The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple which is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati in the south is the abode of Lord Ranganatha, the reclining form of Lord Vishnu
The historical accounts from the 14th to 17th centuries tell one particular tale about the sacrifice and unwavering devotion of the Sri Vaishnavas
About 800 years ago, when the temple was under attack, Swami Pillai Lokacharya led a team to protect the deity and carry the Lord to a safe destination
The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple which is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati in the south of India, is the abode of Lord Ranganatha, the reclining form of Lord Vishnu. The Tamil month which occurs during March and April (Panguni) is considered sacred, as it is the time when Lord Ranganatha and Goddess Sri Ranganayaki Thayar appears. “Adi Brahmotsavam”, the major festival which lasts for 10 days of this month and culminates on the day of Panguni Uthiram.
The temple town which is situated on the ethereal island of Srirangam in Trichy, Tamil Nadu has many tales to tell. The historical accounts from the 14th to 17th centuries tell one particular tale about the sacrifice and unwavering devotion of the Sri Vaishnavas.
About 800 years ago, at the banks of the river Kollidam, a huge gathering of devotees lined up to seek the blessings of their lord, Lord Ranganatha. The stage was set; the atmosphere was brimming with devotion; Vedic chants and prayers echoed all the way into everyone’s hearts. Among the most revered Acharyas, priests and devotees was Jagath Acharyar Swami Pillai Lokacharya.
As the worship and proceedings were being carried out, a man came to the old Acharyar. He informed him that a large battalion of men with weapons was marching towards their land. The great Acharyar, after hearing this walked majestically towards the deity and prostrated before the lord. He asked the man to continue watching the movement of the invaders and assured him that the lord would take care of them.
Swamy Pillai Lokacharyar, Swamy Desikar, Swamy Sudarshana Suri and other Acharyas had a meeting and formulated a plan to safeguard the Lord and his people from the invaders led by Ulugh Khan, the army commander sent by Tuglak. They decided to secretly carry the Lordships to the temple without the regular Abhisheka. Their aim was to not confront the enemy but to ensure that their moola virat was not desecrated. Three groups were formed. The one headed by Swamy Pillai Lokachariya was to carry Lord Ranganatha and his concerts securely and proceed southward. Swamy Sudarshana Suri and team was to erect a stone wall in front of the main sanctorum to misguide the invaders and the third team was to provide cover for the first team.
To also protect their rich culture and holy knowledge from being oblivious to the next generation, they decided to pass on their manuscripts and texts to Swami Desika who was the youngest among the Acharyas. He was to go with the third party and save himself to protect and preserve Vaishnavism and the teachings of Jagatha Acharya Shri Ramanuja. Also, a work called Shrutaprakashika, which was made out of generations of learning’s from Acharyas and an elaborate commentary on Jagatha Acharyar Swamy Ramanuja’s Sri Bhasyam was also entrusted to him.
The plight of Srirangam after the invaders marched inside was devastating. The invaders left the place after shedding the blood of 12,000 Sri Vaishnavas. By then, the old Acharyar dutifully carried the Lord’s deity for days until he reached a village called Jyothishkudi.
Surrounded by the Annamalai mountains and covered with dense forests, the place seemed right to rest. The Acharyar realised that it was time for him to leave the mortal world. Such was his greatness that before he departed, the Acharyar touched all of the ants beside him, for the reason that they also could reach Vaikuntam along with him . (It is believed that any living being touched by the hands of a Sri Vaishnava is assured salvation.)
The disciples performed his last rites and continued their journey along with Lord Ranganatha towards the south. It took 48 years for the deity to be restored in the temple. By the time, Kambanna of Vijayanagara Kingdom restored the Lord to the Srirangam temple, the idol had criss-crossed the south, passing through Madurai, Ettayapuram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Melkote, Mysore, Satyamangalam forests and Tirumala, in a place now known as Ranga Mantapam.
Iyppasi sravana is celebrated during the month of October and November as a mark of respect for Acharyar Pillailokacharya’s sacrifice.
– by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14
Science channel affirms that Ram Setu was man- made not natural
In 2007 Congress Party submitted an affidavit in court saying Ram Setu is a myth
An American science channel on Tuesday affirmed on the existence of Ram Setu, saying that there exist evidence suggesting that the bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka was man-made not natural.
