Friday, February 28, 2014

-- Swami Omkarananda, (1930-2000), founder of Omkarananda Ashram

The more we are conscious of God's presence in daily life, the more intense is the fullness of the joy we experience. God means infinitely more to our existence than the light of the sun means to the plants and trees.
-- Swami Omkarananda, (1930-2000), founder of Omkarananda Ashram

Shiva and Durga: Their Real Identity By Stephen Knapp

Shiva and Durga: Their Real Identity

By Stephen Knapp

Purusha Suktam - Translation & Meaning

Namaste, Hari Om,

The word ‘Purusha’ means God Almighty. This Suktam is in praise of the
glory of God. It is chanted in houses, places of worship during rituals and
ceremonies. Reciting this confers blessings on one’s life. This mantra is chanted
by Rishis before performing Yagna so that there are no obstacles or intermissions
during the Yagna

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

-- Advayataraka Upanishad

The syllable gu means shadows. The syllable ru, he who disperses them. Because of the power to disperse darkness, the guru is thus named.
-- Advayataraka Upanishad

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rituals on the night of Shivratri are meant to......

''All the rituals on the night of Shivratri are meant to cleanse the ignorance and realize the Brahmn manifest in you. The fasting, rituals and chanting are meant to kill desire, greed, illusion, arrogance, jealousy, and anger. This will make you a better person and prepare you to face the challenges.'' -

Hindu-blog: Shivaratri 2014 - What to do? When? How to do it? Which Prayers/mantras? Why at night?

Namaste, Hari Om,

I wish you all a happy Shivaratri! Thanks to the wonderful information from and dirkpanchang (Along with using, you can further find basic information on Shivaratri.

Educate yourselves! Knowledge is power, Only you have the power to feel God, no one can take you there but your own will.

Note. Please use or another Panchang site to find the exact time. For example, Western Europe is in Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in the month of Magha from 3:48PM (Feb 27th)  to 12:20PM (Feb 28th) - meaning Shivaratri is taking place Feb 27th to Feb 28th.

(-6 hours from Western Europe for the US EST time zone)

Maha Shivaratri 2014 -

Shivaratri is great festival of convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in month of Magha is known as Maha Shivaratri according to South Indian calendar. However according to North Indian calendar Masik Shivaratri in month of Phalguna is known as Maha Shivaratri. In both calendars it is naming convention of lunar month which differs. However both, North Indians and South Indians, celebrate Maha Shivaratri on same day.

Vrat Vidhi – One day before Shivaratri Vratam, most likely on Trayodashi, devotees should eat only one time. On Shivaratri day, after finishing morning rituals devotees should take Sankalp (संकल्प) to observer full day fast on Shivaratri and to take food next day. During Sankalp devotees pledge for self-determination throughout the fasting period and seek blessing of Lord Shiva to finish the fast without any interference. Hindu fasts are strict and people pledge for self-determination and seek God blessing before starting them to finish them successfully.

On Shivaratri day devotees should take second bath in the evening before doing Shiva Puja or visiting temple. Shiva Puja should be done during night and devotees should break the fast next day after taking bath. Devotees should break the fast between sunrise and before the end of Chaturdashi Tithi to get maximum benefit of the Vrat. According to one contradictory opinion devotees should break the fast only when Chaturdashi Tithi gets over. But it is believed that both Shiva Puja and Parana (पारणा) i.e. breaking the fast should be done within Chaturdashi Tithi.

Shivaratri puja can be performed one time or four times during the night. The whole night duration can be divided into four to get four Prahar (प्रहर) to perform Shiva Puja four times. lists all four Prahar durations for staunch Shiva devotees who perform Shiva Pujan four times in the night. We also list Nishita time when Lord Shiva appeared on the Earth in the form of Linga and the time window to break the fast on next day.

Shivaratri is also spelled as Shivratri, Shivarathri and Sivaratri.
What to do on Shivaratri day?

I find most people asking how to celebrate Shivaratri? Shivratri is the day when rituals and worship are given more importance. There is no fun or merrymaking as in other Hindu festivals. It is a day of renunciation and prayer. It is a day to realize the Brahmn and cleanse ignorance. Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga on this day. A lingam which had no end and beginning and it symbolizes Brahman.

It is said that one should practice non-violence on this day. Then are things like not to lie, strict brahmacharya, be compassionate etc. But these things should be practiced on all days. So one need not wait for Shivaratri to be compassionate.

Generally most people fast on Shivaratri day by uttering the panchakshari mantra – 'om namah shivaya.' The fast is from Shivratri morning to next day morning.

Next is keeping vigil all night by worshiping Lord Shiva. Worshiping Shiva with Bilva leaves is considered highly auspicious.

If you have a Shivling at home you can keep on bathing it at night with water (avoid using milk, curd, sugar, honey and ghee). Remember, Shiva accepts anything when given with utmost devotion.

If you are unable to observe fast or keep vigil during night, you can observe the day by chanting 'om namah shivaya


Shivratri Vrat: How to Observe Fast during Mahashivratri?

On the auspicious occasion of Shivaratri, or Mahashivratri, Hindu devotees around the world observe Shivratri Vrat or Upvaas or fast. The fasting involves refraining from eating any food and not sleeping through out the night. Sivaratri literally means 'the night of Lord Shiva' and unlike other festivals associated with Hinduism there is no fun and merrymaking on the day. But the night provides an opportunity to cleanse the ignorance and realize that you are Brahman and open the door to bliss.

The day after Shivratri is Amavasi – the dark night or the no moon night. It symbolizes the evil forces – desire, greed, illusion, arrogance, jealousy, and anger – which dominate the Kaliyuga. Shiva is believed to have appeared in the form of 'Lingodabhavamurti' or Jyotir Linga on the Shivratri night. The Linga is an attempt to give form to the formless Brahmn. Praying to Shiva is to escape from miseries of Kaliyuga.

The Mahashivratri fasting begins on the morning of Shivratri and ends next day morning or the Amavasya morning. Since it is a long Upvaas or Vrat, many people consume a special meal known as 'phalar.'
Devotees wake up before sunrise and take bath and wear clean clothes.
Applying of sacred ash, or vibhuthi, is an important aspect on the day. People also wear a Rudraksha Mala.

The idols of Ganesh, Shiva and Parvati are cleaned and a lamp is lit.
Most people then visit a nearby Shiva temple. In most places, Shivratri is largely observed in temples.

Some people observing fast consume a mid-day meal consisting of non-cereal food such as boiled potatoes which is made into a curry without onion, garlic, adarak or haldi. Another food eaten on the day is pakori or Kutt Singahri ki puri.
Most devotees go for a fruit diet and drink lots of water.
No meal is eaten after sunset.

Next meal is taken on the morning of Amavasi after doing puja and giving alms.
The entire night is spend in a nearby Shiva temple or by chanting Mantras or listening to stories related to Shiva.

Some of the important mantras that are chanted on the day include: Shiva Panchakshari Mantra – Om Namah Shivaya or chanting the sacred names of Lord Shiva.

People who have a Shivling at home can bathe the Shivling with water intermittently throughout the night.

All the rituals on the night of Shivratri are meant to cleanse the ignorance and realize the Brahmn manifest in you. The fasting, rituals and chanting are meant to kill desire, greed, illusion, arrogance, jealousy, and anger. This will make you a better person and prepare you to face the challenges.


Shivratri Prayers and Mantras

Apart from fasting and keeping vigil at night, Hindu devotees also chant sacred prayers and mantras dedicated to Lord Shiva on Maha Shivratri night. In fact these mantras can be chanted on a daily basis.

Some of the Holy Siva mantras recommended for Maha Sivaratri are

Shiva Panchakshari Mantra - Om Namah Shivaya

Shiva Sakti Panchakshari Mantra - Om Hrim Namah Shivaya

Mrutyunjaya Mantra –
Om Trayambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushti Vardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanat
Mrutyor Mukshiya Mamrutat

Shiva Gayatri Mantra –
Om tatpuruṣhaya vidmahe
Mahadevaya dhimahi
Tanno rudrah prachodayat
Apart from this one can chant the 108 names or 1008 names of Lord Shiva or the 24 Sacred Names of Lord Siva.

Twenty Four Sacred Names of Shiva
1. Om maheswaraya namaha
2. Om mahadevaya namaha
3. Om sarveswaraya namaha
4. Om shivaya namaha
5. Om Shankaraya namaha
6. Om Saswataya namaha
7. Om pasupataye namaha
8. Om umapataye namaha
9. Om brahmadhipataye namaha
10. Om parameswaraya namaha
11. Om bhasmangaragaya namaha
12. Om mahesaya namaha
13. Om nityaya namaha
14. Om shuddhaya namaha
15. Om mrutyunjayaya namaha
16. Om bhutesaya namaha
17. Om mrudaya namaha
18. Om sarvaya namaha
19. Om sadashivaya namaha
20. Om bhavaya namaha
21. Om sarvajnaya namaha
22. Om bhimaya namaha
23. Om vasudevaya namaha
24. Om tripurantakaya namaha

Why is Shivratri celebrated during night?

Night usually represents evil then why is Shivaratri celebrated during night? The night after Mahashivratri is 'amavasya' (full dark night). A day when the world will be completely dark. Symbolically, nothing but only ignorance and injustice will prevail. This 'amavasya' also represents 'Kaliyuga.' Mahadev Shiva appeared just before the beginning of Kaliyuga to rid the world of ignorance and evil. This was during the night before 'amavasya.'

Therefore special worship is done before 'amavasya' to please Shiva who is the remover of darkness, evil and ignorance.

Then, almost all the legends associated with Shivaratri happened during night and this is another reason.

-- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981), Hindu sage

Love says, "I am everything." Wisdom says, "I am nothing." Between the two, my life flows. I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.
-- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897-1981), Hindu sage

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

It is impossible for me to reconcile with the idea of conversion as it happens today. It is an error and perhaps the greatest impediment to the world's progress toward peace. Why should a Christian want to convert a Hindu? Why should he not be satisfied if the Hindu is a good or godly man?
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Atharva Veda

He cannot be seen by the eye, and words cannot reveal Him. He cannot be reached by the senses, or by austerity or sacred actions. By the grace of wisdom and purity of mind, He can be seen, indivisible, in the silence of contemplation. This invisible Atman can be seen by the mind wherein the five senses are resting.
-- Atharva Veda

Friday, February 21, 2014

-- Rig Veda 7.1.2

Like the household fire, devotees seek the glory of the Lord even from afar and enshrine it in their inner chamber for enlightenment. The glory of our Lord is full of splendor, all-illuminative and worthy to be honored in every heart.
-- Rig Veda 7.1.2

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hindu Blog - Searching For the Infinite While Infinite Is All Around Us

Searching For the Infinite While Infinite Is All Around Us.

Once a small ocean fish went to an older fish and asked, ‘Excuse me, you are older than I, so can you tell me where to find this thing they call the ocean?’

‘The ocean,’ said the older fish, ‘is the thing you are in now.’

‘Oh! This? But this is just water. What I am seeking is the ocean,’ said the disappointed fish as it swam away to reach elsewhere.

 The older fish exclaimed, ‘Oh little fish! What are you looking for? Just look!’

Living in the very ocean and searching for it! That is the irony of human situation — searching for the Infinite while infinite is all around us.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

-- Tirukkural

The whole purpose of earning wealth and maintaining a home is to provide hospitality to guests.
-- Tirukkural

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal(1912-1954)

Wealth and happiness are not related to each other as cause and effect. An attempt to secure happiness by securing wealth is as futile as it is absurd.
-- Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal(1912-1954), 34th pontiff of the Sarada Peetham

Monday, February 10, 2014

Quote: Appolonius of Tiana (2-97 ce)

In India I found a race of mortals living upon the Earth, but not adhering to it. Inhabiting cities, but not being fixed to them, possessing everything but possessed by nothing.
-- Appolonius of Tiana (2-97 ce), Greek philosopher and occultist. His work deeply influenced Western mysticism.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Smithsonian's Yoga: The Art of Transformation Brings to Light Yoga's Hindu Roots

Source Via HPI:

SAN FRANCISCO, January 1, 2014 (Huffingtonpost): The much hyped Smithsonian exhibit, Yoga: The Art of Transformation, is packing up to move from its primary residence in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC to spring at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and summer at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Bringing to Light Yoga's Hindu Roots (TBY) is a project the Hindu American Foundation launched in 2010 after someone at Yoga Journal confirmed that the editors intentionally avoided the term "Hindu" in describing things that were, well, Hindu, because "Yah, you know, Hinduism has a lot of baggage." The aim of the project is at getting the millions of folks who say they "do yoga" to appreciate that 1) yoga is not just asana; and 2) while yoga does not proselytize or require conversion to reap its physical and psycho-spiritual benefits, it refers to spiritual practices that are essential to the understanding and practice of Hinduism. On the whole, we found that Yoga: The Art of Transformation aligned with the two fold goal of the TBY.

During the small group session with a diverse set of advisors that included yoga teachers, yoga practitioners, yoga researchers, and others, it was indeed interesting to hear the various perspectives of what each sought from the exhibit. Some were curious about the aesthetics and flow, others were interested in the supplementary programming, while others wanted to ensure that the science behind yoga was emphasized. For me, I wanted to drive home three main points: 1) the importance of using the word "Hindu," as opposed to favored industry codewords like "Indian," "Indic," "Sanskrit," or "Vedic" (none of which are inaccurate, by the way) as a descriptor where appropriate; 2) when it came to describing the unknown -- be it origins, dates, or sources -- that a certain humility be present in the descriptors, ie. "Some scholars believe..." or "The origins are unknown, but..."; and 3) where aspects of yoga's history were still contested or debated or differed from emic Hindu perspectives, that the multiples views be honored and given space.

If you're in the San Francisco bay area this spring or Cleveland in the summer, it's definitely worth experiencing.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Hindu via HPI - New inscriptions confirm Manickavasagar built temple

Inscriptions Confirm 9th Century Tamil Saint Built Temple  Source   INDIA, February 3, 2014 (The Hindu): Legend has it that Manickavasagar, one of the four Saivite savants, constructed the temple at Avudaiyarkoil, known as Thiruperunthurai, in Pudukottai district. Now the State Archaeology department has stumbled upon inscriptions confirming that Manickavasagar, the Minister of Pandiya King Arimarthana Pandian (862-885 ce), built the sanctum sanctorum and the kanagasabha mandapam. 

"His contribution has been recorded in the form of a poem. The inscriptions, found in the Panchakshara mandapam of the temple built in the 16th century, also record that Thiruvachagam was inscribed on the walls," said G. Muthusamy, registering officer of the department in Tiruchi region. 

Manickavasagar belonged to the 9th century and was said to have used the money meant for buying horses for the cavalry to construct the temple at Thiruperunthurai, one of the ports of the Pandiya Kingdom, after an encounter with Lord Siva. Manickavasagar penned Thiruvachagam and Thirupalliyezhuchi while camping in this temple and referred to it as Thiruperunthurai.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

-- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

I loved my motherland dearly before I went to America and England. After my return, every particle of dust of this land seems sacred to me. -- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

Monday, February 3, 2014

-- Swami Rama Thirtha (1873-1906)

Other religions have all been founded by individuals, but Hinduism is not based on the teachings of any one single person. Before any prophet was born, the Sanatana Dharma was there.-- Swami Rama Thirtha (1873-1906)