Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pause and ponder

                                       


                                          Pause and ponder




  •  Life should be an ongoing journey of self- exploration and self- improvement.
  • The ways in which people choose to live determine the quality and character of how they age.
  • The utility of living consists not in the length of days, but in the use of time.
  • We live not upon what we eat, but upon what we digest
  • Good digestion waits on appetite, and health on both.
  • Cattle know when to go home from grazing, but a foolish man never knows his stomach measures.
  • Walking should refresh both the body and mind. It should not be taken as an exercise, but as a pleasurable enterprise and adventure of the day. You must walk like a camel, which is said to be the only beast which ruminates when walking.
  • Music training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way inti the inward places of the soul.
  • Where words fail, music speaks.
  • Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, we fell them down and turn them into paper.
  • We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.
  • When education fails to keep pace with technology, the result is inequality everywhere.
  • Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
  • Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.





                          

Sunday, January 29, 2017

From the mines of wisdom



                          From the mines of wisdom


  • The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.
  • Each one on the earth is born with a specific purpose or mission to serve the humanity and discover the joy of living fruitfully.
  • If you have strong will power, good habits, proper goal,focus, persistence, work ehics and belief in your dream for a noble cause, your positive vibes will be surrounded by a flow of positive energy from all over the universe to assist you to opening the secret chambers of unimaginable achievements in life.
  • Action is the main key to success. And action is the natural trait of man. Inaction only breeds doubt and fear. Action instils and fosters confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it, go out and get busy.
  • Fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind. So nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
  • Darkness is always before the dawn of light. Obstacles , disappointments, failure are natural on the path to success. Constantly learn new things, develop skills and hobbies. When faced with disappintment or failure, these things will keep you motivated and rebound with more energy to get over the obstacle and keep you keeping you going on your chosen path. Infact, the obstacle is a blessing in disguise offering an opportunity for growth and personal development.
  • I did not fail the test I just found hundred ways to do wrong.
  • You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try.
  • Never give up and never stop trying, there is no limit to what you can accomplish in life, the only limits are our own mind made.
  • You don't have to be great to start something, but you have to start to be great.
  • It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
  • The only to do great work is to love what you do. Love the process, the end will naturally follow on its own.
  • I attribute my success to this; I never gave or took excuse.
  • Believe you can and you're half way there.
  • You become what you believe.
  • Life is in our hands. Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.
  • It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Namaskara ( bowing down )






                                  Namaskara ( the act of bowing down )


        Namaskara is a gesture of respect and an express of humility. It is a powerful link in bringing a close contact between two people. This is seen almost in all parts of the world in different forms.

While leaving the temple, it is customary for the devotee to show his respects and humility by bowing down to the deity.

As commonly see , people put their closed palms together near the chest, close their eyes and pray. Some touch the feet of the idol with their forehead and do the bowing.

In Indian tradition, males do sashtanga namaskaram. Ashta means eight and anga means parts of the body. Sashtanga namaskara means bowing down before the deity with the eight parts of the body touching the earth ( floor ). It is a respectful obeisance made by the prostration of the eight limbs of the body on the ground. The eight limbs are knees, feet, hands, chest, mind, head, speech and eyes.
At the time of prostration, hands, legs, chest, knees, eyes, hands all should touch the ground and mouth should chant prayer or namah with full concentration of mind. It is also a prostration on the ground like a log ( dandavat ) .

For ladies, Panchanga namaskara is prescribed in the scriptures. While bowing down in a bending manner, the five parts of the body namely two knees, two hands and head should touch the ground and the mouth uttering a prayer with full concentration of mind. Her de.icate parts of the body should not touch the ground.

This Panchanga namaskara confers dheerga sowmangalya ( long married life ) and all good benefits to ladies. Thus namanskara creates a sense of equality among all. It is a sort of exercise to body, mind and intellect and purifies them .

Pradakshina ( Circumambulation )

       


                       Pradakshina ( Circumambulation )



 Circumambulation is an act of respect to a higher authority.  In a temple, it is customary to circumambulate the deity. This practice is not based upon blind faith but has a scientific basis. Whetever in the temple the deity is consecrsted in accordance with the rules of scriptures, the image gets infused with divinity. It is Believed that this divinity radiates in the form of magnetic waves from the central point of the base of the idol. This spreads around in a circle . The vibrations are the strongest near the deity and gradually become less, as the circle becomes larger. The positive vibrations influence a person walking around the deity.

