Friday, October 31, 2008

Problems Of Life - Exam?

For those of us who are studying at school or college, the time of exams is very stressful and difficult. If exams are really making you ill, worried, or depressed, don't hide your feelings. Talk to someone about it. In some cultures, people think it is wrong to share their feelings and worries with others. But this is the only way to get help! In Britain, there is a saying, 'A problem shared is a problem halved.' So you must find someone to talk to about these problems. Maybe you can speak to a friend, or someone in your family. Or teachers at your place of study. Or a doctor. If one person doesn't help you, ask someone else.

Different people deal with exams in different ways:

Peter, 17,about to take exams in chemistry, biology and maths, says "different people deal with exams in different ways".
"There is so much pressure placed on you to pass exams. I feel I would be letting my parents and my brother down if I didn't do well." His answer to the problem is: "Stay on top of the work."
He recommends, "I don't just sit there and read. I try to condense (make short) my notes, by making new notes of the important points. Then I can read through it faster in the last few days."

Louise, 18, taking English Literature, media studies and theatre studies, says,
"I revise one subject for an hour, then move to another subject for an hour, and carry on like that for as long as I can."

Here are 10 top tips by educational psychologists:
  1. Get help: ask a teacher or tutor about how to revise, and exam skills - how to work when you are in an exam.
  2. Take short rests during your time of work and revision. If your mind is tired, it will not remember well.
  3. Plan your work: revise at times when you know you will work at your best.
  4. Stay healthy: get enough sleep, eat sensibly.
  5. Exercise: you need exercise to work well. Walk, run, play sport - whatever you enjoy.
  6. Be positive: stop thinking about the future and failing.
  7. Do your best: no-one can do more than this.
  8. Be alert: if you feel ill, talk to someone about your worries.
  9. But don't be too relaxed! Some stress over exams makes you work hard for them.
  10. Be sensible: if it upsets you to talk to your friends about an exam when it is finished, don't do it! In fact, don't even think about the exam you have finished. What is done is done. You cannot change what you have written!

If you are studying in the evening, don't go straight to bed afterwards. Your mind will still be 'going round and round' - thinking too much. Do something else, maybe walk or get exercise. Choose something that will relax you, and make you think of other things.

You do not need to face exams alone. God can help you. Search for Him. He can be a friend to you.

Examination Survival - SOON Educational Publications

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Malaysia May Ban Yoga For Muslims: Cleric

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29, 2008 (AFP) - Muslims in Malaysia may be barred from the ancient practice of yoga if they engage in Hindu "religious elements" during the exercise, a top Islamic cleric said Wednesday.

Harussani Zakaria, a controversial cleric from the northern Perak state, said the government-backed National Fatwa Council would soon release a decree, or "fatwa", which would decide if Muslims were allowed to practise yoga.

"If it involves any faith or religious elements it is definitely not permissible but if it is just a form of exercise that is all right," Harussani told AFP.

"Muslims cannot practice yoga in its original form because it involves another religion," he said in response to a call to ban Muslims from engaging in yoga.

Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, where more than 60 percent of the population of 27 million are Muslim Malays who practice a conservative brand of the religion.

The practice of yoga, a popular stress-buster in Kuala Lumpur, dates back thousands of years in India, where it was a favorite of holy men before becoming hugely popular internationally, especially among western celebrities.

Zakaria Stapa, a professor in the Islamic faculty of the National University of Malaysia, had called on Muslims to stop practising yoga, saying it could cause them to "deviate from their faith", news reports said on Wednesday.

Muslims in Malaysia practised yoga not just for exercise but also as part of the growing urban lifestyle and involved "chanting mantras while in various positions", he said.

"Why should we look for other alternatives to exercise and search for peace? Yoga could cause (Muslims) to stray from their faith because its movements are according to the style and traditions of Hinduism," he said.

The fatwa council, one of Malaysia's highest Islamic bodies, last Friday banned women from dressing or behaving like men and engaging in lesbian sex, saying it was forbidden by the religion.

AFP - Thursday, October 30

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kanda Shasti Vratam

On the sixth day of Kanda Sashti, Lord Senthil Andavar and his army of devotees engage the army of supertitan Cur in battle on the beach at Tiruchendur and vanquish them in an hour-long running battle. At last Cur hides in the form of a monstrous mango tree (below) at the bottom of the ocean, but Murugan hurls his Vel and splits the tree/demon into a cock and a peacock.

