Hinduism is the Only Dharma

Hinduism is the Only Dharma in this multiverse comprising of Science & Quantum Physics.

Josh Schrei helped me understand G-O-D (Generator-Operator-Destroyer) concept of the divine that is so pervasive in the Vedic tradition/experience. Quantum Theology by Diarmuid O'Murchu and Josh Schrei article compliments the spiritual implications of the new physics. Thanks so much Josh Schrei.

Started this blogger in 2006 & pageviews of over 0.85 Million speak of the popularity.

Dhanyabad from Anil Kumar Mahajan


Friday, March 25, 2016

Vivekananda’s explanation on idol worship and many Gods theory of Hinduism

Sh Mohan Seksaria‎ ji posted:

Vivekananda’s explanation on idol worship and many Gods theory of Hinduism

Hinduism, Vivekananda, World Parliament of Religion
I have just taken a small excerpt of Vivekananda’s speech at World Parliament of Religion on Chicago, 19th September 1893…..

“…Superstition is a great enemy of man, but bigotry is worse. Why does a Christian go to church? Why is the cross holy? Why is the face turned toward the sky in prayer? Why are there so many images in the Catholic Church? Why are there so many images in the minds of Protestants when they pray? My brethren, we can Do more think about anything without a mental image than we can live without breathing- By the law of association the material image calls up the mental idea and vice versa. This is why the Hindu uses an external symbol when he worships. He will tell you. it helps to keep his mind fixed on the Being to whom he prays. He knows as well as you do that the image is not God, is not omnipresent. finer all, how much does omnipresence mean to almost the whole world? It stands merely as a word, a symbol. Has God superficial area? If not, when we repeat that word ‘omnipresent’, we think of the extended sky. or of space – that is all.

As we find that somehow or other, by the laws of our mental constitution, we have to associate our ideas of infinity with the image of the blue sky, or of the sea, so we naturally connect our idea of holiness with the image of a church, a mosque, or a cross. The Hindus have associated the ideas of holiness, purity, truth, omnipresence, and such other ideas with different images and forms. But with this difference that while some people devote their whole lives to their idol of a church and never rise higher, because with them religion means an intellectual assent to certain doctrines and doing good to their fellows, the whole religion of the Hindu is centered in realization. Man is to become divine by realizing the divine. Idols or temples or churches or books are only the supports, the helps, of his spiritual childhood; but on and on he must progress.

He must not stop anywhere. ‘External worship, material worship’ ?,’ say the scriptures, ‘is the lowest stage,’ struggling to rise high, mental prayer is the next stage, but the highest stage is when the Lord has been realized., Mark, the same earnest man who is kneeling before the idol tells you, ‘Him the sun cannot express, nor the moon, nor the stars, the lightning cannot express Him, nor what we speak of as fire; through Him they shine.’ But he does not abuse anyone’s idol or call its worship sin. He recognizes in it a necessary stage of life. ‘The child is father of the man.’ Would it be right for an old man to say that childhood is a sin or youth a sin?

If a man can realize his divine nature with the help of an image, would it be right to call that a sin? Nor, even when he has passed that stage, should he call it an error. To the Hindu, man is not traveling from error to truth, but from truth to truth, from lower to higher truth. To him all the religions from the lowest fetishism to the highest absolutism, mean so many attempts of the human soul to grasp and realize the Infinite, each determined by the conditions of its birth and association, and each of these marks a stage of progress; and every soul is a young eagle soaring higher and higher, gathering more and more strength till it reaches the Glorious Sun.

Unity in variety is the plan of nature, and the Hindu has recognized it. Every other religion lays down certain fixed dogmas and tries to force society to adopt them. It places before society only one coat which must fit Jack and John and Henry, all alike. If it does not fit John or Henry he must go without a coat to cover his body. The Hindus have discovered that the absolute can only be realized, or thought of, or stated through the relative, and the images, crosses, and crescents are simply so many symbols – so many pegs to hang spiritual ideas on. It is not that this help is necessary for everyone, but those that do not need it have no right to say that it is wrong. Nor is it compulsory in Hinduism.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Advait: Principles by Shankaracharya on Bhagavad Gita

Advait: Principles by Shankaracharya on Bhagavad Gita: Principles by Shankaracharya on Bhagavad Gita Adi Shanaracharya was one of the most prominent teachers of the Vedanta philosophy and o...

Principles by Shankaracharya on Bhagavad Gita

Adi Shanaracharya was one of the most prominent teachers of the Vedanta philosophy and one his major contributions was his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. The foundational principles of the Gita were prescribed by him in simple terms, as stated below.

na yogena na sāṃkhyena karmaṇā no na vidyayā.

brahmātmakabodhena mokṣaḥ siddhayati nānyathā..

न योगेन न सांख्येन कर्मणा नो न विद्यया.

ब्रह्मात्मकबोधेन मोक्षः सिद्धयति नान्यथा..

Purify Your Heart

The core summary of the principles of the Gītā is that man should perform all his tasks and duties with a positive frame of mind with an attitude of detachment towards the rewards of his tasks. This attitude toward work will help him purify his inner being or heart. The only way to purify the heart is to perform work while removing the expectation of rewards from the psyche. Until and unless the heart is purified, man will not develop the burning desire to know the truth - and without this burning desire to know the truth, it is impossible to develop the desire for moksha or liberation.

ग़ीता का सिद्धान्त अति संक्षेपसे यह है कि मनुष्यको निष्कामभावसे स्वकर्ममें प्रवृत्त रहकर चित्तशुद्धि करनी चाहिये।चित्तशुद्धिका उपाय ही फलाकंक्षाको छोड़कर कर्म करना है। जबतक चित्तशुद्धि न होगी, जिज्ञासा उत्पन्न नहीं होसकती, बिना जिज्ञासा के मोक्षकी इच्छा ही असम्भव है।

Develop True Detachment

After the heart is purified, vivek or inner knowledge arises in the man of truth. The development of viveksimply means the ability to distinguish between the transitory (or variable) and the eternal (or absolute). All the constituents of the world are transitory (or variable), and only the aatmaa, which is separate from these constituents, is eternal (or absolute). When one can experience this truth, their vivek gains immense strength. This strong sense of vivek leads to the development of true detachment towards the world in the seeker’s heart.

पश्चात् विवेकका उदय होता है। विवेकका अर्थ है नित्य और अनित्य वस्तुका भेद समझना। संसारके सभी पदार्थ अनित्यहैं और केवल आत्मा उनसे पृथक् एवं नित्य है। ऐसा अनुभव होनेसे विवेकमें दृढ़ता होती है, दृढ़ विवेकसे बैराग्य उत्पन्नहोता है।

The Path of Renunciation

Man’s progress towards the strengthening of true renunciation is not possible until he becomes detached towards the attainment of happiness and pleasure - in this world and beyond. Renunciation is the primary path to moksha or liberation - and it is through renunciation that sham-, dam-, titeeksha- and karma-liberation are made possible. It is only after one is liberated from these four elements that the gyana or knowledge which is necessary for attaining moksha arises or dawns onto the seeker. It is impossible to reach the state of moksha without obtaining this gyana in it is the purest form.

लोक-परलोकके यावत् सुख और भोगोंके प्रति पूर्ण विरिक्ति बिना बैराग्य दृढ़ नहीं होता। अनित्य वस्तुओंमें बैराग्यमोक्षका प्रथम कारण है और इसीसे शम, दम, तितिक्षा और कर्म-त्याग सम्भव होते हैं। इसके पश्चात् मोक्षका कारण जोज्ञान है, उसका उदय होता है। बिना विशुद्ध ज्ञानके मोक्ष किसी प्रकार भी नहीं मिल सकता।

What is true Moksha?

The paths which lead to anitya or impermanent results cannot lead one to the state of moksha. One needs to assimilate the knowledge that man and the supreme brahman are one and the same, before one can move towards moksha. The complete understanding of this truthful knowledge is indeed the state of moksha.

जिन साधनोंका फल अनित्य है वे मोक्षके कारण हो ही नहीं सकते। मोक्षका स्वरूप है जीवात्मा परमात्माकी अभिन्नताकाज्ञान। दोनों एक स्वरूप हैं, इसी ज्ञानका नाम मोक्ष है।

What is Maya?

The apparent (false) distinction between man and brahman is because of nature. The removal of this falsehood is only possible by the dawn of knowledge or gyana. Those who believe otherwise remain trapped in the realm of maya or ignorance. And that maya is the cause of a lot of confusion and misery. It is neither the truth - nor is it the untruth - but it is the abode for dvaita or the philosophy which separates man and brahman.

जीवात्मा परमात्मामें जो भेद मालूम होता है वह प्रकृतिके कारणसे है। इस भ्रान्तिकी निवृत्ति ज्ञानद्वारा होती है। द्वैत जोभासता है उसका कारण माया है। और वह माया अनिर्वचनीया है। न तो वह सत् है और न असत् है और दोनोंहीके धर्मउसमें भासते हैं।

What is truth?

That is why it has been deemed as unattainable. The truth is that maya is also deception. Since untruth cannot be created from truth and truth and untruth can never meet - this means that untruth has no inherent strength. Hence the world is indeed imaginary and dream-like in nature.

इसीलिये उसको अनिर्वचनीया विशेषण दिया गया है। वास्तवमें माया भी मिथ्या है। क्योंकि सत् से असत् की उत्पत्तिसम्भव नहीं और सत्-असत् का मेल भी सम्भव नहीं और असत् में कोई शक्ति ही नहीं। अतैव् जगत् केवल भ्रान्तिमात्र हैऔर स्वप्नवत् है।

Gita leads to liberation

Bhagwan Shankaracharya is the preacher of the path of liberation and nivritti. He has prescribed that theGita is the primary path or means for obtaining nivritti. According to him, it is not possible to obtainmoksha without committing to sanyasa. This is his repeated teaching. One must keep in mind that Shankaracharya preaches that the path of action or karma is necessary for the purification of the heart and mind.

भगवान् शंकराचार्य निवृत्तीमार्गके उपदेष्टा हैं और गीताको भी उन्होंने निवृत्ती-मार्ग-प्रतिपादक ग्रन्थ माना है। उनकेमतानुसार संन्यासके बिना मोक्ष प्राप्त नहीं हो सकता। यही उनका पुनः-पुनः कथन है। परन्तु इतना ध्यान रखना उचितहै कि कर्म वा प्रवृत्ति-मार्गको वे चित्तशुद्धिके लिये आवश्यक समझते हैं।

What is true Sanyasa?

Shankaracharya does not believe that everyone is deserving of or is entitled to the path of sanyasa. The true sanyasa is that in which one does not deliberately give up or relinquish his possessions ; instead, just like a ripened fruit naturally falls from the tree, the man of sanyasa also becomes automatically detached from the world when his time is ripe. Does one need to wait for instructions on when to release a ball of golden hot metal from his hands?

अतैव वे सभीको संन्यासका अधिकारी नहीं मानते। सच्चा संन्यास अर्थात् विद्वत्संन्यास वही है जिसमें मनुष्य किसीवस्तुका त्याग नहीं करता वरं पके फल जैसे वृक्षसे आप ही गिर पड़ते हैं - संसारसे वह सर्वथा निर्लिप्त हो जाता है। लोहेकेतप्त गोलेको हाथसे छोड़ देनेंके लिये किसके आदेशकी प्रतीक्षा होती है


Advait: SHARAD PURNIMA - THE NIGHT OF NECTAR !: SHARAD PURNIMA - THE NIGHT OF NECTAR ! THE FESTIVAL OF SHARAD PURNIMA: Sharad Purnima or Kojagari Purnima is a day of great signi...



Sharad Purnima or Kojagari Purnima is a day of great significance for the Hindus. Sharad Purnima is the full moon day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin. It is also known as the Kaumudi celebration and it is believed that on this day the moon showers elixir or Amrit on Earth through its beams. Sharad Purnima ushers in the Sharad season according to the Hindu beliefs which marks the beginning of autumn. On the day of Sharad Purnima it is said that the moonlight has magical healing properties and that is why it is known to shower 'Amrit Varsha' (Elixir shower). The popular belief is that Sri Krishna, Radha and Gopis of Vrindavan performed Ras Lila on the day.

Interestingly, it is also believed to be the day on which Goddess Lakshmi is said to have been born. That is why in some parts of India, people worship Goddess Lakshmi on the day of Sharad Purnima which is also known as Kojagari Lakshmi puja. It is mainly celebrated by the Bengali community and also in a few other Eastern states of India. It is a custom to stay awake for the whole night on Sharad/ Kojagari Purnima to receive the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi.

There is also a close connection between the moon and the Sharad Purnima day – the moon is believed to be close to the earth on the day and it is believed that moon’s rays contain nourishing elements. People believe that as the moon is nearest to the earth on the day and as the moon’s rays has several curative properties it will be helpful to human beings. So people spend the evening under moonlight.

There is an Ayurvedic reason behind consuming rice flakes with cool milk on this night. Sharad ritu (season) consists of two months of overlapping seasons when the summer is about to end and the winter slowly starts. During Sharad the days are warm and nights start to become cooler. This is perfect season for Pitta prakop when pitta vitiates along with other two doshas. Consuming rice flakes with milk during night time is good remedy to pacify pitta.

On Sharad Purnima, the moon and the Earth are very close to each other. The rays of the moon have some healing properties which is said to nourish the body and soul of an individual. That is why food kept in the moonlight on Sharad Purnima is considered equal to Amrit (the immortal drink) or elixir. Hence, people in the Eastern regions follow a custom of preparing kheer and keeping it open under the moonlight throughout the night of Sharad Purnima. The next day it is consumed by all the members of the family as it becomes 'Amrit' according to local beliefs.

Also known as 'Kojaagari Punam,' the festival is celebrated on Aso sud 15 - Purnima. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth moves around in the night sky, asking `Ko jaagarti' searching for people below who are awake. In Sanskrit, `Ko jaagarti' means, ' Who is awake?' And to those who are awake she gifts wealth.

Kojagari Lakshmi puja is celebrated by the Bengalis with great enthusiasm. Kojagari literally means who is awake? It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi comes down on Earth and visits every house to see who is awake at night to welcome Her. The women who fast and keep awake at night on Kojagari Purnima are blessed by the Goddess with wealth and prosperity. That is why most women of the Bengali households keep a fast on Kojagari Purnima and worship Goddess Lakshmi. The house is cleaned and beautiful 'Alpana' (rangoli) is made with rice paste along with the footprints of the Goddess. Food offerings are made in front of the idol. Some households also organise singing and bhajan programmes to keep awake at night.


Sharad Poornima or Sharath Purnima is the full moon day in the month of October and is closely associated with Lord Krishna and Radha and Gopis. According to Srimad Bhagvad Purana, the famous Raas Lila of Lord Krishna with Radha and Gopis took place on the night of Sharad Poornima. In 2012, date of Sharad Poornima is October 29.

The showering of Bhakti Raas on the Sharad Poornima night by Krishna on Gopis and Radha has been a main theme for poets and philosophers and still continues to attract the fantasies of common man. The Sharad Poornima night is also seen as the night of love and couples come out at night to face the moon and express their love.

It is also said that the moon is close to the earth on the day and due to this the rays of the moon has several curative properties.

In some regions, Poha, puffed rice, and kheer, sweet, is prepared and left in the moonlight and is consumed later. In some areas, the full moon is not seen directly instead it seen on a vessel filled with boiling milk.

Sharad Poornima is of great significance in Mathura, Braj, Vrindavan and Nathdwara.


This katha goes as follows;

According to Shreemad Bhagvad, once Kamdev took hold of all humans, devtaas, rishi muni, char achar, from all the three loks. Because of his victory over all, Kamdev was overcome with pride and became egoistic in his victory. On his way he met Narad Muni and challenged him,”Hey Narad Muni will you fight with me, its been a very long time I have not found anyone to fight with, looking at you I have this strong urge to fight, so please enter in war with me and fulfill my desire”.

Naradji replied, “Kaam Dev, I am but a sadhu, I am totally engrossed in Krishna bhakti I only talk and listen to Krishna leela, how will I fight”?

But Kaam Dev mad in his ego would not listen,”If you cannot wage a war with me tell me of one who can”. Naradji replied, “Okay I agree with this. In Vrindavan there is a child by the name of Krishn who is perfectly suited to fight you; you go to Vrindavan and fight with this child, He will fulfill your desire”. Kaam Dev replied, “Hey Muni, my force and power is so strong, Dev Daanav Rishi Muni even Brahmaji Himself cannot fight me, none have been able to defeat me; you talk about a human and that too a child; how do you think he is fit to fight me?”

Narad replied, “Have trust in my words, in the entire Brahmand if there is any one who can face you it is Krishn; if you defeat Him you will become unconquerable”.

Kaam Dev accepted this, bowed to Naradji and came down to Vrindavan looking for Shree Krishna.

During this time Krishna was at Banshivat playing His Bansuri under the Vat tree. “Child what is your name”, asked Kaam Dev.

“Krishn”, Thakurjee replied. Then I have reached the right place, Kaam Dev thought; “Krishna come fight with me”, he told Him.

Thakurjee replied, “War is always fought between equals; here I am an eleven year old child, you are an adult, war is not appropriate, the world will also not accept this”.

“Stop confusing me with your words, if Narad muni has sent me here you are the only one who can fight me, so accept my challenge and agree for a fight”, Kaam Dev replied.

“Okay” said Thakurjee, “If you do not agree then I am ready. War can be fought in two ways, either ‘Kila yudh’or ‘Maidan yudh’, choose what you want”.

“You first explain what each one means” said Kaam Dev.

Thakurjee explained,

'Kila yudh’ will happen when I am with Radha in Nikunj van; then you can aim all your five arrows at me, if my heart and mind wavers it will be your victory; if not you lose.

‘Maidan yudh’ will take place on Sharad Poornima night when I will playMaharaas with innumerable gopis, right here at Banshivat. Here also you can aim all your five arrows at me; if you are able to waver my mind and heart you win, if not you lose”

Here Kaam Dev thinks that yogis in total Samadhi states, rishis in deep tapasaya could not defeat his arrows; how will a mere child surrounded by many gopis be able to defeat him; so he chose the Sharad Poornima night. “I agree to themaidan yudh, I will now meet you here on the Sharad Poornima night”, so saying Kaam Dev disappeared.

Since the vastra haran leela, where Thakurjee stole the gopis clothes; allBrajbalas accepted Him as their Lord. All were in total devotion and love with God and wished to be with Him; now they began to worship Ma Kaatiyani.

After taking their snan in the sacred Yamunaji, during the month of Kartik they prayed to Her: Hey Ma, please let son of Nand be our husband.

Mata Kaatiyani heard their prayers, gave them darshan and said that on the Sharad Poornima night Thakurjee will fulfill all their desires. (Shreemad Bhagvad).

Finally the much awaited night in Ashwin Maas in the Sharad ritu arrived.

It is Sharad Poornima and it was a fragrant night. Without season bela, chameli, mallika etc fragrant flowers appeared and spread their scent all across Vrindavan. The Sharad bela felt like the Basant bela.

Chandradev spread its cool kiran lalima in all five directions. It looked as if the moon had decorated all directions in roli and kesar.. this night the lalima is akhand; it is poornima night, the entire van is filled with her komal loving, blessed rays and prakash.

Yogmaya was here in Thakurjee’s sewa; whatever bhao He developed in His heart, Yogmaya fulfilled with Her powers right here at Banshivat.

In this sumdhur bela, golden and beautiful, Thakurjee ShreeKrishn began playing His Bansuri below the Vat tree. His Bansuri spread music which gave bliss to all gopis and the total Brahmand; all became totally immersed in the magical divine moment. The bansuri vandan of this moment was one which increased devotion and bhao for Him and the longing to be with Him.

Even before this divine night Krishn had taken over the hearts and mind of all gopis; tonight He took control of their fear, sankoch, dharya, maryada etc. Hearing the magical call of Krishn’s flute today none could stop themselves; all ran towards the sound where Thakurjee waited for them.

On this night, Lord Krishna invited his faithful devotees, the Gopis of Vrindavan, to play the Maha Raas with him.

When they left their homes and arrived in Vrindavan, Shree Krishna welcomed them. Yet to further test their love for Him, he said: 'Women of character such as you, should not leave home to meet another man in the middle of the night!'

These words seared the Gopis' hearts. In extreme grief, they refused to move back and go home.

Pleased with such immense love for him, ShreeKrishn began the Maha Raas, by assuming as many Forms as there were Gopis.

At this point, the gopis became full of pride thinking that no ones devotion is higher than us, that is why the Lord favored us. Instead of accepting the Maha Raas as the Lord's grace and kripa, their ego disturbed their devotion. At this Krishn instantly vanished from the Raas mandal, to teach them a lesson in humility.

Now filled with remorse, the Gopis repented. Recalling Shree Krishn's divine leelas, they lamented their pangs of separation, and sang a song which came to be known as 'Viraha Geet':

Describing this leela in the Bhagvat (10/30/25), Shukdevji narrates to Raja Parikshit:

'O Parikshit! Of all nights, that night of Sharad Punam became the most resplendent. With the Gopis, Shree Krishn roamed the banks of the Yamunaji, as if imprisoning everyone in his leela.

This katha in the Shreemad Bhagvad continues how the Gopis begged Krishn and were sorrowful about their egoistic behaviour. Krishn had disappeared with Radha and when She also experienced pride and ego, Krishn disappeared from Her side also.

Finally it is all sorted out and the Maha raas begins.

At last came the night of Sharad Purnima and Sri Krishna played the flute. He infused the ‘क्लीं’seed-mantra into it. Only Lord Sri Krishna knows the art of infusing the ‘क्लीं’ seed-mantra. This seed word is extremely effective.

Though Sri Krishna is the Essence and substratum of all but when He has to do something then He has to depend upon Radha. Radha stands for the God’s essential power of bliss. She is the illusory power of God.

Lord said: “Dear Radha! You walk ahead. You be with Me. May you not feel that I have been captivated by the gopis (the cowherd girls). Now I have to give a battle to my son Kamadev who is so proud of his victory. So today I have to cross swords with him. Come Radhe!”

Lord Sri Krishna played the flute, infused the ‘कलीं’ seed-mantra. Thirty two ragas and sixty four riginis… the night of Sharad Purnima… gentle breeze is blowing. Lord is playing flute amidst sixteen thousand beauties along with Radha. Kamadev tried all his weapons but none of them worked.

Lord Krishna said: “ Kamadev! You are my son after all.”

The same Kamadev took birth from the womb of Rukmini begotten by Lord Sri Krishna. He was named Pradyumna.

The Death of all fated times, the substratum of all grounds, one who lends reality to passions like lust, anger, greed, attachment etc. and still transcends them all; one who sees such Lord Krishna with as much broad understanding and vision, to that degree his life gets filled with joy.

