Saturday, May 28, 2011

TULSI Vivah

Tulsi plant ( Basil) is worshiped as a Goddess by Hindu. and considered the wife of Lord Vishnu.


Tulsi Vivah is the ceremonial marriage of he Tulsi Plant to Vishnu.  It is usually performed on the eleventh on twelvth lunar day in the month of Kartik (around October).

According to Hinduism, Tulsi plant was a woman named Vrinda.  She was married to the demon king Jalandhar. Due to her devotion to Lord Vishnu, her husband became invincible.  Even Lord Shiva could not defeat Jalandhar.  So Shiva requested Vishnu, the preserver of the Trinity to find a solution.

Vishnu disguised himself as Jalandhar and stayed with her. Later, Jalandhar was killed by Shiva.  Vrinda cursed Vishnu to become black in color and said  he would be separated from his wife.  Thus he was transformed into the Black Shaligram stone and in his avatar as Rama,and  his wife was taken away by Ravan and Rama was separated from his wife.

Vrinda burnt herself at the pyre of her husband .  Vishnu transformed her soul into  a plant Tulsi.  Vishnu in the next birth married Tulsi.  To commemorate this event , the cermony of  Tulsi Vivah is conducted every year in temples and at homes of those desirous of Kanyadan.

The expense of the wedding is usually borne by a daughter-less couple who act as parents.  My friend who has 2 sons, performed the Vivah last year at home.  The giving away ( Kanyadan) of Tulsi to Vishnu is considered meritorious for the couple. The Bridal offerings to Tulsi are given to a Brahman priest.

The Tulsi plant decorated as the bride: 
Shaligram Bhagwan being brought in his Palki:

Tulsi and Shaligram set for the marriage: 

Tulsi and Shaligram after the Jaimala and Vivah:



Saturday, May 21, 2011

Beauty Inside Out





Man has been captivated by beauty since civilization. Be it Helen of Troy or the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, their beauty created a furore. Their Beauty was legendary as also their beauty regimen.They shaped history.

Closer home, from Madhubala to Maharani Gayatri Devi, Ageless Rekha to Dream girl Hema Malini, million dollar smile Madhuri Dixit to light eyed Asihwarya Rai Bacchan, enthralled Indians by their beauty.


So how do you define Beauty?

It is interesting to note the definitions given in dictionaries :

According to Oxford, 'Beauty is the quality of being pleasing to senses'.

As per Longman's Dictionary 'Beauty is a quality that a person has that makes them very attractive to look at'.

Wikipedia delves deeper and describes : 'Beauty is a characteristic of a person...that provides a perceptual expeience of pleasure, meaning or satisfaction'.

Women have been known to use herbs and cosmetics since ancient times to accentuate their beauty. Applying henna on hands, using kohl to make the eyes look appealing, adorning gajras on their hair to look and smell beautiful, wearing ornaments to enhance their beauty has been the norm.


As a tribute to beauty, Beauty paegents became the norm. In every city, in every country beauty contests were held to crown the most beautiful woman. The Miss Universe Paegeant is an international event where women from across the world compete for the coveted crown. But over the years the definiton of beauty has evolved.

At first we had the 'Beauty Queen'. To qualify for the crown, you had to be blessed with physical attributes. A good height, an attractive face, a great mane and perfect vital stats.

Then we had the concept of 'Beauty with Brains'. In this, girls were shortlisted on basis of their introduction and poise. Out of these, five finalists were selected who were asked the same question.

Next and the current concept of beauty is 'Beauty with a Purpose'. To qualify for the crown, a girl has to have the triple combination of great looks, lots of grey matter and an ability to be an international ambassador to bring about a change in matters concerning our planet, which could be anything from Child Rights to Global Warming to HIV AIDS.

I personally feel that Real Beauty goes beyond the physical persona, deeper into her personality, encompassing her mind, heart and soul .

For too long ,the stereotype of a beautiful woman has been a face with symmetric facial features.It is universally accepted that a woman with a good looking face and a thin body is beautiful. I feel today the definition of conventional beauty needs to change. This obsessive commercialization of physical attributes is unrealistic. Look around yourself. How many perfect faces and perfect figures do you see in your neighborhood?

A woman who is comfortable with the natural features and body given to her by nature, and having the confidence to believe in herself is also beautiful. From there on, it is her mind and heart too that figure. A beautiful face with a hollow personality would not hold ones' interest, but an average looker with an attractive personality and an inner beauty of deeds will shine.

The winds of change are blowing. Companies like Dove are opting for 'real women' to market their products. And beautiful women talk about the importance of believing in yourself.

Real Beauty is an attribute that emanates from the Inside, reflecting on the Outside.

As Kahlil Gibran said :

'Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart'.

