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Monthly Archives: January 2017

WISHING YOU ALL COLOURFUL BASANT PANCHAMI ON 1st FEBRUARY 2017

BASANT PANCHAMI

Fairs and festivals are the obvious indications
That a society is on the move together in their celebrations
Some festivals are seasonal in nature
Others are related to beliefs so prevalent
But one thing is common in all of these
People participate in each of these festivals
With a feeling brimming with emotions.

Basant Panchami has religio-seasonal connotations
After people have withstood the chilling cold of winter season
There has begun much awaited  dawn of a season, so  very pleasant

Whence Mother Nature is at its most excellence  .
Wherein a carpet of yellow mustard plants is one of the best attractions

People put on their yellow attire, so gorgeous
And imbue themselves in natural colour – yellow.


There is a legend attached to this festival
Brahma who is the Creator-in-Chief
Happened to see earthwards
He felt very sad on seeing the bare trees
Barren land bereft of any greenery
He scattered some water from His enchanting jar
Lo and behold all
There appeared Goddess Sarswati
The giver of wisdom and scholarship
Music, art and craft and knowledge to imbibe
She too is termed as the Goddess of Basant Panchmi!
Lord Barahma too gifted greenery to the plants in abundance
Bringing in its wake brightness in natural spectacle
And verve and vigor in everybody’s life.

 

Yellow flowers are offered to God
Even our food items exhibit yellowness
With saffron strands giving yellow colour
Emitting fragrance everywhere.
People worship the musical instruments
Art, craft and all the learning mediums
For these are the gifts of Goddess Saraswati
Processions in the honour of the Goddess is taken
To implore Her to bestow us humans the wisdom
And power to find the difference between truth and falsehood
Her four hands symbolize ego, intellect, alertness and the mind
Her white dress is the symbol of purity
And she loves truth of all forms
Her postures of sitting too has vast meaning.
Our humble prayers to Thee O Goddess Sarasvati
The embodiment of learning
We implore Thee to remove illiteracy & ignorance from our midst

And bring forth the dawn of enlightenment
Remove ego as You are the giver of wisdom
And do imbue us all in THY  INDELIBLE COLOUR

***********

 


BASANT PANCHAMI


ASSOCIATED WITH GODDESS SARASATHI


Basant has been taken from Sanskrit word VASANT’ which means Spring. Basant Panchami (fifth tithi) is celebrated in the honour of Goddess Saraswati in different parts of India. She is the divinity of knowledge (music, arts, science etc). We worship the Goddess so that she bestows us necessary knowledge and removes the ignorance from our midst. On this day, people also initiate the education of their small children in their homes or schools besides it is  considered auspicious to start new ventures businesses.


In schools and colleges too, in the morning hours, prayers to Goddess Saraswati are conducted in order to get her graces, blessings for enlightenment and removal of agyan (ignorance). Although whole of the day is considered promising  yet most auspicious time is from sunrise to the midday (which is also termed as the Purvahna Kala) and it is considered as the propitious time to conduct Saraswati Pujan with great reverence and piety for seeking her graces.


FESTIVAL ASSOCIATED WITH DIFFERENT ASPECTS


In some parts of india, farmers conduct earth pujan for more agricultural output from their fields before tilling their fields. People eat sweet rice and put on yellow clothes – yellow colour is associated with Basant Panchami. Dandya dance is also performed on this day in Gujarat state which is also associated with harvesting, sowing and reapting etc. The ploughting implements too are worshipped on this day.


ASSOCIATED WITH KAMADEVA AND RATI


Season-wise, chilling cold season ends and start of more pleasant and enjoyable season starts – Basant Ritu. There is also a tradition that in Basant, there is air of love and affection which is associated with kamadeva and his wife named Rati. When we associate this day with Kamadeva, it means there used to be dance based on love in the royal palaces in which the women folks of the royal leanings and other girls used to dance’  (in their best  attires) in the midst of singing suitable for the occasion – basically on love between Krishna and Radha. People put on yellow attire on this occasion in consonance  with the flowering of yellow tamarind  crops. It seems as though the Mother Nature has spread a yellow coloured cloth with seasonal flowers. There is also fragrance of flowers all around.

 


Basant Panchami is also called as Shree Panchami and Sufi which is observed in Sufi shrines. This festival is also celebrated in different parts of India though slightly differently. People enjoy kite flying, – Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, etc,  Eastern India including Bengal wherein Saraswathi idol is immersed in Ganga.


