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Why is Lighting a GajaVilakku considered important for Karthigai

Did you know that lighting a Elephant Lamp or Gaja Vilakku during Karthigai Deepam is considered very auspicious?

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Once upon a time there lived a King and he had only one daughter. She loved an elephant which grew with her and she considered the elephant as her own brother. After her marriage she missed her brother elephant very much. So for every Thirukarthigai/Karthigai deepam occasion, she will light elephant lamp(Gajalakshmi vilaku) and she will prepare tender coconut, elephant leg size milagu Milagu Adai, Pori,Adhirasam,Vella Seedai and keep them as neivedhyam for this festival.

Rangoli and Deepavali

rangoli

So what Rangoli did you make today for Diwali?

‘Rangoli’ is a Sanskrit word which means a creative expression of art through the use of color.The word rangoli may also have come from “rang” (color) + “aavalli” (row), which means row of colors, or from rang+avalli, which means creepers of colors. Basically, Rangoli is the art of drawing images and motifs on the floor and walls of one’s home using different color powders. Designed with a beautiful combination of various colors, the Rangoli images create an enchanting piece of art. Basically a floor painting, a rangoli image stands for a sign of welcome.

The main purpose of making rangolis in diwali is to welcome Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess ofwealth, to individual homes apart from warding off the evil eye. The art of rangoli is known by different names in different regions such as “Rangoli” in Maharashtra, Alpana (in Bengal), and Kolam (in South India). Although Rangoli has its origins in Maharashtra, today it is practiced everywhere. One of the most popular arts among Indian women, rangoli is an age old custom of India, and practiced all over the country.

The Rangoli designs are passed down through generations, with some of them being hundreds of years old. Though the designs vary in different sections of India, the basic approach is common. The designs are geometric and proportioned. It has been a tradition in culturally rich India to draw Rangoli on the festivals and other auspicious occasions as it is considered a holy ritual. There is a unique relationship between the festival of diwali and rangoli. Diwali is a major festival of India and drawing rangoli on diwali is a part of diwali celebrations

Sundal and Navarathiri

What Sundal did you make at home today???

Do you know why On each day , ‘sundal’ or spiced pulses, lentils and legumes (a different variety on each day) are offered to the Gods and Goddesses as neivaidhyam and then to the guests as prasadam.???

Well Some believe that significance of offering Sundal during Navarathri is purely for the nutritional value, that during the dull days of September-October, when the weather’s really not too peppy, people get easily tired and that the wise saints therefore prescribed that protein- and vitamin- rich sundals be served during Navarathri to rejuvenate people. They also make up for the deficit in vegetable supply in the month of Purattasi since these lentils/pulses are rich in proteins and minerals.

Some others also say that sundal is offered to appease the nava-grahaas or nine planets. According to this theory, only the nava-dhaanyas or lentils associated with the nine planets, namely wheat, rice, tuvar dal, moong (green gram) dal, chana dal, white field beans, sesame seeds, horse gram and urad dal are cooked and served.

Singing and Navarathiri

One of the very important aspects of Navarathiri in the South is the Singing associated with it. One of the first questions anyone would ask you during your visit to a Golu is ” Do you know to Sing?”

Do you know that Ambal is known as Gaana Priya and hence when we sing we invoke her blessings. Most of the songs are in praise of the Gods

Golu is also a social gathering, celebrated mainly by women and girl children and meant to prove their merits; A lots of marriage proposals are made during these time around, just by simply visiting one another’s home, getting to know each other, and socialize in a free way and exchange views.

The significance of this Navaratri festival just cannot be ignored as a routine ritual, but it has a lot more inner meaning and is refreshing for the women and children in general.

Gaja Vilakku or Elephant Lamp

Did you know what this Gaja Vilakku Signifies??

This lamp which is shaped like an elephant is linked to the concept of salvation through surrender. Gajendra moksha – the lord saving his elephant devotee from the jaws of a ferocious crocodile – is the legend behind this concept. Lighting the “Gaja Vilakku” epitomises “Saranagathi” or total surrender to Lord Narayana.
gaja

To buy this Gaja Vilakku please click on this below link

http://www.thejus.com/products/lamp/92/

The Story of Gajendra Moksham is as below

Gajendra Moksha, or Gajendramoksham, is an important incident found in the Bhagavad Purana and it shows the importance of Bhakti, prayer and true devotion. Once there was an elephant named Gajendra. He was the king of a huge herd of elephants and he had thousands of queen elephants with whom he used to bathe and play in a huge lake. Gajendra was proud about his status and on a summer day he was arrogantly bathing in the lake with his friends. Suddenly a crocodile from below caught him by the foot and tried to pull him to the bottom of the lake.