Kanda Shasti Vratam is observed once a year in the month of ‘Aippasi’ (October–November) starting from the ‘piratamai’ the 1st phase of the brightening moon.

Of all Kanda temples it is the one in Tirunchendur in Tamil Nadu, India that draws the largest number of Kanda devotees. All roads, at the time of the Vratam, seem to lead to Tirunchendur. Beside the temple by the sea there appears to be a sea of heads. The Kantan's Tiruvilaiyaadal (divine sport) Soora Samharam is enacted during the sixth day of the festival. This is a drama to grant a great boon to Curapatman by Kantan. Curapatman is given the honour of becoming Kantan's vehicle mayil vahanam (peacock vehicle) and ceval kodi (the rooster on Kantan’s flag).

During the six days of Kanda Shasti, devotees, usually fast. They fast in many different forms: some devotees take only one meal a day and that single meal is the evening meal; to some that single meal consist of fruit and milk; others forego all solid foods, even abstain from taking medication take only a liquid diet; some even forego the liquid diet. Of the above forms taking milk would defeat the purpose of clearing long stored fat. Not taking any liquids could be harmful, as many unwanted matters tend to remain in the body. The ideal form of fast would be that during all six days and nights to abstain from all solid food and even medicine but take water, coconut water, strained orange juice and or such permissible liquids. These liquids help to flush out unwanted substances and to clean the body.

At the end of the six-day fast the body is indeed cleaner than it was before. The mind is cleansed by the pilgrimage, meditation, worship and other devotional activities. A pure mind in a pure body is a sublime combination and conducive to realizing the Divine. This is the reward and benefit of Kanda Shasti Vratam.

India Divine - Articles On Hinduism

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Vinayaka Kavacham

Ganesha Kavacha - The protective armour hymn of Lord Sri Ganesh

vaLar sikai-yai paraa-baramaai vayangu vinaayakar kaakka
May Vinayagar protect the crown of my head

vaaindha senni aLavu-padaa adhiga savundhara dhEga madhOr-kadar thaam amarndhu kaakka May Vinayaaka protect my head

viLa-rara netriyai endrum viLangiya kaasipar kaakka
May Vinayaga protect my forehead

puruvam thammaith thaLarvin mahO-dharar kaakka
May Mahodhara Ganesh protect my eye brows

thada vizhikaL baala-chandhiran-aar kaakka
May Balachandra Vinayaga protect my eyes

kavin vaLarum adharam gajamukar kaakka
May Gajamukha Ganesha protect my lips

thaalam gaNak-kireedar kaakka
May Ganakreeda Vinayaka protect my tongue

navil sipukam girijai-sudhar kaakka
May Girija-sutha Vinayaka protect my mouth(?)

nani-vaakkai vinaayakar thaam kaakka
May Vinayaka protect my speech

avir nagai dhun-mugar kaakka
May Dhunmukha Vinayaka protect my smile

aL ezhil senjevi paasa-paaNi kaakka
May Paasapaani Vinayaka protect my ears

thavirthal-uraadhu ilang-kodi pOl vaLar-mani-naasi-yaich chindhi-dharth-thar kaakka
May Vinayaka protect my nose

kaama-rupoo mugam thannaik gunEsar nani kaakka
May Gunesa Vinayaka protect my face

kaLam ganEsar kaakka
May Ganesa Vinayaka protect my neck/throat

vaamam urum iru-thOLum vayangu kandha-poorvajar thaam makizhndhu kaakka
May Skanda Poorvaja Vinayaka protect my shoulders

Emam urum maNi-mulai viggina vinaasan kaakka
May Vigna Vinaasaka Vinayaka protect my breast

idhayam thannaith thOm agalum gaNa-naadhar kaakka
May Gananatha Ganesha protect my heart

agattinaith thulangu Erambar kaakka
May Heramba Vinayaka protect my middle

pakkam iraNdaiyum dharaa-dharar kaakka
May Vinayaka protect my sides

pirut-taththai paavum neekkum viggina-karan kaakka
May Vinayaka protect my posterior

viLangi lingam viyaaLa-poodanar thaam kaakka
May Vinayaka protect my genitals

thakka kuyyam thannai vaggira-thuNdar kaakka
May Vakrathunda Vinayaka protect my anus

saganath-thai al-lal ukka gaNaban kaakka
May Vinayaka protect my loins/hips

ooruvai maNgaLa moorth-thi uvandhu kaakka
May Mangala Moorthi Vinayaka protect my thighs

