Saturday, 26 July 2008

Hindu Gods and Goddesses

The millions of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, to be exact 330 million, represent the various aspects of the Supreme Being – Brahman. In Hinduism, Brahman is the supreme soul of the universe, self-existent, absolute and eternal, from which all living and non-living emanate, and to which all return.

When a Hindu climbs up the ladder of knowledge, the concept of gods and goddesses begins to vanish and he/she will finally merge with the Brahman. So, in reality, there are no gods and goddesses in Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism. This is because the gods, goddesses and devotee all merge into the Brahman. Yes, this is hard to digest for an ordinary human being.

For an average human being, god is someone who helps to climb that extra yard. Who helps when in pain. Who helps to pass examinations. Who helps to get promotions. And who helps in all the desires that arise in the mind of a human being. So he/she cannot easily understand the concept of Brahman.

He/She needs something to concentrate upon and something to express the desires and the numerous gods and goddesses in the form of idols and images serve the purpose of concentration.

In the words of Sir C P Ramaswamy Iyer “Hinduism has recognized different stages of evolutionary progress in the case of several races and classes of mankind and has not only authorized but actually encouraged the adoration of pictures and images as a means of concentration.”

Thousands of years ago Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism flourished in an India (Bharat) which had many races and tribes. They worshiped multiplicity of objects, gods and goddesses and many of them were manifestations of different aspects of Mature Nature.

Take a look at the three main deities in Hinduism – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma creates, Vishnu sustains and Shiva destroys. They are nothing but three different faces of Mother Nature. Nature creates, nature sustains and nature destroys.

Each god and goddess in Hinduism is a path to reach the ultimate reality. If you are not happy with the 330 million, create a new god and pray to it. This new god will be a new path to merge with the Brahman.

Ten Incarnations of Lord Vishnu in Hinduism and the Evolution of Human civilization

The ten incarnations or ‘Dasa Avatara’ of Lord Vishnu is an extraordinary recording of the evolution of human life and advance in human civilization. In Hindu religion, the three main deities are Lord Brahma, Vishu and Shiva. Brahma creates, Vishnu protects and Shiva destroys - three faces of Mother Nature. Lord Vishnu descends on Earth to uphold dharma and to cleanse the Earth of evil. So far, Lord Vishnu has appeared nine times on Earth and the tenth, kalki, is expected.

The sequence of appearance of Lord Vishnu on Earth is in tune with the evolutionary theory. In fact, the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu is an amazing recording of the advancement of human civilization. All this was recorded by Hindu sages thousands of years before Christ.

The first incarnation or avatar of Lord Vishnu was in the form of a fish and is known as ‘Matsya Avatar.’ It has now been confirmed by Science through various experiments that the first life forms evolved underwater.

The second incarnation of Lord Vishnu was in the form of a tortoise known as ‘Kurma Avatar.’ Tortoise is an amphibious creature capable of living both on land and in water and it indicates the moving of life form from underwater to surface of Earth.

The third incarnation of Lord Vishnu is the boar known as ‘Varaha Avatar’. Boar is a complete land animal and in this incarnation, life form has moved out of water and has adapted to land.

The fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is the half-man half-animal form known as ‘Narasimha Avatar.’ This incarnation starts the transformation from animal to human form.

The fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is the dwarf or pigmy sized human being known as the ‘Vamana avatar.’ A transition from the beastly form to human form and the development of intelligence.

The sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is the forest dweller known as ‘Parasuram.’ He has developed weapons and axe is his first weapon. Any sharp stone can be transformed into an axe and it also indicates the first settlement of humans in forests.

The seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu is Lord Ram. He civilized and has developed more superior weapons like the bow and arrows. He has cleared the forests and developed small communities or villages. He is very vigilant and protects his villages and people.

The eight incarnation of Lord Vishnu is Lord Balarama. He is portrayed with the plough – the beginning of full-fledged cultivation. Human civilization has developed agriculture and is no longer depended on meat and forest for food. The beginning of agrarian economy.

The ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is Krishna. He represents the advancing human civilization. He is associated with cows, the beginning of domestication of animals and development of economy, which continues to the present day.

