Blog

Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Flu

0
ayurveda

The winters and cold season are bad for many diseases and the flu is one of many. The wetness spreads more microorganisms and its most dangerous when the disease causing spreads more. The flu is caused by a virus known as the Rhinovirus. These viruses spread the cold and flu very fast through air and water. Although cold or flu is a common problem during the seasons of winter and cold, when they attack us, it might feel like an eternity to get better.

You might have already popped a lot many of those tablets and capsules, which are actually no good for a speedy recovery. Many of these medicines are bound to cause some side effects which can be more harmful than just the spreading of the flu.

Ayurveda is a medicine practiced since ages and it is believed that the wellness depends on body, mind and spirit. In Ayurveda the first treatment for any problems in to grow immunity of the body by building plenty cells that can fight the disease and give necessary strength.

Ayurveda medicine and practices have some of the best home remedies for flu and most of it are non expensive. In fact, some of them are so simple to use is that the ingredients could be bought for treating right from your kitchen.

Here are a few home remedies for flu and other cold problems.

1. Flushing the toxins out

While medicines specify that to keep body healthy drinking water is necessary, Ayurveda specify on this more and it is recommended for people with flu and cold health issues to drink plenty of hot water. The water flushes out all the toxins in the body and develops immunity to kill the flu causing organisms. Hot water is more safer for drinking purposes because when water is boiled it kills all the disease causing organisms that may be present in it.

2. Salt water Gargling

Salt water gargling is one of the best medicine for flu as it makes the mucus loosen up and melt its way out clearing the bacteria and other harmful microbes from the throat. Research and study have proved that people gargling with salt water have shown a lot improvement with their cold and flu conditions. Take a cup of warm water and mix ¼ or ½ tsp of salt to it. Gargle the entire water a few times until the water touch base to your throat. The salt water gargling relieves sore throat and itchy sensation, making it easy to breath and it also clears the respiratory tract. Three times a day of salt water can be beneficial for faster relief.

3. A dose of Basil leaves

Basil leaves also known as the Tulasi in Indian regional languages has strong medicinal abilities. These leaves are used in preparing medicines for many ailments. There is a rise in the people affected with Swine flu recently and developing countries like India has more and more cases of the Swine flu which has caused even death among people. But this disease can be prevented with careful daily steps, especially in the winter seasons when it spreads faster. Wash about five basil leaves and eat it everyday. The leaves improves your immunity and clears the lungs and throat. Eating basil leaves everyday prevents the spread of Swine flu.

4. Ginger to soothe your stomach

A flu can affect in various ways. Sometimes if it causes cold symptoms and fever while other times it can cause stomach upset leading to diarrhea, vomiting and other stomach relating problems. Ginger is one of the best home remedies for stomach flu, which is easy to consume. Ginger relieves pain of flu as it has a strong soothing agent nutrients in it that helps in clearing the stomach with bacteria and viruses. Ginger also clears the sinus mucus. Take a small piece of ginger, peel the skin and chew it for a while before swallowing. If you find the taste too hard on your tongue, you can always make a ginger tea which also soothes your throat. Ginger is very good for stomach flu and helps cures problems of diarrhea. A note of caution, do not mix ginger and an aspirin as it thins the blood.

5. A mix of Garlic

Garlic is one of the basic ingredient in most dishes. Garlic also has many health benefits and hence it is used in curing many diseases and is one of the main ingredients in the remedies of flu as well. Depending on the taste and an individual liking garlic can be consumed in different ways. Eating two to four flakes of garlic everyday early in the morning is very good to clear sinus, cold and flu symptoms. If digesting the taste is difficult the garlic flakes can be mixed with your food or with milk after crushing it nicely and can be consumed. The combination of ginger and garlic tea twice a day is one of the best remedies for flu, which soothes throat, stomach and clears the lungs.

6. A glass of Milk

Most of us have a habit of drinking a glass of milk before going to bed, which is very healthy. If you are not allergic to milk and turmeric, then these two can be a strong cure for flu symptoms. Mix a teaspoon of cooking turmeric to a glass of milk and boil it. Drink it lukewarm before you go to bed. Turmeric has medicinal abilities that clears the mucus from throat and sinus and makes it easy to breathe during sleep.

Some of these are the Ayurveda home remedies for flu, which are easy to do in the comforts of your home. But remember nothing gets cured within a few hours or in a short span. Continue at least two or three times every day for better results.

Hindu Evolution, by S.K. Balasubramanian

0
hindu evolution

Hinduism accepts and advocates evolution. I look upon Dharma as the ethos that promotes social evolution. I depend upon the Taittiriya Upanishad, the concept of the Dahshavatara or ten incarnations of God, and the Gita, to explain evolution according to the Hindu beliefs. We shall discuss these below.

Hindu evolution is different from Darwinian evolution. Darwinian version has two derivative postulates, natural selection and survival of the fittest. According to the first postulate, environment or circumstance decides which species survive under a given set of conditions. Thus, white, snow-covered ground favored the survival of white minnows. They became less visible to predators. When the snow turned blackish with coal ash after industrial revolution, the environment favored the gray-colored bird. Intra- and inter- species competition is implied in the second postulate, namely, survival of the fittest. Hinduism rejects this postulate.

Friedrich Nietzsche extended the second Darwinian postulate to expect super man as the end product of human evolution. He demanded that, to aid evolution of a superman and super human species, societies should mercilessly weed out the morons, the imbecile and the inefficient. He identified Christianity with compassion that offers protection to these ‘anti-evolutionary’ elements. Their propagation should be ruthlessly stopped for evolution to run its course. As a first step Nietzsche said an Anti-Christ would emerge who would purge the society of compassion and eliminate all these genetically regressive individuals. The Nietzsche mind-set inspired the Nazis. Both were mentally deranged. Nietzsche died in a lunatic asylum. Hitler’s sanity was suspect.

I have dealt with Hindu Genesis or the Hindu view of the origin of life in another article. Life on earth has an umbilical connection with the Space-Time or the Universe as shown in the Padmanabha icon. The icon agrees in many details with the conclusions of science.

Taittiriya Upanishad deals with primary evolution. The soul is said to be shrouded by five sheaths respectively. The first sheath is called the anna maya or one made of food, the next one pranamaya or made of breath, then the mano maya or made of mind, followed by vignyana maya or discriminative intelligence and finally a sheath of eternal happiness, Ananda or Bliss.

I interpret these sheaths as the evolutionary stages that life system had passed through in its evolution. The first was the anaerobic life form that depended upon only food for survival and multiplication. These were the most primitive forms. Methanogenic (methane producing) or archae bacteria are in this class.

The next evolutionary development was the appearance of aerobic forms of life that require oxygen for survival. The Upanishad calls this stage the praana maya sheath. The next stage is the appearance of the intelligent forms of life. These are the insect and lower forms of animals. They have the ability to perceive and to react instinctively to their environment. They lack the ability to analyze, sort out and make overall sense out of the messages.

Above the intelligent form is the one called Vignyana or discriminative ability. Collation of a lot of information and analyzing them is the special skill that this form of life has. This is the highest form in evolution. So far only humans have this ability.

The last evolutionary state of bliss is as yet unknown. Gita calls Krishna the Purushottama or the perfect human being. I think he may qualify for the highest evolutionary level.

The dashavatara (or the ten incarnations of god) concept is in agreement with the idea of evolution of species held by biologists. According to the latter life started as unicellular organism in aquatic environment and progressed to the higher forms.

The Avatar idea is a singularly Hindu concept that says that God descends to earth to enforce Dharma or evolution. The Gita asserts, “When Dharma is in trouble and the anti-dharma forces are ascendant, I (Krishna) get born on earth to establish Dharma.” (IV, 7,8) According to fossil records, life had been apparently destroyed several times and reappeared again and again. The destruction of dinosaurs is the most prominent example.

According to biologists life started in water and evolved through several intermediate stages to the Homo Sapiens level.

The ten incarnations of God are justified on the basis of the above assertion. The first avatar is that of fish or Matsya-avataar in aquatic environment. God comes in the form of a fish to save life forms from a flood. The episode of flood finds place in the Mesopotamian epic Gilgamesh.  From there it was taken over by the Jews and is now a belief subscribed to by all religions.

The Hindu chronology is set by the date of disappearance of the river Saraswati. The event occurred nine thousand years ago. The riverbed is seen from satellite photography. The river was very broad, 27 kms. at its widest point.  The river flowed from Manasarovar lake to the Arabian Sea and disappeared after a cataclysmic upheaval in the Himalayas that blocked its course. Therefore one may be justified to say that Hindu civilization and beliefs are older than the Egyptian and Mesopotamian ones. The distinguishing feature was that Hindu civilization was characterized by cultural artifacts and not by monuments.

The absence of archaeological evidence is because the mythological age was over before the invention of burnt pottery. The method of making fire was invented by a Vedic sage Angiras. The method is still used in the ritual known as Yagnya. It is therefore very plausible that human settlements from the hunter stage started first in Aryaavarta or northern India. Fire God or Agni is considered as the foremost protector (Purohita or foremost well wisher) of humanity (from wild animals). Aryans, Hindus and Zorastrians, are the only people to worship fire as a God.

The next evolutionary stage is amphibian Koorma or the tortoise. This avatar has more than usual significance. The purpose of this avatar was to secure the nectar of immortality from the heavens. Significantly, the turtle has the highest longevity amongst the species.

Strangely, Mongols also regard the Turtle as divine. There was a huge statue of the turtle in the unfinished capital of Ghengis Khan, Karakoram.

The turtle played a major part in the churning of the vast ocean of milk in the outer space. The purpose was to get to nectar. Many animal species and blessed forms of divinity emerge from the ocean. This is important because it confirms what the Padmanabha icon implies, namely, a divine hand/participation in evolution of life. This would correspond to what creationists, mostly based in the US, believe in. They call their belief “intelligent design.”

I am told that a sculptured model of the churning of the ocean of milk is placed in the lobby of the Bangkok airport in Thailand.

The next avatar is Varaha or wild boar. In this stage life has emerged from the aquatic environment and is wholly independent. Varaha is followed by the lower human forms known as Homo erectus in science and in mythology as Narasimha or the man-lion. This species stood erect but was still governed by animal instincts. We hear of monkeys assisting Shri Rama in the epic Ramayana. I would consider these monkeys as subhuman species living side by side with humans without interbreeding.

There is evidence that in an Israeli cave the Neanderthals and the humans lived without interbreeding for 50,000 years.

The midget human Vamana is the next stage in mythological evolution. From there evolution takes us to a rule-bound human in the form of Rama. The last stage of evolution is Krishna, the Purushottama or the perfect human being. This is why Krishna is worshipped in all stages of life- as infant Mukunda, as a child Damodara or Balakrishna, as a carefree teenager, Venu Gopala, as a lover Radhakrishna, as a warrior (Kamsa chaanoora mardana), and finally as the philosopher on the battle field of Kurukshetra. He represents the quintessential joy of life.

The Gita devotes one chapter (X) to evolution in all species. It concludes that all forms of excellence are divine manifestations. This chapter distinguishes Hindu evolution from the Darwinian. Every species evolves independently to the best within its limitations. There is no competition among the species for survival. With this chapter Hinduism rejects the idea that only the fittest survive. Peter principle is more relevant than Darwin.

Peter Principle states that in any organization every employee tends to reach his level of incompetence. When an employee is found efficient at any particular level he is promoted to the next higher level. The process goes on till he is promoted to a point where the employee becomes a misfit and stagnates. Species also tend to follow the rule. They stagnate at the level of their incompetence. Within each species the evolutionary trend is to produce the best. This is what the Gita says.

A corollary is that every one should try to reach the best of his potential. Excellence in any form, profession or activity is divine. If one wants to reach God the only way is to realize one’s highest potential.

Arjuna poses a FAQ: “How does one recognize a divine manifestation”. (17)

Krishna answers:

“There is no limit to my manifestations. I shall tell you the major ones.”
“I abide in all beings. I am the beginning, middle part and end of all creation. (18, 19)

“I am Vishnu among the Adityas. Among the bright objects I am Ravi the Sun God. I am the moon among the stars.” (20)

“Among the Vedas I am Saama Veda. Among the Devas I am Indra. I am the mind among the senses, and consciousness of the created beings.”

“I am Shankara among the Rudras, Kubera of the Rakshasas, and Meru among the mountains. (22)

“I am Brihaspati among the priests, Skanda among the generals and the ocean among water bodies.” (23)

“Among the rishis I am Brgu. In forms of meditation I am Japa. Among the mountains I am the Himalayas. (24)

I am Ashwatta (peepul) among the trees; Narada among the devarishis; Chitraratha among the Gandharvas; and the Muni Kapila among the siddhas. (26)

“I am Ucchaishravas among the horses; know me to be born of the eternity;
I am Airavata among the elephants; among men I ma the king. (27)

“In the weapons class I am Vajra; among the kine I am Kamadhenu;
I am Manmata among the progenitors; Vasuki among the poisonous snakes. (28)

“Among the nonpoisonous snakes I am Ananta (who bears Vishnu in his coils in the Padmanabha icon). Varuna among the Yadasas;
I am Aryama among the forefathers; and Yama among the controllers. (29)

I am Prahlada among the Daityas; among the animals I am the lion; and Garuda among the birds.  (30)

I am the Wind God among the purifiers; Rama among the soldiers;
Among the fishes I am the shark; among the rivers I am the Ganga. (31)

Among the Vrishnis I am Vaasudeva and among the Pandavas I am Arjuna;
Among the Munis I am Vyaasa; among the poets Usana. (37)

Finally Krishna sumps up the divine manifestations. “ Wherever one finds brilliance, prosperity and durability recognize the same as a divine manifestation”. (40)

“I pervade the whole Universe and sustain it as my singular manifestation. (42)

The important point is that under divine guidance every species evolves to its most brilliant form. In this respect Hindu evolution differs from Darwinian evolution. At every level there is divine blessing and sustenance for evolution to the best.

Source: http://www.hinduyuva.org/tattva-blog/2008/06/hindu-evolution/

Who is the Founder of Hinduism?

3

dharman tu sakshad bhagavat pranitam

It was the creator (whom we call God) created dharma. In every cycle (yug) the Avatar manifests or incarnates on earth. If we delve back on the Vedic scriptures it is easy to find that it is dharma, which has taken root. The descendants fall in line as the Lord teaches the scriptures to the first Universal entity Brahma.

Untitled

It is said that in each cycle (yuga) the Lord will incarnate and bring back dharma and its principles to the living beings on earth.

Lord Krishna has said in the Bhagvat Gita:

yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srijamy aham

(Bhagavad Gita 4.7)

“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion – at that time I descend myself to reestablish it.”

Each guru has been a shisya and then after learning teaches the next. This way the guru-shisya parmapara holds the tenets of Hinduism. Many rishis and munis have become important and have shaped the thinking of their disciples. The same knowledge of the scriptures has been taught from one guru to a shisya. This is adherence to the Vedic system and there can be no founder but all are disciples. The concept of Dharma is not man made and is celestial. The Creator’s instructions dharman tu sakshad bhagavat pranitam are to be followed.

Who is the founder of Hinduism?

Truth is stranger than fiction. The world’s oldest faith Hinduism has no founder-This is the plain truth.  While other religions have founders who are followed, people of Hindu faith have no founder to look up to. It was never a religion in the first place! It was the cultural norm that took shape into a way of living for a civilization on the banks of the Indus Valley. Many people will continue to ask who is the founder of Hinduism. And the faithful will continue to say that this faith is a cosmic blend of scripture teachings of the Vedas, traditions and customs to awaken the dormant soul of human beings. In the absence of any leader, or founder billions of people still follow the faith. What makes Hinduism move on?

Sacred texts still revered as the final word! 

There is a very rich cumulative series of sacred texts written in Sanskrit that have played a very significant part in making people believe in this faith. Along with the written word, the arts and visual forms have also contributed to making it dominant from the Indus Valley civilization period.

Today, Hinduism has a large presence in entire South East Asia and is know worldwide. Early scholars coined the word ‘Hinduism’ because it was dominant in the Indian sub-continent. The earliest Greek visitors to the country called it ‘Indoi’. It was in the 16th century that the word ‘Hindu; became more frequent by the natives. The overseas merchants still categorized the group of people more as religious rather than give it a regional, cultural or ethnic or even a geographical connotation.  For most Hindus they prefer to call it a Vedic religion as they follow the Vedas and its teachings. It is often referred to as ‘Sanatan Dharma’ or eternal law.

The founding principles that have developed through various millennia break the followers as:

  1. Vedic period
  2. Challenge to Brahmanism
  3. Hinduism under Islamic rule
  4. Sacred texts and philosophical literature
  5. Practical Hinduism in the 21st century
  6. Rituals and common social practices
  7. Institutions &cultural representation
  8. Hinduism beyond India through Indian diaspora

What makes Hinduism differ from other faiths? 

  1. It does no have founders as in case of Christianity, Islam Sikhism, Buddhism, and Judaism.
  2. There is no concept of a single deity or a Holy text
  3. Not one method of morality
  4. No central religious authority
  5. No concept of Prophet or God
  6. Freedom of interpretation of the sacred texts
  7. Religious tolerance

How the faith has survived for centuries?

Many cultures have emerged and then vanished all over the world. But Hinduism has survived. There are many reasons why it is still thriving and people across the world are converting on their own. On the surface what makes it thrive is its practical nature towards humanity and approach to live & death. Once the misconceptions are removed, it is clear that this faith endures more and awakens one to true spirit. Since there are many Hindus in India it is also called as Hindustan. But there are practicing Hindus in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Fiji also. The Indian diaspora that has migrated to UK, USA and Europe, South Africa and many other places in the world have also contributed to its spread. From ancient times i.e. Vedic times the faith has evolved and continues to do so. The word Hinduism has not meaning. It was a word coined by the foreigners who entered the country as merchants. Armed forces of Portuguese, Dutch and British also settled in the country and made ‘Hinduism’ a common name.

Worshiping factors

Most Hindus believe there is one God or ‘Brahman’. Those who worship several deities consider them as the manifestation of the Brahman. The deities are in human form. But Hindus also consider mountains, rivers and temples to be sacred. Several trees and animals are also considered sacred. The cow is considered the holiest of all animals and is called gau mata (mother).

Temples and shrines (natural formations of stones) are considered places of worship and have existed for many centuries. There are many rituals and rites involved in worship. There are distinct Vaishnavism, Shivism and Shakti worship. They are worshipped so that the Hindu leads the right kind of life and follows the correct path to salvation.

The aim of every Hindu is focused on dharma (right way of living), arth (right way of earning wealth), kama (right desires) moksh (liberation or salvation. Generations of Hindus have adhered to these four goals of life. These four goals are important in all the four stages of life called, Bhramacharya (life as student), Gristhashram (family life) Vanasprathashram (leaving home and family), and Sanyasashram (discard all links with material life and connect to spirituality).

Other aspects of Hinduism that have emerged

It is not just the way of life that ‘Hinduism’ has contributed to the world. Along with it, there are various significant things that have emerged as valuable assets to human life. The rest of the world has hailed the potent force often as they discover the hidden gems. Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation, Pranayama and even Vegetarianism have been Hindu-centric! Now even the rest of the world is looking at them in a new light and reacting to them positively.  The other secret traditions that have also unfolded include, palmistry, tantra, mantra Jap, astrology, martial arts, Vastu, mathematical decimal system and Zero.

Hinduism is the reason for the existence of Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

Who is a pure Hindu?

Despite the fact that there is no single founder of Hinduism, it is remarkable that followers of this faith continue with the precepts and traditions from Vedic times. Right from those days, till today a Hindu will follow:

  1. Ahimsa (non-violence)
  2. Path of Satya (truth
  3. Asteya (not to steal or rob)
  4. Remain a bhramacharya (good thoughts, words, and deeds) It also means there will be no promiscuity and extra marital affairs.
  5. Kshama (forgiveness)
  6. Dhriti (Be steadfast and focused in every stage of life)
  7. Daya (show compassion)
  8. Arjaya (remain honest life long)

Hindu philosophy

 Those who follow this faith do so as per the Vedic traditions.

If you ask a practicing Hindu today he would say, Hinduism is the Oldest and Greatest Religion in the world wherein Dharma and Adharma are clearly defined so that people could easily identify them when they have to follow up one out of the two.  Most people following Hinduism knows very well what are the dharmic (not harming anyone even by thought) activities and follow them up very easily so that they could attain a good life of peace and prosperity and also their grandchildren in that row.

 Hinduism also has lot of good things in it like yoga, meditation, medication, living good styles, harmless foods, natural cooking systems and eating systems.

 Its general humane theme is HELP EVER HURT NEVER, which is helping people in India to align themselves with other people from other religions united.

 The Hindu Undivided Family system is a system wherein the entire family of a man starting from him till his 4th generation grand children are all live together in the same family or house or village with uniform thoughts and actions and act as a helping in bringing up children and even big ones in the family in good thoughts and activities which will help them as well as the society in various ways.

 HINDUISM IS LIVING A DIVINE LIFE NOTHING ELSE.” 

Practical Hinduism as practiced by diaspora & world 

Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti

Major religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam have spread all over the world. Preachers have emphasized on the teachings of the leaders. But there have been no preachers of Hinduism that can spread the faith. So how has it gone beyond the shores of ‘Hindustan’? It is the Indian Diaspora who has taken their faith along with them wherever their fortunes have taken them. It is these people who have settled as PIOs and created a base for more people to be introduced to the Hindu philosophy. Other than them as travel soared imminent Hindus like Swami Vivekanand took the world by storm. Since then a series of Hindu philosophers, gurus and scholars have been instrumental in spreading the tenets of the faith. Indians who migrated to East Africa, Britain, US took with them their traditions and rituals. That’s how the subsequent generations have continued in the footsteps of their elders.

Conclusion-Who is founder of Hinduism?

Perhaps no other religion in the world, other than Hinduism has been so open to interpretation or searched for logical conclusions about its founder. It can be said that it leads to several paths of wisdom that are based on logical reasoning by the human mind. There is no divine authority that can lay claim to its teachings. Located in the ancient river belts of the Indus Valley, the Vedic society was established as Dharma. Thinkers propagated new philosophies. The same shall continue

Hinduism Origins, Hinduism History and Hinduism Beliefs

0

Obscurity marks Hinduism origins

but

Hinduism beliefs make it the oldest faith on earth

Steeped in antiquity, deep in philosophy, there is no single founding member, or leader who developed Hinduism. There was no concept of ‘Hinduism’ in the strict sense when civilization emerged around the Indus Valley between 65000 BCE to 1000 AD. For beginners, who search for founding principles or basic tenets, it is an exercise in futility. It is true that obscurity or Hinduism origins are incomprehensible due to their open source of interpretation. But, there is no doubt that the faith holds fort (for believers) due to basic tenets, Hinduism beliefs and several antiquated scriptures that hold a light for souls who believe in living life as a Hindu. The journey continues, the evolvement progresses for the pilgrim on the path.

Notion of time measured in Yugas

 It is time that every one knows that Hinduism is not a religion, but a way of life. There are many traditions, rituals, rites and systems that have established a strong umbrella for followers of this ancient faith. Just like one may never know how the universe emerged, from a particle or a black hole in the solar system, one may never grasp how Hinduism evolved into a structured faith through some basic tenets and scriptures, which hold the key to its myriad belief systems.

As we trace back to the history of the Indus Valley civilization, we find footprints or suggestions about the basic tenets that civilized people followed.  Tracing back, to the earliest yuga (age) in 2000 BCE, the periods were classified according to the ‘dharma’-for example the sat yug (golden age) when everyone followed a ‘system’ established by society of the period. Thus we have the subsequent periods of yugas like Dwapar, Treta, and now the ubiquitous Kali yug. Dharma refers to (law, truth and duty) of the humans living of that time. As time passed and subsequent yugas saw the rise of Adharma and vanishing qualities of goodness. Divine intervention gave way to material conquests and kingdoms came-conquered or got vanquished due to their power quotient.

While this is a widespread belief that Indus valley was the core of the ‘Hindu’ civilization there is another historical legend that attributes the bringing of basic tenets of Hinduism to the entry of the Aryans. Now, this is a complete myth and evolution of faith can be now attributed to the original settlers and not Aryans.

Hence in measure of time, there are three distinct periods of Hinduism origins:

  1. 6500-1000 AD (ancient)
  2. 1000-1800 AD (medieval)
  3. 1800-AD-till now (present time)

Main tenets constituting the faith of traditional Hinduism

As mentioned earlier, Hinduism holds a spectrum of beliefs and faiths, practices and rituals; it has pantheism, paganism, abstract thought process, metaphysical states and ideas. In short the faith is a cohesive element of the culture, heritage and traditions (commonly known as parampara). So on one hand there is bhakti (devotion), on the other hand there is dharma (right or wrong), and yet on another hand yoga (disciple). The basic tenets also encompass series of idol worship, karma, dharma and reincarnation. The sub tenets include truthfulness, friendship, compassion, self-control, fortitude, purity and also generosity (not to be mixed with charity). This is a part and parcel of every human life that a Hindu leads. These tenets have been sourced from the humungous scriptures that have been developed be the ancient wisdom of the souls who lived millions of years ago.  They have esoteric and spiritual meanings that are open for interpretation till today. Every man in society lives according to his dharma and karma.

Scriptures that hold Hinduism beliefs

All Hindu scriptures are the oldest records or texts in the world. Whether it is the Puranas, Upnishads, Vedas, or the epic poems called Ramayan and Mahabharat, each text teaches humans how to live. The Upnishads are considered the work of ‘wonder minds’ existing in the sat yug. The Manav Dharam (written in 500 BC) extols norms of life for men and women. It is a manual for domestic (living), social and religious or spiritual leanings. There are 6 darshanas or (schools of philosophy) propagated by the Vedas. Intellectual in nature they teach esoteric things. These are other major constituents of Hinduism origins that have shaped the faith. But the most famous is the Bhagvat Gita (celestial song) given by Lord Krishna. Even non-Hindus revere it till today.

The scriptures are not only for intellectuals. They are also manuals for the warrior class. Thus showing that war is not evil but necessary for humanity. Waging war is not about spilling blood, winning kingdoms, or killing enemies. It is about upholding the dharma. It is the karma that determines fate on earth. While dharma serves the same soul when it has to pass the corridors of earthly life to another dimension.

Magic of scripture teachings

While the epics are more popular in the world, it is the Upanishads that hold the key to Hinduism origins. It is hard to believe that they were oral transmission that had later been written by well-developed minds. The concepts of life and death are aptly described. So one gets to learn about Brahman (Absolute Almighty), karma (action), moksha (liberation), samsara (reincarnation), and the atman (soul). A primer on the basic Hinduism beliefs also delve on the Vedas, self-realization (or also called God realization). It is done through practice of yoga and meditation. Although there are more than 200 texts, scholars have been able to identify only 13 of them till now! They were written between 800-400 BC. If you need a spiritual vision for the soul or a mere philosophical debate, it is possible only through physical and personal effort of the individual. There is no conversion or baptism. No need to ‘rote’ the scriptures by heart or head.

Leaf from the Brihadarankya Upnishad 

“From the unreal lead me to the real!
From darkness lead me to light!
From death lead me to immortality!”
 

Who wrote the ancient scriptures  (shastras) that are venerated till today? 

Surprisingly there is no one author, but several of them who have contributed to the vast literature! There were poets who got ‘flash of lightening to pen down their thoughts’ priestly class, students who learnt under gurus. Some of the most successful writers include Yajnavakya, Uddalak Aruni, Sanat Kumar, Shwetaketu, Shandilya, Pippalada and Aitareya. There are also writings of Manu Brihaspati, Narad and Ayasya in these texts.

These scriptures or sacred literature as they are called were mainly written in Sanskrit. While oral transmission was the main method of teaching, in later times, barks of trees and leaves were used to write. Children were taught in gurukuls. It is because of these sacred texts that the world knows about the Hindu origins in great details and respects the culture.

The Vedic period-Origins of Knowledge and Devas 

The Hinduism beliefs or systems stemmed from the Vedas. Archeological surveys done have unearthed manuscripts pertaining to this period when knowledge dawned and concept of devas (gods) emerged. This was the time when sacrifices or yagnas (homa) made their debut in rituals. Vedic rituals continue till today. After sacrifices, came the yug to worship gods. This simply led to the next phase of Hinduism. Major deities became important and integral to society. These were devas (gods) and devis (goddesses). As Vedic way of life continued, new traditions and rituals became part of Hinduism beliefs. It gave rise to idol worship and power was given to the gods. But there was another school of thought, which considered Brahman the focal point. Between the two major deities became the core of Hinduism practices.

Main deities and why are they worshipped

 As the journey to God realization continued, from 500 BC, the concept of Trimurti emerged-Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver) and Mahesh (destroyer). This was also the time when the Glorious Gupta Empire was fading from the historical records.  Different kingdoms now practiced their own dharma. This was the time when the great Jaganath Temple in Puri took its foundation. The religious and political powers made some deities stronger. For example the Cholas in the South of India dedicated the Shiva temple in Chidambaran (Tamil Nadu). Both, north and south of India had individual power centers. Parvati, consort of Shiva is considered the universal mother. She is also the mother of Ganesh who is worshipped till today before the start of any project. Under the auspices of this elephant headed God, till today people pray to remove obstacles and get victory in personal and professional life. Parvati is literally Shakti (power) of Shiva.

The Dashavatar concept

The concept of idol worship began as rich kings installed major temples in accordance to principles of Vastu. Other than this, the Hinduism beliefs in Avatars also grow strongly. The advent of the ten avatars is extremely popular. While nine avatars have incarnated on earth, the tenth one is yet to manifest. One of the core philosophies of Hinduism revolves around the Sustainer Lord Vishnu. While The Creator, Lord Brahma and Destroyer, Lord Shiva are also first amongst equals, the major focus lies on how Lord Vishnu sustains the dynamic creation of life in all forms on earth. The incarnation theory is unique in the sense that no other culture speaks of sustenance of creation in such a profound manner. While many Holy Scriptures speak of the destruction, natural calamities and God’s wrath, none speak in endearing terms about sustaining the might of the earth as a planet for the living where one can fulfill karmas and get liberated. Understanding the Dashavatar (literally meaning 10 incarnations) is a life long study. This is a mere concise or abridged version that can whet the appetite to learn more about Creation and sustenance of the Universe.

Lord Vishnu, in his capacity to sustain takes different forms to keep the world order in check. He descends on the face of the earth from one cycle (yug) to another. Until now he has appeared 9 times in different yugs namely Satyug, Tretayug and Dwaparyug. He appeared four times in the Satyug or the Golden period. He again appeared three times in Tretayug and twice in Dwaparyug. The tenth incarnation is reserved for Kaliyug.

Evolution of each incarnation according to yugas

 If one makes a scrutiny of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu, He has taken form depending on the needs of society at that time. So for Him there is no lower or higher form. He can manifest at Will. His main function is to eradicate evil and keep morality in check. To make His Creation righteous, He takes charge. For example, if the higher caste Brahmins take to wrong path, He can appear as a low caste to re-establish faith and bring the higher caste to the right path. He believes that all forms of life are equal no matter how disparate their evolutionary status is.

The ten incarnations

The first avatar was Matsya. They were the first ever-living beings on earth were aquatic. The story goes that Hayagriva managed to steal holy books from Lord Brahma. He hid in the ocean bed. Vishnu incarnated as a fish to fight and bring back the vedas.

Kurma was the second incarnation of Vishnu. It is an amphibian and is advanced in evolution. During the Samudra manthan (ocean churning) Mountain Mandara was the pole. As the churning continued the mountain receded in the ocean. Vishnu took form of a tortoise and placed the mountain on His back for the smooth churning.

The third incarnation was Varaha (boar). For the first time mammals appeared on land. Hiranyaksha was blessed that no God, man or demon or beast can kill him. He took earth into the ocean. Vishnu was sent to help retrieve the earth. He remembered that a two-tusk boar did not come in the blessing. He plunged into the ocean and killed the demon.

Narasimha is the fourth time when the Lord appeared. Nar means man and Simha means lion. The evolution here refers to becoming a man from animal. It also introduces the faculty of thinking in the animal. When King Hiranyakashyap asked to be immortal he wanted a boon that no one could kill him in the day or night or be killed by man, demon or animal in earth or space. He also said no weapon should be made to destroy him. His son Pralad was a devotee of Vishnu. He prayed to stop the evil king from banning God worship. Vishnu took the form of Narsimha to claw the king’s body on his thighs.

Vamana was the next avatar that took form. It means ‘stout human’ or in other words Homo sapiens in earliest form. In Treta yug, Bali got powers to rule. The gods feared him. Vishnu was asked for assistance. He was born in a home of a poor Brahmin. He begged alms from Bali. Bali granted him anything he asked for. The ‘dwarf’ begged for land that would come under 3 steps. Bali said yes. But as the dwarf grew in size Bali realized that it was Lord Vishnu in disguise. His pride was hurt and he bowed in atonement. Bali was blessed and sent to the neither world.

Parshurama is the next incarnation on earth. Parshu means axe. He was the son of a sage called Jamadgni and his mother was Renuka. He had a violent temper and in this yug he came to destroy the warrior caste. He had slayed a king who harassed people. King Kartavirya also stole Jamadgni’s cow. Parshuram killed the king and the army.

Lord Ram was the son of King Dashrath who ruled Ayodhya. This is the first full-grown incarnation of Vishnu in Human form. But He spent most of His life in the forests. He waged a war against Ravaan who was the evil force at that time. Lord Ram is considered an epitome of morality in personal and professional life.

Lord Krishna is the next advent that mesmerized the people on earth. This is the advent that has the best human qualities and intelligence. He is smart, cunning and also benevolent. All He did was to be on the right side of the war (with the Pandavas) that made all the difference in that yug. As the most valued incarnation, Lord Krishna gave the Srimad Bhagvatam to humanity.

Buddha is considered as the next Avatar that came on earth to transform the mind of humanity. He did away with idol worship and unnecessary rituals. He allows people to adopt a Middle path to reach salvation or liberation. Buddha means ‘The Enlightened One’.

Kalki Avatar is the last in line that has to manifest. It means ‘destroyer of the darkness’. The scriptures mention the advent in very explicit terms. He will descend on earth once again in Kaliyug when bad times roll in.

Myth busters of Hinduism beliefs

 There are several stories related to the incarnations and various gods and goddesses. Since, there are several legends connected to the Gods and how to worship the, there are several myths that are floating around. A few of them have been floating for the last hundreds of years! But let us seek to establish the right faith and bust some myths that no longer are valid.

  1. Word ‘Hindusim’

Unfortunately, the popular word ‘Hinduism’ does not exist in the Indian literature or dictionary! Different people, who have entered India as invaders or merchants, have introduced it to suit their mentality. When the Persians & Mughals invaded the country they were unable to pronounce ‘Sindhu’ hence they called it ‘Hindu’. Thus people from this land became Hindustanis. No sacred scripture mentions this word anywhere.

  1. A religion-No way! It is a culture, yes

Unlike Christianity and Islam, Hinduism does not have any founder. People following this faith need not adhere to any one set idea, idol or philosophy. It has more cultural connotation rather than of creed or historical association.

  1. Is material and spiritual?

For centuries many scholars have debated about the Hinduism beliefs and its origins. The sacred texts speak of everything from domestic life to training for war, scientific studies, and lessons to becoming spiritual. It encompasses life and death equally in its pursuit of teachings to humanity and mankind in general.

  1. Aryans bought Hinduism to India

This is yet another myth that is broken. No race can claim that this faith belongs to it. It is more of a metafaith of cross section of people. The word ‘Aryan’ suited the German Nazis and European scholars. But the truth is that Indus Valley Civilization and Harappans followed it.

  1. Hinduism is older than 5000 BC

Perhaps one can believe this, as more evidence comes in front of us. It is old as circa 10000. The Vedas were composed in 6500 BC. The proof lies in David Frawley’s book Gods, Sages and Kings. Even Subhash Kak, a computer engineer decoded the portion of Rig Veda which mentions the star Ashwini in the sky in a particular constellation. The entire thing was technical and astronomy was well known in those days.

  1. Does worship of multiplicity of deities make Hindus polyesthetic?

There are atheists, anti, theistic and even agnostics. But the numbers of believers overtake all these types! One cannot mistake wood for an actual tree, in the same manner, Hinduism Beliefs rest on ‘Let Truth Prevail’-

As written in the Rigveda:

Ekam sath, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.

 People continue to worship gods and have enshrined them for centuries. Now, the temples have become the main institutions of the faith.

 Rise of temples for worship

Homage to Gods is paid in beautiful temples that exist for centuries. They remain a mute testimony of faith of several kings and rich people who made temples in the names of various gods and goddesses. Till today people worship in well known temples. The tradition of making temples for kuldevtas still exist in some communities in India. Temples across the rest of the world also affirm the faith of the people. For instance, currently, the Vrindavan Chandrodaya temple is the tallest in the world. It is 210 meters in height (equivalent of 70 floors) spread over 62 acres. The temple is being made by ISKCON. Its construction began in November 2014 in Vrindavan. The temple is slated to be one of the legendary wonders of the world like Taj Mahal, Agra, Coliseum of Rome, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Giza Pyramids of Egypt.

There are other world famous temples of Pashupatinath, in Katmandu in Nepal. The faith in temples made pilgrimage to them very integral in the lives of the Hindus. Even today the Char Dham yatra is considered important once in a lifetime.

Why Hindus go on pilgrimages

Those who have visited the temples in many places where it is even difficult to reach and considered privileged. The pilgrims endure the hardship to reach the temples as part of their belief in the faith. There are several temples that are dotted across the landscape of India that merit a mention. It is also very hard for pilgrims to reach there and take ‘darshan’. Visit to such places enhances the spiritual journey. In and around such temples saints and sages live. They also impart knowledge on the temple and their importance as mentioned in the scriptures.  Along with the temples some holy rivers like Ganga also are mentioned. These are also a part of Hinduism origins that have existed for centuries.

The pilgrimage is as sacred as the journey of evolving in life for any Hindu. It is an important phase to connect to the cosmos and universe. This is one way to connect to the divinity of God. The ‘darshan’ of God is like a revelation. Before that the hardships reflect on the pilgrim’s sincerity to reach God. And through such journeys one gets to know the purpose of life. The pilgrim understands the cycle of life and death and rebirth.

Who is a Hindu and in Vedic times how they were defined as Hindus?

  • Define a Hindu in simple terms from time of Hindu origins
  • Define a Hindu today
  • How to be an ideal Hindu
  • 7 legally accepted features of Hinduism

 From the times of Hinduism origins one can trace the definition of which a correct Hindu is.  Today, by law there are nearly features that define a Hindu. In Vedic times the definition was through birth. But in Kaliyug the law prevails. In that sense the 7 parameters to being a Hindu today are:

  1. Hindus need to accept the Vedas as the highest authority and sole foundation of the faith.
  2. Need to have the spirit of tolerance. Need to also accept the prevailing truth of the opponent.
  3. Acceptance of the Hinduism beliefs according to the creation of Universe and dissolution of cycles. Acceptance of Avatars and the 6 systems of Hindu philosophy.
  4. Many means of salvation for a human soul.
  5. Must accept that as many there are idol worshippers there are also non-idolatry systems.
  6. Acceptance of rebirth and pre-existence of the soul.
  7. No Hindu philosophy is tied down to any sect, cult, concept or religion.

PS: These are the seven parameters laid down by the supreme court of India in a landmark case of 1995 called Bramchari Sidheswar Shai and others Vs State of West Bengal.

Today a person being born in a Hindu family is considered lawfully a Hindu. If your parents are Hindus you are also a Hindu. If you are born in a particular caste you are a Hindu. If you believe in reincarnation then also you are a Hindu. If your nationality is Indian and live in a Hindu family you will be a Hindu.

The Vedas describe Hindus as those people who accept the authority of the Vedic scriptures, live in accordance to the principles of Dharma and the divine laws of God listed in the scriptures. If you also accept Bagvat Gita and its teachings you will be considered a follower of Hindu faith.

How concept of Hinduism beliefs have changed with times

Over a period of time, as society developed, Hinduism beliefs have morphed. But the basic tenets, which began from beginning of time, have remained. Today’s Hindu still believes in the Hinduism origins, but has cast aside the orthodox and dogmas associated with it. One of the greatest changes has occurred in the caste system. Some traditions and practices have been challenged and thrown aside. While every caste has its own dharma-karma to propound the other outside factors like untouchability, widow been cast away are more or else consigned to the pages of history.

Today’s Hindus believe in:

  1. Trimurthi of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh
  2. Caste System with more flexibility
  3. The law of karma prevails
  4. Transmigration of souls or reincarnation
  5. Nirvana

Reinforcing concept of heaven, hell and reincarnation

 There is no escape from good or bad actions. It is reiterated time and again. And now there are more acceptances worldwide. With consciousness rising, it is known that people around the world are accepting what Hinduism knew 10,000 years ago. Other religions have responded to Hinduism beliefs with their interpretation. But this does not change the core of the way of live for the original Hindu people.

When it comes to understanding the birth and death cycle, the Moksh is important. It releases one from the fretters of constant births and reincarnations on earth. So, what occurs after life? Is there a heaven and hell? Yes, both lie deep within the soul. The soul passes through both till it learns all the lessons. Once it overcomes the sufferings and need to be reborn as man or woman, there is enlightenment and liberation. This is the final step to God realization. To get to this point, the Hindu goes to temples, leads life according to the dharma, does his karma and goes on pilgrimages. The journey is complete.

A vast concept called Vastu-The Indian angle to architectural perspective

0
vastu

Our earth works on certain natural principles. In India the ancient science of Vastu shastra has existed for many centuries. The long forgotten principles now are back in fashion. The principles can be applied to any structure and is a way of life for several Indian families. Just like the Feng Shui spirit rules China, the Vastu principles rule India. Vastu has several benefits for the people living in a home and at work place. The idea is to create a harmonious balance between the natural elements. Vastu’s vast concept deals with peace of mind, which direction is the home/office facing, Brahmasthan, balancing energies, focus on studies, success of stairways, extensions, right days to do important things and entrance to the house. 

The 4 directions

East– it is the seat of Lord Indra. It is controlled by the fire element. This is the reason why open spaces are left to let sunrays enter. If the sunrays come, the wealth creation is possible. The people living in this property get name and fame along with the wealth. If this space is cluttered and full the opposite things happen.

West– Pawan (air God) rules this direction. People lead normal lives when main entrance of home faces this direction. But the goddess of wealth keeps one working hard all the time.

North-If the door opens in this direction then there is money, name and fame also. Goddess Laxmi blesses the residents in such homes. This is the most auspicious opening for the home’s entry door. When vacant plots are purchased try to get an opening in this direction.

 South– It is the heaviest and earthy direction. It belongs to Lord Yama. This portion is important for meditation, education and disciple. If the main entrance faces the south the residents will have enemies and people will be sick.

 A few principles that can be applied

  1. When the incline of the plot should face the north or east the residents for prosperity and happiness.
  2. The middle portion of the building or hoe should remain vacant to increase wealth.
  3. The roof of verandah of the house should bend in the eastern direction.
  4. All water outlets should be in eastern side to ensure males are in good health.
  5. Do not keep garbage and dustbins in the eastern section of the house.
  6. The main door should always be larger than the other doors in the house.
  7. When the main door is to be built it is divided into 9 equal zones. The main door is fixed from the 4th zone on the right side and stretches up to the 6th zone on the left while facing the house.
  8. One main door should not face exactly opposite to the next-door neighbor.
  9. No underground tank should be located on the main entrance.
  10. Do not install self-closing doors. Teak wood material is the best for making the main door.

 How to take advantage of vastu shastra ?

There are several aspects of life that can be enriched and also enhanced keeping vastu principles in mind. The main principles deal with the 8 directions and the 5 elements that are present in nature. Each direction is governed by different rules to maximize the potential of the place. The 8 directions represent the forces that apply to the things in life and getting the right energy in these corners. This gives the entire benefit to the people living in the place.

The foundation of vastu is on the panchbhootas (fire, air, ether, space and water). These tattvas need to be well balanced so one can realize the ultimate aim of spiritual life. The need to be complaint with the elements and the directions mean that humans need to be in harmony with nature rather than changing it to suit their purpose. It is now that people have accepted that for a better life one should have a vastu complaint home or office. When the home and office are balanced there are no fights, politics and no one leaves the property in acrimony. The cosmic, lunar and the solar energies can really powerful when the principles of Vastu shastra are applied.

Limitations of Vaastu

It is not possible to follow all the rules and regulations while making buildings in certain plots and areas. There are limitations but there are other ways to make Vastu work for the people living and working there. Every success cannot be measured in health or material wealth. At times spiritual benefits become more pronounced. But when the maximum principles are used, they work for the betterment of the residents. The negativity is replaced with positive vibrations.

Remedies for various doshas by experts

Many people will find that a fish aquarium is able to solve problems. It can be installed in the house or at the workplace. It adds to the lifestyle factor also. Most vastu principles are realistic but one needs to contact an expert who has knowledge of this science. Then only one can get prosperity, economical raise peace of mind. Putting a fish aquarium can remove certain defects. It tends to remove the negativity. If a fish dies, it indicates that it has taken away the negativity of the home. There are several other remedies recommended by this shastra. But only an expert or a firm that deals with the applications of principles should be used. It is good to acquire the knowledge of knowing how it works. When it has to be applied it is best to seek a consultant who has a good track record.

Vastu in today’s times

Many Indians still follow the ancient system to keep in good health and have good business. Till today factories, shops, residents and commercial complexes are made keeping the principles of vastu in mind. Many real estate builders prefer to build projects that will be vastu complaint and let the residents live in peace. The principles begin from the entrance of the home.  This is the entry point for all the gods and goddesses to enter the home.

Hindu Awareness Month in California (United States of America)

1
hindu american foundation

Posted On June 27th, 2013, Thursday
United States of America: A historic moment for American Hindus came of 24th June 2013.The State Senate of California with has passed Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR 32) as a Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month to acknowledge the contribution made by Hindu Americans.
Thanks to state Senate Majority Leader Ellen M Corbett by whom bill was authored, she is widely recognized for his support of the Hindu American community. She has worked closely with H.A.F (Hindu American Foundation) in drafting the language of the resolution. In her statement she said “As the Senator representing the 10th State Senate District, I am honored to represent constituents from many diverse backgrounds, including a significant number of Hindu Americans,”

Furthermore the majority leader said “California is home to a thriving community of over 370,000 Hindu Americans that enrich our state’s diversity and professional assets in fields as diverse as academia, science, technology, business, arts and literature, Ms Corbett thanked her colleagues for supporting SCR 32 that recognizes Hindu American contributions in California, as well as designates October 2013 in their honor.”

“California and our nation have greatly benefited by Hindu Americans, especially through yoga, meditation, Vedanta philosophy, Ayurveda medicine, classical Indian music, art, and dance” she added
The resolution was backed by 55 N.G.O’s, Civil Rights Activists, Community and interfaith leaders from across the US.

It notes that there are over 370k Hindus in California and the H.A.F (Hindu American Foundation) is planning several events for the month to teach and create awareness about Hinduism in general. “The HAF is doing this for next generation, so that they feel proud about their culture.”

“Ro Khanna, former deputy assistant secretary at the US department of commerce and 2014 Congressional candidate from California district 17 talking to reporter said “It’s great to see that the contribution the Indo-American community is making is now being recognized at the highest levels of the state,” he further said that “Indo-American community was contributing to the economy by creating jobs in California, through entrepreneurship and innovation”.

He said that he is a proud American and being an American he thinks that all different faiths should be respected.

When asked why it took so look to recognize the Hindu community, the former deputy assistant secretary said it takes a community’s decades of involvement. “It takes a decade to start and to establish a political voice.”

Noted director and senior fellow for human rights and H.A.F Mr. Samir Kalra said that “This is the first time any resolution recognizing Hindus has ever been passed in the entire country. It is the beginning of the great movement for Hindu Americans in California. It was historic, so it feels great. It’s at the state level and hope one day it will reach at the national level”
Courtesy : Hindu American Foundation – H.A.F, Rediff.com, Zee news, Indian Express

Yoga’s universal holistic remedy for mankind

0
yoga

Who would have thought Yoga, a simple, ancient Indian approach to everyday life would make everyone else in the world stand up on his or her heads, twist their torso, stretch limbs and breathe easy without any side effects? Yoga as a universal holistic approach for the mind, body and soul continues to fascinate humanity. However, how many of us are ready to accept that it works only if performed in its original state?

Understand why Yoga is cosmic energy

Half the battle is won when one understands the psyche of the enemy. The same holds true for every other thing in life. Before rushing off to join some quick fix yoga classes to reduce weight (the favorite reason why people are doing it today unfortunately!), try to comprehend what you expect by reducing your weight. Simply accepting the doctor’s advice or working out under peer pressure will not help.  It is not just a physical activity like aerobics or step exercise. Not many new age yoga teachers will bother to know themselves about the its universal nature. Lord Krishna explained to Arjuna in the Bhagvat Gita, ‘I gave Yoga to the Sun before anyone else.’ The energy that the sun emits until today eternally is the primordial shakti that was given to it. Our sun is the part of a higher universe whose condensed energy that Krishna speaks. It is the Bhakti Yoga which is the part of Lord Krishna’s shakti through nature that helps us.

Therefore, please note any human being has not created Yoga but it has percolated from Godhead.

Who is a Yogi?

Simple, a person who does yoga is a yogi. Right? Wrong! Anybody and everybody cannot be a yogi. To attain the status of a Yogi, one has many obligations to fulfill. World famous Paramhans Yogananda, has penned ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, which clearly gives a glimpse of what a true yogi is. A yogi is essentially an expert in the entire nine processes of Bhakti Yoga and not only asanas. For a layperson, Yogasnas help only if it is followed by the right procedure. Few teachers follow the ancient method of teaching. Today B S Iyengar is one of the living examples of a true teacher. His disciples are everywhere and follow the principals strictly. A true yogi follows a holistic approach to teaching followers

What one should learn from Yoga?

One has to formally adopt yoga as a way of life rather than just a short-term package.  It is also wrong to believe that doing Yogasnas will not have any side effects. They need to be done properly so that they are effective. To make the body, work out first there should be mental peace. A good teacher always will begin with a short meditation session to bring the senses together. The mind has to be tamed before it can be focused to develop a taste for yoga. As the meditation calms down the mind, the body is ready to perform asanas. A nice warm up session with padmasana helps the limbs and arms to get used to a work out. Doing Yoga is more of a spiritual exercise. While doing any of the ansanas one is bowing to the energies of the nature, which are provided by God. In addition, by performing asanas one is acknowledging the powers. It is then that the universal energy transfers in the human body and creates a feeling of happiness. Now which other work out is capable of energizing the mind, body and soul simultaneously?

Eating habits largely define our mode of nature. Yoga helps one to maintain equanimity with our dietary habits. Eating and exercising at the right time helps much more in the end if the teacher gives guidance. There are many forms of yoga’s being taught today. Which one is appropriate is quite confusing. Before joining, it is quite essential to find out more details of the yoga techniques being taught. One cannot perform one type of Yoga without knowing the basics of Yoga itself. It is like learning a bit of a course study even before one has qualified to enter the next class! Therefore, if it does not help disappointment is natural.  Some of the different types of Yoga techniques that are prevalent today include :

  • Hath Yoga
  • Kundalini Yoga
  • Kriya Yoga
  • Asanas
  • Dhyan Samadhi
  • Ashtang Yoga
  • Agni Yoga
  • Karma Yoga
  • Pranayams etc.

Every guru has a signature style and is being popularized depending on its success. Various gurus in India have their own schools, qualified and certified teachers.

It is only now that the world has noticed yoga. In India it has been practiced for centuries. More yoga gurus have left Indian shores to teach the goodness of yoga-which heals the mind, body and soul. Swami Yogananda was influential in popularizing yogic techniques in overseas like U.S.A and Europe. The aim and motto of yoga can vary from person to person. A peaceful, tranquil, balanced and fit body is not the only evident form of Indian yoga.

The word “yog” means union; typically, “yoga” means union God. There are many forms of yoga that lead to the Almighty.

  • Bhakti (devotional)
  • Jnana (intellectual approach)
  • karma (work oriented)
  • Raja (meditation)

The last mentioned is the most powerful of all. The yoga sutra of Patanljali mentions the 8 stages.

  • Yamas (social ethics)
  • Niyamas (personal ethics)
  • Asanas (body postures)
  • Pranayama (breathing techniques)
  • Partyahar (mental concetration)
  • Dhrana (intense mind control)
  • Dhyana (advanced mind control)
  • Samadhi (Sound Meditation)

The modern forms popularized by some Indian yoga gurus are Hatha Yoga (for total enlighten) and Tantra Yoga (Esoteric nature). Rishikesh is considered as the Yoga capital of the world. Indian yoga professionals teach physical postures popularly called asanas. It is said to be the oldest method of personal development that increases physical strength, stamina, flexibility and finally spiritual growth.

 Little known Yoga 

Tibet, the cloistered nation near the Himalayan Mountains has maintained some of the purest forms of yoga, Buddhist practices and cultures. Introduced between 988-1069, Tibetan Buddhist Six Yogas of Naropas, which were taught by a lineage of gurus. Even the current Dalai Lama is an expert in these yogic forms. This unique form helps in the enlightenment of the soul and liberation too from the cycle of birth and death.

The six forms are:

  1. Tummo-Mystic Heat,
  2. Gyulu-Illusionary body,
  3. Milam-Dream state,
  4. Osel-Clear light,
  5. Bardo-Intermediate state,
  6. Phowa– Transference of consciousness (expulsion of the mind from the body).

Karmpa, the first figure in Tibetan Buddhism to reincarnate has been strongly associated in certain reincarnations with some yogic attributes. Tummo helps the individual to open up oneself. This is the first step to higher meditation and the other five yoga forms. Milam encourages one to use the dream state for internal purification. It clarifies confusion about illusionary state (Maya) and Nirvana (any other dream world that one goes into). Dream will eventually remain dreams. However, one has to be able to transform into a Rainbow Body while in Bardo state (between death and next life).

Do not take yoga lightly. It is an ancient way of life, has taught survival techniques to millions of generations.  Learn it, respect it and encourage others to adopt it in the right mind, body and spirit!

Indian Ayurveda-Mother Earth’s medical system

0
indian ayurveda

Ayurveda is the world’s oldest holistic healing system based on the equilibrium between the mind, body and spirit. It incorporates comprehensive facets such as herbal remedies, dietary and yogic practices. ‘Ayush’ means life while ‘Veda’ means knowledge or science; quite literally the word means the ‘The Knowledge of Life’.

The History of Ayurveda

This powerful Hindu health care system can be traced back to Lord Brahma himself. The sacred text Ayurveda Avatarana states that the Supreme Creator, even before the existence of mankind, made the divine revelation. He could foretell the maladies that could fall upon his greatest creation man and thus designed an intricate medicinal system. Although unscripted, Lord Brahma passed on a special shloka or hymn of over a hundred thousand verses with nature’s secrets to Daksh Prajapati, the Himalayan King and the father of Goddess Parvati. Daksh Prajapati further enlightened Lord Indra, the King of the Heavens about this sophisticated healing process.  The first mortal to learn the craft from Lord Indra was Rishi Bharadvaja, who spread the divine knowledge among sages of the time.

The first text form of the teachings was Agnivesh Tantra, a manuscript by Rishi Agnivesha but it was lost in the annals of time. The redacted version of this significant book called Charaka Samhita by Charaka became popular. Another near-parallel compendium was the Sushruta Samhita, complied by Sushruta on the healing and surgical techniques of Rishi Dhanvatri. Rooted in Vedic practices, these two manuals of the Common Era became the original Ayurveda texts that were used in ancient Universities like Taxila and Nalanda. Over time Ayurveda fragmented into specialist branches such as Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine), Grahachikitsa (Psychology and Psychiatry), Urdhwanga (ENT & Ophthalmology), Balachikitsa (Paediatrics), Damstra (Toxicology), Shalya (Surgery), Jara (Science of Rejuvenation) and Vrisha (Science of Aphrodisiacs).

How the concept works by knowing doshas and with diets?

According to Ayurveda the human body is of three distinct types of bio-energy or Tridosha, namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This governs the internal environment. Exterior forces such as lifestyle choices, disagreeable diets, incompatible foods, suppressed emotions, stress or change in seasons can affect this delicate balance. Each dosha based body type has a defined set of characteristics and is prone to specific ailments. Hence, the curative or preventive methods differ. Aromatherapy is one such subset of Ayurveda that is centered on body types. It has a unique way of identifying scents that are best suited to revive and rejuvenate the body. Depending on the malady of the body type, the appropriate fragrant oils are used for activating chakras through massaging.

Again, diets composed of dosha-specific requirements. So meal plans must be formulated in accordance. Vegetarianism is one of the options for a healthy internal and external physical system. Food intake forms are also of much importance. In most food, due to cooking over 130 degrees vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients are destroyed. This destruction of nutrients is like consuming empty calories that only fill up a person temporarily. So food must be balanced with raw vegetables and fruits. This helps in fighting a range of diseases, some as grave as cancers. Ayurveda also stresses on the significance of drinking water for flushing toxins from the body. In fact, there is a range of hydrotherapies in the practice.

Benefits of Ayurveda

Ayurveda provides distinct basis of the body in terms of Manas (psychological) and Prakriti (natural constitution). Just like the doshas are three aspects of the body, the three energies of the mind Trigunas include Satwas, Rajas, or Tamas. Humans have a balance of the three. The Panchamahabhutas – Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space along with cosmic consciousness form the building blocks of physical being. The foundation of Ayurveda treatments is in harmonizing these mental and physical energies to fortify wellness.

Ayurveda protects health and prolongs life by removing illnesses and dysfunctions. Yoga is an inseparable entity. While the Rig Veda and Artharva Veda mention Ayurveda several times, the Yajur Veda has many passages about Yoga.  Yoga is a spiritual and ascetic disciple that includes simple exercises, body postures along with meditation and breath control. It brings forth both fitness and relaxation.

Panchkarma Therapy Benefits

A beneficial therapy of Ayurveda is Panchakarma or complete body detox. It is a set of five procedures for purification and rejuvenation by eliminating toxins and debris. This improves physical and mental health and has curative powers for combatting deep-rooted diseases.  It includes processes like massages and fermentation (Snehana), medicated enemas (Basti), emesis through herb consumption (Vamana), purgation through herbs or irrigation (Virechana), nasal administration of oils (Nasya) and other sub types. Every day the body encounters toxins via air, water and food. The body’s metabolic system rejects most of these substances. But some circulate back though tissues and bloodstream, getting stored as residue or fats. This causes low energy, tiredness, low immunity, inflammation, allergies, food sensitivities, yeast infections and lack of concentration among others. Thus Ayurveda stresses on the importance of detoxification.

Importance of sleep

Timely sleep or nidra is important for nourishing the body and rejuvenating the mind, senses and emotions. Sleep is vital especially in today’s over stimulated and stressful urban life. Ayurveda has guidelines on proper sleep cycles. Similarly seasons also play a role in physical and mental health. Seasons bring in gunas or qualities with doshic implications, which affect the body, moods and emotions. Specific season-based herbal formulations and detox activities are encouraged to help tide over such challenges.

The body’s shape and form depends on seven dhatus, namely Rasa (tissue fluid), Rakta (RBC), Mansa (skeletal muscle), Meda (fat and connective tissue), Majja (bone marrow), Asthi (bones) and Shukra (male sperms and female reproduction fluids). They are interconnected and nurture one another. A problem in one creates a domino effect. Ojas is the fine essence of all dhatus and the superfine essence of Shukra dhatu. It manifests our bodily presence as the sap of life energy, powering all systems of the body. The ancient practice of Ayurveda helps in strengthening this life force.

Thus, for thousands of years the wise words of Lord Brahma are a potent protective force for mankind even today.

Hinduism Explained

0

Hinduism is understood globally as a religion, just like Christianity or Islam. There are people who consider Hinduism to be a polytheistic religion as well. None of these understandings are correct.

To understand Hinduism, we need to go deep into the history of mankind. Irrespective of whether man was created or evolved, his quest to know his own source has been happening from time immemorial. What is the source of all that he is seeing around? What is the source and destination of life? What is the goal of life? These questions form the base of whatever he has achieved – both spiritual and material.

In tackling with these questions, some people developed a concept of an ‘external god’ who creates and maintains this world. This was much an easy way to handle with the issue. Just assume a dictator outside and stay away from exploring truths oneself. The successors of these people developed and cooked more stories from already existing ingredients. Different recipes and combinations of these formed different religions. The other section of our society decided to explore the answers themselves.

There were two main modes of this quest – one was directed to the world outside, and other explored the world within (them). First group of people, who searched for an answer outside have reached what we see today – through modern science. The other group realized their own self – and found satisfactory answers to all the questions they needed. This (second) path of exploration and discovery is what is called spirituality or Indian philosophy. All sets of rituals, cultures, traditions and beliefs that originated from this path (emerged in ancient Bharatha) combines to form what is called Hinduism today.

The goal of life as identified by our ancient rishis (meaning seers) is self-realization and moksha. To make this happen for us, they have provided us with the Vedas or Upanishads and a systematic learning procedure through gurukulas and guru-shishya paramparas. The ultimate of what a man need to know is called Vedanta – which is nothing but the essence of Upanishads. At this stage, a person may wonder that if this knowledge or awareness was the ultimate goal of a human life, why is the path to moksha considered so difficult? To explain this, a person needs to understand a lot of other concepts. Without going that deeper, I would like to have a bird’s eye view of the scenario.

Not all human beings have the capacity to grasp the Vedantic knowledge (or any other knowledge for that matter) directly. Every individual is found to have their own levels of acceptance and understanding ability. It may vary a lot from person to person. So depending on the capacity of people to grasp knowledge, they are classified into various sections. All these classes of people require different approaches or paths to begin their journey to moksha – this is the principle of Hinduism.

There are people who quickly understand the idea as and when they are taught. This is because of their sharp intellect, non-fluctuating mind and eagerness to harness knowledge. They are extremely few in number and are the ones ideal for learning Vedanta directly.

There are people who have a less power to grasp directly, but can understand through examples. Stories, analogies and examples are required for them to understand things correctly. So our rishis composed innumerable number of such stories and examples for aiding them.

There are people who have eagerness to learn, have a sharp intellect but their mind keeps on fluctuating – from one thought to another or there may be persons who possess other requirements, but have less developed brain cells. For such persons, the primary requirement is to stabilize their mind or make their brain cells active; whichever is required. Only after perfecting their intellect and mind can they be introduced into Vedanta. This is achieved through pranayama or yoga.

There are persons with even lower power of mind or intellect. They form the bulk of our population. They need to train their mind through meditations and other suitable methods as well as yoga and pranayama. This class of people can be subdivided into those who require external aid for meditations and those who don’t; or those who need the aid of sound vibrations (mantras) and those who don’t. There are people who lack the ability to visualize things through their mind. Just as a child counts with the help of his fingers, a person lacking this ability of visualizing needs visual aid to have their mind fixed. Vigrahas, temples and Pujas are advocated for them. So they need to practice from the lower stages to higher.

This is just a glimpse of the huge varieties of people and that much amount of paths needed to take them to the door of Vedanta and thus moksha. This is why Hinduism does not advocate a structured set of rules to be followed by all. A common path is impossible for all classes of the society. There will be diversities, and there should be! Hinduism is thus a combination of all the paths that man takes successfully to attain moksha, through Vedanta. In this manner, there are different classes of people who possess different qualities in different proportions. Hence, any method that they follow must suit their qualities. Ultimately, a person must attain a state of pure intellect and pure mind to understand Vedanta. All sorts of customs and rituals followed in Hinduism including pranayama, yoga, puja, murti system, etc are intended for different classes of people to make them attain this state. In this manner, Hinduism is a total “upliftment” strategy for all kinds of human beings to their ultimate common goal of self realization.

This is the idea behind the statement that Hinduism is not a religion. Irrespective of whether you are a follower of Jesus, Moses, David, Buddha, Mohammed, Guru Nanak, Chaithanya Mahaprabhu, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Bahá’u’lláh or any other great saints, you need this wonderful idea of Vedanta to get to your goal. This is how Hinduism stands out as the universal religion of all religions, if at all you want to call it a religion!

How I became Hindu-Chakia Harris

0

How I became Hindu-Chakia Harris

chakia-harris
When I was a child I was raised in a very conservative Christian home. I would constantly hear of how Jesus would come and save me. I know all about the Bible and the teachings of Christianity because of my upbringing. I would have to go to church constantly.

My mother had crucifixes in the home and she would buy us Christian literature and Bibles. I was not permitted to study any religion that was not Christianity. I was so sheltered that I didn’t know the history of my family’s faith. I had been brainwashed. Whenever I would get in trouble I would pray that Jesus would save me, but it never happened.

I grew up very poor and living in a slum. My education was not placed in importance. I was even sent to a Christian day care center.

As a child I had taught myself to read so I could comprehend what I was reading at an earlier age. I didn’t care for religion itself and I just wanted to be normal.

My mother would be beat me constantly and would use the Bible to justify doing so. Often she would leave me at home with my stepfather who was a Catholic. When I was six years old he molested me when my mother was not home. It continued for a few months. I was so terrified because I was scared no one would believe me. I told my mother, but despite what I told her she permitted my stepfather to continue living in the same house as us.

As I grew I just developed a sense of individualism that my family did not like. Deep down inside I just wanted to run away. As I became a teenager I became an atheist. While at the same time pretending to be a Christian in front of my mother. Atheism wasn’t working for me because I still believed that there was still a life force just watching over me. So one day I stumbled upon a copy of Malcom X’s autobiography. I was so intrigued because I was never permitted to listen to other religions.

After listening to this manifesto of hatred I had become inspired. I had began to hate Christianity more and more. So when I turned 17 I converted to Islam. My family found out after I had been converted for six months. I fasted during Ramadan and even prayed five times a day. I was so happy because I was no longer a Christian. After my mother found out that I had become a Muslim she tried to kill me. I was so terrified because I was so alone.

My boyfriend did everything that he could to ensure my safety. So I fled and began living with my grandmother. She was also a Christian so she wanted me to return to the old faith. We constantly fought about this. She even tried to make me eat pork, but I still would not listen. She would take me to church every week and I hated it. However, I was also starting to move away from Islam. I listened to lectures and read the Hadith, but eventually I stopped praying and reading my Qur’an.
This was my freshmen year of college so I loved to read. I read the Ramayana and was in love with the Vedic culture and it’s ideas. I saw how beautiful it really was. After my second semester of college I moved to Tampa with my boyfriend. This is when I truly learned that I did not belong in Islam. I went to the mosque and got treated horribly. They even tried to marry me to a Muslim man, but I refused. They also tried to force me to wear the burqa and the niqaab. I wantedd no part of this so I left the mosque. And deep down inside I had also left Islam.

I started drinking alcohol and no longer reading the Qur’an. I kept the Muslim identity, but had began practicing Dharma. I loved Buddha’s teachings as well as the teachings of Krishna in the Gita. I was in love with Hinduism, but so afraid of abandoning Islam. I was scared and so confused. And six months later I realised that I had been running from my true self the whole time. I had always been a Hindu. Now I have accepting Shaktism and now embrace who I am.

The Dharma had saved my life and now I am proud. I can proudly say that I belong to the Hindu community. I so glad that Brahma accepted me.

This is how I became Hindu

Learn more