Monday, December 30, 2013

Time again for some hand embroidery

Hi Friends,

Its time again for me to show you one of the embroidery that I finished today. I love spending time on this and feel relaxed. But, yes doing lot of embroidery at one go is not very easy task. Moreover, for me I do not find adequate time to pursue this hobby regularly. But, still my love for this makes me come back and complete the work that I start once. This one took me more than a month and half may be. But, the end result is something that I like the most.

I have used, sprial trellis sticth, stem stitch, Kamal Kadhai, lazy daizy, bullion knots and twisted running stitch for this. Have a look and let me know if you have any suggestions.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Shankasti Chaturthi Dates for year 2014

Hi Readers,

As we prepare to say good bye to year 2013 and welcome the new year 2014. I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a happy new year 2014. Here is a list of dates for observing Shankasti Chaturthi fast.

19th January 2014 (Sunday) Sankashti Chaturthi 
18th February 2014 (Tuesday) Angarki Chaturthi 
20th March 2014 (Thursday) Sankashti Chaturthi 
18th April 2014 (Friday) Sankashti Chaturthi 
17th May 2014 (Saturday) Sankashti Chaturthi 
16th June 2014 (Monday) Sankashti Chaturthi 
15th July 2014 (Tuesday) Angarki Chaturthi 
13th August 2014 (Wednesday) Sankashti Chaturthi 
12th September 2014 (Friday) Sankashti Chaturthi 
11th October 2014 (Saturday) Sankashti Chaturthi 
10th November 2014 (Monday) Sankashti Chaturthi 
09th December 2014 (Tuesday) Angarki Chaturthi

May God Ganesha bless everyone and make our life obstacle free. May he grant us the strength to face all obstacles and overcome them.

Ohm Gam Ganapateyeh Namah!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Too many Gods and Goddess

Hi Readers,

I am writing this article for those, who get easily confused as to which God or Goddesses to follow. It happens in Hinduism, where we have 33 crore God and Goddesses. I remember as I child, I saw my parents worship, Jagannath and Sarala(one form of Mother goddess Durga). They believed in these two and prayed to them. I followed the same and latter developed faith towards Hanuman the immortal God. By the time I was in college, I had developed faith in Ganesha. When I started working, I started believing in Lakshmi. Slowly and gradually the list kept on increasing. Now, I have reached a point, where I do not get enough time to recite all the Sloka's of all deity. I have divided the sloka's as per different days.

Many a times, few question erupted in my mind. God is one as per Gita. Be it Shiva, Vishnu or Mata, finally they commence into one. He is Nirakar or does not have any form. That is the reason why in my school Dayananda Anglo Vedic Public School, we used to read text from Dayananda Saraswati who read many scriptures and translated many vedic scriptures for general mass. He said, we should not advocate on worshiping a form or idol of deity because God is omnipresent and has no specific form. We are mere creatures created by his mercy and we do not possess that power to describe him. True is not it. If we believe in concept of God, then we also believe he is the supreme power, the creator, the destroyer and the preserver.

God is just like Sun and these various deities are like his rays. Though Sun ray's are many, ultimately the source is one. So, there is no necessity of praying to all the various forms of one Supreme Power. Instead of deviating we should have that faith and belief that the almighty is listening, is standing and is watching us. He is loving and protecting us always and he will do it for ever.

Today, morning I watched a show in which a person asked the guru about a similar experience. The person had shown his Jataka/horoscope to a known astrologer and he had advised him to worship a certain deity. On this the guru said, all deities are form of same supreme power, we should not deviate from what we have faith. Instead strengthen our faith on the same supreme being when in difficulty. He is present everywhere and is watching everything. Never pray out of fear but out of strong faith and belief just like a child holding on to his parents. In human birth we do not tend to switch our parents just because we do not like some of their qualities, then why we need to switch faith on that almighty who nurtures us forever.

Ohm Santi! Ohm Santi! Ohm Santi!!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Indian Culture

Hi Readers,

Today, I am going to put my views on our tradition and culture. I do not mean to explain our tradition but yes, somehow I really feel good when I here some compliments about it from people of other country.

Working in MNC's we get to know people from other parts of our planet EARTH. When I joined my present organization, I got to directly work with people from US. I met some of them and talk to them quiet often. So, in these couple of years, I have known about their tradition and culture and have shared our culture and tradition with them.

It makes me feel good, when my colleague inquires for some good Indian movie with subtitles that she can watch. I like to describe and share photos that would help them understand Indian culture. But, its not at all easy task. We have so many different and distinct tradition in India, that makes us so very colorful. My colleague likes Ganesha and she managed to get a statue of Ganesha from India. Is not it lovely.

Definitely, working in cross culture and understanding other culture is not a easy task, but it takes very little effort when we really want to know. We Indian's readily accept and adjust to other countries and cultures, this is because we try to. This is certainly not just because we come from developing country so we would fall in love with developed country. When we can definitely others can and that happens easily for people just like my colleague who genuinely is interested in understanding different cultures.

I remember a foreign tourist who had taken up Hinduism and was following Krishna. I met him in Bangalore some four to five years back, just in front of Forum mall. He was distributing books on Krishna and making people aware of him. I was crossing the road with my friend, when he approached us. He started a conversation on Krishna, and I came to know that he had deeper understanding of Krishna than what I have. He gave me two small booklet's on Krishna with very interesting interpretation of Krishna and his activities. I remember I stood by just to listen to that man and took these booklets just because he was so much interested in telling us about Krishna.

 I do not know why but certainly all this makes me feel proud as an Indian, as an follower of Hinduism and to have such a strong culture that attracts people just by its color, calmness and peace. I have inserted some images of the major dance forms in India. All these are different are very colorful, from its attire to the techniques all vary.

There are so many and so different dance forms that I will not be able to provide all the images here. But, I take this opportunity to thank you everyone, who has showed interest to know our culture and tradition.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Getting excited about your life

Hi Readers,

We all have come across some point in life, where getting excited about life becomes difficult. I have had times, when I just passed the time mechanically doing things. My soul and heart was not at all excited. I had many advises from my friends and my family. But, seriously nothing seemed to encourage me.

In those time, my youngest brother said, " Didi, just keep watching TV, at-least you won't think of weird things, concentrate on what you are watching and you will pass an hour of your life being less depressed." True is not it. My Mom,  my best friend and my youngest brother would try hard to console me, to encourage me and to divert my mind each and everyday for at-least six months. Yes, it takes time. And all such weird things happens to all of us. The only difference is what seems so much easy for me, might be quite difficult for another person. Each of us makes our own castles of hope, dreams and we bound us with a rule that is made by us and is followed by us. We set a code of conduct and when some incident breaks it, we find it difficult to face.

God has given everyone different ability. Some have greater abilities to cope up with adverse situations and others feel forced to cope. That's it... It is a state in which one person readily copes and other finds it difficult to cope.

So, if you are in such kind of a situation, where you feel trapped and you find no reason to get up and get going. Then do one thing, just keep your mind busy with what ever weird that can divert your attention. Watch TV if you like, go shopping, watch movies one after the other, or try to watch movies in other language that would need you to read the transcripts. This way, you will pass couple of hours being less depressed for something that is beyond your reach to change.

Sooner or later, forced or readily you will move from this trapped zone to a better state of mind.

