Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Karavaa Chauth

Hindu women are very particular about the welfare of their family. They do all kinds of Poojaa, fasts, Yantra, Tantra, Yagya for it. There are several festivals in their list for this.

One of such festivals is Karavaa Chauth. It always falls on Kaarttik Krishn Chaturthee. This year it is today on 22-Oct-2013. This day the married women keep fast and pray for their husband's long life. Karavaa Chauth coincides with Sankashti Chaturthee, a fasting day observed for Ganesh Jee.

The fasting of Karavaa Chauth and its rituals are observed by married women for the long life of their husband, but the women who wish to marry soon, or whose marriage is getting late can also keep this fast - they pray for their early marriage.

How to Celebrate It
This festival's celebration starts from the previous day. Women apply Menhdee (hina) on their hands and feet the previous day. On the day of Karavaa Chauth they wear new glass bangles, their most beautiful dresses and jewelry and get ready to do Poojaa. Pooree, Kachauree, Pakodee of wheat flour with jaggery are made. Women take out some food and sweets along with some money and offer it to their elderly women as a respect and to receive their blessings. This is called Baayanaa. Those women bless the younger women to be with their husband lifelong. The Baayanaa pot is returned keeping something in it for the welfare of that woman's children.

All families have their own style of taking out this Baayanaa. Many families take out the Baayanaa of  food items and sweets, or dry fruits etc. It is always accompanied with some money. It is customary to keep something else also with this food, sweets and money. People may keep some more food items, clothes or even jewelry for that woman to whom this Baayanaa is given. It is considered very auspicious and people do not normally refuse this Baayanaa because it is considered good fortune to have it.

Women worship Gauree (Paarvate Jee) and Ganesh Jee in the evening this day.  Their fast starts from the night before Karavaa Chauth, means after taking dinner at night they do not eat anything throughout the night also. It is auspicious to eat some sweets after dinner. For the newly married girls this is done by their mothers or mother-in-law wherever they are. This fast continues for the next day, actual Chauth day. This fast is a bit hard as the women do not drink even water until the evening Poojaa is done. Pregnant women and new mothers can take milk once or twice in the daytime. They break their water fast after their evening Poojaa and food fast only after sighting and making the offerings to the Moon god. Moon rises this day a bit late - about 9.00 pm.

Several family women, or friends may do the Poojaa together in one woman's house. They change their Karavaa during the Poojaa. Karavaa Chauth story is also told and heard. If somebody is alone, she tells the story in a loud voice as it should be heard too along with telling.

Karavaa Chauth is also known as Karak Chauth. Karavaa or Karak refers to the earthen pot through which water offering, known as Arghya, is made to the Moon god. Karavaa is very significant during the Poojaa and it is also given as Daan (donation) to a Braahman or any eligible married elderly woman. Compare to South Indian states, Karavaa Chauth is more popular in North Indian states.
[See the Karavaa Chauth Poojan]

Sushma Gupta

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kaarttik Month-2

Previous blog was about the importance of Kaarttik Maas and activities during that month. Like Aashwin month this month is also full of festivals, so this blog is about the festivals falling in this month.

(1) Karavaa Chauth - The month starts with Karavaa Chauth celebrated by Suhaagin (married) on Kaarttik Krishn Chauth. This day they keep fast without drinking water for the welfare and long life of their husband and take food after Poojaa and seeing the Moon. This day the Moon rises about 9.00 PM.

(2) Raadhaa Ashtamee  or Raadhaa Jayantee - On Kaarttik Krishn Ashtamee Raadhaa's birthday is celebrated.

(3) Ahoee Ashtamee - Ahoee Ashtamee also falls on Kaarttik Krishn Ashtamee, This day women, if woman is not there or cannot keep the fast then men, keep fast for the welfare of their sons. They keep fast without drinking water and eat food in the evening after worshiping Mother Hoee and seeing stars. Whose children die just after their birth, they start eating food after seeing the Moon. It is believed that their children live by keeping this fast. On this day Moon rises very late.

(4) Dhan Teras - Dhan Teras is celebrated on Kaarttik Krish Trayodashee. Hindu celebrate this day by Lakshmee Poojan, buying some kitchen utensil. They buy some gold or silver also to invoke Lakshmee Jee on Divaalee (celebrated on Amaavasyaa).

(5) Dhanvantari Jayantee - This Kaarttik Krishn Trayodashee day is celebrated as the birthday of Dhanvantari Jee also. According to our Puraan he emerged from Saagar Manthan carrying Amrit Kalash and is the Devtaa of medicines. A lamp is lighted outside the main door to ward off untimely and unnatural death in the family.

(6) Narakaa Chaudas or Chhotee Divaalee - Kaarttik Krishn Chaturdashee is celebrated as Narakaa Chaudas. It is believed that the doors of Hell are wide open on this day, so to prevent oneself from landing in Hell people light a lamp for Yam Raaj - the god of Death. Facing the South, take a lamp with four wicks (each facing a direction) and black Til oil (sesame seed oil) and keep it outside the house door or gate and pray to Dharm Raaj to spare the family from untimely death in the family. This day a few clay lamps are also worshiped - one for Vishnu (keep it in your Poojaa place), one for Varun Devtaa (keep it near well or water tap), one for Tulasee (keep it with Tulasee plant), one for Yam Raaj (keep it outside the house door), one for Peepal tree (keep it under Peepal or in the roots of any tree) and a few lamps (maybe 5) for our ancestors and those dead people who expect this light from mortals - from their own people or others.

