This is a story of wise parenting. (Actually, grandparenting) My wife and I were in Madurai Meenakshi temple a few years back. After taking darshan, we found a quiet spot to sit and watch, over in a corner back behind the Siva sanctum. (We are never in a hurry on such pilgrimages, preferring to take time to take it all in.) So eventually along comes an older man with his bright little granddaughter in tow. Obviously the two of them have come to the temple for some outing. She's dressed for temple. As they approach us, her eyes get bigger as we sort of stand out, being white. It may be the first time she's seen a white pair of devotees in traditional garb like we wear. As they get closer it's obvious she's really curious. So I say, "You speak English?"
Lo and behold she does ... fluently. The Granddad also does but not as well. But his years of experience allow him to shut up and let her talk. And she does, as do we. We discuss her favorite God, her favorite part of the temple, how often she comes, her family and why she come on Fridays with Appappa. She asks us where we're from, how we became Hindu, what we think of India, and more. I'm guessing it's half an hour or so. But the really impressive thing was the ability to parent by the man ... the patience, the smiles at watching his dear granddaughter and the opportunity.
And it could have been so much worse. He could have tugged her away.
This is something I have wondered for a while. I have read theories about his murti (in Tirupati?) being a covered-up Jain Idol, also explaining why he is always covered from head to toe in flowers and jewelry. Is there any truth to that myth? Are there any other stories explaining why so much of face is covered?
Let me tell you at the face of it: I do not believe in an external power named God. This is not due to reading the Dravidian Movement literature. It’s entirely through my own confusion and the resulting introspections. The feeling that there is no external power named God gained strength after reading the thoughts of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Ramana. The reason I am saying this is to show that I am not merely a vacuous atheist. Though I do not understand Bharathi’s concept of ‘All that I see is Self’, Einstein’s ‘The World is a Cycle’, Ramakrishna’s ‘Nirchalanam’ I am incapable of refuting their contents. I am incapable of accepting them either maybe because I do not understand them or haven’t experienced them. All I can do now is value them.
I have a desire to read the Vedas and the Upanishads. But not now.
I think this letter is the first step in my effort towards that. Though my question is not direct, I know that the answer will be a journey towards that. I will come to the question. Why am I a Hindu? Is it my mother religion or is it an alien religion? Please do not repeat like all the others that this is the power of Hinduism (I feel this is absurd. If I create a chapter on Karuppaswamy in the Bible, will I become a Christian? These sort of questions arise within me).
I do not agree with the reason that it is impossible to pinpoint what defines a Hindu or that under the Constitution, those who are not Buddhists, Christians or Muslims are Hindus.
What’s common between me and my fellow Hindus? Not religion, not even cuisine. Not habits (not even in worship). Not even common Gods. Isn’t that true? In my grandfather’s generation, I have never seen any other form of worship than the worship of our communal deity (nor have I heard them speak of it). It’s only in my generation that for the people of my village it has occurred that someone living in Thirupathi or Sabarimalai could be a God. Even the worship of Murugan at Thiruchendur was not very prominent till a generation ago.
Till now, my village had worshipped only deities such as Karuppaswamy, Sudalaimadan, Kanniamman. My people (including me) knew of the Ramayanam as merely an epic (that too through Kambar, or pattimandrams). There is no Siva temple or a Rama temple in the vicinity of our village or an easily accessible distance (there was none in the past too). As far as I know, there is none in my ancestors who have read the Gita or the Vedas or have even thought of doing so.... keep reading on reddit ➡
Hi I just thought I'd share this interesting dream I had about two years ago.
Nearby where I live is a Hindu Ashram. Though I am white it is a very beautiful place to hang out, and I have spent many many weeks living there, as I can do so for free, and find it really clears out my head. It's like a Buddhist Retreat, but it's Hindu.
One day when I'm there, I'm told there will be a 'special guest' coming to the ashram. A 'guru'. I've never met a guru before, though I've heard a lot about them. I'm actually new to the whole world of spirituality, but the ashram I was staying at was set up by a guru, and the stories surrounding the man were fascinating. Things like he could read minds, talk with spirits, talk directly with incarnations of god, and heal people. He would also take on a certain amount of the karma of those who were in his proximity, providing them with a little spiritual boost. Other things too, I can't say, I never met the guy. Those that followed him though, I've met, and the way they talk about him, they'd have followed him through hell.
