Monday, March 31, 2014

429.Yugadi: its Significance Customs and Tradition…..

Yugadi is basically a festival signifying the time element of the universe which is celebrated as a New Year day coinciding with the first day of Chaitra Maasa Sukla Paksha Prathama Thithi as per the Lunar Calendar called Chandramana. It is a festival mainly celebrated in the southern part of India and Maharashtra. In Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka it is celebrated as Yugadi while in Maharashtra it is called as Gudi Padwa. The word Yugadi is derived from the word Yugadi (Yuga + Aadi). Yuga means the period or era and Aadi means the beginning. 

Customs & Tradition:-

Thaila Abhyanjana: 

Lot of significance is given on this day to massage and head bath with Sesame oil called Thaila Abhyanjana for relief from stress and strain. 

Nimbakusuma Bhakshana: 
Nimba means Neem and Kusuma means flower. Tradition is that on this day people eat a pickle (sauce) made with a combination of six ingredients that gives six different tastes. The ingredients are Neem flowers, Raw mango, Jaggery, Tamarind, Chillies, and Salt. It is popularly called as Yugadi Pachhadi in Telugu.

It is a mixture of six different tastes viz. bitter (Neem), sweet (Jaggery), sour (Tamarind) salty (Salt), hot/spicy (Chillies/Pepper), and tang (Raw Mango). The philosophy in eating this sauce with six tastes is to say that life is not a bed of roses it is a mixture of sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, and surprise which has to be accepted together with equanimity.

There is also a scientific health message involved in eating this. Neem is good for diabetes, skin diseases, and acts as a blood purifier and anti-oxidant. Jaggery helps in increasing the hemoglobin content of blood that help in curing iron deficiency, Tamarind fights against vitamin C deficiency, raw Mango prevent diarrhea and heat stroke, Salt gives energy, Chillies helps build immune defense system and Pepper is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of iron and vitamin K, and a good source of dietary fiber.

Panchanga Sravana:
Panchanga means an almanac that contains the astronomical/astrological daily details mainly related to Thithi, Day (Vara), Nakshatra, Yoga and Karana called as Pancha Anga (five limbs or five elements) that helps forecasts for eclipses, weather, monsoon, transit of planets etc.

Donating water starting from this day for 4 months (summer months) is said to be needy for the people to quench their thirst.

Why is New Year in March- April?????
In ancient days the first month of the calendar began in March- April. In 45 B.C. Julius Caesar, the Roman Emperor introduced the Julian calendar with a few changes and it is this calendar we use today. 

This explains why September which means “seven” (Septa) in Latin is the 9th month and not the seventh month and October, which means “eight” (Octa) is the 10th month, and not the eighth month. November, which means “nine,” (Nova) is the 11th month, and December, which means “Ten” (Deca) is the 12th month. At that time, January and February were last two months of the year.  April 1 was counted the first day of the year in Europe. When King Charles IX changed that to January 1, some people stayed with April 1. Those who did were called “April Fools” and were taunted by their neighboring countries.

Friday, March 28, 2014

428. Mind: Nothing can beat its speed, but there is speedbreaker!

When Yudhisthira was asked by Yaksha, “What is faster than Wind?” Yudhisthira did not say light. We all know light travels faster than wind and sound hence we see the light first and hear the sound afterwards at the time of thunder and lighting. Scientist have measured the speed of light and put it at about approximately Three lakh kilometers per second. Why did Yudhisthira not tell light is faster than wind. He answered Mind is faster then wind.” 

Why did he say Mind? 

Yes, Yudhisthira knew his mind well. He knew how fast mind can move. Our physicists have not yet thought of how fast mind can travel. There can never be an instrument to measure the speed of mind. Is it possible for the mind to invent something to measure itself? As I am asking this question my mind is already taken me to the next. My mind is always on the move it cannot stay on a single topic. If it stays on a single topic it gets bored. My mind is lively only if it is constantly on the move in other words it is projecting new thoughts. So it is restless always.

Apart from making me restless by being fast and extensive, its karmic effect is far-reaching and deep. My mind is always busy traveling into the past, diving into the present, striding into the future, moving in a jiffy back and forth. While so traveling my mind grasps at thoughts like a small kid would pick sea shells on sea shore and pocketing them and keeps it in the treasury called memory. This is the reason my mind has access to many images, odours, tastes, sounds, touch contacts and knows how to discriminate thoughts. As a result of this ability of my mind I am always trapped in a fast-moving, non-stop, elusive and karmic mental flow. And this is the hindrance for me to not look into my true nature. That is why I need to have control over my mind and try to look beyond it. But my mind can travel at unimaginable speed; this has made my mind inconstant, restless and unpredictable. What is the solution to slow the pace of my mind? Ancient scriptures prescribe Mantra Japa as one way of controlling the pace of the mind.

