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Shri Rama and Maa Sita

This question has bothered more and more people in ‘recent’ times, women in particular because they feel abandoning a pregnant wife makes Shri Ram a bad husband, sure they do have a valid point and hence the article.
But passing such grave judgments against any human let alone God cannot be without the totality of the Karta (Doer), Karm (Act) and Neeyat (Intention).
The Karta here is Shri Ram, the Karm here is that he abandoned Mata Sita, Neeyat is the one we would explore below. To consider the totality before passing judgments is important because killing someone (Act) becomes valid when done by a soldier (Karta) because of his Neeyat (Intention) but if done by a terrorist (Karta) the same act becomes horrendous.

Shri Rama and Maa Sita
Shri Rama and Maa Sita

So, let us explore in totality how Shri Ram chose to lead his life:
• He was the first King and God in the whole world, whose first promise to his wife was that all through his life, he would never even gaze at another woman with ill intent. Now, this is not a small thing, while many beliefs allow men of polygamy even today. Shri Ram had set this trend thousands of years ago when it was common to have more than one wife, his own father Raja Dashrath had 4 wives and I hope people do give him the credit for understanding pain of women when they have to share their husband with another woman, also the respect and love that he showed towards his wife by making this promise
• The promise was the starting point of their beautiful ‘real’ relationship and built a mutual love and respect for each other, for a woman the assurance from her Husband, a Prince that he is hers for the rest of his life is a very big thing, this might be one of the reason why Mata Sita chose to go along with Shri Ram to Vanvas (Exile), for he had become the world for her, and the comforts of the kingdom were pale in comparison to the companionship of Shri Ram
• They lived affectionately in the Vanvas (Exile) and Shri Ram tried to provide all the comforts he could to Mata Sita, he genuinely wanted her to be happy. How else would you justify God himself running like an ordinary man behind a deer to please his wife? Even then, he had asked his younger brother Lakshman to take care of her; this shows that though he was acting in love he still had the presence of mind to make sure his wife would be safe. It was Mata Sita who got worried out of genuine concern and insisted Lakshman to search for his brother and ultimately crossed the Lakshman rekha (despite having been requested not to) to be abducted by Ravan
• Shri Ram got worried and cried for the first time in his life, the man who didn’t feel an iota of remorse for leaving his own Kingdom behind, only to keep the words of his father, who was the only one in the world to not only tie Shivji’s bow but break it, was on his knees pleading like a mere mortal, because he loved. Such anguish and pain can come only of genuine love and concern for the one you are worrying about
• He then got ready to take on the most powerful person in the world in his own backyard. Supported by vanar-sena, he defeated the mighty Ravan (who by many till date is considered to be the greatest Pandit of all time, he was so powerful that the Navgrahas were totally under his control) and gifted the Lanka which he had fairly won to Vibhishan saying,
जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी
(Janani Janma-bhoomi-scha Swargadapi Gariyasi) Mother and Motherland are superior to heaven; this shows he was not interested in being a King only of the land
• Now, it is important to note here that once Shri Ram frees Mata Sita, he not even once questioned her “Why did you cross the Lakshman Rekha?” because he understood how much pain Mata Sita had been through in Ashok Vatika and how much faith and patience she had shown in Shri Ram when Ravan used all sorts of tricks to scare her. Shri Ram didn’t want to burden Mata Sita with guilt, he wanted to comfort her because he loved her
• Once they got back, Shri Ram became the undisputed king of Ayodhya, probably the first democratic King, who was a clear choice of the people, to set up RamRajya
• Unfortunately, like some people questions Shri Ram today, some very similar people questioned the sanctity of Mata Sita in those days. This hurt Shri Ram very deeply, especially because he believed “Na Bhitosmi Maranaadapi kevalam dushito yashah”, I fear dishonor more than death
• Now, Shri Ram had two options 1) To be called a great man and keep Mata Sita with him, but he would not be able to stop people from questioning the sanctity of Mata Sita 2) To be called a bad husband and put Mata Sita through Agnee-Pariksha but make sure that no questions would ever be raised on the sanctity of Mata Sita in future
• He chose option 2 (as we know this is not easy to do, once a person is accused of something, whether he committed that sin or not, the stigma would never leave that person), but Shri Ram managed to wipe that off Mata Sita’s character, he made sure that no one ever in future would dare to question Mata Sita, for him the honor of his wife was more important than him being called a “good husband” the honor of his wife was more important than his own honor. As we find today, there would be hardly any sane individual who would question Mata Sita’s character
• Shri Ram suffered as much as Mata Sita after the separation if not more. It would have been very easy for him to marry someone else and lead a family life; instead he chose to keep his promise to not marry again. He chose to stay away from the love of his life and his children. The sacrifices of both are exemplary, the love and respect they showed for each other is unparalleled.

Credits:
This wonderful post is written by Mr.Vikram Singh

Kids dressed as Shiva on Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in reverence of the god Shiva. It is the day Shiva was married to the goddess Parvati. The Maha Shivaratri festival, also popularly known as ‘Shivaratri’ (spelt as Sivaratri, Shivaratri, Sivarathri, and Shivarathri) or ‘Great Night of Shiva’, marks the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in month of Magha is known as Maha Shivaratri according to South Indian calendar. However according to North Indian calendar Masik Shivaratri in month of Phalguna is known as Maha Shivaratri. In both calendars it is naming convention of lunar month which differs. However both, North Indians and South Indians, celebrate Maha Shivaratri on same day.  Of the twelve Shivaratris in the year, the Maha Shivarathri is the most holy.

shankar Mahadev | Maha Shiv Ratri
shankar Mahadev

The legends signify that this day is the favorite of Lord Shiva and also throws light on his greatness and the supremacy of Lord Shiva over all other Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Maha Shivaratri also celebrates the night when Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the cosmic dance.

In honour of Siva, one of the Hindu Trinity, representing the destructive aspect in the universe.Though generally, the night time is considered sacred and suitable for the worship of the feminine aspect of’ the deity and the day time for that of’ the masculine, yet on this particular occasion Siva is worshipped during the night time, and as a matter of fact, it is specially enjoined to be observed then. The observance of the Vratha is believed to secure for the devotee immunity from the eftects of sin committed either wittingly or unwittingly. The night is divided into four quarters, each quarter going by the name of a Jama called also Yama and pious people keep awake during every one of it , worshipping Iswara.

The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael leaves to Shiva, all-day fasting and an all-night-vigil (jagaran). All through the day, devotees chant “Om Namah Shivaya”, the sacred mantra of Shiva. Penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach life’s highest good steadily and swiftly. On this day, the planetary positions in the Northern hemisphere act as potent catalysts to help a person raise his or her spiritual energy more easily. The benefits of powerful ancient Sanskrit mantras such as Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra increase greatly on this night.

Stories:
There are many incidents told about the greatness of this day. Once a hunter in a jungle after searching throughout the jungle, was quite tired and could not get any animal. In the nightfall a tiger started chasing him. to escape from that he climbed a tree. That was a Bilva tree. The tiger sat under the tree waiting for him to come down. The hunter who sat on a branch of the tree was quite tense and didn’t want to sleep. He was plucking the leaves and putting down as he was not able to be idle. Below the tree there was a Shiva lingam. The whole night went on like this. God was pleased with the Upavasa (hunger) and the Pooja the hunter and the tiger did even without knowledge. He is the peak of the grace. He gave the hunter and the tiger “Moksha”. The drenching rain constituted a bath and his action of throwing the bael leaves on the Shiva Lingam, the worship of Shiva on the Shivaratri night. Though his actions were not intentional to worship Shiva, yet he is said to have gained heaven as he had observed the Shivaratri Vratha unwittingly.

              Also read : Most Badass Hindu Gods : Shiva

Once Parvati asked Lord Shiva which devotees and rituals pleased him the most. The Lord replied that the 14th night of the new moon, in the dark fortnight during the month of Phalgun, is his favorite day. Parvati repeated these words to Her friends, from whom the word spread to all creation.

Kids dressed as Shiva on Maha Shivratri
Kids dressed as Shiva on Maha Shivratri
Credits: theguardian.com

How is Maha Shivaratri celebrated

According to the Shiva Puran, six items are regarded precious to worship and offer Lord Shiva in Maha Shivaratri.
The six Items are Beal fruit, Vermilion Paste (Chandan), Food Items (Prasad), Incense, Lamp (Diyo), Betel Leaves.

1) Beal Leaf (Marmelos leaf) – offering of Beal Leaf represents purification of the soul.

2) Vermilion paste (Chandan) – Applying chandan on Shiva Linga after washing the Linga represents good feature. Chandan is inseparable part of Worshipping Lord Shiva.

3) Food items – Food items such as rice and fruits are offered to the Lord to ensure a long life and fulfillment of desires.

4) Incense (Dhoop batti) – Incense sticks are lit before Lord Shiva to be blessed with wealth and prosperity.

5) Lamp (Diyo) – The lighting of Cotton handmade batti , lamp or diyo is believed to be helpful to gain knowledge.

6) Betel leaves (Paan ko patta) – Beatle leaves or Pan ko pat represents satisfaction with maturity.

Also read: Why Shiva was always high on marijuana being a GOD?

Shiva Puran states, the beat of Damaru revealed the first seven letters of music. Those notes are source of language too. Shiva is inventor of notes of music Sa, Re, Ga, Ma Pa, Dha, Ni. He is worshiped as inventor of language on his birthday too.

The Shiva linga is washed with Pancha kavya (mixture of five products of cow) and Panchamatrit (mixture of five sweet things). Pancha kavya includes cow dung, cow urine, milk, Curd and Ghee. Panchamrit includes Cow milk, Yogurt, Honey, Sugar and Ghee.

In front of the Shiva Linga Kalash (Medium size vessel with small neck) filled with mixed water and milk is set. The neck of the Kalash is tied with white and red piece of cloth. Flower, mango leaves, peeple leaves, beal leaves are kept inside the kalash. Mantras are chanted to worship Lord Shiva.

Shiva idol | Maha Shivratri
Shiva idol

In Nepal, millions of Hindus attend Shivaratri together from different part of the world at the famous Pashupatinath Temple. Thousands of devotees also attend Mahasivaratri at the famous Shiva Shakti Peetham of Nepal.

The indian devotee visits many big and small shiva temples to do their offerings and pray. The 12 Jyotirlingas are the famous of them all.

In Trinidad and Tobago, thousands of Hindus spend the auspicious night in over 400 temples across the country, offering special jhalls to Lord Shiva.

Credits: Photo credits to the Original Photographer.

Mahaganpati, Ranjangaon - Ashtavinayaka

Here is the third Part of our series “Ashtavinayaka: The eight abodes of Lord Ganesha” Where we will discuss the final three Ganesha which are Girijatmak , Vighneshwar and Mahaganpati . So lets start…

6) Girijatmaj (गिरिजत्मज)

It is believed that Parvati (Shiva’s wife) performed penance to beget Ganesha at this point. Girija’s (Parvati’s) Atmaj (son) is Girijatmaj. This temple stands amidst a cave complex of 18 caves of Buddhist origin. This temple is the 8th cave. These are called Ganesh-leni as well. The temple is carved out of a single stone hill, which has 307 steps. The temple features a wide hall with no supporting pillars. The temple hall is 53feet long, 51feet wide and 7feet in height.

Girijatmaj Lenyadri  Ashtavinayaka
Girijatmaj Lenyadri Ashtavinayaka

The idol faces north with its trunk to the left, and has to be worshipped from the rear of the temple. The temple faces south. This idol seems to be little different from the rest of the Ashtavinayak idols in a sense that it appears to be not very well designed or carved like the other idols. This idol can be worshipped by anyone. There is no electric bulb in the temple. The temple is constructed such that during the day it is always lighted up by the sun-rays!

Girijatmaj Lenyadri  Ashtavinayaka
Girijatmaj Lenyadri Ashtavinayaka

7) Vighneshwar (विघ्नेश्वर):

The history encompassing this idol states that Vighnasur, a demon was created by the King of Gods, Indra to destroy the prayer organized by King Abhinandan. However, the demon went a step further and destroyed all vedic, religious acts and to answer the people’s prayers for protection, Ganesh defeated him. The story goes on to say that on being conquered, the demon begged and pleaded with Ganesha to show a mercy. Ganesha then granted in his plea, but on the condition that demon should not go to the place where Ganesha worshipping is going on. In return the demon asked a favour that his name should be taken before Ganesha’s name, thus the name of Ganesha became Vighnahar or Vighneshwar (Vighna in Sanskrit means a sudden interruption in the ongoing work due to some unforeseen, unwarranted event or cause). The Ganesha here is called Shri Vighneshwar Vinayak.

