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HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 18-1.

18. HANUMAN JAYANTI-1.

Yatra yatra raghunatha kirtanam;

Tatra tatra kritha masthakanjalim;

Bhaspavaari paripurna lochanam;

Maarutim namata raakshasanthakam


MEANING :-

“We bow to Maruti, Sri Hanuman, who stands with his palms folded above his forehead, with a torrent of tears flowing down his eyes wherever the Names of Lord Rama are sung”.


SRI HANUMAN is worshipped all over India—either alone or together with Sri Rama.

Every temple of Sri Rama has the murti or idol of Sri Hanuman. Hanuman is the Avatara of Lord Shiva.

He was born of the Wind-God and Anjani Devi.

His other names are Pavanasuta, Marutsuta, Pavankumar, Bajrangabali and Mahavira.


Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...


HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 17-10.

17. GITA JAYANTI-10.


1. Take a resolve on Gita Jayanti that you will read at least one discourse of the Gita daily.

2. Recite the  Fifteenth Discourse before taking your meals.

3. This is done at the Sivanandashram.



4. Keep a small pocket-sized edition of the Gita with you at all times.

5. Mark a few verses in it which inspire you.

6. Everyday, while you are waiting for your bus or train,

or whenever you have a little leisure,

pull out the book and read these slokam-s.

7. You will be ever inspired.



8. May you all lead the life taught by the Gita!

9. May the Gita, the blessed Mother of the Vedas, guide and protect you!

10. May it nourish you with the milk of the ancient wisdom of the Upanishads!

11. Glory to Lord Krishna, the Divine Teacher!

12. Glory to Sri Vyasa, the poet of poets, who composed the Gita!

***May his blessings be upon you all!***


Next : 18. HANUMAN JAYANTI


Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...



HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 17-9.

17. GITA JAYANTI-9.


Thus, between two slokam-s  of the Gita, this slokam is recited twice.

This is an extremely efficacious method of earning the Grace of the Lord and the Gita, the Mother.


3. All spiritual aspirants fast the whole day (it is also the Ekadashi).

4. Various competitions are held, especially for small children to manifest their talents in
the recitation of the Gita.

In the case of the slightly older children, they are given a chance to discourse upon the Gita.

This is a wonderful way to of encourage children to study this sacred scripture.

5. In the evening, a special Satsang is held at which learned scholars, Yogis and Sannyasins discourse upon the the holy scripture.

6. Leaflets, pamphlets and books containing the teachings of the Gita, as also translations of the holy scripture, are distributed.

Take a resolve on Gita Jayanti that you will read at least one discourse of the Gita daily.

Recite the Fifteenth Discourse before taking your meals.

This is done at the Siva…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 17-8.

17. GITA JAYANTI-8.

The teachings of the Gita are broad, sublime and universal.

They do not belong to any particular cult, sect, creed, age, place or country.

They are meant for all.

They are within the reach of all.

The Gita has a message for the solace, peace, freedom, salvation and perfection of all human beings.

At the Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, the holy and auspicious Gita Jayanti is observed every year on a grand scale : -


1. All the aspirants wake up at 4 am and do meditation on the Lord.

2. From sunrise to sunset there is unbroken recitation of the Gita.

The Samputa-method is used, that is, before and after each verse of the Gita, the following Samputa is recited  : -


Sarva   dharmaan   parityajya   maamekam   sharanam   vraja;


Aham   twa   sarvapaapebhyo   mokshayishyaami   maa s  hucha.


Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...







SWAMI  SIVANANDA ASHRAM RISHIKESH

VALMIKI JAYANTI :

1. Today is Valmiki Jayanti.

2.  Sri Valmiki, was an  ancient Bharathiya, and Maharishi.

3. Maharishi was  the  Author  of  Sri  Ramayanam.

4.  Sri Ramayanam,  not  only  an  Epic;  but  also  the first Classical  poetry / poyam  ( Kavyam ).

5.  Maharishi, hence ,  the  first Poet of  Bharatham  too.

6.  Maharishi,  himself  an  actor  in  this Epic.

7.  Because  of  the  very  high  standard  of  writing,  this  Epic  has  been  translated  from  the  original  Sanskrit  to  various  languges  of  Bharatham.

