Monday, November 8, 2010
God is often a witness in court proceedings the world over. This is especially so when statements are made under oath with a hand on a holy book. But only in India, God can be both witness and litigant. That Ram Lalla filed a case claiming property in Ayodhya would have surprised secular societies elsewhere, but in India it is routine and unremarkable.
From this it might be tempting to argue that Christianity is intrinsically rational while Hinduism is not. That is not strictly true. Both depend ultimately on faith and, indeed, this is true of all religions. If Christianity looks different today it is not because it is inherently more reasonable, but that science forced it to become so.
As Hinduism is an idol-centric religion, its core principles are of no consequence to science. Christianity is a creation-centric religion. This is why it had to oppose modern science which, too, is creation-centric. The latter has taken strong positions on how life began, how day became night, and how our beings are energised. This is what compelled science and religion to go on a collision course in the western world. From the 16th century onwards, they were like two monster trucks driving in opposite directions on a one-way street.
Hinduism was spared all this. It worships divine heroes who step in and out of this world. They marry, procreate, win wars, and also have their share of losing. But at the end of the day they have the last word which is why their lives should be emulated. Hinduism makes no dogmatic declaration on how humans appeared on earth or on whether the sun is stationary or not. In India, our gods have never been challenged by science as they are not concerned about matters of creation.
This is why Hinduism has never felt the need to take on Newton, Galileo, Humphry Davy or Darwin, nor even Aryabhat or the Charvakyas. On the other hand, under science's onslaught, Christianity was in a doctrinal mess. It had invested a lot in Aristotle-proofing the Bible, but that was beginning to fall apart. Adam and Eve and Noah's Ark soon began to appear as fables for the credible. Even our positioning on earth was now more about gravity than God.
Over time there were just too many bullets for Christianity to dodge. The Lutheran-inspired Reformation of the 16th century helped religion to make peace with science, but only after the Bible retreated on some of its principles. From then on Christianity had to accommodate reason in order to survive, but Hinduism never faced such compulsions. As it was idol-centric in character, faith in India could proceed unchecked by science; in fact, the twain need never meet.
Creation-centric Christianity could not ignore science. This is probably why, in retrospect, it was possible in Europe for the Renaissance to grow into the Reformation and finally into the Enlightenment. Protestant clerics soon became quite enthusiastic about science and believed with Michael Faraday that the work of God was just like science: neither irrational nor petulant, but orderly and dependable. Pascal from the Catholic side echoed a similar sentiment when he said that the Christian religion is not contrary to reason and, if it were, "our religion would be absurd, laughed at".
Many of the most remarkable western figures of science in the 17th and 18th centuries were trained by men of religion in their initial years. Humphry Davy was taught science in school by a Reverend J C Coryton; Robert Boyle by his village parson; Francis Bacon by John Whitgift, later to become Archbishop of Canterbury; Newton lucked in getting his lessons at home from his stepfather who was a minister and so did Robert Hooke from his father who was a curate. These scientists could now go to church and laboratory without a schism in their souls.
Indian Renaissance not only came 300 years later, but instead of questioning tradition it went about perfecting the Vedas. Thus, while the European Renaissance set the stage for the conflict between science and religion, no such thing happened here. Neither Swami Dayanand, nor Swami Vivekanand, nor the Brahmo Samajis are remembered for emphasising the scientific traditions of India's past. Their most durable contribution is their skilful copy editing of Vedic texts.
This is why Hindus are not worried if their religion is "laughed at" by secularists. Ram Lalla can be a litigant as Hinduism's idol-centric nature protects it against physical and exact sciences. For this very reason though, Hinduism often runs afoul of history and the social sciences as these disciplines take issue with the idolised lifestyles of Hindu gods and goddesses, and with the veracity of their corporal presence on earth.
Interestingly, while Christianity clashed with the physical and exact sciences in the West, in India, Hinduism has been threatened only by history and the social sciences. This conflict quickly takes on a political dimension as every layperson has a view on what is a good life. Social sciences, history included, thus lack the persuasive capacities of the natural sciences. If certain political compulsions arise, sociologists and historians can also be cast as subversive anti-nationals.
Consequently, the Hindu faith remains unchallenged by reason and Ram Lalla might even win his case someday.
The writer is former professor, JNU.
Read more: Why Hinduism Is Science-proof - The Times of India
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Nine Days of Navratri
'Nava-ratri' is one of the most important Hindu festivals in the country. It is
celebrated with immense zeal and enthusiasm all over the country. It is
celebrated twice a year -once in Chaitra (March-April) and the other in Ashwin
(September-October). Navartra literally means 'nine auspicious nights'. It is
actually the worship of the Goddess of power in order to seek her protection
from any possible kind of threat and calamities that may destroy the peaceful
life of people on earth. As she is the goddess of power, she is believed to have
the power of creation, preservation and destruction.
Nine Days Navaratri Celebrations
Navaratri is separated into sets of three days i.e. into three sets. These sets
are made in order to adore different facets of the supreme goddess. On the
initial three days, the Goddess is invoked as the supreme powerful force called
Durga. Goddess Durga is meant to all our contaminations, evils and defects. On
the next three days, she is worshipped as the mother of spiritual wealth,
Goddess Lakshmi, She is the one who is considered to have the power of showering
on her devotees with the blessings of never-ending wealth. In the final set of
three days, the Goddess is worshipped as the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. The
one is responsible for spiritual enlightenment and overall success in life.
She is also worshipped under nine different names for the nine days in Navratri.
