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Indian Festivals
Lathmar holi is still very popular in UP. Fun to watch when Bhabi beat Devars with Bamboo stick now a days they use cricket bat, hockey stick also. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

There is another custom in some part of UP, day before Holi people give funny name to people and paste satire written on paper or cardboard on main door. Some go really dirty leave garbage or cow dung outside main door. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<img src='http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v130/indiaforum/lathmar.gif' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
Lathmar Holi
Came in email..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Meaning of Sacred Ekaadashi Fast</b>

Ekadashi is very important for all Hindus, as the observance of rituals connected with this occasion is said to take away any sin that the person may have accumulated during the fortnight.

To be able to get rid, of the sins or any wrong deeds every fortnight is very helpful to the five senses. This is similar to the Christians going to their priest for “confession”. Ekadashi has social function as well, just like Sankranti. Even if one does not keep the fast, it is a day for doing charitable deeds. If Ekadashi is observed as a vrat, it can be “nitya” (compulsory) or “kamya” (motivated by desires). In the first case only Shukla Paksha need to be observed. As a kamya- vrat, it can be observed on the both Ekadashi.THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EKADASHI by SRI SWAMI KRISHNANDA Ekadashi is a Sanskrit word, which means 'the eleventh'. It refers to the eleventh day of a fortnight belonging to a lunar month. There are two fortnights in a lunar month-the bright and the dark. So, Ekadashi occurs twice in a month.

The special feature of Ekadashi, as most people know it, is a fast. This is how it is usually understood. 'We do not eat on Ekadashi', is what people understand. In fact, the fast is only a practical _expression and a symbol of something else that we are expected to do, which is of special significance to our personality.

Those who know astronomy as something which tells about the inter-relation of the planetary system, the stellar world, would be aware that we form a part of this planetary or solar system. By a system we mean an organism or organization which is methodically arranged. When we know that we belong to the system of planetary motions, which has an organic link. We belong to the solar system-a huge family of which the sun is the head and the planets are the members. Astronomy studies the movements of planets and stars, and ASTROLOGY the effects they produce on the contents of the system.

The Ekadashi observance is an astrological phenomenon and it is observed due to this relation we have with some of the planets in the system. The movement of these planets influences the entire personality of ours. The gravitational pull of planets has an influence on us. The sun is said to influence the center of our personality; hence the sun is called Atmakaraka.

He is. the soul-influences of the human body. In the Rig-veda, the sun is identified with the soul of the universe as well as the soul of the individual. The different limbs of our body and different parts of our system are supposed to be influenced by different planets. The sun is capable of influencing the entire being. He is, thus, the Atmakaraka.

Karaka is doer, manipulator, and director. If there is no sun, we know what difference it makes for us; our digestion becomes sluggish on days when there is no sun. So important is the sun.

The subtle essence of the food, not only directly taken through the mouth but through all senses, contributes to the make up of the mind.

The mind's presiding deity is Moon. Ekadashi is particularly relevant to this relation of Moon and Mind.

You will find that, when you go deep into the study of astronomy, you have nothing in your body except some planetary influences! We are made up of planetary forces and there is nothing independent to call our own.

One part belongs to one planet and another part to another planet. If each planet claims its part, you will disintegrate. The moon influences the mind in its orbital relative movement with reference to other planets and us.

How, is Ekadashi related to the movement of moon and mind? We have certain centers called Chakras in the body. The Chakras are nothing but energy-centers which whirl in some direction as water whirls in a river.

Chakra is a wheel or circular motion. They move in a spiral shape. They are not physical; but psychophysical and psychological. These Chakras are neither in the mind nor in the body; they are in the astral body. The moon's influence physically on the body has an influence on the Chakras, which tells upon the mind ultimately.

The passage of the mind is through these Chakras, up and down. When this operation takes place consciously, it is called Yoga; when done unconsciously by the mind, it is just influence. When the moon waxes or wanes, the mind is mentally influenced.

So people who are not normal in their minds become very bad on the full moon and new-moon days. You cannot see the moon's influence on the earth because it is solid, but it can be seen on the ocean, which is liquid. The moon influences the whole earth, but its influence is visible on the large body of waters in the sea.

This happens due to the two-fold pressure of the relation of the earth and moon. The sun influences the moon and the moon influences the earth. When the influence occurs automatically, we are instruments in the hands of Mother Nature.

When it is done consciously, we are said to practice Yoga. We can be involuntarily dragged from place to place, or we can walk voluntarily. The difference is obvious. The moon's movement tells upon the movement of the mind through the Chakras.

Another important aspect is the seat of the mind which is also twofold. You may be living in many houses, of which one or two are your own. Svasthana means 'One's own place.' The mind has several abodes or centers of energy called Chakras, of which two are its own.

The seats of the mind in this personality of ours are:
1. The subtle spot in the astral body corresponding to the centre of the two eye-brows, in waking, and 2. The heart, in the state of deep sleep. If it is in the brain, it is active and you, then, do not get sleep, because it refuses to go down.

If the mind is midway between the centre of the eyebrows and the heart, it is Dream State. So, there is a twofold centre of the mind,-the Ajna-Chakra, or the centre between the eyebrows, and the Anahata Chakra, or the heart. In both these centres, the mind feels at home and is at ease, because it is nearer to itself. In other centres it is extrovert.

In the Ajna and the Anahata Chakras it finds itself at home. In the two fortnights, in its movement, it finds itself at the Ajna Chakra and the Anahata Chakra on the eleventh day. Since these two Chakras are its own abode, the mind is at home here, i.e., it gets concentrated and collected easily. This has been the experience given out by our ancients, and this has to be taken advantage of by Sadhakas. You are capable of concentration when the mind is naturally in its home. The mind cannot be concentrated when it is out of tune.

So, the Ekadashi day in both fortnights is the occasion when the mind finds itself in its place-in the bright fortnight in the Ajna Chakra, and in dark fortnight in the Anahata Chakra. Seekers and Yogis take advantage of these two days and try to practice deep meditation. Vaishnavas treat Ekadashi as a very holy day and also observe a fast on that day.

Fast and meditation! What is the connection?

There is really no intrinsic connection between fast and meditation, but there is some advantage in keeping the body light and the stomach free from excessive metabolic function.

When the stomach is given the duty of digestion, doctors will tell you, the blood circulation is accelerated towards the digestive organs, on account of which blood circulation to the head gets decreased after food is taken and so you feel sleepy and the thinking faculty practically ceases to function. Hence, there is no advantage in giving the physical system work on days you want to do yogic practice.

Thus, Ekadashi has also a spiritual significance. The energy of the whole system gets distributed equally if a particular limb is not given any inordinate work.  If any part is given heavy work, there is a dislocation of the working of the body. So, in fasting the energy is equally distributed, as the digestive function is not there. But, there should be no overdoing in fast. Fast is supposed to cause buoyancy of feeling and not fatigue. So people who are sick and cannot observe a total fast take milk and fruits, etc. People, who are perfectly healthy and are confident, observe a complete fast. This helps in control of mind and will. Apart from all these, there is a necessity to give the physiological system some rest once a while. It may be over-worked due to a little over-eating. These irregularities unconsciously done during the fourteen days get rectified in one day.

Thus the observance of Ekadashi has many advantages-physical, astral, spiritual-and because this day has connection with the relation of the mind with its abode together with the moon, you feel mysteriously helped in your meditation and contemplation, mysteriously because you cannot know this consciously. But you can feel this for yourself by observing it. In India everything is interpreted spiritually.

The eleventh day after a new Moon or full Moon the Vrat observed on this day is called the Ekadashi DAY. In all 24 Ekadashi fasts are observed in a year. It is believed that Lord Vishnu transformed himself into Ekadashi to alleviate the mankind from sins. It is day looked upon Lord Hari himself.

According to the Puranas, a demon named called Mura, who had 7,000 sons, harassed the gods. The gods asked Vishnu for protection against Mura; Vishnu sent his Yog Maya (Indriyas) to kill the demon and his sons, and these was done successfully.

Lord Hari granted Yoga Maya a boon, and said “Those who observe Ekadashi will be freed from all sins, and you will be called by the name Ekadashi.” Since the demon was created from the sweat that fell down from the head of Brahma it assumed the from of a demon and said to the Lord, “O Lord! Now give me an abode to dwell”.  Brahma replied, “O demon! Go and dwell in the rice particles and cereals eaten by men on Ekadashi day and become worms in their stomach.” This is a short story as narrated in our Holy Scriptures.All Hindus between eight and eighty years should fast on the Ekadashi days.

On Ekadashi day, one must not let anger; lust and enjoyment come in the way of this fast. Those who observe the Ekadashi fast should avoid sexual acts on the dasami day, the day proceeding Ekadashi.

In this Kali Yuga, even if one Ekadashi is observed with dispassion, faith and devotion, and if the mind is wholly fixed on Hari, one is freed from the rounds of birth and death.

The puranas and dharmasastras, though prohibit the par taking of cooked on Ekadashi days, have made many concessions to the general people towards their weakness towards food. If one eats only once in the day around noon, it is called “ekabhukta”, if only in the night it is called “nakta”, when food is taken once a day, it is called “ayacita”.Devotees fast on this day, do Japa, Hari kirtan and meditation. Some even, do not take even a drop of water. Those who are unable to fast completely can take some light fruits and milk.

Fasting controls passion. It checks the emotions and controls the senses. It is a great penance and purifies the mind and the heart. Fasting overhauls the respiratory, circulatory, digestive and urinary systems.

If one can not fast for the full 24hrs, at least fast for 10-12 hrs and then take some milk and fruit. And the gradually increase the fast to 15 hrs and then to 24hrs.

Fasting makes a person strong, both mentally and spiritually. For those who are ill and are not able bodied certain foods known as the farari foods are allowed. These include tubers (potatoes, cassava, carrots, turnips, dairy products, fruits, and nuts. Foods made from cereals are forbidden. On the preceding day that is on the 10th tithi; Sandhya is performed and then only one meal is taken.

In the evening Vishnu is worshipped, holding some durva grass in the hand. One has to approach religion and the scriptures with great faith, reverence and purity of heart.

The period that combines with Ekadashi with Dvadasi (12th day) is Harivasara because of the Vishnu in this tithi. This is good time to do sacred yajnas.

If Dvadasi touches the days of the Ekadashi and Trayodhesi Tithis, fasting should be kept on the day which is wholly Dvadasi, and the Paranan on the Trayodhasi day, when Dvadasi ends.

WHEN the duration of Ekadashi be less then that of Dvadasi, fasting should be done on the Dvadasi. The day which combines with Dvadasi into 13th is the best day for breaking the fast.

When an Ekadashi comes on a Pushya day in the Shukla Paksha, this day should be observed. The wise extols this day as one promising crores of good effects on the person.

On observing the Ekadashi day you should do Vishnu Puja which is productive of universal happiness. It is said the people will acquire good children and wealth in this world and attain Vishnuloka upon death.

A person physically unable to fast may ask his spouse or one of his family members to observe Ekadashi for his sake. The reward for fasting is only obtained when the person fasts for the whole day (24 hours).

NOTE: Parents or Elder’s Shraddha days (death anniversary) should not be performed on the Ekadashi day, it should be put off to the next tithi, Dvadasi, as this does not give Shanti to the Pitrus.

NOTE: A person under going through periods, should as usual, have his bath on the Ekadashi day, and should do mentally worship of Vishnu and keep the fast on this day. This rule applies also applies to women who should abstain from the usual food on the Ekadashi, though they may happen to be in periods at that time.

In all cases of uncertainty as to the exact day for fasting, it is better abstain from food on Dvadasi day and breakfast on the next day.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Holi Dance - Indian Army <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
With their weapons lying on the ground, Indian Army soldiers dance to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, at Suchetgarh army camp, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Jammu, India, Saturday, March 26, 2005. This exuberant festival originally held to celebrate the fertility of the land, is also associated with the immortal love of Hindu God Krishna and Radha. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
dear god, is this secular ?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In the Ajna and the Anahata Chakras it finds itself at home. In the two fortnights, in its movement, it finds itself at the Ajna Chakra and the Anahata Chakra on the eleventh day. Since these two Chakras are its own abode, the mind is at home here, i.e., it gets concentrated and collected easily.

I didn't understand this at all. How can the mind be in both the Ajna Chakra and Anahata Chakra at the same time on Ekadashi?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->NOTE: A person under going through periods, should as usual, have his bath on the Ekadashi day, and should do mentally worship of Vishnu and keep the fast on this day. This rule applies also applies to women who should abstain from the usual food on the Ekadashi, though they may happen to be in periods at that time.

How can a male have periods? Or is he referring to something else?
came in email:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Hanuman Jayanti

Om Sri Hanumate Namah

<i>Yatra yatra raghunatha kirtanam;
Tatra tatra kritha masthakanjalim;
Bhaspavaari paripurna lochanam;
Maarutim namata raakshasanthakam</i>

MEANING: “We bow to Maruti, Sri Hanuman, who stands with his palms folded above his forehead, with a torrent of tears flowing down his eyes wherever the Names of Lord Rama are sung”.

SRI HANUMAN is worshipped all over India—either alone or together with Sri Rama. Every temple of Sri Rama has the murti or idol of Sri Hanuman. Hanuman was the Avatara of Lord Siva. He was born of the Wind-God and Anjani Devi. He is also called by the names Pavanasuta, Marutsuta, Mahavira, Bajrangabali and Pavankumar.

Hanuman was the living embodiment of the power of Ram-Nam. He was an ideal selfless worker, a true Karma Yogi who worked desirelessly. He was a great devotee and an exceptional Brahmachari or celibate. He served Sri Rama with pure love and devotion, without expecting any fruit in return. He lived only to serve Sri Rama. He was humble, brave and wise. He possessed all the divine virtues. He did what others could not do—crossing the ocean simply by uttering Ram-Nam, burning the demon-king's city of Lanka, and bringing the sanjeevini herb to restore the life of Lakshmana. He brought Sri Rama and Lakshmana from the nether world after killing Ahiravana.

Hanuman possessed devotion, knowledge, spirit of selfless service, power of celibacy, and desirelessness. He never boasted of his bravery and intelligence.
He said to Ravana, "I am a humble messenger of Sri Rama. I have come here to serve Sri Rama, to do His work. By the command of Sri Rama, I have come here. I am fearless by the Grace of Sri Rama. I am not afraid of death. I welcome it if it comes while serving Sri Rama."

See how humble Hanuman was! How deep was his devotion to Sri Rama! He never said, "I am the brave Hanuman. I can do anything and everything."

Sri Rama Himself said to Hanuman, "I am greatly indebted to you, O mighty hero. You did marvellous, superhuman deeds. You do not want anything in return. Sugriva has his kingdom restored to him. Angada has been made the crown prince. Vibhishana has become king of Lanka. But you have not asked for anything at any time. You threw away the precious garland of pearls given to you
by Sita. How can I repay My debt of gratitude to you? I will always remain deeply indebted to you. I give you the boon of everlasting life. All will honour and worship you like Myself. Your idol will be placed at the door of My temple and you will be worshipped and honoured first. Whenever My  stories are recited or glories sung, your glory will be sung before Mine. You will be able to do anything, even that which I will not be able to!"

Thus did Sri Rama praise Hanuman when the latter returned to Him after finding Sita in Lanka.

Hanuman was not a bit elated. He fell in prostration at the holy feet of Sri Rama.

Sri Rama asked him, "O mighty hero, how did you cross the ocean?"

Hanuman humbly replied, "By the power and glory of Thy Name, my Lord."

Again Sri Rama asked, "How did you burn Lanka? How did you save yourself?"

And Hanuman replied, "By Thy Grace, my Lord."

What profound humility Hanuman embodied in himself!

There are many who want wealth in return for their services. Some do not want wealth, but they cannot resist name and fame. Others do not want any of these, but they want approbation. Still others want nothing, but they boast of their deeds. Hanuman was above all these. That is why he is recognised as an ideal Karma Yogi and an unsurpassed adept in Bhakti. His life is full of object lessons. Everyone should try his best to follow the noble example of Hanuman.

<b>His birthday falls on Chaitra Shukla Purnima—the March-April full moon day.</b>

On this holy day worship Sri Hanuman. Fast on this day. Read the Sri Hanuman Chalisa. Spend the whole day in the Japa of Ram-Nam. Hanuman will be highly pleased and will bless you with success in all your undertakings.

Glory to Hanuman! Glory to his Lord, Sri Rama!
Happy Mothers day, folks !!


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Flowers, dinner, and a blessing of Hindu gods

By Dan Hardy

Inquirer Staff Writer

On Saturday, Savita Patel got the usual Mother's Day treatment from her three children: flowers, dinner, and a gift certificate to a spa.

Yesterday, Patel, a Langhorne resident who was born in India, was honored in a very different way.

