Aum, the original vibration

Aum (or Om) is a Sanskrit syllable. It is found in several religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, or Brahmanism.

This sound is considered to be the divine primitive vibration of the Universe which represents all existence. The original sound from which the Universe would have structured.

The AUM syllable therefore represents the totality of what exists, as well as the Hindu trinity:

 The letter A represents the beginning, the birth, and the creator god Brahma.
 The letter U represents continuation, life, and the god Vishnu
 And the letter M represents the end, death, and the destructive god Shiva.

The pronunciation of Aum is sometimes described as follows: first A emerges from the back of the throat, towards the palate, then U rolls on the tongue and M ends on the lips.

A symbolizes wakefulness, U, dream, M, sleep. Awakening corresponds to the fourth step: silence, departure and rebirth of Being.

This is the first syllable of the famous Aum Mani Padme Hum mantra.

See our Om or Aum items in your Arasia store

Small Sanskrit Lexicon

One of the best known yoga's pose is the tree pose
One of the best known yoga’s pose is the tree pose.

Sanskrit is the sacred language of ancient India, many terms of which are now frequently used in the world of yoga and wellness in general.

With our little Sanskrit lexicon, enter a mysterious world of infinite wisdom!

AHIMSA: This term, popularized by Gandhi, means “non-violence” and “benevolence towards all creatures”. This is the first principle of “yamas”, the codified rules guiding yogis on their path of life.

ASANA: Literally “yoga posture, or sitting”.

ASHRAM: spiritual community gathered around a sage.

AUM or OM: primordial vibration of the universe, link between interior and exterior. Represents the four degrees of reality: waking (A), dreaming (U), deep sleep (M) and turya or silence.

The Aum sound is widely practiced in yoga and meditation classes
The Aum sound is widely practiced in yoga and meditation classes.

AYURVEDA: From “ayur”, “life” and “veda”, “knowledge”, Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India which dates from the Vedic period. According to Ayurveda, Matter is composed of five elements (the tattvas): earth (prithivi), water (apas), fire (tejas), air (vayu) and ether (akasha). These elements come together in three combinations to form what are called “doshas”, which determine the different “types” of people.

BANDHAS: Energy locks in the physical body that yogis use to hold life energy. The three main bandhas are mulabandha (at the level of the root chakra); uddyanabandha (at the level of the diaphragm) and jalandharabandha, (at the level of the throat).

CHAKRAS: The chakras are the energy centers, located along the spine. They are often symbolized by lotuses (padma).

Each of the 7 main chakras is associated with a particular color, sound, and energy properties
Each of the 7 main chakras is associated with a particular color, sound, and energy properties.

DHARMA: this term designates the natural law, the duty, the wheel of the journey of life.

GUNAS: the material world is made up of three qualities which are the “gunas”. These three qualities are present in living beings and food: “tamas” = laziness and resistance; “Rajas” = energy and movement; “Sattva” = balance and purity.

GURU: “Gu” means shadow and “ru” means light. The guru is a master, a teacher who guides us from shadow to light.

KARMA: means “action”, “movement of energy”. Karma is the law of cause and effect (or law of causation).

KOSHAS: The five envelopes of the human being: the physical, energetic, mental, intellectual and spiritual bodies.

LILA: the divine ballet or “game” of the physical world.

MALA: Hindu rosary. In general, the mala is made up of 108 pearls, a sacred number in yogic mythology. Often composed of natural stones and seeds, it is used to count breaths or mantras.

MANDALA: literally “center, circle, unity and totality”. Mandalas are geometric designs widely used as a medium for meditation.

MANTRA: It is a phrase, sequence of words or syllables, repeated while singing, and / or meditating. This practice is based on the power of repetition.

MAYA: It is the illusion of the physical world and the main cause of our suffering.

MOKSHA: Refers to the liberation of the soul, when it has completed its cycle of reincarnations.

MUDRA: Sacred gestures performed with the hands and fingers. The practice of mudras helps to raise vibrational energy.

Chin Mudra is one of the most common mudras
Chin Mudra is one of the most common mudras.

NAMASTA: This is a greeting commonly used in India and in yoga classes as a sign of gratitude, benevolence and peace.

I greet the light that is in You
I greet the light that is in You.

NIRVANA: Refers to the liberation of a being from the cycle of rebirth (samsara). The self is no longer separated from the rest of creation and with this state comes intense happiness. This is the goal of the Buddhist and Hindu spiritual journey.

PRANA: This Sanskrit word means indifferently “vital breath”, “energy of life”, “light”.

PRANAYAMA: “control” or “mastery” of “prana” ie the breathing techniques of yoga.

PUJA: Offering to the statues representing the Gods: chanting of mantras, garlands of flowers, fruits, sacred woods, milk, rice, water, incense…

SADHU: Holy man who gave up earthly pleasures to pursue a spiritual quest.

The Sadhus are called
The Sadhus are called “baba” in India. Devoid of material possessions, often dressed in orange, with long, tangled hair, they roam the roads and devote their lives to spiritual research.

SATYA: Means “truth” in the sense of “sincerity”.

SHANTI: This Sanskrit word often sung by yogis literally means “peace”.

SUTRA: Short philosophical texts which expose a sacred knowledge.

SVASTIKA: Very ancient and powerful symbol of luck and protection. It was used by the Nazis who gave it an extremely negative connotation, but today it needs to be given back its true meaning.

VEDAS: Very ancient sacred texts from India.

YOGA: Indian ancestral art of self-knowledge. Yoga is a holistic practice aimed at training the body, the breath and the mind. It aims for the union of the self and the divine.

YOGI (male), YOGINI (female): practitioner of Yoga

Introducing Ganesh

Ganesha or Ganapati is a cross between the human and divine worlds. His body is that of a man while his head is that of an elephant. His mount, Mushaka, is a tiny rat.

Ganesha or Ganapati is a cross between the human and divine worlds. His body is that of a man while his head is that of an elephant. His mount, Mushaka, is a tiny rat.

Known as the god of wealth, wisdom and luck, traders, travelers and the household. He is the son of Shiva and Parvati.

Ganesh protects from any obstacles and unawareness, and it is customary to make an offering in the form of of flowers (preferably red), fruit (bananas, coconuts, mangoes …), plants, lamps, candles and incense, as well as treats, which he loves before one foregoes an examination, a trip, or a ceremony.

A warm and welcoming god, Ganesh is extremely popular in India and as He is seen in temples, houses, shops, restaurants…

His favorite days are Tuesday and Friday.

Other names of Ganesh are:
Ganapati: Lord of Ganas
Vinyaka: Best guide
Gajnara: Elephant Head

Ganesh statues for sale on my online shop Arasia.

Ganesh-Chaturthi-Desktop-Wallpapers-300x225

The third eye or 6th chakra

The third eye corresponds according to oriental traditions to the sixth chakra. It is found in various cultures and religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and most meditative practices.

AJNA

People of India often wear on their foreheads a bindi, bindu or tikal, which symbolizes and materializes the third eye, and its Sanskrit name is “Ajn”.

But what really is the third eye?

Look Inside

The third eye is a mystical and esoteric metaphor for the inner gaze, beyond the physical eyes, and more generally for the spiritual awakening.

It is located on the forehead, between the two eyes. It’s the other look, the real look, that of knowing yourself and the world around you. It would also be the centre of the soul.

Pineal gland

The third eye scientifically corresponds to the pineal gland, epiphysis, which is connected to the nose, ears, and the nervous system. It is connected to the hypothalamus, the “heart” of our brain.

The seat of intuition

When its functioning is optimal, the third eye is the source of many gifts and capacities: increased perceptions, clairvoyance, and intense intuition.

We find our ability to make clear choices, and to know what we really want in our life. We are “inspired”.

When this chakra is not functional, we are unfortunately more
egocentric, interested and frightened. We stay focused on our habits and our security without any real possibility of evolution. We cannot calmly accept the vagaries of existence.

Opening of consciousness

Opening the third eye raises awareness, and we become more lucid. We then better understand the thrue essence of the human being, and the meaning of life and death.

How to activate the third eye?

Its proper functioning would be degraded by the heavy metals accumulated in our body, such as fluorine and calcium. But to activate the third eye there are several methods, you can for example:

  • place an intense blue color stone, like a sodalite,
  • massage it with a drop of essential oil of dill, immortelle or palmarosa.
  • You can also place an indigo blue or purple Tesla Plate in the center of your forehead.
  • just materialize it with a bindi

So, are you ready to open your third eye and activate your inner sun?

Mudras : health at your fingertips !

Mudras are hands gestures whose origin goes back to ancient India, several millennia ago.

According to the ancient tradition, our five fingers represent the five building blocks, or the five main elements of the universe (called Panchamahabhootas ).

The thumb is connected to the Fire (Agni)

The forefinger is linked to the Air (Vayu)

The middle finger is connected to the Ether, the Sky (Akasha)

The ring finger is connected to the Earth (Prithvi)

The little finger is connected to the Water (Jala)

It is worth mentioning that the 5 elements do not refers to the same concepts in the Indian and Chinese culture, the correspondences also change (learn more about the 5 Chinese elements here).

Murdas is practiced by creating, with one’s fingers, particular forms that generate energy and subtle vibrations that care for the body and the mind.

It also includes the principle of Asanas (postures of yoga). Moreover, mudras are often referred to as ” finger yoga”.

Practiced regularly, the mudras improve our general health, and harmony body-spirit-universe.

Mudras are omnipresent in Hindu dances, especially the dances that talk about the story of the manifestation of God in the universe.

Each mudra has a deep meaning and has a share of the magic of Life.

The Sanskrit word ‘mudra’ means ‘sign’ or ‘seal’. It comes from the terms: ‘mud’ which means ‘bliss’, happiness and ‘dhra’ which means ‘dissolution’.

Each finger has its own function and power in the body. Used properly it can help maintain your physical, mental and spiritual health.

When the fingers touch, the ‘nadis’ (energy channels) are connected and some energies are activated. The different elements that make up our body and the whole universe can associate and cooperate.

Our hands can replace our eyes in the dark, they can also be used to communicate with our fellow humans and with the rest of the universe. Our hands are the first means of expression before one learn how to speak!

Our destiny rests in our hands, and this expression is to be taken literally and figuratively.

Our hands are the first means of expression before one learn how to speak!

With Hakini Mudra, the five energetic channels are equally activated.

Dharmachakra mudra

Dharmachakra mudra is the gesture of the turning wheel of life.

Padma mudra

Padma mudra or lotus seal is excellent to open oneself to universal love.

garuda mudra
GARUDA MUDRA
bhu mudra ancrage
BHU MUDRA
atmanjali-mudra-namaste
ATMANJALI MUDRA
APANA MUDRA
APANA MUDRA
GANESHA MUDRA
GANESHA MUDRA
CHIN MUDRA
CHIN MUDRA
SURYA MUDRA
SURYA MUDRA
VARUN MUDRA
VARUN MUDRA
SHUNYA MUDRA
SHUNYA MUDRA
DHYANI MUDRA
DHYANI MUDRA
PRANA MUDRA
PRANA MUDRA
SHIVA MUDRA
SHIVA MUDRA
SHANKH MUDRA
SHANKH MUDRA

Mass-Education An Indian NGO that has planted 100,000 trees!

Mass-Education is an Indian NGO founded in 1976. Its goal is to promote education for everyone, mainly the poor rural and urban areas of Bengal.

Mass Education aims to make changes in basic, everyday life, to create opportunities for development, and to help the emergence of a conscious citizenship.

People are educated to become self-reliant in resource management.

The NGO has already built more than 60 schools with a capacity of 15,000 pupils, 6 teacher training centers, 1 orphanage and 1 nursing home.

