1) Its in the stuti shlokas
2) As you want them to be.
Eg Ganesha. As described in Atharvashirsha
रक्तं लंबोदरं शूर्पकर्णकं रक्तवाससम्॥
रक्तगंधानुलिप्तांगं रक्तपुष्पैः सुपूजितम्॥
His Form is having a Beautiful Reddish Glow (Raktam), with a Large Belly (Lambodara) and with Large Ears like Fans (Shurpa Karna);
He is wearing Red Garments (Rakta Vasam),
His Form is annointed with Red Fragrant Paste (Rakta Gandha),
and He is worshipped with Red Flowers (Rakta Pushpa),
But people also use light colors like skin color etc. (2nd Image)
Eg 2: Saraswati (Stotra: Ya kundendu tushar)
या कुन्देन्दुतुषारहारधवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता
या वीणावरदण्डमण्डितकरा या श्वेतपद्मासना ।
या ब्रह्माच्युतशंकरप्रभृतिभिर्देवैः सदा पूजिता
सा मां पातु सरस्वति भगवती निःशेषजाड्यापहा ॥१॥
Translation Who is Pure White like Jasmine, with the Coolness of Moon, Brightness of Snow and Shine like the Garland of Pearls; and Who is Covered with Pure White Garments,
Whose Hands are Adorned with Veena (a stringed musical instrument) and the Boon-Giving Staff;
And Who is Seated on Pure White Lotus,
Eg 3: Surya (Sun)
लोहितं रथमारूढं सर्वलोकपितामहम् ।
Translation You are Reddish in colour, and mounted on a Chariot; You are the Grandfather of all persons.
Eg 4. Kalabhairaba (Stotra: Kalabhairav ashtak)
श्यामकायमादिदेवमक्षरं निरामयम् ।
Translation: Whose Body is Dark, Who is the Primordial Lord, Who is Imperishable and Who is beyond Diseases [of the World]
Eg 5: Krishna (Stotra: Sri Bala Mukundashtakam)
Translation: Who is like a Dark-Blue Lotus with Tender and Soft Body (Image 1)
But there are idols where krishna is fair. Its as per people prefer.
There are many characters who appears both in Ramayana and mahabharata. Here it the list of 12 such characters who appears in both Ramayana and Mahabharata.
1) Jambavanth: who was in Rama’s army wants to fight with Rama in Tretha yuga, fought with Krishna and asked Krishna to marry his daughter Jambhavathi. the king of bears in Ramayan, who plays a major role, during the building of the bridge, appears in the Mahabharat, technically speaking the Bhagavatam I would say. Apparently, during Ramayan, Lord Ram, was pleased with Jambavanth’s devotion and told him to ask for a boon. Jambavan being of slow understanding, wished for a duel with Lord Ram, which he granted, saying that it would be done in his next avatar. And that is the entire story of Symanthaka Mani, where Krishna goes in search of it, meets Jambavan, and they have a duel, before Jambavan finally recognizes the truth.
2) Maharishi Durvasa: who predicted the separation of Rama and Sita was the son of Maharishi Atri and Anasuya, visited the Pandavas in exile.. Durvasha gave a mantra to Kunti, the mother of eldest 3 Pandavas for getting children .
3) Narad Muni:Comes in many occasions in both stories. In Mahabharata he was one of the Rishis attended to Krishna’s peace talks in Hastinapur.
4) Vayu Dev: Vayu is father of both Hanuman and Bheema.
5) Vasishtha’s son Shakthi: had a son called Parasara and Parasara’s son was Veda Vyasa, who wrote the Mahabharata . So this means Vasishtha was the great grandfather of Vyasa. Brahmarshi Vasishtha lived from the time of Satyavrata Manu, to the time of Sri Rama. Sri Rama was Vasistha’s student.
6) Mayasura:the father of Mandodari and Ravan’s father in law, appears in the Mahabharat too, during the Khandava Dahana incident. Mayasura was the only one to survive the burning of the Khandava forest, and when Krishna finds this out, he lifts his Sudarshan Chakra to kill him. Mayasura however rushes to Arjun, who gives him refuge and tells Krishna, that he is now sworn to protect him. And so as a deal, Mayasura, himself an architect, designs the entire Maya Sabha for the Pandavas.
7) Maharishi Bharadwaja: Drona’s father was the Maharishi Bharadwaja, who was the pupil of Valmiki, who wrote Ramayana.
8) Kubera: Kubera, who is the elder half brother of Ravana, is also in Mahabharata.
9) Parshuram: Parushuram, who appeared in Ram and Sita marriage, is also Guru to Bhishma and Karna. Parshuram was in the Ramayan, when he challenged Lord Ram to break the Vishnu Dhanush, which also in a way, quelled his anger. In the Mahabharat he initially has a duel with Bhishma, when Amba seeks his help in taking revenge, but loses to him. Karna later poses as a Brahmin in order to learn about weapons from Parashuram, before exposing himself, and being cursed by him, that his weapons would fail him when he needed them the most.
10) Hanuman:Hanumanbeing the Chiranjivi( blessed with eternal life), appears in the Mahabharat, he also happens to be Bhim’s brother, both of them son of Vayu. The tale of Hanuman quelling Bhim’s pride, by appearing as an old monkey, when he was on the journey to get the Kadamba flower. Also another tale in the Mahabharat, of Hanuman and Arjun having a bet of who was stronger, and Hanuman losing the wager thanks to help of Lord Krishna, due to which he appears on Arjun’s flag during the Kurukshetra war.
11) Vibheeshana: Mahabharata mentions that Vibheeshana sent Jewell and Gems to Yudhisthira’s Rajasuya sacrifice. That is the only mention about Vibheeshana in Mahabharata.
12) Agastya Rishi: Agastya Rishi Met Rama before the war with Ravana. Mahabharata mentions that Agastya was the one who gave the weapon “Brahmashira” to Drona. (Arjuna and Aswatama had obtained this weapon from Drona)
Image credits to the Original artists and Google Images. The hindu FAQs does not own any Images.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
“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.
The Garuda Purana is one of the Vishnu Puranas. It is essentially a dialogue between Lord Vishnu and Garuda, the king of birds. The Garuda Purana deals with the particular issues of Hindu Philosophy connected with death, funeral rites and the metaphysics of reincarnation. One might find often that the Sanskrit word ‘Naraka’ is taken to be “hell” in most English translations of Indian texts. The Hindu concept of “Heaven and “Hell” are not quite the same as what we imagine them to be in popular culture today. The western concepts of Hell and Heaven roughly correspond to the Hindu equivalent of “intermediate states between birth and rebirth”. One chapter of the text deals with the nature of punishment that is prescribed for sinners of the extreme kind that inhabit middle earth.
These are all the deadly punishments mentioned in the text (called “The Torments of Yama”):
1.Tamisram (Heavy flogging) – Those who rob others of their wealth are bound with ropes by Yama’s Servants and cast into the Naraka known as Tamisram. There, they are given a thrashing until they bleed and faint. When they recover their senses, the beating is repeated. This is done until their time is up.
