Thursday, 17 November 2016

About Spirit and Spirit Animal

Not to offend any drunkards out there but, just a point to show that you get what you are looking for.Other day, I was walking in the Melbourne downtown and this was the board that's displayed outside a bottle shop.Basically, shows how much obsessed a person can be about something that he is addicted to.He found a possum (arboreal marsupial species native to Australia) carrying a bottle of spirit.Thus, words mean different to different people.The word Spirit to spiritual seeker is different to the one that is metaphorically used as a synonym to Alcohol.
By the way, a possum is an interesting animal, which is commonly found in Australia. You see it in the gardens, trees, sometimes on fences trying to cross in a hurried way. They are shy creatures and I believe them to be nocturnal - to be seen during evenings and night times.

The word spirit has interesting usage and meaning in different cultures. Bhagavad Gita describes the characteristics of a Spirit Soul as, an immutable, Anti material particle which cannot be cut by any weapon,cant be burnt by a fire or made wet with water.The size of a spirit soul is atomic, that of a 1/10000 of the tip of a hair. A spirit soul is said to reside in the region of the heart and just like a Sun, who illuminates the world with light, permeates the body of a living being with consciousness. 

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Gopastami Festival

Lord Krishna and Radha Rani on Gopastami
Two days ago, was the day on which, about 5000 years ago lord Sri Krishna became a qualified cowherd man, which was marked by a ceremonial festival and worship of Cows. Nanda Maharaj, father of Lord Krishna organised a festive celabrations which included decorating, worshipping  the cows and confer Lord Krishna and Balarama, the honor of herding or looking after the cows. Up until then, Lord Krishna was looking after the calves and Nanda Maharaj decided that his son reached the right age of six years and is able to look after the cows.
As stated in the Karttika-mahatmya section of the Padma Purana:
suklastami karttike tu
rtagopasṭami budhaih
tad-dinad vasudevo bhud
purvam tu vatsapa
"The eighth lunar day of the bright fortnight of the month of Karttika is known by authorities as Gopasṭami. From that day, Lord Vasudeva served as a cowherd, whereas previously He had tended the calves."
Gopastami - Worshiping the Holy Cow
Some of my friends shared these beautiful photos from Krishna Balaram temple and Goshala in Vrindan.The speciality of Gopastami is that Radharani is dressed as a Cowherd boy. Again, an interesting pastime is that, on Gopastami where it was only a Boys and men only event, Srimathi Radha Rani wanted attend the event. So, she and her girl friends dressed as boys, wearing Dhoti, Kurta and silently joined the group to have some fun.
There is one more story that Mother Yashoda was concerned about Krishna going to the forest with the cows and getting his tender feet hurt. She offered Krishna, a nice pair of footwear. But, Krishna refused to wear them saying that, Mother I will wear these only when you give footwear to all my cows.
Thus Gopastami is the day, the Cows are given a bath and beautifully decorated and are worshipped. Krsna said that the cows are worshiped even by the demigods, and He practically demonstrated how to protect the cows. That’s why he is called Gopal and the well wisher of Cows. A Cow is also considered as one of the Mothers. As per Vedic literature,
atma-mata guro patni
brahmani raja-patnika
dhenur dhatri tathaprthvi
saptaita matarah smrtah
Gopastami - Worshiping the Holy Cow
The seven mothers are - the original mother, the wife of the teacher or spiritual master, the wife of a brahmaa, the king's wife, the cow, the nurse and the earth.

Not only the Milk of Cow is so nourishing and so many milk products can be prepared from it, its dung is used for fire, when sprinkled with water acts as an antiseptic, its urine has numerous benefits to the health and it is used in Ayurveda medicines and it is said that all the demi-gods reside in the body of a Cow. That is why, Cow is considered as the most holiest of animals and respected in the Hindu culture.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Hello - Its Halloween time

Halloween Decorations

Halloween celebrated recently (31st Oct 2016) in Australia and all around the world.
Trick-or-treat is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in various, supposedly scary costumes from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given.
Halloween Decorations
Halloween Decorations
I remember the similar thing back from India.I cant remember which festival it is but, on one of the festivals it is customary young people to visit peoples homes and basically do all kinds of mischief like, throwing stones, pouring water etc so that the elders or the house owner gets annoyed, angry and starts shouting words and abusing.The curses are supposed to be beneficial or bring good luck to the people doing the mischief and the pranksters happily go to another house to continue annoying people.Thankfully, I dint hear or see that happening any more in India.

