Thursday, February 15, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day Celebration! – 2018.

We had a nice evening yesterday, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. It was a very happy occasion that lasted until well after dinner. Every one enjoyed the party as you can see in the attached pictures.
Celebrations make life more enjoyable and fun. Apart from our very own religious and traditional celebrations round the year, there are birthdays, national holidays, festivals of other religions, family get-togethers and many commemorative days of foreign origin that we get to enjoy. For example Mother’s Day, Women’s Day and Valentine’s Day are all adding up to our own festivals for girls and women like Rakhi Pournami. Many such celebrations spread love and affection and give as a special opportunity to express our thanks. Celebrations are very important and without them we cannot enjoy life fully.
I do not know whether any other country has so much to celebrate. In the past even without foreign influence India had much to celebrate. It is said that we had a festival in India somewhere or the other, every day of the year, 365 days in a year! For instance there was a celebration on the day of commencing ploughing, on the occasion of procuring new implements or equipment, one for planting day, one for weeding and then for harvesting. Many are now neglected or forgotten or observed without much enthusiasm. But thanks to newer occasions we get to celebrate (additionally), so that we can enjoy, express our love, affection and gratitude to those so close to us.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Picking A Cake For His Valentine! - A Photo Story:

This young man here,
Is looking for a lovely cake,
For his beloved valentine!...
He looks at the large display of cakes,
And shortlists his choices…
He discusses the merits of the selected range,
With Hyderabad’s shortest but greatest baker…
Then points out at the one he finally likes…
Having chosen the best,
He is relaxing,
And waiting for his grandma,
To settle the bill and collect the cake…
And here he is leaving the cake shop,
Very happy with his purchase,
A lovely gift,
For his lovely valentine!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Today is the festival of Maha Shivaratri.

Today, 13th February is the festival of Maha Shivaratri. Maha Shivaratri or Shivaratri festival is celebrated according to the Telugu lunar calendar on Chaturdashi night (the night before the New Moon) during Krishna/Bahula Paksham of Palguna Masam. Maha Shivaratri means the Great night of Shiva. Maha Shivaratri is a very important festival celebrated throughout the length and breadth of the country with great devotion. This is the day on which Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. And it is on Shivaratri night that Lord Shiva performed Thandavam dance (Shiva Thandavam). Performing Abhishekam and offering prayers on this day is considered very significant in seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva. In the morning devotees bathe in a holy river if possible, fast the whole day, visit a Shiva Temple and perform pooja and after sunset they consume some fruit and milk. Then the whole night they keep awake. To keep awake they may listen to religious discourses, stories, doing bhajana, watching religious movies that are telecast by almost all Telugu TV channels, playing some indoor games and Anthakshari etc.
Hindu mythology also tells us of how some persons not knowing of Maha Shivaratri inadvertently performed Shiva pooja on this day and attained God’s blessings and Moksham. A very ancient King, Chitrabhanu was performing Maha Shivaratri with great fervor and when asked about his devotion he narrated the reasons as follows. He had knowledge of his previous birth. He was then a hunter, solely living by killing birds and animals. The day before a New Moon he could not get hold of any food till very late. As it became very dark by then he could not go home. He climbed a tree to rest there. Then accidentally the water container he was carrying started leaking and got emptied. Feeling thirsty, hungry and thinking of his family’s plight that night he could not go to sleep. Out of frustration he began to pluck the leaves of the tree and drop them down. Unknown to him the water from his canister leaked on to the Shiva Lingam below the tree which was as if he had performed the Abhishekam. And the leaves he dropped down fell on the Lingam as an offering. The leaves of this tree called Bilwa patram are considered a very important offering to Lord Shiva. And that night happened to be Maha Shivaratri. As a result he attained Moksham in that life and went to heaven.
Another popular and similar narration is that of Baktha Kannappa. Kannappa was also a hunter. From a non-believer he becomes a believer on Maha Shivaratri day after inadvertently performing pooja from the top of a Bilwa tree to the Shiva Lingam below. Unlike the King’s version he gets on top of the tree that night afraid of his wife’s scolding for not bringing home any food. He begins to perform pooja in his crude way. Later one day when he cannot get hold of any fruit or animal, he prays before the Shiva Lingam asking God to help him in his hunt and that he would offer some of the food he gets to God. He then finds and kills a wild boar. He cooks some of it and offers it to God. A little later he finds that one eye of the Shiva Lingam has become red and is shedding tears. Thinking that God is in pain after accepting his offering he pulls out his eye and replaces it on the Shiva Lingam. Then the other eye of the Shiva Lingam also becomes red and sheds tears. Then he pulls out that eye also from the Shiva Lingam and marking the empty socket with his foot he pulls out his other eye and places it in the Shiva Lingam. Lord Shiva is pleased with his devotion and concern for him and appears before him. And to enable Kannappa to see him God blesses him with eyes and asks him to seek any favor. Baktha kannappa seeks to be with God in heaven. I picked up this story from the Telugu movie called Baktha Kannappa.
Staying awake on Maha Shivaratri is called Jagarna. The next day is a holiday for schools and several establishments.


Maha Lingarchana Harathi @ Srilekha:

Happy Valentine’s Day Celebration! – 2018.

We had a nice evening yesterday, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. It was a very happy occasion ...