Abdur Rahim and lord Siva praising Tulsidas

It is Tulsidas Jayanti today, the birthday of saint and poet Goswami Tulsidas. Tulsidas was born during the month of Sravana, on the 7th lunar day (Saptami Tithi) of the waxing half of Moon cycle (Shukla Paksha). It falls on August 21 this year.

Tulsidas was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. At the time of his birth, he already had all his 32 teeth in place. He was born in lunar constellation of Moola Nakshatra. His family abandoned him considering it to be a bad omen. According to some astrologers, Moola Nakshatra is one of the set of nakshatras known as Ganda Moola that are considered inauspicious. But it is also believed that if a child born in one of these nakshatras survives first few years, he/she grows up to be very intelligent.

Tulsidas was an incarnation of Sage Valmiki. Valmiki composed the original Ramayana in Sanskrit. Tulsidas re-wrote Ramayana in Awadhi dialect of Hindi so that common people could understand. His version is known as the epic Ramacharitmanas.

Lord Siva on Tulsidas: In Bhavishyottar Purana, lord Shiva tells his wife Parvati how Valmiki, who got a boon from Hanuman to sing the glory of Rama, will incarnate in future in the Kali Yuga:

वाल्मीकिस्तुलसीदासः कलौ देवि भविष्यति ।
रामचन्द्रकथामेतां भाषाबद्धां करिष्यति ॥

vālmīkistulasīdāsaḥ kalau devi bhaviṣyati ।
rāmacandrakathāmetāṃ bhāṣābaddhāṃ kariṣyati ॥

O Goddess! Valmiki will become Tulsidas in the Kali age, and will compose this narrative of Rama in the vernacular language. ~ Bhavishyottar Purana

Tulsidas also gave us Hanuman Chalisa. Without Tulsidas, we would not be singing glories of Hanuman in this beautiful lyrical form.

Surdas, a devotee of Krishna and a contemporary of Tulsidas, called Tulsidas as Sant Shiromani (the highest jewel among holy men). Abdur Rahim Khankhana, famous Muslim poet who was one of the Navaratnas (nine-gems) in the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar, was a personal friend of Tulsidas. Rahim composed the following verse describing the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas.

रामचरितमानस बिमल संतनजीवन प्रान ।
हिन्दुवान को बेद सम जवनहिं प्रगट कुरान ॥

rāmacaritamānasa bimala santanajīvana prāna ।
hinduvāna ko beda sama javanahi̐ pragaṭa kurāna ॥

The immaculate Ramcharitmanas is the breath of the life of saints. It is similar to the Vedas for the Hindus, and it is the Quran manifest for the Muslims.

Jai Tulsidas!

Goswami Tulsidas

Ancestral worship – Aug 13

Amāvasyā, the New Moon is considered most auspicious for worshiping ancestors. It is said that our ancestors visit the Earth plane on the night of Amāvasyā. “Feeding” our ancestors on this night makes sure that their needs are taken care of so they can focus on showering their blessings on us.

WHEN
Starts at 6:23 AM Pacific Time Aug 13, Thursday morning
Ends at 7:53 AM Pacific Time Aug 14, Friday morning

There are many ceremonies and offerings one can make to ancestors. Some of them include offering a Janeu (sacred thread) to a pipal tree and worship the pipal tree, chanting mantras while going around it 108 times. But in this day and age it is hard to find a pipal tree, let alone do all the rituals associated with it.

Easiest remedy is chanting the following 2 mantras while keeping our ancestors in mind on this day. Pictures of our ancestors should only be hung or displayed on the South wall of the house. It is good to light an incense in front of their picture.

Pitri (ancestral) mantra for Krishna: worshiping ancestors through Krishna.

ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय नमः
Om Namo Bhagvate Vāsudevāya Namaha

This mantra is for Krishna. Krishna is considered the supreme among ancestors. In Bhagwat Gita Chapter 10, verse 29 Sri Krishna explains:

अनन्तश्चास्मि नागानां वरुणो यादसामहं
पितृणामर्यमा चास्मि यमः संयमतामहम्।।29।।

Of all the many headed non-poisonous Nāgās (deified serpents) I am the divine serpent Ananta. Of all aquatics, I am Varuna, the lord of all beings who live in water. Among the deified ancestors I am Aryamā. Of all administrators of justice, I am Yamarāj, the judge of all beings at the time of death.

Simple Pitri (ancestral) Mantra: In this mantra we are directly invoking them and offering our respects.

ॐ पितृभ्यः नमः
Om Pitribhyaha Namaha

ghee-lamp

Āditya Hridayam – the Heart of the Sun God

Lord Rām was already exhausted in the battle fighting the demons. And now he was faced with the all-powerful Rāvana who was well prepared for the ensuing battle. Lord Rām was in deep thought while looking at Rāvana with full concentration. Sage Agastya and all other Gods had come to witness this epic battle. Seeing the worry and tiredness on Lord Rām’s face, sage Agastya came to Lord Rām and gave him the secret wisdom of Sun worship through Āditya Hridayam.

There are 31 verses in Āditya Hridayam and the following 2 are my favorite.

VERSE 3:
राम राम महाबाहो शृणु गुह्यं सनातनम् |
येन् सर्वानरीन वत्स समरे विजयिष्यसि ||

Rām Rām Mahābāho Shrunu Guhyam Sanātanam |
Yen Sarvānrin Vatsa Samare Vijayishyasi ||

MEANING: ‘O Rama’, ‘O Mighty armed elegant Rama’, listen carefully to the eternal secret by which, ‘O my child’, you shall conquer all your enemies on the battle field and win against your adversaries.

VERSE 5:
सर्वमङ्गल माङ्गल्यं सर्वपापप्रणाशनम् ||
चिन्ताशोक-प्रशमन-मायुर्वर्धन-मुत्तमम् ||

Sarva Mangal Māngalyam Sarvapāp Pranāshanam |
Chintā Shok Prashamana Māyurvardhan-Muttamam ||

MEANING: This supreme prayer is the best amongst auspicious verses, it will destroy all sins, dispel all doubts, alleviate worry and sorrow, anxiety and anguish, and will give longevity and complete prosperity.

FULL HYMN: This is my favorite rendition of Aditya Hridayam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIKjaNjN2rA.

Chanting of Āditya Hridayam is especially beneficial on Sundays.

Om Suryāya Namaha!

Surya

Lord Ram 3

Lord Ram recites Aditya Hridayam

Guru meri Pooja (Guru is my worship)

“Guru is my worship, Guru is my Lord. Guru is the Ultimate Reality, the beloved God” ~ Gurumaa

Guru Poornima, the Full Moon that belongs to Gurus is on July 30 in the US and July 31 in India. Poornima (Full Moon) starts at 6:32 AM Pacific time on July 30 (Thursday) and ends at 3:42 AM on early morning of July 31.

Guru is someone who takes us from darkness to light. Without the grace of Guru it is very hard to find God. This Guru need not be a physical person. But the journey of life becomes so much easier when we do find a Guru in flesh and blood. It is through extreme good karma in the past lives that we find a physical Guru. And even more good karma to be able to sit at the feet of Guru in our lifetime.

Ramana Maharshi says that it is by God’s Grace that you think of God. That is true. But I think it is also by God’s Grace that we find a Guru. And in fact it is with the Grace of Guru that we find God. So Guru is even more important than God. Without Guru, our life is like a journey without a road map. If we have Grace of Guru though, our life is on auto pilot.

I bow down to all the Gurus I have had in my life. The only person who does more for us than our Guru is our own mother. Besides a mother, it is only the Guru who gives selflessly, tirelessly and endlessly!

Om Guruh Brahma Guruh Vishnu Guruh Devo Maheshwarah Guruh Sakshat Para Brahma Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha!

This is one of my favorite bhajans on Guru, sung by Gurumaa herself.

Jai Gurudev

Gurudev

Roar of a Compassionate Heart

Moon will be kissing Venus and Jupiter over the next couple of days. Moon and Venus are both connected with Bhakti and pure love. Moon is Krishna. Moon is our heart, the seat of love. Venus is the planet of love and devotion. They both coming together in the skies electrifies the environment and makes it so much easier to surrender. Any feelings of devotion and bhakti and pure love will be accentuated. No matter where we are. No matter our circumstances. No matter our beliefs and background. We all are love. There is only love. Nothing else.

And this union of Moon, Venus and Jupiter is taking place in the constellation of Magha. Magha is the royal constellation. The symbol of Magha is a throne. Paramhamsa Yogananda had his rising sign as well as Moon in Magha. So this union of these 3 benefics in the skies is not one of weak devotees. It is the union of compassionate hearts roaring like a lion longing for meeting with their eternal lover.

bhakti-yoga

Why 108?

Why is 108 considered a sacred number? Why does a Mala have 108 beads?

There are many references to this number in Buddhism, in the “Golden Rule” of the Greeks, in Numerology, and 108 gopis of Vrindavan.

In Jyotish (Vedic astrology), there are many indications as well. Most common and well know among them are: 1) There are 9 planets and there are 12 signs. 9 times 12 gives 108. 2) There are 27 Nakshatras (lunar constellations) and each is divided into 4 padas or divisions. Again, 27 times 4 gives 108.

But to a skeptic mind, these Astronomical “coincidences” may come as a surprise: 1) Distance between the Earth and the Moon is approx 108 times the size of the Moon. 2) Distance between the Earth and the Sun is approx 108 times the size of the Sun. 3) Size of the Sun is approx 108 times the size of the Earth.

Nothing is random in this Universe…or in ancient wisdom.

Sun Earth and Moon

Gayatri Jayanti – May 27/28

Gayatri Jayanti is celebrated as the day when sage Vishwamitra uttered Gayatri Mantra for the first time. It is observed on the 10th Tithi (Lunar day) of the Jyestha Lunar month. This year (2015), it falls on May 27 in the US and May 28 in India.

The word Gayatri is derived from two words: 1) gaya, meaning “vital energies” and 2) trâyate, meaning “preserves, protects, grants liberation.” So, the words “Gayatri Mantra” might be translated as “a prayer of praise that awakens the vital energies and gives liberation and deliverance from ignorance.”

