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By Nithin Sridhar
One of the most important festivals celebrated by the Hindus is the festival of Guru Poornima in the honor of innumerable Gurus who have guided the mankind throughout the history. It is celebrated on the full moon night of Ashada month, which falls on 31 July this year.
This day is also called “Vyasa Poornima” and is started with the worship of Veda Vyasa. This is because Vyasa, who is considered the teacher who guides mankind in Kali-yuga, was born on this day.
The first part of this Guru Poornima series will cover Veda Vyasa.
The Life details of Veda Vyasa
The term “Veda Vyasa” means “arranger/distributer of Vedas” i.e. a person who divides the Vedas. According to Vishnu Purana (3.3), in every Dwapara-yuga, Lord Vishnu himself will appear as Veda-Vyasa and will divide the Vedas into various portions. It further says that, in the current Manvantara, there have been 28 Veda-Vyasas. Therefore, the 28th Vyasa is the Vyasa of our Mahayuga, and his name is Krishna Dwaipayana.
Krishna Dwaipayana was called so because he was of black complexion (Krishna), and he was born on an island (Dwipa). His father was Parashara Maharishi, who was famous for his books on Jyotishya (Brihad Parashara Hora) and dharma (Parashara Smriti). His mother was Satyavati, a fisher-woman. Krishna Dwaipayana was the grandson of Shakti Maharishi and great grandson of Vashishta Maharishi. According to Bhagavata Puranam (1.3.21), Krishna Dwaipayana was the 17th incarnation of Lord Vishnu in this Mahayuga.
Vyasa was supposed to have been born in Treta-yuga and lived through Dwapara Yuga and at least till the early part of Kaliyuga as written in the accounts of his meeting with Adi Shankaracharya in Shankara Digvigya. Therefore, he is considered an Immortal or at least as a Chiranjeevi (long living) in Hindu tradition.
Legacy of Veda Vyasa
As recorded in Vishnu Purana, the main purpose for which Vyasa took birth was to arrange and transmit the Vedas. According to Bhagavata Purana (1.4.17-22), Vyasa realized that most people in Kaliyuga will be incapable of learning Vedas in its vast wholeness, and hence he arranged the Vedas into four portions.
He imparted Rigveda to Paila Rishi, Yajurveda to Vaishampayana, Samaveda to Jaimini, and Atharvaveda to Angirasa. Vyasa further taught Puranas and Itihasas (historical records) to Romaharshana. Therefore, whatever portions of Vedas we have with us today, whatever that has survived the onslaught of Kali-yuga, it is only due to the efforts of Veda Vyasa.
But, Vyasa did not stop with arranging Vedas. He realized that in Kaliyuga, most people won’t be able to even understand the divided Vedas because of the corruption and deterioration of this age. He realized that the only way that he can help mankind is by writing History and Puranas wherein the truths of Vedas would also be embedded in a simple language. Therefore, he composed Mahabharata and eighteen major Puranas including the famous Bhagavata Purana.
Through Mahabharata and Puranas, Vyasa has made the historical truths as well as the teachings of Vedas available to common people, even the illiterate ones. There are innumerable stories, histories and anecdotes that serve as life-teachings. It further provide details about various solutions to problems, various procedures for worship that will help one and all. Puranas also serve as documents of Bhakti and help those who wish to practice Bhakti. Vyasa further composed Brahma-sutras, where-in he explained the gist of the Upanishads for the sake of those people who desire Moksha.
Hence, Veda Vyasa has single-handedly managed to save, revive and propagate Sanatana Dharma. Therefore on the occasion of Guru-poornima, every person must remember and express his gratitude owards this great Rishi.
NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.
The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.
Commander Vivek Madhwal, the Indian navy spokesman, said four ships will take part.
The ships will also participate in a multilateral exercise, MALABAR-21, along with the Japanese, Australian and U.S. navies, the statement said.
It said the exercises will enhance coordination with friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and a commitment to freedom of navigation.
"Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations," the statement said.
The U.S., India, Japan and Australia are part of the Quad regional alliance created in response to China's growing economic and military strength. Washington has long viewed New Delhi as a key partner in efforts to blunt increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
India is also in a continuing standoff with China over their disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region. The countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control.
Last year, 20 Indian troops died in a clash with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists in a portion of the disputed border. China said it lost four soldiers.(VOA/HP)
The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).
The UK government also announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, the US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watch list to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government's green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.
Besides India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved.
The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country's epidemiological picture changes, a statement by the UK government said.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we've made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
In order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities, which have gone up, the cost will increase from August 12. Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay and rates remain the same for children up to 12.(IANS/HP)
A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.
According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.
Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.
Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.
The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".
But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.
A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.
In response, one Twitter user said: "Ganesh Temple, village Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab has been ravaged. Another day, another attack on Hindus in Pakistan."
Another said: "Yesterday, the mob ran amok at Temple over minor boy issue who allegedly urinated, the boy said to be mentally handicapped. Hindu community made an apology for the boy — a case registered against the nine-year-old boy. Those vandalized temples, no FIR registered against them."
District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.
A small town close to the River Indus and Sindh-Punjab border, Bhong houses a number of gold traders who originally hail from Ghotki and Dehrki (Sindh), according to the Dawn news report.
A ruling PTI member representing the minority said he had been in touch with the local Hindu community and influential Rais family of Bhong since the issue surfaced.