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Showing posts from March, 2007

Significance of Hanuman Jayanti

Hanuman Jayanthi is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Lord Hanuman, who is worshiped by Hindus. In Hinduism, Hanuman symbolizes strength and unfathomable devotion. In 2020, Hanuman Jayanti is on April 8.

For those people alien to Hindu culture, Hanuman is the ‘monkey god’ and a mythical character in Ramayana. But for Hindus, Hanuman is yet another path to reach the ‘Brahman.’ The fruitful association of Lord Rama with Hanuman and his ‘monkey clan’ symbolizes the need for the coexistence of humans and animals. And it extols that humans and animals and all living and non-living are nothing but the product of one Supreme Being – Brahman.
Think about Hanuman and what comes to mind is his unparalleled devotion for Lord Ram and unrivaled physical strength. Perhaps this is one season why Hanuman is quite often associated with celibates, wrestlers and bodybuilders. Hanuman is also noted for his spirit of self service, which was rewarded by Lord Ram by stating that ‘whenever I am remembe…

Radha Krishna from Lladro

Lladro is a Spanish Company noted for high quality porcelain figurines.

This limited edition (3000 units) of Radha Krishna porcelain figurine was issued in the year 2005. It retails for about Rupees 247,000. 
It seems the Radha Krishna figurine has been sold out as it is no longer available for sale online. (2007) On Radha Krishna The eternal love of Radha and Krishna symbolizes aspiration of a seeker for the Absolute.
It is believed in Hinduism that Lord Krishna resides on the Lotus with Radha in the Golok (city of Krishna in heaven)
Krishna gets his consort Radha, for the first time, in Jayadev's Gita Govinda a 12th century literary work of great merit. Radha is the shakti or energy of Krishna and symbolically the energy of the cosmos. She is the power of joy, the ahaladini shakti of Krishna. She is often identified with both Durga and Kali.
In the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Radha- Krishna love stands as the symbol of the unity of Brahman.
According to Sri Aurobindo …

Fear of Darkness? – Overcome with this Powerful Hanuman Mantra

If you fear darkness, then the deity to be worshipped is Hanuman. He helps in overcoming all forms of fear. Chant this powerful Hanuman Mantra to overcome fear of darkness.

नारसिंहायॐहांहींहूंहौंहः अंतकारा दमनायस्वाहाः।।

Om Dakshinamookhaya Panchamukh Hanumathe Kralbadnaya Narsimhaya Om Ham Heem Hrum Houm Ha: Andhakaradamanaya Swaha

The mantra should be chanted daily morning, evening and before sleeping.

On Tuesday, the mantra should be chanted 11 times.

Feeding monkeys whenever possible is highly helpful.

Chanting Hanuman Chalisa is also another means of overcoming fear of darkness.

Maharani of Puri to visit Jagannath Temple after 40 years

On April 8, 2007, Maharani of Puri will be visiting the PuriJagannathTemple after 40 years. She is not arriving from any far off place instead she lives 500 meters from the temple. To uphold an ongoing tradition, she has not visited the temple since becoming the queen.
Maharani Lilabati Pattamahadei, wife of Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb, is upholding a practice which says that the queen should only visit the shrine once in her lifetime. The last Maharani offered prayers in 1966.

Nobody insists that the queen should follow the tradition but it is still continued. Record of Rights (RoR) of the JagannathTemple has written rules on how the queen should be welcomed inside the temple.
According to this report in the Indian Express Sources said the maharani of Puri is the only woman on this earth who has the right to worship inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Jagannath temple.

"This privilege is bestowed upon the Maharani because her husband, the Maharaja, is considered the firs…

Lord Shiva Idol Auctioned for Record $4.07 Million

The rare four-headed stone idol called ‘Figure of Shiva as Brahma’ was auctioned for record $4.07 Million according to this report in Bloomberg. The idol belongs to the Chola period and is believed to have been created between 10th and 11th century. The auction was at the Sotheby's.

