Gotra…


Gotra A term applied to a clan, a group of families, or a lineage – exogamous and patrilineal – whose members trace their descent to a common ancestor, usually a sage of ancient times.

A gotra is of immense importance to a Hindu for it shores up his identity. All Hindu ceremonies require a statement of the gotra. A devout Hindu speaks out his gotra and pravara every day in the morning. Gotra also comes of use during the performance of the rites of passage or sanskaras. People of the same gotra (sagotra) are not allowed to marry, to prevent inbreeding. At weddings, the gotra of the bride and the groom are proclaimed aloud to establish that they are not breaking this socially ordained genetic precaution. Marriages between certain gotras are also not allowed; for instance, marriages between those of the Vasishtha and Vishvamitra gotras are not permitted. This is because these two sages were opponents and their descendants are traditional foes.

In olden times, every gotra had a definite task to perform. Thus every Veda had priests of specific gotras for their narration and teaching. Certain sacrifices require priests of a specific gotra only.

There are 49 established Hindu gotras. All members of a particular gotra are believed to possess certain common characteristics by way of nature or profession. Many theories have been propounded to explain this system. According to the brahminical theory, the Brahmins are the direct descendants of seven or eight sages who are believed to be the mind-born sons of Brahma. They are Gautama, Bharadvaja, Vishvamitra, Jamadagni, Vasishtha, Kashyapa and Atri. To this list, Agastya is also sometimes added. These eight sages are called gotrakarins from whom all the 49 gotras (especially of the Brahmins) have evolved. For instance, from Atri sprang the Atreya and Gavisthiras gotras. According to this theory, the Kshatriyas and Vaishyas do not have a gotra and are to Gotraspeak out the gotras of their Purohita during the various ceremonies. However according to some Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, they are also descendants of these sages. Because of this, many a time a Brahmin, Kshatriya and a Vaishya claim the same gotra. The members of a gotra however need not necessarily be blood relations, but could be spiritual inheritors or descendants of a guru’s pupils.

Among the Kshatriyas, Rajputs claim to be the direct descendants of the Sun (Suryavanshi), the moon (Chandravanshi) or the fire (Agnikula). They are also divided into numerous clans, each bearing the name of some great ancestor. Similarly every caste and class of the Hindus is divided into many clans.

In olden times the members of the brahminical gotras had certain characteristic features distinguishing them from the others: the Bhargavas had their heads shaven, the Angirasas wore five braids and so on.

Gotra closely connected with the concept of gotra is that of pravara which is the invocation of Agni by the name of the ancestral sage of whichever Brahmin consecrates the sacrificial fire. As a rule, there are not more than four or five sages in one pravara. Two gotras having a common pravara are not allowed to marry. For instance those of the Kashyapa and Shandilya gotras cannot intermarry because they share the same sage, Asita, in their pravaras.

Abhivada, the formal proclamation of one’s ancestry, is only enjoined upon ‘twice-born’ (see also Upanayanam) males. It includes not just the gotra and pravara but, for a Brahmin, the Veda to which he ‘belongs’, the Sutra or Vedic interpretation favored by his gotra and finally his own name. It is said with the thumb behind the ears, in the traditional gesture of invoking ancestors. Today’s great classical musicians invoke their gurus similarly before beginning a concert.

Vasishtha, Maitra – Varuna, Kaundinya Trayarishiya gotre, Apastambha sutra, Yajushtagadhyayi, Sri Parashuraman Sharmana aham asmiboho. In the Rig-Veda (see Veda), the word gotra means a ‘cowpen’. In the Vedic period, marriage within the family was a common occurrence. The term gotra was used in its present sense for the first time in the Brahmanas. It was systematised by about the 4th century BC to accommodate changed social rules and laws and by the time of the Sutras, it was a well-established system. Even today almost all families abide by its rules.

Gujarati Kahavato….


50 GOOD THOUGHTS


1. It is not what you do for your juniors/subordinates/children that are important. It is what you teach them to do for them selves.
2. The world suffers a lot, not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people.
3. A successful man is he who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him! Learn to accept criticism proactively and with grace.
4. Your success is determined by what you are willing to sacrifice for it.
5. No one will manufacture a lock without a key. Similarly the God does not give problems without solutions. Only we should have patience and courage to find them.
6. Success is not the key to happiness. But happiness is the key to success.
7. Do not complain about others. Change yourself if you want peace. It is easier to protect our feet with shoes than to carpet the earth.
8. Do not only be close with someone who makes you happy. Be close with someone who can not be happy without you. It may make a lot difference to him at least.
9. Bill Gates never did LaxmiPooja but he is the richest man. Einstein never did SaraswatiPooja but he was the cleverest man. So just believe in hard work.
10. You can tell whether a man is intelligent by his answers. But you can tell a man is wise by his questions.
11. Slow down and enjoy life. It is not only the scenery you miss by going fast but you also miss the sense of where
you are going and why.
12. The only thing I like about stones that come in my way is: once I pass them, they automatically become my
milestones.
13. Luck is not in your hands. But work is in your hands. Your works can make your luck but luck can not make
your works. So always trust yourself.
14. Love is a gift. If you receive it, open and appreciate it. If not, don not worry. Someone somewhere is still
wrapping it for you.
15. Birds that live in a lake will fly away when the lake dries. But the lotus that grows in the same lake will die with
the lake. So recognize the birds in your life.
16. Coincidence decides to whom you meet in life. Your heart and your mind decide with whom you want to stay in life. But only destiny decides who gets to stay in your life.
17. Everything in life has a beautiful ending. And if it is not beautiful, then be sure, it is not the ending.
18. MORNING means one more inning given by the god to play.
19. A person who surrenders when he is wrong is honest.
A person, who surrenders when not sure, is wise.
A person, who surrenders even if he is right, is a HUSBAND! :-)
20. I can not say whether things will get better if we change, what I can say is that if we want to get better, we need to change.
21. Leave something for someone…never leave someone for something because in life something may leave you but someone will always live with you.
22. Too often we underestimate the power a touch, a smile, a kind word, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the power to build a life long relationship.

23. God has deposited Love, Joys, Prosperity, Peace and Laughter plus all kind of Blessings in your account. Use without limit. The PIN code is : PRAYER!
24. Three best things:
A little seed in good soil
A few cows in good grass
A few friends in tavern
25. One meets his destiny often on the road he tried to avoid it.
26. With lies you may go ahead in the world but you can never come back.
27. The road to a friend’s house is never too long.
28. When the heart is full, the eyes overflow.
29. There is none luckier than he who thinks himself so.
30. The truth may walk around naked, but the lie has to be clothed.
31. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
32. No one knows what he can do until he tries.
33. God gives every bird its food but does not always drop it into the nest.
34. Do not choose for any one what you do not choose for yourself.
35. It is better, in times of need, to have a friend than to have money.
36. As you do to others, they will do to you.
37. Little children – little joys
Bigger children – bigger sorrows
38. A good name keeps its brightness even in dark days.
39. An inch of gold will not buy an inch of time.
40. A light heart lives long.
41. Personality has the power to open the doors, but it takes character to keep them open.
42. The person who likes you more will trouble you more. But when you drop a tear, they will fight the world to stop that tear.
43. Those people whom you miss in your happiness are the ones whom you love. But those people whom you miss in your sadness are the ones who love you. Do not forget them.
44. Success is not a matter of being the best and winning the race, it is a matter of handling the worst and finishing the race. Be positive.
45. A man does not start turning old when his hair starts graying, but when his enthusiasm towards life and its joy start dropping. Just keep checking your age!!
46. A honey bee visits 2 million flowers to collect 500 mg of honey. So our workload is nothing as compared to them. Be cheerful and keep working.
47. It is not that some people have will power and some do not. It is that some people are ready to change and others are not. Believe in yourself and change for betterment.
48. Everybody says that mistake is the first step to success. But it is not true. Actually it is the correction of mistake.
49. Winners recognize their limitations but focus on their strengths.
Losers recognize their strengths but focus on their weaknesses.
50. We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.

Hinduism Facts


Facts about Hinduism: Hinduism is the oldest surviving religion of the world, where its origin took place before history was ever recorded. It is called as ‘Sanatana Dharma’ i.e. it is eternal religion and spontaneous by nature. It has no founder to give credit to its discovery nor does anyone know its date of origin. Here are some basic facts about Hinduism.

Basic facts about Hinduism

  • Hinduism is not a religion in the normal sense, but it is a set of traditions and beliefs evolved over a long period of time.
  • It is also called Sanathana Dharma or Eternal Religion
  • There exists no single scripture or single prophet to follow.
  • No central organization or authority to control the movements or progress.

Size rank

It is the third largest religion in the world.

Founder of Hinduism

None

The Original Language

Sanskrit

Main location

India.