2. Andhatamtrsam (Flogging) – This Hell is reserved for the Husband or the Wife who only treat their spouses well when they are to profit or pleasure to them. Those who forsake their wives and husbands for no apparent reasons are also sent here. The punishment is almost the same as Tamisram, but the excruciating pain, suffered by the victims on being tied fast, makes them fall down senseless.
3.Rauravam (torment of snakes) – This is the hell for sinners who seize and enjoy another man’s property or resources. When these people are thrown into this hell, those whom they have cheated, assume the the shape of “Ruru”, a dreadful serpent. The serpent(s) will torment them severely until their time is up.
4. Mahararuravam (death by snakes) – Here there is also Ruru serpents but more fiercer. Those who deny the legitimate heirs, their inheritance and possess and enjoy others property will be squeezed and bitten non stop by this terrible serpents coiling around them. Those who steal another man’s wife or lover will also be thrown here.
5. Kumbhipakam (cooked by oil) – This is the hell for those who kill animals for pleasure. Here oil is kept boiled in huge vessels and sinners are plunged in this vessels.
6. Kalasutram (Hot as hell) – This hell is terribly hot. Those who don’t respect their elders esp. when their elders have done their duties are sent here. Here they are made to run around in this unbearable heat and drop down exhausted from time to time.
7. Asitapatram (sharp flogging) – This is the hell in which sinners abandon one’s own duty. They are flogged by Yama’s Servants with whips made of asipatra (sharp-edged sword-shaped leaves). If they run about under the flogging, they will trip over the stones and thorns, to fall on their faces. Then they are stabbed with knives until they drop unconscious, When they recover, the same process is repeated until their time is up in this Naraka.
8. Sukaramukham (Crushed and tormented) – Rulers who neglect their duties and oppress their subjects by misrule, are punished in this hell. They are crushed to a pulp by heavy beating.When they recover, it is repeated until their time is up.
9. Andhakupam (Attack of the animals) – This is hell for those who oppress the good people and not helping them if requested despite having the resources. They will be pushed into a well, where beasts like Lions, tigers, eagles and venomous creatures like snakes and scorpions. The sinners have to endure the constant attacks of this creatures until the expiry of the period of their punishment.
10. Taptamurti( Burnt Alive) – Those who plunder or steal Gold and jewels are cast into the furnaces of this Naraka which always remains hot in blazing fire.
11. Krimibhojanam (Food for worms)– Those who do not honour their Guests and make use of men or women only for their own gain, are thrown into this Naraka. Worms, insects and serpents eat them alive. Once their bodies are completely eaten up, the sinners are provided with new bodies, which are also eaten up in the above manner. This continues, till the end of their term of punishment.
12. Salmali (Embracing hot images)-This Naraka is intended for men and women who have committed adultery. A figure made of iron, heated red-hot is placed there. The sinner is forced to embrace it, while Yama’s servants flog the victim behind.
13. Vajrakantakasali-(Embracing sharp images) – This Naraka is the punishment for Sinners who have unnatural intercourse with animals. Here, they are made to embrace iron images full of sharp diamond needles that pierce through their bodies.
14. Vaitarani (River of Filth) – Rulers who abuse their power and adulterers are thrown here. It is the most terrible place of punishment. It is a river which is filled with human excreta, blood, hair, bones, nails, flesh and all kinds of dirty substances. There are various kinds of terrible beasts as well. Those who are cast into it are attacked and mauled by these creatures from all sides. The sinners have to spend the term of their punishment, feeding upon the contents of this river.
15. Puyodakam (Well of hell)– This is a well filled with excreta, urine, blood, phlegm. Men who have intercourse and cheat women with no intention of marrying them are considered like animals. Those who wander about irresponsibly like animals are thrown in this well to get polluted by it’s contents. They are to remain here till their time is up.
16. Pranarodham (Piece by Piece)– This Naraka is for those who keep dogs and other mean animals and constantly hunt and kill animals for food. Here the servants of Yama, gather around the sinners and cut them limb to limb while subjecting them to constant insult.
17. Visasanam (Bashing from Clubs) – This Naraka is for the torture of those rich people who look down at the poor and spend excessively just to display their wealth and splendour. They have to remain here at the whole term of their punishment where they will be bashed non stop from heavy clubs from Yama’s Servants.
18. Lalabhaksam (River of semen)– This is the Naraka for lustful men. The lascivious fellow who makes his wife swallow his semen, is cast into this hell. Lalabhaksam is a sea of semen. The sinner lies in it, feeding upon semen alone until his period of punishment.
19. Sarameyasanam (Torment from dogs) – Those guilty of unsocial acts like poisoning food, mass slaughter, ruining the country are cast into this hell. There is nothing but the flesh of dogs for food. There are thousands of dogs in this Naraka and they attack the sinners and tear their flesh from their bodies with their teeth.
20. Avici (turned into dust) – This Naraka is for those who are guilty for false witness and false swearing. There are hurled from a great height and they are utterly smashed into dust when they reached the ground. They are again restored to life and the punishment is repeated till the end of their time.
21. Ayahpanam(Drinking of burning substances)– Those who consume alcohol and other intoxicating drinks are sent here. The women are forced to drink melted iron in liquid form, whereas the men will be forced to drink hot liquid molten lava for every time they consume a alcoholic drink in their earthly lives.
22. Raksobjaksam (Revenge attacks) – Those who do animal and human sacrifices and eat the flesh after the sacrifice will be thrown in this hell. All the living beings they killed before would be there and they will join together to attacking, biting, and mauling the sinners. Their cries and complaints would be no avail here.
23. Sulaprotam (Trident Torture) – People who take the lives of others who have done no harm to them and those who deceives others by treachery are sent to this “Sulaportam” hell. Here they are impaled on a trident and they are forced to spend their whole term of their punishment in that position, suffering intense hunger and thirst, as well as enduring all the tortures inflicted on them.
24. Ksharakardamam (hanged upside down) – Braggarts and those who insult good people are cast into this hell. Yama’s servants keep the sinners upside down and torture them in many ways.
25. Dandasukam (eaten alive) – Sinners who persecute others like animals will be sent here. There are many beasts here. They will be eaten alive by this beasts.
26. Vatarodham (weapon torture) – This hell is for those who persecute animals which live in forests, mountain peaks and trees. After throwing them in this hell, sinners are tortured with fire, poison and various weapons during their time here in this Naraka.
27. Paryavartanakam (torture from birds) – One who denies food to a hungry person and abuses him is thrown here. The moment the sinner arrives here ,his eyes are put by being pierced the beaks of birds like the crows and eagles. They will be pierced later on by this birds till the end of their punishment.
28. Sucimukham (Tortured by needles) – Proud and Miserly people who refuse to spend money even for the basic necessities of life, like better food or buying food for their relations or friends will find their place in this hell. Those who do not repay the money they have borrowed will also be cast into this hell. Here, their bodies will be constantly be pricked and pierced by needles.
“The Guruda Purana is in the form of instructions to Garuda by Vishnu. This deals with astronomy,medicine, grammar, and with the structure and qualities of diamonds. This Puranais dear to Vaishnavites. The latter half of this Purana deals withlife after death” Its a must read…
Jarasandha (Sanskrit: जरासंध) was A badass villain from Hindu Mythology. He was the king of Magadha. He was the son of a Vedic king named Brihadratha. He was also a great devotee of Lord Shiva. But he is generally held in negative light owing to his enmity with the Yadava clan in the Mahabaratha.
Brihadratha was the king of Magadha. His wives were the twin princesses of Benares. While he led a content life and was a famed king, he was unable to have children for a very long time. Frustrated over his inability to have children, he retreated to the forest and eventually ended up serving a sage named Chandakaushika. The sage took pity on him and on finding the actual cause for his sorrow, gave him a fruit and told him to give it to his wife who in turn will soon become pregnant. But the sage did not know that he had two wives. Not wishing to displease either wife, Brihadratha cut the fruit in half and gave it to both of them. Soon both the wives became pregnant and gave birth to two halves of a human body. These two lifeless halves were very horrifying to view. So, Brihadratha ordered these to be thrown in the forest. A demoness (Rakshasi) named “Jara” (orBarmata) found these two pieces and held each of these in her two palms. Incidentally when she brought both of her palms together,the two pieces joined together giving rise to a living child. The Child cried loudly which created panic for Jara. Not having the heart to eat a living child, the demoness gave it to the king and explained him all that happened. The father named the boy as Jarasandha (literally meaning “joined by Jara”).
Chandakaushika arrived at the court and saw the child. He prophesied to Brihadratha that his son will be specially gifted and would be a great devotee of Lord Shiva.
In India, descendants of Jarasandh still exist and use Joriya (which means piece of flesh named after their ancestor, “jarasandha”) as their suffix while naming themselves.
Jarasandha became a famed and powerful king, extending his empire far and wide. He prevailed over many kings, and was crowned emperor of Magadha. Even while Jarasandha’s power continued to grow, he had concerns over his future & that of the empires, as he had no heirs. Therefore, on the advice of his close friend kingBanasura, Jarasandh decided to get his two daughters ‘Asti and Prapti’ married to the heir apparent of Mathura, Kansa. Jarasandha had also lent his army and his personal advise to Kansa to create a coup d’état in Mathura.
When Krishna killed Kansa in Mathura, Jarasandha become enraged because of Krishna and the entire Yadavas clan on seeing his two daughters being widowed. So, Jarasandha attacked Mathura repeatedly. He attacked Mathura 17 times. Sensing danger over the repeated attack on Mathura by Jarasandha, Krishna relocated his capital city to Dwaraka. Dwaraka was an island and it was not possible for anyone to attack it at all. Hence, Jarasandha could not attack the Yadavas anymore.
Yudhisthira was planning to make a Rajasuya yagna or Ashwamedha Yagna in order to become the emperor. Krishnaconvinced him that Jarasandha was the only obstacle to oppose Yudhisthira from becoming an emperor. Jarasandha raidedMathura (Krishna’s ancestral capital) and got defeated by Krishna every time. At one stage to avoid unnecessary loss of lives, Krishna moved his capital to Dwaraka, in one stroke. Since Dwaraka was an island city guarded heavily by Yadava Army, Jarasandha was not able to invadeDwaraka anymore. To attain the capacity to invade Dwaraka, Jarasandha planned to conduct a Yagna to please Lord Shiva. For this Yagna, He had imprisoned 95 kings and was in need of 5 more kings, after which he was planning to perform the Yagna, sacrificing all the 100 kings. Jarasandha thought that this Yagna will make him win the powerful Yadava Army.
The kings captured by Jarasandha wrote a secret missive to Krishna to rescue them from Jarasandha. Krishna, not wanting to go for an all out war with Jarasandha to rescue the captured kings, in order to avoid a major loss of lives, devised a plan to eliminate Jarasandha. Krishna advised Yudhisthira that Jarasandha was a major obstacle and must be killed before Yudhisthira starts performing the Rajasuya yagna. Krishna planned a clever scheme to eliminate Jarasandha by making Bheemawrestle with the Jarasandha in a dual fight, who killed Jarasandha after a fierce battle (Dwandwa yudha), which lasted for 27 days.
Like Karna, Jarasandha was also very good in giving charity donations. After performing his Shiva pooja, he used to give whatever the Brahmins asked for. On one such occasion Krishna, Arjuna and Bheema in the guise of Brahmins met Jarasandha. Krishna asked Jarasandha to choose any one of them for a wrestling match. Jarasandha chose Bheema, the strongman, to wrestle. Both of them fought for 27 days. Bheema did not know how to defeat Jarasandha. So, he sought the help of Krishna. Krishna knew the secret by which Jarasandha could be killed. Since, Jarasandha was brought to life when the two lifeless halves joined together, conversely, he can be killed only when these his body was torn into two halves and find a way as how these two don’t merge. Krishna took a stick, he broke it into two and threw them in both directions. Bheema got the hint. He tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw the pieces in two directions. But, these two pieces came together and Jarasandha was able to attack Bheema again. Bheema got tired after several such futile attempts. He again sought the help of Krishna. This time, Lord Krishna took a stick, broke it into two and threw the left piece on right side and the right piece on the left side. Bheema precisely followed the same. Now, he tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw them in opposite directions. Thus, Jarasandha was killed as the two pieces could not merge into one.
1. Hinduism is the world’s 3rd largest religion closely following Christianity and Islam. However, unlike the top 2 religions, 95% of Hindus live in a single nation! Source
2. If you ask a religious Hindu, when did Krishna or Rama live – they will give an answer like 50 million years ago or some other random big number. Actually, it doesn’t matter. Because, Hindus believe in a circular time (rather than the linear time concept in the Western world).
3. Each of our time cycles has 4 main periods – the Satya yuga (golden age of innocence), Tretha Yuga, Dwapara yuga and Kali Yuga. In the last stage, people get so filthy that whole thing is cleaned up and the cycle starts all over again.
4. Hinduism is the oldest of the major extant religions. Its fundamental book – Rig Veda was written over 3800 years ago.
5. Rig Veda was orally passed for 3500+ years in parallel. And yet, its current form has no major discrepancies. It is indeed a stupendous achievement that a major body of work can be orally passed between people in such a large nation with no loss in quality/content.
6. Unlike other major religions, Hinduism doesn’t consider the pursuit of wealth as a sin. In fact, we celebrate wealth in the form of many gods such as Lakshmi, Kubera and Vishnu. Hinduism has a 4 level hierarchy – Kama (pursuit of pleasures including sexual/sensual) – Artha (pursuit of livelihood , wealth and power), Dharma (pursuit of philosophy, religion and doing duties to society) and Moksha (liberation) and we progress from the top to bottom. This is very close to Maslow’s hierarchy and thus Hindus are natural capitalists.
7. Hinduism is the parent religion for 2 of the other major religions of South Asia – Buddhism and Sikhism. It is also closely associated with its sister religion – Jainism.
8. The holiest number for Hindus is 108. This is the ratio of Sun’s distance (from earth)/Sun’s diameter or Moon’s distance (from earth)/Moon’s diameter. Thus, most of our prayer beads have 108 beads.
