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Stotra on Sri Kartikeya

Sankrit: योगीश्वरो महासेनः कार्तिकेयोऽग्निनंदनः । स्कंदः कुमारः सेनानीः स्वामी शंकरसंभवः ॥१॥ Translation: Yogiishvaro Mahaa-Senah Kaartikeyo[a-Aa]gni-Nandanah | Skandah Kumaarah Senaaniih Svaamii Shankara-Sambhavah ||1|| Meaning: 1.1: (Salutations to Sri Kartikeya) Who is a Master Yogi, Who is

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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)

What are some facts about Lord Rama? - hindufaqs.com

Lion on the battlefield
Rama is often depicted as a very soft-natured person but on the battlefield his shourya-parakrama are unbeatable. He is truly a warrior at heart. After Shoorpanaka’s episode, 14000 warriors march past to attack Rama. Instead of seeking help from Lakshmana in the war, he gently asks Lakshmana to take Seetha and relax in the nearby cave. Seetha on the other hand is quite stunned, for she has never seen Rama’s dexterity at war. With enemies all around him, he fights the whole war himself standing at the center with 1 : 14,000 ratio, while Seetha who watches all this from the cave eventually realizes that her husband is a one-man-army, One has to read the Ramayana to understand the beauty of this episode.

Embodiment of Dharma – Ramo Vigrahavan Dharmaha!
He is a manifestation of dharma. He knows not just the code of conduct but also the dharma-sookshmas (subtleties of dharma). He quotes them many a times to various people,

  • While leaving Ayodhya, Kausalya requests him in various ways to stay back. With lot of affection, she even tries to take advantage of his nature of adhering to dharma by saying that it is the son’s duty according to dharma to fulfill the wishes of his mother. In this manner, she asks him that isn’t it against dharma for Rama to leave Ayodhya? Rama replies detailing further dharma that it is certainly one’s duty to fulfill his mother’s wishes but dharma also has it that when there is a contradiction between mother’s wish and father’s wish, the son must follow the father’s wish. This is a dharma sookshma.
  • Shot by arrows in chest, Vali questions, “Rama! You are renowned as the embodiment of dharma. How is it that you being such a great warrior have failed to follow the conduct of dharma and shot me from behind the bushes?” Rama explains so, “My dear Vali! Let me give you the reasoning behind it. Firstly, you acted against dharma. As a righteous kshatriya, I have acted against evil which is my foremost duty. Secondly, In accordance with my dharma as a friend to Sugreeva, who has taken refuge in me, I lived up to my promise I made to him and thus fulfilled dharma again. Most importantly, you are the king of monkeys. As per the rules of dharma, it is not unrighteous for a Kshatriya to hunt and kill an animal either straight ahead or from behind. So, punishing you is totally justifiable according to dharma, more so because your conduct is against the tenets of laws.”
Rama and Vali | Hindu FAQs
Rama and Vali
  • During the initial days of exile, Seetha asks Rama detailing the dharma of exile. She tells, “During the time of exile one has to conduct himself peacefully like an ascetic, So is it not against dharma that you carry your bows and arrows during exile?” Rama replies with further insights into the dharma of exile, “Seetha! One’s swadharma (own dharma) takes higher priority than the dharma that has to be followed according to the situation. My foremost duty (swadharma) is to protect people and dharma as a kshatriya, so according to the tenets of dharma, this takes the top most priority in spite of the fact that we are in exile. In fact, I am even ready to give up on you, who are my most beloved, but I will never give up on my swadharmanushtana. Such is my adherence to dharma. So it is not incorrect for me to carry bows and arrows in spite of being in exile.”  This episode happened during the vanvas. These words of Rama show his steadfast devotion to dharma. They also give us an insight into what could have been Rama’s mental state when he was forced to place his duty as a king even higher than his duty as a husband (i.e during the times of agnipareeksha and Seetha’s exile later) as per the rules of dharma.These are some instances in Ramayana that depict that Rama’s every  single move was taken after considering all the subtleties of dharma which is often obscure and misunderstood by most of the people.

