Showing posts with label Hindu Pantheon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hindu Pantheon. Show all posts

Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Ajita Keshakambalin?

The alleged founder of a materialist philosophical school in ancient Indian philosophy, whose name matches his customary garb—a hair blanket (kesha-kambal). 


  • Ajita was a Buddha contemporary, and information about him may be found in Buddhist texts. 
  • Human beings are made up of four components, according to Ajita's materialist philosophy, and these elements scatter after death, causing the person to cease to exist. 
  • Given this attitude, Ajita thought that one should enjoy life while one still could, savoring the good while tolerating the terrible, and that all religious observances were a waste of time and hope. 
  • Ajita was the first in a long line of materialists, with evidence of their viewpoint dating back to the ninth century of the Common Era.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Ajatashatru(2)?

A renowned philosopher who was also the ruler of Benares in the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad. 


  • Even though Ajatashatru was a kshatriya warrior king and thus should have been receiving instruction from Gargya, Ajatashatru is notable for instructing Gargya, a brahmin priest, on the nature of Brahman, even though this was inappropriate by contemporary standards because Ajatashatru was a kshatriya warrior king and thus should have been receiving instruction from Gargya. 
  • Several instances in the Upanishads depict kshatriyas instructing brahmins, which is unusual. 

Such incidents illustrate the essence of knowledge as understood in the Upanishads: it is attained by personal effort and realization rather than being bestowed by birth or social status.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Ajatashatru?

King of the Magadha area in modern-day Bihar, Ajatashatru (“[he whose] adversary is unborn,” 5th century B.C.E.). 


  • Around 494 B.C.E., Ajatashatru ousted and killed his father, Bimbisara, and subsequently extended his father's territorial conquests. 
  • Ajatashatru captured the city of Vaishali, the capital of the Vrjjis dynasty, after conquering the region around Benares. 

Both Ajatashatru and his father wanted to establish an empire in the Ganges River basin, and they were among the first Indian rulers to think of such a thing.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Ajamila?

Ajamila is a totally ruined sinner in Hindu mythology who is rescued from death by the limitless power of God's mercy. 


  • Ajamila is a fallen brahmin who eats meat, drinks liquor, takes a low caste lady as his mistress, and breaks all of the purity rules that brahmins are meant to follow. 
  • His sole redeeming quality is his devotion for his son Narayana, who also happens to be one of Vishnu's names. 
  • Ajamila sees the minions of Death approaching him as he lays dying, and their terrifying shapes foreshadow a dreadful destiny. 
  • Ajamila cries out “Narayana” with his last breath in fear at this vision and yearning for his son, and as a result, Vishnu sends his henchmen to rescue Ajamila. 
  • Ajamila is taken to Vaikuntha, Vishnu's abode, where he lives blissfully ever after.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Ekadashi Aja?

The eleventh day (ekadashi) of the dark (waning) half of the lunar month of Bhadrapada (August–September) is celebrated as a festival. 


  • This is devoted to the worship of Vishnu, as are all eleventh-day observances. 
  • Most Hindu holidays have specified rituals, which typically include fasting (upavasa) and devotion, and frequently promise particular rewards if they are followed faithfully. 
  • The most essential criterion for participating in this event is to spend the night in worship; doing so is said to purge one of all wickedness. 
  • The term Aja, which means "unborn," is one of Vishnu's epithets.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Aiyappa?

Hilltop god from Kerala, India's southernmost state, who is often confused with Aiyanar, the Tamil village deity. 


  • The most significant of Aiyappa's temples is at Shabari Malai in central Kerala's highlands, where a large pilgrimage takes place each winter in December and January. 
  • Because of his strong ties to the hills and hunting, it's probable that Aiyappa was formerly a native god of Kerala's hills, but he's now been incorporated into the broader Hindu pantheon as the son of Shiva and Vishnu. 

Despite the fact that both of these gods are male, Aiyappa is believed to be conceived when Vishnu assumes the guise of the feminine enchantress Mohini in order to seduce the demons into parting with the nectar of immortality. 


