Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Ayodhya. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Ayodhya. Sort by date Show all posts

Hinduism - Where Is Ayodhya?





The term Ayodhya has the literal meaning of “unassailable” in the Sanskrit language.






Ayodhya is a historic and Sacred city (tirtha) on the Sarayu River in Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad district, and one of India's seven sacred towns. 



  • Ayodhya is renowned for being the location for most of the Ramayana, the second of two major Hindu epics in which the deity Rama is the central figure. 
  • Ayodhya is the capital city of Rama's father, King Dasharatha, as well as the birthplace and boyhood home of Rama and his siblings, as well as the city to which Rama returns triumphantly after his exile. 
  • Although scholars have questioned the historical accuracy of the Ramayana and the authenticity of the events depicted in it, Rama's followers (bhakta) have no such reservations. 




The worship of Rama is firmly rooted in Ayodhya, and numerous locations around the city are connected with events from the epic that are believed to have happened. 


  • With the exception of the Ram Janam Bhumi, the location regarded as Rama's birthplace, this has had no negative consequences. 
  • The Babri Masjid, a Muslim mosque allegedly constructed after the previous temple was destroyed, occupied this location until 1992. 
    • The mosque was demolished by organized teams of Hindu activists from the Vishva Hindu Parishad on December 6, that year, in little over six hours. 

  • Thousands of people were murdered in Hindu-Muslim communal riots throughout India as a result of the damage. 

        • These actions  have now culminated in the reconstruction of a Lord Ram temple.
        • Hindus will once again resume the commemoration and worship of  Lord Ram at Ayodhya.



      See Hans Bakker's Ayodhya (1986); Peter van der Veer's Gods on Earth (1988); Sarvepalli Gopal's Anatomy of a Confrontation (1991); and Christophe Jaffrelot's The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India (1996) for more information on Ayodhya.


      You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

      Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.




      Hinduism - Who Was Bharata(Mythology)?










      Bharata is a mythological character from India (2). 



      Bharata is the son of King Dasharatha by his wife Kaikeyi and the virtuous younger brother of the deity Rama, the epic's protagonist, in the Ramayana, the earlier of the two major Hindu epics. 



      • Bharata's devotion to his family is put to the test on many occasions. 
      • The most severe occurs early in the epic, when Rama is exiled for fourteen years in the jungle due to Kaikeyi's betrayal, and Bharata is appointed king in his stead. 
      • Despite the apparent attractions of riches and power, Bharata refuses to take his brother's kingdom, blames his mother for her deception, and flees with Rama to live in exile. 
      • On the grounds that the people would suffer without a ruler, Rama orders Bharata to return to Ayodhya and govern during his absence. 
      • Bharata reluctantly agrees to serve as a temporary king, but with two symbolic changes: he moves the court from Ayodhya to Nandigrama as a symbol of Rama's exile, and he sits at the foot of the royal throne throughout his reign; a pair of Rama's sandals are placed upon the throne as a symbol of the rightful king. 

       



      Many of the Ramayana's characters are archetypes for Indian cultural ideals, and Bharata represents the ideal younger brother. 


      • The brothers are the heart of the family in the traditional joint household since they reside at home their whole lives, while their sisters live with their husbands' families when they marry. 
      • After the elder members of the joint family have gone away, the oldest brother in each generation becomes the leader of the joint family. 
      • He is the family's main authority and duty, but he can't thrive without the help of his younger brothers, who must respect and support his rule. 
      • Bharata is a model younger brother because he refuses to usurp his older brother's legitimate leadership. 
      • He sets his personal wants and chances aside to preserve and promote the family's overall welfare.



      You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

      Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.



      Hinduism - What Is The Krishna Janam Bhumi?


      Krishna Janam Bhumi is a site in Mathura considered to be the birthplace of the Hindu divinity Krishna.

      The current temple was built in the 1960s, although the site is much older.

      The new temple abuts the Shahi Idgah, a mosque erected on the foundation of an ancient Krishna temple, making it one of India's most religiously contentious places.

      According to one legend, Muslim iconoclasts demolished four successive temples on the site where the mosque currently stands, commemorating the precise place of Krishna's birth.

      Since the mosque was erected in 1661, and the temple it is alleged to have replaced was demolished by the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb in 1669, this claim seems dubious.

      Along with the Vishvanath temple in Benares and Ayodhya's Ram Janam Bhumi, the activist Vishva Hindu Parishad chose the Krishna Janam Bhumi as one of three locations to be recovered as a Hindu holy place in the 1980s.

      Mosques were said to have been erected on the site of an important Hindu temple at each of these locations, albeit only the first two have historical evidence of this.

      Several attempts to recapture the Krishna Janam Bhumi have been launched during the 1990s, but they have received little support to yet.

      Following the public outcry following the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, the government has been significantly more restrictive in the activities it permits at such sensitive sites.

      Christophe Jaffrelot, The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India, 1996, is a good source of information.



      You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

      Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.



      Hinduism - What Is The Babri Masjid?







      The Babri Masjid (also known as "Babar's Mosque") was a mosque in Ayodhya , India. 


      Mir Baqi, a commander of the Moghul emperor Babar (1483–1530), had the mosque erected on the outskirts of Ayodhya in 1528. 

      • The location has historically been a source of contention between Hindu and Muslim populations, with confrontations reported in 1855 and 1934, according to British records. 


      Local legend claims that the mosque was erected over the Hindu god Rama's birthplace, and that it was only built after the Hindu temple there was demolished, but there is little factual evidence for this assertion. 


      • Several local Hindus secretly erected pictures of the infant Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana a few months after India won independence in 1947, spreading the story that the figures had magically emerged in a ball of light. 
      • The government had only just put a stop to the Hindu-Muslim killings that followed the partition of British India into India and Pakistan, and it didn't want to rekindle religious fervor. 
      • Its response was to barricade the compound's gates and refer the matter to the courts, where it sat for almost four decades. 


      The site was once again the subject of debate in the early 1980s, when the Hindu religious group Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) called for its "freedom" and said that the current building was an insult to all Hindus. 




      • The mosque was presented as a symbol of Muslim iconoclasm in this ad. 
      • Furthermore, it portrayed the government's attempts to preserve the mosque as a ploy to placate the Muslim population in order to keep their votes. 
      • The VHP's campaign to free the monument was helped in 1986 by the national government, led by Rajiv Gandhi, who opened the compound's gates so that Hindus may pray on the site in a clear bid to gain Hindu support. 
      • As the decade passed, the demand became stronger, culminating in a series of efforts to commence construction on the site of a Hindu temple. 
      • Many of these efforts coincided with national elections, and the resulting passion aided the Bharatiya Janata Party, a political party with strong connections to the VHP, in winning elections. 

      The mosque was eventually destroyed on December 6, 1992. 




      • The whole operation was well organized; the demolition crews were well-trained, and the first thing they did was destroy all of the television cameras on the premises to prevent any outside media coverage. 
      • It was done with the approval of the state administration, who made little effort to preserve the structure. 
      • The destruction was followed by riots, especially in Maharashtra, which resulted in the deaths of nearly three thousand persons, the majority of them were Muslims. 
      • The site of the Babri Masjid remained a source of controversy even after it was demolished. 

      Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao pledged to reconstruct the mosque on the same site immediately after it was demolished, but he failed to do so during his term in power. 


      Various Hindu organizations, including traditional religious authorities such as the Shankaracharyas, have called for the Ram Janam Bhumi temple to be built on the site. 


      • The administration, expecting nothing but difficulty, had referred the case back to the courts for settlement. 
      • The judicial process has as of now culminated in a verdict and settlement allowing the reconstruction of a Hindu Ram temple, and a relocation was negotiated for a Mosque for Muslims to also pray and worship as well. 


      Sarvepalli Gopal's Anatomy of a Confrontation was published in 1991, and Christophe Jaffrelot's The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India was published in 1996.


      You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

      Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.



      Hinduism - Where Is Nandigrama?

       


      Nandigrama is a village outside of Ayodhya in the Ramayana, the earlier of the two major Hindu epics, where Prince Bharata sets up the royal court while his brother Rama is away.

      Bharata's mother, Kaikeyi, uses her power to exile Rama for fourteen years and install Bharata as king in his stead.

      Bharata agrees to function as the interim king at Rama's request, but with two symbolic changes.

      The first is that Bharata transfers the royal court from Ayodhya to Nandigrama as a metaphor of Rama's exile; the second is that during his regency, Bharata sits at the foot of the royal throne, on which a pair of Rama's shoes are put, symbolizing that Rama is the legitimate king.

      As a result, Nandigrama represents Bharata's righteousness.


      ~Kiran Atma


      You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

      Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

      HINDU RELIGION AND YOGA




        Yoga is spirituality, esotericism, or mysticism, not religion in the traditional sense. 


        Regardless of whether we are discussing Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, or Sikhism, Yoga is often linked to the cosmologies as well as religious beliefs and practices of these many traditions. 


        • This has proved to be a stumbling barrier for many Western Yoga practitioners, who are either unaware of these traditions or have a strained relationship with their own religious heritage, whether Christianity or Judaism. 
        • They are particularly taken aback by the many deities of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jaina pantheons, and they are unsure how these deities connect to real Yoga practice and the doctrine of nondualism (advaita) that is common to most varieties of Yoga. 
        • Students who tend toward monotheism may be worried about falling to polytheism, which is regarded a sin in the Judeo-Christian faith. 

         

        Because the emphasis of this discussion is Hindu Yoga, I propose to begin by introducing the main Hindu Gods and Goddesses who figure in the Sanskrit and vernacular literature of Yoga. 



        Many Hindu deities are also part of the vast Buddhist pantheon, and the Jainas have mostly kept the same deities. 


        The different deities are worshiped and summoned as manifestations or personifications of the ultimate Reality, and each is regarded as the absolute Godhead in the perspective of their worshipers. 


        • For example, worshipers of God Shiva consider Shiva as transcendental, formless, and qualityless (nirgu­ na), yet bestow onto this featureless being the gift of devotion. 
        • Goodness, beauty, strength, and elegance are examples of anthropomorphic characteristics or attributes (guna). 


        All other gods are regarded as lofty beings that inhabit different celestial regions in comparison to Shiva (loka). 


        • They are known as archangels or angels in Christian language. 
        • The scenario is the polar opposite for Vishnu worshippers. 


        Vishnu is the ultimate Godhead for them, while all other gods—including Shiva—are simply devas, or "shining ones," who have a position comparable to angelic beings in Judeo-Christian and Islamic faiths. 



        • The deities were first understood from three perspectives: 

            • material (adhibhautika), 
            • psychological (adhyatmika), 
            • and spiritual (adhidaivika). 

        • The Vedic God Agni, for example, 

            • represents the physical sacrificial fire, 
            • the sacrificer's inner fire (connected to snake power or kundalint-shakti), 
            • and the divine fire or transcendent Light. 




        When considering a god, we must examine all three characteristics. 



        Most academics have concentrated only on the first component, leading them to reject Vedic spirituality as simply "naturalistic." 


        • However, a deeper examination reveals that the Vedic seers and sages were well-versed in symbolism and adept in the use of metaphoric language. 
        • It's our comprehension, not their symbolic communication, that's lacking. 

        India's "theologians" have talked about thirty-three deities since Vedic times, despite the fact that there have long been many more listed in the scriptures. 

        The following discussion will concentrate on only a few deities who are particularly connected with Yoga. 



        To begin, there is Shiva ("Benevolent One"). 


        Shiva is already referenced in the Rig-Veda (1.14; 2.33): Shaivism, or the Shaiva tradition of worship and religion, revolves around him. 


        • He is the god of yogins par excellence, and he is often portrayed as a yogin with long, matted hair, ashes on his body, and a garland of skulls—all indications of his complete sacrifice. 
        • The crescent moon in his hair represents mystical insight and wisdom. 
        • His three eyes, which represent the sun, moon, and fire, show all that has happened in the past, present, and future to him. 
        • The cosmic fire is linked to the central or "third" eye, which is situated on the forehead, and a single look from this eye may incinerate the whole universe. 

        The snake wrapped around his neck represents Kundalinf's hidden spiritual force. 


        • The Ganga (Ganges) River, which flows from Shiva's crown, is a symbol of continuous cleansing, which is the mechanism behind his gift of spiritual freedom to followers. 
        • His four limbs symbolize his complete mastery over the four cardinal directions, and the tiger hide on which he sits signifies power (shakti). 

        His trident symbolizes Nature's three basic characteristics (guna), tamas, rajas, and sattva. 


        • Shiva's most well-known animal is the bull Nandin ("Delightful"), a symbol of sexual energy that Shiva has harnessed to perfection. 
        • The lion, which is often shown in Shiva pictures, represents desire for food, which he has also subdued. 
        • Shiva has been linked to Rudra ("Howler") from the beginning, a god who is especially associated with the air element and its many expressions (e.g., wind, storm, thunder, and lightning, but also life force and the breath, etc.). 

        Rudra, on the other hand, is said to be a powerful healer, and Shiva's name alludes to the same function. 


        • Shiva became the destructive side of the renowned trinity (lri-murti) in later Hinduism, the other two being Vishnu (representing the principle of preservation) and Brahma (representing the principle of creation) (standing for Hindu Religion, Customs and Manners the principle of ereation). 
        • As a result, Shiva is often referred to as Hara ("Remover"). 

        He is often shown on Mount Kaitasa with his heavenly wife Piirvati ("She who dwells on the mountain"). 


        • He is regarded as the first instructor of esoteric knowledge in several Tantras. 
        • The Shaivas refer to him as Maheshvara ("Great Lord," from mahfi "great" and fsh vara "lord") because he is the ultimate Reality. 
        • Shankara is the name given to him as the source of pleasure or tranquility, and Shambhu is the name given to him as the home of enjoyment. 
        • Pashupati ("Lord of the Beasts"), ishana ("Ruler"), and, last but not least, Mahadeva are some of the other titles given to him ("Great God"). 

