Thursday, January 21, 2010

Theory and practice of Hinduism.....!!!

Theory and practice of Hinduism
K S Sivakumaran

Is God outside the world? No. The Almighty is within us. A God may be a female or a male. It depends on who we are. Let’s call God the Almighty without gender bias. The omnipresence and omnipotence is generally accepted by the Hindus.

However, that God was revealed by the sacred books- Vedas and not by intuition of the humankind. But this fact is not taken seriously by most of us. This is because the holy books were written by people like us.

The most we can accept is that such books were written by inspired people. If inspiration is the source of our religious beliefs, reason cannot aspire to sit on judgment. That is to say that we should believe and act according to those injunctions whether we like them or not. Unfortunately this is not practical. Every one interprets the sacred books according to his or her knowledge and experience.

It is a fact that in Hinduism there is a great amount of tolerance for any school of thought. There is room for the savage and the noblest and highest saint. In fact the savage and the saint are only reflectors of the omnipresence and have no intrinsic merits or demerits of their own. They are only masks and the anonymous actor is the omnipotent God. This is the general attitude of the Hindu in justification of his belief that there could not be anything beside God.

Unfortunately this theory is not practiced by most of us. Intolerance is observed everywhere. Each sect claims superiority over the other sects not on open warfare but in secret contempt.

I have a feeling that Hindu Religion as practised today is more Tantric than Upanishadic. The Tantric system does obliterate the abstract ideal of the formless Nirguna Brahman a True Ramakrishna Paramahamsar was Tantric in practice. But his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda spread the Vedantic philosophy of the Upanishads in the West. In theory the Hindus are Monists but in practice they are Dualists.

This is because it is not easy for them to give up old traditional beliefs that are part of the culture, temples, gods, rituals, priests and ceremonies are indispensable for worship. That is why there is a World for them. They have their individuality and a personal God. The Bhagavad-Gita gives the necessary authority to lead a worldly life and yet remain spiritual by surrendering to God everything.

One fact emerges from this analysis. Ramakrishna favoured the worship of Kaali (Durga, Paarvathy, et al) rather than lose himself in Brahman. He preferred to eat sugar and become sugar (Like the Being merging with the ONE). However Ramanar favoured the Advaitha (Monism) system. Both are considered saints by the Hindus. The important fact is that they lived their lives that they practiced.

It is therefore clear that, that a truly religious life does not depend on the system we follow. To some the path of devotion comes naturally. To the others the path of analysis is easy. In fact a mixture of both appears to be the best. That is what the great Thaayumaanavar advocated and practiced.

The paradox is that all those saints renounced the world and led the life of hermits.


Periya Anaikutty Swamy
Thilaka T. Wijeyeratnam

Periya Anaikutty Swamy’s Samadhi is in Mutwal, Colombo. This Swamy in his young days was residing in Kandy. He used to roam about along the streets in the shopping area. There was a launderer near the Kandy Lake. He took this young boy to his house and brought him up like his own child. The boy too helped him in his business.

The launderer gave him the nickname of Anaikutty (baby elephant). Once when this boy went to the compound behind the house, he shouted “snake snake.” All rushed to see it was a hoax. Three times he did this, but no one was alarmed. The last time he went behind the house, he didn’t come out for a long time. The launderer and others went to see if he was there.

Heap of gold
He was not there, instead they saw a heap of gold pieces there. The homefolk took the gold and then went in search of him. Later they found him sleeping on the steps of a temple nearby. They begged him to come home. He told them, “In my last birth I had to pay you a debt. That mission is done. Now who are you? Who am I? We have nothing to do with each other.” He was silent thereafter. The priest who saw this told them to leave him alone and go. They did so.

Daily the boy would go to the shopping area and scraping the morsels of food left on plantain leaves thrown away, would eat that and go back to the temple steps. This way he brought his ego under control. By this time he had become a Jeevan Muktha. He became a Sithar. Then he went to India.

There he met Navanatha Sithar. Both of them and a few ‘sanyasis’ got into a train. The station master saw this and allowing Anaikutty Swamy and Navanatha Swamy to be in the train ordered the sanyasis to get down. The two Sithars also got down saying they would all go or stay together. They lit a fire in the jungle and sat around it. The train engine was started, but the train wouldn’t move. The engine driver did his best - the train wouldn’t move. There seemed to be nothing wrong with the engine. But it wouldn’t move.

Realised the Cause
The station master felt that the cause must be his refusing to let the ‘sanyasis’ travel. The railway engineer was a white man. He and some officers went in search of the hermits, found them and fell prostrate at their feet and begged to forgive them. “We will do as you wish,” they said. “If you are prepared to let us travel free, give it in writing,” said the sages. They did so. Swamy took a cigarette from the engineer, lighted it and took a puff. The train that wouldn’t move for 3 or 4 hours puffed and started moving. This was one of the miracles performed by the ‘sanyasis’ and the Sithars.

