Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some of Our Early Vaidik Women

The Hindu Vaidik texts mention a number of women who were respected even by men. Some of them are given here.

1. Gaargee
Gaargee is the most famous Vaidik woman who enjoyed equality and respect from man's society. She was the daughter of a wise man Vaachaknu and was one of the nine gems (Nava Ratn) in Raajaa Janak's court. She never married. She has composed several hymn that question the origin of all things.

Once Raajaa Janak organized a world's first conference on philosophy and put a prize of 10,000 cows and 1,000 gold coins for the winner. Then Yaagyavalkya Jee came with his disciples and asked his disciple Somashravaa to drive the cows from the assembly. All other learned Braahman got angry at this as Yaagyavalkya was taking cows without any discussion, how he considered the most learned Braahman among them, so they asked him - "How can you take the cows just like that withiut having discussion with us? Do you think that you are the  most learned Braahman among us?' Yaagyavalkya answered - "Yes, I am taking these cows because I am sure that I am the most learned Braahman among you all." But then they sopped him and compelled him to have discussion with them. He did that and satisfied them all.

When all got defeated, Raajaa Janak said - "You cannot go without having a discussion with Gaargee." Yaagyavalkya agreed and got ready to talk to her. Gaargee asked him many tough questions, but Yaagyavalkya satisfied her. In the end he had to say to her - "Do not ask too many questions lest thy head falls off." And Gaargee accepted her defeat and praised Yaagyavalkya a lot saying - "None among you can defeat him in argument concerning Brahm." and became silent. Their dialogs is the part of Brihadaaranyak Upanishad. A part of it may be read here.

2. Lopaamudraa
Lopaamudraa was the wife of Muni Agastya. It is said that when Muni Agastya wanted to marry he could not find a girl according to his choice, so he selected the best from Brahmaa's creation and created a girl for himself. He kept her in a king's palace. There she grew up. When she had grown up in a fine young woman. he went to him to ask the hand of his daughter. Although the king was unwilling to do it but he had to do it. So Lopaamudraa got married to Agastya Muni. She is well known for giving us Lalitaa Sahstra Naam.

The Rig Ved includes a long discussion between Muni Agastya and Lopaamudraa that shows the great intelligence and virtue of Lopaamudraa (see  Rig Ved, Book 1, Hymn 179)

3. Ghoshaa
Ghoshaa was the granddaughter of Deerghtamaa, and daughter of Kakshivat. Both, father and daughter, have composed prayers for Ashwinee Kumaar - the Heavenly twins of Soorya Dev and gods' physicians. Ghoshaa has written two entire hymns in the 10th Book of Rig Ved, Hymns 39 and 40, each containing 14 verses. The first one eulogizes Ashwinee Kumaar, and the second one is a personal wish expressing her intimate feelings and desires for married life.

4. Maitreyee
Maitreyee is another woman philosopher of India. She lived at about the same time when Gaargee was living. She was the second wife of Yaagyavalkya. The first one was Kaatyaayanee, the daughter of Bhrardwaaj Muni and was an ordinary woman; while Maitryee was a learned woman and Brahm-vaadinee (knower of Brahm). According to legend, she did  ot want to marry Yaagyavalkya but she wanted to live with as his disciple and as a spiritual companion to do Saadhanaa. So she went to Yaagyavalkya's wife and asked her permission to live with her husband. She permitted her so she lived with him as his companion and became the member of household.

Rig Ved's about 10 hymns go to her credit. She has contributed towards the enhancement of her sage husband Yaagyavalkya's personality and the flowering of his spiritual thoughts. One day when the sage decided to make a choice between the forest and his two wives, he asked his wives their wishes. The learned Maitreyee asked if all the wealth could make her immortal. The sage replied simply that the wealth could make her rich nothing else; then she asked him to give her the wealth of immortality. Hearing this Yaagyavalkya got very happy and he imparted the knowledge of soul and the immortality. This is found in the 2nd and 4th chapters of Brihadaaranyak Upanishad.

5. Bhaaratee
Bhaaratee is not the early Vaidik woman, nor she has contributed anything to any Ved, but she was given the honor to be the judge of the arguments between Mandan Mishra, her husband and Shankaraachaarya. According to Bhavishya Puraan, Mandan Mishra was the incarnation of Brahmaa Jee and Bhaaratee is said to be the incarnation of Saraswatee Jee. She asked Shankar such questions that he had to come back after some time and then only he could satisfy her. She declared Shankar as a winner and then her husband Mandan Mishra became his disciple with the name "Sureshwaraachaarya".

by Sushma Gupta

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tips for Success

Everybody wants success, but it is difficult to get it all the time and at everything. Still there are some rules, if followed, one can proceed towards success. Try them, they are not difficult, just you have to pay attention.

It doesn't matter whether you are trying to succeed at work, in your relationship or with your wealth the principles are the same. The following tips will help you in succeeding in your endeavors.
Good Luck....

