Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thai Poosam: the Festival of Tamils Celebrated All Over the World

The Festival at Palani, Batu Caves, Singapore, Mauritius, Sydney and South Africa.

’Thai Poosam‘ is an important festival celebrated for Lord Murugan or Lord Subramanian or Lord Karthikeyan in the tenth month of Tamil calendar month ‘Thai’ (‘Pausa’ tenth month of Hindu Calendar month) (14 January – 13 February). Thai is an auspicious month for Tamils. This festival is celebrated on the full moon day when the moon passes through the star ‘Poosam’ or ‘Pushya.’ The Tamils (Hindus) all over the world are celebrating this festival in Murugan temples including the six bastions of Lord Murugan (Arupadaiveedu) in Tamil Nadu, Malaysia, Singapore, London, Sydney, Paris, and USA. The Lord Murugan is native Lord of Tamils. He is the younger son of Lord Shiva. In Tamil Murugu means handsome. The handsome god is represented as ‘Lord of War’ and he is also known as the Chief of Deva Army (Deva Senathipathy). He has also destroyed the demon Surapadman on a Shashti (sixth lunar day). Lord also destroyed another demon Tharakasuran on the Poosam star day and for this reason Thai Poosam is celebrated.


Palani is one of the six bastions of Lord Murugan. The Sri Dhandayudhapani (Murugan) temple is located on Palani hillock (Malai Kovil or hill temple). Thai Poosam is one of the main festivals of Dhandayudhapani temple in Palani. It is a ten days festival. The celestial marriage of Lord Murugan with his two consorts ‘Sri Valli’ and ‘SriDeivanai’ will takes place. On the seventh day the Lord and his consorts will be taken in a car and the procession will be along the four Ratha streets. On the tenth day there will be float festival. The festival attracts lot of devotees. People from all over the state proceed to Palani by walk. Some people vows to offer a kavadi to the Lord. They will observe fast and break their fast once their vow is fulfilled. About ten thousand kavadis are offered during Thai Poosam festival. People believe that all their miseries will be mitigated by the Lord. Kavadi is a “flattened pole with loads at the ends.” The pole would be made up of wood or metal. Some people would like to carry simple pole while others prefer to carry decorated poles. The pots attached on either side may be filled with milk or water from holy river Cauvery. Some may prefer to bring flowers. Some other may prefer to carry kavadi decorated with peacock feathers. The kavadi bearers duly garlanded and dressed in yellow costume, commence their pilgrimage from far off places and proceed by walk. On the way there will be ‘Kavadi Attam’ or dance by the devotees. The supporters will recite the Tamil song ‘Kavadi-Chindhu.’ People also vow to feed these Kavadi bearers.

Batu Caves (Malaysia)

Batu caves, Malaysia is the extremely popular shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is one of the well recognized Murugan shrine outside India. The shrine is located near Kuala Lumpur. You have to travel 13 Km from Kuala Lumpur to reach the temple. The temple is located in a typical limestone hill. You will find a series of caves or cave temples. Along the hill the famous Sungai Batu River flows. The Thai Poosam festival of Batu caves Murugan Temple is celebrated in grandeur. This most popular Thai Poosam festival outside India attracts around one and half million devotees from Singapore as well as from India and Australia. We can boldly state that this is the only place wherein largest devotees participate in the festival. On Thai Poosam day the devotees organize an eight hour procession from Mahamariamman Temple, kuala Lumpur to Batu caves at early morning in the wee hours of the morning. Devotees vowed to offer kavadi will carry different types of kavadis. As described earlier, some extremists will pierce their tongue or cheeks with a sharp shaft. Some other will pierce hooks other shoulders and pull toy cars. After a holy dip in the Sungei Batu River, the devotees and kavadi bearers will climb the 272 step stairway leading to the hill-cave temple. At the sanctum sanctorum the priests will help the devotees to remove their hooks from the body. They will apply the holy ash on the wound. By god’s grace there is no blood coming from the hook pierced flesh. Another cave temple or the Sri Subramanian Temple at Gunong Cheroh, Ipoh, Malaysia also celebrates Thai Poosam. Yet another place is at the Nattukottai Chettiar Temple along Jalan Waterfall in Penang.


Thaipusam is celebrated with grandeur in Singapore. The devotees commence the celebrations on the preceding day of Thai Poosam. Lord Murugan is placed in the Silver Chariot and taken out in a procession to Layan Sithi Vinayagar temple and in the evening the chariot returns back. The Chettiar Kavadies and other devotees follow the chariot. People call this event as Chetty Pusam in Singapore. On Thaipusam day, you will find larger number of devotees. In Singapore also certain devotees vow to offer prayers by piercing their bodies with spikes and spears. They also pull toy chariots by hooks (hooks are pierced and attached on their back) from Srinivasa Perumal Temple. All kinds of Kavadis are also carried by them. The holy spear (Vel) in the sanctum sanctorum is bathed with milk continuously for a longer duration. Here you will find number of Chinese devotees as well as other religious people and even other races offering prayers and fulfill their vows.


Thai Poosam is also celebrated to Lord Subramanian at Mauritius. As told earlier the extreme devotees from Mauritius also ‘sport anatomy-defying piercings of all kinds.’ There are other type kavadis offered by the devotees. VICTORIA, Australia: Thai Poosam celebration was reported at Sri Shiva Vishnu Temple, 52. Boundary Road, Carrum Downs, Victoria – 3201. The Hindu Society of Victoria, Celebrated the festival on 1.2.2007. There was an Abishekam for Lord Subramanian at 5.15pm and the Rathothsavam followed at 7.45pm. Devotees carried kavadis and milk pots (Pal kudam) and offered to the Lord. The prime deity and his consorts were decorated with flowers and jewelry. The deity was taken out in palanquin. There was also rathothsavam on the same day. Prasadam and annadanam was served to all devotees.

Sydney Murugan Temple

Celebrate Thai Poosam as a simple event. There will be the worship of the lamp.

South Africa Poosam Kavadi Festival

The Tamil community at South Africa celebrates Thai Poosam festival every year. The devotees offer honey and pots of milk to Lord Murugan. You will find thousands of yellow-clad devotees carrying spectacular kavadis. You may hear the emotional charged chants of vel, vel! The idol of Lord Subramanian (or Lord Murugan) is placed on a silver chariot and taken out for a procession.

Reference Sources

1) Astrouniverse -
2) EPrarthana - About Thaipusam -
3) Following Murukan: Tai Pucam in Singapore by Gauri Parimoo Krishnan
4) Palani – Thai Pucam -
5) Thaipoosam Cavadee Mauritius
6) Thai Poosam in Australia : (News Reporter, Nagarajan Murugan, Victoria)
7) Thai Pusam -
8) Thai Poosam Kavady festival in South Africa
9) The Hindu - Thai Poosam festival to commence on February 2
10) Wikipedia – Batu Caves -
11) Wikipedia – Thaipusam

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Maha Shivratri the Hindu Festival Dedicated to Lord Shiva

Maha Shivratri Most Popular Hindu Festival in India

Maha Shivratri or Shivratri is the most significant Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the holy Hindu Trinity (Brahma, Lor of Generation; Vishnu Lord of Operation; and Shiva, Lord of Destruction). By Maha Shivaratri it is meant "The Night of Shiva".

Four Kinds of Shivratris

According Skandha Purana, there are four different Shivratris:

Every Hindu feels that every night is the Shivratri for him. It is known as 'Nithya Shivratri'.

