गुढीपाडवा (Gudi Padwa) – हिंदू नव वर्ष

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Introduction

The first Holy festival which marks the beginning of the New Year, new month and new day for the Hindus falls on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. It is known as Gudhi Padwa (Maharashtra), Ugadi (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh). [In other parts of country it is celebrated during Nau Roz (Kashmir), Baisakhi (Punjab), Cheti Chand (Sindhi), Naba Barsha (Bengal), Goru Bihu (Assam), Puthandu (Tamil Nadu), Vishu (Kerala)] On this very day Lord Brahma created the Universe. Therefore for Hindus, this day carries special importance. The day is celebrated with an auspicious bath, followed by decorating the doorway with a ‘toran’, performing ritualistic worship and hoisting the Dhwaja or Gudhi. 

Celebrate New Year only on Gudi Padwa!

Presently in Bharat New Year is being celebrated on 1st January as per the Western calendar. Celebration on the eve of the Western New Year includes a lot of malpractices like indulging in eve teasing after drinking, etc. So, instead of beginning the New Year on an auspicious note it begins unpleasantly. To ensure that the beginning of the New Year begins on an auspicious note celebrate it according to the Hindu scriptures, on Chaitra Shuddha Pratipada as per the Hindu lunar calendar, as this date is glorious in all ways – as per the cycle of Nature and it also has historical and spiritual significance. All this contributes to endowing the one celebrating it as per the Hindu scriptures with several benefits. It is the duty of each individual to arrest the loss being caused to the society by emulating the Westerners. 

Hindus! Strive to prove the superiority and eternity of Hindu Dharma!!

As we approach Gudi Padwa, Hindus must take stock of the direction in which they are heading. Sanatan Dharma is important not only from a Hindu viewpoint, but also from the viewpoint of human culture. Hinduism supports the ideology of multiple deities. The concept of multiple deities itself has made human beings tolerant. Even then we come across Hindus who question, ‘What is the need for so many deities?’ Such Hindus do not take any action against those who attack Hinduism or Dharma incessantly in all forms. Such Hindus were sleeping when Christianity was being propagated at the Tirupati temple. Even when the Islamic terrorist activities are posing a constant danger, we find politicians being partial to Muslims in every possible way. Even this does not seem to disturb these Hindus. They are asleep even when the Government is busy enforcing the ‘Temple Takeover Act’, so that it can control all temples and subsequently loot them. 

Hindus seated in important posts find it so imperative to maintain the moods of their so-called ‘secular’ bosses that they don’t even feel the need to talk about the tyranny faced by Hindus. Even the ousting of Kashmiri Hindus does not awaken their conscience. A society, which does not have even this much morality left, is fit for extinction. This is the future for such ‘Janma-Hindus’ (Hindus only by birth, not by action). Thus, be sure that the coming year has more blows in store for the few existing alert Hindus. Hence, these Hindus should get ready to bear and at the same time even to face these blows. They should mentally prepare themselves for the ensuing struggle necessary for the survival of Dharma during the dark hours. The time has come when we have to prove the superiority and the eternity of the values of Dharma through struggle. 

Significance of Gudi Padwa

On this day the Tej and Prajapati frequencies are effective in large measures. During sunrise on this day, the Chaitanya (Divine Consciousness) emitted from these frequencies can be retained for a longer period. 

It is accumulated in the cells of the embodied soul and is used by the embodied soul as and when required. Therefore within 5-10 minutes of sunrise one should perform ritualistic worship of the Gudi. 

Science in the worship of the Gudi

gudi-pujaThe divine consciousness emanating during sunrise, absorbed at that time lasts longer. Thus the Gudi should be worshipped within 5-10 minutes after sunrise! 

On Gudi Padwa, the waves consisting of the fire element (Tej tatva) and the creative element (Prajapati element) are activated on a large scale. The divine consciousness emanating during sunrise, absorbed at that time lasts longer. This consciousness is stored in the body cells and used as required. Hence the Gudi should be worshipped within 5-10 minutes of the sunrise. 

Method of raising the Gudi

gudi-raising01Position of the Gudi: Care should be taken to raise the Gudi next to the main entrance of the house. The spot selected should be on the right side (when sighted from the house) of the entrance. The right side symbolizes active state of the soul. 

1. The place for raising the Gudi should be cleaned and then a Swastik rangoli should be drawn on the ground. Turmeric and vermilion (Haldi-kumkum) should be offered at the center of the Swastik. 

2. While raising the Gudi, the ‘Shiva-Shakti’ element in the Universe should be invoked. This enables all the constituents of the Gudi to accept divine elements. 

