Newsletter Archive

Showing 1 to 72 of 262 results
Showing 1 to 72 of 262 results
The God of Creation: Who Is Brahma
The God of Creation: Who Is Brahma Brahma is the Hindu god of creation. He appears in a tremendous amount of Hindu myths, due to his critical role in bringing about existence. And yet, there is very little worship of this god. Because of that fact, which we’ll explain below, many of us are not as familiar with Brahma as we should be. Many people around the world have at least some passing recognition of Vishnu, Shiva, and Krishna — yet when we understand the god Brahma, we come into contact with answers to some of the most profound questions we are ever to ask about our lives and the world we live in. This god who exists at the heart of creation, whose existence is an eternal yes to being, can help us keep in touch with our own powers of generation. Whether it is having children, creating art, or starting a business — we must all tap into Brahma’s energy if we are to follow our dharma.
Published in Dec 2021
Narasimha – One of Vishnu's ten avatars who restored Dharma and righteousness
Narasimha – One of Vishnu's ten avatars who restored Dharma and righteousness Narasimha in the Hindu Folklore Generally, it is conceived that temple is an abode of Hindu gods and goddesses.In the Hindu religion, Narasimha is the fourth avatar of Lord Vishnu, the preserver god in the Hindu 'Trimurti' (Trinity), who showed up in old occasions to save the world from a haughty devil figure. As indicated by Hindu folklore, Narasimha's half-lion, half-man appearance permitted him to dodge the gift got by the evil presence god Hiranyakashipu that he was unable to be killed by any human and creature. The worship of Lord Vishnu is especially famous among the Hindus in India just as Odisha. Narasimha, the part-lion, part-man god is viewed as one of the ten symbols or manifestations of Lord Vishnu. The word Narasimha comprises of two words viz "nara" which means man and "simha" which implies lion. Together the term signifies "man-lion", alluding to ablended animal symbol of Lord Vishnu, one who embodies as part lion and partman to obliterate wickedness and end strict abuse and catastrophe on earth, inthis way re-establishing Dharma.
Published in Nov 2021
The Secrets of Tandava Dance Revealed: 108 Poses from the Legendary Natya Shastra
Old stories tell of a time, when God Shiva attended a play, staged by the Sage Bharata and his hundred disciples (Some accounts say they were his hundred sons). The play was called Tripura Dahan and Bharata was staging it at the behest of God Brahma. Shiva, who was attending with his ganas, was impressed by the performance. He suggested to Brahma that it would get even better if the drama being acted out on the stage was embellished with dancing. A grateful Brahma requested Shiva to teach the art of dance to Bharata. Bharata, at the time, was in the process of compiling the epic, Natyashastra. Shiva accepted Brahma’s request graciously and instructed Tandu, one among his retinue of ganas, to teach Bharata the secrets of dance. Tandu was a masterful dancer. There were many dance forms that Tandu had learned during his time with Shiva. But teaching the divine dances of Shiva was a difficult task. Tandu realized that every time his god danced, it was a new form. For Natyashastra, which was for the consumption of common folk, Tandu could only choose one. He remembered a graceful dance routine he had once seen Shiva perform against a dusky Kailasha sky. Tandu taught the one to Bharata, who later added it to the Natyashastra. In honor of his teacher, Tandu, Bharata called this dance form, the Tandava.
Published in Nov 2021
The Vast Heritage of the Different Sects of Hinduism
When most people think of Hinduism, they think of the Hindu pantheon's many gods and goddesses. Although the Hindu pantheon is vast, not all Hindus worship all of the gods. Hinduism began to become sectarian in the fifth century CE. The majority of practising Hindus are members of a Hindu denomination or sect, which is a minor subset of a larger tradition. Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism are the most well-known and have the largest followings of these sects. The cults are usually centred on bhakti, or devotion to a single deity. Lord Vishnu is God for Vaishnavites. God is Siva for Saivites. Goddess Shakti is supreme for Shaktas. The choice of Deity is left to the devotee for Smartas, the liberal Hindus. Each has tens of thousands of temples, guru lineages, religious leaders, priesthoods, sacred books, monastic communities, schools, pilgrimage centres, and sacred literature. They have a vast collection of art and architecture, as well as philosophy.
Published in Nov 2021
The Artha Sastra - Indian manual on the art of political statecraft
The Artha Sastra - Indian manual on the art of political statecraft The Artha Sastra means sastra (science) of Artha (earth/wealth/polity). The Artha Sastra is one of few written documents that represent ancient India’s political views. The authorship of the Artha Sastra is credited to Kautilya (also known as Chanakya) and it is believed to have been written around 300 B.C. According to R. Shamasastry, “This Arthasastra is made as a compendium of almost all the Arthasastras, which, in view of acquisition and maintenance of the earth, have been composed by ancient teachers”. Kautilya’s Artha Sastra is comprised of 15 books. Chandragupta Maurya (c. 317-293 B.C.E), who is known for being the first emperor of India, united India by defeating the Nanda kings and by stopping the invasion of Alexander’s successors. Kautliya was the chief minister of Chandragupta’s court (Prakash 4). In order to govern efficiently and expand the vast Mauryan Empire that was even larger than the Mughal Empire or the British Empire in India, a constitution was needed. In this situation, Arthasastra was written and came into play.
Published in Nov 2021
Draupadi – The first feminist of Indian Hindu Mythology
Draupadi – The first feminist of Indian Hindu Mythology In Hindu mythology, few women stand out as much as the character of Draupadi. Draupadi is the wife of the five Pandava princes in the Hindu epic the Mahabharata; she is a heroine who is unpredictable, unwavering and who could also possess the austerity of a traditional Hindu wife. Many see Draupadi as an early feminist because of her fearlessness in admonishing those who harmed her or her family. Draupadi existed in a time when a woman’s role was to serve her husband. As Dr. Vanamala Bhawalkar states, “in Draupadi’s Era, there was no question of women’s equality with men. The wife was the counterpart of her husband and both together became a complete person. As Milton had said “He for God and she for the God in him” was true in those days.” The unique relationship between Draupadi and her husbands is what makes her story so exceptional. Draupadi, the wife of the mighty Pandava brothers was anything but a conventional wife; she was smart, bold and would often lead her husbands into action.
Published in Nov 2021
The Sikh Way of Life – Spirit of universal welfare, service and sacrifice
The Sikh Way of Life – Spirit of universal welfare, service and sacrifice Nanak is often referred to as Guru or Baba, one meaning great teacher, the other old man. He was born in 1469 and died in 1539.He is the founder of a religion known as Sikhism. A Sikh is one who professes the faith that has its foundation in Nanak’s teachings, and which was subsequently built upon by nine successive Gurus. The last human Guru, Gobind Singh, transferred the Guruship to the Adi Granth a collection of hymns from Nanak, the 2nd-5th, and 9th Gurus, two Sufis, and 28 Hindu Bhakti poets. Before he died Gobind Singh installed the Book as Guru, through sanctification it took on the name Guru Granth Sahib. The foundation of the faith is the 974 poetic hymns written by Nanak. These poems were passed to the second Guru, Angad, in the form of a poti (book).
Published in Oct 2021
The Vedic Mantras – Chants and Hymns for the Human Psyche
The Vedic Mantras – Chants and Hymns for the Human Psyche Mantras are an important aspect of Hinduism. They are used in ritual and spiritual practices to express devotion, establish communication or fulfil desires, and in many respects serve the same purpose as prayers and supplications. Chants and incantations have been used since the earliest times by various ancient cultures to invoke or appease gods, ancestors and spirits or to cast spells.
Published in Oct 2021
Vastu – The traditional Indic System of Architecture
Vastu – The traditional Indic System of Architecture Background The term Vāstu-Śāstra has been in use to denote the compendium of architectural knowledge not only of buildings and their constituents, but also of the construction of markets, towns, streets, drains, sewers, bridges, ferries, ports, wells, bath-tanks, reservoirs, dams, embankments, parks, gate ways, arches, ladders, flights of steps to hill-tops and so on. As another term for Śilpaśāstrā the knowledge of iconography and sculpture, VŚ was meant to deal with the art and craft of all artefacts like bedsteads, couches, palanquins, wardrobes, baskets, cages, nests, lamps, costumes, coiffures, crowns and ornaments. This prescriptive compendium was also to deal with matters such as the features of the ideal site, soil conditions, planning and designing besides various normative factors such as gnomonic and astrological calculations.
Published in Oct 2021
Lord Ayyappa – The Last and Only God Belonging to The Present Kaliyugam
Lord Ayyappa – The Last and Only God Belonging to The Present Kaliyugam Sabarimalai is situated amidst the dense forests in Sahya hill (Sahyadri) range in Pathanamthitta District of Kerala, the temple of Ayappa (Sannidhanam) is located on the hill top, at an altitude of 4135 ft. The world-famous shrine of Sabarimala in Kerala is dedicated to his worship, also known as Manikandan/Manikanthan. He is also known as “Hariharan Puthiran” or “Hariharputhra”, which means the son of Vishnu and Shiva. To reach the temple, one has to trek through the hills by walk in the dense forest range. According to both history and mythology, Lord Ayyappa is the last and only God belonging to the present Kaliyugam. A demon female called Mahishi, performed severe penance towards Lord Brahma to take revenge against Devas who were responsible for the death of her brother Mahishasura. Mahishasura was killed by Mahishasuramardhini (Kali) as per Devas’ prayers.
Published in Oct 2021
Lessons from the Vedas – Their utility in guiding contemporary life
Lessons from the Vedas – Their utility in guiding contemporary life The Vedas are believed to be the very breath of the Supreme Brahman and their import has reached posterity through the revelations experienced by sages and rishis. Time and again, the Lord assumes the form of preceptors to propagate this Vedic tradition which is also known as Sanatana Dharma. The Saivite tradition reveres Dakshinamurthy, a form assumed by Siva to impart the esoteric values of the Vedic tradition to the sages Sanat Kumaras, the mind-born sons of Brahma, as the primordial Guru.
Published in Oct 2021
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - A journey from an average distracted mind to true nature of the spirit
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - A journey from an average distracted mind to true nature of the spirit Today, Yoga has a worldwide following and has become a household word. Some 300 million people practice Yoga in the world, with close to 40 million in the US alone. As it entered the popular consciousness worldwide, the ancient practices of Yoga have undergone significant changes. Yoga’s moorings in deep philosophical insight, and grounding as an indispensable aid in living a Dharmic life, has perhaps receded into the background. It is not widely known that bahiranga yoga is only a small part of the Yoga Sutra text, which deals with understanding the ‘self’ (one’s limited identity and personhood) referred to antaranga yoga, and transcending the self to realize the “Self” known as parama antaranga yoga, in far more detail.
Published in Oct 2021
Gemstone Healing and the Esteemed Hindu Navratna
Gemstone Healing and the Esteemed Hindu Navratna Gemstone healing is an important healing tool used in Vedic astrology as gems have the ability to create balance in the body and get it rid of diseases and ailments. Basically, this therapy can be used by an expert to heal the body, mind, and spirit of an individual. Therefore, It is used in relation to the study of planetary influences in his natal chart. In addition to the healing powers of gemstones, ancient Hinduism also has some great legends related to the origin of various gemstones and how they came into being and found use in astrological healing later on. Here are some ways in which gem therapy is used in Hinduism to neutralize the ill effects of planets or enhance their positive effects.
Published in Oct 2021
The Conch Shell or the ‘Shankha’ – Emanator of Healing Vibrations
The Conch Shell or the ‘Shankha’ – Emanator of Healing Vibrations Conch shells are beautiful objects from the sea, known for their distinctive pink color. While conch pearls and shell are popular in jewellery and decorative items, the shell itself is a significant symbol in many cultures and religions. Let’s take a look at why the conch shell is considered important and what makes it unique.
Published in Oct 2021
Dhanteras – A Festival to mark the Prologue to Diwali
Dhanteras – A Festival to mark the Prologue to Diwali Dhanteras festival also known as 'Dhantrayodashi' or 'Dhanvantari Triodasi' is one of the most momentous festivals of India. On this festival Goddess Laxmi is worshiped to bestow her devotees with good fortune and success in life. On the special event of Dhanteras, articles made of Gold or Silver or even a new utensil are purchased as a sign of good luck. The auspicious occasion of Dhanteras holds an important place in Business community of India and celebrated with utmost divinity and enthusiasm. As the festival of Dhanteras is observed two days before Diwali, it also marks the beginning of grand festivity.
Published in Oct 2021
The Shiva Linga – A symbol of Satya (Truth), Jnana (Knowledge), and Ananta (Infinity)
The Shiva Linga – A symbol of Satya (Truth), Jnana (Knowledge), and Ananta (Infinity) Lord Shiva is among the most respected deities in Hinduism and is part of the ‘Trinity of Gods’ that includes Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. He is worshipped in both human form and a form known as Lingam. However, the devotees mostly worship Lord Shiva in the form of Linga or Lingam. So, what is the context behind the linga worship of Lord Shiva? This representation of Shiva is most recognizable to Hindus for their worship and ritual is known as the lingam. The word lingam means a “sign” or distinguishing mark. Thus says the Linga Purana – “The distinctive sign by which one can recognize the nature of something is called lingam.” Taking from these Hindu beliefs, the Shiva Lingam referenced by metaphysical disciplines refer to a specific stone
Published in Oct 2021
The tale of Radha and Krishna – A Benchmark of Love
The tale of Radha and Krishna – A Benchmark of Love From mythological to this technological era, Radha Krishna has always been symbolised as a benchmark of love. These two words in our Indian history are never been taken separately. Whenever we talk about Radha, it is impossible for any human being to not to think about Lord Krishna. It definitely strikes our head and compels us to think at least once about the everlasting tale of love. They shared an eternal love with each other. Regardless of the fact that they never tied a nuptial knot together, they are worshipped together. These days, modern-day couples admire these pure souls most and make promises to each other to be like them. They are the representation of the purest bond, love, and emotions.
Published in Oct 2021
Incorporate These Ideas to Lend an Ethnic Charm to Your Home
Incorporate These Ideas to Lend an Ethnic Charm to Your Home India’s vast repertoire of hand-crafted décor and design finds its origins in folklore, mythology, epics and native customs, and all region’s arts and crafts are an intrinsic reflection of our ethnic diversity and fascinating culture. Inspired from the grandeur of forts, palaces, temples, besides rich handicrafts from different regions of the country, the traditional Indian decor never goes out of style. You can incorporate these ideas to effortlessly lend an ethnic flavour to your house.
