SHEPHERD’S PIE – This is a delicious vegetarian meal, combining high protein lentils with carbohydrate-rich potato topping. Lentils are also rich in iron plus one of the most easiest legumes to digest. Serve with a simple green salad. Serves 4 – 6
300g green or brown lentils
700ml hot water
25g butter or margarine
1 green pepper, cored and chopped
1 red pepper, cored and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 tomatoes, sliced
chopped fresh parsley
Ingredients for potato topping:
700g cooked potatoes
2 tbsp of milk
Put the lentils in a pan with the hot water and bring to the boil, simmer for 30-40 mins, until the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft.
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the peppers, carrots and celery until soft. Mash the cooked lentils and add the vegetables. Add the herbs, pepper and salt to taste. Mix well. Spoon the mix into a 2L pie dish, arrange the sliced tomatoes on top and sprinkle with parsley.
To make the topping, mash the cook potatoes with the cheese, butter and milk. Season and spoon the potato over the lentil mixture. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the top is golden.
You can elevate others only if you have elevated yourself. This world can be saved only by those who have already saved themselves. – Sri Swami Sivananda
04 Vijaya Dasami
Far more precious than many gold and diamond mines, is the spiritual wealth of Self realization. – Sri Swami Sivananda
NAVARATHRI – the nine days of worship of Devi, or the Divine Mother, in the form of Maha-Kali, Maha-Lakshmi and Maha-Saraswati.
These nine days of triumph are offered to the Mother for Her successful struggle with the formidable demons led by Sumbha and Nisumbha. Navaratri is divided into sets of 3 three days to adore different aspects of the Supreme Goddess. In its cosmic aspect it epitomizes the stages of the evolution of Man into God, from Jivahood to Sivahood.
The Divine Mother, Supreme Shakti of Brahman, has to operate through the aspirant. On the first three days Mother is adored as Power, Force – Durga the Terrible. You pray to Mother Durga to destroy all your impurities, your vices, your defects. She is to fight with and annihilate the baser animal qualities in the Sadhaka, the lower Asura in his nature. Also, She is the Power that protects your Sadhana from its many dangers and pitfalls. Thus, the first three days aim is to worship of the Destructive aspect of the Mother, Durga, marking the first stage of destruction of Mala (impurities) plus, embody the determined effort of the sadhaka to rout out the evil Vasanas, propensities and old habits in the mind.
The next step is to build a sublime spiritual personality, to acquire positive qualities in place of the eliminated Asuric qualities. The Divine qualities, Daivi Sampat, “Divine wealth”, that Lord Krishna enumerates in the Gita, have to be acquired. The Sadhaka must cultivate and develop all the auspicious qualities. He has to pile up immense spiritual wealth to enable him to pay the price for the rare gem of divine wisdom (Jnanaratna). If this development of the opposite qualities (Pratipaksha Bhavana) is not undertaken in right earnest, the old Asuric nature will raise its head again and again. Hence, this stage is as important in an aspirant’s career as the previous one. This stage of the aspirant’s Sadhana is depicted by the worship of Mother Lakshmi. She bestows on Her devotees the inexhaustible wealth of Daivi Sampat. Lakshmi is the Sampat-Dayini aspect of Brahman. She is Purity Itself. Thus worship of Goddess Lakshmi is performed during the second set of three days.
Once the aspirant succeeds in routing out the evil propensities and in developing Sattvic, pure qualities, he becomes an Adhikari. He is ready now to receive the Light of Supreme Wisdom. He is fit to obtain Divine Knowledge. At this stage comes the devout worship of Sri Sarasvati, Who is Divine Knowledge personified, the Embodiment of Brahmajnana. The sound of Her celestial Veena awakens the notes of the sublime Mahavakyas and the Pranava. She bestows the Knowledge of the Supreme Naada and then gives full Atmajnana as represented by Her pure dazzling snow-white apparel. To propitiate Sri Sarasvati, the Giver of Jnana, is therefore the third stage.
The tenth day—Vijaya Dasami—marks the triumphant ovation of the Jiva at having attained Jivanmukti through the descent of knowledge by the grace of Goddess Sarasvati. The Jiva rests in His own Supreme Self of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence-knowledge-Bliss Absolute). This day celebrates the victory, the achievement of the Goal.
The Banner of Victory flies aloft. Lo! I am He! I am He!!
Chidananda rupah sivoham, sivoham chidananda rupah sivoham, sivoham
VIJAYADASAMI – Vijayadasami is the crowning day of the success of Vidya shakti over the negative lower nature of nescience. See NAVARATHRI above.
PRAHLADA – Prahlada is a character from the Puranic texts of Hinduism, wherein he is famed for his exclusive devotion (bhakti) to Vishnu, despite attempts in the story by his father, Hiranyakashipu to turn him to the contrary. The story of Prahlada gives a number of moral instructions: God will always save his devotees, constant faith in God leads to devotion.
DHRUVA – Dhruva was an ardent young devotee of Vishnu. He was a prince blessed to eternal existence and glory as the Pole Star in the constellations. The story of Dhruva’s life is often told to Hindu children as an example for perseverance, devotion, steadfastness and fearlessness.