PRAYER TO LORD SHIVA AND LORD VISHNU AND SUN GOD

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People in different relgions also worship Lord Shiva and Godess Parvati including Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi and offer flowers including Sun God and other offerings for their wellbeing. Devotees and compassionates also feed the needy on this occasion.


It is not merely Hindus who celebrate BASANT PANCHAMI.


Saint Nizamuddin Aulia was famous for his generosity, compassion and simplicity coupled with humane heart. There used to be Langar at dargah where food was served to all. When his nephew died, he felt so saddened that he stopped all the activities. Then Amir Khusrau wanted to bring him to his normal state. While seeing the women putting on their yellow attire, with colourful flowers, he also put on yellow clothes and flowers and went in front of the Saint. Upon seeing Khuarau in that dress, the Saint smiled. Hence Basant Panchami too is celebrated in Dargah of Saint Nizamuddin Aulia.


The Sikhs too celebrate Basant Panchami. Basant  Raga or Spring Raga (composition) forms one of the well-known Ragas in Sri Granth Sahib Sahib Ji and sung with great reverence. The marriage of Guru Gobind Singh was solemnized on the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Inner Thoughts

 

ON GENERAL BELIEFS ETERNAL TRUTH

BELIEF ON GOD & OTHER BELIEFS

 

Beliefs are formed, in general

By the people

On following certain traditional modes of behavior

Certain beliefs are firmed

After these are transferred

From generation to generation

With utmost love and affection

Some old beliefs are considered most potent

While the others lose their importance

With passage of time or space

But the ones which are considered enduring

Are etched in the memory of people remain continuing

Even time do not lessen

Their eternal sheen.

One belief that outshines all other beliefs we dearly go after

Because this belief is the belief on our most dearest One amongst all

That is the belief on our dearest God.

Other beliefs just continue to flourish

And are religiously followed

By the societies around

With verve and vigor at our command.

All other principles and beliefs

May be dented and may undergo some changes

Evolve as the time passes

Some beliefs fall by the wayside

And fade into oblivion

Because these beliefs have lost their relevance

Which is proved by empirical evidence.

********** .

The traditional beliefs, principles, doctrines which the people would like to continue – despite their ill-effects sometimes. The thought that prompted me to write about these was the instant reaction that was witnessed in the state of Tamil Nadu (India) after the Apex Court intervened for discontinuation of Jallikattu, a bull sport on the occasion of Pongal (harvesting thanksgiving) considering it a cruelty to animals because the bulls are forcefully intoxicated and sometimes chilly powder is sprinkled in their eyes for maddening them. The protests against the decision of the Apex Court, especially spearheaded by the youth was obviously peaceful based on non-violence (Gandhian in fact) and the Government was constrained to issue ordinance otherwise the protests could have spiraled out of control which unfortunately it did on the last day of the protests by the youth.

Although this traditional sport was started during 400 – 100 BC in order to showcase courage and strength and for that a lot of practice went into this for taming the bulls. When tradition is inbuilt in the hearts and minds, the Government in power have to intervene to listen perforce and yield to the wishes of the general masses; which it was done. But a belief when crosses the limit and borders on cruelty to the animals then something tangible has to be done to alleviate the pain caused to the bulls during the sports. Beliefs and traditions can flourish only when these are in consonance with natural justice and fair-play.

In effect, different societies and regions differentiate in their cultural forms or beliefs of behavior. The traditional modes of practices are spearheaded with humane, moral and ethical overtones and transferred from generation to generation liberaly. There is attachment of huge sense of pride in following such beliefs/principles held dear. How a belief or tradition takes its root depends on the fact beliefs and faiths along with the value system that our parents feed us in our childhood periods. But care ought to be exercised that the childhood conditioning should not remain static, it should change in its methodology and evolve as per change In time and present scientific temper.

But with the passage of time, some beliefs and practices are felt to be redundant and hence banned. The tradition of Sati Pratha and widdow burning beside child marriage, honor killing, infanticide of females practiced in some parts of India, among other practices have been banned.

Beliefs and principles which have continued cutting across religious caste lines are considered beneficial for enhancing inter-religious goodwill and brotherly feelings. It is also true that the continuing of beliefs and traditional practices bestow the requisite impetus and security to the concerned societies.

