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The Shivlinga
The Shivlinga, is perhaps the most famous symbol of Lord Shiva. Worshiped equally popularly as the Image of Shiva Himself ,it is found in abundance, with some variance, the world over, appearing in different timelines, and in many different forms. A most esoteric symbol, it conveys different understandings at different levels, just like God means different things to different people. The paramount understanding is this: that God in His Transcendence, in His Pure formlessness, timelessness, is both unfathomable and immeasurable, God , as Nirakar, the formless, is 'un knowable' in His Pristine realm of infinity! But, this same God, is however, knowable in the finite world He creates and pervades.   The Linga, (upper columnic portion) is transcendence,The lower receptacle is Yoni, the cosmic womb. Altogether the Shivlinga means to convey that the transcendent pervades the manifest world as immanence- God creates, and then is present in His own World. The Shivlinga's great paradox is that it Gives Shiva the acknowledgement of being a creator, rather than a destroyer! This also gives us some insight into the often pondered question “Why does God create the world?”   God is infinite, and in order to know Himself, he creates a contrast to infinity. He creates a Universe. But even the Universe is very small compared to God's Infinity. The whole Universe also, is finite compared to its creator-God. So now this Finite Universe helps Him to know Himself ! Finitude, serves by contrast, the purpose of the infinite light to focus, on itself. To 'measure' itself. It is by limitation, that the Unlimited gets to know its unlimited Nature. The Shivlinga therefore tells us that God creates this world, and then enters it Himself, in order to know Himself, explore Himself, and this is His great Leela.   Thus the shivlinga is a symbol of God’s Creativity, immanence ,as also His transcendence. It also represents the perfect balance of Yin and Yang, potential and kinetic, male and female energy, and so, Shiva and Shakti itself.   Because its ‘made’ form ,devoid of any complicated sculpting, represents God in a simple, straightforward way, the Shivlinga is a favourite symbol.   Aum Namah Shivaya!
vedic civilization in kabaa
Many centuries before prophet Muhammad and the destructive advent of Islam, Arabia orArabistanwas an extremely rich and glorious center of Vedic civilization. In this article, I will prove to you point by point that pre-Islamic Arabia was in fact a flourishing civilization which revered Vedic culture.It is the Muhammad and the followers of Islam who are fully responsible for the dissemination and destruction of this once glorious culture.In learning about this most ancient heritage, let’s begin withthe word Arabistanitself.Arabistanis derived from the original Sanskrit term Arvasthanwhich meansThe Land of Horses. Since time immemorial proponents of the Vedic culture used to breed exceptional horses in this region. Thus eventually the land itself began to be calledArva(Horses) -Sthan(place). The people who lived in this land were called Semitic. Semitic comes from the Sanskrit wordSmritic. Arabs followed the ancient VedicSmritissuch asManu-Smritias their revered religious guides and thus they were identified asSmriticwhich has been corrupted into Semitic.At that time theUttarapath(Northern Highway) was the international highway to the North of India. It was viaUttarapaththat Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries drew their spiritual, educational and material sustenance from India. Besides, this Sea-links were formed with India at least 800 years before the advent of Islam.Basrawas the ancient gateway to India because it was at this port that the Arab lands recieved Indian goods and visitors. At that time the spoken language was Sanskrit, which later dwindled into the local variation that we now call Arabic. The proof of this is that thousands of words that were derived from Sanskrit still survive in Arabic today.Here is a sampling of some:SanskritArabicEnglishSagwanSajTeakwoodVishBeshPoisonAnusariAnsariFollowerShishyaSheikhDiscipleMrityuMoutDeathPra-Ga-ambarPaigambarOne from heavenMaleenMalaunDirty or soiledAapatiAafatMisfortuneKarpasKaifasCottonKarpurKafurCamphorPramukhBarmakChiefEven various kinds of swords were referred to asHanduwani,Hindi,Saif-Ul-Hind,MuhannidandHinduani. The Sanskrit Astronomical treatiseBrahma-Sphuta-Siddhantain Arabic translation is known asSind-Hind, while another treatiseKhanda-Khadyakawas calledArkand. Mathematics itself was calledHindisa.The Arabs derived technical guidance in every branch of study such as astronomy, mathematics and physics from India. A noted scholar of history, W.H. Siddiqui notes:“The Arab civilization grew up intensively as well as extensively on the riches of Indian trade and commerce. Nomadic Arab tribes became partially settled communities and some of them lived within walled towns practised agriculture and commerce, wroteon wood and stone, feared the gods and honored the kings.”Some people wrongly believe that Arabs used the word Hindu as a term of contemptuous abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth. The people of pre-Islamic Arabia held Hinduism in great esteem as evidenced from the fact that they would endearingly call their most attractive and favourite daughters asHindaandSaifi Hindi. The fact that Arabs regarded India as their spiritual and cultural motherland long before the damaging influence of Islam is corroborated by the following poem which mentions each one of the four Vedas by name: (The English translation is in black)“Aya muwarekal araj yushaiya noha minar HIND-eWa aradakallaha manyonaifail jikaratun”“Oh the divine land of HIND (India) (how) very blessed art thou!Because thou art the chosen of God blessed with knowledge”“Wahalatijali Yatun ainana sahabi akha-atun jikra Wahajayhi yonajjalur-rasu minal HINDATUN ““That celestial knowledge which like four lighthouses shone in suchbrilliance – through the (utterances of) Indian sages in fourfold abundance.”“Yakuloonallaha ya ahal arafalameen kullahumFattabe-u jikaratul VEDA bukkun malam yonajjaylatun”“God enjoins on all humans, follow with hands downThe path the Vedas with his divine precept lay down.”“Wahowa alamus SAMA wal YAJUR minallahay TanajeelanFa-e-noma ya akhigo mutiabay-an Yobassheriyona jatun”“Bursting with (Divine) knowledge are SAM &YAJUR bestowed on creation,Hence brothers respect and follow the Vedas, guides to salvation”“Wa-isa nain huma RIG ATHAR nasayhin Ka-a-KhuwatunWa asant Ala-udan wabowa masha -e-ratun”“Two others, the Rig and Athar teach usfraternity, Sheltering under their lustre dispels darkness till eternity”This poem was written byLabi-Bin-E- Akhtab-Bin-E-Turfawho lived in Arabia around 1850 B.C. That was 2300 years before Mohammed!!! This verse can be found inSair- Ul-Okulwhich is an anthology of ancient Arabic poetry. It was compiled in 1742 AD under order of the Turkish Sultan Salim.That the Vedas were the religiousscriptures to which the Arabs owed allegiance as early as 1800 B.C. proves not only the antiquity of the Vedas but also the existence of Indian rule over the entire region from the Indus to the Mediterranean, because it is a fact of history that the religion of the ruler is practised by his subjects.Vedic culture was very much alive just before the birth of Muhammad. Again let’s refer to theSair-Ul-Okul. The following poem was written byJirrhamBintoi who lived 165 years beforethe prophet Muhammed. It is in praise of India’s great KingVikramadityawho had lived 500years beforeBintoi. (The English translation is in red).“Itrasshaphai SantulBikramatul phehalameen KarimunBihillahaya SamiminelaMotakabbenaran BihillahaYubee qaid min howaYaphakharu phajgal asarinahans Osirim BayjayholeenYaha sabdunya Kanateph natephibijihalin Atadari Bilala masaurateenphakef Tasabahu. Kaunni eja majakaralhadawalhada Achimiman, burukan, Kad, Toluhowatastaru Bihillaha yakajibainanabaleykulle amarenaPhaheya jaunabil amaray Bikramatoon”- (Sair-ul-Okul, Page 315)“Fortunate are those who were bornduring King Vikram’s reign, he wasa noble generous, dutiful ruler devotedto the welfare of his subjects. But atthat time, We Arabs oblivious of divinitywere lost in sensual pleasures. Plotting& torture were rampant. The darkness ofignorance had enveloped our country.Like the lamb struggling for its lifein the cruel jaws of a wolf, we Arabswere gripped by ignorance. The wholecountry was enveloped in a darkness asintense as on a New moon night. But thepresent dawn & pleasant sunshine ofeducation is the result of the favor ofthat noble king Vikram whose benevolencedid not lose sight of us foreigners as wewere. He spread his sacred culture amongstus and sent scholars from his own landwhose brilliance shone like that of the sunin our country. These scholars & preceptorsthrough whose benevolence we were once againmade aware of the presence of god, introducedto his secret knowledge & put on the road totruth, had come to our country to initiate usin that culture & impart education.”Thus we can see that Vedic religion and culture were present in Pre-Islamic Arabia as early as 1850 B.C., and definitely present at the time of Mohammed’s birth.In his bookOrigines, Volumes 3& 4″, Sir W. Drummond adds:“Tsabaism was the universal language of mankind when Abraham received his call, their doctrines were probably extended all over the civilized nations of Earth.”Tsabaismis merely the corruption of the wordShaivismwhich is Vedic religion. On page 439 of this book, Sir Drummond mentions some of gods of pre-Islamic Arabs, all of which were included in the 360 idols that were consecrated in the Kaba shrine before it was raided and destroyed by Muhammad and his followers. Here are some of the Vedic deities and their original Sanskrit names:ArabicSanskritEnglishAl-DsaizanShaniSaturnAl-Ozi or OzzaOorjaDivine energyAl-SharakShukraVenusAudsUddhav-BagBhagwanGodBajarVajraIndra’s thunderboltKabarKuberGod of wealthDarIndraKing of godsDua SharaDeveshwarLord of the godsHabalBahubaliLord of strengthMadanMadanGod of loveManaphManuFirst ManManatSomnathLord