Krishna

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.

Srimati Kunti Devi

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Srimati Kunti devi is one of the main characters of Mahabharata who is famous for her surrender to the supreme lord Sri Krishna, who is by all means accessible to his devotees under all circumstances.

Kunti Maharani was the daughter of Shurasena and foster daughter of King Kuntibhoja. He is the sister of Vasudev, the father of Sri Krishna, therefore, she is the aunt of Lord Krishna.

Although she is elder in her age, still she offers her prayers to the supreme lord since she understands that Krishna is the supreme personality of godhead.

While she was in the house of her foster father Kuntibhoja, she selflessly served the Rishi Durvasa and he, in return, being pleased by her service, gave him a mantra using which she could call any demigod and he will reward him a gift.

Out of her own curiosity,  she called Suryadev and when he arrived, he asked her to ask for a boon to which she told the reality. But suryadev replied that he is duty bound to give him a reward and gave him Karna, his son.

Afraid of the world, she put Karna in a basket and rendered afloat in the river. She was married to king Pandu and then, by the fate King Pandu was cursed by Rishi Kindama to die as soon as he would try to indulge in sensual gratification.

Eventually, King Pandu asked Kunti to beget sons and she begot 3 sons, Yudhishthira, Bheema and Arjuna. When further persuaded, she asked him to stop and wait for one year.

Due to her misfortune, his husband died when he tried to embrace his another wife, Madri and she was left alone alongwith 5 Pandavas.

When the Pandavas returned to Hastinapur, there was a succession crisis. Duryodhana claimed to be the next heir for the kingdom. Dhritarashtra named Yudhishthira as his heir, enraging Duryodhana. With the help of Shakuni, Duryodhana planned to burn the Pandavas and Kunti in a Lakshagraha while they were on a festival at Varnavat. But with early warning and aid from Vidura, the Pandavas and Kunti fake their death and escape the burning house. They travel the countryside, disguised as brahmins.

The prayers offered by her to Lord Krishna represent the feeling of surrender of a devotee. She prays to Lord Hari as (Srimad Bhagwatam 1.8.18-20)

kunty uvāca
namasye puruṣaṁ tvādyam
īśvaraṁ prakṛteḥ param
alakṣyaṁ sarva-bhūtānām
antar bahir avasthitam
māyā-javanikācchannam
ajñādhokṣajam avyayam
na lakṣyase mūḍha-dṛśā
naṭo nāṭyadharo yathā
tathā paramahaṁsānāṁ
munīnām amalātmanām
bhakti-yoga-vidhānārthaṁ
kathaṁ paśyema hi striyaḥ
Translation:
Śrīmatī Kuntī said: O Kṛṣṇa, I offer my obeisances unto You because You are the original personality and are unaffected by the qualities of the material world. You are existing both within and without everything, yet You are invisible to all.

Being beyond the range of limited sense perception, You are the eternally irreproachable factor covered by the curtain of deluding energy. You are invisible to the foolish observer, exactly as an actor dressed as a player is not recognized.
You Yourself descend to propagate the transcendental science of devotional service unto the hearts of the advanced transcendentalists and mental speculators, who are purified by being able to discriminate between matter and spirit. How then can we women know You perfectly?
This is the humility of a dear devotee.

Sri Krishna

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Lord Sri Krishna is the supreme personality of godhead who appears every 4 billion years in his original form in the Dwapara yuga which is followed by Kaliyuga and in other dwapara yugas, one of his quadruple expansions appear as Krishna.

Krishna is the resident of the transcendental planet Goloka Vrindavan which is the topmost spiritual abode, full of madhurya rasa or sweet amorous pastimes of the lord with his most beloved gopis, headed by Srimati Radharani.

As stated in Bhagwad Gita (4.7-8)

yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srjamy aham
paritranaya sadhunam
vinasaya ca duskrtam
dharma-samsthapanarthaya
sambhavami yuge yuge

