Friday, October 28, 2005

Aum Kring Kalikaye Namah Aum

This is the time of Diwali and the time of Kali Pujo.
This is a time when my heart pains for my home, my ancestral home, where every year all our relations gather together to worship our kula devi, Maha Kali.
We have a "parampara" of Kali Pujo down to me from my ancestors as far back as 200 years.
Maha Kali has been with our family ever since and it is this very faith, very belief that has made us Dutta's stand together in years of turbulence, proving that human belief can do miracles.
Wish you all a blessed Diwali, a prosperous New Year and a glorious Kali Pujo
Jai Kali!

The worship of a mother goddess as the source of life and fertility has prehistoric roots, but the transformation of that deity into a Great goddess of cosmic powers was achieved with the composition of the Devi Mahatmya (Glory of the goddess), a text of the fifth to sixth century, when worship of the female principle took on dramatic new dimensions. The goddess is not only the mysterious source of life, she is the very soil, all-creating and all consuming.

Kali makes her 'official' debut in the Devi-Mahatmya, where she is said to have emanated from the brow of Goddess Durga (slayer of demons) during one of the battles between the divine and anti-divine forces. Etymologically Durga's name means "Beyond Reach". She is thus an echo of the woman warrior's fierce virginal autonomy. In this context Kali is considered the 'forceful' form of the great goddess Durga.

Kali is represented as a Black woman with four arms; in one hand she has a sword, in another the head of the demon she has slain, with the other two she is encouraging her worshippers. For earrings she has two dead bodies and wears a necklace of skulls ; her only clothing is a girdle made of dead men's hands, and her tongue protrudes from her mouth. Her eyes are red, and her face and breasts are besmeared with blood. She stands with one foot on the thigh, and another on the breast of her husband.

Kali's fierce appearances have been the subject of extensive descriptions in several earlier and modern works. Though her fierce form is filled with awe- inspiring symbols, their real meaning is not what it first appears- they have equivocal significance:
Kali's blackness symbolizes her all-embracing, comprehensive nature, because black is the color in which all other colors merge; black absorbs and dissolves them. 'Just as all colors disappear in black, so all names and forms disappear in her' (Mahanirvana Tantra). Or black is said to represent the total absence of color, again signifying the nature of Kali as ultimate reality. This in Sanskrit is named as nirguna (beyond all quality and form). Either way, Kali's black color symbolizes her transcendence of all form.
A devotee poet says:
"Is Kali, my Divine Mother, of a black complexion? She appears black because She is viewed from a distance; but when intimately known She is no longer so.The sky appears blue at a distance, but look at it close by and you will find that it has no colour. The water of the ocean looks blue at a distance,but when you go near and take it in your hand, you find that it is colourless."
... Ramakrishna Paramhansa (1836-86)

Kali's nudity has a similar meaning. In many instances she is described as garbed in space or sky clad. In her absolute, primordial nakedness she is free from all covering of illusion. She is Nature (Prakriti in Sanskrit), stripped of 'clothes'. It symbolizes that she is completely beyond name and form, completely beyond the illusory effects of maya (false consciousness). Her nudity is said to represent totally illumined consciousness, unaffected by maya. Kali is the bright fire of truth, which cannot be hidden by the clothes of ignorance. Such truth simply burns them away.
She is full-breasted; her motherhood is a ceaseless creation. Her disheveled hair forms a curtain of illusion, the fabric of space - time which organizes matter out of the chaotic sea of quantum-foam. Her garland of fifty human heads, each representing one of the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizes the repository of knowledge and wisdom. She wears a girdle of severed human hands- hands that are the principal instruments of work and so signify the action of karma. Thus the binding effects of this karma have been overcome, severed, as it were, by devotion to Kali. She has blessed the devotee by cutting him free from the cycle of karma. Her white teeth are symbolic of purity (Sans. Sattva), and her lolling tongue which is red dramatically depicts the fact that she consumes all things and denotes the act of tasting or enjoying what society regards as forbidden, i.e. her indiscriminate enjoyment of all the world's "flavors".

Kali's four arms represent the complete circle of creation and destruction, which is contained within her. She represents the inherent creative and destructive rhythms of the cosmos. Her right hands, making the mudras of "fear not" and conferring boons, represent the creative aspect of Kali, while the left hands, holding a bloodied sword and a severed head represent her destructive aspect. The bloodied sword and severed head symbolize the destruction of ignorance and the dawning of knowledge. The sword is the sword of knowledge, that cuts the knots of ignorance and destroys false consciousness (the severed head). Kali opens the gates of freedom with this sword, having cut the eight bonds that bind human beings. Finally her three eyes represent the sun, moon, and fire, with which she is able to observe the three modes of time: past, present and future. This attribute is also the origin of the name Kali, which is the feminine form of 'Kala', the Sanskrit term for Time.

Another symbolic but controversial aspect of Kali is her proximity to the cremation ground:
O Kali, Thou art fond of cremation grounds; so I have turned my heart into oneThat thou, a resident of cremation grounds, may dance there unceasingly.O Mother! I have no other fond desire in my heart; fire of a funeral pyre is burning there; O Mother! I have preserved the ashes of dead bodies all aroundthat Thou may come. O Mother! Keeping Shiva, conqueror of Death, under Thy feet, Come, dancing to the tune of music; Prasada waits With his eyes closed
... Ramprasad (1718-75)

Kali's dwelling place, the cremation ground denotes a place where the five elements (Sanskrit: pancha mahabhuta) are dissolved. Kali dwells where dissolution takes place. In terms of devotion and worship, this denotes the dissolving of attachments, anger, lust, and other binding emotions, feelings, and ideas. The heart of the devotee is where this burning takes place, and it is in the heart that Kali dwells. The devotee makes her image in his heart and under her influence burns away all limitations and ignorance in the cremation fires. This inner cremation fire in the heart is the fire of knowledge, (Sanskrit: gyanagni), which Kali bestows.

The image of a recumbent Shiva lying under the feet of Kali represents Shiva as the passive potential of creation and Kali as his Shakti. The generic term Shakti denotes the Universal feminine creative principle and the energizing force behind all male divinity including Shiva. Shakti is known by the general name Devi, from the root 'div', meaning to shine. She is the Shining One, who is given different names in different places and in different appearances, as the symbol of the life-giving powers of the Universe. It is she that powers him. This Shakti is expressed as the i in Shiva's name. Without this i, Shiva becomes Shva, which in Sanskrit means a corpse. Thus suggesting that without his Shakti, Shiva is powerless or inert.

Kali is a particularly appropriate image for conveying the idea of the world as the play of the gods. The spontaneous, effortless, dizzying creativity of the divine reflex is conveyed in her wild appearance. Insofar as kali is identified with the phenomenal world, she presents a picture of that world that underlies its ephemeral and unpredictable nature. In her mad dancing, disheveled hair, and eerie howl there is made present the hint of a world reeling, careening out of control. The world is created and destroyed in Kali's wild dancing, and the truth of redemption lies in man's awareness that he is invited to take part in that dance, to yield to the frenzied beat of the Mother's dance of life and death.

O Kali, my Mother full of Bliss! Enchantress of the almighty Shiva!In Thy delirious joy Thou dancest, clapping Thy hands together!Thou art the Mover of all that move, and we are but Thy helpless toys
...Ramakrishna Paramhans

Kali and her attendants dance to rhythms pounded out by Shiva (Lord of destruction) and his animal-headed attendants who dwell in the Himalayas. Associated with chaos and uncontrollable destruction, Kali's own retinue brandishes swords and holds aloft skull cups from which they drink the blood that intoxicates them. Kali, like Shiva, has a third eye, but in all other respects the two are distinguished from one another. In contrast to Shiva's sweet expression, plump body, and ash white complexion, dark kali's emaciated limbs, angular gestures, and fierce grimace convey a wild intensity. Her loose hair, skull garland, and tiger wrap whip around her body as she stomps and claps to the rhythm of the dance.

Many stories describe Kali's dance with Shiva as one that "threatens to destroy the world" by its savage power. Art historian Stella Kramrisch has noted that the image of kali dancing with Shiva follows closely the myth of the demon Daruka. When Shiva asks his wife Parvati to destroy this demon, she enters Shiva's body and transforms herself from the poison that is stored in his throat. She emerges from Shiva as Kali, ferocious in appearance, and with the help of her flesh eating retinue attacks and defeats the demon. Kali however became so intoxicated by the blood lust of battle that her aroused fury and wild hunger threatened to destroy the whole world. She continued her ferocious rampage until Shiva manifested himself as an infant and lay crying in the midst of the corpse-strewn field. Kali, deceived by Shiva's power of illusion, became calm as she suckled the baby. When evening approached, Shiva performed the dance of creation (tandava) to please the goddess.
Delighted with the dance, Kali and her attendants joined in.
This terrific and poignant imagery starkly reveals the nature of Kali as the Divine Mother. Ramaprasad expresses his feelings thus:
Behold my Mother playing with Shiva, lost in an ecstasy of joy!Drunk with a draught of celestial wine, She reels, and yet does not fall. Erect She stands on Shiva's bosom, and the earth Trembles under Her tread; She and Her Lord are mad with frenzy, casting Aside all fear and shame.
... Ramprasad (1718-75)

Kali's human and maternal qualities continue to define the goddess for most of her devotees to this day. In human relationships, the love between mother and child is usually considered the purest and strongest. In the same way, the love between the Mother Goddess and her human children is considered the closest and tenderest relationship with divinity. Accordingly, Kali's devotees form a particularly intimate and loving bond with her. But the devotee never forgets Kali's demonic, frightening aspects. He does not distort Kali's nature and the truths she reveals; he does not refuse to meditate on her terrifying features. He mentions these repeatedly in his songs but is never put off or repelled by them. Kali may be frightening, the mad, forgetful mistress of a world spinning out of control, but she is, after all, the Mother of all.
As such, she must be accepted by her children- accepted in wonder and awe, perhaps, but accepted nevertheless. The poet in an intimate and lighter tone addresses the Mother thus:
O Kali! Why dost Thou roam about nude? Art Thou not ashamed, Mother! Garb and ornaments Thou hast none; yet Thou Pridest in being King's daughter. O Mother! Is it a virtue of Thy family that Thou Placest thy feet on Thy husband? Thou art nude; Thy husband is nude; you both roam cremation grounds. O Mother! We are all ashamed of you; do put on thy garb. Thou hast cast away Thy necklace of jewels, Mother, And worn a garland of human heads.Prasada says, "Mother! Thy fierce beauty has frightenedThy nude consort.
... Ramaprasad

The soul that worships becomes always a little child: the soul that becomes a child finds God oftenest as mother.
In a meditation before the Blessed Sacrament, some pen has written the exquisite assurance: "My child, you need not know much in order to please Me. Only Love Me dearly. Speak to me, as you would talk to your mother, if she had taken you in her arms."

Kali's boon is won when man confronts or accepts her and the realities she dramatically conveys to him. The image of Kali, in a variety of ways, teaches man that pain, sorrow, decay, death, and destruction are not to be overcome or conquered by denying them or explaining them away. Pain and sorrow are woven into the texture of man's life so thoroughly that to deny them is ultimately futile. For man to realize the fullness of his being, for man to exploit his potential as a human being, he must finally accept this dimension of existence. Kali's boon is freedom, the freedom of the child to revel in the moment, and it is won only after confrontation or acceptance of death. To ignore death, to pretend that one is physically immortal, to pretend that one's ego is the center of things, is to provoke Kali's mocking laughter. To confront or accept death, on the contrary, is to realize a mode of being that can delight and revel in the play of the gods. To accept one's mortality is to be able to let go, to be able to sing, dance, and shout.
Kali is Mother to her devotees not because she protects them from the way things really are but because she reveals to them their mortality and thus releases them to act fully and freely, releases them from the incredible, binding web of "adult" pretense, practicality, and rationality.

19 Quotes on KALI, THE DIVINE MOTHER - MAHASHAKTI by Paramhamsa

"The Primordial Power is ever at play.She is creating, preserving, and destroying in play, as it were. This Power is called kAli. kAli is verily Brahman,and Brahman is verily kAli. It is one and the same Reality."

"Oh, She plays in different ways. It is She alone who is known as MahA-kAli, Nitya-kAli, ShmashAna-kAli, RakshA-kAli, and ShyAmA-kAli. ShyAmA-kAli has a somewhat tender aspectand is worshipped in the Hindu households.She is the Dispenser of boons and the Dispeller of fear.People worship RakshA-kAli, the Protectress, in times of epidemic, famine, earthquake, drought and flood. ShmashAna-kAli is the embodiment of the power of destruction."

"The Divine Mother wants to continue playing with Her created beings. In a game of hide-and-seek the running about soon stops if in the beginning all the players touch the 'granny'. If all touch her, than how can the game go on? That displeases Her. Her pleasure is in continuing the game."

