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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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Annual 14-Kosi Parikrama in Ayodhya begins among heavy security deployment

It is believed that on the day of Kartik Poornima, Lord Vishnu wakes up and any body who undertakes this parikrama gets his or her all wishes fulfilled.

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14-kosi parikrama
Hindi priest saluting the sun in the Ganges, Varanasi Benares India (representational Image), Wikimedia

Lucknow, October 29, 2017 : The (42 km) 14-kosi parikrama in Ayodhya began on Saturday with lakhs of people converging in the temple town for the annual event.

Amid heavy security deployment, the devotees first took a holy dip in the Saryu river and then began the process of the trip on foot.

Priests said that there are three types of ‘parikramas’ in Ayodhya – the ’84-kosi’, the ’14-kosi’ and the ‘5-kosi’. The 14-kosi parikrama takes place in the heart of the city, while the other two are held in Awadh region and the Ayodhya district.

It is said that on the day of Kartik Poornima, Lord Vishnu wakes up and any body who undertakes this parikrama does get his or her all wishes fulfilled.

Several hundred buses have been plying for the last 24 hours to ferry pilgrims from all over the state. Mela officer and ADM (city) Vindhyavasini Rai told reporters that the panch kosi parikrama would start on Devthani Ekadashi on October 30. (IANS)

 

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Sins in Hinduism: Facts, Meaning,Philosophy,Types & Atonement

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The sins in Hinduism can be washed away with devotional means. Pixabay.
  • Sin is regarded as an impurity arising in one’s body as a consequence to his own evil deeds. It is an effect that can be neutralised through various practices to lead your life into Moksha or liberation.
  • A liberated being or Jivanmukta is purified of all his sins who does not have to go through any further sins and rebirth. In order to make your soul pure and sinless, practice every deed with God’s grace.
  • The Sins in Hinduism, sinful conduct and their remedies have been referred to in Hindu Scriptures such as in Upanishads, Bhagavadgita, Yoga Sutras, Manu Smriti and Garuda Purana. 

As stated about sins in Hinduism, sin may form up with disobedience to God’s divine laws of Dharma. It may however be difficult to follow, but is considered obligatory for humans. The sins in Hinduism can be forgiven if Dharma is upholded as a service to God through self-effort and pure devotion to God.

Sins in Hinduism
Meditation is considered as the easiest from of removing sins in Hinduism. Pixabay.

What is the meaning of Sins in Hinduism?

The word Pāpam (paap) is often used to describe sins in Hinduism as mentioned in the Vedas and Hindu scriptures. Punyam (punya) is the opposite (antonym) of sin. It does not acquire an equivalent word in English since the concept of sins in Hinduism is different in western culture and Christianity.

Separating the word, ‘Pa‘ means to drink, inhale or absorb. ‘Apa‘ means water, combinedly meaning consuming or drinking impure water or poison. Pāpam also denotes evil, wicked, mischievous, destructive, inferior, corrupt and guilt.

It is believed that the sins of Hinduism manifests in the body with the impurities of worldliness (vishaya-asakti). The human body becomes subject to various poisons (visham) such as egoism, greed, ignorance, selfishness, desires and so on, which emerge with our attachments with worldly things (vishayas). These poisons of sins make the humans to take rebirths and deaths until they are removed completely. In the Hindu culture, Lord Shiva is regarded as the destroyer and the healer who gets invoked by devotees prayers and can remove or destroy such poison or sins to grant them liberation.

Sins in Hinduism
The sins in hinduism have been depicted in the scriptures. Pixabay.

What is the Philosophy of Sins in Hinduism?

The sins appear from physical, mental or oral actions, due to the impurities or poisons pertaining to Dharma and Hinduism. The poison of sin is stimulated if one harms intentionally to others or oneself by way of pain and suffering continuing the cycle of rebirth and death.

The repurcussions of sinful acts or karma are fault or mistake (aparadha), worry or anxiety (cintha), impurities or imperfections (doshas), evil intentions (dudhi), evil qualities (dhurta lakshana), immorality (adharma), demonic nature (asura sampatti), chaos or disorderliness (anrta), mental afflictions (klesha), destruction (nirtti), karmic debt (rna), sorrow (shoka), darkness or grossness (tamas) and suffering (pida). Others include: inferior birth, birth through demonic wombs, downfall into hells, increased suffering to ancestors, adversity, loss of reputation.

Sins in Hinduism
Visit Pilgrimage shrines to erase your sins in Hindusim. Pixabay.

