18 January, 2012

Steps to Mantra Meditation

Mantra is one of the simplest, yet a very powerful method to achieve meditation.

Why ?
Mantra involves the rhythmic invocation of a sound. This provides a foundation for the aspirant so that his practice is just not "in the air". This anchor or foundation helps the mind to gradually disconnect with the external experiences provided through the 5 senses, which is the first step to successful meditation.

The Nature of Mantra
Although mantra has often been riled as a "religious thing" through invocation of the names of deities or Gods, it is not actually so. Mantra is a sound form. It is a Sanskrit word which etymologically means "by the repetition of which the mind becomes free of external experiences". That is how it is to be seen and experienced.

Sound has a form; sound has a color. Every sound creates patterns of forms and color in the mind. Vibrations of different frequency create different patterns. These patterns result in withdrawal from sensory experiences. As you proceed further successfully, they would result (transiently) in deeper experiences such as ESP, mystical experiences etc. Eventually, they will help the sincere practitioner to even surpass these inner experiences and distractions and move towards eternal bliss.

Now, sound of mantra is not to be seen in the context of the written word. In fact, the sound formed by following the written word could be severely limiting for higher experiences. The nature of mantra is that of a cosmic sound and should preferably be HEARD from a teacher. Mantra repetition could be done as 3 ways - audible, whisper or silent (in the thought). Each method of repetition has different frequencies, different forms and has different effects. The most powerful is the silent method, because it has the highest frequency. Louder the sound, greater is the velocity but lower is the frequency.

Preparations for Practice
Get yourself a mantra - Once a mantra is chosen, it should NEVER be changed, however much you may like to. Often people change their mantra because it is too common - they wish to get something unique as a kind of a rare elixir. Be warned that this is a mistake and will result in complications at higher levels in your spiritual journey. So be careful in selecting a mantra. Go find yourself a teacher and if you can't, mentally recite a selection of mantras, each for some stretch of time and see which 'feels' right for you - which one creates the right vibrations and then stick with it.

Have a symbol to focus upon - A symbol could be mental - the sun, a star, a candle flame, a crescent, a cross, symbol of Om, a lotus flower, your personal deity etc. Or you could have a physical point of focus such as the nose tip or the pulsation in any particular part of the body etc.
Place of practice - Have a designated area of your house - a room or a corner for your mantra practice. It is important that you use the same area for your regular practice. You will find that over time this area will be charged with the favorable energies of mantra and spur you onto spontaneous meditation.
Posture - The posture for your mantra practice should be a seated one with spine erect. Siddhasana and Padmasana are especially suited for the purpose as they provide the maximum stability to the body preventing it from drooping or falling. These postures, when perfected, enable the practitioner to sit for long spells without tiring, something very essential in meditation practice. Siddhasana also exerts the right pressure on the mooladhara chakra (energy center), the seat of kundalini and is recommended as a meditation pose.
Breath flow - Before proceeding with mantra meditation, it should be verified that the predominant flow of the breath is from the left nostril (as opposed to the right). Or then, the flow should be balanced between the nostrils. Mantra meditation is not advised with the right nostril more free flowing than the left. This is because the left nostril corresponds with the lunar (mental) forces and the right for the physical forces. It would be difficult to have successful meditation with the right flowing predominantly.
If necessary, breath flow between nostrils can be altered using a Yoga Danda.
Role of a Mala - Often, as you proceed in mantra repetition, you will find the mind drifting involuntarily from the physical point of focus - to a dreamy state or then swamped by thoughts. If you are practicing Mantra in coordination with the turning of mala beads, this drift is stopped whenever you reach the head bead (sumeru). The sumeru provides the disconnect and you are reminded to turn the Mala around for the next round of repetition. This brings back the awareness and prevents it from going out of hand for long periods of time. That is the first point.

The second point is that the Mala provides the "physical" anchor which is so necessary as you proceed to higher levels of the practice. At the higher levels, as you are disconnected from the external world, it may be quite an experience - sometimes even terrifying. The mala serves as your connection with this world to bring you back. This coupled with your symbol as the mental anchor, makes for a successful journey.

The Practice
Once you are equipped and prepared as outlined above, be seated in the posture advised. Start turning the beads in synchronization with the mantra, with the mantra being repeated with every bead turned. To know more on how to turn the beads, read the "How to Use" section.