thaazh muzhan-dhaal mahaa-buththi kaakka
May Mahabuddhi Vinayaka protect my knees and legs

iru-padham Eka-dhanthar kaakka
May Eka Dhantha Vinayaka protect my feet
vaazh karang-gap pirap-prasaadhanar kaakka
May Vinayaka protect my arms

mun-kaiyai vaNanguvaar nOi aazh-tharach-chei aasaa-poorakar kaakka
May Vinayaka protect my forearms
viral padhuma aththar kaakka
May Vinayaka protect my fingers

kEzh-kiLarum nagang-gaL vinaayakar kaakka
May Vinayaka protect my nails
kizhakkinil budh-dheesar kaakka
May Buddheesa Vinayaka protect me in the East

ag-giniyil sidh-dheesar kaakka
May Siddheesa Vinayaka protect me in the Southeast

umaa-puth-thirar then aasai kaakka
May Uma Putra Ganesh protect me in the South

mikka nirudhiyil ganE-surar kaakka
May Ganesura Vinayaka protect me in the Southwest

viggina-varth-thanar mErkku ennum dhikku adhanil kaakka
May Vignavartha Vinayaka protect me in the West

vaayuvil kasa-kan-nan kaakka
May Vinayaka protect my Northwest

thigazhu dheesi-thakka nidhiban kaakka
May Vinayaka protect me in the North

vada-kizhakkil eesa-nandha-narE kaakka
May Eesa Nandhana Vinayaka protect my Northeast

Eka-dhanthar pakal muzhudhum kaakka
May Eka Danta Vinayaka protect me through out the day

iravinunj chandhi-iraNdan maattum Ogaiyin viggina kirudhu kaakka
May Vinayaka protect me in the night and at dawn and dusk

iraak-kadhar boodham uru-vEdhaaLam mOhini pEi ivai-yaadhi uyirth-thirath-thaal varum thuyarummudivu illaadha piNi palavum vilak-ku pu-paasaangusar thaam viraindhu kaakka
May Paasa-Angusa Vinayaka protect me from all the problems caused by evil spiritsand from all
kinds of diseases

madhi gyaanam thavam dhaanam maanam oLi pugazh kulam vaN sareera mutrum padhivaanadhanam dhaaniyam giragam manaivi maindhar payil natpaadhig-gadhi-yaavum kalandhu sarvaayudhar kaakka
May Sarva-Ayudha Vinayaka protect my intellect, spiritual intelligence, spiritual life, charitable endeavors, honor, wealth, property, house, spouse, children and friends

kaamar pavuth-thirar mun-naana vidhi-yaarum sutra-melaam mayoorEsar eng-yaandrum virumbik kaakka
May Mayuresa Vinayaka protect my grandchildren, ancestors and all my relatives

vendri see-vidhang kapilar kaakka
May Kapila Vinayaka protect my life/existence

kari-yaadhi-elaam vigadar kaakka
May Vigada Vinayaka protect all these

endru ivvaaru idhu thanai muk-kaalamum Odhidinnum-paal idai-yooru ondrum ondru-raa munivar-kaaL ariminkaLyaar oruvar Odhinaalummandra-vaangu avar dhEgampiNi-aravach-chira-dhEgam aagi man-num
if you chant this in the morning, noon and evening,no problems will beset youwhoever chants thishis/her bodywill be rid of diseasesand will endure

Agasthiar.Org - Ganesh Kavach

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Diwali (Divali, Dewali, Deepavali)

Diwali is a five day Hindu festival which occurs on the fifteenth day of Kartika. Diwali means "rows of lighted lamps" and the celebration is often referred to as the Festival of Lights. During this time, homes are thoroughly cleaned and windows are opened to welcome Laksmi, goddess of wealth. Candles and lamps are lit as a greeting to Laksmi. Gifts are exchanged and festive meals are prepared during Diwali. The celebration means as much to Hindus as Christmas does to Christians.

Because there are many regions in India, there are many manifestations of the Diwali festival. In at least one area, the festival begins with Dhanteras, a day set aside to worship Laksmi. In the Indian culture, wealth is not viewed as a corruptive power. Instead, a wealthy person is considered to have been rewarded for good deeds of a past life.

On the second day Kali, the goddess of Strength, is worshipped. This day also focuses on abolishing laziness and evil.

On the third day (the last day of the year in the lunar calendar), lamps are lighted and shine brightly in every home. The lamp symbolizes knowledge and encourages reflection upon the purpose of each day in the festival. The goal is to remember the purpose throughout the year.

