Veerashaivas Community of Australia pays respects to Siddhaganga Swamiji.

By: Vijayakumar Halagali.

Memorial service and Prayer meeting was organized by the Veerashaiva Samaja of Asia Pacific Inc. (VSAP) at  Sri Sai Mandir Hall, Regents Park(Sydney), Australia. This event was organized to facilitate an opportunity to the local Veerashaiva community to pay last respects to most respected and worshipped Swamiji as the “Walking God”. This event was attended by local Veerashaiva, Hindu and Sikh community leaders. Meeting started with a recital of Lord Shiva song by Sri. Bhaskar B. V.

Swamiji’s earlier life before becoming Swamiji was presented by Mr. Vijaykumar Halagali, Public Officer of VSAP and President of Sydney Kannada Sangha, who conducted the proceedings of the event.

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Meditation industry in USA alone is worth more than a billion dollars

Meditation industry in USA alone is worth more than a billion dollars- shouldn’t India get some royalty for inventing this technique asks Vijai Singhal of Hindu Council of Australia?

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Desecrating Hindu temples by tolerant religion becoming a global phenomena

Another Hindu temple has been vandalized, this time in Louisville, America.

The crime signatures are very similar to Bhartiye Mandir, Reagents Park, Sydney, Australia vandalization event that took place a few months back. There was an outpouring of anger and disgust by Australians including from those sharing the religion of the vandals. Local mayor and council reacted swiftly to help clean up. All major political party leaders condemned the incident helping to heal the wounds and preserve unity and cohesiveness of multicultural Australia. You can read about the Australian incident by clicking here. The Australian Hindu leaders and community did not publicize the perpetrators religious persuation to avoid affecting harmony among Australians.

The crime in America seems to show the hallmark of same fundamentalist religious extremism as was in the Australian incident.

Hindu Council of Australia condemns the vandalisation of Hindu temples and calls upon other religious leaders and all Australians to condemn this incident.

Please register your protest here.


Hate Crime: Hindu Temple Vandalised In US’s Louisville; “Jesus Is All Mighty”, “Jesus Is Lord” Messages Posted On Walls

Posted: 31 Jan 2019 04:27 AM PST

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In a hate crime, a Hindu temple has been vandalised in the US state of Kentucky by miscreants who sprayed black paint on the deity and left a knife stabbed into a chair in the main hall.

The incident happened between Sunday night and Tuesday morning at the Swaminarayan Temple in the Louisville city.

According to local media report, vandalism resulted in deity image sprayed with black paint, broken windows, walls spray-painted with inappropriate messages and graffiti. A knife was stabbed in the chair, and cabinets were emptied. The incident has sent shock waves through the Indian-American community in Louisville Kentucky.

Authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime. Condemning the incident of vandalism, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called upon the city residents to stand up against this hatred.

“Anytime we see hatred or bigotry we will stand against it. The cowards who did this have only given our community more fuel and determination to embrace compassion, understanding, and each other,” Fischer said as he visited the vandalised temple Wednesday.

“Sometime between the end of services at the Swaminarayan Temple on Bardstown Road on Sunday and the time a repairman arrived on Tuesday morning, vandals broke into a window and vandalised spots throughout the building,” he said. The vandalism of this temple, Fischer said is another example of the work “we still have to do as a city and a nation to make sure we live to our ideals of equality, of a country where everyone is treated with the respect we all deserve.” Fischer said that the vandals wrote “repugnant messages of hate.” “Regardless of what religion you are, this should not happen,” Raj Patel from the Swaminarayan temple said. “We come here to worship. We should not have to turn our backs to see who is behind us, but we should be happy to come here and worship in peace,” he added.

Describing the desecration as “heartbreaking”, Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad told reporters that the police will provide additional security to the temple.

“What I’m here to do today is to assure everyone that attends this temple that we will do our best to find and hold accountable the person or persons who committed this vandalism and this hate crime,” Conrad said.

Kentucky State Representative Nima Kulkarni, the first Indian-American elected to the Kentucky General Assembly, said the vandalism was an “act of intimidation designed to weaken our faith and community”. There has been a number of such incidents across the US in previous years. In April 2015, a Hindu temple in north Texas has been vandalised with nasty images spray-painted on its walls.

In February 2015, Hindu temples in Kent and the Seattle Metropolitan area were also vandalised.

HinduStan Times

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Stealing Hindu IP is more than plagiarism

By: Shashi Holla (WA) and Surinder Jain.

Colonial or a white supremacy mind set may be clever enough to adopt Hindu practices but denies giving credit where it is due. Stealing Hindu Intellectual Property, they do not hesitate to rename and repackage so that they can sell it back to India for immense profits. Off course, they will leave no chance to tell Indians to stop their superstitious ways and to adopt the new scientific knowledge which “they” have “invented”.

Following has been already digested or appropriated by West. Some of the Western academics don’t believe that they belong to India.

Yoga Nidra   AS  Lucid Dreaming

Nadi Shodhana AS Alternate Nostrils Breathing

Vipassana  AS Mindfulness.

The latest addition to this list is

Pranamyam AS Cardiac Coherence Breathing

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders.[29] But the latest attempt has taken the appropriation too far. An American magazine “Scientific American” in its article titled “Proper Breathing Brings Better health” termed “Pranayama” as cardiac coherence breathing. (15 January 2019). The article gives us an idea about how West is so sophisticated in stealing knowledge from ancient cultures particularly Hinduism.

Sadhak Anshit practicing Prāṇāyāma (Wikipedia)

Prāṇāyāma is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagavad Gītā.[11] According to Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is, prāṇāyāma is translated to “trance induced by stopping all breathing”, also being made from the two separate Sanskrit words, prāṇa and āyām.[12] Pranayama is the fourth “limb” of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga mentioned in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[14][15] Patanjali, a Hindu Rishi, discusses his specific approach to pranayama in verses 2.49 through 2.51, and devotes verses 2.52 and 2.53 to explaining the benefits of the practice.[16] Many yoga teachers advise that pranayama should be part of an overall practice that includes the other limbs of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga teachings, especially Yama, Niyama, and Asana.[18]

“Pranayama” a department of Yogic science practiced and documented 5000 years back ( even 15,000 years back) by Rishis is not even acknowledged by the author of the article. If one read the article they vaguely suggest that breathing exercises also existed in China, Hindu and in Greek culture.  This is how appropriation of ancient techniques takes place by West.  As Sankrat Sanu an entrepreneur, researcher and writer put it in his tweet “after erasing the origin they claim it as their own invention, attack original traditions as Superstition”.

Man practicing Prāṇāyāma (Wikipedia)

As famous Indian American Author Rajiv Malhotra summarizes: “The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”. Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to  protect our own heritage and Dharma.

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument. West has created an eco system and mechanism in which their knowledge system is Well protected and patented by international norms. Unless West does not give a new name and fits into their framework native wisdom is not recognized in academia and media. Whereas Hindus were generous in sharing their health techniques freely from millennium never thought they will struggle in proving things which belong to them. In fact in a westernized framework of Yoga and other techniques Indian scholars, insiders and practitioners are blatantly ignored. So our own knowledge will be repackaged and exported back to us at an extra price and conditions.

Many of our practices are being called to be Biofeedback systems. According to Wikipedia Biofeedback systems have been known in India and some other countries for millennia. Ancient Hindu practices like yoga and Pranayama (breathing techniques) are essentially biofeedback methods. Many yogis and sadhus have been known to exercise control over their physiological processes. In addition to recent research on Yoga, Paul Brunton, the British writer who travelled extensively in India, has written about many cases he has witnessed.

Please go through the following link for original article of the magazine “Scientific American” : https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/proper-breathing-brings-better-health/

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Walking God walks away from earth

By: Surinder Jain.

Sri Sri Sri Shivakumara Swamiji [1] a Hindu spiritual leader, revered saint, humanitarian and educator, religious figure and head of the Siddaganga Matha in Karnataka,[5] founder of the Sri Siddaganga Education Society,[6] also known as Nadedaaduva Devaru (walking God)[2] passed away at the age of 111 on Monday 21st January 2019.

Swamiji founded a total of 132 institutions for education and training, that range from nursery to colleges for engineering, science, arts and management as well as vocational training.[18] He established educational institutions which offer courses in traditional learning of Sanskrit as well as modern science and technology. He was widely respected by all communities for his philanthropic work.[19]

In 2015, he was awarded by the Government of India the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award.[2]

Swamiji’s gurukula houses more than 10,000 children from ages five to sixteen years at any point in time and is open to children from all religions, castes, and creeds who are provided free food, education, and shelter (Trivida Dasohi).[18][3] The pilgrims and visitors to the mutt also receive free meals.[18] Under the pontiff’s guidance, an annual agricultural fair is held for the benefit of the local population. The Government of Karnataka announced the institution of Shivakumara Swamiji Prashasti from 2007, the centennial birth anniversary of Swamiji.[19] A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, visited him at Tumkur and praised the initiatives of Swamiji in education and humanitarian work.[19]

In recognition of his humanitarian work, Swamiji was conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by the Karnataka University in 1965.[34] On his centenary in 2007, the Government of Karnataka awarded him the prestigious Karnataka Ratna award, the highest civilian award of the state.[4] In 2015 the Government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan.[2]

In 2017, the Government of Karnataka and his followers sought Bharat Ratna for him for his social service.[35][4]

Swami Ji’s demise and irreplaceable loss has immersed the whole of Hindu Community into deep sorrow.

Swami Ji headed the Sri Siddaganga math since 1941. Under his watch the math run institutes students have excelled in education and are working all over the world.

 

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Diversity of Hindu Gods

By : Bharani Bussari and Surinder Jain.

Introduction

“Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti” is a Sutra from Upanishads meaning,  “That which exists is ONE, sages call it by various names.”  This is the reason why Hindus are tolerant and accept diversity.

Many young Hindus and Indians get confused with the diverse concepts of different Gods in Hinduism. This diversity can be confusing when confronted by other faiths who are equally confused with the diversity of Hinduism/Sanathana Dharma. This article is an attempt to explain the vast riches of Sanathana Dharma and help Hindus not get converted to other faiths out of confusion with the diversity of Hinduism/Sanathana Dharma. Unfortunately an average Hindus doesn’t have an answer because we are not taught Hinduism properly. We only know to go to temple, ask for wishes, take prasad and may be say a few mantras. There is no connection to the Gods or the Mantras because we understand and follow the rituals but are not taught the philosophy.

