How can we see Bala or feel her presence?
Once we create the aura of positiveness through our hard work then u can feel her presence around you. It is a slow and steady process. We are immersed in either external or internal, but to see God - we need them both. We are not able to see God because of being uni-dimensional. Our body and mind should be in unison, in harmony with each other, instead working against each other. That brings about the positiveness we keep talking about. Youngsters can practice this in every things you do. Harmony within yourself, then harmony with the space around you. Then the harmony with people around you. Then the world around you.
2. Would like to know what are we doing as part of BDS. What is our primary motive and more about Bala?
Firstly welcome to our group. Our primary objective is for more people to understand Bala Tripurasundari through her slokas and through the Puranas.
We are constructing a temple for her based on the story from Bramanda Purana. This temple is very unique because both the Mother (Lalitha Parameswari in the form of Rajarajeswari) and daughter Bala are in one place. Bala gets the name Balambika because she is with her mother Ambika. So Bala+ Aambika= Balambika
Secondly always for centuries temples have been seats for education, philosophical teachings, knowledge seeking, fine arts etc., So we will be recreating that in our temple with all of these aspects present in the temple, in some form or the other.
3. Want some clarification: everyday while coming to office by bike I use to tell Gayathri Manthram. Is it correct to do this?
Gayathri mantra has three elements that figure in the adoration of God: Praise, Meditation, and Prayer.
The first 9 words represents the attributes of the Divine
OM BHUR bhuva SVAHA
Tat SAVITUR VARENYAM
DHEEMAHI is for meditation
DHI YO YONAH PRACHODAYAT, is the prayer to God to give us all powers and talents.
So if we recite it while going on a bike then,
You will not be in a position to receive those things which you are asking for.
You will not be in a meditative mood, because you will be distracted whilst driving.
The whole exercise will become futile.
There is nothing wrong in doing it, but you will not get the benefit of it . That is why we say don't do it while doing other things.
4. When is the good time to do Bala Sahasranamam? Preferable day to start the Pooja or the recitals?
The best time is to do it during your daily poojas. The reason is you would have done your sankalpam, Ganapathy slokas , if you know start with sindoora rugs vigrahathaam...
Slokas, then start with Bala Sahasranamam straight away.
Neivedyam is pal payasam or manja pongal or home made chocolates .
Only if you want moola mantra you need initiation; for normal recital you don't need it. If the vigraham size is small, you can perform normal Pooja methods.
5. What is the significance of Pournami Pooja being done on Full Moon day?
Pournami Pooja is done into order glorify Ambal.Once when the world was going through Aarhus yuga, Sathi was born as Prajapathy Dakshan’s daughter and she had two sisters Revathi and Rohini who were married to Chandra, and Chandra was very much attached to Rohini, thereby ignored Revathi. Prajapathy was angry about this and he cursed Chandra to become a jadam. Sathi with the help of Markandeyar chanted the mrithunjaya mantra and brought Chandra to life. On pournami day, when Chandran is in full glory we pray to Ambal for her blessings by remembering this incident and retelling the story on every pournami day.
6. Can you please explain the Kula deivam concept?
Kula deivam - the concept is quite vast and I had dealt with it in detail in our newsletter .
Anyway let me try to capture it in few sentences here.
We should understand our culture dates back 10,000 years or more . This concept is prevalent from then. Our country had a different landscape then and it is being changing continuously, but our traditions haven't . The reason is our roots are very strong . One such root is kula deivam.
Kula deivam temple is a place where our ancestors had prayed when they were sad and rejoiced when they were happy and relished when there were new additions in the family and so on. Generations after generations, our forefathers had created positive energies which cannot disappear (according to conservation of energy), so it stays drenching the coming generation in its positiveness. That is why when you pray to your Kula deivam you feel the vibe, the positivity splashing the blessings of your forefathers on you.
The next question is when does Ishta deivam become Kula deivam?
7. When GOD is Almighty, all powers are within him/her, why do we pray to different GOD, eg. Durga, Anjeneyar, Mahalakshmi..The simple answer is our mother is a woman, she needs to be respected as a woman , but for some she is a daughter who is loved, for some she is a sister who is a companion, for some she is a wife and for some she is a mother, but the person is one . Similarly with God.
8. What are the correct and auspicious times to recite Bala Sahasranamam?
- Recitation of Bala Sahasranamam could be done in the mornings or evenings.
