Id ul Fitr

Id ul Fitr


ID ul – FITR comes to imbibe sincere goodwill in man for other human beings, after 30 days and nights of Ramzan have been spent in complete devotion to God.

ID literally means “something that returns, and “Fitr” denotes alms.  So this feast, “returns every year to enliven the spirit of almsgiving.  It is a harbinger of assisting the needy and sharing with the poor.  This is precisely why Allah has made it incumbent on this day to offer FITRAH (a fixed amount of charity) to the poor.  FITRAH, which is a fixed amount of charity mandatory for all Muslims to offer to the poor before they perform the prayer of ID ul – FITR.  In fact, the ID prayer is not accepted by God, unless Fitrah is pad to the poor.   Fitrah is essential and rightful share of the poor I the wealth of every Muslim going to offer ID ul – FITR.
However, there must be complete sincerity and modesty in giving alms to the needy.  The Quran exhorts : “The righteous are those who feed the poor, the orphan and the captive for the love of God” without seeking reward or thanks.  Prophet enjoined giving charity in secret rather in the presence of others.
Similarly, there is no worth or virtue in a charity which is followed by an insult or taunt.  The Quran says that ‘even a kind word with forgiveness is better than a charity that may cause an insult to the recipient’.  The Quran admonishes those who indulge in false and fruitless charity : “O you who believe, do not make your charity worthless by reproach and injury, like him who spends his property to be seen of men and does not believe in Allah and the last day, so his parable is as the parable of a smooth rock with earth upon it, then a heavy rain falls upon it, so it leaves it bare, they shall not be able to gain anything of what they have earned.”
———— Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi (an Islamic Scholar)
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Holi Hai!

Holi


The festival of colours, HOLI, is an ancient festival and is celebrated at the end of winter, or on the 14th day of PHALGUNA.

The literal meaning of HOLI is “burning” (DAHAN).  Originally, HOLI was known as HOLIKA, indicating the relation of the festival to “HOLIKA – DAHAN”.  Though there are a number of legends associated with HOLI, the most famous of all is the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakashyap.
King Hiranyakashyap had instructed all the people of his kingdom to worship only him and none other.  But his son Prahlad became a devotee of Lord Vishnu.  Despite his best efforts to distract Prahlad from the path of devotion, Prahlad refused to worship Hiranyakashyap.  Enraged by Prahlad’s devotion and his own failure, the King instructed his sister Holika to enter the fire with Prahlad.  Holika had a boon to endure the effects of fire without causing any harm to her.  While Prahlad was saved by the grace of the Almighty, Holika, despite her boon, died because of her evil motives.

Holi / Festival of Colors 2013


HOLI marks the victory of good over evil, and it is customary to celebrate HOLI with a bonfire.  HOLI celebrations start  the night before HOLI with a Holika bonfire, where people gather, sing and dance.  The festival, therefore, symbolises the DAHAN (burning) of hatred, anger, enmity, jealousy, greed and other ills of life.  It is also the day to forgive others and to forget all kinds of past conflicts and errors.


Holi Festival


HOLI is the festival of new beginnings.  It celebrates the beginning of spring when the fields are in full bloom and people are expecting a good harvest.  It is all the more reason to rejoice and celebrate HOLI.  Spring is the season of colours and so is the festival of HOLI.

It is the day when people throw colours, especially GULAL, which symbolises happiness and love.  The legend of Radha and Krishna is associated with playing with colours and the festival of gulal comes to its full form in Mathura and Vrindavan.
The Sacred Guru Granth advises Sikhs to play a pure HOLI by immersing themselves in NAMSIMRAN.

Holi celebrations worldwide


“I am imbued with the deep crimson colour of the Lord’s Divine Love; my mind and body have blossomed forth in utter incomparable beauty,” says the Guru.  Sikhs celebrate HOLA MOHALLA { HOLA means HALLA (attack) and MOHALLA implies an organised procession in the form of an army column } at Anandpur Sahib in a three-day celebration marked by shabad-kirtan, langar, processions and poetry recitals.

———–  Kulbir Kaur.                  

Happy Deepavali

Diwali celebrations

DEEPAVALI is the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS.

