Monday, December 21, 2009

Why do we prostrate before parents and elders ?


Radhekrishna to everyone,

We started the explanation to the fourth question “Why do we prostrate before parents and elders" in our post of 6th December. In this post let us continue with the same.

The good wishes (Sankalpa) and blessings (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.

In our tradition there are various forms of showing respect to the elders. They are as mentioned below:

1. Pratuthana: Rising to welcome a person.
2. Namaskaara: Paying homage in the form of namaste (refer our posts of Nov 2009)
3. Upasangrahan: Touching the feet of elders or teachers.
4. Shaashtaanga: Prostrating fully with the feet, knees, stomach, chest, forehead and
arms touching the ground in front of the elder.
5. 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.

That concludes the first section for this forthnight.

Section II: Information about Indian herbs

In this post we will tell you about the herb named as Kaner also called Oleander in English and Nerium Odorum in Latin.

1. It is a plant with a medium height with white, yellow, and red flowers.
2. Bark of the root of the plant cures many skin disorders and purifies the blood
3. Oil prepared from this herb is useful in curing diseases like scabies and ringworm
4. Headache caused due to congestion of the sinuses is relieved by the snuff prepared from the dried flowers of this plant

That brings us to the conclusion of the second section and also to the last post for the year 2009. We will meet next year with the next post on 6th of January. Till then Radhekrishna!

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Why do we prostrate before parents and elders ?


Radhekrishna to our readers,

We concluded the third question of our series in the previous post. The question was “Why do we do Namaste”. Henceforth do keep in mind the significance and meaning of saying Namaste when you say it to anyone. It feels great to know a thing and do it rather than doing it for the sake of doing or doing it because everyone does it. Isn’t it?

Well coming to this week’s post, the question which we will discuss is “Why do we prostrate before our parents and elders?”

So let us know the reason behind it in this post.

4. Why do we prostrate before parents and elders?

Indians prostrate before 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 circles, prostration is accompanied by abhivaadana, which serves to introduce one-self, announce one’s family and social stature.

This practice was prevalent in all Indian houses in those “Good old days” but nowadays the same has reduced to a great extent. The children of today need logical reasons for doing anything and everything. And the irony is that nowadays even some parents do not have the answers to some questions asked by their children! How can one then expect the child to learn the customs and traditions prevalent in our rich Hindu culture?

So for such children, here is the logical answer to the reason behind why we prostrate before the elders:

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 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 India’s enduring strengths.

… to be continued

Section II: Information about Indian herbs

In this section, let us know about a herb called as Giloy (tinospora cardifolia) in Latin.

1. It is a creeper with large leaves which resemble betel leaves
2. All parts of the plant are bitter
3. If creeping up a neem tree, it is found to be more bitter than usual
4. It is a very good remedy for chronic fevers
5. It also cures many disorders of the liver and stomach
6. It is a good blood purifier and is also recommender in diabetes

That is all we have for you in this post. Till the next posting keep doing Namajapam. Radhekrishna!

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

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