8.  Maharishi's  other  contribution  is  "Yogavasishtam".

9.  Sri  Ramayanam  has  infuenced  through  out  Bharatham  at  great  extent.

10. Transformation of Dacoit Ratnakaran  to  'Valmiki'.

11.  Ratnakaran  was  living  by  dacoity  of  the  travellaers  in  the  forests.

12.  One  day,  many  Maharishi-s  came  across  Ratnakaran,  he  was  attempting  to  grab  things  from  the Rishimuni-s.

13. Then Rishi-s  asked him  for  whom  he  is  doing  this…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 17-7.

17. GITA JAYANTI-7.

Read the whole of the Gita on Sundays and other holidays.

Study carefully again and again the slokam-s in the second discourse, which deal with the state of the Sthitaprajna (a perfected Yogi and sage).

Also study the eight nectarine slokam-s in the twelfth discourse.



The study of the Gita alone is sufficient for the purpose of scriptural study.

You will find in it a solution to all your problems.

The more you study it with devotion and faith, the deeper will your knowledge become, the more penetrative would be your insight, and the clearer your thinking.

Even if you live in the spirit of one verse of the Gita, all your miseries will come to an end and you will attain the goal of life—immortality and eternal peace.



None but the Lord can bring out such a marvellous and unprecedented book, which grants peace to its readers, and which guides them in the attainment of supreme bliss.


Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...




HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 17-6.

17. GITA JAYANTI-6.

It is a matter of great regret that many young men and women of India know very little of this most unique scripture.

One cannot consider oneself as having attained a good standard of education if one does not have a sound knowledge of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita.

All post-graduate knowledge, all research in universities is mere husk or chaff when compared to the wisdom of the Gita.

Live in the spirit of the teachings of the Gita. Mere talks or lectures will not help you in any way. Become a practical “man-of-the-Gita”.



The Gita may be summarised in the following seven Slokam-s : -

1. “Uttering the one-syllabled Om, the Brahman, and remembering Me, he who departs, leaving the body thus, attains the Supreme Goal”.

2. “It is meet, O Lord, that the world delights and rejoices in Thy praise; the demons fly in fear to all quarters, and all the hosts of Siddhas bow to Thee!”

3. “With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads and mouths everywhere, with ears everywhere, H…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 17-5.

17. GITA JAYANTI-5.

Mark carefully how the Gita stresses again and again this lofty message.

The Lord declares : -

“Keep thou thy mind in Me, in Me place thy reason”.


In another verse He says : -

“Therefore, at all times remember Me and fight. You will surely attain Me, having thus offered yourself”.



And yet again :-

“Perform thou action, remaining united with Me at heart”.


The Gita guides you to glory with the watchwords : -

“Be thou divine-minded, devoted to Me as your goal, and let your subconscious mind be divine”.


The Lord gives the following firm assurance also: “I become the saviour from this mortal world for those whose minds are set on Me”.



Such is the most illuminating message of the Gita, seeking to lead man to a life of perfection even while performing his ordained role here.

 Long has this message been neglected by man.

Forgetting the Lord, the world has turned towards sense indulgence and mammon.

A terrible price has been paid.



O man, enough of this forgetfulness!  

The…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 17-4.

17. GITA JAYANTI-4.

The voice of the Gita is the call of the Supreme.

It is the divine sound explained.

The primal source of all existence, all power, is the manifested sound, Om.

This is the Divine Word.

It is Nada Brahmam, whose unceasing call is :-

“Be ye all ever merged in the eternal, unbroken, continuous consciousness of the Supreme Truth.”

This is the sublime message that the great Gita elaborates and presents in all comprehensiveness and in a universally acceptable form.

It is verily this message of the Bhagavad Gita that I wish to recall and reproclaim with emphasis to you.



To be always conscious of the Divine, to ever feel the Divine Presence, to live always in the awareness of the Supreme Being in the chambers of your heart and everywhere around you, is verily to live a life of fullness and divine perfection on earth itself.

Such constant remembrance of God and such an attitude of mind will release you forever from the clutches of Maya and free you from all fear.

To forget…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 17-3.

17. GITA JAYANTI-3.

The Gita is a source of power and wisdom.

It strengthens you when you are weak, and inspires you when you feel dejected and feeble.

It teaches you to embrace righteousness and to resist unrighteousness.


The Gita is not merely a book or just a scripture.

It is a living voice carrying an eternally indispensable and vital message to mankind.

Its verses embody words of wisdom coming from the infinite ocean of knowledge, the Absolute Itself.


The voice of the Gita is the call of the Supreme.

It is the divine sound explained.

The primal source of all existence, all power, is the manifested sound, Om.

This is the Divine Word.

Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...



HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 17-2.

17. GITA JAYANTI-2.

The Gita is the most beautiful and the only truly philosophical song.

It contains sublime lessons on wisdom and philosophy.

It is the “Song Celestial”.

It is the universal gospel.

It contains the message of life that appeals to all, irrespective of race, creed, age or religion.



The Gita was given to us about six thousand years ago through Arjuna, an Indian prince, by
Sri Krishna, the Lord incarnate.

The teachings are based on the Upanishads, the ancient, revealed metaphysical classics of India.

The Gita shows a way to rise above the world of duality and the pairs of opposites, and to acquire eternal bliss and immortality.

It is a gospel of action.

It teaches the rigid performance of one’s duty in society, and a life of active struggle, keeping the inner being untouched by outer surroundings, and renouncing the fruits of actions as offerings unto the Lord.

Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...



HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 17-1.

17. GITA JAYANTI-1.

THE GITA Jayanti, or the birthday of the Bhagavad Gita, is celebrated throughout India by all the admirers and lovers of this most sacred scripture on the eleventh day (Ekadashi) of the bright half of the month of Margaseersha (December-January), according to the Hindu almanac.

It was on this day that Sanjaya narrated to King Dhritarashtra the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, and thus made the glorious teachings of the Lord available to us, and to people of the world, for all time.



The Gita Jayanti marks one of the greatest days in the history of mankind.

Nearly six thousand years ago on that day a dazzling flash of brilliant light lit up the firmament of human civilization.

That flash, that marvellous spiritual effulgence, was the message of the Bhagavad Gita, given by the Lord Himself on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

Unlike ordinary flashes of light which die away after a split-second, this brilliant flash of that memorable day has continued to shine t…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 16-10.

16. GANESH CHATURTHI -10.

In the Ganapathi Upanishad, Ganesha is identified with the Supreme Self.

The legends that  are connected with Lord Ganesha are recorded in the Ganesha Khanda of the Brahma Vivartha Purana.



On the Ganesh Chaturthi day, meditate on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha early in the morning, during the Brahmamuhurta period.

Then, after taking a bath, go to the temple and do the prayers of Lord Ganesha.

Offer Him some coconut and sweet pudding.

Pray with faith and devotion that He may remove all the obstacles that you experience on the spiritual path.

Worship Him at home, too.

You can get the assistance of a pundit.

Have an image of Lord Ganesha in your house.

Feel His Presence in it.



Don’t forget not to look at the moon on that day; remember that it behaved unbecomingly towards the Lord.

This really means avoid the company of all those who have no faith in God, and who deride God, your Guru and religion, from this very day.



Take fresh spiritual resolves and p…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 16-9.

16. GANESH CHATURTHI -9.

Ganesha and His brother Lord Subramanya once had a dispute as to who was the elder of the
two.

The matter was referred to Lord Shiva for final decision.

Shiva decided that whoever would make a tour of the whole world and come back first to the starting point had the right to be the elder.

Subramanya flew off at once on his vehicle, the peacock, to make a circuit of the world.

But the wise Ganesha went, in loving worshipfulness, around His divine parents and asked for the prize of His victory.



Lord Shiva said, “Beloved and wise Ganesha! But how can I give you the prize; you did not go around the world?”


Ganesha replied, “No, but I have gone around my parents. My parents represent the entire manifested universe!”



Thus the dispute was settled in favour of Lord Ganesha, who was thereafter acknowledged as the elder of the two brothers.

Mother Parvati also gave Him a fruit as a prize for this victory.

Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...



HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 16-8.

