Sanatana Hinduism is the only faith in world wherein objectives / purpose of every human life is explicitly defined alongwith ways and means to realise the same. According to Vedic wisdom, Dharma, Artha and Kama are the means while Moksa is the ultimate goal of human incarnation. However, quite mystically, means too happen to constitute objectives of human life.
Dharma essentially righteousness, is a way of life in everyones life, first and foremost pursuit of life and the most significant means to achieve all other objectives one is destined to achieve in life. Dharma is one of broadest spectrum terms with no precise counterpart in English lexicon at all. Its connotations, implications and proceeds are infinite and mystical. Dhatu of the word Dharma is “Dhri” implying to uphold / adopt / safeguard / enact or even decline to enact. Dharma does NOT include religion at all. It is universal, mandatory and valid for all. So indeed, Dharma is a comprehensive, exhaustive and all encompassing phenomenon. Forgiveness, forbearance, restrained / disciplined serene mind, integrity, purity, maturity / wisdom, command over senses and honesty may be accepted as manifestations of one who pursues Dharma assiduously. Manusmriti has defined Dharma with perfect precision.
Artha is acquisition of wealth so as to enable one honour all his/her obligatory responsibilities as a householder. Acquisition of Artha must be guided and governed by principles and values of ones Dharma without exception whatsoever. Knowledge / skill, sound health, contentment and judicious deployment of wealth etc. are ingredients / attributes of Artha governed by Dharma.
Kama is the bouquet of desires that one wishes to satisfy guided and governed by principles of values of Dharma. Some or even majority of desires may not be justifiable or valid which must be either rejected outright or gradually dissolved through Tapa and Sadhana. Valid and justifiable desires act as powerful motivators which initiate series of actions leading to large-scale constructive activity and prosperity. One ought to discern confines of Kama so as to not to transgress / intrude into the domain of Adharma as Kama is like fire which grows more and more with objects of fire. Desire based on lust, greed and anger must be severely curbed. Habit of invoking discriminatory wisdom facilitates one to adhere to the right course while pursuing Kama and Artha.
Moksa is the institution of ultimate emancipation from the shackles of Prakrti. Ultimate emancipation liberates one from cycles of birth and death, be in absolute command of ones absolute existence and may decide to incarnate on his/her own volition only to mentor lesser ones struggling yet to emancipate themselves. Ultimate emancipation is the ultimate objective of human existence too which begets Ultimate Bliss by being merged into the Universal Being of Param Brahmatma. Attainment of Moksa is a long-drawn Adhyatmika battle of supremacy over all vanities and venalities of human existence viz. Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha and Ahamkara. Only when all these are irrevocably transcended, all outstanding Karma-s and Prarabdha thereof, are dissolved spanning several human lives, that Moksa is attained. There is no bypass to attain Moksa instantly. Everyone has undergo entire cosmic cycle of Dharma, Artha, Kama before aspiring to liberate himself by attaining Moksa.
Samskara-s are rituals performed at various stages in the life of a Hindu signifying end of a certain phase coupled with advent of the subsequent one or initiation into a certain endeavour. Universality and obeisance to Param Brahmatma again, are hallmarks of these Samskara-s which declare unequivocally, the initiated one is new member of entire cosmic system. These Samskara-s also elevate mind, intellect and body of the initiated one from mundane levels to sublimity. These Samskara-s, all 16 in number, also impart right direction to the course of lives of initiated ones as well as facilitating Adhyatmika advancement in an integrated manner in conjunction with aforesaid four objectives of human existence. Initiation into and pursuit of Samskara-s raise a barrier of inhibition / repugnance towards impiety and vanity thus, acting as a guard against straying away from a hallowed mould. These Samskara-s also act as mind-fillers / mind-occupiers lest mind is drifted towards undesirable pursuits and practices.
