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

Brahmacharya's Relationship with Tantric Sex and Celibacy

     



    Modern Day Celibacy.


    We're going to consider a taboo but increasingly relevant topic, and we'll tie it into the tantra debate.


    It has been a more common yet taboo subject than sex in recent years. It's known as "celibacy."


    Celibacy would not be recommended in this environment, and  It won't be dismissed either. We just want to see how it blends in and certain people are attracted to it by nature. Others will be compelled to do so through their own free will or the will of others.

    But first, let's speak about "brahmacharya," which is the secret to recognizing the philosophical ramifications of both tantric sex and celibacy, as well as what they have in common. They have more in common than other people think.

    Brahmacharya refers to walking or remaining in God's creative power, which is our sexual drive







    What do we mean when we say we're walking or abiding in sexual energy? 


    There are two points to consider:

    1. First and foremost, it must be preserved. 
    2. And so there's the matter of cultivating it. 

    Brahmacharya is all about preserving and cultivating sexual energy.


    So far in these tantra studies, we've covered the basic techniques for undergoing a period of transition of sexual relationships in order to conserve and develop sexual energy. 




    What role does celibacy play? 




    It's a matter of personal preference, temperament, and way of life. It happens all the time. Perhaps we yield to a guru or organization, and they make the decision for us.

    Perhaps we should do it on our own. Maybe we'll never be drawn to it. Either of these would suffice. 

    It is up to each of us to obey our own gut instincts on the subject.


    Celibacy is an objective indicator of an unique state of mind and ceremonial purity. 

    Celibacy is said to have evolved from taboos that saw sexual power as a competitor to religious authority, and the sexuality of the opposite sex as a polluting influence, particularly in holy or crisis circumstances.


    India's religious traditions reflect a wide range of views on celibacy. 


    The priesthood in Hinduism is hereditary, and hence not celibate

    Sadhus ("holy men"), who live a life devoid of goods and familial obligations, are among India's most well-known religious figures. 

    Sadhus are disorganized and lack corporate discipline. 

    Many sadhus, both male and female, become celibate after marriage or widowhood, while others do so at an early age. 

    The sadhu is a person who has abandoned a life governed by dharma (cosmic and social law—i.e., caste, family, money, and state) in order to achieve moksha (final liberation). 


    In Jainism, celibacy is also a significant practice. 

    All Jain monks swear to abstain from sexual intercourse, and the general public is exhorted to stay chaste, even celibate, following the birth of a son.


    Celibacy in Buddhism.

    Buddhism started in India as a monastic order committed to achieving enlightenment via the control of emotions and the removal of connection to material goods. 

    As Buddhism grew in popularity across the globe, certain deviations emerged: 

    • in Southeast Asia, most young men only stayed in the order for a year; 
    • in Tibet, Tantric monks were married; and in Japan, 
    • the huge Jdo Shinsh sect abandoned the celibacy ideal entirely.



    What is celibacy? 


    It is technically defined as the refusal to marry and engage in sexual intercourse, including masturbation. 


    Broadly celibacy refers to the status of not being married and hence sexually abstinent, which is often associated with the function of a religious official or follower. 

    • In its strictest definition, the phrase refers to those who are single as a consequence of a holy vow, act of renunciation, or religious belief. 


    Celibacy has existed in some form or another throughout history and in almost all of the world's major faiths.


    • Wherever celibacy has emerged, it has been accompanied by the belief that religious life is fundamentally distinct from, if not divorced from, society's regular institutions and human nature's natural desires. 
    • The religious style that criticizes celibacy, on the other hand, emphasizes religion's function in using and sanctifying the "natural" stages of life: sexuality, family, and labor.



    It is de facto sexual energy protection, though “preservation” may not be the celibate's intention. 


    • Other motives for celibacy are more focused on avoiding something bad about sex (obsession, excess, injury) rather than doing something constructive about it (inner expansion, divine ecstasy, enlightenment).
    • Celibacy is the first half of brahmacharya, but that is not always the case, since there is no cultivation without first purifying the nervous system and then enabling sexual energy to transfer to a higher manifestation, which is the second half of brahmacharya. 



    What are the different types of celibacy?



    Celibacy comes in a variety of forms from throughout history to modern times. Celibacy is practiced in a wide range of situations. 



    1. Sacerdotal celibacy, which applies to priests and priestesses, is one sort of celibacy. 


    • A priest is a divine mediator who fulfills the holy job of transmitting the needs of the people to heaven via ceremonies, as well as the sacred force and presence from heaven to the congregation. 
    • His job is to be objective. Its effectiveness is ensured if the priest performs the right ceremony and has the necessary ordination and, maybe, ritual purity criteria, regardless of how moral or fervent he is. 
    • Celibacy is an objective indicator of an unique state of mind and ceremonial purity. 
    • In the Western world, Celibacy is said to have evolved from taboos that saw sexual power as a competitor to religious authority, and the sexuality of the opposite sex as a polluting influence, particularly in holy or crisis circumstances.



    2. Celibacy related with monasticism is another sort of celibacy. 



    • The monk's celibacy is primarily for moral and spiritual progress, rather than the ceremonial purity necessary for sacerdotal ceremonies. Celibacy assists the monk in achieving inner freedom and allows him to practice asceticism and meditation. 
    • These experiences, potentially in conjunction with the religious community's "new family," lead to a feeling of isolation from the mundane that aids the monk's spiritual development. 
    • The hermit in the woods or the desert, the anchorite living in seclusion in a church or monastery, the cenobite living a stable monastic life in community, and the mendicant ascetic who journeys from place to place collecting alms are all examples of monasticism. In any event, celibacy is seen as an inextricable component of the monk's lifestyle.

    3. Women's institutional celibacy is often seen as a means of spiritual progress. 


    • The virtues of virginity and celibacy are seen as advantages in the pursuit of spiritual aspirations. 
    • The majority of female celibates in institutions are nuns in residential cloisters, while there have been a few lonely personalities, such as Dame Julian of Norwich, an anchoress (female hermit) (born 1342).


    Individual noninstitutional and nonsacerdotal religious celibacy may be practiced by a layman or an occasional cleric in a religion that does not require celibacy, who vows to stay unmarried out of devotion or to facilitate the delivery of an unique religious ceremony.




    Celibacy is one half of brahmacharya, which is an essential principle. 


    • Celibacy without the second half of brahmacharya will lead to stagnation and the appearance of unbalanced obsessive habits, particularly if celibacy is "forced."


    Though celibacy (preservation) is a step toward brahmacharya, it is incomplete as a spiritual activity until sexual energy is activated (cultivated) for a higher reason.

    That is, after all, tantric sex's intent. 

    Ironically, celibates who are vigilant in their tantric sexual practices and continuing loving service to others to cultivate sexual energy to a higher manifestation in their nervous system may have stronger spiritual chances than celibates who are not diligent in their sitting yoga practices and ongoing loving service to others to cultivate sexual energy to a higher manifestation in their nervous system.



    Is celibacy or tantric sexual intercourse a safer way to enlightenment? 


    Who is to say? It all depends on how committed a practitioner is to one lifestyle or the other. 

    Rather than any particular approach, the practitioner's level of bhakti influences the result. 

    The nervous system will begin to open, one way or another, whether bhakti is plentiful.


    The central practices of yoga and pranayama would have the strongest effect on the degree of bhakti growing in the nervous system with either the tantric lover or the celibate. 

    The amount of inner silence available is determined by the global purification that occurs on a regular basis in the nervous system. 

    This is pure happiness consciousness growing in us, our source, our deepest spiritual quality. 

    If we have that, we will thirst for the same destination, holy marriage, whether we are inclined to be tantric lovers or celibates. 

    Whatever lifestyle we want, the elements of brahmacharya can inevitably be incorporated – maintaining and nurturing our sexual energies as we ride our inner highway to heaven.



    Celibacy Superpowers.


    A tale from Hindu Mythology.


    Parpuranjay, a Haihayavanshi Kshatriya prince, went hunting in the jungle one day. The prince observed a black-colored dangerous beast while traveling through the deep woodland and shot it with his arrow. 

    As he approached, he saw that he had accidentally murdered a sage disguised in a vicious animal's hide. The prince grew troubled and collapsed as a result of this wicked conduct committed in ignorance. 

    When Parpuranjay regained consciousness, he went to the well-known Haihayavanshi monarchs and thoroughly explained the accident. 'A sage who ate only fruits and roots grew enraged.' 

    Hearing this, all the Kshatriyas were saddened, and they searched everywhere for the sons of these sages, eventually arriving to Kashyapanandan Arishtanemi's hermitage. 

    After paying homage to the sage who observed the finest fast, they all rose up. 

