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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rakhi / Raksha Bandhan Hindu Festival

Rakshabandhan is one of the most important festivals of Hindus. This festival signifies the unbroken love between brother and sister. This festival is celebrated on full moon day of savan Hindu month. In this year 2009, it will be celebrated on 5th August.

The word "Rakshabandhan" stands for bonding someone for sprititual and physical security. That's why when a sister ties Rakhi knot, she says, "Brother! I have come to you; I hope you will protect me from all the evils."

On this auspicious day, sisters tie a sacred band called Rakhi on the wrists of their brothers and feed them sweets. In return, brothers give various gifts to their sisters. Draupadi, wife of Pandavas and daughter of king Drupad, used to consider lord Krishna her brother. Once Krishna's hand got wounded and it started bleeding badly. The moment Draupadi saw it, she torn a corner of her Sari and wrapped it on Krishna’s hand. Mythology says that Krishna conjured up bolts of clothes for Draupadi to repay the debt when Duhshasana tried to disrobe her.

There is another similar incident in history of India when Hindu queen of Chittor Karmawati sent Rakhi to emperor of Delhi Humayu. Humayu accepted it and fought the battle with king of Gujrat Bahadurshah for honor of the queen. The divine love and emotion between brothers and sisters are the soul of this festival. Hindus all over the world celebrate it on large scale.

On this day, sisters place paddy-ears on walls after taking bath and worship it with Kheer made of rice, sweets and vermicelli (sevai) etc. Bands of Rakhi are glued on these paddy-ears using kheer or sweets. Those women who bed wheat etc. on Naga Panchami put these tiny plants on place of worship, and hook them on the ears of their brothers after tying Rakhi.

Once the eldest of Pandavas, king Yudhishthir asked about it to Lord Krishna, "O Krishna! Please tell me the story of Rakshabandhan which eradicates all afflictions." Krishna replied, "Yudhishthira, once gods and demons fought a great battle for twelve consecutive years. King of gods, Indra, finally lost the battle. Gods became lackluster and Indra with other gods, after losing all the hopes of victory, went to Amaravati.

The king of demons won over all three worlds (loka). He pronounced banishment of Indra and banned yajna and sacrifices etc. Due to fear of demons, all good activities like yajna, practice of Vedas and divine celebrations etcetera stopped. King Indra could not tolerate it. He called the guru of gods, Brihaspati and told him, 'O Guru! I want to fight a final battle with these demons and I will keep fighting this time until I die. Destiny is most powerful of all. Let the inevitable take place.' First Brihaspati tried to calm him down. But seeing unflinching determination of Indra, he asked for divine ritual for protection. On the day of full moon of Shrawan month, this ritual was performed.

येनवद्धो बली राजा दानवेन्द्रो महाबलः।
तेन त्वाममिवध्नामि रक्षे माचल माचल॥

Brihaspati, the guru of gods, gave the divine protection to Lord Indra using this mantra. Indra, the conqueror of ancient demon Vritta, with his wife follow the order of Brihaspati and defeated demons to establish Dharma again."


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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nag Panchami/ Nagara Panchami/ Nagpanchmi - Hindu Festival

Nag panchami is celebrated on 5th day of bright half of Shravan month (Shrawan Shukla Panchami). In this year 2009, Nag panchami will be celebrated on Sunday 26th of July.

Nag Devata, Nag Panchami, Nagara Panchami, NagpanchmiNaga is the word for snake in Sanskrit and this day is called Nagapanchami because snakes are worshiped on this day. According to astrology, Snake god is the lord of 5th day of a Hindu month, so it is considered to be the day meant for snakes. Garud Puran says that statues of snakes should be placed on both sides of the house on this day and Maha-naags like Ananta etc. should be worshiped.

According to Skand Puran’s Nagar Khand, all desires come true if one worships the snakes of Chamatkarpur. Narad Puran says one should observe fast on Kartik Shukla Chaturthi to avoid snakebite. It also suggests later that snakes should also be worshiped on Bhadrapad Krishna Panchami , fast should be observed and all family members should feed milk to snakes.

One time food should be taken on prior date 4th (Chaturthi) and complete fasting should be done on 5th (Panchami). On this day, draw five snakes using turmeric and sandalwood ink with the pen of silver, gold, wood or clay, and worship them with Kheer, Panchamrit, Dhoop, incense sticks, Naivedya and lotus flower etc. After the rituals, feed dishes like Kheer and laddu to Brahmins. One should not dig any surface on the day of Nagapanchami.

To worship snake god, make the snake of a rope and tie seven knots in it. Then place it on a wooden bench. Worship the deity with turmeric, rice and flowers etc. and offer the mixture of milk, ghee and sugar to the holy deity.

Sing hymns after worship and offer the mixture of milk, honey and some sugar to snake by putting it in front of any snake burrow. Take a little soil from there and draw the picture of a snake on the corner walls of home. Listen the story of Nagapanchami at the end.


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Diwali Pooja: Some Important Points to Know

Tomorrow is Diwali. Hindu scriptures have lots to tell about dos and donts on this holy festival. Here I have noted down few important points for you -
  • Take oil massage in the morning
  • Worship with deepak
  • The best time for Laxmi pujan is 3 muhurta (144 minutes) from sunset. Three muhurta (6 ghadi or 144 minutes) period everyday is called Nitya Pradosh and considered auspicious. As I mentioned in the last post, please consult local panchang or news paper to know the exact muhurat time for your place.
  • Fast till Laxmi Pujan and eat only once after the pooja
  • Wear flower garland
  • Put on white clothes
  • Remain awake till mid night and throw away poverty from the home by playing holy instruments (shankh etc.)

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hindu Festivals & Calendar for October 2008

Important Hindu festivals and events in October 2008

1st October – 2nd day of Navaratri Puja
2st October – Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri Anniversary/ Eid-ul-Fitar/ 3rd day of Navratri Puja
3rd October – Vainayaki Shri Ganesh Chaturthi/ 4th day of Navrathri Puja/ Goddess Lakshmi Worship begins in South India
4th October – 5th day of Navarathri Puja
5th October – 6th day of Navrathri Puja/ Durga Puja – Shasti Durga Devi Amantran
6th October – 7th day of Navaratri Puja - Goddess Saraswathi Puja Begins in South India/ Saptami Shri Durga Devi Saptami Vihita Puja
7th October – 8th day of Navarathri Puja/ Durga Ashtami
8th October – 9th day of Navrathri Puja/ Ayudha Puja/ Mahanavami
9th October – Dusshera – Vijaya Dashami
10th October - Bharat Milap
11th October – Ekadasi/ Pashankusha Ekadashi
12th October – Ravi Pradosh/ Pradosh Puja
15th October – Kartik Krishna Paksha Month Begins in Hindi Calendar
17th October – Karva Chauth/ Sankashti Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata
23rd October - Indian National Kartik Month begins
24th October – Rambha Ekadashi
26th October – Dhanteras / Ravi Pradosh
27th October – Deepavali in South India/ Naraka Chathurdasi/ Month Shivratri Vrat
28th October – Kali Puja/ Diwali in North India
30th October – Bhaiya Dooj/ Bhai Bhij/ Yama Dwitiya

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ganesh Chaturthi/ Vinayak Chaturthi

4th day of Bhadrapad month in Hindu calendar is known as Ganesha Chaturthi. Though the vrat for lord Ganesha is observed on 4th day of Krishna Paksha of every Hindu month, but this is special of all. Ganesha Chaturthi or Ganesha Festival is a day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees and hence celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi. Siddhi Vinayak Vrat is also observed on this same day. While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in Maharashtra,Goa ( Biggest festival for Konkani people all over the world ) Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and other areas which were former states of the Maratha Empire. In this year 2009, this festival will be celebrated on 23rd of August.

Swami Sivananda has talked about the religious and spiritual practices that should be performed this day. Please have a look here.

Related Posts:

Ganesh Pooja Process & Aradhana

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