(7) Hanumaan Jayantee - It is ironical that Hanumaan Jayantee is celebrated in the year by various people at various times. Some people celebrate it on Chaitra Poornimaa. Vaayu Puraan says that he was born on this Chaudas at midnight. Both have supports by scriptures, so one can celebrate it on both days. Since he was born at midnight, the celebration should be on next day morning. People worship Hanumaan on this day (Amaavasyaa) in the morning, read Hanumaan Chaaleesaa and Sundar Kaand this day. You may listen to Sundar Kaand here.

(8) Divaalee - Kaarttik Amaavasyaa is Divaalee - the main festival of Hindu, especially of Vaishya. Worship Ganesh Jee and Lakshmee Jee at night. It is celebrated by eating sweets and distributing sweets to close relatives and friends. It is believed that Lakshmee Jee comes out in the night to distribute wealth and whoever's house She finds clean and beautiful she enters that house and gives wealth. So people clean their houses, whitewash or paint their houses, cook and eat delicious food and after worshiping Her wait for Her to come to their house. They keep awake the whole night by playing cards or some other means of entertainment. New clothes are worn and lots of crackers are cracked.

(9) New Year and Annakoot - Vaishya, traders and businessmen celebrate this day, Kaarttik Shukla Padavaa, as their New Year day. They change their account books and wish each other good for the New Year. This day is celebrated as Annakoot or Govardhan Poojaa also. This is a special festival of western UP. It is believed that Krishn saved Gokul from Indra's wrath - heavy rains for 7 consecutive days, by lifting Govardhan mountain on His left smallest finger. A huge mountain  is made by cow dung and Gop, Gwaalaa, cattle are made inside it. Men worship it and as many kinds of foods as possible are cooked and distributed. Temples also distributed Prasaad.

(10) Yam Dwiteeyaa or Bhaiyaa Doyaj - This day, Kaarttik Shukla Doyaj, is celebrated as Bhaiyaa Doyaj. Brothers go to their sister's house and sister puts Teekaa on their forehead and offers them delicious food. Brothers gives them some money or gift. It is believed that Yamee, sister of Yam, got attracted to her brother and asked for his favor, then Yam preached her about the sacred  relationship of brother and sister. Tulasee Planting  is also done this day. A new Tulasee plant may also be planted and is worshiped the whole Kaarttik month.

(11) Soorya Shashthee Vrat - On Kaarttik Shukla 6th day is celebrated as Soorya Shashthee Vrat. A 3-day fast is observed and it is concluded on the 4th day.

(12) Gopaa Ashtamee - On Kaarttik Shukla Ashtamee cows are worshiped, clothed and fed green grass and other foods. Cow donation is common on this day. Although donation of a real cow is not always necessary, only some donation towards it may also be counted as Gau Daan.

(13) Akshaya Navamee - Kaarttik Shukla Navamee is celebrated as Akshaya Navamee. Akshaya means immortal. Whatever Punya activity is done on this day becomes immortal; it means that one will be enjoying  its Punya till he gets salvation. Punya Karm include Jaap (recitation of Hari's name), Daan (donations), Sevaa (serving somebody or temple, Vrat (fasts), Deep Daan in temples or lighting lamps in home temples, Kathaa etc etc.

(14) Dev Uthaan Ekaadashee and Tulasee's Marriage - Kaarttik Shukla Ekaadashee is Dev Uthaan Ekaadashee. Vishnu wakes up this day from His 4 months sleep. This day people keep fast, do Vishnu or His Avataar's (Raam or Krishn) Bhajan, Keertan and read scriptures. There was a Daitya named Mur. Krishn killed him, that is how He got the name Muraari (Mur+Ari). Mur went to hide in rice today that is people do not eat rice on all Ekaadashee. Tulasee is also married this day to Shaalgraam. Her marriage is performed in the same way as people marry their children. All kinds of marriage ceremonies are performed in the same way.

(15) Bheeshm Panchak - Who cannot discipline themselves for the whole Kaarttik month, they can observe them from Kaarttik Shukla Ekaadashee to Kaarttik Poornimaa, 5 days, called Bheeshm Panchak. Keep fast on these days or eat only Saatwik food - no carrot, onions, garlic, mushroom etc. Listen to Raamaayan, Geetaa etc.

(16) Vaikunth Chaudas - It is believed that on this day the doors of Vaikunth, the abode of Vishnu, are wide open. One should worship Vishnu and Shiv this day. Once Vishnu went to Manikarnikaa Ghaat at Kaashee, to worship Shiv. he took 1,000 lotus flowers to worship him. To test Vishnu's devotion, Shiv hid one flower. When Vishnu found that one flower was short, He thought that people call my eye a lotus eye, so let me offer my eye. As soon as He got ready to pluck His eye Shiv appeared before Him and blessed Him. He also said - "From this day, this Chaudas will be known as Vaikunth Chaudas. Whoever will worship first you and then me will go directly to Vaikunth."

(17) Kaarttik Poornimaa - It is a very auspicious day to take bath in Gangaa River. If one cannot have access to Gangaa, he can invoke Gangaa while taking bath in home. It is also auspicious day for Satya Naaraayan Vrat Kathaa.

Thus this month is also full of important festivals.