        The linga is another symbol that is often associated with Shiva and has various meanings. 


        • The term Shiva-linga is often mistranslated as "phallus," although it really means "sign" and represents the fundamental principle of creation. 
        • The linga (also known as "lingam" in English) is the undivided and causative creative heart of cosmic existence (prakriti). 
        • Its female counterpart is the yoni principle ("womb," "source"). 
        • Both of these concepts work together to create the tapestry of space-time. 

        The shiva-linga is worn as an amulet by certain Shaivas, particularly the Lingayatas, and stone or metal replicas of the linga placed in yoni bowls remind Tantric practitioners of the bipolar nature of all apparent existence: Shiva and Parvati (Shakti), or Consciousness and Energy, play in the world. 



        Among the Vaishnavas, Vishnu ("Pervader") is the object of worship: 



        Vishnu is referenced in the Rig-Veda, thus Vaishnavism has its origins in Vedic times (e.g., 1 .23; 1 54; 8. 1 2; 29). 


        • Hari ("Remover"), Narayana ("Abode of Humans"), and Vasudeva are some of his other notable names ("God of [all] things"). 
        • Vishnu is depicted in mythology as sleeping in a formless condition on the cosmic snake Shesha (or Ananta) floating in the endless ocean of unrnanifest existence between the various eras of world creation. 

        Vishnu, like Shiva, is often shown with four arms, which symbolize his omnipresence and power. 


        • The conch (symbol of creation), the discus (symbolizing the universal mind), the lotus (representing the unity), the bow and arrows (symbolizing the ego sense and the senses), the mace (symbolizing the life force), the lock of golden hair on the left side of his chest (symbolizing the core of Nature), and the chariot (symbolizing the mind as the principle) are among his attributes. 
        • Vishnu is believed to have incarnated many times in order to reestablish the moral order (dharma) on Earth. 



        The following are Vishnu's 10 incarnations (avatira, "de­scent"): 



        1. Matsya ("Fish") incarnated for the sole purpose of rescuing Manu Satyavrata, the founder of the human race, from the flood at the beginning of the current world era. 


        2. Kurma ("Tortoise") emerged from Vishnu's infinity to retrieve numerous riches lost after the flood, most notably the elixir of life. 


        • Using the cosmic snake (Ananta) as a rope and the cosmic mountain Mandara as a churning rod, both the deities (deva or sura) and the counter-deities (asura) cooperated in churning the global ocean. 
        • The rod was pivoted around Kurma. 
        • All of the lost riches were retrieved as a result of their churning, restoring global order and equilibrium. 

        3. Varaha ("Boar") was created with the task of destroying Hiranyaksha ("Golden-Eyed"), the demon who had inundated the whole world. 


        4. Nara-Simha ("Man-Lion") appeared to destroy the e v i l monarch Hiranyakashipu ("Golden Vestment"), who had failed to slay his Reproduced from Hinduson PrahJada, a famous devoVishnu astee of Vishnu. 


        • Hiranyakashipu could not be slain by a god, human being, or beast at any time of day or night, within or beyond the walls of his palace, thanks to a blessing bestowed by God Brahma. 
        • Nara-Simha appeared as a lion-headed person inside a pillar at twilight. 
        • He ripped apart the king's body with his claws, killing him. 


        5. Vamana ("Dwarf") incarnated specifically to kill the evil Bali, who had dethroned the gods and taken control of the world. 


        • He asked Bali for as much land as he could walk across in three paces.
        • The demon emperor was amused by the request and allowed it. 
        • Yamana took two steps to encompass all of creation, then put his foot on Bali's head and pushed him into the infernal regions with his third stride. 
        • Yamana bestowed rulership over the nether regions to Bali since he was not completely devoid of qualities. 
        • The three stages of Vishnu are previously mentioned in the Rig-Veda (e.g., l .23. 1 71 8, 20). 

        6. Parashu-Rama (also known as "Rama with the Ax") was a warlike manifestation of Rama. 


        • He demolished the warrior estate twenty-one times, implying a major conflict between the kshatriyas and the brahmins during the early Vedic period. 

        7. Rama ("Dark one" or "Pleasing one"), also known as Ramacandra, was the righteous king of Ayodhya Nara-Simha and a younger contemporary of Parashu-Rama. 


        • The Ramayana epic tells the tale of his life.
        • Sita ("Furrow"), who is frequently associated with the Goddess Lakshmi ("Good Sign") and represents the principles of marriage faithfulness, love, and devotion, was his wife. 
        • She was abducted by Ravana, a demon king whose realm may have been in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), and saved by Hanumat, the monkey-headed demigod who symbolizes the ideal of loyal service. 

        8. Krishna ("Pul ler") was a God-man whose teachings are found throughout the Mahabharata epic, including the Bhagavad-Gfta and many other parts. 


        • The kali-yuga, which began with Krishna's death and will continue for thousands of years, is still in full flow. 


        9. Buddha ("Awakened One") was created to deceive evildoers and demons. 


        • Although some scholars dispute that this relates to Gautama the Buddha, there is little doubt that this was the intention of the brahmins who established the ten incarnation theory. 


        10. The avatara to come is Kalki ("THE BASE ONE"). 


        • He is depicted as riding a white horse and wielding a flaming sword in different Puranas. 
        • His mission will be to put the current world (yuga) to an end and the beginning of the following Golden Age, or Age of Truth (satya-yuga). 


        God Brahma is the most abstract of the Hindu trinity, and as a result, he has failed to captivate the imagination of the brahmins. 


        He is just the world's Creator. He must be distinguished from brahman, the nondual transcendental Reality, with caution. 

        Smartas, or followers of the Smritis (nonrevelato­ ry literature), are frequently characterized as those who do not belong to the major religious groups, such as Shaivism or Vaishnavism. 



        Gan­esha ("Lord of the Hosts")


        The elephant-headed God, is closely connected with God Shiva and is known by several other names, including Ganapati (which has the same meaning) and Vinayaka ("Leader"). 


        Ganesha hit the front pages of the New York Times and other major newspapers across the globe in 1995 for what has become known as the "milk miracle" (kshfra-camatkiira). 


        On September 2nd of that year, a normal Hindu in New Delhi dreamt that Ganesha was hungry for milk. 


        • When the guy awoke, he immediately rushed to the closest temple and, with the priest's permission, gave a scoop of milk to the statue of this god. 
        • The milk disappeared, much to his and the priest's surprise. 
        • The word spread quickly across the nation, and tens of millions of devoted Hindus rushed to the temples. 
        • Apparently, many others, including astonished doubters, saw the miracle in a variety of holy and non-religious places (such as Gane­ sha statues on car dashboards). 
        • The miracle ended as quickly as it had started, within twenty-four hours. 
        • Whatever perspective we take on the occasion, it allows us to consider the symbolism of the milk offering. 


