Monday, January 26, 2009

Templenet - Temple Encylopedia

India is a land of temples and they dot the entire subcontinent. Each and every temple is sacred, associated with a unique legend of its own and has many stories from its devotees. Templenet presents to the world a world of temples, reflecting the grandeur and the stunning diversity of temple styles across the nation. The site deserves the title it boasts of i.e. The Ultimate Source of Information on Indian Temples. Ranging from history, legend, architecture, festivals, travel and tourism; it is a complete reference for the temples of India. 
The site has won several accolades and has been in the cyberspace for more than a decade. Templenet is an ongoing selective presentation on an extensive research project on Indian temples by Mr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran. He is a visionary musician, composer, music educator and writer with several recordings, productions and scores to his credit.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Link Exchange

This page contains all the exchange links to promote this blog.


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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Devi: The Great Goddess

Devi in Hinduism refers to the mother Goddess. She has many guises and a range of different manifestations. She is worshipped in many forms like Durga, Kali, Parvathi, Bhairavi etc. In Devīmāhātmya the origin of the goddess is described.

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.
Link: http://www.asia.si.edu/devi/

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gurus of 19th and 20th century

Saint Kabir once said -
"Guru and God both appear before me. To whom should I prostrate? I bow before Guru who introduced God to me."
The word guru takes its origin from gu, darkness and ru, light. Thus guru in the spiritual sense shows others knowledge (light) and destroys ignorance (darkness). Some of the spiritual leaders of the 19th and 2oth centuries are Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharshi, Paramahamsa Yogananda, Anandamayi Ma, Prahlad Chandra Brahmachari and Gopi Krishna. Interestingly, there are some western spiritual leaders who have embraced the Hindu spirituality and have earned the status of a guru. They include Franklin Merrell-Wolff, Paul Twitchell etc to name a few. You can read their biographies at the following link.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tantras (Tantrika, Tantricism or Tantrism)

Tantra ,tantricism or tantrism is a religious philosophy according to which Shakti is usually the main deity worshipped, and the universe is regarded as the divine play of shakti and shiva.Contrary to the western association to sex, Tantra deals primarily with spiritual practices and ritual forms of worship, which aim at liberation from ignorance and rebirth.Tantras deal with popular aspects of the religion, such as spells, rituals, and symbols.

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

Learn Sanskrit Online

The oldest literature of the world, the Vedas, the Puranas and the Ithihasas which relate to the Indian subcontinent, are all written in the Sanskrit language. They are still available in the same form as they were known from the very beginning. This is only because of the scholars who are well versed in Sanskrit. There is sufficient evidence available today to claim that Sanskrit is one of the oldest language of the world. Learning Sanskrit is very important for students who have sanskrit as one of the second languages in the school, Indologists, Linguistic scholars, Sanskrit scholars, scientists or just anyone interested in learning and assimilating India's ancient scriptures. The study of languages is always fascinating. For this reason alone, one can study or learn Sanskrit. The word Sanskrit means well refined and is aptly called so as it has maintained its structure and vocabulary even today as it was in the past.
The Samskritapriyah group and the Samskrit Education Society with the help of IIT Madras have set up an online resource to learn Sanskrit. Click the link below to start learning or to just refresh your knowledge.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stories from a Grandpa

Almost gone are those good old days when Grandpa and Grandma used to tell stories to kids and fuelled their imagination and inculcated moral values. Today everyone is glued to the television set and the kids addicted to computer games.Inspite of all the technical gizmos, millions of toys they are missing out on this wonderful tresaure which we were lucky to get from our thatha/patti(grand parents).

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.

Link: http://rajathathacorner.awardspace.com/

Friday, January 16, 2009

Origin of Universe

It is amazing to notice how the ancient Hindu theory on origin of universe matches closely to that of the modern versions. The universe is created, destroyed, and re-created in an eternally repetitive series of cycles. This is a metaphorical parallel to the theory of Big Bang - Expansion - Contraction - Big Crunch. ven String Theory finds a place in the Hindu texts. The first thing that ever was and will be is 'Shabda' or sound which is the first sound of Lord Brahma i.e. Om, the origin of all creation.

You can read an article by Dr. R.K. Lahiri on cosmogony from a Hindu perspective at http://www.boloji.com/hinduism/112.htm

Online Panchang

Panchangam or Panchang is a Hindu astrological calendar. It's making involves elaborate mathematical work and sound understanding of astronomical phenomena, such as sidereal movements of heavenly bodies. Panchānga is a Sanskrit word, literally meaning "having five limbs". They are
  • Din or the Solar day
  • Tithi or the Lunar day
  • Nakshatra or the Constellation
  • Yoga
  • Karan
Mr. Kamal Kapoor, a famous astrologer, is providing free online Panchang on his website. You can see the Indian Calendar according to the vedic astrology with nakshatra, kalam etc of any day upto the year 2050.

Link: http://www.kamalkapoor.com/online-panchang/view_panchang.aspx

Friday, January 9, 2009

Get your free copy of Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita a.k.a. Song of God is the most condensed work in Hindu philosophy. The poem forms the part of the Indian epic the Mahabharata. Lord Krishna symbolizes the paramatma (God) advising Arjuna who symbolizes the ordinary human (atma). The sermon takes place in the middle of the Kurukshetra battlefield. Krishna is at first in his form as mortal ally and charioteer of Arjuna. The Pandava hero has suddenly been overcome by questions about the mass killing that the battle will entail. Krishna answers that he must follow his proper social role or dharma.

It is also an example of an ideal Guru (Teacher) and Sishya (student) relationship. I still remember that a preacher in India comparing the whole scene of Gitopadesa to a human body. The chariot symbolizes the human body, the five horses are the indriyas (senses). The charioteer (Krishna) is the soul (immortal) and the passenger, Arjuna represents the human mind.

"Governing sense, mind and intellect, intent on liberation, free from desire, fear and anger, the sage is forever free." – The Bhagavad Gita

Get a free copy of pocket sized Bhagavad Gita from the Gita Society at the following link.
Link:http://www.gita-society.com/bhagavad-gita/free_Gita.htm

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Live telecast from Srirangam

The ‘Vaikuntha Ekadasi’ celebrations from Sri Ranganatha Swami temple at Srirangam will be shown live at the temple’s official website. According to The Hindu, the premiere Indian Newspaper, the Ranganathaswamy temple management will upload ‘Mohini Alankaram’ and the ‘Vaikunta Ekadasi’ for real-time viewing on the website ( www.srirangam.org) In the evening on January 6th 2009, the uploading will last for two hours, beginning with the ‘purapadu’ of Namperumal from the Arjuna Mandapam at 5 p.m. and reaching the Garuda Mandapam through Tirukottarapraharam. On January 7, the rituals of ‘Vaikunta Ekadasi,’ signifying the opening of the ‘Paramapada Vasal,’ would be uploaded at 5 a.m.

Stothra Rathnas with English translation

Stothras in Sanskrit means hymns in praise of God and Rathna means gems. So the word stothra rathna is used to express the meaning of gems among the praise of God. Sanskrit was the lingua franca of the intellectuals in ancient India. Most of these hymns were composed by great sages and saints in the language of Sanskrit. To truly appreciate the beauty of a hymn and to chant it with purest devotion, it is imperative to know its meaning. But in these modern times when an average man is supposed to learn the language of his livelihood i.e. English, even mother tongue and not to mention cultural languages like Sanskrit is not spoken with confidence. Hence the need to translate these ancient gems to English and to bring them to masses.

Thanks to Sri. P R Ramachander a famous retired scientist, whose Bhageeratha prayatna has resulted in the translation of more than 350 Stothra Ratnas. He has published 150 papers and 4 books and has interests in Astrology and horoscopes, Historical studies, English poems, Translating Stothras in to english. You can visit his homepage: http//www.geocities.com/ramya475 The Stothrarathnas website is maintained by Mr. Vinay Yadav who is a software professional.

You can enjoy the magnificence of the ancient hymns at the following link.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ramayana

Ramayana is an ancient epic poem in Sanskrit depicting the journey (ayana) of Lord Rama. It is a smriti (from memory) consisting of 24,000 verses in seven books, and 500 cantos (kaṇḍas). It narrates the journey of Virtue (Rama) to annihilate vice (Ravana). Lord Rama is depicted as an ideal person a common man is advised to adopt his virtues. This epic is attributed to Sage Valmiki and is supposed to have been written somewhere around 400 BCE and 200 CE.
The epic has the following parts.



1. Bala Kanda ( Book of Youth) [77 chapters] (birth and training of the princes and their marriage)
2. Ayodhya Kanda (Book of Ayodhya) [119 chapters] (life in Ayodhya as a prince after marriage to Sita)
3. Aranya Kanda (Book of Forest ) [75 chapters] (life in exile)
4. Kishkindha Kanda (The Empire of Holy Monkeys) [67 chapters] (life in the kingdom of Vanaras on their search for Seetha)
5. Sundara Kanda ( Book of Beauty ) [68 chapters] (Hanuman's journey to Lanka and his meeting with Sita)
6. Yuddha Kanda ( Book of War ) [131 chapters] (The battle between Rama's and Ravana's armies)
7. Uttara Kanda – Book of the Afterword (Rama's life after returning to Ayodhya and Sita's second exile) - It is believed that Uttar Kanda was written by Tulisadas as there is no reference to this chapter in the original Valmiki's Ramayana.


You can read the the verses, translation and in prose at http://www.valmikiramayan.net/