Padmavati Nirvah Aadhar Yojana

Manibhadra Sadhna Shivir

Kinkari Sadhna Shivir


FAQs of Spiritualism

We are giving here some traditions & rituals which are generally used in worship. Here are some queries which everyone has to know what is the basic meaning of it.
1. Why do we Fast?
Fasting is a Vrata  (religious observance) undertaken as the result of a vow. It is believed that if one imposes restraints on one’s behavior or diet to please God, one’s desires will be fulfilled. In Puja or Sadhana one has not to be idle or  feel heaviness so it is good to take light food or have empty stomach.
A fast may involve the complete abstention from food, or just certain kinds of food such as cooked food, salt, sweets, or even water. A vrata may last from a day to several years.
Vratas are undertaken for different reasons: to commemorate the birth of a deity, such as Janmashtami; to commemorate a specific incident in the past, like Savitri’s devotion to her husband; or they are asso¬ciated with certain days of the week, Mondays for Shiva, Tuesday for Hanuman, etc.

2. Why do we break Coconuts?
The coarsely knit outer fibers of the coconut represent the hard outer covering that covers our hearts. This hard cover is made up of jealousy, greed, lust, selfishness and the other vices of man. This covering must be broken up and removed if one is to penetrate and reach the white inner purity and thereafter taste the sweet untouched nectar of spiritual purity and bliss.
Having been offered to God by way of puja, the coconut is then eaten by the people as blessed food or prasad in the belief that it has now received the divine blessings from God and will therefore give them good health and prosperity.

3. Why do Hindus worship Murtis?
Some Hindu sects believe that murtis are only symbols devised by the sages to give the common people something concrete and tangible to visualize and serve God, instead of thinking of Him as formless and abstract.
Other sects, such as Vaishnavas, believe that the murti is God incarnate. The murti is the embodiment of the Divine and hence deserving of the most careful, lavish, and loving attention. Cooking, feeding, serving, washing, dressing, waking and putting to sleep; these are the same acts, which we perform for our loved ones at home. The ultimate aim of such seva (devotion) is to see God face to face and become a participant in God’s pastimes in Vaikuntha (the Spiritual World).

5. What is Sindoora?
Sindoora is vermilion, powdered red lead, applied as a dot on the forehead, like the regular bindi or in the parting of the hair by all suhagans (married woman). It is worn by married women, as a visible expression of their desire for their husbands’ longevity. Traditionally therefore, widows did not wear vermilion.
Red is the colour of power. Vermilion is thus a symbol of the female energy of Parvati and Sati. Sati is believed to be the ideal wife, one who gave her life for her husbands’ honor. Every Hindu wife is supposed to emulate her. It is believed that Parvati pro¬tects all those men whose wives apply vermilion to their hair parting.
Sindoora is applied for the first time to a woman during the marriage ceremony when the bridegroom himself adorns her with it. Sindoora-dana, as this part of the marriage ceremony is called, is important today but is not mentioned before the Grihasutras indicating that it is a relatively new practice.

8. What is Shikha?
A shikha is a tuft or lock of hair on the crown of the head, a crest, topknot, plume.From the time of the Vedas, the shikha was a distinguishing feature of the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. It signified the ‘twice-born’ or all those upon whom Upanayanam has been performed. At the time of Chudakarana, a tuft of hair was left on the head, never to be cut. This shikha covered a large part of the brain. According to Sushruta, the reason that a few tufts are left on the head is that at the crown, an artery joins a critical nerve juncture. Since an injury to this part of the head is believed to be fatal, it was considered nec¬essary to protect the area by keeping a tuft of hair over it. The shikha was a symbol of superiority and of cleanliness. Presently only Brahmins wear the shikha, especially practic¬ing priests.
Any religious or auspicious ceremony required the shikha to be tied in a knot. The knot was tied to the accompaniment of the Gayatri Mantra. An untied shikha was a symbol of disgrace, impurity, and mourning. During funeral and death ceremonies it was left untied.