        Milk was often blended with the legendary soma draft before it was given into the holy fire for the deities' pleasure, or it was imbibed by the sacrificial priest to enhance his connection with the deities in early Vedic times. 


        • Soma sacrifices were only comprehended and performed metaphorically in later times. 
        • Soma became the nectar of immortality, created by great concentration inside the human body. 
        • Milk, being a product of the holy cow, is steeped with symbolism. 

        Ganesha is especially associated with the sym­bolism of the life force (prana) and the serpent energy (kundalini), which causes the ambrosial liquid to flood the yogin's body after it has completely ascended to the psychospiritual center at the crown of the head. 



        Then we must seek out Durga ("She who is difficult to cross"). 


        Durga who symbolizes the cosmic force of destruction, namely the annihilation of the ego (ahamkara), which stands in the path of spiritual development and ultimate freedom. 


        • She is a loving mother only to those who follow the road of self-transcendence; everyone else is subjected to her anger. 
        • The embodiment of Durga's wrath, Kali ("Dark One"), is one of ten main Goddesses known as the "Great Wisdoms" (mahd-vidya).
        • Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshvari, Chinnamasta, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, BagaJamukhi, Matangi, and Kamala are the other goddesses. 
        • Chinnamasta ("She who has her head chopped off") is particularly significant for Yoga. 


        This ferocious Goddess is usually portrayed naked, with a garland of skulls around her neck stump, from which two streams of blood pour. 


        • In her left hand, she clutches her severed head. 
        • The Goddess chopped off her own head to feed her two attendants, Dakini and Vamini, or Jaya and Vijaya, according to several tales. 
        • This first sacrifice of the holy Mother, according to yogic interpretation, represents the left and right currents-idd and pinga/0, which must be sacrificed in order to induce the free flow of psychospiritual energy via the center channel (sushumno-nodi). 


        In order for enlightenment to occur, the head­ symbol of the mind-must be severed, that is, transcended. 


        • Sushumnasvara Bhasini, the Goddess's other name, suggests this yogic symbolism: "She who glows with the sound of the center channel." 
        • The Goddess Lakshmi, whose name is derived from lakshman ("sign") and meaning "Good Sign" or "Fortune," emphasizes the benevolent side of the Ultimate in its feminine form. 
        • The same element of the Divine is expressed by the South Indian Goddess Lalita Tripura Sundari ("Lovely Beauty of the Triple City"). 


        Rather than frightening (ugra) and horrific (saundarya), she is characterized as kind (saumya) and lovely (saundarya) (ghora). 


        • However, since Lakshmi and Lalita are seen as the ultimate Reality, they must also have a destructive side. 
        • The Divine, from our limited human perspective, is neither solely good nor solely negative, but it transcends all such classifications. 
        • The enormous Devi­ BhdgliJata, a Shakta counterpart of the Vaishnava Bhdgavata-Purona, which has been dated between the seventh and twelfth centuries, is the most significant Hindu book praising the Divine in its feminine form. 

        The great Goddess is presented as the universe's everlasting essence.



        You may also want to read more about Kundalini Yoga here.

        You may also want to read more about Yoga here.


        You may also want to read more about Yoga Asanas and Exercises here.


        You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

        Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.





        Hinduism - What Is The Kurmasana?

         


         (“tortoise-posture”) In Hindu iconography, one of the sitting positions (asanas) utilized in yoga; also a posture in which pictures of the deities are shown.

        This position has the legs crossed with the feet tucked under the thighs and the crossed heels producing a hole around the scrotum, as described in commentaries on the Yoga Sutras.

        The Kurmasana is occasionally shown at the foot of a statue by an actual sculpture of a tortoise, which serves as the basis on which the figure is set in Indian iconography.

        This posture is described in modern yoga manuals as a sitting position in which the upper body is bent forward, with the arms extended sideways under the outstretched legs, giving the impression of a tortoise with a head, "shell" (the trunk), and four outstretched limbs.

        Kurukshetra is the scene of the Mahabharata's final battle, which is the later of the two major Hindu epics.

        This conflict is still spoken about as if it happened yesterday.

        Kurukshetra is well known for its bathing (snana) facilities.

        Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims go to a bathing pool during eclipses, when it is said to hold all of India's holy waters.

        Kusha is one of the twin sons of Rama, the epic's protagonist, in the Ramayana, the earlier of the two major Indian epics.

        Kusha is born in an unexpected manner after their mother, Sita, is exiled to the ashram of the guru Valmiki.

        Sita brings her son Lava to the river to wash one day, and Valmiki realizes that the youngster has vanished, fearing that it has been kidnapped by a wild animal.

        He constructs an identical kid out of kusha grass to spare Sita's motherly sentiments.

        Sita's twin is given the name Kusha when he returns with Lava.

        Lava and Kusha later accompany Valmiki to Rama's court at Ayodhya.

        They first read the epic poem written by Valmiki, the Ramayana, at Rama's court.

        Rama splits his kingdom between Lava and Kusha when he relinquishes his reign.

        Kusha (also known as "Kusha Grass") is a kind of grass native to India.

        Dvipa Kusha, or "Kusha grass," is the fourth of the seven concentric landmasses (dvipas) that make up the visible earth, according to legendary geography.

        Also see cosmology.


        You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

        Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.



        Hinduism - AGAMAS

           



           

          What Are Agamas?

          Agamas refer to sacred Hindu texts recorded in various forms collectively.

          The significance of texts of all kinds—prose and poetry, written and oral, spoken and sung (whether by a single expert or by a multitude), antique and vernacular, stable and fluid—distinguishes Hinduism, if Hinduism can be characterized as a single thing at all. 

          Here we explore the significance of texts in Hinduism, defines various textual categories, and provides links to entries that cover related topics. 

          Agamas can be Stable and Flowing, Written and Spoken. 

          Any utterance, long or short, that can be repeated in essentially the same manner on several occasions is referred to in this context as a "text." 

          There is a propensity to limit the word "text" to utterances recorded in writing, whether in handwriting, printed, or electronic form. 

          This inclination is supported by the nomenclature of mobile phones and text editing software. 

          When discussing Hindu culture, however, where certain texts exist without writing and are conveyed orally from one speaker to another, this limitation is improper. 

          Writing seems to have first arisen in India, apart from the Indus Valley script, about the middle of the last millennium BCE, but was not utilized for religious writings until much later. 

          With the exception of a few later ones, several of these—the Vedic texts—were written down during a period when there is no proof that writing existed. 

          Others, passed down within small communities, are only known to those outside those communities if they are written down or electronically stored by a third party. 

          There are texts in all of the Hindu languages that are interpreted in this broad meaning (including English and other languages of countries outside South Asia). 

          Many civilizations have incredibly stable ritual texts that must always be performed in precisely the same way—the same words in the same sequence, often even with the same vocal inflections—in order to avoid becoming insulting, ineffectual, or even catastrophic. 

          Vedic writings are one example of this. 

          Other texts may be changed by various reciters, scribes, or even the same person at different times by deleting, adding, or modifying specific words. 

