Showing posts with label Kashmir. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kashmir. Show all posts

Friday, March 22, 2019

Teela Aetham

Teela Aetham festival is celebrated by Kashmiri Pandits. This is a festival held on the 8th day of the bright fortnight of Phalguna month (February - March) of the lunar calendar.
In effect it is the culmination of the Shivaratri festivities as also bidding adieu to the shivering winter. To begin with, pooja is offered at home and a number of oil lamps are lit. These lamps are taken to the river bank and floated on grass bases in the river after the prescribed pooja. Afterwards, old Kangris (fire pots) are filled with grass. A long rope is tied to its handle and fire is lit in it. Then the kangri is moved round and round in circles rhythmically till the whole kangri burns down. Then it is hurled faraway into the waters of the flowing river. While doing so the children cryout, ‘Jateen teen, Jateen teen’; meaning that it is a flame, it is burning.


Sonth for Kashmiri Pandits heralds the Spring season, similar to Navreh which is the New Lunar Year. It is customary in Kashmiri Pandit community to celebrate with ‘Thal Barun’ (loosely translated as filling of plate). A plate is filled overnight with rice, yoghurt, milk, nuts, cake, flower, bread, pen, gold coin, vhy (a herb root), picture of a deity or the goddess, except for to place the new Panchang which is done only on the occasion of Navreh.
This is kept covered for the night and early in the morning every member of the family views the contents of the plate, first thing after getting up from the bed and seeks blessings for the year to follow.
It is considered as an omen of prosperity, happiness and knowledge. In earlier times people would go to the river bank, take a dip and throw these nuts in the water then offer Puja at homes or in temples.
A Vedic explanation of Sonth (Thal Barun) is explained as follows;
Ancient Vedic Rishis have bifurcated our Solar system into 12 slots known as 12 signs (Rashi’s).
Each slot comprises of 30 degrees out of total of 360 Degrees.
Sun takes a month i.e. 30 days to cover these 30 degrees and when ever Sun enters new 30 degree slot (sign or Rashi) that event or Day is known as Sankrati.
There are total 12 Sankrati in a solar year except during Malmass year wherein the name of 13th Sun is known as Malinmunch (mal mass).
While as the Moon takes only 2.25 days to cover a 30 degree slot. Moon covers the entire ecliptic path in just approximately 29 day while as sun takes a year.
Whenever creation of this Universe started, it must have started from 0 degree.
We celebrated our new year when both Sun and Moon reach to their starting point and that happens on Navreh day.
The Solar year reaches to its last slot of 30 degrees, when sun enters Meen Rashi - Pisces. The Sun as usual stays in this last slot for 30 days.
The day when Sun enters last slot to reach Zero degrees to start its new year is known as Sonth.
Sun remains in this last slot from Sonth day upto Vaishakhi day.
Meanwhile Moon too completes the 2.25 days in Pisces – Mean Rashi to reach 0 Degree, the day of Navreh.
The dark fortnight of Moon during this last slot is known as Kreel Paksh. This fortnight was used to give a just of calander for queries if any from public. Those queries were incorporated in new Jantri to be used on Navreh.
We start the Solar year from Sonth and Lunar from Navreh.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Herath (Shivratri)

Herath (Shivratri)

Kashmir has been a spiritual seat since ancient times. Kashmiri Pandits are Shaivites andHerath (Shivratri) is the most important festival of Kashimri Pandit community who are the ancient and original inhabitants of Kashmir.
This festival has the same importance in Kashmir as Durga Pooja in Bengal, Ganesh Pooja in Maharashtra, Ayyapa festival in south India, Holi in the Braja Dham and Jagannath festival in Orissa.
Herath (Shivratri) finds its reference in various sacred texts like - ‘Nilmat Puran’ of the sixth century Sanskrit text of Kashmir, 'Shivastrotravali' by Shaivite philosopher Utpal Dev of the eighth century, 'Tantraloka'and 'Pratyabhijna Darshnam' by Abhinav Gupt, 'Sivadrashti' by Acharya Somananda and 'Rajtarangni' by Kalhan which have contributed immensely towards the enrichment of Kashmir Shaivism.
Shivratri is called ‘Herath’ in Kashmiri, a word derived from the Sanskrit ‘Hararatri’ the ‘Night of Hara,’ which is another name of Shiva also it is the night of the Tandava for Shiva, but the grace of the Watuka Bhairava makes that Tandava into the auspiciousness of higher bliss.
Kashmiri Pandits worship Lord Shiva in His both forms of Shiva and Shakti. Shakti for us is the Goddess Raginya, Sharika, Kali or Durga, who are the energy aspects of Lord Shiva. Worshipping Lord Shiva leads to the cosmic mother, who offers solace, protection and divine grace to one and all.
