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

Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Historic Perceptions And Changing Attitude Towards Animal Sacrifice



Sacrifice of an animal or ritual Animal sacrifice has been practiced historically in two distinct strands of Hinduism. 


1. The first, and by far the most ancient, is the sacrificial religion detailed in the Vedas' later layers, especially in Brahmana literature. 


  • Because some of these rituals required the killing of hundreds of animals, they could practically only be conducted by royalty and aristocracy. 
  • The horse sacrifice (ashvamedha), which intended to demonstrate a king's tremendous might, was perhaps the most renowned of these rituals. 


These sacrifices became less common in the early centuries before the common era—a trend that was often linked to Buddhist and Jains' emphasis on ahimsa, or nonviolence—and by the early centuries of the common era, even Hindu commentators were condemning the Vedic sacrifices because they involved animal slaughter. 


These rituals have generally gone out of favor in contemporary times, and even when they are resurrected and re-created, they typically do not include animal killing but rather substitutes such as vegetables or fruits



2. The worship of village deities, or particularly strong and frightening manifestations of the Goddess, is another setting in which animal sacrifice may be found and is still practiced on a regular basis. 

Animals (typically goats) are beheaded in this form of devotion, and the blood is given to the god, sometimes by smearing part of it on a post outside the temple. 


  • Blood is regarded a "hot" material in Hindu culture, since it is very polluted, tremendously strong, and easily contaminates other things. 
  • Any god who needs animal sacrifice is also “hot”—powerful enough to bestow blessings on their followers (bhakta), but also marginal, possibly dangerous, and needing regular animal sacrifice to sustain their power. 



The temple of the goddess Kamakhya in contemporary Assam, a province in northeastern India, is the most severe example. 

Although the practice was outlawed by the British in 1832, this is one of the few documented cases of human sacrifice. 

  • When Kamakhya's current temple was dedicated in 1565, she was said to have been given the heads of 140 men who had all agreed to be sacrificed. 



Many Hindus do not agree of the impurity (ashaucha) and murder associated with animal sacrifice, despite the fact that such blood-drinking deities are frequently extremely powerful. 

As a result, one of the first steps in making a god acceptable to a more educated audience is to make the sacrifices vegetarian by replacing the sacrificial animal with a gourd or cucumber.


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.



Paganism & Wicca - What Are Animal Gods, Familiars And Shape-Changing?

One of the most significant differences between modern neo Pagans and Peoples of the Book Jews, Christians, and Muslims is their belief in the divinity of both human and animal existence. 

Instead, all animals, including humans, are in the image of the gods or (in certain cultures) are gods themselves, "animals" are not always considered as "inferior life-forms," as they are in those faiths. Pagans' relationships with the natural world differ to some degree. 


Some Neo-Pagans believe that nature is there to be harvested, but that humans owe the spirits of animals and plants a deliberate gesture of gratitude for their contributions. 


  • Many, if not all, forms of life, according to Others, have their own intellect and integrity, and should be produced as colleagues and companions, and in some cases as instructors. 
  • Men wrapped in animal skins, presumably practicing shamanic or hunting magic, are portrayed in Neolithic cave paintings as the earliest known magical working between humans and ocher animals.
  • Dances, songs, and folktales depict the activities and adventures of significant animal species such as the bear, raven, owl, wolf, and fox, from the inuit of the Arctic Circle to the Ainu, the oldest seti people on the Japanese islands. 
  • In one Ainu ceremony, the ladies wear blankets dyed to look like crows and do a line dance to the accompaniment of drums and chant. 
  • The Ainu are also the only surviving bear cultists, who worshiped a female bear deity and drank from her skull during holy ceremonies until modern times. 
  • The shaman's capacity to take animal shape, seek the assistance of an animal friend, or co-share consciousness with an animal enables him to see and hear the world from the ground, the air, and under the sea. 
  • Wiccans and Asatru who use traditional lion trance techniques frequently report that their spirit guides take the form of animals, and many will "shape-change" during their spirit journeys, allowing them co fly and swim, as well as walk and run, in their search for hidden knowledge. 
  • Animal companions that bring good fortune or bad fortune are a global occurrence. 
  • A folk tale about a supernatural fish who bestows good or ill wishes on a fisherman is an example of an animal aid. 
  • A shape-shifting chase between a goddess and her "prey" in a British ballad recalls an incident in the Mabinogian in which Cerridwen (or Caridwin) chases Gwion Bach for stealing a magical brew meant for another, bestowing upon him the power of animal language and, after his transformation into Tales and poetry. 