There is a story in Skanda Purana to illustrate this: After the battle of Kurukshetra, Yudhisthira contemplates on performing the Ashwameda Yagya. Sri Krishna who wanted Bhima to know the importance of Mantra Japa hence asks him to invite Purusha Mruga who lives in Himalayas for the Yagya. Krishna warns Bhima that Purusha Mruga travels at the speed of mind (Manovega) and to bring him he has to travel at that speed failing which the Purusha Mruga would kill and devour him. Bhima who could travel at the speed of wind (Vayuvega) thinks he could bring him. Bhima sets of in search of Purusha Mruga and happens to meet his elder brother Hanuman and tells him about his mission. Hanuman tells Bhima that the only way to keep pace with Purusha Mruga is to place thousand Lingas through the route. Being a devotee of Shiva, Purusha Mruga would halt at each Linga to chant the thousand names of Shiva thus allowing Bhima to keep pace with him. Bhima succeeded in the mission, his vayuvega could match Purusha Mruga's manovega since it was slowed down with Mantra Japa.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

427. Disease is the Cause for the Effect called Death…..!!!!

World Population has touched almost 7.25 billion out of which our country's contribution is 1.25 billion which amounts to 16%. Approximately within hundred years all of those who have figured in the number will have died. Ever since Homo sapiens have made their presence on this earth plane uncountable individuals have lived and passed away. Though we are mortals the overlap of the individuals makes the human race immortal. Immortality is for the human race not for the individual human being; hence the bottom line is that death is a reality that everyone has to face inevitably.

When Yaksha asked Yudhisthira, “What is the most amazing thing in this universe?” Dharmaraja replied, “The most amazing thing is that even though every day one sees countless living entities dying, he still acts and thinks as if he will live forever.” And to add to that it is a known fact that most of them avoid the subject of death as if it is a taboo and for them death is far from their thoughts. Why is it so??? It is because they imagine living forever this is Abhinivesha (self-love out of ignorance).  Yet, millions of them die every year irrespective of weather they are young or old, healthy or sick owing to a variety of causes like disease, accidents and crime.

When the death is due to accident or crime it is obvious to link them to the past karma. But most importantly disease is also due to past karma and many a times they become the cause for the effect called death. The invention of modern medicine is indeed laudable where new medicines and healing practices are constantly researched to help a patient. However it is evident that people are still falling sick and diseases are becoming ever weirder. It is normal for a person who falls sick to go to a doctor, take pills prescribed and if not controlled receive injections and if even more severe diagnose and if required get a surgery done. Doctors who are considered second God try their level best to treat the patient sincerely as they firmly believe that for every kind of disease, there are corresponding ways to heal it.

Pharmaceutical scientists are on constant research and inventing antibiotics to fight viral and bacterial diseases however, whenever those microbes become resistant even to those antibiotics, there has to be a new search all over again. This has an adverse effect on the patient who concludes that there is no reliable method of treatment. Such patients become impatient and often turn to every kind of treatment prescribed by others to them. In a way they subject their body to every possible experiment and finally give way for psychological illness to take over the physical disease. How can a patient be free from this psychological illness???   

Being aware that the karma from past lives has a causal effect on diseases in the present life will prevent a patient from getting anxious and falling prey to psychological disorders regarding their aliment. Awareness gives the patient the endurance required to accept the disease and cope with it instead of putting stress on the mind. The gross body is the perfect vehicle for our physical experience to fulfill the intention for our life. It is necessary for us to keep the vehicle in perfect condition always and no doubt there has to be a constant exercise in this regard. But if the vehicle has developed a minor problem beyond repair but the engine is running perfect it wise to carry on with it and not to harass the driver unnecessarily. Well the driver is as important as the vehicle. It is said that a happy mind has a healthy body ….. Right???????    

Monday, March 24, 2014

424. Be Angry, But do not let the Sun go down on your Anger......

"Be Angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger"- Ephesians 4:26

Anger is not always bad when you need to vent out your emotions for selfless motives. Anger may not always be a violent reaction to things which upset the mental equilibrium. It can be as the voice for the cause that could be of benefit to the masses. Spirituality wants us to be calm which does not mean we need to put up with all the menace. We live in a society (Samaja), the scriptures say Sam Ajati iti Samaja which means society is that which regroup individuals and inspire them to move forward together. Any person or a group of persons who try to pull back the progressively moving society to gain personal mileage have to be reprimanded. A person could be saintly but that does not let him to be a mute spectator to the unholy events around him. He has to raise his voice to protect the larger interest of the society. At times he may lose his temper and get angry, but the anger which has thus erupted is not due to the violent reaction which could upset his mental equilibrium but instead it has come out of his intellectual thinking.

When we say causing harm to the society is a sin, being a mute spectator to it is also sin in equal intensity. There is nothing wrong to be angry for the cause which many benefit to the society. There is a Sukta (hymn) called Manyu Suktam in Rig Veda which cheers the resolve in a person to stand against the injustice vented on the society. It is not right to get confused with Manyu as Krodha. In fact Manyu on contrary is against anger for self. Krodha is a state where an individual loses the level of intellect and patience and mostly the agitation here is pertained to the self centered view point, but Manyu is a state where the individual is fully aware of the situation. He is filled with courage, patience and intelligence and most importantly the outcome of this anger is to serve the cause of the society.


Those who are spiritually inclined tend to justify by saying that every event is predestined and whatever is happening is for good. If so then why did Lord Krishna ask Arjuna to fight against Adharma. If we say that it is sin to create havoc and harm the harmony of the society, being a mute spectator to it is also a sin in equal intensity. There are some who cry foul only when it is affecting them even this is not healthy. The purpose of developing Manyu is to destroy problems in our lives, not our relationships. Such anger may be to tell that expectations are too high, the rule is not clear enough, or that the rules are not followed through on consequences consistently. Using the energy of the anger to communicate the rules and reinforce them and then follow it up with consistent discipline is the need.

Sometimes Krodha becomes the vent of emotion if it is guided for selfish acts it is Krodha and this is uncalled for. Manyu is the vent of intellect if it is guided for a selfless act it is very much needed. Anger needs to be managed and channelized in a proper way. Let us invoke Manyu in us and make this place a heaven to live in.   

Saturday, March 22, 2014

423. Husband and Wife chat as they walk in a Park!!!!!

It was a lovely park with immaculately kept lawn and a small space with slides made of fiberglass for the kids to play and a walking track for the middle aged to brisk walk and youngsters to jog on and for the old aged to take a stroll. It was evening time and there were a few people in the park some were practicing pranayama sitting on the benches, some young guys were doing stretching exercise and some were walking on the track.

There was this couple who were strolling in the park and the wife asked her husband who was by her side walking, “Humans have become health conscious off late; I wonder if it is more to keep the body healthy or look fit.”

Husband answered, “Does it really matter, to me the two are like sides of the same coin, if you thrive to keep your body healthy you automatically look fit. What worries me is that majority of us go head over heal to keep our body not only healthy but also attractive, but a very few think of the same for the Mind.”

Wife quipped, “Why mind can be calmed by meditation.”

Husband replied, “Yes, meditation can calm the mind but then what happens when you are not meditating? Will it not become agitated? Will it not go back to restlessness?”

Wife thought for a moment and said, “I agree that mind which is calmed in meditation is not the same when it confronts the world, so what is the solution to keep the mind calm forever?”

Husband while manoeuvring the turn said, “Mind is just projection of thoughts and meditation do slow down the flow of thoughts and in some very very rare cases it is aimed at complete cessation of thoughts though it needs immense practice”. 

 “So you say there is a need to slow down the thoughts?”

“Yes, not only at the time of meditation but always”.

Wife was confused, “Always? But how? Why should I? I need thoughts to perform my daily activities”. 

Activities like? Asked the husband.

“Like what I need to do for dinner?”

“What was it you thought to do for dinner tonight?” asked the husband.

“Hmmmm. Upma.”

“What do you need for that?”

“Soji and….”

“Stop stop you need Soji and your hand goes to the container where you have kept Soji. Right? Do you go on opening the container which has rice or wheat or ragi? Likewise just nurture those thoughts which you want, do not encourage unwanted thoughts. This is the basics of meditation….. Lessen the number of thoughts that will help a lot.

Just try this: just recall the thoughts and you can notice the thought pattern from where your thought consciously started as you say to help you perform your daily duty and where it has ended up unconsciously. And observe how many were of use and how many you just did not need at all. Why should one create garbage in the mind with lot and lots of unwanted thoughts?” Asked the husband. 

Wife was already thinking and was in the web of thoughts --if there was enough Soji in the container to make Upma after getting home or should buy some from the grocer shop and had brought her money purse?, that purse was old need to buy a new one, liked the one Ramya has need to ask her where she purchased it, the color was good but quality was just average, need to color the hair Saturday without fail for the evening party, that cream zardosi saree had to be dry-cleaned, the present dry-cleaner is not punctual with the delivery time need to look for some other nearby……………..  And the thoughts were endless…………..