Rhythmic Repetition of the Mantra - the mantra should be repeated with a certain rhythm of your choice. The rhythm could be synchronized with the breath or with the pulsation in any part of the body or in any way you wish. The mantra should be repeated with every bead turned.
Method of Recitation - As mentioned earlier, the mantra may be repeated audibly, as a whisper or then silently. This depends upon your mental state. If the mind is disturbed or you are drowsy, it is best to repeat the mantra audibly and then progress towards whispering and then to the silent thought of mantra. Beginners may also proceed from audible repetition to the more powerful silent repetition.
Speed of Recitation - Repeat the mantra at a speed that feels right. The slower the recitation, the greater is the frequency and the power behind the mantra. Conversely, a faster repetition implies a lower frequency and reduced power behind the mantra. However, you may have to alter speeds depending upon the state of your mind. A dissipated and drowsy mind may require a faster repetition of the mantra - a slower repetition may put you off to sleep!
Eyeball movement - For successful mantra meditation practice, it is important that the eyeball movement is absent. Eyeball movement is always there (even when we are asleep in the form of REM), but for this practice it is essential that the movement is stalled for desirable results. This movement is gradually eliminated by constant focus on your symbol at an imagined place on the eyebrow centre.
Also, it often helps to imagine the vibrations of the mantra converging at the eyebrow center.

Mind focus - be aware of the Mantra at all times. The mind will waver; you will find it drifting to other thoughts. As you realize this, gently bring back your awareness to the Mantra. Don't feel frustrated by the oscillating mind - this is normal, and is part of the process itself!

Important: Don't make the mistake of correlating the mantra sound with its written form. As mentioned earlier, this could be limiting its potential greatly.

Practice in this manner for as many rounds of the mala as you feel the need or have the time for. You must start the practice at the head bead (sumeru) and also end it at the sumeru.

Regularity of Practice - It is essential that Mantra meditation is practiced everyday without a break. It may be just 5 minutes but regularity is a must. It is preferable to do it at a designated time - in the morning or then in the night, before going to bed at least an hour after meals.

Over time, you will find the effect of the mantra on the subconscious through its unique calming influence at any time of the day and in any situation. You are then truly on your journey to spiritual growth.

(Courtesy: http://www.healthandyoga.com)

17 January, 2012

Numerology & your Nature

Number 1 :
If your birth date is 1, 10, 19 or 28 of any month, your numeric number is 1 (ONE).
Your Nature : Stable minded, committed to your promised, stick to the opinion given, very clear for friendship or enemy, do not like to work under anybody's observations and want to work independently.
Friendship with the number 2, 4, and 7.
Lucky Day is Sunday.
Lucky Color is Pink and Yellow.
Lucky years are 10, 19, 28, 37, 46, 55, 64.

Number 2 :
If your birth date is 2, 11, 20 or 29 of any month, your numeric number is 2 (TWO).
Your Nature : Artist, loving nature, Imagination power is higher, Not powerful by body but powerful by mind and they win on this basis, changing mind for the decision or do not stick to the decision, quickly changes the new work, very difficult to give final touch to any work, less self confidence, not getting success.
Friendship with the number of 1, 4, & 7.
Lucky Day is Monday.
Lucky Color is White.
Lucky years are 2, 11, 20, 29, 38, 47, 56 & 65.

Number 3 :
If your birth date is 3, 12, 21 or 30 of any month, your numeric number is 3 (THREE).
Your Nature : Very Strict in nature, If they are in Army - Government officer they will behave strictly with the co-workers, Can not tolerate let go nature for work, very ambitions.
Friendship with the number of 6 & 9.
Lucky day is Thursday.
Lucky Color is Pink.
Lucky years are 3, 12, 21, 30, 39, 48 & 57.

Number 4 :
If your birth date is 4, 13, 22, 31 of any month, your numeric number is 4 (FOUR).
Your Nature : Very hard working, difference of opinion with others, Far ahead from the world, Create enemy due to opposition, supporting of new changes in the society, where they go - politics, social they want to change the old system, Do not like to save money, want to enjoy the life.
Friendship with the number 1, 2, 7 & 8.
Lucky days are Saturday, Sunday & Monday.
Lucky Color is Dark Brown.
Lucky years are 4, 13, 22, 31, 40, 49, 58 & 67.

