Posts Tagged ‘God’

Why am I an Hindu?

February 28, 2013

A Hindu was flying from JFK New York Airport to SFO San Francisco Airport CA to attend a meeting at Monterey, CA.
An American girl was sitting on the right side, near window seat. It indeed was a long journey – it would take nearly seven hours.

He was surprised to see the young girl reading a Bible unusual of young Americans. After some time she smiled and we had few acquaintances talk.He told her that I am from India

Then suddenly the girl asked: ‘What’s your faith?’ ‘What?’ He didn’t understand the question.

‘I mean, what’s your religion? Are you a Christian? Or a Muslim?’

‘No!’ He replied, ‘He am neither Christian nor Muslim’.

Apparently she appeared shocked to listen to that. ‘Then who are you?’ “I am a Hindu”, He said.

She looked at him as if she was seeing a caged animal. She could not understand what He was talking about.

A common man in Europe or US knows about Christianity and Islam, as they are the leading religions of the world today.

But a Hindu, what?

He explained to her – I am born to a Hindu father and Hindu mother. Therefore, I am a Hindu by birth.

‘Who is your prophet?’ she asked.

‘We don’t have a prophet,’ He replied.

‘What’s your Holy Book?’

‘We don’t have a single Holy Book, but we have hundreds and thousands of philosophical and sacred scriptures,’
He replied.

‘Oh, come on at least tell me who is your God?’

‘What do you mean by that?’

‘Like we have Jesus and Muslims have Allah – don’t you have a God?’

He thought for a moment. Muslims and Christians believe one God (Male God) who created the world and takes an interest in the humans who inhabit it. Her mind is conditioned with that kind of belief.

According to her (or anybody who doesn’t know about Hinduism), a religion needs to have one Prophet, one Holy book and one God. The mind is so conditioned and rigidly narrowed down to such a notion that anything else is not acceptable. He understood her perception and concept about faith. You can’t compare Hinduism with any of the present leading religions where you have to believe in one concept of God.

He tried to explain to her: ‘You can believe in one God and he can be a Hindu. You may believe in multiple deities and still you can be a Hindu. What’s more – you may not believe in God at all, still you can be a Hindu. An Atheist can also be a Hindu.’

This sounded very crazy to her. She couldn’t imagine a religion so unorganized, still surviving for thousands of years, even after onslaught from foreign forces.

‘I don’t understand but it seems very interesting. Are you religious?’

What can He tell to this American girl?

He said: ‘I do not go to Temple regularly. I do not make any regular rituals. I have learned some of the rituals in my younger days. I still enjoy doing it sometimes’.

‘Enjoy? Are you not afraid of God?’

‘God is a friend. No- I am not afraid of God. Nobody has made any compulsions on me to perform these rituals regularly.’

She thought for a while and then asked: ‘Have you ever thought of converting to any other religion?’

‘Why should I? Even if I challenge some of the rituals and faith in Hinduism, nobody can convert me from Hinduism. Because, being a Hindu allows me to think independently and objectively, without conditioning. I remain as a Hindu never by force, but choice.’ He told her that Hinduism is not a religion, but a set of beliefs and practices. It is not a religion like Christianity or Islam because it is not founded by any one person or does not have an organized controlling body like the Church or the Order, I added. There is no institution or authority..

‘So, you don’t believe in God?’ she wanted everything in black and white.

‘I didn’t say that. I do not discard the divine reality. Our scripture, or Sruthis or Smrithis – Vedas and Upanishads or the Gita – say God might be there or he might not be there. But we pray to that supreme abstract authority (Para Brahma) that is the creator of this universe.’

‘Why can’t you believe in one personal God?’

‘We have a concept – abstract – not a personal god. The concept or notion of a personal God, hiding behind the clouds of secrecy, telling us irrational stories through few men whom he sends as messengers, demanding us to worship him or punish us, does not make sense. I don’t think that God is as silly as an autocratic emperor who wants others to respect him or fear him.’ He told her that such notions are just fancies of less educated human imagination and fallacies, adding that generally ethnic religious practitioners in Hinduism believe in personal Gods. The entry level Hinduism has over-whelming superstitions too. The philosophical side of Hinduism negates all superstitions.

‘Good that you agree God might exist. You told that you pray. What is your prayer then?’

‘Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,’
लोका समस्ता सुखिनो भवन्तु !!! ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः !!!

‘Funny,’ she laughed, ‘What does it mean?’

‘May all the beings in all the worlds be happy. Let there be Peace, Peace,and Peace every where.’

‘Hmm ..very interesting. I want to learn more about this religion. It is so democratic, broad-minded and free’ she exclaimed.

‘The fact is Hinduism is a religion of the individual, for the individual and by the individual with its roots in the Vedas and the Bhagavad-Gita. It is all about an individual approaching a personal God in an individual way according to his temperament and inner evolution – it is as simple as that.’

‘How does anybody convert to Hinduism?’

‘Nobody can convert you to Hinduism, because it is not a religion, but it is a Culture, a way of leaving life, a set of beliefs and practices. Everything is acceptable in Hinduism because there is no single Authority or Organization either to accept you or to reject you or to oppose you on behalf of Hinduism.’

He told her – if you look for meaning in life, don’t look for it in religions; don’t go from one cult to another or from one Guru to the next.

For a real seeker, He told her, the Bible itself gives guidelines when it says ‘ Kingdom of God is within you.’ I reminded her of Christ’s teaching about the love that we have for each other. That is where you can find the meaning of life.

Loving each and every creation of the God is absolute and real. ‘Isavasyam idam sarvam’ Isam (the God) is present (inhabits) here everywhere – nothing exists separate from the God, because God is present everywhere. Respect every living being and non-living things as God. That’s what Hinduism teaches you.

Hinduism is referred to as Sanathana Dharma, the eternal faith. It is based on the practice of Dharma, the code of life. The most important aspect of Hinduism is being truthful to oneself. Hinduism has no monopoly on ideas. It is open to all. Hindus believe in one God (not a personal one) expressed in different forms. For them, God is timeless and formless entity.

Ancestors of today’s Hindus believe in eternal truths and cosmic laws and these truths are opened to anyone who seeks them. But there is a section of Hindus who are either superstitious or turned fanatic to make this an organized religion like others. The British coin the word ‘Hindu’ and considered it as a religion.

He said: ‘Religions have become an MLM (multi-level- marketing) industry that has been trying to expand the market share by conversion. The biggest business in today’s world is Spirituality. Hinduism is no exception’

He said “I am a Hindu primarily because it professes Non-violence – ‘Ahimsa Paramo Dharma’ means – Non violence is the highest duty. I am a Hindu because it doesn’t condition my mind with any faith system.

A man/woman who changes his/her birth religion to another religion is a fake and does not value his/her morals, culture and values in life.

Hinduism was the first religion originated.
ॐ नमः शिवा

 

Source : From an awesome post in facebook

Six Faces of Lord Shiva

December 23, 2012

The names :

Sadyojatham
Tatpurusham
Vamadevam
Eeshanam
Agoram
Thiruvadanam

Source : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Bwi539ujIk (time 22.22)

However, there is a slight controversy to the last name. It is also called Adhomugam ( Source : http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/translations-meanings/8231-need-information-lord-shivas-sixth-face.html). Some people believe it is beyond the comprehension of human mind, other proclaim four faces as the 4 directions, 5 th one facing upwards and the 6 th one facing the earth and can’t be seen, while still other consider Godess Shakti as the sixth face.

But one this is for sure, he has six faces and six sparks from the 3rd eyes of six faces of Shiva resulted in the birth of Lord Murugan to Kill Suran (Sura Samharam).

A Poem : In my silence I talk to him….

July 1, 2012

In my silence I talk to him

I talk to him when I am happy

I talk to him when I am sad

I talk to him in my ambivalence

I talk to him in my distress

I talk to him in my deep pain

In fact, I talk to him all the time

He listens to every single word of mine

He listens to me no matter what I speak

But yet I keep complaining that he doesn’t listen

And he listened to this also without complaining

He does miraculous things in his own different way

He is always there for me in all my ups and down

He is more powerful than I could ever imagine

He has made me survive in all impossible situations

He is always there for me

I talk to him in my silence….

He resides in me

I talk to him in my silence….

 

Written by : My Friend Saptha (However, she has no clue that it is here …. 😛 😛 🙂 )

ABC to Shiva Lingam !

February 21, 2012
We have seen a lot many people lately, educated and unlike, find worshipping the Shivalinga a little….”embarassing”. This is simply because most of the times, the don’t know everything about it. Let’s have a look at the design first.
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❒ Structure :

To understand the whole concept, we need to know that as per Sanatan Dharma, the whole frame of universal/cosmic reality compromises of three fundamental states :

• Evolution (Shrishthi)===========> Brahma (Creator)
• Existence (Sthiti)=============> Vishnu (Preserver)
• Involution (Samhara)==========> Shiva (Destroyer)

These three states operate in a cyclic process, in that order, throughout infinity. Each state is controlled by a God; thus Brahma the creator controls evolution, Vishnu the preserver controls existence and Shiva the destroyer controls involution.

