The time of Sun entering into the zodiac sign of Capricorn (Makar Rashi) on its celestial path, is known as Makara Sankranti. As a tradition, this is one of the harvesting days in the land of India. In year 2011, this day is falling on 15th of January.
India has a vast geography, and there is also so much diversity in culture depending on the location, cultural background and agricultural environment; so Makar Sankranti is also celebrated for different reasons and uncountable different ways depending on the above factors.
Sankranti is a Sanskrit word which literally means the moving of Sun from one place to another, mostly a rashi or zodiac sign. As there are 12 signs or rashis, so there are also 12 sankrantis; and when sun moves to Makar rashi (Capricorn) from Dhanu rashi (Sagittarius), it is called Makar Sankranti.
The celebration of this day is not limited to the country of India; on the other hand, this day is celebrated in almost all South Asian countries, though with different names.n
There are various legends which are connected to this day. Some of them are as follows:
- The ancient scripture of India, the Puranas, state that on the day of Makar Sankranti, the Sun visits his son known as Shani Dev (Saturn). Shani Dev happens to be the lord of Zodiac sign of Capricorn. The two don’t share a very cordial relationship, but still father decides to visit his son on this particular day, and stay there for a full month. Therefore, this day also celebrates special relationship between a son and a father.
- Lord Narayana finished the terrorizing demons on this day, and buried their heads under the mountain known as Mandara; therefore, this day also signifies end of negative forces and beginning of righteousness.
- The most celebrated Bhisma deva from Mahabharata, also decided to leave his body on this particular day. It should be noted here, that he had a boon from his father, to chose a day on his own, to leave this mortal world.
- King Bhagirath, after doing severe austerities to invite Devi Ganga on the planet earth to liberate his ancestors, was finally able to offer oblations and liberate his ancestors on this day.
For hindus, the day of Makar Sankranti is very auspicious and is celebrated throughout the country in different forms, with great devotion.
Innumerable devotees go to Ganga Sagar (the point where Ganga meets the ocean (Bay of Bengal)) to take a dip in her holy water on this day. Many also go for similar reasons to Prayag, in Allahbad, to take a dip in the conjunction of three holy rivers Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswti.
In Southern part of the country, it is celebrated as Pongal. In the state of Gujarat, the festival is celebrated by offering oblations to Sun God in the form of beautiful and colouful kites.
The day of Makara Sankranti signifies a period of peace, enlightenment, prosperity and happiness. This day reminds the prayer of faithful to God “Tamaso ma Jyotirgamaya” meaning “take me from darkness to a state of enlightenment”.
What to do during five days of Diwali
Diwali, better known as “Festival of Lights,” is a 5 day festival, which is celebrated all over India, with great enthusiasm. Diwali signifies the victory of good over evil. Mostly children, during Diwali enjoy the most by lighting fireworks, lamps and dressing themselves up in new clothes.
Diwali is celebrated for five days, and each day is dedicated to a special ideal and thought. Let us find what we should do during these five days of Diwali:
Dhanteras: The first day
The first day out of five days of Diwali is known as Dhanteras or Dhanvantari Triyodasi. According to the lunar calendar, this day falls on the 13th lunar day of the dark fortnight (Krsna Paksa) of lunar month of Kartik. The legend goes that on this day Lord Dhanvantari appeared from Casual Ocean with Ayurveda. This day marks the beginning of the five day festival of Diwali.
Hindus on this day, bath during the sunset and offer earthen lamps with cooked preprations to the Lord of Death, Yamaraj, to protect one from untimely death. It is best to make offerings near the Tulasi plant (the holy basil), or a Banyan tree.
This year this day falls on November 3, 2010.
Choti Diwali: The second day
The second day of Diwali is also known as Narak Caturdasi. On this particular day Lord Krishna killed the demon named Narakasur, and gave relief to al the denizens. People go for oil massage on this day to remove any tiredness, and prepare themselves for the celebration of third and the most important day: Diwali.
This particular night the earthen lamps are not lit. They should be offered only day beforr (Trayadosi) and then the day after (Diwali proper). Please consult an astrologer for right guidance on this matter.
Diwali, the Lakshmi Puja; the third day
This day is much awaited by all. People offer prayers and worship to Mother Lakshmi on this day. They seek the blessings of Wealth and Fortune from the Goddess; but, they often neglect the worship of Sri Narayan, unfortunately, not knowing, that without her husband, the Goddess does not stay in a place for long.
Govardhan Pooja, the fourth day
Many Hindus on this day perform worship of Govardhan hill. The legend goes that around five thousand years ago, Lord Krishna asked His family and people of Vraja to perform worship to Sri Govardhan. From that time on, Hindus honour Sri Govardhan on this day, by offering worship and prayers to Him.
Bhaiya Dooj, the fifth day
The fifth and the last day of the Diwali is called Bhratri or Bhaiya Dooj. This day is dedicated to the sacred relationship of brothers and sisters.
Millenniums ago, Yamuna Devi (the river) was visited by her brother Yamraj (the Lord of Death), on this day. Since that time, brothers visit their sisters on this day with gifts and cash, and sisters feed their brothers sumptuously and pray for their long life and well being.
For more info and puja details please go to: http://www.myastrologypuja.com/diwali-special-puja.php
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Devi Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of wealth, money and good fortune. The Goddess of Fortune has always a special place in Her devotees home, but she is especially worshipped during the time of Dipawali, the Festival of Lights in her eight different forms, also known as Ashta (eight) Lakshmi.
Dipawali is celebrated for five days, and Lakshmi puja is the most important day of all of the five days; it is observed on the third day. This year (2010), the Dipawali falls on November 5.
All Hindu people worship Goddess Lakshmi on this day; but not everybody is aware of the proper recommended procedure to do the same.
It is very difficult for an ordinary person or a layman to do all the rituals 100% accurate, as stated in the scriptures. It was always nice to take help of an expert, or invite such person to perform the worship or ritual on your behalf. However, if it is not possible to do so, then a person at least should learn the basic steps, and try to do as best he or she can. Here, we would try to provide you with a broad guideline, of different steps involving the puja vidhi (worship ritual) of the Goddess of Fortune.
Cleaning your House
Many Hindus people get their house white washed, and make every inch of their house neat and clean. The belief goes, that Lakshmi Devi only enters the clean house. So, as the first step of worshipping Devi Lakshmi, you should make your home clean thoroughly. Light earthen lamps and candles in the evening, and place them at everyplace in your house; this signifies lighting the path for Devi Lakshmi to enter your house.
Making an Altar
Lay down a fresh cloth, preferably red on a small raised, sanctified platform (can on a bench or table). Place the deities or pictures of Sri Sri Lakshmi Narayan, Sri Ganesha and Sri Saraswati, on this cloth. On one side of the cloth spread nine mounds of rice grains, and keep betel nuts on top of this mound, which signifies Navagraha (nine planets) presiding deities.
Installing the Pitcher
Fill a pot with water or rice and place it in front of the deities; adorn the same with betel leaves. Place a coconut on top of this pot. Cover and tie the pot with a fresh red cloth. Make a ‘Swastik’ symbol on the pot, which represents purity and prosperity. This pot is known as Kalash or Poorna Kumbha, representing the Universal power.
Starting the Puja
Decorate the deities with flowers and vermillion, and place puja thali with few silver or rupee coins in it, in front of Them.
Take some water on your left hand and sprinkle in on your head for purification. Call out your and your family’s name in order to take sankalpa. Lit lamps with ghee wicks and offer incense sticks.
Perform Ganesh Puja by offering some flowers and akshata, and pray Him to remove all obstacles from your path of devotion to Sri Sri Lakshmi and Narayan, and also pray Goddess Saraswati to give you proper intelligence for the same.
Now do abhishek of Sri Sri Lakshmi and Narayan with ghee, milk, honey, curd and sugar. Silver and Gold coins on puja thali should be bath with milk. Offer sweets preparations to the deities after this. Chant the verses (Lakshmi mantras), and offer prayers welcoming Her in your home.
Don’t offer to offer your prayers to Sri Narayan, ,as without her husband she never comes anywhere. She remains stable at a place, only if her husband Narayan is there.
Leave the offering for some time, and then you can all honour the prasadam (sanctified food) offered to the deities.
You should also establish Laxmi Karak; please visit http://www.myastrologypuja.com/diwali-special-puja.php and http://www.myastrologypuja.com/diwali-special-hungama-package.php, for more information.
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Durga puja is famous throughout India; but most people do know understand who exactly Durga Devi is. Here, we discuss the importance of Durga Puja.; but before that, we try to understand who Durga Devi herself is?
Who is Durga Devi?
The word Durga literally means, the invincible one, or the one who is inaccessible. Many people lovingly also call Durga Devi as mother Durga.
Durga Devi is the presiding deity and controller of all material energy. She is a form of Goddess, who is depicted having ten arms, and one who is riding on a lion holding different weapons, and also a lotus flower in her hand.
She is the ‘Shakti’, the embodiment of creative force. She exists in a state, which is independent from the universe. Devi Kali is considered to be an expansion of Durga Devi.
Who all are worshipped during Durga Puja?
During Durga Puja, Divine Mother , Goddess Durga is worshiped in Her various forms as Durga, Saraswati and Laxmi. During Navratre (the nine nights dedicated to the worship of Durga Devi), She is represented and worshiped in three different aspects. During the first three nights of the festival of Navratre, Durga is worshiped; during the next three nights, Laxmi devi is worshipped and during the last three nights Saraswati Devi is worshipped. The following 10th day is called Vijaya-Dashami. Vijaya stands for “victory” and dashami means the tenth day. On this day Lord Ramchandra killed the demon king Ravana, and hence the name Vijaya-Dashami. It can also signify the victory over one’s own mind. The message is when we worship Durga Devi, then she can help us to get victory over our mind.
The most widely worshiped deity of Shakti is Durga. Devi-Bhagavatam is entirely dedicated to the glories of Mother Durga. Mother Durga is the mother of the universe, and she is a personification of tender love, power, wealth, beauty and all qualities.
Devi Durga represents destruction of all kinds of evil and protection of all good. She conveys the message that to become Godly, one should keep one’s animalistic instincts under control. Thus, when we worship Devi Durga, all the unwanted material desires are annihilated and divinity within us is unfolded.
Many people glorify Durga Devi by reciting Durga ShaptaShati. Durga ShaptaShati comes from Markendeya Purana. It is a composition of different verses glorifying Mother Durga; that is why it is also called Devi Mahatmyam. The whole Durga ShaptaShati is divided into thirteen chapters, and contains 700 verses in total, therefore the name Saptashati.
Durga ShaptaShati is known to help people in many different ways, for example it can prove to be a remedy for Rahu or other planetary ill-effects. It also can help in eliminating fear and maleficity from the planet; eliminate the evil and suffering; eliminate personal illness; eliminate epidemic, and helps one to achieve good health and prosperity.
At the same time, it is extremely essential, that you get this mantra from proper channel, as improper recitation can also cause some adverse effects.
We wish you a Happy Durga Puja Season, and you are most welcome to visit the following pages for more information:
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What is Shani graha?
Shani graham or Saturn planet is one of the nine most important celestial beings in Jyotisa or Hindu astrology. Shanidev is the ruling lord of Saturday, and hence the name Shanivaar, the hindi name for Saturday.
The word Shani is derived from Sanskrit verse shanaye kramati sa:, which means “one who moves very slowly”; and science also acknowledges, that Saturn planet takes 30 years to complete one rotation around the earth.
The term Sade Sati means the seven and a half year long period of Shani planet. People fear the name of sade sati in India. This period starts for a person when Saturn planet enters the zodiac sign, which falls immediately before the zodiac sign of moon (janam-rashi), for that person.
One school of astrology believed that this time is not very favourable for the individual, and he might have to undergo many troubles during this time.
But another school of astrology does not believe that and claims that this period might be challenging, but it is not as damaging also. On the other hand, for some people it may prove to be favourable, bringing a lot of success.
What is Shani Amavasya?
All hindu people, usually know this term amavasya. Amavasya means the no moon day, and that amavasya which falls on a Saturday, is called Shani amavasya. In Hinduism, the amavasya or no moon day is considered as an inauspicious day, and is the darkest day of the month. In similar line, Shani amavasya is also considered inauspicious, and people fear from Shani graham (the Shani planet). Three Shani amavasya fall in year 2010. Two of them have already past, one being on 13th February and the other on 12th July. The third and last Shani amavasya for the year 2010 is falling on 6th of November.
Most of the people have an impression that Shani graham always brings inauspiciousness. But this is a very big myth, says all the renowned astrologers. Shani dev is very happy, if he is worshipped with proper rules and regulations. Moreover, it should be understood, that Shani Dev gives us the results for our own deeds done during the life time; it would be punishment or reward would depend on our own deeds.
Worshipping Shani Dev:
People believing in astrology do several remedial poojas for Shani shanti pooja. People who are suffering from Kaal Sarp Dosa or Pitra Dosa do special worships to get the favour of Shani dev.
Especially on the day of Shani Amavasya, people collect in thousands, in the temples having Navagrahas to performing abhisheka to Shani Dev.
Shani Amavaysa is considered as a perfect day to offer oblations to one deceased forefathers.
There exist many theories describing the good and ill effects of Shani on one’s horoscope. Experts suggest that praying to Lord Hanuman is the best way to escape the ill effects. There is a legend that Lord Hanuman subdued Shani Dev, hence praying to Lord Hanuman can protect you from ill-effects of the Shani.
On coming shani amavasya on the 6th of November, there is a grand consecration (abhishek), and shani peeda shanti yagya (sacrifice meant for pacifying shanidev’s influence) in the most famous navgraha temple in the village of Khargon.
Don’t miss this opportunities to participant in Shani Amavasya- Click here for more details: http://www.myastrologypuja.com/shani-amavasya-puja.php
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Navratri in 2010 commences on 8th October and ends on 16th of October. Every year the festival of Navratri starts on the first day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashwin.
What does Navratri means?
The word Navratre or Navratri literally means nine nights. The festival is observed for nine nights and ten days.
Who is the presiding deity of this festival?
During the nine nights and ten days of this festival, nine forms of Durga devi or Shakti are worshipped. The tenth day of this period is well known as vijaydasami, and is celebrated to honour the victory of Lord Rama over evil Ravana.
The festival is celebrated all over the country with great enthusiasm. Even so, it holds special significance for Bengalis and Guajaratis. Highlights of Navratri in Gujarat region are dandiya and garba raas.
Farmers sow seeds in the field and pray to Durga Devi for good yield.
As mentioned above nine form of Durga Devi are worshipped during the nine nights. The first three days are dedicated to Durga Devi dressed in red clothes, mounted on a lion. Various incarnations, signifying three different stages of womanhood, viz. child, young girl and a mature woman, are worshipped like Kumari, Parvati Devi, and Kali Devi.
The next three days are dedicated to Lakshmi devi or Goddess of fortune. She is worshipped dressed in gold and riding on an owl.
The last three days are dedicated to the worship of Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of learning and knowledge. She is worshipped dressed in white and riding on a milky white swan. Sweets are prepared for the festivities and celebrations and both adults and children dress up in bright new clothes.
Some communities observe rigorous fasting during this nine days period of Navratri. Some don’t eat grains all nine days, some fast on first and the eighth day, and most of the families including meat-eaters, shun even onion-garlic during this period. The festival concludes on the ninth day, also known as Mahanavami. On this day people perform kanya-puja, which is worshipping of very young girls, who have not reached puberty. Usually, nine young girls are invited; representing the nine forms of Durga Devi, and their feet are washed as a mark of respect to Durga Devi. They are offered various food stuffs, clothes, money and other items.
Commercialization has not left the religious festivals also. The festival also became a social thing in some places than a religious observance. Despite of these things there is nothing to dampen the spirit of the devoted followers of Durga Devi.
For creating auspiciousness, people do many kind of poojas and sacrifices during this time. If you want to know more about different auspicious things that can be done during this time or you want to get one done for you, kindly visit http://www.myastrologypuja.com/navaratri-special-puja.php.
We wish all the devotees a very Happy and auspicious Navratri celebration, and pray that Goddess Durga showers her blessings on all of us.
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Pitr-Paksha (Remembering the departed)
Our Hindu dharma teaches us not only to be kind to living, but also remembering and honouring our departed forefathers. As per our ancient Vedic Scriptures, each one of us is indebted to our ancestors. Pitr means ‘forefathers’ and paksha means (a particular phase of the moon) and together ‘pitr-paksha’ means an auspicious time to remember who have passed away. This is a very significant time for all followers of sanatan dharma, better known as Hindus.
The Pitr-Paksha fall during the dark half phase of the months of Ashwini and Bhadrapad (September-October), and lasts for 15 days. This year (2010) Pitr-Paksha starts from 24th September and ends on 7th of October.
To pay homage to our departed ancestors, and receive their blessings, we perform Shraadh ceremony during the month of Pitr-paksha. The belief is that during this period of Pitr-Paksha the forefathers, who have departed, come down to the earthly planet and take rites from their family line. The offering is done through giving the remnants of Lord Vishnu to qualified brahamanas. This offering gives solace to the souls of forefathers, and in some cases grant liberation.
If somebody has Pitr-Dosha in their horoscope, it is observed that person and his family faces financial, health related or other kind of problems. The negative energy is so strong because of this dosha that it hinders the overall development and growth of that person and his family.
Why does Pitr-Dosha occurs?
The Pitr-Dosha occurs when the souls of the departed ancestors are not peaceful due to different reasons. Some of the possible reasons can be:
- Some of their wishes, which were not fulfilled
- Family members failed to honour and remember the ancestors in a proper way
- Impious activities performed by either the children or the ancestors themselves, while living
- Death in an unnatural way
Problems associated with Pitr-Dosha:
If you are facing some of the following problems repeatedly in your life, try to consult a good astrologer, as you might have Pitr-Dosha in your horoscope:
- Problems to conceive
- Repeated illness of your child or children
- Disharmony in the family, leading to unnecessary stress
- Professional growth and education is being checked due to different reasons
If you are facing one or more of the above problems, it is advisable to consult a good astrologer, so that he can check your horoscope to determine the exact nature of Pitr-Dosha in your chart.
Accordingly, he prescribes some remedies. Some of the common remedies for warding off the effects of pitr-dosha include:
- Making balls with ghee and rice, and feeding them to cows weekly, on Sunday.
- Worshipping Lord Narayan is the best of all remedies
- Charity and donations to deserving brahmanas
Besides the above, there are some dedicated rituals also, for instance, ‘Narayan Nagbali Pooja’. This worship is performed only at particular places in India, like, Trambekshwar in Nasik, Haridwar, Kala Hasti in the state of Tamil Nadu etc.
for more information on warding off the effects of pitr-dosha, please visit:
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