Five Kailash Yatra!

For past many years I had this wish of visiting all the five Kailash. It is said this gives you salvation. Frankly speaking I don’t think just visiting these Kailash can give you salvation, there’s lot more you’ll need to do. Getting salvation I feel is not so easy.

The Five Kailash Yatras are able to transfer devotees’s physical journey into a spiritual experience, a journey in search of truth. The five Kailash Yatras is perhaps one of the most arduous calling pilgrimages. It entails long pilgrimages to five holy sites in upper reaches of Himalayas to seek the blessing of Lord Shiva who, as per the Hindu scriptures and legends, supposedly reside on the holy mountain peaks. Surrendering yourself through Bhakti lets you experience the oneness of “Jiva and Shiva”, the union of jivatma with parmatma!

  1. Shrikhand Mahadev or Shrikhand Kailash

When Bhasmasur got the boon from Lord Shiva that he can turn anyone into ash by placing his palm on anyone’s head, the Asura wanted to test if the boon really works by testing it on Lord Shiva. So Lord Shiva started running from this Asura. Finally Lord came to Shrikhand and sat down in meditation in the 50ft stone shivling till Lord Vishnu came and killed Bhasmasura by tricking him in putting his hand on his own head. Later Mata Parvati did long Akhanda Upasana to break his Samadhi, whereby she filled Nainsar Lake with her tears; Lord Shiva came out after breaking the shivling. Shrikhand Mahadev is considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva. Its peak is 5155 meters high from main sea level. The journey passes through beautiful mist-laden forests filled with beautiful flowers and huge trees. Then the journey enters the difficult Himalayan terrain where you need to even cross few glaciers.

Shrikhand

Shrikhand Kailash

  1. Kinnaur/Kinner Kailash

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Adi Kailash – Lord Shiva’s oldest adobe!

Many think the Om Parvat is in itself the Adi Kailash. That is not the case. Om Parvat is located near Nabhidhang while Adi Kailash is located at different place, near Sin La pass and near Brahma Parvat. As per mythology, Pandavas had stayed here with Sage Vyaasa and meditated for a long period. Even Ravana, a great devote of Shiva, is said to have come from far off Lanka to pray to Lord Shiva here. This Kailash is considered to be the oldest adobe of our Lord Shiva and Parvati.

Adi Kailash area is full of great natural beauty, peace and serenity. Though in a very remote area, the Darshan (view) of Lord Shiva’s abode is well worth the effort it takes to get there. With the roar of urban life receding to the background one finds the healing quietude of this region conducive enough to turn inward and be one’s own listener.

The trek was really treacherous at places especially when you reach Budhi passing Malpa. It was like a test of our endurance. At Malpa we did stop for few minutes to pray for the souls of all those travelers who died while in sleep during the Uttarakhand deluge after a cloud burst.

Pathway

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Punno Maati – Not so Uplifting Custom of Durga Puja

durga puja

There are many rituals and traditions that we follow blindly without really knowing the true reason behind them. And one I would address today is connected to Durga Puja, especially the making of idol. So many times I have visited the Kumartuli of Kolkata just to watch the Kumors making different idols of Gods and Goddesses. Kumortolas across Bengal is most busy before Durga Puja when they are busy making n-number of idols of Maa, each one as beautiful as the other.

Kumartuli-2But this idol making of Durga has a custom, soil collected from a prostitutes home is used to partially make the idol. This soil is called “Punno Maati” or the pure soil. It’s said that when a man enters the porch of a prostitute, the “Nishiddo Palli” meaning the forbidden territory, he leaves behind outside all his purity and virtues. Hence the soil outside is considered pure. There’s another view that because Maa does not make difference among human beings. So the soil from outside a prostitute’s home is used to show inclusiveness. The destitute sections of society are shunned by all and through this process; it makes them feel a part of society and shows them that they too belong to the world as much as the others. Continue reading

Somnath – The Spectacular Resurrected Temple.

