Monday, April 14, 2014

HEALTH BENIFITS OF SESAME SEEDS


Sesame seeds are probably one of the first oil seeds known to mankind. Sesame plant is a flowering plant belonging to the Pedaliaceae family. These seeds have the highest oil content among all seeds and a delicate nutty flavour which becomes more pronounced when they are roasted under low temperature for few minutes. These seeds can be consumed in raw or dried form or even as roasted snacks. They are used as an ingredient in several cuisines. Dry roasted sesame seeds are ground with olive into a thin light brown colour paste called known as ‘Tahini’ which is a popular middle-eastern dip. In Europe, they are commonly used in the manufacture of margarine.
There are several varieties of sesame seeds depending upon the type of cultivar such as white, black and brown seeds. White sesame seeds have higher iron content than black ones and are mostly used as ingredients in food or in the form of oil. Black sesame seeds are more flavourful and have a stronger aroma than white or brown sesame seeds and are preferably used in medicines. They contain 60% more calcium than white ones. White sesame seeds are hulled whereas black and brown ones retain their hulls.If you enjoy sprinkling sesame seeds into your cookie batter, on your salads and in your stir-fries, you’ll be happy to know that you’re doing your health a big favor! Tiny, crunchy, nutty sesame seeds are a nutritional wonder. Here’s a glance at the wonderful ways in which they boost your health:

These little seeds are loaded with essential minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, phosphorus and calcium.
The zinc in sesame seeds promotes bone health and prevents osteoporosis later in life.
Among all the nuts and seeds commonly eaten across the world, sesame seeds have been found to contain the highest amount of phytosterols, which are known to lower bad cholesterol.
Sesame seeds increase your levels of Vitamin E, which plays a vital role in fighting disease.
Sesame seed oil is known to reduce hypertension and ease stress.
The antioxidants in sesame seeds fight free radicals, thereby promoting youthfulness and strengthening the immune system.
A substance in sesame seeds has been found to inhibit the spread of many cancers.

Source - Google

Friday, February 14, 2014

12 INSTANT ENERGY FOODS



1. Sweet Potato: High in carbohydrates and loaded with beta-carotene (vitamin A) and vitamin C.
2. Honey: Low on the glycemic index, a time-released muscle fuel which helps replenish muscles.
3. Bananas: Composed mostly of sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose) and fiber.
4. Apples: High in fiber, longer to digest and prolonged energy release.
5. Oranges: High in vitamin C, Potassium, Folate, Pectin and fiber.
6. Spinach: An excellent source of Iron, a key component of energy production in the body.
7. Beans: Both a protein and a complex carb, they’re a must for both carnivores and vegetarians.
8. Almonds: Copper and manganese neutralize toxins within cells. Riboflavin aids oxygen-based energy production.
9. Salmon: High omega-3 fatty acid content lowers cholesterol, contains protein and vitamin B6, niacin and riboflavin—which convert food into vital energy.
10. Yogurt: Rich in magnesium and calcium which helps replenish your glycogen sources.
11. Eggs: Contains rich protein and essential amino acids used to rebuild and repair muscle.
12. Brown Rice: Rich in manganese which helps produce energy from protein and carbs.

Image & Content Source - http://curejoy.com/content/

Thursday, February 6, 2014

RATHA SAPTAMI


Ratha Saptami is dedicated to Lord Surya, the Hindu Sun God. As per the tradition in Hinduism, Lord Surya is believed to ride a chariot driven by seven horses – this form is worshipped during Rathasaptami puja and festival. Ratha Saptami 2014 date is February 6. 

The festival is of great importance at the Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple. It is said that the earth's inclination towards the sun is steepest on the Ratha Saptami day.

Ratha Saptami is observed on the seventh day of Shukla Paksha, or waxing phase of moon, in the Magh Month (January – February) in a traditional Hindu lunar calendar. The day is of great significance in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In Orissa, the day is observed as Magha Saptami. In other regions the day is observed as Surya Jayanti.

A kolam or rangoli of Lord Surya riding a chariot is made on the ground and worshipped in many places. Some people boil milk in earthen vessels on the day.

Another important ritual on the day is taking bath using Erukku leaves. This is followed mainly in Tamil Nadu. The rituals observed on the day vary from region to region.

On the seventh day of the bright half of the Magh month the Sun is worshipped. The sun is imagined to be a chariot drawn by seven horses, which represent the seven colours of the rainbow. The charioteer, Arun, has his feet deformed. Arunoday means the dawn. On this day some people go to take bath in the river before dawn carrying a lamp on their head. Then in the courtyard in front of the house the sun is worshipped. A picture of the chariot and the seven horses is drawn on the ground. On the four sides “rangoli” is made (designs made with powders) and in the centre cow dung is burnt. Then on the stove milk is boiled in earthen vessels while facing the sun. When the milk boils it is believed it reaches the sun.

Then an offering of “khir” made of wheat is shown to the sun. In the “sup” (basket for sifting corn) twelve heaps of grain are offered to the sun, the number corresponding to the twelve constellations through which the sun goes. Grain is offered to the brahmins.

Some people show their respect to the sun by bowing twelve times every day to the sun, repeating every time one of the twelve names of the sun. These twelve names are: Mitra, Ravi, Surya, Ahanu, Khag, Pushan, Hirnyagarbha, Marichi, Aditya, Savita, Arka, and Bhaskar. On this day a new season begins, the sun sitting on his chariot sets out on his journey.

In the country of Kamboj there was a king named Yashovarma. He was a religious minded ruler, arid happiness prevailed in his kingdom. But the king had become old and had no children. He prayed to God to give him a son. Finally God heard his prayer and the king got a son. But the son was very sickly. All remedies were tried but the boy would not be cured.
One day a Muni named Vinit came to the palace. He was a very learned Muni and knew the three times (“tricalgnani”), which means that he knew the past, the present, and the future. So the king asked the Muni when his son would get alright. Muni Vinit remained with his eyes closed for a while. Then he said to the king, “Your son is sick because in his previous life he was very rich, but never gave any alms and used his wealth for himself only.”
King Yashovarma asked, “If he was a sinner, how is it that he was born the son of a king?”
Muni Vinit replied, “Yes, he was a sinner in his previous life. But once with his eyes he saw the “puja” (worship) of Rath Saptami. With this he acquired the merit needed to be born of a royal family.”
“So, will not his sickness disappear by a similar act of merit?” King Yashovarma eagerly asked.
“Yes, make him observe the vow of ‘Rath Saptami’ and his sickness will completely disappear.”

Then Mimi Vinit gave the king information about Rath Saptami and by the merit of this vow the King’s son was liberated from his disease.
The Gayatri Mantra
From ancient times men have attributed divinity to the sun. For the “munj” (thread) ceremony the boy is made to stand facing the sun, and the priest makes the following prayer, “Oh Sun, this is your student. Protect him, and give him a long life.” After the “munj” ceremony every day in the evening the Gayatri mantra must be recited. This mantra is given great importance:
“God is the mover of this world. The shining brilliance of God is the most exalted and the most difficult to describe. This brilliance is liked by everybody. We meditate upon such brilliance. We bring it to our mind. May this God, who is the sun, inspire our intellect and our devotional medita-tion and may the recitation of this gayatri illumine our intellect.”

Source - Google

Sunday, August 25, 2013

WHY DO WE TOUCH FEET


Indians prostrate to their parents, elders, teachers and noble souls by touching their feet. The elder in turn blesses us by placing his or her hand on or over our heads. Prostration is done daily, when we meet elders and particularly on important occasions like the beginning of a new task, birthdays, festivals etc, In certain traditional circle, prostration is accompanied by abbivaadana which serves to introduce one self, announce one’s family and social stature. Man stands on his feet. Touching the feet in prostration is a sign of respect for the age, maturity, nobility and divinity that our elders personify. It symbolizes our recognition of their selfless love for us and the sacrifices that they have done for our welfare. It is a way of humbly acknowledging the greatness of another. This tradition reflects the strong family ties, which has been one of Indian’s enduring strengths. The good wishes (sankalpa) and blessing (aashirvaada) of elders are highly valued in India We prostrate to seek them. Good thoughts create positive vibrations.
Good wishes springing from a heart full of love, divinity and nobility have a tremendous strength. When we prostrate with humility and respect, we invoke the good wishes and blessings of elders, which flow in the form of positive energy to envelop us. This is why the posture assumed whether it is in the standing or prone position, enables the entire body to receive the energy thus received. The different forms of showing respect are :
* Pratuthana – rising to welcome a person.
* Namaskaara – paying homage in the form of namaste .
* Upasangrahan – touching the feet of elders or teachers.
* Shaastaanga – prostrating fully with the feet, knees, stomach, chest, forehead and arms touching the ground in front of elders.
* Pratyabivaadana – returning a greeting.
Rules are prescribed in our scriptures as to who should prostrate to whom. Wealth, family name, age, moral strength and spiritual knowledge in ascending order of importance qualified men to receive respect. This is why a king though the ruler of the land, would prostrate before a spiritual master. Epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata have many stories highlighting this aspect. This tradition thus creates an environment of mutual love and respect among people ensuring harmony in the family and society.

AVANI AVITAM


Avani Avittam is an important ritual associated with the Brahmin community in the world. The day is of great significance to Rig, Yajur, Sama Vedic Brahmins. On the next day, Gayatri Japa Sankalmpam is observed. In other parts of South India, the observance is known as Upakarma.

On the day of Avani Avittam, the sacred thread worn is changed and it is usually a community observance and takes place on the banks of a pond or river. Avani is the name of the Tamil month and Avittam is one of the 27 nakshatras or stars. On this day, a Mahasankalpam or a vow is taken for atonement of all our sins in the past year. The Brahmins take a holy dip and wear a new holy thread called Yajnopavit or Janeyu.

The first step is a ‘prayashchita’ A prayer to atone the sins. It says, “For the removal of all my sins and thereby to secure a divine blessing and for qualifing myself to perform the essential duties of Brahmanas as prescribed in the vedas and smritis and adopted by the really good in their conduct I put on this Yagnopavita”.

When the thread is worn another mantra is recited which means -”I put on the sacred thread which is highly pure, is inseparable from God, is capable of prolonging life and is the foremost in the accomplishment of a Brahmana. May such pure Yagnopavita bring strength and dignity.

While removing the old thread, the mantra means -”I throw away the broken dirty old thread, may the new one bring on long life and Brahmana’s brilliance.

Avani Avittam Significance

Upakramam means the beginning. On this day the Yajurvedis begin to read Yajur Veda for next six months. The day is auspicious because as per Indian mythology Lord Vishnu was incarnated as Lord Hayagriva,the lord of knowledge, the one who restored the Vedas to Brahma.

How it is celebrated

On this day, Brahmin boys are bestowed with the Sacred Thread (Yajnopavit or Janeyu). It is said that the third eye, that is the eye of wisdom opens on this day. A Mahasankalpam or a vow is taken for the expiation of all the sins in the past year. Thereafter Brahmins take a holy water dip and wear a new holy thread called Yajnopavit or Janeyu.

Procedure followed on the day

First the Rishi Tharpanam (offering prayers to the ancient Rishis) is read out. Brahmin bachelors perform ‘Samitha Daanam’ and ‘kamo karshith japam’ after Mahasankalpam. Thereafter, Kaanda Rishi tharpanam is performed with the help of family priest or elders. As per the rituals, all the male members should have a light meal at night.

Next day after an early bath, ‘Gayathri Japam’ is read out by everyone. Gayatri Japam Sankalmpam is noted for the chanting of the Gayatri Mantra for 1008 or 108 times. Sama Vedi Brahmins perform the ritual the day after Shravan Amavasi.

Inner meaning

This day is also auspicious as the Brahmins offer libations of water to their ancestors to whom they owe their birth and to the great Rishis to whom they are highly indebted for spiritual knowledge and the Vedas themselves.

Source Hindu blog.

RAKHI / RAKSHA BANDHAN


The chaste bond of love between a brother and a sister is one of the deepest and noblest of human emotions. 'Raksha Bandhan' or 'Rakhi' is a special occasion to celebrate this emotional bonding by tying a holy thread around the wrist. This thread, which pulsates with sisterly love and sublime sentiments, is rightly called the ‘Rakhi’. It means 'a bond of protection', and Raksha Bandhan signifies that the strong must protect the weak from all that’s evil.

The ritual is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan, on which sisters tie the sacred Rakhi string on their brothers' right wrists, and pray for their long life. Rakhis are ideally made of silk with gold and silver threads, beautifully crafted embroidered sequins, and studded with semi precious stones.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

AADIPERUKKU FESTIVAL


Aadiperukku festival marks the onset of monsoon in India which is expectedto occur on the 18th day of the solar month, Aadi,every year. Adiperukku iscelebrated near river basins, water tanks, lakes and wells, when the water level rises. Hence it is called as Pathinettam peru. Pathinettu means eighteen and Perukku indicates rising water in rivers. These Holy rivers areconsidered as a kind of female deities. This water-ritual is observed mainly by women in Tamil Nadu. The aadi month falls during the monsoon season and is essentially a thanksgiving to monsoon which fills the rivers – the lifeline of farmers.



The festival is essentially a form of Nature worship. Special food is prepared on this day and family and friends get together and pray for uninterrupted supply of water and a good harvest.
The original meaning of the ritual performance is a request to the village Goddess for rain for fertility of land, in order to secure a rich harvest. The women are involved in large groups significantly implying the fertility of women also ensuring continuation of human race with peace and harmony through empowered women.