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Book Code: ES59
Paperback:
vi + 176 pages
ISBN: 8170520398
Book Dimensions: 7.0 x 4.8 x 0.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 170 grams

HINDU FASTS AND FESTIVALS

by Swami Sivananda

Table of Contents

About This Book (Back Cover)  
Prayers for All Occasions (i)
   

FESTIVALS

 
1. Chitra Purnima 1
2. Deepavali 4
3. Durga Puja or Navaratri 8
4. Gayatri Japa Day 24
5. Guru Purnima 28
6. Holi 37
7. Kartigai Deepam 42
8. Makara Shankranti 44

9. Raksha Bandhan

50
10. Ratha Saptami 52
11. Telugu New Year’s Day 53
12. Vasanta Navaratri 54
13. Vasanta Panchami 57
   

JAYANTHIS (BIRTHDAYS)

 
14. Sri Appayya Jayanthi 59
15. Dattatreya Jayanthi 63
16. Ganesh Chaturthi 72
17. Gita Jayanthi 79
18. Hanuman Jayanthi 86
19. Krishna Janmashtami 91
20. Shankara Jayanthi 100
21. Skanda Sashti 105
22. Ramnavami 114
   

VRATAS (VOWS)

 
23. Pradosha Vrata 125
24. Satya Narayana Vrata 134
25. Shivaratri 141
26. Vaikunta Ekadashi 152
27. Vara Lakshmi Vrata 157
28. Special Observances (Eclipse, Mahalaya) 160
   

29. Philosophy of Idol Worship

164

About This Book

The Hindus are a profoundly religious people. Their goal of life is Self-realisation or the attainment of God-consciousness. In this book Gurudev has explained the significance and the philosophy of many of our fasts and festivals. In two aspects of these observances, he has always allowed the greatest freedom: (1) in the determination of the dates of the festival, which, as he has explained on page 53, vary, and (2) in the traditional ways of celebrating them. For instance, in South India during the Durga Puja they have the Kolu when various idols and toys are arranged in colourful gallaries before which, every evening, girls sit and sing. Again, in some places there is fire-walking without the Kavadi (see page 109), held in honour of Draupadi Amman who was born of fire; or in Ceylon, according to Yogi Satchidananda of Ceylon, in honour of Kannaki Amman. Gurudev never disturbs anyone’s good beliefs and customs.


Prayers for All Occasions

Devotees and followers of Sri Gurudev Sivananda in South Africa and elsewhere, follow Gurudev’s invariable custom of commencing all functions with the following invocatory Kirtans, and concluding them with the peace chants that follow.

INVOCATORY KIRTANS

Jaya Ganesha Jaya Ganesha Jaya Ganesha paahimaam
    Sri Ganesha Sri Ganesha Sri Ganesha rakshamaam
Jaya Saraswati Jaya Saraswati Jaya Saraswati paahimaam
    Sri Saraswati Sri Saraswati Sri Saraswati rakshamaam
Saravanabhava Saravanabhava Saravanabhava paahimaam
    Subramanya Subramanya Subramanya rakshamaam
Sivananda Sivananda Sivananda paahimaam
    Sivananda Sivananda Sivananda rakshamaam
Jaya Guru Shiva Guru Hari Guru Ram
    Jagad Guru Param Guru Sat Guru Shyam
Adi Guru Advaita Guru Ananda Guru Om
    Chit Guru Chitgana Guru Chinmaya Guru Om
Jaya Siya Ram Jaya Jaya Siya Ram (2)
Jaya Radhe Shyam Jaya Jaya Radhe Shyam (2)
Jaya Hanuman Jaya Jaya Hanuman (2)
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare,
    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare (3)
Sivananda Sivananda Sadguru Natha Sivananda.

MAHA MRITYUNJAYA MANTRA

Om trayambakam yajaamahe sugandhim pushtivardhanam
Urvaarukamiva bandhanaan mrityor muksheeya maamritaat.

CONCLUDING PEACE CHANTS

Sarveshaam swasti bhavatu, sarveshaam shaantir bhavatu,
Sarveshaam poornam bhavatu, sarveshaam mangalam bhavatu;
Sarve bhavantu sukhinah, Sarve santu niraamayah,
Sarve bhadraani pashyantu, maakaschid duhkhabhaagbhavet;

    Asato maa sad gamaya
    Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya
    Mrityor maa amritam gamaya;

Om poornamadah poornamidam poornaatpoornamudachyate,
Poornasya poornamaadaaya poornamevaavashishyate.
Om shaantih shaantih shaantih!

MEDITATION ON LORD SHIVA

Shaantam padmaasanastham shashadharamakutam panchavaktram trinetram,
Shoolam vajram cha khadgam parashumabhayadam dakshinaange vahantam;
Naagam paasham cha ghantaam damaruka sahitam chaankusham vaamabhaage,
Naanaalankaara deeptam sphatika maninibham paarvateesham namaami.

MEANING: I prostrate myself before the five-faced Lord of Parvati, who is adorned with various ornaments, who shines like the crystal jewel, who is seated peacefully in the lotus pose, with moon-crested crown, with three eyes, wearing trident, thunderbolt, sword and axe on the right side, who holds the serpent, noose, bell, damaru and spear on the left side, and who gives protection from all fear to His devotees.

MEDITATION ON SRI SHANKARACHARYA

Padmaaseenam prashantam yamaniratamaanan gaari tulya prabhaavam,
Phaale bhasmaankitaam bhasmita rujira mukhaam bhojanindeevaraaksham;
Kambugreevam karaabhyaam avidtamurulasat pustakam jnaanamudraam,
Vandyam geervaana mukhyair natajana varadam bhaavaye shankaraaryam

MEANING: I meditate on Sri Shankaracharya who is seated in the lotus posture with Jnanamudra, who is calm, endowed with virtues like Yama, Niyama, etc., whose glory is as great as that of Lord Shiva, who wears the sacred ashes on the forehead, whose face resembles the blossomed lotus, with lotus-like eyes, possessing sacred books in hand, who is ever adored by people of high learning and wisdom, and who fulfils the desires of his devotees (who prostrate themselves before him).

MEDITATION ON LORD DATTATREYA

Maalaakamandalu dharah karapadmayugme
    Madhyastha paaniyugale damarutrishoolam;
Adhyastha urdhva karayoh shubha shankhachakre
    Vande tamatrivaradam bhujashatkayuktam.

MEANING: I meditate on Lord Dattatreya, the son of Atri, who has six hands, who holds the rosary and water-vessel in two hands, with damaru and spear in the other two hands, and with conch and discus in the upper two hands.

MEDITATION ON LORD GANESHA

Gajaananam bhootaganaadisevitam
    Kapittha jamboophala saara bhakshitam;
Umaasutam shoka vinaasha kaaranam
    Namaami vighneshwara paada pankajam.

MEANING: I worship the lotus feet of Ganesha, the son of Uma, the destroyer of all sorrows, who is served by the host of gods and elementals, and who takes the essence of the kapittha jambu fruit (fruit resembling the bilwa fruit).

MEDITATION ON LORD SUBRAMANYA

Shadaananam kumkumaraktavarnam
    Mahaa matim divya mayoora vaahanam;
Rudrasya soonum sura sainyanaatham
    Guham sadaaham sharanam prapadye.

MEANING: I always take refuge in Lord Guha (Lord Subramanya) of six faces, who is of deep red colour and infinite knowledge, who has the divine peacock to ride on, the son of Lord Shiva and the leader of the army of the Devas.

MEDITATION ON SRI KRISHNA

Vamshee vibhooshita karaan navaneeradaabhaat
    Peetaambaraadaruna bimbaphalaa dharoshthaat;
Poornendusundara mukhaad aravinda netraat
    Krishnaat param kimapi tattwam aham na jaane.

MEANING: I know not any other Reality than the lotus-eyed Krishna with hands adorned with flute, looking like a heavy-laden cloud in lustre, wearing a yellow silk garment, with His lower lip like a ruddy bimba fruit, and with face shining like the full moon.

MEDITATION ON SRI RAMA

Dhyaayedaajaanubaaham dhritasharadhanusham baddhapadmaasanastham,
Peetam vaaso vasaanam navakamala dala spardhinetram prasannam;
Vaamaankaaroodhaseetaa mukhakamala milal lochanam neeradaabham,
Naanaalankaara deeptam dadhatamuru jataa mandalam raamachandram.

MEANING: One should meditate on Sri Ramachandra, with hands reaching the knees, holding the bow and arrows, seated in the locked-up lotus posture, wearing a yellow garb, with eyes vying with the newly-blossomed lotus petals, with a pleasant gait, who has Sita seated on His left thigh, who is blue like the clouds, who is adorned with all kinds of ornaments and having a big circle of Jata on the head. 

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Last Updated: Monday, 15-Mar-2010 10:35:09 EDT
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