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Offline MANAV_NEHA

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VEDAS
« on: June 25, 2008, 02:09:04 PM »
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  • Vedas - Four pillars of Hinduism

    Veda is a Sanskrit word which means “knowledge” or “science”. Vedic knowledge is enshrined in fourteen sacred texts.The oldest literature of Indian thought is the Veda, a collection of religious and philisophical poems and hymns composed over several generations beginning as early as 3000 BC. The Veda was composed in Sanskrit, the intellectual language of both ancient and classical Indian civilizations. Four collections were made, so it is said that there are four Vedas. The four as a group came to be viewed as sacred in Hinduism. Some Vedic hymns and poems address philosophic themes, such as the henotheism that is key to much Hindu theology. Henotheism is the idea that one God takes many different forms, and that although individuals may worship several different gods and goddesses, they really revere but one Supreme Being. There are four Vedas - 

    The Rig-Veda

    The date for the Rig-Veda was in controversy for a long time. The traditional date goes back to 3000 BC, something which the German scholar Max Mueller accepted. However, modern historians have now reached a consensus that its oldest parts were written around a more cautious 1200BC.As a body of writing, the Rig-Veda (the wisdom of verses) is nothing short of remarkable. It contains 1028 hymns dedicated to thirty-three different gods; these gods were, quite expectedly, nature gods. The most often addressed gods are Indra (rain god; king of heavens), Agni (fire god) and Rudra (storm god; the 'howler'). A sizeable chunk of the verses are also dedicated to Soma (the draught of immortality), which was a cool alcoholic brew made from the leaves of the soma plant and was drunk during sacrifices. The identity of the plant itself is subject of furious debate. In nature, however, it was somewhat similar to the brews that the American Indians used to consume before conducting sacrifices – to numb both the sacrificer and the sacrificee although human sacrifice was never a part of Aryan worship.

    This oldest religious text in the world has10,589 verses which are divided into ten mandalas or book-sections. The oldest portions of the Rig-Veda are from books two to seven; the others were added later. The book-sections are arranged according to the number of hymns they possess.

    The Sama-Veda

    The Sama-Veda or the wisdom of chants is basically a collection of samans or chants, derived from the eighth and ninth books of the 'original Veda', the Rig-Veda. These were meant for the priests who officiated at the rituals of the soma ceremonies – in full sway there could have as many as seventeen full rituals. As time went along rituals and ceremonies of worship became increasingly intricate and the simplicity of the original Rig-Vedic age was slowly forgotten. Thus a need arose to compile all the rituals and their chants in a book, as a sort of reference point for the priests whose functions this Veda clearly puts down.

    It is not surprising that the Sama-Veda is better known for the precise meter of its poetry than for its literary content. There are also painstaking instructions in Sama-Veda about how particular hymns must be sung; this is perhaps because great emphasis was put upon sounds of the words of the mantras and the effect they could have on the environment and the person who pronounced them.

    The Yajur-Veda

    The Yajur-Veda or the wisdom of sacrifices lays down various sacred invocations (yajurs) which were chanted by a particular sect of priests called adhvaryu. They performed the sacrificial rites. This is very much a ritual based Veda for although there are a few hymns to various Gods the main stress is on the theory of the ritual. The Veda also outlines various chants which should be sung to pray and pay respects to the various instruments which are involved in the sacrifice.

    The Atharva-Veda

     The Atharva-Veda (the wisdom of the Atharvans) is called so because the families of the atharvan sect of the Brahmins have traditionally been credited with the composition of the Vedas. It is a compilation of hymns but lacks the awesome grandeur which makes the Rig-Veda such a breathtaking spiritual experience. It is roughly equivalent to the western magic spells and has incantations for everything – from success in love to the realization of otherworldly ambitions.

    Jai Sai Ram
    « Last Edit: June 25, 2008, 02:22:04 PM by MANAV_NEHA »
    गुरूर्ब्रह्मा,गुरूर्विष्णुः,गुरूर्देवो महेश्वरः
    गुरूर्साक्षात् परब्रह्म् तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः॥
    अखण्डमण्डलाकांरं व्याप्तं येन चराचरम्
    तत्विदं दर्शितं येन,तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः॥


    सबका मालिक एक

    Offline MANAV_NEHA

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    Re: VEDAS
    « Reply #1 on: June 25, 2008, 02:11:56 PM »
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  • MAHABHARATA =GREAT EPIC


    According to legend, Mahabharata  was written down by the Elephant god named Ganesha under the instructions of Sage Ved Vyasa.Mahabharata is a very sacred epic of hindus.Its longest Sanskrit epic ever written, Mahabharata has a collection of more than 74,000 verses, divided into 18 books. The Mahabharata story is much revered in India and basically among the Hindus. The Mahabharata contains the Bhagawad Gita, the famous gospel of duty that was taught to the great warrior, Arjuna by Lord Krishna. The Mahabharata dwells on the aspect of the important goals of a human being in his mortal life. The epic aims at making people realize the relation between the individual and the society and how they both are inter dependent on each other. Read on further a summary of Mahabharata, the greatest epic ever.

