Thursday, 18 September 2014

Vijayadashami last day of navratri

Vijayadashami Or Dussehra:
The 10th day is celebrated as Vijayadashami,one of the most important Indian festival. Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated on the marks of victory of Goddess Durga over demons Shumbh and Nishumbh and the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana. Effigy of 10-headed demon Ravana is burnt on Vijayadashami to celebrate triumph over evil.

9 Attractions of nine nights festival of navratri:
The Great Navratri festival of India is one of the major tourist attraction not across the country but in the world too. Navratri is festival of nine nights dedicated to Hindu deity Shakti and its nine incarnation and the 10th day is referred as Vijayadashami. Navratri is one of the biggest Hindu festival and celebrated by every state in different forms and names.

Idols of Maa Durga: The Nine Nights and 10 days the big idols of Mata Durga and Kali are placed in pandals along the roadside. These Durga Puja pandals are well decorated with artistically depicted idols of Goddess Durga up to 50 feet in height and 40 feet wide. Kolkata durga puja is well famous for its unique celebration of Navratri and its the best place to see Durga Idol and pandals.

Decorated Temples: During the Navratri festival, each and every temple to Goddess Durga are  are beautifully decorated with flowers, leaves and petals and Idols of Goddess Durga are highly ornated. There are many famous Durga temples situated at different parts of India and celebrate Navratri to honor the Mother Goddess. Whole market and street along with the Durga temples are highly decorated till the next most famous festival, Diwali.

Durga Puja: Durga Puja is start with Navgrah puja and Jyoti Kalash Sthapna, a representation of Goddess Durga. The Jyoti Kalash are placed on earthen pots in every Durga Devi temples and in house for 9 days and the light of Jyoti Kalash is burns continuously for nine days and nights of Navaratri. During these nine nights and ten days nine incarnation of Maa Durga are worshipped with different rituals and traditions. The 9 forms of Goddess Durga are  Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri.

Aarti Dance: The Aarti dance in Durga puja is one of the main ritual of worship and part of Durga puja. During the Durga Puja in Bengal, ritual drummers,dhakis, carrying large leather-strung dhak, show off their skills during ritual dance worships called Aarati or Dhoop dance.

Navratri Cuisines: Navratri is a special occassion and during the Navratri special and traditional dishes are prepared and offer to Maa Durga. The Navratri special recipes like Sada Aloo,Sabudana Kheer and Singhare Ka Halwa are healthy, traditional and very delicious Navratri dishes.

Kanya Puja: The girl child represents the forms of Goddess Durga and worship on the eighth and ninth day of Navaratri as Kanya Puja. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess are worshiped and offers bhoj and new clothes as gifts as a mark of respect for the Goddess.

Ayudha Pooja: Ayudha pooja or Astra Puja celebrated on the ninth day as a part of the Navratri 2014 and Dasara. The books, vehicles, weapons, Bommala Koluvu,tools along with various types of all equipment are worshiped on this day.

Garba and Dandiya: The Dandiya Raas and Garba Dance are two most famous traditional folk dance of Gujarat and Vrindavan. Dandiya Raas is performed along with Garba during the Navratri evenings at every place in the country, Specially in Gujarat.

Durga Idol Immersion: On the final day of the Durga Puja Festival idol of Goddess Durga to immerse in water bodies. The thousands of devotees bid tearful farewell to Mother Durga which marks the end of the Nine day Durga puja festival and marking the beginning of Vijayadashami.

Durga Puja :
Devotees of Goddess Durga observe fast on the occasion of nine-day-long Durga Puja celebrations every year with full faith and sincerity. The purpose of observing fast is to propitiate Durga Ma and seek her divine blessings. Having been religiously carried out since ages during the festival of

Navratri or Durga Puja, the fast has become an intrinsic part of the festival. Hindus have high regards for Goddess Durga whom they look upon as Ma or Mother of all. Fast to them is a denial of the physical needs of the body and a means to attain spiritual gains besides blessings of the Mother Goddess. Hindus sincerely believe that fasting helps in establishing a harmonious coordination between body and soul. Besides, fasting is also considered to be good for the body. It helps to keep body healthy by giving digestive organs some rest and cleansing the body of toxic materials.

The custom of observing Durga Puja Fast is particularly prevalent in Northern India. In the state of Punjab people observe fast for seven days of the nine-day-long Durga Puja Festival. The fast is broken only on the ashtami or navmi day. Some devotees of Durga Ma consume only milk during the fasting days while some only live on fruits. Some devotees observe ‘Ekana’ which means that they take one complete meal during the day. Non-vegetarian food, intoxicating substances and other forms of entertainment are completely avoided during the fasting days. Men observing fast are not supposed to shave. Some also believe in sleeping on the ground and thereby deny themselves all luxuries and comforts. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Dance To Your Tune

There was this person, who was so fed up with life, trying to be a perfect parent, perfect friend, perfect everything. Making it a first person account – The problem was in trying to live my life on someone else’s terms and making a mess of what I was, masking my strengths and gradually forgetting my true self.

Why live life on terms as defined by others. Other’s perception of perfection should not and does not indicate true perfection. Perfection is a very personal characteristic based on our own abilities and thoughts – so why lose sleep over our inability to match to standards prescribed and set by others. It is better to dance to our own tunes and not to other’s. Concept beautifully demonstrated with the following story and read on…
The little rabbit stood alone, watching the other rabbits around hop and skip in the forest. They were playing her favourite rabbit game. Try as she might, each time she attempted to join in, she tripped about awkwardly. When this happened, the other rabbits laughed at her and called her “Riya” (Graceful inSanskrit).
Soon even she forgot her real name. In moments when Riya was alone, she danced around the trees with ease. She was as smooth and graceful as any ballerina. An old owl sat high above one night, watching her intently. The moonlight streamed through the treetops like a soft spotlight and he sat and watched as little Riya moved in and out of the moonbeans.
Finally he said, “Riya, you are more graceful than any creature I’ve ever seen.” Riya was startled that someone had been watching her; but listened carefully to the wise owl’s words as he continued. “You have carried this beauty within you all this time, but locked it inside when you tried too hard.”
Often we are too intent on proving ourselves and pleasing others. The harder we try the more impossible the task becomes. We begin to lose our identity and all sense of who we really are and what we can do.
Then comes the power of robbers who through negative talk, remarks and jibes would rather have us believe that we cannot. Some of us may be fortunate to run into those like the old owl, the power enablers and facilitators, who bring back to us a sense of who we really are and what we are really meant to be. They help us see the beauty that is locked away inside, the potential that we all have. Others finally realize that they have two who can always be counted on. The first themselves and the second-nature, which never call us names or whispers behind our backs. We come to a point when we begin to be honest with ourselves.
We see the truth that we are all creatures of our times, that imperfections and faults are part of every being’s life tapestry and that all elements are woven into our lives, some frozen in time and others still open to inside work and shaping out. Then in a moment of great discovery we embrace all that is part of ourselves.
Like Riya we learn to dance and celebrate our wholeness. We become less obessed with the scorn that can be heaped on us by others. The negative is drowned by positive images. We realize like Riya that nature is our friend. Nature waits patiently. There is no pressure to be anyone else than who we already are. We relearn the dance of life. All the while we have just tried too hard.
Grace is not some sophisticated word used only for artists or models on a catwalk. It is the ability to live life on one’s own terms, the ability to kindle true life in others, the strength and courage to overcome those who would control and manipulate us. Sometimes grace in living comes after repeated failures. The rabbit Riya picked herself up when she came to a sense of her true self.
Many walk through your life, but few leave footprints on your heart. Take long spells of rest in nature. Become like Riya the rabbit who found that she had an identity of her own, so precious, that she had to first discover it by herself. And then when you discover your true identity and your own voice, become a power broker in this world, for gentleness and understanding.
Yes this is what His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar and The Art of Living did to me – transform me into Riya, the ever graceful.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Q n A by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Q: How can I convince people who take drugs to let go of them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Bring them to a Sudarshan Kriya class. When they do the breathing and when they find the inner joy coming into them, they will give up. Many people have given up; in thousands.

Q: What is the purpose of life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: One who knows will not tell you and someone who tells you does not know.
This very question is useful. The question itself uplifts your spirit and creates a journey for you. So keep the question, it is very precious. One day you will discover it.
Spend a few minutes in meditation and do some good work in society. Help those who are in need. Then everything will open up.

Q: What to do if I cannot let go of a very painful relationship? I just cannot let go.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Okay, what can you do? Hold on to it!
How much can you hold on? Sooner or later you have to let go and the faster you do it, the better it is. And what can help you to do it faster is wisdom. Wake up and see everything is changing. Meditation will definitely help. I usually say that we repair the broken hearts here. It gets back to the very same position it was in the beginning. No scars and no pain.

