierce battle between the Asura Kings and Devi started. Soon Devi cut off the heads of first Nishumbha and then Shumbha with her axe. The glory of the Gods was thus restored.

Meaning of the story:

Raktabija represents the deep impressions (seeds of past action or karma) inside our consciousness which we carry since birth. When the past karma gives any fruit it becomes reason for still many more future karmas. Our karmas are also related to karmas of others around us. Thus the forest of karma is immeasurable. Lord Krishna has said, ‘Gahana Karmano Gatih’ (Unfathomable are the ways of Karma). We are never a master of our own life because of these deep impressions inside which govern our life at a very subtle level. True freedom is freedom from all these impressions. Maa Kali is said to be the ruler of time and death. Time is ‘Now’ and death is ‘Completion’…..Realizing each moment is complete in itself.

Drinking of each drop of Raktabija’s blood by Maa Kali signifies total awareness in action. When there is uninterrupted awareness in action (karma) such action (karma) becomes free from any residual impressions. This is being in the present moment. This is being 100%. The energy (Shakti) that arises with the practice of Pranayama, Meditation, Sudarshan Kriya etc. helps us in erasing all the past impressions. With regular practice of these techniques awareness level increases, vacillations of mind in past & future reduce and mind stays more and more in present moment.

‘Shumbha’ is doubting oneself and ‘Nishumbha’ is doubting others. Doubts arise when the life force energy (Prana Shakti) inside is low. Look at small children. They do not doubt anything because they are full of energy and enthusiasm. Negative forces come up only due to lack of Shakti. When you are full of energy and enthusiasm none of these Asuras (demons) can come near you. ‘Shumbha’ and ‘Nishumbha’ were killed only after killing of ‘Raktabija’. Doubts about self and others can be totally eliminated only when one realizes one’s true nature. Only when all past impressions have been annihilated, one can realize the Self.

This battle is also called ‘Maha Yagna’ because it is the great purifier. Since time immemorial this ‘Maha Yagna’ of Devi is going on!

May Maa Ambika bless all of us with victory in this Maha Yagna!

Sixth Navadurga : Devi Katyayini

On the sixth day of Navaratri, Devi Kathyayini is honoured and worshipped. Kathyayini represents the nurturing aspect of the Divine Mother. She embodies the values of sharing and caring. Young girls pray to Devi Kathyayini for good husbands. Marriage comes with a sense of security, commitment, togetherness, team spirit and belongingness. She signifies the finer qualities of being in a relationship. The ultimate relationship is the union with the Self.

Salutations to Devi Katyayani!

katyayini

 

यादेवीसर्वभुतेषु लज्जारूपेण संस्थिता  

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः १६


Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Lajjaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||16||

1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Modesty,
16.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations again and again

 

यादेवीसर्वभुतेषु शान्तिरूपेण संस्थिता  

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः १७

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Shaanti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||17||

1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Peace,
17.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations again and again.

 

या देवी सर्वभुतेषु श्रद्धारूपेण संस्थिता  
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ॥१८॥

Yaa Devii Sarva-Bhutessu Shraddhaa-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||18||

18.1: To that Devi Who in All Beings is Abiding in the Form of Faith (in Higher Self),
18.2: Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations to Her, Salutations again and again

Also Read :

SIGNIFICANCE OF NAVARATRI 

DEVI MAHATMYA 

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF MADHU KAITABH

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF MAHISHASURA

DEVI MAHATMYA – STORY OF SHUMBA NISHUMBA – PART 1

 

Jai Gurudev

Sanjay Sabnis