    Dhritarashta and Pandu were born to Bhisham's brothers. Dhritarashta was born blind and though the elder, he had to forfeit his claim to the throne due to this physical defect. Pandu became king. Of the two brothers Dhritarashta married Gandhari, whereas Pandu, the younger had two wives, Kunti and Madri. Gandhari was so devoted to her husband that she bandaged her eyes, not to enjoy anything that she could not share with her royal husband, and thus remained voluntarily blind for life. She became the mother of the Kouravs, 100 in total, whereas Kunti got three sons and Madri two.

    One day while hunting, Pandu accidentally killed the wife of a sage, who got enraged and cursed Pandu that if ever he had intercourse with a woman, he would die instantly. Pandu renounced his crown to become a hermit and went to the jungle with his two wives, Kunti and Madri. But one day, Pandu couldn't resist himself and had intercourse with Madri and thus died. Madri immolated herself and walked into her husband's funeral fire leaving behind her two sons Nakul and Sahadev in custody of Kunti who already had three sons Yudhishthir, Bheem and Arjun. On Pandu's death Dhritarashter became the king and the five sons of Pandu, known as the Pandavs grew up in the guardianship of Kunti. The five Pandav princes were educated along with Kourav boys under the supervision of Bhisham and the patronage of Dhritarashter. Drone, though a Brahmin was a very skilful and efficient teacher, who taught them the art of archery and the various techniques of warfare.

    Yudhishthir, the eldest of the Pandavs, was so righteous that he gained the name Dharamputr. Bheem was a giant in physical strength. Arjun was handsome and the most skilful archer. Dharamputr was the beloved of the people and being the eldest among the 105 princes, was naturally, and by his right too, the heir to the throne. Duryodhan, the eldest of the Kouravs, however was jealous of the Pandavs and tried every means to destroy them. When Yudhishthir was proclaimed king, Duryodhan could not sit quiet and watch. Dhritarashter loved all the 105 princes alike, and there was no partiality in his mind between his own sons and the nephews, the Pandavs. The great blind royal father, came under the bad influence of Duryodhan and, though directly not an evil-doer, was in sympathy with his son's disappointments and sorrows.

    Duryodhan's plan to kill the Pandavs cunningly giving poison to Bheem, burning down the lac-house etc., failed miserably. Bheem was strong enough to digest the poison. The Pandavs were warned in time by their uncle Vidur and so in the darkness of the night the five brothers along with their mother escaped into the jungle from the burning lac-house. After their miraculous escape from the lac-house, they did not return to the palace. They roamed about in the guise of Brahmins with their mother. Every one including the Kouravs believed them to be dead.

    During that time, they heard of the Swayamvara of Droupadi. The qualification to marry her lay in the extraordinary skill of archery in hitting a moving target. Arjun easily won. Everybody congratulated the winner, and discovered that it was Arjun. Thus the Pandavs were found out, He took his bride to their hut and called to his mother to come outside and see what he had brought. Instead of doing so, she answered back "My dear children, whatever it be, you share it among yourselves". Therefore, Droupadi became the common wife of all the five Pandavs. Krishna, who was also present, at the marriage ceremony became a great friend of the Pandavs from then onwards. On Bhisham's advice, the kingdom was divided into two parts. Naturally the better half was taken away by the Kouravs. Still, the others built a wonderful city in their own half and called it Indraprastha. Duryodhan watching the increasing prosperity of the Pandavs and could contain himself no longer. He openly challenged Dharamputr for a game of dice, Sakuni, deceit in human form, was the uncle of the Kouravs. He played for them. Inevitably Dharamputr lost everything - his kingdom, his brothers and also his wife.

    Not satisfied with this gain, Duryodhan tried to insult Droupadi in public. By Lord Krishna's grace, nothing disastrous happened. Dhritarashter, fearing that this might bring unforeseen calamities begged Droupadi to take whatever she wanted. She asked for the freedom of her husbands. It was granted. Dhritarashter due to his excessive love for the eldest son was blind to what is right and what is wrong. So again Duryodhan invited Dharamputr for another game of dice, and the bet was that the losers would live in the forest for 13 years without any claim to the kingdom, the last year however to be spent incognito. But if in the thirteenth year, they were detected, again a round of 13 years' exile; and this would go on forever.