          The art of the reciter may include improvised variation. 

          The Mahabharata and Ramayana, which change considerably in various regions of South Asia, are excellent examples of this. 

          Whether a text is written or spoken depends on whether it is stable or flowing. 

          While the Vedic writings have not altered despite being passed down orally for millennia prior to being recorded, there are hundreds of manuscripts and four distinct printed copies of the Mahabharata. 

          The idea that a text should be retained in tact without being recorded in writing runs counter to what literary historians and anthropologists have discovered about the nature of oral literature. 

          In societies where oral texts are fluid, significant study on oral transmission of texts has been conducted (Chadwick and Chadwick 1932–1940; Lord 1960; Ong 1982). 

          A typical orally transmitted text, like a ballad or an epic, exists as a variety of performances, each of which is somewhat improvised and not an exact replication of any prior performance. 

          This explains, for instance, the Mahabharata's several recensions and myriad modifications. 

          Some theorists (mostly from outside Indian studies) have questioned whether the Veda could have been conveyed unmodified without the use of writing, despite the fact that the oral transmission of the Veda in ancient and contemporary times is thoroughly proven (Scharfe 2002: 8–37, 240–51). 

          According to one anthropologist, the Vedic texts cannot have taken on a set shape before writing was discovered since the concept of a stable text can only exist in a community that is literate (Goody 1987). 

          He claims that the educational environment decontextualizes memory in literate societies by isolating learning from action (Goody 1987: 189). 

          In contrast, this was and is accomplished in India without the use of writing by isolating the study of the Vedas from the context of the yajna, where the texts would be used. 

          The practice of self-study (svadhyaya), in which the Veda-knower recites the texts he has learned, and the learning process are rituals in and of themselves. 

          A class of people who dedicate a major portion of their life to it must be able to do the mental labor-intensive task of oral transmission of a stable text. 

          It was accomplished by brahmans, whose standing relied on their knowledge; monks, similarly, transmitted Buddhist literature (Warder 1970: 205, 294). 

          Some of Paul Ricoeur's (1981: 147; cf. Graham 1987: 15) insights must be amended in a Hindu setting due to the potential of a stable oral text. 

          He contends that the act of writing simultaneously creates the text and distinguishes it from speech, and hence from the setting in which the words were first spoken and in which they had meaning. 

          Recontextualizing the text in the interpreter's own context is the goal of hermeneutics, according to Ricoeur. 

          However, according to the Hindu perspective, the Veda and other writings are not distinguished from speech and are texts even if they are not written. 

          The Veda is speech in and of itself; it is frequently referred to as sabda-brahman, "Brahman as sound," and is a manifestation of the original speech that was spoken at the beginning of the cosmos (om). 

          Not just the Veda, but also the Epics, Puranas, Tantras, and other works that are passed down verbally yet written down in manuscripts are subject to the rule that voice takes precedence over writing (Carpenter 1992). 

          As shown by commentary (see below), recontextualization, or giving a text a new meaning in a new context, did occur in ancient India, but it had previously happened with the Brahmanas and writings like Yaska's Nirukta, completely independently of writing. 

          Until the widespread use of printing in the nineteenth century, other literature relied either on less stable techniques of oral transmission or on perishable manuscripts, or both, whereas the Vedic texts have been maintained stable by a closely regulated methodology of oral transmission. 

          While more well-known writings like the Panchatantra are available in several manuscript and printed copies in various locales, showing the unbridled inventiveness of anonymous storytellers, many ancient Sanskrit texts have been passed down in pretty dependable manuscript form. 

          Similar fluidity may be seen in the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas, and other smrti works. 

          While certain vernacular collections, like the poetry of Kabir, have a very consistent history, others don't. 

          Some academics have tried to reconstruct the original shape of such a work by contrasting the readings of various manuscripts using textual criticism techniques. 

          Others argue that these approaches are unsuitable for works that have always been available in a variety of versions reflecting regional and ideological differences. 

          Others who seek the original text via the variation versions and those who believe that these versions themselves are the appropriate subject of study continue to have disagreements (Narayana Rao 2004: 110–03). 

          Printing altered the situation in the nineteenth century by giving certain copies of previously fluid writings preference and making Vedic texts, which were previously the property of twice-born men who had received upanayana, accessible to everyone. 

          Then then, recording and broadcasting in the 20th century altered everything. 

          Specialist reciters are no longer required because to sound recordings and written volumes of mantras (Buhnemann 1988: 96). 

          The Ramayana and Mahabharata on television have prioritized certain interpretations more successfully than printed copies could (Brockington 1998: 510–13). 

          The Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Puranas have certain stories that have rather solid literary forms, but popular storytelling is still a flexible art. 

          The vrat-katha is a significant kind of religious story that is told to a group of individuals engaged in a vrata

          The traditional form of a vrata includes the telling of the narrative, which explains how the vrata was established and what benefits come from following it. 

          However, a videotape might now take the role of the storyteller (Jackson and Nesbitt 1993: 65–70). 

          Hindu thinking places a high value on speech, as seen by the care with which texts are preserved and the respect accorded to individuals who recall them, both in the Vedic textual tradition and in less formal traditions (Graham 1987: 67–77). 

          However, in non-Vedic ritual writing has a place alongside speech despite the fact that speech is given priority and that the vocal aspect is dominant both in Vedic ritual and elsewhere. 

          Both inside and outside of temples, mantras are painted; home shrines often have metal sculptures of the om symbol, and some temples have neon signs. 

          On holy diagrams, this character and others that stand in for "seed mantras" are engraved (yantras). 

          Both Valmiki's Ramayana and the whole of Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas are engraved on the walls of contemporary temples in Varanasi and Ayodhya, respectively (Brockington 1998: 506n.). 

          In many temples, a printed copy of the Rigveda Samhita is on display; however, it is not meant to be read, but rather to be revered, much as the Sikhs revere the Adi Granth


          What exactly are "holy texts"? 

          The term "holy texts" is a useful method to distinguish between writings that obviously have a religious purpose within a given tradition and those that do not. 

          The Veda, the Dharmasastra, the poems of the Alvars and Nayan-mar, the mantras spoken or chanted in worship, bhajan songs, or books of instruction like the Siks.patr of Swami Narayana are just a few examples of texts that are discussed in this entry that are used in ritual or that convey religious ideas or precepts. 

          Even though the Pancatantra and the Kamasutra are included in this encyclopedia because of their importance to Hindu culture, we are not concerned with these writings since they are obviously not holy. 

          Although many of them include mythical content or express significant principles like karma or purity, the majority of ancient poetry and contemporary books are also unimportant to us. 

          The Mahabharata and the Ramayana, on the other hand, are the subjects of our interest since they not only include tales but also serve as a repository for religious doctrine and mantras and are dramatized and repeated during certain ceremonial occasions. 

          A priceless legacy of editions, translations, and other works has been left by the study of Hindu writings written in Sanskrit and other languages throughout the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries. 

