Friday, September 16, 2011


Bilwa Ashtakam, also spelled Bilwashtakam, Vilvashtakam, or Bilvashtakam, is the asthakam (ashtak) addressed to Lord Shiva. Bilwa Ashtakam is a highly powerful Sanskrit Shiva stotra which are the eight hymns chanted while offering Bilwa (Vilva) leaves to Lord Shiva. The Bilwa (Aegle Marmelos) leaves are one of the main offering to Lord Shiv and by offering Bilva leaves (Koovalam in Malayalam) a devotee can easily please Lord Shiva.

Bilvashtakam is in Sanskrit. It starts with bowing to God Ganesha. It is a very pious Shiva Stotra. God Shiva likes Bilva (tree) leaf. In this stotra, how Bilva leaf is pious and why it is offered to God Shiva when we worship (pooja) him, is described. While performing Pooja of God Shiva, it is said to be incomplete if we don’t offer Bilva Patra (Leaf). 

Chanting Bilwa Ashtakam especially on Maha Shivaratri is considered auspicious. Here is Lyrics of Bilwashtakam with English meaning.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vedic Rituals and Routines!!! Why do wear marks (tilak, and the like) on the forehead?

img from google

The tilak invokes a feeling of sanctity in the wearer and the others. It is recognized as a religious mark. Its form and colour vary according to one's caste, religious sect or the form of te Lord worshipped.

In earlier times, the four castes (based on varna or colour) - Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra - applied marks differently. The brahmin applied a white chandan mark signifying purity, as his profession was of a priestly or academic nature. The kshatriya applied a red kumkum mark signifying valour as he belonged to warrior races. The vaishya wore a yellow kesar or turmeric mark signifying prosperity as he was a businessman or trader devoted to creation of wealth. The sudra applied a black bhasma or kasturi mark signifying service as he supported the work of other three divisions.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vedic Rituals and Routines!!! Why do we prostrate before parents and elders?

Indians prostrate before their parents, elders, teachers and noble souls, by touching their feet. The elders in turn bless us by placing their hand on or over our heads. Prostration is done daily, when we meet elders and particularly on important occasions like the beginning of a new task, birthdays, festivals, etc. In certain traditional circles, prostration is accompanied by 'abhivaadana', which serves to introduce oneself, announce one's family and lineage.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vedic Rituals and Routines !!! Why do we do Namaste (Salutation)?

Indians greet each other with namaste. The two palms are placed together in front of the chest and the head bows whilst saying the word namaste. This greeting is for all ----- people younger than us, of our own age, those older, even strangers.

There are five forms of formal traditional greetings in the Sastras, of which 'namaskar' is one. This is understood as prostration, but it actually refers to paying homage as we do today when we greet each other with a namaste.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Aditya Hridayam Stotram

Lord Surya
Aditya Hridayam is a Stotra by Sage Agastya to Lord Sri Rama at the battle field between Ravana and Rama. The great Cosmic Sage Agastya dictates this hymns of Sun God to Sri Rama to ensure Victory to him. Thus forms part of the yuddha Kanda (Canto 107) of Ramayana by Sage Valmiki said to be written around twenty thousand years ago.

Aditya Hridayam contains the innovative hymns with many secrets and hidden meanings. The Jnana, Jnata, and Jneyam is completed as Sage Agastya is the Jnana and the Lord Rama Jnata and the presiding deity Jneyam is Sun in the heart. Thus the Triputi is completed. Hence it has come to be known as Aditya Hridayam.

Further Sage Agastya has stated that success is assured for all those who recite these Sloka thrice a day.

In Aditya Hridayam there are thirty Slokas in total. In this the first and second sloka depicts the arrival of sage Agastya to Sri Rama. The third stated the greatness of the Stotra, the fourth sloka explained about happiness, liberation and knowledge. The fifth will remove the related sins and with hold sorrows. From Sixth to fifteenth  the description pertains to self effulgence and impresses that one pervading out side and inside is same. From Sixteenth to twentieth slokas are very important for mantra Japa. Here cosmic greatness of Sun God Surya as the internal Caitanya in us is high lighted.

The Slokas from Twenty to twenty four are Mantra Slokas extolling Sun God. From twenty fifth to thirtieth the method of recital by Sri Rama and invoking God to bless him with the requisite strength for the victory in the battle field is stated.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sankat Mochan Hanuman Ashtakam

Sankat Mochan Hanuman

The Sankat Mochan Hanuman Ashtakam is an eight verse prayer in praise of the Hindu God of courage, strength, confidence and devotion Hanuman.

Hanuman is also considered to be an Avatar of Shiva who manifested in order to help Ram, an Avatar of Vishnu overcome the evil forces who had grouped under the King of Lanka Ravan. This prayer describes the victory of good over evil. The victory of Ram over Ravan with the help of Hanuman.

The Sankat Mochan Hanuman Ashtakam is recited by devotees of Hanuman all over India in order to overcome obstacles, dangers, and trouble from enemies. The recitation of the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Ashtakam helps one from the ill effects of planets, particularly Saturn and Mars. This prayer is recited in Hanuman temples more often on Saturdays and Tuesdays the weekly day of Saturn and Mars.

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