According to Hindu calendar the thirteenth lunar night / fourteenth; lunar day (Thithi or lunar day = Thriyodasi night / Chaturdasi Day) the waning phase of the moon (Krishna Paksha) is marked as 'Masa Shivratri' (monthly Shivratri).

Prathamadhi Shivratri is the third kind of Shivratri celebrated for thirteen days commencing the day after new moon or first lunar day to the thirteenth lunar day in the waning phase of the moon in the Tamil month Masi (Hindu calendar month Falguna) month.

Maha Shivratri or annual Shivratri falls on the thirteenth lunar night / fourteenth lunar day Krishna Paksha Triyodasi / Chaturdasi in the Tamil month Masi (Hindu Falguna) month.
Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri is universally observed in all Hindu temples. The temples devoted Lord Shiva celebrates this festival in a grand manner.

Lord Shiva

In the Hindu pantheon Lord Shiva is considered as the god manifested by himself. His consort is considered as the manifestation of power or Shakti. He is the Lord who liberates your soul from the cycle of death and rebirth. Attainment of His feet will remove the fear of death.

Lord Shiva is worshipped in different names and forms - Shiva, Ishwar, Mahadev, Maheshwar, Sadhashiv, Pasupathi, Nataraja, Linga, Ishanan and so on.

Shiva Linga

Lord Shiva is worshipped in three different forms: One with iconic image (Roopa); second without an image (Aroopa); and third with and without image (Roopa Aroopa). Shiva Linga marks the third form and it is a different kind of image worship.

In the Shiva Puranas or Shiva epics the Shiva Linga form is considered as the manifestation of an 'infinite Cosmic Column of fire.' In spite of the good efforts Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu could not trace either the top or bottom of this cosmic column of fire.

The Shiva Linga icon has three components. A pedestal part or 'Peetam', a middle part with circular or quadrangular receptacle or 'Avudaiyar' and the top part with cylindrical or elliptical structure or 'Linga' mounted on the middle part or Avudaiyar. It is believed that Lord Brahma resides in the pedestal; Lord Vishnu in the mid-portion and Lord Shiva in top most portion. Shiva Linga is represented as the cosmic column of fire. Therefore the icon is always cooled with holy water ablution or abhishekam. During ablution or abhishekam, the Shiva Linga idol is bathed with the holy water and the water gets drained through the receptacle.

Shiva Linga and Ablution

The Siva Agamas (pooja rules) prescribe abhishekam as one part of the shodashopachara pooja. Abhishekam gets top priority in Shiva poojas. The Shiva Linga abhishekam is performed with the prescribed 11 ingredients: 1) Gingely oil 2) Pancha kavyam (mixture of five ingredients i.e. milk, curd or yoghurt, ghee and cow's urine) 3) Panchamrutham (mixture of five ingredients i.e. fruit, jaggery, ghee, honey and sugar candy) 4) Ghee 5) Milk 6) Curd or yoghurt 7) Honey 8) Sugar cane juice 9) Lime juice 10) Tender coconut water 11) Sandal paste Lord Shiva is fond of ablution or abhishekam and the Lord will be pleased by ablution or the process of bathing Shiva Linga with the prescribed eleven ingredients like water, milk, curd, ghee, honey etc. A Shiva devotee will receive the blessings of the Lord by performing holy water ablution water on the ‘Shiva Linga form.' The Lord will remove all his / her obstacles and the Lord will shower happiness and joy.

Prayer and Fasting

The Shiva devotees or Saivites will observe fast during the day as well as during the holy night. They keep drinking the oscimum mixed holy water alone. They visit the Shiva temple during evening time. Men and women keep singing the holy verses in chorus.

Four Kalams (Four Parts of the Holy Night)

The holy night commences at 6 p.m and continues till 6 a.m next day. On the holy night of Maha Shivratri there will be four ablutions or abhishekams for Shiva Linga. The entire twelve hours wil be divided in to four parts or Kalam and there will an ablution or abhishekam for Shiva Linga after every three hours. The priests will perform the ablution with the prescribed eleven ingredients.

Chanting Mantras

Devotees will chant Panchakshara (Five Holy Letter) Mantra, 'Namah Shivaya' or 'Shivaya Namah.' They also chant 1008 Shiva Namahvali (1008 Holy Names of Lord Shiva) and offer holy Bilva Patras (Aegle marmelos - also known as Bael leaf) to the Lord.

During the holy night Vedic scholars recite Sri.Rudram. At the central part of the Krishna Yajur Veda there is Sri.Rudram. Sri.Rudram, the most powerful Vedic hymn, praises Lord Shiva with all his names and forms. Sri.Rudram also includes the MAHA MRUTYUNJAYA Mantra. The chanting of the MAHA MRUTYUNJAYA Mantra will remove the fear of death.

Harathi will be performed at the end of each kalam. Priests will distribute holy ash, holy water, milk and panchamirtham (jam mix made out of banana, jaggery, honey, dates and dry grapes, ghee, cardamom).

Famous Shiva Temples: Must be Visited on Maha Shivratri Night

Every Shiva temple is considered as holy abode of the Lord. However there are certain holy Shiva temples that are worth visiting on Maha Shivratri day. According to Shiva Agamas Lord Shiva appeared in the form of light or fire. The Lord is worshipped in the form of light or Jyotir Lingam in twelve holy shrines. These shrines are distributed through out India. The Jyotir Lingams are being worshipped from the time of immemorial:

1) Somnath Temple, Gujarat 2) Mallikarjun Temple, Andhra Pradesh 3) Mahakaleshwara Temple, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh 4) Omkareshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh 5) Vaidyanath Temple, Deogarh, Bihar 6) Bhimashankar Temple near Pune in Maharashtra 7) Rameshwaram Temple, Tamil Nadu 8) Nageshwar Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat 9) Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi 10) Trimbakeshwar Temple, Nasik, Maharashtra 11) Kedarnath Temple, Himalayas 12) Grishneshwar Temple, Daulatabad, Maharashtra

Other holy shrines include:

1) Lingaraj temple, Bhubaneswar 2) Pasupathinath temple, Nepal 4) Shiv temple, Bagot 5) Shri Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh 6) Nataraja temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu

Significance of Vaikunta Ekadasi Festival

The Most Significant Vaishnavite Festival in Tamil Nadu, India


Vaikunta Ekadasi is an important Hindu festival celebrated by Vaishnavites (Hindus) in India (especially in Tamil Nadu). The festival is celebrated with great significance in almost all Lord Vishnu temples in South India. This year Vaikunta Ekadasi falls on January 7, 2009.

Why ‘Ekadasi’?

Why ‘Ekadasi’ is so important? According to Hindu calendar (Hindus follow lunar month) the eleventh day of the waxing phase of the moon is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. There are twenty four ‘Ekadasis’ in a year. On this day the Hindus observe fasting to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu.

Ekadasi day falling in the waxing phase (Shukla Paksha) of the Hindu calendar month Dhanurmasa (Markazhi in Tamil calendar) (December – January) is called Vaikunta Ekadasi. On this most significant and auspicious day Lord Vishnu will enter into the gateway of salvation (Swarga Vasal or Paramapatha Vasal) at the precincts of Vaishnava temples.

