Mantras for Everyone

There are different methods of worshiping in Hinduism, for instance, going to religious places like temples called darshan, performing yajna(sacrifice), worshiping at home which is puja, or repeating multiple names of your favorite deity. In all the ways of worship, one concept that is commonly practiced is ‘Chanting of Mantras’. To rephrase it, we can say Hinduism is incomplete without Mantras. 

What is Mantra?

Mantras are sacred words, syllables, sound, verse, or group of words that are spoken, chanted or meditated for a religious and spiritual purpose. Mantras may or may not have some specific meaning but are considered to have spiritual, psychological efficacy on one’s body, mind, and soul. Most Hindu mantras are evolved from Vedas, Puranas, epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Bhagavad Gita. In Hinduism, predominantly mantras are in Sanskrit. There are millions of Mantras in Hinduism. Different Mantras are for the worship of different Gods and have various benefits. Similar to Mantras there are slokas and stotram. Sloka is again Sanskrit phrases similar to mantras which are poetic and have a specific number of syllables. Another sort of mantras is stotram which is again a poetic manner of prayer of a description of God.

Hinduism ancient scriptures from Vedas to Puranas, and from Ramayana to Mahabharata includes thousands of Mantras, Slokas, stotram. It is believed that chanting mantras are like cleansing the bad karma and generating more good Karmas. Every Mantra / Shloka / stotram has its importance. The beauty of Hinduism is that there is no compulsion and a person can recite any Mantra as per his own belief or choice. These mantras/slokas people memorize anytime like during starting your day or even throughout the day. The basic idea is the person who recites mantras for him the Mantra itself becomes a deity. 

Below listed are some of the most practiced, easy, and popular Mantras/Slokas of Hinduism which is chanted by millions of people across the world. Every Hindu should know some of these mantras and know its importance. 

(1) Aum Mantra:

Om/Aum

The smallest and the most powerful mantra in itself is the word Aum. Aum is composed of the three sounds ‘A’, ‘U’ and ‘M’ – AUM. It represents the beginning – the creation of the universe and everything within it. It is associated with Brahman – the supreme.

(2) Gayatri Mantra:

ॐ भूर् भुवः स्वः । तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं

भर्गो॑ देवस्य धीमहि । धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

Om Bhur-Bhuvah Svah । Tat-Savitur-Varennyam

Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi । Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat ||

The Gayatri mantra is universal and Is considered to be one of the most effective mantras in Hinduism. This mantra is enshrined in the Vedas and firstly appears in the Rigveda (3.62.10) which is one of the oldest scriptures known to mankind. The Gayatri mantra is also repeated and cited widely in classical Hindu texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharta, and Manusmṛti. Mostly Gayatri mantra is chanted silently or mentally and in the morning time. chanting of Gayatri Mantra never brings bad thoughts in one’s life.

(3) Ganesha Mantra:

ॐ गँ गणपतये नमः ।

om gan ganapataye namaha ।

This is a mantra from Ganapati Atharvashirsa minor Upanishad of Hinduism. This is a mantra that is also repeated in yoga. This mantra aims to remove obstacles, negativity, and fear while ushering in new beginnings. It is salutations to the remover of obstacles

(4) HareKrishna Mantra

हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण, कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे।

हरे राम, हरे राम, राम राम हरे हरे॥

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

The mantra was popularized by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and referred to as Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. This mantra is mentioned in the Kali-Santarana Upanishad. Chanting the Hare Krishna mantra connects consciousness inside of you, and with the supreme being. It is a powerful and easy mantra that anyone can chant without restrictions.

(4) Mahamrityunjaya Mantra

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्‌। 

उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षीय माऽमृतात्।।

Aum Tryambakam yajamahe sugandhim pushtivardhanam |

Urvarukamiva bandhanan-mrityor muksheeya maamritaat ||

It is also called a death conquering Mantra or Rudra Mantra and is considered to be the most powerful Shiva Mantra. Mahamrityunjaya Mantra is again sukta of the Rigveda (RV 7.59.12). The mantra aims at warding off evils and it also promotes longevity of life. This mantra should ideally be chanted in the morning before going to work or office. One can gain maximum benefit from chanting this mantra 108 times in batches.

(5) Dwadasakshari Mantra:

ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

It is one of the most popular Krishna mantras and also found in Vishnu Purana. It is one of the most important mantras in Vaishnavism. Everybody can recite this mantra and whenever possible. This mantra means I bow to lord Vasudev. 

(6) Lord Vishnu mantra:

ॐ नमो नारायणाय

Om Namo Narayanaya

Om Namo Narayanaya is an ancient mantra also appearing in the Sama Veda. It is a simple yet powerful mantra to please Lord Vishnu. This mantra is used as a chant for peace, health, and happiness for all.

(7) Siva Panchakshara:

ॐ नमः शिवाय;

Om Namah Shivaya

is one of the most popular Hindu mantras and the most important mantra in Shaivism. This mantra is present in the Shri Rudram hymn which is part of the Krishna Yajurveda. This mantra is repeated verbally or mentally and it is freely sung and can be recited by anyone.

