Blogs

Showing 1 to 72 of 117 results
Showing 1 to 72 of 117 results
Must have Regionally Crafted Sarees from India – A Woman’s Wardrobe Treasure
India is home to some of the unique and beautifully designed saree designs and fabrics. The six-yard-long saree is a garment that may have belonged to ancient times but has been explored, experimented, and evolved. While the classic drape is always a favourite for women, sarees have been constantly given a touch of modern flavours, such as the traditional cotton and silk saree is now found in a variety of jute, nylon, rayon, georgette, chiffon, satin and also blended fabrics. Both classic and modern or fusion drapes find a place in every woman’s wardrobe. And with the online purchasing, love for this quintessential piece has grown even more. However, some sarees remain unnoticed by women who desire to flaunt the traditional attires. Hence, we have come up with ten regional sarees of India that you can add in your wardrobe and create a collection that showcases the brilliance of Indian craftsmanship.
Published in Apr 2022
The Murtis of Indic Civilization
“The murtis which God has given for worship by his command are of eight types [of materials]. God himself personally enters those murtis and resides within them. A devotee of God who worships those murtis should maintain the same respect for them as he does for the manifest form of God.”
Published in Apr 2022
Vishnu Sahasranamam: The Story Behind It
During a puja, have you at any point recited a mantra for ten minutes or multiple times? Most likely not! You might recall being told to recount it multiple times. Numerous Hindus have 108 in their passwords. Organizations have made extraordinary advertisements and logos with 108. However, for what reason is 108 seen as blessed? The response, very much like every other response you will get from your folks, is that it lies in math and science. Vedic sages, pre-dating current numerical equations, had everything sorted out! As per Vedic cosmology, 108 is the premise of creation, which addresses the universe and all our reality. In Hinduism, we accept that external cosmology should reflect our internal spirituality because we are all the same. It is said that the number 108 units address the distance between our body and the God that resides inside each one of us.
Published in Apr 2022
8 Best Tips to Buy Designer Sarees Online
Sarees have been an essential part of the Indian wardrobe since time immemorial. It’s a timeless garment that has been evolving as years passed by, and even today is one of the most elegant and voguish pieces of clothing owned by an Indian woman. A date with a special someone? A festival on the weekend? A college farewell? Sarees are there for every moment of your life!! A saree has the power to convert a girl next door into an artist’s muse! Everyone drapes a saree slightly differently and everyone’s body looks different in it. But women in sarees are like snowflakes. Unique yet beautiful in their own way. Designer sarees of today are an Indian girl’s best friend
Published in Apr 2022
A Lesson on Morality in the Hindu Mythology
India is known worldwide as a land of multiple cultures, customs, and traditions coexisting harmoniously with each other. Indian culture is rich and novel in its particular ways. In India habits and decorums, the style of correspondence, values, and convictions are indispensable parts of the way of life. Even though India has acknowledged the advanced method of living and individuals have further developed their way of life yet the customs and values are as yet unchanged. These practices, customs, and values together make India an exceptionally interesting country.
Published in Apr 2022
Heroic Tales of the Hindu God Vishnu
Hindu God Vishnu is the preserver and defender of the universe. His job is to return to the earth during adverse situations and re-establish the equilibrium between the good and the bad. Up to this point, he has incarnated multiple times, yet Hindus believe that he will be resurrected one final time before the end of this world as we know it. Vishnu God of Hinduism represents the preserver, the defender, and the sustainer of the world made by Brahma as well as the law of the Vedas. When compared to other Hindu Gods and Goddesses, he was well known to have an exceptionally mature and kind nature. He is depicted as having blue skin and four arms, wearing expensive adornments, garlands, a wrapped skirt, and an enormous crown.
Published in Apr 2022
Traditional Indian jewelry pieces for the desi girl
Pieces of jewelry have been worn for a long time as a way to ramp up our appearance and to display one's status. From unrefined adornments produced using normal components like wood and grass to quality-made pieces utilizing valuable metals and gemstones to suit sovereignty, traditional Indian jewelry has been a method to add glam to a woman's outfit for a long long time. Fortunately today, we have a wide scope of styles to browse from. From modest outfit adornments to costly jewels and gold, neckbands, wristbands, and studs are made in each possible shape size, and structure.
Published in Apr 2022
Vishnu Puran- The Book of the Lord
Vishnu Puran: The Book of the Lord The Vishnu Purana is one of the eighteen Mahapuranas, the archaic text of Hinduism. It is a significant Pancharatra text in Vaishnavism. More than some other significant Purana, the Vishnu Purana presents its substance in Pancalaksana design - Sarga (cosmogony), Pratisarga (cosmology), Vamśa (ancestry of the divine beings, sages, and lords), Manvantara, and Vamśānucaritam (legends during the times of different rulers).
Published in Mar 2022
Heroic Tales of the Hindu God Vishnu
Heroic Tales of the Hindu God Vishnu Hindu God Vishnu is the preserver and defender of the universe. His job is to return to the earth during adverse situations and re-establish the equilibrium between the good and the bad. Up to this point, he has incarnated multiple times, yet Hindus believe that he will be resurrected one final time before the end of this world as we know it. Hindu God Vishnu represents the preserver, the defender, and the sustainer of the world made by Brahma as well as the law of the Vedas. When compared to other Hindu Gods and Goddesses, he was well known to have an exceptionally mature and kind nature. He is depicted as having blue skin and four arms, wearing expensive adornments, garlands, a wrapped skirt, and an enormous crown.
Published in Mar 2022
The 10 Avatars of Vishnu
The 10 Avatars of Vishnu Vishnu is the second god in the trifecta of divinities in Hinduism; which comprises three divine beings who are answerable for the creation, upkeep, and annihilation of the world. The other two divine beings are Brahma and Shiva. Brahma is the maker of the universe and Shiva is the destroyer. Vishnu is the preserver and defender of the universe. His job is to get back to the earth in grieved times and reestablish the equilibrium of good and malevolence. Up until this point, he has been embodied multiple times, however, Hindus accept that he will be resurrected one final time close to the doomsday.
Published in Mar 2022
Vishnu: Statue Types & Placement at Home
Vishnu: Statue Types & Placement at Home The Hindu God, Lord Vishnu, is the Supreme God of Vaishnavism and one of the three incomparable divinities (Trimurti) of the Hindu pantheon. He is otherwise called Narayana and Hari. As one of the five essential forms of God in the Smarta custom, he is considered as "the Preserver or the Protector" inside the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of Gods. In this blog, we will discuss in detail regarding the placement of Lord Vishnu statues so that happiness and riches are all that comes into your life.
Published in Mar 2022
Hindu Gods and Goddesses: Quick Guide to Key Deities
Hindu Gods and Goddesses: Quick Guide to Key Deities [insert image and link: https://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/homeandliving/76-vintage-hand-painted-hindu-god-wooden-cabinet-hla877/] Indian religion and mythology has given us a tremendous set of insights into existence and has developed many paths toward spiritual enlightenment. And these achievements reach their height with the Hindu gods and goddesses. For thousands of years, the Hindu pantheon has inspired an enormous amount of artwork and storytelling of all kinds. Today, they not only create the central expression of spirituality for over a billion people, but they also give rise to countless movies, comic books, children stories, novels, video games, and epics.
