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The creation of batik, a word meaning drawing and writing, is an indigenous Indonesian art, although influences from all corners of the world have enriched its inherently beautiful design. Fashions and furnishings are utilizing batik prints in increasing numbers, inspiring the acknowledgement of the beauty and true artistry of an extraordinary 2,000-year tradition. Batik prints are now seen in flower motifs, twining plants leaves and buds, birds, butterflies, fish, and geometric forms and patterns. There are nearly 3,000 innovations in batik patterns. To create batik, one draws patterns and designs by free hand with hot wax, following by painting between the waxed sections. Then the fabric is re-waxed, cloth dyed, and boiled. The waxed areas keep their original color and when the wax is removed, the contrast between the dyed and undyed areas makes the pattern. In the past, batik was considered a fitting occupation for aristocratic ladies whose delicately painted designs were a sign of cultivation and refinement just as fine needlework and playing the harp was for European ladies of similar position. One does not have to be an artist to achieve results. In fact, simplicity is the strong suit of creating batiks and some of its best effect is often achieved by chance.

Ma’s India carries a variety of sequined cloth batiks, some in awesomely brilliant colors as a backdrop for the various gods and goddess. When one looks open and admiringly at these brilliantly colorful and sequined batiks, one can feel as if they are visited and surrounded by the various gods and goddesses. For example, the Durga Batik Wall Hanging is no simple rendition of the goddess Durga. No, these batiks at Ma’s India are actually wall hangings meant to not only adorn the walls of aspirant, but to bring

the aspirant into an emotional and uplifting experience of the god or goddess. For example, the batik of the Goddess Durga with its luminescent purple background and bright orange-colored Durga encourages one to visually and spiritually attune to the energy emanating from this wall hanging. Ganesh Batik Wall Hanging and Hanuman Batik Wall Hanging are similar in the powerful feeling wrought by these wall hangings. They are all 33 x 44 inches.

A bit smaller are the batik cloth prints gaily and brightly adorned with sequins.

Ganesh Sequin Cloth Print and Reclining Ganesh Sequin Cloth Print have the colors orange, yellow and red predominating with actual gold sequins twinkling in the batiks. Om Sequin Cloth Print has a stark black background upon which the word “Om”
sits in bas-relief. People who desire a simple mantra upon which to reflect usually utilize the batik cloth print of Ganesh, Sarawati and Lakshmi Sequin Cloth Print which combine three gods and goddesses in a tripled effort towards manifesting abundance. Ganesh, remover of obstacles and Saraswati and Lakshmi, who bestow artistic talent and abundance, are for those people wishing to not only remove obstacles to their spiritual lives, but to also attract great abundance in their lives.

These wall hangings, batiks and cloth prints will add enormously to your spiritual practice. You will feel a divine essence as you gaze adoringly at your choice of hanging or print. May these wall hangings and cloths spiritually adorn your environment and lend their spiritual essence to your meditation!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Ramayana, a heroic story of grand proportions, is, together with the Mahabarata, two of the great epics of India. Ramayana, meaning Rama’s journey, consists of 24,000 verses in seven books or “kandas.” Traditionally, it is believed that Valmiki, known to be India’s first poet, is the author of this poetic tale of heroism, demonism, courage, sacrifice, loyalty and devotion. This grand epic of the Ramayana tells of Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, whose wife Sita is abducted by the evil Ravana, king of Lanka. The foundation of human existence and the concept of dharma or “right action” are explored in great depth. ” A singular book entitled Ramayana by William Buck retells the story of Rama and Sita in a very contemporary and readable fashion.

The main characters within the Ramayana are Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanumana and of course, the evil villain, Ravana, all typifying and symbolizing the cultural and spiritual beliefs of India. Rama is the epitome of virtue. His father Dasharatha is forced by his wife to command Rama to relinquish his right to the throne and go into exile. Sita follows her husband into exile and gets abducted by Ravana and imprisoned on the island of Lanka by Ravana. Ravana is a powerful demon king who received a boon that he cannot be killed by gods, demons or spirits. Bharata, another heroic figure within the Ramayana, goes in search of his brother Rama into the forest. When he meets up with Rama, Rama tells him that he does not wish to come back from his exile and thereupon Bharata takes his place upon the throne and puts Rama’s shoes upon it, thus signifying that Rama is the true king. This act of virtue is symbolic of the ethics and morality within the Ramayana. Ramayana by Ranchor Prime is a more traditional conveyance of the story of the Ramayana.

This powerful story of gods and demons and the contrast of vice and virtue is magnificently illustrated in Ramayana: A Tale of Gods & Demons by Prime and Sharma. Hanuman, an important incarnation of the god Shiva, plays an important part in the Ramayana by locating Sita in the battle that ensues later.

Hanuman’s Journey to the Medicine Mountain is a wonderful book for children, telling the story of Hanuman’s journey to rescue Sita and Rama. Hanuman is the major prototype of devotion and obligation within the Ramayana and is honored ever after by all devotees wishing to manifest devotion and love.

The Ramayana is divided into several major “kandas” or books that deal chronologically with major events in the life of Rama: These “kandas” of the Ramayana start from the birth of Rama all the way to his final departure from the world. In between are the forest life of Rama, the eventual kidnapping and finally, the fierce battle between Rama and Ravana’s armies, symbolizing of course the eventual victory of good over evil. The fifth book of the Ramayana, for those who are Hanuman devotees, particularly narrates the heroism of Hanuman and his flight to Lanka and meeting with Sita. This “kanda” has been considered the most readable of all the “kandas.”