(8) Vakratunda mahakaya shloka

वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटि समप्रभ।

निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा॥

Vakra-Tunndda Maha-Kaaya Suurya-Kotti Samaprabha |

Nirvighnam KuruMe Deva Sarva-Karyeshu Sarvada ||

This Ganesha mantra is a popular Mantra to invoke the benevolent Lord’s blessings. This mantra is basically for making all my works free from obstacles and always.

(9) Lakshmi sloka

कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मिः करमध्ये सरस्वति ।

करमूले तु गोविन्दः प्रभाते करदर्शनम् ॥

Karagre vasate Lakshmi kar moole Saraswati , 

Kar madhye tu Govinda prabhate kar darshan

This Sanskrit sloka is said to be chanted each morning after opening eyes. The Sloka should be chanted while looking at palms. The sloka is originally from the Vishnu Purana.

(10) Devi Mantra

सर्व मांगलमांगल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थ साधिके |

शरण्ये त्रयम्बिके गौरी नारायणी नमोस्तुते ||

Om Sarva Mangala Mangalye, Shive Sarvartha Sadhike 

Sharanye Trayambake Gauri Narayani Namo-stute

This is another very important Durga Mantra. It is chanted during the Durga pooja Festivals and in marriages. One can derive strength and courage by chanting this mantra regularly.

(11) Guru Mantra

गुरुर्ब्रह्मा ग्रुरुर्विष्णुः गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः । 

गुरुः साक्षात् परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः ॥

Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheshwara

Guru Saakshaata Parabrahma Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah

This is shloka which highlights the importance of teachers and their pupils. This mantra equates them with the Hindu Trinity of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Mahesh. The teacher is the representative of the Supreme Being. 

(12) Pavamana Mantra

असतो मा सद्गमय । तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।

मृत्योर् मामृतं गमय । ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya | Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |

Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya | Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

It is an ancient Indian mantra introduced in the Bṛhadaraṇyaka Upaniṣad. Sometimes Aum (ॐ) is added at the beginning of this mantra. And this mantra is also called a Shanti Mantra or Mantra for Peace.

(13) Shantakaram Vishnu Mantra

शान्ताकारम् भुजगशयनम् पद्मनाभम् सुरेशम्

विश्वाधारम् गगनसदृशम् मेघवर्णम् शुभाङ्गम्।

लक्ष्मीकान्तम् कमलनयनम् योगिभिर्ध्यानगम्यम्

वन्दे विष्णुम् भवभयहरम् सर्वलोकैकनाथम्॥

Shantakaram Bhujagashayanam Padmanabham Suresham

Vishvadharam Gaganasadrisham Meghavarnam Shubhangam।

Lakshmikantam Kamalanayanam Yogi Bear Dhyana Gamyam

Vande Vishnum Bhava Bhaya Haram Sarva Lokaika Natham॥

This Mantra is to remove the fear of worldly existence and is called the Shantakaram mantra. Chanting the Vishnu mantra daily is the way to health, prosperity, and happiness and securing all that we desire in life.

(14) MangalamVishnu Mantra

मङ्गलम् भगवान विष्णुः, मङ्गलम् गरुणध्वजः।

मङ्गलम् पुण्डरी काक्षः, मङ्गलाय तनो हरिः॥

Mangalam Bhagwan Vishnuh, Mangalam Garunadhwajah।

Mangalam Pundari Kakshah, Mangalaya Tano Hari॥

Mangalam Bhagwan Vishnu Mantra is a divine mantra recited to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is the creator of the entire universe and has taken ten incarnations to save the people from the hands of demons. This mantra is chanted to invoke the powers of Lord Vishnu and attain desired results.

(15) Hanuman Mantra

ॐ हनुमते नमः।

Aum Hanumante Namah

Chanting of Hanuman Mantra helps one to get rid of all kinds of problems, fears, and negative energies. Lord Hanuman is known for making the impossible possible. Ghosts, devils, and spirits never trouble a person who regularly recites the Hanuman Mantra. 

(16) Mahabharat Shloka

त्वमेव माता च पिता त्वमेव। त्वमेव बन्धुश्च सखा त्वमेव।।

त्वमेव विद्या द्रविणं त्वमेव। त्वमेव सर्व मम देवदेव।।

Twameva Mata cha Pita twameva, Twameva Bandhu cha Sakha twameva

Tvameva Vidya Dravinam tvameva, Tvameva Sarvam mama deva dev.

This shloka is from Mahabharata and conversation between Lord Krishna and Gandhari is used across many texts and scriptures. This is a simple and powerful shloka for the worship of God.

(17) Surya Mantra

ॐ सूर्याय नम:

Om Surya Namah

This is Sun God Mantra and is for the overall well-being. By chanting this Mantra, you can nurture positivity within you, to remain healthy.

(18) Rudra Mantra

ॐ नमो भगवते रुद्राय

Om Namo Bhagwate Rudraay

This is another powerful mantra of lord Shiva which is chanted for the respect, fame, and glory of a person. This mantra is used especially while worshiping Shivling. This mantra also helps to keep the diseases away from people who chant it.

