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Diwali - 4th & 5th Day.

Diwali: 4th & 5th Day:

Padwa & Govardhan puja:
4th Day of Diwali is celebrated as Padwa or Gudi Padwa, also known as Ugadi in A.P & Karnataka. This day holds special reverence for a newly wed couple. On this day the newly married daughter & her husband are invited for special meals and gifts. Traditionally her brother goes to the sisters' in-laws home to fetch her along with her husband. I did too on the 1st Diwali, after my sister got married.

In North people also celebrate this day as Govardhan Puja, in commemoration of krishna lifting the Govardhan mount. Legend goes that the people of Vrindavan, shri Krishna's village, worshiped lord Indra, the rain god. Krishna asked the Gopals to worship their cows instead because they are the ones who nourish them. Go=cow, Vardhan=nourishment. Thus, the villagers started worshipping their Cows instead of Indra.

Indra got furious and to show his power he flooded Yamuna with heavy rains. Terrified, villagers went to Krishna with their prayers. Krishna took them all to Govardhan mountain, on this very day, and lifted the mount with his small finger and the entire village took shelter under it. Embarrassed Indra realised his mistake and the rain stopped & the villagers celebrated & revered Krishna.

5th day is Bhaiya Dooj:
Legend goes, that after killing Narakasura,
shri krishna was welcomed home by his sister Subhadra by putting a Tilak on his forehead and doing his Aarti.

According to another legend, Yama (Yamraj, the Lord of death) visited his sister Yamuna on this day. He gave his sister a Vardaan (a boon) that whosoever visits her on this day shall be liberated from all sins. Yamuna in turn welcomed him by putting a Tikka on his forehead.
From then on, brothers visit their sisters on this day to inquire of their welfare. That is why this day of Bhai Duj is also known by the name of

Since then sisters express love for their brothers by putting Tilak on their forehead and blessing them with success & well being. Brothers in turn give them gifts. It's somewhat similar to Rakhi. Diwali is not complete without celebrating Bhai-Dooj or Tikka.

Thus, bhai dooj marks the end of the official celebration of Diwali festivities. However, the light of the Diyas & sweetness of prasad radiate one's life for all year long, in the form of wisdom, prosperity & knowledge.

Diwali - 3rd Day - DEEPAWALI!!! YAAYY!!

Wishing every one a very sweet, fun-tastic, happy & prosperous Diwali. May you receive a lot of wealth, both currency wise and heart wise. And may you be generous enough to share them with all around you (esp. the currency on me). And may you forget old fights & hug your enemy who was once your friend. And may your life be illuminated with the light of Guruji's Knowledge. And may your radiance be a beacon of light for others.

If you haven't read Diwali 1st day & 2nd day post, skip to the post below before reading read post...


3rd Day:
This is the day when most people celebrate Deepawali by praying to Ganesh ji & Lakshmi ji, bursting crackers, offering gifts, devouring sweets, forgiving old fights and generally being merry & prosperous. All the rituals are done with much aplomb & fervor.

And this is the most famous legend of all. Ram ji, Sita ma. Lakshman and Hanuman ji returned to Ayodhya on this day after defeating Ravana. The villagers welcomed them by decorating all Ayodhya with Diyas. Since then every year we honor his greatness by lighting Diyas in his remembrance. Well, not much to say about Ramayana. Everyone has seen Arun Govil as Ram ji & Dara Singh as Hanuman ji on Doordarshan!

It is traditional to do Ganesh - Lakshmi puja in the evening. Only after that one can burst crackers, light diyas, have special yummy Diwali dinner & visit other houses to wish happy Diwali with sweets. I used to think that Ganesh & Lakhsmi ji are married and that's why we pray to them as a couple! Wondering at the same time, "isn't she married to Vishnu ji also?"

Ganesh ji is the god of wisdom & remover of obstacles. He is to be worshiped before other gods and before starting anything new for smooth sailing.

Lakshmi ji is the goddess of wealth & prosperity. She also denotes beauty & charm. It is believed that Laskhmi ji visits every house and brings peace & prosperity to all on the night of Diwali. That's why no corner of the house is to be left dark and doors are left open late into the night on this day, to welcome her in the home. As a kid, I actually used to wait for her to glide in to my home, as I also waited for Santa clause to slide into the house, until I fell asleep!

In Hindu mythology they are unrelated, but on the ev
e of Diwali they are placed together on the altar. Ganesh ji on right side and Lakshmi ji on left side. Together they hold a promise of a obstacle free year of fulfillment of wants, wealth & wisdom.

