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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nirjala ekaadasi on June 21/22, 2010

Dear Members:

This is regarding the Nirjala Ekaadasi on June 21/22, 2010.

Schedule of the ekaadasi fast for different regions in the world:

Those living in EST zones of U.S. should observe smaartha ekaadasi (ekaadasi for those following shaiva traditions) on June 22, 2010; for people in rest of the time zones of U.S., the smaartha ekaadasi should be observed on June 21, 2010 itself.

2) Vaishnava Ekaadasi (to be observed by those who subscribe to Vaishnavite philosophy) is to be observed on June 22, 2010 throughout the U.S. except for those living in Hawaii region ; they should observe this on June 21, 2010 itself.

3) People living in all other regions of the world should observe this on June 22, 2010 (for both Shaiva and Vaishnavite traditions).

Significance of the Nirjala Ekaadasi:
Nirjala Ekaadasi is also known as Paandava Nirjalaa Ekaadasi. Sage Vyaasa was extolling the virtues of the Ekaadasi fast and also the sins associated with not keeping the ekaadasi fast. The other Paandava brothers and Draupadi who were observing Ekaadasi vrattam scrupulously were very happy to listen to the exposition on the glories of Ekaadasi; however, the Great Warrior Bheema who was known for his gluttony and who could not fast on Ekaadasis (fasting twice a month was almost unthinkable for him!!!) was worried on hearing the sins associated with not keeping ekaadasi vrattam. So, he requested Sage Vyaasa to tell an alternative instead of fasting on all ekaadasis.

Sage Vyaasa clarified that if the Nirjalaa Ekaadasi fast is observed scrupulously, it will give the result of having observed ekaadasi fast throughout the year, and so Bheema can observe that ekaadasi alone to get the results of all other ekaadasis thus escaping the sins associated with not observing other ekaadasis. This was at least tolerable to Bheemasena (he just needed to fast once a year which was at least okay rather than at least 24 days per year on each ekaadasi the very thought of which was intimidating to him!). Thus, this Nirjala Ekaadasi is also known as "Bheema Ekaadasi" or "Paandava Ekaadasi"

Procedure for observing Nirjalaa Ekaadasi

One should take bath early in the morning and declare that he/ she is undertaking the Ekaadasi fast for escaping all sins - known and unknown and for the Grace of Lord Hari. Meditation should be done upon Lord Naaraayana reclining on His Bed of Seshaa in the midst of the Milk Ocean (Jala Saayi Perumaal). We should also remember Sage Vyaasa's words that observing this single Ekaadasi will give the merits associated with the other ekaadasis of the year also.

Usually ekaadasi fast can be done as per one's wishes and convenience, like - fruit only fast, milk only fast, water-only fast, abstaining from grains but eating other ritual pure items/ vegetables, etc. However, Nirjala ekaadasi - as the name implies - should be a complete fast where the observer of the fast should abstain from even plain water!

Many scrupulous observers of Ekaadasi fast usually keep a complete fast (including abstaining from water) on all ekaadasis. Even those who are not so strict about abstaining from water on normal ekaadasis should abstain from water during the nirjala ekaadasi. Of course, there is exemption applicable for old-aged, the physically infirm, those who are in sick bed, pregnant women, lactating women with very young infants, etc. Others who are physically fit but fail to observe this ekaadasi are missing a very good karmic opportunity because, just observing this one ekaadasi can exempt you from all other ekaadasis (and also gives you the merit that could accrue from observing all other ekaadasis!!!!).

On dwaadasi day (the next day) while breaking the fast, it is auspicious to make some charitable donation to any deserving cause to get the full results of the observance. It is customary to offer umbrellas, sandals, or water pot to pious brahmins on this day. If you are not able to find suitable pious persons who deserve such dhaanaas, you may just contribute what little you can to any charitable cause of your choice or to any temple.

Merits associated with observing nirjala Ekaadasi:

1) The merit accruing out of performing shraadha during solar eclipse.
2) The merit accruing out of observing all other ekaadasis of the year (it does not mean that we should not maintain the other ekaadasi fasts if we observe this; just think....if you observe this in addition to all other ekaadasis, you will be getting twice the benefit is it not? For those who cannot fast on all ekaadasis due to practical considerations, this ekaadasi is a boon; they can observe just this ekaadasi with full devotion and perfection - without water!)

May our members observe this Holy Fast and gain the Grace of Lord Hari.

Hari Om.
Blessed be.


Astrological and Remedial consultant.

Monday, June 14, 2010

shadsheeti punya kaalam on June 15, 2010

Shadsheeti punya kaalam is a very auspicious period for initiation into new occult routines, for performing charities, and for all meritorious activities (The full day - from Brahma Muhurtha of 15th June 2010 till sunrise on 16th June 2010 is considered to be auspicious- you need not check muhurtha guidelines if you are planning to do special poojas, charities, tarpans, or other meritorious activities tommorrow; please note that this does not apply to other mundane elections like annaprashana, marriage, etc. for these mundane activities , you need to check the muhurtha guidelines as per astrology - the exemption is only for spiritual activities).

Donating to charitable causes (like donating to poojas, homams, vedic experts who are conducting regular worships based on dharma shastraic guidelines, donating to temples, donations to orphanages/ charitable institutions/ choultries, etc.) during this period will be highly auspicious. Annadhaanam (donation of food to pious persons or needy poor), and Vastra dhaanam (donation of clothes to needy poor or to vedic experts)are especially recommended during this period. (i.e. for those who can afford them!).

Shastraas say that any meritorious deed done during this period will get multiplied 86,000 times! So, this is an ideal day for chanting mantras to acquire siddhi over them and for performing remedial poojas/ prayers. May our members make the best use of this Holy Day to improve their karmic balance sheets!

Astrological and Remedial consultant

Friday, June 11, 2010

Shani Jayanthi on June 12, 2010

Dear Members:

Shani Jayanthi - the Day of Appearance of Saturn - is to be observed on June 12, 2010.

Saturn - though the most feared planet - is actually a neutral and objective force - the karmic force that rewards or punishes based on a person's merit.

You can use Shani Jayanthi day for introspection in to your life - and correct the areas where you are possibly going wrong; Saturn becomes benefic the moment you realize your mistakes and make the affirmation to correct such mistakes.

It is auspicious to recite Shani sthothras, visit Navagraha temples nearby, donate old clothes to poor/needy people, donate to old-age homes that run on charitable donations, donate funds to members of working force, etc. tomorrow.

Do not give in to hyped up rituals - no amount of rituals will make you completely clear off saturn influence:) BUT, doing what good you can - including offering prayers at temples or sponsoring rituals in this connection, fasting on the day - by taking just one meal, or donating what you can to more needy people - will definitely alter the balance sheet of merit vs. sin in your life. Actually this should be an everyday process - but at least we should use such days of special significance like Shani jayanthi to improve our karmic balance sheet.

May our members observe this day with piety and Faith, and reduce karmic sufferings on their lives.

Blessed be.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Apara ekaadasi on June 8, 2010

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 (2010) is to be observed on June 8, 2010 throughout the world.

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.


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