Holi 2016 – A Spiritual Holi

Jai Shree Krishna. Jai Gurudev.

The Geeta Ashram Youth would like to invite each and everyone to join us for our Holi Celebrations this year!

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We have an exciting evening planned and we look forward to sharing this special day with all of you! 🙂 Hope to see you there!

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Holi 2016!

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The Geeta Ashram Youth are all geared up for our next event – Holi 2016! 🙂

Celebrations this year will be much more exciting with a live sketch, Holika Dahan, story telling and sooo much more! Our itenary will be up in no time 🙂

We look forward to having all of you join us at Geeta Ashram Malaysia for this auspicious day!

Thursdays with Ashok – Lesson 4

Last Thursday, we covered Chapter 1 Verse 28 – 36

Here is the audio clip from our lesson last week! 🙂

For those who would like to re-cap or listen from Lesson 1, or if you have any trouble assessing the audio clip from this post – you may also click here! 😀 JSK!

Shubh Navratri! :D

The Geeta Ashram Youth would like to wish each and everyone of you a Happy Dushera and a Happy Navratri 🙂

We would like to share with you the lessons we learned during these last nine auspicious days!

Five things I learned about Navratri

By Vilsasha Belani

Navratri has just ended and with it, the nine nights of dancing the garba and dhandhiya raas, but I realised that there wasn’t a lot I knew about navratri beyond the “1, 2, 3, 4…” count of the dhandiya raas. So I did what any girl in this amazing age of technology does – I Googled it. So here are 5 new things I learned about navratri:

  1. There are nine forms of Shakti that are worshipped
    When I was little, I was always told that the first three days of Navratri are for the Goddess Durga, the next three days are for the Goddess Lakshmi and the last three for the Goddess Saraswati. But that really is just the simplified version. The Navdurgas, as they are called, in order are Shailaputri (Daughter of the Mountains) or Parvati, Brahmacharini, Chandragupta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and lastly, Siddidaatri.
  2. There is a reason behind the cocentric cirlces of the Garba.
    No, it’s not so there’s more space for the women and girls to dance. The co-centric circles are actually representative of the circle of life. Birth, death and rebirth is a continuous cycle we all must go through, but at the centre of the circle, unmoving and unchanging is the Goddess herself.
  3. The dandiya dance is actually a dramatization of a battle.
    The bamboo sticks or dandiya represent the mighty swords of the Goddess Durga during her battle with Mahishasura. The swishing and striking of the dandiyas together is a reenactment of the Goddess weilding her swords during the battle and bringing the evil king to an end.
  4. The Dandiya dance is not limited to only bamboo sticks
    The Mehr sect in India perform a type of Dandiya dance with swords and shields instead of the traditional bamboo sticks. The Mehr raas resembles strikes in a battle. Watch the video below for a performance done in the Royal Albert Hall:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUaMdVKJVqc 
  5. There is more to Navratri than it being just a celebration of the Goddess Durga
    Like many Hindu festivals, there is a strong social aspect attached to Navratri. It is a festival that brings together communities, old friends and family in this rushed, hulla-baloo of a world. It is one of the times where children can’t wait to go to temple and in between the twirling sticks and clapping, they learn and understand more of their culture and religion. There is no doubt that the spiritual side of this festival is very important, but one can’t disregard the joy of seeing friends, the exhilaration from the beat of the music and silent unity of goodwill as we pray for good in us to trump the bad.

We do hope that you had a wonderful nine days!

Jai Mata Di!

The Story Of Holi

As we celebrate the joyous Holi with lots of laughter, colours, fun and frolic, it is truly important for us to know the story behind this auspicious day and why it is of utmost importance to us.

The Story of Holi by Ummeesh Kumar

A long time ago, there was a self centred king called Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu had done lots of penance and had been given many boons as a result of his penance. The boons were that he could not be killed inside or outsideduring daytime or night time, nor on the ground or in the sky, not by any weapon and not by beast or human. Hiranyakashipu became very arrogant and He declared himself to be the God of the whole universe. He proclaimed that there was no other God but himself, and strictly said that Vishnu should have no worship offered to Him anywhere; instead everybody must only worship him.

Hiranyakashipu had a son called Prahlâd. Now, it so happened, that this Prahlad from his infancy was devoted to God. The monarch became very much enraged when he heard this and called the boy to his presence. He tried by gentle persuasions to dissuade Prahlada from the worship of Vishnu and taught him that he, the king, was the only God to worship. But it was of no use. The child declared, again and again, that Vishnu, Lord of the universe, was the only Being to be worshipped — for even he, the king, held his throne only so long as it pleased Vishnu. The rage of the king knew no bounds, and he ordered the boy to be immediately killed. He tried many ways to kill him such as throwing him off a mountain, poisoning him and many more but all those plans failed because Bhagawan always takes care of his devotees.

One day, Hiranyakashipu thought to himself: ‘I have tried SO many ways to kill him, but to no avail. What am I to do now?

His sister, the evil Holika came to his aid. She tells him, that she was given the boon that she will not burn in fire as long as she is wearing a special scarf. She suggested that she take Prahlad into a fire and he shall perish while she will remain unscathed. Hiranyakashipu thought this was a brilliant idea and they proceeded with their evil plan.

Holika plotting with Hiranyakashipu

Holika plotting with Hiranyakashipu

Treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to walk with her and she herself took a walk into the blazing fire. Then, there was a sudden gust of wind and the scarf flew off Holika and landed on Prahlad’s arm. Holika then was burnt to death and Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Naarayana all this while, came out unharmed, as the Lord blessed him for his extreme devotion.

The burning of Holika

The burning of Holika

Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika and, is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.

(During Holi, we walk around the fire and throw in black sesame into the fire to signify us throwing away our evil tendencies)

At this juncture, Hiranyakashipu was enraged and decided to take things into his own hands. He confronts his son Prahlad and shouts at him “Where is your God, Prahlad?”

To this, Prahlad sweetly replies “He is everywhere, father. He is in you, in me, in everybody.”

Hiranyakashipu enraged says “If he is everywhere, is he in this pillar?”

Prahlad bows and says “Of course he is, father”

And with that Hiranyakashipu destroyed the pillar with his sword and out jumped Narasimha. An avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Hiranyakashipu could not be killed by human, deva or animal, Narasimha is neither one of these, as he is a form of Vishnu incarnate as a part-human, part-animal. He comes upon Hiranyakashipu at twilight (when it is neither day nor night) on the threshold of a courtyard (neither indoors nor out), and puts the Hiranyakashipu on his lap (neither land nor sky). Using only his nails as weapons, he disembowels and kills the evil Hiranyakashipu.

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Narasimha kills Hiranyakashipu

Bhagawan says in Verse 7 of Chapter 4.

yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutanna madharmasya
tadatmanam usryjamhyam

O Bharata, whenever there’s is a decline in righteousness and a rise in unrighteousness; then I manifest myself.

Jai Shree Krishna.
Jai Gurudev.

Shubh Thaipusam!

Shubh Thaipusam!

Thaipusam 2014 @ Batu Caves, Malaysia

The G.A Youth would like to wish everyone a Blessed Thaipusam!
Just as Lord Muruga vanquished the demon army of Tarakasura, let us all make an effort to vanquish the demons within us (greed, pride, lust, hate etc)! Happy Thaipusam!

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