Shri Sai Baba

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Shirdi Sai temple is a beautiful shrine that was built over the Samadhi of Shri Sai Baba

Shirdi is located approximately 296 Kilometers from Mumbai (Bombay) City in India.

Shirdi is famous temple of Shri Sai Baba. It was established in 1922 to carry out the services of Shri Sai Baba.

At age of 16 yrs Shri Saibaba arrived at the village of Shirdi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra and remained their till his death. Saibaba found shelter in Khandoba temple, where a villager Mahalsapathi in the temple addressed him as Sai or Saint Sai baba.

Shri Saibaba of Shirdi lived between 1838 and 1918, whose real name, birthplace and date of birth are not known. An Indian spiritual guru and a fakir, Shri Saibaba in Shirdi was regarded with great reverence by both Hindu and Muslim followers. Lord Sai lived in a mosque and after death his body was cremated in a temple.

Sri Shirdi Sai philosophy ingrained ‘Shraddha’ meaning faith and ‘Saburi’ meaning compassion. According to god Sai, Shraddha and Saburi were the supreme attributes to reach the state of godliness.

Sai Baba :

Long time ago, at the beginning of eighteenth century a young bearded man ( Shirdi Sai baba) with sparkling eyes took shelter in a mosque, in Shirdi Village (of Maharshtra State, In India) . Nobody knew from where this stranger had come who hardly spoke a word and stayed there.

Gradually the curious villagers started offering food to the man, but he never asked anything from them. Sometimes he shared his food with the animals. Soon the young fakir, as he was started to be addressed, started expressing his view points with few elderly villagers. His simple language of expresssion and his special power of solving the problems of poor needy and destitutes soon made this less known fakir, to be known as Shri Sai Baba. As the days passed, devotees started streaming into Shirdi in ever growing numbers. The village was fast becoming a centre of pilgrimage. As gifts and presentations flowed in, the pomp and ceremony of Sai worship were evolving. Everyday Sai Baba would be a pauper having distributed all among the needy and the poor. But Sai Baba’s life of a Fakir remained calm, undisturbed, unaltered and therein is the saint’s Spiritual glory.

People also realised that this “Baba” was no ordinary person but a person with extraordinary godly powers. Such powers are not known or present in normal human beings. Baba preached his principle of love and faith in humanity to all his disciples. He always felt anguished over the fact that all those who came to him were more for their own personal problems and not for attaining the ultimate goal of reaching God which he felt could be attained only by true servicing of humanity.

Sai baba strongly believed in uniformity of religion and he never distinguished anyone on the basis of caste, creed or religion. He always made it a point not to return empty handed those who had come to him in their hour of need and grief. He performed miracles to alleviate the suffering of poor people. On one occasion he restored the eyes of a blind elderly and on another occasion he lighted a lantern with water when there was no oil to burn it.

As all good things have to end ultimately “Baba” also left his body on his own will on 15th Oct. 1918, leaving his millions of believers and followers crying. His body was laid in the Samadhi Mandir called “Booty”, which he had asked his disciple to built before his death.

Sai Baba was Unique, in that, he lived his message through the Essence of his Being. His life and relationship with the common man was his teaching. The lmmense Energy that was manifest in the body of Sai was moving and is still moving in a mysterious way, creating and recreating itself everywhere, beyond the comprehension of time and space.Yet, he lived with the common folk as a penniless fakir, wearing a torn kafni, sleeping over a mat while resting his head on a brick, begging for his food. He radiated a mysterious smile and a deep inward look, of a peace that passeth all understanding. He was always and ever aware of what transpired within the hearts and minds of everyone, whether they be, His devotees or not. This Omnipresent and Omniscient Sri Sai Baba who left his mortal body in 1918, is the living spiritual force that is drawing people from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, into his fold, today.Sri Sai Baba lived, acted and behaved as only a “God descended on Earth” can. He came to serve mankind, to free them from the clutches of fear.

 

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Anang Trayodashi

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Anang Vrat, Ananga Trayodashi vrat, Anang Fast, Chaitra Shukla Paksha Trayodashi, What is Anang Trayodashi?, Margashirsha shukla Trayodashi

Anang Trayodashi is a fast observed in respect to Lord Shiva.This Vrat is observed on Shukla paksha trayodashi of chaitra month. Usually this ritual is observed in Gujarat and Maharashtra. 

In north India, Anang Trayodashi observed on Margashirsha shukla Trayodashi. The rituals and puja procedures may differ slightly according to the region.

Anang Trayodashi fast is described in Garuda Purana. This vrat is observed throughout the year, i.e on every thirteenth day of the Shukla Paksha of each month. By observing Anang trayodashi Vrat will provide prosperity, health, wealth and good fortune.