Creation exists in layers.  Physical creation that we see around us is just one layer.  What happens in the world as we see it, is a reflection of what happens in the world of ether, which may be perceived I the form of colours, sounds, thoughts and pure energy, as per the state of evolution of being and development of senses.

Diwali_painting


On the AMAVASYA of the month of Kartik, Rama returned to Ayodhya, which was marked by lighting of DIYAS in every house.  This is the physical event.  In the world of energy, Kartik Amavasya or Deepavali, is the night of SIDDHIS.  It is the night of homecoming of one of the most powerful of forces in the Universe, the force of Vishnu.  Ayodhya is the body and lights are the various SIDDHIS, which are ignited in different parts of the body through specific mantras and sadhanas with the guidance of a Guru.

Diwali golden temple


On this night, the force of Vishnu enables us to acquire various siddhis of yoga and Sanatan Kriya easily.  ANIMA is the siddhi of reducing the size of the body at will, MAHIMA is the ability to increasing its size infinitely.  GARIMA is the siddhi to become infinitely heavy, LAGHIMA is the siddhi to shed off all weight in the body to become feather-light.  PRAPTI is the siddhi through which one gains unrestricted access to all places in creation.  PRAKAMYA is the siddhi to manifest ones thoughts and desires.  ISHTVA is the lordship of creation.  VASHITVA is control over others.  All these eight siddhis can be attained even in this day and age, with correct practices, but guided by a Guru.
Diwali greetings

DEEPAVALI is the night of acquiring siddhis and powers, wealth and riches.  It is the night to bring Vishnu to you.

————Yogi Ashwini@speekingtree.in.

Vijayadashami

Dussehra


The festival of VIJAYADASHAMI or DUSSEHRA celebrates the victor of good over evil, symbolised in Indian Mythology by the slaying of the demon king RAVANA by LORD RAMA,, and by the killing of the monster MAHISHASURA by GODDESS DURGA.

Every year effigies of Ravana are burnt  on VIJAYADASHAMI which falls on the 10th day of the month of Ashwin in the Hindu Lunar calendar.  Ravana is the personification of evil —– a learned scholar who gave in to lust, anger, greed and ego.  Rama is the personification of virtue, the MARAYADA PURUSH.


Durga puja dashami


We celebrate VIJAYADASHAMI every year, but are we really becoming free of vices ?  Instead we are becoming slaves to our vices.  Increasing corruption, immorality and materialism indicate a growing void that is being sought to be filled with possessions and physical pleasures.  The increasing influence of vice in our lives is unwittingly reflected in the size of the Ravana effigies built for VIJAYADASHAMI, which grow taller each year.

Just burning wood and straw effigies is not going to bring us victory over evil.  That can be achieved only by “spiritual effort”.  The story of the Ramayana is a parable of how God, personified by Rama, and humans represented by monkeys, together can rid the world of negative tendencies.
The battle described in the Ramayana is an allegory for the struggle that goes on in the mind between our higher Self and our weaknesses.  God helps us in this struggle by giving us the strength to resist evil and the wisdom to avoid deceptions created by ignorance of our true identity.
When we forget that we are spiritual beings, or souls, we begin to define ourselves in terms of our body and the labels that come with it —– race, religion, nationality and gender.  We also measure our worth, and that of others, in terms of personal and professional roles, responsibilities, possessions, appearance and social and financial status.  Such identifications with the physical not only begets attachment but also brings sorrow when our gross identity suffers due to ageing, declining social, financial or professional positions.  It makes us vulnerable to vice, the cause of suffering.

vijaydashami


We need to remove the veils of ignorance from the intellect, by becoming aware of our true identity as souls innately possessing divine qualities of peace, love and co-operation.  With the practice of spiritual knowledge and meditation, we can purify our negative proclivities.

To make our celebration of VIJAYADASHAMI meaningful, we must resolve to take at least one step towards conquering our weaknesses, so that each year we move closer to attaining victory over them..  Thus, we can sublimate the negative propensities of Ravana living in our minds.
——- B K Brijmohan.  

The nine shaktis

Shiva Shakti


Before the manifestation of the world, there was only SHIVA (the BRAHMAN), which existed in its formless state.  SHIVA — the formless, omnipotent and omnipresent — existed all alone in its static consciousness state.  When the intention to create arose in Shiva, first His creative power emanated from Him.

This creative power of Shiva, in its formless state, is called SHAKTI and the same in its form is called DURGA.  Creative powers are thus feminine in nature.  When the feminine power of creation separated from Shiva, it first enveloped Shiva Himself, as otherwise delusion (MAYA) couldn’t have got created which is the basic principle to sustain the creation.  Thus, DURGA is also referred to as MAYAVI SHAKTI.

nine forms of shakti


Shiva being inert, static and inactive cannot itself create anything.  Hence, the active energies are required to create the universe and thus the Dynamic Consciousness (SHAKTI / DURGA) from the static consciousness became necessary.  Creating the universe itself has no meaning unless it is supported with sustaining powers.

In order to sustain the universe and the living beings therein, nine types of SHAKTIS were required.  These 9 SHAKTIS became active to sustain the universe.  They are referred to as NINE DEVIS.
The names of these 9 DEVIS are JAGADAMBA, BHADRAKALI, ANNAPURNA, SARVAMANGALA, BHAIRAVI, CHANDI, LALITA, BHAVANI & MUKAMBIKA.  Each of these DEVIS are bestowed with distinct powers : JAGADAMBA is bestowed with the power to create and procreate; BHADRAKALI is the giver of fortune; ANNAPURNA is the giver of food to all living and non-living beings; LALITA is the love aspect in male and female beings; BHAVANI is the giver of life force, etc.
When we are not in the same frequency as these SHAKTIS, we suffer in the world and create impediments in our road to peace and harmony.  During NAVRATRI, these 9 DEVIS are worshipped with the BHAVA of surrendering at their feet and seeking mercy, protection and peace.

Shiva-Shakti


MA DURGA, the dynamic consciousness of Shiva and the main cause of creation of the universe, is also bestowed with the knowledge of salvation (MOKSHA).  Salvation takes place when Shiva is projected out from the shadow of MAYA.  MA DURGA is thus worshipped for the knowledge of enlightenment as well.

The first three days of NAVRATRI worship are to seek the DURGA aspect so as to cleanse our impurities and destroy the inner demons such as lust, anger, jealousy, hatred, enmity, etc.  The next three days dedicated to the LAKSHMI aspect, which is the provider of wealth, peace, health and over all prosperity.  And the last three days are dedicated to the SARASWATI aspect, the Goddess of wisdom, for knowledge and enlightenment.
NAVRATRI is the occasion to celebrate and recognise the advent of creative powers SHAKTIS from Shiva and an opportunity to surrender at their feet seeking all-round peace, prosperity, harmony and eventual salvation from the ego of our individual being.
—————– Sadhguru Rameshji.

The God of all things

As GANESH CHATURTHI comes up, let us look into the many fascinating stories surrounding the Elephant-Headed God.
GANESH is among the Gods we know the most stories of —– and yet, the one we understand so little about.  GANESHA has so much to teach us.  What is the significance of Ganesha’s Symbol?  Why is an elephant head placed on Ganesha shoulders?  This is because only a rich, fertile eco-system can sustain an elephant.  So, the elephant’s head is a symbol of prosperity.  GaneshaGanesha’s rather rotund body represents not only affluence, but also repose —- in other words, success without too much work.  The rat that Ganesha rides symbolises the pestilence of problems in our lives that he keeps in check.  It is also a symbol of fertility.  The MODAK’S shape is like that of a money purse and its contents represent the sweetness of material pleasures.  At the same time, the triangular form (upward facing) is a symbol of spirituality.
Why is Ganesh’s name chanted before beginning any new endeavours ?  Before the Gods began churning the ocean of milk for AMRIT, they forgot to propitiate Ganesha. To teach them a lesson, Ganesha caused the serpent king Vasuki (which they were using as the churning rope) to vomit out venom.  Choking on the poison, the Gods called out to Ganesha to remove this obstacle to their success.  Pleased, Ganesha asked his father Shiva to drink the poison, thus clearing the air and enabling the Gods to restart churning till the AMRIT emerged.  Ever since, Ganesha’s blessing is always sought before any new task.
In his book 99 Thoughts On Ganesha, Pattanaik explains how our ancestors’ ideas of the “perfect life” are reflected in Ganesha’s unique physiology: “Our ancestors concluded that there are two ways to live life —– as a hermit who steps back and contemplates on the nature of the world and as a householder, who stays in the world and experiences it fearlessly.  They visualised the hermit as SHIVA……. and the householder as SHAKTI.  Shiva does not want to be a father and deal with the trials and tribulations of a worldly life.  Shakti wants to be a mother and engage with all things worldly, and she cannot do so without Shiva’s support.  From this tension between the hermit and the householder, is born GANESHA —– his animal head representing material joys and his human body representing spiritual bliss”.
For Ganesha’s “broken tusk”  too, there are several explanations.  The “tusks” of an elephant symbolises power and aggression.  The “broken tusk” implies that the elephant has been tamed.  The most popular story  about the purpose of the broken tusk is that Ganesha used it as a replacement for his quill while writing down the Mahabharata for Sage Vyas.
——————–  Rohini Nair.

Ganesh Chaturthi


Ganesh Chaturthi celebration


GANESHA is the Swami of RIDDI & SIDDHI.  RIDDHI is the force responsible for prosperity and abundance  —– all material riches and luxury pertaining to the five senses.  SIDDHI refers to spiritual powers, including extra-sensory perception (ESP), clairvoyance, premonition and thought manifestation.

Ganesha was born of the ‘dirt’ of ADI SHAKTI, as she bathed, indicating that all the RIDDHI & SIDDHI in creation is nothing but a speck of dirt of the phenomenal force of the Mother.. Ganesha is the Deity closest to the physical creation, the Swam of Riddhi and Siddhi, which are nothing but MAYA (unreality).  They are temporary and so are bound to leave.  Most people spend their lives chasing these, forgetting their temporary nature and oblivious to what lies beyond.

Ganesh Chaturthi immersion


Ganesha manifested at a time when impurities started creeping in to society.  In due course, as worldly desires took precedence over spiritual pursuits,mantras and sadhanas were prescribed to invoke the different aspects of Ganesha, to fulfil desires in the realm of the physical, the grossest layer of creation.

UCHCHHISHTA GANAPATI is invoked through specific mantras as a giver of boons, as protector and to develop master over the five senses.  HERAMBA is the five-headed form of Ganapati, golden in colour and riding a lion.  This ten-armed Deity is invoked for acquiring fearlessness and to overcome one’s enemies.  The MAHA GANAPATI form corresponds to wealth and pleasures, as He is the bestower of bliss.  The red-golden BALA GANAPATI is called upon for good health and a bright future.  HARIDRA GANAPATI with his turmeric complexion and yellow vestments is the harbinger of prosperity and protection.

Ganesh Chaturthi


The white-coloured SHWETARK GANAPATI is said to reside in the root of a rare variety of the MADAR plant, bearing white flowers instead of the common purple flowers.  SHWETARK GANAPATI brings vitality, vigour and strength when kept in the bedroom, intelligence and concentration when kept in the study, spiritual powers in the puja room, bringing luck and prosperity, freeing the house from negative influences.

Shwetark GanapatiThese potent sadhanas are given according to individual requirements and capacity by the SIDDHA guru, without charging you a fee.  When the Guru gives the mantra, blessings follow but then it is imperative to balance out that KARMA, since every action has an equal and opposite reaction and every pleasure has pain attached to it.
The Guru guides the practitioner on which mantra is to be practised, for how long, the correct pronunciation and the different practices to complement the sadhana.  One of the safest mantras for manifesting the SHAKTI of GANESHA is GAMA GANPATAYE NAMAH but this too can be channelized by the Guru for desired effects.

Ganesh Chaturthi


The success of the sadhana is indicated by the manifestation of the Deity in the YAJNA AGNI.  SADHAKAS or seekers who have been seriously practising the various mantra siddhis, have been known to have had physical manifestations of the Gods.  GANESH CHATURTHI is the auspicious night of SIDDHI mantra and mantra DIKSHA under the guidance of a Guru.  HAPPY GANESH CHATURTHI !!!!!

 ——————— Yogi Ashwini.