We hope  to address the confusion young Indians have about multiple Gods, especially to counter the mockery that non-Hindus make on multiple GODS of Hinduism. Our objective is to prepare young Hindu community to give answers to these conversion machines. Some people claim that many Hindus convert to other religions because they didn’t understand Idol Worship and Concept of many Gods. 

God

The English word God is a poor translation for Hindu concepts of Supreme Being/Ultimate Reality. In English, the word God refers to an Abrahamic God who is the creator and is separate from HIS creation.

Hinduism has many additional concepts which get lumped together into English translation as one word, God. Hinduism has

  • Brahman
  • Ishvar
  • Avatar
  • Deities
  • Murti

each has a distinct and different meaning and many of them can be in manifest or in un-manifest form. But unfortunately, due to poverty of the English language or a lack of appreciation by language experts, all of these spiritual concepts get translated into God thus causing confusion. In western terminology, most often, Hindu Gods are also referred to as Deities.

33 Million Hindus Gods

A 10th century triad – Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma – from Bihar. [Wikipedia]

There is, a popular perception stating that there are 33 million deities (Gods?) in Hinduism.[116] No one has a list of all the goddesses and gods, but scholars state all deities are typically viewed in Hinduism as “emanations or manifestation of genderless principle called Brahman, representing the many facets of Ultimate Reality”.[115][116][117] This concept of Brahman is not the same as the monotheistic God of Abrahamic religions. In those religions God is considered, separate from humans as “creator of the world, above and independent of human existence”. Hinduism accommodates that concept of God as duality as well as a concept of God, the universe, human beings and all else is essentially one thing and everything is connected oneness, the same god is in every human being as Atman, the eternal Self.[117][118]  It is quite likely that when the world’s population was estimated to be only 33 million, each atman being one with Brahman, led to the popular belief of 33 million Gods.

For many young Hindus and Indians who are confused with the diverse concepts of Hinduism, are adviced to seek through choosing one form that they connect most with. Then Surrender, be open and have faith, Seeking will come and path will be shown through perseverance. Hindus are implored to invest more time in understanding the vast rich Sanathana Dharma and not get converted to other faiths because they are confused with the diversity of Hinduism/Sanathana Dharma.

Sagun/Nirguna

The concept of Brahman (wrongly translated as God) can be understood as Saguna or as Nirguna. The Formless Pure Consciousness is the unmanifest energy (Nirakar/Nirguna) which can manifest into form (Saakar/ Suguna) of Brahma as the Creator, Vishnu as the Protector and Shiva as the Destroyer. In unmanifest form, this is pure consciousness,  Nirguna – with no Gunas or attributes , Nirvisesha – no special characteristics, Sat-chit-ananda – Eternal truth consciousness. This unmanifest form when manifested, it has form and Suguna – attributes or qualities required for sustenance of the creation. But both the Manifest (Suguna) and UnManifest (Nirguna) forms of this cosmic energy are eternal, non-destructive and non-differential from each other.

Vedas and the Upanishads have said that there is one supreme energy named “’PARABRAMHA” which is formless, infinite, all pervading, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, genderless, eternal and unfathomable or indescribable in Human language. “God” is a Supreme cosmic energy, with infinite potentialities and attributes, which is formless but can manifest into a form when required to run and sustain creation.

In comparison, other religions express God either as a Nirguna (formless, unmanifest) or Saguna (with form, manifest) but it is only Hinduism that understands God in both unmanifest as well as manifest form. Other religions when the explain God as manifest usually insist of one form of God only which sometimes is depicted as an old White Male with a flowing beard.

Deities

 

Deities in Hinduism are referred to as Deva (masculine) and Devi (feminine).[44][45][46] The root of these terms mean “heavenly, divine, anything of excellence”.[47] Manifest Gods in Hinduism are symbolism for spiritual concepts. For example, god Indra (a Deva) and the antigod Virocana (an Asura) question a sage for insights into the knowledge of the self.[71] Deva-Asura dichotomies in Hindu mythology may be seen as “narrative depictions of tendencies within our selves”.[71] Hindu deities in Vedic era, states Mahoney, are those artists with “powerfully inward transformative, effective and creative mental powers”.[72]

Another Hindu term that is sometimes translated as God or deity is Ishvara[77] The term Ishvara has a wide range of meanings that depend on the era and the school of Hinduism.[78][79][80] In ancient texts of Indian philosophy, Ishvara means supreme soul, Brahman (Highest Reality).[78] In medieval era texts, Ishvara means God, Supreme Being, personal god, or special Self depending on the school of Hinduism.[2][80][81]

Avatars

Hindu mythology has nurtured the concept of Avatar, which represents the descent of a deity on earth.[155][156] This concept is commonly translated as “incarnation“,[155] and is an “appearance” or “manifestation”.[157][158]

