have a little faith
The monotonous tiring journey gets a halt, or the time to rejuvenate our body, mind and soul during the festive season. Festivals are a source to revive the feeling of togetherness and spread the aura of love and humanity around. It brings back the essence of realizing our true self and gaining immense energy from the vast Universe.
Navaratri are the nine days of joy, enthusiasm, fun and celebration to cherish the victory of good over evil. Literally ‘Nav’ refers to nine and ‘Ratri’ is night, so Navratri is the nine nights and ten days period to receive the powerful grace of Ma Durga. Navratri is celebrated twice a year in the month of Ashwin and Chaitra as per Hindu calendar, which are the season of revival in the nature. At this time our mother nature goes through the changes in nature from one season to another and inspires us to adapt to the similar qualities like them. Animals and birds hibernate, fresh flowers and leaves arrive, the entire nature is recycled in their own way to offer comfortable living to the beings. Mother Nature is the source of our rejuvenation process, similar to our birth mother who takes care of us and loves us selflessly. The festival highlights the importance of mother in our existence, therefore Goddess Durga is worshipped in varied forms to adore and praise her glories.
Goddess durga is the divya-shakti, which can be a bounty of love and care as well as the source of destruction too. She symbolises the power of divine mother as even the Gods pay homage to her strength. Adoring Ma durga during nine days by keeping fasts and worshipping her is the perfect way to realize our upmost goal and motive of existence, which gets blur in the magical world of materialism. The ten days celebration is the triumph of positive over negative by ending the existence of demons. Actually the demon refers to the increase in negative feelings within us that transforms us into ‘asur’.
So the ten malefic traits that mark the increase in devilish nature are as follows:
- Kaam (Lost)
- Krodh (Anger)
- Lobh (Greed)
- Moh (Attachment)
- Ahankar (Ego)
- Darr (Fear)
- Irsha (Jealousy)
- Jadta (Inertia)
- Nafrat (Hate)
- Paschataap (Guilty)
These qualities are won over by the individual in the ten days revival process and finally cherished by them to celebrate the victory of goodness. The tenth day is Vijaya Dasami or widely known as Dusshera, celebrated around India to express the feeling of happiness after attaining the positive strength and getting rid of ill powers.
For rejuvenating your mind, body and soul along with immense blessing of Ma Durga, book your puja package now- http://www.shubhpuja.com/Navratri-puja-depid-359796-page-1.html
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
All you ladies out there just be cautious as the devil of blood is right here every month and be prepared for peek-a-boo. Get set to stay away from the kitchen to temple to any pious work as its time to stay aloof and feel deplorable about yourself. “You are not allowed in social gatherings, stay away from here…You are impure!!” As soon as something like this pops up, it fills us with thousands of questions within us. We are compelled to consider ourselves impure and most of us simply accept it rather than discovering the rational point behind it.
According to the scientific definition, “Menstruation cycle refers to the cyclic, physiological discharge through the vagina of blood and mucosal tissues from the non-pregnant uterus; it is under hormonal control and normally recurs, usually at four week intervals, in the absence of pregnancy during reproductive period of the females”.
So this is a natural process which is essential for the female body and I don’t think that there is anything to be ashamed about, in accepting your body hormonal changes. During these 5 to 7 days, there are numerous myths and superstitions which are yelled upon you and probably few of them are quite funny and unreasonable.
Relation between Menstruation and Moon:
It is believed that the lunar cycle of moon and menstruation cycle are connected as in ancient times females used to menstruate as per the cycle of new moon to full moon. In fact the first calendars were based on the moon cycles and menstrual cycles. The lengths of both the cycles are approximately the same i.e. nearly 28 or 29 days. Scientists have also proven that the exposure to moon light during these days cause certain changes in the body and the menstrual cycle is also influenced by the moonlight.
Do not enter Temples or attend religious gatherings:
Women are restricted to enter the holy places and even today this myth is carried out in our society. Most of the temples and religious places have placed a large board outside, “Menstruating women are not allowed to enter”. On observing it carefully I wonder that how am I so unclean and what has my periods got to do with worshiping. So the basis behind this statement is that all the religious practices emit energy in the environment which directly affects our human body. During this period the female body is already releasing high amount of energy so she is advised to remain away from temples so that her natural energy release is not disturbed.
