Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Seaside fable ...

Once upon a time in a far off beach, it rained heavily and the sea got rough. The sea hit the land and lashed all its anger on him. The land smiled and held her in his arms. He said to her,

"I will be there for you always...."

The summer sun scorched the land and he was burning hot as if he had fever. The waves hit the sand gently and said

"shhhhh ... everything will be all right" and washed away all his tears.

The sun went hiding in shame seeing the care the sea had for the land and the land's love for the sea. The sea smiled at the land and kept talking to him day and night - whispering to him all that she saw around the world. Taking the tears of the land away into her heart. She turned salty with the lands tears.

The land said to her,

"When you smile, sun hides behind the clouds thinking that there is something more than suns shine in it"

Every moment of the day and night the land opened its arms to hold the sea when its tears fell on her. And told the sea... 

"I will be there always to hold you till the world exists, however harsh you get or how soft you become."

And the sun came from behind the mountains to see the sea and land hold their hands together again ...The land took the salt and made the water pure again. He threw a spring out to the world and told the world that his sea is pure and sweet. 

The sun got envious and made the waters of the stream a cloud. Seeing the clouds, the land prayed hard. The prayers of the land brought back the sweet rain and filled the heart of the sea, and they still talk day and night. 

And still the sea tells her beloved land ....

"shhhh ... everything will be all right"

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Twinkle Twinkle more to it ....

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is a popular English lullaby, from an early 19th-century English poem by Jane Taylor, "The Star". The poem, which is in couplet form, was first published in 1806 in Rhymes for the Nursery, a collection of poems by Taylor and her sister Ann. The English lyrics have six stanzas, although only the first is widely known. 

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveller in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny sparks;
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye
'Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

But the poem has more than it seems to have. Some of the meanings that I could fathom are as given below

Astronomical: Stars shine when it is dark as the sun's brightness prevents us from seeing stellar objects. Stars have a position system which has been used for navigational purposes. The distance of the stellar objects are more than humanly navigable. Even during the day stars shine but cannot be seen. The composition of stars are not fully known to man. In the stellar objects seen, those which twinkle are stars and the others are planets and other stellar objects. Carbon is a major compound found in stars (Diamond is a form of carbon)

Philosophical: Every shining star needs to be seen at the right time. For every brightness there is darkness attached to it. Even the achievers exist around us, they are known when seen in times of need. The achievers guide us in our lives with their experience. We fully do not know the lives of people who shine bright. Even while we sleep, achievers toil to shine bright. Even the stars we adore are bound by the broad universal truth. Those achievers who shine in life are to face difficulties and only the hardness in self values will make them shine (Diamond is the hardest substance known)

Artistic: Little stars leaves us wondering as they look like diamonds studded up in the deep blue canvas of the sky. They are the seeds of creativity who are so patterned that they guide us through. And leave awe and wonder in us forever - for a thing of beauty is a joy forever. 

There are many layers to it, but we do not see the truth hidden in these lines. You might come up with a whole new meaning in life with simple lines and nursery rhymes... Keep thinking and shine like a star, knowing, the time for you is limited... as the poem rightly points out.

Have a great thoughtful time ahead ....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ottal ...

Last week I was invited to a screening and review of a movie. "Ottal" an adaptation of Anton Chekov's Vanka by Joshy Mangalath, directed by Jayaraj. The movie won a National Award, good thing. But a movie which should reach out to millions remains branded as an "Award Movie" or as the elite refer to it as an "Art House Cinema". But after watching it, I realized that a movie, if it is considered as a language of expressing one's thought, is better understood if watched by more people. I had the same feeling about the movie "Artist" by Shyamaprasad. 

A close to life movie, Ottal, talks mainly about a child's feeling when he is forced to leave his beloved land and his grandfather and work in a firecracker company for sustenance. But on a closer look the movie has many layers. It talks about the status divide in our land, it talks about children who do not understand the social divides, the bad practice of claiming someone else's work to be their own, the old practices, which are slowly getting erased from the world due to developments and many more. 

The movie opens with Kuttappayi writing a letter to his grandfather. Even writing letters has become a thing of the past. The beauty of Kuttanand, the old light posts for boats, the innocent friendship of Kuttappayi and Tinku, the old techniques of hatching ducks eggs with a brooding hen... the movie takes you through different layers of knowledge. If in Anton Chekov's short story Vanka was making shoes, Kuttapayi is trapped in the fireworks factory. Even after a 100 years of growth in the world, have we reached only at a point where the same social conditions persists. It is an eye opener or a rain check for what and where we are heading to.