Sushma Gupta

Kaarttik Month-1

Yesterday, on October 18, 2013, was Sharad Poornimaa. Sharad Poornimaa is the most important Poornimaa of the year among the 12 Poornimaa. This was Aashwin Maas Poornimaa. Almost the whole month was of festival month. First 15 days were dedicated to our Pitri (ancestors), next 9 days were dedicated to 9 forms of Durgaa, the next day was dedicated to Raam's victory over Raavan - Dashaharaa; and this last day of the month, Poornimaa, was the most important Poornimaa of the year - Sharad Poornimaa.

From today starts the holiest month of the year - Kaarttik Maas. It is the most favorite month for both Vishnu and Shiv. Vishnu who slept on Aashaadh Shukla Ekaadashee wakes up on Kaarttik Shukla Ekaadashee - after 4 months of sleep. This is the greatest thing for Vishnu Bhakt. A lot has been said in Puraan in the praise of this month. This month has been said to be the sin destroying month.

Whatever Poojaa you do in this month gives great Punya (merit) to the doer, that is why one must do at least something to earn Punya, if not all, such as - Jaap of Hari's name. Snaan in Brahm Muhoort, Deep Daan (lighting lamp) in the house or a temple, fasts (any kind of fast which is possible for you), any kind of Daan (charity), daily Aamalaa or Peepal or Tulasee tree worship, lighting lamp near Tulasee plant, applying Tilak from Tulasee's soil etc are the most Punya giving actions of this month.

About Snaan, Shiv Jee says to his son Kaarttikeya - "O my dear son, Taking bath in this month before sunrise is equal to taking bath in the holiest of holiest rivers, and sleeping on the ground in this month is equal to donating a piece of land to Braahman."

Padm Puraan gives an interesting story about Deep Daan - Once in a temple of Vishnu, there lived a mouse who used to eat the ghee from the extinguished ghee lamps which had been offered by devotees to Him. One day when she felt hungry to eat ghee, she tried to eat the ghee from a lamp which was not yet extinguished fully. While eating ghee from the lamp, the cotton wick got stuck in her teeth. Since the ghee wick had a flame, the mouse started jumping in front of the Deity and thus died due to fire. But Vishnu accepted the jumping of that mouse with a lit ghee wick in her mouth as His Aaratee and so He liberated her - the highest goal of one's life. If somebody lights a lamp in a Vishnu temple even for a short time in the month of Kaarttik, his millions of sins acquired from million  Kalp (one Kalp equals 1000 Chatur-Yug) are destroyed. This is best Punya Karm during the Kaarttik month.

Next Blog about Festivals in Kaarttik Maas

Sushma Gupta

Friday, October 18, 2013

Solomon and Jesus' Cross

In Solomon, I gave you an introduction to write my blog about Solomon.
Solomon was a great Jew king of his times. He was the son of David. David himself was a great king but Solomon had special grace of his God Yahweh.

Are you not surprised to read this title that how Solomon who existed 1,000 years before Jesus, is connected to Jesus' cross? Let us see how he is related to him.

This blog is in the continuation of Solomon's Temple. You read in Solomon's Temple that he was the first builder of temples. Since he thought that his God was only one and big, he thought to build his Temple also big. In those days there were no means to cut big pieces of wood or stones and to join them together , so Solomon prayed his God to give him something to help him build big temple for Him and He gave him a wood which could cut big, join big etc etc through a bird. It seemed to him that it was the wood of that tree which was planted in the Garden of Eden by God Himself and later cut it into many pieces when Adam and Eve did not obey Him.

With the help of that wood Solomon built his big temple and when the construction of the temple was over, it was kept at some secure place where it should not be misused. When Solomon met Queen of Sheba, Queen's foot touched this piece of wood accidentally and her foot got cured.  Now we proceed further from this point...

The Queen of Sheba honored that wood by studding a piece of silver on it. Seeing her doing this, Solomon also did the same except that he engraved his name on that piece of silver. Later he made a rule that all future kings should do the same and by the time of Jesus 30 pieces of silver were studded on that wood. When Solomon had died, this piece of wood was kept safely in the inner room of the Temple and continued to be there till it was needed.

When Judas conspired with the Temple priests to hand over Jesus to the King of Rome in exchange of 30 silver coins, at that time the Temple did not have money to give to Judas, so those priests gave these 30 pieces of silver to Judas in exchange of Jesus.

On the 5th day Jesus was ordered to be prosecuted on cross. At that time, some junior priests who believed that Jesus was pure and faultless but were scared to say it outwardly, thought that on whichever wooden cross Jesus will be prosecuted that wood will become holy. Thinking thus they took out that Garden of Eden wood from the inner room of the Temple and gave it to the Roman soldiers to build the cross for Jesus. Thus the same wood, which treated Queen of Sheba's foot, was used to give salvation to the King of Kings Jesus.

This story is written in Syria and Arabian books. In Ethiopia, this day is celebrated as a national festival with great pomp and show, because a piece of the same cross was brought to Ethiopia in the end of the 14th century. This festival is called Meskel and is celebrated on September 27.

Is it not interesting to know?

Solomon's Justice
Solomon's Throne
Solomon and Birds
Solomon's Temple

Sushma Gupta

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Solomon and Birds

In Solomon-1, I gave you an introduction to write my blog about Solomon.
Solomon was a great king of his times. He was the son of David. David himself was a great king but Solomon had special grace of his God Yahweh.

