Nine forms of Goddess Durga

VASANTA NAVARATRI IS ALSO CALLED AS CHAITRA NAVARATRI AND RAM NAVARATRI DURING WHICH WE WORSHIP THE NINE FORMS OF GODDESS DURGA

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Vasanta Navaratri is celebrated during springtime in the lunar month of Chaitra (March-April) and ends with Ram Navami.  Lord Rama who was born on Ram Navami is the ideal concept of human perfection and is called ‘Maryadapurshottam’ with a perfect sense of duty, sacrifice, discipline, equanimity, love and kindness. Sarvesh Pundit the chief priest of a temple in Aligarh says, “He is believed to be the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu.” That is the reason Vasanta Navaratri is also called Ram Navaratri. Vasanta Navaratri and Ram Navami are widely celebrated in Northern India.

Navaratri are the nine auspicious nights dedicated to worship Goddess Durga and her nine forms. Prof. Madhu Datar a learned spiritualist says, “She is a form of ‘Shakti’ who is the omnipresent power in the entire universe. She is the primordial or primeval energy of nature but the devotee of her positive qualities finds her most benign, kind, merciful and she blesses with grace and enlightenment.” According to ancient scripts, Goddess Durga manifested herself into three major forms namely, Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Kali who are the active energies of the divine trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh respectively. These three forms of the Goddesses further manifested themselves into three more forms each, thus leading to the nine forms of Goddess Durga. These nine forms are termed as Navadurga. These forms are the life phases of Ma Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva (Mahesh).

The nine forms of Goddess Durga are:

  1. Shailputri is the First Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 1st day of Navaratri. Sati the daughter of King Daksha immolated herself and was born to King Himavan as his daughter Parvati.  He was the King of the Mountains so his daughter came to be known as ‘Shailputri’.
  2. Brahmacharini is the Second Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 2nd day of Navaratri. When she took birth as the daughter of Daksha, she was a great Sati and her unmarried form is known as Brahmacharini. Brahmacharini means one who practices devout austerity. She is the magnificent embodiment of Goddess Durga with great powers and divine grace. She is blissful and endows happiness, peace, prosperity and grace upon all devotees who worship her. She is the path to emancipation (Moksha).
  3. Chandraghanta is the Third Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 3rd day of Navaratri. When she got married to Lord Shiva, she wore a ‘Chandra’ or half moon on her forehead in the shape of a ‘Ghanta’ or bell and came to be called as Chandraghanta. She is worshipped for peace, tranquility and prosperity in life.
  4. Kushmanda is the Fourth Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 4th day of Navaratri. She is considered the creator of the universe and is believed to reside at the centre of the Sun as the principal source of all energy.
  5. Skandamata is the Fifth Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 5th day of Navaratri. She came to be known as Skandamata when she became the mother of ‘Skanda’ or Lord Kartikeya, who was chosen by the gods as their commander in chief in the war against the demons.
  6. Katyayani is the Sixth Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 6th day of Navaratri. When she destroyed ‘Mahishasura’ the demon, she came to be known as Katyayani.
  7. Kaalratri is the Seventh Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 7th day of Navaratri. She is the fiercest Goddess among all the forms of the Navadurga. When she removed her outer golden skin to fight the demons Shumbh and Nishumbh, she became very dark and came to be known as Kaalratri. Her gesture of protection assures us of freedom from fear and troubles. She is also known as ‘Shubhamkari’ – one who all auspicious.
  8. Mahagauri is the Eighth Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 8th day of Navaratri. She was extremely beautiful, very fair complexioned at the age of sixteen, and that is why she is known as Mahagauri. Her power is unfailing and instantly fruitful. Her worship is believed to redeem her devotees of all sins of the past and present and are purify them.
  9. Siddhidatri is the ninth and the last Navadurga Goddess, worshipped on 9th day of Navaratri. She has supernatural healing powers. When Lord Shiva worshipped Maa Adi Parashakti for creation, he cleared different levels of Shakti and the Goddess appeared in ‘Saguna’ form (with virtuous qualities) from the left half of Lord Shiva and was called Siddhidatri.

NOTE: The article has been published in The Times of Aligarh (The Times of India) on April 14, 2013. Hence, the copyright of the article is owned by The Times of India. Anyone who tries to copy, use or reproduce the article in any way will be liable to legal action. 

