Tag Archives: Hinduism

Pterospermum acerifolium

Botanical name:Pterospermum acerifolium
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Pterospermum
Species: P. acerifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Name : Karnikara tree. The classification Pterospermum is based on two Greek words, Pteron and Sperma, meaning “winged seed.” There is an array of common names for Pterospermum acerifolium, depending on the region where it is grown. It is commonly referred to as Kanak Champa, Muchakunda or Karnikar Tree within its native range. Other common names include Bayur Tree, Maple-Leafed Bayur Tree, and Dinner Plate Tree.

Habitat :Pterospermum acerifolium is an angiosperm indigenous to Southeast Asia, from India to Burma.It is most likely to grow naturally along forested stream banks.

Description:
It is a relatively a large tree, growing up to thirty meters tall. Mostly planted as an ornamental or shade tree, the leaves, flowers, and wood of Pterospermum acerifolium can serve a variety functions.

The leaves of the Pterospermum acerifolium are palmately ribbed and have stipules. The leaves grow in an alternate insertion arrangement. Leaf shape can range from oblong, broadly obovate to ovate. Leaf edges are commonly dentate (toothed) or irregularly lobed. Many leaves tend to droop downward, giving the tree the appearance that it is wilting, when in fact it could have a sufficient amount of water available. The top side of the leaves is a dark green color with a glabrescent texture. The leaves are rough and rubbery to limit the loss of moisture in a hot climate. The bottom side of the leaves range from a silver to rust color and are pubescent. The bark of the tree is grey in color and is considered to be fairly soft. Small twigs and new growth can sometimes seem feathery and are commonly more of a rusty-brown color. Leaves have a peltate blade base, meaning the insertion of the petiole is at the center of the leaf.

Click to see the pictures   :

The  tree produces large, white, finger shaped flowers in the spring. Flowers begin as one long bud, then separating into five more slender sepals as it matures. Each sepal can be up to seven inches long. The sepals of the flower curl outward and around the white and gold stamen located at the center. The flowers are nocturnal and exceptionally fragrant, suggesting they attract moths for pollination. Successfully pollinated flowers produce a fruit in the form of a hard capsule. The fruit has a very rough texture and is sometimes covered in brown hairs. Fruits can take a very long time to completely mature; up to an entire year. The capsule then splits open releasing a massive number of “winged seeds.” Because it takes such a long period to reproduce, it seems the Bayur tree can be outcompeted by other faster growing plants. It is not widely distributed or common in natural environments, but is popular plant in gardens and landscaping.

Other Uses:
As mentioned before, one of the common names for Pterospermum acerifolium is the Dinner Plate Tree. The utilization of the leaves is exactly what the name depicts. Mature leaves are very large, reaching a length and width of up to thirty five centimeters. They can be used as actual dinner plates or as packaging and storage by wrapping materials inside.
The leaves can also serve as a primitive method of re-enforcing roofs and preventing leaks.

The reddish wood of the Pterospermum acerifolium can be used for planking. Because the wood is soft, it is not considered to be very strong. However it is incredibly durable and somewhat flexible, making it perfect for planking and wooden boxes. The Bayur Tree even serves a cultural function. Local Hindu people employ the plant for religious purposes. it’s bark is also supposed to be used in case of scabies topical preparation in lipstics.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterospermum_acerifolium
http://www.ask.com/wiki/Pterospermum_acerifolium?o=3986&qsrc=999

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The Heart of Unknowing

Who Am I? .……………..
At some point in our lives, or perhaps at many points in our lives, we ask the question, “Who am I?” At times like these, we are looking beyond the obvious, beyond our names and the names of the cities and states we came from, into the layers beneath our surface identities. We may feel the need for a deeper sense of purpose in our lives, or we may be ready to accommodate a more complex understanding of the situation in which we find ourselves. Whatever the case, the question of who we are is a seed that can bear much fruit.

It can send us on an exploration of our ancestry, or the past lives of our soul. It can call us to take up journaling in order to discover that voice deep within us that seems to know the answers to a multitude of questions. It can draw our attention so deeply inward that we find the spark of spirit that connects us to every living thing in the universe. One Hindu tradition counsels its practitioners to ask the question over and over, using it as a mantra to lead them inevitably into the heart of the divine.

While there are people who seem to come into the world knowing who they are and why they are here, for the most part the human journey appears to be very much about asking this question and allowing its answers to guide us on our paths. So when we find ourselves in the heart of unknowing, we can have faith that we are in a very human place, as well as a very divine one. “Who am I?” is a timeless mantra, a Zen koan ultimately designed to lead us home, into the part of our minds that finally lets go of questions and answers and finds instead the ability to simply be.

Source: Daily Om

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Rudraksha

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Botanical Name : :. Elaeocarpus sphaericus
Family Name: Elaeocarpaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Oxalidales
Genus: Elaeocarpus
Species: E. ganitrus
vernacular Name: Sans,.Rudraksha; Hind: Rudraki; Eng : Ultrasum-bead tree

Habitat :
The Rudraksha tree grows in the area from the Gangetic Plain in foothills of the Himalayas to South-East Asia, Indonesia, New Guinea to Australia, Guam and even Hawaii. Rudraksha trees are also found in middle areas of Nepal.

Description:
Rudraksha Plant Elaeocarpus is a large genius of evergreen trees. It has nearly 36 sister species, including Rudraksha. All trees bearing white flowers with fringed petals developing into drupaceous fruit resembling olive. The main trunk of rudraksha tree is cylindrical. Its section is circular. Bark is grayish white and rough in texture with small vertical lenticels and narrow horizontal furrows. The branches of Rudraksha spread in all directions is such a way that when growing in natural habitat, the crown takes the shape of a pyramid. The leaves of rudraksha are shining green above and dull coriaceous below. The flowers are ovoid, conical, elongate, nearly 1 to 2 cm in diameter. These appear in April-May. The fruit is globose and drupaceous having a fleshy exterior. The beads inside is hard and tubercled. The fruit starts appearing in June and ripens by august to october.Farming of Rudraksha is a difficult process due to its slow sprouting from the beads which usually takes about 1 to 2 years depending on the humidity of soil. Rudraksha is basically grown in subtropical climatic region with temperature ranges from 25to 30degree centigrade. Once Rudraksha are planted it starts giving fruit after 7 years and thereafter for long time. In the single tree Rudraksha beads comes in all different faces at the same time but higher mukhis or faces are vary rare to find where most of Rudraksha beads are five faces Rudraksha beads come in seasonal pattern every year around mid august to mid october from the tree.The Himalayan Beads simply seem to be larger, heavier and more powerful due to the environment they grow in. So it is a certainty that environment and specifically the location of the Rudraksa Trees plays a key role in their growth.Rudraksha tree are easy to grow and once established,a rudraksha tree will last for years with a little care.

.Click to see picture of  Rudraksha tree.,,

Rudraksha Tree starts bearing fruit in three to four years. As the tree matures, the roots buttress rising up narrowly near the trunk and radiating out along the surface of the ground giving a gnarly and prehistoric appearance.Rudraksha seeds are covered by an outer shell of blue color when fully ripe, and for this reason are also known as blueberry beads. The blue colour is derived not from pigment but is structural.

Rudraksha Beads:
Rudraksha beads are the material from which sacred garlands (108 beads in number) are made. The term is used both for the berries themselves and as a term for the type of m?l? made from them. In this sense, a rudraksha is a Saivite rosary, used for japa mala. Repetitive prayer (japa) is a common aid to worship in Hinduism, and Rudraksha m?l? are worn by many Hindus. Rudraksha is also used for treatment of various diseases in traditional Indian medicine.

The berries show variation in the number of grooves on their surface, and are classified on the basis of the number of divisions that they have. A common type has five divisions, and these are considered to be symbolic of the five faces of Shiva.

The Rudraksh seeds are brittle in nature and so should be protected from chemicals.

The best way to find the authenticity of a rudraksha is to get it X-rayed and count the number of compartments inside. If they are equal to the number of lines outside the rudraksha is real.

This rudraksha mala is made from fine (not rough), ripe and hard “real” rudraksha seeds that “SINKS IN WATER”.

Rudraksha seeds (beads) are used for spiritual mala or rosary such as in Hindu and Buddhism. Rudraksha trees are grown in the Himalayan villages of Nepal (the native homeland of Rudraksha) which are favored and valued more than other Rudraksha malas.