Opening of Gateway of salvation

This festival is being celebrated with the opening of Gateway of salvation in the early morning at Srirangam Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple (the most significant among 108 Vaishnavite shrines in Indian subcontinent), Balaji at Thirumala – Thirupathi and Sri Parthasarathy temple, Chennai and many more Vaishnava temples. This gateway will be usually located in the northern side of the temple. The devotees will also accompany the Lord to the gateway of salvation.

Devotion and Fasting

People will observe fasting and keep awake on the previous (tenth day) night. They will chant mantras or recite holy Puranas or sing songs praising Lord Vishnu. In the early morning they will visit temples and pass through the gate of salvation. The gate will remain open for the entire day.

According to Padma Purana:

"Ekadasi vrata samam vrata nasti jagattraye anicchaya'pi yat krtva gatir evam vidha'vayoh ekadasi vratam ye tu bhakti bhavena kurvate na jane kim bhavet tesam vasudeva anukampaya"

The meaning of the verse: Take the entire three worlds. No fasting is even comparable to the ‘Ekadasi Fasting.’ Any one can attain this Supreme Abode (Vaikuntam), even if he observes this fasting without proper procedure. On Ekadasi day, if one observes fasting with full devotion (procedure is not significant), he will be under the mercy of the Supreme Lord Vishnu. No one can describe the merit achieved by the devotee.

Padma purana

There is a significant evidence for celebrating Ekadasi in the Padma Purana (the second and the most important among eighteen Hindu Puranas). A demon named Muran lived in the Krita Yuga. He obtained super power and started harassing Devas and their subjects. The Devas prayed Lord Vishnu and sought His help. On a Dhanurmasa (December – January) Lord Vishnu transformed into Ekadasi (typical female energy) and fought with Muran. Finally Lord Vishnu established His victory and destroyed Muran, the evil force. Lord Vishnu wanted people remember ‘Ekadasi’ the female energy. Therefore he announced that whoever observe fast and worships Lord Vishnu will attain Vaikuntam and will remain under the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu.

Margazhi Pakal Pathu - RaPathu Festival

During Dhanurmasa there will be Margazhi Pakal Patthu Rapathtu Festival observed in Srirangam and other important Vaishnava temples. This 21 days festival commences ten days before Vaikunta Ekadasi and follows ten days after Ekadasi. The ten days before Ekadasi is known as ‘Pakal Pathu Festival. A part of Holy Nalayira Dhivya Prabandham (Holy Hymns composed by twelve Azhwars) will be recited during day time (In Tamil pakal means day). The ten days following Vaikunta Ekadasi is called Rapathu Festival. The remaining part of Holy Nalayira Dhivya Prabandham (Tamil Veda) will be recited during early night time (In Tamil Ira means night). The 21 day the holy marriage ceremony between Lord Vishnu and Andal will take place. With this marriage the festival comes to an end.

Reference Source:

1) E Prarthana – Vaikunta Ekadasi -

2) Hindu Blog – Significance of Vaikunta Ekadasi -

3) Pariharam – Vaikunta Ekadasi -

4) The Hindu temple – Vaikunta Ekadasi -

5) Srirangam – Vaikunta Ekadasi festival - Today mehndi has also become popular in the West.

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How To Celebrate Navaratri with Golu

Nine Days Hindu Festival to Invoke Shakthi

Navratri - the nine sacred nights, is a festival celebrated, with great fervor both religiously and socially, all over India to commemorate the victory of the good over the evil. The celebrations spread over nine auspicious nights. According to Hindu belief, ‘The Embodiment of Divine Power' (Para-Shakti), has three important manifestations: Maha- Saraswati (Goddess Of Knowledge) (Satwic), Maha-Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity) (Rajasic) and Mahakali or Durga (Warrior Goddess) (Tamasic). During the Navaratri, the Goddess "Para-Shakti" is struggling to overcome the forces of vice, wickedness and egoism and on Vijaya Dashami (Dasara, the tenth Day commemorating victory), she conquers and destroys all evil forces (i.e. bringing to an end the atrocities of Asuras like Mahishasuran, Shumban, Nishumban, Madhukaidapan, Thumralochanan and Rakthabheejan). Para-Shakti is all-pervasive, omnipotent, infinite as well as all-knowing.

Navaratri - Devoted to Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.

The Navaratri has been divided into three components. The first three days are dedicated to the worship of Durga, the next three days to the worship of Lakshmi and the last three days to the worship of Saraswati. On the occasion of Navaratri, we invoke three kinds of potential energies--Ichchaa Shakti (will power), Kriyaa Shakti (the power of action) and Jnana Shakti (the power of discrimination) from Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswat. On the tenth day (Vijaya Dasami), we offer the valedictory worship to mark the victory of good over evil by Durga. It is a festival of thanksgiving. Gratitude is divine. Ingratitude is demonic.

Vasant and Sarat Navaratris.

In North India, people celebrate two Navaratris - Vasant and Sarat. Vasant Navaratri falls during April-May (Hindu Calendar month Caitra) and Sarat falls during September-October (Hindu Calendar month Ashwin). The ninth day of Caitra is doubly auspicious and is celebrated as the birthday and marriage day of Lord Rama (Rama Navami). In South India, Sarat Navaratri is celebrated with the dates falling in Shukla Paksha, a day after the new moon in Puratasi month (Tamil Calendar), which is September-October month in the Western calendar.

Golu and its philosophy.

In Tamil, Nadu Navarathri is celebrated by setting up ‘Golu' in a corner of every home (i.e. a gallery of handcrafted dolls representing major deities, scenes from everyday life, thematic doll sets representing mythological events or even modern day happenings and so on). In Tamil, Golu means a sovereign sitting in his royal durbar. The underlying belief in arranging these Navratri dolls on the tier is to depict that Goddess Durga or Mahishasuramardini is sitting in her Golu, prior to the slaying of the demon Mahishasura.

Kalasa Puja.

The housewives commence golu with "Kalasam puja." Instead of icon or photo we represent the goddesses in the form of kalasam. What is Kalasam? The Hindu house holds will always represent God or Goddesses in kalasam. For Kalasam, they will choose brass or silver pot and fill the brass or silver pot with water. After this, they will place a coconut amidst mango leaves on top of the pot.

Through the Kalasa puja mantra, they will invoke the power of goddess Durga or Parashakthi to come reside in kalsam or pot. It is called 'Avahanam.' After this puja it is believed that goddess Durga will be reigning our households for the entire nine days. She is the prime deity of Navaratri. So they attach more importance to this Kalasam and do kalasa puja.

After this puja, the Kalasam is kept in the golu i.e. first and foremost place and will remain fresh for the whole of nine days. During these nine days, the pot or Kalasam is decorated with new clothes, flower and sandal paste. Daily prayer, invocation songs, offerings, etc. will be performed with devotion. Once the festival is over, we will perform some rituals and remove kalasam and pour water in a well or pond. After this, everything comes to normalcy.

Our Mantra is powerful and invokes the goddess to reside in the pot full of water. For those who feel it difficult to understand 'Kalasa puja', it is a simple ritual to represent goddess PARA SHAKTHI in a pot or kalasam.

Number of tiers and steps in arrangements.

Golu means display. Goddess is present in our home during these nine days. The house holds organising 'GOLU' will prepare the display furniture either in metal or in wood. The furniture or golu stand will have nine steps or tiers. The furniture or golu stand is readily available in the market. The slanting steps are like our door steps or staircase steps. Imagine a furniture is designed to display dolls in graded steps or tiers.

The furniture or golu stand has 9 tiers or steps. It is significant that the Navaratri Golu is set up with the arrangement of dolls on an odd number of steps (usually 3,5,7,9). The counting of the first step begins from top and proceeds to the bottom most step. The top most is step one, the next one is step two and the step nine is the bottommost one.

Maximum number of tiers in which dolls are arranged are 9 depending on time and space constraints. The golus show different themes in different homes - from the elaborate, extravagant ones to the simple, traditional and artistic ones. Year after year the women folk enthusiastically organize these dolls as per their tastes. Yet there are beliefs and conventions in arranging dolls in respective steps:

Tiers 1-3: You are expected to arrange Kalasam on the first tier or step. The first tier or step begins on top of the display furniture (golu stand). Goddess Durga or Mahishasuramardini, Maha Lakshmi, Maha Saraswati, Siva, Vishnu, Brahma and all other gods and goddesses occupy tier one to three. You may keep Dasavatharam set.

Tiers 4-6: Counting from top to bottom. You are expected to organize the next three steps to saints like Azhwars, Nayanmars, Guru Raghavendra, Sai Baba, and the like and you may even locate men and women of importance, i.e. national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Ramakrishna Paramahamsar, Swami Vivekananda etc.

Tier 7: Counting from top to bottom. You are free to organize sets of dolls on themes like family, marriage, festivals like Deepavali, Rama Navami, Krishna Jayanthi, etc.

Tier 8: Counting from top to bottom. You may organize sets of dolls according to your imagination and creativity. You may arrange various businesses and crafts, say for example your Chettiar dolls sitting in his business shop surrounded by grocery items like rice, pulses kept in bags or other utensils.

Tier 9: Bottom-most tier. You have the liberty to arrange the traditional wooden dolls called (Marapachi) - covered and decorated with glittering dresses. So also you may keep dolls of fish, tortoise, reptiles, birds, lion, tiger, cow, bulls, etc.

Nine days rituals.

You may invite your friends and relatives to view your golu. Every day you are supposed to offer sweet pongal, sweets, sundal (boiled dhall with spices), etc., as naivedhyam and distribute amongfriends and relatives. Every day, you may dress up your children with fancy dresses depicting Lord Krishna, Devi Lakshmi or Devi Saraswati and so on. You may offer clothes, coconut, fruits, sweets, small mirror, kumkum, turmeric, comb, beetle leaves with supari to married woman folks (Sumangalis).


On the 10th night after the ceremonial art and prayers, the dolls are put to ‘sleep.' You may pack up the dolls and preserve them for the next year golu.
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Required Tools:

* Golu Dolls to be collected over the years
* Creativity and innovation is involved in arranging Navaratri Golu
* There is an involvement of Religious rites and Sociability

Quick Tips:

* The first three days are dedicated to the worship of Durga, next three days to the worship of Lakshmi and last three days to the worship of Saraswati.
* During the Navaratri the Goddess "Para-Shakti" is struggling to overcome the forces of vice, wickedness and egoism and on Vijaya Dashami (Dasara, the tenth Day commemorating victory), she conquers and destroys all evil forces
* In South India Sarat Navaratri is celebrated with the dates falling in Shukla Paksha, a day after the new moon in Puratasi month (Tamil Calendar), which is September-October month in the Western calendar.

Useful Links:

* Golu - Wikipedia
* Hindi Blog

How To Celebrate Annabhishekam in Siva Temples in India

A Festival Celebrated to Lord Siva the Preserver of Annam

An Overview

Annabhishekam is held on full moon day in the seventh month of every year - i.e. Aippasi (Tamil calendar) Asvina (Hindu calendar) (October/ November), for Siva Lingam, presiding deity of all Siva Temples in South India. Devotees believe that performing Annabhishekam to the Lord on this day would rid them of all their problems.

What is Abhishekam?

Abhishekam is the process of bathing the deity. According to Siva Agamas (pooja rules) abhishekam is considered as one part of the shodashopachara pooja. Siva Agamas give lot of importance to abhishekam in Siva pooja and it makes the ceremonies many times more effective. Your priest may perform Abhishekam by simply using holy water or perform elaborately with milk, curds, honey, ghee, sugar, coconut water, holy ash, sandal paste, fruit juice etc.

Lord Siva will be pleased by the process of bathing with the prescribed eleven ingredients like water, milk, curd, ghee, honey etc. If you pour a drop of water on the ‘Linga form' you will receive the blessings of Lord Siva. He will remove all your difficulties and will grace with happiness and joy.

Annabhishekam : A Thanks Giving Festival

The seventh month in the calendar is the holy month. According to astrology Sun resides in the house / rasi Libra. The harvesting of paddy in Tamil Nadu would have got completed by this time. People are more interested in thanking Lord Siva with Annam (cooked fragrant rice). They believe that Lord Siva has only created annam (cooked rice) and He alone offers His grace and protects His subjects with annam (cooked rice).

Siva Lingam: An Abstract Form of Lord Siva

Since Lord Shiva is widely worshipped in the form of the Siva linga as well as presiding deity, annabhisekam will be performed only to Siva lingam. Siva linga form has three parts. The four-sided lower-most part forms the base and is known as avudai. The ‘Yoni' or octagonal eight-sided pedestal (mid-part) is provided with a passage for draining away the water or other liquids poured on top by devotees. The ‘Lingam' or cylidrical shaped top most part remains on the pedestal. The height of lingam is one-third of its circumference. The three parts of lingam symbolize the trinity of Hindu pantheon i.e. Brahma (the creator) resides at the bottom, Vishnu (the preserver) resides in the middle and Shiva (the destroyer) resides on the top.

Eleven Ingredients Prescribed for Abhishekam

The Shiva Linga abhishekam is done with the prescribed 11 ingredients:

1) Gingely oil

2) Pancha kavyam (mixture of five ingredients i.e. milk, curd or yoghurt, ghee and cows urine)

3) Panchamrutham (mixture of five ingredients i.e. fruit, jaggery, ghee, honey and sugar candy)

4) Ghee

5) Milk

6) Curd or yoghurt

7) Honey

8) Sugar cane juice

9) Lime juice

10) Tender coconut water

11) Sandal paste


Annabhishekam is performed next to milk on this specific day. During abhishekam ‘Sri Rudram' (hymn at chapter 16 & 18 of Yajurveda part of veda) is chanted. Rhythm chanting of the Sri Rudram will purify the entire atmosphere. Sri Rudra has eleven sections. Similarly Lord Siva has eleven forms (Ekadasa Rudra). Annabhisekam will take place mostly in the evening. In some temples it may take place in the noon.

The Sive Linga will be covered with cooked rice. They may even cover the floor of the sanctum sanctorium and may extend up to the steps. They will use the snacks like Vadai, appam to decorate the deity. They will also use vegetables and fruits. As a result the Siva Linga will appear with eyes, ear, nose and mouth. The fruits and vegetables will be piled up on the floor and steps. The ‘harathi' will be followed. The Siva linga will remain covered with annam for about one yamam, or one and half hours.

Lord Siva: Preserver of Annam

Lord Siva is the preserver of annam (Annanam Pathaye Namaha). He is considered as annam and he is also the consumer of annam (Ahamannam .. Ahamannatho). The devotees believe that anyone who witnesses annabhshekam will be relived from the troubles of rebirth.

