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Showing posts from February, 2007


Dnyaneshwari Quotes

To perform one’s duties properly is in itself the highest offering. Those who pursue this path are not touched by sin. It is only when one’s duties are neglected and one is inclined to do erroneous acts that one is caught in the cycle of life and death. The performance of one’s duty is in itself the highest sacrifice (yajna) and the man who is devoted to such sacrifice is free from all bonds.

Quotes from Chapter IV of Dnyaneshwari
You forget that both you and I have been born over and over again. At a suitable opportunity I take birth and I also remember what I did then. Though I am, as Supreme Brahman, free from the troubles of life and death, yet, resorting to My illusion (Maya), I am born. My indestructibility is not affected thereby and birth and death merely appear in Me, but are not there. My independence is unbroken, though I appear to be doing things, and though, those in error think that I am doing things. A mirror multiplies images, where there is only one. So I, who am wit…

Significance of Masi Makam in Temples in Tamil Nadu

Masi Makam or Masi Magam is an important festival in the Tamil speaking world. The festival falls in the Tamil Month of Masi (February – March). In 2019, Masi Makam is on February 20 in temples in Tamil Nadu. This year it is the Mahamaham. Maham or Makam is one among the twenty seven stars in the astrological system. The makam star in the Masi month usually falls on the full moon day and is considered highly auspicious in many temples across South India, especially in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry (Pondicherry) and Kerala.
One of the important rituals on this day is the taking of idols to the seashore or ponds. Therefore the festival is also referred as holy bath ceremony. Long processions from different temples arrive at the sea shore with the idols of Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva. Idols from Shakti temples are also brought to the seashore. Pujas and other rituals are held at the sea shore and thousands of devotees throng the sea shore on this day to offer prayer.


There are numerous myths in vog…

UNESCO to help Palembang Puppetry

Palembang puppet shows of Indonesia are based on the stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana. It is a local adaptation of the popular Javanese puppet shows. Sadly, Palembang puppet shows are now facing numerous problems. Like most traditional art forms, there is a lack of interest in the modern generation for the puppetry. There is also a dearth in professional Palembang puppeteers.
Palembang puppetry tradition is said to have originated in the 19th century. The shows are staged in the Palembang language. Apart from the stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, local stories and stories of ancient kingdoms are part of the puppetry.

UNESCO is funding around 15 Palembang puppet theaters and is helping youngsters interested in it. UNESCO also has plans to introduce this struggling traditional art form in other countries around the world.

From The Jakarta Post

The United Nations’ cultural organisation is working with Palembang puppeteers to save their art and bring it …

In Search of Vaisakheswara Temple below the sea near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh

It is believed that Vaisakheswara temple lie submerged below the sea near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. So far the attempts by Centre for Marine Archaeology (CMA) of AndhraUniversity to locate the temple have been unsuccessful. The city of Visakhapatnam is said to have taken its name from the temple dedicated to God Visakha (Muruga - son of Shiva and Parvati).
Now CMA after decades of research has come to the conclusion that the temple lie beneath the waters of the Bay of Bengal near Tirthapurallu. Parapsychologist Edwin C May is helping the CMA team in their quest for the lost temple.

The team plans to employ anomalous cognition (AC) for tracing the temple. Anomalous cognition (AC) is the ability to acquire information that is blocked from the known senses by shielding distance or time for tracing the temple. The process has been successfully employed to trace submerged ships and submarines.
The Hindu reports  Novel methods to corroborate geophysical methods with extrasensory p…

Important archeological finds at Dwarka

Important archaeological finds have been made under water and on land at Dwarka in Gujarat. The Underwater Archaeology Wing (UAW) of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is conducting a major excavation at Dwarka, which is mentioned in the Mahabharata as kingdom of Lord Krishna. Legend has it that Dwarka was submerged by sea.
The archaeologists have found ancient structures and copper coins. On land, the excavations are taking place near the famous Dwarkadhish temple.


The Hindu reports
Alok Tripathi, Superintending Archaeologist, UAW, said the ancient underwater structures found in the Arabian Sea were yet to be identified. "We have to find out what they are. They are fragments. I would not like to call them a wall or a temple. They are part of some structure," said Dr. Tripathi The Hindu also has some pictures of the excavations at Dwarka.

Pakistani History Texts Does Not Include Hinduism and Buddhism

There is an ongoing controversy in Pakistan over the inclusion of chapters related to Hinduism and Buddhism in history texts. Muthahida Majlis Amal (MMA) has opposed the inclusion of content related to South Asia's pre-Islamic history. The pre-Islamic history of South Asia deals with Hinduism, Buddhism and the many empires including Mauryan Empire of Chandra Gupta Maurya.
The present History texts in Pakistan talks about the Indus civilization and skips Hinduism, birth and spread of Buddhism and the rule of Hindu kings in the region that forms present day Pakistan.



Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman writes in an editorial in The News After all, these civilizations are very much a part of our history, whether the MMA likes it or not. It is not Hindu history, as the MMA would have it, but Pakistani, and, in fact, world history. If Hinduism and Buddhism, or, for that matter, any other culture or religion, are a part of this history, then they, too, must be covered.
History is always written by th…

Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka - Book by Professor S. Pathmanathan

Edited by Professor S. Pathmanathan, the book ‘Hindu Temples of Sri Lanka’ captures the progress of Hinduism in Sri Lanka through the Hindu temples on the Island Nation. The book delves into the different aspects of the ancient temples including history, architecture, administration, endowments, festivals, rituals and traditions.
The book contains fifteen essays written by nine authors. Majority of the essays are written by S. Pathmanathan. In the introduction part, Pathmanathan throws light on various cults and traditions of Hindu religion. Equally important is his thoughts on the contacts between Hinduism and Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
The book contains a map which provides the geographical location of the important temples. There are also images of temples in the book.

It is a historian’s history of the progress of Hinduism in the Island from the earliest times up to the present.

It catalogues, records and describes the history and i…

Raja Ram Mohan Roy Quotes

OM, when considered as one letter, uttered by the help of one articulation, is the symbol of the Supreme Spirit. But when considered a trilateral word consisting of a, u, m, it implies the three Vedas, the three states of human nature, the divisions of the universe, and the three deities – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, agents in the creation, preservation and destruction of this world; or, properly speaking, the three principal attributes of the Supreme Being personified in those three deities. In this sense it implies, in fact, the universe controlled by the Supreme Spirit.


There is only one God. None equals him. He has no end. He is present in all living beings.
The present system of Hindus is not well calculated to promote their political interests. It is necessary that some change should take place in their religion at least for the sake of political advantage and social comfort.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1775 – 1883)

Krishna Temple in Lahore Gets New Idols

Idols of Krishna, Radha, and Hanuman have been installed at the Krishna Mandir in Lahore. Hindu pilgrims visiting Pakistan to celebrate the religious festival of Shivratri at KatasRajTemple brought the idols at the request of Baba Devender Kumar Ghai, the founding president of the Anglo-Asian Friendship Society (UK).
The temple had been without idols for the past 59 years. The idea of the reinstallation of idols took place during the visit of a Hindu delegation from India last year.

Baba Devender Kumar Ghai was also present during the visit of the delegation and it was decided then to reinstall the idols.
The temple is an important center of Hindu worship in the city.
The temple observes all important Hindu festivals including Shivratri, Holi, Navratri, Ram Navami, Hanuman Jayanti, Hinglaj Mata Yatra, Chaitra Navratri, Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesh Jayanti, Navratri, Dasara and Diwali.

Book - The Ramayana for Children by Bulbul Sharma - Illustrations by K . P . Sudesh

The pocket-friendly version of The Ramayana of Children is published by Penguin Books India and is adapted by Bulbul Sharma. Keeping the traditional tale intact, the author uses modern day narrative techniques to make the book children friendly.

Bulbul Sharma, an artist and writer, works as an art teacher for children with special needs. She had written a number of books which include The Book of Devi (Indian Gods and Goddesses) and Tales of Fabled Beasts, Gods and Demons
Another noteworthy aspect of The Ramayana for Children is the illustrations by K.P.Sudesh.
The book is priced at Rupees 399/-
From the flyer The Ramayana is one of the best-known epics in the world, the tale of Rama, the prince of Ayodhya.   In this vividly told, brilliantly funny version for children, this ancient story takes on a new life.   The traditional ingredients are all there adventure and excitement, love, war and monkeys, shape-changing demons and monsters, crossing oceans and carrying mountains,…

Lord Jagannath Was Shifted From Puri Temple In Past Fearing Attacks

History records several instances of idols from Hindu temples being shifted to safety. This shifting of idols was mainly due to attacks carried out by people believing in other faith. Yet another reason was natural calamities.

The idols from PuriJagannathTemple had to be shifted several times fearing attacks and once it was kept for a long period at Gopali village in Sonetpur District of Orissa. This village is popularly known as Patali Srikhetra.

This particular shifting has been mentioned in the temple manuscripts. The idols were kept underground near a ‘pipal tree’ in Patali Srikhetra. Scholars claim that the idols were kept here for more than four decades. After the first shifting, the idols were brought again to the village during another attack.
Now the administration of PuriJagannathTemple is planning to conduct a detail study into these shifting of idols.

The Spelling of Shivaratri - Confusion - Making Search Engine Like Google Understand

What is the exact spelling for Shivaratri? There are nearly a dozen English spelling of Shivaratri in vogue on the internet and in print media. It is very difficult to make Search Engine like Google, Ask, Yahoo etct to understand that they all mean the same thing.
Shivaratri
Shivratri
Sivaratri (this spelling has a macron on top of S)
Mahashivaratri
Mahashivratri
Mahasivratri
Maha Shivaratri
Maha Shivratri
Maha Sivratri


Some more spelling variations are there but they are not relevant as they appear rarely in online newspapers and websites and are mostly typos.
Many are the path that leads to Brahman. Similarly, all these spelling ultimately lead to information on Shivaratri.

Update - Today the different spellings are understood by search engines and they all will take you to Shivratri. Earlier it was not the case. Spellings were a big problem for Hindu religion writers as they had to use different types of spellings to make the search engines understand that they all meant the same t…

On Sex in Hindu Way of Life

Sudhir Kakar, a psychoanalyst and writer from Goa, discusses sex in Hindu way of life in his short article in On Faith of Washington Post.



Some excerpts: ..many wonder that if the sexual act in Hindu religious tradition does not lie outside but within the holiness of life, then why are contemporary Indians so embarrassed by Khajuraho’s sculptures and feel the need to explain them away in convoluted religious metaphors and symbols or to dismiss them as a product of a ‘degenerate’ era?  The answer is that since centuries Hinduism has also set a high value on the ascetic ideal and the virtues of celibacy. There is a whole mythology around semen, shared by Hindu saint and sinner alike, which sees its emission as enervating, a debilitating waste of vitality and essential energy. In the Hindu theory of sublimation, if semen is retained, it can be transformed into a source of creativity and spiritual power.  The ascetic ideal, too, is quintessentially Indian, perennially in competition with t…

What is a Blog?

I was put this question by a professor recently during a casual discussion on Indian blogging and Hindu blogs. I went to give a conventional answer that you get to see in Wikipedia. A blog is a user-generated website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order. Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Well I did not just mug up and say word by word but I said something like this.



But I wanted to say something else and I was hesitant. Perhaps there lies the importance of blogs; it opens up even an introvert.

I feel blogs provide the highest form of freedom to express your thoughts, provided you value your freedom and anothe…

Indian Government Creates Online Database of Ancient Texts

To preserve the millions of manuscripts the government of India has launched a website – www.namami.org. The government claims that 1.8 million texts are part of this online database. The entire database when complete will consist of nearly five million manuscripts. This was promised in February 2007.
The database of Indian manuscripts is called Kriti Sampada and is created by National Mission for Manuscripts under cultural ministry. It provides information of individual manuscripts, collections of manuscripts and catalogues. The database is available in both English and Hindi.



