Lord Hanuman is highly adored with butter and betel leaves while performing the puja ceremony. Let’s explore the significance behind these offerings.
They are specially offered to Lord Hanuman as once Mata Sita expressed her gratitude and and blessings to Him by showering the betel leaves upon him. It is said that the betel leaves were the token of appreciation and blessings of Lord Rama and Mata Sita for Hanuman, after winning over Ravana.
Moreover betel leaves are known to be offered to the intellectual one who is well versed with the sacred knowledge of Vedas and shastras. Thus the huge bank of knowledge of Hanuman and his intellect to use that knowledge in every difficulty made him get respect and love from Rama and Sita ji.
At the time of battle between Lord Rama and Ravana, both were trying their best to defeat each other. Unlike the huge chariot of Ravana, Lord Rama was being carried by Hanuman ji. When all the tactics of Ravana failed he thought to attack Hanuman instead of Lord Rama.
As soon as the arrow hit Hanuman ji and wounded him, Lord Rama was unable to see his devotees’s plight and fought vigorously with Ravana. The situation became worse for Ravana and he had to give up. When Lord Rama and Hanuman returned to their camp, Lord Rama himself applied cool butter on Hanuman ji’s wound to cool down his burning wounds.
Following the age old traditions began by Lord Rama and Mata Sita, betel leaves garland and butter are still offered to Lord Hanuman by his devotees, to express their love and respect for Him.
The devotees may forget the Lord but the Lord never forgets them. Similarly Sai baba used to remind his devotees of His presence and offered them blessings. Once Babasaheb Tarkhad, who was a ‘prarthana samaji’ earlier was a humble devotee of Sai baba. His wife and son were also surrendered in the worship of Baba and adored Him judiciously.
Once in summers Babasaheb Tarkhad suggested his wife and son to pay a visit to Shirdi for seeking Sai baba’s blessings. The son was doubtful and didn’t agree to leave Bandra as he was afraid that the worship of Baba will not be performed properly in his absence. As his father was ‘Prarthana Samaji’, it is possible that he would not be able to pay complete attention. After receiving assurance from his father, finally the mother and son went to Shirdi.
According to his promise Babasaheb got up early morning and after taking bath, he prayed to Sai baba and told him- “O Baba! I will worship you exactly the same way as my son has been worshipping you, but please do not limit it up only to bodily labour”. After worshipping Sai Baba, he offered the oblation of ‘mishri’ and then distributed the Prasad. He judiciously worshipped Sai baba for another few days but one day he found that there was no Prasad in the plate and his cook forgot to offer it.
He got perturbed and immediately bowed in front of Sai baba idol and asked his apology. He wrote the entire incident in detail to his son and requested to place the letter in the feet of Baba and ask him to forgive.
This incident happened in Bandra almost during the noon and at the same time when noon arti was going to begin in Shirdi, baba told Shrimati Tarkhad- “Mother I went to your house at Bandra to eat the Prasad but I could not find anything. So I returned hungry.” She could not comprehend the context of Baba’s words but his son understood everything. He wanted permission of Sai baba for returning to Bandra but Baba told him to worship in Shirdi for few days. The son also wrote a letter to his father to explain the incident in Shirdi and requested his father to be careful in future. Both the letters reached next day and the son and father became careful in adoring Sai baba from then.
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.
Kanya Pujan marks the ending ceremony of the auspicious Navratri and is conducted on Ashtami or Navami day of Navratri. It is also known as ‘Kumari puja’, a ritual of worshipping young girls symbolising Goddess Durga. Homage is paid to nine small girls and one boy through this ritual. Special food is prepared according to the varied rituals among family, which is offered to the nine girls in the form of nine devis. Certain dakshina or new utensils are also offered to them. Then the prasadam is consumed by the family to break their fast and mark the completion of auspicious navratri.
Devotees should read the last chapter of Durga Saptashati and chant mantras to welcome the kids. The ceremony should begin by washing their feet and then tying ‘mauli’ (red thread) on their wrists. Special puri, halwa and chana are offered to them along with fruits. People should touch their feet and seek blessings from them by pleasing these young kids.
Worshipping the kanyas helps the devotees to receive wisdom, moksha, strength, wealth and dharma. Mantra for kanya pujan is as follows:
मंत्राक्षरमयीं लक्ष्मीं मातृणां रूपधारिणीम्।
नवदुर्गात्मिकां साक्षात् कन्यामावाहयाम्यहम्।।
जगत्पूज्ये जगद्वन्द्ये सर्वशक्तिस्वरुपिणि।
पूजां गृहाण कौमारि जगन्मातर्नमोस्तु ते।।
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
Past cannot be undone and future is unpredictable but the present can be glorified by our acts. Due to whatever reason, the shortcomings occurred in our birth chart and created stress but the blessings of our elders and God Almighty can always be a silver lining for us. Ayurvedic treatment may be long lasting and arduous but cures the disease from its roots. Similarly, it is mentioned in our Vedas that pleasing the ancestors and remembering them truly curtail our problems.
First and foremost, performing ‘Shradh puja’ is considered to be the auspicious act to tranquillise the departed soul of our ancestors.
The holy puja is performed on the death date of the person or on the no moon (Amavasya) day of any month or during the 15 lunar moon days.
By offering water, scented flowers, couch grass and sesame seeds through ‘Pitra dosh nivaran’.
‘Tarpan’ is the offerings made during the process along with chanting of mantras.
Favourite cuisines are specially prepared and offered to the priest or Brahmin after the puja.
After feeding the Brahmins, food or ‘prasadam’ is placed in the balcony or terrace walls so that the crows can feed upon them, symbolic to our ancestors.
At the end, Lord Vishnu is worshipped by chanting the mantra:
ll Yasya Smirtya cha Namoktaya Tapoyagya Kriyadishu,
Newnam Sampurntam Yati Sadhyo Vande Tamchayutam ll
To remove Pitra Dosh offer prayers to ancestors: http://shubhpuja.com/pitradoshshanti-id-344736.html
- Another solution is that on the day of any somwatianavasya (i.e. Amavasya on Monday), visit the peepal tree and offer ‘janeu’ to the tree and also to Lord Vishnu. Do 108 ‘parikrama’ of the tree by faithfully chanting ‘Om namobhagwate Vaasudewaya’. Have faith in him and seek forgiveness for your ill deeds.
- Pinddaan is offering rice, cow’s milk, ghee, food, sugar and honey to the ancestors, whole heartedly.
- Feed cows with ghee and rice balls every Saturday.
- Stand on the mat during sunrise and chant ‘Gayatri mantra’ to strengthen the position of Sun in your horoscope.
- Helping the poor and disabled and remembering your ancestors is an easy path to receive blessings for them.
- Avoid consumption of non-vegetarian food, alcohol and other such tamasic edibles along with outside food.
- In the south direction of your habitat, hang portraits of your ancestors and greet them with fresh flowers garland.
- Respect and seek blessings from the elders at our home, as their blessings is the only way to receive peace and happiness.
- Offer regular donations to hospitals or temples in the name of our ancestors and if possible, assist in the education and marriage of orphan girls.