Some traditional beliefs and practices which still continue to be practiced are enumerated below:-

THE AGHORI SADHUS. Aghoris are the Hindu Sect members who generally worship Lord Shiva and live near the cremation grounds. They are having belief that everything they do within their power and nothing is considered sacrosanct for them including drinking alcohol / drugs and eating the dead human flesh. This may seem bizarre but it is true. In fact, they live on the dead bodies; eat their flesh, put on the clothese the dead bodies are put on by their relatives including the use of burning pyre for keeping them warm besides for other purposes.

BABY TOSSING. This practice has been followed in Solapur (Maharashiretra state) where the parents toss their babies from the foot tower and the thrown babies are held / caught on the ground with the help of a sheet by others.

WALKING ON THE BURNING COAL. There is a belief that those who walk on the red-hot burning coal are cured from their diseases due to which some get their feet burnt and forced to get medical help. Still this practice continues.

Crossing the sea. Previously journey across the sea was considered unholy. For example Swami Vivekananda was not allowed to enter the temple after he came back from America where he had gone to attend a Religious Conference and where he delivered his famous speech on Hinduism. But this belief is not being practicised because of globalization and considered irrelevant.


MARRIAGE WITH TREE. It is believed that according to astrology when there is MANGAL DOSHA in their horoscope in respecitve houses then it is suggested that in order to lessen the adverse affects of mangal dosha they should get married firstly with a tree by chanting of vedic mantras.

LATH MAR HOLI. I have seen lath mar holi in Mathura (the birthplace of Lord Krishna) where women folk beat their male partner with a stick and the partners save themselves with shields.

ENTRY OF WOMEN IN TEMPLES. There are some holy places of worship where the women entry is banned due to one reason of other. In some cases like Shanidham in Shignapur, Sabarimala temple and Haji Dargah (both in Maharashtra) women entry has been allowed due to the judicial intervention of the Court. Yet the entry in Lord Ayyappa temple, Patbausi Salra Assam, Lord Kartikaya temple, Pushkar etc is still not allowed.

THE SYSTEM OF BELIEF OF RELIGIONS. Strongly religious people would like to continue to religiously follow the religious oriented beliefs given in their respective religious texts and tenets. It has also been observed that those who are affulient are less prone to follow religious beliefs to be book. It is also observed that the modernity and scientific temper has markedly made the people to question the advocacy of the ancient beliefs held dear. Following ones religious belief is all right but without impinging on the others to follow their own religious beliefs held dear by them. Intolerance of any sort is really irreligious because all the religions teach us as to how to reach to our SINGLE SOURCE.

THE PRINCIPLES OF CASTES. Manu (the law giver and architect of Hindu society) divides Hindus into four Varnas – also grading these by their respective professions/occupations.

The variation of the occupation was considered as beneficial for the society as a whole. These Varnas are:-

  1. The ones connected with knowledge. They are assigned the task of having scriptural knowledge and also how best to spread the same.
  2. Connected with power and hence are assigned the duties of ruling and administration.
  3. They are associated with wealth
  4. They were assigned the task of serving all the three Varnas.

Notwithstanding the varieties of functions assigned to different VARNA, with the universal spread of education, the caste system which was hitherto being followed has lost its luster. Now a Shudra could study and follow any profession to which he is profession. A Vaishya could change could enroll in defence or a Brahmin could adopt any other trade of occupation just divergent to his VARNA.

THE SYSTEM OF BELIEF OF CULTURAL TRADITIONS. There are certain belief which are difficult to be erased from people psyche. These principles are dear to people. The festivals connected with religious orientation/overtones or connected with seasons remain. The religious festivals such as Dussehra, Shivratri, Janamashthmi, Diwali, lohri, Ieds, Christmas Day celebrations, Basant Punchami, Holi, Prakash Utsavs etc.

THE TENETS OF FAMILIES. There are the principles held dear which are particular to individual families purely based on family traditions and modes of behaviour. Family customs and traditions such as worshiping the family deities, observing shradh ceremonies for the dead ancestors, observing religious tenets etc.

THE THOUGHTS ON POLITICS. In politics there are the people who follow different political philosophies. For example, communist party, liberals, democratic, BJP, Congress, or other regional parties have their own agendas etc follow different sets of principles. All of them offer their manifestos and ask people to vote for them.

