What is “Sant Smaran” program?
The “Sant Smaran” program which takes place annually at Maharashtra Mandal, Chennai was initiated by Mrs. Mayatai Joshi in the year 1988. It is also great to know that she contributed a certain amount to the Mandal so that the program doesn’t stop due to the want of funds. Sant Smaran literally means remembering all the saints. This can be best done by singing the Abhanga, Bharuda, and other devotional songs written by them. Thus, this program holds its importance in the light of “Ashadhi Ekadashi” Ashadhi Ekadashi is an annual festival celebrated in Maharashtra. It is believed that Lord Vishnu enters his state of Yoga Nidra on this day every year. Numerous Vitthal Devotees walk their way from far away to Pandharpur to get the divine glimpse of their dearest Lord. Vari, as it is called, can be a
separate blog in itself.
Know more about Bhaktidhara Group!
This year also Maharashtra Mandal, Chennai celebrated “Sant Smaran” with great enthusiasm and fervor.” Bhaktidhara group” with its experienced and expert singers like Ms. Lata Karnad Rao, Ms. Uma Sheshashayee, Mrs. Kalpana Rao, Ms. Shraddha Thatte, Ms. Surekha Palekar, Mrs. Meghna Dandekar, Mrs. Snehalata Datar, and many others has been very instrumental in continuing the rich tradition of this Sant Smaran program since the year 1988. The seed of this 30-year-old group was sown by Mrs. Mayatai Joshi not knowing that the tree would grow up so wide and would accommodate many new people like Snehal and me. We, the 5 am mommies, joined this group and have learned a lot about music and devotion since then. We take this opportunity to thank everyone in this group who made us feel at home.
Have a look at the program through my eyes!
It was one such Sunday and we rushed to the Mandal with the enthusiasm of a small child. After all, this was one of the most awaited functions. Mrs. Joshi( Daughter-in-law) of Late Mayatai Joshi was offering garlands to the various saints. The photos of the various prominent saints like Sant Tukaram, Saint Dyaneshwar, Sant Namdeo, Sant Ramdas Swami, Saint Eknath Maharaj were beautifully decorated with flowers and amidst the arrangement stood the “Vithu Mauli” with its own grace.
People from all over Chennai started coming for the program and after the mic testing, the program started with a small address from Secretary of Mandal, Mr. Ashutosh Apte. Lata Maushi started the anchoring and Bhaktidhara group sang “Ekdantam Umasutam” to invoke Lord Ganesha. The song was followed by an Abhang “Vitthal Geeti Gava, Vitthal Chitti Dhyava” which literally means we should always sing Vithhal songs and meditate on HIM.
This year also marks the birth centenary of three stalwarts of Maharashtra namely
Pu.La.Deshpande, Sudhir Phadke and G.D. Madgulkar. We celebrated the same in Chennai by singing the songs by these legends. “Utha Pandharicha Raja” by Devraj Patil won great applause from the audience. It literally created an atmosphere where the devotees are waking their God up. This was followed by “Nijrup Dakhava Ho” song from the movie “Zala Mahar Pandharinath” by Joshi Sisters. Any such celebration is incomplete without the famous “Majhe Maher Pandhari” song by Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. Mr. Pravin Vaidya with his deep devotion wonderfully justified the Abhang and took us down to the memories of Pt.Ji songs. Lata Maushi in her melodious voice rendered “Indrayani Kathi” song. It was surreal as we almost reached Alandi-the Samadhi place of Sant Dynaneshwar by listening to the song.
It is magical to see the younger generation understand this culture and little Ikshika and Purav Sarode mesmerized us with “Hari Alla Rey”. Chokhamela and his abhang “Abir Gulal” is etched in our memories from years together. Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki has sung this song and Snehal Sham dared to attempt it. We could visualize the flare of Abir, Gulal(black and pink colors) being played by Lord Vitthal in the hall.
A man with several hats, Ajit Joshi, showed us the picture of Lord Vitthala in his “Roope Sunder Savala Gey Maye” song. He was excellent at his play with Tabla. Shraddha Thatte, a Radio Jockey and a professional singer, gave the entire program a different shade by singing “RhunuZunu RhunuZunu Rey Bhramara”. This song is originally sung by Latadidi. She along with Lata Maushi made her mark in our hearts by singing “Kanada Raja Pandharicha” meticulously. Bhaktidhara group sang “Pandharisi Chalala Vaishnavancha Mela” and “Vithu Mauli Tu”.
Mrs. Dandekar took over the stage and extemporaneously sang abhang “Teerth Vitthal” with great devotion and brilliance of a pro. The star of the entire program, of course, was Babu Sir. He accompanied us for all the songs on the harmonium mellifluously. His play of music was euphonious and soothing. Each Swara was hit directly from his heart and yes it reached the heart of every other person seated in the hall. Bhairavi,” Jani Namyachi Rangali Kirtani” summed up the entire program. Vitthal Arti was carried by Manju Joshi and Mrs. Joshi.
We thank each and everyone who attended the event. Our warm regards to all the elders at the event and love for all others. We appreciate the efforts of our mike and sound system organizer Mr. Limaye. Let us meet next time for the same event. Till then, “Amcha Ram Ram Ghyava”.
Simi went home that day very disappointed. She was lost and came by this window by her table at home. The window which she loved the most. She stayed alone in a flat and she felt that she belonged to this little corner of her house. Not that it was aesthetic or something great but she felt a sense of warmth here.
The window offered so many things to her she thought to herself sipping on a cup of tea and started to count them.
” Morning sunlight which entered through this window and the sea breeze which soothed her in the evening.The crows who came crowing to her and the other friends like pigeons and squirrels. The sight of abundance with the tall coconut trees and the sense of gratitude which the mango tree left her filled up with. The discipline of the office goers and the enthusiasm of the children playing gully cricket.”
She loved watching the seasons change through the window. The spring, the gentle winters and the pitter-patter of the rains which was a sigh of relief after the summer. Simi exchanged glances with the full moon and starry nights. No moon days would leave her gloomy.
She had now made window friends and would signal to them if she caught sight of them.
Simi sensed how the passage of time. It was 5 years that she had worked hard for the organization, now, and it was the time to take a call. A call to quit the organization which meant life for her. She also weighed down the option to start something of her own.
This window had not only given her a perspective of the outside world but also the connection to her inner self.
Most of us have grown up eating many homemade delicacies made by our mothers, aunts and other ladies, in our case dad and husband too. Indian food and festivals are inseparable. My mom used to have specific delicacies on festivals. She never made anything mismatch to that season of the festival. Say for example, for Nagpanchami ( It is a festival where we pray to the Snake God) she used to make naivedhya of Sakhar Bhat ( Sugar Saffron Rice). On the last day of Ganapati, that is on Ananta Chaturdashi, she used to make Banana Pachadi ( Kelachi Koshimbir) which she used to call as “ Anantachi Koshimbir,” these things were seldom repeated as may be those festive days would be perfect weather-wise to have this all. After her, I have never seen anybody so thoughtful with regards to food. Come rainy season and we used to refrain from Brinjal, Onion completely, and Garlic, the simple reason would be that rains make the digestion sluggish, if we eat something like onion, we would need a good digestive power, as the winter approach, the digestion gets back to normal and after Diwali, we can actually start eating Brinjal, Onions, and Garlic. There is a specific day called “ Tulasi Vivah” when one can start eating everything. Diwali sweets were made well in advance and were allowed to be eaten only on the Abhyangasnan Day ( Narakchaturdashi) the tradition which continues till date.
Why this much thought in eating?
Because our food science is very well advanced and it is as per the season. Seasons affect the gut and digestive power of the stomach. If we eat as per the digestive power, we are never to fail. I totally believe in eating seasonal food. Diwali is meant for eating. Good food and Good times equal Diwali. Diwali Palaharam is a matter of great interest across India. With the talks of diet and nutrition in place, life has become difficult.
How the supply in the market changes our perception of food.
7 to 8 years ago, PepsiCo introduced oats in India. The campaign was making India heart healthy. The campaign was successful and slowly other companies like Britannia, Kellogg’s also rushed to bring in the most healthy cereal of the world “ Oats.” Looking at the facts, it is apparent that slowly with these types of campaigns India has become 200 crore market for cereals which is nothing but packaged food presented wonderfully and advertised really well. Same goes with other packaged goodies such as Wafers, Noodles and so on. The question on my mind is why would we give up our food and go ahead to eat something which does not even taste a bit like Indian food. The answer is the power of ADVERTISING and BRANDING.
How colors, advertising, branding, and campaigns change the food scenario?
Nobody branded Poha, Upma, Idli, Dosa the way we are bombarded with Pizza, Noodles and Masala oats advertisements. Same goes with Diwali Snacks. After Navratri, you can watch Cadbury advertising about how to gift Chocolates ( Cadbury Chocolate Pack) this Diwali to your loved ones, neighbors and so on. I mean really? When did the warmth of homemade ladoo, murukku, shankarpali was replaced by something made in the factory with many other products with loads of preservatives?
Oats Chivda, Ladoo Without Sugar and Gluten Free Chakli
There cannot be Chivda without Poha, Corn Poha, or Sabudana Poha period. There cannot be ladoo without sugar ( palm sugar or jaggery are good replacements of sugar), and there cannot be chakli without gluten as Chakli wouldn’t happen if there is no Gluten in the mix. So, the gist of all the above is, as we always say, eat in moderation. Have those long walks every day consistently to feel good and fit.
No million dollar company can be worried about your heart, and it’s health though they claim. Ultimately, you are the only person who knows your body and its needs. So, eat homemade, think homemade and seasonal. Whether should you have all the sweets? Please have as you wouldn’t get the warmth and thought with which it is conceived and made.
Dasara is on the 10 th day of Navratri. It is to mark the victory of Goddess Durga over Demon Mahishasura. In Maharashtra, we do Seemolanghan on this day. In olden times, we used to follow the ritual of crossing the territory of the village or town in the north-east direction. Being in the vast city like Chennai I can only imagine crossing the city and coming back in the evening on time.
Seemolanghan is a sandhi ( combination) of Marathi word Seema meaning Limit and Ulanghan meaning crossing.
In modern times, we should actually work towards crossing our limits not physically but mentally in terms of efforts, in terms of patience, in terms of restraint.
Pushing the limits – Knowing who you are
As we meet so many people across the world throughout our lives, we find different behaviors. No two people are same. But as a human being there is something familiar in all of them. They are all capable of going an extra mile, crossing the boundaries.
Be it acid attack survivors, cancer survivors, or the girl who has been termed as the world’s most ugly girl in the world. Be it the Army men or the Mumbai Dabbawalas who are on time every time. Be it Paralympians or be it any Successful Sports Person. Pushing the limits is something common in all of them.
They have successfully crossed the limits, and have made their mark ahead of that limit. Here, there is a magic of human effort and spirit.
The question remains, whether these people already knew to push the limits? How do they know what they should do? But there are so many constraints to achieve something extraordinary?
Nothing extraordinary can be achieved without crossing the boundaries. Comfort zone is the killer of success. You might be successful at the current place where you are but why not push a little more and see what happens. Why not take risks and give it a 110% of your effort.
The best thing about possibilities is that they are endless.
While you enter the risk zone, you would find it extremely tough to even survive, but there is where you will understand who you are.
Understanding your limits is the first step towards crossing it, so this Seemolanghan let us first identify what our limits are.
How far we can actually go. And then there would be a chance that you can successfully perform Seemolanghan.
This Vijayadashami, may you find yourself and your inner peace. And instead of traveling across the city, hope you go deep inside yourself and perform Seemolanghan.
Today, my 7 years old niece took me to a surprise when she promptly ticked on her bullet point in her to-do list for the day after her cycle ride. As they say,, the children are the best imitators. They copy, or most of the time they ape the elders. We, my sister and me, have this habit of writing down a journal since we were kids. I have been a fan of a routine which is followed religiously even during my leisure days. I remember of keeping a timetable for my vacation too. No one forced me for this diligence. But I think I am wired to have a tab on time spent.
That was childhood. Time of course flew in no time(sounds filmy) isn’t it! But when I look back, I realize that this prudent habit has made my job much easier now.
Once a pattern is persuaded regularly becomes a way of life.
Journalling for me meant writing down how am I going to spend the whole day given so many activities and my varied interests. And mainly it helped me gauge myself when Mumma was not around during my vacations. Wise allocation of time, putting the same on the wall, decorating it and sticking to the timetable was all an easy task for me. It used to give me a sense of achievement when I had ticked 90 percent of my day’s task. It involved reading books(academics/shlokas/or story), cleaning my mess, helping mom in her chores, watching TV (MTV with Nikhil chinnappa, and Gaurav Kapoor on V TV), watering the plants, drawing/ painting, playing indoor/outdoor games, eating and chit chatting around.
The habit continued for my good, and now it has become a part of my life. The daily life today isn’t easy, but when priorities are jotted down in the form of a journal or to-do list, then it is just a cake walk.
Many successful people have emphasized a lot on the process of Journalling for million reasons. Journalling is a process of writing a diary. It is a simple activity where you note down what has to be achieved by you for the day/month/year. It is often said that when you write or record, you give clarity to your thoughts. Journalling helps in prioritizing the tasks. Important and urgent tasks can be written on the top followed by the rest.
A continuous tab on what has been done and what has to be done gives an idea of how much we have achieved of what we had set for at the beginning of the day. With multiple tasks at hand, now, at this stage of my life, I always resort to my journals. They are the mirror which tells me what to do and what has been left out.
This is a time saving simple method for people who have a lot of tasks and can’t keep a check mentally.
Let it be office work, household chores, payment of bills, meal prep for a week, a vacation planned or diet and fitness related regime, Journalling is the solution to ease your life.
Today, I go by the ‘done list’ which is to write down what has been done throughout the day instead of what is to be done which we l talk about in the next blog along with the various methods of Journalling.
Colors play an important part when It comes to writing a diary. It is in fashion now to also be expressive at Journalling than the monotonous tick and cross method.
I play multiple roles and have many hats to wear. With two hands full and a mobile in my hand which is the most essential gadget of my life, I feel the popular applications of Journalling are booming up.
I prefer my old school of writing a to-do list early morning than the various apps. And why not a pen and paper have a magical impact.
When you sit, think and write, you visualize the day further adding to the power of its manifestation. Achievements are seen to multiply when you exercise this one activity religiously.
With this blog, I am 10/10 for the day and heading off to sleep. Are you a fan of Journalling too! If yes, then share your secrets and experiences about the benefits. Else why not try once this awesome art to success.