NAVARATRI

Navaratri Puja begins on the Bhadrapada Amavasi day or Puratasi Amavasai day, a day before Navratri begins. Navaratri is a festival that lasts nine days and nine nights. The word "Navaratri" actually means nine (Nava) nights (ratri).
Navaratri is the worship of the three divine goddesses, Saraswati (Goddess of learning and speech), Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth and prosperity), and Durga (Goddess of strength and courage). It is also said to be the battle that occurred between Goddess durga and the asura (demon), Mahishaasura. The battle lasted 9 days and 9 nights. Finally, on the tenth day, Goddess Durga killed Mahishaasura. This day is known as Vijayadasami. Vijayadasami means the 10th day of victory.
First three days
The goddess is invoked as a spiritual force called Durga also known as kali in order to destroy all our impurities.
Second three days
The Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees inexhaustible wealth, as she is the goddess of wealth.
Final three days
The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the goddess of wisdom, Sarasvati. In order to have all-round success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the nine nights of worship.
Navaratri means nine nights. According to a Hindu belief, the last thought one entertains before one's death determines the next birth. How does one have a sacred thought before death? It is possible through self- discipline. We sleep everyday. Sleep is similar to death except that we wake up. Sleep can thus be termed as mini-death. If we were to discipline our mind by invoking a sacred thought prior to sleep everyday, it will certainly help us thave a sacred thought during the time of death. Mahatma Gandhi said 'Hey Ram' before his death as he was self-disciplined.
Nava also means 'new'. If we invoke the blessings of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Shakti before going to sleep every night, we will experience newness every night. Night or ratri also means darkness. Darkness denotes ignorance. For this too, invoking the goddesses can prove fruitful.
Through grace, our ratri or ignorance will vanish. Grace cannot be understood logically. It is a quantum leap in the field of consciousness. In physics, quantum leap is a great discovery. It involves electrons disappearing from one point and appearing in other point and between them there is no time gap. Hence it is called quantum leap. Similarly, in the field of consciousness, when grace descends there will be a quantum leap in us.
During Navaratri, three nights of worship are assigned to each of the three Devis. Nava or newness in the form of grace is invoked. The tenth day is Vijayadashami, denoting victory - victory of higher consciousness through the blessing of the goddesses. The greatest victory is the dispelling of darkness or ignorance.
Grace of the Devis always exists; it's just that we should be worthy to receive them. The inner apparatus suitable to receive them is pure mind. Impure mind is like dirty muddy water, which cannot reflect the light of the moon. Moon exists but to reflect in water, the water has to be clean. This is called Pratibimba Nyaya. Our mind has to be pure in order to receive grace.
Navaratri, therefore, is the celebration of removing ignorance. Our ignorance exists in the form of ego. E-G-O can mean Edging God Out. Hence we find Shakti dancing on Shiva's chest. It may appear disrespectful but it is symbolic: An egoless Lord Shiva allows his wife to dance over him. It means Devi's grace can descend in any form...but one should be available to receive it.
Nava Durga
Shailaputri - Goddess Durga‘s first form in the Nava-Durga series of divine forms, amongst the nine, is Shailaputri. She was nomenclatured as Shailaputri after being born in the house of the king of the mountains, Himalaya . In this mold the mother is seen holding a trident in her right hand and a lotus in her left and she is mounted on an ox. In the past life she was the daughter of Daksha, the son of Lord Brahma. She was known as Sati then. As the daughter of Daksha she was married to the God of Gods, Mahadeva. Daksha once arranged for a ceremony of the holy fire (Yagna), and chose not to invite his daughter and son-in-law. Sati was restless to join the ceremony at her father‘s place and even defied her husband‘s advice of not attending the Yagna without an invitation. On going uninvited to the ceremony, she felt that everyone was giving her a cold shoulder except her mother who greeted her with a hug. Her siblings too were no exception and were sarcastic in their remarks. The guests too present in the function were uttering disrespectful comments about her husband. To her surprise her father too was harsh and rude in his approach. She was dejected and was so heart broken that she burnt herself to ash in the holy fire. Shiva, on hearing this incident was enraged and ordered his followers to immediately demolish the Daksha Yagna. After burning herself to death, Sati was reborn as the daughter of the king of the mountains, Himalaya and became known as Shailaputri. Thus amongst all the nine forms of Devi Durga, Shailaputri is the most powerful and glorified of all. She is worshiped in the first day of the Navratri celebrations. According to the Upanishads this form of Durga broke the pride of the Gods by assuming the mold of Haimabati.
Brahmacharini - Durga‘s second appearance is in the form of Brahmacharini. Here "Brahma" means meditation. That is, the Goddess is the meditator or a practitioner of penance. She is seen here holding a string of rosary beads in her right hand and a Kamandalu (an urn containing holy water) in her left hand. In her previous life, when she was reborn as the daughter of Himalaya , she performed severe penance to have Mahadeva as her husband. The sage God Narada advised her to take up meditation to win Shiva. For undergoing strict meditation she was known as Brahmacharini or Tapasyacharini. Ignoring the beating sun and thundershowers, she began a three hundred year meditation living only leaves that fell on the forest floor. She furthered her penance making it even stricter by relinquishing food and water for another few hundred years. As she gave up eating leaves she is also referred to as "Aparna". Practicing this painstaking contemplation she became weak and skinny. Unable to withstand the plight of her daughter her mother, Manoka requested her to give up her resolution. Shocked at the sight of Durga she exclaimed "u" and "ma". In Sanskrit 'u' is a word of address, and 'ma' means 'don't' or 'not wanted'). That is why Durga is also called "Uma". On the other hand overwhelmed by Durga‘s devotion and perseverance, all the Gods and sages in the heaven were placated. At last, grandfather Brahma, pleased with devi‘s austerities made an oracle, "O maiden! No one could achieve or endure the penance you have performed till date. I am captivated by your meditation and devotion. Your wish will be fulfilled and you will certainly have Shiva as your husband. You may now return home and rest. Your father will come soon to take you". This form of Durga gives the devotees everlasting success. Worship of this appearance enriches the faculties of sacrifice, honesty and self-discipline. In times of utter distress the worship of this form gives success and the willpower to come out victorious. This form of Durga is worshiped in the second day of the Durga puja.
Chandraghanta - Mother Durga‘s third form is known as Chandraghanta. This name finds its justification in the half moon seen on the temple of the Goddess that resembles a bell. The deity has ten arms. The ten hands of the Goddess brandish ten different weapons. Mounted on a lion this form of the mother is worshiped on the third day of the Navratri celebration. It is believed that a devotee who manages to earn the devi‘s blessings can set himself free from his sins and hazards that he has committed or may face in his life. The devotee gains the power to sense the supernatural, to see it and even smell the eternal fragrance. He is also able to distinguish the otherwise inaudible celestial sounds. This is the time when the devotee should be alert. Although the deity is always envisaged in the fearsome mood of demolishing the evil, her appearance always spreads a calm and eternal peace all round. Mother Chandraghanta‘s devotees spread peace and happiness wherever they go. We should all whole-heartedly worship the mother with a devoted soul. Worship of the deity helps one eliminate the sorrow, hazards and dangers in ones life.
