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Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri or the ‘Great night of Shiva’ is celebrated to mark the convergence of Shiva and Parvati. In a year, there are 12 Shivaratri’s
occurring out of which Maha Shivarathri is the holiest. Maha Shivaratri
falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun.

 

The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael leaves to
Shiva. The devotees offer a bath to Shiva Linga with honey, milk, water,
etc. It is believed that The Lingam is born at midnight, and the devotees
who have fasted all day are supposed to keep awake at night, by engaging
themselves in different activities like singing bhajans, chanting the
sacred mantra “Om Namah Shivaya“. It is believed that the planetary
positions position in the universe evokes the spiritual energies very
easily. Religious penances are carried out to gain boons through the
practice of meditation or yoga.
According to Shiva Purana is the worship of six different components:
  • Bathing the Shiva Linga in water, honey, milk which is the representation of bathing of the soul.
  • Applying Vermilion paste in Shiva Linga which is considered to be the virtue.
  • Offering fruits as a sign of gratitude.
  • Buring incense, yielding wealth.
  • Lighting the lamp which refers to the attainment of knowledge.
  • And the betel leaves marking satisfaction of worldly pleasures

Maha Shivaratri is extremely significant festival among women. Both
married and unmarried women observe fast and perform Shiva Puja to appease Goddess Parvati who is regarded as ‘Gaura‘ – one who bestows marital bliss and long and prosperous married life. Unmarried women pray for a husband
like Shiva who is considered to be the ideal husband.

Story of King Chitrabhanu
 
King Chitrabhanu of Ikshvaku dynasty, observes fast along with his wife on all Maha Shivaratri’s. One day the sage, Ashtavakra came to visit the king.He saw the king fasting and asked why he was fasting.
King Chitrabhanu explained that he had a boon of remembering all the past
incidents in his life. In his past life, he was a hunter in Varanasi and  his name was Suswara. His only livelihood was to sell the birds and animal he kills. On the day of the new moon as he was roaming around to find some animals in the forest, he spotted a deer, but before his arrow flew he saw the deer’s family and the sadness of its impending death. He couldn’t find any animal that night, he climbed on a tree for shelter. It happened to be a Bael tree. His canteen leaked water, his hunger and thirst kept him awake all night. To pass the time he engaged in plucking tree Bael leaves and dropping them on the ground.
Next day on his way home with food for his family, a stranger approached
him for food and he gave the food to the stranger.
At the time of death, he saw two messengers of Lord Shiva, send to conduct his soul to an abode of Shiva. He says that he had lived in the abode of Shiva and have enjoyed the divine bliss for a long time before he was born as Chitrabhanu, because of his unconscious worship of Lord Shiva on the night of Maha Shivaratri. The messengers told him that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the bael tree which was washed with water which leaked
from his canteen and the bael leaves that he plucked from the bael tree  had fallen into the shape of Lingam, in imitation of Shiva’s ritual worship.
Legends
Maha Shivaratri also celebrates the day when Lord Shiva does his cosmic
dance Tandava.
 
According to some, it is the day when Lord Shiva saved the world from the disastrous effect of poison that emerged as a result of churning of the ocean. Shiva could arrest his poison in his throat due to his yogic powers.His neck turned blue after that and he is named as Neela Kantha or The Buethroated.

 

Happy Shivaratri!

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My Incredible India

India , the most oldest nation in the world, the most wealthiest nation, the most knowledgeable nation which had the most intelligent people and the best universities in the world. Well this is how I would like to say my nation to all those who ask me from which country are you from. But now the situation has turned like “Oh! I am Indian who is struggling to transform my life from Maruti to Mercedes, by working in the most corrupt sectors.” What should I call this? The inability of the leaders in my nation, or  is it Imperialism in ones own country? I have no intention of giving an answer for this, instead I would rather talk on how thought about my nation changed to my incredible India.

