At the end of prayers and pujas, it’s routine for devotees to call out a small praise or recite the many names of Bhagvan. So, for my posts, I always add a small praise to Bhagvan (God), depending on which facet of Bhagvan was guiding me through the question or was on my mind whilst answering.
For the question that I ended with “Jai Bum Bhole!”, or “Jai Bhole Nath!” I was thinking of Lord Shiva. Bum is the one of the beej (seed/root) mantras to Lord Shiva. Bhole Nath is one of the 108 names of Lord Shiva which means the ‘Kind Hearted One’.
Jai means ‘victory to…’, ‘praises to…’ or ‘reverence to…’. For example:
Jai Sri Krishna (which I use a lot) means ‘Praises to Lord Krishna’.
Jai Bajrangbali means ‘Victory to Lord Hanuman’ (He with the strength of a diamond).
Jai Bhavani Maa means ‘Reverence to Mother Durga’ (She like the abode of the universe).
I hope I’ve helped!
Jai Ambe Maa! (Victory to gentle Mother Durga!)
The traditional Sanskrit OM is symbolic of Hinduism, while other variations of the OM are often symbolic of other religious streams that have taken on the OM from its Hindu roots. However, since India has thousands of languages, there are regional variations of the symbol. The Devanagari writing (Hindi) of OM is either ‘ओं’ or more commonly ‘ॐ’. Other Hindu OM variations are found in Bengali, Assamese and Oriya script, Grantha script, Tamil script, Telugu script and Malayalam script.
Such various other symbols from certain regions may be written in their particular script, but they also connote a religion different from Hinduism. This includes the Sikh ‘Ik Omkar’ written in Gurmukhi script, the Buddhist OM written in differing Tibetan, Balinese, Javanese and Siddham scripts, and lastly the variation of the Jain OM.
If your intent is to display your faith in Hinduism, be careful in choosing which OM you will use, as some OMs connote Sikhism, Buddhism or Jainism.
I hope I’ve helped!
Jai Bum Bhole!
It seems quite prevalent in parts of India that anything ‘below the waist’ is considered dirty, impure or offensive. However, this is a relatively new concept, and when I mean relative, I mean a few thousand years ago- which is not long ago considering the huge span of time since Hinduism was first widely a part of society. The heightened idea that this area should be covered and avoided at all times was brought in through Mughal rule and eventually British rule, but there was some pre-existing stigma against ‘below the waist’ etiquette before then as well. For convenience, I’ll focus on the feet in this response.
In untouched Hindu India, the feet were generally to be avoided because they walked on the dirty ground all day, as often people went barefoot even outside. Not out of superstition, but out of honest respect, one made sure to not touch another with their feet so as to not get them dirty. It’s common to wash one’s feet especially before entering a temple or performing puja out of respect for cleanliness.
The bottom of the foot is however, greatly avoided out of respect for others. When standing on something, it connotes the claiming of power or conquering, to make the thing stood on act as an object that has been vanquished. For example, one should never touch books with their feet, out of respect for knowledge, as it is never fully conquered. Our Maa Kali, as She was eliminating Raktabeej and the rakshas, was ceased only after accidentally placing Her foot on Her dear Lord Shiva, which out of embarrassment and shame caused Her to stick out Her tongue and stop Her reign of destruction.
The top of the foot is specifically touched by others out of utmost respect and humbleness, as when we perform puja, we clean and gently touch the feet of the murti. It’s also common as a greeting for a younger person to touch the top of the feet of respected elders to show humility and reverence. Jewelry is also often placed on the feet, and are seen as objects of beauty. However, jewelry with the image of Bhagvan are avoided on the feet, because the feet are often the very first thing to be dirtied in day-to-day life.
Because of the tendency of uncleanliness that the feet naturally have, would you put an image of Bhagvan there? The feet are also seldom seen or particularly noticed throughout the day, so would you be reminded often of Bhagvan?
If the purpose of the tattoo is to increase your awareness of Om, the universe and Brahman, shouldn’t one place it where it is noticed frequently and treated with care? Every image we have of Bhagvan and what the universe represents are essentially manifestations of their divinity, to remind us of their nearness and relevance, and to guide us to destroy our karma and reach eternal moksha- wouldn’t one want to treat this image as one would treat a tangible, touchable God?
I hope I’ve answered your question!
Jai Shiv Shankar!
There are many substances that a practicing Hindu should avoid eating in his or her daily diet as well as what he or she offers for prasaad (offered to God). There are three gunas (qualities) of food in Hinduism.
Foods that are to be offered to the Lord are sattvic foods, or foods containing the sattva guna (pure quality). Sattvic foods cleanse the mental state and pave the way for a pure mind and body. Hindus are recommended to also partake in only sattvic foods. Sattvic foods include nuts, seeds, oils, most mild vegetables, all fruits, dairy from well-treated cows, legumes, whole grains, natural sweeteners (like honey and jaggery) and select spices and herbs.
The second guna is called Rajas, containing the quality of motion or restlessness. Rajasic foods are neither beneficial nor completely harmful. Rajasic foods are not recommended to offer as prasaad. Rajasic foods include coffee, sodas, energy drinks, mushrooms, chocolate, overly spicy foods, overly salty foods, unfertilized egg, onion, garlic, canned or fermented foods, and not freshly made foods.
The third guna is called Tamas (harmful and sedative quality). Tamasic foods should never be consumed. Tamasic foods weaken the immune system, cloud the mind and harm the Earth. This guna is to be avoided and never offered to the Lord. Tamasic foods include alcohol, all meats, inhalants, overly fermented foods, onions, garlic, fertilized egg, mushrooms, stale or rotting foods, tobacco and mind-altering substances.
I hope I’ve helped!
Jai Bole Nath!
While Lord Hanuman is Brahmachari, or celibate, both women and men can worship him equally. Those devotees who are celibate however, are known to attain the Lord’s special blessing, as those devotees are following in His direct footsteps.
It’s actually recommended that women chant Hanuman Chalisa during their menstrual cycles so as to ward off any negative energies while the woman’s system is ridding itself of impurities. Since the Hanuman Chalisa itself is known as a spiritual cleanser, it’s only appropriate that one should cleanse the mind as the body cleanses itself as well!
I hope I’ve helped!
Jai Bajrangbali Ki!