Friday, September 6, 2013
“Gauri’s themes are spring, protection, fertility, harvest, beauty, humor, youthfulness, wishes and equality. Her symbols are balsam, golden-colored items, milk, mirrors and lions. This fertile Hindu Goddess extends spring-like youth, beauty and tenderness into our lives. Gauri has a sympathetic ear for all human needs and wishes. In works of art She is depicted as a fair maiden, attended by lions and bearing wild balsam and a mirror. She was born of a milky sea, and Her name translates as ‘golden one’, indicating a connection with the sun. She is offered rice to ensure a good rice crop.
Holi is India’s most colorful festival, filled with Gauri’s equitable spirit. It celebrates an epic tale in which the sun (Gauri) is freed from a god’s mouth by getting him to laugh! Customarily, caste restrictions are shed today in order for people to simply have fun. Everyone squirts colored water at one another, and by the end of the day, no one can tell who is a servant and who is a king! This translates into a good-humored water-balloon toss. Focus on a goal while you play. When a balloon breaks, it releases Gauri’s youthful joy and productivity into your life.
Hindu custom suggests eating sweets to generate Gauri’s beauty and pleasantness in your spirit today. Or, pour Her a libation of milk while making a wish for something you’d like to ‘harvest’ in your life. Hang balsam in your home to foster Gauri’s fairness in your family’s interactions.”
(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)
Goddess Gauri is one of the manifestations of Goddess Parvati. She is the divine energy, Mother Goddess. She is considered as a perfect wife for Her husband, Lord Shiva. She is a clear representation of purity and austerity. She is the Kanya (Kumari or unmarried girl) who performed severe tapas (penance) to marry Lord Shiva. After the conclusion of Her ferocious form Goddess Kali, She observed a severe penance to get rid of Her black complexion.
In another version I read, Parvati first sought out Shiva to seduce him, Shiva found Her dark skin to be unattractive. Parvati retreated into the forest, where She lived a very austere life, developing Her spiritual powers. Brahma took notice of Parvati’s mastery of Her physical self, and decided to grant Her one wish. Parvati asked that Her dark skin be taken away, so that Shiva would love Her. Brahma took the darkness and created the Goddess Kali with it, leaving Parvati with golden skin, and She became the Goddess Gauri. Because of Her golden color, She is associated with rice and grains, taking on the role of a fertility Goddess.
Gowri Puja is an important ritual during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Married women worship Goddess Gowri with Sindoor or kumkum for their sowbhagyam (marital bliss). Unmarried girls worship Her in order to get virtuous husbands. One prays to Goddess Gauri because according to Puranas, She is the Divine Mother and the origin of the Universe. Mother Goddess, Shakti, has various celestial manifestations like Goddess Sri Raja Rajeshwari, Goddess Gauri, Lalitha Tripura Sundari Devi, etc. 
GODDESS GAURI. Goddess Gauri is one of the manifestations of Goddess Parvati. Indeed she appears to be Parvathi herself on a retrospect time scale. The common epithets for Parvathi are Uma and Aparna. In the Ramayana the name Uma is synonym for Mother Parvathi. In the Harivamsa, she is Aparna meaning One who took to sustenance. These are also correlative to Sati. Mother Parvathi is Shakti or the Divine Mother, appearing in many forms such as Durga and Kali also. In describing Parvathi’s complexion, she is addressed as Gauri, the fair goddess or as the dark Kali. Could one say that Gauri was indeed Mother Parvathi in her teens and its corresponding emotions and feelings?
Notwithstanding, Goddess Gauri stands on her own as the divine energy of Mother Goddess. Gauri is auspicious and brilliant. She extends her protection to her bhaktas and is swift to punish evil doers. Mother Gauri enlightens the spiritual seeker and removes fear of rebirth by granting salvation. She is the symbol of growth and maturity. That also means she represents new life.
She is symbolic of fertility and motherhood and of the victory of good over evil. In her beauty and grace, She is considered as a perfect wife for Her husband, Lord Shiva. Mother clearly represents purity and austerity. Her mythology does not take her beyond being a Kanya Kumari or unmarried girl who set out to perform severe tapas or penance to marry Lord Siva.