Vighneshwar, ozhar - Ashtavinayaka
Vighneshwar, ozhar – Ashtavinayaka

The temple faces east and is surrounded by a thick stone wall. One can walk on the wall. The main hall of the temple is 20feet long and the inner hall is 10feet long. This idol, facing the east, has its trunk towards the left and rubies in its eyes. There is a diamond on the forehead and some jewel in the navel. Idols of Riddhi and Siddhi are placed on the two sides of the Ganesha idol. The temple top is Golden and is possibly built by Chimaji Appa after defeating the Portuguese rulers of Vasai and Sashti. The temple is probably built around 1785AD.

Vighneshwar, ozhar - Ashtavinayaka
Vighneshwar, ozhar – Ashtavinayaka

8) Mahaganpati (महागणपति)
Shiva is believed to have worshipped Ganesha before fighting the demon Tripurasura here. The temple was built by Shiva where he worshipped Ganesha, and the town he set up was called Manipur which is now known as Ranjangaon.

The idol faces the east, is seated in a cross-legged position with a broad forehead, with its trunk pointing to the left. It is said that the original idol is hidden in the basement, having 10 trunks and 20 hands and is called Mahotkat, however, the temple authorities deny existence of any such idol.

Mahaganpati, Ranjangaon - Ashtavinayaka
Mahaganpati, Ranjangaon – Ashtavinayaka

Constructed so that the rays of the sun fall directly on the idol (during the Southward movement of the sun), the temple bears a distinct resemblance to the architecture reminiscent of the 9th and 10th Centuries and faces the east. Shrimant Madhavrao Peshwa used to visit this temple very often and built the stone sanctum around the idol and in 1790AD Mr. Anyaba Dev was authorised to worship the idol.

Ranjangaoncha Mahaganapati is considered to be one of the Ashta Vinayak shrines of Maharashtra, celebrating eight instances of legends related to Ganesha.

Legend has it that when a sage had once sneezed he gave out a child; since being with the sage the child learnt many good stuff about lord ganesha, however had inherited many evil thoughts within; when he grew he developed in to a demon by name Tripurasura; thereafter he prayed to Lord Shiva and got three powerful citadels (the evil Tripuram forts) of Gold, Silver and Bronze with a boon of invincibility until all the three are in linear; with the boon to his side he caused suffering to all beings in the heavens and on earth. Upon hearing the fervent appeals of the Gods, Shiva intervened, and realized that he could not defeat the demon. It was upon hearing Narada Muni’s advice that Shiva saluted Ganesha and then shot a single arrow that pierced through the citadels, bringing an end to the demon.

Shiva, the slayer of the Tripura citadels is enshrined at Bhimashankaram nearby.
A variation of this legend is commonly known in South India. Ganesha is said to have caused the axle in Shiva’s chariot to break, as the latter headed to battle the demon without saluting Ganesha before he set out. Upon realizing his act of omission, Shiva saluted his son Ganesha, and then proceeded victoriously to a short battle against the powerful demon.

Mahaganapati is portrayed, seated on a lotus, flanked by his consorts Siddhi and Ridhi. The temple dates back to the period of Peshwa Madhav Rao. The temple was erected during the rule of the Peshwas. Peshwa Madhavrao had constructed the Garbhagriha, the sanctum to house the swayambhoo statue.

The temple faces east. It has an imposing main gate which is guarded by two statues of Jay and Vijay. The temple is designed in such away that during Dakshinayan[ the apparent movement of the sun to the south] the rays of the sun fall directly on the deity.

The deity is seated and flanked on both sides by Riddhi and Siddhi. The trunk of the deity turns to the left. There is a local belief that the real statue of Mahaganpati is hidden in some vault and this statue has ten trunks and twenty arms. But there is nothing to substantiate this belief.

Credits: To the original photos and the photographers!

Nageshvara Jyotirlinga - 12 Jyotirlinga

This is the Fourth part of 12 jyotirlinga in which we will discuss about last four jyotirlinga which are
Nageshwara, Rameshwara, Trimbakeshwar, Grishneshwar. So lets start with the nineth jyotirling.

9) Nageshvara Jyotirlinga:

Nageshvara Jyotirlinga is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana. Nageshvara is believed to be the first Jyotirlinga on the earth.

Nageshvara Jyotirlinga - 12 Jyotirlinga
Nageshvara Jyotirlinga – 12 Jyotirlinga

The Shiva Purana says Nageshvara Jyotirlinga is in ‘the Darukavana’, which is an ancient name of a forest in India. ‘Darukavana’ finds mention in Indian epics, such as Kamyakavana, Dvaitavana, Dandakavana. There is a narrative in the Shiva Purana about the Nageshvara Jyotirlinga which tells of a demon named Daaruka, who attacked a Shiva devotee named Supriya and imprisoned him along with many others in his city of Darukavana, a city under the sea inhabited by seasnakes and demons. At the urgent exhortations of Supriya, all the prisoners started to chant the holy mantra of Shiva and immediately thereafter the Lord Shiva appeared and the demon was vanquished, later residing there in the form of a Jyotirlinga.
And this is how it happened: the demon had a wife, a demoness named Daaruki who worshipped Mata Parvati. As a result of the demoness Daaruki’s great penance and devotion, Mata Parvati gave her a great boon: the goddess enabled her to master the forest where she performed her devotions, and the forest she renamed ‘Darukavana’ in her honour. Wherever Daaruki went the forest would follow her. In order to save the demons of Darukavana from the punishment of the gods, Daaruka summoned up the power she had been given by the goddess Parvati. Devi Parvati had given her power enough to move the forest and so she moved the entire forest into the sea. From here they continued their campaign against the hermits, kidnapping people and keeping them confined in their new lair under the sea, which was how that great Shiva devotee, Supriya, had wound up there.

Nageshvara Jyotirlinga - 12 Jyotirlinga
Nageshvara Jyotirlinga – 12 Jyotirlinga

The arrival of Supriya caused a revolution. He set up a lingam and made all the prisoners recite the mantra Om Namaha Shivay in honour of Shiva while he prayed to the lingam. The demons’ response to the chanting was to attempt to kill Supriya, though they were thwarted by Shiva appearing there and handing him a divine weapon that saved his life. Daaruki and the demons were defeated, and the demons that Supriya didn’t kill were saved by Parvati. The lingam that Supriya had set up was called Nagesha; it is the tenth lingam. Shiva once again assumed the form of a Jyotirlinga with the name Nageshwar, while the Goddess Parvati was known as Nageshwari. The Lord Shiva announced there and then that he would show the correct path to those who would worship him.

10) Ramanathaswamy Temple:
Ramanathaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva located on Rameswaram island in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where the three of the most revered Nayanars (Saivite saints), Appar, Sundarar and Tirugnana Sambandar, have glorified the temple with their songs.

Rameswaram temple
Rameswaram temple

According to the Ramayana, Rama, the seventh incarnation of god Vishnu, is believed to have prayed to Shiva here to absolve sin of killing a brahmana, committed during his war against the demon king Ravana in Sri Lanka. Rama wanted to have the largest lingam to worship Shiva. He directed Hanuman, the monkey lieutenant in his army, to bring the lingam from Himalayas. Since it took longer to bring the lingam, Sita, the wife of Rama, built a small lingam out of the sand available in the sea shore, which is believed to be the lingam in the sanctum.

Rameshwaram temple corridor
Rameshwaram temple corridor

The primary deity of the temple is Ramanathaswamy (Shiva) in the form of lingam. There are two lingams inside the sanctum – one built by Goddess Sita, from sand, residing as the main deity, Ramalingam and the one brought by Lord Hanuman from Kailash called Vishwalingam. Rama instructed that Vishwalingam should be worshipped first since it was brought by Lord Hanuman – the tradition continue even today.

11) Trimbakeshwar Temple:

Trimbakeshwar (त्र्यंबकेश्वर) or Tryambakeshwar is an ancient Hindu temple in the town of Trimbak, in the Trimbakeshwar tehsil in the Nashik District of Maharashtra, India, 28 km from the city of Nashik. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.
It is located at the source of the Godavari River, the longest river in peninsular India. The Godavari River, which is considered sacred within Hinduism, originates from Bramhagiri mountains and meets the sea near Rajahmudry. Kusavarta, a kund is considered the symbolic origin of the river Godavari, and revered by Hindus as a sacred bathing place.

Trimbakeshwar Temple - 12 Jyotirlinga
Trimbakeshwar Temple – 12 Jyotirlinga

Trimbakeshwar is a religious center having one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The extraordinary feature of the Jyotirlinga located here is its three faces embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Rudra. Due to excessive use of water, the linga has started to erode. It is said that this erosion symbolizes the eroding nature of human society. The Lingas are covered by a jeweled crown which is placed over the Gold Mask of Tridev (Brahma Vishnu Mahesh). The crown is said to be from the age of Pandavs and consists of diamonds, emeralds, and many precious stones.

All other Jyotirlingas have Shiva as the main deity. The entire black stone temple is known for its appealing architecture and sculpture and is at the foothills of a mountain called Brahmagiri. Three sources of the Godavari originate from the Brahmagiri mountain.

12) Grishneshwar Temple:

Grishneshwar, Grushneshwar Jyotirlinga is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana. Grishneshwar is believed as the Last or 12th (twelfth) Jyotirlinga on the earth. This pilgrimage site is located at a village called Verul which lies at a distance of 11 km from Daulatabad (Devagiri) and 30 km from Aurangabad. It lies at a close proximity to the Ellora caves.

Grishneshwar Temple
Grishneshwar Temple

The temple stands as an illustration of the pre-historic temple traditions as well as of the pre-historic architectural style and structure. The inscriptions on the temples are a source of much attraction to ardent travellers. The temple, built of red rocks, is composed of a five tier shikara. Restored in the 18th century by Ahilyabai Holkar, the temple is 240 x 185 feet tall. It houses beautiful carvings and sculptures of many Indian Gods and Goddesses. Holy water is known to spring from inside the temple.

According to Shivapuran, in the southern direction, on a mountain named Devagiri lived a Brahmin called Brahmavetta Sudharm along with his wife Sudeha. The couple did not have a child because of which Sudeha was sad. Sudeha prayed and tried all possible remedies but in vain. Frustrated of being childless, Sudeha got her sister Ghushma married to her husband. On the advice of her sister, Ghushma used to make 101 lingas, worship them and discharge them in the nearby lake. With the blessings of Lord Shiva, Ghushma gave birth to a baby boy. Because of this, Ghushma became proud and Sudeha started feeling jealous towards her sister.

Out of jealously, one night she killed Ghushma’s son and threw him in the lake where Ghushma used to discharge the lingas. Next morning, Ghushmas and Sudharm got involved in daily prayers and ablutions. Sudeha too, got up and started performing her daily choirs. Ghushma’s daughter-in-law, however, saw stains of blood on her husband’s bed and parts of the body drenched in blood. Horrified, she narrated everything to mother-in-law Ghushma who was absorbed in worshipping Shiva. Ghushma did not deter. Even her husband Sudharma did not move an inch. Even when Ghushma saw the bed drenched in blood she did not break down and said he who has given me this child shall protect him and started reciting Shiva-Shiva. Later, when she went to discharge the Shivalingas after prayers she saw her son coming. Seeing her son Ghushma was neither happy nor sad.

At that time Lord Shiv appeared before her and said – I am pleased with your devotion. Your sister had killed your son. Ghushma told Lord to forgive Sudeh and emancipate her. Pleased with her generosity, Lord Shiva asked her another boon. Ghushma said that if he was really happy with her devotion then he should reside here eternally for the benefit of the multitudes in form of a Jyotirling and may you be known by my name. On her request, Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Jyotirling and assumed the name Ghushmeshwar and the lake was named as Shivalaya thereafter.

Read Previous Part: 12 Jyotirlinga of shiva: Part III

Credits: Photo credits to the original photograph and their owners

kedarnath temple - 12 Jyotirlinga

This is the Third part of 12 jyotirlinga in which we will discuss about next four jyotirlinga which are
Kedarnath, Bhimashankar, Kashi Vishwanath and Vaidhyanath . So lets start with the fifth jyotirling.

5) Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Mandir is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to the god Shiva. It is on the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in India. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritriya) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshiped there for six months. Lord Shiva is worshiped as Kedarnath, the ‘Lord of Kedar Khand’, the historical name of the region. The temple structure is believed to have been constructed in the 8th century AD, when Adi Shankara visited.

kedarnath temple - 12 Jyotirlinga
kedarnath temple – 12 Jyotirlinga

According to Hindu mythology, during the Mahabharatha war, the Pandavas killed their relatives; to absolve themselves of this sin, the Pandavas undertook a pilgrimage. But Lord Vishweshwara was away in Kailasa in the Himalayas. On learning this, the Pandavas left Kashi. They reached the Himalayas via Haridwar. They saw Lord Shankara from a distance. But Lord Shankara hid from them. Then Dharmaraj said: “Oh, Lord, You have hidden yourself from our sight because we have sinned. But, we will seek You out somehow. Only after we take your Darshan would our sins be washed away. This place, where You have hidden Yourself will be known as Guptakashi and become a famous shrine.”
From Guptakashi (Rudraprayag), the Pandavas went ahead till they reached Gaurikund in the Himalayas valleys. They wandered there in search of Lord Shankara. While doing so Nakul and Sahadev found a buffalo which was unique to look at.