- It could be recited on one’s birthday or his/her family members birthdays or the days prescribed by one’s guru.
- On Pournami day(full moon day),when we say on full moon day it should be recited when the moon is 100% full and this could also be in the middle of the night
- On Mahanavami day.
- It could also be recited on all Fridays.
The body posture to be followed while reciting Bala Sahasranamam:
The sahasranamam should never be recited in a hurry. Here is how it should be recited.Sit in gyana mudra. Touch the tip of the thumb with your index finger on your right hand, this contact signifies the union of Paramatman and Jivatman. The contact should not be pressed hard. Other fingers should kept upright. This pose is called Gyan Mudra. This practice while reciting Sahasranamam ensures mental peace, concentration, sharp memory and spiritual feeling. The energy within oneself is slowly activated. The thumb is said to represent agni or fire and the index finger air or vayu. The coming together of air and fire activates the spiritual energy within oneself.
9. Any specific points to remember when reciting Bala Sahasranamam and what are the benefits of recitation?
When we recite the Sahasranamam we need to concentrate on the source of the sound creation within us. The recital of Bala Sahasranamam has to be continuous without a break. When we recite Sahasranamam, we must not only concentrate on the source of sound, but also the gaps between two sounds. The gap between two sound states, is a state of silence. The silence craves for thoughts; restless thoughts crave for silence. Craving, is the fundamental nature of silence; at this state, as one practices - one can also feel, one’s universal self. This is the ever-present reality. Its presence will help vibrate our spiritual energy. It is this spiritual energy that helps us feel Devi’s presence.When we chant her name each time we attract different forms of cosmic energy.This energy helps us to transform our nature,our likes,dislikes etc., It leads us to detachment or non attachment. Bala holds rudraksham in one hand and it signifies the path that she lays for us to walk which ultimately leads to detachment and everlasting happiness. We will be cleared of all negativity and She will shine like a brilliant spotless full moon from within us.
10. What is Karma?
Karma is the law of moral causation.It is the result of our own past actions and our own present doings. We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We create our own Heaven. We create our own Hell. We are the architects of our own fate. People might argue and ask how can you say that “I am the architect of my own happiness or sorrow?”. The answer my dear friend is, look around you, there are different colored people, people with different physical appearances, people with different individuality, what do you attribute that to? You say it is the genes which is being transmitted from their parents, similarly I attribute one’s success, failure, happiness and sorrow to the spiritual gene - the Karma.
11. Does Karma carry over from birth to birth?Our present mental, moral, intellectual and temperamental differences are, for the most part, due to our own actions and tendencies, both past and present.This spiritual gene is there within us and it will stay with us as the soul survives. It remains as a code which can never be erased. In today’s world, if you can agree that information about all of us can be stored in the “iCloud” and it can be retrieved back, then believe me my friend, that karma can also be retrieved from previous births and it can follow us like a big brother.If you have good actions or deeds in your previous births then it continues in this birth because the spiritual chip is the same, only the body has changed. So the soul is the microchip from God which can never be destroyed.
12. Can we change Karma based on our current deeds and actions?
The answer is Yes. We all know that all physical circumstances and mental attitudes spring solely from the past. If the present life is totally conditioned or wholly controlled by our past actions alone then karma is tantamount to fatalism or determinism or predestination.Then the concept of free will shall not exist. Life would be totally mechanic and all of us would be mere machines. Then there will be only two control buttons: God and Karma.One would be easily substituted for the other because ultimate operations of both will be identical and conveniently we will give one name or the other. But it is not so, there is an another independent entity allowed to play in the fray which is called “free will.”As spiritual beings, we are all part and parcel of the original and supreme spiritual person, God. That means we are qualitatively of the same nature as God. Just as a tiny gold goblet contains, in minute degree, all the chemical properties of the huge gold bar. So we, the individual spiritual entities, have all the spiritual qualities of God in minute quantity. Qualitatively we are one with God, but quantitatively we are not. God is infinite, and we are infinitesimal. We can never be equal to Her. She is the possessor of all opulences—wealth, beauty, knowledge, strength, fame, and renunciation—without limit. We, being part and parcel of Her, have these same opulences, but to a far lesser degree. God is the supreme creator, and we too have some creative ability. God is the supreme independent person, and we too have minute independence, or free will. Because of our finite nature, however, our natural condition is to be dependent on God. In other words, although we have free will, still because of our minuteness, our highest beatitude is to be sheltered and controlled by God. So if we have to get away from karma, then we have to take refuge in Her and surrender ourselves unto her. So our actions can change karma, provided our actions are directed towards Her.
