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5 Important Things that Make up a Puja Thali

When you look at a puja thali, it has many colours. There’s haldi, kumkum (sindoor), abeer which is black, but ‘abeer’ also means red. There’s a white powder and gulal (pink).
Colours are important. It’s almost as if we are playing Holi with the gods. The colours in a puja thali are to excite various sense organs (indriyaan). Fragrant things for smell (like, chandan), different colours for the eyes, a bell for sound, prasad for taste, a lamp and its glowing light (deep) for touch.
If you ever wondered the significance of all the things that go into a puja thali, here are the reasons – from India’s bestselling mythologist, Devdutt Pattanaik.
In earlier times, women used to bathe with turmeric to give their skin a golden glow. In Puri temple, Krishna’s sister Subhadra has a yellow face and is called Haldi-mukhi (haldi-faced).
Red kumkum is associated with female gods and you’ll find it mostly in temples of the Devi.
After you apply Chandan paste, you have to patiently wait for a while before its colour starts showing. Its fragrance is released immediately. This is a symbol of karma. Once you work, you will get the fruit of your labour.
Anything you burn is reduced to bhasm (ashes). You don’t have to work for it. Finally, you’ll be turned to ash. Shiva, who is a bairagi (an ascetic), smears it all over his body.
Haldi-kumkum-rice together probably conveys that to grow anything you need two things.
What are the other important things that go in your puja thali? What is their significance? We’d love to know!
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6 Hindu Concepts Made Easy by India’s Bestselling Mythologist

Mythology is  layered with legends within legends, full of perplexing and astonishing anecdotes, and buzzing with a cast of larger-than-life figures.
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Here are six Hindu concepts that Devdutt Pattanaik makes easy in his compilation – Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik 2!
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When we think of Vivekananda, the image is that of a saintly monk. But was he really that?
Swami Vivekananda was nothing like the monks we have known forever. He was confined neither by history nor by ritual, and was constantly questioning everything around him – including himself. He broke numerous stereotypes which he deemed regardless and harmful for mankind. There’s a lot that we can learn from him and more importantly, there’s a lot we can learn about him.
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With his book The Modern Monk, Hindol Sengupta deconstructs the accepted, idolised image of Swami Vivekananda, giving us the coolest monk, whose ideas and thoughts are relevant even today.


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Vivekananda is one of the most important figures in the modern imagination of India. He was also an utterly modern man who consistently challenged his own views, and embraced diverse, even conflicting arguments. It is his modernity that appeals to us today and makes him the coolest monk we know.
9789385990342_fc-265x405More than 100 years after his death, do we really know or understand the bewildering, fascinating, complex man Swami Vivekananda was?
Vivekananda is not merely a religious teacher. He is one of the most powerful and charismatic intellectuals in Indian history – a true modernist with a rigorous scientific temperament. And Hindol Sengupta brings his teachings for the modern readers in his latest work – ‘The Modern Monk’ 

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