The tenth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is Kalki and is yet to arrive. He is believed to ride on a swift horse Devadatha and destroy the world. A clear indication that human beings will bring an end to life on earth. The numerous natural calamities created by human beings and the numerous nuclear weapons stored illustrates this.

After complete annihilation, Lord Vishnu alone floats on a pipal life - perhaps the last remaining life form. Thousands of years after the complete annihilation, life will begin again in water.

Lord Shiva as Pashupati

ashupati or Pashupatinath is one among the thousand and eight names of Lord Shiva and is mentioned in the Vedas. ‘Pashu’ in Sanskrit means animal and ‘pati’ means lord. Therefore Lord Shiva as Pashupati is the ‘lord of the animals.’ The most ancient representation of Pashupati is traced back to the Indus Valley civilization - a seal depicting a seated horned deity surrounded by animals.

Pashupati is applied mainly to Lord Shiva as he is the guardian of cattle, important wealth during the vedic and pre-vedic period. Pashupati is also the keeper of souls. He gives life and takes life.

One of the most important Pashupati temples is the Pashupatinath temple in Nepal.

The weapon of Pashupati is the Pashupata Astra.

Character of Hindu God Rama – Maryada Purushottam

Lord Ram is Maryada Purushottam – blessed with all the many good qualities which one can think of. The first chapter of Ramayana begins with Sage Valmiki’s search for such a person.

In the first of Chapter of Ramayan, Sage Narada finds Valmiki in deep thought and asks for the reason.

Valmiki answered: I wonder if there is, in this world of men, a single individual, a man blessed with all the many good qualities which one can think of.

Narada can enter everywhere even into the minds of people. And Valmiki knew that Narada would be able to answer his question.

Narada asked what these good qualities are.

“Integrity” said Valmiki. “Integrity, bravery, righteousness, gratitude, truthfulness, dedication to one’s principles, character without blemish, concern for all living beings, learning, skill, beauty, a pleasing appearance, courage, radiance, ability to keep anger under control, perfect control, a lack of jealousy at all times, undaunted heroism which can frighten even the celestials.”

This might sound a bit too much…. In fact Valmiki says to Narada “I know I am expecting perfection in a human being.”

But surprisingly Narada knew about such a man and that was Lord Rama. Narada then narrates the story of Lord Ram to Valmiki. And it is this story which later became the immortal epic Ramayana.

Why is Goddess Kali portrayed as drinking blood?

Talk about Goddess Kali and the image that comes to our mind is that of a fierce woman with blood dripping tongue. But why does Goddess Kali drink blood? Demons or Asuras through severe austerities obtain boons from Brahma. The demons often try to attain boons of immortality but Brahma often denies it. Instead the demons are given death under specific circumstances. The Asura Raktabeeja obtained a boon from Brahma that every drop of blood that falls on earth from his body will produce more demons.

The Devas could no longer fight Rakthabeeja and were on the receiving end. Finally, Mother Durga appeared as the terrifying Goddess Kali, who sucked up every blood that fell from Raktabeeja.

After destroying Raktabeeja, Goddess Kali remained blood thirsty and a horror to humans. Finally, Lord Shiva had to come down to earth to control her.

This is the reason why images of Goddess Kali are shown with blood red protruding tongue.

Symbolism and Significance of the seven horses of Lord Surya

Lord Surya is the sun god in Hinduism. Important scriptures and mythology associated with Hindu religion contains several depiction of Lord Surya riding seven horses. The seven horses are known as Harits. Ratha Saptami is an important festival dedicated to Lord Surya riding seven horses.

In Hindu Mythology, Lord Surya rides across the heavens (sky) in a chariot drawn by seven horses. The horses symbolize the cosmic rays, which radiates warmth and life. As they move across the skies, they remove darkness and usher in light. The seven horses also symbolize the seven colors of rainbow.

The reins of the horses are firmly in the hands of Aruna (Sun God). The reins are the seasons and Aruna makes sure with the reins that rays of the sun sustain all living beings. The seven horses are also said to represent the seven days of the week.

The seven horses are often referred as Harits and sometimes instead of horses they are depicted as seven mares. Occasionally, they are also depicted as one horse or mare with seven heads.

Nine Characteristics of Lord Rama

The number nine holds a special place in Hindu religion – nine forms of Durga and Navratri celebration, the nine planets, and the nine ways of Bhakti (navavidha Bhakti).

Similarly, many Hindu devotees fast for nine days – from the first day of Chaitra to Ramnavami. Keeping the nine days or Ramanavami in mind the article takes a look at the nine important characteristics of Lord Ram.

1) Popularity
2) Bravery
3) Kindness
4) Justice
5) Obedience
6) Intelligence
7) Patience
8) Universal Love
9) Being Dutiful

The article explores each nine characteristics of Lord Ram in detail.

Lord Ram’s teaches us that physical beauty wanes with time, money is soon spent, fame is soon forgotten but generous deeds, great character and boundless compassion endure for all time.

His wish to do good for the people, even at personal suffering endeared him to the people more than elaborate speeches or ceremonies. His personal conduct spoke louder than mere words of philosophy.

Such is the glory of his memory that even now people invoke ‘Rama Rajya’ as the ideal, utopian system. It gave a democratic monarchy to the people. A system in which even the most humble may voice their opinion and be noticed.

What is the meaning of Subrahmanya?

Subrahmanya is one among the numerous names of Lord Muruga or Lord Karthikeya or Kartik. An important god in Hindu pantheon, he is the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati and is the army general of the Devas (gods). What does the term ‘Subrahmanya’ mean?

In Sanskrit, ‘su’ means anything good natured or beautiful or good. ‘Brahmanya’ means a person who has had realized Brahman.

Thus ‘Subrahmanya’ symbolically represents a good natured person who has had Brahman realization.

The 330 Million Gods in Hindu Religion

Does Hindus worship 330 million gods? The number 330 million is constantly heard when any discussion regarding the gods in Hinduism take place. But the initiators of the discussion, who are mostly totally unaware of Hindu religion and wants to take a dig, deliberately skip the symbolism of the numerous Hindu gods. The symbolism of the 330 million that it represents the Brahman, which has different names, forms, activities, attributes and powers owing to differences of function. All animate and inanimate and those yet to appear is nothing but a manifestation of Brahman.

It is a known fact that it is impossible to worship the 330 million gods. But, why the number 33? In Brhadaranyaka Upanishad while discussing Brahman, Yajnavalkya is asked how many gods are there. He says that there are three hundred and three and three thousand and three gods. When the question is repeated? He says, thirty three. When the question is again repeated he says, six. Finally, after several repetitions he says ONE. (Chapter I, hymn 9, verse 1)

The number 33 comes from the number of Vedic gods explained by Yajnavalkya in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad – the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the twelve Adityas, Indra and Prajapati. (Chapter I, hymn 9, verse 2)

Now to this 33 was added the maximum number of zeros that the ancient people thought were the number of living beings.

So when someone mentions about 330 million gods in Hindu Religion, it consists of the person mentioning it and those listening plus all living and non-living beings. In fact, if the ancient seers were to create the same symbolism today they will be counting it in billions.

Millions or billions, it is nothing but the manifestation of the ONE God and Hindus call it Brahman.

Lord Krishna explains thus in the Bhagavad Gita

I am the goal, the supporter, the Lord, the witness, the abode, the refuge, the friend, the origin, the dissolution, the foundation, the substratum, and the imperishable seed. (Chapter 9, Verse 18)
I am the origin or seed of all beings, O Arjuna. There is nothing, animate or inanimate, that can exist without Me. (Chapter 10, Verse 39)
O Arjuna, know Me to be the eternal seed of all creatures. (Chapter 7, Verse 10)

This is what Hindus worship in the numerous forms.

Hindu Blog

Namaste…Vannakam, Hindu Blog updates about the latest developments in Hindu religion and explores Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). Stories you find here will sometimes tickle the thinker in you and at other times it will make you smile.

The core theme of the blog - An attempt to learn the true teachings of Sanatana Dharma.

