For thousands of years India has had an ancient connection with all gemstones. We see this evident in the traditional name for the Indian Ocean – Ratnakara “the mine of gems”. But did you know that up until the early 18th Century the entire world’s supply of diamonds came exclusively from India? The Ratnashastra informs us that among all stones the diamond is the very best. It is said to have unique mystical influence on each of the four divisions of society. Properly assigned it brings power and good fortune, improperly it brings misfortune and defeat. Astrologically it is...Read More
Byline: Vaishnava Das
The Sages inform us that once the entire world was ruled by a single Emperor. Then a great destruction occurred. All the kings of the earth gathered at a single place, a battlefield, in which the entire order was destroyed. This was the great transition between the Ages and the world entered a new Dark Age (Kali Yuga) in 3102 B.C. with no memory of what had come before. Among a few initiates, however, a surviving knowledge of the previous Ages was passed down from master to student. As fantastic as this all sounds a study of world culture reveals this truth – bits and pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle, scattered around the globe, fit ever too perfectly. The impetus for this article came rather obliquely from a casual look at a map. There I noticed a curiously named ski resort in the mountains of northern Sweden called Hemavan. Now, in truth, I cannot tell you if this town is ancient or modern, nor the traditional meaning in Swedish. But the name piqued my curiosity. You see, Hemavan is a perfectly Sanskrit name. It is, in fact, the traditional name of the Himalayas. In Sanskrit Hema means ‘snow or cold’ and Van means ‘to possess’. A strikingly perfect name for a ski resort town. As with any jigsaw puzzle it is always advisable to start with the corners –...Read More
“We have drunk Soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the gods discovered. Now what may an enemy’s malice do to harm us? What, O Immortal, can mortal man’s deception do?” – Rig Veda 8.48.3 Perhaps the most mysterious of the Vedic traditions is the ritual consumption of Soma, a drink said to grant immortality and communion with the gods. Many have been on a quest to identify its earthly counterpart. Most speculations revolve around plants that produce a stimulating and/or hallucinogenic effect. The spiritual authorities, however, reject any such speculation identifying it as a mundane drug. In the Vedic tradition, Soma is simultaneously a plant, a person (god), and a heavenly body (the moon). It is said that Sage Atri, one of the Seven Sages of the Universe, once cried in jubilation, and from his tears of joy was born his son Soma. Tears that are shed due to anger or sadness are hot, but those shed from joy are cool. Because of this the moon was full of soothing rays. He is said to be a fair and handsome youth, one who was raised by the Seven Mothers to be a Sage and Seer. As a plant we are told that Soma was sacrificed, crushed through stones to express the liquid. “Freeing himself he flows away, leaving his body’s severed limbs, and meets his own...Read More
Perhaps the most re-occuring tradition found around the world is that of a man, forewarned of a coming destruction (pralaya) by water, who escapes by boat, and preserves the human race. In the Vedic tradition he is known as Manu, the father of mankind. The etymology of the word ‘man’ is ‘to think’ derived from the Sanskrit ‘manah’ for ‘the mind’. This is because, as descendants of Manu, our form of life is meant for higher levels of consciousness, above the base animalistic tendencies of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. In the Bhagavad Gita verse 4:1 we are told that Manu received the Divine instructions: “The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Iksvaku.” The Vedic scriptures tell us that Manu is a position occupied for a period of time. At the end of each period a great destruction occurs and mankind must begin again. We are currently in the age of the 7th Manu – Vaivasvata Manu (Manu, the son of Vivasvan). According to the Matsya Purana, Manu was meditating at the base of Mount Malaya performing his daily ablutions in a pond by his hermitage. In scooping up the water he caught a small fish and, not wanting to hurt him, placed the...Read More
If I were to tell you, that once, no other country, save India, revered the cow as much as Japan, I could understand your disbelief. Today, we think of Japan as a meat-eating culture. However, this image is a product of the last 150 years of American influence. The traditional Japanese culture held the cow as the most sacred animal. What follows next is the true story of among the greatest protectors of the cow – the Samurai. In The Footsteps Of The Buddha When Buddhism left India for the Far East it had a profound influence on all of the countries it encountered including China, Korea and Japan. Buddhism entered Japan around the year 552 A.D. In April 675 A.D. the Japanese Emperor Tenmu banned the consumption of all meat from four legged animals including cows, horses, dogs, and monkeys, as well as domestic birds such as chickens and roosters. Each succeeding emperor would periodically reinforce this ban until by the 10th Century all meat eating had been eliminated. In mainland China and Korea the Buddhist monks adhered to the principle of ‘ahimsa’ or non-violence in their eating habits but theses strictures were not placed on the population as a whole. In Japan, however, the Emperor was very strict in guiding his subjects towards the Buddha’s teachings of non-violence. The killing of mammals was considered extremely sinful, birds...Read More
If you were to travel to Lithuania you might encounter some traditional houses adorned with the motif of two horse heads. You might take this as a simple design but it is in fact a small clue to Lithuania’s deep and ancient Vedic past. Traditionally, the Vedic peoples of Lithuania worshipped the Ašvieniai, the divine horse twins, related to the goddess Ūsinis. They are said to pull the Sun Chariot through the sky. The Lithuanian people continue to adorn their roof tops with the symbol of the divine horse twins in order to receive protection for the household. In India the complete Vedic tradition has been preserved. There the divine horse twins are known as the Ashvins, the children of the Sun god Surya, who are summoned by the goddess Ushas (morning dawn) and appear as the morning and evening sunlight. They are often known as Nasatya (Kind, Helpful) and Dasra (Enlightened Giving). They are practitioners of Ayurveda as the doctors of the devas (demigods), and it is for this reason that people adorn their roofs with their image – so that the residing family may remain healthy. They are most notable for granting the divine twins of King Pandu – Nakula and Sahadev, who along with Yudhisthira, Bhima, and Arjuna made up the Pandavas of the Mahabharata. Lithuanian is very archaic and has preserved linguistically a great deal...Read More
Among Vedic practitioners, Tulasi “The Incomparable One”, is vital in the worship of Lord Vishnu. As Vrinda Devi she arranges the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Krishna in the forests of Vrindavan. Devotees always offer food to the Lord accompanied by a leaf from Tulasi. In addition, Vaishnavas chant on and wear sacred beads made of her wood, and in some traditions anoint their body with sacred clay in the form of her leaf. For thousands of years Tulasi was worshipped in India and slowly made its way westward via trade routes linking India to Persia and Greece. Many may not know that Tulasi plays an important role in Orthodox Christianity (including Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian, and Romanian Orthodox Churches). According to Orthodox tradition when the disciples of Jesus went to the tomb of Christ they found it empty but all around the area were fully bloomed Tulasi. The Greeks called Tulasi ‘Holy Basil’, from the Greek word ‘basileus’ meaning King/royalty for it was reserved for the greatest. Several hundred years later, Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in search of holy relics. It is said she found a barren hill covered in sweet smelling Tulasi, and upon excavation found the true cross beneath the Tulasi plant. Because Tulasi was discovered both at the cross and tomb of Christ, traditional Orthodox Christians saw it...Read More
In 1938 the Nazis sent an expedition to Tibet in search of occult treasures. During this trek, the lead scientist, Ernst Schäfer stole an iron deity depicting a man in seated posture. On the deity’s chest was the sacred swastika and in his hand he held an unknown object. No one knows who the carved man is or what he is holding in his hand. Some say it is a deity of Vaisravana, a Buddhist deity of wealth, and the object in his hand a bag of money or the “wish-fulfilling” gem. The statue is just under 10 inches tall and weighs almost 23 pounds. By analyzing the composition of the deity (mostly iron with a large presence of nickle), scientists have determined that this meteor was part of a shower that hit along the Siberian-Mongolian border between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago. The deity was carved from a solid iron meteorite – the only known carving of a human figure from an object from...Read More
In County Meath, Ireland, on the Hill of Tara sits a mysterious stone known as the Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny). According to The Annals of the Four Masters, an ancient document written by Franciscan Monks between 1632-1636 AD, this stone was brought to Ireland by the Tuatha Dé Danann, a supernaturally gifted people. Some speculate it was they who brought the power to make bronze to Ireland. They were the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland. The Tuatha Dé Danann, meaning the children of the goddess Danu, are said to have ruled Ireland from 1897 B.C. to 1700 B.C. having arrived from the coast on ships. The Christian monks viewed the stone as a pagan stone idol symbolic of fertility. This stone was so important that it was used for the coronation of all Irish Kings up until 500 AD. The goddess Danu in European tradition was a river goddess. We find her namesake in rivers such as the Danube, Don, Dneiper, & Dniestr rivers. In some Irish texts her father is said to be Dagda (the good god), a father figure in Irish tradition. The Vedic tradition also has a goddess Danu, the daughter of Daksha, wife of Kasyapa Muni, who was a goddess of the rivers. The word Danu in Sanskrit means ‘flowing water’. As the daughter of Daksha, her sister Sati would have been married...Read More
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