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What is Namaskara?

NAMASKĀRA is an ancient Hindu custom of greeting and paying respectful salutation that is still prevalent. An action of respect, Namaskāra denotes Greeting, Salutation, and Worship or Surrender. Namaskāra can be done to deities, images of gods, elders, fellow citizens and to all sacred objects including natural elements.

Namaskāra can be done in a variety of ways: by folding one’s hands in the shape of she-goat’s ears and joining palms, bowing down with folded hands, prostrating with the entire body on the ground or part of the body on the ground, touching another’s feet with the head or clasping another’s feet while kneeling down and circumambulating an image or object or a person from left to right with folded hands.

Namaskāra, Praṇāma and Abhivādana are various Hindu customs of greeting and salutations. Of these, Abhivādana is a formal salutation done to Guru, elders and certain other respected people.

While Namaskāra as a greeting and a mark of respect can be performed in both private and public, Abhivādana is not normally done in public though there are occasions where it is done at a public place as well (Smṛti Candrikā I. 38). In Northern India, Abhivādana is not considered as part of Sandhyā Vandanam, a daily ritual, whereas in places like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala it is done as part of the daily rituals.

Why Namaskāra?

Why should respect be given in this way to elders? Won’t mere nodding of head or a smile would do, as practiced in many countries?

Hindu scriptures provide very interesting information in this regard, something that is not found in other cultures or religions [barring religions derived from Hinduism].

Honor or respecting one consists in saluting a person, rising to welcome him/her, allowing the respected person to walk in front, garlanding a person, etc. The grounds on which a person has to be respected or honored are knowledge, performance of religious rites, age, relationship and wealth. The order of these grounds varies in different texts.

So, when a person who is highly knowledgeable or older or wealthier or whose relationship demands respect approaches another, then the latter should rise and show respect to the former in the manner given in the scriptures.

For, Manu says, the prānas or vital breaths of a person mount upwards when a person who is superior in any of the grounds mentioned above approaches; but by rising and respecting such a superior person, one recovers and subsides the prāṇa (II.120, 121). Further, he says, a person who has the habit of constantly saluting the superior persons properly gains increase in length of life, knowledge, fame and strength; as such a person’s body and mind will be well tuned all the time and will be put to optimum use.

Hindu medicinal systems recognize three basic principles, Vāta, Pitta and Kapha and any disturbance of pranic movement results in the disturbance in the equilibrium of these three principles putting body and mind ill at ease. Ill at ease or disease affects both the body and mind equally.

Keeping this in mind, the parents should make children pay respect to elders from the young age. Since children will be more comfortable with the parents than others, they should make children do namaskaram to the parents at least twice a day – on getting up from and on going to bed. This will help children having a healthy body and serene mind to a great extent.

Procedure, Manner and Forms of Salutation

Though Hindu scriptures have definitely delineated certain forms of salutation and worship, numerous others have crept into practice through centuries of practice across India. So, at present there are numerous forms of salutations and giving respect. Some of the important ones are given below along with the procedure of doing them.

Pratyutthāna

Pratyutthāna is rising from one’s seat to receive a person. Pratyutthāna is must for everyone and it does not matter whether the person who is approaching is knowledgeable or ignorant, rich or poor, pure or impure and is in good physical condition or diseased. One should mandatorily rise to welcome everyone. One should not salute and receive the salutations while sitting. After getting up one should fold one’s hands and do namaskāra uttering at least ‘Namaste’ or ‘Praṇām’, give the visitor a chair to sit and offer that person at least a cup of water. However, one need not get up to those who are in an inebriated state, who has committed grievous sins, who are known thieves and the like. One need not get up and receive someone who is younger to oneself, if he / she do not qualify for respectful salutations on the five grounds listed above.

Namaskāra

Namaskāra as a form of greeting and salutation is a very ancient one. The root ‘namaḥ’ occurs in the earliest of Vedic literature (Rg. X. 15.2). It is a simple way of paying respect.

It is done in three ways, standing and folding one’s hand in greeting others, bowing with folded hands and complete prostration. It is done, respectively, to greet everyone, to salute and get the blessings of one’s guru and elders and in prostration expressing one’s surrender to a guru or God.

Namaskāra as a form of Greeting

In greeting everyone, one has to stand up, vertically fold one’s hands, join one’s palms (so that one’s hands resemble she goat’s ears from the sides) and say ‘Praṇāms’ or ‘Namaste’ or any other Hindu greeting such as ‘Rām Rām’.

The principle and spiritual significance of this way of greeting others is that the Life Force or Divine is same in everyone and one salutes actually the God inside the person that is being greeted. So, one should not superficially greet another, however hurried one is, and should pause for a second remember the oneness of self and salute before proceeding.

Namaskāra as a Salutation to Elders

While saluting the elders, one’s teacher and other respected people of the society, it is impolite to merely stand and say Namaskāra while folding one’s hands.

