Thursday, April 23, 2009

What is a Prayer? What is Faith? Who is a true devotee?

Prayer is "the act of communicating with god"Specific forms of this may include praise, requesting guidance or assistance, confessing sins, as an act of reparation or an expression of one's thoughts and emotions. The words used in prayer may take the form of intercession, a hymn, incantation or a spontaneous utterance in the person's praying words. Praying can be done in public, as a group, or in private.Prayer is our direct line with heaven. Prayer is a communication process that allows us to talk to God! He wants us to communicate with Him, like a person-to-person phone call. Cell phones and other devices have become a necessity to some people in today’s society. We have bluetooth devices, blackberries, and talking computers! These are means of communication that allow two or more people to interact, discuss, and respond to one another. To many people, prayer seems complicated,but it is simply talking to God. some confuse themself.To some praying is a duty,something that has been nurtured within them by family since young. these kind in most cases pray not out of love or devotion but out of fear and respect..To some its about gaining something from it. These kind exist the most. praying and making vows are like a business deal. they pray something and when their prayers are answered they vow to do special poojas and offerings in return...if someone says worship of this particular god grants them wealth for example,then the dump the deity they were worshiping and jump to another. or they wont hesitate to give up their faith and embrace another for their own selfish reasons, because it juz don't mean much to them compared to their needs.then when they go through hardship in life, they blame god! many of us question our faith and god when something goes wrong in life but how many of us think of him and thank him when something gd happens? personally there are many i know who fall in this catagory, infact i have a few such people in my family and friends circle..then we have those who never prayed or had faith in the begining, then become pious all of a sudden just over do, over react and talk alot like a intellect.i envy these people for their enthusiasm but its just that they sometimes don't get their facts right.without realizing they tend to offend and hurt people with real devotion and faith.they like to comment on their way of worship,sincerity beliefs and devotion.some involve themself in some particular way of worship or faith and try to bring in their family and friends in it. thats not wrong as Adhi shankara Bagavadpada once said"the mode of travelling may defer but the path is one, towards parabramham! but when someone refuses to join them these people condemm their faith and talk lowly of it.these kind have a long way to go...
the saying in tamil "நிறை குடம் நீர் தழும்பாது" says it all. your prayer, faith
and way of worship is for you to know and for god to judge on how sincere you have been. its something only you and god share. when people talk about god and worship, if you feel they are wrong and would like to share something you know,do so. if you think they will not except it then leave them alone. even if they are doing something wrong somehow they would get god's his eyes each and every one in this world is his child! god has his own way of teaching his child what's right. take Kannappa nayanar for example.he offered meat to siva and worshipped him as being a hunter he knew nothing about worshipping siva but all he knew was siva was the almighty god. he was not rejected by siva, instead god took them as fruits and flowers...god wants your love and true devotion only.."he who offers a leave, a drop of water or even mention my name with utter love and devotion shall be blessed and get salvation" lord krishna's word in the gita. devotion starts with respect,fear and ends with limitless love. when there is love there is no more fear sometimes even respect. god becomes your friend. someone whom u belive knows u well and someone you trust with everything..sometimes when u feel he is not listening to you, anger comes upon him. but within minutes your inner heart tells you that whatever happens will be for good as he noes the best and will only do and give u the best with your interest in mind..its like trusting your mother and knowing that a mother knows best! there are people around who show such clean love and devotion towards god without doing any kind of worship. their worship is only within them. some don't belive in god but only in love and care shown to fellow mankind.these are the kind of people who win god's love instantly as love is god and god is love. where there is love, there is god present there. we may worship god like mad and do all sort of poojas,dyanam,japam,annathanam but when we don't have compassion and love for our fellow mankind we never get into his good books. no one can judge another on whether he has god by his side...nor take pity on them thinking that we are a perfect devote.
at the end of the day, ask yourself if u have been perfect all your life and how sincere u have been towards god. never judge someone else's faith as for some its a way of life and for some its just like loving someone in their own family. to some its no one else in life but god to turn to.they may have their own rights with him which is not for anyone to know,judge or comment on.
sage narada once asked lord vishnu who was the greatest devotee ever and expected the lord
to answer that is was him. lord vishnu handed him a cup full of oil and asked him to go around the world thrice without spilling a single drop first. but he promised to reveal the greatest devotee to him when he finishes the task. naradha did as told. when he asked the lord who was the greatest devotee, the lord pointed to a poor farmer. naradha was shocked as he utters the lords name every minute and always thought he was the greatest vishu baktha. how can the farmer even be in his par? the lord said" naradha he wakes up in the morning , utters my name then goes abt doing his daily routine and utters my name again before he sleeps.he dosen't even pray for anything as he feels whatever that happens in his life is my decision and will be only good for this period of time that u went around the world with the cup of oil, how many times did u utter my name or even think of me? your only aim was to complete the task wasn't it?" naradha just bowed his head down in embarresment.the story tells it all and needs no further explanation.
The rule of love is to give something to the one we love, so it is natural for a devotee to offer something to God. This act is worship. But, there are times when our love takes the form of asking something from the one we love; in this case, God and so we make our needs known to Him. This is prayer. Both worship and prayer are expressions of love to God. They arise out of a common source that rests on three principles: faith, love and sincerity.In worship, we offer something to God. We do not seek much. We express our love through offerings. We chant hymns in praise and of adoration to God. A person of metaphysical or philosophical temperament may consider worship to be extremely irrational. The temperament that needs worship seeks an expression of love-not merely through contemplation, meditation or prayer but through a tangible human act of offering a gift to God.Worship has different forms. Instead of being external, it can also be internal or mental. The mental offerings need not be physical objects but moral or spiritual qualities such as purity, forbearance, self-control and compassion. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna mentions that the best kind of worship is that in which every moment and every act is offered to God. Walking, eating, speaking - all actions become an offering to the Lord. One of the famous verses in Bhagavad Gita says, " Brahman is the ritual, Brahman is the offering. Brahman is the one who offers to the fire that Brahman. Those who see Brahman in every action will find Brahman." All actions are given the color of worship.Swami Vivekananda, the great preacher revived a distinctly spiritual form of worship: the worship of God in humanity. This is a very effective Vedanta practice for this age. We have to feel the presence of God in all men and women, but not as a mere idle contemplation. Just as love in order to be dynamic to manifest itself through action, so the worship of God in humanity must declare itself through concrete action and through service. Where ever there is need- physical, mental or spiritual- there is the opportunity to serve humanity through tangible action. That is worship, Swami Vivekananda said and he taught us how to perform this worship. We have to remind ourselves that it is the 'Atman' - the universal spirit residing in all beings that we are worshipping.As we analyze prayer, its two fold nature becomes apparent. We see the positive aspect of prayer when we pray for faith, purity, self control and devotion to God. We see its negative aspect when we pray to be separated from 'maya' or ignorance. It is by a combination of worship and prayer, based on love, that our minds become purified. We need both these practices to take us through the various stages of spiritual evolution until, ultimately merging, they give us the supreme object of our search- the vision of God.
Prayers and devotion to the Lord is one of the three paths of self actualization in Hinduism.
The ancient Indian philosophers elaborated three ways for self-actualization -GYAN, the path of knowledge, KARMA, the path of action and BHAKTI or the path of devotion. It is the third path of Bhakti which guides the individual to submerge himself, his ego, his pride and his arrogance in his devotion to the almighty lord of universe. Prayers are a means to this end.
When an individual prays to the Lord, he devotes all his attention to the almighty god. The form in which the Lord is worshipped could be either SAAKAR, meaning a human like form, or it could be NIRAKAAR or formless. In bhakti, the individual loses his own ego in worshipping that form and almost attains a merger with it. Prayers are thus considered an essential part of bhakti.
Bhakti or worship and devotion to the almighty Lord is supposed to be a path for self actualization. Hindu PUJA (worship) is actually an expression of devotion, and the foremost way of doing it is by singing the prayers of the Lord, or the ARTI- a prayer describing the magnificence of the Lord along with a request to keep us under his shelter, bless us with his compassion and show us the right path in life. These prayers are the primary feature of every puja. It is usually associated with TILAK or placing the red powder on the forehead of the idol or the photograph of the Lord or the Goddess, depending upon whichever form you prefer to remember him.
The ARTI or the prayers are sometimes associated with music, and devotees also express their emotions in the form of bowing or prostrating before the Lord's idol. Some even dance with devotion, feeling the proximity of his presence while others with close eyes just seem to have entered into a trans, almost as if away from this world.
Prayers help people in three important ways. First of all, regular prayers are reminders to self that there is an almighty Lord of the universe who is always there, aware of everything and capable of taking care of us. Since the Lord is benevolent and fair, and rewards everyone as per their deeds or KARMA, it is a belief that provides hope to the people that good will prevail over evil. This is one of the most important factors for people having faith in our values, fairness and humanity.Second, by being able to express their faith, people are able to relate to the god whom they cannot otherwise experience or observe, and this simple activity reinforces their faith in an omnipotent power of universe and helps them sustain their belief.
Third, prayers are often said or sung together in temples or in homes, and this common activity performed while thinking about the Lord helps people to develop a common bond of faith that extends to each other as well, thereby fostering a society based on trust and dependability.Prayers in Hinduism are the simplest act to express your faith in the Lord and his fairness. For ordinary people, it is also the most common means to reinforce their faith and develop a social understanding of abiding by the rules of fairness and truthfulness.
i may not be good with my words and may have been a little long winded but i sincerely hope this reaches many as its something i have been wanting to talk about. why is it so hard for some to understand i don't know .well maybe its for god to make them do i shall leave it to him.
im not someone who knows everything but i belive in sharing the good i have learnt from knowledgable ones and i definately belive in respecting faith of others. i oppose the idea of judging and comparing the faith and level of devotion of others strongly! be sincere to yourself and god and he will do you good,he will love you. help others if u can and be sincere to your fellow men.that will bring you closer to god. kindly dont comment and judge other of their faithnenevr take pity on them who are we to take pity on someone when we ourself have benn taken pity of somewhere along our lifes? god is the only one who has the rights to do so and shower his grace and love on us...REMEMBER GOD KNOWS THE BEST and he knows everything too...think about it mate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The World’s Oldest Civilization?
Did you know that by 6000 B.C. Bharat (India) already had advanced townships with villages of mud-brick houses? By 3000 B.C. scientifically planned towns and buildings were part of the landscape. By that time a highly sophisticated urban civilization known as the Harappan flourished in the Indus Valley. About 300 settlements in a belt extending 1520 km from North to South covering a million square kilometers have been discovered, of which Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Kalibangan, and Lothal are important sites. The towns were designed with citadels and defensive walls and the streets and lanes had drains. Individual bathrooms and lavatories were impressively drained into a larger system. Well-developed docks and store houses as well as bullock carts for transportation were very popular. Thus, advanced technology, economic and defense systems, as well as public health were part of the Hindu culture.
What is the Oldest Book?
Did you know that the oldest book in the library of humans is the Rig Veda?
The existence of the Vedas go beyond recorded history and are said to be passed down from the Gods to the great seers of Bharat. For many human generations the Vedas were passed on through word of mouth, until finally documented by the great Rishis and Swamis.
World's First University
Did you know that as early as 700 B.C., there existed a giant University at Takshashila, located in the northwest region of Bharat (India)?
Not only Indians, but students from as far as Babylonia, Greece, Syria, Arabia and China came to study at Takshashila University. On the curriculum was 68 different subject matters including language, philosophy, medicine, politics, astronomy, astrology, commerce, music, dance, etc. The minimum entrance age was 16 and the student enrollment was 10,500. Thus, the concept of a full-fledged university was developed in Bharat.
Famous Nalanda University
Did you know that the University at Nalanda functioned from 500 to 1300 AD until destroyed by invaders?
During the 800 years that the university was operational, it attained great fame. Its campus was one mile in length and a half-mile in width. It also had 300 lecture halls with stone benches for sitting; laboratories and other facilities were also available. For example, the university had a towering observatory called the Ambudharaavlehi for astronomical research. It has boasted a massive library called Dharma Gunj or Mountain of Knowledege that was set up in three buildings named Ratna Sagar, Ratnodavi and Ratnayanjak. The entrance examination was very difficult and the pass rate was 3 out of every 10 students. Despite this hurdle, the Chinese traveler, Hien Tsang wrote in his diary that 10,000 students and 200 professors were at Nalanda University.
Invention of Zero
Did you know that Hindus invented zero? The concept of zero is referred to as Shunya in the early Samskrit texts and it is also explained in the Pingala’s Chandah Sutra of the second century. In the Brahma Phuta Siddhanta of Brahmagupta (7th century AD), the zero is lucidly explained. The Hindu genius Bhaskaracharya proved that x divided by 0 = 4 (infinity) and that infinity however divided remains infinity. This concept was recognized in Hindu theology millennia earlier. The earliest recorded date for an inscription of zero (inscribed on a copper plate) was found in Gujarat (585 – 586 AD). Can you imagine today’s computers without the invention of zero?
Decimal System
Did you know that Hindus gave us the method of expressing numbers by means of a decimal system?
The highest prefix used for raising 10 to a power in today’s math is D for 1030 (from Greek Deca). However, as early as 100 BC Hindu Mathematicians had exact names for figures up to 1053 (Tallakshana).
Invention of Geometry and Trigonometry
Did you know that Hindus invented Geometry and Trigonometry?
The word geometry emerged from the Samskrit word Giamiti which means measuring the earth. The word trigonometry emerged from the Samskrit word Trikonamiti meaning measuring triangular forms. The concept of geometry emerged around 1000 BC in Bharat from the practice of making fire altars in geometric shapes. The treatise of Surya Siddhanta (4th century AD) describe in amazing detail the science of trigonometry. Trigonometry was introduced in Europe 1200 years later in the 16th century.
The Value of Pi
Did you know that the ratio of the circumference and the diameter of a circle known as Pi (a value of 3.141592657932…) was first calculated by Hindus? The Samskrit text, by the famous Hindu mathematician, Baudhayana in his Baudhayana Sutra of the 6th century BC mentions this ratio as approximately equal to 3. The Hindu mathematician, Aryabhatta, in 499 AD worked out the value of Pi to the fourth decimal place.
Bhaskaracharya’s Law of Gravity, Not Issac Newton
Did you know that the famous Hindu astronomer, Bhaskaracharya in his Surya Siddhanta wrote: "Objects fall on the earth due to a force of attraction by the earth. Therefore, the earth, planets, constellations, moon and sun are held in orbit due to this attraction." It was not until 1687, 1200 years later did Issac Newton rediscover the Law of Gravity.
Baudhayana’s Theorem, Not Pythagoras
Did you know that the so-called Pythagoras Theorem that the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle equals to the sum of the square of the other two sides was documented by the famed Hindu mathematician Baudhayana in his 6th century BC treatise called Baudhayana Sulba Sutra? Baudhayana states: "The area produced by the diagonal of a rectangle is equal to the sum of area produced by it on two sides."
Did you know that the ancient Hindus had the most advanced system of Algebra? Encylopedias describe the algebra of Hindu mathematicians like Bhaskaracharya, Shridharacharya, Brahmagupta, and Aryabhatta as far more advanced than any during their times.
Earth is Round and Revolves Around the Sun
Did you know that one thousand years before Copernicus (1543) published his theory of the revolution of the earth, the famous Hindu mathematician, Aryabhatta in the 5th century clearly stated this fact: "Just as persons traveling on a boat feel that the trees on a bank are moving, people on earth feel that the sun is moving." In Aryabhatta’s treatise (Aryabhateean) on this subject matter he clearly states that the earth is round; it rotates on its axis, orbits the sun and is suspended in space. Aryabhatta, in his treatise also explained that lunar and solar eclipses occur by the interplay of the shadows of the sun, the moon and the earth.
Time Taken for Earth to Orbit Sun
Did you know that the famous Hindu mathematician, Bhaskaracharya, in his treatise Surya Siddhanta, calculated the time taken for the earth to orbit the sun to nine decimal places (365.258756484 days)? Today’s accepted measurement is 365.2564 days. Therefore, assuming that today’s figures are correct, it means that Bhaskaracharya was off by only 0.0002%.
Medicine and Surgery
Did you know that the Atharva Veda contains sections devoted to the science of medicine? The Atharva Veda gave birth to Ayur Veda, the traditional system of Hindu medicine and it was developed around 5000 years ago. This system of medicine is still widely used today in Bharat under the term Ayur Vedic Medicine.
Charaka – World’s First Physician
Did you know that a Hindu was the world’s first physician? The west is fond of proclaiming Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC) as the father of medicine, but way before him in 500 BC Maharishi Charaka wrote the famous Charaka Samhita or Physicians’ Handbook. The Charaka Samhita went into great detail to describe human anatomy, pathology, diagnostic procedures, and treatment for various diseases. Charaka defined eight major medical disciplines of Ayur Veda: Shailya Chikitsa (surgery), Shaalakya Chikitsa (head, eye, nose, throat), Kaaya Chikitsa (mental health), Kaumarbhrutya Chikitsa (pediatrics), Agada Tantra (toxicology), Rasaayana Tantra (Pharmacology), Vaajeekarna Tantra (reproductive medicine). Charaka also described the functions of the heart and the circulatory system in great detail. The Charaka Samhita was widely translated in various languages and Charaka was a respected medical authority in both the Arab and Roman empires.
Shushruta – World’s First Plastic Surgeon
Did you know that a Hindu was the world’s first plastic surgeon? Sushruta as early as 600 BC used cheek skin to perform plastic surgery to restore and reshape human nose, ears, and lips with incredible results. In his treatise, Shushruta Samhita, he classified surgery into eight types: aaharya (extracting solid bodies), bhedya (excision), eshya (probing), lekhya (sarification), vedhya (puncturing), visravya (extracting fluids), and sivya (suturing). Sushruta worked with 125 kinds of surgical instruments including scalpels, lancets, needles, catheters, etc. Such a genius was Sushruta that he even devised non-invasive surgical treatments with the aid of light rays and heat.
Oldest Language
Did you know that Samskrit is the world’s oldest systematic language? According to Forbes Magazine (1987), "Samskrit is the most convenient language for computer software programming."
Oldest Living Music
Did you know that the Hindu musical system of ragas codified in the Sama Veda is the oldest living music in the world? The slokas (hymns) of the Vedas are codified in meters and are recited with rich lyricism. Originating from the Sama Veda the different forms of Hindustani and Carnatic music are still immensely popular today.
First Poetry of the World
Did you know that the Ramayana is the first poetry of the world? It is a glorious Samskrit epic written by the Sage Valmiki. The Ramayana begins with the author, Sage Valmiki, asking Narada: "O Venerable Rishi, please tell me, is there a perfect man in this world who is virtuous, brave, dutiful, truthful, noble, kind to all beings, and adored by all?" Narada replies: "Rama." The Ramayana has 24,000 Samkskrit verses. It later translated by Kamban and Tulsi Das.
Longest Poetry of the World
Did you know that the Mahabarata is the longest poetry ever written? Its 100,000 verses encompass all facets of Dharma or human way of life. It narrates the story about the great Mahabarat War between the noble Pandavas and their evil cousins the Kauravas.

