8000-year-old Konkan culture discovered

About 8000-year-old man-made structure has been discovered in Konkan, Maharashtra. The discovery has been done by Dr. Ashok Marathe after six years of research.

There are about 12 stone walls uniformly built of about 24 Km in total in different areas from Shrivardhan to Malwan. The reason behind building these walls is unknown. These walls are now under water and hence need Scuba diving to see them. They are in the following areas: Shrivardhan, Kelashi, Kolthare, Dabhol, Enron Jeti, Velaneshwar, Jaigad, Ganapati Pule, Ratnagir, Vijaydurga, Malwan and Sindudurga.

From this discovery it is clear that history of Hinduism dates back to at least 8000 years old.

Swami Swarupananda of Pawas

Shri Swami Swarupanand was a great Hindu saint born in Pawas, a small village near Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. His original name was Shri Ramchandra Vishnupant Godbole. His mother’s name was Rakhmabai Vishnupant Godbole.

Shri Swami Swarupanand was born on December 15, 1903. In his childhood, he was known as “Appa.”  He was very active, inquisitive, and intelligent. Since childhood, he was fond of devotional songs. His grandfather taught him different Hindu mantras. Thus, he was born and brought up in a well-cultured family. He completed his education up to 5th standard in Pawas and Ratnagiri. Then he went to Mumbai to his elder brother. He started going to school of Aryan Education Society. He came closer to God after studying Bhagvad Gita there. Besides spirituality, he was also interested in social service. He was also active in politics for some time.

He started a school in Pawas called Swawalambanashram. He also started educating people during the festivals. Meanwhile, because of his interest in spirituality, his uncle called him to Pune where he was initiated by Sadguru Baba Maharaj Vaidya. He was the follower of Nath Sampraday.

He participated in the freedom fight movement where he was arrested and kept in Yerawada Jail for some time. He used this time for his spiritual development.

He translated the Marathi book Dnyaneshwari, which was written by Saint Dnyaneshwar. The language used in this book was very difficult to understand for common people. So, he translated this book into simple Marathi language as Abhang Dnyaneshwari. He also translated Changdev Pasashti and Amrutanubhav into Marathi. He translated Bhagvad Gita into Marathi as Bhavartha Gita.

He wrote some new books also. All his Abhangas are collected in a book named Sanjivani Gatha. He edited a book Nityapath which is the abstract of Dnyaneshwari.

Shri Swami Swaroopanand was not well known before the publication of his book Abhang Dnyaneshwari but after that he became very famous and people started to visit him for his blessings. People used to feel very satisfied after seeing and chatting with him.

After some years, he realized that he needs to leave this body. Therefore, he decided to take Samadhi. He decided the place and carved out a cave there. The cave was closed by the stone brought from the hills of Jyotiba in Kolhapur. He took Samadhi on August 15, 1974.

A big and beautiful temple is now built on his Samadhi. Thousands of devotees visit this temple every year and take blessings from Shri Swami Swarupanand.

Jainism

Jainism is an eastern religion, which advocates total nonviolence.

Meaning of word Jainism:

Jinas are the human beings who have complete control over their body and mind. They have conquered their inner enemies like pride, greed, lust, anger, jealousy, etc. Jains are the people who follow the path preached by the Jinas. Hence, Jainism is the religion followed by Jains or the doctrines of Jinas.

Who is the found of Jainism?

It is believed that Jainism was founded by Mahavir but history of Jainism is much older than that of Mahavir. It is believed that Jainism was founded by Rishabha, the father of King Bharata. He was followed by 23 Tirthankars of whom Mahavir was the last. Hence, there are total 24 Tirthankars in Jainism who make the religion.

Teachings of Jainism:

Five Owes:

1. Not to kill anybody or anything.

2. Not to speak a lie.

3. Not to steal anything.

4. To renounce please in all external things and to observe purity and chastity.

5. Not to have attachment to worldly things.

The fifth owe was added by Mahavir.

Concept of God:

Jainism does not believe in Creator of the universe. Universe is beginingless and has existed from eternity. Mahavir described God as “Only the highest, the noblest and the fullest manifestation of all the powers which lie latent in the soul of a man.”

