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Friday, October 24, 2008

Seasonal Greetings for Deepawali - 2008

Dear Members:

Deepavali festivities and associated spiritual practices begin from October 25, 2008 and extend till October 28, 2008 (for Fiji till October 29, 2008) - right from Dhantreyas on October 25, 2008 in USA, Canada, etc. (for other countries to the East of Atlantic, it is on October 26, 2008) and ending with Diwali Lakshmi Pooja/ Kedaara Gowri vratam on October 28, 2008.

It is auspicious to light Yamaa Deepam (a lamp in Honour of Lord Yamaa - the God of Death) on Naraka Chaturdasi day on October 26, 2008. Let us light lamps on this day and pray for peace of various souls who perished in various terror attacks around the world. It is customary to gift a lamp to a learned Pandit on this day. (those who are well-off will even give a gift of silver lamp to vedic pandits on that day; others can gift earthenware lamps; the lamp should be lit and then given in gift to a learned and competent person learned in the scriptures praying for wisdom, health, and long life. If you can't find a suitable person to receive this gift, just place the lamp in a temple).

May the festival of lights bring fresh hopes for all of us. May the demons of greed, jealousy, vascillating tendencies, and unethical practices be overcome by the Divine Light that resides in all of us.

May this Diwali season bring fresh hopes for us in these days of turmoil. May Maa Lakshmi visit us all and Bless us and all our near ones in every way during this season.

Blessed be.

Astrological and Remedial consultant

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ramaa Ekaadasi fast on October 24/ October 25, 2008

Dear Members:

Ramaa ekaadasi falls on October 24/ 25, 2008 this year.

Observance of fast recommended for different places on the globe

1) India, Srilanka, Bangladesh - Smaartha Ekaadashi is on October 24, 2008; Vaishnava ekaadasi is on October 25, 2008.

2) For Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand: Sarva Ekaadasi (by both smaartha and vaishnava traditions) is to be observed on October 25, 2008.

3) For Gulf countries, African countries, European countries, USA, Canada, Mauritius, and West Indies - Sarva Ekaadashi is on October 24, 2008.

Glory of Ramaa Ekaadasi

In the Brahma vaivarta Puraanaa, there is an interesting legend that is related by Lord Krishna to King Yudhishtra to explain the glory of Ramaa Ekaadasi.

King Muchukunda - a great friend of Indra (the ruler of the Heavens) had a daughter by name Chandrabhaagaa (named after the Holy River that has the same name). She was given in marriage to Shobhanan - the son of King ChandrasEna.

King Muchukunda and all his subjects were very strict in observance of ekaadasi fast. Even horses, elephants, and other cattle were not fed on the day of ekaadasi fast! Once Shobhanan happened to visit King Muchukunda's palace on the day of the auspicious fast of Ramaa Ekaadasi. His wife cautioned him that as his physical condition was then not in a fit condition to tolerate a severe fast, he must move elsewhere (out of her father's kingdom) immediately as her father's people and the whole kingdom followed the fast rigorously (people who undertake rigorous religious fast on ekaadasi never give food to anyone under any pretext on ekaadasi day; this may seem crude and inhuman to some people now - but such was the adherence to ekaadasi fast in those days! The idea was mainly to avoid tempting those who might be fasting but might lose their resolve if offer of food is extended to them).

But Prince Shobhanan offered to undergo the fast instead of opting to move to some other place. When sun set, all devotees of the kingdom were very happy to invite the long night's vigil with Lord Hari's stories and contemplation - but Prince Shobhanan was miserable as he could not tolerate the rigour of the fast. By next morning, he was found dead. The last rites of the dead prince were conducted duly with all honours; but King Muchukunda stopped his daughter from committing "sati" which was the custom of pious ladies of those times.

The deceased Prince Shobhanan became the ruler of a kingdom in Mandaraachalaa attended by wonderful Divine damsels, and Gandharvaas, due to the merit of the observance of Ramaa Ekaadasi; but, as he had observed the vrat only due to pressure of circumstances and with half-heart, that wonderful kingdom was impermanent (i.e. he will lose Sovereignity of that kingdom once the merit gets exhausted).

One day, a pious Brahmin from the kingdom of Muchukunda chakravarti happened to cross that wonderful kingdom that was being enjoyed by Prince Shobhana, and he recognized his king's son-in-law. Prince Shobhana related the fact about his enjoyment of that wonderful kingdom was not permanent, and that it may vanish any time into thin air once his merit gets exhausted. He also entreated the pious Brahmin to explain this to his wife Chandrabhaagaa.