Once, when he was a child, his God Yahweh asked him to ask for a boon he wished for. He asked the boon of wisdom instead of wealth, fame, and victory over his enemies. And Yahweh gave him that too  which he did not ask for.

Solomon Knew All Languages
Solomon not only knew the languages of birds and all kinds of animals (animals of earth, sky and water) but he also had full control over them. He used to converse with them and take work from them. In fact he had control over all the living beings of the world - not only human beings, animals and birds but also over the Jinn, angels and other invisible beings too. Here I describe you an incident in which he used a bird to call the Queen of Sheba, the Queen of Ethiopia, to him.

Once Solomon called all the birds to him, so all the birds came to him, but there was one bird which did not come - that was Hoopoe bird. Solomon got very angry at this and he asked his servant Jenie to find that Hoopoe bird and bring it to him, and if he did not bring that Hoopoe, he would be bitten by worms in the desert. So Jenie went, found the bird after long time and came back to Solomon with it. The bird was trembling with fear.

Solomon asked her where was she and why she did not come when he had called all the birds. She said - "If you will just listen to me why I did not come, I will be convinced that I am pardoned." "Speak." Hoopoe bird said - "Flying high I continued to fly for 3 months without eating anything just to see is there any place which is not under your rule. Flying thus I reached Athiops and met another Hoopoe. I asked him about this. He said - "This kingdom is like that where people worship Sun God and do not even know your Solomon and his God Yahweh."

Hearing this I filled with rage and asked him the name of its king. He said - "This kingdom is called Sheba and here rules a maiden queen Balqis who is very beautiful." Solomon asked him - "Have you yourself seen that queen?" Hoopoe bird said - "Yes, She indeed is beautiful." Solomon then sent a letter to the queen through that Hoopoe bird. He wrote in that letter - "I rule over the whole world, including animals, birds, water animals, genie etc, so you should also come to me and accept me as your king. I will give you proper respect. If you did not come to me I will destroy your whole kingdom within a night."

Hoopoe bird  flew and dropped that letter in the laps of Balqis who was sitting in her court. After reading the letter she consulted her courtiers and decided that she would not go to him and let him destroy her kingdom. Then she sent 500 young boys in the guise of girls and 500 young girls in the guise of boys to him along with gold and an egg size pearl asking its meaning and a gem with a curved hole to be threaded. Since Solomon asked the Hoopoe bird to bring her reply, he came with this reply.

Solomon welcomed the queen's people and did what the queen asked him to do. He said - "It is not good to send people in opposite sex clothes. He wrote this pearl is the symbol of purity. He threaded the gem by ordering one worm to go through that curved hole of the gem tying a hair in his foot.

Balqis got very happy to see this and she set off to Juda to see Solomon.
Such was his control over birds and worms and genie etc.

Solomon's Justice
Solomon's Throne

Sushma Gupta

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Solomon's Temple

In Solomon-1, I gave an introduction to write my blog about Solomon.
Solomon was a great Jew king of his times. He was the son of David. David himself was a great king but Solomon had special grace of his God Yahweh.
Today I will tell you about his Temple.

Solomon's Temple
 He was the first builder of the Temple of his God Yahweh. He built this Temple in Jerusalem. He thought that since his God is only one and incomparable to any other, he should also build His Temple very big and high, so he built it really very big and on a high hill. The whole Temple was built miraculously throughout and Angels also helped him to build it, though not by choice - heavy stones rising and settling down in place automatically etc.

As he was thinking big, he thought that he would need very large stones for its foundation, but when he expressed this idea to his workers, they told him that no human tool could break such large stones. He himself also could not think of any other way to cut them. So he kept fast and worshiped Yahweh. One day Yahweh appeared in his dream and told him that he should catch a baby Simour bird and keep it in a brass cage, and his problem will be solved.

Simour bird is very large and the king of the birds. It is so big that it can carry even an elephant on its wing. Its power of seeing and hearing is great. It is mostly found on Eastern Hills in Jerusalem. He sent his 1,000 people with bow and arrow around to look for it. After three months of great efforts they were able to find a Simour bird and its nest. They found a baby bird also there, so they brought it to him. The baby bird was of a size of a calf. He had already built a brass cage in advance for it. As soon as the baby bird came, he shut it in the cage and fixed it to the ground with very long nails (approximately 50 inches long) to the ground.

So when his people had brought its baby to him, his mother had known and seen that her baby was in Solomon's Temple. She came there but she could not break the cage so she went back. She came again three days and three nights later with a large log of wood. She kept it over the cage and the cage broke into two pieces symmetrically. She took her baby from the cage and flew back to from where she came. Solomon understood and he used that log to cut the stones of his size.

It is believed, to build that temple Solomon employed 3,600 inspectors, 700 carpenters, 800 masons, 30,000 labors, and 70,000 load carriers. Its walls and floors were made of gold. It took 13 years to complete.

Since this temple was built as a permanent place to keep the Ark of Covenant, it was brought there with a pomp and show and the celebrations were made for a week. After its completion his God Yahweh came and blessed the temple.