Spiritual Leader

Gurus or sages

Major Sects of Hinduism

  • Shaivism
  • Vaishnavism
  • Shaktism

The Sacred Texts of Hinduism

  • Vedas
  • Upanishads
  • Bhagavat Gita

Purpose of life in Hinduism

The purpose of life is to obtain liberation from the cycle of reincarnation.

The Three Debts:

  • debt to God
  • debt to saints and sages
  • debt to ancestors

The Three Paths to be followed:

  • Karmamarga – path of work and action
  • Jnanamarga – path of knowledge
  • Bhaktimarga – path of devotion to God

The Four Stages in Life:

  • Brahmacharya – During education – grow and learn
  • Grhastha – Taking care of marriage, family and career
  • Vanaprastha – starts seeking spiritual things
  • Sanryasa – abandon world to seek spiritual things

The Four Purposes of life:

  • Dharma- Fulfilling social , moral, and religious duties
  • Artha – Attaining financial and worldly success
  • Kama – Satisfying desires God
  • Moksha– Attaining freedom from rebirth

Basic Tenets of Hinduism

  • Satya – Follow truth, do not lie
  • Ahimsa – Follow non violence
  • Brahmacharya – do not overindulge
  • Asteya – do not steal, do not possess
  • Aparigraha – Non-corrupt
  • Shaucha – Be clean
  • Santosha – Be content
  • Tapas – Be self-disciplined
  • Svadhyaya – Learning the scriptures
  • Ishvara Pranidhana – surrender to God

Basic Beliefs in Hinduism

  • It believes in one and all pervasive Supreme Being who is both transcendent and immanent.
  • The universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.
  • It believes in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
  • It believes that all life is sacred and pure to be loved and respected.
  • It believes that our soul reincarnates through many births until it attains moksha- liberation from the cycles of birth and rebirth.
  • It believes in ahimsa and dharma-doing one’s duties.

God in Hinduism

God in Hinduism is the Supreme Being-Maha Vishnu who is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. This Supreme Being is the universal energy which is everywhere and in everything. The different deities and Gods worshiped are different aspects and avatars of this Supreme Being. This Supreme Being is formless, shapeless and genderless.

History of Hinduism


The origin of the Hindu religion is under dispute to date and many theories about its origin are still being put forward. The common belief is that the Indus Valley civilization existed near the river Indus around 3200 B.C.-1600 B.C. They followed a religion that had a close resemblance to Hinduism. This religion later went through the influence of the Dravidians and the Aryans around 1500 BC. In the recent times repeatedly, the theory of Aryan invaders is being challenged.

With the introduction of the Vedas around 1000 BC, a loose framework of the religion was formed. The Vedas were considered as the most important holy books as they were believed to provide divine knowledge. The Vedas are also considered as the foundation of Hindu philosophy. Upanishads are a part of the Vedas, which lay emphasis on the metaphysical nature of the universe and soul. In the epics like, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Manu smriti the essence of the Hindu religion unfolds.

The term Hinduism

The origin of the term Hindu also has historical connotations. The Aryan race that settled near the river Sindhu. The Persians pronounced the word Sindhu as Hindu, and named the Aryan’s Hindus. Thus Hindu is only a mispelt form of Sindhu. The word Hindu was a geographic rather than a religious term but now it has turned out to be a loaded term as it is associated with a religion.

The origin of Hinduism

Hinduism was not found by any one person, or does not have only one core doctrine. There is also no definite time when it could be said to have begun. It does not require its adherents to accept any one idea, and thus is cultural; its Ideologies were developed into a history with the peoples with which it is associated. Hinduism is also known for an attitude, of accommodating other religious and cultural perspectives into their own. Thus it has a variety of ideas and practices resulting in what appears as a multiplicity of religions under one umbrella ‘Hinduism’.

Hinduism maybe the only religious tradition that is so diverse in its theoretical and practical expressions that it is like a compilation of religions. Hinduism lacks any definitive beliefs or ideas. It is a phenomenon and forms a broad spectrum of beliefs and practices, which are paganism, pantheism and so on. On the other hand it is very profound, abstract, and full of metaphysical speculations.

Religion and culture are interchangeable terms in Hinduism. Some expressions like ‘Bhakti’ (devotion) or ‘Dharma’ (what is right) and ‘Yoga’ (discipline) are used to depict essential aspects of the religion. Hinduism later in its belief included idol worship, casteism, reincarnation, ‘karma’, ‘dharma’ and ‘moksha’. Some moral ideals in Hinduism include non-violence, truthfulness, friendship, compassion, fortitude, self-control, purity and generosity.

