Author Archives: illuminatelifetoday

Who is Siva?

Siva is not just the destroyer. He is Brāhman, He is Purusha, He is Sadāsiva, He is pure consciousness. He drank halāhal (the poison coming out of the churning of the Ocean) to save humanity. Will a destroyer do that? He brought holy river Gangā on earth by carrying her weight in his matted hair. Will a destroyer help nourish the earth?

He is not just the destroyer. He is all five: the Creator, the Preserver, the Destroyer, the Māyā (illusion) and the Grace. The word Siva means the auspicious one. He embraces everyone. He is Pashupati, the lord of all creatures. For Siva, there is no good or bad, there is no right or wrong. He is the friend of demons and ghosts. He wears snakes around his neck and carries a skull as his begging bowl. He smears ashes of the dead on his body and dwells in cremation grounds and icy caves of the mountains. Kubera (the king of yakshas), Ravana (the king of demons) and Shukra (the guru of asuras) are among his greatest devotees. There is nothing inauspicious when we are talking about Siva. And there is nothing else other than Siva. Om Namaha Sivāya.


Before You Get a Reading

If you go for a reading to an astrologer, they will talk in terms of Houses and Signs. For most people who have had minimal exposure to astrology, it is not easy to comprehend what the astrologer is talking about. What is a House and what is a Sign and how to look at your chart? Full zodiac is 360 degrees. In Vedic astrology, there are 9 Planets, 12 Houses and 12 Signs. In Equal House system, each house spans 30 degrees along the ecliptic. The picture below shows the North Indian style of representing a horoscope. First House is on the top in the middle and you go counter-clockwise to 2nd house, 3rd house and so on all the way to the 12th house. Houses are imaginary, Signs are real. 12 imaginary Houses overlay on top of the 12 Signs of the zodiac in the background. The Sign of the First House is known as the Ascendant or the Rising sign – it is the Sign or constellation that was rising on the eastern horizon when you were born. The position of Houses remains fixed in every chart i.e. the 1st House will always be on top in the middle, 2nd house next and so on.  But the Sign that each of these houses falls in may change from one person to another depending on their time and place of birth. Houses represent different areas of our life. For example 1st House is the house of our self, our physical body and intellect. Whereas Signs are the environment and tools that are available for the 9 Planets to deliver karma.


Vishākhā, Ashleshā and Bharani

Saturn and Mars are currently transiting in Anurādhā Nakshatra (lunar mansion). If we look at Sarvatobhadra Chakra (picture below), any planets placed in Anurādhā cast a vedhā (obstruction) on the following 3 Nakshatras: Vishākhā, Ashleshā and Bharani. So if you have important planets (such as Moon, Sun or Lagna) in any of these 3 Nakshatrās, you may be feeling intense pressure. This should ease by mid September. Mars moves out of Anurādhā on August 25 (in the evening pacific time) and Saturn moves out of Anurādhā on Sep 17 (morning pacific time). Until then, Hanumān is the savior.


Jai Bajrang Bali,

Narasimha Jayanti

Appearance day of Lord Narasimha : 14th Lunar day of the waxing phase of Vaisakha lunar month is celebrated as the appearance day of Lord Narasimha.

Starts: 9:53 am PDT (California time), Thursday, May 19, 2016
Ends: 12:12 pm PDT (California time), Friday, May 20, 2016

SIGNIFICANCE: Lord Vishnu’s 4th incarnation was in the form of half-lion/half-man, known as Narasimha (Nara means man and Simha means lion). In this particular incarnation, he saved the life of his devotee Prahalād from his father who was a demon king Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu was dead against his son’s devotion to lord Vishnu. He challenged his son that if his Vishnu is real, he should appear in front of him and save him. Lord Vishnu did. Hiranyakashipu had received a boon that he cannot be killed by a man or an animal, he cannot be killed during day or night time, he cannot be killed inside or outside, he cannot be killed on the earth or in the sky and he cannot be killed by any weapon. So lord Narasimha (who was neither a man nor an animal) killed Hiranyakashipu at dusk (neither day nor night time) at the doorway (neither inside, nor outside), on his lap (neither on the earth nor in the skies) by piercing his chest with his nails (without any weapon). Lord Vishnu always answers the prayers of his sincere devotees.

Narasimha Mahā Mantra:


Mars the King

For the next 7 days, Mars is the king. Mars is final dispositor (ruler) of all the planets in the skies for the next 7 days. What this means is that all the other 8 planets are in the signs which are ultimately ruled by Mars. For example: Jupiter is in Leo which is ruled by Sun — Sun is in Aries which is ruled by Mars — And Mars itself is in its own sign Scorpio. Let us take another example: Ketu is in Aquarius which is ruled by Saturn — Saturn is in Scorpio which is ruled by Mars — And Mars again is in its own sign Scorpio.

