Some Ways to Celebrate Navaratri

Friday, October 04, 2013

1. Reciting Śrīdevī Māhātmyam: There are three sections in Śrīdevī Māhātmyam - pūrva bhāgaḥ, madhyama bhāgaḥ (contains 13 chapters) and uttara bhāgaḥ. The following schedule can be adopted to recite (pārāyaṇa) Śrīdevī Māhātmyam spread over a period of nine days. Day 1 - pūrva bhāga; day 2 - madhyama bhāga chapter 1; day 3 - madhyama bhāga chapters 2 and 3; day 4 - madhyama bhāga chapter 4; day 5 - madhyama bhāga chapters 5, 6, 7 and 8; day 6 - madhyama bhāga chapters 9 and 10; day 7 - madhyama bhāga chapter 11; day 8 - madhyama bhāga chapters 12 and 13; day 9 - uttara bhāga.

2. Reciting Lalitā Sahasranāma and Lalitā Triśatī daily. Morning Sahasranāma and Triśatī can be recited (if time permits, archana can also be done)  and in the evening pārāyaṇa of Śrīdevī Māhātmyam can be done. Khaḍgamāla can also be recited either in the morning or evening. Recitations during evenings and nights are better during navarātri.

3. Third method is to worship different forms of Parāśakti. During the first three days, She is worshiped in the form of Durgā Devi. In the next three days, She is worshiped in the form Lakṣmī and during the last three days, She is worshiped in the form of Sarasvatī. Pūjā with arcana can be done for them along with ṣoḍaśa upacāra-s.

4. Those who are initiated into Pañchadaśī or Ṣoḍaśī can do laghu navāvaraṇa pūjā during the first nine days and on the tenth day detailed navāvaraṇa pūjā can be done. Detailed navāvaraṇa pūjā can be done on the ninth day also. Morning and evening can be used for pūjā and in the night mantra japa-s can be done.

5. On the tenth day, one should do initiated mantra japa-s to the maximum extent possible. Tenth day of navarātrī is known as Vijayadashami, which is best suited for mantra initiations.

6. Some also worship ten Mahāvidyā Devis during this period with āvaraṇa pūjā-s.

7. Suvāsinī pūjā and bhojana (invitation for lunch) and kumārī pūjā and bhojana can also be done. How to perform suvāsinī and kumārī pūjā is available in the links given below.

8. The one who does any one of the above referred pūja-s on the day of mahā navami (the ninth day of daśarātra), attains liberation. Mahā navami day is the day of Śiva and Śaktī. It is also said that eighth lunar (aṣṭami) day is for Rudra and the ninth lunar day (navami) is for Śaktī. The conjunction of these two days is said to be auspicious time for worshipping Śiva. He gets whatever is desired during this birth itself.  He lives a long life with his grandchildren. Finally he attains the lotus feet of Lalitāmbikā (Savyāpasavya-mārgasthā).

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ATMA BODHA - THE EPILOGUE

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Śaṃkarācārya who had authored many works on dvaita or dualism such as Saundaryalaharī, etc. had also authored Supreme Advaita Scriptures or non-dualistic Scriptures like Ātmabodhaḥ, Tattvabodhaḥ, Vivekacūḍamaṇi, etc. What is the need for Śaṃkarācārya to author both dualistic and non-dualistic Scriptures? He was a loka Guru (Guru for the world) and he had the dual responsibility of developing bhakti (devotion) and at the same time, leading elevated souls to the path of Liberation. The path of bhakti leads to the path of moksha. We cannot get master’s degree without going to school and graduation. These are prerequisites for post-graduation. We begin our education in an elementary school and gradually progress to middle school, high school, graduation and finally post-graduation and research. Similarly, spiritual path, which is full of subtleties and negations can be pursued only after experiencing bhakti. What is bhakti? In bhakti, we worship a form which is mostly loved by us. Here, God and we are not on the same plane; god is always kept on a pedestal and we adore that form with clothes, flowers, ornaments, offer food for god to eat. Though god does not eat, we get satisfaction and happiness when innumerable food items are offered to god. When bhakti is intense, we also shed tears in front of this god. But, we don’t get tears in the beginning, but over a period of time, when we consider that form as our own, we become emotional. A strong relationship is established between god and us. This is the infantile step in the path of moksha. Many of us continue our lives by pursuing only the path of bhakti, without seeking the ultimate goal of our life. Human birth is God’s gift and we should not waste this without attaining Liberation. Both birth and death are always painful. Hence, it is important that we should get relief from transmigration. Śaṃkarācārya in simple terms laid the path to Liberation, which is easier to follow than the ritualistic path.

Nowadays, ritualistic path is commercialised and turned out to be crowd pulling events. Some may argue that ritualistic path is prescribed by Vedas. But, they are not aware that Vedas have subtle conveyances too. Aurobindo was the first one to give subtle interpretation to Vedas. He said yajña-s refer to inner oblations, burning ego, anger, greed, pride, attachment, desires, etc. These are the impediments in spiritual path, which is always internal. We should not be lured by crowd pullers in spiritual life. Spiritual life is always in seclusion. Nothing is needed for spiritual life; no wastage of money and no physical strain. All we need is only a pure mind. Spiritual path cannot be pursued where pomp and vanity are predominant; even bhakti takes a beating in this scenario. Now, we can understand why sages and saints went to forest to meditate. There are several instances about this in Upanishads. Kṛṣṇa also speaks of meditating in seclusion. Dualism or ritualistic path cannot be denounced. However, they are like pre-graduation period. Goal of our life is to attain moksha, for which Śaṃkarācārya clearly laid down instructions for us to follow. This path is simple and inexpensive and is the only path for Liberation.

After remaining in spiritual path for some time, the next move is towards mantra sādhana. Mantras are meant to protect and purify our mind. Mantras are to be initiated by a Guru. There are two types of Gurus. Some Gurus go deeper and deeper into mantra sādhana and barrages his disciples with scores of mantras. Other Gurus take us to the path of Liberation through the path of mantra sādhana and meditation. It is always better to approach the second type of Gurus, who guides us properly in our ultimate goal, step by step. But these types of Gurus are rare to find. No purpose would be served if we practice more than one mantra at a time. Mantras, as such, do not lead to Liberation. They only prepare our mind for the ultimate goal of realizing the Self, as Self-realization happens only in the mind. While pursuing mantra sādhana, again step by step approach should be pursued. In the initial days, we can use rosary beads for counting. After sometime, when we become conversant with the mantra, we have to discard beads and chant the mantra mentally. Then mantra should be meditated upon, which results in the mantra percolating into our subconscious mind. Thus, we unconsciously chant the mantra throughout the day. At this stage, we are ready to begin our spiritual journey. The mind needs to be cleansed with ritualistic path and mantra sādhana. Only in a fully cleansed mind, true spiritual path can be pursued. Without strong foundation, a tall building will always be unstable and similarly, without a pure mind, proper meditation cannot be pursued.

We need the help of our Guru from this point onwards and the Guru should be capable of leading us to the path of enlightenment. Spiritual path begins with three things. They are spiritual knowledge, prāṇāyama and meditation, exactly in the similar order. There is no point in reading books after books. The ultimate teaching of all the books is “you are That”. After acquiring the requisite knowledge, we have to unlearn what we have learnt, after grasping the essence and revelations of these spiritual texts such as Upaniṣad-s and non-dualistic texts authored by Śaṃkarācārya. Why unlearning? Otherwise, we will continue to dwell in doubts and there will be no end to such doubts. While acquiring knowledge, we should have absolute concentration. If we are not able to understand, we have to clarify our doubts with our Guru.

Before proceeding to the final path viz. meditation, we have to practice prāṇāyama, as advised by Guru. Prāṇāyama helps to cleanse the mind of all impurities and develop our concentration, which is important in meditation. Along with prāṇāyama, we have to learn to slow down our breathing rate, which helps to increase our awareness during meditation. To begin with, twenty minutes of meditation (which excludes prāṇāyama) twice a day. Nothing will happen in the first few minutes. After approximately 10 to 20 days, the first signs of silent mind can be observed. Under the guidance of Guru, one has to increase the duration of meditation over a period of time. Those who have responsibilities should not practice meditation for longer duration, as long duration meditation will lead to samādhi or trance. Remaining in samādhi for long time, will lead to detachment from the family. Hence, age factor should be taken into account while practicing higher meditations. Guru will properly guide us in this regard.

Once we have completed our responsibilities, we can meditate for longer duration, which will make us to remain first in savikalpa samādhi and later on in nirvikalpa samādhi, where we become one with the Self. We continue to exist in this world as long as the last trace of karma remains. Once, all our karmas are exhausted, we cease to transmigrate and merge into Brahman forever. This is the right path to Liberation. There is no short cut method to Liberation. Without a proper Guru, Liberation is not possible.

