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Here is why in Hinduism, Lord Hanuman is believed to be the Epitome of Strength and Energy!

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New Delhi, May 7, 2017: Hanuman Jayanti, also known as Hanumath Jayanti is celebrated with zest and fervour. Lord Hanuman as mentioned in the epics like Ramayana has been exhibiting valour, strength and Energy but the reason behind it is interesting. This day marks the birth of Lord Sri Hanuman. On this auspicious day, devotees of Lord Hanuman celebrate him and seek his protection and blessings. They visit temples to worship him and give religious offerings with reverence. In return, the temple priests give prasad in the form of sweets, flowers, coconuts, tilak, sacred ash (udi) and ganga jal (holy water). People also celebrate him on this day by chanting and reciting various devotional hymns and prayers like the Hanuman Chalisa and reading holy scriptures like the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

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Hanuman Jayanti is an important festival of the Hindus. Lord Hanuman is an ardent devotee of Lord Sri Rama and is widely known for his unwavering devotion to Sri Rama. Hanuman is the epitome of strength and energy. There are some interesting facts about lord Hanuman, He is able to assume any form at will, he possesses the gada (including many celestial weapons), move mountains, dart through the air, seize the clouds and he rivals Garuda in swiftness of flight.

The celebration of this festival is marked by smearing a long tilak or paste of vermillion on their foreheads. To commemorate the day, many devotees also observe a day long fast. It is said the god was known to be of the colour of vermillion, which is why people smeared the tilak on their foreheads on this day. It is believed that’s how the orange-red coloured ‘vanara’ race came into being prior to the Hindu epic of Ramayana.

Lord Hanuman is worshipped as a deity with the ability to attain victory against evil and provide protection to its worshippers and devotees.

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In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Hanuman Jayanthi is celebrated by Diksha of 41 days commencing on Chaitra Purnima (April 11, 2017) and concluding it on the tenth day during Krishna Paksha in the month of Vaishaka (May 21, 2017). Hanumanth Jayanti is observed in a distinct way by Telugu devotees by going to temples dedicated Lord Hanuman.

Aku Pooja and other special rituals are performed by devotees on the occasion at the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy hill shrine in Yadagirigutta. Special prayers are offered to Lord Hanuman by those who embraced Hanuman deeksha, who is the ‘Kshetra Palaka’ of the hill shrine. ‘Laksha pathra pooja’ and other devotional programs are held on the day.

Hanuman Chalisa and Hanuman Ashtak are chanted or listened by devotees on the day. Some people read the Sundara Kandam.

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

 

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Buddhist Monk Losang Samten Uses Colors to Spread Message of Peace

Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. They lived in a refugee camp for years.

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Samten
Former Buddhist monk and Tibetan scholar Losang Samten uses colored sand to build mandalas, circular images filled with complex iconography, which have great meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism. VOA

According to one estimate, there are a 5 quintillion, 5 hundred quadrillion grains of sand on earth, a number so large it must be approaching infinity. This makes sand an appropriate medium for the construction of spiritual images of the universe.

Former Buddhist monk and Tibetan scholar Losang Samten does just that, using colored sand to build mandalas, circular images filled with complex iconography, which have great meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Tibetan monks have created mandalas over the centuries from a variety of materials. Before sand, they used crushed colored stone. Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.

Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.
Tibetan monks have created mandalas over the centuries from a variety of materials. Before sand, they used crushed colored stone. VOA

Decades of mandalas

Samten, in his mid-60s, learned the craft at the feet of the Dalai Lama.

“When I was a teenager, age of 17,” he told VOA, “I had a privilege to enter His Holiness Dalai Lama’s monastery … in India. I have been studying sand mandalas ever since then. So it’s a long time.”

VOA found Samten painstakingly layering grains of colored sand at the gallery of the Philadelphia Folklore Project. The particular mandala he was working on was the mandala of compassion, or unconditional love.

Far from random designs, mandalas have been perfected over centuries.

“These are uniquely designed many, many, many, many, many years passing to an artist to another artist to another artist to another artist,” Samten said. “The color has a meaning, the shape has different meanings. Not my design; it didn’t come out of my own idea.”

When Samten created a sand mandala at the American Museum of History in New York in 1988 at the request of the Dalai Lama, it was the first time the 2,600-years-old ancient ritual art was seen outside of monasteries. Since then, Samten has made sand mandalas in museums, galleries and universities across the U.S. and many parts of the world.

“They are used to enhance the spiritual practice through image and meditation, to overcome suffering. Mandalas represent enlightened qualities and methods which explain this path, making them very important for the spiritual journey,” Samten wrote on his web site.

Nothing is permanent

Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. They lived in a refugee camp for years.

Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.
Samten, in his mid-60s, learned the craft at the feet of the Dalai Lama. VOA

“In the winter of 1959, [we] crossed Mount Everest, it took us two months to cross,” he told VOA. “You cannot travel during the day and so scared and not enough food not enough clothes. I was age of 5. I saw, I mean unbelievable dead bodies, people dying without food. I became a monk at age 11 when I was in school, refugee school.”

Samten left monastic life in 1995 and became the spiritual director at the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia. He says the patience of the creative process, can lead observers to find calm determination within themselves.

“When I am doing this mandala at universities and schools, many kids came to me, (saying) ‘when I saw you doing the sand mandala, that help me so much to finish my education, patience …’ I have a lot of stories,” he said.

Monk Samten
Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. VOA

Beauty comes and goes

After a sand mandala is completed, it is dismantled ceremoniously.

“Dismantle has many different reasons,” Samten said. “… One thing is, dismantle is a beauty, whatever we see as a beauty on the earth, never be everlasting as a beauty and impermanent, impermanent, comes and goes. It’s like a season.”

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Or like sand, ever changing in the wind.

Samten often invites children to participate in the ceremony.

To gallery visitor Traci Chiodress that was part of the charm of the event.

“I think it’s powerful to see something so beautiful created, and then taken apart, and to be done in a community with a group of people of different ages,” she said. “I just think it’s an important type of practice.” (VOA)