Deciphering the Deities of Hinduism

Published on: ancient-origins

There are no ancient civilizations that have not practiced some kind of religion. When we study the history of the oldest and the earliest civilizations, we do not find exact dates or traces of events with much accuracy. With the help of preserved manuscripts, stone inscriptions, artifacts, and archaeological findings, we find many traces of civilization and its religions. When we explore the origin of Hinduism, it appears very different from other religions.

In Hinduism, we do not find a specific founder or events as might be recognized in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. The sacred texts of Hinduism were not discovered in written form, such as carved stones or recorded on papyrus. What we discover about Hinduism is a vast amount of scriptures and texts that were preserved by great seers for many centuries over millennia. These seers safeguarded the sacred heritage and comprehensive knowledge from century to century in their memories. This knowledge was transferred over the ages by the teachers and their disciples, without ever writing them down, and was later organized by the sage Veda Vyasa as “Vedas”.

Hinduism has survived for thousands of years despite many invasions and influences. Dating back more than 5000 years, Hinduism has embraced ideas from all parts of the globe. One of the oldest sacred scriptures of Hinduism, known as Rigveda says: “Let the noble thoughts come to us from all the directions”.

How Many Gods?

Present day Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world. A survey reveals that 95% of Hindus believe in god, however, the number of gods worshiped in Hinduism is a complicated theology. Hinduism has many traditions, philosophies, heritage, saints, and scriptures. In Hinduism, idols are worshiped everywhere. Idols can be found all over India made of stone, wood, and metal and can be found in all sizes. Each idol is bright, gleaming, and mostly covered with red vermilion. Hindus worship many gods, deities, demigods, and legends.

Hinduism views worship as anything to do with the nine planets, mother earth, gods, goddesses, family ancestors, saints, legends, the cow, the monkey, the river Ganga, and many, many more. The roots of Hindu gods are embraced and closely knit to its source of ancient Vedas and Upanishads. Together, they create a complex structure. When we try to understand and segregate the deities of Hinduism, one of the most obvious divisions might be:

● The Vedic Deities

● The Puranic Deities

● The Inferior Deities and Demigods

Vedic Deities

Vedas is one of the oldest sacred scriptures available in Hinduism, and the most authoritative. Many of the Rigveda manuscripts are included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register . It is noted for being among the first literary documents in the history of humankind. Vedas are also known as Shruti literature, one “which is heard and should be remembered”. Vedas are represented as Anaadi in Sanskrit, as something which has no beginning or end and hence, are eternal. The Vedic gods are the principal foundation of Hinduism. The primary objective of human life during the Vedic period was the fulfilment of four duties, including Dharma, Karma, Artha, and Moksha. The sacrifices (Yajna) and worships mentioned in Vedas are directed towards these duties. Vedic hymns mostly speak about Nature Gods.

Due to the limited number of Vedic scriptures available today, we do not know the exact number of ancient gods worshiped during this period. There are approximately 33 major deities identified in Vedas today, each with their own unique story and symbolism. Vedas generally refers to them as Devas (devatas) and are not meant to represent supreme gods. Some Devas manifest the glory of the supreme god and are divided into eight Vasus, 11 Rudras, and 12 Aditya, including Indra and Prajapati. The Vedic Deities can be further divided into major and minor Deities.

Major Deities worshiped were Indra (god of thunder and storm), Surya (sun god), Agni (god of fire), Varuna (god of sky), Yama (god of death), and Soma ( god of drink ). Some of the Minor Deities focused on were Ushas (goddess of dawn), Ashvins (twin Vedic god), Vishwakarma (god of architecture), and Dyaus (god of father sky).

While some of the gods from the Vedic period have lost their popularity or become forgotten, some are still worshiped in modern Hinduism. The gods still worshiped in Hinduism are Surya (sun god), Agni (god of fire), and Yama, along with a few others. Yajna is an important ritual described more than 1184 times in Vedas and remains a common practice to this day. There is no major ceremony in Hinduism that is completed without inviting the Agni or god of fire for the offering.

In the later or post-Vedic period, most of the gods mentioned in Vedas were set to inferior positions, as compared to the god of Puranas. One such example is Indra, the most prominent deity of the early Vedic period and also the king of heaven. Indra is the god of thunder, rain, and storms. He resides in the celestial city of Amravati in his palace. Indra is similar to Zeus, the king of the ancient Greek god. Indra is also mentioned for governing the eastern quarter of the world and often found with many Apsaras, the celestial girls. Lord Indra rides the Airavata elephant, which evolved during the churning of the ocean.

Puranic Deities

The Puranas are anonymous texts and were utilized by many seers and authors over the centuries. There are 18 Maha Puranas (including main Puranas) and 14 Upa Puranas (the minor Puranas) and include more than 400,000 verses. The Puranas did not enjoy the authority of scripture in Hinduism. They are considered Smritis. Puranic gods are currently known as Hindu gods and goddesses, which are very popular in modern society. Most of the present-day gods and goddesses of Hinduism come from the stories of Puranas, along with a description of their significance during the Puranic period. Another important source of gods in modern Hinduism are the two great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Mahabharata, which contains 220,000 verses, states that “what is not in the Mahabharata is not in Bharata (India)” . Similarly, Ramayana contains more than 50,000 verses which are the narrative by the seer Valmiki and greatly admired. The Puranic period in India evolved soon after the Vedic period.