Further Readings:

ATMA BODHA - 9

ATMA BODHA - 10

ATMA BODHA - 11

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SADHANA PANCHAKAM - 10

Saturday, September 09, 2017

एकान्ते सुखमास्यतां परतरे चेतः समाधीयतां

पूर्णात्मा सुसमीक्ष्यतां जगदिदं तद्बाधितं दृश्यताम्।

प्राक्कर्मं प्रविलाप्यतां चितिबलान्नाप्युत्तरैः श्लिष्यतां

प्रारब्धं त्विह भुज्यतामथ परब्रह्मात्मना रथीयताम्॥ ५

ekānte sukhamāsyatāṁ paratare cetaḥ samādhīyatāṁ

pūrṇātmā susamīkṣyatāṁ jagadidaṁ tadbādhitaṁ dṛśyatām |

prākkarmaṁ pravilāpyatāṁ citibalānnāpyuttaraiḥ śliṣyatāṁ

prārabdhaṁ tviha bhujyatāmatha parabrahmātmanā rathīyatām || (5)

Happily live in solitude. Purify the mind and live by remaining with the Self. Realize and observe that the Self is everywhere. Know that the material world is nothing but manifestation of the Self. Diffuse past karmas by doing right actions now. Use your knowledge and stay away from future karmas. Undergo the effects of past karmas. Then live, perpetually engrossed unto Brahman.

1. Happily live in solitude. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad Gītā, “Humbleness, sincerity, non-violence, patience, uprightness, service to guru, purity of mind and body, steadfastness, willpower, renunciation of sensory objects, devoid of egotism, understanding the inherent pains and evils of life, detachment from son, wife and home; balanced mind both in favourable and unfavourable circumstances, staunch devotion to Me, living in solitude, avoidance of social enjoyment, fixity of knowledge on the Self by ingesting it to the logical conclusion; all this is known as knowledge.” Though solitude is referred as the state or situation of being alone, away from noise and attraction of the material world, it also means creating isolation in the mind. Mental isolation can be created through samādhi. Taking into account that we should nor shirk our responsibilities to our family, remaining in samādhi for a long time will take us forward towards the path of Liberation

2. Purify the mind and live by remaining with the Self. These revelations are made by Śaṃkarācārya in the last verse. In fact, this verse recapitulates the points discussed in the previous verses. Purifying the mind means, staying away from attachments and desires. Attachments and desires cause ego, anger and frustration, thus making a person highly emotional. One has to get rid of emotions in spiritual life. He has to lead a highly balanced life, with no likes and dislikes. When the mind is made to remain pure, meditation automatically happens without any specific practices. When mind is thoughtless, it goes with the Creator, where meditation is automatically triggered. Therefore, by default, when mind is purged of all impurities that cause thought processes, such mind stays with the Self. Let us take a rusted steel drum. When water is poured into that drum, the water leaks everywhere. If the same drum is repaired, the water does not leak and only overflows. Similarly, a purified mind overflows towards the Self.

3. Realize and observe that the Self is everywhere. Self is omnipresent. Mahānārāyaṇa Upanishad says that Brahman is both internal and external. Brahman pervades in the form of every object and every being in this world. Therefore, it is important that Self should be realized not only within and also, one should realize the omnipresence of Brahman. This is absolute realization.

4. Know that the material world is nothing but manifestation of the Self. This is in confirmation of the previous point. The entire world is pervaded by Brahman, which is in the form of manifestation of various shapes and forms. That is why, Upaniṣad says that Brahman is both internal and external. But instead of seeing Brahman everywhere, we perceive the world in the form of different shapes and forms due to the effect of māyā, which again is nothing but the Power of Brahman. Instead of associating ourselves with shapes and forms that we see due to the effect of māyā, we have to look at them as Brahman. Through practice, this will take a firm footing in our mind.

5. Diffuse past karmas by doing right actions now. There is no escape from karma. We do not know what our karmic intensity is. Karmas are to be experienced. However, we can diffuse its intensity by performing good acts such as poor feeding, feeding animals and birds, etc. This has been discussed as panñca yajña-s (pancha yajnas) in previous verses. By performing panñca yajña-s (pancha yajnas), karmic account can be diffused, but can never be exhausted, except by way of personal experience. For example, a person falls and has a fracture. This is due to his karmic account. But this fracture can be diffused by performing good acts as prescribed in panñca yajña-s (pancha yajnas) and this fracture can be modified as bruises, several times.

6. Use your knowledge and stay away from future karmas. What is knowledge here? It is the knowledge about the Self and when we surrender that Self, we do not accrue any karmas. However, we have to experience our karmas accrued till the time of surrender. Kṛṣṇa says, “One who performs duty without attachment, surrendering the result to the Self, is unaffected by sinful action.” There are three types of karmas sañcita, prārabdha and āgāmya. Sañcita is the sum total of all karmas. Prārabdha is that portion of total karma that is being experienced in this birth. Āgāmya is the karma that is being carried over to future births, if any. In order to attain liberation, there should be no āgāmya karma.

7. Undergo the effects of past karmas. As seen earlier, all types of karmas are to be exhausted for Liberation. There are two conditions for Liberation. One is pure mind and the second one is devoid of karmic account, not even a trace. Experiencing of karmas could be too painful sometimes, as when the karmic account getting is exhausted, there will be more pains. We have to patiently bear this pain and sorrows, as they are nothing but the result of our own actions in previous births. Sufferings also make us firmly establish in the Self. We cannot fight against the effects of karma and as discussed earlier, its effect could be marginally reduced and interpenetrated over a period of time.

8. Then live, perpetually engrossed unto Brahman. Now all done. All karmas exhausted. Mind continues to be clean without traces of desires and attachments. We are ready to be Liberated when the time of death comes. A jīvanmukta is now ready to merge into Brahman to attain Liberation. Merger is complete with Brahman and he becomes videhamukta. He is not reborn and all his traces are merged into Brahman.

With this Sādhanā Panchakam is concluded.

Further Readings:
SADHANA PANCHAKAM - 7

SADHANA PANCHAKAM - 8

SADHANA PANCHAKAM - 9 

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Ashwatthama – The Saptarishi of 8th Manvantara

Sunday, July 30, 2017

(This article is published by Santosh Kumar Raja)

In Indian mythology, I think there is no other name that evokes more curiosity, mystery and mixed feelings than that of Ashwatthama. If you punch in “Ashwatthama” in google or any other search engine, you will get umpteen sites, videos, TV channel programs and legends about Ashwatthama each describing a different aspect. ...Read More

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SHIVA IN CONVERSATION WITH SHAKTI - AN OVERVIEW

Friday, June 23, 2017

Shakti: My Lord! You have taught me 64 tantras several yugas ago. The universe that you have created billions of years ago is undergoing constant changes. Is there anything you would like to teach me, which is more relevant to the present time period, I mean kālapuruṣa ………..

Shakti: Then what is the difference between mind and intellect?

Shiva: Mind is explained as “saṁkalpa-vikalpātmākaṁ manaḥ संकल्प-विकल्पात्माकं ...Read More

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GURUJI SPEAKS - AN OVERVIEW

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Guru Pūrṇimā this year (2017) falls on July 08/09. Full moon tithi begins at 07.31 hours Indian Standard Time on July 08 and ends at 09.20 hours IST on July 09. Therefore, Guru pūrṇimā can be celebrated either on July 08th evening or July 09th morning before 09.20 hours IST.

A series of articles titled GURUJI SPEAKS have been published in the year 2013. Some snippets ...Read More

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SRI SUKTAM - Part 12 (Concluding Part)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In the original Khilasūkta, there are 29 verses, out of which we have discussed 16 verses so far. These 16 verses are the main part of Śrī Sūktam. Now the balance of 13 verses are being discussed. These verses do not form part of homa procedure of Śrī Sūktam.

पद्मानने पद्मविपद्मपत्रे पद्मदलायदाक्षि।

विश्वप्रिये विष्णुमनोनुकूले ...Read More

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AVADHŪTA GĪTĀ - 7

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bhagavān Dattātreya continues:  

Upaniṣad-s explain how māyā projects objects as different things from Brahman (It is the māyā that makes us to think that the objects we see are real and different from Brahman; the fact is that everything is Brahman, hence It is called Omnipresent or all pervasive). Brahman is not divisible (hence omnipresent) and hence, there cannot be any comparison for a non-dual Brahman (comparison is possible only if more than one object is present). It is free from actions ...Read More

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PATANJALI YOGA SUTRAS - 10

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Samādhi is attained through the mind that is free from all kinds of thought processes or desires. If the mind has traces of thought processes or desires, they will disturb samādhi after sometime. First ten or fifteen minutes of samādhi is important. Thoughts, if any, compromise the quality of samādhi during this time. (Different types of samādhi-s are discussed in GURUJI SPEAKS). Patañjali speaks about dharmamegha samādhi ...Read More

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DAKSHINA KALI MANTRA JAPA

Friday, December 23, 2016

Śrī Dakṣiṇakālī Mahā Mantraḥ || श्री दक्षिणकाली महा मन्त्रः॥

1. Ṛṣyādi nyāsaḥ ऋष्यादि न्यासः

अस्य श्री दक्षिणकाली महामन्त्रस्य। भैरव ऋषिः। उष्णिक् छन्दः। दक्षिणकालिका देवता॥

asya śrī dakṣiṇakālī mahāmantrasya | bhairava ṛṣiḥ । (open the right palm and touch the top of the forehead | uṣṇik chandaḥ (right palm on the mouth) । dakṣiṇakālikā devatā || (right palm on the heart ...Read More

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Theory And Practice of Kundalini Meditation - Introduction

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Kuṇḍalinī is not just a force, but Parāśakti Herself in Her subtlest form. It is one of the quickest methods to liberation. Even without practicing kuṇḍalinī, She ascends to higher chakras depending upon one’s level of love (the highest form of devotion) for Her. Ascension of kuṇḍalinī is directly related to the purity level of one’s mind. Yoga Cūḍāmaṇi Upaniṣad talks abou90t the importance of kuṇḍalinī. Verse 37 says, “Kuṇḍalinī rests in the passage of Brahman. If one goes through this passage, Brahman is attained.” Passage of Brahman that is referred here ...Read More

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SHIVA PANCHAKSHARI MANTRA JAPA

Saturday, December 17, 2016

श्री शिवपञ्चाक्षरी महामन्त्रः Śrī Śivapañcākṣarī Mahāmantraḥ

 1. Ṛṣyādi nyāsaḥ ऋष्यादि न्यासः 

अस्य श्री शिवपञ्चाक्षरी महामन्त्रस्य। वामेदेव ऋषिः। पङ्क्तिछन्दः। सांबपरमेश्वरो देवता॥

asya śrī śivapañcākṣarī mahāmantrasya । Vāmedeva ṛṣiḥ|(open the right palm and touch the top of the forehead)| paṅktichandaḥ (right palm on the mouth)| sāṁbaparameśvaro ...Read More

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Spiritual Journey - 20

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Avadhūta and Paramahaṁsa are essentially jīvanmukta-s. After evolving into a jīvanmukta, one decides how he or she pursues his or her life, till he or she becomes videhamukta (mokṣa – after death). Only a yogi can evolve into a jīvanmukta. A perfect yogi is the one, who has realized the Self within. He is shaped into a yogi by his Guru, without whom, imparting higher spiritual knowledge and practice is not possible. All Advaita Scriptures ultimately convey that Brahman is within and what is within, pervades the entire universe. This essence is conveyed to his disciples by a Guru. There are hundreds of Scriptures in Advaita such as Upaniṣad-s, Bhagavad Gītā, Yoga Vāsiṣṭha, Pañcadaśi, etc. Each of these Scriptures reveal Brahman ...Read More

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ŚRĪ DURGĀ SAPTAŚLOKĪ

Saturday, December 03, 2016

श्री दुर्गा सप्तश्लोकी Śrī Durgā Saptaślokī

Śrī Durgā Saptaślokī consist of seven verses, which is considered as the essence of Śrī Durgā Saptaśatī, also known as Śrī Devī Māhātmyam consisting of 700 verses. It is said that Śrī Durgā Saptaślokī should be chanted daily, three times. It is also said that proper recitation of this removes, poverty, ailments, fear and mental afflictions.

ज्ञानिनामपि चेतांसि देवी भगवति हि सा।

बलादाकृष्य मोहाय ...Read More

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MANTRA RĀJA PADA STOTRAM

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

श्री मन्त्रराज पद स्तोत्रम्॥ Śrī Mantrarāja Pada Stotram ||

Śrī Mantrarāja Pada Stotram is one of the powerful mantras. It cures serious diseases and ailments. It also gives knowledge, wealth and all types of auspiciousness. It is said that this hymn should be recited, first with mantra rāja mantra which is given below (commencing with om ugraṁ vīraṁ mahāviṣṇuṁ).  There are highlighted words in each of the first ten verses. If we place these words one after another, we will get mantra rāja mantra. There are eleven verses in this hymn and one verse for phalaśruti. There is a YouTube clipping at the end of this article for correct ...Read More

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Kundalini Meditation - Video (for Turiya and Turyatita Stages of Meditation)

Friday, August 01, 2014

This audio is on kundalini meditation for turiya and turyātīta stages. Duration of this audio is 30 minutes. 

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Mahaganpati Mantra Japa

Friday, April 28, 2017

Mahaganapati Mantra Japa

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Chakra Cleansing and Energisation

Monday, June 13, 2016

This is another audio in YouTube for cleansing and energising psychic chakras. Duration of this audio is 15 minutes. This is different from YouTube audio uploaded for kundalini meditation which includes turya and turyātītā stages. This audio is meant for practicing cleansing and energizing chakras.

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