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Mantra Blogs

New Year Traditions Around The World

New Year Traditions Around The World

Are you someone who loves New Year just as much as we do? The turn of the years creates a wonderful sensation of hope and wonder, mixed with just the right amount of anxiousness to go with what the year may bring. Being in India, New Year had always been about Parties at Clubs or Private gatherings of friends and family, warm food and drinks, merry music and for the devout, church services or Puja at the temples. Even the media covers only these aspects of New Year.
Not being an ethnic festival, it rarely entails any form of tradition or beliefs that go with it. However there are so many places around the world that have unique traditions and customs that go the full range from mystical to fun.
New Year in Phillipines:
Starting with the closest location, New Year in the Philippines is about family values. Relatives working in other parts of the country or even the world come home to spend the holidays with their family. The second most important part of New Year is to welcome wealth into their lives. Round shapes are believed to bring prosperity as coins are also round. They try to incorporate circles in literally everything. From polka dots on clothes to round shaped food and decorations, one literally goes around in circles. The savoury dish Pancit and Sticky rice cakes all make in round dishes are the traditional food served during New Year. Whole pork and Fish are also roasted or grilled. The people make loud noises at midnight to drive away negativity and jump as high as they can, believing it makes them taller.
New Year in Japan:
If you thought counting down from 10 was exciting, try 108. That’s what Japan does. At the stroke of midnight, bells are rung 108 times, a remnant of ancient Buddhist traditions. The number represents the 108 human sins and the ritual which is called Joyo Na Kane, is said to drive away negativity. People prepare the Toshikoshi Soba, a noodle dish in hot broth that is shared with friends and family. A more elaborate spread is the O-sechi ryori,  a set of dishes each representing a different aspect of luck. The sweet dish is the traditional Kagami Mochi, made form sweet rice flour and red bean paste. They are made a day earlier and broken to eat on New Year. People send New Year Greeting cards to friends and Family. Like India, the Japanese also visit their shrines to pray for good luck and success in the coming year. They also gather on high places or beaches to view the first sunrise of the year, said to bring good fortune.
New Year-spain
New Year in Spain:
 Being a predominant Christian nation, preparations for New Year begin soon after Christmas in Spain. A fun tradition is to eat the twelve lucky grapes when the clock strikes midnight. Amidst all celebrations, everybody young and old stops their revelries to eat 12 green grapes at midnight. The Spanish believe that the holiday season is lucky and purchase Lottery tickets.
Lentil soup is made for lunch, and the each lentil is said to be a coin that brings prosperity to the home. The colour red is rampant in the decorations and clothes. The midnight toast consists of a glass of Cava, in which a gold object is dropped. One must drink it all down and retrieve the gold object for year round luck. After the 12 rings of the bell, people step forward with their right foot to symbolise that life must move forward and things shall always go right. Bakers bake Panecillos, that are small round cookies. If you can resist temptation and save one for the whole year along with a coin, then it shall bring a windfall of fortune.
New Year in Denmark:
New Year in Denmark:
The Danish have plenty of fun on New Year’s along with whimsical traditions that stem from popular media. The Danish royal family is one of the oldest monarchies and the Queen makes a speech at 6PM on New Year Eve and people watch it live on TV. The celebrations are marked with glitter bombs ad cracklers that leave everything carpeted in Glitter, confetti and ribbons. Funny hats are bought for the party and distributed to guests.
The comedy sketch of The 90th Birthday that shows the funny incidents that occur from a butler having to stand in for his 90 year old Patron’s long dead guests. It is broadcast every New Year Eve and the Danes never fail to watch it. Right at the stroke of midnight, kids and adults alike jump from a chair or couch onto the floor, symbolising jumping into the New Year.
Kransikage, a sweet dish made by stacking wreath cakes and topped with white frosting is served. The midnight toast is made with Champagne. The Danish spend lavishly on fireworks. Every individual lights up the sky with fireworks in a dazzling display. Plates are collected through the year and broken by throwing them at the doors of friends and families.
The first day of the New Year is spent watching Ski-Jumping competitions. The day ends with a broadcast of the Prime Minister’s speech, which is a tradition they have been following from 1940.
