Vani’s Musings

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Saraswathi Namastubhyam

 Varade KaamaruupiNi

Vidyaarambham Karishyaami

Siddhirbhavatume Sadaa 

Our Saints and Poets have sung eons in her praise and we continue to follow that tradition. No academic activity begins without a prayer to Goddess Saraswathi. 

It was a practice during my school and college days to have a Saraswathi Pooja every year in school just before the examinations. It was during some time off while at work today, that my colleagues and I went back to those lovely days and remembered the Saraswathi Pujas.

 Since I was just aware of very basic details about this Goddess, decided to do some research, and the result of that research is what I am sharing with my readers today.

Goddess Saraswati is the presiding deity of the spoken word. She is considered to be Lord Brahma’s ‘maanasa putrika’ though later events led to their marriage and they began to be worshipped as the primordial couple.

Mounting on her divine vehicle Swan, she plays on Kachchapi, her Veena and is worshipped as the presiding deity of all knowledge. She resides in Satyaloka along with her consort Lord Brahma. Narada, the celestial saint is their ‘maanasa putra’.The legend has it, that once Lord Brahma utters a lie of having sighted the nether portion of Shiva Linga and Lord Shiva, who, angered by the false claim curses Brahma that his speech (Saraswati) be converted to a river. It is believed that the dry parched region of the present day Thar Desert is at one time a stretch of River Saraswati. To this day, scientists believe that the river still flows underneath the Thar and attempts are onto trace the river. At any confluence of two rivers, Saraswati is deemed to be hidden underneath and thus the place assumes the nomenclature TRIVENI. A very famous example is of the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi as “Guptagaamini” in Prayaag, India.

Uniqueness of Saraswati:The term Saraswati envelops a vast expanse of meaning ranging from Vaagdevi, river, Veda Mata and to the giver of knowledge. The celestial mother Aadishakti manifested herself as Lakshmi, Parvati and Saraswati. Hence Goddess Saraswati is considered to be the very epitome of Sakthi or Cosmic Power.Not only mortals, but also even the celestial beings in Heaven are said to be the beneficiaries of Saraswati’s benevolence. Her shower of mercy empowers speech and all other fine arts.

 ETYMOLOGY:The word Saraswati means a string of rivers. The goddess is also known by synonyms like Braahmi, Bharati, Bhaasha, Geeh, Vaak, Vaani, Saarada, Saraswati, Maha Sookta, Kaadambari to name a few. All the letters in the alphabet are considered to be the different forms of the goddess.

APPEARANCE: Saraswati beams a very benevolent smile. She is often seated on a pristine white swan. Dressed in white she wears a garland of white pearls. She plays on the divine veena with a lace of beads in one hand a book in the other. She also adorns parrot in one hand and a lotus in the other.

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 Ramaya Ramabhadraya

Ramachandraya Vedhase

Raghunathaya nathaya

Sitayah pataye namah

Sri Rama Navami is being celebrated all over the country today.

Rama is the epitome of how a human being should lead his life.

“Ramayana” means Ways of Rama.

This Tulasidas Bhajan describes Lord Rama’s antics perfectly as a child.

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Thumak chalat raamachandra
Thumak chalat raamachandra
Baajat painjaniyaan

Kilaki kilaki uthat dhaay girat bhuumi latapataay
Dhaay maat god let dasharath kii raniyaan
T

humak chalat raamachandra
Thumak chalat raamachandra
Baajat painjaniyaan

Aanchal raj ang jhaari vividh bhaanti so dulaari
Tan man dhan vaari vaari kahat mridu bachaniyaan

Thumak chalat raamachandra
Thumak chalat raamachandra
Baajat painjaniyaan

Vidrum se arun adhar bolat mukh madhur madhur
Subhag naasikaa men chaaru latakat latakaniyaan

Thumak chalat raamachandra
Thumak chalat raamachandra
Baajat painjaniyaan
Tulasiidaas ati anand dekh ke mukhaaravind
Raghuvar chhabi ke samaan raghuvar chhabi baniyaan
Thumak chalat raamachandra
Thumak chalat raamachandra
Baajat painjaniyaan

The Meaning of the Bhajan in English

Baby Ram walks, swaying unsteadily
 His anklets ring in tune with his steps

Laughing joyously he stumbles around on the ground
He is fondly picked into the laps of King Dasharatha’s queens

Baby Ram walks, swaying unsteadily
 His anklets ring in tune with his steps

They cover him with their saris, dusting the dirt off and caressing his bruises
They offer loving and reassuring words of devotion to make him feel better

Baby Ram walks, swaying unsteadily
 His anklets ring in tune with his steps

Baby Ram’s ruby red lips speak sweet melodious words
Ornaments decorate his nose and waist

Baby Ram walks, swaying unsteadily
 His anklets ring in tune with his steps

Poet Tulsidas is thrilled at the face of Ram, which has the glory of the Sun
Baby Ram is exactly what he had imagined him to be

Baby Ram walks, swaying unsteadily
 His anklets ring in tune with his steps

The Hindu Months

In Hindu astrology, as in Western astrology, the zodiac is divided into twelve signs (Rasis). Each of the twelve signs is in thirty-degree segment of the full zodiac. In addition to the twelve signs, the Hindu zodiac is further divided into twenty-seven Naksatras or lunar mansions. Each naksatra is a thirteen degree and twenty minute segment of the zodiac. Specifically, a Naksatra is the number of degrees the moon travels across the sky in a twenty-four hour period. The degrees of the twenty-seven Naksatras when totaled together equal the three hundred and sixty degrees of the entire zodiac. The names of the Indian months originated from the names of the Naksatras where Purnima (the full moon) always takes place. Of the twenty-seven Naksatras only twelve of them have full moons. The names of the Hindu months with their corresponding Western periods are as follows:

Naksatra Hindu Month Western Month
Chitra Chaitra March-April
Visakha Vaisakha April-May
Jyestha Jyaistha May-June
Purva-asadha Asadha June-July
Sravana Sravana July-August
Purva-bhadra Bhadrapada August-September
Asvini Aasweeja September-October
Krttika Kartika October-November
Mrigashira Maargashira November-December
Pusya Pausa December-January
MaKha Maagha January-February
Uttara-phalguni Phalguna February-March

Hindu Time Eras

India has many time eras. In general there are two kinds of eras: those named after prominent religious leaders and those named after kings. In addition, there are two annual time periods that mark the beginning of an era: the month of Caitra (March-April) and the month of Karttika (October-November). In most parts of North India and South India the custom is to begin each year with Caitra (March-April) and each month with the full moon. But in Gujarat the years begin with Karttika (October-November) and the months with the new moon. The two most important eras are the Sakabda and the Samvat. The Sakabda or Salivahana era (AD 78), now used throughout India, is the most important of all. It has been used not only in many Indian inscriptions but also in ancient Sanskrit inscriptions in Indochina and Indonesia. The reformed calendar promulgated by the Indian government from 1957 is reckoned by this era. It is variously alleged to have been founded by the Hindu king Salivahana. To reduce Saka dates to dates AD, 78 must be added for a date within the period ending with the day equivalent to December 31 and 79 for a later date.

The Samvat or Vikrama era (58 BC) is said in the Jain book Kalakacaryakatha to have been founded after a victory of King Vikramaditya over the Sakas. But some scholars credit the Scytho-Parthian ruler Azes with the foundation of this era. It is sometimes called the Malava era because Vikramaditya ruled over the Malava country, but it was not confined to this region, being widespread throughout India. The years reckoned in this era are generally indicated with the word Vikrama Samvat, or simple Samvat. To reduce Vikrama dates to dates AD, 57 must be subtracted from the former for dates before January 1 and 56 for dates after.

The Bengali era is also known as the Laksmana era (AD 1119) said to have been founded by the king Laksmanasena of Bengal and still used throughout Bengal and preserved until modern times. To convert Bengali era to AD, 593 years must be added. The Chaitanya era starts from the appearance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in 1486. To convert the Chaitanya era to dates AD add 1486 years to the Chaitanya date. The Chaitanya dating system is only in use by Chaitanya Vaisnavas.