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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
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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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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

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12 Interesting Facts About Somnath Temple Probably You Didn’t Know

The Somnath Temple is popular due to various legends connected to it. The place is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot.

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Somnath Temple is located in Veraval on the western coast of Gujarat, India. Wikimedia Commons
Somnath Temple is located in Veraval on the western coast of Gujarat, India. Wikimedia Commons
  • Somnath Temple is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna ended his Lila and thereafter left for heavenly abode
  • The first Siva temple at Somanath is believed to have been built at some unknown time in the past
  • Gujarat was raided by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024, plundering the Somnath temple and breaking its sacred jyotirlinga

Somnath Temple is a specimen of fine architecture of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas Shrines of Shiva. This place is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna ended his Lila and thereafter left for heavenly abode, therefore it is dubbed as Eternal Shrine. This legendary temple has been vandalized numerous times in the history but with the help of some Hindu Kings, the temple was reshaped each time.

Somnath Temple is located in Veraval on the western coast of Gujarat, India. The temple is popular due to various legends connected to it. The place is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot. Lord Shiva has a strong connection here and also known as shrine eternal.

Somnath Temple History

According to popular tradition, the first Siva temple at Somanath is believed to have been built at some unknown time in the past. The second temple has been built at the same site by the “Yadava kings” of Vallabhi around 649 CE. In 725 CE, Al-Junayd, the Arab governor of Sindh destroyed the second temple as part of his invasions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. In 815 CE, the Gurjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple, a huge structure of red sandstone.

Also Read: Top 10 Famous Hindu Temples of Tamil Nadu

The Chaulukya (Solanki) king Mularaja possibly built the first temple at the site sometime before 997 CE, even though some historians believe that he may have renovated a smaller earlier temple.

Somnath Temple Attacks

Gujarat was raided by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1024, plundering the Somnath temple and breaking its sacred jyotirlinga. Ghazni took away the wealth of almost 20 million dinars. As per historical records, the damage to the temple by was quite negligible because there are records of pilgrimages to the temple in 1038, which has no much mention of any damage to the temple.

In14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons
In14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons

But claims are there that Mahmud had killed 50,000 devotees who tried to defend the temple. The temple at the time of Ghazni’s attack appears to have been a wooden structure, which is said to have decayed in time.

According to an inscription of 1169, Kumarapala rebuilt it in “excellent stone and studded it with jewels,”

Also Read: Angkor Wat: History behind Cambodian Hindu temple

Then in 1299, the Somnath Temple was invaded by Alauddin Khalji’s army, led by Ulugh Khan. They defeated the Vaghela king Karna and sacked the Somnath temple. Legends state that the Jalore ruler Kanhadadeva later recovered the Somnath idol and freed the Hindu prisoners, after an attack on the Delhi army near Jalore. However, some other sources state that the idol was taken to Delhi, where it was thrown to be trampled under the feet of Muslims.

The Somnath Temple was rebuilt by Mahipala I, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 and the lingam was installed by his son Khengara sometime between 1331 and 1351.

In14th century, Gujarati Muslim pilgrims were noted by Amir Khusrow to stop at that temple to pay their respects before departing for the Hajj pilgrimage.

In 1395, the temple was again destroyed for the third time by Zafar Khan, the last governor of Gujarat under the Delhi Sultanate and later founder of Gujarat Sultanate.

In 1546, the Portuguese who were based in Goa attacked ports and towns in Gujarat including Somnath Temple and destroyed several of its structures.

Somnath temple to Dwarka

Dwarka is an ancient city in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is very near to Somnath temple and due to its relevance to Hindu pilgrimage; people do tend to visit this place also.

Also Read: The Temple of Death: The Abode of Yamraj

The magnificent Temple of Dwarka has an elaborately tiered main shrine, a carved entrance and a black-marble idol of Lord Krishna.

Somnath Temple said to have been safely hiding the famous Syamantak Mani within the hollowness of Shivalinga. Wikimedia Commons
Somnath Temple said to have been safely hiding the famous Syamantak Mani within the hollowness of Shivalinga. Wikimedia Commons

The road distance between Dwarka and Somnath is 231 km and the aerial distance from Dwarka to Somnath is 210 km. One can also cover the distance through train which is almost 398km distant.

Here are some facts that are attached to this sacred and architecturally marvellous temple.

  1. The present-day Somnath Temple was built in five years, from 1947 to 1951 and was inaugurated by then President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad.
  2. Somnath Temple said to have been safely hiding the famous Syamantak Mani within the hollowness of Shivalinga, the Philosopher’s stone, which is associated with Lord Krishna. The stone is said to be magical, which was capable of producing gold. It is also believed that stone had alchemic and radioactive properties and thus it remains floating above the ground.
  3. The temple finds its reference in the sacred texts of Hindus like Shreemad Bhagavat, Skandpuran, Shivpuran and Rig-Veda. This signifies the importance of this temple as one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in India.
  4. According to records, the site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times as it was said to be the junction of three rivers, Kapila, Hiran and the mythical Saraswati. The meeting point was called as Triveni Sangam and is believed to be the place where Soma, the Moon-god bathed and regained his lustre.
  5. According to Swami Gajanand Saraswati (a Hindu scholar), the first temple was built 7, 99, 25,105 years ago as derived from the traditions of Prabhas Khand of Skanda Puran.
  6. The temple is said to be located at such a place that there is no straight-line land between Somnath seashore till Antarctica continent. In a Sanskrit inscription, found on the Arrow-Pillar called Baan-Stambh is stated that the temple stands at a point on the Indian piece of land, which happens to be the first point on land in the north to the south-pole on that particular longitude.

    The saga of Somnath temple is related to moon god and curse of his father in law Daksha Prajapati. Wikimedia Commons
    The saga of Somnath temple is related to moon god and curse of his father in law Daksha Prajapati. Wikimedia Commons
  7. According to the text of Skanda Purana, the name of Somnath Temple will change every time the world is reconstructed. It is believed when Lord Brahma will create a new world after ending the one we are living, Somnath will acquire a new name of Pran Nath Temple.
  8. On the walls of Somnath Temple, the sculptures of Lord Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu can be seen.
  9. According to another reference in the Skanda Purana, there are about 6 Brahmas. This is the era of 7thBrahma who is called Shatanand.
  10. The flag mast on the peak of Somnath Temple is 37 feet long and it changes 3 times a day.
  11. The saga of Somnath temple is related to moon god and curse of his father in law Daksha Prajapati.
  12. Non-Hindus doesn’t require any special permission to visit Somnath Temple. The decision was taken in view of security issues.Now, pack your bags and begin your journey to one of the most the sacred places of India.