Author Archives: illuminatelifetoday

Solar versus Lunar Eclipse

We are in the midst of eclipses. Solar and Lunar eclipse always come together with a 2-week gap. Solar eclipse takes place during a New Moon and Lunar eclipse takes place during a Full Moon. We had a powerful Solar eclipse on July 2, 2019 and we will have a big Lunar eclipse on July 16, 2019. See exact times in my Vedic Calendar here.

What is the fundamental difference between Solar eclipse and Lunar eclipse? What should we do during an eclipse?

Sun is the king of the solar system. Sun represents our soul. Solar eclipse is a time when Sun is engulfed / swallowed by Rahu or Ketu (the nodes of the Moon). Sun is the source of Light. Rahu and Ketu are shadow planets (no light). Rest of the 6 planets (Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn) receive their light from the Sun and simply reflect that light back. So when Sun is eclipsed by Rahu or Ketu, all the other 6 planets will be in the dark, they will not receive any light from the Sun. Solar eclipse is an eclipse of the Soul. It is a big deal.

But usually Lunar eclipse seems to have more impact on us than a Solar Eclipse. Why is that? Moon represents our mind. Moon (mind) reflects the light of the Sun (soul). On every Full Moon (eclipse or not), our mind experiences an emotional overflow. But on a Full Moon when Moon is eclipsed, our mind seems to have lost touch with our soul momentarily. So not only there is emotional overflow during a Lunar Eclipse but also there is no guidance from the Sun (soul). We may feel lost or overwhelmed.

So what do we do during a Lunar eclipse? There is no external light to guide us. Our mind has lost touch with the soul. First of all, we need protection of the mind. How do we do that? Through Mantras. The word Mantra comes from Man (mind) + Tra (protection). Mantra is something that protects our mind. So doing mantra during an eclipse is extremely important. Secondly, since mind is eclipsed, we need to try and go directly to the source, reach the soul without support of the mind. Just Be. Meditate. Discover our pure Self. Practice dissolution of our mind and body.

Namaste,
Amit

24 Sages and 24 Gods of Gāyatri Mantra

Upanishads are part of Vedas and are known as Vedānta (‘anta’ means ending). They are philosophical discussions on the nature of ultimate reality, which is known by various names: Ātman, Brāhman, Om, Pranav, Parabrahma, Supreme Consciousness etc. There are over 200 Upanishads surviving today. One of them, Gāyatri Rahasya Upanishad is a dialog between sage Yājñavalkya and lord Brahmā. This Upanishad talks about the secrets and divine power of Gāyatri Mantra.

There are 24 letters (akshar) in Gāyatri Mantra. Each letter of Gāyatri Mantra is associated with a different Shakti (divine power), different Devatā (God), different Rishi (sage), different Tattva (element), different Mudrā, different Avatār (incarnation) and even different flower. All these are elaborated in Gāyatri Rahasya Upanishad. Here in this article I am presenting one sloka (verse) from that Upanishad, as translated by my Gurudev Pandit Sriram Sharma Acharya in his monumental work 108 Upanishads (Title: १०८ उपनिषद्, सरल हिंदी भावार्थ सहित).


24 Letters of Gāyatri Mantra:

ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः। तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो  देवस्य धीमहि। धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्॥
२४ अक्षर: १) तत्,२) स, ३) वि, ४) तु, ५) र्व, ६) रे, ७) णि, ८) यं, ९) भ, १०) र्गो, ११) दे, १२) व, १३) स्य, १४) धी, १५) म, १६) हि, १७) धि, १८) यो, १९) यो, २०) नः, २१) प्र, २२) चो, २३) द, २४) यात् |

Om Bhoor Bhuvah Swaha Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayāt.
24 Letters: 1) Tat, 2) Sa, 3) Vi, 4) Tu, 5) Rva, 6) Re, 7) Ni, 8) Yam, 9) Bha, 10) Rgo, 11) De, 12) Va, 13) Sya, 14) Dhee, 15) Ma, 16) Hi, 17) Dhi, 18) Yo, 19) Yo, 20) Nah, 21) Pra, 22) Cho, 23) Da, 24) Yāt.


