Monthly Archives: September 2009

Om (Aum)


Om or aum is a sacred Hindu symbol, and is considered greatest of all mantras and sacred formulas. The syllable consist of three phonemes a-u-m (in Sanskrit, the vowels a and u combine to become o) and the symbol’s threefold nature is central to the meaning of Om or Aum. Aum is said to be the primordial sound that was present at the creation of the universe. It is said to be the original sound that contains all other sounds, all words, all languages and all mantras. It is a mystical or sacred syllable in the Indian religions, including Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
It represent several important triads like
the three worlds – earth, atmosphere, and heaven
the three major Hindu gods – Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva
the three sacred Vedic scriptures – Rigved, Yajurved, and Samaved
the three stages of life – birth, life and death
Thus Om mystically embodies the essence of the entire universe. It is uttered at the beginning and end of Hindu prayers, chants, and meditation and is freely used in Buddhist and Jain ritual also. The Mandukya Upanishad is entirely devoted to the explanation of the syllable.
The syllable is mentioned in all the Upanishads, specially elaborated upon in the Taittiriya, Chandogya and Mandukya Upanishad set forth as the object of profound religious meditation, the highest spiritual efficacy being attributed not only to the whole word but also to the three sounds a (a-kāra), u (u-kāra), m (ma-kāra), of which it consists. A-kara means form or shape like earth, trees, or any other object. U-kara means formless or shapeless like water, air or fire. Ma-kara means neither shape nor shapeless (but still exists) like the dark matter in the Universe. When we combine all three syllables we get AUM which is a combination of A-kara, U-kara, andMa-kara.
The Katha Upanishad: “The goal, which all Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which humans desire when they live a life of conscience, I will tell you briefly it is Aum” .”The one syllable [evākṣara, viz. Aum] is indeed Brahman. This one syllable is the highest. Whosoever knows this one syllable obtains all that he desires.”This is the best support; this is the highest support. Whosoever knows this support is adored in the world of Brahma.”
The Chandogya Upanishad chanting the syllable om is the best of all essences, the highest, deserving the highest place, the eighth.”
In Bhagwat Gita Krishna says to Arjuna – “I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable Oḿ. I am also the Ṛig, the Sāma and the Yajur Vedas.”
According to Hindu philosophy, the letter A represents creation, when all existence issued forth from Brahma’s golden nucleus; the letter U refers to Vishnu the God of the middle who preserves this world by balancing Brahma on a lotus above himself, and the letter M symbolizes the final part of the cycle of existence, when Vishnu falls asleep and Shiva has to breathe in so that all existing things have to disintegrate and are reduced to their essence to him
According to Vaishnava Dvaita ‘Aum’ is an impersonal sound representation of Vishnu/Krishna while Hari Nama is the personal sound representation. A represents Krishna, U Srimati
Radharani and M jivas
According to Advaita philosophy it is frequently used to represent three subsumed into one, a common theme in Hinduism. It implies that our current existence is mithyā and maya, “falsehood”, that in order to know the full truth we must comprehend beyond the body and intellect the true nature of infinity. Aum is the signifier of the ultimate truth that all is one.
In Jainism, Aum is regarded to be a condensed form of reference to the five parameshth is, by their initials A+A+A+U+M (Arihanta, Ashiri, Acharya, Upadhyaya, Muni)
In sikhism, Ik Onkar is the first phrase in the Mul Mantra which means”there is only one God”.
Buddhists place Om at the beginning of their Vidya-Sadaksari or mystical formulary in six syllables (viz., om mani padme hum) as well as most other mantras and dharanis.
Detail description of om.
The syllable om consist of 3 curves (1,2,3), a semi circle (4)and a dot.