Every day, she assumes a new character, a new look and a new duty. She is
worshipped as Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata,
Katyayani, Kalratri, Maha Gauri and Siddhidatri. For the initial six the Pooja
celebrations are limited to home. The celebrations acquire a festive form since
the seventh day when the festivities of Navratri surround the atmosphere.
First Day Pooja
The first form of Goddess Durga is called Shailputri . She is considered the
daughter of the Himalayas. She is a form of Shakti, the consort of Lord Shiva.
Second Day Pooja
The second form of Goddess Durga is known as 'Brahmacharini'. Her name is
derivative of the word 'Brahma', which means 'Tapa' or penace. She is also a
form of Uma or Parvati, a form of Mata Shakti.
Third Day Pooja
On the third day the goddess is worshipped as Chandraghanta. She is the symbolic
representation of beauty and bravery.
Fourth Day Pooja
Kushmanda, is the form of the goddess which is worshipped on the fourth day.
It is believed that Kushmanda is the creator of the entire Universe and she has
created the entire Universe by her laugh.
Fifth Day Pooja
On the fifth day, the form of Goddess is called Skand Mata. She is actually
called so because she is here represented as the mother of Skanda, the chief
warrior of the Gods army.
Sixth Day Pooja
On the sixth day, the goddess is worshipped as Katyayani. Seated on her vehicle
lion, Katyayani has three eyes and four hands.
Seventh Day Pooja
On the seventh day, the Goddess is worshipped as 'Kalratri'. As the name
suggests, Kalrati is as black as a dark night. She has four hands, she is meant
to make the devotees fearless.
Eighth Day Pooja
On the eight day, the Mata Rani is worshipped as 'Maha Gauri'. She is considered
to extremely beautiful, white like snow and accessorized with white colored
ornaments. She represents calmness and exhibits wisdom.
Ninth Day Pooja
On the ninth day, Durga is worshipped as Siddhidatri. It is believed she
consists of all the eight siddhis. She lives on lotus and is worshipped by all
the Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Sadhakas and Yogis.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Hindus argue that in 16th century Moghul emperor Babur defeated Chittorghar king Rana Sangram singh in a battle near Sikri. He built Babri Masjid in place of a Rama Temple in Ayodhya.
* 1528: A Mosque was built in the now disputed land.
* 1853: First communal riots were witnessed in the disputed land.
* 1859: A fence was laid between the two places and the inner place was handed over to Muslims and the outer place was handed over to Hindus.
* 1949: Muslims alleged that the idol of Rama was kept inside the mosque by Hindus. As the court was approached by both the parties Government had declared the land as disputed and locked the premises.
* 1950 January 18: First title suit was filed. The court granted permission to worship idols in ‘Asthan Janmabhoomi’.
* 1959: Third suit was filed by Nirmohi Akhara seeking to take charge of the land.
* 1961 December, 18: Uttar Pradesh Sunny Wakf Board appeals to court to handover the Mosque and the land beside it.
* 1986: District court has ordered to open the gates of the mosque to have a darshan of the idols as a petition was filed by a person Harishankar Dubey. Babri Masjid Action Committee was founded.
* 1989: Viswa Hindu Parishad ex president Devaki Nandan filed a suit appealing the court to handover the land to them. Viswa Hindu Parishad laid foundations for building the temple.
* 1990: Viswa Hindu Parishad Kaarsevaks partially demolished the mosque.
* 1992 December 6: Mosque was completely demolished. More than 2,000 people died in the communal riots that followed all over India. Justice Liberhan Commission was set up the Government of India on December 16 to probe the issues.
* 2002: High court had ordered archeology department to survey whether a temple existed on the site.
* 2003 January: AIS starts excavations and confirmed that there existed a temple. Muslims disagree with it.
* 2005 July: Suspected Islamic Militants attack the disputed land. Five militants die in the firing of Security force.
* 2009 June: Liberhan commission gives its report after 48 extensions.
* 2010 July 26: High court completes its investigation. Judgement was reserved for September 24,2010.
* September 17: Ramachandra Tripati filed a petition to postpone the judgement and the court rejected it.
* September 23: Differences between Justice R.V.Ravindran and Justice H.L. Notice were issued to the parties.
* September 28: Supreme Court dismissed the petition filed by Tripati. Now the judgement will be pronounced on 30th September 30.
* September 30: Finally the Ayodhya Verdict Case has been solved. All the Judges has commonly said that the disputed land is Ram Janma Bhumi. All the News Channels are showing the same news. The High Court has revealed its decision in 10000 pages.
We are giving here the main points of the Ayodhya Verdict Case which are being given by the High Court:
* Disputed Area is Ram Janma Bhumi.
* Three Parts will be done of the whole land.
* Plea Of Sunni Waqf Board is rejected by a 2-1 majority.
* Tomb is given to the Hindus and the Ram Lala will be there at the same place as it is.
* Nirmohi Akhada will also be given one third of the land. Sunni waqf Board will be provided one third land (outer land).
* Nirmohi Akhada is provided the Sita Kitchen, and the Ram Gumbaj.
* Sunni Waqf Board is provided outer land for their Namaj Offering.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Chelation Therapy For Heart Disease
This is a new theory which has come to my knowledge very recently and I thought
that I should also share with you all.
A few days back my Friends Father in law was admitted in a nursing home due to
severe chest pain.He had an attack in 1997 and was undergoing normal treatment.
Due to the sudden pain just 15 days back we once again got him admitted in a
private nursing home at Kandivali, Mumbai.The doctors later suggested for
Angiography. We conducted the Angiography at Hinduja Hospital and knew from the
reports that he has multiple blockages.
The doctor told that he cannot undergo Angioplasty due to several blockages but
suggested 'By Pass Surgery'.The same day evening we bought him home since the
doctor suggested that his heart is very weak and we can perform the by-pass only
after 15 - 20 days.
