Tips for a Satvik lifestyle, Satvik foods

In Sanatan Dharma everyone is a spiritual aspirant and the last 1/4th of the lifespan is called the Sanyasashram, ie is dedicated to the Self. And this Sanyasashram can realised in the real sense only if you have been taking care of your physical body and your mind throughout your life, ie keeping yourself as Satvik as possible.

And even if you are not really interested in the Vedanta and just want to learn Jyotish, even then, do try to consciously increase the Satvagun within you. You will be better able to focus on your studies and your readings and your predictions will be accurate.

A Satvik lifestyle means basically paying attention to the food that you eat, the physical exercise that you do, the books you read, the life philosophy you cultivate and the control over your mind that you achieve in your lifetime.

Here are a few tips which you can incorporate in your daily life. 

First, the physical body. 

Eating satvik food helps in so many ways on the physical as well as on the energy levels. You should continue eating whatever foods you are having now, but try to add some of the following items to your diet. If you have medical issues, do consult your medical professional first. Do use your common sense, adequate food and a balanced diet is necessary, do not starve yourself.

  • Barnyard millet (called jhangoora, shama, vari, mordhan etc) – there are several recipes, but the easiest is the Marathi ‘Bhagar’ preparation. Barnyard millet can also be ground and used in the flour form. Ideally try to have one dish made of barnyard millet daily. Also add the other types of millets to your diet depending on their availability in your locality. 
  • www.psychologicallyastrology.com
  • Tapioca sago pearls (called sabudana) – There are several recipes for these sago pearls, eg ‘khichadi’. They can also be ground and made into a flour.
  • download
  • Makhana (lotus seed popcorn) – very nutritious and several recipes are possible. You can also grind it and use it as a flour.
  • www.psychologicallyastrology.com
  • Amaranth seeds (called Rajgira) – these are available as a roasted ’popcorn’ which you can use in several ways or grind into a flour. Laddos of Rajgira and jaggery are an absolute favourite.
  • Rajgira copy
  • Water chestnut (called Shingada) – it is available in the fruit and the flour form, highly nutritious and can be made into several recipes. You can eat the Shingada fruits directly after boiling them in water but they are cold in nature, so if you eat too many at once, you might actually catch a cold.
  • www.psychologicallyastrology.com
  • Buckwheat (called kattu) – it is available as the seed and also as a flour and is highly nutritious. Several recipes are possible.
  • www.psychologicallyastrology.com
  • (Flours of all these above mentioned items can be combined with curd and made into a preparation called ‘thalipith’ in Marathi)
  • www.psychologicallyastrology.com
  • Buttermilk, from which the butter has been separated, but only before noon. If you have curd products after midday they will create mucus in the body. 
  • Lots of fresh fruit – most of the fruit we buy is stale, preserved in cold storage and upto a year old. So try to buy fruits from your local farmers markets. Ideally fruits should be eaten as soon as they are plucked from the trees, and this is not possible for 99% of us today.
  • Coconut – dry or wet coconut is an important part of the diet. You can make chutney or at least add the ground coconut to your food preparations.
  • Drink adequate water – at least 4 – 5lit/ day. 
  • Reduce food preparations made in refined oil. Cold pressed or unrefined oils are a better option. And ghee made of desi cow milk is the best option.
  • (These above items are allowed for Upwas vrat, ie you can eat them while observing fasts. In addition, generally only two vegetables, potato and cucumber, are allowed when fasting.)
  • Green gram (Moong Dal) – this is the easiest to digest protein so add it to your regular diet.
  • Lots of vegetables – try to buy fresh produce rather than vegetables from the cold storage. Fresh stuff has more pran and more ability to nourish.
  • You can add Jowar (summer) and Bajra (winter) to your diet but only if you can digest these grains.

Avoid the following as much as possible. Once in a while is fine but these are not advisable on a regular basis.

  • Wheat and wheat products.
  • Rice and rice products
  • Desi cow milk – Direct milk should be consumed by children below 10yrs of age and by elderly people beyond 60yrs of age or if prescribed by a doctor or for medicinal purposes. People in the age group of 10-60yrs should avoid drinking direct milk regularly, instead should consume curd, yogurt, buttermilk etc. First buy the milk of a desi cow, make the curd at home and then consume it.
  • Non vegetarian food – Only fish, ie Phylum Pisces, is acceptable in case you have to eat it for balancing your diet. Other types of animal meats are high in Tamogun and make the body and mind dull.

And never starve yourself. Always try to eat a balanced diet. You are doing two things at the same time, ie working in the society as a Gruhast/ householder as well as doing your sadhana. You need energy, so do use your common sense regarding food intake, eat as much as you need to function. Never keep your stomach so empty that you feel faint with hunger, unenthusiastic or tired. And never overeat, you should not eat so much that you feel overfull and uncomfortable.

In addition, try to eat food high in positive energy, ie it should have high levels of pran/ vital energy and must be prepared by someone who has positive intentions towards you, or you can cook your own food. If you can manage this energy part, you will feel lighter, more energetic, your body will reach its ideal weight etc. (I have written several posts on the energy of food and water, do refer to the index.)

