It was nearing noon when I got out of the car and decided to climb the hill on foot. The sun was beating down as I parked the car at the foothills adjacent to the beautiful temple.
Dharma is a very familiar term in Hindu epics, purāṇas and other literary works that highlight the ideal ways of human life. We find the term in the major Upaniṣads and Bhagavad Gīta also, used in varying senses like virtue, righteousness and religious duties. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad says in verse 1.4.14 that Dharma is instrumental in making the world flourish; in the beginning, it was created on finding that world was not flourishing through the earlier creations of four Varṇas.
The Gayatri Mantra is considered the most sacred of all mantras in Sanaatana Dharma (Vedic Hindu religion). Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that among all the mantras, He is the Gayatri. The Gayatri Mantra originates from the Rig Veda – the most ancient of Indian scriptures and the Mantra’s power was revealed to Brahmarishi Vishwamitra.
The sprawling caves of Bhimbetka are located about 45 km northeast of Bhopal, the state capital of Madhya Pradesh in India. The northern fringes of the ancient Vindhyachal ranges are home to the extraordinary rock shelters and paintings, the rocks fortifying an ancient treasure within. Seated amidst lush greenery in dense forests, rocky terrain, craggy cliffs, with the lofty rocks guarding the ancient premises, the caves of Bhimbetka present a breathtaking view.
India’s secular principles adopted in the Indian Constitution and followed in all governmental works after independence (with the noble intent of promoting equality of all religions and showing impartiality), has helped minimize communal tensions, but has unknowingly de-linked Gods and ancient wisdom of the ages from the official machinery and decision-making processes (both in government and in workplaces today).
My trip to India was very much like my desire to learn TM. It was initiated by my inner guide. I wasn’t thinking of going anywhere. I was enjoying the quietness of a week long retreat in a TM academy in Suffolk. In the middle of one of his brilliant explanations about Maharishi’s knowledge – Alistair, our teacher – added an aside saying he was taking a group to the Kumbha Mela the next February.
The Aditya Hridayam Stotram (literally, the “Sun Heart”) was composed by one of the greatest Maharshis of Bhaarat (India) – Sage Agastya. On the battlefield, he sees Lord Sri Rama depleted of physical energy and lacking hope and mental strength – after fighting a fierce battle with the demon King Ravana for several days.
Of all the deities in the Hindu pantheon, by far the most complex and mysterious to me is Śiva. Devotees and scholars alike have attempted to pierce the shrouds of textual and archaeological history to understand his origin, nature and evolution. Yet he continues to defy comprehension and definition.
Usually what comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘flag’ or ‘dhwaj? Victory, dominance, patriotism? We have often seen a ‘bhagwa dhawj’ or saffron flag being adorned on top of most Hindu temples or ashrams; it has almost become an eternal symbol for the Hindu culture. Who chose this color orange to denote the vast spiritual and cultural nuances?