Thursday December 14, 2017

Navadvip: Finding grace in the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Sri Chaitanya Chandrodaya temple Mayapur

By Paramita Maitra ( from Malaysia) 

In late spring this year, while visiting my family and friends in India, I longed to travel the chimerical contours of the country roads. The air suffused with life –

“Light, my light, the world filling light, the eye-kissing light, heart-sweetening light!

Ah, the light dances, my darling,

at the centre of my life;

the light strikes, my darling the chords of my love;

the sky opens, the wind runs wild,

laughter passes over the earth.

The butterflies spread their sails

on the sea of light. Lilies and jasmines surge up

on the crest of the waves of light.

The light is shattered into gold on every cloud,

my darling, and it scatters gems in profusion.

Mirth spreads from leaf to leaf, my darling,

and gladness without measure.

The heaven’s river has drowned its banks and the flood of joy is abroad.”

– Rabindranath Tagore

I did not have any specific place on my mind but I was recommended to travel to Mayapur – the spiritual capital of the world. Mayapur, located on the banks of River Ganga and at the point of its confluence with River Jalangi, is considered holy by Hindus especially the Gaudiya Vaishnavite sect as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, an incarnation of Lord Krishna, was born here in 1486 A.D.

Sri Chaitanya Chandrodaya temple Mayapur
Sri Chaitanya Chandrodaya Temple, Mayapur

India starts to bake by the time spring closes in. I wanted to start early and travel by road. Half the houses in my neighborhood slept with their ceiling fans on and windows open on a cool early Saturday morning when I started my journey. The street lights were still on; the lull of the cityscape broken by the overwhelming chorus of the crows. The roads were empty barring few merchandise laden busty trucks whizzing by. The shops on the roadside were closed; stray dogs and vagrants comfortably asleep in the open hugging the shops’ entrance turfs. The early morning walkers, corporation cleaners, the milkmen and the paper boys were all out on their daily grind.

As soon as I hit the country roads the refreshing cool air gushed inside my car and I rolled down all the four windows fully. The de-congested amorphic roads looked cleaner than the city ones; flanked by emerald paddy fields on both sides with occasional sights of groves of bananas, papayas, and mangoes; the tea shops smoky with the coal fired ovens kindled. Old and wise men sat on the wooden benches; some on their haunches with morning regional dailies folded neatly by their side and waiting for the hot milky sugared tea before starting to read, opine, smoke and re-read the papers hanging on till the end of a second cuppa.

The day was breaking fast and my car sped along. I was not in a hurry now to reach Mayapur. I adored the morning of the spring countryside. Roosters tooting, the ducks and ducklings dawdling in a neat train towards the country pond, and the cows herded outside the stables to sun kissed lush fields preceded by the herdsman chewing the neem twig and looking groggy. The ladies’ sweeping and sloshing the mud floors of their houses ushering in a new day. Washed porches and wet dung aurified the countryscape. Little girls and boys accompanied by elderly ladies and holding onto empty pots gathered around the community water taps either for a wash or for a fill. The dogs did not bother to wink even, lying down on their lazy bones on the dewy spring green grass, though I honked often to avoid running over chicks and ducklings trying to cross the road.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu clay life sized dolls, Navadvip
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu clay life sized dolls, Navadvip

Thus a cathartic journey to ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) in Mayapur followed tending to erase the crepuscular shades of life. A spring, a cool morning and a new day beckoning. Before reaching the ISKCON temple I stopped at a couple of unornamented temples on the way all celebrating the life and epoch stories of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Fascinating to share is the huge lush neem tree under which Mahaprabhu was supposed to be born and the hut where he grew up as a boy. Sri Chaitanya Math, as it is called, houses both the auspicious tree and the hut.