Curve 1, which is lower, is the largest, this symbolises the waking (jagrit) st
age. in this state the consciousness is turned outwards through the gates of the senses. The larger size signifies that this is the most common state of the human consciousness.
Curve 2, which is upper signifies the state of deep sleep (sushupti) or the unconscious state. This is a state where the sleeper desires nothing nor beholds any dream.
Curve 3, which is middle one and signifies the dream state (swapna). This is the stage which lies between deep sleep and the waking state. In this state the consciousness of the individual is turned inwards, and the dreaming self beholds an enthralling view of the world behind the lids of the eyes.
Thus these three curves represents the three states of an individuals consciousness, and the entire manifested reality spring (emerge) from consciousness hence the 3 curves represents entire physical phenomenon.
The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, known as turia in Sanskrit. In this state the consciousness looks neither outwards nor inwards, nor the two together. It signifies the coming to rest of all differentiated, relative existence This utterly quiet, peaceful and blissful state is the ultimate aim of all spiritual activity.
Finally, the semi circle symbolizes maya and separates the dot from the other three curves. Thus it is the illusion of maya that prevents us from the realization of this highest state of bliss. The semi circle is open at the top, and does not touch the dot. This means that this highest state is not affected by maya. Maya only affects the manifested phenomenon.

Henna- Mehandi


Mehandi is a temporary body art done with a powder known as henna. This is obtained from a plant Lawsonia inermis, commonly found in middle east and other areas where climate is hot and dry. The top leaves of the plant is dried and crushed to make powder, i.e. henna powder.

The art of mehandi is spread over the south asia, middle east and north africa. Henna is popular for more than 5000 years , for not only its aesthetic or sacred qualities but also for its medicinal properties. Henna has a strong cooling effect and is also known as an antiseptic. Henna is also used as a hair dye.

The henna powder is green in colour but the stain or colour which is leaves is orange-red. There are different ways by which people apply henna paste on body. Some people use toothpicks and some use plastic cones or plastic squeeze bottle to make beautiful patterns on body. Then this is allowed to dry for few hours, then gently removed without using water. This way pretty colour is obtained which lasts for couple of weeks. in other words is a naturally obtained tattoo.


Henna designs or mehandi designs traditionally falls into four different styles:

1. Middle Eastern style
is mostly made up of floral patterns similar to the Arabic textiles, paintings and carvings and do not usually follow a distinctive pattern.

2.The North African style generally follows the shape of the hands and feet using geometrical floral patterns.

3.The Indian and Pakistani designs encompass more than just the feet and hands and generally extend further up the appendages to give the illusion of gloves and stockings which are made up of lines, paisley patterns and teardrops.

4. The Indonesian and Southern Asian styles were a mix of Middle Eastern and Indian designs using blocks of color on the very tips of their toes and fingers.

This is a wonderful art.
Nine forms of Durga - Navratri

108 names of Goddess Durga

Here are 108 names of Goddess durga with its meaning

Deity Durga is the supreme force who came to fight Mahisasura. Mahisasura had conquered the devas and even Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva could not defeat him. Unable to tolerate his tyranny the gods plead with Vishnu to annihilate the demon. The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara (Shiva) come together to create a powerful female form with ten arms – Goddess Durga or ‘Mahamaya’. Then they armed the devi with individual blessings and weapons. Thus armed with powers of gods, the devi has defeated Mahisasura. Hindu’s celebrate this festival as Navratri which culminates on Vijaydashmi.

 

 