Published in Oct 2021
Six Yards of Stunning Details – The Sarees of Banaras
Six Yards of Stunning Details – The Sarees of Banaras People usually visit Varanasi out of belief, out of doubt or out of curiosity and the city has always served to convert those beliefs into doubts, those doubts into beliefs and the curiosities into indifference. Situated by the banks of River Ganga, the city gets its name from the river’s two tributaries ‘Varuna’ and ‘Asi’. Other well-known names of this city are ‘Benaras’ and ‘Kashi’. The name of this ancient city is synonymous with some of the oldest temples, most exquisite pans and finest of fabrics. The place is believed to have flourished as a textile centre when it was a capital of Kasi kingdom, of which Siddhartha (later known as Gautam Buddha) was the prince. In Buddha Sutra when Prince Siddhartha decides to renounce worldly luxuries, he takes off his silk clothes, mentioned to be woven by the weavers of Kasi to get into simplest of attires. It is also discussed in ‘Jataka Puran’ that when Buddha was alive, Kasi kingdom was a crucial centre for silk and cotton fabrics. In 5th and 6th century BC exquisitely woven cotton fabrics from Kasi became the most sought-after commodity all over the world. When Buddha attained moksha, chaste cotton fabric was sourced from Kasi to wrap his purified remains.
Published in Oct 2021
Bhakti in Hinduism – The Concept of God's Otherness and a Road to Salvation
Bhakti in Hinduism – The Concept of God's Otherness and a Road to Salvation Bhakti movement constitutes a very important chapter in the socio-cultural history of India. The movement started in the 9th century A.D. by Shankaracharya which continued up to 16th century A.D. by a number of Hindu devotees, preachers and religious reformers. The word Bhakti is a very familiar word in the Hindu religious system. It is derived from the Sanskrit root word Bhaja whose literal meaning is ‘to utter’. But the inner significance of the word Bhaja is ‘to adore’ or ‘to love with honour’. In the devotional literature the word is used to mean ‘unquestionable faith and utter devotion to God’. Thus, in a general sense Bhakti means devotion to God.
Published in Oct 2021
The Sacred Narratives of Buddhism Illustrating Dharma
The Sacred Narratives of Buddhism Illustrating Dharma The most recognized of sacred narratives in Buddhism is the life story of Gautama Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. Many of the teachings of Buddhism are implicit within the story of his life, and carvings and paintings of scenes from his life story were often placed in or around temples and on stupas. Equally recognized in the Buddhist world are the Jataka Tales, which tell of the Buddha's past lives. Another type of sacred narrative that has been vitally important to Buddhism is stories from the Buddha's sermons. Both the early sutras and the later Mahayana sutras are often presented as long narratives. They often begin with the words, "This is what I heard," and they include descriptions of scenes, a cast of characters, and dialogue. Within these long narratives, there are many specific stories said to have been told by the Buddha to illustrate the dharma, or Buddhist teachings.
Published in Oct 2021
If you are an Indian Mythology enthusiast, these 5 Books are for you
If you are an Indian Mythology enthusiast, these 5 Books are for you The great saga of Gods, demi-gods, and talking monkeys; of sibling rivalry that goes on for a dreadful amount of time, and ridiculous obstinate oaths that cannot be broken. The story of ideals and morals, sacrifices and love; of innovative ways to conceive a child, and enigmatic and flawed characters. This is Indian mythology. It is a narrative where imagination and reality merges to give us an extraordinary tale weaved by magic and divine powers. Here, creativity knows no bounds. Mythology fiction has found a vast reader base with authors having a rich fountain of mythological knowledge to fall back on. With different versions of the same myth, this water of knowledge runs deep.
Published in Oct 2021
Goddess Ganga– Waters of Devotion
Goddess Ganga– Waters of Devotion The Ganga River has been considered as the most sacred river of India in Puranas. It is called as Ganga Maa (or Mother Ganga) or Ganga ji (or reverend Ganga). People of India believe that a bath in the holy waters of Ganga washes all the past sins of a person. Numerous pilgrimages such as Allahabad, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi and Patna are present all along the river. Water from the Ganga is used to cleanse any place or object for ritual purposes. Bathing in the river is believed to wash away one’s all sins. The word Ganga is considered as a synonym of pure and holy water. That is why the word is attached with the names of many other rivers in Central and South India. According to a mythological legend, Lord Brahma collected the sweat of Lord Vishnu’s feet and created Ganga. Being touched by two members of the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh), Ganga became very holy.
Published in Oct 2021
The Timeless Miniature Paintings of India’s Mughal Empire
The Timeless Miniature Paintings of India’s Mughal Empire Mughal paintings have always caught the attention of art lovers because of its perfect blend of Indian, Persian and Islamic Styles. While there have been other Indian schools of miniaturist art predating Mughal miniatures and new schools that have thrived after the demise of the Mughal dynasty, the Mughal period was a landmark in the art history of the Indian subcontinent and is one of the two most recognized schools of Indian miniature art. The easy portability of miniatures enabled them to be easily traded from early times and gave them exposure all over the world. It was influenced liberally by the existing Indian Rajput school.
Published in Oct 2021
Tantra – Spiritual Knowledge of Practical Nature
Tantra – Spiritual Knowledge of Practical Nature “Tantra is not a unitary system like the Vedas or any of the Hindu philosophies. It is an accumulation of practices and ideas of the Hindus, since prehistoric times. Its birth is rooted in the Vedas; its development proceeded through the Upanishads, Itihasas, Puranas, and Smritis; and its luxuriant growth has been fostered by Buddhism, various minor Hindu sects, and also foreign influences.”
Published in Oct 2021
Rajarajeshwari (Lalita) – Empress of Desire, Beauty and Wisdom
Rajarajeshwari (Lalita) – Empress of Desire, Beauty and Wisdom Of the many great yogic goddess lineages, Rajarajeshwari is preeminent. Self-willed and independent, Lalita is an exquisitely sensuous goddess also known as Kameshvari (“Empress of Desire”). At the same time, she is the completely devoted wife of the Supreme Lord Shiva, who is pure consciousness. She exists in a perpetual state of perfect harmony, ever benevolent, her eyes moist with compassion for all beings. Rajarajeshwari – prominently known as Goddess Lalita, is considered as the Hindu Goddess of beauty and enjoyment. She comes in the third position among the Dasha Mahavidyas and also known by the names Tripurasundari and Shodashi. Goddess Lalita Tripurasundari is also one of the nine forms of goddess worship on Navaratri. Goddess Lalitha is assumed to be the divine energy of Sri Chakra. In the pictures, she is depicted as a sixteen-year-old extremely beautiful goddess who blesses mankind with sixteen advices. Moreover, this is the age of perfection and maturity.
Published in Oct 2021
Indian Philosophy – Schools and Prominent Philosophers
Indian Philosophy – Schools and Prominent Philosophers Philosophy is the root of all knowledge. It is considered as mother of all sciences. Philosophy has interpreted man and his various activities in a comprehensive manner. It helps to coordinate the various activities of the individuals and the society. It helps us to understand the significance of all human experience. It endeavours to reach a conception of the entire universe with all its elements and aspects and their interrelations to one another. It is not contented with a partial view of the world. It seeks to have a synoptic view of the whole reality: it tries to have a vision of the whole. Indian Philosophy (or, in Sanskrit, Darshanas), refers to any of several traditions of philosophical thought that originated in the Indian subcontinent, including Hindu philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and Jain philosophy. It is considered by Indian thinkers to be a practical discipline, and its goal should always be to improve human life.
Published in Oct 2021
Goddess Parvati – The Most Complex Goddess in the Hindu Pantheon
Goddess Parvati – The Most Complex Goddess in the Hindu Pantheon When she took birth as the daughter of Parvataraja, she danced in the Himalayas, with the grace of a peacock. She is luminous like the Sun. Just as the Sun dispels darkness, the moment She enters the hearts of Her devotees, she dispels darkness. She resides in us as Antaryami. If the hearts of Her devotees can be compared to soft-petalled lotuses, she is like a swan that resides in these lotuses. She is the embodiment of the Vedas. She is responsible for Creation, Protection and Destruction. Parvati is the most complex of all goddesses in the Hindu pantheon. She mirrors the various roles of Mahadeva, the Supreme Purusha. As Prakriti, Devi balances the male aspect addressed as Purusha. As Lord Shiva’s consort, she is Shakti.
Published in Oct 2021
Apsaras – The Captivating Nymphs of Hindu Mythology
Apsaras – The Captivating Nymphs of Hindu Mythology The Hindu mythology is jam-packed with stories of how a woman’s beauty changes the course of time and turns the outcome into another direction altogether. These divine nymphs are known as ‘apsaras’ in the Hindu texts. They are performers in the court of the Dev King Indra and there are numerous stories where the Devs and the Gods have, with the help of these women and their beauty, turned critical situations into their own favour. Apsaras have been a consistent part of Hinduism, having an insightful presence in Vedic literature. The commonality lies in the fact that these beautiful creations were females with captivating powers and immense dedication to their creators. The Rigveda mentions these Apsaras as aquatic nymphs. Atharvaveda introduces Apsaras as the inhabitants of the waters. It discusses their heavenly association with the stars, clouds and rain. The Satapatha Brahmana Samhita often describes Apsaras as transforming themselves into a kind of a marine bird. The Apsaras are seen in close contact with the woods and the wet. The Atharvaveda puts forward that the Apsaras are fond of the dice game and create the basis to bring in fortune at the dice play.
Published in Sep 2021
Twelve Hidden Gems of Indian Art
Twelve Hidden Gems of Indian Art “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ― Pablo Picasso From early petroglyphs to a flourishing contemporary art scene, India’s vibrant artistic legacy is the result of a variety of cultural influences. The diversity of art from this area—which includes anything created in the historical regions of modern-day India, Bangladesh, and areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan—is reflected in vivid, distinct, and enchanting styles that represent many different civilizations. Because some of the world’s major religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam either began or flourished in India, much of Indian art is based in religious or political subject matter. Although ‘art is a universal language’ is a term that’s become a cliche, even bastardised in a certain manner, it’s undeniable that it continues to hold true. Indians have often turned to the world of art in its various forms and medium, to use as an outlet of creative expression, exploration of one’s self and identity, as well as a reflection of society. Here are some 12 leading artists from India who have carved a niche for themselves and brought the Indian art to the global art world stage, yet are not known to many.
Published in Sep 2021
Ten Hidden Gems of Indian Painting
Ten Hidden Gems of Indian Painting In India, the divine origin of painting is narrated in the Mahabharata, which speaks about Nara and Narayana who were meditating in penance in the Badari grove. Indra chose this moment to send a group of celestial damsels to disturb their asceticism. Undaunted, Narayana took a fresh mango leaf and, with its juice on its thigh, sketched a beautiful form of a nymph. This sketch gave birth to Urvashi, whose superior grace and perfection put to shame all the damsels. Later Narayana passed the skill on to Visvakarma, who spread the knowledge in the world. This is how art is said to have been passed on from the deities to the upcoming generation of humans. Nonetheless, no art form can persist if legendary artists don’t carry it with them. It is skilful painters, who keep our rich traditions and legacy alive. Some of these were able to leave a mark on the world with their unique sense and renditions of painting. While India produced hundreds of artists, we shall read about a few of them, who changed the dynamics of paintings in India.
Published in Sep 2021
The Metal Casting Traditions of India: Milestones through seven Millennia of Casting
The Metal Casting Traditions of India: Milestones through seven Millennia of Casting History of Metal Casting through Civilisations The Copper or Chalcolithic Age of the Indian subcontinent is as old as the Harappan Civilisation possibly having its connection with that of Mehergarh in Baluchistan in late sixth century BCE. Contemporaneous to Harappan civilization, the well-known copper technology of the Middle East in Sinai and the Far East in China constitute a glorious past of ancient history. With the decline of Harappan Civilisation, copper casting technology opened new frontiers in mainland India in second millennium BCE. Daimabad bronzes owing even a heavy cast piece of 29 kg bore the evidence. That was an achievement over Harappan technology for casting heavy statues. Other than the casting technology there are a few references of forging technology in excavation in Harappan sites.
Published in Sep 2021
Pratyangira Devi – The Hindu Goddess of Ceaseless Power and Vigour
Sri Maha Pratyangira Devi, a powerful aspect of the Divine Mother, is the mother of Moksha (liberation). She frees Her devotees of their karmas and from the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. She is the embodiment of Dharma (righteousness), Satya (truth), and impeccable justice. Pratyangira Devi is a Hindu goddess who is mainly worshipped by the Kshatriyas, a race in the Hindu religion which is known for its expertise in warfare. She is known for her power that repels any misfortune or fatal incident that can be caused by the force of evil magic. However, she is also worshipped as a deity who blesses her devotee with boundless power and energy. Pratyangira Devi is a destroyer of evil forces and demonly negative energies. She is also known to show the right path to her devotees the same way she guided and advised Lord Narasimha to stop damaging the nature. Therefore, she has her own importance and reverence among the other Hindu deities.
Published in Sep 2021
Miniature Paintings of India – Transcending Intricacies
Miniature Paintings of India – Transcending Intricacies Miniature Art is an art genre that entails intricate brushwork, great expertise in craftsmanship and the mastery of many different techniques. As such, one painting will represent the work of specialists in several fields—not only what we usually consider as “art” (composition, colour and so forth) but also the creation of the painting surface itself and the many natural pigments, as well as each of the many steps between the initial sketch and the finished masterpiece. These paintings originated not as independent pieces but rather as narratives or illustrations for manuscripts or books. The tradition bloomed primarily as a means to reveal the Divine. It gained momentum with the revival of Vaishnavism and the growth of the Bhakti Movement in the 18th century. Devotional literature like Gita Govinda, Bhagvat Purana and Surasagara became the source of inspiration for the Indian artists. Even the paintings commissioned by the Hindu princely courts were an act of respecting the sacred scripts and religious epics. Eventually, there was some external influence as well. Here are some of the most prevalent miniature artforms that have survived the test of time.
Published in Sep 2021
Folk is the new Chic – How to Style your Home the Indic Way
India has a long history of varied cultures, traditions, languages, rulers and religions. This has resulted in a multitude of architectural ideas, influences and styles (most of them centuries old) that have evolved from different parts of the country. Traditional Indian design is essentially forged in the crucible of multiple regional cultures. It’s diverse, multi-faceted, but full of colours. Using Indian decor ideas to add ethnic touches to your home is pretty workable, affordable and doable. Here are some common intersections of a few of those diverse ideas, and how they have found a space and are making an impact even in modern homes. Richly carved wooden furniture Wooden furniture, painstakingly and profusely carved with exquisite artistry, shouts vernacular Indian style. Intricate carvings in wood and marble were symbolic of prosperity in the olden days. As these were mainly seen in the palaces and forts of kings and queens, others aspired to display this ‘royal’ design element in their homes. It is not uncommon to find many traditional homes with beautifully carved window- and door-frames even today.
Published in Sep 2021
Ghazal – A Musical Expression of Divine Love and Nostalgia
Ghazal – A Musical Expression of Divine Love and Nostalgia The most popular expression of poetry in Urdu and Persian, the ghazal, is known as much as a poetic form as it is as a genre of music. The ghazal has roots in seventh century Arabia and gained prominence in the 13th and 14th century due to works of Persian poets like Rumi and Hafiz. Indian poets started writing ghazal in Urdu and Persian in the eighteenth century. The name of the poem is based on the Arabic word, ghazal, which means ‘talking to a beautiful young lady.’ Ghazal originated in Arabia long before the birth of Islam. It is a derivative of the Arabic panegyric qaseeda, which consisted of three sections: the naseeb, the raheel and any standard form of poetry. The naseeb was the introductory portion of the qaseeda that dealt with themes of nostalgia, romance and longing. The subject of the raheel was loneliness and isolated existence in current times. The third section of the qaseeda described pride in one’s ruler, tribe and morality. The naseeb developed into the ghazal, which became the most enduring form of poetry dealing with the themes of love, longing and separation. It separated itself from the qaseeda and became an independent and important poetic form during the Umayyad Caliphate (661-750), the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. The development of the ghazal continued until the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258), the third of four major Arab caliphates
Published in Sep 2021
The myriad forms of Buddha – Inspiring Life, Art and Sculpture for Centuries
In Theravada Buddhism, 'Buddha' denotes to the one who has become enlightened through their own labours, perception, vision and awareness. A Buddha is someone who has comprehended the enlightenment that ends the cycle of birth and death and which fetches liberation from suffering. In the Pali canon, it is stated that Buddhas have appeared in the past and will also appear in the future. There were also numerous enlightened Buddhas who arose in earlier world-cycles and who preached the very same Dhamma that gives deliverance from suffering and death to all mature beings. The names of various Buddhas are religiously preserved by Buddhists, together with their age, their stature, the names of the trees under which they obtained Enlightenment, their country, and the names of their father and mother. They all have two chief disciples to assist them in their mission. Every Buddha has always obtained the supreme intelligence under the shadow of a certain tree.
Published in Sep 2021
Warli Art – The Indigenous Tribal Artform that expresses Life through Geometry
There couldn’t be a more comprehensive summing up of the core emotion of Warli art. An art form that is driven by everyday life stories and these tales also in turn become a reminder of traditional values and cultures cherished by the tribe. The Warlis believe that without the ahankaar, there is no kahankar. They have an advanced notion of communication. A story is not just a story, it is the passing of energy from narrator to listener. Warli painting is a form of tribal mural art created by the tribal people from the North Sahyadri Range in Maharashtra, India. The Warlis or Varlis are an indigenous tribe living in mountainous as well as coastal areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat. They speak an unwritten Varli language which belongs to the southern zone of the Indo-Aryan languages. The Warli Tribesmen and women are traditional storytellers; they follow the oral practice of passing down traditions, knowledge and culture. This oral tradition translates into beautifully painted elaborate tales on the wall of their houses, and other common areas of the community.
Published in Sep 2021
The Numerous Mudras of Buddha – Where to Place Them and the Purpose Behind
For many centuries, Lord Buddha paintings and artefacts have brought in bliss, prosperity, and wealth. Both Hindus and Buddhists believe in this. Feng Shui and Vastu say that paintings of Lord Buddha have the power to increase the flow of Chi and this in turn brings prosperity and good fortune. Chi is the energy of life itself. One does not necessarily have to be a Buddhist to own a Buddhist painting. However, it’s good to follow these rules to ensure that you enjoy the flow of luck and prosperity. Peace, tranquillity, harmony and balance. Those are words often associated with the Buddhism, and thus the Buddha's likeness has become a popular presence in many homes as a centrepiece or accessory, even amongst non-believers. Buddhism has a range of different cultures and traditions on both a local and national level. But even though the style of Buddha statues might vary regionally, they can be recognised by their hand gestures, or mudras, which each convey a spiritual meaning.
Published in Sep 2021
The Fine Art of Metal – The Right Way of Sculpting
Metal art often only considered as metal wall art covers many spheres of both functional and purely decorative artwork. Functional like metal clocks, cutlery, and sleek appliances, and decorative like picture-prints on metal sheets, bronze sculptures, exquisite chess pieces, and décor accents. From wire metal filigree works and cast metal sculptures made from bronze, to ancient hammered metal cups and fine gold Egyptian jewellery, the resilience of earth metals and their malleable nature has made them one of the best materials to make beautiful works of art and crafts. 1. Iron Ore Of all the known metals, iron is the most abundant of all and can be found in almost all elements; water, soil, and rocks.
Published in Sep 2021
Buddhism Culture
The world is full of very varied religions with unique characteristics. The believers of these beliefs often dedicate their lives to it, so much of the art, architecture and expressions revolve around their religion since religion is an important part of culture and in Buddhism, a religion of more than 500 millions of members is no exception. This religion founded between the 6th and 4th centuries BC in ancient India and that follows the teachings of Gautama Buddha is no exception, since it has shaped a large part of the Asian continent thanks to the knowledge, ideas, traditions and customs of this religion. In search of enlightenment Before knowing about the Buddhist culture, it is important to know about this religion and the precepts that make it up, because at all times the culture revolves around it. The origin of this religion takes place thanks to Gautama Buddha; “Buddha” is a term that literally means "the Awakened One" due to his enlightened condition. According to ancient texts, this master was born in Lumbini, a city located in Nepal that today is an important pilgrimage site.
Published in Sep 2021
What Should I Do: Dharma in the Mahabharata
The central question of human life has remained the same for as long as we have walked the earth. What should I do? As humans, we are able to think about our actions. We are able to ask ourselves about the meaning of these actions, understand likely outcomes, and grasp how our actions will affect others. That is an amazing power, but with it comes a tremendous burden of responsibility. And we seem to arrive on earth with no idea what to make of that responsibility. As if we were living life for the first time, we blunder about, learning hard lessons as we go, and rarely committing these lessons to memory. This confusion around what we should do is not new. And from the earliest moments of human existence, great thinkers have worked hard to understand the solution. The Indian subcontinent provides us with perhaps the clearest answer to our questions. It’s magnificent spiritual contribution to the human race includes in it the concepts and stories we need to resolve this confusion and move forward in our lives with clarity. It is in this tradition that we receive the concept of dharma, and we get a grand narrative that presents all the examples we will ever need to understand the role of dharma in our lives and the universe as a whole. We just need to listen.
Published in Sep 2021
Sri Balaji Venkateshwara ‘the King’ – The Deity of Miracles
Balaji, also called as ‘Venkateshwara the king’, is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Venkateshwara is known to be the only God who took birth to save the people from troubles of Kaliyuga. He will reside there in the temple till the end of Kaliyuga. At the end of Kaliyuga Lord Vishnu’s other incarnation Kalki will take birth and destroy everything on earth. This would happen when sins will reach its peak and there will be no humanity left. That would be an end of Kaliyuga and Kalki will destroy everything and formation of new Yuga will take place. For this reason, Tirupati Balaji temple is also known as Vaikuntha of Kaliyuga. Also known as ‘Kaliyuga Pratyaksh Daivam.’ Two stories are famous about Tirupati Balaji temple. One from Venkatachala Mahatyam and Varaha Purana. These two stories show that the land of Tirumala was pervaded by Lord Vishnu’s Incarnation. It is only after the 9th century that we see that the Tirupati worship has become big. Chola, Rashtrakuta, Chalukya, Hoysala and Pandya were at war but exchanging culturally.
Published in Sep 2021
Diwali – The embodiment of joy, victory and harmony
The majestic Indian festival season has already begun. No matter where we reside in this vibrant country and what faith we adhere to, if there’s one festival that truly ties us together, it’s Diwali. While most other festivals are celebrated in certain regions or are specific to a certain zone in the country, Diwali is celebrated widely across the expanse of India. Certainly, being the variegated country India is, every community, every region, every culture has its unique manner of celebrating this festival of lights. Commonly, Diwali is marked as the celebration of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after his victory over Ravana, as described in the epic Ramayana. Alternatively, the basis of the festival is traced back to the Mahabharata, where Diwali is marked by the return of the five Pandavas from their exile in the forest. In a different tale from the mountains of Himachal, the great war of Mahabharata commenced on the first day of Diwali. Another story in the background of the festival symbolizes the day of Narak Chaturdashi, the 14th day of the second half of the month Ashwin (also known as Aswayuja, it is the seventh month of the lunisolar Hindu calendar) and the second day of Diwali. It is the day when Lord Krishna exterminated the devil Narakasur and liberated the 16,000 women he had held captive.
Published in Sep 2021
Latest 2021 Indian ethnic fashion trends for women
Fashion is one of the fastest-changing industries and that comes from the big consumers market demand. Through the years, fashion has changed a lot. It was influenced and dominated by different political, economic, and sociological events that would shape the consumers' opinions and expectations. This can greatly be seen through the traditional details and cultural motifs of different nations. Indian fashion, as part of the most colorful and interesting nations in the world, has experienced different fashion changes, that have changed and added to the consumer's demand. However, modern times and the modern approach to fashion have influenced changes, especially in the Indian style, making it available and suitable for all those who want to keep the cultural and traditional dose with the incorporation of some modern elements.
Published in Sep 2021
Tanjore Art – A Divine Legacy of Gold in South India’s Cradle of Arts
There’s more to golden art than jewellery. Venture south to the Tanjore district in Tamil Nadu and witness the splendid ‘Tanjore Paintings’. Thanjavur is known for being home to some of the most famous historic structures in Tamil Nadu, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Brihadeeswarar Temple. But this dormant town in the state’s centre has much more to offer than just architectural marvels. In fact, for anyone with an interest in South Indian art, music and dance forms, Thanjavur is nothing short of a pilgrimage and thoroughly deserves the title of being ‘South India’s Cradle of Arts’. Tanjore painting is a popular form of artwork that originated in Southern India. These paintings have been popular from the 16th century and have evolved under the reign of the Chola emperors and are famous for its use of gold. When the Marathas invaded Tanjore in Tamil Nadu many painters and artists migrated here and under their rule, this art form flourished. This form of painting is distinguished by its use of gold and semi-precious or precious stones which is used to accentuate the design. Each painting tells a story, usually revolving around Hindu gods, Goddesses or Saints. In olden days, Tanjore paintings were placed in dark temple shrines by emperors. In a dim place, the gold used to enhance the painting.
Published in Sep 2021
Thangka – The Instrumentality Of Storytelling, Meditation and Enlightenment
A Thangka, diversely referred to as Thangka, Tangka, Thanka, or Tanka, is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, silk appliqué, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala. Thangka is also known as scroll painting. Roughly translating to “recorded message” in Tibetan, it is an ancient form of Buddhist art that originated within Tibet around the 11th century. These are densely illustrative, and painstakingly detailed, and serve as a striking centrepiece that can be appreciated by all admirers of Asian art. Buddhist thangka paintings are visually captivating and impressive — but there is more to them than meets the eye. Thangkas often focus on a specific deity and scene, and their form and surrounding details are often rich with symbolism, turning them into a medium for religious storytelling. Because of this, extracting all the intricacies and meanings from the paintings requires training. Tibetan thangkas were originally created for the purpose of helping the viewer or Buddhist practitioner on his journey to enlightenment. A thangka's characteristics like organization and juxtaposition of figures, repetition of figures, and size contribute to the storytelling of the painting.
Published in Sep 2021
Green Tara and White Tara: Feminine Ideals in Buddhist Art
"Goddess Tara, a female Buddha and meditational deity, is arguably the most popular goddess in the Buddhist pantheon. She is considered to be the goddess of universal compassion who represents virtuous and enlightened activity. The word Tara itself is derived from the root 'tri' (to cross), hence the implied meaning:' the one who enables living beings to cross the Ocean of Existence and Suffering'. Her compassion for living beings, her desire to save them from suffering, is said to be even stronger than a mother's love for her children."
Published in Sep 2021
Ganesha Chaturthi – A symbol of Unmatched Devotion, Celebration and Immersion
Ganesha, revered and regarded all across the country as the “Lord of Beginnings” and the “Remover of Obstacles” – he is the facet of the Supreme Being, the ultimate in-command for the elimination of obstacles and impediments – both in a practical sense and in a spiritual capacity. On the spiritual route, our obstacles might be our foibles, weaknesses, arrogance or our ego. When we worship Lord Ganesha, we pray to him to help us eradicate those obstacles within the self. As beautifully captured by Adi Shankara, although Ganesha is widely regarded as the elephant-headed God, the Swaroop (embodiment or manifestation) is merely to denote the attributes of the Parabrahma Roopa (in Hindu philosophy, it is the divine deity that which is beyond all descriptions and perceptions.) The deity is 'Ajam Nirvikalpam Niraakaaramekam.' This implies that Ganesha is Ajam (unborn), he is Nirvikalpa (incomparable), he is Niraakaar (formless) and he represents the mindfulness which is omnipresent. Ganapati is also fondly known by the names "Surpakarna" and "Ekadanta." The meaning of Surpa is " winnowing basket," and Ekadanta signifies the one who is "one-toothed.
Published in Sep 2021
Hindu Goddesses - Lakshmi and Saraswati- Exotic India Art
The role of the goddess as one who fulfills wishes has remained one of enduring strength and consequence. In the ancient collection of sacred hymns known as the Veda, this aspect of the goddess already becomes manifest. The two most shining examples in this context are The Great Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati.
Published in Sep 2021
Demystifying Chakras
The concept of Chakras is intimately tied to the Kundalini Yoga practices. Our understanding of these ideas has evolved greatly over the centuries but these practices find their first mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures of the Yoga Upanishads. There are around twenty Yoga Upanishads believed to have been first codified over four millennia ago. The texts are contained within and form an integral part of the four Vedas. Kundalini Yoga, of which the chakras are a part, is a powerful yogic technique, and must be performed properly, to minimize unintended physical or mental side effects. Adverse effects are not uncommon when these techniques are performed in a manner disassociated from their true, original context. We must remember that a meditative technique is not a narcotic; neither is it a quick-fix to escape your reality. All yogic practices require an attunement of body and mind as a prerequisite. Kundalini Yoga even more so. The saying - a little knowledge is dangerous - holds especially true here. These techniques should only be performed under the guidance of an experienced guru.
Published in Sep 2021
The Hindu Moral Stories
Today, Hindu moral stories are available in books, DVDs, and (as they have always been) through telling. But no matter the medium you prefer, they continue to do what they have always done: teach us about how to live. All told, Hindu moral stories encompass an enormous number of fables. The vast amount of stories from the Hindu tradition give us a near endless supply. And the best part? The morals at the core never go out of date. In fact, reading through them reminds us just how little being a human has changed after thousands of years. We still must help those in need. We must honor our friendships. We must be honest with the good and cunning against our oppressors. We must be quick witted but not quick to judge. We must not hesitate to act but never become hasty. We must keep our heads, trust our hearts, and protect others. Hindu moral stories give us memorable tales that impart this wisdom over and over again. On top of that, when we read or watch these tales unfold, we are joining in an unbroken chain of people who have told and retold these exact same stories since the dawn of civilization. It’s a thrilling thought to join as a link in this chain. That’s why it is worth celebrating the Hindu moral story and to continue this legacy into the future.
Published in Aug 2021
Living According to Manu: God’s Manual of Instruction for Life
"A man receives a wife given by the gods... Where women are revered, there the gods rejoice; but where they are not, all efforts are unfruitful…. The husband, tradition says, is the wife, They can never be cut loose from one another. This is the dharma made by Brahma himself….he king who bears patiently when those in anguish insult him will be exalted in heaven…. If the driver of a vehicle injures a man, animal or property, he needs to be punished along with the owner of the vehicle…. This in a nutshell, is the definition of suffering and happiness."
Published in Aug 2021
Iconography of Vaishnava Deities: Goddess Lakshmi
"Her epithet in the Devi-Mahatmya is Mahalakshmi. She is the wrathful four-armed goddess of battlefield represented holding in them various weapons…. A form of Lakshmi seated over a lotus laid over a golden seat and a pair of white elephants…. Except in some classical forms in Lakshmi-Narayana imagery Lakshmi is ordinarily two-armed…. Incarnation theory is the crux of Vaishnavism. Vishnu incarnates alone but Lakshmi also incarnates in simultaneity…. Though very rare some enthused artists have conceived on Ardhanarishvara line also Vishnu’s Ardhanarishvara images."
Published in Aug 2021
50 Characteristics of Kaliyuga
"Both the Mahabharata and Shrimad Bhagavatam give a vivid description of how things are like in Kaliyuga…. The following is a list of features typical to Kaliyuga…. A man will consider only those people to be his relatives who are related to him through….The ashrams will be full of show-offs who are experts in the art of living off the food of others….. We can save ourselves from Kaliyuga."
Published in Aug 2021
Living the Full Life: 50 Instructions from the Mahabharata
"Bhishma undoubtedly is one of the central figures of the Mahabharata.…. One should not venture out too early in the morning…. But one should not go to sleep with wet feet….A person who desires to live long should never irritate the following three…. One must shun company of people who criticize the Vedas…. If we are traveling, one must find shelter inside a house…."
Published in Aug 2021
Krishna's Rasa Lila: The Vedantic Perspective
"One uniqueness of our Vedic religion is that it allows for salvation not only through renunciation (nivritti) but also through the path of material happiness (pravritti).... If dharma makes it mandatory that conjugal pleasure be restricted to the life partner, how is it that Krishna indulged in the amorous sport of Rasa with others' wives?.... Some stopped cooking, some stopped feeding, some stopped eating, some stopped washing clothes etc. and ran away.... Upanishads call the jiva in waking state as Vishwa and the dreaming jiva as Taijasa (Mandukya Upanishad Mantras 3-4)."
Published in Aug 2021
Bronze Icons of Swamimalai: The Last Bastion of an Ancient Craft
Swamimalai is believed to be one of the six sacred abodes of Karthikeya, the eldest son of Shiva... Apart from being a center for pilgrimage and tourism in South India, it is also the de facto bronze icon capital of India. The skillfully crafted Swamimalai bronze idols are some of the most sought after artifacts by art lovers and connoisseurs throughout the world. Swamimalai bronze icons embody a characteristic grace and precision, bringing together in a perfect combination, the skill of an expert craftsman, the imagination of an artist, and the sensibilities of a poet... Because of the use of the ancient method of madhuchishtavidhana (lost-wax method) the original wax cast is lost during the crafting and no duplication is possible. A fact that renders the Swamimalai artifacts truly unique and one of the most sought after metal icons in the modern world.
Published in Aug 2021
Durga Puja - Worshipping the Wife of Shiva, Daughter of Bengal
"Durga Puja is more than the periodically observed navratra in the subcontinent..The akaal bodhon Durga Puja has evolved into great socio-cultural significance in the Eastern Delta region, and is the lifeblood of Bengalis everywhere...On dashami the next day, one could sense the pall that descends upon the delta...Ma Durga's time in Her girlhood home draws to a close. Now is the final throes of festive exuberance."
Published in Aug 2021
The Heritage Behind Jamdani Silk
Jamdani silk is a muslin cloth that dates back as far as 300 AD. It’s characterized by its loom weaving with grey and white thread, occasionally incorporating gold. The craftsmanship of jamdani silk has been passed down through the generations, continuing the tradition of floral and figurine motifs within the fabric. At Exotic India, we incorporate Jamdani Silk into our sarees with a vibrant spectrum of earth-tone and jewel-toned textiles. If you’re interested in finding out more about jamdani silk and other textiles, we offer several books on traditional fabrics. We’re taking a deep dive into the world of jamdani silk, looking at its fascinating heritage and the craftsmanship behind it.
Published in Aug 2021
Shiva as Nataraja - Dance and Destruction In Indian Art
"Shiva the Hindu god of destruction is also known as Nataraja, the Lord of Dancers (In Sanskrit Nata means dance and raja means Lord). The visual image of Nataraja achieved canonical form in the bronzes cast under the Chola dynasty in the tenth century AD, and then continued to be reproduced in metal, stone and other substances right up to the present times. The Chola Nataraja is often said to be the supreme statement of Hindu art."
Published in Aug 2021
Shiva, the Nataraja
"Contrarily metaphysicians and theologians perceived his form as it manifested in the Upanishads and Puranas….The ‘Advaita’ philosophy also contends that the entire Creation is just the extension of One…. Dance illustrates one of the ever-first cosmic acts with which Shiva seems to have tamed violent motion and separated from it rhythm, moves that communicated emotions and states of mind – human mind and the cosmic, and disciplined and defined pace…. Unlike Vishnu who resorted to dance for accomplishing a contemplated objective, Shiva has been conceived more or less as a regular dancer performing for accomplishing an objective as also for pure aesthetic delight…. Unfurling locks of hair and his snakes floating into space portray the dynamics of the act."
Published in Aug 2021
On This Path, Effort: Reading the Bhagavad Gita in Quarantine
At first, quarantine had a certain excitement. The news feed was apocalyptic. We reached out to our loved ones. We reconnected with far flung friends over video chat. We were all drinking at night and catching up on movies and reading. We made resolutions. We set ourselves to the task of cooking great meals, investing time in long neglected hobbies, and enrolled on unemployment insurance. There was terror but also the opportunity for the ultimate staycation. There was purpose to our isolation and a cultural sense that what we were doing was important. 
 But time moved on. The excesses of drink and streaming video began to weigh on our days. The confusion of at home work spaces and workout spaces and needing alone time from our families while desperately needing social interaction all bubbled and boiled like a slow cook witches brew. And at some point, the shared energy of it all seemed to break down. The news became a rolling, desensitizing mantra of COVID-19 — devoted more to the personalities of the daily press conferences than the pandemic itself.
Published in Aug 2021
Sita - The Silent Power of Suffering and Sacrifice
"people all over India will say approvingly for someone: "He is a Rama like son, a Rama like brother, or a Rama like king. " It is rare however to hear the following as a compliment "Rama like husband or son-in-law."... All of Sita's miseries in the confinement of Ravana pale in the emotional trauma and humiliation she was subjected to by Rama himself. In a bitter irony, what was to be her moment of deliverance, turned out to be the beginning of another trial... Sita sets a high standard as an ideal wife who stays unswerving in her loyalty and righteousness, no matter how undesirable her husband's response... She emerges as a woman that even Agni - who has the power to reduce to ashes everything he touches - dare not touch or harm..."
Published in Aug 2021
Dharma: The Only Remedy for Modern Man
"No one spends even a single moment without doing some action or the other....We generally notice in history that almost all civilizations acquire a lot of material affluence in the beginning and after sometime they go into oblivion....We very well know that it is only the work based on well thought plan that solves problems and not our worry.....The success of any action depends not only on visible parameters but also invisible one....We are carried by the slogans of the times and move in the turbulent waters of life in a rudderless boat.....Want to give us a state of pleasure which is constant and never ending."
Published in Apr 2020
Ananda: Analysis of Happiness in the Upanishads
"We assume that our happiness is the result of an interaction with external objects…. Suppose that an individual is deprived of sleep and food and pleasurable objects for a long time and then all of them are simultaneously offered to him…. Actually, seeking the answer to this question is the most significant pursuit in life…. The veil comes up again and the duality returns…. In this background, we can now analyse the nature of dukha (grief)."
Published in Mar 2020
Iconography of Vaishnava Images: Vishnu
"There is Rama, the son of Ayodhya's king Dasharatha in his human birth, and there is Rama's divinity, his divine aura that overwhelms the Tulasi's entire Ramacharit-manas, one manifest - with attributes, and the other, unmanifest - without attributes. With main emphasis on his majesty in South Indian tradition this crown is taller than usual. His 'khadgasana' images are usually in three modes; one with his right foot moved forward represents him in a commander's disposition ready to rush for protecting a devotee in crisis or redeem him from some calamity. Harihara, a form in which he shares with Shiva half of the body. Basically a bird Garuda is seen for ages as Vishnu's ardent devotee, a learned human being and an auspicious presence, and in iconographic tradition often conceived with a man's face, anatomy, ornaments and ensemble. The Puranas are replete with tales of Garuda's divine exploits."
Published in Dec 2016
Auspicious Symbols in Indian tradition
"She has always believed that this would redeem her of her distress….A coconut, otherwise an ordinary dried fruit or the source of edible, or at the most, beauty oil, has always been revered as an auspicious object effecting good and well-being and the food that gods most loved….The tree in the Buddhist tradition was later identified as Bodhi-tree, seated under which Buddha had attained Enlightenment….Body gestures and symptoms, signs, indications among others must have been the early man’s tools of communicating oneself and knowing and understanding the world around….Kirttimukha was initially conceived as a mystical mask….Lion does not figure in the wide range of animal toys or figurines excavated from Indus sites."
Published in Jul 2016
The Light That Enlightened Millions(The life of Buddha in the popular mind)
"This middle path lies in between extreme asceticism on one side, and extreme indulgence on the other…. When standing under a Ashok tree, tired and exhausted, she raised her right hand for seeking support of a branch of the tree…. The unique balance that defined his entire life was pre-determined in this duality….One day, in the palace garden he frightened his attendants…. He ate less and less till his diet reduced to a sesame seed, and himself, to a mere skeleton…. Seven days after the attainment of enlightenment gods sent food for breaking his fast…. However, he postponed his ‘nirvana’ for three months till he visited the places he had reminiscences of."
Published in Jun 2016
Analyzing the Eternal Dimensions of Dharma Through Itihasa (History)
"Here is a fragment from one of the most poignant episodes of Indian history…. This piece of history is from the Mahabharata…. She was dying with shame but inside, like a true kshatrani (woman of the warrior race), she was burning with anger…. I have heard that women who follow dharma were never brought before a public court….Greed is the destroyer of dharma. I do not desire a third boon…. Draupadi was as forgiving as mother earth herself…. Just then Arjuna saw his dear friend Bhagawan Krishna approaching him…. “Leave him, leave him. He is a brahmin and worthy of our worship. Their mother should not cry, like I have at the death of my children."
Published in Mar 2016
Narada Teaches Yuddhishtra a Householder’s Dharma
"Whenever he gets the time, he should go and live amongst people who have given up worldly life…. A wise person should serve his body and family only to the extent that is functionally necessary…. The person who lays claim on the surplus wealth is nothing but a thief…. He should share all objects of enjoyment with everyone, right down to dogs, sinners…. Such is the attachment to one’s wife….How despicable is this body, which if buried is going to become the food of worms, or excreta if eaten by animals….Since a son is to thus revere his elders even after their death, what to say that he is expected to serve them when they are alive…. The person wishing to follow the path of dharma should steer clear of the five forms of Adharma."
Published in Nov 2015
An Example of Living Vedanta: The Story of King Rantideva
"The Bhagavad Gita, while describing the qualities of a wise person says…. This verse is vividly illustrated in the story of king Rantideva occurring in the Srimad Bhagavatam…. He did not believe in hoarding, was above all attachments and was highly patient…. They were all trembling due to starvation and thirst….bowed to the dogs and their owner…. What I want is only this: That I be able to go and live in the hearts of all beings and undergo sufferings on their behalf, so that they may become free from all miseries."
Published in Sep 2015
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