The great ‘way of life,’ popularly known as Hinduism, has been usurped by pseudo-secularists, religious fundamentalists, pseudo-scholars, fake sansyasis, god men and mudslingers. I have been forced to listen while these people told me ‘about Hinduism.’

They never asked or cared for the common people who are forced to listen to the unnecessary propaganda. So this is just the voice of a netizen, who has profited spiritually and mentally from Sanatana Dharma.

This blog is for common people, not for scholars. The blog advocates practical Hinduism and reformation in Hindu society, especially the eradication of the evil caste system, fight against fundamentalism, identifying fake gurus, and numerous other horrific rituals that are practiced in the name of religion

Hinduism has always kept its door open to new ideas and has assimilated many of them. So you will find here information on matters that is of general interest.

This blog is also a platform to share your knowledge on Hindu matters and this will help to improve the information provided here. Therefore, feel free to comment and to send in information.

Hinduism believes in individual self realization and not borrowed self realization.

Hinduism the termite within:

Hinduism has some excellent philosophies tuned in towards a just society and thought provoking ideas about the good and evil deeds. Yet it has some issues based on caste and other evils that are imbeded in its ancient as well as modern descriptions that put this ancient religion to shame.

If an appropriate reform is not done in time, it will be the fault of the current Hindu scholars to send this religion into oblivion, due to a number of people opting to Christianity and muslim religions - like it or not. This trend has already taken place with the introduction of Jainism, Budhism, Sikhism, Sufism, Parsie's, Bahi's etc. Even though some of these religions have some of common tenets of Hinduism they tried to address some of the shortcomings of Hinduism.

This religion can only progress with an open mind, with a democratic thought and by embracing equality. Divison of labour in a common household should not create walls or barriers. Today we all depend upon one another. The society is structured in such a way that more and more people are applied to specialized tasks or functions. But today their mobility from one function to another is not restricted - and that is a wonderful thing. India's secularism and democratic institutions have demonstrated what India is capable of achieving. If we build our own barriers around us, we will be impeding our own progress. In a competitve world you excell by participating and learning new techniques - rather than only trying to preserving what you already know. Today knowingly or unknowingly Indian thought process has enriched the world by its yoga, music, math, science, language, ancient civilization discoveries, karma philosophies etc.

Let's enrich the world with more positive thoughts rather than self preserving in-fighting at lower levels of this mortal world.

Anonymous said...
Hey Everybody,

There are no termites within Hinduism, it is the people who have created these termites infact it is the people themselves who follow this great and ancient religion who are the termites hell bent upon destroying their own religion via false propoganda.

You speak of the evils within Hinduism and name the Caste System as one however you speak with ignorance and to understand what the caste system was and how it is associated with the Hinduism one must be well versed with the scriptures and with factual ancient Indian History and not the false history taught in the schools today.

Firstly, yes it is true that the "caste system" has been a part of ancient Hindu society and has formed the social structure of ancient India however it was really not the evil that we picture or interpret it out to be today or the evil that it has turned into today. With Time everything changes for the better or the worst in this case the caste system changed into something evil.

Now to begin with I would like to stress that why is this social divison which the Hindu society followed reffered to as the "caste" system, I ask you that have you ever thought whether the word "caste" was really the correct word to describe this social divison, after all, it could have easily been reffeered to as a "divison of labour". No got you thinking didnt it. This ancient hindu social structure was originally a "divison of labour" and nothing else however with the great efflux of time this "divison of labour " turned into the "caste system" and this happened when over time people started indentifying each other with the work they did, rather than what they were and when fathers wanted sons to take up their professions, professions became family oriented, and that is when this division of labour transformed into the caste system.