Lying motionless
In a place called Kapitawatte in Colombo, there was one rickshaw puller by the name of Eanamuthu. He was a great devotee of Periya Anaikutty Swamy. He would somehow find money to feed the Swamy. Eanamuthu was a drunkard. And he would give Swamy what he ate and drank. Dispassionately Swamy would consume what he gave. Eanamuthu was in financial straits. Still he managed to feed the Swamy. Once when he returned to his hut, he found Swamy lying motionless like a dead person. Eanamuthu shook him but to no avail. He concluded Swamy had breathed his last. He had no money to cremate the Swamy’s lifeless body. He thought of setting fire to the hut itself and thought of answering questions from the police too.

He came back ready to set fire to the hut. Before that he looked at Swamy with tear-filled eyes. Suddenly Swamy opened his eyes and asked why he was deep in thought. Eanamuthu fell prostrate at His feet and cried bitterly. “Do you think I wad dead?” asked Swamy with non-chalance. “Forgive me Swamy. I almost committed a sinful deed.” Swamy changed the topic. “What is this? Arrack? Let us both drink.” Eanamuthu drank the contents of the bottle. It was just cold water. Eanamuthu again cried out of joy. “Now you will get money. Rich people will come this way,” said Swamy. The next day rich people, traders and “mudalalis” came to worship Swamy. Money came in plenty. Eanamuthu’s difficult days were over. With the money received, rice would be cooked in large vessels and the poor would be fed. Swamy also would sit among the beggars and take part of the meal.

Eyesight restored
Once somebody brought a blind “brahmin” and left him in the hut. Other ‘brahmins’ would send him food. He would sleep during the day and keep up in the night. For him day and night were the same. He had some ola leaves on which the Vedhas were written. He was able to read once upon a time.

Eanamuthu complained to Swamy that the brahmin was a nuisance as he (Eanamuthu) had to take him around. Swamy smiled and got some soup made. He drank it and giving it to the brahmin told him, “You can drink this. Drink with your eyes open.” The brahmin immediately got his eyesight. He worshipped Swamy while tears trickled freely from his eyes. “Iyer, read the Vedhas from those ola leaves,” told Swamy. The brahmin read aloud.

Periya Anaikutty Swamy was a regular visitor to the house of Sir Pon Arunasalam. He would be served a meal there. One day Sir Pon Arunasalam asked the Swamy to reveal his greatness. Swamy made him see each of His organs separately. After that the respect Sir Pon Arunasalam had for the Swamy rose.

The time had come for Swamy to attain Samadhi. Swamy attained the state of Samadhi in Mutwal, Colombo. At that time, His disciple Chithanaikutty Swamy saw an effulgence in Munneeswaram.

Sir Pon Ramanathan, Sir Pon Arunasalam and other wealthy chettys built a Samadhi for Him at Mutwal. They also built a Pillayar Kovil over it. (T.V.W)

Source: N. Muthiah of Athmajothi


Nakuleswaram temple in Jaffna
Chelvatamby Maniccavasagar

The chariot festival at the Nakuleswaram temple is celebrated in an elaborate manner where devotees belonging to different castes and religions participate in large number. The chariot symbolises human body and the statue of Lord Shiva is the soul

Nakuleswaram which is an oldest sivan temple in Sri Lanka is situated in the north of the main town of Jaffna and is closer to the Port city of Kankesanthurai. It is dedicated to main deity in Saivism Lord Shiva and is very closer to a mineral water spring called Keerimalai reputed for its curative resources. There is also a cave complex nearly believed to have been used for meditation by a mythical sage called Nagula Muni.

God Siva

A local myth states that a Pandiyan Princess named Maruthapura Veeravalli built the nearly Maviddapuram Murukan temple after she was cured by the Keerimalai Springs.

The entire temple complex seems to have been built around the cave and the curative springs indicate the pre historic origin of the shrine.

The antiquity in this temple is evidenced by the writings in many Indian religious treatises, such as Dakshina Kailasa Puranam and Skanda Puranam and also it states that the temple was a pilgrimage centre for the South Indian Hindu.

Some traditions relating to the origins of Nakuleswaram were recorded in the Yal Panam Vai Pavamalai. During the 18th century when Yalpana Vaipavamalai was written, there was no temple at Keerimalai. The old temple at the site had been destroyed by the Portuguese. but, memories of that temple had persisted in the minds of the people and the site where it had stood was venerated as a sacred one. Though this temple was destroyed in 1621, the local Brahmin priests are said to have hidden the main idols before fleeing the temple.

After a gap of 400 years in 1894 local Hindus under the guidance of Srila Sri Arumuganavalar built the present temple.

At Naguleswaram temple, the daily rituals and festivals are conducted according to the prescriptions of Agamas. The activities at the temple commence during the early hours of the morning with Thirupallie Elichi and worship accompanied with rituals are conducted six times daily.

A chariot festival. ANCL file photo

The annual chariot festival at the temple is held at the beginning of the first week of February with the flag hoisting ceremony in next week. A large number of pilgrims congregate at the temple premises during the festival season.

At this temple Kandapuranam, Periyapuranam and Nakulalaya Puranam are recited during the annual festival.

In the Nakulalaya Puranam, the legends pertaining to Keerimalai have been recorded in elaborate form.

The Hindu temples are intended to educate men in the art of removing the veil of attachment that covers their heads. Thus, the renowned poet “Thiyagarajah” cried in the temple at Thirupathi remove the veil, O! remove the veil of attachment, the veil of pride and hatred.

The chariot festival at the Nakuleswaram temple is celebrated in an elaborate manner where devotees belonging to different castes and religions participate in large number. The chariot symbolises human body and the statue of Lord Shiva is the soul. In front of the chariot are the wooden horses depicted as galloping and the reins attached to this months are held in the hands of the image of Lord Shiva.

These horses represent human passions and the ruins symbolise the necessity of restraining and guiding these passions. The journey of the chariot through the streets symbolises the progress of life. This shows that throughout his life a man must control and guide his passions.

These passions are the motive powers, the driving force of life, but if unguided they will wreck a man’s life. This is the symbolic meaning of the chariot festival.


Principal universal architect of Hinduism Continued from January 15
Through the four yugas (aeons of Hindu mythology), he had built several towns and palaces for the gods. In chronological order, these were Swarglok (Heaven) in Satya Yuga, Lanka in Treta Yuga, Dwarka (Krishna’s capital) in the Dwapar Yuga and Hastinapur and Indraprastha in the Kali Yuga.

The Jagannath Temple is a sacred Hindu temple in Puri, famous for its enormous statues of Krishna and his siblings Subhadra and Balarama, of which Vishwakarma is considered the sculptor.

Sone Ki (of Gold) Lanka According to Hindu mythology, ‘Sone ki Lanka’ or Golden Lanka was the place where the demon king Ravana dwelled in the “Treta yuga.” As we read in the epic story Ramayana, this was also the place where Ravana kept Sita, Lord Ram’s wife as a hostage.

There is also a story behind the construction of Golden Lanka. When Lord Shiva married Parvati, he asked Viswakarma to build a beautiful palace for them to reside. Viswakarma put up a palace made of gold! For the housewarming ceremony, Shiva invited the wise Ravana to perform the “Grihapravesh” ritual.

After the sacred ceremony when Shiva asked Ravana to ask anything in return as “Dakshina”, Ravana, overwhelmed with the beauty and grandeur of the palace, asked Shiva for the golden palace itself! Shiva was obliged to accede to Ravana’s wish, and the Golden Lanka became Ravana’s palace. Again, the traditional sources point to Mahamaya as the architect and his daughter Mandodri married Ravana.

Dwarka Among the many mythical towns Viswakarma built is Dwarka, the capital of Lord Krishna. During the time of the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna is said to have lived in Dwarka, and made it his “Karma Bhoomi” or center of operation. That is why this place in northern India has become a well known pilgrimage for the Hindus.

Hastinapur In the present “Kali Yuga”, Viswakarma is said to have built the town of Hastinapur, the capital of Kauravas and Pandavas, the warring families of the Mahabharata. After winning the battle of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna installed Dharmaraj Yudhisthir as the ruler of Hastinapur. This is a local legend not borne out by Mahabharata.

Indraprastha Viswakarma also built the town of Indraprastha for the Pandavas. In Mahabharata, the creator is Maya, the other divine architect. The Mahabharata has it that King Dhritrashtra offered a piece of land called ‘Khaandavprastha’ to the Pandavas for living. Yudhishtir obeyed his uncle’s order and went to live in Khaandavprastha with the Pandava brothers.

Later, Lord Krishna invited Viswakarma to build a capital for the Pandavas on this land, which he renamed ‘Indraprastha’. Legends tell us about the architectural marvel and beauty of Indraprastha. Floors of the palace were so well done that they had a reflection like that of water, and the pools and ponds inside the palace gave the illusion of a flat surface with no water in them.

After the palace was built, the Pandavas invited the Kauravas, and Duryodhan and his brothers went to visit Indraprastha. Not knowing the wonders of the palace, Duryodhan was flummoxed by the floors and the pools, and fell into one of the ponds. The maids of the Pandava wife Draupadi, who witnessed this scene, had a good laugh! This insult from the maids of Draupadi annoyed Duryodhan so much that later on it became a major cause for the great war of Kurukshetra described in the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita.

Concluded - Courtesy - Hinduism (Internet)

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