Hindu scriptures

Scriptures

 

 
The Vedas are the HolyScriptures of Hinduism. Literally Veda means knowledge or wisdom.Because the Rishis or sages had the Vedas channelled to them whilst in deep meditative states, they have been described as apaurusheya, i.e., not created by any human agency.

These Vedas are four: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. Out of these the Rigveda is the most ancient work at approximately 8000 years old.

The Rigveda is primarily a collection of 1017 prayer hymns to many forms of God. The Samaveda has set to music a selected number of hymns from the Rigveda. Incidentally, Hindu classical music originates from the Samaveda. The Yajurveda deals mainly with sacrificial rites and rituals. The Atharvaveda is mostly a compendium of ethical principles and also some branches of science like Ayurveda. The Atharvaveda also has hymns for controlling the weather, subduing enemies and curing diseases.

Traditionally, each of the four Vedas has been divided into four parts: Mantra or Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad. The Samhitas are collections of prayers addressed to various Vedic deities like Indra, Varuna, and Vishnu. The Brahmanas describe how Vedic rituals should be performed. The Aranyakas describe various meditations based on the sacrificial rites. The Upanishads are philosophical prose dealing with such topics as the Truth behind the universe, the true nature of human beings, the goal of life and the means of achieving it. There are 108 parts to the Upanishads.

 

The Mahabharata concerns an epic war fought at Kuruksetra. The Good guys are the Pandavas and the bad guys the Kauravas. The war pits family members against other family members. As the battle is about to begin so begins a portion of the book called the Bhagavad-Gita (Geeta).

 

The Bhagavad-Gita or ‘song of God’ is about a conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. It consists of 18 chapters. It is the most popular Hindu religious scripture. It is often memorised word for word. It begins with Arjuna’s confusion and doubt about the upcoming battle. Lord Krishna assures Arjuna that the battle is not one family member against another but a fight of good against evil and that he should fight because it is the right thing to do. During Arjuna’s lengthy conversation with Krishna he realises that he is speaking to God and asks that he reveal himself as God. Lord Krishna does so and Arjuna sees within Krishna the lives of all living things simultaneously. Understandably his senses are overwhelmed and Lord Krishna again takes on human form. Lord Krishna asks Arjuna to surrender himself to him in return for Lord Krishna’s protection and love. Oh, and the good guys win, obviously.

 

 

The Ramayana is a Hindu epic of biblical length. It tells of Lord Rama and his Family in South India It includes the famous story of Lord Rama’s rescue mission for his wife Sita after the demon king Ravanna kidnapped her.

 

The 19 major Puranas detail the major Hindu gods and their worldly activities. They are sometimes known as the 5th Veda, and whilst the 1st four Vedas were reserved for certain castes the Puranas were for everyone. Amongst the information contained within the Puranas are such concepts as the formation of the universe, the multibillion year creation- destruction cycles, the kinds of humans on earth and the important Hindu rulers through history. The Puranas are often revised but the oldest ones predate the Vedas. The Puranas also tell us that we humans are descendants of Manu, a survivor of the great flood (yes Hinduism has a great flood story too!). From Manu we get the words Man, Mankind, and manners.

Advertisements
Posted in God, Goddess, Hindu, Hinduism, Krishna, Religion, Sanatana Dharma, Spirituality, vegetarianism, yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stages of hindu life

STAGES OF HINDU LIFE

In Vedic times, the span of a normal human life was averaged to be eighty-four years, with four sections of twenty-one years each. The first twenty-one years is known as the “Brahmacharya ashram”, the stage of youth or learning, which requires a certain discipline, guidance and purity to gain the knowledge required.
The second twenty-one years, from ages twenty-one to forty-two, is called the “Grihastha ashram” or householder phase. This is the main time for having children and raising a family, working, and paying our obligations to society.