ShivObodesBhoodevEarthRazeahRajeshKing of kingsSaadSiddhiGod of LuckSairShreeGoddess of wealthSakiahShakrahIndraSawaraShiva-EshwarGod ShivaYaukYakshaDivine beingWadBudhMercuryThe Kaba temple which was misappropriated and captured by Muslims was originally an International Vedic Shrine. The ancient Vedic scriptureHarihareswar Mahatmyamentions that Lord Vishnu’s footprints are consecrated in Mecca. An important clue to this fact is that Muslims call this holyprecintHaramwhich is a deviation of the Sanskrit termHariyam, i.e. the precint of Lord Hari alias Lord Vishnu. The relevant stanza reads:“Ekam Padam Gayayantu MAKKAYAANTU DwitiyakamTritiyam Sthapitam Divyam Muktyai Shuklasya Sannidhau”The allusion is to theVamanaincarnation of Lord Vishnu whose blessed feet were consecrated at three holy sites, namelyGaya,MeccaandShukla Teertha. Worshipping such carved, holy foot impressions is a holy Vedic custom which convert Muslims are inadvertently perpetuating. But in doing this they delude themselves and mislead others that these foot-impressions which are on reverential display in several mosques and tombs around the world are in fact Muhammad’s own. There are several snags in this argument. Firstly worshipping a foot -impression amounts to idolatry and should therefore be taboo for a true Muslim. Secondly Muhhamad disclaimed having performed any miracles. Therefore there can be no foot-impression of his on stone. Thirdly foot-impressions must always be in pairs like shoes. Yet in most of these shrines, it is usually a single footprint which suggests that Muhammad walked on only one foot. Another question that crops up is whether the foot-impression isof the same size and foot in all the shrines. The fact appears to be that when theVedic Kabashrine in Mecca was invaded by Muhammad, the pairs of foot impressions of Vedic deities there were plundered and later traded to the gullible and devoutas Muhammad’s own footprints for some favour, reward or personal gain by unscrupulous muslims. That is why they are single and not in pairs.The Black Stone which is the Shiv Emblem (also known asSange Aswadwhich is a corrupted form of the Sanskrit wordSanghey Ashweta–meaningnon-white stone) still survives in the Kaba as the central object of Islamic veneration. All other Vedic Idols could be found buried in the precincts or trampled underfoot in labyrinthine subterranean corridors if archaeological excavations are undertaken. TheBlack Stone has been badly mutilated, its carved base has disappeared and the stone itself is broken at seven places. It’s parts are now held together by a silver band studded with silver nails. It lies half buried in the South Eastern portion of the Kaba Wall (Refer to Figure 1). The term Kaba itself is a corruption of the Sanskrit wordGabha(Garbha + Graha) which meansSanctum.In addition, in the inscriptions from Hajja and its neighborhoodwas found a votive vessel dedicated by members of two tribes calledRamaandSomia.RamaandSomaare Vedic deities, Rama is of the Solar dynasty and Soma is of the LunarDynasty. The moon god was called by various names in pre-Islamic times , one of them was Allah. Allah had 3 children,Al-Lat,Al-UzzaandManat. Al-Lat and Al-Uzza were both feminine deities.Allais another name for the Hindu goddessDurga. It is obvious that the goddess Al-Lat was Alla (Durga) and Al-Uzza wasOorja(energy or life force also known asShakti).Manatwas none other thanSomnathwhichis another name for Lord Shiva. One significant point to note thatSomain Sanskrit means Moon andNathmeans Lord. Thusthe Kaba itself was dedicated to the Moon GodSomnathaliasShivand the wordSomnathwas corrupted toManat. The famous Black Stone is none other than the ShivLing ofMakkeshwaralias Mecca. Lord Shiva is always shown with a crescent Moon on his head and every Shiva temple is supposed to have a sacred water spring representing theGanges. The Crescent Moon pinnacle of the Kaba and theZamzamspring (actuallyZamzafromGanga) are irrefutable testaments to the Vedic origins of the Kaba.Muslims from all over the world pay homage toMaqam-E-Ibrahim. This shrine is actually the pedestal ofBrahma.Notice that the word, Ibrahim is actually a corruption of the word, Brahma. The octogonal grill which is a Vedic design, protects the holy footprints which represent the start of the creation nearly 2000 million years ago. Before it was captured by the Muslims it was an international shrine of the Vedic trinity.Muslims from all over the world pay homage to this shrine. This shrine is actually the pedestal ofBrahma. Notice that the word, Ibrahim is actually a corruption of the word, Brahma. The octogonal grill which is a Vedic design, protects the holy footprints which represent the start of the creation nearly 2000 million years ago. Before it was captured by the Muslims it was an international shrine of the Vedic trinity.In fact the names of the holiest ofMuslim cities Mecca and Medina come from the Sanskrit wordsMakha-Mediniwhich meansthe land of Fire-Worship. Even the most ancient names of these 2 cities wereMahcorava- which came