Published in Mar 2022
The Rich History and Cultures of Rajasthan
The Rich History and Cultures of Rajasthan India is one of the most diverse and vibrant centers of human culture anywhere in the world. Every region has distinct features and a proud legacy of its people and traditions. The subcontinent’s tapestry of interconnected spiritual and artistic threads has given rise to the many wonders of India. Rajasthan is just such a region. It’s culture is known for its valor and bravery. Located in northwestern India, it makes up over 10 percent of the country’s landmass — making it the largest state. It contains within it some of the most remarkable treasures of humanity’s ancient past, as well as marvels that continue to enrich the world today. The cultures and traditions of Rajasthan are worth exploring. And here, we present you a guide to begin your introduction to this amazing place.
Published in Mar 2022
Sri Aurobindo – A Rishi whose spirituality was inseparably united with reason
Sri Aurobindo – A Rishi whose spirituality was inseparably united with reason Sri Aurobindo was an Indian nationalist, yogin, philosopher, scholar, and poet. Following his brief political career, during which he vehemently fought for India’s outright independence, Sri Aurobindo began to explore the ancient Hindu practices of yoga. Sri Aurobindo subsequently developed his own style of yoga which he called “Integral Yoga,” because it “takes up the essence and many processes of the old yogas” with a new approach of “aim, standpoint and the totality of its method”. Sri Aurobindo believed that enlightenment came from the Divine, but that human beings possess a spiritual “supermind” that allows them to reach upward toward awareness. Spiritual perfection is achieved through Yoga practices that lead to “a change of life and existence” through the development of a new power of consciousness, which he called the “supramental”.
Published in Feb 2022
The rich history of Mathematics in the Indian Subcontinent
The rich history of Mathematics in the Indian Subcontinent There is little known about the history of Indian mathematics; this is due to a small number of authentic records containing their mathematics. The first known mathematics was preserved in the city Mohenjo Daro, during the time of the Indus Valley Civilization. The Indus Valley Civilization is thought to have been settled around 2,500 B.C.E. Mathematics was found everywhere in Mohenjo Daro, from its advanced architecture to its methods of measurement, counting and weighing items. The Indus Valley Civilization rivaled the other great ancient civilizations of its time in both knowledge and architecture styles. Examples of their architectural advancements were their tiled bathrooms, brick buildings, and temples, which all required a high level of geometrical understanding.
Published in Feb 2022
Mirabai – A Bhakti saint, poet and mystic
Mirabai – A Bhakti saint, poet and mystic During the time of the medieval period (500CE to 1500CE), many bhakti or devotional groups in Hinduism develop. Several of these bhakti movements focus on the worship of Visnu, Siva and Devi. The notion of bhakti can be described as a “loving devotion to God”. The concept can also be defined as something that “signifies the self surrender of human beings to a personal god of love, who is also to be worshipped with love and adoration”. One of its common features is having a strong sense of emotionalism. In addition, many of the practices that are associated with bhakti are “choral singing [as] a form of worship” along with “processing with drums and cymbals”.
Published in Feb 2022
Ramakrishna Paramhansa – The Simple Yogi
Ramakrishna Paramhansa – The Simple Yogi Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is to be considered one of the most profound figures in India’s history, probably the most celebrated mystic of all times. Unlike many people who centre their lives primarily around their outward actions and extrinsic influences, Sri Ramakrishna lived only for spirituality and his innermost thoughts. Solange Lemaitre remarks that, “his life is the muted accompaniment of the purely inner story of an exceptional soul and its spiritual steps towards the Absolute”. Over the years, Ramakrishna received great fame and admiration for his effortless ability to enter into samadhi [this is one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga; a spiritual state when one’s ego disappears, for more information, see Nikhilananda, his deep beliefs rooted in the Hindu tradition, and his teachings on acceptance and charity.
Published in Feb 2022
Ganesh Idol: Which one is Good for your Home?
Ganesh Idol: Which one is Good for your Home? Your home is your safe space. An individual's most private assets are kept in a home and it's the place where an individual feels a real sense of reassurance and acknowledgment. A home recounts a story and communicates an individual or family's likes and dislikes. To build a home out of a house requires a passionate association, and what’s better than decorating your new home with your own hands?? Ganesha, the God of bliss, and great wellbeing is one of the most beloved of every Hindu god. Hindu practice lays a great deal of accentuation on revering Lord Ganesha, particularly before each propitious occasion. Numerous property holders regularly fail to remember the custom of putting the Ganesha idol at home and all the more significantly at the ideal locations. The right Ganesha idol at the right place at home draws in an overflow of riches, wellbeing and eliminates all adversities.
Published in Feb 2022
Lakshmi Mantra for Financial, Prosperity, Intelligence
Goddess Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity in Hindu mythology. The wife of Lord Vishnu, the preserver in the Hindu pantheon, Lakshmi is regularly summoned by businesspersons, legislators, and women who are searching for peace and prosperity in their personal and professional life. Born as sister to the moon and the Amrit, the remedy of eternality, she rises out of the stirring of the ocean of milk and takes the decision to marry Lord Vishnu. This article will guide you through the most powerful Lakshmi Mantras that help invoke the great Goddess, that will bring you peace and wealth
Published in Feb 2022
Ganesh Statue: Types and Home Placement
Ganesh Statue: Types and Home Placement Lord Ganesha, also called Ganapati, elephant-headed Hindu lord of beginnings, is generally adored before any significant endeavour and is the benefactor of scholarly people, financiers, authors, and creators. His name implies both "Master of the People" (gana implies the average folks) and "Ruler of the Ganas". Ganesha is potbellied and by and large portrayed as grasping a couple of round Indian desserts, which he loves more than the whole wide world. His vehicle (vahana) is the huge Indian bandicoot rodent, which represents Ganesha's ability to beat anything to get what he needs. Like the rodent and elephant, Ganesha banishes all obstacles. In this article, we will know more about Ganesha statues and where they should be placed in our house-
Published in Feb 2022
Shiva and Parvati: Symbol of Love, Devotion, and Faithfulness
Shiva and Parvati: Symbol of Love, Devotion, and Faithfulness Shiva and Parvati are inseparable companions. A true devotee needs to venerate both and have equal adoration for both. On the off chance that one worships Shiva without worshipping Parvati, such worship will be in vain. The Lord won't acknowledge such a prayer. It is to show the world the significance that Shiva and Parvati hold in each other's life. This article is a deep dive into their beautiful relationship as a representation of Love, Devotion, and Faithfulness-
Published in Feb 2022
Why the Buddha Head Statue is Head and Shoulders Above the Rest
Why the Buddha Head Statue is Head and Shoulders Above the Rest Buddha Head Statue: Symbol and History Since time immemorial, statues have been crafted to both capture and preserve the true-to-life likeness of leaders and luminaries in order for them to be honored and adored for all ages. There are few individuals worthier of such reverence than Buddha. The Buddha head statue represents not only his holy figure but his divine spirit as well, depicting Buddha’s calm and composed demeanor. According to Indian tradition, statues and icons do not only possess aesthetic value, representing the image of an idol. They are also, in fact, a physical vessel that carries with it the intangible qualities of the idol. The Indian ceremony of Pran-pratishtha recognizes the bequeathal of life on the lifeless icon of an idol. However, long before the ceremony, from the moment the craftsman begins to create the statue, the sacred process of bestowing both the physical and spiritual attributes of an icon begins. The beauty of statues, such as the Buddha head statue, is in both the accurate representation of physical features and in the artistic interpretation of the idol’s spirit.
Published in Feb 2022
Marriage Story of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi
Marriage Story of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi Lakshmi, the goddess of material abundance and wealth is seen in pictures in Hindu homes adorned in a red saree, embellished accessories, seated on a Lotus flower. She is depicted as an anxious, idiosyncratic yet maternal Goddess, blessing her devotees and granting them their wishes. Her husband, Lord Vishnu is one of the three of the supreme Gods of the Hindu pantheon (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva). While Brahma is answerable for the formation of the Universe and Shiva for annihilation, Lord Vishnu is the preserver of the Universe. This article will give us an insight into Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi’s love story. Let’s learn about Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi-
Published in Feb 2022
Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune
Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune Among the primary goddesses in the Hindu faith is Lakshmi. She is actually one of the three goddesses that make up the Hindu Trivedi, along with Parvati and Saraswati. However, not only is Lakshmi one of the most important goddesses in Hinduism, but she is also one of the deities that have been revered for the longest time. Evidence of Lakshmi’s long history is proven by the presence of her first hymn, the Shri Shukta in the Rig Veda, which is not only the most revered sacred scripture but it is also the oldest, originating between 1000 and 500 B.C. A further indication of Lakshmi’s longstanding presence and influence within the Hindu faith was the archaeological discovery of ancient coins that signify reverence of Lakshmi.
Published in Feb 2022
Different Forms of Buddha: Where to Place at Home
Different Forms of Buddha: Where to Place at Home After attaining the knowledge that he was seeking, the truth of human existence, Buddha remained in meditation. The fruit of his austerities was so sweet that he had his apprehensions about sharing it with the rest of the world. Brahma, a godhead in Hindu and Buddhist traditions descended from heaven and urged Buddha to let the world have a taste of his great knowledge. What came out of Buddha’s first sermon at Sarnath formed the basic tenants of Buddhism, which is not just a religion, but a guide, a path to follow in order to make one’s life meaningful. Buddha’s teachings soon became popular owing to their simplistic and practical nature. They taught his followers how to achieve the highest of all goals- Nibbana (nirvana) while also putting emphasis on non-violence, love for all living beings, from the largest to the tiniest life forms as a way to Nibbana.
Published in Jan 2022
The nexus between Hinduism and Jainism – Where do they meet?
The nexus between Hinduism and Jainism – Where do they meet? Hindus believe the Vedas have always existed and were only heard at a certain point in the past and written down, similarly, Jains maintain that their precepts are eternal, recognized by 23 sages down through time, to finally be established by Mahavira in its present form. It is a nontheistic religion in that it does not advocate a belief in a creator god but in higher beings (devas), which are mortal, and in the concept of karma directing one's present life and future incarnations; the devas have no power over a person, however, and are not sought for guidance or assistance in freeing one's self from karmic bondage. In Jainism, it is up to each individual to attain salvation – defined as a release from the cycle of rebirth and death (samsara) - by adhering to a strict spiritual and ethical code of behavior.
Published in Jan 2022
Why Lord Shiva is worshipped in Linga Form?
Why Lord Shiva is worshipped in Linga Form? One of the three paramount deities of the Hindu Pantheon, Lord Shiva or “the Auspicious One” is loved and revered in Shaivism (one of the three most powerful groups in contemporary Hinduism) as the Supreme God. In Hinduism, Lord Shiva in his linga form is revered by his worshippers. It is called the Shivling or Shivalinga. At the point when a Linga is introduced on a Yoni, it signifies the association of Shiva and Shakti - the start of creation. It is found at a temple’s focal point, resting in a rimmed, circle moulded yoni. This article will explain why Lord Shiva is worshipped in linga form. It will also dive deeper into other significant details about Lord Shiva in Linga form-
Published in Jan 2022
4 Powerful Ganesh Mantras for Success and Removal of Obstacles
4 Powerful Ganesh Mantras for Success and Removal of Obstacles Ganesh is one of the most beloved gods in the Hindu pantheon. He is instantly recognizable for his elephant head, with sculptures and artwork of him a common feature of many Hindu households. He is known as the son of none other than Shiva and Parvati, and he is the lord of beginnings as well as wisdom (Buddhi), spirituality (Siddhi), and prosperity (Riddhi). Due to his massive popularity, many people use a Ganesh mantra to help in day to day life. A mantra is a small phrase that can be repeated in a meditative state, bringing the power of a deity to work for you. Exotic India brings you four of the most powerful and popular, presenting each Ganesh mantra with meaning. We also give some advice on how to chant the mantra you choose to work with. The following guide is a great starting off point for those new to worshiping Ganesh, as well as a wonderful way to add to whatever offerings or prayers you are already giving the great Hindu god.
Published in Jan 2022
Types of Buddha Statues: Their Meaning and Importance
Types of Buddha Statues: Their Meaning and Importance Gautama Buddha led an extraordinary life, leaving behind a pathway to liberation that is practical and action-oriented. What sages for thousands of years were saying in grand prose, the Buddha was able to distill into simple fables and easy to understand protocols that work to bring us out of the cycle of Samsara. As Buddhism reached across the globe, many adherents have made astounding art depicting the Buddha. And with so much variety, you might be wondering about different Buddha statue meanings. There are so many kinds of statues of this great teacher available — especially on such a large platform like Exotic India — that it’s worth taking the time to learn a bit about each. We’ve produced this helpful guide to help you understand the Buddha statues you see. As with any religious art, every detail is specifically meant to give new insights into the truth about existence and our place in it.
Published in Jan 2022
Laughing Buddha: Which One to Use and Where to Place?
Laughing Buddha: Which One to Use and Where to Place? Pot-bellied, laughing like a little child, Laughing Buddha is one of the most popular pieces when it comes to home décor. The Origin of the Laughing Buddha According to Chinese tradition, he was a monk named Pinyin, who lived 1000 years ago and followed the path of Buddhist asceticism. He was jolly-natured and roamed from one place to another, carrying his earthly possessions in a small sack of cloth, spreading smiles and peace everywhere he went. His followers believe him to be the incarnation of Bodhisattva Maitreya or the future Buddha, born to help them with the problems of the current world.
Published in Jan 2022
LORD SHIVA- INTERESTING FACTS AND HIS AVATARS
Among the supreme deities of the Hindu pantheon, Lord Shiva is known to be the most remarkable. Shiva is frequently alluded to as the "destroyer", however, it is he who obliterates the adulterations taking shelter in the human psyche. He frees a body of its deficiencies and makes it deserving of accomplishing moksha. It is he who is responsible for obliteration on the grounds that if the 'old' doesn’t perish, the 'new' wouldn't have the option to take birth.
Published in Jan 2022
The Spiritual Aspect of the Sanskrit Language
The Spiritual Aspect of the Sanskrit Language Perhaps the most significant part of human social existence and interaction that we are aware of today is language. Despite years of research into numerous languages and their sources, scientists have yet to discover another species on the planet capable of communicating in the same way that humans do, sharing abstract ideas and conceptual representations solely through words. Since ancient times, India's Hindu religion has paid special attention to how language is used in everyday life, and how it can express ideas, thoughts, impressions, beliefs, and other complex concepts that cannot be proved in any other way. The language was so important to Hindus that they incorporated it directly into their spiritual practices, and it became yet another medium for reaching their ultimate goal, moksha: realization of the Ultimate Truth within oneself.
