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Showing posts from May, 2007

A comparison of Raja Ravi Varma and M F Hussain Painting

The Marxist government of Kerala has decided to award the prestigious Raja Ravi Varma Award this year to M F Hussain. Ravi Varma paintings are noted for its sublimity and beauty. They are the best examples of the fusion of Indian traditions with the techniques of European academic art. A common man who is a novice to the world of painting will be attracted by Raja Ravi Varma’s painting. Now, M F Hussain is better known for his painting controversies. A novice to the world of painting will need to use his/her brain to understand Hussain’s painting. So it is worthwhile comparing the two painters - one who is among the greatest painters in India and another one who is among the greatest controversial painters in India.Quite often the Indian public makes an opinion without actually seeing the paintings. Either a person allies with the communists or the communalists or the pseudo-secularists.Each reader of this blog post should compare the paintings and should come out with an independent…

The Essence of Yoga Vasishta

Yoga Vasishta or Yogavasishta is an important Vedanta text. It is narrated in the style of the Puranas and its content is philosophy. Yoga Vasishta, also referred as Yogavasishta Maharamayana, is ascribed to sage Valmiki and consists of 32,000 slokas.
In the Yoga Vasishta, Sage Vasishta answers the queries of Lord Ram. The questions raised by Lord Ram pertain to problems like life and death, human suffering, desire, happiness etc. Yoga Vasishta is divided into six sections DispassionAspirationOriginExistenceQuiescenceLiberation Through numerous stories, each section elucidates the truths of Vedanta.
There is also a smaller version of Yoga Vasishta called the ‘Laghu Yoga Vasishta.’ It contains 6000 verses and is an abridgement of the original.

The Building of the Bridge Ram Sethu in the Ramayana

The building of the bridge, now referred as Ram Sethu, across the ocean occurs in the Yuddha Kanda of the Ramayana. In the Second chapter of the Yuddha Kanda, Lord Ram and Lakshman along with the Vanara Sena (Monkey Army) march southwards and reach the ocean. Lord Rama said: “Sugriva we have arrived at the southern shore of this great sea. I am again tormented with the diffidence which visited me before. This lord of the rivers has his other shore too far away from here. It is not possible to cross the sea unless we hit upon a method soon. Let the army call a halt here now. Let us sit and think up methods of crossing this wide ocean.”The next reference of building the bridge across the sea occurs in the sixth chapter of the Yuddha Kanda. Now, Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana, has jumped sides and is now helping Lord Ram. Vibhishana suggests that Lord Ram should ask the favor of the lord of the seas. Lord Ram agreed to the suggestion and asked the opinion of Lakshmana and Sugriva. Th…

Hindu Gods and Goddesses

The millions of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, to be exact 330 million, represent the various aspects of the Supreme Being – Brahman. In Hinduism, Brahman is the supreme soul of the universe, self-existent, absolute and eternal, from which all living and non-living emanate, and to which all return.
When a Hindu climbs up the ladder of knowledge, the concept of gods and goddesses begins to vanish and he/she will finally merge with the Brahman. So, in reality, there are no gods and goddesses in Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism. This is because the gods, goddesses and devotee all merge into the Brahman. Yes, this is hard to digest for an ordinary human being.
For an average human being, god is someone who helps to climb that extra yard. Who helps when in pain. Who helps to pass examinations. Who helps to get promotions. And who helps in all the desires that arise in the mind of a human being. So he/she cannot easily understand the concept of Brahman. He/She needs something to concentrate upon …

By Destroying Ram Sethu India Will Be Inviting an Ecological Disaster

During 2004 Tsunami, the western coast of India suffered less damage mainly due to the presence of Ram Setu. Even this less damage was monstrous in nature and destroyed several coastal villages. So what will happen when a Tsunami occurs after destroying the Ram Setu for the Sethusamduram Project? Experts are of the opinion that the entire Kerala and Tamil Nadu coast will be affected and the destruction will be several times higher than the 2004 Tsunami episode. The Sethusamudram project does not mention about any measures to protect the western coastline of India, when the existing natural barrier is destroyed. Any major destruction to the western coast of India will adversely affect India’s indigenous nuclear program. This is because the thorium deposits found in India are on the western coast - Aluva and Chavara in Kerala and Manavalakurichi in Tamil Nadu.Experts have also pointed out that by dredging and opening the Ram Setu, the fragile coral islands will be destroyed by sediments…

Mothers Carrying Babies to have Quick Darshan in Tirupati Temple

Mothers carrying babies need to stand in the long queues anymore to have have 'darshan' of Lord Venkateswara at the famous Tirupati temple. Mothers carrying infants will be provided with quick ‘darshan’ facility. Mother and the baby will be allowed in through the 'mahadwaram' (main entrance) to go near the presiding deity and offer prayers.

