The most sacred color for hindu is saffron. It represents fire and as impurity are burnt by fire, this color symbolizes purity. It also represents the religious abstinence. It is the colour of holy men and ascetics who have renounced the world.Wearing the color symbolizes the quest for light.
Towards the end of every ritualistic worship (puja or bhajan) of the Lord, we perform the aarti. This is always accompanied by the ringing of the bell and sometimes by singing, playing of music.It is referred to as the auspicious light. Holding the lighted lamp in the right hand, we wave the flame in a clockwise circling movement to light the entire form of the Lord. Each part is revealed individually and also the entire form of the Lord. As the light is waved we either do mental or loud chanting of prayers or simply behold the beautiful form of the Lord, illumined by the lamp. We experience an added intensity in our prayers and the Lord’s seems to manifest a special beauty at that time. At the end of the aarti we place our hands over the flame and then gently touch our eyes and the top of the head. The philosophical meaning of aarti – the sun, moon, stars, lightning and fire are the natural sources of light..Therefore as we perform the aarti chant.It is there where the sun does not shine, Nor the moon, stars and lightning then from this small flame everything shines in front of Lord and by his light alone,we all illumined.
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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Sweetness of rewari, fragrance of popcorn, illumination of bon fire and musical traditions; the pompous Lohri is here. The festival of happiness and joy holds immense traditional and cultural values. It is widely celebrated among parts of North India on 13th January every year. On the eve of this festival people gather around a bon fire and celebrate while dancing and singing traditional songs. Some of the unknown facts about this beautiful festival are as follows:
- People believe that this festival is named after wife of Sant Kabir, Loi. Whereas another tale suggests that Holika and Lohri were sisters.
- The festival is dedicated to Sun God as it is the transition phase from winters to the warmth of springs.
- This festival marks the beginning of the harvest season and is a way to adore God for successful harvest in the new season.
- The festival of Lohri is often related to the legend of Dulla Bhatti who was a heroic character during the Mughal Empire. Lohri is celebrated in honor of Dulla Bhatti with folk songs describing his brave saga.
- The new bride is like a blessing to the family, similar to this festival of success and prosperity. Therefore newlywed couple celebrate this festival with all their family and friends.
- People light a large bonfire at sunset, toss sesame seeds, gur, sugar-candy and rewaries in it, sit round it, sing, and dance till the fire dies out.
Vastu involves an understanding of the eight directions that includes four cardinal directions and four angles or vidishas. The centre part of all these directions is called ‘brahmasthan’. Every direction is unique in its own way and there is certain speciality of each of them, so according to their significance the house should be planned and constructed.
West direction is capable of giving success, glory, fame and fortune.
North is the place of mother. By leaving open space in north, the maternal side of the family prospers.
South direction is responsible for wealth, success, happiness and peace.
North-east zone is assigned to water. Appropriate for constructing borewell or underground tank. This sector gives stability to the family.
North-west zone is assigned to air. It is good to keep finished goods in this area as they will move fast. It is responsible for relationships, friends and enemies.
South-east zone is assigned to fire. Kitchen, pantry, furnace or boiler should be placed there. Zit is responsible for good health and healthy finances of the inmates of house.
South-west zone is assigned to earth. This is the best area for master bedroom. It gives stability to the head member of the family.
These directions cannot change the destiny yet it ensures the safety measures by creating a harmonious space and strength to bear the problems in life. It is like a free will to a person, where he decides what to choose or not.