Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kallazhagar Chithrai Festival

April is not the cruellest month for Madurai, despite the cruel summer. In fact, it is celebration time. For the next few days, the city will be bursting at its seams with the devotees thronging the northern boundary to welcome Lord Kallazhagar into the Temple City.

If it is the Meenakshi Thirukkalyanam, which holds the centrestage in the central and southern parts, it is Lord Kallazhagar's entry into the Vaigai, on the other side of the river, which generates a lot of enthusiasm.

The whole city will be wearing a festive look as residents prepare themselves to usher Lord Kallalagar into their households. Villagers in and around Madurai congregate in the city, occupying every available space at Tallakulam pulsating with colourful lights. A plethora of games at the impressive Chithrai exhibition will be a good treat for the rural conglomeration.

To cap it all, no one could miss the characters, wearing motley dresses and colourful caps (`salladam', specially designed for them).

Even if you fail to take notice, they will be right behind to remind you of their presence, spraying water (which they carry in leather bags hanging from their shoulders).

They don't have any inhibition whatsoever, and if they feel they are ignored, then they will come in front and spray water right on the face of the person who avoids them.

It will be a real `chilly' moment, indeed.

Now, over to the Chithrai festival of the Kallazhagar Temple.

"Though there are so many myths about the Kallazhagar's purpose of visit to the Temple City, the most popular belief is that the deity's visit is to relieve `Mandooga' Mahirishi of his curse," says Sundara Naraynan Battar, hereditary priest of Alagarkoil. "But, the entry into the river was a concept which came much later. Usually, the crowd gathering for the Alagarkoil fest will be more, as many consider the presiding deity at the Temple as their `kuladeivam' (family God). It is a firm belief that the God fulfils all their prayers and so, many consider the deity as a good companion to share their problems with. In fact, the villagers were so obsessed with the Lord that they even shared their earnings with him''.

In the past, the general practice was to take the deity in a procession around Alaganallur and Thenur en route Vandiyur, travelling along the banks of the Vaigai, also known as Vegavathi, for three days. But it was King Thirumalai Naicker, who, in an effort to club the Chithrai festival at Alagarkoil with that of Meenakshi Thirukalyanam, and also to reduce time, laid the present path (the Alagarkoil Road), to provide an easy access to the city. And now, the deity could reach the destination in just a day.

"By doing so, the King saved two days and he planned in such a way that the festival of the Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple is fixed on those two days," the priest says.

Marking the festival, members of various communities start their `viradham' on the New Moon day, preceding the Full Moon day, which will go on for the next 15 to 30 days. During the festival, they spray water on the devotees to provide them a brief respite from the scorching heat.

"The practice of spraying water came into being as the sweltering heat and the sandy path caused great inconvenience to bearers of palanquin in those days'', the priest says.

The return journey of the God assumes importance at the Appan Thirupathi, where the villagers organise various functions including the `cock fight', quite famous in this part.

T. Saravanan - The Hindu

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Shankara Jayanthi

Guru charanam, bhaja charanam,

Satguru charanam, bhava haranam,

Maanasa bhajare, guru charanam,

Dustara bhava saagara taranam,

Guru maharaja guru jaya jaya,

Para brahma satguru jaya jaya..

Meaning: "Religion is realisation; it is not mere learning-this is the divine message which stands deeply in the minds of every Hindu. This is not a mere fancy. This is not a mental conception. This is not a stretch of imagination, It is not a coinage of the brain. Nor is it a decision arrived at by vehement vituperation and incongruent argumentation promulgated by an ordinary intellectual prodigy."

This is the assertion of Shankara, India's greatest philosopher-saint, the incarnation of Lord Shiva, reverently known as Srimath Adi Shankaracharya.

What can a take him for except the Lord Himself who proclaims authoritatively and undauntedly: "I am the Self of all; I am the all; I am transcendent; I am one without a second; I am the Absolute; I am the infinite Consciousness; I am homogeneous bliss".
Shankara is our Vedanta Guru. He was God incarnate. He was horn at a time when Indian thought and culture were decaying; when they underwent sore distraction; when ethical glory and the widespread influence of the Buddhistic cult was gradually dying; when there was complete chaos and confusion; when innumerable sects sprang up and, with their own individual doctrines confounded the masses when evil social influences and blind superstitions garbed falsely in the clothes of religion, attracted the credulous masses into a frenzy, and ambushed them into complete ignorance of the ultimate Reality. There were no less than seventy-two cults and sects of this type which carried away people from the right path.

The advent of Lord Krishna rejuvenated Hindu religion and saved many a soul from complete ruin, souls which would otherwise have subjugated them-selves to passivism due to the misinterpretation of the Vedas and the Upanishads. In the same way, Shandara appeared on earth to deliver very many struggling souls He set them free, and enlightened them through his peaceful, unostentatious persuasion and loving propaganda. Through his irresistible logic, he planted the triumphant banner of unique intellectual conquest over all other schools of philosophy. Before him, all other theories proved to be phantoms and fallacies.

It was only Shankara who gave the unshakable concrete form to Hinduism and established the unity and purity of enlightened Hindu thought and culture. Superstitions and corrupt practices melted away in no time. The age-long six systems of theism which were suppressed by the prattlers re-emerged in their original glory only through the concerted efforts of Shankara.

His victory over other systems of philosophy was not due to a stubborn grip onto his own faith and reasoning without considering the pros and cons of others. He had mastered even the minutest intricacies of the other theories. The underlying currents of Ms thoughts were the foundations of the other systems, It is for this reason alone that his philosophy was recognised with much reverence by all the other schools of thought, despite differences in their superstructure.

The secret of his conquest and the charm therein lay in his most apt and reasonable illustrations in every case. He sever based his arguments on theoretical axioms and untestified hypotheses, but entirely on integral experience. Further, all his arguments were based upon the Vedas as well, which are genuine and authoritative.

Shankara never entered into hot discussions to substantiate his case or disprove others' theories. With his gigantic intellect he poured out his masterly exposition in simple and clear terms with the same supreme authority of the Gita, Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras, the self-evident validity of the Sruti Pramana, and so on.

Above all, the philosophy of Shankara is not restricted to the highly intellectual It is within the easy reach of even the layman. With his profound knowledge, all-comprehensive learning, keen intuitive insight and convincing explanations, he has erected the strong edifice of Vedanta, equally accessible to the scholar and the layman. How effectively he prescribed "Bhaja Govindam" to the scholar who was racking his brains in committing various scriptures to memory!

Vedanta is not the only aspect of philosophy he has preached to the world. He has entered the heart of every earnest seeker after truth. He encourages the worship of various forms of the Lord and greatly advocates Bhakti. Without a tinge of partiality to one form or the other, he has composed innumerable hymns, each brimming with devotion and philosophical truth, each inculcating divine ecstasy and perennial joy even in the tender undeveloped mind. His untiring work for the welfare of mankind marks him out as a veritable, dynamic Karma Yogi, too.

At the background of all these, his devotion to his Guru is supermost. Mark what he says: "Any person who realises 'I am That Brahman' through the unparalleled mercy and glance of the Sadguru, loses all feelings of doubt and, with his mind free from illusion, attains liberation even while living in the body". How much efficacy and glory he in devotion to the Guru!

Shankara Jayanthi falls on the 5th day of the bright half of Vaisakh. On this day, study his works, pray and meditate. May you be showered with his blessings!

Jaya Jaya Shankara!

Hara Hara Shankara!

Aryabhatt - Festivals of India

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Introduction Of Garuda Purana

The Garuda Purana is one of the eighteen principal Puranas, as stated in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (SB 12.7.23-24): The eighteen major Puranas are the Brahma, Padma, Visnu, Siva, Linga, Garuda, Narada, Bhagavata, Agni, Skanda, Bhavisya, Brahma-vaivarta, Markandeya, Vamana, Varaha, Matsya, Kurma and Brahmanda Puranas.

In a Bhagavad-gita lecture given in Los Angeles on February 13, 1969, Shrila Prabhupada said, "There are eighteen Puranas. Men are conducted in three qualities: the modes of goodness, modes passion, and modes of ignorance. To reclaim all these conditioned soul in different varieties of life, there are presentation of the Puranas. Six Puranas are meant for the person who is in the modes of goodness. And six Puranas are meant for the persons who are in the modes of passion. And Puranas are for those who are in the modes ignorance."

The Garuda Purana confirms that it is one of the six Puranas that are meant for persons in the mode of goodness. It says that the Bhagavata Purana is the foremost, the Visnu Purana is Next, and the Garuda Purana is third in importance.