Any Practicing Hindu Can Become Temple Priest in Tamil Nadu

By tradition only Brahmins could become priests in Hindu temples. But now any practicing Hindu can now become a temple priest in Tamil Nadu. The present DMK government passed a law that any practicing Hindu can perform puja in Tamil Nadu's temples.

Now, the Tamil Nadu Government has opened six Hindu Priest Training Center across the state. Hundreds of students including dalits have joined for a year-long certificate course in 'Agama Sastras' (priesthood studies) at these centers. The centers are run by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Tamil Nadu State Government.

A welcome change, it should have happened the day India became independent. Supreme Court of India had in 2002 ruled that any person who has the knowledge of temple rituals can become priests.

This method adopted by the Tamil Nadu government should be followed by other state governments. Especially in Kerala where certain priests are still clinging to worthless traditions like cleaning …

Gold Coin as offering in Deograh Baidyanath Temple

The famous Baba Baidyanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Deograh, Jharkhand, has introduced special gold coins as offering.

The gold coin issued by the temple administration has an imprint of the Baidyanath Temple on one side and the Shivling (lingam) on the other side. The cost of the coin is 2,500. Devotees can offer it to the temple and the priest after special pujas will return the coin back.

The coin will be issued from the coming Shrawan month, when the temple receives more than two million devotees.

The Vaidyanath Shiva temple is one among the twelve jyotirlingas (sacred abodes of Lord Shiva). The temple is also known as Baba dham and Baidyanath dham.

Lord Ganesha, Muruga and the Mango

This animated video is based on the famous incident involving Lord Ganesh, Lord Murugan (Subrahmaniya) and the Mango. The video is hilarious and deviates from the usual holy nature of religious videos. But the story is presented with élan.
Short synopsis: Lord Muruga and Lord Ganesh fight over a mango. Their parents Lord Shiva and Parvati intervene. Lord Shiva decides that whoever circles around the world first will get the mango. Lord Muruga who is known for his speed started his journey around earth. But Lord Ganesha just circled around Lord Shiva and Parvati and won the mango. Simply because parents are the world for children.


Communist Interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita - The Warrior and the Charioteer: A Materialist Interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita

The Warrior and the Charioteer: A Materialist Interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita is a book by V. M. Mohanraj. The book is published by Leftword. So what has the book to say about Bhagavad Gita? From the book “the Mahabharata is not a chronicle or a document of history but Vyasa composed it by piecing together themes that were the subjects of ballads and sagas.Another key observation: “The personality of the Yadava chief Krishna thus extends far back in time and its origin is steeped in mystery....The many Krishnas of the past have been superimposed on the Krishna of the Bhagavad Gita, thus bringing forth a synthesized charming image, sans whatever negative traits they had.”There are more such communist oriented observations. Although many Hindus might find it hard to digest certain observations in the book, there is no doubt that the book is refreshing because it looks at the Bhagavad Gita from a different perspective.

Bhagavad Gita Quotes

See the flower, how generously it offers beauty, fragrance and honey. It gives to all, gives freely its essence. When its work is done, it falls away quietly. Try to be like the flower, unassuming despite all its qualities.

It is impossible for man who has a body to abstain absolutely from all action, but whoever renounces its fruits, is the man of true renunciation.

What you depend on, you get angry at. Thinking about sense objects will attach you to sense objects. Grow attached, and you become addicted; Thwart your addiction, it turns to anger. Be angry, and you confuse your mind; confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience; forget experience, you lose discrimination; lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose – Bliss.

The abstinent run away from what they desire but they carry their desires with them.

Those men who practice severe austerities not enjoined by the Shastras, given to ostentation and egoism, possessed with the power of lust and attachment, torture…

Lord Krishna and Yashoda Painting

Lord Krishna on the lap of Yashoda – unparalleled motherly love.


Tanjore Style Painting Depicting Tirupati Balaji

Recently a devotee had donated a Tanjore Style Painting depicting Lord Venkateshwara – Tirupati Balaji. The estimated cost of the painting is around two million Indian Rupees.

Symbolism of Salt in Hindu Marriage

In many regions in India during Hindu marriage, salt is given as a gift to the bride and it is taken to her new home. Sabut namak or rock salt is given to the daughter by parents. She takes it to her husband’s home. Salt is associated with auspiciousness and this is the main symbolism.

It is believed that bad luck will hesitate to enter the house in which rock salt is used and it helps in maintaining peace and prosperity.

The salt carried by the bride helps in alleviating poverty as she is bringing the blessing of Goddess Lakshmi.

There will be unity and love among family members and this will help in the progress of the household. It helps in keeping negative energy out.

Salt should be added to the water used to clean the house – while mopping the house. This helps in keeping out negative energy.

Hindu God Ganesha as Spiderman

Hindu creativity is at its zenith during the Ganesh Festival and this Ganesha Spiderman is yet another example.


Mandukya Upanishad – Explains the importance of OM or AUM

Mandukya Upanishad is one of the shortest Upanishads and explains the significance of OM or AUM. Mandukya Upanishad is credited to sage Manduka. Below is the English Translation of Mandukya Upanishad.Om ! O gods, may we hear with our ears what is auspicious; May we see with our eyes what is auspicious; May we, while offering our praise to gods With our bodies strong of limbs, Enjoy the life which the gods are pleased to grant us. May Indra of great fame be well disposed to us; May the all-knowing (or immensely wealthy) Pusha be propitious to us; May Garuda, the vanquisher of miseries, be well pleased with us; May Brihaspati grant us all prosperity. Om ! Peace ! Peace ! Peace ! 1. All this is the letter Om. A vivid explanation of this (is begun). All that is past, present, and future is but Om. Whatever transcends the three periods of time, too, is Om.
2. All this is certainly Brahman. This Self is Brahman. This Self, as such, is possessed of four quarters.
3. (The Self) seated in the wa…

Significance of OM Symbol

OM or AUM is the most important word or sound in Hindu religion. OM symbolizes Brahman with attributes and Brahman without attributes. The ‘OM’ vibrates through the vast tradition of Hinduism and the importance of the word is explained by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. I am the One to be known, the syllable OM. (IX. 17.)I am the OM in all the Vedas. (VII. 8.)One should meditate on Me uttering ‘OM’ – the Brahman in one syllable. He who thus leaves the body attains liberation. (VIII. 13.)The Mandukya Upanishad is entirely dedicated to explaining the significance of OM – the Bij Mantra.All this is the letter Om. A vivid explanation of this. All that is past, present, and future is but Om. Whatever transcends the three periods of time, too, is Om. (Chapter I, Verse 1)
All this is certainly Brahman. This Self is Brahman. This Self, as such, is possessed of four quarters. (Chapter I, Verse 2)OM comprises of three sounds. The first sound ‘A’ represents the state of being awake and consci…

No threat to Badrinath Temple from Neelkanth Mountain

Several pilgrims who had visited the BadrinathTemple this year had reported about cracks on NeelkanthMountain overlooking the temple. A team of scientists from Geological Survey of India and Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology that visited the temple has ruled out any danger to the BadrinathTemple from the cracks. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was built by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century.The scientists are planning to conduct and aerial survey when the climate permits to ascertain the exact cause of the cracks. Hindustan Times reports"Although the team was unable to conduct an aerial survey due to inclement weather, they were able to see some cracks on the mountain through their binoculars," said Dr. PC Nawani, Director, Geological Survey of India. He added that although the exact nature of the cracks can be determined after a proper aerial survey, there is no immediate threat of avalanches damaging the popular shrine or the Badrinath township. "Prel…

Guruvayur Temple purified after Union Minister Vayalar Ravi’s Son’s Visit

The famous GuruvayurTemple in Kerala was cleaned – Punyaham spraying (purification rite) – on Saturday, May 19, 2007, after Vayalar Ravi’s son and family entered the temple. Ravi Krishna, the union minister’s son, failed to produce the certificate needed to prove that he was a Hindu.Hindustan Times reportsThe minister had visited the temple with his family on Friday to perform the choroonu (ceremonial rice-feeding of the infant) of his six-month-old grandson Rajiv Krishna. After the ceremony, the minister had spent about an hour at the temple.Guruvayoor Devaswom Board chairman Thottathil Ravindran confirmed the incident. “Tantri is the final word as far as temple rituals are concerned. He instructed the temple to perform the purification rite. But personally I feel some of the old traditions will have to be changed with time,” he told the Hindustan Times.It must be noted that Vayalar Ravi is married to Mercy Ravi, a Christian. If ever there is a cleaning ceremony in Santana Dharma (Hi…

