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February 6, 2014

A Sacred Time to Honor Our Ancestors: Pitru Paksha

The Indian or Vedic calendar is lunar based, unlike the Gregorian calendar. The observances during each month are usually spiritually or religiously based and rooted in deep tradition.

Sunday, September 30, 2012 marks the beginning of  two weeks of Pitru Paksha (Pitt-true Puck-shuh), or Shraadh, which is a time dedicated to honoring our ancestors. This includes our blood relatives as well as significant teachers in our lives. It’s a time of remembrance and of offering our gratitude. Indians participate in special rituals and rites during this time. There are specific chants and mantras which are recited during this period.

This is a time when individuals focus on their spiritual practices and meditation.  It is typically not a time to commence new ventures or to enter into new agreements.  Air travel should also be minimized as much as possible, unless it is for spiritual purposes (i.e. a pilgrimage).

Families pay homage to relatives who have passed on and they do so on the specific phase of the moon (the tithi) which coincides with the day that the person left his/ her body. Special meals are also prepared for these days, according to tradition.  Offerings are made to ancestors at the bank of a river. 

Pitru Paksha commences on the first day of the waxing (dark phase) Moon in the Vedic lunar month of Bhadrapada each year. Pitru Paksha continues through October 14th for Hawaii, Pacific, Mountain and Central time zones of  North America) (or 15th for Eastern time zone in North America and other parts of the world). The festival of Navaratri follows Pitru Paksha.

September 21, 2013

Vedic Wisdom Behind Eating With Your Hands

Eating food with the hands in today’s Western society can sometimes be perceived as being unhygienic, bad mannered and primitive. However within Indian culture there is an old saying that,” Eating food with your hands feeds not only the body but also the mind and the spirit”.

In the Big Brother series some years back, an English participant complained about an Indian participants use of her hands during food preparations and her eating habits, “They eat with their hands in India, don’t they? Or is that China? You don’t know where those hands have been.” Within many Indian households nowadays, the practice of eating food with the hands has been replaced with the use of cutlery.

Have you ever thought of why previous generations in India ate with the hands? There is a reason for their this. The practice of eating with the hands originated within Ayurvedic teachings. The Vedic people knew the power held in the hand.
The ancient native tradition of eating food with the hands is derived from the mudra practice, which is prevalent in many aspects within Hinduism. Mudras are used during mediation and are very prominent within the many classical forms of dance, such as Bharatnatyam.

The hands are considered the most precious organ of action. This is linked to the Vedic prayer of
“Karagre vasate Laksmih karamule Sarasvati Karamadhye tu Govindah prabhate karadarsanam”
(On the tip of your fingers is Goddess Lakshmi, on the base of your fingers is Goddess Saraswati; in the middle of your fingers is Lord Govinda), which we recite whilst looking at our palms. Thus, this shloka suggests that all the divinity lies in human effort.

Our hands and feet are said to be the conduits of the five elements. The Ayurvedic texts teach that each finger is an extension of one of the five elements. The thumb is agni (fire) (you might have seen children sucking their thumb, this is nature’s way of aiding the digestion in children at an age when they are unable to do an physical activity to aid the digestion), the forefinger is vayu (air), the middle finger is akash (ether - the tiny intercellular spaces in the human body), the ring finger is prithvi (earth) and the little finger is jal (water).

Each finger aids in the transformation of food, before it passes on to internal digestion. Gathering the fingertips as they touch the food stimulates the five elements and invites Agni to bring forth the digestive juices. As well as improving digestion the person becomes more conscious of the tastes, textures and smells of the foods they are eating, which all adds to the pleasure of eating.

You may have noticed that elders in the family hardly ever use utensils to measure all the different type of masala, and would instead prefer to use their hands to measure the quantity instead. As each handful is tailored to provide a suitable amount for the own body. Overall there are 6 main documented forms that the hands take when obtaining a measurement a certain type of food ranging from solid food to seeds, and flour.

This is a prime example of how many things within Hindu culture may seem weird and unusual at first glance, but once a closer look is taken it is surprising, but a vast amount of knowledge is revealed.

September 5, 2013

JAMBUDWIPA AND THE SANKALPA

All of us would have probably heard the words, ".....Jambudveepe Bharatha Varshe Bharata Khande....." during the sankalpa mantram which forms an integral part of all Vedic rituals. However, most people in foreign countries regularly come to our page with the doubt as to how they must modify this sankalpa mantra to suit the etymology of those countries. This post hopes to throw some light on this aspect.

What exactly is this "Jambudwipa"?

Jambudveepa consisted of modern Asia, Europe, Africa and North America and not merely the Indian subcontinent.

This Jambudvipa was divided into nine varshas (geographical regions) of which one was Bharatha Varsha. The other eight varshas were:
2.Ketumula Varsha
3.Hari Varsha
4.Ilavrita Varsha
5.Kuru Varsha
6.Hiranyaka Varsha
7.Ramyaka Varsha
8.Kimpurusha Varsha
9.Bhadrasva Varsha.

(Refer to the picture to get a clear idea of this).

India which was then called Bharathavarsha extended in the west including the regions of modern Egypt, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Iran, Sumeria upto Caspian Sea (which was called Kashyapa Samudra in those days). Within this Bharata Varsha was located the Bharata Khanda which was the heart of the Vedic civilization & the place where we Indians currently reside. This is one of the innumerous proofs that the Indo-Aryan race theory is a conspiracy theory moulded by western countries to show us in poor light. All of the regions so mentioned in the race theory are a part of Bharata Varsha & there was never a so called "invasion".

What is amazing is the fact that our ancestors had an excellent overview of the geography of the world back then.

It can be observed that in those times, most of South American continent, southern half of African Continent and entire Australia were submerged under water. On the other hand most of modern day Atlantic ocean and Pacific ocean, and the entire Arctic ocean were above sea level.

This also proves the logical fallacy of the Western missionaries which claim that the Vedic civilization is just 5000 years old, Kurukshetra war took place just a few thousand years back,etc. The vedic civilization existed at times when Australia was submerged below the ocean! Imagine how long back that must have been!

What is rather disappointing is the fact that our government to this day teaches all sorts of disproved, anti-Indian & illogical theories in our textbooks solely for "minority appeasement" & to support the slow conversion on Hindus to Christianity, a mission well sponsored by the missionaries of the West.

The credits for this discovery go to the great soul Lokamanya Balagangadhar Tilak. More info can be found in his book �The Arctic Home in the Vedas�.

Its disgusting that our government teaches our younger generations to think how worthless our ancestors were rather than teaching them about these great discoveries by such patriots.
I am reminded of the time when the Congress & other pseudosecular parties cried about "Saffronisation of India!" when LK Advani made a proposal to introduce lessons about the great sages of our country. Its time we wake up & understand who is ruling us & what their true agenda is. Are our sages not Indians? Can you name one country which shows its own personalities in poor light to appease its minorities(although minorities are not at all benefitted by it!)?

Its not that we are siding with any political party, but we shall certainly not accept those parties which intend to slowly destroy Sanatana Dharma through covert means!

||JAI PARSHURAM||