If the situation is not proper for complete prostration before the elders, then one should reverentially bow down while maintaining the Namaskāra posture. Even so, one should announce merely one’s name if it is in a public place or in front of group of people and should say ‘I salute.’

This way of reverential salutation is done to get the elders’ blessings. Hindus believe in the positive impact of good thoughts and auspicious words uttered by the elders on the recipient’s body and mind. Manu says (similar sentiment but in different context and with different terms occurs in Āpastamba and Baudhāyana as well) that the more one salutes the elders, teachers and other aged and learned persons, one’s life span, knowledge, fame and strength will also improve.

Namaskāra should not be done with shoes on, while wearing a turban on the head and with one’s hands full.

Namaskāra as a Prostration to God and Guru

Complete prostration is done to one’s parents, respected elders, one’s teacher, guru and in front of the images of God. Namaskāra as prostration can be either Aṣtāṅga or Pañcāṅga Namaskāra.

Aṣtāṅga or eight limbed prostration is where a person prostrates completely with palms, stretched hands, forehead, chest, stomach, thighs, knees and feet firmly in contact with the ground. In Aṣtāṅga Namaskāra, if done to guru and elders, one should clasp the feet of the elders and guru and place one’s head on their feet. In Pañcāṅga Namaskāra a person first kneels down and then five places of the body comes into contact with the ground.

Prostration is the acknowledgement of the superiority of and complete surrender to God or Guru. While prostrating one should focus one’s mind on the feet of God or Guru fervently so that one’s mind or ego should be completely absent, even if temporarily.

Prostration to elders and guru should not be done on the road, in the house where death has taken place, when the person is grieving and to those who are unclean.

Namaskāra to Natural objects and elements

In addition to human beings and gods, Hindus also salute and worship natural objects, elements, certain animals and even natural produce. Unlike the forms of salutation mentioned above, in this category of salutation, people do Pradakṣiṇā or circumambulation of these in addition to prostration and simple namaskāra.

It is widely accepted that Namaskāra and Pradakṣiṇā form part of one and the same upacāra or item of worship. It is not uncommon to see devout Hindus doing namaskāra and circumambulation to cows, bulls, mountains, cow pens, certain trees, snakes, learned Brahmins, ghee, honey and certain types of sacred fire kept in special places called yajñaśālas where oblations take place.

People also do namaskāra to the rivers, certain stars, the moon and the sun. Sūrya Namaskāra is very popular and people do namaskāra twelve times or in multiples of twelve in a particular sequence repeating the following twelve names of sun or sūrya sandwiched between Om and namaḥ: Mitra, Ravi, Sūrya, Bhānu, Khaga, Pūṣan, Hiraṇyagarbha, Marici, Āditya, Savitṛ, Arka and Bhāskara.

However, there is also another method of namaskāra called Tṛeākalpa namaskāras in which Om is followed by certain mystic syllables in combination of twos and fours are repeated with twelve names (Kane, II.735). To cite an example:  ‘Om Ravaye namaḥ’ becomes   ‘Om heem aarohannutharaam divam heem om ravaye namaḥ’.

Namaskāra as a Mudrā

It is a common knowledge that the gesture of Namaskāra is considered as one of the Mudrās. Mudrā is an auspicious symbol or gesture valued very highly in Hindu traditions. Mudrās are long seen as imparting certain types of energy in the atmosphere and also on the body of a person who performs a gesture.

Nityācarapaddhati (533) derives the word ‘Mudrā’ from the root words ‘mud’ meaning ‘joy’ and ‘rā’ meaning ‘to give’ thereby implying ‘to give joy.’ All Mudrās are supposed to give delight to gods and chase away evil beings and spirits (Śāradatilaka, 23. 106). Gesture of Namaskāra is considered one of the most auspicious gestures. Namaskāra Mudrā is part and parcel of all pūja paddhatis or procedures of worship. It has been reasoned long that since it emanates positive, beneficial and auspicious vibrations, the gesture of Namaskāra should be done immediately and without hesitation.

However, there is a verse in Smṛti Candrikā (I.148) saying that Mudrās should not be done in public and among group of people and if done, gods become angry and a person may not accrue the complete benefits of an auspicious gesture. Then there are numerous instances from Epics onwards at least, if not earlier, in support of Namaskāra as a form of greeting even in public places.

Namaskāra should not be done to the following persons: a heretic, a person who is guilty of grievous sins, gamblers, thieves, ungrateful persons and drunkards. Some texts also add atheists and the like to the list.

The word ‘Śri’ has to be prefixed when referring by name a deity, the teacher, the place of the teacher, any holy place, the presiding deity of the holy place, a person who has attained yogic siddhis, agnihotris, and all learned and respected men of the society. All the married women of the respected families should be addressed with a suffix ‘devi’ while being addressed by name.