The Puranas narrate most of the stories of Vishnu, Siva, and Lord Brahma. Lord Vishnu was the minor Vedic deity who was identified with Vasudeva in Vedas. Later on in the Puranic period, Lord Vishnu is mentioned as having ten incarnations (avatars). Lord Krishna and Lord Rama emerged as the most powerful incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva is another Puranic god who was an ancient minor Vedic god. In Puranas, Lord Shiva is one of the main gods of Trinity and is worshiped in various forms, such as Nataraja, Lingam, and the five headed Ardhanarishvara.

The female ensemble of Siva, Shakti, and Durga are also regarded to be among the Puranic deities, as is Lord Ganesh . Altogether, there are eighteen Puranas, two great epics, and many tantras that are the main source of knowledge of the gods of modern Hinduism. The most powerful gods of the Hindu Trinity include Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara, which stands for Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer from the Puranas period. The most powerful goddesses are the consorts of Hindu Trimurtis; goddess Saraswathi, goddess Lakshmi, goddess Parvati, or Shakti, and the goddess known as Trivedi.

Puranic stories are illustrated as Indra (major god of Vedas), seen riding the white elephant and worshiping Siva, Parvati, and Lord Ganesh (son of Lord Shiva), on the sacred bull Nandi. It is noticed that these gods of Vedas are degraded in the Brahmanas (a part of Vedas) and further up the lower levels in Puranas.

Hindu dharma is further divided into more sects based on the gods of Puranas. Sects include Vaishnavism (Vishnu), Shaivism (Shiva), Shaktism (Devi), and Smartism (five deities treated as the same) in Hinduism today.

The Inferior Gods and Demigods

There is a third classification of deities in Hinduism, including demigods, which are mostly worshiped by local or specific communities. Gods from this period are similar to inferior gods, which are worshiped by fewer people from specific sects or villages or a particular region. Sometimes, evil demigods were also added to the lists of deities and mostly worshiped in small villages in India.

Generally, these gods have a specific purpose and serve a specific object with a cause, such as the Goddess of Cholera, still worshiped in many villages of India. Another example is the worship of sage Naarad, who is the messenger of the gods and has a reputation as a gossiping and meddling person. As Hinduism has always been close to nature, many of these minor gods originate directly or indirectly from nature, and result in the worshiping of trees, rivers, and mountains.
Worship of some of the planets or heavenly bodies can also be added to the list of inferior gods. Two of these planets are mentioned in Vedas as Vedic God, Surya the Sun, and the Moon, as Soma. The other five planets are Mercury (Budha), Venus (Sukra), Mars (Mangala), Jupiter (Brihaspati), and Saturn (Sani). Even in modern Hinduism, during all great festivals, a small offering is presented to the planets. Some of the planets are not worshiped together and some are always worshiped in groups. Even the planets are assigned names to align with the days of the week and have a great influence on Hindu life. Two additional connections include Rahu and Ketu, the eclipse demons, who are also worshiped in Hinduism. In Vishnu Purana, there are stories in which Rahu and Ketu cover the sun and moon with their hands and swallow them.

Hinduism Today

All three categories of god play an important part in strengthening the great Hindu society and give inspiration to millions of Hindu devotees across the world.

It would be not wrong to consider Hinduism as polytheistic in its worshiping of many deities. At the same time, Hinduism also supports the monotheistic belief of one supreme god called Brahman, also referred to as Parmataman. The supreme god has three forms; Brahma-the creator, Vishnu-the sustainer, and Shiva-the destroyer. The Hindu concept also supports the henotheistic belief, which suggests the worship of a single god while not denying the existence or possible existence of other deities and demigods. Henotheism was first used by western scholar, Max Müller, to describe the theology of Vedic religion during pre-ancient Aryan culture. Collectively, the complex structure of gods in Hinduism indicate a liberal and committed religious freedom for its devotees.

Nothing is more wonderful in today’s world than the sight of the countless crowds at the Banaras Ghat, swarming into the sacred river of Ganga for cleansing the soul or watching vibrant Aarti with the serene beauty of the calm sacred river, at one of the 4000-year-old ancient heritages mentioned in Vedas and Puranas.

How our ancient rishis preserved the Vedas flawlessly

Published on: Pragyata   

The ancient sacred scriptures of Hinduism were not found engraved on a native rock, embossed on cast metal, papyrus material, or any birch bark manuscripts. In Hinduism, we do not have any founder or any emergence dates like with the Semitic religions or even Indic offshoots like Buddhism or Jainism. We also do not know the any events. So questions comes, how far we need to go to find traces of Hinduism.

What we find in Hinduism is a huge volume of ancient sacred texts preserved by great seers for several millenniums. These rishis passed down their vast knowledge and our heritage from century to century from their deep memories. This knowledge was transferred through many ages by the teachers to their disciples, without ever writing them down and was later organised by Veda Vyasa rishi.

