Durga Ashtakam

Karthyayaini, Mahamaye,
Gadga bana dhaurdhare,
Gadga dharinee chandi,
Sri Durga Devi namosthuthe., 1

Salutations to goddess Durga,
Who is Karthyayaini,
Who is the greatest enchantress,
Who carries with her sword, arrow and bow,
And who is Chandi who carries the sword.

Vasudeva suthe, kali,
Vasu deva sahodhari,
Vasundhara sriye nandhe,
Sri Durga Devi namosthuthe., 2

Salutations to goddess Durga,
Who is the daughter of king Vasudeva,
Who is the sister to Lord Vaasudeva,
And who is the lady who is earth as well as Lakshmi.

Yoga nidhre, maha nidhre,
Yoga maye, maaheswari,
Yoga sidhikari shudhe,
Sri Durga Devi namosthuthe., 3

Salutations to goddess Durga,
Who is the sleep of yoga,
Who is the great sleep,
Who is enchantress of yoga,
Who is the greatest goddess,
Who is the one who gives powers through yoga,
And who is clean and truthful.

Sankha chakra gada pane,
Sarnga jyayatha bahave,
Peethmbara dhare, dhanye,
Sri Durga Devi namosthuthe., 4

Salutations to goddess Durga,
Who holds conch, wheel and mace,
Who blows the conch called Sarnga of Vishnu,
And who is blessed and wears yellow silk.

Rik Yajur sama adarvana,
Schadu Samantha lokinee,
Brahma swaroopini, brahmi,
Sri Durga Devi namosthuthe., 5

Salutations to goddess Durga,
Who lives in the four areas,
Of Rik, Yajur, sama and Atharvana Veda,
Who is the power of Brahma and is like Brahma.

Vrushneenaam kula sambhoothe,
Vishnu nadha sahodharee,
Vrushnee roopa dhare dhanya,
Sri Durga Devi namosthuthe., 6

Salutations to goddess Durga,
Who belongs to the clan of Vrushnees,
Who is the sister of Lord Vishnu,
And who is blessed by taking the form of Vrushnee.

Sarvagna, sarvage sarve,
Sarveshwari, sarva sakshini,
Sarvamrutha jada bhare,
Sri Durga Devi namosthuthe., 7

Salutations to goddess Durga,
Who knows all, is everywhere, and belongs to Shiva,
Who is the Goddess of all and is the witness of all,
And who carries the nectar as her tufted hair.

Ashta bahu maha sathwe,
Ashtami navami priye,
Attahasa priye bhadre,
Sri Durga Devi namosthuthe., 8

Salutations to goddess Durga,
Who is the great being with eight hands,
Who likes Ashtami and Navami 
Who takes care but likes fierce play.

Durgashtakamidham punyam,
Bhakthidho ya paden nara,
Sarva kamavapnothi,
Durga lokam sa gachathi., 9

If this holy octet on Durga,
Is read by men with devotion,
They would get all desires fulfilled,
And attain the world of Durga.

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Lingashtakam

Text One

brahma muraari suraarchita lingam
nirmala bhashita shobhita lingam
janmaja dukha vinaashaka lingam
tat pranamaami sadaa shiva lingam

I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is adored by Brahma, Vishnu and other Gods, which is praised by pure and holy speeches and which destroys the cycle of births and deaths.

Text Two

devamuni pravaraarchita lingam
kaamadaham karunaakara lingam
raavana darpa vinaashaka lingam
tat pranamaami sada shiva lingam

I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is the destroyer of desires, which the Devas and the sages worship, which is infinitely compassionate and which subdued the pride of Raavana.

Text Three

sarva sugandha sulepitha lingam
buddhi vivardhana kaarana lingam
siddha suraasura vanditha lingam
tat pranamaami sadaa shiva lingam

I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is lavishly smeared with variegated perfumes and scents, which elevates the power of thought and enkindles the light of discrimination, and before which the Siddhas and Suras and Asuras prostrate.

Text Four

kanaka mahaamani bhushitha lingam
phanipathi veshtitha shobhitha lingam
daksha suyajna vinaashaka lingam
tat pranamaami sadaa shiva lingam

I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, the destroyer of Dakshas sacrifice, which is decorated with various ornaments, studded with different gems and rubies and which glows with the garland of the serpent Lord coiled around it.

Text Five

kumkuma chandana lepitha lingam
pankaja haara sushobhitha lingam
sanchitha paapa vinaashaka lingam
tat pranamaami sadaa shiva lingam

I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is smeared with saffron and sandal paste, which is decorated with lotus garlands and which wipes out all accumulated sins.

Text Six

devaganaarchitha sevitha lingam
bhaavair bhakti bhirevacha lingam
dinakara koti prabhakara lingam
tat pranamaami sadaa shiva lingam

I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga which is worshipped by the multitude of Gods with genuine thoughts full of faith and devotion and whose splendor is like that of a million suns.

Text Seven

ashta dalopari veshtitha lingam
sarva samudbhava kaarana lingam
ashta daridra vinaashaka lingam
tat pranamaami sadaa shiva lingam

I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, destroyer of all poverty and misery in its eight aspects, which is the cause of all creation and which stands on the eight petalled Lotus.

Text Eight

suraguru suravara pujitha lingam
suravana pushpa sadaarchitha lingam
paraatparam paramatmaka lingam
tat pranamaami sadaa shiva lingam

I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga which is the Transcendent Being and the Supreme Self, worshipped by all Suras and their preceptor (Brhaspathi), with innumerable flowers from the celestial gardens.

Text Nine

lingashtakamidam punyam
ya:pathaet sivasannidau .
sivalokamavapnoti sivena saha modatae.

Whoever recites these eight slokas, in praise of the Shivalinga with the presence of Lord Shiva, attains that Supreme abode of Shiva and enjoys everlasting bliss with Him.

 

The story of Aravan, the God of the Transgender

Most of us find Mahabharata to be a very mystifying chronicle. This is because Mahabharata has a lot of characters and each character is associated to the other in some or the other way.

As this epic has so many legendary characters such as Pandavas, Draupadi, Kauravas around whom the whole story revolves, people are not quite familiar with the other characters that also have a crucial role in the epic.

Today, I will try to narrate you the story of Aravan or Iravan, one such minor yet crucial character of Mahabharata. It is from his lineage that the transgender are said to have been born. That is why the transgenders or hijras are also known as Aravanis.

The story of Lord Aravan can be called one of the most tragic tales of Mahabharata where he sacrifices himself for the greater good. But he does leave a lineage before he dies which makes him immortal in the history of mankind. Want to know his story? Then, read on.

Aravan was the son of the great Mahabharata warrior, Arjuna and his wife Ulupi, the Naga princess. Aravan is the central God of the cult of Kuttantavar. Like his father, Aravan was a fierce warrior.

Aravan

He participated in the Kurukshetra war with his father and the other Pandavas. He fought bravely and gave himself up for a huge sacrifice.

The earliest source of mention regarding Aravan is found in Peruntevanar’s Parata Venpa, a 9th-century Tamil version of the Mahabharata.

There it talks about a special sacrificial ritual known as the ‘Kalappali’, which means sacrifice to the battlefield. It was believed that whoever performs this sacrifice ensures victory in the battlefield.

In this ritual, the most valiant warrior must sacrifice his life in front of Goddess Kali in order to ensure the victory of his side. Aravan volunteered to sacrifice himself in the ritual.

In Parata Venpa, Aravan asks Krishna to grant him the boon of a heroic death in the battlefield. Aravan is believed to have been granted a second boon – to see the entire 18-day war.

The third boon is found only in the folk rituals. This third boon provides Aravan to be married before the sacrifice, entitling him to the right of cremation and funerary offerings (bachelors were buried).

However, no woman wanted to marry Aravan, fearing the inevitable doom of widowhood. In the Kuttantavar cult version, Krishna solves this dilemma by taking on his female form, Mohini, marries Aravan and spends that night with him.

The Koovagam version additionally relates Krishna’s mourning as a widow after Aravan’s sacrifice the next day, after which he returns to his original masculine form for the duration of the war.

Aravanis Aravan is known as Kuttantavar in the cult which bears his name, and in which he is the chief deity.

