Birthdays – The Indian Ways of An Uplifting Celebration

Hari Om! 🙂 My heartfelt gratitude for all the wishes and blessings on this beautiful day. Hope you like this special blog! 😀

Birthdays bring with them excitement, love and happiness. 🙂 

How do we generally celebrate our birthday? By cutting a cake, celebrating with friends and family or going out for dinner and partying, right? 

If this is what a birthday celebration means to you, maybe that is fine. 

But today, we are going to look at a subtler and more beautiful perspective of celebrating this special day – or should I say days? 

Because as per the Indian tradition or the lunar calendar, we celebrate our birthday on what is called the “Janma Tithi”, where the constellations of the astronomical bodies are similar to what it was during the time of our birth. 

Earlier I personally had zero belief in the “Tithi or Nakshatram(Star)” birthday as we call it – simply because I never understood this tradition. 

In 2019 however, I could sense a deep spiritual happiness the moment I woke up on the day of my star birthday, hence I spent time reading about it. I’ll simplify that bit of information here. 

The vibrations present in the surroundings on the Tithi are most supportive for true inner growth – because they match the vibrations we were actually born with, which make up our subtle body. 

Thus the ancient seers came up with celebration rituals that can enhance the person’s capacity to absorb these spiritual vibrations around him and evolve in all the aspects – spiritual, mental and emotional.

These celebrations are inherently Sattvic or purifying in nature. They enhance the qualities of purity and awareness in us and strengthen the vibrations of the subtle body. 

Whether you celebrate the date of birth or the Tithi or you actually choose to do both like I do – do it mindfully, integrating the best of Indian cultural practices on both days. Thus, both the special days can be greatly elevating. 

How? Let’s see! 

Abhayangasnan – Ah, how does it sound to begin the day early with a calming ritual of a gentle oil massage followed by a warm water bath? This Ayurvedic ritual helps wash away stress, fatigue and dead skin cells, is known to increase circulation to the nerve endings and levels mental alertness, amongst many other proven benefits. It is a complete nourishment for the physiological and psychological systems of the being.

Holistic Well-being – Remember how the mind automatically calms down due to divine vibrations when Arati is performed at home or at a temple? Similarly, here the individual sits near the altar at home and the elder performs the ritual of Aukshan – where subtler frequencies are activated by a lit lamp is waved in a circular motion in front of the person with a prayer for his/her well-being. It is completed by sprinkling unbroken grains of rice (Akshata) on the child’s head. 

Sattvic Inspirations – In the earlier days, parents used to invite evolved beings like the Rishis and saints to bless the child for spiritual and material growth. Today, such a blessing is rare. If you receive it, cherish it with all your heart! Visiting the temple apart from engaging in listening to and reading greatly inspiring material and holding stimulating discussions with a like-minded person on this day, can be highly elevating.

The Birthday – By S.Aravind Raghavan (AKA Aravind Bhaiya! 🙂 )

Cakes Delight – This is something all of us love! But perhaps we can avoid blowing a candle off because it corresponds to extinguishing light. Instead say a simple heartfelt prayer and then cut the cake. That will enhance the positivity of the ritual! 

Light Lamps – What better than lighting colourful lamps and making it a mini-Diwali celebration? Light lamps of knowledge, love, happiness and well-being. And radiate light to all! 

Celebrations with Family – Again, an aspect all of us love. Birthdays are beautiful occasions for family get-togethers too. 

And a perfect day to seek the blessings of the parents, grandparents and other elders you revere! For it is said that the feet of an elder stands for the values he has lived through an entire lifetime.  

Give Gifts – Eh? Birthdays are all about receiving gifts right? Absolutely! But don’t forget you too were gifted to the world on this day. Gifts when given become more special. Make a gift of all the love you have to the world around. Give a donation, visit an orphanage, teach a child, grow plants, feed animals – or choose anything else! 

Make this day and life special for everyone around. 

Reflections and Growth – As we have already seen, this is a day with greater spiritual significance than we realize. This is when you can take time off, and reflect upon the year that has gone by. Where we fell and grew, the achievements and improvements to be made – this is a good day to see where you are and where you want to be in all aspects.  

Offering Gratitude – Finally offer heartfelt gratitude to Bhagavan for all the hits and misses,the sorrows and joy and for the beautiful life and birthday celebrations, for just about everything!

Thus, a birthday celebration in Bharat’s advanced culture, is more like a spiritual fest of inner growth, seva and gratitude! It is truly a day for the seeker to be born again with fresh vigour. 

Incidentally both 2020 and 2019 were super special for me, because I could include most of these aspects in the celebrations on both days! The Star birthday especially in 2019 was truly special because I discovered an Ayyappa temple somewhere in a corner of Jaipur. It was indescribable for I also share my Nakshathram with Him. Let’s see what this year’s star birthday brings! 😀

Hope you like this blog and include some of the aspects mentioned in your celebrations too! And don’t forget to ask your elders when your Tithi or Star birthday is. 🙂 

Until Then,

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 🙂

Meditation – The Person You Want To Become

Hari Om! Welcome back to the voyage inward. 🙂 My heart can never thank all of you enough for the love and encouragement you’ll pour upon the blog. Thank You so much! 

The science of Vedanta advises the treatment of meditation for making a genius out of an ordinary man.

Swami Chinmayananda

Recently in a talk on the Hamsa Gita (from Shrimad Bhagavatam) by Swami Tejomayananda of Chinmaya Mission I heard of a different interpretation of meditation which led to this blog. 🙂 

Most of us are familiar with meditation as a concept and practise even if it has different types. But are we aware that all of us practise meditation even in daily life? That if we pay a little more attention, it can become a transforming experience? 

What is meditation? It is a single-pointed flow of thought towards our object of contemplation. At the highest level it is meditation upon the formless Self, the Divinity that pervades all. 

In another popular aspect, one meditates upon various forms of the Lord like Rama, Krishna, Shiva and so on. When one meditates upon Shri Krishna for instance, when our thoughts flow single-pointedly towards Him, our mind imbibes the ideals He stands for – of equanimity, purity, joy and so on. 

Thus it becomes Sattvic Dhyanam. What does that mean? Sattva is one of the Three Gunas or qualities – the other two being Rajas and Tamas. 

Yes meditation while living can be Rajasic and Tamasic too! For example, directing our energy in simply earning money or self-centered activities with zero regard for anything else is Rajasic. A mind turned towards activities like terrorism or calculatively destroying another person’s life is Tamasic. Think, don’t these activities also require single-pointed focus? 

Whereas, Sattva stands for purity, where the mind is completely calm, ready for a flight to the Self. Dhyanam is meditation. Sattvic Dhyanam purifies, it uplifts and transforms us! 

How can we translate this into our daily life? If we look closely – each of us summons this ability of single-pointedness at different points in our lifetime. Whether it is pursuing our goals or simple household chores. 

The question is how does it become self-transforming? How does it become Sattvic Dhyanam? 

For that we need to take our mind away from everything we want to pursue and look at, “What kind of person do we want to become?” 

For unless you build your life upon the ideals of integrity and goodness, no matter what you build, it will never be truly fulfilling! Of utmost importance is to be a good if not a great human being. 

Thoughts channelized towards our goal is Dhyanam. When our goal is high, when we are inspired to become good human beings with each passing day, the most simple actions naturally become inspired and brilliant – be it managing a company or taking care of your family! 🙂 

Look at the life of India’s former President, Bharat Ratna Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. A great scientist, teacher, writer and patriot. At the core lay a humble, brilliant human being standing on the foundation of strong yet simple spiritual values. He was both a scientist and a saint. 

There are countless such examples. Thus before becoming anything else ask yourself, “What kind of a person do you want to become?” 

The direction in which your thoughts flow – here lies the secret to a lifetime of goodness and brilliance. 

I would like to conclude with this befitting statement by late Actor Sushant Singh Rajput –

For those of you who would like to listen to that particular talk by Swami Tejomayananda – https://youtu.be/_hh2hMGMlLw

Here’s a beautiful compilation of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s speeches that I leave you with – https://youtu.be/-7TwMUyWSE0

See You Next Sunday,

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 🙂