The fourth day of Diwali falls on the first day of the lunar New Year. At this time, old business accounts are settled and new books are opened. The books are worshipped in a special ceremony and participants are encouraged to remove anger, hate, and jealousy from their lives.

On the final day (Balipratipada) of the festival, Bali, an ancient Indian king, is recalled. Bali destroyed the centuries old philosophies of the society. However, in addition to this, he is remembered for being a generous person. Thus, the focus of this day is to see the good in others, including enemies.

Because there is no one universally accepted Hindu calendar, this holiday may be celebrated on a different date in some parts of India, but it always falls in the months of October or November.

Religious - KU Medical

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Saraswati Puja

The Goddess Saraswathi is worshipped as the Goddess of Learning, the deity of Gayathri, the fountain of fine arts and science, and the symbol of supreme vedantic knowledge. On the Durgashtami day ,a ceremony called Poojavaipu is performed in the evening in Kerala. In a village, generally, it is done only in certain households, in temples and also sometimes in the village schools. The Brahmin houses and the houses which enjoy reputation for learning, mainly take the lead in celebrating the festival. The members of other houses in the village attend the ceremony performed in these houses or institutions.

In a well-decorated room, books and grandhas (holy books) are tastefully arranged with a picture or an image of Goddess Saraswathi in front. In certain poaches weapons and implements are kept by the side of books and garandhas. Then a Puja is performed to Saraswathi during which fruits, beaten rice, roasted paddy (malar), jaggery etc, are offered to Her. These offerings are distributed among those present when the Puja is over.

Just before the Pujavaipu, all studies and work which mainly require skill, are suspended. The following day is known as Mahanavami and it is totally devoted to the worship of Saraswathi. Pooja is performed both in the morning and in the evening. Many more items such as rice, payasam, thirali, etc are also offered to Devi.

The ten-day Saraswati festival, also known as Dussehra or Navaratri, is held September-October. It's celebrated throughout India but takes on special significance in Kerala. Young children are taken to the temples and, before an image of a goddess-celebrated in Kerala as Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and learning-they are introduced to the letters of the alphabet.

Durga Puja - Goddess Saraswathi

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Devi Mahaatmyam


Once upon a time, a king named Suratha lost his kingdom to a palace coup and had to flee to the forest but even after being betrayed by his own kith and kin, the king could not help but worry about his kingdom, his sons and his queen. He started longing for his family but he was also angry with them for betraying him. In this confused state of mind, he met a merchant named Samadhi who was also cast out by his wicked wife and sons. Like Suratha, Samadhi was also fond of his wife and sons in spite of their betrayal. They both wanted to know why they were having feelings of love and affection towards those who clearly betrayed them and did not care for them. They approached a hermit named Medhas to explain their conflicting feelings towards their families. The pious Medhas replied: “It is the Mahamaya of Devi which deludes humans. She creates and sustains this Universe. No one can escape her Mahamaya. Even the wise come under the influence of the Mahamaya.” Hearing this, Suratha and Samadhi said to Medhas: “Venerable sir, please teach us about this Devi who is Creator and Ruler of the Universe. Who is She and where does She originate from? What form is She? What is Her Mahamaya? We want to hear all about Her from you.”

Madhu and Kitabha

Then, Medhas started telling the story of Devi. Once upon a time, at the end of time when the entire universe was one big ocean, Lord Vishnu was in deep Yogic sleep under the influence of the Devi’s maya. Then from Lord Vishnu’s ears two terrible demons, Madhu and Kitabha, emerged. They were threatening to kill Lord Brahma who was sitting on the lotus that emerged out of Lord Vishnu’s navel. Brahma, afraid for his life, prayed to and extolled Devi to withdraw Her maya from Lord Vishnu so He can wake up to protect him. Devi was pleased by Brahma’s prayers, and she withdrew her Maya from Lord Vishnu whereupon Lord Vishnu woke up. In a fierce battle that lasted five thousand years, Lord Vishnu killed the two demons.


When the demon Mahishaasura was the leader of the demons, they fought the gods and vanquished them. Then Mahishaasura became the lord of heaven, an Indra, and assumed the duties of Surya, Agni, Vayu, Chandra, Yama and Varuna. The gods approached Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva became very angry when they heard the pitiful story of the gods’ defeat. From their faces, as well as from the faces of all the gods who were present there, an intense light emerged that pervaded all quarters of the universe. That light then assumed a female form. Thus Devi was manifest from the light and power of all gods. Then the gods all gave her their respective weapons and other gifts: Lord Shiva gave her His trident; Vishnu his chakra; Indra his thunderbolt and so on all the gods gave their respective weapons to Devi.