Here, the marriage of Aravan and Mohini, her widowhood and mourning after Aravan’s sacrifice form the central theme of an 18-day annual festival either side of the night of the full moon in the Tamil month of Cittirai.

The Alis or the Aravanis (transgenders) take part in the Koovagam festival by re-enacting the marriage of Aravan and Mohini. It is believed that all the Aravanis are married to Aravan and hence, when the sacrifice is re-enacted, the Aravanis become widows of Aravan and mourn his death.

 

 

Via~ https://www.speakingtree.in/

Karwa Chauth Vrat Katha

Karwa Chauth is a very popular fasting observance practiced by married Hindu women in North India; to seek long life and welfare of their husbands.

On this auspicious day, women keep day-long fast and offer prayer to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

It is believed that those who observe this fast are blessed with lifelong prosperity and a healthy spouse. In the Indian culture, Hindu women observed this fast for their husbands.

During the day women abstain from food and water, and at night after moonrise, they break their fasts by reading the ‘vrat katha’ and performing the ‘puja vidhi’. There is a very interesting katha behind this fast.

karwa

 

Long ago, there lived a very beautiful princess named Veeravati, who was married to a wealthy and strong king. As per the usual practice during those days, the day of Karwa Chauth arrived and the queen left for her parents’ house.

She was very devoted to Lord Shiva and Parvati and therefore decided to observe the Karva Chauth fasting.

She woke up at sunrise and started the fasting abided by worship and pujas. The whole day she did not eat anything and therefore turned so weak and fell unconscious.Karwa-Chauth-Vrat-Katha-In-Hindi-Punjabi-Karva-Chauth-Puja-Vidhi-Samagri

As per the custom, food should be partaken only after sighting the moonrise.

Her loving brothers could not bear the pain of seeing her faint and therefore created a false scene of moonrise by lighting a lamp on the hill and asking Veeravati to sot it and conclude her fast.

Due to the breach of the fasting rule, immediately after breaking the fast in advance, the queen heard to news of her husband’s sudden death. As she was wailing and returning to the kingdom, she had the vision of Mother Parvati and Lord Shiva on the way.

When she prayed them to intervene in the issue, forgive and restore her husband back to life, they conceded.

With the blessings of Shiva and Parvati, her husband was restored to life but had fallen seriously ill without any consciousness. His whole body was found pricked with sharp needles.

karva-chauth

With her sustained efforts, the queen managed to remove one needle per day. At the end of the year, only one needle was left. Veeravati left to the market to buy Karwa for the puja.

The maidservant in charge removed the remaining one needle and the king regained his consciousness and got back his health. He mistook the maid for the queen and made the queen his servant.

Veeravati sincerely served the king in the capacity of the maidservant faithfully all through the year. The next Karwa Chauti day arrived and the queen sincerely prepared for the fasting ceremony.

She bots two identical dolls and placed them near the altar. She started singing the song “Roli ki Goli ho gayi… Goli ki Roli ho gayi” meaning that the queen has become the maid and the mad has become the queen. The king asked Veeravati what the song meant.

Veeravati narrated all that happened so far.

The king appreciated the patience and forbearance of the queen in addition to her strong devotion. The dauntless faith Veeravati had in Shiva and Parvati was heavily tested and found to be genuine.

The observance of the Karwa Chauth fasting sincerely despite troubles made her get Gods blessings in abundance. With the blessings of Shiva and Parvati, the king and the queen happily lived with health, wealth, happiness, and prosperity thereafter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

via~ https://www.speakingtree.in

Pranayama: A 7step practical guide

All the methods of pranayama are described in the classic scriptural texts and each pranayama has its own importance. However, a practitioner will find it hard to practice all the seven types of pranayama on a daily basis. Therefore we have formulated a sequence and time for all the seven pranayamas with our experience and divine blessings of God and teachers.

This revised process takes around 20 minutes and a practitioner reaps the following benefits with regular practice:

1. Overcomes Vata, Pitta and Kapha problems.

2. Maintains the functioning of the digestive system and cures all the stomach diseases.

3. Relieves the diseases related to the heart, lungs, and brain.

4. It is beneficial in cases of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, constipation, gastric trouble, acidity, respiratory problems, allergy, migraine, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, sexual diseases in men and women and even fatal diseases like cancer.

5. It can prevent hereditary diseases like diabetes and heart problems.

6. It prevents aging and is beneficial in controlling hair loss, premature graying of hair, wrinkled skin, poor eyesight, forgetfulness, etc.

7. The seven-step pranayama process gives a natural glow and shine on the face.

8. It purifies the chakras and arouses their strength, thereby providing spiritual strength and arousal of kundalini.

9. It keeps the mind calm, peaceful and cheerful and overcomes depression.

10. It is helpful in contemplation and also gives the strength to meditate for several hours.

11. It relieves all the physical and mental problems along with negative conditions like anger, lust, greed, attachment, and ego.

12. It cures all physical problems, removes foreign particles from the body, etc.

13. Negative conditions are replaced with positive ones and the practitioner remains happy and cheerful.

 

 

1.Bhastrika Pranayama

Sit in any meditative posture and breath in deeply with both the nostrils and breath out with full force. This is known as Bhastrika pranayama. This can be done in three ways depending on the capacity, slow, medium or fast. People with weak heart and lungs should do it slowly. A healthy person and old practitioners (experts) should increase the pace gradually. This pranayama should be done for three to five minutes.

Resolution at the time of doing Bhastrika Pranayama:

Breathe in deeply and think in the mind that the divine strength, energy, purity, peace, and happiness present in the universe are entering into my mind along with the vital life energy. I am filled with divine strengths.

Special Points for Practicing Bhastrika Pranayama:

1. Patients with high blood pressure and heart disease should not practice this pranayama at a fast pace.

2. Do not fill the air into the stomach and do not expand it. Breath into the diaphragm, the stomach will not expand but the ribs and chest will expand.

3. Practice it for less duration during summers.

4. In case of Kapha and sinusitis, people suffer from nose blockage. Such people should close the right nostril and breathe in through left nostril and then repeat it on the other side. Then they should breathe in and out from both the nostrils.

5. This pranayama should be done up to five minutes regularly.

6. Keep the eyes closed and chant Aum mentally with every breath.

Benefits of Bhastrika Pranayama:

1. It overcomes cold-catarrh, allergy, respiratory diseases, asthma, chronic cold, sinusitis and other Kapha related problems. It strengthens the lungs, heart, and brain and gives pure oxygen.

2. It cures thyroid problems, tonsil problems, and other throat problems.

3. It maintains the equilibrium of all the three doshas and evacuates toxic and foreign substances from the body.

4. It stabilizes the mind and prana and is helpful in the arousal of kundalini.

 

 

2.Kapalbhati Pranayama

Kapal means brain and bhati means glow, shine, brightness, light, etc. The pranayama which gives a natural glow, brightness, and shine to the face is known as Kapalbhati. It is slightly different from the previous one. In case of Bhastrika, breathing in and out is done with equal force and pace, but in this case, the breathing out is done with full force and breathing in is done automatically as a reaction to throwing out the air. Breathing out process is done with full concentration. This contracts and expands the stomach and strengthens Muladhara, Swadishthana and Manipur chakras. This should be done for at least five minutes.

Resolution at the Time of Doing Kapalbhati Pranayama:

At the time of practicing this pranayama, the practitioner should think that he is throwing out all the problems of the body. Along with the breath, the problems are getting relieved. The person should throw out the air with this feeling whatever it might be, doshas, anger, lust, greed, hatred, jealousy, etc. Think that diseases are getting relieved while breathing out to reap the full benefit.

Time for Practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama:

It should be done for three to five minutes. Take rest in between whenever you feel tired in the beginning. After one or two months, practice it for five minutes without stopping. This is the complete duration. Initially, the person could suffer from stomach or a backache but it will get relieved gradually. The people with pitta nature should do it for two minutes in summers.

Benefits of Practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama:

1. It increases glow, brightness and shine on the face.

2. Overcomes all Kapha related diseases like asthma, allergy, sinusitis, etc.

3. It is beneficial in case of heart, lung or cerebral problems.

4. It reduces weight, diabetes, gastric trouble, acidity, kidney and prostate problems.

5. Constipation is also cured with five minutes of regular practice. Diabetes is controlled without medicine and it also reduces excess fat from the stomach by four to eight kilos within one month. It opens blockages of the heart.

6. The mind becomes stable, calm and cheerful. It removes negative conditions and depression, etc.

7. It purifies the chakras and circulates a divine energy.

8. This pranayama is beneficial for the health of the stomach, pancreas, liver, spleen, intestines, prostate and kidney. This pranayama is sufficient to cure almost all the stomach problems, which even asanas cannot do. It also strengthens weak intestines.

 

 

3.Bahya Pranayama (with Tribandha)

1. Sit in padmasana or siddhasana and breathe out completely at one time.

2. Do moola bandha, uddiyana bandha, and jalandhara bandha and stop the breath (externally).

3. Remove the bandhas and breath in slowly.

4. Inhale and without stopping inside, breathe out and repeat the process as mentioned in the previous steps. This can be done three to 21 times depending on the capacity.

Resolution at the time of doing Bahya Pranayama:

Think mentally that all the diseases, doshas, negative energies are going out from the body as you throw out the air. Strong resolution at the time of doing this pranayama relieves all problems and gives instant results.

Benefits of Practicing Bahya Pranayama:

This is a harmless pranayama and overcomes playfulness of the mind. It increases digestive fire and is beneficial in case of stomach problems. It makes the mind sharp and bright. It purifies the body, overcomes seminal problems, night pollution, early ejaculation and other humour related diseases. This pranayama has special strength on all the stomach organs and initially, the practitioner could feel some pain in stomach or weakness. Therefore it should be done with all the bandhas.

 

 

4.Anulom-Vilom Pranayama

Method of closing the nostrils: Close the right nostril with the thumb and (alternately) the left nostril with the little finger and ring finger. The hand should be raised slightly above (it should not be in front of the nose).

The left nostril denotes the moon, strength or calm, therefore this pranayama begins with left nostril. Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale through the left nostril. After inhaling close the left nostril with ring finger and little finger and exhale through the right nostril. The pace of inhaling and exhaling should be increased gradually. Breathe in and out with full force and maintain the pace of respiration either slow, medium or fast depending on the physical strength. The fast pace of inhaling and exhaling creates loud sound in breathing. After breathing out completely, close the left nostril and breath in from right nostril. Then close the right nostril and breathe in from left nostril. This is one cycle. Repeat it several times. In case of slight tiredness, take rest in between and repeat. Begin the practice from three minutes and increase it up to ten minutes. Regular practice for a few days increases the capacity of the person and the practitioner can do it for five minutes without stopping. Everybody practice it for at least five minutes and maximum ten minutes but not more. During summers it should be done for three to five minutes. Regular practice for five minutes arouses the energy accumulated in Muladhara chakra and helps in arousal of kundalini. Chant Aum mentally with every breath. This makes the mind suitable for attaining the stage of contemplation.

Resolution at the Time of Doing Anulom-Vilom Pranayama:

Think that Sushumna nadi is getting aroused with the friction of right and left nostrils. Imagine that a divine light is moving upwards till Sahasrara chakra.

Think that the whole body is enlightened with a divine light. Imagine the presence of divine light inside and outside the body and visualize Aum Kham Brahma.

Think that the divine energy, strength, and knowledge are present on all the four sides of the body, that almighty God is filling celestial energy in the body, take in the energy. Guru is the only source of inspiration for getting this energy and guru combines with heavenly feelings. Anulom-Vilom pranayama done in this manner gives physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Mooladhara chakra arouses a light and arouses kundalini, the divine knowledge will flow upwards and gain tremendous energy.

Benefits of Practicing Anulom-Vilom Pranayama:

1. This pranayama purifies 72 crore 72 lakh ten thousand two hundred and ten nerves. Purification of all the nerves makes the body strong, bright and healthy.

