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Thread: Prayer shawl/scarf..?

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    Prayer shawl/scarf..?

    Namast,

    In
    Nepal I was given one, a lovely orange-yellow cloth, with red-printed images and the words Jaya Sītā Rāma. I have seen them in photographs, mostly men wearing them draped over their shoulders and chests, while meditating or chanting. In searching for information, though, I have found little.

    So, a few questions if anyone might help:
    What are these shawls/scarfs properly called? (Searching "prayer shawls" and like terms produces mostly information on the Jewish tradition.)
    When and how are they worn? (One of the women who saw it, reverently told me that it was a very sacred thing and that I should wear it all the time.)
    If there is a mantra printed on it, should one repeat the mantra before or while donning it?

    Help, as always, is much appreciated.

    Indraneela
    ===
    Oṁ Indrāya Namaḥ.
    Oṁ Namaḥ Śivāya.

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    Re: Prayer shawl/scarf..?

    Namaste,

    This can be explained form Yog standpoint with the help of energy.

    Shawls blessed in temples or importantly by a realized or an advanced saint is subtle spiritual vibrations.

    Every human body has 5 bodies, but generally one is aware of just physical body.

    After physical body there is an energy body, which has 7 chakras. It is called aura nad for an average person, it begins from center of body and extends 5-6 inches out of the body.

    chakras are flower like, with stem connected to spine and it's petals blossoming outwards.

    So if you wear this blessed shawl, then your aura will increase form 6 inches to may be 10'' or even more. It depends upon the spiritual energy.

    Silk is not considered good conductor of spiritual energy (correct me if I am wrong). Cotton can be used.

    Now, while meditating or chanting mantras, your crown chakra i.e. sahastrar chakra activates and expands in diameter and length.

    One also has spiritual chord, which is connected with higher soul (a difficult concept to explain), say this higher soul is in sky (rough analogy - actually it's in subtle plane).

    This spiritual chord starts from higher soul, then to the center of sahastrar chakra and passes through all chakras and goes into mother earth.

    just miagine a vertical white line from crown chakra to mother earth, in the center of your body. In average person, it is very thin, of thinkness of human hair. For an advanced meditator, it can be from 1 inch and even cross your shoulder i.e. more than 1 feet.

    When such an advanced meditator blesses this shawl, he/she charges it with divine energy.

    Now, when you chant God's name or meditate then this chord also expands. If you are wearing blessed shawl, then the chakra and chord both will further expand. This will help rush spiritual energy through your body with great force, which will flush out all negative energy in your body.

    This is one of the reason why women cover their head with their saree when they go to temple, to activate crown chakra.

    So you will have to cover the head, and if practicing Yog and have a special mudra, which you do not wish to disclose, then cover your hand with same cloth.

    Printing the name is not important if the shawl is not blessed. But if it is blessed, then chant the same name printed on shawl and you can easily enter into state of meditation i.e. becomes introvert and easily chant god's name.

    Many times, Guru gives shawl which he used to meditate to an advanced disciple to quicken his spiritual progress and in turn ask his disciple to give it to a beginner meditator to help him advance quickly.

    I do not know any specific name for shawl. Some simply say, meditation shawl.

    For people following advaita, they do not take such adhara, as they believe in keeping dependencies as low as possible.

    For people following bhakti, they are not concerned with activation of chakra, but they believe that God's blessings (which is energy) and spiritual bhava is present this shawl and so they wear it. It helps them stay connected with God and keep reminding them to surrender and chant Gods name, wherever possible.

    some only wear during meditation, some keep it throughout day.

    I Used to use shawl during Yog days during meditation, while I saw one person and he used to keep a cloth (of hand kerchief size) which he got it blessed from Shirdi Sai Baba temple in his shirt pocket. He said that it gave him a feeling that Sai baba is always with him.

    Hope this helps.

    Aum
    Last edited by Amrut; 25 June 2012 at 04:13 AM. Reason: added more info
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Prayer shawl/scarf..?

    Namaste

    I'm sorry, but I cannot help read the above as facile new ageism disconnected from the heart of the dharma. Forgive me for any offense.