London dealer John Eskenazi placed the winning bid for an anonymous buyer.
In another auction at the Christie's, on March 21, 2008, sale of ancient Indian art, a bronze statue of Goddess Parvati belonging to 1400 AD was sold for $2.7 million.

Rudraksha Trees

Hindu scriptures trace the origin of Rudraksha trees to the tears shed by Lord Shiva. But for a botanist, Rudraksha tree belongs to the ‘Elaeocarpus’ family(scientific name).

The tree is found mainly in Nepal, India and Indonesia. The tree is also seen in the Solomon Islands, MarianasIslands, Guam, Rota, Papua New Guinea and Hawaii. The best Rudraksha beads are those from Nepal and there are Rudraksha farms here. The tree is also cultivated in the Indonesian island of Bali.

The Rudraksha Tree is also known as the Blue Marble Tree and there are around 120 species in the family of Elaeocarpus. An evergreen, Rudraksha tree bears fruit within five years. The white wood of the tree is in high demand as timber.
The tree has white flowers and produce fruits that has three stages of development. In the first stage, the fruits are green and then they turn purple and finally, when the fruit is ripe it is blue in color. The fruit when cleaned gives the Rudraksha bead.
The fruit is a favorit…

Story of the Origin of Rudraksha

In Hinduism, Rudraksha is the divine bead and it has the power to influence the fortune of a person. The myths regarding the origin of Rudraksha are closely associated with Hindu God Shiva. ‘Rudraksha’ means ‘the eye of Shiva.’ Below is the story of the origin of Rudraksha.
Tears of Shiva is Rudraksha According to Hindu Puranas, Rudraksha trees were created from the tears shed by Shiva. Legend has it that Shiva was in deep meditation for thousands of years.

And then one day he opened his eyes and all around him he saw human beings suffering out of ignorance.

Overwhelmed by compassion, tears from his eyes dropped onto different places on earth and produced Rudraksha trees.

Story of Rudraksh From Padma Purana Another myth regarding the origin of Rudraksha occurs in the Padma Purana.
Demon Tripura had become invincible because of a boon obtained from Lord Brahma. He defeated the ‘devas’ and started ruling over them. Finally, the ‘devas’ sort the help of Lord Shiva.

While fighting the De…

Importance of Gangaur Festival

Gangaur is one of the important festivals in Rajasthan and is celebrated in the month of Chaitra (March – April). ‘Gan’ is Lord Shiva and ‘Gaur’ is Gauri or Goddess Parvati. In 2019, Gangaur Festival is on April 8. Legend has it that Goddess Parvati underwent severe austerities to get married to Lord Shiva. The Gangaur celebration symbolizes the marital happiness achieved by Goddess Parvati through intense determination and dedication.

During the Gangaur festival, married women in Rajasthan pray for a happy married life and for the long life and good health of their husbands. Unmarried women pray for good husbands. The festival also marks the onset of spring season.
Special wooden idols of Goddess Gauri and Lord Shiva are brought for the pujas. The festival begins in the first week of Chaitra month and ends on the fourth day of the bright half of the month. Women worship the idols for the entire fortnight and on the last day the idols are taken out in a colorful procession to be dip…

Soon River Ganga Might Not Reach the Ocean

For Hindus, the Ganga is both goddess and river. The soul is liberated (moksa) by bathing in the waters of the Ganga or being cremated on her banks. Millions of people come to her banks to attain ‘moksha’ but sadly not even one percent of those millions are interested in the health of Ganga. A new global study by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has included River Ganga in the world's top 10 rivers at risk.
Fast receding rate of feeding glaciers due to global warming and pollution is the prime reason for the potential death of Ganga. The report says that Gangotri, the feeding glacier of Ganga, is receding at nearly 21 meters per year. Excessive extraction of water and industrial and religious pollution fastens the pace of fresh water crisis.