fromMahadeva(Lord Shiva) andYathrabn– which came fromYatra-Sthan(place of pilgrimage).Islam came into being about 1372years ago. It is well known that over 7500 years ago, at the time of theMahabharat War,Kurusruled the world. The scions of that family administered the different regions. Prophet Muhammed himself and his family were adherents of Vedic culture. TheEncyclopedia Islamiaadmits as much when it says:“Muhammed’s grandfatherand uncles were hereditary priests of the Kaba temple whichhoused 360 idols!”According to Arab traditions, Muhammad is a title. We do not know what name his parents had given him. We do however know that the central object of worship which survives at the Kaba today is a Shivling. That was allowed to remain there because that was the faceless family deity of Muhammad’s family. One of the original names of Lord Shiv isMahadev(The Great God) therefore it is entirely possibleMuhammadcame fromMahadev. This appears fairly certain because the Arabs still have aMahadevisect. Moreover the titleMehdiof a Muslim chief is also a malpronounciation of the term Mahadeva. According to Sanskritetymology the term Muhammadimplies‘a person of great inspiration’-‘Mahan Madah yasya assau Muhammadah’In a hostile sense it also implies‘a person of a proud and haughty temperament’.The Qurayshi tribe into which Mohammed was born was particularly devoted to Allah and and the three children of theMoon God. Therefore when Muhammad decided to create his ownDivinereligion, he took innumerable aspects of the dailyVedic culture that surrounded him and corrupted them to suit his needs. It was with the advent of the Prophet and Islam that the death-knell of the glorious Arab culture was sounded. With Islam came the flood of destruction, murder, plunder and crime that destroyed the great Vedic heritage of Arabs. The Prophet merely took some existing artefacts and terms and corrupted them so profoundly that no one would be able to discover their actual origins.In 570 AD, the year of Muhammad’s birth, Arabia was athriving, rich and varied Vedic culture. Although monotheism in the forms of Christianity and Judaism were known to the people ofArvasthan, they were undeterred in their uncompromising faith to the religion of their ancestors: Hinduism . Every household hadan idol of a Hindu god or goddess. There were hundreds ofsacred groves, places of pilgrimage, and temples which were sanctuaries containing images of the entire range of Vedic gods. The temples in addition to being the religious focus of the Arabs, were also the cultural centres of learning. It was the temples that were the venues of literary and poetry competitions, of glorious festivals.The virtues most highly prized by people ofArvasthanwere bravery in battle, patience in misfortune, loyalty to one’s tribe, and generosity to the needy and the poor. They proudly upheld the value of tolerance in matters of religious practice and belief. The respect they showed towards other people’s religions was fully in keeping with their Vedic spiritual tradition.The status of women was that of pride and equal respect. How could it be otherwise with a people whose chief deity was thegoddessDurga(Alla). Women married men of their choice and were financially independent. They were entrepeneurs, artisans, poets and even warriors! Later on Muhammad would marry Khadija, who was not only a wealthy merchant butalso in the position to choose herown husband. This clearly demonstrates the level of freedom women enjoyed in Vedic Arabia. Hind, who was the wife of Muhammad’s chief enemy Abu Sufyan, herself participated in the battlefield.Hind opposed Muhammad toothand nail. She followed her husband to the battlefield and when Abu Sufyan surrendered Mecca to Muhammad without a fight she caught hold of him in the marketplace and cried:“KILL this fat greasy bladder of lard! What a rotten protector of the people”When Muhammad tried to baptise her & asked her not to commit adultery , She spat out the bitter words:“A free woman does not commit adultery!”How proud this woman was of the rights and privileges that her Vedic society had invested toher!It was Islam that extinguished the light of knowledge in Vedic Arabia. It is ironic that the man who brought about such darkness himself belonged to the Qurayshi Tribe of Mecca. The Qurayshi were particularly devoted to Allah (Durga) and the famous Shivling of the Kaaba Temple. The fact that the Shivling remains to this day in the Kaaba is solely due to the factthat it happened to be the Qurayshi tribe’s faceless Family Deity. As I mentioned before Muhammad’s name itself came from Mahadeva, which is another cognate for Lord Shiva. Muhammad’s own uncle, Umar-Bin-E-Hassham was a staunch Hindu and fervent devotee of Lord Shiva. He was a renowned poet and wrote many verses in praise of Shiva. One of these has survived onpage 235 ofSair-Ul-Okuland reads as follows:Kafavomal fikra min ulumin TabasayruKaluwan amataul Hawa was TajakhruWe Tajakhayroba udan Kalalwade-E LiboawaWalukayanay jatally, hay YaumaTab asayruWa Abalolha ajabu armeeman MAHADEVAManojail ilamuddin