Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why Brahmana Youth should adopt age-old Brahmana life-system values in modern times?


The feelings of 'most' of the Brahmana parents of current times, who have lived their lives fairly comfortably, by the benefits of modern education and well paid jobs, and have been able to raise their children fairly well by providing them with modern comforts, perhaps, who themselves have not adhered to Brahmana traditions strictly, are similar. Most of them focused on advancing in the worldly pursuits without giving due place to their own adherence to what they are expecting now from the newer generation.

They all have concerns of identity of their own Brahmana community and struggle encouraging their children to marry within the Brahmana community. They all wish that their children retain their community identity, by following some minimum set of Brahmana values, most important of which is marrying within their own community.

This is in contrast to their own upbringing where the previous generations of parents could not have similar 'good' lives and could not provide 'good' lives to their children, in spite of their desire to do so, because their social and economic circumstances did not permit. This has been the story of the Brahmana community who lost their foundation and vision, in the previous 500+ years, slowly, because of social pressures. The parents of previous generations did not have the opportunity to put their children in this Brahmana ideal, because for them social and economic success meant everything, and they lacked proper training and discipline, in their own lives.

So, do not cut this off thinking that it is only my personal cry. 

When I am harping on being born as a Brahmana and remaining / living as a Brahmana, and raising a child as Brahmana,  it is not merely for name sake. Of course, you ought to start with that name identification, but grow into that ideal of 'Being a Brahmana', for what it is 'truly' meant.

It is the 'final ideal of man's living' and man's endeavor to reach that 'final ideal' that the Brahmana and Brahmanism originated and evolved and fructified. So, all the rules and regulations of a Brahmana's life are not mere imaginations. They are meant to provide the perfect training ground to realize that ideal 'in this life'. Please do not be short sighted. Once you understand it 'rationally', you may take it up more enthusiastically. If I had this clarity when I was young, perhaps, my own life would have been different.

Every man is born alike. Every man has the same opportunity and temptation to live life in comfort, by satisfying the sensory organs. In fact man lived that way, perhaps for millennia. Out of the collective experience of such living, 'Culture' evolved. Man discovered, over centuries, the most rewarding way of living this life on this planet. They aspired to communicate that ideal and rewarding life to their future generations. Religion, as it is called now, was born. 

So, if I die and disappear without that 'religious experience', if you die and disappear without that 'religious experience', whose loss is it?  So, if I caution you against such grand loss, you owe it to yourself to investigate further. The message is so worthy that you should ignore all personalities and take the benefit of the message.

I should admit, even the current generation of parents have not achieved 'all happiness', in spite of riches. Their 'core sadness' remained. Some are still pursuing wealth. Some others have been investigating the reason for their 'core sadness'. A few have started taking a look at what they have lost, as the basic burden of living has been removed from their lives.

Some have found the link.

This writing is a reflection of the cry of their heart. 

Because the current generation is growing up in a more 'rational' world, than submission to 'heart', and their contact with the 'psyche' of the past has reduced, I will take a chance to lay out the map once again.

As an intelligent generation, born devoid of poverty and many social limitations of the past, you ought to give yourself a chance to investigate what is said here, and you ought to refine further, and make your own lives the fountain of joy.

Learn from others’ failures, and avoid all such failures from your lives, so that you may make rapid progress, and reap the benefits that are only reserved for a man aspiring to reach the perfection of ‘True Understanding’.

First answer to yourself, do you consider yourself to be a Hindu or not? What is your religious identity? Of course, you can try to carve out a 'new religious identity'. But then the burden is on you to support your own pursuit. You ought to have the courage to discard all the comfort you are now enjoying from 'vile' use of the present Hindu identity and security, derived from your parents, family, and society. Then you can be on your own. If you are dishonest, my writing will not serve any purpose in your life. You are born a sheep and camouflaged in tiger's skin!

You can't have ambivalent answers here. 

Then answer what traits and beliefs make a true Hindu. Then try to discover the essential characteristics of a Brahmana. Unless you have value for those values, nothing will change in your life. Like many other sheep, this sheep also will be sacrificed in butchery, even though it is camouflaged in tiger's skin.

Without going into a huge philosophical debate, let me remind you of the basic tenets of understanding of Life as we know on this planet, as per Hindu thought. 

The life of each one of us, as we know today, is a mixed bag of joys and sorrows, occasional successes and many disappointments. Each such life span is full of discord and frustrations, for we do not know what the 'cause' is. We continuously try to improve our circumstances, we try to game the system, but still remain unfulfilled. We live a life of 'limitations'. Are we to remain clueless for the happenings of our life?

We spend our entire life trying feverishly, to gain security, being blind to the fact that countless Rajas and Maharajas have come and gone.  We don't even pause and question where our real security lies, before death consumes us. 

We may have consolation, if the problems of 'our life' are to 'end' truly, with our physical death. So, many have attempted to answer this mysterious question, 'Is the physical death, end of all problems?'. The Hindu thought is that, the physical death is not the final resolution! So, the conclusion is that we must find the 'real cause' of our sufferings and find a permanent solution.

The permanent solution is to escape from this cycle of birth and death, sukha and dukha, caused by punya and papa, merit and demerit, the effects of actions we perform and the attitude with which we perform those actions, which in turn are reflected as the three gunas, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, of our psyche, which form the material of our tendencies and prompt us to behave according to our in built tendencies, thus causing the cycle of birth and death of miseries with occasional joys to perpetuate. (see notes 1).

Re-birth until man achieves 'perfection' is inevitable. Play of samskaras, tendencies, of the psyche is the cause of this cycle of birth and death. So, it is inferred and discovered that until such samskaras of the man are refined and purified, and their real ‘true’ relationship to ‘me’ is known, 'eternal happiness' is not possible.

Living life as a Hindu, as a Brahmana is to alter those samskaras, and make man fit for that Understanding, which will free the man from the cycle of Birth-and-Death, free the man from the life of 'limitations' imposed by the psyche.

So, if you are a Jew, or a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Confused, this writing is not going to be palatable to you. You may be the material for 'imperfect living' now, and re-birth and refinement in unknown future. That is a slow process. But, you have a chance to understand rationally, adapt, and get release in this birth.

The 'tough and rigorous' life of thought and deeds, prescribed for a Brahmana, whose main aim in life is to realize the Truth, the Reality of this unfathomable manifestation, is not for everyone. Such life is not for every creed and community who is willing to concede easily, when faced with the limitations of life, even though they will inevitably be slaughtered by time in time. They don't have the 'makeup' to take up the highest challenge. While being in queue to be devoured by Death, they are content to 'suck' joy worshiping the God of Ignorance, in ignorance.   

A man of high ideal, to know, directly, the fabric which makes this world, nay, the thread that makes this cloth of the universe, a man of such highest courage of intellect, who can be inspired to climb that peak of the mountains, him I consider a Brahmana. Being born in a home and parentage of such a Brahmana is the admission into the samurai's ranks! With admission, the training only begins.

You can continue with the training or run away. But, it is said, you trained yourself in your past lives, built your aspirations in a way that you landed here. You may make rapid progress with one-pointed devotion to SvaDharma, or adopt ParaDharma and die miserable. The choice is yours!  (see notes 2).

Following the SvaDharma and avoiding ParaDharma, is to ultimately remove samskaras which are already separating us from the Reality of who we are, making us feel as suffering ‘individuals’, pitting one against the other. So, following ParaDharma and avoiding SvaDharma is counterproductive, as it is not cutting off your accumulated samskaras. It is only going to reinforce the false notion, ignorance, of ‘individuality’. You experience daily in your deep sleep that the ‘individuality’ does not exist. So, you need no other theory or proof for it.
Getting rid of this false notion, of ‘individuality’, the cause of misery and feeling of insecurity, forever, is the ultimate aim of a Brahmana.  
Once again! Don't need to be overly philosophical, here. In your present state, you may not be able to even imagine that state which is reserved only for a select few in this universe.

Trust your loving parents, who are on the same path of discovery, who have no other ulterior motives, and your ancestors who struggled on the same endeavor to perfection, and attain the glory of those Rishis and sages who attained perfection out of such courageous enquiry, discovered the Truth and spoke at the peak of their joy!

* * *
1. Notes on Gunas
a. Gunas: fundamental / primary qualities/characteristics of the mind stuff, the subtle material of which the mind is made (not brain stuff; mind is subtle and is different from the brain).

b. Sattva: quality / state of peace, joy, calm, reflection, contemplation

c. Rajas: quality / state of activity / worry / fear / agitation / impulsiveness / aggression / lacking-proper-thinking

d. Tamas: quality of dullness / stupidity / laziness / indifference / stupor / lack of comprehension / unable to respond  / unable to make any sort of effort 

2. Notes on SvaDharma and ParaDharma:
Dharma Sastras determined and proclaimed that human birth in a specific environment is not by fluke. Their conclusion is that it is because of Karma of individual beings. Karma is a (self-created, inevitable) product / result / fruit of physical and mental Karmas (actions) of our own past lives, called by the same name Karma.
Each action creates samskaras, some form of storage of psychic impressions, which can self-manifest when it is conducive.
Net effects of all the samskaras is spoken of by aggregating as Gunas (as we save different crops such as paddy, corn etc. as generic Gold, silver etc., so also psychic-effects-of-all-actions (samskaras) are stored / represented / spoken of as Gunas) of the mental world, which self-actualize, manifest, de-aggregate again, in some unknown, conducive future, and express as Karmas (actions).
Only what is inside can come out, so the manifested Karma is samskara itself, and not different.  The tendency to manifest is samskara itself, it is not different, similar to oneness of what is in the womb, what is attempting to come out, and what comes out finally, the same baby.
The English word 'tendency' seems to represent only the potential state, or while in the process of expression. Discard that language dependent confusion.
So, samskaras are qualities which have the ability to self-actualize. This cycle continues, unless more powerful samskaras / tendencies are created by effort, by working in tandem with the in-born samskaras / tendencies, which tendency is also self-created by abhyasa (practice), which fact is quoted by Srikrishna in the Gita.
So, Dharma Sastras prescribe, the values and life-style which are conducive to inculcate the requisite progress in the psyche, which will lead the individual to the ultimate happiness and fearlessness, and lasting security.
Dharma Sastras advocated different life-styles, considering the Guna-s and Karma-s of different classes of individuals, grouped as Varna-s (castes).
1. SvaDharma (practicing the values and life-style prescribed by the Dharma Sastras by accepting the inevitability of the cycle of Karma, and living with an attitude of trust in Isvara)
2. ParaDharma (which is contrary to SvaDharma, i.e practicing the values and life-style prescribed for other Varna-s, which even though practiced well, will not give growth in Psyche because they do not bring about the requisite destruction of the in-built samskaras / tendencies, getting rid of which alone can make one closer to Reality)

* * *
This writing is meant to address the basic aim of human life. 

Though emphasis is in addressing the youth, it is urgently necessary for the aged, because less time is available for them in the present life. It will serve well if one pays deep attention to the intent and seek Truth as per one's capability. 

Grace of God, Gurus, and Scriptures, and well-wishers do not become helpful until their instructions are practiced in good faith and with staunch devotion."

If we remove the word 'Brahmana' from the entire message above, it is still valid, and is applicable for everyone.

The word Brahmana is representative, in some sense.  Now-a-days, Brahmana Youth is thoroughly confused and sees no place for the old values in his/her life. So, the message is directly applicable to them.

What to talk of other communities! Unfortunately, the Youth from other communities seem to think, the fundamental questions of life and death are not applicable to them! They seem to think they need no discipline or practices!

I wish others ponder over their own situation and ask what is in this message for them, and brave to inculcate the desired samskaras.