Published in Jan 2022
Mantras – A Complex Amalgamation of Sacred Sounds
Mantras – A Complex Amalgamation of Sacred Sounds Mantras are a complex feature of the Hindu tradition that people sometimes do not understand all that well. Different mantras are used for different things. “For India, Mantras are real, palpable, mental artifacts to be revered and mastered, to be used or misused. Mantras are very important in religion but they are not completely significantly religiously they have other significance also. Mantras are important for religious and non-religious purposes. The history of mantras can be extensively related to Indian people’s religious life. One way of defining mantras is that they are sacred utterances, that are uttered sometimes daily, and sometimes for special occasions. There are formal and also informal definitions of mantras. Mantras are used in a variety of contexts. Hinduism sees certain mantras as only being useful for certain things. Each mantra has a specific function with a specific time and place for use. The Hindu tradition sees mantras as effective because they are believed to be useful and powerful. There are Vedic, Puranic, and Tantric mantras. Certain types are used to achieve some sort of escape from hardships from outside nature. There are certain mantras that are used to cope with the daily up and downs of everyday life. Besides these, there are also mantras that address the problems of the whole of human nature. Scholars debate whether mantras are language. The Rig Veda has several mentions of mantras. It is hard to understand mantras when you are not immersed in Indian life but it is possible if we try, it is just more difficult.
Published in Jan 2022
Mudras – Beyond Marks and Gestures
Mudras – Beyond Marks and Gestures Mudras, which mean "seal," "mark," or "gesture" in Sanskrit, are claimed to heighten the results of our yoga or meditation practise and improve energy flow. But, how does it operate, and when should we utilise it? Mudras have been around for thousands of years and can be found in a variety of religions and traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Tantric rites, Roman art, Asian martial arts, Taoism, and Indian classical dance. Depending on the tradition, the goal of these hand motions can range from concentrating subtle energies to communicating teaching through symbols, acting as a tool for treating illness, and even assigning magical powers and psychic abilities to the practitioner! Mudras, on the other hand, are a type of nonverbal communication that can be described as an "external expression of inner resolve."
Published in Jan 2022
Shakyamuni – The Becoming of Buddha
Shakyamuni – The Becoming of Buddha There are many Buddhas in Buddhism, despite the fact that we typically refer to them as "the Buddha." Furthermore, the numerous Buddhas have a variety of names and shapes, as well as multiple responsibilities. The name "Buddha" literally means "one who has awakened," and every such enlightened human is considered a Buddha in Buddhist teaching. Furthermore, the term Buddha is frequently used to refer to the notion of Buddha-nature. However, there is one historical figure who is commonly referred to as the Buddha. In Mahayana Buddhism, Shakyamuni Buddha is the name given to the historical Buddha. Mahayana Buddhism is not a single group but a collection of Buddhist traditions: Zen Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, and Tibetan Buddhism are all forms of Mahayana Buddhism.
Published in Jan 2022
The life of Vardhamana Mahavira – 24th Tirthankara of Jainism
The life of Vardhamana Mahavira – 24th Tirthankara of Jainism Known by different names like Vardhman, Veer, Ativeer, Mahaveer and Sanmati, the life of Mahavira witnessed an era when an increasing number of people chose to abandon their normal lives and embark on a life of roving mendicancy. Even he chose to forsake a life of luxury and become an ascetic. Mahavira was taken in a parade to a vast park, where he disembarked from a palanquin, plucked out his hair in five handfuls, and removed all of his decorations and clothing, according to several sources. Some sources suggest that he stayed naked after that, while others believe the gods granted him a particular piece of clothing that he wore until it got snagged on a thorny bush and he spent the rest of his life naked because he didn't notice it was gone. The two narratives differ in an apparently insignificant aspect, yet they indicate a major doctrinal difference between the Digambara, or sky-clad, and the Svetambara, or white-clad, Jain traditions. The first tradition contends that nudity is required to fully fulfil the mendicant vow of nonattachment, whilst the second disagrees, claiming that basic white mendicant garb does not violate the vow.
Published in Jan 2022
Goddesses from the Vedas: Prthivi, Usas, and Ratri
Worship of natural phenomena has dominated Hindu religious practice since its origin. Many natural phenomena are seen to have feminine properties and it is these properties which led to the centralization of goddess worship. Some feminine traits abundant in nature include fecundity, fruitfulness, and fertility present in the earth, mothers and cows. Another feature common in goddess worship is their ability to uphold rta, cosmic order. All these common features of nature are prominent in three of the main goddesses in Vedic literature; Prthivi the earth, Usas the dawn, and Ratri the night.
Published in Jan 2022
Hanuman – A Great Warrior Who Played a Crucial Role in The Ramayana
Agni, the god of fire, blessed him with immunity to fire. Surya, the sun god, gave him the power to change the size of his body. Yama blessed him with good health and immortality. Vishwakarma, the divine architect, offered a boon that he would be safe from all objects of his creation. Invincible and immortal are the words primarily associated with him. He is Hanuman. Hanuman is one of the many deities of the Hindu tradition. He is regarded as the monkey-general of a mythic monkey kingdom, known as Kiskindha. In Hindu tradition, Hanuman is most commonly known for his role in the Ramayana [A Sanskrit epic featuring the characters of Rama, Sita, Hanuman, and Laksmana], in which he is a great ally to Rama and Laksmana [Rama is the central character of the Ramayana epic; Laksmana is his brother who accompanies Rama during his banishment from his kingdom]. The Ramayana describes how Hanuman was devoted to Rama and willingly set off to Lanka [Many people believe Lanka to be the location of today’s Sri Lanka] to search for Sita. Rama is unable to go himself; he had been expelled from the city for his 14-year exile. Earlier in the Ramayana, Rama had said that “everywhere, even among the animals, can be found good creatures that follow the ways of righteousness, that are brave and provide a sure place of refuge”. This statement fits the description of Hanuman, for he is a loyal and virtuous being, and he is willing to endure the risk of crossing into Ravana’s land to save Sita. Hanuman does find Sita, but she refuses to return with him because of her loyalty to her husband. She is unwilling to touch another man, and believes that it is Rama’s duty (dharma) to save her himself.
Published in Jan 2022
Kubera - the treasurer of the gods and king of Yaksha
Kubera - the treasurer of the gods and king of Yaksha Kubera holds a variety of titles within Hinduism, most notably being the god of wealth and riches. He is also regarded as the god of fertility, a tutelary household spirit, the protector of sailors and God of the dead. In the Satapatha Brahmana, he is the lord of thieves and criminals, and these are but a few different titles he possesses. Despite having various titles and responsibilities, he is often associated with having a lesser role in Hindu mythology in relation to other deities. However, this does not mean that Kubera does not have a rich history and importance within the mythological realm of the Hindu tradition. One of the main reasons that Kubera is not regarded as being a prominent deity is due, in part, to the lack of images and monuments dedicated to him. When he is depicted in images, which mostly come from the Himalayan regions, Kubera has a large potbelly and he holds a mongoose that vomits jewels when he squeezes it.
Published in Jan 2022
Sita – Hindu Goddess of Courage and Purity
Sita – Hindu Goddess of Courage and Purity Most of us were introduced to the story of Rama and Sita in this manner: “And so Rama rescued Sita from the clutches of Ravana and they returned to Ayodhya on the Pushpaka Vimanam. And then Rama was crowned king and they lived happily ever after.” But who really is Sita as an individual? Sita is the principal female character in the Ramayana, an Indian epic said to have been composed by the sage Valmiki. Her name means “furrow”, a reference to her birth story where her father found her in a field after ploughing. Rama, the hero of the story, won the right to marry Sita when he succeeded in stringing and breaking Siva’s bow. Sita accompanied Rama back to his home and, when Rama was banished to the forest instead of being crowned king, decided to go with him because it was her Dharmic duty to stay with her husband. Rama tried to persuade her to stay at the palace but she persisted and he gave in. They lived in the forest until Sita was captured by a demon king named Ravana.
