Showing posts with label Shiva. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shiva. Show all posts

Hinduism - Where Is The Vishvanath Temple?

 


At the Vishvanath temple in Benares, the deity Shiva appears in his manifestation as the "Lord of the Universe." Shiva is represented in Vishvanath with a linga, a pillar-shaped image that represents Shiva's symbolic form; the Vishvanath linga is one of Shiva's twelve jyotirlingas, a network of locations thought extremely important to Shiva and where Shiva is uniquely present.

Benares, also known as Varanasi, is one of India's most holy towns; it is especially dedicated to Shiva, with Vishvanath being the most significant of all the Shiva temples there.

The original temple was destroyed by the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb, who built a mosque on the site, and the only part of the original temple that has survived is the Gyan Vapi ("well of knowledge"), into which the original Shiva linga was reportedly cast (to prevent it from being desecrated by Aurangzeb's soldiers).

The original temple was established in 1776 on a location next to the pre-sent temple by the Maratha queen Ahalya Bai Holkar.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore eventually covered the temple in gold, earning it the moniker "Golden Temple." Even in previous centuries, the closeness of the Vishvanath temple and Aurangzeb's mosque made for tense relations between the Hindu and Muslim populations, and Benares, like many other northern Indian towns, has seen its share of bloodshed.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu activist group pushing for the "return" of this and other northern Indian landmarks by force if necessary, has recently taken up the demolition of the old Vishvanath temple as a political issue.

The existence and activities of the VHP have heightened tensions between Hindus and Muslims in general.

Given the political benefits that these confrontational techniques have yielded, it is probable that they will continue in the future, and that the Vishvanath temple will remain a focus of strife.


Kiran Atma


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Hinduism - What Is The Vishuddha Chakra?

 



The vishuddha chakra is one of the six psychic centers (chakras) thought to exist in the subtle body, according to several schools of yoga and tantra, a hidden, ritually oriented religious practice.

The subtle body is a separate physiological system that is thought to exist on a different level than coarse matter yet has some similarities to it.

It's depicted as a group of six mental centers joined by three vertical channels and shaped like multipetaled lotus flowers flowing approximately along the spine's route.

Each of these chakras has significant symbolic associations, including varying human capacities, subtle components (tanmatras), and seed syllables (bijaksharas) constructed from Sanskrit alphabet letters, embracing all holy sound.

Shiva (consciousness) and Shakti (power), the two divine principles through which the whole cosmos came into existence, have physical abodes above and below these centers.

The homology of macrocosm and microcosm, a key Hindu notion from the time of the mystical scriptures known as the Upanishads, is therefore the basic premise underpinning this concept of the subtle body.

The vishuddha chakra is the fifth of the six chakras, which are generally numbered from the bottom up.

It resembles a sixteen-petaled lotus and is found in the neck area.

Each of the petals has a seed phrase made up of a letter from the Sanskrit alphabet, in this instance all sixteen Sanskrit vowels, which are necessary linking factors in any meaningful speech.

The vishuddha chakra is linked to the human ability to speak and breathe on a symbolic level.

It is also said to be the physical seat of the subtle element of space (akasha), through which hearing is thought to occur.

See Arthur Avalon's (Sir John Woodroffe's) Shakti and Shakta (1978) and Philip S. Rawson's The Art of Tantra (1973) for further details.



Kiran Atma


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Hinduism - Who Are The Virashaiva?

 


Virashaiva means "Victorious Shaivas" in Sanskrit.

The Lingayat religious community's alternative name, derived from the Lingayat belief that Shiva is the sole true deity.


Kiran Atma


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Hinduism - Who Is Virabhadra?

 


Virabhadra is a powerful being created by the god Shiva to humble the demigod Daksha and destroy Daksha's sacrifice, according to Hindu mythology.


Daksha gives his daughter, Sati, to Shiva to marry, but later feels Shiva has not treated him with respect.

Daksha plans a large sacrifice and invites all the gods except Shiva to it in order to humble Shiva.

When Sati inquires as to why her father has done so, Daksha lashes out at Shiva, calling him worthless and despicable.

Sati, humiliated by these public insults, kills herself—in some versions, by leaping into the sacrificial fire, and in others, by withdrawing into a yogic trance and giving up her life.

When Shiva learns of Sati's death, he is enraged and tears two matted locks (jata) from his head and dashes them to the ground, according to the most popular version of Virabhadra's creation.

One matted lock assumes the form of Virabhadra, while the other assumes the form of Bhadrakali, the Goddess's most powerful and terrifying form.


Bhadrakali represents the Goddess's ferocious and dangerous side, in contrast to the gentle and loyal Sati, just as Virabhadra represents Shiva's destructive side.


