Sunday October 22, 2017

Is Ashwatthama Still Alive? These facts Will Take You By Surprise

Does Ashwatthama exist or not?

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Ashwatthama , Hinduism
Is Ashwatthama still alive? Wikimedia
  • Ashwatthama was  Guru Drona’s son
  • Lord Krishna was furious at Ashwatthama as he killed Pandava’s sons
  • Krishna cursed him with horrible kind of leprosy that would haunt him for as long as 3,000 years

August 13, 2017: In Hindu mythology, Ashwatthama was a warrior and we all have grown up listening to the mythological tales. One wonders if he is alive, not as a result of being immortal but rather as curse given to him by Lord Krishna.

Ashwatthama, also known as Drauni was the son of Guru Drona; he is the avatar of one of the eleven Rudras and also is one amongst the seven Chiranjivi. His grandfather was the Brahmin sage Bharadwaja. After Arjuna and Karna, Ashwatthama (on behalf of the Kauravas) was the one who killed most number of warriors in the Kurukshetra war.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna was furious at Ashwatthama as he killed Pandava’s sons. Krishna cursed him, for killing Pandava’s sons with an unending life of pain and suffering. It is believed that Krishna cursed him with horrible kind of leprosy that would haunt him for as long as 3,000 years. Krishna also warned everybody that Ashwatthama would not be helped by anyone or even provided with food or shelter. His body was thus covered in ghastly wounds which wouldn’t heal due to the curse. It was so worse that blood and pus came out of his wounds constantly.

Why was this curse given to him? Mythology has the answers. As per Mahabharata, Ashwatthama was adored by his father. False rumors spread about his son’s death in the Kurukshetra war led to his father dying at the hands of Prince Dhrishtadyumna. Ashwatthama was brimmed with revenge, he got permission from the dying Duryodhana to be brutal in killing Dhrishtadhyumna after the war had ended. As he promised Duryodhana at the end of the war that he would kill Pandavas. So, he attacked their camp at odd hours, in the middle of the night, but by error ended up killing  5 Pandavas sons of Draupadi. The Pandavas were full of rage by this act that they chased him, which ultimately resulted in his fight with Arjuna.

When the fight was going on, Ashwatthama invoked the ‘Brahmastra’ against Arjuna and Arjuna in response to that invoked the ‘Pashupatastra’. The Sages feared that it will lead to the destruction of the world and thus advised both of them to take back their weapons immediately. While Arjuna could do as advised by the sages, Ashwathama could not and was given the option to choose any single target to destroy.

Out of ill will, he directed the weapon straight to Uttara’s womb, she was  Arjuna’s daughter-in-law. Uttara was carrying the son of Abhimanyu- the unborn Parikshit, who upon birth was going to be the future heir of the Pandava brothers. The Brahmastra weapon was proved to be successful in completely burning the fetus, but Krishna somehow was able to save the stillborn child and then he cursed Ashwatthama with leprosy and also that he will wander the world helpless for 3,000 years.

ALSO READ: Here’s Why the “When” of Mahabharata Question remains Irrelevant: The Underlying Narrative of the Epic is able to withstand Time!

As per a different version of this tale, it is believed that he was cursed that until the end of the Kaliyuga he has to remain alive. Some people believe that Ashwatthama migrated to  Arabian Peninsula. It means that he should be still alive still and there has been proof of it (even though vague) that he is indeed alive.

There is a doctor in Madhya Pradesh who claimed that he had patient with a tough wound- a septic forehead. Even after applying a fail-proof medical solution many times, the wound did not go and it kept bleeding. Shocked to see this, the doctor said that according to him, the wound seems ageless and can’t be cured. He added, “I wonder are you Ashwathama”, and laughed after it. When he turned to him to apply the next dose, the patient just vanished. The story was claimed to be true and thus it’s said that maybe he is alive.

There is a Yogi called Pilot Baba who claims that he had met Ashwatthama (he was living with tribes at foothills of Himalaya). It is believed that each morning Ashwatthama offers flowers to a Shivling. Apart from this, according to locals, a very tall man with a noticeable dent on his forehead and on the middle of his forehead visits a restaurant owner once every year, somewhere in the foothills of the Himalayas. Once a year, he goes and eats all the food prepared by the owner and drinks a minimum of 100 liters of water. These claims have been made by locals who see the man every year.

The villagers on the other hand claim that the man after quenching his thirst and anger then quietly disappears into the forest only to appear the next year. It is said that in the Dwayapar Yuga the average height of a man used to be anywhere between 12-14 foot and a man of this stature cannot be from this era. Also, the people at that time had massive appetites and could live on food they ate once a year for the whole of next year. However, even with all these stories, Ashwatthama sightings are very rare since he has the power to choose to be visible or remain invisible.

– by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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Hinduism is Not an Official or Preferred Religion in Any Country of The World, Says a New Report

Though Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world, it is not the official state religion of any country according to a Pew Research Center Report

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Hinduism
Hinduism is not an official religion of any country in the world. Instagram.
  • No country has declared Hinduism as its official state religion – despite India being an influential Hindu political party
  • Hinduism is not an official or preferred religion in any country of the world, according to a Pew Research Center report.
  • 53% of 199 nations considered in the study don’t have an official religion
  • 80 countries are assigned either an “official religion” or “preferred religion”

Nevada, USA, October 16: Hinduism is the primeval and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion followers of moksh (liberation) being its utmost desire of life. India is among the category of nations where the government do not have an official or preferred religion.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank headquartered in Washington DC that aims to inform the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

The report states that a country’s official religion is regarded as a legacy of its past and present privileges granted by the state. And a few other countries fall on the other side of the gamut, and propagate their religion as the ‘official religion’, making it a compulsion for all citizens.

It adds up on the context of allocation that more than eight-in-ten countries (86%) provide financial support or resources for religious education programs and religious schools that tend to benefit the official religion.

Hinduism
Islam is the most practiced official religion of the world. Instagram.

Commenting on Hinduism, the report states:

In 2015, Nepal came close to enshrining Hinduism, but got rejected of a constitutional amendment due to a conflict between pro-Hindu protesters and state police.

Although India has no official or preferred religion as mentioned in the Constitution,it was found by PEW that in India the intensity of government constraints and social antagonism involving religion was at a peak. “Nigeria, India, Russia, Pakistan and Egypt had the highest levels of social hostilities involving religion among the 25 most populous countries in 2015. All fell into the “very high” hostilities category,” the report added.

As per the 2011 census, it was found that 79.8% of the Indian population idealizes Hinduism and 14.2% practices to Islam, while the rest 6% pursuit other religions.

While Hinduism stands up with the majority, Article 25 of the Constitution of India contributes secularism allowing for religious freedom and allows every Indian to practice his/her religion, without any intervention by the community or the government.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, applauded the Hindu community for their benefaction to the society and advised Hindus to concentrate on inner purity, attract spirituality towards youth and children, stay far from the greed, and always keep God in the life.

According to Pew, these are “places where government officials seek to control worship practices, public expressions of religion and political activity by religious groups”.

-by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram.  She can be reached @tweet_bhavana

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Paintings Which Beautifully Depict Scenes From Ramayana

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Ramayana
Ram lifting the bow during Sita Swayambar. Wikimedia Commons.

Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic which describes the narrative of Ayodhya Prince lord Rama’s struggles. The struggles include- exile of 14 years, abduction of his wife Sita, reaching Lanka, destruction of the evil. It is strongly ingrained in the Indian culture, especially, the Hindu culture since a long time. Hindus celebrate Diwali based on the narratives of Ramayana.

The story of Ramayana gives out the beautiful message that humanity and service to the mankind is way more important than kingdom and wealth. Below are five paintings describing the scenes from Ramayana:

1. Agni Pariksha in Ramayana

Ramayana
Agni Pariksha. Wikimedia.

When Lord Rama questions Sita’s chastity, she undergoes Agni Pariksha, wherein, she enters a burning pyre, declaring that if she has been faithful to her husband then the fire would harm her. She gets through the test without any injuries or pain. The fire God, Agni, was the proof of her purity. Lord Rama accepts Sita and they return to Ayodhya. 

2. Scene From The Panchavati Forest

Ramayana
scene from the panchavati forest. wikimedia.

The picture describes a scene from the Panchavati forest. It is believed that Lord Rama built his forest by residing in the woods of Panchavati, near the sources of the river Godavari, a few miles from the modern city of Mumbai. He lived in peace with his wife and brother in the forest.

3. Hanuman Visits Sita

Ramayana
Hanuman meets Sita. Wikimedia.

Hanuman reaches Lanka in search of Sita. At first, he was unable to find Sita. He later saw a woman sitting in Ashok Vatika, drowned in her sorrows, looked extremely pale. He recognized her. After seeing the evil king, Ravana making her regular visit to Sita, he hid somewhere in the Vatika. After Ravana left, Hanuman proved Sita that he is Rama’s messenger by showing her his ring. He assured her that Rama would soon come to rescue her. Before leaving Lanka, he heckled Ravana. Agitated by Hanuman’s actions, Ravana ordered to set Hanuman’s tail on fire. With the burning tail, Hanuman set the entire city on fire.

 

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Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Hinduism- the oldest religion in the world is based on certain established beliefs. Read more to find out what these beliefs are.

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justice and Injustice factor of Hinduism
Hinduism of Hindus when compared between justice and injustice

Hinduism being the world’s oldest religion does not have any proper beginning story like the other monotheistic religions like Christianity and Islam do. It has no human founder. Therefore it leads us to the question that if there was no human who started Hinduism then how did its teaching come to being. Well, there is no definitive way to answer this question. What we can answer though are the nine beliefs of Hinduism. Hinduism is a religion which believes that if a person realizes the Truth within himself then only he can reach a point where the consciousness of man and god are one.

Our beliefs determine our thought process and attitude toward life which lead us to our actions. It is said that we create our destiny from our actions. Beliefs regarding matters such as God, soul, and cosmos often shape our perceptions towards life. Hindus believe in a variety of concepts but there are few critical ones which shape the basic belief of Hinduism. The following are the nine beliefs which not exactly very comprehensive but they form the base of the spirituality of Hinduism.

Are you familiar with the various gods and goddesses of Hinduism? Pixabay

All Pervasive Divine Power

  • Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.

Rig Veda – Wikipedia Commons

Divinity of the Sacred Scriptures

  • Hindus believe in the divinity of the four Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion.

Hinduism – Pixabay

Creation Cycle

  • Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation, and dissolution.

Hindu Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi, Wikimedia

Belief in Karma

  • Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words, and deeds.

Reincarnation and Liberation

  • Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny.

penance
Belur, Chennakeshava Temple, Gajasurasamhara, Shiva slaying the demon Gajasura. Wikimedia

Worship in Temples

  • Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.

Hindu dharma
Hindu Sadhguru –  Pixabay

Belief in a Enlightened Satguru

  • Hindus believe that an enlightened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation, and surrender in God.

Hinduism, Hindu temple, Krishna idol
Krishna idol. Pixabay

Propagation of Non-Violence and Compassion towards living things

  • Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered and therefore practice ahimsa, non-injury, in thought, word and deed.

The symbol has been adopted by various religions and cultures across the world.
The swastika is a Hindu symbol of spiritual principles and values. Wikimedia Commons.

Respect and Tolerance for other faiths

  • Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine paths are facets of God’s Light, deserving tolerance, and understanding.

Prepared by Saloni Hindocha (@siatipton)

One response to “Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know”

  1. Please use proper words for our culture. There are no ‘beliefs’ in Hinduism. There are only ‘hypotheses’ of Hinduism. Belief is something a person is required to adhere to, even in the face of disproving evidence. It demands a suspension of rational thought which goes against the basic nature of Hinduism. Please do not explain Hinduism using the same terminology used by Abrahamic religions. Or more appropriately, call Hinduism and other non-Abrahamic religions as ‘dharma’ to distinguish their inherent nature. Even religious Shinto-Buddhist Japanese say they have no religion when asked. Also, I do not know how you came up with these nine basic so-called ‘beliefs’. I am a Hindu and have never heard of some of them. Please call them ‘some’ of the hypotheses of Hinduism that ‘some’ Hindus agree with. Disagree with ‘tolerance for other faiths’, respect for other dharma – yes, tolerance – not applicable. This word ‘tolerance’ is required by Abrahamic religions which are intrinsically supremacist. Hence they need tolerance to be able to live in a diverse civil society without the tendency to occasionally commit violence for their religion. A dharma like Hinduism has nothing to ‘tolerate’. A Hindu/Jain/Buddhist/Shinto/Taoist/etc. does not care about the religious ‘labels’ and will easily exchange gods/practices/hypotheses with each other if they make sense or are harmless but satisfy some need. Of course, things that are bad deserve criticism and no tolerance (except for basic human respect). How can anyone attempt to define a culture that has always been and will always be in flux as human knowledge increases? It’s time we restored our so-called ‘religion’ to what it always has been i.e. ancient science.

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