Number 5 :
If your birth date is 5, 14, 23 of any month, your numeric number is 5 (FIVE).
Your Nature : Business minded people, attracted to business with immediate profit, sporty and spontaneous, like to finish the work quickly, do not worry for anything for long time, angry nature, like bright colors.
Friendship with the number of 5, 14, & 23.
Lucky days are Wednesday, Thursday & Friday.
Lucky Color is Green.
Lucky years are 5, 14,23, 32, 41, 50, 59, 68 & 77.

Number 6 :
If your birth date is 6, 15, 24 of any month, your numeric number is 6 (SIX).
Your Nature : Have attraction power, mixing nature, attraction to beauty, like art-drawing-music, like to welcome guest warmly, they want all the things properly arranged, right or wrong they would like to convince others with them and stick to their opinion.
Friendship with the number of 3 & 9.
Lucky days are Wednesday, Thursday & Friday.
Lucky Color is White.
Lucky years are 6, 15, 23, 33, 43, 51, 60 & 69.

Number 7 :
If your birth date is 7, 16, 25 of any month, your numeric number is 7 (SEVEN).
Your Nature : Good imagination power, successful in poetry and drawing, like to travel and meeting people, discussion with people, understand the thought of other person, successful in import-export, ship business & Navy.
Friendship with the number 2.
Lucky days is Tuesday.
Lucky Color is Green.
Lucky years 7, 16, 25, 34, 43, 52, 61, 70 & 2, 11, 20, 29, 38, 47, 56, 65, 74..

Number 8 :
If your birth date is 8, 17, 26 of any month, your numeric number is 8 (EIGHT).
Your Nature : Can do important work, only concern with their work & stick to dead lines, very ambitions, try to achieve higher position and sacrifice for that.
Lucky day is Saturday.
Lucky Color is Blue.
Lucky years are 8, 17, 26, 35, 44, 53, 62, 71, 80 & 4, 13, 22, 31, 40, 49,58, 61,71

Number 9 :
If your birth date is 8, 18, 27 of any month, your numeric number is 9 (NINE).
Your Nature : Risk taker, very spontaneous, want to finish the work quickly, hard working life, success in the field where more discipline is required, angry nature.
Friendship with the number of 3 & 6.
Lucky Day is Tuesday.
Lucky colors are Red and Pink.
Lucky years are 9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72.