The temple city of Somnath or Prabhas Patan is situated in the state of Gujarat on the Arabian Sea. This is the first among the twelve Jyotirlings. Since ancient times, Prabhas Patan has been a pilgrimage center, being the confluence of the mythological Saraswati, Hiranya and Kapila. Legend has it that Lord Shiva’s Kalbhairav linga is situated at Prabhas. It is also associated with the moon as the Moon God is also said to have worshipped this Shivling. This is also the reason why this temple is popularly known as Somnath, the one named after the moon. The present temple, Kailash Mahameru Prasad is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture and reflects the inherent skill of sompuras, Gujarat’s master masons. It has the shikhara, the Garbhagriha, the sabha mandap and the nritya mandap.

On the Southern side of the temple, on the wall at the sea shore, there is a pillar. It is called “Baanstambh” बाणस्तंभ्. On the top of the pillar is placed a globe of Earth and an arrow pierces through it. On the pole is inscribed “Aasmudrant Dakshindhuvparyant Abaadhit Jyotirmarga”. It means If you start travelling from Somnath Temple towards South in Arabian Sea, you will not meet any land until you reach the South Pole or the Antarctica. The temple has been built in such a position that there is no land between the Somnath temple and Antarctica.

Baanstambh

Baanstambh

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Happy Durga Puja, rituals and its significances!

All those who follow Durga Puja are aware of the different rituals that are followed during these 10days puja. There is a significance and reason behind every single ritual that is practiced during Durga Puja. All these rituals have a mythological story behind it which many of us are unaware of

Mahalaya-Tarpan

Mahalaya Tarpan

Goddess Durga descends from her heavenly abode in Kailash to visit her devotees on earth every year. She comes with her children Devi Lakshmi, Devi Saraswati, Lord Kartik and Lord Ganesha.

Devi Paksha rituals start from Mahalaya and people do Tarpan on the day. Mahalaya means “Maha” meaning Big and “Laya” meaning Destruction. It is the day when there was the big war between the Devtas, Rishis with the Asuras. The war started on the first day of the waning moon in the month of Bhadra and ended on amavasya or Mahalaya as we call the day. Many Devtas and Rishis died in the hands of asuras. Devtas and Rishis are considered to be our forefathers hence the ritual of Tarpan. We pray for the peace for our entire forefather’s souls’. Continue reading

True facts on Upanayana among Hindus.

Just a day or two back I saw a discussion on Facebook on Indian caste system. It’s very true that caste system in India is still prevalent and quite rigid at many places, especially in interior rural areas. Lot of it is due to illiteracy and possibly proper education system in our rural sector might help in eradicating this menace from our society.

But what took my attention was some discussion on Upanayana or thread ceremony, as followed among followers of Hindu philosophy of life. Some sweeping generalized comments were made which is not really 100% true. Yes I agree Upanayana these days is taken as a birth right for people belonging to few selected castes but it’s also untrue that others are not getting. Things are changing and doing so for past many years.

Let us first know the science behind Upanayana. It is a scientifically proven fact that a vein passing through the ear regulates the flow of urine. Applying pressure and acupuncture principle on different points in our ears, is a medically acclaimed remedy for many of our urinary troubles. Therefore, when one wears the sacred thread around the ear, a pressure is created at points which in turn help the urinary system to regulate the urine flow, thus keeping his urinary system, bladder, etc. healthy and free of problems. Lot many of these scientific practices have been attached to God so that we get to perform them correctly. To explain them all to people in details the science behind it is not always possible. A layman might not get the point and never follow. Continue reading

Nothing can erase mother-child eternal bond…

Sachimaata-MahaprabhuMorning read something and it left me very disturbed. I got too restless and even long walk did not help me. So I picked up a book by Iskcon on Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s life. There were some nice incidents mentioned as short stories in the book. And suddenly in one page I came across this picture of Mahaprabhu and his mother Sachimata. It’s a picture showing Mahaprabhu meeting Sachimata for the first time after renouncing all worldly ties. He left home and took sanyaas, renouncing everything including his family. Scriptures say moment they came face to face, both embraced each other with tears in their eyes. And they stayed like this for hours while tears flowing down their eyes. Continue reading

Wish you all the best!

Sri-RK-andKali-largeAfter spending years in Bengal, meaning of Diwali was no more just lamps and lights. Another aspect, “Kali Puja” got added to it. And with time I found Kali puja more alluring than usual Diwali celebrations. Today after months when I am back to India, I find all wishes to celebrate Diwali is erased, instead I am celebrating Kali Puja.