"It is as if the Divine Mother said to the human mindin confidence, with a sign from Her eye,'Go and enjoy the world'. How can one blame the mind? The mind can disentangle itself from worldliness if, through Her grace, She makes it turn toward Herself.Only then does it become devoted to the Lotus Feet of the Divine Mother."

"The jnAnis, who adhere to the non-dualistic philosophy of VedAnta, say that the acts of creation, preservation and destruction, the universe itself and all its living beings,are the manifestation of Shakti, the Divine Power.If you reason it out, you will realize that all these are as illusory as a dream. Brahman alone is the Reality, and all else is unreal. Even this very Shakti is unsubstantial, like a dream."

"Not a leaf moves except by the will of God. Where is man's free will? All are under the will of God. Therefore I say: 'O Mother, I am the machine and Thou art the Operator; I am the chariot and Thou art the Driver.I move as Thou movest me; I do as Thou makest me do'."

"Is it possible to understand God's action and His motive?He creates, He preserves, and He destroys. Can we ever understand why He destroys?I say to the Divine Mother: 'O Mother,I do not need to understand. Please give me love for Thy Lotus Feet'.The aim of human life is to attain bhakti. As for other things, the Mother knows best."

"Is kAli, my Divine Mother, of a black complexion? She appears black because She is viewed from a distance; but when intimately known She is no longer so. The sky appears blue at a distance, but look at it close by and you will find that it has no colour. The water of the ocean looks blue at a distance, but when you go near and take it in your hand, you find that it is colourless."

"Though you reason all your life, unless you are established in SamAdhi, you cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of Shakti. Even when you say, 'I am meditating', or 'I am contemplating', still you are moving in the realm of Shakti, within It's power."

"One must propitiate the Divine Mother, the Primal Energy,in order to obtain God's grace. God Himself is MahAmAyA, who deludes the world with Her illusion and conjures up the magic of creation, preservation and destruction."

"The Divine Mother is always playful and sportive. This universe is Her play. She is self-willed and must always have Her own way. She is full of bliss. She gives freedom to one out of a hundred thousand."

"The worship of Shakti is extremely difficult. It is no joke.I passed two years as the handmaid of the Divine Mother. But my natural attitude has always been that of a child toward its mother. I regard the breasts of any woman as those of my own mother."

"He who is attributeless also has attributes.He who is Brahman is also Shakti. When thought of as inactive,He is called Brahman, and when thought of as Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, He is called the Primordial Energy, kAli."

"Brahman and Shakti are identical, like fire and its power to burn.When we talk of fire we automatically mean also its power to burn. Again, the fire's power to burn implies the fire itself. If you accept the one you must accept the other."

"In my present state of mind [Oct.24, 1882] I can eat a little fish soup if it has been offered to the Divine Mother beforehand. I can't eat any meat, even if it is offered to the Divine Mother; but I taste it with the end of my finger lest She should be angry."

"Once a man realizes God through intense dispassion,he is no longer attached to woman.Even if he must lead the life of a householder,he is free from fear of and attachment to woman.Suppose there are two magnets, one bigand the other small.Which one will attract the iron? The big one,of course. God is the big magnet. Compared to Him,woman is a small one. He who has realized God does not look upona woman with the eye of lust;so he is not afraid of her.He perceives clearly that women are but so many aspectsof the Divine Mother.He worships them all as the Mother Herself."

In response to a question from Mahima about'something holding us back' from spiritual progress"Why? Cut the reins. Cut them with the swordof God's name. 'The shackles of kAla,time, are cut by kAli's name.'"

"God is engaged in three kinds of activity: creation, preservation and destruction.Death is inevitable. All will be destroyed at the time of dissolution. Nothing will remain. At that time the Divine Motherwill gather up the seeds for the future creation,even as the elderly mistress of the house keeps in her hotchpotch-pot little bags of cucumber seeds,'sea-foam', blue pills, and other miscellaneous things. The Divine Mother will take her seeds out again at the time of the new creation."

"You know I am a fool. I know nothing.Then who is it that says all these things? I say to the Divine Mother: 'O Mother, I am the machine and Thou art the Operator.I am the house and Thou art the indweller. I am the chariot and Thou art the Charioteer.I do as Thou makest me do. I speak as Thou makest me speak; I move as Thou makest me move. It is not I ! It is all Thou ! It is all Thou !'Hers is the glory; we are only Her instruments."
(Images from here)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Auspicious Days of Worship

I personally believe that any day is auspicious to worship the Auspicious One.

However, Shiv Puran states some days when Shiv Puja can yeild maximum results.

The eighth day and the fourteenth day of both the fortnights of each Hindu month are considered to be the most auspicious for the worship of lord Shiva.

Similarly the solstice day (Sankranti), when the sun is positioned north of equator and eclipse day are considered to be very auspicious.

On these days a special worship of lord Shiva should be done by bathing the Shiva idol with Panchagavya and having it is prasadam.

It frees a man from the gravest of sins. Similarly the day of 'Pushya' Nakshatra falling in the month of 'Pausha' is considered as very auspicious and performing arti of Shiva on this day gives immense virtues.

Making donations of Ghee and blankets on 'Magha Nakshatra' falling in the month of Magh gives immense virtues.

The following days are considered to be the most auspicious for the worship of lord Shiva.

- Uttara Falguni Nakshatra on the same day as Purnima, in the month of Falgun.

- Chitra Nakshatra falling on the same day as Purnima in the month of Chaitra.

- Vishakha Nakshatra falling on the same day as Purnima, in the month of Vaishakh.

- Moola Nakshatra falling in the month of Jyeshtha.

- Uttarashadha Nakshatra falling in the month of 'Ashadha'.

- Shravana Nakshatra falling in the month of Shravana.

- Uttara bhadra Nakshatra falling in the month of 'Bhadra'.

-Purnima in the month of Ashwin.

- Kartika Nakshatra falling on the same day as Purnima in the month of Kartik.

- Ardra Nakshatra falling in the month of Margasheersha

Friday, October 14, 2005

Aaadi Anadi

From Vayviya Samhita of Shiv Puran
Describing about the time (Kala), Vayudeva told the sages that 'Kala' or time is the radiance of lord Shiva. Kala or time is also known as 'Kalatma'. The time flows smoothly without being disturbed. Time is under the control of lord Shiva. Since the time contains the element of Shiva (Shivattatva), hence its momentum can not be checked by any other power, except that of Shiva. One, who understands the meaning of Kala, has a darshan of lord Shiva.
The smallest unit for measuring the time is called 'Nimesh'. The time taken to drop one's eyelid is called one Nimesh. A kala consists of fifteen Nimeshas and thirty Kalas make a 'Muhurta'. A day and a night consist of thirty 'Muhurtas'. A month consists of thirty days, divided into two fortnights. One fortnight is known as 'Krishna Paksha (dark lunar phase) and the other is known as Shukla Paksha (bright lunar phase). In Pitarloka the day consists of one fortnight and night of the same number of days. Shukla Paksha is the day of the Pitraloka and Krishna Paksha the night. One 'Ayana' consists of Six months.
A year consists of two 'Ayanas'. One year of the earth is equivalent to a day and a night of the deities. The six months when Sun is in the southern hemisphere of the earth, is actually the time when the deities experience night. On the contrary, the six months when sun is in the northern hemisphere, is the day time of the deities. One year of the deities is equivalent to three hundred and sixty years of this world.
The yugas are counted on the basis of the years of the deities. According to the scholars there are four yugas - Satyayuga, Tretayuga, Dwapar yuga and Kaliyuga. A satyayuga is equivalent to four thousand years of the deities. A Treta yuga is equivalent to three thousand years of the deities. Similarly a dwapar yuga is equivalent to two thousand years of the deities and a Kaliyuga to that of one Thousand years of the deities. This way all the four yugas collectively are equivalent to twelve thousand years of the deities. A Kalpa consists of one thousand Chaturyugas. A Manvantar consists of seventy one Chaturyugas.
One Kalpa is inhibited by fourteen Manus one after another in succession.
A Brahma's day is equivalent to one divine Kalpa. A Brahma's year is equivalent to one thousand Kalpas. A Brahma's yuga consists of eight thousand such years. A Brahma's ' Savan' consists of his one thousand yugas. Brahma's life span is complete after three thousand such Sawanas.
Five lakh and forty thousand numbers of Indras succeed one after another during the whole life span of Brahma.
A Vishnu day is equivalent to the whole life span of Brahma. The whole life span of Vishnu is equivalent to a day of 'Rudra'.
The whole life span of Rudra is equivalent to a day of lord Shiva.
In the whole life of lord Shiva five lakh and four thousand numbers of Rudras come and go.
A Shiva's day commences with the creation and before the end of the night the whole creation gets annihilated.
Sadashiva is eternal.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Today happens to be Dusherra.
Happy Dusherra and Shubho Bijoya to all.
Well, the burning of Ravana brings some thoughts to my mind.
If Rama would have been alive, would he have burnt Ravana alive?
Anyway, wether it is Ram or Ravana, Krishna or Banasura, Dev or Danava, every soul worshipped Shiva.
The Shiva tandava stotra was composed by Ravana is one of the greatest gifts the demon king has given to mankind.
Here is the stotra:

Jatatavigalajjala pravahapavitasthale Galeavalambya lambitam bhujangatungamalikam Damad damad damaddama ninadavadamarvayam Chakara chandtandavam tanotu nah shivah shivam .. 1
Jatakatahasambhrama bhramanilimpanirjhari Vilolavichivalara ivirajamanamurdhani Dhagadhagadhagajjva lalalatapattapavake Kishorachandrashekhare ratih pratikshanam mama .. 2
Dharadharendrana ndinivilasabandhubandhura Sphuradigantasantati pramodamanamanase Krupakatakshadhorani nirudhadurdharapadi Kvachidigambare manovinodametuvastuni .. 3
Jatabhujangapingala sphuratphanamaniprabha Kadambakunkumadrava praliptadigvadhumukhe Madandhasindhurasphura tvagutariyamedure Mano vinodamadbhutam bibhartu bhutabhartari .. 4
Sahasralochanaprabhritya sheshalekhashekhara Prasunadhulidhorani vidhusaranghripithabhuh Bhujangarajamalaya nibaddhajatajutaka Shriyai chiraya jayatam chakorabandhushekharah .. 5
Lalatachatvarajvala dhanajnjayasphulingabha Nipitapajnchasayakam namannilimpanayakam Sudhamayukhalekhaya virajamanashekharam Mahakapalisampade shirojatalamastunah .. 6
Karalabhalapattika dhagaddhagaddhagajjvala Ddhanajnjaya hutikruta prachandapajnchasayake Dharadharendranandini kuchagrachitrapatraka Prakalpanaikashilpini trilochane ratirmama .. 7
Navinameghamandali niruddhadurdharasphurat Kuhunishithinitamah prabandhabaddhakandharah Nilimpanirjharidharastanotu kruttisindhurah Kalanidhanabandhurah shriyam jagaddhurandharah .. 8
Praphullanilapan kajaprapajnchakalimaprabha Valambikanthakandali ruchiprabaddhakandharam Smarachchidam purachchhidam bhavachchidam makhachchidam Gajachchidandhakachidam tamamtakachchidam bhaje .. 9
Akharvagarvasarvamangala kalakadambamajnjari Rasapravahamadhuri vijrumbhanamadhuvratam Smarantakam purantakam bhavantakam makhantakam Gajantakandhakantakam tamantakantakam bhaje .. 10
Jayatvadabhravibhrama bhramadbhujangamashvasa Dvinirgamatkramasphurat karalabhalahavyavat Dhimid dhimid dhimidhvanan mrudangatungamangala Dhvanikramapravartita prachandatandavah shivah .. 11
Drushadvichitratalpayor bhujangamauktikasrajor Garishtharatnaloshthayoh suhrudvipakshapakshayoh Trushnaravindachakshushoh prajamahimahendrayoh Samapravrutikahsamam pravartayanmanahkada sadashivam bhaje .. 12
Kada nilimpanirjharinikujnjakotare vasanh Vimuktadurmatih sada shirah sthamajnjalim vahanh Vimuktalolalochano lalamabhalalagnakah Shiveti mantramuchcharan sada sukhi bhavamyaham .. 13
Idam hi nityamevamuktamuttamottamam stavam Pathansmaranbruvannaro vishuddhimetisantatam Hare gurau subhaktimashu yati nanyatha gatim Vimohanam hi dehinam sushankarasya chintanam .. 14
Pujavasanasamaye dashavaktragitam Yah shambhupujanaparam pathati pradoshhe Tasya sthiram rathagajendraturangayuktam Lakshmim sadaiva sumukhim pradadati shambhuh .. 15
Being a very powerful prayer, when this is sung in proper rythm this song can do miracles.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Although, this blog is about my Aradhya, Shiva, I cannot just distinguish Him from Shakti. Well, that is not the only reason, the other reason for doing this is a bit personal.

I am a Bengali to the core and when the whole of Bengal is echoing with "dhaker badyo", I cannot just sit here and do nothing about it.

Well, tomorrow happens to be MahaSaptami, a word that brings so many happy memories in my mind. On this ocassion, I present you a short story on Maa Mahisasur Mardini, Maa Durga.

Jai Durga

Jai Bangali
(Image from here)

About Goddess Durga

Durga Puja
Capture the hearts and minds of her ecstatic devotees.
Durga, in Sanskrit means "She who is incomprehensible or difficult to reach." Goddess Durga is a form of Sakti worshiped for her gracious as well as terrifying aspect. Mother of the Universe, she represents the infinite power of the universe and is a symbol of a female dynamism. The manifestation of Goddess Durga is said to emerge from Her formless essence and the two are inseparable.

She is also called by many other names, such as Parvati, Ambika, and Kali. In the form of Parvati, She is known as the divine spouse of Lord Shiva and is the mother of Her two sons, Ganesha and Karttikeya, and daughter Jyoti. Destroyer of demons, she is worshiped during an annual festival called Durga puja, especially popular among Bengalis.

Her Appearance
There are endless aspects of Durga described in the Puranas and Agamas and the iconography is consequently very varied. She is usually pictured as having ten arms holding Sword, Conch, Discus, Rosary, Bell, Winecup, Shielf, Bow, Arrow, and Spear. She is most often shown riding a lion from which comes Her august name, Simhavahini, "She who stands astride the king of beasts". She is gorgeously dressed in royal red cloth and has several ornaments decorating Her personage. Her hair is dressed up in a crown (karandamukuta) which then flows out in long luxuriant tresses that are darkly luminous and soothing to the eye. The various tools reflects the eminent supremacy that helps in controling the universe and obey Her will.

Weilding Energy
Goddess Durga exists eternally, always abiding in her own sweet nature and inhabits the hearts and minds of her ecstatic devotees. As Shakti power, she shapes, nurtures, and dissolves names and forms, while as subtle spiritual energy called Kundalini, She lights the lotuses fo the seven centres of awareness in the sacred human body. Goddess Durga killed the powerful demon Mahish and all his great commanders. When demonic forces create imbalance all god unite becoming one divine force called Shakti or Durga.

The Bengalee Belief

Durga Puja
The beautiful Bengali decoration surrounding the majestic warrior.
Sati, the consort of Shiva was the daughter of Daksha Prajaapati a descendant of Bhrama. Sati had married Shiva against the wishes of her father. Daksha was sponsoring a sacrifice and attendees came from various parts of the universe. He invited all of the gods and goddesses except his son in law Shiva. Against Shiva's wishes, Sati attended this sacrifice and was insulted by her father. Unable to bear this insult, Sati immolated herself.

Enraged at the insult and the injury, Shiva destroyed Daksha's sacrifice, cut off Daksha's head and when pleaded by other gods, replaced it with that of a goat and restored him to life. Still berserk with grief, he picked up the remains of Sati's body, and danced the dance of destruction throughout the Universe. The other gods intervened to stop this dance, and the disk of Vishnu cut through the corpse of Sati, whose various parts of the body fell at several spots all through the Indian subcontinent and formed the sites of what are known as Shakti Peethas today.

Shiva was finally pacified when the last piece fell off from his shoulder. Narayana revived sati as Uma for a new life. Ever since peace was restored, Uma, with her children, Ganesh and Kartick, and with her two 'sakhis' - Jaya and Bijaya, comes to visit her parent's home each year during the season of 'Sharat' or autumn when Durga Puja is celebrated.

Regional Names of Durga Puja

Durga Puja
Goddess, invoked for protection from the powers of evil.
Durga Puja is identified by different regional names throughout India. This diversity across various states bind the people in a unique way. Durga Puja is one of the most important religious festival of Hindus, celebrating the return of the goddess to her natal home. But, this great Hindu festival is recounted and celebrated slightly differently in various regions taking on different forms and names. The festival of Durga Puja is characterized by a variety of prayers and rituals. The name of the Durga puja vary from locale to locale as common for most of the Hindu festivals. The various distinct regional names of this festival are:

* Durga Puja / Durga Pujo

* Navratri Puja

* Kullu Dussehra

* Mysore Dussehra

* Bommai Kolu

* Ayudha Puja

* Vidyaramba

* Saraswati Puja

* Simollanghan

Durga Puja / Durga Pujo
Durga Puja
Durga Pujo Celebration in West Bangal
Region: West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi & Madhya Pradesh.

During Durga puja or Durga Pujo (commonly called in West Bengal), the idols of Goddess Durga are worshipped for nine days in beautifully decorated 'pandaals'. It is a public festival. On the tenth day,the 'Visarjan' or immersion of idols in sea waters is performed. During this time, in various parts of India, the 'Ram-Leela' is performed. Ram-Leela is a stage inaction of Ramayana, the story of Lord Rama. Durga puja has come to be associated with a grand exhibition of cultural functions.

In towns and villages, the evenings are replete with jatra, theatre, song, music, dance programmes, sports, physical and cultural competitions etc which everyone is free to attend. Community feasts are held. The immersion ceremony (vijaya), provides an impressive finale.

Navratri Puja
Garba Dance
Famous Garba Dance from Gujarat
Region: Gujarat, Punjab & Maharashta.

Navratri is a festival of worship, dance and music celebrated over a period of nine nights. Devotees perform the 'devi-sthaapna' in their homes wherein they invite the Goddess and perform 'pooja-path' for nine days. Gujaratis perform their traditional dances 'Garba' & 'Dandiya-Raas' during Navratri. The women-folk dance in a circle, singing 'Garbas' or traditional songs.

'Dandiya-Raas' is played with wooden sticks or 'dandiyas'. Apart from Gujrat,Garbas are performed in other states & cities like Mumbai. Young men-women wear colourful traditional dresses and play Garba with great enthusiasm.The mood of Navratri is very colourful & unique.

Kullu Dussehra
Kullu Dussehra
Celebrating Kullu Dussehra at kuulu Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Region: Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh.

The annual mela or festival takes place in the Kullu Valley - also known as the Valley of the Living Gods, in North India. The festival celebrates the triumph of the God Ram over evil. The Rath Yatra of the idol of Lord Ragunath is led by the Kullu Raja and village deities, and is known as the running of the Gods. The procession starts a week of religious ceremonies, cultural activities, socializing and shopping at the huge bazaar, or market, that comprises most of the mela ground.

Dussehra at Kullu commences on the tenth day of the rising moon, i.e. on 'Vijay Dashmi' day itself and continues in seven days. The birth of Dussehra in Kullu lay in royal fads and it nourished on religious, social and economic factors and ultimately came to be well established, because of the inborn love of the hill-men for fun, frolic, displayed in community singing and dancing. Numerous stalls offer a verity of local wares. This is also the time when the International Folk Festival is celebrated.

Mysore Dussehra
Mysore Dussehra
In Mysore Dussehra is celebrated with the march of ornamented elephants.
Region: Mysore, Karnataka.

In Mysore, Dussehra is easily the most popular festival. It is celebrated on a grandiose scale here. Elephants are decked up with robes and jewelery and taken in processions through the streets of the city. In fact, many people visit Mysore from all over the country to watch this colorful event. There is also a floating festival in the temple tank at the foot of Chamundi Hill and a procession of chariots around the temple at the top.

The Dussehra of Mysore or Mysore Dassara as it is famously called is a 10-day long festival. On the day of Dussehra, a procession of caparisoned elephants carrying the idol of goddess Chamundi is taken through the city. The festival is celebrated in a grand style with scores of cultural performances in the great Durbar Hall of the Maharaja's Palace. On Vijaydashami, the 10th day of the festival, a colorful procession featuring caparisoned elephants winding through the gaily-decorated streets of the city, mark the occasion.

Bommai Kolu
Bommai Kolu
Dalls displayed in Bommai Kolu
Region: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh.

Bommai Kolu is traditionally a women's festival that Tamilians celebrate during Dasshera. Every year, a series of steps is set up and kolu bommai or dolls are displayed. These dolls typically depict gods or village scenes and weddings. A kolu can be as simple or as elaborate as one likes. The woman of the house invites other women to come inspect the kolu, eat a few snacks, exchange a little gossip and go home with a couple of small goodies.

During this time, the girls and women make rounds from house to house during those nine days of Navrathri. Sundal is a delicious confection made from bean sprouts and coconut that is traditionally served at kolu. Women set up decorated planks in a corner and place on it all the dolls in the house. This beautiful clay figurines of gods and goddesses are worshipped during Navaratri, viewing art as Divinity. Women traditionally exchange gifts of coconuts, clothes and sweets.

Ayudha Puja
Idol of Sri Ram & devi Sita
Region: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh

The ninth day is also the day of the Ayudha Puja. After the slaying of Mahishasura and other demons by Chamundeswari, there was no more use for her weapons. So the weapons were kept aside and worshipped. This Ayudha puja is being celebrated since ancient times. The importance of Ayudha Puja on this occasion may also be due to the fact that on the Vijayadasami day, Arjuna took back his weapons which he had hidden in a Vani tree in order to lead a life in disguise for the promised period of exile. It is believed that one who begins or renovates his learning to work on the Vijayadasami day will secure a grand success as Arjuna did in Kurukshetra war.

The Ayudha Puja is a worship of whatever implements one may use in one's livelihood. On the preceding evening, it is traditional to place these implements on an altar to the Divine. If one can make a conscious effort to see the divine in the tools and objects one uses each day, it will help one to see one's work as an offering to God. It will also help one to maintain constant remembrance of the divine. In India it is customary for one to prostrate before the tools one will use before starting one's work each day; this is an expression of gratitude to God for helping one to fulfil one's duties.

Region: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka & Kerala.

The tenth day or Vijayadasami is also the day of Vidyaramba or beginning of study when children usually begin to learn the alphabets. On the Vijayadasami day after a Puja in the morning, the Books and implements are removed from the room and this ceremony is called 'Puja Eduppu'. The time for the break up of the puja marks the beginning of learning and work. Learning and work commence at this auspicious moment.

Literates, in general write the alphabets on sand and read a few sentences from sacred books. Similarly the craftsmen and other skilled workers do some work using their implements. At this auspicious moment the children for the first time are given instructions to write the first few alphabets on rice or sand. They are thus initiated into the world of knowledge. This is called 'Ezhuthinu Iruthu' and according to custom only after this ceremony child becomes entitled to write or read.

Saraswati Puja
Goddess Saraswathi
Goddess Saraswathi
Region: Kerala, Karanataka & Tamil Nadu.

The Goddess Saraswathi is worshipped as the Goddess of Learning, the deity of Gayathri, the fountain of fine arts and science, and the symbol of supreme vedantic knowledge. On the Durgashtami day ,a ceremony called Poojavaipu is performed in the evening in Kerala. In a village, generally, it is done only in certain households, in temples and also sometimes in the village schools. The Brahmin houses and the houses which enjoy reputation for learning, mainly take the lead in celebrating the festival. The members of other houses in the village attend the ceremony performed in these houses or institutions.

In a well-decorated room, books and grandhas (holy books) are tastefully arranged with a picture or an image of Goddess Saraswathi in front. In certain poaches weapons and implements are kept by the side of books and garandhas. Then a Puja is performed to Saraswathi during which fruits, beaten rice, roasted paddy (malar), jaggery etc, are offered to Her. These offerings are distributed among those present when the Puja is over.

Just before the Pujavaipu, all studies and work which mainly require skill, are suspended. The following day is known as Mahanavami and it is totally devoted to the worship of Saraswathi. Pooja is performed both in the morning and in the evening. Many more items such as rice, payasam, thirali, etc are also offered to Devi.

The ten-day Saraswati festival, also known as Dussehra or Navaratri, is held September-October. It's celebrated throughout India but takes on special significance in Kerala. Young children are taken to the temples and, before an image of a goddess-celebrated in Kerala as Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and learning-they are introduced to the letters of the alphabet.

Durga Puja
Region: Maharashtra

In ancient times kings used the feast of Dasara to cross the frontier and fight against their neighboring kingdoms. This border crossing is known as "Simollanghan". Thus Dasara also marks the beginning of the war season.

This was also the day to worship the weapons. According to legend, Pandav went to dwell in the forest. On the way he hid his weapons in the hole of a "shami" tree. After one year he returned from the forest and on Dussehra day he took again his weapons and worshipped the shami tree and the weapons. Hence the custom of worshipping weapons on this feast.

People decorate the entrances of their homes with torans, flower studded strings, and worship the tools of trade, vehicles, machinery, weapons and even books. As the evening falls, the villagers cross the border, and worship the Shami tree. The leaves of the Apta tree are collected and exchanged among friends and relatives as gold.

The Story/ Legends of Durga Puja

Durga Puja
Lord Rama, invoked the blessings of Durga to kill Ravana.
Creation Of Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga represents a united front of all Divine forces against the negative forces of evil and wickedness. The gods in heaven decided to create an all-powerful being to kill the demon king Mahishasur who was ready to attack them. At that very moment a stream of lightning dazzled forth from the mouths of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and it turned into a beautiful, magnificent woman with ten hands. Then all the gods furnished her with their special weapons. The image of Durga, the Eternal Mother destroying the demon, Mahishasur is symbolic of the final confrontation of the spiritual urge of man with his baser passions.

As per our great epic Mahabharat, Pandavas after wandering in the forest for 12 years, hung their weapons on a Shami tree before entering the court of king Virat to spend the last one year in disguise. After the completion of that year on Vijayadashmi the day of Dassera they brought down the weapons from the Shami tree and declared their true identity. Since that day the exchange of Shami leaves on Dassera day became symbols of good, will and victory.

Lord Rama
This festival has immense mythological significance. As per Ramayan, Ram did "chandi-puja and invoked the blessings of Durga to kill Ravana, the ten-headed king of Lanka who had abducted Seeta and had charmed life. Durga divulged the secret to Ram how he could kill Ravana. Then after vanquishing him, Ram with Seeta and Laxman returned victorious to his kingdom of Ayodhya on Diwali day.

Kautsa, the young son of Devdatt, insisted on his guru Varatantu to accept "gurudakshina", after finishing his education. After lots of persistence his Guru, finally asked for 14 crore gold coins, one crore for each of the 14 sciences he taught Kautsa. Kautsa went to king Raghuraj, who was known for his genorisity and was an ancestor of Rama. But just at that time he had emptied all his coffers on the Brahmins, after performing the Vishvajit sacrifice. So, the king went to Lord Indra and asked for the gold coins. Indra summoned Kuber, the god of wealth. Indra told Kuber, "Make a rain of gold coins fall on the "shanu" and "apati" trees round Raghuraja's city of Ayodhya." The rain of coins began to fall. The king Raghu gave all the coins to Kautsa, who gave 14 crores gold coins to his guru. The remaining coins were lavishly distributed to the people of Ayodhya city. This happened on the day of Dussehra. In remembrance of this event the custom is kept of looting the leaves of the "apati" trees and people present each other these leaves as "sone" (gold).

Saturday, October 08, 2005


The Duality in Aadwait Shiva
Shiva - Shakti
Purush - Prakriti
Nar - Nareshwari
Stillness - Dance
Inert - Active
Void - Viberation
Ascetic - Lover
Destroyer- Creator
Anger - Compassion
Black hole - white hole

(Image from here)

Friday, October 07, 2005


The Black Stone (called Al-Hajarul Aswad in Arabic) is one of the most sacred holy relics in Islam. It is roughly 50 cm in diameter. It is found in the Kaaba, a sacred site in Islam. It is the cornerstone of one of the four corners of the religious construction.
It can be recognized instantly because it is surrounded by a silver band. The Stone is actually broken into several pieces, damage which occurred when the stone was stolen in 930 C.E. Ismaili (Qarmatian) warriors sacked Mecca and carried the Black Stone away. It was returned twenty-two years later. In the process, the Black Stone was cracked. It is now held together by a silver band, which is fastened by silver nails to the Stone.
Some Muslims would regard the Stone as "just a stone". When Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second Caliph, came to kiss the stone, he said, in front of all assembled: "No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither harm anyone nor benefit anyone.
Had I not seen Allah’s Messenger kissing you, I would not have kissed you."
Other Muslims believe that this stone fell from the sky during the time of Adam, and that it has the power to cleanse worshippers of their sins by absorbing them into itself. They say that the Black Stone was once a pure and dazzling white; it has turned black because of the sins it has absorbed over the years. Still others will say only that the stone can erase the believer's minor sins.
On the Day of Judgement, the Stone will testify before God (Allah) in favor of those who kissed it. The stone is said to have been found by Abraham (Ibrahim) and his son Ishmael (Ismail), who were searching for stones with which to build the Kabaa. They recognized its worth and made it one of the building's cornerstones.

The Black Stone is the Shiv Emblem (also known as Sange Aswad which is a corrupted form of the Sanskrit word Sanghey Ashweta--meaning non-white stone) still survives in the Kaba as the central object of Islamic veneration. All other Vedic Idols could be found buried in the precincts or trampled underfoot in labyrinthine subterranean corridors if archaeological excavations are undertaken.
The Black Stone has been badly mutilated, its carved base has disappeared and the stone itself is broken at seven places. It's parts are now held together by a silver band studded with silver nails. It lies half buried in the South Eastern portion of the Kaba Wall (Refer to Figure).
The term Kaba itself is a corruption of the Sanskrit word Gabha (Garbha + Graha) which means Sanctum. In addition, in the inscriptions from Hajja and its neighborhood was found a votive vessel dedicated by members of two tribes called Rama and Somia. Rama and Soma are Vedic deities, Rama is of the Solar dynasty and Soma is of the Lunar Dynasty.
The moon god was called by various names in pre-Islamic times , one of them was Allah. Allah had 3 children, Al-Lat, Al-Uzza and Manat. Al-Lat and Al-Uzza were both feminine deities. Alla is another name for the Hindu goddess Durga. It is obvious that the goddess Al-Lat was Alla (Durga) and Al-Uzza was Oorja (energy or life force also known as Shakti). Manat was none other than Somnath which is another name for Lord Shiva. One significant point to note that Soma in Sanskrit means Moon and Nath means Lord. Thus the Kaba itself was dedicated to the Moon God Somnath alias Shiv and the word Somnath was corrupted to Manat.
The famous Black Stone is none other than the ShivLing of Makkeshwar alias Mecca. Lord Shiva is always shown with a crescent Moon on his head and every Shiva temple is supposed to have a sacred water spring representing the Ganges. The Crescent Moon pinnacle of the Kaba and the Zamzam spring (actually Zamza from Ganga) are irrefutable testaments to the Vedic origins of the Kaba.
I respect and bow to all religions of human kind. I believe that religion is very tightly coupled with society. However, spirituality has no such bounds, no such norms, no such rules and no such restrictions. Shiva is may not always be seen as an individual entity, rather can be viewed as a dormant state in all humans. Whether or not Aswad is a Shiv Linga or not is not one of my greatest concerns. Whether or not we realise the Shiva in each and every one of us, is what this is all about. "He is in me and I in Him"

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


"Call a rose by any name, it still remains a rose"
Facts donot change with the names we humans ascribe to them.
It is said that Kailash parvat is itself a linga, the symbol of Shiva on Earth.
Some tales on Kailash, the abode of Shiva.

A great mass of black rock soaring to over 22,000 feet, Mt. Kailash has the unique distinction of being the world's most venerated holy place at the same time that it is the least visited. The supremely sacred site of four religions and billions of people, Kailash is seen by no more than a few thousand pilgrims each year.

This curious fact is explained by the mountain's remote location in far western Tibet. No planes, trains or buses journey anywhere near the region and even with rugged over-land vehicles the journey still requires weeks of difficult, often dangerous travel. The weather, always cold, can be unexpectedly treacherous and pilgrims must carry all the supplies they will need for the entire journey.
How long have people been coming to this sacred mountain?
The answers are lost in antiquity, before the dawn of Hinduism, Jainism or Buddhism.
The cosmologies and origin myths of each of these religions speak of Kailash as the mythical Mt. Meru, the Axis Mundi, the center and birth place of the entire world. The mountain was already legendary before the great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, were written.
Indeed, Kailash is so deeply embedded in the myths of ancient Asia that it was perhaps a sacred place of another era, another civilization, now long gone and forgotten.
Hindus believe Mt.Kailash to be the abode of Lord Shiva. Like many of the Hindu gods, Shiva is a character of apparent contradictions. He at once the Lord of Yoga and therefore the ultimate renunciate ascetic, yet he is also the divine master of Tantra, the esoteric science that regards sexual union as the most perfect path to spiritual enlightenment. According to legend, immortal Shiva lives atop Kailash where he spends his time practicing yogic austerities, making joyous love with his divine consort, Parvati, and smoking ganja, the sacred herb known in the west as marijuana, Hindus do not interpret Shiva's behaviors as contradictory however, but rather see in him a deity who has wisely integrated the extremes of human nature and thus transcended attachment to any particular, and limited, way of being.
For a Hindu, to make the arduous pilgrimage to Kailash and have the darshan (divine view) of Shiva's abode is to attain release from the clutches of ignorance and delusion.
I have tried to bring out some references of Kailash in other popular and not-so-popular religions of the world.

The Greek God of wine, Dionysus, has a startling similarity with Shiva and is said to have been born and brought up on Mt. Nysa, which could be none other than Mt. Kailash.

The Jains call the mountain Astapada and believe it to be the place where Rishaba, the first of the twenty-four Tirthankaras attained liberation.

Followers of Bon, Tibet's pre-Buddhist, shamanistic religion, call the mountain Tise and believe it to be the seat of the Sky Goddess Sipaimen. Additionally, Bon myths regard Tise as the sight of a legendary 12th century battle of sorcery between the Buddhist sage Milarepa and the Bon shaman Naro Bon-chung. Milarepa's defeat of the shaman displaced Bon as the primary religion of Tibet, firmly establishing Buddhism in its place.

The Buddha is believed to have magically visited Kailash in the 5th century BC although the religion of Buddhism only entered Tibet, via Nepal and India, in the 7th century AD.

Buddhist believe that Queen Maya, the Buddha's mother was carried here by the gods and washed prior to giving birth to the Buddha.Tibetan Buddhists call the mountain Kang Rimpoche, the 'Precious One of Glacial Snow', and regard it as the dwelling place of Demchog (also known as Chakrasamvara) and his consort, Dorje Phagmo. Three hills rising near Kang Rimpoche are believed to be the homes of the the Bodhisatvas Manjushri, Vajrapani, and Avalokiteshvara.During Kailash parikrama, one encounters a spot which claims to be footprint of Gautam Buddha.

It is mentioned in Bhavishya Puran that Issa (Yeshuwa) lived in Himalayas after he survived crucifixion. Swami Abhedananda did visit Himis to find the same Buddhist scrolls that were found by Notovitch which claim that Yeshuwa (Jesus) survived crucifixion and lived in the Himalayas. Himis is very near Kailash and in fact it is great probability that Yeshuwa spent time in meditation at the same place where souls have attained liberation, the blessed land of Kailash, the abode of Shiva.

Mt. Meru and Sumeru is said to be none other than Mt. Kailash. Pandavas have climbed this mountain and attained liberation. Ravana did severe tapas near Kailash to please Shiva. All Gods, Sages, men, Danavas, Rakshashas, Gandharvas, Kinnars, Nagas etc. desirous of the divine blessings of Shiva have visited Kailash to pay their homage.

Additional Notes:
-Even till date the Chinese army has not been able to climb up Kailash. Each time they were obstructed by forces unknown to them.
-Pilgrims to Kailash, after the difficult journey getting there, are confronted with the equally arduous task of circumambulating the sacred peak. This walking around the mountain (clockwise for the Buddhists, counter-clockwise for Bon adherents) is known as a Kora, or Parikrama, and normally takes three days.
-In hopes of gaining extra merit or psychic powers however, some pilgrims will vary the tempo of their movement. A hardy few, practicing a secret breathing technique known as Lung-gom, will power themselves around the mountain in only one day. Others take two to three weeks for the Kora by making full body prostrations the entire way.

-It is believed that a pilgrim who completes 108 journeys around the mountain is assured enlightenment. -Most pilgrims to Kailash will also take a short plunge in the nearby, highly sacred (and very cold) Lake Manosaravar. The word 'manas' means mind or consciousness; the name Manosaravar means Lake of Consciousness and Enlightenment. Adjacent to Manosaravar is Rakas Tal or Rakshas, the Lake of Demons. Pilgrimage to this great sacred mountain and these two magical lakes is a life changing experience and an opportunity to view some of the most magical scenery on the entire planet.-For Tibetans, pilgrimage refers to the journey from ignorance to enlightenment, from self-centeredness and materialistic preoccupations to a deep sense of the relativity and interconnectedness of all life. -The Tibetan word for pilgrimage, neykhor, means "to circle around a sacred place," for the goal of pilgrimage is less to reach a particular destination than to transcend through inspired travel the attachments and habits of inattention that restrict awareness of a larger reality........By traveling to sacred sites, Tibetans are brought into living contact with the icons and energies of Tantric Buddhism. -The neys, or sacred sites themselves, through their geological features and the narratives of transformation attached to them, continually remind pilgrims of the liberating power of the Tantric Buddhist tradition.
Whatever be the way, whatever be the action, whatever be the motive, knowingly or unknowingly we all worship the One, the auspicious One, Shiva.