MYTHOLOGY: Legends surrounding Goddess Gauri is most certainly linked to Parvathi’s complexion. Parvati first attempted to seduce Lord Siva. The Lord found her hardly attractive and does not entertain her. He reproached her. This taunt so incensed her that Parvati retreated into forest greens. Amidst nature, she performed a most severe course of austerities. But she was focussed to develop Her spiritual powers. This caught the attention of Lord Brahma. He decided to grant Her one wish. Parvati asked that Her dark skin be taken away, so that Shiva would love Her. Brahma took the darkness and created Goddess Kali with it. Brahma then bestowed that Parvati be shining with golden skin. From these circumstances, She became the Goddess Gauri. That was not enough to distract Siva. Brahma had to send Kama, Rati and Spring to draw the Lord's attention. Thereafter she re-manifests as Parvathi. Nothwithstanding, Hindus revere Gauri as a stand alone Goddess.
THEMES: Goddess Gauri’s themes are spring, protection, fertility, harvest, beauty, humor, youthfulness, wishes and equality. Her symbols are balsam, golden-colored items, milk, mirrors and lions. This fertile Hindu Goddess extends spring-like youth, beauty and tenderness into our lives. Gauri has a sympathetic ear for all human needs and wishes. She can also said to represent sexual restraint and the life giving aspect of Nature.
DEPICTION: In works of art, She is depicted as a fair maiden, attended by lions and bearing wild balsam and a mirror. She was born of a milky sea, and Her name translates as ‘golden one’, indicating a connection with the sun. She is usually depicted with light or golden skin. Because of Her golden color, She is associated with rice and grains, taking on the role of a fertility Goddess. Parvathi as Gauri is depicted wearing a green sari, bedecked in the sixteen love-charms and sitting demurely with Lord Siva. Her favourite offerings are rice based prasada. Bhkatas take the view that she blesses with a good rice crop.
GANESHA CHATHURTI: The deity of Goddess Gauri is also celebrated during Ganesha Chathurti. Both the deities are brought into the home together. This is often a fun affair with drumbeats, songs and music. Gauri’s arrival, usually after two days of Chathurti, to the homes is said to bring health, wealth, happiness and prosperity. The first day puja is the avahana, next day it is Satyanarayan puja and on the third day Gauri is immersed in water. Gouri finds her source in the Puranas. She is linked with Goddess Parvathi, Rajarajeswari and Lalitha Tripurasundari. Married women worship Goddess Gauri with kumkum for marital bliss or sowbhagyam. Unmarried girls pray for good husbands.
GAURI VRAT: This puja of austerity by unmarried women and young girls, is also known as Gauri Parvathi Vrat. In Tamil Vrat is Veratham. Based on Parvathi-Gauri-Siva mythology, unmarried females observe this vrat for divine blessings of obtaining an ideal husband like Lord Siva. The Vrat is observed for five days beginning on the Ekadashi day in the month of Ashada in the waxing phase of the moon. It ends on the day of Purnima. In some places corn shoots are grown in a small pot. The tender corn shoots emerging along with Lord Surya, the Sun God, are worshipped during the day..
Food vrat is observed during the whole day. The night menu would be food made from wheat flour, ghee and milk. Salt is prohibited. Fruits and fruit juices are consumed. At the end on Purnima, Gomata puja is performed. That is in reverence to Goddess Parvathi.
GOWRI HABBA. This is a celebration a day before Ganesh Chaturti. This festival is also known as Swarna Gowri Vratam. Swarna means gold which basically means worshipping along with Sivalinga. Gauri or Gowri Habba is attributed to the South and known as Hartalika Vrat in the North.
Goddess Gauri is worshipped as the wife of Lord Siva and Lord Ganesha’s mother. She is considered to be the incarnation of Adi Shakti Mahamaya bestowing courage and power. Gauri is brought into the homes like an unmarried girl and the following day events depict Lord Ganesha coming to receive and take her home to Kailasa. It is believed that Lord Siva sent Ganesha to bring the Mother home. It is common practice to make beautiful clay idols of Goddess Gauri and Lord Ganesha to be worshipped and thereafter immersed in a pond.
Gowri Puja is shradda or purity and dedication. Sometimes this is a group festival celebrated with friends and neighbours. The house is thoroughly cleaned. A temporary shrine is erected using banana stems and leaves. Alternatively a puja cabinet is used. The deity is either ready- made idols or the indigenous method to make an idol of Gauri. Her deity is decorated with garlands, mango leaves, turmeric, tulsi and sandalwood paste.
A sacred thread with sixteen knots called ‘Gauridaara’ is tied to their wrists. This is supposed to be with the blessings of Goddess Gauri. It is symbolical of Parvathi spending sixteen years in tapas to win Siva’s heart.
Pooja thala with puja items known as Baagina offering is a major part of the celebration. Usually five baaginas are prepared as part of the vratha. Each baagina contains a packet of arshina or turmeric, kumkum, black bangles, black beads which is used in the mangalsutra, a comb, a small mirror, coconut, blouse piece, dhaanya or cereals, wheat or rava and jiggery. Usually there are sixteen different items.
The main puja ceremony involves bathing the deity in milk, ghee, curd, honey and water. Aarti is performed followed by bhajans. The first baagina is traditionally offered to Goddess Gauri and the remaining is given to married women. According to the Puranas, Gauri Vratam bestows wealth and worldly well being to bhkatas who observe it. It is legendarily believed that the vrata is so powerful than even a dry tree will turn green after its observance.
It is to be always remembered that all rituals are man made. They facilitate prayers. Over time the rituals are added or subtracted. Rituals are also regional; some not having any vedic connection at all. These are customary ritual. In Hindu thoughts a simple prayer done in sincerity according to one’s means is sufficient. The core concept of Sanathana Dharma is Brahman and its realization and that should be the emphasis. Rituals may aid to a certain extent provided the woods are not missed for the trees.
Nandi( Sanskrit: नन्दी, Tamil: நந்தி, Telugu: న౦ది), is the name for the bull which serves as the mount (Sanskrit: Vahana) of the god Shiva and as the gate keeper of Shiva and Parvati, and in Hindu mythology. He is the chief guru of eighteen masters(18 siddhas) including Patanjali and Thirumular. Temples venerating Shiva display stone images of a seated Nandi, generally facing the main shrine. There are also a number of temples dedicated solely to Nandi.
The application of the name Nandi to the bull (Sanskrit: vṛṣabha) is in fact a development of recent centuries, as Gouriswar Bhattacharya has documented in an illustrated article entitled "Nandin and Vṛṣabha". The name Nandi was earlier widely used instead for an anthropomorphic deity who was one of Shiva’s two door-keepers, the other being Mahākāla. The doorways of pre-tenth-century North Indian temples are frequently flanked by images of Mahākāla and Nandi, and it is in this role of Shiva’s watchman that Nandi figures in Kālidāsa’s poem the Kumārasambhava.
Bulls appear on the Indus Valley seals, including the 'Pasupati Seal' that depicts a seated figure, which according to some scholars, is similar to Shiva. However, most scholars agree that the horned bull on the Indus Valley seals is not identical to Nandi.
The various descriptions on Nandi in the Hindu mythological texts include:
Some Puranas describe Nandi or Nandikeshvara as bull faced with a human body that resembles that of Shiva- in proportion and aspect, although with four hands, two hands holding the Parasu (the axe) and Mruga (the antelope) and the other two hands joined together in the Anjali(obeisance). Brahma Vaivarta Purana mentions Krishna himself to have taken the form of a bull as no one else in the Universe can bear Shiva.
Vehicle of Shiva: The bull Nandi is Shiva's primary vehicle and is the principal gana (follower) of Shiva.
Gate keeper of Shiva's abode: The close association of Shiva and Nandi explains the presence of a statue of Nandi at the gate of many temples dedicated to Shiva. It also explains why the word "nandi" in the Kannada, Telugu and Tamil languages is used as a metaphor for a person blocking the way. In Sanskrit, a bull is called "vrisha", which has another connotation - that of righteousness or Dharma. It is important to seek the blessings of Nandi before proceeding to worship Lord Shiva.
Chief in Shiva's army: Some Puranas mention that Nandi lead the Shiva Ganas, Shiva's attendants.
A Guru of Saivism: In addition to being his mount, Nandi is Shiva's foremost disciple. In the Natha/Siddhar tradition, Nandi is one of the primal gurus. He was the guru to Siddhar Thirumulanathar, Patanjalinathar and others.
From the yogic perspective, Nandi/Nandhi/ Nandikeshvara is the mind dedicated to Lord Siva, the Absolute. In other words, to understand and absorb Light, the 'experience and the wisdom' is Nandi which is the Guru within.
Legends[edit source | editbeta]
Nandi in a zoo-anthropomorphic form
Shiva and his spouse seated upon Nandi. Cambodian, between 1100 and 1150. The Walters Art Museum.
According to some puranas, Nandi was born to sage Shilada who got him by the grace of Shiva.
It was Nandi who cursed Ravana (the demon King of Lanka) that his kingdom would be burnt by a monkey (Vanara). And later Hanuman burnt Lanka when he went in search of Sita, who was kept prisoner by Ravana in Ashok Vatika. In one puranic story, it is stated that once Siva and Parvathi were playing a game of dice. For any game there has to be an umpire, who has to declare who is the winner. Siva and Parvathi agreed to have Nandi (the divine bull) as the umpire. Nandi is a favorite of Siva, as he is Siva's vehicle. Although Siva lost the game, Nandi declared him the winner. It is stated that Parvathi was indignant over Nandi's partiality for Siva and cursed him that he should die from an incurable disease. Thereupon Nandi fell at the feet of Parvathi and pleaded for forgiveness. "Mother forgive me. Should I not show at least this amount of gratitude to one who is my master? Is it not humiliating for me to declare that my master has lost the game? To uphold his honor I no doubt uttered a lie. But am I to be punished with such severity for so small an offence?" Nandi prayed for forgiveness in this manner. Parvathi forgave Nandi and taught him the means to atone for his lapse. She told him. "The Chaturdasi day in the month of Bhadrapada is the day when my son's birthday is celebrated. On that day you have to offer to my son what pleases you most (green grass)". This means that one atones for one's sins when one offers to the Lord what is most pleasing and enjoyable to him. For Nandi the most enjoyable and relishing food is green grass. As directed by Parvathi Nandi worshipped Ganapathi by offering green grass. Nandi was then relieved of his dreaded disease. His health improved and by the grace of Parvathi he was redeemed.
When the positive forces, the devas, and the negative forces, the asuras, joined together on a rare occasion to churn the ocean with a mountain to obtain the nectar of immortality they utilized Vasuki, the serpent, as the rope. The devas pulled from one end and the asuras from the other. Lots of precious herbs and gems were produced during the Churning and one of them was a poison (halāhala) which became human karma. This "poison" was so dangerous that none of the devas or asuras wanted to go near it. It was extremely sticky and coming into contact with this poison, i.e., human karma, would drag the divinity down to the realms of human suffering and ego. As everyone else ran away, Lord Siva, followed by Nandi, came forward to help as he was the only one who could counteract this deadly poison. Siva took the poison into his hand and drank it, the descent of the poison was in turn stopped at His throat, by His divine consort. Siva is therefore also known as Nīlakaṇṭha (the blue-throated one) and Viṣakaṇṭha (the poison-throated one). Nandi saw some of the poison spill out of Siva's mouth and immediately drank if off the ground. The devas and asuras watching were shocked and wondered aloud what would happen to Nandi. Lord Siva calmed their fears saying, "Nandi has surrendered into me so completely that he has all my powers and my protection".
Ceremonial wooden Nandi, Kerala, late 18th century
Largest Nandis in India:
Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh
Brahadishwara Temple, Tamil Nadu
Chamundi Hills, Mysore, Karnataka
Bull Temple, Bangalore, Karnataka
Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu
Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Shanthaleswara Temple, Halebidu, Karnataka
Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur, Kerala
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, Karnataka
Nandi Temple, Western Group of Temples, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
Kedareshvara Temple at Balligavi (Karnataka)
vakratunda mahakaya surya koti samaprabha nirvighnam kurume deva sarva karyeshu sarvada, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
I was disappointed I could not shoot Lalbagh Chya Raja but I shot the Lalbagh Chya Raja Hanuman Temple instead...
Mr Hathiwala Like Me Missed The Press Darshan Of Lalbagh Chya Raja, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
Had I known today was the Press Inauguration of Lalbagh Chya Raja I could have made it on time as I normally went a few hours earlier , I came to know at 7 pm an by the time I took a cab , paid him extra to fight the Mumbai traffic via Curry Road .. I still could not make it , so I decided to shoot a few memories besides the shutters being put on the stage where the royal king sits..
Today Was The Press Darshan But I Could Not Make It In Time, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
5 August 2013
I got a call from my good friend Sumit Kale of Lalbagh at 7 pm that today was the darshan for the press , I told him I would not be able to make it as the traffic is bad from my end but he said give it a try , I did , I was late by a few minutes so I shot the shutters being put , I felt sad , but I shot the Lalbagh Hanuman Mandir and I shot Gauri at my friend Pritams shop ,
Last year too I could not make it I was caught up shooting the Vodafone Lewis Hamilton car race at Kurla... so I post my old picture as tribute to Lalbagh Chya Raja
Om Namo Siddhi Vinayaka Sarvakaryani
"OM Ekadantaya Vidmahe
Tanno Danti Prachodayat"
I am perhaps the only Muslim shooting Lalbaugh Chya Raja for over 20 years or more ,,thanks to Mr Sudhir Salvi head honcho of the Mandal.....
Shah-e-Mardan Sher-e-Yazdan Quwat-e-Parwardigar Lafata Ila Ali La Saif Ila Zulfiqar , originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1 ....
Ek Shahenshah Ne Banake Yeh Haseen Tajmahal Ham Gareebon Ki Mohabbat Ka Udaya Hai Mazak.. , a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Fli...