  • Many deities in Norse mythology have animal forms as well as animal companions. 
  • Skadhi, a mountain giantess, could transform into a hawk, her father Thiazy into an eagle, and Freya, a Vanic goddess, into a falcon. 
  • Lieu cooks on an eagle in Celtic mythology, whereas other goddesses are associated with horses or swans. 
  • Because of their nocturnal habits, quiet flying, and spooky night cry, owls were linked with wisdom as a symbol of the Greek goddesses Athena and Demeter, but also with death or sorcery by many peoples. 
  • Many gods and goddesses that wandered the battlefield, like as the Irish Morrigan, were linked with ravens and crows, which scavenge on dead flesh. Snakes have long been emblems of feminine knowledge and strength, from the Minoan snake goddess of Knossos to the Nagas of India. 

  • Pagan religion also includes fish, amphibians, arachnids, and insects. A salmon is a sign of knowledge in Celtic mythology. 
  • Toads have been revered for their toxic and hallucinogenic secretions, frogs have been respected for their metamorphosis from toadpoles, spiders have been venerated for their ability to spin, and scarabs (dung beetles) have been venerated for their ability to emerge out of trash. 
  • Freya was believed to ride in a cat-drawn wagon. Goddesses and cats, on the other hand, have a lengthy history. 
  • The statue of a mountain goddess discovered in C::atal Hilyilk and dated to about 6000 B.C.S. is thought to be Cybele or a comparable proto-goddess; it depicts the goddess surrounded by two lions. Juno's chariot was drawn by the Lions. 
  • Only two of the deities who were known as Lady of the Beasts and protectors of all animals were Astarte and Artemis. 
  • To entice Europa, the Greek deity Zeus assumed the shape of a bull. 
  • The Templars were accused of worshiping Baphomet, a goat-headed god associated with the Christian Satan. 
  • As Paganism started its contemporary resurgence in the early twentieth century, Pan, the goat-footed deity, was rediscovered and replaced Diana as the main male and female deities. 
  • Stag gods are said to have originated in prehistoric Britain and Europe, but the rituals of the hunter and the hunted, who was both a god of fertility and a god of death, were carried on as rural pageants into the medieval and early modern eras. 


Many Egyptian gods and goddesses were animals, either by birth or by agreement. 


  • Their animal­ human essence was linked, and it is a testament to the unification of mankind and all of nature, which was ingrained in both Egyptian religion and everyday life in ancient Egypt. 
  • The most well-known Egyptian animal goddesses are undoubtedly Bast, the cat-headed goddess of the household, and her wilder sister, Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess. 
  • Ta-urc, the hip­popotamus goddess of birthing and fertility, and Sebek, the crocodile deity of protection and retribution, as well as funerary and pharaonic deities like Tahuti ibis), Anubis jackal), and Horus (falcon), were prominent to every Egyptian deities. In many parts of the globe, cats are the foundation of wealth. 
  • As a result, it's not unexpected that cows and bulls have been integrated into religious beliefs. 
  • The primordial cow Audhumla licked the first man free from a block of salty ice, according to Norse mythology. Hathor, the Egyptian deity, is shown wearing a cow-horn headpiece. 
  • The Apis bull was an early Egyptian fertility deity with solar and chthonic characteristics, and holy bulls were slaughtered and mummified in his honor. 



Modern-day Wiccans have resurrected the Sacred Stag and his foliate form, the Green Man, as emblems of the masculine essence, replacing Pan. 


  • Pigs and boars were the main sacrifice animals for the Eleusinian Mysteries in Greece, and they represented a variety of goddesses and gods from India to Egypt to Ireland (see Mystery Religions). 
  • Dogs were linked with the virgin huntress Diana, a Roman goddess. Cerberus, a three-headed hound, guarded the Greek underworld. 
  • However, throughout the Middle Ages, dogs, particularly black canines, were linked with the Christian Satan. 
  • An intoxicated sacristan dedicated to the Virgin Mary was stumbling out of the basement to go to church when he was accosted by a bull, a dog, and a lion, according to a twelfth-century tale. 
  • In each instance, a female with a white handkerchief drove the animals away till the chef the sacristan was finally rucked into bed. 


