Tuesday May 21, 2013
In Hinduism, Buddha is often mentioned as the 9th avatar of Vishnu. We celebrate Buddha's birthday - "Vaisakhi Purnima" or "Buddha Jayanti" - which falls on May 25, 2013 - with this article on the Buddha's relation with Hinduism, his reform movements and his refining of Hindu beliefs.
Buddha, as we know, began his meditation as a Hindu. He was awakened with a new enlightenment only to denounce Hinduism and emerge as the founder of a new religion. Therefore, to understand Buddhism fully, one should not separate it from Hinduism; while at the same time view it separately from Hinduism. Buddha's way of life was "the golden mean" and a relief from the pagan stigmas and caste system prevalent in Hinduism.
Jesus had the same relationship to Judaism as Buddha to Hinduism. Both Hinduism and Judaism are ethnic and non-missionary traditions, and are characterized by an element of segregation between the castes and races, unlike Buddhism and Christianity. Swami Kriyananda compares Buddha's position relative to Hinduism with Martin Luther's to the Roman Catholic Church. Read Full Article
Tuesday May 14, 2013
The great Indian Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore was deeply influenced by the mystic poet Kabir in his poetry and songs. Here we present the first ten verses of his translation of Kabir from Songs of Kabir with an introduction by Evelyn Underhill (New York, The Macmillan Company, 1915). These are some of the highest fruits of Indian mystical thought and way of life based on the universal teachings of the Vedas and Upanishads. Sample this...
Chand jhalkai yahi ghat mahi
The moon shines in my body, but my blind eyes cannot see it:
The moon is within me, and so is the sun.
The unstruck drum of Eternity is sounded within me; but my deaf ears cannot hear it.
So long as man clamours for the I and the Mine, his works are as naught:
When all love of the I and the Mine is dead, then the work of the Lord is done.
For work has no other aim than the getting of knowledge:
When that comes, then work is put away.
The flower blooms for the fruit: when the fruit comes, the flower withers.
The musk is in the deer, but it seeks it not within itself: it wanders in quest of grass.
In its introduction, Evelyn Underhill writes, "The poetry of mysticism might be defined on the one hand as a temperamental reaction to the vision of Reality: on the other, as a form of prophecy. As it is the special vocation of the mystical consciousness to mediate between two orders, going out in loving adoration towards God and coming home to tell the secrets of Eternity to other men; so the artistic self-expression of this consciousness has also a double character. It is love-poetry, but love-poetry which is often written with a missionary intention.
Kabir's songs are of this kind: outbirths at once of rapture and of charity. Written in the popular Hindi, not in the literary tongue, they were deliberately addressed ... to the people rather than to the professionally religious class; and all must be struck by the constant employment in them of imagery drawn from the common life, the universal experience." Read the first 10 verses of Kabir
Sunday May 12, 2013
Hindus believe in the theory of 'mahurats' or auspicious timings in every step in life - be it to begin a new venture or making an important purchase. Akshaya Tritiya is one such momentous occasion, which is considered one of the most auspicious days of the Vedic Calendar. It is believed, any meaningful activity started on this day would be fruitful.
Akshaya Tritiya falls on the third day of the bright half of Vaishakh month, when the Sun and Moon are in exaltation; they are simultaneously at their peak of brightness, which happens only once every year. This year Akshaya Tritiya falls on the 13th of May... Read Full Article
Wednesday May 8, 2013
Today is the birthday of Rabindranath Tagore - the first Hindu Nobel Laureate.
Tagore's native state in India, West Bengal is celebrating the 152nd birth anniversary of Tagore with customary grandeur. In the Hindu Calendar followed by the Bengali people in both India and Bangladesh, the day is no less than any religious festival. Known as 'Panchishe Baishakh,' Tagore's birthday is a bona fide holiday in the State.
To mark the occasion, the West Bengal Government has organized a number of cultural events where major exponents of music, dance, drama, poetry and literature will converge and perform shows based on Tagore's works.
Joining them will be many a Bangla music band that have modernized Tagore songs to make them more appealing to the Gen Y crowd.
Tagore's university at Shantinekatan, the Visva-Bharati will celebrate their 'Gurudev's birthday with traditional rituals and offerings to pay homage to the legendary literary figure of Bengal.
On this occasion, read some of his thoughts on god and religion taken from his various works.
See also: The Mysticism of Tagore