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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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)

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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.

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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.

 

Tie a black thread as a shield

There was a question and I felt that a small post on this would be useful. You can charge a black thread with intention and tie it on your body. It is a sort of an amulet. This is how you do it.

  • You will need about 1m black thread. Choose one which is neither too thick or too thin and can be knotted securely. 
  • Do this on an amavasya (ie a no moon day) or any Tuesday or Saturday is also acceptable. 
  • Do this after you get ready in the morning. Sit in front of your deity, light a deepak, incense etc, do your daily puja as per your schedule. Specifically pray to your deity for protection.
  • Then hold the thread in your hand, intend that your deity will now protect you with this thread.
  • Mentally recite the Durga Saptashloki from the Devi Mahatmya. There are 7 shloks in this.

॥ श्रीदुर्गासप्तश्लोकी ॥
ॐ अस्य श्रीदुर्गासप्तश्लोकीस्तोत्रमहामन्त्रस्य । नारायण ऋषिः । अनुष्टुपादीनि छन्दांसि ।
श्रीमहाकालीमहालक्ष्मीमहासरस्वत्यो देवताः । श्री जगदम्बाप्रीत्यर्थ पाठे विनियोगः ॥

ज्ञानिनामपि चेतांसि देवि भगवती हि सा ।
बलादाकृष्य मोहाय महामाया प्रयच्छति ॥१॥

दुर्गे स्मृता हरसि भीतिमशेषजन्तोः स्वस्थैः स्मृता मतिमतीव शुभां ददासि ।
दारिद्रयदुःखभयहारिणि का त्वदन्या सर्वोपकारकरणाय सदार्द्र चित्ता ॥२॥

सर्वमंगलमांगल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थसाधिके ।
शरण्ये त्र्यम्बके गौरि नारायणि नमोऽस्तु ते ॥३॥

शरणागतदीनार्तपरित्राणपरायणे ।
सर्वस्यार्तिहरे देवि नारायणि नमोऽस्तु ते ॥४॥

सर्वस्वरूपे सर्वेशे सर्वशक्तिसमन्विते ।
भयेभ्यस्त्राहि नो देवि दुर्गे देवी नमोऽस्तु ते ॥५॥

रोगानशेषानपहंसि तुष्टा रुष्टा तु कामान् सकलानभीष्टान् ।
त्वामाश्रितानां न विपन्नराणां त्वामाश्रिता ह्याश्रयतां प्रयान्ति ॥६॥

सर्वाबाधाप्रशमनं त्रैलोक्यस्याखिलेश्वरि ।
एवमेव त्वया कार्यमस्मद्वैरि विनाशनम् ॥७॥

If you cannot recite it then you can also listen to it. But do try to learn it, just 7 lines, and is very useful.

  • With every shlok you recite, tie 1 knot randomly into your thread so as you finish reciting there will be 7 knots in total on the thread.
  • Blow on the thread and visualise the energy of the Durga Saptashloki mantra entering the thread.
  • Hold it in your cupped hand, focus on the Devi Chamunda for a bit.
  • Your thread is ready. Tie this thread on your (or your loved one’s) right ankle or wrist or around the neck.
  • Wrap it a few times on the wrist/ankle and fasten it using three knots.

I recommend the Durga Saptashloki because it carries the power of the entire Devi Mahatmya. It is also the easiest way to protect yourself. You invoke the Devi Chamunda in her fiercest aspect to protect you. In addition to wearing this thread, if you can recite the Saptashloki daily or at least on every Tuesday and Saturday, it will make your shield more powerful.

If you have faith on some other mantra to protect you, then you can use it. But be very clear on what mantra you are using. It should be in Sanskrit and from some standard reference book. However the procedure for charging and tying it remains the same. Recite the mantra in your mind and for every shlok tie a knot on your thread intending that its energy enters the thread and remains there as a knot.

This thread will need to be replaced in about 3 to 6 months depending on the intensity of the evil eye that might attack you. This is how to do it. First prepare a new thread as above and tie it on your wrist/ ankle/ neck. Then use scissors to cut off the old thread. Dispose the old thread in running water or under some green trees where generally no one will step on it. 

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Sleeping under the night skies

The current human population is disconnected from the skies and the celestial bodies in it. We are indoors all the time, inside the office during the day and within the house at night. In fact thanks to the PU soles of our shoes we have lost all connection with the Earth too. The ancient cultures would honor the Sky Father and the Earth Mother and there was a perfectly deep reason for it. The Skies guide us and the Earth supports us, even today, but now we are unaware of their presence in our lives. 

