Four years on…

Well, I’m back. It’s been 4 years since I’ve posted. Life caught up with me and turned me one direction and I guess now it has turned me back.

In a few months my family are facing homelessness due to eviction. I have 3 school age kids so understandably this has been very traumatic.  My wife started a crowdfunding campaign to help get us back on track .

I have turned to Bhagvan at this time to help and am praying on a daily basis. I’m actually getting much strength from the daily ritual, the smell of the incense and intense prayer. I have faith that a solution will be found. This overwhelming faith and belief in the Law of attraction I know will deliver solutions. For the sake of my children I pray it is so.

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Nepal Earthquake Donations, local help numbers etc

I was shocked to read when I woke up that a 7.9 earthquake had hit Nepal. It had at the time already taken the lives of over 700 people. (Now 1400 @ 1pm est)

photos via zeenews and others

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I pray for the people of Nepal especially those who have lost a loved one or has missing relatives. This saddens me as a human, a Hindu, and a Mountaineer.

I cannot do much to help but I can at least share links to the credible relief agencies that are taking donations. I will also try to share as much info as possible. I will put this out unfinished , and updated frequently, to be as effective as possible

LOCAL (Nepal) phone numbers

Police emergency number: 4228435/4226853

Metropolitan police range (Kathmandu): +977 4261945/ +977 4261790

Metropolitan police range (Lalitpur): +977 5521207

Metropolitan police range (Bhaktapur): +977 6614821

Red cross ambulance service: +977 4228094

India

24 hour Control Room for queries regarding tragedy. Ministry of External Affairs India
+91 11 2301 2113
+91 11 2301 4104
+91 11 2301 7905

 

Missing People

Find missing family members using Google Person Finder Service specifically for the disaster

 

Donations

I will post the most effective,  genuine links only, so there may only be a few

Oxfam– read Oxfam’s response including actions they are taking, includes link to donate

Save the children

Red Cross Nepal relief fund

Unicef

A lot of people seem to also be suggesting the Prime Minister of India’s National Disaster Relief Fund . This one is confusing me at the moment. Obviously they have sent a huge amount of aid very quickly, but the wording of the conditions on the page is confusing. If I see the Indian Government are suggesting it I will post it up. If you have any info please let me know > @fuegopazzo

 

 

 

Much more to follow. Pls comment via @fuegopazzo for speed

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Hanuman Chalisa vids

Check out the new additions of Hanuman Chalisa videos on the Videos page

both have the words and one is useful for learning the words as it is very slow

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Hindu Prayer Book

Namaste, I just came across this prayer book and thought it might help a few of my readers. I know it’ll help me🙂

 

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Hindu scriptures

Scriptures

 

 
The Vedas are the HolyScriptures of Hinduism. Literally Veda means knowledge or wisdom.Because the Rishis or sages had the Vedas channelled to them whilst in deep meditative states, they have been described as apaurusheya, i.e., not created by any human agency.

These Vedas are four: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. Out of these the Rigveda is the most ancient work at approximately 8000 years old.

The Rigveda is primarily a collection of 1017 prayer hymns to many forms of God. The Samaveda has set to music a selected number of hymns from the Rigveda. Incidentally, Hindu classical music originates from the Samaveda. The Yajurveda deals mainly with sacrificial rites and rituals. The Atharvaveda is mostly a compendium of ethical principles and also some branches of science like Ayurveda. The Atharvaveda also has hymns for controlling the weather, subduing enemies and curing diseases.

Traditionally, each of the four Vedas has been divided into four parts: Mantra or Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad. The Samhitas are collections of prayers addressed to various Vedic deities like Indra, Varuna, and Vishnu. The Brahmanas describe how Vedic rituals should be performed. The Aranyakas describe various meditations based on the sacrificial rites. The Upanishads are philosophical prose dealing with such topics as the Truth behind the universe, the true nature of human beings, the goal of life and the means of achieving it. There are 108 parts to the Upanishads.

 

The Mahabharata concerns an epic war fought at Kuruksetra. The Good guys are the Pandavas and the bad guys the Kauravas. The war pits family members against other family members. As the battle is about to begin so begins a portion of the book called the Bhagavad-Gita (Geeta).

 

The Bhagavad-Gita or ‘song of God’ is about a conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. It consists of 18 chapters. It is the most popular Hindu religious scripture. It is often memorised word for word. It begins with Arjuna’s confusion and doubt about the upcoming battle. Lord Krishna assures Arjuna that the battle is not one family member against another but a fight of good against evil and that he should fight because it is the right thing to do. During Arjuna’s lengthy conversation with Krishna he realises that he is speaking to God and asks that he reveal himself as God. Lord Krishna does so and Arjuna sees within Krishna the lives of all living things simultaneously. Understandably his senses are overwhelmed and Lord Krishna again takes on human form. Lord Krishna asks Arjuna to surrender himself to him in return for Lord Krishna’s protection and love. Oh, and the good guys win, obviously.