In Bengal Diwali is celebrated with Kali puja. Goddess Kali is 1st of the 10 incarnations of Goddess Durga. Legend goes that 2 demons shambhu & nishambhu grew so powerful that after endless battles all the gods had to go in exile in himalayas to Shiv & Parvati ji. They prayed to goddess Durga and Kali ma was born out of her forehead to save heaven and earth from demons.

Kali ma slaughtered the demons and chopped their heads off and made a garland for her out of it. There was so much energy that she started slaying everything that came into her sight. The terrified gods requested Shiva, Durga ma's consort to intervene. Shiv ji threw himself on her path and Kali ma in her rage stepped on his chest. She was so shocked with this act of Lord Shiva that she stuck her tongue out in disbelief and repentance. Thus, shiv ji succeeded in stopping the carnage. And thus the popular image of Kali ma with garland of demon heads, foot on Shiv ji's chest & her tongue hanging out.

Kali Puja is a very intense tantric invocation to the fearsome goddess. It symbolizes diminishing ego and negative tendencies that hinders spiritual progress & material prosperity. It begins midnight & goes on till dawn amidst bursting of crackers. I have actually witnessed little bit of the puja and I was petrified out of my wits!

P.S: Tomorrow I shall write about 4th and 5th day of festivities and more importantly about the spiritual significance of Diwali and the rituals behind them, as I understand it.

Diwali - 2nd Day - Choti Diwali

2nd Day: Choti (Little or Small) Diwali

If you haven't read Diwali 1st day post, skip to the post below before reading this...

The second day of Diwali is called
Narak Chaturdasi to commemorate the triumph of Lord Krishna over the demon lord Narakasura.
This day is celebrated as main Diwali in Chennai.

The legend goes that demon Narakasur, through severe penance received a boon from Bramha ji himself that he could only be killed by a woman and that woman be her mom, Bhudevi. Subsequently, he defeated all the gods and lord of Gods Indra dev. Thus the entire planet plunged into darkness & suffered under his tyranny. Dejected, all the gods pleaded to Sri Krishna to save them from his oppression.

Krishna knew about the boon (obviously). He asked his wife Satyabhama, the re-incarnation of Bhudevi, to be his charioteer for the fight with Narakasur. During the fight with Narakasur, Krishna feigns unconsciousness after being hit by an arrow of Naraka. Enraged, Satyabhama takes the bow and aims the arrow at Naraka, killing him instantly. Later Lord Krishna reminds her of the boon she had sought as Bhudevi.

This may also signify that parents should not hesitate to punish their children for their faults. Much like Russell Peters asks Americans to
“Beat your Kids!”.

It is a tradition to massage the body with oil and to bathe on this day, as Shri Krishna was massaged to relive him of his tiredness after the battle. According to an
interesting saying it is believed that those who do not bathe on this day, go to the Narak (hell). So, there are 2 days I have to take bath now…

Another legend concerns
King Bali, who was a generous ruler. But he was also very ambitious. He conducted a Yagya that was so powerful that even gods were afraid of what he’ll ask as a boon upon it’s completion. Some of the Gods pleaded Vishnu to check King Bali's power. Vishnu ji came to earth in the form of a Vamana (dwarf) dressed as priest. He approached King Bali and said "You are the ruler of the three worlds: the Earth, the world above the skies and the underworld. Would you give me the space that I could cover with just three strides?"

King Bali laughed. Surely a dwarf could not cover much ground, thought the King, and agreed to dwarf's request. At this point, the dwarf changed into Vishnu ji and his three strides covered the Earth, the Skies and the whole Universe! King Bali was send to the underworld. Vishnu ji being as generous as he is, gave a lamp of knowledge to Bali and gave him permission to visit his land once in a year, on this day. And thus, every year his return was celebrated as choti Diwali.
I wonder if this Bali is same as the monkey king Sugreev’s powerful brother in Ramayana?

3rd day continued...

Diwali 1 - A Festival of 5 Festivals!

This began as a casual conversation with a friend on why, in Chennai, Diwali is celebrated a day before the rest of India celebrates it. And as I was looking for answers I was astonished how little I knew about my favorite festival! There are many facets to this festival of light & as many reasons behind the significance of Diwali. And the more I found, more there was to know. So, this is my effort to understand Diwali and the legends behind it that makes it so much more beautiful.

Traditionally, Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated for
five days. Yeah! So Diwali actually is not just one night of fire crackers and lots of sweets and visiting friends and relatives - for more sweets.
Each day is special and has unique connotations, ceremonies and legends associated with it.