13. Why some people suffer when they get to old age? Is the Karma done by one person unconditionally pass on to their generations? How is karma related to vidhi/fate? Ex: When something happens to a person, people say that is his destiny and no one could stop that from happening.
Man has to let go of things that is close to his heart as he walks his age. Many of us forget to do that. For ex: at birth we cannot walk, then we walk on fours, then with some support, then we free ourselves of that support, don't we? Nature teaches us in a very simple way. But we fail to understand the philosophy, we need to let go of the wealth we have collected in our lifetime, the family, the friends and surrender ourselves to God, which when we fail - we are stuck between the two worlds, the world we live in and one that of God. That is why we suffer. Dying at old age is not karma but a gift from God. The only gift we got from her is "TIME".
Free will is the act and surrender should ideally be consequence of that act.
But it never is...
When surrender does not arise out of our free will, then karma takes over. Karma does not teach us but life does. All the lesson we learn is taught by life, karma is the end product of our actions during our lifetime. Don't look at what is not within your reach, look at what is within your reach. The strongest weapon is within you given by God to change your words actions and deeds . That my dear friends is free will. Choose what is good for you, and learn to accept your mistakes and try again before it is too late.
14. Please define SPIRITUAL. Is it only related to GOD or RELIGION?
Religion is an institution where spirituality is a subject. That is all to it.
It does not mean you cannot learn the subject outside this institution, you can, it will be liking passing from a tutorial instead of a school or college.According to me religion is an institution, because of some unwanted incidents we should not sweep it aside completely. We had great thinkers like Vivekananda, Ramana Maharishi, Ramanujar who were attached to this institution and they revolutionized our understanding of both religion and spirituality. People think it is forbidden to talk about religion, that is not the case, use your faith and religion (any religion) to become more disciplined and then grow and search for more knowledge to help your soul conquer your inner thirst. Abandoning your faith and searching for spiritualism is like finding a needle in the haystack.
15. I wish to concentrate and be at peace with myself and the surroundings in between the routine and mundane life. Though I am not somebody who goes to the sanctum sanctorum in the house and does pooja, I do believe in the existence of a supreme energy that guides us all. How do I connect with that energy in between the constant buzz of life, work, family, and other things. How do I be at peace and retrospect every day?
This is the young generation talking and it is the case with every youngster today. The first thing you need to understand is there is a connection between the body, mind and soul. These three have to be in harmony,
First the body, needs to be energised and kept clean to receive information.
For example, if you are hungry and dirty, the body becomes lazy, it fails in doing work - is it not? So the body needs to be awakened and energised.
Secondly the information received by the body needs to be processed like a computer processor. So it should have sufficient space. In your language of computers - unwanted files; files not used should be bundled and put away. So your mind becomes de-cluttered and it is easy for it to process what is fed into it. So take one thing at a time. Process it as you do your daily manual work.
The last step once information is processed and filtered, absorb it and put it into practice and allow your soul to control your mind and body i.e. Your consciousness should be allowed to do its work, the brain should not interfere to give explanations on its behaviour.
You will find once this is established, there is a harmony inside, with the body, mind and soul, only then the peace which is the messenger of God will come in.
Once peace comes in then the harmony is established between the body and the outside world. So declutter your mind, live a healthy lifestyle and listen to your conscience, that brings peace and harmony.
16. What is Upasana? Is it same as Bhakthi?
Upasana is a mental process or activity.
It is again a misconception that bhakti itself is upasana. But as the shastra says, Bhakti Anupastha - “one should do upasana with bhakti ”, and hence upasana requires bhakti. Bhakti has been discussed in various scriptures by great saints.
Upasana is classified into two sections: Japa and Pooja.
Japa is necessarily a mental process, along with the mind, physical organs like the mouth are used.
Pooja, though seemingly physical, is in actuality a mental process. Throwing some flowers on Meru or pouring some milk on an Idol does not give any merit.
It is the dhyana of the Devata which brings the presence, the offering of various upacharas with bhava of 'nama' - is what constitutes a Pooja.
Thus, in essence, upasana is a mental activity where the importance is to bhava. When this bhava is complimented by bhakti , upasana is complete.
