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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.

Trimurti - The Hindu Trinity | Hindu FAQs

The Trimurti is a concept in Hinduism “in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver and Shiva the destroyer or transformer.” These three gods have been called “the Hindu triad” or the “Great Trinity”, often addressed as “Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara.”

Brahma:

Brahma - The creator | Hindu FAQs
Brahma – The creator

Brahma is the Hindu god (deva) of creation and one of the Trimurti. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Manu, and from Manu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, he is often referred to as the progenitor or great grandsire of all human beings.

Vishnu:

Vishnu the Protector
Vishnu the Protector

Vishnu is one of the three supreme deities (Trimurti) of Hinduism. He is also known as Narayana and Hari. He is conceived as “the Preserver or the Protector” within the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the divinity.

Shiva or Mahesh

Shiva the Destroyer | Hindu FAQs
Shiva the Destroyer

Shiva also known as Mahadeva (“Great God”) is one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism. He is “the Destroyer” or “the Transformer” among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine.

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

hindufaqs.com-nara narayana - krishna arjuna - sarthi

Long long ago there lived an asura(demon) named Dambhodbhava. He wanted to become immortal and so prayed to the Sun god, Surya. Pleased with his penance, Surya appeared before him. Dambhodbhava asked Surya to make him immortal. But Surya couldnt  grant this boon since anything, anyone who was born on this planet will  have to die. Surya offered him to ask for something else instead of  immortality. Dambhodbhava thought of tricking the sun god and came up  with a cunning request.

He said that he has to be protected by a thousand armors and laid the following conditions:
1. The thousand armors can be broken only by someone who performs penance for a thousand years!
2. Whoever breaks the armor should die immediately!

Surya  was horribly worried. He knew that Dambhodbhava had performed a very  powerful penance and that he could get the entire boon he had asked for.  And Surya had a feeling that Dambhodbhava was not going to use his  powers for good. However having no choice in the matter, Surya granted  Dambhodbhava the boon. But deep down Surya was worried and seeked Lord  Vishnu’s help, Vishnu asked him not to worry and he would save earth by  eliminating adharma.

Dambhodbhava asking for a voon from Surya Dev | Hindu FAQs
Dambhodbhava asking for a voon from Surya Dev


Immediately after getting the boon from  Surya, Dambhodbhava started wrecking havoc on people. People were scared  of fighting with him. There was no way of defeating him. Anybody who  stood in his way was crushed by him. People started calling him  Sahasrakavacha [meaning one who has a thousand armours]. It was around  this time that King Daksha [the father of Sati, the first wife of Shiva]  got one of his daughters, Murti married to Dharma – one of the ‘Manas  putras’ of Lord Brahma, the God of Creation

Murti had also heard  of Sahasrakavacha and wanted to put an end to his menace. So she prayed  to Lord Vishnu to come and help the people. Lord Vishnu pleased with her  appeared before her and said
‘I am pleased with your devotion! I  will come and slay Sahasrakavacha! Because you have prayed to me, you  would be the reason for slaying Sahasrakavacha!’.

Murti gave  birth to not one child, but twins- Narayana and Nara. Narayana and Nara  grew up in the ashrama surrounded by the forests. They were great  devotees of Lord Shiva. The two brothers learnt the art of warfare.The  two brothers were inseparable. What one thought the other was always  able to finish. Both of them trusted each other implicitly and never  questioned the other.

As time went on, Sahasrakavacha started  attacking the forest areas surrounding Badrinath, where both Narayana  and Nara were staying. As Nara was meditating, Narayana went and  challenged Sahasrakavacha for a fight. Sahasrakavacha looked at the calm  eyes of Narayana and for the first time since he got his boon, felt  fear building inside him.

Sahasrakavacha faced the attack of  Narayana and was astounded. He found that Narayana was powerful and had  indeed got a lot of power from the penance of his brother. As the fight  went on, Sahasrakavacha realized that the penance of Nara was giving  Narayana strength. As Sahasrakavacha’s first armour broke he realized  that Nara and Narayana were for all purposes one. They were just two  persons having the same soul. But Sahasrakavacha was not too worried. He  had lost one of his armours. He watched in glee as Narayana dropped  dead, the minute one of his armours broke!

Nara and Narayana | Hindu FAQs
Nara and Narayana

As Narayana fell down  dead, Nara came running towards him. By his years of penance and  pleasing Lord Shiva, he had gained the Maha Mritunjaya mantra – a mantra  which brought back dead to life. Now Nara took the fighting with  Sahasrakavacha while Narayana meditated! After thousand years, Nara  broke another armor and dropped dead while Narayana came back and  revived him. This went on until 999 armors were down. Sahasrakavacha  realized that he could never beat the two brothers and ran away seeking  refuge with Surya. When Nara approached Surya to give him up, Surya did  not since he was protecting his devotee. Nara cursed Surya to be born as  a human for this act and Surya accepted the curse for this devotee.

All  this happened at the end of Treta yuga. Immediately after Surya refused  to part with Sahasrakavacha, the Treta Yuga ended and the Dwapar Yuga  started. To fulfil the promise to destroying Sahasrakavacha, Narayana  and Nara were reborn – this time as Krishna and Arjuna.

Due to  the curse, Dambhodbhava with Surya’s ansh within him was born as Karna,  the eldest son of Kunti! Karna was born with one of armours as a natural  protection, the last one left of Sahasrakavacha.
As Arjuna would  have died if Karna had had the armour, on Krishna’s advise, Indra  [Arjuna’s father] went in disguise and got the last armor of Karna, much  before the war began.
As Karna was actually the monster Dambodbhava  in his previous life, he led a very difficult life to pay for all the  sins committed by him in his past life. But Karna also had Surya, the  Sun God inside him, so Karna was a hero as well! It was Karna’s karma  from his previous life that he had to be with Duryodhana and take part  of the all the evil things he did. But the Surya in him made him brave,  strong, fearless and charitable. It brought him long lasting fame.

Thus after learning the truth about Karna’s previous birth, Pandavas apologised to Kunti and Krishna for lamenting them…

Credits:
Post Credits Bimal Chandra Sinha
Image Credits: To the owners, and Gogle Images

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

hindufaqs.com Shiva- Most Badass Hindu Gods Part II

Shiva One of the most Badass Hindu GOD, also referred to by names like Rudra, Mahadev, Trayambak, Natraja, Shankar, Mahesh, etc. is considered the personification of the Masculine element of the universe. In the holy trinity of Hinduism, he is considered the ‘destroyer’ of cosmos.
Origin of Shiv shown in a graphic novel

Such is the scale of his wrath, that he had cut off, one of the heads of Brahma, who is a major god and also happens to be part of the trinity. Hindu mythology is loaded with his exploits.

The nature and character of Shiva is marked with simplicity, yet there are unpredictable, contradictory and complex philosophical traits in his personality. He is considered the greatest dancer and musician, yet he prefers to stay away from the pomp of the heavens. Shiva is a hermit, lives a secluded life and enjoys the company of heinous and outcast creatures like Pisachas (vampires) and Preta (Ghost). He dresses himself with tiger hide and sprays human ash all over himself. Shiva loves intoxication (opium, cannabis, and hash are openly offered to him in hindu temples to this day!)however, he is known for being kindhearted, selfless and a maintainer of cosmic balance.  Not only did he slay demons and egotist demi-gods, he has beaten the hell out of all major Heroes of Indian Mythology like Arjuna, Indra, Mitra etc. at some point to destroy their ego.

In contemporary Hindu religion, Shiva is one of the most revered gods. But he is also the most feared.

There are many versions of this story. However in all of them, there are certain common observations. Brahma was a conformist, brahmanical god. A critical study of his character would reveal his prejudice and unfair bias towards Rakshas, Gandharva, Vasu, non-human races and lower forms of creation. Brahma is not immortal. He sprang out of Vishnu’s navel and was entrusted the responsibility of creating mankind. Shiva on the other hand is something different and beyond Brahma. As the omnipresent present manforce of the cosmos, Shiva adored all forms of creation without any bias and prejudice. There are no sacrifices allowed in Shiva temples. Even breaking coconuts (which is symbolic of human sacrifice) is forbidden, despite sacrifice being an essential element of Vedic/brahmanical culture.
Shiva's Rudra avtar shown in a TV serial

Shiva’s boons to rakshasas were the root cause of all major disturbances and invasion on paradise (Swarga). Brahma’s four heads were representative of four dimensions of his thinking. One of it looked down upon of Shiva, and was purist and Devkula (Aryan stock convieniently!) supremacist. Brahma had some grudge against Shiva, for he had slayed one of Brahma’s biological sons Daksha (who also happened to be Shiva’s father in law!!).
Still in his Shankara (cool) form, Shiva had requested Brahma on various occasions to be more kind and inclusive, but that was all in vain. Finally succumbing to his anger, Shiva assumed the dreaded form of Bhairava and chopped off the Brahma’s fourth head that represented his egoist side.

Shiva is representative of the egalitarian and all-inclusive spirit of Hinduism. He was on the verge of supporting Ravana against Ram, if not for Ravana’s towering ego. Though the list of his victims includes the who’s who of Indian mythology (He didn’t spare even his own son Ganesh!), Shiva is considered the easiest god to be pleased.

shankar Idol in Uttarakhand

Some More Info

Symbols of Shiva

1. Trishul : knowledge, desire and implementation

2. Ganga : flow of wisdom and spiritual teachings

3. Moon : Shiv is Trikal-Darshi, master of time

4. Drum : words of vedas

5. Third Eye : destroyer  of evil, when it opens it destroy anything that comes in vision

6. Serpent : ego as ornament

7. Rudraksh :  creation

Bhasm on body and rudraksh never dies like flowers and does not have any distraction (smell)

8. Tiger skin : no fear

9. Fire : destruction

Credits: Post credits Ashutosh Pandey
Image credits to the original post.

vishnu - vishwaroop - hindufaqs.com - Are there really 330 million Gods in hinduism

Are there really 330 million Gods in Hinduism? A million dollar question about 330 million Gods of Hindus. The general terminology is “33 koti deva” or Trayastrimsati koti as we call them. In hindi, Marathi and many Indian regional language, koti means crore or 10 million. But, as we say English is a funny language, then well, Sanskrit is a tricky language.

Koti in Sanskrit has many meanings like ‘highest point’ , ‘Excellence’ , ‘Edge’ , ‘Point’ , ‘Pitch’ , ‘Alternative’ etc. It is not necessarily crore. The most important of the meanings is ‘pinnacle’, signifying, core devtas. Second, devta also does not necessarily mean gods, it’s alternative meanings are ‘King’ , ‘God on earth among men’ , ‘divine’ , ‘heavenly’ , ‘cloud’ etc. Its most important meaning is the divine souls.

vishnu - vishwaroop - hindufaqs.com - Are there really 330 million Gods in hinduism
vishnu – vishwaroop – hindufaqs.com – Are there really 330 million Gods in hinduism

Lets simplify, Koti here means Types. So there are 33 types of Gods in Hinduism as we can say. These doesn’t include the Hindu Trinity i.e. Brahma , Vishnu and Mahesh.

These 33 Koti Devas are :
08 Vasus
11 Rudras
12 Adityas
02 Prajapati

  • 8 Vasu

1Drav Vasu
2. Adhva Vasu
3. Som Vasu
4. Jal Vasu
5. Vaayu Vasu
6. Agni Vasu
7. Pratyuvash Vasu
8. Prayaas Vasu

  • 11 Rudra

9. Veerbhadra Rudra
10. Shumbh Rudra
11. Gireesh Rudra
12. Ajaik paat Rudra
13. Aharbudhyat Rudra
14. Pinaaki Rudra
15. Bhavaanishwapar Rudra
16. Kapaali Rudra
17. Dikpati Rudra
18. Sthanu Rudra
19. Bharg Rudra

  • 12 Aditya

20. Dhata Aditya
21. Aryamaa Aditya
22. Mitr Maditya
23. Vatun Aditya
24. Anshu Aditya
25. Bhag Aditya
26. Vivasvan
27. Dandadi Aditya
28. Poosha Aditya
29. Par-jaya Aditya
30. Twa’nashtaan Aditya
31. Vishnu Aditya

  • 2 Prajapati

32. Prajapati
33. Amit Shatkar

Some other Info from Hinduism Literature:

“Na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no image of Him.” [Yajurveda 32:3]

“Ekam evadvitiyam”
“He is One only without a second.” [Chandogya Upanishad 6:2]

“Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah.”
“Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9]

“Na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no likeness of Him.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19]

“shudhama poapvidham”
“He is bodiless and pure.” [Yajurveda 40:8]

“Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam.”
“His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20]

Sanskrit     :  “Ekam evadvitiyam”
Translation:  “He is One only without a second.”

God is one, but he has many names and forms. Since God is omnipresent, omnipresent and omniscient, should not He be present everywhere and in all the existence?

Just like electricity flowing in our homes – it becomes cool air flowing through the AC, becomes light glowing in the bulbs, becomes heat in the kitchen, becomes music through the speakers, dances as pixels on our computer screen – one energy is blissfully dancing through this creation ; ‘The Universal Law’ or ‘The Cosmic Celebration’ whatever one can call.

God is the substratum of this existence. Everything is inside God, because there is no outside at all!

God is one, yet He is many – this is the highest secret, they say, which needs to be experienced and lived as it cannot be understood!

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