The Discovery Communications-produced show, “Ancient Land Bridge”, quotes American archaeologists to affirm that 30-mile line between India and Sri Lanka is made up of rocks that are 7,000 years old, older than the sandbar supporting them, which is approx 4,000 years old. The video claims that the structure is man made, not natural, citing images from a NASA satellite. Interestingly, the carbon dating of beaches near Dhanushkodi and Mannar Island sync with the date of Ramayana.
The description of Ram Setu in Ramayana
In ‘Yuddha Kanda’ of the Ramayana, building of Ram Setu has been described. Rama Setu took 5 days to build by under the supervision of architects Neel and Nala. It is believed that Ram Setu is made of a chain of limestone shoals. It is 30 Km Long and 3 Km Wide. It Starts from Dhanushkodi tip of India’s Pamban Island and ends at Sri Lanka’s Mannar Island. Sea in these areas is very shallow. In Ramayana it is mentioned that the bridge was built by stones and these stone which floated on water by touch of Nala & Neel.
Politics on Ram Setu
Ram Setu is the historical and archeological evidence of Ramayana. The new findings by NASA have already sparked a political debate in the country with BJP leaders questioning the Congress’ previous stand where the party had told the Supreme Court that there was no historical proof that Lord Rama had ever existed. Congress party made u-turn and claimed they never questioned existence of Lora Ram. But In 2005, the UPA-1 government had proposed a shipping canal project that would have dredged the area and damaged the formation on sea, referred to as the Ram Setu by Hindus. The project was thus challenged by the BJP in the apex court.
Responding on the new affirmations, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said, “This is what the BJP has been saying all along.” Firebrand BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said, “the US scientists said what was already know”. On Tuesday, Smriti Irani posted the trailer of the show on her Twitter account, saying, “Jai Shri Ram.”
Ram Setu is the national heritage of India and it must be preserved.
– by Shaurya Ritwik, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik
“Christians have formed a multinational conversion business, they have created giant corporations with international connections operating worldwide, with international funding. India is their prime target. Hindus should not be this naive, they must assert their rights and identity” – Dr. David Frawley
New Delhi – In an exclusive interview with NewsGram’s Sub-Editor Shaurya Ritwik, Padma Bhushan Dr. David Frawley talked about necessity of Yoga and Ayurveda for a healthy lifestyle, science of self realisation, essence of Hindu Dharma, Ram Mandir Ayodhya, marxist-missionary-jehadi nexus of breaking India forces and a lot more.
Dr. David Frawley, First of all I would like to thank you for all the literary contributions you made for Hinduism, for being so vocal about human rights of Hindus and for inspiring us in many ways.
Thank You very much, Shaurya.
Dr. Frawley, you have written many books on Ayurveda and Yoga. We are witnessing a growing inclination towards Yoga everywhere in world but somehow Ayurveda is still not widely accepted in medical use as compared to pharmaceutical medicines. How can Ayurveda be utilised in mainstream medical treatment and how much effective is it?
Well actually, I have seen the Ayurvedic situation improve over the last 34 years that I have known about it. As you know, the British closed the Ayurvedic schools in India, so it only became a private study. Then after independence the Ayurveda underwent modernisation and development in independent India, and that include developing basically BAMS Ayurveda which include a lot of modern medicine, which is helpful in some ways but also have eliminated traditional Ayurveda. It changed Ayurveda quite a bit, removing things like Yoga, spirituality from it, largely for social and political purposes. But in past few years Ayurveda in India is again bringing in more traditional elements, more pulse diagnosis, more connection with Yoga, that is happening slowly, but it still has a long way to go as BAMS syllabus is very restricted. At the same time we have seen the improvement in selling of Ayurvedic products, for example Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali, Dabur, Himalayan etc. These Indian companies are producing better quality of products and broader range of Ayurvedic medicines. But the education system tends to looks down on Ayurveda, and the people who study modern medicine often give negative view of Ayurveda. And then people today often want quick pills to solve their problems whereas Ayurveda emphasises natural healing which requires us to change our behaviour, which means we have to change our diet, our patterns of sleeping, improve our exercise. Our state of well being is the product of our behaviour. Ayurveda is gaining respect in other parts of world. In the west people are more concerned with rejuvenation, improving their health and the positive way of promoting longevity. In terms of treating chronic elements and improving lifestyle Ayurveda has a lot to offer. You must understand that your health is the product of how you live, you can take a pill once in a while but in a long term you should have a healthy lifestyle and Ayurveda teaches that.
Dr. Frawley, in today’s corporate setting life is very fast, people have no time to look beyond materialistic world. In such chaos how can we get connected to our roots and dharma? How to move ahead in spiritual path of self realisation?