Clay life-sized dolls depicting the growing up years of Mahaprabhu are on display inside the hut. Leaving Sri Chaitanya Math to the left and driving few km ahead I finally reached the Sri Chaitanya Chandrodaya temple which is a rare and first built temple by ISKCON in Mayapur and the whole world. I was astounded at the mammoth premises of the temple – it seemed an infinite spread out complete with beautiful landscaped gardens, walkways, lakes, souvenir bazaars, cow sheds, accommodations, eating and food joints, prayer halls, library, cooking and serving prasad chambers, and temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha, Lord Narasimha, and samadhi of Swami Prabhupada, founder of ISKCON. The deities of Lord Krishna and Radha flanked by four gopis on each side are stunningly decorated, even if one is not religious yet bound to fall in for the Lord’s deep doe-like eyes and his joyful troupe.

The loud soulful Hare Krishna chants, the unnerving ambience all around smelling of mounds of fresh flowers, brass diyas brightly lit with wicks soaked in mustard oil and camphor and dhunas giving out thick vaporous grey smoke from the burning coconut shells and powdered charcoal and incense, the transcendental oscillating dancing of the devotees, the all absorbing aarati and the aroma of the bhog engulfed my senses completely.

The ostentatious new complex still under construction coupled with the swanky cafeterias, piazzas, the younger devotees wiled away onto smart-phones, the exorbitantly priced temple fares was impregnated by a thin blur of racial discrimination where the local boys cook, serve meals and clean utensils and the foreigners or rather the white skinned get to offer the aarati and bhog to the Lord. A more vivid portrait where I was myself very much part of – the sun was too hot at the noontime and the path to the cow shed too long. I thought of taking the e-rickshaws plying on the temple premises ferrying devotees, resident-devotees, tourists and travelers from one building to another. Funnily the one that stopped at my wave was already carrying a white devotee and before I could jump in he shouted out at the driver not to pick up other passengers on the way while he’s on board and the driver barely nodded and whisked by. I could see that the driver was alarmed at the outcry and thought best to heed resident devotees, powerful enough to cancel his rickshaw permit, rather than an accidental traveler whose skin color brushes off as an underling.

Nakchampa flower in bloom, ISCKON Temple premises, Mayapur
Nakchampa flower in bloom, ISCKON Temple premises, Mayapur

Little do we fathom that Lord Krishna himself took the darkish blue black skin color, accounts of such pictorial depictions are diverse, and a whole sect sprung singing glories unto Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who himself is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Krishna. Devotees – white and black, brown and yellow, local and global of various races and religions – have been all pervaded by the Hare Krishna Movement started by ISKCON. The large constructions inside the temple premises, funded by the rich and the powerful abroad, are sheer masks of shallow pedantry exhibiting the entirety of the ISKCON, sadly obfuscating the spirit of the ordinary people who lose their nucleus on the path to Krishna-bhakti. The love of Krishna should have come on the devotee’s lips for a fatigued traveler both marching onward onto the journey of inward cognition.

To me Mayapur reflected a solemn project with its liturgies unbroken – the quintessence of life’s celebrations openly immersed and washed away by the tumescent grey waters of the River Ganga to the shores of Navadvip. There’s a local adage that when you visit Mayapur never go back without setting foot on the holy soil of Navadvip. Un-feigningly, Mayapur manifests exteriority while Navadvip is its essentiality.

Sonar Gouranga temple, Navadvip
Sonar Gouranga temple, Navadvip

Navadvip, situated on the western side of the River Ganga, is the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the seat of Vaishnavism. It is from Navadvip Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his cult emanated the ardour of their allegiance to Krishna-bhakti in erstwhile Bengal. He played a prominent role as a social reformer in the 16th century when Navadvip was ruled by Lakshman Sen, the famous ruler of the Sen Dynasty. Thick with narrow alleys, vintage buildings and shops, built during the regal rule and mostly dilapidated with doodled walls, the city is house to numerous big and small temples reveling in the golden glories of Hinduism and Vaishnavism. What a merry sight to watch the embellished clay idols of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his life’s story! The dexterity with which these clay life sized dolls were brought to life speaks volumes of the artisans’ handiwork. They look so real and a pleasure to experience in person. Time permits a visit to the famous Dwadas Shiv Mandir and Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math is a must. In the month of November, the Bengali month of Aghrayan, the city enraptures in a convivial mood celebrating the joy and jewel of the Rash festival. The all-powerful reinvigorating Harinam Sankirtan, the congregational street chanting by the devotees of the Vaishnava cult dancing to the lilting mridangas and hand cymbals is a common sight on the crowded roads of Navadvip. I felt that the Hare Rama Hare Krishna/Krishna Krishna Hare Hare chants infuses a heady aura combing out sooty tangles that blanket the subconscious being in us. We, mortal human beings, get caught in the universe’s eternal pursuit of birth and death, annihilation and construction, beginnings and ends – life paused by decay with no cultivation of soul’s cognizance and finally perishing in imprudence.

My travel to Mayapur and Navadvip ended with a visit to the Sonar Gauranga temple – an ethereal sighting of the golden shrine of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. His footwear is preserved here in a glass encase. I was not daunted by the evening setting in and quite determined to enter the shrine and linger on for some time before heading home. The old stately building, that houses the temple has sections in rot and the entrance veiled by low-hanging electrical wires from poles erected near its doorstep, is not actually a charming view from the road. Once entering the building and climbing the few old narrow rickety stairs I was ushered in to a huge black and white chequered foyer with a vast canopy-like ceiling. On my left a long flight of stairs led to the temple entrance fortified in iron bars behind which the gold idol of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, impeccably bedecked, was seated in a silver throne. What an elegant display of humility, love, kindness and benevolence!

Driving back home leaving a pinkish orange sun kissing the sky good night in the background, I sensed the humid, hot and dusty air gradually caressing my limbs. My body and eventually my senses got embroiled in the nature’s fire. I stopped in the Navadvip city market and drank gallons of cool bottled water and dabbed my face with refrigerated ice. The temperatures did soar while I criss-crossed the temples in the sweltering heat of the day but the twilight looked like slapping muggy air onto your face. That was terrible indeed. The pace of life unraveled the night bazaar slowly preparing to open its vegetables, fruits, and fish and poultry baskets, the dust in the tracks being settled by the water sprinklers, hesitant children returning home from playgrounds and some already on their way to tutorials, men enjoying a long smoke and an animated chat in the neighborhood before picking up rations on their way back home from work and women of the households starting to prepare dinner.

Remnants of an era gone by Navadvip
Remnants of an era gone by Navadvip

A conventional setting of a neighborhood amidst the backdrop of a distinctive personality who cultivated a human crop solely on pure love cherishing the heritage intrinsic to Sanātana Dharma akin to cosmic order. Through transcendental love by chanting Hare Rama Hare Krishna/Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was instrumental in spreading the universal message of oneness – the spirit of the soul is supreme and that it vibrates in harmony. The carnal actions performed by the body are mere illusions to realizing the purity of the heart; malevolence, ire and jealousy of the delusional world push us into the quicksand of the cyclic period of life and death and over.

In the Kaliyug when we fought over caste and creed and false prestige, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared as a flicker in our lives trying to douse the acrimonious fire mightily spread in the sea of humanity. He imparted transcendental knowledge entwining mortal lives to take the plunge into the ocean of transcendental bliss. After the pious soul left his body the human race tried impersonating his teachings but vehemently failed in the conduct of one’s spiritual individuality. Over the centuries and times the ring of material lint blinded our heart’s lens so opaque that we commoditised Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu learning his text and growing his order but ignoring the blight that had gradually settled in Mahaprabhu’ s grounding eroding the essence of his incarnation as Lord Krishna. Krishna’s teachings were directed at all aspects of life and organizing our lives through practical engagements brings us closer to the transcendental plane of Krishna consciousness. True that learning texts, acquiring knowledge, chanting hymns guide our actions well. However without practical application theoretical knowledge is of little value. In Mayapur Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu thus continues to be revered as an ornamental potpourri where an order supplants life; in Navadvip the pneuma is intact in the physique where essence of living a simple life is the bedrock in the thick of long narrow meandering alleys, modest locales, and unpretentious ways of sustaining life.