16. GANESH CHATURTHI -8.

Seeing all this, the moon in the sky had a hearty laugh.

This unseemly behaviour of the moon annoyed Him immensely and so he pulled out one of His tusks and hurled it against the moon, and cursed that no one should look at the moon on the Ganesh Chaturthi day.

If anyone does, he will surely earn a bad name, censure or ill-repute.

However, if by mistake someone does happen to look at the moon on this day, then the only way he can be freed from the curse is by repeating or listening to the story of how Lord Krishna cleared His character regarding the Syamantaka jewel.

This story is quoted in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Lord Ganesha was pleased to ordain thus.

Glory to Lord Ganesha! How kind and merciful He is unto His devotees!

Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...



HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 16-7.

16. GANESH CHATURTHI -7.

He is the Lord of Ganas or groups, for instance groups of elements, groups of senses,

He is the head of the followers of Shiva or the celestial servants of Lord Shiva.



The Vaishnavas also worship Lord Ganesha. They have given Him the name of Tumbikkai Alwar which means the divinity with the proboscis (the elephant’s trunk).


Lord Ganesha’s two powers are the Kundalini and the Vallabha or power of love.


He is very fond of sweet pudding or balls of rice flour with a sweet core.

On one of His birthdays He was going around house to house accepting the offerings of sweet puddings.

Having eaten a good number of these, He set out moving on His mouse at night.

Suddenly the mouse stumbled—it had seen a snake and became frightened—with the result that Ganesha fell down.

His stomach burst open and all the sweet puddings came out.

But Ganesha stuffed them back into His stomach and, catching hold of the snake, tied it around His belly.

Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...



HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 16-6.

16. GANESH CHATURTHI -6.

Lord Ganesha represents Om or the Pranava, which is the chief Mantra among the Hindus.

Nothing can be done without uttering it.
This explains the practice of invoking Ganesha before beginning any rite or undertaking any project.

His two feet represent the power of knowledge and the power of action.

The elephant head is significant in that it is the only figure in nature that has the form of the symbol for Om.



The significance of riding on a mouse is the complete conquest over egoism.

The holding of the ankusha represents His rulership of the world.

It is the emblem of divine Royalty.



Ganesha is the first God.

Riding on a mouse, one of nature’s smallest creatures and having the head of an elephant, the biggest of all animals, denotes that  anesha is the creator of all
creatures.

Elephants are very wise animals; this indicates that Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom.

It also denotes the process of evolution—the mouse gradually evolves into an elephant and …

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 16-5.

16. GANESH CHATURTHI -5.

Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom and bliss. He is the Lord of Brahmacharins.

He is foremost amongst the celibates.


He has as his vehicle a small mouse.

He is the presiding Deity of the Muladhara Chakra, the psychic centre in the body in which the Kundalini Shakti resides.


He is the Lord who removes all obstacles on the path of the spiritual aspirant, and bestows  upon him worldly as well as spiritual success.

Hence He is called Vigna Vinayaka.

His Bija Akshara (root syllable) is Gung, pronounced to rhyme with the English word “sung”.

He is the Lord of harmony and peace.


Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...



HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 16-4.

16. GANESH CHATURTHI -4.

The following are some of the common Names of Lord Ganesha :-

 Dhoomraketu, Sumukha, Ekadantha, Gajakarnaka, Lambodara, Vignaraja, Ganadhyaksha, Phalachandra, Gajanana, Vinayaka, Vakratunda, Siddhivinayaka, Surpakarna, Heramba, Skandapurvaja, Kapila and Vigneshwara.

He is also known by many as Maha-Ganapathi.



His Mantra is Om Gung Ganapathaye Namah. Spiritual aspirants who worship Ganesha as their tutelary Deity repeat this Mantra or Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah.



The devotees of Ganesha also do Japa of the Ganesha Gayatri Mantra.

This is as follows : -

Tat purushaaya vidmahe

Vakratundaaya dheemahi

Tanno dhanti prachodayaat.


Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...



HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 16-3.

16. GANESH CHATURTHI -3.

When Gauri came to know of this she was sorely grieved.

To console her grief, Shiva ordered His servants to cut off and bring to Him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing

The servants went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position.