    'We have not been able to accept hospitality from you because of our terrible acts,' the sage replied as he proceeded to meet him. We have assassinated a Brahmin.

     'How did you people murder the Brahmin, and where is that dead Brahmin?' the sage inquired. 

    The Kshatriyas then informed them the whole truth about the sage's death, and everyone took the sage with them to the site where he was slain. The Kshatriyas, however, were unable to locate the deceased guru. 

    He felt even worse about his indifference. In humiliation, they all began seeking for him. His awareness evaporated. When sage Arishtanemi saw the unhappy Kshatriyas, he summoned his son and exclaimed, "Parpurunjaya!" 

    Isn't the brahmin you murdered not the same as the one you killed? kings! My child is the ascetic. The Kshatriyas were taken aback to find the sage alive and said, "It is a wonderful surprise." 

    How were these long-dead sages transported here and resurrected? 

    Is it the power of penance that has brought him back to life? 

    Brahman! Isn't it true that we all desire to know what this secret is? 

    Please let us know whether we are able to hear you.' 'King!' Maharishi exclaimed to the Kshatriyas. 

    I shall explain shortly why we are not under the power of death. 

    We follow a code of behavior that is devoid of sloth, includes daily meditation, eats pure food, and earns riches in a pure way. 

    We are constantly committed to keeping our chastity vow and know only the truth, never falsehoods, and always practice our faith. 

    As a result, we have no fear of dying. We only discuss the qualities of academics and brahmins; we do not discuss their flaws. 

    We provide food and drink to our visitors. We provide whole meals to people who rely on us for subsistence, and we consume the food that is left over after we have fed them. 

    We live in a sacred nation and are always ready for Shama, Dum, Forgiveness, Pilgrimage, and Charity. 

    We are never terrified of death since we are constantly associated with great saints. 

    Kings who are envious! Now you may all go; you are not scared of committing the sin of murdering Brahma.' 

    Hearing this, the Haihayavanshi Kshatriyas paid reverence to Mahamuni Arishtanemi and returned to their homes, happy.





    A Tantra practitioner may use their sexual energy to awaken and invigorate their field even if they are celibate. 




    • Sexual energy becomes, in the end, a force for awakening, growth, and uniting with the god/goddess. 
    • Tantra practitioners deal with sexual fantasy—usually in a supervised fashion to fulfill certain desires so that they may be more present with life, god, and their relationships. 

    This is a difficult route to take, and there are certain standards for dealing with eroticism that may be rather strict in order to keep the practitioner's awareness intact. 


    The concept is that by completely following and bringing consciousness to our innermost wants, we may accomplish them if necessary and become more present in our lives, bodies, and relationships. 

    However, this may be a lifelong journey that should be undertaken with enough awareness to keep the practitioner safe and stable. 



    What are the benefits of celibacy?


    The Benefits of Celibacy:


    There's no denying that sex is a complex topic. While it is a common method for individuals to display their love and devotion, it also has certain hazards. 

    Some individuals believe that the hazards of sex exceed the advantages, and that abstaining from it makes them feel better.


    1. Celibacy for Increased concentration. 


    While not having sex does not immediately free your mind, some individuals find that if they aren't thinking about sex, they are better able to focus on school or work. 

    • Celibacy allows individuals to avoid thinking about or arranging sexual relations. 
    • They may devote all of their focus to other things without having to worry about sex. 
    • According to studies, females who postpone sexual engagement are more likely to complete high school.

    2. Celibacy to Reduce your stress levels. 


    • People who participate in sexual interactions run the danger of becoming pregnant and contracting sexually transmitted illnesses. 
    • Some individuals choose to put their problems aside totally by refusing to have sex. 
    • Some individuals just want to engage in sexual acts like kissing, caressing, and snuggling. 
    • STIs are unlikely to occur as a result of such activities.


    3. Celibacy for recovery from a traumatic event or bereavement. 


    • People who have experienced a terrible event or who have lost a loved one may need to devote all of their efforts to healing. 
    • Abstinence allows people to concentrate on their emotional needs, allowing them to heal.


    4. Celibacy creates Satisfaction with religion. 


    Celibacy may help people's spiritual life who have strong religious convictions regarding sex outside of marriage. 

    • They may feel closer to their beliefs and be less anxious about violating religious precepts.




    Should Celibacy be Practiced Only by Those Who are Spiritually Mature and Adept?



    Given the number of lapses and aberrations among people who have accepted a lifetime vow of celibacy in both the West and the East, should the practice  of celibacy be limited to those who have reached a specific level of spiritual maturity first?


