Friday, October 29, 2010

My alter- the most integral part of our home!

My alter is one of the most integral part of our house. Satya, my husband, begins his day with seva and all of us fall in line with the same. Friday is my 'Shringaar' day. It begins with a complete cleaning of the alter as well as the idols post which it takes me about an hour to do the idol shringaar. It is one day that the entire family waits to experience the 'nav roop' of the alter. Sharing a few moods of this space...


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hamare ghar ke lalla-ji!

हमारे प्राणों में रहने वाले और हमारे रखवाले

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Janmashtami Puja- Process

Mangla Arti
Mangla Arti comes first according to the schedule during this festival day at Shri Dwarkadhish mandir.
First of all 'Banta Bhog' (like milk and milk products) and butter offered to Shri Dwarkadhish. Then they do Mukh prakshalan (cleanse the face with water) and Dant manjan (brushing the teeth) of dwarkadhish. Devotees can have first darshan (glance) of the Shri from this Mangla Arti.
Mangla arti is always performed at 7:00 o'clock in the morning and Pujari, the worshipper, performs it. Most of Vaishanva's day starts with the darshan of this mangla Arti.

Abhishek Snan
The holy bath given to the Lord is known as Abhishek. This is a part of daily puja, which is performed after mangla arti. Except on festival days it is performed inside at the shrine by pujari. But two times in the year once at the Janmashtami and the other at Jalayatra day, devotees can have darshan of this Abhishek. Many devotees and Vaishnavas come there for this darshan.
Normally on Janmashtami day this Abhishek ceremony is performed from 8:00 to 10:00 in the morning. During this ceremony pujari pours panchamrut (five pure things) made of milk, honey, ghee, curd and sugar. They do the Abhishek with pure water and other materials. This Abhishek is completed with the chanting of 'Purusha Sukta'.

After the Abhishek they adorn the lord. Pujari adorns the lord with ornaments and clothes. First of all they do archana with petals of tulasi (basil) and chandan (sandal wood). Then a pitamber (golden colored one piece of silk) worn to the lord. They worn the lord pajama (salwar) vagho (one piece of cloth) and charbhuja valo kotho (the cloth for four hands)
In ornaments they adorn the lord with golden ornaments especially Chandanmala, soparimala (betel nut necklace) and vaijayantimala (garland).
On head they put the crown known as 'KUVE'. On that crown there is an ornamental crest and chandrakala. Then they do makeup on the face of shree Dwarkadhish.
After all this adornment they adorn the lord with Shankha (shell), chakra, gada and padma, which are made of diamonds, topazes and precious stones. At last they offer uparana (piece of silk kept on the shoulder) and golden pithika.

After completing the shringar they remove the curtain to allow the devotees to have darshan. And then they offer shringarbhog (some sweets). Thus each and every time of Bhog they kept the curtain down and people cannot have darshan during this period of time. They use everything for this Bhog from the store of the temple and it is prepared in the temple only.

Shringar Arti
After that Shringarbhog arti is performed at 11:00 o'clock by pujari. They keep the golden chhaddi (golden stick) at the door of shrine. The photo or idol of shree garudjee (deity eagle) is kept in front of shree Dwarkadhish. They keep the bansari (flute) in the hand of shree dwarkadhish because he promised shree Radhajee that he would keep bansari always with him though he was leaving the Gokul. To maintain harmony with these emotions, the flute is kept with lord Dwarkadhish before performing arti.
Arti is the afflicted voice or call of devotees for god. This vidhi (procedure) is very auspicious and keeps free from sufferings. When Arti is being performed with drum, Transa Nobat (beats of drums in the temples). First they perform the arti with Shankha (conch), and then they perform arti with Dhoop, fragrant substance or incense. Then they prepare 108 wicks and light them and then perform arti with it. When this is completed they offer flowers with chanting of mantra to Lord Dwarkadhish. This presentation is called pushpanjali.

Madhyahan bhog
After shringar arti madhyahan bhog (sweets, milk products) is offered.
After madhyahan bhog darshan (viewing of lord) is kept open for some time. In this way darshan is open up to 12 O'clock. After 12:00 at noon there is a time for Rajbhog.

Rajbhog is the main bhog (food offered) to Lord Dwarkadhish. Sakhadi (chapattis, puri, dal, rice, vegetable) is offered in this course only. They also offer various sweets, and farsans (fried, tasty article of food made of pulses). Thus it will be complete bhog. All these things are prepared by pujaris of the temples only. They use everything (ingredients), which is stored at the temple. Nothing is offered to Lord Dwarkadhish, which is prepared outside of the temple premises. They offer only things, which are prepared in the mandir's place and prepared by their pujaris only. They use the material, which is stored in the mandir. They offered those things only to Shreejee. (Lord Dwarkadhish)

