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Janmastami 
Janmastami is one of the most auspicious Hindu festivals observed all over the country. It commemorates the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki. 
The most important items in the worship of Krishna on his day of incarnation are fasting, worship, keeping awake in the night, and listening to chanting hymns of praise and legends relating to the pastimes of Krishna. 
Krishna is invoked in an image. The ceremonies of the birth rites are performed symbolically. After offering prayer, night-long vigil is kept; the devotees listen to hymns glorifying Vishnu and Krishna. The next day, after the morning ablutions, the image of Krishna is worshiped and a feast is held.
- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Janmastami 

Janmastami is one of the most auspicious Hindu festivals observed all over the country. It commemorates the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki. 

The most important items in the worship of Krishna on his day of incarnation are fasting, worship, keeping awake in the night, and listening to chanting hymns of praise and legends relating to the pastimes of Krishna. 

Krishna is invoked in an image. The ceremonies of the birth rites are performed symbolically. After offering prayer, night-long vigil is kept; the devotees listen to hymns glorifying Vishnu and Krishna. The next day, after the morning ablutions, the image of Krishna is worshiped and a feast is held.

- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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marketingguymarcel:

Happy Independence Day, India! 

marketingguymarcel:

Happy Independence Day, India! 

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In honor of Varalakshmi Pooja/Puja, here is a little tidbit about Lakshmi from the Encyclopedia of Hinduism: 

In the mythological story of the churning of the ocean by the gods and the demons to obtain nectar, Lakshmi came out from the ocean and was accepted by Lord Vishnu as His consort. Lakshmi represents money, wealth, gold, silver, turmeric, vermilion, and other auspicious objects. 

The business community performs her worship (puja) with reverence by decorating the premises with colorful buntings. The puja or arcana may take the form of a yantra (talisman), homa (sacrifice), or avahana/abhiseka (sacred bath). Lakshmi Puja is also conducted for general public welfare. Garlands of jasmine flowers, golden colored cloth, betel and nuts, kumkuma, and lotus flowers are considered dear to Goddess Lakshmi

In honor of Varalakshmi Pooja/Puja, here is a little tidbit about Lakshmi from the Encyclopedia of Hinduism: 

In the mythological story of the churning of the ocean by the gods and the demons to obtain nectar, Lakshmi came out from the ocean and was accepted by Lord Vishnu as His consort. Lakshmi represents money, wealth, gold, silver, turmeric, vermilion, and other auspicious objects. 

The business community performs her worship (puja) with reverence by decorating the premises with colorful buntings. The puja or arcana may take the form of a yantra (talisman), homa (sacrifice), or avahana/abhiseka (sacred bath). Lakshmi Puja is also conducted for general public welfare. Garlands of jasmine flowers, golden colored cloth, betel and nuts, kumkuma, and lotus flowers are considered dear to Goddess Lakshmi

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Nagapancami / Nag Panchami
A festival dedicated to serpents, considered sacred in Hinduism.
According to a legend in the Bhavisya Purana, Kadru, the mother of serpents, had a wager with her sister Vinata about the color of the tail of Uccasrava, the horse of Indra, Lord of Heaven. Kadru asserted that though the horse was white, the tail was black. Vinata claimed that the body and tail were both white. When the serpents refused Kadru’s orders to make the tail appear black so she would win the bet, Kadru cursed them and decreed that they would be offered in fire in the serpent-yajna to be performed by King Janamejaya. However, the serpents were saved by the sage Astika. To commemorate this event and out of compassion for the innocent serpents, the Nag Panchami festival is observed by Hindus.

Golden, silver, or clay images of serpents are made and worshiped with flowers and incense. The images are bathed in milk. It is believed that in return, the serpents will ensure that the worshipers are immune from death due to snake bites. In Kerala, serpent worship is common. The temple at Mannarsala in the Kottayam district is particularly noted for the special worship of snakes.

Nagapancami / Nag Panchami

A festival dedicated to serpents, considered sacred in Hinduism.

According to a legend in the Bhavisya Purana, Kadru, the mother of serpents, had a wager with her sister Vinata about the color of the tail of Uccasrava, the horse of Indra, Lord of Heaven. Kadru asserted that though the horse was white, the tail was black. Vinata claimed that the body and tail were both white. When the serpents refused Kadru’s orders to make the tail appear black so she would win the bet, Kadru cursed them and decreed that they would be offered in fire in the serpent-yajna to be performed by King Janamejaya. However, the serpents were saved by the sage Astika. To commemorate this event and out of compassion for the innocent serpents, the Nag Panchami festival is observed by Hindus.