Till very recently, we would regularly walk about under the Sun, his energy would directly enter our body, mind and individual souls. Now, with our heads buried in our screens, we rarely look up at the skies and the direct sun rays do not fall on our bodies. Technically the best time to be under the Sun is at sunrise or sunset. But we simply do not look up to him anymore.

At night the situation is even worse with the intense dust and light pollution. We have completely forgotten that the Moon, the Stars and the inky black night skies even exist above us. Children living in the cities are the most unfortunate ones in this respect. They do not know how beautiful the night sky is. And this disconnect is messing up everything on so many levels.

Earlier, during our grandparents generation, sleeping outside, ie on the terrace of the house was a regular feature. People would sleep outside on those typical cots with the coir netting. I remember when I was a child, whenever we visited my native village or my Guru’s Math, sleeping under the night sky was so exciting, magical. My Dad would teach me the Nakshatra visible above. Even today, I try to maximise my time under the night skies (as the weather permits) and point out the graha and Nakshatra to my son.

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As per Sanatan Dharma, we are required to sleep outside for one night under the full Moon of the Ashvin month (Kojagiri/ Sharad Purnima). The Moon is nearest to the Earth on this day and his power is very strong and auspicious. We fast during the day and at night we offer the Moon a sweet milk based Naivedya and drink it as a prasadam (desi cow milk with saffron, sugar etc boiled for hours under the Moonlight, it is called Basundi). 

Sleeping under the night skies is one of the best remedies for balancing the Moon and easing the Mind related issues. And it is not possible anymore for most of us. Thus the increase in mental issues, depression, anxiety etc. This emotional imbalance is a direct effect of this unprecedented change in our lifestyle. We have deprived ourselves of the soothing and supportive rays of the Moon and Nakshatra.

So here is what you can do. Try to be under the light of the full Moon, Purnima for a few hours, once a month. If you can sleep outside under the skies for the entire night, it would be the best thing. Also try to be under the night skies when the current Moon transits your birth Moon Nakshatra, ie once a month. Then during the Ashwin Purnima, try to be under the Moon for as long as you can, this will be once a year. Even if you can do this much it will be a very big support for your mind. As you lie under the night skies, try to locate the 27 nakshatra and the other important stars in the skies, it is a fascinating exercise. 

There is one important Star, Tara, whom we have completely forgotten in the recent times. It is visible only in the northern hemisphere, ie the Pole star, Dhruv tara. At present I am getting several questions on Reiki. An interesting Reiki factoid is that Mikao Usui’s family emblem is the emblem of the deity Bodhisatva Myoken, the Dhruv tara personified. This symbol combines the Sun, Moon and a Star or more correctly the Bindu, in a very beautiful manner.

Dhruv tara is the embodiment of the highest realm of consciousness. So as you drift off to sleep under the night skies do focus on the North star for a few minutes. Doing Tratak on the stars is a very useful exercise, and the Dhruv tara is perfect for the purpose. 

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(My readers want me to write simple posts).

Pure soil and its use in pujas

The purest soil that you can get is the soil from the termitaria. Termites are very common in the forests of Sal, Shorea robusta or in  other tropical and temperate forests. In healthy forests, they build a huge number of termitaria, one at almost every 10 sq.m. I live about 1hr away from such forests so I always have a supply of its pure soil in my puja room. If you come across such termitaria, keep a small block of this soil in your house. When harvesting the soil, choose a block which seems to be abandoned by the termites and sincerely thank the termites for this gift. This soil is a living energy, auspicious, pure and is used for several pujas. It has the highest capacity to absorb mantra etc recited over it and has the highest ability to reflect their power back to you. It is a solid stable energy and the results of this puja will give similarly solid results which will act as a foundation for several auspicious things in life.

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The most common use of this soil is in making a Parthiv Shivlingam for pujas. As the lingam is created using soil, Pruthvi, it is called Parthiv. Shiv pujas performed on such a lingam made of generate very high levels of power. Try to perform such a puja on every monthly Shivratri or at least the Mahashivratri night or on the Mondays of Shravan month. The best time to perform such pujas is the 4th prahar of the night.

This soil is also to create a moorti of the Naag on Naag Panchami day for pujas. Also use this soil to create a moorti of Hartalika Devi for her pujas on Bhadrapad Shukla Trutiya. Or to create a moorti of the Devi for the Mangala Gauri pujas on the Tuesdays of Shravan month. This soil is the ideal material to create Ganapati moortis for Bhadrapad Shukla Chaturthi. During Diwali, some people do pujas of Devi Laxmi moorti created out of soil.