Kushmanda - The fourth appearance of the devi is in the form of Kushmanda. The mother gets the name as she created the universe with a smile. When there was darkness everywhere and there was no existence of the universe she created the universe with a smile. She is believed to be the source of eternal power. The Goddess has eight arms and that is why she is also known as "Ashtabhuja". The deity‘s seven hands hold the holy urn (Kamandul), a bow, an arrow, a lotus, a pot containing wine, a disc and a club. The eighth hand holds a string of rosary beads that is believed to provide success and prudence. Pumpkin is termed as "Kushmandam" in Sanskrit. Amongst the sacrificial vegetables that are offered in the worship of the Goddess (naibidhya), pumpkin is the most important vegetable with which Devi Kushmanda is most placated. That is why she is named "Kushmanda". She is worshiped on the fourth day of the Navratri celebration abiding by the rituals that are described in the Sashtra and the Purans. Worship of this form of the Devi exterminates sorrow and diseases and augments life, fame and strength. Mother Goddess is appeased with the slightest of devotion and if any one whole-heartedly worships the deity he will certainly gain her favour.
Skandamata - Fifth form of the mother is known as Skandamata. Kumar Kartik‘s other name is Skanda. As devi Durga is the mother of Kartik, she is referred to as "Skandamata". This form of the deity has four arms. The mother is seen holding her son Skanda with the top right hand and she is holding a lotus in her lower hand. The top left hand is positioned in a blessing gesture and the other hand holds a lotus. The goddess is fair and sits on a lotus. That is why the devi is also known as "Padmasana". Here she is seen mounted on a lion. If anyone worships her whole-heartedly, she fulfills the wish of the devotee.
Katyaayani - Katyaayani is the sixth form of Devi Durga. Sage Katyaayan was the son of the great sage Kat. Sage Kattayan was born in the "Katya" clan. He was engaged in rigorous penance and worship of "Bhagavati Paramba". His prayer was all about requesting the mother to appear in his house-hold as his daughter. Mother Bhagavati obliged him. After some time, when, the world was terrorized of Mahishasura, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva with their divine powers gave form to a Goddess to combat asura and destroy him. Katyaayan was the first to worship her and that is why she is known as "Devi Kattayani". It is mentioned in the Shastra that Katyaayani was born as the daughter of the sage Kattayan. Taking birth on the fourteenth day of the new moon in "Aashwin" (September-October), she accepted the worship of the sage Kattayan on Saptami, Astami and Navami and ultimately slew Mahishasura on Dashami. The deity‘s complexion is as bright as gold. She has four hands. The top right hand is positioned in a gesture of providing courage and the other hand is positioned in a gesture of rendering a boon. The top left hand is holding a sword and the other holding a lotus. The Goddess is mounted on a lion and she is worshiped on the sixth day of the Durga puja. If one worships the deity with a pure soul he attains success in religion, wealth, passion and salvation. Disease, sorrow and fear are eliminated. Worship of this deity helps one to emancipate himself from the sin he may have committed over the cycle of his births and rebirths. We should all devote our prayers to the mother to lead a better life.
Kaalratri - Mother Goddess's seventh form is "Kaalratri". Her complexion is as dark as the night. Her cascading hair is let loose and she is seen wearing a garland that radiates light as bright as lightning. She is fearsome with her menacing three eyes, radiating fire. She is mounted on an ass. She has four hands, of which, the top right hand is in a gesture of rendering boon to all. The other hand on her right is rendering fearlessness. The top left hand is holding an iron dagger and the other hand is holding a sickle. Although she has a menacing appearance, she always delivers favorable results and her devotees need not fear her manifestations is holding an iron dagger and the other hand is holding a sickle. Although she has a menacing appearance, she always delivers favorable results and her devotees need not fear her manifestations. She is worshiped on the seventh day of the Durga puja. Devi Kaalratri destroys the evil. If anyone whole-heartedly pleads of saving him from any impending danger, she protects him. As and when the Goddess is called, the evils instantaneously disappear from the place. By the Goddess's grace, the devotees overcome their fear of fire, water, animals and foes.
Mahagouri - The Mother's eighth form is known as "Mahagouri". Her complexion is totally white. Her garments are also white. She is mounted on an ox and has four hands. Her top right hand is rendering fearlessness and the hand below holds a trident. The top left hand holds a "Damru" and the hand below is in a gesture of giving a boon. To have Shiva as her husband she went through a rigorous penance in the form of "Parvati". As a result of this arduous meditation her complexion turned dark. Lord Shiva, pleased with the devotion of Parvati, bathed her in the holy water of the Ganges . As she bathed in the holy water she turned fair. From then onwards she became known as "Mahagouri". She is worshiped on the eighth day of the Durga puja. The devotee is benefited on all fronts as he worships the deity. Due to the Goddess's grace the devotee attains supernatural salvation, he is relieved from all his pains and fatigue and can set himself free from his previous sins. He is never faced with sorrow and poverty and never commits any sin. The devotee wins pure and endless virtue.
Siddhidatri - Durga's ninth mold is the form of "Siddhidatri". She delivers success. According to "Markendeo Puran" there are eight types of success, such as "Anima", "Laghima", "Prapti", "Prakashya", "Mahima", "Ishhattya", "Bashittya", "Sarvakaam bashayita" and "Sarvagyata". But in the "SriKrishna Janmakhanda" of the "Brahmavaivarta Puran", there are another ten types of success such as "Doorsravan", "Parakayaprabeshan", "Baksiddhi", "Kalpavrikshattwa", "Srishti", "Samharkaransamartha", "Amarattwa", "Sarvanaykattwa", "Bhavna" and "Siddhi". Thus there are eighteen types of successes. Mother Siddhidatri is capable of rendering all these forms of successes to her devotees. According to the Purans, Lord Shiva achieved salvation by the grace of this deity. The deity is seen sometimes sitting on a lotus and sometimes mounted on a lion. She is four armed. The lower right hand of the Goddess holds a disc and the upper right hand holds a club. The lower left hand holds a conch shell and the upper hand holds a lotus. She is worshipped on the ninth day of the Durga puja. She is the ultimate form of the Goddess among the Navadurga. After having performed the worship of the other forms of the Goddess according to the rituals mentioned in the Sashtra, the devotee can then start the worship of this deity. Those who worship the Goddess with full devotion are bestowed with all the success. She has been unified with the forces of sustenance and salvation of the great Lord Vishnu.
Ayudha Puja
The ninth day is also the day of the Ayudha Puja. After the slaying of Mahishasura and other demons by Chamundeswari, there was no more use for her weapons. So the weapons were kept aside and worshipped. This Ayudha puja is being celebrated since ancient times. The importance of Ayudha Puja on this occasion may also be due to the fact that on the Vijayadasami day, Arjuna took back his weapons which he had hidden in a Vani tree in order to lead a life in disguise for the promised period of exile. It is believed that one who begins or renovates his learning to work on the Vijayadasami day will secure a grand success as Arjuna did in Kurukshetra war.
The Ayudha Puja is a worship of whatever implements one may use in one's livelihood. On the preceding evening, it is traditional to place these implements on an altar to the Divine. If one can make a conscious effort to see the divine in the tools and objects one uses each day, it will help one to see one's work as an offering to God. It will also help one to maintain constant remembrance of the divine. In India it is customary for one to prostrate before the tools one will use before starting one's work each day; this is an expression of gratitude to God for helping one to fulfil one's duties.
It is believed that beginning any business or study on the Vijaya Dashami makes the process successful.
Saraswathi Puja
On Saraswathi (ninth day) puja day, we keep all books in the prayer room, evoke knowledge in the form of Saraswathi and do puja.
The following prayer is chanted to her before starting our studies:Saraswathi namasthubhyam varadae kaamaroopineeVidhyaarambham karishyaami siddhir bhavathumae sadaaI prostrate to you, Goddess Saraswathi. You give boons and fulfill our wishes. I pray to you to grant my wishes when I start my studies.
Goddess Saraswathi presides over and protects every form of art. So, on this day, consecrated to Saraswathi, the musical instruments in the house are cleansed, placed on an altar and devotedly worshipped, these being the abode of this Goddess.

'Garba' & 'Dandiya-Raas'
The word “Garba” originates from the word “garbo,” which is an earthen pot with holes and a small candle inside. During Navratri, a garbo is placed in the center of the dancing area along with idols of goddesses, and people dance around it in concentric circles. The pot itself symbolizes the universe, while the light inside represents God, which is the center of the universe, and by dancing around the pot and idols, the dancers symbolize that God is also the center of their lives. The circle formation itself also has additional significance. The circle formed by dancers represents the cycle of life and its never-ending nature, tenets of the Hindu belief of reincarnation. The dance form of Garba is characterized by its fluidity, grace, flexibility, and synchronous clapping of hands to supplement the music.
Raas, with similar elements to Garba, is different due to its use of dandiya (dancing sticks) that are twirled, tossed, and thrown in elaborate choreography. It has similar roots as it is also performed at Navratri, but also has deeper significance as it is representative of Lord Krishna, who was said to perform the dance with village girls, or gopis, to please them. While each gopi believed that Krishna was dancing with her alone, he was actually dancing with all of them as he is a metaphor for the omnipresent God, supporting the central Hindu principle that God exists within anything and everything in this world.
Vidyaramba
The tenth day or Vijayadasami is also the day of Vidyaramba or beginning of study when children usually begin to learn the alphabets. On the Vijayadasami day after a Puja in the morning, the Books and implements are removed from the room and this ceremony is called 'Puja Eduppu'. The time for the break up of the puja marks the beginning of learning and work. Learning and work commence at this auspicious moment.
Literates, in general write the alphabets on sand and read a few sentences from sacred books. Similarly the craftsmen and other skilled workers do some work using their implements. At this auspicious moment the children for the first time are given instructions to write the first few alphabets on rice or sand. They are thus initiated into the world of knowledge. This is called 'Ezhuthinu Iruthu' and according to custom only after this ceremony child becomes entitled to write or read.
Dussehra

Dussehra is also known as Vijaya Dasami, because of the victory of Ram over Ravana. On this day in Satya Yug, Ram (the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu), killed the great demon and king of Lanka, Ravana. 'Dash' means ten and 'hara' means defeated.
The festival of Dassehra, also known as Vijayadashmi, is one of the fascinating festivals of India and is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm. According to the great Hindu scripture, the Ramayana, Lord Rama performed chandi-puja (holy prayer). This was carried out in order to invoke the blessings of Durga Maa for the killing of Ravana, the ten-headed demon king of Sri Lanka who had abducted Seeta, wife of Lord Rama.
Another legend associated with this auspicious occasion is the story of Kausta, the youngest son of Devdatt. After successfully accomplishing his study under the guidence of Rishi Varatantu, he requested his mentor to accept any gift as Gurudakshina. Though initially Rishi Varatanu refused the offer but afterward he asked for one hundred million gold coins for each of the subject taught, as Kausta learnt several subjects, it amounted to 140 hundred million gold coins. To keep his promise Kausta asked King Raghu for the money, who was renowned for his generosity. With the help of Kuber, the God of wealth, he brought a shower of gold coins near the shanu and apati trees. After giving what his guru asked for, the rest of the coins were distributed among the poor and needy people on the day Dassehra. Since then, people of Ayodhya pluck the leaves of apati tree and present each other as 'sona' or gold.

Udupi Sri Krishna Mutt

Udupi Krishna Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna located in the town of Udupi in Karnataka , India . The temple area resembles a living ashram, a holy place for daily devotion and living, founded by Madhvacharya founder of the Dvaita school of Vedanta . It is well known from authoritative source that Sri Madhwacharya is an incarnation of God Vayu who at the behest Lord Narayana accepted the task of interpreting the Shastras correctly and leading worthy men to their salvation. Sri Madhwacharya was born in the year 1238 A.D. on the Vijaya Dashami day in the month of Ashwayuja in the Vilambi Samvatsara.
Sri Madhwacharya founded the Dwaita system of philosophy and propagated it throughout the country. Sri Madhwacharya gave sanyasa to eight of his disciples and commissioned them not only to carry on the worship of the idol of Shri Krishna but also to propagate the Dwaita Philosophy. The pontiff of each of eight mutts carried on the worship of the idol for a period of two months by rotation.
These Mutts are - 1) Sri Palimar Mutt, 2) Sri Admar Mutt, 3) Sri Krishnapur Mutt, 4) Sri Puttige Mutt, 5) Sri Sirur Mutt, 6) Sri Sode Mutt, 7) Sri Kaniyoor Mutt and 8) Sri Pejavar Mutt. Since then, the daily sevas (offerings to god) and administration of the Krishna Mutt are managed by the Ashta Mathas (eight temples). Each of the Ashta Mathas performs temple management activities for two years in a cyclical order. During the Paryaya festival, held every two years, the temple management is handed over to the next Matha. Each of the Mathas is headed by a Swami, who will be in charge of the temple during his Paryaya.

It is believed that the deity of Sri Krishna installed in Udupi by Sri Madhwacharya, was got made by Sri Krishna himself by Vishwakarma out of Saligrama stone (Shila). Towards the end of Dwapara yuga, Devaki felt a keen desire to see once again Krishna ’s balaleelas. These leelas which were enacted by Krishna for the benefit of his mother were also witnessed incognito by His wife Rukmini, who falling in love with this balaroopa requested Him to get her a similar image for her daily worship. Thereupon Sri Krishna asked Vishwakarma to make such an image of Balakrishna with a churn in its right hand and cord in the other hand. This deity was daily worshipped by Rukimini. After Sri Krishna’s disappearance from this world, the deity fell into the hands of Arjuna, who hid it in Rukmini’s garden. By lapse of time the deity got completely covered by ‘gopichandana’. A sailor from Dwaraka loaded this heavy lump in his boat ballast, in one of his trips along the west coast.

Sri Madhwacharya, sensing this by his ‘Aparoksha’ or divine Jnana, awaited the arrival of this precious ballast at Vadabhandeshwara, a seashore spot near Udupi. When the boat approached that place it was caught by a severe storm and was about to sink.

The captain of the boat, seeing a holy man on the sea shore entered him to save him from disaster. Sri Madhwacharya waved his upper cloth and quietened the storm. The grateful captain offered all the riches in his boat to the Acharya but he accepted from out of the lot only lump of ‘gopichandana’ which was used as ballast. On breaking this, Sri Acharya found the beautiful and perfect deity of Sri Krishna. He carried the deity to Udupi, a distance of four miles, singing praise of Lord Narayana in ecstasy. These hymns under twelve chapters are called ‘Dwadasha Stotra’.He washed the deity in the Madhwa Sarovara and installed it in the temple nearby and started worshiping it. These poojas have been going on since then even to this day in unbroken continuity. Since Sri Madhwacharya’s time, these poojas are being conducted by his disciples who are all ‘balasanyasis’. The right of touching and worshiping this deity rests with the pontiffs of these eight mutts only who are the spiritual descendents of Sri Madhwacharya. No one else is permitted to touch the deity.
'Kanakana Kindi'
The main attraction of Lord Krishna temple is the 'Kanakana Kindi' - a hole through which Krishna is believed to have given darshan to his ardent devotee, Kanaka Dasa.

Sri Kanakadasa is one of the most famous Haridasas of Karnataka. He lived during the same time as Sri Vadiraja teertha and Sri Purandaradasa. He distinguished himself as great poet, philosopher, musician and composer. Being a disciple of Sri Vyasaraja, Kanakadasa also propagated Dwaitha philosophy of Madhvacharya through poetry and music to the masses in South India . He worshipped Adikeshava of Kaginele, presently in Haveri district of Karnataka. Kaginele, now a village, was a prosperous place and a trading center in his times. He lived for 98 years and during his life time he traveled various places and temples.

Kanakadasa

Thimmappa Nayaka was his original name and he belonged to chieftain (Kuruba) family of Kaginele in Haveri district. He was born to the Kurubagowda couple Biregowda and Beechamma at bada. Kanaka Nayaka being of the warrior community (Kuruba) his defeat in the field of battle, directed him to the path of devotion. He came to be called Kanaka Nayaka as he found a treasure-trove of gold (kanaka means gold in Kannada).

Another story says the Kanakadasa was the son of Beerappa Nayaka and Bachchi. As the couple had no children for long time after marriage they started worshipping Thimmappa of Tirupathi. Later they had a son and they named him Thimmappa. Thimmappa was a very intelligent boy even in childhood and he was less concerned about physical satisfaction. He was philosophical in thinking even in a very tender age. He lost his father very early and he was left alone with his mother at home. His mother started calling him Chinna which means gold or jewel. The Sanskrit form of Chinna is Kanaka. So he got the name Kanaka.

As Kanaka grew up he became the chieftain of Bankapura. But as he could not enjoy the richness as thousands were deprived of it, he distributed everything in the exchequer to the poor. As a result he was driven out of the power. At the same time he lost his wife too. But this made him realize the meaning of life. Instead of leading a meaningless life of being lured by worldly advancements, he thought, it would be good to become a Haridasa and preach the real essence of life.

He soon became the disciple of Sri Vyasaraja and travelled to various places singing songs and kirthanas, ugabhogas, mundiges. On the basis of one of his compositions it is deduced that after he got severely hurt in a war and miraculously saved, he gave up his warrior’s profession and devoted himself to writing songs and composing music. It appears that he started traveling to places to gain more knowledge.

