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.

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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.

 

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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/

Panchagni Vidya

Tat Tvam Asi
PANCHAGNI VIDYA, the Theory of the Five Fires, is central to the understanding of the laws of the Universe.
The CHHANDOGYA UPANISHAD lays down a unique template which maps out each activity in the Universe through the prism of chants.  The term CHHANDOGYA  is etymologically derived from CHHANDA (poetic metre).  Even as it presents a five-to-seven fold chant structure, through which all human and natural phenomena are seen, the CHHANDOGYA, at another level, goes deep into the metaphysical dimension of the empirical world.
The doctrine of PANCHAGNI through the story of Svetaketu, the highly learned and educated son of Sage Uddalaka, who, in the course of his travels, turns up at the court of king Pravahana Jaivali.  Having welcomed the learned young man, the King poses some questions to Svetaketu to comprehend how much the young man has learned.
chandogya-upanishad-hridaya
His first question, “Do you know where mortals go to after death ?” perplexes Svetaketu, who is at a loss for words. The second question, “Do you know from where people come when they are reborn ?” confuses Svetaketu.  The third and fourth question, “Are you aware of the two paths through which the soul ascends ?” and “What is the reason this world is able to contain so many people yet not overflow ?” further stumps the young scholar.
The last question, “Are you aware of the Five oblations that are offered, and how the fifth as water / liquid becomes a human ?” leaves Svetaketu at his wit’s end.  He realises that there are fundamental principles of which he is unaware.  So he turns to his father, but he too has no insight into such matters.  His father turns to the King for answers.
yajna-painting
The King initiates Sage Uddalaka into the principal of the Five Fires, in which the COSMOS / SKY is in itself metaphorically seen as a great altar, into which the fuel of the burning sun is offered, from which rises the moon.  The Upanishad lays down this as the first Fire stating that all existence follows this cycle of fire.  The next altar is of CLOUDS, where the fuel is the air from which arises rain.
The third altar is EARTH, where the fuel is time, from which arises food.  The fourth altar is MAN, where the fuel is food, from which arises semen (seed).  The fifth and last altar is WOMAN, to who the seed is offered as oblation, and from whence arises the foetus.
The CHHANDOGYA views Creation at all levels as a sort of YAJNA (sacrifice), where every activity is interconnected.  The birth of a child is not just a simple outcome between man and woman.  The CHHANDOGYA states that the child is conceived from every cell of the universe, and this prompts us to look beyond the obvious, to delve deep into the
fundamentals of whatever we see, hear or touch.
Atman
TAT TVAM ASI is the grand chant of the CHHANDOGYA, the MAHAVAKYA that each of us COMES FROM and ARE that Self, the ATMAN, nothing less.  ———
————-Pranav Khullar.

Pattadakal

Virupaksha temple


PATTADAKAL, also spelled PATTADAKALU is a World Heritage Site, a Village and an important tourist centre in the State of Karnataka, and is located on the left bank of the MALAPRABHA River in Bagalkot District.  It is 22km from BADAMI and 514km from AIHOLE, both of which are well-known for Chalukya monuments.  The pre-Chalukya historical and archaeological site BACHINAGUDDA is also near Pattadakal.


Pattadakal temples


Pattadakal, the place for Chalukya’s Coronation, was the capital of the Chalukya Dynasty of Karnataka in Southern India.  The Chalukyas built many Temples here between the 7th and 9th century.  There are 10 Temples, including a Jain Sanctuary, surrounded by numerous small shrines and Plinths in fusion of various Indian architectural styles (Rekha, Nagara, Prasada and Dravida Vimana) .  Four Temples were built in Chalukyan Dravidian style, four in the Nagara style of Northern India and the PAPANATHA Temple in mixed style.  Nine Shiva Temples and one Jaina Basadi, situated along the northern course of the river, which is considered as very auspicious according to the Holy Scriptures.


virupaksha temple


Pattadakal was a great centre of art and architecture.  According to the inscriptions, the place was known by the names KISOVOLAL (red town  ——- mostly mountains near Pattadakal gave this name, RAKTAPURA.  It continued to be an important centre under the RASHTRAKUTAS and the KALYANI CHALUKYAS.  It became a chief city for a small region called KISUKADU.  The SINDHAS of YARAMABARIGE (Yelburgi) also ruled it for some time.


Virupaksha temple


UNESCO, in 1987, included PATTADAKAL in its list of World Heritage Sites.  The group of 8th century monuments in Pattadakal are the culmination of earliest experiments in the VESARA style of Hindu Temple architecture.


Temples Pattadakal


VIRUPAKSHA Temple is the largest and grandest of all the Temples in Pattadakal.  It was built in the 8th century by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband Vikramaditya — 2 victories over the Pallavas of Kanchi.  The Temple has rich sculptures.  It has a sanctum, pillared navaranga and triple entrances from the north, east and south porches.  It has a massive gateway in front from the east.

We are custodians, not possessors

Lord Krishna : Everything which we possess today was possessed by somebody else yesterday and will be possessed by others tomorrow and somebody else day after tomorrow.

Everything which we possess —— money, house, car, jewellery, property, etc., — was possessed by somebody else in the past, which means they got transferred to us.  We might have either earned it, or inherited it, or won it in a lottery, but the fact remains that they were possessed by somebody else, and in the present we possess them.

Will these possessions remain with us permanently ?  Will they not go to somebody else tomorrow, the way they came to us ?  They will definitely go to someone else after our death.

The land on which our house is built belonged to somebody else before our house was constructed, and maybe after 100years belong to somebody else with another house built over it.  Is it not our ignorance that the house in which we live is felt to be ours, the wealth which we own today is felt to be ours ?  All these things are temporary.


Krishna painting


Our body is not  permanently ours, as we will leave it after our death.  Our thoughts that emanate from our mind are not ours.  They have been received from other people and since our mind liked them, it possessed them.  We change our thought pattern too when we grow in age  or get influenced by others’ thoughts (of more intelligent, successful or spiritual people).

Everything in this creation is passing through from person to another, from one hand to another and from one place to another.  Everything is in a transmigratory state be it wealth, property, relationship or physical body.  We can at the most feel custodianship of all that which we possess.  A custodian is never attached to anything, has no ego of ownership, as he knows full well that all that which he possesses belongs to somebody else.

The laws of creation do not permit anything to remain permanently with anybody.

———-  Sadguru Rameshji.   

Nathdwara

Shrinathji Nathdwara


It literally means GATEWAY to SHRINATHJI.  It is a town in Rajasthan, famous for its Temple of Krishna which house the idol of Shrinathji (14th century)——- a 7-year-old infant incarnation of Krishna.  Nathdwara Town itself is popularly referred to as SHRINATHJI, after the presiding Deity.


Nathdwara


As per the religious beliefs, the shrine at Nathdwara was built in the 17th century at the spot as exactly ordained by Shrinathji Himself.  The idol of Lord Krishna was being transferred to a safer place from Vrindavan, to protect it from anti-Hindu, iconoclastic, Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.  When the idol reached the spot n the village of SINHAD, the wheels of the bullock-cart, in which the idol was being transported, sank axle-deep in mud and could not be moved any further.  The accompanying priests realised that the particular place was the Lord’s chosen spot, and accordingly, a Temple was built there, under the rule and protection of the then Maharana Rana Singh of Mewar.  Shrinathji Temple is also known as HAVELI (mansion) of Shrinathji.

Nathdwara has an average elevation of 1919ft.  It is set amid idyllic hills.  A steady stream of pilgrims has ensured a plentiful supply of transport and accommodation.  Shrinathji Temple is the centre of attraction, but the town is also famous for its PICHWAI paintings (large paintings on cloth depicting legends from the life of Lord Krishna), handmade terracotta, ivory articles and HAWELI music (devotional music akin to DHRUPAD singing with compositions meant for various seasons, festivals and sections of the day).


Shrinathji Nathdwara


The structure of the Temple is simple, but the aesthetic appeal of this Temple is ceaseless.  Lord Shrinathji symbolizes a form of Lord Krishna, when He lifted the Govardhana (a hill).  In the image, the Lord is revealed with His left hand raised and the right hand is like a fist.  The idol is carved out of a large black stone.  Images of two cows, a snake, a lion, two peacocks and a parrot near the God’s head are imprinted on the idol.


Nathdwara Shrinathji temple


The Temple authorities have not less than 500 cows.  Darshan opens eight times a day and the Lord looks different in every Darshan, and the RAJBHOG Darshan, taking place around noon, is the most important and sought-after.  Photography and mobile phones are strictly prohibited in the Temple premises.  The best time to visit Shrinathji is from September to February.