Saraswati Publications Newsletter  

April 2014
Satyabhama-2010 India
Namaste Friends,

Hooray for Spring!  I hope the weather has calmed down wherever you are.
I look forward to going to London to debut my new workshop, Shiva & Shakti, the Consciousness and the Power of the Universe.  Except for Niagara area, Canada in Sept. (Sita-Rama-Hanuman workshop, the rest of my workshops this year will be the same workshop.

April 20-21 is Ram Navami, the annual celebration of the Avatar Rama, when the long Ramayana is read daily for days in India.  At least, chant some of your favorite Rama mantras and read some of the Ramayana.  Sadguru Sant Keshavadas has an excellent short book, Ramayana at a Glance.  You can get it from his organization



Follow me on Twitter:  @SatyabhmaMantra and YouTube


Holi, Prahalad and Narasimha Avatara
According to the Maha'bharata, there was a king named Hiranya'keshyapu who, like a lot of demons/asuras, had the intense desire to be immortal. To fulfill this desire he performed the required tapas (austerities) until he was granted a boon by Brahma. Since the Gods do not usually grant the boon of immortality, he used his guile and cunning to get a boon which he thought made him immortal. The boon was that the king could be killed by neither a human being nor an animal, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither at day nor at night, neither by astra (weapons that are launched) nor by any shastra (weapons that are hand held), and neither on land nor in water or air. As this wish was granted, it seemed impossible for Hiranya'keshyapu to be killed and this made him feel invincible. Hiranya'keshyapu decreed that he be worshiped as a God and this was enforced to the extent of being obeyed by everyone in his kingdom.
When Vishwamitra was passing through the kingdom of Hiranya'keshapyu, he saw that  the baby that the queen was pregnant with was not a demon but a divine one.  Vishwamitra, in order to protect the baby from his demon parents, gave him the mantra, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.  Once he was born, Prahalada learned from his mother until he was 7 or 8, then his father wanted to teach him to be a demon king.  Prahalada refused to see his father as a god and stayed devoted to Lord Vishnu.

This made Hiranya'keshyapu very angry and he made various attempts to kill Prahalada. During a particular attempt on Prahalada's life, King Hiranya'keshyapu called upon his sister Holika for help. Holika had a special gift or garment that prevented her from being harmed by fire. Hiranya'keshyapu asked her to sit on a bonfire with Prahalada on her lap in the hope that this would kill Prahalada. However, both the brother and sister had forgot that Holika could only enter the fire alone, or she would perish. As Prahalada chanted Vishnu's name, Holika was burnt to her death, and Prahalada was spared.

Origin of Holika Dahan 

For many traditions in Hinduism, Holi celebrates the death of Holika in order to save Prahalada, and we see where Holi gets its name. The night before Holi, pyres are burnt in North India in keeping with this tradition. It should also be noted that in some parts of India the day is actually called Holika. There are other activities associated with the story of Prahalada, but the burning of Holika is the one that we can most directly associate with Holi. Fire burnt on the eve of Holi (Holika Dahan) symbolizes the burning of Holika. The story as a whole is testament to the power of devotion (bhakta) over the evil represented by King Hiranya'kashyapu, as Prahalada never lost his faith.

The burning of Holika is the most common mythological explanation for the celebration of Holi. In different parts of India varying reasons are given for Holika's death.


The Hindu festival of Holi, also called the Festival of Colors, is celebrated with much much enthusiasm in the month of Phalgun, which usually corresponds to the month of March. It marks the arrival of spring and the bright colors represent energy, life, and joy. 


This exuberant festival is associated with the immortal love of Lord Krishna and Radha, and hence, Holi is spread over 16 days in Nandgaon-Barsana-Goverdhan-Vrindavan as well as Mathura - the cities with which Lord Krishna shared a deep affiliation.


Hindus in India celebrate the festival of Holi by painting each other in bright colors, distributing sweets and squirting water at fellow festival-goers. The holiday begins each year with a bonfire, followed the next day by paint throwing to celebrate the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil.


Apart from the usual fun with colored powder and water, Holi is marked by vibrant processions which are accompanied by folk songs, dances and a general sense of abandoned vitality. The children also engage in water fights, using plastic guns and balloons to splash each other and any unsuspecting person in sight from the rooftops of homes. 


Narasimha Avatara 

King Hiranyakashyapu tried over and over to kill his son, Prahalada, but Prahalada kept chanting his mantras and survived.  After he grew up, it was time for Prahalada to take the throne.  In order to achieve that goal, Vishnu bodied himself into Narasimha (Nara for Narayana, simha means lion.)  He had the body of a man but the face, hands and feet of a lion.  Once he appeared, he grabbed Hiranyaakashyapu and tore him to pieces on the threshhold of the palace at the crack between the day and the night.  After Hiranyaakashyapu was killed, Vishnu returned to Vaikunta, the Celestial Sphere.


The stories in the Maha'bharata are partly about events, as in the first five avatars rescuing the planet, and partly in the stories of the last five, which is a teaching about God rescuing people suffering under tyrannical demons, which are symbols of our own bad character traits.  



Mantra of the Month


Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

The mantra to invite the birth of a divine soul. 


Narasimha Ta Va Da So Hum

A great mantra for destroying negativity within and without. 




More Downloads

Some of Thomas/Namadeva Acharya's talks at Astara are now available to download for $7 or less each at Downloads.

Several of our CDs have been uploaded for purchase as a download, including these workshops:

Sita-Rama Workshop Cover

   Ganesha's Abode of Bliss Mantra Therapy for Under Eating, Anorexia Deeply Imbedded Habits, drugs/alcohol, smoking
You will find these items and many more books, CDs and DVDs at
The works of Thomas Ashley-Farrand (Namadeva Acharya) give unprecedented, detailed instruction in how to empower yourself using the techniques of the ancient sages and rishis.  He and Satyabhama have been given the mission by their Gurus Sadguru Sant Keshavadas and Guru Rama Mata to bring these teachings to everyone. 


To that end, he has written and recorded a number of works.  She travels to North America and the UK to teach workshops.  Bi-annually they lead a Pilgrimage Tour of India's Holy Places, visiting with the Shankaracharayas at Kanchi Math, Guru Mata at Vishwa Shanti Ashram, and doing fire ceremonies in the Himalayas, among the highlights of the trip.
They have founded a religious organization, Sanatana Dharma Satsang, which has opened a Gayatri Temple in Beaverton, Oregon and the Bhakti Yoga House in Albuquerque, NM.  
These works are offered in a spirit of service. We sincerely hope that they will further you on your path.
Satyabhama (Margalo Ashley-Farrand)
Saraswati Publications, LLC
In This Issue
Holi, Prahalad and Narasimha Avatara
Mantras of the Month
Downloads of CDs
2013 Schedule of Workshops

April - London, England
August - Albuquerque, NM - SUMMER PROGRAM 
Shiva-Shakti Workshop

September - Niagara Falls area, Canada; Calgary, AL, Canada

October - Chicago; St. Louis; Keene, NH; Boston, MA 

Please see our schedule for details and updates: 
Events Calendarl
The Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony
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