Raksha bandhan(Rakhi) : Details

RakhiRaksha Bandhan or Rakhi , personally one of my favourite Indian festivals. It makes me all nostalgic ,remembering my childhood days. They say to experience the beauty of certain things , you need to experience them personally . This holds true for this beautiful bond. You need to have that beautiful relationship to share (whether biological or made by choice) to experience this beautiful bond of brother and sister. I don’t think there is any other culture in the world that celebrates this beautiful bond.

I have been  lucky enough to be blessed to celebrate this beautiful relationship year after year. To this day I remember the first time I got to celebrate this festival. My little heart was full of joy and excitement. When I realized that I will be getting a sibling soon..I remember singing the song “kali re kali re tu to kali kali hai, gora sa ek bhayia maa dilane wali hai , laane wali hai ” . I used to sing it so often, I still remember one of our neighbouring aunt who was expecting around the same time too..her hubby called me and recorded my song in their tape recorder :-). I remembered the whole song. So lucky I was that I was blessed with a baby brother exactly 6 days before rakhi. That year rakhi was on 4th august. I remember getting mehendi done on my tiny little palms by my masi. I woke up so early to see the color of my mehendi and then getting the mustard oil and heat massage on my palm from my dad to get the color of mehendi dark :-). I still remeber the first rakhi I got and tied on those chubby lttle wrists. It was a small silver rakhi. I wonder where it is now, if its still safe with my mom. I need to ask her. I still remember cuddling him tight, holding him on my lap and covering him and myself both in a warm shawl in the cold winter days. We fought ,we loved , we argued with each other , we defended each other.We fought for the same pen,pencil but when time required we shared our savings for each other.

Coming back to the festival Raksha Bandhan : combination of two words “Raksha” meaning “Protection” , “bandhan” meaning “Bond”. Hence, raksha bandhan is also called Bond of Protection. The sister ties the raksha thread on the brother’s wrist wishing for his long life , success ,protection from all evils and in return the brother promises safety and security of his sister.

You will find many historical stories on raksha bandhan/rakhi. I won’t go in to the details of that but will shed light on how rakhi was celebrated in vedic culture.During that time it was not limited to the bond of brother and sister, there are example Lord Krishna’s mom tying the Raksha sutra to Krishna. A guru tying raksha sutra to his disciples etc.

At that time Rakhi was made of below given following 5 items tied together in a small silk cloth and then the cloth along with the sacred thread called Mauli or kalwa is tied on the wrist of an individual.

1) Durva ( a type of grass) : Durva the sanskrit word for Bermuda grass is considered sacred. While Tulsi is considered sacred to krishna , durva is considered sacred for Lord Ganesha. Significance: The way bermuda grass grows quicky and spreads around faster and a single seed of it can propagate in to thousands of seeds similarly its wished that your family line flourishes and prospers. The way the “Durva” grass spreads quickly similarly I wish your good qualities and fame spread in all directions.Since the Durva is sacred to Lord Ganesha (the god of removal of all obstacles) may he remove all the obstacles from your life.

2)Akshat (The whole grain rice mixed with turmeric).Akshat means the one thats is not broken, akshat in Pooja rituals is referred to the whole grains of rice mixed with turmeric.Just like Akshat may you remain unharmed.

3)Kesar(Saffron) : Saffron is strong in nature . It assimilates and brings its properties in to milk/water whatever it is added to.May you be as lusturous as saffron and may with your good qualities inculcate the same goodness in everyone around you.

4)Chandan(Sandal): The basic quality of sandal is to provide fragrance and provide coolness and freshness.Just like sandal may there be calmness in your life and may your good qualities spread around just like the fragrance of sandal.

5)Sarson ke daane(Mustard seeds) ; Mustard seeds are tiny but they are strong in flavor. May you become as strong as to be able to remove all the problems of society.