The universal consciousness, Aadi Shakti, is beyond words and all descriptions. She is infinite, and in that infinity lays her glory. I wish to know her, to be near her. Not sure if that wish would ever get fulfilled. What I feel for her, or feel I know about her is more of a dedication to this Supreme Shakti. Continue reading

Happy Janmashtami to all.

GopalaLord Krishna is the poorna avatar of Para Brahman. He is an inspirer, motivator, philosopher, friend; he is the creator, the peacemaker, the light that guides us in darkness.

In His Eternal Message (Bhagavad Gita), there are many rich interpretations to his message which makes Him alive in our mind. There are many proofs of Mahabharat and with the discovery of city of Dwaraka which was submerged at the time of Krishna’s leaving the physical existence, make His life more real and true. But for a seeker of Truth, his message is enough to tell that only a poorna avatar can give such a powerful message to mankind, such benevolent and never cursing anyone. Continue reading

Conquer and Master over them!!!!

“Whether joy or sorrow, pain or pleasure, whatsoever may befall thee, Accept it serenely with an unvanquished heart.” Rabindranath Tagore wrote this to his wife Mrinalini in 1898 while quoting from Mahabharata.

This is very true, to stay afloat in this roller coaster life of ours, we do need lot of courage. Giving up is very easy. None is born with courage inside us. This is cultivated by fighting life’s ups and down. Just try watching a child when he starts learning to walk. He’ll stand up; try keeping balance and then fall. If you see him for those few minutes, yes it feels painful. Continue reading

Remembering this great Monk on his 150th Birth Anniversary.

Swami-Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda

Today 12th January is the National Youth Day marking the birth anniversary of India’s one of the greatest monk. Swami Vivekananda gave confidence to the nation and showed the path towards social emancipation and moral fortitude. His book “Karm Yoga” was the first book I read and after that it was no stopping. His words carry a power which instills strength into our being. I realized, just following his words is enough for one to stand straight with your head held high. This is a small tribute to this great monk whose words and advises have always been like the torch for me in this fight against fate. Continue reading

Achyutam Keshavam

This particular Bhajan sung by Vikram Hazra (Posted at the end) has been a favourite of mine for long. And last few months, I have been listening to this song every morning before leaving for work. Its so divine and calms me a lot, helping me in turn to get through the day wonderfully. It touches the soul.

The lyrics of the song answers so many of my questions. Why doesn’t God listen to me, how can I get him near me, and so many. The song tells the simple ways to pray the Lord, tells us how to get near him. “Kaun kehta hai bhagwan aate nahi, Meera ke jaise bulate nahi”, this line always hits me when I hear this bhajan. We all seem to be doing so many things to call the Lord. Money is laundered in the name of “Puja” to get him near us. But how many of us really call him with the same devotion as Meera, to try calling him from base of the heart. The lyrics of this song conveys the absolute truth about what devotion really means. Meerabai and Shabari are the beautiful examples.

I salute you O Achyuta, Shri Krishna, the Infallible one, who is perfect, who can never fall or be wrong, for he is the perfection of the perfect. Few more lines that comes to my mind when I listen to the song….

Kaun kehte hain Bhagvan maante nahi, tum Radha ke jaise manaate nahi.
Kaun kehte hain Bhagvan samjhaate nahi, Arjun ke tarah tum samajhte nahin.

Kaun kehte hain Bhagvan sunte nahi, Soordas ke tarah tum sunaate nahin.
Kaun kehte hain Bhagvan saath rehte nahin, Hanuman jaise dil mein basaate nahi.

Thy Will Be Done.

Whenever I am going through despair, there’s something I read through always and today thought of sharing with you all the same. Its written by Swami Vivekananda. Someone very dear to me shared it with me long back after the demise of Maasa. I made sure to carry it with me always as it really helps in picking myself up whenever I am down.

“Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Thus said the old Jewish saint when suffering the greatest calamities that could befall man, and he erred not. Herein lies the whole secret of Existence. Waves may roll over the surface and tempest rage, but deep down there is the stratum of infinite calmness, infinite peace, and infinite bliss. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” And why? Because it is during these moments of visitations when the heart is wrung by hands which never stop for the father’s cries or the mother’s wail, when under the load of sorrow, dejection, and despair, the world seems to be cut off from under our feet, and when the whole horizon seems to be nothing but an impenetrable sheet of misery and utter despair — that the internal eyes open, light flashes all of a sudden, the dream vanishes, and intuitively we come face to face with the grandest mystery in nature — Existence. Yes, then it is — when the load would be sufficient to sink a lot of frail vessels — that the man of genius, of strength, the hero, sees that infinite, absolute, ever-blissful Existence per se, that infinite being who is called and worshipped under different names in different climes. Then it is, the shackles that bind the soul down to this hole of misery break, as it were, for a time, and unfettered it rises and rises until it reaches the throne of the Lord, “Where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest”. Cease not, brother, to send up petitions day and night, cease not to say day and night — THY WILL BE DONE.

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The Guide, Philosopher and Friend.

To me Lord Shree Krishna is not just God but a Guide, Philosopher and Friend. His teachings as contained in the Bhagvat Gita, if followed, can change the destiny of man. On the auspicious occasion of Janmashtami, sitting so far off from all festivities going on at home, I am getting reminded of him more today.

So merciful you are to us Krishna. You give nectar and happiness freely. There is nothing we have to force or prepare, all we have to do is chant and sing to our hearts content your beautiful syllables. And our souls are cleansed by this the yuga dharma, and we leave our mental hells. You are sung with enthusiasm by the devotees all over the world. You are so deep, full of meaning and realization.

I bow before your holy name with straw in my teeth and my fists clenched in sincerity and beg that you allow me to utter you lifetime after lifetime and taste your glory!!!

The same dark clouds return, just as before,
And drench me in gloom, for it’s only fair,
That the dues of my Karma, I must eternally pay,
But they are harsh and severe, so hard to bear!

These waves of pain, they overwhelm me,
Drowning me in sorrow, no recourse I see.
In my anguish, I scream for help,
But I find only loneliness, mocking at me!

I look skywards and glimpse those fortunate souls,
The Devotees, Your most dearest Friends,
My pitiful condition espied, My guru exhort to me,
“Chant His Holy Name, He’ll set you free!”

I begin to cry, Your Name aloud,
‘Hare Krishna, HARE KRISHNA’, I scream to thee
With all the love and devotion in me,
To try to free myself of misery!

And soon I see, in the midst of my ruin,
You descending, Your Effulgent, Glorious self!
A gentle, loving smile, Your Face adorns,
Tears of remorse, gratitude stain my face.

Your compassionate glance dispels my grief,
I beg to Thee, Krishna, please deliver me,
Of this treacherous world, I’ve had my fill.
Its joys no longer enamour me.

O Glorious Maa, All Hail to thee!
For from You, those Glorious Words, I’ve learnt to say,
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare!

Wishing all a very Happy and Blessed Janmashtami.

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Lets experience and not just celebrate Diwali!!!

A big part of Diwali is cleaning our house. We all do it every year during this time though I am sure we all do it otherwise too. So this Diwali how about cleaning our minds and intellects too!!

Another tradition we maintain for Diwali, buying new clothes. It’s being followed for years. Even in our family Diwali meant going for shopping and getting clothes for each and every family member. Everyone keep aside their old clothes and put on the new ones. How about getting rid of our old unwanted disturbing habit like our anger, jealousy and worry!! Let us try to emerge a better person where we can shower more love on others and in turn get a blissful and happy life.

All of us who are into business, we settle all our old account books today and begin new ones. Why not follow the same with our life’s accounts too?? So many of us have very bitter and unpleasant relationships, let’s begin those again in a new positive way.

We burn firecrackers; why not also burn the undesirable desires also this Diwali. Sweets are shared, how about sharing really meaningful sweet and true wishes!!!

We all connect Goddess Lakshmi with the Goddess of wealth. Yes true, she is the Goddess of wealth. But have you noticed her name? It comes from the word “Laksh” meaning Target or Goals. I am sure if we can really experience Diwali this way, we can get the ultimate goal of heavenly perfection. I am sure Goddess Lakshmi would be happier if we work to collect the wealth of goodwill and love from our near and dear ones.

Wishing all of you a very happy Diwali and hope we all can actually experience the festival and not just celebrate it.

Happy Diwali to you all.