Solomon's Throne

Sushma Gupta

Monday, October 14, 2013

Solomon's Justice

In Solomon-1 I gave an introduction to write my blog about Solomon.
Solomon was a great Jew king of his times. He was the son of David. David himself was a great king but Solomon had special grace of his God Yahweh. Although his father David was also famous for his justice and Solomon learnt this way of justice sitting at his feet only, still he is more famous for his justice and wisdom. It is believed that people walked beside with pen and paper to write his words whatever he used to speak because they considered them full of wisdom.

Although there are few stories about Solomon's justice, but here I will describe only one story of his justice - when he was only 7 years old....

Solomon's Justice
When Solomon was a little child he used to sit near his father David's feet in his court when he used to solve the problems of his public. One of such days, when Solomon was also sitting in the court, as usual, near his father's feet, two people came with their problem.

One man said - "O King, Some time ago I bought a garden from this man. When I was digging the roots of a tree I found some gold there. Since I bought only the garden from him, that gold did not belong to me, so I went to return that gold to him that "this gold is not mine, take it, it is yours." But this other man said -"This gold is not mine as I have already sold my garden to you, so whatever was in the garden, now it belongs to you, that is why I cannot accept this gold from you." Now you tell me what should I do?"

King David asked the other man that why did he not want to take his gold. He said - "This gold is not mine, O King, and I don't even know who it belongs to, because from whom I bought this garden, he has died a few years ago, and he has no heir also." At this the King said - "Since the real owner of the garden is no more in the world, you both may distribute it between yourselves." But both said in one voice - "How can we do this when it does not belong to us?"

The court was full and everybody was waiting for David's solution of this complex problem. Then David looked at his 7-year old child Solomon and said to him - "If you were at my place what would you do?"

The child looked first at the first man and asked him -"Do you have a son?" The first man replied - "O Prince, No, I do not have a son, but I have only one daughter." The the boy looked at the other man and asked him - "Do you have a son?" The other man said - "Yes Prince, I have a son." The boy looked at the King and said - "Then let both children get married and enjoy the treasure." And the same thing happened - they got married and enjoyed the treasure for a long time.

Such was the justice by Solomon at the age of 7...

Solomon's Throne

Sushma Gupta

Solomon's Throne

In Solomon-1, I gave an introduction to write my blogs about Solomon.
Solomon was a great Jew king of his times. He was the son of David. David himself was a great king but Solomon had special grace of his God Yahweh.

Recently I read about the throne of Solomon, I have yet to read any such description of a throne of somebody else...

When I read this description - among the thrones I have read, we have heard about King Vikram's throne which had 32 figures carved in his throne, which spoke of Vikram's qualities to Raajaa Bhoj through Sinhaasan Batteessee's 32 stories before he tried to ascended his throne. Since Raajaa Bhoj did not find himself comparable to Vikram at all he did not ascend his throne.  The second throne we know that of Mugal Emperor Shaah Jahaan. He had a peacock throne in which Kohinoor diamond was studded. But this throne was not any special, it just had only a very expensive diamond.

But read the description of Solomon's throne....

Solomon's Throne
Solomon's throne was not an ordinary throne, it was very grand. It was made of marble stone with ivory work on it. It was studded with numerous rubies and emeralds. It had flowers made of gold and lattice of pearl work on it. Its arm rests were made of gold and its foot stool was made of sapphire. His throne had 6 steps to climb to sit on it. It is believed that since between the World of Yahweh and this Earth there were 6 worlds, that is why Solomon's throne had 6 steps. But according to first Midrash, there were 6 steps because Solomon foresaw 6 kings will sit on that throne including Solomon.

On the first step, there were an iron lion and an iron ox. On the second step, there were a tiger and a goat made of lead. On its third step, there were a wolf and a sheep made of brass. On its fourth step, there were a bear and a stag made of bronze. On its fifth step, there were a buffalo and a donkey made of copper. On its sixth and the last step, there were a hawk and a dove made of silver. When the King climbed on his throne carrying the Book of Law and the royal scepter made of emerald then those animals spoke in their own language on whichever step he stepped on. [Different sources give the names of these animals differently.]

Supposedly due to another mechanical trick, when the King reached the first step the ox would stretch forth his leg, on which Solomon leaned. A similar action took place on each step by their respective animals. From the sixth step the the hawk and dove would raise the King and placed him in his seat, near which a golden serpent lay coiled. When the King was seated, the hawk will place the crown on his head. The serpent would uncoil itself and would move upward to make a shade over his head. The dove would then descend, took the scroll of the Law from the Ark and placed it on Solomon's knees.

On its top there was a candle holder which could hold 14 candles altogether. Above this candle holder there was a golden jar filled with olive oil and beneath it was a golden basin which supplied the jar with oil. There were 24 vines fixed over the throne to cast a shadow on the King's head. When the King sat on the throne, these golden vines surrounded him from all around spreading their fragrance.

When everything was done, and Solomon was ready to judge the people, the wheels began to turn and the beasts and the fowls began to utter their respective cries to frighten those who came there for false testimony. His throne could follow him wherever he wanted to go by mechanical contrivance. For all the people who came there to attend his court, there were the benches of jasper for them to sit.

After Solomon's death Egypt's Pharaoh took the treasures of the Temple, including his Throne. After some time this throne was passed on to Persians whose King Darius was the first king to sit on that throne. So such was the gracious throne of Solomon.

Do you any other throne like this in the history?
If yes, please tell us about it.