I am an engineering student, passed all my exams in my school mugging up most of things  which the NCERT textbooks said, not knowing about any facts. Literally to say I studied French revolution, the British imperialism on India, rather than studying about India. These textbooks gave me not even a tinge of knowledge  about India. What benefit do I get learning about some other countries history without knowing my countries history. Well all these thoughts only came to me only when I came to know more about Indian History. Like you all Indians out there who think yourself’s to be imprisoned in your own nation just because west has a luxurious life, I had the same thoughts. Graduate from some college, find a job in USA/UK/Middle-East and settle there. This is a normal Indian thought. But this was my notion, which changed when began changing when I joined Amrita .

I was introduced to a course called as Cultural Education, from which I learned a lot about India contributions to the world. Most of the times I get goosebumps hearing India’s contribution to the world. I felt proud for being born in such a nation.

Bha-ra-tha is a the nation in between the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean. A vast country with variety of culture, with the most richest temples, with 33 million gods, the most intelligent people, the best universities and the mother which gave birth to many brave men and women. This is a country to which the Europeans longed to come, they came looted us and went. The country we has  patience and tolerance. Our country is like a forest united from the deepest roots with everything which is fine together. I call India as a forest because, just look at our self’s, we have many religions, many cultures, many gods, many languages, many types of cuisines,but still we are all fine together and we live happily. But consider other nations , they have all things same, one language, one god, one type of customs rituals and so on. I would prefer calling India as a forest and the others to be manicured gardens. Those gardens won’t exist until the right proteins, nutrition are given. When Britisher’s came to India, it was so difficult for them to find out how to conquer our nation. Like every person has some pressure point, even every nation has pressure points. But they couldn’t find it out, but tried to manage by looting and destructing our land and sowing their weeds here in our land.

Indian contribution to the world was enormous. Even the modern findings that go on here in the world where already predicted by sages in India. Here let me tell you how a new generation Indian thinks. In a talk with Sadguru, a journalist said him “ some UK university has proved that the vibration produced by sun is equivalent to the vibrations produced when we chant the word AUM” . Sadguru replied, ” What sense does it make? Our sages have been telling this for 10000 years and you are not believing, but you believe only when west said“. This is the new-gen , accept only what west says. But the most ironical thing, where did the people from west find this? They found it from us and researched on it . Still the source is same, what difference does it make? The same was my thought about my nation but two years back but not now. People in India have mastered the science of our body, mind, intellect. They have got answers to many unanswerable questions which still people are researching on.

Bha-ra-thian’s have contributed a lot to the different fields of science. India’s greatest contribution to the world is field of mathematics is “Zero” by one of the greatest mathematicians of all time – Aryabhatta . It can also be called as pujayam or shunyam. Each word depicts its characters. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Budhayana explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem today. He discovered this in the 6th century, which was long before the European mathematician, Pythagoras was born. Bhaskaracharya rightly calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. His calculations was – Time taken by earth to orbit the sun: (5th century) 365.258756484 days. To the field of chemistry we have contributed with the discovery of the smallest particle “atom ” by the ancient chemist Kanda. Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India. Over 125 surgical equipment were used. Deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many texts. The World’s first university was established in Takshila in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education. TO the field of chemistry we have one of the marvelous sculptures “Iron pillar” which hasn’t rusted in all these years. The Arthashaatsra written by Kauitlya is an exceptional book handbook on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy written in Sanskrit. The Ashtadhayi is a great work by Panini to the field of grammar. This book can show the brilliance of Bha-ra-thians. India is also the home of for thr best architectural designs. The temples in India can show the skill of the Indian architectures. Who could possibly build something beautiful like the Sun Temple in Konark, the Padmanbha Swami temple in Thiruvanathapuram. Even the modern building lack its resistance to earth quakes while all those old buildings out there which still stand unaffected. The Kung fu which we hear from China itself was taught by an Indian named Bodhidharma. Sanskrit itself is one of the greatest contribution of India to the world. Sanskrit is a scientific language which would be considered as the perfect language for AI. India has a wide variety of contributions to the field of music and dance. The Nataraja statue of Shiva itself is depicts the beauty of dance.

