Kartik

The embodiment of chastity and unalloyed devotion-Tulasi and her Shaligrama Vivaha

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Introduction

Tulasi or Vrinda or Tulsi is the hallowed name of Srimati Vrinda Devi who is the worshippable plant which can be seen flourishing in any home who are following Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism. One can always find her growing nicely in the courtyards of the houses.

Shaligrama is a sanctified stone form of Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna who appeared as a form for his devotees. This form of lord is found in the Gandaki river which flows in the Indo Nepal border. One who takes a dip in the holy river can find these Shaligrama shila in their hands.

This Vivaha ceremony is performed in Bheeshma panchaka of the month of Kartik. Out of the five days, it can be celebrated on any of them which is decided as per the auspicious constellations.

The legend behind Tulasi-Shaligrama Vivaha

As per Padma Purana, Tulasi devi was known as Vrinda in her past life. He was the utmost chaste wife of Jalandhar. Jalandhar was born out of Lord Shiva’s anger. Lord Shiva, who once became extremely angry opened his third eye and let his krodhhagni come out which was then dumped into ocean.

From this, Jalandhar was born who tried to claim his right over the 14 gems which came out of ocean during the churning. He was the husband of Vrinda, who was devotedly dedicated to service of her husband. She had a blessing indicating that her chastity was the cause of her husband being invincible.

In order to restore the peace in the celestial planets, Lord vishnu came is disguise of her husband to supposedly dismantle her purity. When she came to know that it was Lord Vishnu in disguise, she was angry at him and therefore cursed him to become a black stone since he performed an act done by stone hearted people.

And Lord Vishnu gave her the blessing that she would be his greatest devotee and she would take her next life in the form of tree worshippable by everyone. No offering to the lord shall be complete without her presence.

Procedure of marriage

Shri Vasishthaji said that what I have heard in ancient times from Lord Brahma about the marriage of Tulasi I will now describe according to what is written in the Narada-pancaratra. First one should plant Tulasi either in the house or the forest, and after three years one may perform her marriage. The auspicious times when one may perform the marriage of Shalagrama and Tulasi are described as follows. When the sun is moving in the north, Jupiter and Venus are rising, in the month of Kartika, from the Ekadashi to the full moon in the month of Magha, and when constellations that are auspicious for marriage appear, especially the full moon day. – First one should arrange a place for sacrifice (yajna-kunda) under a canopy (mandapa). Then after performing shanti-vidhana, one should install sixteen goddesses, and do the shraddha ceremony for his female maternal ancestors.

 

One should call four brahmanas learned in the Veda, and appoint one to be the Brahma, one to be the acarya, one to be the rishi, and one to be the priest. One should establish an auspicious waterpot (mangala-ghat) under that mandapa according to the Vaishnava rituals. Then one should establish an attractive shalagrama-shila (Lakshmi-Narayana). After that one should perform home sacrifice (griha-yajna), worship the sixteen goddesses, and do the shraddha ceremony. – When it is dusk one should install a golden Deity of Narayana and a silver murti of Tulasi according to one’s means. With vasa-shanta mantra two cloths should be tied together, with yadavandha mantra the marriage bracelets (kangana) should be tied on the wrists, and with ko’ dat mantra the marriage should be consecrated. Then the host along with the acarya, rishi, and others should make nine offerings in the yajna-kunda. After these marriage rites have been done, the wise gurudeva should offer sacrifice according to the Vaishnava rituals chanting, “Om namo bhagavate keshavaya namah svaha.” – The host with his wife, friends, and relatives should then do parikrama of Tulasi four times with shalagrama-shila. Everyone should then recite the following prayers in front of the yajna-kunda: shatkumbha-sukta, pavamani-sukta, shakti-kadhyaya, nava-sukta, jiva-sukta, and vaishava-samhita.

 

After this the ladies should blow conch and other similar instruments, sing auspicious songs, and recite mangalacarana. Following this the final sacrifice should be done (purnahuti) and then abhisheka. An ox is to be given to the Brahma, a cow, cloth, and bed to the acarya, and cloth to the rishi. Dakshina should be given to all. – In this way installing Tulasi Devi one should begin her regular worship along with Lord Vishnu. Whoever sees the marriage of Tulasi Devi will have all of the accumulated sins of his life removed. Whoever with devotion plants Tulasi, collects her leaves, or installs her along with Vishnu will achieve liberation, the abode of the Lord, all varieties of enjoyment, and will enjoy along with Shri Hari.
Celebrate this marriage with http://www.shubhpuja.com.