Another way that I followed is, just watch the less privileged. Laborers working in building construction site for example. They do so much of physical labor, at the end of the day, they get wage that is enough to get them a days meal. If they could save a little, that goes to meet the meal on days when they have no work. How little they get, but are they so much unhappy? No. Are they not alive? Yes. Why? Because, life needs very minimal things to meet its need. It needs food twice, irrespective of what you eat. It needs a set cloth and a roof above your head. It never requires, wonderful meals, lavish house and trendy clothes. Then why need all this. Just to meet our ego. Nothing is going to harm us if we can still be happy with whatever we could eat, wear and live with. Its our ego, our wishes, and list of want. The best part is nobody really knows what you wish or want, unless you share it with them.

Once, you feel little better, try to be good in everything you do. Say, you like cooking. Try to improve it a little better each day. Say you like blogging, try blogging in a better way. At-least try making your blog more attractive, more useful or more funny. If you like eating, try eating healthy. Try exercising, try reading books or try improving your knowledge on anything that you really want to do. This will slowly make you excited and get you back in life.

Always remember you are not the only one facing life's critical phase. This is a challenge to overcome and you have ability to do this. Life gives us challenges to make us more stronger and this phase will make you emotionally stronger.

May god restore peace in your life.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

ILL-FATED events that can turn life up-side down.

Hi Readers,

This blog is about my thoughts on some incident that can change a person's life altogether. I got to write about it, after hearing a painful news yesterday.

One of the intercity bus from operator Jabbar Travels met with an accident on the way from Bangalore to Hyderabad. The driver wanted to overtake a car when its front tyre burst and the diesel fuel tank adjacent to it exploded. It immediately caught fire and fire started to expand through the AC neon gas chamber. People could not escape because the central locking system did not gave them a easy way to come out. Only seven people could escape the accident and rest 45 people were burnt alive.

One of them was a techie from Cuttack, he was returning home to meet his newborn baby girl, born just 6 days before. My parents knew his family. Though, I never met him, I came to know that his father is suffering from paralysis, his mother has got retirement from her job few years ago and he has a young brother. Well, this is just any other ill-fated accident that kills and swaps families. Many techies, including a fresher who just got a offer letter, a couple who went for health check up and people who came to their families to celebrate Diwali met with this accident.  I was discussing about it with my mom, when she said why people do not like some children just like the newborn baby girl who lost her father just after her birth.

True, is not it. When her mother would watch her, she would be reminded of her beloved husband. Her grandparents would get reminded of their son's demise. It is true she is not the culprit, but this happened just after her birth. Her birthday, would haunt everyone of her father's demise. When she will grow up, even she will bear this pain always. She could be the only reason why her mother would fight with this trauma of loosing her husband. She has to be strong and would have to struggle to meet the needs of her child. This relates to the life of one of my cousin.

I have a cousin sister, whose husband went missing when she was merely six months pregnant, her marriage was not even a year long, when suddenly her husband disappeared. They used to stay at Kolkata, where her husband was working. When she was pregnant, her brother also came to stay with them. One day, her husband went for shopping and never returned. Its been more than 15 yrs now. Her daughter who was born after 3 months of this event is now in college. She named her Pal Pratikshya meaning waiting for the moment. In short waiting for her father to return. She has been struggling for her life and her child's future since then. Somehow, I also understand only because of her child she could sustain all stress.She could overcome the tragic incident and became courageous enough to fight back and stand on her own feet. She started working, living all alone with a little kid. She had to face ridiculous comments coming from relatives and society. I do not know why, but people criticize the survivor a lot? Why? Just because, that person did not gave up. It is also true people have sympathy. But, some people are just very happy to see someone in pain. They give additional pain on top of it by their words.

But, thinking about the child sometimes, I feel more pain. Just because the child lost someone important in life just before or after her birth, she is not loved the way she would have received it. That is fate. What can one do? The mother has two important people in her life, one is her child and other her husband. She just can't be happy loosing one. Same thing happens to girls when they get married, if something bad happens, she is blamed. As though she has created that event herself. Moreover, people also remark, had a boy be born. What is the difference with a newborn girl or a boy? If its a boy can the child immediately after birth take care of his family. Even if its a boy or a girl, they need family support to attain a certain age, when they can be responsible or help the mother.

But, this is our notion, societal norm that only a boy is eligible to take care of parents. Gender is enough to help the parents. How? I really do not understand it. But, I know this is not going to change at-least for my generation. I hope this mentality changes and makes a better society for girls in our next generation.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This too shall pass...

Hi Readers,

I am back again with my thoughts.Sometimes, when we do same work day in and day seems to be boring, no excitement. True, even if there is fun and adventure filled in each day ,after a while that starts to feel boring.

If you ask friends, families they would suggest to go out have fun....blah blah. However, many a times we are so screwed that even if we want to plan something that does not work out. For example, you have an aging parent to take care of. Taking care of a patient would seem so boring when it continues for years. But, we require to do it. Sometimes, you have small children, whom we can't take to all places where we want to go. This is when life seems so odd.

 With evolution of technology and social media, this has made the situation even more tricky. We get to see what our friends are doing. Sometimes, it gives us idea as to what we could do and sometimes we really feel jealous why we could not. But, yes certainly we have reasons why we could not do. Though, no one else might know what has restricted you, you know it. This is not the time to feel otherwise, but focus on where we need to provide support and love. For some of us, we have house to be cleaned, children to be loved and job to go to. The channel of our life cannot be turned and we should not be day-dreaming of doing so. Life is sometimes hard, sometimes boring but that is Life. Life has a purpose, a meaning and we are not meant to watch it but live it.Not to seek love, but to seek to provide love.

When life seems to be tough, and we feel unloved, forgotten or worthless, that is when life is most meaningful. That is when we should focus on life, and try our best to achieve its purpose. When we want to ask " Does it matter if I live" that is when we should shift our focus and make our life matter, we should shift focus from receiving love, to giving self less love. Our life goes through changes, phases, of episodes, of tragedies, but it goes on. And it goes on with a purpose.

I remember my Mother used to say, ask god to give you patience, tolerance and strength to face any difficulty. I never used to get why she used to say this, why she never said me to ask for wealth, health or something else. Now, as I age, my Mom's word seems so true. Our life and its purpose can only be achieved with patience and strength.She used to say, everyone goes to God, they blast at him for not providing this , that etc etc. God has so much of patience that he listens to everyone. Ask him to give a portion of his patience, a portion of his tolerance and a portion of his strength.

I don't know how, but with challenges that you face each and everyday, the quality of patience and tolerance grows automatically. If you feel you are being impatient... then try and ask almighty to give you a portion of his. After all this is a part of your life, this is not the end. So, remember this phase will also pass and you will get another morning filled with what you wanted. Till that time, have patience and remember THIS TOO SHALL PASS. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why truth hurts?

Hi Readers,

I am back again with my thoughts. Today, it is about truth. Yes, truth always hurts. You say it in a rude way, truth can end strong relationships, you say it politely but still it can damage. So, though in school we were taught to speak truth and be truthful to our parents, we actually learn to lie, to modify our statements so that that is palatable and does not hurt anybodies sentiments. 