Are you on a quest to make your life happy? If so then don’t waste your time going behind some philosophical text books written by people , but I can suggest you a wonderful textbook. The Bhagavad Gita by Lord Sri Krishna. You could never find a book which tells you how to live your life at each situation and you would get this only in India.  Not just Gita , The Vedas, The Upanishads are all examples of Indian text books that open to a new world of living your life.

Spirituality and mystical charm have always drawn people from all over the world to India. As the world becomes increasingly capitalistic and materialist, the quest and urgency for spirituality grows more and more. The traditional Indian way of life has helped in the evolution and growth of Spiritualism. Numerous cultures and religions have thrived and flourished together for ages and resulted into the unique Indian way of life.  Indian spirituality is all about showing respect to all living beings-animals trees, rocks and even water and lead a positive and healthy life. It is believed that the supreme Creator has put each one of us in this world for a purpose and that purpose is to be compassionate, caring and loving to one-another. The great Indian spiritual personalities and gurus have played an important role in spreading the message of love, care and the need for positive living all over the world.

The above would be a brief description of India’s contribution to the world but we still have lot more. There is something more interesting than this. What if you come to know that the great minds of world had borrowed inspiration form India. You all know the greatest  minds of all time – Albert Einstein and this is what he told about Bhagavad Gita “I have made the Bhagwad-Gita as the main source of my inspiration and guide for the purpose of scientific investigations and formation of my theories. Ralph Waldo Emerson said this about the Bhagavad Gita: “I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent,the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us”, Sunita Williams, an American astronaut who holds the record for longest single space flight by a woman carried a copy of Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads with her to space, said “Those are spiritual things to reflect upon yourself,life, world around you and  see things other way, I thought it was quite appropriate” while talking about her time in space.”  The count doesn’t stop here it goes on with more and more people like Hermann Hesse, Henry David Thoreau,  Robert Oppenheimer, Nikola Tesla…

 

As I have said earlier the mind of Indians to accept the things which are only modernized by the west is one factor which I see to be pulling back our country badly. Yoga was introduced in India, but Indians found it difficult to accept until now, the west had modified yoga to something else and Indians find it very interesting. Have you heard of Yoga Dance ? Well there is even a competition for that mostly in US/UK. Ayurveda – the art of living, which is a complete Indian Product. Two westerners came to India and they were introduced to a Ayurvedic Spa by one of their Indian friend. Later the westerners left India and they started a Spa their in the name of  “Aveda“. They could find increase in customer rates and then they expanded it to India. In India they could find lot of people approaching them. So what exactly was Aveda to have such a profit? The truth was when they left from India they took some Ayurvedic medicinal herbs with them , then they modified it and formed Aveda, which means Aveda is Ayurveda itself. But the number of Indians who bought it was high. How ironical ?

Few days back I was in ashram for Amma’s dharshan and I met a foreigner. He was from UK. I found it very interesting to talk with him. He was giving me suggestions to read the Indian books. I felt sort of shamefull . A foreigner asking me to read Indian books!!! Well that is how our nation is like. Some people of our nation don’t need anything from here but there are lot of people from other nation who come and live here and work for our nation.

These ideas make me proud to be in a nation with such wonderful culture and tradition. This would be the reason why I call my nation “my incredible India”.

Well I think its necessary to fill the Indian schools with  textbooks that teaches them on Bha-ra-tha more than French revolution or Invasion of others on our nation. Teach students about their country so they don’t feel like ending up in a prison. So that everyone of us can finally say “Incredible India.”

Essence of Gita

“If you need no role then become a rolemodel – Sri Krishna”.

For me Sri Krishna was one blue boy who stays above clouds watching all of us. I sing bhajans for him and wonder why i should sing bhajans for one who stays above clouds who i have never seen , whom i dono? Answer to all my questions from my very unexpected trip to ettimadi campus for Gitaamritam. The camp was basically for giving us the youth an introduction to BhagavadGita – “The Manual for  life”. Every action we do in our life had some sort of relation with gita.

Gita is our scared text and i had an impression that gita was old people and for reading during funerals. TO say gita is one sacred text that everyone should read and understand. Once you assimilate the concepts in gita we can lead a happy life rather than living a joyful life.

You may have came to know about the suicide of Robin Williams. Why did he die? He was rich enough. Wasn’t he? Then why ? He wasn’t happy. When I say happy I mean not joy. So whats happiness and joy ? Happiness is the purpose of our life . Joy is temporary happiness. For example you get ice-cream  you will be happy till the ice-cream ends isn’t it? That’s joy. Well there are many people like Robin Williams most of them are rich people. So question arises  can we happy always? If so how?  All these questions are answered by Gita.

How does gita convey all these? We know Bhagavdgita  is the talk between Arjuna and Sri Krishna in the battle field when Arjuna gets into the state of confusion  and depression seeing his family on the opponent side. Arjuna’s state of confusion can be called as Arjuna’s Syndrome which all human beings undergo in there life. For example, I had to undergo Arjuna’s Syndrome in cases where i had to select my graduation course engineering or medicine? Sri Krishna gives answer for all these in Gita.

Learning gita is to become Sri Krishna -Amma.

One week camp  inculcated with practical learning of Gita was scheduled from June 1- June 7 in Ettimadi Campus in Amrita School of Business. Our  classes began at 5:58 with yoga for 45 minutes where we were taught Surya Namaskaram and few more techniques like Kapala Bati. Then followed by Gita classes for one hour. We were taught the third chapter of Gita called Karma Yoga. Breakfast for us was served with tasty south Indian dishes.The next session which was for us to understand about the gita in daily life. It was ” My Life My Passion “. We had speakers from various fields. Renu . D . Singh , a social activist ,founder of Samadhan was the first speaker. Her way of talking to us with a bollywood tadka in her talks and her way of expressing her experiences were every interesting. We had a very awesome time with her. Her mental strength was shown during her talks. We could find out very well how gita was in her life . All the situations she has faced with that smile on her face was  evidence for us. She even gave demonstration of self defense techniques. We had so much of laugh for our first day of camp because of her sessions.Second day speaker was Major D.P.Singh, an Indian blade runner. He shared his hard experiences in life and how he took every experience to move forward in life and show how successful he could be even being disabled. For him his life was a challenge and he could overcome each of hard times with  a smile . Prof. Swaminathan was the speaker for third day. He came along with his wife and we had a good time with him. He showed documentaries on his research work for Ajanta paintings. We  were amazed to see all those beautiful things which we have never recognized to be valuable . His session also gave introduction to  the new technique so called Open Book System which was further implemented in our following gita classes which proved to be very help full. Then  came one of the top neuron-surgeons from AIMS, Kochi. Dr. Ashok Pillai worked for 18 hours a day and even when he was out of hospital. He could help perform operations without being in the theater. His working capacity of long hours was an influence of gita in his life. We could get to know about the latest surgical methods in field of brain surgery. Our next session was with the famous Indian film maker Anjali Menon. They way she said about her life, coupled her orating skills have made such an impact on us. Even though not having read gita her life was fully incorporating  gita. We were able to connect her life very well with gita.

After “My Life My Passion”session we had again another Gita session where Dhayan ji continued with the story of Kurushetra war. His gita classes were my favorite. To say i never had attended any classes with such concentration. These classes were focused on giving intellectual knowledge. After lunch we were given workshops which were focused on to the practical knowledge in gita. Those included the adventure games by Z-bac team .These games were mandatory for us. We did rambling and rope jumping . Doing our actions with detachment is one concept we learned in gita class. Even though we learned it at first some of us were unable to apply it in our first activity but in the second activity we applied it with right attitude.  Swimming classes even though was scheduled got dragged and finally we could only have one hour swimming , where I learned to float.

The last session reflection for everyday was one among my favorites . Laugh beyond limits and learn and connect whatever we learned on that day. Combined with lot of fun filled activities were we actually learning the true essence of gita in our life. From those classes I learned to learn from others experiences and not just from our own experiences. From all  these seven days i came to the conclusion that I SHOULD LEARN GITA .

“Learn Gita to become successful in life”