I think the women below qualify to be called Really Beautiful:

The single Mum who never re marries as all her prospective suitors expect her to pack her kids to a Boarding school.

The working woman who juggles her career with her family, saving all her leaves for the year end, so that she could prepare her kids for exams.

The maid who works double shifts in hospitals to send her kids to college.

The homemaker who trudges miles in drought ridden areas to collect water for her family.

The woman who works night shifts in a call centre, re starting her career after raising her kids, to add to the family finances.

The woman who trades her gold earings to send her kids to college.

The doting Grand mum. From baby sitting to singing lullaby s, she showers so much love on her grand children that they are doubly blessed.

And last, but not the least the Homemaker . The unsung woman, who gives up her career to nurture a family, as the collective dreams of her family are more important to her than her personal aspirations. Undoubtedly she is a major contribution to society, if only her worth, her inner beauty is recognized.

It's beauty that captures your attention; personality which captures your heart.
~Anonymous .

Long after the physical beauty of a woman has faded with time, it is her inner beauty that makes her truly beautiful. One need not scale heights necessarily to be beautiful.It is small acts of love that add to her personality. Let us learn to look beyond good looks , poise, high IQ to her HEART. For that is where the Real Beauty of a woman lies!

This post is an entry fro the 'What Does Real Beauty man to you' by Indiblogger, Yahoo India and Dove. You can vote for me here. by clicking the 'FB Like' Button



Dove Real Beauty on Yahoo! India

Monday, May 9, 2011

Go Easy on Mother Earth this Summer



Summers have arrived with a bang. It's time to take out your cottons. Air the Lakhnavi and Chanderis.Guzzle down summer coolers thandai and aam ka panna.Turn on the AC and enjoy water melons and musk melons that are low on calories and high on nutrition. Bite into luscious mangoes and ignore their high calorie content as you get them only for a short time.

Indian Summers are famous throughout the world, thanks to British Raj. While the British reveled in ruling our nation, they were not tough enough to tolerate the onslaught of a hot scorching Indian Summer. Hence came into existence a string of Hill stations with Simla, serving as the the official Summer Headquarters of British Raj. The British would escape to Simla with all their paraphernalia and cool their heels in the hills. They also gave us Nainital , Dalhousie, Musoorie in the North of the country.

This Summer when you pack your bags and take off to your favorite hill station, think of Mother Earth. And what you can do to protect it, so that we can hand over a beautiful Planet Earth to our progeny.

Already we have two major events occuriing annualy to mobilize people on the need to conserve and do our bit to protect Earth. Every year on April 22,




Earth Day is celebrated throughout the world. Started on April 22, 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, a UN Senator. He worked towards an attempt to bring about a better understanding of the affect we have on planet and calling on all people to take action to make positive environmental changes in our community. Ever since, this has become an annual event. Awareness programmes and rallies are taken out to encourage people to do their bit in protecting Mother Earth from man made disasters.

Just like Earth Day there is another event , Earth Hour. Earth Hour is organzed on the last Saturday of March BY WWF ( World Wide Fund for Nature). Over 4000 cities from 131 countries took part, by switiching off non essential lights from 8.30 to 9.30 On March 26, 2011.

Notable landmarks like Acropolis in Greece, Eiffel Tower in Paris, Hiroshima peace Gardens in japan, Pyramids in Egypt switched off lights. In India Rashtrapati Bhawan also took part. Popular Bollywood actor Vidya Balan


was the brand ambassador for the event.

We all studied about renewable and Non renewable resources in school. We need to conserve three thongs.

Water

Electricity

Petrol.


One fifth of the world's population lives in areas where water is physically scarce. One fourth of world's population faces water shortage due to lack of infrastructure.

India has 1% of world's energy resource but 16% of world's population. So as Indians we need to be aware of the consequences of mis use of our resources.

While our IITians and R & D people brainstorm for the elusive Bio fuel, lets go easy on our natural resources.

Simple daily acts by conscious citizens can go a long way in acheiving our goals.

Ways to Conserve Water

Fix your leaking water faucet

Closing the tap during shaving and brushing teeth.

Watering your garden in the morning hours to avoid evaporation of water.

Defrosting food by thawing in microwave or overnight instead of using running water.

Hhaving short duration bath showers to beat the summer heat.

Adding mulch to your garden soil to help retain water.

Rain water harvesting are only a few of the many ways to conserve WATER.

Ways to Conserve Petrol

Car Pools

Planning your trips to market

Shop Online. I saved both time and money by ordering books from Flipkart. Delivered right at your doorstep with Cash on Delivery option.

Walk, Bike or use a rickshaw.

Regularly keep your tyres properly inflated for better efficiency.

Oil your engine.

Get your vehicle serviced as per your manufactureers advice for better eficiency.

Ways to Conserve Electricity:

Use CFLs ( Compact Fluroscents) They use 4 times less energy and last 8 times longer.

Switch off lights and applainces when not in use.

Scheduled power cuts by the government are one way of conserving electricity. It is during such times that the lady of the house can be heard saying, " Light chali gayi hai. Inverter chal raha hai. Switch off the TV. Switch of all extra lights. Sab ek kamre main aa ke baitho ". Perhaps we need to have an Earth Hour every month instead of once a year. We also need to educate our children about effective measures of Conservation.

Summers mean more use of Electricity with fans, coolers and AC. More use of Water as the intake of water multiplies. It also means more water for your garden. As also more water for your multiple showers. More use of Petrol as you drive off to a hill station. So this Summer, stop and think of what you can do for Mother Earth. Conserve Water. Conserve Electricity. Conserve Petrol . For our Planet Earth is the only known planet till date that nourishes LIFE. We all owe it to her.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

MINT Talk


Mint (Minta Spacata) or Pudina is a plant that has been long known in diverse cultures, such as India, Middle East and Europe, because of its rich aroma, soothing flavor and curative properties.Mint was so revered by the ancient Greeks that they named the plant after the mythical character Minthe. It is cultivated all across the globe, in different forms of environments, and comes in many varieties, like peppermint, spearmint, etc. Generally, mint has a sweet flavor, with a cooling after-sensation. Both, fresh and dried mint finds its usage in preparing a large number of recipes, including curries, soups, chutneys, salads, juices, candies and ice creams.

Mint is known to have originated in Asia and the Mediterranean region. In many cultures, mint symbolised hospitality and was offered as a sign of welcome and friendship to guests as they arrived. In the Middle East mint tea is still served to guests on their arrival, whilst in ancient Greece, the leaves of mint were rubbed onto the dining table, which was a sign of their warm greeting.

Mint is widely used in commercially manufactured products, cooking and medicine for its aromatic and flavoursome qualities.

It is widely made into green chutney




and eaten with a variety of Indian dishes like dahi halle


and pakoras. Come Summers you'll find vendors selling mint flavored desi drinks



which make a great thirst quencher.

Peppermint, one of the most popular species of the mint plant, can be found in toothpaste, chewing gum, mouthwash, soaps, sweets, balms or creams and cough medicine.

Apart from peppermint, spearmint is probably the most widely used species of mint. It is not as strong as peppermint in flavour and is therefore used in cooking and added to sauces, dressings, cakes and can be added as a garnish to dish

Mint has high nutritional value.Mint contains a number of vitamins and minerals, which are vital to maintain a healthy body. Mint is rich in Vitamins A and C and also contains smaller amounts of Vitamin B2. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and may help to decrease the risk of certain cancers such as colon and rectal cancer. Although mint may be consumed in small quantities, the vital nutrients obtained are still beneficial to one's health.

Mint also contains folic acid, thiamine and riboflavin, as well as, minerals such as, calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc.

Mint has always been used medicinally to aid digestion and relieve indigestion.


If you suffer from frequent indigestion, drinking a cup of peppermint tea




after your meal may help.

The chemical compound menthol, which is obtained from peppermint oil, is well known for its healing properties on the chest and respiratory system.

Mint is also said and in many cases proven to:

Dried mint leaves, boiled in water, form a strong concoction that helps in soothing the digestive tract and easing the severity of stomachaches.

Drinking herbal mint tea reduces irritated bowel syndromes and cleanses the stomach.

Mint is a strong diuretic and therefore, helps in eliminating toxins from the body.

When included in the diet on a regular basis, mint reduces the growth of bacteria and fungus in the body.

The antifungal properties associated with mint help in curing asthma and other allergic conditions.

Crushed mint leaves helps in whitening teeth.

Mint helps in getting rid of headaches and migraines.

Inhaling mint gives relief from congestion problems, like sinus infections and common cold.

Due to the presence of essential oil called menthol, mint finds its usage in preparing a variety of cosmetics and perfumes.

Inhaling essential oil of mint provides a sense of calm and thus, helps one relax the mind.

Menthol present in mint makes it an important component of many medicines and drugs.

Mint finds extensive usage in the field of aromatherapy.

Mint has antipruritic or anti-itch properties. When added with camphor, it helps to cure insect stings and bites.

Various researches indicate mint as having anti-cancer properties. The phytonutrient, called perillyl alcohol, in mint is believed to prevent colon, skin and lung cancer.

The best possible method to relish this herb is cut the leaves in minute portions


and garnishes the meals.

So this Summer include MINT in your diet and eat your way to good health!