Aim of life:

The ultimate aim of a Jain’s life is to attain salvation i.e. liberation from cycle of birth and rebirth which is the same as Hinduism.

Nonviolence (Ahimsa):

Nonviolence is the most important virtue of Jainism. Jains believe that soul exists not only in human being and animals but also in plants and in everything like stones, fire, raindrops, etc. A Jain’s Karma should be such that he should not inflict injury to the lowliest form of life.

1. Honey should be rejected as it is the life of a bee.

2. Water should be strained before drinking so that he does not kill any creature in it.

3. Mouth should be veiled so that inhalation does not kill any life in the air.

4. Lamps should be screened so that the insects would be protected from the flame.

5. The ground should be swept before walking on it so that we do not kill any form of life.

6. Jains are not allowed to do agriculture as it requires tearing up the soil resulting in killing of insects and worms.

7. All Jains should live a life of virtue and morality.

Jainism Sects:

There are two main sects in Jainism viz. Svetambaras and Digambaras. Digambars believe in remaining nude throughout their lives denouncing all the things in the world whilst Svetambaras wear white robes.

Tirthankars:

There are total of 24 Tirthankars of which Rishabh was the first and Mahavir was the last. Parsvanath was the 23rd Tirthankar.

Following are the names of 24 Tirthankaras:

1. Lord Rishabha.

2. Lord Ajitnath.

3. Lord Sambhavnath

4. Lord Abhinandan Swami

5. Lord Sumatinath

6. Lord Padmaprabh

7. Lord Suparshvanath

8. Lord Chandra Prabha Swami

9. Lord Suvidhanath

10. Lord Shitalnath

11. Lord Shreyanshnath

12. Lord Vasupujya

13. Lord Vimalanath

14. Lord Ananthnath

15. Lord Dharmanath

16. Lord Shantinath

17. Lord Kunthunath

18. Lord Arnath

19. Lord Mallinath

20. Lord Munisuvrat Swami

21. Lord Naminath

22. Lord Neminath

23. Lord Parshvanath

24. Lord Mahavir

Summarized facts about Jainism:

1. Jainism was founded by 24 Tirthankaras listed above.

2. Jainism is an eastern religion which believes salvation as the ultimate aim of human life.

3. Most of the followers of Jainism live in India.

4. Jainism strongly advocates nonviolence and believes soul exists in all animals, plants, and even in nonliving things.

5. Jainism is the sixth largest religion in India.

6. The main occupation of Jains is business. Agriculture is not allowed for Jains.

7. Shwetambar and Digambar are two sects in Jainism.

8. Jainism believes that universe is beginingless and endless. There is no creator or destroyer of the universe.

Hinduism and superstitions in India

Superstitions mean false beliefs or the beliefs which do not have any scientific base. Superstitions are there since ancient times. They are found in every society, country, culture, and religion. Hinduism is no exception to it. In fact, as Hinduism is one of the oldest cultures on the earth and the literacy rate in India is low, there are quite a number of superstitions.

What I have noticed is not all the superstitions are baseless. Some do have some point in them or are purposefully spread in order to keep people away from danger. These superstitions have been given the cover of the religion so that ordinary people would follow them and keep out of danger. Critics say that Hindus are the most superstitious but this is partially true. Even people in America, which has a 100% literacy rate, are superstitious and do not get out of the homes on Friday 13th. If you study different cultures, you would find that many of them are more superstitions than Hindu culture. Hence, it is pointless to say that Hindus are most superstitious.

In this article, we will discuss about superstitions that are related to Hinduism and those which are prevalent in India and try to find out whether these beliefs really have any meaning. This article does not claim that it is 100% correct. There could be some point in those superstitious, which I am unaware of.

1. Planet Shani (Saturn): Since ancient times, Hindus have knowledge of stars and planets. Hindus believe that planets affect the happenings in our lives. Saturn has been considered as a villain planet amongst all the planets. Saturday is considered as the day of Saturn. It is believed that if Saturn is upset with you, you would have a lot of problems in life and there are different reasons that this would happen. Following are some of the reasons:

A. Position of Saturn at the time of birth: Position of Saturn at the time of birth is described in Janma Kundali. Janma Kundali is a very controversial topic. Though the use of it has not been proved scientifically, lots of people have very positive experiences. Therefore, lots of people still use Janma Kundali to solve their problems.