ABSOLUTE TRUTH

Traditional beliefs, doctrines and principles held dear could change with the passage of time but one thing hardly changes and that is belief on our Creator. Different people can have varieties of beliefs, principles, doctrines which could undergo any change due to evolution in thought but there is only one truth about God which hardly changes in time or space. All the religions are pointers to indicate that there is only one ABSOLUTE TRUTH. All the practices and beliefs lose their importance when we talk about God – eternal truth. Faiths, principles and practices are merely pathways to reach that SOURCE. It is OCEAN OF ABSOLUTE TRUTH in which all the rivers in the forms of different faiths flow. When we establish our connectivity with this ETERNAL SOURCE with sincerity in our meditation/prayer and thus the ETERNAL SOURCE gives us eternal joy and eternal peace.

 

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Inner Thoughts

 

Why Inner Peace Is Missing Despite Availability Of All The Comforts Of Life And How To Bring About Tranquility In Our Life Despite Hurdles?

Why Inner Peace Is Missing Despite Availability Of All The Comforts Of Life And How To Bring About Tranquility In Our Life Despite Hurdles?

In our life span, we must have come across different people with different temperaments, different financial background, different way of demeanour meaning every individual is different in some way or the other. But some are excessively mindful about their state of affairs, they take everything serious. Even a slight deviation from their bent of mind makes them markedly off-the-track and could not only dangerous for themselves but also for others around. The incident of 8th Jan 2017, in which a 38 years, former Merchant Navy Officer killed his father, barged into the neighbour’s flat and blows up his flat by switching on the LPG supply. Besides creating law and order problems for the police and mayhem for the entire neighbourhood.

The above incident is a pointer to the limit a person could go if the pent up aggression is not controlled when required. The aggression exhibited by the individual is also a stark reminder for the parents that the cocktail of pent-up anger and depression could spell havoc not only for the individual, family but also the society. It goes to prove that our financial position, material possessions etc has got no relevance as far as mental peace is concerned.

CONSCIOUS EFFORT IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR

First and foremost thing is to have an awareness of the changes that are needed for living a peaceful life. We need material possessions for a living, within which we can live peacefully, but when we make this as a be-all and end-all then disruption of peace starts. We have to be fully aware that we as individuals are more important than the materials we need for our sustenance. We lose peace of mind when we attach too much importance to anything or everything. For this, a conscious effort has to be made to get rid of ill-conceived sadistic thinking and consciously introspect on my virtues. This way, we can challenge our vices and bring about the dawn of value based living and virtuous life.

IS SPIRITUALITY THE ANSWER TO PEACE IN LIFE?

Till such time we are self aware thereby challenge the unsavory mindset which has taken a deep root in our system, it is difficult to achieve peace. Here mere detachment from the material possessions will not be the right answer. We have to go beyond this. Delving deep to draw out vices is a must before adopting a spiritual bent of mind. Living spiritually, merely through chanting or prayer or meditation with all the vices in ourselves is not the answer. We’ve to make a conscious effort to realize the importance of our SOUL which is basically a virtuous being; beyond all self created differentiations. Hence the need of the hour is to eradicate all ill-gotten bad tendencies or vices like anger, greed, animosity, covetousness, lust / yearning for everything that attracts unreasonably, excessive attachment, ego etc, we cannot lift ourselves from the quagmire in which we are living presently. By shedding negativity, we can make our path smooth for our spiritual journey and its result would be mental peace and satiety.

If I tend to live a life with outer wrap of virtues and value system but inwardly I am stinking with all vices then will I be able to attain that elusive peace? Absolutely not. In daily routines, we come across such people who through their lofty ideals impress us but when we come to know about their real self, we are in for a shock which and would change our opinion for that person. There are several examples of so called great visionaries but in actual practice such people themselves are very insecure from within with tension abounding. Hence cleansing from within ourselves is a must, spirituality and its good affect will come on its own. If every job we undertake is done with a missionary zeal and with spiritual inclination then sure enough there would be ample peace of mind.

Spirituality is actually detachment from the fruits of our action as enshrined in Bhagwad Gita. We can perform our action with sincerity at our command and without wasting any time for thinking about the result of our Karma. Thinking about the result of our action makes us fearful and thereby we shall not be able to even concentrate on our action we take in hand.

It is pity that we go to places of worship and start begging for something from our Creator rather than offering our love to our Creator and thanking him for all the bounties He has given us. If we offer our prayers with focused attention then results would be to our liking ultimately and that too without attachment to the results of our action. It should also be kept in mind that God is Omniscient – for His worship, no fixed place is a needed. No fear about the result of our action means no pressure or stress while we are fulfilling our aspirations and ambitions.

