May 29, 2008
Bizarre is the middle name for paranormal activities. But this has gone to a whole new level. Now you can own your own personal ghost in a bottle. A website sells this for $20 and claims that these ghosts have been trapped by ghost hunters from various haunted places.
Each purchaser gets his own personal ghost in a bottle with a certificate and a booklet full of warnings-as shown in the photograph.
A quote from the website “No maintenance required; except occasional dusting. You may release the Ghost at your own discretion and at your own risk. The Ghost in the Bottle is contained mysteriously and is therefore sealed with wax shortly after the Ghost is caught. The bottle is sealed for your protection. It comes with very important information. We supply the Ghost, you supply the name. Individual Ghost experiences may vary as “Each Ghost is Unique”!”
Personally I have a lot of questions:
1) Why would anyone capture a ghost in a bottle? Just for kicks? I thought we are taught to respect one another-doesn’t it include the spirits of our ancestors?
2) Are we not antagonizing the trapped souls?
3) All souls are not evil so why are we harassing the ones who are just lost and trying to find a way back to go to the light.
4) Is this not interfering with the whole cosmic balance?
5) Are we not underestimating the power of the entities and dark souls by challenging them?
6) Are ghouls and ghosts really dumb to get trapped in the physical domain that too in bottle? They can pass through walls so what is a bottle?
Well, we need something to spice up our daily lives so this is the new novelty going around…but this is ridiculous. If you have $20 to waste buy one (aghostinabottle.com) and let us know what happened to you for real.
©Nayna, 2007-2008. All Rights Reserved.
May 29, 2008
A temple with patient devotees…a temple with no touts, no one to force you to pay up for a special VIP doorway. A temple where you can take your time and pray without hearing the words “Move Ahead, Keep Moving.”
Does this sound unbelievable? Trust me, I was surprised too.
Nestled on a high mountain top with pristine waters of the holy Ganges below, devotees are invited to seek blessings from Neelkanth Mahadev in Rishikesh.
Neelkanth Mahadev is none other than Lord Shiva. This name befell on him because of a precarious feat he undertook because he could not see his devotees suffer. The Puranas state that during the churning of the ocean-Samudra Manthan, there came out a poison called-Halahal. The venom was exceptionally powerful that it could annihilate mankind. The gods were distressed and didn’t know how to destroy it. Lord Shiva stepped in and decided to drink it.
Mahima (Magnanimous Aura) of Lord Shiva is divine. He surely drank it but did not swallow the poison. He allowed it to remain in his throat. This venom turned his throat blue. Neel defines the color blue, Kanth is throat and Mahadev means Lord of the gods. Lord Shiva came to rest in Rishikesh. The gods tried hard to comfort him and ultimately decided to pour water on his head to cool him off. This is one of the reasons why even today, devotees offer water to Lord Shiva.
After several years of rest and meditation, Lord Shiva removed the poison from his throat and left it on a mountain. He returned to his abode, Mount Kailash in the Himalayas. Later a temple was build around this and now stands as symbol of Lord’s grace at a height of 1675 m.
A drive of 32 km. from Rishikesh via Barrage or an alternate route of 22 km. via Ram Jhoola can get you there with ease. The scenic beauty was breathtaking as on one side was the mountain terrain and the other side was a steep drop into the fast flowing Ganges.
The holy water of Ganga was much cleaner as compared to the water that flows through Haridwar and Varanasi. The current was tremendous and so river rafting was an extremely popular sport here. Tourists worldwide visit this city for this adventurous thrill.
The temple’s car park was lined with stalls selling offerings for the deity. It consisted of coconut, a sealed-plastic glass containing water from the Ganges, Bel leaves, assorted-fresh flowers, fruits like dhatura and jujube, box of incense sticks, small Chunnari (piece of red veil) and a laminated photograph of the Lord Shiva with the backdrop of the temple.
As I walked ahead, I was taken aback by the temple’s architecture. The entire Samudra Manthan was depicted with colorful idols of all the gods and goddess. One look at it and the entire Puranic story flashes in front of your eyes. The architecture is extremely well-maintained and the photographs don’t do enough justice to them. Photography is not allowed inside the temple so I was forced to take as much as I could from the outside.
I stood in line to enter the inner sanctum. A life-sized idol of goddess Parvati was seated near the entrance. Her striking grandeur forced everyone to bow and offer their obeisance. The arena around the lingam was made of marble. There were detailed etchings of guards or Dwarpals on the columns with intricate detailing that showed their weapons. Opposite the lingam was Lord Shiva’s mount Nandi, the bull.
Devotees kept chanting “Om Namah Shivay” and finally it was my turn. I sat in from of the lingam which was encased in silver. It had an opening at the top to see the original form. I poured the water from the Ganges while a priest seated, chanted the Vedic mantras and helped me complete my worship.
At the exit of the sanctum, there was a gigantic Pipal tree. Devotees had tied chunnaris to it. I guessed that it was for their wishes that needed to be fulfilled. But I really didn’t have anything to wish for. Getting a darshan like this was more than what I had dreamt of.
I feel that if you really want solitude with Lord Shiva, you will get it here in Rishikesh. Even the 12 Jyotirlings won’t give you the solace because of the packed crowds and touts.
Jyotirling at Mallikarjun in Sri Sailam, Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, Trymbakeshwar in Nasik, Nageshwar near Dwarka and Somnath in Gujarat do not allow always devotees to touch the Lingam. Security concerns, crowd management and arrival of VIP dignitaries can dampen your spirits.
I hope my travel experiences give you a clear idea how to get personal one on one time with Lord Shiva.
©Nayna, 2007-2008. All Rights Reserved.
May 24, 2008
Lord Kuber / Kubera is god of wealth and material possessions. He is a great Yaksha and a humble devotee of Lord Shiva. There are many legends of Lord Kuber but the one most famous among them is when Lord Vishnu/ Balaji/ Venkateswara at Tirupati asked him for a loan to marry Goddess Laxmi. It is believed that till today Lord Balaji is paying interest on that loan. Devotees try and do their bit and donate generously to help Lord Balaji.
The next legend of Lord Kubera is related to Lord Ganesh. One day Lord Kubera went to Mount Kailash to seek the blessings of Shiva. As he was conceited, he decided to invite Lord Shiva for a feast at his magnificent city of Alakpuri. Lord Shiva was aware of his narcissistic quality and politely backed out of this invitation and said that his son, Lord Ganesh would be more than happy to join in the festivities. But Kubera was made aware that Lord Ganesh was a connoisseur of good food and had a voracious appetite. Kubera beamed with over confidence and was convinced that Lord Ganesh’s hunger would be easily satiated.
Kubera took little Lord Ganesh with him to his glorious city and offered Him a ceremonial bath, then adorned Him in exquisite clothing. Our Lord was then taken to a splendid arena where the feast was arranged. The royal attendants served Lord Ganesh and He started eating. He relished on everything that was offered and continued gobbling on a wide variety of delicacies. The food that was prepared for Kubera’s other esteemed guests were also offered. But nothing seemed to satisfy Him and He kept waiting for the attendants to dole out more portions. In the meantime, the attendants hurried to arrange more quantities of food. Impatient, Lord Ganesh started consuming the plates. Slowly, He reached for the decorations and the furniture. Kubera was at his wits end. He prostrated in front of little Lord Ganesh and begged Him to stop this and spare his palace. Lord Ganesh with his little, innocent eyes looked at Kubera and said that He was still very hungry. Until He was offered more food, He said that He would continue eating whatever that was in front of Him.
Kubera frantically rushed to Mount Kailash and begged Lord Shiva to give him a solution. Lord Shiva smiled and handed him a fistful of roasted rice and instructed Kubera to offer this with humility. By the time Kubera managed to reach his kingdom, Lord Ganesh was on the verge of swallowing up the entire city of Alakpuri. Kubera paid obeisance and humbly offered the roasted rice. This satiated Lord Ganesh’s hunger and He was pleased.
Qualities like humility and respect are the unbeatable duo that can change an unattainable situation to an accomplishment, if one knows how to use them sincerely in their undertakings. Materialistic possessions blind people with arrogance but this veil can be lifted when one learns to be humble and remembers that everything he owns is because of His blessings.
©Nayna, 2007-2008. All Rights Reserved.