Monday, Sep 25th

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Why do we have a prayer room?

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Most Indian homes have a prayer room or altar. A lamp is lit and the Lord worshipped each day. Other spiritual practices like japa (repetition of the Lord’s name), meditation, paaraayana (reading of the scriptures), prayers, and devotional singing etc is also done here.

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Why do we do Namaste?

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Indians greet each other with namaste. The two palms are placed together in front of the chest and the head bows whilst saying the word namaste. This greeting is for all - people younger than us, of our own age, those older than friends, even strangers and us.

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Why do we prostrate before parents and elders?

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Indians prostrate before their parents, elders, teachers and noble souls by touching their feet. The elder in turn blesses us by placing his or her hand on or over our heads.

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Why do we wear marks (tilak, pottu and the like) on the forehead?

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The tilak or pottu invokes a feeling of sanctity in the wearer and others. It is recognized as a religious mark. Its form and colour vary according to one’s caste, religious sect or the form of the Lord worshipped.

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Why do we not touch papers, books and people with the feet?

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To Indians, knowledge is sacred and divine. So it must be given respect at all times. Nowadays we separate subjects as sacred and secular. But in ancient India every subject - academic or spiritual - was considered divine and taught by the guru in the gurukula.

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Why do we consider the lotus as special?

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The lotus is the symbol of truth, auspiciousness and beauty (satyam, shivam, sundaram). The Lord is also that nature and therefore,

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Why do we worship tulasi?

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In Sanskrit, tulanaa naasti athaiva tulasi - that which is incomparable (in its qualities) is the tulasi.

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Why do we blow the conch?

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When the conch is blown, the primordial sound of Om emanates. Om is an auspicious sound that was chanted by the Lord before creating the world.

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