HINDUISM : Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Where and when did Hinduism begin?
A. Hinduism basically started with Sruti “that which is heard”. The master of vedic age called Rishis, heard eternal truths in their heart and they taught their disciples telepathically, by transfer of thoughts. Later Vedas and Upanishads were taught in chanted lyrics and they laid the foundation of Hindnuism.
The exact date of when Hinduism actually stared begin with the age of this universe which is 155.5 trillion years ago.
Mythological Stories -
Hindu mythological stories says that it is trillions of years old. Some say Hinduism started soon after ice age ended and some even say its origin is 6000-7000 years before Christ [6000-7000 B.C.].
Theologians View – Brahmaputra in India started a “Thinking Process” later known as Hinduism. Other Hindu Theologians say that the early settlers of North India exchanged knowledge with dark colored people of South India called Dravidians and thus laid the foundation of Hinduism in India.
Archeological Evidence –
Evidence found at Indus valley civilization at Mohanjodaro and Harappa dates Hinduism to have started 6000-7000 years before Christ.
Major events in the development of the history of Hinduism are –
The original name of Hinduism was Santana Dharma meaning “righteousness forever “of” that which has no beginning or end”. The name Hindu was given by Persians when they invaded India in 6th B.C.
For long periods of time there was no written Hindu scripture. It was just in the forms of Sruti [that which is heard] and was narrated by rishis to their disciples with careful sound of words. Later with coming of various civilizations in India, Hinduism became a blend of various ideas and thoughts and thus came to be known as “The thinking process”.
In the development process of Hinduism the Hindu scriptures play a very vital role. The scriptures are written in Sanskrit and are –
Rig Veda [Vedas of Hymns] consists of 1028 hymns to gods like Indra & Agni.
Yajur Veda[Vedas of Liturgy] concerns the knowledge of how to perform all rites and rituals.
Sama Veda [Vedas of Music] concerns the knowledge of chants.
Atharva Veda – This Veda contains the knowledge given by Sage Atharvana. It contains many magical charms and incantations.
The word Upanishad is composed of Upa [Near], Ni [Down] and Shad[To sit]. Upanishad is a teaching given by Guru [teacher] to his disciples and it is a rule that no one except the disciple could hear his guru’s teachings.
Dharma Sutras
These are the backbones of Hinduism ethics and morality. They are basically the first lawgiver code books to Hinduism written by sages like Manus, Yatnavalka, Parasara and Gauthama. The earliest Dharma sutra is called “Code of Manu” and is popularly known as Manusmriti.
It is a collection of stories told by Vishnusharman to princes to teach them worldly affairs. Each story has a moral and is like a fable book in which human characters are replaced by animal characters. It teaches what exactly should be the course of action of a wise man.
It is the code of ethics for kings written by Kautilya of Maurya Dynasty. It consists of methods of spy system, how to deal with the enemy and various political and social subjects.
Brahma sutra
These describes the nature of Brahman in depth and is written by Sage Badarayana [Veda Vyasa].
These are a group of literature which deals with worship of god in many forms and they have their own set of rules and regulations for their devotee. These Agamas gave rise to 3 branches of Hinduism –
Famous Indian Epics
The 2 famous epics are Ramayana and Mahabharata written by Sage Valmiki and Sage Veda Vyasa respectively. The Bhagwad Gita is the form of conversation between warrior Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna at the outset of Mahabharata war.
These are called Vedas of common folk and are written in question & answer form. They consist of religious stories which make common people understand the higher truths of life. The major puranas are called Mahapurana.
Thus all the above Hindu scriptures played a key role in the development of Hinduism and paved a way for a religion which is appreciated by the entire world.
Q. What are the main ideas this religion professes?
A. Hinduism is more a way of life than a specific religion. In Hinduism one can find all religions of the world. Various religions like Buddhism, Sikhism emerged from it. The most important aspect of Hinduism is being truthful to oneself. Hinduism has no monopoly on ideas. It is open to all. Hindus believe in one God expressed in different forms. For them, God is timeless and formless entity. Hindus believe in eternal truths and these truths are opened to anyone who seeks them, even if he or she is ignorant of Hindu scripture or ideas. This religion also professes Non-violence - "Ahimsa Paramo Dharma" - Non violence is the highest duty. True Ahimsa implies curtsey, kindness, hospitality, humanity and love.