The divine halo always moves clockwise. So walking around the deity in clockwise direction is good and beneficial. This power of vibration serves as a blessing in increasing our strength and protecting us from obstacles and calamities . If some one does circumambulation in the anti-clockwise direction, there occurs a clash between the motion of divine energy and the divine atoms present in our body. With the result our strength and power get destroyed . Sometimes negative effects arising from that can cause difficulties in life. So it is prohibited and considered a sin .

It is a tradition that after abhisheka ( anointing the deity ) and prayers and offerings, circumambulation is done around the deity . In general it is customary to walk three to eleven times, odd in number around a deity.

According to scriptures, the ideal number of doing circumambulation is one in the case of Lord Ganesha, two for Sun, three for Shiva, four for Vishnu, five for goddess, six for Lord Subramanya and seven for the Pipal tree  .

Religious texts direct that when going around the image of Shiva one should not cross the line where the offering of milk and water flows.
It is said that when deities and asuras were churning the milky ocean with the help of a mountain and a big snake, first to come out was the poison. On seeing the poison, devas and asuras ran in fear.
While Lord Shiva consumed that poison in order to protect the world, the running away by the devas in fear is known as Somasutra-Pradakshinam.

In a temple, the place where the abhishekam water comes out from the deity is known as Somasutra m. Since this pradakshinam is performed without going beyond this place, it also gets the name Somasutrapradakshinam according to Shiva agama Shastra.

According to scriptures, while circumambulating Shiva, one should not go beyond this line where the offering of milk and water flows. For this reason, one takes only half a round around Shiva. The other half is done in the reverse manner . It is also believed that the divine vibrations radiate around the image of Lord Shiva both ways  clockwise and anti- clockwise.

This is symbolic of the fact that there is no need to continue one's journey  , once one has reached his aim, one may return. The Ardhapradakshinam in Shiva temple is considered equivalent to the controlled breathing ( Pranayama) performed by a yogi.

Thus an important practice associated with temple worship is circumambulation . We should not wear footwears on our feet, carry umbrella or any external thing.. This will not give us the benefit of circumambulation . The ideal manner of circumambulation is to walk slowly without the movement of arms, chanting the names of god, and with the mind focussing on the vision of the Almighty. Walking done at rapid pace does not result in Pradakshinam as it is supposed to be an upward journey.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Offering and Prasada

 


                                   Offering and Prasada




      It is said in the scriptures that one should not go to see a deity. preceptor and a king empty-handed . So it is customary for the devotees to take some flowers or fruits, dry fruits or sweets as a token to temple.

It is said ' Food is Brahman.' It is the food that contributes to our health and vitality. Whatever we eat or drink has been made available to us by the grace of god. We express our gratitude to him by offering a token of this to him in worship.

In the Bhagavadgita also, Lord Krishna says that whatever a devotee does or eat, that should be first offered to him. So all the offerings are dedicated to god.

During worship flowers, dry fruits, fruits, sweets are offered to the Lord. After offering them to the deity, the priest distributes this as ' Prasada  (imbued with the blessings of the god ) ' to all people there. Apart from this water ( charanamrita ), Tulasi leaves, Vibhuti ( sacred ash ), Sindoor ( vermillion ) are also given in Prasada to the devotees.

It is believed that the flower remains the same though the bee sucks honey from that. Similarly, the quantity of offerings does not decrease, only the subtle portion of them is taken by the deity. It is a faith. It is believed that the offerings are charged with mysterious powers by the chanting of the mantras and hymns during the worship. When the devotee places his offerings at the feet of the deity, the same offerings become Prasada after the worship. Prasada is that which gives peace and happiness. The grace of the deity descends on the offerings. Each deity is offered different kind of offerings with special significance attached to each. The benefits of Prasada and water ( charanamrita ) are beyond description . They have the power to cure diseases in many cases. Prasad is an antidote for misery, pain and anxiety. The faith and hope are the key factors. It is spiritual elixir. It is divinity in manifestation. Offering and partaking of offering is significant in another way also. It reiterates the truth that all things which man gets are from Nature ( Lord ). And through offering them to God first and then sharing among the people, man expresses his gratitude to the Lord. This also points out that Nature's bounty not for amassing and enjoying alone but for sharing it with all. Nothing he owns. Man cannot have anything without His grace. This feeling of gratitude erases the ego and brings humility in devotees.