1. Know what you want
You must have the desire to succeed. This means you need to know what you want in life and be able to identify the actions that you need to take to achieve your goals. Goals provide a guide to your destination in life, follow them, others determine where you'll end up.
[It is similar to Geetaa's teaching - "Do your work (Dharm) and leave the result on Me."]

2. Believe in yourself
To be successful you need to have a positive outlook and believe that what you are doing is right and you can fight for it. Then have faith in yourself that you can achieve your goals. When you feel good about yourself, you react more confidently to life's challenges. If you believe in yourself and push yourself through shyness and self-doubt you will succeed more far than you will fail. Believe and you will achieve.

3. Never give up
Once you have believed in  your goal, persist it up to the completion. persistence is the number one thing for being successful. It's easy for people to become disheartened when they are criticised or encounter a hurdle while trying to achieve their goals, but to be a true success you must persist through the criticism, rejection, pressure and failure. A fighting spirit will make you succeed.

4. Never stop learning
Successful people never stop learning. They learn from their mistakes, new experiences and other people. Whatever you are doing, gain full knowledge in that subject. Learning at every step and opportunity increases your knowledge whether old or new areas and keeps you ahead in your field. Read books, acquire new skills and seek additional training and it will definitely set you apart from the rest and make you more confident than others.

5. Do what you love
To do something well you must at least like it, but even if you don't like it, either develop a liking for it or leave it; because doing any work without being interested in it does not pay you. But liking it helps to love it. Being passionate about the things you spend your time on is energising and motivates you to succeed. Do what you love, and success will come.

6. Avoid conditional happiness
Too many of us believe that if some problem resolved itself we would finally be happy. But striving for happiness by just sitting back and finding happiness at this particular point in your life is no way to live. Successful people avoid delayed gratification and don't sit around waiting for problems to resolve. Successful people find happiness at every instance, rather than just when they think things are going right for them.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Examples of Bhakti and Shraddhaa

Unfortunately there is no one word in English for Shraddhaa. Shraddhaa is the mixed feelings of devotion, faith, satisfaction, and faith with reverence. It is in fact an unbroken faith in somebody that the person can do anything in his name - even impossible tasks. Here are some examples of Shraddhaa--

Shraddhaa of Draupadee
Draupadee had full Shraddhaa in Krishn that is why she remembered only Krishn in her most critical moments and Krishn also did not disappoint her. When Paandav lost everything along with Draupadee and Duryodhan asked Dushaasan to pull her robes in the assembly hall, Draupadee could not do anything except calling Krishn. Krishn heard her and He extended her robes so much that even Dushaasan who had 10,000 elephants strength also tired of pulling it and sat down. Thus Krishn saved His Bhakt.

Shraddhaa of Hanumaan
It was only Shraddhaa of Hanumaan on Raam that he crossed 100 Yojan wide sea in one jump and burnt the whole Lankaa without getting hurt himself.

Shraddhaa of Vaanar
When Raam wanted to make bridge on sea to go to Lankaa, stones floated on water because of the Shraddhaa of Vaanar in His name. When Raam saw that these Vaanar are writing my name and throwing the stones in the sea and they are floating, so He also thought to do the same so that the bridge gets ready soon. So He picked up a stone, wrote His name on it and threw it in the sea. He was surprised to see that it sank. Raam looked here and there just to check whether anybody noticed this. He found that Hanumaan was looking at all this, He told Hanumaan not to tell this to anybody lest their faith is destroyed in Him. Hanumaan said - "Swaamee, Don't worry, their faith will not be destroyed, because those stones are floating only with their Shtaddhaa in you, and whatever you have thrown, that will surly sink."

Shraddhaa of Angad
Angad had full Shraddhaa in his Raam that is why when he was sent to Raavan as the messenger he could stake even Seetaa - "If you will move my foot, I will lose Seetaa and we will go away." Raam did not say him this to do there, he did this himself because he had full Shraddhaa in him that He would not let him down.

Shraddhaa of a Disciple
There was a disciple who was very devoted to his Guru. Once his Guru went somewhere for which he had to cross a river. He crossed it by boat. When he came on the other shore, he thought to take bath in the river, so he entered the river, took bath and came out. When he had come out he remembered that he had left his dry clothes on the other shore, so he shouted from there only to his disciple to bring his dry clothes. The Disciple immediately picked his clothes and ran towards the other shore. In this hurry he forgot that he could not cross the river without a boat. He was just running carrying his Guru's dry clothes. He did not pay attention on the water and crossed it like a dry land. When the Guru saw him coming like this on water, he got stunned and ashamed too. He needed the boat to cross the water and his devotee was running over it? When he came to the Guru and handed over him his clothes, he asked him "how did you cross the river on foot like this?" Then only he saw at his back. He himself was surprised that how he crossed the river on foot. he politely replied - "I don't know, I just came running to give you these clothes as I thought that my Guru needed his clothes, that is all."