24 Gods and 24 Sages Associated with 24 Letters of Gāyatri Mantra:

प्रथममाग्नेयं द्वितीयं प्रजापत्यं तृतीयं सौम्यं चतुर्थमीशानं पंचममादित्यं षष्ठं गार्हपत्यं सप्तमं मैत्रमष्टमं भागदैवतं नवममार्यमणं दशमं सावित्रमेकादशं त्वाष्ट्रं द्वादशं पौष्णं त्रयोदशमैंद्राग्नं चतुर्दशं वायव्यं पञ्चदशं वामदेवं षोडशं मैत्रावरुणं सप्तदशं भ्रातृव्यमष्टादशं वैष्णवमेकोनविशं वामनं विंशं वैश्वदेवमेकविंशं रौद्रं द्वाविंशं कौबेरं त्रयोविंशमाश्विनं चतुर्विंशं भ्राह्ममिति प्रत्यक्षरदैवतानी |

प्रथमं वासिष्ठं द्वितीयं भारद्वाजं तृतीयं गार्ग्यं चतुर्थं उपामन्यवं पञ्चमं भार्गवं षष्ठं शाण्डिल्यं सप्तमं लौहितमष्टमं वैष्णवं नवमं शातातपं दशमं सनत्कुमार एकादशं वेदव्यासं द्वादशं शुकं त्रयोदशं पाराशर्यं चतुर्दशं पौण्ड्रकं पञ्चदशं क्रतुं षोडशं दाक्षं सप्तदशं कश्यपं अष्टदशं आत्रेयं ऐकोनविंशं अगस्त्यं विंशमौद्यालकं एकविंशं आंगिरसं द्वाविंशं नामिकेतुं त्रयोविंशं मौद्गल्यं चतुर्विंशं अंगिरसं वैश्वामित्रमिति प्रत्यक्षराणामृषयो भवन्ति |

~ Gāyatri Rahasya Upanishad, sloka #5


As described in the above sloka, names of Devatās (Gods) associated with each letter of Gāyatri Mantra are as follows:

1) Agni, 2) Prajāpati, 3) Soma (Chandramā), 4) Ishān, 5) Āaditya, 6) Gāhrapatya (Agnivishesh), 7) Maitra, 8) Bhaga, 9) Āryamān, 10) Savitā, 11) Twashtrā, 12) Pushā, 13) Indrāgni, 14) Vāyu, 15) Vāmdeva, 16) Maitrāvaruna, 17) Bhrātrivya, 18) Vishnu, 19) Vāmana, 20) Vaishwadev, 21) Rudradev, 22) Kuber, 23) Aswini Kumār, 24) Brahmadev.

And names of Rishis (sages) associated with each letter of Gāyatri Mantra are as follows:

1) Vasishtha, 2) Bharadwāj, 3) Garg, 4) Upamanyu, 5) Bhrigu (Bhārgava), 6) Shāndilya, 7) Lohit, 8) Vishnu, 9) Shātātap, 10) Sanatkumar, 11) Ved Vyās, 12) Shukdev, 13) Parāshar, 14) Paundrik, 15) Kritu, 16) Daksha, 17) Kashyap, 18) Atri, 19) Agastya, 20) Udyālak, 21) Āngiras, 22) Nāmiketu, 23) Mudgal, 24) Vishvāmitra from Angirā lineage.

Devatās (Gods) and Rishis (Sages) are very intimately connected with each other. Through their penance and deep meditation, Rishis awaken the shakti of Devatās. These Rishis were highly enlightened beings who realized wisdom of the Vedas through their intense meditation. Simply chanting Gāyatri Mantra takes us closer to these Rishis as well as Gods and gives us a taste of nectar of their wisdom and blessings.

Birth of Pāṇḍavas, the Heroes of Mahābhārata

This story is from the epic Mahābhārata. The Mahābhārata is a legendary narrative of the Kurukṣetra War and describes the heroic lives of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes. It also contains immense philosophical and devotional wisdom. Biggest treasure in Mahābhārata is Bhagawad Gitā, which is a dialog between Lord Shri Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Gitā is a 700 shloka (verse) scripture in which Lord Sri Krishna teaches about selfless action, dharma, bhakti (devotion) and ways of achieving moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).

Pāṇḍavas were born around 3,200 BCE. They were the five sons of King Pāṇḍu, hence they were known as the Pāṇḍavas. One day while hunting in the forest, Pāṇḍu shot arrows and killed two deer embracing each other. Those deer were actually a sage and his wife who had transformed their body. They cursed Pāṇḍu that he will die if he ever embraces a woman. Hence, he could never have a child.

Fortunately, Kunti, the older wife of Pāṇḍu, received a boon from Sage Durvasa. The boon was that by chanting a specific mantra, she could invoke any God and immediately give birth to a child. Pāṇḍu asked her to invoke the mantra. Kunti did so 3 times and as a result conceived three sons. She first invoked Yama, God of Dharma and conceived Yudhishthir as a result. Yudhishthir was known as Dharma-rāj. He was the most righteous and truthful person alive. Then Kunti invoked Vāyu, God of wind and gave birth to Bhimasena. Bhimasena or Bhima for short was thus known as Vāyu-putra (son of wind). He was mighty powerful like the wind. Lastly Kunti invoked Indra, the King of Gods and conceived Arjuna. Thus, Pāṇḍu and Kunti had three sons: Yudhishthir, Bhima and Arjuna. Pāṇḍu also had another wife, Madri. Madri also used Kunti’s mantra and conceived two sons of her own – Nakul and Sahadev. They were twins and were the sons of the Gods Ashwini Kumars, the Divine Physicians. This is how the five Pāṇḍavas came into being.

Birth of Pāṇḍavas in English:

Namaste,
Amit

Pandavas

2018 Festival Dates

5 days of Diwali celebration begins tomorrow, November 4, 2018. The first of these 5 days is celebrated as Dhan Teras. This day is also known as Dhanwantri Trayodashi, the appearance day of lord Dhanwantri who came out of the Ocean with a pot of amrita (nectar) in his hand on this day. Please see below exact dates and times for Dhan Teras and Diwali for India and USA (PST).

You can also find this information on my website here: https://ganesha-hanuman.com/vedic-calendar/

Calendar Dates

Namaste,

Amit

Yoga & Jyotish

“Jyotish (Vedic Astrology) gives us the knowledge to know our Karma and Yoga gives us the path to reach eternal joy. If we don’t overcome the Karma of the mind and body, how can we remove the obstacles to the path of the soul? This book bridges this gap between Jyotish and Yoga with very deep understanding of the human body, mind and soul.” ~ Souvik Dutta, AIAC Guru.

It is the first book of its kind that combines Yoga and Jyotish. We are all unique individuals with a unique footprint of Karma in the past lives which gives us our unique body and mind in this lifetime. Our Karma is shown by our astrological chart. This book offers guidance on how to tailor your Yoga Practice with the tools of Yogāsana, Prānāyāma, Mudrā, Maṇtra and Āyurveda based on your Rising Sign in your Horoscope.

Available here for purchase.

