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Friday, July 31, 2009
Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is more sought after than Saraswati, the goddess of learning. As the power and consort of Vishnu, the preserver. According to the Puranas, she was the incarnated daughter of the sage Bhrigu and his wife Khyati. She was later born out of Ksheera Sagara (ocean of milk) while being churned. Hence, her appellation, Ksheera Samudra Raja Tanaya. As consort of Vishnu, she is born as his spouse whenever he incarnates. When Vishnu appeared as Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, Krishna, she appeared as Padma or Kamala, Dharani, Sita and Rukmini. She is as inseparable from Vishnu as speech from meaning, or knowledge from intellect, or good deeds from righteousness.
Vara Lakshmi Vrata
The day begins with rangoli and sacred head baths just as any other festival and is marked by the performance of "Vara Lakshmi Vrata" by the women folk of the house. Worshipping Vara Lakshmi is rendered equivalent to Ashta Lakshmi pooja. It is thus held that the Goddess of wealth would bless those who perform the Vrata on this particular day of the year with Dhana (Money), Dhanya (food), Aayu (long life), Aarogya (health), Aishwarya (wealth), Satsantana (good off springs) and Soubhagya (long life of husband).
The preparation for the festival begins the prior evening, when a stage for the pooja is set after having cleaned the entire area. On the day, A bronze or silver kalasa, with water, akshatas and a couple of coins, is taken and five betel leaves are placed on to it. The kalasa is smeared with sandal paste and kum-kum is applied at five places. On this is placed a round coconut smeared with turmeric to which kum-kum is applied. A new cloth or saree is tied to the Kalasa and is worshipped as Vara Lakshmi. Some people even adore this with the face of the Vara Lakshmi decked with jewels.
Women folk of the house traditionally worship this Vara Lakshmi the next day, with Ashtottaram and Sahsranamavali, along with some new gold bought each year. The legend of the vrata is once again memorized in devotion and a "toram" of Nine threads and nine knots is tied to the Goddess first and then to the right wrist of the worshippers. Prasadams are offered in the numbers of either three or five or nine to the Goddess. And the pooja is concluded with the distribution of this prasadam and Tamboola to the married women in neighborhood. It also is customary for these women folk to visit the temples of the Goddess towards the evening.
Legend has it that Goddess Parvati has once asked Lord Siva about a vrata, performing which would render the women on the earth blessed with all kinds of wealth. Then did Lord Siva preach of "Vara Lakshmi Vrata" to be performed on a Friday that comes just before the full moon day in the month of Shravana. Illustrating the sanctity of the vrata, Lord Siva narrated the story of Charumati of Maratha desha, which runs like this -
Once upon a time, there lived a gracious and wise Brahmin lady called Charumati in the Maratha Desha, a town that had golden houses and golden walls. Charumathi was a Maha Pativrata, indulged in a whole-hearted worship of her husband and looked after her in laws with utmost respect. Pleased with her good nature, Goddess Lakshmi happens to appear in her dream and advises her to perform the Varalakshmi vrata on Shravana shukla shukravara preceding the full moon day. Charumathi prostrates in devotion to the Goddess in the dream itself and the next morning illustrates the dream to her husband and in-laws. With their consent, she tells the same to a few more women folk of the town and they together wait the day.
The much-awaited day finally comes and they set stage to worship the Goddess Vara Lakshmi at one corner of the house, which is cleaned up with cow dung. All of them perform the pooja to the Kalasa with all devotion and piety, tie the toram to their wrists and offer prasadam to the Goddess. Then does the miracle start as they go about to take the Pradakshinas after the pooja. They see themselves bedecked with various ornaments one at a time as - anklets on feet for the first, bracelets for the second and various other ornaments for the final pradakshina. Excited about the blessing of Vara Lakshmi, they once again prostrate to the Goddess and honour the Pundit with due Dakshina and conclude the vrata by taking the prasadam.
As the women folk stepped out of the house do they see their houses decked with all riches and golden chariots awaiting them outside Charumati’s house. Extremely happy about what all had happened, the women thank Charumati for having shared her luck with them. Ever since then is the Vara Lakshmi Vrata performed in every household on this auspicious day.
Legend also say that the vrata was later also preached by sage Suta to Sounaka and other sages. Another legend is that Chitranemi who was one cursed by Parvati for having made a partial judgement in favour of Shiva when asked to play the referee for their game, got relieved from the curse by having watched this vrata performed by some pious women. Such is the sanctity of the Vrata.
Shloka to be said on Vara Mahalakshmi
Namastestu Mahaamaaye Shreepeete Surapoojite
Shankha Chakra Gadaa Haste Mahaalakshmi Namostu Te.*
Meaning: O Mahaamaaya, abode of fortune, worshipped by the Gods, I salute Thee.
O Mahaalakshmi, one who has conch, disc and mace in Her hands, obeisance to Thee.
*Namaste Garudaroode Koalaasura Bhayankari
Sarva Paapa Hare Devi, Mahaalakshmi Namostu Te. *
Meaning: My salutations to Thee, who rides Garuda and are a terror to demon Kola;
O Devi Mahaalakshmi, remover of all miseries, my obeisance to Thee.
*Sarvajne Sarva Varade Sarva Dushta Bhayankari
Sarva Duhkha Hare Devi Mahaalakshmi Namostu Te. *
Meaning: O Devi Mahaalaksmi, who is the embodiment of knowledge, giver of all boons,
a terror to all the wicked, remover of all sorrows, obeisance to Thee.
*Siddhi Buddhi Prade Devi Bhukti Mukti Pradaayini
Mantra Moorthe Sadaa Devi Mahaa Lakshmi Namostu Te. *
Meaning: O Devi, You give success and intelligence and worldly enjoyment and liberation (as well).
Thou hast always the mystic symbols (Mantra) as Thy form, O Mahaalakshmi, obeisance to Thee.
*Aadyantarahite Devi Aadya Shakte Maheshvari
Yogaje Yogasambhoote Mahaalakshmi Namostu Te. *
Meaning: O Devi, Maheshwari, You are without a beginning or an end ,
You are the Primeval energy, You are the greatest ruler, You are born of Yoga.
O Mahaalakshmi, obeisance to Thee.
*Sthoola Sookshmah Mahaa Raudre Mahaa Sakthe Mahodaye
Mahaa Paapa Harey Devi Mahaalakshmi Namostu Te. *
Meaning: O Mahaalakshmi, You are both gross and subtle, most terrible (for the wicked),
You are the embodiment of great power and prosperity and You are remover of all sins, obeisance to Thee.
*Padmaasanasthite Devi Parabrahma Svaroopini
Paramesi Jaganmaata, Mahalakshmi Namostu Te. *
Meaning: O Devi, You are seated on the lotus, You are the Supreme Brahman,
You are the great Lord and Mother of the universe, O Mahaalakshmi, obeisance to Thee.
*Svetaambaradhare Devi Naanaalankaara Bhooshite
Jagatsthite Jaganmaatah, Mahaalakshmi Namostu Te
Meaning: O Devi, You are dressed in white garments and decked with various kinds of ornaments,
Thou art the mother of the universe and its support, O Mahalakshmi, obeisance to Thee.
*Mahaalakshmyaastaka Stottram Yad Pated Bhaktiman Naraha.
Sarva Siddhimavaapnoti Mahalakshmi Prasaadataha.
Meaning: Whoever with devotion reads this hymn to Mahalakshmi composed in eight stanzas attains all success through the Grace of Mahalakshmi.
*Ekakaale Patennityam Mahaapaapa Vinaashanam
Dvikaalam Yah Patennityam Dhana Dhaanya Samanvitaha
Meaning: Whoever reads this hymn at least once a day will have all their sins destroyed;
those who recite it twice will be blessed with wealth and prosperity.
*Trikaalam Yah Patennityam Mahaa Shatru Vinaashanam
Mahaalakshmir Bhavennityam Prasannaa Varadaa Shubhaa
Meaning: Those who recite this three times in a day will have all their enemies destroyed.
They will be always be blessed by the Goddess Mahalakshmi.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
In South India, the serpent is given a pride of place and you will find Naga idols installed in almost all temples and even on roadside platforms. It is believed that any harm done to snakes create miseries and sufferings. Serpent worship is very widely followed. The major Hindu gods, Lord Shiva has serpent as an ornament round his neck and Lord Vishnu has serpent Adhisesha as his bed and he is called Seshashayana (person sleeping on snake)
The day preceding Nag Panchami i.e. the fourth day of the bright half of Shravan month is called 'Naga Chauthi'. On this day women take head bath and wearing wet clothes which marks sanctity and divinity, visit the snake banas in the morning. Raw milk and ghee are offered followed by /haladi/ (turmeric powder), /kumkum, chandan/ (sandalwood paste), rice and flowers. Prayers are offered for the well being of the families. Those who offer such worship on this day normally undertake fasting on the day.
On Nag Panchami, people also make images of snakes using cow dung and place them on either side of the entrance to the house to welcome the snake god. In some families it is also a tradition to keep a silver idol of Serpent in the pooja room and worship by pouring raw milk and ghee, and decorate the idol with haladi, kumkum and flowers. Some people have the tradition of making an idol of serpent by mixing 'chandan' (sandal wood paste), 'haladi' (turmeric powder), and 'kumkum'' (sindhoor), and 'kesari' (saffron) and placed on a metal plate and worshiped. In some families, figures of snakes are drawn with red sandalwood paste on wooden boards, or purchase clay images of snakes coloured yellow or black. These are then worshiped and offered milk, ghee and flowers.
Nag Panchami is also connected with the following legend of Lord Krishna. Young Krishna was playing ball with the other cowboy friends, when suddenly the ball got entangled in the high branch of a tree. Krishna volunteered to climb the tree and fetch the ball. But below the tree the river Yamuna was flowing in full glory, in which the terrible poisonous snake Kalinga was living. Nobody dared to go near that place. Lord Krishna ignoring the warnings of his friends jumps into the water. The dangerous "Kalinga" serpent comes up. But Krishna was ready and jumping on the snake’s head, starts dancing on its head. Kalinga realizes the strength of Lord Krishna and pleads with Krishna: "Please, do not kill me." Krishna takes sympathy on Kalinga and after taking a promise that henceforth he would not harm anybody, he let the snake go free into the river again. Hence, Nag Panchami is also commemorated as a day of victory of Lord Krishna over Kalinga the legendary snake.
It is widely believed that snakes like milk. As this is the day of the serpents, devotees pour raw milk into snake banas around the house or near the temples to propitiate them. Sometimes, a small pot of milk with some flowers is placed near the holes of snake banas so that the snakes may drink it. It is firmly believed that if a snake actually drinks the milk, it is considered to be extremely auspicious and the devotees are blessed.
Temples devoted to Lord Subramanya (Lord Muruga-Kartikeya) conduct special poojas and prayers on this day and large number of devotees visits such temples to offer prayers.
A unique feature in South India is that Nag Panchami is also celebrated as Brother-Sisters Day. On this occasion, brothers visit the houses of their married sisters. Sisters apply milk and ghee on the back of the body of their brothers by using a flower followed by turmeric powder and kumkum. Food and eatables are offered and gifts are given with prayers to serpent Lord to bless their brothers with health, wealth and happiness. This has a very unique social significance which binds the two families.
The difference between Nag Panchami and other Hindu festivals like Holi, Diwali, and Navaratri is that Nag Panchami is not associated with pomp and splendor associated with other festivals but celebrated with lots of faith, sanctity and devotion.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
ಕಳೆದ ಶನಿವಾರ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಬನಶಂಕರಿ ೩ನೇ ಹಂತದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಪ್ರವಚನ ಮಂದಿರದಲ್ಲಿ ವಿದ್ವಾನ್ ತೇಜಸ್ವಿ ರಘುನಾಥ್ ಅವರ ಕೊಳಲು ವಾದನ ಕಚೇರಿ ಇತ್ತು. ಅದು ಮುಗಿದ ಮೇಲೆ ಶ್ರೀಮತಿ ವಸಂತಲಕ್ಷ್ಮಿ ಅವರ ಕಾವ್ಯವಾಚನ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮವೂ ಇತ್ತು.
ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಸೆರೆಹಿಡಿದ ಕೆಲವು ಚಿತ್ರಗಳು...
ಕೊಳಲು ವಾದನದಲ್ಲಿ ತಲ್ಲೀನ...
ವಿದ್ವಾನ್ ತೇಜಸ್ವಿ ರಘುನಾಥ್
ವಯೋಲಿನ್ ಸಹಕಾರ ಅಚ್ಯುತ ರಾವ್ ಅವರಿಂದ
ತಾಳ ಹಾಕುವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಮಗ್ನ
ಶ್ರೀಮತಿ ವಸಂತಲಕ್ಷ್ಮಿ ಮತ್ತು ಶ್ರೀಮತಿ ಗಂಗಮ್ಮ ಕೇಶವಮೂರ್ತಿ(ಗಮಕ ವ್ಯಾಖ್ಯಾನ ಮಾಡಿದರು)
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
ಪವರ್ ಕಟ್ ಆದಾಗ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೇಣದ ಬತ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ಅಂಟಿಸಿ ಕತ್ತಲನ್ನು ಹೋಗಲಾಡಿಸುತ್ತೇವೆ. ಕೆಲವರು ಟಾರ್ಚ್ ಬೆಳಕಿನಿಂದ ಕತ್ತಲನ್ನು ಹೋಗಲಾಡಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ.
ನಿನ್ನೆ ಪವರ್ ಕಟ್ ಆದಾಗ ಕೆಲವು ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ಸೆರೆಹಿಡಿದೆ.
ಅವುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ಎರಡು ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕೆಂದು ಅನ್ನಿಸಿತು.
ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ಸ್ಪಾಟ್ ಮೀಟರಿಂಗ್ ಮೋಡ್ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಸೆರೆಹಿಡಿದಿರುವುದು.
Friday, July 10, 2009
ಪುರಾತನ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಗ್ರೀಕರು ನಾಟಕ, ಸಂಗೀತ ಕಲೆಗಳ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಆಂಫಿಥಿಯೇಟರ್ ಎಂಬ ಬಯಲು ರಂಗಮಂದಿರವನ್ನು ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಪ್ರಾಚೀನ ಗ್ರೀಸಿನದು ಲೋಕ ಪ್ರಖ್ಯಾತವಾದ ನಾಗರಿಕತೆ. ಅನೇಕ ದಾರ್ಶನಿಕರು, ತರ್ಕ ಪಂಡಿತರು, ಖಗೋಳ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಜ್ಞರು, ಗಣಿತ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರತಜ್ಞರುಗಳನ್ನು ಜಗತ್ತಿಗೆ ನೀಡಿದ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿ. ಜಗತ್ತನ್ನು ಕುರಿತ ಕಾತರ, ಕುತೂಹಲ, ಪ್ರಜಾಪ್ರಭುತ್ವ, ತರ್ಕ, ಚಿಂತನೆ, ಜಿಜ್ಞಾಸೆ, ಕ್ರೀಡೆ - ಈ ಹಿನ್ನೆಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಕಲೆಗಳು ವಿಕಾಸಗೊಂಡವು. ಸಾಕ್ರಟಿಸ್, ಪ್ಲೇಟೋ, ಅರಿಸ್ಟಾಟಲ್, ಅರಿಸ್ಟೋಫೆನೀಸ್, ಡೆಮಾಸ್ತನೀಸ್, ಪೈಥಾಗರಸ್, ಮುಂತಾದ ಮಹನೀಯರು ಗ್ರೀಸಿನ ಮಣ್ಣಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಜನಿಸಿದರು.
ಪುರಾತನ ಅಥಿನಾಯ್(ಅಥೆನ್ಸ್)ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಗ್ರೀಕರ ಮಧು ಮತ್ತು ಹರ್ಷೋನ್ಮಾದ ದೇವತೆ ಡಯೋನಿಸಿಸ್ ಸ್ಮರಣಾರ್ಥ ನಿರ್ಮಿತವಾದ ಆಂಫಿ ಥಿಯೇಟರ್ ಪ್ರಾಚೀನ ಬಯಲು ರಂಗಮಂದಿರ. ಇದರ ನಿರ್ಮಾಣ ಕ್ರಿ. ಪೂ. ಸುಮಾರು ೭-೬ನೇ ಶತಮಾನ. ವೇದಿಕೆಯ ಬೆನ್ನು ಭಾಗವನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಮೂರು ಕಡೆ ಸೋಪಾನದಂತಹ ಆಸನ ಸಾಲುಗಳು, ರಂಗ ಮಂಚದಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಯುವ ದೃಶ್ಯ ಎಲ್ಲ ಕಡೆಗೂ ಕಾಣಿಸುವಂತೆ ದಿಬ್ಬದ ಸ್ಥಳಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಆಸನಗಳು. ಸುಮಾರು ಎಂಬತ್ತು ಸಾವಿರ ಜನರು ಕುಳಿತು ನೋಡಲು ಅವಕಾಶವಾಗುವಂತೆ ಇದನ್ನು ನಿರ್ಮಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ.
ಈ ರಂಗ ಮಂದಿರದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರತಿವರ್ಷ ವಸಂತೋತ್ಸವ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಅದಂತೂ ಭಾರೀ ಮೋಜಿನ ಉತ್ಸವ. ಪ್ರತಿವರ್ಷ ನಾಟಕ, ನಾಟ್ಯ, ಸಂಗೀತ ಮತ್ತು ಕ್ರೀಡಾ ಸ್ಪರ್ಧೆಗಳು ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದವು. ಕಲೆಗಾರರು, ಕ್ರೀಡಾ ಪಟುಗಳು ತಮ್ಮ ಸಾಮರ್ಥ್ಯ ತೋರಿಸಲು ವಸಂತೋತ್ಸವ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಅವಕಾಶ ಒದಗಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದವು.
ಪ್ರಾಯಶಃ ದುರಂತ ನಾಟಕ ಸಹ ಗ್ರೀಸಿನದೇಕೊಡುಗೆ. ಎಸ್ಕಿಲಸ್, ಸೋಫೋಕ್ಲೀಸ್, ಯೂರಿಪಿಡೀಸ್ ಮುಂತಾದವರು ಪ್ರಸಿದ್ಧ ನಾಟಕಕಾರರು. ಒಲಿಂಪಿಕ್ ಪಂದ್ಯಾಟಗಳು ಸಹ ಗ್ರೀಕರು ಜಗತ್ತಿಗೆ ನೀಡಿದ ಅಮೂಲ್ಯ ಕೊಡುಗೆ.
ಗ್ರೀಕ ದುರಂತ ನಾಟಕಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರದರ್ಶಿಸುತ್ತ ಬಂದಿದ್ದ ಎಪಿಡೂರುಸ್ ಆಂಫಿಥಿಯೇಟರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಈಗಲೂ ಪ್ರತಿವರ್ಷ ನಾಟಕ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನಗಳನ್ನು ಏರ್ಪಡಿಸಲಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದು ಭವ್ಯವಾದ ತೆರೆದ ರಂಗ ಮಂದಿರ. ಮೊದಲು ಮರದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿರ್ಮಿಸಲಾಗಿದ್ದ ಇದರ ಆಸನಗಳನ್ನು ಬದಲಾಯಿಸಿ, ಕಲ್ಲಿನಿಂದ ನಿರ್ಮಿಸಿದ ಆಸನಗಳನ್ನು ಜೋಡಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ.