381 – What is the purpose of going into a trance?

I love Bob Dylan and House and every time I say that in the presence of young people their eyebrows become like centipedes. They are shocked, because their perception is that one has to be stoned in order to enjoy this music. Notwithstanding Bob Dylan got the noble prize for poetry. Continue reading

380 – The chained elephant and the trauma

An ancient tale describes an elephant calf chained from its childhood. The years of conditioning affect it and even when it became a bull, it could not lift a one-ton load. It had the strength, but it continued to feel that it was in shackles and it could not free itself from its chain. Continue reading

379 – Nine forms of the Goddess worshipped during Navratri

  1. Shailputri is the daughter of the Himalayas. She is also worshipped as Parvati. Day one is dedicated to her. The offering is pure ghee offered on her foot. The prasad blesses the devotee with a life free of disease.
  2. Brahmacharini is a lover of simple food. Day two is dedicated to her. Devotees offers her a bhog (pudding) of sugar and fruits. She increases the longevity of the family members.
  3. Chandraghanta rides a lion and is believed to destroy all evil and wickedity. Day three is dedicated to her. She wears the half-moon on her head. She is pleased with an offering of milk (e.g., plant based), sweets and kheer.
  4. Kushmanda produced the cosmic egg with her smile, when the universe was plunged in darkness. Day four is dedicated to her. She is offered sweet fried bread (malpua) in syrup, and one fasts before the evening prayer.
  5. Skandamata is seated on a lotus, and she also has a lion as her ride. Day five is dedicated to her. She is offered bananas and she keeps her devotees in good health.
  6. Katyani is the daughter of the sage Katyana. Day six is dedicated to her. She is offered honey. Her blessings make the devotees free of bitterness.
  7. Kaalratri protects her disciples from evil powers and spirits. Day seven is dedicated to her. She is offered sweets made from jaggery.
  8. Mahagauri is offered coconut as prasad. Day eight is dedicated to her. It is also believed that if one offers coconuts to the Brahmins, then one will be blessed with a child.
  9. Siddhayatri protects the devotee’s family from any mishaps. Day nine is dedicated to her. She is offered sesame seeds and one fasts before the prayers.

The purification process

When we worship the goddess in her different avatars for nine days, we ourselves are going through a purification process. Also observe that none of the offerings are extravagant, they are simple foods, which most people can offer. The Goddess takes care of us as long we remain sincere in our devotion.

Aim Hrim Klim

Credits: hinduismnow.org

378 – Colors and their importance at Navratri

Navratri means nine nights of worship. Nine colors are worn on nine different days.

White is the first color and it stands for peace and serenity. The Goddess Brahmacharini represents peace and serenity. She is depicted with a rosary in her right hand and a water pot in her left hand. Jasmine and white lotus are offered to her. Continue reading

377 – What has Navratri got to do with breathing?

We all know that we breathe through both our nostrils and that sometimes one nostril is blocked. However, we do not attach too much importance to it. Our doctors say that it could be sinusitis or a deviated septum. Our body has a biorhythm. There is a dyad cycle of hot and cold and this also happens in our breathing. Continue reading

376 – Navaratri – 9 nights of worship of the Goddess

What is worship? Puja begins with external things. One gathers flowers, makes sandal paste, prepares prasad (offering of food to the Goddess) and collects the necessary items for the external puja. However while one is performing this activity, one is conscious that one is attempting to please the mother. All these external activities take one’s mind inwards and focus on the deity. Continue reading

374 – Seek yourself

Like a bird I flew, seeing the beauty of the Paradise created by you.
I looked to see if I could find you in the pollen of every flower
In the current of every river and in the waves of the oceans.
I listened to the words of sages saying “The one you seek is within you”, Continue reading

371 – Why do temples have domes?

 

The temple domes were modelled on the sky. If one sits under an open sky and repeats AUM, one’s voice will be lost, because the strength of an individual’s voice will be lost in the sky. One will not be able to hear the reverberation and the echo of the chanting. The sky absorbs it. Continue reading

370 – An immediate meditation practice

Concentrate on the mooladhara chakra. Practice ujjayi pranayama. While inhaling visualize the breath rising from the mooladhara in the spinal passage and reaching ajna chakra, directly behind the eyebrow center. Contract throat, hold breath for five seconds. Exhaling, mentally chant a-u-u-m-m-m-m-m. Feel the vibrations going down your spine and piercing visshudhi, anahata, manipura, swadhisthana and mooladhara in the spinal passage. Concentrate on mooladhara for five seconds. Then inhale and ascend again with the breath. Practice for ten minutes daily.

Given by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in Satsang in 1979.

Aim Hrim Klim

368 – Forgiveness

What do we know about forgiveness? It is a word used freely and frankly. We say sorry at the drop of a hat. Do we really feel sorry or is it just a word? How does one feel, when one says it. For most of us it is like saying have a nice day. If one says sorry with real emotion, then one will feel a change within oneself. Sorry is used in sarcasm, and it is expressed as a sneer. Continue reading