During Anang Trayodashi vrat, devotees also worship Rati and Kama. During the puja people offer flowers and fruits to the God Shiva and perform Shodashopachara (16 step) puja. Grand celebrations will be performed at Kandarp Ishwar of Ujaain.
ImageKandarp Ishwar Darshan – Anang Trayodashi
Kamdev is also known as Kandarp. Ujaain Kandarp Ishwar darshan is considered verymuch auspicious on this day. It is also belived that visiting this temple on anang trayodashi will attain moksha.

Significance of Anang Trayodashi
Lord Shiva explained rati about rebirth of kamdev in form of Praduman and also the importance of the Anang Trayodashi. Devotees who observe this vrat will get happiness, wealth and marital bliss.

PONGAL RECIPES

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On the day of Pongal, sweet rice known as ‘Pongal’ is cooked in a new earthenware pot which is placed where the puja is to be performed. Fresh turmeric and ginger are tied around this pot. Then a delicious concoction of rice, moong dal, jaggery and milk is boiled in the pot on an open fire. According to the ritual, this Pongal rice is allowed to boil and spill over. Once the rice is cooked, it is tempered with cashew nuts and raisins fried in ghee. When the Pongal dish is ready, it is offered to the sun god on a new banana leaf along with other traditional delicacies, like vadas, payasam, etc. Some people go to their plots of land to spray some of the Pongal water on their fields.Image

Ingredients
» 1 cup Rice
» 1/4 cup Moong dal
» /2- 1 tsp jeera
» 1/2-1 tsp peppercorns
» 1/2 tsp pepper powdered fresh
» A few Cashewnuts broken
» 1/2 cup dessicated Coconut
» A pinch of Turmeric powder
» Ghee

Method
1. Fry the Moongdal a little till you get a light flavour.
2. Mix the dal with the rice, add 2 -3 cups of water (the rice should cook very very soft)
3. Add turmeric powder, coconut, a few peppercorns and a 1-2 tsp of ghee to the rice and pressure cook till done.
4. When done, take a kadai add sufficient of Ghee to it, more the ghee better it tastes, add jeera, pepper corns and cashewnuts.
5. Add the cooked rice mixture, add pepper powder, salt and mix well with the ghee and jeera/cashewnuts.

PONGAL FESTIVAL OF TAMIL NADU

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Four Days of Pongal

Falls in the month of Thai, Pongal is the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu. The literal meaning of the word, ‘Pongal’ means, ‘boiling over’ and is the only Hindu festival which follows a solar calendar. The festival which is celebrated for four days witness huge celebrations including making ‘Kolams’ decorating cattle and preparing Pongal – a sweet porridge. . Special offerings are made to the sun god, Indra to bestow good harvest. People also regard Pongal as highly auspicious as it marks the beginning of Uttarayan – the journey of sun towards northwards. It is also an occasion when people intend to have a new beginning by discarding the old clothes and useless household utensils into a bonfire. The festival is also the occasion for family get together with gift exchanges becoming its essential aspect. Read further to know more about Pongal and the celebrations which marks the four days of Pongal.Image

First Day – Bhogi Pongal
The first day of Pongal, Bhogi Pongal is celebrated to worship Lord Indra who bestows good harvest. On this day, it is customary for people to discard or destroy old clothes into a bonfire. This custom is symbolic of a new ‘Thai’ (January) when people draw kolams (floral designs made of rice) in front of their houses. Moreover, fresh harvest of rice, sugarcane and turmeric is brought into the house for the next day. People also perform special offerings before they cut the paddy and smear their tools with sandalwood paste and worship the earth and sun. On this day, people throw useless materials into a bonfire made of wood and cow-dung cakes. Girls perform dances and sing songs in praise of gods, spring and harvest.

Second Day – Thai Pongal
The second day of the Pongal festival, ‘Thai Pongal’ is also known by the name ‘Surya Pongal’. This day is dedicated to honouring the sun god, Surya. On this day, fresh rice is collected and cooked in pots till the water in the rice overflow. Then, the pots are decorated with sugarcane pieces, flowers and turmeric plants. The first handful of rice is offered to the sun with people singing, ‘Pongal-o-Pongal’. The sun god is also offered jaggery and boiled milk and the image of sun god is drawn with Kolam around it. Following this, a puja is offered to the sun god to seek his blessings. Worshippers also prepare a dish called venpongal which is a combination of rice, dhal and sugar. There is also a dish prepared with dal and jaggery, known as sarkarai Pongal.

Third Day – Maatu Pongal
The third day of Pongal, Maatu Pongal witness prayers being offered to the bulls, cows and other farm animals that are used for agriculture. Farmers bath the cattle, paint the horns, cover them with metal caps and decorate them with multi-colored beads, tinkling beads, flower garlands and bunch of corn around the necks. Then, the cattle are worshipped with people touching their feet and forehead and feed them with Pongal. The striking feature of Maatu Pongal is a festival by the name, Jallikattu or taming the wild bull. Though these kinds of events are held throughout Tamil Nadu, the most popular of them are the ones that are held at Alanganallur, near Madurai.

Fourth Day – Kaanum Pongal
The fourth day of the Pongal, Kaanum Pongal is the final day of Pongal. The day is also celebrated as Thiruvalluvar day. ‘Kaanum’ means, to view and as the day indicates, it is the occasion for the family members to visit each other’s families and exchange gifts. While younger members play respect and homage to the elder members, the elders show their love and compassion by giving money to the younger members. In some places, people feed the crows with cooked rice.

Pongal, the four day long harvest festival of Tamil Nadu has lot of celebrations associated with it. Hope this article familiarizes you with some of these.Image

Eggless Atta Cake

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Ingredients
2 cups atta / whole wheat flour

 

1-2 cups shakar or gur (depending on your taste)

 

1/2 Tbsp baking powder

 

1 1/2 Tbsp soda bicarbonate (meetha soda)

 

2 Tbsp cinnamon

 

3/4 cup refined oil

 

1 cup curd

 

Water (To be added according to the consistency of the batter.)

 

Walnuts / raisins / figs – for garnishing (Optional)

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Method
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Blend the curd and oil together in another bowl.

Then mix the dry ingredients into this bowl and blend well.

Bring it to dripping consistency, adding water if needed.

Oil the bottom of a baking dish and bake at 170 degrees C for 1 hour 15 minutes while checking at intervals.

Cut and serve when cool.

enjoy the new year with Eggless  Cake

Recycled CD Mosaic Photo Frame

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Surprise!  Today it’s a two-fer.  Two craft tutorials using a similar technique. We all have those CD’s still lying around.  They may be the ones that ISP’s used to send out by the boatload, or maybe some old playlists from our pre-iPod days.  It’s hard to toss them so why not use them for crafting?  And seriously now, old Cd’s are craft supply perfection.  They are free, and they are flashy. 
 
You will need:
 
An old CD, if your frame width is wide you may need two CDs
 
Scissors or tin snips (I used an old pair of scissors)
 
Tacky glue (I used Turbo Tacky glue)
 
Paper Mache frame available at craft stores or online, but any flat front frame will work just as well
 
Black slick dimensional fabric paint
 
Tweezers
 
Scrap piece of thin cardboard, a piece of cereal box works well
 
(It’s a good idea to wear eye protection while cutting the CD in case any of the pieces fly up)
 
 
1.     Cut the CD up into pieces.  Vary the sizes and the shapes. Working in small sections squeeze some glue on the front of the frame and spread it out with a scrap piece of thin cardboard.  Use the tweezers to pick up the CD pieces one at a time and place in the glue.  Keep applying CD pieces in this way making sure you leave some space between each piece. Continue working all around until the entire face of the frame is covered with the CD pieces.  Let dry.
2.     Squeeze some dimensional fabric paint onto a scrap of paper to make sure that there are no bubbles and it comes out even.  Fill in the areas between the glued on CD bits with the fabric glue. Try and keep your lines even.  As you work around filling in the open areas be careful not to smear your previous lines.  When you have filled in all the open areas, let dry.

Khandvi Recipe

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup Gram Flour (besan/chickpea flour)
1 cup Sour Buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder (haldi)
Salt
For Seasoning:
1 teaspoon Sesame Seeds (til)
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
3-4 pieces Green Chillies, seeded and finely chopped
10-15 leaves Curry Leaves
2 tablespoons Coconut Scraped
4 tablespoons Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Oil

Directions-1: (Khandvi Rolls)

  1. step-1Take gram flour, buttermilk, turmeric powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix properly and make smooth batter using hand blender. Grease large plate or back side of thali with cooking oil and keep aside.
  2. step-2Pour batter into a heavy bottomed pan or kadai and cook on low flame.
  3. step-3Keep stirring constantly to avoid lump formation.
  4. step-4*Cook until mixture becomes thick and does not taste raw. It will take approx 8 minutes. (Time may vary depending on thickness of pan and quantity of batter. See tips given below to learn how to check whether batter is cooked or not).
  5. step-5Transfer a large spoonful of batter over previously greased plate or thali. Spread batter in thin layer with the help of back of flat spoon or spatula.
  6. step-6Let it cool for 3-4 minutes. Once cooled, place straight cuts using knife and make 2″ wide strips.
  7. step-7Carefully roll each strip into roll (like a swiss roll) and transfer them to a serving dish.
  8. step-8Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in a small tempering pan. Sauté mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and green chillies. Add sesame seeds only in the end when sauté is ready.
  9. step-9Pour prepared seasoning over khandvi arranged in a serving plate.