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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Apara Ekadasi

Apara Ekadasi falls on the 11th thithi of the dark half of the lunar month Jyeshta (Pournimaath calendar - calculated from Prathama thithi after Full Moon day).

The Holy Apara Ekadasi for this year (2008) is celebrated as per the following schedule:

1) Smartha Ekadasi on May 30, 2008 for USA, Canada (if Hawaii, Pacific, Alaska time zones apply to your area); Vaishna Ekaadasi( as per Paancharaatra doctrines) for even this region falls only on May 31, 2008.

2) Sarva Ekadasi - common to both Vaishnavas and smaarthaas throughout the world (except the above mentioned regions) on May 31, 2008

Significance of this Apara Ekaadasi:

This Ekadasi is specifically recommended for those who are suffering from pangs of anxiety arising out of past short-comings in performing one's rightful duties (out of negligence or other pressing practical circumstances). If you have committed some major sins knowingly or unknowingly and are suffering from remorse for those sinful activities, and want to be freed from the psychological pangs now, observance of this Ekadasi will help. This Ekaadasi can free one from sins like Brahmahati (that can cause depressive tendencies and may even lead to more serious psychological disturbances as a consequence of one's sins), Gohatya and other major sins.

Apara Ekaadasi punya is equivalent to all the following meritorious religious activities taken together!....

1) Bathing in the Holy Pushkara thrice a day, everyday throughout the lunar month of Kaarthika;

2) Having Maagha snaana at Holy Prayaag.

3) Performing Seva to Lord Shiva at Vaaranaasi kshetra during shiva Raatri;

4) Gaya shraddam for one's ancestors;

5) Bathing in the Holy Gautami River during Jupiter's transit into Simha rashi;

6) Having Shri Kedaarnaath darshan.

7) Having Badrinaath darshan during the kumba maasa (sun in kumbha raashi)

8) Taking a bath in Kurukshetra during solar eclipse and donating cows, elephants, and gold in charity to worthy Brahmins.

9) Donating a pregnant cow, along with gold and fertile land.

Method of observing Ekaadasi vratham:

Try to limit intake of food slowly starting from the previous day (dasami) itself. Avoid consuming honey, onion, garlic, and such ritually impure items on dasami day (the day before ekaadasi fast) itself and also prepare yourself mentally too by meditating on Lord Hari.

On the day of Ekaadasi fast, you must get up early in the morning, take a bath, and with full intent maintain the fast. Ideally, the fast should be complete - avoiding even drinking water. However, if this is not possible, you may water-down the intensity of the fast like - a fruit-only fast, juice-only fast, milk-only fast, or whatever depending on your health condition. On Ekaadasi day, pulses and grains should be strictly avoided (especially Rice). This Ekaadasi is mandatory for all believers with good health between the ages 7 and 70. (Pregnant women, old aged persons, and ailing persons are exempt these; even women in their monthly periods can fast on ekaadasi and meditate on Lord Hari silently without chanting mantras!)

On the night of Ekaadasi fast, it is recommended to keep a whole night vigil - listening to Lord's wonderful leelaas from various scriptures, or reading Bhagavat Gitaa, or simply chanting Lord's names like Hari, Raam, Krishna, Hare Ramakrishna, etc.

On Dwaadasi - the day after the fast, the fast should be broken within 2 hours 24 mins. after sunrise at your place, at an auspicious time. Those who have maintained a full fast (without even water) can break the fast by just consuming Tulsi teertham (Tulsi-soaked water). Others can break fast by eating fruits.

On Dwaadasi thithi, tamarind and chillies should be avoided while cooking. Lemon can be used instead of Tamarind; pepper can be used instead of chillies to flavour the food-items.

It is good to consume Amla on dwaadasi thithi as this endears one to Lord Krishna.

One who maintains this fast of Apara Ekaadasi will win fame and reknown besides cutting off the roots of all negative karmaas.

May all our members undertake this Holy Fast and relieve themselves of all negative karmaas.

Blessed be.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Vaikasi Visakham festival today

Dear Members:

The auspicious Vaikaasi Visakham festival is celebrated today. This is the birthday of Shri Subramanya (also known as Skanda, Kaartikeya, Muruga, etc.).

Reciting Skanda Sahasranaamam, Subramanya Bhujangam, Kandar Anubhooti, Tirupugazh, Kanda Shashti kavacham, and such other devotional works on Lord Skandaa today will be auspicious.

Those who can't recite the elaborate scriptures mentioned above may benefit by chanting simple names such as

1) Om Skandaaya namah (to improve physical strength).