It was thought that witches maintained familiars, or creatures that clung to their bid­ clings, throughout the Middle Ages and early modern era. 


  • Fear of a lady or man who could speak with animals and didn't follow the Christian taboo that separated people from all other creatures often resulted in the death of the individual and his or her animal companion. 
  • Much of the wanton cruelty to vehicles and dogs that animal rights organizations are fighting today likely started with these slaughters. 
  • While owls, crows or ravens, hens, and a wide variety of ocher animals are often thought of as witches' familiars, witches have been known to connect with owls, crows or ravens, hens, and a broad variety of ocher animals. 
  • To create a familiar, the witch would traditionally allow the animal companion to nurse from her or taste a drop of her blood, forming a mother-­child connection with her animal companion. 
  • Animals may have been revered as gods or symbols of gods, but they were also sacrifices in ancient times. 
  • They were sometimes simply slaughtered in a ceremonial manner—for example, to worship Cattle on their journey to the butcher's shop—but more frequently they were given in blood rituals to honor a deity or to send a message to a god in the Otherworld. 
  • Huge cemeteries filled of mummified vehicles, ibises, hawks, and other creatures provide silent witness to the temple business of animal sacrifice. 


Modern Pagans and Wiccans see animals as having souls, and therefore regard their lives as holy in the same way that human life is revered. 

  • The death of a beloved pet cat, dog, or snake may be just as painful for many neo-Pagans as the death of a human relative, and some Pagan periodicals include "in memoriam" sections where both two-footed and non-two-footed family members can be remembered. 
  • Many Witches take pleasure in vehicle herding, or at least mutual feline-human respect, and Polk traditions like as horse whispering have been extended to encompass communication with a range of nonhuman people. 
  • Human and nonhuman per­ son connection and mutual respect are essential elements in the preservation of the numerous species that are threatened today, according to most neo-Pagans.


You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.



Hinduism - What Is Vaitarani?

 

Vaitarani  is a river in Hindu mythology that runs through the underworld and that souls must cross on their journey to see the deity Yama, the god of the dead.

The crossing is relatively simple for pious individuals, who are said to cross by gripping the tail of a cow.

The Vaitarani, on the other hand, is a river of pus, blood, spit, and other polluting substances in which various ferocious beasts lie in wait for wicked people.

Vajapeya is one of the two most well-known Vedic sacrifices, along with Rajasuya.

The Vajapeya sacrifice was designed to give an established king lasting strength and vitality, magically rejuvenating him after a long reign and in the face of advancing age.

The rite was elaborate in ancient times and included animal sacrifice; today, it is performed in one day and the animal sacrifice is symbolic.

~Kiran Atma


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

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.


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.



Hinduism - What Is Ashvamedha?



The  “horse sacrifice” or Ashvamedha - The purpose of such a Vedic sacrifice is to demonstrate and show royal authority.  



  • A particularly sanctified horse was allowed to wander as it pleased during this sacrifice, accompanied by an armed band of the king's attendants. 
  • When the horse strayed into the realm of a neighboring ruler, that ruler had two options: 
    • he could accept subservient status to the king who had unleashed it, 
    • or he might try to seize the horse and fight the king's servants. 

  • The horse was taken back to the royal capital after a year of roaming and sacrificed ritually by suffocation or strangling so that its blood would not be spilt. 
  • The chief queen would lay down next to the horse after it had been slaughtered, simulating sexual contact. 
  • Even though it was obviously a secondary element of the ceremony, when the directions for this rite were first translated in the nineteenth century, this simulated intercourse piqued the attention of European academics. 


Because the monarch conducting the ritual was able to govern the area traveled in a year by a free-roaming horse, the rite's main focus was a celebration of royal authority. 


  • The queen's function, on the other hand, seems to be focused towards symbolically ensuring the land's fertility. 
  • According to historical sources, the ashvamedha was not conducted till the eleventh century C.E. 
  • Concerns about the karmic repercussions of killing a live creature, like in all other instances of animal sacrifice, were a major reason in its abolition. 



