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Pranayama The Lifeforce

Pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit words - Prana (life force) and Ayama (control). Therefore, in its broadest description, Pranayama (Lifeforce) would mean the control of the flow of life force. One of the initiation techniques into Pranayama is through the practice of Yogic Breathing or Yoga Breathing. Yogic Breathing helps us break down and understand our breathing better as being composed of diaphragmatic and thoracic breathing. Although this breathing technique forms a basis to advanced Pranayama techniques, it leads to important benefits of its own and provides us a glimpse of what we are capable of reaching through Pranayama.

Maha Shivatri Rituals

From the very early morning, Shiva temples are flocked by devotees, young and old, who come to perform the traditional Shivalingam worship (puja) and hence hope for favours from the god. Devotees bathe at sunrise, preferably in the Ganga, or any other holy water source (like the Shiva Sagartank at Khajurao). This is a purificatory rite, an important part of all Hindu festivals. Wearing a clean piece of clothing after the holy bath, worshippers carry pots of water to the temple to bathe the Shivalingam. They offer prayers to the sun, Vishnu and Shiva.Women pray for the well-being of their husbands and sons. An unmarried woman prays for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband. The temple reverberates with the sound of bells and shouts of “Shankerji ki Jai” meaning “Hail Shiva” .

Somavati Amavasya

Somavati Amavasya is one of the most important and auspicious days that occur every year. This is not a recurring event and hence, should be given adequate importance in terms the benefits derived from the worship and charity done of this day.

When the day of Amavasya (dark moon lunar phase ) falls on a Monday , it is known as Somavati Amavasya (Soma is a synonymous word for Moon). Moon has a very special importance in Astrology as it governs our mind. Thoughts originate in the mind and thoughts get converted into action so Moon should be inherently powerful to deliver positive and optimistic thoughts. People with weak Moon are indecisive and pessimistic in nature and their mind does not rest on a single subject so they turn fickle minded and try to accomplish multiple tasks unreasonably.

Worship of Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva or Siva is worshipped in His Saguna aspect in the form of Shivalingam. Generally Shivabhaktas do Panchayatana Puja. In this Puja, Lord Shiva, Ganesa, Parvati, Suryanarayana and Saligram are duly worshipped. Get the Panchayatana Murtis on an auspicious day. Install them with great faith in your own house. Conduct special prayers, Archana, Puja, Abhisheka, and feeding of Brahmins, Mahatmas and the poor on a grand scale. Install the deity in a separate room. Worship the Lord daily with all sincerity and faith. You will have all wealth, peace of mind, attainment of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha also. You will lead a prosperous life and enter the Immortal abode of Shiva-Sayujya, on death.

How to Worship the Lord Shiva at Home

Shiva or Shivling lingam connects a devotee with the Supreme Being – Lord Shiva. The lingam is the symbol of Lord Shiva and the lingam puja helps the devotee in understanding Lord Shiva. The Lord cannot be described but still we say he is without a beginning and an end and is without a form. It is difficult for a devotee to understand this formless nature. Therefore Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga before Brahma and Vishnu. The Lingam thus is a symbol of Lord Shiva. Each Lingam puja, step by step, takes the devotee to the eternal truth – that he/she is part of the Supreme Being. The Lord Shiva (the aspect of God who destroys ignorance) Puja (worship) is of two kinds. One is scriptural and the other is devotional - non-scriptural. The scriptural books of worship are called Agama. The devotional books are called Nigama.