    Dharamputr lost again. During the twelve years in the forests, the Pandavs visited many holy places. They had many interesting adventures at this time. One of them led to Hanuman's friendship and grace. Arjun is called Kapidhvaja as he keeps on his flag the emblem of Hanuman. Krishna visited them now and then. Arjun, at the advice of Vyasa, practiced penance, propitiated Siva and got from Him the mighty weapon, the Pasupatastra. He propitiated also the other gods lndra, Agni, Varuna and others and got from all of them very powerful weapons. Thus the twelve years were not wasted but spent in securing the divine weapons, which would become useful later on.

    In the 13th year, hiding all their weapons in the hollow of a tree in a burial ground, all the Pandavs with Droupadi went to the palace of the king of the Viratas and stayed there as servants. Duryodhan was making frantic efforts to discover them. When he heard about the strange murder of Kichaka the brother-in-law of the king, he concluded that the Pandavs must be in the Virata country. So the Kouravs attacked the Viratas, with apparent purpose of carrying away its cattle-wealth. Of course the Pandavs took part in the battle, but when they were recognized as Pandavs the time limit of thirteen years had already passed.

    Dharamputra Yudhishter was fond of peace, and was ever against any quarrel, much less war. So he sent Krishna as a messenger to Hastinapura to claim his kingdom back from Duryodhan. But Duryodhan had by this time come to regard Indraprastha as his own. He not only refused to give their kingdom back, but refused to give even 5 houses for the five brothers to live! War had to be declared. This is the great war fought at Kurukshetra to decide the right of claim. The hundred Kouravs, Bhisham, Drone, Asvathama, etc., were on one side and the Pandavs, Krishna, Drupada, etc., were on the other. Krishna did not actually fight. He was the charioteer of Arjun and hence He is called Parthasarathy. Krishna was very impartial. He gave his army to the Kouravs and himself offered to serve the Pandavs. The Kourav and the Pandav armies arrayed themselves for the war. The Kouravs planned their attacks under the supervision of Bhisham, and under Bheem's management the Pandava army marched into formation. This is the point at which Arjun has second thoughts about fighting in the battle. Krishna gives Arjun good advise that brings back his war-spirit. This advice is known as: The Bhagvad-Gita .

    All the Kourava princes died in this battle, and Yudhishthir became king. He continued to reign until he felt that he had completed his life's work. Then he renounced the throne and set out for heaven with the other Pandavs and their wife, Droupadi. With them also went a dog which represented Dharma, the god of duty and moral law. After more adventures, the Pandavs were finally united in heaven.

    This story, which forms the main theme of the Mahabharat, makes up only about a quarter of the poem. The Mahabharat contains many other popular stories, including the tales of Nala and Damayanti, Savitri and Satyawan, Rama, and Shakuntala. The battle of Kurukshetra offers an opportunity to discuss military strategy, there is also a mention of a board game Chaturanga  from which the modern day Chess originated. But the underlying theme of the Mahabharat concerns moral duty and right conduct. The long and complex dispute that divides the royal family of Bharat affords an opportunity to explain the duties and conduct expected of a king. It also shows the ideals of behavior for subjects, soldiers, religious hermits, and people suffering misfortune.

    Sage Ved Vyasa is traditionally regarded as the author of the Mahabharat, but he is more likely to have been its compiler. The epic seems to be a collection of writings by several authors who lived at various times. The oldest parts are probably about 3,000 years old, while others can be traced to as late as AD 500. The importance of Krishna as the main god of this epic developed in Hindu thought between 200 BC and AD 200. As a result, the Mahabharat can be used to trace the spread and development of Vaishnavite thought in Hinduism. The god Vishnu became a very personal deity for his worshippers through his appearance as Krishna, the adviser and friend of Prince Arjun in the Mahabharat. About 1,300 greatly varying manuscripts of the Mahabharat survive today. All of them show the poem in its later form because the earliest of them goes back only to the 1400's.

    The most famous addition to the Mahabharat is the Bhagvad-Gita .It occurs in the sixth book and is now the most widely recognized of Hinduism's sacred texts. The Bhagavad Gita tells how Arjun, the third of the Pandav prince, has misgivings about whether he should be fighting his cousins, the Kouravas. Krishna, speaking with the authority of the god Vishnu, persuades him that his action is just, and then Arjun's military skill becomes a deciding factor in the ensuing Pandav victory. The teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita are fundamental to Hinduism.

