Why Shivlinga Is Worshipped
The word Linga implies mark or symbol. In Sankhya Darshan, an ancient stream of Indian philosophy even Prakriti (nature) and Vikriti (distortion of nature) have been referred to as Linga. Skand Purana says LAYANAALLINGA MUCHCHYATE. That means, Linga is Pralay. During the Pralay, everything is incinerated and annihilated in Linga. Even Vedas and other scriptures too annihilate in the Linga. All of them then reappear from the Linga when the creation begins afresh once again.
According to a tale in Shiva Purana, once, a dispute erupted between Brahma and Vishnu regarding greatness. Both of them claimed their greatness. The dispute grew so high that, it is said in the tale, Brahma and Vishnu got ready to destroy each other. Just then, a gigantic Shiva Linga appeared between them. It was radiating intense flames. A celestial voice advised Brahma and Vishnu to fathom the beginning and end of the Linga in order to prove their greatness. But none of them could fathom the Linga completely and returned in submission. Lord Shiva then appeared in the Linga and said- "Since I have myself appeared from this Linga, this place will be known as Lingasthan in future and this fathomless Linga will assume a miniature appearance so that all the living beings can easily have a complete sight of it and worship it.
One day, Shankar was roaming in Daarukvana completely naked and carrying His own phallus in hands. His appearance and activity had a luring affect on the women folk of the sages who inhabited the forest. But at the same time, it infuriated the sages as well who cursed Shankar that His phallus would fall on the earth. Indeed, the phallus fell upon the earth but began to burn everything because of its intense flames. All the gods prayed Lord Shiva to end this ordeal. At their prayers, Lord Shiva installed the Linga in a vagina. In this form, Shiva Linga is still worshipped all over the world. Shiva Linga installed in vagina in fact symbolizes divine nature and the supreme masculine force.
Once, Shukracharya visited Kailash to see Lord Shiva but he could not see Him because Shiva was then copulating with Shakti. Indignant Shukracharya cursed Shiva that only His union with the feminine genital would be worshipped.
According to a tale in Narad Panchratra, all other deities except Shiva are womanish in virtues. With the power of their penance, Brahma, Vishnu and Daksha produced Kaalika Devi. Devi asked them to seek a boon. They said- "O mother! You please lure Lord Shiva in the incarnation of Daksha’s daughter."
Kaalika said- "How can I do it. He is a small boy and no match for me."
Brahma assured her that Shiva was not a small boy and was in fact a complete man. Kaalika then took birth as Daksha’s daughter, Sati. In due course of time, she got married to Lord Shiva. Whenever and wherever radiance resulted from their copulation, it fell on the earth and assumed the form of Shiva Linga installed in vagina.
According to another tale, the gods and the demons had frequent wars and every time, the demons used to defeat the gods. Every time after their defeat, the gods took refuge at Brahma. Thus, annoyed by their frequent visits, Brahma led the gods to Lord Shiva and asked about the reason for their frequent defeats. Lord Shiva said- "The gods do not worship my Linga whereas the demons worship my Linga with full faith and devotion. This is the main reason for the gods’ frequent defeats."
Thus, following Lord Shiva’s advice, the gods also started worshipping Shivalinga. By the virtue of this worship, their strength increased steadily.
A Shivalinga typically represents Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Brahma is present at the base of Shivalinga, Vishnu in the middle and the upper part is occupied by Lord Shiva Himself.
MOOLE BRAHMA TATHA MADHYE VISHNUSTRIBHUVANESHWARAH !
RUDROPARI MAHADEVAH PRNAVASYAH SADASHIVAH !
LINGVEDI MAHADEVI LINGA SAAKSHAAN MAHESHWARAH |
TAYOHA SAMPOOJANAANNITYAM DEVI DEVASHCH PUJITAU ||
Nature is the combined manifestation of all the vaginas, which symbolize fertility. It is in the root of Shivalinga also. A Shivalinga established in a vagina shows supremacy of joy and is in itself joy. Shivalinga symbolizes all the ingredients of the universe. Because of all these reasons, Shivalinga is worshipped.
Why Desire For A Son
In almost every country, people prefer to have a son rather than having a daughter. Almost everywhere, birth of a son is celebrated with great festivity. Even in ancient times, kings and able people perform Putreshti Yagya with a desire for a son. Our ancient scriptures abound with scores of such examples.
There are religious, social as well as economic reasons behind the desire of a son. Right from the moment of birth, a person is burdened with three kinds of debts. These are debts due for the gods, debts due for the sages and debts due for the father. One can easily free himself from his debts, which are due for the gods and for the sages. But to be free from the debts due for the father, one must have a son, preferably a physical son.
A shloka in Sanskrit says -
PUM NARKAM TATASTRAAYATE ITI PUTRAH
One, who salves the father from the tortures of hell, is son. The scriptures say that unless and until a real son performs last rites, a person cannot be salved from the tortures of the hell. A son’s duties do not end with the last rites. He has to offer oblations regularly every year in order to appease his dead father and remote ancestors.
