Saturday, February 28, 2015

Shivling at Kedareshwar Cave

Kedareshwar Cave are located at Harishchandragad, Maharashtra, India.

* Its origin is said to have been in the 6th century, during the rule of Kalachuri dynasty..

* This particular Shivling (called Kedareshwar) atop Harishchandragad is carved out a single rock inside a cave. The cave itself, may be a natural ground water reservoir.

* Even if the nearby streams are dry there is always water in this cave.

* There is one thing certain about this cave - No matter what time of the year you decide to visit this place, you can't touch the shivling without getting wet.

* This cave temple is famous for 12 feet high Shiva Lingam holds 4 poles in four directions and surrounded by 4 feet deep water.

* In the west side the Shiva puja scene carved on the wall about 6 feet hight and in the middle there is inner chamber carved where 4-6 persons can sit comfortably and perform puja and chanting.

* This cave located on the bank of Holy River Malganga which is known as Mula at the base villages.

* This shivling is totally surrounded by water.

* The total height from its base is five feet, and the water is waist-deep.

* It is quite difficult to reach the Shivlinga because the water is ice-cold.

* There are sculptures carved out here. In monsoon it is not possible to reach this cave, as a huge stream flows across the way.

* Harishchandragad lies where the boundaries of Thane, Pune & Ahmednagar districts

Friday, February 27, 2015

Search for Lord Ram's ring

One day, lord Ram was informed that it was time for him to die. He had no problem with that. He understood that creatures who take birth have to experience death. “Let Yama come to me. It is time for me to return to my heavenly abode, Vaikuntha,” he said. But Yama dared not enter Ayodhya. Yama, the god of death, was afraid of Hanuman who guarded the gates of Ram’s palace and was clear no one would take Ram away from him.

To allow Yama’s entry, it was necessary to distract Hanuman. So Ram dropped his ring into a crack in the palace floor and requested Hanuman to fetch it. Hanuman reduced himself to the size of a beetle and entered the crack only to discover that it was no crack but the entrance to a tunnel that led to Nag-lok, the land of serpents. Hanuman met Vasuki, king of serpents, there and informed him of his mission.

Vasuki took Hanuman to the centre of Nag-lok where stood a mountain of rings! “There you will surely find Ram’s ring,” said Vasuki. Hanuman wondered how he would do that. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. But to his delight, the first ring that he picked up was Ram’s ring. To his astonishment, even the second ring he picked up was Ram’s ring. In fact all the rings that made up the mountain of rings were Ram’s ring. “What is the meaning of this?” he wondered

Vasuki smiled and said, “This world we live in goes through cycles of life and death. Each life cycle of the world is called a kalp. Each kalp is composed of four yugs or quarters. In the second quarter or Tret yug, Ram takes birth in Ayodhya. Then one day his ring falls from earth into the subterranean realm of serpents through a tunnel. A monkey follows it and Ram up there dies. So it has been for hundreds of thousands of kalpas. All these rings testify to that fact. The mountain keeps growing as more rings fall. There is enough space for the rings of the future Ram.”

Hanuman realized that his entry into Nag-lok and his encounter with this mountain of rings was no accident. It was Ram’s way of telling him that he could not stop death from coming. Ram would die. The world would die. But like all things Ram would be reborn each time the world is reborn. So it would be forever.

Daityasudan temple: Attempt of conversion to mosque

This temple is an example showing how a temple gets converted to mosque.You can clearly see an attempt at the gate of temple.This temple is situated at Lonar in Buldana district, Maharashtra

Daitya Sudan Temple is a Vishnu temple dated to the Chalukya Dynasty which ruled Central and Southern India between the 6th and 12th centuries. It belongs to the Hemadpanthi class and is built in the form of an irregular star. It features carvings similar to those seen at Khajuraho temples. The deity of this temple is made of an ore with a high metal content that resembles stone. The ceiling of the temple has carvings. The exterior walls are also covered with carved figures. The plinth of the temple is about 1.5 m in height and the unfinished roof suggests an intended pyramidal form for the tower.

The temple of Daitya Sudan at Lonar is the best example of the Hemadpanthi style. From the standing image of Surya in the principal niche on the back of the temple it is conjectured that the temple was originally dedicated to the Sun god. However, in the present form its vaishnav temple of god vishnu in its daityasudan avatar. There is a story that a demon by the name of Lonasur or Lavanasur used to reside in this locality along with his sisters. He was killed by lord Vishnu in his Daityasudan Avatar hence the name.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mahakala: Kartaridhara(Buddhist form of Shiva)

Mahakala in this form is holding his chopper aloft in which case he is referred to as 'Kartaridhara (Holder of the Chopper) Mahakala.

Grinning wildly and with fiery eyes, this terrible image of the Great Black One stands heavily upon the body of a corpse. While he holds the normal skull cup and chopper in his two hands, supported across the crook of his elbows is an ornamental wooden stick, called the 'gandi' gong, which is used in Buddhist
monasteries to summon the monks and nuns to assemblies. It is this intriguing aspect of his iconography which associates him exclusively with the viharas and it is believed to symbolize the vow he once made to the Buddha to protect the monastic community of Nalanda at Bihar and hence by extension all Buddhist retreats. Also, originally it was likely a shaman's staff used during application of protective charms (panjara), hence in this  manifestation he also came to be known as Panjaranatha, or 'Lord of Charms." It is also conjectured that the rod denotes the one used to hold up outdoor tents and hence is a reminder that this awesome deity is the supreme savior of the essentially nomadic Tibetan people.

The two-armed Mahakala is most popular in the Newar Buddhism of Nepal. In the Mahakala Tantra he is described as the form by which the sufferings of sentient beings are removed. Such images are placed in the entrances to many bahals (monasteries) with Mahakala on the left as one enters and Ganesha on the right.

Mahakala Maning is the avowed guardian of the Nyingmapas. He holds a fresh and throbbing human heart in his left hand, and also a garland strung with the same macabre organs. His right hand holds the trishula and the gandi-staff is pushed into his waist belt. The term 'maning' (eunuch) used in Mahakala's name here means genderless

Mahakala's typical blackness symbolizes his all-embracing, comprehensive nature,because it is the hue into which all other colors merge; it absorbs and dissolves them. Just as all colors disappear in black, so do all names and forms melt into that of Mahakala. Black is also the total absence of color, again signifying the nature of Mahakala as ultimate reality.

This in Sanskrit is named as nirguna (beyond all quality and form). Either way, Mahakala's dark complexion represents his transcendence of all form. Kala however also means time. Etymologically, 'kala' means that which absorbs everything within itself (kalayati iti kala). Thus Mahakala is the cosmic nature
of time, into which we will all dissolve in the course of time. He is the transcendent-time (maha-kala), absolute, eternal, easureless, and ever present.

Vahans - The divine animal mounts of God

Hindu deities have particular vehicles or 'vahana' on which they travel. These vehicle, which are either animals or birds, represent the various forces that he or she rides. These deities are seldom depicted without their corresponding creatures.

Ganesh - "The remover of obstacles", the deity whom worshippers first acknowledge when they visit a temple.  He is usually shown in sculpture accompanied by or riding a rat.  Since rats are seen as being capable of gnawing their way through most things, the rat symbolizes Ganesh's ability to destroy every obstacle.

Shiva - "The Destroyer", is one of the main Deities of Hinduism, worshipped as the paramount lord by the Saivite sects of India. Shiva is one of the most complex gods of India, embodying seemingly contradictory qualities. He is the destroyer and the restorer, the great ascetic and the symbol of sensuality, the benevolent herdsman of souls and the wrathful avenger.  His guardian is Nandi (the white bull), whose statue can often be seen watching over the main shrine.  The bull is said to embody sexual energy, fertility.  Riding on its back, Shiva is in control of these impulses.

Parvati - "Daughter of the Mountain" - The goddess that is Shiva's wife in her most gentle form is called Parvati.  Parvati is depicted as a beautiful woman.  Her vahana is a lion.

Lakshmi - "Goddess of Fortune and Wealth" - Lakshmi represents the beautiful and bountiful aspect of nature.  As Bhoodevi, the earth-goddess, she nurtures life; as Shreedevi, the goddess of fortune, she bestows power, pleasure and prosperity on those who deserve her grace.  To realize her, one must respect the laws of life and appreciate the wonders of existence.  Her Vehicle is the owl.

Durga - "The Unconquerable form of Devi" - Durga is the most splendid manifestation of Devi. Contain within her the power of all the gods combined, she is the invincible power of Nature who triumphs over those who seek to subjugate her.  Durga is one of the names of the goddess that is the wife of Shiva.  Durga has the role of a warrior goddess who destroys demons.  She is usually depicted with ten arms that hold the weapons of the various gods.  Durga's vahana is a lion.  Her lion acts as her means of transportation and one of her many weapons.  

Vishnuu - "The Preserver" - Vishnu's vahana is the eagle King named Garuda.  He is often shown as a winged human-shaped figure with a beaklike nose.  Garuda carries Vishnu to Vaikuntha (heaven) where he lives.

Saraswati - "The Goddess of Wisdom" - Saraswati, the goddess of art, music and learning, usually holds a book and a stringed instrument called a veena.  She is the river of consciousness that enlivens creation; she is the dawn-goddess whose rays dispel the darkness of ignorance.  Without her there is only chaos and confusion.  To realize her one must go beyond the pleasures of the senses and rejoice in the serenity of the spirit.  Saraswati's vahana is a swan.

Agni- "The God of Fire" - Agni is the Hindu god of fire and is present in every fire that is lit.  The Rig Veda signified that Agni was one of the main gods.  Agni's vahana is the ram.  He is usually seen riding the ram or in a chariot pulled by many fiery horses.

Brahma - "The God of Creation" - The god of creation is called Brahma.  Brahma is often seen on temple walls or in wall hangings in a Hindu household.  Brahma is usually seen carrying the Vedas, a scepter, a string of prayer beads, a water pot a spoon used in making offerings in the fire sacrifice, or a bow.  Brahma is usually portrayed with four heads and four arms.   Brahma's vahana is a goose or a swan.

Indra - "The Storm God" - Indra is a Vedic storm god that carries thunderbolts as his weapons and is also a bringer of rains.  Indra was an important god with the Aryan warriors.  Indra's vahana is a great white elephant called Airavata.  Airavata is often depicted with four tusks.   Bottom of Form

Monday, February 23, 2015

Why do we light a lamp ?

In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the Lord. In some houses it is lit at dawn, in some, twice a day – at dawn and dusk – and in a few it is maintained continuously (Akhanda Deepa). All auspicious functions commence with the lighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion.

Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness is ignorance. The Lord is the "Knowledge Principle" (Chaitanya) who is the source, the enlivener and the illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the Lord himself. 

Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth.

Why not light a bulb or tube light? That too would remove darkness. But the traditional oil lamp has a further spiritual significance. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our vaasanas or negative tendencies and the wick, the ego. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vaasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards. Similarly we should acquire such knowledge as to take us towards higher ideals.

Whilst lighting the lamp we thus pray:
Deepajyothi parabrahma
Deepa sarva tamopahaha
Deepena saadhyate saram
Sandhyaa deepo namostute

I prostrate to the dawn/dusk lamp; whose light is the Knowledge Principle (the Supreme Lord), which removes the darkness of ignorance and by which all can be achieved in life.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Worship of lord Ganesha in Mongolia

The worship of Ganesha spread along with Buddhism across Central Asia as far as Mongolia through the Silk Route and via Tibet. Images of Ganesha have been found in bronze, on paper and on wall frescoes.
Sometimes Ganesha is represented as a powerful deity, usually two-armed, without pot-belly or rat vehicle, indicating that the transmission out of India took place before 10th century AD. According to a Mongol legend, derived from Tibetan legend, Ganesha raised the father of P’ags-pa, the Sakya Heirarch, with his trunk to Mount Meru and showed him the land of Mongolia and told him that his son would be its ruler. So it came to pass.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Photographer: Beglar, Joseph David ~ Date: 1875
Photograph of statues in the colonnade of the Chaunsath Yogini temple, Bheraghat taken by Joseph David Beglar in the 1870s.

Bheragat is situated close to Tripuri, the ancient site of the Haihaya capital. One of the oldest heritage sites in India, Chausath Yogini Temple is situated on a hilltop in Jabalpur. Built in the 11th century A.D., the temple is the abode of Goddess Durga along with 64 yoginis or shaktis considered to be the different forms of the Goddess. Though the temple has been partially damaged, it speaks greatly of the ancient dynasties that ruled in Jabalpur.

Around 150 steep steps lead to the shrine which is at a good height. The complex of the temple consists of 64 shrines in circular motion, one for each yoginis and a main shrine where Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati are seen riding on Nandi, the sacred bull. The temple was constructed during the reign of Kalchuri Dynasty and was mainly made with local granite. Mughal invaders, later on, destroyed and deformed most of the temple.

The design of the temple has been kept simple but the idols of yoginis are exquisitely carved, each one depicting a unique posture. The environment at the site is very calm and composing with lush greenery around. Standing at the open-sky courtyard you can witness a panoramic view of the River Narmada and the surrounding landscape. Being the oldest Yogini temple in India, this place is a must visit for all heritage lovers!
The temple is unusually planned, consisting of a circular colonnade with 81 smaller shrines incorporating sculptures from the 10th century. A renowned group represents the sixty-four yoginis, the Matrikas and other goddesses.

History of Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi

Krishna Janmasthan, or Kesava Deo Temple is a temple in Mathura, India and is among the sacred of Hindu sites as it is birthplace of Lord Krishna.The Keshav Deo Temple is a Hindu temple situated besides the main Krishna janmabhoomi complex, the birthplace of Lord Krishna

The first temple here was constructed almost 5,000 years ago by Vajranabha, the great-grandson of Lord Krishan. The next big temple was constructed here during the time of the Gupta Emperor Chandragupta II around 400 AD. This temple was so grand that it was said that neither painting nor description could describe it.Then came Mahmud of Ghazni who destroyed the temple in 1017 AD along with several other Hindu and Buddhist temples in the holy city of Mathura.

Another temple was built here in 1150 AD. It’s said Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited the same temple when he came to Mathura . It was again destroyed by Muslim ruler  in the 16th century during the reign of Sikander Lodi. During the reign of Jahangir, Raja Veer Singh Bundela of Orchha constructed another temple about 75 m (250 ft) high at the cost of Rs 3.3 million.The great temple of Keshava Rai at Mathura was built by Bir Singh Deo Bundela during Jahangir’s time at a cost of thirty-three lakhs of rupees. The Keshava Rai Temple was one of the most magnificent temples ever built in India and enjoyed  veneration of the Hindus throughout the land

But then again it was destroyed by Aurangzeb.It was demolished in the month of Ramzan, 1080 A.H. (13 January – 11 February 1670) by Aurangzeb’s order as noted by several historians,his farman still preserved.In a short time, by the great exertion of the officers, the destruction of this strong foundation of infidelity was accomplished and on its site a lofty mosque was built at the expenditure of a large sum”. To the author of Maasir-i-‘Alamigiri, the accomplishment of this “seemingly impossible work was an “instance of the strength of the Emperor’s faith”. Even more disgraceful was transporting the idols to Agra and burying them under the steps of the mosque of the Begum Sahib “in order to be continually trodden upon”.

The painting to the right shows the demolition of the great temple, on Aurngzeb’s orders in progress and subsequent uncivilized conduct towards the idols.
In  the second picture to your top left you can see Jami Masjid beside temple, This was erected on the foundations of the once-famous Kesava Deo temple, destroyed by the Aurangzeb.

During British rule in India, the area came under direct rule of British India. In 1815, the East India Company auctioned the area of Katra Keshavadeva, which was purchased by the then Raja Patnimal of Banaras. Although, the Raja of Benaras wanted to build a temple there his wish remained unfulfilled and the family had fight several legal battle for ownership of land with Muslim community of Mathura, in which, the court finally ordered that the land belongs to present heirs of Raja of Benaras.

In 1944, Madan Mohan Malviya was distressed at plight of the site and arranged for purchase of land from Raja Krishna Das of Benaras, who sold the land only at cost of Rs. 13,000/- recovering just the cost of fighting court battles. Meanwhile, Malviyaji without seeing the temple work begin.

Then Jugal Kishore Birla of Birla group decided to take the leading role to fulfill the wishes of Malviyaji and formed a private trust in 1951 to which the rights of land were later transferred.
Jaidayal Dalmia of Dalmia Group was another leading personality, who took untiring efforts and the temple was finally constructed over the site. The trust which runs the temple has a glorious list of Trustees besides Birla and Dalmia family members like Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar, Anantashayanam Iyengar, Swami Akhandananda Saraswati, Swami Vamdevji Maharaj. The present head of temple is Mahant Nrityagopal Das.The construction of the temple was completed in 1965 at a cost Rs 15 million.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Shivling found around the world

Hindu History of Afghanistan

Kandahar or Gandhar in Sanskrit is the second largest city in Afghanistan. Is one of the oldest known human settlements. Gandhar is mentioned as an historical regional capital in Mahabharata. It is the hometown of Gandhari, wife of Dhritarastra and mother to the Kaurava princes, and her brother Shakuni, who is the ultimate cause for the kinslaying Mahabharata war.

Gandhari was preoccupied because she had other debts to clear. She was busy collecting 100 golden vessels for performing the intricate rites of the shradha for each of her hundred Kshatriya sons. She had a debt to pay. She was subsequently freed of the debt after performing the rituals she owed to her sons and grandchildren. The great burden was now off her chest. In normal circumstances, her sons would have been obligated to perform the ritual for her. Now the process had been reversed. She had also time to think of her widowed but beloved daughter, Duhshala, who her own mourning to do. It was a pathetic sight for her. She had a horde of her daughters-in-law wailing loudly, on the Kurukshetra battlefield within her hearing distance. Gandhari had enough on her plate. She was also to mourn the death of her six brothers and her nephew Uluka. She was confronted with the mourning and wailing Draupadi, who lost her five sons, through treachery while they were asleep. Gandhari was overheard telling Draupadi that her grief was greater than hers, but she was absolved by placating others, rather than thinking of her own grief.

Gandhari was a strong critic of the war. She was also an acute observer of the scene, watching events from close quarters. Her interventions were subtle and she was always on the side of peace. She was as much critical of her husband, as of her elder son and brother. While grieving over the death of her sons, she kept her cool. She chose to be chief spokesman of the grieving and suffering Kaurava women. She held Krishna responsible for the war and told him in no uncertain terms that she did not mourn as much the dead as the living, like her blind husband and widowed daughters-in-law, and other teeming humanity.

There was no public expression of grief by Gandhari, but there was plenty to preoccupy her in her public grief. It even made Krishna join Gandhari and Dhritarashtra in shedding a tear or two. Her misery was compounded due to her divine vision, which let her go over the entire Mahabharata was day-by-day and moment-by-moment. She could re-live the slaughter of each of her sons reel by reel. She could find no rationale for the 18-day war. She attributed all this to her karma, as well as of her daughters-in-law for sins committed in past lives. She also realized fully that it was not the actual fact. The Mahabharata was to be attributed to human folly, repeated again and again.

Gandharvas are first described in the Vedas as cosmic beings. Later literature describes them as a jati (community), and the later Natyasastra refers to their system of music as gandharva. Gupt explains1:

“Gandharvas, as spoken of in Samhitas and later literature, had derived their name from a geographical people, the Gandharas… Most likely they belonged to Afghanistan (which still has a township called Kandhara)... It was perhaps at this time that the Gandharas raised the art of music to a great height. This region of the subcontinent at the time had become the locus of a great confluence of the musical traditions of the East and the Mediterranean. The very art, thus, came to be known by the name of the region and was so called by it even in the heartland of India. This name, gandharva, continued to be used for music for centuries to come. In the Vayu Purana one of the nine divisions of Bharatavarsa is called Gandharva.”

During the Mahabharata period, the Gandhara region was very much culturally and politically a part of India. King Œakuni, brother of Gandhârî, fought with Pandavas in the famous epic Mahabharata. The battle was fought in Kurukshetra, in the heartland of India. Gandhârî was married to King Dhrtrastra. Exchanges between Gandhara and Hastinapur (Delhi) were well established and intense.

Mehrgarh, located in this region and part of the Indus Valley civilization, is the oldest town excavated by archeologists (8000B.C.E) in the world.

Gandhara was the trade crossroad and cultural meeting place between India, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Buddhist writings mention Gandhara (which included Peshawar, Swat and Kabul Valleys) as one of the 16 major states of northern India at the time. It was a province of the Persian king Darius I in the fifth century B.C.E. After conquering it in the 4th century B.C.E., Alexander encountered the vast army of the Nandas in the Punjab, and his soldiers mutinied causing him to leave India.

Thereafter, Gandhara was ruled by the Maurya dynasty of India, and during the reign of the Indian emperor Ashoka (3rd century B.C.E.), Buddhism spread and became the world's first religion across Eurasia, influencing early Christianity and East Asian civilizations. Padmasambhava, the spiritual and intellectual founder of the Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, was from Gandhara. Greek historian Pliny wrote that the Mauryans had a massive army; and yet, like all other Indian kingdoms, they made no attempt at overseas conquest.

Gandhara and Sind were considered parts of India since ancient times, as historian Andre Wink explains:

“From ancient times both Makran and Sind had been regarded as belonging to India… It definitely did extend beyond the present province of Sind and Makran; the whole of Baluchistan was included, a part of the Panjab, and the North-West Frontier Province.”2

“The Arab geographers, in effect, commonly speak of 'that king of al-Hind...'”3

“…Sind was predominantly Indian rather than Persian, and in duration the periods that it had been politically attached to, or incorporated in, an Indian polity far outweigh Persian domination. The Maurya empire was extended to the Indus valley by Candragupta, laying the foundation of a great Buddhist urban-based civilization. Numerous Buddhist monasteries were founded in the area, and Takshashila became an important centre of Buddhist learning, especially in Ashoka's time. Under the Kushanas, in the late first century A.D… international trade and urbanization reached unprecedented levels in the Indus valley and Purushapara (Peshawar) became the capital of a far-flung empire and Gandhara the second home of Buddhism, producing the well-known Gandhara-Buddhist art. In Purushapara, Kanishka is supposed to have convened the fourth Buddhist council and to have built the Kanishka Vihara, which remained a Buddhist pilgrimage center for centuries to come as well as a center for the dissemination of the religion to Central Asia and China… in conjunction with Hinduism, Buddhism survived in Sind until well into the tenth century.”4

“Hiuen Tsang… was especially impressed by the thousand Buddhist monks who lived in the caves of Bamiyan, and the colossal stone Buddha, with a height of 53.5 m, then still decorated with gold. There is also evidence of devi cults in the same areas.”5

Shaivism was also an important ancient religion in this region, with wide influence. Wink writes:

“…Qandahar [modern Kandahar]…. was the religious center of the kingdom where the cult of the Shaivite god Zun was performed on a hilltop…”.6

“…the god Zun or Zhun ... shrine lay in Zamindawar before the arrival of Islam, set on a sacred mountain, and still existing in the later ninth century …. [The region was]… famous as a pilgrimage center devoted to Zun. In China the god's temple became known as the temple of Su-na. …[T]he worship of Zun might be related to that of the old shrine of the sun-god Aditya at Multan. In any case, the cult of Zun was primarily Hindu, not Buddhist or Zoroastrian.”7

“[A] connection of Gandhara with the polymorphic male god Shiva and the Durga Devi is now well-established. The pre-eminent character of Zun or Sun was that of a mountain god. And a connection with mountains also predominates in the composite religious configuration of Shiva, the lord of the mountain, the cosmic pivot and the ruler of time… Gandhara and the neighboring countries in fact represent a prominent background to classical Shaivism.”8

From 1st century C.E., emperor Kaniska I and his Kushan successors were acknowledged as one of the four great Eurasian powers of their time (the others being China, Rome, and Parthia). The Kushans further spread Buddhism to Central Asia and China, and developed Mahayana Buddhism and the Gandhara and Mathura schools of art. The Kushans became affluent through trade, particularly with exports to Rome. Their coins and art are witness to the tolerance and syncretism in religion and art that prevailed in the region. The Gandhara school incorporated many motifs from classical Roman art, but the basic iconography remained Indian.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Jaya and Vijaya - Gatekeepers of Vaikunth

Jaya and Vijaya are the two demigod gatekeepers of the abode of Vishnu, known as Vaikuntha .
According to a story from Bhagavata Purana, the Four Kumaras: Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanatkumara who were the manasaputras of  Brahma (sons born from the mind or thought power of Brahma), visited Vaikuntha, the abode of Vishnu, to see him.

Jaya and Vijaya, the gate keepers of the Vaikuntha interrupted the Kumaras at the gate, thinking them to be children. They also told the Kumaras that Sri Vishnu was resting and that they could not see him now. The enraged Kumaras replied Jaya and Vijaya that Vishnu is available for his devotees any time, and cursed both the keepers Jaya and Vijaya, that they would have to give up their divinity, be born as mortals on Earth  and live like normal human beings.
Vishnu appeared before them, and the gatekeepers requested Vishnu to lift the curse of the Kumaras. Vishnu said curse of Kumaras could not be reversed. Instead, he gave Jaya and Vijaya two options.

 The first option was to take seven births on Earth as a devotee of Vishnu, while the second was to take three births as his enemy. After serving either of these sentences, they could re-attain their stature at Vaikuntha and be with him permanently. Jaya and Vijaya could not bear the thought of staying away from Vishnu for seven lives. As a result, they chose to be born three times on Earth even though it would have to be as enemies of Vishnu.

In the first life they were born as Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha in the Krita Yuga, to Diti (daughter of Daksha Prajapathi) and sage Kashyapa.

In their second life they were born as Ravana and Kumbhakarna in the Treta Yuga, and in their third life as Dantavakra and Shishupala in the Dwapara Yuga.
In all these three births, they were slain by avatars of Vishnu.