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Monday, September 27, 2010

Shaarada navarathri from October 8, 2010


There are 6 Navarathris in Honour of Divine Mother of our Universe - one for each Rithu (season), and this navarathri falling in the harad rithu is the most important one as it is the one recommended for householders.

Navarathri schedule for different parts of the world.

Navaraathri austerities begin from October 8, 2010 for all places in the earth except New Zealand and Fiji; Those living in New Zealand and Fiji islands should begin the Navarathri austerities from October 9, 2010.

Mahaa Navami (Saraswathy Pooja, Ayudha pooja) should be celebrated on October 15, 2010 by those living in the U.S, Canada, and other nations of the American continents; for all other places on Earth, this is to be observed on October 16, 2010.

Vijaya Dasami should be observed on October 16, 2010 by those living in the U.S., Canada, and other nations of the American Continents; for all other places on Earth, Vijaya Dasami is to be observed on October 17, 2010.

Methods of celebrating Navaraathri.

It is traditional to keep "Kolu" - an arrangement of dolls during Navaraathri. This is to signify that Our Divine Mother resides as Inner Soul in all Forms. Some people make the arrangement in such a way that the various steps of the kolu represent the Order of Evolution - like keeping invertebrates and such other forms of lives in the bottom step, keeping dolls representing human life in the middle of the kolu steps, and keeping dolls representing Divine Legends, Dasa Avataars, etc. on the top most step of the kolu arrangement. It is traditional to keep 5 rows (to represent Five Elements of Life), 9 rows (to represent the Nine Forms of Divine Mother), 11 rows (to represent the 11 forms of Lord Rudra), 13 rows (one in Honour of each chapter of Durga Sapta Sati), or 15 Rows (one in Honour of each syllable of Shri Vidhya panchadasaakshari mantra) as per one's convenience; traditionally, people avoid arranging the kolu in 7 rows for sentimental reasons (there is a belief that such an arrangement in 7 rows might affect financial prospects).

I request all our members to perform simple worships as per their convenience during the Navarathri period and become recipients of Divine Grace. This is a period when we Celebrate our Universal Mother - so, that joy should be there in our minds when we observe this austerity (we should not be unnecessarily tensed or make this too complicated with too many taboos! One does not think of protocols when approaching one's mother - but just go with the moment with unbounded joy and affection; such should be our attitude when we worship Our Universal Mother during this period - assuming we are all Her Children and we are invoking Her Presence in our homes - celebrating this with affectionate respect and joy).

Recital of Lalitha Sahasranaamam, Dasa Mahaa vidhya sthothrams, simple Devi sthothrams, Abhiraami Andhaadhi, Lalitha Anubooti, Soundarya Lahiri, Dugra Sthothram, Chandi Path (Durga Saptasathi), etc. can be auspicious during this period.

During this period, we should consider all women as Forms of Divine Mother and treat them with courtesy and respect. One who observes the Navarathri austerities intensely, but insults women knowingly/ unknowingly does not get the benefit of the austerities. Remember this, and treat women (including those in your own family) with affection and respect [Ideally that should be the case always! Because Shastras say that where virtuous women are honoured, Divine Grace visits even in an uninvited manner! This is the reason why women should take special care to safeguard their basic dignity, be affectionate and gentle in dealings with family members, avoid letting corrupting thoughts/ behaviour patterns enter their life styles, etc. in an attempt to maintain their Divine nature that is intrinsic to them; All higher forms of lives spring from the feminine gender of the species, and a virtuous woman is a living Form of the Universal Mother - and can be a source of happiness and Grace to herself and to everyone who is blessed enough to move with her).

Those who have Tulsi plant in their houses, can offer prostrations to that Divine Plant and pray for prosperity and Divine Grace in its vicinity. (All the Holy Rivers are in subtle forms in the roots of the tulsi plant; All Divine Forms are manifest in the middle portion of the Tulsi plant, and All Vedas and Holy Scriptures are manifest in the tips of the Tulsi plant, as said in the Puranas).

Offering Go-Poojaa (prayers to Cow visualized as embodiment of all Divinities) on Fridays and Tuesdays of Navarathri period can give unlimited merit.

It is also auspicious to read a small portion of Divine Legends that depict how the Gracious and Kind Mother Manifested in Angry Forms to annihilate all enemies to peaceful life on Earth every night during this navaraathri period, and invoke such Manifestation of Power in our lives also to annihilate all our enemies (both intrinsic like anger, greed, laziness, and ignorance within us, and our external enemies/ unruly elements who try to disturb peaceful and gentle citizens in the society unnecessarily).

Recital of Chandi Paaraayanam is a powerful remedy not merely for our families but for ensuring peace in the land where we live in. In fact, if austere persons of Faith keep reciting the Chandi Path and Shri Rudram regularly, and if there are many of them in a land, shastras proclaim that the elements of nature's Fury like floods, pestilence, droughts, etc. will never harm that land and prosperity will rein in that land. So, it is partly our duty as Universal Citizens to offer special worship to Divine Mother during this period and pray for relief to all the distressed souls who have been harassed much by the floods in Northern parts of our blessed land, and also pray for peace throughout the world in these troublesome days where you can never read a newspaper without coming across some inauspicious event/ mishap in one corner or other of the earth.

SPECIAL WORSHIPS AT MY PLACE DURING NAVARATHRI.

As usual special worships will be performed at my residence in connection with Sharada navaraathri from October 8, 2010 to October 17, 2010. We will be offering poojas and homams for Universal welfare, and those who are interested in sponsoring those are welcome to do so.

The part-sponsorship of each day's austerities (beginning from early morning till night.....Ganapathy homam, Laghu chandi homam, Full recital of Devi Mahaatmyam, Lalitha Sahasranaamam, Soundarya Lahiri, Dasa Mahaa Vidhya japams, Select verses from Devi Bhagavatam, etc.) is US$65 (US Dollars sixty five only). Resident Indians might offer Rs.3000/- (rupees three thousand only for the same). We are not restricting participation in the daily homams/ austerities this year. Those who wish to be part-sponsors for more than one day's rituals are also welcome to do so.

Mahaa chandi homam is planned on October 17, 2010 on Vijaya Dasami day. The part-sponsorship for this Mahaa chandi homam on October 17, 2010 is US$375 (US Dollars three hundred and seventy five only).

Those who wish to just offer sponsorship for a simple Devi archana with Sahasranaamam recital might remit US$5 per day's performance of the archana.

You can select your option of special worships from the drop=down menu given below at the end of this write-up.

Even those who are unable to offer sponsorships for these rituals need not feel let down; prayers are offered for Universal Welfare at the end of each day's austerities, in addition to the prayer for specific special sponsors, and the prayer for Universal Welfare covers everyone - including you!

May Divine Mother Bless us all.
Blessed be.
Pandit R. DAKSHINAMOORTHI






Navarathri special worships
Input your name, nakshatra, gothra.





Monday, September 20, 2010

Pitr Paksha (Mahaalaya Pakshaa ) is about to begin from September 24, 2010 (This holds good throughout the world except for those living in American continent; those living in American continents - all countries in North America and South America, should begin observing pitru paksha from September 23, 2010 itself). It is a powerful period for propitiation of manes(ancestors). Pitrus are said to Grace the households of their descendants with Divine Permission from the other Planes of Existence and are waiting to Bless any descendant who is willing to Honour them in whatever little way they can.

Austerities during Pitr Paksha (applicable to those who have lost atleast one parent) include:

1) Not eating non-veg (in case of non-vegetarians).

2) Not eating onion, garlic, outside food, processed foods,drumstick, etc (for pure vegetarians).

3) If possible avoiding shaving for the entire fortnight till Mahalaya Amavasai; obviously it may not be possible for everyone due to current secular life restrictions (like office policy requiring an executive placed in a cutting-edge responsibility to be clean shaved). Even in these cases, shaving should be avoided at least on the thithis of one's ancestors.

4) Performing obesquities (shradh) on the thithi of the ancestor'sdeath to the extent possible or at least offering "anna dhaanam"(offering food) to poor persons/ priests as per one's convenience.(On this day, you should not shave as already stated)

5) Abstaining from carnal intercourse with members of opposite gender during the fortnight as a mark of respect to Pitrs.

6) Doing recitals like Garuda Puraanam (depicting passage of asoul), Nachiketa story from Upanishads (where Yama Gitaa is there -it contains Lord Yamaa's elucidation of the journey of a soul whichwas first revealed to the devoted Nachiketaa), and Gangaa Avatarana chapter from Shrimad Vaalmiiki Raamaayan. These recitals are stated to grant satisfaction of Pitrs and thereby ensure their blessings upon us. In fact these recitals can be done even by those who have parents alive! (The other rituals like tarpanam should not be observed by those who have parents living). These are auspicious and do not come under the category of shraardha - but at the same time have the potency to give peace and happiness to the souls of ancestors of one's dynasty when they are recited. Those who cannot recite them personally may organize such recitals in honour of their ancestors with the help of vedic/ puranic experts.

Some important days during the pitru paksha

The following are auspicious days to perform shraardha to pitrus - irrespective of the thithi of their demise. Those who cannot observe the ritual procedures/ restrictions outlined above through the pitru paksha may at least observe the ritual guidelines on these auspicious days in honour of their pitrus.

1) Mahaa Bharani - This falls on September 26, 2010 for those living in USA, Canada, and other countries of the American continents. Persons living in other parts of the world should observe this on September 27, 2010.

2) Madhyaashtami - This is to be observed on October 1, 2010 throughout the world.

3) Mahaalaya Amaavasya - This should be observed on October 7, 2010 by persons throughout the world except those living in New zealand and Fiji islands; those living in New Zealand and Fiji islands should observe this on October 8, 2010.

Some controversial issues regarding the observance of pitru paksha rituals/ shraardham and dharma shastraic clarification for the same

1) There are many persons who feel that Mahaalaya paksha rituals need not be done in honour of step mother (called Sapatnii maataa - by shaastraas); doing it for just one's mother and father is enough. There are some who feel that only the eldest son of the second wife of one's father needs to do the shraardha if the first wife of the father died without issues.

Clarification: Though the eldest son is the first Adhikaari for rituals, when property has been divided among the brothers or when they have started living apart from each other as separate families, shraardha and other pitru rituals need to be done by each brother individually. The same holds true for honoring the Sapatnii maataa (Step mother who has died without issues also). Just think....will that Honourable Mother have taken care of just the eldest son and left the other sons in the lurch if she had been alive and the biological mother had been dead? Please use this logic for your clarity in this regard. Just as the step-mother cannot ignore the other children (nor should she!), the children also should not be partial towards performing rituals in Her Honour for Her Soul - especially if she had died without issues. This applies more sternly in cases where the eldest brother of the family is not alive. Unfortunately many families do this mistake of leaving the poor step-mother (the first wife of one's father who died without issues) after the eldest brother is dead. As long as at least one brother is alive, the sapatnii maataa should be honoured during pitru paksha on the day when you do the shraardha of your father (you can invoke one Brahman priest to represent the step-mother's lineage just as you do for your own mother's lineage). Please note that this guideline does not apply in cases where the other woman has voluntarily left one's father (say divorce), or has been indicted by a dharma parishad for undesirable behaviour and hence denied karma benefits in accordance with dharma shastraic principles after giving ample opportunity to exonerate herself. In cases where the father has done an injustice to another woman (who is no more) and has married one's mother, the son who performs rituals in honour of that wronged woman (father's first wife - who is deemed one's saptnii maataa) redeems himself from that dosha. A righteous son should try to do what he can to set right the wrongs done by his deceased parents - as and when he comes to know of that possibility. Though each person is answerable to his/ her own karma and sins, family doshas do arise out of adharmic activities of one's ancestors and these doshas do affect the family for many generations to come (usually seen as Stree saapa in the horoscope of many members of a family). Such doshas are cleared when that wronged soul is honoured appropriately in consultation with dharma shastraic experts in this regard.

2) Some think that if the annual shraardh is done properly, Mahaalaya paksha (pitru paksha) shraardha/ tarpanam need not be done!

Clarification: If you get double-increment will you say "I already got one; so please ignore me for this increment!" No one does that. Yet, when it comes to accumulating spiritual merit, we often tend to say "I have done that and so I need not do this." This attitude of excusing ourserlves from dharmic duties should be overcome consciously. Rather, we should think that the Mahaalaya paksha is a God -Given opportunity for us to honour our pitrs yet again. In fact, Mahaayalaya Paksha shraardh is mandatory, and there is no way out of it, and the benefits accruing out of Mahaalaya paksha shraardha/ tarpanam are actually more than what can accrue out of annual shraardha. The pitru paksha observance gladens our pitrus and we should not miss it for any reason. If we are unable to offer the shraardha/ tarpan on the thithi of our father, we should at least do it on the other special days like Mahaa Bharani, Madhyaashtami, or Mahaalaya Amaavasya (any one of these days). We should not miss it giving any excuse - because no such excuse exists!

3) There are some who think that if Gaya Shraardha has been done, there is no need for Mahaalaya paksha shraardha/ tarpanam.

Clarification: Gaya Shraardha is definitely a wonderful ritual for satisfaction of pitrs. But, having done that is no excuse for exempting oneself from Mahaalaya paksha tarpanam/ shraardha and annual shraardha. These should be continued as long as one is alive (or at least till one is healthy enough to carry on the rituals). Only those who are bed-ridden are exempt this due to obvious reasons! It is a sin to skip these rituals in mistaken sense of having attained a level where these are not necessary - no human being living an ordinary life is exempt these karmas. Even great rishis who were highly spiritually evolved and avatars like Shri Raama, Shri Krishna, have observed these, and obviously we are not above all of them in our spiritual standing! Only sanyaasins are exempt these because they don't have karmaa adhikaara (ritual right to perform a karma). Everyone else who has karmaadhikaara (due to death of one's parents) should observe this - even if they have done the Gaya Shraardha and Akshaya vata pinda daan.

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I hope these clarifications help our members to get this matter in the right perspective.

May our members observe these dharmic guidelines in connection with Mahaalaya paksha (Pitr paksha) and become recipients of the Grace of pitrus - our Benevolent Ancestors who have the capacity to shield us from the dangers of existence and improve our luck with their Blessings.

Blessed be.

Pandit R.DAKSHINAMOORTHI
Astrological and Remedial consultant
dakshinastrologer@yahoo.co.in

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vinayaka chaturthi on September 11, 2010

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Dear Members:



Vinaayaka Chaturthi falls on September 11, 2010 this year.


Though every Chaturthi thithi of every month is auspicious for worship of Lord Ganesha, Vinaayaka Chaturthi that falls in Sravana month sukhla chaturthi is of special significance. Worship of Lord Vinaayaka on this auspicious day will bestow capacity to overcome all obstacles in life, accomplishment of all tasks with perfection, intelligence, and countless benefits from both materialistic and spiritual points of view.


It is customary to offer pooja to a clay image of Lord Vinaayaka (Vinaayaka is the Presiding Deity for Moolaadhaara chakra for which the element is Earth!), and then immerse it in water bodies on subsequent days (avoiding Fridays, Tuesdays for the purpose). But, please avoid keeping "plaster of paris" idols for pooja and doing the ceremony of immersing those environmentally incompatible images in water bodies....It is a great sin to do like that. If you are keeping "plaster of paris" images of Vinaayaka for pooja, just keep it in a safe place in your house and avoid immersing it in the sea or other water bodies. It is my request to all our members.

On a different note, members whose close relatives are in the family way should avoid immersing the clay idols kept in Vinayaka Chaturthi pooja till the child is delivered safely. Once the child is born, the clay idol can be immersed later on an auspicious day. This is consistent with time-hallowed traditions.

Those who know Tamil can recite "Vinaayagar Agaval" "Vinaayakar Kaarya siddhi maalai", "Vinaayakar kavacham(by Kapila Muni)", etc. Recital/ listening to Ganapathy Atharvaseersham is very auspicious. Our Paaraayanam group members can listen to Ganapathy Mangala Maalika sthothram, Vakrathunda sthothram (that has powerful beejas in it), etc. today from our files section.



Those who find it difficult to perform elaborate poojas can please Lord Ganesha by simple recital of His Holy Names like

"Om Kshipra Prasaadanaaya namah" (Salutations to Thee who art pleased easily)

Om Gananaathaaya namah (Salutations to Thee who art the Leader of all Living Beings).

Om Vignavinaasanaaya namah (Salutations to Thee who Removes all obstacles).

etc.


We are planning a Grand Homam on Vinaayaka Chaturthi day this year also. The homams will be done with the Vaancha Kalpa Ganapathy mantra, Durga Ganapathy mantra, Ucchistha Ganapathy mantra, Ganapathy Atharvaseersha mantra, and Panchamukha Ganesha mantra in an elaborate way praying for Universal welfare.


My best wishes to everyone. May Lord Ganesha - the Destroyer of obstacles - Bless us all.



Blessed be.



Pandit R.DAKSHINAMOORTHI
Astrological and Remedial consultant
dakshinastrologer@yahoo.co.in

Friday, September 3, 2010

Aja/ Annadaa Ekaadasi on September 4, 2010

Dear Members:

Aja/ Annadaa ekaadasi is a powerful fasting day.

The schedule of observance of this fast for different places in the World is as follows:

1) For those living in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan - Smaarta ekaadasi on September 4, 2010; Vaishnava Ekaadasi on September 5, 2010.

2) For those living in countries to the East of India like Bangaladesh, China, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Ekaadasi is to be observed on September 5, 2010 (by both Smaartaas and Vaishnavas).

3) For those living in the Gulf countries, U.K. and other European countries, and U.S.A, Canada, and other countries in American continents, Ekaadasi is to be observed on September 4, 2010.

Glory of this Aja Ekaadasi

The glory of this Aja Ekaadasi has been explained in Brahma- Vaivarta Puraanaa in a discussion between King Yudhishtra and Lord Krishna.

Lord Krishna narrates the legend of King Harischandra, who though a great king of the Surya dynasty, fell from fortune (due to a test of dharma kept by Sage Viswamitra), and lived a miserable existence as a keeper of crematorium - separated from his virtous wife and loving son who even died due to circumstances.

One day King Harischandra came across Sage Gautama and thought "Lord Brahma has created Brahmins just to help others" (i.e. they can suggest powerful remedies to help negotiate vagaries of Fate). He payed his obeisances to the great sage and narrated his tale of woe and requested a remedy to come out of his sorry state of affairs.

Sage Gautama recommended observance of this Aja Ekaadasi Fast which is reputed to absolve one of the karmic effects of sinful activities of the past. King Harischandra duly observed the fast and was reunited with his relatives and also got back his Kingship. After his demise from this Earth, he ascended to Higher Spiritual Regions with all his relatives by the power of this fast.
Lord Krishna says that even those who hear of the glory of this fast or read about this with devotion will get merit equivalent to that obtained by Aswamedha sacrifice!

My notes: This is a shuddha ekaadasi, i.e. it is preferable to fast completely if possible (even avoiding water and fruits/ milk), and keep awake throughout the night. Please note that a full fast is not to be followed by pregnant ladies observing this ritual, or by ailing patients. They should subsist on fruits and milk, and as per shastras they will enjoy the full merit of a full fast due to their special condition.

Observance of this fast rigorously even without other accompanying rituals like Vishu pooja is very powerful. Just chant the name "Om HrishikEshaaya namah" with devotion throughout the day whenever you have time between your regular activities. This has the potential to remove the troubles that we are facing in this existence due to the effect of our past sins, and help us to enjoy peaceful existence.

May our members observe this fast and become freed from the clutches of negative karma, and enjoy peaceful and prosperous lives in a spiritual way.

Blessed be.
Pandit R.DAKSHINAMOORTHI

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shri Krishna Jayanthi celebrations today - September 1, 2010



Dear Members:




Sri Krishna Janmaashtami also known as Gokulaashtami is one of the most widely celebrated Avatar days in Sanaatanic vedic traditions. Smaarthas celebrate the Gokulashtami (here Ashtami is the deciding factor for the celebration), while Sri Vaishnavaas celebrate it as Sri Jayanthi where the star Rohini is the deciding factor. The typical consideration is the operation of the deciding factors described above at the time of midnight - though some take the evening time for reckoning. So, there could be some differences in the dates on which Lord Krishna's birthday is celebrated by followers of different sects of Sanaatana Dharma - like Smaartas, Shri Vaishnavas (Pancharaatra and Vaikaanasa aagamic celebrations sometimes differ even among shri vaishnavas). In spite of all these minor differences, it is the spirit of the day and celebration that is of spiritual significance to all bhaktaas. This year Gokulashtami (Krishna Janmaashtami) and Shri Jayanthi celebrations are observed on September 1, 2010.




Lord Krishna's avatar leelas are a live example of a karma yogic path - complete detachment from the results and perfect performance of one's duties as per one's station in life. Remembrance of how He playfully enacted various leelas and in the process decimated demonaic forces in various garbs is sure to inspire us to achieve great things in life. He taught us the efficacy of "effortless perfection". His Bhagavad Geeta is a magnum opus that can be a friend, philosopher, guide, counsellor, all rolled into one - it carries the essence of the whole Upanishadic Wisdom.

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The following are some of the charities/ meritorious religious deeds that you can do on this day to get His Grace......






  • Those who follow religious traditions in the family will perform a sampradaayic pooja to Shri Krishna on the above days as per their traditions.


  • Recital of Gopika Geetam, Gopala Hrudayam, portions of Bhagavad Geeta, etc. will be auspicious on this day.


  • Those who are initiated into Gopala mantra may recite it number of times today praying for Universal Welfare (for propogation of Dharmic principles and for subjugation of evil forces in various forms).


  • Do what you can to promote the welfare of cows in your locality (by contributing what little you can to organizations that are involved in providing shelter to aged cows), as this is sure to bring His Grace to you.


  • Offer respects to children - if possible, try to bring happiness to at least one child in a destitute home.


  • Try to honour scholars who are involved in propogating the doctrine of Bhagavat Geeta or other vedic principles of living. If possible try to donate copies of the Holy Bhagavad Geeta to some children or aspirants thereby contributing to the spread of the Doctrine.


  • Try to contribute at least some amount to vedic scholars who are involved in performing various homams/ yagnas throughout the year for the welfare of the Universe (the donation can be to any scholar who in your opinion is performing such acts in your locality, or to any respectable Pandit anywhere in the world).


  • Try to select one slokha from Bhagavad Geeta and let that verse be your guiding principle in all activities throughout the year (This is putting philosophy in action and is sure to win you His Grace).




You need not worry if you are currently not in an economically sound position to grant liberally to charities or scholars. Lord Krishna was satisfied beyond words on the soulful offering of just "aval" (flattened puffed rice) from His poor friend KusElaa! What you offer does not matter to Him....it only matters whether you are offering it with Devotion. Recital of kusEla Charitra from Srimad Bhaagavatam is sure to bring prosperity to you.





Our paaraayanam group members may listen to audio recitals on Shri Krishna or Naaraayana from our group - listening to hymns is as efficacious as actual recital of the hymns. Especially, the hymn "Naaraayanam Bhaje....." and "Guruvaayurappan Pancharatnam" are very powerful hymns that can be found in our files section.





Sri Krishna Paadaaravindam sadaa smaraamii



Krishnam VandE Jagat Gurum.



Blessed be.



Pandit R. DAKSHINAMOORTHI.

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