In case you do any of these pujas do use the termitoria soil to make the moortis, you will feel the difference immediately. Use turmeric, vermillion, saffron and bhasma to add color to the moorti. Unfortunately we have switched to Plaster of Paris for making such moortis eg Ganapati Puja moortis are all made with this non-living chemical material. It has no power to absorb the mantra pujas being done on it and no ability to reflect it back to the devotees. Avoid using this material in your moortis for pujas. They are very beautiful are of little use in the energy sense.

After doing pujas this moorti or the lingam made of termitaria soil is put in flowing water, ie its actual Visarjan, is done. This ensures that the residual energy of the mantra is released into the water. Water is the repository, ie the collective memory of everything that gets deposited into it. So when such a Parthiv moorti is deposited into water, its auspiciousness, the power of the mantra recited on it and the pure intentions of the devotees all merge into the waters of that area, increasing the overall auspiciousness of that water and eventually the land. We eat food produced from this land and drink water from these water bodies. Returning the energy back to the soil and water in gratitude is inbuilt in our way of life.

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And since we are on the subject of insects and the purity of their homes, one Guru once told me why we put out sugar for black ants. It is not only as a gesture of gratitude but wherever there are black ants, Sakshat Dharma is present in that place. Black ants are the embodiment of Dharma. You can test this. If you live in an area where people live according to Dharma you will find these small sized black ant-hills scattered around the place. And in localities where people have adopted Adharma as their way of life, there will be no black ant hills. So here is one more practice which you can adopt if you feel like it, putting out some sugar for black ants once in a while.

In fact the Naag panchami puja is supposed to be done on site, ie at such a black ant hill or the termitaria. You are supposed to go to the wild / forest areas to perform these mantra for the Naag. 

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There are no superstitions in Sanatan Dharma, just a heightened awareness of energy dynamics and the intentions powering us all. This is why this is called the Eternal Foundation and everyone must try to stick to it as much as possible.

Deepavali Utsav of Sanatan Dharma

A very short post on Deepavali.

Deepavali or Deepotsav is not a tradition nor a ritual nor a celebration nor a way of life.

Deepavali is Dharma.

Every follower of Sanatan Dharma is required to follow these specific Dharmic activities in these days. These days are overloaded with energy which must be channelised into our lives, our bodies, minds and souls in a positive way. You have to invoke energy of the highest levels, call on the Eternal Consciousness and generate positive intentions. The power of this time, space and the mantra power your intention and turn your desires into reality. This happens only once a year so make the most of it.

ॐ दीपज्योतिः परंब्रह्म दीपज्योतिर्जनार्दनः।
दीपो हरतु मे पापं संध्यादीपः नमोस्तु ते॥ ॐ 

This week long Deepotsav starts with

Rama Ekadashi – Ashwin Krishna Ekadashi – Here we do pujas of Devi Laxmi in her form named ‘Ramaa’ रमा. This word means opulence, splendour, good fortune, wife, the one who is constantly engaged in happiness, also the one who constantly grants us happiness. We request the Devi to keep us always happy and ensure prosperity in all forms in our life.

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Govatsa Dvadashi – Ashwin Krishna Dvadashi – on this day we do pujas of a desi humped cow and her calf and we feed them sweet food, ie chapati with jaggery is also a good option. This is in gratitude for all that the cow does for us, from giving us her milk to energising our surroundings by her mere presence. Being grateful is the first step towards the divine, genuine gratitude is a rare emotion, so try to feel this today for the Go who nourishes us on so many levels.

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Dhana Trayodashi – Ashwin Krishna Trayodashi – on this day we do pujas of Bhagwan Dhanvantari. We request him to free us from all types of aliments, ie the Aadhyatmik, Aadhidaivik and Aadhibhoutik sources of pain, to keep us healthy and grant us Arogya, complete health and Ayusha, complete life. We also request him to grant us the Amrut, ie the essence of non-death.

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Naraka Chaturdashi – Ashwin Krishna Chaturdashi – on this day Shri Krishna killed Narakasur and freed the 16000 women who were imprisoned by him. The esoteric meaning is that we pray to the Eternal controller of the Mahapran of this Universe to energise the 16000 nadis in our body, to remove all blockages in them. To elevate our consciousness from the merely human to the Eternal. We request him to annihilate the Narakarur, ‘the dissonance/karma that the individual soul/ jivatma suffers under’. We request him to take up his Sudarshan chakra, ie use the power of time/space in motion, to remove all Adharma and to establish Dharma in our life.

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Deepavali Amavasya – Ashwin Amavasya – this is the biggest and the most powerful Amavasya of the year. The radiance that the Devi is clearly shines forth. Everyone must do pujas of the Devi in some form on this Amavasya. Depending on the cultural context, Devi Laxmi or Devi Kali or Devi Lalitatripursundari or any other form of the Devi Prakruti is worshipped on this day. This day comes only once a year, make the most of it.

The Chaitra month is the start of the solar year, so we worship Shri Ram in this month. Our new year still begins with the day when Shri Ram was crowned as the King of Ayodhya. As per the Valmiki Ramayan, Ravan was killed on Phalgun Amavasya and Shri Ram Rajyabhishek was on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada, a new era. So our new year even today is in remembrance of our King, Raja Ram. We reaffirm the King is always Raja Ram, none other. Then Ram Navmi is a celebration of his birthday also falls in this month. This month is the best for performing Satyanarayan puja. 

And exactly 6 months later is the Ashwin month. The lunar energies are at the maximum, so we worship the Devi in all her forms. We celebrate the Ashwin Navratri, the brightest energy of the Devi, either the Dasha Mahavidya are worshipped or the Nav-Durga. Vijayadashmi is the puja of Devi Durga as she vanquishes the Mahishasur, ie ‘the great dissonant energy of the limited self ego’. The Kojagiri Pournima of the Sharad Rhutu is exclusively for pujas of the Moon.

So Ashwin Amavasya is the day when the Devi is all powerful, listening and ready to give you what you desire if only you ask her. So make it a point to request and ask her to give you what you really desire.

ॐ शुभं करोतु कल्याणं | आरोग्यं धन संपदा | शत्रुबुद्धिः विनाशाय | दीपः ज्योतिः नमोस्तुते || ॐ 

Tripur, Tripurari, Tripursundari

Kartik Shukla pratipada.

On this day the husband gets gifts for his wife and she in turn blesses him with all auspiciousness. Children do namaskar to their elders and are given gifts / blessings on this day. Businessmen start their new financial year on this day, they do pujas of their workplace and of the account books. Devi Shri is willing to give all prosperity to all new endeavours started on this day.

  • Bali pratipada – In Dakshin Bharat, this day is for remembering Raja Mahabali. We think of him with gratitude and respect and request him to grant us his specific power, knowledge, wisdom, humility and his ability to completely surrender to the Eternal Divine. (River Narmada is the dividing line between Uttar and Dakshin Bharat)
  • Govardhan Puja – In Uttar Bharat, this day is celebrated as Govardhan Puja. The mountain Govardhan is worshipped, we request protection and nourishment from him. Also Shri Krishna is worshipped as the eternal protecter of Dharma.

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Yama Dvitiya – Kartik Shukla pratipada. This day is called Bhai dooj or Bhau beej. On this day sisters bless their brothers with all auspiciousness. The brothers get their sisters gifts and promise their protection.

This day is in remembrance of Bhagwan Yam and his twin sister Devi Yamuna. Yam is the ability to control and Yamuna is the ability to use this controlled power in the right way. These two are the children of Suryadev and his wife Devi Sanjana.

In Sanatan Dharma, the woman always has more power to give on the energy levels. And the men have more power to give on the physical levels. So it is her responsibility to protect her brothers, husband and children with her energy. And it is their duty to protect her in the physical sense. There is always a fair exchange of energy in Dharma. 

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During the Deepotsav, we cook sweet dishes with our own hands, offer them to everyone, share them with our relatives and loved ones. The house is decorated, garlands/ toran of marigold flowers and mango leaves are tied on the doors. Paper lanterns are hung outside the house. Earthen lamps with sesame oil are lit and placed inside and outside the house at the evening twilight. We draw Rangoli /Kolam outside the main door, these designs are from the mandala derived from the Shri chakra. The household deities are worshipped with all devotion. We wear new clothes, go to the local temple and offer our prayers to the deity who protects our town. Elders are respected and children are given gifts. Firecrackers are burst and there is a general feeling of happiness and exhilaration all around. These are beautiful days.

During Deepotsav we request our deities, ie Devi Ramaa, Shri Dhanvantari, Shri Krishna, Shri Yam, Devi Yamuna, Devi Mahamaya to establish Dharma and help us walk the Dharmic path. But this can happen when we also behave in a way that assures Them that we are serious about what we are asking. So if you feel it in your hearts, do this following scheduled Dharma everyday of your life, no exceptions.

  1. In the morning after you have a bath etc, give Argya to the Sun, ie a cupful of water poured in the direction of the Sun, with a simple ‘Om Suryaya namah’. Sun is the visible source of energy be grateful to him.
  2. For 5 mins, do the puja of your Kul-devata/ household deities, ie offer flowers, light a sesame oil deepak, recite your mantra or sing your favourite bhajan, ring the bell, blow the Shankh etc and put a tilak on your forehead. Kuldevata is the protector of your family, ancestors, children and your house, show your gratitude to him.
  3. Maintain a Tulasi plant in your house. In the evening, light an agarbatti/ incense stick before the plant and request Devi Laxmi to bring prosperity to your house. A living Tulasi plant is the establishment of Devi Laxmi, ie ensures prosperity and Satva gun in your life.

Do this yourself and encourage your spouse and children to do this much for Dharma daily. Also your relatives, nieces, nephews and other families and children whom you know. Each one has to to his own bit in establishing Dharma in our lives. If we follow Dharma ourself, the society too will follow it. Start on the Dharmic path, live your life as per Dharma and Dharma will protect you.

Thus praying that the Devi Mahamaya grants us all Dharma in this week long celebration of Deepavali utsav and establishes Dharma in our life.

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

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Curses or Blessings are energy

Curses or blessings are an energy charged with intention. In case the intention is auspicious then it would be a blessing and obviously an intention linked to an unfavourable result would be a curse.

Curses शाप are possible in the current age. A curse is an imprecation, malediction, constraint, prohibition, restriction or a ban. An intention designed to cause negativity, suffering or harm to the recipient. And at low levels, this happens a lot. Eg your maid mentally curses you because you made her do extra work without pay, or you swear at that taxi driver who overcharged you. These low level curses are a part of the daily grind, at max they will make you feel bad briefly but will not cause much/ lasting harm.

Blessings ie Ashirwad आशीर्वाद are also possible. A very basic eg, you feel grateful to your spouse for something he does for you and this warmth in your heart is also a blessing, a positive energy which goes to him from you. Or your parents and elders give you blessings when you touch their feet, chunks of positive energy. These benedictions add to the generic shell of positive energy surrounding you.

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But then there are the high powered curses which do cause genuine harm. Here are a few examples,

Curses powered by mantra siddhi and hurt emotions – Someone who has been living a very Satvik life, doing daily pujas and Sadhana, following the directions of the Guru, a high level spiritual aspirant.

  • Such a yogi level person in rare circumstances can still lose his temper. If he lashes out and curses someone in a fit of rage, then what he has said will happen to that person. His spiritual merit / punya powers this curse and causes harm to the recipient. His own merit also gets reduced a bit by this outburst. 
  • Another possibility is that this aspirant can, in rare circumstances, feel deeply hurt by someone else’s behaviour. And though he consciously may not say or do anything, the pain gets transformed into a curse for the other. This energy causes great harm to the recipient and also drains the spiritual merit of the aspirant. eg. I know such a person who cursed her own daughter in a fit of intense emotional pain and she suffered for years. Obviously the aspirant too suffered. 
  • So it is essential that a genuine aspirant first learn to control his own mind, reduce his sense of personal self-ego, only then increase the intensity of his sadhana and his energy levels. 
  • And if you are a regular person, then make it a point to avoid needlessly angering or hurting such high level aspirants. If you cannot respect them, keep away from them.

Curses powered by mantra siddhi and desire for power – There are aspirants who perform anushthans ie targeted rituals with intention for mantra siddhi and eventually achieve it. But their objective is not self-realization, rather a desire for material power and fame by using the power of this mantra.

  • Generally these practitioners do pujas for others for them to achieve their goals. They charge their clients money. If these people intend maledictions, they consciously channelise the power of their mantra energy they have gained to amplify the negative intentions. These intentions may be unethical or immoral but this does not matter to this practitioner as he is chasing money. These pujas damage the client, the recipient and also the practitioner. 
  • Astrologers who give scary predictions on purpose to create repeat clients fall in this category. When an astrologer reads someone’s chart, he is using the power of his own 5th house and the client’s 9th house to do so, ie this is a function of the astrologer’s Mantrasiddhi and the client’s Purvapunya. But rather than reinforcing the client’s 9th house he is using the power of his 5th house to damage it. This causes suffering to the client and the practitioner both. 
  • Such type of practitioners often die bad deaths. 

Curses powered by rituals which involve killing birds/animals – The lowest level of practitioners are those kill living beings and use the energy released by their physical death to power intentions of causing harm. People approach these ‘tantriks’ and pay them to get this sort of work done. Unfortunately these examples are extremely common and cause damage to the recipient, the practitioner and the people who get this ritual done. (If you are a practising astrologer, never read charts of people who do these things.) In Sanatan Dharma, you cannot kill another being and use its death energy like this, it is the worst karma possible. The only Bali permissible in Dharma is breaking a coconut with intention. And people do this too! Power their curses by breaking coconuts with negative intentions. One tip is to never eat ‘prasadam’, especially broken coconut, offered to you by people whom you do not trust. 

(A curse from a Satguru. I have seen only one example of this in my life. Needless to say, this will be the most inauspicious thing possible, from which there will be no escape.)

Then are the curses from your past lives carried on this life, which can be seen in the horoscope, eg I wrote on the Sarpashapa. And the curses from your past lives connected to your negative karma, eg if you mistreat your mother now, its possible that you will get the combination for a Matrushapa in your next life’s birth chart.

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But even after someone creates a curse energy, it is not necessary that it will affect the target in the way he intends. Two houses, the 5th and 9th in the chart, protect in conscious and unconscious ways.

The 9th house is the house of Purvapunya. So curses will not affect much if,

  • If you have a strong 9th house at birth. Then this protection will be for a life time, there is a higher ability to passively resist negativity. Your own merits, punya from your past lives work as a shield around you all the time. But remember that with every attack you resist, this merit gets used up bit by bit.
  • You are undergoing a favourable dasha period or a significant transit of a strongly placed planet. Especially if this planet is connected to the 9th house, (ie owns it, in it, aspects it, or is conjunct the 9th owner or aspects him), then your ‘timely luck’ factor is active. Here, the overall time is favourable for you so even if the energy of the malediction touches you, it will not do much harm. At max it might manifest as some minor health issue like nausea or typical dreams etc. Or you will be given sufficient warning in time so that you can do something about it. And it is quite possible that the negativity recoils back to the person who sent it to you in the first place. 
  • If you have an extraordinarily strong D9 navamsha chart.

The 5th house is Mantrasiddhi. The conscious efforts you make to enhance your own energy. So, again the curses will have limited effect on you if, 

  • you are doing your own spiritual practice regularly and have generated significant reserves of power, ie you are reinforcing your own 5th house continually with your own actions. In this case you will simply absorb whatever it was, ie burn it by your energy, or briefly suffer something minor or send it back. Doing this also consumes your energy but as you do your regular practice you continue to replenish yourself.

The solution for all this cursing stuff is the same, increase the power of the 5th house by your own actions, ie do your mantra pujas. Or trigger the power of your own 9th house by doing ritualistic pujas, going to pilgrimages, doing tarpan for your ancestors and acting as per your Guru. Both these houses feed energy directly into the personality, the 1st house. This is the power of the Dharma trikon. You cannot be really harmed by someone with a energy level lower than yours. Or if you have more power than the stuff which was sent against you. This is the function of the Dharma trikon as a whole. 

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Next, the blessings, ie Ashirwad. Only someone who has significant energy reserves can give blessings. As in cursing, giving blessings also depletes the energy reserve. These are chunks of energy which move from you to the recipient. 

  • A real Satguru has enormous power, ie he is the Advaita itself. But he will never ever give ‘direct blessings’, ie he will never say specific things like, ‘you will get married soon’ etc. He will use generic words like Ashirwad, Kalyan, Shubh, Sukh, Shanti, Prasanna etc, that too rarely. These words give the recipient a chunk of auspicious energy. What is to be done with the energy is the decision of the recipient. He will never interfere in the disciple’s free will, his choice of actions. One extreme example with my Guru, someone was asking him for clear cut directions for changing his job. He finally said ‘do whatever you want but do not forget why you are doing it’, he did not give him a clear yes/ no answer that he was insisting on. 
  • Genuine Yogis may give specific blessings or give specific guidance etc, again in rare circumstances. But these words also drain them of their own merit/ punya. In all my interactions with such higher-level Sadhaks, I have never seen this happening. In fact some of the Yogis I met, would not let others even touch their feet. Genuine Yogis also use generic words for giving their rare blessings.
  • So be careful if someone claims to be a Guru or Yogi and gives you directions regarding your life ie the business, job, marriage etc part. Or gives specific blessings for material gains. To gauge the genuineness of this person always evaluate the type of ‘blessings’ that they give to their disciples. 

Again, not everyone can receive such blessings from Yogis or the Satguru. The thing is that when a Satguru uses a word like ‘Ashirwad’, the quantum of energy that he sends is extraordinarily high. The recipient needs to have an equally high capacity of absorbing and assimilating it. And the mental stability to use it in a sensible way. So again only if you have a strong 9th house and overall Dharma trikon will these sort of blessing energy be give to you. 

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So in life, do not feel scared of random people cursing you, most of them do not have that reserve of power to do so. And do not get swayed by random people blessing you, not many have the capacity to do so. Do your own regular spiritual practice, keep reinforcing your own energy, that is always the best option. 

 

Mantra pujas the dos and don’ts

I wrote about practicing the Gayatri mantra daily and there were several questions, thus this generic post.

Everyone above the age of 6yrs should take up one mantra or stotra as a life time thing. ie Recite it every day during your daily puja routine. Choose this as per your convenience and inclination but dedicate yourself to this mantra, your life line for this lifetime. When you do a mantra jaap regularly, you are actually working very hard, focussing your mind, body and soul on this mantra daily for a few mins. This regular practice adds up over your lifetime. Eg exercising daily for 15mins is more sensible and useful than working out once a month for nonstop 24hrs. The mantra is pure Intelligence, it magnifies the work you have done on it and reflects it back at you.

The quantum of energy does not matter as much as your conscious control over your own Mind does. Read this line twice. 

Eg. someone I know, does intense jaap of Navavaran mantra but without the necessary lifestyle to be able to absorb such enormous amounts of energy. This has affected her negatively, her mind has become unstable. Generating power from intense mantras is dangerous if you cannot control it.

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Sadhana is something that genuine aspirants, Sadhaks or people with a genuine ascetic bent of mind do. They will invest time, energy and sacrifice several things in this process. For doing Sadhanas, you need combinations for asceticism in your chart. Intense Sadhana creates Nivrutti in the mind of the aspirant, ie detachment from the material, from the Game of Creation, from the Lila. This intensity is not for everyone. And, in fact, it is not even necessary for everyone.

So when it comes to spiritual practice, do only that much which you can easily do. You should feel happy when you do it. If you ever feel that it is a burden, review and reduce the practices. Rather than trying for ‘high power’ mantra which others recommend, do what you feel is the best for you even if it is for a few minutes, eg do it for 3 repeats if you feel 108 repeats is too much. But do something daily.

Generally gruhast ie householders do not do such Sadhana. What we do is, perform our daily puja and sometimes Anushthans, ie a targeted pujas. Daily puja would be something quite brief, 10mins max, generally lighting a deepak, putting tilak, putting flowers and doing Arti of the family gods. Daily pujas do not have many rules and are simple. Anushthans are more intense and last for a few days. eg I might intend to do a Gayatri Laghu Anushthan, ie 24000 repeats of the mantra in 9 days of the Ashwin Navratri. In these 9 days I will be bound by several restrictions. I will follow these rules to safely channelise the energy I generate with this mantra into my body. As a householder we are used to certain habits which we cannot continue when we take up targeted Anushthans. The rules vary in the different Anushthans but there are common themes. The first restriction will be on food, ie tamasic foods like non-veg, brinjal, heavy pulses like masoor, highly oily food, very spicy food, alcohol and other addictive substances, food cooked by others etc will stop. Eating ghee, milk from desi cows, eat food you cook yourself, keeping to yourself, not speaking much, not touching random people, shaking hands etc or travelling in crowded public transport will not be possible, physical intimacy with your spouse will stop for that time. Sticking to the schedules determined by your Anushthan will be necessary. You have to discipline your body first, this discipline will then more inwards as the mind gets disciplined. Thus you will get the results of the Anushthan.

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Common householders/ gruhast, cannot channelise much power, ie the entire ocean cannot be poured into a small cup. Householders are tiny cups, highly insufficient to hold the power of the mantras in their full-fledged form. So gruhast people are encouraged to slowly increase their capacity with all these festivals we have in the Sanatan Dharma. And we have a festival practically every fortnight. As you do the pujas associated with these festivals throughout the year, every year, you are actually training your mind. In Sanatan Dharma we have a plethora of options. You can choose your favourite deity, source of faith as per your wish. The beauty of Sanatan Dharma is that no one can compel you. You are responsible for your own actions and are required to follow your own Conscience at all times. We have the most beautiful life possible, genuinely happy from the inside. Our festivals are the backbone of our society. We worship pure nature, ie the Samudra Sea on Narali pournima, the Mountains on Govardhan puja, the Sun on Makar sankranti or Ratha saptami, Dawn and Dusk on Chatt puja, the Moon on Kojagiri pournima etc. We worship our Rivers, Sarasvati, Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada etc as our mother, we adore them. We worship animals with equal fervour eg Snakes on Naag Panchami, Bulls on Pola etc and plants eg Banyan tree on Vat Savitri. We worship human like deities ie the embodiments of the three Gun, Satva Vishnu-Laxmi, Raja Brahmadev- Sarasvati, Tama Shankar-Parvati with the rest of the pantheon. We even worship Mathematics with the same devotion, the Shri yantra and the other yantra are complex geometry. We revere sound, light, vibrations, energy. We recognise Divinity embedded in every aspect of creation. We worship Intelligence because we intend to recognise that same Consciousness inside us.

In my blog I have mentioned a few stotra, mantra, sukta which can be taken up as a regular practice. This practice helps still the mind. If the mind is still, you are more Aware, more focussed on the Real. I have written briefly about several including the Amrit sukta, Shri Sukta, Purush Sukta, Mahamrutyunjai mantra, Gayatri mantra, Guru stotra, Teekshna Damshtra Bhairavashtakam, Chakshushi mantra, Navavarna mantra etc. And referred to several books like the Ved, Upanishad, Vijnyan Bhairav Tantra, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Devi Mahatmya etc. All mantra (except the Ajapa mantra and Om) are generally linked to a ray from the Eternal, ie a deity, an Aware Intelligent Consciousness. Eventually all merge into the same Eternal Advaita. It is so elegant.

I have written on Soham, the Ajapa mantra which my Satguru ‘gave’ to all his disciples, the easiest option. It gives control over the Mind, slowly and steadily with every breath you take. You gently train your mind to become aware of the most natural rhythm in the world, the rhythm of your own breath.

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Now for some specific dos and don’ts for women in general life. Two events in life are very stressful for women, the menstrual phase of the monthly cycle and the pregnancy.

I wrote a detailed post here on the restrictions during the menstrual phase of the monthly cycle, do go through it.

Next, during pregnancy, there are mantras and stotras which you can recite or listen for your and your baby’s well being during this time. Here your body is doing enormous amount of work. The astral bodies of the mother and child are highly intertwined.

  • So doing any sort of practice where you channelise mantra with your breath while sitting on the asan is not advisable. ie you can recite the Gayatri 3 times with your daily puja routine but do not sit on your asan and do a 108 jaap of the mantra with the breath. Or you can mentally recite Soham to relax your mind, but do not sit on your Asan for targeted 108 Soham sadhana. 
  • Then eclipses. If there are any eclipses visible in your town when you are pregnant, you must be very alert. Best would be to sit in front of your puja ghar/ altar and read something eg the Bhagvat Gita or recite or listen to mantra and stotra while the eclipse is on.
  • The Sutak time. In case there is a physical death in your close family ie this is the paternal family or after marriage husband’s paternal side of the family for married women, then from the day of the death till the pindadana on the 13th day, the dimensions of the spirits and humans, ie the Pitrulok and Martyalok are interconnected. This affects everyone in the family. If this event occurs in the same house you live in, try to keep away from the Anteyshti related activities as much as possible. A pregnant woman should not go for condolence visits to relatives or friend’s families, her husband can go if it is necessary.
  • The Natak time. Similarly if a new baby is born in your close family, then from the birth to the name ceremony day, again the dimensions are interconnected as the soul gets settled in his new life. This too is an intense time on the energy levels. A pregnant woman can see this new baby born in her family on the day of its Naamkaran sanskar.

Ideally a woman should stick to the daily pujas till the baby is 6 months old at least. Do not attempt Anushthans or other targeted practice during this time. This is the time when the baby is still absorbing your energy, ie breast feeding, and you are also working hard. So first focus on what the baby needs and on rebuilding your strength. After you do the Annaprashan Sanskar for the baby, if you feel up to it you can increase the intensity of your spiritual practice.

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For men, the life is interconnected with the Gayatri, as every boy above the age of 6yrs is entitled to the Yajnopaveet Sanskar. This means wearing the Yajnopaveet sutra for a life time and doing Sandhya Vandanam, ie Gayatri puja three times a day. Ask your father or paternal relatives for any restrictions or dos and don’ts as this often varies from family to family. If your parents have not done the Yajnopaveet Sanskar for you but you really want to do the Gayatri mantra in a formal manner then you can do a simple intention on an auspicious Sunday, consider the rising Sun as your Guru and start. Do this only if you really feel and your conscience agrees with it. Never do anything against the Antaratma, the inner voice. At the very least you can recite this mantra even once a day when you do your daily puja.

Generally for major Anushthans, if there is a Sutak or Natak period in your close family then you will temporarily stop your Anushthans till this period is on.

Then there are several dos and dont’s which vary from family to family. This is mostly linked to the culture and the family deities. eg in my family we never wear black colored clothes, as the family deity does not like it. So you will have to ask the elders in your paternal family or husband’s paternal family for any such typical things.

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The only requirement for a follower of Sanatan Dharma is that you have faith/ Shraddha in something. This can be in an external source, there are so many options. Or if you prefer, you can put your faith in your own Divinity, ie directly focus on the Eternal, the Advaita that you yourself are. Do not compare yourself with other’s. Don’t ever think that someone is doing so much and you are doing so little. This concept does not exist in Sanatan Dharma. Each one of us is an unique individual, but all linked to the same eternal foundation. We, the followers of Sanatan Dharma, adore Pure Intelligence in every way possible. Every route is acceptable, it only depends on the practitioner’s inclination and conscience.