Update - The callous and careless attitude of the government is seen in this project. the website in no longer accessible. Few government servants might have reaped good benefit from the project. Nothing useful for the general public.
Update - The website has reappeared in a different form (www.namami.gov.in/).

Related Manuscripts Treasures of India to be preserved.

Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple

SriKrishnaTemple at Guruvayur in Thrissur District, Kerala, is renowned in the Hindu world for the unique idol of Lord Krishna. Krishna is known here as Unnikrishna or Balakrishna. It is believed that idol here was given by Lord Vishnu to Brahma who passed it to a couple without children. Since, Lord Vishnu had worshipped the idol, the GuruvayurTemple is considered as ‘Bhooloka Vaikunta’ or heaven on earth. The daily puja routine here was laid down by Adi Sankaracharya.

There are numerous myths associated with GuruvayurTemple. The temple is famous for the Thulabharam ritual. For devotes, the Lord is the all pervading Guruvayoorappan.
Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. Shirt, T-shirt, pyjama, chapels, and other modern dresses are not allowed inside the temple. Men should be in ‘mundu’ and should not cover their top. Women should be in sarees and children should wear ‘pavadi.’ Churidhar allowed inside after a dress code change in July 2007. Mobile phones and camera are not p…

Book - The Power of Dharma: An introduction to Hinduism and Vedic Culture by Stephen Knapp

The book ‘The Power of Dharma: An introduction to Hinduism and Vedic culture’ is a good introduction to those who are eager to know about Hinduism. It provides an overview of the basic concepts in Hindu religion. The book is written by Stephen Knapp. He has been associated with Hinduism for more than four decades and his studies in Vedas are highly appreciated.

The book touches the important aspects of Hindu religion like customs, traditions, worship, festivals, yoga and Ayurveda.
Simple an easy to read, excellent presentation of Vedic truths, the book is faithful to Vedic philosophyA concise overview of Hinduism, tradition, major principles and teachingsAll important and common questions about Hindu customs and teachings are answered.The book is good for a novice as well as a for a practitioner of Hindu religion. 
Few excerpts from the book:
Vedic culture, more popularly known as Hinduism today, has spread everywhere and is followed by over one billion people around the world. Every…

About Tantric Literature - Dialogue Between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati

Usually, Tantric Literature is a dialogue between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva adorns the role a teacher and Parvati that of a student. Tantric Literature begins with the creation of the world and ends with the end of the world or the next beginning. The Tantric texts usually contain different forms of worship, magic and related things, spiritual exercises, ways to worship a particular deity, thoughts on nature etc.
Tantric Literature falls under the category of ‘Agamas.’ Vedas are ‘Nigamas.’ Agamas concentrate on a particular aspect of God and in it practice of enjoyment is necessary for salvation. One of the striking aspects is that women were allowed to partake in all rituals.


In the initial phase, the literature was passed down mainly through oral rendering. Lord Shiva is Bhairava and Parvati is Bhairavi. Cremation grounds and burning of the corpses are part of rituals. Yoni puja and stree puja are mentioned in the literature.
Some of the important Tantric texts we…

Brooms as Offering in Moradabad Shiva Temple - Pataleshwar Shiv Mandir Famous For Curing Skin Diseases

It is said that the Lord is pleased with anything that the devotee offers. Lord Krishna was happy to eat ‘the last leaf left’ in the plate of Draupadi. There are numerous unique offerings in temples throughout in India. At the Pataleshwar Shiv Mandir in Moradabad devotees offer brooms and they believe this will clean their sins. The temple is famous for curing skin diseases.
The temple is located at Sadat Bari village in Behjoi block in Sambhal District, Uttar Pradesh.

 Pataleshwar Shiv Mandir is more than 100 years old. Along with milk, water, bel patra, people make the offering of broom here.

There is strong belief that those who offer broom to Shiva at Pataleshwar Shiv Mandir will get relief from skin diseases.

During Mahashivratri, thousands of people visit the Sadat Bari Shiva Temple and offer brooms for getting their skin diseases cured.

A huge mela is held on the occasion of Mahashivratri.

The shops located near the temple sells broom along with other regular pooja items.


Stor…

Navya Shastra condemns the Bachchan family and Aishwarya Rai for Manglik-related penance ceremonies

Navya Shastra (www.shastras.org), an international Hindu reform organization, while commending the Bachhans for their Hindu religiosity and charitable works, is extremely concerned that their actions will have unhealthy impacts on their fan-base and subject brides-to-be to expiation ceremonies. It has therefore expressed its strong disapproval of Manglik-related and similar penance ceremonies done by the Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. The organization contends that astrology and similar unscientific practices should be renounced in marital matchmaking and other everyday activities in Hindu society.
The organization further notes that much of so-called Hindu astrology is an imported amalgamation of long-invalidated pseudo-sciences emerging from Babylon, Greece and Persia, and should be discarded as irrelevant to the Hindu tradition.


"What concerns us is that millions of people may rationalize their mistreatment of women based …

Karaka – Meaning in Hindu Astrology

Karaka is a term using in Hindu astrology. One of the meanings of the term is promoter or indicator. Karaka meaning active or effective cause, is a special feature of Hindu astrology and is an indicator of certain aspects of human life.
Importance of Karaka in Hindu Astrology Karaka plays an important role in astrological predictions.

Each planet of a kundali or horoscope is supposed to be a karaka of some aspect of life.

The functions of a karaka planet are similar to the role of bhava or house of a kundali.


Karaka in Brahatparasara Horastram According to Brahatparasara Horastram, the karaka role of the planets is fixed irrespective of their placement in the horoscope. This is as follows:
Sun for fatherMoon for motherMars for brothers and sistersMercury for education and professionJupiter for childrenVenus for spouseSaturn for longevityRahu for paternal relativesKetu for maternal relatives Karaka in Jaimini System of Astrology Karaka assignment is different in the Jaimini system of a…

Why so many Hindu Gods and Goddesses?

One of the main criticisms leveled against Hinduism is that Hindu religion has numerous Gods and Goddesses. But little do these people realize that the greatest strength of Hinduism is the worship of a multiplicity of gods and goddesses. This myriad of murtis is in fact a celebration of freedom.

There are numerous paths to reach the Supreme Truth or God or Brahman. The gods and goddesses represent these paths.
Brahman (Supreme Truth or God) in its true form cannot be captured in words or in graphic. Everything is Brahman. This is something hard to practice and only great souls have been able to digest it.

Ordinary humans have numerous problems and fears and they have existed for thousands of years. These problems and fears are different for different people. If today, you fear a virus attack on your computer, thousands of years ago a person feared the death of his cattle or the forces of nature. Now this person found a refuge for his fear in supernatural forces (god). The person…

Thoughts on the Origin of Shiva Worship

When was Shiva worshipped first? This question has no specific answer. The origin of the worship of Shiva is lost and what is left is the inference of few scholars. And the scholars themselves don’t agree on these inferences.
The earliest account of Shiva is found in the Rig Veda Book 1, 43. There is reference of Shiva again in Rig Veda Book II, 33 and VII, 46. He is mainly known as Rudra and ‘Puru rupa’ in the Rig Veda. Next reference is in Atharva Veda and here he is mentioned as Rudra, ‘NeelSikandin’ – with blue body, Pasupati, Mahadeva and numerous other names meaning destruction. Next major reference of Shiva is found in Yajur Veda.


Vedas describe him as a fierce god and a destroyer. Some verses in the Vedas mention him as lightning and there are verses which describe him as a peaceful god. But mainly Shiva is fierce god.
If we take a closer look at Shiva worship, we will realize that many of his qualities are closely related to nature. The worship of Shiva might have already …

Valentine's Day and Hindu Religion

For a decade on Valentine’s Day, Hindus are reminded of their rich cultural tradition through vandalism. Valentine's Day is not associated with Hinduism and neither is it a traditional Indian event. Several Hindu organizations and Regional political parties have objected to the celebration. But Valentine’s Day has found many takers especially in metros and in big towns.

Shops selling Valentines Day cards and gifts have been smashed in the past. Restaurants and Hotels celebrating the day have not been spared. More and more people came to know about Valentine’s Day in India mainly thorough the moral policing and mindless violence carried out by some organizations. I don’t think even today more than 20% of the youngsters in India know what Valentine’s Day is all about.



Valentine’s Day celebration in India is nothing but a skilful ploy by the business community to rake in some money. We can express our love all the 365 days not just a particular day.

Now, if a youngster wants to cele…

On Geeta Society and Prabha Duneja

Lea Blevins writes in insidebayarea.com about Geeta Society (geetasociety.org/about-us/authors-profile/) and its founder and president Prabha Duneja. The nonprofit organization Geeta Society is involved in teaching the ideals of Hinduism and it helps children around the world.
Earlier a special education teacher at JunctionAvenueMiddle School in Livermore, Prabha Duneja has to her credit eight books and more than 15 audio CDs dealing with various aspects of Hinduism.


From the report In the Bay Area, Duneja teaches both Hindus and non-Hindus about the faith and its teachings. Her meditation classes, available in the Tri-Valley at Be Well in Livermore and The Yoga Company in San Ramon, are for anyone looking to discover more about themselves. Prabha Duneja, founder and president of the Geeta Society, is also an active member of the Women’s Federation for World Peace, and the United Nations Association USA. She is also the chairwoman of the Women’s Interfaith Circle of Service/CC-URI. …

On the Lost Hindu Temple Relics in Indonesia

Relics from Hindu temples as old as eighth century from central Java have passed into the hands of privates collectors mainly due to ignorance and official apathy. People of the village sold these relics thinking as old stone in the 80s. Some of the pillars were used by locals to build their houses.


Jakarta Post reports During the independence struggle of the 1940s, many temple ruins could be found in the area between Paren hamlet to Sekere Hill in Sidomulyo, Sukirman said.  "We considered them to be just temple ruins and of no value, except as black rocks. The government also didn't take care of them," he said.  As the area became more densely populated, nearly all the temple ruins were tampered with or damaged, and a number of intact statues were bought by middlemen and antique collectors.  What remains are mostly small fragments, such as a statue of a dragon and a turtle, believed to be remnants of the Syiwa temple from the Kalingga kingdom.

White Crocodile in India to Have Better Living Conditions

Researchers and wildlife enthusiasts have been raising their concern for sometime over the manner in which the rare white crocodile is kept at the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa, India. The female crocodile named ‘gori’ has been kept in a pen at the Dangmal crocodile research center for the past 32 years.
The white crocodile was hatched and bred here as part of a conservation program. She has never mated and is the sole white crocodile in captivity in India.

Now, the pen is being expanded under the guidance of wildlife researchers.


Bhitarkanika National Park, Odisha, is India’s only habitat that is home to albino or white estuarine crocodiles.
The crocodile is found in the Bhitarkanika Mangroves, a mangrove swamp which lies in the river delta of the Brahmani, Baitarani, and Dhamra rivers. Gahirmatha Beach lies to the east, and separates the mangroves from the Bay of Bengal.

Monkey Trouble in Puri Jagannath Temple

The monkey menace in PuriJagannathTemple is well known and many devotees have a tough time with them. It is estimated that more than 3000 monkeys have made JagannathTemple and its surroundings their home. Their main food is the eatables that people carry for puja.

Monkeys are found in all places in the temple. They sit atop small temples, pillars and arches and wait for a devotee who is not alert. It is not fruits that they are after; they will take anything including purse and money.


When food is not readily available in the temple, they venture into the nearby houses and shops creating mayhem.
For many devotees, the monkeys are a menace. But where will the monkeys go? This is yet another instance of the raging man-animal conflict in India. We have usurped their forests so they are now trying to accommodate wherever food is readily available.

Hindu Pushups

If you had heard about Hindu Pushups, then this article might not be any great help. Hindu Pushup is nothing but an exercise that many people perform daily. It is part of the daily routine of Indian wrestlers and they call it ‘dand’ and is a variation of Surya Namaskar.
The exercise got the name Hindu Pushups because the British found it as another variation of pushup. 
The British used the term ‘Hindu’ to denote anything that was associated with Hindus in India and had nothing to do with Muslims. Most the Indian wrestlers during the British period were Hindus.
The exercise is performed to develop the upper part of the body and you might be already practicing it without knowing that it is called Hindu Pushup.

Importance of Lord Shiva

In Hindu scriptures and folklore, Lord Shiva is depicted as one who removes inauspicious and assures in joy. Lord Shiva is one of the earliest gods worshipped and phallic symbols (Lingam) excavated from IndusValley civilization point towards this fact. Therefore, significance of Lord Shiva can be traced back to the earliest civilizations.
What does Shiva mean? This is a tricky question and there are numerous definitions but nothing concrete. Lately, I found a good explanation in a book. “On the authority of Siddhanta Kaumudi and Shabda, Kalpa Dharma, Shiva means, one who makes thin or attenuates sin (asubha-inauspicious).1
An important aspect of Shiva is that he is more human. He has all the qualities and weakness of a human being like compassion, anger, lust etc. In fact, Lord Shiva is a perfect amalgamation of human and supernatural characteristics. In human qualities, he is lover, dancer, fighter and hunter. And in supernatural form, he is the creator and destroyer and man and woma…

On Surya Namaskar, Rahul Dravid, Indian Left and RSS

T he Surya Namaskar program by RSS in India has been garnering a lot of attention lately due to the controversies surrounding it. First it was the Madhya Pradesh government’s proposal to introduce Surya Namaskar in schools, now; it is regarding Rahul Dravid, Indian Cricket Team captain participating in a Surya Namaskar camp in Nagpur conducted by RSS.
In Madhya Pradesh, the controversy was regarding the chants which addressed Hindu gods and Lord Surya (sun). So, Muslims objected to Surya Namaskar being made compulsory in school. In a democracy like ours, no religious practice should be forced on anybody but at the same time those who voluntarily take part in such practice should not be stopped. Similarly, there should not be any impediments in spreading traditional Indian knowledge.


The second controversy is the creation of Indian Left especially by CPI(M). The mainstream media ignored the Rahul Dravid participating in a Surya Namaskar camp as it had no news value. But the ever over-…

On Hinduism’s Role in Protecting Nature

Vasudha Narayanan, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Florida, has written a well thought out essay in Newsweek Washington Post on Hindu religion's role in protecting nature.
Some excerpts from the essay One tree is equal to ten sons” says the Goddess Parvati in the Matsya Puranam, a little known Hindu text.  Tirupati temple promotes reforestation and donations for ecological projects is important; it raises the consciousness of millions of Hindus about the ecological disaster that is facing the Earth.  Hindu narratives, rituals, customs as well as local, ethnic folklore have been highlighted to help lift up the urgency of protecting the environment. From major Hindu temple complexes to small grass root organizations, one is urged to give one’s time, money, and energies to saving the Earth. In some meditations and action forums, Earth is personified as a Goddess and like dharma or righteousness, she protects those who protect her.

Nature …

Shivaratri Myths - Legends of Shivratri Festival in Hinduism Dedicated to Shiva

There are numerous myths regarding the origin of Shivaratri. Most of the stories of Shivratri can be traced to the Puranas. A few important legends are detailed below. It must be noted that almost all the myths happened during night and this is one of the reason for celebrating Shivaratri during night.
Myth of Shivratri based on Vishnu and Brahma searching for the origin of Linga Lord Vishnu and Brahma wanted to know who was superior and this led to a fight. Lord Shiva intervened and said whoever can find out the origin or end of Shivling is superior. Lord Shiva appeared before them in the form of a huge pillar of fire. Lord Vishnu went down searching and Brahma went up searching. Both traveled and traveled but never met the beginning or end. After the futile search, Lord Vishnu and Brahma prayed to Shiva and appeared before them in the form of Jyotirlinga and this day of the appearance of Lord Shiva is celebrated as Shivratri.


The Story of Shivaratri based on Samudra Manthan Th…