Socially also, a person who has no son is seen with contempt. Even his wealth is plundered after his death if it had no inheritor. Moreover lineage of such a person ends blindly. Because of all these reasons, everybody longs for a son. It is a son who supports his parents in their retiring life when they become physically weak and frail.
Intercourse : When And Why
Exponents of scriptures have intertwined every human activity with certain norms for the benefit of society and saving a man from fall. The whole universe is a result of union of masculine and feminine forces. Life forms are nothing but innumerable distinct manifestation of nature, the invisible force that pervades the entire universe. Barring some lower primitive life forms, all the higher living beings require union of male and female forces for their continuation. Human being is no exception to this rule.
Since the day humans appeared on earth, continuation of this race involved physical union of man and woman. With time, this union evolved into elaborate rituals and refined institution like marriage. Long ago, our ancestors devised certain norms and taboos in order to ensure sanctity in the relation between man and woman. They had complete control over their sexual drives while they honoured the tradition of their clans regarding selection of mate.
For the benefit of the individual and the society as a whole, it is imperative that a thing should be done at the right and auspicious moment. Only then such a thing could be favourable for the doer. The same thing applies to the physical union of man and woman. Scriptures have very clearly opined in this regard. Accordingly, after the menses, intercourse should be carried out on any auspicious moment on days except the fourth, eighth, fourteenth and moonless and full moon nights.
Time from the appearance of menses, up to the sixteenth day is known as Ritukaal for a woman. During this period, a woman is especially in heat and an intercourse without the use of contraceptives is sure to result into a pregnancy. The first four nights of this period are forbidden period. During this time, dark-coloured blood with peculiar smell flows. Contact with such a woman is harmful for both the partners physically as well as psychologically.
Besides the first four nights, intercourse is prohibited on the eleventh and thirteenth nights also. Remaining ten nights are completely conducive for the intercourse. Even on these ten days, if a festival or full moon and moonless nights fall, intercourse must be postponed. Positions of the Sun and the Moon on these days are such that their combined effects influence profoundly the human psychology and the movement of fluids in the body. An intercourse involves perfect streamlining of bodily fluids and if it is carried out on any of these days, adverse effects on the body cannot be ruled out. Even a child that a woman bears, on full moon and moonless nights may carry these defects like having two heads, a tail, four hands, joint bodies or psychological defects like being cruel, daredevils, murderers etc. Even the birds and animals enjoy intercourse at a prefixed time set by the nature. The male bird and animal scent their female counterparts to judge whether they are really ready to conceive or not. They proceed to intercourse only when the female is in oestrous.
Nights have been fixed as the precise period for enjoying intercourse. Even at night, time from nine to twelve is most conducive that to at least one and half-hours after taking dinner. Intercourse is strictly prohibited at twilight of dawn and dusk. It has a spiritual as well as physical significance. An intercourse carried out at unfavourable time always leads to the birth of a demonic child. Ravan is one such profound example. Despite being a Brahmin by birth, he developed demonic virtues for his parents had an intercourse at twilight.
In the modern era, when girls are faring well in almost every field and are no less than the boys, there are many people who long for a son. In their effort to have a son, such people keep on producing many girl children and blame the destiny for their condition. Practice of patience and recognition of appropriate time is important for such people who want to have a son. Such people must carry out intercourse on the even days after the menses that is they should carry out intercourse on sixth, eighth, tenth, twelfth, fourteenth or sixteenth day after the menses. Intercourse on the odd days that is fifth, seventh, ninth, eleventh, thirteenth and fifteenth days after the menses is favourable for having a girl child. It is said that during an intercourse, excess of seminal fluid leads to a boy child whereas excess of Ruj (female fluid of excitement) leads to the birth of a girl child.
It is said that after the menses are over, a peculiar kind of excitement (cupid wave) overtakes the woman. This wave rises and falls on alternate days. On even days, cupid wave subsides whereas on odd days, it surges. Thus, having intercourse on auspicious moments in auspicious days not only maintains sanctity and good health that also helps one to get a desired offspring.
Why Should One Take Bath Daily ?
Bath is taken for the cleansing of body. From religious as well as scientific points of view, bath has an important place in daily routine of a person. Bath is a customary activity in all the religious and social functions of Hindus. Daily life of a Hindu usually begins with bath. Some people conclude their day with bath also. A child is first of all given a bath soon after his birth. On the other hand, a dead body is also given a ritual bath. Importance associated with holy places of pilgrimage like Haridwar, Kashi, Prayag, Kurukshetra, Ujjain, Nasik, Pushkar and many others is mainly due to the bath if not entirely. In the first Mahakumbh of the millenium, which is currently on in Allahabad, crores of people have taken a dip at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers so far. It is said that taking a bath at holy place of pilgrimage helps a person attain various religious objectives including salvation.
Scientifically too, bath has profound benefits. Our skill contains crores of minute pores through which toxic substances pass out in the form of sweat and wax. This activity is highly important to maintain the thermal balance of a human body. Sweat keeps on evaporating there by taking a lot of heat with it. But the various other substances like grime keep on accumulating right on the skin. It is necessary to constantly remove that grime otherwise, it would lead to clogging of the sweat pores. Once, the pores are closed, internal toxic substances cannot come out and would go on accumulating in the body causing serious disturbances in bodily activities. Stenching body is the first indication that something is wrong with a person. With daily bath, this grime can be washed away and good health be maintained.