Namaskāra – Variations

Apart from the benefits and reasons explained below, Hindus also believe that all the human beings are endowed with certain unseen spiritual potential. By virtue of this, they leave certain impressions that are material but in a subtle form. In the case of great souls or enlightened beings, the impressions that are cast are most beneficial to everyone. Even in the case of ordinary human beings, everyone visits the temples with a single purpose of communication with the Divine. This produces positive impressions in the atmosphere in and around the temples. Further the sanctum sanctorum and the gateways are sanctified with certain set of sacraments and mystic sounds. To partake in these spiritually beneficial impressions, people visit saints, touch the gateways on the ground while entering the temples and also do Namaskāra to the gopurams or temple towers. These and other related beliefs have produced numerous and varied practices of salutations across India.

The most popular of those practices is Sarvāṅga Pradakṣiṇa or rolling around the sanctum sanctorum of a temple or around the temple or a mountain or any sacred object, circularly and in a clockwise direction. In this, a devotee first prostrates in front of the object of circumambulation, and then rolls the whole body sideways around the object, with hands stretched above the head and palms joined. There are also people who undertake this way of worship from one’s home town to a pilgrimage centre covering hundreds of kilometers in several months. Sarvāṅga Pradakṣiṇa is undertaken as a vow, penance, as an expression of devotion and also as an act of following traditions. There are thousands of families in India who have undertaken this mode of worship for centuries without a break.

Another practice that is very similar to Sarvanga Pradakshina is Saṣtāṅga Pradakṣiṇa. In this, a devotee prostrates completely or does an Aṣtāṅga Namaskāra, gets up stretches his hands above the head with the palms joined facing the object of circumambulation, utters a sacred syllable, then repeats this cycle till he completes the circumambulation.

Then there is a Pradakṣiṇa that is called as Aḍi Pradakṣiṇa in Tamil Nadu. In this, the devotee circumambulates the sacred object by covering for each pace, the length of his/her own foot with hands folded in the namaskāra posture. This is normally done inside the temples but also observed in the practice of circumambulating sacred hills.

It is a common practice across India for people to do namaskāra at each step of the temple in case there are stairs or each gateway in case there are no stairs in the temple. People do namaskāra at each step or gate way, bend down, touch the ground with both the hands and then place the hands on their head or eyes before proceeding.

Upasaṁgrahaṇa

Upasaṁgrahaṇa is clasping the feet of the elders, one’s teacher and a guru. It is more akin to Abhivādana, a formal salutation to one’s guru and teacher. While doing a namaskāra in the form of prostration one should say ‘I salute’ and also one’s name and gotra and while doing prostration; that person should also clasp the feet of the teacher or guru or elders.

While so clasping, one should place one’s head on the feet of those who are being saluted. The modern practice of slightly bending and touching the feet or knee of the elder is not recommended by Hindu scriptures. All the more a highly irreverent practice of touching the feet with the left hand.

To the guru and the teacher, Upasaṁgrahaṇa should be performed once daily. There are divergent views on whether this form of showing respect should be done multiple times.

The clasping should be done with the crossed hands. That is, guru’s right foot should be grasped by right hand of the disciple and left foot by left hand. There is also a tradition where both the ankle and the foot are grasped by the person who is saluting.

One should not fall down and clasp the feet while the person who is being saluted is seated or walking on the road or sleeping or injured or engaged in any work or is not clean.

Among the persons to whom Upasaṁgrahaṇa should be done, apart from the guru and the teacher, are one’s parents, maternal and paternal uncles, elder brother and those persons who are venerated by the guru.

Abhivādana

(Please note that exact Abhivādana and Pratyabhivāda are not given here. They vary from tradition to tradition. Those who are interested in knowing what is applicable for oneself should learn from the elders of the tradition)

Abhivādana is the most formal salutation extended to one’s guru, upādhyāya or teacher or a very aged and learned Brahmin.

Abhivādana is done by stretching one’s vertically folded hands to the level of one’s ears, then declaring one’s name, gotra, the recenssion to which he belongs and finally by bending and touching the feet of the guru or upādhyāya with crossed hands.

There are highly divergent views on the procedure of Abhivādana. There is a tradition where one takes only one’s right hand to the right ear and not both the hands. Also there are traditions that advocate only touching the ground with crossed hands while yet others that indicate touching of one’s own feet. Traditions of northern parts of India do not support the existence of Abhivādana as part of Sandhyā worship while those in the south establish it as an essential part of Sandhyā worship. The argument for the former is that there is a rule that Abhivādana should not be done to God while Sandhyā worship is essentially a worship of Lord Sūrya Nārāyaṇa.

Abhivādana is of three kinds, nitya or daily, naimittika or on certain occasions and kāmya or done with the desire to obtain something.

Nitya Abhivādana or daily salutation should be done to guru or teacher early in the morning before sunrise.

Naimittika Abhivādana is done on certain occasions like return from the journey.

Kāmya Abhivādana or one done with the desire for a particular end can be performed any number of times. For instance those who desire a long life can do Abhivādana any number of times whenever they see an elderly, respected and learned Brahmin.

Abhivādana should not be done in public or in assembly. It should not be done to Saṁnyāsins and women. One should not be seated or wear shoes and do abhivādana. One who is being saluted also should not be seated  or be wearing shoes when one does abhivādana.

