Saturday, October 13, 2007

Badami Burfi (Microwave-mw) /Microwave Almond Burfi

Wishing One and All A Very Happy Navratri!!!

Here's a write up on Meaning and Significance of Navaratri which I wish to include, from a close family friend's brother, Muralianna.
Thanks for writing & sharing such a in-depth article!

Meaning of NAVRATRI

‘Nava’ means nine. It also means ‘fresh’ or ‘new’.
‘Ratri’,‘ra’ means giving solace or rest. ‘Tri’ means three.

There are three types of botherations or problems that may affect a person
- physical, mental, spiritual
. That which gives you relief from all these difficulties is ‘ratri’.

‘Ratri’ or night relieves you and brings you comfort. It takes you into its arms and puts you to sleep. Even birds and animals go to sleep at night. The night relaxes everybody, whether happy, unhappy or miserable, everybody goes to sleep.

‘Navaratri’ means the new night or the nine nights that give you rest from all these three types of problems.

The nine days represent the nine months spent by the baby in the mother’s womb. It represents the evolution of the consciousness to a heightened awareness.

In life, there are positive and negative qualities that affect us. Navaratri represents how the negativity can be conquered by the inherent positive qualities in an individual so that one emerges as a divine being.

In the ashram, when such a celebration happens, it is done for the
benefit of all of humanity. It is done with an intention that all the
people should be happy; there should be good rainfall, prosperity in the
country and so on. Many 'homas' are conducted with the chanting of
'mantras' creating an atmosphere of positivity and celebration.

'Mantras' remove fear from the mind. They break the thread of repetitive thoughts and bring the mind to the present moment, which is the field of all possibilities. The sound energy of the mantras charges the atoms positively. These vibrations are absorbed by every atom of our body.

'Homas' are ancient ways of purifying the individual and collective
consciousness. There are three aspects

Devapuja -honoring the divine in all its forms,
Sangatikarana -hastening the process of evolution by bringing together the elements of creation and
Dana -sharing what you have been blessed with.

Women are celebrated during these days. In the Hindu mythology, the
three deities Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati representing courage, wealth
and wisdom are celebrated.

‘NAVA’ means ‘nine’ and ‘Ratri’ is made up of ‘Ra’ which also means ‘night’ and ‘Tri’ meaning the ‘the three aspects of our life, Body, Mind and Soul. So ‘NAVARATRI’ means ‘giving rest to all the three aspects of our life, for nine days’.

The first three days of NAVARATRI, are ‘Tamasic’ days, followed by three ‘Rajasic’ days and ending with three ‘Sattvic’ days. At night, all the artis are performed for the Devi - the enjoyer of everything. So there is classical dance, music and various
musical instruments being played. Each day has special implications, yagnas, poojas and homas are performed.

Our ancestors felt the inadequacy of words and so they expressed themselves with symbols … for instance, we offer flowers and fruit to God. The ‘flower’ is a symbol of what we are - so full, attractive and so light - so beautiful. Fruits are symbols of completeness. In the life cycle of a plant, fruits signify completeness. Also the fruit is the ultimate result. That is how we feel when we offer the symbolic fruit to God with all the gratitude for contentment in life.

We also light lamps. Indian tradition involves tall brass lamps with
a swan carved at the top. This is a very beautiful symbol. It means that with the light of knowledge, one attains ‘Viveka’ a characteristic of the swan. In Sanskrit, it is called ‘Neerakshiraviveka’ meaning a swan can differentiate between milk and water even though both may be mixed.

Similarly, in the context of NAVARATRI, there is a symbolism behind
the ‘bull’ being destroyed by the ‘Devi’. What do we call someone who is very dull, thick skinned and insensitive? A buffalo! Only the Mother Divine can destroy this buffalo with the collective energy of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh! Just as a baby takes nine months to be born, the Devi took nine days to rest and what was born on the tenth day was pure love and devotion, with which the Devi conquered the buffalo of inertia and dullness! Devi Ma is not somebody holding a big ‘trishool’ in one hand. She is a form of energy, a manifestation of the Divine itself. Therefore, sometimes, the forms taken by this Divine may be that of Ganesha, Chandi (Devi), Vishnu, Shiva….. and the manifestation, in this creation, happens in a mother’s womb…. in silence, secretly. So during these nine days of NAVARATRI when the Master goes into silence, the energy is in the process of getting more and more refined, well-tuned,
to welcome the Mother Divine. This is called ‘Aradhana’.

Ninth day is a day for honoring everything that we have, no matter
how seemingly insignificant, and the tenth day is ‘Vijaya Dashmi’ the
‘victory day’. It is only after we have honored something that we can gain victory over it. This day is celebrated as the victory of the Devi over the evil forces – which is also just ‘Maya’.

The festival of NAVRATRI lasts for nine nights. According to the Hindu calendar NAVRATRI celebration begins from the first day of the bright
fortnight of Ashwin. This festival is fully dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga Mata and her nine forms. These nine days are celebrated
in all over the country with an ardent zeal and enthusiasm. The devotees all over India celebrate the last three days with much solemnity, calm and joy. But on the tenth day, Dussehra or Vijayadashmi is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana.

