108 Shades of Divinity from time immemorial, followers of every religion have set out on pilgrimages to holy places, their outward journey mirroring their inward quest for a connection with the Divine.
Like the Aitareya Brahmana says: The feet of the wanderer are like flowers; his soul is growing and reaping the fruit; and all his sins are destroyed by his fatigues in wandering. Therefore, wander.
This book is an invitation to believers to wander on a sacred journey, complete with details of how to get there, what to expect en route and the legends and rituals associated with a particular shrine and deity.
India being a secular country is host to followers of many religious.... Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. In this book we have tried to cover some important religious place of these religions.
India is blessed with much scenic beauty and many of its holy shrines and temples are surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. The structures themselves are architectural marvels.
Life itself is a pilgrimage and all of us want to reach the destination we have set for ourselves. Pilgrimages of holy places are one way of spiritually preparing for the cherished destination. We are very happy to present this book as a service in that endeavour which hopefully will encourage youngsters to explore the religious diversity of this country. Every pilgrim will find this book extremely satisfying.
The easy-to-read format and significant details make it a sort of pilgrim’s guide and companion.
Anju Poddar: Anju Poddar is the rare face of the modernity and tradition. With honors in Sanskrit followed by BE from USA. She is a well- travelled person. She has devoted a great deal of her energy and times in working with women and children. She has a deep interest and passion for contemporary Indian art. Anju has a keen and seasoned eye for textiles and weaves. A successful homemaker, Anju belongs to the well-known Marwari families – Modi and Poddar. She is married to Shri Vinod Poddar and lives in Hyderabad. She believes in celebrating everyday surrounded by her children Pallavi and Niraj More, Avantika and puneet dalmia and her beloved grandchildren Aman, Yash, Avanee and priyang. Friends are a major support system in her life. She is the author of the many well-received books.
Mukul Singhal: The Late Mukul Singhal was chairman and managing director of Lipi Data Systems Ltd. A graduate in physics from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, Singhal founded his own companies post graduation. These were Lipi Data Systems Ltd. Computronics Financial Services Ltd. Singhal was also the last president of Manufactures’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT), an Association of IT Industry in India. He was keenly interested in music, travel, photography and reading business/technology related publications. Singhal was married to Preeti and is survived by two sons, Rishab and Yash. With cherished memories, we remember our beloved co-author, who entered the realm of immortal bliss on July 15, 2012.
Sethu Vaidyanathan: Sethu Vaidyanathan has varied interests in his personal and business life. Studied in Padma Seshadri School, then in MCC, did his bachelor’s in economics, went Milan to study design and then studies management at IIMA. Sethu joined his father’s business while he was 18 years old, one of the oldest established trading houses in India. He currently heads P&V Ventures Pvt. Ltd. which has investments in the areas of hospitality, real estate, entertainment and retail. Sethu is an avid supporter of many social ventures and NGO’s. He is founder member of people for animals a charitable trust for animal welfare. Sethu lives with his families between Chennai and New Delhi. His family consists of his parents Mrs. Rajam and Mr. P.V. Vaidyanathan, his wife Priya Paul and their son Vir.
Going on pilgrimages can also be fun! Yes, visiting religious places used to be an arduous journey considering the limited options available for sanitized accommodation, food and accessibility. A pilgrimage to Badrinath and Kedarnath would take 5-6 days of travel time through mountainous terrains, sometimes on a horse or a donkey, and most hotels did not have running hot water or 24-hour electricity. Fast forward 20 years and today, travel agents offer package tours to Badrinath and Kedarnath which include a 5-10 minute chopper ride to the temple destination and Char Dham travel options include heated tents, freshly prepared food and all this at affordable prices. Compared to what we had to endure 25 years ago, today travel is very easy.
As young children these habits are inculcated in us by our parents. We do not question and we do as we are told -" Swami ko jai jai karo" and as little munchkins as young as 2 or 3 years old we join our hands doing pranaam. As we grow older, as individuals we develop a personal relationship with God. We share our joys, wants, and needs with the Creator. A visit to a temple can mean different things to different people. For me, I feel a sense of joy, a visit to a temple energizes me, gives me inner peace. While for some, a temple visit is an opportunity to connect and have a dialogue with the Creator. For some, it could be a way to say thank you for the blessings. For others, just being in the presence of the divine, makes them feel humble and at peace.
We are writing this book to create awareness amongst the youngsters of today who associate pilgrimages/religious destinations with hardship and travel. It is no longer cumbersome as before, as infrastructure has improved significantly. Most places of worship are now easily accessible by air, train and decent highways connecting all the famous landmarks.
There are thousands of temples and other religious sites all over India with myriad deities and symbols, for various religions, in different sizes and shapes, but not all of them are considered to be built to strict specifications of a particular religion, or in case of a temple, they may not follow Vedic specifications.
Generally, a temple should be located where the earth's magnetic wave path passes through densely. It can be at the outskirts of a town/village or city, or in middle of dwelling place, or on a hilltop. Now, these temples are located strategically at a place where the positive energy is abundantly available from the magnetic and electric wave distributions of North/South Pole thrust. The main idol is placed in the core centre of the temple, known as "Garbhagriha" or Moolasthanam. In fact, the temple structure is built after the idol has been placed. This Moolasthanam is where earth's magnetic waves are found to be most intense. We know that there are some copper plates, inscribed with Vedic scripts, buried beneath the main idol. What are they really? No, they are not the priests' flash cards when they forget the slokas. The copper plate absorbs earth's magnetic waves and radiates it to the surroundings. Thus a person regularly visiting a temple and walking clockwise around the main idol receives the beamed magnetic waves and his body absorbs the waves. This is a very slow process and regular visits will let him absorb more and more of these waves enhancing his or her spiritual experience.
Lately, there has been a shift in the worship of the divine to worshipping of celebrities, sportsmen and other achievers as demi-gods. The power of divinity is not to be corrupted or diluted in this form, because divinity is an invaluable blessing not a frivolous toy for fanatics to build temples for their popular film actors or actresses.
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