The Candid Eye

April 16, 2010

Dharbham the Holy Grass

Filed under: Hinduism,Spirituality,Temples — Abhay @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

The Holy Grass known as Dharbham or Dharbai – Kush Grass, Kusa – Eragrostis cynosuroides

by TRS Iyengar

This article is on one of the practices widely used by Indian Brahmins all over using a Holy Grass named Dharbham or Dharbai. The botonical name is Eragrostis cynosuroides and Hindi they call
as Kus or Kusha. Brahmins in general and Srivaishnavites in particular use this Darbai grass in all functions, auspicious or inauspicious, a performing person needs to wear a ring made of this
Dharbham. But many have lost the reason of why it is to be used in the first place.

What I learnt from my father is proved to be accurately correct by a Medicine Practitioner. A medical practitioner named Dr. Sadhashiv Rao, once visited my home. When the topic turned to many
subjects, I needed to tell him about the Holy Grass named Dharbham. When I told him about the usage and the values, he could not just believe my words. So, he took out a bunch of the Dharbham
from me, went straight to the clinic to take an x-ray of his palm, by covering his hand with the Dharbham. To his utter surprise, he found that the grass absorbed about 60% of the (x-ray) radiation!

When the so powerful X-ray radiation can be absorbed by the Holy Grass, why can it not absorb the ill-radiations spread over the atmosphere?  While chanting and reciting some Vedic phrases and
versus, one needs to wear a ring made of Dharbham on his right hand ring finger. This is most essential, while performing all the rituals, such as Agni Santhanam, Thiru-Aaradhanam, all sorts of
Havans known as Homam etc.
The count of leaves depends upon the function that is held viz.: for some functions related to death only Single leaf Dharbham is used; for Auspicious and daily routine a ring made of two leaves is
used; for inauspicious but not death related functions, (i.e. Amavasya Tharppanam,Pithru Pooja etc) a three leaf Dharbham ring is used. And for the Temple Prayer and Pooja, a Four-leaf Dharbham
ring is used.
Also, when a fire ritual known as Agni Santhana is performed, these Dharbham are spread all the four sides of the Agni Kundam. Also, during the Eclipse time, these Dharbham are used to cover all
food items to protect them from the harmful ultra violet radiation.
Whenever any function is held, firstly they perform a site-cleansing act known as “Sudhhi Punyaahavachanam”. While reciting the selective versus, they hold the Dharbham bunch in their hand and
placing the tip point of it over the vessel containing water. Thus the recited vibration values are absorbed by water in the vessel through the Dharbham.
They found that the Holy Grass known as Dharbham has the highest value in conducting the phonetic vibrations through its tip. Later, they sprinkle the Holy water at every nook and corner of the place,
where the function is held. A Dharbham without the tip is considered of no value, as the conductor-type value is lost in it.

If dharbam is cut & collected on the Avani Amavasya day (falls during 15th August & 15th Sept) it can be retained for usage for one full year. Also, if cut on the Masi Amavasya day then also one can
use it for full year. There is a specific slokha for cutting dharbam (the holy grass) that is to be recited while cutting it; I give below the same for readers to know. If Dharbam is obtained from a
Brahmin who doesn’t know this slokam or versus, the Dharbam is useless,  states the Vedic scripts!

My father, Late Shri Ramabathrachariar of Mukkur, fondly called by everyone as Sriraman, has taught me the immense values of Dharbham and its usage. With Sanskrit phonetic sound and
vibration, using the Dharbham increases its value. The usage varies according to the functions. It is really a marvel, that in those days of Vedic Era, the Sages & Saints of Hindu land used to control
the Magnetic path disturbances, just by simply using this Dharbham! While I was just preparing this article, I received an interesting E-mail from Sri. Vijay Narasimhan, which I give below without
editing:

Quote:

Basically all our Vedas and Upanishads are written in Sanskrit, Which basically is a phonetic based language. So I have a feeling that it is not just the mantras being powerful but mainly due to
the effects “Sound” has over a humans body. I feel that our ancestors had mastered the art of sound;  phonetics and acoustics as such. So when the Vedas was written and the tone set for its
deliverance that had no effect whatsoever on a “Man’s” body but it should have definitely had a profound effect on a “Woman’s” body that would have been the reason why ladies are not allowed
to chant mantra or the Vedas or Upanishads or for that matter any of the slokas that a man recites. When we do Paaraayanam, I feel that the reason why girls are not allowed to do that is basically
their physique cannot take the tremendous changes effected due to sustained practice of known as Recital.