16 January, 2012

વાસ્તુદોષને દૂર કરનારાં ફેંગશૂઈ ઉપકરણો

12પાકુઆ : મુખ્ય દ્વારની સામે કોઈ પણ પ્રકારના દ્વાર પર વેધ યા અશુભ પ્રભાવ પડતો હોય તો તેને દ્વારની ઉપર બહારની બાજુએ લગાવવામાં આવે છે. જેનાથી નકારાત્મક ઊર્જા અંદર પ્રવેશતી નથી.
ક્રિસ્ટલ બોલ : ક્રિસ્ટલ ઊર્જાવર્ધક હોય છે. પૂર્વ દિશામાં લગાવવાથી સ્વાસ્થ્યને લાભ થાય છે. ઉત્તર-પશ્ચિમ દિશામાં લગાવવાથી પરિવારમાં પરસ્પરનો પ્રેમ વધે છે. પશ્ચિમમાં લગાવવાથી સંતાન સુખ અને દક્ષિણ-પશ્ચિમમાં લગાવવાથી દામ્પત્યના સંબંધોમાં સુધારો થાય છે.
બાગુઆ : આ સાધનને શયનકક્ષના મુખ્ય દ્વાર પર બહારની બાજુએ લગાવવું જોઈએ. કાર્યાલયના દ્વાર પર પણ લગાવી શકાય છે. તેને લગાવવાથી નકારાત્મક ઊર્જા ભવન અને કક્ષમાં આવતી નથી.
વિન્ડ ચાઈમ : વિન્ડ ચાઈમ અર્થાત્ હવાથી જેનામાં ઝંકાર થાય એવી 'પવન ઘંટી' ઘર અને વ્યાપારના વાતાવરણને મધુર બનાવે છે. વાસ્તુ અને ફેંગશૂઈનાં પાંચ તત્ત્વોને દર્શાવનારી પાંચ રોડની વિન્ડ ચાઈમ શુભ માનવામાં આવે છે. બ્રહ્મસ્થાન પર લગાવવાથી સ્વાસ્થ્ય લાભ અને ઉત્તર- પશ્ચિમમાં લગાવવાથી જીવનમાં નવો સુઅવસર પ્રાપ્ત થાય છે.
લાફિંગ બુદ્ધા : હસતા બુદ્ધની ર્મૂિત ધન-દોલતના દેવતાઓમાંની એક માનવામાં આવે છે. તેનાથી ઘરમાં સંપન્નતા, સફળતા અને સમૃદ્ધિ આવે છે. આ ર્મૂિત શયનકક્ષ તથા ભોજનકક્ષમાં રાખવી જોઈએ નહીં.
ત્રણ પગનો દેડકો : મોંઢામાં સિક્કા લીધેલ ત્રણ પગનો દેડકો પણ એવી રીતે લગાવવો જોઈએ કે જેનાથી તે ધન લઈને ઘરની અંદર આવી રહ્યો હોય. તેને રસોડામાં કે શૌચાલયમાં કદાપિ રાખવો જોઈએ નહીં.
ધાતુનો કાચબો : આ આયુષ્યને વધારનારો અને ધન-સમૃદ્ધિ આપનારો છે. તેને ભગવાન વિષ્ણુનો કચ્છપ અવતાર માનવામાં આવ્યો છે.
લવ બર્ડ્સ : પતિ-પત્નીના પરસ્પર સંબંધોને મધુર બનાવવા માટે તેને શયનકક્ષમાં લગાવવો જોઈએ.
મેનડેરિયન ડક : કુંવારા છોકરા કે છોકરીનાં લગ્નને માટે મેનડેરિયમ ડકનું જોડું તે છોકરા કે છોકરીના ઓરડામાં દક્ષિણ-પશ્ચિમ ભાગમાં લગાવવું જોઈએ. આનાથી છોકરા-છોકરીનું લગ્ન જલદી થાય છે.
એજયુકેશન ટાવર : વિદ્યાર્થીઓને નજર સમક્ષ રાખીને ભણવાથી અભ્યાસમાં ધ્યાન એકચિત્ત થાય છે. ઈચ્છાશક્તિ અને તર્કશક્તિમાં વૃદ્ધિ થાય છે. વધુ અભ્યાસ માટેની પ્રેરણા મળે છે.
બેવડો ખુશી સંકેત : આ ચિહ્નને ઘરના દક્ષિણ-પશ્ચિમ ખૂણામાં લગાવવાથી ઘરમાં ખુશીઓની તકો વધે છે. વિવાહ યોગ્ય છોકરા-છોકરીઓનાં લગ્ન થઈ જાય છે.
મિસ્ટિક નોંટ સિમ્બલ : રહસ્યમય ગાંઠ અર્થાત્ જેના પ્રારંભનું કે અંતનું કોઇ ઠેકાણું નથી. આ ચિહ્નને ઘર અને ઓફિસની ઉત્તર દિશામાં લગાવવાથી ધન અને સ્વાસ્થ્યની પ્રાપ્તિ થાય છે.
એનીમલ સેટ : આને ડ્રોઈંગ રૃમની ચોફેરની દિશાઓમાં લગાવવામાં આવે છે. ડ્રેગન પૂર્વી દીવાલ પર, ટાઈગર પશ્ચિમી દીવાલ પર, ફિનિક્સ દક્ષિણી દીવાલ પર તથા કાચબો ઉત્તરની દીવાલ પર લગાવવામાં આવે છે. આને લગાવવાથી વ્યક્તિની બહુમુખી ઉન્નતિ થાય છે.
ભાગ્યશાળી સિક્કા : ત્રણ ભાગ્યશાળી ચીની સિક્કાઓ ઘરના મુખ્ય દ્વારની અંદરના હેન્ડલ પર બાંધવામાં આવે છે. આને લગાવવાથી ઘરમાં ધનની વૃદ્ધિ થાય છે. પરિવારના સઘળા સભ્યો લાભાન્વિત થાય છે. તેને પાકીટમાં રાખવાથી ખિસ્સામાં ધનની વૃદ્ધિ થાય છે.