17. Why is that the inner strength is always weaker than than the mind? Why is it that we are able to follow the mind but not the voice we know is leading us to truth?Because mind is the protector we are used to, and not our inner voice. Mind always tries to satisfy our ego. Inner voice speaks the truth and only the truth. People call it by different names, some say conscience, while some say heart voice; it all attributes to only God . We all know that but live in denial.
18. Is there a difference between Gnana and Atma Gnana?
Any knowledge that takes place in the intellect - be it the knowledge of mathematics, economics or physics is called Gnana.This can be extended to Atma Gnana as well. Knowing the atma, its working and understanding the sukshma is also gnana because Atma Gnana also takes place in the intellect whenever the intellect is involved, logic or reasoning is involved. Without logic, the intellect will not be convinced because reasoning is the only language the intellect can understand.
Are there different stages to attain Atma Gnana? How will a person know whether he or she is on right track?
You have to cross three hurdles before you go on to the road to Atma Gyana
19. How does one identify and find a guru? How do you know that person is the correct guru for you?A guru is one who speaks the truth. But he doesn't stop with that. He also motivates others to be truthful. He has control over his actions. His mind is always focused on the God and helps others to find Her. He is patient and calm. The Taittriya Upanishad lays down all these as qualities of a good guru. If you find these qualities in a person, then starting following their ways; he begins to be your manaseega guru. Eventually, your sincerity will bring the guru closer to you and He or She will then accept you as their disciple.
So in other words the guru chooses the student and not the other way around. Am I correct?
Yes and no. It is the student who first identifies and starts his initial process to walk in the foot steps of the guru. The guru tests him to see his endurance and when he is ready, he accepts him.
20. Why does a soul reincarnate?
We all know the verse: Matha, Pitha, Guru, Theivam. We are always told first mother, then father and so on...
The way I look at it is: when we first come into this world, we need to trust the mother who loves, nurtures and helps us grow steadily and be healthy. As we grow her part reduces then the father's role increases to provide the child a proper ground for development. After that, the guru takes over to lead the child on to the spiritual path; the role of the parent is there but diminishes. This guru shishya learning continues till when the Atma is ready and God (theivam) takes over. This is the journey the Atma knows and wants to be helped with, and that is the search that is going on.
So when a soul reincarnates, it is searching for the guru to identify its purpose and then work towards it. The free will is not as we think, the freedom to choose what we want to do alone, but the freedom to identify the guru who will lead you to that God who waits with open arms. The free will is to move towards God. The free will is to identify the purpose of your life with the help of the mother, then the father, then the guru. It should happen in stages without disturbing the order or sequence.
The system fails if children are overprotected by clingy parents who want to live their dreams through their children.
The system fails when children do not acknowledge the work done by the parents. Until it happens, they cannot move into the spiritual path with the guru.
The system fails when the guru plays the role of the parents, undermining the work done by the parents and not correcting the child when he or she commits mistakes. The child should not be patronized for the wrong reasons.
So destiny should be assisted by free will, if not the search continues forever.
21. Which is the Karma Bhumi of a person and what are duties or dharma to be followed?
We are born to a particular family because of our karma , and usually the birth happened within a 40 mile radius in those days. In modern days since we are migratory population, the Atma identifies both the family and the place through its electromagnetic vibrations.
Each tribe has its own body constituents based on their genetic contributions. For eg: People living in the tropics are more associated with warm weather, vegetarianism because our forefathers relied on farming and sunshine. So our body is tuned to the enzyme that it can produce and can only break down vegetables & dairy products. It does not have the capacity or enzymes for meat products. So migration has led to changes in lifestyle which the body doesn't understand; that has happened because of our own free will or because of the choices of our parents, but definitely not the body. So if you have migrated, you can stick to your old ways until the body adapts. It usually takes over a generation for the actual changes to happen or to understand the situation and adapt accordingly, while neither troubling yourself or the body.
- Coming to the duties towards the nation you were born, that was not anticipated; but Hindu law suggests that dharma towards the country is actually the community you live in. If you live in USA, it is harmony with the society around you. Karma Bhoomi is the place you live, the community you are in. Our ancestors are said to have come from Africa, they follow some of the traditions even today. But their allegiance is towards the country they live in. So dharmically, it is the society we live in; we should have not shifted, but we have - so the harmony with the neighbours is more important that harmony with our motherland.
22. What type of spiritual practice should westerners have to follow to be born in India for elevation? How do western people cross birth and death cycles in their land, is it any different?
First of all humans are humans everywhere. All born in India are not saints and all born elsewhere are not sinners.
Secondly to your question on enlightenment for people, let me put it this way - for atheist or any person for that matter: the path to righteousness, honesty, dedication to what he/she is doing, ahimsa are the ways to follow. Let me tell you why I say these things,
These are the roads which is taken by believers in the name of God.
Without the concept of God if you can be your own teacher and learn it the right way, why not?
Destination is the same, but the roads to it maybe different.
Many of us look down on non believers. Belief system helps, but it doesn't supersede everything. So in my opinion you can be a nonbeliever, or not belonging to Hinduism, but if your path is based on human values and you do elevate your mind to follow values in your life, you will definitely find your enlightenment .God does not say that my Kingdom is open only for believers.
23. After enlightenment normally birth death cycle completes. Is there situation of rebirth after enlightenment and cause of it?
In the cycle of this world, there is always a balance between dharma and adharma. In that see-saw of balance, sometimes there will be a shift towards adharma which disturbs the world order. When it goes beyond a certain limit, the enlightened souls descend on the earth as avatars, like Bhogar, Agasthiar, Adi Shankara etc., to restore world order; this happens in different parts of the world at different times, but we always find common threads in all religions and races.
Can any monotheistic religion claim a particular concept to exist in only their religion? No, because all religion preach the same thing - love, compassion, helping the needy and so on...
So here we don't use the word reincarnation for the enlightened souls but use the word Avatars.
I specifically used certain names for example Adi Shankara because he was responsible in uniting 200 different religions that existed in India at that time .
Bhogar introduced medicine to treat the sick and the dying, which was non existent at that time.
Agasthiar destroyed the north-south divide.So in each period, the enlightened souls descended on Earth to change the course of that country and its people.
24. Can you please explain the difference between Jivan mukthi and Moksham mukthi?
Jivan or Jeevan mukthi:
Jivan mukthi is living in this world and still being detached. Very often we define ourselves with the job we do, car we drive, clothes we wear, and the things we own. When we release ourselves from this mindset, we release ourselves from pain, fear, delusion, and then finally the body. This is Jivan mukthi.
Before we go into Moksha mukthi, first let us look at the different planes in this creation -
Physical plane or Bhur: where humans reside.
Bhuva (heavenly worlds): world of dreams - the soul remains in this world until its fate is decided based on the karmas.
Suvah or solar worlds: the world of deep sleep - here the soul loses the memories of the life it has lead and prepares itself to meet the Supreme (Para Sakthi).
Maha world: Transcendental world of Bliss, union of the soul with the Supreme takes place here.
Moksha mukthi is when the soul finishes its task, or the purpose of its life on earth, like the Avatars and returns directly to the Supreme without resting on any of the above said planes.
The soul which has attained Jivan mukthi, will reach the Suvah world directly and prepare itself to meet the Supreme (Para Sakthi).
Whereas the ordinary souls will go to Bhuva and remain there to be reborn based on the karmas. It is a very vast subject, which I have tried to do explain in a nutshell. Hope I have done some justice here.
25. What are dreams in your opinion?
Mind dwells on two levels: conscious level and sub conscious level.
The mind is the radar of the body. Apart from learning, understanding, interpreting etc., its function is to safeguard the body from external threats.
When the body experiences any kind of emotion, harm etc., the mind absorbs most part of it. What we are left is a very small amount of pain or joy from that episode. This absorption by the mind is packed and tucked away into the semi conscious level. When we sleep, the mind processes it once again, like in computers - how the defragmentation of the disk happens. So as the mind processes information from these parts of the brain, the spillover is what we see as dreams. The electric impulses or the nerve signals recreates these sequences and delivers as a full fledged dream.
26. What is unique about the customs and traditions of India/Hinduism?
A custom is the usual way of behaving or acting in a particular scenario. A tradition is a custom, opinion or belief handed down from one generation to another, often orally or by practice. Hinduism has a 30,000 years old custom and belief system which is deep rooted in our society. These customs and traditions would not have survived if not for its deep scientific roots or for its social significance. We cannot separate this from our religion as well. Society, religion, customs and traditions - they all go hand in hand.