Q. How do Hindus worship?
A. The place where Hindus worship is called a Temple. Most of the ancient Indian Temples were constructed by Hindu Kings. The Temples were constructed on auspicious sites and the whole process was very elaborate. Two rituals associated with temple construction were a. Pratishta [installation of icons] and b. Kumbha – Abhishekam [temple dedication].
The idols of Gods are either made of special stone or wood and the artisan who makes them are called Shilpikar. The process by which worship of Gods & Goddess is done is called Pooja. It is the most common form of ritual. In the process of Pooja, Upacaras [offerings of many articles like food, perfumed water, tulsi leaves, sandal wood paste etc with honor to deity] play a vital role. The person who performs the Pooja is called Poojari.
Generally, all Indian houses have a small corner reserved for God and is called Mandir or Pooja Ghar where the Indian Family worships together. An individual family can have their own Poojari doing the Pooja or the head of the family does the Pooja. This tradition is considered a good practice in Indian houses. It is a time when all the family members come together and pray together.
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Q. What are the important rituals, ceremonies etc practiced by Hindus?
A. Rituals are basically an art of worshipping the God. Rituals may vary from home to home in some way or other but their basic concept remains the same. The rituals of Hinduism are-
Vedic Rituals called Samskaras [means refinement] – these are carried out throughout the whole life cycle and are 16 in all –
1. Garbhadhana - Ritual to guarantee conception
2. Pumsavana - Ritual to protect fetus and to have a boy
3. Simantonnayana - Ritual at the last month of pregnancy
4. Jatakarana - Preparation of astrological chart of child
5. Namakarana – Naming the child
6. Nishkaramana – Taking the child out of the house for the first time
7. Annaprasana `– First feeding of rice to the child
8. Chudakarana – First cutting of hair of the child
9. Karnavedha – Boring ear lobes of the child
10. Vidyarambha – Beginning of child learning alphabets
11. Upanayana – Wearing of holy threads by boys
12. Vedarambha – Commencement of the Vedic studies
13. Keshante – First shaving of the child’s head
14. Samavartana – Home coming after completion of Vedic Studies
15. Vivaha – Marriage Rituals
16. Anthyesthi – Funeral rituals
Shraddha –
Rituals at the time of death, these lasts for 12 days and is carried out to ensure that the departed soul is at ease and it goes to heaven where there are lesser difficulties. Tirtha Yatra – Ritual of going to holy places for purification and redemption from sin. Important places for tirtha yatra are –
1. Badrinath [North]
2. Puri [East]
3. Rameshwara [south]
4. Dwarka [West]
These are also called as Four Dhams.
Important Festivals
There are many Hindu festivals and their importance differs from place to place –
Deepavali –
It is called as the Festival of Light and comes in the month of Kartika [Oct./Nov.]. Many mythological stories prevail for Deepavali; the major two being the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after killing Ravana and the second being the Death of Titan of Hell, Narakasura by Lord Krishna. Both the events signify winning of good over evil, people light candles, diyas in their houses, worship Laxmi [Goddess of Wealth] and visit near dear ones, distribute sweets and wear new clothes etc.
Also called as Festival of Colors; it is celebrated in the month of March. The mythological story behind Holi is of Prahlada, Holika and Hiranayakshyup which signifies Holika buring to ashes and Prahlada emerging as great worshipper of Lord Vishnu and defeater of demon Hiranayakshyup. People celebrate Holi by throwing colored water and bright powders on each other and enjoying themselves.
Onam –
Celebrated in Kerala to mark the end of summer monsoons. It has a mythological story of welcoming demon King Mahabali to his lost kingdom.
Pongal –
Celebrated in Tamil Naidu during the months of Januray /Feburary. It is celebrated at the time of rice harvest.
Raksha Bandhan –
Celebrated in the months of July/August; a sister ties a Rakhi [sacred thread] to the wrist of her brother/s who in turn give her some presents and become responsible for her safety.
Rama Navami –
Celebrated as the Birthday of Lord Rama.
Ganesh Chathurthi -
Celebrated as the Birthday of Lord Ganesha.
Navratri –
Festival of Nights; lasts for 9 days with 3 days each devoted to worship of Goddess Durga [Goddess of Valor], Lakshmi [Goddess of Wealth] and Saraswati [Goddess of Knowledge].
Saraswati Puja –
A Festival honoring Goddess of Knowledge.
Shivaratri -
Celebrated as the Birthday of Lord Shiva.
Krishna Janamashtami -
Celebrated as the Birthday of Lord Krishna.

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Q. How many Gods do Hindus worship? What are the main Gods & Goddess?
A. According to Hinduism all gods are the various representation of one true God. Hinduism states that there is only one God and the Vedas call him Brahman. The vibratory aspect of Brahman is called AUM or OM. From AUM came the 3 godheads –
a. Bramha [creator]
b. Vishnu [preservor]
c. Shiva [destroyer]
These gods when take a human form are called Avtaars.
The three main Goddesses are-
Saraswati [Wife of Lord Brahma; Goddess of Knowledge]
Lakshmi [Wife of Lord Vishnu; Goddess of Wealth]
Parvati [Wife of Lord Shiva; Goddess of Power]
Hindus also believe in Powers of Nature and have gods of nature like Varuna [water], Agni [fire], Vayu [air] etc. There are also Semi-gods like Hanuman etc.
It is believed that there are 33 crores gods in Hinduism. A Hindu can worship as many Gods and Goddesses as he wants because Hindus believe that all forms of Gods and Goddesses are manifestations of one god or power. A Hindu temple can have a blend of various Gods.

