Happy Independence Day India

15th August 2018, Happy Independence day India, home and birthplace of Hindus.

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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.

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Take a Quiz on Hindu History

Take a Quiz on Hindu History

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1. Which of the four Vedas speaks of Saraswati as a mighty river originating in Himalayas?

 
 
 

2. Name the Hindu warrior who used latest technology, navy and stealth warfare to fight Moghul rulers in India.

 
 
 
 

3. What were Takshshila, Nalanda, Vikramshila and Valabhi famous for?

 
 
 
 

4. Name the Hindu activist who coined the term Hinduatva.

 
 
 
 

5. Who discovered the concept of number zero?

 
 
 
 

6. Namaste, the Hindu greeting, was well established during Indus civilization? Yes/No

 
 

7. Name the largest religious building in the world?

 
 
 
 

8. When was the Natyasastra – a Hindu text on performance arts that integrates Vedic ideology – was also completed?

 
 
 
 

9. Name the Hindu province that was the first Hindu province conquered by Muslim invaders?

 
 
 
 

10. Name the two rivers along which Vedic Indus civilization flourished.

 
 
 
 

11. Indus valley civilization was a peaceful civilization? Yes/No

 
 

12. Which people attacked India and ruled it for 800 years after that?

 
 
 
 

13. Chalukyas, Pallavas, Pandhayas and Cholas flourished as some of the largest Hindu kingdoms in which part of India?

 
 
 
 

14. Which century did almost all of of India come under Islamic rule?

 
 
 
 

15. Vedas referred to their land as?

 
 
 
 

16. When did the river Saraswati where Indus civilization developed, dry up?

 
 
 
 

17. Muslim rule in India was tolerant of Hindus all the time? Yes/No

 
 

18. Hindus were producing iron and steel as early as 400BC?

 
 

19. Where does the earliest archaeological evidence point as the place where Hindu civilization develop?

 
 
 
 

20. Who in 1995 said that Hinduatva is a way of life.

 
 
 
 

21. Basic form of Hinduism as we know it today was well established by?

 
 
 
 

22. Name the Muslim invader who plundered and destroyed Somnath temple?

 
 
 
 

23. Which Muslim invader defeated Hindu kings in the Ganges valley and established an Islamic Sultanate in India?

 
 
 
 

24. Did Muslim force Hindus to convert to Islam at all? Yes/No

 
 

25. Indus valley civilization became the largest, most widespread civilization of the world in its time? Yes/No

 
 

26. Did Hinduism spread to Philippines beyond Bali during 8th century? Yes/No

 
 

27. The earliest archaeological evidence for Hinduism dates back to more than 30,000BC?

 
 

28. How did Hindus continue to transmit Hinduism from one generation to next when there were so many restrictions on practicing any thing but Islam.

 
 
 
 

29. Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world? Yes/No

 
 

30. During British rule in India, name the first Hindu monk who gave the message of Hinduism to the west.

 
 
 
 

31. Hindus adopted secularism for the first time when a new constitution of Independent India was adopted on January 26th 1950? Yes/No

 
 


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Hinduism and the scientific heart – a book review

Pavan Verma of JDU has written a book on Adi Shankaracharya. His interview is very informative and is given below. Pavan Varma is a celebrated diplomat, cultural catalyst and public intellectual. His new book on the Shankaracharya throws startling light about Hinduism and its fascinating relationship with science.
 
 
 
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Europeans brought their caste system into India

By:Surinder Jain, 2nd July 2018.

It is known what the word caste used so commonly in India comes from ‘casta’ in Portuguese. In Spanish America (and many other places), racial categories were formal legal classifications. Racial categories had legal and social consequences, since racial status was an organizing principle of Spanish colonial rule.

The system of castas was more than socio-racial classification. It had an effect on every aspect of life, including economics and taxation. Both the Spanish colonial state and the Church required more tax and tribute payments from those of lower socio-racial categories.[1][2]

Spanish ideas about purity of blood (which historically also related to its reconquest of Spain from the Moors), the colonists established a caste system in Latin America by which a person’s socio-economic status generally correlated with race or racial mix in the known family background, or simply on phenotype (physical appearance) if the family background was unknown.

Other methods of categorization were based on the degree of acculturation to Hispanic culture, which distinguished between gente de razón (Hispanics, literally, “people of reason”) and gente sin razón (non-acculturated natives), concurrently existed and supported the idea of the racial classification system. Castas is a Spanish word that is used in New Mexico history to describe pueblo people and New Mexicans. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European elites created a complex hierarchical system of race classification. 

Cagots (a minority found in the west of France and northern Spain) were forced to use a side entrance to churches, often an intentionally low one to force Cagots to bow and remind them of their subservient status.[10] This practice, done for cultural rather than religious reasons, did not change even between Catholic and Huguenot areas. They had their own holy water fonts set aside for Cagots, and touching the normal font was strictly forbidden.[11] These restrictions were taken seriously; in the 18th century, a wealthy Cagot had his hand cut off and nailed to the church door for daring to touch the font reserved for “clean” citizens.[12]

Holy water font for Cagots in Oloron cathedral, Béarn

Cagots were expected to slip into churches quietly and congregate in the worst seats. They received the host in communion only at the end of a stick. Many Bretons believed that Cagots bled from their navel on Good Friday.[7]

 

A page from the manuscript Seventy-two Specimens of Castes in India, which consists of 72 full-color hand-painted images of men and women of various religions, occupations and ethnic groups found in Madura, India in 1837, which confirms the popular perception and nature of caste as Jati, before the British made it applicable only to Hindus grouped under the varna categories from the 1901 census onwards.

It is this system of “casta” that was applied by the British in India to classify Indian society into castes and then mistakenly assumed a caste (jati) to be a part of the four varnas.

(credit:wikipedia)

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The Case for India by Will Durant

Book Review by : Vijai Singhal

The Case for India

This book was written by Will Durant, an American writer, historian and a philosopher in 1930 after visiting India. Given below are some of the abstracts from this book which can be freely down loaded from the Internet. The book was written without the help or cooperation by any Indian.

Will Durant had made an in-depth study of the Indian civilisation, which he declared as one of the oldest and the greatest civilizations that mankind had ever known. He went to India to see for himself but was appalled to see almost one fifth of the human race suffering poverty and oppression bitterer than anywhere on the earth. He had not thought it possible that any government would allow it’s subject to sink to that misery. The British conquest of India was an invasion and destruction of a high civilization by a trading company utterly without scruple or principle.

Writing about the rape of a continent, he says, “When the British came, India was politically weak but economically prosperous. It was the wealth of 18th Century India which attracted the commercial pirates of England and France”. Quoting Sunderland, he says, “Nearly every kind of manufacture or product known to the civilized world existing anywhere had long been produced in India. India was a far greater industrial and manufacturing nation than any in Europe or than any other in Asia. Her Textile goods-the fine products of her looms, in cotton, wool, linen and silk-were famous over the civilized world; so were her exquisite jewelry and her precious stones cut in every lovely form; so were her pottery, porcelain, ceramics of every kind, quality, colour and beautiful shape; so were her fine works in metal-iron, steel, silver and gold. She had great architecture-equal in beauty to any in the world. She had great engineering works. She had great merchants, great businessmen, great bankers and financiers. Not only was she the greatest ship-building nation, but she had great commerce and trade by land and sea. Such was the India which British found when they came.”

The East India Company management profiteered without hindrance; goods which they sold in England for $10 million they bought in India for $2 million. The Company paid fabulous dividends that its shares rose to $32,000 a share. By 1858 the British Government took over the captured and plundered territories as a colony of the Crown. England paid the Company handsomely and added the purchase price to the public debt of India to be redeemed, principal and interest at 10.5% out of the taxes on the Hindu people. Province after province was taken over by offering rulers choice between pension and war. James Mills, historian of India, wrote: “Under their dependence upon the British Government … the people of Oudh and Karnatic, two of the noblest provinces of India, were by misgovernment, plunged into a state of wretchedness with which… hardly any part of the earth has anything to compare”.

“The fundamental principle of the British has been to make the whole Indian nation subservient… they have been taxed to the utmost limit; the Indians have been denied every honor, dignity or office”.… F J Shore testifying to the House of Commons in 1857.

“The Governments’ assessment does not even leave enough food for the cultivator to feed his family” – Sir William Hunter, 1875.

Economic destruction – The English destroyed the Indian industry. India was forced to become the vast market for the British machine-made goods. They ordered that manufacture of silk fabric must be discouraged but the production of raw silk be encouraged. A tariff of 70-80 % was levied on Indian textile while the English textile was imported duty free into India. It might have been supposed that building of 30,000 miles of railways would have brought prosperity to India. But these railways were built not for India but for England, for the British army and British trade. Similarly Indian shipping industry was ruined. All Indian goods were to be carried by British ships. There was a big drain of revenue through payment of salaries and pensions to English officials. In 1927 Lord Winterton showed, in the House of Commons, that there were some 7500 retired officials in England drawing annually pension of $17.5 million. From Plassey to Waterloo, 57 years, the drain of India’s wealth to England was computed by Brooks Adam to be 2½ to 5 billion dollars.

Social Destruction – When British came there was a system of communal schools, managed by village communities. The agents of East India Company destroyed these communities and the schools. In 1911 Hindu representative Gokhale introduced a Bill for compulsory primary education. The Bill was defeated. After British took possession of India the illiteracy rate in India increased to 93%. Instead of education the Government encouraged drinking of alcohol. In 1922 the government revenue from sale of alcohol increased to $60 million annually. There were also 7000 opium shops operated by the British government. In 1901, 272,000 died of plague. In 1918 there were 125 million cases of influenza, and 12.5 million recorded deaths.

There is a chapter devoted to Mahatma Gandhi and his Satyagraha movement. Gandhi was an idealist. In 1914 when the 1st World War broke, Gandhi saw the war as an opportunity for securing Home Rule by proving the absolute royalty of India to England. India contributed $500 million to fund for prosecuting the war; she contributed $700 million later in subscription to war loans; and she sent to the Allies various products to the value of $1.25 billion. The suspension of the revolutionary movement enabled England to reduce India army to 15,000 men. The number of Indians persuaded to join the army to fight in the war was 1,338,620 which was 178,000 more than troops contributed by combined Dominions of Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Indian fought gallantly but none of them were granted a commission. Nothing came of that sacrifice by the Indian people. Lord Curzon wrote: “British rule of the Indian people is England’s present and future task; it will occupy her energies as long a span of the future as it is humanly possible to forecast”.

In the later part of the book the writer has stated arguments from England’s side, for example: “if India has seen the decay of her old domestic handicrafts, it is because she rejected modern machinery and methods of industrialization; India did not exist as an entity, there are seven hundred nativ

e states, forever at war; no common language, 200 different dialects and the caste system dividing the people etc.”. Later on he debunks these claims, for example the British government has always been friendly to caste, because caste divisions make the British task of holding people in subjection easier, on the principle of “divide and rule”. They encouraged Moslem communities to gain weight against Hindu nationalism. Shifting of capital from Calcutta to Delhi was aimed to secure support of Moslems against the Hindus.

In conclusion he states: “I have tried to express fairly the two points of views about India, but I know that my prejudice has again and again broken through my pretense at impartiality. It is hard to be without feeling, not to be moved with a great pity, in the presence of a Tagore, a Gandhi, a Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, a Sarojini Naidu, fretting in chains; there is something indecent and offensive in keeping such men and women in bondage”.

Vijai Singhal

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Indian archaeologists discover Mahabharat time 4000 year old chariots, weapons

 

Ancient chariots along with eight well-preserved corpses have been discovered by Indian archaeologists in a village of Sanauli 70 kilometers north of New Delhi. The find has been dated to belong to the period 2000 – 1800 BCE and included chariot parts like wheels, axles and poles. The archaeological team proposed a connection with royalty and a warrior class for the findings.[6][7] Some scholars believe it to be very close to post Mahabharat period when a great war was fought in India involving every king and nation.

Sinauli is an archaeological site located in Barot tehsilBaghpat districtUttar Pradesh, India, where 125 graves belonging to Indus Valley Civilisation were found.[1] These graves are dated c. 2200–1800 BC. Sanauli, discovered in 2005,[2] is a fairly recent addition to the list of Indus Valley Civilisation sites in India.[3]

 

The site at Sinauli was accidentally discovered by people levelling agricultural land. The Archaeological Survey of India began excavations at the site during September 2005.[4]

Burials

As of 2007, the graves found are dated c. 2200–1800 BC.[5] and are 125 in number. These are all oriented in a north-south direction and most are identified as primary burials. Some of the burials are identified also as secondary and multiple burials and animal bones are also discovered next to human bones. The age group of buried starts from 1–2 years and includes all age groups and both male and female. Burial goods generally consisted of odd number of vases (3, 5, 7, 9, 11 etc.) placed near the head, with dish-on-stand usually placed below hip area as well as antenna swords, sheath of copper, terracotta figurines, gold and copper bangles, beads of semi-precious stones (two necklace of long barrel shape) etc.[4]

Remains of a burnt brick wall with a finished inner surface ran along the eastern side of the burial. A dish-on-stands and a violin shaped flat copper container having nearly 35 arrow head shaped copper pieces placed in a row are included in other important findings from Sanauli.[5]

A burial ground of this numbers should have been associated with a large habitation site, but so far such an habitation nearby has not been located.[5]

Dish-on-Stand

The survey found that dish-on-stand was usually placed below the hip area, but in some cases was placed near the head or feet. It was clearly an important part of burial goods. Its mushroom-shaped form has not found at any other archaeological sites. It was used as holding stand and in one case, held the head of a goat.[5]

(Source : Wikipedia)

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Can Hindus be accorded minority status in seven states and one Union Territory in India

Report on Hindus in seven states soon: National Commission for Minorities

By Sana Shakil| Express News Service | Published: 26th May 2018 01:55 AM

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Minorities (NCM), which was assigned the task of examining if Hindus could be accorded minority status in seven states and one Union Territory, is nearly ready with its report on the issue. A subcommittee set up by the NCM, which is examining the issue, has called the petitioner on June 14 to discuss the matter. Sources said that petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, a politician of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has been called for a “final clarification” on the issue, following which the NCM will soon submit its report to the government. 

The three-member subcommittee was formed in January, based on a plea by Upadhyay in the Supreme Court for granting minority status to Hindus. The court rejected his petition in November and asked him to approach the minorities commission. Headed by NCM Vice Chairman George Kurian, the subcommittee includes NCM members Sulekha Kumbhare and S Manjit Singh Rai.

NCM Chairperson Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi confirmed the development and said Upadhyay had been invited to take part in the subcommittee’s meeting on June 14 so that the “points made by the petitioner can be heard in detail”. Rizvi, however, refused to comment on possible recommendations of NCM in the matter. “The matter is being examined by the subcommittee. We cannot say what will be our final recommendations until the report is absolutely ready,” Rizvi said.

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Hinduism Today Releases Documentary: “The History of Hindu India”

KAUAI, HAWAII: The editorial team of Hinduism Today is pleased to announce the release of its professional documentary film, “The History of Hindu India” (Part 1), developed in collaboration with Dr. Shiva Bajpai, Professor Emeritus of History, California State University Northridge. More than a year in the making, the movie (http://bit.ly/HinduHistory) provides an authentic presentation of the history of India and Hinduism to non-Hindus for use in American 6th grade social study classes. It is equally useful for Hindu temple study groups and to introduce the Hindu religion to general audiences.

 

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