This is an essay on Holi or 'Dol-Jatra,' as it is called in Eastern India, written by Sister Nivedita, the celebrated disciple of Swami Vivekananda and Sarada Devi, consort of Sri Ramakrishna in her book Studies from an Eastern Home (1913).
Nivedita (Margaret E. Noble) was an Irish woman who became a Hindu and spent her life selflessly helping the poor women of India. This book gives a ground-level view of 19th century Hinduism from a woman's perspective. Nivedita's writings revolve around spiritual liberation tempered with sincere love for all Hindus.
Here, Sister Nivedita aptly points out two essential characteristic of the festival of colors: "One is the free mixing of men and women, with probably a certain element of rough buffoonery, something like the old St. Valentine's Day of Europe; and the other, the drawing together of all the classes, ignoring social differences of higher civilizations of later ages."
She also draws reference to the fact that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born on this day: "There was a wonderful dramatic fitness in the fact that in the fullness of time it was on the full-moon of Phalgun, the day of the Holi festival, that Chaitanya, apostle of rapture, lover of the poor and lowly, the national saint and the preacher of democracy, was born here in Bengal." Read Full Article
Holi, one of India's biggest and brightest holidays, widely known as the 'Festival of Colors' falls on Monday, March 17, 2014.
Did you know that Holi can be fun and harmless if you play with environment-friendly natural herbal colors? Holi is one occasion when sprinkling colored powder or water on each other breaks all barriers and everyone looks the same... Read Full Article
Those in the Tristate area of the United States, can look forward to the 25th Annual Phagwah Parade in Richmond Hill, New York on Sunday, March 16, 2014 at Liberty Avenue and 133rd Street, Richmond Hill, NY 11419. About.com Queen's, NY Guide John Roleke has the details.
Women of the Vedic period (c 1500-1200 BCE), were epitomes of intellectual and spiritual attainments. The Vedas have volumes to say about these women, who both complemented and supplemented their male partners.
Myriad hymns of the Vedic era bear testimony to the wisdom of contemporary women and names of 27 women-seers emerge from them. But most of them are mere abstractions except for a few, such as Ghosha, Lopamudra, Sulabha Maitreyi, and Gargi, who are some of the most significant female figures of the Vedic period.
Ghosha: Daughter of Kakshivat, composer of hymns of ancient Hindu scriptures, Ghosha has a few hymns and verses, assigned to her name.
Lopamudra: She was 'created' by sage Agasthya and given as a daughter to the King of Vidarbha. The Rig Veda testifies to her great intelligence.
Maitreyi: The Rig Veda contains about one thousand hymns, of which about 10 are accredited to Maitreyi, the woman seer and philosopher.
Gargi: She was a Vedic prophetess and daughter of sage Vachaknu. She composed several hymns that questioned the origin of all existence
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa represents the very core of the spiritual realizations of the seers and sages of India. His whole life was an uninterrupted contemplation of God. He reached a depth of God-consciousness that transcends all time and place and has a universal appeal. Seekers of God of all religions feel irresistibly drawn to Ramakrishna's life and teachings. Who better than this mystic can explain the concept of God?
Sri Ramakrishna said, "Because of the screen of Maya (illusion) that shuts off God from human view, one cannot see Him playing in one's heart. After installing the Deity on the lotus of your heart, you must keep the lamp of remembering God ever burning. While engaged in the affairs of the world, you should constantly turn your gaze inwards and see whether the lamp is burning or not."
To read more such nuggets of wisdom from the saint, read this collection of quotations about the true nature and infinite forms of the Absolute and how to approach the Ultimate Reality - told by Sri Ramakrishna in his own inimitable way. Read Full Article
Last week ( April 25, 2014) would have been his 71st birthday. He was perhaps one of the most spiritual of popular musicians of our times. His spiritual quest began in his mid 20s, when he realized for the first time that "Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot..." This search led him to delve deep into the mystical world of Eastern religions, especially Hinduism, Indian philosophy, culture, and music. That's George Harrison for you!
In the 1960s, Harrison embraced the Hare Krishna tradition and remained a plainclothes devotee or 'closet Krishna', as he called himself, till his last day of earthy existence.
He firmly believed that "life on Earth is but a fleeting illusion edged between lives past and future beyond physical mortal reality." Speaking on reincarnation in 1968, he said: "You go on being reincarnated until you reach the actual Truth. Heaven and Hell are just a state of mind. We are all here to become Christ-like. The actual world is an illusion." [Hari Quotes, compiled by Aya & Lee] He also said: "The living thing that goes on, always has been, always will be. I am not really George, but I happen to be in this body." Explore more...
The 179th birth anniversary celebrations of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is being observed by Hindus around the world on March 03, 2014. Sri Ramakrishna was born in Kamarpukur near Kolkata on February 18, 1836. However, each year the date of the anniversary is decided based on the lunar calendar followed by the Hindus. Many events and initiatives were organized by Ramakrishna mission across India and abroad to mark this auspicious occasion. A number of special programs marked the birthday celebration of Sri Ramakrishna at Belur Math, headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and RK Mission. See Schedule
Sri Ramakrishna represents the very core of the spiritual realizations of the seers and sages of India. His whole life was an uninterrupted contemplation of God. He reached a depth of God-consciousness that transcends all time and place and has a universal appeal. Seekers of God of all religions feel irresistibly drawn to his life and teachings. Read about his life as retold by Swami Adiswarananda of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, New York.
According to Hindu mythology, during the Puranic Age, Gods and Goddesses were glorified as supreme beings in various eulogizing texts full of amazing stories - in the Puranas.
In the Shiva Purana, Lord Shiva is celebrated in the five elements of Nature governed by him - Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space. Each of these elements is symbolized and worshiped in the form of a Linga, the formless form of Shiva.
The Shiva Purana also mentions 64 manifestations of Lord Shiva. Prof. K. Venkatachari, a noted artist, in his book Manifestations of Lord Shiva, brings to life a dozen such manifestations through beautiful illustrations.
Celebrate Maha Shivratri with some of the best Bhajans or devotional songs dedicated to Lord Shiva from the Hindi music album - Shiv Ganga (T-Series). These devotional songs are by famous Bollywood playback singer Anuradha Paudwal and other artistes. Besides traditional bhajans, these hymns are written by Goswami Tulsidas and Suraj Ujjaini, and music is by Shekhar Sen :
- Har Har Har Mahadev
- E Shambu Baba Mere Bhole Naath
- Jai Jai Om Kaleshwar
- Har Har MahaKaal
- Maha Kaal Tripurari
- Ek Shiv He Shiv Hai
- Dukhiya Yeh Sansar Hai
- Shankar Namaahme
- Om Namaah Shivaye
- Shankar Mahadev
Go to Download Page and click on the song titles to download the MP3 files of these Shiva Bhajans. After you download and listen, do rate these wonderful songs by leaving your comments below. Jai Bhole Natha!
Maha Shivratri, the night of the worship of Lord Shiva, occurs on the 14th night of the new moon during the dark half of the month of Phalguna. This year it falls on a moonless Thursday night of February 27-28, 2014 when Hindus offer special prayer to the lord. Shivratri (Sanskrit 'ratri' = night) is the night when he is said to have performed the Tandava Nritya or the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.
Shivratri Articles & Resources:
Today, February 18, is officially the first day of Spring in India. That brings to mind the various seasons this country is blessed with.
According to the Hindu Calendar, there are 6 seasons or 'Ritu' in a year. Since Vedic times, the various seasons in the Indian subcontinent was classified into these six categories. While North India mostly conforms to this marked change of seasons, it is less so in South India which is mostly marked by long summers and light winters. The six Indian seasons classified in the Hindu scriptures are:
- Vasant Ritu or Spring
- Grishma Ritu or Summer
- Varsha Ritu or Monsoon
- Sharad Ritu or Autumn
- Hemant Ritu or Pre-winter
- Shishir / Shita Ritu or Winter
Know more about these seasons and the start & end dates for 2014. Start reading...