Sixteen Samskara-s are being catalogued hereinasunder –
Garbhadhana Samkara i.e. regarding conception,
Punsavana Samskara i.e. regarding physical well-being of foetus,
Simantonnayana Samskara i.e regarding mental development of foetus,
Jatakama Samskara i.e regarding birth / delivery,
Namakarana Samskara i.e. regarding name of newly born,
Niskramana Samskara i.e. regarding maiden exit of infant outside house,
Annaprasana Samskara i.e. regarding maiden grain intake by infant,
Cudakarma Samskara i.e. regarding maiden head-shaving,
Karnavedha Samskara i.e. regarding ear-piercing,
Upanayana Samskara i.e. regarding sacred thread investiture,
Vedarambha Samskara i.e. regarding initiation into Vedic studies,
Samavartana Samskara i.e. regarding completion of education,
Vivaha Samskara i.e. regarding betrothal,
Vanaprastha Samskara i.e. regarding life of asceticism,
Sannyasa Samskara i.e. regarding renunciation of the world,
Antyesti Samskara i.e. regarding last rites and rituals.
Every month has two Paksa-s, Krsna-Paksa i.e. moonless fortnight and Sukla-Paksa i.e. moonlit fortnight.
Three Rna-s i.e. debts that everyone must payoff before Moksa is attained. These are Deva-Rna i.e. what you owe to Deva-s, Pitra-Rna i.e. what you owe to your ancestors and Rsi-Rna i.e. what you owe to your Guru and other Rsi-s.
Kala is subdivided into four Yuga-s i.e. aeons. These are 17,28,000 man-years of Satyayuga; 12,96,000 man-years of Tretayuga; 8,64,000 Dvaparayuga and 4,32,000 man-years of Kaliyuga. 43,20,000 man-years make one Caturyuga. Planet Earth is 4,32,00,00,000 man-years old.
Panca Deva are Ganesa, Visnu, Siva, Devi and Surya.
Panca Bhuta Tattva are Prthvi, Jala, Agni, Vayu and Akasa.
Veda-s are four i.e. Rgveda, Atharvaveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda.
Darsana is philosophical wisdom. These are six in number i.e. Vaisesika, Nyaya, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva Mimansa and Daksina Mimansa.
Sapta Rsi-s are seven in number. They are Visvamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadvaja, Gautama, Atri, Vasistha and Kasyapa.
Laxmi eight manifests of Laxmi are Aggha, Vidya, Saubhagya, Amrta, Kama, Satya, Bhoga and Yoga Laxmi.
Durga nine manifests of Durga are Saila-Putri, Brahmacarini, Candraghanta, Kusmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri,Mahagauri and Siddhidatri.
Disa-s are ten in number i.e. Purva, Pascima, Uttara, Daksina, Isana, Nairrtya, Vayavya, Agni, Akasa and Patala.
Avatara-s important ones are eleven i.e. Matsya, Kacchapa, Varaha, Narsimha, Vamana, Parasurama, Sri Rama, Sri Krsna, Balaramaand Buddha.
Masa i.e. month are twelve i.e. Caitra, Vaisakha, Jyestha, Asadha, Sravana, Bhadrapada, Aswina, Kartika, Margasirsa, Pausa, Maghaand Phalguna.
Rasi-s are twelve in number i.e. Mesa, Vrsabha, Mithuna, Karka, Simha, Kanya, Tula, Vrascika, Dhanu, Makara, Kumbha and Mina.
Tithi-s are Pratipada, Dvitiya, Tritiya, Caturthi, Pancami, Sasthi, Saptami, Astami, Navami, Dasami, Ekadasi, Dvadasi, Trayodasi,Caturdasi, Purnima and Amavasya.
Panca Maha Yajna Yajna is selfless offering of sacrificial oblations into sacred fire. Five daily Yajna-s that principles of Vedic wisdom ordain every Grhastha i.e. householder to practise selflessly, are mentioned hereinasunder –
Brahma Yajna is essentially Sadhana in the form of pursuit of Yoga, studying and conducting discourses of Vedic wisdom as well as Dharana and Dhyana.
Deva Yajna is performed through Agnihotra wherein oblations of Ghee and herbs are offered to the sacred fire while consecrated by Mantra recitation. Dana of food etc. is accomplished for Deva Yajna.
Brahma and Deva Yajna-s are performed daily on sunrise and sunset.
Pitri Yajna is performed as Sraddha and Tarpana for propitiation of deceased elders and Rsi-s.
Vaisvadeva Yajna is partaking of cooked food by the sacred fire of oblation. Some of it is also offered to distressed, disabled ones and animals.
Atithi Yajna Atithi is the one who comes in unexpectedly. Sannyasi-s used to be on move in ancient days preaching wisdom, righteousness and tendering right advice to families in distress.
Every householder is Dharma bound to serve visiting Sannyasi-s for their comfortable stay. Such Sannyasi-s never used to stay for more than a day at a place being wanderers themselves.
Pursuit of aforesaid Yajna-s brings about purity, peace, personal advancement, righteousness and overall development of society.
Pursuit of Astanga Yoga Yoga-Darsana of Maharsi Patanjali extends a unique possibility to succeed in the arduous assignation of attaining the Ultimate and be attained to the Ultimate in a most rational, effective and precisely accurate manner with perceptible, measurable results through a pursuit that has been traversed by innumerable aspirants successfully since time immemorial. Most mystical aspect of the Darsana is that it is the only one that has never failed anyone who is an aspirant of divinity. It is beyond destruction or modification and the sole pathway to the Supreme Purusa. Practitioners of all faiths and religions are obliged to report at the base-camp of this Darsana, prepare themselves for the cosmic journey as envisaged in the Darsana, move on step by step before they arrive at the summit of Kaivalya and fly their colours of invincibility atop the peak of Adhyatma.
Yamaniyamasanapranayamapratyaharadharanadhyanasamadhayoastavangani II II / 29 II
Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi are the eight constituents of Yoga II II / 29 II
Aforesaid eight constituents are means to the ultimate attainment of Viveka-Khyati described as Astangayoga in Vedic scriptures. Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are internal constituents of the Yoga. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara eradicate all obstacles that are caused by external objects or factors. Tapa, Svadhyaya constitute Isvarapranidhana. For eradication and dissolution of Avidya, Asmita, Raga, Dvesa and Abhinivesa-Klesa; Vasana-s of Janma, Ayu, Bhoga, Papa and Punya out of Sakama-Karma, most facilitative pursuit is Astangayoga that introverts entire inner being of the Yogi. We shall now visit all organs of Astangayoga individually and briefly –
Yama How exactly a person interacts with all other members of the cosmos summarises the maxim of extroversion. Hence the first priority, stark and pronounced, is how to divinize human conduct with respect to others. Yama is a multifold discipline practised through Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacarya and Aparigraha while perfection in Yama facilitates activation of Muladhara Cakra.
Ahimsa is enactment of non-violence on several planes in various forms. Cause of violence is hidden in the perception of oneself confined to limits imposed by the gross physical existence. Violence is committed through several ways i.e. through body, speech or mind associated with Vrtti-s of Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha or Bhaya. Ahimsa is a manifest of Param Brahma and its pursuit amounts to practising ultimate goal of Universalism. Retribution if performed with the sole intent of rescue or remedy, is indeed Ahimsa. Abstaining from violence even in the realm of Citta is Ahimsa of the highest order.
Satya is the real knowledge of a Visaya. By pursuing it with body, it is the Satya of body. Conveying it through Vani is the Satya of Vani. Similar is the Satya of mind. Dharma of the moment too, is Satya. Satya is precisely practised when Vani and Citta-Vrtti together, conform to reality of the moment. Ahimsa is a universal Satya while violence in any form whatsoever, is Asatya.
Asteya extortion of any kind, howsoever insignificant, is Steya. Abstention from Steya is a noble virtue that is Asteya. Depriving weak and indefensible ones of their rights and privileges due to them too, are manifests of Steya that are reprehensible. Raga and Lobha are the causes of Steya. Complete eradication of Raga from the realm of Citta is the virtue of Asteya of the absolute order.
Brahmacarya is the pursuit of continence and celibacy by restraining Indriya-s. Pursuit of Brahmacarya is the highest order of Tapa. It causes creation of an aura of divinity all over the mortal frame of a Yogi. Urdhvareta Yogi is Divinity Incarnate. Every extra-ordinary talent, capability, bliss, enthusiasm, charisma etc. are attributed to Brahmacarya alone.
Aparigraha is abstention from motivated accumulation of wealth and other possessions beyond the level of subsistence. Even bare essentials required for the pursuit of Dharma and Tapa ought to be held without attachment or affinity of any kind.