The fast which can give you anything you desire-Bhishma Panchaka

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Introduction

Bhishma panchaka or Vishnu panchaka are the five days of the last month of Chaturmasya i.e. the four months of austerities to be practised by spiritual seekers. They are the last five days of the auspicious month of Kartik. They are Kartik Shukla Ekadashi, Dwadashi, Trayodashi, Chaturdashi and Purnima.

As per Mahabharata, Bhishma deva observed a strict fast during last five days in order to prepare for his death. As a result of his austerity, Lord Krishna became very pleased with him and blessed him with pure devotional service.

Benefits of Fasting

For the one who is observing chaturmasya vrata for the four months should intensify the austerities or these five days and one must observe fast from grains for the last five days.

The fast should begin by remembering Bhisma deva on the Ekadasi day and should end on Purnima [the full moon]. One should eat only vegetables or fruits and should worship Lord Gauranga and Krishna. If he needs to eat, he should do so only in the evening. A woman can also observe this fast by the suggestion of a twice-born, and if a widow observes this fast, she can also attain liberation and happiness.
Srila Suta Goswami says in the Padma Purana, Uttara khanda, ‘This liberating fast is unknown even to the demigods. If one listens to what I have said and fasts on these five days, even if he had sex his sister, daughter, mother, etc. he becomes free from that sin. Even if someone attentively listens to this narration, he also achieves happiness. I tell you the truth again and again that one should keep this fast secretively, and continue performing it unceasingly – such a person surely achieves liberation.
Way of fasting

The fasting started today on Ekadashi and will continues until the the Rasa Purnima day. The fasting is broken at moon rise on Purnima day. It is recommended to do full fast on Ekadasi and then the following four days fruits and roots fasting Or five day fruits and roots fasting.
Various Levels of fasting:
Level-I
One can consume the following products:
Ekadashi day: Cow dung (Gomaya)
Dwadashi day: Cow urine (Go-mutra)
Trayodashi day: Cow milk (Kshiira)
Chaturdashi day: Cow yoghurt (Dahi)
Purnima day: All products of the cow mixed (Pancha-gavya)
Level -II
If one can’t follow type then please take take fruits and roots fruits with lots of seeds should be avoided like guava, pomegranate,cucumber etc. Boiled potatoes, raw banana and sweet potato can be taken. We can use sea salt for taste.

Celebrating the festival of love: Karwa Chauth

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Importance

Karwa Chauth or Karak Chaturthi derives it’s name from Kartik Chaturthi which is the fourth day from the beginning of the pious month of Kartik, the month most dear to Lord Sri Krishna, the supreme personality of godhead.

Since Kartik month represents Srimati Radharani, it is most dear to Lord Madhava, her husband. This festival falls on the fouth day of Krishna paksha of Kartik month, hence it becomes more auspicious.

It falls nine days before the festival of lights, Deepawali. This fast is kept as a prayer for the longevity of the husband and an ever lasting loving relationship.

The Karwa chauth Vrat

On this day, the married women of the household keep a fast for their husband. At some places, the fiancee also keeps a fast for her would-be-husband.

They rise up early in the morning and take sargi which is sent by her mother-in-law. It comprises of sweets and milk items.

The whole day is kept as a complete fast, even from water and they become busy in decorating the house and themselves by putting all types of ornaments and colouring the handa with mehandi which is considered very auspicious for them.

They purchase all the items of Sringar a day before and get them ready to be worn in the evening time.

In afternoon, ladies of the house assemble to listen to the katha of Karwa Chauth Vrat and keep some earthen pots with them in which they keep on putting turmeric rice.

When the moon rises, they offer water to the moon, light a lamp and take blessings of the Lord and her husband.

After that, they all enjoy the sumptuous feast being cooked by her and thus, the fast comes to an end.

The story of Karwa Chauth

“A long long time ago, there lived a beautiful princess by the name of Veeravati. When she was of the marriageable age, Veeravati was married to a king. On the occasion of the first Karva Chauth after her marriage, she went to her parents’ house.”

“After sunrise, she observed a strict fast. However, the queen was too delicate and couldn’t stand the rigours of fasting. By evening, Veeravati was too weak, and fainted. Now, the queen had seven brothers who loved her dearly. They couldn’t stand the plight of their sister and decided to end her fast by deceiving her. They made a fire at the nearby hill and asked their sister to see the glow. They assured her that it was the moonlight and since the moon had risen, she could break her fast.”

“However, the moment the gullible queen ate her dinner, she received the news that her husband, the king, was dead. The queen was heartbroken and rushed to her husband’s palace. On the way, she met Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess Parvati. Parvati informed her that the king had died because the queen had broken her fast by watching a false moon. However, when the queen asked her for forgiveness, the goddess granted her the boon that the king would be revived but would be ill.”