The concept of Avatar is most developed in Vaishnavism tradition, and associated with Vishnu, particularly with Rama and Krishna.[159][160] Vishnu takes numerous avatars in Hindu mythology. He becomes female, during the Samudra manthan, in the form of Mohini, to resolve a conflict between the Devas and Asuras. His male avatars include Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, and Kalki.[160] Various texts, particularly the Bhagavad Gita, discuss the idea of Avatar of Vishnu appearing to restore the cosmic balance whenever the power of evil becomes excessive and causes persistent oppression in the world.[156]

In Shaktism traditions, the concept appears in its legends as the various manifestations of Devi, the Divine Mother principal in Hinduism.[161] The avatars of Devi or Parvati include Durga and Kali, who are particularly revered in eastern states of India, as well as Tantra traditions.[162][163][164] Twenty one avatars of Shiva are also described in Shaivism texts, but unlike Vaishnava traditions, Shaiva traditions have focussed directly on Shiva rather than the Avatar concept.[155]

Murti

Hinduism has an ancient and extensive iconography tradition, particularly in the form of Murti (Sanskrit: मूर्ति, IAST: Mūrti), or Vigraha or Pratima.[22] A Murti is itself not the god in Hinduism, but it is an image of god and represents emotional and religious value.[124] A literal translation of Murti as idol is incorrect, states Jeaneane Fowler, when idol is understood as superstitious end in itself.[124] Just like the photograph of a person is not the real person, a Murti is an image in Hinduism but not the real thing, but in both cases the image reminds of something of emotional and real value to the viewer.[124] When a person worships a Murti, it is assumed to be a manifestation of the essence or spirit of the deity, the worshipper’s spiritual ideas and needs are meditated through it, yet the idea of ultimate reality or Brahman is not confined in it.[124]

A Murti is an embodiment of the divine, the Ultimate Reality or Brahman to some Hindus.[21] In religious context, they are found in Hindu temples or homes, where they may be treated as a beloved guest and serve as a participant of Puja rituals in Hinduism.[127] A murti is installed by priests, in Hindu temples, through the Prana Pratishtha ceremony,[128] whereby state Harold Coward and David Goa, the “divine vital energy of the cosmos is infused into the sculpture” and then the divine is welcomed as one would welcome a friend.[129] In other occasions, it serves as the center of attention in annual festive processions and these are called Utsava Murti.[130]

Scriptures

Verses Describing God as Formless (Nirakar)

“Na tasya pratima asti”

“There is no likeness of Him.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19, Yajurveda 32:3]

There is no Form of Nirguna Brahma or God as Supreme Consciousness.

“His formless form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye.”

[Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20]

His Formless Form can’t be seen. Though He manifests Himself as Sakar Saguna Brahman, no one can see Him with present eyes or material eyes. To see His Supreme and Original Form one needs spiritual perfection. “No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality, and pastimes of God through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.”(Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu 1.2.234).

God says: “You cannot see me with your present eyes. Therefore I give you divine eyes so that you can behold my mystic opulence” (Bhagavad-Gita 11.8)

“Shudhama papviddham”

“He is body less (Here Body means the physical structure, including the bones, flesh, and organ. Brahman has unique transcendental formless spirit body which is infinite like space) & pure.” (Yajurveda 40:8)

“He (Brahman/Paramatma) does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. There is no difference between His body and His soul. He has a unique transcendental spiritual/spirit body which is infinite and omnipresent like space. Brahman is omnipresent soul and Soul “itself” is his spiritual body. He is absolute. All His senses are transcendental. Any of His senses can perform the action of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him or equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence.” (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.7-8)

God as Nirakar Nirguna Brahman or Supreme Consciousness is body less and pure. That doesn’t mean His Sakar Saguna form is impure, it is pure too.

Verses Describing God with Form (Sakar Saguna)

“Ekam Sat Vipraha Bahula Vadanti”

“The Lord of the universe, Lives inside the universe, And without being born, Appears in many forms, And only the wise realize his real form” – (Rig Veda Purusha Suktam 2.3)

Although I (Supreme transcendental Brahman) am unborn, imperishable, unchangeable and God of all living entities I do incarnate (Sambhavami –cause to be born or produced) by using my Maya/Illusive energy. (Maya:- the combination of material and mental elements e.g. five elements, five internal senses, five organs of action, five external sense base also called sense objects, One vital breath, mind, intelligence ) – (Bhagavad Gita 4:6)

Meaning – Even though I am unborn I appear (unreal appearance different from original) to be born & embodied because of my Prakriti/Maya/Illusive energy of which I am the controller. I never get influenced by three modes of nature. My transcendental infinite/formless space like form never cease to exist when I incarnate. My birth & death in personal form are just empirical reality similar to the mirage in desert or reflection of an object in the water.

Whenever & wherever there is a decline in Dharma/righteousness & religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion-at that time I descend (Sruja-send myself forth/Descend/take visible form) myself (aham-I/Me, atmanam-self). (Bhagavad Gita 4:7)

Though unborn, it appears to be born in diverse ways. (Yajurveda 31.19)

The Lord takes on the manifold form. (It) transformed Himself in accordance with each form; that form of His was for the sake of making Him known. (e.g.:- just like the presence of unmanifest electric energy can be recognized by lightened bulb) (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.5.19)

“God appears in both ways as the formless Brahman and as the personal God”. They are both dimensions of his personality. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.3.1)

He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and he is the prime cause of all causes.”(Brahma Samhita 5.1)

There are two forms of Brahman, the material & the immaterial, the mortal and the immortal, the solid and the fluid, sat (being) and tya (that), (i.e. sat-tya, true). (The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.3.1)

How does Manifestation happen?

