A TEXT POST

Maha Shivaratri | Celebrating Lord Shiva

 Maha Shivaratri also known as Shivaratri is a popular Hindu festival celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva, one of the Trimurtis in Hinduism. This year, the auspicious day is today, February 20, 2012 and Hindus and Devotees of Lord Shiva worldwide celebrate Him.

Maha Shivaratri means “The Night of Shiva”. Lord Shiva was married to Parvati on this day. This is the night when Shiva is said to have performed the Tandava or the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction. There are numerous legends recorded on this great occasion.  

Am at the temple as I write this and I just can’t keep the feeling and vibration all to myself. The worship begun early this morning and it ends the next morning. The first worship, Linga worship is on going. The recitation of mantras(prayers) echoes through the temple. The vibration is awesome. “Om Namah Shivaya" both the young and old are actively chanting this whiles the main worship is on going. The excitement and happiness on devotees faces can be felt.

All is to be pure and holy this day. See all as one, stay pure and offer a helping hand to one. Be a sacrifice to another. Don’t conceive evil against any creature.

The temple is nicely lit with lamps and decorated with flowers and sandalwood is all over in the air. Wow! Most devotees entered the temple with gifts to the Lord. Can’t wait for Puja(singing melodies to the Lord). 

In Ghana, Maha Shivaratri is being celebrated in five temples across the country: Accra, Tema, Cape Coast, Kumasi and Ashanti Mampong.

Hold your palms together and say to a friend ‘Namaste’.

A TEXT POST

Namaste, its insight.

 

Have you ever wondered or pondered over the word namaste or heard any one saying it? Indians greet each other with namaste, the two palms are placed together in front of the chest and the head bows whilst saying the word namaste. This greeting is for all - the old, the young, co-equals, strangers,priests, everyone. 

Namaskaram, one of the formal traditional greetings enjoined in the shaastras is understood as prostration but it actually refers to paying homage as we do today when we greet each other with a namaste.

Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. However there is much more to it than meets the eye. In Sanskrit namah + te = namaste, meaning, I bow to you - my greetings, salutations or prostration to you. Namaha  can also be literally interpreted as “nama”, not mine. It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another.

The real meeting between people is the meeting of their minds. When we greet another, we do so with namaste, which means, “may our minds meet,” indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The bowing down of the head is a gracious form of  extending friendship in love and humility.

The spiritual meaning is even deeper. The life force, the divinity, the self or the Lord in me is the same in all. Recognizing this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we salute with head bowed the divinity in the person we meet. That is why sometimes we close our eyes as we do namaste  to a revered person or the Lord as if to look within. The gesture is often accompanied by words like “Ram Ram”, “Jai Shri Krishna”, “Om Namo Narayana”, “Jai Siya Ram”, “Om Shanti” and others, indicating the recognition of this divinity.

This greeting is not just a superficial gesture or word but paves the way for a deeper communion with another in an atmosphere of love and respect. NAMASTE! 

Source:  Hindu Rituals and Routines. Why do we follow them? by H.H Swami Ghananand Saraswati (Head, Hindu Monastery of Africa, Ghana)