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Ashtottaram 57) OṀ PĀPAVINĀŚABHŨMYAI NAMAH:
Ashtottaram 57) OṀ (AUM)-PAA-PA-VI-NAA-ŚA-BHOO-MYAI—NA-MA-HA
ॐ पापविनाशभूम्यै नमः
(Pāpam: Bad fortune, kārmic bad credit; Vināśa: Destruction, absorption without return)
Pāpam means any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.
Belief in a Supernatural Being or Power-generally called God is ingrained in the human psyche. The words of scripture and/or of the men of God, are considered as sacrosanct and hence, inviolable. Not following them or going against them has always been regarded as pāpam (a sin) resulting in grave consequences. The Hindu scriptures have designated such sins by various names pāpa, pāpman, vrujina, durita, and so on…The concept of pāpam is as old as Ṛigveda wherein prayers have been offered to deities like Āditya, Mitra, and Varuṇa for redemption.
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The question as to what causes sin and how it is committed has been discussed in the dharma śhāstrās. Some of the earliest like those of Gautama and Yājnavalkya and the Gīta declares that kāma (lust), krodha (anger), and lobha (greed) are responsible for a person perpetrating evil deeds, thereby accumulating sins. In the course of time, the list has grown to include many more like himsa (violence), speaking untruth, neglect of prescribed duties, committing deeds declared as evil by the shāstrās.
But the dharma śhāstrās offer remedies to the consequences of these sins. They are pāpanivedana (confession), paśchāttāpa (repentance), prāṇāyāma (restraint of breath), tapas (austerity), home (sacrifice into a duly consecrated fire), Japa (repetition of Vedic passages or prayers), dāna (giving gifts), upavāsa (fasting), and tīrṭhayātra (pilgrimage).
We are not told repeatedly that we are 'sinners' and God's son was crucified and died for our sins. We are not cursed with eternal damnation. On the contrary, we are taught the opposite. In Hinduism, people worship gods and goddesses at their homes on a daily basis to get rid of their sins and perform expiatory rituals.
Ultimately, it can be safely declared that the following disciplines are the best means of overcoming or attenuating the evil effects of sin on one's life: repentance, resolving not to repeat the sinful deeds, repetition of God's name, earnest prayer, and the company of holy persons. For the pāpa vināśanam, our ancient sages have prescribed various means and because of that, we have temples, puṇya tīrṭhās, and so on.
The famous place in South India is Tirumala Sri Venkateswara swami temple and nearby waterfalls known as pāpanāśanam. On a daily basis, thousands and thousands of devotees attend these places. During auspicious days and festivals, the number of attendees is in the millions. During Kumbhameḷa, over 40 million people take bath in the holy river on a given day.
Our land does not condemn sinners and offers expiatory rituals to amend a wrong either of commission or omission and is 'Pāpavināśa Bhūmi'.
The city of Delhi has seen it all; from sultanate rule, to dynasties, and to colonial rule. From monarchy to democracy, Delhi has gone through its phases. But, in order to know and explore the nuances of Delhi, you must read these beautiful books.
1. City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple
This book was written while Dalrymple was still flirting with his love for the Medieval India. The author writes, "Moreover the city- so I soon discovered- possessed a bottomless seam of stories: tales receding far beyond history, deep into the cavernous chambers of myth and legend," and just like this, Dalrymple takes you in a tour to discover Discover Delhi.
2. Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller by Raza Rumi
This book explores how the author explores his identity as a South Asian Muslim and how his city of Lahore is a mirror image of Delhi. Rumi, in this book, tries to co-relate the past with the present by comparing its festivals, streets, and markets.
3. Delirious Delhi: Inside India's Incredible Capital by DavePrager
This book is quite interesting. The story of this book revolves around the lives of Dave and Jenny who have recently moved to Delhi when their firm began to go down. The city of Delhi in this book is shown through their eyes as they try to make their way in the city that holds together a very large population.
4. The Heart has its Reasons by Krishna Sobti, Translated by Reema Anand, Meenakshi Swami
The original title of this book is "Dil - o - Danish". This book tells the reader about the streets of Old Delhi and almost transport the reader back in the past. This book is basically set in the 1920's, and tells the tale of a man's extramarital affair, his children out of wedlock, black magic, and Chandni Chowk's rich culture of sweets and the perils of being a widow. Interestingly, many have compared the author of this book to Jane Austen.
5. Delhi: A Novel by Khushwant Singh
Who would talk about Delhi and not remember Khushwant Singh? This amazing book is just like a narrative of the author's fulfilled love affair with the city and with a eunuch. The narrator in this book is an aging man who is trying to discover the city. This book is truly a masterpiece, where it takes the readers on the history of Delhi glimpsing at what makes the city what it is– simply beautiful.
There are some of the Indian cities which are older than time. Therefore, we must know which cities are they, and what has been their history!
1. Varanasi (1200 BC–)
Varanasi is one of the oldest cities of India, and has been a center of religious and cultural activity since the Bronze Age. In fact, this city might have been in existence from a very long time, since it finds mention in the Rig Veda. It is believed that the city of Varanasi was thriving for more than 1600 years before the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe. This city is one of the holiest places for Hindus and Jains, and even Lord Buddha gave his very first sermon here in 528 BC. In Hinduism, it is believed that dying in Varanasi brings salvation, which is the reason why the city is always brimming with pilgrims.
2. Ujjain (700/600 BC–)
Ujjain was once considered as one of the most prominent cities in the Middle India. In fact, the name of this city is repeatedly mentioned in the literature of that period, i.e. in the works of stalwarts like Kālidāsa. This city has seen the rise and fall of numerous empires, from the Mauryas to the Avantis, Nandas, and even the Guptas. This city, just like Varanasi, is also considered as one of the holiest cities in India, and hosts one of the officially recognized Kumbh melas, the Ujjain Simhastha Kumbh, in which people across the world take place.
3. Madurai (500 BC–)
Madurai been a major center of culture and trade for more than 2500 years. In fact, the name of this city has been mentioned in the writings of the great traveler, Megasthenes, and has been ruled by several empires from the Pandyas and the Cholas to the Karnata, and finally the British. Interestingly, ‘'Koodal,' was one of its ancient name which means 'a congregation of learned men'. There is no doubt that Madurai was an epicenter of scholars and religious teachers in the southern part of India.
4. Thanjavur (300 BC–)
Thanjavur was formerly known as Tanjore. This city is pretty famous for its Tanjore style of painting, which is a traditional style that is characterised by the use of gold foil, religious imagery, and simple compositions. This city is best known for being the home of the Great Living Chola Temples, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Till date, people across the world visit this place in order to experience its rich history and heritage.
By- Digital Hub
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Human hair wigs on display at a store Image source: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
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