Niyama pertains to body, mind and gross senses. When senses are introverted and mind restrained, entire conduct is divinized and sanctified. Niyama explains, how to interact with our own inner being within ourselves. World within our own inner beings is infinitely myriad and mystical than the outer one. Since the inner world is easier to deal with than the outer one, pursuit of Niyama is far less hurdled than pursuit of Yama and its perfection ensures activation of Svadhisthana Cakra.
Sauca is pursued externally as well as internally to ensure purity, sanctity at all levels.
Samtosa is the state of contentment with whatever one possesses coupled with renunciation of entire Trsna. Such enlightened ones are ever blissful, entirely devoid of desires. Samtosa is the inexhaustible fountain of entire bliss.
Tapa is a pursuit wherein one restrains his body, vitality, senses and mind through conscious strive. Proceeds of Tapa manifest as the virtue of Samattva. Rigorous Tapa having potential of torturing oneself spiritually or physically, is severe violation of the high ideals of Tapa and must be discarded immediately.
Svadhyaya is regular study of holy scriptures and contemplation over the wisdom enunciated by them viz. Veda-s, Upanisad-s, Purana-s etc.
Isvarapranidhana is the state of incessant devotion and complete dedication unto Him alone. Isvarapranidhana is the Niyama through which all other Niyama-s are dedicated unto Him.
Getting rid of all diseases is a cardinal requirement before one may embark upon the path of spirituality. It is attainable through various strives viz. Hathayoga etc.
Asana imparts physical stability, dissolves sloth and inertia caused by Tama. Body is progressively suffused with Sattvika enlightenment.
Pranayama restrains Prana, regulates and renders it Sattvika ultimately. Through Pranayama, all outstanding Samskara-s are obliterated and divinity is attained progressively. With respect to diseases, Pranayama has curative and preventive effects too. There are several ways and methods to practise Pranayama.
Pratyahara Indriya-s are purged of Rajasika and Tamasika traits, then rendered Sattvika alongwith Citta. Once so purified, senses are introverted and remain in command of Buddhi.
Dharana when traits pertaining to the states of Mudha and Ksipta are dissolved, Sattvika Citta is transfixed upon a point and divinized completely.
Dhyana is the constant, uninterrupted transfixation of Citta upon a point or object to remain absorbed in it incessantly.
Samadhi When Citta is completely purified of entire Klesa-s and Vrtti-s, when Citta is ultimately purfied of even traces of Raja and Tama that may eventually disrupt Dhyana, when such a Citta is completely absorbed, assimilated into its Dhyeya i.e. object of Dhyana, remaining equipoised resolutely in all adverse states of existence, state of consciousness thus attained is Samadhi.
Out of these eight, first five constitute Bahiranga Sadhana as these are not directly associated with Samadhi. Since remaining three are directly associated, these are known as Antaranga Sadhana. Pursuit of Astangayoga leads one to ascend to higher planes through augmentation of Sattva even while existing on lower planes of consciousness. Such a cosmic migration is Aroha. By ascending onto higher planes of subtle existence through heightened Sattva, Sattva of lower planes of subtle existence too, are divinized, known as Avaroha. It is now established that Aroha and Avaroha exert their influence synergistically over all the eight arms of Astangayoga. Continued pursuit of Aroha and Avaroha perfect all the eight arms of Astangayoga in content and effect. In other words, all the eight arms of Astangayoga are pursued simultaneously to bring about Aroha and Avaroha effectively. As Dhyana and Samadhi are value-added modifications of Dharana, it is possible to pursue Dharana alone in the beginning.
Astangayoga is the only way to salvation, complete and perfect, with all possible repercussions and ramifications taken care of, that one may encounter during any pursuit. Real marvel is vested in its absolute and complete objectivity based on cosmic realities that no one has been able to tamper with, continues to remain absolutely sacrosanct. Religion is a means to higher state of existence while Astangayoga of Maharsi Patanjalis Yoga-Darsana is the highest means to the highest state of existence. Owing to its absolute objectivity and pristine purity, Astangayoga is also Param Satya Yoga or Param Brahma Yoga too.