TO BE SEEKER ALWAYS

It should always be kept in mind that knowledge could be gained at anytime and from anybody, but for this, need is to keep the doors of our mind open to receive the same. For this, what to be learnt and what to be avoided should also be known. Avidya results in erecting road blocks in our path. Every day is a new opening for attainment of knowledge.

When one says, he has learnt everything, it means he is either an egoist or a person who is exaggerating about his acquired know-how. We as humans, have the vast treasure of scriptural knowledge enshrined in different religious granths (scriptural texts) which can quench our thirst as a seeker and enlighten us. But knowledge attained have to be utilized meaningfully in day to day life should also be remembered. We should not be Ravana of today by using our knowledge against others otherwise it will boomerang on us only as happened against demon king Ravana. Besides, the knowledge we gain by personal interaction with whosoever we have chance meeting, will in fact, be of immense value for us.

Therefore, we can have learning experiences – something from anything, anywhere and everywhere. What matters is our inner quest, zeal and enthusiasm. This learning process and knowledge gained when used will bestow us with sagacity when utilized judiciously will bring about resilience and finally peace of mind.

LIVING SPIRITUALLY IS POSSIBLE ONLY WHEN

1. When one is true to self. The first and the foremost important thing in life is to be self aware – by knowing our plus points and weaknesses. It could be attained through self analysis, mincing nothing at all. Sincerity in self study will help us immensely – in plugging the loopholes in us and steadily pushing ahead with zeal and enthusiasm.

2. When one is free from external pulls and pressures through self belief and belief on God. In life, nobody can say he/she is without pulls and pressures due to one reason or the other. It may be due to our family problem, office work pressure, maladjustment in the society, psychological and many a times physiological problems among others. Can we be oblivious to these? Absolutely not. But one thing is for sure, we can keep ourselves cool despite various pulls and pressures by not yielding ourselves to thse. Self belief and belief on God will be of immense help for us.

3. Self belief could do wonders for us. The cases of Lance Armstrong and cricketer Yuvraj Singh who were afflicted with dreaded cancer disease but both the players started their respective careers after treatment. It was due to positive outlook/attitude, motivation, self belief besides belief on God. On 18th January 2017, Yuvraj Singh smashed 150 runs and became man of the match – which helped in winning the match against English cricket team.

4.When one is detached from inner conflicts based on our desires. If we nurture unbridled desires, we tend to be prisoners and slaves to these desires and if these are not controlled and kept within limit, these could create more inner conflicts and contradictions thus coming in the way of inner peace and tranquility.

5. When one has control over mind and senses. Day before yesterday, while I was about to enter a temple, I felt surprised when I heard a voice: ‘We do not feel cold’ – while actually it was a pinching cold that day. It goes to show, it is how you react to a situation which counts. There are the people who, despite having all the comforts available but still are not satisfied or may be they feel still ‘more’ to placate their senses. Or worse still, they have everything to eat but cannot digest what is available. Or every cloth to put on but still feel the cold-pinch because their mind and the senses are not in their control.

6. When perception and acceptance has equanimity. There are times when we identify ourselves with something but do we make that perceived thought compatible with day to day routines. Or maybe, we grudgingly accept our own viewpoint thus put ourselves in quandary and in confused state which results in loss of peace ultimately.

7. When we remain tranquil / equanimity despite hurdles. How best to attain this tranquil mindset is the question? It could not be attained merely through day dreaming or through wishful thinking. It has to be attained by going through the journey of life undergoing ups and downs, getting experience from our failings by accepting challenges that life throws on us till such time we reach to a stage when failures and successes hardly matter but our efforts continue to push us up. Even at the pinnacle of success, we should not be ensnared by the hydra of ego. .

8. KEEP OURSELVES AWAY FROM OUR EGO. When Ego Takes Root, Our Deceleration Process Starts –This Truth Should Never Be Forgotten.

9.JOY OF GIVING. One of the best feeling of joy that we get is through giving and meeting others’ needs. In this process, it becomes a source of peace and tranquility for us.

10. Ending Enduring Confusion. All the confounding confusions that we nurture due to our mindset could be removed by facing challenges that ‘time’ throws on us. The clarity thus attained, through self-effort could bring about clarity in our insight which will help in removing the enduring confusion rampant in our system and solidify the roots of peaceful existence in us.

