Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sadhana : The Right Way

Every Sadhak tries his best to accomplish daily worship and use special Mantra rituals. But every Sadhana has a particular procedure and every deity or the Guru is worshipped in a particular manner. Presenting some important rules is this wonderfully enlightening article.

In every Sadhana, Upchaar or special worship of deity has an important place. Upchaar eans devotedly making some offerings to deity in order to win his or her grace.

There is no fixed rule for Upchaar but including this worship procedure in Sadhana assures quicker success. There are different types of Upchaars ranging from Ekopchaar to Sahastropachar. Our article shall focus only on Shodashopchaar, Dashopchaar and Panchopchaar forms of worship in which 16,10 and 5 articles are offered respectively. In each age, forms of worship have been different but in the present age of hustle and bustle performing a Sadhana itself is a great fortunate achievement and the shorter the procedure the better.

It is best to do Shodashopchaar worship in which 16 articles are offered but in daily Sadhana Panchopchaar worship would suffice and in it five articles namely fragrance, flowers, incense, ghee lamp and sweets are offered.

This includes 1. Aavaahan 2. Aasan 3. Paadya 4. Arghya 5. Aachamaniya 6. Snaan 7. Vastra 8. Madhupark 9. Tilak 10. Akshat 11. Pushp 12. Dhoop 13. Deep 14. Neivedya 15. Taambool 16. Naariyal

Many do not count this in the procedure and instead just offer prayers to the deity. It means inviting the deity concerned to come and bless Sadhak. For this hands are joined and the following Mantra is chanted.

Aavaahayaami Devesh Sarvashakti Shakti Samanvite, Naaraaynnaay Bhadraay Gururoopaayate Namah. Guru Brhama Gur Vishnuh Gurudevo Maheshwarah. Guru Saakshaat Parabrahma Tasmei Shree Gurave Naah.

A worship mat is used in order to ake the physical body free of ailments, the soul pure and gain divine powers. Basically a mat acts as a bad conductor and does not allow energy of Mantra chanting fro being earthed. Torn, burnt and used mats are prohibited. Deer skin, tiger skin, grass, silk, cotton and wood mats are best. Deer skin for gain of knowldge, tiger skin for spiritual progress and wealth and wool for riddance from sorrows and poverty are prescribed. Deities are offered a mat of flowers and then the following Mantra is chanted.

Ramyam Shubhanam Divyam Sarva Soukhakaram Shubham. Aasanam Cha Mayaa Grihaann Parameshwar.

Offering water in the feet of deity is called Paadya. For this two spoonfuls of water is offered chanting thus.

Yad Bhakti Lesh Samparkat Paramaanand Sambhavah, Tasmei Te Parameshaan Paadya Shuddhaay Kalpaye Arghya

Water offered to deities for washing their hands is called Arghya. Mix flowers and fragrance in water in a tumbler. Offer chanting thus.

Arghyam Grihaann Devesh Gandh Pushpaakshateih Sah. Karunnaam Kuru Me Dev! Grihaannarghya Namastu Te.

Water offered to deity for rinsing the mouth is called Aachamaniya. Offer water chanting -

Sarva Teerth Samaaneetaam Sugandhim Nirmalam Jalam. Aachamyataam Mayaadattam Grihaann Parameshwar.

All  deities are present in the ocean of knowledge, still three spoonfuls of water is offered as mark of respect for a bath.

Gangaa Saraswatee Revaa Payoshanni Narmadaajaleih. Snaapitosi Mayaa Dev Tathaa Shaantim Kurushnna Me

Clean & new clothes are offered. Offering old, torn clothes leads to losses. Mouli (holy red thread) can be offered instead chanting thus.

Sarva Bhooshaadi Ke Soumye Lok Lajjaanivaaranne. Mayopapaadite Tubhyam Grihaan. Parameshwar.

For riddance from sins, afflictions and misfortune a mark is made on the forehead of the deity. Sandalwood paste is best otherwise Ashtagandh, Gorochan, samphor, saffron and musk can also be used. Mantra -

Shree Khaad Chandanam Divyam Gandhaaddyam Sumanoharam. Vilepanam Sursheshtth Chadanam Pratigrihyaataam.

Akshat means unbroken rice grains which are offered to gain wealth and prosperity. Mix with vermilion and offer them chanting thus.

Akshataashcha Surshreshtth Kumkumaaktaah Sushobhitaah. Maayaa Niveditaa Bhaktyaa Grihaann Parameshwar.

Offer flowers to the deity for comforts, good luck and health chanting thus

Maalyaadeeni Sugandheeni Maalatyaadeeni Veiprabho. Mayopaneetaani Pushpaanni Grihaann Paraeshwar.

Offer incense made from choicest and most fragrant herbs to the deity chanting thus.

Vaaspati Rasobhootah Gandhaadyah Sumanoharah. Aaghreyah Sarvasevaanaam Dhoopoyam Pratigrihayataam.

Lighting a lamp before a deity signifies dispelling of darkness of ignorance from the Sadhak's life. Mantra-

Suprakaasho Mahaadeepah Sarvatah Timiraapahaah. Sa Baahyaamyaram Jyotih Deepoyam Pratigrihyataam.

Neivedya means elixir. While offering sweets or food articles chant thus.

Neivedyam Grihyataam Dev Bhaktim Me Hychalaam Kuru. Eepsitam Me Varam Dehi, Sarvasoubhaagya Kaarakam.

Offer a betel nut containing betel nuts, cloves and cardamom. A betel leaf is symbolic of the six-teen Kalas or divine virtues. Mantra-

Poongifalam Mahad Divyam Naagvalee-rdaleirutam. Elaadi Choornna Sanyuktam Taamboolam Pratigrihyataam.

Neeranjan Aarati
Sing the Aarti (special hymn) of the diety whom you are worshipping. For Aarti use a lamp with one or five wicks. Mantra

Aanand Mantra Makaraandam Anant Gandh Yogineedndraa Susthir Malindam Apaastabandham Vedaant Karannek Vikaash-sheelam Naaraaynnasya Charannambuj.

With this the worship is over. If one is not able to do Shodashopchaar worship one should do Panchopachaar worship while chanting the Mantra with full devotion.

One should daily offer prayers to one's deity and Guru.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Faith & God

An atheist Professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, The Almighty.
He asks one of his new Students to stand and.....

Prof: So you believe in God?
Student: Absolutely, sir.

Prof : Is God good?
Student: Sure.

Prof: Is God all-powerful?
Student : Yes.

Prof: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't. How is this God good then? Hmm? (Student is silent.)

Prof: You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?
Student: Yes.

Prof: Is Satan good?
Student : No.

Prof: Where does Satan come from?
Student: From...God....

Prof: That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Student: Yes.

Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct?
Student: Yes.

Prof: So who created evil?
(Student does not answer.)

Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?
Student: Yes, sir.

Prof: So, who created them?
(Student has no answer.)
Prof: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you.
Tell me, son...Have you ever seen God?
Student: No, sir.

Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?
Student: No, sir.

Prof: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student: No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.

Prof: Yet you still believe in Him?
Student: Yes.

Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn't exist.
What do you say to that, son?
Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Prof: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.

Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
Prof: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold?
Prof: Yes.

Student: No sir. There isn't.
(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)
Student : Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. 
But we don't have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that.
There is no such thing as cold . Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat . We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy . Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it . (There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?

Student : You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright
light, flashing light....But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? In reality, darkness isn't. If it were you would be able to make
darkness darker, wouldn't you?
Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one.To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it.
Now tell me, Professor. Do you teach your Students that they evolved from a monkey?

Prof: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.
Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?
(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher? (The class is in uproar.)

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?
(The class breaks out into laughter.)
Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir.
With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?
(The room is silent. The Professor stares at the Student, his face unfathomable.)

Prof: I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.
Student: That is it sir.... The link between man & god is FAITH . That is all that keeps things moving & alive.