Then Bheema went after the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo was clever and Bheema could not catch him. But Bheema managed to hit the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo had its face hidden in a crevice-in the earth. Bheema started to pull it by its tail. In this tug-of war, the face of the buffalo went straight to Nepal, leaving its hind part in Kedar. The face is Doleshwar Mahadev in Sipadol, Bhaktapur, Nepal.

On this hind part of Mahesha, a JyotirLinga appeared and Lord Shankara appeared from this light. By getting a Darshan of Lord Shankar, the pandavas were absolved of their sins. The Lord told the Pandavas, “From now on, I will remain here as a triangular shaped JyotirLinga. By taking a Darshan of Kedarnath, devotees would attain piety”. A triangular shaped rock is worshiped in Garbhagriha of the temple. Surrounding Kedarnath, there are many symbols of the Pandavas. Raja Pandu died at Pandukeshwar. The tribals here perform a dance called “Pandav Nritya”. The mountain top where the Pandavas went to Swarga, is known as “Swargarohini”, which is located off Badrinath. When Darmaraja was leaving for Swarga, one of his fingers fell on the earth. At that place, Dharmaraj installed a Shiva Linga, which is the size of the thumb. To gain Mashisharupa, Shankara and Bheema fought with maces. Bheema was struck with remorse. He started to massage Lord Shankara’s body with ghee. In memory of this event, even today, this triangular Shiva JyotirLinga is massaged with ghee. Water and Bel leaves are used for worship.

kedarnath temple - 12 Jyotirlinga
kedarnath temple – 12 Jyotirlinga

When Nara-Narayan went to Badrika village and started the worship of Parthiva, Shiva appeared before them. Nara-Narayan wished that, for the welfare of the humanity, Shiva should remain there in his original form. Granting their wish, in the snow-clad Himalayas, in a place called Kedar, Mahesha himself stayed there as a Jyoti. Here, He is known as Kedareshwara.

An unusual feature of the temple is the head of a man carved in the triangular stone fascia. Such a head is seen carved in another temple nearby constructed on the site where the marriage of Shiva and Parvati was held. Adi Shankara was believed to have revived this temple, along with Badrinath and other temples of Uttarakhand; he is believed to have attained mahasamadhi at Kedaranath.

 

 

6) Bhimashankar Temple:
Bhimashankar Temple is a Jyotirlinga shrine located 50 km northwest of Khed, near Pune, in India. It is located 127 km from Shivaji Nagar (Pune) in the Ghat region of the Sahyadri hills. Bhimashankar is also the source of the river Bhima, which flows southeast and merges with the Krishna river near Raichur.

Bhimashankar Temple - 12 Jyotirlinga
Bhimashankar Temple – 12 Jyotirlinga

The Bhimashankara temple is a composite of old and the new structures in the Nagara style of architecture. It shows the excellency of the skills achieved by ancient Vishwakarma sculptors. It is a modest yet graceful temple and it dates back to 13th century and the sabhamandap developed in the 18th century by Nana Phadnavis. The shikhara was built by Nana Phadnavis. The great Maratha ruler Shivaji is said to have made endowments to this temple to facilitate worship services. As with other Shiva temples in this area, the sanctum is at a lower level.

It is believed that the ancient shrine was erected over a Swayambhu Lingam (that is the self emanated Shiva Lingam). It can be seen in the temple that the Lingam is exactly at the centre of the floor of the Garbagriham (the Sanctum Sanctorum). Intricate carvings of divinities interspersed with human figurines adorn the pillars and the doorframes of the temple. Scenes from mythology find itself captured in these magnificent carvings.

This temple is closely associated with the legend of Shiva slaying the demon Tripurasura associated with the invincible flying citadels Tripuras. Shiva is said to have taken abode in the ‘Bhima Shankara’ form, upon the request of the Gods, on the crest of the Sahyadri hills, and the sweat that poured forth from his body after the battle is said to have formed the Bhimarathi river.

7) Kashi Vishwanath Temple:

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, the holiest existing place of Hindus. The temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganges, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples. The main deity is known by the name Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara meaning Ruler of the universe. The temple town, which claims to be the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history, is also called Kashi and hence the temple is popularly called Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

The temple has been referred to in Hindu scriptures for a very long time and as a central part of worship in the Shaiva philosophy. It has been destroyed and re-constructed a number of times in the history. The last structure was demolished by Aurganzeb, who constructed the Gyanvapi Mosque on its site.

The Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to a devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodiment of India’s timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values.

Kashi Vishwanath - 12 Jyotirlinga
Kashi Vishwanath – 12 Jyotirlinga

The temple complex consists of a series of smaller shrines, located in a small lane called the Vishwanatha Galli, near the river. The linga of the main deity at the shrine is 60 cm tall and 90 cm in circumference housed in a silver altar. The main temple is quadrangle and is surrounded by shrines of other gods. There are small temples for Kaalbhairav, Dhandapani, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu, Vinayaka, Sanishwara, Virupaksha and Virupaksh Gauri in the complex. There is a small well in the temple called the Jnana Vapi also spelled as Gyaan vapi (the wisdom well). The Jnana Vapi well sites to the north of the main temple and it is believed that the Jytorlinga was hidden in the well to protect it at the time of invasion. It is said that the main priest of the temple jumped in the well with the Shiv Ling in order to protect the Jyotirlinga from invaders.

A Shiva temple has been mentioned in the Puranas including the Kashi Khanda (section) of Skanda Purana. The original Vishwanath temple was destroyed by the army of Qutb-ud-din Aibak in 1194 CE, when he defeated the Raja of Kannauj as a commander of Mohammad Ghori. The temple was rebuilt by a Gujarati merchant during the reign of Shamsuddin Iltumish (1211-1266 CE). It was demolished again during the rule of either Hussain Shah Sharqi (1447-1458) or Sikandar Lodhi (1489-1517). Raja Man Singh built the temple during Akbar’s rule, but orthodox Hindus boycotted it as he had let the Mughal emperors marry within his family. Raja Todar Mal further re-built the temple with Akbar’s funding at its original site in 1585.

Kashi Vishwanath temple replaced by a mosque
Kashi Vishwanath temple replaced by a mosque

In 1669 CE, Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple and built the Gyanvapi Mosque in its place. The remains of the erstwhile temple can be seen in the foundation, the columns and at the rear part of the mosque.The Maratha ruler Malhar Rao Holkar wanted to destroy the Gyanvapi mosque and re-construct the temple at the site.However, he never actually did that. His daughter-in-law Ahilyabai Holkar later constructed the present current temple structure near the mosque.

8)Vaidhyanath Jyotirlinga temple:

Vaidhyanath Jyotirlinga temple, also known as Baba dham and Baidyanath dham is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the most sacred abodes of Shiva. It is located in Deoghar in the Santhal Parganas division of the state of Jharkhand, India. It is a temple complex consisting of the main temple of Baba Baidyanath, where the Jyotirlinga is installed, and 21 other temples.

Vaidhyanath Jyotirlinga temple
Vaidhyanath Jyotirlinga temple

According to Hindu beliefs, the demon king Ravana worshipped Shiva at the current site of the temple to get the boons that he later used to wreak havoc in the world. Ravana offered his ten heads one after the another to Shiva as a sacrifice. Pleased with this, Shiva descended to cure Ravana who was injured. As he acted as a doctor, he is referred to as Vaidhya (“doctor”). From this aspect of Shiva, the temple derives its name.

According to the stories narrated in the Shiva Purana, it was in the Treta yuga that the demon Ravana, king of Lanka, felt that his capital would not be perfect and free from enemies unless Mahadeva (Shiva) stays there forever. He paid continuous meditation to Mahadeva. Ultimately Shiva got pleased and permitted him to carry his lingam with him to Lanka. Mahadeva advised him not to place or transfer this lingam to anyone. There should not be a break in his journey to Lanka. If he deposits the lingam anywhere on the earth, in the course of his journey, it would remain fixed at that place forever. Ravana was happy as he was taking his return journey to Lanka.

The other gods objected to this plan; if Shiva went to Lanka with Ravana, then Ravana would become invincible and his evil and anti-vedic deeds would threaten the world.
On his way back from Mount Kailash, it was time for Ravana to perform sandya-vandana and he could not carry out sandya-vandha with Shiva linga in his hand and therefore searched for someone who could hold it for him. Ganesh then appeared as a shepherd who was rearing sheep nearby. Ravana requested Ganesh pretending as shepherd to hold the linga while he completes sandya-vandana and also guided him not to place the linga on ground at any movement. Ganesh warned Ravana about leaving the linga on the bank of the river and walking away if he doesn’t return soon. Ganesh, pretending to be vexed by Ravena’s delay, set the linga down on earth. The moment linga was kept down, it got fixed to the ground. When Ravana after returning from sandya-vandana tried to move the linga, but he could not. Ravan failed miserably in his attempt to uproot the linga. The Gods were happy with Shiva linga not reaching Ravana’s place.

Read Next Part: 12 Jyotirlinga of shiva: Part IV

Read Previous Part: 12 Jyotirlinga of shiva: Part II

Credits: Photo credits to the original photograph and their owners

Somnath Temple - 12 Jyotirlinga

This is the second part of 12 jyotirlinga in which we will discuss about first four jyotirlinga which are
Somnatha, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleshwara and Omkareshwara. So lets start with the first jyotirling.

1) The Somnath Temple:

The Somnath Temple, located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra on the western coast of Gujarat, India, is the first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of the god Shiva. The temple is considered sacred due to the various legends connected to it. Somnath means “Lord of the Soma”, an epithet of Shiva.

Somnath Temple - 12 Jyotirlinga
Somnath Temple – 12 Jyotirlinga

The Skanda Purana describes the Sparsa Linga of Somnath as one bright as the sun, the size of an egg, lodged underground. The Mahabharata also refers to the Prabhasa Kshetra and the legend of the moon worshipping Shiva.

The Somnath Temple is known as “the Shrine Eternal”, having been destroyed SIXTEEN TIMES by Muslim invaders. Apart from the countless riches (gold, gems etc..) it was widely believed to have had a floating Shiva linga (also believed to be the Philosopher’s Stone), which was also destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni during his raids.
The first temple of Somnath is said to have existed before the beginning of the Christian era. The second temple, built by the Maitraka kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat, replaced the first one on the same site around 649. In 725 Junayad, the Arab governor of Sind, sent his armies to destroy the second temple. The Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple in 815, a large structure of red sandstone. In 1024, Mahmud Ghazni raided the temple from across the Thar Desert. During his campaign, Mahmud was challenged by Ghogha Rana, who at the ripe age of 90, sacrificed his own clan fighting against this iconoclast.

Destruction of Somnath Temple
Destruction of Somnath Temple

The temple and citadel were ransacked, and more than 50,000 defenders were massacred; Mahmud personally hammered the temple’s gilded lingam to pieces and the stone fragments were carted back to Ghazni, where they were incorporated into the steps of the city’s new Jamiah Masjid (Friday mosque). The fourth temple was built by the Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa and the Solanki king Bhima of Gujarat (Anhilwara) or Patan between 1026 and 1042. The wooden structure was replaced by Kumarpal who built the temple of stone.The temple was razed in 1297 when the Sultanate of Delhi conquered Gujarat, and again in 1394. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple again in 1706. The current is the 7th one that was built by the Efforts of Sardar Patel.

Somnath Temple - 12 Jyotirlinga
Somnath Temple – 12 Jyotirlinga

2) Mallikaarjuna Temple:
Sri Mallikarjuna second of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Siva situated at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh state, India. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams.

Mallikaarjuna -12 Jyotirlinga
Mallikaarjuna -12 Jyotirlinga

When Kumar Kartikeya returned to Kailash after completing his trip around the earth, he heard about Ganesha’s marriage from Narada. This angered him. In spite of being restrained by his parents, he touched their feet in obeisance and left for Krounch Mountain. Parvati was very distraught at having to be away from her son, implored Lord Shiva to look for their son. Together, they went to Kumara. But, Kumara went away a further three Yojanas, after learning about his parents coming after him to Krouncha Mountain. Before embarking on a further search for their son on each mountain, they decided to leave a light on every mountain they visited. From that day, that place came to be known as JyotirLinga Mallikarjuna. It is believed that Shiva and Parvati visit this palce on Amavasya (No moon day) and (full Moon day) Pournami, respectively.

Mallikaarjuna -12 Jyotirlinga
Mallikaarjuna -12 Jyotirlinga

Once, a princess named Chandravati decided to go to the Jungles to do penance and meditation. She chose Kadali Vana for this purpose. One day, she witnessed a miracle. A Kapila cow was standing under a Bilwa tree and milk was flowing from all of its four udders, sinking into the ground. The cow kept doing this as a routine chore everyday. Chandravati dug up that area and was dumb founded at what she saw. There was a self-raising Swyambhu SivaLinga. It was bright and shining like the sun rays, and looked like it was burning, throwing flames in all directions. Chandravati prayed to Siva in this JyotirLinga. She built a huge Shiva Temple there. Lord Shankara was very pleased with her. Chandravati went to Kailash wind borne. She received salvation and Mukti. On one of the stone-inscriptions of the temple, Chandravati’s story can be seen carved out.

3) Mahakaleshwar Temple :

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga (महाकालेश्वर ज्योतिर्लिंग) is third of the twelve Jyotirlingams, which are supposed to be the most sacred abodes of Shiva. It is located in the ancient city of Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. The temple is situated on the side of the Rudra Sagar lake. The presiding deity, Shiva in the lingam form is believed to be Swayambhu, deriving currents of power (Shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams that are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti.

Mahakaleshwar Temple - 12 jyotirling
Mahakaleshwar Temple – 12 jyotirling

The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be dakshinamurti, which means that it is facing the south. This is a unique feature, upheld by the tantric shivnetra tradition to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 Jyotirlingas. The idol of Omkareshwar Mahadev is consecrated in the sanctum above the Mahakal shrine. The images of Ganesh, Parvati and Karttikeya are installed in the west, north and east of the sanctum sanctorum. To the south is the image of Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva. The idol of Nagchandreshwar on the third storey is open for darshan only on the day of Nag Panchami. The temple has five levels, one of which is underground. The temple itself is located in a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls near a lake. The shikhar or the spire is adorned with sculptural finery. Brass lamps light the way to the underground sanctum. It is believed that prasada (holy offering) offered here to the deity can be re-offered unlike all other shrines.

The presiding deity of time, Shiva, in all his splendor, reigns eternally in the city of Ujjain. The temple of Mahakaleshwar, its shikhar soaring into the sky, an imposing facade against the skyline, evokes primordial awe and reverence with its majesty. The Mahakal dominates the life of the city and its people, even in the midst of the busy routine of modern preoccupations, and provides an unbreakable link with ancient Hindu traditions. On the day of Maha Shivaratri, a huge fair is held near the temple, and worship goes on through the night.

Mahakaleshwar Temple - 12 jyotirling
Mahakaleshwar Temple – 12 jyotirling

The shrine is revered as one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peetham. i.e it is believed to have enshrined with the presence of Shakti due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi, when Lord Shiva carried it. Each of the 51 Shakti peethas have shrines for Shakti and Kalabhairava. The Upper Lip of Sati Devi is said to have fallen here and the Shkati is called as Mahakali.

4) Omkareshwar Temple:

Omkareshwar (ओंकारेश्वर) is  one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is on an island called Mandhata or Shivapuri in the Narmada river; the shape of the island is said to be like the Hindu ॐ symbol. There are two temples here, one to Omkareshwar (whose name means “Lord of Omkaara or the Lord of the Om Sound”) and one to Amareshwar (whose name means “Immortal lord” or “lord of the Immortals or Devas”). But as per the sloka on dwadash jyotirligam, Mamleshwar is the jyotirling, which is on other side of Narmada river.

Omkareshwar - 12 Jyotirling
Omkareshwar – 12 Jyotirling

Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga also has its own history and stories.Three of them are prominent. The first story is about Vindhya Parvat (Mount). Once upon a time Narada (son of Lord Brahma), known for his non-stop cosmic travel, visited Vindhya parvat. In his spicy way Narad told Vindhya Parvat about the greatness of Mount Meru. This made Vindhya jealous of Meru and he decided to be bigger than Meru. Vindhya started worship of Lord Shiva to become greater than Meru. Vindhya Parvat practiced severe penance and worshipped parthivlinga (A linga made from physical material) along with Lord Omkareshwar for nearly six months. As a result Lord Shiva was pleased and blessed him with his desired boon. On a request of all the gods and the sages Lord Shiva made two parts of the lingas. One half is called Omkareshwara and the other Mamaleshwar or Amareshwar. Lord Shiva gave the boon of growing, but took a promise that Vindhya will never be a problem to Shiva’s devotees. Vindhya began to grow, but did not keep his promise. It even obstructed the sun and the moon. All deities approached sage Agastya for help. Agastya along with his wife came to Vindhya, and convinced him that he would not grow until the sage and his wife returned. They never returned and Vindhya is there as it was when they left. The sage and his wife stayed in Srisailam which is regarded as Dakshina Kashi and one of the Dwadash Jyotirlinga.

The second story relates to Mandhata and his son’s penance. King Mandhata of Ishvaku clan (an ancestor of Lord Ram) worshipped Lord Shiva here till the Lord manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga. Some scholars also narrate the story about Mandhata’s sons-Ambarish and Mucchkund, who had practiced severe penance and austerities here and pleased Lord Shiva. Because of this the mountain is named Mandhata.

Omkareshwar - 12 Jyotirling
Omkareshwar – 12 Jyotirling

The third story from Hindu scriptures says that once upon a time there was a great war between Devas and Danavas(demon), in which Danavas won. This was a major setback for Devas and hence Devas prayed to Lord Shiva. Pleased with their prayer, Lord Shiva emerged in the form of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga and defeated Danavas.

Read Next Part: 12 Jyotirlinga of shiva: Part III

Read Previous Part: 12 Jyotirlinga of shiva: Part I

Credits:
Photo credits to original photographers.
www.shaivam.org

A Jyotirlinga or Jyotirling or Jyotirlingam (ज्योतिर्लिङ्ग) is a devotional object representing the god Shiva. Jyoti means ‘radiance’ and lingam the ‘mark or sign’ of Shiva, or a symbol of the pineal gland; Jyotir Lingam thus means the The Radiant sign of The Almighty. There are twelve traditional Jyotirlinga shrines in India.
shankar Idol in Uttarakhand
Worship of shivalinga is considered the prime worship for the devotees of Lord shiva. Worship of all other forms is considered secondary. The significance of the shivalinga is that It is the resplendent light (flame) form of the Supreme – solidified to make the worship of It easier. It represents the real nature of God – formless essentially and taking various forms as It wills.

It is believed that Lord Shiva first manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga on the night of the Aridra Nakshatra, thus the special reverence for the Jyotirlinga. There is nothing to distinguish the appearance, but it is believed that a person can see these lingas as columns of fire piercing through the earth after he reaches a higher level of spiritual attainment.
Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity, each considered a different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.

Shivling
Shivling

Dwadasa Jyotirlinga Stotra by Adi Shankaracharya:

“सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम् ।
उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोकांरममलेश्वरम् ।
परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमशंकरम् ।
सेतुबंधे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारूकावने ।
वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्रयंम्बकं गौतमीतटे ।
हिमालये तु केदारं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये ।
ऐतानि ज्योतिर्लिंगानि सायं प्रातः पठेन्नरः ।
सप्तजन्मकृतं पापं स्मरणेन विनश्यति ।”

‘Saurashtre Somanaatham Cha Sree Saile Mallikarjunam
Ujjayinyaam Mahaakaalam Omkaare Mamaleswaram
Himalaye to Kedaram Daakinyaam Bhimashankaram
Vaaranaasyaam cha Viswesam Trayambakam Gowtameethate
Paralyaam Vaidyanaatham cha Naagesam Daarukaavane
Setubandhe Ramesham Grushnesam cha Shivaalaye ||’

The twelve Jyotirlingam are:

1. Somanatheshwara: Somanaatheshwara in Somnath is the foremost of the twelve Jyotirlinga Shrines of Shiva, held in reverence throughout India and is rich in legend, traditions and history. It is located at Prabhas Patan in Saurashtra in Gujarat.

2. Mahakaleshwara: Ujjain – Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga shrine The ancient and historic city of Ujjain or Avanti in Madhya Pradesh is home to the Jyotirlinga shrine of Mahakaleshwar.

3. Omkareshwara: a.k.a Mahamalleshwara – Omkareshwar, an island in the course of the river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh is home to the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga shrine and the Amareshwar temple.

4. Mallikarjuna: Sree Sailam – Sree Sailam near Kurnool enshrines Mallikarjuna in an ancient temple rich in architectural and sculptural wealth. Aadi Sankaracharya composed his Sivanandalahiri here.

5. Kedareshwara: Kedaareshwara of Kedarnath is the Northernmost of the Jyotirlingas. Kedarnath, nestled in the snow clad Himalayas is an ancient shrine rich in legend and tradition. It is accessible only on foot, six months in a year.

6. Bhimashankara: Bhimashankar – Jyotirlinga Shrine is associated with the legend of Shiva destroying the demon Tripurasura. Bhimashankar is located in the Sahyadri hills of Maharashtra, accessed from Pune.

7. Kashi Vishwanatheshwara: Kaashi Vishwanaatheshwara Varanasi – The most celebrated pilgrimage site in India The Vishwanath temple in Benares in Uttar Pradesh is the goal of the thousands of pilgrims that visit this ancient city. The Vishwanath shrine is revered as one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva.

8. Triambakeshwara: Tryambakeshwar – The origin of the river Godavari is intimately linked with this Jyotirlinga shrine near Nasik in Maharashtra.

9. Vaidyanatheshwara: – Vaidyanath temple at Deogarh The ancient pilgrimage town of Deogarh in the Santal Parganas area of Bihar is revered as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva.

10. Naganatheshwara: – Nageshwar near Dwarka in Gujarat is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva.

11. Grishneshwara: – Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Shrine is a temple located in the vicinity of the tourist town of Ellora, which has several rock cut monuments from the 1st millennium CE.

12. Rameshwara: – Rameswaram: This vast temple in the island of Rameswaram, in Southern Tamilnadu enshrines Ramalingeswarar, and is revered as the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of India.

Also read 12 Jyotirlinga of shiva: Part II

Kalki avatar

In Hinduism, Kalki (कल्कि) is the final incarnation of Vishnu in the current Mahayuga, foretold to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the current epoch. Religious texts called the Puranas foretell that Kalki will be atop a white horse with a drawn blazing sword. He is the harbinger of the end time in Hindu eschatology, after which he will usher in Satya Yuga.

The name Kalki is a metaphor for eternity or time. Its origins may lie in the Sanskrit word kalka which means foulness or filth. Hence, the name translates to the ‘destroyer of foulness,’ ‘destroyer of darkness,” or ‘destroyer of ignorance.’ Another etymology from Sanskrit is ‘white horse.’

Kalki avatar
Kalki avatar

In Buddhist Kalachakra tradition, 25 rulers of the Shambhala Kingdom held the title of Kalki, Kulika or Kalki-king. During Vaishakha, the first fortnight in Shukla Paksha is dedicated to fifteen deities, with each day for a different god. In this tradition, the twelfth day is Vaishakha Dwadashi and is dedicated to Madhava, another name for Kalki.
It is said that Lord Kalki will remove the darkness of kali yuga and establish a new yuga (age) called Satya yuga (Age of Truth) on the earth. Satya yuga is also known as Krita yuga. Similarly, as per the characteristics of the next cycle of four yugas, the next satya yuga will be known as Panchorath Yuga.

The earliest reference to the Kalki Avatar is found in the India’s great epic, the Mahabharat. Rishi Markandeya tells Yudhishtir, the seniormost Pandava, that Kalki will be born to Brahmin parents. He would excel in academics, sports and warfare, and thus become a very intelligent and powerful young man.

There is a description of his background in other sources of scripture. The Kalachakra tantra, first taught by Buddha to Dharmaraja Suchandra of Shambhala, also describes his background:

Lord Kalki will appear in the home of the most eminent brahmana of Shambhala village, the great souls Vishnuyasha and his wife, the pure of thought Sumati.
—Srimad-Bhagavatam Bhag.12.2.18

Vishnuyasha refers to the father of Kalki as a devotee of Vishnu while Sumati refers to His mother in Shambhala, or the temple of Shiva.

The Agni Purana predicts that at the time of his birth, evil kings will feed on the pious. Kalki will be born son of Vishnuyasha in the mythic Shambhala. He will have Yajnavalkya as his spiritual guru.

Parashurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu is a Chiranjivi (immortal) and in scripture is believed to be alive, waiting for the return of Kalki. He will be a martial guru to the avatar, instructing him in the performance of a severe penance in order to receive celestial weaponry.

Kalki will establish moral law in the form of the fourfold varnas, and organize society into four classes, after which there will be a return to the path of righteousness.[6] The purana also relates that Hari, will then give up the form of Kalki, return to heaven and the Krita or Satya Yuga will return as before.[7]

The Vishnu Purana also explains:
When the practices taught in the Vedas and institutes of law have nearly ceased, and the close of the Kali age shall be nigh, a portion of that divine being who exists of His own spiritual nature, and who is the beginning and end, and who comprehends all things, shall descend upon earth. He will be born in the family of Vishnuyasha, an eminent brahmana of Shambhala village, as Kalki, endowed with eight superhuman faculties, when the eight suns (represented by 8 solar deities or Vasu who lord over Dhanishta Nakshatra) will together shine over the sky. By His irresistible might he will destroy all the mlecchas (Barbarians) and thieves, and all whose minds are devoted to iniquity. He will reestablish righteousness upon earth, and the minds of those who live at the end of the Kali age shall be awakened, and shall be as clear as crystal. The men who are thus changed by virtue of that peculiar time shall be as the seeds of human beings, and shall give birth to a race who will follow the laws of the Krita age or Satya Yuga, the age of purity. As it is said, ‘When the sun and moon, and the lunar asterism Tishya, and the planet Jupiter, are in one mansion, the Krita age shall return.
—Vishnu Purana, Book Four, Chapter 24

Kalki avatar
Kalki avatar

The Padma Purana describes that Kalki will end the age of Kali and kill all mlecchas. He will gather all brahmanas and propound the highest truth, bringing back the ways of dharma that have been lost, and removing the prolonged hunger of the Brahmin. Kalki will defy oppression and be a banner of victory for the world.[8]

The Bhagavata Purana states
At the end of Kali Yuga, when there exist no topics on the subject of God, even at the residences of so-called saints and respectable gentlemen, and when the power of government is transferred to the hands of ministers elected from the evil men, and when nothing is known of the techniques of sacrifice, even by word, at that time the Lord will appear as the supreme chastiser.
—Bhagavata Purana, 2.7.38

It goes on to foretell his arrival:
The ascetic prince, Lord Kalki, the Lord of the Universe, will mount His swift white horse Devadatta and, sword in hand, travel over the earth exhibiting His eight mystic opulences and eight special qualities of Godhead. Displaying His unequaled effulgence and riding with great speed, He will kill by the millions those thieves who have dared dress as kings.
—Bhagavata Purana, 12.2.19-20

The Kalki Purana combines elements of earlier scriptures to describe Kalki. He will have the power to change the course of the stream of time and restore the path of the righteous. The evil demon Kali will spring from the back of Brahma and descend to earth and cause dharma to be forgotten and society to decay. When man stops offering yagna, Vishnu will then descend a final time to save the steadfast. He will be reborn as Kalki to a Brahmin family in the city of Shambhala.

Followers of Tibetan Buddhism have preserved the Kalachakra Tantra in which “Kalkin” is a title of 25 rulers in the mystical realm of Shambhala. This tantra mirrors a number of prophecies of the Puranas.

His arrival is stipulated at a time when the earth is engulfed in crisis because of a tyrannical and powerful ruler. Kalki Bhagwan is said to be mounted on a strikingly beautiful White Horse, and is most often picturised in the foreground of a dark sky. This symbolises his coming at a time when darkness (evil) is the order of the day, and he is the saviour to rid the world of its sufferings. This is similar to the Parashuram avatar, where Lord Vishnu killed the atrocious Kshatriya rulers.

The Kalki Avatar is the most eagerly awaited one, more so because it will signify the cleansing of the world from all its sorrows that have been accumulated for many millennia. He is to arrive at the end of Kalyug, the dark age, and will mark the beginning of the Sat Yug. According to calculations, there are still many years left for that to happen (The Kalyug extends for a period of 432000 years, and it has just started – 5000 years ago). When we have such advanced military technology today, it will be interesting to see (though we may not, unless we do not manage to attain salvation by then, and are still caught in the rebirth cycle) what kind of weapons Kalki Avatar utilises.

It is also said that Kalki avtar will come, when all the three rivers Saraswati, Yamuna and Ganga return to heavens ( dried).

Credits: Photo Credits to original Image and the respective artists

Gautam buddha | Hindu Faqs

The Buddha is viewed as an avatar of the god Vishnu in Vaishnava Hinduism although the Buddha himself denied that he was a god or an incarnation of a god. Buddha’s teachings deny the authority of the Vedas and consequently Buddhism is generally viewed as a nastika (heterodox school) from the perspective of orthodox Hinduism.

Gautam buddha | Hindu Faqs
Gautam buddha

He expounded the four noble truths (Arya Satya) concerning suffering, its cause, its destruction and the way to the elimination of sorrow. He was against the extremes of both self-indulgence and self-mortification. A Middle Path was advocated consisting of right views, right aspirations, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right contemplation. He rejected the authority of the Vedas, condemned ritualistic practices, especially animal sacrifice, and denied the existence of gods.

The Buddha is described in important Hindu scriptures, including almost all the major Puranas. It is considered that ‘not all of them refer to the same person: some of them refer to other persons, and some occurrences of “buddha” simply mean “a person possessing buddhi”; most of them, however, refer specifically to the founder of Buddhism. They portray him with two roles: preaching Atheistic Vedic views in order to restore Dharma, and criticizing animal sacrifice. A partial list of major Puranic references of the Buddha is as follows:
    Harivamsha (1.41)
Vishnu Purana (3.18)
Bhagavata Purana (1.3.24, 2.7.37, 11.4.23) [2]
Garuda Purana (1.1, 2.30.37, 3.15.26)
Agni Purana (16)
Narada Purana (2.72)
Linga Purana (2.71)
Padma Purana (3.252) etc.

In the Puranic texts, he is mentioned as one of the ten Avatars of Vishnu, usually as the ninth one.

Another important scriptures that mentions him as an Avatar is Rishi Parashara’s Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra (2:1-5/7).

He is often described as a yogi or yogacharya, and as a sannyasi. His father is usually called Suddhodhana, which is consistent with the Buddhist tradition, while in a few places the Buddha’s father is named Anjana or Jina. He is described as beautiful (devasundara-rupa), of yellow skin, and wearing brown-red or red robes.

Only a few statements mention the worship of Buddha, e.g. the Varahapurana states that one desirous of beauty should worship him.

In some of the Puranas, he is described as having taken birth to “mislead the demons”:

mohanartham danavanam balarupi pathi-sthitah । putram tam kalpayam asa mudha-buddhir jinah svayam ॥ tatah sammohayam asa jinadyan asuramsakan । bhagavan vagbhir ugrabhir ahimsa-vacibhir harih ॥
—Brahmanda Purana, Bhagavatatatparya by Madhva, 1.3.28

Translation: To delude the demons, he [Lord Buddha] stood on the path in the form of a child. The foolish Jina (a demon), imagined him to be his son. Thus the lord Sri Hari [as avatara-buddha] expertly deluded Jina and other demons by his strong words of non-violence.

In the Bhagavata Purana, Buddha is said to have taken birth to restore the devas to power:

tatah kalau sampravrtte sammohaya sura-dvisam ।

buddho namnanjana-sutah kikatesu bhavisyati ॥

—srimad-bhagavatam , 1.3.24

Translation: Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga, for the purpose of confusing the enemies of the devas, [he] will become the son of Anjana, Buddha by name, in the Kikatas.

In many Puranas, the Buddha is described as an incarnation of Vishnu who incarnated in order to bring either demons or mankind close to the Vedic dharma. The Bhavishya Purana contains the following:

At this time, reminded of the Kali Age, the god Vishnu became born as Gautama, the Shakyamuni, and taught the Buddhist dharma for ten years. Then Shuddodana ruled for twenty years, and Shakyasimha for twenty. At the first stage of the Kali Age, the path of the Vedas was destroyed and all men became Buddhists. Those who sought refuge with Vishnu were deluded.

As an avatara of Vishnu
In 8th-century royal circles, the Buddha started to be replaced by Hindu gods in pujas. This also was the same period of time the Buddha was made into an avatar of Vishnu.

In the Dasavatara stotra section of his Gita Govinda, the influential Vaishnava poet Jayadeva (13th century) includes the Buddha amongst the ten principal avatars of Vishnu and writes a prayer regarding him as follows:

O Keshava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Buddha! All glories to You! O Buddha of compassionate heart, you decry the slaughtering of poor animals performed according to the rules of Vedic sacrifice.

This viewpoint of the Buddha as the avatar who primarily promoted non-violence (ahimsa) remains a popular belief amongst a number of modern Vaishnava organisations, including ISKCON.

Additionally, there is the Vaishnava sect of Maharashtra, known as Varkari, who worship Lord Vithoba (also known as Vitthal, Panduranga). Though Vithoba is mostly considered to be a form of the little Krishna, there has been a deep belief for many centuries that Vithoba is a form of Buddha. Many poets of the Maharashtra (including Eknath, Namdev, Tukaram etc.) have explicitly mentioned him as Buddha., though many neo-Buddhists (Ambedkaries) and some western scholars often tend to reject this opinion.

As an inspirational figure
Other prominent modern proponents of Hinduism, such as Radhakrishnan, Vivekananda, consider the Buddha as an example of the same universal truth that underlies religions:

Vivekananda: May he who is the Brahman of the Hindus, the Ahura Mazda of Zoroastrians, the Buddha of Buddhists, the Jehovah of the Jews, the Father in Heavens of Christians, give strength to you to carry out your noble ideas!

Gautam buddha | Hindu FAQs
Gautam buddha

Radhakrishnan: If a Hindu chants the Vedas on the banks of the Ganges… if the Japanese worship the image of Buddha, if the European is convinced of Christ’s mediatorship, if the Arab reads the Koran in the mosque… It is their deepest apprehension of God and God’s fullest revelation to them.

A number of revolutionary figures in modern Hinduism, including Gandhi, have been inspired by the life and teachings of the Buddha and many of his attempted reforms.

Steven Collins sees such Hindu claims regarding Buddhism as part of an effort – itself a reaction to Christian proselytizing efforts in India – to show that “all religions are one”, and that Hinduism is uniquely valuable because it alone recognizes this fact

Interpretations
According to Wendy Doniger, the Buddha avatar which occurs in different versions in various Puranas may represent an attempt by orthodox Brahminism to slander the Buddhists by identifying them with the demons. Helmuth von Glasenapp attributed these developments to a Hindu desire to absorb Buddhism in a peaceful manner, both to win Buddhists to Vaishnavism and also to account for the fact that such a significant heresy could exist in India.

The times ascribed to one “Buddha” figure are contradictory and some put him in approximately 500 CE, with a lifetime of 64 years, describe him as having killed some persons, as following the Vedic religion, and having a father named Jina, which suggest that this particular figure might be a different person from Siddharta Gautama.

Credits: Photo Credits to the original photographer and artist

Shri Krishna | Hindu FAQs

Krishna (कृष्ण) is a deity, worshipped across many traditions of Hinduism in a variety of different perspectives. While many Vaishnava groups recognize him as an avatar of Lord Vishnu; some traditions within Krishnaism, consider Krishna to be Svayam Bhagavan, or the Supreme Being.

Krishna is often described and portrayed as an infant or young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana, or as a youthful prince giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita. The stories of Krishna appear across a broad spectrum of Hindu philosophical and theological traditions. They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and the Supreme Being. The principal scriptures discussing Krishna’s story are the Mahabharata, the Harivamsa, the Bhagavata Purana, and the Vishnu Purana. He is also known as Govinda and Gopala.

Shri Krishna | Hindu FAQs
Shri Krishna

Krishna’s disappearance marks the end of Dvapara Yuga and the start of Kali Yuga (present age), which is dated to February 17/18, 3102 BCE. Worship of the deity Krishna, either in the form of deity Krishna or in the form of Vasudeva, Bala Krishna or Gopala can be traced to as early as 4th century BC

The name originates from the Sanskrit word Krsna, which is primarily an adjective meaning “black”, “dark” or “dark blue”. The waning moon is called Krishna Paksha in the Vedic tradition, relating to the adjective meaning “darkening”. Sometimes it is also translated as “all-attractive”, according to members of the Hare Krishna movement.
As a name of Vishnu,Krishna listed as the 57th Name in the Vishnu Sahasranama. Based on His Name, Krishna is often depicted in murtis as black or blue-skinned. Krishna is also known by various other names, epithets and titles, which reflect His many associations and attributes. Among the most common Names are Mohan “enchanter”, Govinda, “Finder of the cows” or Gopala, “Protector of the cows”, which refer to Krishna’s Childhood in Braj (in present day Uttar Pradesh).

Shri Krishna with Flute and his blue coloured skin | Hindu FAQs
Shri Krishna with Flute

Krishna is easily recognized by his representations.Though his skin colour may be depicted as black or dark in some representations, particularly in murtis, in other images such as modern pictorial representations, Krishna is usually shown with blue skin. He is often shown wearing a yellow silk dhoti and a peacock feather crown. Common depictions show him as a little boy, or as a young man in a characteristically relaxed pose, playing the flute. In this form, he usually stands with one leg bent in front of the other with a flute raised to his lips, in the Tribhanga posture, accompanied by cows, emphasizing his position as the divine herdsman, Govinda, or with the gopis (milkmaids) i.e. Gopikrishna, stealing butter from neighbouring houses i.e. Navneet Chora or Gokulakrishna, defeating the vicious serpent i.e. Kaliya Damana Krishna, lifting the hill i.e. Giridhara Krishna ..so on and so forth from his childhood / youth events.

Birth:
Krishna was born to Devaki and her husband, Vasudeva, When Mother Earth became upset by the sin being committed on Earth, she thought of seeking help from Lord Vishnu. She went in the form of a cow to visit Lord Vishnu and ask for help. Lord Vishnu agreed to help her and promised her that he would be born on Earth.

Childhood:
Nanda was the head of a community of cow-herders, and he settled in Vrindavana. The stories of Krishna’s childhood and youth tell how he became a cow herder, his mischievous pranks as Makhan Chor (butter thief) his foiling of attempts to take his life, and his role as a protector of the people of Vrindavana.

Krishna killed the demoness Putana, disguised as a wet nurse, and the tornado demon Trinavarta both sent by Kansa for Krishna’s life. He tamed the serpent Kaliya, who previously poisoned the waters of Yamuna river, thus leading to the death of the cowherds. In Hindu art, Krishna is often depicted dancing on the multi-hooded Kaliya.
Krishna Conquers the Serpent Kaliya
Krishna lifted the Govardhana hill and taught Indra, the king of the devas, a lesson to protect native people of Brindavana from persecution by Indra and prevent the devastation of the pasture land of Govardhan. Indra had too much pride and was angry when Krishna advised the people of Brindavana to take care of their animals and their environment that provide them with all their necessities, instead of worshipping Indra annually by spending their resources. In the view of some, the spiritual movement started by Krishna had something in it which went against the orthodox forms of worship of the Vedic gods such as Indra. In Bhagavat Purana, Krishna says that the rain came from the nearby hill Govardhana, and advised that the people worshiped the hill instead of Indra. This made Indra furious, so he punished them by sending out a great storm. Krishna then lifted Govardhan and held it over the people like an umbrella.

Krishna lifts Govardhan Parvat
Krishna lifts Govardhan Parvat

Kurukshetra War (The Mahabharata) :
Once battle seemed inevitable, Krishna offered both sides the opportunity to choose between having either his army called narayani sena or himself alone, but on the condition that he personally would not raise any weapon. Arjuna, on behalf of the Pandavas, chose to have Krishna on their side, and Duryodhana, Kaurava prince, chose Krishna’s army. At the time of the great battle, Krishna acted as Arjuna’s charioteer, since this position did not require the wielding of weapons.

Krishna as saarthi in mahabharata
Krishna as saarthi in mahabharata

Upon arrival at the battlefield, and seeing that the enemies are his family, his grandfather, his cousins and loved ones, Arjuna is moved and says his heart does not allow him to fight and he would rather prefer to renounce the kingdom and put down his Gandiv (Arjuna’s bow). Krishna then advises him about the battle, with the conversation soon extending into a discourse which was later compiled as the Bhagavad Gita.

Shri Krishna Vishwaroop
Shri Krishna Vishwaroop

Krishna asked Arjuna, “Have you within no time, forgotten the Kauravas’ evil deeds such as not accepting the eldest brother Yudhishtira as King, usurping the entire Kingdom without yielding any portion to the Pandavas, meting out insults and difficulties to Pandavas, attempt to murder the Pandavas in the Barnava lac guest house, publicly attempting to disrobe and disgracing Draupadi. Krishna further exhorted in his famous Bhagavad Gita, “Arjuna, do not engage in philosophical analyses at this point of time like a Pundit. You are aware that Duryodhana and Karna particularly have long harboured jealousy and hatred for you Pandavas and badly want to prove their hegemony. You are aware that Bhishmacharya and your Teachers are tied down to their dharma of protecting the unitarian power of the Kuru throne. Moreover, you Arjuna, are only a mortal appointee to carry out my divine will, since the Kauravas are destined to die either way, due to their heap of sins. Open your eyes O Bhaarata and know that I encompass the Karta, Karma and Kriya, all in myself. There is no scope for contemplation now or remorse later, it is indeed time for war and the world will remember your might and immense powers for time to come. So rise O Arjuna!, tighten up your Gandiva and let all directions shiver till their farthest horizons, by the reverberation of its string.”

Krishna had a profound effect on the Mahabharata war and its consequences. He had considered the Kurukshetra war to be a last resort after voluntarily acting as a messenger in order to establish peace between the Pandavas and Kauravas. But, once these peace negotiations failed and was embarked into the war, then he became a clever strategist. During the war, upon becoming angry with Arjuna for not fighting in true spirit against his ancestors, Krishna once picked up a carriage wheel in order to use it as a weapon to challenge Bhishma. Upon seeing this, Bhishma dropped his weapons and asked Krishna to kill him. However, Arjuna apologized to Krishna, promising that he would fight with full dedication here/after, and the battle continued. Krishna had directed Yudhisthira and Arjuna to return to Bhishma the boon of “victory” which he had given to Yudhisthira before the war commenced, since he himself was standing in their way to victory. Bhishma understood the message and told them the means through which he would drop his weapons which was if a woman entered the battlefield. Next day, upon Krishna’s directions, Shikhandi (Amba reborn) accompanied Arjuna to the battlefield and thus, Bhishma laid down his arms. This was a decisive moment in the war because Bhishma was the chief commander of the Kaurava army and the most formidable warrior on the battlefield. Krishna aided Arjuna in killing Jayadratha, who had held the other four Pandava brothers at bay while Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu entered Drona’s Chakravyuha formation—an effort in which he was killed by the simultaneous attack of eight Kaurava warriors. Krishna also caused the downfall of Drona, when he signalled Bhima to kill an elephant called Ashwatthama, the namesake of Drona’s son. Pandavas started shouting that Ashwatthama was dead but Drona refused to believe them saying he would believe it only if he heard it from Yudhisthira. Krishna knew that Yudhisthira would never tell a lie, so he devised a clever ploy so that Yudhisthira wouldn’t lie and at the same time Drona would be convinced of his son’s death. On asked by Drona, Yudhisthira proclaimed
“Ashwathama Hatahath, naro va Kunjaro va”
i.e. Ashwathama had died but he was nor sure whether it was a Drona’s son or an elephant. But as soon as Yudhisthira had uttered the first line, Pandava army on Krishna’s direction broke into celebration with drums and conchs, in the din of which Drona could not hear the second part of the Yudhisthira’s declaration and assumed that his son indeed was dead. Overcome with grief he laid down his arms, and on Krishna’s instruction Dhrishtadyumna beheaded Drona.

When Arjuna was fighting Karna, the latter’s chariot’s wheels sank into the ground. While Karna was trying to take out the chariot from the grip of the Earth, Krishna reminded Arjuna how Karna and the other Kauravas had broken all rules of battle while simultaneously attacking and killing Abhimanyu, and he convinced Arjuna to do the same in revenge in order to kill Karna. During the final stage of the war, when Duryodhana was going to meet his mother Gandhari for taking her blessings which would convert all parts of his body on which her sight falls to diamond, Krishna tricks him to wearing banana leaves to hide his groin. When Duryodhana meets Gandhari, her vision and blessings fall on his entire body except his groin and thighs, and she becomes unhappy about it because she was not able to convert his entire body to diamond. When Duryodhana was in a mace-fight with Bhima, Bhima’s blows had no effect on Duryodhana. Upon this, Krishna reminded Bhima of his vow to kill Duryodhana by hitting him on the thigh, and Bhima did the same to win the war despite it being against the rules of mace-fight (since Duryodhana had himself broken Dharma in all his past acts). Thus, Krishna’s unparalleled strategy helped the Pandavas win the Mahabharata war by bringing the downfall of all the chief Kaurava warriors, without lifting any weapon. He also brought back to life Arjuna’s grandson Parikshit, who had been attacked by a Brahmastra weapon from Ashwatthama while he was in his mother’s womb. Parikshit became the Pandavas’ successor.

Wife:
Krishna had eight princely wives, also known as Ashtabharya: Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Nagnajiti, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Bhadra, Lakshmana) and the other 16,100 or 16,000 (number varies in scriptures) were rescued from Narakasura. They had been forcibly kept in his palace and after Krishna had killed Narakasura he rescued these women and freed them. Krishna married them all to save them from destruction and infamity. He gave them shelter in his new palace and a respectful place in society. The chief amongst them is sometimes called Rohini.

The Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, Harivamsa list the children of Krishna from the Ashtabharya with some variation; while Rohini’s sons are interpreted to represent the unnumbered children of his junior wives. Most well-known among his sons are Pradyumna, the eldest son of Krishna (and Rukmini) and Samba, the son of Jambavati, whose actions led to the destruction of Krishna’s clan.

Death:
Long after the Mahabharat war was over, Krishna was sitting in a jungle, when a hunter took the mani in his feet as eye of an animal and shot an arrow. when he came and saw krishna he was shocked and asked for forgiveness.
Krishna smiled and said – you need not repent, because you were Bali in your last birth and I as Rama had killed you from behind a tree. I had to leave this body and waiting for an opportunity to end the life and was waiting for you so that the karmic debt between you and me and finished.
After Krishna’s leaving body, Dwarka sank in the sea . Most of Yadus had already died in the war of Prabhas. Gandhari had cursed Krishna that his clan would also finish like Kauravas.
After Dwarka sank, the left of Yadus came back to Mathura.

Krishna as per Darwin’s Theory of Evolution:
A close friend prompts Krishna as the complete modern man. The theory of survival of fittest comes into play and now humans have become much smarter and has started enjoying music, dance and festivals. There have been war around and feuds within the family. Society has become shrewd and a devious attribute is the need of the time. He was smart, devious and a skillfull manager. More like a modern day man.

Temples:
Some beautiful and famous temples:
Prem Mandir:
Prem Mandir, built in the holy town of Vrindavan is one of the newest temples dedicated to Shri Krishna. The temple structure was established by spiritual guru Kripalu Maharaj.

Prem mandir | Hindu FAQs
Prem mandir

The main structure built in marble looks incredibly beautiful and is an educational monument that reflects the true history of Sanatana Dharma. Figures of Shri Krishna and his followers depicting important events surrounding the Lord’s existence cover the main temple.

Credits: To the original photographers and artists

Narasimha Avatar (नरसिंह), Narasingh, Narsingh and Narasingha, in derviative languages is an avatar of Vishnu and one of Hinduism’s most popular deities, as evidenced in early epics, iconography, and temple and festival worship for over a millennium.

Narasimha is often visualised as half-man/half-lion, having a human-like torso and lower body, with a lion-like face and claws. This image is widely worshipped in deity form by a significant number of Vaishnava groups. He is known primarily as the ‘Great Protector’ who specifically defends and protects his devotees in times of need. Vishnu is believed to have taken the avatar to destroy the demon king Hiranyakashipu.

Narsingha Avatar | Hindu FAQs
Narsingha Avatar

Hiranyaksha’s brother Hiranyakashipu wants to take revenge by destroying Lord Vishnu and his followers. He performs penance to please Brahma, the god of creation. Impressed by this act, Brahma offers him any thing he wants.

Hiranyakashipu asks for a tricky boon from Brahma which goes like this.

“O my lord, O best of the givers of benediction, if you will kindly grant me the benediction I desire, please let me not meet death from any of the living entities created by you.
Grant me that I not die within any residence or outside any residence, during the daytime or at night, nor on the ground or in the sky. Grant me that my death not be brought about by any weapon, nor by any human being or animal.
Grant me that I not meet death from any entity, living or nonliving created by you. Grant me, further, that I not be killed by any demigod or demon or by any great snake from the lower planets. Since no one can kill you in the battlefield, you have no competitor. Therefore, grant me the benediction that I too may have no rival. Give me sole lordship over all the living entities and presiding deities, and give me all the glories obtained by that position. Furthermore, give me all the mystic powers attained by long austerities and the practice of yoga, for these cannot be lost at any time.”

Brahma grants the boon.
With virtually no fear of death he unleashes terror. Declares himself as god and asks people to utter no God’s name except his.
One day while Hiranyakashipu performed austerities at Mandarachala Mountain, his home was attacked by Indra and the other devatas. At this point the Devarshi (divine sage) Narada intervenes to protect Kayadu, whom he describes as sinless.Following this event, Narada takes Kayadu into his care and while under the guidance of Narada, her unborn child (Hiranyakashipu son) Prahalada, becomes affected by the transcendental instructions of the sage even at such a young stage of development. Thus, Prahlada later begins to show symptoms of this earlier training by Narada, gradually becoming recognised as a devoted follower of Vishnu, much to his father’s disappointment.

Narada and Pralhad | Hindu FAQs
Narada and Pralhad

Hiranyakashipu furious at the devotion of his son to Vishnu, as the god had killed his brother. Finally, he decides to commit filicide. But each time he attempts to kill the boy, Prahlada is protected by Vishu’s mystical power. When asked, Prahlada refuses to acknowledge his father as the supreme lord of the universe and claims that Vishnu is all-pervading and omnipresent.

Hiranyakashipu points to a nearby pillar and asks if ‘his Vishnu’ is in it and says to his son Prahlada. Prahlada then answers,

“He was, He is and He will be.”

Hiranyakashipu, unable to control his anger, smashes the pillar with his mace, and following a tumultuous sound, Vishu in the form of Narasimha appears from it and moves to attack Hiranyakashipu. in defence of Prahlada. In order to kill Hiranyakashipu and not upset the boon given by Brahma, the form of Narasimha is chosen. Hiranyakashipu can not be killed by human, deva or animal. Narasimha is neither one of these as he is a form of Vishu incarnate as a part-human, part-animal. He comes upon Hiranyakashipu at twilight (when it is neither day nor night) on the threshold of a courtyard (neither indoors nor out), and puts the demon on his thighs (neither earth nor space). Using his sharp fingernails (neither animate nor inanimate) as weapons, he disembowels and kills the demon.

Narsingha Killing Hiranyakashipu | Hindu FAQs
Narsingha Killing Hiranyakashipu

Aftermath:
There is another story of Lord Shiva fight with Narasimha to calm him. After slaying Hiranyakashipu, Narasimha’s wrath was not appeased. The world trembled, fearing what he might do. The Devas (the gods) requested Shiva to tackle Narasimha.

Initially, Shiva brings forth Virabhadra, one of his terrifying forms, in order to calm Narasimha. When that failed, Shiva manifested as the human-lion-bird Sharabha. Shiva then assumed the Sharabha form.

Sharabha, part-bird and part-lion
Sharabha, part-bird and part-lion

Sharabha then attacked Narasimha and seized him up until he was immobilized. He thus quelled Narasimha’s terrifying rage. Narasimha became a devotee of Shiva after being bound by Sharabha. Sharabha then decapitated and de-skinned Narasimha so Shiva could wear the hide and lion-head as a garment. The Linga Purana and Sharabha Upanishad also mention this mutilation and murder of Narasimha. After the mutilation, Vishnu assumed his normal form and retired to his abode, after duly praising Shiva. It was from here on that Shiva came to be known as “Sharabeshamurti” or “Simhagnamurti”.

This myth is particularly interesting because it brings to forth the past rivalries between Shaivites and Vaishnavites.

Narasimha as per Theory Of Evolution:
The mammals or semi-amphibians gradually evolved to become human-like creatures, which could walk on two legs, used their hands to hold things, but the brain was still not that developed. They had a human like lower body and animal like upper body.
Though not exactly apes, Narsimha Avatar fits into the above description pretty well. Though not a direct reference, it would certainly mean an ape man.
An interesting point here is that those who are aware of the story of Narsimha, he appears at a time, place and setting, where each attribute is in the middle of two things(neither human nor animal, neither at home nor outside, neither day nor night)

Temples: There are more than 100 temples of Narasimha. Of which, the famous are,
Ahobilam. Ahobalam is located in the Allagadda mandal of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh. This is the place where the Lord killed Hiranyakasipu and saved Prahalada.

Ahobilam, the place where the Lord killed Hiranyakasipu and saved Prahalada. | Hindu FAQs
Ahobilam, the place where the Lord killed Hiranyakasipu and saved Prahalada.


Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple, Which is located about 55 km from Chennai and 21 km from Arakkonam, in Narasingapuram, Thiruvallur

Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple | Hindu FAQs
Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple

Credits: Photo and Image Credits to the Original Artists and Uploaders

Dashavatara the 10 incarnations of Vishnu Varaha Avatar - hindufaqs.com

Varaha avatar (वराह) is the third avatar of the Vishnu which is in the form of a boar.  When the demon (asura) Hiranyaksha stole the Earth (personified as the goddess Bhudevi) and hid her in the primordial waters, Vishnu appeared as Varaha to rescue her. Varaha slew the demon and retrieved the Earth from the ocean, lifting it on his tusks, and restored Bhudevi to her place in the universe.

Vishnu as Varaha Avatara rescuing Earth from sea | Hindu FAQs
Vishnu as Varaha Avatara rescuing Earth from sea

Jaya and Vijaya are the two gatekeepers (dwarapalakas) of the abode of Vishnu (Vaikuntha Lok). According to the Bhagavata Purana, the Four Kumaras, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanatkumara, who are the manasaputras of Brahma (sons born from the mind or thought power of Brahma), were wandering across the worlds, and one day decide to pay a visit to Narayana – the form of Vishnu that rests on Shesh naga.

jaya and vijaya stopping the four kumaras | Hindu FAQs
jaya and vijaya stopping the four kumaras

The Sanat Kumaras approach Jaya and Vijaya and ask to be let in. Now due to the strength of their tapas, the four Kumaras appear to be mere children, though they are of great age. Jaya and Vijaya, the gate keepers of the Vaikuntha stop the Kumaras at the gate mistaking them as children. They also tell the Kumaras that Sri Vishnu is resting and that they cannot see him now. The enraged Kumaras tell Jaya and Vijaya that Vishnu is available for his devotees any time, and cursed both of them that they would have to give up their divinity, be born as mortals on Earth and live like humans.
So now they were born on earth as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu to the sage Kashyapa and his wife Diti and were one of the Daityas, a race of demons originating from Diti.
The demon brothers were manifestations of pure evil and create havoc in the universe. The elder brother Hiranyaksha practises tapas (austerities) and is blessed by Brahma with a boon that makes him indestructible by any animal or human. He and his brother torment the inhabitants of earth as well as the gods and engage in war with the latter. Hiranyaksha takes the earth (personified as the goddess Bhudevi) and hides her in the primordial waters. The earth gives a loud cry of distress as she is kidnapped by the demon,

Since Hiranyaksha had not included the boar in the list of animals that would not be able to kill him, Vishnu assumes this form with huge tusks and goes down to the primordial ocean. Varaha has four arms, two of which hold the Sudarshana chakra (discus) and shankha (conch), while the other two hold a gada (mace), a sword, or a lotus or one of them makes the varadamudra (gesture of blessing). Varaha may be depicted with all of Vishnu’a attributes in his four hands: the Sudarshana chakra, the shankha, the gada and the lotus.  In the Bhagavata Purana, Varaha emerges as a tiny beast (a size of a thumb) from the nostrils of Brahma, but soon starts to grow. Varaha’s size increases to that of an elephant and then to that of an enormous mountain. The scriptures emphasize his gigantic size. The Vayu Purana describes Varaha as 10 yojanas (The range of a yojana is disputed and ranges between 6–15 kilometere (3.7–9.3 mi) in width and a 1000 yojanas in height. He is large as a mountain and blazing like the sun. Dark like a rain cloud in complexion, his tusks are white, sharp and fearsome. His body is the size of the space between the earth and the sky. His thunderous roar is frightening. In one instance, his mane is so fiery and fearsome that Varuna, the god of the waters, requests Varaha to save him from it. Varaha complies and folds his mane.

Varaha fighting with Hiranyaksha to rescue Earth | Hindu FAQs
Varaha fighting with Hiranyaksha to rescue Earth

In the ocean, Varaha encounters Hiranyaksha, who obstructs his path and challenges him for a duel. The demon mocks Varaha as the beast and warns him not to touch earth. Ignoring the demon’s threats, Varaha lifts the earth on his tusks. Hiranyaksha charges towards the boar in rage with a mace. The two fiercely fight with maces. Finally, Varaha slays the demon after a thousand-year duel. Varaha rises from the ocean with the earth in his tusks and places her gently above it in her original position, as the gods and the sages sing Varaha’s praises.

Further, the earth goddess Bhudevi falls in love with her rescuer Varaha. Vishnu – in his Varaha form – marries Bhudevi, making her one of the consorts of Vishnu. In one narrative, Vishnu and Bhudevi indulge in vigorous embraces and as a result, Bhudevi becomes fatigued and faints, sinking a little in the primordial ocean. Vishnu again acquires the form of Varaha and rescues her, reinstating her in her original position above the waters.

Varaha as per Theory Of Evolution:

Reptiles gradually evolved to form the semi-amphibians, which later evolved to form first complete animals, which could exist purely on land. They could bear children and walk on land.
Varaha, or the boar was the third Avatar of Vishnu. Interestingly, boar was the first mammal to have whose teeth were at the front, and so didnt swallow food but eat more like humans.

Temples:
Sri Varahaswami Temple in Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh. It is located on the shores of a temple pond, called the Swami Pushkarini, in Tirumala, near Tirupati. The region is called Adi-Varaha Kshestra, the abode of Varaha.

Varahaswamy Temple, Adi-Varaha Kshestra | Hindu FAQs
Varahaswamy Temple, Adi-Varaha Kshestra

Another important temple is the Bhuvarahaswami Temple in Srimushnam town, to the northeast of Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu. It was built in the late 16th century by Krishnappa II, a Thanjavur Nayak ruler.

Credits: Phot Credits to the real artists and owners.

Dashavatara the 10 incarnations of Vishnu – Kurma Avatar - hindufaqs.com

In Dashavatars, Kurma (कूर्म; ) was the second Avatar of Vishnu, succeeding Matsya and preceding Varaha. Like Matsya this incarnation also occurred in Satya yuga.

Durvasa, The Sage, once gave a garland to Indra, the king of Gods. Indra placed the garland around his elephant, but the animal trampled it, insulting the sage. Durvasa then cursed the Gods to lose their immortality, strength, and all the divine powers. After losing the kingdom of heaven, and every thing they once had and enjoyed, they approached Vishnu for help.

Vishnu as Kurma Avatara for Samudra Manthan | Hindu FAQs
Vishnu as Kurma Avatara for Samudra Manthan

Vishnu advised that they had to drink the nectar of immortality (Amrit) to regain their glory. Now to obtain the nectar of immortality, they needed to churn the ocean of milk, a body of water so large they needed Mount Mandara as the churning staff, and the serpent Vasuki as the churning rope. The Devas were not strong enough to churn on their own, and declared peace with their foes, the Asuras, to enlist their help.
The gods and demons got together for the the herculean task. The huge mountain, Mandara, was used as the pole to stir the waters. But the force was so great the mountain began to sink into the ocean of milk. To stop this, Vishnu quickly transformed himself into a tortoise and placed the mountain on his back. This image of Vishnu as the tortoise was his second avatar, ‘Kurma.’
Once the pole was balanced, it was tied to the gigantic snake, Vasuki, and the gods and demons started pulling it from either side.
As the churning began and the massive waves whirled, from  the depths of the ocean also came out the ‘Halahal’ Or ‘Kalkoot’ visha(poison). When  the poison was taken out, it started heating up the cosmos considerably.  Such was its heat that people started running in dread, animals started  dying and plants started withering. The “Visha” had no taker hence  Shiva came to everyone’s rescue and he drank the Visha. But, he did not  swallow it. He kept the poison in his throat. Since then, Shiva’s throat  became blue, and he came to be known as Neelkantha or the blue-throated  one. This is the reason why shiva is always high on marijuana, being a God.

Mahadev drinking Halahala poison | Hindu FAQs
Mahadev drinking Halahala poison

The churning continued and poured forth a number of gifts and treasures. They included Kamdhenu, the wish-fulfilling cow; the goddess of wealth, Laxmi; the wish-fulfilling tree, Kalpavriksha; and finally, came Dhanvantari carrying the pot of amrita and a book of medicine called Ayurveda. Once the amrita was out, the demons forcefully took it away. Two demons, Rahu and Ketu, disguised themselves as gods and drank the amrita. The sun and moon gods recognised it to be a trick and complained to Vishnu, who in turn, severed their heads with his Sudarshan Chakra. As the divine nectar did not get time to reach below the throat, the heads remained immortal, but the body below died. This helps Rahu and Ketu take revenge on the Sun and Moon by devouring them every year during solar and lunar eclipse.

A great war between the gods and demons followed. Finally, Vishnu disguised as the enchanting Mohini tricked the demons and recovered the nectar.

Kurma as per Theory Of Evolution:
The second step of evolution of life, were creatures that could live on land as well as in water, like
the tortoise. The reptiles appeared almost 385 million years ago on earth.
As mentioned above, Kurma Avatar is in form of a tortoise.

Temples:
There are three temples dedicated to this incarnation of Vishnu in India, Kurmai of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Kurmam in Andhra Pradesh, and Gavirangapur in the Chitradurg District of Karnataka.

Kurma temple at Kurmai of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh | Hindu FAQs
Kurma temple at Kurmai of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh

The name of the village Kurmai mentioned above originated as there is historical temple of Kurma Varadarajaswamy(Kurmavatar of Lord Vishnu) god in this village. The temple located in srikurmam in srikakulam district, andhra pradesh is also the avatara of kurma.

Credits: Photo Credits to the original Uploaders and Artists (They are not my property)

Dashavatara the 10 incarnations of Vishnu - Part I- Matsya Avatar - hindufaqs.com

Matsya:
Matsya is said to be the first avatar of Vishnu. He is a fish (or sometimes depicted as half man and half fish like a mermaid). He is said to have rescued the first man from a flood in a story that seems to have influenced the Noah flood story (or, perhaps more likely, both stories were influenced by a common source). Matsya is associated with the beginning of the world.

Matsya (मत्स्य, Fish) is the avatar of the Vishnu in the form of a fish, preceding Kurma. It is listed as the first avatar in the lists of the ten primary avatars of Vishnu. Matsya is described to have rescued the first man, Manu, from a great deluge. Matsya may be depicted as a giant fish, or anthropomorphically with a human torso connected to the rear half of a fish.

Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishu | Hindu FAQs
Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishu

One Line Explaination of this avatar is: In this avatar, Vishnu Warn Mahapralaya (Big Flood) and Rescue Vedas. Vishnu also saved the Saint Vaivaswata.

This avatar was taken by Maha Vishnu to save the humanity and the sacred Veda text from the flood in the Satiyuga. In Matsya Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as a fish in this world and informs King Manu that the world would come to an end by a huge flood in seven days and to survive this and move on to the next yug the king to build a huge boat and take the seven sages, seeds of all plants, one animal of each type along with him. The matsya told Manu that he would appear on the seventh day to propel the boat to Mt Himavan. True to his word, lord Vishnu appeared before Manu in his avatar as fish and propelled the Boat to Mt Himavan and kept them there till the flood was over.
The story is:
Many years ago, the whole world was destroyed. The destruction in fact extended to all the three lokas (worlds) of bhuloka, bhuvarloka and svarloka. Bhuloka is the earth, svarloka or svarga is heaven and bhuvarloka is a region between the earth and heaven. All three worlds were flooded with water. Vaivasvata Manu was the son of the sun-god. He had spent ten thousand years in prayers and tapasya (meditation) in the hermitage vadrika. This hermitage was on the banks of the river Kritamala.

Unfolding the Story of King Satyavrata and his role in the context of Mahavishnu’s Incarnation as a Giant Fish, Suka Maha Muni informed King Parikshith that the former King would become the Seventh Manu as Sraddhadeva. The incident of the Incarnation of the Lord as Fish was recalled in this context since King Satyavrata was once paying offerings of water in River Kirtimala, a small fish appeared on his palms and requested him not to throw it back in the River as big fishes might swallow it and as such keep it safe in a pot.

Once Manu came to the river to perform his ablutions. He immersed his hands in the water to get some water for his ablutions. When he raised them, he found that there was a small fish swimming in the water in the cup of his hands. Manu was about to throw the fish back into the water when the fish said, “Don’t throw me back. I am scared of alligators and crocodiles and big fishes. Save me.”
Manu found an earthen pot in which he could keep the fish. But soon the fish became too big for the pot and Manu had to find a larger vessel in which the fish might be kept. But the fish became too big for this vessel as well and Manu had to transfer the fish to a lake. But the fish grew and grew and became too large for the lake.

So, Manu transferred the fish to the ocean. In the ocean, the fish grew until it became gigantic.
By now, Manu’s wonder knew no bounds. He said, “Who are you? You must be the Lord Vishnu, I bow down before you. Tell me, why are you tantalising me in the form of a fish?” The fish replied, “I have come to punish the evil and protect the good. Seven days from now, the ocean will flood the entire world and all beings will be destroyed. But since you have saved me, I will save you. When the world is flooded, a boat will arrive here. Take the saptarshis (seven sages) with you and spend the terrible night that will come on that boat. Don’t forget to take the seeds of foodgrains with you.
Will arrive and you will then fasten the boat to my horn with a huge snake.”

`
Matsya avatar saving Manu and the seven sages in Maha PralaySaying this, the fish disappeared. Everything happened as the fish had promised it would. The ocean became turbulent and Manu climbed into the boat. He tied the boat to the huge horn that the fish had. He prayed to the fish and the fish related the Matsya Purana to him. Eventually, when the water receded, the boat was anchored to the topmost peak of the Himalyas. And living beings were created once again. A danava (demon) named Hayagriva had stolen the sacred texts of the Vedas and the knowledge of the brahman. In his form of a fish, Vishnu also killed Hayagriva and recovered the Vedas.

Matsya Jayanti is a day which is celebrated as a birth day of first incarnation of Lord Vishnu on the earth as Matsya Avatar. On that day lord Vishnu had Lord Vishnu born as a one horned fish. He had born as on the 3rd day of Shukla Paksh of the month of Chaitra month according to the Hindu calendar.

Matsya Avatar saving the Vedas | Hindu FAQs
Matsya Avatar saving the Vedas

Matsya as per Theory Of Evolution:
In the evolution chronology, life evolved in the waters and thus the first form of life is an aquatic animal i.e. the fish (matsya). Proto-Amphibians that primarily lived in water can be seen as the first stage of life.
Lord Vishnu took the form of a huge fish and towed the primordial boat carrying good people and cattle to the new world of the future through the waters of the great deluge.
As per the theory of evolution, These creatures first appeared some 540 million years ago.
A starking resemblance is the first Avatar of Vishnu, Matsya Avatar, which was actually a fish that helped Manu save the world.

Dashavatara the 10 incarnations of Vishnu - hindufaqs.com

Dashavatara ( दशावतार) refers to the ten avatars of Vishnu, the Hindu god of preservation. Vishnu is said to descend in form of an avatar to restore cosmic order. Vishnu is a member of hindu Trinity who preserves the cosmic order.

The Dashavataras or the incarnations were taken by Vishnu to re-establish dharma or righteousness and destroy tyranny and injustice on earth.

In the basic Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the Hindu god Vishnu is the preserver and protector of creation. Vishnu is the embodiment of mercy and goodness, the self-existent, all-pervading power that preserves the universe and maintains the cosmic order Dharma.

The Dashavataras of Lord Vishnu | Hindu FAQs
The Dashavataras of Lord Vishnu

Vishnu is often represented resting on the coiled serpent Shesha, with Vishnu’s consort Lakshmi massaging his feet. Vishnu never sleeps and is the deity of Shanti, the peaceful mood. Vishnu does not however tolerate Ego.

Most often, the Hindu god Vishnu is shown with four attributes or weapons. In one hand Vishnu holds the conch or Sankha. The second hand of Vishnu holds the disc. The third hand of Vishnu holds the club and in the fourth hand Vishnu holds the lotus or Padma. Vishnu also has a bow called Sarnga and a sword called Nandaka.

Most of the time, good and evil forces are evenly matched in the world. But at times, the balance is destroyed and evil demons get the upper hand. Often in response to a request by the other gods, Vishnu then incarnates in a human form to set the balance right again. 10 Vishnu incarnations are generally recognized as the most important Vishnu avatars, even though opinions differ naturally and some sources may also see other important figures of the indian heritage as incarnations of Vishnu.
As there are total 24 incarnations but these are considerred as main ten incarnations.

The list of Dashavatara varies across sects and regions.
The list is:
1. Matsya
2. Kurma
3. Varaha
4. Narasimha
5. Vamana
6. Parashurama
7. Rama
8. Krishna
9. Buddha
10. Kalki.
Sometimes, Krishna replaces Vishnu as the source of all avatars and Balarama takes Krishna’s place in the list. Buddha may be dropped from the list and substituted by regional deities like Vithoba or Jagannath, or Balarama.
The Dashavatara order is interpreted to convey Darwin’s evolution.
Yuga
The first four avatars of Vishnu i.e. Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha appeared in Satya or Krita Yuga, the first of the four Yugas, also called ‘The Golden Age’.
The next three avatars of vishnu i.e. Vamana, Parashurama, Ramaappeared in Treta Yuga,
The eighth and ninth avatars of Vishnu i.e. Krishna And Buddha in Dwapara Yuga.
And the tenth avatars of Vishnu i.e. Kalki will appear in Kali Yuga. The time till completion for Kali Yuga is in 427,000 years. In the Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavata Purana, the Kali-yuga is described as ending with the appearance of Kalki, who will defeat the wicked, liberate the virtuous, and initiate a new Satya or Kalki Yuga.

Lord Vishnu ViratRoop or Vishwaroop | Hindu FAQs
Lord Vishnu ViratRoop or Vishwaroop

Here is the list of 24 incarnations of Lord Vishnu:

  1. Adi Purush Avatar (pre-eminent man)
  2. Sanat Kumara – Brahma Manasaputra
  3. Varaha Avatar (boar incarnation)
  4. Narada Avatar
  5. Nara Narayana Avatar
  6. Kapila Avatar
  7. Dattatreya Avatar (Datta Avatara)
  8. Yagya Avatar – Yagna born to Prajapati and Akuti
  9. Rishabh Avatar – Rishabhadeva Avatar
  10. Prithu Avatar
  11. Matsya Avatar – Fish incarnation
  12. Kurma Avatar or Kachchap Avatar – Tortoise incarnation
  13. Dhanvantari avatar – the Lord of medicine
  14. Mohini avatar – incarnation as a most enchanting woman
  15. Narasimha avatar – incarnation in the form of half-man and half-lion
  16. Hayagreeva avatar – incarnation with horse face
  17. Vamana avatar – incarnation as a dwarf
  18. Parshurama avatar
  19. Vyas avatar – Veda Vyasa incarnation
  20. Sri Rama avatar
  21. Balarama avatar
  22. Sri Krishna avatar
  23. Buddha avatar
  24. Kalki avatar – Lord Vishnu will be incarnated as Kalki at the end of the Kaliyuga.

Next part, we will explain every Avatars of Lord Vishnu in detail and the Motive of the avatars along with the Relation with respet to the Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

Was first discovered by Hindus Ep II - Value of Pi - hindufaqs.com

Vedic mathematics were the first and foremost source of knowledge . Selflessly shared by ‪‎Hindus‬ to all around the ‪world‬. The Hindu FAQs Will now answer some discoveries around the world which may have existed in vedic hindusim. And as i always say, We wont judge, We will just write the article, its you who should know whether to accept it or reject it. We Need open mind to read this article. Read and learn about our unbelievable history . It will blow your mind ! ! !

But first, let me state Stigler’s law of eponymy:
“No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer.”

The ancient Indians secretive of their knowledge sonically encrypted mathematical formulas into their devotional hymns to Lord Shri Krishna and also recorded historical data in the codified lyrics. Obviously that was the base for the knowledge of encryption of datas also.

The oldest available evidence of the use of Kaṭapayadi System is from Grahacaranibandhana by Haridatta in 683 CE. It has also been used in Laghubhaskariyavivarana written by Sankaranarayana in 869 CE.

Hindu | FAQs
Some argue that the system originated from Vararuchi.In some astronomical texts popular in Kerala planetary positions were encoded in Katapayadi system. The first such work is considered to be the Chandra-vakyani of Vararuchi, who is traditionally assigned to the fourth century CE. Therefore, sometime in the early first millennium is a reasonable estimate for the origin of the Katapayadi System.

Katapaya table | Hindu FAQs
Katapaya table

Aryabhata, in his treatise Aryabhatiya, is known to have used a similar but more complex system to represent astronomical numbers.

Now, each letter of the group is numbered from 1 through 9 and 0 for the tenth letter. Thus, ka is 1, sa is 7, ma is 5, na is 0 and so on. So to indicate the number 356 for example one would try and come up with a word involving the third, fifth and sixth letters of the groups like “gaNitam” or “lESaca”.

However, in the Indian tradition, the digits of a number are written left to right in the increasing order of their place value – exactly opposite the way we are used to writing in the western way. Therefore 356 would be indicated using letters in the 6th, 5th, and 3rd positions of the group e.g. “triSUlaM”.

Here is an actual verse of spiritual content, as well as secular mathematical significance:

Lord Krishna with Radha | Hindu FAQs
Lord Krishna with Radha

 

“gopi bhagya madhuvrata
srngiso dadhi sandhiga
khala jivita khatava
gala hala rasandara”

The translation is as follows: “O Lord anointed with the yoghurt of the milkmaids’ worship (Krishna), O savior of the fallen, O master of Shiva, please protect me.”

Vowels make no difference and it is left to the author to select a particular consonant or vowel at each step. This great latitude allows one to bring about additional meanings of his choice. For example kapa, tapa, papa, and yapa all mean 11.

Now the interesting fact is that when you start numbering the consonants with the respective numbers from go = 3, pi = 1, bha =4 , ya = 1 , ma = 5 , duv = 9  and so on. you will end with the number 31415926535897932384626433832792.

Can you guess what the number represents???

This is the decimal equivalent of the ratio of  the circumference of a circle to its diameter, Which you call it as “pi” in modern calculations. The above number gives the accurate value of pi/10 correct to 31 decimal places. Isn’t it interesting???

Thus, while offering mantric praise to Godhead in devotion, by this method one can also add to memory significant secular truths.

Also not only did the code give pi up to 32 decimal places , but there was a secret Master key within the patterning of the 32 that could unlock the next 32 decimals of the pi, and so on. A trick to infinity…

The Code not only praised Krishna, it operated on another level as a dedication to Lord Shankara or Shiva.

Credits: This wonderful post is written by Mysteries Explored