This is the time when Lord Dwarkadhish takes rest after Rajbhog. About at 1:00 PM, after completing the Rajbhog pujari keeps gadi - takiya (bed and pillows) near the swaroop of Shreejee (idol of lord).
Meanwhile soft drink made of saffron and misari (sugar) and water is kept beside lord's bed. They also keep pan-bida (a betel leaf's spiced roll) along with it as mukhavas (things taken after taking any food, like mouth freshener)
After Rajbhog it is believed that the Lord is taking rest they keep the curtain down and darshan is not available for some time. About 1:00 PM. Darshan is closed for vaishnavas and devotees. This is called Anosar.
Thus the doors of shrine are closed at 1:00 PM. And they reopen at 5:00 PM. again

At 5:00 in the evening the Lord is waken up by the ringing of bell. At this time lord Dwarkadhish has taken rest. Once again doors of the shrine open for the devotees and they can have darshan of lord.
Then pujaris offers perfume and paste off sandalwood to Dwarkadhish. Then they offer Mevabhog. This includes seasonal fruits and dry fruits. Then pujari performs Puja and Archana with chanting of Shree Vishnu Sahastranam. (Thousand names of Vishnu), He offers petal of basil with chanting of each name of Vishnu. Thus Pujan-archan is completed with chanting of thousand name of Vishnu.

Shyanbhog and Shyan arti
After sandhya arti they offer Shayanbhog to shree Dwarkadhish. During his bhog, darshan is not available for devotees. Only pujaris remain there. Around 9:00 PM. Shayan arti is performed. After shayan arti all the ornaments and clothes which worn to the lord are removed. This is called ' shringar bada karna' And about 9:30PM. Dwarkadhish goes to bed. Then darshan is also closed for devotees and other public. Due to Janmashtami Utsav the rest time is about 1 hour. It is around up to at 10:30 Pm. With a view to celebration of this special festival series of darshan is preceded.

Janmashtami Utsav
Around 11:00 PM. they adorn the lord Dwarkadhish for this very special day with profuse gold jewellary and ornaments made of diamonds topaz and other precious stones. The shringar of shree Dwarkadhish is alluring.
Around 11:30 PM. The Utsav bhog is offered to the Lord. Though there is curtain. And everything is done in the shrine behind it people cannot watch it but they come inside the temple and wait there for the darshan of arti. They sing bhajans in front of Lord Dwarkadhish.
The whole temple is crowded with devotees. They go on rampage and welcome Lord Shree Krishna's birth exactly at 12.00pm mid night [IST], with
Nand Gher Anand Bhayo- Jay Kanaiya Lal Ki.......

The Mahabhog is offered to lord Krishna at 2:00 AM. It is normally a small annakut. After offering the Mahabhog darshan is closed at 3:00 PM.
Thus the series of darshan for Janmashtami is completed.

Parna Nom
The day following Janmashtami at 7:00 AM Mangla arti is performed and pujari does Puja and archana.
They put the Bal swaroop (baby Krishna) of Shree Krishna outside of the shrine in cradle. They feel themselves lucky as they are the part of this special event and they swing the cradle of lord Krishna and feel fulfillment. Thus the festival of Janmashtami is completed at Jagat mandir at Dwarka.

Janmashtami 2010

Janmashtami is on 2nd September 2010
Janmashtami celebrates the birth of one of the most famous Gods of Hindu religion, Bhagwan Krishna, on the eighth day (Ashtami) in the month of Sravana or Savana. Lord Sri Krishna was born on the 'Rohini' nakshatram (star). It is generally celebrated in the month of August-September according to the Christian Calendar. Legend has it that Sri Krishna was born on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule and atrocities of his maternal uncle, Kansa.

Position of Stars at the time of Birth
It was only on the eighth day of the second fortnight, in the month of Sravana when, the moon entered the house of Vrishabha in Rohini Nakshatra (star) that Lord appeared. According to Barhapatyamana, the month of Sravana corresponds to the month of Bhadrapada Krishnapaksha. Lord was born in the year of Visvavasu, appx. 5,227 years ago.

Celebrated for over Two Days
Janmashtami is celebrated for over two days as “Rohini” nakshatra and Ashtami may not fall on the same day. The first day known as Krishnashtami, as the birth of Bhagwan Krishna falls on the eighth day after Raksha Bandhan, which generally falls in the month of August. The second day is known as Kalashtami.

Welcome the Lord at Midnight
It is only at midnight between the first and the second day that birth of Sri Krishna took place. The actual festivities begin during midnight in this 48 hour period. The celebration reaches its peak at midnight, with the birth of Lord Krishna, with lot of hymns, arti taking place and blowing of the Conch (shankh), rocking the cradle of Lord. The idol of lord is bathed with Panchamrit (A mixture of milk, ghee, oil, honey and Gangajal). The Panchamrit is later distributed as Prasad to the devotees along with other sweets. While some Fast on the first day and break it at midnight for others the fasting continues for both days. The period coincides with rainy season.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yashoda-maiya: unselfconscious tenderness and maternal bliss

Yashoha-maiya, perhaps the best ever description of a mother-child relationship. Selflessness, pride, shelter, support, fear, affection, love, stimuli, sacrifice; so much more that words cant express.