રત્નોનો છોડ : ઘરમાં સુખ, શાંતિ અને ધન વધારવા માટે તેને ઘરમાં લગાવવું જોઈએ. લીલા રંગનું વૃક્ષ ઉત્તર દિશામાં તથા મિશ્રિત રંગનું વૃક્ષ દક્ષિણ - પશ્ચિમ દિશામાં લગાવવું જોઈએ.
વાંસળી : બીમના પ્રભાવને ઓછો કરવા માટે વાંસળી પર લાલ રિબિન લપેટીને બીમ પર એવી રીતે લટકાવવી જોઈએ કે વાંસળીનું મોં નીચે તરફ રહે અને પરસ્પર ત્રિકોણ બનાવે.
સોનેરી માછલી : સોનેરી માછલી ધન- સમૃદ્ધિની વૃદ્ધિ કરે છે. તેને ઘરની ઉત્તર દિશામાં પૂર્વ તરફ મોં રાખીને લગાવવી જોઈએ.
ડ્રેગનના મોં વાળી બોટ : સંયુક્ત પરિવારને સુગ્રથિત રાખવા માટે તેને ઘરના દક્ષિણી - પશ્ચિમી ખૂણામાં રાખવી જોઈએ.
ક્રિસ્ટલ ગ્લોબ : ક્રિસ્ટલ ગ્લોબને ઘર કે વેપારના સ્થળ પર એવી રીતે રાખવું જોઈએ કે તે આપણી સામે રહે અને દિવસ દરમિયાન તેને ઓછામાં ઓછું ત્રણ વખત ફેરફુદરડી કરાવવી જોઈએ. તે કેરિયર, વ્યાપારની સફળતામાં સહાયકરૃપ સિદ્ધ થાય છે.
ગ્નડ-ફાનસ-'ચી' : ઘરમાં દક્ષિણ - પશ્ચિમ દિશા પૃથ્વી તત્ત્વથી સંબંધ ધરાવે છે. તે વિવાહ અને પરસ્પરના સંબંધો સાથે સંલગ્ન છે. દરરોજ સાંજે બે કલાક પ્રજ્વલિત કરીને રાખવાથી પરિવારના સભ્યોમાં મેળ-મેળાપ-સંપની ભાવના બળવત્તર થશે તથા અપરિણીત વ્યક્તિઓનાં લગ્ન થવાની શક્યતાઓ વધી જાય છે.
પવન ઘંટડી : આ મુખ્ય દરવાજાની પાસે લટકાવવામાં આવે છે. બેઠક તેમજ કાર્યાલયમાં લગાવવાથી તે સમૃદ્ધિ પ્રદાન કરે છે. તેનો પવિત્ર ધ્વનિ નકારાત્મક ઊર્જાને ઓછી કરીને સકારાત્મક ઊર્જાને વધારે છે. મંત્રોના ધ્વનિ અને પવિત્ર ધૂનથી વાસ્તુદોષ નષ્ટ થઈને સુખ અને સમૃદ્ધિ પ્રાપ્ત થાય છે. પવન ઘંટડી દરેક ક્ષેત્રમાં લટકાવી શકાતી નથી. તેને લટકાવવાનું સ્થાન ખૂબ જ મહત્ત્વપૂર્ણ હોય છે.
ફિનિક્સ : ફેંગશૂઈ અનુસાર તે ઈચ્છા  પૂરી કરનાર ભાગ્યનું એક પ્રતીક છે. ભાગ્યને ક્રિયાશીલ કરવા માટે ફિનિક્સનો પ્રતીકના રૃપમાં તેના ચિત્ર યા પેઈન્ટિંગ દક્ષિણ ખૂણામાં લગાવવા જોઈએ.
ફૂક, લુક અને સાઉ : આ ક્રમશઃ સમૃદ્ધિ, ઉચ્ચ શ્રેણી અને દીર્ઘાયુના દેવતા છે. તેમની ઉપસ્થિતિ કેવળ પ્રતીકાત્મક હોય છે. તેમની પૂજા કરવામાં આવતી નથી. ઘરમાં તેમની ઉપસ્થિતિ ખૂબ જ ભાગ્યશાળી માનવામાં આવે છે. ફૂક સમૃદ્ધિના દેવતા છે. તે બંને દેવતાઓમાં કદમાં ઊંચા છે. મોટે ભાગે તેમને વચમાં મૂકવામાં આવે છે. ફૂક, લુક, સાઉ આ ત્રણેય મળીને ખૂબ જ મહત્ત્વપૂર્ણ સૌભાગ્યનું પ્રતિનિધિત્વ કરે છે. તેમની ઉપસ્થિતિ સમૃદ્ધિ, પ્રભુત્વ, સન્માન, દીર્ઘાયુ અને સ્વાસ્થ્યને સુનિશ્ચિત  કરે છે.
ડ્રેગન : ડ્રેગન ઉત્તમ 'યાંગ' ઊર્જાનું પ્રતીક છે. તેનો સંબંધ પૂર્વ દિશા સાથે જોડાયેલો છે. આ દિશાનું તત્ત્વ કાષ્ઠ છે માટે લાકડાનો નકશીવાળો ડ્રેગન સારો રહે છે. માટી અને સ્ફટિકમાંથી બનાવેલો ડ્રેગન પણ રાખી શકીએ છીએ. પરંતુ ધાતુનો કદાપિ રાખવો જોઈએ નહીં કેમ કે પૂર્વ દિશામાં ધાતુ કાષ્ઠને નષ્ટ કરી દે છે. ડ્રેગન યાંગ ઊર્જાનું પ્રતીક હોવાના કારણે રેસ્ટોરન્ટ, દુકાનો ડિપાર્ટમેન્ટલ સ્ટોર્સ કે જ્યાં ઊર્જાની વધુ જરૃરિયાત હોય છે, વળી લોકોની આવન-જાવન જ્યાં વધુ હોય છે ત્યાં પણ પૂર્વ દિશામાં ચિત્ર રાખવું ખૂબ જ સારંુ રહે છે. તેને શયનકક્ષામાં લગાવવો જોઈએ નહીં  કેમ કે ત્યાં યાંગ ઊર્જાની જરૃરિયાત હોતી નથી.