          The belief that every religion had its own "Bible" or "scriptures," serving a comparable purpose to the Bible in Protestantism (in theological theory if not in observable practice), was supported and, to some measure, driven by that scholarly tradition. 

          This presumption, exemplified by Muller's Sacred Books of the East series, ignores the many ways that texts may be employed in various traditions as well as the various ways that their authority or holiness may be perceived (Timm 1992: 2). 

          Like "the holy" itself, the notion of "sacred texts" or "scripture" is imposed from outside and is not always present among participants. 

          We may interpret it as texts that are "considered, in some way, as the primary center of spoken interaction with ultimate reality" (Graham 1987: 68). 

          They can be interpreted as such because they were said by a particularly wise person, like Valmiki, or by a great number of wise people, like the Vedic rishis or a group of bhakti poets, or by a deity, like Siva; or they can be interpreted as wise because they were eternal and independent of any author, which in the Purva Mmamsa view is the assurance of the Veda's authority. 

          Some works (e.g., Bhagavadgta 18, 67-78; S vetas.vatara Upanisad 6. 22f.) make a claim to being holy by offering incentives for hearing or reciting them or banning teaching them to unauthorized individuals. 

          However, the way a text is used, not its contents, can indicate whether it is considered sacred. 

          This includes whether or not it is recited in ritual settings, whether it is treated as a source of truths or moral imperatives, and whether written or oral versions of the text are revered or protected from tampering. 

          Speaking of sacred texts implies that there is a community who holds those texts in high regard (W.C. Smith 1993: 17f.). 

          For various Hindu groups, various texts are sacred in various ways. 

          Adherence to a text may define what is, for convenience's sake, a "sect" in Hinduism (Renou 1953: 91–99). 

          The word "sect" essentially translates to "tradition" in Sanskrit; unlike in European contexts where it may denote anything that differs from a church or societal standards. 

          Even when a sampradaya's founder left no written works behind, later generations continued to produce literary works in both the vernacular and Sanskrit. 

          This was the situation with the Chaitanya-founded Vaisnava tradition, where the six Gosvamins of Vrindavana composed Bengali and Sanskrit texts that were considered canonical for the Sampradaya. 

          Even the non-hierarchical Bauls, who have no known founder, have their own fluid corpus of songs. 


          What Are Smritis And Srutis?

          Smrti and Sruti Although the term "holy texts" or "scripture" is not an indigenous one, Hindus themselves have categorized such books in a number of significant ways. 

          We may start by dividing knowledge into sruti, which means "hearing, revelation," and smrti, which means "memory, tradition." Sruti is the Veda; it is timeless and was comprehended by the ancient r.s.is via extrasensory perception. 

          Even if the writers of Smrti writings were much smarter than modern humans are capable of becoming, they were still humans. 

          The word "sruti" does not relate to a fixed canon of writings since the bounds of the Veda are fluid. 

          Indeed, the phrase was not always limited to the Veda; in Manusmrti (12.95), books that are most likely Buddhist and Jain are condemned as "srutis that are outside the Veda" (Olivelle 2005: 234, 349). 

          Smrti is still not as exact. It contains the Kalpasutras, yet as they are a component of the Vedic ceremonial system, they are not typical of smrti writings. 

          The Mahabharata, the Ramayana, the Dharmasastras, the Puranas, the Agamas, and the Tantras are what are often meant by the word. 

          There may be disagreements on whether a text is authentic since none of these criteria are clearly established. 

          These works are often structured by a dialogue in which a mythological person learns something from a different figure, with the prestige of these individuals lending legitimacy to the lessons. 

          Conversations are often placed inside dialogues to provide a series of teachers and listeners, most notably in the Mahabharata. 

          As a result, their literary form places them in a setting of verbal instruction from an authoritative speaker to an attentive listener, a scenario that is repeated by a line of speakers and listeners down to the current reciter and his audience. 

          Smrti renders its listeners indirect receivers of linguistic communication from the divine, but Sruti makes audible the everlasting speech at the beginning of the cosmos. 

          The Smrti texts are publicly recited, with the reciter frequently interspersing a vernacular translation, in contrast to the Vedas, which must be protected from being heard by unauthorized people (such as non-twice-born men or women) and recited in a set ritual manner in the exact form in which they have been learned. 

          Despite the fact that printing and manuscripts have made such recitation easier, the majority of people encounter texts via voice. 

          The performance of reciting the Puranas is mostly oral, however it is carried out by a highly educated professional known as the pauranika, who not only reads the book aloud but also comments on it while referencing other works. 

          A similar performance erases the line between oral and written culture (Singer 1972: 150–55; see also Narayana Rao 2004: 103–14). 

          Since the proponents of smrti possessed in-depth knowledge of the Veda, historically, the authority of smrti is drawn from that of sruti. 

          Manu claims that the tradition (smrti) and behavior of people who know it are the second source of dharma after the Veda itself (Manusmrti 2, 6). 

          The Vedic redactor Vyasa is credited with writing the Mahabharata after compiling the Vedas (Mahabharata 1.1.52). 

          According to Mahabharata 1.1.204, "The epics (itihasa) and Puranas should be employed to reinforce the Veda, because the Veda dread an uneducated man lest he may ruin it." 

          The narrative is repeated in the Bhagavata Purana: Vyasa wrote the Mahabharata because women, sudras, and nominal brahman (those who do not fulfill the actual character of brahman by learning the Veda) could not access the Vedas (Bhagavata Purana, 1.5.25). 

          But it also adds a conclusion: Vyasa eventually wrote the Bhagavata Purana to instruct in Krishna worship because he was still unsatisfied (Bhagavata Purana 1.4. 26–31; 1.7.6–8). 

          The historical link between smrti and sruti weakens as we go from the Kalpasutras through the Dharmasastras and epics to the Puranas, Agamas, and Tantras

          The four yugas, the framework on which historical time is traditionally constructed, are used to acknowledge this historical variation in the tradition. 

          Only during the Kreta era could the Vedas be properly followed; during the Dvapara era, they were in danger of being lost, which is why Vyasa set them up. 

          The Vedas are poorly known and understood in the current Kali era, when the brahmans who should preserve them are degenerate and the status of the kshatriyas who once supported the yajna has been usurped by rebels; instead, the smrti texts, which contain the meaning of the Vedas, have taken their place. 

          The Kali era is claimed to outlaw several behaviors that are prescribed in the Vedic writings namely Kali Varjya(or kali-varjita). 

          These practices include animal sacrifice and niyoga, also known as levirate, in which a man's wife engages in sexual relations with his brother in order to produce a son for her dead husband. 

          The belief that the Bhagavata Purana, or any other specific smrti work, conveys the content of the Veda does not imply that specific sentences in one text may be connected to phrases in another. 

          Instead, it conveys the feeling that both have the absolute truth. 

          The Bhagavad Gita, which has been the subject of countless translations and commentaries since the late nineteenth century, is the smrti text that is currently printed the most widely. 

          Long before that, it served as the inspiration for numerous imitations, some of which are included in Puranas like the Ganesagta or the Devgta while the Anugta is contained within the Mahabharata itself (Gonda 1977: 271–76). 