New Year in Ecuador:
New Year in Ecuador:
Ecuador is well known for its colourful celebrations and New Year’s is no exceptions. New Year is the time to bring out their creativity in effigies that represent the Ano Viejo, the Old Year. The effigies are made in all sizes and shapes, each one better than the other. The effigies are burned at midnight, to symbolise the burning of old fears and bad experiences from the past year. Some families also burn pictures and letters that contain lists of wishes they want fulfilled in the year ahead.
Men dress up as women in traditional clothes and dance on the streets. They represent the widows of the Old Years who were burned. The popular colour for New Year is yellow, considered to be the luckiest colour.
Like the Spanish, the Ecuadorians also have the tradition of eating 12 green grapes at midnight, one for each stroke of the clock. The people attending Church, light 3 candles, one each for love, health and money. Firework displays light up the sky as people celebrate out in the open.
New Year is the time for us to turn our life around. From taking resolutions to signing up for the gym, we all do our part to be a better version of ourselves. We hope the New Year brings you joy and prosperity, and a happy year with your friends and family. If you know of more quirky traditions from around the world, or have a family custom that is interesting, share it with us and our readers in the comments below.
 
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Tulsi Vivah & Benefits Of Having Tulsi Maadam At Home

Tulsi Vivah & Benefits Of Having Tulsi Maadam At Home

Tulsi Vivah is the ceremonial wedding of the Tulsi plant to Lord Vishnu in fulfilment of a boon, to Vrinda, an ardent devotee of Vishnu.
Every living creation is venerated in the mystic religion of Hinduism. There are 33 Million Gods in Hindu mythology, each representing a significant aspect of life. Plants are especially sacred and are worshipped akin to Mother Nature herself. Of these flora, the most powerful is the Tulsi or Basil plant.
If you dig a little into the numerous festivals and rituals of Hinduism, you will always find a nugget of science underneath them, along with a beautifully woven story. One such is the story behind the sacred Tulsi plant and its wedding ceremony called as Tulsi Vivah.Story-behind-Tulsi-Vivah
Story behind Tulsi Vivah:
The story of Tulsi Vivah can be found in the Padma Purana. Tulsi is considered as the consort of Lord Vishnu, called Vishnu Priya, the Beloved of Vishnu. The Tulsi plant was once a human woman named Vrinda, or Brinda. She was an incarnation of Maa Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. In that birth she was married to the Asura King Jalandhar. She was extremely pious and devoted to Lord Vishnu and performed many penances and acts of charity in his name. The power of her penances was imbued by her husband Jalandhar, making him invincible. He became so powerful that not even the Devas could defeat him, despite their collective strength. The Devas went to Lord Vishnu to seek a solution to this problem. Vishnu agreed to help them and told them to begin preparations for war.
Vrinda solemnly prepared to send Jalandhar off to the battle. She promised to do Sankalp for his victory, till he returned home. After a few days Jalandhar returned home, and she left her Sankalp to touch his feet in respect. However it was Lord Vishnu in disguise as Jalandhar, and thus her vow was broken.
Lord Shiva who had also gone into battle with Jalandhar was able to defeat him. He beheaded him, and the force of the blow sent his head flying to the palace, to fall on Vrinda’s lap. Vrinda, shocked by the death of her husband, realised that Vishnu had tricked her. She cursed him that he would turn to stone and be separated from his wife, Lakshmi.
Her curses came to be fulfilled when Vishnu turned into the Shaligram. Later her second curse that he would be separated from his wife, came true in the Rama Avatar. His Wife Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, and even after saving her, she was forced to leave him. Vrinda drowned herself in the ocean. Vishnu who took pity on his devotee manifested her soul into a plant, which was the Tulsi plant. She was also blessed by Vishnu that he would marry her in her next birth. So when her soul transformed into the Tusli plant, he married her in the form of the Shaligram on the Prabodhini Ekadashi. This day is honoured and celebrated every year as the Tulsi Vivah.
Tulsi-Vivah-rituals
Tulsi Vivah rituals:
Like every Hindu festival, the tulsi Vivah also comes with a specific set of rituals to be performed. A day before the Tulsi vivah, the Tulsi Virindavan, the structure in which the Tulsi is grown is cleaned and decorated. This structure is called Tulsi Maadam in South India.
On the day of Tulsi Vivah, offerings like Sugar cane, Tamarind, Amla and yellow Marigold flowers are made to the Maadam, by placing them at its base. A temporary mandapam, usually a cloth enclosure, is constructed over the Tulsi Vrindavan.
The Bride, who is the Tulsi plant is decorated with a bridal saree, bangles, necklaces and earrings. A face made of paper is attached to the plant and adorned with Bindhi and a nose ring. The Groom is Lord Vishnu in the form of a Brass figurine or Picture. People from different states, place Vishnu in the form of Krishna or Balarama, and some place him in the form of the Shaligram. He is clothed with a clean white Dhoti. Garlands of flowers, usually marigold are placed around the bride and groom. They are married by linking them with a cotton thread during the ceremony.
In Maharashtra, during the rituals, a white cloth is held between Vishnu and Tulsi such that the bride and groom cannot see each other before the wedding. The priests recite the Mangal Ashtaka Mantras. At the end of the chanting, rice mixed with turmeric and vermillion is showered by the devotees, who bless the divine couple with a long and happy married life.
The Groom is presented with Sandalwood paste, a set of clothes and a sacred thread. The Bride is presented with sarees, ornaments, Sindhoor, Turmeric and a Mangal Sutra.
An actual wedding feast is prepared for the Tulsi Vivah. The wedding expenses are usually borne by a childless couple, and they give away the Tulsi plant during the Kanyadhaan, in the stance of her parents. This act of charity is said to be blessed by Lord Vishnu in the form of a child.
The marriage ceremony itself is performed in the evening. Priests are invited to perform the wedding and the Puja is performed facing the west. The Puja ends with offerings of food to the priests. The entire surroundings of the Tulsi plant, including the home where it is grown are said to be purified or made Sattvik after the ceremonies.
In some places, the entire village comes together to celebrate the divine wedding. It is a three day celebration, like any traditional Indian wedding. Fifty Six types of Prasad are prepared and served to everyone, called as Chapan Bhog. Invitations are sent to the temple of the groom, from the bride’s temple. The Groom and Bride are taken on processions before the wedding. It is an elaborate celebration that brings together all castes and communities in unity.
benifit pf tulsi in house
Benefits of having Tulsi Maadam at home:
For performing the Tulsi Vivah ceremony, a Tulsi Maadam or Tulsi Vrindavan must be placed at home. Tulsi plant is grown in most Hindu households, especially in the homes of Brahmin families of the Vaishnavite sect. The Tulsi plant is placed in the mud within a Cuboid brick or cement structure, called the Tulsi Maadam. Daily worship of the Tulsi plant is said to bring Moksha through the blessings of Lord Vishnu. Traditionally the Tulsi plant is entrusted to the care of the women in the family. Every morning, after a ritualistic bath, the women draw simple kolams at the base of the Maadam, place offerings of fruits and flowers and circumambulate it, while chanting mantras. A lamp is lit at the base of the Maadam or in a small recess on the side of the structure, facing east.
  • Besides the deep spiritual significance of the Tulsi plant, it has plenty of health benefits like,
  • The presence of the Tulsi plant keeps away mosquitoes and other insects.
  • The Tulsi plant absorbs harmful gases and toxins and gives out rich oxygen for 20 hours.
  • The fresh aroma of the Tulsi plant is refreshing and invigorating, especially when inhaled in the morning.
  • The Tulsi leaves when consumed are useful in fighting off the symptoms of Common cold, can purify the blood and control cholesterol.
  • Tulsi leaves are also capable of preventing the formation of Kidney stones.
There are so many benefits to having a Tulsi Plant at home. It even helps clear the aura surrounding the home.
They are also an important element of Vasthu. Besides the living Tulsi plant, even a figurine or Yantra representing the Tulsi plant in the home, can clear any negative energy. At Mantra Gold Coatings we have beautifully handcrafted Tulsi plant figurines in Brass. The Tulsi figurines are plated in Copper, Silver and 24kt Gold to enhance their divine energy. Browse them in the Mantra Gold coatings Ethnic collection .
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Milad Un Nabi – The Birth Of The Prophet Mohammed

Milad Un Nabi – The Birth Of The Prophet Mohammed

Milad-un-Nabi or Eid-e-Milad is an Islamic festival, in honour of the Prophet Mohammed. On this day, the teachings of the prophet are remembered.
One of the major religions to be practised across the world is Islam. Spearheaded by the famed Prophet Mohammed, it is a religion of peace and oneness with the Divine, referred to as Allah. The teachings of Mohammed were instrumental in Islam becoming one of the top three religions in the world.
Every year, the anniversary of the birthday of the prophet is celebrated as Milad Un Nabi. In this blog we bring to you the story, significance and the proper way to honour the Prophet.
Birth-of-Mohammed
Birth of Mohammed:
As per records, the prophet Mohammed was born in 570 CE on the Twelfth day of the Muslim month Rabee-ul-Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar. He was born in the holy city of Mecca. Mohammed was destined for greatness, for the Quran is believed to have been orally recited to him by Allah himself, through the Arch Angel Gabriel. To honour this great leader, the Birth of Prophet Mohammed is celebrated by Muslims across the world, and is a National holiday in Islamic nations
The day is referred to as Milad Un Nabi or Eid E Milad. The song that has been sung in his praise since ages past is called the Maulid. Just listening to the song is said to bring both material and divine rewards.Celebrations-by-Shia-Muslims
Celebrations by Shia Muslims:
Shia Muslims believe that the Prophet Mohammed had selected Hazrat Ali as his successor. They also call the day as Eid-al-Gadhir, a name that marks the event of his handing over the spiritual reins to Hazrat Ali at Gadhir-e-Khumm. They gather together communally to recite the praises of Allah and the Prophet Mohammed. They thank Allah for sending them Prophet Mohammed to guide them. They also practise mourning on this day as it is believed to be the day when Prophet Mohammed passed away from the material world.
Many sermons and lectures are arranged, presided by the local religious leaders. People participate by reciting poems in praise of Allah and Mohammed. Food and Sweets are distributed to the poor, as acts of charity.
Celebrations-by-Sunni-Muslims
Celebrations by Sunni Muslims:
The Sunni Muslims hold prayers throughout the month. On the 12th Day, they honour the Prophet Mohammed and his teachings. They do not mourn his death, as mourning beyond three days of a death is said to hurt the departed soul.
People go out in processions singing the praise of Mohammed and Hazrat Ali. Decorated floats depicting scenes from their lives and religious sites are carried in the procession. Various sweets are prepared at home and distributed to everyone. The delicacy of the day is Kheer made from milk and rice.
The-ceremonies-of-Urs-or-Sandals
The ceremonies of Urs or Sandals:
The procession known as Urs or Sandals is performed in certain parts of India. A representation of the Prophet’s body is placed in a glass coffin and is carried in the procession. Footprints of the Prophet engraved in stone, the Buraq and the Horse are also part of the procession. The engraved footprints are anointed with sandalwood paste and fragrant oils. Songs of praise and mourning are both sung in the Sandals.
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Manifestations Of The Mahishasura Mardhini

Manifestations Of The Mahishasura Mardhini

Navaratri, is the Indian festival, whose name means Nine Nights. Celebrated for nine days, this is one of the most long held traditions of Hinduism that creates a communal spirit. It honours the Goddess Durga in all her forms representing all the aspects of a successful life.
This is one of the few festivals that celebrates the feminine divinity, which are believed to bring auspiciousness to the universe.
Through the nine days, devotees of certain ethnic beliefs indulge in Navaratri Golu. This custom is the display of the different forms of Gods and mankind placed on 9 platforms. Guests, mostly women, are invited to view the Golu and songs are sung in praise of the Gods and Goddesses. Fragrant sweetmeats and savouries, along with bangles and other knickknacks are offered as Prasad to the guests.
There are 9 forms of the Devi that are worshipped on the 9 days of Navaratri. Below are their significance and rituals to follow on each day.
Shailaputri
Shailaputri:
On the first day of Navaratri, the Devi is worshipped as Maa Shailaputri. It is Maa Parvati as the daughter of the King of the Himalayan Mountains. The word Shaila means to Rise to Great heights and Putri means Daughter. Her name thus translates into Daughter of the Mountains.
In her previous birth, she was born as the princess Sati, daughter of Prajapati Daksha. She was deeply devoted to Shiva, who accepted her as his consort, as a boon to her penance. This union was objected to by Daksha who sought to insult the ascetic Shiva whenever he could. Daksha failed to invite Shiva to a powerful yagna, he was to perform and insulted him when he arrived. Sati who was infuriated with the humiliation directed at her husband, immolated herself, vowing to take birth again as the daughter of a respectable man. In her next birth she took the form of Parvati or Shailaputri and took Shiva as her husband again.
On the first night the figurine of the Devi is adorned by draping with a red saree. The women of the home also dress in red clothes to honour her. She is considered as the consort of Shiva. Depictions of Shailaputri show her perched on the Nandi, a bull. She holds a Trishul (Trident) in her right hand and a lotus bud in her left.
Pure Desi Cow Ghee is the offering of choice to Shailaputri. In return she blesses us with a life free of diseases and illness.
Brahmachaarini
Brahmachaarini:
On the second day of Navaratri, the Devi is worshipped in the form of Brahmachaarini. It is the manifestation of the Devi when she underwent penance to prove her devotion to Lord Shiva. She is also called as Tapaschaarini, Aparna and Uma. It is said that her physical body was reduced to skin and bones in her severe tapas to Shiva.The Goddess is depicted holding a Jeba Mala of 108 Rudraksha beads, in her right hand and a Kamadala (Covered Pitcher) in her left hand. Being an ascetic, she is always represented barefooted.
The figurine of the Devi is draped with a Blue saree and the women of the family dress in blue clothes too. Blue is a colour that is tranquil, but has great energy. Devi Brahmachaarini exudes a sense of calm and peace, but her energy is all pervading. Her posture represents the utmost devotion and piety. Performing Puja to her will bless the family with good fortune. She will remove obstacles in our lives, by illuminating the solutions with knowledge.
Being a Tapasvi, she prefers only simple food and offerings. Therefore perform the Puja to her with a Prasad of Sugar crystals (Kalkandu) and fresh fruits, to receive the blessings of virtue and nobility.Maa-Chandraganta
Maa Chandraganta:
On the third day of Navaratri, the Devi is worshipped as Maa Chandraghantha. She is the married form of Parvati, but is also a fearsome warrior princess. She was given the name Chandraghantha for the Ardhachandra (half Moon) sigil she placed on her forehead after her marriage to Shiva.
She is depicted as a fierce 10 armed Goddess with a golden yellow complexion. The very sound from the bell (Ghanta) she carries, is said to be powerful enough to vanquish her enemies. She rides into battle on a lion, destroying all that evil and wicked.
Puja must be performed to Maa Chandraghanta, with offerings of Sweet milk and Kheer. The goddess figurine is draped in a yellow saree, and the women also dress themselves in yellow.
Maa-Kushmndha
Maa Kushmndha:
On the fourth day of Navaratri, the Chaturthi, the Devi is worshipped as Maa Kushmandha.  She is worshipped as the creator of all life in the universe, particularly the vegetation on earth. Her name is comprised of three terms – Ku, meaning little, Ushma, meaning Warmth, and Anda, meaning the Egg of life. Her name refers to her as the Little Cosmic egg which creates life with warmth and energy. At the beginning of creation the universe was a dark place devoid of life and light. Kushmandha’s smile brought both into existence. She is depicted with eight arms, with a lion as her vaahana.
Since she is the patron Goddess of Vegetation, her favourite colour is green. The Devi is draped in a green saree and the women also dress in green clothes. The puja is performed with the traditional sweet Malpua as the offering. Devotees also undergo fasting throughout the day, and only break the fast after the Puja.
Maa-Skandamatha
Maa Skandamatha:
On the Fifth Day of Navaratri, the Panchami, the Devi is worshipped in the form of Maa Skandamatha. She is depicted as a four armed deity with lotus buds in her upper two hands. She bears a bell in her right hand and a Kamandala in her left hand. On her lap is the God Murugar as Skanda. She is the mother Goddess and hence referred to as Skanda matha. She is seated on a Lotus throne, but there are some places where she is seated on a Lion.
The Devi figurine is draped with a grey saree on this day. This is because Grey is representative of the energy transformation of a mother whose children are in danger. Performing Puja to her brings peace and prosperity to the home. She is entrusted with the protection of the children in the family. Skandamatha is offered bananas as Prasad during the Puja.
Maa-Katyayani
Maa Katyayani:
On the sixth day of Navaratri, the Devi is worshipped as Maa Katyayani. She is the daughter of the famous Sage Katyayan. She is depicted with four arms, where the right arms are raised in a sign of blessing and protection. The left upper hand bears a lotus blossom and the left lower hand holds a sword. She rides on a lion as her vaahana. Katyayani is the manifestation that has the power to vanquish the asura Mahisha, and is considered the most violent form of Aadi Shakthi.
The Devi figurine is draped in Orange saree and the women also wear orange dress while performing the Puja. It is said that women who have marital issues can perform Puja to Katyayani to receive the blessings of blissful married life, filled with peace and harmony. She is to be offered honey as Prasad to make their married lives as sweet as honey itself.
Maa Kaalratri 1
Maa Kaalratri:
On the Seventh day of Navaratri,the Saptami, the Devi is worshipped as Maa Kaalratri.  Her name is split into two terms – Kaal, meaning Black and Ratri, meaning Night. She is depicted as a dark skinned fearsome Goddess with four arms. She is dressed in tiger skin and rides on a donkey. Her two right hands hold the mudras of protection and blessing. The left two hands bear weapons of war. She has three eyes that are said to contain the entire universe. She breathes flames from her mouth and her eyes emanate lustrous rays of energy. She is the most ferocious form of Maa Durga. According to legend, Goddess Parvati removed her light skin to vanquish the demons Sumbha and Nisumbha. Symbolically, it represents the destruction of ignorance and darkness from the universe.
The Devi is draped in pink that represents prayer and peace. This is to appease the fury of the Goddess and the promise to her devotees that she will protect them. During Puja to Maa Kaalratri, offerings of Jaggery must be made, which is then offered to Brahmanas, along with Dakshina.Maa-Maha-Gauri
Maa MahaGauri:
On the eighth day of Navaratri, the Ashtami, Devi is worshipped as Maa MahaGauri. She is depicted as a four armed deity who is seated on a white bull or elephant. She bears a Trishul (Trident) in her upper right arm, and a Dumroo in her lower left arm. Maa Parvati performed severe penance to attain the blessing of Lord Shiva. She renounced all material desires and abstained from physical comforts. She lived thus in the forest for several years facing the heat, rains and cold. Lord Shiva who was pleased by her efforts, appeared before her and showered her with the waters from the holy river Ganges. The Gangajal washed away all the dirt and restored her former beauty. In this form she came to be known as Mahagauri.
The Devi figurine is draped in white on this day, as a symbol of her purity. She is to be offered Coconuts as Prasad during the Puja. It is believed that a childless couple who offer coconuts to Brahmins on this day, will gain the blessings of Mahagauri, who will grant them the boon of fertility.
Maa-Siddhidatri
Maa Siddhidatri:
On the ninth day of Navaratri, the Navami, the Devi is worshipped as Maa Siddhidhatri. Her name signifies Perfection. She is depicted as a four armed Goddess. She is seated on a Lotus throne, adorned with a garland of white flowers. Her upper two arms bear the Shanku (Conch) and the Chakra, the sigils of Lord Vishnu. In her lower arms, she holds the mace and a lotus blossom. She is the embodiment of Maa Lakshmi.
The Devi figurine is draped in a red saree, just like Goddess Lakshmi. Devotees undergo a fast through the day and offer Sesame seeds or sweet balls made of sesame and jaggery as the Prasad. Maa Siddhidatri blesses us with good fortune and prosperity.
After the nine nights of Navaratri, the tenth day is celebrated as Ayudha Puja or Vijaya Dasami in South India. Homes, workplaces, tools and implements used in daily life are cleansed and honoured on this day. Any academic or professional pursuit started on this day is believed to be a sure success. In West Bengal, Navaratri is celebrated as Dussehra on slightly different dates. There are many variations of the legends and festivities in the different states of India.
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Purataasi Story Significance and Spirituality

Purataasi Story Significance and Spirituality

Purattasi month is here and one can expect to hear jubilant cries of Govinda, Govinda, calling out to the heavens. The auspicious month is sacred to the Vaishnavites of South India, as the month that the Lord Vishnu descended to Earth. It is the sixth month in the Hindu Tamil calendar.
It is also the month that elders of the family ask us to abstain from eating non vegetarian food. But why do they say that? What is the story behind the rituals and fasts in this month? Are you following the correct method of fasting and offerings? Head on to our full blog, to know just everything about Purattasi.
Purattasi is the 6th month of the Tamil calendar. This month is generally celebrated by the Vaishnavites of India, particularly South India. When the name Purattasi comes up in any conversation, people always tend to think that this is the month where Hindus don’t eat non vegetarian food. Even Practising Hindus themselves who observe this month, don’t know why they are doing the rituals that they have been doing for generations in their homes.
In this blog on Puratasi month rituals, learn what should be done and why we are doing them for a happy and spiritual life
Story-of-Purataasi
Story of Purattasi
A long time ago there lived a potter named Bheeman in the holy town of Tirupati. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. He taken a vow to perform fasting every Saturday for the Venkatachalapathy. Unfortunately his duties did not afford him the time to visit the temple to get the Darshan of the God.
He decided to bring the Lord to him and made an idol of clay. He was too poor to buy flowers. Instead he made flowers from the left over clay and hung them in garlands on the clay idol. he could not make sweets and other Prasad to be offered to the god. He could only afford to share the humble curd rice that he himself ate, to Vishnu. The king of the realm, Thondaiman was also a devout Vaishnavite. He visited the temple every Saturday and adorned the deity in the temple in Gold chains. But when he came the following Saturday he would find garlands of sand flowers on the idol. He came to suspect the priests of stealing them. However Vishnu appeared to him in a dream and told him about the potter.
King Thondaiman sought the man out and offered him financial aid. But Bheema refused all that and remained devout in worshipping the Lord. The King was so impressed by his piety that from then on, offerings to the god in Purattasi were made in a clay pot. Even when a grand feast is prepared and offered to Vishnu, devotees always keep a clay pot of curd rice  among the offerings.
The-sacred-month-of-Mars
The sacred month of Mars
The Planet Mars is revered as a God in the Hindu religion. He is called as Budhan and the midweek day of Wednesday is attributed to him, and is called Budhan Kizhamai (Budhan – Mars; Kizhamai – day). He governs the astrological sign of Kanni or Virgo. The Planet Mars is said to enter the house of Virgo in the month of Purattasi. Since Budhan is believed to be fond of Vegetarian dishes, Hindus tend to abstain from eating Non vegetarian dishes for the duration of this month.
Fasting-on-Purataasi-Saturdays
Fasting on Purattasi Saturdays
Despite the overall abstention from Non vegetarian food, rigorous devotees observe a full fast on the Saturdays of this month. Fasting on Purattasi Saturdays, will nullify or at least reduce the negative effects of the God Shani on us. It can remove many obstacles from our endeavours.
Fasting on every Saturday of Purattasi will gain the attention and blessings of Lord Vishnu upon our home and family. The positive effects of the Purattasi Saturday fast are powerful enough to match that of fasting on every Saturday and performing puja to Lord Vishnu throughout the year.
Even if you don’t have a particular way of fasting, any kind of fasts, pujas and acts of charity are considered to be returned manifold. There is no act that will be considered small, nor is it that only grand gestures, spending a lot of money will be rewarded by the Gods. Whatever we do has only to be done with a pure heart and intentions. This spiritual magnification is applicable only to the Purattasi Saturdays.
Science-behind-the-Purataasi-fast
Science behind the Purattasi fast
Puratasi month falls from mid September to mid October. This is the season where the climate changes from hot and sultry to cool breezes and intermittent showers of rain. People are more prone to catch diseases, and get colds and fevers brought on by the change in weather. Non vegetarian food may aggravate this condition. Pure vegetarian food is healthy and wholesome, and helps flush the toxins from our body. One also gets the chance to explore vegetarian cuisine and appreciate local flavours.
Maavilaku
Maavilakku
While all Pujas involve lighting of lamps, the Pujas on the First, Third and Fifth Saturdays of Purattasi are made special by lighting the Maavilakku. Maa is derived from the Tamil word Maavu, meaning Flour and Vilaku means Lamp. It is essentially a lamp made of Flour. It is prepared by soaking and grinding Rice to make a coarse flour. This flour is mixed with jaggery, cardamom, raw camphor , grated coconut and Ghee. The flour mix is shaped into a sphere and set on a silver plate. It is pressed down and a depression is created in the middle and filled with ghee and a wick. After this lamp burns out, the wick is taken out and the lamp is divided and offered as Prasad.
Purataasi-Fasting-method
Purattasi Fasting method
While it is generally advisable to wake up early in the morning, during the month of Purattasi, it is extremely beneficial to rise during the Brahma Muhurtham, between the time of 4am to 6am.
Make sure the house is cleaned thoroughly. Take a bath and wash your hair, without applying any oil.
Place the Thiru Namam, a sigil of Lord Vishnu on your forehead. Thiru is a term of respect and Namam means Name. It symbolically translates into the Name of God. Vaishnavites of South India who bear the Thirunamam on their foreheads are referred to as Ayyavazhi people, meaning they follow the path of or descended from Lord Vishnu. It is a Three pronged mark made with a red line in between two white lines. The white clay used to make this mark is also called as Naama Katti. This mark is made to keep God and his divinity always in our consciousness.
Adorn the house with beautiful Kolams and tie Mango leaf thorans at each doorway, or at least on the main door frame of the home.
If you have the habit of performing Lakshmi Puja on Fridays, then replace the oil from the lamp with fresh oil or pure ghee from Cow’s milk. Replace the wick with a fresh cotton or cotton cloth wick and light the lamp.
Offer a simple naivedyam or prasad to Lord Vishnu. If one finds it difficult to make the prasad in the morning, a simple offering of Roasted dal with sugar or jaggery is enough to appease the Gods.
Take a Sombu and clean it with water. Wipe it dry with a soft, clean cotton cloth and place the Thirunamam thrice on it. Place some raw rice and coins in it. Place this Sombu in front of the deity.
After praying to God, take the Sombu and call upon at least four neighbours asking alms of rice from them. This is a lesson in humility that we are all equal in the eyes of God. Call out the name of the god – Govinda , Govinda when calling upon your neighbours.
Bring the rice home and prepare a vegetarian meal along with it. A typical vegetarian lunch during Purattasi consists of Boiled Rice, Sambar and roasted vegetables. Delicacies like South Indian sweets like Sweet Pongal, Payasam and Savouries like Vada are also made.
Before partaking of Lunch, the food is first offered to Perumal (Lord Vishnu). A Full Banana leaf is placed in front of the deity. Place a little of each food on the leaf. Perform a small puja, praying to Vishnu asking him to accept your humble offerings. Sit down as a family to eat lunch after the Puja.
It is also customary to ask the children from the neighbourhood to visit one’s home and offer them sweets and savouries or even the full meal. Ask them to chant Govinda, Govinda. The chant that comes from their pure souls will surely attract the blessings of Vishnu to your home. If you are offering food to the neighbourhood children, you and your family should eat only after they have eaten. One can also offer food and other aid to the poor, homeless , children and elderly people who are living in shelters.
Visit a Perumal temple in the Evening to imbue in the divine energy that is present in the temple.
The Puratasi month is a special and very personal celebration to South Indian Vaishnavites. Every household has different ways of celebrating it. We would love to know of unique and festive ways that your family celebrates it. Share it with us in the Comments Section below.
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