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On Gita Jayanti let us look into the timeless wisdom of Bhagavad Gita, holy book of Hindus which inspired millions

Bhagavad Gita is the timeless wisdom of Sanatan Dharma for mankind. One of the most widely read book which inspired millions of people all across the globe. Read how you can shape your destiny through timeless wisdom of Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad Gita Jayanti
Bhagwan Krishna revealing Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna in Mahabharata

“Fear not, what is not real, never was and never will be, what is real, always was, and can never be destroyed” – Bhagawad Gita, doctrine of universal truth.

Today on occasion of Bhagwad Gita Jayanti I would like to  share my personal and social experiences with the eternal source of knowledge, Bhagawad Gita, book which inspired millions of readers for thousands of years. It’s no surprise that the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita has inspired countless people throughout history; being India’s best gift to mankind. Bhagawad Gita is undoubtedly the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed. 
The purpose behind revealing Bhagwad Gita to Arjuna by Shri Krishna was to remove his confusions at the battlefield in Kurukshetra. Similarly, all of us are so much confused in life, but we never turn to the source which can remove these confusions. Not only Arjuna, but every one of us is full of anxieties because of this material existence and scheme of things we are into. The purpose of Bhagavad Gita is to deliver mankind from the nescience of material existence. 
I fortunately at very young age was introduced to Bhagawad Gita by my Nana ji, who also happens to be the reason behind my deeply rooted interest in indic studies, indian philosophy, bhakti and spirituality. What Bhagawad Gita gave me in life can not be comprehended in words, it has always been the guiding force in my life, it acted as a beacon of light when life seemed all dark. After being a constant companion of Bhagwad Gita, my life changed drastically, I am sure this holds true for everyone who has been grasping the eternal flowing nectar of Bhagawad Gita. To say that I can explain Bhagawad Gita will be foolish on my part, its an ocean and I might have been blessed to grasp few drops of it. But it certainly gave me new perspective of life beyond this material world, I became more truthful to my duties and most importantly I learnt the act of letting go. The scripture of Bhagavad Gita contains precious pearls of wisdom which ought to be read by all, irrespective of one’s age, caste, color or religion.  The most important benefit envisaged by Bajgwad Gita is the “inspiration for the man to lead a ‘Dharmic life,” a fact often forgotten by the modern man who is too much troubled in making: name, fame, accomplishments, financial achievements, power and ability to control the resources. 
Bhagavad Gita Jayanti
Shri krishna in Mahabharata as “Parth Sarthi”
A person can acquire proper meaning in life, a deeper realization of his true identity, and attain a level of self-confidence and peace only by inward reflection and realisation which can never be reached through ordinary, materialistic studies or endeavors. Furthermore, teachings of Bhagavad Gita bring us to our higher potential in everything we do, materially or spiritually. This is the power and the importance of the Bhagavad Gita and the instructions of Shri Krishna found within it.

Gita Saar is the essence of Gita, reading this will inspire you to know Bhagwad Gita further, trust me, its the best gift you can give to yourself or anyone : 

“Whatever happened, it happened for good.
Whatever is happening, is also happening for good.
Whatever will happen, that too will be for good.
What have you lost for which you weep?
What did you bring with you, which you have lost?
What did you produce, which has perished?
You did not bring anything when you were born.
Whatever you have taken, it is taken from Here.
Whatever you have given, it is given Here.
You came empty handed and you will go the same way.
Whatever is yours today, will be somebody else’s tomorrow
And it will be some others’ later.
This change is the law of the universe
And the theme behind my creation.”

– Shri Krishna

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Bhagavad Gita Jayanti
Narendra Modi gifting Bhagavad Gita
Recently, It was so heartening to see Indian Prime Minister Modi gifting Bhagwad Gita to different nation heads. “I have nothing more valuable to give and the world has nothing more valuable to get,” the Prime Minister rightly said. Bhagawad Gita is the identity of India, it is the essence of Sanatan Dharma, the foundation rock of spirituality and guiding force for thousands of years to come.
It is impossible to truncate the teachings and glory of Bhagavad Gita into one page and I know that it would be sheer stupidity on my part to even think so. But I hope many of you will  get a copy of Bhagwad Gita on this auspicious occasion of Gita Jayanti, read it, distribute it, cherish it and experience the magic in your life. Gita teaches many things and as Mahatma Gandhi had said “No matter how many times Gita is read it teaches something new every time we read it”


–  by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Exploring the Faces of Faith and Devotion: 7 Principal Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism

Foremost among the several gods and goddesses of Hinduism are the Trimurti; Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, the holy triad that signify supreme divinity in Hinduism – the creater, sustainer and destroyer of the world

Are you familiar with the various gods and goddesses of Hinduism? Pixabay

New Delhi, October 9, 2017 : Devout Hindus have a god for every occasion and every day – over 33 million, according to popular beliefs. While people of other religions often interpret them as fictional characters, the multiple gods and goddesses of Hinduism are held with utmost devotion and sincerity by the believers.

Ours is a polytheistic religion – in other words, a myriad of gods and goddesses of Hinduism. Foremost among the several gods and goddesses of Hinduism are the Trimurti; Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, the holy triad that signify supreme divinity in Hinduism – the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the world. These divine forces are known to appear in different avatars, embodied by different gods and goddesses.

In Hinduism, Lord Brahma is the creator of the Universe and the first member of the holy trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh). However, he is not worshiped as Vishnu or Shiva with only one temple dedicated to him, the Pushkar temple of Rajasthan.

Here are some of the many gods and goddesses of Hinduism.

1. Vishnu

Vishnu is the second member of the holy Hindu triad, who sustains the entire world – Vishnu is believed to return to the earth during distressed times to restore the balance between good and evil.

gods and goddesses of Hinduism
Lord Vishnu. Wikimedia

Believed to have incarnated nine times, Vishnu symbolizes the principles of order, righteousness, and truth. His associate is Lakshmi, the goddess of family life and prosperity.

Vishnu is always depicted with a blue-colored human body with four hands, each of which carries four different objects – a conch, chakra, lotus flower and mace. The god is shown to ride the Garuda, an eagle.

So far, Vishnu has appeared on earth in various incarnations. These include fish, turtle, boar, Narsimha (half lion, half man), Vamana (dwarf sage with the ability to grow), Parsuram, Ram, Krishna and Buddha. Devotees believe he will re-incarnate in a last avatar, popularly known as ‘Kalki’, close to the end of this world.

Hindus who worship Vishnu are primarily known as Vaishnava and regard him as the greatest god.

2. Shiva

One of the members of the holy Hindu trinity, Lord Shiva is as the god of destruction, so that the world may be recreated by Brahma. Thus, his destructive powers are perceived as regenerative: necessary to make renewal possible.

Known by different names like Mahadeva, Nataraja , Pashupati, Vishwanath and Bhole Nath, Shiva is known to have untamed enthusiasm, which drives him to extremes in conduct. It is his relationship with wife Parvati which established the balance. While other gods and goddesses are represented in glorious avatars, Shiva is dressed in plan animal skin and usually sits in a yogic aasana.

gods and goddesses of hinduism
God Shiva, Wikimedia

Shiva is often addressed as the Lord of Dance, with the rhythm of the dance believed to be symbolic of the balance in the universe, masterfully held by Shiva. His most significant dance form is the Tandav.

Hindus who worship Shiva as their primary god are known as Shaivites.

3. Lakshmi

One of the most popular goddesses of Hindu mythology, Lakshmi gets hers name from the Sanskrit word ‘lakshya’, meaning ambition or purpose. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, prosperity and purity and is the associate of Vishnu.

Lakshmi is believed to reside in places of hard work, and sincerity, However, the goddess leaves whenever an individual is overcome with greed or malice or when these qualities are not evident anymore. Hindus believe Sita is an incarnation of Lakshmi. Hence, they worship the goddess of prosperity primarily during Diwali, which commemorated the Hindu epic Ramayana.

Gods and goddesses of hinduism
Goddess Lakshmi. Wikimedia

Lakshmi is widely represented as an enchanting woman with four arms, settled or standing on a lotus flower.

Devout Hindus worship Lakshmi at temples and inside homes alike, and believe worshipping her with utmost sincerity blesses an individual with success and fortune.

4. Ganesha

The pot bellied, elephant-headed god Ganesha, also known as Ganpati, Vinayak and Binayak, is the son of Shiva and Parvati. one of the most popular gods and goddesses of Hinduism, Ganesha is revered as the remover of all obstacles, which is why his presence is first acknowledged before beginning any new work.

The lord of success and wealth, Ganesha is also the patron of knowledge and learning; devotees believe he wrote down parts of the Hindu epic Mahabharata with his broken tusk.

gods and goddesses of hinduism
Ganesh Puja. Wikimedia

Ganesha is typically depicted as a pot-bellied, elephant-headed red colored god, with four arms and a broken tusk. This head is believed to characterize the atma or the soul and the body represents the maya or mankind’s earthly existence. The rats, which can gnaw their way through every hardship, are believed to symbolize Ganesha’s ability to destroy all obstacles.

Lord Ganesha is shown riding mouse, which can gnaw their way through every hardship, are believed to symbolize Ganesha’s ability to destroy all obstacles.

5. Krishna

Believed to be the most popular and the most powerful avatar of Vishnu, Krishna is revered as the Supreme Being or the Purana Purushottam out of a list of several hundred gods and goddesses of Hinduism, by several devout Hindus. One of the most loved and mischievous gods, Krishna means ‘black’ and can be believed to denote mysteriousness.

In Hinduism, Krishna takes several different roles- that of a hero, leader, protector, philosopher, teacher and a friend and is believed to have lived on earth between 3200 – 3100 BC. His birth is widely celebrated on the midnight of Ashtami during the month of Shravan, and is called Janmashthami.

gods and goddesses of Hinduism
Picture of idols of Lord Krishna and Radha, decorated for Janmashtami. Wikimedia

Stories of Krishna’s birth, childhood and youth and widely read and circulated, with every mother wanting to have a child like him. His raas with Radha is also remembered widely.

Krishna is held with utmost reverence for his role as the charioteer of Arjuna, as explained in the Mahabharata. It was in the middle of this war that Krishna delivered his famous advice about ‘Nishkam Karma’ which propagated action without attachment, which formed the basis of the Bhagwat Gita.

Krishna is extremely fond of white butter and there are several stories about how he stole butter from gopis throughout his childhood. He is depicted as a dark and extremely handsome, usually depicted with a flute which he used for its seductive powers.

6. Ram

Maryada Purushottam Ram is the ideal avatar of Vishnu. An epitome of chivalry, virtues and ethical demeanor, Ram is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu who is believed to have taken birth to eradicate all evils from the world.

gods and goddesses of Hinduism
Ram Darbar. Wikimedia

Unlike all other gods and goddesses of Hinduism, Ram is believed to be a historical character, instead of an imaginary figure. The Hindu epic Ramayana is a retelling and celebration of Ram’s life – a tale of his fourteen years in exile with his wife and brother.

Ram’s birthday is celebrated as Ramnavmi, wherein devotees invoke him with religious chants to attain his blessings shield. The festival of lights, Diwali, which is one of the major festivals in Hinduism, is also observed to celebrate the return of Ram, Laksham and Sita back to Ayodhya after an exile of fourteen years.

Ram bears a dark complexion to show his resemblance to Vishnu and his other avatar Krishna, and is almost always depicted with a bow and arrow in his hands and a quiver on his back. Ram also wears a tilak on his forehead. Accompanying the statues of Ram are idols of his wife Sita, brother Lakshman and the celebrated monkey-god Hanuman, who together combine the Ram Darbar.

7. Saraswati

Daughter of Shiva and Durga, and the consort of Brahma, Saraswati is revered as the goddess of wisdom, learning, speech and music. She is the goddess of knowledge and arts. Devotees often worship the deity before commencing any educational work- books and stationary items are often revered as Saraswati is believed to reside in them.

Saraswati Vandana, religious chants dedicated to the goddess of music often begin and end all Vedic lessons. The goddess also plays songs of wisdom, affection and life on the veena, a string instrument.

gods and goddesses of hinduism
Sarswati, Wikimedia Commons

Saraswati is visually represented in pure white attire and rides a peacock, with a lotus in one hand and sacred scriptures in the other. She also has four hands that signify the four aspects of learning- mind, intellect, alertness, and ego.

Out of all the 33 million gods and goddesses of Hinduism, devout Hindus believe only Saraswati can grant them moksha- the ultimate emancipation of the soul.

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10 quotes from Bhagavada Gita to kick start your day



By Sakchi Srivastava

Bhagavada Gita or the Song of the God, in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, is a narrative between Arjuna and Krishna. Krishna passes on sermons and teachings on life and death to Arjuna. These teachings are universal truths which have proved their relevance through millenniums. They are of extreme relevance to people of all ages, no matter which nationality they belong to. These are eternal truths which help every individual to pass the necessary ordeals of life.

Here are 10 special quotes from the Bhagvada Gita which can enlighten the mind and the soul –

1. “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.”
People are born in this world as individuals responsible for their own actions. They should make their own decisions no matter how right and wrong they are, without trying to imitate others. People should learn to take ownership of their life rather walking on someone else’s road.

2. “I am Time, the great destroyer of the world.”
As goes the great saying “Time and Tide wait for none”, Bhagvada Gita also propagates the beliefs that time is the most valuable ornament of our existence. Any being belonging to any age group cannot afford to waste it. It teaches us how to be organized and have a productive and meaningful life. Once wasted, it can never be compensated.

3. “O Krishna, the mind is restless”
The mind is a powerful element that cannot be controlled by any force. It is its own master. At one point people believe in something and at the very other moment they support something else. The mind is always in a state of flux.

4. ‘Reshape yourself through the power of your will.’
Life should be conquered by the will. Will is the strongest emotion which drives the entire existence. People’s will to achieve their goals or to become something in life helps them to achieve success.

5. “Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward.”
People have the right to work, but never to the fruit of that work. They should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should they long for inaction. Hard work should be the soul dedication and the result will follow. People should always be patience.

6. “There is nothing lost or wasted in life.”
Everyone has the privilege of living only one life. People come into this world without belongings but as individuals. They should not have regrets in this life. They don’t even lose their loved ones, they are all here.

7. “Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.”
Every man is an individual with different opinions and perspectives. A man is known by his beliefs. Whatever he believes in becomes his identity.

8. “There is neither this world nor the world beyond nor happiness for the one who doubts.”
Anyone who doubts his decisions, his likings, his dislikes or is not confident about his choices will fail to be happy no matter how many chances are given to him. He will not find happiness in any state of mind.

9. “One can become whatever one wants to be (if one constantly contemplates on the object of desire with faith).”
All have hankering towards achieving goals in life. Though some are successful but some lose the battle because they are in doubt. People should understand humans have the capability to achieve everything in life only if they believe in themselves.

10. “I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Anything that takes birth is destined to die. Everything, that breathes, which includes plants and animals, also have a lifespan.