You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.




Hinduism - What Is Yajna?

 

Yajna is a Sanskrit word that means “sacrifice”. 

The basic religious act in the oldest stratum of Indian religion was a fire sacrifice.

The Brahmana literature elaborates on this worship of sacrifice in considerable detail, portraying sacrifice as the mechanism by which the cosmos came into existence.

The sacrifice required highly skilled priestly technicians (rtvij), who were in charge of singing portions of the Rg, Sama, and Yajur Vedas, as well as creating and keeping the holy fire at the center of the sacrificial activity.

This sacrificial ritual was focused on burning items in a holy fire, which was thought to be the deity Agni, so that Agni might deliver the sacrifices to the other gods.

These ceremonies were so intricate and costly that they soon fell out of favor; by the turn of the common period, there was also a lot of skepticism regarding the animal sacrifices that were formerly a big element of many of these rites.

These old ceremonies are no longer practiced, but the term yajna may now be used to any ceremony involving the holy fire, especially one conducted by a brahmin for a patron.


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.



Asatru - Modern Day Norse/Nordic Paganism (United States of America, Scandinavia/Europe)





    Nordic Revival



    In the early 1970s, individuals in Iceland, the United States, and the United Kingdom formed new religious organizations devoted to reviving pre-Christian Northern European religious beliefs and practices, particularly those of pre-Christian Iceland and Scandinavia, but also those of the Germanic peoples of continental Europe and the Anglo-Saxons of England. 


    • The term Nordic will be used to refer to the peoples and cultures of Northern Europe. 
    • Norse will refer to the pre-Christian culture and religion of Iceland and Scandinavia in general.
    • Whereas Old Norse or Old Icelandic will relate to the language and literature of those periods in more detail. 



    In the early 1970s, the Icelandic, American, and British Nordic religion revival organizations were not in touch or even aware of one other's existence. 


    • Each had come to the same conclusion—that the Nordic pagan religious traditions of the past should be resurrected for the sake of contemporary people. 
    • Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson, a poet and farmer from Iceland, and a group of friends, many of whom were also poets and fans of early Icelandic literature, founded Asatruarfelagid, or "the fellowship of those who believe in the old gods," which is frequently shortened as Asatru. 
    • Stephen McNallen and Robert Stine founded the Viking Brotherhood in the United States, which was later renamed the Asatru Folk Alliance. 
    • The Committee for the Restoration of the Odinic Rite was founded in Britain by John Yeowell and his colleagues. 

    These 1970s Nordic Pagan revival organizations have since branched and split as more people became involved, introducing new ideas and sometimes divergent directions, while remaining united in their devotion to the religious and cultural traditions preserved in Iceland's and other Nordic nations' ancient literature. 



    Most contemporary Nordic Pagans identify to themselves as Asatruar (Asatru believers) and their religion as Asatru (believing in or trusting in the old gods).

    • Alternatively, they refer to themselves as Heathens (the ancient Germanic word for non-Christians) and their religion as Heathenry. 
    • In this article, the words Nordic Paganism, Asatru, and Heathenry shall be used interchangeably. 


    Many additional countries, including Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Canada, and Australia, have formed Nordic Pagan revival groups. 

    Based on interviews and field research in both countries, this chapter will give a short history and evolution of the Icelandic and American versions of Nordic Paganism, as well as a sketch of Nordic Paganism at the turn of the twenty-first century. 


    Previous research on Nordic Paganism in the United States has tended to highlight (and maybe exaggerate) some racist and Neo-Nazi aspects within the Nordic Pagan movement. 

    The bulk of contemporary Nordic Pagans are ardent supporters of Northern European cultural heritage as well as outspoken opponents of Nazism and bigotry. 


    • Most contemporary Nordic Pagans condemn the minority of Nordic Pagans with Neo-Nazi sympathies as members of fringe organizations with whom they want nothing to do. 
    • Nordic Pagans' pride in their ethnic background should not be mistaken for bigotry, nor should dedication to Nordic culture be mistaken for Nazism. 

    One of the American Nordic Pagans interviewed for this article is a lesbian with an Asian lover, another is a member of a Nordic Pagan organization with an African American member, and a third has adopted Korean children whom he encourages to research their Korean spiritual and cultural heritage and only become Heathens if they feel compelled to do so. 