In the mean time we were discussing this issue with our relatives and friends,
we got this new information from one of our family friends.There is a new
therapy in the market which is known as - Chelation Therapy.
According to this therapy any patient who has to undergo by-pass need not
undergo the same. The patient is given appx. 18 bottles of blood where in some
medicines are injected along with it. The blood cleans the system and removes all
the blockages from the heart.
The no. Of bottles may increase depending upon the age factor and health of the
The cost of the blood per bottle would be appx. Rs.2,500/- The treatment takes
of appx. 1 month.
There are only 4 doctors in India and one of them is Dr.Dhananjay Shah at Malad
(Mumbai) another at Karnataka.
He has a list of patients who had to undergo by-pass from Lilavati, Hinduja and
other major hospitals but after undergoing the above treatment they are
absolutely fine and leading a normal life.
I give below the Doctor's details for your info:
Dr. Dhananjay Shah.
Hospital Tel: 0091-22-2889 2089.
Mob: 98194 39657.
Dr Hiten Shah
Integrative Cardiac -Vascular Clinic Heart Rehab Centre 230, Satyam Mall,
Ashirwad Poly Clinic, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad,, 380015, Gujarat, India
Tel: +91 09998848590 or 9898077966
Phosphatidylcholine therapy for treatment of blockage in artery like to treat
heart attack, restenosis after angioplasty or bypass surgery, leg gangrane,
stroke, dementia, less blood supply, metal toxicity
DR HITESH SHAH
209, SAMRUDDHI, LINK RD., MALAD WEST, MUMBAI, 400064, India
Tel: 91 22 28773777 / 09869035111
Dr Nirupa Mehta
Oxymed Hospital, 320/E; 9A Main, 40 Cross, 5 Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore,
560041, Karnataka, India
Tel: 080-56533273; 9986162526
Oxymed Hospital No:6,First Main Road, Kasthurba Nagar, Adyar,Chennai - 600 020,
600020, Tamil Nadu (madras), India
Colonic Hydrotherapy, Colonic Irrigation
Lymph Drainage Therapy
1-C, Mahavir, Lajpatrai Road, Vile Parle [W], Mumbai, 400056, Maharashtra, India
Tel: 91-22-26133889 ; 91-22-26631157
6-3-1100/5, TVS Suzuki Lane, Raj Bhavan Road. Hyderabad , 500 082, Andhra
Pradesh , India
Tel: 040 2341 4418
Dr. Rathna Alwa MD, M.R.C..P. Et.al <http://et.al/> .
428, 9th. Main road, HRBR layout, 1st. Block, Kalyan Nagar, Bangalore-560043,
Tel: 5455166 / 5454025
Acupuncture, Chelation Therapy
Questions and Answers About Chelation Therapy
Please do check whether insurance companies/Medicare will reimburse before
undergoing this treatment..
Also, Check whether this is proven one!
Kindly pass on the information to the people you know and one can save huge amount
of money, time and risk of undergoing the operation.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Nadana is a small village near Taraori( Taraori or Tarori, is a city and a Tehsil 16 km north of Karnal in Karnal District ) in Haryana, India.It is around 150KMs from Delhi on NH1.
It is famous for its basmati rice. It once became famous for self-powered tube wells, i.e. water started flowing from tube wells without power. Local people perceived it as a sign of some supernatural power.
In Nadana village, water began gushing out of a deserted tubewell in September 1992. Some local villagers who bathed in the water reported that the "medicinal" and "magical" qualities of the well cured their skin diseases. Word quickly spread, and now a constant stream of people visits the village daily to gain the benefits of the water. A five-year-old polio victim was reportedly cured to a large extent after bathing there. Others report the curing of skin diseases. Most people who bathe in the water report physical improvements of some type. The owner of the well, Mr. Mamraj, one of the village leaders, was reportedly offered a large sum of money from people who wished to buy the well. He rejected the proposal, saying he wanted to use the well for the people, not for making money.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
|The birthday of Lord Rama, the celebrated hero of the famous epic, 'Ramayana', is enthusiastically celebrated on the ninth day of the waxing moon in the month of Chiatra, all over India. Lord Vishnu is worshipped in his human incarnation as Rama, the divine ruler of Ayodhya. Celebrations begin with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning. At midday, when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special prayer is performed. People sing devotional songs in praise of Rama and rock, images of him in a cradle to celebrate his birth.Rathyatras or chariot processions of Ram, his wife |
Seeta, brother Lakshman and devotee Hanuman are held from many temples. People gather in thousands on the banks of the sacred river Sarayu for a dip. Some observe a strict fast on this day.
Ayodhya is the focus of great celebrations. Devotees throng the temples of Ayodhya and Pondicherry, two places closely connected with the events of the Ramayana to participate in Ramnavami festivities.
Sri-Ramnavami is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama. It occurs on the ninth day (navami). The festival commemorates the birth of Rama who is remembered for his preperous and righteous reign. Ramrajya (the reign of Rama) has become synonymous with a period of peace and prosperity. Mahatma Gandhi also used this term to describe how according to him, India should be after independence.
Ramnavami occurs in the month of March. Celebrations begin with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning. At midday, when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special prayer is performed. In northern India especially, an event that draws popular participation is the Ramnavami procession. The main attraction in this procession is a gaily-decorated chariot in which four persons are dressed up as Rama, his brother Laxman, his queen Sita and his disciple Hanuman. Several other persons dressed up in ancient costumes as work by Rama's solders accompany the chariot. The procession is a gusty affair with the participants shouting praises echoing the happy days of Rama's reign.
Surya - The Sun was recognised as the source of light and heat even in ancient times. The importance of the Sun was much more in the higher latitudes from where the Aryans are supposed to have migrated into India. Many royal dynasties portrayed symbols of virility like the Sun, Eagle, Lion etc. as their progenitor. Rama's dynasty considered them to have descended from the Sun. This could have led to the tagging on, of Rama's birthday to a festival devoted to the sun.
On the face of it Sri-Ramnavmi appears to be just a festival commemorating the reign of a king who was later deified. But even behind present-day traditions there are clues, which unmistakably point to the origin of Ramnavmi as lying beyond the Ramayana story.
Sri Ramnavami occurs at the beginning of summer when the sun has started moving nearer to the northern hemisphere. The Sun is considered to be the progenitor of Rama's dynasty, which is called the Sun dynasty (Raghukula or Raghuvamsa, Raghu means Sun and Kula or Vamsa mean familial descendant). Rama is also known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, Raghavendra etc. That all these names begin with the prefix Raghu is also suggestive of some link with Sun worship. The hour chosen for the observance of the lord's birth is that when the sun is overhead and is at its maximum brilliance. In some Hindu sects, prayers on Ramnavami day start not with an invocation to Rama but to Surya (sun). Again the syllable Ra is used in the word to describe the sun and brilliance in many languages. In Sanskrit, Ravi and Ravindra mean Sun.
Significantly, the ancient Egyptians termed the sun as Amon Ra or simply as "Ra". In Latin the syllable Ra is used to connote light. For example, we have Radiance which emission of light, or Radium, which means any substance emitting light or brilliance. The common element is the syllable Ra that in many languages is used to derive words for describing Sun or light.
The occurrence of this syllable in most names used for Rama along with other clues is strongly suggestive that the festival Ramnavami antedates the R- ayana and it must have originated much before the Ramayana, as a 'Sun-festival' for invoking the Sun who was recognised as the source of light and heat even in ancient times. The importance of the Sun was much more in the higher latitudes from where the Aryans are supposed to have migrated into India. Many royal dynasties portrayed symbols of virility like the Sun, Eagle, Lion etc. as their progenitor. Rama's dynasty considered them to have descended from the Sun. This could have led to the tagging on, of Rama's birthday to a festival devoted to the sun.
There is some link between Lord Rama and Sun Worship. The Sun is considered to be the progenitor of Rama's dynasty, which is called the Sun dynasty (Raghukula or Raghuvamsa, Raghu means Sun and Kula or Vamsa mean familial descendant). Rama is also known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, and Raghavendra etc. That all these names begin with the prefix Raghu is also suggestive of some link with Sun worship. The hour chosen for the observance of the lord's birth is that when the sun is overhead and is at its maximum brilliance. Significantly, the ancient Egyptians termed the sun as Amon Ra or simply as "Ra". In Latin the syllable Ra is used to connote light. For example, we have Radiance which emission of light, or Radium, which means any substance emitting light or brilliance. The common element is the syllable Ra that in many languages is used to derive words for describing Sun or light.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
bhargo devasya dhiimahi dhiyo yonaH pracodayaat .
The Rig Veda (10:16:3)
OM - the Infinite beyond Conception, Brahman, Supreme Lord and State of Being
bhuur - Protector of the earth, the material sheath, The Life breath of the Universe. From the feet to the navel center.
bhuvaH - the Mental Worlds One of the meanings is the sky. The Lord who pervades and eliminates all miseries. From the navel to the throat center.
svaH - I AM ONE WITH GOD - the Spiritual Worlds, One of the other meanings is the heavens. He is all Bliss and blesses His devotees with happiness. From above the throat center to the thousand petaled lotus.
tat - That (That Thou Art)
savitur - The SUN, Creator, Preserver and Self Luminous, the central mantra of the Solar Science.
vareNyaM - Most fit to be worshipped. Most choice worthy - most adorable, enchanting.
bhargo - The burning splendor of the Sun that dispels ignorance, and therefore sorrows and miseries.
devasya - The 'Deva', The God, He who is All Bliss, The Joyful One, The Shining One, The Revealer of All Glory
dhiimahi - We meditate upon Him
dhiyo - Bhuddi, intelligence, Wisdom
yo - which
naH - our
prachodayaat - Inspires, enlightens, illumns
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Happy Days Are Here Again!
With winter neatly tucked up in the attic, it's time to come out of our cocoons and enjoy this spring festival. Every year it is celebrated on the day after the full moon in early March and glorifies good harvest and fertility of the land. It is also time for spring harvest. The new crop refills the stores in every household and perhaps such abundance accounts for the riotous merriment during Holi. This also explains the other names of this celebration - 'Vasant Mahotsava' and 'Kama Mahotsava'.
"Don't Mind, It's Holi!"
During Holi, practices, which at other times could be offensive, are allowed. Squirting colored water on passers-by, dunking friends in mud pool amidst teasing and laughter, getting intoxicated on bhaang and reveling with companions is perfectly acceptable. In fact, on the days of Holi, you can get away with almost anything by saying, "Don't mind, it's Holi!" (Hindi = Bura na mano, Holi hai.)
The Festive License!
Women, especially, enjoy the freedom of relaxed rules and sometimes join in the merriment rather aggressively. There is also much vulgar behavior connected with phallic themes. It is a time when pollution is not important, a time for license and obscenity in place of the usual societal and caste restrictions. In a way, Holi is a means for the people to ventilate their 'latent heat' and experience strange physical relaxations.
Like all Indian and Hindu festivals, Holi is inextricably linked to mythical tales. There are at least three legends that are directly associated with the festival of colors: the Holika-Hiranyakashipu-Prahlad episode, Lord Shiva's killing of Kamadeva, and the story of the ogress Dhundhi.
The Holika-Prahlad Episode
The evolution of the term Holi makes an interesting study in itself. Legend has it that it derives its name from Holika, the sister of the mythical megalomaniac king Hiranyakashipu who commanded everyone to worship him. But his little son Prahlad refused to do so. Instead he became a devotee of Vishnu, the Hindu God.
Hiranyakashipu ordered his sister Holika to kill Prahlad and she, possessing the power to walk through fire unharmed, picked up the child and walked into a fire with him. Prahlad, however, chanted the names of God and was saved from the fire. Holika perished because she did not know that her powers were only effective if she entered the fire alone.
This myth has a strong association with the festival of Holi, and even today there is a practice of hurling cow dung into the fire and shouting obscenities at it, as if at Holika.
The Story of Dhundhi
It was also on this day that an ogress called Dhundhi, who was troubling the children in the kingdom of Prthu was chased away by the shouts and pranks of village youngsters. Although this female monster had secured several boons that made her almost invincible, shouts, abuses and pranks of boys was a chink in the armor for Dhundi, owing to a curse from Lord Shiva.
The Kamadeva Myth
It is often believed that it was on this day that Lord Shiva opened his third eye and incinerated Kamadeva, the god of love, to death. So, many people worship Kamadeva on Holi-day, with the simple offering of a mixture of mango blossoms and sandalwood paste.
Holi is also celebrated in memory of the immortal love of Lord Krishna and Radha. The young Krishna would complain to his mother Yashoda about why Radha was so fair and he so dark. Yashoda advised him to apply colour on Radha's face and see how her complexion would change. In the legends of Krishna as a youth he is depicted playing all sorts of pranks with the gopis or cowgirls. One prank was to throw colored powder all over them. So at Holi, images of Krishna and his consort Radha are often carried through the streets. Holi is celebrated with eclat in the villages around Mathura, the birth-place of Krishna.
Holi as a festival seems to have started several centuries before Christ as can be inferred from its mentions in the religious works of Jaimini's Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutra.
Holi in Temple Sculptures
Holi is one of the oldest among Hindu festivals, there is no doubt. Various references are found in the sculptures on walls of old temples. A 16th century panel sculpted in a temple at Hampi, capital of Vijayanagar, shows a joyous scene depicting Holi where a prince and his princess are standing amidst maids waiting with syringes to drench the royal couple in colored water.
Holi in Medieval Paintings
A 16th century Ahmednagar painting is on the theme of Vasanta Ragini - spring song or music. It shows a royal couple sitting on a grand swing, while maidens are playing music and spraying colors with pichkaris (hand-pumps). A Mewar painting (circa 1755) shows the Maharana with his courtiers. While the ruler is bestowing gifts on some people, a merry dance is on, and in the center is a tank filled with colored water. A Bundi miniature shows a king seated on a tusker, and from a balcony above some damsels are showering gulal (colored powders) on him.
Birthday of Shri Chaitanya MahaPrabhu
Holi Purnima is also celebrated as the birthday of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (A.D. 1486-1533), mostly in Bengal, and also in the coastal city of Puri, Orissa, and the holy cities of Mathura and Vrindavan, in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Making the Colors of Holi
The colors of Holi, called 'gulal', in the medieval times were made at home, from the flowers of the 'tesu' or 'palash' tree, also called 'the flame of the forest'. These flowers, bright red or deep orange in color, were collected from the forest and spread out on mats, to dry in the sun, and then ground to fine dust. The powder when mixed with water made a beautiful saffron-red dye. This pigment and also 'aabir', made from natural colored talc, which were extensively used as Holi colors, are good for the skin, unlike the chemical colors of our days.
Colorful days, solemn rituals, joyous celebrations - Holi is a boisterous occasion! Draped in white, people throng the streets in large numbers and smear each other with bright hued powders and squirt coloured water on one another through pichkaris (big syringe-like hand-pumps), irrespective of caste, color, race, sex, or social status; all these petty differences are temporarily relegated to the background and people give into an unalloyed colorful rebellion. There is exchange of greetings, the elders distribute sweets and money, and all join in frenzied dance to the rhythm of the drums. But if you wanna know how to celebrate the festival of colors to the fullest through the whole length of three days, here's a primer.
The day of the full moon (Holi Purnima) is the first day of Holi. A platter ('thali') is arranged with colored powders, and colored water is placed in a small brass pot ('lota'). The eldest male member of the family begins the festivities by sprinkling colors on each member of the family, and the youngsters follow.
On the second day of the festival called 'Puno', images of Holika are burnt in keeping with the legend of Prahlad and his devotion to lord Vishnu. In rural India, the evening is celebrated by lighting huge bonfires as part of the community celebration when people gather near the fire to fill the air with folk songs and dances. Mothers often carry their babies five times in a clockwise direction around the fire, so that her children are blessed by Agni, the god of fire.
The most boisterous and the final day of the festival is called 'Parva', when children, youth, men and women visit each other's homes and colored powders called 'aabir' and 'gulal' are thrown into the air and smeared on each other's faces and bodies. 'Pichkaris' and water balloons are filled with colors and spurted onto people - while young people pay their respects to elders by sprinkling some colors on their feet, some powder is also smeared on the faces of the deities, especially Krishna and Radha.
Article by: Subhamoy Das. Compiled by : Ranveer Kumar for informational purpose
Saturday, February 20, 2010
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and Always Delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot Arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only One and a half pots of water.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable That it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the Woman one day by the stream.
"I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak Out all the way back to your house."
The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side Of The path, but not on the other pot's side?"
"That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower Seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water Them."
"For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate The table.
Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to Grace the house."
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each Have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.
You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good In them.
SO, to all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell The flowers on your side of the path!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
The Powerful God:
Shiva is 'shakti' or power, Shiva is the destroyer, the most powerful god of the Hindu pantheon and one of the godheads in the Hindu Trinity. Known by many names - Mahadeva, Mahayogi, Pashupati, Nataraja, Bhairava, Vishwanath, Bhava, Bhole Nath - Lord Shiva is perhaps the most complex of Hindu deities. Hindus recognize this by putting his shrine in the temple separate from those of other deities.
Shiva As Phallic Symbol:
Shiva, in temples is usually found as a phallic symbol of the 'linga', which represents the energies necessary for life on both the microcosmic and the macrocosmic levels, that is, the world in which we live and the world which constitutes the whole of the universe. In a Shaivite temple, the 'linga' is placed in the center underneath the spire, where it symbolizes the naval of the earth.
A Different Deity:
The actual image of Shiva is also distinct from other deities: his hair piled high on the top of his head, with a crescent tucked into it and the river Ganges tumbling from his hairs. Around his neck is a coiled serpent representing Kundalini or the spiritual energy within life. He holds a trident in his left hand in which is bound the 'damroo' (small leather drum). He sits on a tiger skin and on his right is a water pot. He wears the 'Rudraksha' beads and his whole body is smeared with ash.
The Destructive Force:
Shiva is believed to be at the core of the centrifugal force of the universe, because of his responsibility for death and destruction. Unlike the godhead Brahma, the Creator, or Vishnu, the Preserver, Shiva is the dissolving force in life. But Shiva dissolves in order to create, since death is the medium for rebirth into a new life. So the opposites of life and death and creation and destruction both reside in his character.
The Most Fascinating of Gods:
He is also often portrayed as the supreme ascetic with a passive and composed disposition. Sometimes he is depicted riding a bull called Nandi decked in garlands. Although a very complicated deity, Shiva is one of the most fascinating of Hindu gods.
The God Who's Always High!:
Since Shiva is regarded as a mighty destructive power, to numb his negative potentials he is fed with opium and is also termed as 'Bhole Shankar', one who is oblivious of the world. Therefore, on Maha Shivratri, the night of Shiva worship, devotees, especially the menfolk, prepare an intoxicating drink called 'Thandai' (made from cannabis, almonds, and milk) sing songs in praise of the Lord and dance to the rhythm of the drums.
When is Shivaratri?
Auspicious festival of Mahashivaratri falls on the 13th or the 14th night of the new moon during Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Phalgun. The Sanskrit term, Krishna Paksha means the period of waning moon or the dark fortnight and Phalguna corresponds to the month of February - March in English Calendar. Shivaratri Festival is celebrated on a moonless night. According to Hindu mythology, Shivaratri or 'Shiva's Great Night' symbolizes the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Many however, believe, Shivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Nritya - the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction. Celebrating the festival in a customary manner, devotees give a ritual bath to the Lingam with the panchagavya - milk, sour milk, urine, butter and dung. Celebrations of Shivaratri Festival mainly take place at night. Devotees of Lord Shiva throng Shiva temples across the country and spend ‘the Night of Lord Shiva’ by chanting verses and hymns in praise of the Lord. The festival holds special meaning for the ladies. They pray to Goddess Parvati also called 'Gaura', the giver of 'suhag' for good husbands, marital bliss and a long and prosperous married life. Significance of Shivaratri in Hinduism Festival of Mahashivaratri has tremendous significance in Hinduism. According to sacred scriptures, ritual worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri festival that falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun pleases Lord Shiva the most. This fact is said to have been declared by Lord Shiva himself, when his consort Parvati asked him as to which ritual performed by his devotees pleases him the most. Even till date, devotees of Lord Shiva perform the ritual worship of Shivratri with care and devotion. They observe day and nigh fast and give sacred bath to Shiva Linga with honey, milk, water etc. Hindus consider it extremely auspicious to worship Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri as it is believed that worship of Lord Shiva with devotion and sincerity absolves a devotee of past sins. The devotee reaches the abode of Lord Shanker and lives there happily. He is also liberated from the cycle of birth and death and attains moksha or salvation. Significance of Shivaratri for Women Mahashivratri Festival is also considered to be an extremely significant festival by women. Married and unmarried women observe fast and perform Shiva Puja with sincerity to appease Goddess Parvati who is also regarded as ‘Gauri’ - one who bestows marital bliss and long and prosperous married life. Unmarried women also pray for a husband like Lord Shiva who is regarded as the ideal husband.
Why shivratri is being celebrated?
Maha Shivratri or Maha Sivaratri or Shivaratri or Sivaratri (Night of Shiva or "Great Night of Shiva") is a festival celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha (waning moon) of the month of Maagha (as per Shalivahana or Gujarati Vikrama) or Phalguna (as per Vikrama) in the Hindu Calendar (that is, the night before and day of the new moon). The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael (Bilva) leaves to the Lord Shiva, all day fasting and an all night long vigil. Ganja is traditionally used as an offering for Lord Shiva and his followers.
Per scriptural and discipleship traditions, the penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach the goal more swiftly and avoid rebirth.
The Significance of Mahashivratri :
There are several stories which are associated with this special grand night of Lord Shiva:
1. Samudra Manthan Story:
During Samudra Manthan by the gods and demons, a highly toxic poison came out of the ocean. As per the advice of Lord Vishnu, gods approached Lord Shiva and prayed him to protect life by consuming this poison. Pleased with their prayers, out of compassion for living beings, Lord Shiva drank this poison and held it in his throat by binding it with a snake. The throat became blue due to the poison (Thus Lord Shiva is also know as Neelakantha) and Shiva remained unharmed. The wise men advised gods to keep Lord Shiva awake during the night. To keep him awake, the gods took turn performing various dances and playing music. A vigil was thus kept by the gods in contemplation of Shiva. As the day broke out, Shiva, pleased with their devotion blessed them all, and also said that whosoever worshipped & contemplated on him on this day shall be blessed with the fulfillment of his or her wishes. Since then, on this day and night - devotees fast, keep vigil, sing glories of Lord and meditate.
2. Manifestation of Lord Shiv as a Jyotirlinga on this day:
On this day manifested the great & also the first ever effulgent (Jyotirmaya) form (Anala-skanda or a pillar of fire) of Lord Shiva in front of Lord Vishnu & Brahmaji.
The story goes that once both Vishnuji & Brahmaji, got infected by ego. The result was an clash between both these gods. In order to show their respective superiority they decided to fight it out. Lord Shiva decided to intervene so as to make them realise that there is something more to life than the powers of an embodied beings. He manifested in the form of a huge pillar of fire (Anala-skanda) whose beginning and end could not be seen. Vishnuji & Brahmaji decided to check what this strange thing was. While Vishnuji, in the form of varaha (boar) went down towards patal-loka to see the end of this pillar, Brahmaji sitting on his swan went up. Even after years of travel they could not see the beginning or the end of this manifestation. Brahmaji saw a leaf falling off, and thought it fell down from the top of pillar of fire, and returned satisfied that he had seen the starting point. They came back, while Lord Vishnu accepted that he could not see the end, Brahmaji said that he had seen, which was a lie. Lord Shiva cursed Brahmaji that no will ever worship him. Then he too surrendered. This manifestation of Lord Shiva in the form of the first effulgent linga was on this special day of Mahashivratri, and thus all devotees pray to the effulgent linga (jyotirlinga) of Lord Shiva.
3. Day of Reunion of Shiva & Parvati:
King Daksha, opposed Sati's marriage with Shiva. At a yagna (holy sacrifice) the king ignored Shiva’s presence and thereby insulted the latter publicly. Sati was so angered by this that she jumped into the sacrificial fire and ended her life. Lord Shiva unleashed his fury at the death of his wife by performing the violent dance, Tandava. He wiped out Daksha’s kingdom, undertook rigorous penance and retired to the Himalayas. The Gods, who feared that the severity of Shiva’s penance might bring an end to the world, revived Sati in the new avatar of Parvati. Shiva-Parvati married and this reunion is celebrated on Maha Shivaratri.
4. Story of Chitrabhanu:
In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma, whilst resting on the bed of arrows and discoursing on Dharma, refers to the observance of Maha Shivaratri by King Chitrabhanu. The story goes as follows.
Once upon a time King Chitrabhanu of the Ikshvaku dynasty, who ruled over the whole of Jambudvipa, was observing a fast with his wife, it being the day of Mahashivratri. The sage Ashtavakra came on a visit to the court of the king.
The sage asked, "O king! why are you observing a fast today?"
King Chitrabhanu explained why. He had the gift of remembering the incidents of his previous birth.
The king said to the sage: "In my past birth I was a hunter in Varanasi. My name was Suswara. My livelihood was to kill and sell birds and animals. One day I was roaming the forests in search of animals. I was overtaken by the darkness of night. Unable to return home, I climbed a tree for shelter. It happened to be a bel tree. I had shot a deer that day but I had no time to take it home. I bundled it up and tied it to a branch on the tree. As I was tormented by hunger and thirst, I kept awake throughout the night. I shed profuse tears when I thought of my poor wife and children who were starving and anxiously awaiting my return. To pass away the time that night I engaged myself in plucking the bel leaves and dropping them down onto the ground.
"The day dawned. I returned home and sold the deer. I bought some food for myself and for my family. I was about to break my fast when a stranger came to me, begging for food. I served him first and then took my food.
"At the time of death, I saw two messengers of Lord Shiva. They were sent down to conduct my soul to the abode of Lord Shiva. I learnt then for the first time of the great merit I had earned by the unconscious worship of Lord Shiva during the night of Shivratri. They told me that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the tree. The leaves I dropped fell on the Lingam. My tears which I had shed out of pure sorrow for my family fell onto the Lingam and washed it. And I had fasted all day and all night. Thus did I unconsciously worship the Lord.
"I lived in the abode of the Lord and enjoyed divine bliss for long ages. I am now reborn as Chitrabhanu." I have now realized about the infinite love & compassion of Lord Shiva. Even unconscious acts of goodness are blessed in such a way, then what to talk of our conscious acts of expressing our love, respect and reverence for Lord Shiva. He is indeed Ashutosh, one who gets pleased very soon. Lord Shiva is indeed an embodiment of infinite love, love & compassion, that is why he is so easy to please. He showers us with his blessings at every moment of our lives, may we all devote this day of Mahashivratri to express our gratitude unto his feet. It is a very auspicious day.
5. Story of Lubdhak:
Another legend. There once lived a tribal named Lubdhak, who was a devotee of Shiva. It was his usual practice to go into the forest to collect firewood. One day he wandered deeper than usual and night fell before he could come out. It was the night before the no moon night and the thin crescent moon offered no light. He was not able to find his way in the dark and soon got lost. A hungry tiger smelt him out and with a loud roar made his intentions clear. Lubdhak knew he could not outrun the tiger and so he climbed up a bel tree. In order to keep awake so that he would not fall down in his sleep he began to pluck the leaves from the bel tree and drop them one by one, each time chanting “Om Namah Shivaya”, which means I bow down to Shiva. In this manner, he passed the night. Until dawn, he had dropped a thousand bel leaves. When he descended the tree in the morning, he saw a lingam, which he had missed in the dark. Unknowingly he had been dropping leaves on the lingam. This was the 14th night of the waxing moon of the month of Phalgun and came to be celebrated at Mahashivratri.
6. Spiritual Significance:
Maha is the Big One, Shiv means auspiciousness, and Ratri means night; this is a day when we awake to the most auspicious truth within ourself. Night stands for darkness i.e. ignorance, in which all beings sleep & then dream. Our present transmigratory existence and limited individuality is nothing but a big dream. Freedom is never by some unique or scintillating experiences in this dreamy realm of existence, but only by waking up to that which is not a product of mind. That which is not a product of mind is the Self, the Atma. Mandukya Upanishad calls that non-relative truth of Self as Shiva. That is referred to as the fourth state of the Self, the Turiya. It is the most auspicious one, knowing which one truly wakes up and gets 'as though' liberated. One who knows the Atma as Brahman alone is a liberated one.
The other three states apart from the Turiya are the waking, dream and the deep sleep states - when we turn extrovert and try to get experiences from the things around, revel in our imaginary worlds, or just switch off and rest, respectively. The fact that the special sadhana of this day has been kept for night implies that we need to simulate deep sleep, i.e. no flights of mind as in waking or dream states. Turn away from all experiences, physical or mental and just become quiet. No responsibilities, no desires, no burden to achieve anything, no roles to play, no regrets, no aspirations - just as in deep sleep but all consciously. When all relative roles and their corresponding thoughts are kept aside and the mind is quiet, then that which remains is that which is not a product of our minds - the Shiv tattva, the turiya, the auspicious one. Let us awake to that and realize it to be our real Self, thereafter, let this free and awakened mind respond to any situation around, there will be just the fragrance of auspiciousness in everything. That will be the real celebration of Mahashivrati.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Praetertranssubstantiationalistically has 37 letters.
2) Book Without Letter "e":
GADFY, written by Earnest Wright in 1939 is a 50,000+ word book, which doesn't contain a single word with 'e' in it
3) Word without Vowel:
4) Human Brain:
Organ of body which has no sensation when cut.
Only animal & reptile which sheds tear while eating.
6) No of Alphabets, which SOUND AS WORDS:
** **B* Bee *
** **C* Sea*
** **G* Zee*
** **I* Eye *
** **Q* Queue*
** **R* Are *
** **S* Yes *
** **T* Tea* **
** **U* You *
** **Y* Why
Fascinating Animals, Birds, Trees:
1) SNAILS have 14175 teeth laid along 135 rows on their tongue.
2) A BUTTERFLY has 12,000 eyes.
3) DOLPHINS sleep with 1 eye open.
4) A BLUE WHALE can eat as much as 3 tones of food everyday, but at the same time can live without food for 6 months.
5) The EARTH has over 12,00,000 species of animals, 3,00,000 species of plants & 1,00,000 other species.
6) The fierce DINOSAUR was TYRANNOSAURS which has sixty long & sharp teeth, used to attack & eat other dinosaurs.
7) DEMETRIO was a mammal like REPTILE with a snail on its back. This acted as a radiator to cool the body of the animal.
8) CASSOWARY is one of the dangerous BIRD, that can kill a man or animal by tearing off with its dagger like claw.
9) The SWAN has over 25,000 feathers in its body.
10) OSTRICH eats pebbles to help digestion by grinding up the ingested food.
11) POLAR BEAR can look clumsy & slow but during chase on ice, can reach 25 miles / hr of speed.
12) KIWIS are the only birds, which hunt by sense of smell.
13) ELEPHANT teeth can weigh as much as 9 pounds.
14) OWL is the only bird, which can rotate its head to 270 degrees.
In 24 Hours Average Human:
1) HEART beats 1,03,689 times.
2) LUNGS respire 23,045 times.
3) BLOOD flows 16,80,000 miles.
4) NAILS grow 0.00007 inches
5) HAIR grows 0.01715 inches
6) Take 2.9 pounds WATER (including all liquids)
7) Take of 3.25 pounds FOOD.
8) Breathe 438 cubic feet AIR.
9) Lose 85.60, BODY TEMPERATURE.
10) Produce 1.43 pints SWEAT.
11) Speak 4,800 WORDS.
12) During SLEEP move 25.4 times
2.Eyes are composed of more than two million working parts.
3.Eyes can process 36,000 bits of information every hour.
4.Under the right conditions, can discern the light of a candle at a distance of 14 miles.
5.Eyes contribute towards 85% of your total knowledge.
6.Eyes utilize 65% of all the pathways to the brain.
7.Eyes can instantaneously set in motion hundreds of muscles and organs in your body.
8.In a normal life-span, will bring you almost 24 million images of the world around you.
9.The external muscles that move the eyes are the strongest muscles in the human body for the job that they have to do. They are 100 times more powerful than they need to be.
10.The adult eyeball measures about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. Of its total surface area only one-sixth is exposed -- the front portion.
11.The eye is the only part of the human body that can function at 100% ability at any moment, day or night, without rest. Your eyelids need rest, the external muscles of your eyes need rest, the lubrication of your eyes requires replenishment, but your eyes themselves "never" need rest. But please rest them!
12.Eyes are your most precious sense... cares for them properly!