 

 

The Ramayana is a Hindu epic of biblical length. It tells of Lord Rama and his Family in South India It includes the famous story of Lord Rama’s rescue mission for his wife Sita after the demon king Ravanna kidnapped her.

 

The 19 major Puranas detail the major Hindu gods and their worldly activities. They are sometimes known as the 5th Veda, and whilst the 1st four Vedas were reserved for certain castes the Puranas were for everyone. Amongst the information contained within the Puranas are such concepts as the formation of the universe, the multibillion year creation- destruction cycles, the kinds of humans on earth and the important Hindu rulers through history. The Puranas are often revised but the oldest ones predate the Vedas. The Puranas also tell us that we humans are descendants of Manu, a survivor of the great flood (yes Hinduism has a great flood story too!). From Manu we get the words Man, Mankind, and manners.

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Stages of hindu life

STAGES OF HINDU LIFE

In Vedic times, the span of a normal human life was averaged to be eighty-four years, with four sections of twenty-one years each. The first twenty-one years is known as the “Brahmacharya ashram”, the stage of youth or learning, which requires a certain discipline, guidance and purity to gain the knowledge required.
The second twenty-one years, from ages twenty-one to forty-two, is called the “Grihastha ashram” or householder phase. This is the main time for having children and raising a family, working, and paying our obligations to society.

The third section of twenty-one years, from ages forty-two to sixty-three is the “Vanaprastha” or the hermitage phase. This is a time for return to studying scriptures, meditation and contemplation.
The fourth and last section from sixty-three to eighty-four is the “Sannyasa” or renunciation phase. The person, now an elder full of wisdom, inwardly aims to renounce all the material goals of life. The person spends all their time with spiritual pursuits. In times gone by and sometimes now as well a person would become a wandering mendicant begging for food with few belongings, all family ties gone and only God left to seek.

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Forms of worship

Forms of Worship

Hindu ritual is divided into three types: (1) daily rituals called nitya; (2) specific rituals, called naimittika; and (3) personal rituals, called kamya.

These three religious activities, nitya, naimittika, and kamya, are accomplished through three types of ritual. These rituals are yajna, (involving a sacrificial fire); puja (devotional offerings, usually flowers); and dhyana (meditation). Yajnas are performed on major occasions, such as marriage and housewarming, when sacred substances are offered into the sacrificial fire. Puja may be performed publicly or privately. Public puja, usually performed in a temple, consists of anointing a statue of a deity and offering flowers, incense, and carefully prepared food to the deity (This is usually done by a priest). Chanting and devotional singing follow, accompanied by the waving of a small, camphor-burning lamp that illuminates the image of the deity (Arati/aarti). Most ceremonies have opportunities for meditation.

Daily Worship

Daily worship can take place in one of three different places: in the home, in a temple, or at an open-air shrine.

Home worship

Many Hindus worship daily the their personal deity. This personal deity is called the ishta-devata. Household puja usually consists of:

Avahana – invoking the presence of God in the image or symbol

Asana – offering a seat to God

Padya and Arghya – giving water for washing feet and hands to God

Snana or Abhisheka – ceremonial bath (of God)

Vastra – offering Clothes (to God)

Candana – smearing sandal paste and other unguents

Pushpa – offering of flowers and garlands

Dhupa – burning incense

Dipa – waving of lamp

Naivedya – food offering (to God)

Visarjana – bidding goodbye

In the temples, the Abhisheka (bathing) of the image and its decoration are done more elaborately.

Temple/shrine worship

A nearby temple to a god or goddess is usually the focus of regular puja (i.e., worship). Basic rituals performed daily at most Hindu temples include prayers to rouse the deity from sleep at dawn, bathing and dressing the deity, making the deity available for worship and offerings by visitors at midday, and singing prayers to the deity to lull the deity to sleep at dusk. These rituals show the love of and devotion of Hindus to God. Once the god has taken his part of the offerings, the devotee may share in some of the now-blessed food (called Prasad). While some of this may seem odd to Western sensibilities, these actions help the worshippers view the divine being as immediately present.. The statue/object contains, due to its installation rituals, a portion of Gods energy. The worshipper may also say mantras, or listen to the priests chant, sing, or read from the sacred texts. The most important aspect of visiting a temple is to be seen by God and to see God, this connection is called Darshan. ( I like to equate the representation of God to a means of communication (maybe a videophone) whereby a devotee can see god and be seen by him) The rituals worshippers go through are very varied as you may see. During the God or Goddess’ festival, the statue may be paraded through the streets.

Rituals performed at temples, like household rituals, can be divided into those that take place daily, nitya; those performed on specific occasions, naimittika; and those performed voluntarily, kamya. Hindu temples are dedicated to a deity or several deities who are believed to preside over the temple. Hindus visit temples to worship the temple deity or to worship another deity of their choosing by means of these three types of rituals. Kamya puja is typically performed at temples to gain a specific end. A visitor to a temple might request the performance of puja, or daily prayers, at the temple and make a donation for that purpose.

Shrines to Hindu gods and goddesses, both major and minor, stand on roadsides in the country and on the streets in cities in India. During the day, as people pass by, they may stop, say a short prayer or mantra, and perhaps leave a small offering.

Types of Poojas and Yagnyas(Homa/Hovan)

Yagnas/yagnyas/yagyas

The simplest form of yajna is the domestic ritual performed by the householder who would offer simple oblation into the sacred fire lit in his house. A more complicated version involves setting up of three to five fires and pouring of offerings into them such as food grains, ghee or butter, and other vegetable substances by chosen and qualified priests, chanting mantras simultaneously, invoking various gods especially Agni, Indra, Varuna etc.

Some yagnas are performed on large scale for the general welfare of the entire community, to increase fertility of soil, to invite rains, to welcome peace and wealth etc. Depending upon the degree of complexity, these yagnas may last from a few hours to several days. The number of priests participating and conducting the ceremony would depend upon the nature and objective for which it is performed.

Yajna is a vedic sacrifice which has an outer aspect and an inner aspect. To the vedic priests, yajna was the means to invoke gods and seek their blessings and favors. They used to perform these yagnas for various purposes and at various times during the year, at the time of sowing, at the time of harvest, at the time of initiating some important social event or before going to wars. One very popular yajna of those days was the Asvamedha Yajna, or the Horse Sacrifice which used to be performed by powerful kings to show their Valor and the extent of their influence. This yajna is now almost extinct in practice.

The outer aspect of yajna consists of building an altar, generally with bricks, kindling fire using specific types of grass and wood and then pouring into it oblations such as ghee or clarified butter, food grains, sesame seeds, and water to the accompaniment of chanting of sacred verses from the Vedas.

The inner or hidden aspect of Yajna is known to those who are familiar with the Vedic rituals. The yajna is the means of worshipping the highest God or ones own inner self.

It is a fact that the incidence of performing the yagnas and other forms of sacrifices is slowly coming down in modern Hindu Society, primarily because of the influence of western education, the complexity involved in performing them and the decreasing number of priests who are well versed in the art of performing yajna according to the Vedic injunctions.

Types of Homa / Havan

  1. Sri Maha Mritunjaya Homa: This Homa can be performed to overcome illnesses.
  2. Sri Suktam Homa: This Homa is performed to overcome any financial hardships or improve job prospects.
  3. Nava Graha Homa: This Homa is performed to appease any planets that are giving you malefic influences.
  4. Rurda Homa: This Homa is performed to appease Lord Siva.
  5. Ayushaman Homa: This Homa is performed to overcome illnesses and improvements in health from surgery, accidents. It helps in improving the longevity as well as the quality of health in general.
  6. Chandi Homa: This Homa is performed to appease Divine Mother Durga by chanting the 800 Slokas of Sri Chandi Saptasati.
  7. Ganapati Homa: This Homa is performed to remove any obstacles in your life, and it helps students in their studies for better grades.

Homa rituals have been performed by Vedic priests for several millennia. The following is an illustrative list of a few such homa rituals:

Ceremony   Purpose
Aayushya homa   for longevity; often held to celebrate an anniversary
Dhanavantri homa   for good health
Durga homa   to cancel negative energies; for self-confidence
Gayatri homa   to facilitate good karma
Kritya Pariharana   to counter the effects of black magic
Ganapathi homa   to overcome obstacles
LakshmiKubera homa   for wealth and material prosperity
Mangala Samskarana homa   to celebrate auspicious events; to attain Moksha
Mahadevi homa   for the stimulation of a marriage and for marital felicity among those already married
Navagraha homa   to negate limitations in one’s horoscope
Punyahavachana homa   for the naming of a child
Sudarshana homa   for success in an undertaking
Vastu homa   a house-warming; to encourage good Vastu (energy in buildings)
Vidya homa   to benefit students; to facilitate learning
Vishwa Shanthi homa   for universal peace and harmony, as also harmony between the self and the universe
Viraja Homa   purification rites performed as part of the formal ceremonies by which a person takes the vows of renunciation (Sannyas), thereby becoming a Sanyasin (monk)

Sata Chandi Yagnya- 41 days

This Yagnya is offered for Mother divine for bringing prosperity and removing negative energy in house, workplace and physical health terms.

Other Poojas

Manya Pashupatam- This pooja is conducted specifically for removal of enemies, legal problem solutions, professional jealousy and other real world problems that we face in today’s competitive world.

Ganesh Pooja

Pooja performed before any pooja to remove obstacles by praying Lord Ganesh.

Satyanarayana Katha

Pooja performed to get all the benefits and the pleasures of this world and Moksha by praying to Lord SatyaNarayana.

Devi Durga Pooja

Durga Pooja is performed in the month of Ashwin (September / October). Nine

nights are spent in worship and the tenth day is devoted to goddess Durga.

Vastu Pooja (Matsya Yantra Yagya)

The purpose of this pooja is to correct, once and for all, all defects in Vastu that may exist in a building.

Shri Vidya Pooja

Improvement in all areas of life, especially finances and clarity of mind.

Nava Graha Shanti

All nine planets are propitiated for one year by chanting of 120,000 planetary mantras on your

name

Dhanalakshmi Pooja

Lord Ganesh and Lakshmi are invoked for financial improvement.

Naraghosha Abhishekam

This is done to ward off enemies.

Chandi Havan

This powerful fire sacrifice is done to a fierce form of Mother Divine. This helps in removing big problems by burning up bad karma.

Kanya Pashupatam

The purpose is to attract the spouse.

Ganapati Tarpanam

We offer milk and water to Lord Ganesh 444 times for each tarpanam. This pooja brings excellent prosperity.

Maha Mritunjaya Japa

125,000 repetitions of the Mritunjaya mantra(to ward off death and improve the health). This takes 45 days.

Ganapati Homam

This is a fire sacrifice to Lord Ganesh to bring financial success and removal of all obstacles.

Mritunjaya Homam

This fire sacrifice is done to relieve sickness and increase vitality.

Ayush Homam

This Homam is performed to increase the life span.

Nakshatra Shanti

Include 10,000 japas of your moon’s nakshatra’s mantra, pooja and fire sacrifice. Purpose is general improvement for when your birth nakshatra is under difficulties.

SPECIAL ABHISHEKAMS

*

Courage

*

Removing enemies

*

Kubera – Lord of Wealth

*

Naga – The king of the serpents – aids Rahu and Ketu

Also other Abhishekams (ritual washing of the deity with milk, water, yogurt, honey etc) are available in special cases.

Rudrabhishekam

Abhishekam performed to please Lord Shiva.

Gran Kubera Abhishekam

Attracts wealth, gems etc.

Gran Lakshmi Homam

If you want a lot of financial success, this is the yagya you want. It is a big production and takes all day. Ingredients of the Yagya are 1,008 roses, ghee, new silk sari etc.

Chandi Yagya

Different remedies for different problems. It is a Mother Divine Yagya.

Panya Homam

For improving business sales.

Vishnu Sahasra Nama Homam

This is a Jupiter planet problems, education and mental peace.

Sudarshan Homam

Stop the bad effects for bad evils, legal problems and desire fulfilment.

Shanti Shanti

This is Yagya for Saturn planet problems, decrease the power of Saturn.

Srisookta Homam

Homam yagya for wealth and collect pending money.

Sarpa Shanti

Yagya for kalasarpa yoga, it removes ketu and rahu problems.

Kuja Shanti

For mangalik problem removal.

Bhagalamukhi and Kameswari Japa

For special difficulties in business and public relations.

Veda Parayana

Removing bad karmas and for moksha.

Nakshatra Shanti

Yagya for removing bad effects on Birth Nakshatra (moon).

Manyu Sookta Parayana

Relief from the enemies and legal problems.

Lalita Sahasra Nama Parayana (41 days)

Make joyful life, happy married life and wishes come true.

Festivals / Holidays

Hindu festivals are based on the lunar calendar. In modern India, there are sixteen officially recognized holidays (when businesses close), although there are many more holidays than that. Most festivals are annual, but some happen on a longer cycle. The festival of Kumbha Mela, when millions of Hindus gather at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna rivers takes place once every three years at one of four different sites.

Of the annual festivals, the two-day rites of Holi mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring. This celebration is linked to Krishna whose exploits with the gopis are reenacted. It is a time of gaity, joy, and hope for nature’s rebirth. For a fuller discussion of Holi within Hinduism, go here.

In late summer, Krishna’s birthday is celebrated during Janmashtami.

Shortly afterwards, Ganesha is honored with the festival of Ganesh Charurti. To learn more about this festival, go here.

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