The skills which a child gets being close to the older generation and nature is a gift and Kuttapayi, the protagonist has been bestowed with all that and more. All to end up in a factory. Child labour is not the issue alone, it is the childhood itself. How many children are close to nature as we were. We were fortunate enough to have played in the sand and mud and enjoyed the colours of nature and not stuck with Playstations, Xboxes or Wii's. 

The world that is devoid of feelings these days, or even if it exists, it is limited to social networking sites, gets a whiff of fresh air from this film. A must watch, if you understand what I have scribbled here.  Read Anton Checkov, or watch Ottal .... at least make a beginning ... an effort to change. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Some thoughts ... March - April 2015

Good moments to you...
More fun than yesterday 
Or more than everyday 
No worries or fear I pray
Dread no more of shades of grey
And know your blessings for the day
You are wished a Happy Monday 

TUESDAY - To Use Everything Specifically this Day to Advance Yourself 

A great Tuesday that takes you closer to your success and happiness.

The warm sunshine this day 

Is here for you to stay 
To give you a brighter day
To keep the worries away
The very few words I say
Is what I wish and pray
That you have a greater day
Than tomorrow or yesterday 

Or should i say Happy Friday

I sat a day and thought of you 

I start a day wishing you 
I say today be the best to you
It's Saturday and god bless you 
Have a great day ahead 
Happy Saturday 

Every day of this month gives you a life's instruction ... March. March forward in life with a smile with those who are with you. Those who are not with you are not meant to be. So march to the rhythm of your heart beat and leave the world behind. 

One smile ... few words ... a mail or at least a thought can brighten up someone's day. Remember to be the reason for that someone's reason to be happy. You are thought about now with a smile and may God brighten up your day.

As per Norse traditions Thor is as powerful as Zeus in Greek mythology or Indra in Indian mythology. And the day dedicated to Thor is Thursday. And so may this day make you powerful and confident. Make the best out of this day and the days to come. May God bless you with happiness and prosperity. Keep smiling at adversities and challenges as it makes them look silly. You are thought of as Thor the mighty. Good moments to you..

Days gone by is a threat no more

Brooding on it, you fret no more
Scary thoughts, you pet no more
May your cheeks be wet no more

Newton's third law says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That happens only when I don't post anything. The reaction no reply. So today I wish you good moments again with no expectations in return. Have a wonderful day and fill it with smiles. I wished the same yesterday but couldn't send you the same. Remember to smile even today and make the most of it. 

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you think you cry alone. That's because your tears don't see those who cry with you or lend you a shoulder to cry. This day comes to you with a prayer that each day be filled with laughter and tears of joy. 

For every happy or sad moment ...

Remember to smile and receive it ...
In case of trouble you know what to do...
Even in times of crisis you have a solution...
Not only the blessings come in disguise...but the
Divine sunshine is just near you....
So always be happy 

Read the first letters of the lines and you will get my name. God bless you always

March on forward ... March on Monday

Day after day you March
This day is Monday of March
May you March on says Kay
May this one be a blessed day 
With all that you wish for & pray
Remember to smile like every day
Coz its the gift of God ... Today
Let fun be more and worries be few
God Bless You ... Good Moments to You ...

Another day dawns filled with sunshine and surprises. All for you to enjoy and cherish. Thank God for all the blessings and all the tough moments are to make you stronger. God bless you and remember to smile throughout.

March 21 is Mothers day in UAE. Wish you a really happy 


One of its kind 
Special Day. 
Coz this day is dedicated to mothers and motherhood alone. Remember to smile and god bless you.

Dedicate a smile for yourself. Think of the good things in life for a moment you have done for others and others have done to you. Your smile would be brighter is what you have done more good. Keep brightening the smile as that is the best way to thank god for yet another day we have got. Share a smile and make others smile too. Have a smiley day ahead. God bless you. ..

I send you a little sunshine 

To make your day bright
To let you scale the height 
To make sure there is no fight
To make your moments light
To give you all the might
To keep you smiling till night
I send you a little sunshine

To wish you enough for the day 

As another day blooms we grow a day older, we grow a day wiser, and get a chance to be a day better than before. Good ...
better ... best ... never let them rest. Until your good becomes better And better the best. Have a blessed day ahead. Remember to keep smiling. 

A journey of thousand miles starts with the first step. May this day be the stride in a successful journey called life. With a smile greet the day as this day is yours. Live every second to the fullest and wish you 86400 seconds of happiness and success. Remember to smile throughout and thank God for the gift called "Today". 

Live your day like the last 
Invest your thoughts in its best
Find new roads to swift past
Earn your love n respect in the test
That's all you need in your life...
Have a great day ahead and god bless you. 

The wake from the sleep is a sign that You have someone important to do this day as per God's plan. So smile is your preparation and God's grace is your weapon to fight for the right and clear the obstacles. Keep smiling. 

Listen to your heart today. It says "Love God" "Love God". Both mean the same. Love is God and God is love. May this day bring you all the love and godliness to you. Smile listening to what the heart says as it is the truth hidden in you. 

Sun shines to tell you 
That you can shine
The wind blows to tell you 
That all troubles shall breeze past
The showers from the sky
Tells you god showers his blessings
Nature tells you how you have god by your side always 
Remember to smile and receive the blessings of God each day.

Bright new day with divine grace and happiness is ready for you. Are you smiling and ready to receive it. This day comes with a special wish and 24 hours dedicated to you alone. Make the best of every second by filling it with happiness.

A bright new day is waiting for your special touch. The day has controls and you have the remote control for the same. Remember to increase the brightness with smiles adjust the contrast with love increase the vibrance of colours with your work and adjust the sharpness with talent. Live life in full HD - Happy Day. 

God created you for a purpose. Even the smallest being amoeba has a role to play in the universe. Are you smiling and ready to be the reason for something special. What you are and what you can do is unique. So make a difference today in the world and be the difference. Be the special one ...

Be the sun to the darkness 
Be the star that shines
Be the warmth to the one who needs
Be the answer to someone's prayers 
Be the blessing be the same 
Because you are you and you alone

There are days when you feel dull, not so energetic. Thats the time, you have to look back to the best of the best days. Our happy days are the source of the power we need to go forward. Know that you are the best and deserve the best. Remember to smile at those days which made you strong and thank God for his gifts.

Gift a smile to someone special. 


And the special person is YOU. Share it with others too.

God has gifted you another day to see what you do with it. Fill it with smiles and love, not tears and regrets. Fill it with the best you can do and in return get success and prosperity. Know that it is a limited offer. So make the most of the day. God bless you. 

Everyday is a worship.

Willing to fight forward 
Observe and react to situations
Relentlessly love life
Serve the needy and smile 
Have a positive attitude 
Improve yourself 

Prove your worth to yourself 

Who is your best friend and who is your worst enemy? The answer is the same. YOU. When you tell yourself to go the extra mile and succeed you become your best friend. When you tell yourself that you can't make it you become your worst enemy. The best way to get rid of the enemy is to make friends with him. Be your best friend and take the world in your stride. 

Tug of war is the only game where you win when you get back. Race is won when you are ahead. Life is neither a game of tug of war or a race. Its neither won by living in the past nor in the future. It's best when you live in the present. Enjoy every moment you live and thank God for the gift of life.

For one moment think that you are all alone in this world. No one to talk to, no one to compete, no one to win over, and no one to care for. Then you will realize what the world means to you. So forget the negatives and start loving the world for what it means to you. Remember to smile and receive the blessings of God.

After inventing instant coffee instant snacks and instant messaging, man now runs behind instant happiness and instant success. But without realizing that we live in the instant and literally the happiness and success is a space away. So go forward and grab your success. But knowing that there is a space to conquer. Do it with a smile.

A wood cutter was given five days to cut a tree. He spent four days to sharpen his axe. The fifth day he cut the tree with one cut. How much time do we spend to sharpen our talents. Luck is defined as when preparation meets opportunity. Be prepared with your sharpened axe of talent as the opportunity is round the corner. Stay lucky. 

I send you a smile today 
Simple way to brighten the days
Making the best of the twisted ways
I wish you a day better than other days
Loving caring and the heart it prays
Ever after may be your best of days

God bless you with happiness and prosperity. 

Peace be with you today 
As said in Isopanishad 
May God bless you to move from untruth to truth from darkness to light and from death to immortality. Peace peace peace

Perceive Each moment Always as Calmly as you can for Ever. 
Peace is within you as a gift from God. Remember to smile and receive the blessings.