  • Aiyappa is also known as Hariharaputra, which means "son (putra) of Hari (Vishnu) and Hara (Shiva)." 
  • Due to his unique conception, Aiyappa is destined to slay Mahishi, a particularly troublesome buffalo demon who has been granted the blessing that no one born from the union of man and female may kill her. 
  • Aiyappa is abandoned by a riverside after his birth and adopted by King Rajashekhara, who calls him Manikanta. 
  • Manikanta's stepmother is envious of her stepson and wants to pave the way for her own kid to ascend to the throne. 
  • When Manikanta is twelve, his stepmother impersonates a sickness that she claims can only be cured by tiger's milk. 
  • Everyone is hesitant to attempt to get the tiger's milk, but Manikanta eventually agrees. 
  • Manikanta is stopped by Shiva's emissaries on his way to collect the tiger's milk, who remind him that his life's ultimate goal is to slay Mahishi. 
  • Manikanta defeats the demon after a lengthy battle, but as he dances on the she-body, buffalo's another female figure emerges. 
  • She introduces herself as Lila and want to marry Manikanta, but he refuses since he is a celibate student. 
  • He appeases Lila by promising to marry her if no celibate pilgrim comes to see him on Shabari Malai that year—a promise that can never be fulfilled since celibacy is the single most essential criterion for the Shabari Malai pilgrimage. 
  • Manikanta then appeases Lila by erecting a shrine on a nearby mountaintop in her honor. 
  • Returning to his original mission of collecting the tiger's milk, Aiyappa commands Shiva to transform into a tiger, which he then rides back to his stepparents, asking them to milk the tiger to their hearts' content. 


One of the most popular Aiyappa pictures is of a little kid returning on the back of a tiger. E. Valentine Daniel, Fluid Signs, 1984; Kunissery Ramakrishnaier Vaidyanathan, Pilgrimage to Sabari, 1978; Lars Kjaerholm, “Myth and Fascination in the Aiyappu Cult: A View from Fieldwork in Tamil Nadu,” in Asko Parpola and Bent Smidt Hansen (eds. ), South Asian Religion and Society, 1986. 


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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Aiyanar?

 

A regional deity in southern India. Aiyanar is a popular village god in Tamil Nadu, where he is revered as the defender of the village tank, the bringer of rain, and the guardian of the hamlet. 


  • He is most likely an indigenous god who has been incorporated into Hindu mythology. 
  • Aiyanar is often confused with Aiyappa, but there are significant differences between the two: 
    • Aiyanar is a god that protects communities, 
    • While Aiyappa is connected with hills, jungles, and hunting. 


See Louis Dumont, “A Folk Deity of Tamil Nad: Aiyanar, the Lord,” in T. N. Madan (ed. ), Religion in India, 1991, for further details.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Aiteraya Brahmana?

The two most significant books in the Brahmana layer of Vedic literature, together with the Shatapatha Brahmana. 


  • The Brahmanas are mainly instruction books for performing Vedic ceremonial sacrifices correctly. 
  • Because they were written after the Vedas, each Brahmana is theoretically linked to one of the Vedas, giving it legitimacy as a holy Vedic scripture. 

According to legend, the Aiteraya Brahmana is linked to the Rig Veda, the oldest of the Vedas.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Airavata?

The celestial elephant who serves as Indra's (King of the Gods) chariot in Hindu mythology. 


  • Airavata's sole major part in any myth is as the final reason why the gods must churn the Ocean of Milk. 
  • Durvasas, the strong and irascible sage, bestows a garland to Indra one day. Airavata tosses the garland on the ground when Indra puts it on her. 
  • The causes for this vary—in one version, Airavata is afflicted by bees, while in another, the smell of the blossoms intoxicates him. 
  • Durvasas takes this as an insult and curses the gods with old age and death as a result of his rage. 
  • The nectar of immortality, which can only be obtained by churning the Ocean of Milk, is the only method for the gods to escape the curse's consequences. 

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Aippasi?

The seventh month of the Tamil solar year, equivalent to the northern Indian solar month of Tula (the zodiac sign of Libra), which occurs between October and November on the Indian calendar. 


  • The presence of several calendars is a strong indication of regional cultural patterns' continued significance. 
  • The Tamils keep their culture alive by following their ancient calendar.


