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By- Khushi Bisht
Lord Shiva is commonly described as the ideal male since he represents absolute masculinity, however, in the Ardhanarishvara figure of Lord Shiva, you will notice that one half of him is a totally divine feminine energy; it is a fully mature woman. Ardhanarishvara is Lord Shiva's androgynous form, a hybrid of Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati. The right half of Ardhanarishvara's form represents Shiva, while the left half represents Parvati.
The right (masculine) side of the figure is ornamented with typical Shiva ornaments, as found in numerous Indian artworks. The left (feminine) side has hair that has been groomed and braided, a half-tilak (a circular dot) on the forehead, a silk saree with waistband, an anklet, and henna-tinted foot.
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The right (masculine) side of the figure is ornamented with typical Shiva ornaments, as found in numerous Indian artworks. The left (feminine) side has hair that has been groomed and braided, a half-tilak (a circular dot) on the forehead. Wikimedia Commons
According to most Hindu texts, the Ardhanarishvara's symbolic aim is to represent the inseparability of masculine and feminine energies. They are inextricably linked and balanced implying that they must cooperate to preserve balance. They are fundamentally opposed in origin, yet they complement each other.
The two aspects; 'Shiva' and 'Parvati' are regarded as 'Purusha' and 'Prakriti' if you consider the tale of Ardhanarishvara as a symbol of existence. Purusha, the masculine form, symbolizes potential energy, whereas Prakriti, the feminine form, symbolizes kinetic energy; allowing the cosmos to be created and sustained.
Origin of Ardhanarishvara
According to different texts and Puranas, there are several distinct accounts of Ardhanarishvara's genesis. Let us now discuss Ardhanarishvara's renowned origin tale.
As per the common interpretation of the Shaivite version of this figure presented in a series of tales referred to as the Shiva-Purana, Lord Brahma formed masculine entities and commanded them to produce more, but they could do nothing about it. Lord Brahma was dissatisfied with his creation since it did not move at the speed he expected. There was no other option for him except to summon Shiva and ask him to accelerate the world's growth.
Ardhanarishvara was created by the combination of Shiva with Parvati. The right half of this image depicts Shiva in a tiger skin skirt. The left half shows Parvati holding a lotus. Wikimedia Commons
He sought Shiva's assistance, and Shiva acquired his Ardhanarishwar figure to teach him about creation through intercourse. After that, Ardhanarishwar claimed that birth and existence would be unthinkable without either of them. Brahma discovered his mistake when Lord Shiva stood before him in an androgynous form and thus formed female beings. The creation of the whole universe is brought about by the union of Shiva's Linga and Shakti's Yoni.
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Ardhanarishwar transcends our understanding of gender, demonstrating that God can be masculine, feminine, or even neuter. Lord Shiva is shava (corpse) without Shakti and Shakti is powerless without him, thus, the notion of Ardhanareshwar indicates that the balancing of opposites generates the real flow of existence.
Ashtottaram 58) OṀ ṪRIVARṆAPAṪĀKABHŨMYAI NAMAH:
Ashtottaram 58) OṀ (AUM) -ṪRI-VAR-ṆA-PA-ṪAA-KA-BHOO-MYAI—NA-MA-HA
ॐ त्रिवर्णपताकभूम्यै नमः
(Ṫrivarṇa: Three colors; Paṫāka: Flag)
Our Indian national flag is tricolored, a trivarṇapaṫākam. Those three colors are saffron on the top, white in the middle, and green at the bottom. In the middle of the white band, there is the dharma chakra (wheel of righteousness). The three colors are horizontal stripes of equal length and width. The length and the width of the flag are in 3:2 ratios. Our national flag was made based on the National Congress flag designed by Sri Pingaḷi Venkayya. On July 22, 1947, our national government officially accepted the tri-colored flag as our Indian National Flag.
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Saffron symbolizes sacrifice and renunciation. That's why, we see sādhus and swamis wear saffron or ochre clothes to represent sacrifice and renunciation, and also to remind themselves that they took an oath of renunciation. In our Hindu literature, we see the word tyāgam a lot in fables and ithihāsas like Ramāyaṇam. Having the quality of renunciation is one of the great human qualities.
The Indian national flag is tricolored.Pixabay
We see that quality in Lord Shri Rama, who is worshipped by every Hindu on the continent, not because he is God, but for his supreme qualities which are very hard to possess as an ordinary human being. India is blessed with many people like that who sacrificed their lives for humanity and some during the freedom movement. These great people showed utmost selflessness and sacrifice which, unfortunately, we don't see any more. Sadly, now everyone is full of selfishness and greediness, especially the politicians.
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The middle color is white, which symbolizes purity, peace, and truth. Hindu scriptures give importance to thought, speech, and bodily action and preach to be pure and honest in all three aspects of an action. In the word Hindu lies the meaning- 'one who rejects untruth' (meaning- who desires the truth). Hindus are peace desiring people. That's why in our worship, we use śhāntih (peace) three times, and we end our prayers with śhāntih. We pray for peace for all beings everywhere, and not just ourselves. The wheel in the middle symbolizes dharma and progress.
The third color is green. It symbolizes a good harvest, which is our wealth. The crop, the farmer, the plow, and the sickle have great importance in Indian culture. The farmer and agriculture are the backbones of India. We have stamps honoring the farmer because, in most villages, agriculture is the main source of income and living, representing 65-75% of the GDP of our country.
Our Bhārata bhōmi, having three colors as sacred symbols in our National Flag, is 'Ṫrivarṇapaṫāka Bhūmi'.
By- Khushi Bisht
Since the dawn of time, many cultures have practiced a variety of beauty and hair care procedures. But how many of you have pondered about the origins of "shampoo?"
Amazingly, India's diverse culture and people were key in the origination of shampoo. Greek geographer and historian Strabo was the first to report about India's hair-washing customs in the fourth century B.C. Indian people began rinsing their hair with a variety of Ayurvedic ingredients at a young era.
In India, cleaning hair with organic ingredients was a common practice, and many people across the country still maintain this tradition of preserving and drying specific herbs and preparing a mixture from them for hair care.
India has utilized a variety of plants and their extracts as cleansers since earlier civilizations. The word "shampoo" was coined in 1762 and is taken from the Hindi term "champu," which itself was taken from the Sanskrit word "chapyathi," meaning "to massage." The shampoo has been used in India since the late fifteenth century, when a combination of boiling gooseberry, hibiscus, soapberries, acacia, as well as many other hair-friendly plants was prepared and applied to the scalp to clean and healthify the hair.
Shampooing was indeed an Indian technique that revolutionized the concept of hair hygiene across the globe. But who was the one who brought Shampoo to the West? Well, there's a tale about it too.
Sake Dean Mahomed, who came from a barbering household, was the first to bring shampooing to the western world. He learned the skill of 'champi,' or head massage, as well as the procedures for producing shampoos with organic compounds, in his younger years. With his Irish spouse and kids, he came to the United Kingdom in the early nineteenth century. In Brighton, he and his wife launched the very first commercial shampooing massage bath. It was touted in the local press as "the panacea for all illnesses."
Sake subsequently pioneered the notion of shampooing, which quickly gained traction in England. He was so well-liked that King George IV and King William IV appointed him as their personal shampoo physician. Hospitals began sending patients to him, earning him the title "Dr. Brighton," or the "shampoo surgeon."
Sake Dean Mahomed (1759–1851), portrait from Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove. Wikimedia Commons
India was also responsible for the creation of the very first sachet shampoo. Cavinkare was the first Indian company to launch Chik sachet shampoos to the national as well as the international market. For the Indian population at the time, these low-cost shampoos were a huge step forward.
Thus, shampooing is an ancient yet traditional Indian technique that completely changed the concept of hair hygiene.
The Qutb Minar also written Qutub Minar or Kutb Minar is a world heritage monument in Delhi and the world's highest rubble masonry minaret. It is located within the Qutb Complex, which has served as the heart of Delhi's first city since the arrival of the first Muslim monarch. This territory belonged to the Tomar Rajpoots and Chauhans until Muhammad-bin-Sam (Muhammad Ghori) conquered Prithvi Raj Chauhan (Arkpal Tomar gave it to his grandson Prithvi). Chauhan built Qila Rai Pithora by extending the walls of Lal Kot. After conquering Prithvi Raj Chauhan in 1060 A.D., Ghori left his governor Qutb-ud-din Aibak to rule India, and so the slave dynasty began in India.
In the center of the city, there is a massive minar attributed to Qutb-ud-Din Aibak, the first Islamic monarch of north India. Is this, however, correct? This article explores certain people's perspectives on the construction of the magnificent monument.
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In the year 2020, a civil suit was filed in a Delhi court demanding the restoration of 27 Hindu and Jain temples and goddesses that were demolished in 1191 AD with the permission of invader Mohammad Ghori's commander to purportedly build the Quwwatul Islam Mosque. Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, Goddess Gauri, God Surya, Lord Hanuman, and presiding deities of 27 temples, as well as major deities Tirthankar Lord Rishabh Dev and Lord Vishnu, have the right to be restored and worshipped with correct rites and ceremonies, according to the complaint. The petition also asked for a mandatory injunction, ordering the federal government to establish a trust under the Trust Act of 1882 and take over control and administration of the Qutub complex's temple complex.
The name "Qutub Minar" was first established and taught to Hindus after the establishment of the secular Indian republic in 1947Wikiemedia commons
Hindu ruins and shattered Hindu idols can be discovered all around the grounds, according to popular belief. "Qutub Minar" literally means "victory pillar," and the central Mosque within Qutub Minar is known as "Quwwat Ul Islam" ( "Power of Islam"), signifying Islam's victory over the local Hindus who worship idols. However, Hindus referred to the location as "Raja Prithviraj Temple" until 1900. Raja Prithviraj was Delhi's last Hindu ruler. The name "Qutub Minar" was first established and taught to Hindus after the establishment of the secular Indian republic in 1947.
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Let us look at the top claims that truly support the idea that Qutub Minar was built over the premises of a plundered Hindu temple.
- Look for defaced figures in the pillars on your next visit to the Qutb Complex. The Hindu temples, on the other hand, have animal motifs all over them, despite the fact that Islam forbids animal representations in its architecture. As a result, the figures were damaged, metaphorically reducing them to simple "carvings" rather than "animals."
- According to certain beliefs, there appears to be no purpose or logic for the Qutub Minar's construction in Islam. Others argue that the tower was erected for watch or protection, but this reasoning is unconvincing. The construction of a 72-meter-high minaret for prayer also raises eyebrows.
- Why are there Hindu God's artifacts in the Mosque? Why have Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, and other gods and goddesses been inscribed on most of the pillars in the mosque's courtyard if Islam does not believe in anybody other than Allah?
- How does one go about Qutbuddin constructing Qutub Minar in Delhi? Qutbuddin Aibak is credited with the construction of Qutub Minar, however, history shows that he spent much of his time in Lahore which is about 650 kilometers from Delhi.
- The measure also corresponded to the Islamic concept of spreading the faith as far and as quickly as feasible. The destruction of Hindu and Jain temples and the construction of Mosques on their sites represented dominance. The mosque is called 'Quwwat-ul-Islam,' which means 'Islamic Triumph.'
The history of Qutub Minar is long and enigmatic, and individuals like you and me will never be able to fully comprehend it. Meanwhile, the Delhi court is yet to give a verdict on this issue. The point is even if Qutub Minar was not a Hindu temple, why investigating and inquiring about history should be deemed as a means to promoting intolerance among the two religions? These probes should be encouraged and appreciated by the citizens of the country because it has no hidden motive of causing communal friction. It only strives to reveal the truth.