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
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
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
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
Lord Parasurama, also known as the "axe-wielding Rama," was the sixth avatar of Vishnu, whose main objective was to deliver the world from the oppression of the Kshatriya rulers or unrighteous kings who strayed from the path of dharma.
Parasurama Jayanti or the birthday of Lord Parasurama is an major festival for the Brahmin or the Hindu priest class. On this day, devotees worship Parasurama and observe a ritual fast in his honor. Parasurama Jayanti usually coincides with Akshaya Tritiya, which is considered one of the most auspicious days of the Hindu calendar. This year, the festival falls on May 12, 2013.
Image © ExoticIndianArt.com
Hinduism believes in the concept of reincarnation. What determines the state of an individual in the next existence is karma which refers to the actions undertaken by the body and the mind.
In order to achieve good karma it is important to live life according to dharma. This involves doing what is right for the individual, the family, the community and also for the universe itself.
Dharma is like a cosmic norm and if one goes against the norm it can result in bad karma. So, dharma affects the future according to the karma accumulated. Therefore, one's dharmic path in the next life is determined by their past karma. Read Full Article
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Hanuman, the mighty ape that aided Lord Rama in his expedition against evil forces, is one of the most popular idols in the Hindu pantheon. The character of Hanuman teaches us of the unlimited power that lies unused within each one of us. Let's learn more about this simian symbol of strength on the auspicious occasion of Hanuman Jayanti which falls on Thursday, April 25, 2013.
Top 6 Hanuman Jayanti Links
- Hanuman Hymn: Aarti
- Hanuman Photo Gallery
- Hanuman Chalisa: Real Audio
- Hanuman Bhajan: MP3 Downloads
- Tuesday Rituals in Honor of Hanumanji
- Hanuman in the Ramayana & Mahabharata
Image © ExoticIndia.com
Ramnavami - the birthday of Lord Rama, one of the most important festivals of the Hindus, particularly the Vaishnava sect, falls on the 9th day of the bright fortnight of the month of Chaitra (Friday, April 19, 2013).
On this auspicious day, devotees repeat the name of Rama with every breath and vow to lead a righteous life. Some observe a strict fast on the day. Temples are decorated and the image of Lord Rama is richly adorned. The holy Ramayana is read in the temples. At Ayodhya, the birthplace of Sri Rama, a big fair is held on this day.
The Bengali New Year -1420 Bangabda is round the corner! So, are you ready for 'Poila Baisakh'? It's the first day of the Bengali New Year (Bengali poila = first, Baisakh = the first Hindu month of the Bengali Calendar), and as such the new year's celebration is popularly known as 'Poila Baisakh.'
The Bengali community in Bangladesh, West Bengal and around the world usher in the New Year with cultural programs -- dance, drama and songs, especially, Rabindra Sangeet, i.e., Tagore's musical invocation Esho Hey Baisakh Esho Esho. People wear new clothes, exchange sweets and pleasantries, and the young touch the feet of the elders to seek their blessings for the coming year.
Read about the traditional Bengali ways of celebrating 'Naba Barsho' and don't forget to wish your Bengali friends "Shubho Naba Barsho!" (Happy New Year!) on the 15th of April, 2013. Read more...
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Although India's national calendar is the official calendar for the Hindus, regional variants still prevail. As a result, we have a host of new year festivities that are unique to the particular regions on this vast country. Characteristic of the Indian cultural mélange, Hindus in various states of India celebrate the new year in their own ways. And not all of these fall on the same day!
In mid-April, Hindus celebrate Baisakhi in Punjab, Poila Baishakh in Bengal, Bohag Bihu in Assam, Vishu in Kerala and Puthandu Vazthukal in Tamil Nadu to welcome the new year. These regional celebrations fall between April 13 and 15 this year. Learn about these various regional celebrations, and don't forget to wish your friends and family a happy new year, once again! Read more...