Readers of this post are recommended to read my earlier post Hartalika Teej under the label Hinduism
Karwa Chauth falls about nine days before Diwali. It is celebrated on the chaturthi tithi after the full Moon in the month of kartik in the Hindu calendar It is the most important fast observed by Hindu women of North India. The festival of Karva Chauth is symbolic of the unflagging loyalty of a wife towards her husband. As the name signifies, Karva meaning a clay pot and Chauth corresponding to the fourth, this festival is commemorated on the the fourth day after the Full Moon in Kartik month of Hindu calendar.
Married women keep a strict fast and do not take even a drop of water and pray for the prosperity and longevity of their husbands life. After having the scrumptious meal called 'sargi' in the pre-dawn time, women observe a one-day fast for Karwa Chauth. They break the fast only after having a glimpse of the moon rise (on their thali that is filled with water or through a sieve) and their husband. Before the moon rise, around 4 -5 pm all married women gather at one place and narrate the Vrat Katha . The important rituals involving the festival include worshipping 'Karwas' spherical clay pots with symbols for married women and sweets. Now a days steel Karwa’s are available in the market. They are later exchanged with other married women As a part of the tradition, a two-inch tall idol of Goddess Gauri is made using cow dung and a picture of the idol is kept aside, because she is the deity worshipped on the day.
As all Hindu festival has some scientific or social cause behind its celebration, Karwa Chauth also has a social cause attached to its celebration. This time of the year is just after the harvest of Kharif (monsoon) crops and people are usually in a festive mood. This is time when people gather and celebrate the harvest and exchange gifts. This festival gives a chance the bride a chance to get close to her ill-laws. Usually, women receive beautiful gifts from their husbands and relatives on this day, as a gesture of their love and care. Karwa Chauth is an occasion that encourages people to gather and socialize with friends and family, exchange gifts and share home-cooked meals.
This year Karwa Chauth would be celebrated on 7th October 2009.
- Karwa Chauth – A Reflection of Joy, Splendor, Brig...
- The Fours Ashrams of Life – A Rational and a Scien...
- If Marriages are Made in Heaven ,then Is Divorce M...
- Tilak – A Mark of Hinduism on the Forehead
- Some Important Reasons for Failure of Marriage
- Guru Purnima – Celebrated By Hindus to Honor their...
- The Attire Of Elegance Sari Continued…The Colorful...
- Navratri –Nine Divine Nights devoted to Shakti
- Tips to Balance Work and Family Life
- ▼ September (9)
Readers of this post are recommended to read my earlier post Hartalika Teej under the label Hinduism
In my earlier post on Hinduism, I have emphasized that Hinduism is more a way of life than a religion. Every doctrine of ancient India, carved out by the ancient saints, is based on scientific and rational reasoning. However, to put them to use they needed to be socially embedded. Hence methods like, the Ashram system, were included in the Vedic society where the life of an individual was founded on both Karma and Dharma. With such methodology the then contemporary society also aimed at holding the social institutions together. Instead of becoming sages and escaping from worldly duties man was taught to shoulder every social and personal obligation. Apart from these the four stages of life also led to spiritual development.
In the ancient Indian tradition, one planned the years of life in four ashrams or stages, with the style of Yoga practiced in each stage chosen to match the circumstances of that stage. The average life of Indian was considered 100 years. The life span in Vedic India was divided in 4 parts, each of 25 years. These were called Ashrams. The word ashram means shelter implying that the person takes shelter successively in each of the four stages during his life’s journey. These ashrams were named following:
• Brahmcharya Ashram (Student)
• Grihasth Ashram (Householder)
• Vanprastha Ashrama (Hermitage)
• Sanyas Ashrama (Renunciate)
Brahmcharya Ashram (0 -25 years) - The celibate student time of youth is for learning the foundation of lifestyle. This is the perfect time to inculcate values like self-restraint, knowledge and obedience. In this time one was accepted to have simple living. Till a few decades back, celibacy till marriage was the norm in India. In rural India it still is. However in urban areas the incidence of premarital sex is increasing, largely under the influence of the west.
Grihasth Ashram (Householder) (25 – 50 years) –This was the stage of family life. It begins with marriage and proceeds to raising a family. It involves earning a living through the skills acquired during Brahmacharya ashram. Religious or spiritual practices are done in the context of worldly life and service to others. This is the first stage where he puts his knowledge to use. He has to discharge the duties of a son, brother, husband, father and a member of the community.
Vanaprastha Ashram (50 -75 years) – This Ashrama indicates the departure from material possessions. The person lives with the family, in society, but in a withdrawn manner. Relationships with grown children and community are more in the role of a matured mentor. Celibacy is again advocated.
Sanyas Ashrama (75 – 100+ years) - The final stage is Sanyasa or renunciation last till a person dies. He is completely free from the emotional attachments. It is at this age that he becomes an ascetic and completely dedicates his life to serve God.
Ideas like these can never grow old. As a result the Ashram System is still followed in India, consciously or unconsciously. Although they are not strictly implemented but even today an Indian has a life of a student, a family man and then he retires. As old age seeps in, he passes on his responsibilities to his children and moves closer to spiritualism.
If Marriages are Made in Heaven ,then Is Divorce Made in Hell? …Continued Impacts of Divorce On ChildrenWednesday, September 23, 2009
The readers of the post are suggested to read my earlier post,the link given below or you can even find this post under the label My Journey of Life.
When a couple decides to end their relationship by the word DIVORCE. Children can often be the most effected by divorce, and recent studies have found that children from broken home are more prone to violence and substance abuse than those from a happy, family home. Divorce will not be easy for a parent; but a parent is a grown adult who has (hopefully) mastered coping skills. Children, on the other hand, are not necessarily as prepared as an adult in this regard. What makes a sad situation even sadder is that parents going through a divorce are usually under so much emotional stress they are able to be of little help to their children. When children are deprived of the emotional support from their parents, they often turn their frustrations on themselves and the people around them. All children are affected by divorce in some way. Their world, their security and the stability they have known seem to fall apart when parents divorce. Children can be severely traumatized by divorce, especially if the divorce is a nasty one, and/or if there is a prolonged or an intense custody battle. With every impact I am including an innocent line of the kid whose parents are divorced.
• They feel helpless and powerless to do anything about the situation.
Feeling of Sadness
"It really hurt. It was hard for me to accept not being able to live in the same house with both parents."
• Sometimes children or teens feel they have to "take care of" one or both of their parents. Giving up one’s childhood to care for emotionally troubled parents is a widespread characteristic in children of divorce.
"I hate it when my mom asks me how she looks. I don’t like being put in that situation. I wish my dad were here to do it."
• Children who go through a divorce often are impacted in terms of their
self-esteem. They may believe that they themselves caused the divorce, or
that they did something wrong that made mommy and/or daddy want to not be with them.
Feeling Of Guilt
"My dad left because I wanted to ride my bike my way, and I told him to go away. He did and divorced my mom."
"If I had watched my baby brother when my mom was cooking dinner, then my mom wouldn’t have left me dad. It’s all my fault."
• They may worry that their parents don’t love them anymore. They feel abandoned. They feel like the parent has divorced them too.
Feeling of Loneliness
We’re half a family now--lonely."
"Holidays will never be any good any more."
• Children might indulge in alcohol/drug abuse and violence.
• It might lead to isolating themselves from their friends and family
Feeling of Isolation
"Daddy left. Will Mommy leave me too? What will happen to me?"
• They might show destructive behavior and sometimes may indulge in breaking rules
• Children tend to have anger directed toward others and themselves
Feeling of Anger
"I hate my sofa. It’s where my parents told me they were getting a divorce. I’ll never sit on it again."
• In future they might have difficulty in establishing an intimate relationship or other interpersonal relationships.
• They might become moody or silent and loose their naughty childhood early.
Feeling of Shock
"Unable to think, unable to feel, unable to grasp what had happened to their lives. Unable to speak about it."
• Sometimes custody battle leaves life long impact on the immature child’s brain.
Feeling of Torn between parents
"Dad couldn’t really be as bad as Mom says he is."
"I don’t care who I live with. I love you both. Please don’t make me choose--just tell me."
Readers of the post are highly recommended to read my earlier post ‘Bindi A Icon of Indian tradition on the forehead’,this can be found under the label Indian traditions.
Without the worship of Lord Ganesh no work begins in Hindu religion, similarly no religious work begins in Hindu religion without a TILAK on the forehead. Tilak is a mark of auspiciousness. In India, you will find people wearing a red, yellow, orange and, rarely, a black mark on their forehead. It's called the tilak, or tilakam, in the Sanskrit language and is basically a Hindu tradition. Depending on the purpose for which Tilak is applied, the material is chosen for preparing the sacred forehead mark.
• Sandal: White sandal symbolizes purity, calmness and tranquility
• Kumkum: Red kumkum signifies power, vigor, dynamism and stability
• Turmeric: Saffron colored turmeric stands for wealth, fortune, prosperity and opulence
• Holy Ashes or Vibhuti: Vibhuti represents dedication, devotion and commitment
The devotees of Shiva apply sacred ashes (Bhasma) on the forehead, the devotees of Vishnu apply sandal paste (Chandan), and the worshippers of Devi or Shakti apply Kumkum, a red tumeric powder. The Shaivites(followers of Lord Shiva) typically use ash and draw their tilak as three horizontal lines. Vaishnavas (followers of Lord Vishnu) use clay from a holy river or place, which is sometimes mixed with sandalwood paste for applying Tilak.
The holy scriptures of Hindu advocate the importance to Tilak on a forehead in the below line:
‘"A forehead without a Tilak, a woman without a husband, a Mantra the meaning of which is not known while doing Japa (recitation), the head that does not bend before holy personages, a heart without mercy, a house without a well, a village without a temple, a country without a river, a society without a leader, wealth that is not given away in charity, a preceptor without a disciple, a country without justice, a king without an able minister, a woman not obedient to her husband, a well without water, a flower without smell, a soul devoid of holiness, a field without rains, an intellect without clearness, a disciple who does not consider his preceptor as a form of God, a body devoid of health, a custom (Achar) without purity, austerity devoid of fellow-feeling, speech in which truth is not the basis, a country without good people, work without wages, Sannyasa without renunciation, legs that have not performed pilgrimages, determination unaided by Viveka or discrimination, a knife which is blunt, a cow that does not give milk, a spear without a point- all these are worthy of condemnation. They exist for name’s sake only."
Tilak is applied at the Ajna Chakra, the space between the two eyebrows. It has a very cooling effect. Application of sandal paste has great medicinal value, apart from the spiritual influence. Numerous mentions have been made about Tilak in the ancient scriptures such as Vedas and Upanishads. Rig Veda has given an elaborate description about the life of Goddess Usha, the consort of Lord Surya. She is portrayed as wearing a red dot on her forehead that signifies the rising sun.
Tilak applied with the ring-finger or thumb is very beneficial. As per Hindu palmistry it is believed that at the base of the ring-finger is Sun and and at the base of the thumb is Venus. Sun represents firmness, brilliance, honour,respect and faith, while Venus gives life force, health, is the creator of new life, the bestowed of gentility and politeness. And if Tilak is applied on the forehead with these fingers then the blessings of sun or Venus can be achieved.
Readers of this post, I would recommend to read my earlier posting 'An Institution Of Marriage' , 'How Can Communication Help In Building a Strong Relationship' and If Marriages are made in heaven, then is Divorce made in Hell ?.These posts you can find under the label My Journey of life.
I would like to recall a famous quote here:
"A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' come together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences."
In today’s society we come across couples very often who are not very happy in their married life and sometimes they end up in a divorce. In this post I would like to highlight some of the reasons for the failure in marriage.
• Communication - proper communication is the crux of any good relationship. Only through good communication can we know how and what our partner is feeling. Without open communication between two people we can't possibly know what and to what extent something may be bothering someone.Lack of communication in one of the important reason for an unsuccessful marriage. "Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation."
• The ability to adapt to changes in married life often depends on having realistic expectations about a spouse and the marriage relationship itself. It is common for disillusionment to set in when romantic or other unrealistic expectations are not met. Over time, unmet expectations can generate enough dissatisfaction to make meaningful compromise impossible.
• Many people have a fantasy view of love. Some get married because they feel they have to due to pressure from family or friends. Or they see all of there friends getting married so they feel they should too. So they rush into a marriage prematurely. Others get married because of premarital pregnancy. Couples that are too young and inexperienced who think they are in love will often get married. They may soon realize that they don't truly love this person or they are not mature enough to handle the more difficult relationship problems that may arise in a marriage.
• Couples fail to cope with life’s trials. When painful trials come into the marriage, instead of standing together through them, couples tend to blame each other or think something is wrong with the spouse and the way they handle the pain.
• Work and home schedules are not always compatible. Time spent apart and times spent together are equally important for maintaining a good married relationship. When time is used in a balanced way, it results in opportunities for growth and harmony. A lot of time spent alone without a corresponding period of quality time spent together puts a lot of stress on a marriage.
• In today’s fast world everybody wants to achieve more in less time and effort, which leads to high expectations. Also now the society is becoming more materialistic and in this race for fulfilling materialistic dreams couples end up in conflicts.
I dedicate this post to all my teachers and inspirations that have given me knowledge at some point of life and have made me capable to understand between right and wrong and have enlightened my life.
The day of full moon, Purnima, in the month of Ashadh (July-August) is traditionally celebrated as Guru Purnima by Hindus. This day is also known as a Vyas Purnima, the day is celebrated in remembrance and veneration to sage Ved Vyas. All Hindus are indebted to this ancient saint who edited the four Vedas, wrote the 18 Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. Guru means Teacher. The Sanskrit root "Gu" means darkness or ignorance. "Ru" denotes the remover of that darkness. Therefore one who removes darkness of our ignorance is a Guru. Here I would like to recollect some famous verses which all Hindus by heart to glorify the word Guru.
‘Guru Govind donu khade, kisko laagu paay,
Balihari Gurudevaki jinhe Govind diyo bataay.’
Meaning - The Guru (Teacher) and Govind (God), are present before me, to whom shall I bow (prostrate) down first? Glory to the Guru (Teacher) since he showed me Govind (God).
Gurubrahma Guruvishnu Gururdevo Maheshwaraha |
Guruhu sakshaat Parambrahman tasmai Shrigurave namaha ||
Meaning - The Guru is Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva), veneration to the Guru who is Parabrahman manifest." The second line of the couplet does not literally mean that the Guru becomes Parabrahman - God, rather he is venerated as if God is manifesting through him.
Hindus attach paramount importance to spiritual gurus. Guru plays the pivotal role in reminding us the divinely advice, teaches us the art of living a balanced life with restraint and stability of mind. He is the one who brings about awareness that actions (karmas) performed under the influence of senses, give rise to sensuous pleasures and pains, which are transitory and fleeting. He guides you how to discipline and bring under control the five wild horses - 'kaam' (passion), 'krodha' (anger), 'lobh' (greed), 'moh' (emotional attachment) and 'ahankaar' (ego) and helps one to take the chariot of life in the right direction of inner peace and tranquility. A Guru is beyond religions. He does not discriminate on the basis of culture, nationality or gender. He will never ask one to convert from his religion. He will lift the student to comprehend universal spiritual principles that underlie all religions. Whichever spiritual path or religion one follows, they all finally lead to the path of grace of the Guru.
Regardless of the spiritual path, this day is also celebrated to honor all those people, inspirations that have guided our path in this life. Gurupurnima is the day to pay gratitude to you’re a person who has enlightened you on the right path of life.
Readers of the post are suggested to read my earlier three posts The Attire of Elegance under the label Indian Tradition
The people of Rajasthan, living in the barren and monotonous landscape, add a whole range of colors in their lives through their costumes. Their inclination towards colors can been seen in the way people of Rajasthan decorate their houses, animals and themselves. From the simple village folk or tribal belle to the Raja's and Rani's, the preferred colors are bright red, dazzling yellow, lively green or brilliant orange, highlighted by a lavish use of sparkling gold and silver zari or gota.
Tie & Die/Lehriya/Bandhini Saree - Tie and die is a multi colored craft of Rajasthan. A large number of colors are used because once the base color is tied in; a lot of colors can be applied on to the fabric at different stages and then tied and detached gradually.
The motifs that are used are birds, leaves, animals, creepers, and human figures in dance poses.
Designs are known by their names such as mountain design, doll design and kite design. Dots are used to make up the designs. A different color on either side is also practiced by the craftsmen. Lehariya has long lines in a variety of colours found all over the body of the sari or dress material. Turbans are also a good outcome. The lehariya cloths have their own names depending on the designs. Bandhanis are related to festivals, seasons and rituals for which there are particular patterns and colors.
Rajasthani Kota Doria Saree –Kotha Doria sarees are one of the most popular sarees and a possession of every cotton lover woman. The literal meaning of Doria is thread and Kota is city in Rajasthan. Kota Doria is a fine quality cotton and silk yarn woven in the form of a graph. Hand woven check patterned and printed saris are quite popular. Originally these saris were known as Masuria because Mysore was the first place to take up this type of weaving. This art of weaving was brought to Kota by Rao Kishore Singh, a general of the Mughal army.
He brought the weavers to Kota in the 17th and early 18th century. Since then the saris were called Kota saris. The production entails spinning, dyeing and weaving and involves several workers. It takes them around three weeks in preparing three saris of similar designs. These saris are best worn in summers as they are made of cotton (the coolest fabric) and are airy. They are light in weight and easy to handle. The gossamer-fine fabric Kota Dorias are known to be the best quality weave and are extremely light in weight
Rajasthani Embroidery Saree - Famous are the embroidered Indian sarees of Jaisalmer, renowned for their unique colors, styles and stitches.
Embroidery has become the most elegant and enriching part of the craft heritage of India. The needlework tradition dates back to 2300-1500 BC and has been richly inherited by various regions, each having special style and an individual inspiration
'Nav' means 'nine' and 'ratri' means 'night'. Thus, 'Navratri' means 'nine nights' The festival which is devoted to the Mother Goddess known variously as Durga, Kali, Bhavani, Amba, and Chandika, has been celebrated in it's most unique and different nature in various parts of India and abroad with devotional songs, bhajans and cultural programs with the world renowned Garba or Dandiya Raas in the state of Gujarat while farmer sow seeds and thank the Goddess for her blessings and pray for better yield. In older times, Navratri was associated with the fertility of Mother Earth who feed us as her children. A period of introspection and purification, Navratri is traditionally an auspicious time for starting new ventures. Hinduism is the only religion in the world, which gives so much importance to the mother aspect of God because we believe that mother is the creative aspect of the absolute. Just as a child finds all these qualities in his or her mother, similarly, all of us look upon God as mother.
There are three Navratri as per the Hindu calendar. Sharad Navaratri, Vasant Navratri, Ashada Navaratri. Sharad Navratri is celebrated in the Sep –October and ends with the celebration of Dussera. Sharad Navratri is celebrated across the county. Vasant Navratri is celebrated during Vasant Ritu (beginning of summer) (March- April). This Navratri is celebrated mainly in North India. Ashada Navratri celebrated in July –August in the state of Himachal Pradesh. There is specific significance of celebrating Navratri twice in a year. Every year the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter are two very important junctures of climatic change and solar influence. Hindus believe that there is divine power that provides energy for the earth to move around the sun, causing the changes in the outer nature and that in this way we can thank the divine power for maintaining the correct balance of the universe.
These nine nights are dedicated to the three main goddesses of Hinduism - Parvati, Lakshmi and Sarasvati. The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga (Warrior Goddess) dressed in red and mounted on a lion. Her various incarnations - Kumari, Parvati and Kali - are worshipped during these days. Durga is worshipped order to destroy all our impurities, vices and defects. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped for the next three days in her various aspects as the goddesses of peace, plenty and bliss. Last three are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati (Goddess Of Knowledge), dressed in milky white and mounted on a pure white swan. In order have all-round success in life, we need the blessings of all three aspects of the divine mother; hence, the worship for nine nights.
In western part of India Garba or Dandiya Raas is the most significant feature during the festival of Navratri.In Eastern part of India Navaratri is known as Durga puja where beautiful idols of the Goddess are decorated and adorned, and worshipped for a period of nine days and immersed on the tenth day. In Northern India specially in Punjab and Delhi, even the name of the festival is changed, this becomes Navratras, here this is a period of fasting for seven days, and the people are said to keep their "Navratras" or fasts. On the eighth day or Ashtami, devotees break their fasts by calling young girls home and these girls are treated as the goddess herself. They are called "Kanjak Devis" in north India and Kanya puja in other parts of the country. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped. Their feet are washed as a mark of respect for the Goddess and then they are offered new clothes as gifts by the worshiper. This ritual is performed in most parts of the country. Generally, all Hindus do not eat non – vegetarian food during these nine days.
On the eighth day of this colorful festival, Yagna or Homam (holy fire) is performed. Pure Desi Ghee (clarified pure butter), kheer (rice pudding) and sesame seeds form the holy offering to Goddess Durga Maa (Divine Mother). Many people in north India worship the 8th day as ashtami. This colorful festival spreads a atmosphere of joy, purity and color in the whole atmosphere.This year Sharad Navratri starts on 19th Sep to Sep 27th 2009.I have tried to sum up this grand festivals in view lines, rituals may vary based on regional basis but the essence of worshiping mother goddess remains the same.
The title is a misnomer because balancing work and family life can never be achieved with ease. This takes a lot of juggling, planning, experimenting, emotional upheavals, professional compromises – among others. In other words it is one of the toughest things an adult would ever have to do.
Both family and work are glass balls, neither ball can be dropped without serious consequences. Thus balancing these two areas of responsibility can be particularly challenging. The following suggestions for achieving a good balance between work and family life.
• Be very organized - you will be amazed how much time you could save is you spend just 15 minutes every morning to prioritize and plan your day’s tasks. Ensure that you impose on yourself to be organized – both in your personal and professional life. A lot of time is wasted by doing things haphazardly.
• Do not try to be a perfectionist –Learn to say NO particularly at your boss, though sometimes even co-workers can be pretty painful. The ability to say ‘no’ would buy a lot of time that you would otherwise had to spend in doing things that you would not have wanted to do/ did not have time to do/ were not really qualified to do.
• Delegate -understand you cannot possibly be in two places at the same time and since you would need to spend at least eight hours at work, you need to work out alternatives for the time you are not there at home. Get a driver to drive your children/ spouse to where they need to be taken; get a cook, a relative, a friend or a neighbor who could supervise your children meal time (usually lunch) or leave them with their grandparents.
• Do two things at once – Sometimes multitasking helps in balancing work and family. Take children to work at occasions. While you work let them stack papers or take their coloring books along and let them do some creative work. Use your frequent flier miles to take an older child with you on a business trip.
• Get a better sleep – If you are well rested than you will be able to have more fun with your family.
• During breaks, call home to talk to your spouse and children. This will help your children feel your presence.
• Try and healthy as a healthy person can deal in a better way with stress and emotional ups and downs.
• If you’re on a business trip be closely in touch with your family. Talk to ever child individually. Discuss their homework and daily routine.
• When your work is through, stop. Don’t work more than you need to. Remember the spending quality time with your family is as important as your work.
• When chatting with your co-workers try and talk more about your family, your kids rather than discussing office politics.
• Enjoy quality time with your family – When you are with your family give them your full attention. Celebrate birthday’s anniversaries and festivals this helps in bringing closeness in the family.
• Try and have dinner with your entire family. This is the time when all can get together.
• Always have a contingency plan at your work place. Have some friends, relatives who can help you in case of emergency at your family front.
• Last but not the least Work to live, don’t live to work..
Remember, there is no single formula for balance. It is a personal decision how one combines spouse, children and career.