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.
Why we tie mango leaves on threshold of the door?
Whenever there is a celebration in the house, you will see that mango leaves are sewn on a string and are tied on the threshold of the door. Not only main door, but all the doors are well tied with the same. This not only looks beautiful but auspicious too.
As per Indian traditions and Vedic injunctions, Mango leaves are considered to be very auspicious and hence, they are used in Kalash Sthapana and other important Puja procedures. It is also used to purify the place by sprinkling water by a bunch of 5 mango leaves.
The scientific reason behind putting mango leaves are:
- Their wonderful property of warding off harmful bacteria and viruses away. Mango leaves have some aromatic compounds, which not only release wonderful aroma on being crushed or boiled in water but also, when hung in air.
- Hanging them releases various compounds which kill the pathogens away and create a nice and clean atmosphere. This positive atmosphere creates a positive effect on the mind of the individual.
- The green leaves like other plants release the useful oxygen and saves us from the harmful carbon dioxide.
- The mango leaves have been known for their unique traits even during the ancient era in the Hindu scriptures.
- Mango has been revered as the symbol of fertility. God of Love or Lord Kamdeva is also connected with mango leaves in the ancient tales.
The festive and holiday season is here. Carols, dance, decorations, music and of course food is the most special reason to celebrate the holiday season. We get a reason to unite and come together with our family and friends and cherish all the good times. Let’s explore few facts about our lovely festival of Christmas.
Christmas on 25th of December:
Christmas is celebrated on 25th December to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Interestingly the first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was somewhere around 336AD, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. This day was chosen because according to early Christian tradition the date of Annunciation (when Mary was told that she would have a very special baby, Jesus) was on 25th March. The date of Christmas falls exactly nine months after 25th march.
Also the early Romans considered this date very near to when the winter solstice occurred. The Jewish festival of Lights called Hanukkah starts on the 25th of December. So this date marks the beginning of many auspicious events and celebrated widely.
The evergreen Christmas Tree:
The evergreen tree was an ancient symbol of life in the midst of winter. These evergreen plants were also considered as a source to keep the ghosts, evil energies and illness away. These evergreen trees were also a ray of hope for the winters and a wait for greenery in spring again. Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honour of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The practice of Christmas tree began from 14th and 15th century but became widely common in 17th century in Germany and parts of Australia. From German settlers the trend came in United States.
The auspicious 15 days ‘Pitru paksha’ period or shradh is a form of attachment or guilt within us that restricts us to lead a normal day to day life. It disturbs and haunts us day and night in our thoughts as we have a feeling of regret within us for the dead person. Thus shradh ceremony or any such offerings are the ways to fulfil the unfulfilled desires of our ancestors.
Certain things have to keep into consideration during this period to faithfully and ritualistically please our ancestors.
- Stand on the mat during sunrise and chant ‘Gayatri mantra’ to strengthen the position of Sun in your horoscope.
- In the south direction of your habitat, hang portraits of your ancestors and greet them with fresh flowers garland.
- Feed cows with ghee and rice balls every Saturday.
- Use of barley, Kaangani- a type of millet, peas, sesame seed and mustard in Shradh puja are considered highly auspicious and fortunate.
- Shradh karma should not be performed on land occupied by others therefore river banks and holy pilgrimages are preferred.
- Helping the poor and disabled and remembering your ancestors is an easy path to receive blessings for them.
- Respect and seek blessings from the elders at our home, as their blessings are 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.
- Recitation of Garuda Puraan i.e. the passage of the departing soul, Nachiketa story from Upanishads and Ganga Avataran chapter from Ramayan are done to ensure the satisfaction of our ancestors.
- Perform fasting on Ekadashi and if possible organize the Agni Homa or Havan during this period.
- Gram, lentil, black gram, horse gram, barley, radish, black cumin, Bauhinia, cucumber, black gram, black salt, gourd, large mustard, leaf of black mustard and stale, rotten fruit or grain, are prohibited in Shradh puja.
- Avoid consumption of non-vegetarian food, alcohol and other such tamasic edibles along with outside food.
- Avoid starting anything new, even something seemingly as insignificant as buying and wearing new clothes, washing hair, cutting hair and even shaving are proscribed during the period.
- Important events like shifting to a new house, marriage, birth ceremonies of a child, inauguration of new business and other such significant celebrations should be avoided during this period.
The festival of brother sister love is widely celebrated in India as well as abroad, which truly signifies the emotions and love between the siblings. This is the day when sisters tie a thread (rakhi) on the wrist of brothers, expressing the love for them and pray for their well-being. Brothers, on their part, promise to protect them from all evils. In Sanskrit, Raksha Bhandan means “the tie of protection“.
But how did this festival originate and became a huge celebration worldwide? Let’s explore few of them.
Yama and Yamuna: Yama, the lord of death, was blessed with eternity as his sister Yamuna tied up a rakhi thread on his wrist. Since that time the festival of Raksha Bandhan is associated with tying of Rakhi thread.