Om Shanti,
Amit Garg

Book CoverJPG

Book Back cover

Akshay Tritiya – Parashuram, Sudama, Yudhishthir

Coming up this week is Akshay Tritiya – this is the only day in the whole year when Sun and Moon both are exalted. Exalted means dignified and feeling strong. Sun and Moon are the luminaries. Sun gives us light during the day and Moon gives us light during the night. Sun is the King of the day and Moon is the Queen of the night. Akshay means that which cannot be destroyed or decayed. So, any work done on Akshay Tritiya grows. It is one of the best days to start projects, give donation, start education, take vows, make promises, initiate mantras and start taking herbs. 6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Lord Parashuram was born on this day and he became a Chiranjivi – one who never dies and lives forever. Sudama visited Lord Krishna on this day with a handful of rice and their friendship is immortal. Yudhishthir received Akshay patra (bowl that provides food for eternity) from Lord Krishna on this day to feed pandavas.

Akshay Tritiya Timing for 2018:
PDT: starts 3:19 pm April 17 (Tuesday) and ends 1:00 pm April 18 (Wednesday)
India: starts 3:49 am April 18 (Wednesday) and ends 1:30 am April 19 (Thursday)

Within the lunar day of Akshay Tritiya, sthir lagna (fixed rising sign – especially Taurus) is best for initiating things but if you don’t know timing for sthir lagnas for your location, the entire lunar day of Akshay Tritiya is good. Remember, Tithis (lunar days such as Akshay Tritiya) have nothing to do with sunrise or day of the week. Tithis start at exact same moment everywhere on Earth and end at same exact moment everywhere.

New Moon – new beginnings
This month’s New Moon is taking place at 7:00 pm PDT on April 15 ( Sunday) in the sign of Aries. New Moon takes place when Sun and Moon are exactly at the same point in the zodiac. Sun is our father and Moon is our mother. A child is born only when father and mother come together. Union of Sun and Moon every New Moon signifies this birth of a new cycle. This particular monthly cycle will be an Aries cycle. See which house is Aries in your birth chart or horoscope and that house or area of life will have focus and powerful energy throughout the next 29 days or so. For example, if Aries is in your 4th house, then you will have powerful energy at your disposal this month to heal your mother, renovate your house, start projects at your place of residence etc. Within Aries, this New Moon is taking place in the lunar mansion (Nakshatra) of Ashwini. Ashwini symbolizes healing. Deity of Ashwini are Ashwini Kumaras – the celestial healers. They go around and heal the Gods. So a big theme for this next cycle is healing.

Om Shanti,
Amit Garg
https://www.ganesha-hanuman.com/

Siva, Tripurantaka – the slayer of 3 cities of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas

The demon Taraka was killed by Kartikeya, the son of Lord Siva. His 3 sons Tarakaksha, Vidyunmali and Kamalaksha were furious and wanted to take revenge. They worshiped Brahma and asked for a boon of immortality. Brahma said he cannot grant that. They came up with a clever idea. They asked from Brahma for 3 cities which will float in the heavens, the skies and the earth plane respectively. These cities can only be destroyed when all 3 are aligned in straight line and can be destroyed only by a single arrow and that too shot by none other than lord Siva himself. Brahma granted them their wish. So gaining virtual immortality, the 3 demon brothers started creating havoc. Gods pleaded to Siva and Siva agreed to help. Vishwakarma, the celestial architect designed the heavenly chariot. Sun became the right wheel and Moon the left wheel, Vishnu entered the arrow of Siva and Brahma was the charioteer. Siva went on the chariot and at the exact time when 3 cities were aligned when Pushya Nakshatra was rising on the horizon and at the Muhurata of Abhijit, Siva shot the arrow and destroyed the 3 cities.

From that point on, Siva received the name Tripurantaka, the slayer of the 3 cities.

Siva is the divine archer. He is the spirit. Three cities represent the three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas. All three gunas have to come to a state of equilibrium (in a straight line) before the divine archer (Siva) can shoot the arrow of wisdom (Vishnu) and kill (harmonize) all three cities (gunas) and thus give redemption to the jivatma or embodied soul. The time has to be ripe for such liberation, so the arrow has to be shot at the right moment / Muhurata.

(Image: exoticindiaart.com)

Tripurantaka - Exotic India