December 29th 2017

P.S: Please check your local calendars and temples to see the exact date for Vaikunta Ekadashi.

Vaikunta Ekadashi falls in the month December-January. This year it falls on December 29th 2017. This is observed with all solemnity in the temples of Lord Vishnu. Please check your local calendars to see when it falls.

Vaikunta Ekadashi is of great significance at the Tirupati Balaji Temple, and also all Balaji temples. They prepare what is called a “Swargada Bagilu” also called as ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ or ‘the gate to the heaven‘ This gate is opened on this day. This is the passage encircling the innermost sanctum of the Lord. Scores of devotees queue up to pass through the Gate of Vaikunta in the temples.

For the devotees of Lord Vishnu, every Ekadashi is a very sacred day No rice should be eaten on Ekadashi days. This is very important.

Those who are unable to fast completely can take some light fruit and milk. So you may ask why we shouldn’t eat rice, so here comes the story for the same.

The sweat that fell down from the head of Brahma assumed the form of a demon and said to the Lord, “O Lord! now give me an abode to dwell.” Brahma replied, “O demon! go and dwell in the rice particles eaten by men on Ekadashi day and become worms in their stomach.” For this reason rice is prohibited on Ekadashi.

If you don’t believe in this story, just think of all the benefits you can get from fasting.

Fasting makes a man strong, both spiritually and mentally.Fasting controls passion. It checks the emotions. It controls the senses also. It is good to fast once in a while as it recuperates the body. Ekadashi observance cleans our body and the digestive organs get much needed rest.

Those people suffering from ailments and on medications should take the advice of a doctor before fasting. Never torture your body in the name of religion. There is nothing wrong in having fruits or milk. And you can bring a certain amount of flexibility in the way it is observed.

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Healthy eating is tough, is challenging, is boring, and is quite expensive. However, when you apply a little bit of creativeness in preparing your meal, it is no longer tough, challenging, boring or even expensive. You might have seen several recipes I have been posting, I know it is not typical Indian food we all like to eat. However, it is important to have a list of recipes we can use and what better way to memorize them than this blog, right?

I prepared this warm quinoa salad after being a little bored of eating Oats for almost two weeks. My daughter had a box of Organic Quinoa and she asked me to try it.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup quinoa, yielded 2 cups of cooked quinoa.
  2. 1/2 onion
  3. 1/2 each green, yellow and red capsicum or bell pepper
  4. 1 tsp olive oil
  5. 1/2 tsp jeera
  6. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  7. 1 cup cooked Channa or Garbanzo beans
  8. Salt to taste

Method:

  • It was easy to prepare, 1 cup of quinoa, cooked in 2 cups of water. Yielded quite a bit of the same. Follow cooking instructions on the package.
  • In a non stick pan, heat oil and add jeera
  • Once it  starts cracking, add onion and all colored peppers.

  • Saute until Onions turn translucent.
  • Add garbanzo beans, channa.
  • Add red chilli powder, salt. and the cooked quinoa.
  • Simmer and let it all mix together.

  • Serve warm.
  • You can add lemon if you wish, I don’t like, so skipped.

Everyone I know here in the United States have been eating healthy. When we had this conversation in our Satsangha, it was surprising to see everyone using millets, oats and jowar kernels. My Sister Suma said she prepared this Jowar Upma the next day and shared the picture and recipe. Here it comes, the most tasty, healthy and delicious upma.
Thanks Suma for an amazing recipe.

  • Soak Jowar overnight.
  • Wash and cook Jowar in pressure cooker.
  • 1 cup jowar added 1 and half cups of water.
  • Cut all color peppers, carrots, onion, small cucumber and green chili
  • Heat Oil and add mustard, Chana and urad dal, chili
  • Added onion first, mixed and then the cut vegetables
  • Added cooked jowar it still had water I didn’t add that water
  • Added little water and salt and kept on stove for a good 15 mins
  • Added 🍋

It has been a couple months since I was on regular travel, and you know how hard it is to maintain a good diet while traveling. The past week I have been home, and just local travel to work, decided to make it Oats week or if I may say Oats month.

I am replacing Oats for everything, Dosa, rice, gojju avalakki, and pongal. All recipes coming here soon.

For now, here is Oats Khara Pongal.

I have ground Oats with flax seed and stored in a air tight container. This is the box we got from Costco. The oats are quite thick and so I ground it to fine powder along with flax seed.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ground Quaker Oats
  • 1 and 1/2 cups hesaru bele or moong dal
  • 6-7 curry leaves
  • Whole and ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Jeera – Cumin
  • pinch of hing
  • 4 tsp Oil
  • 3 green chillies

Method:

  • In the pressure cooker, add oil. When it becomes hot, add the  jeera, curry leaves, green chillies,  haldi, black pepper and fry for a few minutes.
  • Next, add the moong dal and fry.
  • Add water to cover moong dal, and also salt to taste.
  • Close the pressure cooker, and allow for 2 whistles. Dal is cooked.
  • Add  oats in a large bowl, with enough water to cover and cook until soft.
  • Now, add the cooked moong dal and let it cook for 5-6 minutes.
  • Your most healthy, spicy, peppery Oats Pongal or Khichadi is ready!
  • I made it a little watery since I didn’t want to eat it with anything else.
  • A hot cup of yummy pongal is all I had for lunch.

 

 

We had an amazing satsangha today at Ms. Rajani Srinivas house at Maryland. Ms. Rajani sang a song on Lord Krishna which was so meaningful and beautiful. I asked for her to send me the lyrics, and so I am posting it here to help all my extended family.

The song like I said is beautiful, heart touching and so emotional. Thanks Rajani for the lyrics.

Below is the link for the lyrics and the video on youtube.

Achyutam Keshavam Lyrics

And below is the video on youtube.

Achyutam Keshavam Youtube

I was sent this video clip my Ms. Padma Rao from our satsangha group. I had tears listening to this pravachana, and have found answers to several of my own questions. Listen to the same.

I have gone quiet for many months now, will post soon about the same. So, if you have doubts on how to do Seva to Rayaru, this pravachana gives the perfect answer.

I wanted to share with you all, and so searched on Google and finally found this on Facebook.

A million thanks to the Acharyaru who delivered this pravachana. Namma koti koti Namaskaragalu Acharyare.

ತುಲಸೀ ಹಬ್ಬವಿವಾಹ ಉತ್ವಾನ ದ್ವಾದಶಿ – Uthwana Dwadashi/Tulasi Habba – November 1st 2017
Last year’s pictures:

 

Close up of our little Tulasi Plant:

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Lighting of Agarbathi:

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Aaruthi for Tulasi.
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Tulasi Pooje Preparation 2013:IMG_2807

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Uthwana Dwadashi – Tulasi Habba or Tulasi Pooje is celebrated a fortnight after Deepavali. It signifies the day Tulasi married Lord Vishnu. On this day, Tulasi katte is decorated like a bride. Amla trees are planted along with the tulsi plant.

Pooje to be done in the evening.

What’s Tulasi?

In most Hindu homes, you find a Tulasi plant growing out of a Tulasi katte . Tulasi is considered to be a holy plant and is worshiped every morning. Tulasi has medicinal value and is often used as a herb in curing the common cold and cough.

So what’s Tulasi Habba?
Tulasi came out of the ocean during Amrita Manthan as a younger sister of Lakshmi. She too was devoted to Lord Vishnu and wanted to marry him. But Lakshmi who was already married to him did not like the idea and cursed her to become a plant. Thus the tulasi plant was born. But the all merciful Lord Vishnu took pity and fulfilling her wish declared that when he will be in the form of a saligrama, found in most temples and madhwa houses, she will remain close to him in the form of a tulasi leaf. Therefore even today a saligrama will have a tulsi leaf along with it. In front of every Hindu home there will be a tulasi katte in which a plant grows round the year.
Although the prayers are offered to Tulasi everyday by watering the plant in the morning and lighting an oil lamp before it in the evening, on Kartik Shukla Dwadashi there will be an annual Tulasi Pooja in the evening when the tulasi katte will be beautifully decorated with clay lamps.

Attached below is a screen shot of the Tulasi Vivaha Slokas and Procedure as printed in the Uttaradi Matta Panchanga. If you click on the image a bigger picture will display which has the words very very clear.

tulasi-vivaha-sloka

Here is the link for all the Tulasi slokas at this weblog.

1. Slokas

2. Daily Tulasi Pooja Procedure

3. Tulasi Sankeerthaney Lyrics and Audio

4. Devaranama on Tulasi – ಒಲ್ಲನೋ ಹರಿ ಕೊಳ್ಳನೋ

5. Vrundavanadevi Namo Namo Lyrics

6. Tulasi Pooje Songs