2) Om Kumaaraya namah (for progenic happiness)

3) Om Valliimanavaalaaya namah (for success in romantic matters and good luck in marital life)

4) Om DevasEnaapatayE namah (for overcoming the evil designs of enemies).

5) Om SkandaGuravE namah (for getting Divine Guidance).

6) Om Shakti hastaaya namah (for getting Divine Protection).

7) Om Shiva Gnaana Desikaaya namah/ Om Gnaana Panditaaya namah (mastery over esoteric knowledge)

This is an auspicious day to get deeksha into beeja mantras related to Shri Kartikeya from suitable Gurus(there are shadakshari mantra, Panchadasaakshari mantra, etc. on Lord Skandaa that should be chanted after initiation).

Worship of Lord Skandaa can be a good remedy for Sarpa Dosha and Mars dosha in horoscopes, and can bless a person with peace and prosperous life materialistically, and Divine Wisdom - spiritually.

Pournami Pooja also falls today. So, recital of Shri Lalitha Sahasranaamam or other Devi sthothras in the evening will be auspicious.

Members of paaraayanam group please note that you will be automatically included as honorary beneficiaries in the poojas done today.

Astrological and Remedial consultant

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Narasimha Jayanthi celebrations went on well today

Dear Members:

This is to inform you that Shri Narasimha Jayanthi celebrations went on well today by His Grace.

Recital of Lakshmi Narasimha Kaarunya sthothram (also called Karaavalambha sthothram), various mantras on Lord Lakshmi Narasimha, Sudarshana sahasranaamam (Lord Narasimha is believed to be on the other side of Sudarshana and it is Yoga Narasimha's power that fires the Sudarshana Chakra), Sudarsana kavacham, Runa Vimochana Narasimha sthothram, and Moola mantra japam were conducted.

All Paaraayanam group members were included as honorary beneficiaries in the recitals.

Blessed be.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Vishnupati Punya kaalam on May 14, 2008

Dear Members:

The auspicious Vishnupati kaalam falls on May 14, 2008 (Wednesday); it is the same for all nations of the world.

There are 4 Vishnupati punya kaalams per year. This is the second such punya kaalam for the year 2008.

Any meritorious deed performed on this day gives manifold effects. This is a wonderful day for initiation into new spiritual routines and for performing special worships with the aim of getting special boons in life.

vishnu smile

Prayers done to Lord Mahavishnu on this day bestow both material prosperity and spiritual progress. As far as possible, try to recite at least one chapter of Shrimad Bhagavat Gitaa or Shrimad Bhagavatam or at least important slokhas from Shri Vishnu sahasranaamam on this day.

May our members make the best use of this day.

*Note: Though all days are important for a spiritual person, there are certain days that are imbued with more spiritual potency. Prayers done on these days give manifold results and help us to exhaust our karma faster.

Blessed be

Astrological and Remedial consultant

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Narasimha Jayanthi celebrations this year

Dear Members:

This post is about Shri Narasimha Jayanthi this year which falls on May 18, 2008 (Sunday). For those in the US (American continent), it is to be celebrated on May 17, 2008 itself; for rest of the world, it falls only on May 18, 2008.

Lord Narasimha is a Ugra Form of Lord Mahaa Vishnu, but His Ugra Form is fearsome only for those who are demonaic in nature and transgress the line of Dharma. For His devotees, He is the Shantha Narasimha - the Graceful Lakshmi Narasimha with Devi Lakshmi seated on His lap and His child Devotee Shri Bhakta Prahlaada worshipping Him.

Worship of Lord Narasimha makes a person brave and adventurous. Mere sight of a Narasimha Upaasakaa is enough to drive away most minor goblins, and doshas. The Revered Aachaarya of Sringeri (now of Revered memory) - Shri Ugra Narasimha Bharati was a living example of what siddhi of Narasimha Upaasanaa can confer on a living soul. The mere presence of the Aacharya has driven away disturbing elementals from haunted houses.

For householders who are in the grips of debts, Runa Vimochana Narasimha sthothram is a panacea to the trouble. Chanting it once every day can be an antidote against falling into a debt trap. Those who are already facing severe debt crises, can try chanting it 8 times, 18 times, or 32 times, or even 108 times to get immediate relief during critical periods. This is one of the mantras that can give speedy relief from debts and improvement in financial condition (even if the horoscope indicates disastrous financial prospects for a native, this sthothra can change the Fate).

Another powerful hymn on Shri Narasimha is "Shri Lakshmi Narasimha Karaavalamba sthothram" - requesting His Helping Hand during critical periods.

The Sahasranaamam of Shri Lakshmi Narasimhar is a wonderful composition vested with poetic beauty of a Divine degree. You can almost Feel the vibes as you keep chanting certain portions of it.

Those who can recite these shothras can do so and become recipients of His Grace. Others may simply chant "Jaya Jaya Simhaa....Jaya Narasimhaa" with devotion as many times as possible. (Paaraayanam group members please note that the Runa Vimochana sthothram is already in our Files section which you may listen to on that day; I will try to upload the file on Shri Narasimha Karaavalambham also if possible). After the recitals, offering of Paanagam (mixture of water, Gur, cardomom) can be placed in the prayer altar which can then be consumed by everyone after the pooja.

Visit to Divya kshetras like Sholingar (called Kadigaachalam), Ahobhilam, Mangalagiri, Mattapalli Narasimhar temple, etc. on this day will be very auspicious.

Lord Narasimha is varaprasaadhi. According to one traditional legend, when the demon Hiranyakasipu queried his son Bhakta Prahlaada about Shri Hari's abode, the child replied that He is everywhere. But, even before the child answered thus, Lord Vishnu was so anxious to prove His Devotee as correct that He pervaded the Whole Universe with his tejas so that He can appear at momen't notice wherever the child shows his hands (after the child could have shown any place as per his whim and fancy; the Lord wanted to prove him correct without the least delay!). It is well-known that when Hiranyakasipu pointed at a pillar and asked if Hari is there, Prahlaada boldly said yes. When Hiranyakasipu kicked the pillar, Lord Narasimha manifested immediately and put an end to the demon.

It may just be a poetic exaggeration about Lord Vishnu being "anxious" about which place His devotee will show as His abode and from which He should manifest immediately, thereby He pervading the Whole Universe with His tejas....... (afterall the Omniscient Lord need not take special efforts to be everywhere....HE IS ALREADY EVERYWHERE!). The point to be noted about this is that it gives a hint about the "attitude" of this Ugra Narasimha.....He is ever ready to extend a helping hand to His devotees at moment's notice and to grant them boons.

May He with the Lion Face who manifested in a pillar on the expressed confidence of His child Devotee at moment's notice be with us and protect us from all perils - at the very moment when we seek His Assistance.

Blessed be.

Astrological and Remedial consultant

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Why mantras give different effects to different persons?

Dear Members:

I thought I will share a secret of mantra shastra succintly in a short note on this auspicious day of akshaya trithiyai (May 7, 2008 - 9-07 p.m. IST).

Often times in various internet forums we find that many members complain that they have done "all" possible mantras and yet nothing materialized. Yet, we see many persons who do get miraculous effects by the very same mantras. How do we reconcile this? If mantra shastra is scientific, the same results should accrue for anyone is it not? Then how - oh how do we find difference in the manifest results for different persons?

Let us see why it is so.....

For success of mantras there are 3 important aspects that should be fulfilled before it can give success, except in rare cases where a person seemingly does not satisfy these aspects and yet get success; it is not exactly true....that is why I have used the word "seemingly"....let us ignore this aspect for the time being...

1) Proper deeksha progression of a mantra: A mantra should be initiated in proper form in proper sequence. Based on the prevailing tradition of upaasanaa, initiation in the preliminaries should be done before a person can be initiated into the actual moola mantra. For instance, in Shri Vidya Upaasanaa traditions, a person should first be initiated into Ganapathy mantras (I say Ganapathy mantras because there are different forms that should be mastered before one progresses to the next level), Baala mantra, then Panchadasaakshari...The progression then continues with siddhi at each level and ends in Poornaabhishekam! The progression happens only after requisite no. of recitals and associated rituals (including homams/ charities, etc.) are completed without any blemish at the earlier levels. Only persons who go along the right progression as above can enjoy the full fruits of the mantra, and experience all the miracles credited with the mantra.

Some persons are of the opinion that such progression is not there for tantrik saadhanas which is not true. Even in tantra upaasanaa, Nyaasaas, kavachams, etc. are the preliminaries which should be perfected before the actual saadhanaa.

2) Grace of the Guru and His/ Her constant Guidance: One should have a competent Guru who can initiate a person into these. It is not as if just anyone can initiate anyone (unfortunately, it has watered down to this extent now-a-days; most people say they are initiated into Sri Vidhya japam without even realizing the aamnaayaas associated with such a process, the responsibilities of a Sri Vidhya aspirant, the protocols of the process, etc.). Initiation is not merely "murmuring" of mantra into the ears of the disciple. Knowing the verbal form of a mantra is not everything....during the deeksha process, the Guru should be capable of passing a portion of His/ Her mantraic energy to the disciple as an "account opening balance" to activate the mantraic account. The Guru definitely loses a portion of His/ Her mantraic energy with each initiation, which reverts back to the Guru if the disciple is regular in the mantraic chanting and worship as ordained by the Guru.
Even mere command from a competent Guru to chant a mantra (why a command - even mere Glance of a satguru can be a deeksha) can be a powerful deeksha; while even an elaborate fire Ritual conducted by a person who is not competent (but is perceived as Guru) may not give complete results. Anyway, mantras by their very nature can bestow some power - at least on and off - i.e. sometimes they work and sometimes they don't work sort of power, to anybody who just recites them with abundant faith and devotion (this is the reason why many of us experience that sometimes the mantra seems to give much peace while sometimes it just fails to respond to our urgent calls; we play with the mantraic formalities, and they sometimes play cruel games during emergencies by not responding to us!)
Please note that there is a Deity called "Tiraskarinii" (Tiraskarini literally means screen) who can create illusion in the minds of a person who is not properly initiated in the shri Vidya procedures - just to ensure that no incompetent person attains siddhi of a procedure (this is basically to avoid misuse of the mantraic power; just as nuclear power experiments are always shrouded in mystery, mantraic processes are veiled by different powers who ensure that any person who accidentally comes across such procedures will either forget the procedure or will understand the procedure in a distorted way so that they cannot use the mantra without proper authentication!).
Often times when I see empty ego-based debates on mantra shastra matters in forums, when I see persons claiming "right to recite any mantra without any Guru deeksha", when I see persons abusing the concept of Guru tatwaa (in one of the vedic astrology groups, there was a post from a person which said "all Gurus should be dumped into the ocean"!), when I see disciples challenging their Gurus (this happens when the Guru refuses a particular deeksha or mantra thinking that the time has not come for the disciple; immediately some disciples say that prashna will reveal how devoted they are, etc. and take the matter as a personal affront while the Guru is acting on the best interests of the disciple), etc. , I cannot but wonder if this is Maataa Tiraskarinii in Her full Form gleefully spreading illusion and deluding the unworthy aspirants along the slippery path of maayaa so that they never come near the Higher Truths that are reserved for the highly deserving aspirants.

3) Attitude of the person doing the mantra If the two earlier steps are correctly followed, the mantra will definitely give effects. But, what sort of effects it will bestow depends to a great extent upon the attitude of the aspirant. To give you an example....take the 73rd slokha of Soundarya Lahiri depicting the breast-feeding of Goddess's milk and its consequence on Lord Ganesha and Lord Subramanya.....if the sankalpam of the aspirant is "wisdom" (Aatma Gnaanaa), this slokha recital can keep a person anchored firmly in Blessed spotless Celibacy and lead the aspirant all the way to BrahmaGnaana which will be ultimately productive of moksha. The same slokha can also be recited for increasing lactation in women/ cows! I mean to say that the same mantra with its same vibration can give different results based on attitude of the aspirant (of course, there are only certain results possible with each mantra which are well-codified by savants of yore).
Many of us today lack the "attitude". When I say attitude - it is the resolute attitude towards the practice, complete faith in the process, and an unconditional surrender to Divine Grace with the firm belief that Divine Grace know better what to bestow upon us. Lot many persons "shop" for mantras....shifting from one mantra to another, ultimately losing faith in mantras and even upon themselves which is the greatest tragedy because, the Royal Road of Mantra shastra should take us Higher and Higher, and make us much better persons with supreme confidence stemming from the belief that God will not Forsake us.

If all the above 3 factors are perfect, there is absolutely no way that a mantra can fail to give results. The mantra in such cases will start giving results even before the full cycle of rituals are over.

Our sages knew of the limitations of this kali yuga where such perfection may not be always possible. That is why they have given sugar-coated pills to us to enable us to digest the incomparable and infinite potency of mantras easily. Various slokhas of saints of yore come under this category which need no initiation whatsoever. While Soundarya Lahiri needs proper initiation from a competent Guru, the other works of Shankaraachaarya like Bhavani Bhujangam, Subhramanya bhujangam, Ganesha Pancharatnam, Shiva panchaakshari sthothram, etc. need no initiation, and yet can be highly powerful in giving results to us. Similarly, Shri Vedaanta Desikan has capture highly potent mantras in beautiful sthothras which can be chanted by anyone (sudarshana mantra needs initiation; but the sudarshana ashtaka by Shri Desikan needs no initiation, and yet it attracts the Grace of Lord Sudarshana). Similarly Shri Vaadhiraajar has left many such wonderful compositions for our benefit.