 

The Resham or silk thread has got its own significance, its lusturous, it provides warmth and even though its very fine, it is very strong.Hence Rakhi’s were mostly made of silk thread, signifying the love and warmth and the strong bond shared by the two individuals.With the marketing bursts and companies trying to come up with new ideas the rakhi’s are undergoing lots of changes, but a simple resham rakhi is still the best per me 🙂

.Its believed that the first rakhi was tied to King Bali by goddess Lakshmi.The Shlok generally recited during tying rakhi (also called Raksha sutra is )

Rakhi Mantra in Hindi
Rakhi Mantra in English

The meaning of Raksha Mantra is as following –
“I tie you with the same Raksha thread which tied the most powerful, the king of courage, the king of demons, Bali. O Raksha (Raksha Sutra), please don’t move and keep fixed throughout the year

It has alreday been a long post hence I might some day post the story related to raksha sutra some other day .

One thing is change has to be part of customs in order for them to be carried on for generations, Olden times families used to be large hence more or less all were fortunate to be blessed with sibling bonds of brothers and sisters. With time the families becoming smaller in size and going nuclear way, it is must that we do not limit this festival as a bond between just brothers and sisters but celebrate it more as BOND OF PROTECTION and LOVE between SIBLINGS.

May all the siblings in world admire,love and respect each other. May they appreciate the beautiful bond in which the almighty has tied them and value it .

 

Best wishes to all.

INDIAN FLAG : History and Significance

india-flag-a4

India’s Independence Day (15th August ) and Republic Day (26th January) are major milestone dates for every Indian, be they the citizens of India or Expats. We all reminiscent the old school days when we looked forward to these dates. I am not sure how much we understood the significance of these dates but the biscuits and candies we got , the shiny white school uniform we wore, the parades, the flag and that pride on every one’s face all made those 2 days very special.

I know the internet will flood with all the patriotic pictures, poems and articles. I was wondering what should I write or post and then the thought came why not write on the history and the significance of the flag. I know what the flag of my kids motherland means but do my kids know what my motherland flag signifies. Not to say we love both the countries flag and have a deep respect for each but to know a little about them is good, Right ??

SIGNIFICANCE : INDIA as is always mentioned is a very vibrant and colourful country and so is it’s flag the tricolored Indian flag commonly called “TIRANGA“. Tirangaa is comibination of 2 words “Ti” meaning Three and “Rang” meaning color. Hence Tiranga means “Tri-Color”.

The Top most “Saffron” color signifies Courage. The middle “White” signifies peace and Harmony. The Wheel in the “Navyblue” with 24 spikes called “Ashok Chakra” is  Also called wheel of Dharma , It signifies continuous progress  24 hours of the day. The “Green” Represents Land of agriculture hence prosperity and fertility.

AshokChakra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ashok Chakra was taken from Ashoka pillar in Sarnath. It was Part of Ashok Stambh (Ashoka pillar) that has 4 lions facing in different direction with wheels at the bottom. The four lions were adopted as India’s National emblem and Wheels were adopted in the National Flag.

AshokChakra-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HISTORY : National Flag Evolution :

Flag

 

 

 

 

 

Ist Flag: was composed of three horizontal strips of red, yellow and green and said to have been hoisted on August 7, 1906, in the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park) in Calcutta.

IInd Flag: was very similar to the first flag except that the top strip had only one lotus but seven stars denoting the Saptarishi; was hoisted in Paris by Madame Cama and her band of exiled revolutionaries in 1907 .

IIIrd Flag : had five red and four green horizontal strips arranged alternately, with seven stars in the saptarishi configuration super-imposed on them. In the left-hand top corner (the pole end) was the Union Jack. There was also a white crescent and star in one corner. Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak hoisted it during the Home rule movement in 1917.

IVth Flag : was made up of two colours-red and green-representing the two major communities i.e. Hindus and Muslims, prepared by an Andhra youth during the session of the All India Congress Committee which met at Bezwada in 1921 (now Vijayawada) took it to Gandhiji. Gandhiji suggested the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolise progress of the Nation.

Vth Flag : A resolution was passed in 1931 adopting a tricolor flag as our national flag. This flag, the forbear of the present one, was saffron, white and green with Mahatma Gandhi’s spinning wheel at the center. It was, however, clearly stated that it bore no communal significance and was to be interpreted thus.

