The Upanishads are ancient Hindu scriptures that contain philosophical and spiritual teachings on a wide range of topics. They are considered to be some of the foundational texts of Hinduism and have had a significant influence on the religion. In this blog post, we will compare the Upanishads with other ancient spiritual texts.
One way in which the Upanishads can be compared with other ancient spiritual texts is in terms of their historical context. The Upanishads are part of the Vedas, a collection of ancient Hindu scriptures that are thought to date back to the 8th century BCE or earlier. They are considered to be among the oldest sacred texts in the world. Other ancient spiritual texts that are similar in terms of their historical context include the Tao Te Ching and the Analects of Confucius, both of which are ancient Chinese texts that are thought to date back to the 6th century BCE.
The Upanishads are considered to be the crown jewel of the Vedas and are seen as the most important and influential texts of the collection. They contain teachings on the nature of the self, the nature of the universe, and the nature of the ultimate reality. They explore the relationship between the individual self and the ultimate reality, and offer insights into the nature of consciousness and the role of the individual in the cosmos. The Upanishads are meant to be studied and discussed in the context of a guru-student relationship and are seen as a source of wisdom and insight into the nature of reality and the human condition.
Another way to compare the Upanishads with other ancient spiritual texts is in terms of their content and themes. The Upanishads contain philosophical and spiritual teachings that are intended to help people understand the nature of reality and their place in the world. They explore a wide range of topics, including the nature of the self, the nature of the universe, and the nature of the ultimate reality. Other ancient spiritual texts that explore similar themes include the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching. The Bhagavad Gita is a Hindu text that contains teachings on the nature of the self and the ultimate reality, and the Tao Te Ching is a Chinese text that contains teachings on the nature of the universe and the role of the individual in the cosmos.
A third way to compare the Upanishads with other ancient spiritual texts is in terms of their influence and popularity. The Upanishads have had a significant influence on Hindu thought and have also been widely studied and revered in other religious and philosophical traditions. They are seen as a source of wisdom and insight into the nature of reality and the human condition. Other ancient spiritual texts that have had a similar level of influence and popularity include the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching. These texts have also been widely studied and revered in various religious and philosophical traditions and are seen as sources of wisdom and insight.
Overall, the Upanishads are an important and influential ancient spiritual text that can be compared with other ancient spiritual texts in terms of their historical context, content and themes, and influence and popularity. They offer a rich source of spiritual and philosophical teachings that continue to be studied and revered by people around the world.
The Upanishads are ancient Hindu scriptures that are considered to be some of the foundational texts of Hinduism. They are part of the Vedas, a collection of ancient religious texts that form the basis of Hinduism. The Upanishads are written in Sanskrit and are thought to date back to the 8th century BCE or earlier. They are considered to be among the oldest sacred texts in the world and have had a significant influence on Hindu thought.
The word “Upanishad” means “sitting down near,” and refers to the practice of sitting near a spiritual teacher to receive instruction. The Upanishads are a collection of texts that contain the teachings of various spiritual masters. They are meant to be studied and discussed in the context of a guru-student relationship.
There are many different Upanishads, and they are divided into two categories: the older, “primary” Upanishads, and the later, “secondary” Upanishads.
The primary Upanishads are considered to be more foundational and are thought to contain the essence of the Vedas. There are ten primary Upanishads, and they are:
The secondary Upanishads are more diverse in nature and cover a wider range of topics. There are many different secondary Upanishads, and they include texts such as
Narasimha Tapaniya Upanishad
Advaya Taraka Upanishad
Jabala Darsana Upanishad
These are just a few examples, and there are many other secondary Upanishads
The Upanishads contain philosophical and spiritual teachings that are intended to help people understand the nature of reality and their place in the world. They explore a wide range of topics, including the nature of the self, the nature of the universe, and the nature of the ultimate reality.
One of the key ideas found in the Upanishads is the concept of Brahman. Brahman is the ultimate reality and is seen as the source and sustenance of all things. It is described as being eternal, unchanging, and all-pervading. According to the Upanishads, the ultimate goal of human life is to realize the unity of the individual self (atman) with Brahman. This realization is known as moksha, or liberation.
Here are some examples of Sanskrit text from the Upanishads:
“Aham brahmaasmi.” (From the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad) This phrase translates to “I am Brahman,” and reflects the belief that the individual self is ultimately one with the ultimate reality.
“Tat tvam asi.” (From the Chandogya Upanishad) This phrase translates to “Thou art that,” and is similar in meaning to the above phrase, emphasizing the unity of the individual self with the ultimate reality.
“Ayam atma brahma.” (From the Mandukya Upanishad) This phrase translates to “This self is Brahman,” and reflects the belief that the true nature of the self is the same as the ultimate reality.
“Sarvam khalvidam brahma.” (From the Chandogya Upanishad) This phrase translates to “All this is Brahman,” and reflects the belief that the ultimate reality is present in all things.
“Isha vasyam idam sarvam.” (From the Isha Upanishad) This phrase translates to “All this is pervaded by the Lord,” and reflects the belief that the ultimate reality is the ultimate source and sustainer of all things.
The Upanishads also teach the concept of reincarnation, the belief that the soul is reborn into a new body after death. The form that the soul takes in its next life is believed to be determined by the actions and thoughts of the previous life, a concept known as karma. The goal of the Upanishadic tradition is to break the cycle of reincarnation and achieve liberation.
Yoga and meditation are also important practices in the Upanishadic tradition. These practices are seen as a way to quiet the mind and achieve a state of inner peace and clarity. They are also believed to help the individual realize the unity of the self with the ultimate reality.
The Upanishads have had a significant influence on Hindu thought and have also been widely studied and revered in other religious and philosophical traditions. They are seen as a source of wisdom and insight into the nature of reality and the human condition. The teachings of the Upanishads continue to be studied and practiced by Hindus today and are an important part of the Hindu tradition.
What do we mean by Founder? When we say a founder, we mean to say that someone has brought into existence a new faith or formulated a set of religious beliefs, principles and practices which were not in existence before. That cannot happen with a faith such as Hinduism, which is considered eternal. According to the scriptures, Hinduism is the religion of not just humans. Even gods and demons practice it. Ishwar (Ishwara), the Lord of the universe, is its source. He also practices it. Hence, Hinduism is God’s Dharma, brought down to the earth, just as the sacred River Ganga, for the welfare of the humans.
Who is then the Founder of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma)?
Hinduism is not founded by a person or a prophet. Its source is God (Brahman) himself. Hence, it is considered an eternal religion (Sanatana dharma). Its first teachers were Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma, the creator God revealed the secret knowledge of the Vedas to gods, humans and demons in the beginning of creation. He also imparted to them the secret knowledge of the Self, but due to their own limitations, they understood it in their own ways.
Vishnu is the preserver. He preserves the knowledge of Hinduism through countless manifestations, associated gods, aspects, saints and seers to ensure the order and regularity of the worlds. Through them, he also restores the lost knowledge of various Yogas or introduces new reforms. Further, whenever the Hindu Dharma declines beyond a point, he incarnates upon earth to restore it and revive its forgotten or lost teachings. Vishnu exemplifies the duties which humans are expected to perform upon earth in their individual capacity as householders within their spheres.
Shiva too plays an important role in upholding Hindu Dharma. As the destroyer, he removes the impurities and confusion that creeps into our sacred knowledge. He is also considered the universal teacher and the source of various art and dance forms (Lalitakalas), Yogas, vocations, sciences, farming, agriculture, alchemy, magic, healing, medicine, Tantra and so on.
Thus, like the mystic Ashvattha Tree which is mentioned in the Vedas, the roots of Hinduism are in heaven, and its branches are spread out on earth. Its core is divine knowledge, which governs the conduct of not only humans but also of the beings in other worlds with God acting as its creator, preserver, concealer, revealer and remover of obstacles. Its core philosophy (the shruti) is eternal, while it changing parts (smriti) keep changing according to the time and circumstances, and the progress of the world. Containing in itself the diversity of God’s creation, it remains open to all possibilities, modifications and future discoveries.