Accordingly, the ultimate Truth or Supreme Reality is Lord Shiva Himself and the whole creation is His manifestation.Lord Shiva represents the life cycle of living beings. It is due to this very fact that walnuts are used in the Shivratri Pooja. Walnuts, known in Kashmiri as 'doonya' is a seed, which in reality represents a complete life-cycle i.e. the beginning and end of life. It is also a miniature representation of our universe and is symbolic of our respect for the entire cosmos. The four kernels of the walnut are also believed to represent the four directions of the hemisphere and the four Vedas.
Kashmir Shaivism, also called Trika Shastra is the philosophy of triad, which comprises Shiva-the Universal consciousness, Shakti-the Divine energy and Nara-the human soul. Kashmir Shaivism is the exploration and realization of the divinity within ourselves. Lord Shiva is also known as Mahadeva-the Great God, Triloki Nath-the Lord of three worlds, Umapati, Gauripati, Parvatipati, Chandrashekhar-the moon-crested, Gangadhar-the bearer of Ganga, Girisha-the mountain Lord, Mahakal -the Lord of death, Pashupati-the Lord of beasts and Vishwanath-the Lord of Universe. HE is the Lord of his spiritual consort, the Goddess Parvati, which in reality is the cosmic energy. The union of Lord Shiva with Shakti is Shivratri, also known by the names of Mahashivratri, Kalratri and Talaratri.
In Kashmir we celebrate Herath (Sivratri) with the grand ritual of Watuka Pooza. Watuk is actually word Batuka, the young Bhairava - that is Shiva.
Herath (Shivratri) is celebrated on trayodashi or the thirteenth of the dark half of the month of Phalguna (February–March) by Kashmiri Hindus and not on chaturdashi or the fourteenth as is celebrated by Hindus in the rest of the country. The reason for it is that this long drawn festival that is celebrated for one full fortnight as an elaborate ritual is associated with the appearance of Bhairava (Shiva) as a jwala-linga or a linga of flame.
As per a prevalent belief in Kashmir, the Divine Couple of Lord Shiva, and Goddess Parvati visit the devotees homes on the night of Mahashivratri and are said to stay as Divine Guests upto Amavasya, known as 'Doonya Mavas' (15th day of Phalgun Krishnapaksh).
The origin of Shivratri is attributed to several stories in Hindu mythology.
One very popular story traces the origin of this festival to the churning of the Ocean of Milk by devas (gods) and asuras (demons). It is said that when both gods and demons were churning the Ocean of Milk to obtain amrita (water of immortal life), they came across many unusual substances, including the deadly poison Kalakuta. As soon as they touched the poison, it exploded into poisonous fumes that threatened to envelope the entire universe by darkness. When the destruction of the universe seemed inevitable, the gods ran for assistance from Brahma and Vishnu, but neither was able to help. At last they ran to Lord Shiva, who raised his trident and condensed the fumes. In order to save the creation, Shiva swallowed the poison without spilling a single drop. The poison left a dark blue mark on Shiva's throat. The gods praised and worshipped Shiva for saving the universe.
The philosophical essence of the above myth is as follows: gods and demons symbolize all kinds of individuals (both good and bad) in the world. The Ocean of Milk represents the ideal world that is full of peace and happiness for all human beings. Churning the Ocean of Milk signifies the human activity in the world. The amrita symbolizes happiness and the poison represents human greed and selfishness. Shiva symbolizes the atman (self), the spiritual essence of an individual. Worship of Shiva denotes meditation and contemplation by an individual on his or her own self.
The above story is symbolic of the fact that individuals perform actions in the world in order to achieve happiness. In this process a person is usually overpowered by greed and selfishness, ruining his or her efforts for obtaining peace and happiness. Thus the only way to achieve peace and happiness is by worshipping Shiva at night, that is, by meditating on one's own self during the night when the individual is free from the distractions of the physical world. When the individual attains self-knowledge, he or she can live in the world without being affected by anger, greed, and selfishness, the three enemies of one's soul. Shlce Shivratri symbolizes the worship of the atman within, this festival is celebrated as a purely religious festival by all Hindus, as stated earlier.
According to sacred texts at this time a forceful natural upsurge of energy is said to take place in the human system, which advances the process of soul purification and enlightenment. This energy in combination with the significant planetary positions help in the upward flow of the energy flow in the human beings. These energy forces help us to overcome the Karmas and raise one's consciousness beyond the veil of illusion resulting in the intensification of the spiritual process.