Varna-s For the purpose of smooth and ordered functioning of society, four Varna-s viz. Brhamana, Ksatriya, Vaisya and Sudra were raised by Maharsi Manu with well-defined respective Dharma. As a measure of illustration, mouth, arms, thighs and feet are integral limbs of human body that have been specifically selected by Maharsi Manu as these are instrumentalities of performing actions. Actions performed through these constituents directly affect human existence in every form. Maharsi Manu heralded the most important message of the legendary scripture Manusmriti by selecting these four organs – Message of Karma. It is Karma alone that is supreme of all in this world.
Mouth is responsible for eating, speaking, teaching and learning for the whole body.
Arms accomplish so many actions yet the most intensive action lies in defence from external onslaughts.
Thighs act to earn and provide support to the entire body.
Feet are responsible for movement of entire body without which mouth, arms and thighs would be rendered non-functional.
They are very well integrated, functionally well-coordinated and inseparable from one another. If anyone of these happens to malfunction, entire body is rendered severely handicapped or non-productive.
Same is the order of Varna in society. If society is a human body, Brhmana-s constitute mouth, Ksatriya-s constitute arms, Vaisya-s constitute thighs and Sudra-s, feet. Actions of these four are most basic activities of any society essential for their existence, survival and development. There is no activity whatsoever, that does not fall in the ambit of any of these four Varna-s. It is the primacy and essentiality of these actions classified into four sub-groups of society known as Varna-s that allowed it to survive for thousands of years with no sign of its being re-packaged in any manner. If any one member of the Varna order refuses to act or rendered disabled, entire society would begin its journey down the hill, towards utter ruination. Every Varna is equally important. Sudra is as much unavoidable, important and honourable as Brhmana. Vaisya is as much required as Ksatriya.
Only to drive home these points of ponder meaningfully that Maharsi Manu compared human body with that of a well-ordered society under the umbrella of Varna system. It has been mis-understood by some that Brhmana originated from the mouth of Prajapati Brahma, Ksatriya from His arms, Vaisya from His thighs and lastly, Sudra from His feet owing to some semi-literate writer known as Kulluka Bhatt, intentionally or otherwise. With that mis-interpretation, Sudra-s were being derogated as having originated from the feet which is entirely diabolical and untrue. It was in Gurus hermitage that Varna of pupils used to be decided guided by abundance of Guna-s. Change of Varna was also allowed at a later stage depending on changes in ones inclinations during Brahmacarya Asrama. After completion of Brahmacarya Asrama, change of Varna was not encouraged. Manusmriti authored by Maharsi Manu is an elaborate treatise on Varna system. However, it was contaminated subsequently with the sole intention of creating schism in society in pursuit of ‘Divide & Rule Policy’ by British invaders. With respect to caste system, it was never mentioned / promoted in Manusmriti and it never existed too, in society during those times.
Asrama Life has been sub-divided into four phases of Brahmacarya, Grhastha, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa.
Brahmacarya is the first phase associated with severe asceticism, continence and learning. This is the phase that is undertaken in the precincts of Gurus hermitage studying Veda-s and other skills.
Grhastha is the second phase which he begins as a householder after being betrothed to a woman of his Varna.
Vanaprastha is the third phase wherein Grhastha turns into a renunciant and moves into a hermitage to pursue Tapa and Sadhana.
Sannyasa is the last phase wherein the person moves onto the phase of extreme asceticism and prepares himself to be merged into the Infinite Cosmic Ocean of Absolute Consciousness. If by this stage, he has attained Absolute Consecration, he shall attain Moksa. If not, he would be re-incarnated to continue with the cosmic journey through the world till the ultimate destination of Moksa is attained. Maharsi Manu has elaborated all responsibilities, obligations and desired rituals encumbered with all the four phases of life in his legendary work famous as Manusmriti.
