And what do we take with us?

नामुत्र हि सहायार्थं पिता माता च तिष्ठतः । 
न पुत्रदारं न ज्ञातिर्धर्मस्तिष्ठति केवलः ॥ २३९ ॥

nāmutra hi sahāyārthaṃ pitā mātā ca tiṣṭhataḥ | 
na putradāraṃ na jñātirdharmastiṣṭhati kevalaḥ || 239 ||

Manusmriti 4.239

The Manu Smriti tells us: namutra hi sahayartham pita mata ca tisthatah. na putradarah na jnatih dharmas tisthati kevalah. “When you depart from this world, your father will not come with you, your mother will not come with you, your brother will not come, your sister will not come, your husband will not come, your wife will not come, your children will not come, your money will not come, and even your body will not come with you.” 

Then what will come with you? The verse mentions that your spiritual merit alone accompanies you. 

Everything else remains here – life goes on, the assets that we accumulate pass on to the next generation, or wither away. How many of us can recall (or even know) the names of our great-great grandparents, and their parents? Even our names will be forgotten within 2-3 generations, and that is the truth. 

How we live everyday counts – not towards any credit that we can cash out on when we depart, but towards our growth now.

Read more here:

New Beginnings?

And so it has been announced. a 21-day lockdown. Unprecedented in India, and anywhere else in the world. Reactions have varied, from support for the move, to criticism, to despair. After all, we are a generation that has largely seen growth and prosperity for most of our lives. 

We have’t met a challenge of such enormous proportions yet. It is natural to fear the unknown…

Today is Ugādi — the first day of Chaitrā māsā, or the beginning of the new year. Largely celebrated in South India (where I am from), Maharashtra (as Gudi Padwa), Sindh (as Cheti Chand), and Manipur (as Sajibu Nongma Pānba). It is also the start of Navaratri. 

Unlike New Year’s day as per the Gregorian calendar, the start of a new year in Indian calendars is largely marked by ritualistic celebration — early morning bath, followed by prayers and visit to the nearby temple. Celebration is characterised by new clothes, sweets and social gathering.

Ugādi is a derivative of yuga-ādi, which means the dawn of a new age. So, in a way, the festival celebrates new beginnings. 

And today is the first day of a 21-day lockdown. Do we despair…or is there an opportunity lurking in the shadows?

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A prayer for humanity

Group Sadhana for 11 days – Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, 108 times – for the country, for humanity. 

From home, but not alone. We all can – collectively, harmoniously, pray to nature, recognising our true place in the scheme of things. We are just a fleeting glimpse in the unending vista of images – let us be part of nature and not against it. 

ॐ द्यौः शान्तिरन्तरिक्षं शान्तिः 
पृथिवी शान्तिरापः शान्तिरोषधयः शान्तिः ।
वनस्पतयः शान्तिर्विश्वेदेवाः शान्तिर्ब्रह्म शान्तिः 
सर्वं शान्तिः शान्तिरेव शान्तिः सा मा शान्तिरेधि ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Ganesh Chaturthi

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Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi (Vināyaka Chaturthī) or Vinayaka Chavithi (Vināyaka Chavithī) is a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Ganesha. It falls in the months of August or September of the Gregorian calendar. The festival is marked with the installation of Ganesha clay idols privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals (temporary stages). Observations include chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts such as, prayers and vrata (fasting). Offerings and prasadam from the daily prayers, that is distributed from the pandal to the community, include sweets such as modaka as it is believed to be a favorite of Lord Ganesh.

Read more at: https://www.rohitghai.com/श्री-गणेश-चतुर्थी-ganesh-chaturthi/

Sri Krishna Janmashtami

Krishna Janmashtami, also known simply as Janmashtamior Gokulashtami, is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu.It is observed according to Hindu luni-solar calendar, on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in Shraavana of the lunar Hindu Calendar and Krishna Paksha in Bhadrapad of the lunisolar Hindu Calendar, which overlaps with August and September of the Gregorian calendar.

It is an important festival particularly to the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism.Dance-drama enactments of the life of Krishna according to the Bhagavata Purana(such as Rasa lila or Krishna Lila), devotional singing through the midnight when Krishna was born, fasting (upavasa), a night vigil (ratri jagaran), and a festival (mahotsava) on the following day are a part of the Janmashtami celebrations. It is celebrated particularly in Mathura and Vrindavan, along with major Vaishnava and non-sectarian communities found in Manipur, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and all other states of India.

Krishna Janmashtami is followed by the festival Nandotsav, which celebrates the occasion when Nanda Baba distributed gifts to the community in honour of the birth.

 

Read more: https://www.rohitghai.com/श्री-कृष्ण-जनमाष्टमी-sri-krishna-janmashtami/

What is yoga?

This seemingly simple question is quite difficult to answer actually. Answers differ – it depends in who is asking the question, and who is being asked. 

Yogasana

Put this question to a traditionalist…and he would surely mention the ‘union’, the melting of consciousness, and a lot more. As a Neo-teacher of yoga, and the most likely answer would involve a lot of ‘posturing’, with a bit of pop spirituality in between. But ask Google, and that’s when it hits the pits. Beer yoga, wine yoga, rage yoga, lamb(??) yoga…the list of quirks is endless.

So, what is yoga?

Read all about it at: https://www.rohitghai.com/what-is-yoga/ 

Rakshabandhan – रक्षाबंधन

Rākhī derives from the Sanskrit rakṣikā, a join: rakṣā protection.

On this day, sisters of all ages tie a talisman, or amulet, called the rakhi, around the wrists of their brothers, symbolically protecting them, receiving a gift in return, and traditionally investing the brothers with a share of the responsibility of their potential care.

Read more about this unique festival here: https://www.rohitghai.com/rakshabandhan-रक्षाबंधन/

and…celebration!

The very fact that you are alive and breathing, is a cause to celebrate, isn’t it?

The mesmerising moments captured at Pandharpur Wari, the annual pilgrimage to the town of Padharpur, which is the seat of Lord Vithoba in the Indian state of Maharashtra, in honour of the deity. Palakhis (palanquin processions) carrying the paduka (foot prints) of the deity and various saints, most notably Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram from the Varkari sect, are taken from their respective shrines to Pandharpur. Varkari or Warkari is a Marathi term which means “one who performs the Wari” or “one who venerates the Vithoba”. The tradition is more than 700 to 800 years old.

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Belief is a strong emotion in itself. It can move mountains. Believe in yourself, and celebrate life. The world will begin to look like a much brighter place.

Visit https://www.rohitghai.com/and-celebration/