Do not touch the Pickle:
Girls are often told to stay away from touching the pickle as she is considered impure and her touch may spoil it. Seriously, can you beat that! Till today I had only heard that food get spoilt because of bacterial or fungal action but it can also get spoilt by my touch, strange myth. During ancient days this myth was strictly followed on the same pace as Brahmins avoided the shadow and touch of untouchables, similarly the touch of menstruating lady was avoided. Her touch was considered unfit so anything touched by her was not fit for consumption. As pickle often needs extra care and it gets spoilt by change in temperatures so our elders tried to blame ladies for it rather than the temperature change.
Do not enter the kitchen or cook food:
The idea of not entering the kitchen is much more prevalent in the hard core Hindu society. Apart from considering this period as a sin, the basic reason behind this ritual makes true sense. During menstruation period, the females are continuously releasing energy and turn weak and feeble. They are also prone to infections as they are sensitive and their menstrual waste is also unhygienic. Thus females are advised to rest for preventing the chance of infection through food and water and maximum rest is required for her body.
Do not wash your hairs:
When our elders scolded us for washing our hairs during menstruation period it sounded so funny to us. Now when I discover an acceptable logic behind it, this myth seems reasonable. As our body is weak during this period, extra energy is wasted while washing our hairs. As our vagina is exposed for a longer period of time during hair wash, there are also chances of infection from the dust in the environment and vice versa. Another reason for it is that the flow of blood reduces when it comes in contact with clean water, which is not advisable. Thus washing of hairs should be avoided for the first three days, at least.
Menstruation is a sin, therefore painful:
Ever heard anyone saying, “You are paying for your sins, your menstruation pain is a curse upon you”? Sounds weird! In earlier days people used to believe that menstruation is a curse and the pain varies according to your evil deeds. This is just a mere superstition and menstrual cramps are natural, it has nothing to do with your karmas. The blood flowing out of the uterus is thick with clots or lumps, so it becomes difficult for regular smooth flow. During first two days, the thick blood leads to rhythmic contractions in the body which causes cramps in the abdomen and backache. So from the third day onwards the blood flow becomes thinner and easier to release.
So India being a highly religious country, we value our traditions and norms but please raise your voice against the unreasonable myths and stop accepting the ideas as the way they are imposed upon you. Every idea has a rational behind it and the next time somebody instructs you during menstruation period, just let them know the logic or ask reason from them.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
Ever noticed, that you are following certain task occasionally and later almost regularly; that means it transforms into your habit without even informing you and now you are used to it. Similarly few rituals have been taught to us or we just saw them performed by our ancestors, which are now a part of our lives. Such rites and rituals are righteously performed by us without being aware about the logic behind it. I don’t say that what is right or wrong but just give a thought on ‘why are you doing this?’
We devote our time faithfully in worshipping Lord Shiva and his ‘Shivling’; and often received fruits for the worship. Still we never tried to figure out the true meaning of shivling and why do we actually offer water to it.
Meaning of Shivling:
‘Shiv’ means the destroyer of bad karmas or mainly associated with the life cycle process and ‘linga’ refers to mark or sign symbolising the Supreme God. So literally ‘Shivling’ refers to the symbol of Lord Shiva. In reality, Shiv-Linga is a symbol of dual character of the pious Shiva and his cosmic universal energy. It is a process defining the creation of mortals within the omnipresent and omnipotent Universe. So shivling being a symbol of truth consists of immense energy and radiates it when worshipped through different ways. It emits frequencies of Knowledge (dhyan), devotion (bhakti) and detachment (vairagya). This energy has been gathered mainly because of the ‘sagar manthan’ in which Lord Shiva consumed the dangerous poison emerged from the depth of the sea.
Now water being a sign of purity and also due to its other scientific relevance, it is believed that offering water to Lord Shiva’s symbol leads to the relaxation of the high negative effect of the consumed poison and it pleases him. As you shower water on the Shivling, the malefic effects of the high radiated heat is prevented on the worshipper. Water is also a symbol of harmony and flow which inspires us to realize our mortal existence within the permanent truth. Thus the continuous flow of water is maintained on the shivlinga in temples, to maintain the serene and cool environment around it.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
“If you believe then even a mortal object is God but if you don’t then even if He is standing right there in front of you, you will stay ignorant and unaware.” Our ancestors referred varied objects as of prime holy importance and gave them the position next to God because of certain magical speciality. The never tried to get behind the rational of the phenomena rather it was easier for them to term it magical. Worshipping trees and plants is another such epitome of esteem faith, which is still prevalent in our society. Peepal tree or scientifically called Ficus religiosa is known for being sacred for years. Apart of the historical aspects related to this plant, just try and give a thought over the scientific aspect of it.
