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Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Guest - 07-19-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Jul 18 2008, 05:37 PM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Jul 18 2008, 05:37 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Related to 245 and 246:
I got a chance to enquire again. After a Hindu man loses a parent the first time, he will start performing Tarpanam. From then onward it is done not only for parents and ancestors and our own people, but for people all over the planet and all creatures that ever passed away.

Thanks Husky!

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Shambhu - 07-24-2008

This fits into this bin:

Friday, March 7, 2008
<b>A letter from Pakistan on Pakistani Hindus </b>
'The only place I call home'

7 Mar 2008, 1654 hrs

This letter was written by a Times of reader who chooses to be called ‘Asa’ in response to a recent article (“ Allah’s will and US strategy ”) on our website by our regular columnist Tarun Vijay. The lucidly written letter, which provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Hindus living in Pakistan, is reproduced in its entirety below.

'The only place I call home'


Karachi bears the symptoms of Mumbai. It has the Arabian Sea where the hordes go to breathe because the ceiling is so high, hopeful youth walk briskly on the roads to seize the day and of course fail, beautiful women travel in the quiet isolation of the backseat with a man they know as driver, eternal Parsis fear that they are all dying. And, incredibly, Shiva, Lakshmi and Vishnu have encroached on prime real estate. Outside one such temple in the posh Clifton neighbourhood, on a distant Monday four years ago, stood a man in pathan suit. His name was Jayanti Ratna. He was wielding a stick and surveying the large crowds that were trying to enter the temple. "Jai Shiv Shankar," he kept screaming. Occasionally, he stopped some people by placing his stick horizontally around their chests. "Muslims are not allowed," he said to them. He stopped me too. "Are you a Hindu," he said, "Muslims are not allowed inside." That was the first time during the two month tour of Pakistan that my religion was asked. And it was outside a Hindu temple. He was shown the passport. His eyes softened. "Christians, too, are not allowed. But then you are an Indian." It was inevitable that he would let me pass. Wasn't it dangerous for a man to stand in the heart of Karachi, outside a temple, and ask Muslims to get lost? "Not at all," he said, "I was born here. I belong here. I'll exercise my right to serve my faith." The next day, outside the Lakshmi Narayan temple, a small austere shrine that stood at the edge of a creek, four Pakistani girls were stopped at the gate by an ageless Gujarati woman called Bani. "Muslims aren't allowed," Bani told them angrily. "We just want to walk around and look," Rumi, one of the girls said. "Then go to the zoo," Bani told them. The girls were not outraged at all. They pleaded in between giggles. "We just want to pray," one of them said. From inside the temple emerged, Hirakumari, a young woman who was related in a complicated way to Bani. She shouted at the girls, "Go pray to your god. You eat cows, make fun of our gods, ask if our gods don't feel cold being naked..." But Hirakumari would eventually tell me that deep down she loved the Muslims. "They will feed us for the rest of our lives, if it comes to that. Pakistan is the only place I call home but how can we let them inside the temple?" Pakistan's Hindus number somewhere between 2.5 million (an official estimate which is suspect) and 5 million (the figure granted by Hindu politician Kishinchand Parwani). Over 95 percent of them live in the Sindh province, chiefly impoverished farmers and labourers. Some of them are visibly rich though, and they are allowed to be rich without peril. Like fashion designer Deepak Perwani who had a Ganesha tattooed on his right arm, and whose red dyed hair often perplexed urchins. His analysis of the Indo-Pak divide was, "Indians can't cut a salwar to save their lives and Pakistanis can't cut a churidar ." Ten years ago, when he wanted to open a store in Karachi, his friends asked him not to flaunt his name on the door. He didn't listen. "There's been no trouble, not a single incident outside my shop," he said. Since Partition, the only time the Hindus of Karachi felt insecure was in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition. But Perwani, once Pakistan's cultural ambassador to China, did have a problem. The Sindhi community was small and it was not easy for him to find a suitable girl. "The girl has to be imported," he said, "since I am doing too well here to be exported." His mother Renu, an amicable and efficient woman said, "People in India don't want their daughters to live in Pakistan. It's a mindset." As she considered the various options for her son, her eyes turned a bit severe. "I will never accept a Muslim girl in my house." The simple aggression of Pakistan's Hindus was just one of the many things that confused the Indians who toured that country in the merciless summer of 2004. The visible life on the streets of a nation that was almost always governed by the military and of another that glorified democracy, was the same. The roads and the slums looked the same. Even there, lazy cops stood in street corners without poise. People drove like fools. Pedestrians ran across the road and giggled at the end of the effort. This place was home. Our plight was the same. Our hereditary memory was common. True, pork was hard to find here and beef easily available. Every hotel room, no matter how cheap, had a bidet. There were no pubs, and emasculated newspapers said, "Pakistan and India" instead of "India and Pakistan". But we had expected much grander things to separate the two nations. After an unscathed life in Pakistan, a Hindu in Karachi becomes dust in a crematorium that lies beside a Muslim graveyard. The crematorium has a room called the 'library' where there are no books. Just bundles of ashes of men and women who have become memories. These ashes will stay here, sometimes for years, until the relatives are granted visas to let them immerse the remains in Ganga.

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Guest - 07-24-2008

The writer of this article above is the master of spin I have to admit. He casually mentions the religious persecution of Hindus as a given and writes that Hindus are prospering inspite of it.

His evidence includes a temple in the "posh Clifton neighbourhood' where hindus are treated as objects of curiosity to be pointed at when the paki elite want to prove that pakistan is moderately enlightened and a fashion designer who, again by the protection of the pak elite has been allowed to prosper.

The writer fails to mention that only recently a hindu boy was thrashed mercilessly for allegedly burning the quran and sometime before that, a hindu labourer at a factory was murdered by his colleagues for allegedly making fun of the prophet. Not to mention the various hindu temples turned into toilets, mechanic shops, and mosques.

The biggest piece of spin I see here is the attempt by the writer to make it seem that in pakistan the hindus are more intolerant and the proof provided is the banning the entry of muslims in the temple premises, refusal to accept a muslim bahu etc.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->They will feed us for the rest of our lives, if it comes to that. Pakistan is the only place I call home but how can we let them inside the temple?" <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Since this statement was made by the woman, you cant really blame here for saying this as she needs to look out for herself, but for the writer to use this as an example of paki tolerance is hilarious. Only thing keeping the powerful islamic love from flooding the place are the elites and once they begin to leave for greener pastures, we all know how the hindus will be taken care of....

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Shambhu - 07-30-2008

<b>AMRESHWARA: The Eternal</b>
Nancy Kaul

Vivekananda described the pilgrimage as “the very soul of the Hindu nation laid bare in all its innate beauty and sweetness of faith and devotion.” “
The pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath is embroiled in controversy over land allotment at the base camps. The allegations by political parties and protests by Muslims in Kashmir have no meaning as both the pilgrimage and the pilgrims have included Hindus from all over the country, besides the Kashmiri Pandits.

Mahadev Shiva has been worshipped in this cave temple for ages and the same route followed. Kashmir was ever the abode of learning for the Hindu faith; the civilisational links are hoary. Kashmir has been an important centre of monistic Shaivism; the Nilmat Purana mentions the holy cave of Amarnath as “Amreshwara.” The current secular mythology that it was discovered by a Muslim named Butta Malik is incorrect.

The Amreshwara Mahatmya of Rishi Bringesha lists some important places where pilgrims had to perform ablutions while on pilgrimage to Amreshwara: ‘Koti Tirtha’ (Baramulla), an old and extant. Tradition reveals that in Koti Tirtha lives the presiding deity of all shrines of Kashmir, as all the water from sacred springs and streams of the valley flows in confluence here. From here, the pilgrims move to Sharika Shaila at Hari Parbat (Srinagar) and pay obeisance to Lord Ganapati; from there to Shurah Yar on the right bank of Vitasta (Jhelum), at the foot of Shankaracharya Hill. Adjacent to this Shivpora, where also there used to be a temple. Moving further to Pandrenthan (previously Panthdreshti) there is a temple in the middle of a spring believed to have been built by Meru, Prime Minster of king Paratha (921-931AD); this stone temple still exists.

Other important centers en route included Padampur (Pampore), Varisha (Borus), a stream in the vicinity is Rudra Ganga where pilgrims take a sacred dip. Further lies Avantipur, rich with old temples built by King Avantivarman (855-888 AD). It was also known as Sedan Hector. Harridan, Bolivar (Alchemy Khetor), Hastikaran, Chakresha, Harichandra Tirth (Bijbehara), Anantnaga, Mach Bhawan (Mattan), Ganeshbal (Ganeshpora, 6800 ft), Mamal (or Mamleshwara, 7300 ft) on the right bank of Liddar and famous for its spring and an old temple of Shiva. Bragapati Khetra is a spring in Pahalgam, reputedly associated with Brago Rishi.

Nilganga close by was the tirtha of Sthanishwar, where pilgrims had to bathe, followed by Chandanwari, Shushram Naga (Sheshnag). Then pilgrims crossed at Vayujana (Vowjan), from Liddar to Sind valley, then to Panjtarni, and finally to Amuravati---the stream of immortality. The confluence of Amuravati with Pantsatarni is known as Sangam, where a pilgrim has to perform shraad of pitrs (ancestors). Returning from the holy cave, pilgrims were required to revisit Mamleshwara and bathe in the nine springs (Naudal). Later, to Patal Ganga near Nishat Garden, the last place where a pilgrim must bathe to complete the pilgrimage.

The Bhrngish Samhita avers that a person who bathes in the waters of Amuravati and rubs himself with ashes attains Moksha. Recitation from the Vedas and hymns pertaining to the deities and ‘Mantra’ chanting are made individually and collectively by devotees inside the cave temple:

Om Namah Sambhavaya Cha, Mayo Bhavaya Cha,

Namah Sankaraya Cha, Mayas Karaya Cha,

Namah Shivaya Cha, Shivtaraya Cha.

The cave temple is located in South Kashmir (34.12’:75.07’) at an altitude 12,720 ft., about 140 kms. from Srinagar. The huge natural cave is about 25 meters high and capacious enough to hold hundreds of devotees; a self-forming ‘Ice Lingam’ waxes and wanes with moon, completely filling the right corner of the cave-temple. The top of the Lingam touches the base of the cave, which is also covered with ice, like a carpet. Here Shiva is worshipped by nature in the purest way, snow-white and pure. The Lingam is formed by drops of water falling from the top of the cave; two other small ‘Ice Lingams’ also form, believed to be symbols of Devi Parvati and Sri Ganesh. The dripping that flowed from the feet of ‘Ice Lingam’ took form of a stream known as ‘Amuravati’.

Many historians and writers have written about this revered Tirtha. Pandit Kalhan, one of the greatest historian-poets, in his immortal 7844 verse Rajatarangini, “River of Kings”, chronicles the history of ancient Kashmir. According to Rajatarangini, the most famous pilgrimage in Kashmir is the cave of Amarnath. From 1008-1048 BC, King Nara, a great devotee of Shiva, would visit the shrine on Shravan Purnimashi every year. In Tarang II, it is mentioned that Samdimat (Arya Raja) 34 BC-17 AD, a great devotee of Shiva who rose from the position of a minister to be King of Kashmir, “used to worship a Linga of snow above the forests, which is not to be found elsewhere in the world during the delightful Kashmir summers.” Verse 267 reveals that Shushram Naga (Sheshnag), the dazzling lake resembling a sea of milk, which He created (for his residence) on a far off mountain, is seen to this day (i.e. 1148-49 AD) by pilgrims proceeding to Amreshwara.

The holy cave nestles on one of the ‘purest and firmest’ peaks of the Himalayas, themselves the symbol of sublimity, serenity, strength. Adi Shankara, inspired by the snow clad Himalayan peaks and the Ice Lingam at Amarnath intoned: “Oh, Shiva, Thy body is white, white is Thy smile, the human skull in Thy hand is white. Thy axe, Thy bull, Thy earrings, all are white. The Ganga flowing out in foams from your matted locks is white. The crescent moon on Thy brow is white. O, all-white Shiva, give us the boon of complete sinlessness in our lives.”

Vivekananda said the worship of the Linga originated from the famous hymn in the Atharva Veda Samhita sung in praise of the “Yupa - Stambha” representing ‘Eternal Brahman’. On 2 August 1898, Vivekananda had Darshan of Amarnath. As he entered the shrine, a profound mystical experience overcame to him; latter he said: ‘Shiva Himself had appeared before him.’ He added: “the Ice Lingam was Shiva Himself. It was all worship there. I never enjoyed any religious place so much, so beautiful, so inspiring.”

Vivekananda describes the on going pilgrimage: “The procession of several thousands of pilgrims in far-away cave of Amarnath, nestled in a glacial gorge of the Western Himalayas, through some of the most charming scenery in the world, is fascinating in the extreme. It strikes one with wonderment to observe the quiet and orderly way in which a canvas town springs up in some valley with incredible rapidity at each halting place with its bazaars and broad streets running through the middle and vanishing as quickly at the break of dawn, when the whole army of gay pilgrims are on their march once more for the day.

Then again the glow of the countless cooking fires, the ash covered Sadhus under the canopy of their large geru (orange) umbrellas pitched in the ground, sitting and discussing or meditating before their dhunies (fire), the Sanyasis of all order in their various garbs, the men and women with children from all parts of the country in their characteristic costumes, and their devout faces, the torches shimmering at night fall, the blowing of conch-shells and horns, the singing of hymns and prayers in chorus, all these and many other romantic sights and experiences of a pilgrimage, which can be met with nowhere outside India, are most impressive and convey to some extent an idea of the overmastering passion of the race for religion.

Of the psychological aspect and significance of such pilgrimage, done on foot for days and days, much could be written. Suffice it to say, that it is one of those ancient institutions which have above all, kept the fire of spirituality burning in the hearts of the people. One sees here the very soul of the Hindu nation laid bare in all its innate beauty and sweetness of faith and devotion.”

Abul Fazal records in the Ain-i- Akbari (Vol. II., p. 360): “Amarnath is considered a shrine of great sanctity. When the new moon rises from her throne of rays, a bubble as it were of ice is formed in the cave which daily increases little by little for fifteen days till it is some what higher than two yards, of the measure of yard determined by His Majesty. With the waning of moon the image likewise begins to decrease, till no trace of it remains when the moon disappears.”

François Bernier, the French physician who accompanied Emperor Aurangzeb to Kashmir in 1663, mentioned the cave temple: “a magnificent cave full of wonderful congelations”. Vigne in ‘Travels in Kashmir, Ladakh and Iskardu’ (1842) recalls: “The ceremony at the cave of Amarnath takes place on the 15th of the month of Sawan (28th July). Not only Hindoos of Kashmir but those from Hindoostan of every rank and caste can be seen, collecting together and traveling up the valley of Liddar towards the celebrated cave.”

The whole Amarnath procession is conducted under the auspices of Chhari Maharaj. Bringesha Samhita records that the Rishi was approached by the people praying to show them the path to salvation. He advised them to take pilgrimage to cave temple of Amarnath and pray to the Shiva Lingam there. To ensure their safe journey, Bringesha Rishi prayed to Shiva and was graced with the holy mace pair. Ever since, this mace pair has become the symbol of protection for the yatris and has taken the form of Chhari Maharaj and leads the annual yatra.

The Chhari generally used to leave after performing Puja at Dashnami Akhara (Srinagar) on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Sawan. During Sikh rule in Kashmir, ‘Chhari Maharaj’ used to start from Amritsar; during Dogra rule from Srinagar. The Mahants who wield the divine command of holy place carry the two holy maces.

The contemporary agitation by fundamentalist Islamists is illegitimate. To stop the yatra or disrupt pilgrim arrangements is an attack at very ethos of Indian civilization, of which Shiva and Shakti form the foundation. Innumerable temples have been destroyed by Islamic rulers in Kashmir, yet Kashmir and its Hindu ethos comprise the fountainhead of its being, and history has been witness to it.

The traditional narrative states that Shiva chose this cave as the venue to discuss the secrets of ‘life and death’ with Devi Parvati. Anyone who heard this conversation would attain become immortal (Amaratvam). So Shiva left Nandi at Bailgam (Pahalgam), Sesha (snake) at Sheshnag, Ganapati at Mahaganesha (Mahaagunusa) and Ganga at Panchatarni on his way to the holy cave. To check that none was present in the cave, Shiva vibrated his Damaru. This is the origin of the sound ‘Aum’.

Two pigeons, who were in egg form in a nest in the cave, emerged at the sound of the Damaru and were fortunate to overhear the conversion of Shiva and Parvati. When Shiva realized this, the kind hearted Lord exchanged His body with those of the little birds. This is why the Linga grows in the bright fortnight like the moon and reaches its maximum growth on full moon day, and wanes gradually in the dark fortnight and fades out of view on new moon day - an eternal phenomenon.

Another legend recorded in Mahatmya states that when Maha Kala (Time, Death) appeared, Indra and other Devas were afraid and approached Shiva to avert death in their case. Pleased with the devotional hymns sung in His praise, Shiva granted immortality to the Devas by taking the crescent from His head and squeezing nectar for them. Devas drank the nectar and became immortal. The same nectar solidified into a Linga and is worshipped as Amreshwara, Lord of Immortality, at Amarnath. The dripping from the feet of Shiva Linga took became the sanctifying stream, Amaravati.

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Bharatvarsh - 08-06-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->tiyyatEniya: two poems from mollarAmAyaNamu.

I would like to post my contributions under the column heading

Occasionally, I would like to post some poems from classics.
I will be posting today two beautiful poems from molla's rAmAyaNa
Many poets of her as well as later generations never
included molla into their fold just because she was a potter
(kummari) by caste and also because of her gender. Her style is
simple and yet remarkably beautiful. rAvaNa comes to as'Okavana
and tries to woo sItAdEvi. The first poem is in the metre
layagrAhi. Note that there are only prAsa yatis in this metre
(ya in this instance). The second poem is in tETagIti (by the
way this is the exapmle given for tETagIti in sulakSaNasAra, a
treatise on prosody in telugu). The translations are by me.

"tOyajadaLAkSi valarAyaDiTu lEci paTusAyakamulErci ipuDEyaga doDangen
tOyadapathaMbuna namEyaruci tODa nudurAyaDunu minci vaDa gAyaga gaDangen
kOyilalu kIramulu kUyaga naLivrajamu lEyeDala zUcinanu mrOyucu celangen
nAyeDala kRpArasamu nIyakavivEkamuna nIyeDala nunDutidi nyAyame latAngI"

"O lotus-eyed woman, the God of Love is awake and has now started
to aim his sharp arrows;
In the sky, the Moon is shining with great sheen and it looks
like the heat of summer;
The cuckoos and parrots are singing and everywhere the
bees are humming;
Why are you so obstinate like this, o creeper-like thin woman,
why don't you show mercy upon me?"

"zaDalu dAlici tapasula tsandamunanu
tammuDunu tAnu ghOra durgammulandu
kUragAyalu kUDugA kuDutsunaTTi
rAmuDErIti lankaku rAgalanDu"

"Wearing matted hairs like hermits,
with his brother in those dense forests,
he is eating ordinary vegetables;
How can that Rama come to rescue you in Lanka?"

You must all be familiar with this little story about Molla. One
day, when she was carrying a hen in her hands, another poet
(according to legend none other than tenAlirAma, a Brahmin by birth)
wanted to make fun of her and asked her: "pillA, peTTanistAvA
(girl, will you give me your hen)?" He was punning on the word
`peTTa' (hen, modesty). Molla cooly replied: "nEnu nIkammanu
(I won't sell you)." She was punning on the word `ammanu'
(won't sell, mother).<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Shambhu - 08-13-2008

<!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> People who keep Dharma alive...

Shri Juna Akhada
Physical strength, spiritual power
By Somnath Kesari

<b>Acharya Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj</b> is the head of Shri Panchdashnam Juna Akhada, the biggest of the thirteen Saint Akhadas of the country. Shri Juna Akhada has more than five million saints in its fold, who form about 80 per cent of the combined strength of saints belonging to all the Akhadas. Swamiji has initiated about one lakh saints during the last about ten years. Ever since he was appointed Acharya Mahaman-daleshwar, he has been the guiding spirit behind all the activities of not only the Juna Akhada but also of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha. Harihar Ashram in Kankhal, Haridwar is the seat of the Acharya. Besides the Guru gaddi, the ancient Maha Mrityunjay temple, the unique Paradeshwar Mahadev and the popular Rudraksh tree in the Ashram attract hundreds of pilgrims to the Ashram every day for darshan.

In order to inculcate among his devotee followers the loft habits of service, self-study and satsang-ultimately leading to the final goal of self-realisation, Swamiji founded the Prabhu Premi Sangh in 1991, which has grown into a big tree by now, having about one hundred branches in India and abroad with a membership running into millions of devoted seekers. Prabhu Prem Ashram on the bank of river Tangri in Ambala Cantt is the Head-quarter of the Prabhu Premi Sangh. Regular daily hawan (yajna) in the morning, satsang (discourse) every evening, Akhand Nam Sankirtan, Akhand jawala and a Goshala are some of the special features of the Ashram.

Swami Avdheshanand Welfare Association (SAWA) is the latest institution founded in Mumbai by Swamiji. It is an organisation engaged in social activities under the guidance of Swami Avdheshanand Giri. These special activities are mainly in the fields of education, health care, food and spiritual awareness. SAWA is helping economically deprived children in their education by providing them educational material such as books, note-books, bags and other articles of stationery. More than a thousand children are getting this benefit every year.

SAWA has a mobile dispensary to treat patients of rural areas. It has already provided medical treatment to more than 2 lakh people. It conducts blood donation camps and eye treatment camps at frequent intervals. It also provides spectacles to the needy. Besides SAWA, the Indore, Jamshedpur and Jabalpur branches of Prabhu Premi Sangh are also serving the patients through their mobile dispensaries. SAWA offers food to the needy regularly and on special occasions bhandaras are also arranged where all those present enjoy community feasts.

To propagate spiritual awareness among the devotees SAWA organises spiritual gatherings also on weekly basis. Rituals like puja, hawan etc. are organised on some of the main festivals of the Hindus. SAWA organises Bhagwan Jagannath Rath yatra also every year in Mumbai. More than twenty thousand devotees participate in this grand festival every year.

Shiv Ganga Abhiyan is a joint activity of Prabhu Premi Sangh and Samagra Gram Vikas Parishad for the development of the rural Vanvasi areas of Jhabua district in Madhya Pradesh. Eleven hundred villages have already been adopted and work is going on there to dig water resources for water-storage and to build Shiva temples in every village. Many more activities of social welfare are going on in this area for the good of the under-privileged.

Shri Shimon Peres, President of Israel, personally invited Swamiji as a representative of the Hindu community in May 2008 along with the former President of India Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Shri Ratan Tata and Maulana Jameel Ahmed, president, All India Organisation of Imams to participate in an International Presidential Conference on the subject “Facing Tomorrow”. It was a conference of focused on exploration of prominent world leaders, thinkers, artists and scientists including young men and women of exceptional promise and originality. It was attended by 18 present heads of state including George W. Bush, President of USA, and many former heads like M. Gorbachev from Russia, Tony Blair of UK along with many state representatives.

Swami Avdheshanand Giri put the Indian and Hindu point of view very lucidly and President Peres was all praise for Swamiji’s ideas and called him a “Man of Vision”. Swami Avdheshanand Giri addressed the students and faculty also of the famous university of Hafia in Israel. At home in India also Swamiji enjoys the reputation of being a great scholar of Vedanta and ancient Hindu scriptures. He is considered as one of the top most orators of Shrimad Bhagwat, Ramayana and Devi Bhagwat and a great orator who can keep the audience spell-bound for hours and hours together.

Vikram University Ujjain, conferred on him the honorary degree of D. Litt. for his extraordinary work in Hindi literature and excellent oratory skills. He has a great command over Hindi language and people love to hear his sermons full of Hindi synonyms. Naturally he enjoys great respect among poets and scholars alike.

On account of his qualities of head and heart Swamiji has been nominated as a member of the World Council of Religious Leaders, a council of great scholars and spiritual leaders of different countries, engaged in establishing and promoting peace all around the world.

Swami Avdheshanand Giri is undoubtedly a great thinker, scholar, spiritual leader, orator, social reformer and beloved of the young and old alike. He has a plan for the future also. He is planning through Swami Avdheshanand Foundation (SAF) to establish a great institution in Bhopal, where highly talented brains will be prepared and nurtured for the propagation of rich ancient Indian culture. They will be trained to play a great role in establishing world fraternity, peace and harmony in the whole world for the welfare and upliftment of the universe. Swamiji strongly believes in the dictum Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and so his dream institute would be a multi-dimensional institute where programmes for the all-round development of a person like spiritual education, personality development programme along with Yoga, Ayurvedic and Naturopathy treatment and world class self management and de-stressing programme will be undertaken. The plans are ready and keen to take shape in beautiful surroundings on a deep forest-land covering about 150 acers in the lap of nature. This will benefit not only the present generation, but will also go a long way in the right direction and orientation of future generations.

(The writer is central secretary of Prabhu Premi Sangh and can be contacted at Prabhu Premi Sangh, Jagadhari Road, Ambala Cantt-133 006, Haryana.)

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Shambhu - 08-13-2008

Swami Shri Paramatmananda Saraswatiji

To help achieve inner strength
By Lokesh Kumar

He is the founder Acharya of Arsha Vidya Mandir, Rajkot. Arsha Vidya Mandir is a centre for learning the ancient wisdom revealed in Upanishads, Bhagwad Geeta and other spiritual text.

We human beings are blessed with an intellect. Living intelligently means to be mature. One becomes physically matured in course of time. But for intellectual maturity, one needs to understand certain facts about oneself, the world outside and the Creator of these two. We cannot postpone nor can afford to mature later; one has to work for it. The most significant mark of maturity is the degree of objectivity one has towards oneself, towards one’s ambitions and goals and towards the world outside. This is the secret of success.

To help people to achieve this inner growth Swami Shri Paramatmanandaji has been reaching out to the society for the last 30 years. Swami Paramatmanandaji is the desciple of H.H.Swami Dayanandaji.

Swami Paramatmanandaji is Secretary General of Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha. This apex Hindu body comprises the heads of various Sampradayas (traditions), which are more than 200 years old.

Shri Swamiji has designed various teaching modules for different segments of the society.These programmes are conducted at the Ashram centre as well as outside.

He is the founder Acharya of Arsha Vidya Mandir Rajkot. Arsha Vidya Mandir is a centre for learning the ancient wisdom revealed in Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita and other spiritual text. The activities are classified in five areas : Teaching of traditional text; Teaching Programmes for students; Teaching Programmes for teachers; Seminars, workshops for executives/Government officers-staff; and; Religious and social activities; Organisational-International

Pujya Swamiji has fervor and commitment to Indian traditional values and has a deep sense of concern towards the society which gets reflected in his work. His talks reveal clarity and a deep understanding of human life. Swamiji has a unique ability to expound the profound truths of scriptures in very simple language. Pu. Swamiji’s talks, with appropriate examples and methodical presentation in logical and lucid manner are very lively. Pu. Swamiji’s personal life reflects simplicity and love for one and all. Swamiji has been conducting courses in Geeta, Upanishad, Sanskrit and other texts.

Teaching traditional text
1984-2008 Five courses each of 2-year duration in Bhagwad Geeta and Upanishad at Rajkot;

1986-1994 Two courses each of 2-year duration in Bhagwad Geeta and Upanishad at Ahmedabad;

1984-2008 Forty two programmes/jnana yajnas each of 7-10 days duration in Bhagwad Geeta and Upanishad at various places in Gujarat & India ;

1984-2008 Seventeen residential programmes / spiritual camps each of 10-12 days duration in Bhagwad Geeta & Upanishad at Rishikesh/Coimbatore;

1984-2008 Basic Sanskrit learning courses, of one and half-year duration.

Teaching programme for students
1987-1994 Ten “Value and Heritage Learning” residential camps each of 5-7 days for school children;

1995-1998 Sixty “Value and Heritage Learning” residential camps each of 4 days for school children;

1998-2001 Sixty “Value and Heritage Learning” residential week-end camps for school children;

2003-2008 Sixty two “Value and Heritage Learning” residential week-end camps for school children;

1988-2008 Thirty one-day camps for school/college students.

Teaching programmes for teachers
2003-2005 A special project - 5-day residential “Culture and Value Education Taining Programme” for Teachers / B.Ed students sponsored by HRD Ministry. More than 400 participants were trained.

2005-2008 More than 1000 Teachers / B.Ed students imparted the above mentioned training.

2001-2008 Resource person / visiting faculty to Academic College, Saurashtra University, Rajkot.

Seminar/Workshops for executives/Government officers/Staff
2000-2001 Four 7-day training programmes for class-II / class-III employees of Rajkot District Collectorate and jilla Panchayat

2000-2001 5-day training programmes for class-II/class-III employees of Post-office, Rajkot Circle

2001-2008 Lectures at various Management Associations

2001-2008 One-day / Half-day seminar for various companies like Bank of India, IPCL, Videocon Industries Ltd., Reliance Industries, Bombay Stock Exchange, etc.

2004-2008 One-day “Attitudinal Change” training programme for employees of PGVCL. Employees of eight districts of Saurashtra. About 8,500 employees trained so far.

Religious and social activities :

Ashram has a huge and beautiful temple, where traditional pooja and yagnas are performed regularly. All festivals are celebrated with devotional fervor in traditional manner. Vedas are also chanted regularly at the Ashram.

Various Vedic Samskaras such as Upanayanam, Namakaranam etc. are also performed in traditional way.

On behalf of Indian Red Cross Society—Tamil Nadu branch, Pujya Swamiji co-ordinated the relief and rehabilitation work for the earth-quake affected people of Saurashtra. The total cost of relief material and rehabilitation work was around four and a half crores.

Various seva work (service to humanity) like seva to Adivasis, poor children, poor families, etc are also undertaken.

Organisation International :
Pujya Swami Shri Parmatmanandaji is Secretary General of Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha.

Pujya Swamiji is actively involved in Dharma Samstha Pramukh Sabha.

Pujya Swamiji is Chairing /Board Member of various Institutions/trusts.

Pujya Swamiji was organizsing committee member and actively participated in “Hindu Jewish Leadership Summit held at Delhi in February, 2007.

Swamiji represented Hinduism at the “Board Meeting of World Council of Religious Leaders” at Singapore- July, 2007.

Pujya Swamiji represented Hinduism at “Asia-Africa Spiritual Summit - Awakening of Global Compassionate Leadership” organised by Dharma Druma Mountain Foundation - Taiwan. Swamiji visited Israel alongwith the delegation of Hindu religious leaders for a dialogue with the Rabbinet (Jewish religious leaders) in February, 2008 and an important agreement was inked between these two old traditions. Swamiji represented Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha at Israeli Presidential Conference at Jerusalem in May, 2008. As Secretary General of Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha was the<b> first to raise voice against SSCP. </b> Pujya Swamiji was National Co-ordinator for Shri Rama Sethu Protection Movement.

(Swami Paramananda Saraswati, Arsha Vidya Mandir, Munjaka, Near Saurashtra University, Rajkot, Gujarat.)

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Bharatvarsh - 09-28-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In Praise of Siva's Singers

A talented oduvar devotes his life to preserving a two-thousand-year-old temple tradition
By Anantha Krishnan, Chennai

As a fast-setting sun throws shadows upon the eighth-century Kapaleeshwarar Siva temple of Mylapore, local vendors hustle to finish business before another day draws to a close in the bustling South Indian seaport city of Chennai. Providing counterpoint to the clamor and confusion, the sweet tones of a soft but perfectly articulated Tamil hymn come floating through the crevices of the temple wall, entrancing those who manage to distinguish the magical lyrics over the hubbub of the city. Captivated, I step inside the temple to track the source of this heart-melting music. The all-pervasive fragrances of flowers and incense and the overlapping sounds of bells, drums, cymbals and Sanskrit chanting have no power to distract me as I wade through the milling devotees crowded around the main temple sanctum. In the divine confusion of it all, one man stands out from all of the rest. He is young--about thirty--bare-chested and clad in white. Sacred ash is smeared on all visible parts of his thin body. He is sitting before the main sanctum, singing to Lord Siva. His name is Satgurunathan Oduvar, and he is a professional temple singer.

After the puja I introduce myself to Satgurunathan and ask if we might talk. He graciously complies, and we find a quiet spot. I am eager to discover the world of oduvars through his eyes and to understand why some say his quintessentially devotional music is fading into obscurity.

The literal translation of the Tamil word oduvar is simply "a person who sings with great devotional reverence." In the tradition of South India, however, this name is conferred as a title upon certain well-trained musicians, like Satgurunathan, who sing only from the Panniru-Tirumurai, a 12-volume collection of hymns authored by 64 famous South Indian saints who lived more than 1,000 years ago.

Rigorous training

Satgurunathan speaks to me of the rigorous training required of an oduvar. Each aspirant studies from a young age with a personal teacher or at a school dedicated only to this instruction. Tamil language skills and a thorough knowledge of the Tirumurai are essential. Most oduvars are Tamil Saivite males, but there are no restrictions against women learning and performing this sacred music.

"Being born into an oduvar lineage, " says Satgurunathan, "I was trained in music from my youth. School lessons did not interest me much. At my father's suggestion I entered the Thevaram school, VS Trust, in Chidambaram, run by my uncle, Thiruvavadudurai Somasundara Desikar, who was frequently featured on radio programs. As a young boy I was greatly influenced by this popular man. I was deeply impressed by the respect he commanded wherever he went."

Even 15 years ago, when Satgurunathan attended Thevaram school, the popularity of this profession was waning. There were only seven students in his class, even though the tuition, lodging, medical assistance and food were provided for free by generous benefactors. The training was strict. During the five-year program, Satgurunathan and his fellow students received a complete training, including instruction in Pann, an ancient Tamil music system (see sidebar).

"We would begin the day by picking flowers for Lord Nataraja in the five-acre garden that grew a variety of blooms in all hues, " Satgurunathan recalls. "This would be followed by classes in music and literature that lasted all day, ending with practice sessions in the temple. These sessions helped us get over the fear of singing in public. Also, being at Chidambaram Temple and often listening to the priests chanting Vedas gravitated me more towards a spiritual life."

The life of an oduvar

For the next stage of his professional development, Satgurunathan sought the promising atmosphere of a big, bright city, hoping to shape his ethereal aspirations and years of study and practice into an actual vocation. "I came to Chennai after graduating from Thevaram school in 1991, " he explained. "Although it was overwhelming at first, I quite naturally started to settle into a life of singing and listening to various musicians at the numerous festivals here and there. On one such occasion, the popular singer Dharmapuram Swaminathan heard my performance and strongly recommended that I take up private music lessons. That led me to B. Achutharaman, an All India Radio musician, who taught me South Indian classical music for three years and helped make me the performer I am today."

Singing well as an oduvar requires a level of talent and dedication that very few have. The life demands strict discipline in character, personal hygiene, purity, devotion and humility. "Unless we follow a strict regimen, we cannot help others in worshiping God, " says Satgurunathan. "It is such a privilege to stand in front of the Lord and sing for Him every single day. I attribute all to Him." A strong sense of humility is essential in order to embody and project the devotional fervor of the Tirumurai hymns. The remarkable eloquence of this singing style, when properly performed, inspires devotion in both listener and performer.

Satgurunathan Oduvar has a no-nonsense approach to performing. He dresses simply and always wears sacred ash and the red kumkum dot on his forehead. He sits erect, and he begins and ends his performances promptly.

After I first heard him by chance at the Kapaleeshwarar Siva temple, I made a point of attending his performance at the Tamil Nadu Music College during the Tirumurai festival. Although he only sang three songs, the magnificence of his performance completely won me over. Since then I have listened to him at every opportunity, and over the past few years I have watched him grow dramatically as a singing artist. He has the power to enchant an audience anywhere, in India or overseas.

Satgurunathan has performed widely at festivals, temples and concert halls, including the prestigious Music Academy in Chennai. He has also performed on radio and television and has been invited to Sri Lanka three times, where his singing during a temple consecration ceremony was telecast live on Rupavahini, the national television station of Sri Lanka. He also sang in the theater production of "Sundarar, " which featured the legendary dancer, Dr. Padma Subramanyam.

The Past and Future of Thevaram

In the seventh century ce the Vedic ways of living were being lost as Buddhism and Jainism dominated South India. The lives and songs of four renowned saints Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar and Manikkavasagar helped to revive Saivism in Tamil Nadu during the sixth to ninth centuries. Known as the four samayacharyas, "teachers of the faith, " these saints pilgrimaged through South India from temple to temple, 274 in all, beseeching the grace of Siva through their soul-stirring songs. The hymns of Sambandar, Appar and Sundarar are collectively referred to as the Thevaram; Manikkavasagar wrote and sang the Tiruvasagam. Both works, scribed on ola leaves, form part of the Tirumurai.

Several centuries later, during the reign of the great emperor Rajaraja Cholan (985-1014 ce), these irreplaceable ola leaves were thought to be lost. Rajaraja Cholan best known for constructing the magnificent Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur made a crucial contribution to the preservation of the samayacharyas' hymns: he instigated a great search which finally located the precious leaf bundles, badly damaged by leaf-eating bugs, in the Nataraja temple of Chidambaram. Rajaraja Cholan had the leaves collected, cleaned and preserved, then engaged a scholarly devotee named Nambiandar Nambi to compile them for posterity.

Now these songs are again facing the threat of extinction. There are only two Thevaram schools in Tamil Nadu, both patronized by the Chettiar community. Only a few students are enrolled in these schools.

"There are about 50 oduvars at temples in Tamil Nadu, " Satgurunathan says, "but the well-trained ones are few. It makes me sad that so few youth are coming forward to follow this tradition of serving God. Finance is one reason for this decline. This profession just does not pay enough for singers to be able to meet today's living demands. I teach about 20 students who come from different occupations: a policeman, a student, a man who works in the film industry. They are all learning purely out of their interest. No one plans to take it up as a profession. Unless the government or temples intervene, the future looks bleak. I plan to continue teaching just to keep the songs alive. Unfortunately, I don't think that we are not going to have another Rajarajan. I hope to build my own school and offer this honey I have tasted to others until my end."

Satgurunathan has been serving at the Kapaleeshwarar temple at Mylapore for over eight years now. Very few people come up to express appreciation for his extraordinary talent just a handful of other similarly trained musicians who occasionally visit the temple to worship, pray and perform.

Satgurunathan Oduvar has a rare gift for this unique music. I could see him becoming popular like a Bollywood star, if only his genius could be exposed to a larger audience. If anyone has the ability to revive and re-inspire this fading tradition, it is he. But until that happens, the community of oduvars need encouragement and support, financial and otherwise. How can they inspire others to a higher life if they themselves are in need of inspiration? Their gift to us is their song. Our gift to them should at least be our thanks.


What Is Pann?
Pann is a South Indian system of music that dates back to 400 bce. It utilizes a melodic structure that was developed by the Tamil people exclusively for performing devotional songs and preceded the development of the raga system of Carnatic music now famous in Tamil Nadu. The tones of Pann consist of what has come to be known in modern times as the pentatonic scale, which consists of five rather than seven notes per octave. This scale corresponds to the modern-day, Western major scale of seven notes, with the fourth and seventh omitted. Today, the pentatonic scale is commonly used in the Indonesian gamelan, the melodies of African-American spirituals and Celtic folk music. It has also been used by French composer Claude Debussy, as well as other Western classical composers, like Maurice Ravel and Frederic Chopin. Because of their simplicity, pentatonic scales are often used to introduce music to children.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->July/August/September 2003

Singing the Songs of Saints

Once there were 3,000 temple singers in Tamil Nadu. Now there might be 100.

With Kesava Mallia, Chennai

I will be a temple oduvar until my death," declares Sivagangai boldly. "I have dedicated my life to this work, and I am happy with whatever payment I get. I will not take up any other job, even if I am offered a lot of money."

Brave words. In the twilight of a tradition long overdue, great praise for simply surviving, even the most optimistic would have to concede that the singing of Tamil Nadu's temple bards will never quite reclaim the light of its greatest glory. Yet there is Sivagangai and a few more like him. And after them, there will be a few more. And so it will be for a very long time, for the music of the oduvar is truly divine. As told from the annals of South Indian history, "A heart that does not melt from the songs of the oduvar does not melt at all."

In the Tamil language, the word oduvar comes from the verb odhu, which means to sing respectfully. One who performs odhu is an oduvar. More specifically, according to the ancient tradition of South Indian temple worship, an oduvar is a singer who has been rigorously trained—usually from a very young age in a most difficult form of South Indian classical temple music. He is male—usually Saivite Tamil and sings only for God—usually in temples and ashrams—and only from the Tirumurai, a twelve-book collection of hymns and writings of South Indian Saivite saints.

Not only is the oduvar taught to sing with great devotion, the songs he sings are devotional by nature. The following famous verse from the Tiruvasagam of Saint Manikkavasagar, often sung by oduvars, provides a good example of the devotional yet deeply philosophical quality of the Tirumurai:

"To the one who embodies within Himself the Vedic hymns and Vedic sacrifice, truth and untruth, light and darkness, joy and sorrow, the divided and undivided, the attachment and release, the beginning and ultimate end to Him our songs of praise we sing."

Like a first-rate concert violinist, the oduvar must possess more than a sense of discipline. He must be blessed with extraordinary talent and exemplary dedication. Yet, unlike perhaps even the finest violinist, he must also be pure, humble, religious, austere and devotional. This is as it was 100 years ago. But modern times militate against the success of the oduvar. Today, when rock and stones mean "Mick Jagger" rather than "granite deity," the very fact that Sivagangai would want to do what he is doing at all is just short of a miracle.

The golden age of the oduvars reached its height when India's kings held sway. South India's documented history dates back to the fourth century bce when the Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas ruled what is now Tamil Nadu. The domains of these three dynasties changed many times over the centuries, and other dynasties periodically came into power. Through it all, there was a steady patronage of the arts, and this served the expansion of Tamil culture well.

The Tirumurai were written and compiled from approximately 200 bce through the eleventh century. During this time, the saints that composed these poems and songs were becoming legends, and oduvars like the minstrels of Europe, were singing their praises. In the eleventh century, during the reign of two important South Indian kings, Rajaraja Chola and Rajendra Chola Sumatra, the religious life of the Tamil people was at its zenith, and times were never better for the oduvar.

Rajaraja Chola once supported more than 3,000 oduvars. During his reign, these sacred singers were given great respect. After the ceremonial flame of high puja was shown to the temple Deity, it was passed next to the oduvar—even before the king, if he were present.

During the 14th century, Muslim invasion weakened the Chola dynasty, then in power. Even after the great Vijayanagar Empire fell in 1564, Tamil culture continued to flourish under Nayak rule. History shows, in fact, that the Tamil way of life enjoyed undisrupted development from prehistory until the British came, almost 500 years ago.

The East India Company of Great Britain was established in Tamil Nadu in 1640 when it negotiated the use of Madraspatnam, later to become Chennai, as a trading post. Petty quarrels among provincial rulers catalyzed the British to gain administrative control over the area. Under their colonial rule, most of South India was integrated into the region called Madras Presidency. When India became independent in 1947, Madras Presidency became Madras State. In 1956 the Madras State was reorganized to form present-day Tamil Nadu along linguistic lines.

The religious Hindus of India generally suffered from British occupation and Indian Independence. The British left them humiliated subordinated to Western values and nonreligious principles. Indian Independence spawned a faltering democratic government laced with corruption. This new democracy harvested profits from temples and left priests nearly penniless. As bad as this was, the priests at least had jobs, for the temples could not function without them. The oduvars, however, were expendable. Only the most dedicated remained at their posts. This is still true today. Sivagangai is now working in the Kundrakudi Murugan Temple, which is government controlled. Although his food and lodging are free, he makes only about $15 a month.

At the Tirumurai Pathasala run by Koviloor Aadheenam, Ratnasabhapathi Desikar, 72, teaches a five-year intensive course to qualify oduvars, but he currently has only seven students. There are four other schools like this in Tamil Nadu. The most successful of them is at Dharmapuram Aadheenam, where teachers have sustained their program for the last 25 years. Today, in all of Tamil Nadu, it is estimated that less than 30 students are studying to become full-time oduvars.

This bleak horizon reveals a glimmer of light. Recently, a Tamil movie entitled Raja Raja Cholan featured a number of oduvars performing on film. Never in recent history have these elite but obscure musicians enjoyed such mainstream promotion. Sri La Sri Nachiappa Gnana Desika Swamigal, the pontiff of Koviloor Aadheenam, is enthusiastic. "We will be releasing an audio cassette/CD on Tirumurai," he says with a gleam in his eye. "Things are slowly getting better. There is more respect for the oduvar." For years, Swami has been spearheading a campaign to revive the tradition.

At the school run by Koviloor Aadheenam, Muthukumar and Ananda Kaleeswaran, both 21, are the only two students who have graduated from the course since its inception in 1995. Muthukumar is a first-generation oduvar, while Kaleeswaran is fifth generation.

"Many have discouraged me, saying that I may be losing out monetarily," says Muthukumar. "But I was firm and determined. Oduvars are respected everywhere."

The students still studying in the program all share a similar enthusiasm. Dingidul, 18, seeks to emulate his grandfather, who is still a highly revered oduvar. Sivanmalai, 16, wants to sing in a temple in his hometown. So do 23-year-old T. Rathinavel Subramaniam and 18-year-old Ganesan. "Even in villages, people are now more God-loving," says Ganesan, who will be a 15th-generation oduvar. "So I am very sure this tradition will stay for a very long time." Soma Sivaprakasam, 20, is the son of an accountant who became an oduvar. He dreams of going abroad to serve as a teacher and a singer.

At the Koviloor Aadheenam, Tirumurai school education is free, just as it is in all the pathasalas (schools) of Tamil Nadu. Food, accommodation, clothes and books are provided at no cost. The Chettiars, a community of wealthy South Indian businessmen, have long been associated with the oduvars and figure in their future as dependable patrons. Organizations like the Music Academy, Seethai Hall, Narada Gana Sabha and Ramalingar Pani Mandram all based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu's classical music vortex—constantly promote the Tirumurai and the oduvars.

Then there is Sivagangai, who daily strives to melt even the hearts that do not melt at all. The saints who wrote the songs he sings have long ago passed away. Yet, they live on in their Tirumurai and in the sacred singing of Sivagangai.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Well we can see the effects of BJP's total inaction when in power to implement even non controversial but much needed reforms such as scrapping article 30 and giving equal status to Hindu run institutions and also making sure that gov't has no control on Hindu mandirs.

Tirumala is supposed to be the richest of all religious pilgrimage spots, and I am sure crores come in at Meenakshi and Sri Rangam mandirs, yet we have Oduvars making 15$ a month in 2003 while the anti Hindu scum gov't diverts the money to madrasas and xtian schools.

It is sad to see precious heritage going down the toilet while the majority of well off Hindus have evidently enough money to splurge on sickeningly expensive weddings (lakshmi mittals daughters wedding was what 70 million $ ?) , astrology, "vedic" maths and other claptrap.

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Bodhi - 10-24-2008

<img src='' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Photographs of agnichayana by Prof. Frits Stall and Dr. Ranade

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Agnicayana is probably to be the oldest surviving ritual of humanity. If offers extraordinary insight into Vedic times and highlights the origin of many features of South Asian cultures. It provides a unique opportunity for the study of oral tradition and transmission. Cross-culturally, the Agnicayana raises important issues such as the origin and production of fire, its transfer from one place to another and its worship; as also the art of burning of istaka (bricks) which is an expression linguistically related to Avestan "Istya". <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - acharya - 11-20-2008

Hinduism for beginners

Great Introduction and Summary of Hinduism (Santhana Dharma), which is useful for both Hindus(born) and Westerners intrested in Hinduism. You can also this as a reference in case of any questions regarding Hinduism from people of other faiths. Source of this book is (thanks to Srirama Ramanjua Achari for this diligent work on this book and sharing it in his website). I think this book requires a bigger audience, hence posting it here.

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Pandyan - 11-20-2008

Bodhi, are these srauta rituals confined only to Kerala, within Namboodiri families or is it all over Bharat?

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Shambhu - 11-24-2008


Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Pandyan - 11-24-2008


Looks like some sickular org.

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Shambhu - 11-24-2008


The depth of his expanations of the linga and its effects is quite dharmic..he does seem to invite christos to follow hindu practices..which is OK by me, since he is not in any way putting jeebus up as equivalent to any Dharmic God...There is no mention of jeebus or allah on his site AFAIK.

Seems to be OK, not a hardcore hindu, he is even afraid of calling himself hindu, but he worships in Dharmic ways..we need peripheral people like this, since a lot of the Dharmic people have turned vidharmi, and need non-hardcore Hindu institutions to bring them back..IMO

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Guest - 11-28-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-Shambhu+Nov 24 2008, 08:26 AM-->QUOTE(Shambhu @ Nov 24 2008, 08:26 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Pandyan,

The depth of his expanations of the linga and its effects is quite dharmic..he does seem to invite christos to follow hindu practices..which is OK by me, since he is not in any way putting jeebus up as equivalent to any Dharmic God...There is no mention of jeebus or allah on his site AFAIK.

Seems to be OK, not a hardcore hindu, he is even afraid of calling himself hindu, but he worships in Dharmic ways..we need peripheral people like this, since a lot of the Dharmic people have turned vidharmi, and need non-hardcore Hindu institutions to bring them back..IMO


All that is white is not milk. Pl. read the following:

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Husky - 11-29-2008

Some older articles.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->“Hindu Activists mobilized”

Returning to the article, by separate treatment of tribals as ‘animists’ in census counts, that section of the population was cleverly defined as non-Hindu. As an unfortunate consequence of that far-sighted British initiative, it becomes necessary today for a Ram Shankar Chanchal Trivedi to emphatically state what otherwise ought to be beyond any doubt: “Adivasis are Hindus”.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Goes without saying that Girijan are Hindus. Doubting their Hinduness is like me doubting mine <!--emo&:blink:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blink.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Of course, I'm a Hindu by definition because the Hindu Gods are the most important thing to me. My loyalty is to my Hindu Gods and consequently extends to those creatures (humans, fellow animals) for whom the Hindu Gods come first as well.
I am loyal to nothing and no one else - cannot trust me at all <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Monotheists clamour for tribal harvest</b>
Author: Sandhya Jain
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: October 19, 2004


(VKA's) Ghar Wapsi is essentially the brainchild of former Union Minister <b>Dilip Singh Judeo, erstwhile ruler of Jashpur in Raigarh (Chattishgarh) and hereditary royal guardian of the Korwa tribals of Sarguja.</b> Apart from resisting the tide of conversions, what rankles with missionaries is Judeo's determination that village communities regain land appropriated by missionaries for schools, hospitals and churches. Judeo, who is well acquainted with missionary tactics through several decades of hard work, wittily <b>advises tribals to accept the services offered by missionaries, but on no account discard their traditional faith and culture in lieu of these services.</b>

Irritated at the success of this advice, Mr. Dayal is further enraged that Ghar Wapsi has succeeded to the extent that conversions have virtually stopped and the 'homecoming' movement is gathering momentum. No doubt Judeo's impressive personality and colourful language have contributed to his substantial success. He first came to national attention in 1992, when he told a popular magazine that he had issued a "manifesto to the missionaries" which stated that "we" (tribals) would eat up anyone who ate a cow, <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> and would clip two throats for every choti (tuft of hair on a shaven head) clipped. It bears mention that though evangelists routinely quote this statement, not a single incident has occurred under Judeo's jurisdiction.

[...]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->These Girijan heroes and their Kshatriya protector (=Hindus) - they have my full admiration.

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Shambhu - 11-29-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-Savithri+Nov 28 2008, 02:42 PM-->QUOTE(Savithri @ Nov 28 2008, 02:42 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin-Shambhu+Nov 24 2008, 08:26 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Shambhu @ Nov 24 2008, 08:26 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Pandyan,

The depth of his expanations of the linga and its effects is quite dharmic..he does seem to invite christos to follow hindu practices..which is OK by me, since he is not in any way putting jeebus up as equivalent to any Dharmic God...There is no mention of jeebus or allah on his site AFAIK.

Seems to be OK, not a hardcore hindu, he is even afraid of calling himself hindu, but he worships in Dharmic ways..we need peripheral people like this, since a lot of the Dharmic people have turned vidharmi, and need non-hardcore Hindu institutions to bring them back..IMO


All that is white is not milk. Pl. read the following:

Hmm..thanks for the link. Seems this guy is not so clean after all!! Declaring oneself a non-hindu seems to correlate well with some sort of criminal background. Even the non-Hindu deepak chopra is singing jesus' praises and talking about "hindu terror".. <!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Husky - 11-29-2008

^ Shambhu's post
1. <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Joseph Troisi, a Christian Anthropologist and author testifies about the santhlhalis on whose behalf, Ebe supposedly speaks. �While among <b>the non Christian (santhalis) the most important part of the marriage ceremony is the sindhradhan, or smearing the brides� forehead with Vermillion</b>, among the Christians the exchange of rings by bride and groom marks them as husband and wife� the applying of sindhoor is tabooed.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
2. <!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Pastor Ebe sunder Raj has tried to give a superficial and simplistic interpretation of Hinduism to suit his needs �millions of syncretic believers who believe in more than one faith who do not go through any initiation�. He is optimistic when he stated, �our 200 million Dalits belong to this category� The motive of Ebe is clearly scheming when he said our constitution is �wisely silent�. This is precisely the �lacunae� pointed by Hindus, that is disadvantageous to them and that is exploited to the core by the Proselytizers.

The �yama� or �niyama� that a person has to adopt following the diksha by the �Guruswami� as in the sabarimala yatra are rigorous, unlike in revelatory religions. Infact two to six crore Hindus in south India alone, under go these intense spiritual exercises voluntarily every year, and not as portrayed by Ebe So the attempt by the pastor that there is no religion for the dalits is farce and that would have to be filled with deviatory interpretation. Some statistics: (2 crore visit Mookambika every year, 3 crore visit Dharmasthala, 3-4 crore visit Tirupathy, 3-4 crore visit Palani 2-6 crore visit Sabarimala). Even to visit a village deity before undertaking the journey, often done on foot, they have to observe the set of formal procedure and its own accompanying diksha rites, like every year millions of Hindus under take �pal kavadi� to palani,� fire walking� and �flower showering� to hundreds of Maari Amman temples of Tamilnadu. Millions walk all the way to Thiruchendur Temple during Soorapada vadam.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Guest - 12-19-2008

<b>Preserving the Vedic culture</b>

Kadavallur (Thrissur dist): On their annual pilgrimage to the Kadavallur Sree Rama Temple, Vedic scholars brush up their knowledge of the Rig Veda.

Kadavallur, a sleepy village in north Thrissur, tunes in to Veda chants as scholars meet for a unique debate, called Anyonyam (face-to-face) . This year's debate will conclude on November 25.

In Kerala, only the Rig Veda used to have an institutionalised teaching system. The Yajur and Sama Vedas were traditionally taught in Namboodiri homes.

`Anyonyam' represents the meeting of two major Rig Veda practitioner groups based in Thirunavaya Math and Brahswom Math, which were once patronised by the Zamorin and Cochin kings respectively.

"Such a contest for Rig Veda scholars is held nowhere else. Similar exercises for the other Vedas too are unheard-of," says Kannippayyur Krishnan Namboodiripad of the Kadavallur Anyonya Parishad.

`Varamirikkal' constitutes the competition. `Kadannirikkal' and `Valia Kadannirikkal' are the titles conferred on the winners.

In the first phase of training, students learn the Rig Veda Samhitha (text) by rote. In the next phases, they practise `Padavibhajanam' and `Prayogam.'

Several methods of `Prayogam' are prescribed, but the ones popular in Kerala are `Vaaram,' `Jata' and `Ratha.' When a student gains expertise in Samhita, Padachhedam, Kramam, Jata and Ratha, he competes for the title, Kadannirikkal.

What is the contemporary relevance of Anyonyam?

"Till now, the Vedas were considered mere rites. Thanks to efforts like Anyonyam, it is now a part of an intellectual discourse in Kerala. Through seminars and discussions held as part of Anyonyam, the Vedas are being subjected to modern inter-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary studies," says C. M. Neelakantan of the Parishad.

Poet Akkitham says that Anyonyam signifies a reform in the Hindu community. "Only Namboodiris were once involved in matters related to Vedas. All Hindus are now allowed to witness Anyonyam inside the temple. Countless people watch the proceedings through the visual media. As a result, people of all communities take an interest in a secular, scientific study of the Vedas," he adds.

Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin) - Shambhu - 12-23-2008
vedanta congress 2009