This is something that my grandpa’s younger brother told me about, when we perform the Kumbabhishekam in a temple, At least 20 learned Vedic scholars would stand near the “kumba jalam”
( holy water kept in the copper or brass vessel) and holding a “Dharbam”,one end in their hand and other end in the water would recite all the slokas need or rather do the “Japam”  – I think this is
because “Dharbam” is a very good conductor of acoustic vibrations – When this happens you can surely find the difference in the water’s state before and after such a japam. The reason why i am
saying this has reference to my stating that Sanskrit is a phonetic based language and “Sound and Acoustics” does really change things.

Our ancestors would have done lot of research into acoustics management resulting in they mastering the art of sound and acoustics and using them to both, their constructive and destructive benefits.
Again this is purely my and only my own opinion.

Keep up the good work.

Thanks and Regards – Vijay Narasimham

Unquote.

Apart from the above, Dharbham cannot be planted and grown everywhere. It only grows naturally at selective places and available almost in every state in India. Several persons at many
occasions tried to cultivate this plant but failed to see its growth. Why, anyone can try this now if it is possible for them to plant & cultivate in their locations! Sorry, it will not grow as one might
think. It has its potential soil selection, magnetic path locations and soil conditions that add value to its growth only in selective places! Some learned scholars name it after Saint Vishwaamitra – hence
Dharbham is known and also called as “Vishwaamitra”. If it is kept for a longer time, say for more than six months, (excepting the one cut during Masi & Avani Amavasya days.) then it loses its
value and the power of absorbing the radiation or magnetic path control values.

Dharbham cannot just be plucked straight or cut on any day; There is a specific Slokha given above, that is to be recited before cutting it; That too it can be cut only on the day next to Full Moon –
known as Krishna Paksha Pradamai. A Dharbham without its tip portion is not to be used for making a Ring like item known as “Pavithram”.

A word of caution for the new users of this Dharbai / Dharbam. It is sharper than a blade! The edges are so sharp, it might even hurt & cut your palm if handled carelessly, that you’ll notice only
when you find blood oozing from your palm! Yes, you’ll not feel the pain while injuring, but later one feels it.  Only when it is wet, you can twist it to the form you need to make the called Pavithram
or Bugnams.

.o-o-o-0-0-0-o-o-o.