There is an interesting observation and debate in the śāstras, that has got relevance to modern times, regarding doing Abhivādana to those who do not know how to return the salute, women, and certain other classes of people. In such cases one should merely utter ‘abhivādaye aham’ (Kane, II. I. 336-343; Manu II.123 & 126; Vas.Dh.Su. 13.45; Ap.Dh.Su. I.4.14.20). There is also a tradition of keeping one’s hands on the thighs while so uttering.

In the modern lifestyle, it is inevitable that one would come across people who are superior to us in any one of the criteria mentioned above. So, at such times, it would be beneficial for one to merely to utter or whisper ‘abhivādaye aham’ so that one would not be guilty of either doing abhivādana in public or not saluting the superior person properly.

Salutation to Women

One of the topics that has attracted lot of attention in both India and abroad is the respect given to women in a Hindu society.

Śāstras are very clear on this. All women who are elder should be respected and saluted. However, all married women, irrespective of the age of a woman (who may be younger to oneself) should be respected and saluted.

Rishi Devala says “the mother, mother’s mother, teacher’s wife and the full brothers and sisters of one’s parents, paternal grand-mother, mother-in-law, elder sister and the foster mother are women who are to be honored like gurus.”

There are minor variations in the mode of salutation done to women. There are texts that say that elder sisters, teacher’s wife and the like should be merely saluted and their feet should not be clasped. One may clasp the feet of the elder sister and the like on returning from a journey but not at other times. However, Abhivadana should not be done to women.

Benefits of Namaskāra

Benefit of Namaskāra over handshaking and hugging

Namaskāra, as a mode of greeting, promotes good health and preserves mental balance of a person. While greeting a person, handshake and hugging are discouraged and instead a person is encouraged to greet another with hands folded and palms joined.

In Hindu philosophy, it is believed that any physical contact with another creates a series of sense impressions that in turn lead to the disturbance in the equilibrium of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas – three gunas or qualities that each person possesses and the ones that provide basic structure for a personality of a human being. Avoidance of disturbance to this equilibrium preserves mental balance of the human beings.

So, the performance of Namaskāra (greeting with folded hands) is viewed as a beneficial mode of greeting while hand shake and hugging are seen as inferior. In Hindu traditions, touching a person who is above twelve years of age is generally avoided.

Though āliṅgana or hugging is part of certain Bhakti traditions and the case of Lord Rāma hugging Guha and Hanumān is cited as example of existence of hugging in Hindu traditions, it is generally accepted that Hindu traditions discourage unnecessary physical contact between two persons.

Personal hygienic principles such as avoidance of catching up unnecessary infections and certain rigorous socio-religious principles such as avoidance of contact with unclean persons or persons who carried out unclean professions are seen as the basis for widespread acceptance and practice of this deterrent principle.

Benefit of doing Namaskāram to Guru’s feet

From ancient times Hindus believe that worship of Guru’s feet brings Grace in abundance and also destroys one’s sins. The scriptures eulogize the feet of a realized person as exuding God’s Grace.

All prayers, all religious and spiritual practices have one single aim – of being in communication with the Divine or Ultimate. Touching or placing one’s head at the feet of the Guru is the most physical expression of that aim. Washing and worshipping Guru’s feet is spoken of as more beneficial than hundreds of years of austerity and spiritual practice.

One namaskāram to Guru’s feet is capable of destroying and removing densest of ignorance and darkness. For, “…the totality of the satguru is contained within his feet. All nerve currents terminate there. The vital points of every organ of his bodies – inner astral, inner mental and soul – are there. Touch the feet and we touch the spiritual master. … big toe on the left foot exudes the most grace. The left leg is the revealing grace, and the big toe of that leg connects to the guru’s pituitary gland, the entrance to the door of Brahman [sic], deep within the sahasrāra cakra where, in contemplation, he merges with Śiva.”

By doing namaskāra or bowing down to the holy feet with head touching the left foot, “Devotees worship the feet of the guru as the feet of God Śiva, the attainable attainment, seeking to partake of, absorb into themselves, the vibration of their guru, ultimately to become like their guru, who has realized his oneness with God Śiva.” (What is Hinduism, 151).

So, namaskāra to the Holy feet of Guru is not only the gesture of surrender but also an important part of the spiritual sādhana or practice where such worship leads to liberation.

Benefit of prostrating in front of an image of God

Prostration on the ground is done in front of elders, respected people, guru and the images of deities and God.

When done to God or Guru, it is the external manifestation of complete surrender that one makes. It is a physical action expressing the recognition that Guru or God to whom one is surrendering is superior to oneself in all qualities and in every way. It is also viewed as an act of sacrifice on the part of devotee.

But why should anyone prostrate in this manner at all and what is it that he/she is sacrificing?

Absolute prostration in front of a Guru or God is one of the most important spiritual practices. “… prostrating before God, Gods and guru, full body, face down, arms and hands outstretched, and in that act, total giving up, giving up, giving up, giving up. What are these devoted ones giving up? By this act they are giving the lower energies to the higher energies. It is a merger, a blending.”

“It is transmuting, changing the form of, the base energies which breed conflict and resistance, ‘mine and yours’ and ‘you and me’ division, insecurity and separateness, into the spiritual energies of ‘us and we,’ amalgamation, security, togetherness. Once the giving up of the lower is total – body and face on the ground, hands outstretched before the image of God, Gods or guru – those energies are surrendered into the higher chakras within the devotee, and it is a blissful moment, into the consciousness of ‘us and ours’, ‘we and oneness’ and inseparable love, thus claiming their individuality, not as a separate thing, but as a shared oneness with all. Thereafter, these devoted ones, having been transformed, are able to uplift others, to harmonize forces around them that they work with day after day after day, year after year after year.” (What is Hinduism, 151-152). Thus prostration, when properly understood and performed with devotion, transforms the individual.

Sources:

P.V. Kane. History of Dharma Shastras, 5 vols, 1962-1975, Pune: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.

J. Patrick Olivelle. The Dharmasutras of Apastamba, Gautama, Baudhayana and Vasishta, (Sanskrit and annotated translations), In Sources of Indian Law, 2000, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.

Shrikant Prasoon. Hinduism Clarified and Simplified, 2009, New Delhi: Hindology Books.

Swami Vimalananda and Radhika Krishnakumar. Why do we …., 2009, Mumbai: Central Chinmaya Mission Trust.

Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati. Hindu Dharma: The Universal Way of Life, 2008, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Patrick Olivelle. Manu’s Code of Law: A Critical Edition and Translation of the Mānava-Dharmaśāstra, 2005, New York: Oxford University Press.

Śridhara. Smṛtyarthasāra, 1912, Pune: Anandasrama Sanskrit Series 70.

Devaṇṇa Bhatta. Smṛti Candrikā, Ed. and Tr. J.R. Gharpure, 1917, Bombay: Collections of Hindu Law Texts.

What is Hinduism?, 2007, Honolulu: Himalaya Academy

http://vedakalpataru.com/?page_id=784

Prayer

Prayer

A prayer is one of the methods of being in communication with God. It, more often than not, takes the shape of addressing the God with the purpose of petitioning, praising, worshipping, confessing or even verbally abusing the chosen deity while in the process being in communication with the God. Or a prayer can also take the form of a person merely pouring out his/her emotions as an act of sharing. One of the main ends of a prayer across all religions and cultures is seeking solace.

Hindu Prayer

In a Hindu’s life, the prayer forms an important component. Every action, event and the ensuing circumstances, success or failure, is filled with prayers. Therefore, in Hindu tradition, prayer takes different and numerous forms compared to other cultures, though the object and motive remain the same.

Arguably, Hinduism is the one religion with maximum number of prayers, worship, rituals and ceremonies. Waking up, going to sleep, bathing, eating meals, studies, travel, name giving, birth, death, marriage, taking medicine and commencing a new venture – to name some, prayers form the important part in all these and the whole life.

In Hinduism, the prayer is called Prārthana. Prārthana is not merely requesting or praising or confessing. It is simply an act of communicating to God. Such an act may not contain any praise or request or for that matter prayer for any particular thing.

Hindu prayers can be broadly classified into mental or Mānasika, verbal or Vācika and physical or kāyika. Staying in the very thought of the Divine and completely forgetting oneself is a mental or Mānasika Prārthana, though, at lower level, a thought about Divine, an appeal or desire about God can also be construed as Mānasika Prārthana. Chanting of mantras, repeating the verses about God, or verbal appeals and requests constitute the Vācika Prārthana. Offering of oblation to fire, making mystical gestures, circumambulation of a temple, prostrating in front of god, lighting and waving the lamps, offering food to god, going on a pilgrimage, etc. constitute physical or Kāyika Prārthana.

In the verbal Prārthana, several mystical syllables are used since these syllables have the power of conveying the Grace of God quicker and also cleansing the aspirant both physically and mentally.

An unique feature of Hindu prayers is that the prayers are not only made to God or Deity and the images representing them, but also to many things that are considered Holy and Sacred as they are manifestations of the Ultimate. So, a Hindu prays to variety of Sages, Saints and Preceptors, the mountains, the rivers and even the trees.

There are set of prayers that a Hindu repeats every day spiritualising and energizing every day existence. There are prayers that are repeated on certain occasions. And there are prayers that are meant for special occasions.

Following are a few daily prayers and some useful prayers to various gods and for specific occasions. [Please Note: There could be minor variations in the mantras provided in this series, due to regional differences, etc.]

Some Daily Prayers

Prayer to be chanted on waking up

Karāgre vasate lakșmeeh, Karamūle saraswatee; Karamadhye tu govindah, Prabhāte karadarśanam.

“On the tip of fingers is Goddess Lakshmi, on the base of the fingers is Goddess Saraswati, in the middle of the fingers is Lord Govinda.”