We grow mature , and what is maturity,the way we behave in public. We are still the same child who wants everyone to love him/her, pay attention to him/her. But, maturity realizes us we have to ignore being ignored, being less favored. The things that plays utmost importance is what one can achieve. Maturity, truth and false all just go hand in hand to let us realize we have to adjust. The moment you do not adjust, you fall out of circle. Be it your family, your friends, the place where you live or the people you interact with, everyone wants co-operation. With the struggle of life, every individual learns slowly or quickly that by acting smartly, convincing others, things can be achieved. You could be truthful, but if you are hurting someone, you are never favored. 

For example, in a family of two siblings, the mother also favors the one who talks to her politely, consoles her when she wants to hear that. Where as the other child could actually say truth, would want everything good for his/her mother, but she seems to ignore if the child is little arrogant. Take our Indian scriptures, we have so much written about sages, sages like Rishi Durvasha. He was a much learned man, he was a great sage, was another incarnation of Lord Shiva, but he was short tempered. People remember him for his temper. The devas and asuras always received Rishi Durvasa with much devotion, but yes they feared him. They were afraid, one small mistake by them would not be spared by Rishi Durvasa, and he will curse them. 

Rishi Durvasa never told lies, but still, his truth and curse left everyone with fear. Getting things done at the behest of fear, is only possible by anti-social people, but not by every ordinary individual. If you want to rise, want to be remembered with love, you have to control speaking truth that hurts other's sentiment. 

I remember, after one of my post ( The school essay competition)someone said to me, why I wrote that, was it because I wanted to ridicule my school teachers. I just wrote my feelings and my thoughts about that incident, but may be it was not something everyone would like. My sole intention was to encourage our children to think big, which got lost somewhere, when this friend of mine pointed to me this way. I thought this several times, before writing my mind out. What can a person write, either you could be a great composer, who can compose stories out of no-where, or you can relate the things around you. Why people get hurt ? Just because it has got some connectivity with them. People ignore when it does not actually have any connection. But, they always fear being criticized. But, what we overlook is critics actually, point out where you can improve. Sometimes, we ourselves overlook the room where we can actually improve and make it big. 

I remember the Kabir doha on having critics and taking criticism positively.

Nindak Neare Rakhiye Angan Kuti Chhaway
Bin Pani Sabun Bina Nirmal Kare Subhay

Keep Critic Close To You / Be Always In Touch With Him, It Will Decorate / Improve / Guide / Comfort Your Life

It Will Clean Your Defective Mind / Character Without Much Efforts.

But Most Important Is Taking Criticism, You Have To Take Calmly, Understand It, Think Over It With Open Mind, Throw Unwanted One And Grasp / Apply Useful One.

So, the whole thing is if someone says truth, that helps in realizing where one can make adjustment's or modification to improve. But, yes speaking truth always just like a critic hampers your own relationship. Both are a necessity of this society. What is important is to know when to stop and how to get your words across. Truth is good, but it hurts. As a mature individual we need to make judicious use of it. So, my thought is be truthful judiciously.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Navaratri Fasting and feasting in a healthy way

Hinduism has been associated with lunar calendar and also it associates most of its festivals according to the climate and harvest season in India. Navaratri, be it Sarodiya or the Basant Navaratri, both are the transition from one major season to another. Indian traditional calendar divides climate into 6 different categories. During Basant Ritu the season changes from winter to summer and during Sarad Ritu climate changes from summer to winter.

Though we have monsoon season which again makes the change is climate from summer to monsoon then monsoon to winter. But, the change from summer to winter and winter to summer goes along the rotation of Sun. That is called Uttarayan and Dhakinayan. During this Uttarayan, we celebrate the Sarodiya Navaratri and Chhat Puja in Bihar. We are advised to fast and feast on lighter foods that are easy to digest, has less oil and spices, because our immunity to the climate change is not at its best. Various states have there own festival that somehow advises us to take certain food and restricts some other. One of them is Navaratri, which is widely celebrated across many states in India.

Here, are some of the things that is recommended to be taken or restrain one from eating during this holy time. Restraining from non-veg and more spicy food allows cleansing of the human body. Taking more fruits, water and less spicy food enables taking in good nutrients and allowing the digestive system to function properly when our immunity in general is hampered due to climate change. Lets now have a look at the things that we usually feast during this time.

1- Water/ Fruit juices - Navaratri festival do not restrict one on intake of water and fruit juices. It is advisable to have lots of water, fruit juices, milk , lassi etc. These allows the body to maintain the normal fluid level and helps in cleansing the digestive system. 

2- Fruits :- Eating lots of fruits helps in getting essential vitamins and mineral intake. It helps in cleansing body.

3- Dry fruits - Keeping long gap between meals, could hamper the normal digestion and lead to acidity, but munching on dry fruits and Makhana ( Puffed lotus seeds) helps to elevate this problem.

4- Sabudana/Tapioca balls - This  has high content of starch or Carbohydrate, it is easy to digest and is usually permitted to be eaten when one is sick. This is because, it instantly provides energy. You can have Sabudana Khichdee, Sabudana Payasam/kheer. These are healthy and have less oil and fat.

5- Kuttu ka atta/ Buckwheat flour - Kuttu ke puri is widely eaten during this time. Yes, Puri usually contains more oil, you can try recipes that could be made with buckwheat like buckwheat pancake or buckwheat paratha with less oil in it. Buckwheat as such is a rich source of manganese and is proven to have lowered blood cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is rich in a flavonoid Rutin. This Flavonoid acts as antioxidant and improves immunity.

6- Singhare ka atta/ water chestnut flour :- This is Indian water chestnut(Trapa Bispinosa) which is proven to have many health benefits. This is low in fat, high in Manganese thus is used to treat thyroid disorder. It is a good source of energy , rich in polyphenolic and favonoids thus acts as antioxidant.

7- Rajgira ka atta /Amaranth flour :- This is rich in protein and essential amino acids. Cooked Amaranth is rich in Vitamin A,C, riboflavin, calcium, iron,folate, copper, manganese etc. It has been proven that daily intake of Amaranth helps in reducing hypertension, blood pressure and cholesterol. 

8- Peanuts :- This is rich in niacin, manganese, folate and vitamin E. It contains mono-saturated fat. 

9-Makhane / Puffed Lotus seeds :- This is rich in flavonoids and dietary fiber. It has anti-aging properties and helps in avoiding constipation. 

10- Milk/Curd :- Milk/Curd are rich in protein. Curd has cooling effect on body.

Consuming above ingredients with less oil and spices, helps one to absorb good nutrients, vitamin & minerals. It helps in cleansing process and building the immunity of body. It also makes one restore immunity and prepare for the transition of climate. So, feasting on fruits and recipes that are healthy makes one stronger. Having faith in one's own deity , building spiritual connection also helps in making one stronger at emotional level. Thus, fast and feast this season, have faith in Maa Ambe and build a better life.

Thank you.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Sodasha Upachara of Maa Durga

In Odisha, Durga Puja is celebrated in two different ways, one is in Pandals that is Sarodiya Durga Puja which is started from the new moon day of Sukla Paksha and lasts till the Navami or ninth day of bright fortnight or Sukla Paksha. The other is in Shakti Peethas or temples dedicated to Shakti which starts from Ashtami tithi of Krishna Paksha and ends on Navami tithi of Sukla Paksha that is it starts from eighth day of dark fortnight and ends on ninth day of bright fortnight. This is also known as Sodasha Dinatmak ( 16 days festival).

There are many famous shrines of Mata, where she worshiped in various forms of Nava Durga or Dasha Mahavidya. Below, is picture of Suna Besha of Maa Chandi, Cuttack.

Below, is a list of shrines devoted to Maa Durga in Odisha.

1- Goddess Vimala, Puri Jagannath Temple
2- Goddess Tara Tarini , Berhampur
3- Goddess Mangala, Kaktapur
4- Goddess Sarala, Jhankada, Jagatsinghpur
5- Goddess Biraja, Jajpur town
6- Goddess Hingula, Talacher
7- Goddess Samalei, Sambalpur
8- Goddess Chandi, Cuttack
9- Goddess Tarini, Keojhar
10- Goddess Kichakeswari, Khinching
11- Goddess Ambika, Baripada
12- Goddess Bhadrakali, Aharpada,Bhadrak
13- Goddess Ramachandi, Konark
14 - Goddess Bata Mangala, Balasore
15- Goddess Bhagabati, Banapur
16-Goddess Chamunda, Baitala Deula , Bhubaneswar
17- Goddess Bhattarika, Atagarh
18- Goddess Charchika, Banki
19- Goddess Chausathi Jogini, Outskirt of Bhubaneswar
20- Goddess Kali, Kalijai, Chillika
21- Goddess Ghanteswari, Sambalpur
22- Goddess Kanakdurga, Berhampur
23- Goddess Lankeswari, Sonepur
24- Goddess Ugra Tara, Khorda
25 - Goddess Maheswari, Atthamallik
26- Goddess Majhighariani, Rayagada
27- Goddess Manikeswari, Kalahandi
28- Goddess Saptamatruka, Jajpur
29- Goddess Siddha Bhairabi, Ganjam
30- Goddess Sureswari, Sonepur

Below is a picture of Maa Mangala, Kakatpur.

After from these temples, there are many other ancient temples that is dedicated to Maa Durga. All these temples, celebrate Durga Puja and Sodasha Upachara is done in most of these temples. Maa Durga is decorated with many ornaments, clothes to form many Besha out of which Suna Besha is quiet famous. Devotees visit the temple on these days and pray to Maa Durga and seek her blessings.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bhisma Pitamah - True Khashtriya

Hi Readers,

Today, I am going to put across my thoughts on Bhisma Pitamah and would describe him and his role in Mahabharat. It is not easy to describe Bhisma, his role in Mahabharat and his character in just a post. But, yes one who knows more or less about Mahabharat would definitely fall in love with the righteous and the mightiest King. There are many characters that I personally adore in Mahabharat, and I place Bhisma at the top of the list. He is regarded as true Khstriya because he always thinks and does the thing that favors well being of an entire Kingdom. He protects and nurtures Hastinapur for years, till he thinks he can now live it in good hands to be taken care of. Lets me now, go into the story of Bhisma.

Once, the eight Vasus (attendants of Indra) or Astavasu namely Anala, Anila, Aha, Pratyusha, Prabhash, Dhara, Soma, Dhruva visited Sage Vashista with their wife. Vashista had the possession of Kamadhenu, the mother cow who had ability to fulfill all the desires of its owner. She could produce warriors to protect the sage and give milk and milk products for everyday use. Prabhas's wife wanted Kamadhenu and persuaded Prabhash to steal her from Vashista. Prabhash persuaded all the Vasus and they planned to steal Kamadhenu. However, they were caught red handed by Vashista. And Vashista cursed them for this action. His curse was that they all have to take Human birth and lead a painful long human life. Open hearing Vashista's curse, all the Vasus pleaded for mercy. Since, a curse cannot be taken back, Vashita reduced the curse. He reduced all the seven Vasus who assisted Prabhash in this activity in such a way that they have to take up birth as human, but they will be liberated of this human birth soon after. However, since Prabhash was the mastermind behind this act, he have to lead a long painful human life. But, he will be illustrious man of his time. All the vasus then prayed to river goddess Ganga to be their Mother.

Goddess Ganga then incarnated herself  to a beautiful lady. One day, she was roaming near Ganga basin, when Santanu (king of Hastinapur) saw her and instantly fell in love. Santanu persuaded Ganga to marry him. She asked him to promise her that whatever she will do, he will not complain. Santanu agreed and they both got married. When Ganga gave birth to her first seven sons, she would take them with her and drown in river Ganga. Santanu kept watching her silently. When the eighth son was born, Santanu, could not keep himself restrained and pleaded Ganga to let the child live. This eighth child was Prabhash, who was suppose to lead a long human life. So, Ganga agreed and promised Prabhash to return her son when he attains his youth. He was named Devavrata. 

Ganga got Devavrata trained in all the subjects from political science to martial arts from various Sages like Vashista, Markendeya, Brihaspati, Sukracharya and Parsurama. When he attained youth, he had mastered all the knowledges that is required to be righteous King. Ganga now retured him to Santanu.

Santanu, wanted Devavrata to rule and be crowned as the Prince of  Hastinapur. After, the crowning ceremony, Devavrata came to know of his father's wish to marry  Satyavati,the daughter of fisherman. But, her father did not wish to give her hand to Santanu. Bhisma/Devavrata on hearing the terms and conditions of the king of Fisherman, took the oath to remain unmarried and would not be king, so that the sons of Satyavati could be crowned as King of Hastinapur. Bhisma took oath to lead a life of celibacy so that it will be Satyavati's offspring that would always reign on Hastinapur. Devavrata's vow touched his father's heart and he granted a boon that gave control over his own death( Swechha mrityu). From then on Devavrata was known as Bhisma because of the Bhisan Pratigya ( Strong vow) that he took. 

After his father Santanu's death, Bhisma's half brother Chitragad also died and Vichitravira was crowned as Prince. Bhisma went to Kashi on Swayambar of Amba, Ambika and Ambalika (daughter's of King of Kashi) , to get these Princess to marry his half brother Vichitravira. With his strength and intelligence, he convinced King of Kashi to send in his daughter's to marry Vichitravira. However, the eldest princess Amba was in love with another king Salva whom she would have married in Swayambar had Bhisma not been there. When Bhisma came to know about this, he allowed Amba to get married to Salva, but Salva didn't accept Amba as his wife. Amba was furious with Bhisma and wanted to marry him as Bhisma's won all of them in their Swayambar. Since, Bhisma was Bhramachari he could not do so. Furious with Bhisma, Amba went to Bhisma's Guru Parshuram to provide her justice.  Parshuram fought with Bhisma for 23 days and he was able to please his Guru Parshuram. Amba did great penance to please Lord Shiva and got a boon that in her next life, she will be born as a man who would be instrumental in Bhisma's death. She was born was Shikandi in next birth.

As Bhisma had vowed, he always remained as a true adviser and protector of the King of Hastinapur. When Kauravs and Pandav's fought for the crown, Bhisma was the only person who wanted always to bring to an end to this war. Even though he was general from Kaurav side, he always tried to minimize confrontation between both groups. He tried to persuade Kaurav and Pandav to come up with a mutual agreement. 