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April 10, 2010

Ayurveda cooking new buzz in moms kitchen

Ayurveda cooking new buzz in moms kitchen

The Forgotten Ajwain Is Getting A New Lease Of Life As Antacid

Nandita Sengupta | TNN

New Delhi: Its back to the spice route in more ways than one. Taking grandmas gharelu nuskhe (home remedies) to a grander level, ayurvedic cooking – all about the right mix of spices and foods is the new buzz in the kitchen.
Cooking the ayurveda way is sheer chemistry: Food properties, what type goes with which spice, how to snap the time, temperature and mix right and mapping all this to a persons constituency . Its about rediscovering basic principles, says 27-year-old Kaushani Desai, a Mumbai SNDT Food & Nutrition graduate, now ayurveda cooking instructor with Art of Living.
Wrong combinations counter foods good properties while right combinations nullify the bad ones, says Desai. For instance, adding methi to pumpkin can kill its tendency to trigger acidity. Fruit-milk combines are a complete nono , replace cheese with grated mix of potato, nutpowder and salt; replace meat with a combination of root foods like potato, jimikand and sweet potato: for the same satisfaction are some quick tips.
Eating opposite to your nature is key, says Desai. So, a hot, light and dry diet is for those on the heavy and oily side. Desai also sees the time a person has for cooking and whats available (you cant have a grocery in your kitchen) to prescribe the balance.
With wrong cooking techniques, the healthiest diet wont yield any result. Recent convert 45-year-old Sangeeta Anand, for instance, always believed she ate right. A persistent back problem troubled despite a diet of of fruits and nuts. I had to sort out what was going wrong with me, she says. Healthier for having switched to holistic eating , she says, I never realised that my simple milk-tea and rusk in the morning were bad. Milk-tea takes a day to digest while the soda bicarb in rusk triggers acidity, says Anand.
She was comfortable with cheesy stuff, instant noodles and the like, says Shatakshi Chaudhry, 32, but everyday pains nagged. She never believed the way she cooked or when she ate would be as important as what she ate. Its about using spices intelligently, she says. Having once gone into the kitchen with newfound zeal, she says she needed no special diet. Her aches and pains disappeared. I’m not overeating or craving the wrong food, she says.
Realising the need for people to snack, Smita Naram started Swadshakti in Mumbai’s Malad an ayurveda restaurant , one of a handful. But with growing interest in holistic eating, more restaurants are on the cards.
Modern-day nutrition paradigm is fundamentally flawed, says Desai. It categorises people on the basis of their disease. So all diabetics are clubbed together , as are heart patients. But thats not how it is in real life. Ayurveda works on the principle that every individual is unique in how he/ she responds to food. Thats realistic, she says.
Finally, the acid test for any cook is to have boys sampling the wares. My sons loved it, says Tripta Dhawan, of tawa-fried cutlets coated in magaz , a powdered mix of melon, pumpkin, cucumber and sunflower seeds. Her kitchen now is an ayurvedic lab of sorts.

Busting Ayurveda Myths

Its banal |

No, its not karela juice and lauki. Its all foods and spices normally used. Funda is to cook right food at right time with right spices

Takes hours, kitchen has to be rejigged |

Same spices, same foods, only cooking techniques change

Individual body types/doshas of kapha (earth & water), pitta (fire) and vatta (air) cant be catered to |

Ayurveda a holistic approach, a balancing act. A meal caters to all

Spice Route

Cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon are good for all

Vatta |

Go for cloves, mustard seed, small quantities of black pepper

Pitta |

Go for fennel, ground ginger, spirulina, coriander, dill, parsley, mint, cardamom, anise, basil

Kapha |

Go for dill, clove, basil, sage, curry, parsley, oregano, pippali, black pepper, ajwain, fenugreek, cayenne





April 9, 2010

Dalai Lama stresses on Indian traditions and values

Filed under: Hinduism,India — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has appealed the youth not to ignore traditions and ethics.The Dalai Lama was releasing the ‘Encyclopaedia of Hinduism’, which took more than 15 years to compile, along with renowned yoga guru Baba Ramdev, and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani in Haridwar.

Primordial Sound Om

The ‘Encyclopaedia of Hinduism’, compiled by Swami Chidanand Muni, is available in 11 parts in English language. It would also be available on-line.

“Indian public, I think, should know that, particularly younger generation, should know that while we are getting modern education and modern technology, you must preserve 8,000-year old India’s traditions,” the Dalai Lama said.

On the occasion, Baba Ramdev said that Indian seers would guide the world.”Knowledge, lives, character of Indian seers is so great that world can learn from it,” said Ramdev.

Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Advani said that the ‘Encyclopaedia of Hinduism’ should be translated in all the languages so that people of the country can benefit.”My own suggestion would be that it should not be confined to the English language; it should be, after all it is intended, of course, for the whole world,” said Advani.

“People in India deserve it even more and therefore it needs to be translated in all the major Indian languages,” he added.Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi, who had come to participate in the inter-faith conference, termed his experience as ‘invaluable’.

“Great saints from every religion such as Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam had come. It was an invaluable experience as I got company of, blessings of these great saints. I feel blessed,” Oberoi said.

The Dalai Lama is on a two-day visit to Uttarakhand, for a series of programmes being organised by Parmarth Niketan, an ashram in Rishikesh, as a part of the ongoing Maha Kumbh mela.

Source: One India

March 4, 2010

‘Lord Krishna existed. School texts are wrong’

Filed under: Hinduism,Indian History — Abhay @ 6:00 AM
Tags:

Raj Nambisan
Did Krishna exist?

Most certainly, says Dr Manish Pandit, a nuclear medicine physician who teaches in the United Kingdom, proffering astronomical, archaeological, linguistic and oral evidences to make his case.

“I used to think of Krishna is a part of Hindu myth and mythology. Imagine my surprise when I came across Dr Narhari Achar (a professor of physics at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, in the US) and his research in 2004 and 2005. He had done the dating of the Mahabharata war using astronomy. I immediately tried to corroborate all his research using the regular Planetarium software and I came to the same conclusions [as him],” Pandit says.

Which meant, he says, that what is taught in schools about Indian history is not correct?

The Great War between the Pandavas and the Kauravas took place in 3067 BC, the Pune-born Pandit, who did his MBBS from BJ Medical College there, says in his first documentary, Krishna: History or Myth?.

Pandit’s calculations say Krishna was born in 3112 BC, so must have been 54-55 years old at the time of the battle of Kurukshetra.

Pandit is also a distinguished astrologer, having written several books on the subject, and claims to have predicted that Sonia Gandhi would reject prime ministership, the exact time at which Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati would be released on bail and also the Kargil war.

Pandit, as the sutradhar of the documentary Krishna: History or Myth?, uses four pillars — archaeology, linguistics, what he calls the living tradition of India and astronomy to arrive at the circumstantial verdict that Krishna was indeed a living being, because Mahabharata and the battle of Kurukshetra indeed happened, and since Krishna was the pivot of the Armageddon, it is all true.

You are a specialist in nuclear medicine. What persuaded you to do a film on the history/myth of Krishna? You think there are too many who doubt? Is this a politico-religious message or a purely religious one?

We are always taught that Krishna is a part of Hindu myth and mythology. And this is exactly what I thought as well. But imagine my surprise when I came across Dr Narhari Achar (of the Department of Physics at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, in the US) and his research somewhere in 2004 and 2005. He had done the dating of the Mahabharata war using astronomy.

I immediately tried to corroborate all his research using the regular Planetarium software and I came to the same conclusions. This meant that what we are taught in schools about Indian history is not correct.

I also started wondering about why this should be so. I think that a mixture of the post-colonial need to conform to western ideas of Indian civilisation and an inability to stand up firmly to bizarre western ideas are to blame. Also, any attempt at a more impartial look at Indian history is given a saffron hue.

I decided that I could take this nonsense no more, and decided to make films to show educated Indians what their true heritage was. The pen is mightier than the sword is an old phrase but I thought of new one: Film is the new pen.

Any ideas I have will receive wide dissemination through this medium.

I wanted to present a true idea of Indian history unfettered by perception, which was truly scientific, not just somebody’s hypothesis coloured by their perceptions and prejudices.

Why not a documentary on Rama, who is more controversial in India today? Proof of his existence would certainly be more than welcome today…

A documentary on Rama is forthcoming in the future. But the immediate reason I deferred that project is the immense cost it would entail. Whereas research on Krishna and Mahabharata was present and ready to go.

Further more, Rama according to Indian thought, existed in the long hoary ancient past of Treta Yuga, where science finds it difficult to go.

There is a controversial point in your documentary where someone Isckon monk alludes to Krishna as being the father of Jesus. How can you say that since there is an age gap of roughly 3000 years between the two spiritual giants?

Is Krishna the spiritual father of Jesus? That is what the person who was training to be a Roman Catholic priest, and who now worships Krishna, asks. The answer comes within the field of comparative religion and theology.

The Biblical scriptures qualify Jesus as the son of God. Most Indians have no problems accepting this as Hindus are a naturally secular people. However, then the question that arises is, if Jesus is the son, then who is the Father or God Himself?

Now, Biblical scriptures do not really give the answer except to say that the Father is all-powerful and omnipresent. Now, of course, we know that Jesus does not say that he is omnipresent or omnipotent.

Now, no scripture can live as an island, all by itself, and the Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures such as the Bramha Samhita all call Krishna as an all powerful, omnipresent being.

So, if we use these words of Bhagavatam, there can be no other truth, which means that Krishna is the father of all living creation.

But it does not mean that Jesus is not divine. Jesus is indeed divine. What I liked about the monks in my documentary is that they do not denigrate Jesus although they worship Krishna as God. They keep Jesus in their hearts, while worshipping Krishna. What could be more secular or more Christian?