Fasting – there is a practice where people ‘fast’ or ‘keep a upvas vrat’, ie do not eat regular food on specific days, specific tithi/lunar days, ie Chaturthi, Ashtami, Ekadashi, Trayodashi, Purnima, Amavasya etc. Or on days linked to their adored deities eg Monday for Bhagwan Shankar. Such fasts are advisable if you eat the above mentioned satvik items and drink lots of water throughout your fasting time. Do not binge on fried and fatty food on your upwas days! Generally you will see people eating oily and fried items which are heavy to digest during the ‘fast’ and after they break their fasts, they overeat and have sweets/mithai and other fatty and sugary foods, which is harmful.

(There are special fasts where people do neither eat nor drink water for upto 24hrs, but these fasts are not advisable for Gruhast people who are supposed to work, go to office, take care of the family etc.)

ind123-13774497

Now the physical ‘exercise’ part.

You have to keep your physical body healthy by doing Yogasan regularly. Even 12 reps of Suryanamaskar done daily for a lifetime will keep your body fit and charge you with Satva gun. But if you have never done Suryanamaskar even once in your life do not start with 12 reps on day one. It is not as simple as it looks. Start with the easier Asans and then slowly, over time, build your strength. If you have medical conditions then find a professional teacher and consult your medical professional before attempting this.

Remember to consciously add the mantra along with the Asan, else the activity will become Tamasic. Mantra also help you keep your mind balanced and fit.

Next is mental fitness.

This will come with time as you regularly read the Upanishad/ Vedant or the Bhagwat Gita etc. If you find these to be too complicated then read books by the Atmajnyani Mahapurush. Several Jivanmukt Gurus have taken birth in all the states of Bharat and written books in the local languages, composed Bhajans, Abhangs, Stotra etc. Choose one such book in the language you are comfortable in and keep reading, rereading, this one book for a lifetime. 

And equally important is your daily practice. Choose one routine activity and do it daily, 10mins in the morning and 10mins in the evening. Take up one mantra/ shloka /stotra and recite it for a lifetime. Choose something linked to your Ishtadevata or Kuldevata so that you have an emotional connect with what you are reciting. If you cannot manage a Sanskrit stotra then choose a bhajan in your favourite language. Give Arghya to the Surya. Offer water to the Tulasi plant. Do Dhyan. Do whatever you can do easily, but stick to it for a lifetime. This routine is the single most important habit that you will cultivate in your life.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

Finally you have to add Satva gun to everything you do, ie to make everything you do even more Satvik.

You convert every small action of yours into ‘Dharma’ by reciting a mantra as you do it. There are specific mantra for every action you do, but they might be difficult to learn for beginners. And spiritual practice should be easy, natural, spontaneous, never a burden. And what is the easiest activity you perform? Breathing ie the Ajapa manta, ‘Soham’. The Soham mantra is the easiest and the most natural Ajapa mantra that you are always unconsciously mentally reciting with your breath, ‘So’ as you inhale, ‘ham’ as you exhale. So now onwards as you perform any activity, eg as you wake up in the morning, as you sit down to eat, as you open your water bottle to drink, as you open your laptop to work, open your schoolbook to study, as you lie down to sleep etc, take just one deep breath consciously recite ‘Soham’ once in your mind and then start. This Soham, this one breath, converts your simple action into Dharma, into a Yajnya. Every action you take will now fuel your own personal spiritual evolution.

soham mantra

(There were a few questions which I have answered through this post)

Anteyshti Dharma and the Shmashan

For a follower of Sanatan Dharma his life on this Martyalok is sandwiched between the 1st and the 16th Sanskar.

  • The Garbhadhan is the mantra of conception, where the parents-to-be invite individual soul of the baby-to-be for its incarnation here on Martyalok. Mantra power the intention and Agni carries it to the designated jivatma, fortifying it and then bringing it into Martyalok, establishing it within the astral bodies of the parents-to-be.
  • And after the designated lifetime of work is done, it is back to Pitrulok with the last Antim Sanskar, the Anteyshthi. The rightful heir offers the discarded physical body/sthool sharir to Agni at the Shmashan bhoomi. The mantra power the intention and Agni carries the jivatma back to Pitrulok.

We adore Agni, the Jaatved, the primordial energy, the power of motion. He is the start, the continuation, the end of illusion and also exists beyond the end of illusion.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

The Shmashan श्मशान is a high energy environment superficially turbulent and dangerous but subtly silent and very still. On the energy level, the Shmashan bhoomi is a specific location, ‘made with mantras’, ie we do not perform Anteyshthi at any random place. There are criteria for selection and a process which changes the energy of a generic plot of land into a Shmashan. A flat land with flowing water/ sea next to it. Mantra are used to invoke and install the energies of the Shmashan Devata here and only then it does it become a Shmashan bhoomi. Bhagwan Mahakaal, Devi Shmashankali and their Gan are present here in all their fierce awareness.

This physical land resonates with the inner Maha Shmashan at the third eye. This is why doing Sadhana reduces all attachments to the created world. You offer your Karma (imbalances) and Vasana (conditionings, desires) to Bhagwan Mahakaal sitting at your 3rd eye in your own Maha Shmashan. As your accumulated baggage burns, you realise that your family, job, identity, everything is an illusion. As the limited self ego burns the Eternal Advaita emerges. When you do your daily pujas, the act of applying Bhasma to your forehead indicates your intention to resonate with the Bhagwan Mahakaal within you.