It is also a well known fact that our body is composed of five basic elements- earth, water, air, fire and ether. Proper balance of all these elements within the body is extremely necessary for life. Each of these elements keeps on decaying in our body. Hence, their constant replenishment is also necessary. The food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe are the means to replenish these five basic elements in our body. When the level of water decreases within the body, it begins to feel uneasy. Burning sensation in and around the stomach indicates that the body immediately needs replenishment of water. Drinking of water quenches this feeling. But out skin also keeps on losing water and bath is the only way to replenish it. Thus with bath, body receives extreme satisfaction and becomes active. Mind also feels pleasant and lethargy is destroyed.
Need Of Rosary With 108 Beads ?
Our ancient sages and hermits have regarded a rosary with 108 beads as highly beneficial. They have also shed ample light on their reasoning behind this belief.
In a year, the Sun has 216000 phases in all. It remains southward and northwards for a period of six months alternatively. Thus, it has two kinds of movements in a year. To find out the number of phases, the Sun can have total number of its phases i.e. 216000 is divided by 2.
Thus in one kind of motion, the Sun has 108000 phases. Removing all the trailing zeroes from this number, we find 108. This number has great religious as well as astrological significance. Hence use of rosary with 108 beads is mandatory.
Entire path of the constellations is spread in all the four directions. There are 27 different constellations that according to astrology mostly influence human life. Our sages multiplied this number of constellations (27) by four and fixed the resultant number (108) as the required number of beads in a rosary. Thus with 108 beads, a rosary depicts the entire path of 27 constellations and all the four directions. Apart from it, each constellation has four segments. Thus, all the 27 constellations have 108 segments in all. This combination is also reflected in 108 beads of a rosary.
According to another hypothesis, a human being breathes 21600 times in an Ahoratra (day and night taken together).
SHAT SHATAANI DIVAARAATRAU SAHASTRAANYEK VINSHATIH |
AITATSANKHYAATMAKAM MANTRAM JEEVO JAPATI SARVADAA ||
Thus half period of an Ahoratra is passed in activities like sleeping, eating, bathing and all other mundane tasks. Another half of an Ahoratra comprising of 10800 breaths must be reserved for reciting God's name. Scriptures also dictate that not even a single breath ought to go waste in our life. Hence scriptures advice that a person tells a rosary with 108 beads atleast once in a day simultaneously chanting the Lord's name, all the breaths find a purpose. If rosary is told with proper rituals, it yields hundred times more benefits. By proper rituals, it means telling of rosary atleast 100 times a day. Thus it equals (108 x 100) to 10800 i.e. equal to half the number of breaths during an Ahoratra. All it means to say that number of telling of rosary that is necessary to make the number of breaths purposeful can be known only with the help of a rosary having 108 beads. Hence provision for 108 beads in a rosary has been provided by our sages.
There is yet another reason for the provision of 108 beads in a rosary. There are 10800 Muhurts in a year. Three major Vedas also contain 10800 couplets. Average age of a human being has also been assumed to be 100 years. If 10800 Muhurts are divided by the average life span of a human being, we find 108. Telling of rosary atleast once a day depicts that a human being has finished study of Vedas in his entire life.
Need Of Customs ?
For complete detail of the consecration, please visit our site and check out 16 Sanskar (Sixteen ConsecRATIONS)
Almost all the races in all the countries of the world follow some kinds of customs and consecrations. India is known in the world as a country of customs and consecrations. Our religious scriptures, which had been written in ancient times, show the greatness of our customs. Customs and consecrations are necessary for a person to have a status in the society. In fact, a baby is not accepted in the society until and unless, consecrations for him have been carried out after his birth. All the babies are born with similar features but it is customs and consecrations that differentiate them into distinct human beings with a prominent religious and social label. Vedas associate similar significance to consecrations as they have associated with the birth. Consecrations in a way signify second birth of the baby.
Mother nature provides each and every human being with all the things that are necessary for life. But we cannot use these things in their original form because of certain impurities related to them. Even the cereals that constitute a staple diet of most of the world's population cannot be used in their original form. Cereals are therefore processed in order to remove their impurities and enhance qualities. Thus processing involves three stages- removal of impurities, addition of qualities and replenishment of deficiencies. Even the precious gold has to undergo these stages from its mining to its conversion finally into a splendid crown. At the time of mining, the gold is no more than an ordinary lump containing lot of impurities. It is then heated in furnace to remove these impurities. With the removal of impurities, it acquires a peculiar glitter. Goldsmiths then process this glittering gold adding to its qualities. Adornment of gold with precious gemstones replenishes its deficiencies further. Thus finally an ordinary lump assumes form of a precious object.
Almost all the objects in the world attain completion passing through these three types of processing. Similar thing applies to a human being also. Consecrations must essentially be carried out for a human being to convert him into a person having a status and accepted by the society. Among Hindus, sixteen consecrations are carried out from birth till death for a person. Even the process of conception has a customary value. So, some of the consecrations are carried out before the birth of a person whereas last rites are also carried out as a consecration after the death of a person.
Rising Up Early In The Morning ?
We teach our children to get up early in the morning. As children, we have ourselves learnt from our parents to get up early in the morning. Indeed, getting up early in the morning has benefits beyond imagination. Mother nature is specially bountiful at dawn. Every aspect of nature is favourable for sound health in the morning. The wind is full of life-giving oxygen and comparatively free from scores of pollutants.
All through the night, the atmosphere carries out self-cleansing process. Different pollutants, suspended particles, smoke, smog, poisonous gases and other harmful agents that accumulate in the air throughout the day as a result of different human and natural activities settle during the quietness of the night. Hence in the morning, air is particularly fresh and clean. It is also said that all through the night, the moonlight keeps on impregnating the air with ambrosia. Its full benefit can be had in the early morning only because as the day rises, ambrosial quality of air decreases. Those who expose themselves to the morning air remain healthy, wealthy and sound all through their lives.
Atmosphere contains 73 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen and other gases like carbon dioxide, make up the remaining percentage. Unfortunately, for the past 200 years, percentage of carbon dioxide and other pollutants have been increasing in the atmosphere at an alarming rate. Their implications have already begun to manifest causing grave concern for all the governments and wise people all over the globe.
Since the day break, as the human activities begin, these polluting gases and other particles keep on accumulating in the atmosphere whereas concentration of oxygen decreases. Towards the evening, these pollutants reach their peak. Their effect also begin to appear on human beings in the evening. You also might have experienced tiredness in the evening and inability to distinguish the smell. Thanks to the cleansing power of the night that the living beings including humans regain their lost energy and receive benefit of the fresh and pure air in the morning.
Human body is a marvellous creation of nature. It incorporates entire nature in it. As the night cleanses up the external atmosphere, similarly it also cleanses human body. A good night sleep revigorates the entire nervous system of the body and replenishes the energy it had lost during the day. Thus in the morning, the body experiences new lease of life. Mind is fully alert and receptive. Hence the body is fully capable of carrying out even the most complex task.
Need Of Oil Massage ?
Maharshi Charak, the great physician of ancient India has described vegetable oil having eight times more power than ghee. The only difference is that the ghee is consumed internally whereas oil is applied externally in the form of massage. Continuous massage with oil always leads to improvement in the general health. Ordinary but irritating skin diseases like itching, ringworm, eczema and pimples can also be kept at bay with the help of massage.
Skin attains a new glow and tenderness by massage whereas blood flow increases beneath the skin. Maharshi Charak says that air has the maximum importance in keeping our body healthy. Apart from inhaling through breathing, air is also absorbed by the skin. Hence, a healthy skin is extremely necessary for the proper intake of air and skin's health can be ensured with proper massage.
SPARSHANE CHAADHIKO VAAYU SPARSHNAM CHA TVAGAASHRITAM |
TVACHANCH PARMOABHYANGAH TASMAATAM SHEELYENNARAH ||
Mustard oil is regarded as the best for massaging purpose. In its absence, other oils like coconut, olive, safflower, sunflower and even groundnut oil can be used. Some well-to-do people can even opt for expensive almond oil. An oil can be applied in pure form. Alternatively, a decoction of various medicinal herbs can be prepared in oil and that oil can be used for massaging. This way, many deep rooted diseases can also be cured. Like other parts of the body, head massage has great importance in treating the disorders like headache, falling hair and weakness of the brain. A man who constantly takes massage can never lose his hearing. Massage acts as a panacea for foot and eye disorders. Our religious scriptures however dictate that one should avoid massage on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Need Of Tilak ?
Tilak (mark made on forehead as an emblem of a sect) can be made with many things like sandalwood paste, vermilion, cinnabar, ashes etc. But the tilak, which is made with the soils collected from different places of pilgrimage has unlimited benefits. In the ancient time, people used to wash their hands with soils. Germ killing capability of the soil is even recognized by the modern science. Put anything in soil and soil annihilates it within a few days. Hence soil is an excellent medium for smearing the body.
Application of soil tilak on the forehead means a strong curtain to keep the mind pious. A tilak on the forehead also depicts upward movement of spinal nerve from the base of the heart to the top of the brain. Every thought that arise in our mind first of all triggers a vibration in the nerves of the brain. With that vibrations, brain stimulates all the sense and motor organs to act in a co-ordinated way. Hence purity of thoughts and distortion free brain is necessary for faithful execution of the thought. A spot on the forehead between the eyebrows is known as the forecenter. Whenever thinking gets intense, one feels slight pain at that spot. Hence, our sages made provision of applying a tilak at this spot to relieve it from unnecessary tension. Even the most distrusting people prefer to apply a tilak with sandalwood paste on their forehead when they suffer from severe headache. Isn't it wonderful ?
Need Of Applying Vermilion In The Parting Line Of Hair ?