So it was the disciple's Bhakti and Shraddhaa which brought him to his Guru walking on the water.

There are many such stories of Bhakti and Shraddhaa and faith through which people have done extraordinary works.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rishi Angiraa and His family

Maharshi Angiraa was one of the 10 Maanas Putra of Brahmaa Jee - Angiraa, Atri, Bhrigu, Daksh, Kratu, Mareechi, Naarad, Pulah, Pulastya, Vashishth

Atri Rishi had three sons - Chandramaa, Dattaatreya and Maharshi Durvaasaa.

Bhrigu Jee have Shukraachaarya Jee (Daitya Guru), Maharshi Chyavan and Maharshi Dadheechi whose bones were used to make Vajra and kill Vritraasur.

Daksh Jee had 60 daughters from whom he gave one daughter Satee to Shiv, 27 daughters to Chandramaa (as his constellations), 13 daughters to Kashyap Jee (son of Maharshi Mareechi) whose children have inhabited this Earth and some others to others

Mareechi had a son named Kashyap who was very helpful to Brahmaa Jee to inhabit this Earth.

Naarad Jee was cursed by Daksh Jee because of his habits and he is neither married, nor has any home. he wanders around and does not sit at one place.

Pulastya Jee had a son named Vishravaa who had four renowned sons - Kuber, Raavan, Kumbhkarn and Vibheeshan.

Vashishth Jee had a son named Shakti, who had the son named Paraashar whose son is Ved Vyaas Jee whose sons are Shuk Dev, Dhritraashtra, Paandu and Vidur...

Let us take Maharshi Angiraa now, what he has in his family. Angiraa was married to one of the nine daughters of Kardam Rishi - Shraddhaa, and had three sons - Brihaspati, Samvart and Utathya, from her.

Utathya was married to Mamataa. Utathya had two sons Bharadwaaj and Deerghtamaa from his wife Mamataa?

Birth of Brihaspati
Brihaspati himself was born in strange conditions. Angiraa's wife Shraddhaa was unfaithful to her husband during her pregnancy, so a result she gave birth to a stillborn child. However she repented for her mistake and was able to regain favor of her husband. Maharshi Angiraa then gave life to that child and named him Brihaspati.

Birth of Bharadwaaj
Now Brihaspati had two wives Shubh and Taaraa. His first wife Shubh gave birth to 7 daughters and his second wife Taaraa gave birth to 7 sons and one daughter. But Brihaspati had two sons more from his brother Utathya's wife Mamataa - Kach and Bharadwaaj, how?

Brihaspati had illicit relations with Utathya's wife Mamataa when she was pregnant with Deerghtamaa. Although the child asked him not to put another child with him, but Brihaspati did not listen to him. Mamataa requested him not to put another child in her womb as her first existing child was already learned with Ved and Shaastra, but he wouldn't listen to her also and said - "Let this child be called Bharadwaaj." and cursed the existing child in the womb, "You have spoken to me at the time of pleasure that is sought by all the creatures, so you will be in perpetual darkness." That is why Deerghtamaa was born blind - because Brihaspati's curse. Brihaspati's child Bharadwaaj was born immediately

Later Mamataa told Brihaspati that since this child was not of her husband Utathya, he should bring him up, and both started arguing on this issue. When they could not decide they left the child. Since he was left like this he was named as Bharadwaaj. Maruts found him and brought him up. Thus one son of Mamataa (from Brihaspati) was called Bharadwaaj and the other child (from Utathya) was called Deerghtamaa. "Deergh" means "long" and "Tamaa" means "darkness", so Deerghtamaa means who will be living in darkness for long time. He was born blind.

Brihaspati, Chandramaa and Budh
As Brihaspati himself had illicit relations with his brother's wife, so he was also not spared. Taaraa was very beautiful, so Chandramaa was attracted to her. He kidnapped her and he wouldn't return her to Brihaspati even after several requests. Chandramaa was mad about her. Chandramaa requested her to be his partner but Taaraa told him that she was already with Brihaspati's child, but Chandramaa  didn't listen to her and impregnated her with his own child. Now Taaraa was after Brihaspati Jee that he should bring up the child, but Brihaspati Jee said - "He is not my child."

Now when the child was born, he was very beautiful. Both Brihaspati and Chandramaa started fighting over it that "This is mine, this is mine." Brahmaa Jee had to come to rescue. He asked Taaraa - "Whose child it is?" Taaraa got embarrassed with this question, so she kept quiet, then the child in womb spoke - "Why don't you tell the truth?"

Then somehow she told Brahmaa Jee - "It is Chandramaa's child." So Chandramaa took that shiny child. Brahmaa Jee named him Budh because his Buddhi (intelligence) was very sharp. Thus Budh is Chandramaa's son.

Later Brihaspati did severe penance for Shiv Jee so he appointed him the Guru of Devtaa and  gave the status of a planet among nine Planets. In Geetaa Krishn says that among the priests he is Brihaspati.

Interesting family, isn't it?