The Tale of Lord Bali and Goddess Lakshmi: Once King Bali approached to the Lord Vishnu to get his kingdom safeguarded from its enemies. Lord Vishnu decided to help his great devotee. Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu, did not want her lord to leave the home and reached to the Bali’s mansion in disguise of Brahmin woman to seek shelter. On the auspicious day of Shravan Purnima Laxmi ji while tying a revered thread on Bali’s wrist told her purpose for being there. Touched by the tender feelings of Lakshmi ji for her family, Kind Bali requested Lord Vishnu to not leave his abode. Therefore the Rakhi festival is also called ‘Baleva’ that means the devotion of King Bali to Lord Vishnu.
Indra and Sachi: Indra, the king of devtas, had lost his kingdom to the asura Vritra. Indra’s wife Sachi than tied a thread around her husband’s wrist to ensure his victory in the upcoming war between him and Vrita. This was done at the behest of guru Brihaspati.
Draupadi and Krishna: Lord Krishna was left with a bleeding finger, after Shishupal’s death. To stop the flow of blood, Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, had torn a strip of silk off her sari and tied it around Krishna’s wrist. Touched by her concern, Krishna declared to protect her and promised to repay the debt manifold.
Rani Karnawati and Emperor Humayun: During the medieval era, Rajputs were fighting Muslim invasions. When Rani Karnawati the widowed queen of the king of Chittor realised that she could in no way defend the invasion of the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, she sent a rakhi to Emperor Humayun. The Emperor touched by the gesture started off with his troops without wasting any time.
Alexander the Great’ wife and King Puru: During 300 B.C. when Alexander invaded India; he was afraid by the fury of the Indian king Puru in his first attempt. Upset by this, Alexander’s wife, who had heard of the Rakhi festival, approached King Puru. King Puru accepted her as his sister and when the opportunity came during the war, he refrained from Alexander.
Rabindranath Tagore’s call to nation: During the partition of Bengal in 1905, Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel laureate poet used the occasion of the Raksha Bandhan as a community festival and gave a call to tie a rakhi amongst all Hindus and Muslims so as to maintain peace and harmony between them and spread the nationalist spirit among people from different ethnic backgrounds.
Book your Raksha Bandhan package today: http://shubhpuja.com/Rakshabandhan-id-684835.html
The features and traits of a being are also affected by the colour, skin type and even smoothness or firmness of the hand. As the people with soft palms imagine all sorts of things in the way of ailments and troubles; but if the palm is firm, it denotes an energetic, excitable nature.
Very smooth hands with few lines belong to people with calm temperament and even in disposition. They rarely loose temper and if they do then they have a valid logic behind it. This again depends upon the hardness and softness of the palm. When form, it is greater sign of control and calmness than when soft. In the latter case it is not so much a matter of control as of indifference.
When the palm of hand is naturally covered with a very fine light skin, the subject will retain the buoyancy and temperament of youth much longer than the person with a coarse skin. This is of course dependent upon the type of work, but the general cases where little labour or manual work is involved, this is the case.
Colour of the Palm:
The palm of the hand is under immediate control and action of the nerves and of the nerve fluid. According to scientist, there are more nerves in the hand than in any other portion of the body and again more in the palms than other portions of hand.
When palm is pale or almost white in colour, the subject takes very little interest in anything outside of himself- in other words, he will be selfish, egoistic and unsympathetic.
When palm is yellowish in colour, the subject will be morbid, melancholy, and morose.
When a delicate pink the nature is sanguine, hopeful, and bright; and when very red, robust in health and spirits, passionate, and quick tempered.
The beginning of propitious celebration is incomplete without the soothing tune of the conch or shankh. The trumpet sounds so peaceful to the ears and is purely a sign of brilliant and auspicious beginning. In Indian mythology, God Vishnu, the God of Preservation, is shown with a shankh in one hand and a chakra in the other. The shankh symbolizes positivity over negativity and it is blown as a ray of hope. During puja, shankh is also used as a container of holy water.
- Shankh is considered as one of the most auspicious objects that emerged from the sea during the Sagara Samudra Manthan.
- Whenever conch shell is blown, it is said to eliminate the evil effects and purify the environment.
- The natural vibration or cosmic energy of the Earth gets magnified on entering the conch shell, which can be heard as the gentle humming sound of ocean.
- When the conch is blown, the sound emanated from it is a symbol of creation, as it contains the five elements of nature
- The vibration from the conch has the power to heal the ozone hole in the ozone layer, a major cause of global warming.
- The positive vibrations enhance the positive feelings around like courage, willpower, determination, hope and love.
- By blowing the shankh the frequencies consisting raja–tama particles are destroyed and at the same time the saviour and destroyer principle of a deity is awakened.
- Shankh is a sign of good luck, wealth and prosperity for the inmates of the house as it keeps the negative energies away.
- While performing Lakshmi Puja, conch shell is filled with milk and then it is poured over the idol. Water collected in shankh is offered while worshipping sun.