Now why I say that it existed originally as a divison of labour is becuase society during the vedic era was divided into & identified by sections, which were based on a sturcture which combined economics and Sociology, Brahmin(priests), Kashatriya(warrior), Vasiyas(businessmen) and Shudra(servant), now these at that time were sections/classes in socitey and not castes, they were professions and not castes and these professions were predominant in and upheld by society in that era and each man in society during that era was immersed in one of these professions and identified by it but when guilds/unions emerged and indentifcstion became profession oriented and professions became family oriented is when the "division of labour" turned into the caste system. Also at that time each profession was given equal importance since in the scripture this divison of labour is attributed to different parts of the body of god, signifying that each profession was as holy and valuable as the other and stressing that one could not function without the other. Which is why the caste system or the evil it has caused cannot be attributed to the Hindu religion becuase it originally was practiced as a "division of labour" and it was time/change and the people who transformed this system to the caste system. This truth must be told to all Hindus and taught in its entirety but the "Psuedo-Secular forces want to defame Hinduism and Indian Histroy and make Hindus feel badly about their traditions and ancient society when it was actually the greatest, which is why thay have been running this false propoganda in schools for ages and any attempts to change the course material is thwarted by them.

I would also likme to inform you that practices like sati which are termed as another evil of Hindusim is really not an evil becuase in ancient India if the scriptures are to be considered an authority, Sati was committed by the woman voluntarily and not by force, there was no witch hunting and forced burnings as their had been in the west, and the practice of sati was not a common or popular practice and incidents of "Sati were few and fleeting during ancient India and even during the Kreta, Treta, Dvapar Yugas as per the Ramayana and Mahabharata such incidents were very very few.

The practice of Sati became common and took the form of Johar during the Muslim Conquests of India where conquered lands were forced to give up their women and women of slain men and kings were forcibly taken, raped mutilated and tortured by rampaging muslim hordseven Hundered Years the Muslims pillaged our lands and raped our women, so by the time the britishers came this practice took which ad become so widely practiced in areas like rajadthan and haryana had with time morphed into another social evil atributed to Hinduism althoughn a product of Muslim opression contrary to what the anti-hindu and psuedo secular forces would have you believe.

R K Goswami said...
The comments posted by annonymous about the degeneration of hindu society into castes and forcible practice of sati due to harsh political and social environment are quite understandable. Continuing in the same direction I would like to mention that caste system was not practiced in ancient India. As the storys of Kewat, Shabri, Sugreev and Hanuman go- it becomes very clear that none of them was discriminated against by Lord Ram because of their low status in society.
The story of Shudrak is generally propagated as a case of caste based discrimination by Ram but we should remember that it was his doubtful motive for which he was punished and not the caste.
In present time, let us see who is interested in perpetuating the caste system? Priests are slowly opening up the temples for all. In public places in cities castes do not matter. In rural areas the situation is alarming and further accentuated by politics of votes resulting in polarisation of castes based groups behind their leaders. In urban areas awareness about castes is growing because of caste based reservations and is likely to push back the society to caste based division again.
In this difficult time it is the duty of all of us, the educated hindu samaj not to forget the divine message, endorsed by all saints and gurus:
i.e. All hindus are real(born to same parents) brothers, none of the hindus can be low(to any other).

The system was perfect. But during the past so many centuries the people who implemented the system became selfish and wanted to gain upper hand over the underprivileged claimed themselves to be of upper class and pushed the others down and called them shudras or the untouchables. Otherwise our vedas and shastras and puranas became the private property of the previleged few and others were not allowed to even see them or read them. In the process we lost many valuable works. Now with the awakening of the new era people started to realise the truth and found that our religion was far superior to others and our civilisation was much advanced than that of the west. There is nothing wrong with the system. It is the way of implementation and interpretation is to be blamed.

Dhasavatharam - Movie of the Year 2008

Watched Dhasavatharam 3 Days ago, Hmmmm..
No words to describe how good is Kamal's act in this movie. There is a feel like watching an English Movie. BGM is very nice, 10 roles done by Kamal is simply perfect and the best role that I like is that ( Vellai Karan "Fletcher" ) remember the one who chase Scientist Kamal.. His character something like Terminator too.. 2nd is the old lady role, everyone can make-up but its not easy to act as like this. But Kamal really did well..Hats off u...

Recently I've visit one Tamil site not sure the URL, they got a Voting POLL..

Will Dhasavatharam will break Sivaji The Boss Record?
70% voters says YES
only 30% says NO
I voted YES too..