Published in Jan 2022
Pratyabhijna and the Recognition That All is Shiva
Pratyabhijna and the Recognition That All is Shiva The Pratyabhijna is a school of thought or a religious and philosophical system in the Kashmir Shaivism sect of Hinduism, where the god Shiva is recognized and revered as the supreme being and reality. This school of thought is believed to have been established in the ninth century CE and was founded by Somananda. His work, the Sivadrsti, serves as the foundation and cornerstone of the philosophy. The term Pratyabhijna is a Sanskrit word that refers to an act of recognition. It actually originates from the well-known work entitled Isvara Pratyabhijna Karika, which was written by Utpaladeva, who was the son and follower of Somananda,. In a literal sense, the word Pratyabhijna is comprised of the words prati, which means “something once known now appearing as forgotten”, abhi, which means “immediate”, and jna, meaning “to know”. As such, it is said that the Pratyabhijna not only means a simple act of recognition but actually a direct knowledge of oneself.
Published in Jan 2022
Singing the Song of God Through the Bhagavad Gita
Singing the Song of God Through the Bhagavad Gita The Bhagavad Gita is a portion of the Mahabharata, which is not only a legendary epic but one of the most important pieces of literature in Indian culture. The Bhagavad Gita itself is one of the most well-known texts in Hinduism. It is also known by other names, including Hari Gita, Ananta Gita, and Iswara Gita. The name Bhagavad Gita is Sanskrit and means “song of god”, which others have also referred to as “the Divine Song”, “the word of God”, and “Celestial Song”, among others. As its name suggests, the Bhagavad Gita is regarded as among the holy scriptures in Hinduism. It is also frequently referred to by the shortened name of Gita. The Bhagavad Gita is comprised of seven hundred verses of Hindu scripture. All of these verses are included from the twenty-third up to the fortieth chapters of the Bhishma Parva, which is the sixth book of the Mahabharata. These verses are believed to have been composed sometime between the first and second century CE. As with the rest of the Mahabharata, it is believed that the sage Vyasa narrated the Bhagavad Gita to the deity Ganesha, who then wrote the actual verses using his broken elephant tusk.
Published in Jan 2022
The Path to Moksha
The Path to Moksha Moksha is one of the most important concepts in Hinduism. Also called mukti, vimoksha, and vimukti, it is based on the belief in dukkha and samsara and refers to the freedom from these two notions. Before one can comprehend moksha, one first needs to understand what both dukkha and samsara are. To put it simply and succinctly, within the Hindu faith, dukkha is related to suffering, sorrow or distress that one unavoidably experiences in life. This suffering can be in the form of injury, disease, and aging, among others. Dukkha or suffering in life cannot be avoided but can be overcome through personal understanding and enlightenment. On the other hand, samsara refers to the belief in reincarnation. It pertains to the cyclical nature of life, where one experiences birth, death, and rebirth. For Hindus, this is a very important concept and one that is related to the idea of karma.
Published in Dec 2021
The Heroics of Hanuman
The Heroics of Hanuman There are undoubtedly numerous icons and figures in Hinduism and in Indian culture. While the gods and goddesses always take precedence, another significant figure is that of Hanuman. Hanuman is a famed companion of the god Rama and takes the form of a divine monkey. As such, stories about Hanuman can be found in the Ramayana, which is one of the most important epics in Indian culture. Aside from being the companion of Rama, another one of his roles is that of the commander of the monkey army. The precise definition of the name Hanuman seems to be unclear. However, legend has it that one morning, Hanuman flew into the sky in order to grab the sun, which he mistook for a fruit. This act led Indra, who is the king of the gods, to strike Hanuman on the jaw with a thunderbolt, thus breaking and disfiguring his jaw. The name Hanuman emerged from this as it means “one having a disfigured jaw”. Hanuman is also referred to by many other names, including Hanumat, Anuman, Anjaneya, Kesarisuta, and Kapeeshwara, among others.
Published in Dec 2021
Apsaras, the Ethereal Entertainers
Apsaras, the Ethereal Entertainers In Hinduism, the equivalent of angels and nymphs are what’s called the apsaras. The word apsara is Sanskrit and refers to a feminine spirit of the clouds and waters. When translated to English, apsara means “celestial nymph” or “celestial maiden”. Aside from angels and nymphs, apsaras are often compared to the muses of ancient Greece. More specifically, apsaras are considered heavenly singers and dancers. However, they were originally thought to be water nymphs that would provide sensual pleasure to the gods, as well as to men. It is believed that apsaras, along with the celestial musicians that are referred to as Gandharvas, dwell in the heavens, together with Indra who is known as the lord of the heavens. The apsaras are actually believed to be the wives of the Gandharvas. Together, they are considered to be among the court servants of Indra.
Published in Dec 2021
The Meaning of Bhakti
The Meaning of Bhakti An important aspect of Hindu faith is known as bhakti. In Hinduism, bhakti refers to an individual’s personal love for and devotion to a god. The word bhakti itself is Sanskrit and is literally defined as “love, devotion, fondness, attachment, worship, homage”, among other words with similar connotations. However, it is said that there is truly no direct translation of what bhakti genuinely means and that no English word can adequately encompass what it represents. Also, there can be some minor differences when it comes to nuanced meanings of bhakti and how one applies it in life. In ancient scriptures, the word bhakti simply refers to a type of participation or dedication to an endeavor or undertaking. This type of definition for bhakti can be seen in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad. However, in the Bhagavad Gita, bhakti refers to a spiritual path and a possible way for one to achieve moksha. When describing bhakti as a spiritual path, it is more specifically referred to as bhakti marga or bhakti yoga. When particularly used in the context of faith and religion, bhakti more closely means a type of devotion to a god or a spiritual principle or idea that one lives according to. It calls for a relationship between a god and a devotee.
Published in Dec 2021
Tripura Sundari: The Ultimate Goddess
Tripura Sundari: The Ultimate Goddess While many scholars refer to Hinduism as pantheistic — worshiping many gods — this can be an ignorant view. In reality, all the gods and goddesses, along with everything that is and isn’t, are united into one emanation. For Shaktism, a prominent denomination of Hinduism, this uniting, all-encompassing deity is named Tripura Sundari, though she has many names. She is called: Rajarajeshwari, Shodashi, and Lalita. The list goes on, with certain texts giving us a thousand names for the goddess. It might strike some readers as uncommon that a goddess is given this position as the all-enfolding deity from which all others come. But, like so many conceptions of the one god around the world, she encompasses all genders, all species, all states of being. There is nothing that is not represented in her image.
Published in Dec 2021
The Great Goddess: Who Is Lakshmi
The Great Goddess: Who Is Lakshmi Lakshmi is known as the Mother Goddess. She is the master and commander of fortune, wealth, beauty, prosperity, abundance, and Maya (or illusion, the force that keeps incarnated beings from seeing the true nature of reality). The goddess (or devi) is one of the most frequently depicted and worshiped of all the Hindu deities. The colorful stories of her deeds and the exquisite art reflecting her image are a phantasmagoria of endless pleasure. Her influence has spread to religions across the continent, beginning in Hinduism and entering Jainism and Buddhism. But it is the Hindu version of Lakshmi that has made the most lasting and important impression on the spiritual development of humanity. To understand Lakshmi in all her infinite variety, we must take a tour through many of the most powerful strains of Hindu thought. And we must come to appreciate and recognize what is, perhaps, the founding archetype of all human spirituality. When we take the time to do this, Lakshmi acts as a portal to riches both material and immaterial, gold of the earth and of the soul.
Published in Dec 2021
Parvati, Shiva’s Wife and A Goddess in Nine Forms
Parvati, Shiva’s Wife and A Goddess in Nine Forms Parvati, the Hindu goddess of love, devotion, beauty, marriage, and fertility, is of course, among the most important and revered deities in the Hindu faith. Given all that she represents, it is certainly no surprise. As the goddess of love, she’s known to be an especially benevolent figure. She is likewise revered as the Mother goddess in Hinduism, who is known to be kind, gentle, nurturing, and loving. She is considered to be a voice of reason, freedom, strength and encouragement. However, there are also aspects of her that are destructive, violent, fierce and ferocious. Her contrasting natures show Parvati as a figure who is able and willing to adapt to Pratima or reality and what the circumstances call for or require from her as the mother goddess. The name Parvati comes from Sanskrit and means “daughter of the mountains” or “she of the mountains”. A fitting name for Parvati who is, in fact, the daughter of Himavat. Himavat is considered to be the very embodiment of the Himalayan mountains and his wife Mena is said to originate from the asparas, which is a group of female cloud and mountain spirits. Aside from the name Parvati, the goddess of love is called by many other appellations, including Uma, Shailaja, Girirajaputri, Haimavathi, Lalitha, Gowri, Aparna, and Shivakamini, just to name a few.
Published in Dec 2021
Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune
Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune Among the primary goddesses in the Hindu faith is Lakshmi. She is actually one of the three goddesses that make up the Hindu Trivedi, along with Parvati and Saraswati. However, not only is Lakshmi one of the most important goddesses in Hinduism, but she is also one of the deities that have been revered for the longest time. Evidence of Lakshmi’s long history is proven by the presence of her first hymn, the Shri Shukta in the Rig Veda, which is not only the most revered sacred scripture but it is also the oldest, originating between 1000 and 500 B.C. A further indication of Lakshmi’s longstanding presence and influence within the Hindu faith was the archaeological discovery of ancient coins that signify reverence of Lakshmi. The ancient coins are believed to have come from as far back as the first millennium BCE. Aside from this, and perhaps even more importantly, icons and statues of Lakshmi are located inside different Hindu temples all over Asia, which are also believed to have originated from as long ago as the second half of the first millennium BCE.
Published in Dec 2021
Chola Art and Architecture: Brilliant Bronze Sculptures and Magnificent Stone Temples
Chola Art and Architecture: Brilliant Bronze Sculptures and Magnificent Stone Temples The Chola Dynasty marks the ninth to thirteenth centuries in Indian history. During the centuries prior, the Cholas were one of the three powerful, ruling families in South India. It is unknown precisely when the Chola family began rising in power and influence. However, by the middle of the ninth century, the Chola family had asserted and secured its position as the ruling family, dominating the region. From then on, the Cholas built a vast empire that would eventually last for four centuries. The Cholas were commanding warriors, wielding mighty military and political power. At the height of their power, during the eleventh century, the Chola empire ruled the greater part of South India, all the way to Sri Lanka and the Maldive islands. Their diplomatic influence stretched all the way to present-day Myanmar, Malaysia, and China. However, in addition to their military and political influence, they also had a vast and significant influence on culture and the arts.
Published in Dec 2021
The Goddess Saraswati, Patron of Knowledge and Arts
The Goddess Saraswati, Patron of Knowledge and Arts Saraswati is among the important gods and goddesses Hinduism. Known as the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, learning, speech, music, and art, it’s not surprising that Saraswati is not only important, but is much venerated and has many devotees. The name Saraswati comes from the combination of the Sanskrit words saras, which can mean “pooling water” and can also be interpreted as meaning “speech”, and the word vati, which means “she who possesses”. Her name, therefore, has two literal translations. It can mean “she who has pooling water” or “she who possess speech”. Fittingly, the goddess Saraswati was originally associated with an ancient river that was also called Saraswati. In the Vedas, the river Saraswati was not only mentioned far more often than any other significant body of water but it was also the most revered. With regard to Saraswati as “she who possesses speech”, it is said that Saraswati is the inventor of the Sanskrit language.
Published in Dec 2021
The Timeless Style of the Salwar Kameez
The Timeless Style of the Salwar Kameez Indian fashion is not just all about beautiful and colorful saris. While it may be among the most widely known garments with Indian origins, there are other significant forms of clothing and styles in Indian fashion. The Salwar Kameez is one of these. A traditional outfit that hails from the Indian sub-continent, the Salwar Kameez is comprised of a tunic that’s worn with a pair of trousers. Salwar or shalwar refers to the trousers, while Kameez refers to the short or long tunic. The history of the Salwar Kameez can be traced back to the Mughal era. The style of dressing is believed to have been first introduced in South Asia upon the arrival of the Muslims. First worn by Muslims, the Salwar Kameez soon became widely popular and worn throughout the region. During this period, the most famous style of the Salwar Kameez that was worn was known as the Anarkali suit. The Salwar Kameez in the form of the Anarkali suit was considered to be one of the most opulent and lavish garments of that time. Today, use the Salwar Kameez is especially prevalent among Punjabi women and is, in fact, known as the Punjabi suit.
Published in Dec 2021
The Enduring Art of Pattachitra
The Enduring Art of Pattachitra India is a country rich in art and culture. Among the most unique, exquisite, and intricate forms of art is the Pattachitra. The name of this art form comes from the Sanskrit word patta, which means “cloth” and chitra, meaning “picture”. As the name describes, Pattachitra refers to art in the form of pictures or paintings illustrated on cloth. Considered as one of the oldest art forms that still exists to this day, Pattachitra is believed to have originated from as early as the twelfth century. The traditional art form is popular and practiced predominantly in the Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal. Those who create Pattachitra paintings are known as chitrakars. Pattachitras were originally produced for use in rituals, as visual accompaniments during the performance of songs, and as mementos for temple pilgrims. They commonly depict icons from Hindu tradition, religious stories, mythological narratives, especially those inspired by the Lord Jagannath and the Vaishnava sect in Hinduism, as well as folktales. Some of the most popular themes that are brought to life through the cloth paintings include temple activities, Dasabatara Pati which is Lord Vishnu’s ten incarnations, Panchamukhi which is an image of Lord Ganesh as a deity with five heads, Badhia which refers to the representation of the Jagannath temple, Krishna Lila which shows Lord Krishna wielding his powers as a child, as well as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, just to mention a few.
Published in Nov 2021
Skanda – The War God Son of Shiva
Skanda – The War God Son of Shiva Also known as Kumara, Subrahmanya, and Murukan, Skanda “has been hunter, warrior, philosopher… He is teacher… He is the eternal child as old as time itself”. Obeyesekere writes that Skanda is viewed as possessed of having six faces, twelve arms, and riding a peacock. Throughout Skanda’s history, he has been worshipped for several different reasons. He has been worshipped “as a god of hill and hunt… and avenger of ananku and cur, malevolent spirits of the hills”. During the Cankami period of Tamil India “Murukan was known … as the lord of the hunt”. According to Clothey, he has also been worshiped in South India as the son of Siva. Through this several other deities related to vegetation and hunting embodied the name Murukan. Clothey also writes that the name Murukan has become commercialized with an array of different industries using his name, for songs and films.
Published in Nov 2021
The purpose behind Idol Worship in Hinduism
The purpose behind Idol Worship in Hinduism “kleśo ‘dhikataras teshām avyaktāsakta-cetasām avyaktāhi gatir duhkham dehavadbhir avāpyate” Severe is the path of those whose minds are set on the Unmanifest, for the goal of the Unmanifest is painful to reach by the embodied beings. – Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 12, V. 5 In this verse, Bhagwan says that it is very difficult for an embodied being like you and me to worship him in his unmanifest form. The realized person, the sthitaprajna sees Divinity or God in every being, human or animal, the animate or the inanimate. But for ordinary people like you and me, it is easier to focus our thoughts and devotion on something visible, be it a stone, wood or clay. The shape and size of the statue does not matter. Even a picture if you look at it day after day with love and devotion, you will build an unseen bond with the object of your devotion and that regular Abhyasa (practice) will finally make you aware of The Divinity within you.
Published in Nov 2021
Handloom Jamdani – Pure Fine Muslin Sarees
Jamdani is a vividly patterned, sheer cotton fabric, traditionally woven on a handloom by craftspeople and apprentices around Dhaka. Jamdani textiles combine intricacy of design with muted or vibrant colours, and the finished garments are highly breathable. Jamdani is a time-consuming and labour-intensive form of weaving because of the richness of its motifs, which are created directly on the loom using the discontinuous weft technique. Weaving is thriving today due to the fabric’s popularity for making saris, the principal dress of Bengali women at home and abroad. The Jamdani sari is a symbol of identity, dignity and self-recognition and provides wearers with a sense of cultural identity and social cohesion. The weavers develop an occupational identity and take great pride in their heritage; they enjoy social recognition and are highly respected for their skills. A few master weavers are recognized as bearers of the traditional Jamdani motifs and weaving techniques, and transmit the knowledge and skills to disciples. However, Jamdani weaving is principally transmitted by parents to children in home workshops. Weavers – together with spinners, dyers, loom-dressers and practitioners of a number of other supporting crafts – form a closely knit community with a strong sense of unity, identity and continuity.
Published in Nov 2021
Lord Krishna and Yashoda Maiya - The Dharmic Ideals of Familial Relationships
The Hindu deity Krishna is a highly regarded and popular god in Hinduism, known to hold the title of svayam bhagavam (The Supreme Personality of Godhead). The myths of Krishna are displayed in several Hindu texts, primarily in the Bhagavad-Gita, where he epitomizes the ideals of both karma and dharma. The myths depicting Krishna and his adoptive mother Yasoda elaborate on these karmic and dharmic ideals by showing Krishna as the quintessential son and Yasoda in the image of the perfect mother. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna “performs actions without attachment, and so persons should do the same. He also cautions against indecisiveness and inaction, which is a form of ‘doing’ and carries with it karmic consequences”. The immense popularity of Krishna’s image in Hinduism has been attributed to his accessibility, compared to other gods who are typically depicted as isolated and inaccessible. Through his many myths, Krishna is seen as an ideal infant, child, and adolescent, one who gains much devotion from those who encounter him.
Published in Nov 2021
The Marble Arts of India – Instrument of Dynamic Expression
Prevalent in ancient and contemporary art alike, marble artworks have a prominent place in many major art movements and are among some of the most famous sculptures in the world. For millennia, artists have opted for marble, a metamorphic rock, due to its soft, easy-to-carve composition and the translucence of its surface. In ancient Mesopotamia, marble was used to create crude models of animals (both naturalistic and anthropomorphic) and figures, though other mediums like limestone, diorite, and terra-cotta were used more frequently. Similarly, ancient Egyptians artistically employed a wide variety of stone. While limestone and granite were their mediums of choice, they occasionally used marble to craft figures of pharaohs, gods, and guardians for temples and tombs. Like the Mesopotamian figures that came before, these pieces are primitive in design, showcasing flat and stylized silhouettes rather than realistic forms or lifelike details. During Ancient Greece's Archaic Period of art (8th century-500 BCE), artists began to show increasing interests in marble. Though rendered with more realism than sculptures from preceding periods, marble figures from this time are not yet naturalistic, as their expressions remain relatively stoic and their poses convey little movement.
Published in Nov 2021
Buddhism and the Middle Way to Nirvana
Buddhism and the Middle Way to Nirvana Originating in India two thousand years ago, Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest religions. With approximately four hundred seventy million Buddhists, it is also one of the largest religions in the world. Buddhism first began with Siddhartha Gautama, who is considered to be its founder. A former prince who evolved into a spiritual leader, he was born Siddhartha Gautama and died Gautama Buddha or Lord Buddha, which means “enlightened”. His revelations and teachings became the very foundation of Buddhism. After his death, Buddha’s followers continued to spread his teachings and developed a religious movement that would spread throughout the world, especially across East and Southeast Asia. A great turning point came when, in the third century BCE, the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great established Buddhism as India’s state religion. This paved the way for monasteries to be built across the nation and encouraged missionary work for the teachings of Buddhism to be further proclaimed.
Published in Nov 2021
The Four Vedas: Sacred Scriptures of Hinduism
The Four Vedas: Sacred Scriptures of Hinduism The Vedas are ancient Hindu text that are considered to be the most holy scriptures. One could say that the Vedas to Hindus is akin to what the Bible is to Christians. The sacred scriptures found in the Vedas are considered to define the truth for Hinduism. The word Veda itself is Sanskrit for “knowledge” or “wisdom”. While no one can say precisely when the Vedas were composed, most scholars accept that the Vedas originate from somewhere between 1500-1200 BCE, making them the oldest text of the Hindu religion. These sacred scriptures are said to have been introduced to India by the Aryans. Being truly sacred, Hindus believe that god himself imparted the Vedas to scholars. As such, Hindus think of the Vedas as being apauruseya or in other words, “not of man but supernatural”. The scholars then passed on the holy words of god. For many centuries, the sacred scriptures were entirely passed on and spread to Hindu believers by word of mouth.
Published in Nov 2021
The Mahabharata: The World’s Longest Epic Poem
The Mahabharata: The World’s Longest Epic Poem The Mahabharata, which is Sanskrit for a “Great Epic of the Bharata Dynasty” is indeed a great epic. Alongside the Ramayana, it is one of the greatest and most significant epics in Indian literature. However, its significance extends beyond India and beyond Hinduism. It is, in fact, one of the greatest and longest epics in world literature as a whole. Not only a lengthy poem, the Mahabharata is actually considered the longest epic poem ever written. It is made up of one hundred thousand verses, which are divided into eighteen parvans or sections, and also includes a supplement entitled the Harivamsha, which means “Genealogy of the God Hari.” The Mahabharata is actually seven times longer than the renowned Iliad and Odyssey epics combined.
Published in Nov 2021
The Ramayana: The Epic Journey of Rama
The Ramayana: The Epic Journey of Rama The Ramayana is one of the most significant works of Indian literature, alongside the Mahabharata, and also very significant in Hinduism. The epic poem was the work of Maharishi Valmiki, who wrote it in Sanskrit. While the exact year it was written is unknown, many scholars believe that it was likely not written any earlier than 300 BCE. Not much is also known about Valmiki himself. However, it is believed that he may have been a thief who was named Ratnakara. He then evolved into a sage and become known as Valmiki, the poet who is renowned for his epic work creating the Ramayana. The ancient epic tells the story of Prince Rama. In fact, the title Ramayana itself translates to “Rama’s journey”.
Published in Nov 2021
Buddha’s Path to the Middle Way
Buddha’s Path to the Middle Way One of the most well-known spiritual and religious leaders in the history of the world is none other than Buddha. Before he was universally known as Buddha, he was born Siddhartha Gautama. His first name, Siddhartha, means “he who achieves his aim.” While there is debate about the exact period in time when he was born, it is commonly believed to be somewhere around the sixth to fourth century B.C. Siddhartha was born Lumbini, which is the present-day Nepal, to a wealthy and aristocratic family. It is believed that his father was a chieftain or oligarch of the large Shakya clan and that his mother had passed away just a few days after he was born. Aside from Siddhartha, he was also frequently called Sakamuni, which translates to the “Sage of the Shakyas.”
Published in Nov 2021
Ganesha: The Elephant God in the Room
Ganesha: The Elephant God in the Room One of the most well-known deities in Hindu tradition is Ganesha, who is depicted as an elephant headed god. The name Ganesha means the “Lord of the People.” Ganesha is the son of Shiva, one of the main gods in the Hindu trimurti, and his consort Parvati. There are a few different legends that explain the birth of Ganesha. According to one, Parvati created her son out of a piece of cloth, which she asked Shiva to bring to life. However, another popular myth tells the story of how Parvati was taking a bath and molded the dirt that she was rubbing off of herself into the shape of a child, who then came to life. Upon seeing the boy, either Shiva or one of his attendants cut the child’s head off. Shiva then got an elephant and cut its head off as well in order grant it to the headless Ganesha. Thus, the icon of Ganesha as a lord with an elephant head came to be.
Published in Nov 2021
The Hindu Conception of Time - Yugas
The Hindu Conception of Time - Yugas Time is a very important concept for many of the world religions, and for the Hindu tradition the concept of time is explained through yuga. The concepts of the yugas were first mentioned in the popular Mahabharata epic, as well as the Manusmriti. The cycle of time is divided up into four different sections. Each section is known as a yuga, or time period. Each successive period brings the world into a greater state of decreased dharma, because through each cycle the earth gets further and further away from the Absolute. Within every subsequent era there is less order, cosmic law, and the life expectancy of humans is shortened. A metaphor commonly used to explain this dharma is the image of a bull. In the very beginning of the cycle, the animal is strong and sturdy.
Published in Nov 2021
The Meditation Challenge
The Meditation Challenge It was earlier this year that a dear friend of mine and I decided to do a 30-day meditation challenge. We didn’t really know what to expect or even entirely what we would get out of it, but something in us knew that it was time. For both of us, it was as much a return as a new journey. I’d spent much of my twenties bouncing in and out of a meditative practice. Some years, I would consistently return to meditation, while others would fly by without a single care about sitting and breathing. My friend had experienced much the same. But it kept calling to us. And when we found ourselves preparing to read the Bhagavad Gita together, we decided that it would be best for us to commit to some kind of regular meditation. The challenge had simple parameters: meditate at least 20 minutes a day for 30 days straight. It seemed like such a small commitment. But over time, we both began to feel the power of the practice, and soon, we were both committed to a long term practice that would go on long after the challenge had ended. In the year or so since, we have continued to discover and rediscover the value and importance of this single daily ritual. We’ve experimented with various things: lighting incense, making prayer, giving offerings. Yet always at the core was the simplest of all things. To appreciate the power of simplicity is one of the most important gifts meditation has given me. But to fully understand what we experienced, and what we continue to experience, let’s first understand what it is we are talking about.
Published in Nov 2021
The Taj Mahal: An Enduring Landmark of Love
The Taj Mahal: An Enduring Landmark of Love Among all the many temples and landmarks throughout India, the Taj Mahal is undoubtedly the most iconic and internationally recognized of them all. See a photograph of the Taj Mahal and one automatically thinks of India. Not only is it a widely recognized monument but it is, in fact, considered as one of the greatest architectural achievements in all of Indo-Islamic culture. What, of course, fascinates many is the love story that the Taj Mahal symbolizes. The special monument was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahah in honor of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who was steadfastly by his side since they married in 1612. Unfortunately, Mumtaz Mahal passed away while giving birth to their fourteenth child in June of 1631. During that same year, Emperor Shah Jahan began plans to build the Taj Mahal in memory of his late wife.
Published in Nov 2021
Vedas: The Ancient Texts of the Eternal Order
The word ‘Veda’ is derived from the root vid (to know). Also known as Sruti (what is heard), Vedas are a vast body of sacred and esoteric knowledge concerning the eternal spiritual values that have been handed down to posterity by oral tradition. Vedas were revealed to the great ones called rishis (men of wisdom, sages) in the depths of their meditation. The Hindu religious traditions have accorded the Vedas the highest place in its canonical literature. As such, they are revered, as the basic scriptures of Hinduism. It is difficult to fix the date of the Vedas. The widely accepted period is that of the Harappa-Mohanjo Daro culture (4000 b.c) to a later phase of the Vedic culture. This places the date of Rig Veda, the earliest of the Veda, around 10,000 B.C. Vedas are groups of mantras and chants containing religious and spiritual insights. They have been mainly utilised in the performance of yagnas and yagas (sacrifices), which were the most common form of early Vedic religion.
Published in Nov 2021
Brahma
Brahma One of the most significant gods in Hinduism is Brahma. In fact, Brahma is considered the first god and the creator among the three gods that comprise the Hindu triumvirate or trimurti. This Hindu triad also includes the gods Shiva and Vishnu. The god Brahma must not be confused with brahman, which is a spiritual, metaphysical concept and believed to be the supreme force that is present in all things. However, these two are said to be closely intertwined. Hindu scholars suggest that the god Brahma actually originates from the concept of brahman and is the very personification or visible representation of the brahman principle.
Published in Nov 2021
God Vishnu
Vishnu is one third of the gods in the holy Hindu triumvirate, along with Brahma and Shiva. Considered the second god, Vishnu is known as the preserver or the pervader. In Sanskrit, Vishnu means all pervasive or “the one who is everything and is inside everything” and therefore, is essentially, the essence of all beings. While Brahma is referred to as the creator and Shiva as the destroyer, the Hindu Trimurti is completed by Vishnu who is considered to be the supreme being that protects and preserves the universe. He has further been described as the master of the past, present and future, and the god who sustains and governs the universe and develops all the beings within it. Vishnu is, therefore, also referred to as Paramatman or supreme soul and Parameshware, which means supreme god.
Published in Nov 2021
How Samsara Works: The Cycle of Death and Rebirth
How Samsara Works: The Cycle of Death and Rebirth Samsara is one of the most important beliefs in India. And because of the influence and spread of Indian spiritual beliefs around the world — it has become one of the most important beliefs globally. Many have heard this word, but how many of us have grasped its full meaning? And how can we use this idea to live more meaningful, fulfilling lives? To answer this, we must answer the simple question: what is Samsara? To understand this important concept, we will look at its definition. But we will also look at how it plays into two of the most beautiful religions on earth: Hinduism and Buddhism. Then, we will try to take what we’ve learned and bring it home with us, so that the idea can take flight in our own lives.
Published in Nov 2021
Share by Email