Day: July 11, 2016
Lord Hanuman is highly adored with butter and betel leaves while performing the puja ceremony. Let’s explore the significance behind these offerings.
They are specially offered to Lord Hanuman as once Mata Sita expressed her gratitude and and blessings to Him by showering the betel leaves upon him. It is said that the betel leaves were the token of appreciation and blessings of Lord Rama and Mata Sita for Hanuman, after winning over Ravana.
Moreover betel leaves are known to be offered to the intellectual one who is well versed with the sacred knowledge of Vedas and shastras. Thus the huge bank of knowledge of Hanuman and his intellect to use that knowledge in every difficulty made him get respect and love from Rama and Sita ji.
At the time of battle between Lord Rama and Ravana, both were trying their best to defeat each other. Unlike the huge chariot of Ravana, Lord Rama was being carried by Hanuman ji. When all the tactics of Ravana failed he thought to attack Hanuman instead of Lord Rama.
As soon as the arrow hit Hanuman ji and wounded him, Lord Rama was unable to see his devotees’s plight and fought vigorously with Ravana. The situation became worse for Ravana and he had to give up. When Lord Rama and Hanuman returned to their camp, Lord Rama himself applied cool butter on Hanuman ji’s wound to cool down his burning wounds.
Following the age old traditions began by Lord Rama and Mata Sita, betel leaves garland and butter are still offered to Lord Hanuman by his devotees, to express their love and respect for Him.
Whenever we hear about hawan or homa, the picture of a fire emitting smoke all around comes in our mind, but in a reverential manner since it is meant for deity. We have seen or heard numerous times that by doing hawan, one invites peace to his house.
As stated by the lord in Bhagwad Gita (Chapter 5 Verse 29)-
gyatva mam shantim rchchhati||
The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.
Since the supreme personality of godhead Sri Krishna is the ultimate benefactor of all hawans, he provides the person who is doing yagya and the person for whom yagya is done both with peace and tranquility.
Homa or Hawan or Yagya, as people call it in India is a vedic tradition which is coming down or the last billions and trillions of yugas. The famous yagyas which are mentioned in the Vedic literature are Ashwamedha Yagya of Maharaj Dashratha, Rajsuya Yagya of Maharaj Yudhishthir etc.
Doing Yagya was yuga dharma (Supreme prerogative and duty) of Treta yuga and people used to see the lord being satisfied by that when he used to appear in the yagya kund.
What is hawan or homa?
Yagya comprises of igniting a holy fire using pure wood and pure cow ghee and cow dung cakes and with the chanting of mantras, the hawish is poured into the fire with the word “Swaha!”. The hawish comprises of Indian Cow Ghee and mixture of Herbs called Hawan Samagri along with some other pure materials.
- Seeing the Hawan with scientific paradigm, the ancient sages used to say that by doing yagya, Sattva gun increases which is symbolized by cleanliness, peace and purity.
- The cow ghee and cow dung cake react to release tonnes of oxygen ad other gases which make the atmosphere pure.
- The small quantities of sulpher and nitrogen oxides get rid of harmful bacteria and their inhalation causes lacrimation, which relieves the eyes of all impurities and cough which arises clears the nasal and respiratory passage.
- All the harmful microbes and pathogens are cleared due to the smoke emitted by burning of herbs which acts as a natural detoxifier.
- The natural herbal smoke purifies the mind as well as the body.
- The ash which is remaining from the Hawan kund is asked to put into plants which acts as a very good fertilizer.
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The Ancient City of Haridwar (Hardwar) is the gateway to the Holy Shrines on the mighty Himalayas in Garhwal and Kumaon. The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometers from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier for the first time enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains at Haridwar (to begin its march to the Bay of Bengal), which gave the Haridwar its ancient name, Gangadwára. It is one of the oldest living cities in the World.
Haridwar finds mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures and is held as one of the seven holiest places (Sapta Puri) to Hindus. Samudra manthan mentions Haridwar,Ujjain, Nashik and Prayag (Allahabad) are the four places where Amrit, (elixir of immortality), spilled over accidentally from the pitcher while being carried by “Garuda”. Thus the Kumbha Mela, is celebrated every 12 years in Haridwar.
Archaeological findings show that terra cotta culture between 1700 BCE and 1200 BCE existed in Haridwar region. Haridwar came under the Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE) and later under the Kushan Empire (1st–3rd centuries AD). Haridwar is mentioned by the Chinese traveler, Huan Tsang in his writings, who visited India in 629 AD, during the reign of Harshavardhan (590–647). Haridwar fell to the Uzbek conqueror Timur Lang (1336–1405) in January 1399.
During his visit to Haridwar, Guru Nanak (1469–1539) bathed at ‘Kushawart Ghat’, where the famous, ‘watering the crops’ episode took place. Ain-e-Akbari, of Abul Fazal written in 16th century during Akbar’s reign, refers to Haridwar as Maya (Mayapur), known as “Hardwar on the Ganges”.
Hindus believe that there are within Haridwar, the ‘Panch Tirth‘ (Five Pilgrimages) within Haridwar, are “Gangadwar” (Har ki Pauri, the fulcrum of religious activities in Haridwar), Kushawart (Ghat in Kankhal), Bilwa Tirtha (Mansa Devi Temple) and Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi Temple), apart from several other temples and ashrams located in and around the city. Also, alcohol and non-vegetarian food is not permitted in Haridwar.
Contributed By: Dr. Amitava Mukharjee
(He is the most renowned world economist on poverty alleviation and empowerment today. He has long association with United Nations for launching their initiatives on fight against hunger and providing micro assistance to most marginalised societies. He is a great scholar and has been teaching in University of London and Stanford University. He has travelled over 130 Countries and written numerous books. Deeply religious he has visited various holy shrines. We bring you glimpses of his travelogue.)