    First and foremost, persons who have achieved a certain level of spiritual maturity have done so at least in part via brahmacharya. 


    • The fact that they have attained a particular level of spiritual maturity implies that brahmacharya, at least in the wide meaning of the word, was a part of their makeup or a part of their path to that level of maturity. 
    • The shortcomings and aberrations you mention have no bearing on the legitimacy of the idea and practice of brahmacharya. They are exclusively the result of the people's inherent flaws.


    On the other side, before taking a lifetime vow of celibacy, one must ensure that one has a genuine calling; there must be an inner desire to live and accept celibacy. 


    • It cannot be a judgment based on emotions and emotional bliss, but rather a reasoned, logical assessment of one's life. 
    • I also believe that one should not accept the vow of monasticism until they are mature enough to comprehend their own biology and have had some experience with what they have inside themselves. This is something that must be confronted head-on.


    I would also propose that a person be permitted to accept the vow of everlasting celibacy only after being observed and mentored for a period of time. 


    • The Ramakrishna Mission, for example, retains a person as a pre-probationer for a year. After that, he has to serve an eight-year probationary term. Only then will he be qualified to become a full monastic swami. 
    • So, by taking in, sorting, and monitoring, many of these lapses and aberrations may be avoided. 
    • You only allow someone to take that commitment after they have spent a specific amount of time in the spiritual life.


    Even if all of the above prerequisites are met, tremendous care must be maintained until brahmacharya becomes one's regular and natural state.


    • Because He is One without a second, Brahman is the ultimate brahmachari, and if you are established in Brahman, you are in the same state—where there is no second, where there is no other. 
    • There is a point at which one is completely free of the sex concept. Because one's perspective has fundamentally shifted, there is no such thing as sex, man or woman, or this or that. 

    One is completely transformed, regardless of what is going on around them—the world in which they live. 

    • The level of awareness where these things have any value or importance is no longer maintained. 
    • When awareness is in another location, everything is visible and perceptible, but it makes no difference. 

    You look at this, you look at that; you see everything, but nothing changes in your inner awareness, which stays constant. That is the ultimate transcendence, which is a possibility and an ideal that should be pursued and realized. 

    • That is exactly what the guru wants for his pupil. That is the wish of the saints for the common man. 
    • Because there is still a chance of a downturn before that. As a result, our saints advise us to be cautious till the very last breath.



    In reality, the great majority of people are merely human animals; they are completely entrenched in bodily awareness. 





    As a result, the yogi claims that their awareness revolves primarily on the bottom three centers, including food, sex, and lower elimination. 

    If they have a higher awakening and develop compassion for others, a spirit of service, and a desire to make others happy, then awareness arises in the fourth center, the center of emotion, on occasion.

    If the consciousness continues to rise in spiritual progress and ideal life, it may reach the visuddha-chakra, where various subjective experiences, visions, and other phenomena can occur, but the experiences come and go, and the awareness goes up and down, up and down.


    Because it is the center of the mind, the psyche, when awareness rises to the ajna-chakra, one tends to become more solid, established. 


    However, there is no possibility of a decline once awareness has reached the sahasrara


    • One is not aware of one's own body. One is unaware of one's own body. One does not consider, feel, or see oneself as a corporeal being. There isn't any way down. 
    • Consciousness has been proven for a long time. However, there is always the need to be cautious till when you intentionally progress to confront its individual and unique instance within you. 
    • We are all tethered to an infinite stream of the collective conscious that needs to be harmonized with by the celibate in a natural, practical, and meaningful way. There is no point in fighting the larger tide.



    Tantra has the power to return you back to the beloved, both inside and outside. 


    It should not be done without the supervision of a qualified instructor unless you are just interested in sexual activities to boost your pleasure in bed, which may be a fascinating way to explore and develop in awareness with a partner. 

    In this scenario, a tantra book will serve. Because there are so many schools of tantra, some may be deceiving, so always make sure you're with a qualified instructor before embarking on the road. 

    Not the most entertaining, but the one that keeps you safe and sane. 


    Tantra practitioners should concentrate on increasing their self-love and cultivating an inner loving connection with their inner masculine and feminine energies merging in a holy union dance. 


    On the road to completeness, one could try to work through suppressed emotions or fantasies, since they will always keep us from being totally present and letting go of control enough to enable the entire flow of awakened energy to pass through us. 