From the above, it could conclusively be said that if we want an enduring peace and tranquility in our life, we have to remove conditioned thoughts impinging on our life, remove rampant skepticism impacting our life’s forward march besides leading a life full of dynamism and courage thus live with self belief and belief in God ultimately for eternal peace.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2017 in Inner Thoughts

 

HAPPY LOHRI & MAKKAR SANKRANTI : ON 13TH & 14TH RESPECTIVELY

HAPPY LOHRI & MAKKAR SANKRANTI : ON 13TH & 14 RESPECTIVELY

CELEBRATION OF LOHRI (ON 13th JANUARY 2017)

LOHRI FESTIVAL

Every festival is associated with some legendary figure – well known

Or a particular season
Or definitive & popular occasion
Which affords us chance for celebration
With our nears and dears participation
In which we share our joys with huge elation.

Lohri is a winter festivals of repute
Falls in the month of January – desi month of Paush
Marks the beginning of end of winter season
And start of hot days ahead soon.

For farmers it is one of the happiest occasion
For they start harvesting seasonal crop – rabi crops
Start of Spring Season is a Natural bounty
Adds additional spice to the festivities.
(Rabi Crop: Wheat, Gram, Pea, Mustard, Linseed, Barley, Peas)

Traditionally on Lohri Day a bonfire is lit
People congregate around it
And reverently offer, Jaggery (gur), sesame seeds (til)
Sesame coated sugar candy and popcorn are put into leaping bonfire
The skyward leaping fire
The bonfire too demonstrates that it is enjoying all acts of hers
Gathering partake the sacred parsad (offerings)
With satiety mixed with joy writ large in everybody’s face.
Offerings too is made to ‘PANJ TATAVAS’ – five elements
Fire, water, ether, earth and wind
Going around the bonfire with great reverence
And singing traditional songs with dance makes the festivities more charming
And that too in tune with beating of drums

Children enjoy it all most immensely.

Tradition has it that there was a very brave person of repute
Named Dulla Bhatti from lineage of warrior race of the Rajputs
In the reign of Mughal king Akbar
He used to rescue poor girls from the clutches of robbers
And got them married to suitable boys
People sing Lohri songs with highest reverence
And shower utmost admiration to the courageous one.

Thence another legend of the origin of Lohri
Connected with Saint Kabir and his wife named ‘Loi’
Herself a lady so pious
Kabir was  lovesick for his spouse
At pitch dark night, when the house was locked from inside
On the first floor she was peacefully sleeping just fitfully
He took the help of a rope, just dangling nearby
To climb to reach her place
When asked by his doting wife how he had entered
He took her to show her the rope for an easy climb
Whilst she saw that in person
She was aghast to find a huge python dangling
Which was taken as an help for entering
Then she scolded her husband
With the pithy and terse words
So much so you’re so obsessed for her love
That you took a huge python for a rope!
Wish that you possessed the same attraction & passion
For the God in the Heaven
Then you would have  ensured your salvation
This way Kabir got a most suitable lesson
He determined for total devotion to (God) Bhagwan
And earned him the image of renowned ‘Saint Kabir’
Who is revered by the people in general

For his pearl of wisdom-filled (dohas) verses, so engrossing.

India being a home to multicultural, multilingual and multi-religious society. We  can take pride in having different festivals. These festivals are season based, tradition based, culture based, religious based or National festivals like Independence Day  & Republic Day or for that matter any other considerations . But the fervour and enthusiasm that accompanies with these festivals is second to none. It is here that all communities enjoy Eid or Gurpurab or  Diwali or all of us enjoy Christmas Day. That is the beauty – unity in diversity. I do not dispute that hotheads are there in any strata of life who do not know either about their own religious festivals nor of others. One thing which pleases us is the shine on the faces of every one while celebrating any festival! That is more powerful than anything else.

Lohri festival is celebrated in Northern Indian states. It is generally celebrated on 13th January – in the month of Paush or Magha, one day before Makar Sankranti. We term this festival as a community based festival where Bhangra (dance by men folks) and gidha (dance by women folks) to the beats of drums bring verve and gaiety to the celebrations. Seasonal dry fruits like peanuts, jaggery eatables besides milk cakes are specially made and distributed amongst relatives and friends. It is celebrated in Northern States of India like Punjab, Jammu, Haryana, Delhi etc while Sindhi community celebrate it as Lal Loi.

Following are some of the reasons for its celebration:-

SEASON RELATED

 It marks the end of winter and beginning of harvest season. It infuses vitality and zeal in the lives of people – especially the farmers. It symbolizes prayer to fire (Agni puja) in the evening. People take a few parikarma (rounds) around the bonfire and shower offerings to fire. Special bounties are asked for the wellbeing and prosperity besides peace in the entire households. Newly wedded couples and newly born receive special attention on this festival. Those families who  are blessed with their offspring and the ones whose sons or daughter’s marriage was held during the year, distribute sweets amongst neighbours and friends.

LEGEND.

The legend of Dulla Bhatti (Rai Abdullah Khan) is very popular. It is a legend of a Rajput warrior who saved a damsel in distress BELONGING TO HINDU RELIGION from the clutches of lustful robbers. The valiant Rajput adopted her as his own daughter and married her off to a young and suitable Hindu body. He also gave her presents – nine mounds of sugar etc as gift on her marriage. This shows the community feeling during those days. If during those days feeling for each other was rampant then why not now – that is a bit perplexing!

A song is sung for this legend:

Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicharaa ho!
Dullah Bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paata ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chacha gali dese!……

(This song is related to a beautiful girl who was brought up by Dulla Bhatti and he got her married to a suitable boy in her marriage he gave her jiggery measuring one ser. The girl is in her red attire but with torn shawl she is thus married off. Now give us something on Lohri; do anything but give me something and the youth laugh and cry in their own curious way)

LEGEND IN CONNECTION WITH SUN GOD

Lohari marks the beginning of the end of winter season on the final day of Paush. On this day Sun God is worshipped as a thanksgiving for providing us heat.  A special Mantra is chanted in praise of Sun God while circling round the bonfire.

MAKKAR SANKRANT
(ON 14TH JANUARY THIS YEAR)

Lohri too is linked with Makar Sanranti
Celebrated one day after celebration of Lohri

Which too is another winter festival of repute
14th January – indeed very sacred  too
It marks the beginning of solar maagha masa
Makar Sankranti is start of harvest festival
And beginning of pleasant Spring Season

A pleasant of all seasons.

It has its origin to the movement of the earth
Sun movement begins from (Sankranti) one zodiac sign
Into another – Capricorn zodiac (Makar) sign
Two movements are termed as Makar Sakranti.

This day marks the beginning of warmer days
As the sacred months start from this day onwards
Makar Sankranti is celebrated with great fervor
In western and northern India
There is a mention of this day in Mahabharata
As, it is the festival of Sun God
Who gives us light and heat
To living beings without bias
And bestows us divinity and wisdom
Thus holding an eternal meaning.

Makkar Sankranti is celebrated in the month of Paus (January) Makar Sankranti is the day when the Sun God enters the Northern Hemisphere. Hindus like Greeks worship Sun God – the giver of immense energy. Sun God is termed as the manifest God, having all the glorious divinity. It is worthwhile to mention here that Gayatri mantra, which is from Rig-Veda, was specifically made in the praise of Sun God is chanted with great fervor and enthusiasm. Sun God not only  bestows us heat energy but also intelligence and sagacity. It goes to show that Makkar Sankranti is associated with cosmic event which affects the life of humans immensely.

Gyatri Mantra, from RIGVEDA is chanted fervently by the devout:

AUM BHUR BHUAH SWAH, TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM

BARGO DEVASYA DHIMAHI, DHIYO YO NAH PRACHODAYAS

 (We meditate on the glory of God, God who posses huge power, a Creator of everything who gives us happiness, who is pure and purifier, let us embrace that God so that He directs our mental faculties in the right direction).

This festival is celebrated with gaity and fervor in all the parts of India with different names but the enthusiasm remains the same. Devout get up early in the morning, take bath in holy rivers and offer prayers in the temples. After having offered prayers, people give alms to the needy according to their capability. In the afternoon people share a special Kichri (Hotchpotch) made of rice and black dall uradh.

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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Inner Thoughts

 

SACRIFICE – A SACRED ACT OF GIVING

SACRIFICE – A SACRED ACT OF GIVING

 

Whilst we dole out something with detachment

To meet somebody else’s needs

Without any expectations of any kind

Of return back

In cash or in any variety conceivable

But earn immensely

Goodwill aplenty

Of person given graciously

As a an empathy

With a sacred intent

Earning in the process in the end

The bounties of the Almighty God

 

Contrarily, giving something

To anybody, any time

To meet the need

With an undertaking

To pay back that ‘something’

After sometimes

With ample surety

Or with strings attached

Is giving with no sacred intent

For it is egoistically inclined.