In this modern era, we all live in a nuclear family and there is no time for children to understand or make sense of what we have been following for centuries. It is the religious leaders,socialist,and educationalist who need to put their heads together to make the younger generation understand why a custom or a tradition exists.
The young minds here in this forum have poured out their anguish and frustration for which the elders in the group have no convincing answers. This is the state we are in throughout the nation.As the out pour is voluminous, I will address each one one by one,with the little understanding I have. I want to crystallize the questions that have been asked, so i will take them one by one and explain inline.
27. Why do elders insist on not cutting nails in the evening or on Fridays?
Unless you are really careful, cutting nails during the night may results in injury. You need powerful light to help you see your nails as they are the same colour of your skin.
Secondly, Indian homes are usually cleaned everyday - morning and evening by the ladies of the house. So after cleaning the house, if you cut your nails, it is not right on your part. It only shows that you are not bothered about someone’s hard work and that you are being selfish. So elders were teaching you good manners by insisting on it.
Additionally, the nail is an indicator of your well being. Iron deficiency, thyroid problems, kidney malfunction can all be diagnosed from the colouration of the nail. We usually take conscious notice of it when we cut nails, and might miss this out when we are cutting our nails in artificial light.
Cutting nails on Friday: Friday is an auspicious day for prayers by the elders of the family and children are supposed to help the parents in preparing for the pooja.This participation helps everyone in the family to come together and share the work; so if one member is sitting grooming his nails, then the rest of the family will be burdened with that person's work. To avoid such confrontations, the head of the family had set of rules for the smooth running of the daily chores and one of the them is not to sit with grooming of hair or nails on Fridays as it is Pooja day.
28. I don’t understand the inhumane practice of Animal sacrifice, can you please explain how it came into being?
Animal sacrifice is just the reminder of and from our past. The people remind themselves that all of us were once hunters and is a connection with the past.If that is wrong, then eating meat is also wrong. Who are we to question that? It is their individual right and choice. Also, animal sacrifice is cruel but not against dharma, because that is what food chain is all about.
29. There are so many ladies in this group and have this common question on periods and the taboos associated with it. Can you please let us know your thoughts on it?
Let me clarify a few things here,
In ancient days they understood the importance of having periods or menstruation. To understand why certain things are being followed we need to get back into time.
1. The ground rules for the women of the house is laid down by the Mother or Mother-in-law.
2. Over centuries it was abused by again the Mother or Mother-in-law of the house.
3. The problem was never with the men of the house .
4. Women abused women.
Let me explain on what basis I am saying this. It was first started with good intentions:
1. Women did hard labour like grinding flour, beating rice, drawing water and carrying water etc., So during periods, doing such work would weaken the uterus or push the uterus down. So the Mother or the Mother-in-law of the house restricted them from doing household work.
2. Women are high in estrogen level during this period. Strenuous activity would harm them physically and emotionally. So to restrain them from it, they were asked to sit in one place or sleep.
3. Women during the periods are in a highly activated state, which could absorb the cosmic energy quickly and with force. This is akin to getting near the Sun; so to avoid chakra damage and aura damage, they were restricted from entering the Pooja room.
Women were respected highly in the pre Vedic period, later selfish individuals took over the system and manipulated the laws and weakened the status of women, leaving them vulnerable in the society.
You would ask if it relevant today. I would say yes, because women face a lot of pressure at work and riding mopeds and cars have weakened their body, which is leading to a high rate of infertility.
Women need to take care of themselves much more now than ever.
When relationship sours between the daughter-in-law and mother-in-law, this was taken as a weapon, which is totally wrong. Women are women's greatest enemies, we should understand that.When a new woman enters the house, it should be the current women of the house who should help them settle. That is the reason why women are made to take at arathis when a Daughter-in-law comes into the house.
30. Why do we have to adhere to an auspicious time to do anything? Isn't every day Her creation and every minute of the day have equal relevance?
This is a vast subject , let me give you sneak peep into it.
Our ancestors divided the day into 8 parts from sunrise to sunset. For eg. 6.00 am to 6.00 PM each part is 90 mins.They calculated the various kalams like Raghu kalam, Yama Kandam, etc . This was like a time table for people, to know when they should be indoors and when outdoors, to protect themselves from harmful radiations. So Raghu Kalam is a period, when powerful radiations reach the Earth during its daily cycle and people were told not to do any work, instead to be at home and spend time in prayers. Later people forgot why, and changed to inauspiciousness, which is also in a way correct because active work should not be done.