This is again a problem all over the world as people don’t have time. People have lots of money but they don’t have time. We have to understand that our time does matter. Unfortunately, there is no solution to healthy and happy life other than quality time to improve your life. There is no pill you can take. Young people are taking pills before they turn 40, they are depressed, they are unhappy, they are disturbed. So we have to change the lifestyle and we have to put pressure on the businesses to give time to people to renew their productivity. when you are young you need to create a foundation of positive habits for the future. So, this is a challenge, there is no easy way out. There are yoga practices, pranayama which you must devote an hour everyday, not just for physical health but also for spiritual well being. You need to empty the mind, do some meditation, do some chanting, because otherwise we carry the stress, over and over from one day to another. This is a suicidal problem.
Dr. Frawley, you have been very vocal about missionary-marxist-jehadi nexus in India which no politician can ever say out of vote bank fear or political correctness. We want to know how severely we are affected by this toxic breaking India nexus, and how we should resist to these forces?
This was the problem I recently witnessed in Kerala, it was a major problem there. Infact when I was driving down the roads I saw posters for communist gatherings with pictures of Marx, Lenin and Stalin, perhaps only place on Earth where you see such pics nowadays. In Kerala we also found out that the missionaries are aligned with communists, which they never do in United States or other countries, they are poles apart otherwise. And also this Marxist-Jehadi alliance is strong in South India. So as Hindu forces are getting stronger, the opposition is now forced to unite. Just for example we saw in elections the anti-BJP parties all got together even though they were fighting among each other, have different ideologies. In Kerala this is a big problem, karnataka also has this problem, Tamil Nadu also, to some extent everywhere. The main thing is that Hindu society is to be united, they should be ready to protest and take a stand. You can’t always be nice and say we are all good, we are all the same. Well, the point is hindus accept all religions but the other religions are still trying to convert Hindus. If communal harmony depends upon letting hindus being converted and loose their religion, that’s not communal harmony. Its a continuation of colonialism and religious extremism. So unity in Hindu society is most important. And also voting. If you vote for these guys you can’t complain them being in power. India is a country where Muslims and Christians are encouraged to vote their religion but Hindus are not. In this world today power is with those who are in power so you have to have a political paradigm. It is a long battle because India has been under siege by missionaries, marxist, colonial and Islamist forces for many centuries. After independence the control of british army and administration was gone but the marxist influence continued, the missionaries actually grew more power and the congress party was promoting the christian and muslim vote banks, so even after the independence of India the siege against Hindus at a cultural level has not ended so that need to be challenged.
Dr. Frawley, when we see communists of China and Russia, they are at least nationalist. But in India communists are very much anti-national, anti-hindu. We generally find in India that Hindus are against Hindutva cause in name of secularism. Why is this amnesia among Hindus regarding our past?
Well, Russia is now a Christian country, Russians have thrown out communist history, China is communist in name only, Chinese have confucian schools all across country promoted by government, you don’t have vedic schools by government in India. And you are right, Indian left is anti national, even Congress party is anti national, someone like Kapil Sibal arguing the case against Ram Mandir shows they are anti-hindu too. These people are putting their own privilege above all. India has been run by a dynasty, and they want their power to retain. This needs to be exposed. Now the fact is that thousands of Hindu temples were destroyed and after independence we got only one back. How can a free India not have a temple for Lord Ram? Ram is your national image. It wasn’t just muslims, but Jawaharlal Nehru who stopped Ram Mandir Ayodhya. And even today, it is these leftist, marxist and Congress who are trying to stop Ram Mandir nirmaan in Ayodhya. Rahul Gandhi is visiting Somnath temple but it is just hypocrisy. You go to Kashi Vishwanath and you will see that the back part of temple is still a mosque, even in Krishna Janambhoomi. But again, Hindus must unite, you can’t just let go. Hindus need to recognise their political and social power.
Dr. Frawley, We generally see that Islamists and Christians use religion as a political force, they tend to recognise political power whereas most of the Hindus believe that religion and politics should not be mixed up. Hindus also believe that secularism and inherent inclusiveness of Hinduism makes it special. Some people argue that even after centuries of foreign rule we survived because of this soft nature but they forget that once Afghanistan, Indonesia, Myanmar etc were also Hindu. Do you believe this soft nature of Hindus make them easy target for civilisational jihad? Do you feel somehow Hindus are also responsible if they are letting their poor section of society being converted by missionaries?
Even Mongolia was traditionally buddhist, now its getting christianised. There was big Buddhist and Hindu influences in Central Asia. Hindus are tolerant and they allow muslims and christians to convert them. Hindus say all religions are same, Muslims don’t, Christians don’t so it is clearly a one way street. And Muslims and Christians are giving bad image of Hindus. They are constantly making an attempt to take you over. As you asked, of course Hindus are also responsible. Hindus have to challenge missionaries. And they have to be willing to pay for things, to take care of underprivileged section of their society, to help them overcome poverty. Hindus have to be stronger in their expression, their assertion, their identity. In few decades Christain-Islamic alliance will eliminate you, don’t be naive. Christians have formed a multinational conversion business, they have created giant corporations with international connections, with international funding. India is a main country in world which allow missionaries in, China does not. Islamic countries do not. Yet the missionaries are criticizing India and not China or Islamic countries because they have some levarage here. Like in Gujarat the bishop can ask christians to vote, that does’t occur in other countries. That’s a blatant interference in public affairs. These groups are surviving in India because Hindus are tolerant. Hindu society must introspect and resist such forces.
Dr. David Frawley, In India the education system has been long controlled by leftists, most of the history taught to us was distorted, for last 60 years leftist mindset was imposed in academics. When Narendra Modi became Prime Minister it was expected that some course correction will follow. But we can not see any drastic changes yet. The moment government tries to rectify previously committed blunders in academia, national and international media start screaming the song of intolerance. Government is also concerned about its secular image (pseudo-secular) worldwide and this is taken as a leverage by breaking India forces. Will it ever be possible for government to course correct hundreds of years of distortion?
Yeah, but that takes a little bit of time. And when this govt came in power, the previous Congress government bankrupted all the institutions. There was no money to run the country. There was corruption everywhere. So even keeping the country afloat was difficult. Then they have ruined all the international status, economically and politically. So naturally it takes time, which is going to take good 10 years at least. So its important that Hindus continue to apply pressure but the first thing is you have to stay in power. And secondly you have to workout things bit by bit, and many of these problems have various related complications. Make sure to increase the political power. For example when Yogi Adityanath took charge in Uttar Pradesh that radically changed the situation in U.P. So changes are going on, for example in Madhya Pradesh they are starting Adi Shankara Yatra. Also, Hindus have to educate their own children, you can’t wait for schools to tell your child what Hinduism is. For Christians and for Muslims religion is simplistic, believe in Jesus and Bible and you are a Christian, believe in Mohammad and Quran and you are Muslim, the Hindu tradition is one of Sadhana and practice, its about becoming a better person, so that requires more effort. We must understand that Hindu Dharma has a much broader view of life. Islam is growing by reproduction, not by thoughts. Christianity is declining in Europe and united States, churches have to import priests from India to give sermons.
People say India is the first home of Dr. David Frawley. You have been coming to India for so many years, writing about Hinduism, Ayurveda & Yoga and Indian culture & civilisation. What was your transition point towards Hinduism and how your love for India grew over time?
Well you see there was several transition points, not just one. As I grew up in late 60s, in my later teen, we already had Gurus from India, teachings were available of Paramhansa Yogananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Aurobindo, Raman Maharishi. I was fortunate enough to coming in contact with those teachings during formative stage of my thoughts. So they were part of my growing up. So the main background was Yoga Vedanta. In studying Shri. Aurobindo’s work I also came in contact with vedas and that gave me an interest in Indian history. While studying Rigveda I found a very advanced civilisation. I realised that ancient history of India has been distorted. And then when I came to India, I was surprised to see the anti Hindu sentiments. I saw Indians were not interested in Aurobindo and Vivekananda but they were interested in Karl Marx. In Rotary club of Mumbai, I criticised Marx and people were up an arms against me. I said Marx had a very small mind, you can put entire brain of Marx in one corner of Aurobindo or Vivekanand thoughts. The vedantic view, Karma, Moksha, self realisation made perfect sense to me. Other things seemed to be very superficial. And over time I gained the greater understanding, the broader feel of Sanatan Dharma.
– Padma Bhushan Dr. David Frawley interviewed by Shaurya Ritwik in New Delhi, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik
Have you ever considered visiting a temple while you are struggling in life? A temple visit is enough to give you strength, calm you down and help you to reconnect with divine. Go for a temple walk. Here is a list of 7 spectacular Hindu temples in Incredible India
Hindus have more sacred sites, festivals and pilgrimages, more yogis, monks and sadhus, an older and vaster literature than any religion – Dr. David Frawley
Temples in Hinduism holds a very important place. Hindu temples are popularly known as mandiram, devaalayam or devastanam, meaning the shrine, abode or place of Ishwar. Hindu temples are at once a collective work of art, the adobe of Ishwar, a symbol of the cosmos and a path leading the worshipper into contact with the God, from the temporal to the eternal. Hindu temples are valued and respected both as a means of enabling worship in the presence of God and as a way to uphold Indian culture and dharma. Here is a list of 7 spectacular Hindu Temples in Incredible India you will love visiting as many times as possible in your lifetime.
1. Somnath Temple, Gujarat
The Somnath is believed to be the first among the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. Somnath Temple has been looted, destroyed and resurrected 17 times. In AD 1026, Mahmud of Ghazni first looted the temple, and then came Afzal Khan, the commander of Ala-ud-din Khilji and later Aurangzeb. While the barbaric looters are sleeping in their grave, Somnath still stands as a pillar of Hinduism, as a sign of resistance. Somnath is the place where you can connect with history and your source. Best time to visit Somnath : Well, any time of the year.
2. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Meenakshi Temple is known for its beautiful architecture. It is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareswar, a form of Shiva. The temple was almost completely destroyed in the year 1310 following the invasion of the Islamic conqueror Malik kafur. Most of the Islamic rulers were noted for their intolerance towards Hindu temples, the invaders destroyed most of the ancient sculptures of the temple. The temple was rebuilt by the Hindu Nayaka dynasty ruler Vishwanatha Nayakar in the 16th and 17th century. According to the Tiruvilaiyatal Puranam, of the list of 68 pilgrimage places in Shaivism, four are most important: Kashi (Varanasi), Chidambaram, Tirukkalatti and Madurai. The sacrality of Madurai is from this temple.
3. Jagannath Temple, Puri, Orissa
Jagannath temple was built in the 12 th century by Raja Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva. It is one of the Char Dhams of Hinduism in Incredible India and is situated on the Nilgiri Hill. The temple is known for its annual Ratha Yatra, which attracts millions of Hindu devotees every year. It is said that the divine mahaprasad of the temple is prepared under the scrutiny of goddess Lakshmi. During Rath Yatra, idol of Jagannath along with Subhadra and Balabhadra are placed in huge chariots and brought out to the street. Thousands of people pull the sacred chariot. The main chariot is around 45 feet high. These rathas are constructed new every year. It has wood-carved horses and charioteers. Rath Yatra is held every year during the month of Asadha as per Hindu calendar.
4. Kailashnath Temple, Ellora, Maharashtra
The Kailasha Temple or Kailashnath Temple is one of the largest rock cut ancient Hindu temples. A megalith carved out of one single rock, it is considered one of the most remarkable cave temples in India because of its size, architecture and sculptural treatment. It is a prime example of extraordinary ancient Hindu architecture. Visiting this temple will definitely give you a ride to our glorious ancient past.
5. Konark Sun Temple, Orissa
Konark houses a colossal temple dedicated to the Sun God in Orissa attributed to king Narsimhadeva about 1250 CE. Even in its ruined state it is a magnificient temple reflecting the genius of the architects that envisioned and built it. The ruins of this temple were excavated in late 19th century. The Konark temple is famously known for its architectural grandeur and for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. A flight of steps lead to the main entrance. If you are in Orissa you can not miss one of the most spell binding temple in Incredible India, Konark sun Temple.
Kedarnath is among one of the holiest Hindu temples of Incredible India with Lord Shiva as its residing deity. The temple was built by Pandavas and revived by Adi Shankaracharya himself in the early 8th century. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India and the main temple of Panch Kedar. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritriya) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months. You must visit Kedarnath, one of the most important pilgrimage in hinduism to feel the beauty of nature and divinity.
7. Chennakeshava Temple, Belur, Karnataka
The Chennakeshava Temple, also referred to as Keshava, Kesava or Vijayanarayana Temple of Belur, the erstwhile capital of Hoysala kingdom is a 12th-century Hindu temple in the Hassan district of Karnataka state, Incredible India. This Hindu temple is another testament to the amazing artistry of ancient Incredible India. This place will give you sense of pride regarding what our ancestors left for us.
So, are you ready for a “Walk to Temple”? The wonderful Hindu temples Incredible India has can not be comprehended in a list, there are lakhs of them, visit them to connect with your roots, to get acquainted with Dharma which is eternal.
– by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik