Tuesday December 12, 2017

Guru Poornima Special- Part 1- Veda Vyasa- The man who saved the Vedas

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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.

 

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Are We Hindus If We Live in India? The Answer to Contentious Question is Here

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Hinduism. Pixabay

Oct 06, 2017: Have you ever wondered what being a Hindu means? Or who is actually fit to be called a Hindu? Over centuries, Hindus and Indians alike have asked this question to themselves or their elders at least once in their lifetime.

In the 1995 ruling of the case, “Bramchari Sidheswar Shai and others Versus State of West Bengal” the court identified seven defining characteristics of Hinduism but people are still confused to what exactly defines being a Hindu in the 21st century. It’s staggering how uninformed individuals can be about their own religion; according to a speech by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya there are various common notions we carry about who a Hindu is:

  • Anyone born in India is automatically a Hindu
  • If your parents are Hindu, you’re are also inevitably a Hindu
  • If you believe in reincarnation, you’re a Hindu
  • If you follow any religion practiced in India, you’re a Hindu
  • And lastly, if you are born in a certain caste, you’re a Hindu

After answering these statements some fail to remove their doubts on who a Hindu is. The question arises when someone is unsure on how to portray themselves in the society, many people follow a set of notions which might/might not be the essence of Hinduism and upon asked why they perform a particular ritual they are clueless. The problem is that the teachings are passed on for generations and the source has been long forgotten, for the source is exactly where the answer lies.

Religion corresponds to scriptural texts

The world is home to many religions and each religion has its own uniqueness portrayed out of the scriptures and teachings which are universally accepted. So to simplify the dilemma one can say that determining whether someone belongs to a particular religion is directly related to whether he/she follows the religious scriptures of the particular religion, and also whether they abide to live by the authority of the scriptural texts.

Christianity emerges from the guidance of the Gospels and Islam from the Quran where Christians believe Jesus died for their sins and Muslims believe there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet. Similarly, Hinduism emerges from a set of scriptures known as the Vedas and a Hindu is one who lives according to Dharma which is implicated in the divine laws in the Vedic scriptures.By default, the person who follows these set of religious texts is a Hindu.

Also Read: Christianity and Islam don’t have room for a discourse. Hindus must Stop Pleasing their former Christian or Muslim masters, says Maria Wirth 

Vedas distinguishes Hindu from a Non-Hindu

Keeping this definition in mind, all the Hindu thinkers of the traditional schools of Hindu philosophy accept and also insist on accepting the Vedas as a scriptural authority for distinguishing Hindus from Non-Hindus. Further implying the acceptance of the following of Bhagwat Gita, Ramayana, Puranas etc as a determining factor by extension principle as well.

Bottom Line

So, concluding the debate on who is a Hindu we can say that a person who believes in the authority of the Vedas and lives by the Dharmic principles of the Vedas is a Hindu. Also implying that anyone regardless of their nationality i.e. American, French or even Indian can be called a Hindu if they accept the Vedas.

– Prepared by Tanya Kathuria of Newsgram                                                                

(the article was originally written by Shubhamoy Das and published by thoughtco)

One response to “Are We Hindus If We Live in India? The Answer to Contentious Question is Here”

  1. Hindu is a historical name for people living “behind the river Indus”. So, everyone living in India is a Hindu, eventhough he might have a different faith.

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Hinduism and Judaism: A Tale of Two Religions Fastening Humanity Over The Centuries

A subtle understanding of the principles of Hinduism and Judaism

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Hinduism and Judaism are confluence of faith
Representation of religions in the world. Pixabay
  • Hinduism and Judaism are a confluence of two deep-seated faiths
  • The article will talk about contrast and comparison of Hindus and Jews
  • Duty, karma and adherence over belief are the teachings of both the religions

JULY 5, 2017: Hinduism and Judaism are the two foundational religions in the East and the West. Referred by scholars as Sanatana Dharma, Hinduism shares its underlying concepts such as karma and liberation from samsara with Buddhism and Jainism. A thorough compare and contrast provide better apprehension.

Professor B.Holdrege elucidates that Hinduism and Judaism represent a definite form of religion, keen to “practice, observance and law.” The religions are regarded by scholars to be ethnic religions sharing common elements in regard to purity codes, dietary restrictions among others. Hinduism and Judaism, each “defines itself in relation to a particular sacred language and to a particular corpus of sacred texts.”

Classical Judaism holds that there is only one God in cosmos, a creator of all that exists. God made a relationship, a covenant, with the people of Israel taking two forms. The first being an eternal relationship with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, King David and his descendants as the leaders of the congregation. The second is a reciprocal relationship that applies to the followers to fulfil God’s commandments.

The commandments encompass social, ethical components such as prayer, the observance of Sabbath, marriage and family practices. The commandments are articulated in the written Torah- the Five Books of Moses. It serves the purpose of making Israel a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation”. The Oral Torah compliments and explains the Written Torah. With the guidance of Torah, the practitioners of Judaism come to understand God’s will and the sacred tenets.

Also Read: Bob Dylan: Spiritual Side of the Legend explored in Upcoming Book

Hinduism maintains that the cosmos is sacred. Like Judaism, Hindu Dharma concerns itself with attitude and practice and emphasises these features over dogmatic belief. Dharma is committed to the deep abiding laws of nature, and to society. Like Judaism, Hinduism girdle around ethical, social and ritual components. The Hindu Dharma functions like commandments to its followers. The Dharma recognises the unique, intellectual and spiritual outlooks. Dharma sources, written and customary, are mainly composed in Sanskrit. The distinction of Dharma from the Western sense of religion is crucial to the understanding of Hindu religious identity. The word Sanatana, meaning immemorial and eternal emphasises the unbroken continuity of Hindu tradition.

By Puja Sinha of NewsGram. twitter: @Pujas1994

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi University likely to teach Science through Hindu Text Vedas

In U.S. News and World Report, Physicist Roger Penrose theorised that the Big Bang might be one in a cycle of such events, suggesting that the universe has had multiple existences

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Representational Image. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Bhopal, September 1, 2016: Do science and spirituality intersect? Studies show that Science and Spirituality, Hinduism in particular, are linked.

The administrative wing of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi University said that the University has decided to teach Science through Hindu Text, Vedas, mentioned a recent report by examswatch.com. According to Indian texts, many of the advanced discoveries we know about today already existed in the past. Therefore we can say that Hinduism is not only the world’s third largest religion but also the most modern of all. Needless to say that all Indians feel proud about the fact, that their ancestors were genius, in true sense of the term.

Attempts are being made at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi University, Bhopal to teach Science through Hindu religious texts, which contains the writings of bygone-era mathematician Bhaskaracharya and sage scientist Acharya Kanad.

https://twitter.com/NewsGram1/status/770994956894932992

The purpose of this entire project is to imbibe Indian values in youths and make them learn in a better way about the concepts and ideas related to Engineering. The students at the university will be taught about Indian veterans, who were equally important as the scientists – JJ Thomson, John Dalton, Lord Kelvin and others. This programme will be covered under the subject, ‘Bhartiya Gyan aur Parampara‘.

In U.S. News and World Report, Physicist Roger Penrose theorised that the Big Bang might be one in a cycle of such events, suggesting that the universe has had multiple existences. This is common knowledge to one familiar with Vedic philosophy and cosmology.

https://twitter.com/NewsGram1/status/771423280272117760

In Hinduism, the complementary relationship between science and religion is quite close. As we can infer knowledge of an object from its shadow, so by ‘Apara-Vidya’, or material knowledge or science, we can understand something about the existence of ‘Para-Vidya’, or spiritual knowledge. The bottom line is one does not negate the other.

Thus, it is conceivable that many unsolved issues in biology, physics, cosmology, etc., can be resolved by the synthesis of science and religion in Hinduism.

– prepared by Manthra Koliyer of NewsGram 

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