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HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 21 - 5.

21. Skanda Sashti - 5.


 There are big temples of Lord Subramanya at Tiruchendur, in Udipi, Palani Hills, in Ceylon and Tiruparankundrum.

The Lord spent His childhood days in Tiruchendur and took Mahasamadhi at Kathirgamam.

If anyone goes to Kathirgamam with faith, devotion and piety, and stay in the temple there for two or three days, the Lord Himself grants His vision to the devotee.

The devotee is filled with rich spiritual experiences.

A big festival is held in the temple every year on Skanda Sashti.

Thousands of people visit the place.

 “Mountains” of camphor are burnt on this occasion.



Skanda Sashti falls in November.

It is the day on which Lord Subramanya defeated the demon Taraka.

Great festivals are held on this day with great pomp and grandeur.

Devotees also do Bhajan and Kirtan on a grand scale.

Thousands are fed sumptuously.

Many incurable diseases are cured if one visits Palani and worships the Lord there.

In South India, the Lord Subramanya’s Lilas are dramatized on the …

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 21 - 4.

21. Skanda Sashti - 4.


In His picture, Lord Subramanya holds a spear in His hand, just as Lord Shiva holds the trident.

This is an emblem of power.

It indicates that He is the Ruler of the universe.

His vehicle is the peacock.

He rides on it.

This signifies that He has conquered pride, egoism and vanity.

There is a cobra under His feet, which indicates that He is absolutely fearless, immortal and wise.

Valli is on His one side, Deivayanai on the other. Sometimes He stands alone with His spear.

In this pose He is known as Velayudhan; this is His Nirguna aspect, which is free from the illusory power of Nature.




The six heads represent the six rays or attributes, namely, wisdom, dispassion, strength, fame, wealth and divine powers.

They indicate that He is the source of the four Vedas, the Vedangas and the six schools of philosophy.

They also indicate His control over the five organs of knowledge as well as the mind.

They denote that He is the Supreme Being with thousands of heads and h…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 21 - 3.

21. Skanda Sashti - 3.


Lord Subramanya is an incarnation of Lord Siva.

All incarnations are manifestations of the one Supreme Lord.

Lord Subramanya and Lord Krishna are one.

Lord Krishna says in the Gita: “....of army generals, I am Skanda”.



The Lord manifests Himself from time to time in various names and forms, for the sake of establishing righteousness and subduing the wicked.


Lord Subramanya is a ray born of the Consciousness of Lord Siva.

Valli and Deivayanai are His two wives.

They represent the power of action and the power of knowledge respectively.

He is the easily accessible Godhead in this dark age of ignorance and godlessness.

In this He is no different from Hanuman.

He gives material and spiritual prosperity and success in every undertaking of His devotees, even if they show a little devotion to Him.

He is worshipped with great devotion in South India.

Lord Subramanya’s other names are Guha, Muruga, Kumaresa, Kartikeya, Shanmukha, and Velayudhan  ....

Swami Siva…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 21 - 2.

21. Skanda Sashti - 2.



    Indra, the chief of the gods, thereupon requested Cupid to go with his wife, Rati, and his companion Vasanta (the season of spring), to Mount Kailas, the abode of Siva.

Cupid carried out the instruction at once, for it was already springtime.

Standing behind a tree, Cupid shot his arrow of passion towards Siva, whilst Parvati was placing some flowers in His hands.

The moment their hands met, Siva experienced a distracting feeling.

He wondered what it was that disturbed His Yoga.

He looked around and saw Cupid crouching behind the tree.


    The Lord opened His “third eye”, the inner eye of intuition, and Cupid was burnt to ashes by the fire that emanated from it. That is why the God of Love is also called Ananga, which means “bodiless”.


    After burning Cupid, the Lord ascertained by His Yogic vision that the birth of Lord Subramanya was absolutely necessary to destroy the powerful Taraka.

Siva’s seed was thrown into the fire which, unable to retain it, threw …

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 21 - 1.

21. Skanda Sashti - 1.

PROSTRATIONS and humble salutations to Lord Subramanya, the Supreme Being, who is the ruler of this universe, who is the in-dweller of our hearts, who is the second son of Lord Siva, who is the beloved of Valli and Deivayanai, who bestows boons easily on His devotees, who is the embodiment of power, wisdom, love and bliss.


    The mighty demon, Tarakasura, had been oppressing the celestial very much.

He drove them out from heaven.

All the gods then went to Brahma to appeal for help.


    Brahma said to the gods, “O Devas, I cannot destroy Taraka, as he has obtained My Grace through severe penance.

But let Me give you a suggestion. Get the help of Cupid, the God of Love. Induce him to tempt Lord Siva, who remains absorbed in His Yoga Samadhi. Let Lord Siva unite with Parvati.

A powerful son, Lord Subramanya, will be born to them. This son will destroy the demon that harasses you.”

Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  .....





HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 20-6.

20. Sankara Jayanthi-6.


    At the background of all these, his devotion to his Guru is super most.

Mark what he says: “Any person who realizes ‘I am That Brahman’ through the unparalleled mercy and glance of the Sadguru, loses all feelings of doubt and, with his mind free from illusion, attains liberation even while living in the body”.

How much efficacy and glory lie in devotion to the Guru!


    Shankara Jayanthi falls on the 5th day of the bright half of Vaisakh (May-June).

On this day, study his works, pray and meditate.

May you be showered with his blessings!

Next : 21. Skanda Sashti

Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  .....





HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 20-5.

20. Sankara Jayanthi-5.

Above all, the philosophy of Shankara is not restricted to the highly intellectual.

It is within the easy reach of even the layman.

With his profound knowledge, all-comprehensive learning, keen intuitive insight and convincing explanations, he has erected the strong edifice of Vedanta, equally accessible to the scholar and the layman.

How effectively he prescribed “Bhaja Govindam” to the scholar who was racking his brains in committing various scriptures to memory!



Vedanta is not the only aspect of philosophy he has preached to the world.

He has entered the heart of every earnest seeker after truth.

He encourages the worship of various forms of the Lord and greatly advocates Bhakti.

Without a tinge of partiality to one form or the other, he has composed innumerable hymns, each brimming with devotion and philosophical truth, each inculcating divine ecstasy and perennial joy even in the tender undeveloped mind.

His untiring work for the welfare of mankind marks him…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 20-4.

20. Sankara Jayanthi-4.

The Founder of the School of Monastic philosophy,  Who is regarded as the Avatara of Lord Shiva.


His victory over other systems of philosophy was not due to a stubborn grip onto his own faith and reasoning without considering the pros and cons of others.

He had mastered even the minutest intricacies of the other theories.

The underlying currents of his thoughts were the foundations of the other systems.

It is for this reason alone that his philosophy was recognized with much reverence by all the other schools of thought, despite differences in their superstructure.


The secret of his conquest and the charm therein lay in his most apt and reasonable illustrations in every case.

He never based his arguments on theoretical axioms and untestified hypotheses, but entirely on integral experience.

Further, all his arguments were based upon the Vedas as well, which are genuine and authoritative.


Shankara never entered into hot discussions to substantiate his case or disprov…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 20-3.

20. Sankara Jayanthi-3.

The Founder of the School of Monistic philosophy,  Who is regarded as the Avatara of Lord Shiva.


The advent of Lord Krishna rejuvenated Hindu religion and saved many a soul from complete ruin, souls which would otherwise have subjugated themselves to passivism due to the misinterpretation of the Vedas and the Upanishads.

In the same way, Sankara appeared on earth to deliver very many struggling souls.

He set them free, and enlightened them through his peaceful, unostentatious persuasion and loving propaganda.

Through his irresistible logic, he planted the triumphant banner of unique intellectual conquest over all other schools of philosophy.

Before him, all other theories proved to be phantoms and fallacies.



It was only Sankara who gave the unshakable concrete form to Hinduism and established the unity and purity of enlightened Hindu thought and culture.

Superstitions and corrupt practices melted away in no time.



The age-long six systems of theism which w…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 20-2.

20. Sankara Jayanthi-2.


    Swami  Sri  Adi  Sankaracharya   is our Vedanta Guru.

He was God incarnate.

He was born at a time when Bharatiya  thought and culture were decaying;

when they underwent sore distraction;

when ethical glory and the widespread influence of the Buddhistic cult was gradually dying;

when there was complete chaos and confusion;

when innumerable sects sprang up and,

with their own individual doctrines,

confounded the masses;

when evil social influences and blind superstitions,

garbed falsely in the clothes of religion,

attracted the credulous masses into a frenzy,

and ambushed them into complete ignorance of the ultimate Reality.

There were no less than seventy-two cults and sects of this type which carried away people from the right path.

Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  .....




HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 20-1.

20. Sankara Jayanthi-1.


    Guru charanam, bhaja charanam,

    Satguru charanam, bhava haranam.

    Maanasa bhajare, guru charanam,

    Dustara bhava saagara taranam.

    Guru maharaaj guru jaya jaya,

    Para brahma satguru jaya jaya



    RELIGION IS realization; it is not mere learning—this is the divine message which stands deeply in the minds of every Hindu.

This is not a mere fancy.

This is not a mental conception.

This is not a stretch of imagination.

It is not a coinage of the brain.

Nor is it a decision arrived at by vehement vituperation and incongruent argumentation promulgated by an ordinary intellectual prodigy.


This is the assertion of Shankara, India’s greatest philosopher-saint, the incarnation of Lord Shiva, reverently known as Srimath Adi Shankaracharya.


 What can we take him for except the Lord Himself, who proclaims authoritatively and undauntedly :-


“I am the Self of all; I am the all; I am transcendent; I am one without a second; I am the Absolute; I am the infinite Consciou…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 19-5.

19. KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI-5.


If you cannot read the whole of the Srimad Bhagavatam during these days, at least you should recite the following four most important verses from the book. The leading two verses and the closing verse are the prologue and the epilogue respectively:

    “Hear from Me the most secret knowledge coupled with the essential experience and its component parts.

    “May you realise by My Grace, the knowledge of Myself and what form, qualities and actions I am endowed with.

    1. “Before creation I alone existed. There was nothing, neither existence nor non-existence. I am that which remains after dissolution.

    2. “Understand that to be Maya or illusion which is devoid of any purpose, which is not to be found in the Self and which is unreal like light and darkness.

    3. “As the primary elements are amalgamated, with one another and also separate from one another at the same time, so I pervade the whole universe and am also separate from it.

    4. “The aspiran…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 19-4.

19. KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI-4.


On the holy Krishna Janmashtami, the ladies in South India decorate their houses beautifully, ready to welcome the Lord.

They prepare various sweetmeats and offer them to the Lord.

Butter was Krishna’s favourite, and this is also offered.

From the doorway to the inner meditation room of the house the floor is marked with a child’s footprints, using some flour mixed with water.

This creates the feeling in them that the Lord’s own Feet have made the mark.

They treat the day as one of very great rejoicing.

There is recitation of the Bhagavatam, singing and praying everywhere.


The Janmashtami is celebrated at the Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, with the following programme of intense spiritual activity:

1. During the preceding eight days, Japa of Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya is done intensely.

2. Those who can, will recite the Bhagavatam during this period. Others will listen to it being recited.

3. On the birthday itself everyone fasts and spends the whole day in holy …

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 19-3.

19. KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI-3.

Sri Krishna is the ocean of bliss.

His soul-stirring Lilas, which are the wonder of wonders, are its waves.

The honeyed music of His flute attracts the minds of His devotees from all three regions.

His unequalled and unsurpassed wealth of beauty amazes the animate and the inanimatebeings.

He adorns His friends with His incomparable love.



His palms bear the signs of a lotus and discus, the right sole of His feet of a flag, lotus,
thunderbolt, an iron goad, barley seed, and the Swastika.

His left sole has the rainbow, triangle, water-pot, crescent, sky, fish, and a cow’s footprint.

His Form is composed of condensed universal consciousness and bliss.

His Body pervades the entire cosmos.


Devotion is the only means of attaining Lord Krishna.

Bhakti Devotion is the only means of attaining Lord Krishna.

Bhakti kindles love for the Lord.

When love is directed towards Krishna, man is freed from the bondage of the world.


Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  .....



HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 19-2.

19. KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI-2.

Study the Bhagavatam and the Pancharatras, which are equal to the Upanishads.

You will know all about the glory of Lord Krishna, His Lilas and superhuman deeds.

The eighth Avatara, Krishna, who has become the Beloved of Bharatham and the world at large, had a threefold objective :-

to destroy the wicked demons, to play the leading role in the great war fought on the battlefield of Kurukshetra (where he delivered His wonderful message of the Gita) and to become the centre of a marvellous development of the Bhakti schools of India.


There is no true science except devotion to Lord Krishna.

That man is wealthy indeed who loves Radha and Krishna.

There is no sorrow other than lack of devotion to Krishna.

He is the foremost of the emancipated who loves Krishna.

There is no right course, except the society of Sri Krishna’s devotees.

The Name, virtues and Lilas (divine pastimes) of Krishna are the chief things to be remembered.

The Lotus Feet of Radha and Krishna a…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 19-1.

19. KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI-1.


THIS IS THE birthday of Lord Krishna, the eighth Divine Incarnation.

It falls on the 8th day of the dark half of the month of Bhadrapada (August-September).

This is one of the greatest of all Hindu festivals.

Lord Krishna was born at midnight.

A twenty-four hour fast is observed on this day, which is broken at midnight.



Temples are decorated for the occasion.

Kirtans are sung, bells are rung, the conch is blown, and Sanskrit hymns are recited in praise of Lord Krishna.

At Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, special spiritual gatherings are organised at this time.

Pilgrims from all over India attend these festive gatherings.



The Lord appeared when the moon entered the house of Vrishabha at the constellation of the star Rohini, on Wednesday, the 8th day of the second fortnight of the month of Sravana, which corresponds to the month of Bhadrapada Krishnapaksha according to the Barhaspatyamana, in the year of Visvavasu, 5,172 years ago (from 1945), which m…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 18-4.

18. HANUMAN JAYANTI-4.

Thus did Lord Rama praise Hanuman when the latter returned to Him after finding Sita in Lanka.

Hanuman was not a bit elated.

He fell in prostration at the holy feet of Lord Rama.



Lord Rama asked him, “O mighty hero, how did you cross the ocean?”

Hanuman humbly replied, “By the power and glory of Thy Name, my Lord.”

Again the Lord asked, “How did you burn Lanka? How did you save yourself?”

And Hanuman replied, “By Thy Grace, my Lord.”

What humility Sri Hanuman embodied!


There are many who want wealth in return for their services.

Some do not want wealth, but they cannot resist name and fame.

Others do not want any of these, but they want approbation.

Still others want nothing, but they boast of their deeds.

Hanuman was above all these.


That is why he is recognised as an ideal Karma Yogi and an unsurpassed adept in Bhakti.

His life is full of object lessons.

Everyone should try his best to follow the noble example of Hanuman.


His birthday falls on Chaitra Shukla …

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 18-3.

18. HANUMAN JAYANTI-3.

He said to Ravana,

“I am a humble messenger of Sri Rama. I have come here to serve Rama, to do His work. By the command of Lord Rama, I have come here. I am fearless by the Grace of Lord Rama. I am not afraid of death. I welcome it if it comes while serving Lord Rama.”



Mark here how humble Hanuman was!

How very devoted he was to Lord Rama! He never said,

“I am the brave Hanuman. I can do anything and everything.”



Lord Rama Himself said to Sri Hanuman,

“I am greatly indebted to you, O mighty hero! You did marvellous, superhuman deeds. You do not want anything in return. Sugriva has his kingdom restored to him. Angada has been made the crown prince. Vibhishana has become king of Lanka. But you have not asked for anything at any time. You threw away the precious garland of pearls given to you by Sita. How can I repay My debt of gratitude to you? I will always remain deeply indebted to you. I give you the boon of everlasting life. All will honour and worship you li…

HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 18-2.

18. HANUMAN JAYANTI-2.


He is the living embodiment of Ram-Nam.

He was an ideal selfless worker, a true Karma Yogi who worked desirelessly and dynamically.

He was a great devotee and an exceptional Brahmachari or celibate.

He served Sri Rama with pure love and devotion, without expecting any fruit in return.

He lived to serve Sri Rama.

He was humble, brave and wise.

He possessed all the divine virtues.

He did what others could not do—

crossing the ocean simply by uttering Ram-Nam,

burning the city of Lanka,

and bringing the sanjeevini herb and restoring Lakshmana to life again.

He brought Sri Rama and Lakshmana from the nether world after killing Ahiravana.


He had devotion, knowledge, spirit of selfless service, power of celibacy, and  desirelessness.

He never boasted of his bravery and intelligence.


Swami Sivananda
 To be continued  ...