Kalaratri – #Navaratri #Navadurga

When the Deva were troubled by Durgamasura, Devi Parvati assumes the form of Kalaratri and annihilated this Asura.

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Devi Kalaratri

Kala here means black, and Ratri refers to night.

This form of Devi is most terrifying and fierce, and represents the most devastating aspects of Nature.

But if seen from the right perspective, this form of Devi has a Motherly aspect to it.

The word Ratri means “comfort giver”. It is derived from the root word “ram” meaning “to be or make content”.

Ratri is that which gives one comfort or rest from the 3 types of activities namely

  • Kayika or bodily actions,
  • Vachika or speech
  • Manasika or thoughts.

During night, as man sleeps and gets regenerated, all 3 types of actions are subdued and mind is completely at rest, free from all types of afflictions.

Hence night is called Ratri or the comfort giver.

Kala Ratri, Mother who brings us this comfort, is propitiated on the night of Navaratri.

Ratri also has a wider connotation here.

Let us take the example of day and night to understand this better.

During day time, only our limited world and the Sun is visible, but at night, Ratri, the whole cosmos with the countless stars are seen.

Thus Kala Ratri represents that higher wisdom that is bestowed on us, when we go beyond our limited concepts and theories.

 

Access the Complete Navaratri eBook :

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Issac Newton

Sir Issac Newton was the one who formulated the laws of gravitation and motion. The story goes that he came up with the concept of gravity under an apple tree in Cambridge University. This apple tree is preserved and safeguarded in Cambridge University.

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Sir Issac Newton under an apple tree

Gurutava and Gurutvaakarshana

The word gravity has an agnate word in the Samskrt, where it is referred to as Gurutva. In India, the word and concept of gravity has existed as Gurutva and Gurutvaakarshana respectively.

The root word Guru denotes ‘heavy, big and influencing’ and Akarshana means, ‘the power of attraction’. The word Guru and Gurutava means to attract. It is the root word for the English word gravity.

What our sages and scriptures Say?

This concept of gravity has been discussed in many ancient texts of India including the Veda.

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The power to attract, Gurutva, is there in all natural bodies of this universe.

Rishi Pipalada in Prasnaupanishad writes that, “Divinity in earth helps the apana by supporting it.” This apana is present in our body which aids in the function of digestion and throwing our urine and foetus from our body which requires gravitation.

Adi Shankar who lived around 500 BCE writes, “If the Divinity would not have pulled down this body, this body would have floated anywhere in the universe.”

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Adi Shankara

Guru Gita

A crowning statement can be seen in a passage in Guru Gita, which consists of a dialogue between Shiva and Parvati on various subjects, including the Universal laws of Nature.

Here Parvati asks Shiva,

“You are the Supreme. Who is it that you bow to?”

To which, Shiva replies,

“ Parvati for the benefit of all humanity I shall answer your question.

It is to the all pervading Guru Tattva that I bow down to”.

Thus Shiva Tattva is also bound to acknowledge the force of gravity, Guru Tattva as the Omnipresent force of the Universe, Prapancha.

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The Shiva Parvati Dialogue

More on this in our book “2012-The Real Story”.

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Dr. Halley and Sir Issac Newton

On one occasion, Dr Halley, the astronomer after whom the Halley’s Comet is named, came to discuss with Sir Issac Newton on what he thought of the orbital curve of planets.

Sir Issac Newton responded, “It would be an ellipse.”

Dr. Halley was amazed by the instant response and asked, “How did you know it?”

Sir Issac Newton looked for the papers but could not find them.

An astounding response in today’s words is, “Somebody has found a cure for cancer but does not remember where he kept the formula.”

The indefectible Halley pressed on Sir Issac Newton to redo the calculation. This made Sir Issac Newton carry out two years intensive research on his scribblings, and which led the creation of his master work, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

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In simple English terms, this book contains mathematical principles of natural philosophy. We see in this book that the terms philosophy and mathematics are intertwined. They are not 2 distinct parallel subjects as we perceive them in the 21st century. This work of Sir Issac Newton is one of the most inaccessible books.

The response of Sir Issac Newton was that, “He did not want to be pestered by Mathematical smatters.”

When somebody has reached such high levels in science, they prefer to be left alone in their research than being pestered by the half educated.

We see a similar vein, not just among modern scientists, but also among our seer scientists, the Vedic Rishi who did their research and presented their findings. It is for others to take the effort to understand them. The same thought is expressed by Einstein too. This is the innate nature of scientists. It is for us to recognize what true scientists are saying before being critical of them.