Maha Harathi

Devotees will collect the cooked rice covered around Lingam and immerse it in rivers or ponds. The cooked rice used to cover the base and floor will be collected and distributed to devotees.

After removal of the cooked rice, the Siva Linga will have abhishekam with the remaining five ingredients (Total ingredients: eleven - Five before annabhishekam). After this the main deity will be decorated with clothes and jewels. The Maha Harathi will be shown to the deity. With this the annabhishekam will be concluded.


Annabhishekam with cooked rice to Lingam is an annual ritual in all Siva Temples. But it is a daily ritual at Thiruvanaikoil. In Thiruvannamalai it is done during ‘Karthigai festival'. In Palani it is done during the Tamil month Aani.

Azhwars and Vaishanvism

Azhwars - Principal Devotees of Sriman Narayan.

Azhwar means one who is "immersed" in the experience of God. They deeply immerse themselves in their devotion and bhakti towards the Lord Sriman Narayanan. The Vaishnava tradition in India reckons 12 Azhwars. There was socialism in the Bhakti cult and Azhwars come from all walks of life and all strata of society. Out of these 12 Azhwars, one was a woman (Andal) and two were kings (Kulasekaraazhwar and Thirumangaiazhwar). The first three Azhwars, viz., Poigai Azhwar, Boothath Azhwar and Pei Azhwar, were called "Mudhal Azhwars" as they lived during the same period. Out of the 12 Azhwars four were from different regions of Tamil Nadu, India, i.e. Thondai Naadu (North Tamil Nadu), four from Pandiya Naadu, three (south Tamil Nadu) from Chola Naadu (East Tamil Nadu) and one from Malai Naadu (present Kerala).

Period of Azhwars.

The period of the Azhwars based on Indian Historians range from 500 A.D for Poigai Azhwar, Bhoothatth Azhwar, Pey Azhwar and Thirumazhisai Azhwar; 550 A.D. for Namm Azhwar and Madhurakavi Azhwar; 600 A.D. for Kulasekara Azhwar and Peria Azhwar; 650 A.D. for Sri Andal; 700 A.D. for Thoddaradippodi Azhwar and Thiruppaan Azhwar and 750 A.D. for Thirumangai Azhwar.

Revitalization of Vaishnavism.

Between the fifth and ninth century, in the Tamil-speaking land of India, Azhwars revitalized the Indian religious milieu, sparking a renewal of the Bhakti cult. Traveling by foot from place to place, from temple to temple, from holy site to holy site, they composed exceedingly beautiful poetry to their Divine Beloved, Vishnu, as an expression of their love for Him.

Holy Hymn 4000 on Sriman Narayan.

The Azhwars composed approximately 4000 Tamil verses (known as Pasurams) called "Nalayira Divya Prabhandam." By 850 AD, the compositions of the Azhwars had become almost totally extinct in the Tamil country. In the 9th-10th centuries, the philosopher-saint Nathamuni went to extraordinary efforts to recover these verses from near oblivion. Nathamuni arranged them as the Divya Prabandham, or Divine Collection, set many of them to music, and rejuvenated the tradition of formally reciting them in temples.

The List of Holy Hymns by Azhwars.

Each Azhwar's personal experience of God shows that He is accessible through sincere and humble devotion. They have sung 4000 songs praising the supreme. Details are given below (with titles of the songs:

1. Poigai Azhwar - Birth Place: Thiruvekoo (Kancheepuram) Mudhal Thiruanthaathi. He expressed the Para Bhakti by his songs.Demonstrated that the Lord is the essence of the Vedas.

2. Boothath Azhwar - Birth Place: Mamallapuram Irandam Thiruanthathi. He expressed the Para Gnanam by his songs.

3. Pey Azhwar - Birth Place: Mylapore (Chennai) Moondraam Thiruanthaathi. He expressed the Parama Bhakti by his songs. Revealed the truth of the Lord's consort, Goddess Lakshmi.

4. Thirumazhisai Azhwar - Birth Place: Thirumazhisai (Chennai) Naanmugan Thiruanthaathi, Thiruchandavirutham. He expressed the reality of the supreme by his Knowledge--who is the supreme, what are his qualities, etc. Affirmedthe truth of the Almighty and the need to remain focused on Him without distractions.

5. Nam Azhwar - Birth Place: Tirukurugoor (Azhwar Tirunagari) Thiruvirutham, thiruvaasiriyam, Thiruvaaimozhi and periya thiruanthaathi. Converted the entire Sanskrit Vedas in to four Tamil prabhandams. That's why he is called Vedam Tamil seitha Maaran sadagopan. Propagated the principle of surrender as the means and end of attaining liberation.

6. Madhurakavigal - Birth Place: Thirukollur (Azhwar Tirunagari) Kanninunsiruthambu. He expressed the Acharya Bhakti in his songs. He enjoyed Krishna Avatar in his songs from the childhood of the Lord Krishna.

7. Peria Azhwar - Birth Place: Srivilliputhur Periyazhwar Thirumozhi. Sensitized us to the Lord's infinite mercy and compassion when he spontaneously sung "Tirupallandu" to the Lord wishing Him longevity and protection against evil.

8. Andal - Birth Place: Srivilliputhur Thiruppaavai and Naachiyaar Thirumozhi. Andal's devotion and bhakti was supreme love for Lord Vishnu. It was different from other commons. It was the spontaneous outpouring of Prem towards her Beloved. She vowed that Lord Vishnu would be her lover and her husband. She believed that her bhakti would show the way in getting married to Lord Vishnu. She invoked her Lord by chanting the hymns of Thiruppavai and Naachiyaar Thirumozhi. She chose the early morning hours in the Tamil month Margazhi (14 Dec - 13 Jan) to chant the hymns. She was thinking that Lord Vishnu is her Lord and also her reality. All wordly things are not permanent (only illusion). Reaching and attaining bliss in the company of Lord Vishnu was considered by her as 'REALITY.' She was able to reach and got married with Lord Vishnu as vowed by her. Of the 173 hymns composed by her, the 30 hymns Thiruppaavai are well known among people.

9. Thiruppaanazhwar - Birth Place: Uraiyur (Trichy) Amalanaathipiran. He enjoyed the beauty of Lord Sri Rang Nathan. He said that he would never like to see anything after seeing the Beauty ofthe Lord.

10. Kulasekara Aazhwar - Birth Place: Thiruvanjikkallam Perumal Thirumozhi. Taught by example the value of Vairagya (ability to renounce worldly objects even when in the midst of them). He enjoyed the Rama avatar as well.

11. Thondaradipodi Azhwar - Birth Place: Thirumandangudi Thirumaalai text shows the barathvam of the supreme and Thirupalliezuchi songs are being prayed at temple daily at the vishwaroopam time. Stressed the path of worshipping God's devotees and taught the lesson of humility, without which it is impossible to realize God.

12. Thirumangai Azhwar Birth Place: Thirukurayalur (Thiruvali) - Periya Thirumozhi, thiruvezhukkootrirukai, Siriya thirumadal, periya thirumadal, thirukkurunthaandagam and Thirunedunthaandagam. He had the unique distinction of having visited more than 86 holy places (Sri Vaishna Divya Desams) dotted all over the country and worshipped all the Divya Desa Emberumans and sung praising the deities therein in his six Prabandhams wherein he has poured out his Divine emotions.