9. Beyond India, Hinduism is the dominant religion of many exotic regions such as Nepal, Mauritius, Bali, second biggest religion of Fiji & Sri Lanka and at one point covered most of South east Asia – including Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia. Source
10. The Hindu epic of Mahabharatha – that is often used to teach the principles of Hinduism – is written in 1.8 million words long poem (10X the combined length of the Illiad and Odyssey)
11. Unlike all other major religions, we don’t have a founder or a prophet (like Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Mohammad or Buddha). According to Hindus, the religion has no origin (again coming back to the circular concept).
12. Unlike the popular Western conception, Yoga in Hinduism is not merely an exercise routine. It is one of the founding blocks of the religion.
13. The 4 most holiest animals for Hindus are the cow, elephant, snake and peacock (India’s national bird and a wagon of many Hindu gods) – 4 main animals of India.
14.The largest religious structures in the world – Angkor Vat in Cambodia were built by the Hindu kings of South East Asia.
15. Hinduism has no formal Institution – no Pope, no Bible and no central body.
16. Unlike Christians or Muslims, we go to the temple at any time, any day. There are no special Sabbath, Sunday congregations or Friday prayers.
17. Hindu scriptures are organized into Vedas (poems that written in multiple levels from abstract rural level and going deeper into cosmic universe), Upanishads (scientific discourses and arguments about the world), Brahmanas (manuals for ritual performances), Aranyakas (experiments done on human mind and nature in the forests), Puranas (mythologies about Hindu gods) and Itihasas (notebooks on “historical” events”).
18. Hindus don’t mourn for anything and believe that happiness is the highest form of religious achievement. Thus, unlike most other religions there is no sad festivals for us where we are supposed to mourn.
19. Fire & Light are among the holiest of offerings for Hindus. The concept of Yajna – offering things to fire – is considered one of the highest forms of worships in Hinduism. It symbolizes the idea that everything meets its end.
20. Hinduism’s holiest body of works – Rig Veda – talks of 33 main gods.Although most Hindus consider the Vedas as the holiest, none of those 33 gods are in mainstream worship now. Also READ: 330Million Hindu Gods
21. Unlike other major religions, Hindu scriptures ask a number of philosophical questions and is ok with “don’t know” answer for some of them. One of the critical body of these questions is the Prashna Upanishad. unfortunately most of us cannot understand the answer to the fundamental questions posted there.
22. Hindus strongly believe in rebirth and karma. That means my next birth will be determined by my actions of this birth.
23. Hindus hold big chariot processions to carry their gods during special occasions. Some of these chariots can be huge and marauding – sometimes killing people in their path when they lose control. The biggest one of all – Jagannath – gave the English dictionary term Juggernaut -meaning the unstoppable one.
24. Hindus hold Ganga as the purest of all waters and believe that bathing in it can purify them of their sins.
25. Kumbh Mela. It is considered to be largest peaceful gathering in the world with over 100 million people visiting during the Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013. Most of the sadhus and saints are said to be in samadhi and appear only to kumbh mela.
The holiest number for Hindus is 108. This is the ratio of Sun’s distance (from earth)/Sun’s diameter or Moon’s distance (from earth)/Moon’s diameter. Thus, most of our prayer beads have 108 beads.
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The seven immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hindu Mythology. Part 3
Vibhishana was the youngest son of Sage Vishrava, who was the son of Sage Pulatsya, one of the Heavenly Guardians. He (Vibhishana) was the younger brother of the Lord of Lanka, Ravana and King of Sleep, Kumbakarna. Even though he was born in the demon race, he was alert and pious and considered himself a Brahmin, since his father was intuitively such. Though a Rakshasa himself, Vibhishana was of a noble character and advised Ravana, who kidnapped and abducted Sita, to return her to her husband Rama in an orderly fashion and promptly. When his brother did not listen to his advice, Vibhishana joined Rama’s army. Later, when Rama defeated Ravana, Rama
crowned Vibhishana as the king of Lanka. In some period of history Sinhala people have considered Vibhishana as one of the Four Heavenly Kings (satara varam deviyo).
Vibhishana had a sattvik (pure) mind and a sattvik heart. From his early childhood, he spent all his time meditating on the name of the Lord. Eventually, Brahma appeared and offered him any boon he wanted. Vibhishana, said that the only thing he wanted was to have his mind fixed at the feet of the Lord as pure as lotus leaves (charan kamal).
He prayed that he should be given the strength by which he would always be at the feet of the Lord, and that he would receive the darshan (holy sight) of Lord Vishnu. This prayer was fulfilled, and he was able to give up all his wealth and family, and join Rama, who was Avatar (God incarnate).
After defeat of Ravana, Vibhishana was declared as the King of Lanka [present day Sri Lanka] by Lord Rama and was said to have been given the blessing of a long life to take good care of his kingdom of Lanka. However, Vibhishana was not a Chiranjeevi in real sense. By which I mean that his lifetime was only as long as the end of one Kalpa. [which is still a pretty long long time.]
6) Krupacharya: Kripa, also known as Kripacharya or Krupacharya is an important character in the Mahabharata. Kripa was an archer born to a sage and was a royal teacher of the Pandavas and Kauravas before Drona (the father of Ashwatthama).
Shardwan, Kripa’s Biological father, was born with arrows, making clear he was a born archer. He meditated and attained the art of all types of warfare. He was such a great archer that no one could defeat him.
This created panic amongst the gods. Especially Indra, the King of the Gods, felt the most threatened. He then sent a beautiful Apsara (divine nymph) from the Heaven to distract the celibate saint. The nymph, called Janapadi, came to the saint and tried to seduce him in various ways.
Shardwan was distracted and the sight of such a beautiful woman made him lose control. As he was a great saint, he still managed to resist the temptation and controlled his desires. But his concentration was lost, and he dropped his bow and arrows. His semen fell on some weeds by the wayside, dividing the weeds into two – from which a boy and a girl were born. The saint himself left the hermitage and his bow and arrow and went to the forest for penance.
Coincidentally, King Shantanu, the great-grandfather of the Pandavas, was crossing from there and saw the children by the wayside. One look at them was enough for him to realize that they were the children of a great Brahmin archer. He named them Kripa and Kripi and decided to take them back with him to his palace.
When Shardwan came to know of these children he came to the palace, revealed their identity and performed the various rituals which are performed for the children of Brahmins. He also taught the children archery, Vedas and other Shashtras and the secrets of the Universe. The children grew up to become experts in the art of warfare. The boy Kripa, who came to be known as Kripacharya, was now assigned the task of teaching the young princes all about warfare. On growing up Kripa was the chief priest at the court of Hastinapura. His twin sister Kripi married Drona, the weapons master to the court – who, like her and her brother, had not been gestated in a womb, but outside the human body.
He fought from the Kauravas during the war of Mahabharata and was one of the few surviving characters of post-war period. He later trained Parikshit, the grandson of Arjuna and son of Abhimanyu in the art of warfare. He was known for his impartiality and loyalty for his Kingdom. Lord Krishna granted him immortality.
One of the greatest (if not the greatest) revenge story has to be that of Shakuni taking revenge on the entire Kuru dynasty of Hastinapur by forcing them into Mahabharata.
Shakuni’s sister Gandhari, the princess of Gandhar (modern day Kandahar between Pakistan and Afghanistan) was married to Vichitraveerya’s eldest blind son Dhritrashtra. The kuru elder Bheeshma proposed the match and despite having objections Shakuni and his father were not able to refuse it.
Gandhari’s horoscope showed that her first husband would die and leave her a widow. To avert this, on an astrologer’s advice, Gandhari’s family married her to a goat and then killed the goat to fulfil the destiny and assumed that she could now go ahead and marry a human and since the person technically be her second husband, no harm will come to him.
As Gandhari was married to a blind man she made a vow to remain blindfolded the rest of her life.The marriage against his and his father’s wishes had been an insult to the kingdom of Gandhar. However, due to the might of Bheeshma and the strength of the Hastinapur kingdom father and son were forced to acquiesce to this marriage.
However, in the most dramatic fashion, the secret about Gandhari’s first marriage to the goat came out and this made both Dhritrashtra and Pandu really angry at Gandhari’s family – because they did not tell them that Gandhari was technically a widow.
To avenge this, Dhritrashtra and Pandu imprisoned all of Gandhari’s male family – including her father and her 100 brothers. Dharma did not allow killing prisoners of war, so Dhritrashtra decided to starve them slowly to death and would give only 1 fistful of rice for the entire clan everyday.
Gandhari’s family soon realised that they will mostly starve to death slowly. So they decided that the entire fistful of rice will be used to keep the youngest brother, Shakuni, alive so that he can take revenge on Dhritrashtra later. In front of Shakuni’s eyes, his entire male family, starved to death and kept him alive.
His father, during his last days, told him to take the bones from the dead body and make a pair of dice which would always obey him. This dice would later be instrumental in Shakuni’s revenge plan.
After the death of the rest of relatives, Shakuni did as he was told and created a dice that contained his father’s bones’ ashes
To achieve his goal Shakuni came to live with his sister in Hastinapur and never returned to Gandhar. Gandhari’s eldest son Duryodhana served as the perfect means for Shakuni to achieve this purpose. He poisoned Duryodhana’s mind against the Pandavas from an early age and goaded into schemes such as poisoning Bhima and throwing him in the river, the Lakshagraha (House of Lacquer) episode, the games of Chausar with the Pandavas that led to Draupadi’s disrobing and insult and eventually to the 13 year banishment of the Pandavas.
Finally, when the Pandavas returned Duryodhana, with Shakuni’s support, prevented Dhritrashtra from returning the kingdom of Indraprastha to the Pandavas, which precipitated into the war of Mahabharata and the deaths of Bheeshma, the 100 kaurava brothers, the sons of the Pandavas from Draupadi and even shakuni himself.
Karna’s Naga Ashwasena story is one of the few fascinating story in Mahabharata about Karna’s principles. This incident took place on the seventeenth day of the war of Kurukshetra.
Arjuna had killed Karna’s son, Vrishasena, in order to make Karna experience the pain that he himself had borne when Abhimanyu was brutally executed. But Karna refused to grieve his son’s death and continued to fight Arjuna in order to keep his word and fulfill Duryodhana’s destiny.
Finally when Karna and Arjuna came face to face, a serpent called Naga Ashwasena secretly entered Karna’s quiver. This serpent was the one whose mother was relentlessly burnt when Arjuna had set Khandava-prastha ablaze. Ashwasena, being in his mother’s womb at that time, was able to save himself from getting charred. Destined to avenge his mother’s death by killing Arjuna, he transformed himself into an arrow and waited his turn. Karna unknowingly released Naga Ashwasena at Arjuna. Realizing that this was no ordinary arrow, Lord Krishna, Arjuna’s charioteer, in his bid to save Arjuna’s life, sunk the wheel of his chariot in the ground by pressing his feet against its floor. This made the Naga, who was speedily advancing like a thunderbolt, miss his target and hit Arjuna’s crown instead, causing it to fall on the ground.
Disheartened, Naga Ashwasena returned to Karna and asked him to fire him towards Arjuna once again, this time making a promise that he would definitely not miss his target. After hearing Ashwasena’s words, this is what the mighty AngaRaj said to him:
“It is beneath my stature as a warrior to shoot the same arrow twice. Find some other way to avenge your family’s death.”
Saddened by Karna’s words, Ashwasena tried to kill Arjuna on his own but failed miserably. Arjuna was able to finish him off in a single stroke.
Who knows what would have happened had Karna released Ashwasena for the second time. He even might have killed Arjuna or at least would have injured him. But he upheld his principles and did not use the presented opportunity. Such was the character of AngaRaj. He was the man of his words and the epitome of morality. He was the ultimate warrior.
It didn’t develop in one shot and evolved over time by merging many different social groups. The caste system is not a well-defined entity, but an amorphous grouping of people with different origins that all got mixed over time.
Humans, like many other mammals, live in various social groups. We often build a web of relationship known as the Kinship. Initially we were all in small bands or tribes & we were not in close contact with other groups. As we kept coming together to form more complex societies, some wanted to organize & formalize the group.
Band – Bands are the smallest units. It is an informal group of a few dozen people who work together. It might not have a leader.
Clan – This is a slightly more matured group with a belief in a common origin & descent. In India, this roughly translates to Gotra. For instance, my family believes that we are descent of the 3 saints of Viswamitra-Ahamarshana-Koushika. Such clans were in most ancient human societies. The clans formed a strong kinship & bonding among themselves. Also, most clans thought of others in the clan as brothers/sisters & thus would not marry within the clan. The Khaps in Haryana take to this the extreme & can even give death sentences to those who marry within the clan.
Tribe – Mulitiple clans can come together to form a tribe & tribes can often be quite well structured. They can have their own leaders & build common cultural practices. In many ancient societies, people married within the same tribe. In short, you marry out of a clan and within a tribe. In India, this roughly corresponds to Jati.
Nations – Tribes formed even bigger groups named the nation. For instance, in the Battle of the Ten Kings the tribal groups formed the nation of Bhāratas that won over the confederation of 10 tribes in north India. Thus, we call our nation Bharat.
Division of labour – As we started forming civilizations, we also found it quite useful to divide work. Thus, some would produce milk, some would farm, others would weave etc. Like in other civilizations, India had this division of labor too. These divisions then got superimposed over the much older clan & tribal divisions.
Some of the tribes/jatis are as big as most nations. For instance, the peasant caste of Jats numbers about 83 million people – a little bigger than Germany & Mongolia combined. Other castes like Yadavs, Minas and Rajputs also have millions of people have built a formidable political force.
Building Social Hierarchies
Almost all societies eventually turned into building hierarchies in a pyramid system. The tribes had no ranking system before this & somehow people felt that there needs to be a rank. Such rankings are somewhat present in our mind always.
For instance, if you ask a kid to rank the professions of plumber, soldier, doctor and shopkeeper in terms of attractiveness/usefulness, he/she might instinctively say doctor > soldier > shopkeeper > plumber. We have some universal notions of the relative worth of different professions & this bias reflected in the social hierarchy.
Around 3500 years ago, the various tribes that were creating the Rig Veda was grappling with a way to organize all the different systems – since there were 100s of tribal groups & occupation groups. Rig Veda did it this way.
Brahmins (with all the different clans who were in priest related occupations) Kshatriyas (the warriors) Vaishyas (merchants) Shudras (workers)
Such a pyramid organization was not unique to the Rig Vedis. Plenty of societies around the world had stratified their society. Europe had Estates of the realm.
Egypt had 8 levels with more fine grained.
Japan also had 8.
Mesopotamia had 6.
While north India had a more formalized social stratification systems, south India didn’t get as formalized. It turned out to be quite binary – brahmins and non-brahmins. Only recently many jatis like Reddys, Thevars and Lingayats started grappling with where they fit into the varna system.
In short, there was no single system and people often made up the rules on the go. Many also used obscure texts like a 2000 year old Manu Smriti to define their position in the outdated hierarchy.
There are two major elements which were used for caste classifications
1. Varna – the mental state of an individual
2. Jati – the social segregation of an individual based on profession.
Jati is a derivative of Varna but the reverse is not true. Varna is supreme, Jati is just an indicator of the profession of a family branch, it has nothing to do with Karma. Varna is Karma, Jati is just a social classification which evolved later. Varna is more of a state of mind.
What is Varna?
Varna is simply the mental state of a subject. Varna is the “Why?”
A person of Shudra Varna always follows whatever is given. He never questions, he never argues, he never thinks on his own, he just “obeys” the master (Karta). He doesn’t see the big picture and is always keen on following.
Hanuman is of Shudra varna. He never questions Ram. He just does whatever is said. That is it. He can kill the whole Lanka army alone but he never does it. When his mother asked “Why?” he said – Because nobody told me to do so.
A person of Vaishya varna is a conditional follower which means, he will follow his master only on a given condition. He will not take initiative, but when ordered to do something, he will evaluate the orders and carry out actions only if it fits the condition.
Sugriva is of Vaishya varna. He agrees to help Ram only if Ram helps him first. If Ram did not kill Vali, Sugriva would’t have given his army to Ram.
Kshatriya Varna is someone who leads but again has conditions attached to why he is leading. He leads just for the sake of leading, not upholding the cause of leadership. He carries out action because he is more into the “Power” and “Glory” and not for the action alone.
Ravana and Duryodhana, both belong to Kshatriya varna. They are conditional leaders. Ravana leads just for the sake of preserving his ego and avenging the insult of Surpnakha. Duryodhana leads just for the sake of his personal enmity and abandons the greater cause of the kingdom. They are both “Conditional leaders”.
Brahmana varna is someone who lives for the greater objective and his leadership or action is focussed on “Dharma” and not personal goals. Rama and Krishna are both Unconditional leaders, who go above and beyond the call of duty to accomplish Dharma and attain the bigger goal. Rama abandons his Kingdom for his father, abandons his wife for the kingdom. Krishna is sharp focussed on establishing his goal and introduces “Adharmik principles” to restore Dharma. This is unconditional leadership, do whatever it takes to meet the end result and establish Dharma.
How Varna Shifts in One’s Life
When a man grows up, he is mostly of Shudra varna, unconditionally following whatever is told by parents, teachers and others.
Then he graduates to Vaishya varna wherein, he follows only when a condition is met (I want to do enginerring only if …..).
Then he graduates to Khastriya Varna wherein he takes up Karma just for the sake of Karma alone, without knowing what he is doing (a job or some trade to make ends meet).
Finally he is able to realize his true worth and do things he really wants to do in life (Brahmana varna).
Is Varna related to Birth?
No. Not at all.
A person of lowerly caste may very well be of “Brahmana” varna while a person of “higher” caste may be of Shudra varna.
Example – Consider a person from shudra Jati, who cleans people’s toilets. He is extremely devoted to his duty and performs every task with utmost perfection. He is an unconditional leader and his mission in life is to clean every single toilet in his area. So although he is “Shudra” by Jati, he is of “Brahmana” varna.
Example – Consider a person who is from “Brahmana” jati. He is a professor in a reputed institute but never performs his duty well. He just comes, gives lectures and notes, takes exams and passes every student. He is not concerned about the knowledge his students are getting, he is just following some “System”.
So despite being from the “Brahmana” jati, he is of “Shudra varna” – unconditional follower. He will simply do whatever is told to him, without caring about the consequences.
How Jati Comes from Varna? >> Behavior of the mind
Jati was introduced so that a person of specific Varna gets the profession he is most suited for. It is not the other way around.
A person of “Brahmana” varna was given a “Jati” of “Brahmana” so that society benefits from his behavior. An unconditional leader is best suited in institutes, so that people can learn from someone who knows the bigger objective and is determined to achieve it.
A person of “Khastriya” varna was given a “Jati” of “Khatriya” so that society benefits from that behavior. A conditional leader is better suited for administrative tasks, kingship, ruler..who can lead and protect the nation from foreigners and be advised by unconditional leaders (“brahmanas”)
A person of “Vaishya” varna was given a “Jati” of “Vaishya” so that societry benefits from the behavior. A conditional follower is better suited for trade and commerce and can help build the economy faster and provide goods and services, since he is more keen on “Following” the system.
A person of “Shudra” varna was given a “Jati” of “Shudra” so that society benefits from the behavior. An unconditional follower is better suited in the service of others and hence the person of “Shudra” varna is better utilized as clerks, officers and other day to day “Jobs”.
Alas, for the human race tweaked this concept and started abusing it. They abused it to that extent that now it is the exact opposite. A person with great thought and vision but born into a lower caste family is mostly neglected while a person born into a “Brahmin” family but no character or vision is given respect.
This is what Kaliyug has done to the vedic system of segregating talent in the society.
When Arjun and Duryodhan, had both gone to meet Krishna before Kurukshetra, the former went in later, and seeing the latter at his head, he sat at Krishna’s feet. Krishna woke up and then gave them the choice of either his entire Narayana Sena, or he himself as charioteer on a condition, that he would neither fight nor hold any weapon. And he gave Arjun, the chance to select first, who then choose Krishna as his charioteer. Duryodhan could not believe his fortune, he had wanted the Narayana Sena, and he got it on a platter, he felt Arjun was plain foolish. Little did Duryodhan realize that while he got the physical powers, the mental and spiritual power was with Arjun. There was a reason why Arjun choose Krishna, he was the person who provided the intelligence,the guidance, and he knew the weakness of every warrior in the Kaurava camp.
Apart from that the bonding between Arjun and Krishna, goes a long way back too. The entire concept of Nar and Naryana, and the former needing the guidance from the latter. While Krishna had always been the well wisher of the Pandavas, guiding them at all times, he had a special bonding with Arjun, both being great friends. He guided Arjun during the Khandava Dahanam, in his battle with the Gods, and later he ensured his sister Subhadra was married to Arjun, when his brother Balaram wanted to marry her to Duryodhan.
Arjun was the best warrior in the Pandava side, Yudhistir while being the most wise among them, was not exactly a “great warrior”, who could take on Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Karna, it was only Arjun who was an equal match to them. Bheem was all brute force, and while that was needed, for physical and mace combat with the likes of Duryodhan and Dushashan, he could not have been effective in handling Bheeshma or Karna. Now while Arjun was the finest warrior ever, he also needed strategic advice, and that was where Krishna came in. Unlike physical combat, battle in archery needed quick reflexes, strategic thought, planning, and this is where Krishna was an invaluable asset.
Krishna knew that only Arjun could face Bheeshma or Karna or Drona on equal terms, but he also knew that he like any other human beings, had this internal conflict. Arjun faced an internal conflict over fighting with his beloved grandsire Bheeshma or his Guru Drona, to kill or not kill, and that is where Krishna came up with the entire Gita, the concept of Dharma, destiny and doing your duty. In the end it was Krishna’s guidance that made the entire difference to the Kurukshetra war.
There is an incident when Arjuna goes overconfident and then Krishna tells him – “Hey Parth, don’t be overconfident. If I was not here, your chariot would have been blown away long ago due to the damage done by Bheesma, Drona and Karna. You are facing the best athimaharathis of all times and they do not have the armor of Narayana”.
Krishna was always closer to Arjuna than Yudishtra. Krishna made his sister marry Arjuna, not Yudishtra, when Balarama planed to have her married to Druyodana. Also, when Aswathama asked for the Sudarshana Chakra from Krishna, Krishna told him that even Arjuna, who was his dearest person in the world, who was even dearer to him than his wives and kids, never asked that weapon. This shows Krishna’s closeness to Arjuna.
Krishna had to protect Arjuna from Vaishnavastra. Bhagadatta had the Vaishnavastra which would kill the enemy for sure. When Bhagadatta sent that weapon to Kill Arjuna, Krishna stood up and took that weapon around his neck as a Garland. (It was Krishna who gave that Vaishnavastra, the personal astra of Vishnu to Bhagadatta’s mother after Killing Narakasura, who was the father of Bhagadatta.)
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Karna attaches an arrow to his bow, pulls back and releases – the arrow is aimed at Arjun’s heart. Krishna, Arjun’s Charioteer, drives by sheer force the chariot into the ground several feet. The arrow hits Arjun’s headgear and knocks it off. Missing its target – Arjuna’s heart.
Krishna yells, “Wow! Nice shot, Karna.”
Arjuna asks Krishna, ‘Why are you praising Karna?’
Krishna tells Arjun, ‘Look at you! You have Lord Hanuman on the flag of this chariot. You have me as your charioteer. You received the blessings of Ma Durga and your Guru, Dronacharya before the battle, have a loving Mother and an aristocratic heritage. This Karna has nobody, his own charioteer, Salya belittles him, his own Guru (Parusurama) cursed him, his Mother abandoned him when he was born and he has no known heritage. Yet, look at the battle he’s giving you. Without me and Lord Hanuman on this chariot, where would you be?’
Comparison between Krishna and Karna on various occasions. Some of them are Myths while some are pure facts.
1. Immediately after Krishna’s birth, he was transported across the river by his father, Vasudeva to be brought up by his step-parents – Nanda & Yasoda
Immediately after Karna’s birth, his Mother – Kunti placed him in a basket on the river. He was transported to his step-parents – Adhiratha & Radha – by the watchful eye of his father, Surya Dev
2. Karna’s given name was – Vasusena
– Krishna was also called – Vasudeva
3. Krishna’s mother was Devaki, his Step-Mother – Yasoda, His Chief Wife – Rukmini, yet he is remembered mostly for his lila with Radha. ‘Radha-Krishna’
– Karna’s birth mother was Kunti, and even after finding out she was his mother – He told Krishna that he will not be called – Kaunteya – son of Kunti, but will be remembered as Radheya – Son of Radha. Till date, the Mahabharata refers to Karna as ‘Radheya’
4. Krishna was asked by his people – Yadavas- to become, King. Krishna refused and Ugrasena was King of the Yadavas.
– Krishna asked Karna to become Emperor of India (BharataVarsha- Extending to Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan at the time), thereby preventing the MahaBharat War. Krishna argued that Karna being elder to both Yudhisthira & Duryodhana – he would be the rightful heir to the throne. Karna refused the Kingdom on account of principle
5. Krishna broke his vow of not picking up a weapon during the War, when he impulsively rushed at Bhishma Dev with his Chakra.
Krishna rushing towards Bhishma with his Chakra
6. Krishna vowed to Kunti that all 5 Pandavas were under his protection
– Karna vowed to Kunti that he would spare the lives of 4 Pandavas and battle Arjuna (In the War, Karna had a chance to kill – Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula & Sahadeva at different intervals. Yet, he spared their lives)
7. Krishna was born in the Kshatriya caste, yet he played the role of Arjuna’s charioteer in the War
– Karna was raised in the Suta (Charioteer) caste, yet he played the role of a Kshatriya in the War
8. Karna was cursed to his Death by his Guru – Rishi Parusharam for deceiving him for being a Brahmin (In actuality, Parusharam knew about Karna’s true heritage – however, he also knew the big picture that was to be played out later. Aside from that – along w/ Bhishma Dev, Karna was his favorite disciple)
– Krishna was cursed to his Death by Gandhari as she felt he allowed the War to unfold and could have done more to prevent it.
9. Draupadi called Krishna her Sakha (Brother) & loved him openly. (Krishna cut his finger from the Sudarshan Chakra and Draupadi immediately tore a piece of cloth from her favorite sari that she was wearing, soaked it in water and rapidly wrapped it around his finger to stop the bleeding. When Krishna said, ‘That is your favorite Sari!’. Draupadi smiled and shrugged her shoulders as if it was no big deal. Krishna was touched by this – hence when she was being stripped by Dushashana in the Assembly Hall – Krishna by his maya supplied Draupadi with never ending Saris.)
– Draupadi loved Karna secretly. He was her hidden crush. When Dushashana strips Draupadi of her sari in the Assembly Hall. Which Krishna replenished one by one (Bhima had once told Yudhisthira, ‘Brother, do not give Krishna your sins. He multiplies everything.’)
10. Prior to the War, Krishna was looked upon with great respect and reverence. Even among the Yadavas, they knew Krishna was great, nay The Greatest…yet, they didn’t know his Divinity. Very few knew for sure who Krishna was. After the War, many Rishis and people were angry with Krishna as they felt he could have prevented the atrocity and millions of deaths.
– Prior to the War, Karna was looked upon as an instigator and right-hand man of Duryodhana – jealous of the Pandavas. After the war, Karna was looked upon with reverence by the Pandavas, Dhritarashtra & Gandhari. For his endless sacrifice & they were all sad that Karna had to face such ignonimity his whole life
11. Krishna/Karna had an enormous amount of respect for each other. Karna somehow knew about Krishna’s divinity and surrendered himself to his Lila. Whereas, Karna surrendered to Krishna & gained glory – Ashwattama could not accept the manner in which his father, Dronacharya was slayed and unleashed a vicious guerrilla warfare against the Panchalas – men, women & children. Ending up being a bigger villain than Duryodhana.
12. Krishna asked Karna how he knew the Pandavas would Win the MahaBharat War. To which Karna responded, ‘Kurukshethra is a sacrificial field. Arjuna is the Head Priest, You-Krishna are the presiding deity. Myself (Karna), Bhishma Dev, Dronacharya and Duryodhana are the sacrifice.’
Krishna ended their conversation by telling Karna, ‘You are the best of the Pandavas.’
13. KARNA is the creation of Krishna to show the world the true meaning of sacrifice and to accept your fate. And in spite of all the bad luck or bad times you come across maintain: Your Spirituality, Your Generosity, Your Nobility, Your Dignity and Your Self- Respect and Respect for others.
Five thousand years ago, the Kurukshetra war, between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, was the mother of all battles. Nobody could remain neutral. You had to be either on the Kaurava side or the Pandava side. All the kings – hundreds of them – aligned themselves on one side or the other. The king of Udupi however chose to remain neutral. He spoke to Krishna and said, ‘Those who fight battles have to eat. I will be the caterer for this battle.’
Krishna said, ‘Fine. Somebody has to cook and serve so you do it.’ They say over 500,000 soldiers had gathered for the battle. The battle lasted 18 days, and every day, thousands were dying. So the Udupi king had to cook that much less food, otherwise it would go waste. Somehow the catering had to be managed. If he kept cooking for 500,000 people it wouldn’t work. Or if he cooked for less, soldiers would go hungry.
The Udupi king managed it very well. The amazing thing was, every day, the food was exactly enough for all the soldiers and no food was wasted. After a few days, people were amazed, ‘How is he managing to cook the exact amount of food!’ No one could know how many people had died on any given day. By the time they could have taken account of these things, the next day morning would have dawned and again it was time to fight. There was no way the caterer could know how many thousands had died each day, but every day he cooked exactly the volume of food necessary for the rest of the armies. When someone asked him, ‘How do you manage this?’ the Udupi king replied, ‘Every night I go to Krishna’s tent.
Krishna likes to eat boiled groundnuts in the night so I peel them and keep them in a bowl. He eats just a few peanuts, and after he is done I count how many he has eaten. If it’s 10 peanuts, I know tomorrow 10,000 people will be dead. So the next day when I cook lunch, I cook for 10,000 people less. Every day I count these peanuts and cook accordingly, and it turns out right.’ Now you know why Krishna is so nonchalant during the whole Kurukshetra war.
Many of the Udupi people are caterers even today.
1. “We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”
2. “He alone sees truly who sees the Lord the same in every creature…seeing the same Lord everywhere, he does not harm himself or others.”
3. “It is better to perform one’s own duties imperfectly than to master the duties of another. By fulfilling the obligations he is born with, a person never comes to grief.”
4. “No one should abandon duties because he sees defects in them. Every action, every activity, is surrounded by defects as a fire is surrounded by smoke.”
5. “Reshape yourself through the power of your will…
Those who have conquered themselves…live in peace, alike in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, praise and blame…To such people a clod of dirt, a stone, and gold are the same…Because they are impartial, they rise to great heights.”
6. “The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results.”
7. “It is better to strive in one’s own dharma than to succeed in the dharma of another. Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own dharma. But competition in another’s dharma breeds fear and insecurity.”
8. “The demonic do things they should avoid and avoid the things they should do… Hypocritical, proud, and arrogant, living in delusion and clinging to their deluded ideas, insatiable in their desires, they pursue unclean ends… Bound on all sides by scheming and anxiety, driven by anger and greed, they amass by any means they can a hoard of money for the satisfaction of their cravings… Self-important, obstinate, swept away by the pride of wealth, they ostentatiously perform sacrifices without any regard for their purpose. Egotistical, violent, arrogant, lustful, angry, envious of everyone, they abuse my presence within their own bodies and in the bodies of others.”
9. “Abandon all attachment to the results of action and attain supreme peace.”
10. “Those who eat too much or eat too little, who sleep too much or sleep too little, will not succeed in meditation. But those who are temperate in eating and sleeping, work and recreation, will come to the end of sorrow through meditation.”
Jayadratha was the son of Vridhakshtra, king of Sindhu (present day Pakistan) and was the brother in law of the Kaurava prince, Duryodhana. He had married Dushshala, the only daughter of Dhritarastra and Gandhari.
One day when the Pandavas were in their vanavaas, the brothers went into the forest to collect fruits,wood, roots etc. Seeing Draupadi alone and enamored by her beauty, Jayadratha approached her and proposed to marry her even after coming to know that she was the wife of the Pandavas. When she refused to comply, he took the hasty decision of abducting her and started moving towards Sindhu. The Pandavas in the meantime learnt of this ghastly act and came in for Draupadi’s rescue. Bhima thrashes down Jayadratha but Draupadi prevents Bhima from killing him as she doesn’t want Dushshala to become a widow. Instead she requests that his head be shaved and he be set free so that he doesn’t dare ever commit an act of transgression against another woman.
To avenge his humiliation, Jayadratha conducts severe penance in order to please Lord Shiva, who granted him a boon in the form of a garland which will hold all the Pandavas at bay for one day. While this was not the boon that Jayadratha wanted, he accepted it nevertheless. Not satisfied, he went and prayed to his father Vridhakshtra who blesses him that whoever causes the head of Jayadratha to fall on the ground will be immediately killed by having his own head burst into a hundred pieces.
With these boons, Jayadratha was an able ally to the Kauravas when the Kurukshetra war began. Using the powers of his first boon, he managed to keep all the Pandavas at bay, except for Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna who were battling Trigartas elsewhere on the battlefield. On this day, Jayadratha waited for Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu to enter the Chakravyuha and then blocked the exit knowing fully well that the young warrior did not know how to exit the formation. He also prevented mighty Bhima along with his other brothers from entering the Chakravyuha for Abhimanyu’s rescue. After being brutally and treacherously killed by the Kauravas, Jayadratha then goes on to kick the dead body of Abhimanyu and rejoices by dancing around it.
When Arjuna returns to the camp that evening and hears of his son’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, he becomes unconcious. Even Krishna could not check his tears, hearing about the death of his favourite Nephew. After gaining conciousness Arjuna vows to kill Jayadratha the very next day before sunset, failing which he would kill himself by entering into blazing fire along with his Gandiva. Hearing of this vow of Arjuna, Dronacharya arranges a complicated battle formation the next day to achieve two objectives, one was to protect Jayadratha and two was to enable Arjuna’s death which so far none of the Kaurava warriors had even gotten close to achieving in normal battle.
The next day, despite a full day of fierce fighting when Arjuna is unable to get to Jaydratha, Krishna realizes that he would need to resort to unconventional tactics to achieve this objective. Using his divine powers, Krishna masks the sun thus creating a solar eclipse in order to create the illusion of sunset. The entire Kaurava army rejoiced at the fact that they had managed to keep Jayadratha safe from Arjuna and also at the fact that Arjuna now would be forced to kill himself to follow his vow.
Elated, Jayadratha also appears in front of Arjuna and laughs at his defeat and starts dancing around joyously. At this moment, Krishna unmasks the sun and sun appears in the sky. Krishna points Jayadratha to Arjuna and reminds him of his vow. In order to prevent his head from falling to the ground, Krishna asks Arjuna to shoot cascading arrows in a sustained manner so that Jayadratha’s head is carried over from the battlefield in Kurukshetra and travels all over to the Himalyas such that it falls on the lap of his father Vridhakshtra who was meditating there.
Disturbed by the head falling on his lap, Jayadratha’s father gets up, the head drops to the ground and immediately Vridhakshtra’s head bursts into a hundred pieces thus fulfilling the boon that he had given his son years ago.