Applying Tilak on the Forehead: On the forehead, between the two eyebrows; is a spot, that is considered as a major nerve point in human body; since ancient times. The Tilak is believed to prevent the loss of “energy”, the red ‘kumkum’ between the eyebrows is said to retain energy in the human body and control the various levels of concentration. While applying kumkum the points on the mid-brow region and Adnya-chakra are automatically pressed. This also facilitates the blood supply to the face muscles.
Why do Temples have Bells: People who are visiting the temple should ring the bell before entering the inner sanctum (Garbha gudi or Garbha Gruha or womb-chamber), where the main idol is placed. According to Agama Sastra, the bell is used to give sound for keeping evil forces away and the ring of the bell is pleasant to God. However, the scientific reason behind bells is that their ring clears our mind and helps us stay sharp and keep our full concentration on devotional purpose. These bells are made in such a way that when they produce a sound it creates a unity in the left and right parts of our brains. The moment we ring the bell, it produces a sharp and enduring sound which lasts for minimum of 7 seconds in echo mode. The duration of echo is good enough to activate all the seven healing centres in our body. This results in emptying our brain from all negative thoughts.
Why do we have Navratris: Our living style has drastically changed if we compare it to the society hundreds & thousands of years ago. The traditions which we follow in present are not establishments of today but of the past. Ever thought, why do we have Navratris twice a year unlike other festivals like Deepavali or Holi? Well, both these months are the months of changing seasons and the eating habits of both the seasons are quite different from each other. Navratris give enough time to the body to adjust and prepare itself for to the changing season. These nine days were marked as a period when people would clean their body system by keeping fasts by avoiding excessive salt and sugar, meditate, gain a lot of positive energy, gain a lot of self confidence & increase the self determination power (fasts are a medium to improve our will power and self determination) and finally get ready to the challenges of the changed season.
Why do we worship Tulsi Plant: Hindu religion has bestowed ‘Tulsi’, with the status of mother. Also known as ‘Sacred or Holy Basil’, Tulsi; has been recognized as a religious and spiritual devout in many parts of the world. The Vedic sages knew the benefits of Tulsi and that is why they personified it as a Goddess and gave a clear message to the entire community that it needs to be taken care of by the people, literate or illiterate. We try to protect it because it is like Sanjeevini for the mankind. Tulsi has great medicinal properties. It is a remarkable antibiotic. Taking Tulsi everyday in tea or otherwise increases immunity and help the drinker prevent diseases, stabilize his or her health condition, balance his or her body system and most important of all, prolong his or her life. Keeping Tulsi plant at home prevents insects and mosquitoes from entering the house. It is said that snakes do not dare to go near a Tulsi plant. Maybe that is why ancient people would grow lots of Tulsi near their houses.
Why do we worship Peepal Tree: ‘Peepal’ tree is almost useless for an ordinary person, except for its shadow. ‘Peepal’ does not a have a delicious fruit, its wood is not strong enough for any purpose then why should a common villager or person worship it or even care for it? Our ancestors knew that ‘Peepal’ is one of the very few trees (or probably the only tree) which produces oxygen even at night. So in order to save this tree because of its unique property they related it to God/religion.
Importance of lighting a ghee-lamp in front of the altar
The main spiritual objective in lighting a candle or lamp in front of the altar (images or symbols of God) is to imbibe the sattvikta emanating from the altar. When we light a candle, not only are we unable to imbibe the sattvikta, we also spread tamasik vibrations in our environment. On the other hand, when we light a ghee-lamp, we are best able to imbibe the sattvikta. Taking this into consideration, as far as possible we can try to light a ghee-lamp in front of the altar.