So if we honor Mars at this time, we will in turn be honoring all the 9 planets. Here are a few things you can do to bring positive energies of Mars:

  • Chant Hanuman Chalisa.
  • Simple mantra for Mars: Om Mangalaaya Namaha. ॐ मङ्गलाय नमः
  • Beej mantra for Mars: Om kraam krim kraum sah bhaumaaya namah. ॐ क्रां क्रीं क्रौं सः भौमाय नमः
  • Do Hatha yoga because Mars is a physical planet.
  • Volunteer physical labor.
  • Mars is in Anuradha Nakshatra right now which is connected with Radha, the consort of Krishna and embodiment of love. Bhakti and devotion as exemplified by Radha is the best remedy.

Jai Radha Madhava

One Grain of Rice Offered to Krishna

Whether glass is half empty or half full does not matter. We are asking the wrong question. Every single drop of water in the glass has the potential to quench the thirst of entire cosmos. Each drop is as powerful as the Ocean itself. Sudama was Krishna’s best friend. He was poor and did not have very many material belongings. One day Sri Krishna visited him unannounced. Sudama did not have anything nice to offer him. All he had was one grain of rice left. Sri Krishna took that grain, put it in his mouth and through that one grain of rice fed all the beings on Earth, the Gods and the entire creation. It was a grain offered with love by a dear friend and a devotee whose heart was as pure as chandan (sandalwood).

PLANETARY COMBINATIONS: Everyone is suffering. We look around and all of us can feel intense pressure one way or the other. We may see people smiling around us but you go beneath the surface and will find out that they are all dealing with so many issues. Mars is aspecting Saturn (4th aspect, exact degree). Saturn in turn is aspecting Moon (3rd aspect) as well as Mars (10th aspect). Sun is with Rahu (same degree). Rahu is aspecting Moon (5th aspect) and is aspecting Mars (12th aspect). This seems like a lot of intense energy. But there is absolutely no progress on the spiritual path without involvement of these malefic (harsh) planets. They are like strict teachers in school. We could not stand them while we were in school but once we graduate, strict teachers are usually the ones we remember fondly and are most thankful for.

ARE WE THANKFUL? If we can breathe fresh air, If we have eyes to be able to see, If we can walk on this Earth, If we have lips to smile, If we have longing for the Divine in our hearts… Then we have enough. Because all that matters is a single drop of water or a single grain of rice.

DEVI PHASE: This morning with the equinox, we entered the Devi phase which lasts for 6 months. Devi is Prakriti. Devi is hidden. Devi is gentle and sensitive. Devi resides in our Heart. As we go within during this phase belonging to Shakti, we will find precious jewels within which were not visible earlier due to blinding external sources of artificial light.

Here is a wonderful chant called Devi Suktam, a collection of sacred versus recognizing the Shakti within:

O Mother, you are the supreme consciousness of the Purusha. Salutations O Devi, the auspiciousness in the auspicious, the prosperity (Lakshmi) of the prosperous. Oh Durga, you enable men to cross the Ocean of the world, You are the life, strength and cause of all.

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु बुद्धि रूपेन संस्थिता |
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु निद्रा रूपेन संस्थिता |
नमस् तस्यै, नमस् तस्यै, नमस् तस्यै, नमो नमः ||

Ya devi sarvabhuteshu buddhi – rupena samsthita
Ya devi sarvabhuteshu nidra – rupena samsthita
Namas tasyai, namas tasyai, namas tasyai namo namah

Oh Divine Mother, who dwells in the form of INTELLIGENCE in all living beings. Oh Divine Mother, who exists in the form of SLEEP in all living beings. Salutations again and again.

Jai Ma!!!


Sankat Mochan – Hanuman

Hanuman has a very special status among the Hindu deities. He is the son of the wind God. Even Saturn (Shani) could not harm Hanuman when he was going through his Sadhe Sati (the seven and a half year period during which Saturn passes over our natal Moon). At the onset of Hanuman’s Sadhe Sati, Shani came and sat on his back. But Hanuman grew bigger and bigger and squeezed Shani between his shoulders. Shani asked him to let him go. Hanuman agreed on one condition that Shani will not harm Hanuman’s devotees.

Hanuman Chalisa is the most sacred chant for Hanuman, written by saint Tulsidas. It is auspicious to recite this especially on Tuesdays (for Mars) and Saturdays (for Shani).

This is the opening verse of Chalisa:

बुद्धिहीन तनु जानिके, सुमिरौं पवन कुमार ।
बल बुद्धिविद्या देहु मोहिं, हरहु कलेश विकार ॥

Buddhi-Hiina Tanu Jaanike, Sumirau Pavan Kumaar |
Bala Buddhi-Vidyaa Dehu Mohi, Harahu Kalesha Vikaar ||

Meaning: Realizing that I lack Intelligence, I Meditate on You, O Pavan Kumar (Son of the wind). Please bless me with Strength, Wisdom and Knowledge, and take away my Afflictions and Blemishes.

Full Chalisa:

Jai Hanuman!!!