    I am not qualified to answer the OP, although I have seen the shawl, usually orange. around here (Nepal) a lot, and I'm looking forward to a real answer on this subject too.

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    Re: Prayer shawl/scarf..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shuddhasattva View Post
    Namaste

    I'm sorry, but I cannot help read the above as facile new ageism disconnected from the heart of the dharma. Forgive me for any offense.

    I am not qualified to answer the OP, although I have seen the shawl, usually orange. around here (Nepal) a lot, and I'm looking forward to a real answer on this subject too.
    Namaste @Shuddhasattva

    No offenses either I myself do not consider myself as an authority in spirituality. I have just shared what I know and used shawl for 3 years during my Yog days.

    If you do not believe, then you can neglect it. If you think I am giving wrong info, please point out so that I can correct myself.

    Regarding Orange Colour, Esoterically,Orange energy dispels all negativity.

    From Advaita Standpoint, Orange is the colour of Fire. Sybollically Jnanagni - the fire of Knowledge, which burns any ignorance. Also where there is light, there cannot be darkness.

    Renunciates also use orange coloured cloth, as a symbol of fire of wisdom.

    Putting a cloth on head is a common practice as I know. Even Punjabis wear / tie a cloth on their head or simply cover their head with cloth.

    We have a tradition to touch feet or bend in front of elders / saints / pundits. They all bless us by putting their hand on top of our head, therby activating crown chakra. Saints also pass on energy from their hands to our energy body through crown chakra.

    I have explained from bhakti and Yog standpoints. From Advaita Standpoint, there is no need to wear it. Maybe you have missed this

    For people following advaita, they do not take such adhara, as they believe in keeping dependencies as low as possible.

    For people following bhakti, they are not concerned with activation of chakra, but they believe that God's blessings (which is energy) and spiritual bhava is present this shawl and so they wear it. It helps them stay connected with God and keep reminding them to surrender and chant Gods name, wherever possible.

    some only wear during meditation, some keep it throughout day.

    I Used to use shawl during Yog days during meditation, while I saw one person and he used to keep a cloth (of hand kerchief size) which he got it blessed from Shirdi Sai Baba temple in his shirt pocket. He said that it gave him a feeling that Sai baba is always with him.
    Chakras, energy body and other subtle bodies are described in Tatva Bodha,Vivek Chudamani and in other places.

    We do have chakras and chakras are connected with physical bodies. They have both physiological and psycological functions

    e.g. heart chakra (Anahat chakra) is located at center of chest is connected with physical heart and thymus gland.

    Psycologically, it is connected with higher emotions like love, honesty, truth, etc.

    So when you are happily playing with your 5 year old kid, your heart chakra is activated.

    To explain many things you have to take support of energy and chakras.

    EDIT:

    As faith increases you do not ask too many questions and also do not take adhara of any external things as God is inside us. But not all want moksha. It's not the only Goal. IF that's the only goal, I would say do not use it nor think about it. If you are not on Yog, do not even care for Chakras / energy bodies as you are none of them.

    But if you practice Yog, these things are given importance and so need to be explained

    Rest is left to you.

    We can peacefully agree to disagree

    Aum
    Last edited by Amrut; 25 June 2012 at 11:22 AM. Reason: added more info
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Prayer shawl/scarf..?

    Namaste

    If you do not believe, then you can neglect it. If you think I am giving wrong info, please point out so that I can correct myself.
    Then I shall list the points I consider spurious and unsupported by shastra:
    Regarding Orange Colour, Esoterically,Orange energy dispels all negativity.
    and

    Psycologically, it is connected with higher emotions like love, honesty, truth, etc.

    So when you are happily playing with your 5 year old kid, your heart chakra is activated.
    Glib new-age assignment of qualities, typical of the chakra manuals littering the spiritual supermarket.
    So if you wear this blessed shawl, then your aura will increase form 6 inches to may be 10'' or even more. It depends upon the spiritual energy.
    I cannot imagine what possible basis you are making these claims on. Sounds wholly new-age to me and, for lack of better words, like spiritual penis enlargement.


    just miagine a vertical white line from crown chakra to mother earth, in the center of your body. In average person, it is very thin, of thinkness of human hair. For an advanced meditator, it can be from 1 inch and even cross your shoulder i.e. more than 1 feet.

    When such an advanced meditator blesses this shawl, he/she charges it with divine energy.

    Now, when you chant God's name or meditate then this chord also expands. If you are wearing blessed shawl, then the chakra and chord both will further expand. This will help rush spiritual energy through your body with great force, which will flush out all negative energy in your body.
    Unsupported.

    Chakras, energy body and other subtle bodies are described in Tatva Bodha,Vivek Chudamani and in other places.
    I know of no reference to chakras in either text, though the advaitic doctrine of the subtle bodies certainly.

    Rather, these texts represent a crucial meeting place, a triveni if you will, of samkhya, yoga and vedanta, which pave the way for the later laya yoga / agama movement with its chakra systems.

    I don't dispute the existence of chrakras, in fact you will find in the appropriate subforum a thread on chakra systems which I invite you to contribute to.

    In my opinion this commentary on esoterica does not give satisfactory answers to the original post's question and rather obscures the point. To me, it also makes your explanation of the shawl itself suspect.

    Namaste

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    Re: Prayer shawl/scarf..?

    Namaste,

    What you say is right. Honestly speaking, I learned it when I attended a course on Pranic healing, which is indeed not traditional.

    But after I received shaktipat, I could see these energies and in past have healed many people using different coloured energies including orange colour. and ofcourse, people were healed through me with the help of divine energy.

    I have also felt spiritual chord and felt it expanding when i meditate. I have seen many things with the help of 3rd eye. I also do not become medium or instrument of God and let energy pass through me so that I can serve God's creation and heal people. It's a God gift and many times I have seen many energies and their effect, but somehow, do not want to discuss it in public.

    Again this is all subjective, and different people could have different experiences according to mindsets.

    This is because, we are looking for answers. If someone has given a shawl, why not simply wear it, why does mind raise questions?

    But no one has 100 % faith and surrender. So doubts will arise.

    When my faith increased I simply stopped asking such questions and did what I was told. There are no if's and but's in spirituality. But for a beginner, these questions will arise and they need to be given some explanation

    To me, I trust these experiences and as I have mentioned, to explain some things, you need to take adhara of energy for explanation.

    The only mistake I did was that I should have mentioned that I did not find these explanation in shastras. Please accept my apologies.

    I have very limited understanding of spirituality and specially Yog.

    Since last 9 years, I am on advaita, which does not give importance to this things, so I am not tempted to read Patanjali sutras or similar text to find this answers.

    and with them I have stopped using 3 eye (agya chakra). So now I do not see anything. I have been told not to give importance to any special days like pooman, etc for meditation.

    As you too are looking for this answer, if you find proper explanation, I humbly request you to please post it so that I can learn and if possible, then point shastras, no matter if you do not remember chapter no / verse no, just mentioning of shastras is enough.

    Regarding the colours of energy, you will find it mostly under theosophy and or energy related paths. again non-traditional.

    I was told that this is explained to advanced meditators.

    I am aware that this energy phenomenon is spreading fast and there are many non-traditional schools so I understand your new-age comment on it.
    Believe me, When the seeker is ready, God will remove him from this mess, which is not directly connected to SELF realization and put him on right track, that best suits him/her.

    It happened to me. It worked both ways, my past lifes wishes to serve humanity, my quest to know about yog / kundalini and belief in things that you do not see generally. Belief in God and supreme power.

    Now I practice advaita and that too traditionally. Quest for God is all that is needed.

    Nice talking to you and happy to find your chastity towards shastras

    Namaste

    IS
    Last edited by Amrut; 26 June 2012 at 03:01 AM.
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Prayer shawl/scarf..?

    Namaste

    I like what a yogi in Devghat said to me: "I don't know what I'm seeing day to day" in the context of making a point about putting too much stock in what one sees when experiencing an expanded reality, it's just as much a husk as the crude memories we take away of higher states.

    He went on to talk about how clinging to the provisional information, or symbolism, that one perceives in this state, is one of the subtle ways of making the map/territory mistake that we normally acribe to words.

    <Stepping off the basis of shastra into personal experience>

    I've seen auras too, and I believe that the koshas / sukshma sharira are visible to higher eyes. But what I've also seen is that in spiritually developed persons, the aura is smaller and more contracted, with fewer obscurations and visual artifacts.

    I can't say how much is my own projection onto a second sight, and thus highly subjectified information, and how much has broad applicability in general.

    I don't recall reading about colors of auras, ever, in the works that I've read though. Energy bodies, irradiance - tejas, but not directly a discussion of the auras, their colors, symbols, and meanings.

    I've received some instructions about auras from my guru - perhaps it's one of those things that stays oral, or is obscured in twilight language.

    I think this thread is not so much about the OP's doubt or surrender, but wanting to understand a potentially useful new tool given in reverence.

    Whatever evokes reverence is to be utilized as an aid to the path.


    Namaste
    Last edited by Shuddhasattva; 26 June 2012 at 04:20 AM.

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    Re: Prayer shawl/scarf..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shuddhasattva View Post

    I don't recall reading about colors of auras, ever, in the works that I've read though.
    what about vajrayana rainbow body ?

    in srividya upasana there is sammohana nyasa which involves visualizing a red aura from oneself expanding to cover the whole universe.

    but these seem to have little or nothing to do with new age material on auras - although somebody must have got inspired by these as well as the kosha theory to build the current beliefs on auras.

    From what I have read in new age manuals on how to see auras - i don't think it is anything more than training the brain to trick itself.

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    Re: Prayer shawl/scarf..?

    Namaste,

    Chakras are first mentioned in the Vedas, ancient Hindu texts of knowledge. Early text that provide the location of the chakras include: the Shri Jabala Darshana Upanishad, the Cudamini Upanishad, the Yoga-Shikka Upanishad and the Shandilya Upanishad.

    source: http://home.comcast.net/~chakra_system/chakra.html

    http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism...ts/chakras.asp

    and refer this link

    Sri Ramakrishna Explains 7 planes / chakras

    Rise of Kundalini

    Sri Ramakrishna explains seven chakras and Sri Ramakrishna has high influence on me.

    I could point many links which speak similar to my explanation and this debate will go on

    but,

    As Suddhatatva has said and brought back the topic on course, I think that another thread should be created to discuss this issue.

    No offenses please.

    I think we should get right back on track and put OP's question back on track.

    What are these shawls/scarfs properly called? (Searching "prayer shawls" and like terms produces mostly information on the Jewish tradition.)
    When and how are they worn? (One of the women who saw it, reverently told me that it was a very sacred thing and that I should wear it all the time.)
    If there is a mantra printed on it, should one repeat the mantra before or while donning it?
    Last edited by Amrut; 26 June 2012 at 05:19 AM. Reason: Added a link to Sri Ramakrishna's articles on blog
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Prayer shawl/scarf..?

    Namaste, let us continue this discussion, which I see as having potentially very fruitful results, in this thread here so as to take this opportunity to develop it:

    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=9573

    As far as the shawl, I should mention one thing I have seen: a Nepali Ram pujari / sadhu I know to be of significant knowledge and power would cook his own food, and then cover it up with his shawl - do japa, circumambulate it, prostrate, and then remove the cloth, offer the food to others, and then eat. It was a white shawl, with goldish trimming though.

    Also, I have seen a lot of older guys, with short hair, in more or less normal (traditional-normal, not western-normal) clothes, but with an orange shawl/scarf with devanagri script on it. Most of these guys I think are taking the sadhu retirement plan option, and just have a cloth to look spiritual - as it seems to be a traditional or at least, soca]ially recognized mark of a sadhu. I would think then that its real use and meaning is somewhat obscured behind a mask of false sadhus who, whether those entering the sanyassi stage of their life late, or the 'longhairs,' are often in the sadhu business moreso than anything else.

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