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Lakshmi

Ashta Lakshmi (अष्टलक्ष्मी) are manifestations of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. It is said that these manifestations preside over eight sources of wealth which are prosperity, good health, knowledge, strength, progeny, and power.

The Eight Lakshmi or Ashta Lakshmi are:

1. Adi-Lakshmi or Maha Lakshmi (The Great Goddess)

Adi-Lakshmi or Maha Lakshmi

Adi-Lakshmi also known as Maha-Lakshmi or “The Great Lakshmi is a first form of Goddess Lakshmi. She is daughter of sage Bhrigu and wife of Lord Vishnu or Narayana. Aadi-Lakshmi is often depicted as the consort of Narayana living with him at his home in Vaikuntha.
2. Dhana-Lakshmi or Aishwarya Lakshmi (The Goddess of Prosperity and Wealth)

Dhana-Lakshmi

Dhana means wealth in the form of money or gold. It also represents inner strength, will power, talent, virtues and character. Dhana-Lakshmi represents intangible aspect of the human world. She is said to bless the followers with abundance of wealth and prosperity.

Also Check: Ashta Bhairav: The eight manifestations of Kaal Bhairav

3. Dhanya-Lakshmi (Goddess of Food grains)

Dhaanya-Lakshmi

The third forms of Goddess Lakshmi in Ashta-Lakshmi Dhanya Lakshmi. Dhanya is food grains – full of natural nutrients and minerals required for a healthy body and mind.
She is the giver of agricultural wealth and all-important nourishment for human beings.

4. Gaja-Lakshmi (The Elephant Goddess)

Gaja Lakshmi

The fourth forms of Goddess Lakshmi is Gaja-Lakshmi or “Elephant Lakshmi”. She was born out of Samudra Manthan. She is the daughter of the ocean. Myths have it that Gaja-Lakshmi helped Lord Indra regain his lost wealth from the depth of the ocean.
This form of Goddess Lakshmi is the bestower and protector of wealth, prosperity, grace, abundance and royalty.

5. Santana-Lakshmi (The Goddess of Progeny)

Santana Lakshmi

The fifth forms of Goddess Lakshmi is  Santana Lakshmi. She is the Goddess of progeny, the treasure of the family life. Worshipers of Santana Lakshmi are bestowed with the wealth of good children possessing with good health and a long life.

6. Veera-Lakshmi or Dhairya Lakshmi (The Goddess of Valor and Courage)

Veera Lakshmi

The sixth forms of Goddess Lakshmi is  Veera Lakshmi. As the names suggests (Veera = valor or courage). This form of Goddess Lakshmi symbolize of courage and strength, and power.
Veera-Lakshmi is worshiped to gain valor and strength and to overcome the difficulties of life, and lead a life of stability.

7. Vidya-Lakshmi (The Goddess of Knowledge)

Vidya Lakshmi

The Seventh forms of Goddess Lakshmi is Vidya Lakshmi. Vidya means knowledge as well as education.
This form of Goddess Lakshmi is the giver of knowledge of the arts and sciences.

8. Vijaya-Lakshmi or Jaya Lakshmi (The Goddess of Victory)

Vijaya Lakshmi

The Eighth forms of Goddess Lakshmi is Vijaya Lakshmi. Vijaya means victory. So, this form of Goddess Lakshmi symbolizes victory in all aspects of life. Vijaya-Lakshmi is worshiped to ensure all-round victory in every aspect of life.

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Women performing puja on dhanteras

Dhanteras is the first day of Diwali or deepavali Festival as celebrated in India. The festival is basically known as “Dhanatrayodashi” where the word Dhana means wealth and Trayodashi means 13th day of the month as per Hindu calendar.

Lighting diyas on dhanteras
Lighting diyas on dhanteras

This day is also known as “Dhanvantari Trayodashi”. Dhanvantari is an avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism. He appears in the Vedas and Puranas as the physician of the gods (devas), and the god of Ayurveda. People  pray to Dhanvantari seeking his blessings for sound health for themselves and/or others, especially on Dhanteras. Dhanvantari emerged from the Ocean of Milk and appeared with the pot of nectar during the story of the Samudra as stated in Bhagavata Purana.  It is also believed that Dhanvantari promulgated the practise of ayurveda.

Dhanvantari
Dhanvantari

On Dhanteras Hindus consider it auspicious to purchase gold or silver articles or at least one or two new utensils. It is believed that new “Dhan” or some form of precious metal is a sign of good luck.
business premises are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made colorful with traditional motifs of Rangoli designs to welcome the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity. To indicate her long-awaited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses. Lamps are kept burning all through the night.

Women performing puja on dhanteras
Women performing puja on dhanteras

There is a peculiar custom in Maharashtra to lightly pound dry coriander seeds (Dhane in Marathi for Dhanatrayodashi) with jaggery and offer as Naivedya (Prasad).

Hindus also worship Lord Kuber as the treasurer of wealth and bestower of riches, along with Goddess Lakshmi on Dhanteras. This custom of worshiping Lakshmi and Kuber together is in prospect of doubling the benefits of such prayers.

worshiping Lakshmi and Kuber together
worshiping Lakshmi and Kuber together

STORY: There is an interesting story behind celebrating the Dhanteras festival. It is considered that, once upon a time, King Hima’s sixteen year old son was destined to pass away just by the snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. His wife was very clever and she did not allow her husband to sleep on 4th day of the marriage. She arranges some gold ornaments as well as a lot of silver coins and made a large heap at the doorway of her husband. She also made light with the help of numerous lamps all around the place.

When Yama the God of death, came to her husband in the appearance of a snake, his eyes got sightless by the dazzling light of the lamps, silver coins and gold ornaments. So the lord Yama could not get entered into his chamber. Then he tried to ascend on top of the heap and started to listen the harmonious songs of his wife. In the morning, he silently went away. Thus, the young prince was saved from the clutches of death by the cleverness of his new bride, and the day came to be celebrated as Yamadeepdaan. Diyas or candles are kept blazing during the whole night in respect to the God Yama.

 

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diwali at golden temple -The Hindu FAQs

Diwali  or Deepavali is an ancient festival of India which is celebrated by Hindus. On this auspicious festival, the Hindu FAQs will share many posts related to this festival, its significance, the facts and stories related to this festival.

diwali 1 The Hindu FAQs
Diwali diyas and rangoli

So here are some stories related to what is the significance of diwali.

1.Goddess Lakshmi’’s Incarnation: The Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi incarnated on the new moon day (amaavasyaa) of the Kartik month during the churning of the ocean (samudra-manthan), hence the association of Diwali with Lakshmi.

2. The Return of the Pandavas: According to the great epic ‘Mahabharata’, it was ‘Kartik Amavashya’ when the Pandavas appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). The subjects who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.

3. Krishna Killed Narakaasur: On the day preceding Diwali, Lord Krishna killed the demon king Narakaasur and rescued 16,000 women from his captivity. The celebration of this freedom went on for two days including the Diwali day as a victory festival.

4. The Victory of Rama: According to the epic ‘Ramayana’, it was the new moon day of Kartik when Lord Ram, Ma Sita and Lakshman returned to Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana and conquering Lanka. The citizens of Ayodhya decorated the entire city with the earthen lamps and illuminated it like never before.

5. Vishnu Rescued Lakshmi: On this very day (Diwali day), Lord Vishnu in his fifth incarnation as Vaman-avtaara rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali and this is another reason of worshipping Ma Larkshmi on Diwali.

6. Coronation of Vikramaditya: One of the greatest Hindu King Vikramaditya was coroneted on the Diwali day, hence Diwali became a historical event as well.

7. Special Day for the Arya Samaj: It was the new moon day of Kartik (Diwali day) when Maharshi Dayananda, one of the greatest reformers of Hinduism and the founder of Arya Samaj attained his nirvana.

8. Special Day for the Jains: Mahavir Tirthankar, considered to be the founder of modern Jainism also attained his nirvana on Diwali day.

diwali at golden temple -The Hindu FAQs
diwali at golden temple -The Hindu FAQs

9. Special Day for the Sikhs: The third Sikh Guru Amar Das institutionalized Diwali as a Red-Letter Day when all Sikhs would gather to receive the Gurus blessings. In 1577, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid on Diwali. In 1619, the sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind, who was held by the Mughal Emperor Jahengir, was released from the Gwalior fort along with 52 kings.

 

Disclaimer: All images, designs or videos in this page are copyright of their respective owners. We don’t own have these images/designs/videos. We collect them from search engine and other sources to be used as ideas for you. No copyright infringement is intended. If you have reason to believe that one of our content is violating your copyrights, please do not take any legal action as we are trying to spread the knowledge. You can contact us directly to be credited or have the item removed from the site.

Shiva and Parvati as Ardhanarisvara

There is a concept of prakriti and purush in Hinduism. Its a bit tough to explain but let me try to explain you in short. (I will write a big post of prakriti and purush explaining each and every small details later)

Samkhya:  Samkhya or Sankhya is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy. Samkhya is strongly dualist.
It regards the universe as consisting of two realities, Pursha (consciousness) and Prakriti (matter).
a living being or Jiva is that state in which purusha is bonded to prakriti in some form. This fusion, state the Samkhya scholars, led to the emergence of buddhi (“spiritual awareness”) and ahankara (individualized ego consciousness).

The universe is described by this school as one created by Purusha-Prakriti entities infused with various permutations and combinations of variously enumerated elements, senses, feelings, activity and mind.

During the state of imbalance, one of more constituents overwhelm the others, creating a form of bondage, particularly of the mind. The end of this imbalance, bondage is called liberation, or moksha by Samkhya school of Hinduism.

Simplify:
Its a big topic, so i’ll just simplify it for you. Just learn this,
Prakriti = material reality and Purusha = spiritual reality

Material reality is to please our five senses.  Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell and touch are the five senses that we have. We work and do everything to please them. Every little and big thing you do in your life is to please one or all of these. From cleaning your house to visiting romantic places and to taste exotic foods.
Apart from this, material reality contains Art, Music, Sex, Pleasure, Prosperity, etc.

You will work hard, earn lot of money, your needs will increase, to keep up with them, you will work harder. It’s a loop. Human needs are unlimited, but the resources he have are always limited.
Material reality is impermanent; Sooner or later it withers away. Today you are eating the best food, tomorrow you may have a great financial loss and you won’t be able to afford what you can afford now. With this there comes a stage where you become restless, frustrated, pain, anxiety, stress, fear and all sorts of emotions.

So Now, Prakriti = material reality = Unstable

Purusha or spiritual growth is the ability to overpower these emotions so that one has the wisdom to appreciate and enjoy all things material without getting needy or clingy. One is happy when the material world favours us and not unhappy when it does not. This can only happen when material growth is accompanied by intellectual growth. Only intellectual growth can control emotional turmoil caused by dependence on material things.

So Now, Purusha = Spiritual reality = Stable

Prakriti Vs Purusha
Prakriti Vs Purusha

Ok i think you got the basic idea of Prakriti and Purusha. Now, Think of our human body. The heart is on the left side, so the side is unstable. and so that side i.e. the left side of a body is considered as Prakriti Side.
So eventually, the right side, being stable is Purusha Side.

Moving on, When any person wants to go to a temple, he want to go there to calm himself. Technically, to exit the material world and enter the Spiritual world.  So sit there, calm himself, to meditate, to pray. So if an individual wants to enter the spirituality i.e. the purusha, then why not to start from spiritual side of the body i.e. the purusha, the stable side, i.e the Right side..

Hope you got the answer.

Further info:

You can stop reading here. But if you are intrested in further understanding prakriti and purusha side, here is the small explaination.

Visit an temple or see any Hindu GOD’s photo. If the GOD’s right leg is on the ground, He or she represents the Purusha side.

Shiva and shakti are perfect blend of Purusha and Prakriti. SHIVA symbolises consciousness, the masculine principle.
SHAKTI symbolises the feminine principle, the activating power and energy.

Nataraja defines Purusha
Nataraja defines Purusha
Lord shiva meditating defines purushastha
Lord shiva meditating defines purushastha

In Ganesha’s Idol, even the tusk can tell you that that particular idol represents purusha side or Prakriti side.

This Idol of lord Ganesh signifies Purushartha
This Idol of lord Ganesh signifies Purushartha, as the tusk is on the right hand side of the idol’s body.

Likewise Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti

Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti
Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti.

Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha…

Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha
Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha.

and last but not the least, our Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.

Hindu Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.
Hindu Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.

Credits: Image credits to the real owners, Photographers, Artists, Pinterest and Google Images. The Hindu FAQs doesnot own any images.

Tridevi - the three supreme Goddess in Hinduism

The Tridevi (त्रिदेवी) is a concept in Hinduism conjoining the three consorts of the Trimurti (Great Trinity), that are personified by the forms of Hindu Goddesses: Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati or Durga. They are the manifestations of the Adi Parashakti, the Supreme Being and Divine Mother in Shaktism.

Saraswati:

Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge
Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge

Saraswati is the goddess of learning and arts, cultural fulfillment (consort of Brahma the creator). She is the cosmic intelligence, cosmic consciousness,and cosmic knowledge.

Lakshmi:

Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth
Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and fertility, material fulfillment (consort of Vishnu the maintainer or preserver). However, she does not signify mere material wealth like gold, cattle, etc. All kinds of prosperity, glory, magnificence, joy, exaltation, or greatness come under Lakshmi.

Parvati or Durga:

Durga
Durga

Parvati/ Mahakali (or in her demon-fighting aspect Durga) the goddess of power and love, spiritual fulfillment (consort of Shiva the destroyer or transformer). She also depicts the transformational power of divinity, the power that dissolves multiplicity in unity.

Credits:
Image credits to the real artists. The hindu FAQs does not own any Images.

Goddesses in Hinduism

Here is the list of 10 prime Goddesses in hinduism (no particular order)

Lakshmi:
Lakshmi (लक्ष्मी) is the Hindu goddess of wealth, love, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty. She is the wife and active energy of Vishnu.

Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth
Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth

Saraswati :
Saraswati (सरस्वती) is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning. She is a part of the trinity of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to create, maintain and regenerate-recycle the Universe respectively

Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge
Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge

Durga:
Durga (दुर्गा), meaning “the inaccessible” or “the invincible”, is the most popular incarnation of Devi and one of the main forms of the Goddess Shakti in the Hindu pantheon.

Durga
Durga

Parvati:
Parvati (पार्वती) is the Hindu goddess of love, fertility and devotion. She is the gentle and nurturing aspect of Hindu goddess Shakti. She is the mother goddess in Hinduism and has many attributes and aspects.

Parvati is the Hindu goddess of love, fertility and devotion.
Parvati is the Hindu goddess of love, fertility and devotion.

Kali:
Kali also known as Kalika, is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, shakti. She is the fierce aspect of the goddess Durga (Parvati).

Kali is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment
Kali is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment

Sita:
Sita (सीता) is the consort of the Hindu god Rama  and is an avatar of Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and wife of Vishnu. She is esteemed as a paragon of spousal and feminine virtues for all Hindu women. Sita is known for her dedication, self-sacrifice, courage and purity.

Sita is known for her dedication, self-sacrifice, courage and purity.
Sita is known for her dedication, self-sacrifice, courage and purity.

Radha:
Radha, which means prosperity and success, is one of the Gopis of Vrindavan, and is a central figure of Vaishnava theology.

Radha
Radha

Rati:
Rati  is the Hindu goddess of love, carnal desire, lust, passion and sexual pleasure. Usually described as the daughter of Prajapati Daksha, Rati is the female counterpart, the chief consort and the assistant of Kama (Kamadeva), the god of love.

Rati  is the Hindu goddess of love, carnal desire, lust, passion and sexual pleasure.
Rati is the Hindu goddess of love, carnal desire, lust, passion and sexual pleasure.

Ganga:
the river Ganges is considered sacred and is personified as a goddess known as Ganga. It is worshipped by Hindus who believe that bathing in the river causes the remission of sins and facilitates Moksha.

Goddess Ganga
Goddess Ganga

Annapurna :
Annapurna or Annapoorna is the Hindu goddess of nourishment. Anna means “food” or “grains”. Purna means “ful l, complete and perfect”. She is an avatar (form) of Parvati, the wife of Shiva.

Annapoorna is the Hindu goddess of nourishment.
Annapoorna is the Hindu goddess of nourishment

Credits:
Image credits to Google images, the real owners and artists.
(The Hindu FAQs does not owe any of these images)

Lord Rama and Sita | Hindu FAQs

Rama (राम) is the seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, and a king of Ayodhya. Rama is also the protagonist of the Hindu epic Ramayana, which narrates his supremacy. Rama is one of the many popular figures and deities in Hinduism, specifically Vaishnavism and Vaishnava religious scriptures in South and Southeast Asia. Along with Krishna, Rama is considered to be one of the most important avatars of Vishnu. In a few Rama-centric sects, he is considered the Supreme Being, rather than an avatar.

Lord Rama and Sita | Hindu FAQs
Lord Rama and Sita

Rama was the eldst son of Kausalya and Dasharatha, king of Ayodhya, Rama is referred to within Hinduism as Maryada Purushottama, literally the Perfect Man or Lord of Self-Control or Lord of Virtue. His wife Sita is considered by Hindus to be an avatar of Lakshmi and the embodiment of perfect womanhood.

Rama’s life and journey is one of adherence to dharma despite harsh tests and obstacles and many pains of life and time. He is pictured as the ideal man and the perfect human. For the sake of his father’s honour, Ram abandons his claim to Ayodhaya’s throne to serve an exile of fourteen years in the forest. His wife Sita and brother Lakshmana decide to join him, and all three spend the fourteen years in exile together. While in exile, Sita is kidnapped by Ravana, the Rakshasa monarch of Lanka. After a long and arduous search, Rama fights a colossal war against Ravana’s armies. In a war of powerful and magical beings, greatly destructive weaponry and battles, Rama slays Ravana in battle and liberates his wife. Having completed his exile, Rama returns to be crowned king in Ayodhya and eventually becomes emperor, rules with happiness, peace, duty, prosperity and justice a period known as Ram Rajya.
The Ramayana speaks of how the earth goddess Bhudevi, came to the creator-god Brahma begging to be rescued from evil kings who were plundering her resources and destroying life through bloody wars and evil conduct. The deva (gods) also came to Brahma fearful of the rule of Ravana, the ten-headed rakshasa emperor of Lanka. Ravana had overpowered the devas and now ruled the heavens, the earth and the netherworlds. Although a powerful and noble monarch, he was also arrogant, destructive and a patron of evil doers. He had boons that gave him immense strength and was invulnerable to all living and celestial beings, except man and animals.

Brahma, Bhumidevi and the gods worshipped Vishnu, the Preserver, for deliverance from Ravana’s tyrannical rule. Vishnu promised to kill Ravana by incarnating as a man the eldest son of Kosala’s king Dasharatha. Goddess Lakshmi took birth as Sita in order to accompany her consort Vishnu and was found by king Janaka of Mithila while he was ploughing a field. Vishnu’s eternal companion, the Shesha is said to have incarnated as Lakshmana to stay at his Lord’s side on earth. Throughout his life, no one, except a few select sages (among which are included Vasishta, Sharabhanga, Agastya and Vishwamitra) know of his destiny. Rama is continually revered by the many sages he encounters through his life, but only the most learned and exalted know of his true identity. At the end of the war between Rama and Ravana, just as Sita passes her Agni pariskha, Brahma, Indra and the gods, the celestial sages and Shiva appear out of the sky. They affirm Sita’s purity and ask him to end this terrible test. Thanking the avatar for delivering the universe from the grips of evil, they reveal Rama’s divine identity upon the culmination of his mission.

Another legend narrates that Jaya and Vijaya, the gatekeepers of Vishnu, were cursed by the Four Kumaras to be born on earth three lives; Vishnu took avatars each time to free them of their earthy existence. They as born as Ravana and his brother Kumbhakarna, who are both killed by Rama.

Also read: Some facts about Lord Rama

Initial days of Rama:
Sage Vishwamitra takes the two princes, Rama and Lakshmana, to his ashram, as he needs Rama’s help in slaying several Rakshasas that have been harassing him and several other sages living in the area. Rama’s first encounter is with a Rakshasi named Taataka, who is a celestial nymph cursed to take the form of a demoness. Vishwamitra explains that she has polluted much of the habitat where the sages reside and there will not be any contentment until she is destroyed. Rama has some reservations about killing a woman, but since Taataka poses such a big threat to the Rishis and he is expected to follow their word, he fights with Taataka and kills her with an arrow. After her death, the surrounding forest becomes greener and cleaner.

Killing Maricha and Subahu:
Vishwamitra presents Rama with several astras and sastras (divine weapons) that will be of use to him in the future, and Rama masters the knowledge of all the weapons and their uses. Vishwamitra then tells Rama and Lakshmana that soon, he along with some of his disciples, will perform a yagna for seven days and nights that will be of great benefit to the world, and the two princes must keep close watch for the two sons of Taadaka, Mareecha and Subahu, who will try to defile the yagna at all costs. The princes therefore keep a strong vigil for all of the days, and on the seventh day they spot Maricha and Subahu coming with a whole host of Raakshasas ready to pour bones and blood into the fire. Rama points his bow at the two, and with one arrow kills Subahu, and with the other arrow flings Mareecha thousands of miles away into the ocean. Rama deals with the rest of the demons. The yagna is completed successfully.

Sita Swayamwar:
Sage Vishwamitra then takes the two princes to the Swayamvara a wedding ceremony for Sita. The challenge is to string the bow of Shiva and shoot an arrow from it. This task is considered impossible for any ordinary king or living being, as this is the personal weapon of Shiva, more powerful, holy and of divine creation than conceivable. While attempting to string the bow, Rama breaks it in two. This feat of strength spreads his fame across the worlds and seals his marriage to Sita, celebrated as Vivaha Panchami.

14 years exile:
King Dasaratha announces to Ayodhya that he plans to crown Rama, his eldest child the Yuvaraja (crown prince). While the news is welcomed by everyone in the kingdom, the mind of queen Kaikeyi is poisoned by her wicked maid-servant, Manthara. Kaikeyi, who is initially pleased for Rama, is made to fear for the safety and future of her son Bharata. Fearing that Rama would ignore or possibly victimize his younger brother for the sake of power, Kaikeyi demands that Dasaratha banish Rama to a forest exile for fourteen years, and that Bharata be crowned in Rama’s place.
Rama being Maryada Purshottam, agreed to this and he leaves for 14 years exile. Lakshmana and Sita accompanied him.

Ravana kidnapped Sita:
Many pastimes took place while Lord Rama lived in the forest; however, nothing compared to when the Rakshasa king Ravana kidnapped His dear wife Sita Devi, whom He loved with all His heart. Laksman and Rama looked everywhere for Sita but could not find her. Rama thought of her constantly and His mind was distracted by grief due to her separation. He could not eat and hardly slept.

Shri Rama And Hanumana | Hindu FAQs
Shri Rama And Hanumana

While searching for Sita, Rama and Laksman saved the life of Sugriva, a great monkey king who was being hunted by his demoniac brother Vali. After that, Lord Rama enlisted Sugriva along with his mighty monkey general Hanuman and all the monkey tribes, in the search for His missing Sita.

Also read: Did Ramayana Actually Happen? Ep I : Real places from Ramayana 1 – 7

Killing Ravana:
With building a bridge over the sea, Rama with his vanaar sena crossed the sea to reach Lanka. There was a fierced battle between Rama and the Demon King Ravana. The brutal battle went on for many days and nights. At one point Rama and Laksman were paralyzed by Ravana’s son Indrajit’s poisonous arrows. Hanuman was dispatched to retrieve a special herb to heal them, but when he flew to the Himalaya Mountains he found that the herbs had hidden themselves from view. Undeterred, Hanuman lifted the whole mountaintop into the sky and carried it to the battlefield. There the herbs were discovered and administered to Rama and Laksman, who recovered miraculously from all their wounds. Shortly thereafter, Ravana himself entered the battle and was defeated by Lord Rama.

Animation of Rama and Ravana | Hindu FAQs
Animation of Rama and Ravana

Finally Sita Devi was released and great celebrations followed. However, to prove her chastity, Sita Devi entered into fire. Agni Dev, the god of fire himself, carried Sita Devi from within the fire back to Lord Rama, proclaiming to everyone her purity and chastity. Now the fourteen years of exile had ended and they all returned to Ayodyha, where Lord Rama ruled for many, many years.

Rama as per Darwin’s Theory of Evolution:
Finally, a society is evolved out of needs of humans to live, eat and co-exist. The society has rules, and is God-fearing and abiding. It is important to follow rules, rage and unsocial behaviour is cut down. Fellow humans are respected and people abide to law and order.
Rama, the complete man would be the Avatar that could be called as the perfect social human being. Rama respected and followed rules of the society. He would also respect the saints and kill those who would torment the sages and the oppressed ones.

Credits: www.sevaashram.net

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)

jagannath puri rath yatra - hindufaqs.com - 25 Amazing Facts about hinduism

Here are 25 Amazing facts about hinduism

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.

kalchakra in Hinduism | Hindu FAQs
kalchakra in Hinduism

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.

GSB Seva Ganesh Ganpati near King Circle Mumbai is one of richest Mandals | Hindu FAQs
GSB Seva Ganesh Ganpati near King Circle Mumbai is one of Richest Mandals

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.

Ankor Vat in Cambodia | Hindu FAQs
Angkor Vat in Cambodia

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.

Hindus Performing Yagna | Hindu FAQs
Hindus Performing Yagna

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.

Jagannath Rath Yatra | Hindu FAQs
Jagannath Rath Yatra

24. Hindus hold Ganga as the purest of all waters and believe that bathing in it can purify them of their sins.

Holy River Ganga or Ganges | Hindu FAQs
Holy River Ganga or Ganges

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.

kumbh Mela, Worlds biggest peaceful gathering | Hindu FAQs
kumbh Mela, Worlds biggest peaceful gathering

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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