They have set up training programs for adults (sewing, plumbing, etc.), actions to raise awareness of health, hygiene, contraception, actions to combat exclusion, demonstrations in favor of respect for Human rights and the environment.

Mass-Education is also a reforestation program with more than 100,000 trees planted since 1980, as well as an ethical tourism program that has already welcomed 300 tourists.

This year, Mass Education has planted 1000 mango trees, check out the pictures here.

You can also finance the construction of a collective latrine (starting at 350 euros), or sponsor one or several children (30 euros per month per child allow to pay for his/her education, food, school materials, etc.)

Sukumar Singh dreams of changing society with his ideas and alternative approaches. He studied history, economics, politics, as well as the social and cultural situation of India. 40 years after founding Mass-Education with a group of farmers, he is till this day dedicated body and soul to this noble cause.

Photos of Mass-Education achievements

Fair travel to India

Plant a tree for 1 euro!

The banyan trees: sacred trees

The banyan, also called pagoda fig tree, Bo tree, pipal, or ficus religiosa is a majestic tree that can reach 30 meters, and several hundred meters in circumference!

With its aerial roots descending from its bushy crown to the ground, becoming trunks, and its heart-shaped leaves, the banyan invites to meditation. In Asia, they are found everywhere: in the towns, in the middle of a road, in front of a building or in the middle of a parking lot, and are tended to by devotees who come to place some offerings or prayers.

Indeed, it is said that Buddha attained enlightenment under the shadow of a banyan tree. And the Bhagavad-Gita made it the tree of supreme knowledge.

This tree has a particular energy, the banyan trees are very often found near the temples, and can live up to 1500 years. It has the power to calm the mind, but also to take the mind very high to heaven.

In South America it is called “the tree that walks” because it seems to have enormous legs that can be compared to elephant’s that leave the “main trunk”.

Some famous banyan trees:

The most famous and most sacred is in the holy city of Bodh-Gaya, in northeastern India, where the Buddha would have attained enlightenment.

The Great Banian of Howrah, near Calcutta, India. Its diameter is over 130 meters.

Another famous Banyan is the Dodda Alada Mara in Bangalore.

The banyan is part of many Ayurvedic remedies. One uses its sap, its leaves, or its bark.

Operation 1 euro = 1 tree in Bengal!

Arasia’s reforestation

Forest Man, the man who planted a forest!

Majuli Island is located in the Bhramaputra River in the north of India. In the 1970s it was a large shoal threatened by winds and soil erosion with a population of 150,000 inhabitants.

Jadav Payeng is an incredible defender of nature. Since 1979, tree by tree, he planted, by himself an incredible forest, the Molai forest, with the aim of saving his island threatened by erosion.

Forest Man Jadav Payeng

Today, the Molai Forest makes up to more than 550 hectares. It has become dense and rich, and is home to many animal and plant, many of which are endangered: elephants, Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, vultures …

The Molai forest was planted by a single man, now dubbed “Forest Man”, he planted his forest without tools or without any help but simply with his two bare hands.

Jadav Payeng devoted his life to planting this forest, this man is a true nature lover, humble and passionate, who shows us that with will anything is possible.

His fight is far from over. As he himself says: “it will never be. The biggest threat I face is not from nature but from my people. Man has a vocation to destroy everything, when it should be the opposite. I will fight to the end to make it happen. ”

What if we took this as an example and each of us take action on their own scale? The whole world would be transformed.

Arasia offers you the opportunity to plant trees by participating in the operation 1 euro = 1 tree, in partnership with the Indian NGO Mass-Education.

Click here to plant a tree!

Learn more about reforestation projects sponsored by Arasia here.

What is the symbolism behind the elephant?

The Elephant is mainly known as agigantic animal, but it is actually a pacifistic animal with a keen intellect.

Unfortunately counted nowadays as an endangered species because of poaching, deforestation and industrialization.

A distinction is to be made between the African elephant and the Asian elephant.

The Asian elephant’s height reach, in average, below 3 meters and weigh less than 3 tons. Its ears are small and its tusks are often short or even nonexistent and its trunkpossess a sole finger. The African elephant however, can be up to 3,5 meters and weigh up to 4 or 5 tons! It ears are so big that they can cool him off or frighten its opponent. Its tusk is long and hefty and its trunk possess two fingers.

The Asian elephant has been domesticated for more than 4,500 years firstly to travel or animal traction. Nowadays, the elephant is mainly seen in the tourism industry. It is the biggest land-based animal on earth.

What is the symbolism behind the elephant?

The Elephant is mainly known as agigantic animal, but it is actually a pacifistic animal with a keen intellect.

Unfortunately counted nowadays as an endangered species because of poaching, deforestation and industrialization.

A distinction is to be made between the African elephant and the Asian elephant.
The Asian elephant’s height reach, in average, below 3 meters and weigh less than 3 tons. Its ears are small and its tusks are often short or even nonexistent and its trunkpossess a sole finger. The African elephant however, can be up to 3,5 meters and weigh up to 4 or 5 tons! It ears are so big that they can cool him off or frighten its opponent. Its tusk is long and hefty and its trunk possess two fingers.

The Asian elephant has been domesticated for more than 4,500 years firstly to travel or animal traction. Nowadays, the elephant is mainly seen in the tourism industry. It is the biggest land-based animal on earth.

The symbolism behind the elephant always has been “superior wisdom”. The animal is also associated with the idea of having a good memory, longevity (can reach 86 years of age !!), wealth, strength and goodwill.

In India, the elephant impersonates the world’s four pillars which it carries on its back.

In Hindu philosophy, Ganesh, god of wisdom and students’ patron. The son of Shiva one of the main deity worshiped in India and the god of Cosmos.

The elephant is also often found in religious ceremonies where it occupies a special place.

You will find on Arasia’s blog numerous articles about elephants, drapery, statues, ornamentation etc., right here !

 

 

Bollywoods

Born of the contraction between Bombay (now Mumbai) and Hollywood, Bollywood refers to an Indian cinematographic genre born in the begging of the twentieth century

As its name suggests, the capital of Indian cinema is Mumbai and Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world.

The Bollywood films are characterized by their duration of about 2 to 3 hours (with an intermission), outdoor shoots which is one of the trademarks of the genre, and colorful choreographies, sometimes soliciting hundreds of dancers with impeccable technique (see our article on mudras here). Choreographies are allied to atypical songs that were traditionally, in Hindi and started to be mixed with English with more Western rhythms thereafter.

In India, cinema is family-oriented (hence the absence of explicit scenes), dedicated to entertainment, and combines drama, romance, comedy, action, music and dance.

It is much more than an art or an industry, it is a culture, an important part in the life of many Indians, who identify with the characters, their adventures and the values ​​they carry.

Bollywood actors are very versatile and their talent is sometimes underestimated by the Western cinema because the intrigues are considered kitsch.

Hindi movies have managed to spread to the rest of the world not only through the diaspora and “neighboring countries” such as Southeast Asia, North Africa and the Middle East but alsotrough Westerners, that areand more are interested in this cinematic genre. Some Bollywood actors succeed in exporting to Hollywood: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, DeepikaPadukone, Priyanka Chopra…

At Arasia, we have a slight preference for the films: Ram-Leela, Devdas, As Long as I Live, Fanaa and UmraoJaan.

ArasiaShop sells many articles with a Bollywood theme such as bindies, the ring bracelet (here), statues of Indian deities (here), Indian scarves (here).

sources :

http://www.lefigaro.fr/culture/2012/08/06/03004-20120806ARTFIG00401-bollywood-ce-cinema-qui-unit-l-inde.php

http://shakiraqs.e-monsite.com/pages/bollywood/qu-est-ce-que-bollywood.html

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bollywood#Sc.C3.A9nario

Thank you to  Stéphanie Teko Malonda for this article  🙂