Another story in Hindu mythology also emphasizes the auspiciousness of Shivratri: On the day of Shivratri, a hunter, who had killed many birds in a forest, was chased by a hungry lion. The hunter climbed a Bilva tree to save himself from the lion's attack. The lion waited throughout the entire night at the bottom of the tree for its prey. In order to stay awake to avoid falling from the tree, the hunter kept plucking the leaves of the Bilva tree and dropping them below. The leaves fell on a Shiva Linga that happened to be located at the bottom of the tree. Shiva was pleased by the offering of the Bilva leaves by the hunter, although inadvertently, and saved the hunter in spite of all the sin the hunter had committed by killing the birds. This story emphasizes the auspiciousness of worshipping Shiva with Bilva leaves on Shivratri.
Herath (Shivratri) festival starts on the first day of the dark fortnight of Phalguna, with cleansing and renovation of the houses and concludes on the Amavasya day with the distribution of Prasada of Doonya (walnuts)and Chochi Waer (rice flour roti) after performing theprescribed Pooja.
Day 1
Hur`i Okdoh: This day marks the beginning of the fortnight long Herath festival for KashmiriPandits that ends 15 days later on Amavasya.
Day 1 to Day 6
Hur`i Okdoh to Hur`i Shiyam: The first day of celebration to the sixth day is to clean,known as Hur Dalun. Also house as required is painted and decorateto give it a festive look.
The Pooja room called Thokur Kuth and the front door called Dar are specially cleaned, one for the pooja and the other to welcome Shiva and Parvati, whose communion is the real essence of Shivratri.
After Hur`i celebration, Hokh`u Siyun/ dried vegetables are not cooked as a dish. There is a logic behind it. Since the Watuk Raz is to be invoked with serenity, thus there should be something new vegetable to be offered, which could be easily available.
Day 7, 8 and 9
Hur`i Sattam, Hur`i Atham and Hur`i Navam: The eighth day called Hur`i  Aetham is the day of the presiding deity of the valley, Maa Sharika. On this day we have Havan at Hari Parbat and night long Keertan. It is on ' Hur`i -Navum' that ladies especially newly-wed Kashmiri Pandit brides visit their parental homes.
Day 10
Dyare Daham (Dashmi): On this day when ladies / newly-wed Kashmiri Pandit brides return from their parental homes, they bring alongwith them ‘Herath - bhog’ the 'Kangri' (the traditional fire-pot) with a silver tsalan dangling behind it, a pack of salt, 'rotis' (bread), new clothes and some money locally called 'Atagut' as 'Shivratri Shagoun'.
It is on this day that vegetarian or non-vegetarian food are cooked as per the family ritual or 'reeth'.
Day 11
Gada Kah (Phagun Gatapach Kah): On the eleventh Tithi of the Phalguna Krishna Paksha, the Fish is cooked and offered to the Ishtadeva to seek his blessings for the Anushtthanam / invoking deliberations of the Wagura on the following day. Wagura is the Tantric net, which needs to be woven with the Shri Raja Rajeshvari Mantra, which is the Reshi Dulij of the great event. It is purely Sattvic, as the name Reshi Dulij suggests. Only vegetarian food, milk and candies are offered to this cosmic shape of the Divine. The main event is on the Shiva Ratri day deliberations, according to the Kula Riti/ family tradition.
Day 12
Wager Baah: It is customary to have Wagur pooja on this day, which is the first formal pooja of the Shivratri. A small earthenware pot known as 'Wagur' is installed amidst elaborate rituals in the pooja-room, locally known as 'Watuk-Kuth'.
At sunset, tie a narivan around a small pitcher (wagur: the priest: the messenger) and offer tilak. The messenger brings the good news about Shiva and Parvati visiting next day.
Another tumbler or pitcher is filled with water and walnuts (called kalusha: the witness: the mind). The priest and kalusha sit on grass mats. In the evening after performing 'Wagur Pooja', cooked rice, vegetarian or non-vegetarian dishes depending upon one's individual family 'reeth' or ritual are offered to the 'Wagur'.
Watuk Raz Parivar is to be bought from the potter in the Deity form of Watuk Bhairava, Ram Go`d, Reshi Dulij, Sani-Potul, Khetra Pal, Dupu Zoor. It was necessarily bought after Hur`i Satam upto Wage`r Baah.
Watuk Parivar needed for the occasion should be preferably of baked clay. Nowadays brass/steelis also used depending on availability.
Day 13
Herath (Shivratri): The thirteenth day called Herach Truvah (trayodashi) is the day of the main pooja. Shiva and Parvati come to stay in the home. The eldest male in the family keeps a fast and an elderly lady of the family fills-up the earthen-pitcher designated as 'Watuk-Nout / Ram Go`d' with fresh water and walnuts, usually 101 or 151. This ritual known as 'Watuk-Barun' is performed before the sun-set.
The 'Watuk-Nout / Ram Go`dis a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva, whileas a other earthen-pitcher, called 'Reshi Dulij' placed adjacent to the 'Watuk-Nout' represents the Goddess Parvati.