Every day begins with a rise and ends with a set. Sunrise brings the light in our lives and every sunset gives you the moon rise. May this day bring you the divine light when you rise and shine through the day and the evening set you free from sadness and troubles. The moon rise will cool your evening and the sleep till the moon set gets you set for another day. Till then smile your way through and have gratitude for all that you receive. 

A bright sunrise like your future 
A cool breeze like happy moments
A drizzle of rain like love and care

I wish you a day where all are there

Wish you a golden day in your life today. Why is gold so important. Gold gets nothing from you but it means a lot to you. Gold does not get impure like other metals. That's why God's idols are made of Gold. A golden cross is considered sacred. May this day be of great value to it. Sacred and blessed by God.

Wish you a wonderful day like water. Quenches thirst, cools the heat, makes solutions and keeps flowing. Divinity is also like water. It flows from higher altitudes to lower. Being humble and low gets the flow of divinity towards you. May every thirst of you be quenched. May the heat of stress and anxiety be cooled by the divine waters. Hence the name theerth yathra as it is a move from high ego to humility. Keep smiling and be sure to be in clear flowing waters and be refreshed.

Say no words that blows smiles away
Try no act that flows as tears any day
Run no thought that keeps happiness at bay
Ease your days with love and care 
Smile at things that make you dare
Share a smile whose cheeks are wet

Remember to include a prayer for the unfortunate.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Vishukkani - a sign for the times ahead

A festive day is celebrated with all its pomp and splendor, but as the time moves forward, the significance of the customs and traditions or the practices turn out to be just a ritual. Is Vishu just remembered for the kaineettam and kani. What is the significance of these practices. The question should linger in our minds, so that we can tell the posterity, the vision our forefathers had for our lives, year after year. If you look at the south Asian calenders, it is a very special day.

  • Rongali Bihu the Assamese New Year
  • Bwisagu the Bodo New Year in Assam
  • Thingyan  the Burmese New Year 
  • Tuluva New Year, Bisu , Edmyaar 1 or Bisu Changrandi the Kodava New Year in Karnataka
  • Chol Chnam Thmey  the Khmer New Year in Cambodia
  • Songkan / Pi Mai Lao  the Lao New Year
  • Maha Vishuva Sankranti the Oriya New Year in Odisha
  • Bikram Samwat / Vaishak Ek the Nepali New Year
  • Baisakhi the Punjabi New Year in India and the punjab province in Pakistan
  • Aluth Avurudda  the Sinhalese New Year in Sri Lanka
  • Tamizh Puthandu the Tamil New Year in Tamil Nadu
  • Songkran the Thai New Year
  • Maithili New Year, or Jude Shital (Mithila)
  • West Bengal New Year called Pohela Boishakh
So what is so special about this day. 

Astronomical and Astrological significance

It is the day following the transit of Sun into Aries (Mesha Sankramana) in the zodiac. Stars
are divided into many regions of different sizes, each called a constellation, Aries being one of them. Connecting all bright stars in a constellation with lines, different images in the shape of animals and objects are formed. People named each constellation according to its shape. The International Astronomical Union divided the sky into 88 constellations with precise boundaries, making every star belonging to a particular constellation.

Seen from Earth, the sun moves slowly in the Celestial Sphere and passes through constellations, forming a large circle for a year. This circle is called Ecliptic. The Ecliptic is divided into twelve equal portions (each equivalent to 30 degrees); each portion was named after the closest constellation. All these twelve portions were called Ecliptic Constellations, according to which western horoscope theories developed.

The astrologists divide a year is into 12 periods, during each period the sun being in a constellation area. So everyone has a corresponding zodiacal sign according to the period his / her birthday lies in. The 12 signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. People believe that different signs of the zodiac present different characteristics and talents. So Aries being the first has a significance and though the western thought of having a new year in January was only for convenience but in reality March April remains the time when the new year is born. Hence Aries is the first Zodiac sign and the entry of sun into that constellation has its significance of the birth of a new cycle in zodiac.

