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MAHASHIVRATRI

One of the most important Hindu festivals — Mahashivratri 2021, is celebrated on March 11th. On this day, people observe fast for a happy married life and please Lord Shiva by offering milk, fruits, and other things. The day is considered to be very auspicious and it is said that all the wishes come true if you pray to the Lord wholeheartedly. The day holds significance for various reasons. While some Puranas suggest that on this day, Lord Shiva drank poison to save the earth which made his throat blue, others believe that this day marks the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

 

Powerful Mantra to please Lord Shiva – Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra 

 

 त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे
सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् 
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्
मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् 


  1. Tryambakam yajamahe
    Sugandhim pushti-vardhanam
    Urvarukamiva bandhanan
    Mrityor mukshiya mamritat


    Meaning:

    ‘We worship the three-eyed One (Lord Shiva) who is fragrant and who nourishes all beings; may He liberate me from death, for the sake of Immortality, even as the cucumber is severed from its bondage (of the creeper).’

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra is a verse from the Rig Veda and is considered to be the most powerful Shiva Mantra. It is said that Lord Shiva himself gave humanity the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra. Whenever there is listlessness, stress, grief, or illness, or when fear of death intrudes in awareness, this great mantra can be used for healing, for maintaining vitality, and for refuge.

The mantra can be recited when taking medicines, for it prepares the body and mind to make the best use of them. And so, whenever matters of health, vitality, nurturance, or freedom from the fear associated with death arise, the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra naturally surfaces as a remedy and comfort.

Once the mantra and its pronunciation is learned, bring it to mind as you begin your daily meditation, as a kind of invocation to your normal practice. Almost all powerful mantras are chanted 108 times, an auspicious number. Hence, chanting the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra 108 times has been prescribed to surround your system with the protection of Shiva’s energy, the most powerful energy. It releases a string of vibrations that realigns the physical body ensuring maintenance and restoration of good health.

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US lawmakers send Diwali greetings to Indian community

Washington: Many governors, Senators and elected officials  in the US greeted Indian Americans on the occasion of Diwali, with many of them joining their constituents in celebrating the festival.

Light will always overcome darkness, tweeted Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, home to the largest Indian-American population in the US. “Today, we celebrate the power of hope over despair. Happy Diwali to all those celebrating!” he said.

“Happy Diwali to all who celebrate. While celebrating will be different this year, I hope this holiday brings you light, joy and peace,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Happy Diwali to all those celebrating the Festival of Lights around the world and in the great State of Texas,” tweeted Governor Greg Abbott of Texas.

“On this festival of lights, may you and your families be blessed with the glow of joy and prosperity to last through the year,” said Delaware Senator Chris Coons, who could be picked for Secretary of State under a Biden administration.

“Wishing a happy Diwali to everyone celebrating the Festival of Lights in New York, across America, and around the world!” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Joining millions in New Jersey and around the world lighting lamps today as we celebrate #Diwali. These tiny flames illuminate the darkness and symbolize our common pursuit of light, knowledge and goodness. Sending my warmest wishes for a safe and happy holiday,” said Senator Bob Menendez.

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Diwali celebrated in Sacramento with ‘Quarantine Style’ car parade

Sacramento, CA: Over 100 members of the Indian community celebrated Diwali ‘Quarantine Style’ with a parade of cars decorated with lights here.

Celebrated under the auspices of Sacramento chapter of SEWA, a service organization that originated in India, the parade in Roseville on November 8 attracted many from nearby suburbs.

People dressed in traditional Indian clothes, with children and family waving, cheering, showcased their cars with decorated lights depicting the spirit of the Diwali festivity, according to a media release.

Many local Americans also joined the parade. Some taking pictures at the starting point told the organizers that the decorations and lighting were so refreshing and certainly created a positive vibe.

Despite the record extreme cold weather, people came from Sacramento suburban cities including Elk Grove, Folsom, Orangevale, Rancho, Rocklin, and Roseville, with their decorated vehicles.

Local Indian Americans spent hours decorating their cars with colorful LEDs for The Diwali Car Parade.

On this occasion, Sewa received more than 50 pounds of canned food donations through this Diwali food drive and donated the food collected to the local food bank.

Sewa thanked local business Reliance Supermart for providing sweets to all the parade participants.

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FIA celebrates as Empire State Building lit up in colors of Diwali

New York: The Empire State Building in Manhattan, in partnership with the Federation of Indian Associations – NY, NJ & CT, which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee this year, lit up its iconic tower to mark the festival of Diwali on November 13.

The world-famous structure turned orange, color of ‘diya’ on the eve of Diwali as Indians across the world celebrated the festival of lights.  FIA, the largest non-profit umbrella organization in the tri-state area  of the Indian community, held a special ceremony at the monument. It was in 2018 that the Empire State Building  was lit up for Diwali for the first time.

Although this year went by without the flagship India Day Parade, the FIA continued philanthropic efforts serving more than 10,000 meals to the community both in the tristate area and in India.

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US lawmakers send Diwali greetings to Indian-American community

Dozens of elected representatives in the US greeted Indian Americans on the occasion of Diwali, with many of them joining their constituents in celebrating the festival of lights.

Light will always overcome darkness, tweeted Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, home to the largest Indian-American population in the US. “Today, we celebrate the power of hope over despair. Happy Diwali to all those celebrating!” he said.

“Happy Diwali to all who celebrate. While celebrating will be different this year, I hope this holiday brings you light, joy and peace,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Happy Diwali to all those celebrating the Festival of Lights around the world and in the great State of Texas,” tweeted Governor Greg Abbott of Texas.

“Wishing a Happy Diwali to all those observing! On this festival of lights, may you and your families be blessed with the glow of joy and prosperity to last through the year,” said Delaware Senator Chris Coons, who could be picked for Secretary of State under a Biden administration.

“Wishing a happy Diwali to everyone celebrating the Festival of Lights in New York, across America, and around the world, and Saal Mubarak to everyone ringing in the New Year!” said Senate Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee also sent out its Diwali greetings. “To all those celebrating Diwali this week, I wish you and your family a joyful and blessed Festival of Lights! Diwali2020,” said Jim Risch, Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Joining millions in New Jersey and around the world lighting lamps today as we celebrate #Diwali. These tiny flames illuminate the darkness and symbolize our common pursuit of light, knowledge and goodness. Sending my warmest wishes for a safe and happy holiday,” said Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Wishing a happy Diwali to all those celebrating the Festival of Lights in Pennsylvania and around the world today. As we take a moment to celebrate the light and joy in our communities, may we continue to give light to a more just and peaceful world,” said Senator Bob Casey.

“Happy Diwali to all those celebrating the Festival of Lights today! Wishing you a joyous and prosperous holiday,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth.

Senator Ted Cruz sent his Diwali greetings to Indians and all Indo-American friends in Texas.

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Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Donald Trump extend Deepavali greetings

US President-elect Joe Biden, his deputy Kamala Harris and incumbent President Donald Trump on November 14 extended Deepavali greetings to those celebrating the festival of lights.

“To the millions of Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists celebrating the Festival of Lights, @DrBiden and I send our best wishes for a #HappyDiwali. May your new year be filled with hope, happiness, and prosperity. Sal Mubarak,” Biden tweeted.

Harris, who scripted history by becoming the first Indian-American and African-American woman Vice-President in the U.S., extended greetings on the occasion of Deepavali.

“Happy Diwali and Sal Mubarak! @DouglasEmhoff and I wish everyone celebrating around the world a safe, healthy, and joyous new year,” the U.S. Vice-President-elect tweeted.

In a joint statement, Biden and Harris wished a happy Deepavali to everyone celebrating the festival of lights across the US, India, and the world.

“Like so many cherished traditions during the pandemic, we know this year’s Diwali and its symbolizing of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and empathy over apathy arrives with a deeper meaning,” they said.

“Our hearts go out to everyone who is ushering in this new year with the recent loss of a loved one, or who finds themselves fallen on hard times. Our prayers remain with everyone fighting the pandemic on the frontlines instead of staying safe at home in prayer with their families. And, we know the sadness of being apart on a day that truly signifies the blessing of family and friendship,” they said.

“But Diwali is ultimately a reminder of the light that’s within us all to hope and dream, and to overcome our differences and keep the faith in each other. That’s the light we see shining on this day and that will guide us through the darkness with knowledge, science, truth, unity, and compassion,” the joint statement said.

“And that’s why as Diwali is celebrated via video calls and while socially distanced this year, we look forward to celebrating Diwali at the White House next year — in person, together with you, and in a nation healed and united,” they said.

President Donald Trump shared a picture of him lighting a lamp in the White House. ‘Happy Diwali’ was written on the photo.

US Vice-President Mike Pence greeted happy Diwali to all those celebrating the festival around the world.

Earlier, Secretary of the State Mike Pompeo also extended greetings on Deepavali.

“Happy Diwali to everyone celebrating the victory of light over darkness. May you have a joyous Festival of Lights!” tweeted Pompeo, who is currently on a seven-nation tour to Europe and West Asia.

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Widows in Vrindavan celebrate Diwali

Agra: Defying centuries-old social stigma and restrictive norms, widows in Vrindavan on Wednesday evening dispelled darkness to welcome light in their lives, by celebrating Diwali at the famous Keshi Ghat along the holy Yamuna river.

In the past, widows in India were treated as “inauspicious” and barred from joining celebrations by the tradition-bound Hindu society.

At the grand celebrations, widows maintained social distance, while celebrating. A group of widows from different shelter homes took out a procession holding colorful diyas (earthen lamps) to the river to add fervor to the festivities.

This is the eighth year in a row when widows symbolically participated in the celebration of lights.

Thousands of widows, mostly from West Bengal, have been living in Vrindavan for decades and they were not allowed to take part in rituals, till the Sulabh International took the initiative and provided them with the platform and an opportunity to join the mainstream.

With an aim to bring a ray of happiness and counter the tradition of widowhood, noted social reformer Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh Movement came up with this unique idea to organise the festival of lights, especially for the widows.

It may be mentioned here that in the light of Supreme Court’s directives, Sulabh takes care of widows living in various ashrams.

75-year-old Chabi Dasi said, “Motivated by the series of revolutionary initiatives widows are now happy and enjoying their stay in Vrindavan.”

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Local potters, ceramicists go online to sell during Diwali

New Delhi: As part of age-old tradition, ‘diyas’ or oil lamps made of clay, light up millions of homes in India on Diwali. The demand for these ceramic wonders has also taken the COVID-19 hit this year. Many local potters and ceramicists have taken to online platforms to sell their ware, to expand their markets to newer buyers and keep afloat in unprecedented times.

Vikram, who sells at the market near Santacruz station in Mumbai notes that while Diwali is coming, unlike other years, this year has been low for business as markets are deserted.

“Earlier the demand used to be much higher during festivals, marriages, and in temples, but due to Coronavirus, business is not the same as it used to be.”

He, and over 200 potters like him across India, are selling on online grocery platform Grofers, under its ‘Ek Diye Se Do Ghar Roshan’ initiative, that has created a special store for potter products on its platform and is absorbing the cost of delivery so all contributions can go to the local potters.

Sellers on yet another platform, Etsy, which is an online marketplace for traditional, handmade and unique products, say that going online with their offerings has helped broaden the customer base and helped their business in these trying times.

Ginni Suri, who sells under the shop name ‘ToucanByGinni’ on Etsy shares her story: “So for a long time, I had been struggling with the idea to go online with my products. But the pandemic this year made it almost imperative for me to the leap and go online. The two things that I did was firstly have a website and secondly an Etsy shop. For years I have only been catering to clients from my city but by entering the online market, the idea of interacting and eventually supplying to other domestic and international cities sunk in.

“With this also came the challenge of packaging and shipping. Now that’s one road most potters dread to walk on. But with challenges are also new learnings. Last few months have been spent learning and honing the art of packaging and shipping and now I can maybe do a whole online episode on it. This is what the online market teaches you.

“I interact with clients from the Netherlands, Canada, Texas etc without the slightest anxiety of shipping and delivery. I would also like to mention that platforms like Etsy have made it possible for a potter working out of a small home studio in Delhi to showcase her work to clients from across the globe. Every artist has her or his signature style and to get a platform where you can showcase your work to not just the domestic but also international art-loving community empowers you in a lot of ways.”

Himachal Pradesh-based sellers Elodie Alexandre and Reyaz Badaruddin, who sell under the shop name ‘atelierlalmitti’ on Etsy, agree that e-commerce platforms help traditional products gain visibility and popularity over the offline market.

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