          Although some people object to this, the Bhagavadgta is often utilized in funeral ceremonies and as a book for religious schools (Firth 1997: 84, 87). 

          Numerous smrti writings, whether they promote the worship of Siva, Visnu, or Sakti or another god, are well-known and acknowledged by devotees of other deities. 

          Many of the Puranas support this. 

          On the other hand, there are literature known as Agamas, Tantras, and Sam hitas that are particular to one or both of these deities. 

          The word "agama," which means "tradition," may be used to refer to works that provide guidance on ritual behavior and the pursuit of salvation generally, but it is particularly used to describe books that identify Siva as the ultimate god. 

          Tantra may also be used more broadly, however it is particularly employed in books on Sakti worship. 

          The Vedic Samhitas and the group of works dedicated to Visnu known as the Pancaratra Samhitas are the two principal usage of the term samhita. 

          Even while the phrases A gama, Tantra, and Samhita are often used to refer to Saivism, Saktism, and Vaisnavism, respectively, none of them are exclusive to any of these three. 

          However, the specific books they refer to are often just Saivism, Saktism, or Vaisnavism (Gonda 1977). 


          What Are Mantras, Vidhis, And Arthavada?

          The Veda is divided into mantra, vidhi, and arthavada categories according to a different categorization created in Purva Mimamsa. 


          1. A mantra is a passage of text chanted or spoken aloud during a rite. 
          2. A vidhi is a paragraph that instructs ritual practitioners on what to do and how to execute it. It is often translated as a "injunction." 
          3. Arthavada, which translates to "statement of purpose," explains why a ritual should be performed in a certain manner. 


          In practice, it refers to all Vedic texts that are neither mantras nor vidhis. 

          The Samhitas have mantras, but the Brahmanas and Aranyakas also commonly mention them. 

          The Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads also contain vidhi and arthavada

          Although the word "mantra" is often used outside of the Vedic setting, this categorization specifically pertains to Vedic writings. 

          Non-Vedic literature may also be categorized into sections that are employed in ritual, sections that prescribe, and sections that offer motivation for ritual action. 

          The phrases vidhi and arthavada are less common writings in both Sanskrit and the local language. 

          The sruti and smrti writings mentioned above are all in Sanskrit, and many Hindus who do not speak the language are acquainted with the sound of Sanskrit due to its usage in ritual. 


          There are holy scriptures in all Indian languages. 

          Bhakti, with its focus on the relationship between the devotee and the divine, which eliminates the necessity for the brahman and his ceremonial writings in Sanskrit, encouraged the use of literature in vernacular languages. 

          However, we need not assume that the earliest vernacular texts, starting with the Tamil poems of the sixth century, were also the first bhakti texts to be made available. 

          The use of vernacular languages from the beginning in Buddhist and Jain texts suggests that Sanskrit's dominance in the religious sphere had long been contested. 

          Along with the bhakti poetry, there are many vernacular Puranas, some of which are completely independent of Sanskrit and others that have been translated or altered from it (Rocher 1986: 72–77). 

          Many regional and educational themes are addressed in vernacular versions of the Ramayana, such as Kampan's Tamil translation Iramavataram and Tulsdas's Hindi Ramcaritmanas. 

          In the Ramlla dramas, especially at Dasahra, these, especially the latter, are not only recited but also performed (Brockington 1998: 505-07; Lutgendorf 1991). 

          It is less common to dramatize the Mahabharata, but South India and Sri Lanka both stage plays centered on Draupad (Brockington 1998: 507; Hiltebeitel 1988-91; Tanaka 1991). 

          Sanskrit writings are explicitly rejected in certain bhakti traditions, as in the tale of the Marathi poet Namdev who had a cow recite the Veda (Ranade 1961: 71). 

          The concept of the fifth Veda and the notion that vernacular texts with concepts such as the Tamil Veda, as well as smrti texts with concepts like the Bhagavata Purana (see above), contain the meaning of the Veda, were both expanded. 

          On the other hand, in many lineages, the creation of vernacular literature has been followed by the development of texts in Sanskrit. 

          For instance, the Sanskrit works of Yamunacarya, Ramanuja, and others came after the Tamil songs of the Alvars. 

          The Alvars were also followed by the Bhagavata Purana, which, because it was written in Sanskrit, made emotional bhakti accessible outside of the Tamil-speaking region. 

          However, the change from the vernacular to Sanskrit was accompanied by a change from an emotional to an intellectual form of bhakti (Hardy 1983: 36–43). 

          Vernacular works must obviously be regional, although this does not preclude their translation into or imitation in neighboring languages; for example, poetry credited to Kabr are also available in Bengali, Panjabi, and Hindi. 

          Tyagaraja's (1767–1847) Telegu songs are popular in areas of South India and the diaspora but are seldom recognized outside of that region (Jackson 1991). 

          Up until the nineteenth century, when English usage started to rise steadily throughout the Hindu world, Sanskrit was the only language in which texts could be made available. 

          The English writings of non-regional, non-sectarian Hinduism pioneers like Gandhi, Radhakrishnan, and Vivekananda—a Bengali, Gujarati, and Tamil—show the significance of English in this process. 

          In the last fifty years, Hindi has surpassed English as the language spoken across all of India. 

          Some Sanskrit writings are regional or even local, while vernacular texts are by their very nature local. 


          What Are Mahatmyas And Sthala-Puranas?

          In addition to texts from locally based sampradayas, there are texts from pilgrimage sites or temples. 

          These texts include Mahatmyas ('glorifications'), which extol the local deity and the advantages of visiting it, and Sthala-Puranas ('puranas of the place, local puranas'), which tell the history of the site's sanctity and the rules for visiting it. 

          Examples of these two types that overlap may be found in vernacular and Sanskrit languages (Rocher 1986: 71f. ; Gonda 1977: 276-81). 

          The readers or listeners of vernacular texts are not always able to understand them; Sanskrit is not the only language that is used in ritual without being fully understood. 

          The language of the Tamil bhakti poetry is not current spoken Tamil, although they are nevertheless widely performed in temples. 

          Tulsıdas’ Ramcaritmanas may have owed its popularity originally to its being in language familiar to its hearers, but it continues to be repeated in its original, now archaic form, its worth consisting in its holiness rather than its accessibility. 


          Sacred Poetry And Prose. 

          Most of the works we are interested in are in verse, however numerous mantras from the Yajur veda, all of the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, certain Upanisads, and the Kalpasutras are in prose (interesting as the earliest instances of prose in any Indian language). 

          Also written in prose are the non-Vedic sutras. 

          There are a few portions in the Mahabharata and Puranas that are written in prose. 

          Sanskrit literature, especially technical works like the Sam. 

          hyakarikas, the founding book of the Sam. 

          khya philosophy, was and remains heavily verse-based. 

          The sloka, a stanza of thirty-two syllables split into four halves, is by far the most popular poetry form. 

          Unlike the other meters employed in the complex literature known as kavya, it is adaptable and simple to utilize (see below). 

          Slokas have been written by countless anonymous authors of the Puranas and other texts, in addition to well-known poets, and are used even for quite unpoetic subjects were cited in prose works of religion that inspired debate, such as:

          1. Swami Narayan's Vacanamrta ('Immortality in words') in Gujarati, 
          2. Dayananda Saraswati's Satyartha Prakasa ('Light of truth') in Hindi, 
          3. or Vivekananda's writings in English. 


          What is Kavya?

          Even though kavya can be in prose, the term is occasionally translated as "poetry." It takes a significant amount of literary training to compose and appreciate this particular genre of Sanskrit literature. 

          It contains a variety of literary genres, such as verse epics, dramas, and one-verse epigrams. 

          Even today, despite the fact that few people are sufficiently educated to appreciate it, it is still being developed under the patronage of kings. 

          The Buddha-charita (also known as the "Life of the Buddha"), written by Asvaghosa in the first or second century CE, and inscriptions from the second century CE forward are the earliest instances that have survived. 

          Although textual scholars consider the Ramayana's only passages in which it claims to be the original kavya to be late and that it lacks the stylistic elaboration typical of kavya, it is still hailed as the genre's founding work (Brockington 1998: 23, 361). 

          Kavya, in contrast to smrti and other works, rigorously adheres to the grammatical rules established by Panini and other grammarians and makes use of sophisticated meters and aesthetic embellishments that are outlined in literary guides. 

          A thorough understanding of mythology as well as other disciplines is required to fully comprehend kavya, even though it generally does not come within the category of holy literature. 

          Kavya works frequently start with a prayer or deity's invocation. 

          Some, like Kalidasa's Kumarasam Bhava on the birth of Skanda, are based on mythological stories, while others, like his play Sakuntala, use epic tales. 

          The Gtagovinda and the Karnandana ('Delight of the ears'), poems from the Radhavallabh Sampradaya, which was formed by the poet's father, Hita Harivamsa, and focused on Krishna's beloved, Radha, are two instances of kavya compositions that are devotional throughout (Gonda 1977: 25–29; Entwistle 1987: 168). 

          The Kuncitan ghri-stava, written by Umapati Sivacarya in the year 1300 CE and translated as "Hymn of praise to [Nataraja's] curved foot," is one particularly intriguing example. 

          Each of its 313 verses concludes with a refrain that alludes to Siva's foot being raised in the dance and does so by way of a clever and moving fusing of mythological, theological, and philosophical ideas (D. Smith 1996). 


          What Is a Stotra?

          The stotra, a hymn of adoration to a deity, is a common type of religious text that is written in both Sanskrit and vernacular (Gonda 1977: 232–70). 

          In contrast to sloka or the meters used in kavya, many stotras use rhyme and a metre with a strong recurrent beat, and they frequently contain a refrain. 

          Many stotras are credited to Sankara (Mahadevan 1980; Hirst 2005: 24f.). 

          The Gtagovinda contains stotras, which are songs. 

          Another example is the poem Bande Mataram by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, which was originally written to honor Bengal as a mother goddess but was later changed to refer to India. 

          Its grammar is so straightforward that anyone who knows Bengali or Hindi can understand most of the poem (Lipner 2005). 

          The nama-stotra is one kind of stotra, and it consists mostly of a list of names, epithets, and descriptions of a specific god (Gonda 1977: 268–70; Gonda 1970: 67–76). 

          An early example is the Sata-rudrya ('[hymn] of a thousand Rudras'), which is still chanted in Siva temples and is part of the Black Yajur veda (Vajasaney Samhita 4, 5). 

          The prayers are interspersed with numerous names and epithets that invoke Rudra (Gonda 1970: 70f.; Gonda 1977: 241; translated Keith 1914: 353-62). 

          Other Sanskrit prose was utilized in theological works such as Ramanuja’s Vedartha-samgraha (‘Compendium of the meaning of the Veda’), and for the huge library of comments detailed below. 

          It was used for literary works such as the Pancatantra, theater, and other literary works that did not fall under the rubric of holy writings. 

          Except for letters and other related documents, little little prose was produced in the common languages until the nineteenth century. 

          The bhakti poems are in verse, though some, like the Marathi abhangs and the Kannad vacans, have a more flexible verse structure. 

          Since 1816, Rammohan Roy and his Hindu and Christian adversaries have contributed prose works in Bengali and English to religious debates that had hitherto only been held in Sanskrit. 

          In his earliest work, Roy noted that many people had trouble reading Bengali prose and offered some brief tips on how to do so (Killingley 1982: 12; Das 1966: 131f.). 

          Newspapers, books, and other advances encouraged the use of prose in the vernacular languages during the nineteenth century. 

          These well-known instances are the Lalita-sahasra-nama ('Thousand names of the luscious [Goddess]') in the Brahmanada Purana and the Visnu-sahasra-nama ('Thousand names of Visnu'; Raghavan 1958: 421-36). 


          What Is The Purpose And Place Of Commentary In Sacred Texts?

          Hindu writings are meant to be analyzed and discussed. 

          Some comments, sometimes referred to as t.ka, just clarify challenging terms; the term for a more thorough commentary is bhasya. 

          Some comments, such as Saya's on Vedic literature, Sankara's on the Upanisads, or the countless commentators on the Manusmrti or Manavadharmasastra, explain every word in the original text on the grounds that nothing is without intent. 

          Some texts, like the Brahmasutras and the Bhagavadgta, have been discussed numerous times from various and frequently conflicting perspectives; one of the commentator's tasks is to disprove competing interpretations. 

          A commentary, particularly one on a sutra, may be a text of original authorship in and of itself, with subsequent commentary by members of the same school of thought elaborating on the first commentary's meaning in light of newer developments within the school. 

          Although it has been argued that the presence of substantial commentaries indicates a text's theological significance, a text that is religiously inspiring but not theologically significant may draw little to no attention (Clooney 2003: 461). 

          In addition to Sanskrit commentaries, vernacular commentaries exist. 

          Tamil commentaries on Tamil texts are one such example (Hardy 1983: 244f.). 

          Oral commentaries on the Puranas have also been mentioned.


          ~Kiran Atma


          You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

          Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.


          References And Further reading: 


          • J. A. B. van Buitenen, trans., Yamana’s Agamapramanyam or Treatise on the Validity of Pancaratra (Madras: Ramanuja Research Society, 1971).
          • Bruno Dagens, Architecture in the Ajitagama and the Rauravagama: A Study of Two South Indian Texts (New Delhi: Sitaram Institute of Scientific Research, 1984).
          • Mark Dyczkowski, The Canon of the Saivagama and the Kubjika Tantras of the Western Kaula Tradition (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988).
          • Kamalakar Mishra, Kashmir Saivism: The Central Philosophy of Tantrism (Portland, Ore.: Rudra Press, 1993).
          • S. K. Ramachandra Rao, Agama-Kosa: Agama Encyclopedia (Bangalore: Kapatharu Research Academy, 1994).