Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kunal Singh: RAMA NAVAMI: Hanuman and The Vasanta Navaratri

Surprisingly despite the presence of so many erudite religious VHP/RSS Hindu scholars nobody seems to have bothered posting anything regarding Rama Navami.  So I figured I should post it, as apparently it seems quite like 'Chat', 'Rama Navami' is apparently another Hindu festival which can now be termed 'Bihari' as others don't seem to bother celebrating it anymore. I am not talking about high culture of Thyagaraja etc but of common rural folk.

Immediately following the Chata celebrations in Bihar, Ramanavami iscelebrated which marks the birth of Rama.  In the city of Patna duringRamanavami various temples encourage participants to come andcelebrate the event and a small mela is held near the Patna railwaystation near the Hanuman temple.  However, the event seems to be more visible outside of Patna in the rural areas.

Strangely, Ramanavami is marked more by the worship of Hanuman, Rama's greatest devotee, than by the worship of Rama himself.  And as I headed south of Patna towards the rural town of Hilsa, I wouldencounter the many "dhwajas" put up during Ramanavami, the triangularflags fluttering in the wind.  This is indeed the most visible characteristic of the festival.  Very tall bamboo poles are put up
with triangular orange/saffron flags mounted atop the poles. Such flags are a familiar site to most people living in the area as traditionally, most families in the Bihar/UP/MP area used to have a
"dhwaja" in their courtyards. 


Rama Navami is the conclusion of the spring navaratri.  The winter navaratri is observed by the worship of Durga/Kali and the spring navaratri is observed by the worship of  ... Rama ?  No Hanuman!  Because it is said that Hanuman is the only way to acquire the blessings of Rama.  There is a good reason for this, as the sage of the Hanuman mantra is indeed Rama himself.
Thus the navaratri tradition themselves seem to have been put in place by
Rama (Durga is said to have been worshipped by Rama prior to waging battle
against Ravana thus giving rise to the winter navaratri).  And the purnima
which follows is termed 'Hanuman Jayanti.'
Now Hanuman is deemed a part incarnation of Shiva himself.  This may seem confusing, but indeed if one understands the Sanskrit matrkas one can easilysee that the Hanuman mantra has a strong element of Shiva in it. Thus thewinter worship of Shakti and the spring worship of an incarnation of Mahadeva.
 
Hanuman was apparently by present demarcations a Jharkhandi and by former an ex-Bihari who seems to have been born in a village named after his mother 120 km from Ranchi.  He was quite a trouble making youth, and was known to show off his own spiritual prowess and spoil the penance of quite a few rishis, thus one can presume that the natural Bihari influence was quite strong and he likely lived in the jungles in the presence of such rishis.

He showed off his unusual prowess and created so much trouble that one of the rishis finally cursed him to cause him to lose memory of his prowess. As he grew up no rishi would take him as a student due to ill feelings and misunderstandings of his youthful misadventures.  Thus Hanuman was
self-taught or in other words the Surya devata whom he 'followed' (most likely tracked in his body) taught him all the shastras that he needed to know and he became invincible even to the Brahmastra.
 
Thus Hanuman is worshipped during the Rama Navami festival, and this is done with great vigour not only in the large temples dedicated to Hanuman such as  those in Patna, but in the smallest of villages where Hanuman can be seen on all the triangular saffron flags flying atop high flying bamboo poles, one such flag even graced the chariot of Arjuna in the Mahabharata.  It is during this time that they are all replaced and new ones put in their place which makes for quite a colorful landscape in the Bihari countryside.
Hanuman in the countryside is synonymous with strength, prowess and victory and is used even as a warcry quite like 'har har mahadev' in fights between large groups of people..  Every flag of Hanuman echoes with the Bihari rural sentiment: "Jyon Jyon Hanuman Paanva Parantaa Wahi Pataala Chala Jaaye Turantaa!  Jai Hanumantaa, Jai Hanumantaa!
 
The "dhwaja" is a declaration of victory.  Though the idealistic would say that it was a victory of good over evil, I sometimes wonder if it isn't outright a declaration of martial victory.  Typically Hanumana is invoked by the bhojpur populace during fighting.  For example, when two groups in the rural regions around Hilsa would attack each other, such as over a land dispute, they would either call on Shiva for courage, yelling "Har Har Mahadev" or would remind themselves of Hanuman burning the Lanka with "Jai Mahavir Swami!"  Then the two groups would typically charge each other lathis or swords spinning the men hopping and turning quickly like monkeys in the process.

Typically when kids in the region became afraid of either ghosts or some other menace, they would recite the Hanuman chalisa to themselves.  And the chalisa would accompany them on long treks during dark hours of the night.  And then of course there is the fondness of Bihari villagers for that old bhojpur saying expressing admiration for Hanuman's strength which translates into "wherever Hanuman's feet touched the ground, that ground immediately sank into the nether regions."
Thus it seems that the dhwaja has become symbolic of a very ancient victory for the population of the region.  That it is associated with Hanuman seems to give it a more martial interpretation.
 
(What was he doing in what is present day Tamil Nadu)
 
Supposedly the Surya devata told him to go join Sugreeva.  It seems he may have had prior political connections to the region as well.  His father was Pawankumar and his grandfather was the vanara king Prahalada Vidyadhara who in support of Ravana in his fight against Banasur, had sent Pawankumar to assist Ravana.  Pawankumar had in a fit of anger left his wife Anjani in a
remote home and only visited her once during which time she supposedly conceived Hanuman before going off to war in favor of Ravana.  The story regarding Vayu devata is quite interesting.  I suspect that during her time alone, Anjani may have had quite a bit of time to perform 'tapasya' and
became known for it.  At one time, it is said that she felt a touch of 'vayu' but found nobody around.  Eventually, Vayu devata confessed that it was he who touched her but he did not violate her chastity as he was omnipresent in a secret way and was everywhere.  Apparently this seems to be a reference to Anjani's achievement of yogic ability, as in yoga, 'vayu' is associated with the sense of 'sparsha' and thus the special characteristics of Hanuman at a very early age!
 
 I suspect that the undergoing of various religious rituals by queens/mothers in the past may have considerably strengthened the children, the same being true of the men.  It is said in the tantra that the male determines the 'prana' and the mother the 'blood' characteristics.  And spiritually developed parents will not due to any fantastic miracle, but both by birth, and by later repeated contact will lead to children with higher internal energy.  Thus it was said about Buddha's son Rahul that by his mere proximity to Buddha he achieved enlightenment!  It is said that men of higher internal energy have
a stronger energy field which will alter you as well over time.  It's definitely true, as my kung fu instructor who can externalize energy can create a strong enough aura for his devotionally or religiously minded non-kung fu types to describe it as "divine love/bliss" because a sense of
calm overtakes your body quite forcefully, calming all of your nerves.  Of course the Shakti followers know exactly what it is! ;-)

74 comments:

  1. @ YSV

    Thanks again for sharing another masterpiece of Kunal Singh :)

    " or in other words the Surya devata whom he 'followed' (most likely tracked in his body) taught him all the shastras " - Suryadevata is the deity of Manipur Chakra,and the mantra of Manipur chakra is Ram/Ra.Manipur chakra is also called surya-chakra.Hence I think Hanuman might have meditated on the manipur chakra in his initial sadhana.Only after he got a darshan of Lord Ram,he could proceed to the higher chakras later on.The curse had probably held him back to the manipur chakra.Manipur chakra is said to be the most important chakra in our body,as it is the sit of our inner sun,which removes ignorance and opens the door to higher realisation,ie,only if you are able to overcome the vishnu-granthi in this chakra.

    "one can easily see that the Hanuman mantra has a strong element of Shiva in it." - The part Ha in hanuman is the beeja of Shiva.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. @ Iniyavel

      Sure bro I would read your posts very soon.I had glanced through your blog two or three times,and I would admit that your style of narration is very engrossing.

      Delete
    4. @ Iniyavel

      "and there goes Captain's case right out through the window LOL" - yeah I guess so :)

      BTW Iniyavel Hanuman is a Rudra incarnation of Shiva(more precisely the 11th Rudra ).As Rudra is Shiva unleashed with all his power,hence Hanuman is also all-powerful and unstoppable.

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    6. Well for me Shiva and Rudra are the same,just like Krishna and Narayana.They are just different expressions of the same ParaBrahman.Shiva represents Nirguna and Rudra represents the power of Shiva which converts Saguna into Nirguna.

      Delete
    7. In short,"my god vs your god" makes no sense to me.Even if you worship Jesus Christ or Allah with purity of mind and bhakti,it's always far better than worshipping all the Hindu deities with Capt's vile mindset :)

      Delete
    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    9. @ Iniyavel

      Yeah my last comment was a bit offtopic here but I made it to reinforce my views on multiple deities in Sanatan Dharma.

      Now I understand,you are speaking about the vedic deity Rudra.But when I speak of Rudra,I mean the same Shiva who is also called Rudra.For me Rudra is another expression of Shiva and not any other deity acquiring powers of Shiva separately.

      Delete
  2. Good and evil affects only those who have a choice to select between the two. Captain will not be affected by good and evil since he is mad.

    Abrahamic gods are like Devas. Their grace will make your earthly life smooth but it wont help you attain Moksham (freedom from cycles of birth and death).

    There are many gods and godlings but we cant worship all of them. So best way is to follow instruction of Jagatguru Adi-Shankara by doing Pancha Devata Puja.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @ Sagar

    "Abrahamic gods are like Devas. Their grace will make your earthly life smooth but it wont help you attain Moksham (freedom from cycles of birth and death). " - The same applies to demigods in Hinduism also.But I think sticking to Yahweh,Allah or Christ/Elohim will also deliver moksha.

    "So best way is to follow instruction of Jagatguru Adi-Shankara by doing Pancha Devata Puja." -The best way is to worship one single God in whatever way you like,be it Vaishnavism or shaivism.Scriptures of all paths in Sanatan Dharma proclaim the superiority of their own deity,hence following any path with full faith is sure to bring moksha.However as Sanatan Dharma is all-encompassing,hence even multiple deity worship will bear the same fruits,if the element of Pure Bhakti is there in the worship.

    ReplyDelete
  4. JAM,

    Yes you are right, you dont attain Moksha by worship of Devas like Indra. Only Vishnu. Shiva and Shakti can grant you that because they are eternal while Devas are not.

    Sticking to Jehovah and Allah wont deliver Moksha since Abrahamic religions have only heaven/hell concept and dont have the notion of Moksham.

    Adi-Shankara synthesized Shaiva, Shakteya and Vaishnava paths into Smartha way where five god worship (Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, Ganesha and Surya) was done. Smartha way permits you to devote yourself to your Ishta-devata but you must respect and venerate Pancha-devatas too.

    Another very important point --- One should also pay due respect to Kula-devata or family deity. No sort of spiritual progress is possible for a person if he does not pays homage to his Kula-devata.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @ Sagar

      "Sticking to Jehovah and Allah wont deliver Moksha since Abrahamic religions have only heaven/hell concept and dont have the notion of Moksham." - You would get dualistic moksha of Ajna chakra if you follow Abrahamic religions.Abrahamic religions do not have the concept of singularity of Sanatan Dharma.Hence they are incomplete in the yogic sense,but so is Bhakti yoga,which also stresses on the attainment of dualistic moksha as the final goal.Of course Bhakti philosophy is far more advanced than Abrahamic devotion.In Sanatan dharma bhakti,we even have the concept of worshipping God as our own lover(Madhurya Rasa).The mad love of Gopis for Krishna is an example of this .Another unmatched concept in Bhakti Yoga is the Vatsalya Rasa(worshipping God as your son).as Krishna is worshipped in the form of baby Gopala.


      " No sort of spiritual progress is possible for a person if he does not pays homage to his Kula-devata." - Yeah I agree .Worshipping KulaDevata boosts inner spirituality.However more important than this is whether devotion is present in the worship.If that is not there,then Kuladevata will not help.It's better to choose the deity which appeals to you the most.

      Delete
    2. @Sagar

      I wonder if that means that the Vedic people didn't attain moksha since the Vedas mostly praise Indra, Agni, Surya etc. Rudra and Vishnu were unimportant demi gods during the Vedic times.

      Delete
    3. @ Prem Chand

      very valid point.To be frank I myself had never thought on this angle before.The set of gods changed with time im the past.Hence Krishna told Arjuna in one shloka of Gita that whatever deity you might worship,it ultimately reaches the supreme God.As I said,Bhakti is more important than the deity himself.Ofcourse technicalities might hel p in making the path easier but they are not all-in-all.

      Delete
    4. Indra, Agni, Vayu etc are sense based dieties which showed that early Vedic people would prefer to express the Brahman in a natural rather than abstract form. There were as early as the Rg Veda efforts to defeat Indra and how Indra falters in judgement ie showing the supremacy of purely sense based worship is flawed. Some like earthly kings Nahusha replace Indra in heaven which probably means that Nahusha which probably means that he mapped Indra to the chakras and overcame along proving the philosophical deficiencies of that divinity. However he got on the wrong side of the saptarishis and got cursed to become a snake . That is just symbolic of his going "underground" losing his wealth and riches as the saptarishis may have some use for Indra at the time. Most likely the scholars attached to saptarishis were still being patronized by kings loyal to Indra and didn't want a good thing to end.

      Delete
    5. Indra's adventures are better explained as the dragon slaying myth found in a few other cultures. Except for a few puns, there is not even the slightest indication of deeper meanings in the Rig Veda other than what is implied. This 'lets reinterpret the Vedas' enthusiasm started only during the modern reformation movements like Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj etc., no doubt in an attempt to cosy up to the British monotheists.

      The concept of tantra and Brahman did not exist during the composition of the Rig Veda. They are later innovations produced during the composition of the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.

      Delete
    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    8. @ Prem Chand

      "Indra's adventures are better explained as the dragon slaying myth found in a few other cultures. Except for a few puns, there is not even the slightest indication of deeper meanings in the Rig Veda other than what is implied. This 'lets reinterpret the Vedas' enthusiasm started only during the modern reformation movements like Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj etc., no doubt in an attempt to cosy up to the British monotheists.

      The concept of tantra and Brahman did not exist during the composition of the Rig Veda. They are later innovations produced during the composition of the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads." - Rig veda follows the path of yajnas and havans to spiritual enlightenment.The path is both lengthy and arduous.For example,earth element relates to Mooladhar chakra and the tattva of Manipur chakra is Agni.Hence when rig vedic Rishis performed yajnas of Agni or Earth they were probably aspiring to strengthen their manipur or mooladhar chakras respectively.Rigveda seems to be mumbojumbo because we have lost the teachers or Rishis who would explain to us the purpose of the verses and the correct methods of performing the yajnas to get spiritual enhancement.
      Concept of Tantra precedes Rigveda.Vedic Rishis were initially too adamant to accept Tantra philosophy,which is actually far better than vedic yajna system,as the former can give you moksha in a single lifetime.Later they are forced to accept the magnanimity or superiority of Shiva and the realm of Tantra. The invention of Patanjali's yoga was probably the acceptance of Tantric wisdom by a Vedic seer.According to some theories,the defeat of Ravana in the hands of Rama was an allegory for the dominance of Vedas over tantra.

      Delete
    9. @ Iniyavel

      "THIS IS THE SECRET BEHIND ISLAMIC SUCCESS ALL THESE YEARS! THEY SURRENDERED TOTALLY TO GOD! " - fantastic obeservation :) With this complete and noncritical acceptance of your god,even Jehovah or Allah or Elohim will give you moksha.

      Delete
    10. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    11. @ Iniyavel

      " WE WILL END UP BRIBING THE DEMIGODS TO DO WHAT THEY WERE NOT ORIGINALLY INSTRUCTED TO DO BY SHIVA" - This is exactly what many hindus do at present,by worshipping demigods to get their petty desires fulfilled.But the magnanimity of Sanatan Dharma lies in the fact that ParaBrahman accepts even the worship of demigods if there is an element of pure Bhakti,as has been said by Krishna to Arjuna in Gita.
      Using astrological stones or mantras to please planets are also the same blind fan-following for demigods.At present Capt can be included in the list of the scornful demigods :P

      "I'm not talking about Moksha. I'm talking about Earth. Of course, due to their unflinching devotion to the Almighty, who knows, some of them might end up being the most devout Saivites or Vaishnavites in their following lives, and really attain Moksha!" - As I said,I think abrahamic God will also give you Moksha.However Bhakti yoga of Sanatan Dharma is far superior to Abrahamic Bhakti concept.THis is the real reason,in my views,on why Sanatan Dharma might be more helpful to a soul than abrahamic religions.It is not the fault of the Abrahamic God,which is the same Parabrahman ,rather it is the problem of their philosophy,which makes it harder for Muslims and Christians to develop themselves spiritually with Bhakti.Probably this deficiency of the higher forms of Bhakti(Madhurya Rasa/Sakhya Rasa/VVatsalya Rasa) in christianity or abrahamic philosophy is the chief cause behind the US and European citizens getting attracted to Krishna worship through ISKCON and such other organisations.YSV might clarify more on this.Abrahamic religions focus too much on the Shanta and Dasya Bhakti moods.

      Delete
    12. @ Iniyavel

      For earth ,there are hoards of demigods to make your life simpler LOL :)

      Delete
    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    14. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    15. JAM,

      You don’t get Moksham in Abrahamic religions in any form!

      Moksham means your soul merges with God but in Abrahamic religions there is no such concept of merging with God.

      In Gita, Krshna tells us that you wont stay for eternity in hell or heaven. Once you enjoy the wages of your sins and goodness, you are reborn on earth.

      Hence Krishna told Arjuna in one shloka of Gita that whatever deity you might worship,it ultimately reaches the supreme God.

      But in the following shlokas, Krshna also says that those who worship Devas (he specifically says Devas including Brahma) are fools because Devas are not eternal and hence cannot give eternal results. Only supreme one can give you eternal liberation

      Who is the supreme one Krshna is speaking about --- ISCKON would say that Krshna is referring to himself. If you read Gita, he is referring to Purusha/Para-Brahman or eternal essence of universe.

      Going by that logic, how can we attain Moksham? We can do what Sikhs do – meditate Akal Purukh (which is a localized form of Akaala Purusha). Or we can do what we had been doing for thousands of years --- venerate Shiva, Shakti and Vishnu, who represent eternal aspect of Para-Brahman (as per your liking).

      Victory of Rama over Ravana symbolizes the fact that Bhakti without Dharmam cannot yield results. Ram had both while Ravana had only Bhakti.

      And another point – Ram venerated both Shiva and Shakti while Ravana was a devotee of Shiva only. Hence Ram won, Ravana lost.

      Veneration of Ishta-devata wont work spiritually or materially if you dont pay homage to Kuladevata. Kuladevata is equivalent to your father and mother. Neglect of ancestral deity equals to neglect of one's parents. All you need is a few minutes of worship daily - nothing heavy is demanded - just an act of acknowledgement. Same also with Pancha-devata Puja --- one should do it as one's religious duty.

      Delete
    16. Prem,

      How can we use Vedic stuff to reconstruct our religious history when Vedas are entirely allegorical and full of metaphors? ----- Remember that Vedas were meant for advanced level studies and never intended for mass consumption like Puranas and Itihasas.

      Just because the present day edition of Vedas available to us was created in 1500 BC and present day edition of Puranas/Tantras/Agamas available to us were created around 300 AD does not necessarily mean that Vedas preceded Puranas.

      OR

      Another argument is likely --- Samhita hymns were composed when Vedic people were still 'primitive' while great ideas of Upanishads represent an advancement of thought.

      But there is a problem here --- A whole chapter of Rigveda was composed by Viswamitra. We know from Puranas that Viswamitra did penance to Lord Shiva. But the same Viswamitra did not find it necessary to compose hymns in honor of Shiva in Rigveda!!! What is the reason behind that?

      Delete
    17. @SMME

      One can become a devotee only if one loves Shiva/Vishnu/Shakti.

      Now, how can you love someone if you don’t know about that person?

      So in order to know God, you need to be well versed in Puranas and local lore connected with Puranas. Only after you become adept in Puranas and become a devotee can you comprehend Vedas in full sense. Or else, Vedas are just mumbo-jumbo.

      That is why Vedanta has so few enthusiasts.

      As for “Ayyappa” or Manikantha ---

      He is actually a seventh century prince who defeated Arab onslaught, provided right religious and spiritual guidance to masses, established rule on the basis of Dharmic principles and had total control over his sense. He gave up his right to throne in favor his brother Rajasekhara and became an ascetic.

      He was a great saint, warrior and ruler. Since legend says that he was an alloy of Shiva and Vishnu, he became relevant to both Vaishnavas and Shaivas in Southern India. In other words, he fell entirely within Vaishnava and Shaiva traditions.

      So your observation is right – Worship of local deities should always be done within Vaishnava or Shaiva tradition.

      As for worldly success of Muzzies --- Islam have clear political goals in which their followers also have to take part - To conquer the world and convert it into their faith. Hence their followers miss no chance to conquer and convert. (Even Xtianity too was like that before eighteenth century).

      But that is not the case with non-Abrahamic religions who does not have clearly stated long term agendas.

      Delete
    18. @ Sagar

      To set things in the right perspective,you are talking about the advaita moksha or state of singularity.I was talking about duality.The New Testament has indirect references to the concept of Advaita(when Jesus says that God,all men and he are actually the same,and a few others like this),but I felt that they do not have the well-structured path to Advaita concept.However that's my opinion and I have read New Testament only as a novice.But my point is that the advaita concept is still there in the Bible.Probably Christ had thought that the concept of singularity will be hard for Abrahamic followers to comprehend,hence he chose not to elaborate on it.So christianity is all about dualistic moksha.Nothing wrong with that,as Bhakti yogi also targets for the duality only and doesnt want to merge into singularity with his beloved. When Christ spread the idea of the Kingdom of God,he meant the duality .I do believe that both Islam and Christianity can give you moksha.It might be dualistic moksha.The concepts of eternal hell or heaven in abrahamic religions are flawed if they are taken literally.Whatever religion you follow,you will have to get reincarnated on the material plane(it might be earth or any other intelligent planet of the universe) ,as gravitational pull works on your karma also.Technically there are 6 levels of independent existence of the soul,from mooladhar to Ajna.The 7th level is of singularity where the soul merges with infinity.This is the moksha you are talking about.Abrahamic religions stop at 6th level,or atleast do not elaborate on the 7th level of Sahashrar.The 3 lower chakras from Mooladhar to Manipur are considered hell.When abrahamic religions try to infuse the fear of eternal damnation inside your mind,they probably do it to instil the fear of criminal and vile mentality among the followers.So I would not take that seriously.When they speak of permanent stay in heaven,they indicate the Ajna chakra.Souls in the ajna chakra are free from all karmic bondage,the only bondage that might bring them back is their own will to help humanity.Hence we have got so many great saints all over the world.These saints(I mean the truly realised ones) actually come from the level of Ajna chakra or Chaitanya Loka above Ajna chakra(chaitanya loka/hiranyagarbha phase is for poorna avatars of God).
      My belief is that if you worship demigod to get spiritual enlightenment and not material pleasures,even the demigod will lead you to moksha,as demigods are reflection of the same God.However people worship demigods to make their life smoother in the short-term and that is a bad thing.I think this kind of worship probably uses up your good karmas early,though I am not sure about this.Pure bhakti for your god will never go waste,it will always deliver you.It is not the god but the bhakti that lays the path before you.

      Delete
    19. @ Sagar

      I forgot to touch this point.I do not consider either the Bible or the Koran to be demigod worship,as both of them clearly instructs their believers that the mind should be detached from material cravings and focussed solely on God.I believe this cannot come from some demigod.If you read the New Testament or Koran you will find amazing similarities with our Sanatan DHarma in terms of the instructions given.Ofcourse as I have already said multiple times in the past,abrahamic religions do not match the level of evolution of Sanatan DHarma.What I have felt is that they lack the structured approach to many deeper concepts ,like the Madhurya Rasa /Vatsalya Rasa/Sakhya Rasa of our religion.For example,you can love Christ with the Gopi's mad love for Krishna,or you can adore Christ as a baby in Mary's lap just like we adore Gopala,but the structured approach to these philosophies is missing.Christ does instruct his followers to love him with all their heart,but ultimately what I have seen in the churches or among christians generally is that the whole bhakti of theirs is the Dasya Bhakti,which makes God something superior or unreachable in the mind.Dasya bhakti is a great tool to establish love and respect for God and religion in the early stage,but you should be able to progress from that to the higher levels of Bhakti Rasa,otherwise the whole thing will become mechanical at one point of time.For example ,when I had first started reciting the Hanuman chalisa,I used to do it with the mood of reverence for a powerful form of GOd(ie the Rudra Roopa of SHiva),but slowly I progressed from that mood .Now I chant Hanuman's name thinking him to be a friend or elder brother of mine(Sakhya Rasa),who is always there to stand by me.And now the quality of worship in my case has become far better with this mindset.This progress of Bhakti is somewhat missing in Abrahamic religions in my views.It is more because of the rigidity of followers centred in and around the mechanical worship methods ,than it is about the defects of Bible or Koran.Even the concept of Mother God worship could have been built in CHristianity with Mary at the centre,but again as I said,the clear path to that is missing,except the "Hail Mary" prayer.In contrast,look at our Shakti worship ,it is a fullfledged path to get to God as your mother.

      Delete
    20. @Sagar

      The Brahmanas and Aranyakas have a lot of allegories and metaphors, but the Samhitas are fairly straightforward. When I say Vedic people, I mean the period before the composition of Brahmanas and Aranyakas. Since at that time people only worshipped the 'demigods', it follows from your argument that none of them achieved Moksha.

      The very fact that Puranas and Itihasas were meant for mass consumption makes them suspicious in my eyes! We have proved the point that these texts are worthless for serious historical study.

      I agree that the Puranic knowledge is probably older than the composition date, but the fact is Vedic religion was dominant before Puranic religion.

      Not just Vishwamitra, on comparing the genelogies of various Rishis and kings we find that the Vedas and Puranas contradict each other frequently. Either the Vedas are wrong or Puranas are wrong. Both can't be correct.

      Delete
    21. Prem,

      Even Samhitas are metaphorical. That is why their literal reading have led scholar to conclude that Vedic people were rich in horses, cattles, chariots and that their main pastime was war and plunder. But archaeology have still not managed to unearth the remains of this horse rich, pastoral, nomadic, war-like people.

      On the other hand, there are many accidental data of historical worth. Vedas have lot of information about geography and astronomy which have helped us find date of composition. Also you find that characters of Puranas are also attested in Vedas.But mainstream scholars have rejected this too -- because it does not fit with their speculations based on literal reading of metaphors.

      Puranas have chronological sense and one can reconstruct India's proto-history from Creation to time of early historical period. One cannot do the same with Vedas.

      Puranic genealogies of kings and seers are generally not labelled as concocted. Yet, if you accept them, you will have to admit that two hundred generations is there between Swayambhu Manu and Buddha. That would mean Swayambhu Manu lived around 4500 BC! And even more serious----- that would be a contradiction of mainstream scholarly idea that "Vedic" culture began around 1500 BC.

      Delete
    22. JAM, Thanks for your detailed views.

      Abrahamic religions proved incapable of evolving into a higher and nobler level because of their main concern was very much this worldly --- that is, conquest, conversion and control of the world. That is why they are so well organized and focused, but at the same time so insecure.

      Yes, worship of lesser gods can also give you enlightenment, if not salvation. They can lead you Para-Brahman or its eternal manifestations (if there is not Abrahamic style drive mind control is not involved). For example, Sun, Jupiter and Saturn are givers of spiritual wisdom. If they are strong in your natal chart or if you venerate them, you are endowed with spiritual wisdom.

      Delete
    23. It is alleged ( and I think true) that inspiration for Jesus' ideas is actually Indian spirituality. Since Islam is only an offshoot of Xtianity, root of Islamic mysticism and spirituality also lay in Indian spirituality.

      Delete
    24. @Sagar

      "But archaeology have still not managed to unearth the remains of this horse rich, pastoral, nomadic, war-like people."

      That would mean that the entire Mahabharata war was an allegory, since horses and chariots were used in the war. My theory is neither the Vedas nor Mahabharata were allegories, they were just exaggerations. Seriously it is mentioned somewhere in the Vedas that Indra has a 1000 pricks, but it is just a way to express is macho character.

      Only the kings and royal family would have possessed chariots. Since chariots were usually made with wood, they would have perished easily in India's tropical climate.

      "Puranas have chronological sense and one can reconstruct India's proto-history from Creation to time of early historical period."

      It appears to me that you have chosen to interpret the Vedas metaphorically and the Puranas literally as a workaround for the conflict between these two.

      Delete
    25. Both Puranas and Vedas contain descriptions of the history and evolution of dieties as well as of those humans-usually kings,warriors,sages,scholars etc.

      For example Indra vs Vrtra -allegory
      Battle of Ten Kings-history ie literal

      Similarly the Puranas also have a lot of wild imagery but this include historical characters
      Some of this may be composed by bards patronized by the king to give him a godly lineage.

      Even Greek and Roman geneologists would go as far as to make Augustus descended from Jupiter etc.

      There is much to be unearthed in India with regard to archaeology. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

      Delete
    26. Indra vs Vrtra is mythology rather than allegory.

      As I mentioned before, it falls under the Hero Slaying Dragon category. This particular myth has been analyzed in detail by Calvert Watkins in his 600+ pages book How to kill a Dragon. It is an interesting book, although it took me a week just to skim through it LOL.

      According to Watkins, Indra vs Vrtra can be compared to other myths like Tarhunt vs Illuyanka, Thor vs Jörmungandr, Fafnir vs Beowulf, Krishna vs Kāliyā etc.

      Delete
    27. If Vedas are not allegories and metaphors, why was it that Vedas were so strictly kept away from the uninitiated?

      People world wide have started with worship of Deva like deities. Keeping that in mind, Indians must have worshipped Devas only up to a certain point of time. But my views is that Deva worship came to an end before Vedic period.

      Mahabharata (circa 1000 BC) does not belong to Vedic period. Vedic period is bound up with Saraswati river which dried up around 2000 BC.

      Also archaeological evidence clearly point out that horse was rare in India before 2000 BC but after 2000 BC there was substantial increase in horse numbers. If Mahabharat occured around 1000 BC (as is the generally accepted date, horses would have been plenty).

      Delete
    28. I haven't mentioned the commentaries by Sayana et al which assume that the Samhitas are literal rather than allegorical.

      The Vedas are addressed to the gods, hence it no surprise that they were kept exclusive. Even chanting Vedic hymns at inappropriate times was considered blasphemous. The sanctity of deities is common in most religions. The medieval Church banned unofficial translations of the Bible. The Quran in any language other than Arabic is still considered invalid.

      Where did the horses come from suddenly after 2000 BC? The epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were simply popular renditions of the history overlapping with Vedic and post-Vedic times.

      "But my views is that Deva worship came to an end before Vedic period."

      But then the only deities mentioned in the Vedas are the devas! Rudra and Vishnu are even less than demi gods in the Vedas.

      Delete
    29. When you are dealing with allegories and metaphors, names mentioned or names that are not mentioned dont make any difference.

      Delete
    30. @Sagar

      Didn't really get your point :)

      Delete
    31. @ Sagar & PremChand

      According to the position of stars as mentioned in the Mahabharata,the date of the war comes up to be around 3100 BC.


      "But then the only deities mentioned in the Vedas are the devas! Rudra and Vishnu are even less than demi gods in the Vedas." - Rudra was not mentioned in the vedas or given due respect initially only because Shiva was a Tantra God and not under the realm of vedic yajna penance.Hence vedas initially rejected Rudra as some minor demi-god.Same goes for Vishnu.In the ancient tantric realm,the original consort of Shakti/Uma/Chamunda often was Vishnu (Vishnu Tantra ).Infact I would say that Vishnu has been integrated more than Shiva within the mainstream vedic realm,as even the 10 avatars has been associated with Vishnu.
      There are many cultural evidences which suggest that Tantra dharma based non-aryan civilization existed in eastern India even before or atleast parallelly with the aryan vedic system.So even when vedic dominance was complete by the Gupta era,it still could not remove the tantric wisdom from the grassroots.Infact what happened was an amalgamation of the Vedas and tantra.The stream of hathaYoga is probably the result of this amalgamation,with major part being that of Tantric roots.Even Buddhism acquired Tantric influence in eastern India.

      Delete
    32. @JAM

      In your opinion, from where did the Vedic Aryan system originate if it was alien to eastern India?

      The position of stars ie archaeoastronomy cannot be reliably used as a guide for dating a text because they could have been easily interpolated by later editors for astrological purposes. For example, the avatar Rama's ultra perfect horoscope.

      Delete
    33. @ PremChand

      Sorry I should have clarified.The date I mentioned was in response to Sagar's views on dates.I just tried to give the alternate astrological derivation.And yeah horoscopes can be interpolated . There is confusion regarding the exact date of Mahabharata wars.

      I believe that Vedic system had its roots in India,but eastern India had a philosophy of its own,which was separate from mainstream aryan influence.Infact many anthropologists opine that probably the East Indians have descended from some dravidian group separate from the Indian Dravidian family.There are many diverse theories on the origin of Aryan Vedic system,with one of them claiming that they were arctic people :) Hence it is hard to come to convincing conclusions unless there is some breakthrough archaeological discovery on this field.

      BTW Prem do you know about the 32000 year old lionman idol found by archaeologists in Germany?

      Delete
    34. The arctic theory was propounded by Bal Gangadhar Tilak if I recall correctly. The current homeland accepted by most scholars is Ukraine (Kurgan hypothesis). But the Vedas themselves were composed entirely inside the subcontinent.

      The lionman idol is interesting although it is from the Paleolithic era when organized religion of the sort we see today did not exist.

      Delete
    35. @ PremChand

      Yeah I myself do not believe the arctic hypothesis of Tilak.Kurgan hypothesis might gain a mild momentum if it can be shown with future unearthing of evidences that the lionman was a proto-Narasimha,but then also there will be many loopholes,for example,Narasimha is not a vedic deity as far as I know.

      Delete
    36. @JAM

      A bit of misunderstanding here. I dont think the lionman has anything to do with the Kurgan hypothesis. Indo-European culture started during the Bronze age while the lionman is from the Paleolithic.

      The archaeological evidence for the Kurgan hypothesis is not overly impressive. However some preliminary work has been done in this regard. David Anthony's book The Horse, the Wheel and Language gives an introduction to this topic.

      Delete
    37. @Prem Chand

      Are the authors of Samhita songs really praising Devas or are they passing an encoded message in the form of devotional songs?

      There are many who think that Samhita songs are only devices for conveying profound philosophical lessons and not referring to any deities at all.

      Astronomical references in Vedas are trust worthy since Vedas are frozen in time. No other sacred book of any religion can claim such purity.

      But as far as Puranas are concerned, events and persons are real. But details about time, space and numbers are not really reliable.

      Another point --- Puranic astronomy have reference to planets and that shows Greek influence. But in Vedic astronomy, there is no reference to planets, but only stars and constellations.

      Delete
    38. For instance - when Vedic hymns speaks about Indra, are they actually referring to deity called Indra, or are they simply using his name for conveying encoded messages?

      Delete
    39. @Sagar
      There are some Brahmanas which show Greek influence in astronomy .There is a tendency to think Vedas were composed at x date and the Puranas at x+y date. This is not entirely true.

      Vedas contain the building blocks of ideas from which we can fashion dieties as suits the philosophical requirements
      ie take a Rudra, here a Chandra there ,add a dash of Kama and you have a Shiva

      It was said by ancient HIndus that if wasn't for their advances in astronomy , that Greeks would be barbarians.

      Also 1000 BC is a ridiculously recent date for Mahabharata. I don't see the issue of dating the Mahabharata to 3100 BC not so much due to the astronomical charts but because clearly there was an urban civilization in north India at the time (IVC)

      Even Sumerian urban civilization with its warring city states existed at that time.
      Wars with chariots is not inconceivable though iron implements may be.

      As for lionman , it is not inconceivable for other cultures to worship animal human hybrid or otherwise anthromorphize animals eg ancient Egypt.

      Delete
    40. YSV,

      The logic behind arriving at 1000 BC for Mahabharata is based on genealogical chart of Ikshvakus given in Puranas and Itihasas.

      You have 25 generations from Manu to Mandhatra and that is Satya Yuga (3500 BC to 3000 BC)

      You have 50 generations from Mandhatra to Rama and that is Treta Yuga (3000 BC to 2000 BC)

      Another 50 generations from Rama to Brihadbala (ally of Duryodhana) and that is Dwapara Yuga (2000 BC to 1000 BC)

      And you have 25 generations from Bridhabala to Gautama Buddha and that is Kali Yuga (1000 BC to 500 BC)

      Five generations after Buddha, Pauranic dynasties were kicked out of power by Mahapadma Nanda and nothing more was heard about them.

      If someone where to prove that Ikshvaku genealogy is fake or that Buddha born in 1000 BC or 1500 BC, then 1000 BC date for Mahabharat becomes invalid.

      Delete
    41. @ Sagar M

      Just 500 years of Satya Yuga !!! :) Rama Rajya alone continued for 11000 years :) And people's lifespan in Treta was 10000 years while in Dwapara it was reduced to 1000 years .Anyway I was just quoting an alternate mythological timeline.But I personally believe in the theory that Indian civilization is older than what archaeology has been able to find out till now.



      Delete
    42. @ Sagar

      Another strange anomaly on the timeline of human evolution are the Laetoli footprints.

      Delete
    43. Sagar

      There no shortage of lineages. There are some that which place Buddha around 1800 BC. There were Greek observers in India during Alexanders invasion who were amazed that Indians had their own Herakles(Hercules) ie Krishna and that he lived 90 or so generations prior. Taking a generation as 30 years each , that comes upto 3030 BC.

      Delete
    44. "Are the authors of Samhita songs really praising Devas or are they passing an encoded message in the form of devotional songs?"

      First of all, there are far more efficient forms of encoding than writing reams and reams of devotional songs. If the Vedas are coded, any cryptographer will tell you that it is a terrible encoding job.

      There is this thing called Occam's razor. I don't mean to put it bluntly, but this encoded message theory makes a lot of assumptions and does very little explanation work. However if my intent is to assimilate the contents of the Vedas into my belief system, I would come with a similar explanation as the "encoded message" theory.

      Next, the ancients were not all that shy about covering up deep philosophical meanings. The Upanishads are often clear on what they are talking about and use metaphors only when warranted and for the purpose of clarification, not obfuscation.

      What is this deep meaning hidden in the Samhitas anyway? Let me start with Mandala 1 hymn 1: agnim ile purohitam. We worship you Agni, the purohita.. Call me stupid, but I dont see any meaning other than what is implied as clearly as daylight.

      "Astronomical references in Vedas are trust worthy since Vedas are frozen in time."

      I agree that the Vedas are pretty much a tape recording of what people chanted 3000 years ago. However, the modern method of dating using star positions might be a sloppy job. The devil is in the details.

      Delete
    45. "What is this deep meaning hidden in the Samhitas anyway? Let me start with Mandala 1 hymn 1: agnim ile purohitam. We worship you Agni, the purohita.. Call me stupid, but I dont see any meaning other than what is implied as clearly as daylight."

      Literal interpretation of Vedic hymns has given us Aryan Invasion Theory. Basic idea of Aryan Invasion Theory that fair skinned Aryans riding on horses invaded and enslaved black skinned aborigines is based primarily on the literal reading of Vedic songs.

      Vedic hymns are such riddles that even the wisest person can spent years wondering about what they really mean.

      Divine origin is attributed to Vedas - but how could that be? We know the name of authors! Its in the Vedas themselves. So where is this divine origin?

      I think it is the esoteric wisdom hidden in hymns which is of divine origin.

      Since we are not scholars of Vedas, nor do we have wisdom of seers, best thing to do is to rely on Upanishads which is in fact the conclusion part of Vedas.

      Delete
    46. """""But I personally believe in the theory that Indian civilization is older than what archaeology has been able to find out till now."""""

      JAM, it is quite likely. Till recently, we believed that Harappan culture started around 4000 BC. But now fresh evidence has come up which has pushed the date of origin to 6000 BC.

      Delete
    47. @ PremChand

      The allegories and hidden meanings have been forgotten by the modern sanskrit scholars.What you are reading today in the vedas is only the outer shell.The hymns were most probably the correct ways to control and advance in spiritual sadhanas.But mere repetition by reading the words will yield us nothing at present.The hymns were not just sung for the sake of singing,they were accompanied and paired up with elaborate rituals.This was the path of the yajna to spiritual upliftment(there are broadly three major paths ,vedic yajna,yoga of patanjali and tantra).Vedic yajna path was the yuga dharma of Treta Yuga.It had very little power left in Dwapara and almost has nil value in Kali yuga at present.Hence even if you practise the yajnas with all the rules and norms,it will still not help you advance spiritually like it did in the past.While mythological excerpts blame this lack of effectiveness on the Kali yuga,I think the real problem is that we have lost the exact sonic frequencies of the hymns ,mantras and chants.The vedas were initially passed down through memorisation and not writing,most probably to keep this frequency intact.My guess is that the change of yugas from Satya to Kali probably had something to do with this gradual loss of the frequency of the mantras and effectiveness of the yajnas,till in Kali all these hymns became powerless.

      Delete
    48. @ Sagar

      "But now fresh evidence has come up which has pushed the date of origin to 6000 BC." - To be frank we often make the mistake in our discussions by considering archaeology to be an exact science like mathematics or physics :) Ofcourse archaeology is also scientific,but it is not an exact science.What archaeology derives today might be negated tomorrow,with new archaeological discoveries.

      Delete
    49. @ Sagar

      There are a few anomalies on the timeline of human evolution itself.Hence if historians declare in future that the Harappan civilization has been pushed back to 10000 BC, I will not be surprised.As of now we should not take the declared timelines to be exact.

      Delete
    50. @Sagar

      There is no mention of aborigines in the Vedas, so no AIT is not the product of literal interpretation. It is the product of wishful thinking.

      "Vedic hymns are such riddles that even the wisest person can spent years wondering about what they really mean."

      Only some verses in the Vedas are composed like riddles as a poetic technique. Most of it is plain as daylight.

      @JAM

      Sayana is not a modern scholar :)

      The anomalies cannot be used as an excuse for other theories which suffer from more serious problems.

      Delete
    51. @ PremChand

      I have never claimed that Sayana is one :P

      Delete
    52. @ PremChand

      Anomalies are never used as excuse.But when there is some valid anomaly,the theory has to be re-constructed,in order to bring the anomaly into count.

      Delete
    53. @JAM

      Good analysis. I always wondered what was in Vedic hymns that made them so sacred. So sacred that they are even rated superior to more familiar texts like Itihasas. Honestly speaking, you can practice Hindu religion without Vedas (like Lingayats). But there should be a valid reason why all great teachers of Hindu creed have given them highest position in sacred literature.

      @Prem

      Dasyus are described as black and so immediately they were converted into dark skinned aborigines.

      Gap between Sayana and composition of Vedas is at least 2500 years. I guess that makes him modern comparatively.......

      For some terrible reason, Vedas were never meant to be public. What is the reason behind it? I had asked this question online and real life many times but never got a clear answer.

      Delete
    54. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    55. @JAM

      No but you mentioned that modern scholars have forgotten the allegories etc. Sayana has not commented on such deep analogies in the Vedas.

      I'd like to know on what authority we go for an allegorical interpretation.

      The theory needs to be reconstructed, but unproven stuff like humans being more than just evolved animals cannot be taken seriously.

      @Sagar

      Again the problem is not with literal interpretation but making the leap from dasyus to aborigines.

      Delete
    56. @ PremChand

      I don't even mean Sayana.He was a person who lived in the 13th century probably.By that time all of the ancient awareness had vanished.Hence Sayana was only capable of doing a literary analysis of the texts.Ofcourse I cant expect anything better from him,as the loss of the knowledge base was not his fault .
      As I said,the yajnas were performed as full-scale spiritual rituals linked with the awakening of Kundalini etc.But even if you reproduce the original rituals ditto at present,still you wont get the spiritual impact ,as the mantra and phonetic frequencies have been lost.Vedas were not originally meant to be written,they were passed down orally only to preserve the vibrations.Later the decision to write was taken atleast to preserve the external shell,particularly when society was probably undergoing a moral degradation.
      The allegory of Indra and Vritra might signify the fight between the upward Ojas Shakti and the downward pull on it by carnal desire of human.The upgoing Ojas wins the battle(Indra) and the human soul (Vritra) finally merges into Narayana.I am not sure how correct my interpretation is but anyway such stories often carry inner meaning.

      BTW you can check this comment of mine,where I have written about another spiritual allegory :

      http://empiresoflight.blogspot.in/2013/10/ajit-vadakayil-deranged-lunatic.html?showComment=1423590912054#c3371512346285829213

      Delete
    57. @JAM

      The concept of allegorical interpretation of the Vedas and the wisdom being lost by the time of Sayana is a modern idea since it comes from the reformers. So the question here is whether the reformers are right or Sayana et al are right.

      Delete
    58. @Prem Chand

      ''''''''''''''''''''''''I agree that the Vedas are pretty much a tape recording of what people chanted 3000 years ago. However, the modern method of dating using star positions might be a sloppy job. The devil is in the details.'''''''''''''''

      No.

      Please read this --- Very informative and interesting

      http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/aid/astronomy.html

      Delete
    59. @Sagar

      My knowledge of the process involved in dating the Vedas is scant. But I need to mention here that around 3000 BC in Punjab (wherein Rig Veda was definitely composed), the culture was predominantly Indus Valley.

      The Vedic culture has very little in common with IVC. Agni sacrifices where the centrepiece of Vedic religion, but the archaeological remains of IVC show a damning lack of evidence for fire-based rituals. The characteristic features of IVC culture like public baths, brick houses, drainage, pottery wheels, the script etc are not mentioned in the Vedas. The IVC people practiced settled agriculture while the Vedic people practiced nomadic pastoralism.

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When these people had actual power, they used it torture and kill millions in the name of heresy and witchcraft. But now they have ended up in dustbin of history and all they could do is re-write story books instead of letting loose Inquisition on heretics.

      Delete