Halloween Decorations
Actually,for few years of my moving to Australia, I have never seen or heard about Halloween at all. Its only, recently say since about four or five years, it became popular. Anyway, its fun for people, good for number of shops to sell the Halloween stuff and make money.And, keeps people busy and entertained. In fact, I have seen few Homes in my suburb have been meticulously decorated with all the scary stuff, like the skeletons, Cobwebs, the Pumpkin, fake Cadavers and fake body parts dripping with fake blood stains etc.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Diwali - Festival of Lights 2016

Diwali or Deepavali is a Hindu festival of lights observed on the 15th day of the month of Kartik. On this day,Lord Rama-Chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of Lord Vishnu). returned to his Ayodhya after 14 years of exile during which he killed numerous demons and finally destroyed the king of demons called Ravana in a fierce battle that lasted for seven days.So, on the day of arrival of Lord Rama,People lit their houses to celebrate his victory over evil and welcome their beloved Prince.

Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman 

Giri Govardhan made of sweets - Iskcon Melbourne

Thus, Diwali is a festival that marks the victory of good over evil.
A Novel way to light up Fire Crackers
Also,a day before Diwali there is a celebration called Naraka Chaturdashi. It is the day, when Lord Krishna killed another demon called as Narakasura. Diwali is also a time of worship of Lakshmi devi. Business man start new books and accounts on this day and its like a new financial year for them. Anyway, the fun part for both kids and adults alike is the exploding the fire crackers, sparklers and other numerous fireworks. The chivalry of people is tested on this day by their ability to go and light-up the Diwali crackers or bombs that make a loud noise and explode made especially for the occasion. And, we have and heard so many funny stories of people trying to light up these bombs but too scared etc. I even saw a you tube video of a person trying to light-up a small bomb, tries a number of time.The trick is to light up the sparky thread at one end of the bomb and should get back to a safe distance within seconds before it explodes. Finally, this poor fellow in his final attempt, thinking that he had definitely lit the bomb, runs back wards for safety with all his might and out of nervousness falls flat on the concrete road and had scratches all over his arms and legs and of course, the bomb never blew. Sometimes, more serious accidents also happens and that’s all the part of the package.
Anyway, in Melbourne we had over share of Diwali in the local Iskcon temple.Kids had some fun, lighting up sparklers etc.There was worship and prayers offered to Lord Rama, Lakshman, Sita Devi and Hanuman. And, on the next day we celebrated the Goverdhan Puja by going around  the replica of Govardhan mountain made of varieties of sweets followed by a sumptuous feast and of course the sweets.

Traditionally,in India the festival of Diwali is celebrated for five days:-

Giri Govardhan made of sweets - Iskcon Melbourne
Diwali Rangoli
The First Day of Diwali called Dhanvantari Trayodasi, also called as Dhantheras. It is the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksh (the dark fortnight) of the month of Kartika. On this day, Lord Dhanvantari appeared, delivering Ayurvedic medicine for mankind.This day marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations. On this day at sunset, Hindus bathe and offer oil lamps with prasada (sanctified food) to Yamaraja (the Lord of Death) and pray for protection from untimely death.

The second day of Diwali is called Naraka Chaturdasi. It is the fourteenth lunar day of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartika and the eve of Diwali. On this day, Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasura and liberated the 16,000 princesses which the demon held captive.

The Third Day of Diwali (actual Diwali) is the day, when worship unto Mother Lakshmi is performed. Hindus cleanse themselves and join with their families and their Pandit (priest) and worship the divine Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu, to achieve the blessings of wealth and prosperity, and triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. This is also the day on which Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya.

The Fourth Day of Diwali is the day, Govardhana Puja is performed. Many thousands of years ago, Lord Krishna caused the people of Vraja to worship this sacred hill.
From then on, every year, Hindus worship Govardhan to honor that first Puja done by the people of Vraja. Also, Bagavatham explains that Bali Maharaja was defeated on this day by Lord Krishna’s dwarf brahmana incarnation called as Vamanadeva.

The Fifth Day of Diwali is called Bhratri Dooj. It is a day dedicated to sisters. Just like Raksha Bandhan (brothers’ day), this is a sisters’ day. It was said that, after the fight with Narakasura, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra. From then on, brothers visit their sisters on this day to enquire their welfare.This day marks the end of the five days of Diwali celebrations.