Armed with the power of the gods and all their weapons, Devi started out to kill Mahishaasura. The earth trembled under Her feet. The twang of Her bow raised fear in the hearts of the demons. Mahishaasura’s generals, Ciksura, Udagra, Mahahanu, Asiloman, Baskala, Privarita, Bidala and great many other demons came out to fight Devi in millions of numbers with millions of horses, elephants and chariots. They fought with arrows, javelins, spears, swords, maces, clubs, axes and every other kind of weapon. Devi killed the demons by the thousands while Her lion killed several hundreds more. Each of Her sighs in the battle gave birth to a battalion of army which fought and killed the demons by the million. The blood that was spilled on the battle ground flowed like a
large river.

Then one of Mahishaasura’s generals, Ciksura, got very angry and attacked Devi with many kinds of weapons. Devi nullified all of his weapons and killed him by hurling a spear at him. This brought Camara in to the battle who was very angry for the death of Ciksura. He attacked Devi from atop a huge elephant, but Devi’s mount, the lion, killed both the demon and the elephant. Next Udagra, Karala, Uddhata, Baskala, Tamara and Andhaka were killed by Devi in fierce battles. Last of Mahishaasura’s generals, Ugrasya, Ugravirya, Bidala, Durdhara and Durmudha, were killed by Devi in no time. Thus, all of the army of Mahishaasura was killed in the battle by Devi.

Mahishaasura gets killed

Then Mahishaasura himself came on to the battle field in the form of a fiercely terrible buffalo. He was ferocious and killed many soldiers on the battle field with his horns and trampling them under his feet. He charged at Devi’s lion. He kicked up so much dust with his hooves that the earth trembled. The mountains were tossed and the clouds were shattered by his horns. The force of his breath swept away even the biggest mountains. Seeing him in that ferocious buffalo form, Devi bound the demon by throwing Her noose over him, but the demon quit his buffalo form and became a lion and charged towards Devi. She cut his head off but it did not kill him. Instead he took a human form with a sword in his hand. When Devi killed the demon in the human form, the demon appeared as an elephant and tried to drag the lion with his trunk. Devi then cut the elephant’s trunk off. Seeing that all his magical powers were useless before Devi, Mahishaasura took his original buffalo form and charged at Devi with such speed and fury, that the three worlds shook and trembled. Devi was angry now. She sipped a divine drink and jumped down onto the demon from atop her lion and pinned the demon under her foot. While pinning him down, she brought down the spear in her right hand with all the force to sever the head of the demon. Thus, loosing all his magical powers, Mahishaasura was finally slain. Therefore, Devi is called Mahishaasura Mardhini (Killer of Mahishaasura.) There upon, all the gods praised Devi with bent shoulders and heads and offered her celestial flowers. Devi was pleased with their worship and granted them Her help whenever they needed it.

Later, two asuras named Shumba and Nishumba defeated the gods and drove them out of heaven again. The gods remembering Devi’s promise to help them in their time of need went to Himavati mountain and prayed to Her to help them. Devi appeared as Parvati and out of Parvati’s physical sheath emerged a form. Because She came out of the kosha of Devi, she is called Kaushiki. Kaushiki was very beautiful and resplendent with a brightness of a million moons. Then two servants of Shumbha and Nishumbha, Chanda and Munda, saw Her and told their masters of Her celestial divine beauty. They added that since Shumbha and Nishumbha owned everything that was beautiful and precious in all the three worlds, they should also possess Kaushiki. Thus persuaded, Shumbha and Nishumbha sent a messenger named Sugriva to Devi to get Her consent to marry one of them. Devi was furious on hearing the proposal and replied: “I made a promise to myself to marry him who defeats me in battle. If either Shumbha or Nishumbha wishes to marry me he shall have to defeat me in battle.”

Dhumralochana is Killed

Hearing Devi’s reply from Sugriva, Shumbha and Nishumbha got very angry. They summoned one of their bravest chieftains called Dhumralochana and commissioned him to capture and bring Devi to them. “Drag Her here by Her hair,” they told him. Dumralochana took sixty thousand fighters with him and attacked Devi. However, Devi reduced him to ashes with a mere sigh of the sound ‘hum’. Thereupon his fighters attacked Her with all kinds of weapons but Devi’s lion killed them all. Thus Dhumralochana and his army were destroyed. Shumbha was very angry and sad for his friend and bravest chieftain. He sent Chanda and Munda to destroy Devi.