    However, if you're working alone, this might take a long time and should be done with care. 

    It is a road that may seem appealing, but be sure you have a strong desire to do it.




    Kiran Atma


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



    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:





    Is celibacy and brahmacharya the same thing?

    Brahmacharya is not to be confused with the English word "celibacy," which simply implies abstaining from sexual activity. Brahmacharya is when a person uses ascetic methods to entirely control his body and thoughts (chitta).


    What is tantric celibacy, and how does it differ from other types of celibacy?

    It's a style of life that takes the yearning for sexual love and turns it into a globally transcending method of living. Tantric celibacy is a distinct sort of celibacy, and its genuine meaning differs significantly from that depicted in popular do-it-yourself publications.

    Is it possible for a brahmachari to marry?

    To become a brahmachari, you must be ecstatic in your natural state. You may be married and a brahmachari at the same time.

    Is celibacy beneficial to one's health?

    People who choose to stay celibate may discover that their mental health benefits from not having sex. Some people claim that sex was a source of distraction or obsession for them, and that abstinence has helped them keep their thoughts clear. Others discover that sex gives them stress and that they are happiest when they aren't thinking about it.

    Is brahmacharya broken when darkness falls?

    It certainly does. First and foremost, you must understand why the wet dream occurred. It occurred, of course, since you were probably completely laden and needed to discharge some of the earlier semen.

    Is Lord Shiva a brahmachari or a yogi?

    According to the Puranas, Lord Shiva was a brahmachari for many years of his existence. A nityabrahmachari is a man who has lived his whole life celibate.

    Is it necessary to be celibate in order to be spiritual?

    Celibacy is required on the yogic path, according to ancient scriptures, yet few contemporary yogis choose this austere lifestyle.

    What is brahmacharya's power?

    Brahmacharya also conjures up the idea of channeling our energy away from external cravings – you know, those joys that feel fantastic at the moment but are ultimately temporary – and toward achieving serenity and contentment inside ourselves.

    What are the brahmacharya rules?

    1. You eat a healthy diet.
    2. It's best not to criticize others.
    3. Spend some time throughout the day in silence.
    4. Don't waste your time talking to people you don't need to chat to.
    5. Always be aware of what you're doing.
    6. Spend some time with nature in your everyday life.
    7. Avoid being in the company of the wrong people.
    8. Have whole faith in God.

    What methods do you use to maintain your celibacy?

    Celibacy may take many forms for various people, therefore there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Some persons avoid all sexual behavior (both penetrative and nonpenetrative), while others participate in activities such as outercourse.

    What are some of the drawbacks of celibacy?

    When celibate, there's a chance of feeling sexually frustrated, as if one's sexual wants aren't being met. A person may also feel self–conscious or left out when surrounded by peers who are having sex.  When someone is celibate, they may feel uneasy or unskilled when they ultimately have sex.

    How long can you maintain your virginity?

    Celibacy is a personal decision to stay single or refrain from sexual intercourse for a lengthy period of time (it could be one year to a lifetime). It is often pledged for religious reasons.

    What would happen if we released sperm every day?

    The body will not run out if you ejaculate often. The typical sperm takes 74 days to completely develop, while the body produces millions of sperm every day. Regular ejaculation should not be a source of concern for men with healthy, normal sperm levels.

    Is Lord Shree Krishna a Brahmachari?

    Sri Krishna was a Brahmachari because his mind was merged in BRAHMA and stayed in that condition throughout his life. Only from the condition of a Brahman did he offer the spiritual discourse Srimad Bhagavad Gita.

    Why do yogis keep their vows of celibacy?

    Yogic celibacy is a technique of revealing hidden depths inside, not a way of suppressing or repressing anything; it is a way of being more open and accessible in interaction, not a way of withdrawing.

    Is it true that celibacy extends one's life?

    The relationship between celibacy and longevity has been studied extensively, and new study from the University of Sheffield (as published in The New Scotsman) suggests that avoiding sex is better for living a longer life than being sexually active.

    What is rigorous brahmacharya, and how does it differ from other types of brahmacharya?

    Control of the senses in thought, speech, and action is referred to as Brahmacharya. Every day, I'm becoming more aware of the need for limitations of the kind described above. There are no limits to the possibilities of renunciation, just as there are no limits to the possibilities of Brahmacharya.

    When it comes to marriage, how frequent is celibacy?

    According to one survey, around 15% of married couples had no sexual relations: In the last six months to a year, spouses haven't had sex with each other.