Yashoda-maiya though orchestrated as one of the character in Mahabharat has been a pivotal role in making this epic come alive.

I derive a lot of strength from her personality. Her sacrifice was the greatest and her affection was in comparable.

This picture has been one of my favorites for a very long long time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dance of the flute

ananyāś cintayanto māḿ

ye janāḥ paryupāsate

teṣāḿ nityābhiyuktānām

yoga-kṣemaḿ vahāmy aham

Created by Krishna, this world around us exists only for a short time. Infinite in it's expressions.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mere toh giridhar gopal dusro na koi....

A song to which I danced on stage for the first time when I was 12. My little sister swayed around the stage as baal krishna while I performed the KrshnaPriyasi Meera with an ektara in my hands. Least did I know that my quest of KrsnaPrem and bhakti was born on that day.

My mother played an instrumental role in kindling my thoughts on Krsna conciousness. She fuelled my aptitude for bhakt with her timely and practical inputs on being spiritual rather than religious.

Today at 31 while I am leading the life of maya somewhere deep within I feel the pain of karuna sunoh shyaam more and want to submit myself to the world of spiritual knowledge.

Can maya and eternal survive together?

Karuna suno Shyam mori - Meera

Jo tum todo piya - song from 1979 movie Meera

Ae Ri Main Toh Prem Deewani, Mero Dard Na Jaane Koi..

Ae Ri Main Toh Prem Deewani, Mero Dard Na Jaane Koi

Sooli Upar Sej Hamaari (2) Sono Kis Bidh Hoye (2)

Gagan Mandal Par Sej Piya Ki (2), Milano Kis Bidh Hoye

Dard Na Jaane Koi

Ae Ri Main Toh Prem Deewani, Mero Dard Na Jaane Koi

Ae Ri Main Toh Prem Deewani, Mero Dard Na Jaane Koi..

Ghayal Ki Ghat, Ghayal Jaane (2), Aur Na Jaane Koi (2)

Meera Ke Parbhu Peer Mite Jab (2), Bairi Sanwariya Hoye

Dard Na Jaane Koi

Ae Ri Main Toh Prem Deewani, Mero Dard Na Jaane Koi

Ae Ri Main Toh Prem Deewani, Mero Dard Na Jaane Koi!

Mai to saawre ke rang raachi

Mein Tho Sanware Ke Rang Raachi
Saji Sringar Baandhi Pag Ghoongharoo
Lok Laaj Taji Naachi
Mein Tho Sanware Ke Rang Raachi

Gayee Kumathi Layee Sadhu Ki Sangati
Bhagath Roop Bhayee Saanchi
Gaay Gaay Hari Ke Gun Nisdin
Kaal Vyaal Soon Baanchi
Un Bin Sab Jag Khaaro Laagath
Aur Baat Sab Kaanchi
Meera Sri Giridhar Lal Soon
Bhagathi Rasili Jaanchi


I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, with blooming eyes like lotus petals with head decked with peacock's feather, with the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and His unique loveliness charming millions of Cupids!

8 famous names of tulsi.

Tulasi: One who has no comparison.

Vrindavani: One who first manifested in Vrndavana.

Vrinda: The goddess of all plants and trees.

Visvapujita: One whom the whole universe worships.

Puspasara: The topmost of all flowers, without whom Krishna does not like to look upon other flowers.

Nandini: Seeing whom gives unlimited bliss to the devotees.

Krishna-jivani: The life of Sri Krishna.

Visva-pavani: One who purifies the three worlds.

Tulsi- holy basil

Tulsi, which is Sanskrit for "the incomparable one", is worshiped throughout India, most often regarded as a consort of Vishnu in the form of Mahalakshmi. There are two types of Tulsi worshiped in Hinduism—"Rama Tulsi" has light green leaves and is larger in size; "Krishna Tulsi" has dark green leaves and is important for the worship of Vishnu. Many Hindus have tulsi plants growing in front of or near their home, often in special Tulsi pots. It is also frequently grown next to Vishnu temples, especially in Varanasi.

In the ceremony of Tulsi Vivah, Tulsi is ceremonially married to Vishnu annually on the eleventh bright day or twelfth of the month of Kartika in the lunisolar calendar. That day also marks the end of the four month cāturmāsya period, which is considered inauspicious for weddings and other rituals, and so the day inaugurates the annual marriage season in India. The ritual lighting of lamps each evening during Kartika includes the worship of the Tulsi plant, which is considered auspicious for the home. Vaishnavas especially follow the daily worship of Tulsi during Kartika.

Vaishnavas traditionally use japa malas made from tulsi stems or roots, which are an important symbol of initiation. Tulsi malas are considered to be auspicious for the wearer, and believed to put them under the protection of Vishnu or Krishna. They have such a strong association with Vaishnavas, that followers of Vishnu have long been called "those who bear the tulasi round the neck".