After physical death, the soul has to safely traverse from the Martyalok to the Pitrulok. Burning the body in the Agni, in a proper Shmashan, with the proper mantra and by the correct heir gives a tremendous energy boost to the departed soul, helping it reach Pitrulok easily. If this is not done systematically, the jivatma suffers and sometimes remains trapped here in Martyalok as a ghost.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

There are a few rules to be followed in a Shmashan bhoomi. The energies are violent, catastrophic and dangerous, so women and small children are generally not allowed inside. They are more susceptible to this turbulence and can more easily influenced by the entities who reside here. (This not a fantasy, am sure everyone has seen what happens when a living person gets influenced by an entity.) Only exception to this rule is when the Guru allows them to enter here under his protection. This Bhoomi is the visible environment of the 8th house, death, occult, final exits, dangerous travel through unimaginable routes, destruction, conscious fire, Agni etc. The energies of the purest Vishuddha Tamogun or the destructive Tandav are clearly evident available here.

Even for the men who go there for the Anteyshthis of their family/ friends should be careful as this land creates a temporary but intense sense of detachment, this is called Shmashan vairagya. Seeing the bodies of loved ones being consumed by the Agni is in itself an unsettling experience on the physical level. Added to this is the continuous bombardment of energy as the energies of the Shmashan are the gateway between the Martyalok/ Pitrulok. Plus the intense energies of the spirits and other beings who reside here. Very rarely, this Shmashan vairagya can get so intense that it can convert into genuine Vairagya and the person does not return to the society, ie takes up Sanyas and remains as a devotee of Shri Mahakaal.

If you go here on specific times, nights, midnights, twilights or even midday, you will see occult aspirants doing their practices. The Agni of the Anteyshthi and the Shmashan bhoomi is very high energy, very quick results can be achieved here. But quick results always means extreme danger, tremendous energy, strict rules, high levels of control and rapid transformations. Best keep a safe distance from such aspirants in this location.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

Boys above the age of 6yrs, ie after wearing the Yajnopavit sutra and doing their Gayatri mantra can go to the Shmashan if there is an Anteyshti in their family. If they participate in some way, they will get merit/ punya from the activities here. Helping out at Anteyshtis of family members, friends, people in the neighbourhood, etc is a chance to balance karma before the departed jivatma leaves for Pitrulok. This type of Punya especially ensures the birth of healthy children and the continuity of the lineage. For those who go to the Shmashan, remember that it is the domain of the Bhagwan Mahakaal. So before going there, ensure that you have created the proper mindset within your self. Pray to him, ie recite your personal mantra or the Mahamrytunjai mantra etc. Offer a few coins to the Shmashan. Then do whatever you have come here to do. Avoid unnecessary interactions with strangers or unnecessary activities here. When you go back home, sprinkle Ganga water or clean water on yourself, wash your hands, feet, face (ideally take a bath) before entering your house. This refreshes the aura, ie the occult energies you have picked up from the Shmashan are replaced by your regular aura.

In the past decade, the media is subtly encouraging women to perform Anteyshti for their departed family members. A woman is not the proper heir for this purpose and her doing this subtly damages her and her future generations. Also the departed soul is deprived of the complete merit / punya from the Anteyshti Sanskar of the body it has discarded thus may face obstacles on its onward way. And by doing this, she will have prevented the proper heir from performing his duty, another negative against her. (If you know someone like this around you, observe for yourself how her life unfolds.)

The proper heir for these activities is the nearest male relative from the same gotra. There will be some cultural differences but the following is generally applicable.

  • For a man, this would be his son, adopted son, grandson, paternal brothers and their sons, etc.
  • For a married woman, this is the men from her husband’s gotra, ie her husband, her son, adopted son, grandson, husband’s brother and his son etc.
  • For an unmarried woman, this would be the men from her own gotra, ie her father, her brother and his son, her male cousins from her father’s side and their sons etc.
  • If the deceased has no sons and has daughters then the daughter’s husband or her son can perform the Anteyshthi (but not the daughter herself).
  • And if there is no male relative of any sort to do this final Sanskar for the departed soul, then any man can perform it with due respect in his heart.
  • If this too is not possible, then the attendants at the Shmashan will take on this responsibility and help the jivatma reach Pitrulok.

Whoever does this, gets a huge chunk of punya /merit for himself and his entire family.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

Another unsettling trend in these recent times is that if the son is abroad then the deceased’s body is kept in a morgue till he arrives. The morgue is the filthiest place imaginable with negative entities of the higher sort roaming around in search of victims. Leaving your loved one’s physical body here is equivalent to putting his individual soul alone with no protection in a jail with hardened criminals. The practices that we follow after physical death are intended to protect both, the family members and the departed jivatma, and there is a reason for everything, these are not meaningless ‘rituals’.

The Anteyshti should be performed as soon as practically possible. The nearest eligible male who is available at the spot should perform it and close the issue. The departed soul cannot be left lingering around semi-attached to the body, as during this time it is susceptible to attacks from the several negative things roaming around in this Martyalok. It needs to go to the Pitrulok as soon as possible, to first rest and then to continue its activities there.

https://psychologicallyastrology.com

Generally physical death is projected as a sad event. But if you deeply think, it is not really sad. Whatever work the individual soul had decided on before entering Martyalok, it has successfully completed it and is now going back. We come here to work off our karma, not for entertainment. As per some local traditions, drums are played, people are called to sing bhajans etc while taking the dead body to the Shmashan bhoomi.

Then there are several misconceptions regarding the people who serve in the Shmashan. That they are unclean or somehow impure. This is incorrect. On the energy levels they are practically the Gan of Bhagwan Mahakaal, so do respect them. They maintain the Shmashan bhoomi, His residence. They live and work in an environment where normal people think twice before going. They have the capacity to remain calm in the face of such intense catastrophic turbulence. They are on a different level of spirituality which regular people cannot even imagine. Nor understand. If you cannot respect them then at least do not insult them.

https://psychologicallyastrology.com

A bit on Sanyasis. Sanyasis formally discard the society and dedicate themselves to finding the Self. I have mentioned in some post that a Sanyasi can neither be considered to be ‘alive’ nor ‘dead’. And every follower of the Sanatan Dharm is supposed to take on Sanyas-ashram at the last quarter of his/her life, ie accept Sanyas. Ever wondered how Sanyas is ‘taken’? It is described beautifully in the Mahabharat, the Sanyas ashram of the Pandavs and their wife Draupadi.

Agni is the foundation of Sanatan Dharma. Every householder after his/ her Vivah sanskar has to maintain the Agni of their vivah for a life time, it embodies the Gruhast ashram. It is used to perform the daily Agnihotra and all the other pujas/ yajnyas where Agni is needed. All the Sanskars which follow their marriage in their and their unmarried children’s lives are performed using this same Agni. Even for the Anteyshti of a family member this same blazing Agni is taken to the Shmashan in an earthen pot.

In the Mahabharat, the Pandavs assiduously kept their Agni throughout their long and eventful life. Can you imagine the power of this continuously burning Agni? Even in the one year of Ajnyatvaas, when it would have been difficult to maintain it, the Agni was sent to their father in law Dhrupad’s home where he maintained it for them. But at end, when the Pandavs and their wife took up Sanyas ashram, this Agni was ‘taken’ within them. ie in a formal setting, this Agni of the Gruhast ashram of the Pandavs and Draupadi was put into water, extinguished. An Agni burning, blazing for decades, physically extinguished and ‘taken inside into oneself’. They had taken their Anteyshti Agni within themselves. Now onwards the Pandavs and their wife Draupadi were technically Sanyasi, they would continually burn in the fire of their own Anteyshthi until they exited the physical shell.

And it is the same thing when someone genuinely takes up Sanyas even today, he formally takes within him the conscious Agni of his own Anteyshthi. His tiny sense of the individual self is continually being consumed by the Anteyshthi which he has himself lit in his own third eye, in his own Mahashmashan. He has awakened the Shri Mahakaal within him, who will burn out his sense of ‘jiv’ and thus the ‘Shiv’ within will be evident. This is why they are not considered to be residents of either martyalok nor pitrulok, they are ‘existing’ continually in their own Maha shmashans.

My Sat Guru had formally taken Sanyas at the age of 17yrs.

My grand Guru, Shri Siddharameshwar Maharaj’s samadhi is at the Banganga Shmashan bhoomi, Mumbai, right on the Sindhu sagar (Arabian Sea). My Sat Guru and his Guru-brothers would go here very often with their disciples, (this pic is over 20yrs old). My Guru’s Guru-brother Shri Ranjit Maharaj’s samadhi was subsequently made at the same place.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

(There were a few questions on Anteyshthi and the Shmashan bhoomi, thus this post)

Simple Sangeet Sadhana 

I am getting comments from readers who seem to be dejected in life. And with the nature of the current Time/ Kaal, as indicated by the current planetary influences, several of us are genuinely feeling demotivated.

However the easiest way remaining centred and focussed is to adopt a ‘daily routine’. This regular practice, helps you subtly ‘bind’ your life together, one day at a time. Just as the drop of water falling on a rock, for a hundred years destroys it, so does your daily routine destroy negativity in your life. Our Dharma has prescribed several such practices, starting with the Surya Arghya in the morning to lighting a deepak before the Tulsi plant in the evening. I have written about several such small daily practices (index page).

But my readers apparently want an even simpler practice. Thus this post.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

Devi Sarasvati gives her ashirwad/ blessings in two major forms. One is when you are alone, sitting on your Asan and doing your Mantra given to you by your Guru. eg the daily Gayatri mantra sadhana. And the second is when you are singing out aloud either alone or with a group of similar minded people or playing your musical instrument, ie performing Sangeet. This activity is also ingrained in our Dharma in the form of the numerous bhajans, kirtans, aartis etc that we sing daily. eg the Bhajan mandali groups. It is also the responsibility of every parent to teach his/ her child to sing, this helps the child understand ‘Bhava’, ie emotion and makes his/her life richer in the future.

Sangeet is a Sadhana in itself. Music is directly connected to the Naad and ultimately leads to Laya. Naad is the intelligence which creates Om and thus the manifested creation. And as every student of music knows, Laya is the complete absorption of the student into the Swar/ notes, Raag/ melody and Taal/ beat of the Sangeet/ music. As you become one with the emotion that the song expresses, its melody, its beat, you lose your limited sense of the individual self and briefly experience a small part of that Eternal Self. This brief touch of the Eternal then pulls you along even more strongly till eventually you realise Moksh especially if you practice it daily.

If you are not feeling inspired to do any personal spiritual practice, then the only option that remains is to sing out aloud. If you feel that there is nothing more left to do in this world, then the only thing that you must do is to sing.

th-135860814

Ideally everyone should take up Music. And this is how you can very easily make it a part of your life.

Sing a song of your choice aloud, daily, for a lifetime. Just one song per day, ie 5-10 mins of your time. Even if your voice is toneless, dull, boring, cracked, untrained, makes you cringe, etc yet you must sing out, aloud. And record/ listen to your own singing (also share this audio with your loved ones if you wish.) You can choose movie songs, bhajans, stotras sung like songs, classical music, street-type of music. Sing any thing which you feel like singing, but it should have the following components. 