3. The Gudi symbolizes the ‘Sushumna nadi’ of our body. Hence, the Gudi should be raised at the entrance. And it should be kept tilted at an angle. – A Scholar. 

Prayer

‘O Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu! Please enable me to absorb the elements of creation, fire and Sun present in the atmosphere. Let the Divine consciousness present in these elements be preserved constantly. Let the energy thus received, be used for my spiritual practice.’ 

Reason for raising the Gudi during war

Gudi is a symbol of victory. Amongst the various qualities of God, ‘Being Victorious’ is one and it symbolizes that God has achieved victory at the outset and at various levels. To symbolize this at every level of war, a Gudi is hoisted. 

 

Celebration of Gudi Padwa

Ablution with oil (abhyangasnan) – an auspicious bath: On this day one should wake up early in the morning and take an oil bath. With an ordinary bath the raja and tama components decrease by 1/1,00,000 % and the sattva component increases by the same amount for a duration of only three hours. However with an oil bath it lasts for four to five hours. An oil bath consists of an oil massage to facilitate the absorption of oil by the skin followed by a warm water bath. Oil should be applied to retain the elasticityof the skin. Warm water is auspicious and pleasing to the body. Bathing after an oil massage retains only that amount of oiliness that the skin and hair require. Hence an oil massage is necessary before a bath. Application of oil after a bath is inappropriate.

 

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Lord Rama: An Ideal

Lord Sri Ram
|| Sri Ram Jay Ram Jay Jay Ram ||

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Lord Rama: An Ideal

The Ideal son: Always obeyed His parents; at times even advised the elders. 

The Ideal brother: Rama-Lakshman’s love is cited as the ideal of brotherly love. 

The Ideal husband: Devoted to His one and only wife. Kings, then, use to have many wives. 

The Ideal friend: He helped Sugreev, Bibhishan and many others during their difficult times. The Ideal King: Followed all codes of conduct for Kings as laid down in our scriptures. 

The Ideal Enemy: Bibhishan refused to perform the last rites of Ravan, his brother. Lord Rama said to him, ‘If you do not do it, I will. He was my brother too!’ 

Maryadapurushottam: He represents the Supreme extent of Righteousness.

Lord Rama’s Human nature

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Lord Rama’s Human Nature

RamayanHe displays emotions of happiness & unhappiness just like humans do. (His melancholy at Sita’s abduction is an example.) Hence, we feel closer to Him than we feel towards other deities. 

The Ramayana in our lives: While Atmaram is the soul principle, Sita is the Great Illusion. Lakshman alludes to the focus on the soul, instead of the worldly. Bharat signifies a seeker engrossed in worship of radiance. Shatrughna is one who destroys the six foes (Shadripus) of the soul. Rama, Sita and Lakshman together stand for spiritual knowledge, devotion and detachment respectively. Hanuman is the activated Kundalini and Ravana the Desire, anger, greed, attachment, vanity and envy. 

Every Incarnation comes to Earth with a specific purpose: The main task of every Incarnation is to destroy evil and establish the Divine Kingdom; but the percentage and proportion of this varies in different Yugas. And, all activities of the Incarnation are centered around this task. 

Killing of Ravana: Ravana was highly learned and possessed knowledge of Righteousness (Dharma). Lord Rama had to destroy him, so that He could protect the embodied souls doing spiritual practice. Lord Rama acquired a gross body to help the souls pursue their spiritual aspirations appropriately. 

Final Liberation: Many embodied souls completed their individual spiritual practice through the path of Knowledge (Dhyanyoga) but since their spiritual practice for the sake of society (Samashti sadhana) was incomplete, their spiritual practice for Final Liberation remained incomplete. In Satya-yuga there was no way to perform spiritual practice for the sake of society and as a result many embodied souls got stuck midway. For their progress and liberation, they were born as monkeys (vanars) during Lord Rama’s time. Some of the Gods who had been cursed were also born during this period as monkeys. In order to make all these embodied souls practice spirituality for the sake of society and their progress, Lord Rama acquired a gross body. 

To set an ideal for the people: Lord Rama set an example through each and every action of His. He explained how an embodied soul can attain Final Liberation by acting in accord-ance with the scriptures. 

He set an example of a Divine Kingdom for the people: When Righteousness (Dharma) manifested in the gross, Unrighteousness (Adharma) also manifested in the gross. Many embodied souls started troubling Sages and others who acted in accordance with the scriptures. During that time Lord Rama protected the Sages and set an example through His own deeds for all kings as to how a Divine Kingdom should be. Lord Rama is an ideal of how selfless, free from desire and impartial a King can be!