Gayatri mantra is not just a means of worship, it is an object of worship itself. There is no difference between the Gayatri Mantra and Ma Gayatri herself.

Gayatri Mantra:
ॐ भूर्भुवः॒ स्वः । तत्स॑वितुर्वरे॑ण्यं भ॒र्गो॑ दे॒वस्य॑ धीमहि । धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त् ॥

Meaning in Hindi:
उस प्राण स्वरुप, दुःख नाशक, सुख स्वरुप, श्रेष्ठ, तेजस्वी, पाप नाशक, देव स्वरुप परमात्मा को हम अंतरात्मा में धारण करें, वह परमात्मा हमारी बुद्धि को सन्मार्ग की ओर प्रेरित करें।

Meaning in English:
We meditate on the glory of the Creator; Who has created the Universe; Who is worthy of Worship; Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light; Who is the remover of Sin and Ignorance; May He open our hearts and enlighten our Intellect.

It is highly beneficial to do Anushthaan (dedicated chanting of a mantra specified number of times every day) from today until Gayatri Jayanti (May 27/28). You can daily chant 1 or 3 or 5 or 11 or 21 Malas (one Mala is 108 beads).

Gayatri

Akshaya Tritiya

WHAT: Kshaya means destruction and when we add prefix “A” in front of it, it means indestructible or something that is everlasting. So anything we do on Akshaya Tritiya grows with time and can never be destroyed. Hence it is recommended to begin auspicious things, projects, purchases or relationships on this day.

WHY: On Akshaya Tritiya, both Sun and Moon are exalted. This happens only once a year. Sun and Moon are two luminaries (light givers). Sun gives light during the day and Moon gives light during the night. With both these luminaries in their exalted position, we are bound to receive light throughout the life of our project or undertaking begun on this day.

WHEN: Exact window of Akshaya Tritiya falls between 6:34 AM Pacific time on April 20, 2015 (Monday) until 4:39 AM Pacific time on April 21, 2015.

So what specific things can you do on Akshaya Tritiya? Here are some examples:

  • In India this is a big day for purchase of Gold.
  • Purchase of a new House.
  • Any new investment – real estate, stocks etc.
  • Starting a new relationship. Committing yourself in your mind to a new relationship on this day will bring growth and will never destroy that relationship.
  • Starting a company or website.
  • Accepting a new job offer.

STORY OF AKSHAYA PATRA: In Mahabharata, Pandavas and Draupadi ate out of Akshaya Patra (vessel which never exhausted). One day they needed food for a visiting sage and Draupadi prayed to Krishna for food. Krishna appeared and ate the last grain of rice which was stuck on Akshaya Patra. That one grain of rice satisfied Krishna’s belly. Krishna being the Supreme Being himself, this one grain in turn satisfied all living beings, including that visiting sage. Thus Draupadi’s problem of having to feed the sage was solved.

Akshaya Patra

Romance, Wisdom, Silence in the skies tonight

MARS (the raw Masculine energy) is kissing VENUS (the gentle Feminine shakti) in the romantic sign of Pisces (both at 7 degrees).

MOON (the Mind) is having deep esoteric conversations with KETU (the recluse hermit, planet of Moksha), both sitting in Revati Nakshatra in the philosophical sign of Pisces.

JUPITER (the Guru) is going over some of the Shastras again that it had already mastered just to make sure it did not miss any important teachings – retro (checking things again) and exalted in Cancer (its sign of its exaltation).

MERCURY (the master of communication) is busy listening to the sounds of silence of the Universe in Sravana Nakshatra (the constellation connected with listening).

Skies Feb 21, 2015

The Big Night of Siva

Maha Siva Ratri (the great night of Siva). Begins Monday night 11:07 pm Pacific time, ends Tuesday evening 7:36 pm Pacific time.

SIVA: The one who lives on cremation grounds. The one who wears a mala of skulls around his neck. The one who smears ashes on his body. The one who wears Chandra (Moon) on his forehead. The one who is completely naked and detached. The one who is so deep in meditation that when Brahma sent the Lord of lust Kamadeva to distract him, he burned Kamadev to ashes with his 3rd eye.

I pray to you dear Bholenath:

  • Oh Pranava (the sound OM) let me lose myself in the Sounds of your Silent Meditation
  • Oh Nataraja (king of dance), destroy my ego with your Dance of Destruction (Tandav Nritya)
  • Oh Devadeva (lord of the lords) drown me in the Ecstasy of your Devotion
  • Oh Trilochana (one with 3 eyes), wipe my tears of joy with the warmth of your Third Eye
  • Oh Keeper of the Souls, make me a Selfless servant of all the Souls
  • Oh Ashutosh (one who fulfills all desires), dissolve all my desires in your Limitless Wisdom
  • Oh Gangadhara (Lord of River Ganga), cleanse my sinful body and mind with the pure waters of Ganges
  • Oh Mahakal (Lord of All Times), make me yours, now and for Eternity.

Har Har Mahadev !
Jai Shiva Shambho !!
Om Namaha Sivaya !!!

Sivaratri