Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Wisdomspeak is an open source community collection of audio resources on Vedic culture. You can listen to mantras, bhajans, spiritual discources etc 24x7 via online radio. If you are a shoutcast radio user, you can easily find the streams by searching for the word "hindu". Shoutcast player is included in Winamp, Songbird and the playlist can be played by most media players like VLC. It is inspired by open-source technology and the emerging mobile internet media, it was thought to utilize audio streaming, wordpress CMS and various useful plugins for spiritual progress of seekers. The community aspires to engender more communication and collaboration between vedic/hindu organizations and spiritual-minded people.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Pen Books in association with Music Zone has bought out a set of 7 instructional audio CDs along with a 200 page book for those craving to learn the basics of Carnatic music. The gurus offering music lessons in the CDs include Prof. Mavelikkara Prabhakara Varma, Prof. Thripunithura K. Lalitha, Prof. Mavelikkara Subrahmaniam, Dr. Malini Hariharan and M. K. Shankaran Namboothiri.
I'm not sure about the extent to which the CDs will help a person to become a singer. But it is sure to help one to understand and appreciate the beauty of carnatic music. I wish they bring out video CDs instead of audio CDs and make classes more realistic.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
There is a legend behind the origin of Saligramam. Once upon a time, Lord Siva was waging a war with an asura called Jallundhara. The war seemed to be between two equals and not just another war of a God with a demon. It was in fact a test of chastity of their consorts. (It is a Hindu belief that chastity of the wife protects her husband even from death) Lord Siva knew that unless the chastity of Vrinda, Jallundhara's wife is spoiled, he cannot be killed as he will be protected by the power of her chastity. But it was against the nature of Gods to indulge in a heinous act like spoiling a woman's chastity.
But there was no such taboo for the demon Jallundhara. He thought that by spoiling the chastity of Goddess Parvati he could defeat Lord Siva. But Goddess Parvati could see through Jallundhara's trick and ended his guise. She signaled Lord Krishna (Avatara of Lord Vishnu) that it was now just to spoil the chastity of Jallundhara's wife and it will not be a sin. Lord Krishna approached Vrinda in the guise of Jallundhana. She could not understand that it is not her husband and lost her chastity.
Later when she came to know about this, she cursed Lord Vishnu to turn into grass, stone, tree and plant. It is believed that Kusha-grass, Saligram-stone, Pipal-tree and Tulsi-plant are incarnations of Lord Vishnu and worshipped henceforth. (There is another version of the story for the origin of Tulsi and Saligrama shila which will be posted later.)
Padma purana states that resident of a salagrama is Lord Kesava himself and along with him reside all the devatas, asuaras, yaksas and the fourteen worlds. Hence, giving a salagrama, is the best form of charity. It also states that Lord Siva himself stays in the salagrama sila and hence worshipping it is of importance to both Vaishnavites and Saivites. Even if a salagrama is cracked, split, or broken it will have no harmful effect if it is worshiped with attention and love by a devotee. Gautamiya Tantra states that merely by touching a shalagrama one becomes freed from the sins of millions of births. In Skanda purana, it is said that that any person who has seen salagrama stone, paid obeisances to it, bathed and worshipped it, has achieved the results of performing ten million sacrifices and giving ten million cows in charity. According to Garuda Purana, The Lord resides in many places in which he may be worshipped, but of all the places Salagrama is the best.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
But according to Sastras, the naming ceremony is supposed to be conducted on the 11th day or 101the day. Different kinds of pujas and homams are conducted on that day. After whispering the name three times into the ear of the baby, the person who conducts the naming ceremony explains the meaning of the name to the assembled people. He also tells the baby that from that day he/she will be called by that name and may the Gods bless to bring glory to that name. After the name is announced, each of the assembled people calls the baby by that name and offers blessings.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
While sleeping, it is okay to keep the head towards east. After waking up, turn towards the east and bow to our parents, teachers, look at both palms of the hand (and chant the Karagre vasate lakshmi.. mantra). Touch the ground and touch the forehead as a symbol of paying respect to mother earth.
It is while facing the east that one should light the sacred diya (deepam / oil lamp). The sacred plants like tulsi, neem, jasmine etc should be planted facing the east. The entrance and the front side of a house should be ideally facing the east. If you have idols in your courtyard, they should be ideally facing the east. Most of the sacred deeds are done facing the east. The bride garlands the groom facing the direction of east. If the well or pond faces the east, it will get lots of sunshine and the water will get purified by the sun's rays. The ideal place for cowshed is considered to be south-east.
It is not good to have toilets in the east direction of one's house. Also because of the sanctity of the east, it is not good to dump garbage and left overs in the direction of east. We need not think a lot to infer that it is not good to do excretory functions like defecation and urination facing the sacred east. It is said that even if one faces the east while brushing one's teeth, it is better to spit in the direction of north avoiding the east.