12 January, 2012

Swami Vivekananda Quotes

Here are some famous quotes by Swami Vivekananda:
  • All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.
  • GOD is to be worshipped as the one beloved, dearer than everything in this and next life.
  • All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.
  • If money help a man to do good to others, it is of some value; but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better.
  • Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth.
  • Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin; to say that you are weak, or others are weak.
  • We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.
  • You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.
  • A tremendous stream is flowing toward the ocean, carrying us all along with it; and though like straws and scraps of paper we may at times float aimlessly about, in the long run we are sure to join the Ocean of Life and Bliss.
  • All is the Self or Brahman. The saint, the sinner, the lamb, the tiger, even the murderer, as far as they have any reality, can be nothing else, because there is nothing else.
  • All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in our own mind.
  • All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that. Do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. Stand up and express the divinity within you.
  • All that is real in me is God; all that is real in God is I. The gulf between God and human beings is thus bridged. Thus we find how, by knowing God, we find the kingdom of heaven within us.

11 January, 2012

Makar Sankranti - Scriptural Significance

Sankranti is the Sanskrit word in Indian Astrology which refers to the transmigration of the Sun from one Rāshi (sign of the zodiac) to another. Hence there are 12 such sankrantis in all. However, the Sankranti festival usually refers to Makara Sankaranti, or the transition of the Sun from Dhanu rashi (Sagittarius) to Makara rashi (Capricorn). Makar Sankranti identifies a period of enlightenment, peace, prosperity and happiness followed by a period of darkness, ignorance and viciousness with immense sorrow. The six months of northern movement of the sun is followed by six months of southern movement. Makar Sankranti is one of the major festivals in the state of Gujarat. It is a two day festival here. It is also known as Utrayan festival.

Scriptural and cultural significance :

- According to the Puranas, on this day Surya(Sun) visits the house of his son Shani(Saturn), who is the lord of the Makar rashi(Zodiac Capricorn). Though the father and son duo did not get along well, the Surya made it a point to meet his son on this day. He, in fact, comes to his son's house, for a month. This day thus symbolizes the importance of the special relationship between father and son.

- From Makar Sankranti starts the 'day' of devatas(Gods), while dakshinayana (southward movement of the sun) is said to be the 'night' of devatas, so most of the auspicious things are done during this time. Uttarayana is also called as Devayana, and the dakshinayana' is called Pitrayana.[citation needed]

- It was on this day when Lord Vishnu ended the ever increasing terror of the Asuras(Demons) by finishing them off and burying their heads under the Mandara Parvata. So this occasion also represents the end of 'negativities' and beginning of an era of righteous living.

- Maharaja Bhagiratha, performed great penance to bring Ganga down to the earth for the redemption of 60,000 sons of Maharaj Sagar, who were burnt to ashes at the Kapil Muni Ashram, near the present day Ganga Sagar. It was on this day that Bhagirath finally did tarpan[clarification needed] with the Ganges water for his unfortunate ancestors and thereby liberated them from the curse. After visiting the Pataala(underworld) for the redemption of the curse of Bhagirath's ancestors the Ganges finally merged into the sea. A very big Ganga Sagar Mela is organized every year on this day at the confluence of River Ganges and the Bay of Bengal. Thousands of Hindus take a dip in the water and perform tarpan for their ancestors.

- Another well-known reference of this day came when the great grand-sire of Mahabharata fame, Bhishma, declared his intent to leave his mortal coil on this day. He had the boon of Ichha-Mrityu(death at his will) from his father, so he kept lying on the bed of arrows till this day and then left his mortal coil on Makar Sankranti day. It is believed that the person, who dies during the period of Uttarayana, becomes free from transmigration(rebirth). So this day was seen as a definite auspicious day to start a journey or endeavours to the higher realms beyond.[citation needed]

- Sikhs celebrate it as Maghi. The tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh tore the Beydaava written by 40 Sikhs and gave them Mukhti on this day. These 40 Sikhs later came to be known as 40 Mukhtas.[citation needed]

(source: Wikipedia)

09 January, 2012

About Bodh Gaya (Mahabodhi Temple)

Bodh Gaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district in Bihar. It is famous for being the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment (Bodhimandala). Watch this video for more information:

Mantras for Nine Planets

SUN (Surya) :

Om japaakusuma sankaasham kaashyapeyam mahaadyutim I
Tamorim sarvapaapaghnam pranato-smi divaakaram II

Om, I bow down with devotion to the shining light that is crimson red like a hybiscus flower, shining onto the earth, removing all the darkness and eradicating sin.

MOON (Chandra) :

Dadhi sankha tushaaraabham kshiirodaarnasambhavam I
Namaami shashinam somam shambhormukuta bhushanam II

I bow down to the Moon, who is creamy white like a container of yogurt and most pleasing, born from the churning ocean of milk, the effulgent emblem of devotion which adorns the head of Lord Shiva.

MARS (Mangal) :

Dharaniigarbha-sambhutam vidyutkaanti samaprabham I
Kumaaram shaktihastam ca tam mangalam pranamaamyaham II

I bow down to Mars, the auspicious one, who supports the womb of all creation, shines forth with the radiance of beauty enhanced by love, and wields power in his hand.

MERCURY (Budh) :

Priyangukalikashyaamam ruupenaa-pratimam budham I
Saumyam saumyamgunopetam tam budham pranamaamyaham II

I bow down to Mercury, whose beloved body is dark like the night, the icon of intelligence, and whose qualities are most beautiful.

JUPITER (Guru) :

Devaanaan-cha rishinaan-cha gurum kaan-chana sannibham I
Buddhi bhutam trilokesham tam namaami brihaaspatim II

I bow down to Jupiter, teacher of gods and sages, the greatest treasure, and the most intelligent of all creation.

VENUS (Shukra) :

Himakunda mrinaalaabham daityaanaam paramam gurum I
Sarvashaastrapravaktaaram bhaargavam pranamaamyaham II

I bow down to Venus, who is fragrant like crushed sandal and jasmine, the great guru of the demons, expounding all scriptures, and the descendant of sage Brigu.

SATURN (Shani) :

Niilaambujasamaabhaasam raviputram yamaagrajam I
Chaayaamaartandasambhuutam tam namaami shanaishacaram II

I bow down to Saturn, who is blue like a storm cloud, the son of the Sun and the brother of Death, who can cast his shadow even over the Sun.


Arddhakaayam mahaaviiryam candraadityavimardanam I
Simhikaagarbha sambhuutam tam Raahu pranamaamyaham II

I bow down to Rahu, the great warrior who divides even the Sun and Moon in half, born from the womb of Simhikaa.


Paalaashapushpa sankaasham taarakaagrahamastakam I
Raudram raudraatmakam ghoram tam ketu pranamaamyaham II

I bow down to Ketu, who is red like a paalaasha flower, who makes the star-eyed constellation to set, terrible and awesome to behold.

Nav Grah Mantra :

Brahmaa muraaristripuraantakaarii bhaanuh shashii bhuumisuto budhashca I
Gurushca shukrah shani raahu ketavah sarve grahaa shaantikaraa bhavantu II

Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva contemplate the Sun, the Moon, Earth, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu. May all planets be peaceful.