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Indian Culture-general Discussions - II
Denigrating Indian Culture: Eroticising Mricchakatika

Aesthetic Universals and the Neurology of Hindu Art - Vilayanur S. Ramachandran

[url="http://in.news.yahoo.com/countdown-4-000-old-vedic-ritual-begins-kerala-20110308-040630-379.html"]Countdown to 4,000-year-old Vedic ritual begins in Kerala[/url]
Quote:Thiruvananthapuram, March 8 (IANS) The foundation of the sacred fire of the much talked-about 4,000-year-old Vedic ritual, 'Athirathram,' the invocation of Agni - the fire god, was laid in a north Kerala village Monday.

The ritual is to be conducted near the old Lakshmi Narayan temple in the village of Panjal in Thrissur district.

Presided over by the Namboodiri Brahmins of the state, Athirathram will begin April 4 and conclude April 15.

The ritual is aimed at spreading the message of world peace and amity across the world, according to organisers.

The foundation symbol - a bamboo staff - was installed at the site of the main 'yagnyashala,' the site of the hearth, by senior priests and several other Vedic scholars, a statement from the organisers said Tuesday.

They were accompanied by members of the Varthathe Trust, which is sponsoring the fire ritual.

Hundreds of foreign scholars are expected to attend the ceremonies, considered to be the oldest Vedic ritual, to study the impact of the fire worship and the Vedic chants on the environment.

The ritual is being performed after 36 years, the last one being held in 1975.

It involves the chanting of selected mantras from three Vedas, the ancient Sacred Texts of Hinduism - Rig, Yajur and Sama.

The last three days of the rituals will be a non-stop 72-hour chanting session with each priest getting a break of barely 30 minutes.

The offerings made at the site where the foundation staff was planted were in proportion to the height of the chief priest, the 'yajamanan,' Ramanujan Somayajippadu.

Divided into seven portions, the ceremonial offering to appease the fire deity was a combination of bamboo, wood of the arecanut tree and coconut leaves.

The pots and vessels made of clay and wood are also being crafted by a team of local artisans in proportion to the height of the chief priest, the statement explained.

The hearth will be shaped like the mythical bird 'Garuda' or eagle, and made of special bricks laid out to the ancient Vedic measurement, the statement said.

The preparation for 'Athirathram' began six months ago.

Krishna Kumar Namboodiri of the Varthathe Trust said that in 1975, after the completion of the ritual, 'a heavy downpour fell over the area which the sponsors claimed was true to tradition and marked the 'success of the ritual'.

The Panjal Athirathram will be led by Puthillathu Ramanujan Somayajippadu, known as the 'yajamanan' (the chief) and Dhanyapathanadi, the 'Yajamanapathni' (chief's wife). A team of 40 assistants will help with the elaborate rituals.

The venue of the ritual has to be uniquely positioned to imbibe maximum energy from the sun, which has made Panjal the right place for almost all similar ceremonies held in Kerala in the past, a spokesman of the trust said.

The cost is estimated at Rs.10 million and the organisers are expecting at least 15,000 visitors.

People across all faiths can participate in Athirathram, the organisers said.

In 1975, the ritual was documented by Indologist Frits Staal of the University of California and by scholar Robert Gardner, with support from several international agencies.
Narration of day to day account of the ritual is in this blog




12-day 'Athirathram' comes to an end
Quote:Twelve days of ‘chanting of mantras’ and ‘performing homam’ at the panoramic village of Panjal, near Shoranur, came to an end on Friday night.

At the end of 'Athirathram', an ancient Vedic ritual that is considered to be the ultimate invocation of scriptures, the Yajamanan (Puthillathu Ramanujan Akkithiripad) and Yajamanapathni (Dhanyapathanaadi) of the ritual ceremonially left the Yagashala carrying the fire from the altar to their house, where they would keep it burning.

As thousands of people watched, the Yagashala in the vicinity of Panjal Lakshmi Narayana temple was ceremonially set on fire at 10 p.m. marking the conclusion of the 12-day ritual.

[size="5"]Those present at the venue claimed that a ‘garuda’ (eagle) was seen flying over the ‘Yagasala’ early in the day, which experts claimed a good omen.[/size]

[size="5"]Heavy rain that fell over the area delayed the final rituals for sometime. By letting members of various castes and communities to witness the Vedic rites, the Athiratram is said to have reflected the spirit of the changing times in Kerala.[/size]

Lakhs of people witnessed the Yagam, which was once considered the preserve of the Brahmins. The ritual is aimed at promoting universal brotherhood, peace, solidarity, prosperity, and spiritual enlightenment.

Panjal was the venue for many Athirathrams including the one that was held in 1975, under the leadership of Frits Staal, Indologist and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and South/Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Staal recalled the willingness of Namboodiri scholars in sharing their knowledge. The choice of the venue is in line with the geographic and Vaasthu principles. The Yagashala is uniquely positioned to imbibe the energy of the Sun, which has made Panjal the venue for key Yagas in Kerala in the past.

The presence of many Samavedi gurus also makes Panjal a preferred site. Two families of Sama Veda experts, Nellikattu Mana and Muttathukattil Mana, are based in Panjal.

Athirathram is believed to have originated in the 10th century BC and practised until the 6th century BC.

The preparation for Athiratram takes many months and involves making a large number of mud vessels and wooden items. The eagle-shaped altar (chithi) of the Yagashala has been made of 1,110 specially designed bricks.

The Athirathram 2011 was hosted by the Ottappalam-based Varthathe Trust.

A research wing that was constituted as part of Athiratram has been conducting several experiments to study the affects of the Yaga on dynamics of Nature, biosphere, and troposphere. The key findings of the scientific studies were expected to be released by May 15.
Athirathram ritual concludes


Panjal , Saturday 16 April 2011: About 200,000 people watched in utter astonishment as the starry night suddenly turned cloudy and a heavy downpour, accompanied by strong winds, drenched the ‘yagasala’ altar in this Kerala village before and after it was set afire Friday to mark the ceremonial end of Athirathram, the ancient Vedic fire ritual.

Rain appeared miraculously because the weather throughout the day was blistering hot and dry and the sky remained starry and clear in the evening. It changed in five minutes as the sky turned dark and a strong wind built up at around 9.30 p.m.

All areas in the village of Panjal in Thrissur and also in Kochi, the port city, received the rain in a repeat to the 1975 Athirathram, said the organisers.

‘The rain was caused by the strong convection current generated by the smoke rising from the altar and the continuous chanting of the mantras,’ V.P.N. Namboodiri, head of the research team of the Panjal Athirathram, told news agency.

[size="5"]The altar was set on fire at 10 p.m. followed by a fresh wave of rain. Nearly 200,000 people had gathered on the concluding evening of the 4000-year-old fire ritual. They erupted into thunderous applause as the first drops of the rain fell.[/size]

The 12-day fire ritual for peace, purification, fertility, health and rain began April 4. It was organised by a local non-profit group Varthathe Trust to revive dying Vedic traditions in the country.

Panjal is one of the key bastions of the ‘Samavedis’ and ‘Rigvedis’ - practitioners of the ancient Hindu scriptures Sama Veda and the Rig Veda - who have kept the two living traditions of Vedic chants and ‘yagnya’ (worship of elements) alive for nearly 4,000 years. The village was host to four major Athirathrams in 1901, 1918, 1956 and 1975.


When Lord Indra answered the call of Vedas


Panjal (Kerala), April 15 (IANS) The primal Vedic chants that ring across the rolling greens of this village in Thrissur district are a ceremonial invitation to Lord Indra, the god of rain, to join the ancient fire ritual of Athirathram.

Towards the evening, thunder rumbles in the distance, almost as if Lord Indra is responding to the call of the 18 Vedic priests. And it rains. The priests have been chanting round-the-clock for the last three days to build up the energy level.

Panjal, 30 km from Thrissur town, was teeming with humanity on the 11th day of the ritual Thursday evening. For most tourists, it was a cultural and spiritual pilgrimage covering the Kerala Kala Mandalam, near the venue of the ritual, and the Guruvayoor temple in Thrissur district.

The village of 32,000 people has drawn nearly 300,000 visitors in the last 10 days. The footfall is likely to touch 500,000 Friday when the sprawling 380-square metre venue is set afire to mark the end of the 12-day fire ritual for peace, purification, fertility, health and rain.

It has been organised by a local non-profit group Varthathe Trust to revive dying Vedic traditions in the country.

Panjal is one of the key bastions of the 'Samavedis' and 'Rigvedis' - practitioners of the ancient Hindu scriptures Sama Veda and the Rig Veda - who have kept the two living traditions of Vedic chants and 'yagnya' (worship of elements) alive for nearly 4,000 years.

Five families each of Rig Veda practitioners and Sama Veda

practitioners preserve the tradition.

The village has played host to four major Athirathrams in 1901, 1918, 1956 and 1975.

In 1975, noted Dutch Indologist Frits Staal documented the ritual in a two-volume Vedic treatise -- "Agni: The Vedic Ritual of the Fire Altar".

Staal, 81, who has returned this time, watched the proceedings from behind a barricaded enclosure. "Not much has changed. The ritual is alive and well. But it is a real pleasure to be back to Thrissur," he said.

A team from Harvard University led by professor Micheal Witzel is also studying the Sama Vedic chants. "It is one of the oldest living Vedic traditions and has not changed much," Witzel told IANS.

The ancient fire rite is an elaborate avatar of 'agnihotram' and 'somayaga' - fire worship and offering of the 'soma' rasa to the ritual fire - prescribed in the Vedas.

It's said to symbolise the creation of the world with a ball of fire from the big bang, scientists studying the phenomenon say.

Athirathram is the most complex of the Vedic fire 'yagnas', first documented in 1100 BC and continued till 600 BC across the northern Indian river plains after which it disappeared from the northern part of the country.

A Vedic community of Namboodiris Brahmins in south India, however, clung to it.

"It combines chants and rites from the Rig Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda," said Nellikaatilmamanul Vasudevan Namboodiri, one of the oldest Sama Veda practitioners of Panjal.

Yajamana Ramanujan Akkhithiripad, a priest from Chembra in Mallapuram district, presided over the rituals assisted by a team of 17 Vedic priests. Ramanujan's wife - known as the 'yajman pathni', has been camping at the 'yagshala' - the venue of the rite - for the 12 days with her husband as part of the rituals.

The yajamana (presiding priest) and his wife carry the scared fire home in pots and keep it burning for the rest of their lives, Vasudevan Namboodiri said.

At the heart of the ritual is the sacrificial fire that burns in a blaze of fragrant wood and herbal smoke. The ritual hearth resembles the white-crested red eagle found in the area.

"Sighting an eagle is a good omen," says priest Sivakaran Namboodiri.

However, the ritual that generated maximum curiosity was the pressing of Soma stalks or 'somaabhishavam' on the 10th day to be offered as oblation to the fire god Agni.

The 'soma' - an intoxicating creeper that grows in the Western Ghats - is ferried to the venue in special donkey-drawn 'soma' carts in a recreation of the Vedic era.

Over 300 women, decked as brides, partook of the special offering, 'soumyam, (prasadam)', a dish of clarified butter and rice -- for healthy childbirth and conjugal happiness. And an 'annaydanam (food offering)' kitchen fed 40,000 people everyday with traditional Kerala platters of ponni rice, poreal, avial, sambhar, pickles and payasam.
Quote:Rain appeared miraculously because the weather throughout the day was blistering hot and dry and the sky remained starry and clear in the evening. It changed in five minutes as the sky turned dark and a strong wind built up at around 9.30 p.m.

Quote:Those present at the venue claimed that a ‘garuda’ (eagle) was seen flying over the ‘Yagasala’ early in the day, which experts claimed a good omen.

Well of course it would have rained. And of course an eagle would have done a fly-by. It's Hindu religion after all. It works. That's what heathen religions do:

It's like the other hyper-heathens. E.g. the back then still-unconverted Africans with their rain dances, and the native North Americans with theirs - they all did their thing and then it would rain on cue as well, as per even European observers.

Quote:In 1975, noted Dutch Indologist Frits Staal documented the ritual in a two-volume Vedic treatise -- "Agni: The Vedic Ritual of the Fire Altar".

Staal, 81, who has returned this time, watched the proceedings from behind a barricaded enclosure. "Not much has changed. The ritual is alive and well. But it is a real pleasure to be back to Thrissur," he said.

A team from Harvard University led by professor Micheal Witzel is also studying the Sama Vedic chants. "It is one of the oldest living Vedic traditions and has not changed much," Witzel told IANS.

The ancient fire rite is an elaborate avatar of 'agnihotram' and 'somayaga' - fire worship and offering of the 'soma' rasa to the ritual fire - prescribed in the Vedas.

1. Elsewhere, Staal was described as a "Vedicist and Philosopher". Probably self-declared, I don't know who else would pronounce him a philosopher. I understand that now "vedicist" (or whatever) is a term open to any and all, including aliens. But uh... never will he a Philosopher be.

2. Why are aliens allowed to witness an intensely privately Hindu event all of a sudden? Clearly they're not needed for the yagnya to succeed: they're *not* the experts on conducting one (and never will be). But is their presence on account of them choosing to fund some part of this event (as part of their massive self-serving anthropological/aquisition project)?

3. And Witzel & co. - admittedly the most benign of the lot I can think of, together with Staal who I presume is not malignant except for his unnatural presence at an event that doesn't concern him, no matter how wonderful a person he may or may not be -

Witzel deigned to pay an anthropological, indological visit? I recall there was a whole gaggle of alien "vedicists" who declared years ago that they'd read Staal's book (I think it was his work they were referring to, but I confess it could turn out to be some other "important" alien work/account of Vedic ritual, though I suspect it is Staal's work). And the said alien self-declared "vedicists" (though they call themselves "brahmanas" - note the replacement theology) expressed the sort of keen interest in all such things that I am sure the minute they'd have heard of the 2011 event, they would have pre-booked a plane and hopped on over to minutely observe (in order to later copy) the actual heathens in Thrissur.

I once more speak here of the kind of terrific Alien that pretends to perform vedic sacrifices as if they have any right to do so.

I don't care WHO it is and HOW friendly they are nor if it's your own dear beloved boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/blood-brother/parallel-universe-twin, Hindus should tell them to Stay Away from our religion. It's not for sale or for inheritance or gifting or sharing or anything. It simply doesn't concern them.

But Witzel is a dear friend in the comparison to the others who threatened an unnatural interest. Still, isn't Witzel one of those who is visibly anti-Hindu and the one who aspired to cleverness in making some lame acronym concerning the Hindu presence In North America? Never mind he's a German In North America... But if only he would have stayed put there, it wouldn't have mattered to anyone (not to me, anyway). But who invited him to Thrissur, deep in Hindoo territory? How did he figure he had a right to invite himself over? And there, to terrorise Hindus with his presence?

Why does he badmouth Hindus in one place and is yet so desperate to shadow them/insinuate himself into their presence elsewhere in order to observe their extreme heathenism? (That is a question easily answered, though I'm using Witzel as a token here.)

Again: do Hindus ever ask themselves these questions?

When he has long been working against Hindus, what do people think he and more importantly other ...indological or even "vedicist" aliens are doing in India at a yagnya, "observing" it (and doubtless documenting it)? Moreover, when he is so anti-Hindu elsewhere, why this great interest in deeply Hindoo events in Hindu land? And no, it's NOT espionage or something anti-national that they're upto in this particular matter (they could casually come to India at any time by finding some anthropological/indological pretext, and Witzel has. But they specifically desired to come to this.)

The answer is something else. (Oh use your brain.) While Witzel isn't quite so scary, his name is mentioned in the news report and he is a known anti-Hindu, so people should at least be suspicious of him, if no one else. But I doubt he and Staal were the only aliens there - who's betting others wouldn't have missed the opportunity?

I doubt the Hindoos of the yagnya are fully aware of/up-to-speed with certain important matters, but why don't other Hindus who may be in contact with them (surely someone among the organisers/the media reps these events have suddenly got) and who speak English and who keep track of international news enough to know that Witzel is an anti-Hindu (and that other - more silent - aliens with an unseemly and disturbing taste for "Vedic rituals" are even greater anti-Hindus), go and tell the poor heathens of Thrissur not to let any aliens and in particular the alien terrorists (and the scarier ones) anywhere near them and their yagnya? Even if they're not scary but are your best friend (as some indeed are), do they belong there? This doesn't concern them in any way. Nothing Hindu does, but in particular, these things don't. Saying so is not "discrimination". It's simply not aliens' religion. (They have their own legitimate, ancestral religions.) I'm sure I never heard of homams and yagnyas (in Bharatam) where aliens were allowed.

Oh but I forget. This yagnya is described as some sort of Indian cultural event that was projected/explained away in media items as being purely for the "environment" or something. I can't imagine a more Universal(ising) description. Your enemies could skewer you easy with that one (if they have a brain and use it - as I'm sure they do.)
In my opinion ,Witzel is a scientist who is objective in his research.Only people whit subjective views and prejudices accuse him of hidden agenda.
[url="http://www.dailypioneer.com/pioneer-news/oped/11370-embracing-polytheist-hinduism.html"]Embracing polytheist Hinduism[/url]

Vijayendra Mohanty

Quote:The difference of outlook between polytheism and monotheism boils down to being open and being closed. Because religions have a hold on people's imaginations and their sense of right and wrong, religious outlooks define societies. Modern Hindus, instead of being apologetic about the polytheism inherent in their tradition, should seek to embrace it

Since religiosity of one manner or another pervades all societies, there has always been an ongoing intellectual discourse between cultures in the form of religious debate. Since a culture’s religious views often shape its approach towards the world, these debates practically decide how the world works by shaping the course of human civilisation.

When religions interact, they compare notes. They discuss differences in approach to common issues — god, the afterlife, morality. They assess the value of each other’s philosophies, spiritual values, and cultural perspectives. Ideally, these debates should serve to enhance the quality of man’s understanding of his place in the universe. But often enough — and this has been seen historically — there is an element of aggression in such debates. One of the tools that proselytising religions of the Judaeo-Christian tradition use in order to justify converting people to their faiths is arguments that set out to ‘prove’ that one religion is superior to another.

Because religion has always been a very real presence in India, its native traditions — particularly Hinduism — have been the subject of similar debates for a long time. The Hindu way has been assessed by parties with conversion as an agenda and more often than not, such assessment has sought to undermine the validity of Hindu traditions. The debate is obviously most welcome, since Hinduism makes space for a lot of different conflicting philosophies within its folds, but it is also true that many elements of this discourse are not exactly fair.

I want to point out a certain asymmetry in this discourse.

One question that gets asked often is why Hindus worship so many gods. The question is a valid one and an obvious one as well. It deserves a proper answer too. But that is not the point being made here.

The point is the absence of the counter-question. Have you ever heard Hindus ask why Christians or Muslims worship only one god?

So deep and ingrained is the asymmetry in this discourse that the first time you look at it, the question looks downright funny. But it shouldn’t because this too is a perfectly valid question and deserves to be answered in all sincerity.

The monotheistic position is too often assumed to be the default standard against which all other traditions must be judged. Why must this be so?

This lack of response shows on many fronts. The Hindu is asked why he does not have a prophet or a messiah (why does he need one?). He is asked who will ‘save’ him (what’s there to be saved from?), why he worships images of stone (why shouldn’t he?). All these questions stem from the assumption that the monotheistic view of the world is a sort of universal reference point.

Given the lack of understanding even Hindus have of their own traditions, one finds them not questioning such questions. Instead, many seem eager to measure up to the standards that monotheism presents. This is perhaps why one keeps hearing woolly-headed agreement of the sort that responds to the question of polytheism with, “Oh no! God is ONE. Hindus also worship one god. Hindus are also monotheistic.” This apology might seem accurate when you take it at face value. But things reveal themselves to be trickier when you go deeper into the roots of monotheism as an ideology.

Technically, monotheism simply means the acknowledgment of one god. But what it means in the case of modern monotheistic religions is acknowledgment of one god only. This particular variety of exclusivist religiosity is utterly alien to the Hindu view, since Hinduism thrives upon the infinite variety inherent in the world and sees each speck as divine. Monotheism — at least the variety that guides religions like Christianity and Islam — is exclusivist. It prohibits the worship of the divine in any form other than the ‘official’ version. It is rooted in the idea of ‘only one’.

Once we get this distinction clear, it becomes clear that Hinduism does not worship ‘One God’. Instead, Hinduism worships the oneness of all gods and indeed, the oneness of everything in existence. Arguably, the only thing alien to Hinduism is exclusivist religiosity, since it goes against the grain of its pluralist approach to the divine.

The one-centric view of god turns religious discourse into an uncomfortable place. To quote George W Bush, you are either with us, or against us. Notions of good and evil turn the world into a black and white space. You are either in the camp of noble people who have been ‘saved’, or you are in the other camp — the one with devil-worshippers, heathens, kaafirs, and ‘lost’ souls”. In such an intellectual atmosphere, things turn binary very quickly.

The Western variety of atheism is a case in point. It seeks to replace the unforgiving religious value of one with an equally unforgiving value of zero. In order to counter the influence of the Abrahamic religions’ claim that god exists, these atheists take to asserting that there is no god — One versus Zero. This variety of atheism falls prey to the nature of the aforementioned intellectual atmosphere. The black and white nature of this discourse clouds out all options except one and zero, thereby making sure that the debate is fruitful for neither party.

At the end of the day, the difference of outlook between polytheism and monotheism boils down to being open and being closed. Because religions have a hold on people’s imaginations and their sense of right and wrong, religious outlooks define societies.

Modern Hindus, instead of being apologetic about the polytheism inherent in their tradition, should seek to embrace it.

Vijayendra Mohanty is a comic book writer, alleged Hindu chauvinist and co-creator of Ravanayan.
^ The answer is simpler: it should be not in the form of pleading - "let us all embrace 'polytheism'" but in the form of matter-of-factly stating it.*

Hindus *have* many Gods (i.e. saguNa Gods are many; and always distinct from and unrelated to the non-existent sky-terrorist "jeebusjehovallah"). Even had Hindus but "one", if they were to count all the Gods the Japanese have and the Daoists and the Hellenes and and and...., then the total still comes to more than 1 manifest God in this world.

And to be fair, Hindus - thus far famously willing to admit to the existence of jeebus and jehovallah - should re-direct that benefit-of-the-doubt to the deserving: the Daoists, etc.

(* But "polytheism" is such a loaded word. Still,... there is the minor advantage that it will annoy christians greatly if Hindus were to assert it. But dangerous trade-in, that.)

Quote:In my opinion ,Witzel is a scientist who is objective in his research.Only people whit subjective views and prejudices accuse him of hidden agenda.

Oh yes terribly scientific. Confusedarcasm: I suppose that explains why Witzel was once into ISKCON* (IIRC IF members had posted on this)? Such taste is hardly proof of Witzel's scientific temperament.

(* Typical attempt to dabble in others' heathenism - ISKCON is perceived as one of the gateways into the otherwise forbidding Hindu religion.

While I do to some extent sympathise with desperately groping ex-christians - I can *understand* what he actually wanted to do - he should have gone back to Donar and Syf etc. Though only born-heathens of Europe's NW seem to manage that one successfully. Obviously Witzel is so christoconditioned he wouldn't have succeeded there either and may well have U-turned on his own ancestral religion too.)

People don't require "subjective views and prejudices" to accuse Witzel of a hidden agenda. He gives enough occasion for even those who actually feel sorry for him: The fact is that witzel did a U-turn and is now vengeful towards Hindus. (Here's a guess: someone could well have told him that he wasn't invited to dabble in the Vedam, or maybe some wouldn't recognise the "brahmana" ticket that ISKCON sells to all aliens. In any case, other such temporary dabblers are known to have been set off by such an uncompromising position on the part of Hindus, and have done a U-turn and thereafter specifically set out to deny Hindus a claim to their own Vedam. <- So my theory is not entirely impossible considering precursors. Of course, what actually set *Witzel* off/against Hindus is unknown to me.)

Anyway, this one is for Hindoos - related to Mudy's #86 - stolen from a link found off the site of that heathen, Ishwar Sharan:

Just some excerpts on a birthday celebration surrounding Shringeri Matham/Sharada Peetham in KN, from

hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=5213 (On occasion HT still has a few Hindu articles by Hindoos, not just anti-Hindu subversive articles.)

Quote:A Guru's Birthday Event for Everyone

1,500 Vedic priests gather for 13 days of rites at Sringeri Peetham, honoring the 60th birthday of Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji HINDU OF THE YEAR 2011

By Choodie Sivaram, Bengaluru

(Photo at link where the Hindoo - the Swami - looks typically cuddly. Love the veeboothi, by the way. Increases the kallai factor.)

When devotees asked the pontiff of South India's preeminent Sringeri Math about holding a 60th-birthday extravaganza for him, Mahaswamiji responded, "We renunciates do not need such festivities; but if these celebrations provide an avenue for divine invocation, then it is meaningful. These events are for the welfare of the world. Our sankalpa (resolve) has always been: "May the people of this land follow righteousness with sincerity and not get swayed by the sinful. May they be freed from hatred, which manifests as cruelty and results in physical harm. Hatred is the root of conflict."

Hindu tradition considers that life begins at conception; thus, the day of birth is considered one's first birthday. The 60th birthday is a special occasion for all Hindus, and pujas are performed for the person's well-being. Mahaswamiji's devotees wanted to celebrate his 60th birthday on a grand scale. Having obtained his permission, the small town of Sringeri bustled with divine fervor from April 4 to 16 in one of the greatest celebrations in the Peetham's history, honoring Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji.

The celebration brought together the whole town. The Peetham ensured that no one was excluded, that every household felt involved in the festivities. Invitations to the festivities were sent to each and every house. Auto rickshaws used loudspeakers to request all to come to the Math. They urged the women not to cook that day and instead have their family take its meals at the Math.

[color="#800080"](Did someone say Free Food? <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Smile' /> )[/color]

Lanes were filled with hundreds of joyful men, women and children in their best traditional attire: men in dhotis or vesthi, women draped in silk saris and little girls in pavadas. <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Smile' /> The temple town swarmed with visitors: generations of devotees of the Peetham, VIPs, representatives of prominent religious organizations and temples, journalists, photographers and workers. [color="#0000FF"]Most importantly, 1,500 yellow-robed Vedic pandits assembled to perform the many ancient and powerful fire rituals.

Central to the celebration was a series of yajnas and pujas, including the Ati Rudra Mahayajna, three Veda Samhita Yajnas, Mrityunjaya Homa, Lakshamodaka Ganapati Homa, Ugra-ratha Homa, Ayushya Homa and Navagraha Homa. These powerful rites culminated in the Ayuta Chandi Mahayajna, conducted for the first time in the recorded history of Sringeri. This Vedic fire ritual involves ten thousand recitations of Durga Saptashati (also called Devi-Mahatmya), an exposition on the glory of the Goddess from the Markandeya Purana. It is said that difficulties are overcome, diseases cured and wishes fulfilled through the recitation of this sacred text. This powerful ritual requires strict adherence to purity in thought, action and practice from those performing it. For over a year, the purohitas had been carefully screened to evaluate not only their expertise in rituals and scriptural knowledge, but their habits and personal discipline as well. Within the Peetham complex, an entire village had been set up for the priests, with all amenities and comforts, to ensure that throughout the 13 days of celebrations they would not leave the sanctified area.[/color]

[color="#800080"](DM also promises to wipe out all the shatrus. So, My Mother, who is known as the veritable chintAmaNi to her bhaktas - I have but one wish - please destroy christoislamicommunism and may all the sheepish ummah thus freed return to their ancestral Gods=religion, in exactly the way that that pristine, insubvertible, Brilliant One who had emanated from Helios himself - i.e. Julian - did return to the religion of his Divine Parents. With special mention of my own kind: may all the captives of Indian-ancestry return to (the religion of) their Hindu Gods. May all my people be like that faultless Julian.)[/color]

[color="#0000FF"]The atmosphere reverberated with sonorous chants as one thousand Vedic scholars recited the Chandi Paatha in unison. Devotees joined in the chanting of the Durga Saptashati. The Jagadguru's presence charged the air with Godliness.

On the dawn of the Vardhanti day, April 9, thousands of devotees gathered for Anhika Darshana, the sight of Jagadguru in meditation. This is a rare blessing, as acharyas normally perform their sadhanas in private. Sri Narasimhamurthy explains, "The Anhika Darshana is special and powerful since, during japa, the guru will be in communion with God. Having his darshan at this time connects us to the Divine; and if the guru's glance falls on us, it augurs well and removes our karma."

On the evening before the finale, heavy rains lashed Sringeri for three hours, bringing down portions of the yajnashala. No laborers or volunteers could be allowed inside the now consecrated space, so priests and trainees worked through the night to repair and restore the temporary structure.[/color]


On the eve of the Vardhanti, following time-honored tradition, Jagadguru personally performed puja at the shrine of Lord Malahanikareshwara (Siva) after praying at the temples of Sharadamba and Ganapati. Devotees were then given the opportunity to offer personal salutations to Jagadguru, an event called Guruvandanda. Thousands of people offered obeisance--devotees from Sringeri, from across India, and hundreds who had traveled from Australia, US, Canada, Middle East and other parts of the world. Offerings were also made by representatives from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Thirumala Tirupati Devasthnam, Dharmasthala, Kollur Mookambika, BGS and other religious institutions. Dr. Gowrishankar expressed the prevailing mood: "Devotees feel they have received so much by just uttering his name, by his grace, that we must give something as an expression of our devotion and bhakti. Twenty-two years after his ascending the Peetham, this was an occasion to express their gratitude to their guru and benefactor."

That auspicious Vardhanti evening also saw the release of a documentary film on the Jagadguru, "Life and Teachings of an Inspiring Saint;" a pictorial souvenir, Jagadguru Darshanam; and a commemoration volume, Jagadguru Vaibhavam, containing tributes by eminent scholars and dignitaries.

Serving the Satguru

Being constantly in the company of such a divine presence is a blessing. Those who closely interact with Jagadguru are quick to speak of his grace and mystical powers.

Krishnamoorthy says, "I joined the pathashala in 1983. The pontiffs went on an all-India tour, and we went as volunteers. I was thrilled that I could see the various places. In 1987 I was offered the chance to serve Jagadguru as his personal secretary. I got this opportunity because of the accumulation of punya [merit] from my past lives and the devotion of my forefathers."

Now Krishnamoorthy is always by the guru's side as his close confidante, having served him for 25 years. "From the beginning, I decided to remain a brahmachari. The job did not require me to remain a bachelor, but it was my choice. I knew that if I married, my time would be split and I would not be able to dedicate myself completely to my guru. I wanted to devote every minute of my life to him, and I have found bliss in doing so."

Narasimhamurthy narrates many incidents which illustrate the blessings Jagadguru has bestowed upon him and other devotees. He offered, "Gurugalu has vaak siddhi. His words are prophetic." Pt. Krishna Bhat added, "I've seen a lot of miracles. The way my life has turned out is itself a miracle; whatever work I do for guru is always successful." Another devotee, Ramachandra Sastrigalu, shared, "I lost my parents, property, everything very early. I did not know a single word of the Vedas till I was ten. My uncle taught me the Vedas and brought me here. Living here, I have found everything. Guru kripa and Devi's grace is essential. I am a happy man."


Even other monastic orders revere Jagadguru and the Peetham and look to him for guidance. [color="#0000FF"]Swami Japananda of Sri Ramakrishna Sevashrama of Pavagada tells us: "The Ramakrishna Order of monks traces its roots to the Math through Paramahansa Ramakrishna's guru, Sri Tota Puri, who carried the Math's legacy. For this reason, even to this day, the Ramakrishna Math monks pay their highest tributes to the Dakshinamnaya Sharada Peetham."[/color]

[color="#800080"](See see, RKM=Hindoo.)[/color]

No Distinctions

The number of devotees visiting Sringeri Math has increased steadily over the decades. The concept that Sringeri Math is a Brahminical institution, not open to outsiders, changes instantly when one observes and interacts closely with it. Over 95 percent of present-day visitors are of the non-traditional, non-Brahmin classes. Pandit Krishna Bhat observes, "Earlier, people who came were mainly the traditional parampara (lineage) devotees. Now the crowds have increased manifold, and people from all sects and places come to take darshan, often seeking the blessings of good education and intelligence for their offspring. [color="#0000FF"]Many vouch that their lives have been transformed through Jagadguru's blessings. They have been spiritualized, and wishes have been fulfilled."

Shyamsundar Polishetty, who hails from the business community, says, "Swamiji named both my children. We sought his blessings for the Anna Prashnam ceremony (first solid food). Guruji asked us to bring the child to the Adhistana temple, where he himself fed the child and performed the Anna Prashna. Would this have been possible if the Math was purely brahminical? We have never ever felt discrimination by the guru or administration."

[color="#800080"](He fed the baby himself? That is so cute.

But the "brahminical" statement labours under a misapprehension. Lots of brahmanas have fed Hindoo babies and children and adults from various backgrounds. This is nothing new or unsurprising.)[/color]

Sringeri's auto rickshaw drivers echo similar sentiments. "We are proud to belong here. This is a divine land, and we have Jagadguru protecting us. To us, he is the visible God, and we seek his blessings in everything we do. We have never felt alienated because of our caste. He has been most benevolent towards us; he lends an ear to our difficulties, guides and helps us. We abide by his every word. Every member of this town is treated with warmth and care. Look at the number of people who flock to have darshan and his blessings. This proves that the Peetham is open and fair to all."[/color]

[color="#800080"](If only we could have Swami Lakshmananda and Swami Aseemananda and Swami Amritananda - was it - etc back. Sigh.)[/color]

Dr. Gowrishankar elaborates, "Eighty percent of our followers are non-brahmins. Even our donations are mostly from non-brahmins. We are an institution meant for human beings. All are welcome here. There are [color="#FF0000"]even many Christians who come to our Math[/color] and stay here and seek what they want. (Uh-no. Foot in the door. Dangerous. Look what happened to the Acharyas at Kanchi Peetham. Then again, Sharada at her Peetham may bring these straying sheep back to her Vedic religion this way. Who of Hindoo ancestry could resist her.) People from all sects come here, and all are treated equally, without discrimination. Anyone can walk in and have darshan of Goddess Sharada or the Jagadguru. There are no separate queues, entry fees or discrimination. Representatives from many institutions from different communities come to us to learn, seek guidance and set up their own religious maths." He adds, "Jagadguru dislikes caste discrimination. He believes there is only one creed, and that is the human race."

The Institution

The Peetham is dedicated to promoting nondualism and Vedic learning, upholding the Smarta traditions and advaita philosophy. Priests and scholars trained in the Sringeri method at the Peetham's gurukula are globally respected. Graduates serve at the Kathmandu Pasupathinath Temple and other ancient shrines. (Oh, serving the Pashupati himself at his famous Abode.... ConfusedcoreSmile

While holding fast to the strength of tradition, the Peetham has kept pace with modern trends and technology. Its website is promptly updated with Jagadguru's latest discourses and current news of Math activities. The research center boasts a state-of-the-art digital knowledge database. Construction activities continue to expand, building new guest houses for devotees. The large dining hall is served by a highly efficient kitchen, feeding 10,000 people every day. [color="#800080"](Typically Hindoo.)[/color]


Quote:Ours is the music of goddess Kali: Metallica

[color="#800080"](Choice of spelling is Press Trust of India/PTI's contribution, I'm sure.)[/color]

Saturday, 29 October 2011 13:59 PTI | Gurgaon

Landing in India to perform two days after Diwali, American heavy metal band Metallica said their music is one of a kind and influenced by goddess Kali.


"Our music is very different. It is the music of Kali," Hammett (Metallica guitarist) said at a press conference here yesterday before their concert was cancelled.

I have no argument with Metallica. But their opinion on this sounds typically new-age: they conjure the popular western notion of Kali into their minds, without the slightest clue that it has nothing to do with Kali and everything to do with neo-paganism.

On this matter, Metallica's lead guitarist obviously doesn't know what he's talking about. Their music is no more the music of Kali than it is of say Lakshmi or Saraswati or Gayatri etc. (Also, Kali - like all the Hindu Gods - is said to be the source of all the Hindu Kalaa-s and to be an enjoyer of these. The music of Kali is Hindu music, she likes the Songs of the Saamam, Shyamala plays the Veenaa, etc.) Why can't Metallica say theirs is the music of Thor or inspired by Thor? (Okay, don't know about metal - old or Nu - but in any case, Donar must be the God of the epic genre of music known as P.R. It's so beautiful and sounds like the NW European landscape.)

The alien world thinks that Kali is the "Goddess of Darkness, Death and Destruction" or something (and not in the kaalaraatri and samhaaram sense, but in the angry mayhem sense).

Actually, more extreme still: new-age satanists even imagine she has something to do with the christian hell. (And even tongue-in-cheek entities list her in a line-up that includes the various devils of the christian hells like Beelzebub etc.) This alien connotation given to Kali is inline with the villain role the west has long attributed to her, hence even seen in the typical Harryhausen "Hero versus evil monster" setpiece in "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad" where the protagonist battled and IIRC killed a claymation character that the west pretends has something to do with Kali. Will find some images.)

[Image: kali3.jpg]

[Image: goldensinbad05.jpg]





More at http://www.devildead.com/indexfilm.php3?FilmID=387

All such dawaganda against Kali etc comes down from the christocolonial era, where "kah-lee" was projected as some demonic entity that killed at random. Aliens will never get it, I suppose.

Meanwhile new-ageist aliens, who'll also never get it, are worse still and encroach on all Hindu Gods - especially Goddesses (it's an attraction for all things new age and neo-pagan) - and pretend their dabbling selves have something to do with the Hindu Gods. The "neo-pagans" are the ones frequently seen collecting Hindu mantras, calling themselves mantrinis (many of them are women, since new-age religions have a surplus of something called "Goddess Religion" - which has nothing to do with actual heathens' religions that focus on heathen Goddesses, but which will insist on dabbling with *heathen* religions' Goddesses all the same), and many aliens often dabble in Buddhism and call themselves "Buddhist" only because they imagine this will give them access to Hindu Gods and *Hindu* texts on Hindu Gods. It's insane how aliens pounce on Hindu stotras - from Hindus' upanishads and Hindus' puranas etc - all while pretending this has something to do with their assumed Buddhism.

But, that's christo-conditioned aliens: there's no end to their hopeless weirdness.

You'd think that once they forswear christianism they'd snap out of it. But no, they will be 1. wiccans or neo-/"pagans" AND 2. "buddhists" AND 3. dabblers in "Hellenismos" AND 4. dabblers in "Daoism" AND 5. dabblers in "Hinduism" or at least Hindu Gods and Hindu stotras with no credit given to Hindus' religion. (And often they're students of 6. Greek AND/OR 7. Latin AND 8. Sanskrit.) Ugh.

But I suppose angelsk-speaking Indians - the kind (very common among NRIs in western nations) who fall over themselves on acquiring foreign uh "converts" and actively hope to induct many more aliens into Hindus' ancestral religion* -

but I suppose those angelsk-speaking Indians, sorry "Hindus", will think all such new-age dabblers are some kind of victory for or asset to Hindu Dharma. They actively seek alien "converts", after all. If only one could be divorced from such Indians. But I forget: there never was any relation to begin with.

If I never see another alien dabbling in Hindu religion again, it will be Too Darn Soon.

At least can be pleased that the FAQ at Ysee.gr contains a bit on avoiding neo-paganism etc, covered in their typical clear-minded manner.

* E.g. of Indians actively seeking converts among aliens:


Quote:January 3, 2010 · 10:35 am

Why Hinduism will win in the end


Just explain the concepts of Hinduism to Americans and Europeans and they will come on their own — there is no need for us to carry rice bags with us like missionaries to sell spurious goods that no one will buy otherwise. Aren’t we all proud to be Hindu, the inheritors of the greatest civilisation humanity has ever produced?

[color="#800080"](I'm not even going to comment.)[/color]

I request you to mail the link of Hindu Wisdom to everyone you know. Post it on your Facebook page and spread it everywhere.

Read this to know how Hinduism is taking America by storm:

[color="#800080"](Oh the cheese.... It's not just Hinduism that's taking the west "by storm", but also Buddhism, Voodoun, wicca, blabla. Anything and everything. It's called new age.)[/color]

America fast adapting to “things Indian”

Wendell Thomas also agrees that Hinduism has invaded America.

These people... they can't even reconvert the ethnic Hindus of Bharatam who were and are being brainwashed out of their ancestral Hindu religion and away from their own Divine Parents. And yet, instead, they want to add themselves to the number of Religion Salesmen and sell off Hindu religion to aliens, as if aliens don't have their own ancestral religions (which they ought to be in).

Hindus' religion Does Not Compute To Aliens, it *Will* Fry Their Brains. It *Always* Fries Their Brains. That's what is behind their immediate if not eventual U-turns: they're not heathens, they just momentarily imagine they want to be/can be. If they *were* heathens, they'd be content with their own ancestral religion. Instead of Dabbling or playing Pick And Choose Buffet.

The Hellenes at Ysee.gr who wrote their FAQ are entirely contented with their ancestral religion, the way Hindus, Daoists etc are.

I don't know what's worse: the malefic or vapid alien dabblers terrorising Hindus and Hindu religion* by presuming they have a "right" to other people's ancestral religions/Gods, or the crazy Indians superficially infatuated with their religion that they imagine it is something to be sold to all (by which usually the West is meant). "We'll train you in Yoga and Bharatanatyam, even Vedic Mantras and Homams (!)". I think *Indians* are the ones to blame for a lot - though not all - of the alien dabbling. Yes, I blame not just the jetsetting new-age 'swamis' of various Indian cults - who sell bottled Hinduisms to aliens - but also the everyday Indian PR campaigner for Hinduism (see above example), who are similarly aiming to invite aliens to Hindus' religion (which was never for sale or sharing and certainly no one else's business) and hoping to snag as wide a global audience as possible. And they're mostly - if not always - desperately after the *west*, for rather obvious reasons.

Their knowledge of their ancestral religion seems to also be inversely proportional to their eagerness to get aliens to adopt their religion: all their fervour is externally directed.

I think there's a need for a thread on "Culture Vultures and Religion Thieves: Aliens, Hands Off Our Ancestral ('Ethnic') Religion". But it will not catch on while a growing number of Indians are yet infatuated with acquiring foreign converts. Then when the aliens finally declare that everything Hindu is open-source and belongs to them, the same Indian Religion Salesmen will start whining again (as they did about what happened to Yoga, say) and declare that "it's Hindu, it's Hindu". If people don't want to land themselves into that sort of trouble again, tell the Aliens to Stay Away. Just a uniform "No Conversion And No Dabbling" to everyone and everything. Don't think about their "feelings" - they'll get over it soon enough, probably sooner than it would take for them to U-turn.

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