Sushma Gupta

Sunday, October 13, 2013


There are four main festivals for Hindu in North India, one for each of four Varn. Rakshaa Bandhan which falls on Shraavan Poornimaa is for Braahman, Dashaharaa which falls on Aashwin Shukla Dashamee is for Kshatriya, Deepaavalee which falls on Kaarttik Amaavasyaa is for Vaishya and Holee which falls on Phaalgun Poornimaa is for Shoodra.

These characteristics manifest themselves in the method of their celebrations also.
Rakshaa Bandhan is celebrated in a very quiet and decent way as of Braahman way,
Dashaharaa is celebrated with weapons in Kshatriya way,
Divaalee is celebrated in a prosperous way as of Vaishya way, and
Holee is celebrated in a rash way as of  Shoodra nature.

Dashaharaa, also known as Vijayaa Dashamee, falls on Aashwin Shukla Dashamee - after the Sharad Nava Raatri ends. It is believed that Raam killed Raavan on this day. Dashaharaa is a compound word, Dash + Haraa. Dash mans ten and Haraa means taking away of or abduction of something. Because this day Raam took away Raavan's ten heads that is why it is known as Dashaharaa. In the same way we should also resolve on this day to cut the ten heads of our passion, (1) pride, (2) anger, (3) greed, (4) infatuation, (5) lust, (6) hatred, (7) jealousy, (8) selfishness, (9) crookedness of demon and (10) ego which are in everybody in a small or big quantity, and thus justify the celebration of Dashaharaa.

Since this festival is mainly for Kshatriya, Kshatriya who have weapons, first clean their weapons and then worship them on this day. If the guns etc have been kept for some time unattended, they are taken out, cleaned and used at least once - they shoot a bullet from their gun or pistol whatever they have.

Many people read Raam Raavan fight and Raavan's killing incident from Raamaayan today.

At some places in UP, sister puts Teekaa (Tilak) on her brother's forehead and the brother gives some money to her.

Good tasty food is prepared on this day and people go to burn the images of Raavan and Kumbhkarn, and to attend the fair with their children after taking food in the afternoon. At several places in the city, the images of  Raavan and Kumbhkarn made from wood, straw and grass etc are erected with lots of fire crackers. Raam Raavan's mock fight takes place and Raam kills Raavan. Those images are set on fire and they burn with lots of noise of fire crackers.

Fairs are organized and men, women and children all enjoy these fairs. This festival is important for farmers also in Northern India. Farmers exchange their barley shoots which they have grown during the last nine days, to check whose produce will be good. They go out to look for special bird "Neelkanth" (whose neck is indigo blue) in their farms. If they find it there they feel happy because in that way their farms will be protected from harmful insects. Neelkanth bird eats many kinds of harmful worms of the fields.

And thus ends the 10-day long festival.
Happy Dashaharaa

Sushma Gupta

Sunday, October 6, 2013


This blog is something about Apsaraa

Apsaraa is considered the female counterpart of Gandharv. All Apsaraa connote beauty. Normally they entertain Devtaa and fallen heroes in Indra's court. Indra also uses them sometimes for his work - to disturb sages' penance. His most famous uses of Apsaraa to disturb the sages' penance are --
(1) to send Urvashee to disturb Vishwaamitra's penance, 
(2) to send Menakaa to disturb Vishwaamitra's penance - resulted in the birth of a girl Shakuntalaa, 
(3) to send Janapadee to Sharadwaan Rishi - resulted in the birth of Kripaa and Kripee
(4) to send Pramlochaa to Kandu Muni - resulted in the birth of a girl Maarishaa.

Padm Puraan and Vishnu Puraan mention that 600 million Apsaraa came out of the sea at the Saagar Manthan time and they were taken by both Devtaa and Asur.

In the Rig Ved and  Atharv Ved also the Apsaraa are said to be connected with water and compared to swans or ducks (Rig Ved, 10.95.9 etc.). This seems to be logical as they had come out of the sea.

In Mahaabhaarat, Shakuntalaa reminds Dushyant, that "there are only six foremost Apsaraa - Urvashee, Poorvchitti, Sahajanya, Menakaa, Vishwaachee and Ghritaachee. Since Menakaa was born from Brahmaa Jee, she is the first and foremost one."

But there is only one Apsaraa, Urvashee, who is mentioned in only one Ved, that is Rig Ved (Book 10, Hymn 95). She married Chandramaa's grandson Pururavaa and had 6 sons from him. Chandramaa's son was Budh from Brihaspati's wife Mamataa, and Budh's son was Pururavaa from Manu's daughter Ilaa and that is how Chandra Vansh started on Prithvi.

It is said about Urvashee that -- Once Naaraayan and Nar, the sons of Dharm, were doing penance in Badaree forest. Seeing their penance Indra got afraid, so he sent some Apsaraa to disturb their penance. When they came at the place where Naaraayan and Nar were there, Naaraayan scratched His thigh which produced a very beautiful Apsaraa (Urvashee) seeing whom all Apsaraa got embarrassed and went away from there. Later Naaraayan gave Urvashee to Indra. That is why Urvashee was the most beautiful Apsaraa of Indra's court and he regarded her very much.

In Vaayu Puraan (13.69.51) and in Vaaman Puraan (7.1-45-5) it is mentioned that Urvashee was born from the thigh of Naaraayan. In Mahaabhaarat. Urvashee's other name is Gangaa.

So it seems that Urvashee and Menakaa did not come out of the sea. One was produced by Naaraayan himself and the other one was produced by Brahmaa Jee.

I still do not understand how Apsaraa word, and especially Urvashee, is mentioned in Rig Ved and it is connected to water, because Urvashee has been born from the thigh of an incarnation of Vishnu, and no incarnation is mentioned in Ved, then how an Apsaraa can be mentioned?

Sushma Gupta

Arjun's Special Characteristics

The whole Mahaabhaarat revolves around Kaurav and Paandav. Although all Paandav were of  Divine birth, but still Arjun was special among all of them. he was so special that even Krishn has said in Geetaa that among Paandav He is Arjun. If you are thinking that he might be special in one or two or three ways, you are thinking still at a very low level. He had several special characteristics.

Arjun's Special Characteristics
We start his special characteristics from his birth and then proceed from there --

(1) Arjun was a part of Naaraayan
Arjun was not only the son of Indra, but he was the incarnation of Nar and that is how he was the part of Naaraayan. Ad that is why Krishn was right. He was Arjun among Paandav. WHY? Dharm had a son named Naaraayan. Naaraayan produced Nar from His own body and that is how there were Nar nad Naaraayan - both were one. Both did penance for long time in Badaree forest. This shows that Arjun was a part of Krishn. That is why Krishn said - "Among Paandav I am Arjun."

(2) It was only Arjun who was lucky enough to hear Geetaa from God's own mouth and see God's Viraat Roop with his own eyes. Sanjaya's case is different.

(3) Arjun could use his both hands to shoot arrows.

(4) He was so fast i shooting arrows, that when his one bow string was broken people could not see him changing the bow string. All they could see the circle made by pulling the string of his bow while shooting the arrow.

(5) He never lost any battle, except two - one was from Shiv, and he other one from his son, but that was because of a curse. That is why his one name was Vijaya.

(6) As Nar he had the control over Apsaraa and water. One should know that Apsaraa are born from water. The examples of his control over Apsaraa and water are --
----When he was only a child he saved Drone from the water creature crocodile
----When he became young His prowess over water while he was burning Khaandav forest - Indra made rain fall over it to put out the fire .... but he succeeded to stop that water...
----When he was in Heaven to take Divine weapos, he could restrain over Urvashee - the most beautiful Apsaraa of Indra's court. She was the same Apsaraa after whom his ancestor Pururavaa was so mad
----He rescued five Apsaraa who were living in water in the form of crocodile from curse.
----He brought water for Bheeshm too when he fell in the battlefield and asked for water

(7) He had full control over Kaam
----He remained calm when Uloopee abducted him to her Naag Kingdom under water.
----He had full control over Kaam, as he had control over Kaam Dev's vehicle crocodile too - Drone incident and the rescue of five Apsaraa in crocodile form.
----Because he had full control on Kaam that is why Drone considered him a worthy person to learn Brahmaastra. Ashwatthaamaa could not learn it in full and he was jealous with Arjun on this matter.

Sushma Gupta

Friday, October 4, 2013

Nava Raatri

Three goddesses - Durgaa, Lakshmee and Saraswatee - form a configuration which helps the human soul get rid of the Mal (impurities), gain spiritual knowledge and attain liberation or Moksh.

Durgaa is a demon killer (Kriyaa Shakti). Demons are the Taamasik (Dark) demons in our mind: Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh, Mad, and Matsarya (desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride, and envy). Once Durgaa kills these demons, Lakshmee (Ichchhaa Shakti) takes over the mind and helps us get rid of Raajasik Vikshep (False perception; distraction; to and fro oscillations of the mind; gales of desire blowing in the mind) which are hard to remove from the mind. Lakshmee helps man acquire the Will Power (Ichchhaa Shakti) and get rid of remnants of desire and false perception by Upaasanaa (worship). What is left is ignorance, meaning spiritual ignorance. Removal of spiritual ignorance and spiritual enlightenment is infused by Saraswatee (Gyaan Shakti).

The eradication of impurities, desires and ignorance with the help of these three deities is celebrated for nine days and nine nights, 3 days and 3 nights for each deity (Nava Raatri = nine nights). It takes nine days and nine nights to defeat these demons. Nine manifestation of Mother Goddess (Durgaa, Bhadrakaalee, Ambaa, Annapoornaa, Sarvamangalaa, Bhairavee, Chandikaa, Lalitaa, and Bhavaanee) are celebrated over nine nights. The tenth day is Vijaya Dashamee - meaning victory (over the demons of the mind; realization and emancipation) on the 10th day.

Normally this festival of Devee or Shakti is celebrated two times a year - in the beginning of summer and in the beginning of winter.  In fact there are 9 Nava Raatri in one year. (365 / 9 = approx in every 40 days of the year) but most people only know and observe only the two Nava Raatri, one in the beginning of the New Year, in Chaitra Maas (April) after Holee and the another one after six months in Aashwin Maas (September-October) after Pitri Paksha.

On the ninth day of the First Nava Raatri (Chaitra or April) is the Janm Divas (birth day) of Shree Raam or Raam Navamee is celebrated. On the tenth day of Second Nava Raatri is celebrated Vijayaa Dashamee, the day when ten heads of ego was brought to Earth by God (Raam) Himself.

