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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tiruvannamalai Deepam today - November 25, 2015

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Dear All:
Tiruvannamalai Deepam is observed today.  Am writing this post just before embarking on Girivalam.

On this holy day, I thought of sharing His Holiness of Revered Memory - Shri Shri Chandrasekara Saraswathy swamigal about this Karthikai deepam's significance.....(given below is the translation of Mahaswami's views - courtesy Shri. C.V. Sathya Narayanan)....


We light up a series of earthen lamps on the day of the star of Kruttika in the month of Kaartigai. At that time we are to sing this sloka as given in the saastraa-s:- keedaa: patangaa: masagaascha vrukchaa: jale stale ye nivasanti jeevaa: I drushtvaa pradeepam na cha janma baajaa bavanti nityam svabasaa hi vipraa: II
This means, "We pray that, whosoever sees this lamp that we are lighting, they be worms, birds or mosquitoes or trees and such plants; all life forms which live in water or on earth; or may be human beings of whatever caste or creed; seeing this light may have the effect on them that all their sins are washed away and they may transcend the cycle of life and death and reach ever lasting happiness"!
Not only life forms in land and water. By saying 'patangaa:' (birds) and 'masakaa:' (mosquitoes) all flying birds and insects have been included. Though they fly in the air, the mosquitoes lay the eggs in water only. Birds similarly have to come down to a nest to rest and lay eggs. There are fishes which can live only in water while some animals like frogs and crocodiles which are equally adept in land and water. Having identified each such variety, the prayer is for cancellation of all their sins and crossing over the ocean of life.
This Kaartigai Deepam seen by any of these life forms may give them ever lasting merit, it is prayed! The word 'drushtvaa' in the slokam means, 'having been seen'. 'Vruksham' the tree is also mentioned. The tree cannot see. As per science, the plants do have some senses. But, we do not know if they have any capacity to see. They do differentiate between sunlight and shadow and grow towards the sunlight! I feel that the interpretation is that, it does not matter even if they cannot see or do not see this light. The prayer is that, still the effect of cancellation of all sins should be there!
As light does not differentiate between Tom, Dick and Harry; between all castes, creeds and sects; between birds, animals, plants and insects; between mobile (jangama) and static (staavara) life forms; the Love from our hearts should be universally applicable and effective! With such inner intension, the outer earthen lamp should be lighted, with the prayer as quoted above to make the Kaartigai Deepam effective.
In the past during festivals, it was the custom to light up what is known as ‘chokkap paanai’, which was a massive earthen lamp. In Thiruvannamalai, it is a practice even in modern times, on Kartigai evening as the Sun goes down, to light up a huge Deepam in which several Kilo Grams of Ghee is poured in a wide hole in the rock face on top of the hill. The wick is several feet thick. It is a sight to be seen and heard some ten lac people shouting, ‘Arohara’ as the light comes on to be seen miles away.
107. Similarly as the pilgrimage season ends in Sabari Hills in Kerala, the light comes up on ‘Kaanta Malai Hill’ known to Ayyappa devotees as ‘Makara Jyoti’ on Makara Sankranti evening! The idea is to instill universal unconditional Love in the minds of all onlookers!
Normally there are more animals with two and or four legs. The fly, roach and beetle have six, spider has eight and some of the creepers like the centipede have many legs. There are prayers in the Veda-s seeking the welfare of two, four, six, eight and many legged animals and those without legs, such as the snake and the fish!
The fully realized soul does not differentiate between Brahmin and Non-brahmin, says Bhagawat Gita (5.18.). Though we may differ in our occupations and Karma Anushtaana, when it comes to compassion and love, there should not be any differentiation whatsoever! That is how, Rantideva did daanam to a brahmin and finally gave his last bit of water to a sudra. In this Kaartigai Deepam slokam too, all human beings are included as ‘svabasaa hi vipraa:’, meaning ‘the whole range of people from non-brahmin to the brahmin’! Our saastraa-s do not differentiate even between the good and bad, when wishing well. Our saastraa-s go even beyond and conveys its best wishes to all those residents of the Naraka (Hell) too.
Courtesy: C.V.Sathya Narayanan.

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I could not have added anything to that Mahatma's views and hence am humbly just quoting His Holiness' views here for the benefit of our blog readers.

May many blessings be to everyone.

om Namah shivaya.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Devauthani ekaadashi/ Hari PrabhOdhini Ekaadashi - 2015

Dear Members:

Utthaana ekaadashi falls on November 21/ November 22, 2015 this year.

Schedule of observance of this fast for different regions of the world:

a) Those living in USA, Canada, and other countries of the American continents must observe this on November 21, 2015.
b) Those living in rest of the world - including middle-East countries (Gulf countries) and India must observe this on November 22, 2015.

This ekaadashi is also known Devouthaani ekaadashi and Hari PrabhOdhini Ekaadashi (capital "O" indicates that this is to pronounced as long vowel sound as per standard transliteration schemes for sanskrit words).

The Kaartika dwaadashi - the day of ending this HariprabhOdhini fast is also the day when chaturmaasya austerities are to be terminated. It is to be noted that Lord Vishnu - who begins His Yoga Nidra on sayani Ekaadashi gets up on Utthaana Ekaadasi and hence this ekaadasi is very special to all devotees. (This is one of the few mandatory fasts that are to be observed at least minimally by EVERYONE).

The glory of HariprabhOdhini ekaadashi has been explained in detail in Skanda Puraana. To summarise those - "Offering yellow colour flowers to Lord Vishnu is very auspicious on that day. One who fasts the whole day extinguishes the sins accumulated over several past births. One who remains awake the whole night and sings/ listens to the glory of Lord Vishnu will enjoy the merit that can be accumulated by donating valuable things like Horses and elephants and performing an elaborate vedic yagna. One who recites at least a portion of a sacred scripture on this day will gain the merit of GOdhaana (gift of cows to a qualified Brahmin). It is said that all places of pilgrimmage come to reside in the house of a devotee who observes this HariprabhOdhini fast properly.

The ekaadashi fast on Hari PrabhOdhini ekaadasi removes sins even if they are in magnitude as the glorious Meru Mountain; all sins of the devotee who remains awake on the night of Hari PrabhOdhini ekaadasi are burnt just as a cart load of cotton gets reduced to ashes before a mighty fire!"

Please note that ekaadashi fast should be undertaken with permission from one's spiritual preceptor (in case of ladies, husband should be informed of the fast). If you don't have a spiritual preceptor, (in case of ladies - if husband is abroad or away from you, or in case of widows/ unmarried women) - you may stand before the Sun and declare you intent of the fast (assuming Lord Sun as your Guru). Similarly, the fast should be broken in front of the Sun (or after permission of Guru or husband as the case may be).

Tulsi Vivaah is associated with this fast and is celebrated as Brindaavana Dwaadashi; it is to be observed on November 22, 2015 itself in USA, Canada, and other parts of American continent, and countries in Europe and African continents.

It should be observed on November 23, 2015 in Middle-east, India and other countries to the east of India.

On Tulsi Vivaah day , one can celebrate the elaborate ritual of marriage of a Tulsi plant with a Salagram idol or any image of Lord Vishnu. This grants great merit to the devotee and gives upliftment to the devotee's whole dynasty (i.e. generations before and those to come after him also!).

Decorating Tulsi plant with turmeric paste, sandalwood paste, and sindhoor; lighting a ghee lamp under Tulsi plant; offering obeisance to it; offering water to it; showing lit camphor as Aarti to it, etc are simple means of worship that can be done by those who cannot afford to perform the elaborate Tulsi Vivaah as per established procedures.

A simple prayer to Tulsi

"Om Brindaa Brindaavanii viswapoojitaa viswapaavani

Pushpasaara Nandinii cha Tulasii Krishnajeevanii"

Recite this at least thrice before Tulsi plant and offer your salutations to Tulsi Maa. This can be done everyday also - but at least on Tulsi Vivaah day known as Brindaavana Dwaadashi.

We are planning to perform the Tulsi pooja grandly in our temporary residence at Tiruvannamalai where there are both Tulsi plants and the Dhaatri tree (Amlaki tree signifying Lord Krishna); prayers will be raised for Universal Welfare after that pooja (we intend to do this pooja after our return from Parvathamalai Pradosham worship on November 23, 2015).


Those who cannot maintain the full fast, may eat just once or twice on this day skipping the mid-day meal or eating only supper at night (i.e. even missing one meal time in honour of this PrabhOdhini fast is considered as fasting though the merits are somewhat less). As this is a mandatory fast, such relaxation has been extended. So, everyone should try to fast on this day - at least by skipping one meal on this day. The meal that is eaten on this day should be free of onions, garlic, non-veg items, chillies, whole grains, etc. You may consume chappatis without much salt, or such simple foods on this day if your physical condition requires you to avoid complete fasts.

Skanda Puraana says that mind should be diverted from money-making ventures and instead focussed on charities on this Holy Day. So, you should donate what little you can to vedic experts (genuine experts whom you know to be following rituals and High Spiritual Precepts diligently, and are of noble disposition) on this day. Those who cannot donate anything due to dire financial circumstances should at least have a kind word to speak to an expert vedic practitioner and offer respects to them to get their blessings. Lord Hari Himself will manifest in those Blessings from qualified experts and remove all your sins (a note to spiritual guides who might be reading this: NEVER BLESS ANYONE WITH MATERIAL BOONS ON THIS DAY; JUST SAY "BHAGAVAAN HARI PREETHI SIDDHIRASTHU" - meaning "Let God Hari be satisfied by this!")

May our members enjoy spiritual bliss and removal from karmic burden due to the proper observance of this fast.

Blessed be.

Astrological and Remedial consultant

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Skanda shashti vratam (Soora samhaaram) today - November 17, 2015

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(picture above: courtesy -
Skanda Shashti vrattam - soora samhaaram day is an auspicious day to propitiate Lord Skanda (also known as Subramanya, Murugan, Velavan, etc.). This year it falls on November 17, 2015.

This day marks the annihilation of demonaic forces of Soorapadman by Our Gracious Lord who incarnated from the sparks of the Third Eye of Lord Shiva. Allegorically, the three main demons (Soorapadman and his brothers) signify the three mental devils "Aanavam(pride), evil vibes due to kanmam (negative karma), and Maayai (Illusion/ delusion)". Lord Subramanya denotes Wisdom and Divine Consciousness within each one of us. Thus celebrating this festival is to signify the necessity of overcoming the three main enemies of our Spiritual existence with the power of Wisdom and Divine Grace.

It is traditional for ardent devotees to fast on this day (the more ardent devotees actually fast for six days right from prathama thithi - the day after Deepavali amaavasya and break it only after completing the rituals associated with this day!) and recite various hymns in honour of Lord Skanda, the notable and most powerful among them being:

1) Kanda Shashti kavacham (In tamil composed by Swami BaalaDevaraayar some centuries back) - This is a highly efficacious work that possess immense mantrik power. It can bless you by removing all negativites in life and also grant you all mundane and spiritual bliss. Reciting the Holy Kanda Shashti Kavacham for 36 times keeping Holy Ash in a brass/ copper plate before you is very auspicious. Such an ash has the potency to be a powerful shield against all evils in life. There is no need for seeking costly mantraic remedies/ havans to nullify black-magic if you regularly recite the Kanda shashti Kavacham as a family prayer on Tuesdays and Fridays. The Mighty Spear of Lord Skanda - which has the Potency of Goddess Shakti in Itself will annihilate the envious enemies of such a family automatically.

2) Subramanya Bhujangam (in Honour of Skanda as the Deity ofTiruchendur) - Reciting this gives manifold benefits that are beyond words to explain. Its glory has to be experienced by reciting it! In fact, the recital of this helped Aadi Shankaraacharya (the original composer of this wonderful sthothra) to get rid of aabhichaara-induced ailments that His Holiness was suffering at that time.

There are also other works like Shanmukha kavacham, Vel Maaral (this is a mantrik composition that eugolizes the Shakti weapon that Skanda has in His hands), and Chatrusamhaara Vel patikam (for annihilation of enemies).

Those who can, may fast (full fast, fasting only with water, fasting with liquid diet, or avoiding rice/ heavy carbohydrates, or whatever as per convenience), and chant any of the above hymns if possible.

Another powerful recital is the recital of chapter pertaining to "Kumara Utpatti" from Shrimad Vaalmiiki Raamaayana (it is in Baala kaandam). This is especially auspicious for those praying for the boon of birth of a child.

Those who are not in a position to recite any of these may simply remember Lord Skanda - the Beautiful and Handsome one, the Epitome of Courage and Piety, by simply calling his name "Om Saravana bhava."

Those who seek progenic bliss may worship Him with the mantra "Om kum kumaaraaya namah"

Those who wish to win cases, remove black-magic, etc. can recite classical works such as "chatru samhaara vEl pathigam", "VEl Maaral", and the verse "Murugan tani vEl muni nam guru enru..." from kandar anubhooti.

Those who wish for Wisdom may worship Him as "Om Skanda Guravenamah" (meditating on the scene where He explains the significance of Om to Lord Shiva Himself! - the unique scene where the Son becomes the Preceptor of the Father!) . This Form of Skanda is celebrated in the tiny hillock where this Event is believed to have occured - Swami Malai - near the Thingalur navagraha kshetra for Moon.

Those who seek to exorcise negativities from their lives might meditate on Lord Skanda with six-faces seated on Peacock bird holding a Flag Staff and Shakti weapon (called "vel" in tamil - thespear-shaped weapon). The mantra is "Om Shanmukhaaya namah." The six faces denote mastery over 5 senses and the faculty of reasoning, and also the six basic chakras that reside within our human body that are the repositories of immense power.

Those who can, might visit Tiruchendur - where the Soora samhaaram Festival is celebrated in all its splendour - as it was the last battlement camp from where Shri Skanda launched His attack on the demonaic forces and ultimately prevailed over them. The highlight of the soorasamhaaram is that Lord Skanda - after defeating Soorapadman, accepted that demon - who tearfully begged pardon to our Lord - as His Permanent vehicle (Peacock), and also as His Flag Insignia (Cock). Thus, the Soorasamhaaram festival enactment clearly shows that our Lord Chastises only to reform, and His Kindness is extendable to all living beings - even those considered to be hopelessly sinful; which better Form than this wonderful Divine Chivalrous Child God can we find to forgive all our shortcomings and to bring Grace in to our lives! Let us meditate on His Divine Adventures, sing His Glory, and rejoice in His victory over the demonaic forces (and thereby invoke the Divinity in us to defeat our own negativities that are worse than any manifest demons!).

May the Divine Power who incarnated as Skanda Bless everyone with His Immense Grace.

Blessed be.


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