What are the types of Sins in Hinduism?

The Dharmashastras of the Hindu scriptures denote sin as Pātaka which represents the causes of one’s downfall or destruction (patanam).The following are the three types of sins in Hinduism: Mortal Sins (Mahapatakas), Secondary Sins (Upa Patakas) and Minor Sins (Prakirna or prasangika Patakas)

The Mahapatakas

These are the gravest and darkest sins in Hinduism leading to the worst downfall of the mortals into the darkest of hells. They can neither be neutralized or washed away without suffering. Some Puranas and Vedas indicate to devote oneself purely to God to remove such sins. The Dharmashastras have stated such five gravest sins termed as the Pancha Mahapatakas. In Hinduism,the company of sinners is also not advisable as associating with sinners will lead you to the same consequences.

The Upa Patakas

These secondary sins may emerge out of minor offenses that include incompetency to perform sacrifices regularly, displeasing the Guru, selling harmful and intoxicating drinks, disbelief in God, giving false witness, making false acclaims, and performing a sacrifice for an unworthy person or unworthy cause and engaging in illicit sex.

The Prakirna Patakas

These type of sins in Hinduism form the minor offenses committed intentionally or unintentionally out of ignorance or carelessness which can be removed or washed away by performing sacrifices (prayaschitta) or by punishments and requesting forgiveness. The law books regard more than fifty minor sins in Hinduism such as selling the wife, making salt, studying forbidden Shastras, killing a woman, marrying the younger son before marrying the elder one, killing insects and other creatures, ignorance to parents, accepting gifts without performing sacrifices,adultery etc.

What are the solutions to overcome Sins?

Fines and punishments

The Dharmashastras render both corporeal and monetary punishments for various offenses or sins in Hinduism, apart from the sufferings in hell or rebirth. According to Hindu scriptures, the ancient era saw immense difference in the application of punishments from caste to caste.

Confession

The best path to deal with sins of Hinduism is to surrender yourself infront of God and seek forgiveness with your own confession of the sin committed. The king was regarded as a similar figure to God who demanded a public confession (abhishasta) from the sinner.

Austerities and Atonement

By performing Vedic traditional rituals, the sins in Hinduism are removed by fasting, virtuous conduct, self-control, practice of nonviolence, truthfulness, austere living, practice of silence, concentration and meditation.

Sins in Hinduism
Your sins in Hinduism can be removed by Devoting yourself to the grace of God. Pixabay.

Rituals and sacrifices

The Vedas have recommended various rituals or sacrifices to wash away the the impurities (dhosas) arising from one’s birth, karma, relationships, place or direction related issues, vastu defects, dangerous diseases and evil conduct.

Prayers and Mantras

Vishnu Purana of the Hindu scriptures pronounce the effective importance of the continuous chanting of names of God (japam) in the Kaliyug. Some mantras and hymns are considered more significant than meditation and sacrifices to clean the impurities of the body.

Recitation of the Vedas and other Sacred Books

Knowledge (jnana) has the eternal power to remove the sins in Hinduism. It can be derived with regular reading up and learning from the scriptures of sacred importance.

Visiting pilgrimages

To grant your devotion and gratitude, Hinduism seeks to commit to Dharma by visiting holy pilgrimage place. It is a divine form of self-cleansing and experiencing peace and happiness.

Bathing in the sacred rivers

The sacred pilgrimages are mostly located near the banks of the rivers that are also treated as purifiers. Hence, bathing in those rivers lead your life into devotional worship as a purification rituals to overcome sins in Hinduism.

Yoga and Meditation

Pranayama and meditation are the suggested methods to practise peace and overcome past sins. They also form a major part of the austerities to cleanse the internal mind and body.

The blessings of saints and gurus

Saints, sadhus and mahatmas have been given a special status in Hinduism because of their respectful purity and virtue. They acquire divine knowledge and supreme powers, with which they cleanse those who approach them for blessings.

Sins in Hinduism
Worshipping the saints remove the sins in hinduism. Pixabay.

Virtuous conduct

Sinful karma can be countered with huge efforts into virtuous karma. The sins in Hinduism are washed away with kind and healthy conduct to everyone equally.

Charity

Dana (gift giving) or charity is very significant in Hindu Dharma. By conducting sacrifices and spiritual practices one must conduct charity as well. As a part of Vedas, the higher castes are under obligation to perform five daily sacrifices including offer food to gods, ancestors, sages, humans and creatures.

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana

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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 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