Chanda and Munda get killed

Chanda and Munda took with them an array of elephants, horses, chariots and foot soldiers to attack Devi. Devi became very angry, and out of Her frowned forehead emerged Kali wearing a garland of skulls and holding a skull-topped staff. Her eyes were red and Her tongue was lolling out generating fear in the hearts of the demons. She destroyed all the army of Chanda and Munda in no time. Seeing their army destroyed, Chanda rushed at Kali with great ferocity and hurled all kinds of weapons such as spears and chakras at her. Kali could not be hurt. She went after Chanda with her lion and cut his head off with her sword. Seeing this, Munda was enraged beyond description. With all his might he rushed at Her and hurled hundreds of chakras at Her with great speed. But Kali nullified them all. She killed Munda also by severing his head by Her sword. Kali then approached Devi holding the heads of Chanda and Munda and told Her that Chanda and Munda are dead but She will have to kill the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha Herself. Devi told Kali that since She killed Chanda and Munda in battle, She will be known as Chamundi.

Killing of Raktabeeja

Shumbha was stricken by sorrow. He was mad with anger which was limitless. Unable to contain his anger and shaking all over, he summoned all his armies of Asuras, Kumbhas, Kotiviryas, Dhumras, Kalakas, Daurhrdas, Mauryas, and Kalakeyas. Followed by all the big armies of all these warriors, Shumbha raced towards Devi. Seeing him approaching, Chandika roared so loud that the entire space reverberated. Her lion’s loud roar only added to the terror in the hearts of the demons. The demons surrounded Devi on all sides. The gods seeing Devi thus surrounded sent their respective powers to the aid of Devi. Brahmini, the power of Brahma, Maheshwari, the power of Shiva, shakti the power of Ambika, Vishnavi, the Shakti of Hari, and Nrisimhi, the power of Nrisimha came to Her. Then Devi looked at Shiva and told Him to carry Her message to Shumbha that the heaven should be returned to gods. Since She sent Shiva Himself as a messenger (duta), She came to be known as Shivaduti. Shiva took Her message to Shumbha but he could not be persuaded to return heaven to gods and accept Indra as its lawful ruler.

Thus, the great battle ensued. Devi killed many asuras. The various shaktis of gods such as Aindri, Varahi, Nrisimhi, Brahmini, Maheshwari, and Vishnavi killed the armies of asuras like ants. The asura army was greatly reduced. Thereupon, a demon named Raktabeeja attacked Devi. Raktabeeja possessed an invincible power. Wherever a drop of his blood was spilled, there emerged another Raktabeeja with similar powers. This great demon fought with Aindri, Maheshwari, Vishnavi and other shaktis of gods who were unable to kill him because each time he was slain, scores of Raktabeejas came into being in his place. Thus Raktabeeja played havoc among Devi’s army of fighters. No one knew how to overcome this demon.

Devi roared. She summoned Chamundi and ordered Her to drink the spilling blood from the demon’s body before it dropped on to the earth and germinated another Raktabeeja. Thus aided by Chamundi, Devi set out to kill Raktabeeja. As soon as Devi pierced the demon with her spear, Chamundi made sure that no blood spilled on to the earth.Together they annihilated all the numerous Raktabeeja demons who came in to existence on the battlefield as well as the real Raktabeeja.

Nishumbha is slain

And now Nishumbha trailed by armies in front, back and both sides charged at Devi with innumerable weapons. With great force, the asura struck the lion. The lion let out a roar so loud that the entire army of Nishumbha was terrified. Devi getting angry at Nishumbha for striking Her lion, broke his spear and shield with a powerful arrow. All the weapons that the demon hurled at Her were broken by Devi’s weapons whereupon the asura charged at Devi with a battle axe. Devi fell him down swiftly with an arrow. Meanwhile, Shumbha who was fighting heroically saw his brother fall down and drove his chariot towards Devi with all his army following. Devi saw him approaching. She pulled on the tout string of her bow which emitted a sound so loud that all the directions and entire space between the sky and the earth was filled with it. Devi roared at Nishumbha’s army sending fear through their ranks. Shumbha fought valorously with Devi for a long time. During this time Nishumbha came to his senses and attacked Devi with increased zeal. Devi hurling a dart at the demon, pierced his heart; but a great powerful demon emerged out of his heart instead. Devi cut the head off of this being with her sword and then killed Nishumbha himself. The shaktis of gods killed all the armies of the demon.

Shumbha is Killed

Shumbha was now enraged immensely. He charged at Devi and challenged Her. Devi said to him: “All these goddesses who are fighting on my side are none but the manifestations of my powers. I am now going to withdraw all these devis in to myself so only you and I will fight.” Then the duel between the two started. They fought with various weapons. Each sent great many powerful weapons against the other while nullifying the enemy’s weapons. Devi then succeeded in breaking the demon’s bow and arrow whereupon he charged at her with a sword which also was broken by Devi’s arrow. His chariot was broken and his steeds were also killed. Then Shumbha charged at Her with a mace. Devi split his mace with an arrow but Shumbha got up and lunged at Devi and struck Her with his fist. Undaunted, Devi struck a powerful blow to his chest with Her hand. Unable to bear the pain of Her blow, the king of the asuras then sprang high in to the sky but Devi followed him there and they began to fight there. After a prolonged fight, Devi lifted the asura high, whirled him around until he was dizzy and threw him to the ground. But Shumbha got up and charged at Her again. Seeing him approaching and wanting to kill him swiftly, Devi pierced his heart with a dart. Shumbha was hurt deeply and fell down lifeless. The earth was rid of the demons and rule of justice restored. The gods were happy and they praised Devi immensely. Devi, pleased by their bhakti, granted them several boons.

“Such is the power of Devi,” said the rishi, Medhas. “She is the primordial Shakti. She is the Ruler of the Universe. She creates the maya under which all beings are led to believing that they are experiencing pain and pleasure. Your attachment to your families, friends, kingdom and wealth, in spite of the betrayal by them is because of this ignorance. Realize this and be at peace.” Thereupon, Suratha and Samadhi, freed from their ignorance were at peace. - DEVI_MAHAATMYAM

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Sunday, October 5, 2008


Dusserah, also known as Vijayadashmi, is celebrated on the tenth day, which follows nine days of Durga Pooja, some time in September / October. The Tenth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Aashwayuja.

This is among the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar and comes as the finale of the nine-day festival, Navaraatri. This festival of victory is preceded by worship of Saraswati the Goddess of Learning and of Durgaa the Goddess of Strength. Grand processions of all Gods and goddesses are taken out in every town and village on this day, signifying the victory of the forces of righteousness over those of wickedness. Various have been the names of the Goddess of Strength - Durgaa, Mahaa Kaali, Mahishasura Mardini etc., under which that supreme protectress of the good and the holy put to rout, time and again, the demoniac forces and established the supremacy of the righteous.

The story of how Mahishaasura Mardini took birth is striking for its unique message. At one stage the Gods felt powerless against the onslaughts of the demoniac forces headed by Mahishaasura. In answer to their prayers for protection, they were ordered to part with a portion of their divine powers to form into a new Goddess. It was thus that Mahishaasura Mardini took on a physical form as the combined might of 33 crores of Gods. The dreaded demon Mahishaasura was slain by Chaamundeshwari after a ceaseless fight of nine days and nights.

The lesson of this legend is so beautifully clear. Even the good and the righteous can succeed against the evil forces only when they come together in an organized endeavour. Could there be a more telling message to the present-day disorganized Hindu people - many of them individually good and pious but who have remained incapable of overcoming the forces inimical to them and their culture? Truly has it been said, 'Sanghe shaktih kalau yuge' - Organization holds the key to strength in Kaliyuga. And this is the one single, most important lesson which the Hindu people have to learn today.

Every page of our past history bears testimony to the shocking phenomenon of how the Hindus, though immensely superior in culture, wealth, armies, territory and sheer numbers to the foreign aggressors, were defeated and enslaved. And all this tragedy because of their fatal drawback of disorganization. Now, it is high time the Hindus learnt the bitter lesson of the past and realize that "Organization is life and disorganization is death".

The unique concept of worship of strength in the Hindu tradition is far, far removed from that of accumulation of aggressive power. This strength is termed nigrahaanugraha shakti, i.e., while on the one hand it destroys the wicked, on the other it protects the good and the holy. That is how we find that the rise of Hindu power was never attended by aggression and exploitation of other countries. Probably the only nation on the face of the earth to display this rate restraint has been the Hindu Nation. The world history is replete with the blood curdling stories of nation after nation, whenever they became powerful, embarking upon barbaric invasions of other countries and liquidating whole native races. It was given to the Hindu Nation alone to live up to the famous saying of Jesus Christ, "I have come to fulfil, and not to destroy".