At the time of marriage, vermilion is applied in the parting line of bride's hair for the first time. Since that day, as long as her husband is alive, a married woman has to follow this tradition without fail. Applying of vermilion in the parting line of hair has religious as well as scientific reasons. According to Adbhut Ramayan, application of vermilion brings fortune for the husband and he enjoys a long life. Sita had herself related this fact to Hanumana.
According to astrology, parting line of hair is similar to Naagin (female cobra). If after marriage, it is left as it is, it brings great misfortunes for the bride. Application of vermilion in the parting line of hair does away with this fault and at the same time suppresses the Naagin.
Scientifically, the parting line of hair is the most tender spot of women and application of vermilion provides it with due protection because of the presence of metals like mercury in the vermilion. This metal not only controls the electrical impulses in a woman's body but also curbs her excitement and protects the tender spot from external defects. Apart from it, parasites like lice, dandruff etc. also find a suitable home in a woman's hair. Vermilion also keeps these parasites at bay.
Why Not Have Siesta ?
Scriptures say - DIVAASWAAPAM CHA VARJAYET ||
Except during the summer season, a healthy person must not sleep in the day in any other season. This condition does not apply to the children, old people, patients and those who work in night shifts. According to Ayurveda, sleeping during the day leads to establishment of catarrh in the body. If the habit of sleeping in day time is not given up earlier, this condition takes firm root and produces cough related disorders in the body.
Most of the people who habitually sleep during the day suffer from respiratory disorders like asthma, bronchitis and even tuberculosis. Hence as far as possible, one must desist from taking a slumber during day.
Worship Of Cow ?
All the Puranas, Vedas and other religious scriptures abound in the glorious description of the cow. In the whole creation of Lord, cow has a significant place. Just look at her face and you will feel bound by the divinity of it. Her eyes appear glowing tranquil free from craftiness and meditating. Cow is said to be the daughter of Vasus, sister of gods and mother of the Marudgana. Her milk is like ambrosia that has been feeding the human beings since long.
MATA RUDRAANAAM DUHITA VASUNAAM |
SWASAA AADITYAANAAM MRITASYA NAAMIH || (Aranyak)
The trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh say in the praise of the cow- O mother! You are the mother of the gods, you are the cause of all the Yagyas and holier than all the places of pilgrimage. We greet you. In your forehead reside the Moon, the Sun, Arun and Shankar. In your mooing resides Saraswati. In the hanging part of your neck resides Narayan, in the hooves reside Gandharvas and four Vedas and in the mouth are situated all the places of pilgrimage.
TVAM MAATA SARVA DEVAANAAM TVAM CHA YAGYASYA KAARANAM |
TVAM TIRTHAM SARVATIRTHAANAAM NAMASTEASTU SADAANADHE
SHASHISURYAARUNA YASYAA LALAATE VRISHABHDWAJAH
SARASWATI CHA HUNKAARE SARVE NAAGAASHCH KAMBALE
KHURPRISHTHE CHA GANDHARVA VEDAASHCHATVAAR AIV CHA
MUKHAAGRE SARVATIRTHAANI STHAVARAANI CHARAANI CHA || (Skand Purana)
According to a description in Shiv Purana, the four udders of the cow symbolise Swahakaar, Swadhakaar, Vashatkar and Hantakaar respectively. Swahakaar udder feeds the gods, Swadhakaar feeds the ancestors, Vashatkar feeds Bhuteshwar deities and Hantakaar feeds the human beings. Those who feed a cow with faith attain the fruits of performing an Agnihotri Yagya.
Varaha Purana also speaks a lot in the praise of the cow. According to it, a cow is a divine animal. In all parts of her body reside all the gods. She eats petty ordinary things but converts them into nectar and distributes it among the human beings. She is holier than the holiest place of pilgrimage, sacred among the most sacred things and nourisher of all. Tradition of donating a cow has been in practice since long in our country. The curd made from her milk sates the deities, her milk sates Lord Shankar, ghee from her milk sates Agni and kheer made from her milk sates Brahma. Panchgavya that is made from various products obtained from a cow yields fruit of Ashwamedha Yagya. Wherever a cow lives, all the major deities, Lakshmi, knowledge and religion also come to stay there.
Donating a cow at the time of death ensures a place in heaven. It is said that in the way of Yamapuri, there lies a formidable river Vaitarni in which foamy blood flows. Fearsome serpents that abound in that river bite all those who cross it. But holding the tail of a cow leads one easily across the river because in her tail stays the religion and no one can dare to challenge religion.
From economic and hygienic point of view, a cow deserves to be reared and fostered. Cow is an important livestock in our country. It has important contribution in operation flood aimed to increase milk production in India. Her children in the form of oxen are still an indispensable part of Indian agriculture despite all the mechanisation and modernisation. Her dung produces manure which is essential to retain and replenish the fertility of the soil.
Cow’s milk is a delicious and nutritious food. It is naturally sweet, cool and provides lubrication to the veins and arteries of our body. It is rich in protein, fat and vitamins A and B complex. Hence it is not surprising to see that cow has been a venerable domestic animal in our country since ancient times.
Worship Of Peepal ?
In our religious scriptures and epics, Peepal has been described as Ashwath tree. Botanically it is known as Ficus religiousa. This name shows religious significance that is associated with Peepal. Our scriptures contain profuse mention of Peepal.
According to Skand Purana, Lord Vishnu resides in the root of Peepal. In its trunk live Keshav and in the branches Narayan, in its leaves Hari and in its fruits live all the other gods. Thus from the tip of its root to the top of its shoot, Peepal is an idol of Lord Vishnu. Lord Buddha too had attained enlightenment beneath a Peepal tree. Peepal has been an integral part of our society. There would be no village where one cannot find a Peepal tree. The village Panchayats still gather beneath a Peepal tree in many villages. Watering Peepal with water and sugar is a sure remedy to undo the adverse influence of Shani.
There is a practice of tying a thread around Peepal’s trunk after watering it. There is a story behind this custom. At the time of sea’s churning, Goddess Lakshmi had emerged from the sea. Her counterpart Alakshmi also had emerged with her. Alakshmi symbolized penury and hence, there was no taker for her. She begged Lord Vishnu to take her also with Him. But Lakshmi was not ready to share Lord Vishnu with her, so she protested. Hence Lord Vishnu ordered Alakshmi to take an abode on Peepal tree. Since then, Alakshmi lives there. Anytime an unwary devotee forgets to tie a thread around Peepal’s trunk, Alakshmi comes to ride him or her causing great poverty. That is why custom of tying a thread around Peepal’s trunk after watering it came into practice. Shrimad Bhagwat Gita describes Peepal as the king of all the vegetation. Lord has made Peepal His symbol, hence all the scriptures forbid cutting of this tree.
Mouse: The Vehicle Of Lord Ganesh ?
All the gods have two appearances - tangible and intangible. They stay in the physical world in their intangible form whereas in the divine abode, they stay in their tangible form. In the tangible form, all the gods have their own vehicle. A vehicle in fact reflects the god’s own radiance.
Lord Ganesh Himself is gigantic in appearance whereas His vehicle mouse is extremely small. In fact, soul is neither heavy nor light. It is smaller than the smallest and greater than the greatest. A mouse is thus yet another form of Lord Ganesh. This fact becomes clear only upon slight contemplation. Vrihadaaranyak Upanishad says that Ganesha’s vehicle is in fact a symbol of all pervasive omniscient Brahma. Like the omnipresent Brahma, a mouse stays in every household. But it is not visible all the time. Members of a household come to know about it only when its action begins to manifest.
Ganesh is the Lord of knowledge and intelligence. Likewise, His vehicle, mouse, is also the symbol of wisdom, talent and intelligence. Its action involves complete shredding of anything. It symbolises minute investigation of a cryptic subject. Thus a mouse represents an investigating mind which is essential for making progress and developing talent and knowledge.
A mantra of Rigveda narrates a tale. According to it, a sage was feeling tormented by the mice which were biting his genitals. The sage was hence praying the gods to get him rid of his torments. This tale clearly points that a mouse also symbolises the sexual feeling, sexual urge and sexual behaviour. A sex-dominated behaviour is not divine; it is an animal instinct. In such a conscience that is over ridden by sex, gods do not stay. In order to attain proximity with gods, one must overcome his sexual urges and develop a pious attitude. Following celibacy is a sure way to achieve this. Hence to worship Lord Ganesh, one must essentially control his sexual urges that lie dormant in his conscience.
A mouse leads a clandestine life below the ground. Thus it is also a symbol of ignorance that is dominant in darkness and fears light and knowledge. A worshipper of Ganesh therefore must illuminate his life with knowledge and control all those powers that become dominant in darkness. For this the trainer must have to be alert always and see that no corner of his inner conscience remains in dark. If a slight ignorance remains in his conscience, it may overtake him at any unwary moment. All his penance then will come to nought. Thus as the vehicle of Lord Ganesh, a mouse teaches us to remain always on alert and illuminate our inner self with the light of knowledge.
A mouse is the greatest enemy of farmers who are the rulers of the element earth. Thus being the vehicle of Lord Ganesh, mouse indicates that in order to achieve nutritious cereals, control of mouse-like rodents is must.
Why Is Ganesh Worshiped First ?
Traditionally, every religious and auspicious function begins with worship of Lord Ganesh. No other god is equal in significance to Ganesh. The reason for this greater significance is that the word Ganesh is a form of Brahma and hence symbolises Omkar.
The metaphysical knowledge says that Omkar is the basic reason for this whole creation. It is the first manifested appearance of that unmanifested Brahma. According to Upanishads, sky was the first to appear from Brahma. Being the purest form of matter, the sky symbolises Omkar. Sense of sky is nothing but sound. All the other things in universe appeared later from the sound. Shrimad Bhagwat also says that sound emerged from Parmeshwar. From sound emerged the sky, from sky emerged touch, from touch, air emerged. From air form took birth and form produced radiance. Radiance produced fire and fire produced taste. Taste produces water and water produced smell. Ultimately, the earth appeared from the smell. Thus in the beginning of this process, there was nothing but sound. Resonating sound is thus the primitive constituent of universe. This universal form of resonance when meets the ear, it is heard as Omkar. Keeping this form of Omkar in view, it is stated to be equal with God and hence venerable.
AITANNAANAVATARAANAAM NIDHAANAM BIJAMVYAYAM |
YASYAAMSHAAMSHEN SRIJYANTE DEVTIRYANGNARADAYAH || (Srimad Bhagwat)
It is the indestructible seed of different incarnations. From the parts of it, all the gods, birds and animals and human beings have been created.
Shri Ganpatya Atharvasheersh says that Ganapati is the manifested appearance of Omkar. Such as recitation of Omkar is a must in the beginning of all the auspicious occasions and installation of idols. Similarly, worship of Lord Ganesh is essential in the beginning of every auspicious occasion.
Decapitation Of Ganesh ?
In the Puranas, there is a story of how, Lord Shiva beheaded His own son, Ganesh. According to the tale, once Lord Shiva was away from His abode when Maata Parvati wished to have a bath. Thus she created a son from the grime of her body and appointed him to guard the gate that nobody should come in while she was taking bath. Thereafter she began to bathe but meanwhile Lord Shiva arrived and ignoring the boy at the gate, proceeded to enter the palace. The boy stood in front of Him and prevented His entry. Indignantly, Lord Shiva beheaded the boy. When Maata Parvati came to know about the incident, she wailed in despair. For her pleasure, Lord fixed an elephant’s head on the torso of the dead boy and revived him. Thus Lord Ganesh came to assume His present appearance.
This incident had a prefixed reason behind it. Once upon a time, Surya had killed the demons, Mali and Sumaali. This infuriated Lord Shiva because Mali and Sumaali were His devotees. So, Lord Shiva launched His trident on Surya. The blow of the trident was unbearable for Surya and he fell from his chariot unconscious.
Seeing that dire condition of his son, sage Kashyap began to wail in agony. All the gods soon accompanied him and began to cry mournfully. Without the regular motion of Surya, the whole world was plunged in darkness. Sage Kashyap cursed Lord Shiva that as from His trident, his son had been hit, one day His own son will be decapitated by His trident. Shiva’s anger subsided soon afterwards. He resurrected Surya but because of Kashyap’s curse, He had to cut the head of His own son.
Six Heads Of Kartikeya ?
Once upon a time, all the three worlds were reeling under the atrocities of the demon Tarkasur. Even the gods were not spared from his wrath. So all the gods approached Brahma and requested him to get them rid of the demon’s atrocities. Brahma told them that only the son of Lord Shiva could kill the demon. All the gods then with a purpose of getting Shiva’s son arranged for His marriage with Maata Parvati. But even after marriage, thousands of years passed but no son took birth. Then one day all the gods once again approached Lord Shiva to remind Him of His duty. Lord Shiva and Maata Parvati were then enjoying intimacy. The approach of the gods caused a disturbance in their romantic moments. With spread palms, all the gods requested them for a son. Lord Shiva had just ejaculated, so Maata Parvati put His semen on the palm of Agni. Agni drank it without considering the results.
But as a result of drinking Lord’s semen, radiance of Agni began to wane. While he was heading towards Brahmaloka, Agni happened to pass a river Kutila. Agni requested earth to bear the semen and assured her that the semen would produce a fortunate son from her. Hearing these words and with a hope of having a son, Kutila requested Agni to release that semen in her waters. Agni was waiting for this occasion. He at once released Shiva’s semen in the waters of Kutila. But Kutila too felt herself unable to bear Lord’s semen.
When the radiance of the semen became unbearable for her, she approached Brahma. Brahma asked her to reach Udyachal and release the semen there in the forest of reeds. Thus Kutila reached Udyachal and released the foetus in the forest of reeds.
After ten thousand years, a boy took birth from that foetus. The boy was radiating like the Sun. Lying there amidst the reeds; the baby began to cry emanating thunder-like sound. While the boy was crying six Kritikas happened to pass that way. Seeing a nascent baby in the forest, all six of them descended there. All of them wanted to suckle the baby with her milk. This resulted in a row among them as to who would feed the baby first. Seeing their dispute, the baby acquired six heads and began to suckle their milk simultaneously. That is how Shiva’s son Skand came to acquire six heads and known as Shadanan. Since six Kritikas had fed him with their milk he also go the name Karthikeya.
The Four Heads Of Brahma ?
With a desire of creating the universe, Brahma began his penance contemplating on Savitri in his heart. During the penance, his own body divided into two parts- half-masculine and half- feminine. The female part later on became popular as Saraswati Shatrupa. Savitri, Gayatri and Brahmani are other names of Shatrupa. But Brahma got so engrossed in his penance that he did not realise the division of his body and birth of Savitri. Though she was his daughter, yet Brahma fell in love with her enchanting beauty. Now Brahma had nothing else to do except looking at the pretty face of Savitri.
Thereafter, bowing her head, Savitri greeted Brahma and began to circumambulate him. Still Brahma kept on looking at her. When Savitri reached Brahma’s right hand side, a head appeared on his torso and looked at Savitri’s face. When Savitri reached Brahma’s backside, one more head appeared that looked backward. When Savitri reached Brahma’s left hand side, the fourth head appeared in that direction on Brahma’s torso. Thus Brahma got four heads but because he had cultivated lustrous feelings for his daughter hence the results of his penance were destroyed.
WHY KEEPING LEGS TOWARDS SOUTH DURING SLEEP IS PROHIBITED?
“One should not keep his legs towards south while sleeping.” This particular statement of our scriptures is based on scientific facts and which is followed religiously even by the illiterate women inspite of being unaware about its scientific significance.
Sometimes ago, scientists were of the view that the Sun was static and all the planets revolved around it but the new discoveries have revealed that even the Sun is revolving- it is not only revolving but is also moving in an unspecified direction along with the whole solar system. Our ancient sages were aware that all the planets of the solar system were stable only because of the gravitational force of the Sun. In the same way, the Sun was stable because of the gravitational force of Dhruv, which was situated towards the north.
If a person keeps his head towards north during sleep then there is a bad effect on his heart and mind. Sleeping in this position causes hindrance in the process of digestion. The magnetic force of the earth pushes the excrement present in the intestines in the upward direction instead of pushing it downwards. This unnatural movement of the excrement affects the heart and mind in a bad way.
On the contrary, if we sleep keeping our legs towards north then our digestive system would work in a proper manner. The magnetic current will enter our body through the head and will come out from the legs. This will have a very favourable effect on our body and we will wake up in the morning fully energetic and refreshed.
WHY SOME PEOPLE ARE ATHEISTS
Although our scriptures and ancient sages have stressed on the importance of worship yet we find some people disinclined towards worship. What is the reason? Just as a person suffering from fever develops aversion towards food, in the same way, the presence of atheism in a man goes to prove that he is suffering from some spiritual disease. Just as after the person has been cured of his fever, again starts liking food, similarly, an atheist becomes an ardent devotee once his spiritual disease gets cured.
WHY AUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES ARE PROHIBITED AFTER THE SETTING OF JUPITER
The planet Jupiter is supposed to be the bestower of knowledge. Similarly, all activities related with human aspirations and desires are credited to Venus. The setting of both these planets weakens mental and physical abilities of a man. For a successful accomplishment of his work, a man needs a strong mind as well as a strong body.
WHY SHIVALINGA AND SHALIGRAM DO NOT HAVE LIMBS
The presence of this universe goes to prove the existence of Almighty God because going by the theory of cause and effect, one cannot exist without the another. The creation cannot exist without a creator. It is altogether another matter that our mortal eyes cannot perceive him. The round or oval shape of Shaligram and Shivalinga symbolizes the universe, which is believed to be of the same shape. All the heavenly bodies and planets are in round shape. This is the reason why round shape has been given to the form of Almighty.
The tradition of idol worship has been continuing since time immemorial in our country. Sage Narad had instructed Dhruv to worship the image of Lord Vishnu as a result of which Dhruv was able to realise God. While on his way to Lanka, Lord Rama had established and worshipped a Shivalinga at Rameshwaram.
Although, the Almighty God is both formless and with form, it is difficult to concentrate on his formless appearance unless and until one has mastered the art of concentration by worshipping his ‘with form’ appearance. So, idol worship works as a stepping stone in the path of God realization. Its importance can be understood by the following example- To attain knowledge, a book is required. Now, knowledge is devoid of any form and shape whereas the book has its shape and size. Similarly, musical instruments that have shapes and size are required to produce musical notes. The taste, which we get from different eatables are the best example of attaining ‘formless’ with the help of ‘with form’.
A map has no importance for an illiterate man and who is not well versed with art of map reading but a man who knows how to read a map can understand all its minutest details. Similarly, for an ignorant man, idol worship appears absurd but for a believer, it is the means by which God can be realized.
WHY MARRIAGE IS PROHIBITED WHEN JUPITER ENTERS LEO
The Almighty God after having created all the planets of the solar system also created their abodes i.e. the twelve zodiacs. According to Indian astrology, the sun is considered to be the lord of zodiac sign Leo whereas the Moon is believed to be the lord of Cancer.The remaining five planets are given the lordship of two zodiacs each. Rahu and Ketu being shadow planets are not believed to be independent planets and hence they are not given lordship of
While travelling on its orbit, Jupiter enters the zodiac of Leo after every 13 years. The Jupiter is believed to be the bestower of knowledge and learning and hence one should properly utilize this opportunity in attaining knowledge instead of wasting it on worldly tendencies like marriage etc. One would get enough opportunities to indulge in such activities.
Jupiter is believed to be the preceptor of all the deities including Sun God. It is the duty of a disciple to treat his guru with due respect and reverence whenever he arrives at his home, forgetting about everything else. This is the reason why marriage is prohibited whenever Jupiter enters the zodiac of Leo.