Questions tagged [rituals]

For questions about customs and traditions in Hinduism (called "Karma kand", as opposed to "Gyana kand", which refers to the philosophical aspects of Hinduism).

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39
votes
7answers
17k views

Why are menstruating women (at least in the Brahmin community) asked to be separate from the family for three days?

I am just curious for what religious reasons there might have been. In certain sects of Hinduism, women are asked to not enter the kitchen, eat and sleep separately from the rest of the family, not ...
26
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4answers
30k views

What is the significance of the janeva (sacred thread)?

In Hinduism, all male brahmins are required to go through an initiation called thread ceremony (upanayanam or yagnopachhedan) in which their heads are shaved before they are given the sacred thread (...
24
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5answers
2k views

What is the basis for worshipping Sai Baba? Are there are references to him in the Vedas or other Vedic literature?

Recently, Dwarka Shankaracharya, Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati stirred controversy by claiming that since Shirdi Sai was a human and that there are no mention of him any Hindu scripture, he shouldn't ...
20
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1answer
9k views

Why are crows considered to be a link to our pitris (spirits of ancestors)?

In Devasams (srardham) or annual memorial ritual performed to the deceased, rice is fed to crows. I was told by elders at home that the crows represent our Pitris. What is the reason behind crows ...
20
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2answers
3k views

How will we know the end of first part of the Kali yuga?

As we know, There are four yugas (Satya, Treta, Dwapara, Kali). Every yuga consists of four parts (known as pādā in sanskrit). Many are aware that in the daily rituals we perform, we say Kali yuge ...
19
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7answers
33k views

Why Hindus wear red tilak and sandal wood tilak on foreheads?

Hindus prefer to wear red tilak and sandal wood tilak on foreheads. Also Lord Shiva wears Bhasma(Vibhuthi). Many of his followers do the same. How did this practice originate?
17
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2answers
93k views

What are the 16 sanskaar (Sacraments of Life) and How do you complete them?

I have been told that there are 16 sanskaar (sacraments of life) described in the great texts of Hinduism. I am aware of naamkaran (naming ceremony), janeu or yagnopavit (sacred thread), vivah (...
16
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4answers
11k views

What is the importance of the Tulsi plant (Holy basil)?

The Tulsi plant has a significant role in Hinduism and its rituals. It is considered a holy plant, and in front of every Hindu house, there will be a Tulsi plant. Why is it considered a holy plant? ...
15
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6answers
7k views

What is the reason to touch the elder person's feet for blessing?

In India, it is tradition of touching feet of a relative who is elder in age (like grandfather/mother, uncle/aunt, in-laws) for blessing. What is the reason/story behind this ?
15
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8answers
27k views

What is the significance of breaking a coconut in Hindu rituals?

I have observed and even practiced the act of breaking a coconut before any Hindu ritual or before starting any auspicious deed. It is also offered before God after breaking it. What does this ...
14
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3answers
2k views

How do we clear our debts?

As stated in one of the answer here: There is a variation in the thread count of yajñopavītam. Bachelors wear a single thread, married men wear 2, and married men with children wear 3. Each thread ...
14
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2answers
2k views

Why do people celebrate Holi? Why do they throw colored powder at each other?

Holi is meant to be a happy ritual, I agree. But what is the historical context behind this whole ritual, and what do the colors represent?
14
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2answers
1k views

What's the significance of worshiping Shiva in the month of Shravan?

We all know about worshipping Shiva in the month of Shravana (श्रावण), especially on every Monday of that month i.e Shravana Somavara. What's the significance of worshipping Shiva in Shravana? In ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Rituals to be performed during Shiv Ratri and their significance

Shivaratri comes every month and Maha Shivaratri comes once a year. Many people offer prayers to Lord Shiva on that night without sleeping. Are there any specific rituals that one must do while ...
13
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10answers
7k views

Why “GURU” is equal to “supreme GODS”?

"Gurur brahmaa gurur vishnuh gurur devo maheshvarah gurur saakshaat parabrahma tasmai shree gurave namah." Translation: Know the Guru to be Brahma himself. He is Vishnu. He is also Shiva. Know ...
13
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2answers
17k views

What is the significance of Ashwamedha Yagna?

