February 26, 2012

Ramakrishna Puja

An essential part of puja for the Hindu devotee is making a spiritual connection with the divine. Most often that contact is facilitated through an object: an element of nature, a sculpture, a vessel, or a painting.  This icon is not the deity itself; rather, it is believed to be filled with the deity's cosmic energy. The objects are created as receptacles for spiritual energy that allow the devotee to experience direct communication with his or her gods. Puja is the act of showing reverence to a god, a spirit, or another aspect of the divine through invocations, prayers, songs, and rituals. Sat Chid Ananda Guru. Happy Birthday Ramakrishna!

February 20, 2012

Shiva Ratri

Shiva Ratri is a festival in honor of Lord Shiva and is one of the three sacred nights of the Tantric tradition. In Shiva Ratri one observes vows such as upavasa or “rigorous fast of atonement” jagarana or “to pass the night without sleeping” and sat katha sravanam or “to listen to holy scriptures.” During Shiva Ratri Lord Shiva is worshiped by singing hymns, chanting the Rudram, repeating the sacred mantra "Oṁ Nama Shivaya" and bathing the Shivalingam with milk, yogurt, ghee, sugar, and honey. 

Om Shivaya, Om Shivaya,
Shambho Shankara, Om Shivaya

February 12, 2012

Vivekananda Express Museum on Wheels

Indian Railways is celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda's Birth by dedicating a train by the name of "Vivek Express" a mobile museum/exhibition, which depicts Swamiji’s life and message. This train runs through the country stopping at numerous places allowing the citizens of Indian villages to learn about Swami Vivekananda. Swamiji a great yogi, spiritual teacher, writer and orator was a selfless worker for all humanity and was the living example of the Vedanta philosophy in all its different branches. The Chicago Parliament of Religions (September 11, 1893) described Swami Vivekananda's speech and the beauty of his message to the Western world he was facing for the first time as a rare and perfect moment of supreme emotion. Swami Vivekananda touched upon a wide spectrum of human endeavors in his sayings and writings. Some of his words were not for the spiritual aspirant only but seem to be potentially helpful for the man or woman of the world. He was human eloquence at its highest pitch. In him the Western world found the ideal of Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. 

Read his ground breaking speech:

February 5, 2012


Draw the mind back from its exter­nal pur­suits by means of dis­crim­i­na­tion and lock it up inside at the sacred feet of your Cho­sen Ideal. Per­form japa reg­u­larly (repetition of a mantra) at the appointed hour every day while also med­i­tating on your Ishta Devata. By con­stantly per­form­ing japa the mind can be made calm and steady finally losing itself in God. This com­bined prac­tice brings quick success and the devotee soon feels the joy of spir­i­tual union within the heart.

Photo: Rudraksha Malas, which translates as “the eyes” or “tears” of Shiva, are often called miracle beads and they are cherished in India as one of the holiest items that contain numerous mystical powers and provide tranquility and concentration. Rudraksha is a seed that comes from a fruit tree grown in India, Nepal, Indonesia, and Malaysia.