3067 BC is when the Mahabharata war took place, says Dr Achar. How did he arrive at this?

There are more than 140 astronomy references in the Mahabharata. Dr Achar used simulations of the night sky to arrive at November 22, 3067 BC, as the day the Mahabharata war began.

He used the references common to Udyoga and Bhisma Parvan initially, and so Saturn at Rohini, Mars at Jyestha with initially only the two eclipses, Lunar at Kartika and Solar at Jyestha.

Let me tell you how rare this set of astronomical conjunctions is.

The Saros cycle of eclipses is periodic at 19 years and so is the Metonic cycle of lunar phases.

So if I say that Amavasya has occured at Jyestha, then this will occur again in 19 years, but if I say that a solar eclipse has occured at Jyestha, then this occurs again at Jyestha only after 340 years. Add Saturn at Rohini and we take this to 1 in 7,000 years. This set of conjunctions takes all of these into consideration, but also takes all the other data into consideration.

So now, we know about Balarama’s pilgrimage tithis and nakshatras, and believe it or not, all that fits the 3067 BC date perfectly.

And to top it all, so does the repetition of the three eclipses described at the destruction of Dwarka 36 years later.

This would explain why so many other researchers tried and failed to find the date of the Mahabharata war as it is based on such a unique set of astronomy that it occured only once in the last 10,000 years.

So essentially, your thesis is that since the Mahabharata war actually happened, as confirmed by astronomical deduction, Krishna was also a living entity since he’s the fulcrum of the Great War?

Not just that, but the fact that archaeology, oral and living traditions point to the same. And yes, we cannot separate the Mahabharata war from Krishna. If one is shown to have happened, then the other must be true as well.

What’s your next project?

The next project is called Indian Jesus. It is already 80% complete. It is very controversial but needed to be done. Living in India convinced me that there are definitely many paths to God. Anybody who lives in India and does not subscribe to that concept should be termed intolerant, but instead the opposite is happening. There are some people today who call their God as God and mine as the devil, this is unacceptable, and I will see to it that those intolerant concepts are demolished. I long to see a one borderless world where we live in mutual respect. I cannot say much on the project but to say that I will prove that the underlying basis of religions is the same.

There is talk of a banyan tree which the documentary says was a witness to the Battle of Kurukshetra, where 4 million people are said to have died in 14 days. Where exactly does this exist? Has the tree been carbon-dated to confirm its age?

There is indeed a banyan tree at Jyotisaar in Kurukshetra which is worshipped as such. This concept is similar to the tree in Jerusalem, which is thought to have witnessed Jesus’s arrival. Carbon-dating of this banyan tree is unlikely to give any concrete answers. I have included it in the documentary to show the living tradition of India — like worship of the Ganges cannot be carbon-dated to give any answers.

There is a gentleman named Ram Prasad Birbal, who said he has found many bones which are said to belong to the Kurukshetra battle. Has this been scientifically proved?

Ram Prasad Birbal is a resident of Kurukshetra. I am not aware of carbon dating of those bones. But I am informed that thermo-luminescent dating of other relics as well as carbon-dating at other sites in Kurukshetra have given dates far older than the Indus valley civilisation. Further, Euan Mackie, an eminent archaeologist, had found a clay tablet of Krishna’s Yamalaarjuna episode at Mohenjedaro, a site of the Indus Valley civilisation proving that even in 2200 BC, there was a culture of worshipping Krishna.

You said Hinduism spread across South East Asia in those times … how big was this religious empire?

The Hindu religious empire extended across the whole of the Asian sub-continent to South East Asia, from Afghanistan to Thailand (where Ramayana and Krishna are still shown through dances), Burma, Cambodia (Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, etc), Vietnam, Laos (little Kurukshetra and temples), Malaysia (which was Hindu until recent) up to Java (more temples), Bali (where Hinduism is still the religion) and Indonesia, where Bhima’s grandson is said to have performed a thousand fire rituals at Yogyakarta. Afghanistan was of course home to both the Yadu race and Shakuni (Kandahar or Gandhar).

Dr Achar said the Kurukshetra war must not have happened on a full moon day…

The Mahabharata war did not start on an Amavasya. That is straight forward.

Krishna tells Karna “Saptama chappi divasat Amavasya Bhivasyati” and says that Karna should tell Drona and Bhisma to do the ayudha (weapons) pooja on that date. But not start fighting the war on that date.

The documentary is quiet crisp. I am told this is the first time you held a camera, and learnt how to shoot. How many days did this take and what was your budget?

I learnt film editing first using a variety of software such as Final Cut 6 as I realised that a film director must be able to do decent basic editing to realise what to shoot, from what angles and for what duration.

I bought a professional grade HD movie camcorder initially and then learnt to shoot before we went filming in 8 major Indian cities, the US, UK and Cambodia.

However, nothing prepares you as thoroughly as filming on your own. Most of this was done with a skeleton crew, mostly handling audio.

I later was funded to buy the latest Cinealta tru HD movie cameras, which are not available in India, and which I am now proficient in using. I also taught a few crew members how to shoot.

Then came the task of assembling a team of professionals to do editing, graphics, voice over and all else, so that I had a team of people for my next set of documentaries.

It was a steep learning curve, as I never went to film school, but it has worked out well, with people within the industry who are veterans complimenting my work. I personally think that it was all God’s grace.

The budget was 15,000 pounds or approximately Rs 12 lakh. It took me 18 months to complete.

Your documentary says India did not have a tradition of putting down everything in writing till 325 BC, when Alexander the Great arrived. How did you come to this conclusion?

This is what the current scientific belief is. Although people have talked about deciphering the Indus Valley “script”, there is no straightforward conclusion about the same, so we stuck to the “official line” there. We will deal with these issues in a future documentary.

S R Rao, the marine archaeologist from the National Institute of Oceanography, found a 9th century building, and an entire city. Where was this and when did he find it?.

S R Rao found the sunken city of Dwarka a few years ago at Beyt Dwarka in the early 1990s.

Apparently, this city near Dwarka was set up 36 years after the Mahabharata war. Is this the summation of Rao?

It is believed that due to damage and destruction by the sea, Dwaraka has submerged six times and the modern-day Dwarka is the 7th such city to be built in the area. Scientifically speaking, we see that 36 years after the war there were the same repetitions of an eclipse triad as we have shown in the documentary.

From Dwarka to Kurukshetra is more than 1,000 km. How do you think Krishna travelled to help the Pandavas?

As a scientist, I believe that they travelled on horses which would enable them to reach pretty quickly. If you consider 1,000 km, that should take him 7 days if he had a string of horses. Of course if you take faith into account, then it could happen in a twinkling of an eye.

What’s the link between the two comets that Sage Vyasa talked about, the retrograde motion of Mars (Mangal or Kuja) at Antares (Jyestha) to all this

The idea that comets are harbingers of doom is well-documented. The thing is that there is a set of statements describing comets and their positions. Only Dr Achar has arrived at the correct deduction, that those sentences in Bhisma Parvan relate to comets, not planets — which is where previous researchers found it difficult.

We know that Halley’s comet was seen in that year as well.

Dr Achar interpreted verses from the Bhism Parvan and Udyog Parvan to arrive at various conclusions. One of them is that when Saturn in at Aldebaran (Rohini) it brings great bad tidings. The last time this happened was in September 2001, when 9/11 happened. When does this happen next?

Actually Saturn at Rohini is long known to be a bad omen by astrologers. Rohinim Pidyannesha Stitho Rajan Shanischarah. This transit happened in 1971 where a million or so were killed, and again in 2001 September, when 9/11 happened. The next time is in 2030/2031 AD approximately.

When is the next time Mars will be in Antares?

Mars at Jyestha has to be taken in conjunction with the other things mentioned by Karna when he talks to Krishna, as it occurs every year. In any case, those people were great astronomers and not just warriors, so we don’t know what the extent of their knowledge was regarding these events, In my personal humble opinion it was perhaps even better than that which we have today.