Anyone can see why their poetry was so attractive, at once both impassioned and philosophical, their words cut across all barriers of caste and class, attracting all to their faith. In doing so, they sculpted a new religious heritage of intensely emotional bhakti, or love of the Divine, whose impact is still felt today in the Indian religious life.

Tamil Veda and Tenkalai Tradition.

There are two Vedas in Vaishnavism. The first one is Sanskrit Veda. The other one, Nalayira Divya Prabandham, is considered to be the Tamil Veda. Northern-branch Vaisnavism gives precedence to the Sanskrit (Vatakalai) and the Southern-branch, Vaisnavism (Tenkalai) to the Tamil Pasurams.

108 Holy Vaishnava Shrines or Divyadeasm.

Sri Vaishna Divya Desams: The 108 Divya Desams or Tirupatis (Sriyah Pathihi) are sacred places were sung upon by Azhwars, the ultimate devotees of Narayana. In the SriVaishna sampradayam or tradition, a Divya Desams is a temple whose Perumal or Lord has been sung about by at least one Azhwar. This is called "mangalasasanam." Among the twelve Azhwars, only 11 composed hymns on the 108 Divya Desams. Poykai Azhwar composed hymns on 6 Divya Desam, Boothath Azhwar on 13, Pey Azhwar on 15, Thirumazhisai Azhwar on 17, Namm Azhwar on 37, Kulasekar Azhwar on 9, Periya Azhwar on 18, Sri Andaal on 11 and Thondaradippodiy Azhwar on 1, respectively. Madhurakavi Azhvaar glorified Namm Azhvaar in his hymns.

There are 106 on the Indian Subcontinent (105 in India and 1 in Nepal). The remaining two, Tirupparkadal and Srivaikuntam, can be accessed only when one leaves this world. The Tirupparkadal is the "ocean of milk" and the Srivaikuntam is the domain where LORD NARAYANA presides.

Appearance of His Revered Idols.

Emperumaan, Lord Sriman Narayanan is found in various Thirukkolam. The Thirukkolam (Appearance of His revered Idols) in 108 Divyakshetrams are listed below:

Kidantha Thirukkolam (Sleeping Posture) - 27 Divya Desams

Veetrirundha Thirukkolam (Sitting Position) - 21 Divya Desams

Nindra Thirukkolam (Standing Position) - 60 Divya Desams

Out of these 108 Divya Desams, as we have seen that The Lord (Perumal) is appearing in various Thirukkolam (Postures), he is also facing his Thirumugham (Face) in various directions and giving his seva darshan, as below:

The Lord appears facing Towards East direction at 79 temples, facing towards West direction - 19, facing towards North direction - 3 and facing towards South direction in 7 temples.

Recitation of Pasurams. Nathamunigal established an oral tradition of recitation of pasurams down the ages. The traditional recitation (recited with enactments by a traditional devotee) is named Arayar Sevai. Arayar Sevai is performed even today at Srirangam, and at Srivilliputtur and Azhwar Tirunagari (and at Melkote in Karnataka). Ahwar Pasurams are recited everyday without fail in most of the Vaishna shrines in Tamil Nadu.

To sum up, the Azhwars found themselves "immersed" in the experience of God. They have revitalized Vaishnavism with their Tamil Veda. The 108 Holy shrines or Vaishnava Divya Desams are considered as the abode of Shriman Narayan. The Holy Pilgrimage to these shrines is considered as the sole objective of every Vaishnavite. The tradition of Tenkalai is established and followed in South India.

Required Tools:

* Nalayira Divya Prabandham, is considered to be the Tamil Veda.
* The 108 Divya Desams or Tirupatis (Sriyah Pathihi) are sacred places were sung upon by Azhwars
* The traditional recitation are recited with enactments by a traditional devotees is named as Arayar Sevai. Arayar Sevai is performed even today at Srirangam, and at Srivilliputtur and Azhwar Tirunagari (and at Melkote in Karnataka).

Quick Tips:

* The Vaishnava tradition in India reckons 12 Azhwars. They deeply immersed themselves in their devotion and bhakti towards the Lord Sriman Narayanan.
* Between the fifth and ninth century, in the Tamil-speaking land of India, Azhwars revitalized the Indian religious milieu, sparking a renewal of Bhakti cult.
* The Azhwars composed approximately 4000 Tamil verses (known as Pasurams). It is called as “Nalayira Divya Prabhandam”.

Useful Links:

* About 12 Azhwars
* Divya PrabandhaWikipedia

How To Perform Sundara Kandam Parayanam

You may know that 'Ramayana' is the story of Lord Rama. Rama Avatar is one of the Ten Incarnations (Dasavatharam) of Lord Vishnu. Sage Valmiki has written Ramayana in Sanskrit language. Therefore it is called Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam. He has divided the narration into sections or Kandams - 'Bala Kandam', 'Ayodhya Kandam', 'Aranya Kandam', 'Kishkinda Kandam' and 'Sundara Kandam', the fifth Kandam. Sundara Kandam comprises of 2885 slokas or verses spread in 68 chapters.

Ramayana: Story

I will give a brief account of the story for you to ascertain the context. Lord Rama (Prince of Ayodhya), His wife Sita and His brother Lakshmana came to the forest to observe 'Vanavasa' (living in forest) for 14 years. The King Ravana (Asura) of Sri Lanka took Sita to his palace by foul means. There he kept Sita in a place called Asoka Vanam (forest). Rama was aggrieved by the separation of Sita. The brothers searched the forest after forest, place after place to find Sita. Lord Hanuman meets Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana and he makes his commitment to serve Rama. Hanuman assured them that finding Sita is his faithful duty.

Sundara Kandam: Story

With this assurance Hanuman commences his attempts to search Sita. From here our Sundara Kandam begins. From Skandhamana Parvatham - a mountain - Hanuman successfully crosses the Bay of Bengal. Reaches Sri Lanka and there he meets Sita. He identifies himself as Lord Rama's envoy (Rama Dootha) and hands over his Lord's Ring as his identity. At the court of Ravana Hanuman was disrespected and ill-treated. The army of Ravana set fire over Hanuman's tail. Hanuman took revenge by setting fire to the entire city of Sri Lanka. He gets back to Rama and shared the entire story and about his meeting with Sita as well as her eagerness for reunion with Lord Rama.

This is the most blessed Kandam or section in the whole of Ramayana and therefore it gains this unique name 'Sundara Kandam'. 'Sundaram' means beauty. Lord Hanuman's other name is 'Sundara'. In Sundara Kandam, SageValmiki speaks about the achievements of Hanuman. For Hanuman nothing is impossible. His attitude always reminds us self-confidence, faith and devotion to Rama, fearlessness, and trustworthiness.

Benefits of Sundara Kanda Parayanam

The events in this chapter bring confidence and hope from all corners. Hanuman's indulgence in the destruction of evils has proved that Dharma alone will triumph. People started believing in Dharma (good virtues). Only Lord Rama could destroy Adharma (all evil virtues). The Kandam teaches us that, if we want to be successful in life we have to practice Dharma. The significance of reading Sundara Kandam will definitely result in prosperity and it will mitigate all problems you face in your daily life. Reading one chapter or sargam of Sundara Kandam is equal to chanting 1000 times Gayathri Japam.

Where to Recite? When to Recite? :

Recitation of Sundara Kandam of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is called 'Parayanam.' It can be read for any occasion like Rama Navami (Rama's birthday), Navarathri, Anniversary, Birthday, etc.

