Dussehra, as the name suggests is the tenth day of the Navratras of month of Sharad i.e. September-October and hence, marks the portion of the year when the sun relaxes the earth from it’s scorching rays and cold winds start wrapping the atmosphere of the Northern Hemisphere.
How to celebrate Dussehra
In the evening, one must offer prayers to Ram darbar and one must offer bhoga to them. One must collect the burnt wood from the effigies and store them in the house to ensure peace.
It is celebrated every year since time immemorial by burning the effigies of Ravana, Meghanada and Kumbhakarna, the three demons who performed great austeriries to please the Lord.
But there are some facts about Dussehra which are still unknown to us.
- Srimati Sita Devi never went away with Ravana. No one can touch her since she is the eternal consort of Lord Ramchandra. In her disguise, Agni went to Ravana’s Lanka
- It was Agni Sita who sat on the tail of Sri Hanumanji and burnt the whole Lanka instead of Hanumanji.
- Ravana and Kumbhakarna were actually the two gatekeepers of Lord Sri Hari namely, Jaya and Vijaya who took the form of enemies of Lord to assist him in his past times.
- Despite Lord Ramchandra knew about Amrit Kalash, still Ravana was invincible. Lord Ram chanted Aditya Hridaya strota to get the power to kill Ravana.
- Jambavant who appeared in Ramayana lived long to meet the next form of Lord Krishna, he himself. He presented to him, his daughter, Jamvanti.
- Though Sri Hanuman was a strict celibate, still a female alligator bore progeny out of his sweat drop.
- Ramayana was completed before the happenings of the actual Ramayana. But Mahrishi Valmiki never disclosed it to anyone.
- Out of 1 Lakh sons and 1.25 lakh grandsons, no one remained. Ravana had all of the them killed in the wat
- Sri Lanka is the only place where the idols of Ravana are worshipped.
- It is a traditional custom to bring the burnt logs of wood of Ravana to kept in home. It ensures peace.
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Whenever we hear about hawan or homa, the picture of a fire emitting smoke all around comes in our mind, but in a reverential manner since it is meant for deity. We have seen or heard numerous times that by doing hawan, one invites peace to his house.
As stated by the lord in Bhagwad Gita (Chapter 5 Verse 29)-
gyatva mam shantim rchchhati||
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.
Since the supreme personality of godhead Sri Krishna is the ultimate benefactor of all hawans, he provides the person who is doing yagya and the person for whom yagya is done both with peace and tranquility.
Homa or Hawan or Yagya, as people call it in India is a vedic tradition which is coming down or the last billions and trillions of yugas. The famous yagyas which are mentioned in the Vedic literature are Ashwamedha Yagya of Maharaj Dashratha, Rajsuya Yagya of Maharaj Yudhishthir etc.
Doing Yagya was yuga dharma (Supreme prerogative and duty) of Treta yuga and people used to see the lord being satisfied by that when he used to appear in the yagya kund.
What is hawan or homa?
Yagya comprises of igniting a holy fire using pure wood and pure cow ghee and cow dung cakes and with the chanting of mantras, the hawish is poured into the fire with the word “Swaha!”. The hawish comprises of Indian Cow Ghee and mixture of Herbs called Hawan Samagri along with some other pure materials.
- Seeing the Hawan with scientific paradigm, the ancient sages used to say that by doing yagya, Sattva gun increases which is symbolized by cleanliness, peace and purity.
- The cow ghee and cow dung cake react to release tonnes of oxygen ad other gases which make the atmosphere pure.
- The small quantities of sulpher and nitrogen oxides get rid of harmful bacteria and their inhalation causes lacrimation, which relieves the eyes of all impurities and cough which arises clears the nasal and respiratory passage.
- All the harmful microbes and pathogens are cleared due to the smoke emitted by burning of herbs which acts as a natural detoxifier.
- The natural herbal smoke purifies the mind as well as the body.
- The ash which is remaining from the Hawan kund is asked to put into plants which acts as a very good fertilizer.