On July 22, 1947, the Constituent Assembly adopted it as Free India National Flag. After the advent of Independence, the colours and their significance remained the same. Only the Dharma Charkha of Emperor Asoka was adopted in place of the spinning wheel as the emblem on the flag.

It’s an honour and pride to watch the Tiranga Unfurl and Flutter in the blue sky .

Guru Poornima : Significance

GuruGuru Poornima: My face book page and What’s app messages are flooded with Guru Poornima wishes , yes today is Guru Poornima. Another Indian festival that is loosing its meaning and celebrations amidst many others.It made me decide that I need to write on this festival to explain the importance/significance.

Guru Poornima is celebrated in the month of Ashadh(per Hindu calendar) around July -August time frame during the full moon day (Poornima). The Day actually was celebrated to pay homage to Rishi (Saint) Ved Vyas. He was the Saint who edited 4 Vedas, the 18 puranas, Mahabharat, Srimad Bhagwatkatha. He was also the one who preached Dattatreya who is considered Guru of Guru.

The word “GURU” has been included in English dictionary too and used in colloquial english too to refer to a subject matter expert. Now a days Guru is also the term used for teachers.

The most common Shloka in sanskrit to show respect towards Guru is :गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुर्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः गुरुरेव परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः 

Gurur-Brahmaa Gurur-Vishnur-Gururdevo Maheshvarah |Gurureva Param Brahma Tasmai Shrii-Gurave Namah ||1||

Exact Translation:The Guru is Brahma, the Guru is Vishnu, the Guru Deva is Maheswara (Shiva),The Guru is Verily the Para-Brahman (Supreme Brahman); Salutations to that Guru.

Meaning:The Guru is  Brahma (G of GOD denoting Genrator) like Lord Brahma he generates Knowledge within us. The Guru is Vishnu (O of GOD denoting Operator) like Lord Vishnu he operates/drives us to the right path by enlightening us in the form of ideas and knowledge. The Guru is Shiva (D of GOD denoting Destroyer) like Lord Shiva he destroys the ignorance within us and paves way for the inner enlightenment. Thus a true teacher is like an ultimate GOD and we pay respect and salute to that Teacher.

Coming back to the question : so the teachers who taught us are they GURU ??

Well per my understanding it depends, if you got guidance from them (apart from academics or subject matter then yes) . The teachers who impart subject knowledge are like “Acharya’s.In ancient India the saints with subject  matter expertise were called Acharya like ayurveda acharya’s Sushrut, Charak. The teacher of military arts for kaurava’s and pandava’s Dronacharya.

GURU : is made by combination of 2 root words of sanskrit (Gu + Ru). Gu meaning darkness and Ru meaning dispeller. Hence the destroyer of darkness is GURU. Now the darkness can be of ignorance , of arrogance , of pride , of all the negative qualities within you. The one who helps you overcome these negativities within you is the GURU. The term mostly is used for your spiritual guide the one who awakens or enlightens the inner soul within you. In Bhagwad Gita too Arjun accepts Shri Krishna as GURU as he guides Arjun when the latter is in doubt.

How do I explain significance of it to my kids.. You know the history and logic of Guru Poornima but how do you explain it to the little ones?? The lessons of spirituality or negativity within you or coming out of negativity or growing up spiritually with the guidance of GURU is a concept hard for them to understand. I read about an example of Sun and Moon in the internet. Moon has no light of its own, but on poornima /full moon it dazzles by reflecting the light of Sun , similarly  if you get a true GURU (Sun) , the guidance from him/her will enlighten you and you will shine by imbibing the learning’s from him/her in your life.

We did a little experiment today, we took few seeds and planted them. I asked them what will the seed turn in to and their answer was plant . We talked that the seed needs water, air and sunlight to grow in to a plant. The sunlight is a must just the air and water won’t help plant to grow , the Sunlight is a must because it initiates the process of photosynthesis which helps in providing the food. Similarly a true GURU acts as SUN which helps us to initiate the process of photosynthesis (food for our mind/soul) within us. It helps us to come out of our cocoon of selfishness, ignorance ,pride and makes us a humble and good Human being. Parents can act as GURU too if they are able to guide their kids in right direction.

Salute to the GURU’s in our life who have taught us right from wrongs , helped us awaken our innerself let’s follow what is right and pass it to the next generation and make this world a beautiful place. LET’s begin from US ….

गुरु गोबिंद दोउ खड़े , काके लागूं पावों , बलिहारी गुरु आपने गोविन्द दियो बताय

Guru gobind dou khade,kaake lagoon paavon, Balihari guru aapne ,gobind diyo batay ..

Meaning : I was standing in front of my Guru and God, I was in dilemma who to salute first and God told it’s the GURU first…that’s how significant is THE GURU in our LIFE.

Bottle Paint

Bottle PaintMany of my friends liked the rock painting idea and wanted me to share some more ideas..so here it is Bottle Painting.

Some times you have these lovely bottles that you can use as decorations with just a little bit of colors and lots of patience. I am the person who can not sit idle , I like to keep myself engaged in one thing or other that helps me grow as an individual. These last few weeks I was taking my kids to swimming classes unluckily (well later I found out it  was blessing in disguise) both of them could not get the same timings , Hence Mom of 2 had to sit for 2 hours for their classes. This particular bottle is the outcome of those swimming classes. You can use the same idea in rock painting too and let your imaginations run wild and play around with many designs. It can be a great Gift idea too for some of those who like a little bit of personal touch.

:USE YOUR TIME WISELY 🙂

Namaste (The Indian Greeting)-Meaning and Significance

“Namaste” – what does it mean ? Why is it said? What is the significance? These questions must have came in your mind sometime, especially If you are an Indian or have been around an Indian , you must have surely heard the word “Namaste”. It’s the Indian Hello 🙂 . On a serious note it is an Indian way to greet when you meet someone. You bring your both palms together in the way that fingers of each palm touch each other pointing upwards , thumbs closer to your chest and you gently bow down your head a little bit.

Why I decided to write about “Namaste”? Well, my kids were lucky enough to go to a school that has very varied diaspora. Quiet obvious when you are part of such varied community, as much as you learn about other cultures, you are answerable to your own culture too :-). WhenNamaste I had to tell what “Namaste” truly stands for I decided why not to share it with all .

The word “Namaste” (नमस्ते ) is combination of two Sanskrit words “Namah” (नमः ) and “Te” (ते ). “Namah” means Salute or Bow or Adore. Literal meaning of “Te” in sanskrit is “They”  , but in here it’s used as You or You all. Hence, Namaste means “I Bow to you” or ” I Salute You”. In Vedic culture it was believed that there is GOD(supreme power) within every living oraganis/zm. Namaste meant I Bow to the God within you.Another way to explain it is ,and which I personally believe, is better way to explain is : Let’s discuss a situation, you go to a party and start greeting people, what are the first few thoughts in your minds …. (The looks of the other fellow, the kind of dress/clothes the person is wearing, how they are carrying themselves, the way they are talking/eating etc.) The point is that we immediately try to analys/ze a person and start being judgemental, before even trying to know the person. When you say “Namaste” it means “I bow/salute the Supreme power within you“. Not judging you as an individual , I am keeping my mind open and ready to welcome you.

The word “Namah” can further be segregated in to “Na” and “Ma”. Na –  meaning no/not/negating and Ma – meaning Mine. Hence meaning, its not mine. It negates the feeling of supremacy or the ego of an individual. Thus, making the person humble enough to accept /welcome the other individual.Joining the palms together signifies we all are one.

Another word quiet commonly exchanged with “Namaste” is “Namaskar”. Namaskar (नमस्कार) is again made of two Sanskrit words “Namah” ( नमः )  and “Sanskar”(संस्कार) .Namah – I already mentioned above and Sanskar – The words literal meaning is hard to find but its a process of transforming a person in to outstanding personality by guiding/developing good conscious, good thoughts, good conducts in him/her. Namaskar hence meaning I bow to all the good qualities within you.