The two demolish Daksha's sacrifice on Shiva's orders, scattering the guests and destroying the sacred fires, until Daksha repents and worships Shiva as the supreme deity.

Despite the fact that Virabhadra's actions in this story are destructive, he is and remains Shiva's servant, carrying out his divine master's commands, which ultimately uphold the created order.


~Kiran Atma


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Hinduism - What Is Vimarsha?

 




 (“reflection”) Vimarsha is one of the bipolar opposites used to define the essence of all reality in Hindu tantra, a secret, ritual-based religious practice, with its counterpart being illumi country (prakasha).


These two concepts are especially significant in the formation of the world, which is believed to occur when the ultimate Brahman's pure and radiant awareness (prakasha) becomes self-conscious via the reflection (vimarsha) of this original consciousness.

The absolute transforms from a single awareness into a dual divinity—the deity Shiva and his spouse Shakti—whose ongoing interaction creates the universe.

This prakasha vimarsha dyad is especially essential in Kashmiri Shaivism's Trika school.


Jaideva Singh, Pratyabhijnanahrdayam, 1982, is a good source of knowledge.


~Kiran Atma


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Hinduism - What Are Vidyadhara Or Vidyadharas In The Hindu Pantheon?

 



Vidyadhara is a Sanskrit word that means "wisdom-bearer." 

These are semidivine creatures who are Earthly rather than celestial.

The Vidyadharas are said to reside in the Himalayas, and are so often connected with the deity Shiva, whose residence is also considered to be there.

Vidyadharas are typically kind to people and are commonly linked with providing knowledge to those they care about (as their name says).


~Kiran Atma


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Hinduism - Who Was Vidyapati?

 


Mithila, a Hindu kingdom in northern Bihar, had a Brahmin courtpoet called Vidyapati(ca. 1400).

Despite the fact that Vidyapati wrote in Sanskrit, he is best known for his love poetry, which was written in the Maithali dialect.

He drew on Sanskrit love poetry's literary traditions in this poetry, but his favorite subjects were the divine lovers Radha and Krishna.

Although later Vaishnavas regarded Vidyapati's love poetry as devotional, Vidyapati's religious writings define Shiva as the Supreme Being, demonstrating that he was a Shaiva.


References And Further Reading:



~Kiran Atma


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Hinduism - What Is Vibhuti?

 

Vibhuti is a Sanskrit word that means “power”. 

Sacred ash with which worshippers of the deity Shiva (bhakta) brand their bodies, generally in three horizontal lines (tripundra).


The three lines are said to represent the three prongs of Shiva's trident in one interpretation, and Shiva's third eye in another.


In a variety of circumstances, ash is linked with Shiva.

On the one hand, he is said to smear ashes from the cremation ground all over his body, indicating his disregard for all conventional distinctions between purity and impurity (ashaucha); the ash could also represent Shiva's destruction of Kama, the god of love, who is reduced to ash by Shiva's third eye.


Vibhuti was traditionally manufactured from wood ash filtered through cloth until it was as fine as talcum powder.

This is still done today, especially by ascetics who utilize the ash from a dhuni, or smoldering ascetic fire, which is considered to give the ash a holy nature; in contemporary times, vibhuti is sold in religious supply shops.


~Kiran Atma


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Hinduism - Where Is Velur In India?

 



Village in the Aurangabad district of the state of Maharashtra, a few miles from the cave temples at Ellora.

The shrine to the deity Shiva in his guise as Ghrneshvar, the "Lord of Compassion," is located in Velur.

The Ghrneshvar linga is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, a network of sites deemed especially sacred to Shiva and at which Shiva is uniquely present.

Shiva is pre sent at this temple in the form of a linga, the pillar-shaped image that is his symbolic form, and the Ghrneshvar linga is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, a network of sites deemed especially sacred to Shiva.


~Kiran Atma


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Hinduism - Who Are The Suryapraksha Among The Dashanami Sanyasis?

 


("the sun's effulgence") The Mahanirvani Akhara, a subgroup of the Naga class of the Dashanami Sanyasis, is known by the name of the banner that serves as their symbolic insignia.

The Nagas are Shiva followers (bhakta) who are organized into several akharas or regiments, similar to an army.

The Nagas' major vocation until the early nineteenth century was as mercenary troops, while they also had significant commerce interests; both of these have mostly vanished in modern times.

This specific banner—one with strong links to a martial identity—is one of the traits that identify the akhara's organizational identity.


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Hinduism - Who Is Known As Sundareshvara In The Hindu Pantheon?

 


(The "Handsome Lord") 

The deity Shiva's epithet when he appears as the goddess Minakshi's spouse.

Minakshi, the presiding goddess of the Minakshi temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, is the presiding deity of the Minakshi temple.

Look at Shiva.


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Hinduism - Who Was Sundaramurtti Among The Nayanars?

 

 

 (8th century) The last of the Nayanars, a group of sixty-three poet-saints from southern India who were Shiva worshippers (bhakta).

The Nayanars, along with their contemporaries the Alvars, who were Vishnu worshipers, drove the revival of Hindu religion by their fervent devotion (bhakti) to a personal deity, which they expressed through songs sung in Tamil.

Sundaramurtti, like his forefathers Appar and Sambandar, actively opposed the heterodox sects of the time, particularly the Jains, whom he despises in his poems.

The Devaram, the most sacred of the Tamil Shaivite texts, is composed of the hymns of the three most important Nayanars—Appar, Sambandar, and Sundaramurtti.

Sundaramurtti's inventory of the sixty-three Nayanars is significant since it is the earliest written source for Tamil Shaivite hagiography.


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Hinduism - Where Is The Rudranath Tirtha In India?

 

Temple and holy location (tirtha) in the Garhwal area of the Himalayas, some thirty miles from the district headquarters at Chamoli, in the valley between the Mandakini and the Alakananda rivers.

The god Shiva manifested as "Lord Rudra" is the temple's presiding deity.

Rudranath is part of the Panchkedar, a network of five holy places in the Garhwal area; the other four are Kedarnath, Kalpeshvar, Tungnath, and Madmaheshvar.

Since Shiva is said to reside in the Himalayas, this network of five locations is seen as a symbolic representation of Shiva's body.

Rudranath is Shiva's visage, according to legend.

Himalayan settlement and holy location (tirtha) at the confluence of the Mandakini and Alakananda rivers, two Himalayan tributaries of the Ganges River.

Rudraprayag, like all the other river crossings in the Garhwal area, is regarded a particularly sacred spot for bathing (snana), despite the dangers posed by the rushing currents.

A shrine dedicated to Shiva in his Rudra avatar stands above the river's confluence.

According to legend, here is where the sage Narada practiced physical austerity (tapas) in order to improve his bardic skills.

Shiva, happy with Narada's efforts, gave him music lessons and stayed at the location.


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Hinduism - Who Is Rudra? What Does Rudra Mean?

 

"Howler" is the literal meaning of Rudra.

A fearsome deity who emerges late in the Vedas, the earliest Hindu holy books, and is eventually linked to the god Shiva.

Rudra is mentioned in many hymns in the Rig Veda, where he is linked to the storm deity Indra and the fire god Agni.

The Shvetashvatara Upanishad, one of the later theoretical books known as the Upanishads, provides a more detailed portrayal of Rudra.

Rudra is designated as the universe's controlling force, as well as the genesis and origin of the gods themselves, in the third chapter (adhyaya) of this scripture.

Rudra's portrayal in this upanishad is ambiguous, referencing both his destructive arrows and urging him to manifest in a form that is auspicious (shivam) and tranquil.

This ambivalence may mirror the theological tensions surrounding Shiva, a god who originated outside of the Vedic sacrifice cult but was eventually integrated into established religion and is today one of the most important Hindu deities.


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Hinduism - What Is A Rudraksha?


 ("Rudra's eye") The dried seed of the Elaeocarpus ganitrus tree, which is revered as Shiva's holy tree.

Shiva's worshippers typically wear garlands with Rudrakshas strung on them (bhakta).

The seed is spherical, with a knobby, pitted surface and a natural groove in the center through which a thread may be readily threaded.

Natural longitudinal lines running from top to bottom on each seed, dividing it into units known as "faces" (mukhi).

Rudrakshas typically have five faces, but they may have up to fourteen.

Each of the various numbers of faces has been associated with a different god.

The ekmukhi rudraksha, which has no faces and is said to be a manifestation of Shiva himself, is the rarest.

Because this rudraksha is so precious, counterfeit replicas are often carved out of wood by street vendors.

The Gauri-Shankar is a rare form in which two rudraksha seeds are connected longitudally; it is considered a manifestation of Shiva and Shakti.

Aside from the number of "faces," the color and size of rudrakshas are used to determine their quality.

The hue ranges from a reddish brown to a light brown, with the former being preferred over the latter, and smaller sizes being preferred over bigger ones.


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Hinduism - What Is Pasha In Shaiva Siddhanta Hindu Philosophical School?


 (“noose”) One of the weapons carried by several of the divinities in Indian mythology, including Ganesh and Yama.

The noose represents Ganesh's capacity to tie (and release) barriers as the "Lord of Obstacles," while Yama, the deity of death, uses it to pull the soul from the body upon death.

Pasha is also the term given to Shiva's power of illusion (maya), via which he entraps and enthralls unenlightened individuals in the Shaiva Siddhanta religious group (pashu).

The Shaiva Siddhanta school is defined by the trinity of pasha, pashu, and Shiva as lord (pati).


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Hinduism - Who Are The Pashupata?

 

An austere society of devo monks (bhakta) of the deity Shiva in his guise as Pashupati, "Lord of Beasts," that has vanished.

Although the Pashupatas are no now active, they were once the most influential ascetic cult in northern India, according to the Chinese scholar ologist Hsuan Tsang.

According to historical accounts, its members would engage in bizarre and deviant conduct in order to embarrass themselves, despite the fact that they were not motivated by desire or hatred.

This was modeled by one of Shiva's epic stories, in which he exposed himself to the women of the Sages in the Pine Forest but had no desire for them.

See Daniel H. H. Ingalls, "Cynics and Pasupatas: The Seeking of Dishonor," Harvard Theological Review, 55, 1962, for more details.


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Hinduism - Who Is Revered As Pashupati? What Does Pashupati Mean?


 ("Lord of Beasts") Shiva's epithet when he takes on the guise of the "Lord of Beasts." 


Look at Shiva.

Temple and holy location (tirtha) in Katmandu, Nepal.


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Hinduism - Who Is Pashupatinath? Where Is The Pashupatinath Temple Located?

 

The temple is called for its presiding deity, the god Shiva as Pashupatinath, or "Master of the Lord of Beasts." This is regarded as a very strong location, and one of its founding tales links it to Kedarnath, a holy spot high in the Himalayas.

The five Pandava brothers, who are the protagonists of the epic Mahabharata, are said to be on their last trek towards the Himalayas in quest of a vision of Shiva, according to legend.

They eventually see him at a distance, but as they approach, Shiva transforms into a bull and charges through the snow.

When the Pandavas track the bull into a snow bank, they discover the bull's corpse in the snow.

The hump of this bull is said to symbolize the ridge of granite that creates the Kedarnath linga.

The bull's head continues its journey over the hills, finally arriving in Nepal as the god Pashupatinath.


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Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Parvati In The Hindu Pantheon?

 

 ("mountain's daughter") Parvati is the Hindu goddess Parvati, who is the wife of the god Shiva and the daughter of the minor deity Himalaya (the Himalaya Mountains personified) and his wife Mena.

Shiva has been lost in monastic seclusion since the loss of his first wife, Sati, and Parvati comes in human form to entice him to father the offspring required to defeat the demon Taraka.

Even as a kid, Parvati swears to have only Shiva as her spouse, according to her legends.

Shiva has made a vow of asceticism and is engrossed in profound meditation on Mount Kailas, so her parents attempt to dissuade her.

Parvati's initial attempt to stir Shiva's passion fails miserably.

Kama, the god of love, attempts to kill Shiva with a desire arrow, but Shiva shoots a torrent of fire from his third eye, burning Kama to ash.

Undaunted, Parvati enters the mountains and starts her own program of extreme physical asceticism (tapas): standing for long periods of time on one foot, suffering the heat of summer and the cold of winter, and practicing severe fasting (upavasa) and self-denial.

Shiva is ultimately awakened by the spiritual strength created by her austerity, and he appears to her dressed as an elderly brahmin.

He attempts to dissuade Parvati by making harsh statements about Shiva's lifestyle and behavior, but Parvati remains steadfast in her decision.

Shiva eventually exposes his actual self to her, and the two marry.

Shiva is the Hindu image for the perfect husband because of his love to his bride, yet their family life is uncommon.

The pair has no stable residence or means of support since Shiva is the metaphor for the ideal ascetic, and Parvati is sometimes shown as lamenting about being an ascetic's wife.

Their marriage, symbolically, marks the ascetic's domestication and entry into social and family life.

Their marriage exemplifies the cultural conflict that exists between the two most fundamental Hindu religious ideals: the householder and the renunciant ascetic.

Shiva and Parvati conceive offspring, but not in the traditional way: Skanda grows from Shiva's semen, which falls on the ground during their interrupted love-making, while Ganesh develops from the invigorated soil from Parvati's body.

Parvati, like other married Hindu deities, is seen as compassionate and gentle.

She may be spiteful in certain legendary myths, but on the whole she exudes a loving and motherly presence.

Her mythology is nearly completely linked to Shiva's, demonstrating her subjugation as the perfect wife, and her devotion is also frequently linked to him.

Parvati has a crucial role in tantra, a secret, ritual-based religious practice, since she is often shown as the one asking Shiva and later as the pupil receiving his instructions in tantric scriptures.

See David R. Kinsley's Hindu Deities, 1986, for further information about Parvati and all the Hindu goddesses.


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