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Archive for July, 2012

Raksha Bandhan: A Bond Inviolable — R K Shridhar

Posted by Vedic Astrology on July 19, 2012

Raksha Bandhan is not just a festival in India. It’s an emotional experience. It is not just tying of a thread round the wrist of a brother by a sister. It symbolizes a never ending link. It is a symbol of a sacrosanct relationship, above any doubts and is absolutely transparent. It has many dimensions. It enriches a person’s life in many ways and also it motivates a brother to assure his sister of protection from his side.

All over India this festival is celebrated with utmost enthusiasm. Raksha Bandhan takes place on Poornima (full Moon day) of Shravan month. Our shashtras categorically mention that this festival doesn’t take place in the Bhadra of Shravani and Falguni nakshatras. This year Raksha Bandhan will take place on 2nd August. The auspicious time for tying Rakhee will be between The Sun Rise and 08.57 hrs only.
There are several mythological sagas concerning the festival of Raksha Bandhan. One of them is when the demon king, Bali, had with his religious rituals threatened the throne of Indra, the latter then sought the help of Lord Vishnu. He then came to Bali in Vaman Avtaar (Dwarf Manifestation) and asked for a donation of three steps of land. Although king Bali had made out the plan of gods, he abided by his word. Then, in one step, Vishnu covered heaven and in his second step, he took in the whole earth. Then, for the third one, Bali offered his head. By the touch of lord’s holy foot, king Bali attained salvation and reached heaven. Immensely pleased with Bali’s commitment, lord asked the demon king to get some boon in return for fulfillment of his promise. Bali asked Vishnu to remain before him day and night. Lord Vishnu became the doorkeeper of the king. Then, on advice of Narad, Lakshmi tied a thread on the wrist of king Bali and got Vishnu back to her. Vishnu’s release took place on poornima of Shravan month. The festival of Rakhee is, therefore, observed from that day.
Once, Draupadi tied a strip of her saree on the finger of Lord Krishna, when it was hurt while he was killing Shishupal. While Draupadi was being stripped before others, Lord kept her honour intact by throwing a never ending cloth around her. The incident is set to have happen at poornima of Shravan month.
Even the Moughal King, Humayun, showed his deference towards the significance of Rakhee. He didn’t take measures against the attack of Shershah Soori and went away to save and help the widow Rajpoot queen of Chittaur, Karnavati, who had sent a rakhee to Humayun.
This festival is celebrated in different ways and in different names in different states of India. In Uttarakhand it is called Shravani. In Orrisa it is called Avani Avittam. Some others call it Hariyali Teez.
All over the country, Raksha Bandhan is celebrated with some variation in ritualistic performance. Notwithstanding the regional differences and some local traditions, the similarity lies in the fact in all these varieties, the festivities involved express intense joy, exalted mood and emotional vivacity.
Rakhee- thread- is not tied only by a sister on the wrist of a brother. A family purohit (Brahmin) ties it round his client’s wrist for his raksha (protection) too. At times it is also tied on the wrists of parents and elders. At some another level of interpretations, this tying of Rakhee round someone’s wrist is an avowal of one’s commitment to and identification with someone else.
The elaborate preparation of eatables and other formalities are much in practice in this festival all over India. The eatables like Kheer, Pooris, Ghevar, Halwa, Kachauri and a number of other scrumptious regional delicacies can be a source of any gourmet’s delight.
In some regions of this country, at the time of this festival, Brahmins, even change there Janeu (the sacred thread) as it is considered to be the best day for this ritual.
While a sister is tying a Rakhee on her brother’s wrist, she puts on his forehead a tilak (mark) with paste made of turmeric, saffron and sticks some grains of rice on the mark.
In the present day context too, this festival holds lots of significance. At a time when the human beings seem to have been losing fast their emotional attachment with their loved ones and getting dehydrated of their tender feelings, this festival brings about a sure transformation of one’s self.
Mainly, this festival represents a bond- link – a commitment…What could be greater and more beautiful than a relationship between a brother and a sister!
Long back some not very educated females of the Uttarakhand tied rakhees round the tree trunks and didn’t allow the officials to fell the trees. Thus the commitment of these sisters to their brother trees came to be known as ‘Chipko Andolan’ in that region.
The glory of this festival lies in its comprehensive nature. Its facets are many and these project several aspects at an interpretative level.
Thus, the very word Raksha Bandhan stands for bond-commitment to protect someone. It means something ineluctable under any circumstances.
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Guru Purnima: A Mystic Experience (3rd July, 2012) – By R.K. Shridhar

Posted by Vedic Astrology on July 16, 2012

The status of Guru is the highest according to the Indian cultural and spiritual heritage. He is the one who leads a pupil from the darkness of nescience to the radiance of wisdom. He clears up all doubts of a true disciple. The privileged one is the one who has surrendered himself wholly to his Guru.
A disciple’s unshakable faith in his Guru leads him to illimitable heights of spirituality. A Guru is a protector too. He is an impregnable shield against the vile and violent attacks of a selfish and callous world. Through his Guru only a disciple learns the true meaning of life. Also he imbibes those ethical and spiritual values of humanity that help him rise above petty ambitions and meaningless competition. Any association with a true guru brings about a spiritual purification in an ardent practitioner. A Guru emancipates his disciple from the clutches of envy and umbrage.
Guru Purnima or Vyas Purnima is celebrated all over India. Ved Vyasa, the immortal one, came down to the earth – the mortal world – for tutoring the mankind. He compiled the four Vedas, 18 Puranas, Upapuranas, Vysa Samhita and one of the greatest epics, the Mahabharat. All these tomes were meant to lead the human beings through the confusing, labyrinthine paths of life. In fact, the quintessence of this great festival lies in the mystic experience that a true devotee of a Guru can have on this Day.
In Indian tradition of learning Ved Vyas is recognize as Adi Guru…He is, undoubtedly a Guru of gurus. Any astrologer who wants to have the highest intuitive power must give the supreme position to his Guru then and only then can he look into the mystic operations of the stars. Only that would make him the best practitioner of the predictive astrology. Guru Purnima which falls now on the 3rd July 2012 can be the best date for beginning any spiritual practice.
In the presentday world the Guru – shishya parampara (teacher-taught tradition) has lost its significance to a great extent. And, yet, the people at large in this country look up to a Guru.
The quest for a Guru cannot be overlooked. Asexander the great, Hellen Keller, Shivaji and Swami Vivekanand and many other luminaries in different fields of activities, could attain the rare position because of the enlightening guidance of their respective Gurus.
At a symbolic level of interpretation too, Guru Purnima holds a significant place. The word Purnima connotes perfect brightness and the light issuing from the moon then has the power to expand one’s intellectual and spiritual horizon on the one hand and is capable of bestowing on one a soothing tranquility on the other. This is a day of inner refinement. The amorphous blessings of a kind Guru can cause a qualitative change in his disciple and dispel his doubts forever.
The tradition of paying respect to a guru is a universal practice. However, in India and in some oriental countries, it is present in a form of devotion and absolute surrender.
The role of Guru is a difficult one. Only the one who has risen above his own desires and can look at events, people and situations objectively and dispassionately can be a true and dependable Guru.
This year Guru Purnima is falling on 3rd July. While celebrating it, we must take up vows for a righteous living. Guru Purnima must be a new beginning. We must now give new dimensions to the word Guru. Expand it as much as possible. The aim should be the betterment of the world. In the book I and My Father Are One, the writer has very thoughtfully observed, ‘The need of the hour is a universal Guru, who would be a Grand Master, both, in Science and Spirituality. This Guru will realign the Yin and the Yang of the ailing humanity. All religions have to seek a common plat form and give space to science in their life to better their suffering lot. This Guru need not be in a body. It could be a set of precepts and principles universally applicable. This Guru when accepted by one and all will ultimately give individual space to everyone to practise spirituality. Once you are truly spiritual you cannot even hurt a fly…’
Mankind today needs a Guru with a new and universal vision. It needs the one who is willing to devote himself wholly for a unification of the world. We need now a Global Philosopher. Only such a Guru can effectively nullify the rapidly growing fissiparous elements in the human society nowadays.
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