Katyayani – #Navaratri #Navadurga

Katyayani is the 6th form of Navadurga, worshipped on the 6th night of Navaratri

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Devi Katyayani

Once upon a time, the world was troubled by the menace of Mahishasura. Then, Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and the other Gods came together, and from their anger emitted from their eyes arose individual flames, which formed a great effulgence. And, from this effulgence manifested Devi Katyayani, who then went on to slay Mahishasura.

Thus she is also known as Mahishasura Mardini.

Devi Katyayani was born from Anger. Anger is not always bad, and has its own place in our lives. A righteous anger is often needed to correct a situation. It is often said that a wise man’s anger brings more good than a foolish person’s love.

Devi Katyayani represents righteous anger that arises in Creation to restore and revive the principles of Truth and Righteousness.

 

Access the Complete Navaratri eBook :

Click to access navaratri-ebook.pdf

World Idli Day

World Idli Day is celebrated on March 30th. A day to know more about this delicious food.

Idli is the favourite breakfast dish in South India. Along with Sambar, a variety of chutnies, and molaga podi, chilly powder is a mouthwatering and nourishing delicacy.

Idli is not just tasty but also healthy and nutritious. It is not fried but is steam cooked. Its fermented batter is a finely wet ground mix of rice and gram.

Idli fulfills the needs of a stomach. It gives carbohydrates for energy and protein for growth. Its good bacteria generate lot of Vitamin B. An interesting thing is that a person consuming Idli daily may not have head ache because the black gram has the property to inhibit head ache. The side dish Sambar is one of the nutritious vegetable broth that contains many vegetables, spices, tamarind, Asafoetida etc. which keeps the stomach healthy and prevents acidity and indigestion.

WHO on Idli

As per the WHO, Idli is among the most nutritious food in the world. Made of fermented black lentils and rice, the nutrient quotient in Idli is high. The WHO Recommends idli as an ideal food.

Idli

Idli through the times

Early writings on Idli can be seen in Karnataka. Vaddaradhane of Sivakoty Acharya of 920 CE., describes Idli as one of the 18 items served to a guest / Brahmachari visiting homes.

Vaddaradhane

In Kannada literature Iddaliga is a steamed food made with urad dal batter.

King Someshwara of Kalyan the capital city of the Western Chalukya Empire, in his work Manasollasa in 1130 CE writes about the preparation of food in royal kitchens. He mentioned Idli as the first food items among others.

King Someshwara Inscription

In Tamil literature Maccapuranam, mentions the” Ittali” , around 17th century CE.

The Gujarati work Varanaka Samuchaya (1520 CE) mentions Idli as Idari, and also mentions its local adaption Idada.

A variant of Idli known as Sanna Hittli is popular amongst the Goans and other Konkani people.

Another variant known as Enduri Pitha is popular in Odisha.

Migration of Idli to Indonesia

Idli is known as “Kedli” in Indonesia. Kedli is one of the most favourite foods of Indonesia.

Indonesia then known as Suvarnabhumi was a Hindu Kingdom state.

There was a regular connect between the Kings of Suvarnabhumi and the Kings of Tamil Nadu and Orissa. One version of history is that one of the Kings of Suvarnabhumi had come to take a bride. Along with bride Queen many cooks accompanied the royal entourage back to Suvarnabhumi. The making of this Idli could well have gone there as one of the delicacies, which we called Kedli now in Indonesia. 

Some opine that the migration of idli could have been the other way from Kedli to Idli. Whichever way it is, Idli is a tasty wholesome nutritious food, which can be eaten anytime from morning breakfast to night dinner.

Kedli

Varieties of Idli

Now there are varieties of Idlis some of the popular once being,

  • Thatte Idli – Flat Idli
  • Maliga poo Idli – White Fluffy Idli
  • Kanchipuram / Thiruvallur Kudal Idli – Cylindrical Idli
  • Mangalore Kadubu Idli
  • Mangalore Muday Idli
  • Goans and Konkani Sanna
  • Khushboo Idli – Soft Fat Idli
  • Mini Idli – small Idli
  • Rava Idli
  • Ragi Idli
  • Chinese fried Idli

Relish Idli this day

Our simple Idli has taken names and shapes and kept abreast with modernity. On this Idli Day, let us relish the different varieties of Idli.

Kushmanda – #Navaratri #Navadurga

Kushumanda, means a pumkin. A pumkin is in the shape of the Cosmic Egg, Hiranyagarbha.

This entire creation – both the manifest and the unmanifest – is like a huge round ball or pumpkin.

Devi Kushmanda represents the Prana, life force present throughout the universe.

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Devi Kushmanda

Anda means an “Egg”, Ku means small and Sh means Energy. Which means that, this Energy pervades the entire cosmos, form the smallest to the largest.

Kushmanda, a pumpkin is said to have the unique property of absorbing Prana and also radiating Prana. It is one of the most pranic vegetables on the planet. It absorbs and also radiates energy.

Thus the term Kushmanda refers to the cosmic prana, represented by this form of Devi Kushmanda.

Her form is very much similar to that of Devi Chandraghanta, and She is worshipped on the 4th night of Navaratri.

 

Access the Complete Navaratri eBook :

Click to access navaratri-ebook.pdf

 

Chandraghanta – #Navaratri #Navadurga

The Legend

On the day of Marriage of Shiva with Parvati, Shiva comes to the palace of Parvata Raja in a fierce form, smeared with ashes on His body, and snake around His neck. He was followed by a marriage procession consisting of thousands of dhootaganas and aghoris.

On seeing this form of Shiva, and His procession, Parvati’s mother Mena and Her relatives are shocked.

In order to be complementary to Lord Shiva, as His Sahadharmini, Parvati assumes an equally fierce form of Chandraghanta. In this form, She approaches Shiva and requests Him to assume a more pleasant form, as this is the occasion of Their marriage. Shiva then assumes a charming form.

This form of Devi is depicted as wearing a crescent Moon on the forehead. Thus She is known as Chandra Ghanta, Chandra meaning a Moon and Ghanta, a Bell. She has multiple hands holding weapons and other objects, and is shown as seated on a lion.

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The Beautiful Symbolism

Shiva is also depicted with a crescent moon on His head. This symbolism of moon on Shiva and Devi, has a beautiful meaning, from the perspective of regeneration.

In this aspect of regeneration, the symbolism of the moon on Devi’s head is very pertinent. The phases of the moon have a very close relation with the growth of plants, food grains, animals, bees and human beings.

What is this close relation with specific regard to regeneration for the human beings with regard to the moon? If we look at the reproductive cycle of women, the 28 day fertility cycle with 2 halves of 14 days is exactly the same as one monthly cycle of the moon with 14 days of waxing and waning.

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Phases of Moon – Krishna paksha (waxing) & Shukla paksha (waning)

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28 day cycle of women

Another interesting aspect in the case of the moon is that, once the New Moon phase is reached, there is no moon visible from the earth.

Then what does the following waxing phase start from?

The thin crescent on Devi’s head represents the remnants of the moon after the New Moon, from which the moon starts to grow in phases. This remnant is also called the 16th phase of the moon, the stage between the New Moon and the 1st day of the waxing moon.

Devi, the divinity for regeneration, as Chandraghanta, is depicted as holding this remnant in safeguard in Her head for reviving the moon after the New Moon.

Ancient texts clearly show that the civilization was well aware of the concept of the phases of the moon and how it is only a play of light and shadow of the earth, sun and the moon itself. Given this level of knowledge, this story of Devi and Shiva keeping the 16th phase of the moon for revival, emphasizes yet another point of symbolism – the point that every cycle of Creation too is based on the remnants of the previous cycle.

This act of safeguarding, perhaps is expressing that this remnant matter too needs to be safeguarded until the start of the next cycle.

The Chandraghanta image of Shiva brings forth this cyclical, regenerative principle, month after month and shows us how, all of us are so intrinsically linked with the moon, in particular for regeneration.

More on this concept of the moon in our book and film, Understanding Shiva.

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Chandra, Mind and Ghanta, Bell

Chandra, the Moon also represents the mind, which is a source of different thoughts arising every moment. Ghanta means a bell from which only one kind of sound arises. When the mind which is scattered in all directions is made steady and consolidated at one point, then the Divine Energy dawns in us, leading to great strength, symbolized by the lion.

The fickle nature of the mind is then transformed into a pleasant one, and the same mind then becomes an instrument for Mukti, liberation.

This theory of Big Bang and the universe emanating from the Cosmic Egg has been beautifully, graphically, scientifically explained in the Rig Veda and the associated ancient texts of India as the concept of Hiranyagarbha or the golden womb or egg, which when breaks open with a bang, spews out the Universe. The resonance of this Big Bang is OM, which is also known by the term Nada Brahaman. The Bell also represents the highly evolved state of metallurgy or Bharthiyo, in ancient India.

Incidentally, this concept of Om has been shown as the overall bell shape in the Bharath Gyan logo.

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This concept of OM, which has been exemplified by the ancients, as the resonance of the bell and is known in Indian texts as Omkara, in discussed in detail in our book and film, Creation – Srishti Vignana.

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Bharath Gyan Short Film – Om, The Echo of Big Bang: https://goo.gl/pnd6nf

This is the spiritual and cosmic significance behind the form of Devi Chandraghanta, who is worshiped on the third night of Navaratri.

 

Access the Complete Navaratri eBook :

Click to access navaratri-ebook.pdf

Balochistan Occupation Day

Balochistan Independence and Occupation

Balochistan became an Independent state after 100 years of British rule. The tripartite agreement between Balochistan, Pakistan and the British to grant independence to Balochistan was formally announced on August 11, 1947.

But this independence was short lived as Balochistan was recaptured by Pakistan 9 months later on March 27th, 1948.

A Buffer State

From time immemorial, Balochistan has been a buffer state between Indian civilization and Persian civilization. Buffer state is a country between two major countries which facilitates friendship between the two big countries.

Natives of Western India

The Baluchis who were natives of western most part of India. This region was known as Balochistan, the native place of the Balochis. This region was a land of many important rivers such as Zhob, Nari, Bolan, Pishin, Lora, and Mula.

Balochi Language and Samskrt

Balochi is the language of the Baloch people. The language is close to Samskrt.

Shakti Peetha

The Shakti Peethas extend from Tripura in the east to Balochistan in the west, all part of the land of Bharatha. Hinglaj is an important Shakti Peetha located in Balochistan. The annual four day pilgrimage to the Hinglaj Shakti Peetha is organized every April.

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Shakti Peetha in India

Pishey art work

Baloch people are known for their Pishey art work, out of which a variety of works like bags, shoes, hats and baskets are made.

Bollywood

Three famous Bollywood actors have their origin from Balochistan.

Kadar Khan, Amjad Khan and Raj Kumar

Jinnah

In early 1940s, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and the Muslim league were flexing their muscle for an independent Pakistan for Muslims.

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Muslim league

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Mohammed Ali Jinnah

Balochis wanted to be with India

The Balochis who were natives of western most part of India gave their call to be with India and not with to be formed Pakistan. This region was known as Balochistan, the native place of the Balochis.

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Balochistan Region

It was North West Frontier Province Assembly which passed a resolution to join with India. Khudai Khitmadgar supported by Congress was in power in North West Frontier Province at that time.

Direct action

Since the 1940s, many have been of the opinion that the freedom fighters of India then let down the Baluchis in their plea to be with the Indians.

Taken aback by the call for direct action by Jinnah which unleashed violence across many parts of India. The congress leaders were then forced to succumb to the demands of Muslim league. In retrospect, this direct action and the violence that followed directly on the Hindus does not seem much different from jihads by some of the narrow minded fanatics.

If Pakistan could get two options one in the west and other in the east as East Pakistan, then why could the Baluchi region not have joined India as a separate geographical entity in the far west region of the land?

The Balochis since 1948 of being forcefully captured by Pakistan has been continuously clamoring for being an independent country. The struggle of Balochis is observed every day.

Matsya Avatar – The First form of Life

Matsya Avatar is the first Avatar of Divinity Vishnu. Matsya means a fish and Avatar means to descend.

How did life descend on earth?

Matsya, Fish, The first to Descend

Evolution is known by the word Parinama in Samskrt, which means change. In India, the concept of evolution has been discussed in the sequence of Dasavatara of Vishnu, starting from the fish and evolving all the way to the intellectual human. Thus according to the Indian Theory of Evolution from the Dasavatara concept, Aquatic creatures, The Fish, Matsya was the first to emerge.

In Sync with Darwin’s Theory

It is interesting to note that, some aspects of Indian story of evolution is in sync with Charles Darwin’s story of evolution.

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Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution also states that aquatic creatures were the first to come into existence, followed by amphibians and then land creatures as depicted in the Dasavatar Theory.

There is thus a similarity in the Indian thought of Evolution and the Modern Evolution theory.

Matsya Jayanthi

The story of Matsya Avatar is popular in puranic lore of this land.

Avatar of Lord Vishnu

Matsya is the first Avatar of Lord Vishnu in the form of a fish. The Matsya Avatar rescued King Satyavrath from a Pralaya, dissolution, when the whole world faced deluge.

King Satyavrath and the Fish

As per the Purana, one day while bathing, King Satyavrath came across a tiny fish in his hands. The fish requested him to protect it. The King agreed to give shelter to the fish and kept it in a water jug.

Fish grows in size

The King had not realized that the fish was none other than the Divinity Vishnu. The Divine Fish now wanted to reveal its Divinity to the the King. Immediately, the fish grew in size so that it had to be removed from the jug and placed in a larger body of water. The King then placed the fish in a well. Again the fish grew to occupy the whole well. The King now placed it in a lake, but the lake soon proved to be small. The King transferred the fish to the Sea as a last resort. The Divine Fish expanded to occupy the whole Sea.

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Matsya Avatar,

Image : Courtesy Iskcon

King Satyavarath now understood that this was not an ordinary fish, but a manifestation of Divinity.

Vishnu reveals Himself

The Lord Vishnu revealed Himself to the King. He told him that there would be a deluge in the coming week and that, he would protect the King and rishi from pralaya in the form of a fish.

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Vishnu’s revelation to King Satyavratha

The Lord requested the King to collect samples of herbs, seeds and other living creatures to be placed in a boat. The boat is to be attached to the fish’s horns. The Lord said, that He in the form of a fish would lead them during the deluge. Saying this, Lord Vishnu disappeared.

Lord Appears as Matsya Avatar

The King made ready a boat and carried out all the instructions of the Lord. As promised, there was a deluge in the coming week. The King got into the boat along with the rishis and other creatures. Lord Vishnu appeared in His Matsya Avatar and guided the boat during the floods.

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Matsya Avatar rescuing the King, Rishi and other Life Forms

Similar to Noah’s Ark

The above Puranic story is similar to the story of Noah’s Ark in which God saves Noah. The story of Matsya Avatar predates Noah’s Ark which is dated to be around 3000 BCE.

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Noah’s Ark

Gangaur

Gangaur is a festival that is celebrated with fervour and devotion in the region of Rajasthan and its adjoining erstwhile kingdoms of Rajasthan.

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Gangaur celebration

Marital Festival

This festival is celebrated at the end of spring, post-harvest, when the women have more time to handle marital matters. So, it is celebrated as a marital festival where the girls pray for a good marriage, seek a good husband and the married women pray for the heath of their husband and well-being of their whole family.

The name Gangaur comes from 2 components, Gana and Gauri.

Gana

Gana means “numbers” and also “heavy”. We have the Gana dhootha as the followers of Shiva. Here, in this word, Gana indicates Shiva.

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Gana dhootha

Gauri

Gauri stands for Shiva’s wife. The word Gauri has also the component Ghora meaning “white, fair”.

For each festival, different aspects of Parvathi are highlighted. For Navaratri, it is the Shakti or Durga component that is highlighted and in case of other festivals, Parvathi facet is highlighted. For this festival, it the facet of Parvathi as Gauri, being fair that is venerated.

Post the colourful festival of Holi, for 18 days the women observe vrath to Devi Gauri.

On the 3rd day of the Shukla Paksha, the waxing, brightening phase of the moon, the colourful festival of Gangaur is celebrated.

Ghudlia

On the seventh day of the festival, women carry lamps in their pots, on their head after dusk, in procession. The lighted pots on the head are a beautiful sight to behold. These lighted pots are called Ghudlia.

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Women carrying Ghudlia

 The Bridal procession

This Gangauri procession is looked at by the women as Gauri leaving her parental home and going in a bridal procession to her husband, Shiva’s house. Every women uses this procession for her to connect and reminiscence of her bridal procession.

Timing of festival

Here again we see that the festival is designed in tune with nature. After the winter harvest is over and the food grains are stocked up for the coming months, after Holi, the community colour festival has been celebrated and the attention of the women folk who have been involved in harvesting, stocking the food grains, harvest, the preparation and mirth, feasting of Holi is passed, then it is the time for sobriety.

They observe the vrath, eating only one meal a day. It is at this time that the family is together, before the onset of the heat of the impeding summer. Rajasthan being a desert area, the summer temperatures rise to a scorching 40 degree Celsius every day of summer. It is in this seasonal background that the festivities have been designed through the ages and celebrated.