1st Day: Dhanteras
The very first day of Diwali celebrations is Dhantrayodashi. The auspicious day of Dhanteras, as it is popularly known, ushers in Diwali festivities. Dhan = wealth and teras is 13. 13 th day of the Karthik month of Hindu calendar. Dhanteras is the festival of Wealth.

One interesting legend behind Dhanteras is centered on the sixteen-year-old son of King Hima. As per his horoscope he was fated to breathe his last on the fourth day of his marriage owing to snakebite. On the appointed day his young wife illuminated the entire palace with numerous lamps and placed all her gold and silver coins and jewellery in a heap at the entrance of their bedroom. She did not allow her husband to sleep & regaling him by singing songs and telling stories. All through the night she sang songs and told stories.

At the stroke of midnight, God of death Yama devta, slithered in the Palace as a serpent. The lights of the lamps, and the dazzle of the coins and ornaments blinded the snake. Frustrated, he waited the entire night, on top of the heap listening to the sweet sounding songs before leaving peacefully the next morning. Thus, the wife succeeded in saving the life of her husband. This is why the Dhanteras festival is also referred to as “Yamadeepdaan". The lamps are kept burning throughout the night in reverential adoration to Yama, the god of Death & to protect our loved ones from untimely death.

According to
another legend, when the gods and demons churned the ocean for Amrit or nectar, it was Lord Dhanavantri (the God of Ayurveda, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) who emerged carrying the pot of the elixir on the day of Dhanteras and thus (after much fanfare) all the God‘s became immortal after drinking from the pot. And so, Dhanteras is also celebrated to honor Lord Dhanavantri, the divine Doctor.

There were 14 ratnas or jewels that came out of Samudra-Manthan (churning of the ocean of milk). One of them was Goddess Lakshmi. She is honored on this day by doing Lakshmi puja.

Dhanteras is an auspicious occasion to purchase precious metals like gold, platinum and silver. Women purchase Dhan like some gold or silver or at least one or two new utensils as a sign of good luck. For children, this is the day to purchase all those fire-crackers, they started making list of weeks back! This day is also considered auspicious for setting up new businesses, commencing new projects, housewarming, fixing wedding dates etc. Diyas & Rangoli’s adorn the house, starting from this day.

To be continued...

Adverts & Nostalgia...

I was thinking about how people start behaving like animals when they are edgy, frustrated and stressed, and this flashback of an old Public Service advertisement on Doordarshan just flashed in my mind.

It was like a bunch of guys jump into a moving bus and start pushing around passengers including ladies and make loud monkey like noises. The gang leader is interrupted by an old gentleman & the guy gets really angry and he starts shouting and his face is actually morphed into a devils face, red with horns! The old gentleman smiles and says something like 'at least behave like a human being and not like an animal". And the guy really gets embarrassed and his face turns back to normal and he offers his seat to the old uncle and gets down with his gang at the next stop. The message was, it's very easy to become an animal but it's not that difficult to act like a human. That was a great ad!

I was searching for that ad on Youtube and though I didn't find that one I found some other equally terrific ads. Here they are, bring back the memory of old times...

The Old Hamara Bajaj ad. Notice the Flouroscent Green Bajaj Super? That was my Dad's Scooter. :). I still remember one evening I came back from School and saw it standing non-nonchalantly to our garden, shining gallantly in the afternoon light! I hopped onto it, started shifting gears and made sounds that will put Need for Speed to shame, while I rode my sturdy stallion, green color albeit and silently parked!

And here's the Bajaj for new Generation, preserving our Indian Values. Another great ad. Same jingle.

Our very own Amul - The Taste of India...Love the Jingle!

And my watch! Titan...Apparently the Titan Jingle, which still continues, na nanana nanana nanananana...was composed by none other than A.R Rahman!

Another Titan!!! Love this ad..seeing it for the first time, though it is very old. And similar to this theme, Titan is now airing it's 'Move on yaar' theme for fast track. Guess, every good thing comes back or a trend repeats itself every decade.

"I am a Complan Girl, I am a Complan Boy!" - Remember? Notice Jr. Shahid Kapoor and Ayesha Takia in this ad.

This is another one by A.R Rahman! I never knew that he wrote Jingles before storming into the movies...I love this music...very Rahman. It's for Garden Saarees.

I still remember, around Diwali time the Asian Paints ad will start streaming in "Khushi ke rang layin yeh ghadiyan..", and that, for me set the mood for Diwali...colorful, celebrative & Homely.