    Jai Sai Ram
    « Last Edit: June 25, 2008, 02:22:33 PM by MANAV_NEHA »
    गुरूर्ब्रह्मा,गुरूर्विष्णुः,गुरूर्देवो महेश्वरः
    गुरूर्साक्षात् परब्रह्म् तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः॥
    अखण्डमण्डलाकांरं व्याप्तं येन चराचरम्
    तत्विदं दर्शितं येन,तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः॥


    सबका मालिक एक

    Offline MANAV_NEHA

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    Re: VEDAS
    « Reply #2 on: June 25, 2008, 02:14:13 PM »
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  • RAMAYANA

    Ramayana was originally written by a Sage Valmiki in the Sanskrit language and later on it was translated into other languages in different versions.Ramayana is part of the Hindu smriti. Contained in 24,000 verses, this epic narrates Lord Ram of Ayodhya and his ayan (journey of life). Like Mahabharata, Ramayana is not just a grand epic but a powerful symbol of India's social and cultural fabric passed on from one generation to another. For centuries, its characters are considered an an ideal role models - Rama as an ideal man, ideal husband, ideal son and a responsible ruler; Sita as an ideal wife, ideal daughter and Laxman as an ideal brother. All the characters of Ramayan including Ravana (the enemy of the story) are fundamental to the grandeur cultural consciousness of India.Long after Valmiki wrote Ramayana, Goswami Tulsidas (born 16th century) wrote Ramacharitamanas, popularly known as Tulsi-krita Ramayana in his native language. With the passage of time, Tulsi's version became better known among Hindus in upper India than the Bible among the rustic population in England. As with the Bible and Shakespeare, Tulsi Ramayan's phrases have passed into the common speech. Not only are his sayings proverbial: his doctrine actually forms the most powerful religious influence in present-day Hinduism; and, though he founded no school and was never known as a guru or master, he is everywhere accepted as an authoritative guide in religion and conduct of life.Tulsi Ramayana is a novel presentation of the great theme of Valmiki, but is in no sense a translation of the Sanskrit epic. It consists of seven books or chapters namely Bal Kand, Ayodhya Kand, Aranya Kand, Kiskindha Kand, Sundar Kand, Lanka Kand and Uttar Kand containing tales of King Dasaratha's court, the birth and boyhood of Rama and his brethren, his marriage with Sita - daughter of Janaka, his voluntary exile, the result of Kaikeyi's guile and Dasaratha's rash vow, the dwelling together of Rama and Sita in the great central Indian forest, her abduction by Ravana, the expedition to Lanka and the overthrow of the ravisher, and the life at Ayodhya after the return of the reunited pair. All its characters are as lifelike and distinct as any in occidental literature. Ramcharitmanas is written in pure Avadhi or Eastern Hindi, in stanzas called chaupais, broken by 'dohas' or couplets, with an occasional sortha and chhand. The main story of the Ramayana is about Lord Rama. In short the Ramayana is about Rama who was born in a royal family and was supposed to be the king, but because of his step- mother, he was forced to exile from his kingdom for fourteen years. During this period his consort Sita was kidnapped by a demon called Ravan, who was the king of Lanka. Rama with the help of his brother, Lakshman, and an army of monkeys under the leadership of Hanuman, rescued Sita.

    But the Ramayana isn't only about Lord Rama and his attempt to rescue his consort Sita. Ramayana is also about devotion, loyalty, family roles and respect to elders. The Ramayana does not begin with the life of Rama, but actually with the people on earth who suffer from the demon named Ravan. Ravan is a cruel king who terrorizes the people of earth, especially the religious people and prevents them from performing religious rituals. But Ravan is also a great devotee of the three Gods who rule the universe, Brahma; the creator, Vishnu; the preserver and Shiva; the destroyer and therefore has their blessings and assurance that they as Gods will not hurt him. But the people of the earth, who suffer from Ravan, go up to heaven to visit the Gods and ask for their help. The Gods decide that Lord Vishnu will incarnate as a human being on earth and destroy Ravan. They find out that king of Kosala named Dasrath who has three wives is childless and longing for heir. So Lord Vishnu incarnates as his older son.

    The king's first wife Kausalya gives birth to Rama. His second wife Saumitra gives birth to Lakshman and Shatrugan and his third wife Kaykeyi gives birth to Bharat. The four brothers are sent for education in an ashram. They four brothers were very close to each other even though they were stepbrothers. They return to their kingdom after completing education.

    Rama gets married to Sita. Sita is an adopted daughter of another king. In order to win her hand, the contestant had to bend a bow, which belonged to Lord Shiva. Many could not even lift this bow. When Rama arrived he did not only bend this bow but also broke it and so got Sita's hand.

    King Dasrath intended to inherit his kingdom to his eldest son, Rama. But Bharat's nanny gets jealous and goes to Bharat's mother and begins to incite her about what might happen of her if Rama becomes the king. Incited, Bharat's mother goes to the king and demands from him the two boons he had promised her sometime earlier in life. She demands to send Rama to exile in the forest for fourteen years and make her son Bharat the heir of the kingdom. King Dasrath who is in great dilemma and pain, eventually bows to her demands.

    Rama accepts his father's decision without any argument, but the other brothers including Bharat get furious. Lakshman decides to join his brother in exile and so giving an example of brotherly loyalty. Bharat inherits the throne but after his father's death goes to Rama and tries to convince him to return. Bharat tell Rama that because he is the eldest son of the king he is the rightful heir of the throne but Rama refuses and claims that father boons should be respected. Bharat agrees to remain the ruler of the kingdom until Rama's return from exile and as a symbol to prove that the throne belongs to Rama he takes Rama's slippers and puts them on the throne.

    The forest in which Rama arrived with his wife Sita and his brother was full of demons. A female demon, Surpanakha fall in love with Rama and she tries to seduce him. Rama being a loyal husband refuses to her flirts, so she tries to kill Sita. At this point Lakshman takes his sword and cuts the demon's nose. She goes to her brother, Ravan, and tells him of the disgrace that happened to her. Ravan decides to avenge this humiliation by kidnapping Rama's wife Sita. He even notices that she is very beautiful and desires her.

    Ravan plans ways to far away Rama and Lakshman from Sita so that he can kidnap her. One day Sita sees a very beautiful deer and desires it. She urges Rama to get it so Rama goes deep into the forest to get it. As time passes and Rama does not return, Sita starts to get worried. After some time she hears a cry which she thinks is Rama's cry so she begs Lakshman to find Rama. Lakshman aware of the fact that something bad might happen to Sita, refuses to leave Sita alone. But Sita compels Lakshman to find Rama. Lakshman agrees but draws a line in front of their hut and begs his sister- in- law not to pass this line because it might be dangerous and sets off to search Rama.

    When it is quiet dark a sage comes to the hut begging for food. Sita hears the begging of the sage and brings some food for the sage and so passes the line Lakshman had marked. When she gets closer to the sage she finds out that the sage is actually Ravan in disguise. Ravan kidnaps Sita and takes her to his kingdom Lanka. And so this basic plot of the Gods to have Rama to fight with Ravan takes place. On his way to Lanka, Sita struggles with him a lot, A vulture, who resides near Rama's hut, hears her cries and fights with Ravan. Ravan injures that vulture seriously. When Rama and Lakshman return, the vulture who is dying tells them that Ravan kidnapped Sita. Rama and Lakshman decide to find out Sita.

    Rama and Lakshman need an army to find and fight Ravan and they get this help from the monkeys. The king of monkeys who was exiled by his brother gets Rama's help to fight and slain his brother. After regaining his throne the monkey king assigns one of his commanders, Hanuman to serve Rama in his assignment to find Sita. After some time the monkeys come across another vulture who tells them that Ravan has kidnapped Sita and taken her to his island kingdom, Lanka.

    Hanuman who is capable of flying gets to Lanka after fighting some dangers in the way. He finds Sita in the garden guarded by female demons, in a depressed mood. He proves to her that he is Rama's messenger and offers to carry her back. But to vindicate her honor she prefers that Rama himself should rescue her. Hanuman promises that Rama will come and rescue her.

    Hanuman decides to check the capability of Ravan's security forces. He begins to destroy the garden, provoking the security guard and hurting them. Eventually he is captured and brought to Ravan. Hanuman tells Ravan that he is Rama's messenger and demands from him to free Sita or else he will die. Ravan gets furious and at first intended to kill Hanuman, but because Hanuman is a messenger he decides only to punish him by burning his tail. Hanuman flies back to Rama not before setting fire to Ravan's city with his burning tail and extinguishes his tail in the sea.

    After Hanuman's return, Rama plans his way to reach Ravan's island. Rama and his advisers plan a land bridge to Lanka. The monkeys bring tree and rocks from the forests and build the land bridge to Lanka. After arriving in Lanka they send a peaceful messenger to Ravan, but Ravan refuses. So a war begins in which both sides lose many forces. Even Rama and Lakshman get hurt. The monkeys also began to get weak because Ravan's forces use biological weapons, which weaken their senses. So a medical expert in Rama's forces claims that to neutralize this a special herb is required which exists in a far away mountain, named Mahodaya.

    Hanuman flies to that mountain and finds out that the mountain is full of different herbs, so he brings the whole mountain to Lanka. Slowly the forces get back to their senses.

    Eventually after many battles Ravan faces Rama and after two continuos days of battles Rama kills Ravan and visits Sita. But the Ramayana does not end here. The fact that Sita lived in another man's palace causes some rumors about her chastity. She is obliged to take a fire test in which she sits in a fire but comes out unharmed and therefore is purified from charges.

    In the original version of the Ramayana, after Rama and Sita return to Ayodhya, the capital of Kosala the rumors about Sita's adultery in Ravan's captivity continue and therefore the people disrespect her. So Rama, who is now the king, decides to banish Sita from his kingdom. In the forests she meets a sage named Valmiki, who later on wrote the Ramayana. In Valmiki's ashram Sita gives birth to two twins of Rama, Lav and Kush. These two children learn from Valmiki to sing the Ramayana as a poem and they go everywhere and start telling everyone the Ramayana, meaning Rama's story. They even arrive into Rama's court and tell him his story and so Rama recognizes his sons. He brings back his wife Sita who decides to prove her loyalty to Rama by asking Mother Earth to swallow her if she was loyal to Rama and so Mother Earth to testify her loyalty, opens up and swallows her and Sita disappears into earth. Later on Rama himself jumped in the river to end his life, followed by many.

    Jai Sai Ram
    « Last Edit: June 25, 2008, 02:22:56 PM by MANAV_NEHA »
    गुरूर्ब्रह्मा,गुरूर्विष्णुः,गुरूर्देवो महेश्वरः
    गुरूर्साक्षात् परब्रह्म् तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः॥
    अखण्डमण्डलाकांरं व्याप्तं येन चराचरम्
    तत्विदं दर्शितं येन,तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः॥


    सबका मालिक एक

    Offline MANAV_NEHA

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    Re: VEDAS
    « Reply #3 on: June 25, 2008, 02:19:21 PM »
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  • Bhagvad Gita

    Bhagawad gita is one of the most important scriptures of the mankind. It occupies a unique place among the followers of Hinduism. The Vedas, the Upanishads and the Brahmasutra form the foundations of the orthodox Hindusim or the Sanatana Hindu Dharma.

    The Gita is also given a place among these sacred scriputures honourably, on an equal footing. One can say that the Upanishads, the Brahmasutra, and the Gita are the very basis of the Hinduism. There are various sects and sub-sects within the folds of the Hinduism. There are followers of different doctrines (Sampradayas) among the Hindus. All the leaders of three different branches of Hinduism have to justify their special doctrines with references to the authority of the Upanishads, the Brahmasutra and the Gita, to show that such doctrines are in consonance with the orthodox Hindu religion. These bases of Hinduism (the Gita, the Upanishads and Brahmasutra) are called the triple canon (Prasthanatraya). Rishi (seer) Ved Vyas is credited with the authorship of the Gita. However,the Hindus regard it to be of divine origin preached by the Lord (Bhagawan) Shri Krishna himself.


    Ved Vyas is also given the honour of being the compiler of the Mahabharata. The Geeta occurs in the Bhishmaparva of the Mahabharata from twenty-third to fortieth chapter. The Geeta begins with the description of both the opposing armies in the war of Kurukshetra with the description of their main heroes. Sanjaya narrates the happenning at the battlefied to the blind king Dhritarashtra, when he is asked to do so. A great hero and the greatest warrior of the Pandava side Arjuna sees members of his family, relatives, and teachers in the battlefield eager to fight from both the warring sides. This causes immense sadness to Arjuna. Overwhelmed by the grief he leaves aside his bow and arrows. The desire for battle dies in his heart and he sits down in the chariot in the state of despondency. Then his charioteer, Lord Krishna preaches him, which is the subject matter of the Geeta.

    The Gita is mainly a religious treatise. Though it contains ancient Indian Philosophy, policy and the code of worldly conduct, yet it is essentially a guide to the Hindu way of life. For centuries millions of Hindus have found peace and tranquility in their lives by following the path shown by the Gita. It sets a religious experience of the ultimate reality. The all sects and the followers of all the traditions/doctrines among the Hindus accept the Gita. The Gita can be verily said to be the foundation of not only of the Hindusim, but of the root of the religion itself.

    The union (yoga) of the self (atma) with the ultimate reality (paramatma) is the final goal of the followers of the Gita. It brings about a reconciliation among the apparently conflicting doctrines of the way of knowledge (Gyan-Yoga) of action (Karma-Yoga) and of devotion (bhakti-yoga). All these paths lead towards one goal only. The term yoga (means to unite, to yoke), is used in Gita, in the sense of union of the self with the supreme being it is not used in the sense as given in the yoga-sutra of Pantanjali.

    DATE AND TEXT OF BHAGAVADGITA


    According to the Hindu traditions and beliefs, the gita is an eternal scripture. It has always been available to the human being, as a divine gift, for their redemption. But the modern scholars and researchers, both oriental as well as western, have done a great deal of work to ascertain the date of its compilation and its original text. They have taken help from the internal references available in the literature of that era. Also with the help of linguistics, they have studied the language used, grammatical constructions, and word configurations to ascertain its date. All these evidently point towards the antiquity of the Gita. Genarality of scholars accept that it could have been composed and complied sometime around fifth century B.C. though its text might have undergone many additions and alterations subsequently. Also it does not seem plausible that seven hundred verses contained in the Gita could have been preached by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the battlefield. Possibly, a few verses might have been said which were amplified and elaborated into a large treatise by the narrators over a period of time. Moreover the historicity of Lord Krishna and his pupil, Arjuna is also not beyond doubt. The Vedic age and the post-vedic age had extended over a period of many centuries. During this period, compilation of the vedas and the upnishads, had taken place. Certain upnishads were compiled as late as the fourth century A.D.

    Lord Krishna is mentioned as Devaki-putra (Son of Devika) in the upnishads and the references of Radha, Devaki and Vasudeva also occur and the beginning of the christian era, the cult of Lord Krishna and vasudeva was well established. Ancient Buddhist texts also mention about krishna occasionally. These facts may be taken as evidence about the historicity of Lord Krishna. Vishnu has been depicted as a god in the Vedic hymns. In the Puranic texts, Vishnu is also mentioned as Narayana. Lord Krishna is identified with Vishnu or Narayana. Modern Indian and western scholars have done a tremendous amount of labour to get the answers to these puzzles. But there are differences of opinion among the scholars regarding the date of Gita and about its original text. The age of the compilation of the Gita may be taken to be of between fifth and the second century B.C.

    The Gita is regarded as a Upnishad's "bhagavadgitastu" The Gita presents synthesis of all the elements and beliefs of he Hinduism, be they major or minor, gross or subtle. The Gita refines and reconciles the conflicts inherent in the various thoughts the vedic sacrifices, Puranic theism, transcendental or immortal nature of the brahman in the upnishads, dualism and non-dualism of the philosophical schools and yoga meditation etc. The Gita provides a solution for these conflicting ideas which is acceptable to all the adherants of the Hinduism.

    The Gita blends into an organic unity, all the elements of orthodox Hinduism, Indian Philosophy and Puranic theism. This makes it difficult to assign the Gita to any specific age,place or tradition. From the very ancient time commentaries have been written on the Gita by various teachers and seers. The commentary of Shankaracharya (A.D.788-320) is the most ancient among those, which are available to us. The text given in this work is generally followed and taken as the authoritative.

    COMMENTARIES ON THE GITA

    Since the Gita forms the very basis of the Hinduism a very large number of commentaries by many seers and scholars have been written from the ancient times. Many leaders of various sects have written commentaries on the Gita to prove that their specific doctrines were in conformity with the teachings of the Gita. Many scholars and philosphers of modern age have also written commentaries on it. Though the commentary of Shankara is the oldest available to us. Yet he had mentioned about the commentaries written by scholars before him. But their works are now lost to us. The following commentators are important.


    Adi Shankaracharya (A.D. 788-820)
    Anandagiri (A.D. thirteenth Century)
    Shridhara (A.D. 1400)
    Madhusudana (Sixteen Century A.D.)
    Ramanuja (Eleventh Century A.D.)
    Madhavacharya (A.D.1199-1276)
    Nimbarka (A.D. 1162)
    Vallabha (A.D. 1479)
    Yamunacharya (date not known)
    Saint Tukarama (in Marathi)
    Saint Gyaneshwara (in Marathi)
    Among the modern commentators notable are, Bal Gangadhara Tilak (Gita-Rahasya), Vinoba Bhave (Gita in Marathi), Sri Arbindo, Dr. S. Radha-Krishnan etc.

    Many western scholars have also done a lot of work on he Gita and have produced excellent works. Some of them are : Sir Adwin Arnold (wrote a translation - The song Celestial-in beautiful verses), Jacob, Barnett, Douglas Hill, Franklin Edgerton etc. The Gita has been translated and commented on in all the important languages of the world.

    WHAT IS THERE IN THE EARTH YOGA-SHASTRA

    The Gita teaches the practical way to realise the supreme ideal. It does not give only a purely metaphysical world of thought to the seeker of the truth, it takes him to the real world of experience. The supreme bliss can only be experienced, it cannot be reached by idle speculation of wits and mental gymnastics. The Gita gives us a metaphysics (brahma-vidya) as well as a practical discipline (yoga shastra) . By emptying our minds of impure thoughts, desires and wants, by putting our entire energy in the single minded contemplation of the nature of the ultimate reality, by constant efforts (abhyas) and being in a state - where the self (atma) becomes one with the supreme being (paramatma). This is called "Yoga" (coming from the root "yuj-it means yoking of or comes into union with the God (parameshwar). After one attains this state ignorance (Agyana) illusion (avidya) and egoistic state of mind (ahankara) can no longer exist. The self experiences the pure truth, pure mind and pure bliss (sat, chit, anand). The Gita Guide ut to this yoga and bhaktiyoga. This is the essence of the Gita. Gyanyoga is the way of knowledge, Karmayoga of right efforts, of total devotion and surrender to the will of God. Thus the Gita shows the way of salvation to all without any distinction or reservation. It is for the entire humanity. Distinctions place, caste creed or sect do not come in its way. The Gita like the mother ganga is for the benefit of all. The misconception among a few that the Gita is meant for the saints and the hermits is without any basis. The Student (brahmachari), the house-holder the recluse all have equal claim to its nectar. It's a panacea to the mankind.

    THE CONTECT OF THE GIFT

    The hundred sons of Dhritarastra and the five sons of Pandu, fought a fatricidal war in the battlefied of Kurukshetra.This is the main theme of the mahabharata. The sons of the blind king Dhritarastra of the Kauravas bore great animosity to the Pandavas, the sons of Pandu. Kauravas were ruling the kingdom of Hastinapura and the Pandavas were the rulers of Indraprastha. The eldest among the Kauravas, Duryodhana, was very jealous of the splendour of their cousins, pandavas. He, with the help of his uncle Shakuni, won the kingdom of the Pandavas, decided that the pandavas shall spend twelve years in the forest and then one year in disguise. If they were not discovered during this period, they would get back their kingdom. But when the pandavas returned after thirteen years, their term of exile, Duryodhana refused to return their kingdom. All efforts to persuade him failed. Finally, Lord Krishna went to him as the emissary of the Pandavas. Even his efforts could not succeed. Then the war became inevitable.

    In the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Kauravas fought under the leadership of Duryodhana and the Pandavas side was led by the the eldest among the Pandavas, Yudhisthir. While the army of Lord Krishna's army fought on the side of the Kauravas he himself was on the side of the Pandavas. He was charioteer of Arjuna as he had promised that he would not weild any weapon in the war.When all the preparations of the war were nearing completion, sage vedvyas went to the blind king and offered him the boon of divine vision, so that he could watch the war. But Dhritarastra declined the offer saying that he did not want to see the destruction of his sons with his own eyes. However, he was eager to know the going on the battlefield. Then vyas granted the boon of divine vision to Sanjaya, the king of Charioteer. This enabled Sanjaya to see the war from any where. Sanjaya sitting near, Dhritarastra told him about the war affairs. In the meantime the war had commenced. On the twentieth day of the war, the great warrior Bhishma was felled from his chariot by Arjuna and had been lying on a bed of arrows. Dhristarastra became vey sad on hearing this news and asked Sanjaya to narrate the events of the war from the beginning i.e. from the time when his sons and Pandavas had gathered in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The Gita starts with the question of the blind king.

    Jai Sai Ram
    « Last Edit: June 25, 2008, 02:23:46 PM by MANAV_NEHA »
    गुरूर्ब्रह्मा,गुरूर्विष्णुः,गुरूर्देवो महेश्वरः
    गुरूर्साक्षात् परब्रह्म् तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः॥
    अखण्डमण्डलाकांरं व्याप्तं येन चराचरम्
    तत्विदं दर्शितं येन,तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः॥


    सबका मालिक एक

     


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