Monday, January 27, 2014

Dead bodies cremation

Why to burn bodies after death?
Life is a stitch between soul and body. A continuous stitch happens one after other when this process halts the life ends, it’s called as death. The breath is the key point which holds soul and body together. Ancient customs states that need to burn the body after death.

Cultural beliefs: 

According to ancients our body is composed of 'Panchabhootas' (earth, water, air, fire, space) known as elements of nature. To maintain equilibrium dead body need be distributed equally to elements of nature because our body is made of elements of nature. So that act of burning the dead body came into existence. When the body is burnt it will be mixed with Earth, air, fire and space and ash remains. Ash is collected and immersed in holy waters. There 5 life forces in our body namely 'prana, apana, samana, udana and vyana'. These life forces will not leave the dead body collectively. So people need to follow the rites and rituals which are prescribed in 'Garuda Purana'.

In Hinduism, dead body will be placed on floor pointing head towards north. Holy water from river Ganges with holy basil will be poured in the mouth of dead body. An oil lamp is lit and placed near the head. The five senses (mouth, nose, ears, eyes, hands) called as 'Panchendriyas' were closed manually. Mouth is filled with rice grains, eyes will be closed, nose and ears will be closed using cotton, and hands are closed with coins. Bathing will be done to dead body and holy ash was applied throughout the body in some communities.

The dead bodies will carry to cemetery traditionally which is nearer to a river. The dead body which is pointed head towards north and feet towards south will be kept on bed made of wood. This custom allows the soul to walk in south direction to reach Lord Yuma(God of death). The dead body will be burnt using woods and cow ghee. The family of dead person takes immediate bath and family male head will return to cemetery on the next day to collect the ash. The collected ash will be carried to immerse in holy waters. After immersion it is believed that the soul will reach its adobe of god. 

Scientific Reasons:
After the death, complete life force will not leave the body the vital breath will alone separated from the body. This can be observed as body heat remains for certain time in the dead body and the nails, hair will grow up to 11 days after death. It symbolically states that there is some attachment to soul and dead body.
Keeping oil lamp near the head , applying sacred ash, pouring river Ganges water in mouth, closing five senses are the measures to stop infections from the body. Also there is no room for infections to spread from dead body when burnt.
The dead body was burnt using ghee. The ghee will increase the temperature of flames and aids complete destruction of dead body in fire and controls environmental pollution. Space consumption is achieved when body was burnt.
Germs multiply quickly in the dead body so there is a custom came to burn the body as quickly as possible within 24 hours. Now a day’s people preserve the dead body for 2 to 3 days in ice cages for their convenience.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TriMurthi - Creator | Preserver | Destroyer

In Hinduism Lord Brahma,Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are named as 'Trimurthi'. Lord Brahma deals with creation,Lord Vishnu deals with maintenance and Lord Shiva deals with destruction. They are three different shades or forms of supreme powers called 'Prabrahman'.'Vaishnavism' is a sect of people who worship Lord Vishnu as supreme god. 'Shivism' is a sect of people who worship Lord Shiva as supreme god.

Cultural beliefs:
Lord Brahma was born in golden egg hence he is named as 'hiranyagrabha' and the remaining material in that golden egg is expanded as universe. Brahma has four heads which represent 'vedas' and fifth head was cut down by Lord Shiva. The fifth head remains with Shiva hence it is called 'Kapali'. Brahma lives in a place called 'Satyalokha' which is 1,870,400,000 miles in distance from Sun.

Lord Vishnu is the one who enters everywhere. He lives in a place called 'Vaikuntha' which is 209,600,000 miles from 'Satyalokha'. He will be always seen in resting position on 'AdhiSeshu'(serpent king) with his wife, Goddess Lakshmi. Vishnu takes incarnations once evil things dominates humanity. 'Dasa-avatar' means 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

Lord Shiva is the one who is eternally pure. He lives in Mount Kailaash which is believed as center of the Universe. Shiva is always resembled in the form of Linga. He is a dancer, hence named as 'Nataraja'. He is the composer of dance, 'Shiva Tandav'. Lord Shiva is also popularly known as 'Parameshwer' i.e., supreme of all. 'Rudra' means the God of the roaring storm. He has third eye which is always closed. Opening the third eye will lead to complete destruction.

Interesting facts:

  • Lord Brahma has 11 children(10 sons,1 daughter). His sons are called 'Prajapathis'(rulers of human race).
  • Lord Brahma have no temples for worship as cursed by the Sage Vishwamithra. Except one or two like Pushkar in Ajmer.
  • Lord Vishnu rides on 'Garuda'(The Gaint Eagle) who is the king of all birds.
  • Lord Vishnu handles a powerful weapon called 'Sudarshan Chakra' ( revolving disc).
  • Lord Vishnu sleeps on a giant snake in milky ocean.
  • Lord Shiva carries a powerful weapon called 'Trishul'(Trident).
  • Lord Shiva wears snake as ornament around his neck.
  • Lord Shiva drank poison which came out by churning milky ocean, hence named 'Garalakanta'.
Scientific Reasons:
  • When we consider 'Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara' as Proton-Electron-Neutron, Lord Brahma is the creator of universe likewise proton is the main reason for creation. Lord Vishnu is protector of universe likewise electrons with wide range of reactions which protects the universe. Lord Shiva is destructor likewise neutron collides with nucleus and causes complete destruction and gives a new way to creation.
  • There exist a black hole in every galaxy. Black-hole consumes matter by expelling particles through its polar points. Once the energy released at poles equal to the gravity of black-hole it stops consuming matter. This balance is called Lord Vishnu. If the balance was disturbed destruction will happen until balance obtain. This destruction is called Lord Shiva. The energy which is expelled at the time of destruction supports a new creation. This creation is called Lord Brahma.
  • Supernova is defined as sudden explosion of a star by ejecting most of its inner material. The equilibrium between The Sun and the planets is the principle of Vishnu. When Sun went into a position of imbalance in handling its own nuclear fuel and becomes supernova, the entire destruction of solar system happens. This destruction is the principle of Shiva. When destruction happens energy expelled leads to new creation which is the principle of Lord Brahma.
  • Lord Shiva symbolically described as 'Linga'. According ancient texts, 'Linga' was defined as Ling - destruction, merging ,to dissolve and ga means emerge, creation, new life. At the time of cosmic dissolution, all things will dissolve into Shiva and emerges from Shiva once again. The unknown people say 'Shiva linga' is a phallic symbol but it is unknown symbol of creation after destruction.'Shiva tandava' is the dance which represents destruction. The running path of the Neutrons, Protons inside the atom is exactly in the shape of 'Chidhambaram's Sri Nataraja swamy' idol.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

108 - The Divine Number

Every Hindu praise the god with 108 names called as 'Sathanamavali'. Every rosary beads which are made using Rudraksh, Holy basil,Sandalwood, Crystal quartz(Spatik) will have 108 beads. Even so many Buddhist temples have 108 steps before entering to temple. People always explains about 108 in many ways but there is no authentic way to explain the power of 108.

Cultural beliefs:

Lord Krishna played with 108 gopikas. Lord Vishnu is associated with 108 holy places called as 'Divyadesams'. Goddess Dakshayani body was split into 108 pieces by lord vishnu with sudarshana chakra to bring psychological stability in Lord Shiva on his wife death.In Shri Chakra or Sri Yantra there are 54 intersections of lines and each line have power of Shiva and Shakti then it represents 108 when combined.There 108 gods and goddess situated in Sri Yantra.According to Astrology, There are 12 Rashi's and 9 planets when multiplied represents 108. 'Shiva Tandava' - Cosmic dance of Lord Shiva has 108 poses.

The milky ocean was churned by 54 gods and 54 demons, when combined it is 108.According ancient books of yoga there are 72000 of nadis(energy channels) in the body among them 108 energy channels meet at Heart Chakra.

Interesting facts:

  • The number of verses counted in Rig-Veda approximately equals to 10800.
  • The number of Puranas are 18.
  • In Bhagavatgita there are 18 chapters.
  • The number of upanishads are 108.
  • There are 9 planets. When Sun placed in middle remaining are 8 planets revolve around the Sun.It can stipulated as 18 or 108.
  • In Sanskrit there are 54 letters, each letter have 2 genders then 54 *2 = 108.
  • There 27 stars each with 4 quarters called as 'padams' in total 27*4 = 108.
  • According to Ayurveda there 108 'Marmas' which can heal or kill the human life.
  • In mathematics, Power of 1,2,3 is 1*4*27 = 108. when a circle was divided into 5 parts each pentagon angle equals to 108.

Scientific Reasons:
  • The distance calculated from Sun to earth is approximately rounded to 108 times of Sun's diameter. The distance from Earth and moon is approximately rounded to 108 times of moon diameter. The diameter of Sun is 108 times of earth diameter.
  • Sun has 216000 phases around a year. 6 months on northern hemisphere and 6 months on southern hemisphere when 216000 divided by 2 gives 108000.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pushkara - Festival of Sacred Rivers

Pushkara or Pushkaram:
Pushkara means the one who nourishes or purifies. Lord Vishnu is called Pushkaraakshah means the one who nourishes. In traditional astrology, there is a word called Pushkara Navamsa, the place where planets get nourished. A lake with the name Pushkara exist in the state of Rajasthan,India where we can find sacred temple of Lord Brahma. According to ancients, Pushkaram means span of 12 years.

Cultural beliefs:
According to brahmanda purana, what ever sins committed in this life and past life will be vanished and attain virtues by doing bath in river at the time of Pushkara. Pushkara snan will give equal benefits which are equivalent to doing of Ashvamedha Yag. Meditation at Narmadha river,Charity at Kurukshetra place, death in Kasi town are consider as the most auspicious but doing bath at the time of Pushkar will give all the three benefits. Ancient texts such as Rig veda 1.23 also explained the powers of water.

A popular story behind Pushkaram was Sages at ancient times requested Lord Varun(the king of all water bodies) to stay in 12 rivers every year.As per their request, he promised to stay in 12 rivers as per the planet Jupiter movements around sun. When ever planet Jupiter enters in to a zodiac sign, each river gets Pushkar.

As per the scripts, Lord Pushkara is the son of Lord Varuna. Pushkar prayed Lord Brahma and acquired a boon to live in sacred waters to purify them.He also prayed Lord Shiva and attain 'Jala Tattva Siddhi'( Physics of waters) and became king of all sacred waters and named as 'Theerdhapalaka' (Ruler of Sacred waters). Later to this Lord Jupiter prayed Lord Brahma to keep Pushkara along with him but, Pushkar refused it and Lord Brahma resolved conflict by requesting pushkar to stay with Jupiter for 24 days(12 days at beginning + 12 days at ending)  when Lord Jupiter enters each Zodiac Sign. Based on the planet Jupiter movement in Zodiac sign Lord Pushkar enters 12 sacred rivers in India.

Depending on Jupiter movement in Zodiac signs, sacred rivers get energies and nourishes the place.

Jupiter in Aries river Ganga gets Pushkara.
In Taurus      - Narmada River.
In Gemini      - Saraswathi River.
In Cancer      - Yamuna River.
In Leo            - Godavri River.
In Virgo          - Krishna River.
In Libra          - Kaveri River.
In Scorpio      - Bheema River.
In Sagittarius - Pushkara-Vaahini River.
In Capricorn  - Thunga -Bhadra River.
In Aquarius   - Sindhu (Indus) River.
In Pisces      - Pranahitha(Praneetha) River.

Interesting facts:

  • Before doing bath at the time of Pushkara we need to make small mud balls and leave them in the river as a request or permission to take bath in that place.
  • After bathing, Tharpan(act of giving water) has to be given to River,Lord Varuna, Planet Jupiter, Lord Vishnu,Lord Shiva ,Lord Brahma and all the Gods and Goddesses, 7 Sages, Sacred rivers at last to Lord Surya(Sun).
  • After giving tharpan, water should be released for 3 times with hands at the banks of river and drain the water from the edges cloths for 3 times  before changing the dress.
  • After the above acts, Gayatri Japa has to be done or recite mantras related to Lord Surya.
  • People believe that tonsuring of head,staying,Fasting,Meditation, Donation, reciting mantras, Tharpanas for ancestors at the river in pushkara time is highly auspicious.
  • Watching,touching,bathing,drinking of sacred water at the time of pushkar is consider as highly auspicious and soul cleansing.
Scientific Reasons:
  • The enhanced Electro magnetic field of earth due to sun spot cycle or solar magnetic activity cycle at the time pushkar magnetizes water in the river and enhances healing properties in water. It is observed that entire body system raised to condition where it is equal to the effect of meditation.
  • Water will acquire magnetic power from earth and stored until early hours of sun rise. When ever a person perform bathing ritual at that time will be relieved from several health disorders.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ayyappa - Protector of Natural Law

Ayyappa is a famous Hindu deity who is popularly worshipped in South-India. It is estimated over 50 million people reach the temple every year to seek blessings of the Lord Ayyappa on the day of Makar-Sankranthi or Pongal. The most famous Lord Ayyappan shrine or temple is located at Sabarimala, on the hills of Pathanamthitta in Kerala,India.

Cultural beliefs:
Ayyappa was found on the banks of River Pampa. He was adopted child to Pandala King(Rajashekhara) and cured the deaf and dumb of Teacher’s(Guru) son. Due to evil manipulations of his step mother, he went to forest and killed demoness Mahishi and came to kingdom riding on tiger for giving milk of tiger to his step mother. After that he went to dense forest and disappeared. Upon the instructions of Ayyappa, King built temple for Ayyappa in Sabarimalai. Sabarimalai means Sabari- the devote of Ayyappa and malai- the hill. Sabari, the devotee of Ayyappa had become a hill for the place of stay for Ayyappa.
There is spiritual relation existed between Lord Ayyappa and Lord Saturn. After watching troubles caused by Lord Shani to his devotees he suggested Ayyappa deeksha for 41+ days(mandalam) as remedy for all the troubles of Lord Saturn. These 41+ days Lord Ayyappa devotees experience all the difficulties to please Lord Saturn and reach Lord Ayyappa Temple by wearing black cloths as the symbol of Lord Saturn.
When Ayyappa learning war fighting tactics(Kalari Vidya) under guru panicker (last name of Kaniyars community of Kerala,who are teachers). Teachers daughter 'Nila' fell love with Lord Ayyappa and asked to marry her. But Lord refuges marry her by explaining his misson as Bramhachari(bachelor) to kill demon Mahishi.
Interesting facts:
  • Lord Ayyappa was born to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu (Mohini Avatar) hence he is called as "Hariharasutan".
  • He born wearing Mani( Jewel stone or bell) around his neck hence he is called as "Manikanta".
  • The 18 steps to reach god are considered as Holy steps and indicates five senses,eight desires,3 behaviors,knowledge and ignorance. Act of crossing these steps is considered as sacred and bestows with self-realization.
  • According to Buddhism, Ayyappa is form of Dharma-sastha.
  • The original idol at sabarimalai temple was installed by Lord Parasurama.
  • Sabarimalai hill was the place where Sabhari lived and Lord Rama visited.
  • Makar Jyothi is a star which is worshiped by devotees as the form of Ayyappa on Makar Sankranthi day.
  • Makara Vilakku is sacred fire which appears on the top of hills near by the temple.
  • Thiruvaabharanam are the sacred gold ornaments of Ayyappa which are carried to temple before Makar sankranthi(around jan12th every year) and taken back to Pandalam temple after finishing of pilgrim season.Garuda (holy eagle) is the guardian of the ornaments.
  • Sabarimalai temple officially uses K.J.Yesudas famous singer voice for 'Harivarasanam' song which was recited before closing the temple every day.'Ayyappa Suprabhatham' is another song used as wake up song for Lord.
  • 'Nirajanam', Abhishekam with Ghee, Chanting Ayyappa names by taking Ayyappa Manadala Deeksha is sacred to get rid of bad influences of Lord Saturn.Hence he is called Shaneeshwaran Ayyappan.
  • 'Irumudi' is the travelling kit of devotees which keeps worship articles such as ghee coconuts, sandal, vibhooti, jacket pieces with the wishes written on it..
  • 'Aravana-payasam' is a sweet which is favorite to the Lord.
  • 'Arddhasana' is the yogic sitting posture of the lord explaining he have no wife nor sons to sit on his laps. Some says it the posture of meditation with consciousness and observance. As Ayyappa, he is a bachelor but, as Manikanta he has 2 wives called Poorna and Pushkalamba.
  • Names Of devotees according number of times they wear Ayyappa mala Kanni Swamy,Kathi Swamy,Ganta Swamy,Gada Swamy,Peru Swamy,Jyothi Swamy,Surya Swamy,Chandra Swamy,Trishula Swamy,Vishnu chakra Swamy,Shankadhara Swamy,Nagabharana Swamy,Srihari Swamy,Padma Swamy,Sri Swamy,Sri Sabari(Rathigiri) Swamy,Omkara swamy,Narikela Swamy(Guru)
  • Only Guru can give mala to other devotees
Scientific Reasons:
  • Humans show much interest in wearing colorful cloths in daily life. But, devotees of Lord Ayyapa wear unattractive black cloths.Exact reason is people will wear Ayyapa Mala in winter season(especially Karthika Masam) and black cloths will absorb heat and protects the body from cold climate. And black cloths will hide the people from wild animals at night when they travel in sabarimalai forest for seeing Ayyappan. Black color is favorite color for Lord saturn by wearing black cloths the Lord will be pleased and blessed the devotees.
  • People wear rudrakshas , Spatika, Tulasi, Sandal wood, Coral,Lotus beads as jewellery around the neck at the time of Ayyapa Deeksha.  Rudrakshas will control anger and lowers Blood pressure. Tulasi beads lowers extra heat, Sandalwood beads will remove unwanted thirst from the body, Spatika(Crystal) beads will absorb toxins from the body, Coral beads makes uniform blood flow in body, Lotus beads will eliminate skin diseases from the body.
  • People will wear this Ayyapa Mala and continue it for 40+ days and reach Ayyappa temple in Kerala state. These 40+ days called as Mandala Deeksha and it is compared to 27 stars + 12 Zodiac signs + 9 Planets = 48 days. Internal meaning states that people who wear Ayyapa Mala need to overcome all the affects of stars, zodiac signs, planets and reach the lord with pure devotion. Many of the Ayurveda treatments also have a span of 41+ days. Devotees take deeksha for 41 days and start for the yatra to sabarimalai and return home with the mala and in total it would cover 48 days.
  • People who wear Ayyappa Mala will be respect the all human beings by calling with the name of God as 'Swamy'. They bow to the people who wear Ayyappa Mala. This practices will remove Ego in one and shows the world in equal manner. People in deeksha shouldn't apply oil to hair, should not shave and lead simple life by quitting all bad habits in these 41+ days period which explain about leaving ego, pride and victory over them with self control. People need to wake up at 4AM in the morning which is called 'Bramha muhurta' where the brain cells can perform in higher magnitude and fills our body with new life force.
  • By litting camphor, the smoke arose from camphor will clear our sinus this is the main reason devotees worship Lord Ayyapan twice a day by litting camphor. Cold water baths have many medicinal benefits in winter and explains leaving worldly comforts by controlling mind to see the Lord.Leaving spicy,hot and salty tastes and eating nature food(sattvic food) which is easily digestible will raises immunity power and controls the mind and thought process. Preparing food by self and omitting outside food will explain good hygiene protecting from various contagious diseases which spreads in winter.
  • Walking with bear foot without using sandals will acts as treatment of acupuncture and controls blood pressure. It adopts the procedure before climbing the hill at sabarimalai temple. Sleeping on floor will relieve various ailments in body due to earths magnetic force.
  • Performing Japas and Bajans with group of devotees and attending to meals offered by devotees will makes the person socially active by giving equal importance to people irrespective of caste, religion, race and social status.