Kanakadasa in Udupi

Kanakadasa has special association with Udupi and as he was the follower of Sri Vyasaraja Swamiji. On the advice of Vyasaraja Swamiji he had come to Udupi. But it a time when the discrimination based on the caste was at its peak in the society. The Brahmin fundamentalists did not let him enter the temple as he was from a lower cadre of the society. when Kanakadasa wanted to have the Darshan of Sri krishna he was refused to do so by the authorities of the temple and when he was reluctant to hear their words, they dragged him, tied him behind the temple and started beating him ruthlessly. At this point, of time Kanaka started to sing the song "Bagilanu teredu, Seveyanu kodo hariye....." which means, "Oh Lord, Open the doors and serve me with your divine blessings...". Satisfied by his prayers, Lord Sri Krishna gives him darshan by miraculously creating a crack in the backside of the temple and turning his face towards the window. The idol of Lord Krisha turned around and a crack appeared in the western granite wall of the temple, making it possible for Kanadadasa to have a glimpse of the Lord. Instead of having the crack plastered over again, Sri Vadiraja enlarged it and turned it into a window. To commemorate Lord Krishna's darshana to Kanaka D√Ęsa, the window has been designated as 'Kanakana Kindi'.

Udupi Sri Krishna - Worshiping fourteen times daily

Lord Krishna is worshiped daily fourteen times a day by the Paryaaya Swamiji and other Swamijis. Lord is worshiped with fourteen rituals everyday.The rituals begin at dawn and go late into the night. It is believed that the fourteen rituals never changed for the last 800 years.

Fourteen daily rituals:
Rituals take place in the forenoon
Nirmaalya Visarjana pooja
Ushakala pooja
Akshayapaathra – Gopooja
Panchamritha Abhishekha pooja
Udvartana pooja
Kalasa pooja
Theertha pooja
Alankaara pooja
Avasara Sanakaadi pooja
Rituals take place in the evening
Maha pooja
Chaamara Sevaa pooja
Rathri pooja
Mantapa pooja
Shayanothsava pooja

Madvasarorava


Adjacent to the main corridor through which the pilgrims enter the Krishna temple, there is the holy tank called Madvasarorava ( Madhava Pushkarani). The tank was originally known as Anantha Theertha, but after the Ganga descended into this tank for the sake of Madhvacharya, it came to be designated as Madhvasarovara The tank has stone steps all round and a mandapam in the centre. Deities of Sri Krishnapur,Puttige and Kaniyoor mutts are worshipped here on the evening of Utthana Dwadasi. During Rathotsava nights Teppotsava take place in this tank. In the southwest corner of the tank is a shrine dedicated to Bhaagiirathi ( Ganga ) seated on a crocodile. It is believed that Ganges water flows in to this tank once in 12 years. For daily abhisheka of Sri Krishna water from this tank is used. The Swamijis have to bathe in this tank before they commence the worship at the shrine.

The Festival of Paryaya



Paryaaya' is the system in which the responsibility of worshipping Sri Krishna and the management of His temple is undertaken in rotation by the eight piiThaadhipati-s of Udupi. The Swamiji who is in charge of the worship is known as the paryaaya Swamiji and his MaTha is known as the paryaaya MaTha. The duration of this tenure is known as the paryaaya period and the handing over of the worship form one Swamiji to another is known as the paryaaya festival.

The preliminary rituals for paryaaya begin a year before the actual paryaaya. The four main rituals are:
baaLe muhuurta
akki muhuurta
kaTTige muhuurta
bhatta muhuurta

baaLe muhuurta
During his term of paryaaya, each Swamiji will use untold amounts of tuLasi leaves for the daily services in Krishna Mutt and plantain leaves for daily meals and for the many special feasts held during this period. To ensure this, about one year before the paryaaya, on an auspicious day, plantain and tuLasi groves are established.

On the day of muhuurta the Mutt priests first pray to the nine planets. Then the MaTha workers carry tuLasi and plantain seedlings in procession to Krishna Mutt. On the way they are accompanied by the Krishna Mutt elephant and other paraphernalia. Prayers are first offered in the Chandreswara and Ananteshwara temples before the procession enters Krishna Mutt. Coins are offered to Sri Krishna and then prayers are offered so that there will be no shortage of tulasi leaves for pooja or plantain leaves for meals. After offering prayers to Sri Mukhya PraaNa (Hanuman) and Sri Madhvacharya, the workers then return their MaTha before going on to plant the seedlings.

akki muhuurta
During the two year period of paryaaya, many thousands of people are fed. During special festivals up to 15 thousand people are fed at a time.
It was estimated that up to 30 thousand were fed on that day. To cater for huge crowds such as this, as well as the many hundreds, sometimes thousands, who visit Krishna Mutt daily, special arrangements are made to stockpile the rice needed. This collection of rice begins from the harvest of the year preceding the paryaaya. To ensure an adequate supply of rice the ritual of akki muhuurta is performed. This ritual is performed by the Swamiji himself.

kaTTige muhuurta
This ritual is conducted some six months before the commencement of paryaaya.
Once the collection of rice has begun it is time to begin collecting the firewood used in the cooking of foodstuffs during the paryaaya. Some of the firewood is stored in a very artistic manner and the way it is stored is specialty of Udupi. The firewood is cut into varying lengths and then artistically piled up in the shape of the Brahma ratha.
This ritual commences in the Mutt of the incoming paryaaya Swamiji where prayers are offered to the nine planets. A procession then sets out with the Mutt workers carrying loads of firewood. After the ritual of purifying the ground, the artists commence the construction of the firewood rath. The firewood rath is some fifty feet in height and remains in place until the wood in it is used for cooking just before it is time to construct the rath for the next paryaaya.

bhatta muhuurta
This ritual is performed some seven or eight weeks before the new paryaaya. It is the ritual of gathering paddy from the new crop before the commencement of the paryaaya. Prayers to the nine planets are offered in the Mutt and then the paddy is placed on a palanquin, covered in a silken cloth, and carried in procession to Krishna Mutt. The paddy is placed on a platform and the Mutt priests offer rituals of worship. The Mutt manager then offers fruits and remuneration to the scholars gathered there. From this time onward the incoming paryaaya Mutt takes charge of the baDagu maaLige.
On this day, another ritual takes place. By this time the construction of the wooden rath is completed and a decorated dome is carried in procession to the rath where it is ceremoniously handed over to the chief architect who has it placed on the top of the rath. This is the last of the preliminary rituals of paryaaya.

It can be seem from these rituals that they are conducted so as to acquire leaves for eating, rice for food, firewood for cooking, paddy for rice, and so on. Their sole aim is for the continuation of the tradition of mass feeding of pilgrims and devotees in Krishna Mutt. This tradition of mass feeding is why Sri Krishna of Udupi is known as anna brahma.

SHALIGRAM


" PUJITO’HAM NA TAIR MARTYAIR NAMITO’HAM NA TAIR NARAH
NAKRTAM MARTYA LOKE YAIH SALAGRAM SILARCANAM "
Lord Shiva speaks to his son, Skanda - in this mortal world, if anyone does not worship Shalagram Shila, I do not not at all accept any of their worship and obeisances.
The Shaligrams are specifically described as fossil-stones which have taken shape in the Gandaki-river, and are characterized by the presence of discus marks. Shaligrams are always naturally found in the river Gandaki. These also include the famous Kali-Gandaki River , Muktinath, Damodar Himal, Damodar Kunda, Devghat, etc.
Shaligrams are sacred 'shilas' or stones representing the abstract form of Lord Vishnu. His followers, the Hindu Vaishnavas, place these stones in their puja altars for daily worship. Just as the abstract form of Shiva is the stone ‘lingam’ which the Shaivites worship in their temples and homes, so is the ‘shila’ of Lord Vishnu.
According to Hindu tradition, the Shaligram stone is the shelter for a small insect known as the 'vajra-keeta' that cuts through this stone and lives inside it. In actuality, however, these stones are the fossils of the common ammonite that lived millions of years ago when the Himalayan mountain range formed the bed of a vast ocean floor.
Characteristics of Shaligrams
The marks made by the shell of the ammonite give a Shaligram its characteristic appearance, with the pattern often resembling and representing the 'Sudarshan Chakra' or the discus with a sharp-toothed edge which rests on the index finger of Lord Vishnu. Shaligram stones come in dfferent colors such as red, blue, yellow, green and black. Of these, the yellow, blue and black varieties are considered more sacred. The yellow and golden-colored Shaligrams are considered most auspicious and are believed to bestow great wealth and prosperity on its worshippers.
Shaligrams of different shapes are often associated with the different ‘avtars’ or incarnations of Lord Vishnu such as: Matsaya avtar, Kurma avtar, Narasimha avtar and so on. In the epic Mahabharata, Lord Krishna while giving a discourse to Yudhistra refers to the qualities of Shaligrams.
The Vaishnavas believe that a Shaligram is the dwelling place of Lord Vishnu and any one who owns it must worship it daily. He must also adhere to strict rules while handling a Shaligram. He must not touch it without bathing, never place it on the ground, avoid intake of non-Vaishnavite food and should not indulge in bad habits or practices.
All Shaligrams are considered auspicious: some are very sacred, others are considered to bring good luck, good fortune, peace and happiness, spiritual enlightenment and so on. Individual worshippers can choose the Shaligram that will bring them the most beneficial effects based on the positioning of the planets in their horoscopes. Temples can, however, use any kind of Shaligram in their prayers and rituals.

THE VIRTUES OF SHALIGRAM:
Wherever Shaligram is kept Lord Vishnu lives there along with Goddess Laxmi. The umbrella shape Shaligram has power to give kingdom and the one having elliptical shape gives lots of wealth. Shaligram purifies a person and gives success in all walks of life. The benefits that one get by reading all the Vedas and doing penace (tapasya) is obtained by a person who worships Shaligram. The one who does Abhishek of Shaligram with water gets lots of benefits and happiness. It is said that if a dying person is given the water of Shaligram then he is purified from all the sins committed by him and goes to Vishnu Lok and get Nirvan.

POOJAN VIDHI: Shaligram is worshipped like one worships Lord Vishnu. Normally tulsi is used essentially and also a counch shell (Shankh) is also kept near the Shaligram. Daily worship with purity of heart and body is required to get full benefits from Shaligram. (Ref.: Shrimaddevi Bhagwat).
To perform puja of the Shaligram which you have selected to install in your altar of worship, you will need the following 'samagri' or ingredients:
Ganga Jal, Panchgavya (a mixture of 5 auspicious articles that include: Cowdung, Cow's urine, Milk, Ghee and Curd), fresh Tulsi leaves, Kusha grass, Pipal leaves, Incense sticks, Camphor, Sandal paste, Lamp burner, and a conch shell. You may substitute any item that is not available with uncooked rice.
Offerings to the Shaligram can be of Milk, Fruits, Flowers, Sweet dishes or a Coconut.

Procedure To Be Followed For The Puja

1. Sit in a position in which you can face the East or North-East direction.
2. Wash the Shaligram with Ganga Jal poured from the conch shell. Then wash it again with punchgavya, and then wash it once more with Ganga Jal.
3. Place some kusha grass in a stainless steel glass filled with water to sprinkle over the Shaligram.
4. Now, put the Shaligram on some pipal leaves placed on a plate. Light the camphor, incense sticks and the lamp filled with ghee.
5. Apply some sandal paste on the Shaligram and place some fresh tulsi leaves in front of the Shila.
6. Light the lamp and move it in a circular, clockwise movement of the hand in front of the Shaligram.
7. Chant the mantra: "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare" nine times.
8. Offer milk, fruits or sweets to the Shaligram. Offer some money and then give that money to a poor person.

Note: If you are worshiping more than one Shaligram, make sure they are in even numbers. This means you should have either two, four or six Shaligrams. Place a tulsi mala around them or offer fresh tulsi leaves every where. It is important to remember that even the water that has touched the Shaligram becomes 'amrit' (holy water), while you are bathing it, has tremendous properties. If you drink this water, it can help bring relief from various physical ailments and poor health so you can lead a more healthy life.

TYPES OF SHALIGRAM

Matsya - Worshipping this auspicious Shaligram brings immense wealth and worldly comforts . It bestows the worshipper with peaceful environment, austerity and philanthropy.
Kurma - The worshipper of this shaligram gets immense PERSEVERANCE, strong will power, patience, wealth and happiness in his life. The kurma shaligram also works as a shield against all evil forces.
Varaha - The worshipper of this Shaligram gets immense protection and occult/black magic does not work on him.
Narsimha - The opponents and the enemies of the worshipper vanishes and are sent to hell . No black magic or any type of occult works on him. He becomes fearless and gets success in all his endeavors.
Vamana - The worshipper of Vamana gets immense strength to fight against all odds, evils and enemies . His enemies do not get any place in the complete "Triloka" . He becomes invincible.
Krishna- The worshipper of this shaligrama will earn a great respect and dignity in the society. He will be successful in all his endeavors by his wit and intelligence.
SURYA SHALIGRAM - By worshipping Surya Shaligram the worshipper gets the quality of the sun-to rule and to move continuously with brilliant radiance and strength.Gives happiness, popularity and material gains. Also protects from accidents and misfortune.
SHIVLINGA SHALIGRAM -Shivling shaligram is the symbol of auspiciousness. The worshipper of this shaligram gains health and peace. The worshipping of this shaligram increases the family harmony.
MAHALAKSHMI SHALIGRAM -The worship of Mahalaxmi shaligram bestows the devotee with good health and wealth . Man can progress in business and service and spends his life happily. It protect like a shield from any loss.
GANESHA SHALIGRAM -The pooja of Ganesha shaligram removes all obstacles and brings success in all undertakings. It gives the worshipper Riddhies and Siddhies . His opponents are finished The devotion of Ganesha shaligram ensures the earliest accomplishment of all works pertaining to property, business etc.
MAHAVISHNU SHALIGRAM -One who sees the Mahavishnu shaligram gets eternal peace. The worshipper gets rid of obstacles arising due to negative planetary effects. The Mahavishnu shaligram contains the influence of ten incarnations. It is considered most powerful shaligram and works like a shield and drives evils away . Extremely good for fortune and worldly comforts.
LAKSHMI NARAYAN SHALIGRAM -One who worships this shaligram gets immense wealth and very good health. The environment in his house becomes like Vaikunth. Peace prevails in his house and at his workplace. Wherever he puts his hands he reaps gold and wealth. It is one of the very very rare shaligram. It gives protection to the worshipper and gives all wordly comforts.
LAKSHMI NARASIMHA SHALIGRAM-This is one of the very rare Shaligram. The worshiper of this shaligram gets immense protection from his opponents. Besides great protection, the worshipper also enjoys good fortune and all the wordly comforts. He enjoys the peaceful environment in his surroundings throughout his life. His all wishes are fulfilled and reaps gold and wealth in all his endeavours.

" YE PIVANTI NARA NITYAN SALAGRAMA SILA JALAM
PANCA GAVYA SAHASRAIS TU SEVITAIH KIM PRAYOJANAM "
- HARI BHAKTI VILASA 9/20 FROM PADMA PURANA

Any persopn who has drank the water which has bathed shalagram shila. That is equivalent to drinking thousand and thousands of times pancagavya.(Pancagavya is made from five auspicious products of a cow offered to the Lord)