Lord Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita says, “All material nature is ever existent in the form of energy of the unmanifest. Seated in Prakriti, Purusha manifests the worlds and beings.”

Purusha is the conscious seed when impregnated into Prakriti, form is manifested.

Prakriti gives Tattvas and Gunas to the form, the variations of which represent the attributes of each manifested form.

Few Tattvas are –

  1. Intelligence (Buddhi)
  2. Mind (Manas)
  3. Ego (Aham)
  4. Five subtle senses (Tanmatras)
  5. Five organs of perception (Jnanendriyas)
  6. Five organs of action (Karmendriyas)
  7. Five great elements (Mahabutas), namely earth, water, fire, air, and space.

Gunas are –

  1. Sattva: Represents light, pleasure, preservation, selflessness, divinity.
  2. Rajas: Represents light and darkness, pride, creation, self-centeredness, humanity.
  3. Tamas: Represents darkness, cruelty, destruction, selfishness, and sexuality.

The gunas contribute to the movement or behavior in creation, while the tattvas contribute to the diversity.

Another important concept is Vikriti  which is the  modified Prakriti. It is the perceptual world, we experience through our senses, which is distorted by our perceptions, desires and expectations which is why you see so much of disagreement, varying understanding and misunderstanding, fuelled by ego causing fights, wars and what not.

Number of Gods (Deities)

Yāska, the earliest known language scholar of India (~ 500 BC), mentions that there are three deities (Devas) according to the Vedas, “Agni (fire), whose place is on the earth; Vayu (wind), whose place is the air; and Surya (sun), whose place is in the sky”.[107] This principle of three worlds (or zones), and its multiples is found thereafter in many ancient texts. The Samhitas, which are the oldest layer of text in Vedas enumerate 33 devas,[note 3] either 11 each for the three worlds, or as 12 Adityas, 11 Rudras, 8 Vasus and 2 Ashvins in the Brahmanas layer of Vedic texts.[7][47]

The Rigveda states in hymn 1.139.11,

ये देवासो दिव्येकादश स्थ पृथिव्यामध्येकादश स्थ ।
अप्सुक्षितो महिनैकादश स्थ ते देवासो यज्ञमिमं जुषध्वम् ॥११॥[111]

O ye eleven gods whose home is heaven, O ye eleven who make earth your dwelling,
Ye who with might, eleven, live in waters, accept this sacrifice, O gods, with pleasure.
– Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith[112]

Gods who are eleven in heaven; who are eleven on earth;
and who are eleven dwelling with glory in mid-air; may ye be pleased with this our sacrifice.
– Translated by HH Wilson[113]

— Rigveda 1.139.11

 

 

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The Division of Vedic Literature

By : Pandit Rami.

Charts of Sanskrit Literature.

The Vedas, vedangas, dharam shastras and puranas.

 
 
 

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Menstruation is Far From Taboo in Hinduism

By: Sunila Goray Raj

(edited by : Surinder Jain)

Menstruation is Far From Taboo in Hinduism.
 
There is so much to be said about it all – but here I only want to focus on the leftist’s latest favorite topic : Menstruation.
 
A survey conducted in USA in 1981 showed that a substantial majority of U.S. adults and adolescents believed that it is socially unacceptable to discuss menstruation, especially in mixed company. Many believed that it is unacceptable to discuss menstruation even within the family.[66] Studies in the early 1980s showed that nearly all girls in the United States believed that girls should not talk about menstruation with boys, while more than one-third of girls did not believe it appropriate to discuss menstruation with their father.[67]
 
In Hindu culture, a girl who achieved menarche, or her first period, was feted, and pampered at a ceremony where family and close friends gathered and lavished gifts on her. The girl would be bathed in fragrant water after applying oil, turmeric etc. she would be bedecked in fine clothes, flowers and ornaments – and her feet would be washed. This is because Hinduism celebrates, and does not abhor menstruation. The Shakti philosophy upholds it as a gift which is responsible for creation of life.
 
 

Devotees singing in front of Kamakhya temple

 
The Kamakhya Temple in Assam celebrates the annual menstruation of the Goddess – and there is no idol there, just a structure that resembles the yoni, or the female symbol of creation.The Chengannur Temple in Kerala has a tradition of bathing the idol in a grand ceremony after her ‘period’ is over. According to the Kalika Purana, Kamakhya Temple denotes the spot where Sati used to retire in secret to satisfy her amour with Shiva, and it was also the place where her yoni (genital) fell after Shiva danced with the corpse of Sati.[41] It mentions Kamakhya as one of four primary shakti peethas: the others being the Vimala Temple within the Jagannath Temple complex in Puri, Odisha; Tara Tarini) Sthana Khanda (Breasts), near Brahmapur, Odisha, and Dakhina Kalika in Kalighat, Kolkata, in the state of West Bengal, originated from the limbs of the Corpse of Mata Sati. 
 
The temple remains closed for three days during the Ambubachi mela[2][3] for it is believed that mother earth becomes unclean for three days like the traditional women’s menstrual seclusion. During these three days some restrictions are observed by the devotees like not cooking, not performing puja or reading holy books, no farming etc.[2] After three days devi Kamakhya is bathed and other rituals are performed to ensure that the devi retrieves her purity.[3] Then the doors of the temple are reopened[2][3][4] and prasad is distributed.[2][4] On the fourth day the devotees are allowed to enter the temple and worship devi Kamakhya.
 
Many religions have menstruation-related traditions, for example: Islam prohibits sexual contact with women during menstruation in the 2nd chapter of the Quran. In Judaism, a woman during menstruation is called Niddah and may be banned from certain actions. Western civilization, which has been predominantly Christian, has a history of menstrual taboos. [source: wikipedia] Some Christian denominations, including many authorities of the Eastern Orthodox Church and some parts of the Oriental Orthodox Church advise women not to receive communion during their menstrual period.[34] In certain branches of Japanese Buddhism, menstruating women are banned from attending temples.[37] In Japan, the religion of Shinto, the Kami, the spirits they worship, would not grant wishes if you had traces of blood, dirt, or death on you. In some portions of South Asia, there is a menstrual taboo, with it frequently being considered impure. Restrictions on movement, behaviour and eating are frequently placed.[57] The Yurok in North America practiced menstrual seclusion. Yurok women used a small hut near the main house.[65]
 
BONUS FACT: Hinduism is the only mainstream religion which worships God in the female form – for wealth (Lakshmi), education (saraswati), and courage too (Durga) – we worship Goddesses. What greater women empowerment can there be? To accuse Hinduism of gender disparity is beyond ridiculous!
 
An orchestrated effort is being made, or should I say, has been made for several years now, to denigrate Hindu customs and culture. In the whole uproar over Sabarimala, the issue being tom-tommed by pseudo liberals is Women’s rights – gender equality, and especially the whole taboo surrounding menstruation – and all of it is nothing but a distortion, and concoction, where the narrative is being twisted to suit the agenda of certain vested interests.
 
In the West, media houses like the BBC and CNN are upholding Kanakadurga and Bindu, who pretended to be transgenders, and were whisked into Sabarimala in ambulances with the support of plains clothes cops, as ‘defenders of women’s rights’.
I do not know if I should shake my head, or tear my hair out in frustration.
 
With the advent of western education, especially missionary education, Hindus were made to feel that this whole ceremony is horrendous – how can you announce that your daughter has now started menstruating, what an embarrassment, how orthodox, what a shameful ritual, how backward – these were the things we were told. And instead of trying to resist, and make others understand what this ceremony meant, and its deep significance – we (me included) hung our heads in shame, relented, and agreed with them.
 
Today hardly anybody performs this ceremony for their daughters, because we were taught by those who came from outside that it is taboo, and shameful. We also joined the bandwagon which proclaimed menstruation to be ‘filthy’.
 
Irony is that today, those very people who first advocated the stopping of ‘shameful and orthodox’ rituals of celebrating menstruation, are mocking Hindus about women entering Sabarimala and turning it into a ‘menstruation taboo’ issue, whereas clearly, it is not that at all.
Today, those very same people are trying to prove themselves as modern and as the harbinger of women’s rights and equality by conducting a festival dedicated to menstruation – styled ‘Aarpo Aarthavam’. It is laughable! The hypocrisy is just unbelievable.
 
So please stop trying to fool gullible people, because there are still many of us who know the truth.

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Religious freedom collides with anti-discrimination laws in Australia

By: Surinder Jain.

Religious freedom is fundamental to Australian identity said the Australian Prime minister Scott Morrison. And Australians voted in favor of anti-discrimination laws to protect the rights of LGBT only recently. One would think that both are laudable achievements for Australia, but the future of religious freedom does not look so rosy.

A clash between Religious Freedom and Human Rights is brewing up.

Religious freedom right to propagate one’s belief permits Christians, Jews, Muslims and all other religions to run their own schools. Does this freedom means that these schools can admit gay students and have gay teachers imparting religious teachings to children when many believe admitting gay in their schools is against their faith.

This debate is heating up in Australia.

Religious freedom rights for an individual come in various parts. Right to belief is a right to believe in a certain religion and some/all the tenants that come with it. Right to practice a religion is a right to practice your religious rituals and actions coming from the belief. It also includes a right to propagate your beliefs either to your own constituency or to other non-believers.

Human rights on the other hand are also a set of rights for an individual and includes Right to Live, a Right to Freedom, a Right to Express and a number of other rights like anti-discrimination and so on.

Australia and most secular and theocratic countries permit Right to Belief. Australia also permits Right to Practice and a Right to Propagate religion without any state interference. Some theocratic countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia place restrictions on Right to Practice in public and thus not allowing any temple or church unless it has been sanctioned by the government. Many countries in the middle east ban propagation of any religion other than the state sanctioned one.

Communist countries like China place restrictions on all religions. They frown upon all religious beliefs and control them by total control over appointment of clergy and allow only state permitted rituals to be practiced. Communist ideology and whims of the party are given far higher priority than either religious freedom or human rights.

A clash between the rights of one individual to protect their faith and institutions and the right of other individuals to a fair go requires a balancing act. While the Liberal party PM has vowed to protect religious freedom as integral to Australian identity, the opposition Labor party is considering an “appropriate” balance between the two.

When Right to Life clashes with Right to Practice, the human Right to live wins hands down. Thus I can not take away life or liberty of an individual even if I believe that my religious belief requires me to do so. My Right to Propagate my religion by imposing it on others will be OK in ISIS ruled countries but will be rejected in most other countries including Australia.

In a progressive country like Australia, Right to Propagate once religion has been well balanced with the Right to Practice one’s religion. Thus each religion is prohibited from imposing its belief on another religion. If I believe in a religion that does not have a personal God then I can not ask another religion to permit me to enforce my belief as part of their propagation. Thus if a religion does not believe in God, then s/he has no right to join a christian church/school and expect to teach his/her belief to the christian congregation or to students in a christian school. Religious practitioners can not invoke courts of law to enforce their Right to Propagate through the propagation machinery (churches, schools, congregations, Sunday mass, sermons, communications etc.) of other religions except in their own.

This is tampered both ways. No religion can frown upon the beliefs and practices of others as long as they are valid in law. No religion should propagate a belief that belittles the belief of another religion.

We can find the appropriate balance between right to propagation and anti-discrimination using the above well accepted principal. Thus all religions will respect the rights of LGBT and will not frown upon their practices in their religious propagation. At the same time, LGBT do not have an automatic right to use another religions propagation machinery to propagate their beliefs. Thus LGBT should not expect that they will be able to teach their belief in a religious school as much as a Hindu does not expect to have an automatic right give a Hindu sermon in a Christian church.

Number of Religious schools and number of students studying in religious schools is such a minority that it does not restrict the right of LGBT children to study or LGBT teachers to employment. These children have a very wide choice as to which school they go to study.  Teachers of LGBT persuasion are not constrained in applying for jobs to most schools and have a meaningful employment. And off course, there is nothing stopping people passionate about their gender beliefs to start their own special LGBT friendly schools.

Each new religion in Australia has to do the hard effort to establish their own schools, churches, temples and congregations. A newly arrived religion like Hinduism does not expect Christians or Jews to be forced to give up their resources like church or school for the propagation of Hinduism. Similarly, LGBT have to do their own hard yakka in establishing their own schools etc and not expect to get an easy ride on the resources of other religions in the name of anti-discrimination. And the Religions should not frown upon LGBT efforts to establish their own special LGBT friendly schools either.

By : Surinder Jain

 

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Tirta Gangga in Bali

Bali is an island in Indonesia and has largely native Hindu population. A water garden was built in Bali by Dr Anak Agung Made Djelantik in the year 1948 and named after the Hindu holy river Ganga.

Tirta Gangga – Bali

Tirta Gangga is a former royal palace in eastern Bali, Indonesia, about 5 kilometres from Karangasem, near Abang. It is noted for its water palace, owned by Karangasem Royal.

The primary draw in this area for visitors is the Tirta Gangga water palace, a lovely maze of pools and fountains surround by a lush garden and stone carvings and statues. The one hectare complex was built in 1946 by the late King of Karangsem but was destroyed almost entirely by the eruption of nearby Mount Agung in 1963. It has been lovingly re-built and restored and has an air of authentic royal magnificence. The centrepiece of the palace is an eleven tiered fountain, and there are many beautiful carvings and statues adorning the gardens.

Lempuyang Temple (Pura Lempuyang Luhur) is about 10 km east of Tirtagangga on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang. This is one of the key nine directional temples on the island. Park in the car park and walk up the steps to the temple. The lower temple is always open but the upper temple (at the top of the dragon staircases) is often locked, so it is best to go with a Balinese driver who will usually be able to arrange for the temple priest to open it up for you. It’s situated high up a mountain and there are magnificent sunset views at dusk.

Taman Ujung or Taman Sukasada (Sukasada Park) is 5 kilometers to the southeast of Karangasem (Amlapura), another water palace built by the predecessor of the King who constructed Tirta Gangga. It was largely destroyed by the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963, damaged again by an earthquake in 1979, and has not been restored on the same scale as Tirta Gangga. 

Holy Water

The water from one of the natural springs of Tirtagangga has always been regarded as holy. It is used for religious ceremonies in the temples in the area until today. Tirta means blessed water, gangga came from Ganges, the holy river in India. The holy water is required for ceremonies of the temples in the surrounding as far as Tirtagangga can be reached by foot.

History

Dr. Anak Agung Made Djelantik (1919 – 2007) (source : http://www.tirtagangga.nl/)

After a childhood in the puri (palace) of Karangasem, my father was educated in Java and Holland. Completing his medical study during the turbulence 2nd world war, he worked from 1948 as a doctor and chief medical officer in various parts of Indonesia. From 1969 he was connected to the World Health Organisation, taking postings in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. From 1979 he continued his passion for public health, culture and arts, especially painting, in Bali.

Construction (An account by Dr Anak’s son Widoere Djelantik)

In 1948 my grandfather built a watergarden complex which he gave the name Tirtagangga.

Apart from his personal interest, my grandfather built Tirtagangga for 2 main reasons:

– To ensure and improve the holiness of a holy place;

– To create a place of contemplation, rest and joy for every one, the local people as well as the domestic and foreign visitors.

These are still and will always be the purposes of the garden.

The religious function of the spring, the cool climate and the scenic beauty of the surrounding hills inspired him to build recreational water gardens for himself and his people. Making watergardens of all sorts had always been his hobby. He not only did all the designing himself, but he also used to work together with his labourers, digging in the ground, standing knee deep in the water, dirty with mud. It was always a great surprise for the visitors after some time looking at the work in progress to discover the tiny figure of the Raja among the workers. People liked it and it was one of his many charming traits.

The construction of the water gardens had been severe interrupted by the eruption of the Mount Agung which lasted from February to September, 1963. A series of eruptions occurred during those months. Lava and hot ash from the mountains had killed all vegetation. The grounds had not been affected by the lava flows which found their way along the valleys to the east and to the west of the complex. However, what had been built thus far was for the greater part destroyed by earthquakes of more and less severity during all those months. In addition to the natural disaster vandalism done by people who fled their villages and had no food had taken its heavy toll. The Raja family took refuge to saver place on the island. Tirtagangga was abandoned and fell pray to looting. Everything that could be taken away and sold such as furniture, windows, tiles, pipes, chinese porcelain, flower pots, statues and so on disappeared in the course of time.

When after about ten months the calamity was over the Raja returned, only to find the beautiful garden in ruins. There was no money for rebuilding the ponds and structures. With the introduction of the Land Reform Bill the Rajas, like all the other great land owners, had lost their means for extravagant undertakings. The rehabilitation of Tirtagangga could only be done in a very frugal and haphazard manner.

Since 1979, after a long duty period abroad, my father supervised the rehabilitation of the garden. With a slight increase of the entrance fees in 1985 a little bit could be accomplished. With the help of the local government the upper swimming pool was rehabilitated. Little by little the watergardens are coming into a better shape.

As my father became older, he was less capable in supervising the garden. In the nineties deterioration started again as very little maintenance was executed. During a walk in 1999, while overwhelmed by the majestic Banyan tree of the garden, I received a vision to transform the distressing state into the one of splendour. This vision was the reason why I found the foundation, drawn up the masterplan, build this website, seek for donation, incorporated the Balinese Hinduism-Buddhism concept in the complex, design the buildings, bridges, sculptures and so on to be able to restore the garden until the present shape.

WHO IS WHO

  Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem (1887 – 1966)

My grandfather, the last Raja of Karangasem, succeeded his uncle, Gusti Gede Djelantik in 1908 as stedehouder (local ruler under the Dutch colonisation). A born architect and lecturer, he build several watergardens and wrote many philosophical, ethical and religious notes, hymns and poems in the Indonesian and Balinese languages.

As a child I found him most happy when sitting on his verandah or walking around enjoying the watergarden in a modest sarong, chewing his sirih.

   
  Dr. Anak Agung Made Djelantik (1919 – 2007)

After a childhood in the puri (palace) of Karangasem, my father was educated in Java and Holland. Completing his medical study during the turbulence 2nd world war, he worked from 1948 as a doctor and chief medical officer in various parts of Indonesia. From 1969 he was connected to the World Health Organisation, taking postings in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. From 1979 he continued his passion for public health, culture and arts, especially painting, in Bali.

My father wrote several books, including an autobiography, The Birthmark (Periplus, 1997, isbn 9625931651). The autobiography is an excellent source to know more about the background of the watergarden.

   
  Widoere Djelantik (1953)

My full name is Ir. Anak Agung Gede Dharma Widoere Djelantik MMIT. I spend most of my childhood in Denpasar, Bali. In 1971 I went to Holland, where I completed studies in architecture, fine arts and information technology. After posted abroad as development engineer in Mali, Botswana and the Maldives between 1979 and 1986, I worked as information analist for the municipal of Gouda until 1998. From then until today I am connected as senior adviser to Staatsbosbeheer, the Dutch forestry department.

From childhood, the watergarden has always been an exciting place to me. With my sisters and other children I jumped in and out the water the whole day. In between the swims there were endless possibilities to play, such as building ships, daming the open gutters, playing in the rice fields or in the hills in the surrounding.

 

  Agung Bagus (1971)

Born and grown up outside Bali, my cousin Ir. Anak Agung Bagus Raka Barahyangwangsa obtained his master degree for architecture in Jakarta in 1995. Between 1979 and 1982 he lived in several south American countries, where his father served as ambassador for Indonesia. Before he and his family moved back to Amlapura in 2000, Agung Bagus has gained experience as architect and job captain in large projects such as Plaza Indonesia and Menara Jakarta.

   
  Surya Djelantik (1950)

Like me, my sister Anak Agung Ayu Suryawati Djelantik spend most of her childhood in Denpasar, Bali. After completion of her hotel-management school in Holland in 1973, she worked at several Indonesian leading hotels, such as Kartika Plaza in Jakarta, Nusa Dua Beach and Sheraton Nusa Indah in Bali.

 

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