Worship of Lord Rama

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Lord Sri Ram

Worship of Lord Rama

Once the stage of worship of the divine principle or deity according to one’s religion (that of the family deity for Hindus) is completed, the spiritual practice (worship) of Lord Rama is useful for many seekers to go from many to One. This is because of Lord Rama’s attributes of being true to His word, devoted to only one wife and attaining the target with just one arrow. 

Ritualistic Worship (Puja):

Since Lord Rama is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, He, too, is worshipped like Vishnu in sixteen steps (shodashopachar puja). Tulasi (sacred and medicinal plant found in India) leaves are essential for His worship. Tulasi has the ability to attract the subtlest pure particles (pavitrakas) of Vishnu. It is even better if one can use Lotuses for the worship. Khir (a sweet delicacy made from milk and rice or vermicelli) or shira (a sweet delicacy made from semolina, pure ghee and sugar) is Lord Vishnu’s favorite sacrament (naivedya). Choosing the substances offered in the worship according to the science of Spirituality helps generate divine consciousness (chaitanya) in the statue, so that it aids one’s spiritual progress.

Attributes of Lord Rama

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Attributes of Lord Rama

Name: Lord Rama’s Name was prevalent even before His birth. After His victory at Lanka, that is, upon demonstrating His Godhood, everyone started addressing Him as Shrirama (Lord Rama).

Ideal in All Respects: Lord Rama is an example of the ideal son, brother, husband, king, friend and enemy.

The Follower of Righteousness (Dharma): Lord Rama observed all decorum prescribed by Dharma; that is why He is referred to as ‘Maryadapurushottam’. Also, honoring one’s word (Ekvachani) and needing just one arrow or shot to find the mark (Ekbani) and having only one wife (Ekpatni) are His well-known attributes.

Lord Rama’s Kingdom (Ramrajya): During Lord Rama’s rule, that is, in the Tretayug it was not Lord Rama alone who was wise, His subjects, too, were prudent. Hence, during His reign not a single complaint was brought to His court.

The real kingdom of Lord Rama dwells within oneself. The implied meaning of this is absolute control over the five sense organs, five motor organs, mind, subconscious mind, intellect and ego by the Rama principle (Atmarama – the soul principle).

Ram Navami

Lord Sri Ram
|| Sri Ram Jay Ram Jay Jay Ram ||

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Introduction

Shriram Navami is celebrated to proclaim the birth of Lord Shrirama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. ‘The nineth day (Navami) in the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra is referred to as Ram Navami. On this day, when the five planets and the sun, etc. were in first house of cancer at noon along with the lunar asterism Pushya, Ramachandra was born in Ayodhya. Several temples of Lord Rama celebrate this festival for nine days beginning from the first day (pratipada) of Chaitra. It is celebrated by periodic readings (parayans) of the Ramayan, organising spiritual discourses (kirtans) and beautifully embellishing Lord Rama’s idol. On the ninth day, in the afternoon a spiritual discourse on Lord Rama’s birth is held. At noon, a coconut draped in a hooded cloak is placed in a cradle and the cradle is rocked. Devotees shower a red, fragrant powder (gulal) and flowers onto it.’

Celebrations of Ram Navami start on Gudi padwa, the first day of Chaitra; and continue for 9 days. During this period, devotees do parayans of Ramayan, recite the Ramarakshastotra, sing bhajans-kirtans in His praise and chant His name.

Celebration of Ram Navami

Ram Sita LaxmanShrirama Navami is called a holy festival (sun) when it is celebrated individually, a religious festival (utsav) when celebrated collectively and when performed individually with a resolve (sankalpa) it becomes a vowed observance (vrat). Also, unlike most vowed religious observances, which are practiced individually, Shrirama Navami is a vowed religious observance undertaken by a group.

Several temples of Lord Rama celebrate this festival for nine days, beginning from Gudhipadva (the first day (pratipada) of the month of Chaitra). It is celebrated by periodic readings (parayans) of the Ramayan, organizing and attending spiritual discourses (kirtans) and beautifully embellishing Lord Rama’s statue. During these nine days, reciting the Ramaraksha prayer (stotra) eleven times daily with a resolve (sankalpa) brings the prayer to fruition, yielding benefits like reduction of speech impairment and other ailments, and gaining prosperity. On the ninth day, that is, on Shrirama Navami a spiritual discourse on Lord Rama’s birth is held in the afternoon. At noon, a coconut, draped in a hooded cloak is placed in a cradle and rocked. The coconut signifies the baby Lord Rama. A red, fragrant powder (gulal) and flowers are showered onto it. Many places in North India host fairs in connection with the festival, culminating in spectacular fireworks on Rama Navami.