Srila Prabhupada often quoted this famous verse from the Garuda Purana that describes the sublime position of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. This verse was also used by Krisnadasa Kaviraja in his Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya 25.145):

artho yam brahma-sutranam


gayatri-bhasya-rupo sau


grantho stadasa-sahasrah


"The meaning of the Vedanta-sutra is present in Srimad-Bhagavatam. The full purport of the Mahabharata is also there. The commentary of the Brahma-gayatri is also there and fully expanded with all Vedic knowledge. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the supreme Purana, and it was compiled by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His incarnation as Vyasadeva. There are twelve cantos, 335 chapters and eighteen thousand verses." The primary characteristic of a Purana in the mode of goodness is that it exclusively glorifies Lord Visnu as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Shrila Prabhupada quoted many verses form the Garuda Purana. In his purport to the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (SB 2.9.36), Shrila Prabhupada wrote: The same truth is also indirectly described in the Garuda Purana as follows:

param gato pi vedanam

sarva-sastrartha-vedy api

yo na sarvesvare bhaktas

tam vidyat purusadhamam

"Even though one may have gone to the other side of all the Vedas, and even though one is well versed in all the revealed scriptures, if one is not a devotee of the Supreme Lord, he must be considered the lowest of mankind."

In another purport to Shrimad-Bhagavatam (SB 2.9.36), Shrila Prabhupada wrote: Therefore the devotional service of the Lord with perfect knowledge through the training of a bona fide spiritual master is advised for everyone, even if one happens not to be a human being. This is confirmed in the Garuda Purana as follows:

kita-paksi-mrganam ca

harau sannyasta-cetasam

urdhvam eva gatim manye

him punar jnaninam nrnam

"Even the worms, birds and beasts are assured of elevation to the highest perfectional life if they are completely surrendered to the transcendental loving service of the Lord, so what to speak of the philosophers amongst the human beings?"

In his purport to Shrimad-Bhagavatam (SB 6.2.7), Srila Prabhupada quoted this verse:

avasenapi yan-namni

kirtite sarva-patakaih

puman vimucyate sadyah

simha-trastair mrgair iva

"If one chants the holy name of the Lord, even in helpless condition or without desiring to do so, all the reactions of his sinful life depart, just as when a lion roars, all the small animals flee in fear." (Garuda Purana)

In his purport to Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya 2.46), Shrila Prabhupada wrote. The Garuda Purana similarly states:

brahmananam sahasrebhyah satra-yaji visisyate

satra-yaji-sahasrebhyah sarva-vedanta-paragah

sarva-vedanta-vitkotya visnu-bhakto visisyate

vaisnavanam sahasrebhya ekanty eko visisyate

"It is said that out of thousands of brahmanas, one is qualified to perform sacrifices, and out of many thousands of such qualified brahmanas expert in sacrificial offerings, one learned brahmana may have passed beyond all Vedic knowledge. He is considered the best among all these brahmanas. And yet, out of thousands of such brahmanas who have surpassed Vedic knowledge, one person may be a visnu-bhakta, and he is most famous. Out of many thousands of such Vaisnavas, one who is completely fixed in the service of Lord Krsna is most famous. Indeed, a person who is completely devoted to the service of the Lord certainly returns home, back to Godhead."

Later in the Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Antya 4.197), the author quotes Lord Chaitanya as saying: "Sanatana Gosvami is one of the associates of Krsna. There could not be nay had odor from his body. On the first day I embraced his, I smelled the aroma of catuhsama [a mixture of sandalwood pulp, camphor, aguru and musk]."

Purnaprajna Das - Summary Study Of The Garuda Purana

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The Nayanars’ Message For Us

How shall we evaluate this work by a saint on the lives of saints? A wise saying in Sanskrit echoes what we mean by ‘Only a Shakespeare can understand Shakespeare.’ Gurudev’s secondless devotion to God is amply reflected in the inspiring presentation of these great lives, simple, lucid and touching. We could have had none better qualified for it. Gurudev’s handling of it adds lustre to the illustrious lives.

There have been many ‘intellectuals’ even in India who have looked down upon the path of Bhakti (devotion) as something inferior to Jnana (wisdom). Their short-sightedness becomes at once apparent when we study the lives of the great Four Teachers (Appar, Sundarar, Manickavachagar and Sambandar) and realise that these great Jnanis, too, were great Bhaktas who loved to visit the temples and sing the glories of the Lord. Look at the humility of Appar who carried Sambandar’s palanquin: this reminds us of Gurudev’s own inimitable humility. It is not born of the weakness of the ignorant: but it is the culmination of true knowledge!

How shall we understand the wonderful spirit of renunciation that characterised the lives of many royal Nayanars, if we regard them as weaklings? They had understood the true nature of the world, and wanted only God. Can we not draw a parallel in our own divine Master who, similarly, renounced a royal life of a doctor in Malaya, in exchange for poverty and the begging bowl? Love of the Lord cuts at the very root of our attachment to this world, and snaps all worldly ties, to father, mother, son, wife or relatives. As the stories of the Nayanars illustrate, the devotee is ever ready to renounce all, in favour of devotion to Lord Siva. Chandesvara Nayanar, in his complete absorption in His worship, could inflict a mortal blow on his own father: but, that was because he saw not his father, but an obstacle to Siva Puja. When Arivattaya Nayanar found, for instance, that his weak body was getting unfit to carry on His worship, he was ready to cut his own throat. If Murkha Nayanar chose to gamble and even resort to violence to carry out his vow, Kannappa Nayanar would pull out his own eyes to serve the Lord! This great truth has been beautifully brought out again and again in these lives—love of God completely removes the devotee’s attachment to his own body. Who could even approach Siruthondar’s breath-taking devotion to the Lord and His devotees?

Let us also never forget that in the case of all the Nayanars devotion invariably meant expansion of the heart, and, therefore, service and charity.

It is essential that, in our study of these great lives, we take them as a whole: the sixty-three blending into one marvellous scripture on devotion. Else, it might lead to perversion. Perversion in spiritual path can be quite disastrous. Gurudev would often narrate, for example, the case of a wicked man who would catch fish in the Ganges, cut it and eat it, quoting (as a devil would) from the Gita: ‘Weapon cannot cut the Atma, which is immortal.’ The perverse intellect reads in the Gita, a sanction for the use of violence. Stories in which there is seeming use of violence by the Nayanars have to be read with this caution: we have to take them as allegories exhorting us to rout out the inner obstacles to our Sadhana, ruthlessly. The story of Eripatha Nayanar, for instance, should be taken as an exhortation for us to kill lust, anger and greed, the powerful impediments on our spiritual path which, in the twinkling of an eye wreck our worship of the Lord.

If we study the lives as a whole, we will not fail to note that Anaya Nayanar, and Pusalar Nayanar hold before us the ideal Para Bhakta, supreme exemplars of the highest form of devotion.

If we approach these saints with faith and devotion in our hearts, we shall grasp the message they have for us. We shall also understand why they gave such a great place to externals like the sacred ash, Rudraksha, etc. These symbols remind one constantly of God: and, when they are said to remove our sins, they remove our sinful tendencies, too, by constantly reminding us of God, and keeping evil out of our mind.

May we all walk the path of devotion and attain the Lord in this very birth is my humble prayer at the divine feet of our master. That is the only way in which we can repay the debt we owe him for what he has done for us.

Venkatesananda - The Divine Life Trust Society

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

10 Ways To Stay Happily Married

1. Stay spontaneous
Do something that looks unplanned such as dropping in to your partner's office and taking him to lunch, packing a little gift in his briefcase or getting tickets to a concert or the theatre.

2. Make loving gestures
While having dinner, you can put on soft music, light candles and tell your partner how much you've been thinking of him/her during the day.

3. Make eye contact
Face your partner when he/she is speaking to you. Eye contact makes you feel more connected.

4. Agree to disagree
Try and avoid arguments with your partner. Next time you disagree, shock him/her in the nicest possible way by saying: 'You're right.'

5. Embrace change
Surprise your partner by getting a new look. A quick and easy way to do this could be to dye your hair, restyle it or get a wig for fun.

6. Do something unexpected
Offer to do something your partner won't expect, like sensually washing his/her hair in a candlelit bath or having a warm towel ready when he/she steps out of the shower.

7. Celebrate your love
Do something symbolic such as planting a special bush or buying a pot plant that is your partner's favourite variety and let him/her know that it represents your love.

8. Do a favour
Try one little chore that benefits your partner directly, such as dropping his laundry at the dry cleaners. Such things take only minutes but show how much you care.

9. Cosy up to your rival
If there's someone in your partner's life you consider to be a rival, such as his best friend or mother, stop arguing about them and surprise your partner by inviting them over for a lovely dinner.

10. Relive the past
Looking at holiday snaps, family photos or wedding pics can also help in making a relationship stronger.

ANi - 'Sizzling Sex' By Dr Pam Spurr

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Monday, April 13, 2009

It's New Year!

Although the Indian National Calendar is the official calendar for the Hindus, regional variants still prevail. As a result, we have a host of new year festivities that are unique to the particular regions on this vast country. Characteristic of the Indian cultural mélange, Hindus in various states of India celebrate the new year in their own ways. And not all of these fall on the same day!

In mid-April, Hindus celebrate Baisakhi in Punjab, Poila Baishakh in Bengal, Bohag Bihu in Assam, Vishu in Kerala and Puthandu in Tamil Nadu to welcome the new year. These regional celebrations fall between April 13 and 15 this year. Don't forget to wish your friends and family a happy new year, once again!

Subhamoy Das – Hinduism Blog

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Ganas: Hooligans of Heaven

The Ganas are the host of spooks, hobgoblins and spirits who accompany Shiva. Some are said to dwell with him on Mount Kailasa, whilst the more fearsome and terrifying Ganas are confined to the cremation grounds.

It is told that Uma once asked Lord Shiva why he liked to reside in cremation grounds, which were the abode of demons, jackals, corpses and vultures, when he had so many more beautiful places. Mahesvara replied that he had roamed the world, looking for a pure place to meditate in. Unable to find one, he, out of anger and frustration, he created the terrible pishachas, flesh-eating ghouls and terrible rakshasas, intent on killing people. Out of compassion however, he kept this terrible horde in the cremation ground. As he did not want to live without the bhutas and ganas, he chose to live in a cemetery. When the ghosts stayed with him, they caused no harm.

The presence of the terrible Ganas also acted as an honour guard to Shiva and a bar to the impure. Those who feared the awful ghosts and goblins were destined to remain outsiders. Only heroes could be near him in the cremation ground, heroes who had defied death and liberated themselves from passions and fear. These were the true devotees - those who had nothing to fear, who had mastered the onslaught of the multiple categories of threatening powers that were fatal to those who were less than heroes and could not control the frightening phantoms because they had not controlled themselves.

In one sense, the Ganas can be thought of as emanations of Shiva. They are described by Stella Kramrisch in her book The Presence of Shiva as "prognostications or caricatures of possibilities of the human condition." Whilst some of them were created by Shiva, others attained the status of Ganas after being defeated in battle by Shiva.

Ganas - Ganna Chakra

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Too Beautiful Not To Share

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, "If I could only see the world, I will marry you."

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.

He asked her, "Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?" The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.

Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: "Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine."

'This is how the human brain often works when our status changes . Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.'

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hanuman Jayanthi

Yatra yatra raghunatha kirtanam;

Tatra tatra kritha masthakanjalim;

Bhaspavaari paripurna lochanam;

Maarutim namata raakshasanthakam

Meaning : "We bow to Maruti, Sri Hanuman, who stands with his palms folded above his forehead, with a torrent of tears flowing down his eyes wherever the Names of Lord Rama are sung".

Sri Hanuman is worshipped all over India-either alone or together with Sri Rama. Every temple of Sri Rama has the murti or idol of Sri Hanuman. Hanuman is the Avatara of Lord Shiva. He was born of the Wind-God and Anjani Devi. His other names are Pavanasuta, Marutsuta, Pavankumar, Bajrangabali and Mahavira.

He is the living embodiment of Ram-Nam. He was an ideal selfless worker, a true Karma Yogi who worked desirelessly and dynamically. He was a great devotee and an exceptional Brahmachari or celibate. He served Sri Rama with pure love and devotion, without expecting any fruit in return. He lived to serve Sri Rama. He was humble, brave and wise. He possessed all the divine virtues. He did what others could not do-crossing the ocean simply by uttering Ram-Nam, burning the city of Lanka, and bringing the sanjeevini herb and restoring Lakshmana to life again. He brought Sri Rama and Lakshmana from the nether world after killing Ahiravana.

He had devotion, knowledge, spirit of selfless service, power of celibacy, and desirelessness. He never boasted of his bravery and intelligence.

He said to Ravana, "I am a humble messenger of Sri Rama. I have come here to serve Rama, to do His work. By the command of Lord Rama, I have come here. I am fearless by the Grace of Lord Rama. I am not afraid of death. I welcome it if it comes while serving Lord Rama."

Mark here how humble Hanuman was! How very devoted he was to Lord Rama! He never said, "I am the brave Hanuman. I can do anything and everything."

