789 – Promise and a prayer

In the previous blog article, I wrote about a prayer and a promise. We had gone to a forest sanctuary for a holiday. In India, where ever there are mountains, there are temples perched on a peak. We visited two temples and in both places the guide told us that one’s wishes were always granted but one had to fulfill one’s promise. I thought that was ridiculous as my understanding was that one went to offer prayers with a genuine and sincere heart. The divinity always understood what the supplicant was asking. Yesterday when I read Swamiji’s lecture, I appreciated what our guide was saying. Continue reading

788 – A Prayer and a Promise

Swami Satyananda asked God to help him only twice.

In 1963 and in 1989, he asked for help from the Divine. He had been told by Swami Sivananda to spread the message of Yoga and to present it in a logical and effective way. From 1956 to 1963 he travelled all over Asia as a wandering sannyasin. On his travels he found that it was almost impossible to become a Seer. Continue reading

786 – Ganesha, the remover of obstacles

Overeating, exertion, talkativeness, adhering to rules, being in the company of common people and unsteadiness (wavering mind) are the six (causes) which destroy yoga. Hatha Yoga Pradipika 1:15

I am quoting from Hatha Yoga Pradipika and my Guru, Sri Swamiji. Wednesday is Ganesha’s day. Ganesha is the remover of obstacles. All the habits which are described above are obstacles in our lives. We pray to Ganesha to guide us. However, our habits can be very tenacious and clingy.

Let us examine them one by one. Continue reading

773 – Some questions

For which we seek the answers.

Why are temples built facing the east? Temples are built facing the east so that the first rays of the rising sun can fall on the image of the deity. The deity faces east, and the devotees face west, so that the sun’s rays fall on the god and are reflected on the devotee. Temples are compared to a woman’s body, sitting with her knees bent. The place where the deity is installed is known as the Garbha Griha, womb. Continue reading

770 – Namaste Surya, Namaste Chandrama

Who does not love the sun and moon? There is a charming story about the sun and moon. A very fragrant flower called ‘Raat ki Rani’ (Queen of the Night), or Night Jasmine, fell in love with the sun, but he ignored her. She was heartbroken and decided that she would only flower at night. Then there is the sunflower is called Suraj Mukhi, which opens and gazes at the sun in the day and closes in the evening. Continue reading

769 – North-East in Hindu faith

Why is the North-East considered important in the Hindu Faith?

Many people want to know why our temples are built facing the North-east and also why we try to place our alters in the same directions. Shiva lives on Mount Kailash, which is in the north and the north is identified by the Pole Star as a symbol of permanence. Surya the Sun God rises in the East. The Sun enables growth. Therefore, the North-East is a combination of permanence and growth. We desire everything and therefore we place our deities in the North-East. Continue reading

763 – Veneration of Trees in Hinduism

We were taught to respect Mother Earth and treat the trees with respect. Many trees are considered sacred to specific deities. Trees become objects of worship or shrines are built beneath them. Mango trees are considered holy because they are associated with many rituals. Tulasi is considered sacred to the disciples of Vishnu, Wood apple or Bilva tree is considered sacred to disciples of Shiva. The neem tree wards off evil. Continue reading

762 – Takeaway from Festivals

Growing up as children in India as a Hindu, one learns a great deal from our numerous festivals. It is not taught but one’s awareness becomes heightened watching family members. All the festivals are based on triumph of good over evil. I am sharing with you the history and background and how this becomes a part of one. Continue reading

750 – Shiv Tandava Strotram

By Ravana

Salutations to Lord Shiva, whose hair is like a dense forest, whose throat is wet by the pure flowing water of the Ganga. The snakes resting around the neck of Shiva are like long garlands. They are iridescent in the sunlight. The sound of the drums is echoing the passionate dance of Shiva. Continue reading

742 – Visualization

Lately I had to go for a PET scan to another hospital. While I was waiting for my turn, it was freezing in the space I was in.

I managed to grab a blanket and my teeth stopped chattering. I was wearing my hospital attire as I am still in hospital. I think dear ones, you all know that the clothes one is made to wear, are meant for the convenience of the doctors and nurses. The arms are bare, and it is cold in them. I settled down to wait my turn. I closed my eyes and meditated on Shiva. After shutting my eyes, what did I see? Continue reading

714 – Be thankful

Dear ones, be thankful for what we are, what we have and what we can give. I came home after my surgery on Sunday, which was the beginning of Navratri. It is a joyous time as before that we had been observing Pitrapaksh. Seeking forgiveness for our ancestors. Before leaving the hospital, I was able to play my chants in my room. Continue reading