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Showing posts from March 29, 2016

Swayamvar in Hinduism – About the concept of Swayamvara

Swayamvar is the freedom of a bride to choose her husband in an open assembly. This was an important marriage concept practiced in Hinduism. ‘Swayam’ means oneself and ‘vara’ in this context means to select a groom. Swayamvara gives a hint into the position of women in ancient Hindu civilization. A king would proclaim his daughter’s Swayamvara and invite many princes, nobles, warriors and learned men. On the day of Swayamvar, all the contenders will be present in the palace before the king. The princess would go before each of them. She would observe the suitor carefully. Her maid would brief her about the background of the suitor his family, achievements, powers and other aspects of his personality. After having studied the suitors, she would declare her choice by garlanding that person. Her choice is honored by all present. In another type of Swayamvar, the suitors present will have to prove their worth by displaying their strength or martial skills or knowledge. Th

Jala Samadhi – Casting off body underwater – Jal Samadhi

Jala Samadhi is a unique ritual practiced by Yogis. It is giving up one’s life in water. Jal Samadhi is a method of casting off one’ body voluntarily and it should not be mistaken for suicide. A true yogi has the power to discard one’s life at one’s own will. Jala Samadhi is performed when a yogi realizes that the purpose of the body has been successfully accomplished. Such a yogi then enters into a deep state of Samadhi underwater. There were also instances when Jala Samadhi was opted when a person had lost a philosophical debate. It is said that father of Ashtavakra entered into a debate with another scholar in the court of King Janaka. The condition put was that whoever lost the debate would perform Jal Samadhi. Ashtavakra’s father lost the debate and he then performed Jal Samadhi. Years later Ashtavakra came to the same court and defeated the scholar who had defeated his father. However, Ashtavakra did not ask the scholar to take Jal Samadhi. Instead, he asked King Janaka