The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant’s head was brought before Shiva.

The Lord then joined the elephant’s head onto the body of Ganesha.



Lord Shiva made His son worthy of worship at the beginning of all undertakings, marriages, expeditions, studies, etc.

He ordained that the annual worship of Ganesha should take place on the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadrapada.



Without the Grace of Sri Ganesha and His help nothing whatsoever can be achieved.

No action can be undertaken without His support, Grace or blessing.



In his first lesson in the alphabet a Maharashtrian child is initiated into the Mantra of Lord Ganesha, Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah.

Only then is the alphabet taught.

Sw…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 16-2.

16. GANESH CHATURTHI -2.

Lord Ganesha is the elephant-headed God.

He is worshipped first in any prayers.

His Names are repeated first before any auspicious work is begun, before any kind of worship is begun.

He is the Lord of power and wisdom.

He is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother of Skanda or Kartikeya.

He is the energy of Lord Shiva and so He is called the son of Shankar and Umadevi.

By worshipping Lord Ganesha mothers hope to earn for their sons the sterling virtues of Ganesha.



The following story is narrated about His birth and how He came to have the head of an elephant : -

Once upon a time, the Goddess Gauri (consort of Lord Shiva), while bathing,

created Ganesha as a pure white being out of the mud of Her Body and placed Him at the entrance of the house.

She told Him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath.

Lord Shiva Himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganesha at the gate.

Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha’…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 16-1.

16. GANESH CHATURTHI -1.

SALUTATIONS to Lord Ganesha who is Brahman Himself, who is the Supreme Lord, who is the energy of Lord Shiva, who is the source of all bliss, and who is the bestower of all virtuous qualities and success in all undertakings.


Mushikavaahana modaka hastha,

Chaamara karna vilambitha sutra,

Vaamana rupa maheshwara putra,

Vighna vinaayaka paada namasthe


MEANING: “O Lord Vinayaka! the remover of all obstacles, the son of Lord Shiva, with a form which is very short, with mouse as Thy vehicle, with sweet pudding in hand, with wide ears and long hanging trunk, I prostrate at Thy lotus-like Feet!”


Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals.

This is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha.

It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September).

It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world.


Clay figures of the Deity are made and after being worshipped …

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 15-8.

15. Dattatreya Jayanthi-8.

On Dattatreya Jayanthi, get up at Brahmamuhurta and meditate.

Fast and pray throughout the day.

Do not mix with anybody.

Live in total seclusion.

Forget the body.

Identify yourself with the blissful Self.

Study Dattatreya’s glorious works, namely, the Avadhuta Gita and the Jivanmukta Gita.

 Worship Lord Dattatreya’s (or, your own Guru’s) form.

Take wholesome resolves that you will follow the great teachings of Lord Dattatreya.

You will realise the Self very soon.

At the Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, this day is celebrated every year on a grand scale, in the Dattatreya Temple, on a hillock near the main Ashram.

1. The glorious Image of Lord Dattatreya is duly worshipped, with bathing and flowers.

2. All the spiritual aspirants assemble there, singing the Lord’s Names and glories.

3. Discourses are given by Yogis and Sannyasins, on the life and teachings of Lord Dattatreya during this gathering as well as during the night Satsang at the Ashram. The Avadhuta Gi…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 15-7.

15. Dattatreya Jayanthi-7.

21. A serpent does not build its own hole. It dwells in the holes dug out by others. Even so, an ascetic should not build a home for himself. He should live in a temple or a cave built by others.

22. I learnt from the arrow-maker the quality of intense concentration of mind.

23. The spider pours out of its mouth long threads and weaves them into cobwebs. Then it gets itself entangled in the net of its own making. Even so, man makes a net of his own ideas and gets entangled in it. The wise man should, therefore, abandon all worldly thoughts and think of Brahman only.

24. The beetle catches hold of a worm, puts it in its nest and gives it a sting. The poor worm, always fearing the return of the beetle and sting, and thinking constantly of the beetle, becomes a beetle itself. I learnt from the beetle and the worm to turn myself into the Self by contemplating constantly on It; thus I gave up all attachment to the body and attained liberation.”



The king was high…