The pious brahmin returned to his kingdom and related the wonderful matter to Princess Chandrabhaagaa. At first she was bewildered, and wondered if the Brahmin had been dreaming; but, as the Brahmin persisted with his narration, she was convinced about the factual existence of such a kingdom and was overjoyed at the prospect of being able to meet her beloved yet again. She confidently said that by the merit of the ekaadasis that she had been observing from her 8th year of life till date, the kingdom that has come into the possession of her husband could become permanent, and requested the brahmin to take her to that wonderful kingdom. The Brahmin also took her to the Mandaraachala mountain. At the foothills, they met the great sage Vaama DEvaa who chanted vedic mantras and sprinkled water on her - making her body transcendental. Due to the power of the vedic mantras and also due to the merit of her ekaadasi fasts, Chandrabhaaga reached the top of the mountain Mandaraachalaa where her husband was enjoying his kingdom. She transfered the merit that she had accumulated by all her ekaadasi fasts to her husband thus enabling him to enjoy that wonderful kingdom permanently till the next pralayaa.

Lord Krishna concluded this narration saying that by the glory of Ramaa ekaadasi Prince Shobhanan enjoyed a wonderful Divine Kingdom in the mount Mandaraachalaa. The Blessed Lord continues saying "Just as both white and Black cow give the same quality of milk, the ekaadasis in both the dark and bright fortnight are equal in their potency to confer merit, and to liberate one from the endless cycles of transmigration of soul. Anyone who hears this legend about Ramaa ekaadasi will also have freedom from sins and attain the Divine Abode of Lord Vishnu."

The import of the legend of Brahma vaivarta Puraanaa related above is that observing Ramaa Ekaadasi can help one to enjoy good fortune including high status of a permanent nature, happy reunion with relatives, and great glory.

May our members observe this auspicious ekaadasi to the best of their abilities with FULL FAITH (unlike the half-hearted attempt of Prince Shobhanan!), and become worthy recipients of Divine Grace.

Important note: Though the legend says about how the Prince Shobhanan observed the fast in a physically infirm condition and hence met his death, and then ultimately enjoyed a Divine Kingdom, we need not take it that far! As regular readers of this blog might be aware from previous posts, ekaadasi fast is exempted for those who are ailing, for the aged persons, and for ladies who are pregnant. This is in agreement with accepted dharma shastraic doctrines. Those who cannot observe a full fast may observe it to the extent possible - like fasting by drinking milk, fruit juices, etc. Even those who are exempted the full fast due to physical conditions must avoid onion, garlic, and other spicy foods that are ritually impure on ekaadasi days. Ekaadasi is the king among the Fasts, and one should be regulated in food habits (even if physical condition does not permit total abstinence from food and water). Please remember this important point and observe the fast in the way that is possible for you according to your circumstances.

Harihi Om.

Blessed be.

Astrological and Remedial consultant

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tula Vishu Punya kaalam - 17th October 2008

Dear Members:

Tula Vishu Punya kaalam falls on October 17, 2008 this year. This is one of the mandatory days of tarpanam. Those who have lost their father must do tarpanam on this day, just as they do for amaavasyaa.

Tulaa punya snaanam - Holy Bath prescribed in the River Cauvery for 1 month also begins tommorrow. It ends on November 15, 2008. November 16, 2008 is called "Mudavan Muzhukku"**. (Mudavan muzhukku - literally means "Dip of the lame man"....see the special note below the article for significance of this day)

Those who have the good fortune of living along the banks of the Holy River Cauvery should take a dip in that river every day before sunrise (Tulaa Snaanam). Others who are not-so- fortunate may also take an early morning dip in cold water praying to Goddess Cauvery for removal of all sins.

Spiritual legends abound about the glory of Tulaa Snaanam.

According to Agni Puraanam,

"ShaTShaShTi kOti tIrthAni dvisaptha bhuvanEShu cha.

KEshavasya AjnayA yAnti thulAmAse marudvridhAm"

Sixty-six crore Holy Waters in all the 14 words come to stay in Cauvery in the month of Tula by the Order of Lord KEshava. One may clearly understand the glory of having a dip in the Holy River during this Tula Month by the above assertion.

Taking early morning bath in Tula month (when Sun is in sidereal Libra) will absolve one of all sins - committed unintentionally. It is said that a bath in Cauvery during Tula month, a bath in Prayaag during Maagha month, and a dip in Setu during ardhodhayaa****(see the special note below the article for the significance of this) period can be possible only as a fruit of penance done in ten million lives. These Holy Baths have the power to remove pancha paatakaas (five major sins that can drag the Soul down in its ascent towards Divine Realization), and can cause liberation to the entire line of ancestors. (The scripture actually says "crores of pitrus!")

Those who can afford a trip to a kshetra along the Cauvery should do so and take a bath in the Holy River at least once during this month due to the obvious spiritual benefits that accrue out of that. Mayilaaduthurai (Maayavaram) is an especially recommended kshetra for Tulaa Snaanam; other powerful kshetras include Srirangam, Thiruveengoimalai (near Tiruchi), Thiruvidaimaruthur, Thiruvisainalloor, Kumbakonam, etc.