The festival of NAVARATRI is devoted to the Shakti or the Eternal Mother. This worship is so old in India even in the Vedic era. This opinion was confirmed in the vedas and puranas. The festivities commence on
the first night in the month of Ashwin (October). The vibrant festivities last for ten days, of which nine nights are spent in worship, 'NAVARATRI'.

NAVARATRI is divided & devoted for the worship of Trinity of Gods in
a female form - three days for Durga (Goddess of Energy) three days
for Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) and three days for Sarswati (Goddess of
. On the fifth day, it is traditional to worship Sarswati Mata
to invoke our sprit and knowledge. The eighth and ninth day, it is
traditional to perform Yagna (sacrifice offered to the fire) to honour
Durga Mata and bid her farewell. The 10th day, on which the goddess kills Mahishasura, is celebrated as Dusshera or Vijayadashami as the victory of good over evil.

NAVARATRI is a combination of various themes, with the common theme
of the victory of good over evil. Some opine that Vijayadashami or
Dusshera is celebrated on the day Lord Rama kills Ravana. According to a Puranic legend, the mighty demon Mahisasur vanquished the gods and their king, Indra. They then approached Brahma,Vishnu and Maheshwar, who decided to destroy the demon, so they all combined their energy, and gave rise to Shakti.

They all prayed to the divine mother Durga to do the needful. Equipped with lethal weapons, riding a ferocious lion, the Goddess in all her
awesome majesty, vanquished the evil one without much ado. The 10th
day, on which the goddess kills Mahishasura, is celebrated as Dusshera or
Vijayadashami as the victory of good over evil. Dassera (tenth day) is
one of the significant Hindu festivals, celebrated with much joy in the
entire country.

On the tenth day, the Vijayadasmi day, colossal effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnadh are placed in vast open spaces.
Rama, accompanied by his consort Sita and his brother Lakshmana,
arrive and shoot arrows of fire at these effigies, which are stuffed with
explosive material. The result is a deafening blast, enhanced by the
shouts of merriment and triumph from the spectators. It is significant
that the Lord invoked the blessings of the divine mother, Goddess Durga,
before actually going out to battle. In burning the effigies the people
are asked to burn the evil within them, and thus follow the path of
virtue and goodness, bearing in mind the instance of Ravana, who despite all his might and majesty was destroyed for his evil ways
. On this day in the famous Ramleela grounds in Delhi huge effigies of the ten-headed demon king Ravana, Meghanath, his son, and Kumbhakarna, his brother, stuffed with crackers are torched by an arrow to symbolize the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

The festival is also celebrated with intense fervour and zest, in
whole India, in the form of Durga Puja. The vibrant festivities last for
ten days, of which nine nights are spent in worship, 'NAVARATRI'. But
this festival varies from place to place.

The most famous NAVARATRI celebrations are held on the western states
of India (Gujarat and Maharashtra) in the form of Dandiya and Garba
dances. While dancing the dancers move around in a circle, with different steps around a lamp, which represent the Eternal Light of the Durga Mata. Generally Gujarati women dance around the circles by clapping their hands or decorated sticks to the rhythm of the
devotional songs. After worshipping and 'Aarti', 'Dandiya raas' is performed all through the night.

In West-Bengal, NAVARATRI is the real lyrics of the Bengali life.
This festival is essentially religious in nature. It is celebrated with
true devotion. In the time of Durga Puja huge idols of the Mata Durga
posed as killing the demon Mahishasura are worshipped . Huge 'pandals' are set up every where to worship Durga Mata (Goddess Durga). The tenth day is devoted to the worship of goddess Durga. She is Shakti, the cosmic energy that animates all beings. Beautiful idols of the Mother Goddess are worshipped in elaborate pandals for nine days, and on the ninth day, these are carried out in procession for immersion (visarjan) in a river or pond.

In Maharashtra, NAVARATRI celebration is slightly different than
other states. Here NAVRATRI is dedicated to Goddess Durga while the
Vijayadashami is dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. This day is considered auspicious to begin education, buy new homes, start new ventures, and weddings.

The Daserra of Mysore is also quite famous where caparisoned elephants lead a colourful procession through the gaily-dressed streets of the city. During NAVARATRI, Chamundi, the royal deity of the Mysore royalty is worshipped with pomp and pageantry.

In the Kulu valley in Himachal Pradesh, the hill- folk celebrate
Daserra with a grand mass ceremony wherein village deities are taken out in elaborate processions. In Punjab, NAVARATRI is taken as a period of fasting.

In Tamil Nadu, the first three days are dedicated to the worship of
Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity. The next three days to Saraswati, Goddess of learning and arts and the last three days to Shakti (Durga).

In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, women arrange 'Bommai Kolu', a special placing of dolls in various costumes decorated with flowers and ornaments on specially prepared steps. Nine young 'kanyas' or virgins are offered new clothes and sweets as the goddesses and married women share flowers, kumkum and snacks among themselves.

Like other festivals in the country, NAVRATRI is a festival that
combines spiritual, cultural and frivolous activities for almost a
fortnight. So it is really an occasion for festivities on a grand scale, which
emanate a genuine feeling of bonhomie and warmth.

NAVRATRI celebrations may vary but the worship of Goddess Durga
remains their sole reason. The deity took different avatars or incarnations, killing nine evil forces or asuras. Each day of NAVRATRI is devoted to one avatar.

The Nine Avatars are

1. Mahakali came into being to kill two rakshasas, Madhu and kaitabh.
After the deluge (Pralay) a lotus grew out of Narayana's navel with
Brahma seated on it. But along with him these two demons were also born -- and they wanted to kill Brahma. In answer to Brahma's frantic prayers,
Mahakali, who stayed in Lord Vishnu's eyes, left him and rose to fight these demons for 500 years. Mahakali changed the demon's mindset and instead of fighting they sought Vishnu's blessings.

2. Once, Mahishasura defeated the gods and began ruling in heaven. The
gods prayed to Lord Vishnu and Shiva. These gods emanated very strong
light from their bodies, which turned into Mahalakshmi (Mahishasuramardhini) and killed Mahishasur.

3. Mahasaraswati or Chamunda eliminated Shumbha and Nishumbha. She was conceived from the powers of God Vishnu. Chamunda also killed another demon, Raktabeej, who could reproduce as many more of himself from each drop of his blood that fell to the ground. But Raktabeej was vanquished with the help of Mahakali who collected his blood on her tongue to stop this senseless reproduction.

4. The fourth avatar safeguarded Krishna from his cruel uncle, Kansa.
Yogamaya was brought to Mathura from Gokul in place of Krishna. In future wars she helped Krishna with her yogic powers, and killed powerful
rakshasas like Chadoor.

5.Then came the ferocious Rakta Dantika who killed Veprachiti Rakshasa.
She drank the demon's blood, hence this name.

6. The sixth avatar was not incarnated to save the usually clumsy demigods. For 100 years, there was a drought on earth. So the sages performed penance and pleased Devi Bhagwati who was born as
Shakumbhari. She brought rain to the parched land.

7. A demon named Durgam had created mayhem. So Lord Vishnu created a goddess. Since she killed Durgam, she was called Durga, and is the most sought after deity. She rides a tiger.

8. A demon named Arun had evil designs on the wives of the demigods so
they changed into wasps and prayed to Durga. Durga changed into a wasp herself and killed the demon. So she came to be known as Bhramari.

9. The last incarnation is Chandika -- she came to kill two demons,
Chanda and Munda.

May you be receipient of Divine Mother's Blessings !

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

Foodies Hope, Asha, posted this highly tempting Badam Burfi recipe which made me run to kitchen and the result was awesome!! It didn't have chewy texture, but soft and melt-in-the -mouth texture and equally matching taste! Thanks a million Asha for this recipe.

This was loved by all at home.

Here goes the recipe :

Ingredients :
1 cup badam(almonds)
3/4th cup powdered sugar
Saffron -few strands
2 tbspn thick cream
2 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp powdered cardamom

Method :
Dry roast the almonds till a slight aroma comes or for five minutes. Cool it.

Grind the roasted almonds into powder. In a microwaveable glass bowl, mix the powdered almonds, sugar, saffron strands, thick cream, ghee together.

Mw on high power for one minute. Take out, stir with spoon. Keep it back, mv on high for 1 min. Take out stir. This time, the mixture will start bubbling a bit. The stirring is done so that heat is evenly spread into the mixture. Mw again for 1 minute or until the entire mixture starts bubbling, avoid burning it by staying near the mv, peeping in and press cancel action at anytime the bubbling starts.
Grease a plate with ghee, using a spatula, evenly spread the mixture. Score it with knife when surface is slightly cooled.

When it cools completely, say in one hour, cut into pieces, garnish with almonds and relish with milk!!!

Our mouthwatering Badam Burfi treat is ready in a jiffy thanks to microwave!!!!


Anupama said...

Happy Navratri to you too Purnima. This Badam Burfi will be a hit at Diwali too. Thanks

Purnima said...

Hi Anupama,
Thks. I think we were cross commenting try this one..sure your 'Laadka' wd love it..

Asha said...

WOW!!! That is great post! Didn't know most of it. Thought Navaratri is just about nine nights!:))

TBC said...

Badam burfi in the MW! How much simpler can it get! Looks lovely.

Purnima said...

Asha, even I was bowled over by this disquisition from Muralianna.I was only knowing the garba dance, Navadurga pooja part! Isn't it great that this monograph has given us so much of insight into this lovely festival?

TBC,try it, you will love it..thanks to our Asha for posting was almost lost in the Summer Harvest!! ;)

Meera said...

What an informative post! Good job

Purnima said...

Meera, thanks for going through!