Read more about how to celebrate Nava Raatri HERE

Sushma Gupta

Various Sights

There are various types of seeing the things. Here we are giving some different types of seeing the things mentioned in our religious scriptures, you might be surprised to read them  --

(1) Kaamuk Sight
Kaamuk means with lust. Brahmaa Jee had several occasions when he created most beautiful women and after creating them he himself got attracted to them. Bhaagvat Puraan lists Saraswatee one of them. Another one was Ahalyaa. Another one was Tilottamaa whom he sent to kill Sund and Upasund named Raakshas. Among these three the first two are very important.

----When Brahmaa Jee created Saraswatee, he got so much attracted to her that he wanted to marry her. All Devtaa explained him that it was a sin to have the daughter as wife so he had to leave that body. Since he created her that is why she was considered his daughter.
----Second time when he created Ahalyaa, he again got attracted to her enchanting beauty, so wherever she went in his court, a face appeared on Brahmaa's body to see her. Thus he had four faces in all the four directions. When Shiv saw this he immediately cut Brahmaa's one head and left him only with three heads. Later Brahmaa Jee gave Ahalyaa to Gautam Rishi. So this was a Kaamuk Sight at Ahalyaa.
----One Kaamuk Sight and the whole Vansh started - Chandra Vansh. Once Chandramaa saw Brihaspati's wife Taaraa with this Kaamuk Sight, and this caused the birth of Budh. Once Budh was roaming on Prithvi, that he got attracted to Ilaa, the daughter of Manu, and had a son from her Pururavaa and that is how Chandra Vansh started.

(2) Divine Sight
Another is Divine Sight. Divine sight shows all those things which cannot be seen by these mortal eyes.
----When Mahaabhaarat war broke, Ved Vyaas Jee gave this Divine Sight to Sanjaya to see the war from Dhritraashtra's palace itself and even know what everybody was thinking.
----Again when Krishn was preaching Geetaa to Arjun, and Arjun expressed his desire to see Krishn's Viraat Roop, Krishn told him that he would not be able to see His Viraat Roop unless he had Divine Sight, so He gave him Divine Sight to see His Viraat Roop. Ved Vyaas Jee again gave Divine Sight to Dhritraashtra etc to see the scenes of Mahaabhaara war. So this is Divine Sight.
----Damayantee, wife of King Nal, was also given Divine Sight to recognize Nal from among Devtaa. Damayantee used to love Nal very much and wanted to marry him. She was so  beautiful that even Devtaa also wanted to marry her, so they sent their message to her by Nal that she should marry any one of them or face the consequences. For this they all assumed Nal's form and sat near nal. Damayantee got very surprised to see so many Nal and she prayed Devtaa to give her the power to recognize real Nal. Pleased with her prayers, they gave her the Divine Sight to recognize the real nal and she chose him as her husband.

(3) Power Sight
Another is Power Sight. Some people have so much power in their sight that if they see somebody with that sight, they can transform that thing something else. We find such an example in Gaandhaaree's sight in Mahaabhaarat. Gaandhaaree was a great Pativrataa and a devotee of Shiv. When her 99 sons had been killed Bheem in Mahaabhaarat war and only Duryodhan remained, she became sure that Bheem will fulfill his vow to kill her all the 100 sons and he will not spare Duryodhan.

So she decided to use his power sight at that time. She asked Duryodhan to have a bath in Gangaa River and come to her without any clothes so that she could use her Power Sight to make his whole body strong. But unfortunately Krishn had known this and He convinced him not to go to her without any clothes, and at least wear a loin cloth before going to her as he was an adult and she was a woman. Duryodhan got convinced and he wore a loin cloth before standing in front of his mother. When she asked him whether he was without clothes, he lied. As Gaandhaaree opened her eyes, her Power sight made only that part of his body as a Vajra which was without clothes. The covered part remained weak and Bheem killed by hitting his Gadaa on the same part of his body. Such was her Power Sight.

(4) Angry Sight
-----Another one is the Angry Sight. With  this sight one one looks at somebody with anger. When Taarakaasur Raakshas' had the boon to be killed by a 6-day old son of Shiv, it became necessary to have a son for Shiv Jee so that he could be killed. Only some time before his wife Satee had burnt herself in her father Daksh's Yagya. After that Shiv got Vairaagya and he went for Tapasyaa. To have a son it was necessary to marry him. Satee had taken birth as Paarvatee in Himaalaya's palace and was sent to do Tap to marry Shiv Jee.

Now how to wake up Shiv Jee from his Tapasayaa and got him ready to marry Paarvatee? So Indra asked Kaam Dev to go to him and distract him from his Tapasyaa and invoke love in his heart so that he could marry Paarvatee. First Kaam Dev refused to go to Shiv anticipating his death by Shiv's anger, but then considering it Devtaa's work, he got ready to go there. He went there and as soon as he spread his Maayaa, as he had anticipated, Shiv got angry at this and opened his third eye in anger. As soon he looked at Kaam Dev with his angry third eye he got burnt to ashes. On his wife Rati's request, Shiv revived him, but only Rati could see him, others only felt him.

-----Another example of the Angry Sight is found in Mahaabhaarat, when the Mahaabhaarat war was over and Paandav came to see both Dhritraashtra and Gaandhaaree, Gaandhaaree looked at Yudhishthir's feet with an Angry Sight from behind her strip of cloth, still she had so much power in her anger that with that Sight his nails became blue.  Yudhishthir  was very surprised to see this when he noticed this.

Sushma Gupta