B. Cutting nails and hair on Saturday: This thing really seems to have no meaning. The hair and nails are living parts of our body. Therefore, this thing must have been spread.

C. Eating non-vegetarian food on Saturday: This has been done in particular to control the amount of non-veg food intake. Eating excessive non-veg food is not good for our health. Therefore, this superstition is there and it really helps control the intake of non-veg food.

2. Planet Mars: Position of planet Mars at the time of birth has been given a lot of importance, especially when it comes to marriage. If a girl or a boy has Mars in a specific position in Janma Kundali, it is considered very bad and that boy/girl needs to marry the boy/girl who has the same position of Mars in Janma Kundali. It is believed that if they do not do so, their spouse would die in the near future.

Because of this, some people do not find their partner and remain unmarried for the whole life. It is a really sad thing that just because of the position of a planet, somebody is not able to get married. There are thousands of people who die immediately after marriage even if they do not have Mars in Janma Patrika, then why should one worry about this thing.

3. No-moon Phase (Amavasya): The day of no-moon phase is considered as very inauspicious by Hindus. Some people avoid going to work on this day. People avoid starting new projects or buying new things on this day. They tie a lemon with seven chilies to their vehicles on this day. It is believed that evil forces are stronger on this day. Therefore, people avoid going out at night on this day.

We can see the influence of moon on sea in terms of tides. Therefore, it is quite possible that moon has some influence on human body also. It is observed that psychic people behave weirdly on this day. Moon certainly has some influence on these people. Even it is observed that crime rate increases on this day. So, I do not think this is a mere superstition and this needs to be studied further.

4. Running on burning coals: some people run on burning coals and claim that they are able to do so because of some supernatural powers. Actually, an average person can also do this if he knows the trick. Getting burnt or not depends on the time of contact between the skin and the heat. If you come in contact with heat for a very short period of time, you would not get burnt.

5. Body Piercing: some people pierce their bodies with long nails and needles and metal rods and claim to have divine powers. This is just a superstition and a normal person can do this with some practice and tricks.

6. Black Cat Crossing the Way: Actually, this superstition is not related to Hinduism in any way but it is a common superstition in India. If you are going for a particular work and if a black cat crosses your road horizontally, it is believed that the work would not get done at that time. Some people even abandon that work and decide to do it afterwards.

Many cultures believe that cats and dogs possess some kind of supernatural powers and can sense the danger in advance. But it has nothing to do with work. It is quite possible that they can sense something like earthquake or death of a person, but in relation to the work, I could not find any scientific base to it. It is just a superstition.

7. Eclipse: The solar and lunar eclipses are the natural phenomenon but Hindus believe this time as inauspicious time. People do not get out of their houses and prefer not to do any work during solar eclipse. Pregnant women are advised to not to do any work or even sleep during this time. It is believed that if you donate money, clothes, and/or grains during this time, it nullifies the effect of eclipse on our lives.

The possible explanation could be that in the ancient times, people were not aware about the scientific facts about eclipses. Hence, they were scared of this phenomenon. But as people have become aware of it, they now go out to watch the eclipses.

8. Sneezing: If you are going for an important work and someone sneezes near you, it is considered as an omen.

Sneezing is a natural thing and it is very hard to stop it voluntarily. So, I think it is just a superstition and there is no science in it. Actually, Hinduism has nothing to do with it but it is a common superstition in India.

9. Menstruation: In some Hindu families if a woman is menstruating, she is not allowed to do regular duties like cooking, worshiping, or to even touch the things where others would come in contact with. She has to spend the four to five days in a corner of the house doing little work like washing clothes and utensils or outside work. She is also not allowed to enter the temple.

This is not actually a superstition. The scientific reason behind this lies in Ayurveda. When a woman is menstruating, she bleeds a lot and becomes weaker. A lot of stress comes upon her uterus. In old days and now also, women used to do a lot of heavy work. If they continue to do heavy work during menstruation, it would cause extra stress on their uteri resulting in uterine cancer. Hence, they are not allowed to do much work during this time.

The reason behind not allowing women inside the temple is because this period is unhygienic for them. Hindus worship God in the form of an idol. These idols are believed to possess supernatural powers and extra care is taken to maintain their sacredness. If a menstruating woman comes in contact with it, its power decreases because of the lack of hygiene, as in ancient time, women used to wear clothes instead of sanitary napkins.

Some people would argue against this but this is what I think must have been the reason.

10. Cutting the nails at night and/or in home: Cutting the nails at night and/or in home is supposed to bring destitution on the person.

This superstition is not baseless. In the ancient times, there was no electricity and advanced instruments like nailcutters were not available. So, if someone cuts the nails at night, there were higher chances of cutting his/her finger. Therefore, it is not good to cut the nails at night.

If you cut the nails inside the house, there are chances that those broken nails might fall in the food and go in the stomach of the persons living in that house. It is also unhygienic to cut the nails inside the house as the nails are generally dirty. Hence, this superstition should be followed by everybody.

11. Entering the house after getting a haircut without having a bath:

If you enter the house without getting a bath after having a haircut, there would be more cockroaches in the house.

There is no connection between hair and cockroaches, so it is a superstition but if you do not have a bath and enter the house after having a haircut, the small hair on your body would fall in the house and may contaminate the water and/or food in your house. So, it is a good superstition.

12. Hiccups:

If someone is having hiccups, it is believed that someone is remembering him/her. It is a general superstition and not related to Hinduism in any way.

Hiccup is a natural process which happens due to some problem in the digestive system. It can be cured with things found in the home like sugar, water, or with medications. Therefore, I think it is just a superstition.

13. Sweeping the house after the evening:

Sweeping the house in or after the evening is supposed to bring destitution.

The reason behind not sweeping the house in or after the evening is that in old days, there was no electricity. The light of a lamp was not good enough to see minute things on the floor. If any valuable is fallen on the ground, the chances were more for it to be swept along with the dust. Hence, it is advised to not to sweep house in the evening or at night.

Shri Swami Samarth Akkalkot

Shri Swami Samartha was a great miraculous Hindu saint who lived in Akkalkot village in Maharashtra, India, for about 27 years. Akkalkot became very famous after his stay there.

Shri Swami Samartha is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Dattatreya and have miraculous powers of healing the patients, knowing the future and past, etc. There is no definite information available about the past of Shri Swami Samartha but his devotees were able to collect some information regarding him.

Birth of Shri Swami Samartha:

It is believed that the ground was broken into two pieces and an 8-year-old child came out of it. Once Swami Samartha made his Janma Kundali. It was made by Mr. Nanaji Bapuji Rekhi. From that it is evident that Swami Samartha was born on Sanwatsar 1071 Chaitra Shudhda Dwitiya on Thursday. He was born in a village Chheli which is 12 km away from Hastinapur.

The story of Swami Samartha is like this:

In North India, there is a big forest to the North of Shri Bhagiratha. Yogis used to meditate there. In that forest, Shri Swami Samartha was also meditating for many years. A big colony was built by ants around him but he was unaware of it. Once a woodcutter broke that colony accidentally. This made a wound on the lap of Shri Swami Samartha Maharaj, which was visible after a few years also. From there, Maharaj went to Kashi. Then he went to Devalgram and established his footprints (Paduka) there. Then he went to Mogalai and established a Math there. He was famous there as “Chanchalbharathi Maharaj.”  After that he went to Rameshwar, Udapi and then to Pandharpur. Then, he came to Mangalwedha where he became famous. It is believed that his age was about 400-500 years. He then went to Solapur.

Shri Swami Samartha first came to Akkalkot in 1857. Shri Swami Samartha’s life is full of miracles. Everyday, he used to do some miracles, so it was not possible to document all those but some of those miracles are documented by his devotees.

During his stay in Akkalkot, he helped thousands of people by healing the uncured illnesses, solved financial problems, advised them right things.

Nature of Shri Swami Samartha:

The nature of Shri Swami Samartha was very kind but he used to behave weird at times. He used to become very angry at time and abuse his devotees verbally. Sometimes, he used to not to eat or drink for days. He was able to know what other people are thinking. He was able to see part, present, and future of any person. He was very secular in nature and considered everybody as equal. Rich, poor, Hindu, Muslims, Upper Caste, Lower Caste, etc. were all equal for him. He had a number of Muslim followers also.

There are a number of Maths of Shri Swami Samartha in different parts of Maharashtra and India.

Aghori

Aghori is a Hindu sect of Sadhus, which believes in the basic beliefs of Hinduism but believes in an abnormal way to achieve salvation. Aghoris believe Lord Shiva as the Supreme Being and worship him. He is also lord of the cremation ground.

Their place of meditation is crematorium where Hindus burn dead bodies. This place is considered to be home for ghosts and evil spirits by Hindus but Aghori sadhus prefer to live and meditate there. In general, other Hindus prefer to stay away from Aghoris.

Aghoris believe God exists in everything whether it is dung or food. Nothing is unholy or inauspicious for them. Everything is sacred for them. The only possessions they have are the bowl made of human skull, a few Rudraksha garlands, and a cloth to hide genital parts.

Anybody can join the Aghori sect; there is no restriction. To become an Aghori sadhu, one has to meditate for about 12 years. They have to complete some rituals under their teacher’s guidance in order to enhance their strengths. Aghor path is very tough. They have to denounce the world completely including their family. Aghoris use things like woods from pyre, cloth of the dead bodies, ash of the burnt bodies, etc. for their rituals. They apply ash of the dead body to their bodies. To become an Aghori, one needs a teacher who himself is an aghori or has been through the process. He needs to follow what his teacher tells him to do. An aghori needs to find a human skull to use as a bowl before initiation. They eat and drink from that bowl only. Aghoris worship the destructive from of Shiva. They gain their powers by doing things, which are considered unholy or unclean by the society like eating human feces, dead bodies, leftovers, etc. More they blur the line between clean and unclean, holy and unholy, more powers they get.

Yayati

Yayati was a brave king depicted in Puranas who had to surrender his conscience and dignity to the destiny. Though Yayati is a main character of the story, he is not a real hero; in fact, he becomes villain though forced by situation. Kach is the real hero of this story, who is the son of Dev Guru, Brihaspati.

Story of Yayati:

Story of Yayati revolves around four main characters: Yayati; his wives, Devyani and Sharmishtha; Kach, his friend and philosopher.

Yayati was born as the youngest son of King Nahush, king of Hastinapur, who had defeated Indra, the king of Paradise, but was cursed by a sage because of his lust for Indra’s wife, Indrani. One sage curses Nahush that his sons would never become happy in their lives. When Yayati’s elder brother, Yati, comes to know about the curse, he leaves the palace and enters the jungle and becomes an ascetic. As Yayati enters into adolescence, he falls in love with a dasi, Alaka. He also has physical relationship with her. When Yayati’s mother comes to know about this, she kills Alaka. This shocks Yayati and he starts hating his mother.

Meanwhile the war between Gods and demons becomes unbalanced as the teacher of demons, Shukracharya, learns Sanjivani Vidya (an art of resurrecting a dead body). Shukracharya starts to resurrect all the demons that are killed by Gods. The demons are about to win the war. Kach, son of the teacher of Gods, goes to the Ashrma of Shukracharya and starts serving him faithfully. He wins his confidence. The daughter of Shukracharya, Devyani, falls in love with Kach. Kach also pretends to love her. Once Devyani compels Shukracharya to use Sanjivani to save the life of Kach and thus Kach also gets the knowledge of Sanjivani Vidya. He then leaves Shukracharya and Devyani. This shocks Devyani and she curses Kach.

Sharmishtha is the princess of the king of demons. In the dramatic sequences, Sharmishtha and Devyani become hostile to each other and Devyani forces Sharmishtha to become her dasi after getting married to Yayati and takes Sharmishtha with her to Hastinapur where she insults her many times. Because of Devyani’s behavior, Yayati becomes upset with her and falls in love with good-natured Sharmishtha. Sharmishtha gets a son from him but Devyani is unaware of all these happenings. Meanwhile, Devyani also becomes mother of a son. Once she comes to know about Sharmishtha and Yayati, she decides to kill Sharmishtha and his son. Yayati interferes and saves them but has to send her far away to an unknown place. Yayati starts drinking heavily after this. After that on one night, Devyani asks Yayati not to touch her for the whole life. Yayati becomes imbalanced and leaves her. He goes to other place and starts to drink heavily as well as starts to have relationships with other women. Everyday, he wants a new woman. He is always so heavily drunk that he does not know which woman comes to him. In that flow, he has sex with his dead friend’s sister and fiancée also. His friend’s fiancée commits suicide after this and sister becomes insane and dies afterwards. Yayati still continues to engage with more women.

Eighteen years pass in this way. Meanwhile, both of his sons grow up. Son of Devyani goes to suppress the mutiny by Dasyu but gets caught. Sharmishtha’s son interferes and saves his life.

After this Devyani’s father curses Yayati and he becomes an old man but he says that if any of his sons accept his old age, he would become young again. Devyani’s son refuses to do so but Sharmishtha’s son accepts his old age. Thus, Yayati becomes young again. Kach interferes and wipes out the curse of Shukracharya. Now, Yayati understands the true meaning of life and decides to enter Vanprasthashram and leave for jungle. Devyani’s nature also changes after this and she and Sharmishtha leave for the jungle with Yayati. Sharmishtha’s son succeeds Yayati as king of Hastinapur.

Maharshi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who introduced the West to transcendental meditation, a guru to the Beatles and over 6 million followers, died on Tuesday, February 5, 2008, at his home in the Holland, town of Vlodrop. Some of his famous followers were Beatles, Beach Boys,  Singer Donovan, and actor Clint Eastwood. He was 91 years old. He died at about 7 p.m. when he was asleep.

His original name was Mr. Mahesh Prasad Varma and was born reportedly on Jan. 12, 1917, in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradhesh (India). He graduated in Physics from Allahabad University.

He became a disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati around 1939.

Maharishi Yogi began teaching transcendental medication in 1955 and brought the technique to the United States in 1959. The Beatles attended one of his lectures in 1967 for gaining control over the mind. After that Beatles gained a huge success. He dedicated his life to spreading the Vedas across the world.

His famous teaching is, “Instead of fighting with darkness, try to lit the light, darkness will automatically go away.”

His organizations founded many meditation centers and universities across the world.

 

Vedas in American Senate

On July 12, 2007, first time in the history of United States, one of the United States Senates began its day with an universal Vedic prayer by Mr. Rajan Zed who is a Hindu chaplain from Reno, Nevada.

This prayer is taken from Vedas (one of the sacred books of Hindus), Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

The prayer is originally in Sanskrit (the most ancient language of the world) like this :

Asato Ma Sathgamaya

Tamaso Ma Jyothirgamaya

Mruthyorma Amruthangamaya

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Heem……

The meaning of above prayer in English is:

Oh God,

Lead Us from Unreal to the real

Lead us from Darkness to Light

Lead us from Death to Immortality

Let peace, peace, and peace be there unto all

Rajan Zed is also the director of public affairs of Hindu Temple of Northern Nevada and spokesman for India Association of Northern Nevada.

This prayer was protested by three individuals from visitors gallery. Their names were Kathy Pavkovic, Ante Pavkovic, and Kristen Sugar from the Christian Right Anti-Abortion Group. They shouted:

“Lord Jesus, forgive us father for allowing a prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight. This is an abomination. We shall have no other gods before you.”

These people were immediately removed from the Senate by security persons.

This prayer created history both in America and on the Internet. Though the prayer was welcomed by most of the Christian brothers, some Christian organizations opposed this. Google search yielded 1,20,000 results for the keyword “Rajan Zed.” On YouTube the video of this event had been one of the most favorite videos for that week.

Actually, all this controversy was created because of some peoples’ ignorance and misconceptions about Hinduism. Most of the people believe that Hindus believe in many Gods and it was a prayer of that kind. But in fact, Hinduism believes in only one God but at the same time allows to worship other deities also because they are considered as part of the same Supreme Being.

So, Americans do not need to change their slogan from “In God We Trust” to “In God(s) We Trust” as it was commented on lots of blogs around the world.

But the e-mails Mr. Zed received were very encouraging. Most of the people thank him for spreading the message of peace and apologized for the disrespect he received.

There was a flamboyant reaction to this incident from Hindus around the world. Lots of people started saying that Christians in America are non-tolerant, etc. What I think is that before giving such reactions, we should think about why some Christians reacted like this. This was because they thought Vedas are for Hindus only but in fact, they are universal and refer to the same God of whom we are the children. Once they come to know about this, they will not react like this. So, it is our duty to erase such misconceptions about Hinduism from peoples’ mind.

Before this incident, on March 19, 2007, Mr. Rajan Zed read a Vedic prayer in the Nevada State Assembly. He is also scheduled to open Utah State Senate on February 13, 2008, and Washington State Senate on February 22, 2008.

Let peace, peace, and peace be there unto all

Hinduism and animals

There are some Hindu temples in India where you would find monkeys, dogs, rats, and/or other animals inside the temple. Cow is the highest revered animal for Hindus. Aside from cows, dogs, monkeys, elephants and other animals are integral part of Hindu mythology and are associated with different Hindu deities. Most of the animals are given protection in Hinduism except a few.

An important fact about Hinduism is that it has given high importance to the animals including domestic as well as wild. Bhagvadgita says that the same soul exists in the animals as well as human beings. We all are children of the same God. God never differentiates between an animal and a human being. We are equal for Him.

Animals form an integral part of Hindu customs. Lots of Hindu customs are designed in such a way that they would protect animals.

Zoolatry (Religious worship of animals):

Bail Pola (bullock festival) is widely celebrated in Maharashtra and other parts of India in which bullocks are worshipped and allowed to rest for the whole day.

On the eve of Nag Panchami, snakes are worshipped throughout the India. Snakes are not killed on this day. Snakes are closely associated with Lord Shiva. In a temple of Lord Shiva in Marleshwar in Maharashtra, there are hundreds of snakes lying on the road to the temple but there has been no incidence of snake bite for hundreds of years.

On the eve of Vasu Baras in Diwali, cows are worshipped. Cow is the most sacred animal for Hindus. Killing of a cow is considered as a great sin and Hindus are prohibited from eating beef.

If a Hindu kills a cat, he has to go to Kashi and donate a small cat made up of gold. Therefore, killing a cat is prohibited in Hinduism.

Animals as carriers of different deities:

Many wild and domestic animals are associated with different Hindu deities. Each deity has been assigned an animal as a carrier, which that deity uses for transportation from one place to another.

Deity Carrier

Indra                                        White elephant

Ganesha                                   Mouse

Shiva                                        Bullock

Dattatreya                                Cow

Vishnu                                      Eagle

Brahma                                    Swan

Kartikeya                                 Peacock

Durga                                       Tiger or Lion

Deities in animal form:

Lord Ganesha is one of the most popular Hindu deities. Lord Ganesha has head of an elephant and the body of a human being.

Lord Hanumana is also known as Monkey God. Lord Hanumana helped Lord Rama to fight against King Ravana.

Narsimha is considered as fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and has a head of a Lion and body of a man.

In Varah Avatar of Lord Vishnu, he has a head of a wild boar and torso of a man.

There are many deities who have been depicted in half animal and half human form and have been worshipped by Hindus. This automatically creates affection for that animal resulting in care of the animals.

Vegetarianism:

Though animal sacrifice is a common practice in Hinduism, Hinduism strongly advocates vegetarianism. Non-vegetarian food is considered as Tamasi and is believed to affect our body and thought process. Hindus do not eat meat on some days like Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. Plus, other days like Ganesh Chaturthi, Ekadashi, and on the eve of the festivals eating non-vegetarian food is prohibited. Eating non-veg food is considered as a bad Karma.

Animal sacrifice in Hinduism:

Animal sacrifice to a deity is a common practice in Hinduism. It has been there before Indus Valley Civilization. The animals allowed for sacrifice are cocks, He-goats, bisons. Other animals are not generally used for sacrifice.

It is believed that in ancient times, cows were also used for sacrifice on special occasions but it is a controversial subject.

Demons in animal form:

In Hindu mythology, there are a handful of stories about the demons depicted as half-beast and half-human. The story of Mahishasur (half-bison and half-human) is very famous in this regard.