Traditional Three-Day Hindu Marriage Ceremony…

Day 1 Morning: PITHI: Mandap Muhurat, Pithi and Ganpati Puja

Mandap Muhurat is the ceremony symbolizing the beginning of the wedding, three days prior to the wedding day. In the Vedic traditions of Hinduism, every auspicious ceremony (Muhurat) – wedding, birth, housewarming, begins with the remembrance and respect of Lord Ganesh. Lord Ganesh embodies the one who removes all obstacles. The parents of the bride seek the blessings of Mother Earth and ask permission to commence with the digging of the soil to erect the mandap (platform erected for the wedding rites covered with a canopy). This puja is performed by a priest in front of a sacred fire. 

Pithi (haldi) is a paste made of chick pea flour, turmeric, rose water and other ingredients; the golden concoction is applied to the face, arms and legs of the bride and groom to cleanse and purify them before the wedding ceremony. It is initiated with mango leaves by maternal aunts, (mother’s brothers’s wives) and then by bride’s brother’s friends. 

Ganpati Puja (Ganepaat) : The bride and her parents will sit together; earthen pots ceremony (Mahya matla vidhi) is performed by the bride’s father’s Sisters, who afterwards will tie a knot in a scarf between the bride’s parents.

Day 1 Evening: MEHNDI: Mingling, Mehndi and Dinner

The bride has henna applied using intricate patterns and detail. It is believed that the deeper the colour on the bride’s hands, the stronger the love between husband and wife. There is also a custom that the bride has her groom’s initials incorporated in the design which he then must find on the wedding night. The event is an important celebration as it marks the start of the wedding festivities.

Day 2 Morning: GRAH SHANTI: Receiving Mosalu and Grah Shanti Puja 
Lunch served at 11:30 AM until 2:00 PM

Mosalu, literally translated, means “maternal side.” Although this ceremony is known as the time when the bride’s maternal relatives are welcomed & present her with an abundance of gifts- clothes, jewelry, etc., the bonds and familial relationships which underly this ceremony create an environment of unconditional love, sacrifice, and pure happiness. The bride’s paternal side of the family goes to the entrance of the hall, to officially receive the maternal side of the family. 

Grah Shanti ceremony springs from the belief that the stars and constellations exert tremendous influence on the lives of human beings. Any disturbance in the stars can cause harm or clashes in the marital relationship and the lives of the couple. The purpose of the puja is to bring peace among the stars.

Day 2 Evening: SANGEET: An evening of Ceremony, Spirits, Dinner, traditional Garba music and Dancing

Sangeet is a celebration and bright colors are appropriate.

Day 3 Morning: WEDDING: Baraat, Milni and Wedding Ceremony 

Baraat (Jaan) = Grooms Party Parade: Groom and his entire groom’s party (Jaan) travel towards the starting arch and tries to impress bridal party with their dance moves. This is led by a drummer (dholi). 

A few feet away from the arch the bride’s mother and aunties approach the groom to formally receive him. The groom is going to play hard to get until they hands him an envelope. 

The groom will eventually be escorted by the bride’s mother, followed closely by a few of the groom’s cousin sisters, mom and brother. There will be a Baajat (step up stool) set up for the groom. Before he steps up, (Var Bedu ritual) the bride’s younger cousin sister will carry two water pots on her head which represents good omen. Once she walks close enough, the groom’s mother will give her a token of an envelope. 

The groom will be asked to remove his shoes and step on the Baajat. Bride’s mother applies chandlo (red kumkum dot) and chokha (rice) on Groom’s forehead, and performs Aarti (light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter.) 

Varmala Ceremony: Groom’s brother puts his right thumb over the right shoulder of the groom from behind then the pundit starts to chant prayers to invoke Lord Ganesh and various deities for their blessings. While chanting he wraps the raw thread four times around the right big toe of the groom then to the thumb of the brother. Each thread represents a different virtue of human life. The pundit then will take the varmala (garland) and later garland the bride and groom together for Kanyadaan ceremony. Kanyadaan, meaning “giving away the bride” in Sanskrit, is a symbolic marriage ritual for the Bride’s parents and the couple. 

Milni is when the bride’s Father and uncles greet all the close male family members on the groom’s side by saying Namaste, shaking hands and exchanging hugs. Close family members of the groom’s will be handed a small red or cream hand towel to place on their right shoulder. It shows that they were formally greeted by the bride’s family. They will all go towards the seating area for the wedding. 

Ponkhana (welcoming of the groom): this ceremony is performed by the bride’s mother & involves the use of four mini ponkhana sticks, representing the couple must work together and signifies the couple’s promise to move together as a unit in life. Offerings are given to the deities of four directions; Sunrise, Sunset, Earth and Vegetations to receive their blessings. 

Wedding programs will be available to guests at this point to help guide the family through the rest of the ceremony.