Embodiment of Compassion
Even when Vibheeshana took refuge in Rama, Some of the vanaras were so hot blooded that they insisted Rama to kill Vibheeshana because he was from the enemy side. Rama sternly replied back to them, “I will never forsake the one who has taken refuge in me! Forget Vibheeshana! I will even save Ravana if he takes refuge in me.” (And thus follows the quote, Sree Raama Raksha, Sarva Jagath Raksha)

Vibheeshana joining Rama | Hindu FAQs
Vibheeshana joining Rama


Devoted Husband
Rama was deeply in love with Seetha by heart, mind and soul. Despite having the option to marry again, he chose to remain with her forever. He was so in love with Seetha that when she was kidnapped by Ravana, he writhed in pain wailing Seethaa Seethaa falling on ground crying like a mad man even in front of the vanaras totally forgetting all his stature as a king. In fact, In Ramayana it is mentioned many times that Rama often shed so many tears for Seetha that he lost all his strength in crying and often fell down unconscious.

Finally, Efficacy of Rama Nama
It is said that chanting the name of Rama burns away the sins and confers peace. There is also a hidden mystic meaning behind this connotation. According to mantra shastra, Ra is an Agni beeja which embeds within it the fire principle when uttered burns (sins) and Ma corresponds to the Soma principle which when uttered cools (confers peace).

Chanting Rama nama accounts to chanting the whole Vishnu Sahasranama (1000 names of Vishnu). According to Sanskrit scriptures, there is a principle in which sounds and letters are associated with their corresponding numbers. According to it,

Ra denotes number 2 (Ya – 1,  Ra – 2,  La – 3, Va – 4 … )
Ma denotes number 5 (Pa – 1, Pha – 2, ba – 3, Bha – 4, Ma – 5)

So Rama – Rama – Rama becomes 2 * 5 * 2 * 5 * 2 * 5 = 1000

And hence it is said,
राम रामेति रामेति रमे रामे मनोरमे
सहस्रनाम तत्तुल्यं रामनाम वरानने
Translation:
“Sri Rama Rama Ramethi Rame Raame Manorame, Sahasranama Tat tulyam, Rama Nama Varaanane.
Meaning: The Name of Rama is as Great as the Thousand Names of God (Vishnu Sahasranama).

Credits: Post Credits Vamsi Emani
Photo Credits: To the Owners and original Artists

Jaya and Vijaya are the two gatekeepers (dwarapalakas) of the abode of Vishnu (Vaikuntha Lok). According to the Bhagavata Purana, the Four Kumaras, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanatkumara, who are the manasaputras of Brahma (sons born from the mind or thought power of Brahma), were wandering across the worlds, and one day decide to pay a visit to Narayana – the form of Vishnu that rests on Shesh naga.
The Sanat Kumaras approach Jaya and Vijaya and ask to be let in. Now due to the strength of their tapas, the four Kumaras appear to be mere children, though they are of great age. Jaya and Vijaya, the gate keepers of the Vaikuntha stop the Kumaras at the gate mistaking them as children. They also tell the Kumaras that Sri Vishnu is resting and that they cannot see him now. The enraged Kumaras tell Jaya and Vijaya that Vishnu is available for his devotees any time, and cursed both of them that they would have to give up their divinity, be born as mortals on Earth and live like normal human beings.
jaya and vijaya
When Vishnu wakes up, he learns what has happened and is sorry for his two dwarapalakas, who are cursed by the great Sanat Kumaras just for doing their duty. He apologizes to the Sanat Kumaras and promises to his doorkeepers that he will do his best to help them go through the cycle of Life and Death. He cannot lift the curse of the Sanat Kumaras directly, but he puts in front of them two options:

The first option is that they could either be born seven times on Earth as devotees of Vishnu, while the second options is that they could be born three times as His enemy. After serving either of these sentences, they can re-attain their stature at Vaikuntha and be with Him permanently.

Jaya-Vijaya cannot bear the thought of staying away from Vishnu for seven lives, even as his devotees. As a result, they choose to be born three times on Earth even though it would have to be as enemies of Vishnu. Vishnu then takes Avatars and releases them from their lives.

In the first birth as enemy to Vishnu, Jaya and Vijaya were born as Hiranyaksha and Hiraeyakasipu in Satya Yuga. Hiranyaksha was an Asura the son of Diti and Kashyapa. He was slain by the god Vishnu after he (Hiranyaksha) took the Earth to the bottom of what has been described as the “Cosmic Ocean”. Vishnu assumed the Avatar of a boar (Varaha Avatar) and dove into the ocean to lift the Earth, in the process slaying Hiranyaksha who was obstructing Him. The battle lasted one thousand years. He had an elder brother named Hiranyakashipu, who after having undertaken penances which made him incredibly powerful and invincible unless several conditions were met, was later slain by the lion-headed Narasimha, another avatar of Vishnu.

In the next Treta yuga, Jaya and Vijaya were born as Ravana and Kumbhakarna, and were killed by Lord Vishnu in His form as Ram.

At the end of the Dwapara Yuga, Jaya and Vijaya were born their third birth as Sisupala and Dantavakra and Vishnu appeared as Krishna and again killed them.

So as they move from one life to another, they move more and more closer to God … (Asuras being the worst, then rakshasa, then humans and then devas) finally going back to Vaikuntha.

More on each yug and each incarnation of Vishnu in comming posts.

Credits:Post credit: Vishwanath Sarang
Image Credit: to the original Artist

Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva Ep I - Shiva and Bhilla - hindufaqs.com

The series ‘Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva’. This series will be focusing on many known and unknown stores of Shiva. There will be a new story per episode. Ep I is a story about Shiva and Bhilla. There was a sage named Veda. He used to pray to Shiva every day. The prayers lasted till the afternoon and after the prayers were over, Veda used to go to the nearby villages to beg alms.

A hunter named Bhilla used to come to the forest every afternoon to hunt. After the hunt was over, he used to come to Shiva’s linga (image) and offer to Shiva whatever it was that he had hunted. In the process of doing this, he often moved Veda’s offerings out of the way. Strange though it might seem, Shiva was stirred by Bhilla’s offerings and eagerly used to wait for it every day.

Bhilla and Veda never met. But Veda noticed that every day his offerings lay scattered and a little bit of meat lay by the side. Since this always happened when Veda had gone out to beg for alms, Veda did not know who was responsible. One day, he decided to wait in hiding so as to catch the culprit red-handed.

While Veda waited, Bhilla arrived and offered what he had brought to Shiva. Veda was amazed to discover that Shiva himself appeared before Bhilla and asked, “Why are you late today? I have been waiting for you. Did you get very tired?”
Bhilla went away after making his offerings. But Veda came up to Shiva and said, “What is all this? This is a cruel and evil hunter, and yet, you appear before him. I have been performing tapasya for so many years and you never appear before me. I am disgusted at this partiality. I will break your linga with this stone.”

“Do it if you must,” replied Shiva. “But please wait till tomorrow.”
Next day, when Veda came to present his offerings, he found traces of blood on top of the linga. He carefully washed away the traces of blood and completed his prayers.

After some time, Bhilla also came to present his offerings and discovered traces of blood on top of the linga. He thought that he was in some way responsible for this and blamed himself for some unknown transgression. He picked up a sharp arrow and began to pierce his body repeatedly with this arrow as punishment.
Shiva appeared before both of them and said, “Now you see the difference between Veda and Bhilla. Veda has given me his offerings, but Bhilla has given me his whole soul. That is the difference between ritual and true devotion.”
The place where Bhilla used to pray to Shiva is a famous tirtha known as bhillatirtha.

Credits : Brahma Purana