31. Why is tarpanam performed?
Tarpanam Ekadashi Nithyaanusandanam
The question of Tarpanam and its significance:
In the Hindu way of life there are three types of runas to the person,
1. Rishi runa – this is taken care of during brahmacharyam when the child goes through intense education and his preparedness to face the future.
2. Deva runa – this is taken care of through the homams and poojas that we perform.
3. Pitra runa – this is taken care through Tarpanam.
Each one is a separate topic by itself, as we go along I will try and explain them. Tarpanam is done for our ancestors or it is a remembrance and an offering is made to them for all that they have done for us. Deva runa is fulfilled through fire and pitra runa is fulfilled through water. Tarpanam is performed for our ancestors and for oneself. Hinduism believes in external welfare and also internal welfare. Just as fire is believed to invoke the gods, so does water it invokes the ancestors. Water is held in one’s hand and then allowed to flow in a particular way.
In the ancient world, every home had the ritual of lighting the fire and performing homams with natural substances. It was a way to cleanse the environment, in other words, to maintain the oxygen – carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
Likewise Tarpanam was done on river banks to introspect themselves during a ritual process. It is a time to acknowledge one’s true identity by contemplating on the ancestors before us, also their genetic characteristics transferred through generations. Each ancestor is actually present in the person as a genetic characteristic. In karmic terms, one inherits some karmas of one’s parents and ancestors and each ancestor is actually present in the person as a karmic pre disposition.we try to free ourselves from these karmas by performing rituals which can bring about an internal change.you may ask how?
By thinking of the deceased ancestors with gratitude and trying to give them an emancipation, one is actually trying to free oneself from various kaarmas that one has as a result of the runa (karmic debt) with several people. One can view this as an external event of satisfying external entity (a pitru). Alternately, one can view this as an internal event of satisfying and releasing an internal karmic act(which is attachment through love,loss and pain). First of all one needs to externalize and perform external rituals, while thinking of what it means internally. This builds up one’s visualization and slowly brings about internal changes and eventually the desired internal change itself.
That is why it is so important in hindu way of life.
32. What is the significance of fasting on Ekasi day?
Many of you know the importance of fasting , fasting during ekadasi is due the air pressure.
During Amavasya and pournami days the air pressure is at an all time high. Ekadasi is the 11th day of the moon cycle, so it is seen that pressure levels are high and the intake of food brings about an imbalance in the system. so it was recommended by the learned rishis to fast on those days.
Fasting gives the system a rest. The body system may become overworked due to a overeating or indiscrimination in diet. Thus the Ekadashi fasting gives the system a chance to catch up. Thus observance of Ekadashis helps us recharge our brain and mind keeping us more alert, sharp, focused and more aware.
According to a medical journal,the fortnightly Ekadashi fasting accompanied with healthy eating improves one’s response to insulin, controls cholesterol. It helps people suffering from anxiety and depression. It detoxifies the body, cleanses the blood and improves the functioning of kidneys and liver. It is amazing how the our ancestors devised this method to keep ourselves fit and healthy.The fast on ekadashi also helps the chemicals in the body to move into more subtler factors of the mind the chit. It will help keep himself or herself perfect physiologically and psychologically and thereby help attain the ultimate spiritual purpose of life.
33. Can you define what is God? Where can we find him/her? What is the right way to reach God?
1.God is totally our creator, without that energy we couldn’t have started life on earth or anywhere else.
2. This energy according to me is Sakthi (in Sanskrit, it is energy and we consider it feminine because it is to do with creation). So here Ambal according to sakthism is the Mother who created this universe.
3. God, who is our Mother, has instilled qualities in our own earthly mother which should be the prototype of herself. So according to me earthly mother is the true miniature form of our heavenly Mother.
4. If you can see X-rays, Cosmic rays, UV rays - then you can see God. Scientist never denied the existence of God, read my earlier posts where I have illustrated how each of them in their own way proved the existence of God.
5. Take an example of an ant, if the ant decides to see a man, then it will take a life time for it to see the full structure of a man, we will appear like a moving rock or as a passing storm nothing more. Likewise God appears to us, but we cannot see the full extent of Her nature because our mind has the capacity of a few terrabytes, so it cannot process all the information that comes to it. So it rejects and hence we are not able to understand.