Tamil is one of India's few regional languages with a long and illustrious literary history. 

Tamil months, Tamil Nadu, and Tamil language are also included.

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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is The Aim Purpose Of Human Life According to Hinduism?

Life's Purposes or Purushartha in Sanskrit, are four basic objectives that Hindu culture has recognized as acceptable ends for all human beings leading to the final liberation of the soul from the cycle of reincarnation. 


  1. artha (wealth and power), 
  2. kama (desire, particularly sexual desire), 
  3. dharma (goodness or religious obligation), 
  4. and moksha (liberation) 


Hindus have agreed that all of these goals are worthwhile, but that the final one is fundamentally distinct from the other three, which are more closely linked. 


  • There's nothing wrong with wanting money or pleasure.
  • Hindu culture embraces both with the knowledge that their pursuit and enjoyment should be guided by a dedication to dharma in the end. 

Although there are ways to moksha that enable one to stay in the world, it is often assumed that someone seeking moksha would be less concerned with worldly wants since they are incompatible with this ultimate aim.


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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Aihole?

In the state of Karnataka, just south of the contemporary city of Bijapur, there is a historical site. 

Aihole was a significant city during the Chalukya empire (4th–8th centuries C.E. ), and its surviving structures include some of the earliest Hindu temples still standing. 


  • These temples reflect an early stage in Hindu architecture's development from previous architectural forms like rock-cut cave temples (chaitya) or walled courtyards (vihara). 
  • A basic square pavilion (mandapa) with a tower (shikhara) above the primary image of the god, one of the oldest temples (ca. 450 C.E.) is one of the characteristics of subsequent Hindu temples. 
  • A Durga temple constructed approximately a century later follows the basic layout of a chaitya, but it also includes a shikhara. 

The temples at Aihole are linked to older types of Hindu architecture, but they also foreshadow the full development of medieval Hindu architecture.


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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Are The Ahir?

Traditional Indian society was structured around a collection of endogamous clans called jatis (birth). 

The group's hereditary occupation, on which each group held a monopoly, structured the jatis and mainly defined their social standing


The Ahiras were a jati whose ancestral profession was herding and selling milk in ancient northern Indian culture.


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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Ahimsa?

Ahimsa. literally means “harmlessness”. Ahimsa refers to the deliberate decision to avoid hurting other living creatures, either directly or indirectly. 


  • The Jains put a strong focus on ahimsa, believing that all activities have karmic repercussions, but that the karmic consequences of deliberate evil acts are much more severe than those of accidental bad deeds. 
  • Ahimsa was introduced deeper into Indian culture by the Jain and Buddhist commitments to it, and it has been an essential element of Hindu practice for well over two thousand years. 
  • Patanjali cites ahimsa as one of the yamas (restraints) in the Yoga Sutras, and therefore advocates it as one of the fundamental foundations for religious life. 

Animal sacrifice, which was one of the most significant kinds of religious ritual as recorded in the Vedas, the earliest Hindu texts, is said to have declined as a result of this dedication to ahimsa. 


Ahimsa was one of the guiding concepts of Mohandas Gandhi throughout the fight for Indian independence in the twentieth century. 


Gandhi's dedication to ahimsa mirrored his belief that means and goals are karmically connected, and that the methods one uses would define both the nature and tone of one's ends. 


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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Ahamkar?

 

Ahamkar literally, "I-making", is a Sanskrit word that means "I- Ahamkar is one of the phases in the development of prakrti (primal matter) away from its original undifferentiated oneness toward differentiation of the Self and other things, according to the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy. 


  • The world we see around us is the end consequence of this degeneration, in which human souls are subject to reincarnation (samsara). 
  • Prakrti develops into mahat (“the big one”), and then into ahamkar, which is the initial stage of self-awareness and subjectivity. 
  • Following then, the whole degeneration is colored by this feeling of subjectivity. 

  • The five subtle elements (tanmatras), which are the foundation of the gross material elements, evolve as Ahamkar evolves further, forming the basis for both the subjective and objective worlds: 

    • on the one hand, the individual's sense (jnanendriya) and action (karmendriya) organs develop, 
    • and on the other hand, the five subtle elements (tanmatras), which are the basis of the gross material elements, evolve. 


In everyday speech, ahamkar means "self-pride," almost often in a derogatory meaning.


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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Aham Brahmasmi?

Aham Brahmasmi means "I am a Brahman". This is one of the four "great utterances" (mahavakyas) in Hindu philosophy that expresses ultimate truth. 


The concept that atman (the individual Self) and Brahman (Ultimate Reality) are one and the same—identical—is conveyed in this statement; this fact is at the core of the theoretical writings known as the Upanishads. 

  • Apart from their philosophical significance as encapsulating basic truths, the four mahavakyas were adopted as distinguishing emblems by the four divisions of the Dashanami Sanyasi ascetics. 
  • Each division had its own mahavakya, just as each division had its own Veda, main holy center, and archetypal ascetic character. 
  • The mahavakya connected with the Bhuriwara division of the Dashanami Sanyasis is Aham Brahmasmi.


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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Ahalya?

Ahalya is the wife of the sage Gautama in Hindu mythology. 


  • Gautama's curse turns her into stone, but she is subsequently brought back to life by touching the deity Rama's foot. 
  • The deity Indra, who has a desire for Ahalya, is responsible for Gautama's curse. 
  • When Gautama walks to the river to bathe (snana), Indra assumes Gautama's body and travels to Ahalya with the intention of making love to her.
  • Whether Ahalya is aware of her lover's identity varies according to the accounts—in some, she is pleased by Indra's attention, while in others, she is truly misled. 
  • As a punishment for his desire, Gautama curses Ahalya to become a stone and Indra to have a thousand vaginas on his body. 
  • Gautama is eventually persuaded to change the curses such that Ahalya would stay a stone until Rama's foot touches her, and Indra will be covered in a thousand eyes instead. 

This tale mainly demonstrates the sages' ability to curse even the gods, but the various versions also show differing beliefs about women's character.


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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is An Agrahara?

A residential enclave for brahmins, typically created by a land gift from a rich landowner or monarch to a certain brahmin. 


  • In old Hindu culture, Brahmins held the greatest position due to the notion that they were more ritually pure. 
  • The agrahara's function was to preserve the ceremonial purity, which might be readily tampered with. 
  • Agraharas were most prevalent in southern India, where brahmins made up a very tiny proportion of the population—roughly 4% on average. 
  • Southern Indian brahmins, being a tiny minority, could maintain a more regulated atmosphere, minimizing the risk of their purity becoming contaminated. 
  • Brahmins were a major portion of the population in northern India, and they preferred to reside in towns and cities, but they frequently occupied specific areas of these locations.


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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Agnishtoma?

In the later strands of the Vedas, the oldest Hindu holy scriptures, a specific sacrificial ritual is specified. The agnishtoma, which was devoted to the Vedic deity Agni, was most often conducted in the early spring (fire). 


  • The pressing and drinking of the enigmatic sacrifice drink known as soma (considered as a tangible form of the Vedic deity Soma) and the killing of sacrificial animals, which were burnt on the sacrificial fire, were the two major components of the ritual (the god Agni in material form). 
  • During the sacrifice, there was a last hymn dedicated to Agni. 
  • This ritual became mainly the domain of monarchs throughout the Vedic era, since they were the only ones who could command the required resources. 

The ritual went out of popularity as a result of the subsequent reaction against animal sacrifice, but it is still conducted in a modified version without sacrifice on occasion.


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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Agnipravesha?

Agnipravesha (lit. "entering fire") is a Sanskrit word that means "entering fire." 


  • Death by fire, which may occur in a variety of situations. 
  • This was often used to allude to the sati tradition of a widow being burnt on her husband's funeral pyre. 
  • Death by fire was also a legal kind of religious suicide; it may be used to provide relief for someone suffering from an incurable illness, or as part of specific rituals of sacrifice, such as the sarvasvara, which was conducted to send the sacrificer to paradise. 


Religious suicide had been condemned and had gone out of favor by the beginning of the eighteenth century. 

  • British outrage at the practice of sati prompted them to outlaw it everywhere they could in the nineteenth century.

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