  1. Durga —The Inaccessible
  2. Devi— The Diety
  3. Tribhuvaneshwari —Goddess of The Three Worlds
  4. Yashodagarba —Sambhoota Emerging From Yashoda’s Womb
  5. Narayanavarapriya —Fond of Narayana’s Boons
  6. Nandagopakulajata —Daughter Of The Nandagopa Race
  7. Mangalya —Auspicious
  8. Kulavardhini —Developer Of The Race
  9. Kamsavidravanakari— Threatened Kamsa
  10. Asurakshayamkari— Reducer Of The Number Of Demons
  11. Shilathata Vinikshibda —At Birth,Slammed By Kamsa
  12. Akashagamini —Flew In The Sky
  13. Vasudevabhagini —Sister Of Vasudeva
  14. Divamalya Vibhooshita— Adorned With Beautiful Garlands
  15. Divyambaradhara —Beautifully Robed
  16. Khadgaketaka Dharini —Holder Of Sword And Shield
  17. Shiva —Auspicious
  18. Papadharini —Bearer Of Others’ Sins
  19. Varada— Granter Of Boons
  20. Krishna —Sister Of Krishna
  21. Kumari —Young Girl
  22. Brahmacharini— Seeker Of Brahman
  23. Balarkasadrushakara— Like The Rising Sun
  24. Purnachandra Nibhanana— Beautiful Like The Full Moon
  25. Chaturbhuja—- Four-Armed
  26. Chaturvakttra—- Four-Faced
  27. Peenashroni Payodhara —-Large Bosomed
  28. Mayoora Pichhavalaya—- Wearer Of Peacock-Feathered Bangles
  29. Keyurangadadharini —-Bejewelled With Armlets And Bracelets
  30. Krishnachhavisama—- Like Krishna’s Radiance
  31. Krishna—- Dark-Complexioned
  32. Sankarshanasamanana —-Equal To Sankarshana
  33. Indradhwaja Samabahudharini —-With Shoulders Like Indra’s Flag
  34. Patradharini —-Vessel-Holder
  35. Pankajadharini—-Lotus-Holder
  36. Kanttadhara—- Holder of Shiva’s Neck
  37. Pashadharini —-Holder Of Rope
  38. Dhanurdharini—- Holder Of Bow
  39. Mahachakradharini —-Holder Of Chakra
  40. Vividayudhadhara —-Bearer Of Various Weapons
  41. Kundalapurnakarna Vibhooshita—- Wearer Of Earrings Covering The Ears
  42. Chandravispardimukha —-Beautiful Like The Moon
  43. Mukutavirajita —-Shining With Crown Adorned
  44. Shikhipichhadwaja Virajita —-Having Peacock-Feathered Flag
  45. Kaumaravratadhara—- Observer Of Fasts Like Young Girls Do
  46. Tridivabhavayirtri —-Goddess Of The Three Worlds
  47. Tridashapujita —-The Goddess Of The Celestials
  48. Trailokyarakshini—- Protector Of The Three Worlds
  49. Mahishasuranashini—- Destroyer Of Mahisha
  50. Prasanna—- Cheerful
  51. Surashreshtta —-Supreme Among The Celestials
  52. Shiva —-Shiva’s Half
  53. Jaya —-Victorious
  54. Vijaya—- Conqueror
  55. Sangramajayaprada—- Granter Of Victory In The War
  56. Varada —-Bestower
  57. Vindhyavasini`—- Resident Of The Vindhyas
  58. Kali —-Dark-Complexioned
  59. Kali —-Goddess Of Death
  60. Mahakali —-Wife Of Mahakala
  61. Seedupriya —-Fond Of Drinks
  62. Mamsapriya—- Fond Of Flesh
  63. Pashupriya —-Fond Of All Beings
  64. Bhootanushruta —-Well-Wisher Of Bhootaganas
  65. Varada —-Bestower
  66. Kamacharini —-Acting On One’s Own Accord
  67. Papaharini —-Destroyer Of Sins
  68. Kirti —-Famed
  69. Shree —-Auspicious
  70. Dhruti —-Valiant
  71. Siddhi —-Successful
  72. Hri—- Holy Chant Of Hymns
  73. Vidhya—- Wisdom
  74. Santati —-Granter Of Issues
  75. Mati —-Wise
  76. Sandhya—- Twilight
  77. Ratri —-Night
  78. Prabha —-Dawn
  79. Nitya —-Eternal
  80. Jyotsana —-Radiant Like Flames
  81. Kantha —-Radiant
  82. Khama —-Embodiment Of Forgiveness
  83. Daya —-Compassionate
  84. Bandhananashini—- Detacher Of Attachments
  85. Mohanashini —-Destroyer Of Desires
  86. Putrapamrityunashini —-Sustainer Of Son’s Untimely Death
  87. Dhanakshayanashini —-Controller Of Wealth Decrease
  88. Vyadhinashini —-Vanquisher Of Ailments
  89. Mruthyunashini —-Destroyer Of Death
  90. Bhayanashini —-Remover Of Fear
  91. Padmapatrakshi—- Eyes Like The Lotus Leaf
  92. Durga —-Remover Of Distress
  93. Sharanya —-Granter Of Refuge
  94. Bhaktavatsala—- Lover Of Devotees
  95. Saukhyada —-Bestower Of Well-Being
  96. Arogyada —-Granter Of Good Health
  97. Rajyada—- Bestower Of Kingdom
  98. Ayurda —-Granter Of Longevity
  99. Vapurda —-Granter Of Beautiful Appearance
  100. Sutada —-Granter Of Issues
  101. Pravasarakshika —-Protector Of Travellers
  102. Nagararakshika —-Protector Of Land
  103. Sangramarakshika —-Protector Of Wars
  104. Shatrusankata Rakshika —-Protector From Distress Caused By Foes
  105. Ataviduhkhandhara Rakshika—- Protector From Ignorance And Distress
  106. Sagaragirirakshika —-Protector Of Seas And Hills
  107. Sarvakaryasiddhi Pradayika —-Granter Of Success In All Attempts
  108. Durga —-Deity Durga

Madhubani painting – A folk art

This folk art painting originated in a small town Madhubani in Bihar, India. This is known as Mithila painting or Madhubani painting of Bihar . This art is characterised for its distinctive style, bright colours and natural paints. Today this art is popular not only in India but is very popular internationally.
The time of origination is not very clear. According to a legend it came into vogue during the time of Ramayan. At the time of sita’s wedding his father King Janak ordered the artists to decorate the city. Initially women use to paint on the walls and doors of their homes. Today also you can find this art done in many houses in Mithila.
Theme of Madhubani painting is religious and revolve around Hindu deities like, Krishna, Shiv, Ram, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati. It also depict natural objects like sun, moon, holy basil (tulsi). It also include themes of social events like, wedding, child birth. The space left after the main theme is normally filled with designs of birds, animals, flowers and geometrical designs.
The brush used for the Madhubani painting is made of cotton wrapped around a bamboo stick. The paints used are natural colours, deep red is obtained from a flower (kusum), green from bel tree, light yellow from turmeric mixed with banyan leaf milk, blue from indigo and orange from palash flower.
For commercial purposes, these are done on hand made papers,cloths and canvas, but the theme and equipments of painting is still the same.
Few Madhubani designs.

Slowly and gradually this folk art of painting has crossed the traditional boundaries and reached the connoisseurs of art at national as well as international level.

Herbal plant – Calendula

    They grow well in sunny locations with rich, well-drained soil.

    Calendula extracts have anti-viral, anti-genotoxic and anti-inflammatory properties.

    Calendula in suspension or in tincture is used topically to treat acne,

    reducing inflammation,

    controlling bleeding

    soothing irritated tissue

    Calendula has been used traditionally for abdominal cramps and constipation.

Adai – recipe for delicious food

Adai recipe

Adai is the famous food delicacy widely consumed in south india. This is also referred as Adai Dosa or Adai Dosai. The recipe of this food form is discussed here.  As in other forms of food recipes from south, this also contains  rice and gram. In fact, rice and gram are a key ingerdient in any recipe from south india. This food recipe is very good if you are looking for high contecnt protein. In this criteria, Adai fits the bill.

Adai is a heavy dish and its recipe contains rice and a mixture of lentils.  It can include fenugreek leaves or onions  as well .  Sometimes finely chopped cabbage, grated carrots  or even drum stick leaves are added to its recipe for variations.

 

Here is the whole recipe for Adai food:

Ingredients :

chana dal– 1 cup
toor dal -1 cup
urad dal -1 cup
moong dal – 1 cup
rice -1 cup
ginger a small piece
methi seeds- 1 tsp.
red chilli – 4
onion chopped-1
coriander leaves chopped

Process :

  • Soak rice and all dals in water over night.
  • Add ginger chilli and methi seeds, grind them into a fine course batter. The batter should not be thick nor watery.
  • Add chopped onion and chopped coriander. You may add few curry leaves.
  • Heat a griddle and then take a spoon full of batter and spread it like dosa, pour spoon full of oil. Let it get cooked
  • Cook both sides. After both sides are cooked remove from tawa and serve it hot with chutney or butter or jaggery. Serve with ginger and coconut chutney.

Adai, when properly cooked as per the recipe, is a crispy dish to savour and healthier at the same time. This is a famous dish from tamilnadu but widely eaten in kerala and other states. Variations of this delicious recipe is also consumed, such as mixing with drumstick and spinach.

Herbal plant – Echinacea

This grows in a well-drained soil and sun.
  • It’s antibiotic property help to raise boby resistence to bacterial and viral infections by stimulating immune system.
  • It can cut the chances of catching a cold by more than half, and shortens the duration of a cold
It’s roots are used to treat
  • Sores
  • Wound
  • Bruises