Moksa through Vedanta Darsana
According to Vedic wisdom, entire existence is a trinity of Param Brhmatma, Prakrti and Atma. Param Brhmatma is the ultimate and supreme cause of entire cosmic phenomena while Prakrti, material cause of entire creation and dissolution. Atma when embodied into Jivatma, is the actual user of entire creation. Param Brhmatma is Sat i.e. Absolute Truth, Cit i.e. Supreme Consciousness and Ananda i.e. Eternal Bliss. Atma is Sat and Cit but not Ananda while Prakrti is just Sat. There is no wisdom or knowledge that is not already included Veda-s in complete harmony with nature. Vedic wisdom pertaining to Purusa is perfect in all respects encompassing highest order of Cetana. It is so profound and intense that not even an iota of it is possible to add any more. With respect to Prakrti, the knowledge is elicited in its seed form thus, allowing humanity to explore as much as they wish to, whenever they so desire in disciplines of Humanities, Economics, Political / Social Sciences, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry or Biology. Also it does allow infinite forms of creation, be it literature, sculpture or any other form of art. However, there is nothing on the Planet Earth which is not already mentioned in Veda-s. Vedanta Darsana prescribes four paths for pursuit towards ultimate bliss viz. Karmayoga, Samkhyayoga, Jnanayoga, Rajayoga, Astangayoga and Bhaktiyoga. It is generally advised to follow the path as ordained by ones Guru. At an advanced stage, all paths merge into one. However, if one does not pursue Bhaktiyoga, attainment may remain ultimate emancipation devoid of Absolute Bliss.
There are four types of Hindu shrines located all over the continent. These are 51 Saktipitha-s, 12 Jyotirlinga-s, 7 Saptapuri-s and 4 Dhama-s.
Saktipitha-s These are the holy spots where some organ or accessory belonging to the Devi fell on the ground, consecrated subsequently and holy temple raised.
Saktipitha-s in Bengal these are Kali Mandira in Kolkata, Yugadya in Burdvan, Tristrota in Jalpaiguri, Bahula in Ketugram, Vaktresvarain Dubrajpur, Nalahati in Nalahati, Nandipura in Nandipur, Attahasa in Labpur, Kirita in Badanagar and Vibhasa in Midnapur.
Saktipitha-s in Madhya Pradesh these are Harsiddhi in Ujjain, Sarada Mandira in Maihara, Taracandi Mandira at Amarkantaka in Jabalpur.
Saktipitha-s in Tamil Nadu these are Suci in Kanyakumari, Ratnavali (place unknown), Bhadrakali Mandira in Sangamasthala and Kamaksi Devi at Sivakanchi.
Saktipitha-s in Bihar these are Mithila (place unknown), Vaidyanatha at Deoghar and Pataneswari Devi at Patna.
Saktipitha-s in Uttar Pradesh these are Camunda Devi in Mathura, Visalaksi at Meerghat and Lalita Devi in Prayaga.
Saktipitha-s in Rajasthana these are Savitri Devi at Puskara, Vairata at Jaipur.
Saktipitha-s in Gujarat these are Ambika Devi and Bhairava Parvata at Girnara mountains.
Saktipitha-s in Andhra Pradesh these are Godavari Tata at Godavari station and Bhramaramba Devi at Srisail.
Saktipitha-s in Maharashtra these are Karavira at Kolhapur and Bhadrakali at Nasika.
Saktipitha-s in Kashmir these are Sriparvat at Laddakha and Parvatipitha in Amarnatha cave.
Saktipitha in Punjab Visvamukhi Mandira at Jallandhar.
Saktipitha in Odisha Viraja Devi at Puri.
Saktipitha in Himachala Pradesh Jwalamukhi Saktipitha at Kangra.
Saktipitha in Assam Kamakhya Devi at Gauhati.
Saktipitha in Meghalaya Jayanti at Shillong.
Saktipitha in Tripura Rajarajeshwari Tripurasundari at Radhakishorepur.
Saktipitha-s in Haryana Bhadrakali at Kuruksetra and Kalamadhava at unknown location.
Saktipitha-s in Nepal Gandaki at Gandaki and Bhagavati Guhesvari at Pasupatinath Mandira.
Saktipitha in Pakistan Hingalaja Devi at Hingalaja.
Saktipitha in Sri Lanka Lanka Saktipitha at unknown location.
Saktipitha in Tibet Manasa Saktipitha at Manasarovara.
Saktipitha-s in Bangladesh Yasore at Jessore, Bhavani Mandira at Chatagaon, Karatoyatata at Bhavanipur and Ugratara Devi at Barisala.
51st Saktipitha is Pancasagar whose location is unknown.
Jyotirlinga-s are 12 in number. These are precise locations where Bhagavana Siva had appeared Himself –
Somanatha located in Saurastra region of Gujarat,
Sri Saila Mallikarjuna located on the banks of Krsna river in Andhra Pradesh,
Mahakala located at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh,
Omkaresvara / Mamalesvara located at Omkaresvara on banks of Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh,
Nagesvara located at Daruka in Gujarat,
Vaidyanatha located at Deoghar in Jharakhanda,
Bhimasamkara located on banks of Bhima river near Pune,
Tryambakesvara located at Nashika in Maharashtra,
Ghusmesvara located near Aurangabad in Maharashtra,
Kedaranatha located at Kedarnatha in Uttarakhanda,
Visvanatha located at Varanasi in Uttara Pradesh,
Ramesvaram located at Ramesvaram in Tamila Nadu.
Saptapuri-s are seven towns that are consecrated and venerable. These are Ayodhya, Mathura, Kasi in UP, Haridvara in Uttarakhanda, Kanci in Tamila Nadu, Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and Dwaraka in Gujarat.
Dhama-s are four in number, located in four extreme corners of the country. These are Badrinatha near Alaknanda in Uttarakhanda, Dwaraka at Jamnagar in Gujarat, Ramesvarama at Ramnathapurama in Tamila Nadu and Jagannatha Puri at Puri in Odisha.
Sanatana Hinduism is all encompassing. If a Hindu has faith in Isvara, he is an Astika; if not, then Nastika; if he worships an idol, he is Murti-Pujaka, if you do not worship Murti-s, you the option of worshipping Nirakara Brahma; Nyaya / Tarka allow you to castigate Hinduism; in case you rebel against scriptures, go for Bhakti; follow Carvaka philosophy of enjoying life to the hilt; you may pursue Hinduism by being a Sadhu i.e. ascetic / renunciant; you may renounce even Isvara and be nature-lover to remain a Hindu; you may be an Advaita-ist as a Hindu; with or without a Guru, you remain a Hindu; you may adore Devi-Sakti as a Hindu; by believing in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakama i.e. entire universe is one family, you are a Hindu……..
No other faith in the world is so well, so elaborately, so precisely and so majestically defined and executed as is Sanatana Hinduism. It possesses its own unique traditions and beliefs impossible to rival by any other faith in the world. Svami-s and Rsi-s of Sanatana Hinduism used to hold open debates with protagonists of Buddhism, Jainsim, Carvakin-s etc., always succeeded in rendering them speechless in open assemblies before erudite audience. Peripatetic Adi Samkaracarya strode entire continent on his ‘Adhyatmika Digvijaya Yatra’, humbled his Buddhist counterparts and established supremacy of the doctrine of Vedanta. Similarly, supremacy of Vaidika Dharma was established by Madhvacarya over Jainism and these two Rsi-s were protagonists of decline of Buddhism and Jainism respectively in the country. Even contemporary ascetics too, periodically delve into the domain of uniqueness of Sanatana Hinduism with their formidable intellectualism and erudition. Sanatana Hinduism shall survive and flourish so long as its distinct features are celebrated. Equality of faiths as propounded by new-born champions of egalitarianism have no roots at all, neither in history nor literature nor philosophy of Sanatana Hinduism. It is in reality, absence of malice rather indifference towards other faiths among Hindu-s that is deviously mis-interpreted as Sanatana Hinduism holding the perception that all faiths are equal in import.
Glimpses of our golden past that I could perceive with the blessings of my Gurudeva, are simply mind-boggling…our ancestors were the BEST in every field, on every issue they used to be absolutely CORRECT, they led from the front everywhere, every nitty-gritty of life was simply enviable, best and splendid….they dominated the whole world so much so that it led to a sinking feeling across the world, then intense inferiority complex…all those invasions by foreigners were the irruptions of hundreds of years of such complexes / subjugation / inferiority. Also, our ancestors were too good to discriminate between friend and foe. In decades and centuries to come, extremely brilliant personalities are destined to be born in this country. The range and extent of their talent is mind-boggling to say the least. And they are not going to be just one or two. There shall be scores of them throughout the nation. No power on earth can stop this nation to be the Visvaguru again. After all, this is the land of Sriman Narayana who incarnates often to re-establish and consolidate roots of Dharma in the world. We are destined to reclaim that glory in generations to come.