Yoga Patent

The move by US-based Bikram Choudhary to get copyright for yoga asanas have created ripples in India. Bikram Choudhary is the founder of Bikram Yoga and is planning to patent several Yoga asanas. What does this Yoga Patent mean? Well, if you practice a yoga asana patented by Bikram Choudhary, you can be taken to court. So you can only practice the asana with his organizations permission, of course and it will come with a fee. Yoga is a $3 billion industry today and so people like Bikram Choudhary will not like to share that pie. According to Times of India, the US Patent and Trademark office has reportedly issued 150 yoga-related copyrights, 134 trademarks on yoga accessories and 2,315 yoga trademarks.This new Yoga Controversy is nothing but the result of inefficient patent granting process in the United States. Above all scant respect for traditional knowledge. The apathy of the present Indian Government towards Indian tradition is well known. We can only hope that international pr…

Upanishad Ganga

Upanishad Ganga is a new television series based on the stories from the Vedas, Puranas, Hindu Mythology and Indian History. The series is directed by Dr. Chandra Prakash Dewivedi – who had earlier directed the famous Chanakya serial for Doordarshan. The series is produced by Chinmaya Mission.Earlier, it was reported that the serial Upanishad Ganga will be based on stories from the Upanishads. It seems there has been some change. Zakir Hussein, world renowned tabla maestro, is enacting some important characters in the series.

Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati quotes

‘Upaasana’ is ‘dhyaana’ or concentration or meditation. A form is required for concentration. Reality is always the same and changeless. ‘Brahman’, as the Ultimate Reality, is Formless. But ‘Upasana’ of a form is done with a purpose, namely, the attainment of a given benefit. The purpose to be attained by worshipping or concentrating on a form differs. The scriptures tell you how to meditate and on what all forms and with what results. For ‘Upasana’, you have to follow the ‘shastras’ or Scriptures.
The different ‘Upasanas’ are all aids in the path to the ultimate goal, namely, understanding ‘reality.’ Scriptures prescribe ‘Upaasana’ in order to train the mind to concentrate. ‘Upasana’ is the affair of the individual; there is nothing collective about it.
Parameswara and Sriman Narayana are one and the same in reality. They are not two. This is the conclusive view of all the ‘sastras.’ Names differ, forms are different, occupations vary, but the reality which is within Them is one …

Animation film Lava Kusa – The Warrior Twins

Lava Kusa – The Warrior Twins is yet another animation film based on Hindu mythology. Based on the epic Ramayana, the story of the film revolves around Lava and Kusa (Lav and Kusha), the twin sons of Lord Ram and Sita. The film is produced by Kanipakam Creations, in association with RVML animation studios.
Lava Kusa, a full-length 90 minute 2D feature film, will be released in English, Hindi and Telugu. Music is by noted music director S.L. Vaidyanathan and lyrics by Vetoori Sundara Rama Murthy.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Quotes

Do you know what I see? I see Him as all. Men and other creatures appear to me only as hollow forms, moving their heads and hands and feet, but within is the Lord Himself. I have now come to a stage of realization in which I see that God is walking in every human form and manifesting Himself alike through the sage and the sinner, the virtuous and the vicious. Therefore when I meet different people I say to myself, ‘God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous.’
Be not a traitor in your thoughts. Be sincere. Act according to your thoughts and you shall surely succeed. Pray with a sincere and simple heart, and your prayers will be heard.

A boat can be in the water, but the water ought not to be in the boat. So the aspirant may live in the world, but the world should find no place in him.
Many say with an appearance of humility, “I am like an earthworm crawling in the dust….” so always believing themsel…

Book on Tradition and Rituals in Hinduism and other religions in India

The book, Incredible India – Traditions and Rituals, delves into the tradition and rituals in Hinduism and other religions in India. The book is part of the Incredible India series from Wisdom Tree and is written by Muthusamy Varadarajan. The book explains how India's prevalent rituals and traditions emerged as tools of self-expression and as channels through which material rewards could be solicited.Excerpt from the book"Traditions are the salt and spice of life. The traditions of respect to elders, particularly the parents and the guru, hospitality, regard for women, loyalty and friendship, compassion, love and mercy, honesty, concern for ecology and environment, kindness to animals, equality of mankind, respect for and non-deviation from justice and, most of all, the acknowledgement of the intrinsic equality of all religions, are what can rightfully and legitimately be called our own inalienable traditions."