Monday, April 27, 2009
It is said that the then Mel Santhi of Sannidhanam, Thirumeni Easwaran Nampoothiri had a companion called VR Gopala Menon of Alappuzha. Mr. Menon used to stay on in a shack at the Sannidhanam even when the temple is closed. Wild animals never used to trouble him and he used to feed them. Revered Menon used to recite Harivarasanam with great devotion. Later when Devaswom Board was formed, he was asked to move out. He died as an orphan in a tea estate at Vandiperiyar. It was with immense grief that the Mel Santhi heard about the demise of Revered Menon. At that end of the pooja that day, when he was about to close the doors of the Sanctum Sanctorum, he remembered Revered Menon and recited 'Harivarasanam' starting a nostalgic tradition that remains unbroken to this day.
But according to some other sources, the tradition was started for the first time after the Punah Prathishta ceremony in the Sabarimala temple. The ceremony had to be conducted after a major fire that consumed the temple in the year of 1955. It was Swami Vimochananda's (Krishnan Nair) efforts to popularize Ayyappa bhakti by travelling the whole of South India that made the chief priest accept the song as a lullaby to Lord Ayyappa.
Harivarasanam is recited just prior to closing of the temple doors at night. As the final verses are being sung, all the assistant Santhis leave the Sanctum Sanctorum one by one. As the song ends, only the Mel Santhi is inside the Sreekoil. He extinguishes the lamps one by one and closes the doors for the night after the last lamp is extinguished.
You can read the lyrics by clicking the link below, watch the youtube video and listen to Sri K.J. Yesudas' rendition of the divine lullaby.
Click here for the lyrics.
Click here to Watch the video.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Read the news article at http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/003200904211451.htm
The technique of TM is taught in seven systematic steps.
Step 1 – Introductory lecture – a vision of possiblilities through the technique of TM (about 90 min)
Step 2 – Preparatory lecture – the origin and mechanics of TM (about 90 min)
Step 3 – Personal interview with the teacher (about 15 min)
Step 4 – Personal instruction – learning the technique (about 20 min)
Step 5, 6 and 7 – Verification and validation of experiences of the previous days.
I attended the TM course by Acharya Mr. Sasidharan at Maharishi Ved Vigyan Bhavan, Mithranandapuram, in Thiruvananthapuram. The following 7 steps is the way I would interpret the technique.
1) Sit comfortably
2) Close your eyes
3) Wait for about 30 seconds
4) Meditation proper
5) Stop meditation
6) Wait for about 2 min with eyes closed
7) Open your eyes slowly to end meditation
The meditation proper consists of repeating the sacred mantra in a progressively decreasing tone and amplitude in a non rhythmic manner. The mantra must be learned from a qualified TM instructor to maintain the purity of the TM technique. The mantra should be chanted in the mind for sometime after which it becomes feeble and gradually disappears. The chanting should be restarted only when thoughts appear in your mind.
• TM must be practiced for at least 15 minutes twice daily for obtaining full benefits of the technique.
• Ideal time is at the times of sunrise and sunset while sitting facing the sun.
• Sit comfortably in whichever position you want, but avoid supporting the head (else you might begin to sleep!)
• TM should be avoided 1 hour after breakfast and 3 hours after a major meal (for obvious medical reasons!)
• Allow all natural events to occur without attempting to suppress them in between a session of TM. E.g. yawning, coughing, scratching, adjusting position, sneezing and even sleeping! After all, the aim is to release our stress; not to increase it.
• Thoughts might disturb a session of TM. But it should not be considered as a disturbance as it is just a part of relieving stress accumulated in the mind.
• Wait for about 2 min after meditation to open your eyes to avoid a jolt by the sudden transition from deep rest to activity.
Where to learn the technique of TM?
Visit TM.org for your nearest TM training center. If you are in India, you can visit your nearest Maharishi Ved Vigyan Bhavan or Maharishi Vidya Mandir School.
RELATED : An Introduction to Transcendental Meditation
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Transcendental Meditation or TM is a technique as old as Rig Veda. But unfortunately meditation is misinterpreted in different ways by people and mysticism and religious experiences have been added to it. Maharshi Mahesh Yogi has revived and purified this technique to its basic form and re introduced to the world in a scientific manner.
TM is an experience of the mind similar to other experiences like happiness, joy and love. Transcendental Consciousness is an infinite source of energy, intelligence and creativity. The nature of human mind is to create many different thoughts by firing millions of neurons each and every second. This is called Background Noise. The essence of TM is to systematically bring down the noise level and go to a state of silence. When the mind experiences silence state, because of the intimate connection of the mind with body, both experience a profound rest due to the de excitation of the neurons. This state is called the state of Restful Alertness.
Maharshi Mahesh Yogi has explained that the Transcendental Meditation programme is systematic, repeatable with verifiable results and hence is scientific in character. In Maharshi’s words
“Transcendent Divine is omnipresent. Its nature is bliss. We miss the experience of the omnipresence because we engage ourselves in experiencing only its expressions rather than itself. The technique of TM is a gift of nature and when nature has provided such infinite energy, creativity and intelligence to human being, why should they suffer? They suffer because they fail to explore the latent energy within themselves and utilize it in their life. Life is bliss. There is no reason for anybody to suffer in this world.”
You can read about “The Technique of TM” in the next blog post.