Throughout the Hindu scriptures, there have been instances of Kings offering Horses as sacrifice to the Gods in the Ashwamedha Yagna. What is the significance of this ritual? Why only horses were ...
13
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1answer
4k views

What is the difference between Rajasuya Yajna and Ashwamedha Yajna?

I had heard stories about king performing Rajasuya Yajna and Ashwamedha Yajna from Ramayana and Mahabharata (though I don't have very good knowledge about them). They looks similar like horse is ...
13
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2answers
23k views

Why do some of the Hindu “Brahmins” wear a sacred thread?

I've seen my friends who are Brahmin(Hindu sub-caste) wearing a janoi (Gujarati for "sacred thread"). Also, when they go to the washroom, they wear that thread on their ears. Why do they wear that ...
13
votes
1answer
884 views

Does Sadashiva ride a tortoise?

In this excerpt from the Manava Shrauta Sutras, a text associated with the Yajur Veda, a certain ritual for worshiping Shiva is described. As part of this ritual, the five-headed form of Shiva is ...
12
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2answers
4k views

What is the significance of Satagopuram?

Why is it placed on our head after Darsan? If I am correct, the Satagopuram is not offered in Shakthi temples. What is the reason behind this? (In which kind of temples can this be seen?) Do we ...
12
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3answers
3k views

What do the Vedas say about animal sacrifice?

In ancient times, there had been animal sacrifices at various Yagyas and rituals were performed by Brahmins for kings, while on the other hand they also used to advocate non-violence and preferred a ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Why do idols of Lord Ganesha only rarely have the trunk turning to the right?

I've rarely seen idols of Lord Ganesha with his trunk turning towards the right. As far as I know, people say that Ganesha idols having the trunk turning towards the right should be given extra care ...
11
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2answers
3k views

What is reverse chanting?

Someone told a priest that he wants to pray in reverse and the priest told him this: You are praying like Om Namah Shivay currently. So you need to pray now Shivay Namah Om. So my question is what ...
11
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3answers
1k views

What scripture does the sacred thread mantra come from?

If you're a brahmin, you're probably familiar with the following mantra (see page 2): Yajnopavitam, paramam pavitram Prajapatim yatsahajam purastath | Ayushyam agriyam pratimunja subhram Yajnopavitam ...
11
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4answers
26k views

Why can Tulsi leaves only be picked on certain days?

I've heard that it is not allowed to pick the leaves of a Tulsi plant on certain days such as Dwadasi among others. This is why Acharyas advise against using store-bought Tulsi in offerings. Which ...
10
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4answers
6k views

What are some mantras which are dedicated to Lord Indra?

As we know that Lord Indra is the most important Vedic deity. I want to ask if there is literature available for Lord Indra's worship. (except Vashitha Ganapati muni books) Are there mantras (vedic/...
10
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2answers
547 views

What is the story of the origin of Sraadha ritual?

As I asked in this question the story of Karna from Mahabharat is given in many portals for the origin of the ShrAdh ritual but as is apparent from the discussions on it this seems unlikely since the ...
10
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4answers
7k views

Why is the Sloka “Suklambaradharam Vishnum…” used as Ganapaty Dhyanam when it is clearly a Dhyana Sloka for Lord Vishnu?

As is well known, before starting any ritual Lord Ganapaty (also known as Vighneswaram,or the Lord of obstacles) is invoked first. Usually, almost everywhere, the following Sloka(in bold) is used ...
10
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5answers
1k views

Can Sanyasins perform Vedic rituals even after renunciation?

One of the members posted that "for those who renounce worldly life (sanyasins) self alone is the sacred thread So they can do any Vedic rituals also" How can someone perform vedic rites like ...
10
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1answer
13k views

Is bathing without cloth a sin?

This says that bathing with out cloth is not correct. It says that one should not bath with out clothes in sacred rivers. Some articles says that, since there are no personal bathrooms in old times, ...
10
votes
1answer
14k views

What is the significance of Akshata in rituals?

Akshata (rice) is used in all Hindu rituals. What is the significance of Akshata in rituals?
10
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3answers
397 views

Guru Purnima celebration

Hindus and Buddhists celebrate Guru Purnima every year. What is the significance of celebrating Guru Purnima? Are there any specific rituals that are expected to be done during the day? Also, when ...
10
votes
1answer
894 views

Has Suhagraat (1st consummation of husband & wife) & honeymoon been mentioned in the sciprtures?

Has Scriptures contain anything about Suhagraat & honeymoon? If yes, what they talk about these rituals? And were these ritual even followed before Kaliyuga?
10
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3answers
3k views

What is the significance of 'teertham' offered to devotees?

In temples, Devotees often receive 'teertham' which comes in various forms. Sometimes it is just plain water mixed with camphor or at times it is something as rich as 'pachamrut'. What does it signify?...
10
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3answers
14k views

What is the importance of Ekadashi?

In Hindu mythology it is said Ekadashi is said to be most auspicious day among the fifteen days of of krishna paksha or shukla paksha and it is very good to perform any fasting or any ritual or pooja ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Why is Chandra Grahan (Lunar eclipse) considered unsafe for pregnant women in Hinduism?

It is said that women should not work during Lunar Eclipse or Chandra Grahan. It is said that doing so effects the physical health of the baby. Is there any mention of this in the scriptures, or any ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Is there any provision for 'Divorce' in Hindusm? [duplicate]

By law and court system a marriage can be ended with legal divorce. Islam says if they say Talaq three times then the marriage is over. Like Islam, does Hinduism allow divorce for a married couple? ...
10
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1answer
3k views

Why do some Hindus observe fast during the month of “Shravan”?

Why do some Hindus observe fast during the lunar month of "Shravan"? What does it signify? Is it prescribed by the holy texts?
9
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1answer
3k views

What are the benefits of doing sandhyavandanam?

What are the benefits, physical or mental, material or spiritual? Also, what are the consequences of not doing it?
9
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1answer
251 views

Is there a scriptural basis for the celebration of Kojagari Purnima?

There are many stories that mention the belief that Goddess Lakshmi roams on the earth on the night of Sharad Purnima, a day which is also known as Kojagari Purnima. Many people make kheer or payasam ...
9
votes
2answers
490 views

Why are there religious restrictions on women?

From what i have seen women are more religious than men.But there are many prohibitions on them when it comes to participating in religious acts.Restrictions that are imposed upon men are far less in ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How does one get initiated into Sri Vaishnavism?

How does a non-Sri Vaishnava get initiated into Sri Vaishnavism? What Sri Vaishnava Acharyas are there in the world today who initiate people?
9
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1answer
28k views

What is the significance of visiting temple on amavasya day?

Is there any significance to visiting temples on Amavasya Day? Or are there any restrictions in doing so?
9
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2answers
6k views

What is the significance of nãrikel (coconut) in pooja?

In almost all Poojas (worship) nãrikel (coconut) is used. Image source: picdif.com What is the significance of using nãrikel in pooja?
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do Hindus touch Earth before starting the day?

Before starting the day, or keeping feet on Earth, Hindus usually touch Earth by their hands. What could be the possible reasons behind this ritual? Is this to show respect to Earth?
8
votes
3answers
413 views

Which scripture says that during eclipse all water become pure like Ganges water?

Which scripture says that during eclipse all water become pure like Ganges water? This page make the following claims: During eclipse all waters are equivalent to Ganges water and all Brahmins are ...
8
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2answers
5k views

Why do we bury dead body of a Sannyasi rather than burn it?

I have heard many times that if there is any funeral then probably we burn the deceased person. But in case of death of a Sannyasi we do not burn his body rather bury in the ground. This is even ...
8
votes
3answers
22k views

Time to perform Sandhyavandanam

Sandhyavandanam is a Nitya karma of every Dvija(twice born). It is performed when the sun and the stars are together visible which means early morning and late evening when the sun is on the horizon. ...
8
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1answer
6k views

Which direction should one face while doing Sayam Sandhyavandanam?

Some people say it is not advisable to do achamana facing west, so one should face north while doing evening Sandhyavandanam up to Navagruha Tarpanam and after that one should do facing west till ...
8
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4answers
1k views

Which chapters of Bhagavad Gita should be read for Shanti of the departed ancestors?

What are the specific chapters of Bhagavad Gita that should be read for the Shanti of the departed ancestors/ family members ?

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