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Category Archives: i-Hindu

Science and Religion (and the Eclipse)

it’s gonna be a stuffy night tonight. all my doors are closed, windows closed. the last total lunar eclipse until 2014 would probably be a spectacle for me to see (and i would have lurved to be part of the crowd at east coast beach), if not for the fact that for unknown reasons, mom refuses to let us go out of the house during an eclipse, eat or drink anything until the eclipse is over, or watch the eclipse on tv. why?

well, after so many years, i think its time to find out.

one story of the eclipse goes as such:

The Hindu scriptures, the Purãns (written by Ved Vyãs), narrate the story of how the eclipse came into existence:

After the churning of the ocean by the devas (gods) and daityas (demons), amrut – immortalizing the nectar – was produced. It so happened that the demons got the nectar first, but the devas created an apsarã (a beautiful celestial woman) called Mohini. She tricked the demons and took the nectar away from them. Once the devas received the amrut, they asked God to distribute the amrut to all the gods equally. While God was serving everyone amrut, a demon, named Rãhu, through yogic powers transformed himself into a deva and sat in line to receive amrut and thus become immortal. He sat between the Sun-god and the Moon-god. They both recognized the demon in the form of a deva. When God unknowlingly served amrut to Rãhu, both the sun and the moon revealed that it was a demon. So God beheaded Rãhu instantly with his sudarshan chakra. But by the time God beheaded Rãhu he had drunk the amrut. The amrut had reached Rãhu’s throat, making his head immortal. Rãhu’s head thus became a planet. Since the Sun-god and the Moon-god told God about Rãhu, Rãhu was deeply disappointed and nursed a hatred for them. Therefore it is believed that during certain times of the year Rãhu holds the sun and the moon by his mouth (grahan), hence the existence of the solar and lunar eclipses.”

Hence the swallowing of the sun/moon by the enemies of the sun/moon (who are Rahu and Ketu) causes the respective eclipses.

Hindu temples are closed during an eclipse. although it is very much against what i would like to believe in. but (according to what ive read) the cosmic powers of the Gods in the temple are low during an eclipse. Gods are said to be in chanting or something like that, so temples are closed for Gods to pray. (?) i mean, i honestly wish i understood it a little better or at least see some reason why this happens. at the same time, im also aware that my limited knowledge of puranam and scriptures mean that i probably wouldnt fully understand either… but… i cant understand why Gods can be weak… mom says that the radiation/cosmic waves created during an eclipse is harmful so temples are closed. so we should close our rooms/doors too.

in scriptures (and so says my mom), during the eclipse, we should pray. and after the eclipse, bathe and pray and then go back to normal activities. The reason to take a bath (as ive read) is because during an eclipse, the world is overcome with darkness and darkness is associated with impurity and therefore bathing after an impure episode signifies cleansing.

so while i see the solar and lunar eclipse as a beautiful display of the solar system’s coincidental mathematical overlap, it is hard to see where i stand with regards to the religious aspect of an eclipse.

so, with more reading, i find that while Rahu and Ketu are seen as demons in Hindu scriptures, the position of Rahu and Ketu in the universe coincides with the astronomical points in the solar system called the north and south lunar nodes. now these nodes are specific points in the system where the overlap of the sun and moon’s orbital paths occur. hence causing the respective eclipses.

astronomy and astrology are too interlinked in many ancient world cultures.

In european mythology, the north and south lunar nodes are referred to as the dragon’s head and dragon’s tail respectively. (in Hinduism, Rahu is the head of the demon and Ketu is the tail of the demon).

in Chinese mythology, the idea of a dragon eating up the sun is also mentioned. the term “Chih” which means “eat” was used to depict an eclipse. ancient Chinese used to “throw arrows into the sky, beat drums” to scare the dragon away. even till the 19th century, (as ive read) the chinese army used cannon to fire away to get rid of the dragon.

Buddhists believe that the effects of whatever actions you do during an eclipse is multiplied several folds. so, it is adviced to do good things, so that the effects of your deeds are multiplied. i remember mom saying before too that chanting prayers during an eclipse is very good because the impact is multiplied.

Egyptians also have a myth with the the sky God called Horus (whose eyes were the Sun and Moon) and at some point, the right eye (Sun) gets torn off, denoting an eclipse.

but contrary to what most cultures see eclipses as (an evil omen), ppl in Tahiti see eclipses as a romantic phase when the sun and moon make love. so, eclipses are romantic to them.

so you see……….. different cultures bring along with them their ancient stories abt eclipses. and while it is interesting and all, some of these stories are linked to religion. and so where i stand, unsure abt what my ideology should be, im really envious of those who got to witness the perfect total eclipse tonight while im in my stuff room (for the next few hrs till the eclipse ends at around 2am… ) hmmmm………

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2011 in i-Hindu, i-Marvel

 

Plinky: One Hour in a Time Machine

i would like to go back to the time when my parents were still smiling at each other.. it must have been a special time….. probably the days after they got married and went on their honeymoon… maybe those times when both of them looked at the foetus version of me. or the time when i finally popped out. when nothing else mattered to them but the sheer joy of seeing their first born healthy and normal.. i guess it’ll be nice to see them turn to each other and smile. and if possible, i’d like to bring my parents with me in the time machine for them to relive those moments that have been long forgotten. i long to see my parents happy (with each other) again……..

i would want to see how/when/why i die and who i have beside me when i die….. its such a painful way to die when you dont have someone close beside you when you pass on. i want to know who’ll be with me when i die. (or if i’d even be with someone when i die)

but i’d also want to know how i lived – so possibly also to the time before i die, where i get to see the person i’d been with for the next few decades of my life – guess thats quite scary to know. whether i had lived my life in vain or with meaning.

i would love to see the evolution of life on earth – fast forwarded of course….. nahhhh, i guess an hour isnt enough. i’d just like to spend the hour with darwin when he figured out how species evolved. tag along with him on his travels in the galapagos. or spend some time with jane goodall in her younger days when she went on her chimp expeditions.

i believe the Mahabharata happened. i’d reeeeeeeaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyyy want to be there at that time when Lord Krishna spoke to Arjunan abt EVERYTHING. the time when Arjunan doubted the sanity of attacking his own kin and kith. and then i’d be there, at the birth of the Bhagavat Gita. that would really really really be a blessing. a real blessing. really.

so an hour wouldnt be enough to see everything i want to see, so i guess on the 59th minute of my time travel, i’d go back to the time where i get an hour with the time machine! haha!

those who have been following my blog might have expected me to want to go back to this time… but, i seem to have gotten past that. i think its about time anyway. its been a long time and i think, once you’ve decided, its no point wanting to relive something that wouldnt work out anyway…….. ha… interesting that i’d come to this conclusion after a decade.

so……. an hour in the time machine, and there’s nothing that i’ll want to relive in my own life? i guess that means i havent hit the kinda high that others have in their lives. and thats something im missing out on…. hmm….

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in i-Hindu, i-Reflect, i-Want

 

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P N Oak and his claims.

self claimed professor Purushottam Nagash Oak says

1. Taj Mahal isnt a tomb. it’s a Hindu Temple seized by Shah Jahan

if Taj Mahal really isnt a tomb, that must be the most visited temple by visitors from all over the world.

he claims its a Lord Shivan temple, stating that Taj Mahal was named as such  because Lord Shivan’s name in sanskrit is known as Tejo Mahalaya…………. which as you may realise is greatly disputed by everyone who’s anyone in the historian circles. but he has some (1)findings and (2)evidence which he believes to be true.

for example, the word Mahal was never used for a building in any Muslim country. though he claimed that it was named Taj Mahal because of his queen Mumtaz (Mahal) – truth is, her name is actually Mumtaz-ul-Zamani.

then, he claims that the builing was actually built way before Shah Jahan claims it was. many 100 yrs ago. carbon dating tests of some stone samples xdates back at least 3 centuries before Shah Jahan’s time. details of which i wouldnt know, so there may be discrepencies in that data…

he says, many rooms remain sealed in the Taj Mahal, which might contain items of Shivan worship.

and has produced a few photos that cast some doubt and show contradiction.

2. Christianity and Islam came from Hinduism

i dont have enough courage data to comment on this. so we’ll just wait……….

but here are some readings, if you are interested to pursue this……….

interesting…….

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2009 in i-Hindu, i-Marvel

 

fate/past life/astrology and a web of intertwined mess

my mom is a strong believer in astrology. i dont quite know what to think of  astrology..

after reading books and reflecting, i think, if something was meant happen, it will. but can we link our future to our past?

Hindus believe in re-births. 7 to be exact. what happens after the last re-birth i ask. i was told that our soul goes to Shivan. my scientific mind immediately thought of whether there’d be enough space to accomodate the millions of souls. im sorry.

im told that what we did in our previous birth moderates our existing life. i choose to believe because i havent found a reason not to.

so how does an individual’s astrology come into the picture? well, what we’ve done in a past life will determine how we will be in the next life, and our fate is more or less written out at the time of conception. which then determines our time of birth, which is collected as data and a typical Hindu family will go to the astrologer to find out the few-days-old-baby’s entire life story. good or bad person, rich or poor person, happy or sad person, healthy or weak person, character, job, marriage, death, etc….. to be honest, i’d be rather interested myself too…… its like knowing the future.

and even if we are professed to have bad incidents, our existing life can be changed by doing parigarams and prayers. so then, at least the bad effects of our past life deeds wont affect us so much. but here’s the catch. even the possibility of doing the parigarams might be affected by out past deeds. so we might never get the chance to turn things over.

a complicated web of intertwined mess? i said so already.

but it is a wonder whether ive done the things ive done in this life because that was what my fate said i was supposed to have done. the fate which was determined by my past life. it is a scary notion to think that all the things we do now are being done. (i sound like the oracle in the matrix)

you know, in the Mahabharata, there are several short stories abt how someone’s curse / good deed is used in the next life to destroy or save someone. i’ve not read it for a long time and i cannot remember the stories specific to this. but im inspired to re-read my book now. and i will write on it one day.

in any case, i think my life now is dependant on now, and whatever happens happens for a reason (whether its a past life deed or a current life deed or for a future good). I should do whatever i need to do to get on with life, and leave the outcomes…

do your duty without expecting the goodies. and whatever goodies you get, dedicate them to God, whether its good or bad.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2009 in i-Hindu, i-Reflect

 

Ganapathi Homam

woke up 4.30am today, to do Ganapathi Homam at Arasakesari Sivan Temple. We aren’t one of those families that do ubayam often, so was an experience.

Ganapathi/Vinayagar – or Elephant God as non-Hindus know Him – is one of the main Gods in Hinduism. Commonly thought as the One who removes obstacles. So Hindus pray to Vinayagar before they embark on any task.

Homam means creating a fire, in belief of divine presence. Homams are done within a square (as far as i know), and firewood, ghee, and other auspicious stuff are offered into the fire at specific instances during the prayers and its thought that these offerings will reach God and our prayers will be granted.

i read about the term ‘bootaagni’, but dont quite understand the technicalities, so i cant explain. but i understand that its supposed to be the fire within oneself, which can burn strongly if he overcomes desire, anger, greed, false prestige, jealousy and is full of compassion and devotion. but since that is difficult for most ppl, there’s the external fire in the form of homam which seeks to do the same.

and after a Homam, a person is said to be cleansed, and the internal fire burns better and will be able to achieve his tasks more effectively. especially meditation.

im no priest/brahmin, so i tried searching for explanations for the steps we/priest performed during the rituals. couldnt find any. like why he had to keep sprinking water on the coconut and what’s the significance of  wearing that leaf ring, why place hand left over right for girls and right over left for guys (if i remember correctly), what all his hand gestures meant (aavaahani, samsthaapani, sannidhaapani, sannirodhini, avakunthana), etc……. if someone knows, i’d be glad to seek understanding what what i saw this morning.  

here’s what i found though:

the beginning of the prayers, the priest does something with his fingers and nose. he’s actually doing praanayam – controlled breathing. breathes through his right while saying a mantram, holds his breath and says is again, releases his breath through his left nostril, breathes in through his left, holds his breath and releases through his right, all the time saying the mantram.

the placing of hands one over the other on the right lap is to declare your intentions for the homam. once done, you wash hands and light a lamp to signify the start of the ritual, i think.

i read that there’s supposed to be six lines below the homam container. i dont remember seeing that line, maybe it was.

then there’s a prayer done to the Fire God.  Vinayagar in invoked into the fire. a few other stuff are done, and we are supposed to walk around the homam 3 times (which we didnt do). and then there’s the ending part.

ref: http://www.vedicastrologer.org/homam/maha_ganapati_homam.pdf

all’s good in good faith.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2009 in i-Hindu

 
 
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