Thursday, April 3, 2008

April 3 2008 - Pradosham

Significance of Pradosham:



Lord Shiva performed the sandhyanritya or evening dance, appearing between the horns of his vehicle, the Nandi (bull). On this occasion, it is said that Saraswati played Veena; Indra the flute, Vishnu the mridangam and Brahma kept tala or beat to Lakshmi’s singing –a truly divine ensemble. The time span between 4:30 and 6:00 in the evening of trayodashi both during the waxing and waning phases of the moon when he performed this divine tandava dance came to be sanctified as the PRADOSHAM.
As the name indicates, devotees who worship Lord Shiva during the Pradosham hours, get rid of all their "doshams" committed either knowingly or unknowingly or those committed in their previous birth.
It is also said that during pradosham, ALL the devas are present to witness the incident, and hence devotees thronging to the temple to get a darshan of Lord Shiva also get the blessings of whom we call the mupathimukodi devas.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April 2 2008 - Vijaya Ekadasi Vratham


Ekadasi Vratham is considered to be one of the greatest Vrathams, and Vijaya Ekadasi Vratham is considered to be the most supreme. Those who observe a fast on this day and pray sincerely will get "Vijaya" or victory in all that they do.

Greatness of Ekadasi Vratham:

There is no equivalent mantram than Gayathri, there is no equivalent theertham than Kasi and finally, there is no Vratham greater than this Ekadasi Vratham.

The main aspect of this Ekadasi Vratham is for self control (i.e.) focusing our entire soul towards Sriman Narayanan. And for an every Hindu, this Vratham is one of the best viradham that he/she should follow and this is said to be the best way to pass through the doors of Sri Vaikundam to get the Dharshan of Sri Vishnu.

"Ekam" means one and "Dhasam" means ten. This Ekadasi comes on the 11th day and this day is said to be one of the luckiest and good day to follow.

Since, the 11th day is for the Dharma devathai, it is said that one who follow this Viradham will attain the Moksha and if all the persons follow this Vratham, the entire world will become happy surrounded by good thoughts and actions.

So the best results are obtained when we fast on that day. If you are not able to, then you can pray sincerely to Lord Vishnu.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March 19th 2008 - Pradosham


Significance of Pradosham:
Lord Shiva performed the sandhyanritya or evening dance, appearing between the horns of his vehicle, the Nandi (bull). On this occasion, it is said that Saraswati played Veena; Indra the flute, Vishnu the mridangam and Brahma kept tala or beat to Lakshmi’s singing –a truly divine ensemble. The time span between 4:30 and 6:00 in the evening of trayodashi both during the waxing and waning phases of the moon when he performed this divine tandava dance came to be sanctified as the PRADOSHAM.
As the name indicates, devotees who worship Lord Shiva during the Pradosham hours, get rid of all their "doshams" committed either knowingly or unknowingly or those committed in their previous birth.
It is also said that during pradosham, ALL the devas are present to witness the incident, and hence devotees thronging to the temple to get a darshan of Lord Shiva also get the blessings of whom we call the mupathimukodi devas.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hindu Rituals Series - Why do we offer a coconut?

In India one of the most common offerings in a temple is a coconut. It is also offered on occasions like weddings, festivals, the use of a new vehicle, bridge, house etc. It is offered in the sacrificial fire whilst performing homa. The coconut is broken and placed before the Lord. It is later distributed as prasaada.

The fibre covering of the dried coconut is removed except for a tuft on the top. The marks on the coconut make it look like the head of a human being. The coconut is broken, symbolising the breaking of the ego. The juice within, representing the inner tendencies (vaasanas) is offered along with the white kernel - the mind, to the Lord.
A mind thus purified by the touch of the Lord is used as prasaada ( a holy gift). In the traditional abhishekha ritual done in all temples and many homes, several materials are poured over the deity like milk, curd, honey, tender coconut water, sandal paste, holy ash etc. Each material has a specific significance of bestowing certain benefits on worshippers. Tender coconut water is used in abhisheka rituals since it is believed to bestow spiritual growth on the seeker.
The coconut also symbolises selfless service. Every part of the tree -the trunk, leaves, fruit, coir etc. Is used in innumerable ways like thatches, mats, tasty dishes, oil, soap etc. It takes in even salty water from the earth and converts it into sweet nutritive water that is especially beneficial to sick people. It is used in the preparation of many ayurvedic medicines and in other alternative medicinal systems.
The marks on the coconut are even thought to represent the three-eyed Lord Shiva and therefore it is considered to be a means to fulfill our desires.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March 14th 2008 - Karadayan Nombu


During Karadayan Nombu women invoke the blessings of Goddess Gowri to obtain an ideal husband
during all seven births. He who will understand her when she is happy, sad, worried, afraid.While unmarried girls pray to get a good husband, married women pray for their husband's long life.



Story behind Karadayan Nombu:
The story behind this festival is said to be that of Sati-Savithri.
Savithri was born as the daughter of King Asrapathi. When she was asked who she wished to marry, she pointed to Sathyavan, who lived in the forest. Sage Narada warned her that Satyavan would die within a year of marriage, but still she married him.
During her life in the jungle, Savithri began to pray for her husband's life. Her offerings were durwa grass and peepal leaves.She performed offerings and neivedhyam with wild rice and thuar dal. We in our houses during this Nombu, use the same, what we call as kaara arisi and thuvaram parrupu that is why this festival is known as karadayan nombu.

When the last day of Sathayavan dawned, Lord of death Yama came promptly to take his life away. But since Yama was pleased with her nombu, he wanted to grant her a boon, with the condition that she shouldn't ask for her husband's life. Savithri expressed her desire to be the mother of100 children. Yama realized that in order to grant Savithri's wish he would have spare Sathyavan's life.So he granted her wish to honor her courage and devotion to her husband. So this Karayadan Nombu saved and protected her husband.

Prayers are offered to Goddess Devi in all forms and women think about Savitiri and wear a yellow thread round their necks they chant the following sloka

Sanskrit Sloka:
Throram Krishhnami subhake saharitham Dharami aham bharthu Ayushya Sidhartham supreethabhava sarvadha

Tamil Sloka:
Urukaddha Venneyum oradhayam naan nootren Orukkalum en kanavar ennai vittu pririyadhirukka vendum

Timing:
Nombu has to be finished in the month Maasi and before the beginning of the month of Panguni which happens on the same day March 14th 9:14 a.m. The time for the nombu is specified as 7:30 - 8:30 a.m

Neivedhyam:
Neivedhyam consists of Adai made out of rice and butter, and adai made of rice and jaggery also, along with butter kept seperately.
Vethalai paaku pazham is also offered to the Goddess.

Monday, March 10, 2008

March 12th 2008 - Shashti, Shashti Vratham, Muruga Darisanam

Shashti, this time, falls on the 12th of March 2008. It is a unique day for Lord Karthikeya or Murugan, because the day has both Krithigai Nakshathram and Shashti Thithi.


Observing Shashti Vratham is also said to give childless couple, what they desire.

How to observe Shashti/Shashti Vratham:

Shashti fast begins at sunrise. It is broken the next day morning. Generally for people who cant keep a fast throughout the day eat only one meal that day.

Devotees listen or read stories related to Skanda and Skanda Purana. Visiting Muruga temples is also considered highly auspicious and good. Reading Kandhar Shashti Kavacham on this day is extremely beneficial. The link for the text along with the meaning is mentioned in the following link. Shashti Kavacham

Fasting or Vrathas are not just related to abstaining from food. They are also related to instilling positive thoughts, eliminating anger, lust, greed etc.

Since we are fasting on this day, the rice which we would have otherwise consumed, we can prepare that and do annadhaanam of it to the poor and needy. This will instantly add to our good karma.

March 11th 2008 - Chathurthi Vratham


This Chathurthi Vratham is special for one of the 32 forms of Ganapathi called "Durga Ganapathi". It is a very significant vratham as fasting and praying on this day will provide "Sakala Kashta Nivarthi" or removal of all troubles and suffering.