The third section of twenty-one years, from ages forty-two to sixty-three is the “Vanaprastha” or the hermitage phase. This is a time for return to studying scriptures, meditation and contemplation.
The fourth and last section from sixty-three to eighty-four is the “Sannyasa” or renunciation phase. The person, now an elder full of wisdom, inwardly aims to renounce all the material goals of life. The person spends all their time with spiritual pursuits. In times gone by and sometimes now as well a person would become a wandering mendicant begging for food with few belongings, all family ties gone and only God left to seek.

Posted in God, Hindu, Hinduism, Religion, Sanatana Dharma, Spirituality, vegetarianism, yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Forms of worship

Forms of Worship

Hindu ritual is divided into three types: (1) daily rituals called nitya; (2) specific rituals, called naimittika; and (3) personal rituals, called kamya.

These three religious activities, nitya, naimittika, and kamya, are accomplished through three types of ritual. These rituals are yajna, (involving a sacrificial fire); puja (devotional offerings, usually flowers); and dhyana (meditation). Yajnas are performed on major occasions, such as marriage and housewarming, when sacred substances are offered into the sacrificial fire. Puja may be performed publicly or privately. Public puja, usually performed in a temple, consists of anointing a statue of a deity and offering flowers, incense, and carefully prepared food to the deity (This is usually done by a priest). Chanting and devotional singing follow, accompanied by the waving of a small, camphor-burning lamp that illuminates the image of the deity (Arati/aarti). Most ceremonies have opportunities for meditation.

Daily Worship

Daily worship can take place in one of three different places: in the home, in a temple, or at an open-air shrine.

Home worship

Many Hindus worship daily the their personal deity. This personal deity is called the ishta-devata. Household puja usually consists of:

Avahana – invoking the presence of God in the image or symbol

Asana – offering a seat to God

Padya and Arghya – giving water for washing feet and hands to God

Snana or Abhisheka – ceremonial bath (of God)

Vastra – offering Clothes (to God)

Candana – smearing sandal paste and other unguents

Pushpa – offering of flowers and garlands

Dhupa – burning incense

Dipa – waving of lamp

Naivedya – food offering (to God)

Visarjana – bidding goodbye

In the temples, the Abhisheka (bathing) of the image and its decoration are done more elaborately.

Temple/shrine worship

A nearby temple to a god or goddess is usually the focus of regular puja (i.e., worship). Basic rituals performed daily at most Hindu temples include prayers to rouse the deity from sleep at dawn, bathing and dressing the deity, making the deity available for worship and offerings by visitors at midday, and singing prayers to the deity to lull the deity to sleep at dusk. These rituals show the love of and devotion of Hindus to God. Once the god has taken his part of the offerings, the devotee may share in some of the now-blessed food (called Prasad). While some of this may seem odd to Western sensibilities, these actions help the worshippers view the divine being as immediately present.. The statue/object contains, due to its installation rituals, a portion of Gods energy. The worshipper may also say mantras, or listen to the priests chant, sing, or read from the sacred texts. The most important aspect of visiting a temple is to be seen by God and to see God, this connection is called Darshan. ( I like to equate the representation of God to a means of communication (maybe a videophone) whereby a devotee can see god and be seen by him) The rituals worshippers go through are very varied as you may see. During the God or Goddess’ festival, the statue may be paraded through the streets.

Rituals performed at temples, like household rituals, can be divided into those that take place daily, nitya; those performed on specific occasions, naimittika; and those performed voluntarily, kamya. Hindu temples are dedicated to a deity or several deities who are believed to preside over the temple. Hindus visit temples to worship the temple deity or to worship another deity of their choosing by means of these three types of rituals. Kamya puja is typically performed at temples to gain a specific end. A visitor to a temple might request the performance of puja, or daily prayers, at the temple and make a donation for that purpose.

Shrines to Hindu gods and goddesses, both major and minor, stand on roadsides in the country and on the streets in cities in India. During the day, as people pass by, they may stop, say a short prayer or mantra, and perhaps leave a small offering.

Types of Poojas and Yagnyas(Homa/Hovan)

Yagnas/yagnyas/yagyas

The simplest form of yajna is the domestic ritual performed by the householder who would offer simple oblation into the sacred fire lit in his house. A more complicated version involves setting up of three to five fires and pouring of offerings into them such as food grains, ghee or butter, and other vegetable substances by chosen and qualified priests, chanting mantras simultaneously, invoking various gods especially Agni, Indra, Varuna etc.

Some yagnas are performed on large scale for the general welfare of the entire community, to increase fertility of soil, to invite rains, to welcome peace and wealth etc. Depending upon the degree of complexity, these yagnas may last from a few hours to several days. The number of priests participating and conducting the ceremony would depend upon the nature and objective for which it is performed.

Yajna is a vedic sacrifice which has an outer aspect and an inner aspect. To the vedic priests, yajna was the means to invoke gods and seek their blessings and favors. They used to perform these yagnas for various purposes and at various times during the year, at the time of sowing, at the time of harvest, at the time of initiating some important social event or before going to wars. One very popular yajna of those days was the Asvamedha Yajna, or the Horse Sacrifice which used to be performed by powerful kings to show their Valor and the extent of their influence. This yajna is now almost extinct in practice.

The outer aspect of yajna consists of building an altar, generally with bricks, kindling fire using specific types of grass and wood and then pouring into it oblations such as ghee or clarified butter, food grains, sesame seeds, and water to the accompaniment of chanting of sacred verses from the Vedas.

The inner or hidden aspect of Yajna is known to those who are familiar with the Vedic rituals. The yajna is the means of worshipping the highest God or ones own inner self.

It is a fact that the incidence of performing the yagnas and other forms of sacrifices is slowly coming down in modern Hindu Society, primarily because of the influence of western education, the complexity involved in performing them and the decreasing number of priests who are well versed in the art of performing yajna according to the Vedic injunctions.

Types of Homa / Havan

  1. Sri Maha Mritunjaya Homa: This Homa can be performed to overcome illnesses.
  2. Sri Suktam Homa: This Homa is performed to overcome any financial hardships or improve job prospects.
  3. Nava Graha Homa: This Homa is performed to appease any planets that are giving you malefic influences.
  4. Rurda Homa: This Homa is performed to appease Lord Siva.
  5. Ayushaman Homa: This Homa is performed to overcome illnesses and improvements in health from surgery, accidents. It helps in improving the longevity as well as the quality of health in general.
  6. Chandi Homa: This Homa is performed to appease Divine Mother Durga by chanting the 800 Slokas of Sri Chandi Saptasati.
  7. Ganapati Homa: This Homa is performed to remove any obstacles in your life, and it helps students in their studies for better grades.

Homa rituals have been performed by Vedic priests for several millennia. The following is an illustrative list of a few such homa rituals:

Ceremony   Purpose
Aayushya homa   for longevity; often held to celebrate an anniversary
Dhanavantri homa   for good health
Durga homa   to cancel negative energies; for self-confidence
Gayatri homa   to facilitate good karma
Kritya Pariharana   to counter the effects of black magic
Ganapathi homa   to overcome obstacles
LakshmiKubera homa   for wealth and material prosperity
Mangala Samskarana homa   to celebrate auspicious events; to attain Moksha
Mahadevi homa   for the stimulation of a marriage and for marital felicity among those already married
Navagraha homa   to negate limitations in one’s horoscope
Punyahavachana homa   for the naming of a child
Sudarshana homa   for success in an undertaking
Vastu homa   a house-warming; to encourage good Vastu (energy in buildings)
Vidya homa   to benefit students; to facilitate learning
Vishwa Shanthi homa   for universal peace and harmony, as also harmony between the self and the universe
Viraja Homa   purification rites performed as part of the formal ceremonies by which a person takes the vows of renunciation (Sannyas), thereby becoming a Sanyasin (monk)

Sata Chandi Yagnya- 41 days

This Yagnya is offered for Mother divine for bringing prosperity and removing negative energy in house, workplace and physical health terms.

Other Poojas

Manya Pashupatam- This pooja is conducted specifically for removal of enemies, legal problem solutions, professional jealousy and other real world problems that we face in today’s competitive world.

Ganesh Pooja

Pooja performed before any pooja to remove obstacles by praying Lord Ganesh.

Satyanarayana Katha

Pooja performed to get all the benefits and the pleasures of this world and Moksha by praying to Lord SatyaNarayana.

Devi Durga Pooja

Durga Pooja is performed in the month of Ashwin (September / October). Nine

nights are spent in worship and the tenth day is devoted to goddess Durga.

Vastu Pooja (Matsya Yantra Yagya)

The purpose of this pooja is to correct, once and for all, all defects in Vastu that may exist in a building.

Shri Vidya Pooja

Improvement in all areas of life, especially finances and clarity of mind.

Nava Graha Shanti

All nine planets are propitiated for one year by chanting of 120,000 planetary mantras on your

name

Dhanalakshmi Pooja

Lord Ganesh and Lakshmi are invoked for financial improvement.

Naraghosha Abhishekam

This is done to ward off enemies.

Chandi Havan

This powerful fire sacrifice is done to a fierce form of Mother Divine. This helps in removing big problems by burning up bad karma.

Kanya Pashupatam

The purpose is to attract the spouse.

Ganapati Tarpanam

We offer milk and water to Lord Ganesh 444 times for each tarpanam. This pooja brings excellent prosperity.

Maha Mritunjaya Japa

125,000 repetitions of the Mritunjaya mantra(to ward off death and improve the health). This takes 45 days.

Ganapati Homam

This is a fire sacrifice to Lord Ganesh to bring financial success and removal of all obstacles.

Mritunjaya Homam

This fire sacrifice is done to relieve sickness and increase vitality.

Ayush Homam

This Homam is performed to increase the life span.

Nakshatra Shanti

Include 10,000 japas of your moon’s nakshatra’s mantra, pooja and fire sacrifice. Purpose is general improvement for when your birth nakshatra is under difficulties.

SPECIAL ABHISHEKAMS

*

Courage

*

Removing enemies

*

Kubera – Lord of Wealth

*

Naga – The king of the serpents – aids Rahu and Ketu

Also other Abhishekams (ritual washing of the deity with milk, water, yogurt, honey etc) are available in special cases.

Rudrabhishekam

Abhishekam performed to please Lord Shiva.

Gran Kubera Abhishekam

Attracts wealth, gems etc.

Gran Lakshmi Homam

If you want a lot of financial success, this is the yagya you want. It is a big production and takes all day. Ingredients of the Yagya are 1,008 roses, ghee, new silk sari etc.

Chandi Yagya

Different remedies for different problems. It is a Mother Divine Yagya.

Panya Homam

For improving business sales.

Vishnu Sahasra Nama Homam

This is a Jupiter planet problems, education and mental peace.

Sudarshan Homam

Stop the bad effects for bad evils, legal problems and desire fulfilment.

Shanti Shanti

This is Yagya for Saturn planet problems, decrease the power of Saturn.

Srisookta Homam

Homam yagya for wealth and collect pending money.

Sarpa Shanti

Yagya for kalasarpa yoga, it removes ketu and rahu problems.

Kuja Shanti

For mangalik problem removal.

Bhagalamukhi and Kameswari Japa

For special difficulties in business and public relations.

Veda Parayana

Removing bad karmas and for moksha.

Nakshatra Shanti

Yagya for removing bad effects on Birth Nakshatra (moon).

Manyu Sookta Parayana

Relief from the enemies and legal problems.

Lalita Sahasra Nama Parayana (41 days)

Make joyful life, happy married life and wishes come true.

Festivals / Holidays

Hindu festivals are based on the lunar calendar. In modern India, there are sixteen officially recognized holidays (when businesses close), although there are many more holidays than that. Most festivals are annual, but some happen on a longer cycle. The festival of Kumbha Mela, when millions of Hindus gather at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna rivers takes place once every three years at one of four different sites.

Of the annual festivals, the two-day rites of Holi mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring. This celebration is linked to Krishna whose exploits with the gopis are reenacted. It is a time of gaity, joy, and hope for nature’s rebirth. For a fuller discussion of Holi within Hinduism, go here.

In late summer, Krishna’s birthday is celebrated during Janmashtami.

Shortly afterwards, Ganesha is honored with the festival of Ganesh Charurti. To learn more about this festival, go here.

Posted in Hindu, Hinduism, Religion, Sanatana Dharma, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Hindu Goals

Based on the principle of progressive evolution of the soul.

Doctrine of four ends forms the basis of individual and social life of a Hindu.

Dharma

Good moral and ethical practices according to the scriptures. Includes all duties, individual, social and religious

Artha (Wealth):

One must earn enough order to raise a family and maintain a household. Wealth should also be for sharing with those who are poor, handicapped or less fortunate. Dharma and Artha must be coordinated in order to earn decent living while recognizing that Artha is not an ultimate end of Hindu religious life

Karma

Denotes the wants and desires of body and mind in the form of desires, passions, emotions and drives. Through controlled satisfaction of desires and passions, an individual becomes free from Karma. Freedom from sensual desires and passion is necessary for attaining moksha and is made possible by the proper coordination of Dharma, Artha, and Karma.

Moksha

This is the freedom from cycle of birth and death. In striving to attain liberation one becomes a better person, so that he/she can live harmoniously in this world before becoming one with God.

Posted in God, Hindu, Hinduism, Sanatana Dharma, Spirituality, Uncategorized, vegetarianism, yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

recipe page

Ok, I can’t control myself, I had to put more recipes in. So, I made a page just for them. If you have any vegetarian recipes please forward them to me (with attributes if appropriate)

There are only a few so far but with your help it will get better.

Posted in Uncategorized

Shavuot

Ok. This is a little different. Today our family went to Orlando Chabad temple. Not just for the ice cream but it helped. We like to show our kids various religions. For many years we have also gone to Chabad events.

They are a very family oriented people much like Hindus. We love the Rabbi and his family. Though the religion is vastly different to Hinduism, it is very interesting.

I’d encourage people to experience other religious services, it promotes understanding, tolerance and love of your fellow man (or woman 🙂 )

Differences between people has often fostered hatred. Hatred due to differences in colour, sexual orientation, and religion.

Too many have died and will die due to such differences and it’s sickening. Move out of your comfort zone find out about people who vastly differ from you. You may find they are not so different.

Posted in God, Religion, Spirituality | Tagged , , ,

Sri Parvati/Durga/Kali

This post about Sri Durga/Parvati/ Kali is probably debatable  as people have their own beliefs. Below is some information I collected, in places rewrote and tried to make sense of. If I goofed I apologise. If you want to add anything or have me change anything please let me know. I’m trying to give an overview of generally accepted belief.

Sri Parvati is the consort of Lord Shiva and exists in various forms. In her fierce warrior aspects, the most commonly worshipped forms are Durga and Kali. These are avatars taken by the Goddess in an effort to destroy a form of evil.

Parvati


Goddess Parvati is the consort of Lord Shiva. She has several names, each with a special significance. Since Shiva is also called ‘Bhava’ his wife is known as ‘Bhavani.’ She is ‘Parvati’, being the daughter of the king of mountains, Parvataraja. As a child she was a devotee of Lord Shiva. Other names include Uma, Gauri and Lalitha

Goddess Parvathi is Lord Siva’s consort & like Lord Siva, she is portrayed in bothterrifying & serene aspects. In her serene aspect, she is depicted as Parvathi & is usually seen along with Siva and their sons Lord Ganesha & Lord Muruga/ Subramanya and daughter Jyoti.. She is seen with only two hands, holding a blue lotus in her right hand.

Durga

In Hinduism, Durga is a form of Devi, the supreme goddess..The worship of Sri Durga is very popular among Hindus. Durga, in Sanskrit means “She who is incomprehensible or difficult to reach.”

SriDurga is depicted wearing a red Sari.Her vahana (vehicle) is a Lion/Tiger and she is sometimes seen as standing on a lotus or on a buffalo’s head. She has four – twenty arms andcarries many objects in her hands.

Following is the symbolism associated with Goddess Durga:

The red colourof her clothes represents action and that she is always busy destroying evil and protecting mankind.

A tiger symbolizes unlimited power. Durga riding a tiger indicates that She possesses unlimited power and uses it to protect virtue and destroy evil.

The eighteen arms of Durga signify that she possesses combined power of nine incarnations of Lord Vishnu that have appeared on the earth at different times in the past.
Weapons in the hands of Durga such as a mace, sword, disc, arrow, and trident convey the idea that one weapon cannot destroy all different kinds of enemies. Different weapons must be used to fight enemies depending upon the circumstances. For example, selfishness must be destroyed by detachment.
Goddess Durga preserves moral order and righteousness by destroying bad aspects of human nature such as selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, and ego.

Goddess Durga killed the powerful demon Mahish and all his great commanders. When demonic forces create imbalance all gods unite becoming one divine force called Shakti or Durga.

According to the Markandeya Purana, Durga was created by Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, to fight the demonMahishasura. Through prayers to Brahma, Mahishasura was given the boon that he could not be defeated by any man or god. With this power he unleashed a reign of terror on earth, heaven and the nether worlds.

Each god gave her their own most powerful weapons, Shiva’s trident, Vishnu’s discus, Indra’s thunderbolt, Brahma’s kamandal, etc. Himalayas gifted her a fierce white tiger.

During the night of the 8th/9th day of the waxing moon, Chanda and Munda came to fight the goddess. She turned blue with anger and goddess Kali/Chamunda leaped out of Durga’s third eye. Kali’s dark and powerful form killed the demons with her sword. This form of the divine goddess is worshipped during the sandhikshan of Durga Puja festival, as sandhi/chandi puja. Finally on the tenth day of waxing moon, goddess Durga killed Mahishasura with her trident.

The Worship of Durga

Durga is worshiped during an annual festival called Durga puja, especially popular among Bengalis.

The day Durga killed Mahishasura is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami –meaning the tenth day of victory/victorious tenth day.
The actual period of the worship however may last from 5 to nine days before this depending on the region. Nine aspects of Durga known as Navadurga are worshipped during the nine-day festival.

In Gujarat, the Garba dance is performed to celebrate the victory of Durga,on the last day of Navaratri.

Sri Durga Chalisa video

Kali


Kali she presents the most terrifying aspect of the Goddess, usually seen in a burial or war field. Being the destroyer of Chunda and Munda, she is known as Chamundi. She was created by Durga to help in the fight against demons.

In the images commonly worshipped, Kali is shown as an extremely black female with four arms. In one hand she has a scimitar, in another the head of a demon, which she holds by his hair, the third hand is spread flatly open bestowing blessings and in the fourth she holds another weapon, usually a spear or a trident. She has a necklace made of skulls and wears two heads of demons as earrings. Blood is also seen streaming from her tongue and upon her body. She is shown standing with one foot on Shiva’s chest and the other rests on his leg. In some statues, she is naked except for her ornaments and wears a kind of skirt made of hands of the demons strung around her waist.

Animal sacrifice used to be, and in some parts of India today, is done for Kali to please her. She is considered to be the favourite goddess of the dacoits, who believe that they will be saved from all dangers by the grace of Kali. At Kali Ghat, near Calcutta the most celebrated image of Kali is situated. Other forms of Kali are Chamunda, Shamshan Kali (goddess of the cremation ground), Bhadra Kali, Ugra Chandi, Bhima Chandi, Sidheshvari, and Sheetla (the goddess of smallpox). People also worship her to protect their children from dreaded diseases and their homes from ill omens.

 

Sri Kali in the serial ‘Jai Maa Durga”

Posted in Durga, God, Goddess, Hindu, Hinduism, Kali, Parvati, shiva | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments