India Forum Archives
Thursday, February 26, 2004
  Indian culture-general discussions - I
Posted by: Krishna Sep 10 2003, 05:36 PM
Starting this thread to collect all the positive influence Indian culture have on people living inside and outside India, on people Indian and non-Indian. A damn good example to start this off:
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The holy man businessman By Ranvir Nayar BBC Hindi Online correspondent in Paris He owns several successful cloth factories - yet he seldom wears any clothes himself. He is a Hindu holy man, who has renounced the material world - yet he is also a business tycoon who employs thousands of people. It might sound incredible - but a French citizen in India is living proof that it can be done. Christian Fabre, or Swami Pranavananda Brahmendra Avadhuta as he is now known, was born in the south of France in 1942. He became a Hindu holy man, or sadhu, some years ago. Now he runs an ashram, or a hermitage for holy men, in the south-western state of Tamil Nadu, roughly 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Madras, the state capital. Tough going But this is only half the story - Mr Fabre also operates a number of cloth mills in southern India. To those who know Hinduism's holy men to be unworldly sages and ascetics, this may seem a bit strange. But Mr Fabre sees nothing strange in his parallel business interests - rather, he sees them as an extension of his faith. Back in France, he grew up in a family with ties to the garment industry. He came to work in India in the 1970s, and fell in love with the place. "I was so powerfully attracted to India's culture, faith and its people that I cannot bear the thought of going back to France," he says. Mr Fabre and his family moved to India. Although their new life got off to a good start, the going quickly got tough, until one day, almost all his money had run out. Not long afterwards, his wife and son left him and returned to France. Mr Fabre remembers sitting with a cigarette in hand, having lost his job and his family, wondering why this had happened to him. Faith makes business boom At the time, his house was opposite that of a Brahmin family. His first exposure to Hinduism came at their hands. A woman from that house introduced him to a Hindu sage, or swami. Mr Fabre recalls how, on his way to see this holy man, he came across a man suffering from leprosy. Despite his disease, the man was in high spirits. He remembers asking himself, "If this man can manage to be happy, then why can't I?" After this, he discovered a renewed faith in himself. He bought four sewing machines and secured some orders from a major French clothing company. Slowly, his business began to grow. Today, his company, Fashion International, has 35 factories which employ 60,000 people. The clothes they make are exported to Europe and beyond. Last year, his company exported 30,000 items of clothing, and was taxed 3,700,000 rupees. And as his business boomed, Mr Fabre's faith grew stronger. He did not stop taking instruction from his teacher, or guru, and continued searching for answers to his questions. Saffron in the boardroom His guru eventually invited him to take up the sanyas - renounce all worldly attachments such as family and money, and focus on the search for enlightenment. Mr Fabre says, "My guru made me swear, that as a condition of taking up the sanyas, I must also maintain my business. He said that I should not leave behind my work." Mr Fabre now lives in the ashram in the manner of the other sadhus in his holy order - in the nude. When he leaves the ashram, he dresses in the saffron robes typically worn by Hindu holy men. He also wears the sadhu's saffron robes to his business meetings. For Mr Fabre, there is no opposition between his business interests and his life as a Hindu holy man. He does not care for money. "I do not keep a single penny for myself. I divide all my profit between my workers." And his employees are not the only beneficiaries. This industrialist holy man has been truly industrious - for the villagers living near his ashram, he has provided running water and improved public hygiene facilities.
Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3094780.stm
Posted by: Gill Sep 10 2003, 10:10 PM
I came to United States in 1984 and was 11 years old. Before that I had travelled all over the world because my dad was a diplomat in MEA. I had only experienced India for one year of my life and that was the best year of my life. Maybe I was young and not able to see all the problems, but anyway India was India. In the US I was shocked at the treatment I received. The word "Hindu" was considered an insult. We were and are considered weak, devil worshippers, and people who eat snakes. I had a tough time in school. I could not understand why my identity was being questioned. I started to call myself Indian, boy, that was worse. I was and others termed as Gandhi etc. There was no escape. My parents had never enforced culture or religious dogmas on me and I was aloof from it all. I ate beef and never practiced the religious rituals. Yet I knew my identity but was socialist and secular in my mind set. I questioned all aspects of my identity and way of life, but never got any answers. There was no pride in being a Hindu or Indian. This all changed when mahabharat serial came out. I began to ask what I was. I read books on India and was dumb founded! I belong to the most sophisticated and technological advanced culture of our time. Yet we are not even mentioned. I asserted my identity and to this day protect it. I have gotten into many brawls with Amrericans and Hindus when ever my religion or way of life is questioned. Anyway Bhagvat Gita, the most remarkable book that I have ever read changed my entire outlook on life. I strongly believe this sole contribution of god to us all is the most significant aspect till time ends. It opened my eyes. After reading this book, I fail to understand, how can Gandhi use this book to preach non-violence? The book made me proud, and I began to see the hyocrisy of so-called Secualrist Agenda. I probably the biggest supporter of Secularism began to question, what right do I or govt has on a person's belief? Thank you India and all its people who are keeping our way of life alive, thank you indeed. We have lost our pride, it can only come back when we look at our past and see what we were. Gill Sat Sri Akal
Posted by: rhytha Sep 10 2003, 11:20 PM
Christian Fabre Website http://www.aumnamahshivaya.org/ i have gone to kolli falls in kolli malai near namakkal. biggrin.gif great going gill graduated.gif thumbsupsmiley.png
Posted by: Mudy Sep 14 2003, 09:40 AM
http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/living/6762441.htm
Posted by: muddur Sep 17 2003, 06:34 PM
Gill wrote: I strongly believe this sole contribution of god to us all is the most significant aspect till time ends. It opened my eyes. After reading this book, I fail to understand, how can Gandhi use this book to preach non-violence? The book made me proud, and I began to see the hyocrisy of so-called Secualrist Agenda. Gandhi's preaching of non-violence was an abberation to the so called 'civilized westerners'. One of the best 'weapons of choice' to fight the brutalities of the people who disguised themselves under the 'civilized' tag. Only a few people can understand the values of Gandhi and his preachings of non-violence! But, in essense what Gandhi taught was to 'fight the evil forces', he encouraged the people to 'stand up to the brutalities'. The only difference was that he chose non violence as the weapon, since the Indians were fighting the 'civilized' blokes. In Gandhis terms 'Non violence' is a powerful weapon, and he converted it into a huge WMD against the civilized rogue pepole. Do not underestimate the power of Gandhi and his non-violence. Ask the British, they are scared of Gandhi's thoughts even today. Let me explain the Gandhi's innovation of using 'non-violence' as the weapons against the british in plain language using the analogies of the use of weapons in the great epic, teh 'MahaBharata'! You choose the right weapon to attack the right enemy. For example, Arjuna used 'Varunastra' to fight the 'Agneyastra'. Meaning 'Fire' can be fought better with 'WATER'. You can not use the 'Vayuvaastra' against the 'varunastra' or the 'Agneyastra'. If you do use, then you will be blown away. Not a smart choice of weapons against the perceived threat! Similarly to fight the 'civilized rogue enemies', Gandhi discovered a new but great weapon, the 'non violence' ! But it doesn't mean that the same weapon should be used everywhere. It will not work against the animals like the Pakistanis. This should be understood by those who preach non-violence against the current enemies of India, whose behaviour is worse than the many animals. Its our own people who USE the term non violence everywhere and have misinterpreted it to their own convenience. Don't listen to the misinterpretations. Gandhis weapon of non violence can work wonders against the civilized brutalities, but definitely not against the people who behave worse than the animals like the Pakistanis.
Posted by: acharya Sep 18 2003, 03:14 PM
Religion as Knowledge - The Hindu Concept Janaki Abhisheki ----------------------------------- Second rev. ed. 2003 (first published 1988) xxvi+462p., 23cm ; ISBN 81-88643-03-3 Rs. 300/- (Pb) AKSHAYA PRAKASHAN Publishers & Booksellers 2/18, Ansari Road New Delhi - 110 002 (INDIA) Tel.2327 8034 ; Fax: (011)2328 2047 email: bibimpex@n... ---------------------------------------- ABOUT THE BOOK This book is a serious attempt at informing the average Indian, and particularly the Hindu, of his philosophy, culture and heritage. Although India’s is the oldest continuous civilization, for various reasons the Hindu today is largely ignorant of his heritage. While some of the reasons for this ignorance are historical, viz., the loss of freedom, etc., some of it is due to our own neglect. India has been free for about forty years but even today the average Hindu is largely unaware of his identity and heritage ¾ a heritage that any people would be proud to possess. Surprisingly, this most important aspect of a people, their cultural identity, is not taught in our schools and colleges. We see ignorant attitudes, misconceptions and foolish denigration, which do little credit to a civilization that respected Knowledge above all else. It is this living heritage of knowledge that is preserved in Sanskrit literature and the many Prakrit languages. Religion is not meant for the next world but this world itself. Hindu philosophy was concerned with knowledge, which meant a study of all material ‘image,’ to search for its relevance and meaning. On the basis of this philosophy the ancient Hindu thinkers worked out a practical and dynamic pattern of living based on a Law, Order and a Work Ethic. The Hindu philosophy relating knowledge to action will be seen to have helped Hindus adapt to each age and place. It has given Hinduism its demonstrable staying power. It provided the essential needs of a civilization. If this book inculcates in the reader the desire to know more, the need for purity in thought, word and deed, the need for honesty and discrimination in the pursuit of knowledge, the necessity of unselfish conduct, generosity, courage, devotion and hard work which is the message of religion, then the book will have more than served its purpose. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vaijayanti Ranade (1927-1999) studied at the Loretto Convent in Shillong and later spent some time in Shantiniketan studying art at the Kala Bhavan. Recognizing the power of religion, she spent a decade reading and researching books on various religions, their scriptures, sayings, teachings and history. For understanding Hindu thought she had to learn Sanskrit to be able to go to the source of the original texts. She was fascinated by the depth of knowledge, insight and understanding in the Hindu Philosophy which dealt with matters from the most subtle to the gross. Conscious of the countless men and women who have through the ages contributed and passed on this priceless heritage, she in all humility assumed the name of Janaki Abhisheki, which suggests the anointing by a daughter of the soil, and translated all the knowledge she had gleaned into action by writing this book. Encouraged by the overwhelming response to this book, she later wrote and illustrated the Tales and Teachings of the Mahabharat published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay. She passed away on Durgashatami, 19th August 1999. Contents: Preface, Acknowledgement, (i) Introduction, (ii) A Brief Historical Background, (iii) Sanatana Dharma, (iv) Veda, (v) Upanishad, (vi) Smriti, (vii) Purana, (viii) Ramayana, (ix) Mahabharata, (x) Bhagavad Gita, (xi) Arthasastra, (xii) Kamasastra, (xiii) Karma, (xiv) Chaturvarna, (xv) The Six Philosophical Systems, (xvi) Saints, (xvii) Women in Hinduism, (xviii) Meanings of Symbols in Hinduism, (xix) Hindu Contribution to World Knowledge, (xx) Some Problems of Indology, (xxi) Conclusion, (xxii) Chronological Table of Important Works, (xxiii) Pronunciation of words rendered from English to Devanagari, (xxiv) Bibliography, (xxv) Index. SOME COMMENTS ON THE FIRST EDITION “The author is a housewife, scholar, publisher, a spiritual seeker but with the intellectual ability to theorize and formulate. Her recent publication, The Religion as Knowledge: The Hindu Concept, is a valuable document on Hinduism; it is valuable both for lay readers as well as the learned...” - Ram Swarup “... A study of your book will be a much needed re-education to all our educated people in politics, administration, teaching, journalism, the professions, and in private life. You have shown what blessings lie for our people, especially our women if and when they will realise that worship of Saraswati comes first, and then only should come the worship of Lakshmi, that they are not two jealous sisters, as our people in their decadent state have been thinking but are two very loving and lovable sisters, with Saraswati standing for pure knowledge and Lakshmi standing for applied knowledge...” -Swami Ranganathananda, Ram Krishna Math, Hyderabad “There are illuminating chapters on the Ramayana, the Mahabharat, the Bhagavad Gita, Meanings of Symbols in Hinduism etc., all throwing new light and providing new insights. On the whole, a volume worth reading, and re-reading.” - The Times of India “... Unlike most books on Hinduism this one does not stop only with treating the religious works but has also dealt with works on Artha (politics and economics) and Kama (vital and cultural). This serves to give a balanced view of Hindu thought as the accepted Hindu view deals with the four goals of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksa...” -The Indian Express “... Readers can benefit from this compendium on Hinduism. Kautilya’s Arthasastra, a compendium of politics, sociology, and economics and philosophy received the attention it deserves expounding how the king was a symbol of power and protection of the people. There are brilliant chapters on Indian Epics - the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita, the concept of Sanatana Dharma, etc. all throw a new light providing penetrating insights into Hindu religion..." - The Hindu “... The title of your book is somewhat deceptive since religion has a limited meaning in the English language. I was therefore pleasantly surprised that you have touched and explained all the important aspects of our culture, namely religion, the six systems of philosophy and the achievements of our forefathers in different branches of learning. You have also presented your views in an engaging and lucid language and the book fully deserves to be read by our educated youth and Indians abroad, who have now started evincing interest in their own culture...” - Shri M.R. Yardi, Chairman, Bhandarkar O.R. Institute, Pune “…Smt. Abhisheki has rendered a great service in bringing out this concise but complete work touching upon all salient aspects of Sanatana Dharma. This book helps to remove erroneous and half-baked ideas which the modern man may have regarding certain monumental works such as the Arthasastra and Kamasutra... To have made so much knowledge available in so brief a compass in simple language is an achievement for which Smt. Abhisheki can rightly take credit...” - Bhavan’s journal “... Your book Religion as Knowledge - The Hindu Concept bears testimony of your reasoned conviction in our Sanatana Dharma. Your effort is appreciated...” - His Holiness the late Shri Jagadguru Shankaracharya Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham, Sringeri
Posted by: pkayen Oct 2 2003, 09:36 AM
Muddur wrote: "Similarly to fight the 'civilized rogue enemies', Gandhi discovered a new but great weapon, the 'non violence' ! But it doesn't mean that the same weapon should be used everywhere. It will not work against the animals like the Pakistanis." Precisely. Unfortunately, Gandhiji advocated the same method 'non-violence' against everyone. And, it did not work. Regards.
Posted by: rajesh_g Oct 2 2003, 10:47 AM
Interesting writeup http://www.spectacle.org/995/gandhi.html The Gandhi Game Mahatma Gandhi invented a unique variation on the prisoner's dilemma: a move that was neither cooperation or defection, but which fell in between (we will call it noncooperation). In an iterated game played with the British, Gandhi and the forces he represented could have chosen violence, which is the ultimate defection. Instead, by choosing noncooperation as his move, Gandhi, over a series of turns, led the British to understand that he was an honorable and reliable adversary: firm enough never to earn the sucker's payoff, Gandhi could also be trusted not to turn to violence. A violent defector, such as a terrorist group, compensates for inferior numbers and armaments with surprises and betrayals: ambushes, bombs planted in civilian surroundings, ruses to lure victims. Such groups establish that they can never be trusted, that there is no middle ground of cooperation, since the sole thing they desire is the death of their adversary (maximum payoff for the group, sucker's payoff for the government they are fighting.) Though, as the PLO has recently shown, it is not completely impossible for a violent terrorist group to evolve a form of cooperation with its adversary, it is a difficult and unlikely evolution, given the group's willing self-identification as a scorpion. By contrast, Gandhi's tactics illustrate that noncooperation shares certain traits with cooperation: it establishes that the noncooperator is consistent, honorable and reliable. Though the noncooperator cannot be trusted ever to comply with the laws he believes to be unjust, he can be trusted to live consistent with his own announced rules, offer no surprises, and to withhold himself and his followers from violence. Thus, noncooperation tends to lead to a high degree of respect between adversaries, which ultimately serves as the basis for a settlement of their disputes. Thus, an "All Cooperate" strategy for both sides is much likelier to evolve from a strategy of noncooperation than from "All Defect". It is a significant limitation of noncooperation that it can only succeed if one's adversary, no matter how harsh, unjust and imperialist, is also somewhat honorable and is reluctant to use or endorse violence. Gandhi was successful with the British who (with a few exceptions such as Amritsar) did not commit massacres; but he would have died on the first day of opposition against the amoral, treacherous and violent Nazis, who would have executed him and all his followers and thrown them in a pit. In other words, there must be something about the adversary that makes it clear that the grounds for cooperation already exist. If the adversary will not stop short of any act of cruelty or murder, noncooperation is not an option and the only available responses are violence or silence. Gandhi's strategy of noncooperation had another significant advantage: it more effectively builds mutual confidence among followers than any other strategy of resistance. By definition, a terrorist group, to escape law enforcement and produce surprise, must be small, secret and disassociated from the general population; its supporters, though fervent, may have relatively little idea of who its leaders are, what they stand for or what they will do next. Noncooperation builds a stronger network of mutual links in the population, because it is open, its rules are disclosed, and involvement in its acts, rather than being secret and dangerous, is usually open and considered honorable. While most people in any society will stop short of involvement in violent acts--even when they approve the ends--noncooperation offers a form of action that almost everyone is brave enough to be involved in and may feel good about. While active supporters of terrorist groups--providers of money, cars, weapons--must be extremely secretive about their actions, supporters of noncooperation may wear physical badges (such as black ribbons during the Vietnam war) that enable them to identify each other. The result is a kind of positive reinforcemnt that leads to an upwelling of self-confidence and arouses a desire on the part of more people to get involved. Gandhi said, "we must be the change we wish to see in the world." Following him, millions of people, at the same moment that they played the noncooperation card against the British, were playing "All Cooperate" in a game with each other. Nonviolence is better when the preconditions for it exist.
Posted by: Krishna Oct 4 2003, 06:28 PM
Gill, A very heart waming story. Even though I was never much of a religious type person when I was in India I have changed quiet a bit now. India is written all over my face, not literally but you get the idea, right. I take pride in my culture, religion and above all, my motherland. Not only that........I have succeeded in influencing quiet a few pakis, here. smile.gif cool.gif graduated.gif Sat Sri Akal ji!
Posted by: Krishna Oct 4 2003, 06:32 PM
Muddur, A very nice way to look at Gandhiji's ideas. I don't know if you follwed the 'Gandhi Jayanti' thread on BR where I voiced my disagreement with Gandhiji's Non-violent aproach. Anyway, I never looked at it from this POV as my idea has always been tit-for-tat. Maybe this has to do with the fact that we were born in a free country where Gandhiji & Co. weren't.
Posted by: Krishna Oct 5 2003, 01:25 AM
I was debating where to post this, in the movies thread or in the Culture thread? unsure.gif And the Cultue thread wins! India arrives big time on Hollywood: http://headlines.sify.com/2783news3.html?headline=India~arrives~big~time~on~Hollywood~
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Bollywood stealing plots from Hollywood blockbusters is common. But the centrestage has now been taken by Bollywood as the platform for angrezi flicks. Rajesh Ahuja gives some examples: Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), featured Amrish 'Mogambo' Puri portraying Mola Ram (an Indian tantrik), who serves Jones and other Indian maharajas with delicacies such as frozen monkey brain and eye-ball soup! * James Bond's Octopussy starred Roger Moore on trail of a jewel counterfeiter after a 00-agent turns up dead holding a fake Faberge egg. He follows the trail to India, where he meets exiled Indian prince Kamal (Louis Jordan). Scenes were shot in Rajasthan. * Even with Jack Nicholson losing out on the Academy Award in the 1982 smash hit The Wolf, India scored with Om Puri playing an Indian professor who helps him out and tells the world about India's stand on supernatural. * Woody Allen's romantic comedy Everybody says I love you, starring Julia Roberts and Goldie Hawn, featured a sardarji as a taxi driver singing mere kareeb aa jao. * Stanley Kubrick's last directorial controversial venture Eyes Wide Shut starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, catapulted to controversy after Gita shlokas were used as background music during an orgy. * Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla designed the evening gown for Dame Judy Dench for the 70th Academy awards and she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Shakespeare in Love. * Eight-time Oscar nominee Moulin Rouge has the Indian number chhamma chhamma in the soundtrack. * Kate Winslet's visit to Pushkar was in news because of her movie Holy Smoke. While the film was extensively shot there, Winslet wore outfits by Shiva Vyas, daughter of Yoga guru Daya Vyas Winslet's teacher. * Jimmy Mistry's portrayal of a sex guru in The Guru is another case in point. * The latest is the scene in Bad Boys II, where Will Smith and Eddie Murphy sit with their much-stressed-out boss undergoing a stress management course. He has two Ganeshas at both ends of his table and incense sticks. * The League of Extraordinary Gentleman featuring Sean Connery, stars Naseeruddin Shah as Captain Nemo, an Indian scientist in the sci-fi flick. * A woman draped in a Kanjivaram silk sari and adorned with vermillion and gold jewellry, depicts India's cultural heritage in Shaggy's video Strength of a Woman.
Posted by: Jaspreet Oct 6 2003, 05:48 AM
An off-topic post but closest to this topic than any other. I am a member of a Yahoo Group called Hire Top Talent Ottawa. In it someone asked a question: -------------------------------- > Hi all, > I am wondering how can I find out about copyrights. > > There is a book with old Vedas (Sanskrit) poetry - it says copyright and > all rights reserved. Somebody else wrote a music to the verses and > recorded the song. Is this breaking copyrights of the book with poetry? > Do they need publisher's permission to record the song? > > Cheers > > Lee Majewski --------------------------------- The answer is important because I don't want anyone to distort and/or present such a thing as their own. Please become a member of that group and post an appropriate reply. Thanks Jaspreet
Posted by: Mudy Oct 8 2003, 02:02 PM
http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/5967_407680,001600060001.htm In India, Hindu religion exists at a philosophical level, here it is a way of life," said the young man. "People here may not know much about philosophy but they are deeply religious."
Posted by: Spinster Oct 13 2003, 07:19 AM
I have just finished attending a week long discourse( Yagna) on Bhavanopanishad and interpretation of Sri Chakra. It was exhilirating experience to understand the significance of Sri Lalitha sahasranama and the geometric shapes in the sri chakra. i.e the triangles the circles the squares and the lotus petal shapes, the symmetry there in. The talk was given by Swamini Seelananda which covered the following aspects "How did it all start? Why did the perfect Lord create this imperfect world? Did He need anything out of these experiences? If the Lord is motionless and changeless, whence did this perpetually moving and changing world arise? These are the vexed questions raised by Vedantic students again and again. In this text of Bhavanopanishad, the answers to these are found with the help of SRICHAKRA. " The out standing aspect of this discourse was that the upanishads inspite of being cryptic and subject to many a intrepretation are steadfast in their objective of making the reader/follower realize the Lord who dwells all the time within the mankind. Most amazingly at its (Bhavanopanishad) zeneth the path to realization is clearly independent of 'Dogma' and the path is for everyone who wishes to realize the supreme (bliss) and eternal living (Moksha). A truly "Open system" with kernel of utilities to achieve what ever the desciple seeks. In this regard I wish to thank HH, Kaushal Garu, Viren, Mudy et al for making this great forum open for understanding the History and Culture of India. Regards Spinster
Posted by: k.ram Oct 13 2003, 07:51 AM
Fyi. Regards --- *********************** Shri Gurubhyo Namah Vedic Yajna Prattushtaan, Prabha Sadan Poonkunnam Trichur - 680 002. Kerala Tel: 0487 - 2381854. OM SHANTI DHAMA, 3371, 13th Cross, K.R. Road, Second Main, Shastri Nagar, Bangalore - 560 028. Tel : 080 - 676 1057 / 676 8866 Yajney Sarvam Prathishtitham! Saagnichitya Sarvaprushta Sarvasthoama APTHOARYAAMA YAAGAM Yagnesaachyuta govinda maadhavaanantha kesava Krishna vishnoa hrisheekesa vaasudeva namoasthuthey - Vishnu Puranam, 2:13:9 Mahaasayas and Mahilaamanis, We have great pleasure to inform you that by the grace of God, blessings of Mahatmas, and goodwill and affection of the people, it is proposed to organize the performance of Saagnichitya Sarvaprushta Sarvasthoama Apthoaryaama Yaagam at Mulakunnanthukavu, Thrissur district, Kerala in April 2004. I. PROMOTERS The performance of this great Vedic ritual is being promoted jointly by the VEDIC YAGNA PRATHISTHAAN, Mulakunnathukavu and OM SHANTI DHAM, Bangalore with the co-operation of SROUTHA SHASTRA PARISHAD, Thrissur. Il. OBJECTIVES. The objectives are; 1. To scientifically evaluate the effects of Vedic rituals on Nature, human beings, animals and plants with the help of eminent scientists and modern, sophisticated equipment. 2. To revive, rehabilitate, rejuvenate and restore to deserving heights our Vedic and Srouthic traditions. (Sroutha is the branch of knowledge dealing with yajna). 3. To propagate the lofty principles and Universality of Vedic culture; and to bring Veda to the people and the people to Veda. 4. To organize exhibitions, seminars, and assembly of scholars from all parts of India for exchange of thought and information; and enlightening the people about Veda, Sroutha, and related subjects. III. THE RITUAL Apthoaryama is a gigantic Vedic ritual. it is the seventh and the biggest of the seven important Soma Yaagas known as SAPTHA SOMA SAMSTHAS; the others being, AGNISHTHOMA, ATHYAGNISHTOMA, UKTHYA, SHODASI, VAAJAPEYA and ATHIRAATHRA. Apthoaryaama encompasses performance of an enormous number of rituals and recitation of thousands of Rig Veda and Yajur Veda mantras and chanting of innumerable Sama Veda mantras. Mantras from Atharva Veda are also utilized. GARUDA CHAYANA: This yajna has another important component, namely, MAHAAGNI CHAYANA or GARUDA CHAYANA. The main FIRE-ALTAR (HAVANA-VEDI) for the yajna is constructed with one thousand baked clay bricks of different shapes and dimensions. They are piled in five layers; one over the other, each layer consisting of two hundred bricks. When completed, the altar assumes the shape of an Eagle with outstretched wings. Many rituals and the recitation and chanting of Veda mantras accompany. the construction and consecration of this main altar. Each brick or group of bricks is piled reciting Veda mantras. About one-third of Krishna Yajur Veda Taittiriya Samhita is utilized for these rituals. The glorious Sri Rudra and Chamaka are among the mantras utilized. SOMAYAAGAS: Somayaagas are elaborate and complex Vedic rituals. The rituals of Aptoaryaama spread over 10-12 days and around the clock on some days. The Vedic texts and manuals relating to yajna are voluminous. A large chunk of Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, and Sama Veda is associated with yajna; as mantras to be utilized and their interpretation, and as commandments, precepts, rules and procedural details. The performer of the yajna (Yajamaana), Aacharyas, Ruthviks (officiating priests) and others doing priestly duties are to be well versed in Veda and should possess mastery and the on-the-job experience in Sroutha. Such persons are few in number at present. Even in Tamilnadu, Andhra and Maharashtra, where varieties of Somayaagas are performed every year; the performance of Apthoaryaama takes place only once in a few years. This may be due to the profundity and complexity of this yajna. IV. THE KERALA SCENARIO. Nampoothiris in Kerala have been performing only two varieties of Somayaaga; AGNISHTOMA and SAAGNICHITHYA ATHIRAATHRA; but there is evidence to establish that Apthoaryaama also used to be performed in earlier days. The great scholar and outstanding Sroutha maestro, ERKARA RAMAN NAMPOOTHIRI has stated in his book "SROUTHA KARMA VIVEKAM', on page 176 (Anadi Books, Kunnamkulam); that more than 200 years ago, KAIMUKKU VAIDIKAN; an eminent expert in Veda and Sroutha has written a palm-leaf grantha in Samskrit titled “PRAYOGA VRITTI". Erkara states that the details of yajnas now being performed in Kerala (AGNISHTOMA and ATHIRAATHRA ) as well as those which were being performed earlier, viz., SHODASI, APTHOARYAAMA, SOUTHRAMANI etc. are given in the grantha. In his book, EKAAHAA HEENA SATHRAMGAL (Preeti Books, Trichur), through pages 133-143, Erkara has quoted extensively the portions relating to the procedure of Aptoaryaama from Prayoga Vritti. It is therefore quite certain that Aptoaryaama was performed in Kerala in earlier days. It is thus evident that the proposal to perform Aptoaryaama is also an attempt to revive a lost tradition. V. VENUE The lush green paddy fields adjoining the Sree Narayana temple in Mulakunnathukavu has been selected as the venue for the yajna. The temple surroundings and the general rustic ambience provide an appropriate setting for an event of this kind. It has all the facilities required for the smooth and efficient conduct of the yajna. The venue is located slightly away from the din and bustle of Trichur city, towards the North; and the road to the venue takes off from the Trichur-Shomur highway. VI. PERSONNEL The yajarnaana for this yajna will be Shri DEEPAK APTE and his Dharmapatni, Smt. DEEKSHITHA APTE; from Goa. They have already performed two Somayaagas. The main Ruthviks will be Adhwaryu Shri NAAGAANANDA PURANIK, Brahman; Shri KESHAVA SHARMA JOGLEKAR, Hotar; Shri GANESH SHARMA JOGLEKAR, Udgaathar; Shri SUBRAHMANYA SHARMA SAAMAGA, Sadasya; Shri VASUDEVA PARANJYPE, all of whom belong to Karnataka. Shri Vasudeva Paranjype from Mysore, an erudite scholar and expert in Poorva Meemansa and the members of the Joglekar family from Gokarnam, who are reputed for their Sroutha expertise, will provide the leadership. The other ruthviks will also be from Gokarnam, Mysore and other parts of Karnataka. It is assured that the caliber of the ruthviks will be high. To ensure that they are thorough and their standard of performance is high; rehearsals have started. In conformity with the lofty principles of Veda, and as envisaged by great souls like Erkara Raman Nampoothiri, people from all sections of the society will be involved in various activities and functions of the yajna. VII. EQUIPMENT Most of the equipment and vessels required for the yajna are made of wood or baked clay. These will be got made and brought by the yaajnikaas. The bricks required for the main altar will be manufactured in Thrissur district. VIII. OTHER ACTIVITIES I . Scientific evaluation: A team of eminent scientists will be constituted to conceive, plan and execute scientific studies of the yajna's effect on Nature, human beings, animals and plants. Studies of the effect on environment will include study of atmospheric temperature, pressure, humidity, rainfall and study of electromagnetic fields and nuclear radiation. Studies on human beings will include measurement of brain waves and cardiological analyses. Studies on animals will include, besides others, behavioral patterns. 2. Vedic exhibition: An elaborate Vedic exhibition will be arranged to enlighten the public about the various streams of knowledge enshrined in Veda. There will be models of the yajnasaala including the eagle shaped altar, implements and vessels used in the yajna etc. With the help of charts, paintings and models, attention of the general public will be drawn to the insights in Veda. 3. Assembly of Scholars: Seminars and assembly of scholars and experts in Veda and Sroutha from all parts of India will be organized. 4. Contact with Public: a. Ratha Yaatra: A ratha yaatra from Amritsar to Kanyakumari and from there to the venue of the yajna is planned to take the message of Veda and yajna to the common man. b. Cultural and social organizations and the public: All efforts will be made to enlist the association, support and co-operation of cultural and social organizations and the general public. Our aim, we would like to re-emphasise; is to bring Veda to the common people and the common people to Veda and to inculcate the lofty principles and Universality of Vedic culture in the minds of the people. c. Blessings of Mahatmas: We shall seek the blessings of Saints and spiritual leaders for the auspicious fulfilment of this great ritual. IX: BUDGET The provisional estimates of the outlay for the yajna are given below: (Rupees in LAKHS) RITUAL Dakshina, clothes, implements, bricks, yaagasala, Offering materials like Ghee, etc. 10.00 SCIENTIFIC EVALUATION 5.00 VEDIC EXHIBITION 5.00 ASSEMBLY OF SCHOLARS 2.00 RATHA YATRA 8.00 PRINTING, POSTAGE, TRAVEL, OFFICE EXPENSES 3.00 FOOD EXPENSES 5.00 CONTINGENCIES 2.00 ------------------ TOTAL 40.00 LAKHS ------------------- We appeal to all to associate, involve and co-operate with this great and noble effort and benignly, liberally and magnanimously contribute for this great and glorious yajna; the aim and objective of which is the welfare, well being, prosperity and security of all men, animals, plants and everything in the Universe. Nikaame Nikaame Ha Vai Tatra Parjanyo Varshati… Bhalinyo Ha Vai Tatra Oashadhayah Pachyanthey… Kalpathey Ha Vai Prajaabhyo Yogakshemaha Yatraitheyna Yajneyna Yajanthey - Taittiriya Brahmanam, 3:8:13 “It will rain abundantly whenever we desire; plants and trees will bear fruits and grains profusely; People will attain Yogakshema - welfare, security and prosperity… Where yajna is performed.” Yours sincerely, VEDIC YAJNA PRATHISHTAAN & OM SHANTI DHAMA Address for Communication: VEDIC YAJNA PRATHISHTAAN Prabha Sadan, Poonkunnam, Trichur - 680 002. Kerala Tel: 0487 - 2381854.
Posted by: k.ram Oct 14 2003, 08:51 AM
http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/oct/14inter.htm The Rediff Interview/Born-again Indian Maura Moynihan
Posted by: Krishna Oct 14 2003, 11:32 AM
K. Ram, I just opened this thread to post it, but you beat me by about 2 hours + sad.gif biggrin.gif laugh.gif BTW, Note me name mentioned there, quiet a few times! biggrin.gif tongue.gif
Posted by: k.ram Oct 14 2003, 12:10 PM
Krishna, you win some, you lose some cool.gif biggrin.gif
Posted by: rajesh_g Oct 17 2003, 11:11 PM
http://www.sandiego.edu/theo/risa-l/archive/msg07173.html This was posted on another forum... The Hinduism Group elections have concluded, and we are pleased to announce that Profs. Sushil Mittal and S. N. Balagangadhara will co-chair the Hinduism Group for the next three-year period. Prof. Rita Sherma will serve as a member of the Steering Committee as well. The election was very closely contested and we thank and congratulate all the outstanding candidates as well as the voting members for their participation. The new officers will be inducted at the Hinduism Group's business meeting on Sunday, Nov. 23rd in Atlanta. We look forward to seeing all of you there and to another stimulating round of presentations. Respectfully, Tracy Pintchman and Sarah Caldwell Co-Chairs, Hinduism Group
Posted by: k.ram Oct 18 2003, 07:45 AM
http://www.kathakdance.com/kat-k.html 1- Kathak is a North Indian classical dance that is dated back to 1550 B.C. The Kathak that is witnessed today evolved from a group of male dancers called Kathakas. The Kathakas traveled to the indigenous populations of India spreading Hinduism through dance, mime, singing, and acting. Over the various periods and invasions in the history of India, Kathak was most influenced by the Moghul reign. During the Moghul Reign in India, the Muslim kings held strong patronage for all the arts. The kings had brought with them dancers and musicians from Persia and Central and West Asia. Being that the Moghuls centrally ruled over the northern parts of India, Kathak, more so than other dance styles was most effected and slowly entered into the courts. The dancers and musicians form Persia borrowed some elements and features of Indian art. Likewise, the Indian artists were also influenced by the arts of the Middle East. Over hundreds of years, the arts of the two cultures borrowed from one another and ultimately fused into one. Kathak is the best result of the conglomeration of the two cultures. In Kathak the major part of the interpretive themes were largely centered around Radha Krishna, and retelling incidents in the life of Krishna. Rhythmic syllables were composed from the words in praise of Krishna and were used in Kathak. During this period, Kathak was showered with emotional values, variety of movements and intricate foot work, which exemplifies the modern day characteristics of Kathak. http://www.kanakasabha.com/sapta/kathak.htm 2-The word Kathak is derived from the name given to its practitioners 'Kathakars'. Katha meaning story and it's practitioners being those who told these stories. They told stories from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and other puranas. These practitioners were taught by temple priests who were well versed in dance and music. This was prior to the advent of the Mughal dynasty in North India. With Mughal rule these performing bards were banned from performing in temples and were made to serve in courts for entertainment. The Kathakars had to change with history and it is in the Mughal courts that they developed a style for pure entertainment of the emperors. It said that under the patronage of Emperor Akbar the performers grew and flourished. Even today the performers wear costumes that resemble the paintings made during the Mughal era. For example this Kangra painting c.1775 AD, shows a heroine or nayika and the grace and beauty of this painting is still reflected in the Kathak dance style today
Posted by: k.ram Oct 19 2003, 08:30 AM
Orion's Cosmic Wonders In Shiva's Chidambaram by Raja Deekshitar Saturday, September 20, 2003 Introduction Every festival in the Hindu calendar, and especially the festivals of the Shri Shiva Nataraja temple of Chidambaram, are governed by the stars. For many years I was fascinated by the connection between the star Arudra (Ardra in Sanskrit) and the chariot festival of Margari Tiruvadirai, which is one of two processional chariot festivals celebrated in the temple. This festival is celebrated around the time of the winter solstice of the northern hemisphere. Although the oral tradition and the texts explain the hows and whys of the performance of this festival, I felt there was more. A mystery that had to be revealed. This impulse acted as a spur, urging me on in search of the answer. The question followed me for many years until I found the answer accidentally in an old Tamil book. The master key, which opened the closed door. A door that would lead me to quite unexpected territories, transcending the boundaries of space, time and culture. But that I did not know at the time...... http://sulekha.com/expressions/articledesc.asp?cid=306765
Posted by: k.ram Oct 20 2003, 09:16 AM
thumbup.gif Blending Sanskrit with modernity http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/oct03/spt5.asp A Sanskrit institute in Melkote strives to adapt the language to IT. The benefit is mutual, learns GEETHA SRINIVASAN “Sanskrit is not a dead language. In fact Sanskrit is not merely a language. It is a repository of our culture and heritage,” says Prof M A Lakshmi Thathachar. Founder-director of the Academy of Technological Research in Sanskrit, Bangalore. Attired in a dhoti-kurta, with a ‘nama’ on his forehead, Prof Thathachar works diligently on the laptop on his lap. He is as efficient in computers, as he is in reciting Sanskrit slokas. Prof Thathachar’s Academy has 20 software engineers working on various research projects. The main aim is to adapt Sanskrit to technology. Consid-ering that Sanskrit is a mine of knowledge, one has to make Sanskrit application-oriented, says the professor. Supporting the research work done in Bangalore is the Sanskrit Research Institute at the temple town of Melkote. “The institute was founded in 1978 in Melkote to promote Indian philosophy particularly the Vedantic systems by blending modern research methods with the traditional approach.” explains Prof Thathachar. The professor’s ancestry can be traced back to the Anandatwar, a direct disciple of Ramanuja. “Our forefathers believed that the first son of the family should dedicate himself for the upliftment of Sanskrit and the heritage of our country. No matter how brilliant he was, he could not think of becoming a doctor or an engineer, but had to study Sanskrit. That is the reason, why my father didn’t tell me that I had secured a I class in SSLC. For seven long years I was denied formal schooling. But I enjoyed that phase of my life, when I acquired a sound base in Sanskrit,” recalls Thathachar. After his studies, Prof Thathachar worked as a lecturer in Sanskrit Government College, Chitradurga and Bangalore for a period of four years, and as an Assistant Professor of Sanskrit in Bangalore University for 10 years. He developed a strong desire to start a research organisation in Sanskrit. The State government agreed to help him by donating Rs I lakh corpus fund. “I felt, unless Sanskrit is brought to the mainstream no one will value it. People will respect it only if it has relevance to the modern world and to the day-to-day activities. I strongly felt this institute could form the bas-is to bring Sanskrit to the mainstream,” says Prof Thathachar. Set in a beautiful, sylvan campus of 14 acres at the southern end of Melkote Town, the Acad-emy has recreated a gurukula-like atmosphere for its 20 full time traditional and modem research scholars, who are training 22 external students. Lakshmi Thathachar is a linguist. He converses fluently in Sanskrit, Tamil and Kannada with his research students. He also speaks Oriya, Punjabi, and Hindi. A solar panel that powers the street lights of the campus also provides back up energy to work on the computers when the power breaks down. The strong urge to make Sanskrit application-oriented set off Thathachar in search of palm leaf manuscripts. Now, over 500 palm leaf manuscripts have been fumigated, microfilmed and preserved in the institute. There is a high resolution-scanning machine to scan these manuscripts, and there are experts who can read and categorise them. The library at the institute has books on Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy along with computer magazines like Chip, PC Quest and Data Quest, among others. There is a full-fledged printing section, where, all the institute publications are printed. Institutes and organisations like Indira Gandhi National Cen-tre for Arts (New Delhi), Mini-stry of Steel, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla, ISRO (Bangalore), and ESP Found-ation (New York) have tied up with the institute for conducting research on various subjects like the Indian concept of cosmology, iron and steel in ancient India, critical translation on Sribhasyam, Indian culture dictionary, genealogy water management in ancient India, war science, astronomy, toxicology, aeronautics, weather science etc. The academy under the leadership of Lakshmi Thathachar has been striving hard to bring Sanskrit and information technology under the some roof. “Here we make use of Sanskrit to develop IT. And use IT to develop Sanskrit,” says the professor. The academy has also published critical editions of several works on Upanishads, and bibliographies in Sanskrit, English and Kannada. The institute is working towards Natural Language Processing in Indian Languages. “Sanskrit is one of the most logical and scientific languages. We can teach the computer to execute what we speak into Sans-krit,” explains Prof Thathachar as he clicks the mouse to demonstrate his ‘Sanskrit-Speaking Computer’. The latest work in computer technology includes the ‘Kriya’ project that sharpens our understanding of the essential features of the grammatical system employed in Sanskrit, under the guidance of senior linguists. The institute has developed modules in this regard for identification, generation of different forms, and analysis of verbs, participles, and nouns in Sanskrit. A multi-language dictionary has also been developed. The institute is into Sabdabodha, a semantic analysis project. “It is the ultimate dream of the institute to see Panini’s error-free creation to be used as a computer language world wide,” says Prof Thathachar. The institute is willing to host scholars from various states who are eager to pursue their research work. A museum in the institute is a silent ambassador of the past. It has a small collection of coins, tools, idols, and artefacts collected from various sites in and around the institute. “The government should take heed of the hardships being faced by the institute in bridging the gulf between the past and the future, through the present. Lot of research work is going on without enough financial resource,” concludes Prof Thathachar.
Posted by: k.ram Oct 22 2003, 07:20 AM
THE STORY OF DIWALI This Diwali which leads us into Truth and Light is celebrated on a nation-wide scale on Naraka chathurthasi day just on the dawn of Ammavaasa during the Hindu month of Aippasi Month in Tamil Language(Aaso/Aasvayuja/Asvina Months in Hindi langauge)(September/October) every year. It symbolises that age-old culture of our country which teaches us to vanquish ignorance that subdues humanity and to drive away darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. Diwali, the festival of lights even to-day in this modern world projects the rich and glorious past of our country and teaches us to uphold the true values of life. The word "Diwali" is the corruption of the Sanskrit word "Deepavali" -- Deepa meaning light and Avali, meaning a row. It means a row of lights and indeed illumination forms its main attraction. Every home - lowly or mightly - the hut of the poor or the mansion of the rich - is alit with the orange glow of twinkling diyas-small earthen lamps - to welcome Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Multi-coloured Rangoli (the design of the background of this page is of rangoli, also people drawn with rice flour on the grounds into their house, rangoli)designs, floral decorations and fireworks lend picturesness and grandeur to this festival which heralds joy, mirth and happiness in the ensuring year. This festival is celebrated on a grand scale in almost all the regions of India and is looked upon mainly as the beginning of New Year. As such the blessings of Lakshmi, the celestial consort of Lord Vishnu are invoked with prayers. Even countries like Kenya, Thailand, Trinidad, Siam and Malaya celebrate this festival but in their own ways. This Diwali festival, it is surmised dates back to that period when perhaps history was not written, and in its progress through centuries it lighted path of thousands to attain the ultimate good and complete ecstasy. Diwali or more aptly Deepavali is very enthusiastically celebrated for five continuous days and each day has its significance with a number of myths, legends and beliefs. The First day is called DHANTERAS or DHANTRAYODASHI which falls on the thirteenth day of the month of Kartik. The word "Dhan" means wealth. As such this day of the five-day Diwali festival has a great importance for the rich mercantile community of Western India. Houses and Business premises are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made colourful with lovely traditional motifs of Rangoli designs to welcome the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. To indicate her long-awaited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses. Lamps are kept burning all through the nights. Believing this day to be auspicious women purchase some gold or silver or at least one or two new utensils. "Lakshmi-Puja" is performed in the evenings when tiny diyas of clay are lighted to drive away the shadows of evil spirits. "Bhajans"-devotional songs- in praise of Goddess Laxmi are sung and "Naivedya" of traditional sweets is offered to the Goddess. There is a peculiar custom in Maharashtra to lightly pound dry coriander seeds with jaggery and offer as Naivedya. In villages cattles are adorned and worshipped by farmers as they form the main source of their income. In south cows are offered special veneration as they are supposed to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and therefore they are adorned and worshipped on this day. A very interesting story about this day is of the sixteen year old son of King Hima. As per his horoscope he was doomed to die by a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that particular fourth day of his marriage his young wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband's boudoir and lighted innumerable lamps all over the place. And she went on telling stories and singing songs. When Yam, the god of Death arrived there in the guise of a Serpent his eyes got blinded by that dazzle of those brilliant lights and he could not enter the Prince's chamber. So he climbed on top of the heap of the ornaments and coins and sat there whole night listening to the melodious songs. In the morning he quietly went away. Thus the young wife saved her husband from the clutches of death. Since then this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of "YAMADEEPDAAN" and lamps are kept burning throughout the night in reverential adoration to Yam, the god of Death. The SECOND day is called NARKA-CHATURDASHI or CHOTI DIWAL which falls on the fourteenth day of the month of Kartik. The story goes that the demon king Narakasur ruler of Pragjyotishpur ( a province to the South of Nepal) after defeating Lord Indra had snatched away the magnificent earrings of Aditi, the Mother Goddess and imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of the gods and saints in his harem. On the day previous to Narakachaturdashi, Lord Krishna killed the demon and liberated the imprisoned damsels and also recovered those precious earrings of Aditi. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon king's blood. Krishna returned home in the very early morning of the Narakachaturdashi day. The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth from his body. Since then the custom of taking bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice specially in Maharashtra. In South India that victory of the divine over the mundane is celebrated in a very peculiar way. People wake up before sunrise prepare blood by mixing Kumkum in oil and after breaking a bitter fruit that represents the head of the demon King that was smashed by Krishna, apply that mixture on their foreheads. Then they have an oil bath using sandalwood paste. In Maharashtra also, traditional early baths with oil and "Uptan" (paste) of gram flour and fragrant powders are a `must'. All through the ritual of baths, deafening sounds of crackers and fireworks are there in order that the children enjoy bathing. Afterwards steamed vermiceli with milk and sugar or puffed rice with curd is served. Another legend is about King Bali of the nether world mighty power had become a threat to the gods. In order to curb his powers Lord Vishnu in the guise of a Batu Waman- a small boy- visited him and begged him to give him only that much land which he could cover with his three steps. Known for his philanthropy King Bali proudly granted him his wish. That very moment that small boy transformed himself into the all-powerful Lord Vishnu. With his first step Lord Vishnu covered the entire heaven and with the second step the earth and asked Bali where to keep his third step. Bali offered his head. Putting his foot on his head Vishnu pushed him down to the underworld. At the same time for his generosity Lord Vishnu gave him the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance and spread the radiance of love and wisdom. This Narakachaturdashi day therefore is dedicated to lights and prayers heralding a future full of joy and laughter. The THIRD day of the festival of Diwali is the most important day of LAKSHMI-PUJA which is entirely devoted to the propitiation of Goddess Lakshmi. This day is also known by the name of "CHOPADA-PUJA". On this very day sun enters his second course and passes Libra which is represented by the balance or scale. Hence, this design of Libra is believed to have suggested the balancing of account books and their closing. Despite the fact that this day falls on an amavasya day it is regarded as the most auspicious. The day of Lakshmi-Puja falls on the dark night of Amavasya. The strains of joyous sounds of bells and drums float from the temples as man is invoking Goddess Lakshmi in a wondrous holy "pouring-in" of his heart. All of a sudden that impenetrable darkness is pierced by innumerable rays of light for just a moment and the next moment a blaze of light descends down to earth from heaven as golden-footed Deep-Lakshmi alights on earth in all her celestial glory amidst chantings of Vedic hymns. A living luminance of Universal Motherhood envelopes the entire world in that blessed moment of fulfillment of a long-awaited dream of the mortal. A sublime light of knowledge dawns upon humanity and devotion of man finally conquers ignorance. This self enlightenment is expressed through the twinkling lamps that illuminate the palaces of the wealthy as well as the lowly abodes of the poor. It is believed that on this day Lakshmi walks through the green fields and loiters through the bye-lanes and showers her blessings on man for plenty and prosperity. When the sun sets in the evening and ceremonial worship is finished all the home-made sweets are offered to the goddess as "NAIVEDYA" and distributed as "PRASAD". Feasts are arranged and gifts are exchanged on this day gaily dressed men, women and children go to temples and fairs, visit friends and relatives. Everything is gay, gold and glitter! One of the most curious customs which characterises this festival of Diwali is the indulgence of gambling, specially on a large scale in North India. It is believed that goddess Parvati played dice with her husband, Lord Shiv on this day and she decreed that whosoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper throughout the ensuring year. This tradition of playing cards- flush and rummy with stakes on this particular day continues even to-day. On this auspicious day Lord Shri Krishna around whom revolved the entire story of our great epic Mahabharat and the philosopher, who preached Karmayog through his Geeta to Arjun on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, discarded his body. Bhagwan, Mahavir, the Jain prophet also attained "Nirvan" on this day. Swami Ramtirth, the beloved "Ram Badshah" of millions of Indians was not only born on this day and took "Sanyas" but also took "Samadhi" on this day. Swami Dayanand Saraswati, founder of Brahma-Samaj with his superb yogic powers greed his soul from his body and mingled with divinity on this auspicious day of Diwali. We kindle innumerable lights on this day to immortalise the sacred memories of those great men who lived to brighten the lives of millions of their fellow beings. One very interesting story about this Diwali day is from Kathopanishad of a small boy called Nichiketa who believed that Yam, the god of Death was as black as the dark night of amavasya. But when he met Yam in person he was puzzled seeing Yam's calm countenance and dignified stature. Yam explained to Nichiketa on this Diwali day of amavasya that by only passing through the darkness of death, man sees the light of highest wisdom and then only his soul can escape from the bondage of his mortal frame to mingle with the Supreme Power without whose will not an at ton moves in the world. And then Nichiketa realised the importance of worldly life and significance of death. Nichiketa's all doubts were set at rest and he whole-heartedly participated in Diwali celebrations. The FOURTH day is PADWA or VARSHAPRATIPADA which marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya and Vikaram-Samvat was started from this Padwa day. Govardhan-Puja is also performed in the North on this day. As per Vishnu-Puran the people of Gokul used to celebrate a festival in honour of Lord Indira and worshipped him after the end of every monsoon season but one particular year the young Krishna stopped them from offering prayers to Lord Indra who in terrific anger sent a deluge to submerge Gokul. But Krishna saved his Gokul by lifting up the Govardhan mountain and holding it over the people as an umbrella. Govardhan is a small hillock in Braj, near Mathura and on this day of Diwali people of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar build cowdung, hillocks, decorate them with flowers and then worship them. This day is also observed as Annakoot meaning mountain of food. In temples specially in Mathura and Nathadwara, the deities are given milkbath, dressed in shining attires with ornaments of dazzling diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones. After the prayers and traditional worship innumerable varieties of delicious sweets are ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain before the deities as "Bhog" and then the devotees approach the Mountain of Food and take Prasad from it. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped in every Hindu household and her blessings sought for success and happiness. This day is looked upon as the most auspicious day to start any new venture. In many Hindu homes it is a custom for the wife to put the red tilak on the forehead of her husband, garland him and do his "Aarathi" with a prayer for his long life. In appreciation of all the tender care that the wife showers on him, the husband gives her a costly gift. This Gudi Padwa is symbolic of love and devotion between the wife and husband. On this day newly-married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals and given presents. In olden days brothers went to fetch their sisters from their in-laws home for this important day. The FIFTH and final day of Diwali Festival is known by the name of "BHAYYA-DUJ" in the Hindi-speaking belt "BHAV-BIJ" in the Marathi-speaking communities and in Nepal by the name of "BHAI-TIKA". As the legend goes Yamraj, the God of Death visited his sister Yami on this particular day. She put the auspicious tilak on his forehead, garlanded him and led him with special dishes and both of them together ate the sweets, talked and enjoyed themselves to their heart's content, while parting Yamraj gave her a special gift as a token of his love and in return Yami also gave him a lovely gift which she had made with her own hands. That day Yamraj announced that anyone who receives tilak from his sister will never be thrown. That is why this day of Bhayyaduj is also known by the name of "YAMA-DWITIYA" Since then this day is being observed as a symbol of love between sisters and brothers. It became also imperative for the brother to go to his sister's house to celebrate Bhayyaduj. In today's world when pressing everyday problems are teaming as under all the tender words of personal relationships, the celebrating of this day has its own importance in continuing to maintain the love between brothers and sisters for it is the day of food-sharing, gift-giving and reaching out to the inner most depths of the hearts. Diwali on the whole has always been the festival with more social than religious connotations. It is a personal, people-oriented festival when enmities are forgotten, families and friends meet, enjoy and establish a word of closeness. As a festival of light and beauty it encourages artistic expressions through home-decorations stage-plays, elocution competitions singing and dancing programmes, making gift items and making delectable sweets thereby discovering new talents of younger people. As a result innumerable communities with varying cultures and customs mingle together to make Diwali celebrations a very happy occasion for all. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore has so aptly put forth the true significance of Diwali in these beautiful lines: The night is black Kindle the lamp of LOVE With thy life and devotion.
