A story becomes a great epic only because of its characters and their peculiar traits, which leaves the footprints on the sand of time and stays eternal forever. The portrayal of niche thinking, complexities and determination of attaining fame; better explained through the phrase ‘Everything is fair in love and war’ and yea it was definitely ‘The War’. The great epic, Mahabharata marks the beginning of egocentric, shrewd and all other negative sides of human nature with a tint of humanity.
Though every character justified with their specific roles, yet the hero is only one and probably ‘Arjuna’, the middle one out of the five Pandavas warriors out shined as a true hero. I am not saying that ‘Arjuna’ was a perfect character but in spite of his own complexities or as per the plot of the story, he was usually in a win-win situation.
#A grand celebration was performed at Arjuna’s birth and Lord Indra was gratified by the success stories of his son and called himself a proud father of Arjuna.
#Arjuna was focussed and perspicuous about his goals and he earned his success by working hard. He practised to shoot an arrow in darkness as well as by hearing the minute audible sounds.
#Arjuna remained in the priority wish list of Bheeshma and Dronacharya forever. Both the talented warriors supported him and even opted for inappropriate actions to prove his excellence.
#Karan being an equally capable warrior as Arjuna, could never flourish because of his karmas and favouring the wrong doers i.e. Duryodhan; which indirectly lead Arjuna to excel.
#Arjuna’s feelings for his beloved Draupadi were true but sharing his wife with the other four was not his idea. Yet he abided his mother and accepted the truth.
#In spite of any complex situation, Arjuna bestowed full faith upon his soul mate- Lord Krishna and received his hearty blessings as a devotee and follower.
#At one point, Arjuna had to raise his sword to kill his dear brother Yudhistra, as per his oath. Yet Arjuna could not accept his own deed of disrespecting his brother and paid for his sin.
#The moral code and empathetic attitude of Arjuna, made him receive laurels and blessings from all his relations.
#Till the end, Arjuna had a soft corner towards Karan and respected him as a brave competitor. Only to abide by his master’s wish, Arjuna had to shoot an arrow on Karan.
#In spite of an opportunity of choosing the great army of 10,000 warriors, Arjuna remained firm with his decision of choosing Lord Krishna. The success of Arjuna was sure shot, since he preferred to sit near his master’s feet rather that near his head like Duryodhan.
The enlightening journey of Arjuna in holy Bhagvad Gita is an epitome of his successful and perfect character and proves my above statement judiciously.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
The era of adopting westernized techniques to ideology to dressing style and so on; the air of western culture is widely dominant in India, since more than a decade. As we are saying that our Indian culture is being modified by western views, here I contradict my own statement by highlighting the Indian traditional and cultural norms still being valued in the form of our enthusiastic and bright Indian festivals.
Have you ever wondered that may be these Indian festivals have some connection with the Western world festivals; or rather few of the festivals hold the same significance and motive for celebrating them. If you say yes, then yea you are absolutely correct because here we have unusual similarities between the ‘horror festival of Halloween’ and ‘Indian festival of Kali Chaudas’.
Eerie essence of Halloween:
The Celtic tribe celebrated Samhain, at the beginning of winter season to please the evil ghostly powers, which are said to dominate over the Sun God on this day. The Druid circle performs their own ceremonies on this day along with offering thanks to the dead for the rich harvest of the season. So the entire kingdom is kindled with fire before the new moon day to welcome the wandering dead spirits and offer them with the grand feast to pacify their hungry souls.
Celebration of good over evil of Kali Chaudas:
The Indian festival of Kali Chaudas falls on the fourteenth day of the moon cycle or one day before the new moon day, marked by the bright festival of Diwali. This festival is associated with the period to celebrate the harvest of this season and offer auspicious homage to their ‘Kul-devta or kul-devi’. Before this festival, Indians pay special reverence to their ancestors by organizing Shradh puja and honouring their Pitras or manes. During this shradh period, families prepare great feasts to pacify the hungry souls of their ancestors and receive blessings from them. The also feed the birds as they are considered to be the spirits of dead and messengers of Lord Yama (God of Death).
Rare mystery of ‘Pumpkins’:
The Halloween gives special importance to ‘Pumpkin’ and devilish faces are painted on it and placed outside the house, to prevent the entrance of evil spirits and wandering souls inside the house. In the same way, Pumpkin was also used by Indians to restrict the wanderers to a particular way and it was also used in magical ceremonies of keeping away the evil spirits.
Opportunity for tiny toddlers:
Both the western and Indian world gives opportunity to the kids to enjoy on this festival and celebrate it with zest. In west, children dress up as evil and devilish characters and go from one house to another to collect funds and similarly the Indian kids dress up in their best attire during the festive season of Deepawali.
Devil form of women:
As the evil ‘witch’ is widely prominent in Halloween and people dress up like them to scare them away, and not let them enter their house or destroy their harvest. The story of Adam’s wife Lilith, turning into a succubus is widely known and since then the demon role of women was evident. In Indian context, the furious and devilish form of Goddess Kali is revered on this day for ending Naraksura (demon). This shows that how a beautiful, elegant lady can transform into devilish form when she has been exploited and failed to get the respect as women.
So the two festivals are almost similar as the idea of feeding the ghosts or ancestors for pacifying their soul and celebrating the pious day of Diwali and All Saints Day and All Souls Day respectively; truly signify the connectivity among humanity and one world as a whole.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
The ultimate way to offer thanks to the ultimate source of energy ‘Surya Devta’ is a unique festival in this incredible India. Chhath is no more a regional festival of Biharis and Terai region Hindus, but is widely accepted by hilly origins and almost throughout India. Let us explore this Hindu thanks giving ceremony to God Sun.