Around sixty percent of the flow of River Ganga is diverted for irrigation purpose. The higher level toxins in the Ganga is affecting agriculture, livestock and human beings. The high level of pollution is already threatening the livelihoods of peo…

Ganesha Painting Lindy Longhurst

This lovely painting is from Lindy Longhurst who has been exploring her creativity in the expression of mandalas. Her works include a series of 12 mandalas based on the Zodiac, a series of 6 mandalas based on Australian landscapes and a series based on the 7 Chakras.

This Ganesh painting titled ‘Remover of Obstacles’ is part of her Dream Series. Style of painting: Acrylic and glass beads on canvas.
From her website page ( For many years  through much travel, exposure to different cultures and spirituality I have been exploring my creativity in the expression of mandalas.  Originally with  a background in  landscape architecture and design I now work  full time as an artist. My inspiration for my art is based on a strong connection  with the earth - to the natural elements, and an exploration into the conscious and subconscious worlds - via dreams and meditation. My works include a series of mandalas based on the  Zodiac, Australian l…

Book - A Place at the Multicultural Table: The Development of an American Hinduism

A Place at the Multicultural Table: The Development of an American Hinduism is a new book by Prema Kurien. It explores the institutionalization of Hinduism as a minority religion in the United States and the politicization of Hinduism. Prema Kurien is associate professor at SyracuseUniversity.
The book is expected to be published in July or August 2007 by Rutgers University Press.

According to Indolink The book focuses on understanding the private devotions, practices, and beliefs of Hindu Americans as well as their political mobilization and activism. And it probes the differences between immigrant and American-born Hindu Americans, how both understand their religion and their identity, while it emphasizes the importance of the social and cultural context of the United States in influencing the development of an American Hinduism.

Gudi Padwa and Ugadi in Mauritius

In Mauritius, Gudi Padwa and Ugadi is celebrated in all tradition. The New Year is an occasion for Hindu people to gather together and share the new beginning of hope and success. In 2019, Ugadi and Gudi Padwa will be celebrated on April 5.

Chamouny Vishwanath Mandir in ChamounyVillage is an important temple that celebrates Gudi Padwa.
All Marathi Associations and important government heads will be present during the celebrations.

Ugadi festival is celebrated with lot of fervor in Mauritius, especially by the Hindus. It marks the traditional New Year Day. This festival is known as Ugadi for people having Telugu and Kannada tradition, whereas it is known as Gudi Padva for Marathi and Goan tradition. It marks the harvest season.

The festival is observed Chaitra Suddha Padyami, the first day of the bright fortnight in the month of Chaitra. It is a day of great joy and happiness. There is a strong belief that this day's happenings fore shadow the course of events in the entire year h…

Veena Ganesha from Lladro

Lladro is a Spanish Company noted for high quality porcelain figurines.

This limited edition (2000 units) of porcelain figurine of Veena Ganesha was issued in the year 2006. It retails for $990. In India, it is priced at Rupees 47,000.
Lladro signature stores are there in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.
The Spanish porcelain luxury brand Lladro claims that religion as a segment contributes to about 30 per cent of their total sales in India (2015).
Ganesha and Veena As per Puranas, Sri Ucchhishta Ganapati (one of the 32 forms of Ganesha) holds a veena. But he has six hands.  He is dark coloured like a blue flower with his six hands holding a pomegranate fruit, veena (a stringed musical instrument), a blue flower, a bunch of rice plants, rosary of the holy beads made of rudraksha, and a noose.
Lord Ganesha is symbolic of the music and rhythm of the cosmos. He loves music and sometimes a veena is one of the attributes seen in his hands. He is the patron of music and dance.

Veena is popu…

Geoffrey A Oddie’s Imagined Hinduism

Imagined Hinduism - British Protestant Missionary Constructions of Hinduism, 1793-1900 is a new book by Geoffrey A Oddie – an honorary research associate in the Department of History at the University of Sydney, Australia.

The book explores the emergence and refinement of the idea of Hinduism and the use of the term ‘Hinduism.’ Oddie says that the term was developed by British Protestant missionaries in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Speaking to D.Murali in Hindu Business Line Oddie says
"The word Hinduism includes a vast array of different cults, traditions and sects, and some teachings which contradict others. Ideas of Advaita Vedanta, bhakti and many forms of popular worship are usually implied by the term. Quite possibly, the only thing Hindus have in common is a sense of being Hindu."
Hindustan Times reports
"Whatever conviction there was among travellers that India's faith and worship was a unified pan-Indian system was probably reinforced by a feeling that…

Cambodian Ramayana

The Cambodian version of the epic Ramayana is known as ‘Reamker.’ It is also known as Ramakerti. There are references of Ramayan in Cambodian culture from the tenth century AD. The literary text of Khmer adaptation dates back to the 16th century.
Ramayana might have reached Cambodia through the contact with the South Indian kingdoms. Ancient Hindu temples here provide the earliest references of Ramayan and the world famous Angkor Wat temple depicts various episodes from the epic.

In Reamker, Lord Ram is known as ‘Preah Ream’ and Ravana is known as ‘Krong Reap.’ Sita is called ‘Neang Seda’ and Lakshman is called ‘Preah Leak.’ The name of Hanuman is the same but with a slightly different pronunciation.

In Cambodia, the earliest reference to the Ramayana is the Val Kantel inscription (seventh century), which mentions the recitation of both this epic and of texts from the scriptural tradition known as the Purana.

The influence of the Ramayana on Cambodian culture, which began to be felt …

Lord Shiva Idol Could Bring Record $3 Million in Auction

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, one of the world’s finest collections of modern and contemporary art, will be auctioning a rare Lord Shiva idol on March 23rd. The rare four-headed stone idol is called ‘Figure of Shiva as Brahma’ and is expected to fetch $3 Million. The idol belongs to the Chola period and is believed to have been created between 10th and 11th century.

The auction is at the Sotheby's.

This blog had reported about the sale way back in November 2006. The statue is part of Sotheby's 80-odd Indian and southeast Asian Works of Art sale.
The 64-inch Lord Shiva idol is sitting on a double-lotus pedestal. Earlier, the idol was misunderstood to be Lord Brahma due to the four head, but a third eye on each forehead of the sculpture helped to identify it as Lord Shiva.
Sadly, so far there has been no attempt from any government or non-government agency in India to collect details about this rare idol.
There are some Hindus who block the entry of a sect…

Eighth Century Shiva temple Unearthed in Nuagaon Village in Odisha

An eighth century Shiva temple was unearthed at Nuagaon village in Dhenkanal District, Orissa. The temple was first noticed by the villagers of Nuagaon and they found idols of Lord Ganesh and Lord Muruga (Kartikeya) and sculptures of three-hooded snakes. Parts of temple structures were also found here.
The villagers have placed the idols under nearby banyan trees and have started worshipping it.

The idols are made of black granite stones and bear resemblance of traditional Orissan sculpture. Experts feel that findings might shed light on the civilization that existed here during the eighth century.

Cricket Ganesha Temple in Chennai

A temple with Lord Ganesh idol having eleven heads (symbolizing the cricket team), another idol in batting posture and yet another in bowling posture. People of Chennai have named this temple the ‘Cricket Pillayar temple’ and is located at Annanagar in the heart of the city. Pillayar in Tamil means ‘Ganesh.’
The temple was set up six years ago by Ramakrishnan, a Ganesha devotee and cricket lover. 
Don’t dismiss this as yet another display of a cricket crazy public. The temple demonstrates the freedom and flexibility that Hindu religion provides.

People often talk about 330 million Hindu deities. These people often forget the freedom that Hinduism provides to a person to create Gods or Goddesses or to modify the existing Gods or Goddesses. So there exist many more million Gods and Goddesses and even more in the minds of the devotees.