Posted by: k.ram Oct 23 2003, 12:10 PM
Not sure where this article belongs.... ------------ Story of Hasanamba - PREAMBLE Hassan is a prominent district of the Karnataka State, India. This district consists of the Western Ghats and hence falls in the “Malnad” category [Kannada: male naadu à Malnad = the land of hills]. The city of Hassan is 185 km from Bangalore and the journey takes about 4 hours through National Highway no. 4. Shree Haasanaamba is the presiding deity of Hassan city. There is a temple shrine with an ant-hill (snake mound) representing Hasanamba. The temple of Hasanamba will be opened only once in a year for about a week, during the Ashwayuja month (October). A big 'Jatra'( fair) will be held on this occasion. This time, the temple will be open for darshan between 16 -27 October. BACKGROUND It is widely believed that once when the “saptha maathrkaa”s (7 mothers) namely: braahmi, maahEshwari, kaumaari, vaiShNavi, vaaraahi, indraaNi and chaamundaa were passing through this place (in the sky), they were fascinated by the place’s beauty and sanctity and hence decided to stay here permanently. vaiShNavi, kaumaari and maahEshwari started living in the ant – hill. vaaraahi, indraaNi and chaamundaa occupied the 3 wells in the pond situated at the centre of the city (now aptly called as “devigere”). Braahmi devi made “kenchammana hosakote” (a village near Hassan city) her abode. In the Puranas, Hassan is mentioned as “sinhaasanapuri”. After the devis settled here, it came to be known as “Haasan” because, the devis live here “smilingly” [Sanskrth “hasan” – to smile] and protect people like Mothers. It is said that Krishnappa Nayak, a local chieftain, got constructed the temple during the 12th century. Nothing much is know prior to this date. When I enquired with the chief priest, he showed me some old paraphernalia and copper plates with inscriptions that contained a story as to how this place came to light: Devi’s wrath on Mallik kafur According to the above mentioned documents, Mallik Kafur, who was on a war campaign against the southern kingdoms, had stopped for rest along with his huge army, in and around the place where the present temple stands. The place was a thick forest then and the soldiers started preparing non-veg food by setting up fire near the ant-hill in which the goddesses lived. Angered by the littering of their place, the devis cursed the soldiers and one-by-one started falling dead. A shaken Mallik Kafur called the local Braahman priests and enquired the reason. They told him that it is devi’s wrath and nothing could be done. Mallik Kafur pleaded innocence and begged for mercy with the Goddess. The devi appeared in his dream and told him that she would forgive his men’s act if he built a temple for her and made appropriate arrangement for her puja. Mallik Kafur gave his word and hence his men were spared. He kept up his word by constructing the temple with the help of the locals. It is said that the devi herself ordered that the temple shall be opened for darshan only once in a year, during the Ashwayuj month. Devi’s miracles Inside the temple, one can see a big ant-hill with 3 female faces clearly formed over it. Still more interesting and awesome fact is that a big round “red chandan” mass is formed in the foreheads of the 3 devis. On the day of closing the temple, this mass is fully scraped and distributed among the devotees. When the temple doors are opened the next year, this mass will be full formed just as before. Another interesting fact is that the “nandaa deepam” [lamp lighted with clarified butter] keeps burning all along the year, even when the temple doors are closed. Still more interesting fact is that the “anna naivedya” [coocked rice offering] that is kept in front of the devi while closing the temple remains hot and fresh when the temple doors are opened up the next year. Only a few privileged like the temple authorities, the District Comissioner and the first few devotees can witness this on the first day, when the temple doors are opened. The Mother Goddesses are very popular in this region and people adore them with love and devotion. Thousands have got fulfilled their wishes due to their devotion to the Mothers. Incidents of men getting punished by the Mothers for their misconduct are also plenty.
Posted by: Mudy Oct 27 2003, 11:18 AM
http://unix.cc.wmich.edu/~mgeasler/fcs568/indian/index.html thumbup.gif
Posted by: k.ram Oct 29 2003, 10:10 AM
First Conference On Indo-Romuvan Culture Organized yash_pathak@y... NEW JERSEY, U.S.A., October 21, 2003: Scholars of the Indian and Romuva (ancient indigenous Lithuanian religion) civilizations took a step towards understanding each other. The first conference in a series planned to increase understanding of the ancient traditions of Indo-Romuvan civilizations was held in New Jersey last week. The conference brought together about forty-five eminent scholars belonging to Indian and Romuvan tradition from Lithuania, Latvia, Mexico, North America and India. The conference focused on four main broad topics: Indo-European history and common roots, similarities and peculiarities in the philosophy and theology of Indian and Romuvan traditions, the evolution of Indian and Romuvan traditions abroad and preservation of these traditions in the changing world. Jonas Trinkunas from Lithuania, who has been recently elevated to the highest priesthood position in Lithuanian Romuva traditions, gave the keynote address. He pointed out similarities between the ancient Indian and Romuvan traditions. Commending the vision of ancient Indic seers he said, "The founding principles for uniting the pagan traditions in Europe have been inspired by the Hindu philosophy." The conference was made possible by the International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS)-USA and World Congress of Ethnic Religions (WCER), Lithuania.
Posted by: k.ram Oct 29 2003, 12:08 PM
Please sign the Petition against the Book insulting Lord Ganesha and Hinduism! http://www.petitiononline.com/HSCULL/petition.html ================================================ Partial text of the petition: There is a Book titled: "Ganesa - Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings" by Professor Paul Courtright, Department of Religion, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Here are some of the author's vulgar interpretations: * "It's (Ganesa's) trunk is the displaced phallus, a caricature of Siva's linga. It poses no threat because it is too large, flaccid, and in the wrong place to be useful for sexual purposes." (Page 121) * He [Ganesa] remains celibate so as not to compete erotically with his father, a notorious womanizer, either incestuously for his mother or for any other woman for that matter. (Page 110) ........ First Edition in USA published in 1985 by Oxford University Press, Inc. First Indian Edition, Published in 2001 by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Ltd., with a nude cover picture and insulting interpretations directly from the book. Thanks. mad.gif
Posted by: Krishna Oct 29 2003, 11:36 PM
QUOTE (k.ram @ Oct 29 2003, 01:08 PM)
Please sign the Petition against the Book insulting Lord Ganesha and Hinduism!
Done! 2097.
Posted by: Kaushal Oct 31 2003, 08:30 AM
This is a talk by the Sankaracharya of Kanchi in Delhi. crossposted from yahoogroupa. The reason why i post it is to contrast with the pronouncements of the mullahs such as Imam Bukhari, who is always spouting fire and brimstone. Note that the Sage is supportive of the diversity of India and does not ask for any special favors for the Sanaatana Dharma. There is a point also be made that one doesnt have to agree with everything he says while agreeing with the broad thrust of his observations. talk of His Holiness Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi
QUOTE
Save the Culture and Save the Country Given below is the text of the talk of His Holiness Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi at Srifort Auditorium, New Delhi. Talk in Hindi, translated by Dr. Brinda Rao India is a sacred land. It has a tradition of Guru and disciple learning and teaching. In this way, the culture has been carried on for generations and generations without a break. Just like the native heads of the religions who are assembled, the Hindus are also the adivasis. This means that we have been here all along. Our tradition is ancient. It is rich with form and content, rich with worship of images, rituals and many other festivals. Everything is contained in the Vedas. And if you look at our culture, the Buddhists and the Jains and the Sikhs are also part of this vast and sacred tradition. I believe there is no difference between these. We may have different forms but our beliefs are the same and we have lived in harmony for centuries. Similarly the Parsis, who believe in fire rituals, and the Hindus have mingled. The two cultures are virtually indistinguishable. Recently, there was a report about mass conversion of people who had changed their religion from Hinduism to Buddhism. I was not worried. It was not a conversion of religion; it was a conversion of form because there is really no separation between the Busshists and the Hindus. Some people believe in conversion due to mandatory indecement and it is also a form of playing politics. There are many religions in the world today. Some are old, some new. If we look at the Judaic tradition, they beleive in the Old Testament. And there are many similarities between the Hindu and the Jewish traditions. But then, when we look at other forms of CHhristianity, we see that other forms of worship and religion are decried. The same is true of Islam. But we must remember that even beyond all this, there is a common belief in one God. When we look at the mass programs of proselytization, the first thing we have to remember is anything that goes must necessarily return. The second thing is those that are converted will return, will come back one day seeking their roots, seeking their tradition, seeking their truth. Another thing we have to remember is that there is great glory in following our own tradition. Experimenting with the religion of another is fear inducing. A person can ask what is wrong with proselytization. We have to remember that proselytization can endanger religions. This has been historically proved. If proselytization continues in India there will be no one left to worship a cow or take a bath in the Ganges and know what that meant. In order to save the country, we have to save the culture. In order to save the culture, we have to save the religion. India, because of its ancient tradition, self-knowledge and the guru-sishya parampara, has a very special place in the world. India is like an alternative power supply that serves in an emergency. But if this generator is destroyed, then we will have no recourse and the world will be left without spiritual direction. Religion is important because it is intimately connected with cultural forms of rituals and festivals. If religion is destroyed in India, who will celebrate Diwali and other festivals ? There is a tendency to blame social inequality like the caste system within Hinduism and say this is the cause of proselytization. But I do not believe that is true. We also have a tradition of purtha karma - of reaching out, of social work, of helping the downtrodden. We have a tradition that respects diversity and we have to remember that we are all part of the same source and we work like the five fingers on our hand. Differences will exist. Differences must exist. Differences are, in fact, necessary so that we can appreciate one another, love one another and show compassion to one another. The point is to go beyond the differences and look at the non-separateness to understand that we can come together and share a common platform and protect our own culture and protect the cultures of others. We have been very much together in this cause and Sri Swami Dayananda has our support in his efforts to preserve the religious diversity.
Posted by: siddhartha_shukla Nov 1 2003, 08:18 AM
Found this story on BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3228449.stm
QUOTE
The 27-year-old from the north Indian town of Lucknow will walk away from his wedding next month with not one, but two wives. Bigamy is strictly forbidden amongst Hindus - but Mr Verma believes his is a special case. His prospective father-in-law only allowed him to marry 18-year-old Ragini on the condition that he also weds her elder sister, Preeti. The girls' father, Sohan Lal, set the condition because he feared there would be no one to take care of Preeti, who is physically disabled, once he had died. Bigamy is strictly forbidden amongst Hindus - but Mr Verma believes his is a special case. His prospective father-in-law only allowed him to marry 18-year-old Ragini on the condition that he also weds her elder sister, Preeti. The girls' father, Sohan Lal, set the condition because he feared there would be no one to take care of Preeti, who is physically disabled, once he had died.
This brings up an interesting question. Is Indian society lenient when it comes to polygamy? I have known a few instances personally of people having more than one spouse. Some of them are in public domain knowledge, Dharmendra didn’t divorce his first wife before marrying Hema (Rajya Sabha member) so was the case with Boney Kapoor and Sri devi. I read a story a while ago of a tribe in Uttranchal where the same woman is married to all the brothers to avoid distribution of family property. Coming back to my original question here. What explains Indian society’s tolerance towards polygamy? Is it because the concept of polygamy is alien to the Hindu Religion and Indian culture? Many of Hindu Gods are supposed to have more than one wife, so do some of the legendary historical figures. I would like to invite forum member's opinion on this subject.
Posted by: k.ram Nov 4 2003, 07:15 AM
http://ww1.mid-day.com/news/city/2003/november/67869.htm Sanskrit makes a comeback in Mumbai By: Manoj Nair November 4, 2003 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Long considered a dying language, Sanskrit is making a comeback in colleges. At Mumbai University, the number of students registered for courses at the University’s Sanskrit department has gone up from 175 to 260, a rise of nearly 50 per cent in the last four years. The response has surprised Dr G P Mahulikar, head of the University’s Sanskrit department. “I am amazed to see the kind of response from students. When I did my MA in 1975, there were around 10 students in the post-graduated.gif class. Now, the number of students is 30,” Mahulikar said. The number of students doing the basic certificate course at the university has grown from 73 to 101, its full capacity, in the last four years. A new post-graduated.gif diploma in comparative mythology has attracted 25 students this year. If the new interest spans the range from short-term diploma courses to post-graduated.gif studies, the enthusiasm for the language also encompasses various age groups and professions. Dr Kalplata Mahajan (56) is a general practitioner doing a diploma course. She said her love for the language prompted her to join the classes. “I learnt Sanskrit in school but could not pursue it as I took up medicine in college,” she said. Rajashri Barve, a Kathak dancer from Malad, graduated.gifd with a gold medal in Sanskrit from Ruia College and is now doing post-graduated.gif studies in the subject. She said learning the language will help her in her future plans of taking up research in ancient Indian epics. “Since the language is also becoming popular in schools, there is a demand for Sanskrit teachers. That is another reason more students are learning the language,” said Barve. Prasad Akolkar, an Ayurveda practioner, is doing the one-year diploma in comparative mythology. “Learning Sanskrit at an advanced level will help understanding ancient Ayurveda,” said this Dadar resident who has started a web site promoting Sanskrit. The new interest in the language is not restricted to the University of Mumbai alone. The Somaiya Trust is setting up a deemed university for Sanskrit called the K J Somaiya Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, at its Vidyavihar campus. The university will be governed by Central government rules, said S K Somaiya of the Somaiya Trust. “Though we applied for permission to set up the university in 1973, the sanction has just come. We plans to have special programmes for teaching the language, including training of Sanskrit teachers,” said Somaiya. However, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, one of the biggest organisations promoting Sanskrit, has a different story to tell. The number of children enrolled for the Bhavan’s basic certificate in Sanskrit from all over India has fallen from 50,000 to 30,000 in the last five years. A N Chaturvedi of the Bhavan said he was not happy with the numbers, but other Bhavan officials said the fall was due to Bhavan’s slackened promotion for the language. “It is not indicative of the falling interest in the language,” said an official. Career scope School teachers, college and university lecturers, readers at university, research scholars, newsreaders for Doordarshan Why more interest Sanskrit is becoming popular as an optional language in schools. So there is a big demand for Sanskrit teachers. It is increasingly being offered as a subject at the Civil Services examination since it has potential to be high scoring. There is a new interest in studies of ancient Indian epics. Since most of this literature is in Sanskrit, it is imperative to know the language. Enrolment for Sanskrit at the University Course 1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2002 2002-03 PHD 11 9 7 13 MA (I, II) 5 3 43 49 Certificate course 73 58 76 101 Diploma course 43 45 61 76 PG Diploma 16 12 35 25
Posted by: k.ram Nov 4 2003, 07:42 AM
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031012/spectrum/main6.htm A real life hero, not figment of a poet’s imagination Saroj Bala Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003 Tribune, Chandigarh, Spectrum The story of Shri Ram’s life was first narrated by Maharishi Valmiki in The Ramayana, written after he was crowned as the king of Ayodhya. Valmiki was a great astronomer because he made sequential astronomical references on important dates related to the life of Shri Ram indicating the location of planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and the other visible stars (nakshatras). A similar position of planets and nakshatras vis-a-vis zodiac constellations has not been repeated in thousands of years. By entering the precise details of the planetary configuration of the important events in the life of Shri Ram, as given in the Valmiki Ramayana, in the software named Planetarium corresponding exact dates of these events according to English calendar can be known. Pushkar Bhatnagar, of the Indian Revenue Service, had acquired Planetarium from the USA. It is used to predict the solar/lunar eclipses and distance and location of other planets from the earth by the scientists and astronomers. He entered the relevant details about the planetary positions vis-a-vis zodiac constellations narrated by Valmiki and obtained convincing results, thus almost determining the important dates starting from the birth of Shri Ram to the date of his coming back to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Valmiki has recorded in Bal Kaand Sarga 19 and shloka 8 and 9 (1/18/8,9) that Shri Ram was born on the ninth tithi of Chaitra month when the position of different planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and nakshatras (visible stars) was as under :- 1 Sun in Aries ii) Saturn in Libra iii) Jupiter in Cancer iv) Venus in Pisces v) Mars in Capricorn vi) Lunar month of Chaitra vii) Ninth day after no moon viii) Lagna as Cancer (Cancer was rising in the east) ix) Moon on the Punarvasu (Gemini constellation & Pollux star) x) Day time (around noon) This data was fed into the Planetarium software. The results indicated that this was exactly the location of planets/stars vis-a-vis zodiac constellations on January10, noon time in the year 5114 BC. As per the Indian calendar, it was the ninth day of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month and the time was around 12 to 1 noontime. This is exactly the time and date when Ram Navmi is celebrated all over India till date. Shri Ram was born in Ayodhya: This fact can be ascertained from several books written by Indian and foreign authors before and after the birth of Christ e.g. Valmiki Ramayana, Tulsi Ramayana, Kalidasa’s Raghuvansam, Bodh and Jain literature etc. These books have narrated in great detail the location, the rich architecture and the beauty of Ayodhya which had many palaces and temples built all over the vast kingdom. Ayodhya was located over the banks of Saryu River with Ganga and Panchal Pradesh on one side and Mithila on the other side. Normally 7,000 years is a very long period during which earthquakes, storms, floods and foreign invasions change the course of rivers, destroy towns and buildings and alter the territories. Therefore, the task of unearthing facts is monumental. The present Ayodhya is shrunken in size and the rivers have changed their course about 40 km north/south. Shri Ram went out of Ayodhya in his childhood (13th year as per Valmiki Ramayana with Rishi Vishwamitra who lived in Tapovan (Sidhhashram) and from there he went to Mithila, the kingdom of King Janaka. Here, he married Sita after breaking the Shiv dhanusha. Researchers have gone along the route adopted by Shri Ram as narrated in Valmiki Ramayana and found 23 places which have memorials existing even as on date to commemorate the events related to his life. These include Shringi Ashram, Ramghat, Tadka Van, Sidhhashram, Gautamashram, Janakpur (now in Nepal) and Sita Kund etc. Memorials are built for great human beings and not for fictitious characters. Date of exile of Shri Ram: In Valmiki Ramayana it is mentioned in Ayodhya Kand (2/4/18) that Dashratha wanted to make Shri Ram the king because Sun, Mars and Rahu had surrounded his nakshatra and normally under such planetary configuration the king dies/or becomes a victim of conspiracies. The zodiac sign of king Dashratha was Pisces and his nakshatra was Rewati. This planetary configuration was prevailing on the January 5, 5089 BC. It was on this day that Shri Ram had to leave Ayodhya for living in the forests for 14 years. He was 25 years old at that time (5114-5089) and there are several shlokas in the Valmiki Ramayana which indicate that Shri Ram was 25 years old when he left Ayodhya for 14 years of exile. Valmiki Ramayana refers to the solar eclipse at the time of war with Khardushan in latter half of 13th year of Shri Ram’s living in forests. Valmiki has also mentioned that it was Amavasya that day and planet Mars was in the middle. When this data was entered, the computer software indicated that there was a solar eclipse on October 7, 5077 BC (Amavasya day) which could be seen from Panchvati. On that date, the planetary configuration was the same as has been described by Valmiki i.e. Mars was in the middle, on one side were Venus and Mercury and on the other side were Sun and Saturn. On the basis of planetary configurations described in various other chapters, the date on which Ravana was killed works out to December 4, 5076 BC. Shri Ram completed 14 years of exile on January 2, 5075 BC. That day was also Navami of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month. Thus, Shri Ram had come back to Ayodhya when he was 39 years old (5114-5075). Ram Avtar, who had done research on places visited by Shri Ram during 14 years of exile and sequentially moved to the places stated as visited by Shri Ram in the Valmiki Ramayana, started from Ayodhya and went right upto Rameshwaram. He found 195 places which still have the memorials connected to the events narrated in the Ramayana relating to the life of Shri Ram and Sita. These places include: Tamsa Tal (Mandah), Shringverpur (Singraur), Bhardwaj Ashram (situated near Allahabad), Atri Ashram, Markandeya Ashram (Markundi), Chitrakoot, Parnakuti (on banks of Godavari), Panchvati, Sita Sarovar, Ram Kund in Triambakeshwar near Nasik, Shabari Ashram, Kishkindha (village Annagorai), Dhanushkoti and Rameshwar temple. Recently, the Sri Lankan government had expressed a desire to develop Sita Vatika as a tourist spot. Sri Lankans believe that this was Ashok Vatika where Ravana had kept Sita as a prisoner (that was year 5076 BC). An American company engaged in exploring the oceans had put pictures on the Internet of a curved bridge, the ruins of which are lying submerged in Gulf of Mannar between Rameshwaram and Sri Lanka. The age of the stones used has been estimated at 17 million years, though the period of the construction of the bridge has still not been estimated. Indian history has recorded that Shri Ram belonged to the Surya Vansh and was the 64th ruler of this dynasty. The names and other relevant particulars of previous 63 kings are listed on in Ayodhya Ka Itihas written about 80 years back by Rai Bahadur Sita Ram and the ancestors of Shri Ram have been traced out as under: Shri Ram, S/o King Dashratha, S/o King Aja, S/o King Raghu, S/o King Dilip and so on ——-) From Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Bengal to Gujarat, everywhere people believe in the reality of Shri Ram’s existence, particularly in the tribal areas of Himachal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the North-East. Most of the festivals celebrated in these tribal areas revolve around the events in the life of Shri Ram and Shri Krishna. During Ram Rajya, the evils of caste system based on birth were non-existent. Valmiki is stated to be a Shudra. Sita lived with him as his adopted daughter after she was banished from Ayodhya and Shri Ram’s children Luv and Kush grew in his ashram as his disciples. Valmiki was, perhaps, the first great astronomer and that his study of planetary configurations has stood the test of time. Even the latest computer software corroborated his astronomical calculations, proving that he did not commit any error. Shabari is stated to be belonging to Bheel tribe and the army of Shri Ram, which succeeded in defeating Ravana was also formed by various tribals from Central and South India. Facts, events and other relevant details relating to the life of Shri Ram are the common heritage of all the Indians. thumbup.gif
Posted by: Reggie Nov 4 2003, 09:47 PM
Info on Hindu temples in Pakistan. Note - marauding Islamic jehadis are now known as "colonialists." http://www.dawn.com/weekly/review/review8.htm Apart from Swami Narayan temple on M. A. Jinnah Road, one can also see great activity in the courtyard of Shree Ratneswar Mahadev temple at Kothari Parade. People recall the good old days when the sea used to touch the Shree Ratneswar temple in Clifton. Its glorious history dates back to some 1,200 years when the colonialists were mesmerized by its beauty on the shores of the Arabian Sea
Posted by: k.ram Nov 11 2003, 09:50 PM
India's Spiritual Heritage ********************* by Glen P. Kezwer Spirituality is an intrinsic part of Indian culture and life. Every Indian home is adorned with a poojaa shrine containing a picture of Lord Krishna, Shri Ganesh, Lord Shiv, the Goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati, or some other deity surrounded by candles and incense and garlanded with a maalaa. It is here that people stop for a praanaam to the devi or devtaa, or to ring a bell and sit with eyes closed and hands folded for a few minutes every day. For the worshipper, this aspect of Indian culture serves as a constant reminder that behind the material forms which constitute our daily world, there is an unchanging consciousness which permeates everything. I myself am not of Indian origin. I was born and raised in Canada, but have spent the greater part of the past twenty years living in India. During this time India has become my home. I have travelled her highways and byways from Kerala and Tamil Nadu to Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. I have traversed this vast land on her railways, buses, taxis and airplanes, as well as her elephants, camels and bullock carts. I have walked the streets of her cities, towns and villages, wandered her fields, climbed her mountains and roamed her forests. I have visited her temples, colleges, universities, cultural institutions, government offices and the homes of countless numbers of her citizens. I have met her politicians, professors, military personnel, business people, housewives, doctors, lawyers, wandering sadhus, coolies, temple poojaries, farmers, pandits, journalists and police officers. I have eaten her food, and been nourished by her wholesome dal, subji and roti. I have experienced the heartfelt hospitality of her people, being welcomed and treated as the Godly guest in the most humble of mud houses and the most magnificent of grand mansions. I have sat in meditation in her majestic temples, lectured in her institutions and universities, and waited in line in her banks, train stations, government offices and petrol stations. I have felt the warmth of her sunshine, been refreshed by her rain and breathed the air of this great and enchanting nation year after year. My experiences in India have been many and diverse. I have been awed by the beauty of the dawning of a new year in a farmer's field south of Delhi. I have been warmed by the first rays of the sun as I sat in a crowded motor rickshaw on a cold winter's morning in Farrukhabad. I have sat on a rough bench in a beautiful garden in Bhind and been dazzled by the heartfelt tales of a venerable freedom-fighter. I watched the delighted look on the faces of Gandhian workers as I spoke of meditation and highest awareness at the Mahatma's ashram in Wardha. I have had similar experiences when speaking to the senior officers at the Sarder Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad, science students at the Gargi College in Delhi, gathered intellectuals at the India International Centre in Delhi. I have felt the power of living the eternal message of the Bhagavad Gita on the battlefield in Kurukshetra. I have shared the devotion of the worshippers of the goddess at the Lakshmi temple in Madurai. And everywhere, in every experience I have known India's unique, essential spirituality. It is built into the very fabric of this nation. Where else could you find a city like Ayodhya which is home to 6,000 temples? In what other country could you find holy communities like Rishikesh and Benares, dedicated to the worship of the highest, where meat and alcohol are not to be found? Where else could you watch the evening news on the national television network, and find the words Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram - Truth, Bliss and Beauty - etched on the screen behind the news reader? In what other country would the name of the national radio network be Aakaashvaani - the Voice of the Heavens? Where else would you find establishments with names such as "Krishna Dry Cleaners", "Laxmi Eye Clinic" and "Ram Silk Store"? Where else would vehicles stop on the highway at a temple to take the blessings of the goddess for a successful journey? And what of Indian names? One commonly meets people with names such as Avadh - indestructible, Pratap - the glory of God, Anand _ indivisible bliss, Preeti - divine love, Amar - immortal, Vaibhav - the grandeur or majesty of the divine, Shanti - supreme peace, Kaanti - the glory of God, and Mohini - the enchanting aspect of the absolute. And these are just some of the countless Indian names which serve as reminders of the divinity residing within each and every human being. Indian currency notes bear the motto Satyamayv jayatay under the national seal. The meaning of these words is "Truth alone prevails", a phrase which brings to one's mind the unique truth which is the underlying reality behind all of material existence. This truth is the essential spiritual message which is India's great gift to the world, and it is this same truth which permeates every aspect of Indian life. Two incidents illustrate what I mean. I was once in the office of the Registrar of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh. I sat there for over an hour and watched as he was constantly harangued by countless lawyers and other applicants pressing him to present their cases to the court as soon as possible. I noticed that throughout it all he maintained an attitude of calmness and fairness to everyone, whereas most people in his position would have become agitated or annoyed. During a break I asked him what the secret was to his easy, unruffled attitude. He smiled, and then indicating a picture of Lord Krishna which was on his desk said, "I know that he is doing everything." On another occasion I had been invited to give a talk at a temple in Bhind, where my main message was that one's true nature is immortal and blissful. After the talk was over I was surprised to find a long line-up of people approaching to come greet me personally. I was deeply moved by this gesture as it clearly showed that to these people it did not matter that I was not Indian; I had spoken of the knowledge of their land and they wanted to respect that. As each person approached I greeted them with the words "jeetay raho", "May you live a long life." It was obvious in that moment that I was seeing my own self in them and they were seeing their own self in me. From times immemorial India's message has been promulgated by her saints, sages, gurus and rishis and transmitted by them to those who were desirous of knowing the truth. The essence of this message is simple: Behind the eyes of every living being on earth there shines a light. This light is one and the same in all beings. This light is immortal, blissful, eternal and indestructible. This is the light of consciousness which makes each and every one of us alive and alert and gives us the power to breathe. It is written in Chapter II, verse 30 of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita that Dehii nityamavadhyoyam / Dehe Sarvasya Bhaarat: The spirit which dwells within the body is eternal and indestructible. It dwells in the bodies of all, and is therefore the selfsame spirit in every living human being or creature. This spirit, which can also be called Aatmaa or Self, is the true nature of all. It is indivisible, being one and one alone, and is the unchanging reality behind the changing world which we experience every day through our senses. To know or realize this Self is the quest of every spiritual seeker throughout history, and the means to achieve this loftiest of goals can be found in the spiritual heritage of India. ----- (The writer is a physicist from Canada. He lives in Himachal Pradesh and is author of the book Meditation, Oneness and Physics) See the original article and beautiful photographs at: http://www.deshvidesh.com/spiritual2.htm
Posted by: vishal Nov 12 2003, 12:00 PM
Glen P. Kezwer <---- this man will attain Krishna faster than us.Because he understood our culture by going into it. smile.gif But today's 90% new generation(indian) are ready to get far and farther from liberation sinking into beast of materialism.Some of them even don't know difference between krishna and vishnu.... ohmy.gif
Posted by: Dr. S. Kalyan Nov 14 2003, 04:13 AM
This book review which questions the indian civilizational identity should be of interest to members. There are two questions: 1. Indian religionists; 2. term 'India' 1. Is it okay to use the term 'Indian religionists' as distinct from muslims and christians? 2. Is there a problem in identifying a civilizational area and using the term 'India': "The authors have convinced themselves that India was a "homogenous civilizational area... ... .anchored in sanatana dharma" . Their complaint is that "Islamic Rulers consciously and conscientiously, resisted acculturation into the timeless civilizational and religious milieu of India". The second problem, equally serious, is with the term "India". As the authors say "throughout our analysis, we employ the term `India' for the geographical and historical India that encompasses the three countries into which India was partitioned in the course of the 20th Century. In short, the authors do not accept the Partition of India but opt for "Akhand Bharat " in 2003. Why could they not use terms like pre-Partition India and Indian Union or post-Partition India?" Kalyan RELIGIOUS DEMOGRAPHY OF INDIA: A.P. Joshi, M.D. Srinivas, J.K. Bajaj; Centre for Policy Studies, 27, Rajasekharan Street, Chennai- 600004. Rs. 800. THIS BOOK contains massive data on the religious composition of India's population, based on census data from 1881 to 1991 (2001 census data on religion are not yet available). A special feature of this publication is the comprehensive collection of data on religion for all continents and countries of the world. It also gives detailed data for India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Its focus is on areas of Muslim and Christian concentration in different regions of India. There are maps for states giving district wise data on the religious composition of population. The book does reflect serious and sustained work in the field of social demography and it would have been very useful to scholars, planners, policymakers and administrators but unfortunately, the interpretation of the data and the methodology of analysis cannot stand close scrutiny. It seems that the book has a hidden message, which is spelt out at several places and sometimes hidden in mathematical projections (which are faulty), graphs and charts. The message, to put it bluntly is: "Beware of Muslim population growth, otherwise India will become Pakistan." The importance of religion cannot be ignored. The Partition of India in 1947 was entirely based on census data on religion. There are a few districts in Assam and West Bengal where Muslims are in a majority (because of the impact of undocumented migration from Bangladesh). And it is a fact that the practice of family planning among Muslims is much lower than in other communities. As several technical demographers have demonstrated, even after controlling education, occupation, and income, Muslim fertility is higher than that of non-Muslims. There is no doubt that this differential growth rate has political ramifications like seats in state assemblies and demographic characteristics of constituencies. Nevertheless, are scholars entitled to manipulate census statistics in the way these unknown scholars from an unknown institute (which is not to be mixed up with the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi) have done? The entire classification scheme evolved by the authors is suspect. In the Indian census, there is no category called "Indian Religionists" (as the book puts it), apart from the fact that "religionists" is not an English word. Indian religionists, according to the authors, comprise "Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Tribal" population . The Indian census uses the term "other religious persuasions" to include only those minor religions which are not covered by main religions like Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains but the book under review means by "other religionists" Muslim, Christian, Parsi and Jewish communities (the late J.R.D.Tata, would have found it difficult to accept that he was not a pucca Indian). The only statistical advantage in clubbing Hindus with allied religions is to jack up the proportion of Hindus, which we consider totally unnecessary. Over 82 per cent of India's population is Hindu. And what exactly is the motive in classifying Muslims and Christians as "other religionists"?. Are Muslims and Christians not Indian citizens? If some illegal migrants are Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, find out who they are. Technical demographers can estimate the extent of migration (legal or illegal) by detailed analysis of census data for India, Pakistan and Bangladesh at the district level. Should the ICSSR have given financial assistance to novices in the field of social demography for publication of the book? The ICSSR's sponsorship of this book was unnecessary. The authors have convinced themselves that India was a "homogenous civilizational area... ... .anchored in sanatana dharma" . Their complaint is that "Islamic Rulers consciously and conscientiously, resisted acculturation into the timeless civilizational and religious milieu of India". The second problem, equally serious, is with the term "India". As the authors say "throughout our analysis, we employ the term `India' for the geographical and historical India that encompasses the three countries into which India was partitioned in the course of the 20th Century. In short, the authors do not accept the Partition of India but opt for "Akhand Bharat " in 2003. Why could they not use terms like pre- Partition India and Indian Union or post-Partition India? The lay reader of this book will be totally confused by numerous tables on "Indian religionists" and "other religionists" and also "India" and "Indian Union". The crucial figure (2.1 per cent growth trends of Indian and other religionists in India, 1901-2071) shows that by 2061 the proportion of Muslims and Indian religionists (read Hindu) will be the same and by 2071 it will be doomsday! But the figures refer to India (i.e. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh). Mathematically speaking, one should not be surprised if predominantly Muslim Pakistan and Bangladesh grow faster than the Hindu population in India. Indian census data since 1951 indicate that in every decade, there is an increase of only one per cent point in the Muslim population. If it is 13 per cent in 2001, at this rate, it should take 370 years for India to become Pakistan! I would beg to disagree with Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, who quotes Augustus Comte, a 19th Century French philosopher, to say "demography is destiny". My footnote is: past trend is not destiny. I am proud of multi-religious India and the rich cultural diversity. Muslims and Christians must have the same place as Hindus in India. We don't want to be Pakistan. ASHISH BOSE http://www.hindu.com/br/2003/11/11/stories/2003111100150300.htm
Posted by: k.ram Nov 15 2003, 10:09 AM
http://pib.nic.in/archieve/lreleng/lyr2003/rnov2003/11112003/r1111200 311.html VEDIC CHANTING DECLARED INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF HUMANITY BY UNESCO The oral tradition of vedic chanting has been declared intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO. In a meeting of jury members on 7th November, 2003 at Paris, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, declared the chanting of vedas in India outstanding example of heritage and the form of cultural expressions. The proclamation says in the age of globalisation and modernisation when the cultural diversity is under pressure, the preservation of oral tradition of vedic chanting, a unique cultural heritage has great significance. Total 80 entries were received for this purpose from all over the world and the jury members included Dr. Richard Kurin, Director of the Center for Folklore and Cultural Heritage of the Smithsonian Institution (United Nations), Mr. Juan Goytisolo Writer (Spain), Mr. Yoshikazu Hasegawa (Japan), Ms. Olive W.M. Lewin. Pianist, ethnomusicologist, Director of the Jamaica Orchestra for Youth (Jamaica). The UNESCO declaration will bring international recognition to the excellence of the vedic chanting tradition of India, which have survived for centuries encoding the wisdom contained in the Vedas through an extraordinary effort of memorisation and through an elaborately worked out mnemonic methods. The purity and fail-safe technique devised for Vedic chanting in the olden days led to access to one of the ancient literatures of humanity in its entirety. The Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Culture took the initiative to put up the candidature of the vedic chanting to UNESCO. A presentation was prepared by Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts. The Department has also prepared five year action plan to safeguard, protect, promote and disseminate oral tradition of vedic tradition in terms of their uniqueness and distinctiveness, encourage scholars and practitioners to preserve, revitalise and promote their own branch of vedic recitation as the custodians of their own traditions and direct the efforts primarily to making the tradition survive in its own context.
Posted by: k.ram Nov 16 2003, 11:51 AM
Caste in Hinduism http://www.ece.lsu.edu/kak/cas3.pdf
Posted by: Praneet N Nov 16 2003, 07:51 PM
How often it seems we've turned a blind eye to the persecution of Hindus in our neighbourhood and around the world. We've sat back and watched 1) Near elimination of Hindus from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asian States 2) Ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir 3) Ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh 4) Driving out and killing of Hindu Lhotshampas from Bhutan 5) Ethnic Cleansing of Hindu Tamils in Sri Lanka 6) Racial discrimination and violence against hindus in Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad, Bali This passive approach has only complicated and adversely affected our own borders and our security scenario. What is a Indian civilisation if it doesn't protect Indian History and Hindus...Hinduism is the backbone of Indic Civilisation and who will protect Hindus if it isn't India? It is a clash of civilisations and i can't understand why we've sought to take a back seat approach only offering the odd word to strongly condemn violence against Hindus. Its frustrating to see that we spend more time talking about Fencing the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh as a panacea to the problems occuring there... While there are hardly any Hindus in Pakistan, Bangladesh still has about 10~15 million, approx 10 % of the population. Everyone knows of the genocide towards hindus in Bangladesh yet we can't utter a strong word to save them. Bhutanese Hindus are desperately looking towards us to repatriate back to Bhutan and we delay. An Akhand Bharat consisting of India leading for greater rights and protection of Hindus is a start, and this can only lead to a stronger Bharat.
Posted by: shiv Nov 17 2003, 10:37 PM
QUOTE
Bigamy is strictly forbidden amongst Hindus
Really? Who are hindus, and who has forbidden bigamy? Are we talking culture, religion or Indian Penal Code here?
Posted by: rhytha Nov 17 2003, 11:41 PM
hmm does hinduism ban bigamy unsure.gif anyway percentage of plp with 2 wives should be very low. It also depends on economics, wheather a person can afford a 2 wifes and thier siblings. blink.gif
Posted by: shiv Nov 18 2003, 02:23 AM
QUOTE
does hinduism ban bigamy
rhytha that is precisely the point - and this is probably the worng thread. What is this "hinduism" thing that is alleged to have the authority to ban/unban bigamy? It seems to me that a fundamental problem exists in the way people of different cultures see people of the Indic culture is based on a pre-existing mental picture of oneself, and an assumption that the other person's life is built around a similar structure. Shit. Sorry to be so obscure. The Christian of centuries ago saw himself as a Christian i.e. bound by s strict set of rules about god and a rule-book. Same with Islam. And both these groups looked at Indians and thought - 'Hey these guys are bound by a set of fixed rules, but not our rules" That is the problem. What are these "fixed rules" that "Hindus" are alleged to be bound by? Where are thiese rules? Which is the rulebook? Indians and not just those who claim to be followers of "Hindu gods" all belong to a culture with broad and fairly relaxed rules based on great tolerance and an attempt to understand the other guy's viewpoint.
Posted by: Mudy Nov 18 2003, 10:03 AM
There is no rules as such in Hindu religion. No dress code etc. Manu smirti or Upnisads or other shastras have defined some do's and don't , like Hindu penal code of current yug. But again current penal code is more law and order rules not to practice religion.
Posted by: acharya Nov 18 2003, 01:49 PM
Title: Hindu-American: Both Sides of the Hyphen Author: Aditi Banerjee Publication: Silicon India Date: November 17, 2003 URL: http://www.siliconindia.com/magazine/fullstory.asp?aid=DBV305482316 Hindu-American: Both Sides of the Hyphen Aditi Banerjee Before debating the merits of adopting a Hindu-American identity, we have to understand what it means to be a Hindu-American; how is it distinctive from being any other type of American or indeed any other type of Hindu? My parents came to Chicago from Calcutta in the 1960s. They associated with Bengalis and their closest friends have remained Bengaliit is with the Bengalis of Chicago that we have celebrated and to this day celebrate Thanksgiving, New Years, Durga Puja, Kali Puja, and Saraswati Puja. What binds them together is not just the language but also the shared memories of the home they left behinda fragmented India, where Bengal was distinctive from the rest of the country. They saw themselves as Bengalis, not as Indians. The India they left behind is drastically different from the India I found this summer when I spent a few months there. This is an India where Bengalis speak Hindi as much as they speak Bengali, while many in my parents generation cant follow a Bollywood movie without subtitles. This is an India where my cousins listen to bhangra and Hindi soundtracks more than they listen to Rabindra sangeet. This is an India where the anthem being sung is the national anthem, not that of individual states. This is an India where Indians are finally seeing themselves as Indian. So, the new immigrants who are coming from India are identifying themselves not as members from a particular region, but as members of an increasingly unified nation. They are more apt to celebrate Diwali than Kali Puja when both celebrations fall on the same weekend. They are more likely to talk to their friends in Hindi than in Bengali. They are more likely to join NetSAP than the local Bengali association. This shift is similar to the changes in identity prevalent among the second generation, the so-called ABCDs, American Born Confused Desis, like myself. While I learned to speak Bengali before English, and while I bonded with the children of my parents Bengali friends, what drew us together wasnt our ethnicity: it was our shared experience of being brown folk in a white world, of weekend get-togethers with other immigrant families and eating Indian food, of being dragged to pujas celebrated in local high schools rented out for the weekend. It was our shared experience of being perceived as the dorky nerds in school, of teachers and parents expecting us to excel in math and science and to be at the top of our class, of teachers and parents expecting us to be engineers or doctors, of being asked whether we spoke Indian. In short, what bound us together wasnt being Bengali-American or even necessarily Indian-American; it was the experience of being foreigners born in this country, a shared experience of alienation. I first heard the term South Asia when I came to Tufts. I was told that the differences between Pakistanis, Indians, and Bangladeshis were negligiblein short, since other Americans couldnt distinguish between us, why should we? Eventually, I was told that we should think of ourselves as Asian-Americanwe shared common experiences and came from the same general continent after all. The underlying premise behind each of these movements was the idea that what formed a group identity was based largely on how others perceived us and on what would give us the most political clout and social coherence. This is a fundamentally flawed approach. Of course, it is valuable and necessary to have communities of Indian-Americans, South-Asian-Americans, and Asian-Americans. But communities and group affiliations are different from what constitutes political and social identity. Identity cannot be based on political expedience or social convenienceit cannot be based on circumstances of birth or geographical origin or even race/ethnicity. Even culture is not enough, though it is a closer approximation of what mattersit is our values, our worldview, our beliefs about ourselves and the world we live in, it is the way we think, the way we conduct ourselves, the philosophy behind our actions. Of course, this is very much based on culture and ethnicity, but it goes beyond these parameters to something larger. Bengali-Americans, Asian-Americans, South-Asian-Americans function well as communities but cannot suffice as identities. They will shed and morph over time as migration patterns and political and social realties shift. The same way the Bengali identity has given way to an Indian identity, the current South Asian vogue will give way to something else in the coming years. These identities are inherently unstable, based on external circumstances, not innate characteristics of personality that are necessary to constitute any real or permanent identity. For example, while I may go for months without uttering a word of Bengali or even without speaking to another Indian, not a day would pass by where I wouldnt pray to Krishna or recite the Gayatri mantra. While I would be as amenable to marrying a Punjabi as I would a Rajasthani or a Bengali, I would find it very difficult to marry a man who didnt believe in reincarnation or karma or dharma. While I might be equally happy at a South Indian temple or a Chinmaya Mission or an ISKCON center, all three share fundamental characteristics of the faith dear to me. While I may not take my children to the local Durga puja celebrated by Bengalis in the future, I would tell them the stories I know from the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha. These are aspects of my self that do not alter regardless of which country Im in or what people surround me. They are aspects of my most fundamental beliefs and values that do not shift the same way my personality adapts to the society that surrounds me. You may ask, why do we need a Hindu American identity at all? Why dont we practice this mostindividualistic of all religions individually? Isnt mixing religion and politics a disaster in the making? Well, first of all, to think religion and politics arent mixed to begin with is a naive and dangerous presumption. Politics does not happen in a vacuum; all actors, especially political actors, are motivated by convictions based on ideology and morality, which come from social norms as well as religious beliefs. The debate over slavery was inextricably intertwined with Christianity; the universal recognition of human rights is based on a consensus of religious viewpoints on basic values; the partition that tore through the subcontinent was a bitter battle over the soul of a nation as characterized by religion. The more conscious we are of how religion affects our identity and viewpoints, the more we can try to be open-minded and fair. If we deny the religious component of our identity, we just become blinded to what is going on in our subconscious and our own prejudiceswe no longer know ourselves. Religion does not exist in a separate component within our being; it pervades and permeates our personal life and also our public life: our career, our social interactions, our conduct as citizens. Before debating the merits of adopting a Hindu-American identity, we have to understand what it means to be a Hindu-American; how is it distinctive from being any other type of American or indeed any other type of Hindu? Ive touched a bit on how Hindu-Americans are different from the groupings of people as Indian-Americans or Asian-Americans. Its an identity that looks at the individual rather than broad categories of ethnicity or race; its an identity that is chosen rather than assigned. But how are American Hindus different from other Hindus, principally Hindus from India? It is admittedly difficult to separate the two; India is Hinduisms birthplace and the traditional homeland for a religion that has done little proselytizing beyond its borders. However, we must understand that the faith and philosophy of Hinduism is distinctive from the social customs and rituals that have come to plague it through the years. Just as Christianity is not about the Crusades or slavery or sexual abuse perpetuated by priests, similarly, Hinduism is not fundamentally about dowry, or the current caste system, or the subordination of women in the name of religion. These are social practices caused more by the history of Indian society than by the philosophy of the religion. What does it mean to be a Hindu? Not so long ago, people identified themselves as followers of Shiva or Vishnu or the Vedanta philosophy, not as Hindus. When we began to call ourselves Hindu, it came from an acknowledgment that despite the diversity of the faith, a diversity of beliefs and practices that we cherish, there is an underlying unityan acceptance that though there is one truth, we call it by different names, that we are all taking different paths to the same God, the same destiny, an acceptance of the truths of the Vedas that we may never have even read. Though we in America may never understand a word of Sanskrit or though we may celebrate pujas on the weekend for convenience rather than on the actual day it is supposed to be held, though our vision of Hinduism may be colored more by the popularization of yoga and meditation than by the teachings of the Puranas, we still subscribe to the same beliefs that allowed Shaivites and Vaishnavas to bridge the gaps between themselves and forge a common identity as Hindus. These beliefs are strong enough to bridge the geographical distance that separates American Hindus from Hindus of other nations. It is this unity that matters the most, this unity that we need to recognize and acknowledge. Whether we pray to Kali or Krishna, Rama or Ramakrishna, whether we revere the words of Swami Vivekananda or Shri Aurobindo, there is a unity of belief underlying it all. However, we must understand that American Hindus are also distinctive from other Hindus around the world. These distinctions are based on the society in which we are living. Think of people like Deepak Chopra, who has repackaged Ayurvedic science for a western audience, or Krishna Das, who fuses traditional bhajans with western music. Think of the hundreds of yoga teachers who have combined traditional hatha yoga with aerobics or pilates or even martial arts. Think of Hindu weddings as they happen in America today, three days worth of ceremonies compressed into an hour or two with English translation for those non-Sanskrit speakers like me. The issues we face as American Hindus are different from, say, the issues facing Indian Hindus. Instead of Ayodhya, college students wonder whether Ramadan should be celebrated alongside Diwali. Instead of banning cow slaughter, we worry about whether McDonalds fries are purely vegetarian. Instead of battling communalism, we battle stereotypes of dot-heads and elephant gods. I am not as Indian as my parents or others of their generation are. I date; I probably would not consent to an arranged marriage; I drink at social gatherings; I do not speak Bengali as frequently or as well as I should. But does that make me less Hindu? I pray; I meditate; I do yoga; I read books on the Gita and other scriptures; I believe in the philosophy they hold dear; I value the same things they do: family, caring for others, and honor. I just express these values differently. I practice the religion differently. I am Hindu, just not in the Indian way but in a new American way. When I think of a Hindu-American, I think of myself. I have reinterpreted my religion to adapt to the society and lifestyle I have adopted as my own. Some would call this deviating from the authentic religion. I disagree. I think it is healthy to reinvent and reinterpret and reform any philosophy or religion. That is how people and societies and religions survive and evolve. It is this process of adaptation and assimilation that has preserved Hinduism for so long. It is the reforms that preserve the essence of the faith while accommodating social changes and modernization that have added to the richness and wisdom of the religion. As American Hindus, we have the opportunity to contribute to that process. It is something we should not shy away from--it is a responsibility we should accept and honor. Why? Why have and adopt a Hindu-American identity? First, because it is necessary for the survival of the religion. Religions that are stagnant and refuse to change with the times, to adapt to the society in which they are living, die away. Christianity has been so successful in its appeal to people around the world for so many centuries precisely because it has been more flexible than most in accepting the tide of the times. Why should we care about whether Hinduism survives as a religion? This reminds me of an article I read a while ago in National Geographic. There are languages that are dying by the thousands every year. Sure, in some ways it is effective and efficient to have fewer languages to ease communication between groups. But, one problem is that as these languages die out, vocabulary vanishes that identifies the medicinal properties of herbs and plants. Without this vocabulary, we lose the knowledge of potential cures for cancer and other illnesses. Religions contain invaluable knowledge. Whether one is a Hindu or not, there is an interest in preserving as many traditions of the religions of the world as possiblepreserving not as in maintaining their status quo but in encouraging the growth and evolution of such traditions and faiths while staying true to their roots. Diversity in and of itself is a public good. Additionally, a Hindu American identity can be more encompassing than ones based on geographic boundaries. We may reach out beyond the differences of race and ethnicity towards other Hindus of Caribbean, African, or European descent and find commonalities that bring us together. Exposure to and awareness of the variety and diversity of practicing Hinduism in different societies and cultures would enrich our own practices and understanding of the religion. More specifically, as Hindus ourselves, we have a particular interest in formulating and articulating a Hindu-American identity. I believe that the confused in ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) comes from being confused about what it means to be a desi in America. Of course, there are things that we share in common with all Indians, but the lasting impact of being born as an Indian-American comes from the rift between the values our parents teach us and the values we find ourselves surrounded by in the U.S. Some of these differences are based on social norms and cultures, some on religion. In order to better understand these differences and our own coherence, we need to examine our religious identity, and in particular, what we accept from our heritage and what we reject. Doing that in a group or community format is preferable to each of us doing it individually, because many heads are better than one, and having the support of others going through similar experiences gives us comfort and guidance. And in the end, we are not islands isolated from one anotherwe are all members of communities, of a subcommunity as Hindus, but also of a larger community of Americans and global citizens. And in order to contribute to the important dialogue between civilizations and faiths, we must begin with the discussions and dialogues within our own faith and religion. How do we do this? The best and most important way is through education. The only way we can get to think of ourselves as Hindu is to understand first what it means to be Hindu. We need to learn more about our religion. Ive read so little of our scriptures, and all of it has been in poorly translated English. My knowledge is fragmented: bits and pieces of the Puranas, selected verses of the Gita. But imagine the possibilities if we could all get together and put together our own fragments of knowledge--wed be so many steps closer to a coherent understanding of the fundamentals of the religion. There are so many resources out there, and they're best used if shared and as the products of collaboration. Interaction and dialogue are also key. Conferences and forums encouraging widespread community participation and input are invaluable. Forums based on being Hindu rather than being of a certain ethnicity or nationality are important. Also, open-ended discussions on topical issues such as what our views as American Hindus are on social issues such as womens rights or interfaith marriages would be useful. Darwinism is not just for living beings. Survival of the fittest applies to religions, societies, and civilizations. To succeed not just as individuals, Americans, or Indian- Americans, but as Hindu-Americans, we need to understand better both sides of the hyphenwhat does it mean to be Hindu and what does it mean to be American? As really the first significant generation of American Hindus, we have the unique opportunity to frame, formulate, and generate the dialogue and debate needed to give birth to an identity that will hopefully stand the test of time and generations. These are just my thoughts. This is just one voice in what I hope is a massive dialogue and discussion about what unites and distinguishes us as Hindus living in America. ----- Aditi Banerjee is a 2nd year Law Student at Yale University. This is the text of a speech she delivered at the "Hindu Ideological Empowerment Seminar" conducted as part of the "Human Empowerment Conference 2003" held in Chicago, IL on November 1, 2003. She can be reached at aditi.banerjee@hinduworld.com.
