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Here is what Hindu Religious Text Agni Purana says in its 9 Chapters!

"If the physical body is alive, that is no reason for rejoicing. Just as, if the physical body is dead, that is no reason for mourning. The atman (soul) does not die"

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A Hindu Temple, (representative image) ,Wikimedia

Nov 29, 2016: A Purana is a Hindu religious text and is a part of the Vedas. According to the Hindu Mythology, Agni Purana is a preaching by Lord Agni to sage Vashishth. Vashishth narrated the text to Vyasaji, who later narrated it to Sutji. Finally, it was narrated by Sutji in Naiminsharanya to a gathering of sages.

The initial chapters of this text talk about the different incarnations of Lord Vishnu. On proceeding, we see descriptions of rituals especially those performed for Lord Shiva. Many chapters are also dedicated to earth, stars and constellations and the duties of kings.

The Agni Purana consists of 9 chapters:

The Avatars

The first chapter containing seven sections says about the avatars of Lord Vishnu. An avatar is an incarnation or a human form a deity assumes to be born on earth. Lord Vishnu being the preserver of the universe has the most of incarnations and is believed to be already taken up nine forms and the tenth avatar is due in the future.

Harivamsha and Mahabharata

The second chapter tells us about the Harivamsha and Hindu Epic Mahabharata. The Harivamsha section of this chapter is dedicated to the lineage of Krishna which is also its literal translation (Hari means Krishna and vamsha means lineage). This section summarises all the exploits of Krishna but some of them spill over to the next section dedicated to the Mahabharata. The Hindu Epic tells us about the war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas over their kingdom with its capital in Hastinapura. Krishna with the help of the Pandavas gets rid of the world’s evil through war.

Buddha, Kalki and Creation

The following chapter consists the tales of Lord Vishnu’s eighth and ninth avatar, namely Buddha and Kalki. It says how towards the end of the Kali era, everyone will abandon their values and the value of people will be measured only by their wealth. It says that people will start robbing each other. It will be at that time when the tenth avatar, the Kalki avatar will be born to establish order again and bring the dawn of a new ‘Satya Yuga’, a fresh era of righteousness.

The next chapter has the narration by ‘Agni’ about the history of creation. It says how Vishnu is the lord of creation, preservation and destruction. It narrates how Lord Brahma was born and how he created the universe as we know it.

Praying, Temples and Deities

The next chapter has four sections and gives the believers directions on how to pray, build temples and idols of deities. This chapter mentions the different forms the various incarnations appear as and what their idols are supposed to look like. This section lists the different pilgrimages and sacred places where deities visit often and people go to get rid of all the sins they have committed.

This holy text also has extended narrations and instructions related to geography and astrology.

Manvataras, Varnashrama and Vratas

The next chapter has four sections. The first being about Manvantaras (eras), each of these are ruled over by a Manu. The next section gives us an overview of the hierarchy of classes (varna) and the precepts of Dharma or righteousness. This section consists of instructions of living people belonging to each class should follow. It also tells us the different stages of life, namely, brahmacharya, garhathya, vanaprastha, sannyasa.

The next chapter reveals the different sins committed by a person and ways for the atonement of their sins. The following sections talk about ‘vratas’ (religious rituals) and ceremonies that are performed according to specific occasions.

Narakas, Charity, Gayatri Mantra and the Duties of a king

The next chapter has four sections where the first one explains the different hellish planets or Narakas. The following sections describe the importance of charity, the power of the Gayatri Mantra, and the duties of a king.

Dreams, Omens and Battle

The following chapter has four sections. The first two talk about dreams and omens or signs. These chapters describe what different dreams and omens mean and how can they be treated with rituals. The third chapter lists the rituals and preparations needed before a king heads out to war. The last section compares these precepts to the teachings of Rama who taught Lakshmana about a king’s duties.

Dhanurveda, Property, Dynasties

The succeeding chapter containing six sections imparts knowledge on weapons, property and the benefits of donating the Puranas. The following chapters describe vamsha (dynasties), medicine and literature.

Pralaya, Yama and Hell, The Gita

The next chapter has five sections which talk about Pralaya (destruction), Yama and Hell, Yoga, the knowledge of a Brahmin and the Holy Text Gita. This text is believed to be the lessons that Lord Krishna taught Arjun when he was unwilling to wage war against the elderly in the opposition.

The Agni Purana is not only a part of Hindu mythology but also a part of the rich Hindu culture. The followers of this religion have been following the teachings of the Hindu text Vedas and the Puranas for ages now and it has become a part of their belief.

-by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker

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After Three Decades, Japanese Emperor Akihito Will Abdicate His Throne

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Japan's Emperor Akihito takes part in a ritual called Taiirei-Tojitsu-Kashikodokoro-Omae-no-gi, a ceremony for the Emperor to report the conduct of the abdication ceremony, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan April 30, 2019. VOA

Japanese Emperor Akihito will abdicate on Tuesday in favor of his elder son, ending a three-decade reign during which he sought to ease the painful memories of World War Two and engage with people, including the marginalized in society.

The abdication, the first by a Japanese monarch in two centuries, will be marked by a brief and relatively simple ceremony in the Imperial Palace’s prestigious Matsu no ma, or Hall of Pine. About 300 people will attend and it will be broadcast live on television.

Akihito, 85, was the first Japanese monarch to take the throne under a post-war constitution that defines the emperor as a symbol of the people without political power.

His father, Hirohito, in whose name Japanese troops fought World War Two, was considered a living deity until after Japan’s defeat in 1945, when he renounced his divinity.

People raise hands as they shout 'banzai', or cheers, facing the Imperial Palace on the day of the Emperor Akihito's abdication in Tokyo, April 30, 2019.
People raise hands as they shout ‘banzai’, or cheers, facing the Imperial Palace on the day of the Emperor Akihito’s abdication in Tokyo, April 30, 2019. VOA

Akihito, together with Empress Michiko, his wife of 60 years and the first commoner to marry an imperial heir, carved out an active role as a symbol of reconciliation, peace and democracy.

“I think the emperor is loved by the people. His image is one of encouraging the people, such as after disasters, and being close to the people,” Morio Miyamoto, 48, said as he waited near a train station in western Tokyo.

“I hope the next emperor will, like the Heisei emperor, be close to the people in the same way,” he said.

Akihito, who has had treatment for prostate cancer and heart surgery, said in a televised address in 2016 that he feared his age would make it hard for him to carry out his duties fully.

‘Sacred treasures’

Akihito will report his abdication on Tuesday morning at sanctuaries inside the Imperial Palace grounds, one honoring the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, from whom mythology says the imperial line is descended, and two others honoring departed emperors and Shinto gods.

The abdication ceremony will take place in the afternoon with attendees including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, as well as the heads of both houses of parliament and Supreme Court justices.

Imperial chamberlains will carry state and privy seals into the room along with two of Japan’s “Three Sacred Treasures” — a sword and a jewel — which together with a mirror are symbols of the throne. They are said to originate in ancient mythology. Abe will announce the abdication and Akihito will make his final remarks as emperor.

Naruhito, 59, will become emperor in separate ceremonies on Wednesday. Naruhito, who studied at Oxford, is likely to continue an active role and together with Harvard-educated Masako give the monarchy a cosmopolitan tinge.

FILE - Japan's Emperor Akihito, flanked by Imperial Household Agency officials carrying two of the so-called Three Sacred Treasures of Japan, leaves the main sanctuary as he visits the Inner shrine of the Ise Jingu shrine, ahead of his April 30, 2019 abdication.
Japan’s Emperor Akihito, flanked by Imperial Household Agency officials carrying two of the so-called Three Sacred Treasures of Japan, leaves the main sanctuary as he visits the Inner shrine of the Ise Jingu shrine, ahead of his April 30, 2019 abdication. VOA

Police have tightened security near the Imperial Palace, a 115-hectare site that is home to the emperor and empress in the heart of Tokyo. Media said several thousand police officers were being mobilized in the capital over the next few days.

Tuesday marks the last day of the Heisei imperial era, which began on Jan. 8, 1989, after Akihito inherited the throne. The era saw economic stagnation, natural disasters and rapid technological change.

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Akihito officially remains emperor until midnight, when the new Reiwa era, meaning “beautiful harmony,” begins.

Japanese traditionally refer to the date by the era name, or “gengo,” a system originally imported from China, on documents, calendars and coins but many people also use the Western calendar. (VOA)