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Showing posts from November 2, 2018


Story of Ashtavakra - His Deformed Birth - Avenging Death of His Father in Court of Janaka

Sage Ashtavakra was one of the greatest sages of ancient India and had composed the famous Ashtavakra Gita. The story of Ashtavakra is very interesting - it involves his deformed birth and taking revenge on the scholar who got his father killed in the court of King Janaka. Sage Ashtavakra's parents were Sage Khagodara and Sujata. It is said when Ashtavakra was in womb of Sujata, he criticized his father for wrongly chanting the Vedas. Ashtavakra used to listen to Vedas when he was in womb. He learned it and once suggested to his father that he was chanting a mantra wrongly and the sounds created by each syllable matters. Sage Khagodara got angry and cursed the baby to be born crooked and with curves. The sage out of ignorance believed that the baby was being arrogant. Sage Khagodara was very poor and once he went to take part in a debate in the court of Janaka hoping to win some prize. There he got into a debate with Vandina, a scholar in the court. The deal was

Origin of the Name Prayag and the Holiness of Prayagraj

Prayagraj located at the confluence of Ganga , Yamuna and Saraswati is one of the most important sacred places in Hinduism. The holiness of the place is due to the meeting of Ganga , Yamuna and Saraswati. The place gets the name Prayag after God Brahma performed a yajna here to purify the atmosphere after he created the Universe. Prayag thus means ‘the place of purification.’ Prayag has got six ghats – Holy bathing spots. Two ghats are located on Ganga and another two ghats on Yamuna and two at the confluence of these rivers. Numerous holy spots and temples are spread across Prayag. They include: Dhirrttya Kuliya Madhu kuliya Niranjan Tirtha Niranjan Tirtha Shrir Mochan Parsuram Tirtha Gaughat Kapila Tirtha Indeshwar Shiva Temple Tarkeshwar Kund Dasaswamedh Ghat at Daraganj Lakshmi Tirtha Mahadevi Tirtha Urvashi Tirtha Urvashi Kund Agnikar or Arail - Someshwar Mahadev (Som Tirtha) Twelve Madho temples

King Bali Humbles the Pride of Ravana – Story of King Bali and Ravana

There is an interesting story in the Puranas that explains how King Bali humbled the pride of Ravana, the demon king. Once demon King Ravana reached netherworld or Pathala. King Bali was residing at Pathalam after he was pushed down to the underworld by the Vamana incarnation of Vishnu. Ravana said to King Bali that he was cunningly pushed down to the netherworld and he should avenge this treachery. Ravana said that he was willing to help King Bali in this regard. King Bali who had realized that Vishnu was the Supreme Truth was not interested in any revenge. Bali then talked about the greatness of Vishnu to remove the ignorance of Ravana. Ravana was not impressed and said that he was not sacred of Vishnu and he was powerful enough to overpower Vishnu. King Bali then pointed towards two huge golden mountains nearby and asked Ravana to bring one of the mountains to him to prove that he was so powerful. Ravana then said that he had lifted the Kailash Mountain and lifti

What is Kumbha Vivah in Hinduism and Astrology

Kumbha Vivah in Hinduism and Hindu Astrology is getting married to a pot and this is suggested for those females and males whose horoscope has a bad marriage prediction. This is strictly related to astrological practices followed in certain regions especially among Marathi speaking community. The ritual is based on folk tradition and beliefs. Some people consider this as superstition. In Kumbha Vivah – the Kumbha stands for void or null. Kumbha is a clay pot. It has nothing inside it. By getting first married to the Kumbha the belief is that all the bad predicted in the first marriage gets over. The pot is broken and thus all bad ends with the broken pot. There are several variations of this ritual. The ritual is mostly performed by manglik or people who have chowa dosham in their horoscope. There is difference of opinion even among astrologers regarding the outcome of the ritual. Some say it will solve all the problems. But others are of the view that it doe

Story of Amavasya

The story of Amavasya is associated with Chandra, the moon God in Hindu tradition and Daksha Prajapati.  Legend has it that Daksha Prajapati had 27 daughters. They are the Nakshatras or birth stars in Hindu astrology. Among the 27 wives, Chandra loved Rohini the most. This caused jealousy among other wives who complained to Daksha Prajapati. Angry Daksha Prajapati cursed Chandra that he will shed all his beauty and radiance for neglecting his daughters. This resulted in Amavasya or no moon day. Chandra, who lost his luster, then went to Shiva and complained that without his radiance living beings on earth will suffer. Shiva promised to help him but he also said that he will not completely remove the curse. Thus we have the waxing and waning of moon. Another legend has it that Chandra is also known as Somdev – one who is the storehouse of Soma, the drink of Devas. It is said that when the Soma drink is completely finished Amavasya happens. Chandra again produces

Goddess Jyestha – Hindu Goddess of Misfortune

Goddess Jyestha is the elder sister of Goddess Lakshmi . She is the goddess of misfortune. The characteristics of the Goddess are similar to Alakshmi . She symbolically represents poverty. The mean of Jyestha or Jyaya is older or elder. She is the elder sister of Lakshmi. Story of Jyestha Legend has it that she appeared when demigods and demons churned the ocean (samudra manthan) to obtain the nectar of immortality. She was given in marriage to Sage Dussaha. But the Sage soon discovered that his ugly wife could not stand the sound or sight of any kind of auspicious activity. Sage Dussaha complained about his unhappy life due to his newly wedded wife. Vishnu advised Dussaha to go with his wife only to place where inauspicious things happen.  Depiction - Vehicle and Symbolism of Goddess Jyeshta Goddess Jyeshta is usually depicted with a large belly and long nose. The vehicle associated with Jyestha is ass (bhadrasana or k hararudha or gardhabharudha ). Her banne

Panchapadika of Padmapada – Explanation of Brahmasutra Bhashya of Adi Shankaracharya – The Story How the Original Text Was Burned

Panchapadika is an explanation of the bhashya of Adi Shankaracharya on Brahmasutra of Badarayana by Padmapada. The text belongs to the 8th century AD. Padmapada,also known as Sanandana, was a direct disciple of Adi Shankara. It is believed that he composed Panchapadika when he was a householder. The current available Panchapadika is only a miniscule portion of the original work. Only explanation on the first four aphorisms of the Brahmasutra bhashya of Adi Shankaracharya is available. But from numerous other scriptures scholars have proved that Padmapada commented on the entire bhashya. There are a total of 555 aphorisms in the Brahmasutra bhashya of Adi Shankaracharya. The Sad Story Of Original Panchapadika Burned  After completing Panchapadika in its entirety, Padmapada decided to go on a pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. Adi Shankaracharya gave permission to his disciple after warning about the dangers involved in the journey. Padmapada is believed to have read out the fi

Swami Vivekananda Teachings - A Collection of Swami Vivekananda Teachings

A collection of some of the important teachings of Swami Vivekananda. Teachings are mostly from the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vedanta Kesari and Prabuddha Bharata magazines. We hear ‘Be good,’ and ‘Be good,’ and ‘Be good,’ taught all over the world. There is hardly a child, born in any country in the world, who has not been told, ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not tell a lie,’ but nobody tells the child how he can help doing them. Talking will not help him. Why should he not become a thief? We do not teach him how not to steal; we simply tell him, ‘Do not steal.’ Only when we teach him to control his mind do we really help him. All actions, internal and external, occur when the mind joins itself to certain centers, called the organs. Willingly or unwillingly it is drawn to join itself to the centers, and that is why people do foolish deeds and feel miserable, which, if the mind were under control, they would not do. What would be the result of controlling the mind