minhum wasayattaruWa Sahabi Kay-yam feema-KamilMINDAY YaumanWa Yakulum no latabahan foeennak TawjjaruMassayaray akhalakan hasanan KullahumNajumum aja- at Summa gabul HINDUWHICH TRANSLATES AS:The man who may spend his life in sinand irreligion or waste it in lechery and wrathIf at least he relent and return torighteousness can he be saved?If but once he worship Mahadevawith a pureheart, he will attain the ultimatein spirituality.Oh Lord Shiva exchange my entire life for buta day’s sojourn in India where one attains salvation.But one pilgrimage there securesfor one allmerit and company of the truly great.Figure 1. A tantric pattern which defines the structure ofKaabaMuhammad’s uncle was one of the resident priests of the Shiv temple known as “Kaaba”. This sacred sanctum was decorated in an extremely rich and beautiful fashion. The Kaaba wasastronomically oriented to face the winds. The minor axis of the rectangular base of the Kaaba was solistically aligned towards summer sunrise and winter sunset. It contained 360 statues of Vedic deities and was a shrine primarily associated with sun worship. The temple was an architectural representation of an interlocking set of theories covering virtually all creation and comprehending chemistry, physics, cosmology, meteorology and medicine. Each wall or corner of the Kaaba was associated with a specific region of the world. Thus this glorious Hindu temple was made to symbolically represent a microcosm of the universe. The Arabs would face east when praying. This representation of a microcosmdemonstrated by the eight directional structure was derived from the Tantric pattern (Refer to Figure 1) of Hinduism. Right at the centre of the Kaaba was the octogonal pedestal of Bramha the creator. Today this very pedestal is called Maqam-E-Ibrahim by the MuslimsHowever, more significant was the fact that the Kaaba was an extremely rich and ornatetemple. On its walls hung innumerable goldplaques commemorating the winners of theannual poetry competition known as theOkaj fair. There were gold, silver and precious gems everywhere. It is no wonder that Muhammad armed with his facade of anew brand of religion set out to capture the immense wealth of the Vedic shrine of Mecca. After plundering the riches of the Kaaba, the wealth enabled him to systematically destroy all traces of the religion that threatened him so directly. It is an indisputable fact that money will make any low criminal devoutly religious in a hurry.Despite the fact that Muhammad had to destroy all traces of Hinduism in order to make his “new religion” work, he knew that in order to fool people convincingly he would have to borrow from the Vedic culture that surrounded him. Being illiterate he picked out rituals and symbols that he didn’t understand and distorted and falsified them for his own ends.Here is a list of these distortions:*.Muhammad destroyed all 360 idols, but even he could not summon the courage to completely obliterate the Shivling in the Kaaba. He entered the temple and kissed the black stone. TheShivling was so sacred that the man who so detested idol- worship ended up kissing the largest idol in the Kaaba. Later his followers in a fit of piety broke the Shivling and then out of remorse repatched it together again. Today it lies broken at seven places and held together by a silver band studded with silver nails, bearing the name “Sangey Aswad” which came from the SanskritAshwetmeaning non-white or black stone.*.He jumbled up the Sanskrit wordsNamaandYaja(which meant “bowing and worshipping” respectively) into a combination wordNamazand used that to describe his prescribed methodof prayer.*.Because the Vedic custom was to pray facing the East, in his hatred for all things Hindu, he directed his followersto pray facing only the west.*.The method of circling around a shrine seven times in a clockwise direction is an ancient Vedic custom. Muhammad with his lack of originality decided that the 7 ritual perambulations should be retained but again in his hatred of all things Vedic decided the direction of the perambulations should be anti-clockwise.*.With his phobia of all things Vedic, Muhammad knew that the greatest reminder and threat to his forced brand of religion were the beautiful Vedic idols of Arabic temples. Thus he destroyed every idol he could find and made idol worship the greatest crime for a Muslim. Such a man could never have comprehended how an abstract concept can be conveyed through a symbolic representation in the form ofan image. Thus he made all image representation a sin as well.*.Figure 2.Read from right to left this figureof OM represents the numbers 786Vedic religion is known for its ancient oral tradition. It is well known that theVedic culture emphasized oral debate and expression far more than the written word. In adition the oral recitation of Vedic scriptures was always done in a lyrical fashion, utilizing music and thus reaching a height of expression. In fear of this musical tradition Muhammad decidedto forbid Music.