9. What is Tilak?
Tilak is a ritual mark on the forehead, of sandalwood paste, colored earth or vermilion. It is a sign of religious and of auspiciousness.
The spot between the brows where the tilak is applied is considered the seat of latent wisdom and mental con¬centration, which is very important for worship. This is the spot on which yogis meditate to become one with Brahm. It also indicates the point at which the spiritual eye opens. All thoughts and actions are said to be gov¬erned by this spot. The tilak, initially of either sandalwood paste or some other cool substance, was applied on this spot to keep it cool so that man could be of stable mind and thought. Most Hindu scholars, even today, sport a sandalwood paste Tilak.
For example, as various sects arose with time, it was the tilak that indicated religious dis¬tinctions. For instance, the devotees of Shiva apply three horizontal lines of vibhuti (sacred ash) on their forehead. This is to remind themselves of the God’s threefold nature of creation, preservation and destruction. The ashes also indicate his main function: destruction.
The devotees of Vishnu apply three vertical lines of clay or sandalwood. This is the sign of His preservation and protection. The devotees of Devi (Shakti) apply the kumkum, which is a round or slightly elongated red mark. This evokes the supreme power of Adi Parashakti, the Universal Mother, from whom all life and energy, even the power of the Trinity, is believed to emanate.
For the lay worshipper, the most common tilak these days is the one applied ritually during or after a pooja or aarti, of red kumkum or sandalwood paste.

11. What is Aum?
Om is said to be the first sound to have come from the Creator’s mouth. Its sound is thought to be the foundation of all sounds. It represents the whole phenome¬non of sound and denotes all the possibilities of all the sounds that can be pro¬duced. ‘A’ is the root sound produced without touching any part of the tongue or palate; ‘m’ represents the last sound in the series, being pronounced by closed lips. Between these two sounds exist all others.
Om first appears in the Upanishads as a mystic monosyllable and is regarded as the seed or basis of all mantras. According to the Mandukya Upanishad, the past, pres¬ent and the future are all included in this one sound and all that exists beyond these three forms of time is also implied in it.
According to the Chandogya Upanishad, Prajapati created the first three Vedas, from which arose the three letters of ‘AUM’. This word is therefore a representa¬tion of the Supreme Being. Like the word Om, the Supreme Being is also indivisible.
The three constituents of Om also represent the deities of the Trimurti: ‘a’ represents Vishnu, ‘u’ Shiva and ‘m’ Brahma. Hence it also represents creation, preservation and destruction.
Because of this mystic importance, Om is uttered at the commencement of all prayers and religious ceremony’ and at the beginning of all mantras. Om is also the mantra that yogis meditate on. Its utterance is said to coun¬teract errors in the performance of sacrifices and protects the devotee against misfortune. Meditation on AUM sacred syllable is said to satisfy every need and leads to liberation.
In the Kathaupanishads, 12/15, Yamdev tells Nachiketa: Nachiketa, I tell you of the power of the word that has been praised in the Vedas and repeated in love by devotees. The word is the essence of the Vedas. It is the speech of devotees and experience of learned. It is ‘Om’ and ‘Om’ only.