    What does Krishna have to say about celibacy?

    To reach an elevated level of God-consciousness, a self-controlled man or woman must live a pure life of celibacy, or Brahmacharya, according to the Bhagavad Gita. According to the Gita verse, a person should be rid of all desires and attachments.





    Hinduism - Who Are The Kshatriya In A Hindu Society?

     


    The kshatriyas were the second most powerful of the four main social groupings in ancient Hindu social philosophy (varnas).

    The kshatriyas' role was to rule, defend, and maintain social order in order for the other varnas to carry out their duties.

    This picture is represented in the Purusha Sukta, a creation narrative.

    The kshatriyas are said to have been produced from the shoulders of the Primeval Man and are associated with strength and power.

    In actuality, the kshatriya varna may have been the most permeable of all, since anybody with the authority to govern was sometimes granted de facto kshatriya rank, which could be maintained in subsequent generations by a fictional genealogy.

    The Rajputs (“king's sons”), who governed wide swaths of northern and western India at various periods, but whose roots are hazy and ambiguous, are perhaps the clearest illustration of this phenomenon.

     


    You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

    Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.




    Hinduism - What Is Purusha Sukta In The Rig Veda?


    ("Hymn to Primitive Man") The hymn in the Rig Veda (10.90) that recounts the formation of the material and social universe as the outcome of a primal sacrifice is known by this name.

    According to the book, there was once a primal man who was sacrificed and mutilated.

    The brahmins originated from the primeval man's lips, the kshatriyas from his shoulders, the vaishyas from his thighs (a popular euphemism for the genitals), and the shudras from his feet, as did the four traditional main social groupings (varnas).

    This poem is thought to be one of the most recent hymns in the Rig Veda, since it clearly represents the sacrificial paradigm that was so fundamental to subsequent Brahmana literature.

    It is also notable for articulating the four varnas for the first time, as well as the symbolic functions associated with each: speech and the authority of the sacred word for brahmins; protection and military valor for kshatriyas; generation and production for vaishyas; and service to others for shudras.


    You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

    Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.




    Hinduism - What Is Varna?

     

    Varna (“color”) Brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya, and shudra are four major groups in Indian society, each with a different occupation and social status.

    The brahmins, who were priests and scholars, had the highest status, followed by the kshatriyas, who were kings and soldiers, the vaishyas, who were in charge of economic life, and finally the shudras, who were supposed to serve the others.

    This picture is expressed as early as the Vedas, the oldest Hindu religious texts, in particular by the Purusha Sukta, a hymn in the Rig Veda (10.90).

    The creation of the world and society is described in the Purusha Sukta as stemming from the sacrifice of the Primeval Man (purusha), with brahmins coming from his mouth, kshatriyas from his shoulders, vaishyas from his thighs (a common euphemism for the genitals), and shudras from his feet.

    Although this four-fold scheme is conceptually appealing, the reality was far more complicated.

    For one thing, none of these four varnas was as uniform as this scheme might lead one to suppose: Each of the varnas had multiple occupationally defined subcommunities known as jatis, which often competed for status with one another, even though they may have been members of the same varna.

    The other discrepancy was that local circumstances had a great effect on any particular community’s social status.

    As one example, the Vellala community in Tamil Nadu had a great deal of status and power, even though they were technically shudras, because they were a landholding community.

    On the opposite end, it is not uncommon for brahmins in northern India to earn their living by trading or other businesses.

    This four-fold varna plan does give the general status picture, but the specifics are much more detailed.


    ~Kiran Atma


    You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

    Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.


    Hinduism - What Is Surapana In Dharma Literature?

     

     

    (“liquor-drinking”) In the dharma literature, one of the Four Great Crimes, the act of which rendered one a social outcast.

    Although the name sura is often used to refer to "wine," it was formerly thought to refer to a specific sort of spirituous liquor derived from rice flour.

    The most prevalent mandated penance (prayashchitta) for routinely drinking sura for members of the three highest social groups—brahmins, kshatriyas, and vaishyas—was to drink the same beverage boiling hot till one died.

    Surprisingly, the shudras, the lowest socioeconomic stratum, are exempt from this punishment.

    This distinction indicated their inferior social status, since they were not held to the same high standards as the "twice-born." 

    Despite the high punishment for drinking sura, kshatriyas and vaishyas were allowed to consume other intoxicants without consequence, albeit brahmins who did so were required to do minor penances.


    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.