Jalaram Bapa a saint from Virpur

A once mighty civilization that India was, it continues to produce men and women of exceptional abilities from time to time and from place to place. The land of Punjab is Vir Bhumi, land of Kerala is Punuruthana Bhumi, land of UP and Utrakhand is Dev Bhumi, land of Bengal is Reform Bhumi, land of Bihar Jharkhand is Shanti Sandesh Bhumi, land of Tamilnadu is Kalaa Bhumi and so on. The land of Gujarat is famous as Sant Bhumi. Each Bhumi or land or state has produced many stars in its category.

Jalaram Bapa idol at a temple in Vadodara, dressed in colorful attire on occasion of Jalaram Jayanti holding a danda and wearing a turban.
Jethwarp – Own work

Gujarat has produced many saints. One such saint of Gujarat who lived mostly in 19th century affectionately known as Bapa (meaning great Dad) started a tradition of feeding the poor, the needy and everyone else who came to him. I had gone to Virpur where Bapa was born and witnessed his open kitchen, open to all, his earthen vessel that quenches the thirst of all and a place that does not accept donations. Even after 200 years, Bapa continues to shower his blessings and money has never been a problem to serve. 

The main shrine of Jalaram Bapa is located at Virpur. The shrine is actually the house complex where Jalaram lived during his lifetime. The shrine houses the belongings of Jalaram and the deities of Rama, Sita, Lakshamana and Hanuman worshipped by him. It also has on display the Jholi and Danda said to be given by God.[5] But the main attraction is the portrait of Jalaram Bapa. There is also an actual black and white photo of Jalaram Bapa, taken one year before his death.[7]

The temple is one of a kind in the world in a way that it has not been accepting any offerings since 9 February 2000.

Jalaram Bapa popularly known as Bapa was a Hindu saint from Gujarat, India. Bapa is revered by many people around the world for his saintly qualities and his ability to work miracles but most of all he is remembered for his selfless acts of charity.

Bapa was born on 14 November 1799 in the town of Virpur near Rajkot in India. He got married to Virbai at the age of sixteen. Virbai Maa, as she is popularly known, supported Bapa wholeheartedly in his saintly duties. Bapa’s feats of kindness, his devotion to God and his miracles are well documented.

At the age of 20, after obtaining his Guru’s blessings, Bapa started his Sadavrat (‘an oath forever’), providing free food to every person, at first to sadhus (monks) but later extended to anyone who dropped in. Inspired by his insatiable desire to feed the poor and needy, many became his devotees. True to Bapa’s desire and nearly 200 years later this tradition of feeding people continues to this day in Virpur.

For his devotees this meal is now a Prasad. Virpur has become an important Pilgrimage centre in India and attracts thousands of visitors daily.

Although Bapa origins were from the Lohana community his work and influence extended to all as he considered all castes and religions equally worthy of help and respect.

Bapa died in 1881 whilst praying. He was a divine soul who worked selflessly for humanity. His deeds are inspiring millions of people to follow the path of humanity and service. His birthday (Jayanti) each year is celebrated by many thousands of people across the world. His mandirs everywhere still serve the same Prasad of “Rotla, Khichdi, Kadhi and Shaak” and preach about the completely unselfish and kind deeds of Bapa.

(Visited 39 times, 1 visits today)

Perth Mint releases Diwali 2018 Stamp and Coin Cover

The coin features a representation of Ganesha with his traditional motifs – a lotus flower, an ornamental axe and a mouse, symbolising the deity’s state of enlightenment. The design includes the inscription ‘happy diwali’ and The Perth Mint’s traditional ‘P’ mintmark.

No visits yet

Jagannatha Puri Ratha Yatra 14th July 2018

By: Madya Lila

May the Lord’s blessings be upon you on the auspicious day of Puri Ratha Yatra. In the holy city of Jagannatha Puri, the Supreme Lord resides within His ancient temple by the shores of the sea. Once every year, during the rainy season, Lord Jagannatha (Lord Krishna), along with His elder brother Balarama and His younger sister Subhadra come out of the temple to ride on magnificent chariots in a grand parade to the Sri Gundicha temple.

This festival is called Ratha Yatra, the journey (yatra) of the chariots (ratha) and it has been celebrated in Jagannatha Puri for many hundreds of years. It commemorates the occasion when Krishna, accompanied by His brother and sister, travelled by chariot from Dvaraka to Kuruksetra to meet their dear friends and family members from Vrindavan, fulfilling their wish to see Him again after many years.

In the 16th century, the great saint, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, devoted 20 years of His life to worshipping Lord Jagannath and propagating the sankirtan movement in Puri. Due to His influence, millions of pilgrims from around the world visit Jagannatha Puri for the Ratha Yatra festival to gain darshan of the Lord. It is said that simply by seeing the Lord on the chariot, one makes advancement towards liberation from the wheel of birth and death. Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a prominent scholar and devotee in the line of Lord Chaitanya, inaugurated the international Ratha Yatra festivals that are now held in more than 100 cities around the world.

An important element of the festival is called Chera Pahara (sweeping with water). The Gajapati King, ruler of the medieval kingdom of Odisha, humbly and with great devotion sweeps the road in front of the chariots with a gold handled broom and sprinkles sandalwood powder and water. By the Gajapati’s performing this menial service, we learn that no matter how exalted a person one may be, we are all the servants of the Lord. For this reason, it is recommended that at least once a year, we should engage ourselves in cleaning the temple of the Lord to help to remind us of our position as a servant of the Lord and to taste the happiness of humility.

(Visited 44 times, 1 visits today)

Take a Quiz on Hindu Symbols and Icons

Check your knowledge of Hinduism

Take a Quiz on Hinduism Symbols and Icons

Please enter your email:

1. What is the difference between clockwise and anti-clockwise versions of swastika?

 
 
 

2. A Vermilion red colour Bindi signifies that the woman is married? Yes/No

 
 

3. Upnayana is a rite of passage to mark adolescence? Yes/No

 
 

4. Vibhuti  means super natural powers acquired through religious practices? Yes/No

 
 

5. Playing with colors on Holi festival is called Rangoli? Yes/No

 
 

6. Conch shells are used in Hindu worship as a trumpet?

 
 

7. All other Yantras are derived from Sri Chakra Yantra?

 
 

8. While a Tilak can be applied at various parts of the body, Bindi must be applied only in between the eyes? Yes/No

 
 

9. A Hindu can not apply a Tilak to a non-Hindu? Yes/No

 
 

10. A Toran is a decoration hanging at the front door of a home and can be made out of any one of the following (you can tick more than one)

 
 
 
 

11. How many number of cotton wicks can be put into the oil and lighted for an aarti lamp?

 
 
 
 

12. What is the  purpose of performing aarti and the waving of lighted wicks before the deities?

 
 
 
 

13. Rudraksha beads represent tears of which God?

 
 
 
 

14. Hindus apply a Tilak on their foreheads to express their devotion? Yes/No

 
 

15. What is the usual number of beads in a Hindu Japa Mala?

 
 
 
 

16. Is it Ok for a married woman to wipe off her sindoor? Yes/No

 
 

17. How many strands of thread does a Janaeu or Yajnopavit has?

 
 
 
 

18. A mangala sutra is worn by wife for the long life of the husband? Yes/No

 
 

19. Who is the vehicle or mount of Lord Ganesha?

 
 
 
 

20. Aum is a representation of Brahma God out of three God heads? Yes/No

 
 


(Visited 38 times, 1 visits today)

Ram Sita Kalyanam Vivah in Parramatta 3rd November 2018

Hindu Council of Australia is celebrating Deepavali festival on 3rd and 4th of November 2018 in Parramatta Park this year also.

A special attraction of this year is likely to be an elaborate performance of Rama Sita Kalyanam or Ram Sita Vivah (marriage of Ram and Sita) being planned for 3rd November in Parramatta park location.

Ram Sita Kalyanam volunteers team meets to plan the event

Ram Sita Kalyanam volunteers team meets to plan the event

This is going to be a huge event and the planning has already started. Our Sai Ji is leading the initiative. A team of volunteers has already started preparations for this grand occasion. Some of the suggestions circulating among the team is to 

  • perform Rama Pattabishekam
  • procession/kolatam to carry idols to the mandapam in a palaki
  • Kalyanam or Vivhah before sunset.

We welcome your suggestions about this event and encourage you to come and join the volunteers team and shape this event.

To participate in making the event happen, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post. You can also visit Hindu Council web site and sign up as a volunteer specifying your interest in Ram Sita Kalyanam event.

(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)

Take a Quiz on Hindu Beliefs

Please go to Take a Quiz on Hindu Beliefs to view the test
(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)

Why do Gods look the way they do?

By: Surinder Jain.

Hindus have many Gods and each God has his or her own form. We have Shiva sitting on an ice cold mountain top with a fountain of water (river Ganga) flowing out of the top of his head. We have Ganesh with an elephant head and Shakti shown with up to eight arms carrying weapons and gifts in each.

 

All religions have a well defined concept of The God, Their God. Not all religions however can show you what their God looks like. In fact some religions prohibit showing their God’s or their prophets form altogether going to the extent of calling such an act a heresy. In some religions it is asserted that God created Man in His own image and therefore one can deduce that reverse must be true, i.e. God must look like a man (not a woman, mind me).

By Source, Fair use, Link 

Vishnu from Bali

Vishnu from India

 

But if each religion had to follow Hinduism and depict their God in the form of a picture or a sculpture (murti), and assuming it is permitted, what would their deity look like.

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill scholars went about addressing this issue for Christians. If Christians had to draw a picture of God, what would it look like. Now, this is not the first time that someone has dared to draw a face and picture of a Christian God. Many historic paintings available in Churches in Europe show God as an old white male with a white beard and this is what the scholars must have been expecting to come up with.

After showing a number of different photos (very much like mug shots) to devout Christians and asking them which photo resembles their God the most, they came up with a picture of a Christian God. They found that God comes not in one but in as many forms as human aspirations or groupings.

The researchers found that American Christians see God as young, white and loving. But those with views aligned to liberals see God as more feminine, more African-American, and more loving than conservatives. They see God as older, more intelligent, and more powerful. But everyone in the study seemed to see God as similar to themselves.

God and anti-God

Even though American Christians ostensibly believe in the same God, people perceived God in their own way, their perceptions reflecting their political ideologies and their own personal appearance,” the researchers found. When Christian believers think about God, they perceive a form suited to meet their needs and who looks like their own selves.

If people believe they live a godly life, they’re most likely to see a god that looks like themselves, and it might explain why one person’s perception of hypocrisy of some believers, isn’t to others, basically making their view of God conform to them rather than the other way around.

So, if Christians were to make deities in their churches of Christian God (not that they would or should), they are likely to end up with as many Christian Gods as in Hinduism. 

So, next time you are teased by a non-Hindu for being a Hindu with many Gods, quote this study and tell them to try and come up with a unique universally acceptable face or form of  their own God.

[You can read more about the university study here …. MPR News]

here [NBC ….]

and here [Science Alert ….]

By: Surinder Jain.

(acknowledgements wikipedia photos)

 

 

(Visited 27 times, 1 visits today)

Are Westerners stealing Hindu Gods – Not all Hindus are Indians

The phenomenon of non-Indians adopting Hinduism is not new. However, the stories of how individuals came to the religion have not been regularly recorded. I hope to rectify that by time to time publishing interviews with those people who weren’t raised Hindu but now publicly identify as such, in the hopes of shedding some light on what drew them to Sanatana Dharma. By Mat McDermott

Click below to read their stories.

[Click here to read more ….]

(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)

The significance of Ganesha

Vedas refer to Ganesha as Gana Natha, the group leader. Vedic civilisation is based on mass cultivation and group living. A variety of rice known as ShaliPrasta was cultivated seasonally. The paddy saplings would be placed in a field to season. When seasoned it used to turn yellow in colour and this was known as Gaura Varna, referring to its colour. The group leader, Gana Natha, after prayers to all five elements, prithivi, vauyu, akasha, tejo, ap, would distribute the saplings to all groups based on their need and capability. Each group would replant their sapling. This is how concept of Gananatha or Ganesha came into existence.

Ganesha is also known as Shivas Son, an embodiment of auspiciousness. Ganesha has been described to have various roles in various yugas. He is creator in Sathya Yuga as called by Atharva rishi, Sustainer in Treta yuga, compiler of Mahabharatha in Dwapara yuga and remover of obstacles in present Kali yuga, as we know Him today.

As water is a significant resource for a civilisation based on cultivation the arrival of rain and rainy season is celebrated parallelly with measures taken for environmental and economic sustainability. Rain water brings with it fresh silt. This earth or clay was used to create murthy, offer prayers and oblations and be offered back to the water or river. This also serves as a means to cleanse the slit in water beds.

Symbolically Ganesha, has a big belly representing the fourteen universes, hiranya garbha, source of creation, good listener with a sharp vision and strength (tusk) to foresee and remove obstacles. The concept of holding one’s earlobes with both hand and squatting and standing-up a number of times was considered to plea to the Lord.  Considered to be an admonishing way for errant children it is now marketed as “super brain yoga”, a method to rejuvenate brain wellness.

Shubam Astu

(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)

Largest Vishnu statue in the world

Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in the island of BaliIndonesia is devoted to the Hindu God Vishnu, and his mount, Garuda, the mythical bird who became his companion. Planned to be established as a landmark or mascot of Bali, construction of the giant statue of Lord Vishnu who was riding his mount Garuda, as high as 120 meters is currently going on.

CC BY-SA 3.0, Link 

Designed to be the Indonesia’s tallest statue, Garuda Wisnu Kencana was inspired by Hindu mythology about the search for Amerta (the elixir of life). According to this myth, Garuda agreed to be ridden by Lord Wisnu in return for the right to use the elixir to liberate his enslaved mother.

(Acknowledgements : Wikipedia)

[Click here to read more ….]

(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)