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Q. How many times do Hindus pray everyday?
A. It is considered a good practice to pray 2 times a day. The Indian temples generally follow a practice of performing aarti [lighting lights] at dawn and dusk and it is believed that the gods rest during afternoon and night, so prayers should be offered at dawn and dusk.
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Q. Who is the most important God in this religion? Why?
A. It is believed that everything came from Brahman and Brahman is God. The Vedas state that "Prajapati Vai Idam Agre Aseet [In the beginning was Prajapati - The Brahman]. Later on came Mother God and Trinity of Gods; followed by Nature Gods, Minor Gods etc.
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Q. What is the final destination of all souls in Hinduism?
A. At the time of death, the body dies but the soul never dies. The soul passes from one body to another after the death, like a body changes clothes, the soul goes on taking endless number of bodies; until it pays off all the karmas attached to the soul. The path the soul takes is decided by the past actions which as popularly known as "Karmas". After death the soul seeks an ideal body to be born again. So if you are born rich or poor - it is because of your actions in your previous life. Thus the should continues the journey of life and death with karmas attached to it from one life to another by undergoing pain or pleasure. The different methods of god realization provide an easy way to put an end to the drama. Then the individual soul, which is called "Jeevatman", will merge with Absolute Soul or Infinite Power [God], popularly know as "Paramatman". This merging process is called Salvation or Enlightment.
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In order to reach enlightment a human being should adopt different methods of God realization which are as follows-
Karma Yoga –
It is a system of attaining freedom through selfless actions. The word “Karma” means “to do”, thus Karma means work. The Karmas which we do dictate our past, present and future. An individual should engage himself in good karmas.
Gyana Yoga –
It is a system of reaching enlightment by adopting the path of knowledge or Hindu Philosophy.
Bhakti Yoga –
Bhakti Yoga comes from the word “Bhaj” which means “to be attached to”. Through this the devotee goes for total surrender to God and in this process a total dissolution of “I” or “Ego” takes place.
Raja Yoga –
It is a very scientific path of God Realization. In this the individual practices self control and thought control of his body and mind.
Q. What methods do Hindus use to teach the morality and values of Hinduism?
A. The main methods are as follows-
1. Reading of Ancient Scriptures
2. Hearing preaching from some renowned saints
3. Visiting historical places
4. Having group discussions with fellow followers

Thursday, April 16, 2009

KALI :the compassionate one ( facts and myths)

" Ya devi sarva bhuteshu
buddhi rupena samsthita
namastasyai namastasyai
namastasyai namo namaha"

To the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of intelligence Salutations to Her,
Salutations to Her, Salutations again and again.

The Divine Mother’s magic is as ancient as life itself. She existed before gods and mortals, and she will still exist even after the great dissolution. Mother is pure energy in subtle form, but in times of need or just out of a desire to play, she manifests.

Many people fear the mysterious black goddess Kali. Her symbolism startles them because they try to understand with their brain. One needs to understand with one’s heart. Kali is an experience, a very personal one. If one gets a taste of the ecstasy of Her Divine Love even only once, one’s life is transformed and becomes holy. Adhi Para Shakthi manifested herself in 10 different Avatars for the upliftment of the mankind .

The 10 different (Dhasa Maha Vidyas) Avatars are mainly…





Chinna Mastha






you may have read about THIRIPURA SUNDARI or RAJA RAJESHWARI ( one of the Dhasa Maha Vidyas) in my previous posts,now let us see another….

The first and foremost Manifestation of the Adhi Parashakthi was in the form of Kali. Kali Stands for the endless Time . As she contains within herself the endless Time She is called Kali and is shown nude to symbolize that she is infinite as the impossible to dress someone who is bigger then the universe right . ( Kalam means time in Sanskrit and Tamil) or Kaliga-one who has won the time. Kali also denotes black in Sanskrit. She is associated with darkness and black colour. She is the God who is associated with destruction of evil and Death.her dark and long matted hair acts as her clothes…every detail given in kalis form is not to tell this is how she is but to descripe her characteristics.most of us understand her form in the wrong way…some even think that she is a blood thirsty godess who can only be appeased with sacrifices and blood offerings but the truth is she is the most compassionate one who will never bear any of her creations suffer. Its in such cases that she will take her gruesome form which she took to kill the evil asuras and dark forces, To punish those who harm her innocent devotees and harmless creatures in the name of sacrifice in her hounor!

Thousands of names like Kalakandi, Thigambari, Kala Hanthiri, Maha Kali
talk about her omnipresence, her extraordinary kindness, her ruthless pursuit in destroying evil. Kali is worshipped in many different forms in many levels. In general every time Kali appears as an avatar to kill an evil Asura she is worshipped as a pertinent diety.Though Adhi Shakthi is one, man kind has thrust their desire to see the Shakthi in hundred different forms to satisfy their inner needs.Kali is her form which protects mankind and banishes the troubles they face from evil people and dark forces.

The origin of Kali goes like this….In a period of war between the Gods and the demons, the evil demon king Mahishasura took advantage of a brief respite to gather an army and declare himself the Lord of Heaven, Ruler of the Universe. This blasphemous title reached Vishnu, the head God, who shot a blinding light from his forehead in fury. Shiva was also angry and beamed a sharp ray of terrible light in the same direction. Brahma, Indra, and the other mighty Gods also shot forth-intense rays of light. At one point, all the Gods’ rays joined, and the light culminated in the form of a woman: A face formed by Shiva’s light, Yama gave her hair, and Vishnu her arms; the moon God Chandra’s light formed two breasts, Indra’s becoming her waist, and Varuna’s her thighs; Earth’s light gave her hips, and Brahma contributed feet; Agni, the fire God, fashioned her three eyes.As soon as the Goddess was created, the Gods prayed to her, worshipping her with praise as SRI DURGA PARAMESHWARI; ornaments of jewels, earrings, bracelets, and a garland of eternal lotuses; and weapons, suchas a trident, a discus, and a thunderbolt. Shouting invocations to the Devi, the God’s watched the demons charge towards them in battle.The demons, armed with arrows, clubs, swords, and spears, went straight towards the enormous manifested Goddess’ towering form, which was laughing with amusement. She easily smashed weapons, hurled demons and killed with her mighty sword and mace. yes. Each God contributed their power to manifest the Devi, the great Mother Goddess. A demon the posed a threat to the Devi was the demon Raktabija, who possessed the magical power of creating new demons from his own blood. Everytime he was wounded, each spilled drop of blood generated another demon.Devi then produced from her THIRD EYE apure form of her fury to destroy the evil and that was KALI
According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Brahma granted the boon to Raktavera that for every drop of his blood that fell on ground hundreds of demons like him would be produced. Thus the only way of slaying Raktavera was by not allowing even a drop of his blood to fall on the ground. Thereby Kali pierced him with a spear and drank all his blood as it gushed out. Kali once gave free rein to her blind lust for destruction. To stop the world from being destroyed Lord Shiva brought himself to the feet of Kali. On sensing her husband beneath her feet she stopped and thus the world was saved.

She acquired her name Kali meaning ‘conqueror of time’ as she subdued her husband Lord Shiva by trampling over him. This way Devi the symbol of fertility conquered Shiva, the inexorable destroyer, who was equated with time. Seen standing on top of ever willing shiva… We have heard people say that it was a imposter who she was stepping on and that its not shiva.well the truth is it is shiva.she is shown like that to symbolize the unity between them shivam and shakthi are inseperable ,its just like how bala thiripura sundari is seen seated on shiva .when she is alone she creates destruction but when shiva comes in contact with her the world becomes fertile once again with life! The most important thing we need to understand is that most of our deitys’ forms have inner meanings to it.WE SHOULD NEVER INTERPRET IT IN OUR OWN WAY…if we look up to our puranas,Vedas and books on Hinduism, there are many texts that give us explanations and stories behind these deitys and their forms…

Kali is the Goddess of destruction,one whostand with her foot on Lord Shiva’s chest, a severed head in one hand, her sword in the other, and wearing a garland of skulls. Kali is worshipped as the Mother Goddess who protects from evil. She also epitomise strength or ‘Shakti’ and the darker side.. Her puja usually takes place at midnight on the day of the new moon… she is usually potrayed smeared with blood, the brow bearing a third eye, like Shiva’s. She has four arms. She holds in one a weapon, in another the head of a giant, dripping blood; the other two are raised to bless the worshipers. Her terrible appearance is made all the more gruesome with her ornaments of necklace of snakes, skulls and heads and a belt from, which hangs demon’s hands. If she is the destroyer of Mahisasura (as Durga), Shumbha, Nishumbha, Chanda, Munda, Raklavirya (as Kali ), she is also the compassionate Mother. The two mudras in her right ands, ‘abhaya’ (protection from fear) and ‘vara’ (granting of boons) and the raised blood-smeared sword in one of her left hands with the freshly severed head of a demon dangling from the other hand, with three eyes standing for the sun, the moon and fire (Agni) make her a most complex symbol of love, compassion and error.

Aspects of Kali are Chandi, the fierce and Bhairavi, the terrible in which she is the counterpart to Shiva’s aspect of Bhairava, when he takes pleasure in destruction. Another name of this form is Chamunda. Kali Puja is performed on a new moon night. As Kali is associated with dark rites and maanthreegam , the rituals performed are austere and offered with great devotion..kali means karunai(compassion) as told in the vedhas.she grants her devotee whatever they want no matter they are wanting it for good or bad purposes.but those who use her blessings in the wrong way to hurt others in anyway or to do evil deeds will definately meet their end in her hands as she is the compassionate mother and also the fiearsome destructor who can’t bear see her children suffer. In the Hindu religious texts, different representations of Goddess Kali are available such as Siddha Kali, Bhadra Kali, Raksha Kali, Shwashan Kali and Maha Kali.she has according to old sources 8 forms. They are called Ashta maha kali…..

Sri Kali

Sri Kala Rathiri

Sri Chamundi

Sarva Maya Mundi


Sri Maha Kali

Sara Sandigai


Dakshina Kali and Kughiza Kali are 2 important forms in all the three lokhas and worshipping them brings peace and prosperity.

Sri Kali: containing of time within her she is called Kaali or Kaliga . She appears with 8 hands carrying weapons and an Asura is under her feet.

Sri Kala Rathiri:

During death she comes as Payangiri, surrounded by 12 powers residing in the heart chakra of the mankind.She appears with 8 hands and has fire on her head.

Shri Chamundi:

During the destruction of Chanda Munda Asuras, Kali cuts the head of Chanda and the body of Munda and hence she is called Chamundi or Chamundeshwari . She appears fierce with 8 hands and an asura under her feet.