A simple pooja to Goddess Cauvery

There are detailed rituals prescribed for Cauvery poojaa which may be adhered to by those are capable of adhering to them under guidance of the respective family aachaaryaas. I am giving a simplified version for adherence of everyone.....

Chant the following 7 powerful names of Mother Cauvery during the snaanam:

"Om Kaaveryai namah"

"Om Lobhaamudraayai namah"

"Om Agasthya Patnyai namah"

"Om sarvapaavanyai namah"

"Om Mahaa Punyaayai namah"

"Om snaana maatra sarva paapa prasamanyai namah" ("s" should be pronounced as in "siva")

"Om Mokshadaatryai namah"

Invoke Goddess Cauvery in a small pot/ container chanting the above mantras, and at the end of your usual bath, pour the water from that pot on your head as a substitute for the actual Cauvery snaanam (This applies to those who cannot actually visit River Cauvery due to Time, Space, situation constraints). Those who can actually visit the Holy River may recite the mantras and take 7 dips - 1 dip per mantra!

Blessed be.


Note on Mudavan muzhukku: A lame man who wanted to have dip in the Holy River Cauvery during Tulaa month took a strenous journey - but he could not make it to Mayilaaduthurai before the end of the month - he was one day late (i.e. the Tula month ended the day before). But, God granted that he be given the merit of Tula Snaanam for the dip he takes on that day, and that person was granted liberation as a result of his steadfast devotion in spite of his overwhelming handicap. Mudavan muzhukku is observed in remembrance of this incident. Having a holy dip on Cauvery at Mayilaaduthurai is deemed very auspicious on mudavan muzukku day.

****Note about ardhodhaya punya kaalam for your reference: Ardhodhaya period occurs when amaavasya of Pushya or Magha month falls on day when Sravana nakshatra operates on the day, when Vyaatipaata yoga operates, and that day happens to be a Sunday - all these conditions to be satisfied simultaneously which happens only very rarely in one's life-time! ArdhOdhaya period is equal to one crore eclipses in its potential for multiplying the effects of meritorious deeds. Lot of mantraik applications are possible only during such periods - such is the glory of this period. Tula Mahaatmyam equates such ardhOdhaya period bath in Sethu with Tula Cauvery snaanam!


Astrological and Remedial consultant

Friday, October 10, 2008

Navarathri daily homams and Mahaa Chandi Homam on Vijaya Dasami went on well

Dear Members:

I am happy to announce that the Mahaa Chandi homam went on well by Divine Grace yesterday. Prayers were raised for Universal Welfare apart from those for the welfare of the sponsors of the homam. The daily homams/ recitals during Navarathri also went on well. Though my mother who helps me in organizing all these homams met with an unfortunate accident while returning from a temple on October 5, 2008, wherein she suffered a fracture in her elbow joint (she has been operated upon, and she is recovering fast by Divine Grace), we continued the rituals without breaking the cycle with support from my sister who did an admirable job of managing her own family (she has two small kids, and her husband has to go early to work), her official duties as Head of Department of Management in a college, visiting my mother at the hospital to assist her, and in preparing naivedyaas for these homams. She had to be literally on her toes for major part of the day balancing these various responsibilities. I firmly believe that it is Divine Grace that gave her the tremendous energy and patience to carry out this enormous responsibility with perfection. This further reiterated my belief that when we take the initiative in good faith, Divine Will and Power help us to complete our vows through some medium or other, even if some obstacles do intervene due to the hand of Fate.

Many thanks to the sponsors whose support helped me to organize this Grand homam in the first place.

Blessed be.
Astrological and Remedial consultant

Paashaankusha ekaadasi on October 10/11, 2008

(Picture courtesy:

Dear Members:

Paashaankusha ekaadasi falls on October 10/ 11, 2008.

Ekaadasi observance recommended for different parts of the globe:

1) US/ Canada, Europe, African countries, Gulf countries - October 10, 2008

2) India and other Eastern countries - October 11, 2008.

Form of Shri Vishnu to be worshipped on this day - Lord Ananta Padmanaabha.

Importance of Paashaankusha ekaadasi

Paashaankusha ekaadasi will help in removing all sins just like any other ekaadasi. Apart from that, one who observes Paashaankusha ekaadasi will be able to realize all his heart-felt dreams, and enjoy other benefits like freedom from vices (addictive behaviours of any kind that are detrimental to our well-being - both physical and spiritual), freedom from chronic karmic diseases, and finally moksha (liberation from cycle of births at the end of this incarnation).

Brahma Vaivarta Puraana accounts even attribute the merits of this ekaadasi observance as equal to that acquired by performing numerous yagnas! Performing social service of some kind, or helping other souls in distress on this day is believed to help in realization of one's own true spiritual self.

May our members observe this ekaadasi and become recipients of Divine Grace.

Blessed be.
Astrological and Remedial consultant

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