Lord Rama Himself said to Sri Hanuman, "I am greatly indebted to you, O mighty hero! You did marvellous, superhuman deeds. You do not want anything in return. Sugriva has his kingdom restored to him. Angada has been made the crown prince. Vibhishana has become king of Lanka. But you have not asked for anything at any time. You threw away the precious garland of pearls given to you by Sita. How can I repay My debt of gratitude to you? I will always remain deeply indebted to you. I give you the boon of everlasting life. All will honour and worship you like Myself. Your murti will be placed at the door of My temple and you will be worshipped and honoured first. Whenever My stories are recited or glories sung, your glory will be sung before Mine. You will be able to do anything, even that which I will not be able to!"

Thus did Lord Rama praise Hanuman when the latter returned to Him after finding Sita in Lanka. Hanuman was not a bit elated. He fell in prostration at the holy feet of Lord Rama.

Lord Rama asked him, "O mighty hero, how did you cross the ocean?"

Hanuman humbly replied, "By the power and glory of Thy Name, my Lord."

Again the Lord asked, "How did you burn Lanka? How did you save yourself?"

And Hanuman replied, "By Thy Grace, my Lord."

What humility Sri Hanuman embodied!

His birthday falls on Chaitra Shukla Purnima (the March-April full moon day). On this holy day worship Sri Hanuman. Fast on this day. Read the Hanuman Chalisa. Spend the whole day in the Japa of Ram-Nam. Sri Hanuman will be highly pleased and will bless you with success in all your undertakings.

Glory to Hanuman! Glory to his Lord, Sri Rama!

TajOnline - Festivals

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Panguni Uthiram Festival

The Panguni Uthiram festival falls in the month 'Panguni' (March-April). This month is special because of the star 'Uthiram' and 'Pournami' occurring together. Besides, it is on "Panguni Pournami Uthiram" that the marriage of Parvati and Parameshwara, Muruga and Devasena, and Andal (also known as 'Kothai') and Rangamannar took place.

Also, Valmiki's Ramayan says it is on this day and star that Sita's marriage with Rama was celebrated. From Brahmanda Purana one learns that on Panguni Uthiram every holy water joins Thumburu Teertha, one of seven sacred tanks in Tirupati Tirumala.

The ancients chose Uthiram to convey to humans that it is for underlining the glory of Grahasta Dharma (married life) that the Almighty manifests in the marital state as Uma Maheshwara, Sita Rama, and Radha Krishna - despite his changelessness, sans childhood or youth or old age. The Lord is indeed a "Nitya Kalyana Murti". It is our duty to celebrate this day when the Lord, in both Shiva and Vishnu temples, appears to devotees in his married state.

On Panguni Uthiram, in all places where Lord Subramanya has a temple, his devotees carry in a Kavadi the requisites of puja for him, in fulfilment of vows. Such vow fulfilment by devotees carrying Kavadis is a special feature of Subrahmanya temples wherever they happen to be.

Devotees flock in hundreds to the Perur temple near Coimbatore during the Panguni Uthiram festival, which is celebrated in March every year.

Aryabhatt - Festivals Of India

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vasantha Navaratri, 9 Nights To Ram Navami

Vasantha Navaratri
27 March to 3 April 2009
Spring Worship on Nine nights of Durga, the Divine Mother Goddess

Ram Navami
3 April 2009
Birthday of Shree Rama

From New Moon in Pisces to Navami tithi, this festival is celebrated annually. In 2009, the Vasantha Navaratri festival is only 8 days long as on 2 April has 7th and 8th tithi and 3 April 2009 sunrises with the 9th tithi and the celebration of Ram Navami.

Navaratri is celebrated twice a year, in spring and autumn. Nava means nine and ratri means nights. Vasantha means spring.

The goddess Durga is celebrated alone during these dates and this is an important festival for her devotees. This festival is celebrated on her orders. Swami Sivananda says in his book Hindu Festivals and Fasts, people should worship the divine mother for both spiritual and material blessings. She encourages us to follow a righteous path like Shree Rama and follow the example set by them.

Goddesses Durga is worshipped by meditating on her image, chanting her mantra Om Dum Durgaye Namah at least 108 times daily during the festival and fasting during the day. People attain her divine benefiction.

These nine nights are also celebrated by the devotees of Shree Rama and is considered the spiritual new Year as on the 9th night Shree Rama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu was born. Shree Rama was the embodiment of Dharma and an example of a perfect man. On the day of Ram Navami, Shree Rama's birthday is celebrated with great festivities.

During these nine nights, Ramayana is read gracely in Sanskrit and the devotees fast during the day. The Sacred mantras Om Shree Ramayana Namah and Om Shree Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram for Rama are chanted happily to celebrate the days to birth of the Lord.

Komilla - Vasantha Navaratri

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