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. 
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  • 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.
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  • Makhana (lotus seed popcorn) – very nutritious and several recipes are possible. You can also grind it and use it as a flour.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Buckwheat (called kattu) – it is available as the seed and also as a flour and is highly nutritious. Several recipes are possible.
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  • (Flours of all these above mentioned items can be combined with curd and made into a preparation called ‘thalipith’ in Marathi)
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  • 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.)

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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.

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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)

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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Saturn transits in Dhanishtha nakshatra 2022-23

Saturn will be exiting Shravan nakshatra, entering Dhanishtha धनिष्ठा on 18th Feb 2022 and stay here till 15th Mar 2023. (Again from 15th Oct – 24th Nov 2023). Saturn’s transits at sign level give an overview of a time frame of 2.5yrs. Nakshatra level transit helps analyse things over 13months. And navamsha arc or quarter/pad level transit analysis narrows down his effects to 2-3month time frames. 

(I have used the dates from Drikpanchang)

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धनिष्ठ literally means very swift or very rich in Devbhasha Samskrutam. Dhanishtha in the skies has 4 stars visualised as the Damaru of Bhagwan Nataraj. Thus its beat has the potential to destroy or recreate and for the rare few, illuminate. Dhanishtha is connected to music, beats, rhythm, systematic actions and the higher energy. So its energies can be usefully channelised by reciting Sanskrit stotra, learning to dance especially Bharatnatyam or learning classical Raga or playing percussion or wind instruments.

Its devata are the Ashta Vasu, Apah, Dhara, Anila, Anala, Dhruva, Soma, Pratyusha and Prabhas, so it is deeply linked to the very fabric of time, space and Consciousness. These eight primordial energies combine to create this one lunar mansion giving it very diverse and powerful resources which it confidently uses to achieve its goals. 

Dhanishtha is connected to Mars, so it has initiative, confidence, aggression, militant mindset, powerful personality and secrets. Sometimes it does bring catastrophic change causing a complete change in structure and society. A Chara nakshatra, it is suitable for all activities which require adaptive quick changes and fast movement. Its results are not very deep nor very permanent, but they do push towards expansion. It is the several stepping stones to ultimate prosperity.

It is located partly in Capricorn and Aquarius, both ruled by Saturn. So it has the capacity to work, achieve professional success, social mobility and recognition. It desires to use the power of the individual for the establishment of the collective. It creates leaders from the masses who have the vision to structure and regulate the society, expand it and bring it wealth. Or conversely lead the society down the perdition way.

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Now Saturn entering Dhanishtha will primarily cause a general slowing down, a sobering influence, and situations where dedicated work over longer times is necessary. Everyone will be internally alone though outwardly a part of the community. Generally during this time, human activity will be on a high high, people buzzing about doing something or the other, ie laziness and complacency will reduce. There will be a sense of urgency, of movement with several events racing along in quick progression. Undesirable influences will try to vitiate the social fabric and challenge the structure of democratically elected governments. Breakdown of harmony in the society and amicable relationships in personal lives is possible. Resources will diminish or remain unavailable.

Generally fire and wind related activities will increase on all levels. Fire related accidents, road rage, industrial mishaps etc might increase. Possibility of sabotage, civil unrest, armed aggression and military activity remains high at the national/ international levels. Cheating, immoral, unethical and underhanded behaviour can cause trouble. Expect pitta or vata imbalances as per your body’s tri-dosh constitution and diseases of the legs and knees are possible. 

If Saturn is favourable for you as per your individual charts, then you will be able to systematically analyse the situations unfolding around and act decisively. Time will be favourable, you will be able to put your abilities to use, work hard and create wealth slowly but surely. Self discipline and following the ethical path will help realise your long term goals. Short term goals may disappoint, but you will remain patient and broadminded even under trying circumstances. Travelling might increase and profits from foreign lands are possible. The month of Shravan will give some significant gains. 

But if Saturn is unfavourable for you now, then you will be stubborn, tactless, unable to understand the situations, needlessly aggressive, unwise, destructive, crass, worried, depressed, deceptive, argumentative, narrow minded, bad natured etc. Tendency to avoid work or escape responsibilities will cause further complications depending on your planetary positions. Especially advice from others or following others without thinking will cause issues. Breakdown of marital harmony, hurting others and loss of opportunities are common results.

Briefly let’s note its Navamsha or quarter/pad energies. Remember that Saturn will be occupying them in forward, retrograde and again forward motions during this year. If you are using the drikpanchang app, the quarters occupied by the planets are mentioned in it.

  1. Dhanishtha 1st pad is a Leo navamsha – People will suddenly get ambitious and confidently try to break rules. Personal ego will try to dominate public opinion. Disharmony selfishness and aggression will increase. Social structures will be attacked by unfavourable and intolerant mindsets. A negative impact on or caused by the executive wing of the governments. Some areas of the world are restless, inching towards open hostilities, this may be a flash point for some of them.
  2. Dhanishtha 2nd quarter is a Virgo navamsha – Here coordination on several levels will fail. Rules will be challenged. Communication will be hampered. Media will cause problems. Narratives will tailored to try and cause division. Negative impacts on or caused by worker, labour class etc due to lack of understanding or whipping up of passions.
  3. Dhanishtha 3rd quarter is a Libra navamsha – A negative impact on or caused by the law, legal issues and judicial wing of the government. Turbulence will exist but more on the elegant philosophical and pontificating side, less physical.
  4. Dhanishtha 4th pad is a Scorpio navamsha – These times will have the potential to cause explosive aggression and permanent changes on several levels. Again military movements and clashes are possible during this time. A tragedy or deaths of important people in the military or the government is possible.

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This 13 month Saturn’s Dhanishtha transit will also be influenced by other planets transits. Mainly,

  • Jupiter will be sitting in Uttarabhadrapada from 28th Apr 2022 to 24th Feb 2023, for 10 long months at a stretch! This nakshatra is linked to Saturn so his power to give results here in Uttarabhadrapada will be linked to the support he receives from Saturn. Also Jupiter will indirectly enhance Saturn’s agenda, hopefully temper it with his kindness and wisdom. So in your birth horoscope if Jupiter is favourable then this period will be better for you. 
  • Saturn’s activities in Dhanishtha will be aggravated when Mars amplifies them by his simultaneous transits over Dhanishtha and later Mruga. The times when they aspect each other will also be a turbulent time. Mars being connected to Dhanishtha energies means that if he is favourable for your individual chart then you can expect some positivity in some parts of your life.
  • And Rahu will be in Aries soon. Saturn will soon be aspecting him from his position in Aquarius from 29th Apr to 13th Jul. This time’s energy will be a variant of the Shapit dosh so some form of severe destruction or upheaval etc is indicated. (I am anticipating problems triggered by the environment, ie drought or heavy rainfall, flooding and to some extent unexpected earth movements. Keywords of Rahu graha, Mesh rashi, 3rd aspect of Shani, Shani graha and Kumbh rashi. And humankind under the influence of Rahu can always overreach and then fall flat on its face.)

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Specifically for Bharat, this Saturn in Dhanishtha transit is not good.

  • The first phase of Mars in Dhanishtha over Saturn 30th Mar to 16th Apr 2022 will trigger disaster (or a series of turbulent events) which will consume our collective energies till mid Jul.
  • Then Mars will be going retrograde/forward in Taurus in 2022-23 and this will be especially problematic for us as Taurus is the ascendant sign for India. Mars will be in Taurus from 10th Aug – 16th Oct 2022. And again retrograde/forward during 13th Nov to 13th Mar 2023. There will be several potentially explosive events as perpetrator groups and the governments both take confusing about turns.
  • In this, there will be especially harsh results when he transits forward/retrograde/forward over the Murga nakshatra, ie 24th Sept – 24th Dec 2022 and 25th Feb to 27th Mar 2023. There are full chances of a damaging tragedy in this phase.  
  • One can only hope that Jupiter, ie the Guru and the deities who protect Bharat with the wise men, learned elders, advisors etc of this nation will provide the necessary help us to tide over with minimal damage. 

For determining the fate of the nations, draw the ‘birth chart’ of that nation, ie the time/date linked to some significant point in their history where the nation is considered to have formed. These above trigger times are the same for everyone, but they will trigger different things for different nations depending on the positions of the planets.

  • eg Ukraine is in the news these days. Considering the ‘birth’ chart 24 Aug 1991 12am, Kiev, its real trouble will start as soon as Rahu/Ketu shift into Aries/Libra and Jupiter enters Pisces. Saturn is unfavourable both in Capricorn and Aquarius. Turbulent times for the next 1.5yrs at least.

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Now briefly as per the Janma navtara nakshatra chakra,

  • This transit is not favourable for those with birth Moon in Dhanishtha as they will be at the very core of their Sade sati period. Similarly Mruga and Chitra birth Moons will face emotional stresses and physical weakness. It is Janma tara for them. Trigger factors and affected parts of life will be as per the individual charts during this time. (eg Saturn in the 7th house will cause problems with spouse, or even trigger physical death if longevity is at end)
  • Rohini Hasta Shravan – Sampat tara is average to favourable.
  • Krutika, Uttaraphalguni, Uttarashadha – Vipat tara average to unfavourable
  • Bharani, Poorvaphalguni, Poorvashadha – Kshema, average to favourable
  • Ashvini, Magha, Moola – Pratyari so average to unfavourable
  • Revati, Ashleysha, Jeyshtha – Sadhak so average to favourable 
  • Uttarabhadrapada, Pushya, Anuradha – Naidhana but Uttarabhadrapada has Jupiter in it for a significant part of this transit and this set is linked to Saturn himself. So I have put them at average results.
  • Punarvasu, Vishakha, Poorvabhadrapada – Mitra so again average.
  • Aradra, Swati, Shatataraka – Atimitra so average to favourable results are expected. 

Additional points to analyse would be,

  • If you are undergoing a significant Dasha period of Mars or Saturn then the results during this time will be more exaggerated for you.
  • Or if this Saturn in transit is transiting a significant birth position. eg Saturn transiting your ascendant lord, or over your birth Mars, or your birth Saturn etc.

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Finally remedies. Worshipping the Eternal in his Nataraja form, or invoking the Ashta Vasu. Or taking up mantra or giving away Daana for Saturn or Mars. Daana for the planets on the day they transit is especially useful. Pujas for graha shanti for Saturn will also be helpful.

Remedies basically mean that you are strengthening your 1st house by powering on your 9th and 5th houses, harnessing the 9/5 axis. Your purva punya protects your personality and your environment if you perform activities linked to the 9th house. Similarly your mantra shakti feeds energy into yourself if you perform activities of the 5th house. Adding energy to your Dharma trikon, your capacity for weathering events in life increases.

Managing transits through behavioural changes is possible if you are able to understand your chart and what Saturn is upto in your life. If you do regular pujas then you can more easily manage and get through unexpected events in life. Regular routine spiritual practice helps train the Mind. Being in control of the mind lets you take correct decisions and better navigate through life. 

At this juncture, the simplest practice for everyone would be listen/recite the Shiv sutrani, it takes just 15 seconds/day. (Strangely I had the Shivsutrani draft for the past 1yr on my scrivener and randomly posted it 2 weeks ago) Or listen to the listen to the Shiv tandav stotra (Shri Kalicharan Maharaj’s recitation is superlative), Teekshna Danshtra Kaalbhairavashtak or the Shiv Mahimna stotra as per your inclination , even on your way to work is fine, but listen to it daily. Or offer water on the Shivlingam with the ‘Om namah Shivaya’ mantra, or Mahamrutyunjai mantra at least on Mondays, or this can be done daily at home if you have a Shivlingam in your puja ghar. And in this Shravan month, do some puja of the Shivlingam. This can be as detailed as Parthiv-pujas and Rudrabhishekams, or as simple as offering water to a Shiv Lingam, the Bhagwan Nataraj. 

Adopt the Gayatri mantra routine

The Gayatri mantra is an all-round remedy for all issues in life and everyone above 6yrs of age must recite this mantra. It should be a part of everyone’s daily routine. 

Ideal would be to recite the Gayatri mantra mentally 108 times, 3 times a day, ie dawn, midday and dusk, at the three Sandhya times. Simple mental recitation takes 10mins, you can do it wherever you are. But for some reason, if you cannot do 108 repeats, at least recite it 1, 3, 27, 54 times. It is a mantra, but you can even think of it as a prayer to your internal divinity or as a way of invoking your inner light or consider the Devi Gayatri as your mother, or whatever makes sense to you, even a song! but do recite this. It is the only way you can protect your Sva-dharma, your internal foundation, the philosophy you live your life by.

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The Yajnopavit Sanskar is a compulsory rite for Hindus where the person takes a life time Sankalp to perform the Gayatri puja three times a day for a life time. This indicates the essential role of the Gayatri mantra. (These days, very few boys from Brahmin families take up this intention.)

But everyone can do this small self-initiation for the Gayatri. Start on a Sunday. Wake up before sunrise and get ready. Face east, look at the rising Sun, see the power of the Gayatri reflected in his light. Offer him some water, vermillion, flowers etc, request help and support and start your practice with the Gayatri mantra. Put your entire faith/ Shraddha in it and continue this for a lifetime. Recite it yourself and encourage your family members and friends to do so. Everyone who thinks of themselves as a follower of the Sanatan Dharma must do this practice, now more than ever.
The Gayatri is the mother of the Ved, it is the Ved-mata, its the source of all mantra, all power is from it, all intelligence is born of the Gayatri mantra, it is pure consciousness. 
I have written several posts on the Gayatri mantra like,

The Gayatri mantra

Gayatri Mantra, Devi Sarasvati, Raja-gun and Agni

(use the index page or the search bar for more).

(For women, no jaap, pujas etc for at least 5days of the monthly cycle as the body is undergoing controlled destruction post here)

The Gayatri mantra is the Adhar-stambh ie the pillar which supports in every way possible. For every other mantra to be effective the Gayatri mantra has to first give its support. eg if you do some Graha shanti pujas but are not doing Gayatri jaap in your life, the Shanti puja will not give full results. The Gayatri mantra is essential for everything. It is mentioned in the Rg Ved (3.62.10) and it’s Seer is Rishi Vishvamitra. Vishvamitra means, ‘Vishvasya Mitra iti Vishvamitra’. Thus Vishvamitra is the friend of the universe, the Sun of the underlying intelligent consciousness, the Illumination within everyone, the all pervading Consciousness. Thus the Supreme intelligence itself has Seen the Gayatri mantra. Thus the power of this mantra.

I am stressing on the Gayatri as a daily practice for a specific reason. Yesterday I thought of writing a post on the upcoming Rahu’s transit into Krutika nakshatra. I started analysing the transits of the other planets etc during this period and felt worried. I abandoned that post and decided to write this short one instead. Focus on the solution.

In the present context, the supreme importance of the Gayatri mantra is the Rg ved rk 3.53.12 which says this, ‘Vishvamitrasya rakshati brahmaedam bharatam janam’. In simple words, ‘This Highest Consciousness of Vishvamitra, ie the Gayatri mantra, continually protects the people of Bharat’. All people who follow the Sanatan Dharma, wherever they may reside on the earth are the ‘people of Bharat’.

Given the situations which might come in the future, it is imperative that everyone invokes the Gayatri mantra. If each one of us does our individual routine with the Gayatri mantra, the collective will also gain its protection.

Om, Bhuh Bhuvah Swah
Om Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo nah Prachodayat,
Om

ॐ भूः भुवः स्वः ।
ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम ।
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात॥

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Adishankaracharya and Shivah

Adishankaracharya, when he wrote Shivah शिवः in his compositions, he used this to mean the eternal auspicious non-dual Advaita. Eg In the Brahmajnyanavalimala he ends it with ‘Shivosmyaham’ शिवः अस्मि अहं. Or in the Nirvan shatak he ends every verse with ‘Shivoham shivoham’ ‘शिवः अहं शिवः अहं’.

Today is Vaishakh Shukla Panchami, we celebrate Adi Shankarcharya’s birth anniversary today.

Also someone commented that Adishankaracharya wrote on the Advaita yet worshipped the deities by composing beautiful stotras in their honour. Apparently someone thought that the ‘Shiv’ he writes about is the deity Shankar, the embodiment of Tamo-gun (post here).

Adishankarcharya was a Sat-guru. In brief his life story is this. He took Sanyas at the age of 8yrs, then studied under his Sat-Guru at the banks of the Narmada till the age of 12yrs where his Guru said that he was ready, ie Jivan-mukt, the Advaita. He wrote his brilliant compositions, his Bhashya-s, his books on the Advaita, everything on the pure Jnyan till the age of 16yrs, all this in just 4yrs. He wrote about Himself as he was a realised Seer, a Sat-Guru. Then he toured Bharat giving discourses on the Ved (4 Ved-s, Vedanta, Brahmana, Aranyak) set up the 4 Maths in the 4 corners of Bharat, each one dedicated to one of the 4 Ved-s. Not deities, but to the Ved-s. The Ved-s are ‘worshipped’, read, taught and learnt even now in these Maths. He was/ is the highest Parmeshwar himself.

His work is not fully comprehensible to aspirants who are still on the path. Do not assume that he worshipped Shankar or any of the other deities of the Vedic/ Pauranic pantheon. These deities are a part of the manifested creation, ie in the domain of Mahamaya. He was/ is the Advaita, beyond the reach of Mahamaya. Also he wrote in the Devbhasha Samskrutam. So what he wrote and what you understand will be different. He, an Atmajnyani Mahapurush, ie the Advaita itself, and you, a sadhak, an aspirant. When you really understand what he has written, you will also become the Advaita. 

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Shivah शिवः has the following meanings in the Devbhasha Samskrutam, auspicious, bliss, benign, friend, kind, gracious, favourable, etc. And if you had to break down शिवः to get at its root energy it is something like this.

  • The true and pure emotion that you feel for your inner self, when you recognise yourself to be this highest state of consciousness. This constant state of this purity. The transcendence achieved after apparent duality is resolved to be a superficial illusion. The discarding of the illusion of duality so that you dwell in the eternal constant, unchanging, non-dual, unborn state that you really Are.

The Advaita is called ‘Shivah’, ie ‘the highest auspicious’. (In some parts of India, the personification of Tamo-gun is called Shiva which causes confusion. I am from Maharashtra, in Marathi language we refer to this deity generally as Shankar or Mahadev not ‘Shiva’.)

In this context, all of us at our core are Shivah. But we want to play the Game of Creation so we have no awareness of this fact. We have purposely put filters over our perception which do not let us recognise our essential eternal auspiciousness. We conceal our Shivah nature. The energy which animates us all is the same energy which animates the Tri-dev, Brahma-dev/Sarasvati, Vishnu/Laxmi, Shankar/Parvati, Indra, Agni and the other deities of the pantheon, every one of the 33 Koti devata, the Rudra, the Aditya, the Devi Lalita Tripursundari, Mahamaya herself. They too are all Shivah. Everything is Shivah. This essential auspiciousness शिवः is the only thing which really exists, the concepts of you, me, deities, Mahamaya are hollow, superficial, illusory. 

This is the Nirvan Shatak. I will expand the meaning of just the last shlok. 

अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकाररूपो | विभुत्वाच्च सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् | न चासङ्गतं नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः | चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् |

All alternatives, all variations, all options have gone away from my nature. All forms have dropped away, dissolved, vanished into nothingness like mirages dissolve. I exist as the basis of everything. I am the potential of existence. I exist as the covering of everything. I pervade all the organs of action and sense, ie I pervade the tattva-s of creation. I am all that Is. I do not have anything attached to me, nor do I cling to anyone. I am not the concepts of liberation or realisation or enlightenment. I cannot be measured in anyway whatsoever. I am the nature of the blissful intelligence. I am the eternal consciousness. I am the auspicious Advaita. The highest auspicious Advaita Am I.

 

This is the Brahmajnyanavalimala which I have referred to several times. I will expand the meaning of just the last shlok. 

अन्तर्ज्योतिर्बहिर्ज्योतिः प्रत्यग्ज्योतिः परात्परः | ज्योतिर्ज्योतिः स्वयंज्योतिरात्मज्योतिः शिवोऽस्म्यहम्‌ 

I am the light amidst. I shine within. I am the illumination seen in the inner eye. I am the Eye and I am the Light. I am the brightness which shines forth. I am the divinity which is always apart. I am the light of the eternal which illuminates the eternal. I am away from the transient. I am the eternal flash of lighting. I visibly shine with all power. I am the self-evident fire. I am the blazing flame, superior to the best. I am higher than the highest illumination. I am the radiance which gives power to fire. I myself am the celestial brilliance of the self. I am the eternal blazing flame of consciousness. I am the spontaneous light. I am the self-illuminated light. My nature is light. The highest auspicious Am I.

When you recite either of these compositions you are clearly invoking the pure Advaita within. 

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Now a bit on the word ‘Aham’. In grammar, it is the first person singular of ‘asmad’, ‘I’. In Sanskrit it means something like – I, self-radiance, indeed, verily, I grant, it is true, surely, certainly.

‘Aham’ broadly means the sense of the self. What you exactly understand your ‘self’ to mean. Your comprehension of what you are. What you experience your self to be? This is ‘Aham’.

Now at the lower levels of consciousness you understand yourself to be Rajiv, Anita, a boy, a woman, a professional, a home maker, a father, a grandmother, a human, confined in a body, having 5 senses, awake, going to work, sitting down to dinner, being born or dying etc. If you think of yourself as something like this, it is a very very limited sense of self. You are experiencing a very limited fraction of your immense Self. This is the ‘aham’ which represents the root cause of ignorance, the ‘ahamkaar’ which is the root cause of existential sorrow. When you put your ‘aham’ in words like this you are still playing the Game, your personal Lila. 

But in your spiritual path there will come a time when you will think and experience yourself as the geometry represented by the Shri Yantra. You will experience your consciousness as the multidimensional Shri Chakra. You will see yourself at the central Bindu of this geometry. This is the first tangible step where you will know that the ‘aham’ is much much more than these simple words can define. You will now move towards experiences which cannot be described in words. And at one point you will transcend all these experiences too. This is the state where when you say that ‘Chidanandah roopah Shivah Aham’ or ’Shivah Aham asmi’ you will mean it completely. 

“Most assuredly, verily, certainly, truly, radiantly, eternally, blissfully, auspiciously Am I.”

“Unchanging, non-dual, auspiciousness Am I.”

If any of my readers feel this post resonating in your hearts, you are on a very high level of understanding, continue on your path. And even if not, its ok to continue thinking of ‘Shivah’ as Shankar or Vishnu or Brahmadev or your source of faith or whatever generates positive energy in you. Everyone should freely worship the energy they are drawn to. No one can judge you but yourself. You choose for yourself. No one can force you. Only you are aware of what you experience.

But this is not what Adishankaracharya intended when he wrote these lines. When he talks about Shivah शिवः he talks about the Advaita. Listen to his these compositions and with the Light of the Advaita, when the time comes, you too will experience what शिवः indicates towards.

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Shivosmyaham