Vijaya Dashami is resplendent with many an inspiring episode reflecting the victorious culmination of deeds of valour of our illustrious ancestors. The tradition in southern parts depicts Sri Rama's triumphant return to Ayodhya after fourteen years of banishment entailing endless hardships, dangers and mental anguish like separation from Sita and finally the slaying of Raavana, as coinciding with this day. Symbolic of the victorious occasion, Raama-Leela is observed with great enthusiasm and eclat in the northern parts.

Shree Raama, it is said, worshipped Shami tree before proceeding to Ayodhya. On the same day, the Paandavas too, took out their arms hidden in the Shami tree and revealed their identity after their one year of Ajnaatavaasa (living incognito) after twelve years of exile to a forest. That marked their preparation for the victorious war of Kurukshetra. Invoking these inspiring memories the Shami is worshipped on this day and the holy leaves are distributed by one another as an auspicious omen for the coming year. The following couplet is repeated on the occasion:

Shamee shamayate paapam shamee shatruvinaashinee

Arjunasya dhanurdhaaree Raamasya priyadarshinee

(Shami, the remover of all sins, the destroyer of all enemies bore witness to Arjuna taking his bow and Shree Raama coming back to his near and dear ones.)

The Hindu kings and chieftains in the medieval period like Vijayanagar kings and Maratha Peshwas continued this tradition of worshipping the Shami tree and marching in royal procession. Many a time they would sally forth against their foes - Seemollanghana - on this day. Even to this day, amidst the heartrending ruins of Hampi in Karnataka - the site of the once worldfamed Vijayanagar stands the Vijaya Dashami pedestal on which Krishna Devaraya, the celebrated monarch, used to stand and receive the salute of his half-a-million strong army.

Festivals -

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Navaratri, The 9 Divine Nights

"Nava-ratri" literally means "nine nights." This festival is observed twice a year, once in the beginning of summer and again at the onset of winter.

What's the Significance of Navaratri?

During Navaratri, we invoke the energy aspect of God in the form of the universal mother, commonly referred to as "Durga," which literally means the remover of miseries of life. She is also referred to as "Devi" (goddess) or "Shakti" (energy or power). It is this energy, which helps God to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and destruction. In other words, you can say that God is motionless, absolutely changeless, and the Divine Mother Durga, does everything. Truly speaking, our worship of Shakti re-confirms the scientific theory that energy is imperishable. It cannot be created or destroyed. It is always there.

Why Worship the Mother Goddess?

We think this energy is only a form of the Divine Mother, who is the mother of all, and all of us are her children. "Why mother; why not father?", you may ask. Let me just say that we believe that God's glory, his cosmic energy, his greatness and supremacy can best be depicted as the motherhood aspect of God. Just as a child finds all these qualities in his or her mother, similarly, all of us look upon God as mother. In fact, Hinduism is the only religion in the world, which gives so much importance to the mother aspect of God because we believe that mother is the creative aspect of the absolute.

Why Twice a Year?

Every year the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter are two very important junctures of climatic change and solar influence. These two junctions have been chosen as the sacred opportunities for the worship of the divine power because:
(1) We believe that it is the divine power that provides energy for the earth to move around the sun, causing the changes in the outer nature and that this divine power must be thanked for maintaining the correct balance of the universe.
(2) Due to the changes in the nature, the bodies and minds of people undergo a considerable change, and hence, we worship the divine power to bestow upon all of us enough potent powers to maintain our physical and mental balance.

Why Nine Nights & Days?

Navaratri is divided into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the supreme goddess. On the first three days, the Mother is invoked as powerful force called Durga in order to destroy all our impurities, vices and defects. The next three days, the Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees the inexhaustible wealth. The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the mother as the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. In order have all-round success in life, we need the blessings of all three aspects of the divine mother; hence, the worship for nine nights.

Why Do You Need the Power?

Thus, I suggest you join your parents in worshipping "Ma Durga" during the Navaratri. She will bestow on you wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge, and other potent powers to cross every hurdle of life. Remember, everyone in this world worships power, i.e., Durga, because there is no one who does not love and long for power in some form or the other.

Shri Gyan Rajhans -

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