Golden, silver, or clay images of serpents are made and worshiped with flowers and incense. The images are bathed in milk. It is believed that in return, the serpents will ensure that the worshipers are immune from death due to snake bites. In Kerala, serpent worship is common. The temple at Mannarsala in the Kottayam district is particularly noted for the special worship of snakes.

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Teej
Only three teej days are considered auspicious in the annual cycle of tithi-s (360 dates). On aksaya trtiya (akha teej), mass marriage ceremonies are held, whereas the other two teej are observed with day-long fasting and worship of the Goddess Parvati.
Sravani Teej is the most joyful and auspicious day, due to its festive nature. This tithi (date) comes in the midst of the rainy season. Women observe fast, bedeck themselves in colorful dresses and ornaments, enjoy jhula-s (swings), decorate their palms with mehendi, and sing folk songs with gaiety. 
In Gujarat, married women observe a fast called Madhusrava vrata, while in southern India, Svarna Gauri vrata marks the occasion. It is believed, according to Bhavisya Purana, that this day is sukrta trtiya and by observing a vrata (vow), the married women are blessed with good luck, prosperity, happiness, and fulfillment of all desires.
In Jaipur, a royal procession of Teej Mata becomes the attraction of thousands of spectators on this day. Teej Mata is supposed to be the prototype of the Goddess Parvati, who, by performing hard penance, won the love and hand of Shiva on this very day. The procession reminds of her victorious return to the royal palace of her father and her marriage to her fiance.- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Teej

Only three teej days are considered auspicious in the annual cycle of tithi-s (360 dates). On aksaya trtiya (akha teej), mass marriage ceremonies are held, whereas the other two teej are observed with day-long fasting and worship of the Goddess Parvati.

Sravani Teej is the most joyful and auspicious day, due to its festive nature. This tithi (date) comes in the midst of the rainy season. Women observe fast, bedeck themselves in colorful dresses and ornaments, enjoy jhula-s (swings), decorate their palms with mehendi, and sing folk songs with gaiety. 

In Gujarat, married women observe a fast called Madhusrava vrata, while in southern India, Svarna Gauri vrata marks the occasion. It is believed, according to Bhavisya Purana, that this day is sukrta trtiya and by observing a vrata (vow), the married women are blessed with good luck, prosperity, happiness, and fulfillment of all desires.

In Jaipur, a royal procession of Teej Mata becomes the attraction of thousands of spectators on this day. Teej Mata is supposed to be the prototype of the Goddess Parvati, who, by performing hard penance, won the love and hand of Shiva on this very day. The procession reminds of her victorious return to the royal palace of her father and her marriage to her fiance.

- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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Vaikuntha, spiritual heaven. (an artistic depiction of Vaikuntha)

Vaikuntha is said to be inhabited by selves that have transcended all births and is constituted of satvam (pure goodness). It is self-luminous. It is variously described as “of golden hue and beyond the darkness of ignorance”, "the supreme abode of Vishnu", and "of the eternal, in the upper world". In this celestial temple, Vishnu as Narayana dwells with his consort.



 




Legend has it that there exists a magnificent, golden temple twelve stories high, resplendent as a thousand suns. Its halls and pillars are ornamented with precious stones. It is decorated with a hundred thousand golden lotuses, through which flow the nectar-filled waters of a hundred thousand rivers. The temple is inhabited by the eternal gods, seers, and by common people.
Once the liberated self has traveled through the path of light and has attained residence in Vaikuntha, there is no return to the mortal world, which means that there would be no more transmigratory existence. This is explained by a Brahmasutra aphorism: “There is no return, there is no return”.
The concept of a heaven called Vaikuntha is not accepted by all Indian philosophical systems. It is looked upon as purely imaginary by some. 
- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Vaikuntha, spiritual heaven. 
(an artistic depiction of Vaikuntha)

Vaikuntha is said to be inhabited by selves that have transcended all births and is constituted of satvam (pure goodness). It is self-luminous. It is variously described as “of golden hue and beyond the darkness of ignorance”, "the supreme abode of Vishnu", and "of the eternal, in the upper world". In this celestial temple, Vishnu as Narayana dwells with his consort.

Legend has it that there exists a magnificent, golden temple twelve stories high, resplendent as a thousand suns. Its halls and pillars are ornamented with precious stones. It is decorated with a hundred thousand golden lotuses, through which flow the nectar-filled waters of a hundred thousand rivers. The temple is inhabited by the eternal gods, seers, and by common people.

Once the liberated self has traveled through the path of light and has attained residence in Vaikuntha, there is no return to the mortal world, which means that there would be no more transmigratory existence. This is explained by a Brahmasutra aphorism: “There is no return, there is no return”.

The concept of a heaven called Vaikuntha is not accepted by all Indian philosophical systems. It is looked upon as purely imaginary by some. 

- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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hinducosmos:

Murudweswar Shiva Statue Uttara Kannada District, karnataka, India (via wikipedia)

hinducosmos:

Murudweswar Shiva Statue
Uttara Kannada District, karnataka, India
(via wikipedia)

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khwaabon:

10 iconic quotes about India that will fill you with pride (x)

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Upasanaintense meditation.
Upasana is formed of the word 'asana' (sit) with the preposition 'upa' (near). The word, as a whole, signifies a spiritual act performed in prayerful proximity to God. It serves as a vehicle for an aspirant to climb up the spiritual ladder. In a way, it represents a mental attitude (bhava) which takes the aspirant towards self-realization.

Upasana is meant for obtaining freedom from ignorance and delusion, and is regarded as one of the means of purging oneself of the papa-s which might have been committed, independently or otherwise. The more one thinks of God, the more God-like one can hope to become. Very similarly, the more one thinks of worldly objects, the more worldly one would become. Upasana is the union of the spiritual aspirant (upasaka) with the one meditated upon.

In the main, upasana is of five kinds, and these are Vaisnava, Sakta, Saiva, Saura, and Ganapatya. They are of either a divya (divine), vira (courageous), or pasu (lower) nature. It is further classified as sattvika (pious), rajasika (active), and tamasika (ignorant), depending upon the aspirant’s inclination towards renunciation, towards personal enjoyment and happiness, or towards hurting others. 
- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Upasana
intense meditation.

Upasana is formed of the word 'asana' (sit) with the preposition 'upa' (near). The word, as a whole, signifies a spiritual act performed in prayerful proximity to God. It serves as a vehicle for an aspirant to climb up the spiritual ladder. In a way, it represents a mental attitude (bhava) which takes the aspirant towards self-realization.

Upasana is meant for obtaining freedom from ignorance and delusion, and is regarded as one of the means of purging oneself of the papa-s which might have been committed, independently or otherwise. The more one thinks of God, the more God-like one can hope to become. Very similarly, the more one thinks of worldly objects, the more worldly one would become. Upasana is the union of the spiritual aspirant (upasaka) with the one meditated upon.

In the main, upasana is of five kinds, and these are Vaisnava, Sakta, Saiva, Saura, and Ganapatya. They are of either a divya (divine), vira (courageous), or pasu (lower) nature. It is further classified as sattvika (pious), rajasika (active), and tamasika (ignorant), depending upon the aspirant’s inclination towards renunciation, towards personal enjoyment and happiness, or towards hurting others. 

- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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Guru Purnima | Acharya | Ashadh Purnima 
This Saturday is Guru Purnima, a festival dedicated to spiritual and academic teachers. Throughout India, disciples will spend the day honoring the Guru. Today is the perfect day to reflect on your teachers and how they have helped you. 

"Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devo Maheshwara, Guru Sakshat Parabrahmah Tasmai Shree Guru Veh Namah."

"Guru, a Sanskrit word, stands for a saintly, venerable person who is a preceptor. Literally, the term 'guru' means ‘big’, ‘weighty’. The guru, therefore, is one who is great. According to another etymology, guru is one who removes the darkness of ignorance (‘gu’ means darkness and 'ru' means anything that banishes)….The guru tradition is an outstanding characteristic of Indian spiritual life and religious history….The first born enlightened knowers of the Self were the mind-born sons of Brahma, the creator God….Then came the first group of Vedic sages, the first patriarchs of the human race, seven in number. These seven great sages, known as saptarsi, were born out of Brahmadeva’s mind.”- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Guru Purnima | Acharya | Ashadh Purnima 

This Saturday is Guru Purnima, a festival dedicated to spiritual and academic teachers. Throughout India, disciples will spend the day honoring the Guru. Today is the perfect day to reflect on your teachers and how they have helped you. 

"Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devo Maheshwara, Guru Sakshat Parabrahmah Tasmai Shree Guru Veh Namah."

"Guru, a Sanskrit word, stands for a saintly, venerable person who is a preceptor. Literally, the term 'guru' means ‘big’, ‘weighty’. The guru, therefore, is one who is great. According to another etymology, guru is one who removes the darkness of ignorance (‘gu’ means darkness and 'ru' means anything that banishes)….The guru tradition is an outstanding characteristic of Indian spiritual life and religious history….The first born enlightened knowers of the Self were the mind-born sons of Brahma, the creator God….Then came the first group of Vedic sages, the first patriarchs of the human race, seven in number. These seven great sages, known as saptarsi, were born out of Brahmadeva’s mind.”
- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism