Hinduism - Where Are The Vindhya Mountains? What Is The Mythology Of Agastya Muni And The Vindhya?


Central India has a mountain range that runs east to west known as the Vindhya.

Despite their diminutive stature, they have long served as a cultural barrier between northern and southern India.

As per mythological scriptures the Vindhya were long seen as an uncivilized and potentially dangerous place, inhabited by ghosts, demons, and tribal peoples; these dangers were exemplified by Vindhyavasini, the presiding goddess.

The Vindhya Mountains and Agastya Muni 

Agastya Muni's stories may be found in the Vedas, Puranas, and Itihaasa. 

Both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata tell the story of this episode. 

When they visit the tirtha where Agastya Muni once murdered Vatapi in the Mahabharata, Lomasha Rishi informs Yudhishthira about numerous tales from Agastya Muni's life. 

Mount Meru used to be circumambulated by the sun. 

'O Bhaskara!' protested Vindhya, a rival mountain, to Suryadeva. 

Meru is something you constantly go around. 

'In the same manner, circumambulate me.' 'O mountain!' Suryadeva answered to Vindhya, the ruler of the mountains. 

I don't do it because I want to. 

This is the road that the creator of the universe has chosen for me.' 

Vindhya was enraged, and he started to grow taller all of a sudden. 

He desired to prevent the sun, moon, and stars from orbiting Meru. 

Vindhya grew and grew and grew. 

The devas were terrified. 

All the devas gathered with Indra sought to persuade Vindhya to cease growing, but he refused. 

Finally, the devas came to Agastya Muni's hermitage and told him about their dilemma. 

They begged him to intercede, claiming that he was the only one who could stop Vindhya. 

Agastya Muni and Lopamudra, his wife, set off for Vindhya. 

'O greatest among mountains!' said the rishi to the mighty mountain. 

I'd want for you to pave a way for me. 

For some reason, I need to go to the south. 

Indra, king of the mountains! 'Restrain yourself until I return from there, and then you may grow as much as you want.' — p. 

86 (399(102)) of Bibek Debroy's English translation of the Mahabharata. 

Vindhya consented and shrank in size to allow Agastya Muni to pass through. 

While the writings do not go into depth, one may envision the king of the mountains' admiration for Agastya Muni for agreeing to his request while rejecting all of the devas' requests combined. 

It is stated that Agastya Muni and his wife left in the direction of the south and never returned. 

The Vindhya mountains are still present, but at a lower elevation. 

This might be viewed as a simple narrative, a fable attempting to explain a geographical phenomena. 

Or, as a fable about the pitfalls of ego, Vindhya has been duped into waiting for the rishi who will never come, unable to reclaim its beautiful heights for all eternity. 

A more inspiring and constructive view is that when a person possesses shraddha, or respect, for a knowledgeable entity, he or she will be rescued. 

The Vindhya Mountain lives today because to Agastya Muni's protection; if the king of mountains had persisted in his refusal, it would have been destroyed. 

He was rescued because the monarch of the mountains showed homage to the great rishi. 

There's also one more subtle, interesting component to the story. 

In the south, Agastya Muni says he has 'job to do.' He doesn't say what kind of job it is. 

However, a rishi's word, especially that of a renowned rishi like Agastya Muni, who is considered one of the saptarishi in certain ways, should never be taken lightly or discarded. 

It always contains satyam, or truth. 

Is the true narrative about the humbling of a mountain, or about the trek of a rishi with 'job to do' beyond the Vindhya mountains' range? 

Why did the devas chose Agastya Muni in particular for this task? 

Why did Vindhya choose to rebel at this particular moment?

Were they the circumstances that allowed something else, something more significant, to happen? 

Was this simply the beginning of a larger effort to promote the Dharma? 

This story may have served as a pretext for Agastya Muni to introduce his Dharma teachings to the southern areas, much as Padmasambhava journeyed from India to Tibet to establish Buddhism in Tibet and Bodhidharma brought Buddhism to China. 

A Fascinating Dialogue Begins When Jaimini Rishi Meets The Four Birds Now, let's return to our main narrative. 

Jaimini Rishi visits the Vindhya Mountain and enters a tunnel where the four birds are residing. 

The stone floor of this hallowed hole is wetted by drips from the Narmada River. 

When the rishi sees the four birds, he thinks to himself, 'This is a lovely area.' They have maintained control of their respiration without taking any interruptions. 

These magnificent birds are reciting clearly and flawlessly. 

These sage's sons have now given birth to a new species, and I believe it's fantastic that Sarasvati hasn't abandoned them. 

A person's vast number of relatives and friends, as well as everyone else who is treasured at home, might forsake and leave them. 

But Sarasvati remains.' — Bibek Debroy's English translation of Markandeya Purana, p. 19 

In their position as Panchama Veda, the Itihaasa and Puranas are tasked with instilling vairagya (compassion) and viveka (discrimination between nitya (that which is everlasting, or more accurately, beyond the purview of Time) and anitya (that which is not). 

It does this not just via logical ratiocination, but also through the power of rasa, the development of a field of immersive experience and emotion that we go through when reading or listening to a narrative. 

It is stated that there are three ways to learn that fire burns: being informed that it burns, seeing someone else being burnt, or being burned yourself. 

The uttama adhikara (the most qualified one) is told once and does not need to be told again; the ones of middling adhikara (which most of us can at least aspire to achieve in this lifetime or the next) can learn from others, including through stories; the unfortunate ones (which would be most of us if we do not engage in sadhana and improve ourselves) will have to learn through suffering again and again. 

That is why the Puranas are so important: we may learn knowledge from them without having to go through the same unpleasant experience ourselves. 

When we reflect on the pitiful story of these four birds, who were asked by their father to give up their lives and then cursed by him, who were born on the battlefield and spent the first part of their lives hidden in the darkness of a bell that hung around the neck of a slain elephant, we find that only Sarasvati Devi, only that shining light of vidya through sadhana and study of the shastras, remains with us in the end. 

The birds are introduced to Jaimini Rishi. 

Padya (offering of water to wash his feet) and arghya (offering of food) are two ways they respect him (offering of water to wash his hands). 

They cool him by fanning him with their wings. 

'We have led excellent lives and our births have been successful today,' Jaimini Rishi says, as the birds welcome her. 

We hope that your hermitage's animals, birds, trees, creepers, bushes, bark groves, and grass are all doing well. 

Perhaps by asking this question, we have showed you disrespect. 

'How could those who are with you not be in good health?' — Markandeya Purana English translation by Bibek Debroy, p. 

20 This is the amount of sattva and compassion that our culture embodied. 

When kings and rishis met, or when kings met, they inquired about the well-being of the people in their kingdoms, the status of the treasury, and if the dharma was being kept. 

Even grass blades are being investigated – no living form is left out. 

The sensation of oneness with all existence is referred to as sarvatma bhava. 

The purpose of Jaimini Rishi's visit, he says, is to alleviate his misgivings about the Mahabharata. 

'If it's a topic we're familiar with, we'll make you hear it without hesitation,' the birds say. 

Why won't we tell you what is within our intelligence's scope? 

O lord of the brahmanas! Our intellect can comprehend the four Vedas, the Dharmashastras, all the Angas, and anything else that is in accordance with the Vedas. 

Despite this, we can't make any guarantees. 

So, without hesitating, tell us about your concerns concerning the Bharata. 

Who knows about dharma?

Otherwise, there would be a lot of misunderstanding.' ― p. 21 of Bibek Debroy's Markandeya Purana English version Again, notice the humility that lies behind the knowledge. 

Even while the birds concede that they understand all of the shastras, or Vedic wisdom, they cannot absolutely guarantee that they would be able to answer his questions. 

They also hold him in high regard as a dharma expert. 

The first question is how the formless one (Narayana) could take on a human form (Sri Krishna). 

The birds begin by prostrating before Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva. 

They go on to say that Vishnu is both nirguna (without characteristics) and saguna (with attributes), and that he exists in four different forms: The first kind is undetectable. 

It seems white to those who have studied it. 

Yogis envision someone whose limbs are encircled in flame garlands in this shape. 

It is distant; it is close; it is beyond the gunas, the shape and colour conjured up by the mind. 

Vasudeva is my name. 

Shesha, the serpentine one who supports the ground, is the second form. 

Tamas are a feature of this type. 

Sattva is embodied in the third form. 

This is the form that creates and maintains dharma, as well as caring and safeguarding mortals. 

Vishnu slays asuras and rakshasas in this form before descending into his avatara forms. 

Pradyumna is his name when he descends as the guardian in a form of pure sattva. 

Narayana, lying in the sea on Shesha's back, is the fourth form. 

This shape is continually in the phase of production, steeped in rajas.

~Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - What Is Viraha?


Viraha means “separation” in classical Sanskrit poetry. Much of vernacular devotional (bhakti) poetry, has Viraha as a well-established poetic genre.

Whether the separated lovers are two human beings or devotee (bhakta) and deity, the genre focuses on describing the pain that results from the separation of lover and beloved.

Separation is thought to cause specific physical symptoms, which the poets describe in great detail—lack of appetite, insomnia, inability to attend to daily life, or think about anyone but the beloved.

Because love in union is sweetened by the presence of the beloved, whereas the former must stand alone, the type of love felt in such separation is thought to engender an even more intense love for the beloved than love in union.

~Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Parapsychology - What Is Active-Agent Telepathy?


Active-Agent Telepathy is a term that refers to the ability of a person to communicate with another. 

Parapsychologists use this term to describe situations in which the agent in telepathic experiments appears to be an active participant in inducing mental or behavioral effects in the percipient, or subject, rather than merely a passive participant whose mental states are recognized by the percipient.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about parapsychology and occult sciences here.

Parapsychology - What Is Acuto-manzia?


Maria Rosa Donati-Evstigneeff, an Italian psychic, practices an unusual sort of divination using pins.

There are ten straight pins and three curved pins used in this project.

They're shaken in cupped palms before being dumped onto a powder-dusted surface.

This approach seems to entail certain psychic abilities and is connected to divination techniques like geomancy and tea leaves.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about parapsychology and occult sciences here.

Parapsychology - What Is Acupuncture?


Acupuncture is a five-thousand-year-old Chinese medicinal method that has lately been resurrected in China and presented to Western physicians.

It is based on the notion that subtle energy flows through the body in accordance with the Yin and Yang cosmic principles.

Yang denotes sunshine, activity, masculinity, and hardness, whereas Yin denotes darkness, moon, passivity, softness, and femininity.

Health and illness are influenced by the balance of these energy in the human body.

By placing needles at critical locations for varied durations of time, acupuncture treatment modifies these energy pathways.

Acupuncture may also affect anesthesia during surgical procedures.

Both ancient Chinese and Hindu medical systems have a philosophical or mystical perspective of the cosmos, and the concepts of Yin and Yang and subtle energy flows are similar to the Hindu yoga system's kundalini energy.

The asanas, or physical poses, in hatha yoga alter the vital energy in the body through affecting muscle tension and relaxation.

A comparison may also be drawn between Wilhelm Reich's ideas and his notion of orgone energy.

Shiatsu and acupressure, a kind of acupuncture without needles, as well as acu puncture maps for detecting ear and hand points, are examples of unique acupuncture advancements.

Dr. Lester Sacks, a Los Angeles physician, developed an ear acupuncture method in which an unique "gun" discharges a surgical staple into the ear at a specific acupuncture point to aid patients who desire to lose weight or quit smoking, drinking, or using drugs.

When the patient feels a desire building on, he wiggles the strap, and the yearning seems to go away.

The "MA-roller," a specifically formed wooden rod on which the patient rests, is a simple instrument for self-treatment of acupuncture sites on the back.

Great Earth Therapeutics, Forest Row, Sussex, England, markets it.

In 1928, the French consul in China, Soulie de Morant, returned to France with the writings he had translated into French and encouraged other doctors to investigate the practice.

Following WWII, interest in the subject expanded significantly across Europe and America.

A group of non-conventional doctors in the United States created the Acupuncture International Association in 1949.

In 1960, J. R. Worsley founded the Chinese College of Acupuncture in England.

However, in the early 1970s, when the United States rebuilt good ties with the People's Republic of China, acupuncture saw a big boost in popularity in the West.

The National Institute of Health sponsored an Acupuncture Research Conference in 1973, signaling formal support for acupuncture's claims to be tested.

A number of acupuncture books arose during the following several years, as well as acupuncture societies and periodicals.

Acupuncture has a large literature base, and various periodicals, such as Acupuncture News, American Journal of Acupuncture, and Journal of the Acu puncture Association of Great Britain, are now dedicated to the discipline.

1424 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036 is the address for the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

At 2140 Conestoga Rd., Chester Springs, PA 19425, there is also an International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about parapsychology and occult sciences here.

References And Further Reading:

Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. An Outline of Chinese Acupuncture. New York: Pergamon Press, 1975; Peking: Foreign Language Press, 1975.

Austin, Mary. Acupuncture Therapy. 2nd ed. New York: ASI Publishers, 1972.

Dubrin, Stanley, and J. Keenan. Acupuncture and Your Health. Chatsworth, Calif.: Books for Better Living, 1974.

Hashimoto, M. Japanese Acupuncture. New York: Liveright Publishing, 1968; London: Thursons, 1966.

Mann, Felix. Acupuncture. New York: Random House, 1963; London: W. Heinemann Medical Books, 1962.

Matsumoto, Teruo. Acupuncture for Physicians. Springfield, Ill.: Thomas, 1974.

McGarey, William. Acupuncture and Body Energies. Phoenix, Ariz.: Gabriel Press, 1974.

Nanking Army Ear Acupuncture Team. Ear Acupuncture: A Chinese Medical Report. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press, 1974.

Nightingale, Michael. The Healing Power of Acupuncture. New York: Javalin Books, 1986.

Parapsychology - What Is Acupressure?


Acupressure is a kind of bodywork that is based on acupuncture, as the name suggests.

Instead of using needles, acupuncturists use their hands to apply pressure to specific areas on the body.

Massage was formerly a common practice in Japan, but it was severely curtailed by anti-massage legislation in the nineteenth century.

In 1955, the legislation was repealed.

As acupressure regained popularity in the West, it found a receptive audience.

Other body treatments like as do-in and shiatsu are comparable to acupressure, but they are not the same.

Contact the Acupressure Institute at 1533 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709 for more information.

Michael Reed Gach used the term "acu-yoga" to describe a kind of acupressure he created in the 1970s.

It is a combination of acupressure and hatha yoga.

People are taught how to apply pressure to the locations while in different yoga poses.

Acupressure News is a quarterly publication that focuses on acupressure.

Articles and news on the medical profession's activities, practices, and attitudes are included.

Address: 2309 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90405.

Acupressure Workshop was a previous organization that offered beginner to intermediate lessons in acupressure, shiatsu, t'ai chi ch'an, and yoga.

They started in West Los Angeles and eventually moved to Santa Monica.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about parapsychology and occult sciences here.

Parapsychology - Who Was Jacques Acontius?


Jacques Acontius (ca. 1500 - ca. 1566) was an engineer, philosopher, and theologian.

He was born in Trent, Tyrol, and served as a curate in that diocese until becoming a Calvinist in 1557.

Two years later, Acontius arrived at England, where he dedicated his biggest opus, Stratagemata Satanae (The Satanic Stratagems), to Queen Elizabeth.

All teachings other than the Apostles' Creed are attributed to Satan as stratagems to seduce humans away from truth, according to the book.

The work, however, was also a powerful cry for religious tolerance.

Satan's Stratagems; or, The Devil's Cabinet-Council Discovered was the first English translation, published in 1648.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about parapsychology and occult sciences here.

Parapsychology - What Is An Acheropite?

A term used to describe a picture on cloth that has been made in an out-of-the-ordinary manner.

Veronica, based on an apocryphal leg end of a lady who cleaned the face of Jesus during the procession to the Cross, is another word for a fabric that displays the miraculous visage of Jesus.

One of the most notable instances of such a fabric is the contentious Turin Shroud.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about parapsychology and occult sciences here.

Hinduism - ABHISEKA


One of the most prevalent daily practices at temples and shrines is abhiseka, or consecration, during which the image or murti of a deity is ritually cleansed.

The ceremonial consecrating of a temple might vary from a modest washing of a deity in water or milk to the ritual consecrating of an entire building.

This temple abhiseka, also known as kumbhabhiseka, is carried out every twelve years by temples that can afford to renovate or restore their structures.

The abhiseka is then said to rejuvenate the deities' strength inside.

The deity may be ritually washed with a number of things ranging from turmeric water, which is said to be cooling and cleansing, to honey, fruit, and curds in the more complicated abhiseka rites done in bigger temples.

It's rare to discover written texts that explain why different substances are employed, although a little brochure in one temple in Tamil Nadu said that sugar cane juice is presented for health, sandalwood oil may bring happiness, and rice-flour powder may be offered to remove debt (Foulston 2002: 125–26).

The amount of components utilized in an abhiseka ritual is determined by what is provided by worshippers or the temple's budget.

The abhiseka rites in Tamil Nadu tend to be more elaborate at the bigger temples, where flowers, turmeric, and sandal paste appear to be more widely accessible and less expensive.

Showering a god with flowers, water, or milk, on the other hand, is a profoundly intimate gesture that strengthens the link between deity and devotee.

The abhiseka ceremony is usually followed by arti and the deity's adornment.

In South India, this usually entails transforming a simple black stone picture into a feast for the eyes and nose using deep yellow sandal paste, flowers, and highly embellished silk clothes.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

See also: 

Artı; Deities; Image worship; Mandir; Temple worship

References And Further Reading:

  1. Foulston, Lynn. 2002. At the Feet of the Goddess: The Divine Feminine in Local Hindu Religion. Brighton and Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press.

Hinduism - ABORTION


Abortion is certainly on the rise in India, which is owing to the country's specific social and cultural issues.

Traditional viewpoints hold this practice in high regard, yet there are occasions when it may be justified, such as when the mother's life is at jeopardy, as with all things when seen through the lens of dharma.

With the principles of compassion, karma, and ahim, the fundamental hegemonic tenet driving the condemnation is that every life is sacrosanct. sa (ahimsa: nonviolence) came in second place.

Life is seen to begin at conception, and any attempt to hinder the development of the fetus, a potential child, is considered murder.

Ancient writings, written in a society that valued big families, are passionately opposed to abortion, depicting retribution and eternal consequences for mothers who terminate their unborn children.

The jiva (soul) has lessons to learn and teach others karmically.

It is consequently improper to obstruct a child's karmic advancement, even if the youngster is handicapped.

Humans have no right to steal someone else's life for their own convenience after it has been entrusted to them during conception.

The important Socio-Scientific fact remains, 

Determining the critical moment when:

1. The child is considered to cease to exist as co-dependent inside the Mother and 

2. It exists as an individual with its own Human rights, and without impacting the health, well being and well fare of the Mother, given her own existential and socio-economic circumstances.

If a couple engages in sexual activity with the main goal of reproduction and fertilization, it is their moral obligation to accept responsibility for their acts and the life they have now produced.

Thus, it may be claimed that only sexual interaction between husband and wife is dharmic in this aspect.

In India, population control entails abstinence (unless children are planned), abortion, or contraception.

The first is the answer advocated by some, however it is very utopian.

Many people would find abortion for unintended pregnancies unacceptable.

Abortion is often practiced illegally as female feticide once the gender of the unborn child has been identified via ultra sound scans.

Thus, contraception, despite some opposition, would be the practical solution, at least in the form of a barrier or the rhythm method rather than emergency contraception as a type of abortion.

With the advancement of medical science, many Indians may now determine the gender of their unborn child and choose whether to retain it if it is a boy or terminate it if it is a girl.

Those in poverty who are unable to do so murder the infant girl as soon as she is born.

While all of this may seem unacceptable to Westerners, the parents frequently face 'dharma dilemmas,' in which they argue that allowing their daughter to die is preferable to allowing her to live a life of misery in a society where dowry demands exist and where boys, not girls, are often seen as the breadwinners.

As a result, some families see daughters as a financial burden who cause issues for everyone, including themselves.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

See also: 

Ahimsa; Celibacy; Contraception; Dharma; Dowry; Feticide; Infanticide; Jıva; Karma; Samskaras

References And Further Reading:

Coward, Harold G., Julius J. Lipner and Katherine K. Young. 1991. Hindu Ethics. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications.

Crawford, S. Cromwell. 2003. Hindu Bioethics for the Twenty-First Century. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Jackson, Robert and Dermot Killingly. 1991. Moral Issues in the Hindu Tradition. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books Limited.

Menski, Werner. 2001. ‘Hinduism’. In Peggy Morgan and Clive Lawton, eds, Ethical Issues in Six Religious Traditions. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1–54.