The Vishukkani

The most important event in Vishu is the Vishukkani, which literally means "the first thing seen on the day of Vishu after waking up". The Vishukkani consists of a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles intended to signify prosperity, including rice, fruits and vegetables, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, yellow flowers called konna (Cassia fistula), holy texts and coins, usually in the prayer room of the house. This is arranged the night before Vishu and is the first sight seen on Vishu. The old tradition specifies the items as follows

  • Ari or nellu (Rice) - wishing the person who sees it to have a year filled with ample food for survival
  • kay - raw fruits - alerting the person about the untoward incidents and to be aware of them and knowing that when it is handled properly with happiness, it will not be unbearable
  • kani - ripe fruits - the pleasures of life, that's what the fruits signify
  • Pazhaya panam - old coins and medallions remind us of the past and our culture
  • puthu panam - new coins and currencies signify the earnings for the year
  • dhanyam - pulses signify the richness in out lives
  • ratnam - the precious stones signify the special moments or achievements to be attained in the coming year
  • aranmula kannadi - the special mirror signifies reflection of well being and prosperity
  • grantham - holy texts signify divine grace throughout the year
  • vishu kodi - or the new dress signifies the luxuries in life
  • varikka chakka (Jackfruit) - symbolizes the life as such. Hard and thorny exterior with lots of fibre inside but when you reach the ripe fruit it is very tasty. Hence it signifies the life and times ahead.
The Vishukaineettam
The coin or money given as a gift for Vishu has two meanings. One is the year long prosperity and it also reminds us who the head of the family is and the age old tradition of giving the workers new dress and grains for them to have a great year ahead.

There is a lot more to say about Vishu and other celebrations. But keeping it short I wish you a great year ahead. Happy Vishu ... 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Adhaar Abhishek - An Experience – A Spiritual Treatment

Every trip is an eye opener for those who want to open their eyes. Our trip to Palitana was a similar one. Received an invitation to a very special function that was happening after 40 years "The Giriraj Abhishek" or also called the "Adhaar Abhishek". On my return, one person asked me a very strange question, that made me think and so I blog my thoughts, experience and learning here. Pardon me for the length but the every word means more to me.
He asked me"You are not a Jain, nor are you from Gujarat or North India – A south Indian. What brings you to the Shathrunjay Hills in Palitana and what was your experience".

 About Palitana

Before narrating my experience let me give you an idea about this historical and holy village in Bhavnagar District of Gujarat called Palitana. In 2014, Palitana became the first city on the world to be legally vegetarian. Associated with Jain legends and history, Dainty, the first of the Jain tirthankaras, is said to have meditated and given sermon on the Shatrunjaya hill, where the Palitana temples were later constructed. A princely state, founded in 1194, Palitana was one of the major states in Saurashtra. In 1656, Shah Jahan's son Murad Baksh, the then Governor of Gujarat, granted the village of Palitana to the prominent Jain merchant Shantidas Jhaveri. The management of the temples was assigned to the Anandji Kalyanji Trust in 1730.

Palitana is the world’s only mountain that has more about 863 marble carved temples. The Palitana temples and whole mountain are considered the most sacred thirth (pilgrimage place) by the Jain community, and is the world's largest Temple Complex. There are more than 3000 temples located on the Shatrunjaya hills. The main temple on top of the hill, Dada Ni Tuke, is dedicated to 1st tirthankar lord Adinath or Rishabdeva. It is said that 23 tirthankaras, except Neminatha, sanctified the hill by their visits. On the top the Shatrunjai Hill, also known as the Pundarikgiri is a cluster of Jain temples, built by generations of Jains over a period of 900 years, from the 11th century onwards. The temples are managed by the Anandji Kalyanji Trust associated with the Kasturbhai Lalbhai group. From the foot of the hill to the top there are 3,800 and odd stone steps cut to facilitate climbing.

The temples are exquisitely carved in marble, veritable prayers in stone. To an observer, these appear to be ivory miniatures when seen from a distance. Created by master craftsmen, the most important temple is that of the first teerthankara, Shri Adishwar - The Dada Ni Tuke. It has ornate architectural motifs, though in its overall plan it is simpler than the Choumukh. Other notable temples are those of Kumarpal, Vimalshah and Sampriti Raja. Kumarpal Solanki, a great Jain patron, probably built the earliest temple. The temples date from 11th to the 20th century.

Every devout Jain aspires to climb to the top of the mountain at least once in his lifetime,
because of its sanctity. Not just the temples on the Hill are sacred, but as per Jain Scriptures entire Hill is sacred right from top to bottom. The journey is arduous. The walk up the stone stairway sewn into the mountain face takes about an hour and a half. For those unable or unaccustomed to the strain, doli as the sling-chairs are called, are available. The code for the climbers is stringent, in keeping with the rigors of the Jain faith. Food must neither be eaten nor carried on the way. The descent must begin before it is evening, for no soul can remain atop the sacred mountain during the night.

The Journey

We reached Mumbai and our welcome at the Railway station was warm. The Kurla station had a platform full of believers getting geared up for this holy trip. I barely understood the
importance at the start of the trip, except for the idea that the trip was a special one. Lunch was being served with all kinds of vegetarian dishes and sweets at the counters, there was festivities with brass band and stage with eminent people to flag the train off, registration counters were thronged by people getting their ID's and accommodation details. The train was a dedicated special train only for the group. That itself added attraction to my trip, as it was a chartered train exclusively for the yathra. Bhajans, people greeting each other, bags being allocated, catering services, photographers and VIP presence made added color to the gala start. The journey was an experience in itself and there was more to it.

The food

We reached our coach and we were informed that food will be served and that was a special exposure to Gujarati / Jain food. Little did I know about the customs and tradition, though I had heard from here and there about the food habits and lifestyle. The time a Strict Jain is allowed to have food is restricted to the time between the dawn and the dusk - the anastamita or anthai vow of not eating after sunset. My first exposure to Jainism and the lifestyle.

Jain vegetarian diet, should be one of the most rigorous forms of spiritually-motivated diet on the Indian subcontinent and beyond. The Jain cuisine is completely vegetarian and also excludes onions, potatoes, brinjals, garlic and additionally may exclude root vegetables, similar to the shojin-ryori Buddhist cuisine of Japan. The diet - truly satvic. Some of the dishes I remember having are the Dal Dhokli, Khichu, Kachori, Puri, Bhakri, Khakra and the like. I should thank Mr. Nitin Shah and Mr. Nitin Doshi - the organizers and Kailash Caterers from Mumbai, who made the cuisine a memorable one.

The lifestyle

Every act by which a person directly or indirectly supports killing or injury is seen as act of violence (himsa), which creates harmful reaction karma. The aim of ahimsa is to prevent the accumulation of such karma. Jains believe nonviolence is the most essential religious duty for everyone (ahinsa paramo dharma, a statement often inscribed on Jain temples). It is an indispensable condition for liberation from the cycle of reincarnation - moksha, which is the ultimate goal of all Jain activities. The thorough ways of applying nonviolence to everyday activities, and especially to food, shapes their entire lives and is the most significant hallmark of Jain identity.

Jains go out of their way so as not to hurt even small insects and other tiny animals, because they believe that harm caused by carelessness is as reprehensible as harm caused by deliberate action. Hence they take great pains to make sure that no minuscule animals are injured by the preparation of their meals and in the process of eating and drinking. Traditionally Jains have been prohibited from drinking unfiltered water. In the past, when step wells were used for the water source, the cloth used for filtering was reversed, and some filtered water poured over it to return the organisms to the original body of water. This practice of jivani or bilchavani is no longer possible because of the use of pipes for water supply. But I saw almost everyone in the village filter tap water in the traditional fashion with cloth filters and a few even with bottled drinking water.

A scientific look into the diet and lifestyle reveals vegan diet with easily digestible carbohydrates with food prepared fresh and disinfected by the sun's UV rays and making sure, there is least possibility of infection by a clean lifestyle. Giving the guts a rest by not eating at night ensures sound sleep and better health. But many do not look into the scientific aspects of our customs and traditions.

The Destination

The chartered train was received with pomp and splendor at the Palitana Station. I noticed a singer, who would sing along with the track played on record and brass band accompanying him with the speakers and other equipments on a cart. It was a new experience from then on. Reached the dharmasala, where the lifestyle mentioned was strictly followed. The walls bearing the code of conduct, not allowing food inside the dharmasala in the evening and the simple lifestyle with a worship hall in it. Every corner had beautifully carved and ornate structures - The derasars. The place seemed full of the Jain temples, cows on the road, and a simple village feel. As you walk past the streets of palitana, you are sure to see many monks and ascetics walking by.


The day before the Giriraj abhishek, the whole village and people from different parts of the
world who have come to Palitana witnessed a grand procession - The Varghodo. A customary procession similar to the groom’s arrival for a marriage in the Indian style. As the name suggest it is the procession of the groom’s horse. In marriages the groom's family members invite the people from whole village and all the relatives. The groom sits on the horse and travels through main streets of whole village. He is accompanied by friends, relatives and the people from the village. They have musical bands with them during "Varghodo". During the "Varghodo" process the friends and mostly young people play special kind of dance called "Ras-dandia". But here the procession was for the arrival of water in special pots from the rivers in India. People were invited for the abhishek and danced their ways through the streets to take the hundreds of pots to one place and sanctify it for the abhishek. Chariots, horses, camels, dandia dancers, young and old all were a part of this celebration. Varghodo at Palitana was an exhilarating experience.

The Climb

Every step in the mountain is supposed to be holy and I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it. So a doli was arranged. When the journey was about to start, the doli which was arranged for me was broken. So I said let me give it a try and if I was not able to make it then would rely on the doli. I started climbing and one of the doli carriers kept his hand on my spine and said would support me in the climb. I climbed with ease and saw the morning sun rise in the mountains above the Shetrunji river. The climb was more exciting to me as every step gave me the strength to move forward. 3.5 kilometers and the 3800 steps. With faith you ask the mountain to move and it moves says the bible. And I felt the same climbing the mountain.

The Abhishek

As per the principles of Jainism, “ Adhaar Abhishek ” removes impurity & brings serenity,
tranquility & piousness all around. It is believed that many years ago (Approximately 40 years ago), famine in Gujarat was prevented by carrying out “Adhaar Abhishek” on all the Jain temples of Shree Shatrunjay Mountain of Palitana, in Gujarat. Besides, the objective of this ceremony is to create purity of atmosphere and to create unity, harmony & peace among the people of whole world, thereby re-establishing religious empire of Lord Mahavir, leading to cleansing of every soul & provide strength to repel attacks on mankind, country, culture & religion. Pure holy water from 108 rivers, 1008 wells as well as ponds etc. was being collected for this ceremony, in addition to roots & branches of trees, flowers etc with chandana powder (Vasakshep) added to the waters to make it holy.
  • Prayers are offered to the main deity
  • Then the athmaraksha vajra panjar stotra is recited.
  • Three sets of sandal and floral offerings are done at the right big toe of the deity after praying to the sun and gurus, this is called the kusumanjali. After three sets of kusumanjali, starts the abhishek as per the tradition. And in between the abhishek, kusumanjali is performed.
  • The first abhishek is with swarnachoorn - with gold, fragrant flowers, sandal wood paste, and holy water
  • The second abhishek is with pancharatnachoorna - with pearl, gold, silver, copper, coral, flowers, leaves
  • The third abhishek is the kayachoorn - with extracts from peepar, peepal(Bo tree or Ficus Religiosa), sarsado (Shirish, Vagai or also called womans tongue), umbaro (Cluster fig), vad (Banyan), champa (Ashoka Tree), aasopalav (Deodar), aambo (Mango tree), jamboon (Black plum or njaaval), bakul (Bullet wood tree), arjun (Tropical or Malabar Almond Tree), paadal (Piper longum), kesudo (Flame of the forest or parrot tree), daadam (Coral wood tree), naarangi (Orange tree) and holy water
  • The fourth abhishek is with mangalmruththika - with soil from eight spots which are sifted and mixed- from ivory, rishab sankh (conch) dust, sand from mountain peaks, from sunrise points, from the point of union of rivers, from river beds, from holy places
  • The fifth abhishek is with panchamruth or panchagavya - Milk, curd, clarified butter, sugar and water.
  • The sixth abhishek is with shathamoolika - with extracts from 100 medical ingredients or 21 medicinal plants – sahadevi (Ash coloured fleabane), shathavari (Asparagus), kumaari (Indian chaste tree), vaalo, big and small ringini, madhur shikha, ankol (Poison Devil Tree), shaalvani, gandhnoli, mahaanoli, shankholi, lakshmanaa, aajokojo, thohaar, thulsi, maruodamno, gaalo, koobi, sarpankho, rajahansi, peelavaani
  • The seventh abhishek is with kushtaadi pradhamaashtakavarg - with eight extracts of uplot (Kath), lodhoo, deodar (Himalayan Cedar), khoraasani kaj, dharoneeli, jetimadh, maradaa shinghi and varanaa
  • The eight abhishek is with patajjyaadi dvithiyaashtakavarg - with extracts from medha, mahameda, veaukand, kankol, kheerkandh, jeevak, rushabak, nakhi-mahaanakhi
  • The pooja is also done with three mudras - garuda mudra, muktaashakthi mudra and parameshti mudra
  • The ninth abhishek is sadoushadi snaan - with extracts of priyangu, vaths, kankeli, rasaal, pathra bhallaath, ilaayarchi, taj (Cinnamon), vishnukranthaa, ahipravaal, lavang  (Clove)and mayurshikha
  • The tenth abhishekh is sarvaushadi snaan - sugandhoushadi sahasramoolika sarvoushadi  - with haldi, khoraasani, suvaa, vaalo, modh, priyangu (An evergreen flowering plant found in the western ghats), chadilo, vansakhi gaath, sadkyooro, uplot, sukhad, ilaayarchi, lavang (clove), taj (Cinnamon), thamaalpathra, jaavathri, jayphal (The husk and seed of nutmeg), naagkesar, marachkankol, vardhaaro, aasangh, vadiaushadi, agar, solaaras, pathraj, chad, nakhla, ghaula, aashikali, moormansi, jataamansi, sahasramooli and amber with water.
  • The eleventh abhishekh is pushpasnaan - with sevanti (Chrysanthemum), chameli (Jasmine), mogra, rose, juhi, damara (Tulsi), and other flowers in water
  • The twelfth abhishek is Gandhasnaan - with extracts from kesar (Saffron), sukhad, agar, baraas, kasthuri, gorochandan, ratnanjali, kacho, hinglok, marach kankol, and gold leafs or alternatively shilajit, uplot, sukhad, vaas, kapoor is used.
  • The thirteenth abhishek is vaasasnaan - with extracts from chandan (sandal), kesar (Saffron), and baraas paste also known as vaaskhshep or vaasachoorna in water
  • The fourteenth abhishek is ksheerchandan snaan- with extracts from sukhad (Sandal wood tree) and milk in water
  • The fifteenth abhishek is Kesar Sharkara snaan - a mix of kesar (Saffron) and sugar in water is used.
  • After the 15th abhishek there is an important ritual of chandra darshan and soorya darshan. This is a special ritual which is performed during the occasion of anjan shalaaka. Each idol is given a glimpse of dreaming the sun and the moon made in gold and a special mantra is recited. The darshan of the sun and moon is also given to married women.
  • The sixteenth abhishek is Theerthodak snaan- It is the mix of the holy waters from holy places.
  • The seventeenth abhishek is Karpoora snaan - with water mixed with camphor
  • The eighteenth abhishek is Kesar kasthoorika chandan - with a mix of kesar (Saffron), kasthoori (musk) and sandal in water.
  • And five abhishek on the Gurumoorthi is done with gold, pancharal choorna, panchamruth or panchagavya, sadoushadi and theerthjal is done and also five abhishek for the gods and goddesses are done with panchamruth and sarvoushadi.
  • The shataprakari pooja completes the adhaar abhishek in which pooja is done with water, sandal, flowers, dhoop (Incense), deep (Lamp), akshath (Sanctified rice grains), naivedya (Cooked food), fruits and mangal arathi and kusumanjali.

The whole function atop the hill ended by noon and coming back to the foothills I found people washing the legs and giving offerings as a token of respect who got the chance to be there and perform the Adhaar abhishek. The experience taught me more, being able to touch the ingredients with one’s own hands while the Abhishek is performed gives you strength and the vigor to take your life forward in good health. Abhishek was done on over 26000 idols in the Giriraj at the same time on March 14, 2015.

The Answer

The answer to the question the person asked me can be summed up in one line - divinely ordained occasion to be able to perform the Adhaar Abhishek was a blessing from Shri Aadinathji himself. I feel I learnt more and wanted to share it with the world and that’s the reason I was there. If ever the adhaar abhishek happens at Palitana in future and you are invited for the same, make it a point you are there as very few get a chance to be a part of it.
Having the chance to handle all these herbs and minerals during the abhishek, after climbing the mountain empty stomach, is a treatment in itself. Strange are the ways our forefathers envisaged how we can have a healthy life. Even this tradition of adhaar abhishek is a blessing in disguise.

My research on the subject was based on Wikipedia, books at the Jain Library in Manshanti in Palitana, The online Jain Library, from people themselves and last but not the least my own experience. 
I have tried to find the ingredients and give the names of many, but some are local names and can't be traced easily. Please bear with me for the same.

Thanks again to Mr. Nitin Mansukhlal Shah for inviting us.

More pictures on my facebook page: Link to the album