A small temple of Gopeshwar is also on one corner of the main court, inside the Banshivat parisar.


This is the varta about why this Shiv mandir is here:

When the sacred Maha Raas began, while in deep meditation on Kailash Parvat,Lord Shiva heard the mesmerizing dhwani of Krishna playing His divine flute. He told Parvati He was going to Prathvi lok to be a part of this divine happening.

He followed that transcendental sound until He came to Vrindavan, where Shree Krishna was getting ready to start the Maha raas with His gopis.

Desiring intensely to join the Maha raas, when He came to the entrance of the raas-sthali, He was stopped by Yogamaya, who told him, "Only gopis can enter here, no males except Thakurjee can be here at this time."

Being a male He first, was requested to take the form of a gopi, which onlyShree Yamunajee would be able to grant Him.

After bathing in the Yamunaji, Lord Shiva emerged from the river with the form of a beautiful Gopi.

Lord Shiva in His "Gopi Form" stood at one corner of the Raas sthali. Lord Shiva stood there and prayed to Shree Radha Krishna for getting prem-bhakti.

Then the raas started. Shree Krishn danced with all the gopis. He also danced with Lord Shiva who was disguised as a gopi.

As He entered the place, Krishna recognized Him instantly – hence gave Him the name of Gopeshwar. The story continues how Radha became angry; she accused Krishna of calling a new gopi by the name of Gopeshwar, which means – the Lord of gopis. All these years He had never ever called Radha by this name. Then Shyam had to explain the details to Her. “This is no ordinary gopi. He is Lord Shiv and He has come all the way to see the Maharaas leela with a pure and sattvik gopi bhao.

Since then, in His respect a mandir showing Shivji in the Gopi Form is there.


Sharad Purnima is the full moon day in the month of Ashwin and some people keep fast on the day. People prepare Kheer (rice boiled in milk) under moonlight and it is consumed during midnight. A popular Kahani or story associated with Sharad Purnima is listened to on the day. The Sharad Poornima Vrat Katha narrates about the importance of fasting on the day and the benefits received from it.

One there lived two sisters. The elder sister was very pious and religious. She used to observe the Sharad Purnima Vrat with dedication. The younger sister was never interested in observing the vrat but used do some rituals for namesake and would end her fast by noon.

The elder sister had healthy and obedient children. But all the children of younger sister died on birth. The younger sister was very worried and once she approached a saint and narrated her problem.

The saint soon realized the problem – the younger sister has been observing vrats disinterestedly. The saint said that when you observe a vrat you should observe it properly or should not bother to observe it at all.

The younger sister realized her fault and observed the next Sharad Purnima vrat with devotion.

Soon she gave birth to a child but the child too died immediately after death. The younger sister then thought of a plan. She took the body of the dead child and covered it with a cloth and placed it on a chair. Now the baby with the cloth looked like cushion.

She then invited the elder sister to her home and asked her to sit on the chair on which the body of the baby was lying. As the elder sister bent down sit, the child started crying.The elder sister was surprised and scolded the younger sister for being careless.

The younger sister then told the elder sister that the baby had died on birth and it has to come to life by your touch – the power of Sharad Purnima Vrat is responsible for reviving the child. Soon the miracle happened in the house of spread around the kingdom and people started observing Sharad Purnima Vrat.


The night of Sharad Purnima holds special significance. On this night the moon showers nectar through its rays. The moon in its full bloom and with all its parts showers the ambrosial rain in the form of cooling, nourishing energy and peace.

On this night the moon is very near to the earth and when its brilliant rays fall on the drinks and food items they are enriched with healthful elements so the person who eats that enjoys good health throughout the year.

From the spiritual point of view, moon signifies coolness. You may face any number of problems and troubles in the outward life but they should not cause any complaint in your heart. You should be so strong from within that the ordinary worldly troubles should not trouble you.

Advait: Bathing (Snanam)

Advait: Bathing (Snanam): Bathing (Snanam) One of the most important ways of taking care of your body is to have a good bath. There is no doubt that a good b...

Bathing (Snanam)

One of the most important ways of taking care of your body is to have a good bath. There is no doubt that a good bath cleans and refreshes your body, but it can be relaxing for the mind as well. It is important to have a bath every day in order to maintain good hygiene as well. A bath in the evening or night removes all the dust, grime and sweat that you have gathered throughout the day. A bath early in the morning refreshes you and makes you ready for the whole day. Bathing can be made a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Bathing is known as "Snanam” (in Sanskrit language).

In the Hindu Religion, taking “bath” is considered as the most important daily ritual. “Bathing” is defined in almost all Vedas, Upanishads, Suthras, etc. In many ways. The early morning 4 O’ clock is considered as the most auspicious time in the Hindu Religion. It is known as “Pratha Kala” or “Brahma Muhoortham” or the most auspicious time. Most of the “Rishis” (Saints) in Olden days used to take a bath in this hour and attained the sainthood. “Parasara Smirithi” explains this very well as “rusheenaam rusheetha nityam prathas snanath na sam sayaha” i.e Saints always take bath well before early morning and start their daily rituals.

The Vedas say, “Snana Moola Kriya: Sarvaa:” The Vedas and Upanishads further advise the Married people to take a bath twice daily and insist Saints for bathing thrice a day. However, the bachelors are allowed to bathe once a day.

The Kurma Purana says that without taking the pratah-snana [bath before sunrise] one remains impure and cannot perform any of the daily activities a civilized person must perform such as Japa, Homa, and Deity worship. If a person eats without having bathed, he is said to be eating only filth, for everything he touches becomes as impure as he.

The Padma Purana declares that one who does not bathe in the morning is a sinner fit to suffer on lower planets. Pratah-snana is compulsory for all, except those who are ill.

In Vedic culture bathing is considered a sacred act to be accompanied by meditation on the Lord and recitation of prayers. The scriptures describe the benefits of taking a cold bath early in the morning. Such a bath can purify even a sinner, for it has the power to wash away all external and internal contamination. Whereas a warm water bath cleanses physically, cold water revitalises the subtle body, removing the influence of sleep and dreams as well as of evil-minded persons. The cold bath also gives strength, sensitivity, longevity, effulgence and purity. Taking an early morning cold bath increases one’s knowledge and determination and affords peace of mind. It removes unhappiness, lamentation, degradation, and bad thoughts. In short, it counteracts all the ill effects of sin.

At night the nine holes of the body become filled with waste products, which are continuously produced as we sleep. The early morning bath most effectively removes all of this dirt so that the body can begin its daily activities in a fresh state. In this way the early morning bath has positive physical, mental and spiritual effects, and is therefore highly glorified in the scriptures.

The Garuda Purana extols the virtues of snanam in the following manner, Water nourishes and sustains the spirit as well as the body. Water is high among the elements, as it purifies and uplifts the individual from the mundane to the transcendental. Mountain water, spring water, and rainwater collected are highly beneficial and considered noble by the wise.

Taking a bath in spring water, rainwater or river water can bring benefits to both body and mind. These benefits can be further multiplied if you were to chant a Sanskrit mantra called the snaman mantra before taking a bath. Since the snanam mantra has to do with water, if you were to take some water in your right palm and recite the following verse your mind could be lifted from the mundane into the sublime:

"apvithra: pavitrova sarvasthaam gatopivaa, ya:

smaret pudareekaaksham sa: baahyaabhyantara shuchi:

sri harirhari: pundarikakshaaya nama: iti atmanam prokshya"

After reciting the mantra you could sprinkle some water in different directions to purify the place.

Meaning: Whether a person is pure (pavitra) or impure (apvitra) that is, a person might be in any situation or condition, he can still realize his goal. Gatopiva means any kind of person. Vadi pundareekaaksha means the lotus-eyed Vishnu (pundareek plus aksh= kamal plus nayan which means Lord Vishnu). If one recites the name of the lotus-eyed Vishnu then he will from both inside and outside (baahya plus aabhyantar) become pavitra or pure (shuchi). Panditji or the Hindu priest places Ganga jal or Ganga water on the palm of a person’s hand and asks him to drink it and then recite the snanam mantra. In this manner (iti), on one’s own accord (aatmaanum), one could purify oneself, or wipe oneself or purify oneself (prokshya) while taking the name of Shree Vishnu.

In the Hindu tradition there are two kinds of bathing— the bathing of the body and the bathing of the mind. The first begins with “Om apo-hish-ta may-o-bhuva” and ends with “Om-apo-jana-yatha cha-na.” This is then followed by sprinkling water on the head, chest and feet. The notions of pollution and purification are quite important in daily life, social gatherings and festivals.

Purifying life through snanam is not just for divine beings. Ordinary beings too can clean themselves with a bath. During the Kumbh mela at Prayag Raj (Allahabad) millions of Hindus from all parts of India take a dip in the Ganga River believing that this act will bring them untold merit. Some say that on festival days the water of the Ganga River transforms itself into nectar and anyone who bathes in it will erase all his sins. Recently, biologists are talking about the contamination of river water from industrial effluents and the unhygienic condition of such waters, but this has not undermined the belief of people in the magical properties of Ganga water.

Most physical exercises in India require a bath before their commencement. Yoga recommends that before doing the Hatha Yoga, or Pranaya, it is important to take a bath. A ritual cleansing begins with washing the head and then moving down to the feet. Through snanam we not only control the body but also purify the mind. Water functions both as a physical phenomenon and a symbol.

The corporeal body is mostly composed of water. When we practice the yogic matsyasana (fish posture) and meditate with the intention of becoming one with water we can control the water in our body. The Tantric tradition associates water with the sense of taste. It believes that washing our bodies can sharpen our chemoreception. Tantra teaches us that a bath before sex can enhance pleasure. At times, taking a bath can also be associated with the joy of freedom, privacy and understanding the passage of time. A cold bath releases negative ions, refreshes the body and strengthens psychic forces. Once it was customary for Indians to wash their hands and feet before entering their homes, but modernization has made such rituals rather difficult to sustain.

In the Hindu tradition water stands for rejuvenation, prosperity and the male-female principle. Lord Vishnu is the lord of the water and his consort Lakshmi the mistress of prosperity. Therefore, bathing in a river can activate the forces of Vishnu and Lakshmi in our life. When we recite the mantra ‘Eh-vang’ we exhort the water of the river to carry our spirit to Vishnu, the source of rejuvenation. Eh-vang also stands for the male and female principles and the fusion of fire and water. The Lakshmi Tantra has the following advice for bathers,

One should bathe the body with running water; then apply perfumes and ointments. This type of bathing should be combined with breath control. The effect is to destroy both inner and outer dirt and make a person fit for spirituality.

The efficacious power of bathing cannot be overstated.

A story in the Hindu scriptures highlights the illusory character of water—the Maya that encompasses life and death. Narada Muni once asked Lord Vishnu to explain the meaning of Maya or the illusive creative power of the gods. Vishnu said that it cannot be explained but only experienced.

Narada Muni argued with Lord Vishnu that “If you cannot explain the power you use to create, then I will not believe in you.”

Vishnu realized that if humans like Narad did not believe in the concept of Maya that gods employed, then the fate of the gods will become uncertain. So Lord Vishnu left his serpent conch and took Narad Muni for a walk. When they entered a desert Vishnu felt thirsty and sat under a tree. He asked Narad Muni to take a pitcher and get some water from an oasis and when he will return Vishnu will explain the mystery of Maya to him.

Narad found a well beside a hut. He knocked at the door and a beautiful girl opened the door. She looked at him and then disappeared inside. Her eyes reminded him of the compelling eyes of Vishnu. The girl’s parents requested Narad Muni to eat and rest for a while before he took the pitcher of water back. Narad agreed, thinking about the beautiful girl. Night fell and her parents again urged him to stay on and leave in the morning. When Narad awoke in the morning he saw the girl bathing by the well. Looking at her he forgot the pitcher of water he had promised to Lord Vishnu. When the girl’s parents offered her hand in marriage Narad Muni readily accepted. Nearly twelve years went by.

During this time the couple had children, Narad Muni’s parents-in-laws died and he inherited property. Then the floods, came in the desert washing away his house. He waded through the water with his children on his shoulders and his wife by his side. He tried to grab hold of his wife who was getting swept away by the current when he lost hold of his children. He and his entire family disappeared in the flash flood.

Narad lost consciousness and awakened in the lap of Vishnu sitting under a tree. Narad Muni noticed that Vishnu’s eyes reminded him of his wife.

“Narad, where is the pitcher of water you were supposed to bring for me?” inquired Lord Vishnu.

“You mean everything that happened to me did not happen?” inquired Narad Muni aghast.

Lord Vishnu only smiled enigmatically. Probably Lord Vishnu was teaching Narad Muni the illusory character of life and death knit together by the central symbol of water.

Most parts of India are hot and dusty. Bathing becomes an important activity to remove the grime and dirt from the body. Therefore, many ancient Indian texts often highlight the therapeutic and symbolic significance of snanam. Over the centuries the notion of snanam has entered daily life, social gatherings and festivals of most Indian communities. Some people prepare themselves for twelve years to go to Allahabad to have a bath in the Ganga River called kamya snanam, while others are satisfied with an ordinary bath or nitya snanam. There are yet others who have a bath in the rain when the sun is shining; this is called the dhivya snanam. There are so many different kinds of snanam each bringing its own benefits.

1. Vaaruna Snanam: Taking bath in normal way in the luke warm or hot water.

2. Aagneya Snanam: After normal bath, praise the Name of Lord Shiva as “Om Namashivaya Namaha” continuously and apply Viboothi (Holy Ash offered in Shivete Temples) all over the body.

3. Vaaya Veeya Snanam: For specific purpose, feel the wind when the Cow’s tail is swinging. This acts as remedy for certain bad Oman.

4. Prokshana Snanam: While doing Nitya Karma viz. Sandya Vandhanam (Praising the Sun God and Goddess Gayathiri), and other Homams (hawan), dip Holy grass (known as Dharpas) and recite mantras viz. “Aabohishta mahabuvaha, etc.” and sprinkle the water on head.

5. Mantra Snanam: On certain auspicious occasion such as Birth day etc. keep water in certain specified vessel and continuously praise the Name (Japa) of God (known as Ishta Devatha) and offer Pujas (special prayer), etc. and take bath on this water. On such occasions, the bathing is carried out by experts in the field of Vedas known as (Sastrigal).

6. Dhivya Snanam: This is a very rare way of bathing and mostly done by Saints. When there is a good rain along with sunshine, Saints take bath in the rainwater.

7. Gowna Snanam: When someone is not well or having fever, etc. but has to take bath as per the customs, he is allowed to take bath wetting his body expect head. This way he may get relief from cold, etc but at the same time fulfilled his religious duty.

8. Kaapila Snanam: When someone is not well or having high fever and he/she is not able to take bath as narrated above, he is allowed to take a sponge or towel bath. This way he can continue his religious duties without any hindrances.

9. Nitya Snanam: Normal way of bathing while at home on daily basis.

10. Naimithiga Snanam: Hindus should take bath during and after Solar/Lunar Eclipse. Further, they should take bath if they are part of any untoward incidence and such bathing is done after offering certain prayer.

11. Kaamya Snanam: For certain obligation and special purpose prayer, when someone takes bath at rivers Ganges, Sea or Mahamaham or any other festival places, is known as Kaamya Snanam.

12. Kriyaanga Snanam: This is done before carrying out ceremonies for Pithrus (ancestors) or special Pujas, etc.

13. Malaharsha Snanam: Oil or herbal bath

14. Kriya Snanam: Taking bath at auspicious rivers, ponds, etc.

15. Shethra Ganga Snanam: Taking bath at ponds or lakes at important shrines, temples. Etc.



Advait: Durva Or Arugampul

Advait: Durva Or Arugampul:   DURVA OR ARUGAMBP UL Durva  is a sacred grass. The word  Durva  is a combination of two words ‘ duhu ’ and ‘ avam ’.  Duhuavam  mea...


Durva is a sacred grass. The word Durva is a combination of two words ‘duhu’ and ‘avam’. Duhuavam means that which is far away and brought closer. This implies that drive brings the distant pure spiritual or pavitrakas of Lord Ganesha closeness. But the Sanskrit literal translation means ‘which is cut or eaten by animals.’ It constantly enhances the principles of the three deities namely Shiva, Shakti and Ganesha. Durva or Arugambpul has a great capacity of attracting Primal Shiva, Primal Shakti and Primal Ganesh.

Generally durva is associated with Lord Ganesha. Use of durva in Hindu rituals can be traced back to Vedic times. There is a similar species called kusha grass and scholars and priests. There is a mention of durva grass in Verse 138 of the Guru Gita referring to different types of asanas and effects. Verse 139 states that durva mat should be covered by a white blanket as it may become uncomfortable after some time. The one usually identified as durva has a botanical name ‘cynodon dactylon’. This is referred to as Bermuda grass in the western world.

Durva grows wild and commonly cultivated in Hindu homes. It is a perennial fast growing, dark green, creeping grass. It has roots at the node and forms matted tufts. It sprouts back soon enough after being plucked and thus is a powerful symbol of regeneration, renewal, rebirth and fertility. This is the reason it is offered to householder Gods like Ganesha and not to ‘hermit Gods’ like Siva. The roots also have a tendency to grow deeper in search of water symbolizing perseverance. The tender shoots of durva have higher capacity to absorb the dew drops which falls on it. These tender shoots of durva are used in puja ritual of a deity.


Durva is used for all kinds of puja, be it domestic, Satynarayana puja or the elaborate Durga puja. It is indispensable during any sacrifice. Whenever water has to be offered in prayer, it is done by dipping a bunch of durva into water and sprinkling it on the deity. Durva here is considered the purifier.

Offering durva in prayers is called ‘durvarchanai’. This practice varies from place to place. Durvankur is the offer of three or five leaflets to Sri Ganeshji. The middle leaflet of durvankur attracts the Principle of Primal Ganesh and the other two leaflets attract Primal Shiva and Primal Shakti Principles.

The minimum number of Durva to be offered to Sri Ganesh is 21. This is tied together and offered to Sri Ganesh after dipping into water. The entire deity of Sri Ganesh excluding the face should be covered with Durva. Thus the fragrance of Durva spreads around the deity. Sri Ganesh is ritualistically worshipped by offering a Durva and chanting or the utterance of the one thousand Names of Lord Ganesha. This is called ‘durvarchan’ or ‘durvarchanai’. “The Principle of a Deity is emitted in higher proportion through the Holy Feet of the idol. So the Durva offered in the beginning attracts Ganesh Principle in higher proportions. This Principle is then transferred to the Durva offered later on. This Principle is spread up to the top by the Durva offered in sequence. Due to this the Chaitanya frequencies are emitted from the idol in higher proportions.

Sometimes three leaflets of the tri-foliate Durva is offered to Sri Ganesha. This denotes the three gunas. The tri-foliate gives the benefit at the spiritual level. The sole aim of life of a person on a path of spirituality is to contribute to the divine mission by going beyond the trigunas. The symbolism here is for one to be in a state beyond the trigunas and continue with the spiritual mission.

As a result of the durvarchanai done in this manner, the Ganesh Principle is attracted to the venue of the worship in higher proportions. The Nirguna frequencies of Principles of Deities are attracted in the idol. These frequencies are transformed into Saguna frequencies in Sri Ganesh idol and they are then emitted through the idol because of which the worshipper gets more benefit. What is the symbolism here? First the nirguna principles are attracted to the deity. These frequencies are transformed into saguna frequencies in the Ganesha deity and they are then emitted through the idol. Durva emits chaitanya in higher proportions. It is also emitted as a subtle frequency as it is of sattvic frequency. In Hinduism, despite duality, the ultimate aim is to see and be blessed by nirguna aspects of God. It is for convenience that one worships the saguna deities.

It is thus clear that due to the emission of the Deity’s Principle through the durva, the adverse influence of the rajas-tamas-predominant principles in the environment is reduced. This is the reason why a person suffering from negative energies feels distressed when he comes in contact with the Durva”.

In South India and in many Ganesha temples, Arugampul or durva is made as garlands to be offered to Ganesha and this is called ‘arugampul malai’. ‘Malai’ or mala here means garland. Lord Ganesha is the Remover of Obstacles. Hence he is also known as Vigneshwara or vignahara. Vignam means obstacles or hindrances. Puja is conducted for Ganesha before any other deity.

In the South there is a practice of making a cone shape ‘manjal paste’ on which durva grass is planted. This ritual starts off the puja at hand. This is not thrown away after the prayer and is left in some place where the grass dries and becomes dust to be blown away. It is said that if the earth is mixed with the paste, then arugampul regenerates as if it is growing in the soil. This has a symbolic meaning that life goes on. It also symbolizes the inherent power of nature.

Durva is also an important aspect in spiritual and religious rituals. Participants in rituals, such as a homa, a sacrifice to fire, often wear rings made from durva grass.


In the absence of durva, it may be substituted by ‘Akshata’ which is unbroken rice grains smeared with kumkum offered to the deity. By tradition akshata is all-encompasing. Akshata implies that it can be used as a substitute of substances offered in rituals’.


There are various legends and myths about Durva. One relates to an Asura-demon named Analasura. He scared everyone, including the Gods and was such a terror that the earth would tremble by his voice and his eyes used to emit fire. The Gods prayed to Ganesha for rescue from Analasura. Ganesha took a child form and commenced the “Sarvkasha” war.

Fireballs oozing out from Analasura’s eyes destroyed surroundings of Ganesha. He tried to gulp Ganesha. This led to Ganesha showing his real roopa. However, due to heat Ganesha was restless. The heat was unbearable despite applying sandal paste all over his body. Seeing this predicament all Gods decided to make a foundation of the moon on his head and Ganesha is also known as “Bhalachandra.

Lord Vishnu gave his lotus therefore Ganesha is also known as “Padmapani”. Lord Shankara removed a cobra from his neck and tied it to Ganesha’s hip. Lord Varuna, Rain God showered plenty of water, heat was not subsiding. It is said that 88,000 sages came with a small bunch of twenty one durvas. It was placed on Ganesha’s head and miraculously the heat subsided. In appreciation He announced that “whoever with devotion, offer me Durva would be pious and get punya”. Punya among other meanings indicate good karma.

The second legend has it that there was a most beautiful Apsara who was devoted and loved Ganesha. She chanted and prayed so that she could marry Ganesha. Ganesha too liked her. However Ghanesha’s mother, Parvathi was not keen in this alliance. She cursed Apsara to become a simple grass form on the earth where nobody would look at her. But Apasara begged for pardon. Parvati did forgive her, but later blessed her that even as a grass she would be durva and adored by Ganesha.

Thirdly the story is of Sage Kaundinya. He was relating the importance of Durva and Ganesha to his wife Ashraya who had doubts about this grass. Sage Kaundinya gave her bunch of 21 Durva and told her to get the gold equivalent from Lord Indra who is the God of all other Gods. Ashraya approached Lord Indra and asked about gold, but he in turn sent her to “Kubera” who is the Treasurer of Gods. However the scales were not balanced. Even all the other Gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Siva arrived and sat on top of the gold. The scales were in favour of durva. This perplexed everyone and all Gods approached sage Kaundinya at his ashram to address this. Kaudinya said that Ganesha being the King of all states, there could be no one superior.

Then there are mythologies linked to Vishnu, Sita and even a reference to Amrit which fell on durva grass to make it sacred. The Bhavishnya Purana states that durva originated from the hair on Vishnu’s hand and thighs while he supported the Mandara mountain during Samudra manthan. Hair fell and touched by Amrita to become durva. One more says that durva represents the hair of Brahma or even Sita.

Durva is also referred as Goroma. ‘Go’ indicates ‘mother earth’ and roma means hair. Thus, it is considered the hair of Mother Earth. According to Vamana Purana, durva is produced from Vasuki’s tail. Myths are myths, but it is the symbolism behind these stories that one is taken into account.


Durva has a medicinal value. ‘Internally durva is used in various diseases. The plant is beneficial in the treatment of epilepsy and hysteria and in conditions associated with pain, due to vitiation of vata dose. As a potent styptic, it effectively arrests the bleeding in dysentery, piles, haematuria, epistaxis, menorrhagia, diarrhea, raktapitta etc. It checks the uterine bleeding, strengthens the uterus, averts the abortion and augments the fetal growth. The plant juice given along with rice water and rock candy, curbs the vomiting. Duva is useful as a general tonic as well as an aphrodisiac’.

Advait: Significance of Naraka Chathurdasi/Kali Chaudas

Advait: Significance of Naraka Chathurdasi/Kali Chaudas: Significance of Naraka Chathurdasi/Kali Chaudas Kali means Dark (eternal) and Chaudas - Fourteenth. Thus, celebrated on the 14th d...

Significance of Naraka Chathurdasi/Kali Chaudas

Kali means Dark (eternal) and Chaudas - Fourteenth. Thus, celebrated on the 14th day of the dark half of Kartik month, Kali Chaudas is the day allotted to the worship ofMahakali or Shakti and is believed that on this day Kali killed the most wicked Narakasura. Also referred to as Naraka-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is day to abolish laziness and evil which create hell in our life and shine light on life. The strength to protect others is referred as Kali, and if its used for God's work is called Maha-kali....

Narakasura ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. Puranas have it that Naraka, son of Bhudevi, acquired immense power from a blessing given by Lord Brahma after a severe penance. Under his rule, the villagers suffered a lot of hardship as the demon tortured the people and kidnapped the women to be imprisoned in his palace with his invincible might.

Narkasur had fought against neighbouring kings and imprisoned 16,000 women, daughters of the Gods and saints. He had also defeated Lord Indra and taken away the magnificient kundale (earrings) from the ears of Aditi, mother of the Gods. When Lord Krishna learnt about Narakasur’s deeds, he decided to engage him in battle and liberate all the celestials.

Unable to bear the tyranny of the demon, the celestial beings pleaded with Lord Krishna to save them from his torture. But Naraka had a boon that he would face death only at the hands of his mother Bhudevi. So, Krishna asks his wife Sathyabhama, the reincarnation of Bhudevi, to be his charioteer in the battle with Naraka.

When Krishna fell unconscious after being hit by an arrow of Naraka, Sathyabhama takes the bow and aims the arrow at Naraka, killing him instantly. Later Lord Krishna reminds her of the boon she had sought as Bhudevi. The Narakasura Vadh by Sathyabhama could also be taken to interpret that parents should not hesitate to punish their children when they step in to the wrong path.

The message of Naraka Chaturdashi Parva is that the good of the society should always prevail over one's own personal bonds. It is interesting to note that Bhudevi, mother of the slain demon Naraka, declared that his death should not be a day of mourning but an occasion to celebrate and rejoice. It is said Lord Krishna had an oil bath to rid himself off the blood spattered on his body when Naraka was killed.

The tradition is followed and people offer prayers on the previous day of the Naraka Chaturdashi to the vessel in which water is being heated for having bath. Hindus light fireworks, which are regarded as the effigies of Narakasura who was killed on this day.

Rituals associated with Kali Choudas

The puja is performed with oil, flowers, and sandalwood. Coconuts are also offered to Hanuman and prashad of sesame seed, jaggery and rice flakes(poha) with ghee and sugar.

The rituals of Kali Choudas is strongly suggestive of the origin of Diwali as a harvest festival is performed. On this day delicacies are prepared from pounded semi-cooked rice (called Poha or Pova). This rice is taken from the fresh harvest available at that time. This custom is prevalent both in rural and urban areas, especially in Western India.

On this day, a head wash and the application of kajal in the eyes is believed to keep away the kali nazar (evil eye). Some say that those who are into tantra, learn their 'mantras' on this day. Alternatively, people offer Nivet is local to where they are originally from. This goddess is called their Kul Devi, in order to cast off evil spirits. Some families also offer food to their forefathers on this day. The second day of Diwali is known as Kali Choudas in Gujarat, Rajasthan & few part of Maharashtra.

The custom of taking a bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice. People get up early and have an oil-bath (तेल अभ्यन्गम). The tradition of taking oil baths has its origins in ayurvedic medicine. Preparations for this ritual bath begin the night before as water pots are cleaned, venerated, decorated with marigolds and mango leaves and filled with water in readiness for dawn. They are heated next morning and the hot water is used for ritual baths.

"The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age". Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89

After their hot water bath, an aromatic paste of herbs in scented oils is applied. Everyone then dresses up in new clothes and the celebrations begin with the bursting of fireworks and distribution of sweets that have been first offered to God. The courtyards are decorated with rangoli (drawing of traditional motifs with colorful powders) and the attention shifts to the feasting on different sweet and savoury snacks prepared for the festival. Typical sweets like laddus, chaklis, sakkaparas, badam halwa and various savouries are made for this evening. House are lit with oil lamps during the evening.

In Goa,on this day, paper-made effigies of Narakasura, filled with grass and firecrackers symbolising evil, are made.These effigies are burnt at around four o'clock in the morning the following day/ Firecrackers are burst, and people return home to take a scented oil bath. Lamps are lit in a line.The women of the house perform aarti of the men, gifts are exchanged, a bitter berry called kareet is crushed under the feet in token of killing Narkasur, symbolising evil and the removal of ignorance. Different varieties of Poha and sweets are made and eaten with family and friends.

In Tamil Nadu, Diwali is traditionally celebrated on Naraka Chaturdasi day. While the rest of India celebrates it on the new moon night, in Tamil Nadu, Diwali is celebrated Chaturdasi tithi. People get up earlier than usual and celebrate with oil baths, pooja, and festivals. Firecrackers are usually lit on Diwali. Some Tamil homes, observe "nombu" and do Lakshmi Pooja on this day.

Advait: Why lord Rama asked Laxmana to seek blessings of R...

Advait: Why lord Rama asked Laxmana to seek blessings of R...: Why Lord Rama asked Laxmana to seek blessings of Ravana? Ravana, though a Brahmin and well-educated, was punished by Lor...

Why Lord Rama asked Laxmana to seek blessings of Ravana?

Ravana, though a Brahmin and well-educated, was punished by Lord Rama because of his ‘adharmic’ deeds . It’s a historic fact that Lord Rama was very impressed with Ravana’s knowledge and wisdom—which is why after defeating him, he praised Ravana and deputed brother Lakshmana to seek the blessings of the dying Ravana.

The story goes that after shooting the fatal arrow on the battlefield of Lanka, Rama told his brother, Lakshman, “Go to Ravan quickly before he dies and request him to share whatever knowledge he can. A brute he may be, but he is also a great scholar”. The obedient Lakshman rushed across the battlefield to Ravan’s side and whispered in his ears, “Demon-king, do not let your knowledge die with you. Share it with us and wash away your sins”. Ravan responded by simply turning away.

An angry Lakshman went back to Rama, “He is as arrogant as he always was, too proud to share anything”. Rama comforted his brother and asked him softly, “Where did you stand while asking Ravan for knowledge?” “Next to his head so that I hear what he had to say clearly”.

Rama smiled, placed his bow on the ground and walked to where Ravan lay. Lakshman watched in astonishment as his divine brother knelt at Ravan’s feet. With palms joined, and with extreme humility, Rama said, “Lord of Lanka, you abducted my wife, a terrible crime for which I have been forced to punish you. Now you are no more my enemy. I bow to you and request you to share your wisdom with me. Please do that for if you die without doing so, all your wisdom will be lost forever to the world”. To Lakshman’s surprise, Ravan opened his eyes and raised his arms to salute Rama, “If only I had more time as your teacher than as your enemy".

"Standing at my feet as a student should, unlike your rude younger brother, you are a worthy recipient of my knowledge. I have very little time, so I cannot share much, but let me tell you one important lesson I have learnt in my life. Things that are bad for you, seduce you easily; you run towards them impatiently. But things that are actually good for you fail to attract you; you shun them creatively, finding powerful excuses to justify your procrastination. That is why I was impatient to abduct Sita but avoided meeting you. This is the wisdom of my life, Rama. My last words. I give it to you”

After these words, Ravan died.

Valmiki describes Ravan as the greatest devotee of Shiva. In many folk versions of the epic, such as Ram-kathas and Ram-kiritis, we are informed that Ravan composed the Rudra Stotra in praise of Shiva, the ascetic-God. He designed the lute known as Rudra-Veena using one of his 10 heads as the lute’s gourd, one of his arms as the beam and his nerves as the strings.

Because Symbolism Of Ravana is depicted as the king of Raakshasas. He is said to have ten heads. He was not born with ten heads.

Who is this Ravana and what are his ten heads?

Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Moha (delusion), Lobha (greed), Mada (pride), Maatsyasya (envy), Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (will) and Ahamkara (the ego) -all these ten constitute the ten heads. Ravana is of all the ten qualities. Such is the wisdom of Ravan, no wonder Rama asked Laxman to learn from him. When Ravan was dying,

Shri Rama sent Laxman to him to learn something. Laxman stands near his head and asked for teaching Ravan rebuked him, saying sit near my feet if you want to be a disciple, not on my head. Laxman did so.Then Ravan Told him about Politics and Niti which mainly said

1- do not be enemy of your charioteer, your gatekeeper, your cook and your brother, they can harm you anytime

2- do not think you are always a winner, even if you are winning always

3- Always trust the minister, who criticises you

4- Never think your enemy is small or powerless, like i thought for Hanuman

5- never think you can outsmart the stars, they will bring you what you are destined to

6- Either love or hate god but both should be immense and strong.

Ravana taught him that a king who is eager to win glory must suppress greed as soon as it lifts its head, and welcome the smallest chance to do good to others, without the slightest procrastination. He (Ravana) had learnt the lesson through bitter experience. Greed arises from attachment to the senses and catering to them. Put them in their proper place; they are windows for knowledge, not the channels of contamination.

First of all: Ravan, Dashanan, was a PANDIT (son of the Maharishi Podassiya brother of the Kubera - god of money).He became an Assura because of his Mother and he died because of his Ahankar.

Rama said to Laxam to learn some important lessons of the ART of WAR and the lessons of LIFE. Infact the most important lesson was:"Don't tell anyone your secrets, even to your Brother... And if he betrayed you don't forgive him.". Actually, Rama wanted that trough Laxam Every one knows these things.

Uttam Vidya leejiya jadapi neech pe h oye|Sona apaawan thour pado tahu na tajiye koye ||

Take good knowledge, even from the worst person of this world because if we find gold in dirty place, we don't leave it.Though Ravana was a kidnapper, rapist etc. etc. yet his knowledge and gyan was invincible. That is why Rama sent Laxmana to get some Gyan or knowledge from him.Here I want to add one thing...............without the Kripa of Rama, Gyan is useless......the same thing happened with Ravana.........he couldn't use his Gyan in good works...........So keep your Dharma attached with Gyaan.(Though Ravana was also a part of the play of Lord Narayana, so only the life of Ravana and his attitude is described and What was he in his previous births is not taken here.)



Advait: VeerBhadra

Advait: VeerBhadra: VeerBhadra Veera-Bhadra though an attendant or one of Shiva Ghanas is usually identified with a variant form of Lord Shiva himself...


Veera-Bhadra though an attendant or one of Shiva Ghanas is usually identified with a variant form of Lord Shiva himself as one among the SIXTY-FOUR forms of Lord Shiva. He is said to have flashed forth from the matted locks of an indignant Shiva ( Rudra-Jata-Sambhava / Rudra-Kopa-Samudbhuta ). After Sati immolated herself in the Yagna of her father Daksha-Brahma, Shiva sent Veera-Bhadra to kill Daksha and destroy his sacrifice. So he is usually represented as Yanaka-Murthi or as one on his mission of destruction. There are several forms in which Veera-Bhadra is shown. Usually he is black in colour, three eyed, sporting a garland of severed heads or Skulls and having a Sword and Shield in two hands and Bow and Arrow in upper hands. He also wears Serpents as his ornaments.

As per Karanagama Bhadrakali stands on his left while Daksha with Goat head and horns is on his right in Anjali posture. Veera-Bhadra after beheading Daksha, at the bequest of the Gods replaced it with the head of a sacrificial Goat. Daksha after recovering his life remained in Shiva-Dhyana-Parayana.

Shilpa-Samgraha enumerates three varieties in Veera-Bhadra Images as

1. Sattvic ( Two armed ),

2. Rajasic ( Four armed ) and

3. Tamasic ( Eight armed ) in nature.

All of them have a dark complexion, have Jata-Makuta and wield various arms.

Thus the Yoga-vira is seated in Sukasana with only Sword and Shield in his two arms and his right leg resting on the ground.

The Bhoga-vira is standing with four arms and has a bow and arrow in the other two hands. He also wears a Munda-Mala and Daksha is seen standing on his right side.

The Vira-vira with eight arms, is shown in walking posture and carries a Trident, Sword, Arrow and Antelope in right arms and the Skull-cup ( Kapala ), Shield ( Khadga ), Bow and Goad ( Mazhu ) in his left hands. This form is beautifully sculptured in Thiruvannamalai Temple and is worshipped as Aghora-Rudra-Murthi or Maha-Bhairava-Murthi.

In Shilpa-Ratna he is eight armed and rides a Vedala-Vahana ( Vampire ) and is surrounded by his Bhuta-Ghanas ( Nija-Gana-Sahita ). He is white complexioned and fierce looking. His tawny red matted locks are tied into a Knot in the top of his head ( Jata-Bhandha ) and adorned with the crescent Moon. His hands carry Battle-Axe, Hand-Drum, Sword, Shield, Skull-cap, Spear and his front two hands are in Abhaya-Varadha gestures. He is clad in Tiger skin.

In his Digambara Form, his body is adorned with many Serpents ( Bhujanga-Gana-Bhushana ) and his third eye is equally awesome. His eyebrows are knit in anger and his hair is like flames ( Jvala-kesa ). His body is smeared with the blood of the enemies slain by him and he also carried a Gada ( Club ) and Trishula ( Trident ).

In Sapta-Matruka Panels we find Veera-Bhadra is in the right end and Ganapathi is in the left end flanking the Seven Mother Goddesses in between.

As per Roopamandanam :-

Veereswaracha Bhagavan Vrisharoodo Dhanur dhara :

Veena hastha : Trisulamcha Mathrunaam akradho bavedh //

Veerabhadra when placed along with the Sapta-Matrukas is seen holding the Bow, Arrow, Veena and Trisula, with a Varadha-Hasta in sitting posture with the Nandhi Vahana at his foot.

The Utsava-Murthi of Thiru-Pariyalur on the South Bank of Cauvery near Sembonnar Kovil ( In Mayiladuthurai-Tarangampadi Road ) is six armed with Trishula, Club, Sword, Bell, Skull-cup, and Ax. The Veerateswarar Temple is one of the Ashta-Veeratanam ( Eight Places of Valour of Shiva ) and the place is also called as Keezha-Parasalur. There is a sculpture of Daksha in Shiva-Pooja in the wall of Sanctorum. The Ardha-Jama Pooja ( Last pooja of the day before closing the temple ) is done for Lord Bhairava in this temple.

Karanagama depicts Veerabhadra as one who redeems our Sins, relieves all our sufferings, destroyed the Yagna of Daksha, has four arms, three eyes and sports a Jatamakuta akin to the flames, has prominent teeth, wears a garland of bells and a garland of skulls. He is wearing a Paduka in his feet and wears ornaments in the ankles. His neck is blue and his dress called “Kanchugam” is tightly worn around his loin. The weapons that he carries are the Sword, Shield, Bow, Arrow, Skull, and Pindi-palam. His complexion is fiery red and has fierce eyes. He is also represented with 32 arms in some Agama works.

According to Sri-Tattwa Nidhi, he is four-armed, three-eyed, has a Jatamakuta, has Sword and Arrow in his right arms and Bow and Gada in his left arms. He also has a beard and wears a garland of Skulls

( Mundamala ) and also of Bones ( Rundamala ). He has Paduka in his feet and wears Serpents on his body and ears and is accompanied by Bhadrakali. Daksha-Brahma in the brahmanical form with Goat head and two horns is seen on his right in Anjali posture in Shiva-Dhyana.

Veerabhadra Dhyana-Shloka :-

Svethangam Sesha Bhushangam Khadga Veena dharam Subham /

Drutakrishnamrigam veeram Shaardhoolajidhavasam //

Arthonmeelita Netram dham Trinetramcha Jadataram /

Suganthi Pushpamalam Sri Veerabhadram Namamyaham //

“I worship thee, the White complexioned Veerabhadra, wearing Serpents as Ornaments, holds the Antelope in hand, wearing Tiger skin in his waist, with half closed eyes along with the Third eye in his forehead, his matted hair locked as Jatamakuta, and wearing a garland of Fragrant flowers”.

Another Dhyana Shloka of Veerabhadra :-

Shannetram Trimugam Bheemam Kalamegha Samaprabham /

Udharsijvalanam Neelaghatram Shatbhahu Shobinam //

Banapatrasi Soolekshu Chapa Khadga dharam Subham /

Bhoothapretadhi Dhamanm dushtarati vinasanam /

Meru vasam Mahesam tam Veerabhadram Namamyaham //

"I worship the Black complexioned Veerabhadra with Three Faces, Six eyes, in a Fierce form with flaming Fire as his hair-locks, and with six arms holding Banapatra, Sword, Trishulam, Bow, Arrow, and blesses all who worships him, tames and controls Bhutas and Pretas ( Demons and Vampires ), and kills all the evil enemies, and dwells forever in the Hill of Meru".

Amsumadbedagama Dhyana-Shloka :-

Chaturbhujam trinetram cha Jatamakuta manditham /

Saravabharana samyuktham swethavarnam vrushadvjam //

Soolam cha abhaya Hastham cha dakshinedhu karatvayam

Gadha varadha hastham cha Vama parshvey karathvayam //

Swetha Padmasanasoonam Vadavriksha Samasritam /

Veerabhadram Idhikyadam Brahmi roopam dhadha shrnu //

" I worship the White complexioned Lord Veerabhadra with four arms, three eyes, Jatamakutam, Sarva-abharanam ( variety of Jewellery ), Rishaba Kodi ( Flag with Nandhi ), Right arms having Trisula, Abhaya gesture, Left arms having Gadha and Varadha gestures, sitting under the Alamaram / Peepal Tree, on a White Lotus seat…"

Akasha-Veerabhadra Mantra :-

Kalarudra Rushihi

Jagadhee Chandaha

Veerabhadra Devata

Vam Beejam

Hoom Shakthihi

Dhyanam :-

Maragata Manineelam Kinginee Jalamaalam /

Prakadita Mugameesam Bhanu Soma-Aagni Netram ://

Hariharamasikedatraya Kradhandakra Hastham /

Vidhudharam ahi Bhusham Veerbhadram Namami : //

“I worship thee, Lord Veerabhadra, of Blue-Black complexion, wearing an Ornament of Bells, in a fierce looking form of Shiva with the Sun, Moon and Agni as three eyes, representing the Vibhuti of both Shiva and Vishnu, and holding the Sword, Shield and Club, wearing the Crescent Moon in his hair and Serpent garlands adorning the body...”

Mula Mantra :-

O Namo Veerabhadraya Vairi Vamsha Nivinasaya Sarvaloka Bayangaraya Beema Veshaya Hoom Phat Vijaya Vijaya Hreem Hoom Phat Svaha||


Advait: RAVANA

Advait: RAVANA:                                                                    RAVANA Ravana was  greater scholar  than Rama. He was the mas...


Ravana was greater scholar than Rama. He was the master of 64 categories of knowledge. He had also the knowledge about the training of cows and elephants. Despite all these accomplishments, Ravana was described by Valmiki is a fool (Moorkha). Rama was described as the very image of righteousness. Despite all his knowledge, Ravana failed to keep his senses under control. Because he let his senses have a free play, he became a fool. Anyone who misuses his senses is a fool, whatever be the extent of his knowledge.

There was no limit to Ravana’s riches. Kubera (the God of wealth) was his cousin. His fort and city was paved with gold What was the use of all riches and affluence? He had no character. Ultimately, he lost everything.

We know that there was not an individual who had access to property and wealth more than Ravana had. He also had all the position which one could command. He had all the authority that one could have. In spite of that Ravana was subjected to great difficulties towards the end and he lost his life in battle. We should compare this with Rama who intentionally and willingly gave up all his property, his kingdom and went to the forest for fourteen years. Ultimately, he was given the honour of having maintained Dharma in this country. From this difference between Rama and Ravana who had all the property, position, and authority, we should conclude that one cannot attach any importance to material wealth. We can only attach importance to the character and to the pursuit of right conduct.

Ravana was a great scholar and master of many arts. Ravana looked at Sita with a bad vision. The eye is a sacred organ. Good vision generates good thoughts. In Ravana, the bad look created bad thoughts, which led to his downfall.

Ravana knew all Dharma, but without putting into practice what is the use of having known them simply through the texts? Ravana had expertise in all the branches of learning. He also knew very thoroughly the four vedas. He was fully aware of the contents of the six Shastras. His knowledge of the six shastras and his knowledge of the four vedas (together ten) is the inner meaning of the belief that Ravana had ten heads. It is a symbolic way of saying that he was an expert in all the ten branches of knowledge. Ignoring this inner meaning we simply keep on saying that Ravana had ten heads, in the ordinary daily parlance, we have to ask how he is going to sleep with those ten heads? How does he go to do his daily duties with those ten heads? This is the short of making things appear ridiculous. The writers and the historians may simply have described him as a person having ten heads, but the inner meaning of such a description is that Ravana was having such knowledge and deep wisdom. He with all those strengths and knowledge, was not minding the people’s security and people’s happiness. To him his own enjoyment, his own safety, his own pleasure were all that mattered. We should note here that in spite of all his great and good qualities, he was behaving in a bad manner. Towards the end of his life, he realised that what he did all was sin and the paths he adopted were bad paths, and that whatever Vibhishana had told him was right and that he could not follow the advice given to him by his wife Mandodari also.

Ravana had fallen from the yogic heights he had reached in his previous lives because of his bad qualities, he was roaming about as Rakshasa (demon), really speaking he was a great devotee of God. He was aware deep within his consciousness of the universal absolute named Narayana. He was aware of the fact that Rama was Narayana himself come in human form in order to confer joy and peace on the Godly and in order to destroy all traces of demonic wickedness an earth. However, since there was no other route for Ravana to reach Narayana, he had to cultivate wanton wickedness, violence and hatred, and invite Rama to kill him. Of course, this might be called a type of devotion that is stupid and infamous. But his inner aim was to cross the ocean of birth and death, through that act of self abnegation and surrender to Narayana.

Ravana was suffering not only from ego, but he had also other bad qualities like jealousy, anger, lust and also power based on a wealth. Ravana was born to parents by name Visrawasa and Kaikasi. He had two brothers with names Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana. From his childhood Ravana was a great devotee and was also habituated to perform tapas. By continuous penance, he earned the Grace of Iswara and secured boons from him.

On one occasion when he was engaged in deep penance, Brahma appeared before him and asked Ravana what boon he wanted. Then Ravana asked Brahma to grant him a boon by which he will not be killed by any being or animal other than a human being. At that time, there lived a rakshasa by name Maya. He had beautiful city for himself. That city was more beautiful than the city of Indra. The daughter of Maya was Mandodari. Ravana married Mandodari. She had many good qualities like, chastity, shanti, kindness and prema and Ravana never had any one of them in him.

The daughter of Maya, Mandodari with all such good qualities was married to Ravana. From the time of marriage, his wife Mandodari tried her best to communicate her good qualities to Ravana and save him, but Ravana made no attempt to change his bad qualities. As a man reaches his end his bad qualities will also go on increasing. So also Ravana’s bad qualities began to increase. His brother Vibhishna tried to teach him several good ideals. Ravana also knew all about good conduct and dharma. What is the use of knowing what good conduct and dharma are if they are not to put into use.

Whatever one may learn it is of no use unless he puts it into practice. Ravana was proficient in all the different branches of knowledge. What is the use of having all these things if one cannot use such knowledge to reach the Lord? If bad ideas enter one’s head, his wisdom and knowledge will dry up. Ravana was ruling over a kingdom and his capital city would compare well with heaven. But because of his bad qualities he lost his own happiness, his kingdom, his life, and everything that he had. In fact, he destroyed his own dynasty and family. He knew all the codes of conduct of a king and he knew everything and yet he was behaving like a monkey.

When Hanuman entered Lanka as Rama’s messenger and spoke to Sita. Ravana came to know about Hanuman’s presence in Lanka and ordered Hanuman to be punished. This is quite contrary to the accepted code of conduct of a king. To kill or punish a messenger on behalf of someone else is not the right code of conduct for a king of the country. Vibhishana tried to explain to Ravana this principle, by which he wanted not to punish.

Vibhishana tried his best to get Hanuman released. Ravana in fact, had so many other bad qualities and bad ideas in him, and he often undertook to do things which he should not have done. Many times, he made attempts to kill even Sita.

Mandodari the wife of Ravana tried to teach Ravana that to kill a woman is very wrong and that by doing so he was committing a great sin. The bad qualities that were in him made him take always the wrong path and subject him to many difficulties.

On one occasion Madodari went to her husband and asked him, "You know all the dharma and all the codes of right conduct. With all your wisdom why is it that you are doing wrong things? What is the matter? How can you explain? What is the inner meaning of your behaviour? Not only this, you have all the capacity and you have all the strength to assume any form that you like. On the day when you brought Sita to Lanka, you were in the form of a sanyasi (ascetic)and you deceived her. Why are you taking all this trouble in order to win over the sacred Sita? If only you assume the form of Ramachandra then Sita would be yours. Why did you not adopt that path?"

Then Ravana replied that Ramachandra’s form was a sacred and Divine one. If he really took that form how will he have any bad qualities at all. This means Ravana knew very well that the qualities which one possesses should be appropriate to his form. Because he had the form of a rakshasa, the qualities of a rakshasa were showing up.

The bad qualities should be given up and sacrificed. Because Ravana had these qualities which go contrary to the purusharthas, he became a rakshasa. Ravana might have been a devotee, might have been a very learned person, but in spite of this, because he had the four bad qualities which, contrary to the purusharthas viz Dharma, Artha, Kama, And Moksha, he became a sinner. To such people, whatever Dharma you may preach it will appear as if it is only wrong.

Ravana had many great qualities, he was a great devotee; earned Gods Grace by his penance and in spite of all that he had no peace and he did not secure a good end for himself. He could invade the city of Kubera defeat him and take away the Pushpaka Vimana (celestial vehicle) ancient flying machine. This showed that in him there was the quality of jealousy. He could not bear Kubera being greater than him. Not only this, he invaded the city of Maya his father-in-law’s, defeated him, took away all his attendants and annexed this city which was the principal city of Lanka in his kingdom.

At the same time we should try to understand the good qualities of Ravana. It is not as if there were not good qualities in Ravana. When he was fully immersed in the thought of God, he was prepared to sacrifice even his entire body. He was truly a follower of Dharma and protector of Dharma. The bad qualities of Ravana did not come as natural qualities to Ravana. All the bad qualities and bad thoughts came to him because of a certain curse to which he was subjected to at one time. For such a curse, his own karma was responsible.

Through Ravana the story of Ramayana is teaching a lesson to the world that no one should have bad qualities as he had. Ravana was a wicked person and he adopted several trickeries. He spoke untruth and told Rama that he brought the head of Sita, while he actually brought only an artificially created head of Sita, a deceit. He told that he killed Sita and brought her head. Since Rama was all knowing, he realised that this was a trick and told Ravana that it could not be the truth. Similarly, he did the trick of getting the head of Rama and showing it to Sita and telling her that he had killed Rama. Ravana could not bear the happiness of other people. The normal human nature should be to become happy by looking at the happiness of others.

Ravana had as his guru Sukracharya who taught him the conduct of a king. Ravana was the one who acquired proficiency in all different kinds of action. His warriors and the leaders of his army were very strong and proficient in the art of warfare.

His wife was a very good and chaste lady (pativratha) with good qualities. In spite of the fact that he had such good teaching from such a guru and a good wife and a strong army, he did not change his methods and this simply means that it is a result of his Janmantara Karma (deeds of his previous lives). He was living in utter foolishness. In his foolishness, he would not  accept any advice from any one else. This foolishness is a great enemy of a human being. We must also remove this aspect of foolishness in us. On certain occasions, Ravana used to appear as a Satwic person and on other occasions, he used to appear as an innocent person. Sometimes, he would pretend and appear as a great devotee. In reality, there is no one greater than him in the matter of wickedness. He would not hesitate to harm even his own wife or son. Vibhishana, his own brother, was a Satwic person. Yet he showed no kindness to him. He simply drove him away. The wife of Vibhishana touched the feet of Ravana and begged him in many ways to save Vibhishana. This lady, who was the wife of his own brother, should be like his daughter, yet he gave so much trouble to her. The significance of all these points is that we should not simply think that Ravana was just a person with that name. The bad qualities and the cruel ideas that are in us are symbolic of the aspects of Ravana.

Advait: The Hidden orders of life

Advait: The Hidden orders of life:   The Hidden orders of life : An introduction to the ancient Indian world-view "All things, whether material or non-material...

The Hidden orders of life:

An introduction to the ancient Indian world-view

"All things, whether material or non-material, are subject to a natural way, the course of all things in nature, and are interdependent. This natural course of things was referred to as 'Rta' by the ancient Vedic seer in his search for Truth".

Truth and Order - Satya and Rta

The Rg Veda has two words associated with Truth that are often used synonymously- satya and rta .Satya (Truth) is the same as Sat (Being), the absolute Truth of Being (Sat ). Satya is the absolute Truth before the Unmanifest manifest as the many. Rta is the order behind the manifest world, the harmony among all aspects of manifestation, each of which obeys its own level. Thus, rta is also translated as order, harmony and law in various contexts. Unlike man-made laws rta is natural. Rta is in the nature of things. It is the truth behind the order and harmony in the universe. Man being an aspect and expression of this order has within him a reflection thereof.

In the Vedic world-view ethics is not necessarily a result of social evolution or social necessity. The ethical ideals and virtues emanate with all their purposefulness from the divine nature of the self itself. What is the highest virtue? Of course, the Truth itself. There is no virtue, nobler than truth (Satya ). While there are six synonyms for truth in the Vedic literature, Rta is the most common synonym for Satya or Truth. Rta is Truth in the manifest world, in the world of activity. In other words Rtam is Truth in action. Rta is the projection of the absolute Truth into the plane of space and time. Thus 'Rta'is the natural order in the entire cosmos, an order that is observed by the material world, by the animal kingdom, and even by the forces that bind the heavenly vault with earthly scenes. 'Rta' reigns uniformly and inexorably behind the seasonal variations, behind the changing currents of the wind and waters, behind the orderly movement of the planets in their orbits, and the activity of the Sun, behind all of Nature.

'Rta' is semantically related to to the Avestan 'arta ', the Greek 'srti' , the Latin 'artus' and the German'reeht' in the sense of the ritual that is right -'right rite'. Thus 'rta' is what is right. In a way, it also the law; it is also the ideal. Rta cannot be fully understood through mere description. It is better appreciated through intuition. What is innate is better intuited than understood. Rta has to be discovered through one's own spiritual experience, through one's own intuition. Thus, Rta cannot be formulated or invented or defined in categorical terms. Yet the human mind tries to comprehend the sublime in its own ways. Through the ages our understanding of the Cosmic law evolved and developed into a more concrete concept. Out of this understanding evolved other important concepts such as Dharma Karmaand .

Order and the Way to Order - Rta and Dharma

There is another word in the Rg veda that is closely associated with Rta - Dharma . The latter sections of the Rg veda use the two words synonymously while the earliest sections ( mandalas ) use them as closely allied, but distinct words. By the Upanishadic times Dharma became synonymous with Rta.According to the Taittiriya Upanishad , Dharma is verily the Truth synonymous with Rta .

Etymologically the word ' Dharma' is derived from its root 'dhr' meaning 'to hold' or 'to support' or 'to bear'. If Rta is cosmic order Dharma is its Sustainer. Dharma is natural corollary; it is what is naturally right. Originally Dharma defies dogma. As what is naturally right, it aligns the human body, mind, and soul in harmony with nature. At first Dharma , much like Tao is just the 'Way', the 'natural course of things'. While Rta was the one unchangeable Truth through all the metamorphoses and permutations of nature and of life in general, Dharma is the 'right way' or the 'right path' that sustains the order and harmony in life. Dharma signifies the way life ought to be, thus shifting from natural to ethical and moral order. A right path exists, to be taken by the righteous ones. Thus we see the logical progression of an early 'course of things' into an all-encompassing moral order, a path and way of righteousness that upholds the harmony of the universe.

Gradually Rta transcended its passive role as a natural order, assuming a more active form, that of an active imposition of order. While the Rg vedic usage of the words Rta and Dharma is more in the sense of cosmic laws that govern gods, men and all of nature, the Upanishadic times saw Dharma acquiring a new meaning as 'duty'. Thereafter Dharma is not only descriptive, but also prescriptive. In its prescriptive aspect Dharma also denotes justice and righteousness, law and duty. The contextual nature of Dharma is apparent in the different scopes of applicability of the different, often overlapping, levels or layers of Dharma .

While Dharma in its original sense describes the 'way things are', connoting the inherent order and harmony with the nature of all entities that constitute the cosmos, in its later prescriptive sense, Dharmasets the standard for the 'way things ought to be'. It portrays the ideas and ideals that should be aspired for. Implicit in this is the proposition that goodness, harmony, order, etc., are potentially the essential quality or character of the phenomenal world, and that badness, discord, chaos, etc., are likely aberrations. Dharma is both the goal and the way. It is simultaneously both the end and the means.

Dharma has many overlapping levels or layers to it. In practical terms, Dharma operates on all levels from the microcosm of the individual to the macrocosm of all existence. For the individual, this manifests as conformity to personal, family and social responsibilities or duties. Such requirements constitute an individual's Dharma, and are the part played by the individual in contributing to the broader stability, law, order, and fundamental equilibrium in the cosmos, in the family and in the society. Thus the individual prescriptive Dharma is defined by its context with reference to the descriptive Dharmas pertaining to ever expanding levels of family, society, nation, mankind, all life and all existence. The do's and don'ts of ethical conduct would differ for different individuals, under different circumstances, at different points of time, thus making Dharma relativistic at an individual level. Yet there is a higher level to Dharma that is relatively unchanging. At this highest cosmic level Dharma is synonymous with Rta. In other words Rta , is Dharma at the highest level. It represents the cosmic laws and forces by which all things are maintained (upheld). Thus, all entities, both animate and inanimate, operate according to the principles of R ta .

The Law of Karma

There is no flaw

In this law of Karma,

No reservation...

It is an exact and accurate regulation

Of actions and their results.

Man eats what he cooks.

That is, he reaps what he sows.

( Atharva Veda 12. 3. 48)

Along with Dharma, the concept of Karma is a distinctive part of the Indian world-view be it Hindu, Buddhist or Jain. Unlike Rta and Dharma , Karma is a relatively latter principle of the Indian world-view emerging noticeably in the late Vedic period. While Karma shares with Rta the natural and moral aspects of the Cosmic law, it has an additional and unique code of causality to it that Rta does not explicitly suggest. Whether or not the doctrine of Karma owes its roots to Rta , it certainly shares common ground. However, it is the principle of causality that makes the doctrine of Karma so unique. 'Man reaps what he sows'. If one reaps what one sows, then one ought to be careful about what one sows.

Literally karma means 'action' or 'deed', in fact anything that you do. If Rta is "Truth in action", Karma is the "Law of action". In the traditional texts karma is often written as a compound word- karma-vipaka . Karma-vipaka means "action and result" similar to "cause and effect". Everything you do is caused (at least in part) by what you have done in the past and in turn will cause your future actions. Thus, every act, moral and otherwise, is the result of some previous act which caused it. In Upanishadsthe , karma thus operates as a causal explanation for everything that happens, particularly to human beings. "As one does, so one becomes; by virtuous acts one becomes virtuous, by errant acts one becomes errant" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5). In other words, all actions you take are the results of actions you have taken in the past; all actions you take are also the causes of future actions.

Indebtedness and Interdependence in Nature - Rta and Rna

The concept of 'rta' as cosmic order in the mantra portions of the Rgveda was replaced by the idea of 'rna' or indebtedness at the human level in the Brahmana texts. The subsequent smritis incorporated both 'rta' and 'rna' in the notion of 'dharma' and thus a sense of obligation to conform to the natural, social and moral order. Likewise, both 'rta' and 'rna' share common ground with the law of cause and effect which is identified with the law of karma at one level. The law of cause and effect has other layers of meaning to it apart from the law of karma.

The Sanskrit word ' Rtam' and the English word 'Rhythm' apparently connote a similar idea at some level. Rtam is the rhythmic order of the 'uni-verse'. It is the orderly way in which the world regulates itself. The basic idea behind the words "rhythm" and "harmony" is that of a correlation of parts that can produce an organic whole. 'Rna' or 'indebtedness' among all of nature emerged in later times as the notion of 'rnanubandha' or karmic indebtedness ( rna + anubandha ). According to the notion 'Rnaof' , all beings owe their existence to each other as all life is interconnected. These ideas are commonly shared by both orthodox and heterodox systems of Indian philosophy in spite of some differences. In fact the law of cause and effect lies at the core of the Buddha's teachings on karma , co-dependant origination, impermanence, no-self and emptiness. It lies at the core of some Hindu philosophies as well, though the Hindu systems differ in their approach to the self.

The Sanskrit word ' Rtam' and the English word 'Rhythm' apparently connote a similar idea at some level. Rtam is the rhythmic order of the 'uni-verse'. It is the orderly way in which the world regulates itself. The basic idea behind the words "rhythm" and "harmony" is that of a correlation of parts that can produce an organic whole. This correlation of parts of an organic whole is a natural law. As already stated this natural law or order or harmony is referred to as 'Rta' . The inter connectedness creates an inter-debtedness referred to as 'Rna' . Thus 'Rta' and 'Rna' are two sides of the same coin. The concept as a whole evolved into the law of conditionality or the law of cause and effect in Buddhism.

Our present mental, moral, intellectual and temperamental differences are, for the most part, due to our own actions (karmas) and tendencies (samskaras), both past and present. However, everything is not due to Karma. The law of Karma, important as it is, is only one of the many conditions described in Buddhist Philosophy. If the present life is totally conditioned or wholly controlled by our past actions, then certainly Karma is tantamount to fatalism or determinism or predestination. If this were true, there would be no free will! Life would be purely mechanistic, not much different from a machine. Buddhism along with other great systems like Samkhya-Yoga, Advaita and Jainism, is a highly pragmatic system that places heavy (if not absolute) reliance on human effort or purushardha . While acknowledging the law of Karma as a major condition, most of these systems also propose other conditions of causality. The Abhidharma teaching of the five niyamas is one such view that ties together the various strands of the law of causality. According to this teaching, there are five natural orders or laws (niyama) which operate in the physical and mental realms.

Five-fold Cosmic Order in Buddhism

The word ' niyama' means law, thus denoting a natural law or a cosmic order, in this context. The first of the five niyamas is the 'Rtu' niyama that refers to an order in the world of matter, to the order of the so called physical world encompassing all of material existence. There is a certain order in which the seasons cycle ('rtu krama' ), an order to the planetary movement in their orbits, an order to the movement of the Sun and so on. The second of the five niyamas is the 'bija' niyama' - the germinal/genetic order in all things biological. This is the law of genetics. The third is 'citta niyama' or a psychical order that manifests in all mental or psychological phenomena. The fourth is the 'karma niyama' or the karmic order that refers to the Law of Karma . The fifth order in this system is 'dharmathe niyama' or the dharmic order. Dharma as a spiritual law supports or sustains the spiritual order.

Among the fivefold niyama , Dharma-niyama is most important. In Indian philosophy, the word 'Dharma' and its scope of meaning are very important and extensive. A 'dharma' is that which bears (dhareti ) its own nature. For instance, it is the dharma of birth that is born, the dharma of decay that grows old, the dharma of dying that dies. Thus Dharma niyama is the natural law governing the relationship and interdependence of all things, the Way all things arise, exist and then cease. The first four niyama s are contained within, or derived from the fifth one, the Dharmic order or the Law of Dharma. At one level Dharma niyama is "natural phenomenal sequence". At another level, it is also the "ethical order" derived from an insight into the natural order and thus includes Buddhist precepts as enumerated in the Vinaya Pitaka under the name 'Silakkhandha'. Thus the scope and meaning of Dharma are very extensive. And as may be expected, there are bound to be differences amongst various schools and commentators.

An integral approach to the hidden orders of life

In spite of certain variations the equivalents of various levels of natural order can be traced in both Buddhist and Hindu schools of thought. While most variations can be easily reconciled one major difference remains - whether there is the hand of a lawmaker behind these laws or not. The atheistic version of Samkhya and its allied schools of thought such as Buddhism do not see the need for God behind this order while the theistic version of Samkhya-Yoga and its allied Hindu schools of thought affirm the existence of a Supreme or Absolute cause behind this order. Both views are equally beautiful and suited to different stages if not temperaments. Moreover, these differences need not deter us from studying the order of life and their importance. This book seeks to integrate the best of all rather than to differentiate.

The law of Karmic order and Dharmic order assumed an all-important status in the Indian world-view. In later times both the orders of Dharma and Karma were fleshed out into concrete and clear concepts over the centuries and form essential aspects of the Indian world-view and culture. The orders of Dharma and Karma are not merely theoretical but intensely practical, assuming a life of their own. Embodied in rules and traditions, illustrated by puranas, legends and folktales, the orders of Dharma and Karma are a living tradition in the Indian cultural life. The complex nuances of Dharma are portrayed through the inner and outer conflicts that the mythological and legendary heroes/characters go through in their lives and how they strive to uphold dharma.

"The world is directed by Karma "

Left to themselves all things must function in some way or the other. In our need to understand the natural course of things, we infer that there are certain laws of nature. Whether we refer to it as a "law" or "hidden order" or something else does not make any difference to its existence or operation. Though this book is titled 'Karmic Rhythms', it does not exclusively deal with only the Law of Karma. It explores the Laws of Dharma as well as other important orders of life, such as synchronicity, systemic family order and individual psychological order ('Cittaniyama'), as implied by the subtitle ' the hidden orders of life' .

It is impossible to entirely reduce complex events or phenomena to singular laws. In actual fact, mots phenomena arise from a combination of all or some of these invisible or hidden orders. Thus, all events are not just the workings of Karma , although it is the most important law from mankind's perspective, apart from the Law of Dharma. Human beings are subject to and interact with the other niyama, or natural laws, studying their truths and harnessing the power of these truths, thus giving us an impression that we are able to manipulate and control the natural world. Moreover, human beings shape their own personal and social relationships, as well as their interactions with the environment through the power of volition or intent, which itself is a type of Karma . Karma shapes the fortunes and conditions of our lives. Whilst most other laws are largely in the domain of nature, Karma alone is specifically in our domain, highlighting the importance of taking responsibility for our own actions. Hence the Buddha's words: "The world is directed by Karma" .

Yet the predictable effect of institutionalizing natural truth in a concrete system of human morality and law has, at times, manifest as imperfect understanding, dogma and rigid hierarchies. The more popular traditional explanations of dharma and karma are at times over-simplistic and too generalized if not flawed. The original intuitive, cosmic and natural conception of Rta, Rna, Karma, and Dharma seems to have been compromised over time, thus losing its original purport, at least in part. While popular understanding of Dharma and Karma is still useful, approaching these ideas as "natural orders of life" will restore the beauty and spiritual import of the order and harmony that Rta and Dharma originally imply. Cosmic order, social order, family, order and individual psychic order are all interlinked or correlated. Inner order and harmony eventually synchronize with outer order and harmony. This book attempts to unravel the links between the various levels of order and harmony in the macrocosm and microcosm and also shed light on the hidden orders of life. Thus the title: 'Karmic Rhythms- the hidden orders of life' .

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