And of course Aamir Khan and Aish in Pepsi..before they promptly moved onto Coke.

There were many mor...Lalita ji's surf...Lijjat paapad with the human bunny's...Nirma's teeaaooooonnnn...Vicco tooth powder (that still continues, no changes!)...Liril, 1st glimpse of a lady under a waterfall using a soap!..Mile sur mera tumhara...Dinesh with Sunil Gavaskar...Shahrukh 'mayur' khan...Ketki ji and many more.

I guess advertisements also become a part of one's childhood woven into our fabric as we grow up. Many times they cultured our perceptions. announced what is in and what is geeky now, touched, inspired. Often forgotten, but when remembered bring back those sweet times of our lives.

And lastly, do you remember the smell of a freshly sharpened Pencil? My niece have a drawer full of them and today when I opened it, this earthly fragrance just wafted through and the 1st feeling that arose in me was - fear of exams & anxiety. Weird! hehe

And the best one...ek anek aur ekta...Unity in diversity... Very cute ad, Very sweet voice & diction and cutest lyrics will definitely make you grin! Amazing!! Can't miss this one.

I have been Tagged!

1. If your lover betrayed you, what will your first thought be?

Denial. After that, in the past I'd have moped for a year. But now, move on..the person's not worth your time & energy.

2. If you can have a dream coming true, what would it be?

A recurring dream that I've been having for longer than I can remember is to be loved by her as much as I love her. However, that dream is now transforming into being as steeped in knowledge as Rajesh Bhaiya & Dinesh Bhaiya. Being a better, more loving, caring, compassionate & strong human being.

3. What is the one thing most hated by you?
'Literate' people littering around, physical & emotional garbage and being ignorant & arrogant about it.

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?

Buy every material thing I want, home theater system, lots of clothes, house, gifts for family and friends, travel....and then when I'll realize that no matter how much I can stuff outside, inside will still be restless. Then wisely I'll donate for the cause of homeless and mentally challenged kids and to take Art of Living to all the youths around the world.

5. Will you fall in love with your best friend?
I believe Love is friendship. If the person you love can't be your best friend then it won't last...

6. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?
Being loved back by someone you adore.

7. How long do you intend to wait for someone you really love?

8. If the person you secretly like is already attached, what would you do?

Be happy & do nothing...It's better actually cuz 1st it's a secret so there is no risk of heart break, awkwardness and 2nd I can love as much as I want without creating a relationship out of it and worrying about the challenges that'll bring. There is no attachment and no expectations of her response and the more I love more my consciousness will expand...

9. If you like to act with someone, who will it be? Your gf/bf or an actress/actor?

Katrina Kaif!
Aamir Khan, SRK, Joey & Chandler.

10. What takes you down the fastest?
My unaware mind.

11. How would you see yourself in ten years time?
Swami Ashwaneshwar Ji. :)

12. What’s your fear?
I am not as good as I can be.

13. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
(Aparna) Very smart, enthusiastic, innocent, dedicated & devoted. And a terrific dancer :)

14. Would you rather be single and rich, or married but poor?
Are they mutually exclusive...?

15. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Sleep again!

16. Would you give all in a relationship?

Yes, that's the only way...And giving and receiving goes together in a relationship...One can't give with an empty heart.

17. If you fall in love with two people simultaneously, who would you pick?

Sadly & strangely, that does not happen with me! In the dream scenario, I'd choose me or sit back and relax & let them choose!

18. Would you forgive and forget no matter how horrible a thing that special someone has done?

Again in past, it took a very long time for me to forgive and forget if that someone means a lot to me. If not, then I'll just be indifferent. But now, knowledge lets me move on much faster.

19. If you get to go back in time and fall in love all over again , would it still be with the same person?

No...I would Rise in love this time around.

20. What will you do about climate crisis?

Frankly, I think that people who are just armchair activists 'thinking' about the issue just flatter themselves that they are doing something great & worthwhile & long lasting. But unless we do something on a large scale involving more people and continuously nothing lasting can happen. Numbers matter. Attitude matters more than that. We have to culture attitudes of people just lost in the periphery of their office and house, to responsibly care about our Planet.

I am planting trees, conserving electricity at home & office, saving Petrol, reducing plastic and paper waste, not litter, becoming aware and spreading awareness.

And I pass on the tag to




Weekend's Here..Yay!!!

I don't remember when was the last time I was so looking fwd to a weekend! After a mind numbing, coma inducing week at work, it's as welcome as Himesh Reshamiya dropping his nasal twang. now if only he drops his acting 'career' too...Yes!+ kept the energy high.

I was co-coordinating Yes!+ from 10th-16th, so it kinda got hectic coming home at 11 and back to office at 7...But it was nice to balance them pretty effeciently (pats back)...Good course. I juggled between being a Yoga instructor, Photographer, The Laptop Guy, Music Arranger...I was blissed out by the point I rested my head on the Pillow...

- "I've been thinking Hobbes --"

- "On a weekend?"

- "Well, it wasn't on purpose..."

So Miss Aparna has tagged me...that'll be the next post madam!

For now, read few very good posts today. All good things must be shared, so:

Hari's post: - True Love (Read the comments too)

Madhan's Post: (The Law of Garbage Truck)

Anir's Post:

Goli's Post: (Brilliant Coke intiative)

Oishee's Post:

Madhuri's Post: (QnA with Bau)

Angeli's Post:

And read My post on Bau & Dinesh Bhaiya's Blog!: (Read the comments too)

Loved this Video of the UN's Stand up and Take Action campaign seen in Ashram during Navaratri:

Another one with Ustad Aamir Khan, AR Rehman, Sachin Tendulkar...

And Sachin smashed all the records today...I bow down to the Genius. A question to his 'critics'-do u really need more proof? You are truly a Legend sir in more ways than one!

When Superman saved me from becoming a Hitman!

Managed to catch the climax of Superman Returns after returning from the course. Lois was going to light up a cigarette (a habit I guess she had left long time back) and at that moment she hears her son bidding good bye to someone from his room on the upper floor. She looks up and sees Superman 'hanging' around (who I guess she thought will never come back, for some reason) and she extinguishes the light.

There was a time in my life, a particularly ’bad’ time, when I was absolutely and utterly infuriated with everything and everyone that had the misfortune of existing on the planet. So enraged was I, that I desired to be a terrorist or a shooter or someone along those lines. Every little thing used to boil me. This all consuming desire will arise in me to just go out and let loose a FY71 semi automatic on anyone or everyone in sight. In fact, when I found out that according to the Mayan Calendar world is going to finally come to an end in 2012, I exhaled a sigh of relief and exclaimed 'Good Riddance' with lot of hope.

This went on for more than a couple of weeks. And so grateful am I that nobody in my close proximity is a cop, a soldier or a terrorist, for me to have an easy access of an assault weapon.

I was so full of wrath towards everything. And that made me completely terrified! Of myself. It’s one thing to be afraid of another person or to be scared of Ghosts or of the things unknown but to be petrified of one's own self, of what fury one is capable of unleashing…is extremely unsettling. There is no worse emotion that one can experience, than seeing the evil in oneself. Especially for someone on the spiritual path, who should actually ought to be seeing God in oneself and others!

And for me it was no different. For I can get angry as hell, for sure. But I've learnt, when I do or say anything during such time, I always end up hurting someone I don’t ever want to hurt and I always regret it for days later. And so I don’t really know the correct way of expressing my anger. But this thing I kept feeling was different. This was long pent up…something...something very solid and heavy.

Overtime I figured I was so angry because I trusted her a lot. Even before I had any ‘feelings’ for her, she was a friend to me, my best Friend. And I sincerely hoped and believed that she will be there by my side when I'll need her the most. That she will communicate. She never did. That our friendship was genuine. I wasn’t sure now. That she was different than other women, I knew till then. May be not. And that’s why I ceased to have any belief in Love & Friendship and Marriage and other such important things in Life involving more than two souls, because in my great wisdom, I concluded - people are selfish & evil.

And the result was this paranoid hatred towards everything.
But going through my anguish of having to face up to this baffling thought of me as a Villain, some things I never could have thought can happen, happened. Some of the subtlest and deepest lines enunciated by Guruji began making sense. I started to have an understanding of people who actually went on a shooting spree in colleges etc. And of people who commit other wrong acts in a moment of ignorance.

I think that ordinary people like us become victim of only 3 things: Bad Times, Bad Timing and ignorance i.e. not being able to understand one’s own mind and deal with it. And this happens in a matter of moments of judgment lapse. And the entire life goes awry.

This is why workshops like Yes!+ and organization like Art of Living are so absolutely vital in today's day and age for youths. To understand ones own mind and patterns and engage in helping others live a fuller life.

We affect the lives of more people than we'll ever know. And that is also why people like, friends should be genuinely caring and responsible and be like superman for their Lois Lane. To be there at the right time to stop their friends from doing stupid things like - smoking or killing!
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