Let us follow the footsteps of those great souls humbly and enjoy the benefits of mantras in the form that suits us. Of course, those of us who can get proper deeksha should strive to get mantra deeksha and live faithfully by the mantra doctrine and get benefitted. Those who are not in a position to be initiated due to any reason should rather benefit by the sthothras without touching the scorching flame of mantra shastra playfully.

May Medha Dakshinamoorthi - the JagatGuru guide our intellect. May the Grace of those wonderful souls who have left us wonderful mantraic power loaded sthothras for our easy recital guide us and give us the devotion and faith to chant those sthothras which are our legacy rather than hunting after "advanced" mantraic procedures out of vain ego (Mantraic processes are definitely powerful; but I say "vain ego" because many of us feel sthothras are "basic" and we are above that "level"! Spirituality has no place for such egoistic attitudes.); May we all develop good respect and perfect faith - because Faith is at the root of all miracles, and it is unconditional surrender and Love of God that makes us Divine. Being Divine is every soul's birthright. Let us achieve it the proper way - because there is no short-cut to success in mantra shastra. Let Maataa Tiraskarinii lift the veil of illusion and allow us to step into the Royal Road of mantraic devotion under the guidance of competent Gurus of various traditions.
Blessed be.

Astrological and Remedial consultant


Dear Members:

Akshaya trithiyai chants went well today by Divine Grace. In addition to regular poojas at our place, special recitals were performed on the occasion of Akshaya trithiyai. I hope many of you also would have made good use of this spiritual day by meditating, chanting, or by donating to worthy causes as per your convenience/inclination.

I know for those of you in the US, the day has just begun and I request everyone to make the best use of the day - be it just a chant of Divine Name continuously if you are not in a position to chant big classics like Sahasranaamams.

Even those in India, who could not do chants or prayers so far due to busy schedules may kindly do at least simple collective prayers (with family members in your own house) for peace and prosperity in the family at night just before going to sleep.

Astrological and Remedial consultant

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Akshaya trithiyai on May 7, 2008

Dear Members:

Akshaya Trithiyai vrattam falls on May 7, 2008*** this year.

***Note: This is for USA, Europe, Middle-east coutries, and India. For the Eastern longitudes, Akshaya Trithiyai falls on May 8, 2008, i.e for countries like Bangladesh, Burma, Singapore, Malaysia, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, etc. the Akshaya trithiyai is on May 8, 2008.

This is an auspicious day when Lord Brahma started Creation in the beginning of the Chatur Yugas. Today is Kruta Yugathi. Lord Parasuraama's Jayanthi is also today only.

This day is a very important day for spiritual aspirants. Those who have been performing sadhanas ardently may even get Blessed with Perfection on this auspicious day. Arjuna obtained Pasupatha Astra, Lord Shiva got Biksha from Annapoorani to remove his Brahmahathi dosha, and various devotees have also got siddhis on this auspicious day.

Kshaya means destruction; akshaya means - that which does not get destroyed or that which is ever increasing. So, any auspicious activity that we indulge in today will have manifold benefits. Those who are performing mantra japas should capitalize on this wonderful day and energize their mantras. Students can consider joining new courses (including summer courses on music, martial arts, swimming, painting, etc.).
This is a day when any activity can be done without regard to usual taboos of vaara, thithi, or nakshatra dosha. Any act of charity or donation done on this day will give manifold results. So, you may consider donating money to charities of your choice (it can be as little as Rs.1/- to a poor beggar on the street! The amount or to whom you donate is not important....but the attitude with which you offer the donations is most important).

Now a days, there is an unnecessary business fad promoted by commercial establishments about "purchasing" gold/ silver/ other valuables. Though it is true that purchasing auspicious articles on that day will prove good, it is definitely not correct to do such purchases with "borrowed" money or on debts, just on the belief that purchasing something on that day is good. You can purchase valuables with your own money if you have saved for them. Borrowing money just for purchasing on that day is definitely not recommended because, your "borrowing" might become akshaya is it not????!!!!Of course, if you have been planning to purchase some valuables with your savings for sometime now, you may consider purchasing the items on this day. But, mere purchasing valuables on the Akshaya trithiyai day is not going to magically alter your fortunes. I request our members not to fall into that superstitious trap that has gained currency now-a-days.

This day is more about learning, acquiring wisom, performing acts of merit and such other Higher Purposes rather than mere acquisition of valuables. This day is too precious to be spent on standing in long-ques outside jewellery shops! Instead, consider visiting a nearby temple and doing some cleaning work on the premises, volunteering in a hospital, donating blood to a blood-bank, donating old clothes or sweets to Homes for the destitutes/ old persons, or taking blessings from elders in your family or community.

We will be performing special poojas for Universal Welfare on this day.

Astrological and Remedial consultant

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