12. What is Swastika?
The word swastika is derived from su (well), asti (is) and ka (a noun ending). It means ‘it is well’ and hence signifies happiness, pleasure and good luck.
A swastika is of two types: the right-handed or male, representing the vernal sun and the god Ganesha. In this Swastika, the extremities of the arms of the cross bend clockwise. It is considered auspicious. The left-handed or female cross represents the autumnal sun and the goddess Kali. Its arms are bent in an anti-clockwise direction and it is believed to be inauspicious. The auspicious symbol is used by the religiously inclined on the opening page of account books. It is also used in ceremonies related to marriage, ton¬sure, the worship of Swastika Lakshmi and during the invocation of the nine planets. It is worshiped as a symbol of the sun, Ganesha and the serpent king¬dom. According to the Vayu Purana, serpents bear the sign of a swastika on their hoods. In festivals and on auspicious occasions, the swastika is drawn on the floor of the house.
Most scholars regard it as a fire or solar symbol and hence it is called the solar or fire cross. It is believed to be derived from the chakra, which is symbolically reduced to four spokes and set at right angles. It also represents the fire¬ making apparatus of old times, used for kindling the sacrificial fire (homag¬ni). In the Vedas it is referred to as ‘the wheel of the sun’. It indicates cosmic procession and evolution around a fixed centre.
This symbol has been in use since the time of the Indus Valley Civilization (c. 3000 BC – 700 BC). A large num¬ber of seals discovered in Harappa, one of its prime sites, bear swastika designs. The symbol is not exclusive to India and is known all over the world. Proof of its widespread use has been found in archaeological discoveries in Egypt, China, Greece and Mexico. Curiously, the inauspicious anti-clockwise swastika was used by Hitler as the Nazi emblem.

13. What is Moksha?

Moksha is the release from worldly existence, the lib¬eration of the soul from the recurring cycle of birth and death. It involves the spiritual union of the soul, atman with the supreme soul, Brahman. Hindus believe in transmigration of the soul: that the soul does not die with the body, but takes birth again in some other form. Immediately after death, the soul is believed to travel to Yamapuri, the court of Yama. Here an account of all the good and the bad deeds committed by that soul during its life are read. The soul is then given a chance to explain itself. After this, Yama passes judgement and the soul is accordingly sent to heaven or hell. The Hindu hell, however, is not an endless ordeal of misery, as in other beliefs. After serving its allotted term of punishment, the soul is taken to heaven on account of its good deeds. Heaven is also not an endless term of bliss. Hence, after its term there, the soul is reborn in this world in one form or another and the whole process is repeated.

The form in which the soul is reborn depends on the deeds of its previous life. If a soul has done well, it may be born a king. If evil and cruel, it could be reborn as a jackal or a donkey. A soul is not always reborn on earth. It may reappear in any of the fourteen worlds, as a god, a demon or a snake.

Birth in any form is considered undesirable, as it brings pain and suffering. Therefore everyone is exhorted to achieve liberation from this tiresome cycle of birth and death, by attaining moksha. Such a state is acquired only by a very saintly person, who has become a perfected soul with no worldly requirements and true knowledge of Brahman.

The three most common paths to moksha are:

1. Bhakti yoga, the path of devotion, in which a devotee chooses a personal form of God to whom one prays with intense love and devotion.

2. Karma yoga, the path of action, involves devoting one’s life to the performance of good deeds and the betterment of society on behalf of God.

3. Gyan yoga, the path of knowledge, involves brings one’s self closer to God through study and meditation.

14. What is Darshan?

Darshan means the ‘auspicious sight’ of the Divine. Beholding Bhagvan’s image is an act of worship. Seeing is a kind of touching. In looking at Bhagvan’s image we reach out to the Supreme.

Bhagvan gives darshan and the devotee takes darshan. Bhagvan presents himself to be seen and the devotee receives darshan.

Not only does the worshipper see Bhagvan, but Bhagvan sees the worshipper as well. The contact between the devotee and the diety is exchanged through eyes. This is the ‘language of eyes’.

Why do we offer prayer to Sri Ganesh before every special occasion?

Sri Ganeshaya Nama! Sri ganesh is the most revered of Hindu gods. Before any special ceremony or auspicious occasion prayers are first offered to sri Ganesh. He is vighanharta and the master of Riddhi-Siddhi. This simply means that he removes all obstacles confronting devotees. A prayer, an offering or penance made for him ensures success. It brings wealth and prosperity.
He is easily pleased. Before any ceremony or special occasion all one needs to do is chant ‘Sri Ganeshaya Nama’ followed by mantra:
Sri Ganesh is the god of learning and knowledge. Through devotion to him one learns to be responsible, to differentiate between good and bad and develop farsightedness. He teaches discipline. It is for his reason that offerings are first made to Sri Ganesh before ceremony or auspicious occasion.