The Sage of Kanchi - Book on Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati

Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, the 68th Sankaracharya, through his unfathomable wisdom and unselfish work showed the world how to overcome the illusion of individuality and deal equally with all living beings.
The book ‘The Sage of Kanchi’ edited by R. Balasubramanian sheds light on the philosophical teachings and social works of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati. The book contains essays written by eminent scholars who have had personal experience with Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati.

The price of the book is Rs. 75.
For more details: THE SAGE OF KANCI:
R. Balasubramanian – Editor;
Adi Sankara Advaita Research Centre, 17, (Old No. 8-A),
Bishop Wallers Avenue (West),
Near C.I.T. Colony, Mylapore,
Chennai – 600004.
“The Vedas are eternal and are the source of all creation. Their greatness is to be known in many ways. Their sound produces in our nadis (subtle nerve channels), as well as in the atmosphere, vibrations that are salutary not only to our own Self but to the entire worl…

UNESCO to help ailing Ramlila performance

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is planning to include Ramlila in the list of art forms that need immediate attention. 
UNESCO has asked the Culture Department of Uttar Pradesh to submit a proposal on how 'Ramlila' can be revived and culturally preserved as an art form. 

Ramlila literally means ‘Ram’s play.’ It is a performance of the epic Ramayana in the form of a series of scenes that include song, narration, recital and dialogue. 
There are more than 25 different styles of Ramayana. Each style reflects the tradition and culture of the place of its origin. 
Some of the important Ramililas include Chattisgarh, Bundelkhandi, Assamese, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Braj and Karnatak. There is also an interesting puppet version of the Ramlila.

Ramayana Quiz – 1

This series is more than a usual Ramayan Quiz. It is an attempt to understand some general aspects of the epic Ramayana. Which yagna did King Dasharatha perform to beget sons?Who is the charioteer and most famous minister of Dasharatha?Which famous Sage did Sumantra ask King Dasharatha to invite for the yajna?Who presided over the yajna conducted to beget sons by Dasharatha?Which ritual did Sage Rishyasringa perform for King Dasharatha to beget sons?Who appeared from the ritual fire conducted by Sage Rishyasringa?What did the Yajna Purusa hand over to King Dasharatha?How many queens did Kind Dasharatha have?What are the names of King Dasharatha’s queens?Who was the ‘pattamahashi’ or the first queen?What quantity of the divine food did Queen Kausalya get?What quantity of the divine food did Queen Kaikeyi get?What quantity of the divine food did Queen Sumitra get?Who is the mother of Lord Ram?To whom did Kaikeyi give birth?Which queen gave birth to twins?Who is the mother of Lakshman?W…

Sikhism and Environment Protection

The teachings of Sikhism have a direct connection with environmentalism, ecology and environment protection.

In Sikhism, the misuse of the bounties of nature is considered immoral and unpardonable.

According to Guru Nanak Dev, air is the Guru, water is the Father, and earth is the Great Mother of all, while the day and night are the two nurses in whose lap all the world is at play.

Guru Grantha Sahib, 157 says
"Guru successively transforms himself into a doe living and moving underneath the earth, into a fish living and moving in water, and into a nightingale, living and moving in the air and resting on the trees."
Sikhism decries the practice of animals sacrifice and lays stress on harmonious living with all creation in nature’s creations.

According to Sikhism a man enslaved by the five vices of lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego causes ecological degradation. Such people follow their self-centered impulses and exploit the natural resources of the earth in a reckless m…

Five Great Vows of Jainism and Environmentalism

The five great vows of Jainism – non-violence, truthfulness, not stealing, sexual restraint and non-possession – have a direct connection with environmentalism, ecology and environment protection.

Non – Violence – The first vow also known as ahimsa entails the perspective that all life forms need to be respected, upheld and sustained. Hence any activity that causes harm to life must be halted including such practices as mono-culture farming, use of pesticides, and destruction of habitat for urbanization.Truthfulness – The second vow also known as satya is recognition of the need to speak truthfully. Those concerned with environmental destruction need to make their views heard by others so that those in places of authority can create policies that foster protection of life.Not Stealing – The third vow also known as astaya can be seen as a challenge not to take more than the bare essentials from the earth. To take more than needed to sustain oneself robs the earth of precious resources,…

Significance of Gudi Padwa

Gudi Padwa is the new year of Maharashtrians. It is also the first day of Chaitra, the first month of the Hindu calendar, and the spring season commences on this day. Legend has it that Lord Brahma created the universe on this day.

The day begins with an extensive oil bath. After this, each door in the house is decorated with mango leaves and red flowers. Then prayers are offered to Lord Brahma.
The most important event on this day is the hosting of ‘gudhi’ – Lord Brahma’s flag (Brahmadhvaj). There are numerous legends associated with hoisting the flag. Some say it is hoisted to the celebrate Lord Ram’s return to Ayodhya after killing Ravana. Some Maharashtrians hoist it to commemorate the numerous victories achieved by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
People in Maharashtra erect a gudhi or bamboo staff with a green or yellow colored silk cloth. A bright garlanded goblet is hung on top of it. Neem leaves, mango leaves, garland of red flowers and gaohi (sweet) are hung on the gudhi. Ra…

Navya Shastra strongly condemns Puri temple cleansing after American’s entry

( Navya Shastra, an international Hindu reform organization, has protested the mindless wastage of food by priests at the Jagganath Puri temple, after an American recently "defiled" the temple by entering its premises.

 "We are appalled to know about the mindless throwing away of large amounts of food by the Puri temple administration at the instigation of pujaris with a medieval mindset at a time and place where there are thousands of poor and hungry people," said Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Chairman.

The organization is equally saddened and surprised that no Hindu leader of any consequence has protested this unconscionable and anachronistic behavior.

" Instead of purifying the premises, the priests should seek to purify their own hearts and minds, and, along with other leaders, set a positive example for all devotees," said Dr. Bala Aiyer, Navya Shastra advisor.

"Given the high levels of malnutrition among India's childr…

Food destroyed at Puri Jagannath Temple because a foreigner entered the shrine

Food worth rupees three hundred thousand was destroyed by the Puri Jagannath temple authorities as part of purification rituals. All this because an American tourist entered the shrine. The shrine once denied entrance to then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi because she married a Parsi.
The food was cooked for around 7,000 devotees and is referred as ‘bhog’ or ‘mahaprasad.’

All this is happening in a country in which millions of Hindus are starving. The temple is in an Indian state which has reported starvation deaths. It is being reported that a priest of the temple helped the foreigner to get inside the shrine.
There is no doubt that the activities of few orthodox people are damaging Hinduism. Majority of the Hindus are remaining silent spectators and are allowing few orthodox people to administer temples. Take this incident as an example; if a few Hindus present in the temple had raised their voice, the destruction of the food could have been easily stopped. Instead we go back to ou…

Ramayana Quiz

This series is more than a usual Ramayan Quiz. It is an attempt to understand some general aspects of the epic Ramayana. How many Kandas or Books are there in Ramayana?What is the title of the first Kanda?How many verses are there in Ramayana?In the first chapter of Ramayana, to which sage does Valmiki ask to name the best man on earth?To which lineage does Lord Rama belong?On which riverbank was Sage Valmiki standing when he saw a pair of birds and a hunter trying to kill it, which eventually led to writing of the epic Ramayana?Which bird was hunted down by the fowler in front of sage Valmiki?What are the first two words of the famous verse that Valmiki uttered on seeing the bird getting killed and which led to the composition of the Ramayana?Who among the Trimurti’s came to console Valmiki who was overwhelmed by the sorrow caused by the death of the bird?Did Sage Valmiki teach the Ramayana to Lav and Kush, the sons of Lord Ram and Sita?Is it true to say that the Ramayana we get to h…