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What is Myth? Exploring A Sacred World and Its Inhabitants
Published in April 2010
A myth is a broad truth in regard to an event or a set of beings, men, animals or others....This world does not accept dividers, those dividing man from woman, man from animal, or live from dead, nor accepts the scale of time fragmented into past, present and future....The legend of the Great Flood is a part of many other traditions of the ancient world....Virabhadra, Lord Shiva’s son born of his sublime wrath, and one of his guards and generals, is a rare character from Indian mythology in which a weakness, such as anger, sublimates into a divine form....Among traditions related to emergence of Devi a more popular one, perhaps as popular as the one that contends that Devi is beyond time and beyond form.
Ten Mahavidyas : Manifestations Of Cosmic Female Energy
Published in March 2010
Too independent to be in a wife’s frame, besides gender they have in them little which is consort-like....They are individualistic in nature, yet their identity better reveals as a group....The broad meaning of the term ‘Mahavidya’ is ‘great knowledge’. In its wider sense the term might be taken to mean complete, supreme, absolute, or ultimate knowledge....Ten mantras are ten manifestations of the deity – the Divine Female....As regards the origin of Mahavidyas, the tradition has five myths in prevalence....Frightened Shiva tried to flee from one direction to other but a burst of laughter obstructed him on every side, and dismayed and frightened he submitted. To further ensure that he did not slip the woman, obviously Sati’s transform, filled all directions around him with ten different forms....Not merely in the Buddhist myths that portray Tara as the goddess of tempestuous seas helping the masses wade their path to safety and redemption, even in Hindu and Jain traditions she is revered as the goddess who guides out of troubles and all kinds of turmoil.
Dalai Lama: The Tradition And The Cult
Published in February 2010
Dalai Lama, an epithet used for the first time in 1578 by the Mongol ruler Altan Khan for Sonam Gyatso, the Third Dalai Lama....The Tibetan mind was thus naturally inclined to the bodhisattva-cult....The first four Dalai Lamas represented only the preparatory stage in the growth of the institution which manifested fully in the Fifth Dalai Lama....Three reincarnate Dalai Lamas died very early, the Ninth dying at the age of just nine....The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, a leader greater than the great, faced the ever gravest challenges posed mainly by Russia, China and Britain designing to grab Tibet.....Dalai Lama represents the continuous flow of the being that the Buddhist tradition identifies as Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara....In the scheme of this essay a brief account of the historic deeds and the life of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, the One who benefits the world today with his divine presence, had to be its part.
Lifting Mount Govardhana – The Crowning of Krishna as Govinda
Published in January 2010
Rama instructed Hanuman to establish the mountain near the banks of the river Yamuna at Vrindavana, where in His Krishna avatara He would play with his bare feet....So than sprung from the feet of Govardhana, the river Ganga, known as Manasi Ganga....Krishna initiated one of the most fascinating of all His Lilas....Overflowing with emotion, the residents of Vrindavana rushed to Him. Many of them embraced Him....God’s Lila doesn’t fulfill only a single purpose....Krishna’s mother Yashoda too got wind of the conversation. Consequently, there started blowing in her mind winds of doubt....Krishna always lives in the eyes of the gopis of Vrindavana....God’s exceptional love for cows is made amply evident in this Lila.
The Indian Concept Of Beauty: Dimensions And Contexts
Published in December 2009
Beauty in context to art is a vision of the mind that the artist translates into a form, or rather into a transform beyond such form’s actual dimensions....The Indian maxim ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ perceives beauty as the manifestation of the ultimate truth and the highest good, and at the same time conjointly all three are the attributes of the Supreme....Indian vision of beauty combining aestheticism with theology deifies beauty and perceives it enshrining all forms, divine or ephemeral, live or dead, or even those that common mind considers awful or ugly....The peacock’s legend is one of its best examples....This magnification of the cult of adornment is obviously metaphoric....Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra gave to the Indian art, especially temple-sculptures, across the land for many centuries its timeless imagery thriving with the vigour of life.
Sita – The Personification of Divine Womanhood
Published in November 2009
The factum of Vishnu’s incarnation as Rama has been interpreted in terms of Rama’s act of eliminating Ravana....She has not only kept to the right track Indian womanhood, affording it the most perfect model....Sita, the term literally meaning ‘furrow’, the line made by plough, is the Vedic name of the goddess associated with the ploughed fields....It was for her emergence from fire that Sita is sometimes alluded to as Agnija....This gives Sita her name Raktaja, one born of blood.....Sita represents absolute devotion, unshakable faith, chastity, service, constant companionship and a desire to help accomplish his cause, besides her unique divinity with which blends the highest kind of womanhood....When Rama feared that the forest life, and that too for fourteen years, would be difficult for Sita, she relieves him of his reluctance by telling him that astrologers, considering the position of planets at the time of her birth, had predicted that she would pass a part of her life in the forest.
Deepawali: The Indian Festival of Light
Published in October 2009
Light is the endless celebration, the man’s as also nature’s....The so far known earliest text that alludes to celebrating a night with multitudinous lights – a kind of the festival of light, is the Kama-Sutra by sage Vatsyayana....Some astrological studies have established that the day of Rama’s return to Ayodhya was the same as the one on which Dipawali is celebrated....The Skanda Purana links Dipawali celebrations with the destruction of the demon king Bali and Vishnu’s incarnation as Vamana, the Dwarf....celebrations stretch into a group of at least five minor festivals and thus Dipawali is a festival of composite nature. The first of them is Dhana-Terasa....Lakshmi is unanimously revered as the presiding deity of Dipawali.... Dipawali begins its rituals with the joint worship of Lakshmi and Ganesh, one representing the primordial energy and the other who channeled it into creative process by controlling detriments.
Barahmasa: Songs Of Twelve Months
Published in September 2009
Barahmasa, is the ‘songs of twelve months'....Inter-action-reaction of nature’s phenomena and human emotions.... The classification of the annual cycle into six ritus was more sensitive and minute. It was around then that a kind of inter-relationship between the changes of nature and man’s emotional world was first recorded.....Whatever their source, the Great Epics are the earliest reported poetry to comprise season descriptions....The passage begins with the description of the river’s beauty to which is added the description of Basant and Rama’s love-longings....Nature description is the core of many of Kalidasa’s works – Kumarasambhava, Meghdoot, Raghuvansa among others; however it evolves in its fullest accomplished form in the Ritu-samhara.....Not only literature, miniature painting and even music have resorted to the Barahmasa model for seeking in it narrative continuity, vivid imagery, intense emotions.
Sati and Shiva: Attachment to the Unattached
Published in August 2009
One should never cultivate the habit of receiving too much respect or honor....It was with reluctance that I gave away my delicate young daughter to him in marriage....Sati Devi, the wife of Shiva, observed numerous airplanes carrying heavily ornamented beautiful women along with their spouses....One should never go the houses of those who look upon the visitor with a frown and angry looks....She burst out into copious tears and with her body trembling looked askance at Shiva as if to burn him down....Concentrating on the lotus feet of her beloved Lord Shiva, she became completely absorbed and lost track of everything else....However the gods and sages were still fearful of facing Shiva....It will find rest only on the shore of absolute faith.
Concept Of Incarnation And Vishnu's Ten Avataras
Published in July 2009
Elevation of the humblest, the fish, the most ignored, the tortoise, and the man's headstrong antagonist, the boar, first three of Vishnu's ten incarnations, to the status of the Supreme Being, not only generated reverence for all beings but also helped cosmic unity and equilibrium....The concept of incarnation has its origin in the Rig-Vedic mysticism....Texts have classified incarnations into three types....Significantly, world literature, to include Greek, Latin, European, Babylonian, and South Asian among others, abounds in tales of Great Flood with someone like Manu escaping it under Divine commandment. The Holy Bible (Genesis, Chapters 6, 7 and 8) in Noah's episode seems to recount an identical flood and emergence of God instructing Noah to make an ark....In his Buddhavatara Vishnu adopts an altogether different path to uphold 'dharma' - righteousness....
Vishnu: Cosmic Magnification Of The Divine Being
Published in June 2009
The dark waters of the child Vishnu’s myth transform into the grown-up Vishnu’s ocean of milk abounding in unique radiance..... Hence, Vishnu is not a mere sanctum deity or worshippers’ idol but also a deep cosmo-metaphysical principle that defines on one hand the principle of evolution, and on the other, manifests the Rig-Vedic theory of God’s oneness and unity of the cosmos....He is the only divinity whom the Rig-Veda seeks to personalise....His seated postures are rare except sometimes as in his manifestation as Yoga-Narayana, or in shrines like one at Badrinatha....Vishnu is believed to have abandoned Baikuntha and migrated to Tirumala, a hill-range in south India.
Clinging To The Divine Name: The Purest, Highest Dharma
Published in May 2009
Even after having atoned for a sin, and knowing very well that committing a sin is against our interest, we commit those very sins again and again....Many rivers cannot purify a pot of wine....Even after performing the atonements prescribed in the Vedic Scriptures, our mind again runs to towards sin....Thus the messengers of Shri Narayana convincingly explained to the Yamadutas the essence of 'Param-Dharma', meaning the 'Higher-Dharma'.....An extreme sinner is unable to fulfill the stipulated time allotted to him...Paramhamsas (ascetics of the highest order) are exalted people who have no taste for material enjoyment, but constantly drink the sweet fragrant honey of the Lord's lotus feet....The purpose of life is not just to create more good karmas, but to terminate karmas once and for all by transcending the entire karmic process....Engaged in karma over numerous lifetimes, by our very nature we are unable to place faith in any means which doesn't require a heavy dose of karma.
Sudama: The Unity Of The Apparent Duality
Published in April 2009
Sudama is one of the three names that the Vaishnava tradition inseparably clubs with the name of Krishna, two other being Radha and Balarama....As the Bhagavata Purana has it, one among the close friends of Krishna was a poor Brahmin....His devoted and faithful wife would bear any affliction but not that her husband went to bed hungry....Sudama was reluctant to disclose for his humble four handfuls of beaten rice could not be a gift to him who was the master of all three worlds....The Krishna-Sudama episode reveals strong mysticism..... Krishna was the Supreme Self present in all beings, and accordingly, Sudama was the individual self, a part of the Supreme Self, now separated from it but pining ever after to re-unite.
Mirabai : Saint, Singer And The Soul In Sojourn
Published in March 2009
A postal address is not Mira's home-address....Mira was wedded to One Infinite who manifested in human, personal, beatific and joyous form of Krishna.....Mira's mother smiled at her innocence and picked the idol of Krishna and giving it to her said that he was her groom.....She yearns for Krishna but these are her own yearnings, not Krishna's.....Krishna had taken on him poison's evil effect with the result that his image turned blue.....Now her devotional life was in full swing. She moved in sadhus' company, danced and sang in temples.....When in her forties, Mira came to Dwarika. Now every moment of her life was devoted to Krishna.....Those who had seen her entering the temple never saw her coming out.....The moment Mira met Girdhara, sorrows vanished and happiness emerged, all agitations of mind and body extinguished, and the cycle of birth and death is destroyed.
Kali: The Most Powerful Cosmic Female
Published in February 2009
A fusion of contradictions is the essence of Kali's being, a mysticism which no other divinity is endowed with....In Kali's invocation, the devotee stands face to face with darkness....As suggests the term Kali, she appears to be the feminine aspect of Kala – Time, that being invincible, immeasurable and endless has been venerated as Mahakala – the Transcendental Time, represented in Indian metaphysical and religious tradition by Shiva....Skanda Purana links Kali's origin to Parvati. Initially Parvati had dark complexion for which Shiva used to tease her every now and then....Shiva asked her to compete him in dance to which Kali agreed....By nature, Kali is always hungry and never sated. She laughs so loud that all three worlds shake with terror....Guhyakali, literally meaning 'Secret Kali', is Kali's esoteric aspect, which only those well versed in the Kali tradition know....Yoga perceives Kali as Kundalini Shakti....Kali's disruptive behaviour, unkempt appearance, confronting activities and involvement with death and defilement are what better suit Tantra, especially the Vamachara Tantrism....To the Tantrika, Kali's black is symbolic of disintegration; as all colours disappear in black, so merge into her all names and forms.
Sari: Indian Woman's Globally Venerated Distinction
Published in January 2009
A ritual in temple or at home, celebrating a birth or marriage or mourning a death, sari has its own sanctity on all occasions....Sari is an imaginative wear which the wearer drapes to her fancy using it to add volume to her frail figure or relieve it of its awkward bulk....Whatever the early Sanskrit denominations, the vernacular term 'sari', among others denoting Indian textiles, had evolved with specificity by the 14th century, if not before....Mirabai alludes to term 'sari' in her verses....It was Indian cinema that led sari to its all time heights of popularity.
Guru Nanak: His Life And Philosophy
Published in December 2008
The young Nanak was often found engaged in cosmic questions and fundamentals of life....Mardana was fascinated by Nanak's sweet melodious voice, charming manners, human concerns, spiritual fervour and soul-touching quality of his verses....His clothes lying on the river bank led his kin and others to conclude that he had drowned.....Guru Nanak gave up his job and distributed all his belongings to poor....He sought the simplest possible path of 'Nam-simaran' – commemoration of His name, which beyond form and rites enabled man to enter into intimate communion with God. 'Those who condemn God's creatures condemn God Himself' is the underlying tone of many of his verses.
Churning the Ocean - Samudra Manthan as a Roadmap for Sadhana
Published in November 2008
A flower is the abode of Goddess Lakshmi....The nature of Lord Brahma is such that he can give only specific boons, but never lasting relief from distress....Effort is the vehicle of divine grace....The movement of the massive mountain on the back of the tortoise made God feel as if someone was pleasantly scratching his back....Seeing their distress Lord Shiva was overwhelmed with compassion....Only the one, who like Lord Shiva, bears of the Ganga of knowledge on his head can survive them.... Goddess Lakshmi, shining like a creeper of gold, holding a garland in her arms, set out in search of a suitable spouse....One who backbites or complains, has to face eclipses…
Bharata: Brother of Rama and Ocean of
Virtues
Published in October 2008
Bharata's non-use of arms does not define his passiveness or inaction but a different attitude of mind or a different choice of means for attaining a goal. He ruled but as would a saint, a saint-ruler in true sense....Otherwise a simple narration, this phase of Bharata's life adds some essential epical dimensions to the Ramakatha....Bharata's is a tragedy of a well-meaning noble soul who does no wrong but is always seen standing in witness-box giving clarification for things which, not only he did not do but weren't ever even in his perception....His meeting with Rama at Chitrakuta is one of the most emotional moments in the Ramakatha.....Tulsi adds a dramatic event, perhaps to cover Bharata's long absence, in the Ramakatha.....Rama fears that Bharata might even end his life if he fails to reach Ayodhya on the day the period of exile completes.....Often, in Bharata's acts and words Tulsi appears to be recording his own devotional crisis.....
Lakshmi - Goddess of Wealth & Prosperity
Published in September 2008
As per Markandeya Purana, it is in her manifestation as Mahalakshmi that Devi kills Mahishasura....In Vishnu's Ardhanarishvara images, which are very rare, Lakshmi is represented as comprising Vishnu's left half...Thus, Lakshmi dually emerged in Vishnu's life, one, by realisation, and other, by manifestation....Main among Lakshmi's forms, other than her transforms, or her forms by re-birth or re-emergence, are her forms as Gaja-Lakshmi, Lakshmi-Ganapati and Deep-Lakshmi....As Shridevi, Lakshmi is the image of the supreme beauty conceived as heavily bejeweled.
Folk Arts: The Magic Of Raw Hands
Published in August 2008
Folk art is the creative expression of those who uninfluenced by princely ostentation and ecclesiastic conservatism, revealed in lines and forms what they had within and around... Its definitions vary from the art of tribes, primitive people, ethnic groups to an art by family tradition... folk art in its entirety celebrates joy, festivities, ceremonial occasions, and shuns sensuousness, voluptuous modeling, more vehemently nudeness and all forms of obscenity... A folk painting is composed of overlapping forms, irrational anatomy, irregular imagery, and random motifs but its polyphonic character has an amazing coherence and unity... In folk art, ritualism rarely reflects but it has always sustained in ritualism...
Tantra: The Method Of Kindling Dormant Energies
Published in July 2008
Neither moral nor immoral, Tantra is beyond the 'moral'.... Suppression is not the way of Tantra. On the contrary, it harnesses the inherent, magnifies it and at times even multiplies, though not without awareness which is the essence of Tantra....Thus, man is the micro-miniaturized form of the cosmos. Summarily, the human body is microcosmic sample of the universe and is thus its representative form....Kundalini, the tool of kindling inherent energies in the Shiva-Shakti myth, is the essence of all Tantrika systems, and even Yoga and Vedic asceticism....'Mantra' – sacred syllable, spell, or incantation, is divine power clothed in sound....Thus, every 'Mantra' constantly draws its power from the Timeless Shiva and Shakti.
Ganesa: An Encyclopedic Survey
Published in June 2008
Lord Ganesh is invoked for enshrining a child's slate before he draws on it his ever first alphabet....He is not invoked, or his name inscribed on papers or documents that seek dissolution of a marriage, partnership or firm, or declare bankruptcy, lunacy or disentitlement....An essentially cool, soft, calm, simple and benevolent being, he neither strikes awe nor inflicts pain, harm or punishment....A more popular and interesting myth attributes the loss of the tusk to the moon...... Largely a secular divinity Ganesh has no stifling rituals, sectarian rigidities, fastidiousness or taboos associated with him. He is alike loved and worshipped by all, whatever their social status or religious identity, and both, a hut and a palace, get from him equal protection and benefaction.
Dukha Mimamsa: The Nature, Cause (and Cure) of Suffering
Published in May 2008
Long long ago, in the ancient city of Ujjain there lived a brahmin, who was however a brahmin in name only....Wherever that old brahmin, now in tatters, would go, wicked people would insult him terribly....He took each and every bit of suffering in his stride, reconciling himself with each of them, thoroughly working out the nature of suffering....The Planets cannot be the ultimate cause of our sukha (happiness) or dukha (suffering) because they affect only that which is born....Time or kala can be experienced as the present alone, and the present moment, down to the microsecond, can be divided and subdivided till time itself disappears and only the Self, the witnessing Presence alone remains.....Krishna shows just how a severe crisis or an extreme moment of suffering in our life can give us a highly creative impetus, propelling us on to the path of self-realization.
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Manish Parmar
Dear Exotic India, This sight is so very beautiful, with beautiful stories and images!! As I read them now being in Europe and normally living in India, I now understand much more about all the Hindu stories about the Gods. Good to let the people know, what they are all about and what they mean. I passed this sight on to my family, who agrees with me about what I just wrote down. Good luck to you with this sight!!!
L. A. Pecqueur
YOUR ARTICLES ARE EXCITING, ENLIGHTENING AND EAGERLY AWAITED. I HAVE SAVED THOSE I HAVE RECEIVED IN A SPECIAL BINDER AND REFER TO THEM WHEN NEEDED. THANK YOU MANY TIMES OVER.
Anonymous
Your articles/News Letters are superb with great details. I would appreciate if you can post any information on Meditation. Namaskar
Ram Taju, Saudi Arabia
I wish you guys would do an article on the Guru and the Guru path. It is so misunderstood in the West. Your articles are so informed and well put together. Thank you so much.
Dharmanatha Jaya
CONGRATULATIONS, a wonderful effort, a beautiful experience to go into your site.
Sidban
Once again, you have done us proud, to put forth another well written discourse. I hope you are one with the great mind, the universe, brahman, only coming out to illuminate, like a firefly, a dark night in the world of men. Shine on, my friend.
Dr. Jan, Ireland.
Wonderful website. Your articles are great to read as I am especially interested in mythology. I am now trying to learn more about Hinduism and its philosophies. I would love to take up the hindu religion but as an older caucasian woman I would most probly find this very difficult. Anyway I love your artwork and the articles you write.
Jemma
Thank you for sending these, they are wonderful! I enjoy reading them and love looking at the beautiful illustrations, also.
Donna
I have really learned a lot from reading your articles
Renee Ware, Willos, Ca, USA
I just wanted to say thank you , what beautiful art work and love the stories , I have very much enjoyed both and learned a little too. Thank you again
Abbi
I just want to thank you for the great articles! They are very insightful and I love the visual artwork that goes with every segment! I look forward to each and every one, and thank you again for sharing your time and wisdom with us all. May You Walk In Beauty
Jennifer
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