Written by : Srikrishna Ghadiyaram

* * *

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The secret of spiritual practices (Upasana)

India has a very rich heritage in terms of spirituality, spiritual practices, yoga and tantra. Every practice had been experimented upon and validated by many yogic and spiritual masters and written down in the form of scriptures and texts. But the problem remained that billions of people had been practicing these rituals and spiritual practices without any tangible results with very few exceptions. Probably one or two people in billions can claim to have understood the way these practices work in life. Further, the results of these practices though practiced by an individual or group or family under the protection or blessings or patronage of Guru, without knowing the mechanism process or effect. This ignorance has brought much defame to the ancient living tradition of India with respect to these spiritual practices. In addition, the practitioner is generally afraid and feels insecure or at times passes his days in conspicuous silence while keeping his mind on the fulfillment of his desires.
All rituals or outer form of physical practices are collectively written in Vedic scriptures known as Purva Mimamsa or Karmamimamsa. Purva Mimamsa means “first reflection”. The first reflection conveys the meaning that before one takes up higher and deeper spiritual practices, one may take up outer physical practices to bring about changes one’s  present behavior and develop the  attitude and temperament conducive  for realizing the divine consciousness. That is why “Purva Mimamsa” is also known as “Karma Mimasa” or the study and practice of rituals or outer mode of physical practices for transforming the state of consciousness. Initially, the physical practices claimed to have the potential for bringing about transformation in life. It is this assertion that resulted in many interpretations of “Karma Mimamsa”. “Badari” who is the first known author and commentator of physical practices suggested that all the practices are to be undertaken without any intrinsic motivation. But selfish interests and craving for material possessions more often than not rules supreme in the minds of practitioners, who spend millions of rupees in rituals i.e. offering thousands of rupees to poorest in charity, building temples worth crores of rupees, daily prayer including the offering of flowers, fruits, money and incense sticks before idols in temples for fulfilment of their desires.  “Jaimini”, who composed sutras in about the 4th century BC, was critical of the earlier Mimamsa authors, particularly of Badari, and said that Vedic injunctions do not merely prescribe actions but also recommend these actions as means to the attainment of desirable goals. However, all commentators agree that performances of the Vedic sacrifices are aimed at securing an abode in heaven and attainment of material possessions and happiness in the outer sphere of life.
 Reasons were   put forth in the beginning that these practices cannot be challenged by reasoning and that Spirituality is something very different from these rituals.
Veda means knowledge. This is the knowledge of Real-Self or pure consciousness and since “Purva Mimamsa” is a part of Vedas, there must be some intrinsic meaning in these practices aimed at spiritual development and self-perfection of an individual.  “Shabara” another commentator, sought to establish the intrinsic validity of experiences and explained that every physical action in the form Upasana must be performed with a proper mental attitude developed prior to any practice.
Every physical action takes mental form and every mental action takes physical form. Mind and body are intimately linked and do interchange their expressions and realisations. If any idea , will or  plan  when organized can become manifest in physical reality, then  why can not any practice known as rituals and a part of Upasana   translate into physical reality.    
Badarayana, a great commentator lays stress on the philosophical portions--i.e., the Upanishads. Jamini, another commentator, recommends the path of Vedic injunctions, hence the ideal of karma. Though one moves around the central concept of  what ought to be done and other takes the central theme of Brahman--i.e., the absolute reality. But Ramanuja, a great South Indian philosopher of the 11th-12th centuries, presented that there is no conflict  between the two approaches and they jointly constitute a single work with Jaimini's coming first and Badarayana's coming after it in logical order, thus offering harmony, unity and proved that the origin of two approaches is the one and the same-Veda.
 Consciously Understanding Upasana
What is the rationale of Upasana or spiritual practices? What is its process and mechanism? What ought to be the ideal attitude of the practitioner? What are the different practices   which can bring expected results? Are these practices instrumental in the attainment of PPS –peace, prosperity and success in life or are they simply a waste of time? Can these practices result in excellence at Personal, Professional, Social and Spiritual levels in life? There are several pertinent questions related to these practices that must be answered in order to bring yoga and spirituality in the field of scientific understanding. It is very important to bring experienced based knowledge in the fold of evidence based knowledge so that quacks in the field can be eliminated and a rational understanding of the process can be laid down for humanity.
Upasana -defined
Upasana" is a Sanskrit word. The word Upasana includes three parts - up+aas  +yuch . “Up” is a prefix “aas” is root of verb and “Yuch” is an anafix. -  it means the devotee's mental unity with the deity for a long period. The synonyms of word Upasana are meditation, Sadhana, Aradhana etc. Accordingly three things exist - devotee, devotor and devotion.  Upasaka is a person whose mind is constantly busy in worshiping the mental form and qualities of the deity. There are different types of devotees and devotors. Therefore the methods of worship are also different- but one element of the Supreme Divine exists everywhere.
Upasana also means seating near. How?  By withdrawing one’s consciousness from the mundane objects and directing it towards God & communicating with him emotionally. When this process of communication starts, man begins to acquire Divine power.
Upasana means sitting near. This means sitting near divine. But how to sit near divine, when divine is nearer than the nearest. Can I sit with myself? This is the puzzle for practitioner to solve by different practices and enter into nearness to divine.
 Physical, mental and emotional proximity all have different meanings and experiences. When  physical proximity to any object or person  whether it be money, a  big house or any other material possession does not and cannot solve our mental and emotional problems  then how it can bring divine presence within?  Near to the mind are thoughts which spring either from the past, our subconscious or unconscious mind or from our needs, desires cravings etc. we remain emotionally charged both due to the desire sense and or ego sense –we remain dominated by our instincts and drives.
Whenever we think of nearness, we consider it in relative terms like: I am sitting near you, the table is near me etc. Then what is the meaning of sitting near the divine. Who sits near divine and how to sit near divine so that it becomes Upasana?  