Religious Use:-
Rudraksha mala has been used by Hindus (as well as Sikhs and Buddhists) as rosary for thousands of years for meditation purposes to sanctify the mind, body and soul. The word Rudraksha is derived from Rudra (Shiva—the Hindu God of all living creatures) and aksha (eyes). So, Rudraksha is related to Shiva’s eyes. One Hindu mythology says that once Lord Shiva became so compassionate after seeing the sufferings of mankind that He could not stop to shed tear from his eye. This single tear from Shiva’s eye grew into the Rudraksha tree. Rudraksha fruit is green in color but turns black when dried. The central hard Rudraksha uniseed may have 1 to 21 faces. The five-faced Rudraksha seeds are the most common. Besides as rosary for meditation, the Rudraksha mala is often used as a fashionable necklace or a bracelet. Thus it serves the dual purpose of fashion and protects the wearer psychologically.

Use as Timber
The wood of Rudraksh tree is light coloured almost whitish in appearance. It has a unique strength-to-weight ratio, making it valued for its timber. The wood of Rudraksha Tree was used to make aeroplane propellers during World War I.

The Mantra of Rudraksha
:-
Japa mantra for Rudraksha mala: Om Hreem Shivaya

Rudraksha rules the planet: Jupiter

Spiritual Belives that Rudraksha Cures: Depression, stress, diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, blood related diseases etc

Japa method:
Hold the mala from the middle finger. Start meditation from the 1st bead next to the guru bead (109th bead outside the mala ring that is closest to the bunch of threads). Pull the bead one by one towards yourself with the thumb while recalling/reciting/chanting “Om Hreem Shivaya” & crossing and pulling the beads by the tip of the thumb. After completing the japa until the 108th bead (the bead just before the guru bead) turn around the mala by your thumb and start the japa again from the 108th bead and continue up to the 1st bead. Repeat the above process. Do not touch the mala with the index finger, little finger and the fingernails.

Medicinal Uses of Rudraksha:-
Rudraksha bead is a natural tranquilizer and it has been proved that wearing Rudraksha around heart controlled heart beat and keeps blood pressure under control. For this, it is necessary that the Rudrakasha bead should touch the heart. People with the problem of high blood pressure can also take Rudraksha as a medicine. Dip two Beads of Five Mukhi Rudraksh in a glass of water in night and let them immersed in water for whole night. Drink that water in the morning, before any other intake. You can use any metal for the vessel except copper.

» Rudraksha also imposes positive effect on Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Palpitations and Lack of Concentration.
» It cools down the body temperature and brings calm to mind. Those who suffer from anxiety should keep big size Five
Mukhi Rudraksh with themselves and whenever they feel nervous, they should hold them tight in their right palm for ten
minutes. It will help them to regain their confidence and their body would become stable.
» Rudrakasha is an excellent bead for pregnant women. Wearing Garbh Gauri Rudraksha helps women who have problems in
conceiving a child and are prone to abortion. Rudraksha is also useful for women suffering from hysteria and coma.
» Rudraksha also help to cure prolonged cough, the paste of ten-faced Rudrakasha with milk relieves prolonged cough. This
medicine should be taken thrice a day. It can be used as a cure for skin diseases, sores, ringworm, pimples, boils and
burns also.
» Rudraksha is also good for children who suffer from frequent fever. Such children should wear three-faced Rudrakasha.
» To cure smallpox equal quantity of black pepper and Rudrakasha should be powdered and taken with water.
» Rudraksha is also useful in mental diseases. Milk boiled with four faced Rudrakasha seed is good medicine for mental
diseases. This also helps in increasing your memory.
» Rudraksha also possess anti ageing property.

You may click to see :->MEDICINAL & SCIENTIFIC VALUE OF RUDRAKASHA

Acording to Ayurveda:-
It is amla, ushna; pacifies demaged vata and kapha; relieves headache; appetizing and beneficial in mental diseases.

Part Used: Fruits.

Therapeutic Uses:

Fruits: In the treatment of headache and epileptic fits.the fruits are sour, thermogenic, appetizer, useful in cough, bronchitis, neuralgia ,cephalgia, anorexia, epileptic fitts, manic conditions, brain disorders.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudraksha
http://www.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm#rudraksha

http://www.india-shopping.net/rudraksha/medicinal_propertiesof_rudraksha.htm

http://www.rudraksha-ratna.com/articledt.php?art_id=129

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Lotus Flower

Name : Padma

Botanical Name: Nelumbo nucifera
Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Magnoliophyta

Class:
Magnoliopsida

Order: Proteales

Family: Nelumbonaceae

Genus: Nelumbo

Species: N. nucifera

Other names: Blue lotus, Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, and sacred water-lily.