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Rathe vaamanam drishtva! It is said, those who welcome the Lord Jagannath by seeing him or greeting him, he becomes free from all sins”
The festival of carts or Ratha Yatra is celebrated every year in Jagannath Puri, Odisha whereby the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna manifests his most merciful form for the degraded people of Kaliyuga. Rath Yatra is the chief attraction festival of Jagannath Puri whereby lakhs of devotees come to celebrate the Lord’s festival and get his blessings. It is celebrated every year in the month of Aashadha, the second day of bright fortnight on pushya nakshatra.
The three presiding deities, Sri Baladeva, Sri Subhadra and Sri Jagannath travel from the premises of Sri Mandir and travel to Gundicha Mandir located a few kilometers away at the sea shore, where the Lord made his appearance in the Satyuga of Swayambhu Manu, the first Manu of Lord Brahma’s day.
By Vedic calculations one can determine when the Jagannatha Temple was first built, when the Temple was inaugurated and when the Deities were installed (on their simhasana). According to the authority of Skanda Purana, this period is fifteen crores and thirty-four lakhs (more than 150 million) years ago. From this it is clear that Ratha-yatra began in the time of Svarochisa Manu, the second Manu from the day of Lord Brahma.
The deities of Sri Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra were installed by Lord Brahma himself, who is a great devotee of Lord Sri Krishna. The Lordships have very strange form and this accounts to a wonderful story about why the lord has these forms.
When Lord Krishna was in Dwaraka, he kept on remembering his cowherd friends and the gopis of Vrindavan who had no other means of survival other than Krishna himself. Once the Lord became too anxious to hear about their well-being and went away with Balaram. Meanwhile, the 16,000 queens of Sri Krishna asked Mother Rohini, the mother of Balaram about the anxiety of Krishna. She told them about the Vrindavan past times of the lord and they all became very eager to hear them. But, Rohini devi was afraid, if Krishna hears these past times, he would run to Vrindavan immediately. So, she locked all the doors and windows and asked Krishna’s sister, Subhadra to stand at the door and don’t allow Krishna and Balaram to enter and she started narrating the incidents. Meanwhile, Krishna and Balaram came and asked Subhadra to allow them to enter. When she refused to do so, Krishna by his mystic power opened one of the windows to hear and as soon as he could hear and remember the past times, all three of them manifested the symptoms of eight fold ecstasy. Their hands shrunk, their eyes widened and legs melted. This is the form of Jagannath, Lord Krishna is feeling separation from his dear devotees. When the story was over, Narada Muni came to see the lord’s form but couldn’t see the same. He asked the lord about this peculiar form, to which Sri Krishna replied that this form is especially meant for people of Kaliyuga whereby they can easily attain the supreme perfection of spiritual life.
Thefestival started to mark the pulling of Krishna’s chariot by the Brajwasis from Kurukshetra to take him back to Vrindavan. They let go the horses and themselves pulled the rope of the chariot. The chariots are made from wood without using any iron nail to join pieces together. Three magnificent chariots are prepared which take the lord from Sri Mandir to Gundicha Mandir, where the deity of the lord was prepared i.e. the place where lord appeared. The lord stays there for about a week and then returns back to the temple again. A day before the Rath yatra, the gundicha temple is thoroughly cleaned and washed, which was initiated by Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. People come in huge numbers, just to pull the carts.
Simply by pulling the carts and dancing before the lord makes the person free from all the sinful reactions and makes them very joyful. Lord, being most merciful personally comes out to see his devotees and the people of the world so as to shower his unprecedented mercy on them.
Here is some of the information about the Rathas of the Lordship
- Sri Jagannath
Name of Ratha: Nandi Ghosh Ratha
No. of wheels: 16
- Sri Baladeva
Name of Ratha: Taal Dhvaja Ratha
No. of wheels: 14
- Sri Subhadra
Name of Ratha: Dev Dalan Ratha
No. of wheels: 12
For thousands of years, Astrology has been used to know one’s future or to act as a guiding post while making important life changing decisions. The classical texts of Astrology like Brihat Parashar Hora Shastra which is regarded as the Bible of Indian Astrology and on which all subsequent works of Indian Astrology are based was written thousands of years ago by sage Parashar. Its oldest printed version is a composite work of 71 chapters, in which the first part (chapters 1-51) dates to the 7th and early 8th centuries, and the second part (chapters 52-71) dates to the latter part of the 8th century.
All the classical texts of Indian Astrology describe the 3rd, 6th and 11th houses in a horoscope (also known as the “trishadaya” houses ) as the “evil houses” in a horoscope.
Human society all over the world has evolved and changed in the thousands of years since the Classics on Indian Astrology were written. It thus becomes clearly evident that if an Astrologer in today’s age takes the literal meaning of what is written in the classical texts and applies it without using his own common sense in attempting to make predictions today, the predictions will not only be totally wrong, but could cause huge financial, mental and emotional losses for his client. Recently, some incidents have taken place where Astrologers have advised clients based on the literal meaning in classical texts as interpreted by the Astrologer and where the client has sued the Astrologer in a Court of Law, or in some cases filed a Police complaint against the Astrologer for malpractice and cheating due to losses suffered by following the Astrologer’s advice.
We will now see why a majority of Astrologers fail to predict anything correctly in the modern age which is due to the evolution of human society and also due to a failure on the part of the Astrologer who has misinterpreted the classical texts while at the same time failing to keep up with this evolution of human society.
For example the classical texts all say that the Mahadashas (MD’s) and the Antardashas (AD’s) of the Trikone lords (houses 1, 5 and 9 are the Trikone houses in a horoscope) are very auspicious for a person and “Yogakarak’’and that the MD’s and AD’s of Trikone lords will make him very happy, give him very good health and will fulfil all his desires. Now, let us dissect this interpretation and apply it in today’s context. The MD of the 1st house lord will give a person good health, strength, mental happiness and a good character. The MD of the 5th house lord will make a person intelligent, will lead to love affairs and will also give him/her happiness from children if married. It might also improve luck to an extent as the 5th house is the “secondary house of luck” as it is the 9th house counted from the house of luck which is the 9th house. The MD of the 9th house lord will make a person lucky, will make him religious and make him go on pilgrimages and improve his relations with his father.
We have seen above what the MD’s of the Trikone lords have to offer. Then what about materialistic success, money and power which everyone craves for in today’s world ?
They are nowhere to be found in the trikones it seems. And therein lies the answer why most Astrologers fail to understand the nuances of making predictions in today’s uncertain times. What today’s society wants viz money, power, materialistic success, name and fame is nowhere to be found in the Trikones. Or to put it the other way round, the needs and aspirations of human society when the Classical texts on Astrology were written and the needs and aspirations of society today are entirely different.
Now, coming back to the question of which houses then bestow money, power, fame and materialistic success which we all crave for today, we get the most unlikeliest of answers – all the things we crave for in today’s modern age are given by the MD of the houses which are termed as “evil houses” or “trishadaya” houses in a horoscope by the classical texts – the 3rd house, the 6th house, and the 11th house. (The AD’s are much shorter in duration compared to MD’s, so actually the benefits given by these houses will accrue during their MD’s). Let us now see how so called “evil houses” can benefit a person so much. The MD of the 3rd house lord gives a person the self confidence and the courage to take on all the challenges of the modern world. Without having self confidence or courage, a person can achieve nothing. The negativity associated with this house in classical texts of Astrology is only because the MD of the 3rd house may make a person overconfident and bombastic. The 6th house according to classical texts is the house of disease, debt, competition and enemies. But the MD of the 6th house lord will give a person the power to defeat or suppress his enemies, to surge ahead in competition and to establish his brand name in the market. Then the only two things negative about the 6th house are disease and debt. And that is because if a person runs after material success, he has to work hard and as a consequence, health suffers. As for debt, businessmen do have to take loans to run their businesses. Without Bank finance, it is impossible to run many businesses today. So in a way, if one does not get a little into debt, one cannot progress or succeed in today’s age. Now, we come to the MD of the 11th house lord. The classical texts say that the 11th house is the house of desire fulfilment. The 11th house is also known as the house of gains or profits as it gives gains or profits. The only reason why classical texts are negative about the 11th house is because the 11th house lord’s MD increases a person’s desires to such an extent that it may become impossible to fulfil those desires. But then why will a person work hard unless he has some desires to fulfil ? This is exactly the very premise on which Capitalism is built – individuals will work hard to earn well for themselves to fulfil their materialistic desires and thereby live happy lives. Economic theory also says that “human wants are unlimited.”
Thus we see how the MD’s of the so called “evil” or “trishadaya” houses can power the growth of an individual in today’s modern age and times. In fact, a person can achieve materialistic success and make lots of money only during the MD’s of the “trishadaya” houses. If a person is not getting MD’s of “trishadaya” houses in his horoscope, he can never achieve material success in the modern world. If the lord of a “trishadaya” house is a natural malefic like Saturn, Mars or Sun, and the malefic planet is also placed in its own house, the results given are simply amazing during its MD. For example in a horoscope with Virgo Ascendant (Virgo lagna) , the 6th house lord will be Saturn and if Saturn is also placed in the 6th house, then during Saturn’s MD, the person will touch great heights by crushing all his opponents and competition, he will conquer illness, he will wipe out all his debts and he will establish a brand name for himself. There are two other houses in a horoscope apart from the “trishadaya” houses which can also give wealth and success in one’s career or profession. One is the second house which is known as the house of wealth. But it is also a “marak” or death inflicting house. Therefore, during the MD of the second house, one will make good money, but one’s health may suffer and even death is possible. The other house which gives progress in career or profession thereby resulting in material success is the 10th house. Good progress in career or profession is seen during the MD of the 10th house lord as well.
Thus we see that the rules of the game have changed for making Astrological predictions in today’s modern and complex times. Traditional Astrologers, if they are out of tune with today’s reality or Astrologers who wrongly interpret the ancient texts while putting theory into practice will be totally at sea in predicting good or bad times for their clients. To deliver accurate and pinpoint predictions in today’s age, an Astrologer has to be a real professional who also keeps himself updated with all the analytical tools of Astrology like the KP system Asktakvarga and Shadbal and he needs to have a finger on the pulse of society as well.
Contributed By: Pranab Saikia
(Jyotish Ratna, Jyotish Bhusan, Jyotish Prabhakar)
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.
Our body comprises of three elements Vata (air), Pitta (bile) and Kapha. The element of heat which circulates in our body is termed as Pitta. This Pitta element is responsible for the movement of nutrition and the bodily functions related to balance of body temperature. An equitable balance among three doshas, provide vitality and health to human beings.
But when any one of them is disturbed, it upsets the equilibrium and we stand suffering from variety of diseases. According to Vedic treaties in Vedic astrology, the movement in zodiac and transit effect of planetary influence is largely responsible for such health issues.
Pitta plays a vital role in the movement of nutrition on the body. Pitta forms the major element of importance in the digestive system of human body. As per ayurvedic texts, the number of diseases due to Pitta disturbance are 20 in number since they involve malfunctioning of the digestive aspect of the system.
The Pitta element of the body is divided into five types, each of which is located in different parts of the body. The five types of Pitta are
|S.No.||Subtypes of Pitta||Locations||Actions|
|1.||Pachaka||Lower part of stomach and small intestine||Digestion|
|2.||Ranjaka||Liver, spleen, stomach||Formation of blood|
|3.||Sadhaka||Heart / Brain||Effect on mental function – fear/bravery, calmness / anger confusion / clarity|
|5.||Bhrajaka||Skin||Temperature regulation, sweating, color and complexion|
Pitta element is located in the Liver, which secretes the digestive juices moving into stomach.
Pitta plays important role in regulating the digestive processes in the body and ensure that nutrition reaches to every part of our body.
As per Vedic astrology, there are some planets and their associated zodiac signs which are associated with the Pitta element. The planets and the zodiac signs have fire element as their essential principle and hence, they become pitta planets. They are as follows:
Zodiac signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Scorpio
Planets: Mars, the Sun, Jupiter (secondary), Ketu.
These planets have their central element of support as fire and hence, when they become the Lagna planet or have an effect on the central houses of the Kundali chart, the influence of these planets causes disturbance or regulation of Pitta in the body of the individual. Depending upon their own positions in the Kundali, these planets have their multiple effects on the Pitta element and hence, the effect can be seen in microscopic form.
There are six tastes as per ayurvedic texts, viz. Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Hot and Astringent. The tastes are beneficial for Pitta balancing are sweet, astringent and bitter and the other aggravate Pitta. Diet comprising of sweet, bitter and astringent taste shall be helpful in the balancing of Pitta.
Properties of Pitta:
The physical characteristics of a Pitta person are:
- Frame: Moderate.
- Weight: Moderate.
- Skin: Soft, oily, warm & yellowish.
- Hair: Soft, oily & goes Grey early.
- Teeth: Moderate, soft and bleeding gums.
- Eyes: Sharp, Grey or Yellow.
- Forehead: Moderate with folds.
- Neck: Medium.
- Eye lashes: Small, thin and fine.
- Nose: Medium.
- Voice: High pitch, sharp, moderate & good.
- Speech: Sharp, clear and cutting.
- Nails: Soft and Pink.
- Sweating: Profuse but not enduring.
- Faeces: Soft and loose.
- Urine: Profuse and Yellow.
- Pulse rate: Moderate, jumps like a frog.
- Physical activity: Moderate.
- Sleep: Little but sound.
- Thirst: High.
- Appetite: Good and sharp.
- Joints: Loose.
- Circulation: Good.
- Endurance: Moderate but focused.
- Habits/Hobbies: Likes competitive sports, debates, politics, hunting and research.
- Tendency to contract disease (type): Disease of heat infection, blood and liver.
- Tendency to spend: Spends moderately and methodically.
The mental characteristics of a Pitta person are:
- Mind: Aggressive and intelligent.
- Emotion: Aggressive and irritable.
- Faith: Determined.
- Memory: Sharp.
- Dream Running: Fiery, angry, passionate & swimming.
- Mental nature: Intelligent, argumentative & convincing.
- Neurotic tendencies: Angry, irritable and contentious.
- Temperament: Motivated.
- Positive emotions: Courage
- Negative emotions: Anger.
Signs of increased Pitta in a person:
- Yellowish appearance in urine, faeces, skin, eyes (jaundice).
- Sharp hunger (even more so than usual).
- Sharp thirst (even more so than usual).
- Burning sensations.
- Little sleep, fiery and angry.
Signs of de-creased Pitta in a person:
- Feeling of coldness.
- Glow of texture of the skin goes down.
The methods to balance Pitta are just opposite to the nature of Pitta. The regular use of Indian Cow Ghee helps a lot in regulation of Pitta.
Gem therapy is highly beneficial in regulating Pitta. Based on horoscope analysis, use of stones like Ruby, Yellow Sapphire, Cats eye and red coral can greatly improve Pitta Dosha.
In our ancient literature, there are numerous pujas/yagnas which can be performed for regulating Pitta or other doshas.
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The holy shrine of Badrinath is located in Garhwal, along the banks of the legendary Alaknanda River on the mighty Himalayas located at 10,279 ft above the mean sea level. The Nar Parbat Mountain is located opposite to the temple, while the Narayana Parbat is located behind the Neelakanta Peak.
In the main shrine is the 1 m Shaligram (black stone) image of Badrinarayan, which is housed in a gold canopy under a Badri Tree also made of gold. The image is said to hold a Shankha (conch) and a Chakra (wheel) in two of its arms in a lifted posture (which I could not figure out in my many visits) and two arms are rested on its lap in a Yogamudra (Padmasana) posture which I clearly saw. Legend has it, that Badrinath ji is swambhu.
The Tapt Kund, a group of hot sulphur springs just below the temple, are considered to be of medicinal value and many pilgrims bathe in the springs before visiting the temple and praying before the Lord. (Neela bathed here every year we visited). The springs have a year-round temperature of 55 °C (131 °F).
There is no historical record about the temple, but there is a mention of the presiding deity Badrinath in Vedic scriptures, (ca.1750–500 BCE). As per some accounts, the temple was a Buddhist shrine till the 8th century and Adi Shankara converted it to a Hindu temple. A traditional story asserts that Shankara expelled all the Buddhists in the region with the help of the Parmar ruler king Kanak Pal. The architecture of the temple resembles that of a Buddhist Vihara (temple) and the brightly painted facade is typical of Buddhist temples. As per other accounts, it was originally established as a pilgrimage site by Adi Shankaracharya in the 9th century. Hindu followers assert that he discovered the image of Badrinath Ji in the Alaknanda River and initially enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs.
The Holy Shrine of Badrinath Ji opens on Akhaya Tritiya (early May) and is closed on Diwali, when the Lord’s abode is shifted to Josthimath.
Contributed By: Amitava Mukherjee