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The Record Breaking Envelope

THE ENVELOPE MADE BY AMU STUDENTS ONCE AGAIN MAKES ITS WAY TO THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS

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At a proud moment on April 3, 2013, the largest envelope in the world was unveiled at the Community Hall of New Guest House, AMU amongst judges and witnesses. The size of the envelope was measured to be 17.86 meters in length and 13.10 meters in breadth. The students and professors of Ajmal Khan Tibbiya College and a professor from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, AMU made it. The making of the envelope started on March 18, 2013 and was completed on April 3, 2013. It was made with pink 130 gsm card sheets of 22×28” size and about 1600 sheets were glued together. The three observers appointed by the officials of Guinness World Records, Dr. Shah Shahood from the Department of Mechanical Engineering Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and Technology (ZHCET), AMU, Dr. Imtiyaz  from the Department of Mechanical Engineering ZHCET, AMU and Mr. Puran Singh Rana, Additional City Magistrate-II, Aligarh declared the envelope to be the largest in the world. The record-breaking team behind the wonder envelope will soon receive the certificate from the Guinness World Records authority.

The envelope was also displayed at Ajmal Khan Tibbiya College, AMU on April 4, 2013. Pro Vice Chancellor of AMU Brig. Syed Ahmad Ali, Prof Zakia Siddiqui, Adhyaksh Zilla Panchayat Mr. Sudhir Chaudary and Sumaira Khan from ABP News were present on the occasion.

The envelope was made to convey the message to ‘stop crime against women’. That was the main reason to choose the colour pink for the envelope. While all the girls dressed in pink, balloons of the same colour were also released in the air to mark the day. Students of the Fine Arts Department of AMU contributed to the day by organizing a painting exhibition based on the theme.

Later in the day, the envelope was sent to the President of India with four postal stamps of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Allama Iqbal and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. These were commemoration stamps released by Government of India and one thing common among them was that they all strived for the rights of Women.

It is an encore achievement for AMU as one year ago also thirty students of Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and Technology, AMU had made an envelope that measured 17.86 meters in length and 13.10 meters in breadth. It was then declared as the largest envelope in the world.

NOTE: The article has been published in The Times of Agra (The Times of India) on April 12, 2013. Hence, the copyright of the article is owned by The Times of India. Anyone who tries to copy, use or reproduce the article in any way will be liable to legal action. 

 

A DISTURBING TREND: RISE IN WOMEN’S ILLNESS DUE TO EXCESSIVE ESTROGEN LEVELS

HEALTH IS WEALTH, BE HEALTHY BE HAPPY!

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Estrogen is a natural female hormone produced by the ovaries and is responsible for a woman’s mental and physical health. It travels through the bloodstream, binding to receptors on cells throughout the body. In addition to growth and development, estrogen affects metabolism, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, how female bodies use food and reaction to emergencies. Estrogen also regulates bone growth and cholesterol level. Therefore, estrogen is an important hormone that is responsible for the overall wellbeing of a woman.

In the past few years, we have seen a significant rise in female-related illnesses never seen before. Ovarian cysts, polycystic ovaries, fibroids and endometriosis have become common ailments in women of childbearing age. These ailments also affect fertility of a woman and make it difficult for her to conceive. Many experts believe that this is due to excess estrogen levels in their bodies. Research has also linked estrogen to cancers of the breast, endometrium (uterus), and cervix. The known risk factors for breast cancer include conditions that cause women to be exposed to higher estrogen levels over their lifetimes. Scientific studies have clearly shown that prolonged estrogen exposure increases the risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer.

It is essential to know the underlying causes that increase Estrogen levels in our bodies to keep a check on it. Dr. Bithika Bhattacharya, a Gynecologist and Obstetrician with a leading hospital in New Delhi, attributes stress and modern lifestyle as the main cause of estrogen disorder in women. Our modern lifestyle includes consumption of fast and processed foods and alcohol, smoking and staying awake late at night. Dr. Jeetendra Nath Banerjee a well-known Homeopathy Doctor in Aligarh who has cured several patients with the above-mentioned diseases, enumerates the implications of mental status on the brain. He says, “Mental negativity due to stress and present lifestyle causes hormonal imbalance by affecting the hypothalamus portion of the brain. Hypothalamus controls many important functions of our body. The synthesis and secretion of estrogens is stimulated by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which are controlled by the hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). High levels of estrogens suppress the release of GnRH providing a negative-feedback control of hormone levels.”

He strongly recommends a regulated life and mentions that the only remedy to avoid and control increased levels of estrogen is through a healthy diet and healthy way of life. Eighty percent of our immunity occurs in our intestinal tract. To have a properly functioning immune system, you need to have a healthy digestive system because a large proportion of your body’s immune system stems from the digestive tract. A healthy gut and a healthy digestive system will aid in the production of certain good bacteria, enzymes and vitamins that help us to fight disease. Having a strong and vibrant immune system will help you to fight the underlying causes of estrogen disorder. Detoxify your body by having as much as water you can. A diet that is low in simple carbs and high in vegetable carb sources will help you detoxify estrogens. The essential nutrients to help detoxify estrogen are the B vitamins, zinc, omega-3 fish oils, green tea and magnesium. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, low Vitamin E elevates estrogen. Eat vegetables and fruit that have fiber, it helps in digestion and decreasing circulation of estrogen in the body. Avoid alcohol, caffeine (coffee, tea and soft drinks), fast and processed foods and foods with preservatives and Trans fats as they increase chemical load on the system. You must exercise regularly to keep body fat at bay. Fat levels and estrogen are related. Exercise has proved to have an impact on estrogen levels in women. Exercise not only keeps you fit and healthy but also elevates your mood by reducing stress.

 

HAVE SOME HONEY

HIBERNATION DIET HELPS SHED THOSE EXTRA KILOS WITH HONEY WHILE YOU ARE TUCKED IN BED.

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The Hibernation Diet has been created by British pharmacist and sports nutritionist Mike McInnes and his son Stuart McInnes who is a nutrition expert.

“The Hibernation Diet is about recruiting your own natural recovery system for weight control,” Mike says. “You don’t have to fight your body every step of the way to get a healthy weight. You need to learn how to make it work for you.”

The honey hibernation diet helps us sleep and lose weight at the same time by working with our body. It is a new approach to fat metabolism. When honey is taken before going to bed, it is believed that it fuels the liver, speeds up fat burning metabolism, eases stress hormones and helps us get better sleep. Honey keeps blood sugar levels balanced and helps our recovery hormones burn fat stores. It is surprising but true, you lose seventy percent of fat while sleeping during the night and hardly ten percent with intense exercise.

Our brain is constantly in need of energy but it cannot store any. The source of energy to the brain is the liver but it can only store 75 grams of energy at a time. While asleep during the night, our body needs energy to build new cells for our bones, skin, nails, muscles and all vital organs. Our pituitary gland, which is the master of recovery hormone production, sends out message to do the reconditioning while we are asleep. Our body works through the liver four hours every night doing the calorie demanding maintenance work. The calories come from the fat storage in our body. This period of our sleep, which is the first four hours of our sleep is called slow wave sleep and it is during this period that our body’s repair system works at its peak.

The good news for us is that our body uses fat for energy while our body is resting and recovering. Since the main organ at work is the liver, it has to be adequately stocked with fuel reserves to get through the overnight fast. Our blood sugar is stable when the liver is fuelled sufficiently and only then can our body use fat stores for energy.

The Hibernation Diet is not only healthy but also very easy to follow, all you have to do is take one or two tablespoons of honey in luke warm water, a smoothie or straight from the jar within an hour before going to bed and your body will work while you can have a guilt free relaxed sleep. You will wake up feeling refreshed every morning with healthy skin, hair, nails, bones and internal organs.

One can have a perfectly toned and healthy body with honey, balanced diet void of fast and processed food and half an hour of yoga every day. People who have followed Hibernation Diet have been able to lose weight easily in comparison to those who indulge in rigorous exercise regimes.

NOTE: The article has been published in The Times of Agra (The Times of India) on April 5, 2013. Hence, the copyright of the article is owned by The Times of India. Anyone who tries to copy, use or reproduce the article in any way will be liable to legal action.