TRANSLATION
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion-at that time I descend Myself.In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.
In order to protect his dear devotees and annihilate the miscreants, the supreme lord comes to this material world with his angas (Main agents), upangas (Sub agents), astra (Weapons) and parshadas (His dear associates).
The supreme lord is most merciful and beneficial and hence, has no one as his enemy. Being the supreme father of everyone, he doesn’t think of anyone’s ill. The vedanta sutra says that he neither hates anyone nor loves anyone, but he is inclined towards people obedient to him. Just like a father who has many children he is equal to everyone but he is specially inclined to his obedient sons.
Therefore, those who are the enemies of the lord, he awards them with liberation, what to speak of the ones who have dedicated their lives in the service of the lord. At the end, he is the ultimate well-wisher of everyone.
As per Bhagwad Gita (5,29), 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. therefore, it becomes a well established fact that Krishna is never enemy of anyone.
The story of Mahabharata is basically his causeless mercy for the dull headed ones, who need stories and climax to understand the deeper aspects of philosophy. Lord Krishna, who was also known as Vaasudev i.e. the son of Vasudeva and Devaki and fostered by Nanda Maharaj and Yashoda. He appeared in the clan of Yadus, the chandravanshis.
The Yadu clan was a kshatriya clan and hence, Krishna along with his elder brother Balarama fought valiantly with all the asuras and demons who tried to harm the brajwasis, the devotees completely dependent on Krishna.
In the context of Mahabharata, the lord was specially favourable for the Pandavas, who were devoted to him and had special corner of affection for Arjuna. He was the guide for him and the other Pandavas and guided them throughout the battle.
He became a messenger, a shanti doot of the Pandavas and asked for a peace treaty to which Duuryodhana blatantly refused and said, I shall not spare a piece of land, which has an area equal to the tip of a pin and hence, instigated the fight for the same.
Actually, this pastime of the lord is just for the conditioned souls to understand that those who are surrendered to the Lord, he delivers and protects them to the best of his capacity.
The example of Draupadi shows that when one tries to save himself by his own caliber, he is never successful but when one completely depends upon the lord, then the lord takes full charge of him and thereby, he never allows his devotee to perish.
A very beautiful prayer by Kunti maharani states the mood of his devotees.(SB 1.8.24-25)
viṣān mahāgneḥ puruṣāda-darśanād
asat-sabhāyā vana-vāsa-kṛcchrataḥ
mṛdhe mṛdhe ’neka-mahārathāstrato
drauṇy-astrataś cāsma hare ’bhirakṣitāḥ
vipadaḥ santu tāḥ śaśvat
tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato darśanaṁ yat syād
apunar bhava-darśanam
Translation:
My dear Kṛṣṇa, Your Lordship has protected us from a poisoned cake, from a great fire, from cannibals, from the vicious assembly, from sufferings during our exile in the forest and from the battle where great generals fought. And now You have saved us from the weapon of Aśvatthāmā. I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.

Why Brahmin priest blow conch shells?

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Whenever we enter a temple to attend an aarti, we see that the Brahmin priests come out of the deity altar with a conch shell and blow it very loudly, three times. Only after that, the aarti starts.

As stated in Hari Bhakti Vilas,

“0 king, a person who sounds a conch shell in Lord Kesava’s temple becomes free of all sins. He goes to Brahmaloka where he enjoys with Lord Brahma.”

The conch shell is very dear to the supreme lord Sri Krishna and hence, in his quadruple expansions, he keeps the conch shell in one of his four hands. The conch shell was offered to the Supreme lord by Shankhachuda, a demon who had Srimati Tulasi as her wife. Actually, Shankhachuda is an eternally liberated devotee from the abode of the supreme lord, who was cursed by Srimati Radharani to take that form.

Blowing conch shells is considered very auspicious. It is said that wherever the sound of the conch shell reaches, ghostly species and all sorts of negative energies run away from that place, making it completely pure. The conch shell produces the universal sound vibration, “Om” and this sound form of Krishna is ever purifying. It purifies all directions and terrorizes the negative energies.

Scientific Paradigm

The blowing of conch shell has tremendous effect on the blower as well as the listener. The one who blows conch shell is freed from all sorts of respiratory and mental disorders and the listener from all sorts of mental diseases.

The sound vibration emanating from the conch shell resonates with the natural human body frequency and hence, creates a stream of positive and healthy vibrations. These vibrations have a positive feedback and hence, provide the listeners with a peaceful aura. One can himself feel very happy and peaceful when someone sounds a conch shell.

Sounding a conch shell invite Sri Lakshmi Devi to one’s house and let her stay there for a longer time.

There are some conch shells which cannot be blown, but are worshipped. They are known as Dakshinavarti conch shells. They are worshipped in Mahalakshmi Puja.

For arranging a Mahalakshmi puja, you can contact us at www.shubhpuja.com .