Bengali  Name : Padma Phul

Lotuses are 5 species of water lilies, three in the genus Nymphaea and two in Nelumbo; both genera are members of the water-lily family, Nymphaea lotus, the Egyptian white lotus, is believed to be the original sacred lotus of ancient Egypt. It and the Egyptian blue lotus, N. caerulea, were often pictured in ancient Egyptian art.

The common Egyptian “lotus” is actually correctly called a water lily: the white lotus opens at dusk, the blue water lilly opens in the morning.

The white lotus is a shallow-water, night-blooming plant with a creeping rootstock (rhizome) that sends up long-stalked, nearly circular, dark green leathery leaves, which float on the surface. The flowers, up to 25 cm (10 in) across, remain open until midday. The blue lotus is a smaller, less showy day-blooming plant.

Habitat:
Grows along lakes and rivers in wet soil.Now lotus flower is grown in most of the countries in the world.
Cultural Significance:
The lotus flower appeared in legends originating from ancient Egypt. It played an important part in ancient Egyptian religion. The pure white lotus flower, the only plant to fruit and flower simultaneously, emerges from the depths of the muddy swamp. Growing from the mud at the bottom of ponds and streams, the exquisite Lotus flower rises above the water and is usually white or pink with 15 or more oval, spreading petals, and a peculiar, flat seedcase at its center.

The lotus flower has been featured extensively throughout the art of ancient Egypt. In various works of art, you may see it held in the hand of a god or human, serving as a border to outline a section of the artwork, unfolding to reveal various gods or humans, and many other depictions. The ancient Egyptians from the 4th dynasty greatly valued the sacred lotus, in religious ceremonies and funerals. The ancient Egyptians developed the art of counting to a high degree, but their system of numeration was very crude. For example, the number 1,000 was symbolized by a picture of a lotus flower, and the number 2,000 was symbolized by a picture of two lotus flowers growing out of a bush.

Hindus associate the lotus (Padma) blossom with creation mythology, and with the gods Vishnu, Brahma, and the goddesses Lakshmi and Sarasvati. From ancient times the lotus has been a divine symbol in Hindu tradition. It is often used as an example of divine beauty, for example Vishnu is often described as the ‘Lotus-Eyed One’. Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise. Particularily Brahma and Lakshmi, the divinities of potence and wealth, have the lotus symbol associated with them. In Hindu iconography, deities often are depicted with lotus flowers as their seats. In Hindi it is called कमल (Kamal) which is also a popular name for men, the female form is Kamala.

The lotus flower is quoted extensively within Puranic and Vedic literature, for example:

One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water. Bhagavad Gita 5.10

Borrowing from Hinduism, in Buddhist symbolism, the lotus represents purity of body, speech, and mind, floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. The Buddha is often depicted sitting on a giant lotus leaf or blossom. According to legend, he was born with the ability to walk and everywhere he stepped, lotus flowers bloomed.

Drawing in turn on these Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, the international Bahá’í community adopted this symbolism in the design of the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India.

The Chinese also revere the sacred lotus as a symbol of purity and elegance, and it is a common motif in ancient Chinese poetry. A famous statement about the lotus’ symbolism in Chinese culture is made by Confucian scholar Zhou Dunyi: I love the lotus because, while growing from mud, it is unstained.

Click to see:>Padma
Description:
Lotus offers one of the highest spiritual vibrations amongst other flowers. It is a water plant growing in shallow ponds, lagoons, marshes and flooded fields. Of immense spiritual essence its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise. It is found in parts of the Middle East, Asia, Australia, New Guinea and throughout India.

…click to see the pictures….>….(1)…..(2)..(3)......(4)...(5)..…..(6)...

The long stemmed lotus plant with its base on the muddy bottoms of the ponds bloom full to its glory above the water. It is usually white or pink with large attractive petals and a flat seedcase at its center. Leathery textured leaves, dark green in colour they are disc-shaped and up to 90 cm wide. It blooms at night. This plant is an aquatic perennial, but if its seeds are preserved under favorable circumstances, they may remain viable for many years. Lotus plant should be planted in spring, in sunny areas in medium or clay loam. Lotus is considered sacred among Buddhists and Hindus. It is the symbol of sun, of creation and rebirth and one of the important flowers used for the worship of Devi Durga.

The roots of Nelumbo nucifera are planted in the soil of the pond or river bottom, while the leaves float on top of the water surface. The flowers are usually found on thick stems rising several centimeters above the water. The plant normally grows up to a height of about 150 cm and a horizontal spread of up to 3 meters, but some unverified reports place the height as high as over 5 meters. The leaves may be as large as 60 cm in diameter, while the showy flowers can be up to 20 cm in diameter.

There are a number of different cultivars, the flower colours varying from snow white to yellow to a light pink. It is hardy to USDA Zone 5. The plant can be propagated from seeds or rhizomes. One of the oldest seeds that have yet been germinated into a viable plant was an approximately 1,300-year-old lotus fruit, recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.

Medicinal Uses:
The various parts of the lotus are prepared in many ways. Leaves are often used fresh to staunch bleeding and reduce fever as a poultice, and have been prepared in various ways to treat a wide variety of ills. These preparations include decoctions, alcohol extraction, boiling to paste and dried in tea.

Traditional medicine has used the lotus leaf, stamen, stem, flower and root to treat a wide variety of ills. Modern science has identified at least seven different chemical actions that support the traditional uses. The most potent of these are the astringent qualities and antibacterial action of the flowers and leaves. Lotus leaves also have an unusual quality that has been widely studied in Western science * the ability to remain dry in water. Among the conditions that the lotus leaf has been used to treat are piles, leprosy, parasites, fever, vomiting, infection, ringworm and sexually transmitted diseases.

Precautions
The lotus is widely consumed as a food throughout southern Asia. There are no cautions connected with its use.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.kingtutshop.com/freeinfo/Lotus-Flower.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_flower
http://www.bangalinet.com/bengal_plants1.html

 

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Staying Sharp: Meditation – Not Just for Yogis

by Phil Scott

You expect a meditation teacher’s voice to be calm and soothing, and Jim Malloy of the World Wide Online Meditation Center doesn’t disappoint. He sounds reassuring, peaceful   and, dare I say it? ……“ enlightened. For good reason: Malloy first discovered meditation just out of high school, and he’s been teaching it for 33 years now. What he says about it sounds familiar and yet astonishing: Meditation improves heart health and brain functions, makes meditators feel better, and helps them maintain their mental clarity and emotional balance through the day.

.Illustration by Timothy Cook for NRTA Live & Learn.

CLICK & SEE

According to a 1983 Harvard study of Transcendental Meditation, it increases longevity; cognitive, perceptual, and behavioral flexibility; and learning ability in older adults. In a recent study, University of Kentucky researchers tested a group of students before and after 40 minutes of meditation, napping, exercise, or consuming caffeine. The researchers found that the subjects had improved reaction time after meditating. In addition, those who had gone without sleep the prior evening and then meditated in the morning performed better than others who also hadn’t slept but skipped the meditation.  CLICK & SEE

Check your local meditation or yoga centers; many will offer inexpensive or even free workshops.
Meditation can improve physical health, too. “It can boost your immune system, improving influenza immunity and response to the [flu] vaccine,” says Michael R. Irwin, MD, a professor at UCLA‘s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. “Moving meditation can boost shingles immunity.

The Meditating Brain
So how does it work? According to Irwin, when you’re excited or upset you experience an increase in the outflow from the sympathetic nervous system, elevating your blood pressure and heart rate. Meditation produces a counteracting increase in the outflow of the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart, constricts the pupils, and dilates blood vessels. “Chanting a mantra alters brain waves because you’re focusing on the same sound,” he continues. “Like when you sing ‘Ave Maria.’ It regulates the breathing and increases the parasympathetic outflow from the brain.

Meditation doesn’t take special equipment. Unless a mantra counts. “Traditionally in Hindu culture the mantra was passed on from guru to disciple,” Malloy says. But he adds that anything will do in a pinch: concentrating on your breath while saying “Om,” or counting from 1 to 10 over and over. “A mantra is not confined to Hinduism. The Rosary is a mantra; ‘Amen,’ that’s a mantra.” And, apparently, so is ‘Ave Maria.’

Perfect Focus Not Required
After settling on a mantra, sit down and close your eyes. Gently focus your attention on the mantra, your breath. If your attention wanders, to bills, changing your car’s oil, or Dancing with the Stars, just gently bring it back; a wandering mind is a natural part of meditation. “People have misconceptions,” says Malloy.   They think you have to turn off your mind, make it blank. Trying to force your mind to become blank is like trying to force yourself to go to sleep.  But something will happen: Relaxation. Lower blood pressure. Boosted immune system. Malloy recommends meditating for a mere 10 minutes a day. After a month, he says, increase it to 20 minutes, if you feel like it. You’ll begin to reap the benefits right away.

Sources:http://www.aarp.org/learntech/wellbeing/staying_sharp_meditation.html