34. Is Astrology really true? Why does Hinduism have so many Gods unlike Muslims and Christians?
I truly understand your situation, it is an outcry of every common man. Let me tell you this: Astrology is applied mathematics. It has three parts,
a. Knowledge of the subject which we get from studying the sutras written by great scholars who were great mathematicians and great scientist.
b.Understanding: you need a proper guru to teach you those sutras and help you understand like how we have maths teacher, a physics teacher and so on.
c. Application and interpretation: this comes with dedication and hard work from the side of the astrologers, which if they lack then there predictions go wrong. Otherwise it never will go wrong. Science cannot fail, but scientist can.
It is a stereotype one on the hinduism and their beliefs. We are a great age old civilization whose beliefs arise from experience. So take this example, a child who is the daughter to her mother, a sister to her brother, a wife to her husband, a mother to her daughter/son and grand mother to her grand children and a mother-in law to her son-in law or daughter-in-law. Here she takes different avatar but she is one and only one person, isn't it? Since she is the same person, we cannot call a mother with some other name, she is different to different relationships, so is God; she is different to different people, she is Bala to me, she is Krishna to you and she can be Shiva to someone else.
You can go to church and still pray to bala, you can go to mosque and still recite bhagvad gita, it is not God who is different, our customs and traditions and geography is different; that is all. For example, people living in very cold or hot climate cover their heads with a cloth or saree or a cap, but people living in moderate temperate climate cannot do so, because the hair loses its lustre and perspiration is more and that will heat the brain leading to delusion. if you don't cover in extreme cold and extreme hot places the same thing happens, so that is why, we in south India don't cover our heads, whereas people living in desert areas and cold climate cover their heads with a head scarf or hijab. So it is scientific and nothing to do with religion. We are often caught up with spiritualism, traditions and customs, if you learn to disassociate them then it becomes clear of what you need to do and what we don't have to do.
35. Does God need money? If we are offering money, how much to give God?
No, God does not need money, it is the community that needs it. In those days, every village had a temple, the temple organised events, community services like free food, free medical facilities, free education, free entertainment like dance, music, poetry recital etc., So to run these programmes, money was needed and so they devised methods to collect money, for noble causes, which if done independently will burden individuals. So when we offer money to the temple, we are in fact offering to do God's work, like feeding the poor, using for construction of roads and other amentities for the public who visit the temple. So by far, the best methods known to mankind, and this shows how well advanced our civilization was.
But then why there are different queue system in Tirupati, Palani or Padmavati temple? Those who give more money get more time with God. I saw a board in Tirupati last week, "For 10 lakh donations and above". What does it mean? Those who have more money can see God?
It is just the administrative policy of the temples, nothing to do with religion or spirtualism. If a business man is going to lose 10 crores in business, he will not want to stand in the queue, so he prefers to spend 10 lakhs so that he finishes his darshan and at the same time attend to his business call.
36. One more question was on the way to worship God. Some people chant mantras, but common man doesn't know mantras. When I stand in front of God I get confused whether to thank him or ask him to protect family etc., Or ask him directly what I want like a new job or happy family. I have seen people praying that if I get a new job, I will do thulabharam with ghee or butter. Or I will do annadanam if I get a promotion.. I feel like it is a barter system.. I don't know if its my ignorance thatI am feeling this way. Please do correct me if i am wrong. My only concern now is how to worship God?
Do you have an agenda when you talk to your mother? No isn't it? In the same way, God doesn't want falseness. If you don't believe in what you say, then don't say it; say something that comes from your heart, something that you are passionate about. Tell her how wonderful Her creation is, how much you love Her, how much you care about the people She cares about. Read my prayer post, it might help you in the beginning. Then you can make your own prayers. It is like buying garlands and offering to God, that is the standard slokas that we read. It can also be buying loose flowers and making the garlands yourself and so is the poetry that you write for Her.
Decide how you want to be,
1. Are you a son who is always by the mother side asking for food, clothing, expensive car etc., Dependent on the mother for all your desires (devotee who pesters for everything)
Or 2. A child you tells the mother, I will stand by you and help you at all times (devotee who does selfless work without complaining)
Or 3. Child who says mother give me this and I will give you this (devotee who offers thulabharam)
Or 4. Child who says , I have money but no time for you mother, so I will give you a house, car, driver, and a luxurious life ( devotee who drops millions into the hundi)
and so on... What are you going to be?