The Shivlinga, is nothing but the symbolic representation of the unity of these three states of the universe/cosmos. It consists of three parts :

• The Square Base : It is made up of three layers at the bottom showing the three mythical realms (lokas) :
=> 1) Bhu Loka or Marthya Loka for the human inhabitants (Earth)
=> 2) Bhuvar Loka for the spirits (Bhut) and transcended souls (Hell)
=> 3) Svar Loka (Swarga Loga) for the Devas or Demi Gods (Heaven)

It symbolizes evolution, and thus, the place of Brahma.

• The Octagonal Round : It is present in the middle and shows the eight directions (Ashta-dikpala) [Astha=Eight, Dik=Direction, Pala=Guardian] :
=> 1) North, guarded by Kuber
=> 2) South, guarded by Yama
=> 3) Indra East, guarded by Indra
=> 4) West, guarded by Varun
=> 5) Northeast, guarded by Ishyayna
=> 6) Southeast, guarded by Agni
=> 7) Northwest, guarded by Vayu
=> 8) Southwest guarded by Niruthi

It symbolizes existence or perseverance, and thus, the place of Vishnu.

• The Cylinder : It is at the top with a spherical end, symbolizing involution or completion of the cosmic cycle, and thus, the place of Shiva.
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❒ Rationality:

Naturally, people ask, why the “linga”? Why the phallus? Let’s get to it.

First and foremost, as per Sanskrit, “linga” means symbol/sign. In the “Shvetasvatara Upanishad” it is said that Lord Shiva, the Supreme Being, has no linga (i.e. sign or symbol). What it means is that it is impossible to define Brahman (the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe) or that is alinga.

So how does one pray to this Brahman who is beyond any definable/comprehensible characteristic? The answer to that is simple. In Sanatana Dharma, each individual has the freedom to define the Supreme Being/Spirit or Brahman in the most convenient way he/she is comfortable.

Now think back. What is the most astonishing miracle that living beings experience? The answer is simple…it’s the creation of a new life from two lives. It is only natural that the male reproductive organ appeared to people as the ideal symbol of expression of Supreme Being/Spirit as it represented strength and regenerative power. When a Linga is installed on a Yoni, it represents the union of Shiva and Shakti, and thus, the beginning of creation.

What is also represent is the harmony of energies in the cosmos. The balance of the male and female energies, the Ying and the Yang from China, the day and the night, the sun and the moon, the white and the black, the Devas and the Asuras and so on. Besides, phalluses and menhirs were worshipped in many ancient societies. Google will help you with that.

The Mahabharata itself states that Shiva’s linga was worshipped by many!

• Chapter 7, section 20, verse 22 : Know everything, which is male, to be Ishana, and all that is female to be Uma; for this whole world, animate and inanimate, is pervaded by these two bodies. Shiva’s divine Linga is worshipped by the Gods, seers, Gandharvas and Apsaras.

• Chapter 13, section 19, verses 78 : The greatness of this form of Shiva is based on the fact that the children bear neither the lotus symbol of Brahma nor of Vishnu’s discus; but one marked with the male and female organs, the linga and yoni, originated from Mahadeva and Devi.

In the Puranas, it is said : The Supreme Being appeared before Lord Brahma and Vishnu in the form of a ‘pillar of fire’, which had no end and beginning.

The incarnations of Lord Vishnu, viz, Lord Ram, Parshuram and Lord Krishna, are all known to have worshipped the Shiv Linga.

It is now that the society has come to revile sex and hence everything to do with it. Why, is a different matter for another post. 😉
But when one thinks with a clear mind without any prejudices, there is no other more appropriate form that signifies the Brahman and the basis of life itself in the cosmos.

Later on, due to influences of the society, people have become more comfortable with worshipping Shiva in his human complete form alongside Parvati. Xenophanes had even said that is horses or lions had hands, they would have created images of God akin to their own kind who were horselike or lionlike. So it’s all but natural for humans to resculpt gods in human images.

It doesn’t matter though. Like previously said, in Sanatana Dharma, each individual has the freedom to define the Supreme Being/Spirit or Brahman in the most convenient way he/she is comfortable. When one worships the Shiva-Linga, one is worshipping the trinity of Gods, the complete universal fundamental states and thus, the very existence of the Supreme Being. After all, everything is Brahman.

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