TAVASMIShikshapatra, Diwali, Annakut, and Diwali Message November 2011
Agenda • Tavasmi Review Quiz • Shikshapatra • Meaning of Diwali • Annakut • Pushti Marg Essentials • Shreenathji Charitramrut
Tavasmi Quiz • What does Aarti mean? How does it differ between a Hindu temple and a Vaishnav temple? • Where is the swaroop of Dwarkadhishji located? • Why do we say Namaste? • How many Navratri’s are there in a year? • What is the ashtakshar mantra?
Pushti Marg: The Essential Elements • Refuge • Refuge is Shelter, a Source of help, relief, or comfort. • Aashray means seeking Refuge • Absolute Refuge (Ananya-Ashray) is • The only Shelter and the only Source of help, relief, comfort. Let understand the words associated with the concept of Absolute Refuge.
Anyashray Discussion • Does having a picture of Ganesh at your wedding or doing Ganesh Stapna or Grah Shanti = Anyashray? One Answer: These are all part of Hindu Vedic dharam so we have to do it. So that is not Anyashray. • But having faith in them like if it had not been for Ganesh at my wedding, my wedding would not have happened. • Or just having total faith in Ganesh and only is Anyashray. Being dependent solely on Ganesh is anyashray. • A story of a Doshi (old lady) from 252 Vaishnav or 84 Vaishnav was that she was a Vaishnav that had some problem and some good citizen comes to her rescue. To this man, she says, 'If it weren't for you, I would have just suffered a great loss - you saved me.' Basically after that the thakorji the doshi was doing seva of left. Since she believed she was saved by that man she had no need for Thakorji. In the praise of that man she implied that the man was her savior and not thakorji. Simply saving thank you would have been enough but believing that she was saved by that man is anyashray.
Pushti Marg Concepts : Asamarpit • Asamarpit (uh-sum-arpit) Consuming things which are not dedicated to Krishna. Opposite of Asamarpit is Samarpit. • Thakorji ne dharaavelu - Samarpit karyu kevaay. • Impurities exist in the world and dedicating our belongings to Shri Krishna, they become pure and divine. Thereby preventing impure things from entering our bodies or our lives. • From the Shodash Granth describing the Bhramah Sambandh mantra, Siddanth Rahasya – “Asamarpita-vastunam, tasmat-varjanam-acaret”. Meaning: Forsake all those objects that are not offered to Shri Krishna. • At the same time Asamarpit is also consuming things that cannot be offered to God first such as meat, wine, onions and garlic. • Why must you avoid Asamarpit things? • Using things that are unoffered and void of contact with Shri Krishna, makes the devotee impure. Devotee's mind deviates from the divinity and he goes away from Krishna. Hence, one must abandon unoffered objects.
What to do with Bhets left at your house? • You can put it in Sunmukh bhet box at the mandir. • You cannot give it as Bhet in a mandir and get something in return such as Prasad. Anywhere where you get something in return for it is a no-no. • Some donate for gauv (cow) seva • Some say you can buy things for thakorji with it such as clothing, jewelry or food; Some don’t agree. It’s really up to you. As long as you are not benefitting from the bhet.
5 days of Diwali • Day 3 – Main Diwali Day • Day for worshipping Goddess Lakshmi and doing Lakshmi Poojan • “Festival of Lights” • Day 4 – Nutan Varash • Hindus celebrate it as the NEW YEAR • Annakoot –Govardhan Pooja • Day 5 – Bhai-Bij • Celebrate the love and good wishes between a brother and sister • Sister wishes for her brother’s long life; food sharing and gift giving Day 1 – Dhanteras Falls on 13th day of the month of Karthik “Dhan” means wealth Day 2 – Narka-Chaturdashi (Choti Diwali) Falls on 14th day of the dark fortnight of Karthik This day is also Kali Chaudasto worship MahaKali and to abolish laziness and evil that brings hell into our lives and shine light upon our life
Day 1: Dhanteras The first day of Diwali is called Dhanteras. (Dhan means Wealth) On this day Laxmi is worshipped for prosperity. Salt is purchased on this day because it is considered to be good luck. Salt is made in the ocean. In my family, we usually buy something gold such as jewelry.
Performing Dhan Pooja Sprinkle water on all Dhan and related utensils and puja items in order to sanctify them. Sprinkle parts of the Panchamrit ( five basic ingredients ) – milk, ghee, yogurt, sugar and honey on the Dhan. Basics – Sing Yamunastak a few times during the pooja Drink the Panchmrit as prasad/share with all There is time when you can do the Pooja during the day depending on the lunar position
Day 2: Kali Choudas The second day of Diwali is known as Kali Choudas. Kali Chaudas is the day allotted to the worship of Maha-Kali or Shakti. Also referred to as Narak-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is day to abolish laziness and evil which create hell in our life and shine light on life. Hanumanji as a baby was very hungry and saw the sun in the sky and thought it was a fruit and went to pick it. He flew into the sky and put the whole sun in his mouth causing darkness throughout the entire universe. Lord Indra requested that Hanumanji return the sun. He refused; Lord Indra knocked Hanumanji down to earth releasing the Sun. On this day delicacies are prepared from pounded semi-cooked rice (called Poha or Pova). This rice is taken from the fresh harvest available at that time. Other traditions: a head wash and application of kajal in the eyes is believed to keep away the kali nazar (evil eye).
Day 3: Diwali Laxmi, Chopda & Sharda Pujan Day 3 is the most significant day, Diwali which is accompanied by the exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks. There are three related poojas performed on Diwali: Laxmi, Chopda, and Sharda Pujan Chopda Pujan is significant to the business community, as this is time when ledgers and account books are closed. Sharda Pujan is done for the new ledgers following a special prayer to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi.
Day 4: Govardhan Puja & Ankoot According to legends, Krishna lifted mount Govardhan on this day. Govardhan puja is offered as a tribute to Krishna's heroic feat. In parts of north India, people make cow dung replicas of the fabled mound, decorate it with flower petals and offer prayers. The cowherds, their wives, children and cattle jubilantly surrounded Sri Krishna. They were awed by His superhuman accomplishment and celebrated Sri Krishna's feat with a sumptuous feast. Thus began the tradition of Annakoot. After the prayers, innumerable varieties of delicious sweets/ all cookings / 56 (chhapan) bhogs were ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain as "Bhog" and after Lord had it full , now it was citizens turn to take Prasad from it. On this day, the devotees offer their gratitude to Lord Krishna for his blessings in making their lives complete. In temples, on this day, the deities are given milk baths, dressed in shining attires with ornaments of dazzling diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones. After the prayers and traditional worship innumerable varieties of delicious sweets are ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain before the deities as an offering.
Day 4: Bestavarsh The day after the Lakshmi Puja, most families in Gujarat celebrate the new year as Bestvarsh. This day is celebrated by dressing in new clothes, wearing jewelery and visiting family members and business colleagues to give them sweets, dry fruits and gifts. This day is more popular among the business communities as on this day the new business year begins. Besta varsh is also considered auspicious for shopping, inaugurations of new homes, business deals or for starting any new ventures and projects. On the occasion of Bestavarsh, people usually do not cook food and eat the various delicacies such as Mathias prepared a day before. A unique ritual is performed by young children who observe this day. Early in the morning, before sunrise, young children in every household come out on streets and sell salt. The salt is called Sabras, meaning all good things in life. There is as such no commercial significance attached to this rituals, it is more of a thanksgiving to god for fulfilling their necessities and wishing the same for the coming year. It is auspicious to sell as well as buy salts before sunrise on day of Bestavarsh. Youngers take the blessings of elders.
Day 5: Bhai Bij The fifth or the last day of diwali is Bhai Bij. It falls on the second day after the new moon, that is the Bij day. Day to pray for the long life of the brother. According to religious scriptures, Yamaraj, the God of death, went to visit his sister's house after a long period of separation. His sister, Yamuna welcomed him by putting tilak for his welfare. Yami and Yamraj then shared a meal. He was so pleased with his sister's reception, he proclaimed that every year, on the Bij day, if a sister puts a tilak, then no one can harm her brother. He gave his sister a Vardhan that whosoever visits her on this day shall be liberated from all sins. They will achieve Moksha or final emancipation. From then on, brothers visit their sisters on this day to enquire of their welfare. Tradition followed. Sisters perform puja for their brothers safety and well being. Brothers in return give gifts to their sisters as a token of love. Another version Lord Krishna, after killing Narakasur, the asura king, went to meet his sister Subhadra. Subhadra welcomed him in the traditional way by showing him a light and putting on his forehead a tilak of her sisterly protection. The essence of the Bhai Bij festival is that it is celebrated to strengthen the love between brothers and sisters. It is a day of food-sharing, gift-giving and reaching out to the inner most depths of the hearts. Brothers and sisters indulge themselves on this day by gifting each other gifts.
Annakut The Meaning • Annakut: Offering Grand Feast to Shri GovardhanNath – Shri Krishna The Story • During His incarnation, Shri Krishna saw the Vrajvaasis (people of Vrindavan) being grateful to Indra (The DemiGod of Rain) for providing them with ample water to grow crops, animal feed etc. He also saw them showing their faith and devotion for Indra by performing Indra-Yagya and offering gifts including abundant food delicacies once a year. • Krishna wanted the Vrajvaasis to have faith and take refuge only in Him and no one else. • So, He recommended they offer prayers to Mount Govardhan, which was the real reason for their well-being. It hid valuable seeds, medicines, etc. inside. • He suggested them to have faith in Mount Govardhan and offer him the Yagya offerings. He promised them that unlike IndraDev, GovardhanDev will accept their offerings and their love in person as a sign of His love for Vrajvaasis. • Agreeing to His advice, the Vrajvaasis did so, which in turn infuriated Lord Indra. It is then that he held the holy mountain of Govardhan for seven days on his little finger to protect the people of Vrindavan from the rage of Lord Indra in the form of lightning and rainfall.
Annakut Observance • Annakut Puja is observed on the fourth day of Diwali • Annakut 2011 was observed on October 27th • On this day, Annakut is offered to the deities • It symbolizes an offering of food to God and the love and devotion that has gone into preparing it • On New Year’s Day, after ShriGovardhan Pooja, Shreenathji, along with Lalan, enjoys the Annakut offering for almost 1.5 - 2 hours. Only after that, Vaishnavs are granted Darshan of Shreenathji and Annakut.
Annakut Setup • Fruits • Dry Fruits • Sugar Delicacies • Milk Delicacies • Pickles (Achar) • AnnaSakhadi (Sweets) • Fried Dry • Vegetables • Condiments • Appetizers • ‘Sakhadi’ (Rice) • Vegetables • Dal/Kadhi
Chappan Bhog • Chappan Bhogis prepared during Annakut, but it can also be arranged during for any religious celebration throughout the year (including other holidays, weddings, etc.) • The ChappanBhog, literally meaning 56 food preparations, which are offered to Lord Krishna • What is the significance of 56 offerings? Many variations exist… • It may be symbolic: The lotus has 8 petals, surrounded by 16, and then 32, which makes it 56. It is this symbol that makes the count. But as the many gopikas who brought different offerings for Krishna, the bhog is always more than 56, and thus it can be any number. • Shri Krishna used to take 8 meals a day. When he lifted Govardhan mountain for 7 days, he could not eat. After 7 days, when it was over and Indra realized his mistake and surrendered, the people of Vrindavan offered Lord Krishna Bhoj for what he missed during the 7 days (7 x 8=56!!) , so it was called Chappan Bhog.
Diwali Video Message Diwali message from HDH Dwarkeshbawa
Next Meeting December 4th 2011 Topics: Swaroop, DVD Part 5, and others
Discussion • Two Options: • Hold Tavasmi at one common/consistent place (Neha offered her house). • Saves money in compare to option 2. • Convenient for VA/Columbia folks – About ½ hour drive. Understand where to go all the time. • Avoids finding volunteer every other week to host Tavasmi • Currently, hosts and schedule are identified 6-9 months in advance. • Hosting is optional and not every member does it • Need backup(s) to host Tavasmi in an event Neha or her house is not available • Backup may not be Montu/Sheel/Jigar. • Kalpanaben? Vaishaliben? Bijal? Chintan? Niyati? Some options.
Discussion • Find a school/community hall/etc • One place. No volunteers needed to host. Understand where to go each and every time • Unlike option 1, no backup needed. • Needs funding; Possibly everyone is more committed or less committed • Will require more research • Need to make sure that it can accommodate all needs (i.e. technical resources, Bal Sakha area, etc) • Could impact growth of Tavasmi if there is a perception that money has to be paid to participate
Discussion – Lunch after Tavasmi meetings? • Somewhat related to central location • Food preparation takes up some time – Some people may be reluctant to host due to this • Recommend starting Tavasmi meeting earlier (9:30AM) so it can end earlier (by 11:30AM) • Pros: • No lunch will be served if everyone agrees with earlier start/end time • Host saves a lot of time; No food prep, no aftermath • Longer day. Everyone can be home by early afternoon. • Optionally chips and soda( readymade nasto) can be served. Primarily for the kids • Able to watch 1PM football games • Cons: • No lunch. A change in Tavasmi. • Other practical ideas for food?
Summary… Option2 – Common public place Option1 – Neha/Backup house No Lunch Lunch No Lunch Lunch Need to find a place and coordinate food Need to find a place in Rockville/SilverSpring. Easiest and fastest to implement. Need volunteers to coordinate food (Rotations?) Option3 – No change to location or food Everyone’s input matters. Please only choose one option. If you choose option 1 or 2, say lunch or no lunch or circle appropriately.