Akhand Path or Non Stop recitation of Ramayana

There is a Hanuman temple in the forests of Bihad, Madhya Pradesh. The epic Ramayana is being recited here continuously for 35 years and while you are reading this post the recitation is continuing. This Akhand Path is dedicated to Lord Hanuman.There are no villages near the temple and only the family of the priest and the Ramayana readers reside here. But this has not stopped people from visiting the temple. People from far flung areas visit the temple and some join in the Akhand Path. Daily India reports"We have people from every nook and corner including those from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. We pay them 50 rupees as their monthly salary. Besides that, we provide them with food and shelter. People from every place come here to visit the temple and experience the divine miracles of Lord Hanuman," said Shastri Subhashji, the priest.Despite the remoteness of the place, no untoward incident has taken place here. And the animals in the jungle have never interfered with the R…

Gujarat Painting Row and Hinduism

For more than two decades there is a highly active Hindu morality brigade in India. Although they represent a miniscule Hindu population, they are able to get their voices around the world through violence. The latest being the Gujarat Institute of Fine Arts painting row and the arrest of Chandra Mohan, an art student. M F Hussain has been the target of the morality brigade for quite for a while now. The morality policing is not confined to Hinduism in India. Islam and Christianity have from time to time come out with protests against artists and entertainment forms. The protests against Da Vinci Code and Discovery channel’s Jesus Tomb are the latest from Christian community. From Islam it was the famous Danish cartoon episode.The so called defenders of Hinduism often forget that we live in a democratic country. Each and every person living in India has a right to protest when his/her religious sentiments are hurt. But it should be done through methods that are agreeable to a civilize…

Veda Vyasa – the editor of Hindu Scriptures

Veda Vyasa is popularly known as the author of the epic Mahabharata. And perhaps even more popular as the author of Bhagavad Gita, a part of Mahabharata, which has gained independent status sheerly through its immortal philosophical content. Most Hindus associate him with the Mahabharata and do not realize that majority of the Holy Scriptures in Hinduism was edited by Veda Vyasa. The present day form of many Hindu scriptures is primarily due to the tireless work done by Veda Vyasa and his students.In the initial stage, the philosophical thoughts of Santana Dharma (Hinduism) remained scattered. Veda Vyasa is said to have collected all the Vedic passages and edited them and complied into four parts – Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. It is believed that he taught the four Vedas to his four disciples. The division of the Vedas into four sections – Mantras (hymns), Brahmanas (rituals), Aranyakas (modes of worship) and Upanishads (philosophic revelations) – was done by Veda…

Thirukkural Quotes - Teachings of Thiruvalluvar

Thirukural composed by Sage Tiruvalluvar contains worldly wisdom and universal truth. Below are the quotes and Teachings from Thirukkural of Thiruvalluvar .

Find and follow the good path, ruled by compassion. Of the many ways, that one leads to liberation. (Thirukkural 242)
Those without wealth may one day prosper, but those without kindness are utterly and incurably poor. (Thirulkural 248)
If a man be his own guard, let him guard himself against rage. Left unguarded, his own wrath will annihilate him. (Thirukkural - 301)

The arrow is straight but cruel; the lute is crooked but sweet. Therefore, judge men by their acts, not their appearance. (Tirukural, Verse 279)

Before proceeding against men weaker than yourself, ponder when you stood before those more powerful. (Tirukkural 250)

If you return kindness for injuries received and forget both, those who harmed you will be punished by their own shame. (Thirukural 314)

All suffering recoils on the wrongdoer himself. Thus, those desiring n…

Din Dayal – the Hindu holy man who crawls to shrines

Some of the ways people choose to show their devotion to the almighty are at times beyond imagination. Din Dayal from Gujarat has crawled a distance of 2700 km to visit various Hindu shrines in India.

Now he is planning to crawl to Vaishno Devi Shrine in Jammu. This is when many people find it hard to reach the temple through foot as it is atop a hill. Picture courtesy

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Quotes and Teachings

We have forgotten to be like children. Let's laugh, relax, be children again.
Be light. Smile. Drop. Learn the tendency to drop and smile and move through.
“I don't say always smile. Sometimes anger also works. Even mothers do not feed their children unless they cry. But the anger should be like a lining on water and not like a lining on the rock.” Youngsters should not treat elders like peels of fruits.

Feelings change, thoughts change, ideas change, body is undergoing changes all the time. But the thirst deep within us is for something that is not changing, that is eternal, that is always, that is the same.
You reject something, but if you reject it without anger it is not bondage; if you reject something with anger, then that is bondage. You receive some, and when you receive: "Oh, oh, oh!" you are excited about it, then that is bondage. Whatever is done with anger or excitement makes a strong impression in the mind and that becomes a bondage.
Look into the motiv…