 

Ibrahim’s Test of the Sacrifice of Isma`il, and how Allah blessed Him provides us a great lesson in Sacrifice and its true meaning.

Bible: Jesus’ death for us was the perfect sacrifice. God forgives us because Jesus died for us.

 

First of all, it is worthwhile to understand the difference between giving and sacrificing something. When we share something, it is giving – may be on the basis of giving and taking. If I meet somebody’s requirement today, then that person will meet my need in future; on mutual terms and conditions. Sacrifice, on the other hand is also giving but without any anticipation or willingness to take back or there is no agreement of return back. It could be termed as the benevolence or compassion, graciousness of the person concerned which is dear to Almighty God. It could be construed as giving amounting to total surrender by body, tongue and mind.

The word sacrifice has originated from two syllables, in Latin, ‘sacra’ and ‘facere’ which meaning – to perform sacred rites. The significance of the word sacrifice; meaning to give voluntarily, without any coercion with no expectations of return back for serving a better cause. Sacrifice is in fact a sacred act for serving a admirable cause.

The importance of Yajna was highlighted by Modiji, the PM of India, for getting something tangible, we have to foresake or give up something in return. Remonitisation is equavalent to Yajna (sacrifice). He had mentioned that people of India have to withstand some pain for ultimate gain. The people of India sacrificed their comforts for 50 days, standing in queues for getting money at the ATM counters. In the process proving that for ridding the country of fake currency notes by unscrupluous elements, put a plug on the generation of black money by not paying the legitimate taxes, hit on the benami property, stoppage of funding of nefarious acts prejudicial to the interests of the country etc. we all had to sacrifice. When we have to get maximum benefits for long term gains, we have to give up some comforts. It is also a fact that for some gain, we have to undergo some pain in the form of sacrifices.

It could be be consrued that any Karma performed without any expectations by the doer is termed as sacrifice. The significance of sacrifice has been revealed amply, in Ramyana epic, when we quote with highest reverence the services rendered by Ram Bhakta Hanuman Ji, while Sri Ram Ji fought war with demon king Ravana to free Sita Maa from his clutches. His unstinted dedication, devotion to duty besides unparalleled commitment and sacrifice rendered by Hanuman Ji is well known. He is the embodiment of highest knowledge, bravery, power besides imagination of highest order. The prime example of self sacrifice is quoted as an example when we remember the services delivered by Lord Hanuman Ji.

Hindu scripures give description of ritualistic sacrifices made to please Gods and Demi-Gods. Yajna, meaning sacrifice is performed to please God wherein different mantras such as Gyatri Mantra, Maha Marunjya Mantra are chanted to offer obeisence to Sun deity and Lord Shiva respectively to get ultimate gain spiritually.

  • Significance of sacrifice for spiritual advancement. If we want that we advance spiritually, it is paramount that we sacrifice our own comforts and render service to the needy without any expectation in return. This way we as humans can render selfless services to the needy fellow beings with the avowed notion that service to humankind is the best one and essential for spiritual forward march.
  • Supreme sacrifice. Supreme sacrifice is consciously taking the risk one’s own life, to save the life of living being (s) struggling for life, beyond the dharma to protect one’s own life unmindful of the consequences, including death. It could also be called as a service for which one is paid for the risk taking in the line of duty.
  • Saints / Gurus as an epitome of immense sacrifice. Saints / Gurus are the special messengers of Almighty God to spread His message without even an iota of expectation of any return whatsoever. They give their precious time and energy to spiritually energise the others’ spirits/souls even suffering in the process. History is the guide to enlighten us in the context.
  • Students sacrifice their internet or tv time for studies. Students have to devote their time and focused attention in order to garner maximum benefit from the studies. This way, they’ll have to sacrifice their time being hitherto utilized on entertainments etc. and invest on studies otherwise.
  • Parents sacrifice their comforts to give quality time to their children. In order to give value system to their offspring, the parents, especially the mother, sacrifice their precious time and energy including all their comforts. This invariably helps the children to imbibe the traditional, cultural, moral and ethical modes of behavior which help them in their future life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Inner Thoughts