Anyway so this guru comes, he goes by the name of Murali Krishna. I didn't know what to expect, however, when he finally arrived, and walked into the temple where we were all waiting patiently, I got this sudden boost in Shakti (like, spiritual energy. This is actually a really useful word in day to day life that English does not explain, so do look at it's meaning if you want to increase your vocab :) ) Anyway so without going into too much detail about Murali Krishna, he was a very unique guy. I don't know if he could read my thoughts, and I did not have the urge to sit at his feet and stare at him like others have described about gurus in the past, but he definitely had a way about him, that's for sure. He didn't walk, he danced. He had this bright white aura that surrounded him, it was so bright you could literally see his aura. If you looked at a crowd of 100,000 people, he'd stand out, that's for sure.
I assumed he was called Murali Krishna because like I believe all gurus, he's said to be an incarnation of a particular deity. For example Neem Karoli Baba is said to be an incarnation of Lord Hanuman, Sai Baba is said to be an incarnation of Shiva, Etc.
I go to bed that night and have this profound dream. I'm sure you've all had dreams that are somehow profound. It had meaning and significance and wasn't just a dump of random junk, or even a meaningful dream of your feelings. This was more like... keep reading on reddit ➡
Dāvaka. The Shining City. Never had there been a better representation of everything that Dakśiṇapatha stood for. Yet, in the defence of that city, thousands and thousands had given their lives, all in the name of the emperor. For the emperor, this was a sin that needed atoning. Would that he could bring them all to life. Would that he could stop the wailing of widows and children for the loss of their loved ones. In his inner turmoil, he turned to his Guru, Bhārati Tīrtha, the current Śankarāchārya of Sringeri. It was he that offered a balm to the aching heart of the emperor - a tribute to the gods and an offering to the greatest of the gods, Shiva the Īśvara.
In his anguish, the Emperor, Rājarāja Chōḷan accepted this. A large tract of land was cleared in the sleepy town of Thanjāvur, a short distance away from Madurai. Here would the greatest temple of Shiva be built. Hundreds of elephants were brought from across the Nīlagiri, the blue mountains and put to work building it. The best architects from Aihole and Bādami brought for constructing the temple itself and thousands of artisans to sculpt the beautiful statues and sculptures and the gōpura. Red stone was quarried and bought from different parts of the empire and even farther away. Finally, the temple began to take shape.
There would be shrines to the other gods - Pārvati, the wife of Shiva; the sons of Shiva, Vēl Murugan, the god of war and Ganēsha, the god of wisdom and learning. There would be a huge Nandi, the vāhana of Shiva. Then there was the maini temple itself whose gopura would be the zenith of the Dravida style of architecture. On each level of the gōpura, there would be a thousand sculptures, each of them depicting the life of the people under the Cholas and the life of the gods in heaven. The top of this gōpura would be made of gold and adorned with precious gems.
Then there was the temple itself. Within would be as opulent as without. sculpted columns shared space with murals on the inner walls. Silk banners hung on the walls, each an intricate tapestry of life in the empire as a tribute to the gods themselves. As one went deeper, they would notice the large f... keep reading on reddit ➡
>If you happen to visit the Chemmoth Sree Subramaniya Swami Temple in Kerala, make sure to offer Munch chocolates to the deity "Munch Murugan." How the deity, the son of Lord Shiva, came to be known as Munch Murugan...The deity developed a sweet tooth for chocolates since a Muslim boy offered a Munch to him. One day the boy rang the temple bell for fun and got scolded for doing so. He fell sick that night and kept chanting Murugan’s name unconsciously. The next morning, his parents took him to the temple. When the boy felt better, the priest asked him to offer something to the deity as it is a tradition. The boy took a Munch [chocolate bar] out of his pocket and put it on the altar. Since then Munch Murugan has been receiving loads of Munch chocolates from children who visit the temple to pray for good marks in examinations.
Courtesy of Indian Beats' Article on interesting deity offerings link