He is regarded as a true Khastiya because he always fulfilled his duty towards kingdom, never showed anger and passion. He was a symbol of truth and duty. He saw five generations, and kept himself alive till the power was transffered to Yudhistira. He knew Yudhistira would keep Dharma on front and would fulfill all his duty towards Hastinapur so he accepted death on Kurushetra. He was also true devotee of Krishna. On his death bed, he gave meaningful lessons on Political science and duties of a King to Yudhistira. He was the beloved and most adored of all to both Pandav and Kaurav as their great grand father. Thus, he is known as Bhisma Pitamah , Pitamah meaning great grand father. Below, is a list of his lessons that he gave to Yudhistira on death bed.

Bhismadeva advised for all human beings nine qualifications:

Not to become angry
Not to lie
To equally distribute wealth
To forgive
To beget children only by one's legitimate wife
To be pure in mind and hygienic in body
Not to be inimical toward anyone
To be simple
To support servants or subordinates.
Bhisma also advises this:

1. To get freedom from anger, one should learn how to forgive.
2. To be free from unlawful desires one should not make plans.
3. By spiritual culture one is able to conquer sleep.
4. By tolerance only can one conquer desires and avarice.
5. Disturbances from various diseases can be avoided by regulated diets.
6. By self-control one can be free from false hopes.
7. Money can be saved by avoiding undesirable association.
8. By practice of yoga one can control hunger.
9. Worldliness can be avoided by culturing the knowledge of impermanence.
10. Dizziness can be conquered by rising up.
11. False arguments can be conquered by factual ascertainment.
12. Talkativeness can be avoided by gravity and silence.
13. By prowess one can avoid fearfulness.
14. Perfect knowledge can be obtained by self-cultivation.

In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.9.27) Bhishma instructs King Yudhishthira in the following dharma:

dana-dharma, or public acts of charity, 
raja-dharma, or the duties of a king, 
moksha-dharma, or duties for salvation, 
stri-dharma, or duties for women, and ultimately 
bhagavata-dharma, or pure devotional service to the Lord.

He said to Yudhistira about Dharma as 

Tadrisho ayam anuprashno yatra dharmaha sudurlabaha
Dushkamha pralisankhyatum tatkenatra vysvasyathi
Prabhavarthaya bhutanam dharmapravachanam kritam
Yasyat prabhavasamyuktaha sa dharma iti nischayaha.

It is most difficult to define Dharma. Dharma has been explained to be that which helps the upliftment of living beings. Therefore, that which ensures the welfare of living beings is surely Dharma. The learned rishis have declared that that which sustains is Dharma.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sage Uddalak and Shwetaketu - Chandogya Upanisad

Hi Readers,

This story is a brief of the story in Chandogya Upanisad, on Sage Uddalak's teaching on oneness of the soul.
Have you ever wondered who and where is God? Why can we not see Him? How did he create the world? Here is a story from the Chandogya Upanishad which answers your doubts.

Long, long ago, there lived a sage named Uddalaka. He had a son named Swetaketu. When Swetaketu was seven years old, Uddalaka invested him with the sacred thread and sent him to a gurukul to continue his studies under a suitable guru.

Swetaketu was a bright and diligent student, and learnt all he could from his guru, pleasing everyone at the gurukul. Finally, his studies complete, he returned home, bursting with pride at his achievement.

Uddalaka saw his son approaching the ashram, and realized at once that his son had returned filled with pride and ego. He was saddened, for true learning and knowledge brings not pride, but humility. A true scholar is one who has subdued his ego and humbly bows before the Supreme.

Uddalaka decided that he would have to complete his son’s education himself, and called Swetaketu. The boy arrived with a smile, ready to tell his father about all that he had learnt and all the praises he had received.

Swetaketu was received by his father with a question. “My son,” said Uddalaka “I am sure you have learnt all there is to learn at the gurukul. Do you now have the knowledge by which one can hear what can not be heard, by which one can see what can not be seen, and by which one can know what can not be known?”

Swetaketu was not only stunned, but also confused by his father’s question. How could one hear that which could not be heard, see what could not be seen, or know what could not be known? His father was a great rishi. Surely he had some knowledge that he hadn’t learnt so far. Part of his pride fell away as he asked his father respectfully, “Father, I do not have the knowledge of what you speak. Can you please explain this to me, since I do not understand?”

Uddalaka replied, “My son, I am talking about that which is inherent in all things. For example, once you have seen a lump of clay, you can recognize all objects made of clay. Similarly, once you have seen a nugget of gold, you can identify all items made of gold. In the same way, once you have seen a piece of iron, you can recognize all objects made of iron, no matter how different they may seem. For, it is not the shape, size or use of the object, but what they are made up of, which is important. Similarly, everything in the universe has different names and forms, but there is something inherent in all of them. Do you know what that is?”

Swetaketu bowed before his father and said, “Father, I do not know of these things. Perhaps my gurus too did not know of this, for if they had, they would surely have taught it to me. Please teach me this knowledge of which you speak.”

Pleased with his son’s humble request, Uddalaka said, “Listen, my son, I shall tell you how this world was created. In the beginning, there was only the ‘Sat’ or the One True Being. Having decided to create other beings, he first created Tejas (Fire), Apas (Water) and Annam (Food). Entering them as the Jivatma (Soul), he brought them to life and gave them name and form. He then decided to multiply further, and made them merge in different ratios to create more beings. These are what we know by various names today as Indra, Surya, and others.”

The rishi continued, “The three basic forms had merged to create more forms, but the basic nature of the three constituents were retained. Agni or fire showed itself as the red colour, while water showed itself as white and food as black. Even in their new forms, they showed themselves, for example, in the sun, what we call Surya or Aditya, the red colour is due to the fire, the white due to water and black due to food or earth.”

The sage explained further, “The basic forms of all beings are only the first three forms to be created – Tejas, Apas and Annam. Even in these three forms, it is the Sat, the True Being, who is the one form within all these three. Thus, the Sat alone is all, for all are different names for Him!”

Uddalaka concluded, “My son, the Sat is all powerful, for all beings are just His reflections. We call Him by many names, the True Being, the Supreme, and the Brahman. But they are all just different names for the all powerful One who is the essence of all life. Once we know Him, we know everything else. It is from Him that we all are born, and it is into Him that we merge when we die. We come into contact with Him within ourselves when we meditate. He pervades all and destroys all. He is the only perfect One. My dear son, you are not Him!”

Swetaketu was humbled by his father’s words, for he realized how little he knew. He said, with folded hands, “Father, please tell me more about the Supreme Being, for I want to know more about Him.”

Uddalaka was happy to see that his son was showing the signs of humility and a desire for knowing the real truth. He said, “My son, observe how the bees collect nectar from different flowers and make honey in their hive. Is it possible to distinguish the nectar of the different flowers from the honey? So also, we are all different, but in essence, it is the one true being that unites us all!”

He continued, “My son, see the rivers which merge into the sea. The waters of the different rivers appear different. But the sea into which the merge does not change. So also, we are all different forms of the true being. We appear different due to our forms, but we arise from the same source, and merge into the same – which is the Supreme!”

The sage then asked Swetaketu to bring a fruit and cut it into two. Uddalaka asked, “What do you see?” Swetaketu replied, “I can see seeds.” Uddalaka said, “Cut a seed into two and tell me what you see.” Swetaketu replied, “Father, there is nothing inside the seed.” Uddalaka smiled and replied, “Son, you can not see anything inside this seed, but from this tiny seed sprouts a huge tree. So also from the One True Being sprouts the entire universe!”

Next, Uddalaka asked Swetaketu to bring a glass of water and some salt. He asked Swetaketu to put the salt in the water and asked, “Can you see the salt now? Can you take it out?” Swetaketu replied, “Father, I can not see the salt, for it has dissolved in the water, and I can not take it out.” Uddalaka now asked Swetaketu to take a sip from the glass. Swetaketu replied, “The water is salty.” Uddalaka asked Swetaketu to taste the water from all portions of the glass, and Swetaketu replied that the water tasted salty everywhere. Uddalaka explained, “My son, you can not see the salt, but you can taste it. Similarly, the Supreme being pervades every atom of this universe, even though we can not see Him.”

Swetaketu understood at last the significance of Sat, and felt humble as he realized the magnitude of the One True Being. In course of time, he became a great rishi himself.

Thus, we too should understand that the only perfect one is the Lord, and all we see around us are His forms. We are, but tiny specks of his creation, and must remember this and learn to be humble. Humility is indeed the greatest of all virtues, for only then can we realize the truth.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sage Mudgalasya

Hi Readers,

I also searched for Sage Mudgalasya after whom my pre-marital Gotra was named. I got one interesting story, that speaks about equanimity of mind. Here, is the story for you.

Sage Mudgal was a very pious soul. He had taken a vow and accordingly would pick up for support grains left on field by men after had gathered and carried away the sheaves. In a fortnight he would collect about 32kg of grains. Thereafter he used to perform sacred Yajna, give food to Brahmins and himself take the food that remained after the deities and the guests had eaten. On Amavasya (No moon day) and poornima (full moon day this was a usual practice. For fifteen days he would toil hard to earn his living and that earning was judiciously used in the yajna. In serving the guests and savoring the same as Prasad. Even the gods extolled him greatly. Insult and pangs of hunger agitate even great persons. But sage Mudgal always remained calm and peaceful. Not only he himself was so worthy but his wife also assisted him greatly in performing the virtuous deeds. Even his children had adapted to the mode of their father’s life the lustrous eyes of the sage verily reflected the virtues of fortitude, patience, peace, straightforwardness, generosity and austerity. He would conquer the heart of any one simply by casting a loving glance. Sage Mudgal had almost reached the stage of Self-realized jnani whose glances radiate spiritual magnetism, mysterious love and compassion through divine aura. Sage Durvasa heard of the virtuous Mudgal, observant of vows. The self-realized sage Durvasa, a sage and an examiner, would foam around in the disguise of a livid man, a woman or a woman or a half-woman in order to test and thereby elevate the will power of devotees, the power of austerities obtained by the men of penance, and the renunciation of ascetics etc.. Sage Durvasa took up another disguised form and visited Sage Mudgalasya to test him.

Disguised as an eccentric, sage Durvasa came to Mudgal and spoke in a harsh and bitter language, "O Mudgal! You should be aware of the fact that I’ve come to you for having food."

Mudgal: ‘’You’re Holiness! Highly obliged by your visit. Please take seat.

Durvasa had taken form of a very dirty and ugly man. Rishi Mudgal at first bathed himwith his own hand. Then made him sit and offered him food. Incidentally Rishi Mudgal had just completed the yajna. With great reverence and affection he offered to Rishi Durvasa the Prasad of Yajna meant for himself, his wife and his child. The Rishi relished the food greatly because firstly the food was earned through great toil; secondly it was the left-over of sacred yajna thirdly it was offered with reverence; fourthly it was offered with serenity and fifthly it was given with a lot of affection. Rishi Durvasa practically consumed the entire food. Still the little bit that was left, he smeared on his body. Thereafter he looked at Mudgal but his face depicted no irritation, or resentment for anything.

"The Lord tests only those, whom He wants to bless."

"This is the way He showers His mercies His on devotees.”

Now let’s imagine how we would have reacted had we been in this situation. If we had not taken any food for as long as a fortnight and on the fifteenth day offering the yajna oblations and feeding guests and then this happens, ! Thereupon if he had ingested the whole amount of food meant for the entire family. Not only this still the residual food would have been smeared by him to his body imagine what would be the plight of our mind. Wouldn't we like to hit the person with a wand or to give him a tight slap?

Mudgal Rishi had no irritation, unhappiness or astonishment. ‘It is fine! What the saint liked to do, he has done. Rishi Durvasa perceived no reaction from him. As soon as the food was over, he expressed his desire to depart. Now when will the meal be prepared next?

“Your Holiness! The self-ordained rule I follow is to take food after offering yajna oblations every full moon day and every no moon day.”

Do not worry. I’ll come on that day.’’ Rishi Durvasa came six times Six times every fortnight amounts to full three month’s duration for full three months the whole family had to remain without food. Still there was not an iota of resentment in their minds. Food is not the only thing that nurtures this physical body. Possess the key to remain well-nourished, healthy and cheerful, main well-nourished, healthy and cheerful, you can stay healthy and happy even in adverse circumstances. And above all as the mind perceives, the physical body behaves accordingly. Selfless service they rendered generated a kind of vital energy to keep hunger and thirst away.

Rishi Durvasa was pleased and asked him, “my dear child! Ask me for a boon!”

“Your Holiness! Your pleasure is all that we would have asked for.”

In spite of rendering such an exemplary service, Mudgal did not ask for anything from the sage just imagine the great selflessness in his pure intellect. The contentment of Rishi Durvasa heightened the bliss of gods also. A messenger from heaven alighted on earth and said, “Gracious sage! The effect of your meritorious deeds has become so great that we wish you to come to paradise along with the physical body. Those who perform yajnas do get to heavens after death, but your patience, equanimity, endurance and contentedness are so great that you are being invited to heavens in the physical body itself. Upon this Mudgal rishi enquired, "what does one get in the paradise?"

“There is a range of boughs and gardens to roam about, gorgeous damsels to dally with, elixir to drink, an extensive range of sumptuous food to relish and many other thongs to enjoy. Paradise is paradise; there is nothing equal to it.’’ Thus the divine messenger praised the charms of heaven.”

“Virtue and vice, pleasure and pain, good and bad go hand in hand. So better you describe both positive and negative aspects.”

“The divine messenger said, “The luxuries and good points I have already described. Now listen to the bad ones. People there have attachment and malice towards one another. Fear from more powerful ones, jealousy and conflict with equals and hatred towards the less privileged is widely prevalent in the paradise. Above all, what to talk of the luxuries of paradise even the opulence of Brahamloka is not perennial. Ultimately one has to descend here on this earth after enjoying the pleasures of these worlds.

Then Sage Mudgal says;
I will only attain that harmless Supreme State reaching where every agony, pain or affliction gets absolutely relieved and the Supreme Bliss is verily attained

I do not want to dwell in paradise, Brahamloka or Vaikuntha. I want to attain Self-realization, I don’t want a seat or position attained by going somewhere from where I’ ll be made to descend again on earth; I don’ t want happiness that will be lost. Rather I’ ll dive in that perennial sea of bliss:

‘The Lord dwells in my heart I just need to peep within to meet Him.’