    These aren't the faces of aspiring Nazi goose steppers.




    United States - Brief History of Nordic Paganism 



    Since its inception in the early 1970s, Asatru/Heathenry/Nordic Paganism in the United States has gone through many different phases, as well as a number of schisms and disputes. 

    It has entered the twenty-first century with a new degree of organizational sophistication and a broad agreement on the need to reduce disputes and enhance collaboration across the many Nordic Pagan groups, regardless of their views on specific topics. 



    The Viking Brotherhood, established by McNallen and Stine in Texas about 1972, was the first Nordic Pagan group in the United States. 


    • This organization evolved into the Asatru Free Assembly (AFA), which existed until 1987 before resurfacing in the 1990s as the Asatru Folk Assembly, as it is currently called. 
    • Many of the major organizational and ceremonial structures created by the AFA are still in use in American Nordic Paganism today, but subsequent organizations and individuals have continued to experiment with them, adapting and reinterpreting them as they see appropriate. 




    Structures of Important Rituals: 



    The Blot and The Sumbel (sometimes written symbel) and the Blot are two ceremonial forms created by McNallen and Stine from Old Norse–Icelandic literary sources such as the Eddas and Sagas, as well as other Germanic writings and customs. 


    • The Sumbel is a drinking ritual that takes place inside and may happen at any time or location agreed upon by the participants. 
    • A series of toasts are given, first to the Norse gods and supernatural creatures, then to heroes and ancestors, and finally to others, while a drinking horn full of mead or other alcoholic beverage is passed and poured into individual drinking containers or drank straight. 
    • Oaths and "boasts," or pledges of future acts that participants plan to do, may also be taken at a Sumbel. 
    • Such vows and boasts are regarded serious and binding on the speakers, emphasizing the Sumbel's importance as much more than a simple drinking celebration. 
    • The Sumbel's words are regarded sacred and potent, and they are pictured as entering the Well of Wyrd, the Norse mythology's matrix of time and fate, to become part of the individual and communal destiny of all present. 
    • Mead, the beverage of choice at a Sumbel, is a traditional beverage of ancient Germanic and Scandinavian peoples, made from honey and plants. 



    According to medieval custom, the drinking horn used to pour or drink the ceremonial wine is made from the horn of a bull or other equally big and magnificent animal. 


    • Many Asatruar and Heathens have mastered the art of making mead and constructing drinking horns, which they exhibit, sell, and, of course, drink from during seasonal Pagan celebrations. 
    • This convention is an excellent example of how, in Heathenry and Asatru, reviving traditional skills, crafts, and folk arts of past Nordic culture goes hand in hand with reviving spiritual beliefs and activities of past Nordic religion; cultural and spiritual heritage are not thought of as separate and distinct areas of life, but as different branches of the same tree. 



    McNallen and Stine derived the Blot from ancient sources in Old Icelandic literature and elsewhere. 

    • It is similar to the Sumbel but differs in many aspects. 



    At times of yearly holy days or feast days, it is conducted outside around a fire and under the open sky, and it includes specific ritual processes that go beyond what is done in the Sumbel. 


    • Invocations of the gods, similar to those spoken in the Sumbel, precede the Blot. 
    • Mead is used again in the Blot, but instead of being drunk from a horn passed around to the participants in the Sumbel, it is kept in a sacred bowl and sprinkled on the participants, altars, and images of the gods by the priest or priestess, who does so with a sprig or branch of an evergreen tree dipped in the mead. 
    • The mead is spilled onto the ground or into the fire as a last gift to the gods or ancestor spirits at the end of the ritual. McNallen published a series of books with ideas for Blots for various deities and events. 



    The Blot was originally associated with animal sacrifice in Nordic folklore. 


    • Blood was collected from the cut neck of the killed animal in a holy bowl, sprinkled on participants, and then spilled or smeared over statues of the gods positioned on altars, as the literal definition of the term Blot suggests. 
    • Most contemporary Nordic Pagans have replaced blood with mead, thinking that they are maintaining the same meaning of a distribution of life energy between the participants and their gods. 
    • The old ceremony would conclude with the attendees eating on the sacrificed animal, which had been prepared. 



    Similarly, modern Nordic Pagans end their Blots with a feast. Although the Sumbel and the Blot are the most well-known and frequently practiced rituals in the Nordic Pagan community, there are others.

    • Seid or Seith (Icelandic Seir), a Shamanistic ritual including trancelike, oracular states utilized for contacting gods and spirits, as well as life cycle ceremonies for births, comings of age, marriages, and funerals, are among them.



    You may also want to read more about Asatru, Norse Paganism and Nordic Pagans here.


    You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

    Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.



    Online Resources


    American Asatru Associations




    Icelandic Asatru Association


    Ásatrúarfelagi≥ (Asatru Fellowship of Iceland). At http://www.asatru.is.


    Icelandic Photography



    Statistical Information


    • Hagstofa Islands (Office of Statistics, Government of Iceland). 2004. “Ísland ítölum 2002–2003” (Iceland in Numbers). Reykjavík, Hagstofa Islands. At http://www.hagstofa.is.


    Asatru Publications Available Online


    • “The Asatru Folk Assembly: Building Tribes and Waking the Spiritual Path of OurAncestors.” Available at http://www.runestone.org/




    Paganism & Wicca - What Is A Zar?

     

    Zar is the term given to a sub-category of djinn, as well as the rituals through which they communicate and the custom of engaging with them. 

    • Zar often take control of a person without their consent, or they stimulate sickness and disaster for that person. 

    Without appeasing the zar, misfortune and sickness cannot be eased. This is important since it is more common to exorcise intrusive demons. 


    • The zar aren't going away, and they're not willing to be exorcized. 
    • Because forced exorcism always causes more damage than possession, a system of appeasement has evolved. 
    • Trance is produced so that the zar may communicate with a trained zar expert, such as a kodia or balazar, who can understand the possessed person's wishes and devise a plan of action. 
    • In return for symptom relief, gifts, donations, or some kind of devotional routine is usually required. 


    The zar spirit does not leave after the ceremony; instead, it is transformed into an ally. 

    In other words, the individual is still possessed, but the possession has been converted into a mutually advantageous partnership. 


    • Zar spirits may be male or female, but they nearly always attack women. 
    • Many people think that the zar symbolizes pagan customs that have survived. 
    • The rituals are similar to those seen in Vodou or Santeria. It's unclear if these traditions developed separately or have similar origins. 
    • Trance, dancing, and drumming are all used in Zar. 
    • Animal sacrifice or plant offerings are often used as a form of sacrifice. 
    • Zar activity is mostly seen in Muslim communities. 
    • Zar is a contentious practice in many places, and religious authorities are working to eradicate it. 


    Related Practices -  Kodia, Santeria, and Vodou.


    You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

    Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.




    Hinduism - What Is The Ritual Significance Of Blood In Hinduism?








    In Hinduism, Blood, like other body fluids, is regarded ritually unclean and a cause of contamination when anything or anyone comes into touch with it. 






    Not just because of its impurity (ashaucha), but also because of its link to life, blood is considered a "hot" and strong material. 



    • Human blood is said to be the source of sustenance for witches. 
    • This emphasizes both their malicious nature, since they can only survive by killing others, and their marginal, antisocial nature, as they feed on a highly unclean material. 
    • Blood from animal sacrifice is often given to village deities or to certain strong and frightening manifestations of the Goddess in another setting. 
    • Any deities that need blood sacrifice are called "hot," which means they are strong enough to give worshippers favors but also marginal, possibly dangerous, and in need of constant injections of life-sustaining blood to keep their abilities alive. 




    You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

    Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.




    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. 


    You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.



    Hinduism - What Is Rajabhiseka?

     

    "Rajabhiseka" means "royal anointing" in Sanskrit.

    The raja suya ritual was superseded with a royal consecration ceremony.

    The Rajabhiseka involves anointing rituals that were thought to have transformational power but were less elaborate than the Rajasuya and did not include animal sacrifice.


    You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

    Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.



    Pagan Worship And Rituals



    There are two types of modern Pagan rituals:


    1. those done in public 
    2. and those performed in secret. 


    Calendrical rites are public ceremonies that are usually connected to the yearly cycle of seasons. 


    • The longest and shortest days of the yearly cycle, the summer and winter solstices, are extensively observed festivals among today's Pagans, as they were among Pagans in the past. 
    • Similarly, the arrival of spring, as well as the harvest season in fall, is frequently celebrated with ceremonial mirth. 
    • Winter, when much of nature dies or fades from view, is also traditionally honored as a season when the ghosts of the dead visit the living. 
    • People welcome their ancestors by arranging a seat at the table for them, lighting special lamps, giving food and drink to the deceased, and honoring them with traditional music during the Lithuanian Velines festival, for example. 
    • Families may also pay a visit to their relatives' graves and celebrate the same way. 
    • Halloween was most likely inspired by recollections of old Celtic customs observed at the festival of Sámhain, which took place at the conclusion of the Celtic calendar in the month now known as October. 
    • The contemporary Halloween adornment of jack-o'-lanterns echoes the old Celtic tradition of ritually keeping severed heads as protective talismans, typically exhibited at doors. 
    • The ancient Pagan belief in providing food, drink, and other forms of hospitality to one's ancestors in order to avoid their possible anger or malevolence should the dead feel slighted or neglected is mirrored in the ritualized chanting of "trick or treat," in which masked children request candy or other treats in exchange for refraining from mischievous tricks. 

    The number and frequency of yearly festivals celebrated by Pagans in the past varied depending on the population and area of Europe. 



    Wiccans have created an eight-festival calendar called sabbats, which is based on Pagan Celtic festivals from the past. 


    1. Imbolc, the first festival of the calendar year, is celebrated in the dead of winter at the start of February as a time of preparation for the arrival of spring. At this time, the Celtic goddess Brigid is worshipped. 
    2. The second sabbat is Ostara's feast, which is commemorated on March 21 or 22 around the time of the vernal equinox, with egg decoration and other symbolic activities commemorating the first stirrings of spring and a general theme of fertility. 
    3. Beltane, a raucous celebration of springtime, fertility, and life in plenty with joyful dances, bonfires, maypoles, and other sexually themed festivities, takes place on May 1. 
    4. Litha, the summer solstice, the fourth Wicca sabbat, is marked with bonfires and dance, as well as symbolic flaming wheels placed on poles and thrown down hills to symbolize the sun at its zenith. 
    5. Lughnassad, a festival devoted to the Celtic deity Lugh, takes place at the beginning of August. The start of the harvest season is commemorated during this event. 
    6. The autumn equinox, which occurs on September 21 or 22, is known as Mabon, and it marks the beginning of the harvest season.This sixth festival's festivities revolve on the particular handling of the final sheaf of grain harvested from the field (or a substitute), which is said to symbolize the deity or goddess of grain and fertility. 
    7. The next holiday is Sámhain, which is associated with the reverence of the dead and the preparation for the approach of winter. 
    8. The winter solstice celebration, also known as Yule in German, is the eighth and final festival. This sabbat is a time for feasting and revelry, being close to the hearth and safely insulated from the harshness of winter winds and cold; there are a variety of activities, some of which involve the reappropriation of rites that were previously taken into Christianity from European Pagan winter celebrations, such as the decoration of evergreen trees with lights. 


    Although the Wicca yearly round of eight sabbats is a composite of traditions from Celtic, Germanic, and other sources, and is not observed by all modern Pagans in all of its details, the general celebration of the agricultural cycle, particularly at the key times of solstice and equinox, and respect for the dead are common among Pagans, regardless of the differences in ritual times and activities. 


    • Regional, sometimes transregional, and even international festivals, in which Pagans gather on farms, in parks, and in other open spaces for days of revelry, feasting, music, dance, and sharing of ritual lore in a setting close to nature, with nighttime bonfires always a central event, are another important aspect of Pagan ritual life. 
    • In the United States, anthropologist Sarah M. Pike has done considerable study on these growingly big and popular events. “Neopagan identity is mainly represented at festivals via music and dance,” she said, highlighting the boisterous, joyfully physical character of most contemporary Pagan ritual.
    • Menuo Juodaragis (Moon of the Black Horn) is a yearly August festival in Lithuania that brings together Baltic Pagans, artists, and musicians ranging from traditional Lithuanian folksingers to heavy metal rockers and electronica and trance music acts. 
    • The Moon of the Black Horn, like the American celebrations that Pike attended, attracts huge groups of Pagan revelers from Lithuania and other European nations to the open countryside for singing, dancing, and eating around blazing fires. 
    • Private forms of worship conducted by individuals or families in their homes are another kind of contemporary Pagan religious practice. 
    • Domestic Pagan worship takes many forms. Many Pagans, though not all, create and adorn representations of deities to whom prayers, hymns, and sacrifices are addressed. 
    • Though animal sacrifice was common in ancient European Pagan religions, it is uncommon in contemporary Paganism, especially among Reconstructionists who are typically so committed to an accurate re-creation of previous rituals. 
    • Bread, cake, fruits, flowers, and other nonmeat products, as well as milk, beer, wine, and other drinks, are often offered to Pagan deities. 
    • Candles and incense are often used to create a more sensually evocative ambiance and as an indoor alternative to the roaring flames that are usually used when rituals are conducted outside. 
    • Prayer passages are shared on the Internet or published in periodicals and books, and religious music are also disseminated on the Internet or marketed in cassette or compact disc (CD) format. 

    Reconstructionist Neopagans often dispute the proper method to give gifts, read prayers, chant incantations, and conduct other ritual acts, exchanging information and interpretations through the Internet and other media. 


    • The symbolic decorating of houses of worship is another significant aspect of religious practice. Reconstructionists prefer to depend on symbols and artifacts proved by archaeologists and other academics to have really been used in ancient Pagan rites, while Eclectic Pagans enjoy a broad range of creative representations drawn from imagination, popular books and periodicals, or other sources. 
    • Such subtle differences in emphasis should not be overstated, nor should they distract us from observing the broad agreement among modern Pagans of all stripes about the use of food, drink, and other such material offerings as legitimate forms of worship; prayers, chants, songs, dances, and other verbal, aural, and kinetic expressions; and symbols, images, statues, and other similar forms of visual and kinetic expressions as legitimate forms of worship. 

    When comparing Pagan worship styles to those of other religions, we discover that the use of images in domestic worship distinguishes Paganism from the aniconic severity of Judaism, Islam, and post-Reformation forms of Christianity, while bringing it closer to the devotional practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, and the Roman Catholic form of Christianity (with its profusion of Jesus, Mary, and saint images) (with its sacred icons). 


    • Modern Pagan celebrations and public rites include loud music and dancing that conveys a pleasure in sensuality that is typically controlled and limited—and sometimes condemned as evil and wayward—in many global religions rather than freely embraced.


    You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

    Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.


    Online Resources


    Adherents.com

    Top Twenty Religions in the United States, showing “Wicca/Pagan/

    Druid” at 307,000 members as of 2001, based on American Religious Identity

    Survey (ARIS) conducted in 2001 by sociologists Barry A. Kosmin, Seymour P.

    Lachman, and associates at the Graduate School of the City University of New

    York. At http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html#religions

    More about ARIS survey and data at http://www.gc.cuny.edu/studies/aris_index.htm.


    Circle Sanctuary. 

    Broad, inclusive, umbrella organization and support network for

    Pagan religions. At http://www.circlesanctuary.org.


    Covenant of the Goddess. 

    Wiccan organization. At http://www.cog.org.


    Fellowship of Isis. 

    Eclectic, primarily goddess-oriented Pagan organization. 

    At http://www.fellowshipofisis.com.


    Lady Liberty League. 

    Legal advocacy branch of Circle Sanctuary. 

    At http://www.circlesanctuary.org/liberty.


    Pagan Federation. 

    UK-based, broad, inclusive Pagan organization and support network. At http://www.paganfed.org.


    Religious Tolerance.Org. 

    Interreligious interfaith organization for religious tolerance. At http://www.religioustolerance.org.


    Witchvox

    Wiccan and Pagan site. At http://www.witchvox.com.


    World Congress of Ethnic Religions (WCER). 

    Lithuania-based umbrella organization for ethnic religions and Reconstructionist Paganism. 

    At http://www.wcer.org.


    Wren’s Nest. 

    Wiccan and Pagans news site, branch of Witchvox, including news items gleaned from the mainstream press. 

    At http://www.witchvox.com/xwrensnest.html.


    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.