Archive for December, 2011

December 28, 2011

Tanjore Paintings – Excellent collection of Hindu Gods

Tanjore painting (Tamil: தஞ்சாவூர் ஓவியம், Thanjavur Oviyam) is an important form of classical South Indian painting native to the town of Thanjavur (anglicized as Tanjore) in Tamil Nadu, India. The art form dates back to about 1600 AD, a period when the Nayakas of Tanjavur encouraged art—chiefly, classical dance and music—as well as literature, both in Telugu and Tamil.

Tanjore paintings are known for their surface richness, vivid colours and compact composition. Essentially serving as devotional icons, the themes of most of these paintings are Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as saints. Episodes from Hindu tradition are drawn upon as elaborations of the main figure or figures placed in the central section of the picture.

Tanjore paintings are panel paintings done on solid wood planks, and hence referred to as palagai padam (palagai = “wooden plank”; padam = “picture”) in local parlance. In modern times, these paintings have become souvenirs of festive occasions in South India, pieces to decorate walls, and collectors’ items for art lovers.

Here is a collection of Tangore paintings from Google images.

December 19, 2011

Defender of Vedas

Affirmations of Vedic Dharma from Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, one of the great Hindu saints of this century

“”As when a fire is lit with damp fuel, different clouds of smoke come forth. In the same way from this great Being are breathed forth the Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas.” — Sukla Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.4.10

The Vedas are eternal and are the source of all creation. Their greatness is to be known in many ways.Their sound produces in our nadis (subtle nerve channels), as well as in the atmosphere, vibrations that are salutary not only to our own Self but to the entire world–to the good of mankind as well as of all other creatures. This concern for all creation expressed in the Vedas is not shared by any other religion.

Even grass, shrubs, trees, mountains and rivers are included in their benign purview. The happy state of all these sentient creatures and inert objects is brought about through the special quality of the sound of the Vedas.

The Vedas are also notable for the lofty truths expressed in the mantras. The tenets of these scriptures have aroused the wonder of people of other lands and faiths. They are moved by their poetic beauty, the subtle manner in which principles of social life are dealt within them, the metaphysical truths embedded and expounded in them, and the moral instruction as well as scientific truths contained in them.

My duty is to impress upon you that it is your responsibility to keep the Vedic tradition alive. Whether or not you listen to me, whether or not I am capable of making you do what I want you to do, so long as there is strength in me, I will keep telling you tirelessly, ‘This is your work. This is your dharma.

If in India the Vedas retain their original vitality even today, it is because they are being continuously repeated by students and teachers of the Vedas, and the purity of the sounds and accents of the words are retained in that process. But it is only by practicing the Vedic injunctions that we can obtain the grace of God, both for our individual welfare and for the welfare of the whole world.

The Vedas are sounds emanating from the vibrations of the Great Intelligence, the Great Gnosis. That is why we believe that the mantras of the Vedas originate from the Paramatman Himself. Although the Vedas deal with many matters, all of them together speak of one goal–the One Reality. It is through the various entities, through knowledge of a multiplicity of subjects, that we may know this One.

To attain this Reality we need to discipline our mind. Performing sacrifices, practicing austerities, doing the duties of one’s dharma, all these go to purify our consciousness and finally to still the mind that is always agitated. Ved (from vid) means ‘to know.’

The Upanishads proclaim, ‘The Atman is that, by knowing which all can be known.’ The goal of the Vedas is to shed light on this Atman.

The rituals enjoined on us in their first part and the jnana (knowledge) expounded in the second have the same goal–knowing Isvara, Brahman or the Atman. The beginning of the beginning and the end of the end of our scripture have the same ultimate aim.

Thus, the supreme purport of all the Vedas is to make us realize by our own experience that all is Brahman and thus lead us to a state of bliss. We must take special care of such scriptures to ensure the good of the world.”

Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati

December 11, 2011

Useful Hindu spiritual sites/blogs for learning on the net.

If you are a spiritual seeker (Asthika) following Sanatana Dharma , these web sites might come in handy for you.
Excellent resource to find tons of bhajans, namasankeerthanam audio, discourses, upanyasams, vedanta talks and many more.
Excellent discourses in samskritham, tamil, hindi, telugu and english. Dont miss Swami Paramarthananda’s Sandhyavandanam audio lecture in this site.
Excellent resource to find structured teaching by Swami Dayananda Saraswathi’s “Arsha Vidya” teaching tradition of Advaitha Vedanta.This site also has authentic Vedic chants from Kalancheri, TN Veda Pata Shaala.
Textual transcript of Swami Paramarthananda’s “Introduction to Vedanta”. Swami Paramarthananda is a great vedanta teacher and sanyasi from Arshya Vidya Parampara. This site has the very introduction to the Vedanta which will answer many questions most Hindus have. Questions like “What is the varna system” , “Why we must follow Dharma”. If one really wants to learn about Hinduism , you must read this with patience. The basics.