The smaller earthenwares such as 'Sanivari/Khetra Pal' (two in number), 'Machvari' (2-4 in number) a hollow cone-shaped 'Sanipatul' representing lord Shiva and a 'Dhupzoor (an earthen dhoopstand) are suitably placed near the 'Watuk-Nout'.
Sani Patul represents the cosmic creation of the Shiva Shakti in One Emblem. ‘Sini’ is a Sanskrit word, which refers to the woman having a white complexion and ‘Putula’ in Sanskrit language means the icon of Shiva. So Sani-Patul is the Shiva Shakti Eka Rupani /Shiva and Shakti are one in essence, which is the base of the Kashmiri Herath.
Wusur and A’ir is Prithvi Tattva or the Earthly existence. Wusur is the Apbhramsha of the word Wasura, which denotes existence of the Mother earth. That is the reason the Wusur is made of Petchi Diyol, a special weed of the Dal lake. As Mother earth is both soil and the water. The dried Petcha grass known as diyol is put in three whirls with a knot, to represent the Trigunatmak Prakriti of Sattva-Rajas-Tamas.It is placed at the bottom of the Watuk Raz`u. Ram Go`d, Reshi Dulij and two Khetrapals, the guardian deities of the great event. Wusur is an offering of garland and A‘ir is an Asana/seat. It is to invoke the Kundalini Shakti within the aura of Watuk Raz. The Deities are wrapped properly with the garland. This is the very start of the Thirty six Tattvas of the Trika Shasana/ Darshanas or popularly recognized as the Kashmir Shiva Darshan to start with the Prithvi Tattva. The Shasta /Principal deity of the Five day Pooja is the Watuk Raz`u. The thirty six Tattvas is the universal Existence of Shiva, where Shakti helps Shiva to manifest as a universal Spirit. The Watuka Paddhati establishes that fact.
Mystical Diagram of the Watuka Bhairava:
In every Kashmiri Pandit Religious Anushthana, we need to invoke the Kalasha Purusha, with mystic diagrams to be drawn by the Rice flour. The Yantras differ from one deliberation to another. The Kalasha are of two types. The First is the Brahma Kalasha and the other is the Indra Kalasha. Brahma Kalasha is purely the Hiranya garbha, which needs to be invoked through the Atharva Vedic Ganapati Avahan, followed by the Panchayatan Deva Vedic Suktas of Ganesha, Surya Vishnu, Shiva and Devi. The Puranic Mantras are also recited during invocation, followe by the Tantric Bijaksharas. You know it well, that Kalash Doonya is highly revered and is the First Naivedya after the Hasta Phalam/ Athi Phol’u is offered and Shanti Mantras are recited. This is known as the Achhidra of the Deliberationa/Anushthhanam. The walnuts are offered to the Kalasha Purusha, because Walnut is the Ritu Phalam of Kashmir, which are easily available in the whole cycle of the year. Offering of Ritu Phalam is purely Puranik in substance, as it is the fifth step in the Panch Upchara Pooja.
After the Pooja Mahimnapar is recited. This is one of the favorite prayers with Kashmiri Pandits (Pushpadanta Mahminaparam) that extols the virtues of Shiva. It was written by Pushpadanta to appease and pray to Shiva to lift the curse on him for stealing flowers meant for Shiva’s worship. At the end of the Pooja, all the water used in the Pooja (nirmaal), flowers, rice cakes offered to Watuk, and any offerings to the departed are collected and deposited under a shade tree. The eldest person in the household now can break his fast and the feast is enjoyed.
Day 14
Salaam: The day following 'Herath' called 'Shiva chaturdashi' is locally known as 'Salam.'Morning pooja is offered to the Watuk. Rice cakes and walnuts are eaten as Prasad / Naveed.
As part of the ritual, special vegetarian or non-vegetarian dishes according to one's family ritual or 'reeth' are offered to the 'Dulij'. On this day, all the family members and near relatives are given pocket-money called 'Herath-Kharch' by the head of the family.
During Shivratri days, playing of indoor-game with the sea-shells, locally called 'Haren-gindun' is a usual practice especially among the children.
Day 15
Doonyaya Mavas: (walnut Amavasya - day of Parmozun). The day Shiva and Parvati return to the Himalayas.
Late in the evening, pooja is performed either on the river bank (Yarbal) or at home as per the family tradition. The practice of performing pooja of walnuts taken-out from the 'Watuk-Nout' called as 'Watuk Parmozun'.
Then we empty the pots, collect water and flowers in a large bucket. Keep the wet walnuts at home. Later on carry the bucket and empty it under a shade tree. Return home to enjoy rice cakes and walnuts.
It is a usual practice in most of the house-holds, who perform pooja at the river-banks to allow the head of the family to enter the house only after he promises blessings and boons in the form of health, wealth, education, employment, peace and prosperity to each and every member of the family.
The conversation in Kashmiri, which takes place between the head of the family (who is outside the closed door, and senior lady of the house goes like this, "thuk or dubh-dubh', kous chuv?, Ram Broor 'Kya Heth?, Anna Heth, Dhana-Heth Doarkoth,  Aurzoo Heth, Vidya, Kar-bar, Te Sokh Sampdha Heth.'
Shivratri 'naveed' in the form of water-soaked Doonya (walnuts) and chochi waer (rotis), distributed among near and dear ones during the period of 'Doonya-Mavas' to Tila-Ashtami, locally known as 'Tile-Aethum', which falls on Phalgun Shuklapaksh Ashtami.
The walnuts are broken to take the kernel out and along with chochi waer (rotis) made of rice flour are first offered to the deity and then taken as prasad.
Day 16 to Day 22
Distribution of Prasad / Naveed:
From this day begins an arduous task of distributing the walnuts among friends, relatives and neighbours. The closer the relationship the larger is the number of walnuts given to them. The highest number, in hundreds, goes to the in-laws of the newlywed daughters along with noon (salt), chochi (roti), atagat from her parental home.
Why Walnut?
Walnut is the Rituphal for all religious functions, where Agni is to be invoked, Kalasha is to be installed, there walnuts are put in the Kalasha and being sanctified with the Shanti Mantras, Bahuroopa garbha, Rudra Mantra, as is being practiced in case of the Shiva Ratri. After the Pooja is over, the ‘Kalash Lav’ is sprinkled with Shanti and Swasti Mantras of the Vedas, Athifo`l/ Purna Ahuti Samagri is a must. Walnut symbolizes the four Vedas in one nut. It is the symbol of the Haranyagarbha as well.
Day 23
Seven days after Doonyaya mavas, on the day called Teel Aatham, one lights an adobe lamp outside the house on the stoop. A number of earthen oil lit lamps are placed at different places starting from one's home to the river-bank (yarbal) and also one of the oil lamps is made to float on the river with its base seated on grass ring or 'arie'.
The day of 'Tila-Ashtami' also signals the end of the severe cold of winter and advent of the pleasant season of spring, locally known as 'Sonth'. On this day, the change-over of season is celebrated by children by burning old fire-pots (Kangris), stuffed with dry grass and tied with long ropes are rotated around in the air, all the time uttering the words of 'Jateen-Tantah'. It marks the final good-bye to the holy festival of Mahashivratri or 'Herath'.
Disposal of the residual material i.e.; grass seats of the Watuk, the flowers and Naervan tied round these pots and other such things into the river is done on the Tila Ashtami, and this marks the grand finale to this great festival. 
Jotshi Prem Nath Shastriji audio tape for a relatively simple Watuk-Pooja together with a Mahimna Stotram can be obtained from Youtube.
Source: Various articles on Herath (Shivratri)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Gauri Tritiya (Gora Trai)

Kashmiri Pandits celebrate Gora-Trai or Gauri Tritya in the honour of goddess Saraswati on the third day of the shukla paksha of Magha. Gauri is the name of the Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning. 

On this day the family priest brings a portrait of the goddess, below which are printed some shlokas in praise of the goddess. Whenever a child is born or there has been an addition of a bride, the occasion is special and the family priest of the bride's parents also brings a specially decorated portrait and in return gets a handsome honorarium. This must have been the day of teaching the child the first alphabets after offering pooja to the goddess of learning. This is borne out by the fact that the following day is called Shruka tsoram or the Shloka Chaturthi. Obviously, on this day the child was taught the basic Sanskrit shlokas like 'Twameva Mata cha Pita twameva - O Lord, you are my mother as also my father.' This chaturthi is also known as 'Tripura Chaturthi' as the goddess is worshipped on this day in her Tripura Sundari form. The goddess is regarded as the energy aspect of the Supreme Divine. It is this aspect of energy that activates the Divine undertake the five functions of creation, sustenance, destruction, providing cover and granting grace.
According to ancient Hindu scriptures, Gauri tritiya fast is observed to get the blessing of Goddess Parvati. It is observed by the devotees to attain the blessings of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati.
It is believed that observing the fast with dedication and devotion towards the lord, helps the person attain a happy and prosperous life. Goddess Gauri is known best to fulfill the desires of her devotees.
According to Gauri Tritiya scriptures, those who worship the goddess with proper rituals are blessed with a good fortune. Females who observe this fast are blessed with a blissful married life and children. According to the legends, it is said that goddess Gauri took birth on earth in the form of King Daksha’s Daughter. She was known as Sati. She performed hard penance to get Lord Shiva in the form of a husband. Lord Shiva was pleased by her penance and fulfilled her wish.
Goddess Sati is known by various names in hindu culture. It is believed that Goddess Sati got married to Lord Shiva on the tritiya of Shukla paksha. Thus, it is considered to be an auspicious day for devotees. Observing this fast fulfills all the desires of the devotee.
On this day, the person observing the fast should wake up early in the morning, take bath and worship the whole family of Lord Shiva. He should first, bathe the idols of the god and the goddess with panchamrit. Then worship the idols with incense, rice, deep, and five types of fruits. The resolution of the fast should be taken before commencing the prayer.
Lord Ganesha should we worshipped with water, roli, vermillion, sacred thread, rice, betel leaves, cloves, supari, cardamom, bel patra, fruits, dry fruits, and some money. The idol of the goddess should be bathed with panchamrit, and decorate it with sindoor, chandan, henna etc. Cosmetics are used to adorn the idol of the goddess. After worshipping the idols, Gauri Tritiya katha is heard to conclude the prayer ceremony. 
It is a very important fast for females. The tritiya tithi is considered to be an auspicious day for married woman. Married women keep this fast for their husband’s long life.  Those who are unmarried keep this fast to get a compatible husband.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Shankaracharya Temple

The Shankaracharya Templeor Jyoteshware temple is on top of the Shankaracharya Hill on the Zabarwan Mountain in Srinagar, Kashmir. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is at a height of 1,000 feet (300 m) above the plain, overlooking the city of Srinagar. 
The temple dates to 200 BC, although the present structure probably dates to the 9th century AD. It was visited by Adi Shankara and has ever since been associated with him; this is how the temple got the name Shankaracharya.
According to Pandit Anand Koul (1924) the temple was originally built by the Hindu king "Sandiman" who, according to Koul, reigned in Kashmir from 2629 to 2564 BC.
The earliest historical reference to the hill comes from Kalhana. He called the mountain Gopadri. Kalhana says that King Gopaditya granted the land at the foot of the hill to the Brahmins that had come from the "Araya versh." The land grant was called "GOPA AGRAHARAS". This area is now called Gupkar. Kalhana also mentions that King Gopaditya built the temple on the top of the hill as a shrine to Jyesthesvara (Shiva Jyestharuda) around 371 BC.
It is said that Lalitaditya Muktapida (724-726 AD) of Karakote dynasty did repairs to the temple. The Dogra King Gulab Singh (1846-1857 AD) constructed the steps to the hill from Durga Naag temple side. The Maharaja of Mysore came to Kashmir in 1925 and he made the electrical installations at the temple. In 1961 Shankaracharaya of Dwarkapeetham put the statue of Adi Shankaracharaya in the temple. In 1974 the Government of J&K constructed the road that goes to the top of the hill.
Kashmir is believed to be the seat of Shaivam, the Himalaya Mountains and Sri Kailashagiri as "The massed laughter of Sri Shiva." It was from here that the sweet nectar of Shiva devotion spread in India and around the globe, by the spiritual works of saints like Adi Shankaracharya. Soundarya Lahari was composed by Adi Shankara atop the Gopadari Hill, after accepting the fact that the union of Sri Shiva and Devi Shakti, as in Shaktism, transpired into the Shakti-Shri Chakra, the symbol of Devi (Goddess), as Sri Yantra, as mentioned in 'Shankara Digvijay' - Life history of Shankaracharya, and only when Shiva is united with Shakti does he have the power to create.
The Jyoteshware temple rests on a solid rock. A 20-foot tall octagonal base supports a square building on top. The terrace around the square temple is reached by a stone staircase enclosed between two walls. A doorway on the opposite side of the staircase leads to the interior, which is a small and dark chamber, circular in plan. The ceiling is supported by four octagonal columns, which surround a Basin containing a Lingam encircled by a snake. There are 243 steps leading up to the temple area and another 8-10 steps from there to the temple hall.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Sharika Bhagwati Hari Parbat Maha Yantra

Maha Yantra The Mystic Chakra of Tripursundari

Description of Sacred Sri-Yantra Self Engraved on the Shilla:
The sacred Sri Chakra, commonly known by the Hindus as ‘Sri Yantra,’ composed of circles and lotus petals, contains nine independent Trikonas (Triangles) mystically drawn one within the other. The four Triangles that point upwards represent Shiva and the other five pointing downwards Shakti. The Shiva Triangles are called Srikanthas or Shiva element, and the Shakti triangles Shivayuvatis or Shakti element. All these are quite independent of the central Bindhu and are formatted by the Mulaprakriti of Shiva Bindhu.
The intersecting triangles represent the play of creation, protection and absorption of the whole universe by the pure divine force known as ‘Sudha Shakti’. The central point in the chakra is Bindhu which symbolises the union of ‘Shiva with Shakti’ or ‘Kameshiva with Kameshwari.’
Sri Tantra’ is in fact, the most magnificent composition of nine independent Trikonas charged with the supreme occult significance. The Trikonas in their upward and downward positions intersect one another and from themselves into fourty three big and small triangles. All these triangles are enclosed in the first inner circle on which is drawn one lotus with eight petals called ‘Ashta Dal’ which represents the mystical lotus of creation. The another circle following this with sixteen petalled lotus, drawn on it is called ‘Shadashadal.’ This lotus is significant of sixteen kalas or phases of the moon. The whole set of triangles and lotus petals are further enclosed in triple concentric circles or three fold girdles called ‘Trimekhia.’ The whole diagram, forming the mystical Chakra, fixed in a square, with triple parallel lines, having four openings on gates on its four cardinal points make up the Devi’s mansion. In the centre of the whole composition lies the Bindhu (point) which, in fact is the mysterious matrix of this Maha Yantra. The description of this Yantra is given in Sloka 11 of Sundaryalahri, reproduced just below in the Yantra itself.
The Yantra is adopted for the workshop of the mighty Shakti-Lalita Devi and is considered to be the most popular symbol than the Icon or image of Srividhya i.e. ‘Tripursundari’ Herself.
The mystery of ‘Sri Yantra’ is quite remarkable. Its secret doctrine is largely acknowledged even by renowed foreign authors and scholars. While acknowledging the mystical performance of these mysterious Yantra and Mandals a foreign scholar ‘Shree Guiseppe Tucci’ has stated in his book ‘The Theory and Practice of Mandals’ that the best example of a Hinduist Mandal is the one called ‘Sri Chakra’ or the wheel of ‘Sri’ i.e. the mystic wheel of ‘Shakti’ or divine power which is the motive force of the universe and by virtue of which God manifests and displays Himself in things which are all necessity the effect of Shakti itself, since without Shakti, God can do nothing.
One can well imagine and understand the might of this ‘Shakti’ which the God Himself has acknowledged as stated in ‘Sundarya-Lahari’ that only conjoined with Thee Oh! Shakti have I the power to be the absolute Lord otherwise I would not be able to move. Such is the might ‘Shakti’ - ‘Lalita Devi’ - the ruling deity of this celebrated ‘Maha – Yantra.’
The ‘Yantra’ can be described in two ways. It may be started from any of the four gates of outer Chakra and worked inwards towards the central Bindhu or in the reverse order it may be started from the Bindhu and worked outwards towards the gates. The former process is called ‘Layakrarna’ (Involution) and the later ‘Srishtikrama’ evolution. Here it is described in the latter way.
Starting from the central point (Bindhu) and ending with the four gates the whole complex is divided into nine Chakras or wheels – called Yantras – which according to ‘Tantraja Tantara’ are;
(i)            Central Red Bindhu, described as Sarvanandmaya
(ii)          Central White Triangle, described as Sarvasidhipradha
(iii)         Eight Red Triangles, described as Sarvaroghara
(iv)         Ten Blue Triangles, described as Sarvarakshakar
(v)          Ten Red Triangles, described as Sarvarthasadhak
(vi)         Fourteen Blue Triangles, described as Sarvasaubnagyadayak
(vii)        Eight Red Lotus Petals, described as Sarvasamksobhan
(viii)      Sixteen Blue Lotus Petals, described as Sarvaparipuraka
(ix)         Surrounding Yellow ground between the outer most circle and the four gates described as Trilokyamohan
Explaining the complex of these Yantras the sacred ‘Tripuramahimstotrum’ says that the same ‘Mulavaidyaksars’ as having contributed towards the unfloding of this ‘Sriyantra’ are responsible for the evolution of this universe as well, when it says that:-
a)    From the Lakar, which according to ‘Laya-Krama’ represents the first outer Chakra i.e the Yellow surrounded ground, this ‘Pararupa’ earth on which we live-has been born and on which there are mountains, forests, grooves fifty Peetas (Seats), all places of pilgrimages, all Ganges and all ‘Khetrasthanas.’ This Chakra is known as ‘Trilokyamohan’ that is, the Enchanter of the universe. 
b)    From Sakar, representing the second Chakra of sixteen blue petalled lotus it took the form of Moon, Stars, Planets and the Zodiac (Rashi Chakra). This Yantra is described as ‘Sarvapariporka,’ which is complementary in every way.
c)    In Hakar, which represents the red lotus of eight petals, it took the form of Vyom-mandal i.e. atmosphere, which is the ‘Sankirnrupa’ (Complex form of Shiva) this Yantra obtains third place in the diagram and is described as ‘Sarvasanksobhan.’
d)    In Ikar, which is represented by the fourteen blue triangles, it is ‘Turyamaya’ or the creater of the universe. This Yantra being fourth in the order is described as ‘Sarvasaubhagvadayak’ i.e. all auspicious.
e)    In Ekar, which obtains the fifth place in the order in the order and it represented by ten red triangles-the ‘Vishnavi Shakti’ manifests herself as one engaged in ‘Vaishvapalan’ (preservation of the universe.) This Yantra is described as ‘Sarvarthasadak’ or fulfiller of all desires.
f)     In Rakar, which is represented by ten blue triangles and is the sixth Yantra in the order-the all luminous and the most flaming aspect of the deity is revealed. This Yantra is described as ‘Sarvarakshakar’ that is, all protecting deity.
g)    In Kakar, the Shakti is radiated as ‘Kamda’ or granter of all desires, ‘Kamrupni’ or changer of form a will and ‘Avaya’ or eternal. This Yantra, represented by eight red triangles and occupying the seventh position in the order, is described as ‘Sarvaroghara’ or curer of all diseases.
h)    The eight Yantra-which is represented by the crescent shaped central white triangles, is known as ‘Vishvayoni’ or the womb of the universe signifying the Kamam or cause. Here Shakti is identified in ‘Shunyarups’, (Zero or Void form) of the Bindhu-Rupa Shiva. This Yantra is described as ‘Sarvasidhiprada’ or giver of all siddhis.
i)     The ninth and the last Yantra, represented by the central Bindhu, is described as ‘Sarvanandmaya’ i.e. all pervading and all blissful flaming Shiva or ‘Shivajyotirmaya’.
The wheel of the universe (Sansar Chakra) is thus equated with the ‘Mulavidhya’ and identified with the ‘Sri Chakra’. The letter established in Lakar, Sakar, Hakar, Ikar, Ekar, Rakar and Kakar and associated with various Yantras, described above, are its beejaksharas (Seeds) and the protecting deities, which are symbolic Tatwas, are the Shivas themselves.
The Central Bindhu has three-fold aspects. It is called ‘Bindhu Triya’. The upper part of this focal point represents the face of Devi and the two below it Her breasts.
This is the symbolism of worship in which such anthropomorphic forms are employed by the worshippers who clearly see such images as they are carved or conceived in their minds during their worship. More abstractedly the three Bindhus are compared to the Sun Moon and the Fire representing the names given to the aspects of Para Bindhu.
While commenting upon the Yantra worship, Sir John Woodroff, (Arthur Avalon) another learned scholar and noted author says ‘’that the more experienced and correct view is that the mind is Shakti which is a particular manifestation of it. By continual and repeated practice in that Chakra after Chakra everything becomes divinished’’ and again hesitates that ‘‘Practice of the ritual transforms the mind itself and what is at first seen merely as an external Yantra with lines, curves and petals, becomes a pure mental state in the Sadaka himself. He too is a ‘Sri Yantra’ and realises himself as such.’’ The body of ths Sadaka is yhus identified with ‘Sri Yantra’ and its nine appertures (Naudwar) correspond to the nine Chakras in the Yantra. The human body, is as such considered like an island of nine gems which are described to be,
Ajas, Sukra, Majja, Meda, Asthi, Mamsa, Roma, Tvak and Rudhir.
The object of the worship of these Chakras, as such is the realisation of the one Abhedabhavana of the knower who is one’s own self-(Swatma) or the worshipper, the knowledge and the object of the knowledge i.e. the ‘Sri Chakra’ itself. In fact worship of ‘Sri Yantra’ is the unification of these three. The knower of the knowledge and the object of the knowledge’’.
‘‘This celebrated Yantra,’’ says Sir John Woodroff further, represents the human body, the whole universe and the man-for what is in the former is in the latter and vice versa-as also the Shiva Shakti Swarupa or Atma. It is thus the symbol of Devi as she is in her own form (Swarupa) and as she is in the form of the universe (Vishwatma).’’
According to TANTARAJA TANTRA there are 960 Yantras which are signed Adya, Nitya and Lalita, the three Godesses, who are known ‘TRIPURASUNDARI’ conjoined in ONE.
Different fruits are gained by worshipping different Yantras. Of these 960 Yantras the principal one’s are:-
Sri Yantra, Puja Kaml Chakra, Amritghat, Sidcthavajra, Keshav, Wajralinga, Merulinga, Mahalinga, Yoni, Vajravajrak Maha Vajra and Vajra.
Yantras are purely linear diagrams. They are drawn provisionally or permanently. When it is desired to be drawn permanently, it is inscribed on a stone or on copper or bronze plates that are often seen in Hindu temples, shrines and other places of worship.
Righteously the Yantra Deserves a place in every Hindu Home if one desires to be happy, prosperous and free from ailments.