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Sacred Designs: the Yantra

Sacred Designs: the Yantra

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Sacred Objects | 0 comments

  Maha Sri Yantra Sun Yantra The general meaning of the word yantra is “a machine,” and so in this sense a washing machine, a television or even a computer is a yantra. In a religious context a yantra is a symbolic diagram that represents a Deity and is used primarily for puja and meditation. Yantras are generally inscribed onto thin copper or silver...

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Religious Marks: Tilaka/Tika

Religious Marks: Tilaka/Tika

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Sacred Objects | 0 comments

  Going hand in hand with religious denomination (sampradaya) are the religious marks worn by the devotees of the the various schools of Hindu theology. These marks are called tilaka, or in Hindi and many other regional languages, tika. The tilaka is a religious mark worn mainly on the forehead and is made primarily of sandal paste, clay, or ash. The...

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God’s Feet: Shathari

God’s Feet: Shathari

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Sacred Objects | 0 comments

  The Shathari The shathari is an altar implement used primarily in South Indian style “Balaji” temples. There is a famous temple in South India, just north of Chennai (Madras), that is dedicated to a particular form of Vishnu known as Shri Venkateshwara orBalaji for short. Modeled after this original Balaji temple, many cities in the West now have a...

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A Sacred Plant: Tulasi

A Sacred Plant: Tulasi

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Sacred Objects | 0 comments

  Krishna Tulasi Thai Tulasi The tulasi plant is a small perennial shrub in the mint family that is native to India and which is venerated by Hindus in general and Vaishnavas in particular. The botanical name is ocimum tenuiflorum or sometimes, ocimum sanctum, the sacred Basil. In Hindi and other north Indian languages the name is written just a tulsi....

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Divine Blessings: Prasada

Divine Blessings: Prasada

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Sacred Objects | 0 comments

  An offering of Bhoja There is a general understanding that the food offered to a Deity during puja orarchana is called prasada. This is incorrect. Prasada is what comes back to the worshipper after offering something to the Deity. In fact, prasada is not necessarily food at all. The word prasada means “mercy” or “blessings.” The...

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Why do Hindus wear marks on the forehead?

Why do Hindus wear marks on the forehead?

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Sacred Objects | 0 comments

  In Sanskrit the name for these marks is tilaka, which literally means, “ornament.” In Hindi the word is shortened to tika. There are three basic uses for tilaka marks. Two are most common: the mark (bindu) worn by ladies as part of their makeup, and the red “dot” that is applied during puja. A third use has to do with religious designation and is worn...

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