She, with 50 other mothers, was the focus of a Mathru puja - a prayer for mothers - at the Chinmaya Mission Tri-State Center, a Hindu temple in Langhorne.

During the hourlong religious ceremony presided over by Swami Siddhananda, a Hindu teacher who lives at the temple, the children knelt in front of their mothers. They symbolically washed their mothers' feet with a sprinkle of water, gave them each a gold coin and fruit, and anointed their foreheads with a vermilion paste.

The children bowed their heads to the floor in reverence and were in turn blessed by their mothers, who touched their foreheads with grains of rice that had been soaked in oil and turmeric, a gingerlike herb. There was candlelighting and a song chanted in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language that the Hindu holy texts are written in.

The ceremony was "a chance to show your mom how much you appreciate her, but in a more traditional way," said Savita Patel's daughter Amika, a senior at Neshaminy High School. "It's not just gift-giving."

Her mother agreed. The other Mother's Day treats were welcome, she said, "but this is something extra-special to me."

Members of the Langhorne temple, a converted house on Bridgetown Pike, said there was no exact equivalent to Mother's Day in India. Yesterday's ceremony was adapted by Swami Chinmayananda, the founder of Chinmaya Mission, from ceremonies that honor the Hindu gods.

"Mother is next to the God" in importance, said Bensalem resident Ramesh Choksi, one of the board members of the mission.

In Hindu prayer ceremonies, "usually, we invoke the Gods to the seat of honor and offer our respect," said Nagaraj, a temple member from King of Prussia who goes by one name. "In this case, we invoke the mother to the seat of honor and offer her our respect."

The words in the Sanskrit chant that the children sang to their mothers bore out that sentiment: "By mother's blessings alone men become worshipful in this world and happy in the other world," it said in part. "He who sees God in his own mother, he alone sees Him everywhere as well."

Hari Pillai, 21, a Drexel University student from Upper Darby, said that it was important to him, and especially to his mother, to add the religious element to Mother's Day.

"You can say, 'Mom, have a good day,' but you can also pray for her, too," he said. "You need to connect with her more spiritually... it's adding Hinduism to make it more special."<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Anybody ever heard of "friendship day" ? I swear I had never heard of it until my current visit to desh..
Okay which college was it.. out with it Rajesh. I remember all sorts of 'festivals' in college: Rose day <!--emo&Wink--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='wink.gif' /><!--endemo--> , Sari day, Dhoti day, Red day, Pink day (no, red/pink didn't mean the commies/pinkos having a 'blast' around campus)
Viren, This was bigger. I got multiple SMSes wishing me a happy friendship day. There is something called a friendship band which is tied on the wrist. And some popular girls proudly had their forearms completely covered with friendship bands. Must be as big as Valentine day but I had never heard about it before. Maybe its a college thing only, who knows - i went to an engg school onlee.. <!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo-->

PS : Not a single friendship band on my wrist.. Its loaded with rakhis.. <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Onam Recipes

Onam Greetings to all.
Happy Vijayadasami/Dusshera to one and all. Yesterday was Saraswati Puja. What's the significance and origins of that. (BTW, where's Sunder these days)

IIRC Maa Saraswati is prayed for the last 3 days of Navratri.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Karva Chauth Festival
   Karva Chauth is observed by married women (suhagini) for ensuring wedded bliss and wishing long life for their husbands and children. A married woman who observes this vrat(fast) is called ‘Saubhagyavati’ (joyous and happy state of wifehood).

   On the occasion of this vrat (Fast) a kalash (small container) is filled with either milk or water. In that kalash is placed Pancha Ratna (five pieces of different metals gold, silver, copper, brass and iron). The kalash is then presented to a Brahmin and also exchanged with other married women. While thus presenting the kalash, a wishful prayer is offered to Lord Ganesh: "Let the offerings of this Karva (Karak (gift bring long life to my husband and may my saubhagya be everlasting". And express such desire that ‘May my death precede that of my husband so that I can enter the chitaa (funeral pyre) as a bride (not as a widow).

   This katha (narrative) first took place between Siva and parvati. Siva told Parvati about the significance of Karva Vrat. In Dwapar Yuga, Draupadi asked Lord Krishna about the vrat of Karva Chauth. Thereafter, the very first time this vrat was observed in the town of Shukraprastha by Veeravati, the daughter of Vedsharma and Leelavati. Ever since this vrat has been observed by married women till the present day.

   On the occasion of Karva Chauth which is on the day of Kartik Krishna Chaturthi, fasting (vrat) is observed. In the evening, after taking a bath, under a banyan tree (or in the absence of such tree, draw a picture of such tree) place murtis or pictures of Siva, Parvati, Ganesh and Kartikeya and do puja ceremony (shodashopachar or sixteen step puja ceremony). Then for the offerings of arghya (rice, flower etc.), while waiting for the moon to rise, japa is done with the mantra "Om namah Shivaya". Havan (sacred fire ceremony) is also done. Thereafter, having sited the moon, offer the arghya.

   If the husband is present, then worship him with Panchopchar or gandh, pushpa, dhoop, deep and naivedya (perfume, flower, incence, lamp and food). If the husband is away on travels, then offer a prayer to Almighy to grant long life to your husband. Thereafter bring the vrat to its conclusion.

   Lord Krishna urged Draupadi to observe the vrat of Karva Chauth so that through its influence Arjuna can defeat the Kauravas on the battlefield and acquire back the kingdom.

   Married women who thus offer wishful prayer for saubhagya by observing the Karva Chauth Vrat, acquire saubhagya, progeny and lasting prosperity

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Deepavali: Festival of Lights: Based on a talk by Rama Srinivasan:

Deepavali is celebrated for three days, as Naraka Chaturdasi, Lakshmi Pooja and Bali Padyami. It is said that Ugadi is feast for food and Deepavali is feast for bath.(Undu Ugadi, Mindu Deepavali). Naraka Chaturdasi is the day on which Krishna killed the demon Narakasura and gave him Moksha. At the time of death he desired that the people should celebrate it as a festival, in view of his past misdeeds. It has now remained as practice to have an oil bath before sunrise on the Naraka Chaturdasi day, amidst fire works. The previous day (Thrayodasi) is known as Neeru Thumbuva Habba, when all the water carrying and boiling vessels are cleaned well in the evening, decorated with mango leaves, flowers, Shanka, Chakra, and Namam. Presently water geysers or boilers are given the pride of place. The entire Pooja is in the name of God Krishna, who saved the world from Narakasura. It is usual practice to make Kolakatte or Kadubu for Pooja. After the early morning bath, everyone wears new dresses. The whole day is celebrated with grandeur, fireworks and meeting relatives. In the night Oil lamps are lit inside and outside the houses, to denote arrival of brightness after death of Narakasura. It will be a sight and Heaven on Earth, when lamps are glowing on both sides of the street.

On the next day which is New moon day(Amavasya), business community performs Lakshmi Pooja in the establishments, and open new account books for the New Year. They distribute Sweet packets to associates, friends and relatives and celebrate with fireworks.

Mahabali, who was pressed down to Pathala Loka, in Vamana Avatara, comes to visit his citizens on this earth, once every year, on Balipadyami day, which is the third day of Deepavali. Citizens have made it a practice to Welcome Bali in grandeur with sweets, lamps, new dresses, and fire works, as Bali gave away everything to god as gift. It is also customary to recite Vishnu Sahasranamam in the evening after lighting lamps all over. Mandyam Iyengars of Bharadwaja Gothram celebrates only Balipadyami.

You would have observed that men and women are blessed before oil bath, by application of a few drops of oil, by elder women in the family. The person is made to sit on a platform, which is decorated with Rangoli designs, lamps on both sides. The person is applied Kumkum on the forehead, handed betel leaf, nut, and arathi is done. The elderly lady will take the oil cup and dip a flower bud in it and apply drops of it on the inside of the left arm, chanting names of men or women of great achievement.

Enney ShatsramSadPooja for Oil Bath):

For men the names of Seven achievers to be recited are as follows :
" Ashwthamo, Balir Vyaso, Hanumanshcha, Vibhishanaha,

Krupaha Parashuramashcha,Saptaite Chirangivinaha"</i>

For women the five names are as follows:
"Ahalya, Draupati, Seetha, Tara, Mandodari Tatha,

Panchakanyaha Smarennithyam Mahapataka Nashanam"</i>

Reciting as above, the oil from drops set on the arm, is taken in the fingers by the lady and applied to the head, cheeks, shoulders, waist, knees and feet, repeated three times. It is Ashirvadam for the youngster to live long and prosperously.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
First it was Navratri and now this.. <!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo-->


I dont understand what the deal is with all this noise pollution BS - come on man, we are yindoos and we like to enjoy. take this noise pollution BS elsewhere. <!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Rajesh: In India there's a Noise Ordinance Act (forget exact details - can be dug up). The problem isn't the act itself, but the application of that act. There are times of the year like Ganesh festival or Navaratri or Diwali - this issue on noise pops up. But none one seems to have a problem over the aazan that's blasted over the loudspeakers 5 times a day every day of the year.

<!--QuoteBegin-rajesh_g+Nov 20 2005, 09:04 AM-->QUOTE(rajesh_g @ Nov 20 2005, 09:04 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--emo&:bcow--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_cowboy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_cowboy.gif' /><!--endemo-->  <!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo-->   <!--emo&Confusedtupid--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/pakee.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='pakee.gif' /><!--endemo-->  <!--emo&:whistle--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/whistle.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='whistle.gif' /><!--endemo-->  <!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo-->  <!--emo&:rocker--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rocker.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rocker.gif' /><!--endemo-->


<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Indian Sikhs shout down Khalistan slogans
DH News Service Amritsar:
The members of 3000-strong Sikh Jatha on Saturday returned home by Samjhauta Express at Attari near here after celebrating the 536th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, founder of Sikhism, at his birthplace Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. The members of Jatha said that some hardliners raised “Khalistan Zindabad” slogans at a seminar in Lahore.

The Sikhs from India reacted and raised “Hindustan Zindabad” slogans in response and after some commotion, the situation turned normal, said Makhan Singh, a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member who returned with Jatha.

The Sikh Jatha led by Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti had gone to Pakistan on November 11. A congregation was held in Gurdwara Nankana Sahib on November 15. Thousands of Sikhs from across the world, including Khalistan supporters from the USA and Canada, had joined celebrations, sources said.Makhan Singh said he couldn’t tolerate anti-India speeches, especially when some Sikh separatist leaders, including Khalistan protagonist Gurmeet Singh Aulakh, spoke about the disintegration of India and “freedom” for Kashmiri's during a seminar held at hotel Holiday Inn in Lahore.

“Many of us raised slogans of ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ then,’’ he said adding that Khalistani leaders had challenged them for a debate over the future of a united India. He said even during the Gurpurab functions some hardliners from various countries gave inflammatory speeches but they received little response. Meanwhile, the Sikh Jatha, including women and children, expressed satisfaction over the arrangements.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
someone tell me if i am right in the following analysis.

Hanuman is not a hindu "monkey god" (thats just how thewestern media chooses to descripe him). Hanuman is a character from the epic Ramayan, modelled on tribal indians of australoid or astro-asiatic origin. Since he was of immense help to Raam, the king of Ayodhya, and the hero of the epic Ramayan, hanuman is reverred and worshipped. In reality, Ramayan was written a good few hundred years after the Vedas were composed. And hindu society was doing just fine during the time interval. Hanuman is not a god that has ANY mention in the Vedas. Hanuman-reverence is a socio-cultural thing, that has taken religious proportions over time. In reality it has little to do with hinduism as such, since there is no mention of any "monkey-god" in vedas, nor any scripture about him in pre-ramayan hindu religious literature.

The reason why he is the "deity" of the so called "sankat mochan" (which literally means to be rid of trouble) temple, is because the tribal person on whom hanuman's character is based on, did precisely that - help raam overcome his troubles and problems.

BTW, even Holi is not a festival as such (no scripture, no mantra, no reference ion Veda). It was a cultural practice (to play with colours, so as to celebrate the comming of Spring or "vasant" as its called in india) thats taken religious proportions. It origin goes back to Vrindavan, in the same province as Varanasi, where one of the top players of this colour-game was a cow-herd called Krishna, who was later deified as an avatar of Vishnu (ie. its believed that Vishnu, the god of preservation of the world, showed up as Krishna, the epitome of a superman. Raam btw, is also deified as an avatar of Vishnu. Raam is considered the epitome of the "ideal man") and is the mentor of the hero (Arjun) of the epic Mahabharat. The practice of Holi also started many years after the Vedas were written and hindu society was doing just fine in that period between Vedas and Mahabharat.

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