- The auspicious tradition of Chhath puja was initiated by son of Surya, Karan who ruled over the Anga Desh (Munger district of Bihar) during the time of Mahabharata.
- Lord Rama and Mata Sita offered special prayers to lord Sun ad fasted after returning to Ayodhya from exile and begin the ritual of celebrating Chhath puja.
- The special powers were bestowed to Draupadi by Surya devta, which helped the Pandavas to regain back their kingdom of Hastinapur.
- To receive immense blessings and prosperity from Surya, Chhath is celebrated lively for four days period during the Hindu month of Kartik.
- First day is Nahai Khai i.e. ‘Nahai’ means ‘bathing’ and ‘Khai’ means ‘to eat’; the devotees take a holy dip in river or lake and holy water is taken at home to cook prasadam (offering food).
- The second day is Kharna, on which the worshippers perform ‘nirjalahaar’ vrat for about 8 to 12 hours. By the end of the day, the fast is eneded by adoring lord Sun and eating Prasad. Then another 36 hours fast is begins.
- The third day is the main festival of Chhath called Sandhya Argha. The devotees clad themselves in yellow coloured attire and offer the specially prepared food offerings to Surya Devta at the riverbank in the evening.
- The last day is Suryodaya Argha on which the devotees gives the early morning offerings at the riverbank and break their fast by having Chhath Prasad.
- This festival is a morning and evening affair on all the four days as the sunrise and sunset rays are most beneficial for human body and consists of low intensity of ultra violet rays.
- The traditional festival of Chhath showers you with positivity by detoxifying the mind, soul and body; and removes the negative energies by adoring the powerful Sun.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
Relationships are a precious gift that makes you feel special and loved in this world. The feeling of ‘Vasudev Kutumbakam’ is realized when the bonds of selfless love are nurtured and provides a reason to survive in this world. To cherish the connecting bond with our soul and the supreme Universe, become a part of the Indian traditional festivals. Here are few highlighting facts about Bhai-dooj.
- Bhai Dooj is referred by various names depending upon the states. Like Bhai Phota in Bengal, Bhai Tika in Nepal, Ningol Chakuba in Manipur, Yama Dwiteya in Orissa and Bhau beej in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.
- Bhai means ‘brother’ and Dooj means ‘second day after new moon’; so it is celebrated two days after Deepawali during the Shukla Paksh of Kartik month.
- The pious festival involves the applying of vermillion on brother’s forehead by revering the beautiful bond between brothers and sisters.
- To cherish the eternal knot between siblings, they exchange gifts and feasts are organized among family members.
- On this day, Lord Yama visited Yami and she greeted her by applying a vermillion mark on his forehead and praying for his longevity and well-being.
- Subhadra welcomed Lord Krishna by applying tilak on his forehead, when he reached home after defeating devil Naraksura.
- King Nandivardhan (brother of Lord Mahavira) was soothed by his sister Sudarshana, when Lord Mahavira attained nirvana.
- This day is the cultural representation of Indian culture where men and women clad in the best ethnic and elegant attires.
- Fasts is observed by the sisters till they apply tilak on their brother’s forehead and later they enjoy the lavish treat together.
- The post Diwali celebration of the five day festival is completed on a happy note and glorifies the eternal love of siblings and families.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
The universe and its magical existence have a full-fledged influence on our lives, whether you believe it or not. People often wear stones or pearls to get rid of their issues and attract the positivity towards them. One of the rarest existences, in this dominant gem world is ‘Gajamukta’ or ‘commonly known as ‘elephant pearls’. It is a yellowish-white, oversized egg shaped stones. It can also be brownish in tone, depending upon the formation. Gajamukta is the rarest pearl, known to exist in one out of the millions elephants. Its formation is exclusive, like its existence, i.e. from the calcified masses of ivory and tusk of the elephant. It is classified as a Mani that is rare in existence.
Possessing magical and medicinal values, Gajamuktas are rare thus highly expensive and valuable and were owned by few of our great Kings of India during that era.
Significance of Gajamukta:
The revered and valued stone of gajamukta has divine and magical existence. It is widely renowned as a stone that keeps you away from all the negativity and stress. The stone has a cool and peaceful radiation as the natural pearls have moon dominant qualities. It is a sure shot jackpot for the owners, who possess this stone as he never has to worry about finance; therefore it was owned by Maharajas in the earlier time. They have unique feature of curing acute diseases and can even bless the barren women with the ability to conceive. Major problems like arthritis and joint pains have been cured by this extra ordinary pearl. It not only has a scientific relevance but is also a divine healer as you feel a change in your inner self. The vibrations of your surroundings transform tremendously and your lost peace is regained by achieving silence.
Mythological and Scientific Relevance:
The ancient Buddhist texts consist of the magical relevance of elephant stone and is still revered and adored by them. “According to the scientific researches, an elephant lives for approximately 125 years, so these pearls takes more than 75 years to be formed. It begins from a tiny grain sized to different sized stone, according to the tusk of the elephant.” This rare gem is only found in Airavata race and has adjoining sentiments of gaining wealth, fame and curing diseases. The Hindu text believes that this pearl is a symbol of Lord Ganesh’s soul and therefore considered fortunate and lucky.
Gajamukta is known to possess unique qualities that make it differentiate from others.
- When two elephant stones are placed together, they are attracted towards each other but they do not hold any magnetic traits.
- The water turns milky, if Gajmukta is put into clean water.
- Bubbles are produced, when the stone is kept in coconut water and the level of the water decreases, eventually.
- By placing the elephant stone on a betel leaf (Paan patta), it starts vibrating.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja