Archive for the ‘Thus’ Tag

Vedic Astrology

Image Credit: Darrell Hargett

Albert Einstein; the great physicist said, "Time is the fourth Dimension," Vedas say that "Time is the first dimension." In the beginning there was nothing. This concept of "nothing" is beyond the comprehension of ordinary human mind! It is so because before the concept of time there was absolutely nothing which is known as the "Shoonya" or ‘Zero’ or complete silence. Only the yogis who have attained "Nir Vikalpa Samadhi" state can experience this "nothing" and none else can. It is a state beyond time or "timeless state."

Vedas say that from this nothing originated vibration known as the "Pranava" or the sound ‘AUM’. From this sound there emerged five symbolic instruments of creation of universe. These were known as the Five "Tan matras". From the Tan matras came five primordial forces called Space and Time, Atmosphere, Light, Fire, Liquids, and finally the solidification of all. The mixing of these forces resulted in creation of the universes, as we know it now. It is an accepted scientific fact that even the universes are time bound. The theory of relativity; so called because all facts are related to time, speaks of speed in relation to time.

Vedas speak time as the limiting factor for all creation. Every thing is time bound. So the question came as to what is the scale of time? The Vedic seers, who are known as the Rishis, Maha Rishis, Brahma Rishis and Deva Rishis according to their knowledge of time and creation, have equated "Time" in relation to the age of Brahma the agent of creation. His age is 100 years in a special time scale. Note: Brahma is the name of the creative agent which should not be confused with "Brahman" the Timeless primordial force behind all creation.

The Rishis found that as far as the earth and the life in it are concerned the motion around the Sun is enough as a time scale for knowing the changes which would occur with the movement of the earth in relation to the Sun. They also found other celestial bodies like the Moon, Mars, Mercury; Jupiter, Venus and Saturn cast their influence on the earth. The seers also advised that every action must produce a reaction which comes back to the source of its origin in due cycle of time. The word "Karma" means action. Newton’s third law of motion is based on this concept.

The Planets were found to be the best guides as to the type of forthcoming reaction good or bad in the moving time scale. Thus was born the science of Vedic astrology, which is known as "Jyotisha" or ‘illuminator’ in Sanskrit. Vedas are knowledge taught by teacher to disciple through the medium of sound. They cannot be learnt by reading or memorizing. An ordinary example can be cited to illustrate the point. Ordinary "Yes" means I accept. "Yes? Also means what do you want? ‘Yyeess’ means I have my doubts, ‘Yus’ mean’s reluctant acceptance, Yes sir means please tell me and so on.

Astrology is a part of Veda hence it is known as Vedanga (anga means limb). We call it Vedic astrology because it is based on time schedules stipulated in Vedas according to yogic meditational observations of the planets in motion around the sun in relation to the earth and its motions.


The Land of Vedas

Image credit: Paul Gyswyt

Veda is the entire knowledge of nature. The word ‘Veda’ is originated from the Sanskrit verb – ‘ vid ‘ denoting ‘knowing’. Thus, Veda means knowledge. Veda is believably the first creation in the history of knowledge and education. It originated right from the beginning of this creation or when man started to breath, that’s why Veda interprets ‘sosham’ denoting Sanskrit-word – sah + aham = ‘that is me’ God says – "The point where you began and the point where you exist, as well as the point where you will end-everywhere I am dwelling. India, the land of Veda, and the origin of spiritualism have a huge store of religious and cultural knowledge and all of them are originated or interpreted from Veda; not only spiritual but material, scientific knowledge is also introduced in Veda. Everybody knows the oldest alive knowledge in Sanskrit was introduced by Veda. The Vedic knowledge is so deep and so large that it is absolutely impossible to interpret and spread it in a short time and limited space. It’s most important knowledge with an authentic interpretation and application system to let people know the way to leave in peace, harmony and successes.

There are four Vedas – The Vedas are believably ‘unmade’ because it is so huge with the deep knowledge one can’t imagine to compile in the pages and that is why Veda is called – ‘apaurusheya’ that is to say man can’t make it. When it was introduce there was no existence of paper or any writing material or activities, therefore, Veda was introduced and spread by hearing tradition the Sanskrit word – shrotra = ears, therefore Veda is called shrotra; to be hearable, and the people who practice Veda are called -‘ Shrotriya’ (Brahman).

Vedas are in 4 independent volumes and every volume covers such wide area of natural activities. In short, Veda covers – spiritualism-devotion, physics-mathematics, arts-commerce and astrology to medical sciences.

The Vedas are considered the earliest literary record of Indo-Aryan civilization, and the most sacred books of India. They are the original scriptures of Hindu teachings, and contain spiritual knowledge encompassing all aspects of our life. Vedic literature with its philosophical maxims has stood the test of time and is the highest religious authority for all sections of Hindus in particular and for mankind in general. “Veda” means wisdom, knowledge or vision, and it manifests the language of the gods in human speech. The laws of the Vedas regulate the social, legal, domestic and religious customs of the Hindus to the present day. All the obligatory duties of the Hindus at birth, marriage, death and so on owe their allegiance to the Vedic ritual. They draw forth the thought of successive generation of thinkers, and so contain within it the different strata of thought.

The Vedas are probably the earliest documents of the human mind and is indeed difficult to say when the earliest portions of the Vedas came into existence. As the ancient Hindus seldom kept any historical record of their religious, literary and political realization, it is difficult to determine the period of the Vedas with precision. Historians provide us many guesses but none of them is free from ambiguity.

It is believed that humans did not compose the revered compositions of the Vedas, which were handed down through generations by the word of mouth from time immemorial. The general assumption is that the Vedic hymns were either taught by God to the sages or that they were revealed themselves to the sages who were the seers or “mantradrasta” of the hymns. The Vedas were mainly compiled by Vyasa, Krishna, Dwaipayana around the time of Lord Krishna (c. 1500 BC)

The Vedas are four: The Rig-Veda, the Sama Veda, the Yajur Veda and the Atharva Veda. The Rig Veda being the main. The four Vedas are collectively known as “Chathurveda,” of which the first three Vedas namely, Rig Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda agree in form, language and content.

Each Veda consists of four parts – the Samhitas (hymns), the Brahmanas (rituals), the Aranyakas (theologies) and the Upanishads (philosophies). The collection of mantras or hymns is called the Samhita. The Brahmanas are ritualistic texts and include precepts and religious duties. Each Veda has several Brahmanas attached to it. The Upanishads form the concluding portions of the Veda and therefore called the “Vedanta” or the end of the Veda and contains the essence of Vedic teachings. The Upanishads and the Aranyakas are the concluding portions of the Brahmanas, which discuss philosophical problems. The Aryanyakas (forest texts) intend to serve as objects of meditation for ascetics who live in forests and deal with mysticism and symbolism.

Although the Vedas are seldom read or understood today, even by the devout, they no doubt form the bedrock of the universal religion or “Sanatana Dharma” that all Hindus follow. The Vedas have guided our religious direction for ages and will continue to do so for generations to come and they will forever remain the most comprehensive and universal of all ancient scriptures.

The Rig Veda or The Book of Mantra is a collection of inspired songs or hymns and is a main source of information on the Rig Vedic civilization. It is the oldest book in any Indo-European language and contains the earliest form of all Sanskrit mantras that date back to 1500 B.C. – 1000 B.C. Some scholars date the Rig Veda as early as 12000 BC – 4000 B.C. The Rig-Vedic ‘samhita’ or collection of mantras consists of 1,017 hymns or ‘suktas’, covering about 10,600 stanzas, divided into eight ‘astakas’ each having eight ‘adhayayas’ or chapters, which are sub-divided into various groups. The hymns are the work of many authors or seers called ‘rishis’. There are seven primary seers identified: Atri, Kanwa, Vashistha, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Gotama and Bharadwaja.

The rig Veda accounts in detail the social, religious, political and economic background of the Rig-Vedic civilization. Even though monotheism characterizes some of the hymns of Rig Veda, naturalistic polytheism and monism can be discerned in the religion of the hymns of Rig Veda. The Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda were compiled after the age of the Rig Veda and are ascribed to the Vedic period.

The Sama Veda or The Book of Song is purely a liturgical collection of melodies (‘saman’). The hymns in the Sama Veda, used as musical notes, were almost completely drawn from the Rig Veda and have no distinctive lessons of their own. Hence, its text is a reduced version of the Rig Veda. As Vedic Scholar David Frawley puts it, if the Rig Veda is the word, Sama Veda is the song or the meaning, if Rig Veda is the knowledge, Sama Veda is its realization, if Rig Veda is the wife, the Sama Veda is her husband.

The Yajur Veda or The Book of Ritual is also a liturgical collection and was made to meet the demands of a ceremonial religion. The Yajur Veda practically served as a guidebook for the priests who execute sacrificial acts muttering simultaneously the prose, prayers, and the sacrificial formulae (‘yajus’). It is similar to ancient Egypt’s “Book of the Dead”. There are no less than six complete recessions of Yajur Veda – Madyandina, Kanva, Taittiriya, Kathaka, Maitrayani and Kapishthala.

The Atharva Veda or The Book of Spell is the last of the Vedas. This is completely different from the other three Vedas and is next in importance to Rig-Veda with regard to history and sociology. A different spirit pervades this Veda. Its hymns are of a more diverse character than the Rig Veda and are also simpler in language. In fact, many scholars do not consider it part of the Vedas at all. The Atharva Veda consists of spells and charms prevalent at its time, and portrays a clearer picture of the Vedic society.

Indian Way of Life

Few countries in the world have such an ancient and diverse culture as India’s. Stretching back in an unbroken sweep over 5000 years, India’s culture has been enriched by successive waves of migration which were absorbed into the Indian way of life. It is this variety which is a special hallmark of India. Its physical, religious and racial variety is as immense as its linguistic diversity. Underneath this diversity lies the continuity of Indian civilization and social structure from the very earliest times until the present day. Modern India presents a picture of unity in diversity to which history provides no parallel.

Using the body as a medium of communication, the expression of dance is perhaps the most intricate and developed, yet easily understood art form. The fascination for Indian dance all over the world is indicative of the deep-felt need to use the human body to express and celebrate the great universal truths. Indian dance does just that in a heightened, reverential form. Also, since dance is physical and visual, it illuminates India’s culture in a direct manner, playing on the sensibilities of the onlooker. Thus, those who are attracted to India will find the idiom of dance the best introduction to India’s rich ethos and traditions. In India, dance and music pervade all aspects of life and bring color, joy and gaiety to a number of festivals and ceremonies. In fact, dance and music are tied inextricably to festivity of any kind.

India offers a number of classical dance forms, each of which can be traced to a different part of the country. Each form represents the culture and ethos of a particular region or a group of people. The most popular classical styles seen on the Indian stage are Bharatanatyam of Tamil Nadu, Kathakali of Kerala, Odissi of Orissa, Kathak of Uttar Pradesh, and Manipuri of Manipur. Besides these, there are several semi-classical and folk dances that contribute to the plethora of Indian dances. The common root of all classical dance forms can be traced to Natyasastra, ascribed to Sage Bharata who is believed to have lived between the 1st and 2nd Century AD. The Indian dance forms are based on the instructions in the Natyasastra. It also contains deliberations on the different kind of postures, the mudras or hand formations and their meanings, the kind of emotions and their categorization, not to mention the kind of attire, the stage, the ornaments and even the audience. All dance forms are thus structured around the nine rasas or emotions, hasya (happiness), krodha (anger), bhibasta (disgust), bhaya (fear), shoka (sorrow), viram (courage), karuna (compassion), adbhuta (wonder) and shanta (serenity). All dance forms follow the same hand gestures or hasta mudras for each of these rasas. The dances differ where the local genius has adapted it to local demands and needs.

Indian dance is divided into nritta – the rhythmic elements, nritya – the combination of rhythm with expression and natya – the dramatic element. Nritya is usually expressed through the eyes, hands and facial movements. Nritya combined with nritta makes up the usual dance programmes. To appreciate natya or dance drama, one has to understand and appreciate Indian legends. Most Indian dances take their themes from India’s rich mythology and folk legends. Hindu gods and goddesses like Vishnu and Lakshmi, Rama and Sita, Krishna and Radha are all depicted in classical Indian dances. Each dance form also draws inspiration from stories depicting the life, ethics and beliefs of the Indian people.

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