Posted by: Sunder Nov 18 2003, 08:55 PM
Shiv is right in saying that there is no *single* Rulebook for "Sanathana Dharmins" as there is for the Semetics. Also, the topic is "Indian Society" and Polygamy, and not "Hinduism" and Polygamy. There is ample evidence in ancient Indian works like Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Kamasutra etc that Polygamy and Polyandry existed.. While Polyandry (in case of Draupathi) did exist, it was not encouraged or accepted as normal. The daughter of Drupatha was ridiculed even in her days.. One more instance of "accepted" polygamy was amongst "Agnihotris". Where a male who performed Nitya-Agnihotra was not supposed to remain without a wife.. thus an agnihotri would marry once the 13th day ceremonies of his erstwhile wife was performed. Amongst the Kings/ruling class, polygamy was promoted to forge alliance with other Kings, or to ensure proper lineage. In modern India, there is neither the need nor the justification for ANY religious group to have more than one spouse at a time.
Posted by: k.ram Nov 18 2003, 10:25 PM
Significance of 108 The Indian Subcontinent rosary or set of mantra counting has 108 beads. 108 has been a sacred number in the Indian Subcontinent for a very long time. This number is explained in many different ways. The ancient Indians were excellent mathematicians and 108 may be the product of a precise mathematical operation (e.g. 1 power 1 x 2 power 2 x 3 power 3 = 108) which was thought to have special numerological significance. Powers of 1, 2, and 3 in math: 1 to 1st power=1; 2 to 2nd power=4 (2x2); 3 to 3rd power=27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27=108 Sanskrit alphabet: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108. Sri Yantra: On the Sri Yantra there are marmas where three lines intersect, and there are 54 such intersections. Each intersections has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti qualities. 54 x 2 equals 108. Thus, there are 108 points that define the Sri Yantra as well as the human body. 9 times 12: Both of these numbers have been said to have spiritual significance in many traditions. 9 times 12 is 108. Also, 1 plus 8 equals 9. That 9 times 12 equals 108. Heart Chakra: The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization. Marmas: Marmas or marmastanas are like energy intersections called chakras, except have fewer energy lines converging to form them. There are said to be 108 marmas in the subtle body. Time: Some say there are 108 feelings, with 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future. Astrology: There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 times 12 equals 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole. Planets and Houses: In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108. Gopis of Krishna: In the Krishna tradition, there were said to be 108 gopis or maid servants of Krishna. 1, 0, and 8: 1 stands for God or higher Truth, 0 stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for infinity or eternity. Sun and Earth: The diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. Numerical scale: The 1 of 108, and the 8 of 108, when added together equals 9, which is the number of the numerical scale, i.e. 1, 2, 3 ... 10, etc., where 0 is not a number. Smaller divisions: The number 108 is divided, such as in half, third, quarter, or twelfth, so that some malas have 54, 36, 27, or 9 beads. Jain: In the Jain religion, 108 are the combined virtues of five categories of holy ones, including 12, 8, 36, 25, and 27 virtues respectively. Sikh: The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool, rather than beads. Chinese: The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a 108 bead mala, which is called su-chu, and has three dividing beads, so the mala is divided into three parts of 36 each. Stages of the soul: Said that Atman, the human soul or center goes through 108 stages on the journey. Meru: This is a larger bead, not part of the 108. It is not tied in the sequence of the other beads. It is the quiding bead, the one that marks the beginning and end of the mala. Dance: There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian traditions. Pythagorean: The nine is the limit of all numbers, all others existing and coming from the same. ie: 0 to 9 is all one needs to make up an infinite amount of numbers. We have listed below 108 Upanishads as per the list contained in the Muktikopanishad . We have arranged them in four categories according to the particular Veda to which each of them belong. Rigveda(10): Aitareya , Atmabodha, Kaushitaki, Mudgala, Nirvana, Nadabindu, Akshamaya, Tripura, Bahvruka, Saubhagyalakshmi. Yajurveda(50): Katha, Taittiriya , Isavasya , Brihadaranyaka, Akshi, Ekakshara, Garbha, Prnagnihotra, Svetasvatara, Sariraka, Sukarahasya, Skanda, Sarvasara, Adhyatma, Niralamba, Paingala, Mantrika, Muktika, Subala, Avadhuta, Katharudra, Brahma, Jabala, Turiyatita, Paramahamsa, Bhikshuka, Yajnavalkya, Satyayani, Amrtanada, Amrtabindu, Kshurika, Tejobindu, Dhyanabindu, Brahmavidya, YogakundalinI, Yogatattva, Yogasikha, Varaha, Advayataraka, Trisikhibrahmana, mandalabrahmana, Hamsa, Kalisantaraaa, Narayana, Tarasara, Kalagnirudra, Dakshinamurti, Pancabrahma, Rudrahrdaya, SarasvatIrahasya. SamaVeda(16): Kena, Chandogya, Mahat, Maitrayani, Vajrasuci, Savitri, Aruneya, Kundika, Maitreyi, Samnyasa, Jabaladarsana, Yogacudaman, Avyakta, Vasudevai, Jabali, Rudrakshajabala. Atharvaveda(32): Prasna , Mandukya, Mundaka, Atma, Surya, Narada- Parivrajakas, Parabrahma, Paramahamsa-Parivrajakas, Pasupatha- Brahma, Mahavakya, Sandilya, Krishna, Garuda, Gopalatapani, Tripadavibhuti-mahnarayana, Dattatreya, Kaivalya, NrsimhatapanI, Ramatapani, Ramarahasya, HayagrIva, Atharvasikha, Atharvasira, Ganapati, Brhajjabala, Bhasmajabala, Sarabha, Annapurna, TripuratapanI, Devi, Bhavana, SIta http://mailerindia.com/slokas/mantras/index.php?signify108
Posted by: Krishna Nov 19 2003, 12:19 AM
QUOTE (k.ram @ Nov 18 2003, 11:25 PM)
Gopis of Krishna: In the Krishna tradition, there were said to be 108 gopis or maid servants of Krishna.
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Posted by: Krishna Nov 20 2003, 04:13 PM
Hindu monk turns a saviour for 2 Muslim girls AMALAPURAM: Halima is a destitute from Latur in Maharashtra. Fatima of Tadepalligudem was abandoned by her mother. Both these Muslim girls found a father, mother and friend in Kamesa Maharshi, a saffron-robed Hindu monk who founded the Kamakshi Peetham and runs the Sri Kamakshi Prema Mandiram orphanage in Amalapuram. While the Kamakshi peethadhipati feels that the two girls are no different from the others in his ashram, the girls have no qualms about offering pooja to Goddess Kamakshi. Both have achieved a unique religious syncretism, a rarity in these days of communal discord. Halima was forced out of her house in Latur by her elder brother and his wife. She reached Podili in Prakasam district, where some miscreants tried to rape her. The trauma and tragedy left her mentally deranged. Kamesa Maharshi picked her up from Podili and with the permission of the officials, admitted her to his destitute home. ‘‘Initially, tending to Halima was a big problem. She could mutter only Marathi and often used to run away from the ashram. She used to even assault people and two-wheeler drivers,’’ recalls Kamesa Maharshi. But patience, love and affection of Maharshi gradually transformed her. She has mellowed a lot. Now she takes lead in the daily chores at the ashram and guides the younger inmates. ‘‘She is now of marriageable age. I am looking for an alliance for her,’’ he says. Fatima of Tadepalligudem was left behind by her mother in search of greener pastures in Kuwait. Initially, the mother used to speak to her over phone once in a while and later stopped contacting her altogether. Forsaken by her mother and relatives, Fatima landed in a bridge school for street children in Kakinada. ‘‘As the bridge school was about to be closed for want of funds, we contacted Kamesa Maharshi and admitted Fatima to his ashram,’’ says a social welfare official of Kakinada. The destitute home has 35 girls and a few boys. The ashram is not just content with feeding and educating them. It is rehabilitating them and already some 15 girls were married off. ‘‘What we offer here is intense love and a feeling that they are not orphanages. How can any one be an orphan when Mother Goddess is there,’’ asks Kamesa Maharshi. http://www.newindpress.com/Newsitems.asp?ID=IEA20031120125823&Title=Southern+News+%2D+Andhra+Pradesh&Topic=0
Posted by: vishal Nov 21 2003, 11:26 AM
QUOTE (Krishna @ Nov 19 2003, 12:49 PM)
QUOTE (k.ram @ Nov 18 2003, 11:25 PM)
Gopis of Krishna: In the Krishna tradition, there were said to be 108 gopis or maid servants of Krishna.
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Krishna, oh hooo.....you and your fantasies.... rolleyes.gif Let me remind you something, according to indian penal code XXYX, 1)you can't keep more than one wife. 2)If you want to marry second girl you must give ghatasphot(english word?) to your first wife with NOC*. so have good dreams.......... rolleyes.gif biggrin.gif tongue.gif clap.gif clap.gif ------------------------------------ *NOC = No Objection Certificate.
Posted by: Spinster Nov 26 2003, 11:57 AM
slight detour did any body read the book "The DaVinci Code," which claims to be partly grounded on historical fact. The book asserts that Mary Magdalene was Jesus' wife — not a prostitute, as in some teachings — and that she fled Jerusalem with his child following his crucifixion. ** WHy are religious people (other than Hindus) so fixated on Sex being immoral? Why is polygamy, Polyandry etc so contraversial. If one can efford to have one to many relations let them be so. REcall a Utah guy who has 11 wives and is still on look out for the 12, and quotes bible as Jesus said go and multiply? laugh.gif
Posted by: rhytha Nov 26 2003, 12:20 PM
QUOTE
Why is polygamy, Polyandry etc so contraversial. If one can efford to have one to many relations let them be so.
its not the afforadbility, ITS peace of mind tongue.gif , ask a guy who's already married that whether he can take another wife, he will probably run for his life ROTFL.gif
Posted by: nachiketa Nov 26 2003, 12:28 PM
Folks, We must understand that the "Hindu" religion is divided into the Shruti (eternal, philosophical statements of truth) and the Smritis (social rules/conduct/behavior/eating etc). By Upanishads is meant the Shruti. The shruti's are eternal and do not change wrt space/time. If they changed, they wouldn't be eternal truths anymore smile.gif The smriti's have been subject to constant change. So you had Manusmriti for a while and maybe a million other smritis. The constitution of India can be considered a smriti today. At various times/ages "knowledgable" ones came around and help set up the smritis. Of course, it is different argument as to whether a smriti is good/bad etc. I think it depends on the time, circumstances, the nature of people etc. I also think that smritis were made with the objective of making society conducive for the realization of the Shrutis. This is the fundamental difference between our society and the west. In the west, society's goal is to maximize an individuals material/intellectual happiness, whereas the goal of our society (smriti) is(was?) to maximise convenience of realising the Shrutis (spiritual truth/happiness). So the objective of our society is (atleast was.. ) the attainement of the Shrutis by everybody. So given a set of human natures and the goal of evolving these natures into realisation of the Shruti, what is the best set of social rules? The answer to this question would the smriti of the particular time. Of course coming up with an algorithm/set of rules is one thing and a bug free implementation another. smile.gif I hope I didn't confuse people rolleyes.gif
Posted by: rhytha Nov 26 2003, 12:42 PM
QUOTE (nachiketa @ Nov 27 2003, 12:58 AM)
Folks, I hope I didn't confuse people rolleyes.gif
you sure did But where(or anywhere) does it say i can't have more than one wifes, or i can have more than one wife devilsmiley.gif
Posted by: nachiketa Nov 26 2003, 02:23 PM
QUOTE (rhytha @ Nov 27 2003, 01:12 AM)
QUOTE (nachiketa @ Nov 27 2003, 12:58 AM)
Folks, I hope I didn't confuse people rolleyes.gif
you sure did But where(or anywhere) does it say i can't have more than one wifes, or i can have more than one wife devilsmiley.gif
Sorry Rytha, I don't know of a place where it is written one way or the other. You will have to ask a "knowledgeable" person.. maybe the adhikari/acharya/head of the matha (religious group/denomination) you belong to. It will depend on your nature, circumstances and the reason why you want more than one wife. If its for more fun tongue.gif then maybe you won't get approval. If it is help a person in need then maybe you will get approval. I was just putting forth my theory of why our society is the way it is (it is fast changing) esp. wrt to arranged marriage, caste system, family themes etc.
Posted by: k.ram Nov 29 2003, 08:19 PM
The Sixteen Samskaras Published on: August 08 2003 Hindus believe that every aspect of life is sacred. That is why each significant stage, from conception to cremation, is celebrated as a reminder that life is a gift from God which should be duly respected and lived according to His wishes. This is the first installment describing the significance of the 16 Samskaras. Since eternity man has strived to improve his own self. This realisation, unique only to mankind, has led him to think deeper about his physical, mental and spiritual well being. Towards this end, the Vedic seers prescribed a set of observances, known as Samskaras. (Though pronounced Sanskaras in Gujarati, we shall use the original Sanskrit form.) The nearest English word for samskara is sacrament, related to the phrase 'rite of passage'. In the Oxford English Dictionary, sacrament is defined as a "religious ceremony or act regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward or spiritual grace." In classical Sanskrit literature texts, such as Raghuvamsha, Kumarsambhava, Abhijnan-Shakuntal, Hitopadesha and Manu Smruti, samskara is used to mean: education, cultivation, training, refinement, perfection, grammatical purity, polishing, embellishment, decoration, a purificatory rite, a sacred rite, consecration, sanctification, effect of past actions (karmas), merit of karmas, etc. A general definition of samskara, encompassing nearly all of the above is "to improve upon something while removing its undesirable attributes." Purpose of Samskaras (1) Cultural. The variety of rites and rituals related to the samskaras help in the formation and development of personality. In the Parashar Smruti it is said, "Just as a picture is painted with various colors, so the character of a person is formed by undergoing various samskaras." Thus, the Hindu sages realised the need of consciously guiding and molding the character of individuals, instead of letting them grow in a haphazard manner. (2) Spiritual. According to the seers, samskaras impart a higher sanctity to life. Impurities associated with the material body are eradicated by performing samskaras. The whole body is consecrated and made a fit dwelling place for the atma. According to the Atri Smruti a man is born a Shudra; by performing the Upanayana Samskara he becomes a Dvija (twice born); by acquiring the Vedic lore he becomes a Vipra (an inspired poet); and by realising Brahman (God) he becomes a Brahmin. The samskaras are a form of spiritual endeavor (sadhana) - an external discipline for internal spiritual edification. Thus, the entire life of a Hindu is one grand sacrament. The Isha Upanishad reveals that the final goal of the samskaras, by observing the rites and rituals is "to transcend the bondage of samsara and cross the ocean of death." To this we can add that after transcending the cycle of births and deaths, the atma attains Paramatma - the Lord Purushottam. Although the number of samskaras prescribed by various scriptures vary, we shall consider the sixteen that are a consensus among scholars: Pre-natal Samskaras (1) Garbhadan (Conception) (2) Pumsavana (Engendering a male issue) (3) Simantonayana (Hair-parting) Childhood Samskaras (4) Jatakarma (Birth rituals) (5) Namakarana (Name-giving) (6) Nishkrama (First outing) (7) Annaprashana (First feeding) (8) Chudakarma (or Chaul) (Shaving of head) (9) Karnavedh (Piercing the earlobes) Educational Samskaras (10) Vidyarambha (Learning the alphabet) (11) Upanayana (Sacred thread initiation) (12) Vedarambha (Beginning Vedic study) (13) Keshant (Godaan) (Shaving the beard) (14) Samavartan (End of studentship) Marriage Samskara (15) Vivaha (Marriage Ceremony) Death Samskara (16) Antyeshti (Death rites). Pre-natal Samskaras (1) Garbhadan (Conception) 'Garbha' means womb. 'Dan' means donation. In this the man places his seed in a woman. The Gruhyasutras and Smrutis advocate special conditions and observances for this, to ensure healthy and intelligent progeny. Procreation of children was regarded as necessary for paying off debts to the forefathers. Another reason for having progeny is given in the Taittiriya Upanishad. When the student ends his Vedic studies, he requests permission to leave from his teacher (see Samskara 14). The teacher then blesses him with some advice which he should imbibe for life. One of the commands is: "Prajaatantu ma vyavyachchhetseehi..." (Shikshavalli, Anuvak 11.11) "Do not terminate one's lineage - let it continue (by having children)." (2) Pumsavana (Engendering a male issue) Pumsavana and Simantonayana (the third samskara) are only performed during the woman's first issue. Pumsavana is performed in the third or fourth month of pregnancy when the moon is in a male constellation, particularly the Tishya-nakshatra. This symbolises a male child. Therefore the term pumsavana literally means 'male procreation'. Sushrut, the ancient rishi of Ayurveda, has described the procedure in his Sushruta Samhita: "Having pounded milk with any of these herbs - Sulakshmana, Batasurga, Sahadevi and Vishwadeva - one should instil three or four drops of juice in the right nostril of the pregnant woman. She should not spit out the juice." (3) Simantonayana (Hair-parting) In Gujarati this is known as Khodo bharavo. In this, the husband parts the wife's hair. The religious significance of this samskara is to bring prosperity to the mother and long life to the unborn child. It also wards off evil influence. The physiological significance is interesting and advanced. Sushrut (Sharirsthan, Ch.33) believed that the foetus's mind formed in the fifth month of pregnancy. Hence the mother is required to take the utmost care for delivering a healthy child. Stipulating the details, Sushrut enjoined the pregnant mother to avoid exertion of all kinds: refrain from sleeping during the day and keeping awake at night, and also avoid fear, purgatives, phlebotomy (blood letting by slicing veins) and postponing natural excretions. (Sharirsthan Ch.21). Besides samskaras which affect the physical health of the foetus, ancient scriptures contain examples of learning samskaras imprinted on it. From the Mahabharat, we know that Arjun's son, Abhimanyu, learnt the secrets of battle strategy while in his mother's, Subhadra's, womb. The child-devotee Prahlad of the Shrimad Bhagvatam, learnt about the glory of Lord Narayan while in his mother's, Kayadhu's, womb. Just as a foetus can grasp good spiritual samskaras from the external world, the opposite is also true. It can definitely be affected by certain undesirable habits of the mother. Today we know that smoking, alcohol, certain medications and drugs have a detrimental effect on the foetus. The Varaha Smruti prohibits eating meat during pregnancy. Therefore, the Smrutis enjoined the husband to take every possible care to preserve the physical, mental and spiritual health of his pregnant wife. The Kalavidhan prohibits him from going abroad or to war, from building a new house and bathing in the sea. Childhood Samskaras (4) Jatakarma (Birth rituals) These rituals are performed at the birth of the child. It is believed that the moon has a special effect on the newly born. In addition, the constellation of the planets - nakshatras - also determine the degree of auspiciousness. If birth occurs during an inauspicious arrangement, the jatakarmas are performed to ward off their detrimental effects on the child. The father would also request the Brahmanishtha Satpurush for blessings. (5) Namkaran (Name-giving) Based on the arrangement of the constellations at birth, the child is named on a day fixed by caste tradition. In the Hindu Dharma, the child is frequently named after an avatar, deity, sacred place or river, saint, etc., as a constant reminder of the sacred values for which that name represents. In the Swaminarayan Sampraday, the devotees approach Pramukh Swami Maharaj or the other senior sadhus to name their children. (6) Nishkrama (First outing) In the third month the child is allowed agni (fire) and chandra (moon) darshan. In the fourth month he is taken out of the house for the first time, by the father or maternal uncle, to the mandir for the Lord's darshan. (7) Annaprashan (First feeding) Feeding the child with solid food is the next important samskara. For a son this is done in even months - the 6th, 8th, 10th or 12th months. For a daughter this is done in odd months - 5th, 7th or 9th months. The food offered is cooked rice with ghee. Some sutras advocate honey to be mixed with this. By advocating this samskara, the wise sages accomplished two important considerations. First, the child is weaned away from the mother at a proper time. Second, it warns the mother to stop breast feeding the child. For, an uninformed mother, many out of love, continue breast feeding the child, without realising that she was not doing much good to herself or the child. (8) Chudakarma (Chaul) (Shaving of head) This samskara involves shaving the head (of a son) in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 5th year, or when initiating him with the janoi (Upanayan). According to Sushrut, the significance of this, together with nail cutting, is to give delight, lightness, prosperity, courage and happiness (Chikitsasthan. Ch. 24-72). Charak also voiced a similar opinion. In the Swaminarayan Sampraday, the son is first taken to Pramukh Swami Maharaj, or senior sadhus, who clip a tuft of hair. The remaining hair is shaved off shortly afterwards. A tuft of hair (shikha, chotli) is left in place at the top of the head for longevity. Sushrut points out its significance, "Inside the head, near the top, is the joint of a shira (artery) and a sandhi (critical juncture). There, in the eddy of hairs, is a vital spot called the adhipati (overlord). Any injury to this part causes sudden death" (Sharirsthan Ch. VI, 83). In the course of time, the shikha was regarded as a symbol of the Hindu Dharma and its removal came to be regarded as a grave sin (Laghu Harita IV). (9) Karnavedh (Piercing the earlobes) The child's ear lobes are pierced either on the 12th or 16th day; or 6th, 7th or 8th month; or 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th or 9th year. Sushrut reasoned, "The ears of a child should be pierced for protection (from diseases such as hydrocoele and hernia) and decoration (Sharirasthan Ch.16.1, Chikitsasthan Ch.19.21). One sutra says that a goldsmith should pierce the ears while Sushrut advocates a surgeon. For a boy, the right earlobe is pierced first and for a girl, the left. For boys today, this samskara is only prevalent in some states of India. In girls, this samskara has lost its religious significance and is only performed to enable them to wear earrings. Educational Samskaras (10) Vidyarambh (Learning the alphabet) This samskara is also known as Akshararambha, Aksharlekhan, Aksharavikaran and Aksharavishkaran. It is performed at the age of five and is necessary before commencing Vedic study - Vedarambh. After bathing, the child sits facing west, while the acharya (teacher) sits facing east. Saffron and rice are scattered on a silver plank. With a gold or silver pen the child is made to write letters on the rice. The following phrases are written: "Salutation to Ganesh, salutation to Sarasvati (goddess of knowledge), salutation to family deities and salutation to Narayan and Lakshmi." The child then writes, "Aum Namah Siddham". He then presents gifts to the acharya, such as a pagh and safo (head adornment of cloth). The acharya then blesses the child. (11) Upanayan (Yagnopavit) (Sacred thread initiation) At the age of eight the son is initiated by the acharya with the sacred thread, known as janoi or yagnopavit. Amongst all the foregoing samskaras this is regarded as supreme. It is the dawn of a new life, hence dvija - twice born. The child enters studentship and a life of perfect discipline which involves brahmacharya (celibacy). He leaves the guardianship of his parents to be looked after by the acharya. This samskara is performed by Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, for both boys and girls. Therefore, both the boy and girl received training in discipline, truthful living and physical service. During the course of time this samskara ceased to be given to girls, who thus failed to be formally educated. Today, the tradition of education underlying this samskara has died out. Upanayan only functions to bestow dvijatva to the son. Upa means 'near.' Nayan means 'to take (him) to,' i.e. to take the son to the teacher. Like the parents, the acharya will mold the student with love and patience into a man of character. He will inculcate in him the invaluable knowledge of the Vedas. This is the second meaning of Upanayan. Among all the cultural systems of the world, none have advocated such a lofty and stringent ideal for studentship than this Hindu samskara. If a student sincerely observes this samskara, he will turn into a successful scholar. Added to this, during this period, he receives from the acharya, a strong background for the householder's life he will later enter. Today, it is obviously not feasible to stay at the acharya's house. But the next best equivalent is to enter a chhatralay - boarding school. The discipline involved infuses in the student a fortitude generally not possible at home. Whereas students wear one janoi, householders could wear two; one for himself and one for his wife. The three strings of the janoi denote the three gunas - sattva (reality), rajas (passion), and tamas (darkness). They also remind the wearer that he has to pay off the three debts he owes to the seers, ancestors and gods. The three strings are tied by a knot known as the brahmagranthi which symbolises Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer) and Shiva (leveller). One important significance of wearing the janoi is that the wearer would be constantly aware of the different deities which the threads represented. Therefore, he would be vigilant prior to any action not in accordance with the Dharma Shastras. s (12) Vedarambh (Beginning Vedic study) This samskara was not mentioned in the earliest lists of the Dharma Sutras, which instead listed the four Vedic vows - Ved Vrats. It seemed that though upanayan marked the beginning of education, it did not coincide with Vedic study. Therefore a separate samskara was felt necessary to initiate Vedic study. In this samskara, each student, according to his lineage, masters his own branch of the Vedas. (13) Keshant (Godaan) (Shaving the beard) This samskara is included as one of the four Ved Vrats. When the other three faded, keshant itself became a separate samskara. 'Kesh' means hair and 'ant' means end. This samskara involves the first shaving of the beard by the student at the age of sixteen. It is also called Godaan because it involves gifting a cow to the acharya and gifts to the barber. Since the student now enters manhood he is required to be more vigilant over his impulses of youth. To remind him of his vow of brahmacharya, he is required to take the vow anew; to live in strict continence and austere discipline for one year. (14) Samavartan (End of Studentship) This samskara is performed at the end of the brahmacharya phase - the end of studentship. 'Sama vartan' meant 'returning home from the house of the acharya.' This involves a ritual sacrificial bath known as Awabhruth Snan. It is sacrificial because it marks the end of the long observance of brahmacharya. It is a ritual bath because it symbolises the crossing of the ocean of learning by the student - hence Vidyasnaatak - one who has crossed the ocean of learning. In Sanskrit literature, learning is compared to an ocean. Before the bath, the student has to obtain permission from the acharya to end his studentship and give him guru-dakshina - tuition fees. Permission is necessary because it certifies the student as a person fit in learning, habit and character for a married life. Obviously the student is not in a position to pay fees. One Sutra describes the debt of the teacher as unpayable, "Even the earth containing the seven continents is not sufficient for the guru-dakshina." But the formality is a required courtesy and the acharya says, "My child, enough with money. I am satisfied with thy merits." He would elaborate with the impressive statements, known as Dikshant Pravachan, noted in the Taittiriya Upanishad (I.11). Those students who wished to remain as lifelong students observing brahmacharya would remain with the acharya. Today, this means accepting a spiritual guru - an Ekantik Satpurush and becoming a sadhu. The student thus bypasses the next two ashrams, to enter sannyas. 15) Vivaha This is the most important of all the Hindu Samskaras. The Smrutis laud the gruhastha (householder) ashram as the highest, for it is the central support of the other three ashrams. Manu enjoins, "Having spent the first quarter of one's life in the guru's house, the second quarter in one's own house with the wife, and the third quarter in the forest, one should take sannyas in the fourth, casting away every worldly tie." (Manu Smruti IV.1). By marriage an individual is able to achieve the four purusharths (endeavors) of life: dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (desire) and moksha (salvation). He is also able to pay off ancestral debt by having children. Procreation for children is also a primary purpose of marriage. In addition to being a religious sacrament, Hindu marriage is also regarded as an important social institution. For developing a stable and ideal society, marriage has been regarded as an essential element in all cultures of the world. A society without loyal marital ties tends to degrade. It is said that promiscuity was one reason for the downfall of the Romans. By marriage, both an individual and society, while remaining within the moral norms, can progress together. Simultaneously it does not cause harm to others nor infringe upon one's independence. This samskara boosts cultural values and dharma. It upholds and promotes moral righteousness and self control. Types of Marriages In the Hindu scriptures there are eight types mentioned. In the Manu Smruti (iii.21) they are divided into two groups: (i) the morally approved (prashasta) and (ii) the disapproved (aprashasta). (i) Prashasta (a) Braahm: This is the purest type. It was so called because it was thought fit for Brahmins. In this the girl is given by the father, with such ornaments that he can afford, to a man of character and learning, whom he has invited voluntarily and received respectfully, without taking anything in exchange (Manu Smruti, iii.17). The Smrutis consider this type as the most honorable, as it is free from physical force, lust, imposition of conditions and lure of money. Social decency and religious considerations are fully taken into account. (cool.gif Daiva: This is the next type, inferior to the Braahm. In this, the girl is ornamented and given away by the father to a priest who officiates at a yagna (sacrifice). It is called Daiva since the gift is made on the occasion of a Daiva yagna. This method was prevalent among the first three Hindu classes. This type has faded, for it is considered improper to offer a girl to a priest. © Aarsh: In this method the father of the bride received a pair or two of kine - a cow and an ox or two cows and two oxen - from the bridegroom for the purpose of a yagna which formed a part of a religious ritual. The pair of kine was not the bride's price. This method was known as Aarsh because it was prevalent among the priestly families. Nonetheless, according to the Manu Smruti (iii.53) accepting a gift, small or large, amounts to a sale. (d) Prajapatya: This involves the father giving away his daughter to a suitor with the specific understanding that they both perform their civic and religious duties together. The name Prajapatya suggests that the couple enter the bond for discharging their duties to Prajapati i.e. for procreating and raising children. From the Western point of view this type of marriage may be regarded satisfactory because the rights of the husband and wife are equally well secured. But from the view of the Hindu shastras, it is inferior to the first three. This is because the daughter is given subject to mundane conditions. Hence the 'gift' cannot truly be regarded as free. As a point of interest, Kautilya in his Arthashastra prohibited divorce for the four Prashasta marriages. Now we shall consider the four types of marriage which are not approved by the scriptures . (ii) Aprashasta (e) Asura: The Manu Smruti (iii.31) defines this as, "Where the husband having paid money to the relations of the bride and the bride herself, accepts her out of free will." The main consideration in this kind of marriage is money and it is, in reality, a purchase. Manu condemns it, "The learned father of the girl should not accept even the least amount of price. Accepting the price out of greed, he becomes the seller of children." (Manu Smruti, iii.51.) The Aitareya Brahmana (I.16) brands this type as pashuvivaha - animal marriage. Today this form of marriage is still prevalent in certain sections of Hindu society where a dowry is demanded by the bridegroom's father from the bride's father. Public opinion has begun to frown upon dowry. Religious and social leaders have been rallying against it. Pramukh Swami Maharaj has always condemned it. During the International Youth Festival at Vallabh Vidyanagar in 1990, he inspired 21,000 young men and women to take a vow of refusing dowry. To those who cannot afford the marriage costs, he arranges mass dowry-free marriages during grand festivals and yagnas. (f) Gandharva: According to Manu, "Where the bride and bridegroom meet each other of their own accord and the union is consummated in passion, that form is called Gandharva." (Manu Smruti, iii.32.) The name Gandharva is derived from a tribe of that name living in the Himalayas, in which it was a common occurrence. It was more prevalent among the Kshatriyas as they represented the freest element in society. The majority of the lawgivers discouraged it on religious and moral grounds. It was regarded as inferior to the first five forms because it was performed without sacred rituals and it originated from passion, a factor which seemed to be tenuous. (g) Rakshas: Manu says, "Capture of a girl by force while she is crying, having killed, scattered and injured her relatives, is called Rakshas Vivaha." (Manu Smruti, iii.21.) This usually occurred during war or political upheavals. The Kshatriyas usually practised this since they participated in war and obtained women as war booties. The word rakshas means demonic. (h) Paishach: This is the least approved. Manu (iii.34) defines this as, "Cohabiting with a girl in loneliness when she is sleepy, mad or intoxicated." Obviously, this was the most uncivilized and barbaric method. Paishach means 'of witches'. The Hindu Marriage - Beliefs And Sentiments The Hindu marriage system is described as a religious and social institution. More important is that it is a union of two spirits rather than just two individuals. To consider this metaphysically, an individual is made up of three bodies: physical - composed of matter (sthul), subtle - composed of mind (sukshma) and causal - composed of the jiva (karan). The Vedic marriage is a union between all the three - matter with matter, mind with mind and jiva with jiva. With its sacramental vows, the couple embark on a journey together to attain the four objectives (purusharths) of life. During this journey the couple satisfy their desires - to earn, to beget children, and to serve society. Added to this, they follow the path of bhakti (devotion) and discover the divinity within themselves, of Brahman and Parabrahman. This is reflected in one of the rites during the ceremony. Mantras are chanted to invoke Narayan in the bridegroom and Lakshmi in the bride. The parents, relatives and everyone present then bow to them. The union is between god and goddess, not two material bodies. The underlying injunction to the couple is, "You are not the body, but atma." Regarding each other as the atma is the fundamental basis of a Vedic marriage. It is unique in all the world's cultures - which primarily observe the Gandharva system based on passion. This understanding is all the more important in marital discord. At the root of any marital discord lies intolerance due to body consciousness and one's ego - the 'I' and 'mine'. If the couple is united by atma for a common, ultimate goal, moksha, then 'I' and 'you' cease to exist. This is because 'I' and 'you' are empirically atma. And when 'I' and 'you' are believed to be atma, where is the conflict that would otherwise arise from selfish motives and desires? Therefore, in a Hindu marriage when conflicts and differences arise, they can be easily resolved. The couple consider each other as the atma, for the atma is pure, genderless, ageless, and inherently divine. Vivaha itself means 'to lift, to support, to uphold, to sustain'. Admittedly, both spouses have to make sacrifices and efforts to imbibe this lofty philosophy. It is not an overnight process, more a lifelong, sacred commitment. It is this philosophy which has made the Vedic marriage a grand success for thousands of years. Only the recent rise in materialism, primarily based on superficial and mundane factors and body consciousness, have begun to ruin today's Hindu marriages. The aforementioned sentiments, and a few others, are symbolically depicted and verbally emphasized by mantras chanted during the actual marriage ceremony, whose steps we consider next. The Marriage Ceremony (i) Haridralepan On the day before the marriage, a creamy paste of turmeric and oil is smeared over the bride's body. This is known as pithi cholvi in Gujarati and haridralepan in Sanskrit. The symbolic sentiment is that if the bride is of a dark complexion, this cosmetic treatment will endow her a lighter hue. Prior to the marriage ceremony, Ganapati (Ganesh) is worshipped at the bride's home as an auspicious beginning of the rituals, since Ganapati is the deity of auspiciousness. (ii) Var Prekshan (Welcoming the bridegroom) The bridegroom is welcomed at the entrance of the bride's house or marriage hall. The bride and the bridegroom place garlands over each other under the marriage canopy (mandap). A vow is then recited, "In following my duty, in our financial matters, in fulfilling my physical thirst, I will always consult you, take your consent and act upon it." This is known as the Pratijna Svikar. (iii) Madhu Parka (Offering honey) The bride welcomes the bridegroom and gives him honey, yoghurt and ghee (clarified butter), suggesting that she will always please him with the sweetness of her behavior. There is also a sour tinge to the mixture, which symbolises the bitterness that life can sometimes bring. (iv) Pani Grahan (Proffering of the bride's hand) The parents of the bride proffer her hand to the bridegroom and request him to accept their daughter as his wife. The bridegroom accepts the bride as his wife and presents her with clothing and jewellery. (v) Vaivahik Homa (Invoking the sacred fire) The sacred fire is invoked and offerings are poured into it. Agni (fire) represents the mouth of Lord Vishnu and symbolises illumination of the mind, knowledge and happiness and Lord Vishnu serves as a divine witness. (vi) Shilarohan (Stepping on the stone) The bride places her right foot on a stone. The bridegroom tells her to be as firm as the stone in his house so that they are able to face problems with ease. (vii) Laja Homa (Offering parched rice into sacred fire) Four offerings are made to the sacred fire. The brother of the bride places parched rice into the bride's hands, half of which is meant to fall into the bridegroom's hands. Mantras are chanted. The bride prays to Yama, the God of Death, that he grants long life, health, happiness and prosperity to the bridegroom. (viii) Saptapadi (The seven steps) The bride and the bridegroom take seven steps around the sacred fire. At each step they invoke the blessings of God. As the couple walk the seven steps they pledge the following seven vows: 1. Let us take this first step towards food and the necessities of life. 2. Let us take this second step towards strength and vigor. 3. Let us take this third step towards wealth and prosperity. 4. Let us take this fourth step towards obtaining happiness around the household. 5. Let us take this fifth step for progeny. 6. Let us take this sixth step to act according to the six seasons and time. 7. Let us take this seventh step to believe in the same religion and lifelong friendship. (ix) Agni Parikrama (Circumambulation of sacred fire) The bride and the bridegroom move around the sacred fire four times. On the first three rounds the bride leads the bridegroom and on the fourth the bridegroom leads the bride. Before each round an offering is made. This part of the ceremony is known as the mangal phera in Gujarati. (x) Saubhagya Chinha (Blessing the bride) The bridegroom blesses the bride by putting kumkum (vermillion powder) or sindur at the parting of her hair or on her forehead and by giving her a mangalsutra (sacred necklace). (xi) Surya Darshan (Looking at the sun) The bridegroom accepts the bride as his wife in the presence of the sun deity. If the marriage is performed at night, he tells her to look at the Dhruva star (star of steadfastness) and at the star of Arundhati (star of devotion). The bridegroom tells her to be firm in her love and duty, and to be devoted to him like Arundhati was to Sage Vashishtha. The bride tells the bridegroom that she will follow their example and remain devoted. (xii) Hruday Sparsh (Touching of hearts) The bridegroom and bride touch each other's hearts. The bride tells the bridegroom, "I touch thy heart unto mine. God has given thee as my husband. May thy heart be mine now. When I talk to thee, please listen to me with perfect attention." The bridegroom repeats the vow to the bride. (xiii) Annaprashan (Feeding the bridegroom) The bride feeds the bridegroom and tells him, "By feeding you this sweet food (traditionally kansar - made of wheat flour, sugar and ghee) I shall bind thy heart with the thread of truth and sincerity and love. My heart will be thine and thy heart will be mine forever." (xiv) Purnahuti (Completion of ceremony) After the final offering is made to the sacred fire, the priest blesses the bride and bridegroom. Flower petals and rice are distributed to the guests, who shower the bride and the bridegroom. With their blessings the marriage ceremony is completed. The bride and the bridegroom are no longer separate entities but an integrated personality who will share their lives in every way. 16) Antyesthi (Death rites) The rishis and Dharma Sutras were at a consensus regarding the final goal of life, which they enjoined in the four ashrams - stages of life. The stalwart poet Kalidas in his classic, Raghuvansha (1-8) stipulates: "Shaishave abhyastavidyãnãm yauvane vishayaishinãm; Vãrdhakye munivruttinãm yogenãnte tanutyajãm." "One studies during childhood (brahmacharya ashram), fulfills his desires during youth (gruhastha ashram), renounces worldly activity for silent contemplation during old age (vanprastha ashram) and then endeavors for God-realisation, after which he leaves his body." Antyeshti is the final samskara in a Hindu's life. Yajur Veda regards vivaha as the sixteenth samskara while Rig Veda considers antyeshti. Though performed after the death of a person by his relatives, it is of importance because the value of the next world is higher than that of the present. The final rituals are performed with meticulous care with the help of Brahmin priests. The first ritual after death is to place a few tulsi leaves and a few drops of water in the mouth of the dead person. It is then laid on the floor which has been purified by applying the sacred cowdung. The old clothes are removed and the body is bathed with sanctified water. The body is then covered with one piece of a new, unbleached, uncut cloth (kafan). It is then laid on a bier (nanami) made of bamboo canes tied with jute strings. The underlying message in removing the old clothes can be gleaned from a Sanskrit verse: "Dhanãni bhumau pashavashcha goshthe, Nãri gruhadware sakhã smashãne, Dehashchitãyãm paraloka mãrge, Dharmãnugo gachhati jiva ekaha." "Wealth will remain buried, cattle will remain in the pen, (his) wife will accompany (him) to the doorway, friends will accompany him to the crematorium, the body will come till the funeral pyre, but on the path to the next world, the jiva goes alone (with his karmas)." In the Swaminarayan Sampraday there is a special ritual. Where possible the sadhus are called, who then do puja of the deceased with vermilion powder. A new kanthi and flower garlands are placed around the neck. The sadhus and the nearest relatives then do arti, followed by pradakshina. Everyone present chants the Swaminarayan mantra. The sadhus then leave after delivering a consolatory message. This rite performed by sadhus remains unique to the Swaminarayan Sampraday. It infuses spiritual strength and thus considerably offsets the grief and hurt suffered by the relatives of the deceased. The family members then take the body to the cremation pyre, all the while chanting the Lord's name. 'Ram bolo bhai Ram' is the most commonly uttered phrase. In Bengal it is 'Hari bol, Hari bol.' In the Swaminarayan Sampradaya the Swaminarayan dhun is chanted. After the body is laid on the funeral pyre, ghee is poured over it and the fire kindled by the nearest relative. Sesame seeds are also sprinkled onto the fire as a form of puja. The latter two steps are obviously not possible where an electric kiln is used for cremation. The fire lighted in the vivaha ceremony was later, by tradition, taken to the house and kept kindled in an altar throughout life. This signified that married life was to be lived through life's vicissitudes, together. When one of the spouse died, the agni (fire) was taken in a crucible or pot to the crematorium, where it was used to light the pyre. This symbolized the end of vivaha and the beginning of agni (antyeshti) samskara. The rituals and observances which then follow vary in different groups and parts of Gujarat. By cremation, the body's five basic components - known as panch bhuts - prithvi (earth), jal (water), tej (fire), vayu (wind) and akash (space) are returned to those of the universe, thus maintaining the cosmic equilibrium. All the samskaras are spiritually oriented. However, some directly benefit the environment in one way or another. Scientists in the past decade have begun to realize this. They have pointed out that cremation, for example, is the best, most effective and environmentally prudent method for disposing of the dead. Burial leads to enormous problems of space and groundwater contamination. Corpses infected with plague and slow virus diseases infect vectors which directly feed on them. This ultimately affects humans. Recently in England, the wisdom of cremating even diseased cattle has been realized, especially those afflicted with mad cow disease. Asthi Sanchayan After cremation, the ashes and residual bones (asthi) are collected in an urn. In some communities it is customary to wash them with milk and sanctified water. The urn is then taken to a sacred river such as Ganga, Narmada or to the sacred confluence of the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati in Allahabad, known as the Triveni Sangam. The Swaminarayan devotees also sprinkle the ashes in the sacred river Ghela, in Gadhada and the river Gondali in Gondal. During the ritual a Brahmin priest utters Vedic mantras and performs the final rites for the salvation of the deceased. The ashes are then sprinkled into the river. Sutak (Ashauch) - Impurity This is a period of ten to thirteen days during which the nearest family members do not perform their personal daily religious rituals such as puja, arti and thal. Their personal puja is given to a friend to perform on their behalf. The family members can visit the mandir for darshan. During this period, religious scriptures and devotional songs are recited and sung respectively, for the attainment of Akshardham by the deceased. On either the eleventh, twelfth or thirteenth day, the relatives offer thal (food) to the Lord in the local mandir to repay pitru (ancestral) debt. The general Hindu belief is that as soon as the soul leaves the body, it adopts another body whose limbs grow day by day. On the tenth day after death this 'interim' body grows completely. The son of the deceased offers the pindas - food balls made from wheat flour and water - to the growing limbs, either day-to-day or all ten together on the tenth day. It is believed that, upto this day, the deceased still continues his relation with this world. Therefore the deceased is termed preta, which means one who has departed, but who has not yet reached the other world. On the eleventh day, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Yama are invoked, with Vishnu as the special witness. In their presence the deceased is offered pindas. On the twelfth day the departed soul is given away to the other world, where he then resides with his forefathers. As soon as he reaches the other world he is released from his preta body. The relatives are then freed from the sutak and can then perform their daily puja. These rites are also samskaras on the soul to lead it to God. An associated rite after cremation, generally practiced in India, is for one or more male members of the deceased to shave their heads. This is rarely observed by Hindus abroad. Some communities eat only simple foods for a fixed number of days. Sajjaa In Gujarat the family members then perform the sajjaa ritual. In this, they offer a cow, a cot, utensils, food grains, a set of clothes and footwear and anything else that the deceased used to a Brahmin. The Brahmin performs a ritual and takes the objects, symbolically to send them to the deceased for his use in the next world. In the Swaminarayan Sampradaya the belief is that the atma, who is then termed akshar mukta, is received by Shriji Maharaj, Gunatitanand Swami and Pramukh Swami Maharaj and taken to Akshardham. Therefore, this akshar mukta does not need any material offerings in his next life. But if it is a family or caste tradition to perform the sajjaa, this can be done at the nearest mandir and the objects are offered to the Lord Himself. Another alternative which is becoming popular is the jivitkriya. It is the same as the sajjaa, except it is performed by a person while alive - as the name implies. During this ritual the central sentiment uttered is, "I am performing this ritual to please Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Pramukh Swami Maharaj." The jivitkriya imbues a feeling of contentment in the individual since he/she witnesses it. Conclusion Samskaras like ours have their parallels in the world's other religious denominations - baptism, confirmation, holy matrimony in Christianity; barmitzvahs, and circumcision in Judaism; navjot in Parsis; and circumcision in Islam. These have significance in their own way in the lives of the members of these religions. In the past the sixteen Hindu samskaras formed an integral part of Hindu life. Today, with the encroachment of modern living, especially in urban India, only a few of them have survived: chaul, upanayan, vivaha and antyeshti. Yet these samskaras, with their spiritual import, holistically 'samskarize' (edify) all aspects of an individual's life. Since each samskara ritual makes the individual the focus of the occasion, he/she is psychologically boosted. This strengthens the individual's self-esteem and enriches interaction with those around. The samskaras bring together family members, close relatives and friends, hence increase the cohesiveness of the family unit. Therein the unit harmonizes and strengthens the social structure. The consequence of this is a healthy society with a strong cultural identity which easily refines, boosts and perpetuates its traditional beliefs, customs, morals and values. This has been one of the key reasons for the Hindu Dharma withstanding the rigors and onslaughts of foreign incursions and upheavals through the ages. The ancient rishis and sages enjoined the sixteen samskaras for the eternal benefit of mankind through their direct experience with the Divine. They wove them as into the fabric of daily life of the Hindu. They are 'outward acts,' from pre-birth to post-death, for inward or spiritual grace. Today, the key samskara which will determine the cohesion and perpetuation of Hindu traditions anywhere in the world is vivaha, if observed sincerely with its pristine and lofty sentiments. Source References: Ramaswami Aiyer, C.P., et.al. The Cultural Heritage of India, Vol. II, Calcutta: The Ramakrishna Mission Institute, rpt.1969. Pandey, Rajbali. The Sixteen Samskaras. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, rpt., 1993 Shelat, Bharati. K., Bharatiya Samskaro. Amdavad: University Book Production Board of Gujarat, 1983 Shrutiprakashdas, Shastri, Shastri Parmanand Dave & Shastri Ghanshyam Shukla. Naimittikkarmaprakashaha. Gandhinagar: AARSH, Akshardham, 1998 Vivekpriyadas, Sadhu. Apano Samskrutik Varaso, Part 2. Amdavad: Swaminarayan Aksharpith,1998 Gnaneshwardas, Sadhu. Dharmik Vidhano ane Bhavana. Amdavad: Swaminarayan Aksharpith, 1993 (Translated as Hindu Rites & Rituals) Taittiriya Upanishad Kalidas's Raghuvansha Charak Samhita Sushrut Samhita Manu Smruti Kautilya's Arthashastra
Posted by: Mudy Nov 29 2003, 08:40 PM
k.ram, Really enjoyed reading above post. smile.gif
Posted by: vishal Nov 30 2003, 04:06 AM
humm..nice article ...specially that vivaha sanskara part biggrin.gif specool.gif but such practices are decreasing..vanishing in india now....ask to girls ...they hate such zanzhat....these long practice of vivaha sankara...they want zatpat.. laugh.gif just a survey is released.As per that,in small cities too girls now like zatpat and free life. ohmy.gif hmm...anyhave have proper info on date of end of kaliyuga?...(different people says different things about it...confused about time..) huh.gif
Posted by: Mudy Nov 30 2003, 11:21 AM
vishal, If you are not married yet, follow old tradition and revive our beautiful culture and ceremonies. Collect good Karma in your spritual fixed deposit biggrin.gif .
Posted by: Krishna Nov 30 2003, 03:19 PM
QUOTE (Mudy @ Nov 30 2003, 12:21 PM)
Collect good Karma in your spritual fixed deposit biggrin.gif .
Mudyji, Can I put 20% of my Karma in Blue chip stocks? huh.gif biggrin.gif
Posted by: Spinster Dec 1 2003, 11:00 AM
Krishna garu>> you need a primer coat of 'Prarbdha, Purushardha and Karma' to understand the ways one can put 'Karma' in blue chips. suffice to say, If you want your 'Karma' to be in Blue chips alone, then devote your actions entirely to 'Neela (blue) Megha shyama' that is Krishna (true one, not name sake). Good luck your dividends may change your prarabdha !! rolleyes.gif
Posted by: vishal Dec 1 2003, 11:01 AM
Krishna, don't contaminate your karma..... ROTFL.gif
Posted by: Krishna Dec 1 2003, 01:29 PM
QUOTE (Spinster @ Dec 1 2003, 12:00 PM)
Krishna garu>> you need a primer coat of 'Prarbdha, Purushardha and Karma' to understand the ways one can put 'Karma' in blue chips. suffice to say, If you want your 'Karma' to be in Blue chips alone, then devote your actions entirely to 'Neela (blue) Megha shyama' that is Krishna (true one, not name sake). Good luck your dividends may change your prarabdha !! rolleyes.gif
What's 'Prarbdha, Purushardha' ?? blink.gif unsure.gif
Posted by: k.ram Dec 1 2003, 07:58 PM
Our unnconscious urges and habits of the present life are vasanas. We have the capacity to fight vasanas and exercise self-effort (purushartha) through restraint. The effect of past in the present is prarabdha. Basic law of karma, really. In very short way. Experts can chime in smile.gif
Posted by: Hauma Hamiddha Dec 1 2003, 10:56 PM
http://www.hindu.com/2003/12/02/stories/2003120203861300.htm Acharya Sabha formed, meet skips Ayodhya issue By Our Special Correspondent — Photo: K.V. Srinivasan Swami Dayananda Saraswathi addressing the Sadhu Sabha Conference in Chennai on Monday. Seated behind him is the VHP chief, Ashok Singhal CHENNAI DEC. 1. The `Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha,' an apex body comprising all `acharyas' and `mandaleswars,' was formed here today with the objective of having a coordinated effort on issues concerning Hindus. The convener of the Acharya Sabha, Swami Dayananda Saraswathi, talking to newsmen here today, said the Sabha would start students' hostels in all the 605 districts in the country where students would be given free board and lodging. The students would be provided free education. They would however, be allowed to practise their own religion. The Sabha would collect donations from philanthropists for running these hostels. Swami Dayananda Saraswathi said the Sabha did not discuss the `Ayodhya issue,' as it was the first meeting. As far as he was concerned, he said he was for constructing a Ram temple at the ``disputed site." Asked whether he would accept the court verdict on the issue, Swami Dayananda Saraswathi said the court should respect the sentiments of millions of people who wanted the temple to be built at the "birthplace of Lord Ram." Explaining the resolutions adopted at the meeting, Swami Dayananda Saraswathi said the mutt heads were for a uniform civil code. The Constitution, he said, provided for a Uniform Civil Code but it was yet to be enacted. Similarly, the Sabha wanted the Centre to ban slaughter of cows as the animal was a symbol of worship for Hindus. Demanding that the States hand over the temple administration to autonomous bodies, he said that at present there was government interference in the administration of temples and donations to temples were utilised for other purposes. Temple funds should be utilised only for religious purposes, he said. The meet congratulated Tamil Nadu for enacting a legislation to ban conversion and urged the Centre and the States to follow suit. Fifty-five mutt heads participated in the two-day meet.
Posted by: Hauma Hamiddha Dec 3 2003, 09:03 PM
Shri Sitaram Goel passes away. The doyen of the Hindu revival SR Goel passed away yesterday in India. One can find a biography of his by Elst on the voi.org site.
Posted by: Kaushal Dec 5 2003, 03:50 PM
It is with great sadness i hear of the death of this remarkable individual. He has done yoeman service to the Hindu cause, with his innumerable and well researched books in particular the 2 volume duology on 'Hindu temples - what happened to them'.Truly this will be a loss felt especially by the Hindus of India.
Posted by: k.ram Dec 8 2003, 10:11 AM
Why do we light a lamp? Why do we have a prayer room? Why do we do namaste? Why do we prostrate before parents & elders? Why do we wear marks on the forehead? Why do we not touch papers, books and people with the feet? Why do we apply holy ash? Why do we offer food to the Lord before eating it? Why do we do pradakshina? Why do we regard trees and plants as sacred? Why do we fast? Why do we ring the bell in a temple? Why do we worship the kalash? Why do we worship the tulsi? Why do we consider the lotus as special? Why do we blow the conch? Why do we say shaanti thrice? Why do we offer a coconut? Why do we chant Om? Why do we do aarti? Why do we light a lamp? In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the Lord. In some houses it is lit at dawn, in some, twice a day at dawn and dusk- and in a few it is maintained continuously (akhanda deepa). All auspicious functions and moments like daily worship, rituals and festivals and even many social occasions like inaugurations commence with the lighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion. Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness ignorance. The Lord is the "Knowledge Principle" (Chaitanya) who is the source, the enlivener and the illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the Lord Himself. Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievements can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth. Knowledge backs all our actions whether good or bad. We therefore keep a lamp lit during all auspicious occasion as a witness to our thoughts and actions. Why not light a bulb or tube light? That too would remove darkness. But the traditional oil lamp has a further spiritual significance. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our "vaasnas" or negative tendencies and the wick, the ego. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the "vaasnas" get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards. Similarly, we should acquire such knowledge as to take us towards higher ideals. A single lamp can light hundreds more just as a man of knowledge can give it to many more. The brilliance of the light does not diminish despite its repeated use to light many more lamps. So too knowledge does not lessen when shared with or imparted to others. On the contrary it increases in clarity and conviction on giving. It benefits both the receiver and the giver. Swami Chinmayananda said : Which else shall beautify a home But the flame of a lovely lamp? Which else shall adorn the mind But the light of wisdom deep? Why do we have a prayer room? Most Hindu homes have a prayer room or altar. A lamp is lit and the Lord worshipped each day. Other spiritual practices like "japa" (repetition of the Lord's name), meditation, "paaraayana" (reading of the scriptures), prayers, devotional singing etc. is also done here. Special worship is done on auspicious occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, festivals and the like. Each member of the family - young or old - communes with and worships the Divine here. The Lord is the owner of the entire creation. He is therefore the true owner of the house we live in too. The prayer room is the master room of the house. This notion rids us of false pride and possessiveness. The ideal attitude to take is to regard the Lord as the true owner of our homes and ourselves as the caretakers of His home. But if this rather difficult, we could at least think of Him as a very welcome guest. Just as we would house an important guest in the best comfort, so, too we felicitate the Lord's presence in our homes by having a prayer room or altar, which is, at all times, kept clean and well decorated. Also the Lord is all pervading. To remind us that He resides in our home with us, we have prayer rooms. Without the grace of the Lord, no task can be successfully or easily accomplished. We invoke His grace by communing with Him in the prayer room each day and on special occasions. Each room in a house is dedicated to a specific function like bedroom for resting and sleeping, the drawing room to receive guests, the kitchen for cooking etc. the furniture, décor and the atmosphere of each room are made conductive to the purpose it serves. So too for the purpose of meditation, worship and prayer, we should have a conductive atmosphere - hence the need for a prayer room. Sacred thoughts and sound vibrations pervade the place and influence the minds of those who spend time there. Spiritual thoughts and vibrations accumulated through regular meditation, worship and chanting done there pervade the prayer room. Even when we are tired or agitated, by just sitting in the prayer room for a while, we feel calm, rejuvenated and spiritually uplifted. Why do we do namaste? Hindus greet each other with "namaste". The two palms are placed together in front of the chest and the head bows while saying the word "namaste". This greeting is for all - people younger than us, of our own age, those older than us, friends and even strangers. Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. However there is much more to it than meets the eye. In Sanskrit namah + te = namaste. It means - I bow to you - my greetings, salutations or prostration to you. Namaha can also be literally interpreted as "na ma" (not mine). It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one's ego in the presence of another. The real meeting between people is the meeting of their minds. When we greet another, we do so with namaste, which means, "may our minds meet" indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The bowing down of the head is a gracious form of extending friendship in love and humility. The spiritual meaning is even deeper. The life force, the divinity, the Self or the Lord in me is the same in all. Recognizing this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we salute with head bowed the Divinity in the person we meet. That is why sometimes, we close our eyes as we namaste to a revered person or the Lord as it to look within. The gesture is often accompanied by words like "Ram Ram", "Jai Shri Krishna", "Jai Siya Ram", "Om Shanti" etc. - indicating the recognition of this divinity. When we know this significance, our greeting does not remain just a superficial gesture or word but paves the way for a deeper communion with another in an atmosphere of love and respect. Why do we prostrate before parents & elders? Hindus prostrate to their parents, elders, teachers and noble souls by touching their feet. The elders in turn bless by placing his/her hand on or over our heads. Prostration is done daily, when we meet elders and particularly on important occasions like the beginning of a new task, birthdays, festivals etc. In certain traditional circles, prostration is accompanied by "abhivaadana" which serves to introduce oneself, announce one's family and social stature. Man stands on his feet. Touching the feet in prostration is a sign of respect for the age, maturity, nobility and divinity that our elders personify. It symbolizes our recognition of their selfless love for us and the sacrifices that they have made for our welfare. It is a way of humbly acknowledging the greatness of another. This tradition reflects the strong family ties which has been of India's enduring strengths. The good wishes (sankalpa) and the blessings (aashirvaada) of elders are highly valued in India. We prostrate to seek them. Good thoughts create positive vibrations. Good wishes springing from a heart full of love, divinity and nobility have a tremendous strength. When we prostrate with humility and respect, we invoke good wishes and blessings of elders which flow in the form of positive energy to envelop us. This is why the posture assumed whether it is in the standing or prone position, enables the entire body to receive the energy. The different forms of showing respect are : Pratuthana - rising to welcome a person. Namaskaara - paying homage in the form of namaste. Upasangrahan - touching the feet of elders or teachers. Shaashtaanga - prostrating fully with the full body touching the ground in front of the elder. Pratyabivaadana - returning a greeting. Rules are prescribed in our scripture as to who should prostrate to whom. Wealth, family name, age, moral strength and spiritual knowledge in ascending order of importance qualified men to receive respect. This is why a king though a ruler of the land would prostrate before a spiritual master. Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata have many stories highlighting this aspect. Why do we wear marks on the forehead? Most religious Indians, especially married women wear a tilak or pottu on the forehead. It is applied daily after the bath and on special occasions, before or after ritualistic worship or visit to the temple. In many communities, it is enjoined upon married women to sport a kum kum on their foreheads at all times. The orthodox put it on with due rituals. The tilak is applied on saints and images of the Lord as a form of worship and in many parts of North India as a respectful form of welcome, to honour guests or when bidding farewell to a son or husband about to embark on an journey. The tilak varies in colour and form. This custom was not prevalent in the Vedic period. it gained popularity in the Pauranic period. Some believe that it originated in South India. The tilak or pottu invokes a feeling of sanctity in the wearer and others. It is recognised as a religious mark. It form and colour vary according to one's caste, religious sect or the form of the Lord worshiped. In earlier times, the four castes (based on verna or color) - Braahmana,Kshatriya,Vaishya and Sudra - applied marks differently. The brahmin applied a white chandan (sandalwood paste) mark signifying purity as his profession was of a priestly or academic nature. The Kshatriya applied a red kum kum mark signifying valour as he belonged to the warrior races. The Vaishya wore yellow kesar or termeric mark signifying properity as he was a business man or trader devotted to creation of wealth. The sudra applied a black bhasma, kasturi or charcoal mark signifying service as he support the work of the other three divisions. Also Lord Vishnu worshipers apply a chandan tilak of the shape of "U", Lord Shiva worshipers applied a tripundra bhasma, Devi worshippers applied red dot o! f kum kum. The chandan, kum kum or bhasma which is offered to the Lord is taken back as prasad and applied on foreheads. The tilak covers the spot between the eye brows, which the seat of memory and thinking. It is known as the aajna chakra in the language of yoga. The tilak is applied with the prayer - "May i remember the Lord. May this pious feeling pervade all my activities. May I be righteous in my deeds". Even when we temporarily forget this prayerful attitude the mark on another reminds us of our resolve. The tilak is thus a blessing of the Lord and protection against wrong tendencies and forces. The entire body emanates energy in the form of electro-magnetic waves - the forehead and the subtle spot between the eye brows especially so. That is why worry generates heat and causes a headache. The tilak or pottu cools the forehead, protects us and prevents energy loss. Sometimes, the entire forehead is covered with chandan or bhasma. Using plastic reusable 'stick bindis' is not very beneficial, even though it serves the purpose of decoration. This unique to Indians and helps to easily identify us anywhere. Why do we not touch papers, books and people with the feet? In Indian homes, we are taught from a very young age, never to touch papers, books and people with our feet. Of the feet accidentally touch papers, books, musical instruments or any other educational equipment, children are told to reverentially touch what was stamped with their hands and then touch their eyes as a mark of apology. To Indians, knowledge is sacred and divine. So it must be given respect at all times. Nowadays we separate subjects as sacred and secular. But in ancient India every subject - academic or spiritual was considered divine and taught by the guru in the gurukul. The custom of not stepping on educational tools is a frequent reminder of the high position accorded to knowledge in the Indian culture. From an early age this wisdom fosters in us a deep reverence for books and education. This is also the reason why we worship books, vehicles and instruments once a year on Saraswathi Pooja or Ayudha Pooja day, dedicated to the Goddess of Learning. Children are also strongly discouraged from touching people with their feet. Even if this happens accidentally, we touch the person and bring the fingers to our eyes as a mark of apology. Even when elders touch a younger person inadvertently with their feet, they immediately apologize. To touch another person with feet is considered an act of misdemeanor because: man is regarded as the most beautiful, living, breathing temple of the lord! Therefore touching another person with feet is akin to disrespecting the divinity within him or her. This calls for an immediate apology, which is offered with reverence and humility Thus, many of our customs are designed to be simple but powerful reminders or pointers of profound philosophical truths. This is one of the factors that have kept Indian culture alive across centuries. Why do we apply holy ash? The ash of any burnt object is not regarded as holy ash. Bhasma (the holy ash) is the ash from the homa (sacrificial fire) where special wood along with ghee and other herbs is offered by pouring ash as abhisheka and is then distributed as Bhasma Bhasma is generally applied on the forehead. Some apply it on certain parts of the body, like the upper arms, chest etc. Some ascetics rub it all over the body. Many consume a pinch of it each time they receive it. The word Bhasma means "that by which our sins are destroyed and the Lord is remembered". Bha implies bhartsanam ("to destroy") and sma implies smaranam ("to remember"). The application of Bhasma therefore signifies destruction of the evil and remembrance of the divine. Bhasma is called vibhuti (which means "glory") as it gives glory to one who applies and raksha (which means a source of protection) as it protects the wearer from ill health and evil, by purifying him or her. Homa (offering of oblations into the fire with sacred mantras) signifies the offering or surrender of the ego and egocentric desires into the flame of knowledge or a noble and selfless cause. The consequent ash signifies the purity of the mind which results from such actions. Also the fire of knowledge burns the oblation and wood signifying ignorance and inertia respectively. The ash we apply indicates that we should burn false identification with body and become free of the limitations of birth and death. The application of ash also reminds us that body is perishable and shall one day be reduced to ashes. We should therefore not get too attached to it. Death can come at any moment and this awareness must increase our drive to make the best use of time. This is not to be misconstructed as a morose reminder of death but as a powerful pointer towards the fact that time and tide wait for none. Bhasma is specially associated with Lord Shiva who applies it all over his body. lord Shiva devotees apply bhasma as a tripiundra. When applied with a red spot in the centre, the mark symbolizes Shiva-Shakti (the unity of energy and matter that creates the entire seen and un-seen universe) Ash is what remains when all the wood is burnt away and it does not decay. Similarly, the Lord is the imperishable Truth that remains when the entire creation if innumerable names and forms is dissolved. Bhasma has medicinal value and is used in many ayurvedic medicines. It absorbs excess moisture from the body and prevents colds and headaches. The Upanishads say that the famous Mrityunjaya mantra should be chanted while applying ash on the forehead. Why do we offer food to the Lord before eating it? In western tradition food is partaken after a thanks giving prayer - grace. Indians make an offering of it to the Lord and later partake of it as prasad - a holy gift from the Lord. in temples and in many homes, the cooked food is first offered to the Lord each day. The offered food is mixed with the rest of the food and then served as prasad. In our daily ritualistic worship (pooja) too we offer naivedyam (food to the Lord) This is done because: The Lord is omnipotent and omniscient. Man is a part, while the Lord is the totality. All that we do is by his strength and knowledge alone. Hence what we receive in life as a result of our actions is really his alone. We acknowledge this thru the act of offering food to him. This is exemplified by the Hindi words "Tera tujko arpan from the aarti "Jai Jagdesh Hare" - I offer what is yours to you. Thereafter it is akin to his gift to us, graced by his divine touch. Knowing this, our entire attitude to food and the act of eating changes. The food offered will naturally be pure and the best. We share what we get with others before consuming it. We do not demand, complain or criticize the quality of the food we get. We do not waste or reject it. We eat it with cheerful acceptance (prasad buddhi). When we become established in this attitude, this goes beyond the pre-view of food and pervades our entire life. We are then able to cheerfully accept all we get in life as his prasad. Before we partake daily meals we first sprinkle water around the plate as an act of purification. Five morsels of food are placed on the side of the table acknowledging the debt owed by us to the: Divine forces (devta runa) for their benign grace and protection. Our ancestors (pitru runa) for giving us their lineage and the family culture. The sages (rishi runa) as our religion and culture have been "realized" maintained and handed down to us by them. Our fellow beings (manushya runa) who constitute society without the support of which we could not live as we do and Other living beings (bhuta runa) for serving us selflessly. There after the Lord, the life force, who is also within us as the five life - giving physiological functions, is offered the food. The five life-giving functions are praanaaya (respiratory), apaanaaya (extretory), vyaanaaya (circulatory), udaanaaya (reversal) and samaanaaya (digestive). After offering the food thus, it is eaten as prasad - blessed food. Why do we do pradakshina ? When we visit a temple. after offering prayers, we circumambulate the santum sanctorum. This is called pradakshina We cannot draw a circle without a centre point. The Lord is the centre, source and essence of our lives. Recognising Him as the focal point in out lives, we go about doing our daily chores. This is the significance of pradakshina Also every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the centre. This means that wherever or whoever we may be, we are equally close to the Lord. His grace flows towards us without partiality. The pradakshina is always down only in clockwise manner because, as we do pradakshina the Lord is always on our right. In Hinduism, the right side symbolises auspiciousness. It is a telling fact that even in the English language it is called the "right" side and not the wrong one! So as we circumambulate the sanctum sanctorum we remind ourselves to lead an auspicious life of righteousness, with the Lord to lead an auspicious life of righteousness, with the Lord who is the indispensable source of help and strength, as our guide - the "right hand" - the dharma aspect of our lives. We thereby overcome our wrong tendencies and avoid repeating the sins of the past. Indian scriptures enjoin - matrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava, acharyadevo bhava. Meaning : May you consider your parents and teachers as you would the Lord. With this in mind we also do pradakshina around our parents and divine personages. The story of Lord Ganesh circumambulating his parents is a well known one. After the completion of traditional worship (pooja), we customarily do pradakshina around ourselves. In this way we recognise and remember the supreme divinity within us, which alone is idolised in the form of the Lord that we worship outside. Why do we regard trees and plants as sacred? From ancient times, Hindus have worshipped trees and regarded all flora and fauna as sacred. This is not an old fashioned or uncivilized practice. It reveals the sensitivity, foresight and refinement of Hindu Culture. While modern man often works to "conquer" Mother nature, ancient Hindus "worshipped" her. The Lord, the life in us, prevades all living beings be they plants or animals. Hence, they all regarded as sacred. Human life on earth depends on plants and animals. They give us the vital factors that make life possible on earth : food, oxygen, clothing, shelter, medicines etc. They lend beauty to our surroundings. They serve man without expectation and sacrifice themselves to sustain us. They epitomise sacrifice. If a stone is thrown on a fruit-laden tree, the tree in turn gives fruit! In fact, the flora and fauna owned the earth before man appeared on it. Presently, the world is seriously threatened by the destruction of the forest lands and the extinction of many species of vegetation due to man's callous attitude towards them. We protect only what we value. Hence, in Hinduism, we are taught to regard trees and plants as sacred. Naturally, we will then protect them. Hindu scriptures tell us to plant ten tress if, for any reason, we have cut one. We are advised to use arts of the trees and plants only as much as is needed for food, fuel, shelter etc. We also urged to apologize to a plant or tree before cutting it to avoid incurring a specific sin named soona. In our childhood, we are told stories of the sacrifice and service done by plants and trees and also about our duty to plant and nourish them. Certain trees and plants like tulsi, peepal etc. which have tremendous beneficial qualities, are worshipped till today. It is believed that divine beings manifest as trees and plants, and many people worship them to fulfill their desires or to please the God. Why do we fast? Most devout Indians fast regularly or on special occasions like festivals. On such days they do not eat at all, eat once or make do with fruits or a special diet of simple food. Some undertake rigorous fasts when they do not even drink water the whole day! Fasting is done for many reasons- to please the Lord, to discipline oneself and even to protest. Mahatma Gandhi fasted to protest against the British rule. Fasting in Sanskrit is called upavaasa. Upa means near + vaasa means to stay. Upavaasa therefore means staying near (The Lord), meaning the attainment of close mental proximity with the Lord. Then what has upavaasa to do with food? A lot of our time and energy is spent in procuring food items, preparing, cooking, eating and digesting food. Certain food types make our mind dull and agitated. Hence on certain days man decides to save time and conserve energy by eating either simple, light food or totally abstaining from eating so that his mind becomes alert and pure. The mind, otherwise pre-occupied by the thought of food, now entertains noble thoughts and stays with the Lord. Since it is a self-imposed form of discipline it is usually adhered to with joy. Also every system needs a break and an overhaul to work at its best. Rest and a change of diet during fasting is very good for the digestive system and the entire body. The more you indulge the senses, the more they make their demands. Fasting helps us to cultivate control over our senses, sublimate our desires and guide our minds to be poised and at peace. Fasting should not make us weak, irritable or create an urge to indulge later. This happens when there is no noble goal behind fasting. Some fast, rather they diet, merely to reduce weight. Others fast as a vow to please the Lord or to fulfill their desires, some to develop will power, control the senses, some as a form of austerity and so on. The Bhagavad Geeta urges us to eat appropriately- neither too less nor too much yukta-aahaara and to eat simple, pure and healthy food (a saatvik diet ) even when not fasting Why do we ring the bell in the temple? In most temples there are one or more bells hung from the top, near the entrance. The devotee rings the bell as soon as he enters, thereafter proceeding for darshan of the Lord and prayers. Children love jumping up or being carried high in order to reach the bell. Is it to wake up the Lord? But the Lord never sleeps. Is it to let the Lord know we have come? He does not need to be told, as He is all knowing. Is it a form of seeking permission to enter His precinct? It is a homecoming and therefore entry needs no permission. The Lord welcomes us at all times. Then why do we ring the bell? The ringing of the bell produces what is regarded as an auspicious sound. It produces the sound Om, the universal name of the Lord. There should be auspiciousness within and without, to gain the vision of the Lord who is all-auspiciousness. Even while doing the ritualistic aarti, we ring the bell. It is sometimes accompanied by the auspicious sounds of the conch and other musical instruments. An added significance of ringing the bell, conch and other instruments is that they help drown any in-auspicious or irrelevant noises and comments that might disturb or distract the worshipper/s in their devotional ardour (dedication) , concentration and inner peace. Why do we worship the kalash? A kalash is a brass, mud or copper pot filled with water. Mango leaves are placed in the mouth of the pot and a coconut is placed over it. A red or white thread is tied around its neck or sometimes all around it in an intricate diamond-shaped pattern. The pot may be decorated with designs. When the pot is filled with water or rice, it is known as purnakumbha representing the inert body which when filled with the divine life force gains power to do all the wonderful things that makes life what it is. A kalash is placed with due rituals on all important occasions like the traditional house warming (grhapravesh), wedding, daily worship etc. It is placed near the entrance as a sign of welcome. It is also used in a traditional manner while receiving holy personages. Before the creation came into being, Lord Vishnu was reclining on His snakebed in the milky ocean. From His navel emerged a lotus from which appeared Lord Brahma, the Creator, who thereafter created this world. The water in the kalash symbolises the primodial water from which the entire creation emerged. It is the giver of life to all and has the potential of creating innumerable names and forms, the inert objects and the sentient beings and all that is auspicious in the world from the energy behind the universe. The leaves and coconut represent creation. the thread represents the love that "binds" all in creation. The kalash is therefore considered auspicious and worshipped. The waters from all the holy rivers, the knowledge of all the vedas and the blessings of all the deities are invoked in the kalash and its water is thereafter used for all the rituals, including the abhisheka. The consecration (kumbhaabhisheka) of a temple is done in a grand manner with elaborate rituals including the pouring of one or more kalash of holy water on the top of the temple. When the asurs and the devas churned the milky ocean, the Lord appeared bearing the pot of nectar which blessed one with everlasting life. Thus the kalash also symbolises immortality. Men of wisdom are full and complete as they identify the infinite truth (poornatvam. They brim with joy and love and represent all that is auspicious. We greet them with a purnakumbha ("full pot") acknowledging their greatness ands as a sign of respectful reverential welcome, with a "full heart". Why do we worship tulsi? Either in the front, back or central courtyard of most Indian homes there is a tulsi-matham an altar bearing a tulsi plant. In the present day apartments too, many maintain a potted tulsi plant. The lady of the house lights a lamp waters the plant, worships and circumambulates it. The stem, leaves, seeds, and even the soil, which provides it a base, are considered holy. A tulsi leaf is always placed in the food offered to the Lord. It is also offered to the Lord during poojas especially to Lord Vishnu and His incarnations. In Sanskrit, tulanaa naasti athaiva tulsi - that which is incomparable (in its qualities) is the tulsi. For Hindus, it is one of the most sacred plants. In fact it is known to be the only thing used in worship which, once used, can be washed and reused in pooja - as it is regarded so self-purifying. As one story goes, Tulsi was the devoted wife of Shankhachuda, celestial being. She believed that Lord Kirshna tricked her into sinning. So she cursed Him to become a stone (shaaligraama). Seeing her devotion and adherence to righteousness, the Lord blessed her saying that she would become the worshipped plant, tulsi that would adorn His head. Also that all offerings would be incomplete without the tulsi leaf - hence the worship of tulsi. She also symbolises Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. Those who wish to be righteous and have a happy family worship the tulsi. Tulsi is married to the Lord with all pomp ans how as in any wedding. This is because according to another legend, the Lord blessed her to be His consort. Satyabhama once weighed Lord Krishna against all her legendary wealth. The scales did not balance till a single tulsi leaf was placed along with the wealth on the scale by Rukmini with devotion. Thus the tulsi played the vital role of demonstrating to the world that even a small object offered with devotion means more to the Lord than all the wealth in the world. The tulsi leaf has great medicinal value and is used to cure various ailments, including the common cold. Why do we consider the lotus as special? The Lotus is India's national flower and rightly so. Not long ago, the lakes and ponds of India were full of many hued lotuses. The lotus is the symbol of truth, auspiciousness and beauty (satyam, shivam, sundaram). The Lord is also that nature and therefore, His various aspects are compared to a lotus (ie. lots-eyes, lotus feet, lotus hands, the lotus of heart etc.). Our scriptures ans ancient literature extols the beauty of the lotus.Art and architecture also portray the lotus in various decorative motifs and paintings. Many people have names of or related to the lotus: Padma, Pankaja, Kamal, Kamala, Kamalakshni etc. The Goddess of wealth, Lakshni, sits on a lotus and carries one in her hand. the lotus blooms with the rising sun and closes at night. Similarly, our minds open up and expand with the light of knowledge. The lotus grows even in slushy areas. It remains beautiful and untainted despite its surroundings, reminding us that we too can and should strive to remain pure and beautiful within, under all circumstances. The lotus leaf never gets wet although it is always in water. It symbolises the man of wisdom (gyani who remains ever joyous, unaffected by the world of sorrow and change. The lotus posture, padmaasana is recommended when one sits for meditation. A lotus emerged from the navel of Lord Vishnu. Lord Bhrahma originated from it to create the world. Hence, the lotus symbolises the link between the creator and the supreme Cause. It also symbolises Brahmaloka, the abode of Lord Brahma. The auspicious sign of the swastika is said to have evolved from the lotus. From the above, we can well appreciate why the lotus in India's national flower and so special to Hindus. Why do we blow the conch? In temples or at homes, the conch is blown once or several times before ritualistic worship (pooja). It is sometimes blown whilst during aarti or to mark an auspicious occasion. It is blown before a battle starts or to announce the victory of an army. It is also placed in the altar and worshipped When the conch is blown, the primordial sound of Om eminates. Om is an auspicious sound that was chanted by the Lord before creating the world. It represents the world and the truth behind it. As the story goes, the demon shankhaasura defeated the devas, stole the vedas and went to the bottom of the ocean. The devas appealed to Lord Vishnu for help. He incarnated as matsya avataar - the "fish incarnation", and killed shankhaasura. The Lord blew the conch - shaped bone of his ear and head. the Om sound emanated, from which emerged the vedas. All knowledge enshrined in the vedas is an ellobration of Om. The conch therefore is known as shankh after shankhaasura. The conch blown by the Lord is called paanchajany. He carries it all times, in one of his four hands. It represents dharma or righteousness that is one of the four goals (purushaarthas) of life. The sound of the conch is thus also the victory call of good over evil. If we place a conch close to our ears, we hear the sound of the waves of the ocean. Another well known purpose of blowing the conch and other instruments, known traditionally to produce auspicious sounds is to drown or mask the negative comments or noises that may disturb or upset the atmosphere or the minds of the worshippers. Ancient India lived in her villages. Each village was presided over by a primary temple and several smaller ones. During the aarti performed after all important poojas and on sacred occasions, the conch used to be blown. Since, villages were generally small; the sound of the conch would be heard all over the village. People, who could not make it to the temple, were reminded to stop whatever they were doing, at least for a few seconds, and mentally bow to the Lord. The conch sound served to briefly elevate people's minds to a prayerful attitude even in the middle of their busy daily routine. The conch is placed at the altar in temples and homes next to the Lord as a symbol of naada brahma (truth), the vedas, Om, dharma, victory and auspiciousness. It is often used to offer devotees tirth (sanctified water) to raise their minds to the highest truth. Why do we say Shaanti thrice? Shaanti, meaning 'peace', is a natural state of being. Disturbances are created either by others or us. For example, peace already exists in a place until someone male noise. Therefore, peace underlies all our agitations. When agitations end, peace is naturally experienced since it is already there. Where there is peace, there is happiness. Therefore, everyone without exception desires peace in his/her life. However, peace within or without seems very hard to attain because it is covered by our own agitations. A rare few manage to remain peaceful within even in the midst of external agitation and troubles. To invoke peace, we chant prayers. By chanting prayers, troubles end and peace is experienced internally, irrespective of the external disturbances. All such prayers end by the chanting shaanti thrice. It is believed that trivaram satyam - that which is said thrice comes true. For emphasizing a point we repeat a thing thrice. In the court of law also, on who takes the witness stand says, "I shall speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth". We chant shaanti thrice to emphasize our intense desire for peace. All obstacles, problems and sorrows originate three sources: Aadhidaivika: The unseen divine forces over which we have little or no control like earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions etc. Aadhibautika: the known factors around us like accidents, human contacts, pollution, crime etc. Aadhyaatmika: Problems of our bodies and minds like diseases, anger, frustrations etc. We sincerely pray to the Lord that at least while we undertake special tasks or even in our daily lives, there are no problems or that, problems are minimized from the three sources written about above. May peace alone prevail? Hence shaanti is chanted thrice. It is chanted aloud the first time, addressing the unseen forces. It is chanted softer the second time, directed to our immediate surroundings and those around, and softest the last time as it is addressed to oneself. Why do we offer coconut? In India one of the most common offerings in a temple is a coconut, it is also offered on occasions like weddings, festivals, the use of a new vehicle, bridge, house etc. a pot (kalash) full of water adorned with mango leaves and a coconut on top is worshiped on important occasions and used to receive revered guests. It is offered in the sacrificial fire while performing hom. The coconut is broken and placed before the Lord. It is later distributed as prasad. It is offered to please the Lord or to fulfill our desires. There was a time when animal sacrifice (bali) was practiced, symbolizing the offering of our animalistic tendencies to the Lord. Slowly this practice faded and the coconut was offered instead. The fibre covering of the fried coconut is removed except for the tuft on the top. The marks on the coconut make it look like the head of a human being. The coconut is broken, symbolizing the breaking of the ego. The juice within representing the inner tendencies (vaasanas) if offered along with the white kernel - the mind, to the Lord. A mind thus purified by the touch of the Lord is used as prasad (a holy offering). In the traditional, abhishekh ritual done in all temples and many homes, several materials are poured over the deity like milk, curd, honey, tender coconut water, sandal paste, holy ash etc. Each material has a specific significance of bestowing certain benefits on worshippers. Tender coconut water is used since it is believed to bestow spiritual growth on the seeker. The coconut also symbolizes selfless service. Every part of the coconut tree - the truck, leaves, fruit, coir etc. is used in innumerable ways like thatches, mats, tasty dishes, oil etc. It takes in salty water and converts it into sweet nutritive water that is especially beneficial to the sick people. It is also used in the preparation of many ayurvedic medicines and applications. The marks on the coconut are even thought to represent the three-eyed Lord Shiva and therefore it is considered to be a means to fulfill our desires. Why do we chant Om? Om is one of the most chanted sound symbols in Hinduism. It has a profound effect on the body and mind of the one who chants and also on the surroundings. Most mantras and Vedic prayers start with Om. All auspicious actions begin with Om. It is even used as a greeting - Om, Hari Om etc. it is repeated as a mantra or meditated upon. Its form is worshipped, contemplated upon or used as an auspicious sign. Om is the universal name of the Lord. The sound emerging from the vocal chords starts from the base of the throat as 'A' with the coming together of the lips, 'U' is formed and when the lips are closed, all sound ends with 'M'. The three letters symbolize the three states (waking, dream and deep sleep) the three Lords (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva), the three Vedas (Rig, Yajur and Sama) the three worlds (Bhuh, Bhuvah and Suvah) etc. The Lord is all these and beyond. The formless, attribute-less Lord is represented by the silence between two Om chants. Om is also called pranav that means "that (symbol or sound) by which the Lord is praised". The entire essence of the Vedas is enshrined in the word Om. It is said that the Lord started creating the world after chanting Om and atha. Hence it sound is considered to create an auspicious beginning for any task that we undertake. The Om chant should have the resounding sound of a bell. It fills the mind with peace, makes it focused and replete with subtle sound. People mediate on its meaning and attain realization. Om is written in different ways in different places, and its symbolizes Lord Ganesh. Thus Om symbolizes everything - the means and the goal of life, the world and the Truth behind it, the material and the sacred, all forms and the formless. Why do we aarti? Towards the end of every ritualistic worship (pooja or bhajan) of the Lord or to welcome an honoured guest or saint, we perform the aarti. This is always accompanied by the ringing of the bell and sometimes by singing, playing of musical instruments and clapping. It is one of the sixteen steps (shodasha upachaara) of the pooja ritual. It is referred to as the auspicious light (mangala niraajanam). Holding the lighted lamp in the right hand, we wave the flame in clockwise direction to light the entire form of the Lord. Each part is revealed individually and also the entire form of the Lord. As the light is moved we either do mental or loud chanting of prayers or simply behold the beautiful form of the Lord, illuminated by the lamp. We experience an added intensity in our prayers and the Lord's image seems to manifest a special beauty at that time. At the end of the aarti we place our hands over the flame and then gently touch our eyes and the top of the head. We have seen and participated in this ritual from our childhood. Let us find why we do the aarti? Having worshiped the Lord with love - performing abhishekh, decorating the image and offering fruits and delicacies, we see the beauty of the Lord in all His glory. Our minds are focused on each limn of the Lord as it is lit up by the lamp. It is akinto silent open-eyed meditation on His beauty. The singing, clapping ringing of the bell etc. denotes the joy and auspiciousness, which accompanies the vision of the Lord. Aarti is often performed with camphor. This holds a telling spiritual significance. Camphor when lit burns itself out completely without leaving a trace of it. Camphor represents our inherent tendencies (vaasanas).when lit by the fire of knowledge which illuminates the Lord (truth), our vaasanas thereafter burn themselves out completely, not leaving a trace of the ego which creates in us a sense of individuality that keeps us separate from the Lord. Also while camphor burns to reveal the glory of the Lord it emits a pleasant smell even while it sacrifices itself. In our spiritual progress, even as we serve the guru and society, we should willingly sacrifice ourselves and all we have, to spread the perfume of love to all. We often wait a long while to see the illumined Lord but when the aarti is actually performed; our eyes close automatically as if to look within. This is to signify that each of us is the temple of the Lord - we hold the divinity within. Just as the priest reveals the form of the Lord clearly with the aarti flame, so too the guru clearly reveals to us the divinity within each of us with help of the 'flame' of knowledge. At the end of the aarti, we place our hands over the flame and then touch our eyes and top of the head. It means - may the light that illuminated the Lord light up my vision, may my vision be divine and my thoughts noble and beautiful. The philosophical meaning of aarti extends further. The sun, moon, stars, lighting and fire are the natural sources of light. The Lord is the source of all these wondrous phenomena of the universe. It is due to Him alone that else exist and shine. As we turn our attention to the very source of all light which symbolizes knowledge and life. Also the sun is the presiding deity of the intellect, the moon that of the mind, and fire, that of speech. The Lord is the supreme consciousness that illumines all of them. Without Him the intellect cannot think, nor can the mind feel nor the tongue speak. The Lord is beyond the mind, intellect and speech.
Posted by: vishal Dec 8 2003, 10:57 AM
This is specially for those who have forgot our rich history and pride.Many new things even for me. laugh.gif From http://www.portraitofindia.com/article3.htm The Greatness of India The following article provides a brief look at the major accomplishments of India, many of which have also helped in the development of the Western or European culture. Much more information of this kind is presented in Stephen Knapp's book "Proof of Vedic Culture's Global Existence." This article was originally sent into the Indian Express newspaper, June 22, 1999, by Maxwell Pareira, and reproduced in the Annual Research Journal - 2000, by the Institute for Rewriting Indian (and World) History. Some may dispute the facts, like, "India never invaded any country in the last 10,000 years of her history." But when many cultures were nomadic forest dwellers over 5,000 years ago, India established the Harappan culture in the Indus Valley. The world's first university, established in Takshila in 700 BC, had 10,500 students from all over the world studying more than 60 subjects. The large university at Nalanda, dating from the 4th century BC, is acknowledged as one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education. And Sanskrit, through Latin, is accepted as the mother of all European languages. A 1987 report in Forbes magazine said Sanskrit was the most suitable language for computer software. India contributed to the number system by the numeral 0, innovated by Aryabhatta. Algebra, trigonometry, and calculus originated in India. The quadratic equation was solved by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The Greeks and Romans contented themselves with rather small numbers, while Hindus (the then inhabitants of the land of Sapta-Sindhu) used units as big as 10 raised to the power of 53 with specific names as early as 5,000 BC, during the Vedic period. Today, the largest unit in use is tera, or 10 to the power of 12. The solar year was calculated as 365.25875684 days by Bhaskaracharya in the 5th century, hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. The value of pi was first calculated by Bodhayana, who also discovered the Pythagorean Theorem in the 6th century, long before the European mathematicians. The place value system and the decimal system were developed in India in 100 BC. [Further research has placed the dates mentioned in this paragraph as actually being much earlier for some of these inventions, as explained in Proof of Vedic Culture's Global Existence.] Ayurveda is the oldest school of medicine codified by Charaka 2,500 years ago. Sushruta, the father of surgery, conducted complicated procedures dealing with cataracts, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones, plastic surgery, caesarean section and brain surgery 2,600 years ago. Over 125 surgical instruments were in use. The use of anesthesia was also known in ancient India. A century-old suspicion that the pioneer of wireless communication was Prof. Jagadish Bose and not Marconi now stands proven. And Nature has reported that a Danish physicist and his team in the US have slowed down light from the speed of 300 km per second to 71 km per hour, using the Bose Einstein Condensate to stall it in its path. And the forensic use of fingerprints was discovered and developed in Calcutta. The art of navigation was born in the river Sindh 6,000 years ago. The very word "navigation" is derived from the Sanskrit naugatih. Although modern images of India show poverty and underdevelopment, it was the richest country on earth until the arrival of the British. Christopher Columbus was attracted by India's wealth. According to the Gemological Institute of America, until 1896 India was the world's only source of diamonds. Furthermore, the earliest dam for irrigation was built in Saurashta. According to the Saka King Rudradaman I, a beautiful lake called Sudarshana was constructed on the hills of Raivataka in Chandragupta Maurya's time. In regard to games, there is no doubt that the game of chess is an Indian invention in the form of Shatranj or Astha Pada. Polo originated in Manipur. The first man on Everest was Tenzing Norgay, not Sir Edmond Hillary. With all this evidence anyone can see the potential India and her people have exhibited in the past, only to have had it stifled and squashed by its conquerors over the centuries. Nonetheless, it could again become a global influence if allowed to do so, which is something that is again gradually happening after a long struggle toward freedom.
Posted by: k.ram Dec 8 2003, 12:21 PM
Surya - Sun From The Mahabharata Vana Parva, Section III, Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli Vaisampayana said: Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, thus addressed by Saunaka, approached his priest and in the midst of his brothers said: `The Brahmanas versed in the Vedas are following me who am departing for the forest. Afflicted with many calamities I am unable to support them. I cannot abandon them, nor have I the power to offer them sustenance. Tell me, O holy one, what should be done by me in such a pass.' Vaisampayana said: After reflecting for a moment seeking to find out the (proper) course by his yoga powers, Dhaumya, that foremost of all virtuous men, addressed Yudhishthira, in these words: `In days of old, all living beings that had been created were sorely afflicted with hunger. And like a father (unto all of them), Savita (the sun) took compassion upon them. And going first into the northern declension, the sun drew up water by his rays, and coming back to the southern declension, stayed over the earth, with his heat centred in himself. And while the sun so stayed over the earth, the lord of the vegetable world (the moon), converting the effects of the solar heat (vapours) into clouds and pouring them down in the shape of water, caused plants to spring up. Thus it is the sun himself, who, drenched by the lunar influence, is transformed, upon the sprouting of seeds, into holy vegetable furnished with the six tastes. And it is these that constitute the food of all creatures upon the earth. Thus the food that supports the lives of creatures is instinct with solar energy, and the sun is, therefore, the father of all creatures. Do thou, hence, O Yudhishthira, take refuge even in him. All illustrious monarchs of pure descent and deeds are known to have delivered their people by practising high asceticism. The great Karttavirya, and Vainya and Nahusha, had all, by virtue of ascetic meditation preceded by vows, delivered their people from heavy afflictions. Therefore, O virtuous one, as you are purified by the acts do like wise, entering upon a life of austerities. O Bharata, virtuously support the regenerate ones. Janmejaya said: How did that bull among the Kurus, king Yudhishthira, for the sake of the Brahmanas adore the sun of wonderful appearance? Vaisampayana said: Listen attentively, O king, purifying yourself and withdrawing your mind from every other thing. And, O king of kings, appoint a time. I will tell you everything in detail, and O illustrious one, listen to the one hundred and eight names (of the sun) as they were disclosed of old by Dhaumya to the high souled son of Pritha. One hundred and eight names of the sun Dhaumya said: Surya, Bhaga, Twastri, Pusha, Arka, Savitri, Ravi, Gabhastimat, Aja, Kala, Mrityu, Dhatri, Prabhakar, Prithibi, Apa, Teja, Kha, Vayu, the sole stay, Soma, Vrihaspati, Sukra, Budha, Angaraka, Indra, Vivaswat, Diptanshu, Suchi, Sauri, Sanaichara, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Skanda, Vaisravana, Yama, Vaidyutagni, Jatharagni, Aindhna, Tejasam, Pati, Dharmadwaja, Veda-karttri, Vedanga, Vedavahana, Krita, Treta, Dwapara, Kali, Full of every impurity, Kala, Kastha, Muhurtta, Kshapa, Yama, and Kshana, Samvatsara-kara, Aswattha, Kalachakra, Bibhavasu, Purusha, Saswata, Vyaktavyakta, Sanatana, Kaladhyaksha, Praja-dhyaksha, Viswakarma, Tamounda, Varuna, Sagara, Ansu, Jimuta, Jivana, Arihan, Bhutasraya, Bhutapati, Srastri, Samvartaka, Vanhi, Sarvadi, Alolupa, Ananta, Bhanu, Kamada, Sarvatomukha, Jaya, Visala, Varada, Manas, Suparna, Bhutadi, Sighraga, Prandharana, Dhanwantari, Dhumaketu, Adideva, Aditisuta, Dwadasatman, Arvindaksha, Pitri, Matri, Pitamaha, Swarga- dwara, Prajadwara, Mokshadwara, Tripistapa, Dehakarti, Prasantatman, Viswatman, Viswatomukha, Characharatman, Sukhsmatman, the merciful Maitreya. These are the hundred and eight names of Surya of immeasurable energy, as told by the self-create (Brahma). For the acquisition of prosperity, I bow down to thee, O Bhaskara, blazing like unto gold or fire, who is worshipped of the gods and the Pitris and the Yakshas, and who is adored by the Asuras, Nisacharas, and Siddhas. He that with fixed attention recites this hymn at sunrise obtains wife and offspring and riches and the memory of his former existence, and by reciting this hymn a person attains patience and memory. Let a man concentrating his mind, recite this hymn. By doing so, he shall be proof against grief and forest-fire and ocean and every object of desire shall be his. Vaisampayana continued: Having heard from Dhaumya these words suitable to the occasion, Yudhishthira the just, with heart concentrated within itself and purifying it duly, became engaged in austere meditation, moved by the desire of supporting the Brahmanas (Brahmins). And worshipping the maker of day with offerings of flowers and other articles, the king performed his ablutions. And standing in the stream, he turned his face towards the god of day. And touching the water of Ganga (Ganges river), the virtuous Yudhishthira with senses under complete control and depending upon air alone for his sustenance, stood there with rapt soul engaged in Pranayama. [Note: A form of Yoga that is said to consist in the mingling of some of the air supposed to exist in every animal body. These airs are five: Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, and Vyana.] And having purified himself and restrained his speech, he began to sing the hymn of praise (to the sun). Yudhishthira said: Thou art, O sun, the eye of the universe. Thou art the soul of all corporeal existences. Thou are the origin of all things. Thou art the embodiment of the acts of all religious men. Thou art the refuge of those versed in the Sankhya philosophy (the mysteries of the soul), and thou art the support of the Yogis. Thou art a door unfastened with bolts. Thou art the refuge of those wishing for emancipation. Thou sustain and discover the world, and sanctify and support it from pure compassion. Brahmanas versed in the Vedas appearing before thee, adore thee in due time, reciting the hymns from the respective branches (of the Vedas) they refer. Thou art the adored of the Rishis. The Siddhas, and the Charanas and the Gandharvas and the Yakshas, and the Guhyakas, and the Nagas, desirous of obtaining boons follow thy car coursing through the skies. The thirty-three gods with Upendra (Vishnu) and Mahendra, and the order of Vaimanikas have attained success by worshipping thee. [Note: The 33 gods are the 8 Vasus, the 11 Rudras, the 12 Adityas, Prajapati, and Vashatkara. Order of Vaimanikas refer to an order of celestials.] By offering thee garlands of the celestial Mandaras (celestial flowers of much fragrance) the best of the Vidyadharas have obtained all their desires. The Guhyas and the seven orders of the Pitris – both divine and human- have attained superiority by adoring thee alone. The Vasus, the Marutas, and the Rudras, the Sadhyas, the Marichipas, the Valikhilyas, and the Siddhas, have attained pre- eminence by bowing down unto thee. There is nothing that I know in the entire seven worlds, including that of Brahma, which is beyond thee. There are other beings both great and endued with energy; but none of them has thy lustre and energy. All light is in thee, indeed, thou art the lord of all light. In thee are the (five) elements and all intelligence, and knowledge and asceticism and ascetic properties. (The ascetic properties are Anima, Laghima, etc.). The discus by which the wielder of the Saranga humbles the pride of Asuras and which is furnished with a beautiful nave, was forged by Viswakarman with thy energy. [Note: Saranga is the bow of Vishnu, (as that of Shiva is called Pinaka)]. In summer thou drawest, by thy rays, moisture from all corporeal existences and plants and liquid substances, and pourest it down in the rainy season. Thy rays warm and scorch, and becoming as clouds roar and flash with lightning and pour down showers when the season cometh. Neither fire nor shelter, nor woollen cloths give greater comfort to one suffering from chilling blasts than thy rays. Thou illuminest by thy rays the whole earth with her thirteen islands. Thou alone are engaged in the welfare of the three worlds. If thou dost not rise, the universe becomes blind and the learned cannot employ themselves in the attainment of virtue, wealth and profit. It is through thy grace that the (three) orders of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas are able to perform their various duties and sacrifices (e.g. Adhana, Pashubandha, Ishti, Mantra, Yajna and Tapa-kriya). Those versed in chronology say that thou art beginning and thou the end of a day of Brahma, which consists of a full thousand Yugas. Thou art the lord of Manus and of the sons of the Manus, of the universe and of man, of the Manvantaras, and their lords. When the time of universal dissolution comes, the fire Samvartaka born of thy wrath consumes the three worlds and exists alone. And clouds of various hues begotten of thy rays, accompanied by the elephant Airavata and the thunderbolt, bring about the appointed deluges. And dividing thyself into twelve parts and becoming as many suns, thou drink up the ocean once more with thy rays. Thou art called Indra, thou art Vishnu, thou art Brahma, thou art Prajapati. Thou art fire and thou art the subtle mind. And thou art lord and the eternal Brahma. Thou art Hansa, thou art Savitri, thou art Bhanu, Ansumalin, and Vrishakapi. Thou art Vivaswan, Mihira, and Dharma. Thou art thousand rayed, thou art Aditya, and Tapana, and the lord of rays. Thou art Martanda, and Arka, and Ravi, and Surya and Saranya and maker of day, and Divakara, and Suptasaspti, and Dhumakeshin, and Virochana. Thou art spoken of as swift of speed and the destroyer of darkness, and the possessor of yellow steeds. He that reverentially adores thee on the sixth or the seventh lunar day with humility and tranquillity of mind obtains the grace of Lakshmi. They that with undivided attention adore and worship thee, are delivered from all dangers, agonies and afflictions. And they that hold that thou art everywhere (being the soul of all things) living long, freed from sin and enjoying an immunity from all diseases. O lord of all food, it behoveth thee to grant food in abundance unto me who am desirous of food even for entertaining all my guests with reverence. I bow also to all those followers of thine that have taken refuge at thy feet – Mathara and Aruna and Danda and others, including Asani and Kshuva and the others. And I bow also to the celestial mothers of all creatures, viz., Kshuva and Maitri and the others of the class. O, let them deliver me their supplient. Vaisampayana said: Thou, O great king, was the sun that purifier of the world, adored (by Yudhishthira). And pleased with the hymn, the maker of day, self-luminous, and blazing like fire showed himself to the son of Pandu. And Vivaswan said: `Thou shalt obtain all that thou desire. I shall provide thee with food for five and seven years together. And, O king, accept this copper vessel which I give unto thee. And, O thou of excellent vows, as long as Panchali will hold this vessel, without partaking of its contents fruits and roots and meat and vegetables cooked in thy kitchen, these four kinds of food from this day be inexhaustible. And, on the fourteenth year from this, thou shalt regain thy kingdom.' Vaisampayana continued: Having said this, the god vanished away. He that, with the desire of obtaining a boon, recites this hymn concentrating his mind with ascetic abstraction, obtains it from the sun, however difficult of acquisition it may be that he asks for. And the person, male or female, that recites or hears this hymn day after day, if he or she desires for a son, obtains one, and if riches, obtains them, and if learning, acquires that too. And the person male or female, that recites this hymn every day in the two twilights, if overtaken by danger, is delivered from it, and if bound, is freed from the bonds. Brahma himself had communicated this hymn to the illustrious Sakra, and from Sakra was it obtained by Narada and from Narada, by Dhaumya. And Yudhishthira, obtaining from Dhaumya, attained all his wishes. And it is by virtue of this hymn that one may always obtain victory in war, and acquire immense wealth also. And it leads the reciter from all sins, to the solar region. Vaisampayana continued: Having obtained the boon, the virtuous son of Kunti, rising from the water, took hold of Dhaumya's feet and then embraced his brother's. And, O exalted one, wending then with Draupadi to the kitchen, and adored by her duly, the son of Pandu set himself to cook (their day's) food. And the clean food, however little, that was dressed, furnished with the four tastes, increased and became inexhaustible. And with it Yudhishthira began to feed the regenerate ones. And after the Brahmanas had been fed, and his younger brothers also, Yudhishthira himself ate of the food that remained, and which is called Vighasa. And after Yudhishthira had eaten, the daughter of Prishata took what remained. And after she had taken her meal, the day's food became exhausted. And having thus obtained the boon from the maker of the day, the son of Pandu, himself as resplendent as that celestial, began to entertain the Brahmanas agreeably to their wishes. And obedient to their priest, the sons of Pritha, on auspicious lunar days and constellations and conjunctions, performed sacrifices according to the ordinance, the scriptures, and the Mantras. After the sacrifice, the sons of Pandu, blessed by the auspicious rites performed by Dhaumya and accompanied by him, and surrounded also by the Brahmanas set out for the woods of Kamyaka.`
Posted by: k.ram Dec 9 2003, 09:43 AM
Gita for busy people http://clk.about.com/?zi=1/XJ&sdn=hinduism&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedivinelifesociety.org%2Fdownload%2Fgita_busy.pdf
Posted by: vishal Dec 9 2003, 11:10 AM
This is what our president think about science and spirituality,religion.Its beautifull thinking...many new things to learn... smile.gif (sigh)..... biggrin.gif rolleyes.gif http://presidentofindia.nic.in/S/html/speeches/others/dec07_2003_1.htm (An excerpt from above webpage)..... ......... When God asked what is rare in this world, Auvaiyar told him: If you asketh what is rare - It is rare to be born as human Even if one is born as a human, It is rarer to be born without deformities Even if one is born without deformities, It is rare to acquire knowledge of self and the world and expertise in arts Even if one is endowed with these qualities, it is rare to acquire the habit of giving to the needy and do penance If one does so, the gates of Heaven will surely open to that soul All of you assembled here are blessed with many of the gifts described by the poet "Auvaiyar". In addition you are also uniquely blessed by being a part of Brahmakumaris organization to understand spirituality. In the entire world, we witness the mystery in God's creation. There is happiness, there is sorrow, there is wealth, there is poverty, there is flood, there is drought, there is peace, and there is war. With all these dualities, the humanity seeks peace and amity. I am also seeking where is the peace? When the peace will come? When will I see happy faces in the whole country like yours? That occasion will bring peace to me. The important factors which contribute to happiness are peace and prosperity. Peace comes through spirituality whereas prosperity comes through development for which science and technology are essential. graduated.gif (so we also need spiritual IITs( along with science and technological ones,where research can be done to teach people about ancient spiritual history of india ) Science & Spirituality When I went to Mount Abu few years back, one evening I happened to interact with 40 young Brahmakumaris. During this interaction I gave them a problem through a story from my own experience. The story was about the initial days of the Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram in the year 1962. Thumba in Kerala was selected by the scientific community for space research as it was near the equatorial region and was ideally suited for ionospheric research in upper atmosphere apart from study of atmospheric structure. When Prof. Vikram Sarabhai visited Thumba, the locality had series of villages and thousands of fishermen folk were living in that area. It also had a beautiful ancient Church, St. Mary Magdalene Church, Pallithura and a Bishop's House. Prof. Vikram Sarabhai met many politicians and bureaucrats to acquire the place for space science research work. It could not materialise because of the nature of the place. He was asked to see the Bishop His Excellency Rector Revarent Dr. Peter Bernard Pereira of Thiruvananthapuram. It was a Saturday when Prof .Vikram Sarabhai met the Bishop. The Bishop smiled and asked to meet him the next day, i.e Sunday. In the morning Service, the Bishop told the congregation, "My children, I have a famous scientist with me who wants our church and the place I live, for the work of space science research. Dear children, science seeks truth by reasoning. In one way, science and spiritualism seek the same divine blessings for doing good to the people. My children, can we give the God's abode for a scientific mission?" There was a chorus of 'Amen' from the congregation and the whole church reverberated. Subsequently, the big event took place in 1962. His Excellency Rector Reverent Dr Peter Bernard Pereira, the Bishop of Thiruvananthapuram, took the noble decision to dedicate the Church in recognition of the national goal for the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organisation at Pallithura, Thumba. That was the Church where we had our design centre, started rocket assembly, design of filament winding machine for FRP product and the Bishop's house was our scientists' drawing office. Later, the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) led to the establishment of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and multiple space centres throughout the country. I asked the young Brahmakumaris, what did you understand from this event? There were many types of replies. Some told that this is a unique case and may be an exception. Few told that it is not at all possible now in any parts of the World. Only one sister told me that here religion in itself has not worked, but it has elevated to spirituality and converged with science. That is the chemistry, which laid the foundation for such a national mission. The interaction led to the discussion on the science and spirituality. It emerged that 'silence' is the unifying factor between science and spirituality. The aim of both scientific approach and spiritual approach is the establishment of truth. Science approaches the problem through experimental means and spirituality approaches through experiential learning. For establishing the truth both approaches need to watch the process silently without turbulence. This non-turbulent phenomenon arises out of the lifestyle intervention suggested by Brahma Kumaris, which is applicable to all human beings for realizing inner tranquility and peace. On 15 October 2003, 15 saints and seers of different religions and faith met at Surat for evolving a scheme for transforming religion into spirituality. Brahma Kumari Sudesh Didi has participated in this function and signed the declaration for the GARLAND PROJECT for creating Unity of minds and there by creating enlightened citizens in India. ................................... specool.gif
Posted by: vishal Dec 9 2003, 11:19 AM
Simultaneously taking up this area along with Interlinking of rivers and PURA, which is Providing Urban facilities in Rural Areas, will provide economic prosperity to the nation. Economic prosperity coupled with spiritual power, which is a summation of human courage to face problems, human evolution in the image of God and righteousness, will take India to glorious heights. We will see a happy India, prosperous India, peaceful India marching towards world peace. I wish you all success in your mission of realizing the world peace through spiritual power. Above is from same web article from president's site. What I struck at is "I wish you all success in your mission of realizing the world peace through spiritual power. ".. huh.gif I remember i read somewhere on web ....it was a astrologer's site..who in his prophecy had said that US will be nuked and peace will come when a spiritual HINDU leader will take up this war from south india and will bring peace with SPIRITUAL POWER and will help US eliminate islamic fanatics:huh: ....at that time i thought, our president is muslim so it can't be possible prophecy but then he also believes in Gita..so he is hindu by his acts and beliefs also, he is from south and president too..... Now,i need to find that website again bcoz i didn't bookmarked it.. mad.gif furious.gif will come back soon. guitar.gif
Posted by: Mudy Dec 9 2003, 02:38 PM
http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/dec/09rajiv.htm Brand Management by other countries in USA India is under-represented in American academia compared to China, Islam/Middle East and Japan, among others. Even the study of Tibet is stronger than that of India. Worse than the quantitative under-representation is the qualitative one: While other major countries positively influence the content of the discourse about them, pro-India forces rarely have much say in India Studies. China: China is fortunate that its thinkers are mostly positive ambassadors promoting its brand. Chinese scholars have worked for decades to create a coherent and cohesive Chinese Grand Narrative that shows both continuity and advancement from within. This gives the Chinese people a common identity based on the sense of a shared past -- one that maps their future destiny as a world power. Pride in One Unifying Notion of the National Identity and Culture is a form of capital, providing an internal bond and a defense against external (or internal) subversions that threaten the whole nation. Scholars play an important role in this construction. China's Grand Narrative is a strong, centripetal force bringing all Chinese together, whereas many Indian intellectuals are slavishly adopting ideologies that act as centrifugal forces pulling Indians apart. The China Institute's New York mission is to influence public opinion on China. It holds art shows, language classes, lectures, films, and history lessons. Unlike the India-bashing films and lectures on many American campuses these day (selected by self-flagellating Indian professors), the Chinese project a positive image of China. The key difference is that China's scholars are not trying to go public with China's dirty laundry -- they are not trying to use international forums to fix domestic problems. In sharp contrast, Indian academics often lack self-confidence and pride in India, and use every opportunity to demean India internationally, and to justify this as a way of helping India's human rights problems. These Indians seem too desperate to join the Grand Narrative of the West, in whatever role they are granted admission, whereas Chinese scholars have not sold out to the same extent. The China Institute also has many pro-China programs for Chinese parents and kids, K-12 curriculum development, teacher training, student scholarships, and seminars for corporate executives and journalists. The Institute has a successful program to teach Chinese-Americans to project a hyphenated identity that combines both American and Chinese cultures, and they call this 'leadership training,' while South Asian scholar often labor to undermine the Indian-ness of our children's identities, by equating Indian-ness with chauvinism. Pakistan: A good analysis would also scrutinize the Pakistani government funded Quaid-e-Azam Chairs of Pakistan Studies at Berkeley and Columbia. The appointments to these chairs are under the control of the Pakistani government, and are rotated every few years. Note that this is accepted as normal and has not attracted any criticism from academia. It is little wonder that the American media has interviewed more pro-Pakistan scholars than pro-India scholars. Pakistani scholars have established their leadership over South Asian Muslims' campus activism in the US, and claim to represent Indian Muslims. Many Indian academicians have joined their bandwagon to denigrate Indian culture in the name of human rights activism and South Asian unity. These scholars hold great influence over young impressionable Indian kids in college. It seems that the Pakistani government has adopted a corporate-style strategic planning process, while many Indian-American donors have not approached this as competitive brand management. Tibet: Another good example of how soft power can be developed and projected via academic intervention is the case of Tibet. Twenty five years ago, H H the Dalai Lama asked his Western disciples to get PhDs from top Western universities, and to become Buddhism professors in colleges. Today, almost every major US campus has practicing Buddhists on the faculty, who project their spiritual identities very publicly and confidently. Even though Buddhism shares most of its meditation techniques with other Indic traditions, Buddhism has become positioned as a valid research methodology for neuroscience, whereas Hinduism is plagued with the caste, cows and curry images. Buddhism is explained intellectually and sympathetically, not via an exotic/erotic lens. Buddhist scholars have a powerful impact on students, and serve as media experts and public intellectuals. Buddhism has major Hollywood endorsements. India has nothing even remotely comparable to the influence of Tibet House in building its cultural capital. Japan and Korea: The Japan Foundation and Korea Foundation are also great institutions worthy of study by NRI donors. The Japanese have funded over fifty academic chairs in USA. Pro-Japan scholars occupy these chairs, and they have close ties with scholars based in Japan; they are loyal to the Japanese identity and culture. An ambitious teacher training program has certified thousands of Americans to 'Teach Japan' in schools. The Japanese drive the Americans' study of Japan, and not vice versa as in India's case. The Korea Foundation has sponsored a series of books on a variety of subjects on Korea and donates/subsidizes these books to libraries worldwide. Repositioning India's brand As a priority, India's image in American academia needs a corporate type analysis of the market/competition and current status. This would lead to the diagnosis and identification of key problems needing correction. Only then could a viable strategy emerge. This brand repositioning is necessary for more Indian-Americans to succeed on their own terms in management and political arenas. It is also necessary for an independent profile of India. The strategy for influencing India Studies could begin with looking at India's technology developments and opportunities, and the resulting geopolitical implications. This could build on the recent positive Indian image in corporate America and American business schools. Donors may want to think about initially working with business schools instead of South Asian Studies Departments, especially since Indian-American donors have better experience in evaluating business scholars than humanities scholars. Many of the contentious issues listed at the end of this article would not apply because of greater convergence between India's interests and the mindset of business schools. At the same time, culture is an important form of capital and must be positively positioned as a part of any brand management. Cultural branding should not be allowed to become a liability under the control of anti-India forces. Yoga and Ayurveda are examples of positive cultural areas that are now in the mainstream and deserve to be brought back under the India brand. Two illustrations will show the economic cost of not managing cultural capital: Yoga is a multi-billion dollar industry in the USA, with 18 million American practitioners, $27 billion/year revenues (from classes, videos, books, conferences, retreats), over 10,000 studios/teachers, and 700,000 subscribers to Yoga Journal. However, cultural shame has kept Indians out of this field, and over 98% of yoga teachers and students in USA are non-Indians. Clearly, the economic potential here could be as big as India's software exports, especially if yoga were included in India's proposed initiative to export health care services. America's yoga centres are potential retail outlets for Indian culture and brand marketing. Ayurveda is a $2 billion/year industry and a part of the high growth international market for plant medicines. The popular consumer brand, Aveda, was started by an American devotee of Indian gurus to bring Ayurveda to the West. (Aveda is short for Ayurveda.) He later sold it to Estee Lauder: Now, Estee Lauder sources herbs from countries other than India, and there has been no royalty to Kerala's farmers who are being displaced from their traditional industry. Nor is there any recognition of this loss in the Indian intellectual's mind. Contrast this with the way the Chinese government has turned Chinese medicine into a multi-billion dollar vehicle for Brand China, or with the way the French wine and cosmetic industries have endowed their products with a mystique that protects French jobs. To explain why educated Indians are amongst the best knowledge workers in the world, the common reason given is that the British taught us English, science and governance. But under this theory, all former colonies, such as Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, Zaire, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Myanmar should be suppliers of knowledge workers on par with India. Few Indians have the courage to articulate that the reason is partly because of India's long cultural traditions that emphasize learning and inquiry, including the openness fostered by its pluralistic worldviews. In fact, Indians were exporters of knowledge systems and knowledge workers throughout the Middle East and Pan-Asia for centuries prior to colonialism. Arab/Persian records indicate that many hospitals in the Middle East were run by Indian doctors and that Indian scholars ran their universities. Indians were chief accountants in many Persian courts. Indian mathematics went via Persian/Arab translations to influence European mathematics. Furthermore, Buddhists took Indian knowledge systems to East and Southeast Asia, including medicine, linguistics, metallurgy, philosophy, astronomy, arts, martial arts, etc. Indian universities (such as Nalanda) attracted students from all parts of Asia, and were patronized by foreign rulers. All this is well appreciated by scholars in East and Southeast Asian countries but is hardly known to Indians. Indian corporate executives are playing a key role in charting India's future through knowledge based industries. Therefore, it should be important for them to sponsor an honest account of India's long history of exporting both its knowledge workers and complete knowledge systems. This historical account is important in reinventing India's non-innovative education system and repositioning its brand. Hence, Indian-Americans must question the colonial discourse which promotes the view that 'anything positive about India was imported from elsewhere.' The impact of such skewed discourse on Indian children is pertinent and must be examined. I have found that American audiences are very open and even eager to learn about India's contributions to American culture. But most professors of India Studies in American universities consider such themes irrelevant or, worse still, chauvinistic. In doing so, they apply a different standard to India as compared to other non-Western civilizations. This has a lot to do with the cultural shame that many Indians in academe feel burdened with – in contrast with successful Indian executives who project positive identities. Consider the following examples that are usually not emphasized in the academic research/teaching in India Studies, when equivalent items concerning China, Islam, Japan, etc are emphasized: America's 'Discovery' was the result of venture capital from the Queen of Spain to explore new trade routes to India, because Indian goods were highly sought after. Most persons find it hard to believe that India could have had such prized export items, and some find such suggestions troubling given their preconceived images of India's culturally linked poverty. Any genuine exploration of India's economic history is nipped in the bud. The New Age Movement is neo-Hindu, with 18 million Americans doing yoga, meditation, and adopting vegetarianism, animal rights and other Indian values. Eco-Feminism was brought to America by Vandana Shiva, who explained to Americans the philosophies of the sacredness of the environment. American Pop Culture owes a great deal to Indian music (via the Beatles and others), film, art, fashions and cuisine. Icons of American Literature, such as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Eliot, the Beats, among others, were deeply involved in the study and practice of Indian philosophy and spiritual traditions. While they are widely read and admired, the Indian wellsprings of their inspiration is often downplayed, to the detriment of all students. Modern Psychology, since the work of Jung and others, has assimilated many theories from India, and this has impacted mind-body healing and neurosciences. American Religion has adopted many Indian theological ideas transmitted via Teilhard de Chardin's study of Ramanuja. Transcendental Meditation was learnt in the 1970s by monks in Massachusetts and repackaged into the popular 'Christian Centering Prayer.' The study of the Hindu Goddess became a source of empowerment for many American Christian women. American Civil Rights drew inspiration from Gandhi: Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson and others wrote about satyagraha as their guiding principle with great reverence in the 1960s, but this has faded from the memory of African-American history as taught today. How many Indians know that Indian social theories influenced J S Mill, who is regarded as the founder of modern Western liberalism, and that many Enlightenment ideas also originated in India and China? The Natural Law Party is considered a pioneer in American political liberalism, but it is generally unknown that it was started by, and is run by, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Western followers. Such positive themes are rarely reflected in the humanities curricula concerning India. The disciplines are populated by scholars who typically entered the US after the Soviet collapse, when funding by Soviet-sponsored sources ended. They still continue to espouse sociological models that have been discarded for decades, thereby hindered India's progress in the global economy. They continue to promote divisive scholarship about India. One wonders why the West legitimizes such persons and positions them as representatives of India. Now they have reproduced their mindsets in a whole new generation of confused Indian-Americans with PhDs in the humanities. Challenging the India-Bashing Club While India's positive image is not adequately projected in US academia, the many negative stereotypes abound, devaluing India's brand into fragments and chaos. These include: Anti-progress: Indian culture is depicted as primitive, obsolete, and frozen until outsiders come and push it forward. Hence, the implication seems to suggest, we must invite outsiders to come and fix our problems for us. Unethical: Indian culture is essentialized by images of abusive caste, sati, dowry deaths, and other human rights atrocities, including aggressive charges of fascism, violation of minority rights and violence. Indian scholars often lead these parades that overemphasize public tirades against India in the West, while failing to understand the implications of brand damage in a global capitalist system. Unscientific: Indians are shown as mystical people lacking Western style rationality. Everything good about India is assumed to have been imported: The British gave us a sense of nation. There was no worthy Indian culture prior to the Mughals. The Greek brought philosophy and mathematics to India. The "Aryans" brought Sanskrit. By implication, Indians are doomed to dependency, which contradicts the vision of India's future trajectory being based on knowledge-based industries. Many Indian scholars in the humanities, journalists, and 'intellectuals' in Non-Government Organizations depend on Western funding, Western sponsored foreign travel, acquiring legitimacy in the eyes of Western institutions, the ability to parrot canned Western 'theories,' and even identifying as a member of the Western Grand Narrative – not as options but as necessary conditions for success. Clearly, such loyalties, identities and ideologies must resonate with their sponsors. Unlike China Studies and Islam Studies, India Studies is controlled by the West, often with the help of Indian mercenaries. The frequent bombardment of negative imagery of Indian society is devastating its soft power. The globalization of India's 'human rights' issues is not solving any social problems in India. It has become a cottage industry for many Indians – whose role may be seen as analogous to the sepoys who helped the British rule over the rest of their brethren. Many Indian scholars are, at best, apologetic about Indian culture. They go about with great aplomb 'exposing' internal problems of India at international forums, for which their careers are well rewarded. Certainly, there is legitimacy and urgency to human rights concerns. But the academic treatment of this subject is asymmetric vis-à-vis India as compared to other countries. More importantly, American campuses are not the place to resolve them. Students are being brainwashed into thinking of India as a quagmire. Proposed Mission Statement for NRI Philanthropists Prior to supporting India Studies, Indian-American philanthropists must, first, establish their mission statement. I submit the following statement for their consideration, at least as a starting point: The mission is to bring objectivity and fair balance to India Studies so as to: 1. strengthen and enrich America's multiculturalism at home; 2. empower Indian-American kids' hyphenated identities; 3. improve US-India cooperation as cultural equals; and 4. improve India's cultural brand in the globalization process. It is important to note that this mission statement does not include using American classrooms or media as platforms to cure Indian society of its problems. This is the point over which there is a serious conflict of interest between Indian-American donors and many 'South Asian' academicians in the humanities who are deeply entrenched in anti-India activism. To put it bluntly, some oppose the very notion of a strong Indian nation state, calling that chauvinism, and would like a balkanized India consisting of weak sub-nationalities. Many have taken the position that to expose India's 'human rights atrocities' is central to their mandate. This is usually done without giving equal time (or any time) to India's many positive accomplishments in social development and pluralism. Naively putting such individuals in charge of one's well-intended donations would be like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. Questions that donors must address Since Indian-Americans have already earned the highest levels of success and self-esteem, they should not be overly impressed by the prestige of academic institutions. They must utilize their best negotiation skills and not get bulldozed into accepting 'standard' terms from the universities. Indian-Americans have no reason to be over-awed by the Western-centric approaches to social sciences and liberal arts, whose very validity and effectiveness are being challenged by serious thinkers in the West. Indian-Americans should bring to these discussions their own reference points from the corporate world, such as the following questions and issues suggest. A strategic choice must be made between promoting India Studies (which would be a centripetal force helping India's unity as a nation state without compromising its diversity) and South Asian Studies (which is a centrifugal force pushing India towards balkanization). Should the overarching theme support mutual understanding between cultures through exploring India's vast cultural capital, or support political activism against India? What is the brand damage currently being done by Indians engaged in one-sided public tirades, who exaggerate India's internal problems in front of audiences that are ill-equipped to make balanced judgments? How should one approach Indian scholars who have become mercenaries? What is the connection between such scholars and Marxism and its derivatives? To address the above issues, Indian-American donors first need to clearly articulate what they consider to be their own vision of India. Next, they need to examine the degree to which their vision is compatible with that of various humanities scholars. India's brand must not be outsourced to people whose ideologies are subversive of India's integrity. How is India's brand positioned relative to other civilizations? Who are the major competitors, and what are their strategies, strengths and weaknesses? A comparison between India Studies and China Studies, among others, is very important. What are the major brand problems that India faces today? What is the relationship between India's cultural capital and its brand equity? For example, if India can supply world class professionals in so many fields, then why does India have less than two percent of the market share in the massive American industry of yoga, meditation and related areas? Why are there no world class Indian institutions in this field producing the equivalent of IIT graduated.gifs to go and capture world markets – given that the trend in holistic living is increasing worldwide and India has unmatched brand equity that could also boost its health care export industry? Furthermore, the positioning of Indian Classics in academe, as compared to Greek Classics and Chinese Classics, must be examined in relation to cultural capital formation. What are the distribution channels that control the production and dissemination of ideas about India's brand? Who are the key players in control over each stage and what are their critical success factors? In particular, who funds the production and distribution, and who controls the intellectual platforms to think about India? The critical bottlenecks, especially those that tend to be monopolistic, should be identified. What were the key trends over the past 25 years in India Studies? Why has India failed to enter India Studies as a serious player and, by default, allowed Indians to be reduced to consumers who lack their own intellectual capital to drive the field? Why is there no funding for India Studies within India, to empower a new generation of 'insiders of the tradition' to enter the global field of India Studies; to contest old paradigms about India; and to shift the center of gravity of India Studies back to India, in the same way that most other major civilizations are controlling their own intellectual discourse? Donors need to examine the consequences of these brand problems -- such as Indian students' identity crises, and the marginalization of India's soft power. There are valuable lessons in the successes of other American minority cultures that have taken control over their own brand management -- Jews, blacks, women and gays being prominent examples. Based on this type of research, donors should establish targets for the future. They should also establish the criteria for evaluation and the mechanisms to monitor the progress. Undoubtedly, there will be those in India Studies departments who feel threatened by enlightened Indian-American donors entering the discourse as equal partners. One strategy to 'buy out' Indian-American donors is to admit them to prestigious committees where they can hobnob with dignitaries and send picture home. Meanwhile, below are two good role models for objective India Studies in the US: The Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania focuses on the business and political aspects of India: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/casi/ The Center for India Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook is more multifaceted and emphasizes the humanities -- including culture, languages, history, religions, arts and dance: http://naples.cc.sunysb.edu/CAS/india.nsf/pages/about Each is an India-centric approach, in which 'South Asia' is treated from India's perspective. The former example (UPenn) is easier to implement in a pro-India manner, because corporate and political winds have shifted in India's favor lately. However, the latter (SUNY) has made a bigger impact on the identities of Indian students in that university -- one that is attributed to the courage and leadership of the scholars in charge and the Indian-American donors in that vicinity. In the long run, culture will play a vital role in India's brand. Some Indian-American groups are hesitant to tackle the systemic biases that plague the academic work on Indian culture and society. They should delay funding in this area until they have a better understanding of the issues at stake. Their safer bet is to fund business schools. A good example of India's brand management is the recent joint initiative by the Government of India and the Confederation of Indian Industry. (See: http://www.ibef.org/index.asp ) Recommendations for Academic Funding Continue pushing the US to upgrade India on par with China in its discourse, and to decouple India from the South Asian grouping. Furthermore, expose the entrenched academic forces that are subversive of India's stability, which would be very dangerous for US interests. Establish a clear mission statement for India Studies. This should include a position on whether it should remain positioned as a 'ghetto' separate from mainstream humanities, or if, as in the case of Western civilization, India should be in the mainstream curriculum of various departments, such as history, philosophy, music, dance, science, medicine, psychology, politics, and so forth. Keep the Indian-American endowment with a trust/foundation that is in the hands of the Diaspora, and do not give the corpus away to any university. Give an annual budget to selected universities under a 2-year or 3-year contract, subject to evaluation and renewal. Universities do accept these terms. Appoint a knowledgeable Diaspora evaluation and monitoring committee to oversee what goes on in each program, and don't just leave it to the university scholars to send you status reports. The committee should attend classes, read the publications of the department and participate in the events organized. Many problems of shoddy or biased scholarship disappear when the scholars know that they are being watched by the funding sources – as it is done by Western funding sources routinely. Keep the appointment durations no longer than 2 or 3 years in the beginning, until there is enough experience. Tenured appointments are very counter-productive in case an India-hater gets in. Require the program to be India Studies and not South Asia Studies. There is no point in including anti-India scholars on committees and having deadlocks in the decision-making. Examine the program details, and avoid funding scholars and topics that are counter to your vision. Do annual surveys and publish reports on what the effect of the sponsored work is on students and the American public at large.
Posted by: Viren Dec 9 2003, 09:01 PM
Apologies if posted elsewhere.... Congratulations to Dr. S. Kalyanaraman for (not one or two)....but 7 books published! http://www.hindunet.org/saraswati/sarasvati7books.htm
QUOTE
he set of seven books constitute a watershed in the ongoing work of Akhila Bharatiya Itihaasa Sankalana Yojana to present the ancient history and culture of Bharat in an integrated perspective based on multi-discipinary evidences, with particular reference to the civilization which was nurtured on the banks of Vedic River Sarasvati from 8,500 years Before Present. The work establishes that the River Sarasvati adored in the R.gveda in 72 r.ca-s is ground-truth and that the heritage of the expansive civilization is a cultural continuum evidenced in Bharat, that is India. The continuum is unparalleled in the history of human civilization. The code of Sarasvati hieroglyphs has been cracked as mleccha – a language spoken by Vidura and Yudhis.t.hira – and related to minerals, metals and furnaces used by artisan guilds – a tradition which continues into the historical periods evidenced by devices found on punch-marked metal coins all over Bharat from Taks.as'ila to Coimbatore. The discovery and rebirth of River Sarasvati has provided the impetus for the establishment of a National Water Grid to ensure equitable distribution of water to all parts of Bharat and to take the nation to a developed nation status by the year 2020; thus a historical quest has become an extraordinary development opportunity.
Posted by: vishal Dec 10 2003, 11:33 AM
if india's image in western world is bad then i wonder why NRI are happily living in those countries?....THIS itself explains why india's image is bad and on other side NRIs are actiing in reverse and asking indian govt. to better its image! i mean what the fu*k?....what these NRIs are doing there then? huh? on one side, in indian media NRIs do propoganda that "see...we so successfull indians ...we brought PRIDE and good name to india" and on other side India has such image....so WTF? my opinion is that if india is suffering backslash from west in all issues...be it kashmir or iraq...its bcoz NRI COMMUNITY is ir-responsible and in-active and DIVIDED among themselves. i don't expect any improvement unless NRIs(rich and poor class) sort out their own issues first. As far as building Brand India is concerned then its very very difficult because INDIA is the only secular country in the world! So, its very difficult. Second thing is Indian youth in india don't think india of as any great country in front of france,US or japan because even they don't know achievements of India properly! So, instead of wasting money in media propaganda in WEST and buidling good image of india....my suggestion is first Indian govt. should build good image of india in INDIA itself first. Indian govt. should encourage bollywood which is running to malesiya,US,canada to make films on ISRO,BARC,Air force,Kargil,1971,operation parakram. If indian govt. allots a budget of 100 carore for these kinds of films then indians will be happy that their tax paid money is used for spreading knowledge of india's achievements in indians. Thanks.
Posted by: Mudy Dec 10 2003, 12:19 PM
vishal,
QUOTE
mean what the fu*k?....what these NRIs are doing there then? huh?
I am NRI and lot of other who read and contribute to this site. Well Guru Nanak Dev one day gave blessing to his follower after prayer "Ujaroh". People were shocked why he gave such type of blessing. Real meaning of his blessing was spread Dharma everywhere. NRI is doing some Dharma, spreading our culture. Yes, people leave comfort zone that is home or homeland to make money or increase knowledge or to see world, whatever reason after sometime in a foreign country, everyone miss home , its surrounding, culture etc, For some duration NRI fight with its soul that whether it is worth to be away from comfort zone. Slowly he/she start developing comfort zone in new land by creating culture circle, letting other know how great was its root, build temple etc. After achieving success whether monetary or technically he/she always look for people to see or appreciate his/her success. From where he wants applaud or patting on his/her back, from its closet family and which is motherland.
QUOTE
Second thing is Indian youth in india don't think india of as any great country in front of france,US or japan because even they don't know achievements of India properly
Enlighten them.
Posted by: k.ram Dec 10 2003, 04:58 PM
biggrin.gif the question is what are hindus in India doing about it too!!! Speaking as a NRI, I can tell you NRIs are doing quite a bit. I guess the key is to basically organized. The issues will vary from place to place but we need a mechanism to work it out. Different levels, tasks, accountability etc. It is nice to share stories from puranas and stuff, but if we cannot organize and innovate, we perish whether NRI or not.
Posted by: Spinster Dec 11 2003, 07:39 AM
What are RIs doing for India? ask not for it shall hurt. ** Last year I had to make a unexpected visit to India due to my mothers death. Bowing to her wishes, which she often expressed when ever I was visiting her , I took her ashes to Triveni sangam in Varanasi ( I hate the name Ilhabad). I had taken alliance air connection from delhi with a bag containg a mud pot of ashes. I was forewarned that its kind of very difficult to deal with local pandas who perform the rituals on the banks of triveni sangam and the ghats of Varanasi. I dont want to go to the details of how unhygenic the gullies of Varanasi were, how badly the smashan ghats were, and the fleecing of beleivers that goes near the triveni sangam. It looks like nobody is bothered about respecting the religious artifacts, places. It was disgusting to say the least. Now dont mistake me If I am trying to imply only in north of vindhayas this is seen, I have been to Temples (famous but not as rich as tirupathi) where I on my own wished to perform Rudrabhishekam, the cockroaches the fleas etc scared the heck of my fellow family members(NRIs). I am talking about a temple of shiva that is mentioned in Jyotirlinga stotram ( Varanasi, Parle Vijyanath, Rameswaram, draksharam, Srisailam, Ujjain, Somanath etc). I think we need another Sankara like sage to be born to take care of the Hindu temples and environs. I have been factual, If I sound negative please forgive me, I wish nothing but good for the land of Bharatha.
Posted by: Hauma Hamiddha Dec 11 2003, 01:39 PM
Spinster are you meaning Prayaga or Varanasi? Both are holy but sadly dirty and dangerous today.
Posted by: vishal Dec 11 2003, 02:06 PM
spinster, yup, its true....almost all dharma places are in tears today.Its all bcoz of corruption. ghotala in money to god from devotees in mandirs is also becoming open cases in some part! (bhagawaan ke bhog me se chori.... ohmy.gif ) aaalll corrupt everywhere in india... its full kaliyug time here in india biggrin.gif Mudy, i was not saying anything related with dharma and NRIs...i was talking about unity of NRIs is important if they have to show any reach in washington. but what you said about "developing comfort zone in new land by creating culture circle", i appreciate it. specool.gif
Posted by: vishal Dec 11 2003, 02:08 PM
native americans and mexicans are lost tribe(or pravasi) indians? i read about it on portaitofindia.com
Posted by: Mudy Dec 11 2003, 02:12 PM
Temple should come up with Vasheo Devi type management. Hindu should take interest in cleaning or adopting one temple at a time. One small group of Hindus (16-27) recently started cleaning and preserving old temples in Jalandhar.
Posted by: Krishna Dec 11 2003, 02:25 PM
Folks, Please make sure this doesn't become a p!ssing contest between RIs & NRIs. Please! Vishal, I have lived both in India & outside India, from that angle please allow me to share a few points. In India you are safe, with your family, no tension of survival and all that - you have your base established, not much work you need to do from that aspect. OTOH, life outside India is not a piece of cake. Forget the hindi movies for a second as there was no red carpet when we got here. It's very tough, but doesn't seems like that for RIs. And remember, not every NRI is an IITian so there is no 'IIT-brand-name' to back 'em up either. We have to struggle it out. Please do not take this as an excuse but it's a reality. As long as a person haven't developed a career, has every thing set, don't expect much out of that person. Because, when it comes to survival any person would rather choose to survive than do anything else for anyone, or even his motherland. Anyway, I'll give it to ya that we are not so organized as we should be and there is a lot of room for improvment. OTOH, I think there is a lot more RIs can do to develop India. I'll just leave it at that! smile.gif
Posted by: vishal Dec 12 2003, 12:16 PM
"when it comes to survival any person would rather choose to survive than do anything else for anyone, or even his motherland." - Krishna you said nice thing.Its law of nature.Agreed. smile.gif I remember a story on this.From Akbar and Birbal, Birbal proved to Akbar that when it comes to survival of oneself then even mother will choose to save her own life rather than her child's. Let's see how birbal proved it. Birbal arranged a small money baby and her mother in a well and filled the well with water and started increasing the water level.Now, initially mother took her money-baby over her head to save baby from increasing water-level in well.But when water started moving over her head,mother-monkey put her baby down her feets and jumped out of well and saved her life! (i don't know if this is correct story......?) from here i will consider NRIs tobe living more challenging life than RIs. I need to shift my thinking i guess. huh.gif It seems i am into same kinda thinking most RIs have about NRIs.Need to change it thanks (sorry for using turf lang. about NRIs sad.gif
Posted by: Hauma Hamiddha Dec 13 2003, 11:49 AM
The book 'Who is a Hindu' by Koenraad Elst (VOI, 2002) is now available online at http://www.bharatvani.org/books/wiah/
Posted by: k.ram Dec 14 2003, 10:23 AM
Education without soul Michel Danino http://www.newindpress.com/sunday/sundayitems.asp?id=SEG20031212053121&eTitle=Insight&rLink=0 Halt the bloodshed in India. I am not referring to terrorism, but to the school system. Unofficial estimates suggest that thousands of Indian students commit suicide every year, for reasons ranging from an overburdened syllabus and homework to a stressful examination system that results in misplaced competition and constant pressures from teachers and parents. School principals reel out statistics about the “pass percentage” and the “centums” their school has achieved, but are clueless about the number of scarred minds and emotional wrecks the system keeps mass-producing year after year. What ails school education in India? In a word, it is a relic of a colonial system that never even tried to suit the Indian child or India’s cultural context — Macaulayan education made no bones about its real objectives. Incomprehensibly, the system was left unchanged after Independence, or rather kept worsening, weighed down with more and more matter to be stuffed into the students’ brains, more and more exams, and a uninspiring pedagogy. Last July, under the twin banner of the International Forum for India’s Heritage and the A V R Educational Foundation of Ayurveda, we conducted in Coimbatore a workshop on ‘Challenges to Indian Education’, during which over seventy principals and teachers of Matriculation schools were asked for their views and suggestions. The result was telling: everyone agreed that the school system needs a overhaul both in quantity and quality, and that much of the syllabus has little relevance to the child’s environment. A few examples: In Tamil Nadu, geography in Class Six starts with Africa, Australia, South America and Antarctica; it goes on in Class Seven with North America, Europe and ‘earstwhile USSR’! Only in Class Eight do we get to Asia and India. Teachers suggested the opposite approach: start with the school’s district, its hills and rivers which the child can relate to, move on to Tamil Nadu, then the rest of India — and later, to other parts of the world. And use learning aids based on good maps, even games, rather than dry facts and figures. History is presented as a dead record of the past and suffers from much irrelevant data about kings, wars, dates, and dynasties. Again, it could begin with local history and include visits to heritage sites and museums, even make use of films and documentaries, a project asking students to research a particular period to stage a play would automatically raise their level of interest. About world history, brief highlights are sufficient; little more will remain the day after the exam, in any case. Civics goes into needless minutiae of the Constitution; teachers wished to see Indian epics and stories, also real-life incidents, used to effectively convey values, Indian ethics, and the meaning of social duties. Physics in Class Six provides superficial observations on atoms, measurements, mechanics, hydrostatics, heat, light, sound, magnetism and electricity — all of it in one year! Mathematics is spread equally thin. In both disciplines, the stress is on memorising formulae and figures rather than on understanding the scientific concepts and principles behind them. There is too much theory and too little of practicals: just think that some schools have the students perform chemistry or physics experiments on paper! Language teaching should be modernised with functional language labs. Little of India’s rich regional literatures comes the student’s way, while English authors are dutifully mugged up; a few such inspiring works must be translated into Indian languages, thus promoting cross-regional exchanges. Well-equipped libraries should expose students to material of cultural or educative value. Indian music and dance, too, deserve a place. One neglected field is sports and physical education: often there is little of it, as facilities and competent teachers are missing, or those few hours get hijacked for ‘academic’ studies. As long as there are exams, physical education ought to be given proper credits. Yoga should be included in view of its important physical and psychological benefits. The teachers were unhappy with the proliferation of examinations. In some schools, they now start at kindergarten level! Exams till Class Nine ought to be replaced with internal assessment, based on grades rather than marks. In my view, even the public exam of Class Ten could easily be dispensed with. Finally, we reached the problem of pedagogy. The teachers themselves complained that owing to the enormous syllabus enforced through ceaseless exams, the teaching has become mechanical: in most schools, the teacher generally engages in a monologue while the student is expected to passively absorb the endless steam of data (not ‘knowledge’) and regurgitate it on the day of the exams. Rote learning at its worst. There is neither time nor room for a creative participation on the student’s part, no stimulation to understand, reflect and freely question. Both syllabi and exams should therefore encourage understanding rather than mere memorising; a cursory look at exam papers shows how far we are from the goal: most have degenerated into quizzes about snippets, and one can pass without a real grasp of the subject. Finally, the quality of textbooks should be vastly improved, in their substance, presentation and style. Now we are beginning to make out the outlines of a healthier, more meaningful schooling, which should have been worked out right after Independence, had education not been viewed as the country’s last priority. Still, one central problem of Indian education remains to be addressed: Integrating Indian culture into textbook sylabii. (To be concluded) French-born Michel Danino, convener of the International Forum for India’s Heritage, has been living in India for 27 years. He writes and lectures on Indian civilisation. He can be reached at micheld@s...
Posted by: k.ram Dec 14 2003, 10:38 AM
http://newstodaynet.com/14dec/ld8.htm Tracing the contribution of Brahmins to society NT Bureau Chennai, Dec 14: The Brahmin Research Centre, Chennai, has come out with a book Thamizhaga Andhanar Varalaru, which aims to give an insight to the contributions of the Brahmin community to the society. A press release here said the book comprising two volumes running to 4,200 pages, had been compiled after thorough research and contains authentic facts. The book is aimed at propogating communal harmony among the masses. Some of the facts contained in the book include, 'Brahmins have originated in this land and the campaigns that the so-called Aryans have come from alien land is not true and the arguments over the Aryan and Dravidan races is mere imagination'. The book has been compiled based on inscriptions, literature, geographical and humanity studies. The book would be released shortly and would be priced at Rs 600. As an introductory offer, the book would be available at Rs 500. Senior journalist K C Lakshmi Narayanan has compiled the book, which also contains essays of Tamil scholar T V Gopalaiyer, Saekizhar Adipodi Dr T N Ramachandran and French scholar Michel Danino. Those who want to book in advance can send an DD for Rs 550 addressed to Brahmin Research Centre to the address K C Lakshmi Narayanan, vice- president, Andhanar Araaichi Maiyam, 1076, 19th Main Road, Anna Nagar West, Chennai -40. The telephone number is 26183704 or T S Ganapathy Subramaniam, 37 (old no 80), Second Avenue, Ashok Nagar, Chennai - 83. The telephone number is 24894093.
Posted by: k.ram Dec 15 2003, 08:10 AM
Can anyone in India find out how to get this documentary (for US crowd)? Thanks, much appreciate it. ------------------------------------------------- Spiritual journey Resmi Shaji http://www.newindpress.com/sunday/sundayitems.asp?id=SEF20031212064447&eTitle=Cinema&rLink=0 Some critics might dismiss Beyond the Soul as a film of no value, entirely fantastical. But the 90-minute film has won Rajiv Anchal awards for both direction and screenplay as well as the Grand Jury Prize, at the New York International Film Festival held in 2003. The film is based on the theme — Poorva Janma Kritham Papam Vyathi Rupena Jaayathe, meaning, ‘‘wrong deeds done in the past results in the present as ‘Karma Dosha’’’. The film links the stories of a patient, of a doctor based in US and an Ayurvedic physician in Kerala. The doctor surfs the internet to find a cure for this patient and lands up in India. Shot in Kerala and Chicago, the film goes back to the 1920s, when slavery was legally banned (revealing the past life of the patient). Explaining the secret behind the international acceptance of his film, Anchal says, ‘‘To make film accepted abroad, their life should be projected in the movie. They are curious to watch a film about their lives told by a foreigner...’’ Anchal presents the visible and the hidden spiritual side of Ayurveda in Beyond the Soul. His two other films based on spirituality are Guru and Rishi Vamsham. The former is based on Nava Jyoti Sree Karanakara Guru of Santhigiri Ashram and inspired by HG Wells’s The Country of the Blind. Both Guru and Rishi Vamsham faced criticism and opposition from different quarters. Guru was an official Oscar entry in 1997. An ardent devotee of Nava Jyoti Sree Karanakara Guru, Rajiv Anchal says, “I find most of my subjects in my dreams, especially in the early mornings.’’ Giving thanks to his Guru, he says he has had no problems getting people involved in his films. In fact they want to be involved. Anchal started his career with Ammanam Killi, a children’s film in 1986. Butterflies and Kashmeeram are his other well-known projects. His next venture, he says, is Life in Las Vegas, featuring Malayalam stars. This will be followed by another spiritual movie, Invisible Population, based on nature.
Posted by: k.ram Dec 16 2003, 09:41 AM
MEETING OF THE HINDU DHARMA ACHARYA SABHA held at Chennai on November 29, 30 & December 1, 2003 1. The Acharya Sabha, comprising the Heads of various Sampradayas within the single composite whole known from time immemorial as Sanatana Dharma, deliberated comprehensively for three days on November 29, 30 and December 1, 2003 on several issues of concern and importance for the Hindu Society. 2. This Acharya Sabha crystallizes the collective Hindu consciousness and speaks now and shall speak in future, in a single Hindu voice. 3. The substance of the deliberations is mentioned below in a brief statement and is followed by the Resolutions passed. STATEMENT Whereas, Sanatana Dharma is a living continuity over several thousand years, catering to the spiritual, religious and cultural needs of diverse people of Bharata Varsha and embodies an inclusive, all integrating philosophy synonymous with the national ethos of this ancient country and civilization; Whereas the inclusive nature of Sanatana Dharma which is also called Hinduism which seeks to accommodate several concepts in human efforts to understand the relation between Divinity, Human being and the Universe, has been in the past, and is now too, misunderstood as lack of unity; Whereas within the Hindu fold, followers of Sanatana Dharma enjoy full freedom in terms of altar and modes of worship; Whereas Sanatana Dharma accepts the same freedom for followers of other religions of the world; Whereas Sanatana Dharma has never in the past sought, nor seeks now, to subvert, conquer or denigrate other religious persuasions and faiths; Whereas this approach is being taken advantage of by the organized, aggressive religious traditions with origins from outside Bharat to such an extent that there has arisen a clear and present danger to Sanatana Dharma; Whereas such aggressive religions which exist in the country derive all types of support and sustenance from abroad including from governments; THE ACHARYA SABHA PASSES THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS AND CALLS FOR THEIR IMPLEMENTATION BY APPROPRIATE MEANS: RESOLUTIONS; 1. Nomenclature: Henceforth the Sabha be known under the title "The Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha". 2. Religious Freedom: It is resolved - to proclaim that religious freedom means freedom to follow one's own religion or faith and peaceful practices accordingly; that religious freedom does not mean disruption of peace and harmony within a family or society at any level in the name of religion; that freedom of religion may include freedom to expound the tenets and beliefs of a religion but does not include the right to denigrate any other religion or to mislead an individual or a community or to use subtle or blatant, implicit or explicit, aggressive means to bring people, singly or in group into one's own religious fold. 3. Religious Conversion: It is resolved - to reject the theory put forward that people are not converted but convert themselves out of spiritual and religious conviction; to call religious conversion by denigrating the religion of the targeted person as violence committed against the person's soul, family, community, culture and religion to tell the world that conversion is not a movement to enhance the spirituality of a people but it is an organized campaign to surround, attack and significantly reduce the number of followers of Sanatana Dharma; to call upon the State governments to follow the footsteps of Tamilnadu and Gujarat and legislate to place a ban on such religious conversions as by force, fraud or allurements, overt and convert and implement the legislation vigorously; to appeal to the leadership of proselytizing religions in the country to review and change their theological disposition towards Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) to promote harmony and avoid any conflict, violence and disruption in the Indian Society. 4. Welfare of Temples, control and use of funds and property of temples: Whereas the temples of Hindus are not only places of religious worship but centres of cultural concerns and activities; Whereas consolidated Statewide legislations to cover and control places of worship, their properties and financial income and management apply only to Hindu temples under the ostensibly public purpose of improvement of facilities to devotees and better management; Whereas no such legislation is there to places of worship of other religions in the country notwithstanding whether they suffer from malfeasance and mismanagement; Whereas the income accruing to temples from Hindu devotees are being merged in general Government funds and loses its sacred identity; Whereas such temple incomes are not being utilized primarily for the welfare of the temples and Hindu devotees; Whereas such incomes are being utilized indirectly through the Budget mechanism for other than the cause of Hindu temples and Hindu Dharma; IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED: To call upon the State and Central Governments - 1. To undertake only where there is a genuine requirement, temple-specific legislation, ensuring in the process that the temple property and income are managed by genuinely autonomous bodies associating only Hindus of good repute and genuine commitment in the management; 2. To apply similar legislation to the institutions of other religions also, as may be appropriate or necessary; 3. To eventually remove all controls on Hindu temples, religious and charitable institutions, consistent with the principle that the Secular State shall not interfere in the religious affairs of any religion; 4. To encourage and help the people engaged in the retrieval of ancient temples, in rebuilding destroyed temples and preserving ancient and sacred sites of Hindu heritage. 5. Common Civil Code: Whereas the constitution of the country has made a commitment and has given a promise to the people of the country to provide a common civil law for all the citizens of the country; and Whereas the criminal law and related statues are applicable uniformly to all citizens of the country; Whereas there is no ethnic minority in India; IT IS RESOLVED : To call upon the Government of India and all political parties to rapidly move towards implementing the Constitutional commitment without being swayed by fear of or favour to the non-Hindu religions in the country under the false pretext of minority safeguard; To extend the privileges and rights enjoyed by the religious minority to the Hindus also. 6. Ban on Cow-slaughter; Whereas the State and Central governments in the country have been and are overtly sensitive to the claims and demands of Christians and Muslims in the country on the grounds of their religious sentiments; Whereas the governments do not take due note of and respect of the religious sentiments of Hindus despite their being in vast majority in the country; Whereas the Constitution of the country makes a specific promise to ban the slaughter of cows; IT IS RESOLVED - to call upon all Governments in the country to honestly implement this Constitutional commitment of ban on cow-slaughter and to take steps necessary for the proper upkeep of the cow that is sacred to the Hindus. 7. Upliftment of Hindu Society: Whereas the social and economic conditions of people in rural and remote areas of the country are such that fair opportunity is still not available to all of them for self-development and realization of their potential; Whereas several Hindu organizations and religious institutions are doing very valuable social service in the fields of education, public health etc., in the areas within their reach; Whereas it is necessary to explore the scope for complementary and synergy in such Seva work; IT IS RESOLVED: That on behalf of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha appropriate mechanisms shall be established to realize the benefits of such coordination, complementary and synergy. 8. Operational Mandate: Whereas the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha shall function as the body of high guidance and shall meet periodically at the national or the regional levels for: a) taking stock periodically of the situation and concerns of Hindus in the country and elsewhere; and cool.gif pursuing the efforts to implement the foregoing resolutions and decisions taken from time to time. Whereas a permanent Secretariat is proposed to be set at Delhi to: a) work out an action plan and implement it appropriately with the good offices of participating isntitutions; cool.gif function as a coordinating unit and clearing house of mutually useful information; and c) operate a central data-base available for the use of constituents of the Hindu Acharya Dharma Sabha and Dharma Samstha Pramukh Sabha engaged in economic and social upliftment of the Hindu populace. IT IS RESOLVED THAT: 1. Such a coordinating secretarial unit shall be established at Delhi; 2. A flexible and comprehensive mandate is given to the Convener of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha for a) guiding the Secretariat; cool.gif drawing up plans of action; c) supervising their implementation; d) liaising with the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha membership and other Dharma Samstha Pramukhs individually and severally; e) operating as a quick-acting interface with governments and other bodies in the outside world and interacting with them in the furtherance of the interests and welfare of Hindus in general, and in implementing the resolutions and decisions of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha in particular.
Posted by: k.ram Dec 19 2003, 10:12 AM
http://www.yogamalika.org/lect-2.html An Introduction to Vedanta : Vanashrama The Vedas prescribe a life style for the fulfillment of the 4 Purusharthas. This scheme of life prescribed for the benefit of the whole humanity for fulfilling the purusharthas is called Varna Ashrama Dharma or Varna Ashrama Vyavastha. Here Dharma or Vyavastha mean the scheme or pattern of life. This Varnashrama Vyavastha consists of two separate schemes Varna Vyavastha and Ashrama Vyavastha. Human being is a part of the society, therefore he cannot social harmony and live happily. The word social harmony can also be taken to mean national harmony, communal harmony, ecological harmony etc. Varna Vyavastha is the scheme meant for the maintenance of social order. Even though an individual's relationship to the society is of utmost importance, the person's personal need also has to be taken care of. Without a proper balance of the individual's personal and social life, a harmonious living in this world is not possible. The scheme which takes care of the individual's personal life is called Ashrama Vyavastha. The word Varna indicates a class or particular group in the society. In the Vedic scheme, society has been divided into 4 groups viz. Brahmana Varna, Kshatriya Varna, Vaisya Varna and Sudra Varna. Any classification requires a reference point on which the classification is based upon. This classification of the society into 4 groups is done from three different stand points contrary to common opinion which is that the classification is based only on caste. The first classification is based on the birth of the individual and is called Jati Vyavastha. In this, the person who is born in a Brahmin (Priestly caste) family is called a Jati Brahmana (Brahmin by birth), a person born in a Kshatriya family (Warrior caste or the caste of Kings) is called a Jati Kshatriya (Kshatriya by birth), a person born in a Vaisya (Merchant caste) is called a Jati Vaisya (Vaisya by birth) and a person born in a Sudra (Labourer caste) family is called a Jati Sudra (Sudra by birth). This classification is what is known as the Caste System in the present age. The next type of classification is based on the character of the individual and is called Guna Vyavastha. This has no bearing on the caste the person is born in. Here, one who has a religious and spiritual disposition is called a Guna Brahmanah (Brahmin by character), one who is selflessly active and is serving the society all the time is called Guna Kshatriya (Kshatriya by character). Then comes one who is selfishly active. This person is also highly active but all that he does is only for himself and nothing is done for the sake of the society. This kind of person is called a Guna Vaisya (Vaisya by character). The next kind of person in one who is lazy and only does mechanical activities which does not require much thought. This kind of person is called a Guna Sudra (Sudra by character). The third and last method of classification is based on the profession of the person. Here, a person who dedicates his life to the study and propagation of the scriptures and helps the society lead a religious life is called a Karma Brahmana (Brahmana by profession). A person who is in a profession that helps the society like politics, army etc. is called a Karma Kshatriya (Kshatriya by profession). One who indulges in a profession like commerce, business etc. is called a Karma Vaisya (Vaisya by profession). The fourth kind of profession is that which serves the other three professions i.e. Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vaisya. The person who undertakes such a kind of profession is called a Karma Sudra (Sudra by profession). But any particular individual need not belong to the same group for all the three classifications. The Jati, Guna and Karma for any particular person need not be the same. He can be a mixture of the 3 Varnas based on 3 stand points. For example, a Jati Brahmana may be a Guna Kshatriya and Karma Vaisya i.e. any kind of permutation and combination is possible. This means that though a person may have been born in a Vaisya family, if he religiously and spiritually oriented, he would not be prevented from studying the scriptures. Therefore, even though birth may determine the character and profession of an individual to a certain extent, it was in no way the final judgment as to what a person should do with his life. This is the real Vedic classification of the four kinds of people unlike what is the general opinion at present about the Varna scheme. The whole aim of this Varna Vyavastha is to make a person Guna Brahmana irrespective of his Jati i.e. if a person is a Guna Sudra he should be converted to Guna Vaisya first, then to Guna Kshatriya and then to Guna Brahmana. Next, we shall deal with the Ashrama Vyavastha. Here, the word ashrama means a stage of life which is based on the spiritual evolution level of the individual. The scriptures talk about 4 ashramas viz. The Brahmacharya Ashrama (the life of a bachelor/student), Grihastha Ashrama (the life of a householder), Vanaprastha Ashrama (the life of a forest-dweller) and finally Sanyasa Ashrama (the life of a monk). The Brahmacharya Ashrama is devoted purely devoted to learning. Here, a person is taught the scriptures and in addition to it, he is also taught the nuances of the profession he is going to undertake like administration, warfare, etc. In the Grihastha Ashrama, a person concentrates on getting Preyas i.e. fulfilling his material goals viz. Artha, Kama and Dharma and gradually prepares himself for Sreyas i.e. Moksha. Gradually he moves on to concentrating more and more on Sreyas and less and less on Preyas. This stage is the Vanaprastha Ashrama. Finally, a person relinquishes all his material desires and concentrates only on Sreyas (getting Moksha) in the Sanyasa Ashrama. Thus the aim is to gradually make a person shift his importance from achieving material goals to attaining moksha. Following the Varnashrama scheme a person can attain Moksha.
Posted by: k.ram Dec 19 2003, 10:25 AM
From the same site ----------------------- An Introduction to Vedanta : Karma Yoga Though, generally the word Karma means action, here, the it means ‘proper’ action and Yoga means the attaining of proper state of mind to perform ‘proper action’. All actions can be broadly categorized into 3 types which are Nishkama Karma, Sakama Karma and Nishiddha Karma. Nishkama Karma: The Karmas which fall in this category are Uttamam or superior to all other Karmas. They are mandatory for every Mumukshu or seeker of truth. Even if a Mumukshu does not like performing a few Karmas which fall in this category, he has to compulsorily perform it and is not given a choice. These Karmas if done with the proper attitude contribute to the inner spiritual growth of a person. But it should be clear that these do not in any way contribute to the material growth of a person. All the benefits are invisible internal benefits. All Nishkama Karmas can be classified into five categories and are collectively called the Pancha Maha Yajna. The first Maha Yajna is called Deva Yajna. This is worship of the Lord in any form. It may be in the form of a ritualistic sacrifice or yaga, a puja in front of an idol, repetition of a particular mantra, visits to the temple and any other form of worship where a person devotes a certain amount of his to the Lord. The next Maha Yajna is Pitru Yajna. This is worship of one’s parents and forefathers. Here there is unconditional reverence to parents. With regard to forefathers, the scriptures prescribe certain functions to be performed for one’s forefathers which have to be done on certain special days. All those ceremonies come under Pitru Yajna and so have to be compulsorily performed. The third Maha Yajna is Brahma Yajna. This is worship of the scriptures (Vedas) and the Rishis (Sages) who have given us the scriptures. In this Yajna, we are supposed to treat the scriptures as God himself. Above all, a person is expected to read the scriptures and try to understand them. The fourth Maha Yajna is Manushya Yajna. This is worship of fellow human beings by serving them. All kinds of social service fall in this category. The fifth and last Maha Yajna is Bhuta Yajna. This is worship and service to all living beings other than human beings. This includes animals, birds, plants, forests, aquatic creatures etc. Vegetarianism is also included in this Maha Yajna because we are not supposed to kill just for the sake of satisfying our palate. Sakama Karma: This is the second category of Karma. As the word indicates these are actions based on our desires for Artha and Kama. Performing actions for personal gain is allowed in our scriptures and is not considered a sin. In fact, the scriptures themselves prescribe many types of rituals for fulfilling our desires. Though selfless action is considered far higher than selfish action, the scriptures allow these Karmas keeping in mind the common man who is instinctively ‘self-centred’. But the contribution of Karmas which fall in this category to our spiritual growth is far lesser than Nishkama Karma. Nishiddha Karma: All actions which fall under this category are prohibited actions. Performing these actions will take a person farther and farther away from his goal which is Moksha. Actions like insulting other people, hurting others physically etc. belong to this category. Hence, the aim of a Mumukshu (seeker of truth) is increase in the performance of Nishkama Karma, reduction in the performance of Sakama Karma and avoidance of Nishiddha Karma. But in some situations, like killing a cockroach when you find one in our homes, performance of Nishiddha Karma cannot be avoided. In such cases the aim should be to reduce the amount of Nishiddha Karma being performed. The sin which accrues due to this action should be compensated by performing more of the Pancha Maha Yajna. Now, we come to latter part of Karma Yoga which is Yoga. Yoga: Translated into English, Yoga means proper mental state. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that life will be fruitful only if a person maintains a mental state of equanimity without getting unduly perturbed. A Mumukshu is expected to maintain this balance of mind or Samatva, as it is called in Sanskrit. But attaining this state of equanimity is easier said than done! The first step in that process is acceptance of the action and later the acceptance of the result it produces. In our daily life we like a few jobs and dislike many. The scriptures say that we have to accept all actions and their results whether we like them or not. But here, we have to keep in mind that the we must be guided by the scriptures in choosing the actions we perform. The second step is non-comparison of ourselves with others. One of the main outcomes of comparison is jealousy and we would do well to avoid it! The third step is humility. A Mumukshu should never allow his actions to get to his head. If he is able to do a great service to the society, he should thank the Lord and should not get a superiority complex. The next step is devotion. Devotion means the dedication of all actions to the Lord as worship whether the Karma is Nishkama, Sakama or Nishiddha. Here, we accept all the situations, favorable and unfavorable that, arise in life without a grumble. By following these rules, we get a calm mind and we grow internally. This life style is called Karma Yoga which is the first discipline which every Mumukshu has to go through. By going through this life style we get more refined and get qualified for the next two stages Samadhi Yoga and Jnana Yoga.
Posted by: k.ram Dec 30 2003, 09:49 AM
(fwd) Visva, Taijasa and Prajna In Mahabharatha, krshna shows arjuna visva-roopa. This means he gave him access to the perception of the numerous individual minds which cognizes the external world. This is something which a guru like krishna can show to a competent disciple like arjuna. This state could probably be similar to the state of purusha in purusha sooktha in which purusha has a thousand eyes etc English translation of Mandukya Upanishad by Swami Nikhilananda , taken from http://sanatan.intnet.mu/ Contents Chapter 1 - Agama Prakarana --------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------- I Harih Aum! AUM, the word, is all this, the whole universe. A clear explanation of it is as follows: All that is past, present and future is, indeed, AUM. And whatever else there is, beyond the threefold division of time-that also is truly AUM. II All this is, indeed, Brahman. This Atman is Brahman. This same Atman has four quarters. III The first quarter is called Vaisvanara, whose sphere of activity is the waking state, who is conscious of external objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who is the experiencer of gross objects. IV The second quarter is Taijasa, whose sphere of activity is the dream state, who is conscious of internal objects, who is endowed with seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who is the experiencer of subtle objects. V That is the state of deep sleep wherein one asleep neither desires any object nor sees any dream. The third quarter is Prajna, whose sphere is deep sleep, in whom all experiences become unified, who is, verily, a mass of consciousness, who is full of bliss and experiences bliss and who is the door leading to the knowledge of dreaming and waking. VI He is the Lord of all. He is the knower of all. He is the inner controller. He is the source of all; for from him all beings originate and in him they finally disappear. Gaudapada Karika 1 Visva is all-pervading, the experiencer of external objects. Taijasa is the cognizer of internal objects. Prajna is a mass of consciousness. It is one alone that is thus known in the three states. 2 Visva is the cognizer through the right eye; Taijasa is the cognizer through the mind within; Prajna is the akasa in the heart. Therefore the one Atman is perceived threefold in the same body. 3-4 Visva experiences the gross; Taijasa, the subtle; and Prajna, the blissful. Know these to be the threefold experience. The gross object satisfies Visva; the subtle, Taijasa; and the blissful, Prajna. Know these to be the threefold satisfaction. 5 The experiencer and the objects of experience associated with the three states have been described. He who knows these both does not become attached to objects though enjoying them. 6 Surely a coming into existence must be predicated of all positive entities that exist. Prana manifests all inanimate objects. The Purusha manifests the conscious beings in their manifold forms. 7 Some of those who contemplate the process of creation regard it as the manifestation of God's powers; others imagine creation to be like dreams and illusions. 8 Those who are convinced about the reality of manifested objects ascribe the manifestation solely to God's will, while those who speculate about time regard time as the creator of things. 9 Some say that the manifestation is or the purpose of God's enjoyment, while others attribute it to His division. But it is the very nature of the effulgent Being. What desire is possible for Him who is the fulfillment of all desires? VII Turiya is not that which is conscious of the inner (subjective) world, nor that which is conscious of the outer (objective) world, nor that which is conscious of both, nor that which is a mass of consciousness. It is not simple consciousness nor is It unconsciousness. It is unperceived, unrelated, incomprehensible, uninferable, unthinkable and indescribable. The essence of the Consciousness manifesting as the self in the three states, It is the cessation of all phenomena; It is all peace, all bliss and non-dual. This is what is known as the Fourth (Turiya). This is Atman and this has to be realized. 10 Turiya, the changeless Ruler, is capable of destroying all miseries. All other entities being unreal, the non-dual Turiya alone is known as effulgent and all-pervading. 11 Visva and Taijasa are conditioned by cause and effect. Prajna is conditioned by cause alone. Neither cause nor effect exists in Turiya. 12 Prajna does not know anything of self or non-self, of truth or untruth. But Turiya is ever existent and all-seeing. Back to Top 13 Non-cognition of duality is common to both Prajna and Turiya. But Prajna is associated with sleep in the form of cause and this sleep does not exist in Turiya. 14 The first two, Visva and Taijasa, are associated with dreaming and sleep respectively; Prajna, with Sleep bereft of dreams. Knowers of Brahman see neither sleep nor dreams in Turiya. 15 Dreaming is the wrong cognition and sleep the non-cognition, of Reality. When the erroneous knowledge in these two is destroyed, Turiya is realized. 16 When the jiva, asleep under the influence of beginningless maya, is awakened, it then realizes birthless, sleepless and dreamless Non- duality. 17 If the phenomenal universe were real, then certainly it would disappear. The universe of duality which is cognized is mere illusion (maya); Non-duality alone is the Supreme Reality. 18 If anyone imagines illusory ideas such as the teacher, the taught and the scriptures, then they will disappear. These ideas are for the purpose of instruction. Duality ceases to exist when Reality is known. VIII The same Atman explained before as being endowed with four quarters is now described from the standpoint of the syllable AUM. AUM, too, divided into parts, is viewed from the standpoint of letters. The quarters of Atman are the same as the letters of AUM and the letters are the same as the quarters. The letters are A, U and M. IX Vaisvanara Atman, whose sphere of activity is the waking state, is A, the first letter of AUM, on account of his all-pervasiveness or on account of his being the first. He who knows this obtains all desires and becomes first among the great. X Taijasa Atman, whose sphere of activity is the dream state, is U, the second letter of AUM, on account of his superiority or intermediateness. He who knows this attains a superior knowledge, receives equal treatment from all and finds in his family no one ignorant of Brahman. XI Prajna Atman, whose sphere is deep sleep, is M, the third letter of AUM, because both are the measure and also because in them all become one. He who knows this is able to measure all and also comprehends all within himself. 19 When it is desired to describe the identity of Visva and the letter A, the chief ground given is the fact that each is the first in its respective sphere. Another reason for this identity is the all- pervasiveness of each. 20 The clear ground for realizing Taijasa as of the same nature as the letter U is the common feature of superiority. Another plain reason for such identity is their being in the middle. 21 The indisputable reason given for the identity of Prajna and M is the common feature that both are the measure. The other reason for such identity is another common feature, namely, that both represent the state of mergence. 22 He who knows for certain the similarity of the three states and the three letters of AUM, based upon their common features, is worshipped and adored by all beings and also is a great sage. 23 Through meditation on A the seeker attains Visva; through meditation on U, Taijasa; and through meditation on M, Prajna. Meditation on the "soundless" brings no attainment. XII The Fourth (Turiya) is without parts and without relationship; It is the cessation of phenomena; It is all good and non-dual. This AUM is verily Atman. He who knows this merges his self in Atman-yea, he who knows this. 24 AUM should be known quarter by quarter. There is no doubt that the quarters are the same as the letters. Having understood AUM quarter by quarter, one should not think of anything else. 25 The mind should be concentrated on AUM. AUM is the fearless Brahman. He who is always absorbed in AUM knows no fear whatever. 26 AUM is verily the Lower Brahman. It is also stated to be the Higher Brahman. AUM is beginningless and unique. There is nothing outside it. It is unrelated to any effect and is immutable. 27 AUM is, indeed, the beginning, middle and end of all things. He who has realized AUM as immutable immediately attains the Supreme Reality. 28 Know AUM to be Isvara, ever present in the hearts of all. The calm soul, contemplating AUM as all-pervading, does not grieve. 29 One who knows AUM, which is soundless and also endowed with infinite sounds, which is all good and the negation of duality, is a real sage and none other.
Posted by: Sunder Dec 30 2003, 11:35 AM
QUOTE (k.ram @ Dec 30 2003, 10:19 PM)
(fwd) Visva, Taijasa and Prajna
The "Effulgence" that the scriptures talk about, and the "Golden Purusha" is a direct perception in meditation. I know of it from first-person experience. Regarding the Manduka upanishad, here are two lines From the Lalitha SahasraNamam. that summarises the 12 line upanishad. Vishvaroopa jagarini svapanti taijasatmika. Supta pragynatmika turya sarvavastha-vivarjita.
Posted by: Ashok Kumar Dec 30 2003, 03:31 PM
QUOTE (Sunder @ Dec 31 2003, 12:05 AM)
The "Effulgence" that the scriptures talk about, and the "Golden Purusha" is a direct perception in meditation. I know of it from first-person experience.
Sunder, 'Hiranmaya Purusha' or the golden being is reported in the Upanishads to be seen in the heart region and the size given is 'angushtha-matram' i.e. size of the thumb. Sri Aurobindo dwells a lot on it and he calls it the 'psychic being' a spark of divine. He says that way of the heart is the 'sunlit path', since when our psychic being comes forward and takes over the yogic sadhana, it goes without much of the tribulation that may follow other paths. Ramana Maharshi also talks about meditating in the heart and mentions that heart and head (sahasrar) have a connection. Most yogic disciplines talk about concentrating on the seven chakras including heart, Ajna ( between the eyebrows) and shasraar (top of the head). Sri Ramakrishna mentioned that if concentarting on Ajna and Sahsraar cause problems then one should meditate in the heart. Sri aurobindo mentions that our spiritual being is organized in 2 heirarchies: 1. One centered around the heart region in concentric shells. 2. One of successively higher(vertical) levels which in his terminology go from mental, overmental to supramental regions. My questions to you or anyone who practices meditation is this: 1. What is your experience with the heart center versus the head centers? 2. Do you see the 'effulgence' in the head (sasraar or Ajna) or in the heart region? To me it seems that states described in Mandukya upanisad (visva, taijasa, prajna and turiya) are the mental states and not the 'hiranmaya purusha' of the heart . Turiya of course should not be called a mental-state, as it is the substratum of other three states and is closer to brahman proper.
Posted by: Sunder Dec 30 2003, 05:13 PM
Ashok, (I am editing it now that you had read the reply.)
QUOTE
My questions to you or anyone who practices meditation is this: 1. What is your experience with the heart center versus the head centers? 2. Do you see the 'effulgence' in the head (sasraar or Ajna) or in the heart region?
1) The heart center deepens emotions, and increases bhakthi. But retains body consciousness. The one in the head leaves no room for body consciousness.. The second is more enjoyable than the first. 2) In the head, between the eyebrows, about 3-5 inches deep in the head. I Hope this answers your questions, and makes any sense whatsoever. (for more info on sadhana refer to HAMSA Upanishad.)
Posted by: Ashok Kumar Dec 31 2003, 10:28 AM
Sunder, Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences with us! It clearly seems a 'Kundalini' experience. A friend of mine had a simiar experience during an attunement session in 'Reiki'. Her life was out of whack for few months after the event. But she slowly stabilized to normal life. But she said that she felt oneness, universal love etc during that momentous event. After the event she was so much out of it that we got really worried about her. But she has recovered her stability and the event has made her spiritual life much richer. I recall reading that Kundalini rising in unprepared people can be very dangerous for their mental and physical health. How was your life just after your experience? Most gurus say that first an aspirant gets a universal experience like yours as a beacon, but then the energy drops down to a lower level. From where on the sadhak has to try to make that experience more permanent by a long sustained practice. It is like showing in a sudden flash the goal to be reached, but a long toil nevertheless remains to actually get settled in the final abode. Please share more of your experiences with us if you don't mind. How about sounds (anahata) and geometric patterns (mandala)? How about 'shunya' or nothingness? How about 'Purna-ahamtaa" complete -self hood? How about 'vijnana' the holistic knowledge? Regarding heart center, I still think there is more to it than just the 'emotional' center. Upanisads make a great deal about the 'Angushtha matra' 'Hiranmaya Purusha' in the heart. Sri Aurobindo mentioned that heart center is a dual center. The center in front is more like the 'emotional' center or "Anahata chakra' that you mentioned. But behind it is a much deeper heart-center which he calls the 'soul' or 'Karana-sharira' or the 'psychic being' in us. He says that this center is the closest we have in us that is a spark of divine. He also says that this is what transmigrates after death. Physical sheath (Annamaya kosha), Energy sheath (Pranamaya kosha) and Mental sheath (manomaya kosha) are progressively shed during and after the process of death. That is why we lose even memories of our past lives. It is the 'Karana sharira' that carries the essential lessons of each life from one to the next. If you haven't alraedy please look at 'Synthesis of Yoga' by Sri Aurobindo. But the deepest of his works is his epic 'Savitri' that describes various kinds of spiritual awakenings in poetry.
Posted by: Sunder Dec 31 2003, 01:53 PM
QUOTE
It clearly seems a 'Kundalini' experience.
Yes, it was the awakening of the Kundalini. But it was only one of the many approaches and experience that I had in the journey. Kundalini awakening is the most tangible and abdrupt. Your friend's experience from Reiki is also possible. The reason she may have experienced "whacky" behaviour is that her energy was not channeled properly (when your nerves are not ready for it, there is a serious chance of short-circuiting and thus leading to undesirable effects.) Diet control, mind control, breath control are very important for arousing kundalini. But again, note that awakening kundalini is only a means to an end and not the end in itself. Awakening kundalini does not guarantee self-realization nor does self-realization require kundalini as a pre-requisite.
QUOTE
I recall reading that Kundalini rising in unprepared people can be very dangerous for their mental and physical health.
It's dangerous only if it is not channeled properly. If you know how to use fire, it gives you warmth. Else, it burns down the house.. It's that simple.
QUOTE
How was your life just after your experience?
Same as it was before biggrin.gif Life does not change. Your experience and outlook of event changes. You become aware of the experiencer. Your appearance does not change. The way you look at things, and the way you react to things do change. I for instance do not worry, or get angry (for personal reasons) after the experience. I see incidents as incidents. There are two modes I live in - 1) When I am ONE. Where there is no reference to anything else including tsp. And 2) When I am with the normal world, where I love every second of it.. Including TSP bashing smile.gif
QUOTE
Most gurus say that first an aspirant gets a universal experience like yours as a beacon, but then the energy drops down to a lower level. From where on the sadhak has to try to make that experience more permanent by a long sustained practice. It is like showing in a sudden flash the goal to be reached, but a long toil nevertheless remains to actually get settled in the final abode.
In my case, even the first beacon was not a freak chance, but I had to toil for it (over 3 years of constant practise.) Like bodybuilding or any other sports, if you have to get a gold medal in olympics a day or two of practise is not enough. Spirituality is no different. But I agree that when you are beginning sadhana, you have to work hard. Later on, it becomes your nature. Now, sometimes I can go into the effulgence within 4-5 breaths (40 seconds approx?)
QUOTE
Please share more of your experiences with us if you don't mind. How about sounds (anahata) and geometric patterns (mandala)? How about 'shunya' or nothingness? How about 'Purna-ahamtaa" complete -self hood? How about 'vijnana' the holistic knowledge?
Experiences are quite personal and sometimes it's hard to express it (even verbally) let alone in writing. About anahatha and mandalas etc I will tell you a story I made up.. There once was a man who heard that intake of Oxygen sustains life. He immediately joined a chemistry course to learn about Oxygen. He learnt it's atomic weight and structure. Oxygen atoms seemed spehrical with two electrons within and six electrons outside.. He built a temple for Oxygen and performed daily pooja in the hope that some day he will be able to breathe oxygen and gain it's benefits. He regularly went to sat-sangh to hear about Oxygen and shed tears of joy hearing it's virtues. He chanted the O2 Mantra a 1008 times. He learnt the art of Oratory and Rhetorics to be able to debate with another Arabic gentleman who called Oxygen by another name saying that his theory was the only valid theory. After all this, one day it dawned to him that he has all along been breathing Oxygen. Knowing this, he laughed and stopped arguing further. This is my state.
QUOTE
Regarding heart center, I still think there is more to it than just the 'emotional' center. Upanisads make a great deal about the 'Angushtha matra' 'Hiranmaya Purusha' in the heart. Sri Aurobindo mentioned that heart center is a dual center. The center in front is more like the 'emotional' center or "Anahata chakra' that you mentioned. But behind it is a much deeper heart-center which he calls the 'soul' or 'Karana-sharira' or the 'psychic being' in us. He says that this center is the closest we have in us that is a spark of divine.
Kamadeva is refered to with a sugarcane bow, and five arrows of flowers, he has rathi by his side, a Fish flag etc.. But when a person is 'aroused', he does not think of sugarcane bow or the arrows.. He only DOES. In the same way, all analogies are only alalogies. Personal experience cannot be translated to the analogies. It can only be felt.
QUOTE
He also says that this is what transmigrates after death.
I do not know this from experience. Thus I am not able to comment about it. I can talk about the transmigration from theory, and from Katha upanishad or the Bhagavat Geetha. I am not rejecting the theory, but I think there is no death or birth in reality.
QUOTE
If you haven't alraedy please look at 'Synthesis of Yoga' by Sri Aurobindo. But the deepest of his works is his epic 'Savitri' that describes various kinds of spiritual awakenings in poetry.
I haven't read any work of Shri Aurobindo yet. Do you have any links online ? I regularly read and revell in http://www.kamakoti.org and from the upanishads from http://sanskrit.gde.to BTW, It's easier to sit and meditate than to type out my experiences..
Posted by: G.Subramaniam Dec 31 2003, 09:10 PM
Role of women in the Hindu renaissance MOHINI SARIN Dec 5, 2003 India Post (An abridged text of the speech delivered at 'Hindu Ideological Empowerment Seminar' conducted as part of the 'Human Empowerment Conference - 2003' held in Chicago on November 1). Hinduism has always eternally eulogized the feminine aspects of creation and contains many female forms of the Divine like Goddesses Kali, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ambika and Uma. Worship of the divine and the Motherhood of God is a unique feature of Hinduism. Motherly traits such as tenderness, selfless and unconditional love, forgiveness, gentleness and kindness are attributed to the Divine Mother who is the very first manifestation of Divine energy. Hindu women are uplifted and empowered as the very Shakti (omnipotence, omnipresence, divine manifestation) of the universe and enshrined as the consorts and co-creators of the entire cosmos. This rich pantheon of Hindu Goddesses provided inspiration, instruction and solid historical precedent to legions of great Hindu women in the timeless annals of ancient and modem Hindu history. These Goddesses are not to be relegated dismissively to a mythical role but revered and accorded a sacred place as positive living embodiments and potent, endearing and enduring symbols hewn form personal family roles and duties they initiated public welfare programs and dispensed alms and charity to the poor and observed strict religious faith despite administrating collection of revenue and demonstrating abilities far beyond their years to raise and organize armies, deploy weapons and by virtue of their supreme courage Hinduisms perennial cultural and spiritual matrix which has given birth to great legends and heroines. Hindu queens such as Ahilyabai Holkar (1735-1705), Rani of Jhansi, Durgavati and Keladai Chennamma were single-handedly entrusted with complex affairs of statecraft due to death of spouses and hapless circumstance. Even though they had to maintain their and capabilities command and win the erstwhile flagging loyalties of their soldiers and defeat powerful and cunning enemies despite lack of strategic support, betrayals safely uphold the honor of their respective states and kingdoms under siege by British, Moghul and other kingdoms. Patriotism was their lifeblood and many of these noblewomen stated that it was preferable to die with honor protecting their people and country. These positions and precedents of the high place of honor accorded Hindu women in history in all fields of politics, warfare, art, science, religion and literature contrast greatly to the biased so-called modem western feminist theories on the place of women in 'Third world' reduced to a distorted depictions the 'allpowerful' Hindu mate chauvinist ceded cultural 'sanction' to dominate the 'powerless' female. Author Veena T. Oldenburg in her seminal research "Imperial Origins of a Cultural Crime - Dowry Murder' dispels this generalized misinformation which has been consciously fed to western and Indian readers and audiences for years relatively unchallenged. Gloomy portraits of dowry murder, inter and intra-caste oppression, female infanticide, sati andchild marriage are keenly depicted in mainstream international publications and films. It is due to the often unexamined motives of those writers whose acerbic denigration of Hindu women's place in society are posited as established facts. It is a fact that very many of the so-called evil consequences of Hinduism were malicious inventions of the British imperialists and their apologists who were recruited to stem the tide of anti-imperialism influencing skeptical international and domestic opinion that the colonial presence in India was essential as a Christian 'civilizing' mission rendering the Indians to falsely accept that they were incapable of ever ruling themselves. Oldenburg corroborates the fact that the Imperialists reengineered and restructured a male dominated social ethos by introducing alien. Concepts of land and property acts that disproportionately discriminated against women divesting them of her status and power within the socio-economic family structure which had benefited her and provided her with security and protection for centuries. In order to effectively remedy these layers of misconceptions it is essential that Hindu women organize educational and awareness programs through studied, sincere and involved research and contribution of articles and scholarship to academic forums, women's professional groups, guilds, foundations and media in third obscured area which is critical in resolving the origins of internecine gender conflicts which have been exacerbated by this confusion and lack of awareness into the spurious and specious motives and intentions of those who benefit economically and politically from engendering fissures in Hindu society in order to prevent harmony and progress and propagation of Hindu Dharma. Now that Hindu women are relocated in greater numbers in the western context and many are first generation born there will be a natural growth and evolution and transference of these newly discovered and revealed qualities 'towards independence, virtue and self esteem which will play a very important and vital role in establishing an identity and redefining our higher potential and objectives. Independence allows for inward and outward expansion in a very positive and constructive manner if we now take stock of who we really are and gain an absolute sense of mission; purpose and direction. (The speaker, born and raised in the UK and currently residing in New York City, is a certified gemologist by profession. Her current activist work includes fighting for social justice for minority women in Bangladesh. She can be reached at )
Posted by: acharya Jan 2 2004, 12:30 AM
Revolution in Bharat?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> We are going through an evolution almost in everything in Bharat. Bharat is an exception, where never ever a revolution has taken place as we read in the history what happened in Russia, China, Europe and south American countries and so on. In Bharat all these -isms have failed and things will change in Bharat by evolution that is by educating people and it is happening. The cut throat competition is there in business so the businessman will make all efforts only for money whatever a common man may say and expect. As far as Film and English media world is concerned they are the lowest of the low in morality they are on sale for a price in Bharat. It is sad but we are helpless here. The TAMO GUN is dominant. First, all Indian languages including Sanskrit and Hindi MUST NOT be seen as ethnic languages. They are Prakritic (natural) languages that live in certain geographical areas, but belong to all Bharatiyas, whether they speak them or not. When one goes and lives in Bengal, learns Bengali over time, same with Tamil and Tamil Nadu, Marathi and Maharashtra (but all of them remain Bharatiya where ever they might live in Bharat). It is but natural to pick up the local language. Second, this so-called "Hindi" language (the Bollywood) kind has been so corrupted beyond recognition that it is better to leave such a decadent instrument of popular expression to die a natural death. As any lover of Hindi - the Hindi of Premchand, the Hindi of Surya Kant Tripathi Nirala, the Hindi of Maithili Sharan Gupt, the Hindi of Mahadevi Verma, the Hindi of Babu Devaki Nandan Khatri, and the Hindi of Acharya Chatursen Shastri – Hindi lovers do not recognize the "Hindi" that is touted as Hindi these days. What remains is nothing but some filthy trash. Let this stupid Khuda-forsaken language die. Polluted Hindi needs to be royally cremated on the Manikarma Ghat in Varanasi. Let us take Hindi. It is spoken and understood by many millions but it is not spreading, as many people would wish to see. For this the people who are responsible for its development must work hard for its vocabulary, its use in computer, use in all fields of science /technology /business. As there is always a silver lining atop dark clouds, the spirit of Hindi can be rekindled in the Samaskriti-Bharati movement. Let Samskrit develop as a Sampark-Bhasha of Bharat over time. Let Dev-Bhasha become a Lok-Bhasha. The Bharatiya civilizational purpose would be served by such a development. Other Bharatiya languages such as Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, and especially Malayalam, preserve a great amount of Dev-Bhasha in their wombs. Until Samskrit reincarnates as a Lok-bhasha and Sampark-bhasha, it is better to nourish and promote non-Hindi Bharatiya languages. Let not the eventual death of Hindi create a linguistic vacuum. Many people would be more than happy to teach their children a non-Hindi Bharatiya language that is closer to Samskrit, than the filth known as (Bollywood) Hindi. Many people, including non-Hindi speaking people are ready to accept Sanskrit, Hindi or any other Bharatiya language because it has developed and has a motherly love for her children but not Urdu or English as these both languages lack love and affection for Bharat and responsible for division of Bharat. Urdu played a dirty game and was a major player in the game of partition of Bharat. This Urdu is a slow poison for Bharat, people should understand it. Sri Jayendra Saraswathi on Puja in temples on 31st midnight Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Opposes Puja in temples on 31st midnight. In the recent past, it has been the practice of some temples to keep them open even during midnight on December 31, to celebrate the English New Year and do Puja. Kanchi Sankaracharya, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swami addressing Reporters in Kanchipuram, has opposed this and said that it is wrong to do puja in temples in the midnight. All temples should be closed in the night as usual and should be opened the next day early morning by 3 or 4 a.m. as usual. So far. January 1 was a holiday under the Negotiable Instruments Act in Tamilnadu, and a holiday for the State Government staff. This year, Government of Tamilnadu has changed this and it will be a working day on January 1, 2004. A welcome change indeed! This practice should be adopted for whole Bharat. Bajrang Dal issued threat against New Year celebrations http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/dec31/n2.asp BHOPAL, IANS: Activists of the Bajrang Dal in Madhya Pradesh have warned the people against celebrating the New Year. In a statement issued here, the radical group said people with a "slave-like mentality" were planning to hold "vulgar" programmes on the eve of the New Year of a calendar that had nothing to do with Bharatiyas The group warned the people against all New Year celebrations. The group's members toured cities in the state in small groups to stop any programme that they consider to be "against Bharatiya traditions". Once Bajrang Dal activists disrupted a fashion show in Gwalior district of northern Madhya Pradesh. For the past few years, the Bajrang Dal and other Hindu groups have also been disrupting Valentine's Day celebrations as well. Many people wonder, when we are going to change our holy day from Saturday (Jewish holy day) and Sunday (Christian holy day) to either one of our Hindu holy day of the week! It looks as though we still are slaves to Christianity. Britishers have left our country, but we haven't left the Britishers and even their English language! What an irony! Some people would like to invite them back to Bharat to rule!!! Many nationalist Bharatiya people truly admire Christians, Muslims and Chinese. They don't even give a hoot to anyone else. They do whatever they think is best for them. Look at the Muslim nations - They have changed the holy day back to Friday! Look at Burma and several countries have changed their names except our country! We are still retaining name India for the world, whereas Pakistan (for half of Muslim India) they too could have called themselves India! But no, they have pride in their religion - Islam. Bharat has still many names of cities and towns based on Islam like: Allahabad, Muradabad, Ahmadabad, Muzaffarnagar, Jamalpur, Hyderabad There are many more such names. Come on now, have some self-respect!! In Bharat those who know a little English they feel superior and look down who do not know English and this is a slave and savant mentality introduced by Lord Macaulay and this is the worst of the worst for Bharat, The secular or English educated guys are way off the tangent because they fail to read the heart of a nationalist Hindu mind and look for some faint signs of hope for spreading mental slavery. They are failing to read the Hindu pride of the common man, whether he is rightist and outwardly pro-Hindu or a subtly and inwardly Hindu. The silent Hindu is the most decisive factor. The English and secular media must understand the unspoken feelings and views of a nationalist Hindu and it is NOT EASY for them. Their rationale for them is that English is Universal language and earns them money. The English medium newspapers will always try to denigrate the nationalist forces because of the monetary patronage they get from the enemies of the nation. It is not possible for the nationalist forces to match the foreign powers in monetary terms. We nationalist Bharatiya must try to work on person to person contacts and help organisations like RSS, Hindu Maha Sabha to spread the message of adopting Bharatiya names, customs, traditions, culture, of nationalism, of Sanskrit language, to the rural areas and whole Bharat as fast as possible. The influence of English language must be reduced from Bharat and Sanskrit must be promoted in whole Bharat. Most of the English press, which is anti-Hindu, anti-Bharat, must be destroyed. Secularism or rather pseudo-secularism is dying a silent death since a long time ago. That's why development issues hogged the poll limelight, as they should. Then why rake up secularism again? Because that is still the best bogey, actually the only bogey available to camouflage the Congressmen's incurable itch for power. ---------------
Posted by: Hauma Hamiddha Jan 2 2004, 03:55 PM
Sunder (it looks as though you have deleted the post regarding the ascent of the kuNDalini), your post is very intriguing indeed. I have known a couple of relatively novice tantriks who had a kuNDalini ascent and the effect on them was devastating- one underwent bodily pains and contortions, while the other literally lost his wits in a wierd way. Another tantrik known to us, who practised vAmAchAra, was able to control the burst of activity on the ascent, but it did alter his behavior periodically, till he was initiated into one of the samayin paths. If may take the liberty to ask: did you experience any specific dreams/visions before or after the event.
Posted by: Sunder Jan 2 2004, 04:23 PM
Hauma, I deleted the post so not to draw too much attention to the experience and away from the topic of the thread. i.e. Indian Culture. About the experience of the Tantriks. I presume that there was no ground work done or proper care taken before they practised Raja-Yoga. Diet control and thought control is very important. (While I had read some tantric texts purely out of curiosity, I would not recommend "Veera-bhava" for novices.) If someone drinks alcohol/coffee etc or is afflicted by diseases, or emotions like anger/depression etc, there is no clarity of nerves. This may lead to short-circuiting when Kundalini awakes. Hence the contortions. Secondly, they should practise SAMYAMA (Ref:Patanjali YogaSutras) before taking up serious Raja-Yoga. As I see it, the brain is electro chemical process, and to excite them and take full advantage of their capacity, one has to keep the mind and body under control. I personally did not experience body pains or contortions. I did however experience deep empathy, hightened sense of Intuition, a lack of interest in the "normal world" and cheap jokes etc.. I could not stand lying or deception (including white lies) to a point that I stopped laughing at jokes (as most jokes laugh at someone's misfortune, stupidity or some other similar attribute.) I used to have dreams where Shankaracharya, or Sri Krishna, or Devi used to occur (but this is no big deal, as your dreams reflect only what you constantly think of in Jagrut avasta). Thus the dreams themselves mean nothing compared to the effulgence. A week before, and about a week or so after the experience I DID however feel "electric current" passing back and forth in my body during sleep.. It was a weird weird dream, and my mind instinctively started chanting "Shreem" while in the dream. The "electric" effect lasted about half minute to a minute in all. The next day I was a bit concerned but undaunted. Fortunately for me, my father (and my guru) guided me thru the initial fear. The second and third "electrifying" effects were not as scary. Incidentally all three times, the experience happened in my sleep, and sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 AM. With time and practise, this can be overcome. But one definitely needs a guru (or someone who knows what is to be expected) to guide you thru it. As for 'undoing' the contortions, the first step is to discontinue practise of Kundalini, and slowly but persistently take the mind off from the "internal world" towards external, like say, sceneries, or slow music etc. Nothing too shocking or exciting. Lot of self confidence (Mano Bhalam or Atma Bhalam) is needed from the practicioner to get back to a "normal state".
Posted by: kautilaya Jan 2 2004, 06:18 PM
Sunder I have sent you a personal message. Please check you PM on the board. Thanks
Posted by: SSRamachandran Jan 5 2004, 10:48 AM
My letter to BBC on the BBC program http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/docu1.shtml Dear BBC, I am an ardent listener of BBC and was very shocked and disappointed at the portrayal of Hinduism in your program "The sword and the Ocean". It is utterly shocking to see a responsible news source like BBC painting almost a billion people with a broad brush. I am in no way defending the atrocities committed in Gujarat. In case you have not noticed these gruesome clashes between Hindus and Muslims have been going on for the past 250+ years in the subcontinent. How have you noticed a more "Aggressive form of Hinduism" emerging? Do you have any new trends or statistics? It would have been nice if you had given some empirical evidence instead of interviewing a few individuals. The ground reality is that India is trying to become a more assertive power. Nationalism runs deep in the community and people are proud of their society and culture. That might make a lot of people uncomfortable for a lot of reasons, but that surely is not "Aggressive Hinduism". Being proud of one's society, culture and roots is not a crime. If you are going to editorialize, then at least have people from all over the spectrum. Regards Ram
Posted by: Mudy Jan 5 2004, 11:01 AM
Good work SSRamachandran, BBC South Asia desk is run by Paki. Till BBC don't remove him from this position, India and Hindu bashing will continue. Good way is to keep sending displeasure through emails and letters. Britisher also know for divide and rule policy, they always want to keep conflicts alive.
Posted by: SSRamachandran Jan 5 2004, 11:34 AM
I did not know the south asia desk is manned by paki blink.gif
Posted by: Mudy Jan 5 2004, 11:36 AM
http://web.mid-day.com/news/city/2004/january/73054.htm By: Rupa Chapalgaonkar January 5, 2004 Pune: The 87-year old Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) bears a sad look. A temple of thousands of rare manuscripts, ancient books and palm leaf inscriptions the institute's relentless efforts were destroyed in half hour's time, when a mob ransacked the institute, leaving behind an irreparable loss. The institute was ransacked by nearly 250 members of a group called Sambhaji Brigade over a book written on Shivaji by foreign author James Lane. The book 'Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India' acknowledges one of the Sanskrit scholars, Shrikant Bahulkar of BORI in it. The Shiv Sainiks had blackened Bahulkar's face to express their anger over this mention on December 22. To protest this incident, Gajanan Mehendale, well-known scholar and chief editor, Cultural Index of Mahabharata, BORI tore 400 unpublished pages of his biography of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. However, the controversy seemed to have resolved when Lane apologized for his statements on Shivaji. The book's publisher, Oxford University Press, too, withdrew the book from the market by its publisher Oxford University Press. However, today's incident has aggrieved veteran scholars at the institute who have given every bit of their life for development of the institute. Especially, excruciating is the destruction of manuscripts, 30,000 in all, stored in 50 cupboards in institute's premises. The manuscripts, which were based on varied subjects like Ayurveda, veda, kavya, shilpa, mahabharata, bhakti, amongst various other, were sourced from many parts of the world. Palm leaf inscriptions, photographs, statues too have been caused an irreparable damage. Computers storing digitalized volumes of information lie in a smashed state. Dr Gajanan Mehendale, 86 years of age, feels, that research will become impossible in institutions like BORI if anti-social elements will try to bog down researchers by use of violence. N B Marathe, assistant editor, Cultural Index of Mahabharata, says with mellowed eyes, "We did not give out the original manuscripts to anyone be it person from any part of the world. Today, we do not have words left to express our anger." Students from countries like Germany, Japan, Switzerland, China, France, United Kingdom visit BORI for research every year. President of the Governing Council of the Institute Leela Arjunwadkar, who falls short of words as she stands in front of heaps of broken glasses all over the institute, is unable to assess the monetary loss but feels that the cultural heritage of India has received a big setback. "It is difficult for the institute to stand back on its feet," she says. According to an eye-witness, the mob came to the institute at a time when the institute was less crowded. While some started pelting stones and breaking glasses, some cut the telephone lines so the police could not be contacted. The Pune police have rounded up nearly 71 men, who came in Sumo jeeps at 11 am in the institute. Joint Police Commissioner (crime), Maheshgauri, said, "Those who will be arrested will be booked under relevant sections of IPC like sections 143, 147, 148, 149, 295, 395, 120 (cool.gif, and 121." BORI was established in the year 1917 to commemorate the works of Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar. When the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute was founded in 1917, the then Government of Bombay handed over its entire collection of manuscripts (nearly 20,000 manuscripts) to the Institute. The Institute has also received grants from the Government of India and the University Grants Commission for specific research projects. The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute normally works through its four main Departments: 1. Mahabharata and Research Unit. 2. Manuscripts. 3. Publication and 4. Post-graduated.gif Teaching and Research.
Posted by: k.ram Jan 6 2004, 07:36 AM
Dear friends,?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O /> This is an update on the activities of FACT, Forum Against Continuing Terrrorism. On the 23rd December last, the first meeting of the proposed Tolerance/Vedic/ Holocaust museum (name not fixed yet) took place in ?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 />New Delhi. It was a high level meeting in the presence of Mr. Chowdury, Director National Museum; Prof A.K Dass, Director Lal Bahadur Shastri Museum; Dr OP Kejariwal, Director Nehru National Memorial; Meenakshi Jain, Historian; Anupa Pande, Director Institute, National Museum; Dr Gurpreet Maini, Historian, Punjab Library Centre; Dr Biswas, ex director National Museum etc. We defined the goals of the Tolerance Museum: a path breaking museum, which will for the fist time depict Indian history in a frank and forthright manner; it will be modeled on the lines of the Jewish Holocausts museums, but will differ from them in the sense that it will start by defining the idea of Hindu Dharma and depict in a virtual manner all that was great in Vedic history (and has been depreciated and post-dated by Western and Indian historians). It will show how this Great Dharmic tradition survived all the successive Holocausts and even assimilated some of the invaders. We will finish by highlighting some of the problems which India faces today (Ayodhya, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc) and by projecting India as a great spiritual, cultural and industrial power . Next meeting is slated for 19th January in Delhi. We will start forming working groups and assign them research areas, as we have divided the museum in six periods. 1) We start with the idea behind the Hindu Dharma, that is the Vedic and post-Vedic period. 2) First to 6th century BC, the pre-Islamic period, with the first invasions, Greeks, Huns. 3) 7th Century to 12th, the Islamic invasions. 4) Mughal period13th to 18th. 5) European invasions. 6) India Today and tomorrow. Please pass the word around that we need a lot of contributions so that this dream may become true. Cheques have to be made in the full name ‘Forum Against Continuing Terrorism’, otherwise they are refused by the ICICI bank and sent to me: Francois Gautier, 41 Jorbagh (1st floor), New Delhi 110003. Or directly credited to the FACT account: ICICI bank limited, New Delhi, Connaught Place branch a/c N° 000705005844. They can also be sent via an organization which has a charity tax exemption (ours will take some time to be obtained), such as IDRF USA, Kashmir Overseas Association, VHP UK, etc It is easier for us if the cheques are in Indian rupees. Happy New Year to all François Gautier Convener FACT thumbup.gif
Posted by: k.ram Jan 6 2004, 07:41 AM
Subject: Code of Conduct of a Bauddhika Kshatriya ADVERTISEMENT A Bauddhika Kshatriya would base his/her conduct on the great Intellectual Warriors of the past like Adi Sankara, Guru Gobind Singh, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo. A Bauddhika Kshatriya would assemble a team of dedicated workers to uphold the convergent triumvirate of Indian nationalism, Indian Consciousness and Indian culture against this information and media onslaught. `Such individuals must be above commercial manipulation and self-promotion, working tirelessly to counter this disinformation flood.' A Bauddhika Kshatriya shall be adept in the ancient Indian technique of tarka or intellectual debate. The individual must be a perfect combination of Brahma (spiritual power) and Kshatra (political power). The Bauddhika Kshatriya would project an articulate and compelling intellectual view that would bring back the alienated western educated Indian elite to its eternal roots. As Frawley suggests, "A true Kshatriya is devoted to Dharma and cannot be won over by name, fame, influence or money. He is not seeking office, to create a vote bank, or to gain followers, but to uphold Dharma without compromise or inflexibility." Swami Vivekananda had recognized the idealism in the youth and channelised that towards the advancement of our nation. Swami Vivekananda in the east, Savarkar and Tilak in the west and Sri Aurobindo all combined Indian Consciousness with patriotism in gallant attempts to turn Sanatana Dharma into a world cultural force through which a notion of Greater India could be projected. The modern Bauddhika Kshatriya would embed the solutions of modern contemporary issues in a traditional mould and propel the inhabitants of this great nation toward materialistic progress coupled with spiritual fulfillment. The Bauddhika Kshatriya would think, act and influence others. The Bauddhika Kshatriya shall not escape the realities of modern mundane life. He/she would transcend it with clear visionary thinking. The Bauddhika Kshatriya would be dispassionate, calm and still argue with the precision of a missile. The Bauddhika Kshatriya would not fear or complain about adverse circumstances; he/she would take the fight to the enemy camp, set the agenda and be proactive in all circumstances. The Bauddhika Kshatriya shall be revolutionary in outlook and would correct historical wrongs committed by the people. As Frawley states, "The new intellectual Kshatriya must throw up an ethical challenge, which is the challenge of Dharma, exposing the danger of exclusivist religious cults, materialistic political philosophies, and unchecked commercialism. The West throws its ethical challenge to the world, criticizing other countries, including India, for lack of human rights. This requires a Hindu response, which is to expose the West's promotion of arms sales, environmental depredation, and projection of sensate materialism all over the world." The Bauddhika Kshatriya would establish an alternate to the current western models of science, religion and politics. The Bauddhika Kshatriya would objectively analyze and explain unanswered questions like why Hindu-majority areas like Lahore, Sylhet and Chittagong were given away to Pakistan by Nehru. The Bauddhika Kshatriya would be the messiah of Indians everywhere on Earth. The Bauddhika Kshatriya would assist the Indians in Fiji, aid the Indians in Malaysia, enthuse the Indians in Africa and inspire the Indians in the Americas. The Bauddhika Kshatriya would emancipate the hungry millions of the land, yet making the ideal tradeoff in the guns versus butter choice. The Bauddhika Kshatriya would establish Ram Rajya in this country and demolish the ant-Hindu communist conspirators mouthing socialist shibboleths in the universities. Challenges before the Bauddhika Kshatriya A Bauddhika Kshatriya would combat the following sections of the Indian nation. 1. Mullah: This refers to the Sunni Muslim elite, which insists on a separate identity than their Indian one. The present government spends more than 190 crores on the Haj travel in an action devoid of any economic benefit. The imam of a certain mosque refused to pray for the soldiers at Kargil as they were combating a Muslim Pakistan. The Moplah rebellion and activities of SIMI also fall in to this category. 2. Missionary: This refers to the Christian missionaries who openly attack Hinduism . In spite of Gandhiji openly criticizing conversion , the activities of the missionaries have continued unabated. Using deception , violence , disguise under cloak of school and hospital the missionaries have contributed directly to the present chaos in the Northeast and the tribal hinterlands of MP and Orissa . 3. Minorityist: This refers to the so called secularists dominating our landscape today. The National Human Rights Commission displayed this by raking up the Best Bakery Case while turning a Nelson's eye to the Jogeshwari case where the accused Muslims were acquitted for want of evidence. The Election Commission of India displayed this by postponing elections in Gujarat, while holding it in the much more disturbed Jammu and Kashmir. 4. Marxist: This refers to the extreme Chinese nationalists [88] born as Indians merely by `accident of birth'. They successfully transformed Calcutta from a gem to a dowager of a city within 25 years of misrule. They further have left no stone unturned in any anti-national activity in the country. 5. Mandalist: This category brought the Indian public sector to its ultimate downfall by implementing time bound promotions for certain Superior Castes/ Scientific Tribes also known as SC/STs. They destroyed meritocracy and established anti-Brahminism as the fundamental philosophy of political life. 6. Mayoist: This refers to the progeny of Catherine Mayo, whom Gandhi described as `a drain inspector'. This category believes that everything good in India came from outside and everything bad is purely indigenous. They constitute most of our Page 3 socialites. 7. Maoist: This refers to the Naxalites and their fellow journeymen who believe in a nation-less world. Their imprudent action has only served to accentuate poverty in regions they afflict. 8. Macaulayite: This refers to the Convent-educated elite marinated for years in Nehruvian socialism. They have inculcated several characteristics from the above listed categories. Their legendary activities make them more Christian than the Christians themselves. 9. Me, Mine, Myself: This category has never bothered itself with any development till they are directly impacted by it. But often it is too late for them to react when it actually comes to them. 10. Media: This M-factor is controlled by the above 9 Ms. This so called secular device has done untold damage to the Indian nationalistic feelings, religious traditions and cultural values. Conclusion The modern era is characterized by several radical developments like the deluge of information for which there appears to be no precedent in history. This provides both an opportunity and a risk factor to the emergence of India as a great global power. The enemies of the nation have mounted an unprecedented attack on it. Any attempt to benefit India in the remotest way is criticized openly or `stifled with silence'. As the soul of India wrenches in misery at the myriad knots the so called secularists weave, the weave nation as a whole awaits the emergence of a new Swami Vivekananda to lead it through these turbulent times.
Posted by: k.ram Jan 8 2004, 10:31 AM
The unlikely pundits MANJARI MISHRA http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/398915.cms TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ THURSDAY, JANUARY 01, 2004 01:15:09 AM ] LUCKNOW : The proudest moment in his life, says Shahe Zama Ansari, would be when he could explain in detail, intricate passages from Bhagwat Gita to the village elders in Nivada, a small hamlet in Mubarakpur. The lot expressed its gratitude to Ansari by promptly rechristening him Pandit Shahe Zama, proudly recalls this 22-year-old Acharya in Sanskrit. Ansari now plans to set up a ‘pathshala’ to introduce other Muslims from his native place to Sanskrit language. Ansari, incidentally, is one of the four Muslims selected for a week-long Central government-sponsored special training for Sanskrit teachers. And while he could be one of the youngest among the trainees, forty-something Mohammad Laam is acknowledged as the brightest pupil. In fact, his family in Khajuria, Prayag is already well-known for its command over Sanskrit. Laam introduced his teenaged son and daughter — Tajuddin and Rabbatun — to the language since their infancy. ‘‘And now they can speak as fluently as I can”, he declares. He would like them to follow his footsteps by doing their post graduation in Sanskrit as well as Acharya course. It would be much easier for these two to do so than it was for me, says Laam. Initially, he faced stiff resistance from hardcore Hindus and Muslims as well. “There was rejection, ridicule and shock when I opted for Sanskrit language and it took quite some time for it to ebb away”, he confides. Dilbar Ahmed Siddiqui had been luckier. Well-versed in ‘Karm Kand’, Siddiqui has taken part in a number of ‘hawans’ organised in his home district Meerut . Be it marriage ‘mantras’ or ‘upnayan samskar’, his expertise is unchallenged. Of late he has earned a new and eager convert — his wife who has filled up a form for Acharya this year. Over the last few years, Sanskrit has ceased to be a domain of the upper caste Hindus in UP says, Sacchidanad Pathak, director of UP Sanskrit Sansthan. That more than a dozen, among a batch of 100 teachers selected on the basis of merit from all over the state, are from minority community or dalits, he feels, is extremely encouraging, adding “as they know the subject well, they naturally command more attention and applause”. Back home, it could be a different story though. Mahendra Nath, a dalit teacher from Azamgarh complains about the “Sawarn outrage at his supposed encroachment in their exclusive preserve”.
Posted by: Hauma Hamiddha Jan 8 2004, 10:40 AM
Way to go.We need to have more Moslems and Dalits like that all over the country !
Posted by: k.ram Jan 8 2004, 11:22 AM
Yes HH Hindutva is key to achieve this. guitar.gif
Posted by: kautilaya Jan 8 2004, 11:26 AM
QUOTE (Mudy @ Dec 11 2003, 12:49 AM)
I am NRI and lot of other who read and contribute to this site. Well Guru Nanak Dev one day gave blessing to his follower after prayer "Ujaroh". People were shocked why he gave such type of blessing. Real meaning of his blessing was spread Dharma everywhere.
The story actually goes: Guru Nanak and his disciple Mardana were travelling around as usual, and came upon a village where people were very rude to thme. They also seemed to be fighting amonst each other all the time. While leaving the village Guru Nanak says "Basse raho", i.e. Continue to live here. A few days later they come to another village which is exact opposite. Everybody is polite, spiritualy involved, helpful, and friendly. While leavin this village Guru Nanak says "Ujad jao", i.e. Disband and leave the village. So, Mrdana asks the reasone for these weird utterances, and Guru Nanak says that by disbanding the second village the people will be able to spread the happiness and spirituality around, hence the "ujad jao".
Posted by: k.ram Jan 8 2004, 03:40 PM
http://www.dailypioneer.com/indexn12.asp? main_variable=oped&file_name=opd3%2Etxt&counter_img=3 Hindutva is growing in relevance Bulbul Roy Mishra Both Swami Vivekananda and historian Arnold Toynbee found Hindu resilience against the onslaught of Islam and Christianity extraordinary in the annals of civilisations. It was Hindus' fortress of tolerance and a sense of equanimity that no outside conquerors could penetrate, and this distinguishes the Hindus from others. Both pointed out, though in different context, that the Hindu India stood out as the only country which, despite Islamic rule for six centuries, had not turned into Dar-ul Islam, and despite British rule for next two centuries had not turned into a predominantly Christian country. Some intellectuals distinguish the term Hindutva from Hinduism, holding that the former being an aggressive cult is clearly distinctive from traditionally non-aggressive Hinduism. Hence, to them Hindutva is a distortion of Hinduism, and is comparable with Islamic fundamentalism. Even though the Supreme Court has not found any distinction between the above two terms etymologically, let us accept there is some merit in the perception of the intellectuals who have found aggressiveness in the exponents of Hindutva, while none in Hindu philosophy. This phenomenon merits an analysis in perspective which is regrettably wanting. In the first place, it is wrong to think that the concept of Hindutva is a recent phenomenon. On the contrary, such aggressive face of the Hindus did surface whenever they faced an attack to their core identity, to preserve which they have taken to uncharacteristic regimentation and stringent rituals. This was done primarily to segregate the Hindus from those outsiders who had intended to conquer them not only physically, but also by extinguishing their core identity. Lord Buddha was accepted by the Hindus as an incarnation of God, but when Buddhism posed a threat to the Hindu identity by way of large scale conversion, aggressive Hindutva surged in reaction, primarily at an intellectual level, under the leadership of Adi Shankaracharya, the great spiritual master. Under the Islamic rule and again during the British, we found resurgence of the same aggressive Hindutva, holding out a protective barrier to prevent penetration that could shake off their very identity. The Hindus have never felt the need to convert a person of another religion to their own. They have never castigated a non- believer as an outcaste or a sinner. On the other hand, they have recognised atheists like Charvaka as a saint. When the same liberal Hindus excommunicated fellow-beings on the flimsy charge of beef- eating, it was only to raise a protective barrier to prevent further penetration of a foreign culture, religion or tradition. The following two questions have to be addressed here in the above perspective. First, what is the essence of Hinduism that lies at the core of its identity? Second, what has led to the resurgence of Hindutva in secular, democratic India? In order to understand the essence of Hinduism, we should refer to the following slokas in the Upanishads: "Om purna madah, purna midam, purnat purna mudachyateh, purnasva purna madaya purna mebabosishyate." Meaning, "Whatever we see is purna, whatever is beyond is also purna; from purna emanates purna; if we subtract purna from purna what remains is purna." Thus the Hindu concept of God is purna or the "all-pervasive whole". As in mathematics, zero minus zero is zero, in Hindu philosophy, purna minus purna is purna. Some describe this purna as "sunya" or zero. All that exists is included in this purna or sunya or zero. Herein lies the difference between the Hindu concept of God and God in other religions. While other religions believe that God is one, the Hindus say God is all-pervasive. Hindu God exists in all beings, in every atom or sub-atomic particle. Thus the Hindus believe in identity of souls and develop equanimity or same-sightedness. None is superior or inferior to a spiritual Hindu. It is possible, according to him, to realise God within self. He also sees God in others. This explains the multiplicity of gods in Hindu concept. Hindu philosophy teaches us to respect one and all as God dwells in all. As to the question, what has led to the resurgence of Hindutva in present time, we often indulge in naivete by attributing it to political motives. The fact remains that ever since independence, the raison d'etre of vote politics virtually led every major political party to look for Muslim votes by securing a fatwa from the ulemas. For the above purpose they responded to every demand of the ulemas regardless of whether such political response was for the ultimate good of the Muslim community. Such abject vote politics has increasingly alienated Hindu masses from those parties, as they were already provoked by Partition on communal consideration followed by Kashmir annexation. Cross-border terrorism, three Indo-Pak wars and the lingering Ayodhya dispute even after the ASI findings have proved incendiary for Hindu reaction. Then, it was counterproductive with the Muslims so far as their development was concerned, even though Muslim percentage has considerably increased since Independence. The compulsion of vote politics kept them backward so that they listened to the dictates of the ulemas and continued to vote the ruling party to power. In a democracy, the number of votes is the sole determinant in the race to power. Hindu reaction can be seen in the form of votes for the BJP. Resurgence of Hindutva is a reaction to above factors since Hindus have felt an identity crisis. Hindutva will play a greater role in the coming elections unless the ground situation changes altogether.
Posted by: Sunder Jan 8 2004, 04:13 PM
Propaganda alert from Aligarh. http://www.iranchamber.com/podium/history/030812_varahamihira_iranic_astronomer.php By: Dr. Samar Abbas, 2003, Aligarh, India
QUOTE
Moreover, the fact that he named his astrological works using the name "Jataka" is significant, for it is identical to the name of the Scythic-Buddhist cycle of legends on the Buddha's former lives. Furthermore, the focus of his research was the Surya-siddhanta system, a clearly Iranic school of astronomy, as its name, derived from the ancient Iranic sun-god Surya or Assur or Asshur, clearly indicates. The term "Surya-Siddhanta" means "Treatise of the Sun", while the alternative name "Saura-Siddhanta" denotes "Treatise of the Sun-worshippers". Since the only exclusive Sun-worshippers in South Asia are Iranic, it follows that Varahamihira was an Iranic sun-priest or Magus (Biswas 1949).
Posted by: Hauma Hamiddha Jan 9 2004, 12:20 AM
A large number of Indian texts whose sanskrit originals have been lost in India survive in Chinese translations in manuscripts recovered from China, Tibet and Central Asia. Most interesting of these are the texts for the worship of gaNapati that were found amidst these manuscripts. The Indian manuscripts were probably lost when the Moslems destroyed vikramashila and nalanda. 1) mahAgaNapati tantra 2) Arya gaNapati hR^idaya 3) mahAvinAyaka rUpopadesha chintAratna 4) Arya gaNapati bali vidhi (Author: kR^ishNapAda) 5) vinAyaka homa vidhi 6) Arya gaNapati homa vidhi 7) vinAyaka graha nirmochana (Author: GYAnavajra) 8) mahAgaNesha sAdhana 9) gaNapati sAdhana daridra nidhiprada nAma (Author: dIpaMkarabhadra of vikramashIla 10) gaNapati guhya sAdhana (Author:amoghavajra of kA~nchipuraM) 11) meghAloka gaNapati sAdhana (Author: ratnavajra) 12) shri AGYA vinivarta gaNapati sAdhana (Author: indrabhUti of Kashmir) 13) gaNapati sAdhana mahAchakra nAma (Author: avadhUtapAda) 14) vinAyaka rAja sAdhana 15) sunipuNa mahAdeva vighnarAja sAdhana (Author: dIpaMkara) 16) subudha devamahAvigna vignarAja sAdhana (Author: vairochana of Koshala) 17) shri gaNapati chakra sUrya 18) shri gaNapati shAnti sAdhana 19) Arya gaNapati cintAratna 20) mahAgaNapati dhAtutrika rakta vashikara sAdhana 21) krodha gaNapati sAdhana (Author: suvarNadvIpa) 22) Arya gaNapati cintAratna 23) gaNapati samaya guhya sAdhana (Author: chanakIrti) 24) Arya gaNapati rAgavajra samaya stotra (Author: dIpaMkarashriGYAna of va~nga) 25) Arya gaNapati stuti 26) gaNapati stotra (Author:amoghavajra) 27) kAmeshvara stotra
Posted by: k.ram Jan 9 2004, 10:48 AM
Forgotten foundations of Carnatic music http://www.hindu.com/op/2004/01/06/stories/2004010600161300.htm CARNATIC MUSIC, the classical music of southern India is a well-preserved art form, not only surviving many centuries of alien rule but actually growing and thriving until today. Though the music has remained unchanged, the culture and style of performance has changed greatly in recent years because of commercial sponsorship and increased opportunities to make money. As a result its practitioners have begun to view the music rather differently to the way the forefathers did, leaving many music and art lovers disappointed about where it is all heading. Roots in Vedic culture The music has its roots in our Vedic culture and its principal purpose has been to soothe and uplift the soul. It is a mukthi marga as the saint composers like Thyagaraja and Dikshitar sang and wrote about. The lyrical or sahitya content is almost entirely devotional or philosophical, sometimes referring to the Upanishadic doctrines of advaita and oneness in the creation. Mukthi or liberation from worldly suffering is only through the knowledge of the self and the discovery that one is not separate from the creation but one with it. Such a knowledge comes from a study of the Upanishads and related texts like the Gita. Mere study however does not guarantee self-knowledge as it calls for a mature mind that is ready to assimilate the truth about (a) the oneness with the creation and (cool.gif the self not being a doer of actions nor an enjoyer of the fruits of actions. This is why the Gita talks a great deal about preparatory steps or sadhanas for the attainment of atma jnanam or self-knowledge. Karma yoga or the carrying out of obligatory duties/actions with an attitude of surrender and acceptance of whatever comes, dhyana or meditation to concentrate and retrain the mind to think correctly about the nature of the self, as well as related activities such as japa and sankeertan are the main ways to remove the many obstacles towards gaining jnanam. Carnatic music can be described as sankeertan as well as a type of dhyana that quietens and concentrates the mind; and hence is a valuable aid towards preparing the mind for self-knowledge. Apart from the opportunities for spiritual evolution that Carnatic music is unique in enjoying, it is an art form and accordingly allows the practitioner to indulge in creative and emotional self expression. Like a painter who uses the canvas and the brush to encapsulate his ideas and emotions pertaining to life and experience, the Carnatic musician is at liberty to express his emotions and ideas within the confines of the musical traditions. The music is largely manodharma or improvisatory within a set framework of compositions, ragas and talas. Self expression and self evolution are the foundations of Carnatic music that are withering away today under the onslaught of increasing commercialisation and desire for riches. The concentration of performers seems focussed on catchy rather than soulful renderings, all copyist and sounding the same, with little interest or understanding of the greater meaning behind the lyrical and musical content of the compositions. Every musician will be seen paying lip service to the greatness of saint composers like Thyagaraja but when the annual Thyagaraja Aradhana comes, fights and arguments about which musician takes centre stage abound! Egotistical fights Then there are the egotistical fights and claims about one's musical lineage or guru parampara being the best one, as well as boasts and claims about one's musical patanthara (a term that means a certain style of rendering a composition written two or three centuries ago) being the authentic one! This is a matter for reflection and is laughable in a way, when one considers that the great composers themselves would have thought nothing big of their compositions. To them composing was a very natural thing to do — it was just an expression of their musicality, emotion, humility and love for fellow beings. Yet we have today this most unhealthy situation where musicians vie for maximum publicity and acclaim based on their parampara and patanthara. Ego-driven gimmicks from musicians to market and publicise themselves are the style of the day, as though music was something tangible like a soap powder that could be sold to the masses through good marketing and advertising tactics. Of course, the public too is guilty of aiding this crass commercialisation as it adores those who market themselves best and those who produce the `easy listening' music that their tired and distressed minds can take. Yes, Carnatic music has been reduced to `easy listening' music belonging more in the realm of popular music and art, rather than music that aids in reflection and culturing of the mind and senses. MADHUKAR
Posted by: k.ram Jan 9 2004, 11:05 AM
Interesting. Esp. communists have infiltrated and confusing brahmins?!?!?!?! ---------------------- Priest wrecks Vedic wall, earns Brahmin wrath JOHN MARY Thiruvananthapuram, Dec. 28: A young priest teaching Hindu scriptures to non-Brahmins has drawn the wrath of Brahmin groups who term the effort as a Vedic affront. On November 12, Puthumana Maheswaran Nampoothiry had declared that he would impart Hindu mantra to all, irrespective of caste, colour, gender or creed. The 24-year-old priest has initiated 144 people into the fold, presenting them with a sacred thread in a formal Upanayana ceremony. Non-Brahmins outnumber upper-caste Hindus among his disciples, one of whom is a Catholic. Mainstream Hindutva organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the RSS-controlled Temple Protection Committee have endorsed Maheswaran Nampoothiry's move. But the Yoga Kshema Sabha, the once-progressive Brahmin movement led by the late Marxist ideologue, E.M.S. Namboodiripad, is up in arms, calling it a "proletarian gimmick", while the Akshaya Kalapeetom has resolved to take the battle to the Supreme Court. "Letting all and sundry perform sacred rituals would sap the Hindu religion of its essence," said Kalapeetom president G.. Nampoothiry. Maheswaran Nampoothiry, however, seems to have found favour with the general public. A section of the people fails to see it as an earth- shattering event as the Vedas do not discriminate on the basis of caste or lineage, there are some who believe that it is a velvet revolution in a revivalist society. They call it the next best thing to happen to Kerala after the Temple Entry Proclamation in 1930 by the Chithira Tirunal Maharaja of Travancore, throwing open temples in south Kerala to untouchables. The six-month course, comprising four steps, trains disciples in basic Hindu rituals. "It is one's own interest that leads one to higher realms of Vedic gyan", said Maheswaran Nampoothiry. Many non-Brahmins hope the lessons will give them a passport to priesthood in the 1,300-odd temples in the state, including the famous hill shrine of Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta and the Sree Krishna Temple at Guruvayur in Thrissur. However, there are some aiming for things higher. "It's not just the job that lures me. Doors of wisdom have been opened to the underdog and given me an opportunity to reach excellence," said Ramankutty, a clerk at the government secretariat. According to G.. Nampoothiry, Brahmins are the only inheritors of Vedic wisdom. Non-Brahmins do not belong to the gotras, and what they have lacked for ages cannot be imparted through a crash-course. "We are, therefore, against the radical move to dilute the Brahmin priestly lineage. It would be akin to letting the genie out of the bottle," he said. Maheswaran Nampoothiry cited last year's Supreme Court verdict, striking down Brahmins' exclusive claims to Hindu liturgy and rights to performing Vedic rituals. The judgment had come on an appeal by Rajesh, a non-Brahmin priest employed by the Travancore Devaswom Board. The Akshaya Kalapeetom is mobilising community opinion to challenge the verdict before a larger bench of the Supreme Court. G.. Nampoothiry has alleged that Maheswaran Nampoothiry's prime motive is money. Maheswaran Nampoothiry, who was threatened with dire consequences if he continued teaching Vedas to non-Brahmins, has had to seek police protection. He said his next move would be to undertake a mass campaign to free the Vedas from the clutches of the Hindu clergy, "who claim the patent on Vedas". Maheswaran's endeavour, however, is not the fist of its kind. In the 1970s, the late Gandhian, Easwaran Nampoothiry, had started a school. But it did not meet with any protest.
Posted by: k.ram Jan 9 2004, 11:08 AM
Dalit women of the Periyakarumbur village performing a Gopuja recently. One of the deities at the Siva temple in Periyakarumbur. Periyakarumbur. It is an unpretentious village near Gummidipoondi, a 70 kms dusty and bumpy ride from Chennai. A few years ago, if somebody were to try to do a Gopuja at this Dalit village, scorn would have been poured over him or her as the village was a motley mix of communists, DMK men and atheists. A Gopuja was indeed performed recently by the Dalits of the village. So how did this sociologically important event happen? To answer this you have understand the importance of this village. Periyakarumbur is the seat of one of the ancient Siva temples that dates back to 12th century. But it was in a highly-dilapidated condition. The state of this hoary temple brought in a group of committed workers who are involved in renovating such care-needed places of worship in many villages. These workers, not only help renovate historic temples, but also ensure that local Dalits are involved in all functions and rituals. Like at many other places, at Periyakarumbur too, the locals were initially reluctant. But soon the persistence and the sincerity of the loyal band of temple-servers began to pay dividends as the villagers started to become receptive. So much so, that they themselves cleared the dense thorny shrubs and vegetation that had obscured the deities. They also put up a thatched roof of a decent Balalayam for the presiding deity. And slowly, they pitched in their first contribution towards renovating the temple. And the committed workers of the temple brought a Sthapathi and pumped in some of their own money into the project. Today, the Garbha Griham with the Vimanam of the Siva is complete. The Ambal Garbha Griham and the Vimanam, the separate Aalayams for Vinayaka, Muruga, Chandikeshwara and the Nandi Mandapam are complete. What remains to be constructed is the Maha Mandapam and the compound wall for the temple with the stone steps leading to the temple tank. But how did the Gopuja happen? How did those Dalits, used to driving their old cows and cattle to the animal brokers who would mercilessly pack them off into trucks to Kerala for slaughter, end up worshipping cow? Well, somewhere into temple renovation, work got stuck for some unforeseen reason. Try as much as the Hindu volunteers did, there was no progress. So they did a prasnam. It simply revealed that the villagers will have to perform a Gopuja in the upcoming temple complex. The volunteers themselves were slightly skeptical while making the Gopuja proposal to the villagers. But they were wrong. The villagers were told that nine cows with their calves were needed for the puja. And the volunteers got twenty, so much so they had to rush to the nearest town instantly to buy new vastram for the additional animals. More surprises lay in store for the volunteers. When they asked whether the puja should be done in Tamil or Sanskrit, the locals whole-heartedly answered Sanskrit. So in a village where till a few months ago, the cow was meant to be protected as long as it was giving milk, but driven away to some Moplah buffet later, it has now become sacred. The villagers have also vowed not to send the cattle to Kerala for slaughter in the future. One Dalit, named Ekambaram, went to the Hindu volunteers, handed over his milch cow and calf and said: 'Sami, our Siva and Ambal would need milk each day for Abhishegam. Please accept my cow and calf as my gift for the temple'. Cutting across lines, the villagers said in one voice: 'We will provide feed for this temple cow without fail' Suddenly, that cow has now become the kovil maadu. A proper go-dhaanam was instantly accepted on behalf of the temple. Wonder what made such a transformation possible? Well, it is simple. The Hindu volunteers had reached out to the indigent and innocent villagers. Once sought out, the villagers were only too happy to participate in all the activities. A vilakku puja is set for this full moon day (7 Jan) in which the local women are expected to participate in a large number. It is a story that is worth taking to many villages in the State. But trust every story to have a twist in the tail. The success of Hindu volunteers in involving the Dalits in temple and mainstream activities has not gone down well with the local missionaries. Long used to using the 'aggrieved' Dalits, Christian missionaries have now stepped up their activities in these parts. A well-known evangelist group, known for its conversions, has set up a new 'japa mandapam' in the area close to the temple. Looks like work for the Hindu volunteers is not over as yet.
Posted by: Mudy Jan 9 2004, 12:12 PM
QUOTE
Dalit women of the Periyakarumbur village performing a Gopuja recently.
Good job, Same initiative should spread all over India. thumbup.gif
Posted by: k.ram Jan 9 2004, 12:38 PM
PRE-PORTUGUESE CULTURE OF GOA By Prof. George Moraes Published in the Proceedings of the International Goan Convention Editors: Myra Tavares, Armand Rodrigues, Zulema de Souza , Al Mathias Reproduced with permission of the Goan Overseas Association Goa was aryanized when Chandragupta Maurya incorporated the West Coast of India in his province of Aparanta, and the impact of Magadhan Prakrit, the official Language of the strongest empire India has ever known, on the local Dravidian spoken in this part of the coast, resulted in the formation of Konkani, as was the case with other Aryan vernaculars. For, influenced by the Magadhan Prakrit, the Dravidian languages could not only hold their own but flourished beyond the Magadhan frontier. After the Maurya Empire had passed its meridian in the second century B.C. its satrap in Aparanta made himself independent. A scion of the imperial Mauryas. the dynasty he founded ruled over the West Coast for well nigh four centuries from its capital Sopara, the Bombay of those days, now a suburban station. The history of the dynasty is almost a blank. The records so far found disclose the names of only three of its kings, namely Suketavarvan(1) who ruled some time in the fourth or fifth century, Chandravarman(2) in the sixth century and Anarjitavarman(3)in the seventh, but furnish no clue as to their mutual relationship. The dates are approximate. They are fixed by comparing the style of the Nagari script in which these records are written with the stages in the evolution of this script, which may be dated fairly correctly. It is possible to infer from the places mentioned in these records and their find-spots that at its zenith the Western Maurya Kingdom comprised the Lata or South Gujarat. coastal Maharashtra, Goa, and half of the North Kanara district. The Bhojas were a thorn in the side of the Western Mauryas for centuries. They are mentioned, to begin with in the edicts of Ashoka among the peoples serving the Maurya Empire in its frontier districts. And it fell to their lot to garrison its South-Western tip, consisting of part of the West Coast. On the decline of the Empire, the Bhoja Chief of the times made himself independent in his domain, following the example of the governor of Aparanta, and assumed the royal style of Maharaja as the latter had done. The records disclose the name of five of his successors - Devaraja' who ruled some time in the fourth century Simharaja(5) in the fifth Prithvimallavarman(6) and Asankitavarman(7) in the sixth and Kapalivannans in the seventh. From Chandrapurta, the present Chandor. their capital. the Bhojas extended their kingdom which at its widest extent included Goa and the districts of Ratnagiri and Kolaba to the north and half of the Kanara district to the south, besides, a part each of the Dharvar and Belgaum districts in the east across the ghats. The Mauryas could not remain supine to the loss of their territory. After a long warfare, they succeeded in overpowering the Bhojas and bringing the entire West Coast under their rule. The Bhojas cease to appear in the annals of the West Coast so much so that when the Chalukyas of Badami resolved to annex it to their kingdom, they had to reckon with a sole power - the Mauryas. To them, in the picturesque words of a Chalukya record. Kirttivamma was a 'night of doom', but it was Pulikesi II that gave them the "coup de grace". After the Chalukya interregnum, the Rashtrakutas who had thrown off the Chalukya yoke in the Konkan left it in the safekeeping of their loyal feudatories, the Northern and Southern Silaharas, while they themselves betook to the Deccan to stake their claim to imperial power. In his thought-provoking book on Goan Emigration (Goyancaranchi Goyambhaili Vasnuk) in Konkani, the notable Goan historian, the late Mr. Varde Valavlikar, holds that the Rashtrakutas who were proud of tracing their origin to Lattalapur, styling themselves. 'Lattalapuravaradhishwaram' or boon Lords of Lattalapur, were Goans(cheddes)(9), identifying Lattalpur with Loutolim in Salcete. The identification seems more reasonable than with Latur in Andhra Pradesh as suggested by earlier historians. For one thing, the advance of the Rashtrakutas was from west to east and not vice versa as it would have been, if the latter identification were correct. For another, a Rashtrakuta is mentioned as an important individual in a record of the Maurya King Anirjitavarnan (seventh century)(10), and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the family gathered enough power in the course of years to be able to replace the Chalukyas. The Silaharas ruled over South Konkan for about three centuries when they had to yield place to a new power that had risen in the hinterland, the Kadambas, and was casting covetous eyes on the famous maritime city of Chandrapura through which the regions behind the ghats carried on their overseas trade. The Kadambas ruled Goa for two and half centuries until its conquest by Mahmud Gavan on behalf of his Bahmani master. The Hindu rule was restored in Goa by Vijayanagar. The Sultan of Bijapur re-conquered it only to lose it to Albuquerque in 1510. The people could Live a peaceful life in their village communities unaffected by these vicissitudes. In a typical village community, the cultivable land was divided into three classes: the highland, the land at a lower level where the settlers have their dwellings, clustered together in their respective wards for mutual protection. and the land at the lowest level which is the most fertile part of the village. This low land is carefully built up and enforced by embankments which prevents water from the village gushing into the cultivable part of the village, the so called Khazan area. From embankment to embankment the entire village is cultivated, the water from the stream nearby being regulated by small dykes and when necessary by larger ones at its mouth. Self-sufficing and self-supporting and each with its own statute for the cultivation of the land in common, these tiny republics were left alone by the powers that be, who were content to receive from them a small portion of their produce and in exceptional circumstances a tax to overcome a grave crisis. Composing the vangores or families of the original founders of the villages were the Gauncares and others admitted by the latter to share their status. The income from the properties of the village was ear- marked for the upkeep of worship and the payment for the essential services such as those of the barber, the blacksmith, the basket-maker and sorcerer. The clerk - who often was a gauncar himself-was held in high esteem and enjoyed the privilege of cultivating a choice field in the village while the priest and other servants received adequate payment.(10) Buddhism was popular and held the field in the Konkan for twelve centuries. It had been brought to Sonaparanta, as Goa was then called, by a son of the soil, a direct disciple of the Buddha, Purna, in the fifth century B.C. The impression left on the psyche of the people by the enrapturing personality of the Buddha even when Buddhism, enfeebled by splitting into sects, was losing its hold, is well brought out by an inscription of the Bhoja King Asankitavannan (sixth century A.D.). It describes the Buddha as one "whose feet are licked by the rays of the shining jewels in the coronets of gods and demons", and "a reservoir of countless virtues". And significant in this connection is the epithet "affectionate without a motive", applied to him.(12) An added impetus was the profession of Buddhism by both the ruling houses. the Mauryas and the Bhojas, the people even in religious matters following in the footsteps of the rulers. Buddhism so profoundly affected their workday life that Bodhidharma. founder of the Zen School of Buddhism in China during the early part of the sixth century, hailed according to one account from this milieu, actually from a royal family ruling over the West Coast of South India. It has been suggested that he might have been a prince of the early Kadamba family. The suggestion, however, in untenable for the reason that the early Kadambas are not known to have come under the influence of Buddhism. And since the account puts emphasis on the South, he was connected rather with the family of the Bhojas than that of the Mauryas - that he was a Goan in other words. With the emergence of Vajrayana, Buddhism lost its pristine purity. Its esoteric practices were regarded as immoral, and it went down in the eyes of the elite. Far worse with the inclusion of the Hindu gods in its pantheon it began to lose its identity. And before long a situation was reached in which the gods were the same and only the priests were different. The supersessions of the Buddha by Maitreya, Amitaba, Avalokiteshvra a misfortune. They lacked the character and personality of Sakyamuni. With Sankara and Ramanuja, many saints and their disciples, Saivism and Vaishnivism, acquired an active priesthood. And while the forceful energies of Buddhism were declining the Brahman-Hinduist religion enjoyed a sort of revival. Hinduism and Jainism fame to be in the ascendant, obtaining greater patronage from the royalty and the people. It should be noted however, that Brahmans of the times were not of the same extraction as the present Brahmans of Goa. the Sarasvats, their gotras being different. The appearance of the Sarasvats in the Konkan for the first time is in the records of the Shilaharas (800 -1200) - holding eminent positions of ministers and the like. They suffer an eclipse during the Kadamba rule and subsequent period, but are seen as occupying a premier place in society during Portuguese rule with the epithet 'honrado' applied to them in the Jesuit letters. The advent of the Chaddos seems to have been coterminous with that of the Sarasvats, seeing that the village communities are for the most part shared by these two classes. Shenvi: the honorific of the Sarasvats, analysis of which had long remained a mystery,is now revealed by the discovery of two of their records. It corresponds to the epithets Dvivedi, Trivedi, and Chaturvedi usually borne by Brahmans, and means 'versed in the six vidyas'.(13) There is some truth in the statement that all that is good and great in the East has gone into the building of temples. To this task of temple building the Shilahara and the Kadamba contribution was considerable. According to a missionary estimate of the seventeenth century, there were three hundred temples in Bardez alone, each village boasting five shrines dedicated to deities collectively known as Pamchadevata.(14) These shrines are all fallen prey to the ravages of time and vandal, but two temples managing to escape, each reveals a style developed under the respective aegis of the two dynasties that brought Goa under their rule during the pre- Portuguese period - the Shilaharas and the Kadambas. It was reported recently that the Archeological Section of the Historical Archives of Goa had found the ruins of a temple at Kudnem village, and I was thrilled to read the further detail laconic though it was, that there is the curvilinear tower, rising above the edifice. The Shikhara crowning the Garbhagriha. the sanctum, is a distinguishing feature of the Shilahara temples, as exemplified by the beau ideal of the Shilahara temple architecture, the Saiva temple, built by King Mammuni in 1060 A.D. at Ambarnath, now a suburb of Bombay on the Central Railway beyond Kalyan. As behoving the Bombay region, the historic meeting place of nations, the temple is a harmonious blending of what distinguishes the Northern from the Southern styles, the curvilinear tower, the Shikhara of the Northern temple and the Mukhamandapa, the elongated porch surmounted by the vimana, a tube-like horizontal roof of the Southern ones, in whose shade, the Sukhanasi, the weary worshipper could stretch his legs after his orations. The sanctum, a sunken square chamber, is reached by a flight of steps. In the middle of this chamber is a Linga, which is the cult object. Dr. H.D. Sankalia and Mr. A.V. Naik, who have written a learned article on this temple, find something unique in the image of Mahishasuramardini. She is generally represented in the Tribhanga pose (pose on three bends in the dance and in art). But here at Ambarnath "her Tribhanga form is dancing, vibrant with spirited action. and graceful with beautiful curves of the neck, back, arms and legs".(15) I was so taken up by this splendid monument, a proud testimonial to the high watermark to which our art had attained during this period, that I thought it was worthy of a monograph. like those on the European Cathedrals, expatiating on its glories. I could not attempt the task myself. It was beyond me to solve the problems it set, specially the dance depicted in the frieze running round its walls, for the identification of which a knowledge of the folklore, which may still be surviving in the locality, is essential. It was also outside my province to form an estimate of the engineering skill of the builders. The prospective monograph, therefore, could only be cooperative work since these problems still remain to be solved, pace Dr. Sankalia's learned article, which appeared about this time (1939- 40), the period of my interest in the temple. The temple at Surla is typical of the Kadamba style in every detail. I have devoted a whole chapter in my Kadambakula to the evolution of the Kadamba style of temple architecture, contrasting it with the Pallava and the Chaluka architectures on the one hand and the Hoysala architecture on the other. The distinguishing feature of the Kadamba style is the tapering terraced tower, a perfect pyramid, the vigorous and purposeful line of each of these terraces attracting the eye even from a long distance. The Kadamba style would seem to have reached its perfection in the Sri Kamala Narayana Temple at Degamve (Northern Karnataka). It is a typical example of a temple built in this style which had come under the Hoysala influence. It was constructed by Tippoja, the architect of God Bankesvara at the command of Kamala Devi, the queen of the Goa Kadamba King Sivachitta, in the middle of the 12th century. The temple is rectangular in shape and consists of three cells with the pillared hall running from North to South in front of the shrines on the west side. Each of these shrines is divided into two parts, the Garbhagriha and the Sukhanasi. The frames of the doorways of the Sukhanasi are carved with creepers. The pieced stone windows which surround the doorways are more ornamental than in any other Kadamba temple. The Garbhagihas have, as in other Kadamba temples, the dedicatory block with the image of Gaja-Lakshmi. The first cell contains the image of Narayana. The second cell has the icon of Lakshmi-Narayana with Lakshmi seated on the lap of Vishnu. Garuda and Maruti are standing on either side of this image. The third cell bears the image of Kamala with two attendants on either side. The walls of the temple are adorned with niche having plasters surmounted by terraced pyramidal towers in the Kadamba style crowned with a Kalasha. On the parapets surrounding the Mukhamandapa. the following friezes are sculptured from top to bottom: 1) pillars with roaring lions between them 2) pyramidal towers surmounting these pillars and having dancing girls in various poses between them and 3) beautiful scroll work on top. The ceiling has pendant lotuses - all of them artistic pieces of workmanship remarkable for richness of ornamentation and elaboration of details. (16) The Surla temple is a poor specimen of the Kadamba style. It is however significant that it betrays Yadava influence, as pointed out by a devoted circle of students and scholars in a recent issue of Purabhilekh-Puratahra (Vol. IV, No. 1). The Yadavas were Marathas and their influence on the traditional temple-building is an instance in point of the rapid Marathisation of territory during their rule. We are so far familiar with the curvilinear and pyramidal towers of our temples. The arch with the key stone, which had revolutionized architecture in the West, was introduced into India by the Muslims; and with the conquest of Goa by the Bahmanis and the Adilshahis, our architects learnt their use. The mosques that were built in Goa must have been modelled on their prototypes in Bijapur with all their distinctive features: the dome deposited on the lotus with pointed arches high above the prayer chambers, supporting it. The ruling powers, the Shilaharas and the Kadambas, not to speak of the Mauryas and the Bhojas, adhered to an ideal summed up in the phrase dushta - nigraha - nigraha -sishta-paripalanam i.e. to restrain the evil and protect the good. People dwelt in harmony. without bickerings arising from religious differences, as the kings followed the policy of universal protection and took care not to pamper the denomination to which they themselves belonged or champion the cause of any new-fangled doctrine. There were persons professing Islam and Christianity in one or other of the Kadamba Kingdoms whose way of life must have been totally different from that of the Hindus. These were not only left free to worship in their mosques and tarasas, meaning churches, but they even rose high in government service. Ibn Batuta who passed through Goa in or about 342 testifies to the Christian presence in Goa, while a record of the Goa Kadamba King pays eloquent tribute to his Muslim governor of the city - Sadan -(Chhadama) to whose wise administration it owed a substantial part of its prosperity. These Muslims, who were mostly Arabs, were mainly engaged in trade; and they enjoyed a high position in society thanks to the prosperity they brought to the state. In the inscriptions, for instance, of the Shilaharas of North Konkan, the nakhara or trade guild of these merchants called anjuman which appears in these records in its sanscritized form of Hanjumana - is ranked with the three vargas, namely the three higher orders of Hindu society. They are among the privileged ones - ministers, high government officers and heads of mathas - to be informed of an agreement entered into by certain merchants with Rattaraja, the Southern Shilaraha monarch. The Muslims enlisted themselves in the Goa Kadamba armies and when the latter invaded the north Shilahara kingdom they are said to hew taken active part in the devastation of the Shilahara territory.(17). They would thus appear to have built for themselves an almost impregnable position on the West Coast. Some of these Muslims were owners of merchant fleets and it is not unlikely that the Goa Kadambas availed themselves of their expertise in navigation to build for themselves a powerful navy. Wood was plentiful in our mountain region and vessels of whatever kind could be easily constructed with the desirable material. They were thus able not only to hold their own in their kingdom but lord it over the neighbouring states 11 well. A maritime power, the Kadambas of Goa gave impetus to coastal as well as overseas shipping. With Goan ships bound for inland and foreign posts and ships from far and near visiting Goa, the latter became the entreport of the West Coast. The Kadambas who proudly styled themselves Paschima samudradhisvaras richly deserve this title. The Arab ascendancy in the art of navigation continued till the early years of the 16th century when it passed to the Portuguese. It is a happy coincidence that Vasco da Gama, the greatest seaman of the age, was led into Calicut by the greatest pilot of the times, Ibn Majid, forty-four of whose log books, full of information of the seas he navigated, have so far come to light. It is one of the glories of the Kadamba monarchs that they all patronized learning with the result that many learned men nourished at their court. This was true even during the regime of the early Kadambas. The Halsi inscription of Harivarma while describing the attributes of his father, Ravivarma. avers that the latter supported holy and learned people "with the wealth he had amassed with just means". The Halsi inscription of the Goa Kadamba king Sivachitta, while speaking of his ancestor Jayakesi, asserts that the streets of his capital were filled with the palanquins of his pundits.918) They are inscription of other rulers, a fact which shows that they were not only patrons of scholars hot ware themselves men of academic distinction. Among the poets who flourished at the Goa Kadamba Court, the roll of honour is filled with the names of Chandrasuri of the Saligramiya gotra. Vyavaharapatra - kavi Vishvarupa, Kavinam Chakravarti Pandya and Raja Guru Padmaya Bhatta, Dharmadhikarana Madhusudhana Suri, Yajnesvara Sur Govindadeva, ddescribed as nirankushamati in kavita, and Annanayya. What made the rise of these literateurs possible was the sound training imparted in the various educational agencies of the time, viz. agrahara. brahmapuri and matha. The most important of these agencies was the agrahara consisting of a community of learned Brahmans whose profound scholarship attracted students from far and near. Here education of an advanced type was dispensed in all branches of human knowledge. And it was here that people of diverse races and religions assembled. The agaharas may therefore be said to have constituted the real universities of medieval India, the studium generale or schools of universal learning. The second agency that disseminated learning was the Brahmapuli which was a settlement of learned Brahmans in parts of towns and cities. It differed from the agrahara, for while the latter was a corporate body and formed a unit by itself, the Brahmapuri does not seem to have possessed these characteristics. The third agency that played an important role in cultural life was the matha. It was a typical Indian monastery with monks, ascetics and students living within its precincts. It also served as a free boarding house. In order to enable these institutions to carry on their work, they were richly endowed by kings and chieftains and philanthropic and wealthy citizens.(19) For a long time Sanscrit was used for official purposes in Goa and throughout Konkan and Konkani like Marathi took centuries to develop. The first recorded instance of the former being employed for other than domestic purposes is in the imprecation against the revocation of a grant, the well- known ass curse, occurring in an early grant of the Sitahavas; whereas the first such instance of the latter is as late as the 14th century in the Konkani prayer of a cowgirl, finding expression, strangely enough, in the Marathi poet Namdeo. It was long believed that there were hardly any writings to speak of in Konkani before the Christian missionaries applied themselves to the task and produced a sizable corpus of literature. But during a sojourn in Portugal, the late Dr. P.S.S. Pissurlencar fame upon several pieces of Hindi hagiograph in Konkani in the public library at Braga.(20) They were written in the Roman script, which would indicate their missionary provenance. For in their own writings, the missioners preferred Roman to the indigenous script current in Goa - Kandevi. This was the running hand of Old Kannada developed during the Kannada period, which was in use throughout Goa till the end of the nineteenth century. These pieces of writing were evidently intended for the use of the missioner. attempting to learn the language, and formed part of the Konkani literature nourishing in Goa since pre-Portuguese days. And indeed if it was necessary for Fr. Thomas Stephens to master Gnaneshvari and other Maathi classics before he could produce his best epic in the language, the Krista Purana, it stands to reason that he had to take similar pains for mastering the extant Konkani literature, to produce his other chef d'oeuve Doutrina Cristao, a compendium of Christian doctrines in Konkani. Pissurlencar however believed that the Konkani works he had discovered at Braga, were translations from Marathi for the use of the Christian missioners. But the latter studied both Marathi and Konkani and were not in need of Konkani translations of Marathi works. It would ether seem that they were meant for the use of the common people who could not read them in the original. Agriculture was by and large the occupation of the people. Industries were few and far between, being confined to spinning, weaving, masonry, brass works, carpentry, jewelry iron works, basket-making and the extraction of oil. The trade in the country was mainly in the hands of three classes of leaders: indigenous, itinerant and foreign. There was a sprinkling of cities where trade and industry were regulated by guilds, each craft having a guild of its own, and merchants similarly organizing themselves after the commodities sold by them. The guilds acted as local banks and government treasuries and they fulfilled the duties of municipal self-government. For with them were invested the monies that were granted to temples and institutions of public utility by kings and wealthy citizens from the interest whereof they had to fulfill the terms of the grants. The pre-Portuguese Culture, high though it was, was not without its defects. Society was so static that one born in a lower caste could not change it to improve his fortune. Its treatment of the outcastes was cruel and inhuman. In its eyes the lower orders, as the Manusmriti puts it, existed only "to serve meekly" the other classes, particularly the Brahmans, holding out hopes of promotion to higher ranks in subsequent births. It fails miserably if the treatment of women is made a measure of its excellence. The widows were compelled to burn at the stake of their dead husbands, and escaping were subjected to unheard indignities - shaving of the head and wearing of mean clothes. It denied them m- marriage, which drove a number into prostitution, as the same word standing for widow and prostitute in most Indian languages would show. It is no wonder that A.P Sharma writing on the position of women in a recent issue of the Times of India July 24, 1988) should have been forced to observe: looking back the modern Hindu feels intrigued and hurt, even baffled and shocked when he tries to make out why his great ancestors decided to use the accidents of sex and birth as the sole determinants of one's rank and function in the social system. To put it bluntly, one could say with sufficient justification and continuance of the Aryan patriarchate have been guilty of sexism and racism". References: 1. Bombay Gazatteer, Vol I, Pt.I, pg. 14. 2. Annals of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Vol. XXIII, pp. 11-12. 3. GS. Gaj "Baroda Plates of Maurya Anijitavarmand, year 9. Epigraphia Indica (hereinafter EI), Vol. XXXIII, pp. 293-96. 4. "Siroda Plates of Devaraja" EI Vol. XXIV, p. 144. 5. The Journal of The Karnataka University, Vol. III pp. 3-4; II JKU, Vol. VIII, p. 6. 6. EI, Vol. XXXIII, pp. 62-61. 7. EI, Vol. XXVIII, pp. 70-74; EI, XXI, pp. 576-n; EI, Vol. XXXI. p. 236. 8. EI Vol.XXVl,pp.339. 9. Varde Valavlikar, Goyankaranchi Goyam Bhaili Vasnuk. p. 27. 10 EI. Vol. XXXIII, p. 293. 11. D.D. Kosambi, "The Village Communily in the Old Conquest of Goa".Journal of the University of Bombay, Vol. XV, No. 4 (1947). 12. EI, Vol. XXXI, p. 236. 13. Cf Moraes, Gerson da Cunha - Historian of Bombay. 14. Trindade, Paulo da, Conquista espiritual de Oriente, Pt. I, Ch. 55 (1681) Biviliteca Vatricana Vat, let. 1742. Microfilm in the possession of the author. 15. The Ambarnath Temple," Bulletin on The Deccan College Research Institute, Vol. 1(1939- 40), p. 172. 16. Cf. Moraes The Kadambas..., pp. 312-13. 17. Ibid.. passim. 18. Ibid.,., 185. 19. Ibid., pp. 287-302 20. Pilssurlencar, "A proposito dos premeiros Livros Narata.." cited in Joseph, Vellnkar, A Cultural History of Salcete (Goa), 1560-1685, p. 385 (unpublished thesis). http://www.goacom.com/community/associations/goaont/convention/moraes. htm
Posted by: k.ram Jan 12 2004, 03:03 PM
Musical tribute to Saint Thyagaraja http://www.hindu.com/2004/01/13/stories/2004011305041200.htm
Posted by: rhytha Jan 14 2004, 10:58 AM
QUOTE
am trying to find information about the Goddess Jyoti. All the information I could collect so far comes from these sites: http://murugan.org/jyoti.htm, http://murugan.org/jyoti2.htm, and http://kataragama.org/research/krishnapillai.htm. According to what is written there, Jyoti is the sister of Lord Skanda and represents the female principle of light. She was born of one spark of light from theforehead of the Universal Mother . When Skanda went for his fight against the asura Surapadman, Devi fashioned out of herself a weapon, the Vel, which was not just an instrument but a deity - Jyoti Devi. Jyoti Devi is also known as Saravanabavayai to indicate that she is always intertwined with Sarvana or Skanda and acts for him. At Tiruvannamalai Jyoti is worshipped every year during the month of Karttikai of the Tamil calendar. Jyoti is called here Arul Perum Jyoti, or the graceful and great Jyoti. The most important day for worship of Jyoti is the day of her birth when the Universal Mother fashioned the spark in her forehead into Vel and gave it to Skanda. This is the day of Visaka Nakshatra in May. Shiva as Nataraja carries Jyoti in his left hand as fire. A saint who merged with her in recent times was Ramalinga Swamigal. Some things, however, remain unclear. Is Goddess Jyoti really the same as Jwalamukhi as Dr. Alappan writes in his article on murugan.org? I could find quite a lot of information about Jwalamukhi on web, but is this really the same Devi as Jyoti? Is there any connection between Jyoti and BalaTripuraSundari, the form of LalitaMahaTripuraSundari as a 16 years old girl (who is sometimes called Shodashi)? How does one worship Jyoti? How does the Yantra of Jyoti Devi look like? What is her Nyasa ritual? I would be most grateful for some help and information. Is there any book where I could find these details? Alice
Can anyone get more info on Jyoti smile.gif
Posted by: k.ram Jan 15 2004, 07:50 AM
The Mysticism in the Epic Ramayana In the religion of Hinduism, many mythologies literally appear something but in reality mean Yoga philosophy. Under this topic, I would like to talk about the mystery of the mythology of Ramayana- Brief literal mythology- There was a kingdom named Ayodhya which was governed by a noble king named Dasrath. He is the father of mighty Rama, an ideal human being. Rama once goes to another kingdom and marries with a princess named Seeta. She was given birth by the planet Earth. Very soon after Seeta comes to Ayodhya, due to some political conspiracies both of them are forced to leave Ayodhya. As a result, they had to wander in many dangerous forests. One day Seeta sees a deer which was absolutely golden in color. Despite knowing that there cannot be any such kind of deer she sends Rama to catch it and bring it to her. That deer was actually a magical illusionary trap set by a ten-headed demon named Ravana. When the demon saw that there was nobody to protect Seeta, he abducted her and took her to his kingdom. Now Seeta realized her mistake of considering, that deer, a real one. Who was that demon? A demon who dominated the three worlds. Ravana asked her to abandon Rama and become the queen of the demon. But she refused to do so. So the demon isolated her under a tree named Ashok. After knowing where Seeta was, Rama fought and killed that demon and took Seeta back to Ayodhaya. One day in Ayodhya a crater was formed beneath the feet of Seeta. She fell into the crater and it got closed. Divine Meaning- The term "Ayodhaya" means non-conflicting(of mental stability). Thus Ayodhya represents Sahasrar Chakra. Now let us look at the term "Dasrath". It means ten chariots. So Dasrath represents the peace of all the 10 Hindu directions- i) East ii) Space between east and south iii) South iv) Space between south and west v) West vi) Space between west and north vii) North vii) Space between north and east ix) Entire cosmic area above the 8 directions which are mentioned above x) Entire cosmic area below the 9 directions which are mentioned above Now let us look at Rama. He represents perfection. So only those, whose Sahasrar Chakras are fully awakened, are ideal human beings. Now let us look at the character Seeta. Seeta has been given birth by the Earth. Earth is where? It is somewhere in non-Satyam plain region. And the human race lives on this planet. Thus Seeta represents non-perfection of the human beings. As I have already said that when any soul just enters the human body and then enters Susumna path, its tendency is to stay in Sahasrar Chakra at least for a short time. But then if it is non-perfect, it finds its home somewhere below Sahasrar. That is why according to the epic- Only after Seeta enters Ayodhya, trouble starts for Rama and he with Seeta is outof Ayodhya. Wandering, in dangerous forests, means experiencing painful emotions. The epic says that one day Seeta considered the absolute golden colored deer as the real deer. Whatever you perceive, before fully awakening Sahasrar chakra, about the cosmos- You don’t perceive, truest cosmic form, due to your mind not being fully backed up by all the 7 life centers which include Sahasrar chakra . For example, if your eye sight is not good, you won’t clearly see the objects. Therefore the deer represents the illusion of the mind of a non-perfected human being. Now let us look at the demon Ravana. Since he is an evil, his 10 heads represent the sorrow of all the 10 Hindu directions. In other words he is the opposite of Dasrath. The epic says that he is the conqueror of 3 worlds. The 3 worlds represent i)Materialistic plain, ii)Astral plains and iii)Subtlest non-Perfect plain. Abduction, of Seeta by Ravana, means that a non-Perfect soul lives in the trap of illusions and sorrow. Now let us look at that event when Seeta rejects Ravana and comes under the Ashok tree. Later Rama frees Seeta and finally one day Seeta dies by going back to Earth. The term "Ashok" means no sorrow. So when one defeats his or her sorrow feelings, one gets blessed by Sahasrar Chakra-perfection. Then on this planet itself one can live spiritually perfect Hanuman swallowing the Sun Brief Mythology = Once Hanuman, the mighty son of Vayu(Air), comfortably swallowed the Sun which was situated at a distance of 300 Yojans. Yoga Philosophy = First, 100 Yojans, represents Muladhar Chakra. Second, 100 Yojans, represents Swadhisthan Chakra. Third, 100 Yojans, represents Manipur Chakra which leads to Fire plain. According to some Yoga schools, the Sun is the lord of Manipur Chakra(Solar plexus). "Hanuman overwhelming the Sun" represents "Conquering Manipur Chakra and reaching Anahat Chakra which leads to Air plain". The Ramayana For Today's Spiritual Life Thomas Ashley-Farrand August 12 - August 18, 2003 Program fee $70, Materials fee $15 "Thomas is, without a doubt, one of those few teachers who have the ability to make us feel and truly experience the universal principles." J.S. The life of the Avatar Rama sets an example for human society. Told by the poet-saint Tulasidas, this epic gives teachings on family relationships, how to run a kingdom (government), the responsibilities and manifestations of loyalty, true friendship, the qualites of a true spritual teacher, and mantra strategies for improving every aspect of daily life. An americanized version of the Indian art of Hari Katha (stories and songs of the Divine), this workshop will tell the story of Rama and Sita's life. Because this great story includes teachings by Shiva, stories of Shiva and Parvati will also be told. One highlight will be the teaching of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra by the river, complete with Mantra Kavacha(armor) Inner meaning of the Story. Rama is the divine self. Sita is the perfect and pure kundalini shakti. Selfish egotistical desires (Ravana) kidnap the divine energy (Sita) for its own purposes. The kundalini shakti is detained at the second chakra (lust and magical powers) and the third chakra (the elements and temporal desires of all kinds.) But Hanuman, the prana, is sent to find Sita. The practice of rhythmic breathing that the yogi employs purifies the body and brings the kundalini up the heart center and beyond. Thomas's program at Far Horizons will begin on Tuesday night instead of the usual Wednesday night and end at Sunday noon as usual. Early reservations are recommended. Just an information: {Ganesha drinking Milk: A shock for today’s Science The incident = Few years back, Hindu god Ganesha’s many statues started consuming milk. The scientific reason, behind this incident, is not yet known. Perhaps some, of those statues, are still consuming milk. My opinion for this incident = A person, with at least one siddhi (supernatural power), must have performed a ritual. Due to that ritual, Ganesha's many statues consumed milk. Note- A ritual can be made effective only if at least Swadhisthan Chakra is mastered.}
Posted by: k.ram Jan 15 2004, 12:41 PM
SATYAMEVA JAYATHE G O O D M O R N I N G THOUGHT OF THE DAY "Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them." --John Updike Today is Makara Sankranti :- Makara literally means 'Capricorn' and Sankranti is the day when the sun passes from one sign of the zodiac to the next. The Sankranti of any month is considered auspicious as it signifies afresh start. However Makara Sankranti is celebrated in the month of Magha when the sun passes through the winter solstice, from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. On this day the sun enters the constellation of Makar (Croco-dile) and begins to move towards the north. Throughout the year the sun passes through twelve constellations: Mesh (Ram, Aries), Vrishabh (Bull, Taurus), Mithun (Couple, Gemini), Kark (Crab, Cancer), 5mb (Lion, Leo), Kanya (Girl, Virgo), Tula (Balance, Libra), Vrishchik (Scorpion), Dhanu (Bow, Saggitarius), Makar (Crocodile, Capricorn), Kumbh (Wateijar, Aquarius), Mm (Fish, Pisces). When the sun does not cross any constellation then there is an extra month called “Adhik Mas”. The crossing of the Makar constellation takes place in the month of Paush. “Tilgul”, Symbol of Friendship On this day people eat “Khichadi” made of rice and dal. The Paush month is also known as Dhundhur Mas and people eat “bajari” bread mixed with “til” (Sesamum). On the feast of Sankrant “til” is given great importance, for in this season it is considered to have special nutritive and medicinal qualities. “Til” is a very oil-giving seed. Mixed with jaugari or sugar it becomes a very sticky sweet which people exchange with one another as a sign of friendship. “Tilgul ghya, god bola.” (“Take tilgul and speak sweetly”) is the phrase on everybody’s lips. With this good social custom enmities are forgotten and new friendships started. People are encouraged to emulate the quality of “Tilgul” and stick to-gether in permanent union and love. On this day ladies apply “halad-kumkum” (turmeric powder) on each other’s forehead, and children fly kites. Makara Sankranti is also celebrated throughout India as a harvest festival. It is a way of giving thanks to the elements of nature that help man. This is the period when the winter recedes, paving the way for the summer. It is the time the farmers bring home their harvest. In the coast al regions, it is a harvest festival dedicated to Indra. In Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, it is celebrated as a three-day harvest festival Pongal. In Assam, the festival is celebrated as Bhogali Bihu, and in Punjab it is called Lohri. In North India, a ritual bath in the river is important on this day. In fact, bathing is considered mandatory on this day, and according to a popular local belief in the hills of Uttar Pradesh, one who does not bathe on Makara Sankranti is born a donkey in his next birth. The belief probably originated in cold climates to compel some of the more reluctant people to observe certain rules of hygiene. A big fair is held at the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the Sarasvati rivers at Triveni in Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) on this occasion. Being the month of Magha, this fair is also called Magha Mela. Apart from Triveni, ritual bathing also takes place at many places like Haridvar and Garh Mukteshwar in Uttar Pradesh, and Patna in Bihar. Since it is also the season to fly kites, the evening sky is awash with colourful kites of all shapes and sizes. Several kite competitions are held in various localities. HAVE A NICE DAY GAMPA NAGESHWAR RAO www.gamparao.com GAMPA NAGESHWAR RAO
Posted by: k.ram Jan 16 2004, 10:01 AM
http://www.valmikiramayan.net/
Posted by: Hauma Hamiddha Jan 17 2004, 01:03 AM
The old solsticial rite of the vedic period is performed on the second last-last day of the year. The description of the oldest version of the rite is seen in the pa~nchavimsha, aitareya and shAnkhAyana brAhmaNa. It appears to preserve some of the archaisms of the Proto-Indoeuropean form of the rite. It was literally round the clock and one requires considerable energy to perform it successfully. 1) It begins in the morning with a bahiShpavamAna soma rite. The hotar chants the Ajya (the kANva chants with one R^ik for every month of the year:12 ; then the vasiShTha chants with one R^ik to agni for every moon cycle in the year + 1 R^ik (head of prajapati) for the remaining days that add up to the solar year: 24+1=25 ) and prayoga shAstras (chants to indra, vAyu, mitra, varuNa, ashvins and sarasvati) and the prashAsta, brAhmaNacchamsin, potar, neshtar, agnIdhra and acchAvAka (hotrakas) chants the 3 Ajya shAstras. 2) In the midday pouring the mAdhyandinapavamAna and the pR^iSTha pavamAna stotras and the marutvatIya (the nivids are recited in ekashruti between the vasukra aindra chants in this shAstra) and niShkevalya shAstras are chanted 3) In the evening the soma pouring is made with the ArbhavapavamAna stotra, yaGYnAyaGYnIya sAman and the vaishvadeva and AgnimAruta shAstras. 5) Then the performers rest for the night session as the sacrificial place is swept and the various accessories are brought and set up. -A swing of udumbara fig wood is made for the hotar to sit on. -A seat for the udgAtar with a darbha grass cushion is made. -The adhvaryu stands on cushion of kusha grass while chanting the yajuses. -The other priests get reed mats. -A vANa with 100 strings, with the body made of udumbara and handle of palAsha woods, covered with a brown ox hide is readied for the udgAtar to accompany the sAma gAnaM. A reed bow decorated with leaves is used to play it. -Following musical instruments to accompany the sAma ganaMs: avaghaTarikA (a pot instrument), alAbuvINA (a vINA), ghATakarkari (?), godhAvINAKA (vINA), kANDavINA (vINA) and picchorA (flute) are readied. -6 mR^idanga drums are placed all around the saman singers -behind the AgnIdhra altar a hole is dug up in a hemispherical form and covered with the hide of a sacrificed bull. This is the earth drum that is played to accompany the sAma gAnaM. -a round piece of hide, held up by two posts is set up as an archery target to the left of the AgnIdhra fire. -a chariot with a single horse with a bow and 3 arrows are readied for the kshatriya to use. -pots filled with water are readied for the dancing maidens 6) At night the prAtaranuvAka chant comprising of 1000 R^iks to indra from the R^ig and atharvan is chanted by the priests. Then an animal or a flour model of an animal is offered to indra and agni. The sacrificial implements are then washed carefully outside the sacrificial area and brought to the sacrificial hall the sadas where the participants are seated. 7) Then the mAhendra cups are filled and soma offerings made with the yajur vedic mantras to indra. 8) Then the adhvaryu goes before the hotar’s fire altar. The hotar utters the praiSha “adhvaryu, now stop”. The hotar then leaves the sadas and goes around the AgnIdhra’s altar and bending his right knee, takes with a sruk made of udumbara wood, and makes 8 offerings of ghee to the devas. He then puts down the sruk and stands in front of the sadas north of the shruti platforms and faces east and chant in a low tone the parimAd formulae. -The udgAtar sings the A~ngirasa, bhutechad, krosha, anukrosha, payas, arka and arkapuShpa sAmans, with hotar in a low tone muttering the parimAds. -He then invokes savitA in the sacrificial hut and returns to the sadas and holds the swing from behind. He then instructs the adhvaryu as to how to proceed and the prastotar regarding the stotriyas. 9) The adhvaryu then initiates the mahAvrata sAman. The udgAtar mounts his udumbara stool and the other brAhmaNas sit on their mats. The udgAtar picks up the 100-stringed vANa and begins playing it singing the mahAvrata sAman. The wives start playing on the other instruments that were brought in, while the drummers start beating the mR^idangas and the earth drum. Maidens water pitchers on their heads dance thrice to the left round the mArjAlIya altar singing the madhu gANaM. Then they dance thrice to the right in silence. The horse is then yoked to the chariot and the kshatriya mounts it and taking the bow and three arrows encircles the vedi and shoots the target even as he is riding (these are stick to the target marking the 3 stars of Orion). 10) The prastotar signals to the hotar with the formula ‘A velA’. The hotar then pulls the swing towards him and performs prANAyAMa thrice and chants some gAthas. He then holds the swing stretches his feet forward and performs prANAyAMa once. He then sits on the swing and with his right hand touches the back of the swing and chants the prathama pratihAra and concludes with a prANAyAMa. The end of the chant all the drums stop beating and the maidens put down their jars on the mArjAlIYa. -The prastotar then utters the formula ‘eShA’. The hotar then begins chanting the niShkevalya shAstra to indra. -The chants corresponding to different set of bones of the body are chanted -The 9 sets of 80 R^iks to different devas corresponding to the 720 days and nights of the normalized year are chanted. -Then he chants a 100 triShTub R^iks to indra, followed by the hirANyastUpa chant and the yAtaUtIya chant. Then the procession of the nakshatras in the sky is enacted by the sajanIya chant of vishvAmitra with 27 verses, one for each nakshatra. The adhvaryu chants the nakshatra hymn for the 27 nakshatras. -finally the udubrahmIya hymn with viharaNa chandasaM permutation is chanted.
Posted by: k.ram Jan 19 2004, 09:11 AM
Some Views on an Essay that Derides the Hindu Heritage Srikant sri@integralbooks.com http://www.integralbooks.com “Postmodernism, Hindu nationalism and ‘Vedic science’” by Meera Nanda (Reading of the above-mentioned article in the ‘Frontline’ magazine evoked some thoughts, which are the basis of this note. In the effort to present my views on this essay which seemed to me a mindless and unjustifiable attack on flimsy and superficial grounds on a unique culture that has survived millenniums because of its deep roots in Truth and universality, the write-up became a bit lengthy. I would welcome your views on it. As it is advised to send this ‘Frontline’ essay to friends by E-mail, it is also given below.) In an article ‘Postmodernism, Hindu nationalism and Vedic science’”in the ‘Frontline’ magazine (December 20,2003 – January 02, 2004), Meera Nanda criticizes the Postmodernists for their inadvertent support of the Hidutva points of view that present an integrating perspective of modern science and the Vedic wisdom... First the author presents a general idea about Postmodernism. It is described as a mood or disposition that is opposed to the ‘Enlightenment’, which is considered as the core of modernism. The ‘Enlightenment’ in this context is explained as “a general attitude fostered in the 17th and 18th centuries on the heels of the Scientific Revolution.” Its aim was “to replace superstition and authority of traditions and established religions with critical reason represented, above all, by the growth of modern science. The Enlightenment project was based upon a hope that improvement in secular scientific knowledge will lead to an improvement of the human condition, not just materially but also ethically and culturally” The author says that the Postmodernists are disillusioned with this ‘triumphalist’ view of science that claims dispelling ignorance and making a better world. In a mood of despair they question the possibility of this ‘Enlightenment’ leading humanity to progress towards some universal truth. They seem to prefer local traditions even if they are not led by rational criteria and make room for sacred and even the irrational. And they are attracted to the ideas of the ‘social constructivist theories of science’, put forth by some schools of thought originated in Edinburgh, Paris, etc., who basically assert that modern science, which was considered as moving closer to objective truth about nature, is only just one culture-bound way to look at nature. They consider that the content of all knowledge is socially constructed and the supposed ‘facts’ of modern science are ‘Western’ constructions reflecting dominant interests and cultural biases of Western societies. The author seems to be perturbed by the fact that the Indian critics of science, especially those led by the neo-Gandhians, other well-known intellectuals and even those who were with the traditional left-wing causes, are moving towards Postmodernism. The author points out that it has also numerous sympathizers among ‘patriotic science’ and the environmentalist and feminist movements. In this article cluttered with biased attacks on Hindutva, the author also makes sweeping statements as follows: “In reality, everything we know about the workings of nature through the methods of modern science radically disconfirms the presence of any morally significant gunas, or shakti, or any other form of consciousness in nature, as taught by the Vedic cosmology which treats nature as a manifestation of divine consciousness. Far from there being "no conflict" between science and Hinduism, a scientific understanding of nature completely and radically negates the ‘eternal laws’ of Hindu dharma which teach an identity between spirit and matter.” The above-mentioned passage highlights the author’s belief that scientific inquiry has reached its culmination and has discovered the whole truth and one can declare the above ‘fact’ from the present knowledge of science. ‘The Hindu’ Magazine (June 11, 2000) had published an interview with Sir Roger Penrose. (Introducing the scientist, the following note was given: “Sir Roger Penrose, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, renowned for his contributions to three distinct fields of modern scientific inquiry, who has devoted much of his career to unifying the physics of the large - the general theory of relativity - with the physics of the small – quantum mechanics - into a single comprehensive theory. In this endeavour, he has collaborated with some of the greatest minds of the 20th Century including Stephen Hawkins. Penrose’s third major passion has been the workings of the human mind and whether these can be reproduced in the form of artificial intelligence. In an exclusive interview with Nikhil Padgaokar in New Delhi, Penrose shares his views on these subjects and on the challenges they pose this century.) Now let us examine the reputed scientist’s view about the present position of modern science. While discussing on the nature of human mind and computation, the following question was asked: “You do not however question the notion that whatever is going in the mind can indeed be explained in terms of physical laws.” “I do not believe that whatever is going on is beyond the scope of science. However, it does lead me to believe that we have to go beyond existing science. Science today can only approximately emulate what is going on in the mind, which suggests that there is something else going on out there in our conscious thinking and perception and whatever else is involved in mentality. So we need something other than computation, but I am not saying it stands outside the scope of some future science. Whatever that future science is – and we can point to the direction it may take – it will have quite a different character from the science of today. What we have we have today cannot come to terms with what mentality is.” Another question asked was this: “In your writings one detects three basic sets of concerns – the mind, mathematics and he laws of physics. In your opinion, are they all three different aspects of the same phenomenon or structure, or are they entirely distinct and unrelated in your thinking?’ He answers: “In my second book, The Shadows of the Mind. I have drawn a diagram, which reflects this trinity of notions. On the one hand, we have the physical world, then we have the mental one of our perceptions, understanding and free will. The third notion is the world of absolutes – a platonic world of the truth, the beautiful and the good – and, in particular of mathematical absolutes. I am prepared to accept that all these things have some form of absolute existence, which we can relate to in some way. It has to do with our awareness. Mathematics, of course, is intrinsic to our understanding of the physical world, and may even control it. These are all mysteries, and the third mystery is how our mind comes about when we have the right physical structures. We have to look at these three things together and get a holistic picture of how they relate to one another.” There are two types of people who champion the cause of science – science enthusiasts or faddists and active explorers. The former often revel in closing the doors of science in the name of science and the latter who have made great contributions for the advancement of science and having the humility and true scientific spirit, keep the doors of science wide open. Mark the words: “ and the mystery is how our mind comes about when we have the right physical structures.” A spider makes a web or a bee makes its comb with exact mathematical precision and a sparrow builds its nest with an artistic excellence. At their stage of physical structure the ability simply expresses in them in the natural course. One can simply say it is all ‘instinct’. But just an utterance of a word is not an explanation. It is a ‘mystery’ to a true inquirer, and a true scientist will patiently work to unravel any such mystery. He knows there is nothing irrational. There are only gaps. A dog or cat goes out and eats grass when it has some stomach problem without any doctor’s advice. The knowledge comes to them. Without experimentation, but through meditation the knowledge of suitable medicinal herbs came to the consciousness of the great explorers of yore who gave form to the science of Ayurveda. This system of medicine has been flourishing because its efficacy has been verified through generations after generations. This is also quite rational. Because, besides the analytical capacity the human mind has also a faculty called intuition, which still remains a mystery for science to solve. Analytical faculty of mind is easily applicable but intuition often needs cultivation. Denying blindly that which we do not understand will not annihilate a fact. Inquiring scientists would never make such sweeping and unfounded remarks as. “ Far from there being ‘no conflict’ between science and Hinduism, a scientific understanding of nature completely and radically negates the ‘eternal laws’ of Hindu dharma which teach an identity between spirit and matter.” Mind has emerged at the stage of human structure, and when it becomes receptive or made receptive, for which meditation is prescribed as a method, the faculty of intuition gets activated and knowledge naturally comes to the mind. Through intuition profound knowledge came the Vedic Rishis. Are the unique intellectual ideas in the Upanishads to be just relegated as mere ‘religious’ views? Topmost scientists and philosophers of the world look at them with great admiration and reverence. Yoga in its own right is a science because it has a precise methodology. Yogic science prescribes three steps pratyahara, dharana and dhyana. Prayahara is withdrawing the mind from the external world, dharana is fixing on that which is being explored and dhyana is exploration into what is being sought. This is a verifiable science, not a belief. You tell some one that water is formed of hydrogen and oxygen. And if that man stubbornly opposes saying it is a superstition because two invisible gases can never form water, which is visible, you are helpless. At the most you can tell him to go and first to have some preliminary knowledge about chemistry and then experiment himself. Still he maintains it is all mere superstition, it is better to leave him and mind your own business. Spirituality is a varifiable science and if one is prepared to do the experiment then only one can know whether there is an immanent Spirit or not. . When one drinks water one quenches one’s thirst, but one cannot by that act quench another’s thirst. The other person can shout from the top of his voice that water can never quench anybody’s thirst. And the world will dismiss such a person as of unsound mind and ignore him. It is common knowledge that when a person undergoes even the basic disciplines of yoga he experiences the reinforcement of his physical, mental and spiritual faculties. Yoga and spirituality are sciences of human evolution having a methodology like any experimental science. It can be safely dismissed as due to mere ignorance when one demands that Hindu Dharma should conform to the criteria of the constantly changing and imperfect modern science, which the author says “radically disconfirms and negates the ‘eternal laws’ of Hindu dharma, which teach an identity between spirit and matter” to prove its validity! Like Sir Roger Penrose, the eminent nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg, also leaves wide open the doors of science when he says, “…the concepts of ‘soul’ or ‘life’ certainly do not occur in atomic physics and they could not, even indirectly be derived as complicated consequences of some natural laws. Their existence certainly does not indicate the presence of any fundamental substance other than energy but it shows only action of other kinds of forms, which we cannot match with the mathematical form of modern atomic physics. It follows that the mathematical structures of atomic physics are limited in their applicability to certain fields of experience and that if we want to describe living or mental process, we shall have to introduce yet other concepts which can be linked, without contradictions with our existing system of concepts. It may also become necessary to limit the range of previous concepts of atomic theory attaching specific new conditions to them. In both cases we would regard such an extension as a broadened form of atomic theory and not as a theory describing any fundamentally different events. If we accept such a wide definition of atomic theory we can immediately see how far removed we are from its completion.” Yet, it is strange that some people try to force us into a belief that science has reached its zenith and it has once for all rejected the ‘immanent Spirit’! And Max Planck, one of the founders of modern nuclear physics, rather begs the science enthusiasts to be more sensible and give consideration and due respect to the larger issues for the advancement of knowledge, in the following words: “As a physicist, i.e., as a man who has devoted to the most matter of fact branch of science, namely the investigation of matter, I am surely free of any suspicion of fanaticism. And so after my research into the atom I say this to you: there is no such thing as mater per se! All matter originated from and consists of a force, which sets the atomic particles in oscillation and concentrates them into minute solar systems of the atom. But as there is neither intelligence nor an internal force in the universe we must assume a conscious intelligent spirit behind the force. This spirit is the basic principle of all matter…” Thus the doors are kept open by the stalwarts of science and the science moves ahead. Here we must give special attention to the following statement of Werner Heisenberg while considering the further advancement of scientific knowledge: “It follows that the mathematical structures of atomic physics are limited in their applicability to certain fields of experience and that if we want to describe living or mental process, we shall have to introduce yet other concepts which can be linked, without contradictions with our existing system of concepts.” Human brain has a certain structure and potentials and faculties. It has been pointed out by scientists that since thousands of years there has not occurred any mentionable structural change in the human brain. It follows that it can discover what it requires irrespective of the time factor, employing these potentials and faculties. The structure of the human brain and its faculties in the Vedic times could not have been different from that of the 21st century human brain. And many inexplicable facts relating to it can be observed to those who have the mind to wonder and the eyes to see, and, of course, not to those who are sitting in some ivory tower and telling us what science is! Little Clint of Kerala began his paintings just when he was only two years old and before his passing away at the age of eight he drew about twenty thousand pictures in colour and B&W, including that of Gods and Goddesses, landscapes, etc!. There is a permanent arrangement to display his paintings in Trivandrum. Normally it would take years of analytical study and training to draw such paintings. Analytical study adopted by science is only one method of acquiring knowledge. Human brain has other methods to acquire knowledge. The Vedic master-minds used both the analytical and intuitional methods for acquiring wisdom. There are mysteries which science cannot solve with its present knowledge. An open-minded true scientist will gladly take them, as the eminent biologist Julian Huxley says, as clues to explore into deeper facts of life and universe. . Modern science helped liberate human mind from dogmatic religious concepts of the West. It was begun as a reaction in the West against the thralldom imposed on the human mind by an organized structure of religion that suppressed all enquiry. Any student of history knows how cruel that suppression was. And the author tries to equate those conditions to the free intellectual climate that prevailed in India! Freedom of inquiry is the hall mark of Indian culture. One should have at least read the renowned historian A.L. Basham’s book The Wonder that was India. Such books would help one to avoid making wild statements disparaging Hindu culture.The brains of the explorers of the Vedic times were as alert and structurally as efficient as the brains of the scientists of our times and they employed them very well as they had enjoyed thorough freedom of inquiry. They discovered many facts of life and universe through their own methods of exploration – through analytical study as well as intuition.. Let those who have an open mind and patience explore into the various branches of knowledge they possessed – the philosophy and traditional sciences that shed light on the deepest dimensions of life, wonderful mathematical precision and engineering skill involved in their architectural styles, sculptures, astronomy, the marvelous nuances of the dance forms, the literary excellence! Let me quote here a few passages from a book, in which one ordinarily cannot expect any reference about the ancient sages of India. This book is entitled Dialectical Materialism, written by Professor Alexander Spirkin. The book was published in 1983 by Progress Publishers, Moscow. In the blurb of the book, Professor Spirkin is described as follows: “Professor Alexander Spirkin is a well-known Soviet philosopher and psychologist. He is a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences and director of the Department of General Problems of Dialectical Materialism at the Academy’s Institute of Philosophy. He also heads the section of the methodological problems of cybernetics in the Scientific Council for Cybernetics of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the bioelectronics section of the A.S. Popov All-Union Society of Radioengineering, Electronics and Communications.” Now, let us see what such an eminent scientist has to say about the sage explorers of India. I am quoting the whole passage. A repeated reading of it and its assimilation will help some of our West-oriented intellectuals to remove their mental blocks. On the page 339 of this book, the scientist says: “The sages of ancient India discovered astonishingly subtle and profound psycho-biophysical connections between the human organism and cosmic and subterranean processes. They knew much that even today is beyond the ken of European scientific thought, or that it ignores, often trying to conceal its helplessness by asserting that oriental wisdom is mere mysticism, and thus showing its inability to distinguish the rational but not yet fully understandable essence from various fragments of imagination. It is sometimes difficult for us to penetrate the profound language of symbolic forms in which this wisdom is couched, to get at the essence of that wisdom. A full understanding of these complex problems can be achieved only in the broad context of history and culture. Historical experience offers us some instructive lessons for the present day. If we look around thoughtfully at the path humanity has passed, it is not difficult to see that the minds of the makers of culture have been guided by the desire to achieve an understanding and a rational transformation of the human being himself, his bodily and spiritual organization, the preservation and strengthening of his health. Socio-political, philosophical, religious, moral, aesthetic and all cultural efforts in general have tended towards this goal. “The culture of the ancient Orient affirmed not only ideas of man’s dependence on the supernatural forces that were external to him; there was also a tendency to cultivate certain rules of behaviour in relation to these forces, including techniques of training the body in relation to these forces to regulate and perfect bodily and spiritual processes. Various systems of exercises linked with religious beliefs were evolved to change the state of the mind, the consciousness, to achieve complete unity with the universe, to become one with the energy of nature. These techniques for influencing one’s own organism through the mechanisms of psycho-physiological self-regulation and control - techniques that are much in fashion today – could not have survived for centuries and have penetrated other cultures with a different ethnos, if they had not contained some real knowledge of the most subtle and hidden structural. Energo-informational neuro-psychical and humoral potentials, which even now sometimes seem fantastic to the analytical European mind, particularly when it is fettered by stereotypes. “Oriental culture is full of beliefs about the role of the way of life and its various components – breathing techniques, the ability to commune very subtly with nature, acupuncture, cauterizing, and other ways of influencing the biologically active centers of the organism, herbo-medicine, diagnostics by means of the iris of the eye, pulse and olfactory diagnostics, consideration of the position of the earth in relation to the celestial bodies in medicine, the time of year and day and of the properties of water in relation to the state of the earth strata and the character of its flow in connection with the geo magnetic phenomena – all this and much else has contributed to the great wisdom of the Eastern peoples, the wealth of their culture and man’s place therein, their understanding of the mechanisms of regulation of his life activity and vital potentials. Thus already in the distant past, in the mists of mythological world views the precious crystals of knowledge, tested by the experience of centuries, of skills in beneficially influencing man’s body gradually accumulated. How could people of those far off times know so much without any experiments or apparatus about the conditions and factors that regulate the course of the vital processes and the character of the interaction between man and nature, particularly the influence of the celestial bodies, the sun and the moon and various radiations proceeding from outer space and the bowels of the earth!? And all this was taken into consideration both in diagnosing and in treatment! Does this not go to show an astonishingly high level of culture that should arouse our admiration, gratitude and desire to study! This knowledge could not have retained its vitality if it had not again and again been confirmed by practice.” It is regrettable that while a scientist in a distant country could make such a disinterested, objective and deep assessment of the relentless explorations of knowledge that had taken place in India, some of our writers choose to brand those valiant explorers together as a superstitious folk and block enquiry and research on this great mass of knowledge that we inherit from them! Here we must again give special attention to the following statement of Werner Heisenberg while considering the further advancement of scientific knowledge: “It follows that the mathematical structures of atomic physics are limited in their applicability to certain fields of experience and that of we want to describe living or mental process, we shall have to introduce yet other concepts which can be linked, without contradictions with our existing system of concepts.” The above passages of Professor Alexander Spirkin clearly indicate this mass of knowledge that evolved in ancient India if researched and filtered ( no doubt much dross has also been gathered around this knowledge through the ages) would supplement the concepts necessary, as Heisenburg says, which can be linked with modern science for a deeper understanding of life and universe. It is not the “ mixing up of the mythos of the Vedas with the logos of science” as the author says, but the historical necessity of a synthesis to expand the present-day scientific concepts that is taking place today. While this integration proceeds, in the initial phase naturally there will be imperfections and shortcomings, which will gradually be rectified and a greater amalgamation will take place eventually that would benefit humanity. The author says it “ must be of great concern not just to the scientific community, but also to the religious people, for it is a distortion of both science and spirituality.” On the other hand, it offers great opportunity for both the people of science and religion because it will be well heeding the following warning of Albert Einstein: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” It will bring about the expansion of concepts. There should not be compartmentalization of knowledge that comes to humanity from one source or the other. We must constantly look for areas of unity, which will be advantageous to mankind. The following observation of the renowned mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitefield on the clash between religion and science, published in the book ‘ Science: Method and Meaning’ (New York University) is very thought-provoking in this context: “We should believe nothing in either sphere of thought which does not appear to us to be certified by solid reasons based upon the critical research either of ourselves or of competent authorities. But granting that we have honestly taken this precaution, a clash between the two on points of detail where they overlap should not lead us hastily to abandon doctrines for which we have solid evidence. It may be that we are more interested in one set of doctrines than in the other. But, if we have any sense of perspective and of the history of thought, we shall wait and refrain from mutual anathemas. We should wait; but we should not wait passively or in despair. The clash is a sign that there are wider truths and finer perspective within which reconciliation of a deeper religion and a more subtle science will be found.” The author seems to be out rightly rejecting the Vedantic concept that “matter and spirit are not separate and distinct entities, but rather the spiritual principle constitute the very fabric of the material world” and criticizes the presentation e of the gunas in a book published by VHP referring it as something fundamental to the universe. Anyway, the concept of gunas is not some puerile idea that dawned in some primitive mind, as the author seems to think. According to the Sankhya philosophy, one of the six paths of exploration mentioned in the Vedas, there are three major conditioning forces in Nature which are the basic modes causing all forms of actions and reactions and the manifestation of the phenomenal worlds from a subtle Reality, whether we choose to call it Energy or Brahman. They are the three gunas. ( One who has the patience to explore will find that these are very well coordinated fields of knowledge which can contribute to modern science the new concepts to expand its horizon. A study would have prevented this author from making so casual a reference about gunas. Gaps have to be filled in. That requires inquiry, not blind contempt or rejection. ) According to the Samkhya view, before cosmic evolution begins these three modes of Nature are in a state of equilibrium. One can say the universe is in a state of zero manifestation, as some of the modern scientists prefer to present this state. Let us now look into some views of modern science on cosmic evolution. Stephen Hawkins in his ‘Brief History of Time’ mentions on the basis of Hobbles observation that “there was a time called the big bang, when the universe was infinitesimally small and infinitely dense” (Compare this statement with the Upanishadic words about Reality ‘anavo-raneeyam, mahato-mayeeyam’ – smaller than the smallest, bigger than the biggest.) He says that under such condition, the laws of science will have no relevance if there were events earlier than this time, “Their existence would be ignored because it would not have any relationship with events that have happened after the big bang.” This is the view of the scientist. But the ancient seekers could not thus ‘ignore’ anything and they explored into everything. As mentioned above, according to the Samkhya philosophy, before the cosmic evolution begins the three modes of Nature are in a state of equilibrium. . Through a certain mode of scientific presentation Stephen Hawkins tries to prove that the total energy of the universe is zero. He says: “In the case of universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero.” While discarding the Western religious view that the universe is an arbitrary creation of God, Stephen Hawkins points out that in the process of the evolution of the world there does not appear an arbitrary interference of God but it evolves “in a very regular way according to certain laws”. He concludes that even in the initial phase it is logical to think that certain laws might have been responsible, not an arbitrary God. He states, “It therefore seems equally reasonable to suppose that there are also laws governing the initial state.” However, the ancient explorers of India discovered that the fabric of the universe is not an insensate energy, but it is an Intelligenc-Energy substratum that manifests itself as the universe. Certainly the Reality has Its laws in the manifestation. The physical scientist of the nineteenth century thought that the universe was built up of an infinite number of independent, indivisible and insensate atoms. This belief was eventually replaced by the awareness of the sub-atomic energy particles, which keep themselves in a state of dynamic movements both creative and destructive, as the basis of the universe. We should remember the fact that centuries before the modern scientists could discover the energy basis of the universe the explorers of India had announced this. They said that universe has an intelligence-energy basis. . Before the Bing Bang (a state Hawkins prefers to neglect) one can presume, as the Sankhya philosophy states, these three modes of Nature – thamas, rajas and sattva were in a state of perfect equilibrium.( It offers a good field of enquiry for modern science to probe into the subtle facts involved in these three modes of Nature.) While the universe was thus in a state of zero manifestation, the Reality, as the Upanishads say, remained itself potentially as anavo-raneeyan and mahato-maheeyaan - smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest, a language the modern nuclear physicist will not find much difficult to follow. The manifestation begins from this state, it is said, by the breaking of this equilibrium of the gunas and along with it the process of evolution sets in. The Sankhya system declares that there is thus a Law involved in manifestation of the universe and its evolution. Universe is not an arbitrary creation of a whimsical God. It is the manifestation of an Intelligent-Energy ‘suchness’(or ‘Beness’ as Stephen Hawkins prefers to call it although he does not have an idea of the Intelligence involved in Energy.) From the present state of scientific knowledge it is an open question for science whether Intelligence or Mind is involved in energy. Sir Roger Penrose leaves it for future science to explore and find an answer. . Heisenberg says we have to introduce other concepts to explore into this question. And as Professor Alexander Spirkin considers, the deeper studies on the knowledge of India’s sages would enlarge the horizon of today’s scientific knowledge. Sir Julien Huxley, the neo Darwinist and eminent biologists makes some thought-provoking observations in this contest in his essay ‘Philosophy in a World at War’. He says, “The notion that there is something of the same nature as human mind in lifeless matter at first sight appears incredible or ridiculous.” However, he points out that electricity was once considered as a form of energy external to the atom, but later it became clear that electrical properties are most essential to matter. He says: “One may suggest that the same sort of thing has happened with mind. All the activities of the world-stuff are accompanied by mental as well as by material happenings; in most cases, however, the mental happenings are at such a low level of intensity that we cannot detect them; we may perhaps call them ‘psychoid’ happenings, to emphasize their difference in intensity and quality from our own psychical or mental activities. In those organs that we call brains, however, the psychoid activities are in some way, made to reinforce each other until, as is clearly the case in higher animals, they reach a high level of intensity; and they are the dominant and specific function of the brain of man. Until we learn to detect psychoid activities of low intensity, as we have learned to do with electrical happenings, we cannot prove this. But already it has become the simplest hypothesis that will fit the facts of developmental and evolutionary continuity.” This also shows that the Vedantic idea of the involvement of mind in matter remains an open question with eminent scientists, and not something to be inadvertently rejected as the author does. As the author of the articles seems to think, is science the only way to know the deeper facts of life and the universe? The German biologist Prof. Dr. Joachim Illies raises the following points in an article “Does Universe Hold Other Intelligent Beings”, published in the Universities: “Is science really the only authority from which we expect answers to our questions? There are pre-scientific experiences, unconscious certainties, hopes and conjectures, and especially the vast energy centre of emotional life. All these media are, just like science, antennae for feeling our way in the world we live in. Even the certainties of science did mostly originate in a flash of genius, a hunch, and intuition; and it was often only after this that the scientist went to work, painstakingly elaborating the logical proof for what he had known all along. Let us, therefore, learn this from the great discoverers and research workers, not to scorn the power of our own intuitive feelings which supplement that of our universally valid reason.” Let us keep in mind the following advise of Werner Heisenberg to an assembly of science students: “Take from your scientific work a serious and incorruptible method of thought; help to spread it because no understanding is possible without it. Revere those things beyond science which really matter about which it is so difficult to speak.” The ancient explorers of India, those who gave form to the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas delved deep into That which is ‘so difficult to speak’. Modern world has to discover it anew. The Postmodernists are on the right track. Their disillusion with the so-called ‘Enlightenment’ of the Scientific Revolution is justified. This sort of ‘Enlightenment’ will create, as we have seen, only terrible weapons of mass destruction, domination, exploitation and it will convert human life into a mindless machine, unless, as Sir Roger Penrose hopes, a future science with a quite a different ethos emerges from the science of today, for, as he says “What we have today cannot come to terms with what mentality is.” All those with an open mind like Professor Alexander Spirkin and a host of modern scientists today are becoming aware of the fact that profound, unbiased and sincere inquires and explorations conducted by the ancient sages of India can provide the necessary new concepts for this transformation of modern science. As Professor Alexander Spirkin says it “ should arouse our admiration, gratitude and desire to study!” When we shed our present lethargy and go deeper into their discoveries we shall certainly be contributing for the emergence of that ‘future science. with a heart ’ Let the Postmodernists follow the footsteps of Max Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg and great sages of all lands for the evolution of a saner and humane humanity.
Posted by: acharya Jan 23 2004, 01:40 PM
ADVERTISEMENT http://www.vigilonline.com/reference/relart/history_swadhyaya.asp SWADHYAYA: A GLOBAL INDIC PHENOMENON Swadhyaya is one of the most prominent living phenomena of Indian culture in 21st century. We have read and heard a lot about the Indian culture, well, here is Indian culture in action. A role model for the entire world based on indigenous Indic concepts. Swadhyaya Parivar is a global family of volunteers who follow Swadhyaya, a holistic Vedic philosophy based on Gnaan (knowledge), Karma (Action) and Bhakti (devotion). Swadhyaya, in the true spirit of Indic Traditions, is neither a sect nor a cult. It neither tries to define Hinduism nor defend it. It matches with the broad based definition of Dharma rather than "Hinduism" as defined by orientalists and post- colonialists. Its admirers include Muslims and Christians also. Neither the founder of Swadhyaya nor the current leader is Sanyaasi. All Swadhyayi (practitioners of Swadhyaya) are householders. Number of Swadhyayis now ranges more than 20 million people around the world. Swadhyaya never asks or appeals for any form of donation. There is never any "fund-raising" done for any Swadhyaya events in any part of the world. Swadhyaya has never built a single temple anywhere in the world. It has never asked for any outside support from government or from wealthy people. It has no concept of membership, hierarchy or formal office. It has never done any advertisement or propaganda and so it remains a low key (best kept secret according to one of my friends!). Even though it is a spiritual and cultural Parivar, the followers are not given any Mantra to meditate, nor is there any concept of maala or Taaweez. Rather the focus is on the intellectual aspects of Dharma. Swadhyaya was founded by Shri Pandurang Shastri Athavale (Dadaji), who passed away on Diwali Day, Oct 25th, 2003 He was born on November 19th, 1920 in Roha, Maharashtra. He was an authority on Sanskrit, Vedas, Upanishads, Gita and other Indian scriptures. He was also a scholar of western knowledge including Marxism, Hegel, Khalil Jibran, Freud, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity etc. He was honored with doctorates by two Indian Universities. According to him, "Swadhyayis are merely Bhaktas (devotees)" and "Bhakti (devotion) is social force." Indeed this novel concept of devotion married with intellectual and activistic zeal has created a massive force by launching a Panchrangi Kranti, a quiet revolution on five fronts, political, social, economical, cultural and psychological. What Swadhyaya is not and what it is: It strives to uplift women but Swadhyayis are not "feminists" since they don't reject the traditional roles of women even though they have devised many novel concepts for them. It builds bridges across castes and classes but they are not "social workers", since their perspective is of being spiritual workers. It interprets traditional Vedic concepts in modern ways but they are not "religious reformers", since they prefer to call their ideas as experiments rather than reforms. It inspires patriotism in youth but they are not "nationalistic leaders", since it is not involved in active politics. It focuses on innovative experiments in the field of education in all levels and ages of society but they are not "educators", since that is not its sole criterion to spread knowledge. It is involved in charity work at a massive level in thousands of Indian villages but Swadhyaya is not a "charity organization", since it rejects the usual definition of charity in which wealth is used to donate to earn name and fame. It develops new theological concepts but it is neither a "sect" nor a "creed" nor a "cult", since it does not encourage blind devotion to any ideology or personality. Major emphasis of teachings is derived from Vedic scriptures but it is not a typical "Hindu organization", since it is not bounded by the regular definition of Hindu or Hinduism. One of the most important aspect is to spread the Vedic philosophy in remote areas of society by active out-reach efforts but it is not a "Missionary Proselytizing church-like movement", since there is no conversion involved. Swadhyaya In International/ Interfaith Forums: Swadhyaya has already left its mark on international/interreligious platforms. Consider following examples: 1. In Jan 2002, when Pope John Paul organized Assisi Peace conference in the wake of 9/11, Swadhyaya was given the first place to deliver the keynote speech. An irony to note here, when Dharma conference or any Hindu/ Indian conference occurs, nobody even has heard of Swadhyaya, but when Pope does a similar event, Swadhyaya is the most prominent presence. It is time for us all to take a serious look at Swadhyaya. 2. In May 2002. When UNICEF organized a conference on Children education, once again it was only Swadhyaya, which was invited from Indian/ Hindu community. Imagine a similar conference organized by Indians/Hindus; Swadhyaya is still Greek and Latin for them! 3. This is the only Vedic Parivar, which was awarded world's biggest monetary award Templeton Prize in 1997 for progress and innovation in religion. This prize was founded by Sir John Templeton about thirty years ago to create a prize in the field of religion, since Nobel Prize does not include religion as a category. What makes it even more remarkable is the fact that Templeton Foundation's major emphasis is to spread the Christianity by emphasizing its scientific appeal. Yet, they could not ignore the innovative zeal of Swadhyaya and had to give this award to a non- Christian thinker. The founder of Swadhyaya was also given Magsaysay Award in 1996 for Community Leadership. It was only after these awards, that Indian Government woke up and awarded Padma Vibhushan to him in 1999. 4. Two North American universities have courses about Swadhyaya, Concordia University, Montreal and University of Iowa. In addition, Swadhyaya is appreciated by scholars such as T S Rukmani, Subhash Kak, Arvind Sharma, Majid Rahnuma, Daniel Gold, Betty Unterburgar, Paul Ekins, Arun Shourie, and Vidyanivas Mishra etc. Above examples show that Swadhyaya has achieved many milestones with very little effort on publicity, since their focus is more on internal strength and development. It remains a dormant thread in the public sphere because it has never depended on the media for publicity. Swadhyaya is emerging globally as a strong Indic phenomenon unbound by traditional Hindu definition, but based on truly dharmic definition. It is neither sectarian nor dogmatic nor ritualistic; rather it is based on Indic concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, world as a family. It is time for all of us to take a serious look at Swadhyaya and do a deep analysis of it and say it with pride in international forums of our practical example of Indian culture. On the one hand, we worry that India is not producing enough global leaders and on the other hand we tend to be ignorant of our own leading initiatives. References 1. http://www.swadhyay.org 2. Concordia University Course on Swadhyaya: From Satyagraha to Swadhyaya, a religion course taught by David Lawrence comparing the life and work of Gandhi and Athavale 3. Majid Rahnuma, Daniel Gold, Betty Unterburgar, Paul Ekins, Arun Shourie, Vidyanivas Mishra and many others have written about Swadhyaya in the book Vital Connections, published in 2000 4. Various media coverage of Swadhyaya
Posted by: k.ram Jan 24 2004, 09:44 AM
Upanayanam for Girls by Ramya Gopal Upanyanam. My first response, as an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) was "What the heck?". That was the was same response I got when I asked my Indian girl friends about their knowledge of Upanyanam. Another two words, thread ceremony? Oh, I think I know what that is. As ABCD girls, we are lost on the topic of Upanyanam, a ritual for males to be spiritually reborn. We've seen some of our friends' dads or our dads wear the thread, but that's the limit of our exposure to this holy sacrament. Upanyanam is an ancient samskara, or ceremony, where boys of the divja castes are lead through, at different ages depending on their individual caste: 8 for Brahmins, 11 for Kshatriays, and 14 for a Vaishya. In ancient times both male and females were able to participate whereas people of the Shudra caste were not and still are not permitted to take part in the ceremony, because the belief that only the upper 3 castes were Sanskrit-knowing Hindus and that the Shudras are ignorant laborers that have no need to be twice born, still exists. Tying the thread symbolized being twice-born, or being spiritually re-born, entering the status of Brahmachariya, or student. Over the years, Upanyanam has lost its some of its original Vedic significance, now only meaning to be spiritually reborn. This caused the initiation age to be raised to the mid-twenties or usually before marriage, as the boys do not follow through the religious duties in their childhood that traditionally was required of the students. These include Vedic studies, memorizing certain shlokams and performing other rituals. The ceremony leads the boys into the first step to the final goal which is Realization of Brahman, the ultimate truth. Shudras, women and so-called untouchables are the only Hindus excluded from the ceremony. Though this ceremony is spiritually important in Hinduism, unfortunately it is limited to only a certain section of society, not unlike the old voting rights that were limited in America, but instead of white American men, Upanyanam is confined to the upper caste, young Hindu boys. This leaves out the lower caste and women who were stopped from taking part in the ritual. I asked Professor Rambachan, Professor of Religion at St. Olaf's college, if there was any reason why women were not allowed to take part in the ceremony. He replied "The reasons why women were/are excluded from Vedic study are complex. At some point women were equated with Shudras and debarred. It may have to do with beliefs about so-called "female pollution" during the events of menstruation and child-birth." I believe that these condemnations are irrational because these reasons do not apply in the contemporary age. Initiation processes for both genders is seen in other religions such as Christianity and Judaism; communion for the Christians, and Bar and Bat-Mitzvahs for the Jews. Like in Hinduism, Judaism traditionally had an initiation ceremony for only boys, but unlike us they changed their customs, leaving Hinduism the only religion yet to modify our religious practices with time. Women, over the years, have proved they have the ability to do anything as well as men, so why do we still cling to antiquated beliefs that restrict our society just because it says so in the Shastras, when the rest of the world has moved on? The only objection is that women cannot wear the thread as men do. A possible alternative is wearing a three thread bangle, for men and women, or any other symbol of the ceremony, as Professor V. V. Raman, a noted Hindu scholar, suggested in a private exchange. Upanyanam is an ancient yet still important ritual in Hinduism that has been and continues to remain restricted to a small sect of society like many other privileges were restricted in other societies before. Unlike other societies however, we haven't moved on to change with times, and those who want to learn to Vedas and do not fit in the allotted section are forced to break the traditional rules. Can we then call ourselves hypocrites, saying that we are one yet insist that there is enough of a difference that some cannot go through this ritual? As Professor Vasudha Naryanan writes in an article called "Women and Vedas", "Our women are well aware of western culture and even western religion--can we not open the doors of our own scripture and our own tradition to our women? Sometimes, we even praise western scholars who study our Vedas; yet we do not want to share it with our women". Let us start modifying our traditions as seen fit without destroying the essence, beginning with allowing women and all Hindus to take part in Upanyanam and feel equal in this manner. Hari Om.
Posted by: Mudy Jan 24 2004, 01:22 PM
k.ram, In our family even girls/woman wear thread. It is done either at the age of 8 or 11 or during wedding ceremony. I was under impression, it is common practice and their is no discrimation. Only difference for girl is they don't have to ask Bhiksha from four houses.
Posted by: acharya Jan 24 2004, 04:33 PM
What is Indian 'culture' ? M V KAMATH A major controversy has arisen following an order passed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that in future all films, trailers and music videos shown on all TV channels will have to a carry a mandatory 'U' certificate from the Censor Board. The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Ravi Shankar Prasad immediately came under attack for walking in the footsteps of the Taliban. Prasad, however, coolly replied that the Programme Code under the Cable Act lays down what is permissible for general viewing under the Cinematography Act which covers music videos and film promos and that the Cinematography Act has to be enforced by the Central Board of Film Certification under the Cable Network Act and that the government does not have any role in this at all. He need not have sounded so apologetic. The plain truth is that private TV channels are getting out of control. Sex is being exploited in a big way with no one to question the programmers. Some one had to blow the whistle. That is what the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has done and it needs to be congratulated for its courage and commitment to Indian cultural values. And let this be said: it is not the TV programmer alone who is guilty. The print media is, to say the least, even more guilty of indulging in soft pornography and what is worse, getting away with it. The usual argument put forth in defence of vulgarity is that if the Indian people are not mature enough to switch off their television sets when something they find offensive comes on air, they cannot be trusted to make complex and informed political choices, including vote and elect governments. What is forgotten is that in any house where there are grown-up children it would be impossible to prevent them from viewing TV on their own in the absence of elders, short of locking up the set. Another point made is that in a constitutional democracy there is no room for moral majoritarianism. What this means is that even if 75 per cent of the people are opposed to vulgarity, they should have nor right to call for government action against it on the grounds that 'the currency of liberal democracy is self-regulation and not State edicts'. This argument has now been effectively answered by Anupam Kher, the newly-elected chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification. As he put it, 'if people should be allowed to decide what they should do in a democracy, then there should be no courts, there should be no legal system'. Yet another argument adduced by those opposed to censorship is that a country which has produced Kama Sutra and Khajuraho has no business to clamp down on nudity, and that if temples can exhibit the sexual act through sculpture it is not the business of the Ministry of Informastion and Broadcasting to apply censorship to music videos. It is to this level of logic that our intellectuals are stooping. The point was further stressed by Shefali Zariwalla, the Kaanta Laga girl, in a letter to the press. As she put it: 'What is wrong with a little bit of tummy showing here and there? There is more skin shown if you are wearing a sari'. It is clear that Zariwalla does not know how to wear a sari. The fact is that if one wants to indulge in some exhibitionism, one can wear anything, whether a sari or a pair of trousers and show a couple of inches of the waistline. But is that true Indian culture? But then the question is asked: 'What constitutes Indian culture?' Don't cultural values change over the years? The brash young things ask: 'If men can give up their dhotis to keep up with the times and wear trousers, why shouldn't women given up saris and go in for trousers as well? What is anti-Indian about that?' It is interesting to remember that prior to the Second World War, western women never wore trousers and these came into fashion only during the war when thousands of women w ere drafted to work in factories as replacement of men who had joined the services. Indeed, a standard excuse given by many women who wear salwar-khameez is that a sari comes in the way while getting into a bus or a train or while riding a motorbike, while the salwar khameez gives plenty of physical freedom to move around. Among young office-goers, especially in the big cities, sari-wearing by women is rapidly getting out of fashion. But that is only one aspect of what goes for Indian culture. In any event no hard and fast rules can be laid down on where to draw the laxman rekha, but don't we all know when something unacceptable is shown on TV? Do we have to fight over that? Is it, for example, right and proper to show couples making love on the screen on the grounds that all couples make love anyway and so what is wrong in showing it on TV? As Anupam Kher said, every country has its ethics, its culture and its ethos and they should be respected. As Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt has been quoted as saying: 'Love can be shown artistically on TV; it doesn't have to be connected always to nudity'. The fact of the matter is that our film producers, our magazine editors and our communicators are more commercial-minded than art-minded. Vulgar videos are more about money and not about music. Corruption of tastes has now become big business and this is where the State has to put its foot down. Says Anupam Kher: 'Many of the music videos that are aired are vulgar and completely atrocious. There has to be some kind of mechanism to stop this. If music video- makers claim that they did go through the Censor Board earlier, I can only say that there was no seriousness then. Rules were obviously not adhered to. In any field of life you cannot function ignoring rules'. Today we have soap operas showing illegitimate children, people shown doing illegal things on TV. It is all very well to say that it is part of art to reflect life and aren't there great novels mentioning just these things? Of course there are. But there is all the difference between reading a book and watching a TV serial. The latter has a more lasting impact on young minds and can lead to serious consequences. Does anybody realise that there has been a major spurt in rape cases over the years? Surely that has a message? We live in an age of instant communication and quick interchange of ideas. There is no way we can stop western value systems invading Indian shores. Some apologists have drawn attention to the all- pervading presence of the internet but that does not mean that society has to give up all hope of defending the young from pernicious influences. The State, especially, can't wash its hands off all responsibilities. We don't have to be prudes; our culture has many facets but they have to be understood in their context. And these have to be explained to the young. That is a task for parents and teachers. And the media, a point that needs to be stressed to makers of films, producers of music videos and editors of newspapers. The responsibility is a shared one. (The author is a veteran journalist and chief of the Prasar)
Posted by: k.ram Jan 25 2004, 09:07 AM
QUOTE (Mudy @ Jan 25 2004, 01:52 AM)
k.ram, In our family even girls/woman wear thread. It is done either at the age of 8 or 11 or during wedding ceremony. I was under impression, it is common practice and their is no discrimation. Only difference for girl is they don't have to ask Bhiksha from four houses.
Mudy, I guess it is probably common in S.India, I too thought it was normal and common until I started to meet non-southies.
Posted by: Mudy Jan 25 2004, 09:21 AM
k.Ram, I am from N.India.
Posted by: k.ram Jan 25 2004, 09:28 AM
QUOTE (Mudy @ Jan 25 2004, 09:51 PM)
k.Ram, I am from N.India.
ok now I am totally confused.. laugh.gif So much for my obervation from a little sample... laugh.gif
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 2 2004, 07:50 PM
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/471178.cms PUNE: Heads of prominent educational institutions in Pune — including Symbiosis, Maharashtra institute of technology (MIT), Bharti Vidyapeeth, Indira institute and Cummins foundation — have joined hands with other city groups to oppose the Westernised celebration of Valentine’s Day in Pune. Vidya Yerawadekar, deputy director of Symbiosis; Vishwajeet Kadam, director of Bharti Vidyapeeth; and Rahul Karad, director of MIT school of management; among others, have signed on posters urging the youth to shun Valentine’s Day celebrations and show commitment to Indian culture. "Why do we need Valentine’s Day," the posters say in Marathi, urging students not to accept the Valentine’s Day culture and instead celebrate ‘Vasantotsav’, the spring festival. The posters have been released by Pune cards and gifts association and Tandem, an organisation established by Bharatiya Janata Party activist Sandeep Khardekar, who started an anti-Valentine’s Day movement in 1998. Symbiosis and some other educational institutions, besides former mayor Vandana Chavan, are part of this organisation. Yerawadekar told TNN that Symbiosis was participating in the initiative "because we liked the idea of spreading Indianness among students." She said it was necessary for Symbiosis to participate in this initiative as a large number of students from her institute participated in celebrations like the Westernised form of V-Day. At a press conference on Monday, the Pune cards and gifts association announced that this year, too, they would not stock any Valentine’s Day items for sale. In 1998, some card shops and florists had been attacked by right-wing organisations opposed to Valentine’s Day celebrations. Since then, Pune shopkeepers have refrained from selling any V Day item out of fear of a similar backlash. "We have stopped selling these items for the past three years as we feel that unpleasant incidents like forcing girls to accept Valentine’s Day cards or roses were happening," Nitin Naik, vice-president of the association said. He added that the association had decided to join hands with Tandem to stop the "commercialisation" of love and encroachment of foreign culture on the Indian way of life. Khardekar, who also addressed the press conference on Monday, announced that a seminar on ‘Love: Our culture and modern ideas’, would be held before Valentine Day is observed on February 14. "The aim of the seminar is to create awareness among the youth about V-Day marketing gimmicks and the unhealthy trends creeping into our culture," Khardekar said.
Posted by: Krishna Feb 2 2004, 09:21 PM
QUOTE (k.ram @ Jan 25 2004, 10:28 AM)
QUOTE (Mudy @ Jan 25 2004, 09:51 PM)
k.Ram, I am from N.India.
ok now I am totally confused.. laugh.gif So much for my obervation from a little sample... laugh.gif
[sick humor] See, 1t's always a '0' or a '1.' 1t can't be anyth1ng else - take 1t fr0m me! biggrin.gif laugh.gif wink.gif N0w, l00k at the br1ght s1de. F0r every sample y0u take y0u have a 50% chance 0f be1ng r1ght. biggrin.gif tongue.gif devilsmiley.gif [/sick humor] // L&G, please carry on! // Rhytha, why does the 'sick humor' tag doesn't work?? blink.gif huh.gif
Posted by: Hauma Hamiddha Feb 2 2004, 10:44 PM
QUOTE (rajesh_g @ Feb 2 2004, 09:50 PM)
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/471178.cms
Coming from the city mentioned in this article I am quite aware that VD was fairly active in my college years. But that was quite a while ago and my college was considered a "forward" one, though there were one more forward and others less than it. In anycase I do agree that VD is un-Indian and should not be celebrated. This said the Hindu dharma also recommends that every adult be conversant with kAma shAstra and its prayoga. So, I would suggest that instead of VD we should be observing the glorious festival of madanotsava that has both been recommended in the shAstra and glorified in the kAvyas. Thus, the kids starved of kAma bhoga can anyhow enjoy themselves. The only little problem is that madanotsava generally comes around the time there are second semester examinations in colleges and schools- perhaps Joshi's abolition of exams should help out here. tongue.gif In anycase it is my belief that a large number of our compatriots are starved of their requisite satisfication of kAma bhoga. So, when they leave home they tend to go deep into porn, sexual excesses, sexual deviations, and patronizing a certain grade of Hindi and English movies and singers. The ancient balance in the direction of kAma would definitely help the Indians.
Posted by: SSRamachandran Feb 3 2004, 07:18 AM
I totally agree with you Haumma...I think if our teen agers and college kids have some drain for their pent up sexuality , Our citizenry will become 50 % more productive. This does not mean pre marital sex....just some acceptable contact with the other sex.
Posted by: k.ram Feb 14 2004, 10:45 AM
One of my friends was wondering if there is an authentic translation of vedas online. Does anyone know of such resource? Thanks
Posted by: Mudy Feb 14 2004, 11:47 AM
Some people are working on, but at this moment none.
Posted by: rhytha Feb 14 2004, 12:14 PM
QUOTE (k.ram @ Feb 14 2004, 11:15 PM)
One of my friends was wondering if there is an authentic translation of vedas online. Does anyone know of such resource? Thanks
K or HH posted a link to a website where u can have religous texts on a cd. u can PM them to get the url.
Posted by: k.ram Feb 19 2004, 08:45 AM
Folks, An interesting site http://www.agnihotra.org
Posted by: raj Feb 22 2004, 11:59 AM
QUOTE (k.ram @ Feb 14 2004, 11:15 PM)
One of my friends was wondering if there is an authentic translation of vedas online. Does anyone know of such resource? Thanks
Here's the Rig Veda... http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/ And the rest http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/sv.htm http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/yv/index.htm http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/av.htm Not Sure how authentic they are though
Posted by: raj Feb 22 2004, 12:18 PM
Also same material from here http://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/hinduism_scripts.htm
Posted by: k.ram Feb 26 2004, 09:25 AM
http://www.deepikaglobal.com/ENG3_sub.asp?ccode=ENG3&newscode=43036 Hindu way of life will dictate world order: RSS chief Coimbatore, Feb 24 (UNI) The emerging Hindu socio-politico system would show the world the way ahead, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief K S Sudarshan said predicting an imminent change. ''Not just India, but the entire world is passing through a process of total transformation,'' he said at an elites' meet organised by industrialists here last night. Symptoms like increasing violence, mental disorders and alienation being witnessed now, were social indicators of such a fundamental change round the corner. Such indications appear 15 to 20 years before the actual change, Mr Sudarshan said. Individuals must look upon their inherent strength before realising that family, in essence, is the first stage of human evolution, he added. Urging the need for evolving new systems, the RSS chief said basically 'dharma' meant mutual cooperation and harmony among individuals and society, nature and the Supreme being. Mr Sudarshan appealed to the intelligentsia and the universities here to work in tandem to ''evolve a new social and economic order and a political system.'' thumbup.gif
Posted by: rajesh_g Feb 26 2004, 11:44 AM
http://www.sulekha.com/redirectnh.asp?cid=327891 http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southasia/view/68880/1/.html Mumbai an Indian city of diverse cultures By Channel NewsAsia's India Correspondent Smita Prakash Besides being a commercial hub, the Indian city of Mumbai is also a melting pot of diverse cultures, preserved in settlements scattered across the city. One of them is Alibag, a suburb that once bustled with Jewish migrants. Some 120 kilometres from Mumbai lie these sands, frozen in time. 2,000 years ago, ancestors of Mumbai's Israeli migrants landed along the mountainous Western region. The coastline is now a popular tourist destination. In the mid-19th century descendants of the dozen odd sea travellers from Israel settled in Alibag, in a row of houses that came to be known as Israel Street. They built monuments and symbols of Jewish faith, followed distinct religious customs and lifestyle. They were called the Bene Israelis. The Warlukars, are one of the only three Bene-Israeli families remaining in Alibag today, living with strong influences of local Maharastrian culture and a lifestyle that reflects quaint Jewishness. Mozel Wakrulkar, a Jewish resident of Alibag, said: "Out there no one cares for anyone else. It is just like Mumbai where a person is immersed in himself and does not know what is happening in the next apartment. Here it is different. The people are our own and we help each other. Our neighbours are close to us. Though definitely, there is more money out there." With time, orthodox traditions and their Hebrew mother tongue faded away. Yet these descendants continue to hold on to whatever is left. Sabbath prayers are observed every Saturday and so are many Jewish festivals. And in the Synagogue, today's generation is apprised of origins and customs. "Some people want to go back to Israel, some would like to stay on here. There are several instances of people who had gone there and now wish to come back. India has similar problems as those in Israel. The common public has the same problems wherever they are." "My wife was a believer of another religion. But before we married, she converted into Judaism. The wedding ceremony took place only after that. Now, she's part of my religion. Nobody here sees her as an outsider." Over the last 50 years, the Bene Israelis have been migrating to Israel, pushing the population from over 30,000 to less than 4,000 throughout India. In Alibag, they are barely in the hundreds. Ones who have stayed back have taken to local names to customs. "The Israeli community here is all Maharashtrian. We're proud to be called Maharashtrians. We celebrate our own Jewish festivals, but also take active part in Hindu festivals - Diwali, Dussehra and even Ganapati Puja." Their fading history is today held in a 2,000-year-old Bene-Israeli cemetry. The Jerusalem Gate is as old and is said to have been built by the original Israeli settlers. An inscribed pillar even carries their stories. At one point of time, inter-mingling between Hindus and Jews was frowned upon. Not anymore. The Jewish community elders realise with just 4,000 of them remaining, they have to relax rules of the religion. - CNA
 




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