Thursday December 14, 2017

Onam celebrations to begin on August 25

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onam-festival-in-mumbai

By NewsGram Staff Writer

The week-long Onam celebrations in Kerala, that will witness a cultural extravaganza, will begin on August 25, a minister said here on Thursday.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate the celebrations here on August 25.

“The celebrations will see the participation of 5,000 performing artistes and will be hosted at 29 venues. Though the government is facing an economic crunch, we are spending Rs.3 crore to put up an impressive show,” Kerala Tourism Minister A.P. Anilkumar said.

Onam, Kerala’s harvest festival, is on August 28.

Various venues in the capital city will come alive with music, dance, painting and martial arts programmes in the modern, traditional, folk and classical genres of Kerala for a week on account of Onam festivities.

A festive procession, jointly organized by the tourism department and Kerala Sports Council, will parade through the city on August 27 as a prelude to the Onam celebrations.

According to the legend, the state had its golden period during the reign of King Mahabali as everyone was a contended lot. Thus, King Mahabali’s annual visit to see his subjects is celebrated as Onam.

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8 Immortals In Hindu Religion You Would Like To Know About

There are 8 immortals in Hindu religion who are believed to remain alive through kali yoga. Until a person attains Moksha, their life cycle is incomplete and Samsara of life and death continues. There is no escape to this fate.

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Immortals in Hindu Religion
Source: Wikimedia Common

New Delhi, September 24, 2017: Hinduism is the oldest known religion in the world. The way of life and spirituality in Hinduism is followed by certain rules, called Hindu dharma. Widely practiced in South Asia, Hinduism dates back to 4000 BCE to 1500 BCE in context to pre-Vedic religions and Vedic period.

Hinduism observes a comprehensive range of philosophies, from where the Hindu text are themed into four Purusarthas, Dharma (duties), Artha (work/prosperity), Kama (desires), and Moksha (freedom/salvation). These are the important part of fulfilling and happy life that makes a complete cycle of living.

Until a person attains Moksha, their life cycle is incomplete, and Samsara of life and death continues. There is no escape to this fate, and it is believed in Hindu Dharma that 8 personalities are in the same infinity cycle of Samsara. The eight immortals or Astha Chiranjeevi as they are known stands the loop Chiram (Long) and Jivee (Lived).

The 8 immortals in Hindu religion who are believed to remain alive through kali yoga

Maha Rishi Markandeya

Immortals in Hindu Religion
Source: Wikimedia Common

One of the devotees of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, Rishi Markandeya comes from the Bhrigu, a clan of sages. The legend behind speaks of the great devotion of Markandeya towards Shiva to save himself from the god of death, Yama.

Rishi Mrikandu and his wife Marudmati worshipped Lord Shiva and requested from him the boon with a son. However, the boon came up to them two options, either their son will have a short lifespan or the son will have low intelligence. Mrikandu chose the first option and was blessed with Markandeya, who was destined to die at 16. The destiny cannot be escaped, and so the time came.

Markandeya knew about his fate, and on the day of his death, he started to worship Lord Shiva near the Shivalingam (the symbolic statue that represents Lord Shiva). The devotion and prayers were so powerful that the messenger of death God Yama was unable to take his life. Hearing this, Yama appeared himself to take away Markandeya’s life. He started to create a trap around the teenage sage, but mistakenly it grounded upon the Shivalingam. Furious Shiva emerged from the Shivalingam and a battle started between them on point of death. Yama couldn’t handle the rage of Shiva and thus resulted in losing it and sparing the life of Markandeya. Also, Shiva revived Yama to give the boy a boon of immortality.

This legend made Maha Rishi Markandeya be one of the 8 immortals in Hindu religion.

Asura King Mahabali

Immortals in Hindu Religion
Source: Wikimedia Common

The great-grandson of Hiranyakshipu, the grandson of Prahlada and son of Virochana, Mahabali.

The most beloved king in Kerela, Mahabali ruled his kingdom with prosperity and happiness. His success as a king led Gods to be cautious and bring him demise by Vamana, Vishnu avatar. Vamana asked Mahabali for 3 steps of land at the time of Ashwamedha Yoga, a Hindu rite that Bali performed to maintain dominance over three worlds. Bali agreed to it and granted Vamana the boon. Vishnu avatar Vamana covered the earth and the heaven with his two steps and asked Bali now that you don’t have anything left how will you fulfill my grant. Mahabali offered Vamana his head as a place his last step, which compelled Bali to go underworld.

Vamana got pleased with his devotions and blesses Bali to be the Indra during the period of Manu, known as Savarni. Bali’s devotion, dharma, and polite words mesmerized Lord Vishnu and he was granted with a boon of visiting the earth once a year. Onam festival in Kerala is celebrated to welcome Asur King Mahabali in this regards. He is also one of the 8 immortals in Hindu Religion.

Parashurama

Immortals in Hindu Religion
Source: Wikimedia Common

Born in Brahmin family, Parashurama was a warrior. Unlike other Brahmins, he was very temperamental and was also known to all as the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu. Parashurama, the Brahmin-Kshatriya has many personas of being Kshatriya like warfare, valor, and aggression.

He is a martial Shraman ascetic. However, it is believed that he still lives on earth and is one of the 8 immortals in Hindu religion. He is an avesha avatar, the one who takes spiritual possession on other with his special power.

Like other avatars of Lord Vishnu, Parshuram appears at the time when evil tries to prevail earth.

ALSO READ: Was Taj Mahal Once a Shiva Temple? The Debate over the Tomb Continues

Vibhishana

Immortals in Hindu Religion
Source: Wikimedia Common

Vibhishana, the younger brother of demon king of Lanka,‘Ravana’. He comes from a rakshasa family (demon family) but was a nobleman who advised Ravana to release Maa Sita, who was kidnapped. He insisted Ravana to return Sita to her husband, Lord Rama, but his advice was not entertained. Eventually, he left Lanka to join Rama’s army.

With his knowledge and support, Rama defeated Ravana and crowned Vibhishana as the King.

When Vibhishana became the king of Lanka, he ruled the country with peace and prosperity following the path of Dharma.

During the end of Rama avatar, Lord Vishnu directed Vibhishana to stay on earth and maintain and guide people to the path of dharma. Hence, he is counted to be one of the 8 immortals in Hindu religion.

Hanuman

Immortals in Hindu Religion
Source: Wikimedia Common

Pavanputra(Wind-God son) Hanuman was born to Anjana and Kesari.

According to ancient legends, Anjana and Kesari long devotions and prayers towards Shiva brought them to have Hanuman as their son. The story goes like while Anjana and Kesari were worshipping Shiva, the king Dasaratha of Ayodhya performing the ritual of Putrakama Yagna for the same reason.

On finishing the Yagna, Dasharatha received a sacred kheer to be shared by his three wives, Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. By the grace of God, a kite snatched a splinter of that kheer and it fell down while the kite was flying over the forest. Vayudev (Wind God) brought that splinter to Anjana, which she consumed and Hanuman was born as a result.

Hanuman is one of the major characters of Ramayana meets Lord Rama in the last year of latter’s 14 years exile. Hanuman helped Rama to defeat Lanka King Ravana, who kidnapped Rama’s wife Sita.

Hanuman is pictured as the devotee of Lord Rama and Maa Sita. The story follows during the last age of Rama, Hanuman was blessed with immortality.

Veda Vyasa

Immortals in Hindu Religion
Source: Wikimedia Common

Vyas, the author of legendary epic Mahabharata and the holy book Shrimad Bhagavatam is a great scholar and Hindu scriptwriter. He is among the 8 immortals in Hindu religion who is a prime example of knowledge and wisdom.

Many believe that Vyasa is Chiranjivins (immortals). A festival in India is dedicated to him, named Guru Purnima on account of his birthday.

Ashwatthama 

Immortals in Hindu Religion
Source: Wikimedia Common

Ashwatthama or Drauni, son of Guru Dronacharya, is a mighty Maharathi, who fought from the Kaurava side in the battle of Kurukshetra against Pandavas. He is among the eleven Rudras avatar and also one of the seven avatars of Chiranjivi.

Born as Chiranjivi, it is believed that he has a gem on his forehead which gives him the power to take control over all living beings except humans. It also protected him from thirst, hunger, and tiredness.

The tales say that during the Mahabharata war, on the night after the conquest of Duryodhana, Ashwatthama was terrified and twitchy. He made up a plan to attack Pandavas camp during the nightfall. With his desire, he affected a large part of Pandavas army by massacring them.

The next day when Lord Krishna and Arjuna came to know about it, they searched for Ashwathama. The fierce fight resumed again, with both Ashwatthama and arjuna drawing Brahmaastra at each other. Vyasa was aware of the power of it and asked them to revoke it.

Arjun learned the words of Vyasa and retract his Astra, while Ashwatthama diverted it towards the womb of Uttara, where the only lineage of Pandavas was living. Lord Krishna protected the baby from it but he cursed Aswastthama with 3000 years of sufferings.

He was asked to give away the gem on his forehead and he will be wandering around in the forest with puss and blood coming out of his body.

It is believed that he is one of the 8 immortals in Hindu religion and still there roving around with incurable diseases.

ALSO READ: Hollywood Celebrities Who Converted to Hinduism

Kripacharya

Immortals in Hindu Religion
Source: Wikimedia Common

Known as one of the most important characters in Indian epic Mahabharata, Kripacharya is the true embodiment of impartiality.  He is one among the immortals in Hindu religion and the boon was bestowed upon him by Lord Krishna. Kripacharya is placed even above Dronacharya in the list of Hindu immortals because of his virtues,

Kripacharya is placed even above Dronacharya in the conference of immortality because of his virtues, righteousness, and impartiality. It is because of his quality to remain calm in any stressful condition that he stands out from the rest of the immortals. As stated in Mahabharata, Kripacharya was also capable to manage 60,000 in

As stated in Mahabharata, Kripacharya was also capable to manage 60,000 in the battlefield.

– Prepared by Abhishek Biswas of NewsGram Twitter: @Writing_desire

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Chiranjeevis: 8 Immortals of Hindu Mythology

According to the Hindu mythology, there are a group of people who are blessed or cursed with an unusually long life and are known as the Ashta-Chiranjeevis

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Representational Image: Image source: www.jokingree.com
  • According to the Hindu mythology, there are a group of people who are blessed or cursed with an unusually long life
  • Known as the Ashta-Chiranjeevis, they are said to found in flesh and blood, living to see the end of the Kali Yuga
  • Chiranjeevis are not immortals but rather live till the end of this Kalpa

The desire to live forever in this world has always attracted Man. They have looked for answers in every domain to quench their thirst for immortality. In an attempt to cheat death, they have conducted various experiments, but all have ended in failure. Does that mean that there are no immortal beings that are walking this planet for thousands of years?

Representational Image. Image Source: jokingree.com
Representational Image. Image Source: jokingree.com

According to the Hindu mythology, there are a group of people who are blessed or cursed with an unusually long life. Known as the Ashta-Chiranjeevis, they are said to found in flesh and blood, living to see the end of the Kali Yuga. The word ‘chiranjeevi’ is derived from ‘chiran’ which means long and ‘jeevi’ which means lived. Chiranjeevis are not immortals but rather live till the end of this Kalpa. One Kalpa corresponds to 4.32 billion years and the Kali Yuga is said to be a period of 432,000 years, mentioned the boldsky.com Website.

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The 8 immortals (Chiranjeevis) of Hindu Mythology  are:

  •  Ashwathama
  • King Mahabali
  • Vyasa
  • Hanuman
  • Vibhishana
  • Kripacharya
  • Markandeya
  • Parashurama

 

Ashwathama:

Ashwathama. Image source: boldsky.com
Ashwathama. Image source: boldsky.com

Ashwatthama, the son of the great teacher Drona as well as a great friend of Duryodhana who committed three unpardonable sins in Dwapara Yuga. He was one of the warriors who killed Abhimanyu unlawfully, who was only a child; killed the five Upapandavas and Draupadi’s sons after the war was over in their sleep. Therefore, out of fury, Lord Krishna cursed him with immortality. Ashwathama was born with the gem in his forehead that guaranteed protection from disease, weapons and snakebites but Krishna cursed him saying that his wounds would never heal and he will wander in the world and suffer from miseries. This makes him as one of the 8 immortals “Chiranjeevis” in Hindu Mythology.

Also Read: Is Ashwatthama Still Alive?

King Mahabali

Onam. Image source: NewsGram
Onam. Image source: NewsGram

The righteous Asura king, Mahabali gained so much glory that he even made the king of gods feel intimidated. Fearing that the Yagnas conducted by him would grant him powers that would equal that of Indra, he approached Lord Vishnu for help. Disguised as a Brahmin-dwarf, tricked Mahabali and banished him to the underworld. But Mahabali remained humble and stayed righteous to the very end of the trial. Pleased with him, Lord Vishnu blessed him with immortality and let him return to the earth once every year to visit his people. The festival Onam is celebrated in Kerala to mark this occasion. This makes him as one of the 8 immortals “Chiranjeevis” in Hindu Mythology.

 

Sage Vyasa

Vedavyasa and Madhvacharya. Image source: shivallibrahmins.com
Ved Vyasa and Madhvacharya. Image source: shivallibrahmins.com

Ved Vyasa, the author of the epic Mahabharata and the Puranas was blessed with immortality by Lord Ganesha and Maha Vishnu. It is said that he resides wherever the faithful and true exist.

Hanuman

Lord Hanuman. Image source: hanumanji.wordpress.com
Lord Hanuman. Image source: hanumanji.wordpress.com

Vayuputhr or the son of the wind, Hanuman is the dispeller of evil. He is believed to be the symbol of devotion, innocence, strength and knowledge. Instead of going for Moksha, Hanuman decided to stay on earth, wherever Rama’s name was spoken; such was his devotion. He is mentioned in Mahabharata that is believed to have taken place in Dwapara Yuga.

Vibhishana

Vibhishana. Image source: www.hindufaqs.com
Vibhishana. Image source: www.hindufaqs.com

The younger brother of Demon-King Ravanan, Vibhishan, fought on the side of dharma in Ramayana. He was blessed as a Chiranjeevi to upheld righteousness in Lanka and to lead people on the path of Dharma.

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Kripacharya

Kripacharya. Image source: www.mumbairock.com
Kripacharya. Image source: www.mumbairock.com

Kripacharya was the Kul Guru of the Kurus. It is said that his impartiality towards all of his students is the reason for his immortality. He is often revered as the ideal Guru.

Rishi Markandeya

Rishi Markandeya. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

Son of the great Sage Mrgandu, Markendeya was blessed with wisdom and godly talents. But when the stipulated period was over, Lord Yama, the God of death came to take his life away, he prayed to Lord Shiva. Pleased with his devotion, the Lord granted him the boon of immortality.

Parashurama

Parashurama. Image source: dervishnotes.blogspot.com
Parashurama. Image source: dervishnotes.blogspot.com

Parashurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu was born to rid the earth of immoral kings and rulers. He received an axe from Lord Shiva after rigorous penance, learned the art of warfare from him making him the first warrior-saint. It is said that he would appear at the end of Kali Yug to be the Guru of Vishnu’s last avatar, Kalki.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram

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Indian priest and nun in Aden attack still missing, Sushma Swaraj assures aid

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Sushma Swaraj
Image source: www.newsmobile.in

Thiruvananthapuram: Following Friday’s attack on a care home for the elderly in Yemen’s Aden, the missing Catholic priest from Kerala taken away by unidentified gunmen has not been traced till now. However, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has assured all help.

An Indian nun was among the four nuns killed in the attack on the home run by the Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.

Speaking to reporters, Chandy said that he just now spoke to Sushma Swaraj and it was she who told that a nun, who belongs to Chhattisgarh, has also gone missing from the care home in Aden.

“I spoke to her about the reports of a missing Kerala priest and sought help to locate him. She said the Indian embassy has now been closed down and also expressed doubts about the efficacy of the government there, but she has assured that the centre will do its best,” he said.

Earlier, an aide of Chandy, who is keeping in touch with Keralites in Yemen, told reporters that the mother superior of the home, Sister Sally, had a narrow escape when the gunmen opened fire at the care home.

“The priest Tom Kuzhuvennal, who hails from Kottayam district, has been taken away by these unidentified gunmen who opened fire while Sally was moved to a safe place in the convent by the local people there after hearing the gunshots,” said the official.

“We are in close touch with our people in Yemen who are closely following the developments there,” added the official.

In the gunfire, four nuns of the Missionaries of Charity, including one from India, were killed. The Indian nun has been identified as Sister M Anseleme, 57, from Jharkhand. Of the other three nuns, two were from Rwanda and another from Kenya.

The home, set up by Mother Teresa in 1992, houses 61 elderly destitute and the Kerala priest had come to the home from an insecure place in Yemen.

News reports indicate that these unidentified gunmen belonged to the Yemen-based affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) group. (IANS)