Saturday, May 23, 2015

MAA DHUMAVATI (one of the 10 Mahavidyas) Dhumavati jayanti on 26th May

Dhumavati (literally "the smoky one") is  one of  10 Mahavidyas, a group of   ten Tantric goddesses. Dhumavati represents the fearsome aspect of Devi, the Hindu Divine Mother. She is often portrayed as an old, ugly widow, and is associated with things considered inauspicious and unattractive in Hinduism, such as the crow and the Chaturmas period. The goddess is often depicted on a horseless chariot or riding a crow, usually in a cremation ground.
one of the
Dhumavati is said to manifest herself at the time of cosmic dissolution (pralaya) and is "the Void" that exists before creation and after dissolution. While Dhumavati is generally associated with only inauspicious qualities, her thousand-name hymn relates her positive aspects as well as her negative ones. She is often called tender-hearted and a bestower of boons. Dhumavati is described as a great teacher, one who reveals ultimate knowledge of the universe, which is beyond the illusory divisions, like auspicious and inauspicious. Her ugly form teaches the devotee to look beyond the superficial, to look inwards and seek the inner truths of life.
Dhumavati is described as a giver of siddhis (supernatural powers), a rescuer from all troubles, and a granter of all desires and rewards, including ultimate knowledge and moksha (salvation). Her worship is also prescribed for those who wish to defeat their foes. Dhumavati's worship is considered ideal for unpaired members of society, such as bachelors, widows, and world renouncers as well as Tantrikas. In her Varanasi temple, however, she transcends her inauspiciousness and acquires the status of a local protective deity. There, even married couples worship her. Although she has very few dedicated temples, her worship by Tantric ritual continues in private in secluded places like cremation grounds and forests.


Friday, May 22, 2015

THE SANSKRIT : A SCIENTIFIC LANGUAGE

Sanskrit is a beautiful language. Each word in Sanskrit tells its meaning itself. Each word has been thought carefully. Sanskrit is not a product of evolution from an earlier language. It has been designed to be what it is. When Vedic sages coded the knowledge of particle physics and cosmology, they were well aware of the possibility that one day the code may be lost due to the decline of their civilization. Therefore they chose the words carefully to provide vital clues about the code. (Note: To learn more about Sanskrit refer to the chapter on Sanskrit)

Take the example, the expanding universe. The word for universe in Sanskrit is "Brahmanda", which is made by joining of words "Brahma" and "Anda". Brahma is derived from root "Brha" meaning to expand and "Anda" means egg. Thus " Brahmanda" means expanding egg. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

THE NATH SAMPRADAYA

Tantra

 The forerunners of the Nāths practiced variants of Kaula Tantrism , all of which are effectively extinct today except for the Daksināmnāya (“Southern”) stream known as → Śrīvidyā, on whose practices Nāth tantric ritual is based today. The chief goddess of current Nāth yogī ritual Paddhatis is the same as that of Śrīvidyā: Bālāsundarī or Tripurāsundarī (Yogī Vilāsnāth, 2010). The Paddhatis describe a variety of mantras and → mandalas for ritual use. The most important rite is the secret śankhadhāl, in which Bālāsundarī (as Yogmāyā) is propitiated using various substances, including cannabis, which appear to be tamer versions of sexual fluids used in similar rites practiced by householder castes connected with the Nāths (Khan, 1994). The śankhadhāl is a key part of Nāth yogīs’ funeral rites (Bouillier, 1986, 155).

THE NATARAJ ( LORD SHIVA )

Shiva is also known as Nataraj, the Lord of Dancers. The most splendid representations of Nataraj are to be found in the Chola bronzes from South India, from around the 8th century to the 12th century; it is the image of Nataraj which is installed as the central deity in the great temple at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. The image of Shiva as Nataraj is indelibly stitched into the Indian imagination. "How many various dances of Shiva are known to His worshippers", says Ananda Coomaraswamy, "I cannot say. No doubt the root idea behind all of these dances is more or less one and the same, the manifestation of primal rhythmic energy." Continues Coomaraswamy, "Whatever the origins of Shiva's dance, it became in time the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of."
A more fluid and energetic representation of a moving figure than the dancing figure of Shiva can scarcely be found anywhere. Though there are minor variations, the characteristic features of Nataraj are as follows: he is shown with four hands, two on either side. The upper left hand holds a flame, the lower left hand points down to the demon Muyalaka, who is shown holding a cobra. The demon is being crushed by Shiva's right foot; the other foot is raised. The upper right hand holds a drum, the lower one is in the abhaymudra, 'be without fear'. Shiva's hair is braided and jewelled, but some of his locks whirl as he dances; within the folds of his hair are a wreathing cobra, a skull, and the figure of Ganga. The entire figure stands on a lotus pedestal and is fringed by a circle of flames, which are touched by the hands holding the drum and the fire.
The dance of Shiva represents his five activities: Shrishti (creation, evolution); Sthiti (preservation, support); Samhara (destruction, evolution); Tirobhava (illusion); and Anugraha (release, emancipation, grace). The symbolic significance of every aspect of the representation of Shiva is furnished by many texts, such as the Chidambara Mummani Kovai: "O my Lord, Thy hand holding the sacred drum has made and ordered the heavens and earth and other worlds and innumerable souls. Thy lifted hand protects both the conscious and unconscious order of thy creation. All these worlds are transformed by Thy hand bearing fire. Thy sacred foot, planted on the ground, gives an abode to the tired soul struggling in the toils of causality. It is Thy lifted foot that grants eternal bliss to those that approach Thee. These Five-Actions are indeed Thy Handiwork."
Source:
"The Dance of Shiva", in Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, The Dance of Shiva: Fourteen Indian Essays, rev. ed. (New York: Noonday



Sunday, May 17, 2015

THE BADRINATH TEMPLE


THE PRADAKSHINA

Pradakshina (Sanskrit), meaning circumambulation, consists of walking around in a 'circle' as a form of worship in Hindu ceremonies in India. The devotees walk around the garbha griha, the innermost chamber of the shrine housing the temple deity. It is done around sacred fire (Agni), trees and plants as well. Thus Pradakshina is done around Tulsi plant and Peepal tree. Pradakshina or Parikrama is done in pilgrimage centres also.

Pradakshina literally means: to the right (Dakshina means right). So in Pradakshina, one goes to the left hand direction to keep the deity around the Sanctum Sanctorum on one's right side. Pradakshina is one of the customary aspects of going to a temple. Typically, Pradakshina is done after the completion of traditional worship (pooja) and after paying homage to the deity. Pradakshina is supposed to be done with a meditative mood.

From the Rig Vedic verses Rig: 2.42.3 and 2.43.1 –" Pra as an adjective means very much. Pra can also come as a prefix to verbs and take on the meaning of onward, forward. Onward to Dakshinam or south is pradakshina . When one does that, one's right side is facing the deity inside the garbhagraham and the circumambulation is Dakshinacharam or auspicous as recommended by the Veda. "





Significance of doing Pradakshina


We cannot draw a circle without a center point. The Lord is the center, source and essence of our lives. We acknowledge this by performing Pradakshina. Recognizing Him as the focal point in our lives, we go about doing our daily chores. This is the significance of Pradakshina.

Also every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the centre. This means that wherever we may be or whoever we may be, we are equally close to the Lord. His grace flows towards us without partiality.

According to Adi Sankaracharya, real Pradakshina is the meditation that thousands of universes are revolving around the Great Lord, the unmoving centre of all forms


Why do we do Atma Pradakshina?

At the end of the pujas , it is a custom to do pradakshinam around ourselves three times & this is called “Atma Pradakshinam”. The proper pradakshina is going round the Self (Atma Pradakshina) or more accurately, to realize that we are the Self and that within us all the countless spheres revolve, going round and round. We bow to the supreme divinity within us, chanting
Yani kani cha paapaani janmanthara kruthaani cha
Thaani thaani vinas(h)yanthi pradakshina padae padae
May those omissions and commissions done in this life and also in the previous births and the resulting afflictions perish with every pradakshina.



THE YOGA


THE TRUTH OF LIFE