Posts under - Hinduism and Religions 
Blog Home
  Meaning of Maha Shivratri

The festival of Shivartri is celebrated in the honor of Lord Shiva on the thirteenth or fourteenth day during the month of February or March (Phaguna). Maha Shivratri means “the big night of Lord Shiva” and during the entire night devotees worship Lord Shiva. It was this day of Maha Shivratrti when Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati. People observe fast on the day of Maha Shivratri and perform several Shivratri rituals and traditions to worship Lord Shiva. Early in the morning people take a bath and wear new clothes. Temples are visited by people to worship Shiv lingam and make offerings of milk, rose water, honey, bael leaves, curd and fruits, as it is believed that each offering made to the shiv lingam has its own meaning and the Shiv lingam itself is a symbol of fruitfulness. The meaning of the offerings made to Lord Shiva is given below:

  • Sanitization of the soul is represented by a bath given to the Shiva lingam with rose water, milk, honey and bael leaves.
  • Vermilion... Read Full Post
Posted by Rajiv on Monday, February 23, 2009 at 10:22-AM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Hindu Scriptures

The Hindu scriptures are the product of relentless investigations into the facts and truth of life carried out by the ancient sages of Bharat. They contain systematic treatises on varied subjects in the fields of science, religion, metaphysics, philosophy and spiritual knowledge.

They are not limited to a few books because Hinduism does not confine ideas; therefore the scriptures have become a home for many different schools of thought. There is no single textbook for Mathematics nor is there a last or only Mathematician. Mathematics is the collective knowledge of all the Mathematicians over the ages. Similarly what we call Hinduism is the collective knowledge of all the sages who went to discover the Truth. 'Veda', the oldest scripture known to humankind, literally means 'knowledge'.

In Hinduism, there are two categories of books:

1. Shrutis, which deal with never changing, eternal principles, and

2. Smritis, which often deal with the practical application... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  What is Hindu Dharma?

One of the major living religious traditions of the world, Hinduism is also recognized as the most ancient. It is different from most others because it was not started by any single individual, seer or prophet, and its origins cannot be traced to a particular period of human history.

It is not based on one single book or a set of dogmas; on the contrary, it allows a great deal of freedom of thought, faith and worship. Hinduism is not a single religious faith system because it does not insist on any fixed set of doctrines. There are a variety of religious sects or traditions in Hinduism. However, in spite of this diversity, there is a unity among all the doctrines and schools of thought because their basic principles are based on the 'eternal laws of nature' which can be rightly defined as Sanatana (eternal) Dharma (laws of nature). The knowledge of the universe and the laws contained in the Vedas and in the subsequent scriptures is considered to be applicable at all times and... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Idea of GOD

One GOD, Many FORMS

The fundamental concept in Hinduism is that God is one but has many attributes and many functions and hence is called by many different names. Hinduism gives freedom to believe that God is formless and also allows us to worship God in diverse forms. These forms include complimentary attributes of male and female deities, some in human and some even in animal form.

God is the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the Universe

These three aspects are attributed to the trinities - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara.

God pervades the entire universe

God is equally present in every one and in every thing.

God is beyond gender

Hindus worship both male female forms of God.

Hindu scriptures also point out that whilst God is one, God cannot be fully defined. To define is to limit. Whatever is limitless defies definition. Total knowledge about God is beyond human comprehension and expression,... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Why do we light a lamp? - Meaning of Hindu Rituals
  • In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the Lord. In some houses it is lit at dawn, in some, twice a day – at dawn and dusk – and in a few it is maintained continuously (akhanda deepa). All auspicious functions commence with the lighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion.
  • Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance. The Lord is the "Knowledge Principle" (chaitanya) who is the source, the enlivener and the illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the Lord himself.
  • Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth.
  • Why not light a bulb or tube light? That too would remove darkness. But the traditional oil lamp has a further spiritual significance. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes... Read Full Post
Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Why do we have a prayer room? - Meaning of Hindu Rituals

Most Hindu homes have a prayer room or altar. A lamp is lit and the Lord worshipped each day. Other spiritual practices like japa (repetition of the Lord’s name), meditation, paaraayana (reading of the scriptures), prayers, devotional singing etc is also done here. Special worship is done on auspicious occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, festivals and the like. Each member of the family – young or old – communes with and worships the Divine here.

The Lord is the entire creation. He is therefore the true owner of the house we live in too. The prayer room is the Master room of the house. We are the earthly occupants of His property. This notion rids us of false pride and possessiveness.

The ideal attitude to take is to regard the Lord as the true owner of our homes and ourselves as caretakers of His home. But if that is rather difficult, we could at least think of Him as a very welcome guest. Just as we would house an important guest in the best comfort, so too we... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Why do we do Namaste? - Meaning of Hindu Rituals

Indians greet each other with namaste. The two palms are placed together in front of the chest and the head bows whilst saying the word namaste. This greeting is for all – people younger than us, of our own age, those older than us, friends and even strangers.

There are five forms of formal traditional greeting enjoined in the shaastras of which namaskaram is one. This is understood as prostration but it actually refers to paying homage as we do today when we greet each other with a namaste.

Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. However there is much more to it than meets the eye. In Sanskrit namah + te = namaste. It means – I bow to you – my greetings, salutations or prostration to you. Namaha can also be literally interpreted as "na ma" (not mine). It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another.

The real meeting between people is the meeting of their minds.... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  GAYATRI MAHA MANTRA - ITS MEANING

AUM BHOOR BHUWAH SWAHA,
TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM
BHARGO DEVASAYA DHEEMAHI
DHIYO YO NAHA PRACHODAYAT.

Summary of the Gayatri Maha Mantra
Gayatri Mantra (the mother of the vedas), the foremost mantra in hinduism and hindu beliefs, inspires wisdom. Its meaning is that "May the Almighty God illuminate our intellect to lead us along the righteous path". The mantra is also a prayer to the "giver of light and life" - the sun (savitur).

Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life,
Remover of pain and sorrow,
The Bestower of happiness,
Oh! Creator of the Universe,
May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light,
May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.

Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit
  

Gayatri, the five-faced Goddess, is said to have domain over the five senses or pranas, and protects these five life-forces of those who chant the Gayatri... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Why do we regard trees and plants as sacred? - Meaning of Hindu Rituals

The God, the life in us, pervades all living beings, be they plants or animals. Hence, they are all regarded as sacred. Human life on earth depends on plants and trees. They give us the vital factors that makes life possible on earth: food, oxygen, clothing, shelter, medicines etc.

Hence, in Bharat, we are taught to regard trees and plants as sacred. Hindu scriptures tell us to plant ten trees if, for any reason, we have to cut one. We are advised to use parts of trees and plants only as much as is needed for food, fuel, shelter etc. we are also urged to apologize to a plant or tree before cutting it.

Certain trees and plants like tulasi, peepal etc., which have tremendous beneficial qualities, are worshipped till today. It is believed that divine beings manifest as trees and plants, and many people worship them to fulfill their desires or to please the Lord.

From www.balagokulam.org

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Why do we say shaanti thrice? - Meaning of Hindu Rituals

Shaanti, meaning "peace", is a natural state of being. Disturbances are created either by us or others. For example, peace already exists in a place until someone makes noise. Therefore, peace underlies all our agitations. When agitations end, peace is naturally experienced since it was already there. Where there is peace, there is happiness. Therefore, every one without exception desires peace in his/her life.

However, peace within or without seems very hard to attain because it is covered by our own agitations. A rare few manage to remain peaceful within even in the midst of external agitation and troubles. To invoke peace, we chant prayers. By chanting prayers, troubles end and peace is experienced internally, irrespective of the external disturbances. All such prayers end by chanting shaanti thrice.

It is believed that trivaram satyam - that which is said thrice comes true. For emphasising a point we repeat a thing thrice. In the court of law also, one who takes the... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Why do we do aarati? - Meaning of Hindu Rituals

Towards the end of every ritualistic worship (pooja or bhajan) of the Lord or to welcome an honored guest or saint, we perform the aarati. This is always accompanied by the ringing of the bell and sometimes by singing, playing of musical instruments and clapping. It is one of the sixteen steps (shodasha upachaara) of the pooja ritual. It is referred to as the lighted lamp in the right hand, which we wave in a clockwise circling movement to light the entire form of the Lord. Each part is revealed individually and also the entire form of the Lord. As the light is waved we either do mental or loud chanting of prayers or simply behold the beautiful form of the Lord, illumined by the lamp. At the end of the aarati we place our hands over the flame and then gently touch our eyes and the top of the head.

We have seen and participated in this ritual from our childhood. Let us find out why we do the aarati?

Having worshipped the Lord of love - performing abhisheka, decorating the... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Ashramas : Four Stages in Human Life

Just as we differ in aptitudes, so do we differ in age. There are different seasons in human life as in nature. What grows in the spring will not grow in the autumn. The action that is appropriate in the spring is out of place in the fall.

In this way the normal human life was regarded as eighty-four years, consisting of four sections of twenty-one years each.

Brahmacharya: The first twenty-one years is called the "Brahmacharya ashram", the stage of youth or learning, which requires a certain discipline, guidance and purity for its full flowering.

Grihastha: 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, as well as for working and fulfilling our duties to society. This second stage of life begins with marriage. One enters the householder stage and starts a family. One earns a righteous living. One looks after all... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Om: Symbol of the Absolute

The goal which all the Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which men desire when they lead the life of continence … is Om. This syllable Om is indeed Brahman. Whosoever knows this syllable obtains all that he desires. This is the best support; this is the highest support. Whosoever knows this support is adored in the world of Brahma."
~ Katha Upanishad I

Om or Aum is of paramount importance in Hinduism. This symbol (as seen in the image on the right) is a sacred syllable representing Brahman, the impersonal Absolute of Hinduism — omnipotent, omnipresent, and the source of all manifest existence. Brahman, in itself, is incomprehensible; so a symbol becomes mandatory to help us realize the Unknowable. Om, therefore, represents both the unmanifest (nirguna) and manifest (saguna) aspects of God. That is why it... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  The word 'Hindu'

History is mostly guessing; the rest is prejudice. - Will Durant

The word 'Hindu' has its origin in Sanskrit literature. In the Rig Veda, Bharat is referred to as the country of 'Sapta Sindhu', i.e. the country of seven great rivers. The word 'Sindhu' refers to rivers and sea and not merely to the specific river called 'Sindhu'. In Vedic Sanskrit, according to ancient dictionaries, 'sa' was pronounced as 'ha'. Thus 'Sapta Sindhu' was pronounced as 'Hapta Hindu'. This is how the word 'Hindu' came in to being. The ancient Persians also referred to Bharat as 'Hapta Hind', as recorded in their ancient classic 'Bem Riyadh'. That is why some scholars came to believe that the word 'Hindu' had its origin in Persia. The Greeks, who invaded Bharat under Alexander, dropped 'H' and used the name Indoos or Indus, which later led to the formation of the word 'India'.

From www.balagokulam.org

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Why do we fast? - Meaning of Hindu Rituals

Most devout Hindus fast regularly or on special occasions like festivals. On such days they do not eat at all, eat once or make do with fruits or a special diet of simple food.

Fasting in Sanskrit is called upavaasa. Upa means "near" + vaasa means "to stay". Upavaasa therefore means staying near (the God), meaning the attainment of close mental proximity with the Lord. Then what has upavaasa to do with food?

A lot of our time and energy is spent in procuring food items, preparing, cooking, eating and digesting food. Certain food types make our minds dull and agitated. Hence on certain days people decide to save time and conserve their energy by eating either simple, light food or totally abstaining from eating so that the mind becomes alert and pure. The mind, otherwise pre-occupied by the thought of food, now entertains noble thoughts and stays with the Lord. Since it is a self-imposed form of discipline it is usually adhered to with joy.

Also every system needs... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 02:27-PM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Aarti- Om Jaye Jagdish Hare - The Daily Prayer

In simple words 'Aarti' means Prayer.

Aarti is the most important ritual performed by the masses of India. This prayer is said to have been penned by Pandit Shradha Ram Phillauri in 1888. The entire prayer is an attempt to praise the glory of the inexpressible God and surrendering oneself to Him.  The Aarti can be a very soothing experience.  Each person, however, will realize for oneself by listening, singing and contemplating upon this simple but divine prayer.

Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 11:56-AM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  OM/Aum/ – The Sphota

AUM is the supreme symbol of the Lord
AUM is the whole; AUM affirms, AUM signals,
The chanting of the hymns from the Vedas,
the priest Begins with AUM,
spiritual teachers, and their students
converse with AUM

Tulsidas, the author of Ramcharitmanas says,

”Gira artha jal bichi some kahiyat bhinna Na bhinna.” Posted by Rajiv on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 11:55-AM under Hinduism and Religions

Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Hindu Gods, Deities and Spirits

Gods of the Vedic Period

Much of the meaning of the Rig Veda is imperfectly understood and the meanings of many words have become obsolete for many centuries.  However a broad concept of the religion of Rig Veda is clear enough.  The chief object of worship is the Deva (Prajapati – father of all gods and humans), who is seen as ‘the bright, shining one’.  Prajapati retreated in history and was replaced by many other major gods.  The main gods of Vedic period are Indra, Varuna, Surya, Agni, Soma, Rudra and Yama.  Indra, the warrior God, was associated... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 11:52-AM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Nine Reasons Why Lord Rama Endures in our Hearts

Lord Rama was born on the ninth day of the month of Chitra, hence we celebrate his birthday as a 'Navami'. Indian mathematicians and philosophers see nine as a magical number. Planets in our solar system are also nine, as are the main forms of goddess Durga and the ways of Bhakti – devotion. Let us consider why we celebrate Rama-Navami, by considering nine of Lord Rama's great characteristics / virtues. " Actions speak louder than Words " was Rama's chief motto. He embodied all the virtues by practicing what he preached. More than his divine powers, his glorious heritage or his incredible prowess was his unblemished, untarnished, irreproachable character. His popularity, bravery, courage in face of all adversities, kindness, sense of justice, obedience, intelligence, limitless patience, boundless compassion and steadfast following of duty / "dharma" have endeared him to countless generations of Hindus and... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 11:41-AM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  What are Puranas? Are They Myths?

According to Webster New Universal dictionary, myth is a traditional story of unknown authorship ,ostensibly with a historical basis but serving usually to explain some phenomenon of nature , the origin of man or the customs , institutions and religious rites of a people. Myths usually involve the exploits of gods and goddesses and kings and heroes.

It is a sort of narrative stories based on belief and affirmation of a religion and is written in a popular language easy to understand and grasp by the common folk and ladies in particular. By the passage of time, myths came to be regarded as false, concocted and distorted stories... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 11:13-AM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Hindu Concept of God

Hindu Concept of God:

Hindus believe in One and Only God – Brahman which expresses itself in trillions of forms. Hindus do not believe God has human form or any other form. God is nameless and timeless. But there is nothing wrong to worship a God with name and form (nama-roopa), since man cannot conceive anything without any name and form. In fact, in the Shruti scriptures of Hinduism, God or Brahman  has been described as Saguna Brahman (God-Brahman with attributes) as well as Nirguna Brahman (God-without attributes. In the Upanishads, God is described as Neti–Neti (not this-not that) method. So first Hindus worshiped 33 natural gods in the Rig Veda. Then Hinduism came to the realization that there is one and only God - Brahman.... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 11:12-AM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Sacred Books of Hinduism

The very first sacred books of Hinduism are called Vedas. Vedas means knowledge. There are four Vedas and they claim to teach men the highest aspects of truths which can lead them to God. Vedas and Upanishads are Shruti scriptures. The word Veda came from the root word "vid" meaning "to know". Vedas are the very first scriptures of Hinduism. Vedas as per scriptures was written by God. Vedas state "Self Ralization" is one and the goal of human life. Vedas also discuss in detail rituals and ceremonies to attain self-realization. There are 4 Vedas. They are:

Rig Veda – Knowledge of Hymns – 10589 verses Posted by Rajiv on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 10:53-AM under Hinduism and Religions

Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  What is Hinduism?

It is the true culture of Indians in India. Many call it "A way of life." It is not an organized religion. It has no founder. It has no hierarchy. It has a lot of scriptures. In Hindu scriptures, you are actually studying about the history and culture of India.

Hinduism and Judaism are mothers of all modern religions in the world. Buddhism, Sikhism and to some extent Jainism and Zoroastrianism came from Hinduism. Of course, Jainism existed during Rig Vedic Period. Statues of Rishabha, the first Thirthankara and founder of Jainism was found in the Mohenjadaro, Harappa excavations.

Hinduism cannot be destroyed, even if we burn every Hindu scripture and kill every Hindu theologian on earth. Hinduism or Hindu Culture is a very dynamic living, breathing Reality. Strength of Hinduism lies in its most amazing ability to adapt to different circumstances and different ages while maintaining its very strong continuity with the past. How does it do that? That is a billion dollar question.... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 10:43-AM under Hinduism and Religions
Post Comments (0) Back to Top


  Brahma Hurls, Vishnu Plays, Shiva Terminates

The Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva symbolize the forces of Creation, Sustenance and Destruction. We see these forces at play in our every day life. There is birth (Janam), life (Jivan) and death (Mrityu). This applies to all forms of life. This phenomenon is always in motion and forever changing.

For example, this ever-changing phenomenon is evinced in the cycle of water vapors originating from the oceans in becoming clouds and then rain. The raindrops again change form - from becoming a small brook forming into a stream, the droplets eventually merge with the rivers and flow back into the mighty Ocean from whose womb will ascend the vapors all over again.

The play of these forces is also evident in our thought process. In our society people are classified into various titles (Upadhies)... Read Full Post

Posted by Rajiv on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 12:56-AM under Hinduism and Religions
Read & Post Comments (2) Back to Top


Recent Blog Posts
Show All Posts



© Copyright 2009 All rights reserved, Rajiv Sharma
Home | Contact Me | Sitemap | Privacy Notice & Disclaimer
Visitor's IP Address:
54.91.121.255