There are conventional methods for Sundara Kanda Parayanam. The Parayanam can be made either on a communal basis in temples, public mandapams (halls) or in your home. Parayana can either be made by a guru for the benefit of every listener to hear, or you yourself can recite the slokas in Sanskrit. To help people who don't know Sanskrit script, there are books comprising Sanskrit slokas along with English (or other Indian vernacular languages) transliteration.

How to Recite?

Though it is desirable to represent Rama either by Dasavarana Yanthra or statue, it would be sufficient if you worship your Ramayana Book. You may keep the Pattabhishekam image of Lord Rama. You must offer Naivedya (submit boiled milk added with Sugar) to God before and after the Parayana. If not at beginning at least offer Naivedya at the end of the Parayana. Lotus and Thulasi (Ocimum) flowers are the best to worship the Lord. If not available, any flower except Karavira (Arali) can be used. Offering to God Pomegranate would bring in immense benefits. You may commence with Chanting of Rama Gayathri or Shadakshari mantra before and after finishing you parayana. Find your Rama Gayathri and Shadakshari mantra below:

"Dasarathaya Vidhmahe, Sita vallabhata Dheemahi, Thanno Rama Prachodayath." - Rama Gayathri

Om Ram Ramaya Namaha (or Swaha) - Shadakshari mantra

How to PLAN and Cover the Parayanam within specified days:

* Read the entire Sundara Kanda once in ONE full day.
* Read Chapter 1-35 on the first day and the rest of the chapters in the SECOND day.
* Read Chapter 1-37 on the first day, 37-40 on the second day and the rest on the THIRD day.
* Read chapter 1-15 on the first day, 16-37 on the second day, 38th chapter on the third day, 39-54 on the fourth day and the rest on the FIFTH day.
* Start on a Friday, daily read 9 chapters and complete reading on the next Friday. EIGHT days
* Read within NINE days stopping each day on 5th, 15th, 20th, 26th, 28th, 40th, 52nd, 80th and 68th chapters.
* Daily read 6 chapters and complete it on the TWELTH day.
* Till 22 days read two chapters a day, 5 chapters on the 23rd day, 3 chapters on the 24th day, 6 chapters on the 25th day, 3 chapters on the 26th day, 4 chapters on the 27th day and the rest 3 chapters on the TWENTY-EIGHTH day.

Sundara Kandam Parayanam to Mitigate Specific Problem or Grief:

You may recite the slokas as per your capacity and convenience without following any plan or conventions. The purpose is to recite the slokas and complete Sundara Kandam. You may mitigate your specific problems by reciting certain chapters. The details are found below. I am reproducing below what Lord Shiva told to Goddess Parvathy: Whoever reads or listens to this book on the Sundara Kanda Phala prapthi, would become a great devotee of Lord Rama and would lead a happy painless life.

* Salvation can be achieved by reading the first chapter daily for six months.
* Effect of attack of devils, ghosts, and spirits can be warded off by reading 3rd chapter.
* To get rid of dullness of brain, read 13th chapter
* To get rid of the sin of having affair with someone else's wife, read chapters 7-11.
* To get permanent wealth and happiness read chapter 15.
* To get rid of bad dreams read Chapter 27.
* To get good behavior read chapter 20-21.
* To rejoin with lost relatives read chapters 33-40.
* To get rid of impending danger read chapter 36.
* To get pardon from god for insult done to him, knowingly and unknowingly read chapter 38.
* Read chapters 42-47 to win over enemies
* To become just and charitable read chapter 51
* For improvement of assets like house, land, etc. read chapter 54.
* To get peace and happiness read Chapter 61
* To get perennial happiness and to attain God read chapter 67.
* To get what one wishes read chapter 41
* To realize God and to become one capable of sweet words read chapter 19.

At the end of the parayana you recite this sloka:

Yatra yatra Raghunatha KirtanamTatra tatra kritha mastakanjalim Bhaspavaan paripurna lochanam Marutim namata rakshasanthakam

Meaning: We bow the Maruthi, Sri Hanuman, who stands with his folded above his forehead with a torrent tears flowing down his eyes wherever the Names of Lord Rama is sung.

You may conclude your Parayana for the specified day with Karpura Harathi.

Required Tools:

* Sundara Kandam, Lifco Publications, Chennai
* Photo of Sri Ramar Pattabhshekam
* Flower, Milk, Prasadam

Quick Tips:

* Reading one chapter or sargam of Sundara Kandam is equal to chanting 1000 times Gayathri Japam.
* In Sundara Kandam, sage Valmiki speaks about the achievements of Hanuman. His attitude always reminds us self-confidence, faith and devotion to Rama, fearlessness, and trust-worthiness.
* The events in this Kandam bring confidence and hope from all parts. Hanuman's indulgence in the destruction of evils has proved that Dharma alone will triumph.

Reciting Hanuman Chalisa: Hindu Chants and Mantras Learn One of the Popular Hindu Prayers

Hanuman Chalisa, the holy devotional work written by Goswami Tulsidas in the sixteenth century, has gained enormous popularity among Hindus living the world over. With the blessings of Shri Hanuman, Goswami Tulsidas has also written Ramayana in Hindi and this Tulsi Ramayana is known as Ram Charitha Manas. Tulsi Ramayana has revolutionized the Ram Bhakti movement by enabling common man to recite the glorious legend of Shri Rama in Hindi.

The Power of Shri Hanuman

Shri Hanuman is understood as great jnani, yogi and a brahmachari (bachelor). He has been blessed as chiranjivi, one who lives eternally. The blessings of Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, Surya, Indra, and Vayu made Shri Hanuman invincible. He is the great lover of music and also mastered the Sanskrit language. Being the Yogacharya, Shri Hanuman is considered as an embodiment of the four yogas. His strength, valour, prowess, will power, memory, balanced emotions, sharp intellect, fearlessness, and noble actions were perfectly refined and grounded in spirituality.

None in the world can equal Shri Hanuman. He had only one thought--that of serving his Shri Rama with utmost humility and devotion. He serves, protects and inspires the devotees of Shri Rama. He holds the flag with fish symbols.

Shri Hanuman Chalisa praises the selfless service, courage, humble disposition, and foremost devotion shown by Shri Hanuman towards Shri Rama. Shri Hanuman will present Himself with folded hands in prayer wherever and whenever the Holy name of Shri Rama is recited. Shri Hanuman always loves to hear the mantra ‘Shri Ramajeyam.' Just chant ‘Shri Ramajeyam' mantra 108 times and pray to Shri Hanuman.

Here's how to recite one of the popular Hindu chants and mantras, the Hanuman Chalisa.

Story of Shri Hanuman.

Punjikasthala was serving as an attendant of Shri Brihaspati, the guru of the gods. Due to her mistake, she was cursed to assume the body of a female monkey. Her curse would be removed once if she gives birth to an incarnation of Siva. Due to this curse, Punjikasthala was born as Anjana. She lived a pure and chaste life with her husband Kesari. To mitigate from the curse, she performed intense austerities for many years, and worshipped Siva.

King Dasaratha of Ayodhya has performed a sacrifice for progeny (Putra Kameshti Yagam). He was blessed with a golden bowl of Divine Beverage (Payasam) and he shared the beverage among his three wives - Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. He was blessed with three male children through his three wives and the children were named as Rama (son of Kausalya), Bharata (Son of Kaikeyi), Lakshmana and Satrughna (Twin Sons of Sumitra). Shri Rama is said to be the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. Shri Jambavan is said to be the reincarnation of Lord Brahma. Shri Hanuman is considered as the eleventh incarnation of Lord Siva.

Lord Siva was pleased with Anjana's devotion, and decided that he would mitigate Anjana's curse. To make it to happen, by divine ordinance, a kite snatched the bowl with a fragment of pudding. The kite, while flying over the forest, dropped the bowl where Anjana was observing penance. Vayu, the Lord of wind, directed and delivered the bowl of pudding to the outstretched hands of Anjana. On consumption of the divine pudding, Anjana gave birth to Shri Hanuman.

After the birth of Shri Hanuman, Anjana was released from the curse. She wanted to get back to heaven. Shri Hanuman inquired about His future and she assured him that he could never be destroyed. Later, the blessings of all the gods made Hanuman invincible. Shri Hanuman adopted Surya, the Sun­ god, as his guru. Over a short period of time, Shri Hanuman mastered all the scriptures. As a token of respect, Shri Hanuman offered himself to assist and help Sugriva, the son of Surya (lived in Kishkindha).

At Kishkindha, Shri Hanuman met Shri Rama (the Prince of Ayodhya) and his brother Lakshmana. The brothers came in search of Rama's wife, Sita. Actually Sita was abducted by the demon Ravana.

When Shri Rama revealed His identity as Lord Vishnu, Hanuman fell prostrate before him and Rama picked him up and clasped him to his bosom. From then onwards, the story of Shri Hanuman is inextricably interwoven with that of Shri Rama, and is exhaustively dealt with in the Ramayana.

Shri Hanuman also finds a place in another important epic, Mahabharata. He was blessing the Pandavas in the battle of Kurukshetra by positioning himself on the flag of Arjuna's chariot and he was stabilizing and protecting the side.

Why the Name Hanuman Chalisa?

Goswami Tulsidas wrote these forty verses in the praise of Shri Hanuman. Forty in Hindi is called 'chalis.' The hymn containing forty verses is called 'Chalisa.' Each such verse is called a chaupai (means 4 legs) and each chaupai of the Chalisa has two lines each--the two always rhyme. Hanuman Chalisa is simple and is the utmost rhythmical poem. The chalisa is sung in different tunes (more than 100) across the country. Even if you don't understand Hindi, you may enjoy hearing it.

Based on the structure and content of Hanuman Chalisa, the devotees have identified three parts - the invocation or preamble, the main body (chalisa) and the final prayer and request. Hanuman Chalisa speaks about Shri Hanuman's parentage, his physique and intelligence, valor and heroic acts, devotion to Shri Rama and Sita.

How to Recite Hanuman Chalisa?

Most households recite Hanuman Chalisa as an invocation to Shri Hanuman. Hanuman chalisa can be found on or or and

Hanuman Chalisa has been found to be highly effective in controlling evil effects.

* 1) You can recite it either at a temple or at your puja room.
* 2) Sit at your place. Close your eyes.
* 3) Place a picture of Shri Hanuman.
* 4) Offer the garland of oscimum sanctum or Tulsi or lotus flower. Avoid nerium flower. You may offer a garland made out of betel leaves. You may also offer garland made out of Vada (a South Indian snack made of Urad Dhall).
* 5) Light a ghee lamp.
* 6) Offer incense sticks.
* 7) Now meditate on Shri Hanuman.
* 8) Now chant Shri Hanuman Chalisa. After completion of each Hanuman Chalisa chanting, offer a flower to Shri Hanuman. You may recite it 12 times, 24 times, 32 times. You may also recite the hymns 108 times while going around the pipal tree.
* 9) You may offer Sweet Pongal, Ven Pongal, Vada, Honey, Fruits and Panakam (a beverage made from jaggery and tamarind).

Reciting specific hymns.

After attending many discourses, I have understood that the recitation of specific Hindu prayers and hymns in Hanuman Chalisa will bestow specific results. I have compiled specific number of the Hymns and the benefits:

1) Chanting the Opening Invocation Hymn of Hanuman Chalisa many times will mitigate the doshas arising out of having insulted knowingly/ unknowingly one's preceptor/ a Rama Bhakta. The hardships in your life will be relieved and you will be blessed with strength and wisdom.

2) Chanting the First Hymn of the Chalisa "Jaya Hanumaan gyaan guna saagar....." will bestow Divine knowledge.

3) Chanting the Third Hymn of Chalisa "Mahaaveer vikrama Bhajrangi....." will remove the bad company of friends or relatives or get rid of your bad habits. It will guide you in your right path.

4) Chanting the Seventh and Eighth Hymns "Vidyavan guni athi chaathur....." will channel a devotee into Rama Bhakti and he will become dear to Shri Rama.

5) Chanting the eleventh Hymn "Laya sanjivan....." will mitigate the effects of poisonous bites and remove fear of snakes.

6) Chanting the Twelfth Hymn will remove misunderstanding between your sons and daughters and will bring unity and affection among them.

7) Chanting the Thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth Hymns will help you to reach name and fame.

8) Chanting the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Hymns will restore lost status or help in getting desired career improvements or promotions.

9) Chanting the Twentieth Hymn will remove obstacles and help in reaching your goals.

10) Chanting the Twenty-second Hymn will provide due protection from adverse planetary effects.

11) Chanting the Twenty-fourth Hymn will drive away all negative energies and evil spirits including black magical deities.

12) Chanting the Twenty-fifth Hymn will restore exuberant health and spirits. The recitation will also give you the ability to withstand physical agony and pain when you are injured or in ailment.

13) Chanting the Twenty-sixth Hymn protects you from general hardships and difficulties.

14) Chanting the Twenty-seventh and Twenty-eighth Hymns will bring fulfilment of desires by Divine Blessings.

15) Chanting the Twenty-ninth will take to the pinnacle of name and fame.

16) Chanting the Thirtieth Hymn will help you to conquer evil forces.

17) Chanting the Thirty-first Hymn will help you to master occult powers and great wealth.

18) Chanting the Thirty-second, Thirty-third, Thirty-fourth, and Thirty-fifth Hymns will certainly make you enjoy a self-contented life without any bothers / frustrations. You are assured that at the end of such a self-contented life, you will attain the Lotus feet of Shri Rama.

19) Chanting the Thirty-sixth Hymn will mitigate you from all difficulties and pains.

20) Chanting the Thirty-seventh Hymn will secure the Grace of Shri Hanuman.

If you want to accomplish some major tasks, then you are advised to chant the appropriate Hymn with devotion 1008 times on an auspicious Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday or on a combination of a Moola Nakshatra day and a new moon day falling during Tamil month Margazhi (14 Dec - 13 Jan).

Some recommend that devotees perform Tail Puja. What is Tail Puja? Tail Puja is one of the other important Hindu rituals. It is the offering of sandalwood paste and kumkum / sindoor to the tail of Shri Hanuman's image for 48 days.

Required Tools:

* Hanuman Chalisa

Quick Tips:

* Shri Hanuman is understood as great jnani, yogi and a brahmachari (bachelor).
* The blessings of Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, Surya, Indra, and Vayu made Shri Hanuman invincible.
* Hanuman Chalisa praises the selfless service, courage, humble disposition, and foremost devotion shown by Shri Hanuman towards Shri Rama.

Useful Links:

* Wikipedia
* Hanuman Chalisa Online