Day 3 Evening: RECEPTION: Cocktails, Dinner and Dancing


Vedism is the oldest stratum of religious activity in India for which there exist written materials. It was one of the major traditions that shaped Hinduism. Knowledge of Vedic religion is derived from surviving texts and also from certain rites that continue to be observed within the framework of modern Hinduism. It takes its name from the collections of sacred texts known as the Vedas.

Though it is impossible to say when Vedism eventually gave way to classical Hinduism, a decrease in literary activity among the Vedic schools from the 5th century bce onward can be observed, and about that time a more Hindu character began to appear.

To each Veda is attached a body of prose writings of later date called Brahmanas (c. 800–600 bce), which explain the ceremonial applications of the texts and the origin and importance of the sacrificial rites for which the Vedas were composed.

When Vedic religion gradually evolved into Hinduism between the 6th and 2nd centuries bce, the texts, taken collectively, became the most sacred literature of Hinduism. They are known as Shruti (“What Is Heard”), the divinely revealed section of Hindu literature—in contrast to the later strata of religious literature known as Smriti (“What Is Remembered”), traditional texts attributed to human authors. But in modern Hinduism the Shruti, with the exception of the Upanishads and a few hymns of the Rigveda, is now little known, while some of the Smriti texts remain extremely influential.


Introducing Shivani & her Ayurvedic & Natural Remedies…

3 science of life“Ayurveda, what’s that,” was my thought when I was invited to an Earth Day-Full Moon Evening Retreat featuring yoga, meditation and Shivani Gupta. I participated in the retreat and was introduced to Shivani’s Ayurvedic and Natural Remedies so I am taking this opportunity to introduce you!

Ayurveda (Sanskrit meaning “life-knowledge”) is a system of medicine with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. A holistic approach rooted in Vedic culture, Ayurveda had a role in early Hinduism which explains its hallowed place in India. The main classical Ayurveda treatises begin with legendary accounts of the transmission of medical knowledge from the Gods to sages, and thence to human physicians. Globalized and modernized practices derived from Ayurveda traditions are a type of complementary or alternative medicine. In the Western world, Ayurveda therapies and practices have been integrated in general wellness applications and in medical use.

_2 Shavani w Fusionary Formulas BannerShivani Gupta was born and raised in Houston, Texas to a loving traditional Indian family. Throughout her entire life, her father–a complete health nut–taught her about healthy eating, organic foods, effective supplements, and fortifying the body to have the best health. Through these lessons, she learned the importance of healthy lifestyle choices, nutrition, exercise, prevention, optimism, and self-care. Shivani has been independently studying Ayurveda for over ten years. She planned the Hindu University of America Conference on Ayurveda ten years ago. Today, she is finishing her Ph.D. in Ayurvedic Studies. Today, Shivani is ready to share her knowledge and experience with the world.

Her seminar was fascinating and included a survey which resulted in identification of my constitution—was I vatha (space/air), or was I pitha (fire/water), or was I kaptha (earth/water)? Like most guys I was primarily kaptha. The designation sets into motion various ways to look at our body, mind and consciousness.

1 330px-Ayurveda_humors_svgThe next topic that was discussed was daily self-care. Waking up early to start the day with the sun, saying prayers before leaving bed, personal hygiene including a tongue cleanser, drinking water and gargling with warm sesame oil were all presented in the context of living life according to Ayurvedic principles.

The third section dealt with determining which herbs were needed to address people’s health, mobility, flexibility, and pain. With an entrepreneurial flair and apparent passion (she is a vibrant, beautiful and energetic woman) to be the foremost catalyst of conscious living, Shivani launched Fusionary Formulas, an Ayurvedic nutraceutical company, last year. She is the complete source of herbs from diagnosing what is needed, to supplying the needed herbs to monitoring their performance with her clients.

20160422_205002Shivani is one hundred percent real and I like that she references her two beautiful babies as being organic babies. It was the first time I heard that terminology but it makes sense!

I am grateful to now be aware of Ayurveda and having met Shivani Gupta.

If you are interested, please contact Shivani through her website


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Shivani explaining her Aruyvedic and Natural Remedies. Photo Credit: Iris La Belle

An Earth Day-Full Moon Evening Retreat with Ragda (Left- Meditation), Diane (Center-Yoga) and Shivani (Right-Ayurvedic & Natural Remedies) was a transformational experience!

An Earth Day-Full Moon Evening Retreat with Ragda (Left- Meditation), Diane (Center-Yoga) and Shivani (Right-Ayurvedic & Natural Remedies) was a transformational experience! Photo Credit: Iris La Belle




‘All From One,’ Unity Amid Diversity Exhibit in South Africa…

_640 COVER PAST All From ONE

How can we go forward together if we don’t look at our past? Photo Credit: Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST)

On Tuesday, January 19th, 2016, Day 42 of the Golf & Life Journey to South Africa, after playing the East Golf Course of Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, I ventured up to Pretoria to do some sightseeing.  What I saw was the PAST ‘All From One’ exhibit outside the Standard Bank offices in Rosebank.

You know how you know that a single brief interaction of a chance meeting with someone can change your life? Well this was one of those experiences with the ‘All From One’ exhibit and exhibit guide Gary Trower. It was brief but the seed was planted and of course the pictures taken for documentation purposes and future digestion of all the impacts.

With archaeologist Gary Trower at the 'All From One' exhibit in Pretoria, South Africa.

With archaeologist Gary Trower at the ‘All From One’ exhibit in Pretoria, South Africa.

While I am not a scientist in this regard, truth be known, we all do come from the same ancestors and are 99.9% alike yet why does the world focus on our differences?

‘All From One’ is the scientific base for our spiritual unity…

Here is more from the Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST) website and below the words are in the pictures to follow along in the exhibit just like I did during my visit to South Africa. Images courtesy of John Gurche.


I hope that you can commit to tolerance, unity, collaboration and conservation as I did that fateful day in South Africa.  We are all ‘spiritual beings living a human life,’ and ‘we are a part of nature, not apart from nature!’ TROML Baby!



The science of our origins reveals the shared African roots of all people. PAST uses Africa’s ancient fossil heritage to build African dignity, promote social cohesion and environmental conservation, inspire scientific curiosity among school-going youth, and establish African leadership in the sciences related to our origins.

‘Unity Amid Diversity.’ Cultural and physical differences ensure the uniqueness of every individual. Yet underlying this diversity is a deeply woven humanity common to all people.

Our Place in Nature. Africa’s fossil heritage shows that the environment played a major role in the evolution of life and humankind. If the pace and extent of environmental change is too rapid or large for species to adapt, some will go extinct.

'Unity Amid Diversity.' Photo Credit: John Gurche

‘Unity Amid Diversity.’ Photo Credit: John Gurche

Welcome to the website version of the PAST ‘All From One’ exhibition. The physical version of the exhibition opened on 10 November 2015 and is touring South Africa. It has thus far stood outside the Standard Bank offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg, the Soweto Theatre in Soweto, the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town, and Maropeng in the Cradle of Humankind outside Johannesburg.

The exhibition is a striking structure recalling both a DNA double helix and the skeletons of two large prehistoric animals. A smaller, reconfigured version of the exhibition was produced as part of the South African Treasures exhibition at the United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly in Geneva in October 2016.

_Humans part not apartThis website version of the exhibition contains similar information and some of the images from the two physical versions, plus additional information in “Dig Deeper” pages.

The ‘All From One’ exhibition draws on scientific evidence about our shared human origins and the shared origins of all life forms in order to challenge commonly held ideas about humankind and our place in nature.

You will see that you are unique, but that you share strong bonds of similarity with all other people, based on a deeply rooted common humanity. As a species, you will see we are but one twig among millions on the tree of life that sustains us all.

All told, you will see that shared origins is a potent force for tolerance, unity, collaboration and conservation.


मार्च 28 वें मुबारक हिन्दू राम नवमी, 2016 Happy Hindu Rama Navami on March 28th, 2016

Happy Hindu Rama Navami on March 28th, 2016 or in Hindi this would be मार्च 28 वें मुबारक हिन्दू राम नवमी, 2016 !

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

1 Ram-Navami 3-26-16Rama Nawami (Devanāgarī: राम नवमी; IAST: Rāma navamī) is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of the god Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya. Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu, is one of the oldest avatars of Lord Vishnu having a human form. [1][2] [3] The holy day falls in the Shukla Paksha on the Navami, the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. Thus it is also known as Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami, and marks the end of the nine-day Chaitra-Navaratri (Vasanta Navaratri) celebrations. Rama navami is one of the most important Hindu festivals…

2 Ram-Navami 3-26-16Rama is known as ‘Maryada Purushottam’ which means an ideal, righteous and a great or a perfect human being, being the best son, brother, husband and father…

Rama Rajya, the reign of Sri Rama, is a rare period of peace and prosperity bestowed by him alone. This festival commemorates the birth of Sri Rama who is remembered for his prosperous and righteous reign…

3 Ram-Navami 3-26-16“When the subjects (the people of the kingdom) are happy, they are not sad, not miserable, not helpless, not starved or hungry, they are not targets for abuse and contempt, they are not kicked around, the reign or the prevailing state is called the Ramrajya”, said Sadguru Shree Aniruddha Bapu in His special discourse on 6 May 2010 as he spoke about the Ramrajya, His dream, His aim, His word and His motto, all for His friends’ sakes – our sakes.

4 Ram-Navami 3-26-16And so we understand that the Ramrajya is as much a ‘state of affairs’ at the general level as it is a ‘state of mind’ (mind as in mental capacities, inner resources of a person) at the particular level. This is a destination, a situation we have to attain and so ushering in the Ramrajya calls for committed and consistent effort at both the individual and the collective levels.


Anonymous Andy here…

This sounds and feels like a beautiful being and state of mind to ascribe to and to pursue in one’s life…

I am interested to learn more about Rama Navami and how this Hindu holiday inspires people of the Hindu faith…

Would you like to write about your personal Hindu faith and how it has positively and inspirationally impacted your life?