When you greet a person by saying “Namaste” not only it enriches the environment with positivity but also the  danger of passing germs is reduced significantly. It certainly is not just a gesture of respect but a sign of gratitude too. When greeted with its true essence it surely brings positivity between the two individuals.

Hope the next time you greet some one it is in the true essence and when some one asks you about Namaste , you are ready with a detailed answer 🙂

 

 

 

Lilo and Stitch – Rock Painting

Black_RockPaintingRock_painting  Have you ever had one of those rainy days with kids when you don’t know what to do with them? Or like me your kids have been after you to get a pet and you dread with all the work that comes along with them. Not to mention the fear of growing emotional attachment with them.

Here is the perfect solution to it.This summer after our Out of country trip, my kids were not interested in joining any camps. My son told me he simply want to “chillax” 🙂 . If you are one of those parents who believe in restricted electronic time , the task becomes more difficult on how to keep them occupied in a constructive way. My daughter kept asking for the pet and then this idea dawned on me. I told her well instead of getting a pet why don’t we create a pet . She was like “Huh… create a pet ? ” . She likes rock collection so we decided we will do rock painting and she decided on lady bug and frog. My kids named them Lilo and Stitch. Now the kids are happy  (they got 2 pet) and Mommy is happy ( the kids learnt something new and now they are happy too) and of course the pets are ready to welcome the seasons in our front yard.

This summer when you make those beach trips gather few nice rocks , save them and then turn them in to beautiful work of art in those rainy days.

रंगत (Colors)

Rangatवाह री रंगत दुनिया तेरी,
गिरगिट रंग बदलते हैं अपने को बचाने खातिर
पत्ते रंग बदलते हैं ,मौसम की खातिर
नित नए रंग बदलते दिखते हैं इंसान जाने किस खातिर…
कल जो तने -तने से थे आज चाशनी से घुले जाते हैं जाने किस खातिर

प्रीती मिश्र तिवारी
१० जुलाई २०१५

Oh..the Colors (Colours for those who follow British English) of world , The colours in the world are so fascinating. The leaves change colours with effect of nature. Chameleons change colours to protect themselves. The scientific word for this habit of theirs is called “Adaptation”. Ever wondered what should be the changing colours/Behaviours of human be called.At a moment they are so close and so friendly then they become all arrogant and start ignoring and then all of sudden utterly sweet. The overdose of sweetness can make you sick. You start wondering “WHY”??

I am sure we all experience such things around us and to many it bothers too.Think deeply is it the people that bother you, is it their actions that bother you or is it the “WHY” within you that bothers you. Well, the honest answer to it is , its the WHY’s that bother us. I was hearing a religious discourse and it made sense that it’s the “Why’s” within us that give us trouble.

We all experience our shares of happiness and sorrows and its the sorrows when we ask questions like “Why me” ?? or “Why this happened to me”?? Instead of wondering on “why’s” sit back and think “Can you control this situation?” If the answer is yes work towards it. If the answer is no then “WHY” to worry on something that you don’t have control on? The Why’s happen because we are unable to “ACCEPT” what is happening be it events in your life or people in your life. When you know you don’t have any control on either of these , you learn to accept it and as soon as you learn to ACCEPT this fact you are at peace with yourself.

 

Tangled (कश्मकश )

Tangled is the word I chose for this topic, I could have very well chosen Dilemma but I feel its more of a situation where we are always tangled between past and future…when we were young , we all wanted to grow up fast and be independent, at this stage when we are grown up and all independent, we cherish the past and wish may be those days lasted a little longer … I see my kids and hear them saying “when I grow up “and then I talk with my school friends and all feel “those were the days” ..so I guess at every stage of life we are tangled between past and future hence the topic “Tangled” 🙂

Like all the other things even Technology has its Pros and cons.. I love the fact that I am in touch with all my school/college friends and all my extended family members. Time and other constraints do not make it possible to be in touch with them through calls and all but its nice to know about their kids and families and about them too .In most of all our chats we do reminiscence our good old childhood memories, but if I rewind back we all were in a rush to grow up , even now when we are grown up and all independent we still toil and work hard for future..the irony is Future is unknown..we all make plans for 10 years down the lane ..when we don’t know what is going to actually happen tomorrow. Planning or thinking for future is not bad..Don’t get me wrong there..I am on the same boat too , but all I am saying is not at the expense of our present /today. I guess we all are somewhere or other missing out on enjoying our present in rushing towards future and reminiscing over the past..Let’s make the most of our present and teach our kids too to enjoy what is in their hands right now…

 

ये कैसी कश्मकश ये कैसी जददोजहद ,
बचपन था तो बड़े हो जाने की होड़ ,
बड़े हुए तो बचपन को पीछे छोड़ आने का अफ़सोस
कल को पाने की होड़ थी , कल के छूट जाने का अफसोस था
इस आपाधापी में कब आज फिसल गया हाथों से ये पता ही नहीं चला

प्रीति मिश्र तिवारी
७-७-२०१५

 

Tangled

नादान – Naive

कितने नादान थे की ज़िन्दगी की फितरत किताबों से सीखने चले थे
गोया कुछ चेहरे ऐसे  मिले जिन्होंने ज़िन्दगी के माने सिखा दिए
कुछ चेहरे ऐसे भी जिन्होंने ज़िन्दगी के कायदे सिखा  दिए
और कुछ मसखरे  ऐसे भी मिले जिन्होने ज़िन्दगी के सबक  सीखा दिए—प्रीति मिश्र तिवारी

How naive was I that I tried to learn the Nature of Life through Books As it was..met few faces who taught the meaning of life…met few who taught even the rules of life..Naivealso met a few jokers who taught the lessons for life .

“पिता” (Dad)

आम नहीं वो बहुत ख़ास है
बारिश में भीगी मिट्टी सा मधुर अहसास है ,
खुशनसीब हैं वो जिनके पिता उनके पास हैं
“पिता” शब्द जिसमे जीवन का सार है
वो जो तुम्हारे जीवन की नींव का आधार है
बिना कहे बरसे वो ऐसा निश्छल प्यार है
जो तुम्हारे जीवन का अनजान सम्बल है
बूझोगे ना , अंतर में छिपा वो आत्मबल है
मान भी है मनुहार भी है
रूठने और मनाने का व्यापार भी है
ज़ाहिर ना करे लफ़्ज़ों से बस छलके आँखों से,
बस ऐसा पिता का प्यार ही है।

प्रीती मिश्र तिवारी
१७-जून -२०१५

 

Father…
He is not common but very special,
a soothing feeling like the wet soil after fresh rain
Lucky are those who have their Dad’s by their side
“DAD” the word that’s essence of one’s life
He is the love that showers without saying
He is the support that’s always there
He is the hidden strength within you , many of you may not even realize
He praises,  he pleases, he takes pride in you
He does the business of sulking and coaxing too
all because he loves and treasures you…
Mostly not expressed thorugh words but expresssed through eyes and deeds..
That’s how a Dad’s Love is Percieved…..Preeti Mishra Tiwari
17 – Jun – 2015

Papa, Dad, Father,Pita, so many different words for one relation. I guess one of the most underrated and least expressed relations but a beautiful source of unconditional love and strength.Most of the time whatever a Dad does is considered a part of his duty. We always see nice articles and poems on Mom’s and their sacrifices and efforts they put for us but hardly for dad’s. So this poem is dedicated to my Dad. my kid’s dad , my brother who is a wonderful and fantastic dad and to all the wonderful Dad’s out there (biological or not(I don’t want to use the word step) and those who fill the responsibilities of a dad ) those who act as pillar of strength, a guiding light and role model to their Son’s, Those who act as a knight in shining armor and are first love of their daughters, those who teach the first lesson of love,care,share and trust to their kids by loving, caring, and respecting their partners …YOU MAKE OUR WORLD BEAUTIFUL …..