Q: Dearest Guruji, you said that anything that changes is not true, but the universe is changing every moment. Is this also not true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you talk to a quantum physicist that is what he will say.
Professor D’Hoore from Germany is one of the greatest scientists of our time and he said something interesting. He said, ‘I studied matter for forty years only to know it doesn’t exist.’
I said, ‘this is what we say in the Vedantic philosophy, the same thing.’

Q: How can I find the true love in me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you relax you find that you are love. You are made up of a substance called love. Love is not just an emotion; it is your very existence. It also gets expressed in emotion but in reality our consciousness, our mind and our spirit is made up of love.

Q: Is it possible as a normal human being to love unconditionally?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, as a child you were doing it. As a child you were expressing such a love.
It is possible.

Q: Is complete freedom possible?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes!

Q: Dear Guruji, please advise me how to cope with a loss of a very dear one? It has been very traumatic. Doing the Sudarshan Kriya and sadhana for the past sixty days has helped me a lot but still I am unable to get over the loss.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just be with it; don’t try to get over it. Time will take care.

Q: Guruji, is worrying about the future something totally wrong?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, worry about the future of the whole planet and worry about the destiny of humanity. Worry about human values, worry about the increasing corruption, worry about all these big things. I also worry about the planet.
But worry should not take away your smile, your enthusiasm and your energy to do things now.

Q: How can we know that we are following and fulfilling our destiny?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Something in your gut feeling will tell you.
How do you know if you have eaten enough? How do you know you slept enough? In the same way when you are doing the right thing your heart will tell you, ‘yes, I am doing the right thing.’

Q: How to overcome sadness, depression and negative thoughts?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sudarshan Kriya, meditation and knowledge will help.

Q: Why do you wear a beard?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I am too lazy to shave every day. I thought I can spend that time doing something else.
In India, people who are in the spiritual field, either they shave everything or keep everything. This is the uniform, so I prefer to keep everything.
But it is not a big deal, tomorrow I can take everything off, but I won’t change. I will be the same.
Don’t go by one’s external appearance and dress, this is secondary. What is primary is what is inside. How pure the heart is and how clear the head is; clarity and purity. And remember we are all born with such pure hearts. I have maintained it that is all the difference. Many have not maintained what they were born with, but I maintained it somehow. I refuse to grow up!

Q: Dear Guruji, could you please talk about abortion.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, I have no opinion about it.

Q: What is the difference between sleep and meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sleep is dullness, meditation is awareness. Both give rest but a different quality of rest. After meditation when you come out, you feel very soft and very nice in your whole body and mind. After sleep you could feel a little heavy and a little dull. Could be, not necessary.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

What is Upanishad? - By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sitting close and listening is Upanishad. Upanishad is a collection of discourses of high knowledge, and the manner it was transmitted from a Master to students is very interesting.
One of the Upanishads beautifully brings this out well. Once a boy went to his father who was also his Guru and asked, 'What is God?' To which the father replied, ‘Food is God’, for everything grows from food, everything is sustained by food and when there is a lack of it, everything dissolves and everything again becomes food.
So the boy went and thought about it for several months, understood all about food and came back to his father, and again asked ‘What is God?’ The father said, ‘Parana is God’. The boy went, thought and understands all about prang, how it is going in and out of body, how many types of prana there are and read all experiments about prana. He again came back to his father and asked, ‘What is God?’ The father looked at the child’s face, so glowing and so vibrant. The father said, 'Ok, the mind is Brahman, mind is God'. The boy went and thought till he found the ultimate bliss.

Notice, that the student didn't complain to the teacher that he was earlier told ‘Food is God’ but later something else. He simply came and again asked the question. So this is an ancient way of teaching, step by step – food, then prana, then the mind, then the inner spirit, then the universal spirit, Bliss. Bliss is Divinity, the space. You are like the space. Then he said, 'There is no difference between you, me and the infinite self. We all are one. The Self, Guru and the universal energy are not different. All are made up of one substance.'
Today if you talk to scientists who study the string theory, who study quantum physics, they will say the same thing that is said in Upanishads. In the Upanishads, it was said thousands of years ago that 'God is not a person, sitting somewhere up in heaven but God is present everywhere. He is omnipresent and omnipotent, the energy of which you are also made of, everything is made up of.' Don’t confuse God to be a person, somewhere sitting up in heaven. Godliness is your own nature.
God is Vibration. God is Love. God is Truth, Existence. God is Beauty.

Check out other talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at Art of Living shop.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Power of Intuition


There are three type of knowledge or information you get.

One is through the five senses. You see and you get some knowledge, you listen and you get knowledge, you smell and you get information, through taste you get information, and through touch. The five senses bring you some knowledge. Most of our knowledge is gained by these five senses. Now this is one type of knowledge.

The second is through the intellect. The knowledge gained through intellect is superior to knowledge gained through the senses. Science is knowledge gained through intellect. See, what all you see from your eyes is the sun is setting, but what you learn through science is sun doesn’t set. It is the earth which revolves. You have not seen the earth revolving through any of the five senses, but through intellect you understand that the earth is revolving and that it is revolving around the sun. This is the intellectual knowledge through intellect which is superior to the senses. Like in a beaker of water you keep a pen, what do you see? The pen is bent. That is the perception, but the intellect says “No!” It is not bent it is an optical illusion. This is the knowledge through the intellect.

Now these two levels of knowledge are much more inferior to a third level of knowledge. That is intuitive knowledge. That is knowledge from the spirit that comes from silence. It cannot be verified by the senses or the intellect. Knowledge which comes beyond these two is another level of knowledge. So life begins when you tap into that level of knowledge. Till that time it is existence.

Now, how would you tap into this level of knowledge? The level of knowledge which is not through the senses, nor through the intellect, is the question. For that you have to let go of the knowledge of the senses and the intellect and relax. The moment you let go then what you gain through senses, cravings and aversions they stop. All your cravings and aversions are about the five sensory perceptions. It cannot be anything beyond that.

For some time you say, ‘Now I don’t want to see anything, I don’t want to hear anything, I don’t want to smell anything, I don’t want to taste anything, I don’t want to touch or know anything; I’m just going To Be.’ Then intellectual concepts, judgments, decisions, to all that you say, ‘I don’t even need to know anything, I don’t care for anything.’

Letting go of concepts is the second step. How should this be? How that should not be? Things should be like this and things should be like that... all these intellectual perceptions. Or,”Am I doing the right thing? Am I on the right path? Am I on the right track? Should I go on?”... All these things, drop them and only then silence begins. And when silence begins then the knowledge from the third level dawns and that knowledge is called Ritambhara knowledge. The true knowledge that comes from beyond the intellect is the intuitive knowledge.

Everyone has got this ability and you have experienced in your life this gut feeling, knowledge from somewhere, which you cannot really make out what it is. Somewhere, you feel this is the right thing to do and something happens in your tummy. And that knowledge comes up at that time but then you don’t honor it. Many times we stick onto the intellect or sensory perceptions.

Sometimes, your intellect says, “This is wrong, what I am doing?” But, you don’t listen to the intellect you keep doing the wrong things. How many of you have this experience? What you do? You stick on to the sensory and ignore the intellectual knowledge. And then what happens? You sometimes go beyond your intellect. Your intellect is saying something but your inner gut feeling is saying something else. And you’re feeling says, No!, there is something different, something more”. We ignore that and we stick onto the intellect. That’s how many times your judgments have found to be a failure.

How many of you feel your judgments have been wrong? But sometimes, beyond your judgments you have seen and you have taken a step and have been happy about it. In spite of your intellect saying ‘No’, something says ‘Yes’. Something else triggers and that is what happens when there is faith and that’s when the faith comes up. Sometimes, your mind says, “No!, I want to quit doing all this spiritual practices, I don’t care for that, I don’t care for hopes”. Many people do this, try to quit but something deep inside, the impressions, samskaras, some good karmas just make you keep going and then you are back on track. And then you are happy. You feel, ‘Good thing I didn’t do it, I didn’t walk on my impulse.’ How many of you have had this experience? Those are the moments when something beyond your intellect has taken over and worked.

When we started Art of Living, in the very beginning I could see that there are millions of people who were going to come on this path. I was just 22 or 23, something like that; just out of my teens. I said, ‘No I don’t want to start’. My intellect would say ‘No, so what? Someone else will come and do all this and take care of everybody’. I had no ambition, no desire to start any movement at all. I was happy, I’m happy now also, but I thought why would I take on some headache, I don’t want to. I was a little shy also but my intellect was always saying ‘Oh, no!’. But then everything kept happening because when the TM movement was there and they wanted me to be there. They were all very friendly with me. So it was difficult for me to say ‘No’ to my friends, and then all the elders were there and I was sort of attached. I said, ‘No!’, I don’t want to start the Art of Living; I fought and fought.

had everything, I didn’t need anything. I had no lack. I was flying around in helicopters even in those days. I had seen all the wealth I could see those days. And, if I have to start something from scratch, the intellect was saying ‘no’. But something beyond that was saying ‘yes’.