Remembering this, on waking up one should look at their palms first before doing anything else.

Prayer to be chanted on setting foot on the ground

Samudravasane devi Parvata stana maṇḍite Namo viśvambhare mātah Pāda sparśa kamasva me.

“Salutations to You, Oh Mother Earth! Who is decked by ocean as the garment and mountains as the breasts! Kindly pardon me as I touch you by my feet”

Saying this, one should get up from the bed and set foot on the ground.

Rules of Bathing

There are a number of prayers associated with the daily bathing of the individual. These prayers vary according the place, time, class, etc. Chanting of hymns called Agamarana Sūktam and Purua Sūktam are most popular. Those who are interested in learning these mantras can do so from the traditional scholars locally.

There are number of rules concerning bathing. Again, these rules vary from region to region, etc. However, the most important one is that one should not take bath naked.

Prayer to be chanted before studies

Saraswati namastubhyam Varade kāmarūpini; Vidyārambham kariyāmi, Siddhir bhavatume sadā.

“Oh Goddess Saraswati, my humble prostrations unto Thee, who are the fulfiller of all my wishes. I start my studies with a request that Thou wilt bestow Thy blessings on me”.

Saying this prayer, the student should start studies daily.

Prayer to be chanted before meals

Brahmārpaam brahma havir Brahmāgnau brahmanāhutam; Brahmaiva tena gantavyam Brahma karma samādhinā.

“Brahman is the oblation; Brahman is the clarified butter etc. constituting the offerings, by Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman; Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in all actions.”

Uttering this prayer, one should start one’s meals.

Prayer to be chanted before going to bed

There are two prayers for this occasion.

I

Rāma skandam hanumanta vainateya vkodaram śayane yah smarennitya duswapnastasya naśyati.

“The bad dream of a person disappears if he/she recollects always at the time of going to bed Raama, Skanda, Hanuman, Vainateya (Garuda) and Vrkodara (Bheema).”

Saying so, one should go to sleep.

II

Kara-caraa-ktam vāk-kāyajam karmajam vā Śravaa-nayanajam vā mānasam vā (a)parādham Vihitamavihitam vā sarva metat kamasva Jaya jaya karuābdhe Śree Mahādeva Śambho.

“Oh Lord, kindly forgive my wrong actions done knowingly or unknowingly, either through my organs of action or through organs of perception or by my mind. Glory unto Thee oh Lord, who is the ocean of kindness”

This prayer is said before going to sleep.

Some Useful Prayers for certain occasions

Salutation to the Guru Gurur Brahmā Gurur Viṣṇu Gurur Devo Maheśwarah; Guru Sākāt Para Brahma Tasmai Śree Gurave Namahah.

“I salute the Guru, who is verily Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara and who is also verily the Ultimate Brahman”

One should chant this mantra while saluting one’s Guru.

Prayer to be chanted while entering the temple

Gajānana bhūta gaādi sevitam Kapittha jambūphala sāra bhakitam Umāsutam śoka vināśa kāraa Namāmi vigneśwara pāda pakajam.

“I worship the Lotus Feet of Lord Vigneshwara, the cause for the destruction of the miseries, the elephant faced God, who is being worshipped by His bhootaganas, who is fond of eating wood apple and jambuphala and who is the son of Goddess Uma”

One should chant this mantra while entering the temple.

Prayer to be chanted while travelling

Vainya pthum haihayamarjuna ca Śākuntaleya bharata nala ca Etān npān ya smarati prayāe Tasyārtha siddhi punarāgamaśca

“Accomplishment and safe return will happen to him who remembers during journey the names of these kings – Prthu the son of Vainya, Arjuna (kaarthaveerya) of Haihaya, Bharata son of Shakuntala and Nala”

Prayer to be chanted while consuming medicine

Dhanvantari garutmanta Phairāja ca kaustubham Acyuta cāmtam candra Smaredauadhakarmāi

“While administering the medicine one should remember Dhanvantari, Garuda, Ādi Shesha, Kaustubha, Achyuta, Amrta and Chandra”

Prayer to ward off evil:

Lābhasteām jayasteām kutasteām parābhava eām Indee varaśyāmaha hrdayastho janārdana

“Prosperity and victory come to those in whose heart is seated Lord Janardana, who is of dark blue colour like the blue lotus. Where is the scope for defeat?”

Prayer for Universal Peace

Sarve bhavantu sukhinah, Sarve santu nirāmayāh; Sarve bhadrāni paśyantu, Mā kaśchid duhkha bhāga bhavet

“May everybody be happy. May everybody be free from disease. May everybody have good luck. May none fall on evil days.” 

Sources:

S.C. Vasu, Daily Practice of Hindus, 2008, New Delhi: Satguru Publications.

M. Raghu and S. Aruna Sundaram. Daily Prayers, 2002, Chennai: M. Raghu.

Daily Prayers, 1991, Bombay: Chinmaya Mission Trust.

http://vedakalpataru.com/?page_id=172

How to use Herbal Incense

There are a variety of ways to use herbal incense in order to gain the relaxation and mood alleviation you’re seeking.  Some use the traditional methods of burning the incense while others actually roll and smoke it.  While it clearly states that it is not for human consumption, there are a great many people who still will find the individual preference for it that they are seeking for themselves.  If you’re purchasing wholesale herbal potpourri, then most incense users don’t roll this.  They burn it in a conventional potpourri pot, just as they have always done.

Herbal incense is always utilized for one main purpose though, and that is for the good feelings it promotes in the individual.  There is nothing more relaxing than the wafting aroma of exotic fruits, or more subtle sensual herbal blends burning in a potpourri urn.  It is always going to go back to what that individual wants to gain from the usage of herbal incense.  Some are looking for ways to get that euphoric feeling the legal way, while others just want a relaxing aroma drifting through their home.  As has been stated often, it is all about personal preferences; so with that in mind, it can sometimes be a difficult feat to state how one is going to use herbal incense over another.

 

Using for Mood Altering Enhancement

If you view the usage of herbal incense from a medicinal view point then there are innumerable ways that herbal incense can be utilized.  For example, some who suffer with bouts of major depression do well in a secluded environment where they can focus on themselves while surrounded with an aromatic blend that induces relaxation.  One of the best herbal blends for this is the ‘Hypnotic’ incense which is light, yet potent at the same time.

There are others which help an individual release stress and pent up anxiety, while still others help with respiratory conditions.  Since aromatherapy is quite new, it is hard to determine the various ways that some use these products, which was mentioned previously.  However, what is known is that they are effective and non-toxic to the user.   Since this literature did bring up medicinal purposes, let’s take a quick peek at how some can be utilized to promote better health statuses for some individuals.

 

How to Use Herbal Incense for Medicinal Purposes

Firstly, there is no question to the belief that aromatherapy is a great way to reduce stress.  Herbal incense is an asset in this area.  When you bundle the benefits together you come up with an effective alternative means to conquering some medical conditions that stem from thoughts alone.  Depression is a psychological disorder and something as simple as herbal incense has the potency to deliver mood altering emotional states, easing this problem.

Many are used to ward off infections as well, though there is no factual evidence to prove this actually works, it is still a practice that is carried out in the far East.  One of the most common ways of using herbal incense within aromatherapy practices is with cold symptoms.  Those incense that have eucalyptus or menthol in them are effective in helping block clogged sinuses and easing throat discomfort.  So, there are very practical ways that these products can be used, and they have been for quite some time.

 

For Pain Management

There has been extremely good research carried out which shows that some of the herbal incense can actually be used for controlling pain for individuals with some diseases such as with fibromyalgia.  Floral buds are often burned, or blended with an aromatic oil to help bring about feelings of contentment and take the mind away from what is causing the pain.

 

Herbal Incense for Sleep Deprivation Ailments

Because there are a number of herbal incense products which offer soothing qualities for the user, those who suffer with bouts of insomnia are often lulled to sleep by the rich, yet harmonic essences of lavender, saffron grass, and musky more woodsy essences.

The wonders of herbal incense are still being explored, and while there are always going to be those who take advantage of the wonderful benefits of these products, the good far outweigh the bad.  Most who purchase herbal incense online are seeking excellent top-shelf quality products that can provide them with an exhilarating experience free from stress, anxiety, tension, and other adverse conditions.

– See more at: http://www.legalherbalonline.com/blog/how-to-use-herbal-incense#sthash.pSQ2YTYM.dpuf

http://www.legalherbalonline.com/blog/how-to-use-herbal-incense

How to eat for your Dosha

According to Ayurvedic philosophies our bodies are made up of three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. So which is your dominant dosha, how well balanced are all three? And what foods suit your doshic makeup? Our guide to identifying and eating in accordance with your doshas will help keep your body and mind in check. 
The ancient practice of Ayurveda believes we’re made up of three different ‘body types’ that correspond to our physical and personality traits, known as doshas. These are: vata, pitta and kapha, each of which represents two of the five universal elements (a combination of ether, air, fire, water, earth). Ayurvedic philosophies believe we each contain varying proportions of each dosha, generally one or two in dominance. Our naturally dominant dosha does not signify imbalance, but rather how – or who – we are in our most healthy, balanced state.
Mind-body health and harmony may be challenged when any of the doshas become aggravated or imbalanced. Identifying your predominant dosha and potential imbalances, which an Ayurvedic practitioner can assist with, is the secret to keeping your mind-body balance in check.
What’s your dominant dosha?
According to GP and Ayurvedic therapist at Bondi’s Ayurvedic Wellness Centre (www.ayurvedicwellnesscentre.com.au), Dr Shaun Matthews, dosha types typically display varying characteristics, such as:

Vata

  • Light build
  • Naturally creative
  • Sensitive
  • Prefer warm, humid climates
  • Dry skin

Pitta

  • Medium, muscular build
  • Productive, hard-working
  • Irritable
  • Prefer cold climates
  • Fair skin

Kapha

  • Heavy build
  • Stable, methodical
  • Easy-going
  • Prefer warm, dry climates
  • Oily skin

Equal proportions of two (‘bidoshic) or all doshas (‘tridoshic’) is also possible.

Dine for your doshic imbalance

Regardless of body type, imbalances of any dosha can occur in response to lifestyle factors. Consider this: naturally athletic pittas can lose weight due to vata excess, or gain weight as a result of kapha excess. Ayurveda repairs imbalances predominantly with herbal remedies, warm oil massages, yoga, and lifestyle changes, particularly diet.
The Ayurvedic diet identifies six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Each taste has different energetic effects on the mind and body; either aggravating or pacifying particular doshas. For example, considering Ayurveda’s theory of ‘like increase like’, someone with pitta excess may add fuel to the fire by consuming hot, spicy foods.
Sydney-based Sasha Kahan, 29, recently experienced a rejuvenating diet overhaul to combat vata excess during a month-long stay at Kerala’s Somatheeram Ayurvedic Retreat (www.somatheeram.org).
“My diet was strictly vegetarian and no cold drinks were consumed. The benefits became quickly apparent,” recalls Kahan. “I was physically and mentally exhausted when I’d arrived, but by week three I’d lost four kilograms, was doing yoga headstands, and enjoying undisturbed sleep and a calmer mind.”

Balancing vata

“When vata is aggravated, your system becomes irregular and depleted, which affects weak organs and tissues,” explains Dr Rama Prasad from Chatswood’s Ayurveda Elements.
Additional signs of vata imbalance:

  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Anxious
  • Craving warmth
  • Frequent viral infection
  • Weight loss
  • Disturbed sleep

Excessive consumption of bitter, astringent and spicy tastes contribute to vata imbalance. Prasad recommends pacifying with sweet, sour and salty tastes and warm, moist, easily digestible foods like:

  • Boiled or steamed starchy vegetables (moderate broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and leafy vegetables)
  • Ripe fruits
  • Warm milk (moderate dairy)
  • Soupy grains: rice, wheat
  • Mild spices: cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, salt, cloves, mustard, black pepper
  • Tea: camomile, fennel, ginger, liquorice, lemon

“Nourishing soups, casseroles and dahls are great for balancing vata, particular during winter,” suggests Dr Matthews.

Balancing pitta

“When pitta is unbalanced, you can become aggressive and irritable. Internalising that fire can increase your self-critic, resulting in perfectionism,” says Dr Matthews.
Additional signs of imbalance:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Over-heating, profuse sweating
  • Colourful, violent dreams
  • Excessive hunger
  • Frequent bacterial infections
  • Heartburn

Dr Prasad believes pitta imbalance may result from excessive alcohol or hot, spicy, oily, fried, salty, fermented foods. He suggests rebalancing with sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and cool, heavy foods including:

  • Boiled, steamed, raw vegetables
  • Sweet fruits
  • Moderate amounts of dairy
  • Soupy grains: rice, wheat, barley, oats
  • Mild, cooling spices: coriander, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, curry leaves, mint
  • Tea: fennel, camomile, peppermint, spearmint, liquorice, red clover

Balancing kapha

“When kapha is unbalanced, there is a tendency for mental and physical stagnation. Stimulation of all kinds helps to avoid that heavy, lethargic feeling,” advises Dr Matthews. 
Additional signs of imbalance:

  • Sluggish bowels
  • Procrastination
  • Craving warmth, spicy foods
  • Frequent candida
  • Water retention
  • Weight gain
  • Excessive sleep

Dr Prasad advises excessive food consumption can contribute to kapha imbalance, and recommends a light, warm, low-fat diet of pungent, bitter and astringent tastes like:

  • Boiled, steamed, raw vegetables
  • Ripe fruits (except banana)
  • Fat-free buttermilk (other dairy reduced)
  • Grains: corn, millet, rye, oats, barley, wheatbran
  • Strong spices: pepper, paprika, salt, garlic, basil, cloves, allspice, fennel, mustard, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, black pepper
  • Honey instead of sugar
  • Tea: cinnamon, fenugreek, peppermint, raspberry

In the wise world of Ayurveda, you really are what you eat; so discover and dine for your dosha to restore holistic health of hips, head and heart.

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/natural+health/how+to+eat+for+your+dosha,17363

 

The 12 Vasati Yantras/ Meru Chakra – Vasati Pyramide

In pdf format:

http://www.sriyantraresearch.com/References/yantra_vastu_correction.pdf

A Study of Spherical and Plane Forms (pdf format):

http://www.sriyantraresearch.com/References/Rao.pdf



  • Narasimhaye: If you are able to talk to your or sister and your girl cousins, you will be able to speak to any girl you like. Don't be shy. Try to be confident in
  • arjun: sir please help me I cannot talk to any girl I'm not frank and I am very afraid of doing things I think what the world will think I don't have confide
  • Narasimhaye: I meant do Puja , not pika sorry.