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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shaaradaa navaraathri - 2014

There are 6 Navarathris in Honour of Divine Mother of our Universe - one for each Rithu (season), and this navarathri falling in the sharad 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 September 25, 2014 for all places in the earth except for those living in U.S.A., Canada, and other countries of the American continents. Those living in U.S.A., Canada, and other countries of the American continents should begin the Navarathri austerities from September 24, 2014 itself.

Durga pooja is to be observed on October 2, 2014 throughout the world except those living in U.S.A., Canada, and other countries of the American continent. Those living in U.S.A., and other countries of American continents (both North and South America), should observe this on October 1, 2014 itself.

Mahaa Navami (Saraswathy Pooja, Ayudha pooja) should be celebrated on October 3, 2014 throughout the world - except in U.S.A., Canada, and other places in the American continent who must observe this on October 2, 2014 itself.

Vijaya Dasami should be observed on October 3, 2014 in all countries to the West of India and in India.  It should be observed on October 4, 2014 in all countries to the east of India.

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.


As usual special worships will be done in this regard at my place - BUT WITH A CHANGE....since a baby is expected in my family any time during first week of October 2014, I have decided to end the homams on the Upaanga Lalitha Vratam day - on 29th September 2014 itself - scheduling the Mahaa chandi homam on September 29, 2014 on Upaanga Lalitha Vratam day instead of the Vijaya Dasami day which is the day when I offer the Mahaa chandi homam every year. After the Upaanga Lalitha Vratam day, I will continue the austerities - but without homams till the news of the baby's birth is received. (This is to avoid possible ritual impurity in the process; if I schedule the austerities till Vijaya Dasami and take sankalpam to that effect, and the child is born before Vijaya Dasami it could be tricky....If the birth is unexpected, we are covered by Dharma shastraic dictum that says that a person in deeksha sankalpam is free from any ritual impurity on account of birth/ death till the period is over; BUT, when we know that medically something is possible during the period, we can't take umbrage under that emergency doctrine!)

I think it is Divine Play in my life - I have been blessed to perform the Chandi homams every year without any break for the past many years, and this year too, the baby was expected only around mid-October, and was thinking that I can observe the Navarathri austerities unhindered by the tides of samsaaraa.....But suddenly obstetrician is of the opinion (as also corroborated by the opinion of other elder ladies in the family and the neighbourhood) - that the child may be born earlier than expected, and given that clue, I don't want to risk scheduling the Mahaa chandi homam at a time which may clash with the birth of the baby in the family.  Let us see how things happen ultimately....But, luckily I could get the opinion of a senior yogi who pointed out at the alternate way of doing it in 5 days concluding with the Upaanga Lalitha Vratam, and I am following that guidance and scheduling the performance as a 5-day observance as against the usual 10-day deeksha.
Regular readers of the blog and persons who used to avail Chandi homams/ part-sponsorship of the austerities in the previous years may avail the same for the 5 days of Navarathri this year instead of for the entire period of 9 days due to reason stated above.  I leave the matter to your individual discretion whether you wish to be a part of my austerities as usual, OR, you wish to avail the performance elsewhere....

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 sthothras, Dasa Mahaa Vidhya japams, Select verses from Devi Bhagavatam, etc.) is Rs.4800 (rupees four thousand eight hundred only) for one day's part-sponsorship. Those who wish to be part-sponsors for more than one day's rituals are also welcome to do so (You can avail it for maximum of 4 days - till the day before Upaanga Lalitha Vratam this time).

Mahaa chandi homam is planned on September 29, 2014 on Upaanga Lalitha Vratam day. The part-sponsorship for this Mahaa chandi homam on September 29, 2014 is Rs.24000 (rupees twenty four thousand) - all costs inclusive - including cost of gold coin, silver coin, silk saree, rare herbs, and other pooja articles to be offered in the Mahaa Poornaahuti.

If you wish to be a sponsor for the entire period of 5 days, the suggested sponsorship offering is Rs.44000 (rupees forty four thousand only).

After the Mahaa chandi homam is concluded on September 29, 2014, I will continue the austerities till the new of the baby's birth is received.....and I will include the sponsors of the earlier days' austerities in the sankalpam on such days on a honorary basis.  In fact, I am planning a Shakti Chakra Vyuha Pravesha austerity in one of the days after September 29, 2014 - if Divine Mother permits that.  I will erect a prashna chart after September 29, 2014 to decide on the modalities of that, and in such a sadhana, I will pray for the welfare of everyone in general and my disciples/ people who have supported my austerities in particular.

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.

Indra Ekaadasi - September 2014


Dear Members:

Indira Ekaashi fall on the waning phase of the Moon in the lunar month of Aswin (September-October by modern calendar). Simply put, it is the Ekaadashi that falls during the Mahaalaya paksha.

It must be observed throughout the world on September 19, 2014 except in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji where it must be observed on September 20, 2014.


The importance of Indira Ekaadasi is explained in the Brahma vaivarta Puraana in a discussion between Lord Krishna and king Yudhishtra. Observance of this Ekaadasi will help in removing the sinful effects of actions done by oneself and also relieve deceased ancestors' souls from the remorse caused by their sinful actions when they lived on this earth. According to legends, King IndrasEnaa performed this fast on the advice of Devarishi Narada and saved his father from the remorse caused by his sins during his earthly life.

On the day before the observance of this ekaadasi fast, i.e. on dasami thithi, just one meal is eaten praying for ancestors' souls; on the Ekaadasi day a full fast is to be undertaken, and in the afternoon rituals for the satisfaction of pitrus are to be done; the fast is broken on dwaadasi day. If such an elaborate scheme is not feasible, you may just fast as usual on Ekaadasi day, and pray for peace of your pitrus' souls after the Ekaadasi pooja to Vishnu. What else can you do for you ancestors than undertaking this fast that can relive their souls of the burden/ remorse caused by sinful activities committed knowingly or unknowingly during their tenure on this earth?

Please note that this fast is not mandatory for those below 7 years/ above 70 years as is the common rule for Ekaadasi fasts. Similarly those who are sick and ladies who are pregnant are also exempt from this observance. Others should preferably undertake a full fast (abstaining even from water, if possible). Those who can't undertake such rigorous fasts due to practical circumstances should at least avoid all full-grains, onion/ garlic items, eating food outside, etc. and try to subsist on milk and fruits. The bottom line is - observe the fast to the best of your abilities and as best as your circumstances will permit the observance.  Remember that this is the best homage you can pay to your deceased ancestors.

May our members observe this wonderful fast and gain liberty from sinful karma not only for themselves but also for their ancestors!

Blessed be.

Astrological and Remedial consultant

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Parivartini ekaadasi 2014

Dear Members:

Parviartini ekaadashi also called Paarshva ekaadashi falls on September 5, 2014 this year.

This is to be observed on the same day throughout the world except in places in the U.S. where Hawaii Standard time is observed.

This day is believed to be the day when Lord Mahaa Vishnu in His Yoga Nidhra changes his position in sleep - from left side to right side.

Just as the Lord shifts in His Yoga Nidra from one side to another, may His Grace allow you to explore all aspects of your life and may His Grace allow you to expect a positive turn of Fate in your lives!

It is traditional to venerate Lord Mahaa Vishnu in His Form of Vaamana on this day.

May our members observe this fast and become recipients of Universal Grace.

Other auspicious days/ festival days around Parivartini ekaadasi.....

Vaamana Jayanthi is to be observed on September 5th in U.S., Canada, and other countries of the American continents, and Western Europe - including U.K..  Vaamana Jayanthi is to be observed on September 6th in rest of the world, including India.

Onam festival in India and other countries to the east of India is on September 7th. It should be observed on September 6th in the countries to the west of India.

Blessed be.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mahalaya Paksha/ Pitr Paksha 2014

Pitr Paksha (Mahaalaya Pakshaa ) is about to begin from September 9/10, 2014.

Schedule of Mahalaya Paksha austerities for different places on the earth:

a) For those living in U.S., Canada, and other countries of American continent, Countries in Africa, Europe, and Middle-east, it is to be observed from September 9, 2014.

b) For those living in countries to the East of Persian Gulf - including India, the pitru paksha austerities must be observed from September 10, 2014.

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 (father/ mother).

4) Performing obsequies (shradh) on the thithi of the ancestor's death 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 which was first revealed to the devoted Nachiketaa), Pitru sthothra 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 13th Sep 2014.

2) Madhyaashtami - This is to be observed on 16th September 2014.

3) Mahaalaya Amaavasya - This should be observed on September 23, 2014 throughout the world except those living in countries to the east of India (Myanmar, Eastern parts of China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji) who must observe this on September 24, 2014.  Even in India, there are some traditions where they observe it on September 24, 2014 since Amavasya continues to operate for some time before Noon on September 24, 2014.  But, ideally it should be observed on September 23, 2014.

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.

4) Only those who have lost their parents can do any ritual to satisfy pitru devatas..

Clarification:  Shraardhas in Honour of pitrus and tarpanam in their Honour are the only activities that are restricted by the above taboo.

Activities like offering greens to cows in memory of deceased ancestors of the family, recital of Raamaayana chapter to ensure peace to the soul of deceased ancestors,  performing annadhaanam (donation of food to needy) in honour of deceased ancestors, and recital/ arranging recital of Pitru sthothra are austerities that anyone can do in honour of pitrus.


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

As usual we are planning recitals in which members of our site may participate as part-sponsors:

a) For recital of Ganga Avatarana chapter and Pitru sthothra for peace of ancestors  on Mahalaya Amavasya day OR Maha Bharani day, OR Madhyaashtami day  - Rs.600 (rupees six hundred only).  This can be availed by those who don't remember the thithi of their ancestors.

b) If you wish to have the recitals done on all the three main days - i.e. Mahalaya Amavasya, Maha Bharani, AND Madhyaashtami days, the recommended offering is : Rs.1500 (rupees one thousand five hundred only).

C) For recital of Pitru sthothra and Ganga Avatarana sargam on the thithi of your pitrus, the recommended offering is Rs.1200 (rupees one thousand two hundred only).

d) For recital of Ganga Avatarana chapter, and Pitru sthothra on ALL DAYS OF PITRU PAKSHA - Rs.9000/- (rupees nine thousand only).

Those who want to offer special recitals for pitru trupti (satisfaction of deceased ancestors) as above may send mail to : to know the modalities of remittance for the same.

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.

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