“When the queen reached the palace, she found the king lying unconscious with hundreds of needles inserted in his body. Each day, the queen managed to remove one needle from the king’s body. Next year, on the day of Karva Chauth, only one needle remained embedded in the body of the unconscious king.”

“The queen observed a strict fast that day and when she went to the market to buy the karva for the puja , her maid removed the remaining needle from the king’s body. The king regained consciousness, and mistook the maid for his queen. When the real queen returned to the palace, she was made to serve as a maid.”

“However, Veeravati was true to her faith and religiously observed the Karva Chauth vrat . Once when the king was going to some other kingdom, he asked the real queen (now turned maid) if she wanted anything. The queen asked for a pair of identical dolls. The king obliged and the queen kept singing a song ” Roli ki Goli ho gayi… Goli ki Roli ho gayi ” (the queen has turned into a maid and the maid has turned into a queen).”

“On being asked by the king as to why did she keep repeating that song, Veeravati narrated the entire story. The king repented and restored the queen to her royal status. It was only the queen’s devotion and her faith that won her husband’s affection and the blessings of Goddess Parvati.”

Science behind chaturmaas

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As soon as the rainy season arrives by the commencement of the month of Shravan (July-August), we all find the genuine sages and hermits who are on the way to achieve perfection in their relationship with the supreme personality of godhead or have already achieved perfection in same, to pause their wanderings and see them staying in huge numbers in temples and ashrams, giving opportunity to the general masses to serve the lord and get them blessed by their blessings.

Chatumaas, the word comes from two separate words, Chatur and Maas. It means a collection of four months, Sharavan (July-August), Bhadrapada (August-September), Ashwin (September-October) and Kartik (October-November). These four months are specifically chosen since it involves the complete rainy season and the autumn season. These seasons, the sages stay at a particular place and perform austerities of body, speech and mind.

As per Ayurveda, these four months are described as the months of highest weakness in the body since the sun changes it’s course. It becomes more prominent in the southern hemisphere and the withdrawal causes generalised weakness. And since the weather is moist and humid, the body is depleted of many nutrients via bodily secretions.

In these months, the shastras enjoin that people must restrain from somethings from their diet and well as daily routine.

Scientific Paradigm

The rainy season, carries along with itself a plethora of pathogens and insects who move out from their residence inside the ground in order to find shelter somewhere else as their homes are flooded with water.

Also, due to cool weather, humid climate and availability of water makes the pathogens grow in an accelerated manner. These pathogens become the cause of diseases and hence, to avoid the contact with pathogens, one must observe cleanliness and must restrict movement.

Certain food items must not be consumed. One must not consume

  1. Green leafy vegetables in Shravan
  2. Yogurt in Bhadrapada
  3. Milk in Ashwin
  4. Non-veg, Urad and Masoor Dal in Kartik

The reason for the same is:

In Shravan, due to fresh arrival of monsoon, all the small organisms living inside the ground come out and try to find shelter. Green leafy vegetables being the best in nutrition as well as space give them the best opportunity. Hence, they enter the leafy vegetables

In Bhadrapada, the season becomes too much cold and wet. Hence, taking yogurt will cause respiratory diseases.

In Ashwin, the mammals whose milk we drink have been enough poisoned by eating the leafy vegetables. For two months, they have been doing so and hence, their milk becomes indigestible and we have the weakest strength at that time due to high humidity and clear sky.

In Kartik, the body starts to recover and welcome the winter season. Since the season is about to change and dryness is to come, consuming foods which are dry and take long time to digest is not considered wise.

10 Unique Facts about Thanksgiving festival to Lord Surya: Chhath Puja

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shubhpuja.comThe 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The special powers were bestowed to Draupadi by Surya devta, which helped the Pandavas to regain back their kingdom of Hastinapur.
  4. To receive immense blessings and prosperity from Surya, Chhath is celebrated lively for four days period during the Hindu month of Kartik.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

Cherishing the essence of Motherhood: Ahoi Ashtami

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The day for mothers to shower the precious love upon their kids by fasting, for their happiness and prosperity is Ahoi Ashtami. A different version of Karva Chauth, this vrat is considered auspicious for mothers to keep her children healthy and happy. This festival symbolises the deep rooted love of Ma (mother) and her Mamta (motherhood), who not only nourishes an embryo in her womb but also feel connected as one soul to her child.

When is Ahoi Astami celebrated?

Ahoi Ashtami falls on the eighth day after full moon or Krishna Paksha in the Kartik month of Hindu calendar. It is generally observed four days after Karva Chauth or eight days before Deepawali. This festival is more prominent in northern part of India than others.

Relevance of Ahoi Ashtami:

According to our traditional rituals, it is said that once there was a lady who had seven sons. She went to the forest for getting soil for renovating her house. As she was digging the soil, suddenly the axe slipped from her hand and it hit a baby cub. The baby cub shouted with pain and died at the spot. The lady felt sorry and depressed but now there was nothing left, which she could transform. She went back home but the clouds of misery didn’t left her way and she lost her seven sons within a year. Later she confessed her pain and agony with few of her neighbours and they suggested her to perform the remorseful act. She prayed to Goddess Ashtami Bhagwati to get rid of her sins and null the effect of her deed. From then on, she was completely involved in praying to Ahoi Mata and kept fast on the Krishna paksha Ashtami. Goddess was pleased by her faithful devotion and forgave her for killing the cub. She even got her seven sons back, by the grace of Goddess. Since then, this tale is an inspiration for mothers to fast and pray to Ahoi Mata for the well-being of their children.

Procedure of Vrat:

Ladies wake up early morning before sunrise, eat something and then begin their fast till evening. The nirjalahaar (without food and water) vrat ends when the moon appears at night or few of them end it by seeing stars in the sky. An idol of Ahoi Mata is placed or painted on the wall. A bowl of water is kept on it and the red colour thread is twisted around the bowshubhpuja.coml, smeared with turmeric. Story of Ahoi Mata is recited by the elderly lady of the house and everybody listens to her.

Special food items are prepared on this day like puris, halwa, boiled channa and jowar, etc depending upon the tradition. Sweets are offered to Goddess Ahoi and further distributed among the other family members. A garland of silver coins is also offered to Ahoi Mata and the coin keeps on increasing as further generations are added to the family.

This festival is an epitome of love and care of motherhood. It’s a celebration of cherishing the eternal bond between kids and mothers. This fast is just an occasion but actually it is a scientific process of personal development through which the selfless love is nurtured within beings and spreads the message of humanity among the world.

 

Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja

Loving bond between Couples: Karva Chauth and its Scientific Relevance

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The warmth of festive season is at its peak. Beautifully attired women, with henna applied on their hands offering prayers to Moon for the long life span of her partner (Pati-parmeshwar), is a long known tradition in Hinduism. Yea I am talking about the pious fasting of Karva-Chauth, where married women fast for the long life of their husbands and maintain peace and prosperity among the family relations. Numerous beliefs and sentiments have been attached to this festival, varying as per geographical relevance and traditions.

When is Karva Chauth celebrated?shubhpuja.com

Literally ‘Karva’ mean earthen oil lamp and ‘Chauth’ means four; thus this festival falls on the fourth day of the Kartik month according to the Hindu calendar. It is generally observed eight days after Dussehra. This is also the time when the onset of Rabi crops begin, so people used to gather together to wish and pray for a good harvest in this season.

Origin of Karva Chauth:

The initial significance of fasting on the day of karva Chauth was entirely different than what it has emerged with years. This festival was celebrated to symbolise the loving relationship between the bride and other women in her in-laws, who would be best-friends or sisters for life. As the girl was away from her parents and could not share her emotions with anyone in her in-laws, so she searched for her support and became friend with another lady. Now she could freely discuss her marital life as well as other stories, which leads to a strong bond between them. This festival was a signal to celebrate and honour their friendship between god-friends or god-sisters. Later the sentiments of fasting for the longevity of her husband were attached to this.

Scientific relevance of Karva Chauth:

The association between fasting by wife and increased life span of the husband is treated differently by various people. Few of them follow it because of traditional values and others might be reluctant and do it by force. So the clear picture is always a question wandering in our heads. Scientifically fasting has a biological relevance due to higher detoxification and protein synthesis in the body. As per the study of starvation-resistant biological program, it is proven that the stem cell potency and reproductive potential is preserved during the process. Whereas the high orgasmic frequency among human beings increase their span of living. Now if we attach both the results together, it is clear that fasting leads to longer reproductive capability among females and thus more sexual activity during her long life. It directly affects her partner, thus increasing his life expectancy.shubhpuja.com

Along with this, praying to Moon during Kartik month has extra benefits as the coolness and calmness provides us with better body metabolism. The heat and energy in the body is controlled which in turn is concerned with the digestive, enzymatic, and endocrine systems.

Thus the nirjalahaar (without food and water) vrat along with ‘sargi’ (food before observing fast) and ‘baayna’ (gifts offered to in-laws) results in maintaining a precious bond between families. It provides will power to the females and reciprocates their love for her husband. The mythological importance has also been mentioned in Mahabharata, where Draupadi inquires about the fast from Lord Krishna.

 

Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja