Tag: indian culture (Page 1 of 11)

Mahabharat: Rathatiratha Sankhyam

Rathatiratha-Sankhya Parva is the fifty ninth Upa parva included in the fifth Maha parva named as Udyoga parva. Vaishampayana continued narration to Janamejaya in reply to his queries as follows.

Immediately after the return of Uluka, Yudhishtira had opined with Drishtadyuma to be the Senapathi, means the commander for his leading active army. Drishtadyumna was given army camping order at his choice. Yudhishtira had announced Drona as his enemy target and had suggested to his other six commanders the various other enemy war targets. During the war, surrendering of enemies was the main aim but self-defense was inevitable. Killing was not desired from the side of Yudhishtira. Everybody on the side of Yudhishtira would follow war time rules. Each commanders would blow the conch to start or stop the war. 

Why Yudhishtira allotted the seven commanders in chief with enemy targets?

The seven commanders on the side of Yudhishtira were assigned enemy targets on the co-option methods. Drishtadyuma had already got Drona as the opposite target of the war suggested by Yudhishtira. This process is called as Senapati Niyoga before starting the war. Shikhandi was assigned Bhishma. Sahadeva got Shakuni. The five Upapandavas, means the five sons of Draupadi were kept in the reserve against the five Trigarta Princes. Chekitana was against Shala. Shaibhya got Kritavarma. Arjuna got Karna. Bhima got Duryodhana. Abhimanyu was kept in reserve but arranged against Vrishasena and other strong kings since he was more able than his father Arjuna. These were flexible assignments; in the field, each and every fighting soldier has to face any kind of enemies who came in his front row. Drishtadyumna was free to lead in the war taking his own war-time decisions.   

Pandavas accompanied by Krishna ask Bhishma permission to start the war
Pandavas accompanied by Krishna ask Bhishma permission to start the war

What information from Bhishma was desired by Duryodhana?

Duryodhana had already assigned Bhishma as the commander-in-chief for his army troops. Hence he desired to know from his open mouth and loud voice about the capabilities of his side, details of leading and succeeding soldiers. The army ranks were referred as Atirathas, Rathas and Ardha Rathas. 

As per Bhishma, who were Athirathas?

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Veda in Sanskrit means the science of knowledge. It has other names such as Shruti, Agama, Amnaya etc. The contents are very huge and it was initially divided into four divisions for the convenience of teaching and learning, with the names as Rigveda, Atharvaveda, Samaveda  and Yajurveda. In due course of time, each division were further classified as main branches and auxiliaries or Vedashakhas and Upa-Vedas, dealing with different specialized subjects.

Bharadvaja Ashrama was like a University in olden days. Gauthama Ashrama was another such example. The classification of a particular Veda has no particular date and time. Sushruta was the son of Vishwamitra Rishi. He had written books on medicines. One Rishi with the formal name as Bharata had composed verses on Natya shastras. Chanakya had composed books on Arthashastra. Maya had contributed to archeology and artilleries. All are in Sanskrit. These developments were concluded as the basics for job oriented courses.

Representive image for Upaveda
Representive image for Upaveda

Gradually, the four branches of Vedas were learnt by the students separately according to their aptitudes, further evolving into ten clear branches. Surgery and medicines were studied by the students of Rigveda having the branch name as Shakhala Shakha and those verses pertaining to their aptitudes were termed as Ayurveda and later, that auxiliary branch continued as Upaveda of Rigveda. Thus medical field got the name evolved as Ayurveda. Rigveda had only one branch, so one wing Ayurveda is the one assumed Upaveda, continuing even now .

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Japa Yajna

Japa means chanting divine name of God or repeatedly reciting the same powerful mantras. There are several compound words such as Japayoga, Japa sadhana, Japayajna etc. This is most commonly known as Japayajna or simply Japa. Japayajna is sometimes done without any purpose or without desire also. But Japayajna is usually done to achieve a desired result within a least time.

Rudraksha Japa Mala or prayer beads
Rudraksha Japa Mala or prayer beads

Earning money may be a difficult project work but earning virtue through Japayajna is an easier project than it. It can be practiced individually, within family members or within a group of people together. A garland with 54 (fifty four) beads or 108 (one hundred and eight) beads to keep the counts of repetitions is helpful for the Japa practitioner of Sanatana follower. There are also people, using 100 beads, 33×3+1 chanting for thrice a day.  The words Japa or Tapa are colloquial phrases but Tapa is not as easy as Japa since Tapa is penance and not recommended for all.

यज्नानां जपयज्नो ऽस्मि

Meaning of Yajnanam japa yajno asmi: God Krishna had explained his various forms of recognized, special exhibitions or proof of divine perceivable existences. Among the several visible forms, sacrifices or rituals are considered as causes for virtues. Japa, the God’s name chanting or mantra reciting system is the best or divine form, most pleased by God. This narration is available in the twenty fifth verse of the tenth chapter of the Bhagavad Geetha. It is available in Mahabharata. Vyasa Rishi had written it in Sanskrit, for the guidance of all desiring welfare, and recommendable for all, without any restrictions.  

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Mahabharat: Karna Vivada Parva

Karna Vivada Parva or Karnopanivada Parva is the fifty fifth Upa Parva included in the fifth Maha Parva named as Udyoga Parva in Mahabharata.

The story of Mahabharata and the Bhagavata Purana were written by the sage Vyasa Maharshi. Vyasa was the teacher of Vaishampayana Rishi and Krishna was depicted as the incarnation of God Vishnu in both of them. In Purana, devotion to God was described as the main theme. Here in Mahabharata, Arjuna had been depicted as the main hero; he was the father of the grandfather of the listener of the story, Janamejaya and he was free to ask any doubtful queries in between the narrations of his ancestor’s life.  After the actual events, more than one century time had already passed then, and the Ashwamedha Yaga was going on at the palace in the Town of Takshashila. 

Kripa was the old family priest of Pandavas and Krishna instructed him to give good education to Pareekshit, then child, the Prince of Abhimanyu was being very young. Krishna blessed Kripa to be living always as a Chiranjeevi. After the great Mahabharata war, the palace at Hastinavati needed renovation and was getting it done slowly. The Dwapara Yuga had ended and after Krishna Niryana, Kaliyuga had started. Kripa had left for his penance at Himalaya in Badarikashram with Veda Vyasa Maharshi, after completion of his teachings to Pareekshit and installing him on the throne as king. Pareekshit had shifted his palace to Takshashila but died at the age of sixty.

Later, the young Janamejaya had assumed the kingship at Takshashila with the blessings of his people. After stopping the Sarpa Yaga, this Ashvamedha Yaga was started in this palace of Janamejaya at the Town of Takshashila. There was no animal sacrifice in that yaga, but this story of ‘Mahabharata’ was narrated by Rishi Vaishampayana, as a virtuous hearing to pass the holy time for the king and the Suta Puranikas of Naimisharanya  had also attended the auspicious occacion.

Vaishampayana continued his narrations to Janamejaya as follows.

Conversation between Krishna and Karna
Conversation between Lord Krishna & Karna
What Krishna discussed with Karna and how did Sanjaya narrate it to Dritarashtra?

After coming out of the court hall with Satyaki and Kritavarma, Krishna desired to ascend his chariot accompanying Karna and hence called him to come along with him. So Karna came and sat near Krishna on the chariot and started their discussions. Krishna told Karna about his birth stories and Karna agreed with him but also replied that the old events were known to him. Krishna requested Karna to join with Yudhishtira and start to rule as an Emperor. Yudhistira would be the prince and all Pandavas would be his servants. Being the eldest son of Kunti, he could shine as an Emperor in the whole world. He could lead a pleasant, glorious future life and avoid the war. Sanjaya told it to Dritarashtra later. 

What was the answer of Karna to Krishna for his tempting offers?
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Mahabharat: Bhagavad Yana Parva

Bhagavad Yana Parva is the fifty fourth upa parva included in the fifth maha parva, named as Udyoga parva. This upa parva is also called as Krishna Anusandhana parva. This is the third most popular upa parva in the Mahabharat, with the first one being Bhagavad Geetha parva and the second one being Vishnu Sahasranama of Shanthi Parva. Vaishampayana continued the narration to Janamejaya as follows.

After sending Sanjaya back to Kurukshetra from Upaplava, Yudhishtira thought, his one reliable person was always Krishna, so his next turn and task would be to beg for his help. Before starting the dice game with Shakuni, Yudhishtira had forgotten Krishna. That lapse or mistake was very serious and resulted in thirteen years of sufferings. Hence Yudhishtira thought if Krishna was consulted before telling anything to anybody, or to order before the seven Akshohini soldiers, better results would be guaranteed.

Krishna as the ambassador to Yudhistira in the court session with Duryodhana and Dritarashtra
Krishna as the ambassador to Yudhistira in the court session

In this parva, Krishna was chosen as an ambassador of peace treaty for the side of Yudhishtira at Upaplava. At Nagasahvaya, on the same day, Duryodhana showed his egoistic nature of power in the court debate leading to the boycotting of Bhishma from his court session for that day. 

Why didn’t Yudhishtira initially show interest in sending Krishna?

Yudhishtira had desired only to consult Krishna after the returning of Sanjaya to Kurukshetra. But he had not shown any interest or intention in sending him to the Palace of Duryodhana or to his court session. Yudhishtira thought Krishna would be physically hurt or insulted if sent alone to the court of Duryodhana, since for the past many years, his experience showed the negligence of Krishna by the Kauravas and their companions.

What Yudhishtira told to Krishna before sending him as an ambassador?
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Hayagriva: The Divine Equine

Hayagiva is a Sanskrit word for the depiction of Vishnu God.  In the ancient Sanatanic texts like Shruti, Smriti and Puranas, the reference of Hayagriva is available. Hayagriva is the form of an idol selected by the devotees for worshipping the divine energy and motivating God as per the freedom of the believers and to have a better life of blessings. In all the branches of the Sanatanic beliefs, worshipping of Hayagriva is found.

Which idol is worshipped as Hayagriva in India?

Hayagriva idol has human body up to the neck and the head portion along with the face resembles that of a horse. Haya means horse. Various Sanskrit names are in use sensing the synonym of horse faced idol of God. Some idols are found with a decorated crown also. Like God Vishnu, Hayagriva in his four hands holds Shankha, Chakra, Gadha and Padma.  Some idols may vary in dress codes having yellow or white in colour. All other displaying of the idol is similar to Vishnu. In India, generally, Vishnu Chaitanya (energy) is worshipped in the idol form of Hayagriva, made of gold, silver, or alloys.    

Lord Hayagriva sitting under a tree
Hayagriva sitting under a tree
How many types of Hayagriva are found in Puranas? 

In Puranas, mainly two types of references to Hayagriva are found. In one type of its story, Hayagriva is a demon and he had stolen Vedas and hidden them in Patala, or in the hell. This demon bandit was using a wheel of iron called Chakra as his strong weapon. So Vishnu, assuming the fish form called as Matsya Avatara, killed the demon and brought back the Vedas again into this world. Then his wheel was abandoned. In the Dwapara Yuga, Krishna got the wheel but he named it as Sudarshana Chakra being made of gold and he used it to behead the Shankhasura and got the Pachajanya conch.

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Lord Ganapathi: Unlocking the Divine Wisdom

Ganapathi or Ganesha idol is worshipped by the maximum number of devotees in India. Ganesha is the Chief Leader of twenty one Shiva Ganas, or the Chief Leader of the group leaders of the servants of God Shiva supporting and doing good services. Ganesha idols are worshipped not only within India by his devoting people but also by many merchants throughout the world, since he is the master of auspicious (Shubha) and profitable (Labha) achievements. He is also the master as well as the leader of education, health, wealth, knowledge, success and so on.

Image of Lord Ganesha
Lord Ganesha
How many types of Ganesh Chaturthi are present for worshipping of the Lord Ganapathi? 

In the Lunar system, in a month, there are two types of Chaturthi days. In the Shukla paksha Chaturthi, the morning time is good for the Gana Homa to worship with fire, ghee and precious combustible items. In the Krishna paksha Chaturthi, evening time is good for the Ganesh Alankara Puja to worship with flowers, garlands and eatables. Some people continue till the rising moon appears on the Eastern horizon. Indian system of Arati or Maha Mangalarathi is offered on both of these occasions.

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Mimamsa Science: Unveiling the Ancient Indian Philosophy and its Relevance in Modern Life

What is Mimamsa?

Mimamsa is the Indian branch of philosophy considered to be founded by Jaimini Rishi, but Mimamsa science was there even before the period of Jaimini. It has two parts, the initial part of Vedas, known as Karma Kanda or Purva Mimamsa and the later part of Vedas, known as Brahma Kanda or Uttara Mimamsa.

Since the Uttara Mimamsa deals only with the items of debates about soul of the human life, it is still under public usages and practices. The Purva Mimamsa requires high grade knowledge of Vedas so it is less popular but more practical in Vedic life and in Indian astrological remedies, it is openly and frequently used as Parihara Karmas.    

Who wrote Markandeya Purana? 

Vyasa Maharshi had written Markandeya Purana. But Vyasa got the story and principles of Goddess Devi from Markandeya Maharshi. More about Mimamsa Science is elaborated in Markandeya Purana.

With the example of birds feeding their young ones, in Markandeya Purana, the divinity of Goddess is explained. The works and results of the living bird are referred as the principles of motherhood as well as hidden secret principles of Mimamsa. Since Vyasa was the teacher of Jaimini, it could be proved as Mimamsa existed prior to Jaimini Rishi.

Represntative image of jaimini Maharshi writing scriptures while sitting under a tree
Represntative image of jaimini Maharshi
Who were the disciples of Vyasa and what were their contributions?

Vedavyasa had four prime disciples and they were Paila, Vaishampayana, Jaimini and Sumanthu. Paila was responsible for Rigveda, Vaishampayana Yajurveda, Jaimini Samaveda and Sumanthu for Atharva veda. In additions to these books, they contributed to Puranas and other philosophical texts called as Dharma shastras.

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Mahabharat: Yana Sandhi Parva

Yana Sandhi Parva is the fifty third upa parva included in the fifth maha parva, named as Udyoga parva, in the epic Mahabharata. Vaishampayana narrated to Janamejaya as follows.

After spending the sleepless night, Dritarashtra entered his court hall in the morning, as he was eager to hear the contents of the reply speech of Sanjaya. The main content of Yana Sandhi is the debate on the reply of Sanjaya, the demand of legitimate Indraprastha and parental properties of Yudhishtira, and to return the same back to him. It was an attempt, by discussion, to preserve peace and to avoid war by the mature elders like Bhishma and Drona with Duryodhana.

What was the colour of the court hall of Dritarashtra?

The court hall was painted in white and almost all materials were white in color.

Court hall of Dritarashtra with King Dritarshtra in the centre and royal members around him
Royal court hall of Dritarashtra
Who entered the court hall and how they were seated?

The Emperor Dritarashtra, his son Duryodhana, brother Dushasana, his uncle Shakuni, legal advisor Vidura, Bhishma and Drona, entered according their ranks. The higher in rank were seated nearer to Duryodhana. The royal servants and soldiers-in-waiting, observed their protocols.

How Sanjaya entered the court hall and what he had announced?
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Mahabharat: Sanathsujatha Parva

Sanathsujatha Parva is the fifty second upa parva included in the fifth Maha parva named as Udyoga parva in the epic Mahabharata. The main purpose of this Parva is to confirm the implied essence of Sanatana Dharma and to publish the same before king Dritarashtra.

After telling about the Viduraneeti or legalities on ethics and penal codes, Vidura had invited a boy, Sanatkumara, son of Brahma, to explain regarding the details about death and life to Dritarashtra in the later part of the night.

Who was Sanatsujatha?

Sanatsujatha was one of the sons of Brahma, a boy aged about eight years. Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujatha were the four sons who were known as young Rishis who possessed full knowledge of Adhyatma Vijnana. This Adhyatma Vijnana is nothing but Sanatana Dharma.

Sanathsujatha Rishi explaining things to Dritarashtra
Sanathsujatha Rishi explaining things to Dritarashtra
What are the Upakhyanas?

Upakhyanas are the side stories. These side stories were told by various Rishis and scholars to Pandavas or some associated characters of Mahabharata, and repeated by Vaishampayana to Janamejaya. These side stories are ancient incidences referred to bring more clarity and understanding about the advices implied in the narration by the orator to the listener.

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