Many other divinities such as Ganesha, Prajapati, Indra, Shakti, Narada, Saraswati and Lakshmi are also credited with the authorship of many scriptures. Apart from this, countless scholars, seers, sages, philosophers, gurus, ascetic movements and teacher traditions enriched Hinduism through their teachings, writings, commentaries, discourses and expositions. Thus, Hinduism is derived from many sources. Many of its beliefs and practices found their way into other religions, that either originated in India or interacted with it.
Since Hinduism has its roots in the eternal knowledge and its aims and purpose are closely aligned to those of God as the Creator of all, it is considered an eternal religion (Sanatana dharma). Hinduism may disappear from the face of the earth due to the impermanent nature of the world, but the sacred knowledge which forms its foundation will remain forever and keep manifesting in each cycle of creation under different names. It is also said that Hinduism has no founder and no missionary goals because people have to come to it either by providence (birth) or personal decision due to their spiritual readiness (past karma).
The name Hinduism, which is derived from the root word, “Sindhu” came into usage due to historical reasons. Hinduism as a conceptual entity did not exist until the British times. The word itself does not appear in literature until the 17th Century A.D. In medieval times, the Indian subcontinent was known as Hindustan or the land of Hindus. They were not all practising same faith, but different ones, which included Buddhism, Jainism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Brahmanism and several ascetic traditions, sects and sub sects.
The native traditions and the people who practiced Sanatana Dharma went by different names, but not as Hindus. During the British times, all the native faiths were grouped under the generic name, “Hinduism” to distinguish it from Islam and Christianity and to dispense with justice or settle local disputes, property and tax matters.
Subsequently, after the independence, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism were separated from it by enacting laws. Thus, the word Hinduism was born out of historical necessity and entered the constitutional laws of India through legislation.
Hinduism – Core Beliefs: Hinduism is not an organised religion, and its belief system has no single, structured approach to teaching it. Nor do Hindus, like the Ten Commandments, have a simple set of laws to obey. Throughout the Hindu world, local, regional, caste, and community-driven practices affect the understanding and practice of beliefs. Yet belief in a Supreme Being and adherence to certain principles such as Reality, dharma, and karma is a common thread across all these variations. And belief in the power of the Vedas (sacred scriptures) serves, to a large degree, as the very meaning of a Hindu, although it can differ greatly in how the Vedas are interpreted.
The major core beliefs that Hindus share includes the following listed below;
Hinduism Believes that Truth is Eternal.
Hindus are seeking knowledge and comprehension of the facts, the very existence of the world and the only truth. Truth is one, according to the Vedas, but it is expressed in a number of ways by the wise.
Hinduism Believes that Brahman is Truth and Reality.
As the only true God who is formless, infinite, all-inclusive, and eternal, Hindus believe in Brahman. Brahman which is not an abstract in notion; it is a real entity that encompasses everything in the universe (seen and unseen).
Hinduism Believes that The Vedas are the Ultimate Authorities.
The Vedas are scriptures in Hindus containing revelations that ancient saints and sages have got. Hindus claim that the Vedas are without beginning and without end, the believe is that Vedas will remain until all else is destroyed in the universe (at the end of the period of time).
Hinduism Believes that Everyone Should Work Hard to Achieve Dharma.
The understanding of dharma concept allows one to understand the Hindu religion. No single English word, sadly, adequately covers its context. It is possible to define dharma as right conduct, fairness, moral law, and duty. Everyone who makes dharma central to one’s life seeks to do the right thing at all times, according to one’s duty and skills.
Hinduism Believes that Individual Souls are Immortal.
A Hindu claims that there is neither existence nor destruction of the individual soul (atman); it has been, it is, and it will be. The soul’s actions when living in a body require the same soul in a different body to reap the effects of those actions in the next life. The process of movement of the atman is known as transmigration from one body to another. Karma decides the kind of body the soul next inhabits (actions accumulated in previous lives).
The individual soul’s objective is moksha.
Moksha is liberation: the release of the soul from the death and rebirth period. It happens when, by recognize its true essence, the soul unites with Brahman. To this awareness and unification, many paths will lead: the path of obligation, the path of knowledge, and the path of devotion (unconditionally surrender to God).
Hinduism – Core Beliefs: Other beliefs of Hinduism are:
Hindus believe in a single, all-pervading Supreme Being, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality, who is both immanent and transcendent.
Hindus believed in the divinity of the four Vedas, the most ancient scripture in the world, and as equally revealed, venerate the Agamas. These primordial hymns are the word of God and the cornerstone of the eternal faith, Sanatana Dharma.
Hindus conclude that infinite cycles of formation, preservation and dissolution are undergone by the universe.
Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each human, by his thoughts, words and deeds, creates his own destiny.
Hindus conclude that, after all karmas have been resolved, the soul reincarnates, developing over multiple births, and moksha, freedom from the rebirth cycle, is achieved. There will not be a single soul robbed of this destiny.
Hindus believe that there are supernatural forces in unknown worlds and that with these devas and gods, temple worship, rites, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion.
Hindus believe that understanding the Transcendent Absolute is necessary to an enlightened lord, or satguru, as is personal discipline, good behavior, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation, and surrender to God.
In thought, word and deed, Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be cherished and respected, and thus practice ahimsa, nonviolence.
Hindus believe that no religion, above all others, teaches the only way to redemption, but that all true paths are facets of the Light of God, worthy of tolerance and understanding.
Hinduism, the oldest religion in the world, has no beginning—it is followed by recorded history. It doesn’t have a human creator. It is a spiritual religion that leads the devotee to experience the Reality personally inside, eventually achieving the peak of consciousness where one is man and God.
There are four major denominations of Hinduism—Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism.
We want to build on the ancient word “Hindu” from this writing-up. The Communist historians of India and the Western Indologists say that in the 8th century the word “Hindu” was coined by the Arabs and its roots were in the Persian tradition of replacing “S” with “H. The word “Hindu” or its derivatives were, however, used by many inscriptions over a thousand years older than this time. Also, in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat in India, not in Persia, the root of the word most probably lies. This particular interesting story is written by the uncle of Prophet Mohammed, Omar-bin-e-Hassham, who had written a poem to praise Lord Shiva.
There are so many websites saying that Kaba was an ancient temple of Shiva. They are still thinking what to make of these arguments, but the fact that the uncle of Prophet Mohammed wrote an ode to Lord Shiva is definitely incredible.
The anti-Hindu historians like Romila Thapar and D.N. The Antiquity and Origin of the Word ‘Hindu’ In the 8th century, Jha thought that the term ‘Hindu’ was given currency by the Arabs. However, they do not clarify the basis of their conclusion or cite any facts to support their argument. Not even Muslim Arab writers make such an exaggerated argument.
Another hypothesis advocated by European authors is that the term ‘Hindu’ is a ‘Sindhu’ Persian corruption arising from the Persian tradition of substituting ‘S’ with ‘H.’ No proof is cited even here. The word Persia itself actually contains ‘S’ which, if this theory was right, should have become ‘Perhia’.
In the light of epigraph and literary evidence available from Persian, Indian, Greek, Chinese and Arabic sources, the present paper discusses the above two theories. The evidence appears to support the hypothesis that ‘Hindu’ has been in use since the Vedic period like ‘Sindhu’ and that while ‘Hindu’ is a modified form of ‘Sindhu’ its root lies in the practice of pronouncing ‘H’ instead of ‘S’ in Saurashtran.
Epigraphic Evidence of the word Hindu
The Persian king Darius’s Hamadan, Persepolis and Naqsh-I-Rustam inscriptions mention a ‘Hidu’ population as included in his empire. The date of these inscriptions is between 520-485 B.C. This reality indicates that, more than 500 years before Christ, the word ‘Hi(n)du’ was present.
Xerexes, successor of Darius, gives names of countries under his control in his inscriptions at Persepolis. ‘Hidu’ requires a list. Xerexes ruled from 485-465 B.C. There are three figures above on a tomb in Persepolis in another inscription attributed to Artaxerexes (404-395 B.C.), which are labelled ‘iyam Qataguviya’ (this is Satygidian), ‘iyam Ga(n)dariya’ (this is Gandhara) and ‘iyam Hi(n)duviya’ (this is Hi(n)du). The Asokan (3rd century B.C.) inscriptions frequently use phrases such as ‘Hida’ for ‘India’ and ‘Hida loka’ for ‘Indian country’.
In the Ashokan inscriptions,’ Hida’ and her derived forms are used more than 70 times. For India, the Ashokan inscriptions determine the antiquity of the name ‘Hind’ to at least the third century B.C. The king has the titles shakanshah hind shakastan tuxaristan dabiran dabir, “king of Shakastan, minister of ministers of Hind Shakastan and Tukharistan,” in the Persepolis Pahlvi inscriptions of Shahpur II (310 A.D.).
The epigraphic evidence from the documents of the Achaemenid, Ashokan and Sasanian Pahlvi established a condition on the hypothesis that in the 8th century A.D. the word ‘Hindu’ originated in Arab use. The ancient history of the term ‘Hindu’ takes literary evidence back to at least 1000 B.C. Yeah, and maybe 5000 B.C.
Evidence from Pahlvi Avesta
Hapta-Hindu is used for Sanskrit Sapta-Sindhu in the Avesta, and the Avesta is dated between 5000-1000 B.C. It means that the word ‘Hindu’ is as old as the word ‘Sindhu.’ Sindhu is a concept used in the Rigveda by the Vedik. And thus, as old as the Rigveda,’ Hindu’ is. Veda Vyas talks of the visit of Veda Vyas to the court of Gustashp in the Avestan Gatha ‘Shatir’ 163rd verse and Veda Vyas introduces himself in the presence of Zorashtra saying ‘man marde am Hind jijad.’ (I am a man born in ‘Hind.’) Veda Vyas was an elder contemporary of Shri Krishna (3100 B.C.).
Greek Usage (Indoi)
The Greek word ‘Indoi’ is a softened ‘Hindu’ form where the original ‘H’ was dropped as there is no aspirate in the Greek alphabet. Hekataeus (late 6th century B.C.) and Herodotus (early 5th century B.C.) used this word ‘Indoi’ in Greek literature, thereby indicating that the Greeks used this ‘Hindu’ variant as early as in the 6th century B.C.
The Hebrew Bible (Hodu)
For India, the Hebrew bible make use of the word ‘Hodu’ which is a ‘Hindu’ Judaic type. Earlier than 300 B.C., the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is considered Hebrew spoken in Israel today uses Hodu for India as well.
The Chinese Testimony (Hien-tu)
The Chinese used the word ‘Hien-tu’ for ‘Hindu’ around 100 B.C.11 When explaining the Sai-Wang (100 B.C.) movements, the Chinese annals note that the Sai-Wang went south and entered Ki-Pin by passing Hien-tu. Later Chinese travellers Fa-Hien (5th century A.D.) and Huen-Tsang (7th century A.D.) use a slightly changed ‘Yintu’ word, but the’ Hindu’ affinity is still retained. Until today, this word ‘Yintu’ continues to be used.
Sair-ul-Okul is an anthology of ancient Arabic poetry from the Makhtab-e-Sultania Turkish Library in Istanbul. A poem by Uncle Omar-bin-e-Hassham of the Prophet Mohammed is included in this anthology. The poem is Mahadev (Shiva) in praise, and uses ‘Hind’ for India and ‘Hindu’ for Indians. Here are some verses quoted:
Wa Abaloha ajabu armeeman Mahadevo Manojail ilamuddin minhum wa sayattaru If, with dedication, one worships Mahadev, the ultimate redemption will be achieved.
Kamil Hinda e Yauman, Wa Yakulam na latabahan foeennak Tawajjaru, wa sahabi Kay yam feema. (Oh Lord, grant me a day’s stay in Hind, where spiritual bliss can be attained.)
Massayare akhalakan hasanan Kullahum, Summa gabul Hindu najumam aja. (But one pilgrimage is worthy of all, and the company of great Hindu saints.)
Another poem by Labi-bin-e Akhtab bin-e Turfa has the same anthology, which is dated 2300 years before Mohammed, i.e. 1700 B.C. ‘Hind’ for India and ‘Hindu’ for Indians are also used in this poem. The four Vedas, Sama, Yajur, Rig and Athar, are also mentioned in the poem. This poem is quoted in columns in New Delhi’s Laxmi Narayan Mandir, commonly known as Birla Mandir (Temple). Some verses are as follows:
Hinda e, wa aradakallha manyonaifail jikaratun, Aya muwarekal araj yushaiya noha minar. (O Hind’s Divine Country, blessed art thou, thou art the chosen land of divine knowledge.)
Wahalatjali Yatun ainana Sahabi akhatun jikra, Hindatun minal Wahajayahi yonajjalur rasu. (That celebratory knowledge shines with such brilliance in the fourfold abundance of the words of the Hindu saints.)
Yakuloonallaha ya ahlal araf alameen kullahum, Veda bukkun malam yonajjaylatun fattabe-u jikaratul. (God enjoins all, follows the direction shown by Veda with divine awareness with devotion.)
Wahowa alamus Sama wal Yajur minallahay Tanajeelan, Yobasshariyona jatun, Fa e noma ya akhigo mutibayan. (Sama and Yajur for Man are filled with wisdom, brothers, following the path that leads you to salvation.)
The two Rigs and Athar(va) also teach us brotherhood, sheltering their lust, dissipating darkness. Wa isa nain huma Rig Athar nasahin ka Khuwatun, Wa asanat Ala-udan wabowa masha e ratun.
Disclaimer: The information above is collected from various sites and discussion forums. There are no solid evidences which will back any of the above points.
The Hindu and Jains celebrate Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akti or Akha Teej, every spring. The third Tithi (lunar day) of Vaisakha month’s Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) falls on this day. Hindus and Jains in India and Nepal celebrate it as the “third day of unending prosperity,” and it is regarded as an auspicious moment.
“Akshay” means “never-endingness” in the sense of “prosperity, hope, joy, and accomplishment” in Sanskrit, while Tritiya means “third phase of the moon” in Sanskrit. It is named after the “third lunar day” of the Hindu calendar’s spring month of Vaisakha, on which it is observed.
The festival date changes each year and is determined by the lunisolar Hindu calendar, which falls in April or May on the Gregorian calendar.
The Jain tradition
It commemorates the first Tirthankara’s ( Lord Rishabhdev ) one-year asceticism by drinking sugarcane juice poured into his cupped hands in Jainism. Varshi Tapa is the name given to the festival by some Jains. Jains observe fasting and ascetic austerities, especially at pilgrimage sites such as Palitana (Gujarat).
On this day, people who practice Varshi-tap, a year-long alternate day fasting, finish their Tapasya by doing parana, or drinking sugarcane juice.
In the Hindu tradition
In many parts of India, Hindus and Jains consider the day auspicious for new projects, marriages, large investments such as gold or other lands, and any new beginnings. It’s also a day to remember loved ones who have passed away. The day is important in the area for women, married or single, who pray for the well-being of the men in their lives or for the man they may in the future get an affiliated to. They distribute germinating gramme (sprouts), fresh fruits, and Indian sweets after the prayers. When Akshaya Tritiya happens on a Monday (Rohini), it is thought to be even more auspicious. Another festive tradition is fasting, charity, and supporting others on this day. The presentation of Akshaya Patra to Draupadi by God Krishna during the visit of Sage Durvasa is very important, and is connected to the festival’s name. The princely Pandavas were hungry due to a lack of food, and their wife Draupadi was distressed due to a lack of food for customary hospitality to their numerous saintly guests during their exile in the forests.
The oldest, Yudishtira, did penance to Lord Surya, who gave him this bowl that would stay full until Draupadi ate. God Krishna made this bowl invincible for Draupadi, the wife of the five Pandavas, during sage Durvasa’s visit, so that the magical bowl known as Akshaya Patram will always be filled with food of their choosing, even enough to satiate the entire universe if necessary.
In Hinduism, Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated as the birthday of Parshuram, Vishnu’s sixth incarnation, who is worshiped in Vaishnava temples. The festival is often referred to as ParshuramJayanti by those who celebrate it in Parasurama’s honour. Others, on the other hand, devote their worship to Vishnu’s avatar Vasudeva. On Akshaya Tritiya, Ved Vyasa, according to legend, started reciting the Hindu epic Mahabharata to Ganesha.
On this day, according to another legend, the Ganges river descended to earth. After closure during the Himalayan winters, the Yamunotri and Gangotri temples are reopened on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, during the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage. On Abhijit Muhurat of Akshay Tritiya, the temples are opened.
Sudama is also said to have visited his childhood friend Lord Krishna in Dwarka on this day and earned limitless money. Kubera is also said to have earned his wealth and title of ‘Lord of Wealth’ on this auspicious day. In Odisha, Akshaya Tritiya marks the beginning of paddy sowing for the upcoming Kharif season. Farmers begin the day by performing ceremonial worship of Mother Earth, bullocks, and other traditional farm equipment and seeds in order to obtain blessings for a successful harvest.
Sowing paddy seeds as a symbolic start for the state’s most significant Kharif crop takes place after the fields have been ploughed. This ritual is known as Akhi Muthi Anukula (Akhi – Akshaya Tritiya; Muthi – fistful of paddy; Anukula – commencement or inauguration) and is widely observed throughout the state. Due to ceremonial Akhi Muthi Anukula programmes organized by farmers organisations and political parties in recent years, the event has received a lot of attention. The building of chariots for the Jagannath Temple’s Ratha Yatra festivities begins on this day in Puri.
God Vishnu, the Hindu Trinity’s preserver God, is in charge of Akshaya Tritiya Day. Treta Yuga started on Akshaya Tritiya Day, according to Hindu mythology. Usually, Akshaya Tritiya and Parshuram Jayanti, Lord Vishnu’s 6th incarnation’s birthday anniversary, fall on the same day, but depending on the Tritiya Tithi’s starting time, Parshuram Jayanti will fall one day before Akshaya Tritiya.
Akshaya Tritiya is also considered an auspicious day by Vedic astrologers, as it is free of all malefic effects. According to Hindu Astrology, the three lunar days of Yugadi, Akshaya Tritiya, and Vijay Dashami do not need any Muhurta to begin or complete any auspicious work because they are free of all malefic effects.
What People Do on The Festival Day
Since this festival is being celebrated as the festival of unending prosperity, people do set aside the day to buy cars or high-end household electronics. According to scriptures, chanting prayers dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Ganesha, or the household deity brings ‘eternal’ good fortune. On Akshaya Tritiya, people also perform Pitra Tarpan, or pay homage to their forefathers. The believe was that the god they worship will bring evaluating and an unending prosperity and joy.
What is the Importance of the Festival
This festival is significant since it is commonly believed that Lord Parshuram, Vishnu’s sixth incarnation, was born on this day.
Due to this believe, that was why people buy expensive and household electronics, Gold and lots of sweets on the day.
King Jayadratha was the king of Sindhu, the son of King Vridhakshatra, husband of Dussla, the only daughter of King Dritarastra and Queen Gandhari of Hastinapur. He had two other wives apart from Dushala , princess of Gandhara and the princess from Kamboja. His son’s name is Surath. He has a very short but very important part in Mahabharata as an evil guy, who was indirectly responsible for the demise of Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, the third Pandava. His other names were Sindhuraja, Saindhava, Sauvira, Sauviraja,Sindhuraṭ and Sindhusauvirabharta.The word Jayadratha in sanskrit consists of two words- Jaya means Victorious and ratha means chariots. So jayadratha means having Victorious chariots.Some lesser know fact about him is, Jayadratha was also present in the game of dice, during defamation of Draupadi.
Birth of Jayadratha and the boon
King of Sindhu, Vridhakshatra once heard a prophecy, that his son Jayadratha might get killed. Vridhakshatra, being scared for his only son became scared and went to jungle to do tapasya and penance and became a sage. His motive was to achieve the boon of complete immortality, but he failed. By his tapasya, he could only receive a boon that Jayadratha would become a very famous king and the person who will cause Jayadratha’s head to fall to the ground, that person’s head get divided into thousand pieces and will die. King Vridhakshatra was relieved. He made Jayadratha, the King of Sindhu at a very young age and went in the jungle to practice penance.
Dushala’s marriage with Jayadratha
It is believed that Dushala was married of to Jayadratha to form a political alliance with the Sindhu kingdom and Maratha kingdom. But the marriage wasn’t a happy marriage at all. Not only Jayadratha married two other women, but also, he was disrespectful and uncivil towards women in general.
Draupadi’s abduction by Jayadratha
Jayadratha was sworn enemy of Pandavas, the reason of this enmity is not hard to guess. They were were rivals of Duryadhana , brother of his wife. And also, king Jayadratha was also present in Princess Draupadi’s swambara. He was obsessed with Draupadi’s beauty and was desperate to get her hand in marriage. But instead, Arjuna, the third Pandava was the one who married Draupadi and later other four Pandavas also married her. So, Jayadratha had casted an evil eye on Draupadi from a long time ago.
One day, during the Pandava’s time in forest, after losing everything in the evil game of dice, they were staying in the Kamakya forest, Pandavas went for hunting , keeping Draupadi under the guardianship of a sage named Dhauma, the ashram Trinabindu. At that time, King Jayadratha was passing through the forest along with his advisers, ministers and armies, marching towards kingdom of Salva, for her marriage of her daughter. He suddenly spotted Draupadi, standing against Kadamba tree, watching the procession of army. He couldn’t recognise her due her very simple attire, but was mesmerised by her beauty. Jayadratha sent his very close friend Kotikasya to enquire about her.
Kotikasya went to her and asked her what is her identity, is she an earthly woman or some apsara( devine woman, who danced at gods courtroom). Was she Sachi, the wife of Lord Indra, came here for some diversion and change of air. How was she so beautiful. Who was so fortunate to get someone so beautiful to be his wife.He gave his identity as Kotikasya, a close friend of Jayadratha. He also told her that Jayadratha was mesmerised by her beauty and told him to fetch her. Draupadi was startled but quickly composed herself. She stated her identity, telling that she was Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas , in other words, Jayadratha’s brother-in-laws. She told, as Kotikasya now knows her identity and her family relations, she would expect Kotikasya and Jayadratha to give her deserved respect and follow the royal etiquettes of manners, speech and action. She also told that for now they can enjoy her hospitality and wait for Pandavas to come . They would arrive soon.
Kotikasya went back to king Jayadratha and told him that the beautiful lady which Jayadratha so eagerly wanted to meet, was no other than queen Draupadi, wife of Panch Pandavas. Evil Jayadratha wanted to take the opportunity of Pandavas absence, and fulfill his desires. King Jayadratha went to the ashram. Devi Draupadi, at first, was very happy to see Jayadratha, the husband of Pandavas and Kaurava’s only sister Dushala. She wanted to give him warm welcome and hospitality, untill the arrival of Pandavas. But Jayadratha ignored all the hospitality and Royal etiquettes and started making Draupadi uncomfortable by praising her beauty. Then Jayadratha hounded on Draupadi telling most beautiful woman on earth, the princess of Panch, should not waste her beauty, youth and loveliness in the forest by staying with shameless beggars like Panch Pandavas. Rather she should be with powerful king like him and only that suits her. He tried to manipulate Draupadi to leave with him and marry him because only he deserves him and he would treat her like only queen of her hearts. Sensing where the things are going, Draupadi decided to kill time by talking and warnings till Pandavas arrive. She warned Jayadratha that she is the royal wife of his wife’s family, so she is also related to him, and it is expected of him to desire and try to woo a family lady. She added that she was very happily married with Pandavas and also mother of their five children.He should try and control himself, be decent and maintain a decorum, or else, he would had to face severe consequences of his evil action, as Panch Pandavas would not spare him. Jayadratha became more desperate and told Draupadi to stopped talking and follow him to his chariot and leave with him. Draupadi became furious after observing his audacity and glared at him. She, with sterned eyes, told him to get out of the ashram. Getting refused again, Jayadratha’s desperation reached at peak and he took a very hasty and evil decision. He dragged Draupadi from ashram and forcefully took her to his chariot and left. Draupadi was crying and lamenting and shouting for help at the peak of her voice . Hearing that, Dhauma rushed out and followed their chariot like a mad man.
Meanwhile, Pandavas returned from hunting and food gathering. Their maid Dhatreyika informed them about abduction of their dear wife Draupadi by their brother in law King Jayadratha. Pandavas became furious. After being well equipped they traced the chariot in the direction shown by the maid, successfully chased them, easily defeated Jayadratha’s whole army, caught Jayadratha and rescued Draupadi. Draupadi wanted him to die.
Humiliation of King Jayadratha by Panch Pandavas as punishment
After rescuing Draupadi, they captivated Jayadratha. Bhima and Arjuna wanted to kill him, but Dharmaputra Yudhisthira, the eldest of them, wanted Jayadratha to be alive, because his kind heart thought of their only sister Dussala, as she would have to suffer a lot if Jayadratha died. Devi Draupadi also agreed. But Bhima and Arjuna didn’t wanted to leave Jayadratha that easily. So Jayadratha was given a good bearings with frequent punches and kicks. Adding a feather to Jayadratha’s humiliation, Pandavas shaved his head saving five tufts of hair, which will remind everyone of how strong Panch Pandavas were. Bhima left Jayadratha on one condition, he would had to bow down before Yudhisthira and had to declare himself as slave of Pandavas and would have that to everyone, the assembly of kings upon returning. Though feeling humiliated and fuming with anger, he was scared for his life, so obeying Bhima, he knelt before Yudhisthira. Yudhisthira smiled and forgave him. Draupadi was satisfied. Then Pandavas released him. Jayadratha hadn’t felt so much insulted and humiliated his entire life. He was fuming with anger and his evil mind wanted severe revenge.
The boon given by Shiva
Of course after such humiliation, He could not return to his kingdom, specially with some appearance. He went straight to the mouth of Ganges to do tapasya and penance to acquire more power. By his tapasya, he pleased Lord Shiva and Shiva asked him to want for a boon. Jayadratha wanted to kill the Pandavas. Shiva said that will be impossible for anyone to do. Then Jayadratha said that he wanted to defeat them in a war. Lord Shiva said, it will be impossible to defeat Arjuna, even by the gods. Finally Lord Shiva gave a boon that Jayadratha would be able to hold back and restrain all the attacks of Pandavas except Arjuna for only one day.
This boon from Shiva played a huge role in the war of Kurukshetra.
Indirect role of Jayadratha in the cruel death of Abhimanyu
In the thirteenth day of war of Kurukshetra, Kaurava’s had aligned their soldiers in form of Chakravyuh. It was the most dangerous alignment and only greatest of the great soldiers knew how to enter and successfully exit the Chakravyuh. In the side of Pandavas, only Arjun and Lord Krishna knew how to enter, destroy and exit vyuh. But that day, as per Shakuni, the maternal uncle of Duryadhana’s plan, they asked Susharma, the king of Trigat to brutally attack Virat, the king of Matsya, to distract Arjuna. It was under the palace of Virat, where Panch Pandavas and Draupadi had his themselves while the last year of exile. So, Arjuna felt obligated to rescue king Virat and also Susharma had challenged Arjuna in a one on one battle. In those days, ignoring challenge wasn’t a warrior’s thing. So Arjuna decided to go in the other side of Kurukshetra to help king Virat, warning his brothers not to enter the Chakravyuh, untill he returns and engage the Kauravas in small battles outside the Chakravyuh.
Arjuna became really busy with the war and seeing no signs of Arjun, Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, a great warrior at the age of sixteen, decided to enter the Chakravyuhyuh.
One day, when Subhadra was pregnant with Abhimanyu, Arjun was narrating Subhadra how to enter Chakravyuh. Abhimanyu could hear the process from his mother’s womb. But after sometime Subhadra fell asleep and so Arjuna stopped narrating. So Abhimanyu didn’t knew how to exit Chakravyuh safely
Their plan was, Abhimanyu would enter Chakravyuh through one of the seven entrance, followed by other four Pandavas, they would protect each other, and fight together in the centre untill Arjuna arrives. Abhimanyu successfully entered the Chakravyuh, but Jayadratha, being on that entrance stopped Pandavas. He used the boon given by Lord Shiva. No matter how much Pandavas caused, Jayadratha stopped them successfully. And Abhimanyu was left alone in the Chakravyuh in front of all the greatest of the great warriors. Abhimanyu was brutally killed by everyone of the opposition. Jayadratha made Pandavas watch the painful scene, keeping them helpless for that day.
Death of Jayadratha by Arjuna
Arjun upon returning, heard the unfair and brutal demise of his beloved son, and specially blamed Jayadratha as he felt betrayed. Pandavas didn’t kill Jayadratha when he tried to abduct Draupadi and forgave him. But Jayadratha was the reason, other Pandavas couldn’t enter and save Abhimanyu. So angry took an dangerous oath. He said that if he couldn’t kill Jayadratha by the next day’s sunset, he himself will jump into the fire and give up his life.
Hearing such a fierce oath, ever great warrior decided to protect Jayadratha by creating Sakata vyuh in the front and Padma vyuh in the back.Inside Padma vyuh, Dronacharya, the commander in chief of Kauravas, made another vyuh, named Suchi and kept Jayadratha in the middle of that vyuh. Through out the day, all the great warriors like Dronacharya, karna , Duryadhana’s kept guarding Jayadratha and distracted Arjuna. Krishna observed that it was almost the time of sunset. Krishna eclipsed the sun using his Sudarshana chakra and everyone thought sun has set. Kauravas became very happy. Jayadratha was relieved and came out to see that it was really the end of the day, Arjuna took that chance. He invoked Pasupat weapon and killed Jayadratha.
Surya Namaskar, a sequence of 12 strong yoga asanas (postures) that provide a good cardiovascular workout, is the solution if you’re short on time and looking for a single mantra to stay healthy. Surya Namaskars, which literally translates to “Sun Salutation,” are a great way to keep your body in shape while still keeping your mind calm and stable.
Surya Namaskar is best performed first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. Let’s start our journey to better health with these easy-to-follow Sun Salutation steps.
Sun Salutation is divided into two sets, each of which consists of 12 yoga poses. You can come across many different versions on how to perform Sun Salutation. For the best performance, however, it is best to stick to one edition and practise it on a regular basis.
Surya Namaskar not only promotes good health, but it also allows you to express gratitude to the sun for sustaining life on this planet. For 10 days in succession, it is better to start each day with a sense of grace and gratitude for the sun’s energy.
After 12 rounds of Sun Salutations, then alternate between other yoga poses and yoga nidra. You might find that this becomes your daily mantra for staying healthy, happy, and calm.
The Origin of Surya Namaskar
The King of Aundh is said to have been the first to implement sun salutations. He noted that during his reign in Maharashtra, India, this sequence must be preserved on a regular basis and without fail. Whether or not this storey is real, the roots of this practise can be traced back to that area, and Surya Namaskar is the most common type of exercise to begin each day.
Many schools in India now teach and practise yoga to all of their students, and they begin their days with the lovely and poetic set of exercises known as sun salutations.
Salutations to the Sun is the literal translation of the phrase “Surya Namaskar.” However, a closer examination of its etymological context reveals a deeper meaning. “I bow my head in full appreciation and give myself to you wholeheartedly without being biassed or partial,” says the word “Namaskar.” Surya is a Sanskrit word that means “one who extends and illuminates the earth.”
As a result, when we perform Surya Namaskar, we bow in reverence to the one who illuminates the universe.
The 12 Steps of Surya Namaskar are Discussed Below;
1. Pranamasana (Prayer pose)
Stand at the mat’s edge, keeping your feet together and distributing your weight evenly on both feet.
Relax your shoulders and expand your chest.
Lift your arms up from the sides as you inhale, and put your hands together in front of your chest in prayer posture as you exhale.
2. Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms pose)
Lift the arms up and back while breathing in, holding the biceps close to the ears. The goal is to stretch the entire body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers in this pose.
How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?
You should move your pelvis forward a little. Make sure you’re reaching out with your fingertips instead of bending backwards.
3. Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot pose)
Bend forward from the hip, holding the spine upright, while exhaling. Bring your hands down to the floor beside your feet as you absolutely exhale.
How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?
If required, bend the knees to bring the palms down to the floor. Straighten your knees with a gentle effort. It’s a safe idea to hold the hands in this place and not move them until the sequence is completed.
4. Ashwa Sanchalanasanan (Equestrian pose)
Push your right leg back as far as you can when breathing in. Bring your right knee to the floor and raise your head.
How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?
Make sure the left foot is precisely in the middle of the palms.
5. Dandasana (Stick pose)
When you inhale, pull your left leg back and your whole body into a straight line.
How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?
Maintain a perpendicular relationship between your arms and the floor.
6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute With Eight Parts Or Points)
Exhale as you gently lower your knees to the floor. Slightly lower your hips, slide forward, and rest your chest and chin on the surface. Raise your backside a smidgeon.
The two hands, two feet, two knees, the stomach, and the chin are all involved (eight parts of the body touch the floor).
7.Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
As you slide forward, lift your chest into the Cobra position. In this position, you should keep your elbows bent and your shoulders away from your ears. Take a look up.
How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?
Make a gentle effort to force your chest forward as you inhale, and a gentle effort to push your navel down as you exhale. Tuck your toes in. Make sure you’re stretching as far as you can without straining.
8. Parvatasana (Mountain pose)
In a ‘inverted V’ stance, exhale and raise the hips and tailbone up, shoulders down.
How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?
Keeping the heels on the ground and making a gentle effort to raise the tailbone up will allow you to go deeper into the stretch.
9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
Inhale deeply and step the right foot forward between the two palms, lowering the left knee to the floor, pressing the hips forward and looking up.
How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?
Place the right foot in the exact middle of the two hands, with the right calf perpendicular to the ground. To deepen the stretch, gently lower the hips down towards the floor when in this position.
10. Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot pose)
Exhale and step forward with your left foot. Keep your palms flat on the ground. If possible, you can bend your knees.
How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?
Straighten your knees gently and, if possible, try to touch your nose to your knees. Continue to breathe normally.
11. Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms pose)
Inhale deeply, roll your spine forward, raise your palms, and bend backwards a little, turning your hips slightly outward.
How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?
Make sure your biceps are parallel to your ears. Rather than stretching backwards, the aim is to stretch up further.
When you exhale, straighten your body first, then lower your arms. Relax in this place and pay attention to your body’s sensations.
ADVANTAGES OF SURYA NAMASKAR: THE ULTIMATE ASANA
Many people believe that the ‘Surya Namaskar’, or sun salutation as it is known in English, is simply a back and muscle strengthening exercise.
However, many people are unaware that it is a full workout for the whole body that does not require the use of any equipment. It also helps us break away from our mundane and exhausting daily routines.
Surya Namaskar, when performed correctly and at the appropriate time, can completely transform your life. It may take a little longer for results to appear, but the skin will soon be detoxed like never before. Surya Namaskar increases the size of your solar plexus, which improves your imagination, intuition, decision-making, leadership ability, and self-confidence.
While Surya Namaskar can be performed at any time of day, the best and most beneficial time is at sunrise, when the sun’s rays revitalise your body and clear your mind. Practicing it in the afternoon immediately energises the body, although doing it at dusk helps you relax.
Surya Namaskar has many advantages, including weight loss, glowing skin, and improved digestion. It also ensures a daily menstrual cycle. Reduces blood sugar levels, reduces anxiety, and aids in the detoxification of the body also, Insomnia is fought.
You must take care of your neck when performing the postures so that it does not float backwards behind your arms, as this may cause severe neck injury. It’s also a good idea to avoid bending over abruptly or without stretching because this can strain the back muscles.
The dos and don’t of Surya Namaskar.
To maintain proper body posture when holding the asanas, carefully obey the directions.
To get the most out of the experience, make sure to breathe properly and rhythmically.
Breaking the flow of the steps, which is designed to function in a flow, can result in delayed results.
Do regular practise to acclimate your body to the process and, as a result, develop your skills.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and energised during the process.
Attempting to maintain complicated postures for an extended period of time will result in injury.
Don’t start with too many repetitions; gradually increase the number of cycles as your body becomes more accustomed to the asanas.
It’s important not to get distracted while keeping the postures because this will prevent you from having the best results.
Wearing clothing that is too tight or too baggy can make it difficult to maintain the postures. When performing Surya Namaskar, dress comfortably.
Number of Rounds One Can Do in a Day.
Doing at least 12 rounds of Surya Namaskars every day is a good idea (one set consists of two rounds).
If you’re new to yoga, start with two to four rounds and work your way up to as many as you can comfortably do (even up to 108 if you’re up to it!). The practise is best performed in sets.
Holi is a colourful festival that celebrates passion, laughter, and happiness. The festival, which takes place every year in the Hindu month of Phalguna, heralds the arrival of spring. Holi Dahan is the day preceding Holi. On this day, people in their neighbourhood light a bonfire and sing and dance around it. Holika Dahan is more than just a festival in the Hindu religion; it symbolises the victory of good over evil. Here’s what you need to hear about this critical case.
Holika Dahan is a Hindu festival that takes place on the Purnima Tithi (Full Moon Night) of the Phalguna month, which typically falls in March or April.
Holika was a demon and the granddaughter of King Hiranyakashipu, as well as Prahlad’s aunt. The pyre is lit the night before Holi, symbolising Holika Dahan. People gather around the fire to sing and dance. The next day, people celebrate Holi, the colourful holiday. You might be wondering why a demon is worshipped during the festival. Holika is thought to have been created to fend off all fears. She was a sign of strength, riches, and prosperity, and she had the ability to bestow these blessings on her devotees. As a result, before Holika Dahan, Holika is worshipped alongside Prahlada.
Story of Holika Dahan
According to the Bhagavat Purana, Hiranyakashipu was a king who, in order to fulfil his wish, performed the requisite Tapas (penance) before Brahma granted him a boon.
Hiranyakashyapu received five special abilities as a result of the boon: he could not be killed by a human or an animal, could not be killed indoors or outdoors, could not be killed at any time of day or night, could not be killed by astra (launched weapons) or shastra (handheld weapons), and could not be killed on land, sea, or air.
As a result of his wish being granted, he believed he was invincible, which made him arrogant. He was so egotistical that he ordered his entire empire to worship him alone. Anyone who disobeyed his orders was punished and killed. His son Prahlad, on the other hand, disagreed with his father and refused to worship him as a deity. He continued to worship and believe in Lord Vishnu.
Hiranyakashipu was enraged, and he attempted to kill his son Prahlad several times, but Lord Vishnu always intervened and saved him. Finally, he sought assistance from his sister, Holika.
Holika had been given a blessing that made her fireproof, but she was burned to death because the boon only worked if she joined the fire alone.
Prahlad, who kept chanting Lord Narayana’s name, emerged unscathed, as the Lord rewarded him for his unwavering devotion. Lord Vishnu’s fourth Incarnation, Narasimha, destroyed Hiranyakashipu, the demon king.
As a result, Holi gets its name from Holika, and people still reenact the scene of ‘Holika’s burning to ashes’ every year to commemorate good triumphing over evil. According to legend, no one, no matter how strong, can harm a true devotee. Those who torment a true believer in God will be reduced to ashes.
Why is Holika Worshipped?
The Holika Dahan is an important part of the Holi festival. People lit a massive bonfire known as Holika Dahan the night before Holi to celebrate the burning of the Demoness Holika, Demon King Hiranyakashyap’s niece.
It is believed that performing Holika puja on Holi bestows strength, prosperity, and wealth in Hindu religion. Holika Puja on Holi will help you overcome all kinds of fears. Since it is believed that Holika was made to ward off all kinds of terror, she is worshipped alongside Prahlada before Holika Dahan, despite the fact that she is a Demon.
Significance and Legend of Holika Dahan.
The legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakashipu is at the heart of Holika Dahan celebrations. Hiranyakashipu was a demon king who saw Lord Vishnu as his mortal enemy because the latter had taken the Varaha avatar to destroy Hiranyaksha, his elder brother.
Hiranyakashipu then persuaded Lord Brahma to grant him the boon that he will not be killed by any Deva, human or animal, or by any creature that takes birth, at any time of day or night, by any hand-held weapon or projectile weapon, or within or outside. The demon king began to believe that he was God after Lord Brahma granted these boons, and demanded that his people only praise him. However, his own son, Prahlad, disobeyed the king’s orders because he was devoted to LordnVishnu. As a result, Hiranyakashipu devised a number of schemes to assassinate his son.
One of the most popular schemes was Hiranyakashipu’s request that his niece, the demon Holika, sit in a pyre with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had been blessed with the ability to escape injury in the event of a burn. When she sat with Prahlad in her lap, Prahlad continued to chant the name of Lord Vishnu, and Holika was consumed by the fire while Prahlad was rescued. Based on the evidences from some legends, Lord Brahma bestowed the blessing on Holika with the expectation that she would not use it for evil. This storey is retold in Holika Dahan.
How is Holika Dahan celebrated?
People light a bonfire on Holika Dahan, the night before Holi, to represent the pyre used to destroy Prahlad. Several cow dung toys are held on this fire, with cow dung figurines of Holika and Prahlad at the end. Then, as a recreation of Prahlad being rescued from the fire due to his devotion to Lord Vishnu, the figurine of Prahlad is easily removed from the fire. It commemorates the victory of good over evil and teaches people about the importance of sincere devotion.
People also throw samagri, which includes products with antibiotic properties or other cleaning properties that can help keep the environment safe, into the pyre.
Performing Rituals on Holi Dahan (Holi Bonfire)
Holika Deepak, or Chhoti Holi, is another name for Holika Dahan. On this day, after sunset, people light a bonfire, chant mantras, sing traditional folklore, and form a circle around the holy bonfire. They put the woods in a spot that is free of debris and is surrounded by straw.
They place roli, unbroken rice grains or akshat, flowers, raw cotton thread, turmeric bits, unbroken moong daal, batasha (sugar or gur candy), coconut, and gulal where the woods are stacked before lighting the fire. The mantra is chanted, and the bonfire is lit. Five times around the bonfire, people pray for their health and happiness. On this day, people perform a variety of other rituals in order to bring wealth into their homes.
Things to do on Holi Dahan:
Place a ghee diya in the northern direction/corner of your home and light it. It is thought that by doing so, the house would be blessed with peace and prosperity.
Turmeric mixed with sesame oil is also applied to the body. They wait a while before scraping it and tossing it into the Holika bonfire.
Dried coconut, mustard seeds, sesame seeds, 5 or 11 dried cow dung cakes, sugar, and whole wheat grains are also traditionally offered to the sacred fire.
During the Parikrama, people also give water to the Holika and pray for the family’s well-being.
Things to avoid on Holi Dahan:
This day is associated with a number of beliefs. Here are a few examples:
Avoid accepting water or food from strangers.
In the evening of Holika Dahan or when performing the puja, keep your hair tired.
On this day, do not lend money or any of your personal belongings to anyone.
When performing Holika Dahan Puja, avoid wearing yellow-colored clothing.
The Important of Holi Festival to the Farmers
This festival is very much important to the farmers because the time to harvest new crops as the weather transitions as come. Holi is known as the “spring harvest festival” in certain parts of the world. Farmers rejoice because they have already restocked their farms with new crops in preparation for Holi. As a result, this is their relaxation period, which they enjoy when surrounded by colours and desserts.
How to Prepare Holika pyre (How to prepare Holi Bonfire)
People who worshipped the bonfire began collecting wood and combustible materials for the bonfire some days before the festival began in notable areas like the parks, community centres, near temples, and other open spaces. An effigy of Holika, who lured Prahalad into the flames, stands atop the pyre. Color pigments, food, party drinks, and festive seasonal foods such as gujiya, mathri, malpuas, and other regional delicacies are stocked within homes.
The Battle of Umberkhind took place on February 3, 1661 in the Sahyadri mountain range near Pen, Maharashtra, India. The war was fought between the Maratha army led by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the Mughal Empire’s General Kartalab Khan. The Mughal armies were decisively defeated by the Marathas.
This was an outstanding example of guerrilla warfare. Shahista Khan dispatched Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan to assault Rajgad Fort on the orders of Aurangzeb. The men of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj came across them in the Umberkhind forest, which was located in the mountains.
Following Aurangzeb’s accession to the throne in 1659, he appointed Shaista Khan as viceroy of the Deccan and dispatched a huge Mughal army to implement the Mughal treaty with the Adilshahi of Bijapur.
This region, however, was fiercely contested by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a Maratha ruler who gained notoriety after killing an Adilshahi general, Afzal Khan, in 1659. Shaista Khan arrived in Aurangabad in January 1660 and advanced rapidly, capturing Pune, the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s kingdom.
After hard combat with the Marathas, he also took the forts of Chakan and Kalyan, as well as the north Konkan. The Marathas were forbidden from entering Pune. Shaista Khan’s campaign was entrusted to Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan. Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan were dispatched by Shaista Khan to capture Rajgad Fort. As a result, they set out with 20,000 troops for each of them.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj wanted Kartalab and Rai Bagan (Royal Tigress), the wife of Deshmukh of Mahur Sarkar of Berar Subah Raje Udaram, to join Umberkhind so that they would be easy prey for his guerilla tactics. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s men began blowing horns as the Mughals approached Umberkhind, a 15-mile passage.
The Mughal army as a whole was shocked. The Marathas then launched an arrow bombardment against the Mughal Army. Mughal soldiers like Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan tried to retaliate, but the forest was so thick and the Maratha Army was so quick that the Mughals couldn’t see the enemy.
Mughal soldiers were being killed by arrows and swords without even seeing the enemy or knowing where to aim. A significant number of Mughal soldiers perished as a result of this. Kartalab Khan was then told by Rai Bagan to surrender himself to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and beg for mercy. “You made a mistake by putting the whole army in the lion’s jaw,” she said. The lion is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. You should not have assaulted Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in this manner. You must now surrender yourself to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in order to save these dying soldiers.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, unlike the Mughals, grants amnesty to all who surrender.” The fight lasted about an hour and a half. Then, on the advice of Rai Bagan, Kartalab Khan dispatched soldiers bearing a white flag of truce. They yelled “truce, truce!” and were encircled by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s men within a minute. Kartalab Khan was then allowed to return on the condition of paying a large ransom and surrendering all of their weapons. If the Mughals returned, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj stationed Netaji Palkar in Umberkhind to keep an eye on them.
In the year 1660, the Maratha Empire and the Mughal Empire fought the Battle of Chakan. According to the Mughal-Adilshahi agreement, Aurangzeb ordered Shaista Khan to assault Shivaji. Shaista Khan captured Pune and the nearby fort of Chakan with his better equipped and provisioned army of 150,000 men, which was several times the size of the Maratha armies.
Firangoji Narsala was the killedar (commander) of Fort Chakan at the time, which had 300–350 Maratha soldiers defending it. For one and a half months, they were able to fight off the Mughal assault on the fort. The Mughal army numbered over 21,000 soldiers. Then explosives were used to blow up a burj (outer wall). This resulted in an opening in the fort, enabling hordes of Mughals to penetrate the outer walls. Firangoji led a Maratha counter-offensive against a larger Mughal force. The fort was finally lost when Firangoji was captured. He was then brought before Shaista Khan, who admired his courage and offered him a jahagir (military commission) if he joined the Mughal forces, which Firangoji refused. Shaista Khan pardoned Firangoji and set him free because she admired his loyalty. When Firangoji returned home, Shivaji presented him with the fort of Bhupalgad. Shaista Khan took advantage of the Mughal army’s larger, better-equipped, and heavily armed forces to make inroads into Maratha territory.
Despite keeping Pune for nearly a year, he had little success after that. In the city of Pune, he had set up residence at Lal Mahal, Shivaji’s palace.
In Pune, Shaista Khan maintained a high level of security. Shivaji, on the other hand, planned an assault on Shaista Khan in the midst of tight security. A wedding party had received special permission for a procession in April 1663, and Shivaji plotted an assault using the wedding party as cover.
The Marathas arrived in Pune dressed as the bridegroom’s procession. Shivaji had spent most of his childhood in Pune and was well-versed in the city as well as his own palace, Lal Mahal. One of Shivaji’s childhood friends, Chimanaji Deshpande, aided him in the attack by offering his services as a personal bodyguard.
The Marathas arrived in Pune in the guise of the bridegroom’s entourage. Shivaji had spent the majority of his childhood in Pune and was familiar with both the city and his own palace, Lal Mahal. Chimanaji Deshpande, one of Shivaji’s childhood friends, aided him in the attack by offering his services as a personal bodyguard.
According to Babasaheb Purandare, it was difficult to differentiate between Shivaji’s Maratha soldiers and the Mughal army’s Maratha soldiers because the Mughal army also had Maratha soldiers. As a result, Shivaji and a few of his trusted men penetrated the Mughal camp, taking advantage of the situation.
Shaista Khan was then directly confronted by Shivaji in a face-to-face assault. Meanwhile, one of Shaista’s wives, sensing risk, switched off the lights. As he fled through an open window, Shivaji chased Shaista Khan and severed three of his fingers with his sword (in the darkness). Shaista Khan narrowly avoided death, but his son, as well as many of his guards and soldiers, were killed in the raid. Shaista Khan left Pune and moved north to Agra within twenty-four hours of the assault. As a punishment for causing the Mughals humiliation with his ignoble defeat in Pune, an angry Aurangzeb exiled him to distant Bengal.
The Battle of Salher took place in February 1672CE between the Maratha Empire and the Mughal Empire. The fighting took place near the Salher fort in the Nashik district. The outcome was the Maratha Empire’s decisive victory. This war is important because it is the first time the Mughal Dynasty has been defeated by the Marathas.
According to the Treaty of Purandar (1665), Shivaji had to hand over 23 forts to the Mughals. The Mughal empire took control of strategically important forts such as Sinhagad, Purandar, Lohagad, Karnala, and Mahuli, which were fortified with garrisons. The Nashik area, which included the forts Salher and Mulher, had been firmly in the Mughal Empire’s hands since 1636 at the time of this treaty.
Shivaji’s visit to Agra was triggered by the signing of this treaty, and after his famous escape from the city in September 1666, two years of “uneasy truce” ensued. However, the destruction of the Viswanath and Benares temples, as well as Aurangzeb’s resurgent anti-Hindu policies, led Shivaji to declare war on the Mughals once more.
Shivaji’s power and territories expanded significantly between 1670 and 1672. Shivaji’s armies successfully raided Baglan, Khandesh, and Surat, retaking over a dozen forts in the process. This resulted in a decisive victory on an open field near Salher against a Mughal army of over 40,000 soldiers.
In January 1671, Sardar Moropant Pingle and his army of 15,000 captured the Mughal forts of Aundha, Patta, and Trimbak, and attacked Salher and Mulher. With 12,000 horsemen, Aurangzeb dispatched two of his generals, Ikhlas Khan and Bahlol Khan, to recover Salher. Salher was besieged by the Mughals in October 1671. Shivaji then ordered his two commanders, Sardar Moropant Pingle and Sardar Prataprao Gujar, to retake the fort. For more than 6 months, 50,000 Mughals had besieged the fort. Salher, as the main fort on key trade routes, was strategically important to Shivaji.
In the meantime, Dilerkhan had invaded Pune, and Shivaji was unable to save the city because his main armies were away. Shivaji devised a scheme to distract Dilerkhan’s attention by pressuring him to travel to Salher. To relieve the fort, he ordered Moropant, who was in the South Konkan, and Prataprao, who was raiding near Aurangabad, to meet and assault the Mughals at Salher. ‘Go to the north and assault Salher and defeat the enemy,’ Shivaji wrote in a letter to his commanders. Both Maratha forces met near Vani, bypassing the Mughal camp at Nashik on their way to Salher.
The Maratha army had a combined strength of 40,000 men (20,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalry). Since the terrain was unsuitable for cavalry battles, the Maratha commanders agreed to entice, break, and finish the Mughal armies in separate locations. Prataprao Gujar attacked the Mughals with 5,000 cavalry, killing many unprepared troops, as anticipated.
After half an hour, the Mughals were completely prepared, and Prataprao and his army began to escape. The Mughal cavalry, numbering 25,000 men, began pursuing the Marathas. Prataprao enticed mughal cavalry into a pass 25 kilometres from Salher, where Anandrao Makaji’s 15,000 cavalry was concealed. Prataprao turned around and assaulted the Mughals once more in the pass. Anandrao’s 15,000 fresh cavalry blocked the other end of the pass, encircling the Mughals on all sides.
In only 2-3 hours, the fresh Maratha cavalry routed the exhausted Mughal cavalry. Thousands of Mughals were forced to flee the war. With his 20,000 infantry, Moropant surrounded and attacked the 25,000 strong Mughal infantry at Salher.
Suryaji Kakde, a famous maratha sardar and Shivaji’s childhood friend, was killed in the battle by a Zamburak cannon.
The fighting lasted an entire day, and it is estimated that 10,000 men from both sides were killed. The light cavalry of the Marathas outmatched the Mughal military machines (which included cavalry, infantry, and artillery). The Marathas defeated the imperial Mughal armies and handed them a humiliating defeat.
The triumphant Maratha Army captured 6,000 horses, an equal number of camels, 125 elephants, and the entire Mughal train. Aside from that, the Marathas confiscated a significant amount of goods, treasures, gold, gems, clothing, and carpets.
The fight is defined in the Sabhasad Bakhar as follows: “As the battle began, a (cloud of) dust erupted to the point that it was difficult to say who was friend and who was foe for a three-kilometer square. Elephants were slaughtered. On both sides, ten thousand men were killed. There were too many horses, camels, and elephants (killed) to count.
A river of blood gushed out (in the battlefield). The blood transformed into a muddy pool, and people started to fall in it because the mud was so deep.”
The war ended in a decisive Maratha victory, resulting in Salher’s liberation. This war also resulted in the Mughals losing control of the nearby fort of Mulher. Ikhlas Khan and Bahlol Khan were arrested, and 22 wazirs of note were taken as prisoners. Approximately one or two thousand Mughal soldiers who were held captive escaped. Suryajirao Kakade, a famous Panchazari Sardar of the Maratha army, was killed in this battle and was renowned for his ferocity.
A dozen Maratha sardars were awarded for their outstanding performance in the battle, with two officers (Sardar Moropant Pingle and Sardar Prataprao Gujar) receiving special recognition.
Up until this battle, most of Shivaji’s victories had come through guerilla warfare, but the Maratha’s use of light cavalry against the Mughal forces on the Salher battlefield proved successful. The saint Ramdas wrote his famous letter to Shivaji, addressing him as Gajpati (Lord of Elephants), Haypati (Lord of Cavalry), Gadpati (Lord of Forts), and Jalpati (Lord of Forts) (Master of the High Seas). Shivaji Maharaj was proclaimed Emperor (or Chhatrapati ) of his realm a few years later in 1674, but not as a direct result of this war.