2. It cures joint pain, arthritis, gout, Parkinson’s disease, nervous weakness, Vata diseases, urinary problems, humour related diseases, seminal loss, acidity, Pitta, cold, catarrh, chronic cold, sinusitis, asthma, cough, tonsils and other Kapha diseases. It cures tri-doshas.

3. It opens heart blockages. Regular practice of this pranayama opens around 30 to 40 percent blockage within three to four months. We have experienced it practically on several patients.

4. It overcomes the irregularities of cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL or LDL, etc.

5. It replaces negative thoughts with positive thoughts. It helps in keeping the mind happy, fearless and enthusiastic.

6. In a nutshell, pranayama purifies the mind, body, and virtues. It cures all the ailments and the mind becomes capable of contemplation.

7. Repeat this pranayama 250 to 500 times, the energy present in the Muladhara chakra moves upwards and helps in the arousal of kundalini.
Note: See the cautions and methods of arousal of kundalini for further information in this regard.

 

 

5.Brahmari Pranayama

Inhale completely, press the base of the nostrils with the little fingers, close the ears with your thumbs, keep the index fingers on the forehead, close the eyes and place the ring and middle fingers on the closed eyes. Chant Aum with the mouth closed (only the humming sound) and exhale. The sound resembles the sound of a honeybee, hence the name brahmari pranayama. Repeat it at least three times and maximum up to 21 times.

Resolution at the Time of Doing Brahmari Pranayama:

Imagine the synchronization of celestial power with divine strength. The practitioner should think that God is showering his empathy, love, and happiness on him. He or she should visualize a divine light in the agya chakra and removing all the ignorance present in the mind. The practitioner should feel that he or she is getting eternal wisdom. Pranayama done with such pure thoughts helps in reaching contemplation.

Benefits of Practicing Brahmari Pranayama:

It overcomes playfulness of the mind and is very beneficial for meditation. It is beneficial in cases of mental stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.

 

 

6.Aumkara (Udgeet Pranayama)

All the above-mentioned pranayamas should be followed by udgeet pranayama. Our eyebrows resemble the shape of Aum. The body and the entire universe are full of Aum. It is not an individual or a shape; it is a divine strength, which is circulating in the whole universe. As a knower, the practitioner should inhale and exhale so slowly that he or she should not feel the sound of respiration. The breathing should be so gentle that even a piece of cotton kept in front of the nose should not move. Try to feel the respiration from within. In the beginning, you will feel it only at the tip of the nose but gradually you will experience it deep within. In this way chanting Aum for some time helps in contemplation of mind. The practitioner will be able to concentrate the mind and get engrossed in Aumkar. Gayatri mantra should also be chanted after understanding its meaning along with Aumkar. This will help the person in getting engrossed in the true form of God, which gives happiness. This should be practiced at bedtime also in order to enjoy sound sleep. It overcomes bad dreams and gives sound sleep.

 

 

7. Nadi Shodhana pranayama

In the beginning, close the right nostril and inhale through left nostril just like Anulom-Vilom pranayama. Stop the breath inside and do moola bandha and jalandhara bandha. Remove jalandhar bandha after some time and exhale very slowly through the right nostril. Then inhale from right nostril and do Kumbhaka, stop the breath inside and exhale very slowly from the left nostril. This is one complete cycle or nadi Shodhana pranayama.

It is very beneficial if done with full concentration without pressing the nostrils. It helps in concentrating the mind and gives a lot of stability. There should not be any sound at the time of inhaling and exhaling. It should be done from one to three times or more. In the beginning, the ratio of poorak, antah kumbhaka and rechaka should be 1:2:2. for example, poorak, antah kumbhaka and rechaka should be done for 10, 20 and 20 seconds respectively. Gradually, the ratio can be increased to 1:4:2. Bahya kumbhaka can be added later and then the ratio can be 1:4:2:2. This pranayama should be done at a very slow pace. Focus on pace of respiration and its intensity instead of number of repetitions. This is more beneficial, and inhaling, controlling and exhaling the breath is the actual result of this pranayama. There is no need to take rest in between. Chanting Aum or gayatri mantra mentally is favourable while doing this.

Benefits of Practicing Nadi Shodana Pranayama:

The advantages are similar to Anulom-Vilom pranayama.

 

 

 

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