Update: Pushya Nakshatra and Thursday – January 4th 2018

Rayaru

Rayaru

The common interpretation of Pushyaarka Yoga is the combination of Pushya Nakshatra and Thursday or Sunday.This common interpretation is when moon entering Pushya nakshatra on Thursday  or Sunday is PushyArka yoga .

January 4th 2018 is Pushya Nakshatra and Thursday.

Raghavendra Mutta says “On this Holy day one should Recite or Chant Guru Stotra ( Raghavendra Stotra)s, Singing songs will bring happiness and prosperity in your life.”

The significance of this day is also mentioned in Rayara Stotra – 27th Stanza.

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Anyone who recites this holy Sri Raghavendra Stotram 108 times with intense devotion, on the occasion of solar/lunar eclipse or the combination of Sunday with the star Pushya, will be relieved of all evil influence, e.g., haunting etc. (27)

You can find more details about this great day below in the link:

To find lyrics on Rayaru, please visit this page:

The Raghavendra Stotra to be recited is posted here:

Shri Raghavendra Stotra or Shri Poornabhodha Stotra Lyrics/

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What Should be our New Year’s Resolution?

It is January 1st 2018, a New Year in the English calendar. Our new year in the Hindu calendar starts in March. Wish You All a VERY HAPPY NEW ENGLISH YEAR 2018.

When you watch TV, read a newspaper, talk to anyone, or even look at messages on whataspp or FaceBook, the 1 question everyone asks is What’s your new year resolution?

I also like most people,  made resolutions to be easily broken within the first month. From the past decade maybe, I stopped making any resolution.  Here are some reasons why quit making new years resolutions.

If I want to lose weight, I am going to start from TODAY, and will NEVER wait for that TOMORROW which NEVER comes.

If I want to learn a NEW skill, I am going to start from TODAY, and will NEVER wait for that TOMORROW which NEVER comes.

If I want to talk to or text someone, I am NOT to going to wait for Tomorrow, I will pickup the phone TODAY and talk to or text them.

If I want to make sure I walk 10,000 steps, I start from TODAY and not wait for Tomorrow.

Don’t you see a pattern there, all of these activities are something which are profoundly beneficial for our well being. Why do we want to wait for New Year or TOMORROW to get fit, be nice, lose weight, learn something new.

Now comes the question What should be our New Year’s Resolution?

All of the things I mentioned above are great, but in order to achieve all of those goals, we need to have the following:

Having A STRONG WILL POWER. Try to cultivate a strong will power. Like they say, you can move mountains with your WILL POWER. We all face so many distractions in life, having a STRONG WILL POWER will guide us through the right path each and EVERY TIME.

Undeterred DETERMINATION. In order to achieve anything in life, we have to go through failures and at last comes success. Having an undeterred determination helps you achieve your goals.

Being a ROLE MODEL. We all have someone who looks upon us, our kids, our colleagues, our friends, our brothers, sisters and cousins and many more. Make sure you be a ROLE MODEL for them.

WORKING HARD. There is no easy way in life, we all have to work hard. Sometimes we reap the benefits immediately, and sometimes we wait a lifetime to reap the fruits of our hard work. There is no easy recipe for anyone.

KEEP FAITH. We all go through rough times in life. There are very few who are fortunate to have a life without any problems. Just because we are going through ROUGH TIMES doesn’t mean we can take the route to not follow our customs and traditions. It is GOD ALONE who can give us strength and ability to handle tough situations.

DON’T BLAME OTHERS. Like they say ” The one who has stomach pain, has to take the medicine”.  We have to take responsibility for our actions, and work towards rectifying it. It is always easy to blame others and wash away our responsibility.

ALWAYS REMEMBER GOD IS WATCHING. what ever we do, even if no one around is watching us, remember GOD is watching us 24/7. Remember the Karma theory, what you sow so you reap. If you do GOOD, it will come around during your time of need. If we do BAD, it is going to haunt us. There is no way we can escape what we did in our previous life. Like the saying “Purva Janmada Karma Vidhi Benna Bidadu”.

So, make New Year Resolutions which will BENEFIT YOU in more than one way, work towards Having A STRONG WILL POWER, make sure you have Undeterred DETERMINATION, be a ROLE MODEL, Work HARD, KEEP Faith, DON’T BLAME OTHERS, and last but not the least, REMEMBER GOD IS WATCHING OUR every ACTION.

I just put down my thoughts. These simple rules have helped me be a better person and has made a sea of difference in my life, my actions, my work, and my thoughts, my relationship with GOD and our BELOVED RAYARU.

Hopefully, this thought can help change the outlook of everyone who reads this blog, or at least one other person. Let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

Update: Makara Sankranthi – Jan 15th 2018

The 2nd week of January is the festival “Makara Sankranthi”. This year it is on 15th, which is a Monday.

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

Makara Sankranthi is a widely celebrated festival in different parts of India.  On this day,  Lord Surya or Sun is worshiped.  It is also celebrated as a harvest festival in many parts of India. On this day, Sun begins his journey to the Northern Hemisphere, most commonly called as Uttharayana.  As with all other festivals, this festival also has many legends, two such commonly told legends are:

1. Lord Surya or Sun visits Shani on this day.

2. Bheeshma Pithamaha, who was able to choose when he will die, chose this day to end his life.

The house is cleaned, and decorated with fresh green mango leaves tied as thorana to the front door. Beautiful, and colorful rangoli is drawn at the front of the house.  After performing the pooja, yellu(Sesame seeds) and Bella(Jaggery) is offered to God. Usually it is prepared by mixing Till, finely chopped Jaggery, roasted groundnuts cut into small peices, with finely chopped dried coconut, and Putani, also called as Hurigadale.

Attached below are the pictures and the steps to making Yellu Bella.

yellu

I use the following proportion to prepare the yellu:

* 1/2 cup Yellu or Sesame Seeds
* 1 cup Groundnuts or peanuts ( Fried, skin removed and cut into half)
* 1 cup Dhalia or hurigadale
* 1 cup finely chopped dry coconut
* 1 cup Jaggery, finely chopped

Usually the Sesame seeds are cleaned, washed and dried. Later, they are fried. I skip this step, and just fry the Sesame seeds for a few minutes.

Next, grate the black portion of the dry coconut. Chop them into squares as shown in the above picture. Chop the Jaggery also and make sure they are dry. My mom used to keep it in the sun for a few days.

Mix, all the ingredients together. Distribute to your family and friends. If all the ingredients are dry, it will stay for months.

Here is the recipe for Yellu Unde/Burfi:

Ingredients:

  1. Sesame Seeds/Yellu – 1 cup
  2. Peanuts – 1 cup
  3. Dhalia – 1 cup
  4. Jaggery – 2cups
  5. Grated Coconut – 2 tsp
  6. 7-8 cardamom – ground finely
  7. 2 tsp Oil or Ghee(I never use Ghee)

Method:

  • Fry the Sesame seeds for 4-5 minutes. Take out in a plate.
  • In a pan, heat oil or ghee. Now add the jaggery. Add just enough water so that the Jaggery dissolves.
  • Keep stirring for almost 9-10 minutes until the jaggery starts leaving the sides.
  • Next, add peanuts, sesame seeds, dhalia and mix well. Let it continue on the stove top for another 3-4 minutes. Add in the cardamom as well.
  • Turn off the stove. Grease a tray, and pour the mixture. Let it cool a little bit.
  • Cut squares. ANd the left over, was formed to a round shape.
  • Finally garnish with grated coconut.

I called it Yellu Burfi, and everyone called it Sesame Squares.

Most dishes prepared during this day are made out of Yellu or Sesame seeds and Rice. It is also tradition to prepare Sweet and Khara Pongal during this festival. The recipes are posted here in the blog and are attached below for your convenience:

If you wish to cook elaborate dishes during Sankranthi, many authentic recipes are posted here:

And you can find various Rangoli designs here:

Vishnu Shatha Nama Stotra Lyrics

Friday as you all know is Vaikunta Ekadashi. Ms. Radhika mentioned in our whatsapp group that reciting Vishnu Shatha Nama Stotra on this day is like performing Ashwamedha Yaaga.

So, below is the link for the lyrics in almost all languages, Kannada, English, Tamil, Telugu and other Indian Languages.

Hopefully, you all will have recite and get blessings from Lord Vishnu.

Link for lyrics in all languages:

http://www.vignanam.org/veda/sree-vishnu-ashtottara-sata-nama-stotram-kannada.html

Update – Vaikunta Ekadashi – December 29th 2017

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.

Warm Quinoa Salad

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.

Jowar Upma

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 🍋
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