May your own life be seen as the victory of spirit and goodness prevailing. Om Sri Hanumanji Ki Jai!

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Links to this post icon18_email-1918900icon18_edit_allbkg-1927380 Shiva means “Auspicious One” and is also known as Rudra, the “Feared One.” He is silent in his presentation as the contemplative Shiva and fierce in his incarnation as Rudra. In the tradition of Hinuism, Shiva is seen as the Supreme God, and those who worship him are known as Shaivites.

One of the most interesting things is that Shiva is represented in so many different forms. He sits as a contemplative on the Banks of the Ganga and on top of Mount Kailash or dances as Nataraj, the Dancing Shiva, upon the Goddess Maya, the demon of ignorance. An even simpler form of Shiva is the Shiva lingham, an esoteric representation of Shiva. To the devotees, the Shiva lingham represents the last form to be seen before dissolving into the arms of God. 

A beautiful God, Shiva is usually pictured with his eyes half closed with the River Ganga wrapped in his hair, carrying a trident. Sometimes he is depicted with a Third Eye with which he burns desire. Known as the “one with matted hair,”Shiva smears his body with ash, thus symbolizing his connection to the cremation grounds. This connection to the cremation grounds attracts a fierce and ascetic devotion amongst Shiva’s followers.

It is also mythologized that Shiva wrapped the Ganga in his hair so that when the Ganga took incarnation, she would not flood and destroy the world. A deeper symbolism would be that Shiva is entwined with the beautiful Goddess Ganga and together with her, watches over humanity,keeping it foremost in his mind even while deep in contemplation.

A lesser known and most powerful aspect of Shiva is that he took the lowly form of Hanuman so that in that incarnation, he presents not just a lofty, detached form of God, but humility in the form of the lowly monkey. However, in this form of Hanuman, Shiva does not lose his fierceness and in fact Hanuman, now known as Bhajarangi Hanuman, is shown carrying the mountain as he travels to save Sita from the evil Ravenna.

Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva represent the three aspects of the Divine: Brahma, the creator, Vishnu as the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva as the destroyer. It is believed that if Shiva were to put his foot down in his form as Nataraj, the world would be destroyed.

The question arises as to how one might pray to any of these triune forms. Would one pray to Brahma for help in creating, to Vishnu for preservation and maintenance of one’s life or to Shiva, for change or transformation of one’s life in a drastic, tumultuous fashion? It is comforting to know that as one progresses upon the spiritual life, one may reach out to any one of these Gods for help on their path, such is the wisdom and compassion of the Hindu religions for their devotees. There is no fundamentalism and one is encouraged to pray to any God one wishes. They await your prayers. Om Namah Shivaya!

For these and more Shiva books and statues visit Ma’s India Spiritual Gifts.

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Hanuman is the monkey god of India. It is believed that Hanuman is another incarnation of Shiva, the great Sadhu God, who took form as a “lowly” monkey to show his humility. Hanuman is also known as Pavanasuta, Lord of the Wind, Maruti, Like the Wind, Ram Dass, Servant of Lord Ram, and Mahavira, Great Warrior. Like Krishna, he extends his compassion to devotees by appearing in many aspects so that all may worship him. Known as a great warrior serving bravely on behalf of humanity, he is most remarkably revered for his humility, service and compassion for humanity. Because of his supreme abilities to help people or animals in need, one needs only to turn to him as the “remover of distress.”

In Hinduism, a murti, or statue, typically refers to an image or deity in which a divine spirit is expressed. Hindus consider a murti or statue worthy of worship after the divine is invoked in it for the purpose of offering worship. Thus the murti or statue is regarded by Hindus and Buddhists during worship as a point of devotional and meditational focus.

One of the most popular statues is the Hanuman statue or murti. Tiny Hanuman Statues are often carried in one’s pockets or placed upon an altar as a reminder of the attribute one wishes to cultivate.

Hanuman loves Ram above all things. His simplicity is revealed as he becomes lost in the name of Rama, forgetting himself completely and who must be reminded of his incredible power. The Hanuman statue, in the kneeling aspect, is a powerful representation of Hanuman’s devotion to Rama and as one gazes on it, one feels the energy emanating from the power of this 19″ Tall Hanuman Statue.

A lesser-known attribute of Hanuman is his ability to bring humor and laughter. His representation as a mischievous, young monkey, is seen in this smaller lightweight version of Hanuman Kneeling. Note the fine detailing in this ivory-like Hanuman statue.

Hanuman is depicted in many pictures as flying with a mountain in one hand signifying his strength and a dorje in the other hand, signifying will, the qualities of the supreme warrior on behalf of mankind. When one is confronted with difficulties in one’s life, one needs only to gaze on this colorful and alive Hanuman Holding The Mountain statue for needed assistance and strength.

Lastly, amongst these Hanuman statues, we meet Hanuman in the Mandir safely ensconced in this quality-crafted mandir, a protective enclosure for his divinity. This Hanuman statue is attractively suitable for altars and puja tables.

Hail to Lord Hanuman!!

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