Ram Navami

Ram Navami is of great religious significance and people celebrate it with immense faith.

The legend behind Ram Navami is when Bhudevi, goddess of earth pleaded Brahma to take charge of the situation where Ravana, the ten-headed demon king was terrorizing people. Brahma soon approached Vishnu who agreed to visit earth as a human who would put an end to the atrocities of Ravana.

It is also believed that the king of Ayodhya, Dashratha had no sons and when he offered prayers and performed a yagya, and when Prajapati, one of the gods presented Dashratha a potion that his three wives drank in order to conceive sons, Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrugana were born. Vishnu had stepped on earth as the crown prince of Ayodhya. And since Vishnu was living as a human, his consort Lakshmi incarnated as Sita in order to stand by him through his life on earth.

Ram Navami, the Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Lord Rama is celebrated with much pomp and vigor in several parts of the country. The festival is celebrated on the ninth day of the Chaitra month and also marks the end of Navratri. Several people fast on the first nine days and end their fast on the day of Ram Navami. The fast begins from the first day of the Chaitra month which is celebrated as Ugadi and ends on Ram Navami. People pray to Lord Rama but they also worship Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman on this day. If you happen to go for a murti procession on Ram Navami, you will see idols of all these gods on the yatra.

Temples also serve a special prasad on Ram Navami which is a sweet drink called panak made using jaggery, pepper, dried ginger powder and lemon. Many people also have celebrations at home and some also place the idol in a cradle to mark his birth.

GSB Sabha (Regd.) KCG celebrates Ram Navami at Shree Balaji Mandir on a grand scale with a Panchamrita Abhisheka in the morning, followed by Sarvalankara Pooja. Prasad is distributed to the devotees thereafter. In the afternoon, Shree Satyanarayan Mahapooja is organized followed by Bhajan Seva by Guru Krupa Bhajana Mandali. In the evening, at around 7:30pm, Ratri pooja is organized and a grand Palki Utsav takes place, wherein the idol of Shri Ram is taken out of the garbhagriha, onto a palanquin. The entire procession of the Palki Utsav is followed up with Hymns from the four Vedas and Bhajans. And once the idol is placed back in the garbagriha, the pooja and aarti are duly completed; Prasadam is distributed amongst the participating devotees.

Ram Navami Celebrations at GSB Kurla Mandir commence on 5th April 2017, and request all devotees to participate wholeheartedly in the Utsav and be blessed by the Lord.

(This article is extracted from blogs contributed by Shri Nagesh Bhakta. Shri Nagesh Bhakta writes blogs for GSB Sabha (Regd.) K.C.G., Kurla(W), Mumbai 400070)

 

 

 

Advertisements

Ekadashi

Ekadashi

Ekadashi is the 11th day of the moon cycle, both from the full moon and from the new moon.

Why do we fast on Ekadashi

Source: Rishimukh

It is a common practice in most Hindu households to observe fast on ekadashi. What is special about this day?
Ekadasi in Sanskrit means eleven. ‘Eka’ means “one” and ‘dasi’ is the feminine form of the word “dasa”, which means “ten”. Ekadasi is thus the eleventh day of both the dark and light fortnight of each month. On these special days, devotees fast from grains and beans and make an extra effort to be in service to the Divine.
There is a beautiful story about the origin of Ekadasi fasting. Once, in the Satya-yuga (the golden age) Lord Narayana was engaged in battle with a demon called Mura. Feeling tired, the Lord decided to rest from the long battle. However, Mura wanted to kill the Lord while he was sleeping. Suddenly from the body of the Lord manifested a young girl, who slayed the demon, Mura. This girl was the Mahasakti…. Pleased, Narayana gave her the name Ekadasi (as she appeared on the eleventh day of the waning moon). He also granted her the boon that anyone who fasts on Ekadasi will become free from sin and attain His transcendental abode.
There are certain rules regarding fasting on this day. For eg., one must strictly avoid eating grains and beans on Ekadasi. Fasting generally means completely abstaining from both food and drink. If this is difficult, one may eat a single non-grain meal once in the afternoon or in the evening.
According to scriptures, one who observes fasting on Ekadasi is freed from all kinds of reactions to sinful activities and advances in spiritual life. These sacred fasting days greatly help any sincere soul achieve, even within this present lifetime, liberation from the cycle of birth and death, it is said… therefore, Ekadasi gives one a real taste of renunciation, thus helping one give up trying to enjoy illusory sense gratification of this material world.
Both western and ayurvedic medicine recommend fasting to maintain and improve health. Indeed modern medical experts and ancient sages agree that fasting benefits one, both physically and mentally.

Fasting gives the digestive system a rest. The physiological system may become overworked due to a little overeating or indiscrimination in diet. Thus the fortnightly Ekadashi fasting gives the system a chance to catch up. We know that the digestive system draws the blood circulation towards the digestive organs. Therefore blood circulation to the head is decreased once food is taken: so we feel sleepy. Thus observance of Ekadashis helps us recharge our brain and mind keeping us more alert, sharp, focused and more aware.

The fortnightly Ekadashi fasting accompanied with healthy eating reportedly improves insulin responsiveness, lowers blood cholesterol and prolongs life span. It helps improve the mental stability of people suffering from anxiety and depression. It also detoxifies the body, cleanses the blood and improves the functioning of kidneys and liver. It is amazing how the ancient Vedic Indians devised this method to keep ourselves fit and free from any negative influences!

 

The basic principle is not just to just fast, but to increase one’s faith and love for the Divine. The real reason for observing fasting on ekadasi is to minimize the demands of the body and to engage our time in the service of the Divine.

 

Bhajana is regularly conducted at Shree Balaji Mandir, Kurla on Ekadashi days Devotees are invited observe the Ekadashi fast, to attend Bhajana, seek Grace of Lord Balaji and be blessed with good health and prosperity.

(This article is extracted from blogs contributed by Shri Nagesh Bhakta. Shri Nagesh Bhakta writes blogs for GSB Sabha (Regd.) K.C.G., Kurla(W), Mumbai 400070)

 

 

 

 

Bhajans

The oft repeated stance by most people in today’s context of “busy schedule” is that “meditation” is not for me, I do not have the time etc.

However, when we pause and take time to visit temples on “auspicious” days, there is an unconscious effort to bond with the Lord, take the Lord’s blessings. It is in this context that Bhajans play a vital role in awakening our inner self.

Two major disciplines are involved: listening and following. By listening deeply with complete self-abandon, we cut out our own ego static and acquire the grace to simply follow, to absorb into our being the rhythm, tune, words, and total feeling of the music so deeply that we can reproduce them exactly. Bhajan singing requires much discipline; the world is blocked out and concentration is at its peak.

Bhajan is a Hindi word derived from the Sanskrit bhaj, meaning “to serve, honor, revere, love, and adore.” Generally speaking, prayers, psalms, anthems, rosaries, hymns, and oratorios like the Messiah are all bhajans. Bhajan also refers to a spiritual practice, originating in Vedic times (Sama Veda) in India and now used all over the world, in which names of God are chanted by a lead singer and repeated by the congregation.

A lama newly from Tibet, when asked what that change was that occurred, put his hand out and picked up the clean glass in front of him. Then he took his table napkin and draped it over the glass. “You are like this,” he said, holding the covered glass high. “Now you must become like this,” and he pulled away the napkin, looking at the sparkling clear glass. “So our task is to reveal our Real Self?” He nodded.

This was an enlightening concept. What exactly must be removed? When brass or silver becomes tarnished, the tarnish has to be removed by repeated rubbing before the object shines forth again in all its glory. In our case, we are told by the masters of the mystical sciences that it is our wrong thinking about who we really are, our wrong habits of thought and action, and our negative feelings that obscure our real identity. A big point made by my spiritual teacher was that our thoughts, our words, and our deeds must all be alike. Someone whose thoughts, words, and deeds are not the same has a fractured spiritual body, and the true divinity of the person’s atma-ic nature cannot shine through. Healing and mending our broken spirits is the reconstruction work that happens when bhajans are sung wholeheartedly. When we need to peel a potato, we look for a potato peeler. If we want to chop wood, we search for an axe. To untangle hair, we need a comb. What tool do we have to repair a spiritual body? Obviously, a spiritual tool is needed.

kalerdoshanidhe rajannasti hyeko mahan gunah

kirtanad eva krishnasya muktasangah param vrajet

(Shreemad Bhagavatam 12.3.51)

 

This verse from the Shreemad Bhagavatam states that Kaliyug, the present era, is an ocean of faults – people have disturbed minds, unsound health, they live in polluted environment, and face disturbing situations. However, there is one very great virtue in Kaliyug. By lovingly chanting the melodious kīrtans of the Lord, one can easily get liberated from material bondage.

 

Benefits:

 

Devotional singing, known as bhajans or kirtan, can help to quiet the mind so that the heart can open to the divine, allowing us to taste the blissful reality that is our true nature. It is a participatory spiritual practice in which everyone is encouraged to sing and express their inner joy. Devotion, not musical ability, is the most important aspect of kirtan. To gain concentration in this age of materialism, bhajan is easier than meditation. By loud singing, other distracting sounds will be overcome and concentration will be achieved. Bhajan, concentration and meditation, this is the progression. Bhajan is important for the devotee because it is intimate and free in expression. Bhajan preserves India’s rich legacy of devotion, wisdom and mysticism from saints like Meerabai, Tulsidas, Kabir, Surdas, Thyagaraja, Purandaradasa, Tukaram, Namdev, and many, many others.

 

Many Spiritual leaders and gurus in recent times have stressed the importance of bhajans and as such this is an integral part of many traditions.

 

Sankirtans or musical gatherings are an effective form of yoga or spiritual discipline, necessitating intense concentration, absorption in the seed thought and sound. Because man himself is an expression of the Creative Word, sound exercises on him a potent and immediate effect. – Paramahansa Yogananda

 

Bhajana is regularly conducted at Shree Balaji Mandir, Kurla on Saturdays, Ekadashi days and Vishesh days of Mandir by Gurukrupa Bhajana Mandali and on Fridays by Mahila Vibhag of GSB Sabha (Regd.) K.C.G. Devotees are invited to attend and seek Grace of Lord Balaji.

(This article is extracted from blog contributed by Shri Nagesh R. Bhakta, he writes blogs for GSB Sabha (Regd.) K.C.G., Kurla(W), Mumbai 400070)