Gajendra fought hard to get rid of the crocodile but the battle continued for thousand years. In the meantime, all this friends and queens deserted him. Finally realization dawned on an exhausted Gajendra and he prayed to Lord Vishnu. Soon Lord Vishnu appeared before him and on seeing the Lord, Gajendra plucked a lotus with great effort and offered to him and said ‘Narayana, Preceptor of all, Bhagavan; I bow down to you.” Gajendra was instantly released from the grip of the crocodile.

This is a symbolic story writes Sant Keshavadas. The egoistic soul is the elephant. As long as we are young, healthy and wealthy, we feel many people love us and we become egoistic. The crocodile symbolically represents death, which ends everything.

When we are caught in the jaws of death, there is no one who can save us. Friends flee, relatives disappear. Our own body fails us miserably. Like the elephant in the story, the only solution from suffering is to turn to the Lord. In the moment of that utter surrender, God rushes to our aid, destroys death, and releases our soul from the clutches of death – and that is liberation or Moksha that comes by the grace of the Supreme

Stories of Guru – Disciples and their devotion from Indian Myth

One of the famous stories of Guru and Disciple from our Indian Myth is that of Aruni and Sage Dhoumya

Once upon a time, there was a Aashram ( residential school) of Dhaumya Rushi (Sage). Many disciples were taking education there. Aruni was one of them. Once it started raining very heavily. There was a stream adjacent to the farm owned by Aashram. In order to prevent water from stream entering in to farm, an earthen barrier was built on the stream. But due to force of water, the soil on the barrier started to slide, and cracks appeared in the barrier. Hence Gurudev told few disciples, “Block the water and prevent it from entering in the farm.”

Aruni and few disciples came near the barrier. They tried their best to repair the cracks in the barrier; but due to force of water their efforts proved unsuccessful. The small part in the middle of the barrier started to breach, and water started seeping in the farm. It was late in night. Since all their efforts proved unsuccessful, all disciples returned to Aashram. As all were very tired due to above efforts, they went to sound sleep.

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The rain stopped in the morning. Then the disciples found that Aruni was missing. They searched for him all over the Aashram; then went to Gurudev and said “Aruni is no where to be found.” Gurudev said “Let us search him in the farm.” Dhaumya Rushi and all the disciples went to the farm. To their surprise, they found Aruni himself lying flat on the breach in the barrier to prevent water from coming in. Everybody was very much surprised at this sight. Everyone felt sense of love for Aruni, who was lying on breach whole night without taking his food. Water had receded some time ago; but Aruni was still sleeping there. They awoke him. Gurudev took Aruni near him and patted his head lovingly. All disciples were tearful at this sight.

Another example from our Indian Mythology of a Disciples devotion to his Guru is that Of Karna and Parasurama

Karna mistakenly outcast as a non Brahmana, lied to Lord Parasurama claiming him as a Brahmana so he could become a disciple and learn the weapon and battle skills.

Parasurama taught Karna the secrets of Brahmastra, which could assure definitive victory in battle for the ones who uses the weapon.

One day while Parasurama was resting on the lap of Karna, a poisonous bee stung Karna. But he kept calm bearing all the pain, not to disturb his resting guru. Parasurama awakened by the warm blood oozing out of the bee sting wound, realized that only a Kshatriya not a Brahmana can have such pain tolerance.

karna n parasurama

He was enraged for he had been lied to, and thus cursed Karna, that in the moment of great need, the knowledge of using the Brahmastra would be erased from his memory.

 

Today we talk of none other than Eklavya and his Guru Bhakti to his Guru Dronacharya

Near the ashrama of Drona, where Arjuna and his brothers used to take lessons in various arts, there lived a small bright boy, shudra by caste (lower caste). His name was Eklavya. He had great desire to learn the art of archery from Dronacharya. But his mother had told him that as a shudra, Acharya Drona would not accept Eklavya as his disciple. It was futile to dream of such a privilege.

But the boy was not be put off, his determination knew no bounds. Near his house, under a tree Eklavya installed a clay idol of Dronacharya that he worshiped as his Guru! Daily, morning and evening, this devotee put flower and natural perfumes in front of this image and took Self-Lessons in the art of bow and arrow. The talented young Eklavya soon acquired high knowledge in archery. He attributed his success to his Guru Dronacharya.

One day, as it happened, Acharya Drona and Arjuna were passing near the hut of Eklavya. It was pleasant and peaceful afternoon and people were taking rest. But the tranquility and silence was broken by constant barking of a dog. Eklavya did not like this, and therefore, he shut the mouth of the dog with an arrow! Dronacharya and Arjuna were surprised to see the dog with his mouth sealed with an arrow!

Naturally the curious Arjuna asked his Gurudev as to who could have done this delicate job. Even Dronacharya was amazed and knew the archer must be exceptionally skilled artist. They decided to trace this skillful fellow and reached the spot where Eklavya was practicing wonders with his bow and arrow in front of the clay image of Drona. It took no time for Dronacharya to understand the situation. He realized that Eklavya was superior to Arjuna in some respects. Dronacharya loved Arjuna very much and had declared him to be the best archer on the earth. Hence the Guru thought for awhile and came to a decision to remove Eklavya as a competitor to Arjuna.

Dronacharya went to Eklavya and said, “O young man, who has taught you such wonderful skills in archery! Who is your Guru?”

Seeing the Guru in front of him, the boy Eklavya was more that overjoyed and said, “Why, O Gurudev, this all is your grace! I worship you as my Guru. Look you are there in that image!”

Dronacharya was pleased with the dedication of Eklavya, and said, “I bless you my son. But as is customary, won’t you give me my fees – Guru-Dakshina!”

[It is customary in India to give to the Guru whatever he demands as his fees - Guru-Dakshina for the knowledge the Guru has given to the disciple.]

Eklavya was overwhelmed to see Dronacharya had accepted him as his disciple! Out he said, “O Honourable Teacher, whatever you ask, this humble disciple of yours will try his utmost to offer you as Guru-Dakshina! I am blessed.”

And now comes a very touching and pathetic incidence in Mahabharata.

Guru Drona said, “O Eklavya, I am pleased with your respect for Guru. I want the thumb of your right hand as my fees- Guru-Dakshina.”

Legend of Eklavya  Mahabharata_15143

The trees and atmosphere around stood still for a minute! Even Arjuna was stunned on listening to the unusual and almost cruel demand of his Guru. To ask for the thumb of an archer was equivalent to almost kill him! How could Dronacharya demand such a heavy prize from one disciple to protect the honour of the other!

But Eklavya had no such remorse. Unruffled and with due humility, cheerfully and without protest, he cut his right thumb and placed at the feet of Dronacharya. Gods in the heaven silently praised the greatness of Eklavya’s sacrifice

Brihaspati or Jupiter – Guru to the Gods

” A Teacher affects eternity ..he can never tell where his influence stops “

“Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnuhu Guru Devo Maheswaraha

Guru Saakshaat Parabhrahma Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha”

Numerous quotes all say the same- A Teacher is above all and is given a special place from ancient times to now..

As we near Teachers Day on September 5th, we will get to know about the various Teachers/Gurus from our Indian Myth

To begin with we talk of Brihaspati (Jupiter): The Teacher of the Gods In Vedic astrology, the planet Jupiter is known as Guru, Brihaspati and Devaguru, the teacher of the gods. Jupiter is a beneficial planet and considered to be the most auspicious, helpful, generous and beneficent of the planets. He rules over the two sidereal signs of Sagittarius and Pisces and presides over Guruwar or Brihaspatiwar (Thursday). Jupiter’s epithets are sacred and many such as “Lord of sacred speech”, “Lord of power”, “Guru of the Gods”, “reader of minds” and “beloved by the Gods”. There is a golden crown on his head and beautiful ornaments around his neck. According to Hindu scriptures, he is the guru (teacher) of the Devas (gods) He is also known Guru, the god of wisdom and eloquence. His caste is Brahmin (Priest) and his best direction is Northeast. Worship of Brihaspati is dedicated to planet Jupiter. His worship results in progeny, good education, valour, longevity of life and recovery from physical illness. He is friends with the Sun, Moon and Mars; Mercury and Venus are his enemies; he is neutral with Saturn; friendly to Rahu but neutral to Ketu.

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Jupiter (Brihaspati), the ‘Lord of Prayers’ is also known as the Gurudeva (the Guru of the Gods), who has a big body, tawny hair and eyes and is intelligent, and learned in shastras. He holds a stick, holy Rudraksha beads and a small pot in three of his hands. His fourth hand is raised in a gesture of blessing. Jupiter rides in a golden chariot drawn by eight golden horses that are as fast as the wind. His weapon is a golden staff. He has a golden complexion and is dressed in yellow garments. He is often shown seated on a lotus flower. Jupiter is the son of Maharishi Angirasa, whose wife performed a special vow with great devotion to the Sanat Kumars (Ashwinis). They granted her a boon of a very wise son, who would know all the shastras and Vedic scriptures. One story tells us that the demons (asuras) were attempting to weaken the gods (devas) by obstructing the offerings from a yagya (sacrificial ritual) being performed for them. Jupiter used a special mantra and drove off the asuras, allowing devas to nourish themselves with the ritual offerings. In order to become the guru of devas, Jupiter did a special penance to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was pleased with Jupiter’s dedication and granted him the privilege of being the “Guru to the Gods.

Avani Avittam

Avani Avittam is an important ritual associated with the Brahmin community in the world. The day is of great significance to Rig, Yajur, Sama Vedic Brahmins. On the next day, Gayatri Japa Sankalmpam is observed. In other parts of South India, the observance is known as Upakarma.

On the day of Avani Avittam, the sacred thread worn is changed and it is usually a community observance and takes place on the banks of a pond or river. Avani is the name of the Tamil month and Avittam is one of the 27 nakshatras or stars. On this day, a Mahasankalpam or a vow is taken for atonement of all our sins in the past year. The Brahmins take a holy dip and wear a new holy thread called Yajnopavit or Janeyu.

avani avittam

The first step is a ‘prayashchita’ A prayer to atone the sins. It says, “For the removal of all my sins and thereby to secure a divine blessing and for qualifing myself to perform the essential duties of Brahmanas as prescribed in the vedas and smritis and adopted by the really good in their conduct I put on this Yagnopavita”.

When the thread is worn another mantra is recited which means -”I put on the sacred thread which is highly pure, is inseparable from God, is capable of prolonging life and is the foremost in the accomplishment of a Brahmana. May such pure Yagnopavita bring strength and dignity.

While removing the old thread, the mantra means -”I throw away the broken dirty old thread, may the new one bring on long life and Brahmana’s brilliance.

Avani Avittam Significance

Upakarmam means the beginning. On this day the Yajurvedis begin to read Yajur Veda for next six months. The day is auspicious because as per Indian mythology Lord Vishnu was incarnated as Lord Hayagriva,the lord of knowledge, the one who restored the Vedas to Brahma.

Varalakshmi Pooja

 “Padmaasane Padmakare sarva lokaika poojithe Narayana priyadevi supreethaa bhava sarvada”

Today is Varalakshmi Pooja – The worship of Goddess lakshmi

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The Friday before the Full Moon, or Pournami day, of Tamil Month Aadi is chosen to perform Varalakshmi Puja. The corresponding month in the Kannada, Marathi and Telugu Calendar is the Shravan month. Worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on Varalakshmi Vrata day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength. The importance of Varalakshmi Puja is mentioned in the Skanda Purana. It is believed that importance of Varalakshmi Puja was narrated to Goddess Parvati by Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati wanted to know about a Vrata that is highly beneficial to a woman, which will help her lead a happy and prosperous life on earth. Lord Shiva then mentioned about the Varamahalakshmi Vratam

 

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Doctors Day – Lord Dhanvantari
Today being Doctors Day, Thejus salutes all the Doctors and their effort and sacrifices in making us remain healthy

When we talk of Doctors day, how can we not mention Lord Dhanvantari, The God of Medicine.

Commonly worshipped as the Hindu God of Medicine, the Master of Universal Knowledge, Physician of Gods and the Guardian Deity of Hospitals, DHANVANTARI is regarded as the original exponent of Indian medical tradition called AYURVEDA, the ‘eternal science of life.’ This tradition is now accepted as the oldest, most original and unbroken medical system of the world.

The First DHANVANTARI

Gods, repeatedly defeated and killed by their more powerful cousins, the demons, approached Lord VISHNU, seeking the boon of rejuvenation and the gift of immortality.He then directed them to churn the primeval ocean in which were hidden the secrets of life and death.

The Gods sought the help of the demons, to whom they promised part of the spoil. With VASUKI as the rope and Mount MANDARA as the churning rod, they churned the ocean till it yielded several valuable things such as desire-yielding trees, a cow, the flying horse, the white elephant and nymphs, Moon and LAKSHMI. Finally came DHANVANTARI the divine physician, holding the pitcher of AMRITA the elixir of life that could bestow immortality.

dhanvantiri

DHANVANTARI has many myths and legends woven around him. Normally shown as clad in bright yellow silk, He is depicted with four hands- the upper pair of hands carrying sankha and chakra, and the lower pair, a (golden) leech (jalookaa-medical term Hirudo Medicinalis) and kamandalu (pitcher) (sometimes shown as a blood letting bowl). Sometimes he is shown with the text of the upaveda, AYURVEDA and medicinal herbs. Sometime he is shown with a tulasi-seed garland around his neck and a plant-wreath halo. His complexion is blue, making Him another incarnation of VISHNU. Interestingly, the leech was part of the doctor’s kit in olden days since it was used to suck out impure blood from the patient‘s body. Even now, extract from its saliva is used to prevent clotting.

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2013-05-07 03:45:31