Posts Tagged ‘Sadhus

24
Mar
12

23rd of March 2012: ‘Vikram Samvat’ or Hindu New Year

Hindu New Year , also known as ‘Vikram Samvat’ is celebrated according to the Hindu Lunar Calendar. In the Indian Calendar, seasons follow the sun, months follow the moon and days both sun and moon. This era of Vikram Samvat began in 57 BC. To correspond with the solar calendar, 57 years are subtracted from the Hindu Year. Thus, the New Year begin with the first day of Kartik Maas following Deepawali Amaavasya.

“It is easy to talk on religion, but difficult to practice it.”

Ramakrishna

The origin of Hindu New Year relates to the legendary Hindu King Vikramaditya in 57 BC. According to the legend, King Gardabhilla abducted a nun by the name of Saraswati. She was the sister of the famous Jain monk Kalakacharya. The helpless monk looked for help of the Saka ruler in Sakasthana to defeat Gardabhilla. He was defeated and captivated by the Saka King. Though later released, but Gardabhilla retired to the forest where he was killed by a tiger. His son, Vikramaditya, who was brought up in the forest, later invaded Ujjain and pushed out the Sakas. Thus, to celebrate this event, he commemorated a new era called Vikram Samvat.

 

 

“The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.”

 

Mao Zedong
 

On this occasion people decorate their houses by lighting and flowers decorations of varied colors like pink, blue, yellow, red and purple, etc… People also designed rangolis. Rangolis are the main attraction of the decoration part.

 

“One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.”

Mother Teresa
 

On that day it is a tradition to wake up early in the morning. People take a bath and they wear new clothes. Prayers are offered to goddess Lakshmi and to god Ganesh. Flowers, fruits and Prasad are offered to God. After the worship, prasad and fruits are distributed among the family members and neighbors. Prasad is a material substance that is first offered to a deity and then consumed.

 

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

Thomas Jefferson

 

The birth of a New Year is a whole new beginning and marks the time when the world awakens from its wintry slumber. So almost all the Hindu New Year festivals fall on the beginning of the spring months when nature turns bountiful and blesses the earth with fruitful greenery. The beautiful flowers that bloom in spring, the early bird songs, the fresh harvests which are the fruits of past labor and the commencement of a new agricultural cycle . All these symbolize the dawn of another year. Thus, every colorful spring festival of the Hindus, with all the expectations, apprehensions, hope and joy woven in the festivities, is essentially for a New Year celebration.

“The only source of knowledge is experience.”

Albert Einstein
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11
Mar
12

Wisdom from Confucius

Confucius (28 September 551 BC – 479 BC) was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period.

“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” 

 Confucius

The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism or Taoism during the Han Dynasty. Confucius’ thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism.

 “I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.”

 Confucius

Because no texts are demonstrably authored by Confucius, and the ideas most closely associated with him were elaborated in writings that accumulated over the period between his death and the foundation of the first Chinese empire in 221 BC, many scholars are very cautious about attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself. His teachings may be found in the Analects of Confucius, a collection of aphorisms, which was compiled many years after his death.

 “Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.”

Confucius 

Confucius’ principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and, according to later interpreters, of husbands by their wives), and the family as a basis for an ideal government. He expressed the well-known principle, “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”, one of the earlier versions of the Ethic of reciprocity.

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

Confucius
14
Feb
11

Hanuman, a Hindu Monkey God

Hanuman is a Hindu deity, who is an ardent devotee of Rama, a central character in the Indian epic Ramayana. A general among the vanaras, an ape-like race of forest-dwellers, Hanuman is an incarnation of the divine, whose fate it is to aid the hero Rama in the struggle against the demon king Ravana.

Hanuman’s exploits are much celebrated in a variety of religious and cultural traditions, particularly in Hinduism, so much so that he is often the object of worship, and is the prime deity in many temples known as Hanuman Mandirs. He is worshipped in all parts of India, particularly in Maharashtra.

Sri Hanuman was born of Anjani from Pavana, the wind-god. He was named Hanuman after the name of the city of Hanumpur over which his maternal uncle Parti Surya ruled. Hanuman’s body was hard as a stone. The world has not yet seen and will not see in future also a mighty hero like Sri Hanuman. During his life he worked wonders and exhibited superhuman feats of strength and valor. He has left behind him a name which, as long as the world lasts, will continue wielding a great influence over the minds of millions of people.

Animal worship refers to religious rituals involving animals, especially in pre-modern societies, such as the glorification of animal deities. Indian people worship monkeys because these represent Hanuman. In India the monkey-servant of God, Hanuman, is a prominent figure.

06
Feb
11

Sadhus: Hindu Holy men in India and Nepal

In Hinduism, sadhu is a common term for a mystic, an ascetic, practitioner of yoga. The sadhu is solely dedicated to achieving the fourth and final Hindu goal of life, moksha (liberation), through meditation and contemplation of Brahman. Sadhus are renunciates, who have left behind all material and sexual attachments and live in caves, forests and temples all over India and Nepal. A sadhu is usually referred to as ‘Baba’ by common people. The word ‘baba’ also means father, grandfather, or uncle in many Indian and Nepalese languages. There’re 4 to 5 million sadhus in India and Nepal today and they are widely respected.

Sadhus are not unified in their practices. Some live in the mountains alone for years at a time, eating a few bananas. Others walk around one hand in the air for decades. Still others partake in the religious consumption of hashish, and contemplate the cosmic nature and presence of God. There’re Naga sadhus, which are non-shaven and wear their hair in thick locks. Aghora sadhus may claim to keep company with ghosts, or live in cemeteries as part of their holy path. There’re two primary sectarian divisions within the sadhu community: Shaiva sadhus, ascetics devoted to the God Shiva, and Vaishnava sadhus, renouncers devoted to the God Vishnu and/or his incarnations, which include Rama and Krishna. There’re also female sadhus – known as sadhvis – in many sects. In many cases, the women that take to the life of renunciation are widows, and these types of sadhvis often live secluded lives in ascetic compounds.

The typical sadhu usually wears a distinctive mark on his forehead, and often carries a symbol of his sect. Becoming a sadhu is a path followed by few. It is supposed to be the fourth phase in a Hindu’s life, after studies, being a father and a pilgrim, but for most it’s not a practical option.