Gyan Sagar - Ocean of Wisdom
There would be no world to live in without the presence of fire. Angi is a Hindu diety, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. Agni is omnipresent. He is the link between Heaven and Earth, the deities and the humans. Agni Deva is said to take offerings to the other world in his fire. His vehicle is the ram. Agni is considered as illuminator of knowledge. Agni produces heat and light.
The word "Agni" is the Sanskrit word for "fire.” Agni has three forms : fire, lightning and the Sun. Agni is created by rubbing the matchstick on the side of the matchbox. In the sky, Agni appears as lightning. The volcanoes are Agni coming from inside of the Earth. In fact the core of the Earth is always burning and boiling.
Agni is the first word of the first hymn of the Rig Ved. In many temples, priest sing this hymn while lighting the lamp. Agni is the high priest, minister of sacrifice, the invoker, the lavisher of wealth. He is the supreme director of religious ceremonies and duties. Agni Deva serves as a messenger between mortals and gods. All Vedic rituals involve Agni. The Rig Ved often says that Agni arises from water and dwells in the waters.
Awareness is essential to happiness in life. Many of us are just racing through life, completely unaware of how we really feel or what we really think. Life becomes a constant barrage of work, school, bills, chores and so on which leaves little room to get in touch with your true nature which is pure awareness. Being in a state of pure awareness opens up a whole new way of living your life. You become attuned to the stillness and silence at the core of your very being. You begin to realize that you are more than your body and your mind. You are, in fact, one with everything that is and ever was and ever will be.
Sat Chit Ananda is our true nature. It is translated as Sat meaning Truth, Existence or Pure Being, Chit meaning Consciousness and Ananda meaning Bliss.
Sat Chit Ananda is being awake, being aware. When we awaken, only then can we recognize our true nature.
Ahankar translates to mean ‘ego.’ Ahankar is excessive pride over one's possessions, beauty, talents, material wealth, intelligence, spirituality, authoritative powers and so on. One can begin to feel that these 'gifts from God' make him superior to others. This leads to jealousy and restlessness, among other things.
Ahankar is often regarded as the worst of all the five evils. The five evils are Ahankar (ego), Lobh (greed), Krodh (rage), Moh (attachment) and Kam (lust). The ego is considered the worst of all because it makes human beings believe that they are more important than others. It makes them treat others badly and this leads to injustice. Pride causes people to take personal credit for their successes, good qualities, wealth and talents they have. The ego makes them forget that God is responsible for these things.
"Grasping at things can only yield one of two results:
Either the thing you are grasping at disappears, or you yourself disappear.
It is only a matter of which occurs first."
When we cling to things and people and expect them to be permanent, this creates suffering. The desire for things to stand the test of time is unrealistic and denies the natural laws of the Universe. Life is in a constant state of flow, always changing, always growing. So to become attached to anything is pointless and inevitably will create suffering.
Our world is built on desire. Every living being is created from the desire between its father and mother. We then come into this world and quickly become infatuated with many things. We are attached to our bodies and also to our possessions. We incessantly cling to our clothes, or car, our house and our wealth. We can’t bear to stand the thought of parting with these things. Through desire we create attachments. For every desire there is a corresponding attachment. We are most attached to our bodies. If we feel threatened or in any kind of physical danger, we become anxious and try to protect ourselves. We indulge in physical comforts and the enjoyment of our senses. This attachment is a potential source of suffering because our body is always changing. We wish we could be immortal, but every minute of every day our body is passing from life to death. By practicing non-attachment, we can learn to accept the ever-changing flow of life and eliminate suffering.
"Atma" is a form of the Sanskrit word "atman." Atma is the main essence of man; his highest Self. Atma is the eternal spirit inside of all of us. It is your identity across time. Just like how our body exists in space, in the same way, our thoughts, intellect, emotions, and psyche exist in the Self, the space of consciousness. Self cannot be understood or observed by our physical senses because Self is beyond the realm of our senses. The five senses were designed only to observe and understand matter. Atma is the invisible, eternal Self. It is the deepest of five bodies or sheaths of existence within us. It exists everywhere, in everything at all times. Our physical body goes through changes; age, disease and eventually death but the atma never dies. It ever lives.
Brahma is known as the first god of the Hindu Trinity. The Trinity also consists of Vishnu and Shiva. Lord Brahma is acknowledged as the creator of the Universe. Brahma is regarded as the Supreme Being, the god of gods. Lord Brahma is the creator and the generator of mankind. Brahma symbolizes the universal mind. To create is the work of the mind and the intellect. God Brahma is seen as a four-faced, four-armed, bearded man. He holds a rose and a book in his upper hand; a pot of water in the lower hand and one hand is always bestowing grace. His four faces represent the sacred knowledge of the four Vedas (Riga, Yajur, Sama and Atharva). This symbolization suggests that Brahma is the foundation of all the knowledge necessary for the creation of the Universe. His four arms symbolize the four directions and therefore reveal that Lord Brahma is everywhere and in everything.
His white beard portrays wisdom and notions the idea that creation is a never-ending process. The crown Brahma’s head symbolizes his supreme power and authority over the process of creation. Brahma is depicted as sitting on a lotus which represents the creative power of the Supreme Reality. His white colored clothes symbolize purity.
Goddess Baglamukhi is the absolute weapon to destroy enemies. Baglamukhi is the power which paralyses all evil forces. She is portrayed with a golden complexion and her dress is yellow. She is seated on a golden throne in the an ocean of nectar surrounded by yellow lotuses. A crescent moon is on her head. She is shown holding a club in her right hand with which she beats a demon, while pulling out his tongue with her left hand. Goddess Baglamukhi controls speech, movement and knowledge.
Goddess Bagalamukhi is the eighth Mahavidya. (wisdom goddesses) To defeat her enemies, she paralyzes their speech. She also holds the power to remove the effects of Black Magic. To worship Goddess Baglamukhi is like a weapon to stop your enemies from doing you any harm. Goddess Baglamukhi also has the power of turning things around. She can transform silence into speech, ignorance into knowledge, defeat into a victory, ugliness into beauty and poverty into wealth.
Chamunda Devi is a Shakti shrine on the Baner River. This colourful shrine has a wrathful form of Durga or Chamunda. The idol in the temple is considered so sacred that it is hidden beneath a red cloth. It is situated on the bank of Ban Ganga. It has all the natural surroundings ideally suited for meditation, prayers and spiritual attainments. This was the cremation ground for 22 villages and is considered to be a place which gives solace and spiritual attainments in the form of Mahakali Chamunda. Lord Shiva is present here in the form of death and destruction along with Devi Chamunda. Devotees immerse themselves in prayers and worship. They also offerings to their ancestors. It is considered to be sacred to take go into the Ban Ganga and to read and recite the writings of Shat Chandi. Centuries ago, people used to offer sacrifices to the deity. Unmarried, pre-pubescent girls are worshiped there as well.
Chamunda Devi is located where the famous battle described in the Devi Mahatmaya took place. Goddess Kali killed the two generals of Shumbha and Nishumba. Their names were Chanda and Munda. As a result of this battle Kali received the name Chamunda.
Goddess Durga is the mother of the Universe. She is the power behind the work of creation and destruction of the world. She is worshipped as the supreme power of the Supreme Being.
The word ‘Durga’ in Sanskrit means ‘fort’. Another meaning of "Durga" is ‘Durgatinashini,’ which translates into "the one who eliminates sufferings." Goddess Durga protects her devotees from the evils of the world and at the same time removes their miseries.
There are many incarnations of Durga: Kali, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gauri, Kandalini, Java and Rajeswari. Durga incarnated as the combined power of all divine beings, who gave her the required physical properties and weapons to kill the demon Mahishasur. Her nine forms are Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta and Siddhidatri.
Goddess Durga is shown with eight or ten hands. These represent eight quadrants or ten directions in Hinduism. She protects the devotees from all directions. Mother Durga is also sometimes referred to as ‘Triyambake’ which means, the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire). Goddess Durga rides on a lion. The lion symbolizes power, strength and determination. Mother Durga has mastery over all these qualities. The devotee has to possess all these qualities to get over the demon of the ego. Goddess Durga stands on a lion in a fearless pose of "Abhay Mudra", signifying freedom from fear.
Dus Mahavidya are the ten powerful aspects of the tantric Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. They are Maha Kali, Goddess Tara, Maha Tripura Sundari, Bhuvanesvari, Chinmasta Devi, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Baglamukhi, Matangi and Kamala. The goddesses are worshipped in various ways with mantra and yantra. The goddesses are worshipped to attain sidhis and spiritual salvation. Some of the goddesses are very powerful and possibly dangerous. The guidance of a spiritual guru is recommended.
Goddess Kali is the most powerful and superior of the ten mahavidyas. She can protect her devotees from the bad influence of the planet Saturn and she has the power to fulfill all desires of this world. She can bestow name and fame, prosperity and power.
Bhuvanesvari is considered to be the ruler of the world and by worshipping her, the devotee can achieve worldly success and victory in all aspects of life. She has the power to remove the malefic effects of the Moon.
Baglamukhi is a terror to her enemies. She has the power to defeat adversaries and fulfill all desires. She bestows protection and grants victory in legal matters. She can clear the bad influence of plant Mars and clear up all debts.
Goddess Tara grants overall prosperity to her devotees. She gives power of speech, salvation and pleasure and also has the power to destroy enemies. She can nullify the bad effects of planet Jupiter. Goddess Tara can help one build a successful business.
Dhumavati is the smoky form of Shakti. She is considered to be the ‘eternal widow’, or the Shakti without Shiva. She is not attractive and lacks radiance. Dhumavati bestows protection from black magic, grants victory in court cases. She protects from enemies and neutralizes the effects of planet Rahu.
Goddess Kamala is the most powerful goddess for acquiring wealth in a short period of time. She has the power to allow her devotees to reach the highest level of material success. Goddess Kamala also removes the bad effects of planet Venus.
Goddess Chinnamasta represents self control. She bestows freedom from desire and causes us to use our sexual energy for the process of spiritual enlightenment. She also helps to destroy the ego-mind. Worshipping Goddess Chinnamasta brings power of will and vision.
Goddess Bhairavi is the goddess of decay. She represents the transformation that comes with destruction, but that is not necessarily negative. She has the power to burn away imperfections of the soul. She represents the surging and raging power of kundalini. She is hidden divinity, dormant power. One who fearlessly worships Goddess Bhairavi will be free from the illusion of separateness.
Goddess Tripura Sundari is considered the beauty of the three worlds, the beauty of creation. She unites the powers of spirit, mind and body. Goddess Tripura Sundari is the ultimate light of manifestation. She is the one who gave birth to the three worlds. She bestows knowledge, love, joy, light and beauty on her devotees. She will create happiness and prosperity in life.
Goddess Matangi is the destroyer of demons. She does this by enchanting them with her beauty first. She has the power to fulfill every desire of her devotees. She bestows great powers, the power of speech and happiness in family life.
Lord Hanuman is the mighty monkey-god who is an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. He helped Lord Rama in his plight against evil forces with unmatched love and devotion. Hanuman is worshiped as a symbol of devotion, physical strength and perseverance. Hanuman was assigned to locate Lord Rama’s wife, Sita, who was abducted by Ravana, the demon king.
The story of the birth of Hanuman begins with Vrihaspati who had an attendant called Punjikasthala. She was cursed to assume the form of a female monkey — a curse that could only be broken if she would give birth to an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Reborn as Anjana, she performed intense austerities to please Lord Shiva, who finally granted her the boon that would cure her of the curse.
When Agni, the god of fire, gave Dasharath, the king of Ayodhya, a bowl of sacred dessert to share among his wives so they may have divine children, an eagle snatched a part of the pudding and dropped it where Anjana was meditating, and Pavana, the god of wind delivered the drop to her outstretched hands. After she took the divine dessert, she gave birth to Hanuman. Thus Lord Shiva incarnated as a monkey, and was born as Hanuman to Anjana, by the blessings of Pavana, who thus became Hanuman's godfather.
The birth of Hanuman released Anjana from the curse. Before she returned to heaven, Hanuman asked his mother about his life ahead. She assured him that he would live forever and that fruits as ripe as the rising sun would be his food. Mistaking the glowing sun as his food, the divine baby leapt for it. Indra struck him with his thunderbolt and hurled him down to earth. But Hanuman's godfather, Pavana carried him to the nether world or 'Patala'. As he departed from Earth, all life panted for air and Brahma had to beg him to come back. In order to appease him they conferred a lot of boons and blessings on his foster child that made Hanuman invincible, immortal and super powerful.
Hanuman grew up to become a warrior of immense strength and agility. He could run and fly, at the speed of light. He could also change his size at will. These abilities helped him greatly as he assisted Rama against Ravana.
Ravana, the evil demon king of Lanka, was such so terrible that people, gods and all other creatures of the three Hindu realms prayed to the gods for deliverance from him. Rama married Sita, daughter of King Janak. Ravana was presented with a chance to get to Sita alone while her husband Rama was away on a hunt and he forced her to leave her husband's hut in the forest and go with him to his kingdom across the sea. When Rama came back from his hunt he was overcome with grief and immediately set out after the demon king.
Ravana was a devout worshiper of Shiva and that benevolent god had given him immortality and such strength that none could defeat him in battle. Rama circumvented this by invoking Durgha, Shiva's powerful consort, at a time of the year when She was not usually worshiped. She blessed him with such extra strength that he was finally able to defeat Ravana and cut off that demon king's ten heads one by one.
Hanuman played an important role in the battle against Ravana, which Rama fought with the assistance of his ever-faithful brother, Hanuman and an army of monkeys, bears and other creatures. When none would cross the sea to Lanka and get news of Sita who was imprisoned there in the palace of Ravana, Hanuman changed size to such a huge creature that he flew across to Lanka. There he assumed his normal size and stole into the gardens of the palace. Finding that Sita was imprisoned in a room he again changed size, assuming the stature of a fly this time, and entered the room through the keyhole. Though Sita was inconsolable, Hanuman managed to reassure her that her Lord would soon attack Ravana's army of demons, defeat them and come across to Lanka to rescue her from a fate worse than death.
While slipping out of the palace grounds on his way back to the mainland, Hanuman was spotted by some palace attendants. Ravana's demon warriors chased after the monkey god and captured him. Ravana, with his evil turn of mind, decided to have some fun with the peculiar god with his red monkey face, golden body and long curling tail. Ravana told his attendants to tie Haunman up and set fire to his tail. Hanuman, sensing his tail on fire and desperate to go back to his lord with news of Sita, decided not to waste any more time in futile efforts and changed size again. He quickly started expanding to his huge form. His expanding body tore the ropes apart and he was soon free but he kept expanding and even the demon army around their king began to feel alarmed at the monkey god's enormous proportions. The god's tail was still on fire and when he swished it toward Ravana's beloved Lankapuri. Hanuman was able to escape, even with a burnt tail and mouth. That is why it is to this day that the monkey god's images in his temples all over India depict him with a blackened face and a blackened tip of his tail.
Hanuman returned with news of Sita and was hugely successful in helping Rama defeat Ravana and get back his faithful wife.
On Tuesdays and sometimes on Saturdays, many people keep fast in honor of Lord Hanuman and give special offerings to him. In times of trouble, it is common to chant the name of Hanuman or sing his hymn ,-Hanuman Chalisa. Once every year, on the full-moon day of the Hindu month of April, at sunrise — Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated to celebrate the birth of Hanuman. Hanuman temples are among the most common public shrines found in India.
Hanuman teaches us of the unlimited power that lies unused within each one of us. Hanuman focused all of his energies towards the worship of Lord Rama and his undying devotion made him free from all physical fatigue. Hanuman's only desire was to go on serving Rama. Hanuman perfectly exemplifies 'Dasyabhava' devotion, that bonds the master and the servant.
Goddess Lakshmi is the auspicious goddess of prosperity and good fortune. She is the goddess of luxury, beauty, fertility, purity, power and generosity. She blesses her devotees with success in the material and spiritual realms. Goddess Lakshmi is the divine consort of Lord Vishnu. She provides the wealth necessary to sustain and preserve all of creation.
According to the Ancient Hindu teachings, the sacred name of Lakshmi is ''Shri''. Written or verbal form, ''Shri'' always suggests the presence of goddess Lakshmi in it. ''Shri'' is written at the top of most documents. “Shri” is usually said before addressing a holy being or a god. To use ''Shri'' evokes grace, affluence, abundance, authority and auspiciousness. It creates a holy aura when written or spoken. “Shri” is associated with the material plane, just like the word ''Om'' is associated with the spiritual plane.
Goddess Lakshmi is depicted as a beautiful woman with a golden complexion. She is usually dressed in red and adorned with luxurious jewels. Lakshmi has four hands representing the four ends of human life, Kama (desires), Artha (wealth), and Moksha (liberation) from the cycle of birth and death. She holds a lotus bud in two of her hands, which denote beauty, purity, spirituality and fertility. She sits on a fully blossomed lotus which is the seat of divine truth. A stream of gold coins are shown springing from her hands, symbolizing how she blesses her devotees with prosperity and wealth. On either side of her are two elephants spraying water. The elephants symbolize wisdom and prosperity which make up material and spiritual prosperity.
Goddess Lakshmi only resides in a place where virtue, truth and compassion are present. Goddess Lakshmi stays only in a clean place because nothing dirty or disorganized can sustain her pure energy.
Although she can be worshipped daily, the festive month of October is Lakshmi's auspicious month. Lakshmi Puja is celebrated on the full moon night of Kojagari Purnima. It is believed that on this night Lakshmi will visit the home and bestow blessings of wealth and good fortune to the inhabitants.
Shri Vidya is one of the concepts of worshiping the Goddess. Vidya means knowledge, revelation, manifestation or wisdom. The Shri Vidya is a Tantric tradition of Shaktas. It maintains that ultimately there is only one reality in the cosmos which is the reality of consciousness identified with the Goddess Tripurasundari. Tripurasundari is a tantric form of Shri Lakshmi and is manifested in her mantra, called the shri vidya and in her sacred diagram of nine intersecting triangles within a circle which is the shri cakra. The shri cakra is a symbol of the interpenetration of the progressive female energy or shakti with the cool male consciousness or Shiva. This is used in meditation to help the practitioner realize his identity with the Goddess symbolized in the yantra. The shri vidya is the fifteen-syllabled mantra which is the sound equivalent of the shri cakra.The Shri Vidya devotee seeks for liberation from the cycle of reincarnation or samsara by discovering his true identity as one with the Goddess.
Goddess worship is practiced in three different ways and all these ways are permitted to Saktas, worshipper of Shakti or Goddess. One can come to the Goddess either though Stula, which is image worship, mantra chanting, which are mystically charged syllables, and Parabrahma Swarupi which is formless. The Shri Vidya concept is an unified way of worship that blends all the individualistic approaches. Practitioners of Shri Vidya state that their approach to Goddess is the most effective one and individuals could achieve result without fail.
Shri Vidya cannot be practiced by all and the initiation needs some practice in Devi worship. One has to have a lot of loyalty and love for the Goddess. This is the basic requirement.
The practitioners of Sri Vidya are fully aware of the strength of this mantra which ultimately takes them to the Goddess. The manifestation of the Goddess may be in ten different forms which are contingent on the need of the devotee and desire of the Goddess. Her divine ten forms are called Dasa Mahavidyas, Dasa meaning ten , Maha meaning great and Vidya meaning knowledge.The spectrum varies from one Vidya to the other. Her ten forms range from most horrific and scary to an increasingly beautiful woman. These ten forms are Kali , Tara, Sundari, Buvaneswari, Bairavi, Chinnamasta, Dumavati, Bagalamuki , Matangi. and Kamalatmika.
In Sanskrit, the word ‘yantra’ translates as; an apparatus. A yantra is a mystical diagram made up of geometric shapes and alphabetical figures. These symbols are usually usually etched on small plates of gold, silver or copper. Yantras are made in three dimensions of stone or metal. The function of a yantra is to focus spiritual and mental energies, improve health, wealth and family life. Yantras are also mainly used to invoke the energy of God. A yantra is installed near or under the Deity in a temple to channel the spiritual energy. Yantras are constructed in such a way that the male and female energy patterns interact and produce a high level of spiritual energy. A yantra is also known as a visual mantra because it is able to create vibration and other spiritual effects of a mantra just by sight alone. Yantras are inscribed with mystical inscriptions and geometric diagrams such as circles, squares, triangles and dots. These represent cosmic energies. It is customary to see the yantra daily in the morning and to light incense or a diya before the yantra every morning. This practice is auspicious and blesses opne with success and wealth.
A yantra serves as a window into the infinite absolute. When one focuses their mind on a yantra, their mind becomes quiet and one-pointed. In very advanced stages, it is possible to reach enlightenment by visualizing a yantra. The yantra is crafted so that the eye is drawn into the center. A yantra is a microcosmic picture of the macrocosm. A yantra is tuned to a specific deity and by focusing on that yantra you can obtain the blessings and power from that deity. The most celebrated yantra throughout India is the Yantra of Tripura Sundari. This yantra symbolizes the entire cosmos and serves as a reminder that there is no difference between subject and object.
A mantra is an empowered word or phrase. A word that is charged with spiritual power has the capacity to transform our soul. An empowered word carries with it a certain energetic vibration, based on its meaning. All words, actually, produce an actual physical vibration. Also, another important component to words is the intent behind them. This is where their power and meaning comes from. Words are based on energy. Language is a very powerful thing because nothing can come into existence without speech. Speech is the essence of humanity, as the Vedas claim. Sound elements of the ancient Sanskrit language are permanent entities and are of everlasting understanding. When reciting Sanskrit mantras the sound is very powerful, for it can create transformation within, leading you to power and strength.
Sanskrit mantras carry a certain spiritual frequency in seed form. These mantras also embody a higher state of consciousness. Each sound has a certain effect on the human psyche. The sacred utterances or chanting of Sanskrit mantras provide us with the power to lift ourselves up from the ordinary consciousness to the higher level of consciousness. They give us the power to heal our bodies, eliminate dark forces, gain wealth, worship a deity and reach a blissful state, attaining liberation.
Chanting a mantra has the capacity to activate and balance the seven chakras, create pure inner peace, remove karma and connect with the Divine. Some mantras are very powerful and should only be chanted under proper spiritual guidance. They can bring about a positive result or a negative result, if practiced inaccurately. Chanting keeps an open pathway to God and purifies the soul. Chanting a mantra will allow one to overcome the constant stream of thoughts that arise during meditation because the mind will keep focused on chanting the mantra instead. Chanting mantra creates new pathways in the mind, toward purification and liberation. Chanting mantra also brings about real feelings of bliss and happiness within the soul because of the connection it establishes to God.
Tantra is probably the most misunderstood branch of Indian spirituality. Tantra is an ancient practice that dates back to the 5th-9th century AD. It is a common misconception that tantra is full of vile practices and it is often associated with black magic. The truth is that tantra is the science of life, it is a way of living which aims to obliterate all of our roadblocks to liberation.
The word ‘tantra’ is a combination of two words ‘tattva’ and ‘mantra.’ The word ‘tattva’ means the science of cosmic principles. The word ‘mantra’ refers to the science of chanting sacred sounds and producing mystic vibrations. So, tantra is actually the application of cosmic science to attain spiritual liberation. Tantra differs from other spiritual traditions because it takes into account the entire person, even their worldly desires. Other spiritual paths teach that material pleasures are forbidden and wrong, in some way, which causes a constant internal battle within the seeker. They maintain that there is something impure about our everyday world. From the Tantric perspective, only our ignorance of our true nature is the real impurity. Tantra offers a way to reconcile these impulses and pursue spiritual life. Through mantra, yantra, meditation, yoga, ayurveda, astrology, pranayama and ancient rituals, Tantra is a complete science of transformation.
Everything manifests as a result of divine polarities. This is the mystical connection between Shiva and Shakti. One cannot occur without the other and Shiva is completely powerless without Shakti. Consciousness and energy, or Shiva and Shakti, are not really separate. The union of Shiva and Shakti is the Supreme Reality. Shiva and Shakti are one, but they hold the power, freedom and wisdom to appear in various ways. All beings and all worlds are expressions of this endless life process of Shiva-Shakti.
Goddess Tara is the divine bodhisattva of the Himalayan region. She is the second of the ten mahavidyas. Goddess Tara is the Mother Creator, representing the eternal life force that fuels all life. She has many forms but the embodiments that she is best known for are White Tara and Green Tara. Her other forms include Red Tara, of fierce aspect associated with magnetizing all good things, Black Tara, associated with power, Yellow Tara, associated with wealth and prosperity and Blue Tara, associated with transmutation of anger. The peaceful, loving White Tara protects, nurtures and promotes peace. Green Tara is a fierce goddess helps us overcome obstacles and protects us from danger. In Sanskrit the name Tara means ‘star’ but Goddess Tara is also known as The Great Compassionate Mother, The Embodiment of Wisdom and The Great Protectress. In Buddhism, Tara is much more powerful than a goddess. She is a female Buddha, an enlightened being who has acquired the highest wisdom and compassion.
There can be a version of Tara found in every virtually every culture. She is associated with Kuan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion. In South America, she is known as the ancient mother, Tarahumara. The Cheyenne people worshiped the Star Woman who descended from the heavens and whose body became the Earth that produced food for them. In ancient Egyptian myths, Goddess Ishtar came to Earth to provide learning and wisdom. This was another incarnation of Goddess Tara.
Goddess Tara guides and protects us as we go through the depths of our mind, helping us to transform our consciousness and attain liberation. She helps us to remain centered and at peace.
Dhumavati is the Goddess of widows. She is one of the ten Mahavidyas, the wisdom Goddesses. Dhumavati represents unsatisfied desires as she is always hungry and thirsty. Her duty is to cultivate devotion and detachment from worldly desires. She is one of the avatars of Parvati. When Parvati was manifested as Sati, Shiva’s first wife, on one occasion she requested some food from Shiva because she was extremely hungry. Shiva refused to give her any food, so she ate him instead, widowing herself. Shiva coerced her to spit him back up, and he cursed her to remain in the form of Dhumavati, the widow.
In another story of her origin, Dhumavati is said to have risen from the smoke when Sati surrendered herself. Her eyes burn with the fire that consumed Sati. Dhumavati symbolizes the power of nature above all other forces as well as the fact that death is inevitable. She is tall and her ears are rough, she has elongated teeth, and her breasts hang down. She has a nose shaped like the beak of a crow. Her eyes are fearsome and her hands tremble. In one hand she holds a basket and with the other hand she makes the gesture of conferring boons. Her nature is discourteous. She is never satisfied. She likes to create conflict and she is always terrifying in appearance. She is usually shown riding in a chariot, with crows and vultures perched above. She is old and ugly, wearing a ragged dress taken from a corpse.
Lord Bhairav is a fierce incarnation of Lord Shiva. The term Bhairava means ‘Terrific’. He is often depicted with angry eyes and sharp teeth. He also has flaming hair and he is stark naked except for a garland of skulls and a coiled snake around his neck. In his four hands he carries a noose, a trident, a drum and a skull. He is often shown accompanied by a dog. Lord Bhairav's worship is very useful to win over your enemies and to achieve success and all material comforts. It is very easy to please Lord Bhairav by doing normal worship daily. Lord Bhairav guards Lord Shiva’s temple. Batuk Bharav is the most worshipped form of Bhairav in Tantra. Lord Bhairav protects, removes all obstacles, cleans the soul with his sheer intensity and makes things favorable for a sadhak. He is one of the most feared deities, but actually, he is one of the most rewarding. Lord Bhairava’s vehicle is a dog. Feeding and taking care of dogs is another way of showing devotion to LordBhairava. The best way is to feed 11 dogs on every Saturday evening or daily, if possible. The dogs should be feeded halwa puri which is Indian bread with sweet dish. By doing this, all problems will get solved automatically. Lord Bhairava is also the guardian of travellers. The Siddhas tell us that before embarking on a journey, especially one that involves travel during the night, we should make a garland of cashew nuts and decorate Lord Bhairava with it. We should light an oil lamp in His honor and request His protection during our travel.
The shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in India. It is situated at a height of 5,300 ft. The site is located inside a cave in a hill within the folds of the Trikuta Bhagwati hill in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Once at the entrance to the cave, the path turns into a narrow tunnel with a cold running stream named the Charan Ganga. The pilgrim has to wade through this stream to reach the sanctum sanctorum. The holy cave shrine of Vaishno Devi is nestled in a beautiful recess of the Trikuta Mountains forming a portion of the lower Himalayas. In the cave there are images of three deities; Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati.
Maa Vaishno Devi was born in the south of India to Ratnakar Sagar. Her earthly parents had remained childless for many years. Ratnakar had promised, the night before the birth of the Divine child, that he would not intercede with whatever his child desired. Ma Vaishno Devi’s name was Trikuta as a child. Later on in life She was called Vaishnavi because of Her taking birth from Lord Vishnu's lineage. When Trikuta was 9 years old, She sought her father's blessings for doing atonement on the seashore. Trikuta prayed to Lord Vishnu in the form of Rama. During Shree Rama's search for Sita, He finally reached the seashore with His army. His eyes fell on Trikuta in deep meditation. Trikuta informed Shree Rama that She had accepted Him as Her husband. Shree Rama told Her that during this Incarnation He had vowed to be faithful to only Sita. However pleased with her devotion, Lord Rama gave her name Vaishnavi which is a devotee of Lord Rama. He also assured Her that in the age of Kaliyuga He would manifest as Kalki and would marry Her.
Shree Rama asked Trikuta to remain in meditation in the cave found in the Trikuta Range of the Manik Mountains, situated in Northern India. Lord Rama gifted her with a bow and arrows, an army of monkeys and a lion for protection. Lord Rama also declared that Trikuta was to become known as Vaishno Devi and would gain immortality forever. The abode of Maa Vaishno Devi is a huge pilgrimage location due to Lord Rama's blessings to the goddess.
Spirituality is a personal experience and there are no two spiritual journeys that are alike. Everyone finds their higher self in their own way, in their own time. There is no right way back to wholeness, the important thing is that you actually get there. This is our mission here. We are required to transcend our lower nature of fear which encompasses greed, anger and lust. Only after these lower vibrational aspects are overcome, can we move up into higher states of being. So, even though it may not be immediately clear to everyone, we are not here to do good in school, get a good job, get married and buy a house. We are actually here to do spiritual work on ourselves so we don’t have to keep coming back here to learn the lesson lifetime after lifetime. Oh yes, that’s right...If you don’t complete the assignment in this lifetime you will be destined to repeat the course until you do.
There are many paths to travel on back to wholeness. Meditation, mantra, prayer and worship are vital to any spiritual practice. Each spiritual activity nourishes the soul and brings you closer to the ultimate reality. All of these methods tie into each other and when practiced all together can create a powerful transformation. Keep in mind, that religion is not necessary in order to be spiritual. Religion is a man-made institution and can only provide you with rituals and beliefs. Spirituality is between you and spirit and how you get there is entirely up to you. Spirituality is a highly personal experience and no man-made institution is needed to reach spiritual heights.
"Guru is Shiva sans his three eyes,
Vishnu sans his four arms
Brahma sans his four heads.
He is parama Shiva himself in human form"
- Brahmanda Puran
Guru is the One who dispels the darkness of spiritual ignorance in humanity and bestows upon them spiritual experiences and spiritual knowledge. The guru inspires devotion in others and removes the darkness. Guru serves as a guide on our spiritual journey. He is a beacon of spiritual light in our world, and provides us with universal spiritual truths. A guru can accelerate a seeker’s awakening by light years. An authentic guru has spiritual authority. They can consciously assume the karma of anyone they so desire. Although they have this ability, they tend to use it selectively. If the taking on of karma serves the greater dharma, or spiritual evolution of the species, country or group which is deemed important, the guru will take on the karma of that individual. Sometimes the karma can be worked off without harming the guru but sometimes not. The guru always knows both the reason and the outcome for taking another's karma.
A true guru is aware of the conscious, active and incredibly advanced forces and beings operating in our reality. At all times there are very, very advanced beings on the planet who monitor everything. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. But the truth remains that they are present and the true guru knows his or her limitations in the grand scheme of things.
The Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita, also known as the Gita, is part of the Mahabharata, an epic Sanskrit scripture that tells of the ancient world and a great battle between families over the throne of an Aryan state. The Hindu scriptures, called the Vedas are the oldest in the world. They were composed by ancient Aryans and were taken to India around 500 BCE. The Gita is also known as Gitopanishad and it is of the most important Upanishad in the Vedic scriptures. Throughout the entire Gita, Lord Krishna himself speaks. He is preparing Prince Arjuna for battle and revealing to him the sacred secrets of the Universe. Prince Arjuna is setting out to lead his army into a ferocious battle against his enemy. Quite disturbed about fighting and killing, Arjuna pauses in deep moral anguish. The Gita is an array of answers that Krishna gives to Prince Arjuna in answer to his questions. Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna why he can and must fight, but its implications go much further than this.
The aim of the Bhagavad-gita is to provide mankind with the tools of escape from material existence. Each and every human being is fighting against themselves in many different ways. We all face difficulties in life. Arjuna also was in a difficult situation in having to fight the Battle of Kurukshetra. Arjuna relinquished himself unto Lord Krishna, and this is how the Bhagavad-Gita was spoken. Not just Arjuna, but all people face anxieties because of this material realm. The Bhagavad Gita was composed to liberate one from the bodily conception of life. The Bhagavad Gita is a complete text, outlining the best way to attain self-realization, as told by Lord Krishna himself.
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