Why do the priests keep a Shikha or Choti on the head?
Whenever we go to a temple, we find Brahmin priests with a tuft of hair tied up neatly at the back of their head, originating from the top of the head. They keep it very nicely and always knotted. This tuft of hair is called shikha.
This shikha, as per Vedic scriptures, is a symbol of Brahminical qualities and culture which has been imparted to a person undergoing a strict training under the guidance of a bonafide spiritual master who is well qualified in all Vedic scriptures and well placed in the science thorough realisation of the absolute truth.
Science behind keeping shikha:
- Shikha, as per the Vedic shastras originates from the brahmrandhra or the topmost point of the head near the occipital lobe of the cerebrum. This point is the centre of all neural activities and is considered to be the energy bearing point of all the bodily functions.
- Tightening the hair knot right above the suture induces marvelous psychological benefits. It helps in harmonious blood circulation in the brain in normal conditions and augments alertness.
- As described in the yoga-scriptures, it also lends support in increasing mental concentration and meditation. In terms of its sublime spiritual effects, the shikha works like an antenna in the outer domain of the sahasrara chakra (topmost extrasensory centre) to link the individual consciousness with the cosmic consciousness.
- As per the Vedic injunctions, the shikha helps the supreme personality of godhead to pull us from the material world to the spiritual world.
The varied perspectives about gemstones and their relevance are quite intricate as more than rational justification, the personal testing is considered appropriate. Highlighting the craze of gemstones we head back to the great hall in which beautiful empress Cleopatra had received the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, which was decorated with furniture studded with rare gems and Jewels. Even in recent history, the Peacock throne of the Moghuls was studded with jewels of all kind and had attracted many invaders. So be it any era throughout the world, the magical effects of gems have been witnessed.
Being of different colours and lustre, the gemstones work on the concept of colour therapy. The seven colours of VIBGYOR along with the infrared and ultra violet invisible colours, affects the human system differently. It is important to note that the wavelength of coloured light emanating from the nine planets is believed to match those radiating from each planet’s corresponding gemstone. A particular stone absorbs all kind of solar and cosmic energy and allows only a particular type of energy to pass through it; which is then absorbed by the body. If prescribed properly, this actually helps the individual in restoring the body balance and attaining self-improvement.
Other relevance of Gemstones:
The glittering gemstones are considered the secret to happiness, fortune, health and monetary bliss in life. As the ancient Gemological texts of India explain that white light is actually composed of nine colours, symbolic of the nine planets, so the particular planets radiate their energy and influence through colours. Depending upon the position of the moon sign in a particular sign of the Zodiac at the time of birth, a particular gem is allotted. Now theses gemstones are not a sure shot success mantra, if you think, but it adds on to the continuous effort of an individual and further helps to receive positive fruits. Stones have a capacity to remove the hurdles caused by faulty positioning of planets, which may halt the success in one’s life.
Gem and planetary impact:
Ruby – Red colour energy improves courage, self-confidence, blood circulation and vitality, reduces anaemia, liver and gallbladder complaints, bowel problems and skin and heart diseases. It strengthens will and purpose as the forces guiding one’s actions.
Emerald – Green colour energy is referred to encourage swiftness and freshness, as it is a nature colour that provides happiness, peace and reduces restlessness. Beneficial for wealth and property matters; and cures insomnia and depression.
Yellow Sapphire – Yellow colour energy stands for wisdom, ambition, science, and confidence; and it attracts fame, health and success to the wearer. It raises one’s vibration to the higher side of the nature and promotes actions born from a sense of duty and humanity.
Pearl – White colour energy denotes peace, simplicity, soft nature and friendship; deepens one’s emotional feeling and emotional healing. It aids in memory enhancement, cures uterine disorders, heart trouble and eye diseases, hysteria and pleurisy etc. It also increases sexual strength, removes melancholy and increases fortune.
Blue Sapphire – Blue sapphire brings mental peace and financial rewards to the afflicted person. It is the fastest working gemstone among the 9 planetary gemstones. It fortifies one’s acceptance of responsibility and one’s sense of duty. It simplifies life and encourages thrift and the reduction of the need for personal pleasure and satisfaction.
Diamond – It is said that the one who wears a diamond has a luxurious life. Diamond is supposed to enhance the name, fame and artistic quality of the person who wears it according to old beliefs. It improves stomach disorders, migraine, and cataract and helps in Soothing effect on the eyes, ears and the nervous system. It gives vitamin K. Controls pituitary glands.
Cat’s Eye- This gemstone protects its wearer from hidden enemies, sudden dangers and diseases. It may enhance one’s psychic abilities, insights, mysticism and perception of the paranormal. It may inspire one to adopt a simpler lifestyle and gravitate more toward asceticism and austerity.
The faith on this unique art may vary but if you truly believe in it, and adopt a particular prescribed gemstone, then they surely work in your favour.
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