Om Sri Ganeshaya Namaha
Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, is the deity invoked when marking a new beginning. As with so many other yogic concepts, the elephant-faced one is not only a symbol for removing obstacles, but simultaneously represents the obstacle: if an elephant decides to stand in your path, you’ll have a hard time continuing along it. What to do? How to deal with it?
Being conscious of the importance of a good and solid beginning is the first step towards a successful path. Preparing yourself well, understanding that respect and care are essential ingredients to your undertaking, and that obstacles will be part of your journey, are all useful in the process of getting ready for a new beginning.
Whether you enter into a longer undertaking like a course or training, or simply get onto your yoga mat for a practice: to visualise yourself preparing for the task, maybe even doing a little ritual that involves the cleansing of hands and feet, lighting a candle or doing some breath work, to bring yourself consciously to the task, will allow for a much deeper entering into the process. It will prepare the mind and the body for what is to come.
So make ritual part of your practice. Go and find one that suits you and your purpose, but be mindful not to become habitual and mindless in the repetition and application of it. Be open to changing your ritual when necessary and remain alert to the need to do so. An empty, meaningless ritual becomes a routine, numbing you to the complexity of the task, and defying the purpose of the ritual. The mind is prone to the illness of forgetting: forgetting purpose, forgetting ongoing alertness and enquiry. Only an alert and open mind is willing to experience and thus learn. To learn, we need to be from expectation, from anticipation, from judgement.
Check in with yourself often: am I practicing habitually, seeking rigid rules and information that is set in stone and gives me the security of knowledge? Or am I engaging mindfully in ritual that allows me to become more open and free with each experience I am inviting into my process of growth? Am I becoming more capable of integration, or am I seeking the diminishing of complexity? On this path, am I becoming more rigid or more flexible? Is my mind dull or alert?
Contributed By: Nina Alfers (http://www.svastha-yoga.com) comes from a background of martial arts and yoga and practices as a massage therapist. She has studied Sociology, Philosophy and Psychology and practiced as a counsellor for some years before embracing her other healing capacities. She is based in Melbourne, Australia, and often travels to SE Asia to broaden her knowledge and to facilitate yoga workshops, immersions and teacher trainings.
The stones and pearls are a magical source of positivity and can transform the entire lives of the people. They have the power to alter the effects of the stars and transform the aura of an individual. Similarly one of the rarest pearl is ‘Sindhur Mani’; which is a yellowish-white, oversized egg shaped stones. It can also be brownish in tone, depending upon the formation of the stone.
Being a rare mani it is widely valued for the divine and healing traits. The Sindhur Mani has a cool and peaceful radiation as the natural pearls have moon dominant qualities. Whoever possesses this unique piece attracts the material as well as spiritual comforts. This mani acts like a divine healer as you feel a change in your inner self. The vibrations of your surroundings transform tremendously and your lost peace is regained by achieving silence. They also have unique feature of curing acute diseases and can even bless the barren women with the ability to conceive. Major problems like arthritis and joint pains have been cured by this extra ordinary pearl.
This auspicious pearl has found its traces in Airavata race and has adjoining sentiments of gaining wealth, fame and curing diseases. The Hindu text believes that this pearl is a symbol of Lord Ganesh’s soul and therefore considered highly fortunate and lucky. Holding immense power, the Sindhur Mani is an important source of welfare for the mind, body and soul of a being.
Varied variety of sounds produced by vibrations, have different effects on the beings and they act or react as per the sound produced. Believe it or not, sound has major relation with our mood and as a pleasant music can cheer us up, the loud and screeching sounds can disturb it. In fact, harsh sound causes noise pollution, which in turn, without our noticing, causes tension, stress, and other disorders like blood pressure, migraine and so on.
Thus to restore the balance, harmony and peace within a family, the right kind of sounds should be prevalent in the house as per Vastu.
- The sweet and soft conversations between family members lighten the mood and spread a positive ambience.
- Avoid watching television during meal time rather prefer to have pleasant conversations or soft music.
- Sacred chants or healing rhythms of devotion should be played early morning in the house.
- Dripping faucets or leaky taps should be repaired as soon as possible.
- The hinges of the door should be kept well oiled, to avoid creaking sounds.
- Close the door gently so that the mind and body remains calm.
- The bell cast from an amalgam of five metals improve the positive energy flow in the environment, dissipating the negative vibrations.
- Wind chimes are also an important source of peaceful and serene environment.
- The soft melodious tunes can induce peace, relaxation and reduce sadness, tension and anger.
- Hanging wind chimes, changing harsh sounding door bells with pleasant-sounding ones and having rippling water fountains can be a means of adding the right sounds to any environment.
To achieve steadiness and cleanse the mind, body and soul; we adore and praise the supreme Lord and his miraculous creation. Literally, ‘Man’ means mind and ‘Tra’ means wave or vibration, so mantra is a technical practice that enlightens the mental and physiological state. You might have heard about distinct mantra for different deity and purpose. For every puja conducted at home, the Vedic scholars chant so many mantras yet most of us are oblivious to the relevance of chanting mantras and simple recite them in our daily routine. Let’s know them and then chant.
Biological and Spiritual Significance:
- Mantra chanting balances the nervous system and normalizes the hormone production, which in turn maintains the working of the body systems.
- An upsurge in the energy level is attained, which replaces the materialistic thoughts with realization of Almighty.
- It transcends the senses of the body and we feel free from the bond of time and space, thus away from the weight of worries.
- ‘As music has charms to soothe a savage beast, so the spiritual sound of mantra soothes the restless mind’; it soothes our cellular level.
- Mantras awaken our dormant conscious and help us to connect with our spiritual identity; we begin to experience oneness among us and Him.
- It helps us to concentrate on our breathing pattern, whose regulation is a secret for stronger immunity and body balance.
- It won’t work if you don’t do it, so by constant repetition, in group or alone, it will enhance the will power and faith.
- Mantra activates the chemical signals in the body that transforms the unconscious into conscious, automatic into deliberate and mindless into heartfelt.
- Chanting mantras is a conscious method of controlling our moods, and in turn, our frequency and resultant all-around radiance.
- It enhances the concentration level and in turn the memory power enlarges.It acts as a brain stabilizer and one can experience the state of trance by recognizing our own natural state.
The pros of reciting mantras are unlimited and not just few of them mentioned above, but all of it can be experienced if you try it sincerely. No matter from which ever generation you belong, the next time you chant a mantra, do it genuinely and then feel a change within you.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
The 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The special powers were bestowed to Draupadi by Surya devta, which helped the Pandavas to regain back their kingdom of Hastinapur.
- To receive immense blessings and prosperity from Surya, Chhath is celebrated lively for four days period during the Hindu month of Kartik.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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