Sarva Maya Mundi:

The name denotes that she is omnipotent and everything in the universe including time. She appears with 8 hands and a glowering fire on her head.

Badra Kali:

She is the one who bestows prosperity to her devotees. She appears with a fierce temper. She has 10 hands carrying weapons to destroy the evil and protect the Good. She appears seated with one leg hanging and with fire on her head.

Shri Mahakali:

Saptha Sakthis powers within and Saraswathi , Lakshmi and Durgai together are called Mahakali.She appears with 14 hands carrying weapons. With fire burning on her head she is fierce and appears seated.

Kughizha Kali:

Kughizha Kali has very fascinating appearance.She indicates that the world worshipped Kali from its beginning as Ram and Bharathan in Ramayanam worshipped her.She has 10 faces, 1000 hands and 27 eyes.She is seated on 5 dead bodies in the navel of Vishnu.There is only one statue of this Kali in Delhi museum in India. Ramar worshipped this kali with a mantra containing 17 letters and got his wish granted.

Dakshina Kali:

She is Bava tharini in culcutta,

and Sri Ramakrishna Parama Hamsar worshipped her.Her tales of glory is told in 14 volumes. She appears with one face and four hands.Dakshina Kali Chakra is enough to pray to all the other forms of Kali.

With 8 forms and countless number of avatars to destroy the evil asuras Kali is worshipped in numerous forms, figures and ways.Her physical attributes gives her yet another classification .Kali with 2 hands carrying weapons to kill the evil and protect the good.Kalli with four hands is dark in colour and appears fierce. She bestows all boons to those who worship her. Kali with six hands is red in colour and is fierce in her temper. She appears with weapons to destroy the evil asuras and protect the good.Kali with eight hands has one-face three eyes and is dark in colour. With fire in her hair she is the source of Kundalini Yoga.Kali appear with 10 hands, 10 faces and 10 legs. Maha Kali appears in blue colour and she is the one created to destroy the Madhu Kaidabar.Kali appears with sixteen hands and is in different colours. With several weapons she appears fierce.Kali appears with 18 hands seated on a lion. With a very fierce appearance and using the spirits as her transport she is gross in her nature. With weapons she destroys the evil and protects the good.

There are many temples in India dedicated to kali. DAKSHINESWARAM and UJJAIN in the north and THILLAI PURAM, THIRUVAKKARAI and MEL MALAYANOOR are mainly revered in the south. In Singapore three quarter of devi temples are dedicated to Kali,such as VADAPATHIRA KALIAMMAN,RUTHRA KALIAMMAN,VAIRAVIMADA KALIAMMAN AND VEERAMA she is worshiped in a form more motherly and less fierce.. There are many famous temples in

Generally Kali appears thus with variations in several aspects with different worshippers. She appears as a dark cloud with a rare glow. She is omnipotent and is spread everywhere. So she also takes the blue colour of the sky. She is yellow as Parvathi and also appears as a dark night in a storm. She adorns a garland made of cut heads to indicate that birth and death starts and ends with her. Severed hands cover her body to indicate that all actions stem from her. With one head, a knife in another and one indicating protection and another depicting a charm she appears. Whenever man crosses the limits she appears to destroy the ego.

Devotees of Kali should be brave as she is goddess of destruction. Her hanging tongue indicates this. She lives in burial grounds as this indicates that she will live in your heart if you destroy all the evil thoughts and win your senses and make your conscious as clean as a burial ground.Kali is Shakti, the great goddess, creating the three gunas: sattvas, rajas and tamas. The three gunas in their various permutation create all the fabric of the universe, including the five elements, skin, blood, etc.. These principles are the substance of she whose play (lila) is their modification. Kali is the first and foremost of the ten aspects of the goddess. She is pure sattvas, pure spirit.

A sadhaka (male) or a sadhvika (female) can worship the goddess — the Devi — in any of ten forms for the fruition of desires. Her ten major forms are

Kali,Tara, Shodasi, Bhuvaneshvari, Bhairavi, Chinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagala, Matangi and Kamala. These aspects are known as the ten mahavidyas. To a sadhaka, to know these is to know the universe, as she is both space and time and beyond these categories. Each form has its own dhyana (meditation), yantra (diagram), mantra (sound form) and sadhana (actions).

Devi gives her own description in the Kulachudamani: "I am Great Nature, consciousness, bliss, the quintessence, devotedly praised. Where I am, there are no Brahma, Hara, Shambhu or other devas, nor is there creation, maintenance or dissolution. Where I am, there is no attachment, happiness, sadness, liberation, goodness, faith, atheism, guru or disciple.

"Ya Devi Sarvabhuthesu Shakthi-Rupena samsthithaa

Namasthasmai Namasthasmai Nanasthasmai Namo Namaha "

Since Kali in the 1st manifestation of sri aadhi para shakthi,she is also called Athya (the one who appeared first). Kali puranas and the glory of kali can be read from Maha kala Samhiyhai, Maha Niruvana Tanthram, Yogini Tanthram, and Kamadhenu Tanthram, Kandhava thanthram, Sri Kalikagamam and the most superior vedic text of all in hounor of devi,DEVI MAHATMIYAM.

When the world becomes evil, goodness destroys and godliness disappears,she appears to give us salvation.she is the one shakthi who give the power to the mumoorthys to do the three main duties, creation, protection and destruction. Without Sakthi. Even Siva the supreme being is powerless.When she dances in ecstacy, a new world of goodness springs from her.Thus maha Kali in all her glory protects us from evil and creates goodness.

May we all seek her blessings.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

ஸ்ரீ லலிதையின் சரிதை 4

Tormenting of the three worlds:
When the kingdom was well established, Bhandasura called for a meeting of his brothers and ministers and said :
A) Devatas (Gods) are our enemies. As long as Manmatha was alive, their
lineage continued without any problems. They also enjoyed many pleasures.
B) Now, because of our luck, we have taken birth from the ashes of
Manmatha. The gods are trying to see that Manmatha is born again. We
should not allow that to happen. Before they try anything like that, we
should kill the Devatas.
C) But, if we go in our present form, we can not win. Let us therefore assume
the form of air and enter their bodies.
D) After having so entered their bodies, let us dry up their body fluids,
especially the semen.
E) If semen dries up, the strength of other tissues and organs will
automatically diminish. Then they will automatically be annihilated.
F) Let us torment the beings of all the three worlds by entering their bodies in the form of air and by drying up their body fluids.
Hearing this, the entire army of the demons cheered with joy.
Without wasting much time, Bhandasura and his army of 1000 Akshouhinis
assumed the invisible form of air and entered the heaven.
First of all, they entered the minds of the angels and dried up their mental
faculties. Subsequently they entered the face of the angels, robbed them of their beauty and made them ugly looking. All the women and men in the heaven became impotent and sterile.
Not only that, their love for one another was also lost. They lost enthusiasm to do anything. Even the plants and animals suffered the same fate. Vishukra, along with his troupes entered Bhooloka (earth) and meted out the same treatment to the beings there. People on the planet earth stopped smiling. They lost all happiness. No one had any respect for another. No one thought of helping the other. They lost interest in their activities. The situation was stone-like, devoid of any life and feelings. Vishanga, along with his troupes entered Rasaatala (one of the seven netherworlds). He created similar havoc there also.In the Naga Loka (land of serpents) everyone became afflicted with grief for no apparent reason. Everyone started hating everyone else. Everyone became drained of energy and potency. Rasa, the fluid principle is the basis for the accomplishment of the four-fold
aims of life (Purusharthas). Let us see how.
A. Rasa itself is the form of Paramatma, the Almighty.
B. From Rasa are created Shukla (sperm) and Shonita (ovum).
These two are collectively called as Veerya.
C. From Veerya comes Kanti (radiance), Utsaaha (enthusiasm), Ullasa
(happiness), Dharma (righteousness), Daya (compassion), Preeti (love),
Buddhi (intellectual capabilities), Vikasa (development), Parakrama (valour)
Shastra Vijnana (scientific knowledge), Kala Asakti (interest in arts),
Soundarya Drishti (proper concept of beauty) etc.
D. In plants, the Rasa enhances the fire energy, which is hidden in them. Only when the fire energy is harnessed, the plants can branch out and bear flowers and fruits. Because of this fire principle, the dried logs catch fire easily and burn.
E. The Vedas have declared that beings can experience happiness only if Rasa is present.
F. Rasa is nothing but Prana (vital energy).
G. Having known all these secrets, Bhandasura devised the plan of entering
the bodies of all beings in the form of air and drying them up.
Vasanta, the close friend and associate of Manmatha observed this immediately and consoled Rati (Manmatha’s wife). He said “Even the sun, the moon and the stars have lost their brilliance. Even Goddess Parvati seems to have become dull and has engaged in Tapas. Therefore, the day when your dead husband will come to life again is not very far. That day will come very soon. So, stop grieving.” On hearing this, Rati Devi prepared to undertake penance. In the heaven, all the Devatas including Brahma, could not comprehend what was going on and what had caused the situation. Not knowing the remedy for their hardship, they approached Lord Sri Hari.
When they finally reached the abode of Lord Sri Hari, they saw that even He
was sitting still with his eyes closed. It appeared as though He was merged in the bliss of Sushupti. After the angels praised His glory for a long time, Lord Sri Hari slowly opened His eyes, “What is this? Why are you all looking drained of your energies?” asked Lord Sri Hari. He called everyone by their names and said :
A. Your present condition is due to the invisible foul play of Bhandasura.
B. Even I have lost the affinity for Goddess Lakshmi. What to say about other lesser beings?
C. Myself, Brahma and Rudra are Karana Purushas (causal beings for the manifest creation). Even then, because we are also inhabiting this creation, even we can not escape the torture of Bhandasura.
D. There is however one Almighty God who is beyond this manifest
Brahmanda. He is called Maha Shambhu. Parashakti is constantly in His Company.
E. He is devoid of form. He is not dependent on anything. He has no modifications. He is greater than the greatest. He is the ultimate.
F. He is not influenced by the foul play of Bhandasura, who is born from the
ashes of Manmatha.
G. He can rescue us from our difficulties.
Therefore, let us all take refuge in Him and praise Him. Follow me.
So saying, Sri Hari led all the angels to the brim of the Brahmanda (Universe).
There was a huge wall like fence there. The angels summoned the celestial elephants to break the wall. After toiling continuously for one year, a breach was formed in the wall. After passing through the breach, they saw Chinmaya Akasha, which was Niralamba (independent), Nirajnana (untainted) and which was devoid of the five elements. They all stood in that Chinmaya Akasha and sang the glory of Maha Shambhu, who was of the form of Chidakasha.
Then Maha Shambhu appeared before them. He was dark like clouds. He had
two hands. He was holding a Shoola (spear) in one hand and a Kapala (skull) in the other.
He had three eyes. Parashakti also appeared before them. She was holding Aksha Mala (rosary of beads) and Pustaka (book) in Her hands. She was bright and cool like the moon.
Maha Yaga:
The great Maha Shambhu smiled and said
A. I am aware why you have all come here.
B. Pralaya (destruction) is of three types. (i) Avaantara Pralaya (ii) Maha
Pralaya and (iii) Kama Pralaya.
C. I am the one who is responsible to rescue the world from Maha Pralaya.
Vishnu is the one who rescues from Aavantara Pralaya. It is Lalita Parameshwari who rescues from Kama Pralaya.
D. These three kinds of Pralaya take place in a cyclic pattern in every Kalpa.
Now, Kaamika Pralaya has taken place because of the destruction of Kama and subsequently due to the actions of Bhandasura.
E. Only Lalita Devi can rescue from this situation. Parashakti alone can create
another Lalita Devi. Therefore, take shelter in her. Beg her to help you.
Hearing this, the Devatas did not know what to do. They again prayed to Maha Shambhu to teach them the method of appeasing Parashakti.
Maha Shambhu explained :
A. This is called as Maha Yaga. (great fire sacrifice)
B. I am (assuming the form of Vayu) the Hota (the priest who makes the
offerings in a Homa) in this Yaga (fire sacrifice).
C. My Chidagni itself is the fire in this Yaga.
D. The last of the seven seas, i.e., Jala Samudra (Water Sea) has now dried
up. The huge pit so formed itself is the Homa Kunda (fire pit where Homa is performed)
E. The remaining six great oceans constitute the six drops of ghee which is used as offering.
F. Srishti (creation) is of five types (i) Manasa Srishti (ii) Jarayavee Srishti
(creation-taking place through the womb. E.g. Human beings), (iii) Anda
Srishti (creation taking place through eggs) (iv) Swedaja Srishti (creation
taking place through sweat) and (v)Udbhijja Srishti (creation taking place
by sprouting). These five Srishtis (creations) are the sacrifice animals in
this Maya Yaga.
G. Bhoomi (land), Parvata (mountains), Jala (water), Vayu (air) and Akasha
(space) these five are the substances used in this fire sacrifice. Agni
element (one of the five elements) being a part of my Chidagni can not be
a substance to be offered.
H. At the end of this great fire sacrifice, all of you (the performers of the Yaga)
should jump in to the Homa Kunda (fire pit). While doing so, you must possess absolute devotion. I. Then, Lalita Parameshwari will manifest.
J. She will be seated in a chariot called Chakra Raja Ratha.
K. She will create Parabrahma in the name of Kameshwara and will have Him as Her consort.
L. This couple will re-create the entire universe, which will turn out to be more
beautiful than the previous creation.
M. Lalita Parameshwari will bring Manmatha back to life.
N. She will create four weapons, namely (i) Ikshu Dhanus – a bow of
sugarcane (Mano roopekshu kodanda – is one of the 1000 names of
Goddess Lalita)(ii) five Pushpa Banas – flower arrows (Pancha tanmatra
saayaka is one of the 1000 names), (iii) Paasha – noose (Raaga svaroopa
paashaadhyaa – is one of the 1000 names of Lalita) and (iv) Ankusha (a
hook, especially an elephant driver’s hook) (Krodha akaarankushojjvala is
one of the descriptions of Lalita)
O. With the help of these weapons, she will destroy Bhandasura.
P. She will bring Manmatha back to life.
Q. She will give you fresh bodies.
R. If you all agree, I will begin this great sacrifice myself.
The angels became very pleased and begged Maha Shambhu to be the Hota
and carry on the sacrifice. Parashakti and Maha Shambhu disappeared.The angels also returned to their abode. After some time, Maha Shambhunatha, accompanied by Parashakti started chanting the Lalita Maha Mantra and entered the Universe in the form of the seven layered Vayu (air). Parashakti assumed the form of His Kriya Shakti (energy of action).
With the help of Kriya Shakti, Vayu blew the Jala Samudra with all his energy.
The Jala Samudra (water ocean) became totally dry.
In the pit thus formed He kindled the Chidagni with the help of fire emanating from the third eye. This Agni raged from the Patala (a region in the nether-world) to the Brahma Loka.
He decorated the periphery of the Homa Kunda with the stars just as one decorates a sacrificial fire pit with flowers. After this, he performed the Yaga as ordained by the Vedas. He used the Pralaya Meghas (clouds appearing during Pralaya), namely Pushkala and Aavartaka as Srik and Sruva (the two spoons which are used to offer ghee in fire worship).
As the Homa progressed, the Chidagni emanating from it spread to vast area.He then offered the first six oceans and then the five-fold creations to this Agni.In the end, the gods too decorated themselves and sat on the Srik and Sruva, ready to be offered to Agni. Maha Shambhunatha offered them to Agni. After this, Maha Shambhunatha discarded his Vayu form and assumed his real form. He then chanted 8 special mantras and performed 8 Homas.
Manifestation of Lalita Devi:
At the end of the Homa, Lalita Devi came out of the Chidagni Homa Kunda,
seated on a special chariot called “Chakra Raja Ratha”. Therefore, we find the descriptions such as “Chidagnikunda sambhoota” “Deva kaarya samudyataa” and “Chakra Raja Rathaa Roodha Sarvaayudha Parishkritaa” in Lalita Sahasranama.
The Sri Chakra Raja Ratha had the following dimensions:
A. Width 4 Yojanas (1 Yojana is approximately 9 miles)
B. Height 10 Yojanas
C. Parvas (landings) 9 in number
D. Chakras (wheels) – the four Vedas
E. Horses – the four-fold aims (Purusharthas)
F. Flag absolute bliss
G. The seat at the topmost landing is the Bindu Peetha.
H. Form : of the form of Meru Prastara.
I. The material that was used to make this was ‘Tejas’
The Lalita Parameshwari so manifested, created a male form from within Herself. His name was Kameshwara. By her power of will, she created 4 different weapons. They were (i)Ikshu
Dhanus (ii) Five arrows, (iii) Pasha (noose) and 4 Ankusha (a special hook). She held all these weapons in her hands. We see the description – “Chaturbahu samanvitaa” in the Lalita Sahasranama. She was shining like the morning sun, with crimson color. (Udyad bhanu sahasraabhaa is a description found in Lalita Sahasranama) Her beauty was full in all aspects.(Sarvarunaanavadyangee sarvaabharana bhooshitaa – Lalita Sahasranama) She always appears as though she is 16 years of age. (Nityaa shodashikaa roopaa is a description in Lalita Sahasranama). This description has two meanings.One meaning is that she always appears as one who is sixteen years of age. The other meaning is, there are 16 Nityaa Devis. She is of the form of these 16 Nityaa Devis. Maha Shambhunatha praised Her in many ways.
Order of Creation
She extended Herself in both male and female forms and continued the process of creation.
A. From the left eye, which was of the nature of Soma (moon) came Brahma and Lakshmi Devi.
B. From the right eye, which was of the nature of Soorya (sun) came Vishnu and Parvati.
C. From the third eye, which was of the nature of Agni (fire), came Rudra and Sarasvati.
D. Lakshmi & Vishnu, Shiva & Parvati and Brahma & Sarasvati became couples.
E. Lalita Devi directed them to continue the process of Creation. She herself continued to create certain things.
(i) From her long hair she created darkness.
(ii) From her eyes, she created the sun, the moon and the fire.
(iii) From the pendent hanging in front of her forehead came the stars
(iv) From the chain above her forehead came the nine planets.
(v) From the eyebrows, she created the penal code.
(vi) From her breath, she created the Vedas.
(vii) From her speech, she created poetry and plays.
(viii) From her chin she created the Vedangas.
(ix) From the three lines in her neck, she created various Shaastras.
(x) From her breasts, she created mountains.
(xi) From her mind, she created the power of bliss.
(xii) From her fingernails, she created the 10 incarnations of Vishnu.
(xiii) From her palms, she created the Sandhyas.
(xiv) She created other things as narrated in the Purusha Sookta.
(xv) From her heart, she created Baalaa Devi.
(xvi) From her intellect, she created Shyamala Devi.
(xvii) From her ego, she created Vaaraahi Devi.
(xviii) From her smile, she created Vighneshwara.
(xix) From the Ankusha (a special hook), she created Sampatkaree Devi.
(xx) Form the noose, she created Ashwaa Roodha Devi.
(xxi) From her cheeks, she created Nakuleshvari Devi.
(xxii) From her Kundalini Shakti, she created Gayatri.
(xxiii) From the eight wheels of the Chakra Raja chariot, she created 8 Devatas.
(xxiv) In the 9th landing, in the Bindu Peetha, she herself was seated.
(xxv) Afterwards, she created the Devatas who would protect the Chakra Raja chariot.After having thus completed the great creation, Lalita Devi requested her consort, Shiva Kama Sundara to created the Shiva Chakra.
He immediately brought out a big humming sound and from this, the Shiva
Chakra Devatas numbering 23 manifested. Later, Lalita Devi crowned Shyamala Devi as the prime minister. Therefore Shyamala Devi is called Mantrini Devi.Lalita Devi handed over the finger ring to Mantrini Devi. She made Vaartaalee Devi the chief of her army. Therefore Vaartaalee Devi is also called as Dandanaathaa Devi. She is also called as Vaaraahee Devi.
Lalita Devi created a mace (a weapon) from her eye brows and gave it to Dandanathaa Devi. After this, Lalita Devi created two chariots from her chariot and gave them to Mantrini Devi and Dandanatha Devi. Mantini Devi’s chariot is called “Geya Chakra Ratha”. This chariot used to make musical sounds whenever it moved.Dandanatha Devi’s chariot is called “Kiri Chakra Ratha” Later, Lalita Devi hummed with rage. From this hum, 64000000 Yoginis were born. Another 64000000 Bhairavas were also born. Innumerable Shakti Senas (armies) were also created by her hum.
(to be continued)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

18 puranas of hinduisim

The Puranas are of the same class as the Itihasas (the Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc.). They have five characteristics (Pancha Lakshana), viz., history, cosmology (with various symbolical illustrations of philosophical principles), secondary creation, genealogy of kings, and of Manvantaras (the period of Manu’s rule consisting of 71 celestial Yugas or 308,448,000 years). All the Puranas belong to the class of Suhrit-Sammitas, or the Friendly Treatises, while the Vedas are called the Prabhu-Sammitas or the Commanding Treatises with great authority.
Vyasa is the compiler of the Puranas from age to age; and for this age, he is Krishna-Dvaipayana, the son of Parasara.
The Puranas were written to popularise the religion of the Vedas. They contain the essence of the Vedas. The aim of the Puranas is to impress on the minds of the masses the teachings of the Vedas and to generate in them devotion to God, through concrete examples, myths, stories, legends, lives of saints, kings and great men, allegories and chronicles of great historical events. The sages made use of these things to illustrate the eternal principles of religion. The Puranas were meant, not for the scholars, but for the ordinary people who could not understand high philosophy and who could not study the Vedas.
The Darsanas or schools of philosophy are very stiff. They are meant only for the learned few. The Puranas are meant for the masses with inferior intellect. Religion is taught in a very easy and interesting way through the Puranas. Even to this day, the Puranas are popular. The Puranas contain the history of remote times. They also give a description of the regions of the universe not visible to the ordinary physical eye. They are very interesting to read and are full of information of all kinds. Children hear the stories from their grandmothers. Pundits and Purohits hold Kathas or religious discourses in temples, on banks of rivers and in other important places. Agriculturists, labourers and bazaar people hear the stories.
Eighteen Puranas
There are eighteen main Puranas and an equal number of subsidiary Puranas or Upa-Puranas. The main Puranas are: Vishnu Purana, Naradiya Purana, Srimad Bhagavata Purana, Garuda (Suparna) Purana, Padma Purana, Varaha Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Markandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana, Vamana Purana, Matsya Purana, Kurma Purana, Linga Purana, Siva Purana, Skanda Purana and Agni Purana. Of these, six are Sattvic Puranas and glorify Vishnu; six are Rajasic and glorify Brahma; six are Tamasic and they glorify Siva.
Neophytes or beginners in the spiritual path are puzzled when they go through Siva Purana and Vishnu Purana. In Siva Purana, Lord Siva is highly eulogised and an inferior position is given to Lord Vishnu. Sometimes Vishnu is belittled. In Vishnu Purana, Lord Hari is highly eulogised and an inferior status is given to Lord Siva. Sometimes Lord Siva is belittled. This is only to increase the faith of the devotees in their particular Ishta-Devata. Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu are one.
The best among the Puranas are the Srimad Bhagavata and the Vishnu Purana. The most popular is the Srimad Bhagavata Purana. Next comes Vishnu Purana. A portion of the Markandeya Purana is well known to all Hindus as Chandi, or Devimahatmya. Worship of God as the Divine Mother is its theme. Chandi is read widely by the Hindus on sacred days and Navaratri (Durga Puja) days.
Ten Avataras And Their Purpose
The Srimad Bhagavata Purana is a chronicle of the various Avataras of Lord Vishnu. There are ten Avataras of Vishnu. The aim of every Avatara is to save the world from some great danger, to destroy the wicked and protect the virtuous. The ten Avataras are: Matsya (The Fish), Kurma (The Tortoise), Varaha (The Boar), Narasimha (The Man-Lion), Vamana (The Dwarf), Parasurama (Rama with the axe, the destroyer of the Kshatriya race), Ramachandra (the hero of the Ramayana—the son of Dasaratha, who destroyed Ravana), Sri Krishna, the teacher of the Gita, Buddha (the prince-ascetic, founder of Buddhism), and Kalki (the hero riding on a white horse, who is to come at the end of the Kali-Yuga).
The object of the Matsya Avatara was to save Vaivasvata Manu from destruction by a deluge. The object of Kurma Avatara was to enable the world to recover some precious things which were lost in the deluge. The Kurma gave its back for keeping the churning rod when the Gods and the Asuras churned the ocean of milk. The purpose of Varaha Avatara was to rescue, from the waters, the earth which had been dragged down by a demon named Hiranyaksha. The purpose of Narasimha Avatara, half-lion and half-man, was to free the world from the oppression of Hiranyakasipu, a demon, the father of Bhakta Prahlada. The object of Vamana Avatara was to restore the power of the gods which had been eclipsed by the penance and devotion of King Bali. The object of Parasurama Avatara was to deliver the country from the oppression of the Kshatriya rulers. Parasurama destroyed the Kshatriya race twenty-one times. The object of Rama Avatara was to destroy the wicked Ravana. The object of Sri Krishna Avatara was to destroy Kamsa and other demons, to deliver His wonderful message of the Gita in the Mahabharata war, and to become the centre of the Bhakti schools of India. The object of Buddha Avatara was to prohibit animal sacrifices and teach piety. The object of the Kalki Avatara is the destruction of the wicked and the re-establishment of virtue.
Lilas of Lord Siva
Lord Siva incarnated himself in the form of Dakshinamurti to impart knowledge to the four Kumaras. He took human form to initiate Sambandhar, Manikkavasagar, Pattinathar. He appeared in flesh and blood to help his devotees and relieve their sufferings. The divine Lilas or sports of Lord Siva are recorded in the Tamil Puranas like Siva Purana, Periya Purana, Siva Parakramam and Tiruvilayadal Purana.
The eighteen Upa-Puranas are: Sanatkumara, Narasimha, Brihannaradiya, Sivarahasya, Durvasa, Kapila, Vamana, Bhargava, Varuna, Kalika, Samba, Nandi, Surya, Parasara, Vasishtha, Devi-Bhagavata, Ganesa and Hamsa.
Study of the Puranas, listening to sacred recitals of scriptures, describing and expounding of the transcendent Lilas of the Blessed Lord—these form an important part of Sadhana of the Lord’s devotees. It is most pleasing to the Lord. Sravana is a part of Navavidha-Bhakti. Kathas and Upanyasas open the springs of devotion in the hearts of hearers and develop Prema-Bhakti which confers immortality on the Jiva.
The language of the Vedas is archaic, and the subtle philosophy of Vedanta and the Upanishads is extremely difficult to grasp and assimilate. Hence, the Puranas are of special value as they present philosophical truths and precious teachings in an easier manner. They give ready access to the mysteries of life and the key to bliss. Imbibe their teachings. Start a new life of Dharma-Nishtha and Adhyatmic Sadhana from this very day, and attain Immortality.
- Swami Sivananda
List of the 18 Puranas with short description
The 18 Puranas are:
Vishnu Purana
(i) Vishnu Purana. This is one of the most important of all the Puranas. This contains the five technical divisions of the Puranas. This is divided into six adisas. This deals with the events of Varahakalpa and contains twenty-three thousand slokas. The theme is the ten incarnations of MahaVishnu. Vishnu Purana is the most ancient of all the Puranas and has got the name Puranaratna (gem of Puranas).
If a man gives as gift a book of Vishnu Purana on the full moon day in the month of asadha (July) with Jaladhenu he will attain Vishnupada.
Stories of various devotees; a description of varnasrama; the six angas of the Veda; a description of the age of Kali; description of Sveta-Varaha Kalpa, Vishnu dharmotara.23,000 verses.
Naradiya Purana
(ii) Naradiya Purana. This is in the form of a narration by Narada to Sanatkumara. In this book of twenty-five thousand verses Narada teaches the dharmas of Brhatkalpa. If this is given as gift on the full-moon day in the month of Asvina there will be great prosperity.
This Purana contains a synopsis of everything; it describes Jagannatha Puri, Dwaraka, Badrinatha, etc.25,000 verses.
Padma Purana
(iii) Padma Purana. This book is divided into six Khandas comprising fifty-five thousand verses. The six Khandas are Srstikhanda, Bhumikhanda, Svargakhanda, Patalakhanda, Uttarakhanda and Kriyayogasara. The Uttarakhanda describes the importance of all months and also the lotus, the seat of Brahma. This contains the stories of Sakuntala and Sri Rama as described by Kalidasa in his works f;akuntala and Raghuvamsa which has made some believe that this Purana was written after Kalidasa. If this Purana is given as gift with a cow in the month of Jyestha (June) it brings prosperity.
Contains the glory of Srimad-Bhagavatam; the stories of Rama, Jagannatha, Matsya, Ekadasi, Bhrgu, etc.55,000 verses.
Garuda Purana
(iv) Garuda Purana. This is in the form of instructions to Garuda by Vishnu. This deals with astronomy, medicine, grammar, and with the structure and qualities of diamonds. This Purana is dear to Vaishnavites. The latter half of this Purana deals with life after death. The Hindus of north-India generally read this Purana while cremating the bodies of the dead. This has given great importance to the origin of Garuda. There are eight thousand verses in this book. This book should be given as gift along with an image in gold of a swan to get prosperity.
Subject of Bhagavad-gita; reincarnation; vishnu-sahasranama; description of Tarsya Kalpa.
19,000 verses.
Varaha Purana
(v) Varaha Purana. The mode of narration is in the form of narrating the story by Varaha, the third incarnation of Vishnu. The theme is about holy places and mantras. It states that the goddess of earth prayed to Mahavishnu and that prayer took the form of a goddess. This book contains fourteen thousand verses. If one copies down this Purana and gives it as gift along with a golden image of Garuda on the full-moon day in the month of Caitra (April) one will attain Vishnuloka.
Describes different vratas; Lord Vishnu’s glories.
24,000 verses.
Bhagavata Purana
(vi) Bhagavata Purana. This is the most popular and widely circulated of all the Puranas. It is dear to Visnu-devotees. Divided into twelve Skandhas this contains eighteen thousand shlokas. All the incarnations of Visnu are described in this. The most interesting Skandha is the tenth Skandha in which the author has described the life and activities of Sri Krishna. There was once a belief that it was Baladeva who lived in the thirteenth century A.D. that had composed this Purana. But this belief was smashed when it was found that Valialasena of Bengal who lived in the eleventh century A.D. had made references to this Purana in some of his works. Bhagavata accepts Kapila and Buddha as incarnations of Vishnu. The Bhagavatam has been translated into all Indian languages. This book has to be given as gift on the fullmoon day in the month of Prosthapada (September). Agni Purana instructs that this book is to be given along with a golden image of a lion.
18,000 verses.
Brahmanda Purana
(vii) Brahmanda Purana. This deals with the origin of the universe as told by Brahma. In the beginning there was a golden egg and the prapanca (universe with its activities) was formed out of it. Portions of Adhyatma Ramayana, references to Radha and Krsna and the incarnation of Parasurama are included in this. This book contains twelve thousand verses and it is believed to be uttama (best) to give this book as a gift to a brahmin.
Describes the vedangas; describes the Adi Kalpa.
12,000 verses.
Brahmavaivarta purana
(Viii) Brahmavaivarta Purana. This was instructed to Savarnika by Narada. The theme is the story of Rathantara. There are four kandas in this Purana called Brahma-kanda, Prakrtikanda, Ganesa-kanda and Krsnajanma-kanda. This deals with Prapancasrsti (creation of the universe). It says that Prapanca is nothing but the Vaivarta (transformation) of Brahman. It is considered to be holy to give this book containing eighteen thousand verses as a gift on the full-moon day in the month of Magha (February).
Contains the glories and pastimes of Radha and Krishna.
18,000 verses.
Markandeya Purana
(ix) Markandeya Purana. This is one of the ancient Puranas. There are many stories regarding Indra, Surya and Agni in this. This includes a division called Devimahatmya containing praises about the goddess Durga. This contains nine thousand verses and it is considered as uttama (best) to give this book as a gift to a brahmin on a full-moon day in the month of Karttika (November).
Stories of Rama and Krishna.
9,000 verses.
Bhavishya Purana
(x) Bhavishya Purana. This is what is told to Manu by Surya (Sun). This contains statements about future events. The book praises the worship of Surya (Sun), Agni (fire) and Naga (serpent). There is an annexure dealing with the several holy places of Bharata and the rights of pilgrims. The book contains fourteen thousand verses and it is considered to be uttama (best) to give this book along with treacle as a gift to a brahmin on the full-moon day in the month of Pausha (January).
Contains the glories of devotional service; prediction of Lord Chaitanya.
14,500 verses.
Vamana Purana
(xi) Vamana Purana. There is a great similarity between the contents of this Purana and that of Varaha Purana. All the incarnations of Vishnu from Vamana downwards are described in this Purana. The scene of Shiva marrying Parvati is vividly described in this book. This Purana contains ten thousand verses and it is considered to be uttama (best) to give this book as a gift in the autumn season or at the time of Visuva to a Brahmin.
Contains the story of Lord Trivikrama.
10,000 verses.
Brahma Purana
(xii) Brahma Purana. This is in the form of teachings by Brahma to Daksa. This contains twenty-five thousand verses. This is called Adi Purana also. There is a special treatise in this book on Orissa, an ancient holy region of Bharata. There is in this a special annexure explaining the intimacy between Shiva and Surya which is a deviation from other Puranas. Brahma Purana states about a suryakshetra (sun-temple) situated at a place called Konarka near the holy place of Puri, installed there in the year 1241 A.D. If this Purana along with Jaladhenu is given as a gift on the full-moon day in the month of Vais akha (May) the donor will attain heaven.
10,000 verses.
Matsya Purana
(xiii) Matsya Purana. This Purana was taught to Manu by Matsya, the incarnation of Vishnu, The incarnation of Matsya is dealt in this. Several subjects like Jainamata (religion of Jainism), Buddhamata (Buddhism), Natyasastra (histrionics) and Andhraraja-vamsa (kingdom and Kings of Andhra) are discussed in this book. The book contains thirteen thousand verses and this is to be given as gift along with a golden image of a fish at the time of Visuva.
Temple construction; describes Vamana and Varaha Kalpas.
14,000 verses.
Kurma Purana
(xiv) Kurma Purana. This Purana is taught by Kurmamurti (incarnation of Visnu as Kurma (tortoise) while narrating the story of Indradyumna at Patala. All the seven islands and seven oceans are described in this book. Bharata is situated in the centre of all these and is called Jambudvipa. Though it is believed that there were four samhitas for this, only the Brahma-samhita is available now. It includes L varagita and Vyasagita.
The book is to be given as gift along with a golden image of tortoise.
Contains the conversation between Krishna and the Sun-god (mentioned in Bhagavad-gita); Danvantari; Describes the Lakshmi Kalpa.
17,000 verses.
Linga Purana
Linga Purana, one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text, is divided into two parts. These parts contain the description regarding the origin of universe, origin of the linga, and emergence of Brahma and Vishnu, and all the Vedas from the Linga. In this Purana, Shiva directly tells sometimes the importance of worship of Linga and the correct rituals to be followed during the puja of the linga.
* First part of this Purana describes the origin of the Linga, and details the process of its worship. It has also sections on the creation of the cosmos; immolation of Kama; marriage of Shiva; description of Surya and Soma; and description of Varaha and Narshimha avatars of Vishnu.* Next part describes the prominence of Lord Vishnu, and the emergence of Brahma as the creator of the cosmos. It has several other accounts, including various aspects of Shiva* Part three of the Linga Purana contains the description of the seven islands, Mount Meru and other prominent mountains. It also has an account of Brahma assigning divinities to various deities, including the radiance of the Surya.* The next part has several accounts, including the account of Dhruva as the supreme devotee; origin of different deities; details of dynasties of Aaditya and Yadu; Andhak?s ascendancy to the position the lord of Ganas; annihilation of the demon Jalandhar; and the origin of Ganesh.* The contents of the last part include the story of Upamanyu; significance of certain mantras; importance of gurus; different types of yoga; and procedure for installation of linga.
“The distinctive sign through which it is possible to recognize the nature of someone is called a linga.” (Shiva Purana)
“Shiva is signless (sexless), without color, taste or smell, beyond word and touch, without quality, changeless, motionless.” (Linga Purana)
This unmanifest being can be perceived only through his creation, which is his sign or linga. The existence of the unqualified substratum is known and worshiped only through this sign. The linga, the giver of life is one of the shapes which represents the nature of the shapeless.
“Shiva as the undivided causal principle is worshiped in the linga. His more manifest aspects are represented in anthropomorphic images. All other deities are part of a multiplicity and are thus worshiped as images.” (Karapatri, “Shri Shiva Tattva”, Siddhanta).
“The symbol of the Supreme Man (purusha), the formless, the changeless, the all-seeing eye, the linga. The symbol of the power that is Nature, generatrix of all that exists is the yoni.” (Karapatri, “Lingopasana-rahasya”, Siddhanta)
“Because she is the source of development, Nature (prakriti) is compared to a womb. The womb is Nature, basis of all. He is the giver of enjoyment. There is no other giver.” (Shiva Purana)
The linga is the universal fecundator and as such is fundamentally one. But for each form of existence there is a different womb to be fecundated. Thus the different species are spoken of as yonis. The Puranas speak of 8,400,000 different kinds of beings or yonis.
There can be no creation without the relationship of the opposites. There could be no creation from Shiva alone, or from Nature alone. The union of a perceiver and a perceived, an enjoyer and the enjoyed, of a passive and active principle, is essential for creation to take place.
Transcendent manhood is the immanent cause of creation; transcendent womanhood is the efficient cause. There cannot be procreation without such union and there cannot be divine manifestation without their cosmic equivalent. It is only through understanding the symbolism of the linga and yoni that we can begin to apprehend the mysteries of creation.
Shiva Purana
(xvi) Shiva Purana. This contains instructions of Shiva on Dharma sitting in the form of linga (Phallus). The twenty-eight different forms of Siva are described in this. This contains twelve thousand verses and if this book is given as a gift to a brahmin with tiladhenu on the full-moon day in the month of Phalguna (March) the donor will attain Shivasayujya.
Contains the glory of Lord Nrismhadeva; Janardhana; the story of Ambarisha; the glories of Gayatri.
10,000 verses.
Skanda Purana
(xvii) Skanda Purana. This Purana is narrated by Skanda. The theme is the slaughter of the demon Tarakdsura by Skanda (Subrahmanya). There is a great similarity between this Purana and the Kumarasambhava of Kalidasa. There are eighty-four thousand verses in this Purana and giving this book as a gift is thought to be good.
81,000 verses.
Agni Purana
(xviii) Agni Purana. This Purana was instructed to the sage Vasishtha by Agnideva. There are several references in this to Shivalinga and Durgadevi. The incarnations of Rama and Krishna are also dealt with in this. Distinct from other Puranas this book deals with arts and science like Kavyalankaranatakas (Poems, dramas, figures of speech), Jyotish shastra (Astronomy) and Shilpakala (architecture). This Purana is capable of imparting knowledge on all arts and sciences.
15,400 verses.