*.All Arabic copies of the Koran have the mysterious figure 786 imprinted on them . No Arabic scholar has been able to determine the choice of this particular number as divine. It is an established fact that Muhammad was illiterate therefore it is obvious that hewould not be able to differentiate numbers from letters. This “magical” number is none other than the Vedic holy letter “OM” written in Sanskrit (Refer to figure 2). Anyone who knows Sanskrit can try reading the symbol for “OM” backwards in the Arabic way and magically the numbers 786 will appear! Muslims in their ignorance simply do not realise that this special number is nothing more than the holiest of Vedic symbols misread.There are many such instances where the symbols and rituals of Vedic culture were completely distorted and falsified by Muhammad in his bid to “create” his brand new religion. However in his haste to deceive and because of his ignorance and illiteracy, thousands of Vedic symbols still remain. Although they have been distorted beyond imagination, they still remain as solemn reminders of Arabia’s glorious Vedicpast. They can never be suppressed.In fact the rise of Islam put a full stop to all the previous knowledge of Arabia. The imperialistic message of Islam diverted all energies into raiding, looting and destruction. The incentive to learn and preserve the Vedic wisdom that had thrivedin Arabia for so many centuries, was wiped out by the brutal pressure of Islam. Making easy money through loot and massacre was far more appealing than upholding the tenets of ancient knowledge. Gone were the schools, teachers, libraries, poets, artists, philosophers and scholars that had littered the Vedic landscape of Arabia like stars. Everyone had to become a raider if not fromchoice then for the sake of surviving the absolute intolerance of dissenters, that Islam preached. Thus was the light of learning extinguished in Arabia. All that remained was the Koran, the Kalma and themurderous hatred of anything Non-Muslim.In my next article I will explore how the Arabs fought to keep the integrity and prideof their Vedic culture alive in the face of the violent, unjust and murderous destruction caused by the followers of Islam.
‹› The two Sanskrit speaking VEDIC villages in “modern” India The Brahmins of Mathur and Hosahalli lead a Vedic lifestyle, chant the Vedas and keep Sanskrit alive.
Mathur is a tiny village on the banks of the perennial river Tunga. It is near Shimoga in Karnataka. It has a population of around 1500. Situated in its inner circle are about 256 Brahmin houses in a square type agraharam. It is an agrarian village, which has arecanuts as the primary crop and one acre of it yields a net profit of Rs 90,000 on an average per year. It is one of the two villages in India where Sanskrit is the official language. The villagers speak a dialect called Sanketi, which is a mixture of Sanskrit, Tamil and Kannada. It has no written script. They read only in Devanagiri script and some in Kannada. It all started around 500 years ago, when scholarly Brahmins migrated from Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu and settled here along the river bed of Tunga as was customary. King Krishnadevaraya, the then ruler of this place, wanted to donate land to these Brahmins, which they refused because accepting Dhaanam would mean accumulating sins. They felt the sins of the King would pass on to them. They only accepted charity from other Brahmins. So the ruler sent his emissary dressed as a Brahmin and donated vast tracts of land to them on which the arecanuts are now grown. The entire village is a square, like a typical Mada street, with a temple. This area is called Brahmanaru Mane. Great respect is shown by the rest to these Brahmins. There is a village paatashala, which teaches chanting of Vedas in the traditional way, especially Krishna Yajur Veda along with other ritualistic rites from Bodhayana sutras and Aabhasthamba sutras. Other rituals for yagnas are conducted for learning purposes. PRIVATE FUNDS USED The students learn these meticulously under careful supervision of the elders. At present there are only eight students in this paatashala. Most of them come from nearby villages and they stay at the paatashala till they complete their five-year course. The food and other expenses are funded by the Brahmins as they do not receive any donations. The ground floor and the contiguous houses of the paatashala are occupied by Venkatesh avadhaani (avadhaani is a family title for a very learned person ) and his brother Kesav avadhaani. These two brothers come from a family of Sanskrit scholars and they are engaged in the research of Vedas and rituals. They collect old Sanskrit palm leaves, expand them on the computer and rewrite the damaged letters. They then rewrite these scripts in present day Sanskrit for the sake of publication to make it available to the common man in text form. On certain palm leaves work has been going on for the last one year. They are keen to get in touch with persons either from the Orissa University or similar places, from where they can obtain old Sanskrit palm leaves. Special mention has to be made about a sannyasi (in his purvaashrama he was known as Theagarajan, a chartered accountant from Mumbai, who took bhiksha from Jayendrar Swamigal of Kanchi and became a sannyasi in 2001). He lives in a small hut near the paatashala and writes, edits, and translates these old palm leaves. His knowledge of Sanskrit is amazing. Venkatesh avadhaani has team members who are very well versed in CAD /CAM and other computer tools. They create on the computer, after interpreting from the palm leaves and the shulba sutras (published from Delhi by Sri Sharma), the types and designs of bricks to be laid for the various kinds of yagnas. While I was there, they were developing a Garuda type of Homa Gunda for a special yagna to be conducted on the river bed. His team consisted of purohits and students and everything was done with precision. An example of their brilliance was seen when I asked them about this famous verse from Bodhayana Sutra of the Shulba Sutra (around 4000 BC) in Mathematics, ‘Deergachatursasyaa akshanyaa rajjuh: Paarsvamanischa Thiryakmani cha. Yatpruthagbhute kuruthasthatubayam karoti.’ It is nothing but a Pythogaras’ theorem stated in Shulba Sutras, 1000 years before Pythogoras wrote it. Venk
Sati Pratha – Truth and Facts I have met Shahnawaz Husain during a trip to Mumbai. He was my fellow traveler from London to Mumbai. He is now an Indian desi in UK with a very modern outlook. He was talking about superstitions and wrong traditions plaguing India. I have agreed to most of his observations. “Hinduism is a curse for its women – evil people were practicing SATI everywhere in India till British ruled…” he said. (‘Sati’ is a name given to the custom by the British in which the widow is placed on pyre of deceased husband and burnt alive – it was a barbaric and inhumane act) “I agree with you regarding SATI. It is highly deplorable. But how come you blame Hinduism for that?” “Hindu scriptures glorify Sati Pratha…” “So far there is no word in Hindu scripture for “Bride burning”. Sati is the feminine of ‘sat’, means “true”.” “But Hindus were practicing it and encouraging it, resulting in genocide…” “Hmm…” I understood that he is yet another misled educated person.”Shahnawaz, Can I ask you a question…” “Yes, please…” “Even in modern America (African and many other countries), female genital mutilation (FGM) – also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision – is being practiced among some Muslims. They believe that females have no right to enjoy sexual pleasure….” “That’s not true…” he raised his voice. His face became red. “You please get your facts checked. FGM is done in the name of preservation of virginity and reduction of female desire and also to enhance male pleasure. The practice is prevalent in some of the majority Muslim countries. Many girls bleed to death or die of infection – even today” “That’s highly deplorable. We, educated Muslims, seriously condemn such act…” “But Islamic scholars have two opinions about this – some say no obligatory rules exist while others refer to the mention of female circumcision in the Hadith. I do not know, you tell me…” “Sir, All Muslims are not practicing it. Don’t blame Muslims or Islam for some people doing wrong things…” “I totally agree with you. As in any religion, wrong customs are practiced by the ignorant followers.” “I got your point, Uday. You mean to say that just because few people among billions of Hindus practice it doesn’t mean Hinduism supports Sati…” “Not only that – Sanatan Dharma is the only tradition in the world that gives equal importance to all without any gender, colour and race discrimination. So how is it possible to force something like Sati on females?” “Uday, a scholar told me about mentioning of widow’s burning in Rig-Veda?” “Yes – I have also read about it. Rig Ved, Mandala 10, Chapter 18 mentions about widowed dames. The hymn actually calls for a widow to rise from the pier of her dead husband and now move on to take the hand of her new husband. As in all cases, Hindu-bashers have misinterpreted it into a terrible falsification to signify the burning of the widows to demean Hinduism…” “Mahabharata, Hindu epic, tells about Madri was burned with her husband Pandu” “Pandu had another wife – Kunti – why didn’t she die? There are hundreds of characters in Mahabharata. Madri’s case was exceptional. The epic is broader in universality – it shows all evils and good things that had been prevailing in the society during that time. How can you generalize things by a singled-out example? In Ramayana, when Dasaratha died none of his three wives jumped into pyre. There is not even a single case of forceful widow burning in any of our scriptures. The story of Sati and Shiv has nothing to do with Sati Pratha…Sati didn’t die in her Husband’s funeral pyre…” “Then what, really, is Sati?” “Sati is an ancient Sanskrit word, meaning a chaste woman who thinks of no other man than her own husband. The famous examples are Sati Anusuiya, Seelavati, Savitri, Ahilya etc. None of them committed suicide, let alone being forcib
Who Is A Hindu?
Countless people across the world ask me: “Have you converted to Hinduism?” The question is understandable. After all, people don’t often behold an American woman of Jewish ancestry draped in the saffron robes of a Hindu renunciant. However, although the question is simple, the answer is complex. Hinduism does not convert. It does not exist in a box with borders and boundaries. There are more differences between lineages within Hinduism than there are between Hinduism and some other religions. If one were to ask several Hindus, “What is the most fundamental tenet of Hinduism?” or “How is God understood in Hinduism?” one would get a wide range of equally viable, equally legitimate answers. In fact, two of the most fundamental teachings of Hinduism are “Let all the noble thoughts come from all directions,” and “The Truth is one but the sages call it by different names.” So, what exactly is Hinduism, then, that is open enough to embrace an American sanyasi? “By whatever name and form the devotee worships me with love, I appear to the devotee in that form.” Nowhere in the Vedas – the foundational texts of Hindu theology – does one find the word Hindu. Rather, “Hindu” is actually the name given to the people living beyond the banks of the Sindhu or the Indus River, in what was known as the Indus valley civilisation. Hindus refer to their religion as Sanatan Dharma, the eternal way of life. This way of life encompasses everything from a philosophical understanding of the nature of the universe and our role in it, to treatises on science, math, music, architecture and medicine. The “religion” of Hinduism, if one wanted to attempt to neatly box it up, could be said to include several components. The first of these is inclusivity. Hinduism excludes almost nothing. The arms of Hinduism are immeasurably long and embrace innumerable names, forms and concepts of the Divine. However, worshippers of varying Divine manifestations all agree on one essential component: the Supreme Reality is infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, and knowable by all names. As God is infinite and all of creation a manifestation of the same Creator, Hindus see the whole world as one family. In fact, the scriptures state clearly: Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam, or “The world is one family.” Hindu prayers are prayers for all; Hindus don’t pray for Hindus or Indians. Rather, Hindus pray, Sarve bhavantu sukhinah Sarve santu niraamayaah Sarve bhadraani pashyantu Maakaschit duhkha bhaag bhavet It means, “May all be happy, may all be healthy, may all behold that which is good and auspicious, may no one suffer.” Another aspect is that of a personal relationship with God. Regardless of the name, form in which a Hindu believes, he or she is encouraged to have a personal connection with that particular form. The God of Hinduism is a God who is knowable, approachable, infinite and yet fully prepared to incarnate in material form, a God to whom our food, water, earnings and lives are dedicated. One common misconception of Hinduism is that it is polytheistic. With so many images, it is understandable that people would assume that each image is a separate God. However, Hinduism is very much a monotheistic religion, in which that one, infinite Supreme Reality is manifest in all of creation. The first line of the Isopanishads reminds us: Ishaavaasyam idam sarvam yat kim ca jagatyam jagat It means the entire universe is pervaded by the divine. That same all-pervasive Supreme Reality manifests in infinite forms with infinite names. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains beautifully, “By whatever name and form the devotee worships me with love, I appear to the devotee in that form.” For this reason, Hindu practices emphasise ahimsa or nonviolence toward humans, animals and Mother Nature. A large majority of Hindus are vegetarians, avoid leather, pray to and for Mother Nature, and have rituals surrounding the ways and times that one may pick flowers, fruits or otherwise injure a living plant. Stemming from the tenet of an all-pervasive God, one of the core components of the Hindu tradition is service, seva, or karma yoga. Hinduism teaches us to see God in the poor, sick, and needy; the tradition is filled with stories of God appearing as an unexpected guest or a beggar. Most Hindu organisations have large social service programs engaged in a wide range of charitable activities. Service is seen as one of the highest forms of worship. As the traditional name of Hinduism is Sanatan Dharma or “eternal way of life” the tenets and principles of Hinduism are not relegated only to worship or prayer. Rather, Hinduism informs every aspect of our lives from the moment we awaken to the moment we sleep. There are shastras and sutras for nearly every component of life, as well as for architecture, medicine, science, math and music. Hinduism, in the words of Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, “is not a weekend business.” A Hindu’s actions are governed by spiritual laws in the home and in the workplace as well as in the temple. Another central and unique aspect of Hinduism is emphasis on the divine feminine, or Shakti, as the essential energy and force through which creation, sustenance and dissolution are performed. Worship of the Divine Mother – whether in Her nurturing, compassionate form or in Her fierce, fiery form – is a common thread that weaves through the entire tapestry of Hinduism. However, it is not only the Feminine in Her ethereal, celestial role that is worshipped, it is the feminine in her human form. We are exhorted by the scriptures to hold women in the highest ideal: “Wherever women are adored and respected, there the Gods are happy.” As news reports cover the rape and abuse of girls and women throughout India, people misconstrue this as a subjugation of the female endorsed by Hindu culture. The abuse of women is a societal evil which must be swiftly eradicated. However, it couldn’t be further from the very tenets of Hinduism.
Buy Classic Statues of Hindu Idols
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