 Upasana is nearness with reference to unity and oneness; with reference to the unfolding of oneself. Upasana is awareness of the Real-Self which is one and the   same in all beings. Upasana is a discovery of that element within oneself that is eternal, permanent and beyond the world of name and form. Upasana is a process by which the practitioner discovers the ultimate reality that lies within. Sitting near as in Upasana is more a symbolic and points to the reality behind all appearances that can be achieved by hundreds of practices explained in yoga, spirituality and tantra. It is not impossible to search for the one and only one divine through the many practices that lie in the field of space and time. Upasana is generally associated with all forms of practices aimed at self realization e.g.
Bhanopasana: Ascribing to the Lord the Highest splendor, the deepest compassion, the most potent Power, etc. and worshiping Him with the deepest and highest emotion.
Gitaupasana: Adoring Him as the Master and Preceptor who teaches the Gita and reveals the Way.
Adwaithopasana: (Non-Dualism) the   God is omnipresent and has to be discovered and experienced in order to realize Bliss and Awareness. Like oil in mustard, butter in yogurt, like water inside the earth, like fire in timber, God is also present in all beings. God is in the human body and in the human mind. To become aware of Divine presence, spiritual effort is necessary.
Dwaitopasana: (Dualism) The Dualistic outlook on the relationship between God and the individual is that of husband and wife. Vishnu, the Lord, the ever-free, ever-full, has to be adored as the wife adores the husband. The practices of   chanting the name of god, living a life of penance, directing one’s heart to the one   and only one god till one is able to manifest Divine within.
Saivopasana: This emphasises the worship of Siva as formulated in the Lingam . The Infinite Lingam is the symbol of the Primal Energy which represents the basic cause of origin, condition and progress of the 'elements' that compose the Cosmos. The Lingam is the Form of Siva Himself and realising it as such is asserted as the ultimate goal of liberation.
Virasaivopasana: the worship of Siva, the Lord or Isvara, as the omnipresent is the basis of this Upasana. The merging of the individual in the splendor of the Linga or Isvara is symbolic of Liberation .In fact this Upasana begins with manifest or God of form and name and transforms the mind to realize, experience the formless divine known as Linga.

Pasupatiupaasana: The individual entity (Jiva) is tied by the bond (paasa) of the qualities or moralities arising from nature. Pasupathi (Siva) is worshiped in order to attain freedom from Bondage. The bondage of unconsciousness, ignorance and falsehood can only be freed by the one who dwells within all, is the protector of all and creates all sufferings to extend its essential nature of bliss, knowledge, truth and love to one and all.

Saktiupaasana: Godess is an epitome of Shakti or power that is all and divine. The Primeval Universal Energy, Aadi Para Shakti, is conceived as the matrix of all forms of Divinity. The Cosmic Urge, the Prakrti, is the cause of the variety and multiplicity of expression, the manifold forms. The Maheswara (Supreme Divinity) has this capacity to manifest and is therefore so named. Maheswara and Para Shakti are two aspects of the same force. This dual-faceted force motivates the Universe, from the vast expanse of the sky to the entire earth. The unmanifest Supreme Person manifests as the feminine Universal, the Maya, and the Para Shakti. In each individual, it is experienced as knowledge, strength and activity.
The practices performed by Christians, Muslims, Jains, and Buddhists can also be placed under Upasana. By understanding the mechanism of Upasana, one can easily understand process and mechanism of practices explained in scriptures of all religions.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

मां दुर्गा के नौ रूपों की पूजा

नवरात्र हिंदुओं का महापर्व है. नवरात्र का अर्थ नौ रातें होता है. इन नौ रातों में तीन देवी पार्वती, लक्ष्मी और सरस्वती के नौ रुपों की पूजा होती है जिन्हें नवदुर्गा कहते हैं. देवी दुर्गा के नौ स्वरुप हैं शैलपुत्री, ब्रह्मचारिणी, चंद्रघंटा, कुष्मांडा, स्कंधमाता, कात्यायनी, कालरात्रि, महागौरी और सिद्धिदात्री हैं
नवरात्र में देवी की साधना और अध्यात्म का अद्भुत संगम होता है. देवी दुर्गा की स्तुति, कलश स्थापना, सुमधुर घंटियों की आवाज, धूप-बत्तियों की सुगंध- नौ दिनों तक चलने वाला आस्था और विश्वास का अद्भुत त्यौहार है नवरात्री का पर्व वर्ष में दो बार मनाया जाता है.  एक चैत्र माह में, तो दूसरा आश्विन माह में. आश्विन महीने की नवरात्र में रामलीला, रामायण, भागवत पाठ, अखंड कीर्तन जैसे सामूहिक धार्मिक अनुष्ठान होते है. यही वजह है कि नवरात्र के दौरान हर कोई एक नए उत्साह और उमंग से भरा दिखाई पड़ता है. देवी दुर्गा की पवित्र भक्ति से भक्तों को सही राह पर चलने की प्रेरणा मिलती है.इन नौ दिनों में मानव कल्याण में रत रहकर, देवी के नौ रुपों की पूजा की जाय तो देवी का आशीर्वाद मिलता है और मनोवांछित फल की प्राप्ति होती है.
 नवरात्र में सावधानी
नवरात्र का पर्व अति पावन है. इन नौ दिनों में भक्तों को मां भगवती की आराधना पूरे ब्रह्मचर्य का पालन करते हुए करनी चाहिये. मां की शुद्ध मन और अंतःकरण से पूजा करने से भक्तों को उनकी तपस्या का सबसे ज्यादा फल मिलता है. मां की भक्ति के वक्त निम्नलिखित बातों का रखना चाहिये.
 माता की कृपा पाने के लिए नवरात्र में दुर्गा सप्तशती का पाठ का पाठ करना चाहिये. दुर्गा सप्तशती में बताये मंत्रों और श्लोकों से मां खुश होती हैं. देवी की जागरण करके पूजा की जाती है. दिन रात जागरण करने से देवी जल्द खुश होती हैं. देवी जागरण के अलावा भक्तों को इन नौ दिनों में मंगल कार्यों को करना चाहिये.  इन नौ दिनों के दौरान देवी की आराधना करने वाले भक्तों को ब्रह्माचर्य पालन का पालन करना चाहिए. ब्रह्मचर्य का पालन कर मां भगवती की भक्ति करने वालों से मां जल्द खुश होती हैं और उनकी सारी मनोकामनाओं को पूरा करती है. नवरात्र में नवदुर्गाओं की उपासनाओं का महत्व सबसे ज्यादा है. देवी के हर रुप की उपासना पूरे अंतःकरण और शुद्ध मन से करने से देवी दुर्गा का आशीष हमें मिलना शुरु हो जाता है. मां दुर्गा की पूजा के दौरान किन बातों का बेहद ध्यान रखना चाहिये. मां की पूजा के दौरान भक्तों को कभी भी दूर्वा, तुलसी और आंवला का प्रयोग नहीं करना चाहिये. मां दुर्गा की पूजा में लाल रंग के पुष्पों का बहुत महत्व है. गुलहड़ के फूल तो मां को अति प्रिय हैं. इसके अलावा बेला, कनेल, केवड़ा, चमेली, पलाश, तगर, अशोक, केसर, कदंब के पुष्पों से भी पूजा की जा सकती है. हां फूलों में मदार के फूल मां दुर्गा को कभी नहीं चढ़ाने चाहिए.
मां की पूजा करने के दौरान भक्तों को नहाने के बाद सूखे कपड़े पहनने चाहिये. गीले कपड़े पहनने या गीले और खुले बाल रखकर मां की पूजा नहीं करनी चाहिये. मां की पूजा के पहले बालों को सुखा कर और बांध कर ही देवी की आराधना करनी चाहिये. देवी की आराधना के पहले इन उपायों पर अमल करने से मां की कृपा भक्तों पर बरसने लगती है और भक्त अपनी सभी तरह की बाधाओँ से मुक्ति पाता है. उसकी हर जगह विजय होती है.
नवरात्र के पहले दिन मां के रुप शैलपुत्री की पूजा की जाती है.पर्वतराज हिमालय के घर पुत्री के रूप में जन्म लेने के कारण इनका नाम 'शैलपुत्री' पड़ा. माता शैलपुत्री का स्वरुप अति दिव्य है. मां के दाहिने हाथ में त्रिशूल है और मां के बाएं हाथ में कमल का फूल सुशोभित है. मां शैलपुत्री बैल पर सवारी करती हैं. मां को समस्त वन्य जीव-जंतुओं का रक्षक माना जाता है. इनकी आराधना से आपदाओं से मुक्ति मिलती है. इसीलिए दुर्गम स्थानों पर बस्तियां बनाने से पहले मां शैलपुत्री की स्थापना की जाती है माना जाता है कि इनकी स्थापना से वह  स्थान सुरक्षित हो जाता है. मां की प्रतिमा स्थापित होने के बाद उस स्थान पर आपदा, रोग, ब्याधि, संक्रमण का खतरा नहीं होता और जीव निश्चिंत होकर अपना जीवन व्यतीत करता है.

नवरात्र के दूसरे दिन मां  के ब्रह्मचारिणी स्वरुप की आराधना की जाती है. मां ब्रह्मचारिणी की उपासना से भक्तों का जीवन सफल हो जाता है.  मां भगवती दुर्गा की नौ शक्तियों का दूसरा स्वरूप है माता ब्रह्मचारिणी, ब्रह्म का अर्थ होता है तपस्या, यानी तप का आचरण करने वाली भगवती,  जिस कारण उन्हें मां ब्रह्मचारिणी कहा गया। ब्रह्मचारिणी देवी का स्वरूप पूर्ण ज्योतिर्मय एवं अत्यन्त भव्य है. मां के दाहिने हाथ में जप की माला है और मां के बायें हाथ में कमण्डल है. माता ब्रह्मचारिणी की पूजा और साधना करने से कुंडलिनी शक्ति जागृत होती है. ऐसा भक्त इसलिए करते हैं ताकि उनका जीवन सफल हो सके और अपने सामने आने वाली किसी भी प्रकार की बाधा का सामना आसानी से कर सकें. मां ब्रह्मचारिणी की उपासना करने का मंत्र बहुत ही आसान है. मां जगदम्बे की भक्तों को मां ब्रह्मचारिणी को खुश करने के लिए इस मंत्र का जाप करना चाहिये.
या देवी सर्वभू‍तेषु माँ ब्रह्मचारिणी रूपेण संस्थिता।
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नम:।।