The word Veda (वेद) is made from the word ‘Vid’ which means “knowledge” in Sanskrit are the oldest sacred text available. This is the reason why Vedas as termed as ‘Anantha vai Vedaah’ (अनंता वै वेदा:), i.e. Vedas are infinite. All other scriptures in Hinduism are derived or inherited from the Vedas. Vedas are also called as Anaadi (अनादि), one which has no beggining or end and hence eternal. Vedas are the primary and authoritative source of knowledge and are also known as Shruti literature, one “which is heard and should be remembered” by the rishis from god.

As the bedrock of Hinduism, we all know the authoritative division of the Vedas is fourfold: Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda. This sacred knowledge is passed through generations, ages, millenniums without any slightest alteration and adjustment in it. But questions come how it is possible even?

These scriptures and sacred texts are so enormous that if we take the Rigveda alone, it is mentioned it had from 5 to 21 Shakhas (शाखा) in the Vedic period. Shakhas can be said as branches or schools. Out of all the Rigveda’s branch names mentioned in the scriptures; only one is to be said is available today, known as Shakala (शाकल). Combined mantras found in the Rigveda is more than 10500 (the present-day partitioning of Rigveda is done in ten different mandalas marked from 1 to 10). Ponder the number of sacred scriptures and texts which would have been available during the ancient period if alone the Rigveda was so enormous.

How would it have been possible to memorise the enormous number of mantras, suktas with the correct sound, melody, and tone in Vedic scriptures? How did our ancient seers/rishis pass down the sacred scriptures, vast knowledge for many centuries without even the slightest alteration and modification in them? This almost seems impossible, if we consider how in the present day we fumble after practising the mantras for decades.

Even UNESCO has declared the Oral Tradition of Vedas in India as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in the year 2003.

Taking one part of mantra which we all know “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (वसुधैव कुटुम्बकं) which appeared in the Maha Upanishad (Chapter 6, Verse 72) and “means the world is one family”. The  complete mantra of this is:

”अयं बन्धुरयं नेति गणना लघुचेतसां उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकं ”

A slight change in the one accented syllable/tone will entirely change the meaning of the sentence. So the question is, how did ancient seers preserve these scriptures orally for so many centuries.

To find the solution to this, ancient seers developed unique ways to preserve these eternal mantras. They used different styles of recitation methods. Some of these techniques which are still known to us are called as padapathas (पदपाठ). These recitation methods were designed in such a way that the scriptures and sacred texts, their pronunciation including the Vedic pitch and accent were memorised perfectly while maintaining the purity of the text. Some of the most common methods of reciting are Samhita, Jata, Pada, Krama, Sikha, Rekha, Danda, Ratha, Dhwaja and Ghana.

They were designed in such a way that accuracy in recitation and transmission of Vedas from one generation to the next generation was accurately preserved. Some of these techniques are mentioned below:

Samhita (patha): In this method, syllable and complete mantras were chanted in the original form with no special pattern or changes adopted. Recitation of words leaping with its original phonetic sound, tone rules of chorus and intonation.

Jata (patha): In this, every two adjoining words/Shabd (शब्द) in the mantras were first recited in their original sequence, then repeated in reverse, and finally repeated again in the original sequence. The recitation proceeds throughout the mantra as next words are introduced. Example => word1, word2; word2, word1; word1, word2; word2, word3, word3, word2, word2, word3 and so on.

Prakrti (patha): This recitation was marked by a conscious pause after every word, and after any special grammatical codes embedded inside the text; this method suppresses and restores each word in its original intended form.

Krama (patha): In this step by step recitation was followed, where syllable combined are paired successively and sequentially. Then the mantras were recited. the first word of the mantra is added to the second, the second to the third, the third to the fourth and so on, until the whole sentence of the mantras is completed. If we try it would be as word1, word2; word2, word3; word3, word4; and so on.

Ghana (paṭha): In this method, each syllable is repeated up-to 13 times in a format such as:

word1; word2; word2; word1; word1, word2, word3; word3, word2, word1; word1, word2, word3;

word2, word3; word3, word2; word2, word3, word4; word4, word3, word2; word2, word3, word4;

word3, word4; word4, word3; word3, word4, word5; word5, word4, word3; word3, word4, word5;

word4, word5; word5, word4; word4, word5, word6; word6, word5, word4; word4, word5, word6;

What is really depressing now is that despite so much effort put in by the ancient seers to preserve these Vedas, for many millennia for the benefit of mankind, presently even with all our modern technology and preservation technique only a very limited number of people know or have the inclination to greasp these great scriptures.

Published Date : 29 Apr 2020                                                       

 

Forgotten scriptures – The Vedas

Published on:  Opindia

There is no culture or civilization in the world history which has not practiced any religion. When we study the ancient history of the oldest and the earliest civilizations or culture of the world, we do not find exact dates or the traces of the events with accuracy. But with the help of preserved manuscripts, stone inscriptions, artifacts, objects, and archaeological findings, we can find high-level traces of the civilization and its religion. Few of such examples of the very oldest religions of the world are like Taoism in Chinese, Sumerian religion, Zoroastrianism of Iran, etc. Similarly for most of the religions, we find a lot of information about the founders of religion, beginning period, whereabouts, background, etc. And all this has a major role in the religious beliefs, prophecies, transcendental or spiritual elements,  practice, its core values, etc.

Taking all this into consideration, if we check the oldest records of Hinduism, it is very different to equate it with all other religions.  

In the Indian subcontinent the oldest scriptures, sacred texts of Hinduism were not found in any written form or carved on stones. The scriptures of Hinduism was not recorded in any papyrus material. In Hinduism, we do not find any founder or any beginning dates unlike Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. We do not find any whereabouts of beginning of Hinduism.

Capture

What we find about Hinduism is a vast amount of scriptures and texts that were preserved by great seers for many-many centuries and millenniums. These seers/Rishis safeguarded the sacred heritage and vast amount of knowledge from century to century in their memory and heart. It was passed through many generations by the Gurus (teachers) to their pupils without even writing them. Which is almost impossible if we think in the present day, keeping in a notice about the amount of text and the complexity of the language. And it was passed from generation to generation without any slightest alteration and modification in it. This knowledge was later organized by the great seers and scholars and known as Vedas (वेद).

The Vedas are the oldest sacred text available not only in Hinduism but to mankind, as far as known till date. That can be a reason, it is said

‘Anantha vai Vedaah’ (अनंता वै वेदा:)

Means, Vedas are infinite. Vedas are endless and Infinite. The knowledge in Vedas has neither the beginning nor the ending. As this sacred knowledge was deep-rooted thousands of years back. There are no great scriptures than Vedas. There could more interpretations varying on the degree of the scholarly person who must be translating or interpreting it but it is the text of divine knowledge. All other scriptures are derived from the Vedas. Vedas are also called as Anādi (अनादि). Anadi means the thing which always existed even before the time started and will remain forever. Which means it is having no beginning or end. It is eternal.

‘Veda apaurusheya’  (वेद अपौरुषेय)

The Vedas are ultimate truths and not created or composed by a person. They are created by Brahman (Supreme Being). So the origin of Vedas cannot be traced. Since there are some Mantras that are associated with the names of sages, we may inference that they may have been composed of them. But it is not so as a matter of fact. “apaurusheya” means not the work of any man.

 

Vedas are the most authoritative of all the text in Hinduism. In all other Hinduism texts like Puranas, Bhagwat Gita and epics like Mahabharata, Ramayana also talks about the greatness and essence of Vedas. Bhagwat Gita is one of the most popular texts in Hinduism and also most translated, published scripture in Hinduism. Bhagwat Gita is composed in Sanskrit and it means Song of God. In Bhagwat Geta, Lord Krishna himself says

that:

वेदानां सामवेदोऽस्मि देवानामस्मि वासव: |

इन्द्रियाणां मनश्चास्मि भूतानामस्मि चेतना ||

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 10, Verse 22                                  

I am the Sāma Veda amongst all the Vedas available, I am Indra amongst all the celestial gods.

What really sad is, we are not much aware of our Vedas. How many among us know Vedas? Most of us do not know anything more than- names of the four Vedas; what else…. it is the oldest scriptures known to mankind; it is written around 1500 BC by Aryans; it is written in Vedic Sanskrit. We know about Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata thanks to all the available sources like- our daily soap televisions, mythology books, stories from our grandparents.

There are some Myths around why people not studying Vedas, few common answers are:

1.) Vedas and Upanishads are difficult to understand and the only great guru, teacher, Sanskrit scholars can only understand it.

2.) Vedas and Upanishads are boring. Mostly it talks about how to praise God, nature or answer of questions like who am I, what is the purpose of my life, etc.

But the question comes, have we ever tried to understand the essence of Vedas/Upanishads, the most important fundamental and the authoritative scriptures/element of Hinduism?

Published Date : 9 April 2020                                                         

     

What does the Vedas teach us, in this Pandemic

Published On: Opindia 

Our newly emerged worst enemy from China has brought the whole world to its knees. More than 2.5 million people have been infected worldwide, in this pandemic so far. Almost one-third of the human population is living under lockdown currently. A new type of psychosomatic experimentation is being conducted on humankind in this pandemic. No one knows the aftermath of this pandemic and when it is going to end. But one question is arising certainly,

Where is God in this Pandemic?

In some religions, they are saying, the coronavirus itself is an act of God, some are saying it is a deed of human punishment. Honestly, we do not know, but undoubtedly many customs followed in Hinduism, is beneficial to fight with this novel Coronavirus and the western world is supporting it wholeheartedly. The practices which were mentioned in the oldest scriptures of Hinduism in Vedas are scientifically proven in reducing the spreading of the deadly virus. The whole world is following Hinduism practices more than ever before this pandemic.

One such precaution to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 is ‘Namaste’ (Namaskaram), and it is becoming a global salutation trend now. More and more people, especially global leaders are doing namaste rather than a handshake, kissing, or bowing. Recently some of the top world leaders like Prince Charles, Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu, French President Emmanuel Macron, and others were spotted doing namaste. Namaste is derived from Sanskrit and is a combination of the word ‘namas’ and ‘te’ which means “I bow to the divine in you”. Namaskritya and other such related terms appeared in Rigveda especially in ‘Vivaha Sukta’. It is a traditional way of greeting in India for thousands of years. Recently U.S. President Donald Trump said ‘India ahead of the curve’, after greeting Irish PM with namaste..

Hygiene and quarantine were always important in Hinduism for health, mental, and social reasons. Even during the Vedic age, many of the hygiene practices were followed and are mentioned in Vedas. These hygiene practices are part of Hinduism and followed from many centuries in India. These practices are very much required in the present day during this Pandemic. Some of these practices are like washing hands with antiseptics/germicides after urination or defecation. Though these antiseptics were made from turmeric, neem, and replaced now by sanitizers, handwash in the present day. Washing our hands before and after having food. Putting down sleepers outsides of house and many more such small traditions where followed. Similarly, if someone dies, the entire family is like quarantine for the rest of the village was another way hygiene which is followed. Also during the menstruation cycle, women were something like social distancing. similarly in many such scenarios families or person was in quarantine or at least social distancing was followed. These practices were followed to keep our self-safe and hygienic. Albeit our enemies slightly change, but still in the world of technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT we are following similar practices which were laid down thousands of years earlier.

Well, we all are trying their best to stay calm and relax, but still, stress levels are reaching an all-time high in lockdown. Even now, we have a long way to go. The whole world is worried, how this all will impact our lives, business, jobs, health, and finances. People are trying more and more ways to place stress under control. One of the easiest and effective ways that the world is doing –Meditation. Harvard Medical School recently published that the easiest way to reduce stress, anxiety is meditation. More and more apps, smartwatches are offering modern technology these days that can guide you to meditate, reduce stress and stay focused. New Articles, blogs are published and shared every day on Mediation and yoga all across the Internet. The word meditation itself means dhyanam, which factors self-learning, conciliation with self. The word dhyanam has appeared many times in Vedas starting Rigveda like appearance is in Verse 10.11.1 of the Taittiriya Aranyaka. Similarly appeared in Kauhitaki Upanishads 3.2 where it talks about mind and meditation in prayer.

Corona virus Is also changing the rituals followed after the demise. The majority of governments are choosing cremation over burial, irrespective of their religion. Sri Lanka, Philippines, and other countries or states have made cremations compulsory in coronavirus deaths. Even western countries like in the USA, cremations have surpassed burials as the most popular end of life option. WHO says to conduct a safe and dignified burial of a patient who has died from a suspected virus like ebola. Cremation is a major practice that is followed in Hinduism from the early period. And a standard practice in cremation is that dead bodies are not ethical to touch. People need to take a bath after coming from cremations. Antyeṣṭi or Antima Sanskara is a Sanskrit word for cremations in Hinduism. Word antya and iṣṭi respectively mean “last” and “sacrifice”. And “Antima Sanskara” means “last sacred ceremony”. In Hinduism, it is considered that the human body and the whole universe consists of five elements – air, water, fire, earth, and space. The last rite of ritual is to return the body to its five elements of the origin. The roots of these beliefs are very old and can be found in the Vedas, in the hymns of Rigveda section 10.16.

Now more and more health organizations are warning about the health-related risks associated with eating meat after these pandemics. Raising animals for food was always a breeding ground for diseases that can be easily transmitted to humans. Health experts believe COVID-19 originated at a “wet market” in China, where shops sell both live and dead animals for human consumption. It is still not proved that the meat industry is entirely responsible for the corona virus, but yes corona virus and similarly many other Pandemics in the past have always been linked with animals. It is found that 6 out of 10 most Infectious diseases come from Animals like H1N1 swine flu, H5N1 bird flu, Ebola, SARS, and many more.

The WHO says 70% of global disease-causing pathogens discovered in the past 50 years came from animals. More and more news is emerging these days from all parts of the world after this deadly virus is to stop eating meat and to go vegan strictly which is a known practice in Hinduism from centuries. As we all know that prevention is always better than cure. Although there are no vaccines for this pandemic until now, the best step is to take measures to elevate the immunity, so there will be fewer chances of getting infected by this disease. Despite there is no such unique food, fruits, or medicine that can be a guarantee to boost the immune system and protect us against coronavirus immediately.

Still, vegetables and fruits are the best examples of immune-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some of the key nutrients that are important in immunity are mentioned in Ayurveda. Some examples of such immunity-boosting herbs are turmeric, cumin, coriander, and garlic which are commonly used in an Indian family.

Published Date: 23 April 2020                     

Some quotes from great person for Vedas

Published in Book: “Beyond the Credence”

“After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.” W. Heisenberg, German Physicist

“India—The land of Vedas, the remarkable works contain not only religious ideas for a perfect life but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all were known to the seers who founded the Vedas.”– Wheeler Wilcox

“We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”– Albert Einstein, scientist

“They were very advanced Hindu astronomers in 6000 BC. Vedas contain an account of the dimension of Earth, Sun, Moon, Planets, and Galaxies.”-Emmelin Plunret in ‘Calendars and Constellations’

“An examination of Indian Vedic doctrines shows that it is in tune with the most advanced scientific and philosophical thought of the West.”-Sir John Woodroffe

“One Billion-Year-Old fossil prove life began in India: AFP Washington reports in Science Magazine that German Scientist Adolf Seilachar and Indian Scientist P.K. Bose have unearthed fossil in Churhat a town in Madhya Pradesh, India which is 1.1 billion years old and has rolled back the evolutionary clock by more than 500 million years.”-Adolf Seilachar & P.K. Bose, scientists

“Our present knowledge of the nervous system fits in so accurately with the internal description of the human body given in the Vedas (5000 years ago). Then the question arises whether the Vedas are really religious books or books on anatomy of the nervous system and medicine.”– B.G. Rele in ‘The Vedic Gods

“The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either.”-Sir William Jones, British Orientalist

“Vedas are the most rewarding and the most elevating book which can be possible in the world.”-Schopenhauer

“From the Vedas, we learn a practical art of surgery, medicine, music, house building, under which mechanized art is included. They are encyclopedia of every aspect of life, culture, religion, science, ethics, law, cosmology and meteorology”.-William James, American Philosopher and Physician.

“I go to the Upanishads to ask questions.”-Niels Bohr.

Dasarajna War (Battle of Ten Kings)

Published on: Scribd

Dasarajna War” also known as “Battle of Ten Kings” is one of the oldest epic battles of the ancient period. This battle was fought in the Vedic era, the early Bronze age period in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. This historical battle was an epic war. It was fought between the emperors of Bharatas (Aryans Tribe) on one side and the consortium of ten Kings on the other side. After this war, the political and geographical structure of Bharatavarsha  (Indian subcontinent) was substantially changed.

Till many centuries, it was believed as no such war ever happened. It was mentioned in scriptures as a mythological story of the battles between humans, together with Gods and ancient legends. It was always considered as fictitious, with no link to any real event. Only In the last few decades with the help of some historians, scholars enough facts were provided.  And now it is considered an important event in the ancient Indian subcontinent by many historians.

We can find the reference of this war in Rigveda, the first and the oldest of Vedas. Vedas are one of the oldest sacred scriptures available in Hinduism. Vedas are the most authoritative of all the scriptures in Hinduism. Many of the Rigveda manuscripts are also included in UNESCO Memory of the World Register. It is added as being among the first literary documents in the history of humankind, they transcend far beyond their identity as scriptures. In Rigveda Samhitas 7th Mandal, we find references about this Battle of Ten Kings. This battle took place between King Sudas who were descendants of Bharatas and a group of ten or more kings. This is why the battle is called Dasarajana (Dasha meaning ten and Rajanya meaning kingdoms in Sanskrit).

This Battle is expected by historians to have been fought around c. 3000 BCE. These kingdoms were mostly around seven rivers including river Sarasvati, In the present day, it would be in eastern Pakistan and northern India. Sudas was a Bharata king of the Tristus family who was settled in the region for a long period. They later came to be known as Bharatvarta. Sudas was also considered as the ancestor of the Ikshvaku dynasty, the ancestor of Lord Rama of Ayodhya. It is mentioned that the war of ten kings happened on the bank of river Parushni (a present-day known as river Ravi).

(Image: Public Domain)

The ten kings who fought against Sudas were: Purus, Bhalanas, Alinas, Turvasha, Bhruigus, Druhyu, Anus, Parshus, Simyu.  The main leaders from the ten kings’ side were Pururs. This war is mentioned as it was fought for a long time. In this war, Sudas defeated all ten kings and their army. It is mentioned in Rigveda that rivers played an important role in Sudas in winning the war. Sage Vasistha helped Sudas in defeating the ten kings with the help of God Indra who drowned the enemy army. 

As to their goal they sped to their destruction: they sought Paruṣṇī; e’en the swift returned not.

Indra abandoned, to Sudās the manly, the swiftly flying foes, unmanly babblers.

                                                                                                              Rigveda, Mandala 7.18..9

There are references in Mandala 7 of Rigveda that more than 6666 people were killed in this war. It is also mentioned that soon after this war Sudas fought another war on the bank of the Yamuna river and defeated the other three kings as well.

Sudas were mentioned in Rigveda as the firm believers of Aryan values. After this war, Sudas expanded its region, collected heavy war prices in the form of tax from enemies. Sudas also gave a handsome gift to Sage Vashishtha which is again mentioned in Rigveda :

Priest-like, with praise, I move around the altar, earning Paijavana's reward,

O Agni, Two hundred cows from Devavan's descendant, two chariots from Sudās with mares to draw them.

Gift of Paijavana, four horses bear me in foremost place, trained steeds with pearl to deck them.

Sudās's brown steeds, firmly-stepping, carry me and my son for progeny and glory.

Rigveda, Mandala 7.18.22

Despite being one of the oldest wars even before great Indian epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, it is almost forgotten.  Not a lot of people know about this great battle!!

Published Date: 10-April

Images : Public Domain