Contact Dr Pandit at manish@saraswatifilms.org

February 18, 2010

‘Pilgrimage is a journey into oneself ‘- Sri Sri Ravishankar Tells Priests

Filed under: Art of Living,Christianity,Hinduism — Abhay @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

‘Pilgrimage is a journey into oneself ‘- Sri Sri Ravishankar Tells Priests

by Adolf Washington

VELANKANNI, Tamil Nadu, Feb 12: “It’s a joy to talk to the lovers of God,” said Sri Sri Ravishankar, founder of the Art of Living organisation, at the Indian Priests Congress held at Velankanni, one of world’s most popular Christian pilgrim centres, February 9.

Ravishankar who received a State VIP escort to the Shrine was Addressing over 900 priests from across India.  He said: “It is time to look deep within and connect the mind with the inner self and rekindle the faith. Mind is vascilliting between the past and the future we got to bring it to the present.” To a question from the audience as to what was Sri Ravishankar’s concept of a pilgrimage, he said “To me, pilgrimage is an inward journey.  It is a journey into oneself.  It is a search for a communiion between God and oneself”


Ravishankar told the priests: “We are made up of the substance called love. We are God’s image, God is love, but then why hatred, jealousy among people? How to handle them is a huge challenge. Spiritual wisdom helps to overcome them. Breathing exercises helps to remove all negative emotions.”
There are so many things common between Hindus and Christians like the rosary, the prayer bell, which is unique to Christianity and not inherited from Judaism.

Answering queries posed by priests such as why Christians are attacked by the Hindu groups, Ravishankar said, “It is because some Pentecostal people indulge in asking people to throw Hindu pictures out from their homes, which causes misunderstanding. People also don’t know the difference between sects. People need education to broaden their vision.”

Responding to Journalist Anto Akara’s question “Why have you so far not openly condemned hindu fundamentalist groups that indulge in attacks on the Church”, Ravishankar said “I have openly denounced any form of violence from any quarter.  Your Churches were attacked, temples to were attacked.  I have denounced any kind of religious violence”.  To another question from the audience “Why have you not spoken openly against the caste system?”, the Guruji replied “I have certainly denounced any kind of injustice or discrimination.  I have said many times and in many places that we are all children of one God.  We are all in Him and He is in all”

“I dont discard religion.Religions are essential because they gives us the connectivity to God. Religion is an external aspect, whereas spirituality is interiorisation,” he concluded.

Cardinal Claudio Cardinal Hummes, Prefect, Congregation for Clergy, Vatican, Archbishops,and Bishops were among those present for the talk.

January 30, 2010

Court questions rail surcharge on Kumbh pilgrims

Citing the subsidy given to Haj pilgrims, a recently floated Hindu Personal Law Board has moved the Allahabad High Court seeking its intervention in getting free rail passes for poor pilgrims and a 50 percent concession to all others going to attend the Maha Kumbh Mela that is on in Haridwar now.

Kumbh Mela

“The present policy of the government is discriminatory and in violation of the provisions of the Indian Constitution which disallows any discrimination on religious lines,” the board’s counsel Ashok Pandey said.

A division bench of the court here directed the railway administration to submit the circular whereby the surcharge was being levied by the Indian Railways on pilgrims travelling to Haridwar for the Maha Kumbh Mela.

According to the pubic interest litigation (PIL) moved Wednesday: “The railway administration are charging a surcharge ranging from Rs.3 to Rs.15 per ticket from every rail traveller going to Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela period.”

Board secretary V.L. Misra told reporters here Thursday: “Since the local railway administration refused to provide us a copy of the circular, we urged the honourable court to direct them to submit a copy directly to the court.”

The Court has fixed Feb 3 for the next hearing.

Source: Express Buzz

January 20, 2010

Coconut ban in Meenakshi Temple Yet another DMK assault on Hindu faith

Filed under: Hinduism,India — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

THE Tamil Nadu government is contemplating a ban on coconuts inside the world famous Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple. Police attribute ‘security reasons’ for this decision; they claim the temple has always been on the terror radar and that central intelligence agencies have frequently received threats of a jihadi attack.

Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

Though the police have increased security on the advice of the central intelligence agencies, they are wary of jihadis using coconuts as bomb planting instruments. They say it is very difficult for them to screen puja materials brought in from outside by thousands of devotees everyday, and that is why they recommended a ban on coconuts inside the temple. The temple’s Executive Officer Rajanayagam, in a show of rare “intelligence”, suggested that devotees could use flowers instead of coconuts! The archagas of the temple are dead against this outrageous idea.

Temple: Centre of community development and livelihood

Temples are a symbol of Bharat’s centuries-old divine heritage. A temple is a centre of activity, not only for the devotees and the archagas, but also a great livelihood for the traders of flowers, coconuts, fruits, herbs and leaves, bamboo sticks, brass and earthen lamps, puja materials, etc. Bamboo sticks were used to make plates and baskets for carrying materials for worship and now the plastic bags have replaced them and bamboo merchants around temples are now extinct. Plastics are posing a grave threat to the environment and to the lives of elephants and cows reared by the temple, and other cattle and dogs which roam near the temple depending on the food and eatables given by devotees and vendors. In one stroke, a poor community is made extinct and a danger to environment and animal lives is welcomed.

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai

Puranic significance of coconut

There is an interesting Puranic history behind the sanctity of the coconut. While Bhagwan Shiva was on his mission of “Tripura Samhaaram”, the pivotal piece (Achaani in Tamil) of his chariot broke at a place in Tamil Nadu— Achirupaakkam (Achchu – pivotal piece; Itra – broke; paakkam – town and hence Achirupaakkam). Bhagwan Ganesha arrived and reminded Shiva that He was the one who told the world to start any ritual or function or even any act only after invoking the blessings of Ganesha, and since Shiva himself had failed to do so, his chariot was stranded. Shiva asked for a prayaschita; Ganesha said, “Since you failed to start with Ganesh Puja out of ahankaar (Karvam in Tamil, meaning head-weight), you have to sacrifice your head.” Later Parvati came to the rescue of Shiva and asked Ganesha to suggest a remedy as world will be ruined if Shiva’s head is removed from His body. Ganesha creates a coconut with three eyes and a tuft (Kudumi in Tamil) and breaks it. Hence the Tamil practice of addressing Shiva as Kudumi Thevar.

Devotees of Swami Ayyappan going to Sabarimala on pilgrimage carry ghee inside a coconut and break it at the temple in order to use the ghee for Abishekam. Normally butter and ghee are used mostly in Vishnu temples, as the name ‘Navaneethan’ indicates, and carrying ghee inside a coconut by Ayyappa devotees is to signify the birth of Swami Ayyappan out of the unison of Shiva and Vishnu. Coconut is an integral part of Hinduism, culture and tradition; there is no worship, custom or ritual sans coconut. Any coconut merchant would vouch for the fact that temples are at the top of his clientele list, rarely next only to hotels. The state govern-ment’s proposal seems to be yet another anti-Hindu act with an intention of giving a huge blow to religious tradition and culture. It will certainly hit the livelihood of coconut vendors, merchants and farmers.

Failure of the law enforcing department

The police citing ‘security reasons’ for the proposed ban on coconuts is outrageous and plain stupid. The Meenakshi Amman Temple has been under threat ever since Muslim fundamentalists started observing the anniversary of the so-called Babri demolition (which they actually ignored this year, with two senior clerics, Shia and Sunni respectively, organising family wedding festivities on that date, and arguing against observing the Babri anniversary). Yet in Tamil Nadu, a big drama is unfolded every year! A bomb blast occurred in the temple on May 18, 1996 within a year of the formation of Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK). But TN police failed to check the growth of jihadi organisations, which resulted in the serial blasts in Coimbatore in February 1998.

Hostile environment: Government’s own creation

It is pertinent to understand the environment around the famous temple. Successive DMK governments have leased out the lands, shops and buildings around the temple for paltry sums. Most lessees are Muslims and the hundreds of shops (including meat shops) surrounding the temple are owned by Muslims; many are Kashmiri Muslims. Most shops mislead the public by having Hindu names! There is a rule by the Corporation that no structure should be built with a height of more than nine metres in a radius of one kilometre from the temple. But many buildings have come up, including a few churches and mosques. This rule holds good for other temples also, as it finds a place in HR & CE’s Rule Book itself. Regarding Meenakshi temple, it is difficult to have darshan of the temple towers even within half a kilometre! Instead of correcting this, the police talk of a ban on coconuts!

Source: Organiser

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