नवरात्र के तीसरे दिन मां दुर्गा की तीसरी शक्ति माता चंद्रघंटा की पूजा अर्चना की जाती है. मां चंद्रघंटा की उपासना से भक्तों को भौतिक, आत्मिक, आध्यात्मिक सुख और शांति मिलती है.  मां की उपासना से घर-परिवार से नकारात्मक ऊर्जा यानी कलह और अशांति दूर होती है. मां चंद्रघंटा का स्वरुप अति भव्य है. मां सिंह यानी शेर पर प्रसन्न मुद्रा में विराजमान होती हैं. दिव्य रुपधारी माता चंद्रघंटा की दस भुजाएं हैं. मां के इन दस हाथों में ढाल, तलवार, खड्ग, त्रिशूल, धनुष, चक्र, पाश, गदा और बाणों से भरा तरकश है.  मां चन्द्रघण्टा का मुखमण्डल शांत, सात्विक, सौम्य किंतु सूर्य के समान तेज वाला है. इनके  मस्तक पर घण्टे के आकार का आधा चन्द्रमा सुशोभित है. मां की घंटे की तरह प्रचण्ड ध्वनि से असुर सदैव भयभीत रहते हैं. मां चंद्रघंटा का स्मरण करते हुए साधकजन अपना मन मणिपुर चक्र में स्थित करते हैं. मां चंद्रघंटा नाद की देवी हैं. इनकी कृपा से साधक स्वर विज्ञान में प्रवीण होता है. मां चंद्रघंटा की जिस पर कृपा होती है उसका स्वर इतना मधुर होता है कि हर कोई उसकी तरफ खिंचा चला आता है. मां की कृपा से साधक को आलौकिक दिव्य दर्शन एवं दृष्टि प्राप्त होती है. साधक के समस्त पाप-बंधन छूट जाते हैं. प्रेत बाधा जैसी समस्याओं से भी मां साधक की रक्षा करती हैं. योग साधना की सफलता के लिए भी माता चन्द्रघंटा की उपासना बहुत ही असरदार होती है.
नवरात्र के चौथे दिन मां पारांबरा भगवती दुर्गा के कुष्मांडा स्वरुप की पूजा की जाती है. माना जाता है कि जब सृष्टि का अस्तित्व नहीं था, तब कुष्माण्डा देवी ने ब्रह्मांड की रचना की थी. अपनी मंद मंद मुस्कान भर से ब्रम्हांड की उत्पत्ति करने के कारण इन्हें कुष्माण्डा के नाम से जाना जाता है इसलिए ये सृष्टि की आदि-स्वरूपा, आदिशक्ति हैं. देवी कुष्मांडा का निवास सूर्यमंडल के भीतर के लोक में है. वहाँ निवास कर सकने की क्षमता और शक्ति केवल इन्हीं में है. इनके शरीर की कांति और प्रभा सूर्य के समान ही अलौकिक हैं. माता के  तेज और प्रकाश से दसों दिशाएँ प्रकाशित होती हैं ब्रह्मांड की सभी वस्तुओं और प्राणियों में मौजूद तेज मां कुष्मांडा की छाया है. माँ की आठ भुजाएँ हैं. इसलिए मां कुष्मांडा को अष्टभुजा देवी के नाम से भी जाना जाता हैं. इनके सात हाथों में क्रमशः कमंडल, धनुष, बाण, कमल-पुष्प, अमृतपूर्ण कलश, चक्र तथा गदा है. आठवें हाथ में सभी सिद्धियों और निधियों को देने वाली जपमाला है. मां सिंह के वाहन पर सवार रहती हैं. माँ कुष्माण्डा की उपासना से भक्तों के समस्त रोग-शोक मिट जाते हैं. इनकी भक्ति से आयु, यश, बल और आरोग्य की वृद्धि होती है. आज के दिन साधक का मन 'अदाहत' चक्र में अवस्थित होता है. इस दिन साधक को बहुत ही पवित्र और अचंचल मन से कुष्माण्डा देवी के स्वरूप को ध्यान में रखकर पूजा-उपासना के कार्य में लगना चाहिए. इनकी उपासना से सभी प्रकार के रोग-दोष दूर होते हैं. धन यश और सम्मान की वृद्धि होती है. माँ कूष्माण्डा थोड़ी सी पूजा और भक्ति से प्रसन्न होने वाली हैं. यदि मनुष्य सच्चे मन से माता की पूजा करे तो मन की सारी मुरादें पूरी होती हैं.
नवरात्र के पांचवें दिन मां स्कंदमाता की पूजा की जाती है. आदिशक्ति का ये ममतामयी रूप है. गोद में स्कन्द यानी कार्तिकेय स्वामी को लेकर विराजित माता का यह स्वरूप जीवन में प्रेम, स्नेह, संवेदना को बनाए रखने की प्रेरणा देता है. भगवान स्कंद 'कुमार कार्तिकेय' नाम से भी जाने जाते हैं. ये प्रसिद्ध देवासुर संग्राम में देवताओं के सेनापति बने थे. पुराणों में स्कंद को कुमार और शक्ति  कहकर इनकी महिमा का वर्णन किया गया है. इन्हीं भगवान स्कंद की माता होने  के कारण माँ दुर्गा के इस स्वरूप को स्कंदमाता के नाम से जाना जाता है. मान्यता है कि स्कंदमाता की पूजा से सभी मनोरथ पूरे होते हैं. इस दिन साधक का मन 'विशुद्ध' चक्र में अवस्थित होता है. माँ स्कंदमाता की उपासना से भक्त की सभी मनोकामनाएं पूर्ण हो जाती हैं साधक को  शांति और सुख का अनुभव होने लगता है. स्कंदमाता की उपासना से बालरूप स्कंद भगवान की उपासना अपने आप हो जाती है.  सूर्यमंडल की अधिष्ठात्री देवी होने के कारण स्कंदमाता की पूजा करने वाला व्यक्ति अलौकिक तेज एवं कांति से संपन्न हो जाता है.
नवरात्र के छठवें दिन मां कात्यायनी की पूजा की जाती है. कात्यायन ऋषि के यहां जन्म लेने के कारण माता के इस स्वरुप का नाम कात्यायनी पड़ा. अगर मां कात्यायनी की पूजा सच्चे मन से की जाय तो भक्त के सभी रोग दोष दूर होते हैं. इस दिन साधक का मन 'आज्ञा' चक्र में स्थित होता है. योगसाधना में आज्ञा चक्र का विशेष महत्व है. मां कात्यायनी शत्रुहंता है इनकी पूजा करने से शत्रु पराजित होते हैं और जीवन सुखमय बनता है. मां कात्यायनी की पूजा करने से कुंवारी कन्याओं का विवाह होता है. भगवान कृष्ण को पति के रूप में पाने के लिए ब्रज की गोपियों ने कालिन्दी यानि यमुना के तट पर मां की आराधना की थी. इसलिए मां कात्यायनी ब्रजमंडल की अधिष्ठात्री देवी के रूप में जानी जाती है. माँ कात्यायनी का स्वरूप अत्यंत चमकीला और भव्य है. इनकी चार भुजाएँ हैं. मां कात्यायनी का दाहिनी तरफ का ऊपरवाला हाथ अभयमुद्रा में तथा नीचे वाला वरमुद्रा में है. बाईं तरफ के ऊपरवाले हाथ में तलवार और नीचे वाले हाथ में कमल-पुष्प सुशोभित है. इनका वाहन सिंह है. माँ कात्यायनी की भक्ति और उपासना से मनुष्य को बड़ी सरलता से अर्थ, धर्म, काम, मोक्ष चारों फलों की प्राप्ति हो जाती है. वह इस लोक में स्थित रहकर भी अलौकिक तेज और प्रभाव से युक्त हो जाता है. मां कात्यायनी का जन्म आसुरी शक्तियों का नाश करने के लिए हुआ था. इन्होंने शंभु और निशंभु नाम के राक्षसों का संहार कर संसार की रक्षा की थी.
माँ दुर्गाजी की सातवीं शक्ति को कालरात्रि के नाम से जाना जाता हैं. दुर्गापूजा के सातवें दिन माँ कालरात्रि की उपासना का विधान है. इस दिन साधक का मन 'सहस्रार' चक्र में स्थित रहता है. उसके लिए ब्रह्मांड की समस्त सिद्धियों का द्वार खुलने लगता है. सहस्रार चक्र में स्थित साधक का मन पूर्णतः माँ कालरात्रि के स्वरूप में अवस्थित रहता है. उनके साक्षात्कार से मिलने वाले पुण्य का वह भागी हो जाता है. उसके समस्त पापों-विघ्नों का नाश हो जाता है. उसे अक्षय पुण्य-लोकों की प्राप्ति होती है.  मां कालरात्रि दुष्टों का विनाश करने वाली देवी हैं. दानव, दैत्य, राक्षस, भूत, प्रेत आदि इनके स्मरण मात्र से ही भयभीत होकर भाग जाते हैं. मां कालरात्री हमारे जीवन में आने वाली सभी ग्रह-बाधाओं को भी दूर करती है. माता की पूजा करने वाले को अग्नि-भय, जल-भय,  जंतु-भय, शत्रु-भय,  रात्रि-भय कभी नहीं सताता इनकी कृपा से भक्त हमेशा-हमेशा के लिए भय-मुक्त हो जाता है. देवी कालरात्रि का वर्ण काजल के समान काले रंग का है जो काले अमावस की रात्रि को भी मात देता है. मां कालरात्रि के तीन बड़े बड़े उभरे हुए नेत्र हैं जिनसे मां अपने भक्तों पर  अनुकम्पा की दृष्टि रखती हैं. देवी की चार भुजाएं हैं दायीं ओर की उपरी भुजा से महामाया भक्तों को वरदान दे रही हैं और नीचे की भुजा से अभय का आशीर्वाद प्रदान कर रही हैं. बायीं भुजा में: तलवार और खड्ग मां ने धारण किया है. देवी कालरात्रि के बाल खुले हुए हैं और हवाओं में लहरा रहे हैं. देवी कालरात्रि गर्दभ पर सवार हैं. मां का वर्ण काला होने पर भी कांतिमय और अद्भुत दिखाई देता है. देवी कालरात्रि का यह विचित्र रूप भक्तों के लिए अत्यंत शुभ है इसलिए देवी को शुभंकरी भी कहा गया है. इनसे भक्तों को किसी प्रकार भी भयभीत अथवा आतंकित होने की आवश्यकता नहीं है.
 माँ दुर्गाजी की आठवीं शक्ति का नाम महागौरी है। दुर्गापूजा के आठवें दिन महागौरी की उपासना का विधान है. इन्होंने भगवान शिव के वरण के लिए कठोर संकल्प लिया था. इस कठोर तपस्या के कारण इनका शरीर एकदम काला पड़ गया. इनकी तपस्या से प्रसन्न और संतुष्ट होकर जब भगवान शिव ने इनके शरीर को गंगाजी के पवित्र जल से मलकर धोया तब वह विद्युत प्रभा के समान अत्यंत कांतिमान-गौर हो उठा. तभी से इनका नाम महागौरी पड़ा. इन्हें अन्नपूर्णा, ऐश्वर्य प्रदायिनी, चैतन्यमयी, त्रैलोक्यपूज्या, शारीरिक मानसिक और सांसारिक ताप का हरण करने वाली माता महागौरी के नाम से जाना जाता है.  इनकी शक्ति अमोघ है और ये सद्यः फलदायिनी है. इनकी उपासना से भक्तों के सभी पाप धुल जाते हैं. देवी महागौरी की उपासना से इस जन्म के ही नहीं पूर्व जन्म के पाप भी कट जाते है. यही नहीं भविष्य में पाप-संताप, दैन्य-दुःख कभी भक्त को परेशान नहीं करते. देवी गौरी का उपासक पवित्र और अक्षय पुण्यों का अधिकारी हो जाता है. मां महागौरी का वर्ण पूर्णतः गौर है.  इस गौरता की उपमा शंख, चंद्र और कुंद के फूल से दी गई है.  इनकी आयु आठ वर्ष की मानी गई है. इनके समस्त वस्त्र एवं आभूषण आदि भी श्वेत होते हैं. महागौरी की चार भुजाएँ हैं. इनका वाहन वृषभ यानी बैल है. मां गौरी के ऊपर के दाहिने हाथ में अभय मुद्रा और नीचे वाले दाहिने हाथ में त्रिशूल है.  ऊपरवाले बाएँ हाथ में डमरू और नीचे के बाएँ हाथ में वर-मुद्रा हैं.  इनकी मुद्रा अत्यंत शांत है. जिनके स्मरण मात्र से भक्तों को अपार खुशी मिलती है, इसलिए इनके भक्त अष्टमी के दिन कन्याओं का पूजन और सम्मान करते हुए महागौरी की कृपा प्राप्त करते हैं. यह धन-वैभव और सुख-शांति की अधिष्ठात्री देवी मानी जाती हैं.
भक्तों नवरात्र के आखिरी दिन मां जगदंबा के सिद्धिदात्री स्वरुप की पूजा की जाती है. मां सिद्धिदात्री भक्तों को सभी प्रकार की सिद्धियों को प्रदान करती है. देवी दुर्गा के इस अंतिम स्वरुप को नव दुर्गाओं में सबसे श्रेष्ठ और मोक्ष प्रदान करने वाला माना जाता है. मां सिद्धिदात्री के स्वरुप की पूजा देव, यक्ष, किन्नर, दानव, ऋषि-मुनि, साधक और संसारी जन नवरात्र के नवें दिन करते हैं. मां की पूजा अर्चना से भक्तों को यश, बल और धन की प्राप्ति होती है. मां सिद्धिदात्री उन सभी भक्तों को महाविद्याओं की अष्ट सिद्धियां प्रदान करती है जो सच्चे मन से उनके लिए आराधना करते हैं. मार्कण्डेय पुराण के अनुसार अणिमा, महिमा, गरिमा, लघिया, प्राप्ति, प्रकाम्य, ईशित्व और वशित्व ये आठ सिध्दियां होती हैं. देवी पुराण के अनुसार भगवान  शिव ने इन्हीं की कृपा से सिध्दियों को प्राप्त किया था. इन्हीं की अनुकम्पा से भगवान शिव का आधा शरीर देवी का हुआ था.  इसी कारण वह संसार में अर्धनारीश्वर नाम से प्रसिद्ध हुए. माता सिद्धीदात्री चार भुजाओं वाली हैं. इनका वाहन सिंह है. ये कमल पुष्प पर आसीन होती हैं. इनकी दाहिनी नीचे वाली भुजा में चक्र,ऊपर वाली भुजा में गदा और बांयी तरफ नीचे वाले हाथ में शंख और ऊपर वाले हाथ में कमलपुष्प है नवरात्रि पूजन के नवें दिन इनकी पूजा की जाती है. देवी सिद्धिदात्री को मां सरस्वती का स्वरुप माना जाता है. जो श्वेत वस्त्रों में महाज्ञान और मधुर स्वर से भक्तों को सम्मोहित करती है. मधु कैटभ को मारने के लिए माता सिद्धिदात्री ने महामाया फैलाई, जिससे देवी के अलग-अलग रुपों ने राक्षसों का वध किया. यह देवी भगवान विष्णु की अर्धांगिनी हैं और नवरात्रों की अधिष्ठात्री हैं. इसलिए मां सिद्धिदात्री को ही जगत को संचालित करने वाली देवी कहा गया है.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Journey of Transformation with Shri Anantbodh

Navaratri  is a nine days long festival in which the Goddess Durga is worshiped in nine different forms It symbolizes the victory of higher divine forces over the lower negative qualities. Journey through the process of transformation in these 9 days and nights with her various Shakti forms: Durga (transformative aspect), Lakshmi (prosperity in material and spiritual life), Saraswati (knowledge and wisdom).
Nature is in transition at this time of the year and the body and mind also undergo a metamorphosis. Sincere sadhana and positive restraint through body, mind and speech during this time results in vital health and spiritual strength.
Join master teacher Shri Anantbodh Chaitanya as she officiates over Navaratri, considered to be one of the most auspicious times for spiritual sadhana.
People all over the world celebrate this festival with immense joy and enthusiasm. Devotees of Maa Durga observe a rigorous fast of nine days during this period. This festival in Hindu religion is considered to be an eternally enlightening festival. Like most of the Hindu festivals this worship also involves reading or hearing Katha or stories related to the festival. 
Navaratri is arranged from 13-10-2015(Tuesday) to 22-10-2015 (Thursday) at Shri Durga Mandir, Bangkok. We request you to kindly attend the daily programs with your relatives and friends to receive holy Prasadam and blessings.

Navaratri Story.
The story associated with Navratri can be found in various Hindu religious texts like Markandeya Purana, Vamana Purana, Varaha Purana, Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana, Devi Bhagavatam and Kalika Purana. The story of Navratra is the symbolic message of the fact that however glorious and powerful the evil become, at the end it is the goodness that wins over all of the evil. The story is associated with Maa Durga and Mahisasura, the buffalo headed demon. 

The story begins from the life of two sons of Danu called Rambha and Karambha who performed austerities by to gain extreme power and authority. When their prayers became deeper and austerities became exceptional, the King of the heaven God Indra got perturbed. Out of fear, he killed Karambha. Rambha, who came to know about his brother’s death, became more stubborn to win over the Gods. He increased the intensity of his austerities and finally got several boons from gods like great brilliance, beauty, invincibility in war. He also asked a special wish of not being killed by either humans or Gods or Asuras.

He then considered himself immortal and started freely roaming in the garden of Yaksha where he saw a female-buffalo and fell in love with her. To express his love, Rambha disguised in the form of a male-buffalo and copulated with the female buffalo. However, soon after that a real male buffalo discovered Rambha mating with the she-buffalo and killed him. It was due to Rambha’s inflated ego that killed him, out of which he has not asked his death to be spared from the wrath of animals. As the pyre of Rambha was organized, the female-buffalo, who was copulated with him jumped into the funeral pyre of Rambha to prove her love. She was pregnant at that time. Thus, demon came out of with the head of a buffalo and human body and he was named Mahisasura (the buffalo headed demon).

Mahishasura was extremely powerful. He defeated the gods and the demons and acruierd power over the entire world. He even won over the heaven and threw devtas outside it. He captured the throne of Indra and declared himself to be the the lord of the gods. The gods led by Brahma approached Vishnu and Shiva and evaluated them of the situation. In order to save the Gods, the three supreme deities emerged a light of anger, which combined to the take the shape of a terrible form and this was Durga. All the gods then granted this Goddess of power with all the supreme weapons they had. This is why; Durga is called the brilliance of all the Gods.

When the goddess was seen by Mahishasura, he was mesmerized by her beauty. Her then fell in love with her and proposed to marry her. The goddess said she will marry him, if he defeated her in the battle. Then began a scary and terrible battle between both of them which continued for nine days. Finally, on the last day, Durga took the form of Chandika and stood over the chest of Mahishasura and smashed him down with her foot. She then pierced his neck with her spear and cut off his head off with her sword. It is the day when Vijayadashmi is celebrated.