Nirajana ( Aarti, waving of light )





                                      Nirajana ( Aarti, Waving of  light )



        Worship of  Lord is done with sixteen upacaras. Aart is one among these. This is called Mangalajyoti, Mangalanirajanam.

We at home and the priest in the temple keeo the ignited lamp in the right hand and rotate it from left to right before the image of the god. In that light, the entire image is clearly seen. While showing the aarti we pray mentally. In temple, the devotees gathered sing songs specially meant for aarti. The entire atmosphere gets charged with divine presence with the ringing of bells and chorus singing of aarti songs by the devotees. We see the image in the light and get absorbed into it by standing and watching there. During that time our prayer becomes deeper.

Aarti is performed after the Abhisheka ( anointing the idol with perfumes and water ). The priest decorates the idol and offer fruits and sweets to it. That time uttering prayers, ringing bell, we express our happiness and experience a unique joy in looking at the Lord . When the aarti is taken we close our eyes and try to visualize the Lord in our mind. This is symbolic of the fact that we are all temples where god resides.
We extend our hands in the aarti and apply its warmth on our eyes closed. We do it so that the divinity in the aarti may be transferred to our heart.

Light is the image of god. The priest shows the god in light, the preceptor ( Guru ) also through the light of knowledge shows the god in us. The presiding deity of the intellect is sun, mind is moon and fire is speech. All these are lighted by the god, the consciousness. We worship that light, the teal form of the Lord. He is the giver of light to all. hence the Light of all lights.

Camphor aarti has also significance. The camphor burns fully. There is no sign or residue left. The camphor represents our vasanas ( dormant desires ), ego which distances us from god. When we realize our true nature through knowledge in the mind, the mind gets illumined. Our vasanas are burnt and our ego melta away.
The camphor cannot burn itself. It needs fire. Similarly the individual soul ( Jiva ) cannot identify itself with the Lord. It needs fire of knowledge.

Participating in aarti is an exhilirating experience. It is rightly said that three things revive a person's soul ; pleasant sights, pleasant sounds and pleasant smells.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Bell




                                             Bell


   The bell ( ghanta ) is mentioned in the Puranas ( scriptures ) as an important appliance at worship, and also as a protector from evils. The bell is said to be an embodiment of all gods and that of all musical instruments, hence it should be sounded.

Tying of the bell in the Shiva- temple is said to confer on the person fame in the three worlds. The shape and structure of the bell is also specifically described. At the head of the bell, there should be Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu or Nandi, the vehicle of Shiva.

The temple where ringing of the bell is regularly heard, is known as waking temple. Big and small bells are hung at the entrance of the temple, so devotees ring them and announce their presence for the worship of god. At the time of aarti also, the bell is rung and others in the neighbourhood get information that that is the time for aarti. It is rung with a special rhythm . The sounding of the ghata ( bell ) is mentioned at typical and specific periods - at the time of worship, at the sleep of god, at waving the lamp around the god's image, at the time of the bath of the idol of the god, and at anointing it.

The chiming of bells in ancient and modern day Zen Buddhist monasteries and ashram as is a regular ritual that serves to subtly transform one through sound. Considered to be a spiritual act, bell ringing is intended to awaken the spiritual energies within us - within our surroundings. In Indian temples now a days also, the spiritual act of performing aarti, a form of worship that waves a lamp flame infront of a deity is accompanied by the ringing of a bell or many bells simultaneously to awaken the energy of divine grace.

A bell provides an audible reminder of our Bliss Principle within.

Scientific studies have reinforced the motion that resonance is basic to healing with sound and music. As good rhythmic sound waves enter the body, sympathetic vibrations occur in living cells, which help to restore and reinforce healthy organization. The human being therefore is likened to a very complex, unique and finely tuned musical instrument. The high water content of the body's tissues helps to conduct a soothing massage at the atomic and molecular level.