It is the work of Pt. Shardha Ram Phillauri who was a powerful literary figure of the 19th century. You can read more about him at http://www.tribuneindia.com/2005/20050317/aplus.htm#1Even during his lifetime, the popularity of this prayer tempted many persons to appropriate it. Click on the link below to hear a unique rendering of a modified version of this bhajan.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Jatayu is the son of Aruna and nephew of Garuda who has the form of a vulture. When Ravana was on his way to Lanka on his flying chariot after abducting Sita, he encountered Jatayu. This noble souled bird could not bear to hear poor Sita's cry for help and got into a fight with the mighty Ravana. Ravana cut off Jatayu's wings and he collapsed.
According to legend, Chadayamangalam, as it is called in the present day, was known as Jatayu mangalam in olden days was the place where Jatayu fell after losing to Ravana. It is believed that when Lord Shri Rama was on exile he passed through this place and met Jatayu who informed him about Sita's adduction and died.It is a beautiful place lying between Kilimanoor and Kottarakara in Kollam district of Kerala, India.
There is a small pond at the top of the hill in the shape of a bird's beak and it is believed to be where Jatayu fall down in the up hills. When he was thirsty, hit the rocks with its beak and hence this pond was formed. Though it is in peak of the hill, it never dries up even in summer.
A huge rock in this place is named after Jatayu as Jatayu Para (Jatayu Rock). Devotees of the village as well as from the neighboring villages come here and offer worship every day. Jadayu Para is well known as a tourist destination and a place of pilgrimage. Right on top the rock the building of a huge functional sculpture of the Great Bird Jatayu is under way. An 18ft high Statue of Lord Shri Rama Chandra is been constructed at the top of Jadayu Mountain.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Vastu Sastra is nowadays a very common term heard whenever a building is being built. This ancient science has gained more popularity nowadays as learned men have realized the scientific rationale behind it. The ancient Indian text Mayamata, describes Vastu Sastra - the science of ancient Indian architecture. There is an interesting legend behind the origin of this science.
It is said that Siva fought with Andhakasura and during the fight Siva’s sweat drops fell on the ground. From those drops of sweat arose a huge monster called Vastu Purusha. According to some sources, this monster was created by Lord Brahma himself while experimenting with his creations.
This monster devoured everything in his path and his appetite seemed insatiable. The demon was so huge that he cast an eclipse over the earth. Siva and Vishnu prayed to Brahma to do something to save the worlds. Brahma sought the help of Devas. The Devas could not control him. But they managed to push him to the earth. But his strength was too much for the earth that it started rotating at very high speeds. The Ashtadikpalakas who are the guardians of the eight directions, overpowered the monster and held him against the earth. Brahma himself joined this melee and took a position in the middle of the body of the demon. Another forty four Gods joined him and pinned the demon down to earth.
The demon complained to Lord Brahma that it was he who created all the creations. So why is he being punished by the Devas for being what he was created as. Brahma’s heart melted at the plight of the demon and he blessed him with immortality. He gave him the boon he would be worshipped by people who build a structure on earth. Those who don’t do the worship and offering to him will be his food. He was named Vastu Purusha.
The positions taken by the Devas and Brahma can be seen on the classic mandala of the Vastu Grid. The faith that Earth is a living organism called Vastu Purusha, throbbing with life and energy; is the fundamental principle of Vastu Sastra. Vasthu Sastra is about pleasing Vastu Purusha. Vastu Purusha has to be worshipped before the beginning of construction of a building, before starting to live in a new house etc. Vastu Shanti pooja is routinely performed before Grihapravesha by devout Hindus according to vedic tradition.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
There is an interesting legend behind the origin of worship of serpent gods in Kerala.
After the creation of Kerala, Parasurama wanted it to be populated. But the brahmins who tried to live there soon returned back as the land was quite uninhabitable due to the excess prevalence of snakes and hardness of water. Parasurama sought the advise of Lord Siva and accordingly pleased the serpent gods Vasuki and Anantha. The serpent gods informed him that if they are worshipped as guardians and protectors of the land, the problem will be solved. The serpent gods instructed the snakes to soften the water with their breaths.
It was according to Parasurama’s instruction; Sarpa Kavu was built in each courtyard of ancient households called Tharavadu and serpent gods were worshipped. The eight most important serpent gods called Ashta Nagas are Anantha, Vasuki, Thakshaka, Karkkotaka, Shankha, Gulika, Padma and Mahapadma.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Circumambulation around sanctum sanctorium in the temple or deities is called Pradakshinam (Pradakshina). It has to be done always in a clockwise manner with the deity on our right side during circumambulation.
The number of Pradakshinam that has to be done in a temple depends on the deity to whom we are offering it. According to some sources it is as follows.
1 – Ganapathy
2 – Aditya, BhadraKali
3 – Shiva
4 – Vishnu, Devi
5 – DharmaShastha
6 - Subrahmanya
7 – Durga, Banyan Tree
21 - Swayambhu
There are four different parts in a Pradakshinam. Walk one step at a time slowly, like measuring the length with our foot. Keep the hands folded like a lotus bud holding it close to the chest. Chant the names of the respective deity. Keep the thoughts fixed on God. During a Pradaskshinam one must walk as slowly as a full term pregnant woman walking with a vessel full of oil, taking care that not a drop of oil spills.
The manthra that is chanted during a Pradakshinam is
“Yaani kaani cha paapaani janmanthara kruthaani cha
Thaani thaani vinashyanthi pradakshina pade pade”
It means “Let the omissions and commissions done in this life and also in the previous births and the resulting afflictions perish with each and every step of a pradakshina.”
After the Pradakshinam, Namaskaram follows. If we do namaskaram to a deity inside the temple, we might inadvertently show our back to yet another deity. So in temples, it is safe to do namaskaram near the Dvajasthambam. It is believed that the divine chaitanya flows from the deity towards us in a serpentine fashion. Hence offer the namaskaram at about 30 degrees angle and not facing the sanctum sanctorum. It is better to do the namaskaram facing the north.
The mantra that is chanted just before the namaskaram after a pradakshinam is
“Thava thvam na jaanaami keedhrushosi mahaeshvara
Yaadhrushoasi mahaadaeva thaadhrushaaya namo namah”
It means “I don’t know your nature, Oh Maheswara. Whatever be your nature, I offer salutations to you who are of that nature.”
Then we offer salutations, chanting
“Pradakshina namaskaaraan samarpayaami”
It means “I offer you circumambulation and prostration.”
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Image by Wolfiewolf via Flickr
"Whoever you are, you are mine.
I will not give you up.
Wherever you are, you are near me.
You cannot go beyond my reach."
"Love is my form, Truth is my breath
Bliss is my food, my life is my message
Expansion is my life, No reason for love
No season for love, no birth, no death"
"At first, name and form are essential. That is the reason why Avatars come, so that God can be loved, adored, worshipped, listened to and followed, and finally realized as nameless and formless.
This Sai has come in order to achieve the supreme task of uniting the entire mankind as one family through the bond of brotherhood; of affirming and illuming the inner reality of each being in order to reveal the divine which is the basis on which the entire cosmos rests; and of instructing all to recognize the common divine heritage that binds man to man, so that man can rid himself of the animal and rise to the divine which is his goal."
--- Quotes by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Monday, March 16, 2009
This is a hill in the Trivandrum District, south east to Nedumangad Thaluk in the Sahya mountain range. Agastya Mala is a pilgrimage centre for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya. There is an idol of Agasthya Muni at the top of the hill where sage Agastya used to do penance.
Indian mythology has a number of references to the divinity of sage Agastya. He is the one who taught the famous Adityahrudayam mantra to Lord Rama. He could drink the entire oceans using his divine powers. He is considered to be one of the seven rishis (Saptarishi) of Hindu Puranas. The grammar of Tamil language is supposed to be a boon from this sage. Agastya rasayana is an ayurvedic medicine usually given to people who are asthmatics with constipation, sneezing, blocking of nostrils and congestion of throat.
The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve harbours rare herbs and medicinal plants. Tourists are permitted to the area only with permission from the forest department of Kerala. Annual trekking passes to the peak are issued from the forest department during January-February only. It is from this 1890 metre high hill ranges originates the Neyyar, Karamana and Kuzhithur rivers. Thousands of devotees and tourists flock to this spiritual and scenic hill every year.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Arjuna was doing a penance to please Lord Siva to get boon which would help him during the war of Kurukshetra. Arjuna had in fact become too proud of his archery abilities and Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi wanted to teach him a lesson. Vettakkorumakan was born from the union of Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi when they took the form of hunters to test Arjuna.
This boy born to Siva and Parvathi becomes extremely naughty and was a menace to the people including saints. Based on their request, Maha Vishnu disguises as a hunter and invites him for a duel. During the duel Vettakkorumakan sensing a divinity in his opponent, asked, "Daivathil aar?" To which he received the reply "Daivathar". Vettakkorumakan soon became interested in a novel weapon which he observed in the waist band of his opponent. Sensing his desire to possess the weapon, Daivathar put forth a condition. Vettakkorumakan can have the churika on his right hand provided he will never put it down on the earth. Vettakkorumakan soon realized that the churika is increasingly becoming heavier. His pride soon vanished and entered a truce with Daivathar.
This is a legend associated with Sree Oorpazhachi Kavu. It is a temple in the Edakkad grama panchayat in Kannur District of Kerala, India. Vettakkorumakan has a fierce form carrying bow, arrows, swords etc. This war Lord is easily pleased with offerings of coconut.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
The water from a conch is supposed to be as sacred as water from Ganges and other sacred sources. If the conch is shaped in such a way that it opens towards the left side, it is called Vaamavarti Shankhas and is considered as fit for regular use during prayers to blow through it. It is considered as Devi swaroopa. In fact, most of the conches are Vaamvarti, that is, their bulge opens towards left side. But if it is right sided, it is more sacred and is called Dakshinavarti Shankhas considered fit for worship as Vishnu swaroopa and is not used to blow.
Friday, March 6, 2009
-Vidura quoting Kavya
Janaka said: Unlimited is my wealth. At the same time I have nothing. If the whole of Mithila (his kingdom) be consumed in a conflagration, I shall incur no loss of wealth.
He is a fool that practises truth without knowing the difference between truth and falsehood.
-Krishna to Arjuna
The intoxication with power is worse than drunkeness with liquor and such, for who is drunk with power does not come to his senses before he falls.
A man should avoid these six like a leaking boat in the ocean: a teacher who does not teach, a priest who has not studied, a king who fails to protect, a wife who is abusive, a cowherd who wants a village, and a barber who wants a forest.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
samsaresvanubhutani yanti yasyanti capare
harshasthanasahasrani bhayasthanasatani ca
divase divase mudham avisanti na panditam
urdhvabahur viraumyesa na ca kascicchrnoti me
dharmadarthasca kamasca sa dharma kim na sevyate
na jatu kaman na bhayanna lobbhad
dharmam tyajejjivitsyapi heto
nityo dharmah sukhadukhe tvanitye
jivo nityo heturasya tvanityah
It is translated as following by Sri. Kisari Mohan Ganguli.
Thousands of mothers and fathers, and hundreds of sons and wives arise in the world and depart from it. Others will (arise and) similarly depart. There are thousands of occasions for joy and hundreds of occasions for fear. These affect only him that is ignorant but never him that is wise. With uplifted arms I am crying aloud but nobody hears me. From Righteousness is Wealth as also Pleasure. Why should not Righteousness, therefore, be courted? For the sake neither of pleasure, nor of fear, nor of cupidity should anyone cast off Righteousness. Righteousness is eternal. Pleasure and Pain are not eternal. Jiva is eternal. The cause, however, of Jiva's being invested with a body is not so.
To read the 100 sloka version of Bharata savitri and to know more about it, visit the following link.
It is a well known story that Lord Maha Vishnu sent Maha Bali to Patala during his incarnation as Vamana. Maha Bali was a great and a favorite devotee of Lord Vishnu. The Lord has granted a boon that Bali will be the next - that is, the eighth Indra (King of Devas) during the time of the eighth Manu, Savarni Manu. Till that time, the Lord Himself decided to protect him in person. The Lord transformed himself into Bali's doorkeeper!
Goddess Lakshmi wanted her husband back in Vaikuntha. She disguised herself as a brahmin woman and went to Patala. She informed King Bali that her husband is away, she has no relatives there and she needs shelter. The generous king offered her shelter and treated her as his sister. He noticed that after the arrival of the brahmin lady his prosperity has multiplied many times.
One day, during the purnima festivals, the brahmin lady tied a knot around the king's wrist with a colored piece of cotton and prayed for the protection of the king. King Bali was touched and asked her to make a wish. She asked the king to send her husband back with her to their home. Perplexed, King Bali asked how he can make this happen. Goddess Lakshmi and Maha Vishnu revealed their original divine form to the king. The virtuous king's joy knew no bounds to see his Lord's love towards his devotees and willingness to forsake Vaikuntha and even Goddess Lakshmi for their sake.
Maha Bali requested Lord Vishnu to return to Vaikuntha with Goddess Lakshmi. But every year Lord spends about 4 months of the monsoon season in the Patala with Bali, from Vaikuntha Ekadashi to Prabodhini Ekadashi.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Inscriptional evidence suggests Purandara Dasa was born in 1484 AD in Kshemapura, near Tirthahalli, Shivamogga district in Karnataka state. He was the only son of Varadappa Nayaka, a wealthy merchant, and Leelavati and was named Srinivasa Nayaka, after Lord Venkatachalapathy (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). He married Leelavathi when he was 16 years old and inherited the family business of jewellery at the age of 20 when his father died. He was immensely rich and was called "navakoti narayana" (abundantly rich man). His wife was extremely God fearing and pious lady and in contrast to her, he was extremely greedy and miserly.
One day a brahmin came to their house begging for money to perform the sacred thread ceremony (upanayanam) for his son. He was at his work and his wife was in a dilemma. Finally she decided to give him her nose ring to sell. But unfortunately the brahmin went to Srinivasa himself to sell the jewellery. He immediately recognized his wife's nose ring and was boiling with temper when he came back to his home to enquire his wife about her nose ring. But to his astonishment, he found the same ring on his wife's nose! She told him what happened and they knew that God played a miracle on her because of her devotion and to teach him a lesson in life. He was moved and realized his folly in sticking to a life of attatchment to worldly posessions. At his age of 30, he gave away all his belongings and dedicated his life in devotional service to God.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Sruthi denotes a category of texts that is divine in origin. They were traditionally transmitted orally by Brahmins and learned people which preserved the purity of the tradition. Because of it's divine origin, the importance is given to the preservation of the text in the original form by recitation with emphasis on intonation and preservation of its divine attributes. The Sruthis include the four Vedas and supplemented by Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.
The Smritis are based on the teachings of the Vedas. The Smriti stands next in authority to the Sruti. Smrtis consist of non-Vedic literatures that portray the rules of dharma e.g. the Dharmasastras, Itihasas, and Puranas. There are eighteen main Smritis or Dharma Sastras.
There is a very engaging article on this by Sri Swami Sivananda, the founder of Divine Life Society.
I would say that I was a believer initially, then became an atheist and now back to Hindu beliefs. If you had studies Hinduism carefully, you would have realized that even if you don't believe in all the Gods in Hindu mythology, you can still be a Hindu. Advaita, Bhakti and even Arya Samaj like thoughts are all different forms of Hinduism. The faith in God is a waxing and waning phenomenon for many. The true reason could be just as simple as lack of in depth knowledge in their religious faith. In times of doubt, only a realized guru can clear all the doubts in mind and guide the soul towards divinity.
I remember a friend of mine who was a practising Hindu. I asked him if he believed in God. He said no. Then why do you go to temple and follow customs; I asked. The reply he gave me made me think about faith in religion. Hinduism is a way of life and he found it comfortable to live that way. He could not think about living without going to temples, rituals and all the traditions. He himself believes that one day he might get his faith in God back. You don't have to be a christian to celebrate christmas. People of all faith celebrate Hindu festivals like Onam in Kerala.
It is natural for people to have less faith or no faith to God in times of happiness and prosperity. It is for the same reason, there are instances in Hindu mythology where devotees have prayed to God to give them misery and sadness so that they can always live in the remembrance of God.
Monday, March 2, 2009
According to some scholars, the festival derives it's name from the parched grains called Holka in Sanskrit. It is used for some rituals like Hawana. The sacred ashes (vibhuti) obtained from this offering is called Bhumi Hari and is smeared on the forehead.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Mike Myers is the Canadian entertainer known for characters as Austin Powers, Shrek and Wayne Campbell. The Love Guru, his latest film, was nominated for seven dishonours. It took home trophies for worst picture, worst actor and worst screenplay. Sri. Rajan Zed said that The Love Guru "appears to be lampooning Hinduism and Hindus" and uses sacred terms frivolously. He also said that "If Myers visited a Hindu temple, paid his obeisance, expressed remorse, and promised not to denigrate Hinduism in his future movies, Hindus would not only absolve him but might also pray for his success in his future ventures."
It is not that the movie is meant for the purpose of denigrating Hinduism, but the fact that for most Westerners, movies like this might be the introduction to the great culture of India. Hence the movies have a responsibility to portray the Indian culture appropriately. There should be a balance between artistic freedom and responsibility to convey the truth.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The author, His Divinity Swami Prakashanand Saraswati (Shree Swamiji) is a teacher of Raganuga Bhakti (divine-love-consciousness) since 1972. He is the founder of the “International Society of Divine Love” and “Barsana Dham” in the USA, and the “International Society of Divine Love” and “Rangeeli Mahal Pratishthan” in India.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
In his early life, he was very fond of a Deva Daasi by the name Chintamani. She teased him once about his scholarship in Vyaakaranam, Naatakam and Alankaara Saastram and told him that if he had one thousandth of the affection for Bhagavaan, he would easily save his life. That was the turning point for Bilva Mangala. He thanked Lord Krishna for showing the true destiny of his life.
You can download the ebook in PDF format or read online.
Links: Download PDF ebook
You may also consider editing the article in wikipedia appropriately. Search for keyword Sri Krishna Karnamrutham.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
- Valmiki Ramayanam - One of the 2 greatest epic poems of India
- Gita Govindam - A beautiful romantic poem by Jayadeva
- Raghuvamsham - An epic poem by Kalidasa
- Harivamsham - A sequel of Mahabharata
- Bharatasavitri - Mahabharata in a nutshell
- Ritusamharam - A medley of seasons by poet Kalidasa
- Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnayam - Elucidation of Mahabharata by Madhvacharya
- Sri Krishna Karnamrutham - A beautiful and delectable praises of Lord Krishna by Sri Leela Shuka of Kerala a.k.a Bilwa Mangala Swami
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
This abridged version is long enough to preserve most of the beauty of the original but is short enough to attract the modern day reader. The author describes the technique he used to abridge the original Ramayana as "the cut and paste technique", in which portions of continuous text of the original are removed and the remaining re-pasted to form a seamless narration as true to the original. At some places, where this technique was not found to be suitable a few bridging words, phrases, and stanzas have been added which are not in the original.
Friday, February 20, 2009
- Folk Hinduism - Hinduism according to local customs spanning thousands of years; even beyond vedic era.
- Vedic Hinduism - Traditional Hinduism practised by Brahmins, especially Shrautins.
- Vedantic Hinduism - One of the modern types of Hinduism; practised by Smartins based on Upanishads
- Yogic Hinduism - Based on Patanjali's Yoga sutras
- Dharmic Hinduism - Based on the concept of Karma, societal rituals etc
- Bhakti (Devotional) type - Based on pure devotion to God; eg: Vaishnavism, Saivism etc.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The Purāṇas are vedic Hindu texts containing myths and legends and is even considered as the fifth veda. The Puranas are often attributed to the sage Vyasa, the author of Mahabharata. The concept of devotion (bhakti) is the most important theme in the puranas. The puranas are sometimes referred to as the fifth veda.
You can read the puranas in Sanskrit with their translation in Hindi at the following link.
A Sivaratri fast continues all through the day and night. Most people observing fast consume a mid-day meal consisting of non-cereal food. The items that are an absolute no-no are non-vegetarian food, onion, garlic, turmeric and ginger. Many people stick to a fruits only diet. No meal is eaten at night (i.e. after sunset). It is only in the following morning that a devotee breaks the fast by consuming the food offered to Lord Shankar.(prasadam or prasad)
Maha Sivaratri / Maha Shivaratri a.k.a Great night of Lord Siva
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The work was compiled by R. Ganapathi, a devotee of Periyava. It contains English translation of certain invaluable and engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji (at various times during the years 1907 to 1994). The Mahaswami presents the Sanatana Dharma in a lucid manner. Readers are left in no doubt about any aspect of out eternal Dharma. You may also choose to receive pages from Hindu Dharma in your email everyday.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Several sub-schools of Vedanta have evolved based on their concept of the relationship between the self (atman) and the absolute (Brahman). Some of the sub-schools are Advaita, Vishisthadvaita, Dvaita, Dvaitadvaita, Shuddhadvaita, Achintya Bhedabheda and Purnadvaita. The term "modern Vedanta" is sometimes used to describe the interpretation of Advaita Vedanta given by Swami Vivekananda.
Friday, February 13, 2009
1. God is the original source of all true knowledge and all that is known by the . physical sciences.
2. God is existent, intelligent and blissful. He is formless, almighty, just, merciful,unborn, endless, unchangeable, incomparable, the support and master of all. He is omnipresent, immortal, fearless, eternal, holy and the maker of the universe. He alone is worthy of worship.
3. The Vedas are the scriptures of all true knowledge. It is the duty of all Aryas to read them, hear them being read and teach them to others.
4. One should always be ready to accept truth and give up untruth.
5. All acts should be performed in accordance with Dharma, after deliberating what is right and wrong.
6. The primary object of Arya Samaj is to do good to the world, by promoting physical, spiritual and social good of everyone
7. Our conduct towards all should be guided by love, righteousness and justice.
8. We should dispel ignorance and promote knowledge.
9. One should see one’s own greatest welfare as residing in the welfare of others.
10. One should regard oneself under restriction to follow the rules of society calculated to promote the well being of all, while one should be free in matters of individual welfare.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The available ebooks are the following.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Tourslanka hosts a page for places of interests connected to Ramayana in Sri Lanka. You can read the description and watch a video at the following link.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
You can read the original sanskrit version in Devanagiri and Western scripts along with its english translation at internet sacred texts archive (link given below). The Ganguli English translation is cross-linked on a book-by-book basis with the Sanskrit text.
Monday, February 9, 2009
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If you have already watched the movie Slumdog Millionaire, you might already know what the issue is. It tells the story of a young man named Jamal Malik from the slums of Mumbai who appears on a game show. The name of the movie itself raised a controversy as many people felt offended by the usage of the word dog to refer poor people. In this movie, Lord Rama and Indian culture are shown in a controversial manner. The Hindu Janajagruthi Samithi is conducting a signature drive to protest against the movie. You can read the details of the protest from the HJS website.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
King Sagara was waiting in vain for his sixty thousand sons who had gone in search of the sacrificial horse who went to Paatala. After some days he called his grandson, Amsumaan and asked his help to find them. At the nether world he found the sacrificial horse grazing but could not find the princes. But he found heaps of ashes all around. He was informed by Garuda, the bird-king, brother of Sumati, Sagara's second wife, that the princes were consumed by the wrathful glance of Sage Kapila and that if these ashes are to be watered according to custom so that the souls of the princes may rest in peace, Ganga should be brought down here from the land of the Devas.
Amsumaan returned back with the horse and informed the king all that he had found and learnt. According to the Ramayana, Sagara lived for 30,000 years. Amsumaan succeeded Sagara as King of Ayodhya and was, in turn, succeeded by Dileepa. Bhageeratha succeeded Dileepa. Bhageeratha was a childless King. He left his kingdom at the care of his ministers and went to Gokarna to perform a penance to obtain progeny and to bring Ganga to the earth". Bhageeratha went through severe austerities like eating only once in a month, standing in the sun with fire surrounding etc. Finally Lord Brahma appeared to grant him his wishes. But he informed him that the earth cannot withstand the force of Ganga landing on it and only Lord Siva can help. Bhageeratha had to perform another penance and severe austerities to please Lord Siva. Pleased by his penance, Lord Siva appeared in front of him and granted his wish. But when Ganga started her descent to earth, in her arrogance she thought she can sweep Lord Siva to the nether worlds (Paatala). Lord Siva became angry and wanted to teach Ganga a lesson. Ganga tried her best but not a drop could emerge from the tangled maze of Siva’s matted locks. This was an obvious disappointment for Bhageeratha who wanted Ganga to be bought to the earth. He had no choice but to perform another penance to please Lord Siva again who took pity on him and gently let out the waters of Ganga in Bindu Saras from where they flowed down in seven small separate streams. Three of them flowed west and three east; and the seventh river followed Bhageeratha. But on her course, Ganga damaged the yaga platform of a sage called Jahnu. The sage took the entire flood in his palm and sipped it off. The Devas and other rishis approached Jahnu and begged him to forgive Ganga and allow Bhageeratha to reap the fruit of his great austerities and perseverance. Finally, Ganga reached Paataala and with the holy waters, Bhageeratha performed the funeral rites for his arcestors and secured for them their entry to heaven.
I have submitted the same article on wikipedia. Please edit as needed in wikipedia.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
For some believers, Shivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava dance. During the churning of the ocean of milk, a terrible poison called Haalaa-hala arose. It was so poisonous that it could destroy all the worlds. The gods approached Mahadev and prayed to him to protect the entire life forms. Lord Siva drank the poison to save the worlds and held it in his throat by binding it with his snake. Because of the effect of the poison, his neck turned blue and since then Mahadeva is worshipped by the name Neelakantha (blue neck).
According to another version, Lord told his consort Parvathi that the 13th night of the new moon, during the month of Maagha, is his most favourite day. Goddess Parvathi in turn spread this word all over the world.
According to Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata epic and Garuda Purana, refers to the observance of Maha Shivaratri by King Chitrabhanu. In his previous birth he was a hunter called Suswara and lived in Varanasi. He was hunting and saw a deer. But he could not kill the deer as he was filled with sadness when he saw the family of deer on its impending death. It was soon night and he had to climb up a tree to seek shelter from wild animals. It was infact a Bilva tree. His water bottle was leaking and he ran out of water. He was hungry, thirsty and could not sleep. He engaged himself in plucking the Bael leaves and dropping them down onto the ground the whole night. The next day he returned home and bought with him some food for himself and his family. But before he could start eating, a person came to his door begging for some food and he shared his food with the guest. At the time of his death, messengers of Lord Siva appeared in front of him and informed him that his soul is bound to the sacred abode of Lord Siva. He was puzzled as what meritorious deed made him eligible for that. The messengers informed him that there was a Siva Linga under the Bilva tree and the leaking water bottle washed it as in an abhishekam (a sacred ritual). Also he was plucking the Bilva leaves and the leaves fell on top of the Linga which constituted archana (another sacred ritual). He was hungry and observed a fast. Thus the hunter was observing the rituals of a Mahasivaratri without knowing that he was actually doing it.
On Shivaratri, only cold water and Bilwa leaves are offered to the Lingam. It is accompanied by all day fasting and an all night long prayers on Lord Siva. It is not sufficient to just avoid sleeping whole night and spend the time in enjoyments like watching late night movies or playing cards.
Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India (SCFI) is maintaining a website dedicated for Mahasivaratri with links to prayers, greeting cards and other useful resources concerning the Mahasivaratri.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
His works have become objects of controversy after some nude depictions of Hindu deities were exhibited. India is a secular and democratic country and artists must have freedom of expression. But it is when artistic freedom hurts the religious sentiments of a segment of the population, controversies arise. In response to the controversy, Husain's admirers have petitioned the government to grant Husain the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award. The Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti hosts a page in their website in protest against Mr. Husain's controversial paintings.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
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Saturday, January 24, 2009
Devi: The Great Goddess is a website that offers additional information on the contemporary and historical worship of Devi. This web site has been developed in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name conducted at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery from March 29, 1999 through September 6, 1999. The web site looks at the six aspects of the Indian goddess Devi. The contents are presented in a very artistic manner and is a pleasure to read. It would appeal to both westerners and to Indians alike.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
"Guru and God both appear before me. To whom should I prostrate? I bow before Guru who introduced God to me."
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Usually, Tantras are dialogues between Śiva and the Goddess. Those scriptures where Shiva answers the questions are called agama and where Parvati answers, it is a nigama. The object of the rituals is to awaken kundalini energy and to attain liberation in the spiritual sense. The purpose of tantra is to integrate all aspects of life and is a realm where numerous varieties of ancient scinces blend. You can find the well known art of pranayama, mantra, yantra, yoga, astrology, ayurveda etc in a nice blend.
At Shiva Shakti Mandalam website you can find yantra, mantra, tantra and other material relating to some of the different traditions; texts on the siddhas, gurus and yogis. You can also read about the inner meaning of different kind of chakras, an extensive bibliography, and original English translations as well as links to other sites.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Sri. P R Ramachander a famous retired scientist, is already introduced in this blog item about Stothra Rathnas is a grandpa of 3 little darlings. Thatha in Tamil language means Grandpa. Raja Thatha is how Mr. Ramachander is called by his grandchildren, all of whom enjoy Raja thatha's titbits, favourites of course are the stories. He reaches out to all those little ones and not so little ones out there who would love to hear them. You can read those stories in his website and can share it with your little ones. Infact they are all very interesting stories, rich with India's wisdom and morals in each one of them and can be enjoyed by young and old alike.
Friday, January 16, 2009
You can read an article by Dr. R.K. Lahiri on cosmogony from a Hindu perspective at http://www.boloji.com/hinduism/112.htm