I want to attain the state of Supreme Bliss Where there is absolutely no room for sorrow. Pray I want to repose in my True Self from where there is no reversion. I am grateful to you for your coming and to Lord Indra for his cordial invitation. But I don’t want heaven as reward for my actions. You may please return to your abode.’’ With this sage reverently bade them goodbye.

Maharishi Mudgal refused the luxuries of paradise but there arose no pride in his mind on having done so. The true devotees of the Lord bear all trials and tribulations but never complain because the more is the selflessness in a heart the more is upsurge of the nectar of Self -Bliss within.

 Therefore keep on filling your mind with firm determination and pious thoughts like, ‘I’ ll accomplish all my duties only for the Lord’s pleasure not for the sake of appreciation and fame, for worldly gains or to denigrate someone someday. Whatever I do, I’ll do for the sake of divine love, for making myself entitled to the God’s grace . In this way I’ll associate myself with the divine Endeavors of God and God Realized saints will make myself pious thereby.

The journey-from a drop of water to a handful of ash!

Your life begins with a drop of water and ends in a handful of ash.

Childhood was not yours, youth is not yours and old age will not be yours. You are the changeless Atman;

Not ever changing body. Ego you are not; nor are you the mind that is unstable like mercury. Your marks are bliss, spontaneity;

Coolness and purity. Your life begins with a you spend the day eating; will you spend the night in sleep?

When death can strike any time. Why do you delay?

Come O mind! Let us go and take refuge at the feet of  Almighty;

When the Lord Himself says that we are akin to Him, What do we lose in accepting Lord as our kin? 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sage Uddalaka and Astavakra

Hi Readers,

Post marriage, I came to know of the Sage named Uddalaka as my Gotra changed to Uddalaka named after him. I tried to search who he was, what he did and interesting facts that I could remember and re-tell others.

Interestingly, I got few facts and stories about him. As per Mahabharat, Uddalak is the title given to Rishi Aruni. He was a disciple of Rishi Dhaumya, and one rainy night Dhaumya asked Aruni to supervise the rain water flowing through the paddy fields. When Aruni went to fields he found, water was overflowing, so it has breached the designated canal made for it and is destroying the crop. He tried to channelize the water, but it was unstoppable and it was constantly raining. Left to no other option, Aruni lay down himself and with help of his body protected the crop. When he did not return to the Ashram, Rishi Dhaumya came to check for him. He was so pleased with Aruni that he gave him the title Uddalaka and from then on he was known by this name.

Uddalak grew up to become one of the best known scholar and he authored Chandogya Upanisad where he has given knowledge of enlightenment to his son Swetaketu. In Chandogya Upanisad it is also mentioned that Uddalak was the Guru of Kahola. He had married his daughter Sujata with Kahola.  She was mother of Astavakra. Sujata had the desire of wanting her child to imbibe spirituality and intelligence. She began to sit in the classes taught by Uddalaka and Kahola, listening to their chanting of the Vedic Mantras. In India, there is a belief that when expectant mothers expose themselves to spiritual teachings, the child in the womb hears it and gathers that knowledge and become a genius in that spiritual area after its birth.

One day, as Kahola was reciting the Vedas within the hearing distance of the child growing in the womb. The embryo was aware of the correct pronunciation of every syllable since its mother used to attend classes with rapt attention. The embryo heard the recitation of Kahola, but whenever Kahola pronounced a syllable wrong, it squirmed in distress. The embryo informed Kahola that he had pronounced the syllable wrongly as indicated by the child in the womb. This happened on eight occasions. Kahola perceived this as arrogance on the part of something, yet to manifest itself in the world. He cursed the fetus with eight deformities of the body. When the baby was born, it was crooked in eight places - the two feet, the two knees, the two hands, the chest and the head). He was named Astavakra, which means "one having eight bends".

Around the time Astavakra was born, Kahola was persuaded by Sujata to go to the court of Janaka to earn some money. In Janaka's court, Kahola was challenged to a scriptural debate by the philosopher, Vandin (also spelled Bandin). In that time, the best philosophers were invited to argue in the presence of the monarch Janaka. Vandin easily defeated Kahola and immersed the vanquished Kahola in under water. Astavakra was now raised by Uddalaka. Astavakra and Shwetaketu grew up together. Uddalaka, Sujata and the disciples ensured that Astavakra was never informed of his real father, Astavakra thought that Uddalaka was his father and Shwetaketu his brother. When he was twelve years old, Astavakra was seated on Uddalaka's lap. Shwetaketu pulled him down and informed him that it was not the lap of his father. Astavakra came to know the truth about his father Kahola from Sujata, He decided to confront Vandin and defeat him in an argument.

Astavakra and Shwetaketu made his way to Janaka's palace. Astavakra first faced the gatekeeper who tried to keep the young boy out. On convincing the gatekeeper that he was well versed in the scriptures and hence old, he was let in. Then Janaka tested Astavakra with cryptic questions which Aṣṭavakra answered with ease. Janaka decided to let Aṣṭavakra face Vandin. Vandin and Astavakra began the debate, with Vandin starting. They alternately composed six extempore verses on the numbers one to twelve. Then Vandin could only compose the first half of a verse on the number thirteen. Astavakra completed the verse by composing the second half and thus won the argument against Vandin. This unique debate is full of enigmas and latent meanings which lie under the simple counts of the numbers one to thirteen.

The condition of the contest was that if Vandin were to lose he would grant any wish of his vanquisher. Aṣṭavakra demanded that Vandin be drowned in water just as he forced his vanquished opponents to do. Vandin then revealed that he was the son of Varuṇa (the Lord of all water bodies), and was sent incognito to land to get Rishi's to conduct a ritual that Varuṇa wanted to perform. By this time, Varuṇa's ritual was also complete. On Vandin's request, Varuṇa bade the sages and Brahmaṇas farewell and brought them to surface. Aṣṭavakra worshipped his father and was in turn praised by all the freed sages. Kahola was extremely pleased with his son. Kahola returned to his ashram with Aṣṭavakra and Shwetaketu. In the presence of Sujata, Kahola asked Aṣṭavakra to bathe in the river Samanga. When Astavakra entered the river, all his crooked limbs became straight.

Astavakra authored Astavakra Samhita or Astavakra Gita on spiritual enlightenment.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Hi Readers,

Today, is Vishwakarma Puja in short , today is the day of Lord Vishwakarma, the engineer God who made the kingdom of Dwarka for Lord Krishna .He has built Indraprasta the capital of Pandavas. He had made many buildings, weapons according to Indian mythology. I do not know how this day came into existence and from where it was derived that September 17 every year would be celebrated in his remembrance. According to Hinduism we celebrate all the festivals, birthday of all our beloved lords according to the Lunar calendar.

Why we celebrate according to Lunar calendar? Just, because during those time when we suppose our God to have taken human birth, Indian followed Lunar calendar, that determines Tithi(date) according to the movement of Moon. Be it birth of Krishna on Krishna Janmastami that is Krishna Pakshya Astami tithi in Shraavan Masha meaning eighth day of dark fortnight in month of Shraavan ( Aug-sept) . Or the birth of Radha on Radha Aastami ( eighth day of bright fortnight) that falls 15 days after Krishna Janmastami. Similarly, we have Guru Purnima that is birth of Buddha which falls on full moon day of Ashaadh mash (july-aug).

All the festivals for example Vijaya Dashami is on tenth day of Aswin Month (sept-oct). We start the Dussehra puja from first day of Sukla Pakhsya in Aswin month.  Deepavali starts from 13th day of Krishna Pakshya and is celebrated till 2nd day of Sukla Pakhsya. All over India Diwali is celebrated on the Amabasya(no moon day).

However, Vishwakarma Puja in few states including Odisha and Bengal on 17th of September. And this remains constant. Why? If you have faith you can celebrate or worship any god on any day. But, this does not answer the concept how we celebrate other festivals. 17th September in 2013 is on tryodashi (13th day of bright fortnight) and same 17th September 1982 was on Krishna Pakshya Amavasya (no moon day).

Vishwakarma was one of fourteen divine outcome of Samudra Manthan between the Devata's and Aasura's.  In few other state, they celebrate and worship Vishwakarma on Diwali day. So, there is no clear knowledge how this worship came into being and how it was decided that September 17 would be the day when he will be worshiped.

Let however this would have come into existence, today this day is celebrated among the mechanics, craftsmen, factory worker, etcs. Paradip port of Odisha celebrates this in much wider way, setting up beautiful Pandals, Vishwakarma idol and Mela's for public entertainment.

I have posted few pictures of Vishwakarma Puja in Odisha especially Paradip. 

Monday, September 16, 2013


Hi Readers,

With continuation to my previous post, today, I am going to give you little knowledge of Jamalpur, dist Munger, Bihar.

Jamalpur means beautiful city. Jamal in Urdu means beautiful. This city was set up during British Era. British East India company had established Railway Workshop , which then employed near about 30,000 people to start this workshop. Today, the Indian Railways have their Indian Railway Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. This city gained its popularity with Jamalpur Locomotive Workshop setup during British Raj. The Railway Institute was huge, had its own movie theatre, Swimming pool, billiards room, bowling lawn. People from East India Railway visited this.

Jamalpur is a place where the legacy of the RAJ still lives on, albeit in a more moderate form. Roads still bear names like Albert road, Warwickshire road, golf marg, club road; bearers of the officers club wear white and red turbans. Wednesdays & Saturdays are still tie days'. 
The grave of the British officer who was killed while fighting a tiger in (what is now) the Golf course is symbolic of the days that used to be - adventure, elitism, royalty, power, domination.)

Famous throughout India is the 'Sholay tunnel' , a tunnel where , you guessed it, a scene in the megabuster SHOLAY was shot . Immortal also are actor Sanjeev Kumar's words- "jab main Jamalpur main inspector tha..."

Jamalpur, has many beautiful places, the Kalipahad and Kali Mata temple at top of it. The death valley just near the valley foot hill are really beautiful. Then you can see the grave of Englishmen who died there fighting with Tiger, famously called Tiger grave.

My school, Notre Dame Academy is the oldest school set up at this place by christian Catholic sisters from Cleveland,Ohio, USA in year 1949 ,to help improve the general condition of women and girl of this region. Though later, my school was converted to co-education.  Our school had the tallest building at the place when I used to stay there. We could see over the Kali Pahar and railway over bridge from our class room. 

Friday, September 13, 2013


Hi Readers,

Today, I finally I am going to write about Munger. Many a times, I wanted to pen down this. But, where should I make a start? Should I start up with my experiences in Munger and Jamalpur in the year 1994-1997 or should I make a start with the rich history of this place which dates back to time of Mahabharat. Sometimes, I felt I can't do justice to it, or may be my post would be too long and run into pages. After, watching few old photos today, I have finally thought of to start with it. Let me make several posts that narrate about this places. So, lets start.

Munger finds its name in Mahabharat as Mod-Giri and was ruled by King Karna. The famous Karna Chaura where after taking bath Karna used to do charity is present in Munger. However, the first historical account of Munger appears with the manuscripts from Huen-Sang, the famous Chinese traveler. Munger was in prominence when Mir Kasim shifted his capital from Mursheedabad in Bengal to Munger. From those time, Munger gained popularity over its gun manufacturing units.  Guns produced at Munger were in demand during First world war. The Gun manufacturing then took shape of cottage industry and became a popular profession of this region.

I am going to post some beautiful and incredible pictures below, that shows the rich history of then India. Below, is old picture of Karna Chaura(the place where Karna after taking bath and worshiping sun God used to perform charity).

Presently, the Bihar School of Yoga( the first Yoga university of India) stands at this place. It has a place where an Akhanda Deepa( forever lighted lamp) is placed. This was the exact place where the mighty King Karna sat and performed charity daily. Below, is few pictures of Bihar School of Yoga.

This is the highest building from where you get a birds eye view of Munger. This Yoga school attracts many foreign students, who dedicate their life to Yogic Shadhana. It is located inside the Munger fort.

Now, coming to Munger fort, it is belived to be build during the reign of Slave dynasty. Mohammad bin Tughlaq ruled over it. The fort has a succession of Muslim followed by Mughal rulers. 
Below, are few pictures of its various gates.

The fort has same structure as any other fort with abyss(Khai) that disconnects the fort from main land. When required the gates would open and form a bridge over the abyss and at the time of war would act as a barrier protecting the King and people inside. 

Few pictures of the abyss (khai).

The Fort houses many significant places. Like the Tomb of Pir Shah Nufa. He was sufi saint who was siant to Munger by his guru Khwaja Mouinuddin Chisti of Ajmer. Below, are few pictures of this Pir which is located adjacent to the south gate.

It has Famous Kastaharni Ghat , where it is believed that if you take bath in Ganges in this ghat, Ganga will take away the sufferings. It has Jagannath Mandir near it. One can see the tunnel made below river Ganga , that was used by the ruling dynasty to shift from Munger to another city across Ganga if they fear being defeated by enemy. The architecture of this tunnel is amazing. Though, when I saw it, it was already broken and river water had filled it. Ganges river is vast, At Kastharni ghat, she is much wider and just looks like a silent ocean. One can not view the other bank of river Ganga with naked eye. It would have taken great effort and skill to make a tunnel under such a mighty river. Below are few pictures of River Ganga at Kastaharni Ghat.

Below, is a picture of Kastharni Ghat from river Ganga.

Below is a picture of Chhat festival at banks of Ganga.

Below, are few pictures of the gate that opens to the underwater tunnel across river Ganga. These tunnels are known as Mir Kasim Tunnel and is presently located in Sri Krishna vatika. 

The fort also houses Gurgin Khan palace which was later used by collector of Munger.

The Fort also has Machli talab, a Shivalaya (Shiva temple) that is made inside a pond which has fishes. 

The fort has Chandi Asthan a famous Shakti Peetha.

The fort also houses Shuja palace now this is being used as a Prison. Below is picture of it.

In Munger, Sita Kund is also vary famous.This place is 4 miles from Munger. This is a natural hot water well. The specialty is that near Sita Kund, Ram kund, lakshman Kund, Bharat kund and Satrughan kund are also located but  they have cold water. You can view the water bubbles only in Sita kund. Below, are few pictures of it.

Below, is a picture of water bubbles in Sita Kund.

Below are pictures of Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Satrughan Kund resepctively.

I do not know if ever I can visit Munger again but definitely it has many things that will never allow one to forget this place. 


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