  1. Words, ie the Shabd – Your chosen song should have lyrics which express a mood, ‘Bhav-geet’. It has to convey, a ‘rasa’, an essence, an emotion, ie happiness, sadness, longing, devotion, anger etc. Check out movie songs, these cover a wide range of human emotions, choose one which resonates with your current mood. Random words stuck together is not a song, avoid this stuff. (You can also sing in Aakaar, ie vocalise just the sound of ‘aaaa’ in the chosen beat/melody, but attempt this after 1yr of the daily song practice.)
  2. Beat, ie the Taala – Every song has a tempo, ie you can clap your hands in time with it. So first try to tap your foot along the beat of the song you choose to sing. Taala is an entire concept by itself, an entire subtle philosophy of the ‘Taa’ and ‘La’ akshar and what they stand for. 
  3. Melody ie the Raag – You are required to sing a song, ie your voice should reach into the notes/ Swar – Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni…, you are supposed to modulate your voice. This rhythm of the sound notes, their melodious ‘movement’ is called Raag in Bharatiya classical music. There are over 800 Raag and further about 400 Ragini in our music. Generally old movie songs from all Bharatiya language are set to the melody of the Raag. Performing rap or reciting in a plain monotone is not ‘singing’, avoid this.

Choose your songs and sing loudly, confidently. Try to pronounce the words clearly, follow the beat and the melody the best you can. And it is perfectly ok if you miss a beat or sound off-tune, you are after all learning how to sing. Try to hear your own voice with your own ears as you sing the songs. Becoming aware of your own voice is a big achievement in spiritual practice. This daily song will also help you practice ‘hearing’. Ultimately your ears have to be trained to ‘hear’ the fundamental sound of Om, the Anahata Naad, the ‘unstruck’ sound and the daily song will help you achieve this with time. Try to feel the sound vibrating in your throat, chest, upper abdomen. With time, you will sense that these sound vibrations are actually emanating from your navel/ Nabhi. When this happens, you will have completed a very significant phase in your Sangeet Sadhana.

Sound evolves from Silence in 4 distinct phases (Para, Pashchanti, Madhyama, Vaikhari). When you start feeling the vibration of the ‘sound’ in your navel, it means that you are now becoming aware of the Silence ie reaching towards the point of Para. Here ‘Silence’ does not mean ’emptiness’, it is not shunya. Silence here is the Poorna, the ‘completeness’, the conscious energy which has the potential to create anything and everything. Poorna is Advaita.

And if you critically analyse, as you sing, you are using the power of Silence strategically intertwined with the Sapta-Swar, Sa, Re…. Ni in a melodious, rhythmic format and also generating some emotions along the way. So with each song that you sing, you are subtly cleansing your own self, getting rid of the impurities in your astral body, moving forwards towards the Self. Singing is not a task, it can never be by force, you sing because you enjoy singing. You are singing for your own self, for your own enjoyment. This emotion in your mind generates very deep happiness on the inside. And happiness / Anand is also the Advaita.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

Once you get into the habit of singing your daily song, you will notice several positive changes about yourself. First your lung capacity will increase, ie you can breathe more deeply into your lungs. This helps your heart and your physical body will benefit. Singing out aloud helps elevate the mood, you feel fresh, active yet relaxed. Your brain is learning something new daily and also practicing it, ie producing the sound from the throat, this helps it remain active and alert. Your confidence will increase, public speaking will become easier etc.

One song per day means that in one year, you will have 365 audio clips with you. After this one year, again listen to the first song which you had recorded and compare. Analyse your performance, your voice quality, ability to follow a beat, to stick to a rhythm, the power of your voice etc. Then analyse your personality, you have changed dramatically in this one year. This one year mark is going to be an eye-opener for you as you analyse your own performance. 

Now, if you feel like it, you can start learning Bharatiya classical music under a proper teacher. Our music is categorised under Uttar Bharat aka Hindustani and Dakshin Bharat aka Carnatic. Uttar gives more importance to the essence and Dakshin is more focussed on the purity of the technique. Both are fundamentally the same concept expressed in two different ways. Both are equal, so choose whichever appeals to your mind.

Or you can choose to learn a musical instrument. Our instruments are generally of three basic types

  • stringed – eg Veena, Sitar, tambora, Ektara, Santoor, Sarangi, Gopichand etc.
  • wind – bamboo flute, Nadaswaram, Shehnai, Pungi
  • percussion (made of either metal or stretched leather). – Damaru, tabla, mrudangam, Dhol, etc.

Bharatiya instruments are designed to evoke Bhav, emotion from the inner depths of the mind. If possible, try to go to concerts where artists are performing the Raag live, or playing our Bharatiya instruments live, you will understand what I mean here. There is a depth to our Raag and to our instruments, the generated sounds are deeply absorbed within, they are healing in nature. (Hearing the same sounds through the electric speakers is also good but it does not give the same depth.)

Musical instruments are called ‘वाद्य’ Vadya in Devbhasha Samskrutam. Vadya means something that is played or sounded and it also means ‘speech’. So the basic Vadya that each one of us always has with us is the throat. This is the greatest of all musical instruments and everyone must use it, ie sing. There are fancy courses on ‘voice training’ these days, but the easiest ‘voice training’ is to train your throat to sing the notes/ Swar – Sa Re Ga…. in their correct frequency. Eg if your base note Sa is at D# then you must be able to consistently vocalise this same D# frequency as Sa. You can use a tanpura/ tambora app for training your mind/ throat or there are mobile apps which you can use to monitor the frequency of your base note. Again do all this after 1yr of singing your daily song.

In my opinion the most difficult instrument is the bamboo flute. This is called Bansuri in Uttar and Venu in the Dakshin. There are no keys, no strings, nothing inside it, nothing outside it. Perhaps this is why Bhagwan Krishna held the Bansuri / Venu to his lips. You can play the bamboo flute only if your mind is relaxed and your breath is perfect. Each hole has the capacity to play notes in 3 different pitches and both the regular and flat notes. It is your control over your mind and breath, that creates the specific note you want to play. It is an extraordinary instrument (even keeping a bamboo flute in the house is brings auspiciousness.)

Sangeet derives from the Ved. The technical name is Gandharva ved and it is one of the 4 upa-ved, ie is is a supplement to the Ved. The Ved themselves are understood and experienced through the lens of Music, thus Sangeet has a very high value in our Dharma and our life. This term ‘Gandharva’ is the understanding which brings near the Eternal Auspiciousness, creates that relationship, perfumes with the eternal aroma etc. Music is sometimes called Gandharva vidya and just like any other vidya it has its Para and Apara versions, ie it can grant you realisation of the Self or it can grant you material and worldly successes. How to use a Vidya is as always your own choice.

Sound is conscious and intelligent. and has its own undeniable power. eg Once, my Guru told me to sing Raag Bhairav in the searing heat of the afternoon. Bhairav is an early morning raag which uses shuddha Madhyam Ma while the afternoon Raags use Teevra Madhyam Ma. As I sang naturally, the first Ma I sang was Teevra! I stopped and then with conscious control sang in the correct Raag Bhairav at a time where it does not flow naturally. Another eg, when I get back home, it is the time for the evening Raag Yaman, so if I play my flute without thinking anything, the fingers automatically play a melody with the Swars in Yaman as is suited to the time/ Kaal.

Sangeet is very intricately connected to the Kaal, ie conscious energies of Time and if you take efforts and excel in the Gandharva vidya, Kaal / Time too will flow favourably for you. 

Point being, Sangeet has its own power, it is a Vidya, an Upa Ved and a Sadhana. If you take one step in its direction, the Gandharva ved will pull you 100 steps onwards. Even if you think that singing a movie song daily is silly, do it. It is the first step towards the Para. And it is perhaps the most delightful route that you can think of.

So sing as you flow towards your Self.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

Kuldevata and Ishtadevata 

Kuldevata

Every family belonging to Sanatan Dharma has a Kuldevata, ie a family deity. This ray of the divine eternal specifically protects your family and must be worshipped as per culture and tradition. Your this body, in fact your current existence, is derived from your ancestors and you maintain this with the blessing of the family deity. There are references to the Kuldevata in several of our Puran. Also examples in ancient history where kings built temples of their Kuldevata. The Kuldevata demands pujas at auspicious events, eg before solemnising a marriage in the family, at the birth of a child, at Yajnopavit sanskars, a yearly puja at the temple of the Devata etc. 

0d76b50b431909f070e0a41c0aa54aac

In the current times several of us live physically away from the hometown. ie regularly going to the Kuldevata temple may not be practically feasible. So if you really cannot make it then here are some via media which you can adopt,

  1. Offer the fruit, coconut, sweets, sari/cloth, money, specific items etc to a local temple whereve you are and think of your Kuldevata with all intensity. Request him/ her to accept it as you have offered these items to him from your heart. Even if this is not at his actual temple this does work if you have deep gratitude for him in your heart, ie your intention/ Sankalp is pure.
  2. Keep the offerings in a separate bag in your own puja ghar. Think of your Kuldevata and sincerely tell him that you have kept the offerings ready and whenever he calls, you will go to his temple and offer him these exact offerings. When you do this generally something unexpected helps you complete your pilgrimage soon, eg a few days off or some bonus money.
  3. If your extended family members still reside in your hometown then you can request them to offer the yearly offerings to the temple on your behalf. For this you must make a full set of offerings, ie cloth, money, sugar crystals etc which can be sent by post to your family member’s house. Before sending the items everyone in your family should pray to the deity and touch the offerings before packing them securely. 
  4. Keep in touch with the pujari Brahmin family of the temple and from time to time send some offerings, money, Dakshina to the temple and request them send the prasadam to you by post.

Another more serious problem is that several of us have forgotten the Kuldevata’s name itself. Forgotten the ancestral village. Or the elders of the family are dead. Either way the identity of this deity is lost to you which is highly unfortunate. So here is something you can do to help yourself,

  • Make a small pindi (small rounded mound) of the purest soil you can find. Or take a green coconut with the peduncle intact. Keep this with due respect in your puja ghar, adorn it with a nice cotton cloth, saffron, turmeric, unbroken rice, flowers etc. Intend that your Kuldevata, whoever he is, resides in this and do its puja just as you would do the puja of a regular moorti. You can keep this as a full-time set up or a temporary set up for specific days, ie during auspicious events, festivals etc. Generally what happens is if your intention is pure enough, there will be hints on the identity of the deity, ie dreams where you see the temple, deity’s moorti, hear his name, or his mantra/stotra etc. When this happens, if you want, you can get a proper moorti of your deity and put this coconut / soil in flowing river or sea. 

For women, after you get married, the Kul devata for you is now of your husband’s family. During the Vivah sanskar, the bride formally does the final pujas of her birth family Kuldevata. And immediately after marriage she does the first pujas of her new family deities.

(The Gram devata is the deity of the village where your family has its ancestral home. Generally the oldest temple in the village. So if you go to your ancestral village do go to this temple too.)

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

Ishta devata

Ishta devata is the deity which you personally feel drawn to and want to worship. But this does not mean that you forget your Kuldevata. First puja is always offered to the Kuldevata, for protection of the family, the departed ancestors and the future generations. In some cases, the Kuldevata can also be worshipped as the personal Ishta devata. Your Guru, if a genuine Atma jnyani Mahapurush, a Jivan Mukt Satguru can also be adored as an Ishtadevata.

Jyotish gives some pointers on the Ishtadevata. Let’s first use the basic birth chart D1,

  • The Deity connected to the 9th house of your basic birth chart helps you live a balanced life as per Dharma. He ensures that you get the benefits of the 9th house as and when you need them. Your role in this process is a bit passive as even if you do the bare minimum it will be enough to trigger the 9th house benefits. This is an ongoing background life time support. 
  • The deity connected to the 5th house of your birth chart helps you fructify the sadhana you perform in your life. To reap these benefits you are required to be active, ie do your mantra, jap etc. After you complete it will you get the huge and evident result, all at once.
  • Functionally benefic planets placed in the 1st 5th 9th houses of the birth chart and the deities linked to them can also be a choice for the Ishta devata as they protect and help you grow.

But if you have the exact birth time available then open the divisional charts. 

Birth chart Aleister Crowley

Navamsha Aleister Crowley

BPHS Chapter 33 shloks 63-74 Using the D9 Navamsha chart to find the Ishta devata 

  • First find the Atmakarak, ie the planet who has traveled the highest degree in any sign. In our example chart it is Saturn at 27deg 24mins. 
  • In the D9 chart, he shifts to Virgo navamsha. This is called the karakamsha navamsha. 
  • Check if any planet placed in the sign 12th from the karakamsha. Here it is Leo and it is vacant.
  • So we try the second option given in the BPHS. Find the Amatyakarak, ie the planet who has travelled the second highest in any sign in the D1. This is the Sun at 27deg 10min. 
  • Locate the Sun in the D9. He is in Virgo navamsha. Now count the 6th sign from Virgo. This is Aquarius and it has a planet, this is Jupiter.
  • So our example Aleister Crowley, could have worshipped the deity linked to Jupiter as his Ishta devata. 
  • (If there are no planets in either of these two locations then the planetary owner of the sign can be used to locate the Ishta devata. Eg here Leo – Sun or Aquarius – Saturn. This is not given in BPHS but can be inferred in practice)

BPHS chapter 16 shloks 17-21 – The D 20 is seen for spiritual progress so you can choose a deity from here. Either the one associated with the ascendant degree’s Vimshamsha or the deity of the Atmakarak planet’s Vimshamsha. (This is not given in the BPHS explicitly but I have seen in several cases that this deity is very close to the person and always willing to help especially so if you are doing tantra sadhana)

Let’s do this with the example. A bit of math. One division in D20 is equal to 1deg 30min. In the example,

  • Ascendant degree at 15deg 55min Cancer sign (even sign) – Devi Pingalaa
  • Atmakarak Saturn at 27deg 24 min (even sign) – Devi Mangalaa

Sequence of deities for even signs – Daya, Megha, Chinnashirsha, Pisachini, Dhumavati, Matangi, Bala, Bhadra, Aruna, Anala, Pingala, Chuchuka, Ghora, Vaarahi, Vaishnavi, Sita, Bhuvaneshi, Bhairavi, Mangala, Aparajita.

Sequence of deities for odd signs – Kali, Gauri, Jaya, Lakshmi, Vijaya, Vimala, Sati, Tara, Jvalamukhi, Sveta, Lalita, Bagalamukhi, Pratyangira, Sachi, Raudri, Bhavani, Varada, Jaya, Tripura, Sumukhi.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

Now for the deities associated with the planets. This is always a source of confusion so I am directly copying from the BPHS.

BPHS chapter 2 shlok 1-13 – The general Vishnu Avtars connected to the planets.

  • Surya Sun – Shri Ram avtar
  • Chandra Moon – Shri Yadunayak Krishna avtar
  • Bhoomiputra Mars – Shri Nrusimha avtar
  • Somasuta Mercury – Shri Budha avtar
  • Vibhudejya Jupiter – Shri Vaman avtar
  • Bhargav Venus – Shri Bhargav Parshuram avtar
  • Bhaskarputra Saturn – Shri Koorma avtar
  • Sinhikeya Rahu – Shri Sookara Varaha avtar
  • Ketu – Shri Meen Matsya avtar

(One point to be noted – the Budha avtar is not the generally known Siddhartha Gautam. As per the BPHS the actual Budha Avtar of Bhagwan Vishnu was before his Krishna avtar. We can only wait for more texts to be translated or recovered or brought into the public domain to know more about this Avtar.)

BPHS chapter 3 shlok 18 – General deities/ Adidaivata connected to the planets

  • Sun – Bhagwan Agni
  • Moon – Bhagwan Varun
  • Mars – Bhagwan Subrahmanya
  • Mercury – Bhagwan Vishnu
  • Jupiter – Bhagwan Indra
  • Venus – Bhagwati Sachidevi
  • Saturn – Bhagwan Brahma

BPHS Chapter 33 shloks 63-74 – The planets in the 12th from the Karakamsha or 6th from the Amatyakarak’s position and the deities/ Adidaivata

  • Sun and Ketu – Bhagwan Shiv
  • Moon and Ketu – Devi Gauri
  • Venus and Ketu – Devi Laxmi
  • Mars and Ketu – Bhagwan Subramanya
  • Mercury and Sun – Bhagwan Vishnu
  • Jupiter – Bhagwan Shiv
  • Rahu – Devi Durga in her Tamasic form
  • Ketu – Bhagwan Skanda or Bhagwan Ganpati
  • Saturn if inauspicious – Tamasic deities
  • Venus and Saturn if inauspicious – Tamasic deities

Point is, there are several deities which can be chosen as per the BPHS. Choose one who appeals to you. Generally while you are thinking about this, you will get some signal ie in your dreams or some shakun, ie omen which will help you discover your Ishta devata.

Finally do read this one post on the real nature of the deities. The deities are not ‘gods’, they are conscious aware and intelligent energy, a ray from the same Non dual source. You are also a ray from that very same source. As you express your gratitude to them on the outside, you in fact enhance your own energy on the inside.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

Energy of the bamboo plant and Anteyshthi

Someone asked me if we should not use Agarbatti in pujas as it contains a thin sliver of bamboo. He thought bamboo to be inauspicious because it used for laying out the dead bodies for the Anteyshthi Sanskar. This is faulty thinking as leaving the physical body and its subsequent Anteyshthi is not an inauspicious activity. In fact Anteyshthi is a Sanskar, the ‘right and auspicious action’.

(I am from Konkan. The houses in our villages are built in large plots, wadis, surrounded by trees and bamboos. We use bamboos in several ways and also the young shoots/rhizomes are eaten in a curry. We do not consider it to be inauspicious.)

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

I encourage everyone to learn to see auras. It is a useful skill as it gives you a basic idea on whether the person, object, place, ‘haunted’ places, sound or even the thought process you are being exposed to is positively or negatively charged. And you can then act accordingly to protect yourself or open yourself more to the energy. You can also monitor your own aura and take corrective actions in time.

If you can see auras or even sense the energy of objects, do check out the aura of a live bamboo plant or a cut bamboo stick. It is a unique plant on the energy levels, ie its aura is completely neutral. Its energy does not interfere, overlap, impinge or influence the auras of other things put on it, through it or the activities and energy events going on around it etc. No other plant has this sort of energy property.

(Kusha grass or Darbha grass also has unique energy properties, but it is used in activities involving living humans)

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

The Anteyshthi is the last Sanskar, the most important one. This compound word can be understood as ‘the Ishti of the Antah’.

  • Antah – agreeable, handsome, nature, condition, inside, presence, proximity, whole amount, certainty, settlement, death, end, destruction, final, term, boundary, edge etc.
  • Ishthi – sacrifice, fruit, desire, request, wish, endeavour, something that is wanted or needed, invitation, acceleration, impulse, order, despatch, seeking. etc

Put these above word meanings together to get an idea of the grandness of this event on so many levels.

Even after the jivatma exits from the shell it is still subtly linked to it. The Anteyshti uses this link to power the individual soul and gives it the generated energy for moving out of the Martyalok, the physical world and reaching the Pitrulok, dimension of the departed jivatma, safely. It is a very precise process and the slightest energy interference can cause issues for the individual soul’s journey. The jivatma is already tired after living on the Martyalok for so long and wants to go to its deigned dimension as soon as possible. Several intense mantra are performed on the discarded body by the heir to generate maximum energy during its dissolution by Agni. It is a yajnya, ie an evolution of the highest level. The Anteyshthi is an auspicious process, the energy generated is positive. The fire is the conscious Agni who ensures protection. The Shmashan, ie the place where this is happening is a high energy place, ie it is the residence of Bhagwan Shankar and its energies are equivalent to a Devalaya. 

Thus the bamboo mat on which the body is laid out is the perfect container for this purpose. This specific requirement of the Anteyshthi, ie energy neutrality for the dead body is fulfilled only by this bamboo mat.

In fact bamboo is known to be a thermal insulator. Compressed bamboo sheets are used as building material in cold areas. Do learn to see auras and see for yourself how this ‘thermal insulator’ material is in fact an ‘energy insulator on so many levels.

www.psychologicallyastrology.com

Ever wondered why the flute, Vamshika is so soothing? Why its music can stir deep emotions in your heart? Or trigger long lost memories from your past? Or show you flashes of your past lives? The inherent energy neutrality of the bamboo plant is the reason why bamboo flutes are so powerful. The emotion of the flautist, the power of the Saptasvar, and energy the melody is expressed by the Vamshika, as it is. Music from a bamboo flute is pure in that sense and impacts you in a way no other musical instrument can. If you are in a really contemplative mood, or want to use music consciously for its power, listen to flautists who play Bharatiya Raga on bamboo flutes.

(I find the native American flute music played by native Americans to be the most evocative. It is a strange mix of sadness, pain, betrayal, longing and yet pure beauty.)

So the Bamboo plant is definitely not inauspicious, it is one of the purest materials. And if you want to use agarbatti for your pujas, go ahead, its all good.