Scientific logic for worshipping Peepal tree:
Peepal tree is a large deciduous plant which is renowned for its long life span of approximately 100 years. It is widely prominent throughout India. The tree has a 24 hour oxygen supply system which differentiates it from the other plants. Usually the trees and plants release oxygen during the day and intake carbon dioxide; and the process is vice versa during the night. But Peepal tree emits oxygen during day and night due to a special photosynthesis process named Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM). So peepal tree is like a life sustaining machine that gives the continuous supply of oxygen.
- Another interesting fact about this tree is its anti-bacterial function that acts as a shield against bacterial and fungal allergies. All the parts of the tree are significant in some way or the other.
- Barks are used for medicinal purposes and the tannin released from it is used in the leather industry.
- The leaves are used to heal wounds and its juice is used as a cure for ear and speech problems.
- The root bark is useful for stomatitis, clean ulcers, and promotes granulations; if chewed raw then the gum issues are also resolved.
- The fruit is recommended for heart diseases and Asthma.
Peepal tree is often symbolised as Lord Vishnu, according to the famous tale when Vishnu Ji hid behind it from the demons. The Skanda Purana considers Peepal tree as a representation of Lord Vishnu. The tree is considered as a universe in itself because the roots being compared to Brahma, the trunk Vishnu and the leaves Shiva.
“Among the trees, I am the ashvatha”, explains the divine importance of this tree under which Lord Krishna took his last breath. Thus childless couples often tie red threads on the tree for the desire of a baby, as Skanda purana mentions that Peepal tree is like a son for those who don’t have one.
Peepla tree is a sign of enlightenment and attaining wisdom in Buddhism. ‘He who worships the Peepal tree will receive the same reward as if he worshiped me in person’, said Lord Buddha as he achieved the prime knowledge meditating below the peepal tree. Thus it is a symbol of enlightenment and harmony spreading the wave of peace and happiness all around.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
World is a game of timings and the man who performs his task at perfect time, wins the battle of life. Dawn breaks the darkness and chirping birds welcome the new hope of sunrise, showering brightness in our gloomy lives. Our ancestors always recommended us to wake up at ‘Brahma-muhurat’ (between 4:00 am to 6:00 am) and worship Surya devta (Sun) by offering water at sunrise. Ever wondered why are grand-parents used to offer water to Sun every morning?
Apart from the faith and traditional stories of offering water, the basic fact lies behind the mystery of science. We offer water to the Sun raising our hands directly above our head level, the thin layer of water pour down from the vessel (lotta) to the ground in front of our body. According to the principle of refraction and reflection, the sunlight gets refracted and reflected due to the thin layer of water which leads to the production of 7 forms of light that get absorbed by our body. Since our body has large surface area, the rays are absorbed through it, maximum by the chest. This is similar to the process of rainbow formation in the atmosphere.
Another fact reveals that, it is impossible to see the Sun directly from our naked eyes, so the film of water acts as a tool for the eyes and the sunlight tranquilises the soul and body.
Benefits of Sun’s energy:
- The light energy extracted in this process is an excellent medicine for various ailments. The entire body is energised and boosted up with positivity, for the entire day.
- It acts as a barrier against the evil diseases like typhoid and pneumonia. Sun rays are the natural cure for ailments of heart, eyes, leprosy and jaundice.
- Vitamin D from the Sun is a healthy source for stronger immune system and bones.
So the 7 forms of light energy are an all in one solution for various diseases of the body as well as helps in rejuvenating the mind and soul.
Mention in Holy Vedas:
Wonders of Sun God are also present in our ancient holy Vedas. Sun is considered as the significator of health, profession and father in the Vedic Astrology. So it’s not only a tradition followed by our ancestors blindly but an actual tranquiliser of or health and soul.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja