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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Vaikunta Ekadasi - December 31, 2014/ January 1, 2015

(Image courtesy: www.bhagavad-gita.us)
Dear Members:


The most glorious and important of all Ekaadaasis - the Vaikunta Ekaadasi falls on January 31, 2014 this year for those living in U.S.A, Canada, and other countries of American continents, African continent, Europe, and middle-Eastern countries.

Those living in India, and countries to the east of India must observe this on January 1, 2015.

This is one of the most highly recommended fasts for a devout spiritual aspirant because it has the potential of opening the "Gates of Divine Abode of Lord Vishnu" for you if this is observed correctly. Even those who have medical conditions which prevent them from observing a full fast should abstain from rice-items and sustain themselves with alternative ritually pure foods (avoiding garlic, onions, beverages like coffee, tea, etc.). Those who are desirous of cutting off the endless cycle of births and deaths for the soul must contemplate on upanishads like Gopaala Taapini Upanishad, recite Holy Bhagavat Gita, Bhaagavatam, etc.



In Vaishnava temples "swarga Dwaar" - a sort of archway leading around the Inner Sanctum Sanctorum is erected, and crossing that is symbolic of crossing the threshold of Vaikunta and getting glimpse of our Lord. Spending time in meditation/ japam while waiting in the serpentine ques, and ultimately having the glimpse of Our Lord after crossing the threshold will definitely be gainful for your souls. Please note that you should not get angry with other devotees in the que or pick up fights, you should not "jump" ques trying to overtake the other waiting devotees with your "street smartness, pushing abilities", etc. in the que. Such activities definitely invoke bad karma, and it is not for that, that you go to a temple on a Holy Day (I am commenting on this because such activities are too common in long ques; a person who jumps ques thinking he is outsmarting others is actually fooling himself/ herself, and damning himself/ herself with that karma; on the other hand, those who wait patiently, and do what they can to help other devotees who might be finding it uncomfortable - like ladies with infants, elderly, etc. while standing in ques are invoking good karma and actually helping their own souls to progress. Selfishness and self-comfort should take a back-seat at least during these occasions - and that too for your own good! If you are entitled to temple honours in some way, and hence receive special darshan - that is different; you need not feel guilty about that; probably, you deserve such Honours and maybe, that was Divine Gift to you! But even such people - if you can, it will be real good merit to stand patiently in a que, do japams till your turn at darshan comes, and then have a darshan of the Lord along with the other common devotees because, God Himself may be in disguise among the masses during these occasions. I have felt it many times - and I request my fellow aspirants to feel such miracles of brushing shoulders with Divine in crowded temples for themselves!).


Generally, chanting of Raama naama, and recital of Shri Vishnu Sahasranaamam can be done by everyone today for obtaining religious merit, and for perfection/ progress of our Soul.


It is also recommended that you should remain awake at night and spend it in Divine Contemplation, bhajans (Divine Songs), discussing Theological matters, etc. It is traditional to play a dice game called "Paramapadham" on this night. You should not merely play it as a game....in the traditional Indian version of this game (the western version is Snake and Ladders!, and I am not referring to that when I write this article....), you will find "ladders" corresponding to various virtues, and "snakes" corresponding to certain shortcomings of attitude/ character....you can see where each ladder leads you, and where each snake drops you....look at the character/ attitude depicted in the box, see how progress/ downfall happens based on the ladder/ snake you encounter. This is verily a spiritual lesson of how a soul can progress or regress into various states of existence. It is analogous to the journey of your souls through the Cycle of Existence till the soul attains Liberation or Merging with Divine experience. You will also see how difficult it is to progress at the end of the game, and that is how difficult it is for a soul to reach ultimate liberation. If you play it consciously, reading all the attributes described in the chart carefully, this game can be a meditative exercise in itself, and can be a valuable tool for imparting spiritual values for children.



Of course, playing the paramapadam is not mandatory......it just helps you to keep awake and at the same time induce philosophical musings if played properly. Those of you who feel sufficiently spiritually awakened already may just spend the night in quiet Divine Contemplation which is best.



May our members observe this Holy day Fast diligently as per their circumstances and practical limitations to the best of their abilities and win salvation for their souls.



Blessed be.


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


www.liveperson.com/pandit-dakshinamoorthi

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hanumath Jayanthi - December 21/ December 22, 2014




Dear Members:


Hanuman Jayanthi falls on December 22, 2014 per Tamil traditions (It is to be observed on December 21, 2014 itself by those living in USA, Canada and other nations of the American continent, countries in African Continent and in Europe; rest of the world must observe it on December 22nd).

Many temples observe Hanumath Jayanthi this year on December 21st itself as Amavasya falls on this day; BUT, in India, and countries to the East of India (also in Gulf Countries), there is conjunction of Amavasya thithi and Moola nakshatra - the birth star of Shri Hanumaan in the morning of December 22nd, and so, it is best to observe the Jayanthi on December 22nd... So, we will be observing austerities at our place only on December 22nd.

There are other various versions for this observance also - some follow it on Chaitra Pournami (this is followed in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and some parts of North India. In North Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Hanumat Jayanthi is celebrated on Vaisakh Krishna dasami thithi. According to Tamil traditions, Hanumat Jayanthi is celebrated on the Amavasya thithi of the Tamil Month Maargazhi when Moola constellation rules. (for those of you who are from Siddha lineage of Sage Agasthya - there is another version which is not so popular as the other jayanthis! Agasthya Samhita gives Lord Hanuman's Birth details as Mesha lagna, Krishna chaturdasi thithi, Swaathi nakshatra, in the solar month of Karthigai)

The differences may pertain to different incarnations of Lord Hanumaan in different kalpas (the same Divine Events have occured in different kalpas with slight modifications and that is why you will find slight differences in version of some Divine Legends in various Puranas as they may refer to the events in different kalpas!). So, probably they are all correct in that they refer to His Jayanthi in different kalpas.

Another reason for the difference could be that each "Jayanthi" could refer to some significant "life-changing or rebirth sort of event" in Lord Hanuman's Incarnation.....like the first conception through Lord Vaayu's agency as a Rudraavataraa, His being revived by Divine Boons as a child (after He was struck by Vajraayudha when He tried to gobble the sun! thus it was a sort of second life for Him), His realizing His Divine Powers after Jaambhavaan alerts Him of the powers that He had forgotten due to the curse of rishis, His Incarnating as Panchamukha Hanumaan to tackle the challenges of Demons of the Netherworld, etc.

Generally for a devotee every day is of spiritual significance and so, these "special days" are just convenient Divine Excuses for showering additional devotion and for Divine Celebration with extra fervour! So, maybe, you can follow all those Jayanthis of the most Humble but Mighty Messenger of Lord Raam and celebrate His Incarnation thrice/ Four times a year!

In that spirit, even our brethen from North India, and other southern states may offer special worship to Lord Hanumaan on this day when their brother devotees from Tamil Nadu will be offering their respects and veneration to the Glorious Son of Vaayu.

Recital of Shri Hanumaan Chaalisaa, Sundara Kaandam chapters, AanjanEya sahasranaamam (reputed to be composed by Lord Raama Himself!), etc. are considered to be auspicious on this day.

I am not inviting any offering for this performance, preferring to do it with my own resources this time for Universal Welfare from the excess of funds from earlier homam performances which I am saving as corpus fund for funding austerities like this from time to time.  I plan to include "everyone" in these prayers and by God's Grace since I am able to manage it, I am not requesting any sponsorships for this homam this time.

May God's Grace be with us all. May the spirit of Service and Selfless Love and devotion to God embodied by Lord Hanuman pervade our psyches too!


Blessed be.

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Saphala ekaadasi 2014


Dear Members:

The auspicious Saphala Ekaadashi falls on December 17/ December 18, 2014

 The observance of this fast for different places on the globe is as follows:
1) for USA, Canada, West Indies, and other countries in American Continent, those living in United Kingdom, and countries in Europe- December 17, 2014
2) For those living in Gulf countries, India, and countries to the east of India - December 18, 2014

Glory of Saphala Ekaadashi
This is mentioned in Brahmaanda Purana. Fasting on Saphala Ekaadashi will help in cleansing all sins committed earlier, and also helps in attaining fame in this life.

Lumbaka - the son of a king was always questioning the authority of Lord Vishnu, and due to this irreverent attitude, he was exiled from the kingdom. He continued with his irreverential attitude, and added to that began plundering the wealth of poor villagers. He took his abode beneath a banyan tree, started killing animals, and began eating raw meat. (The legend purports to describe that the king's son had fallen into sinful ways that will add severely to karmic account).

Once, he fell ill on a particular day and hence could not partake his usual meals (of raw meat!); he also remained awake all night due to his sickness. As the day was Saphala Ekaadashi fast day, he had unknowingly followed the vrat! The next day he felt better and intuitively realized that this was all due to Grace of Lord Vishnu. He realized his mistake, returned to his father with a repentant attitude, and lived happily thereafter.

Such is the glory of the Saphala Ekaadashi - even a person who unknowingly kept that fast could gain Grace of Shri Vishnu. So, what to speak of the Holy and Pious persons who undertake this fast with full faith and with Divine Contemplation? Is it not obvious that Heavenly glory is open to those who undertake this auspicious Saphala Ekaadashi Fast?

Special austerities recommended in connection with this ekaadasi:
1) Offer Pomegranate, guava, variety of nuts, coconut, betel leaves, areca nuts, mangoes, and aromatic spices (like cloves, cardamom, etc.) in Honour of Lord Aadhi Naaraayana (The Original Viraat Roopa of Shriman Naaraayana - with His Consort Lakshmi on His Breast and mounted on Shri Garuda, and carrying His Divine Conch and Disc with Full Glory) on this day. You can partake these items as prasad on dwaadasi day if you are keeping a full fast; those who are only observing partial fast (just abstaining from whole-grains and beans) may partake these in lieu of regular diet.

2) Light a ghee lamp in Honour of Lord Naraayana and Goddess Lakshmi in your pooja place and recite the Holy Ashtaakshari (Om NamO Naaraayanaaya) as many times as possible. Recital of Naaraayana Sooktham and Purushasooktham can also be done by those who are intiated into these vedic hymns.

A full-night vigil is also recommended. Those who cannot maintain a full-night vigil may at least recite Shriman Naaraayana naama as many times as possible and sleep with Divine Thought.

May our members undertake this fast and feel Blessed by Divine Grace.

Blessed be.
Pandit R DAKSHINAMOORTHI
dakshinastrologer@yahoo.co.in


Friday, December 5, 2014

Tiruvannamalai deepam today

Dear All:
Tiruvannamalai Deepam is observed today; am writing this post after Girivalam and witnessing the Deepam atop the Mt. Arunachala; the atmosphere is "electric" and "vibrant" - with the whole place swarming with devotees.

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)....

QUOTE:

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.

==============END QUOTE====================

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.

 

Monday, December 1, 2014

kaishiki ekaadasi, Mokshada ekadasi 2014

Dear members:

The auspicious Mokshadaa ekaadashi falls in the bright half of the month Margasira.

It is also known as Kaisika ekaadasi .

It is to be observed on December 1, 2014 by those living in areas following Hawaii time zone; those living in rest of the world - including India must observe this on December 2, 2014.


Glory of Mokshadaa ekaadashi


Mokshadaa ekaadashi - as the name implies has the potential to give Liberation from cycle of endless births and deaths for our soul. Its main goal is to help us in attaining Ever Lasting Bliss in the Lotus Feet of our Lord.

Lord Vishnu in His form of DAMODARA ( kindly refer shrimad Bhaagavatam to know more about these Divine Forms of Lord Vishnu, and how He manifests in His different Forms; generally you may meditate on Four handed form of Lord Vishnu) should be venerated on this Holy Day. A ghee lamp, incense, and tulsi buds should be offered respectfully along with prayers to Lord DamOdharaa on this most auspicious of days.

Legend of Mokshadaa ekaadashi


There is a legend explained in the Brahma vaivarta Puranaa extolling the glory of Mokshadaa ekaadashi as narrated by Lord Krishna to Yudhishtra. Listening to this legend is said to confer the merit equivalent to that obtained by AswamEdha yagna (Horse Sacrifice!). Lord Krishna further adds that the glory of this ekaadasi can give heavenly bliss to the souls of all deceased relatives of the person who observes this fast religiously.

There was a saintly King of yore by name Vaikhaanasa (it is not clear whether it is the same person who gave genesis to the Hallowed Vaikhaanasa aagama - one of the major aagamaas for Vaishnavites) who ruled over a kingdom called Champakanagaram. His kingdom was glorious in every way blessed as it was with a saintly and able king who treated his subjects as his own children, and also with knowledgeable and pious priestly class who were well learnt in all vedic sacrifices and rituals. One night, the king had a terrible dream in which he saw his father suffering torments in hellish regions. When he enquired about this to the Brahmins of his court, they directed him to Parvata Maharishi - a great tapasvi. When the king approached Parvata Maharishi, after formal exchange of pleasantaries, the king broached the topic of a recent torment that he has experiened. The sage, by His Divine Vision, understood the reason for the king's anxiety and also the cause for the torment of his father's soul in hell - the king's father, in his earlier life, had enjoyed his wife forcibly against her wishes during her monthly periods. That grievous sin against a righteous woman had given him the present hellish sufferings.


The king wanted a remedy to absolve the sins of his father and to get him liberated to Higher Planes. The Sage Parvata recommended performance of this Mokshadaa ekaadasi and to donate the merit acquired by this performance to his father's soul upon which the soul will get liberated from Hell. The king did accordingly along with his wife and all relatives, and by the power of this performance, the king's father was liberated from Hell and was taken by messengers of demi-gods to Celestial Planes.

On a different note, it was on this day that Bhagavat Gitaa was initiated to Shri Arjuna by Lord Krishna at Kurukshetra. So, this day is also observed as Gitaa Jayanthi. It is auspicious to gift copy of Bhagavat Gitaa to aspirants of vedantaa or do what you can to propogate the Shrimad Bhagavat Gita on this day. Recite at least one chapter, or at least one slokha from Shrimad Bhagavat Gita today understanding its meaning and applicability even in today's life. Those who can, may even perform the Bhagavat Gitaa Homam if it is feasible for them. The merits of this performance cannot be elaborated by normal human beings like me!


May our readers observe this ekaadashi with devotion and be recipients of God's Grace that will liberate them from endless cycles of transmigration of soul.

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

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