Hindu Symbol OM


‘OM’-The symbol is comprised of three syllables put into one. In Sanskrit the vowel “o” is constitutionally a diphthong compound of a + u; hence OM is representatively written as AUM. The symbol of AUM is formed by three curves (curves 1, 2, and 3), one semicircle (curve 4), and a dot.

Symbolism behind the three Curves of OM:

Large Lower Curve:

The large lower curve forms the waking state (jagrat), in this state the consciousness of a human is turned towards the gate of sense. The larger size of the curve signifies state of human consciousness.

The Upper Curve:

The upper curve represents the state of deep slumber (sushupti) in other words, the unconscious state. This is a state where the human has no desire of anything nor does he have a dream.

The Middle Curve:

The middle curve implies the dream state (swapna). In this state the consciousness of a person is turned inwards, and the person who dreams holds an exciting view of the world.

The above-mentioned signs are the three states of a person’s consciousness, and thus these three curves represent the whole physical phenomenon.

Symbolism behind the Dot:

The dot in the Aum signifies the fourth state of consciousness, which in Sanskrit is known as ‘turiya.’ This state signifies the coming to rest of all relative existence. This quiet and peaceful state is the ultimate goal of all Hindus.

Symbolism behind the Semi Circle:

Finally, the semi circle in the OM symbolizes “Maya” (illusion). This illusion or maya prevents us from the achievement of bliss. This effect is used to prevent the seeker from reaching his ultimate goal, the realization of the One, and all-pervading, absolute principle.

Symbolism behind the Sound of OM:

As regards the sound and form, AUM is symbolic of Brahma and the whole universe.

  • A symbolizes Creation
  • U symbolizes Preservation
  • M symbolizes Destruction

The three sounds also symbolize the three Vedas (Rig-Veda, Sam Veda, and Yajur Veda).

This is in other words represents the Trinity in Hindu Dharma namely Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Other Symbolism behind OM:

  • The three letters in AUM also indicate three planes of existence, called heaven, earth and netherworld.
  • AUM can represent all the words produced by the human vocal organ. This can be said because; A is produced by the throat and U & M by the lips.
  • According to the Vedas, AUM is associated with the sound of the Sun and also the sound of Light.
  • It symbolizes the sound of the infinite.

But overall the nature of OM is threefold. It is a sacred sound. It forms the essence of all mantras. It is the ultimate reality (Brahma). It is also said to be the central essence of the Vedas.

While meditating, if we chant OM, we create within ourselves a vibration that connects us with the cosmic vibration and we start thinking universally. The silence between each chant becomes felt physically. The Mind moves from the opposites of sound and silence until the sound ceases. In this silence, there is no thought. This is the state of trance.

What Makes Up Hindu Religion?


Scriptures for Hindu religion:
Hinduism is not a religion in the normal sense, but it is a set of traditions and beliefs evolved over a long period of time. There are different sects of Hinduism, but they all admire the ancient scriptures called Vedas. Upanishads are more philosophically inclined Vedic texts. The ancient Indian scholars called Rishis’ search for the knowledge, that would make man kind to be free from the cycle of reincarnation can be seen in Upanishads.

Central themes for Hindu religion
The fundamental concept of Hinduism is the belief in the ultimate reality called Brahman (universal soul) and its identification with the Aatman (individual soul). All creatures go through a cycle of birth and re-birth. The status of the being in each birth is determined by the principle of Karma. This can be broken only by self realization, and the being is said to be attained Moksha (liberation).

Gods of Hindu religion
The ultimate God is supposed to be Brahman, the absolute reality, which is formless and infinite. For the sake of worshipping the infinite reality with the limited human minds, Gods had been personified and associated with different attributes. The most worshipped Hindu deities are Shiva, Vishnu and Shakthi (Devi).

Mythology for Hindus
The roots of the Hindu mythology lie in the Vedic civilization. But the major sources of Hindu mythology are epics like Mahabharata, Ramayana and Puranas.

Hindu Vegetarianism
A large section of Hindus are advocates of vegetarianism, even though it is not made compulsory in Hindu tradition. Cow is considered to be a holy animal.

Themes and symbols:
Tilaka and Bindi: Hindus traditionally wear a mark on their forehead and other parts of the body, in different forms. Hindu women wear a decorative dot on their forehead, which is called Bindi. Sometimes Hindus wear holy ash called Vibhuti also.

Aum is the sacred symbol which represents the absolute reality, Brahman. This can be seen in all mantras and prayers. It represents God in its three aspects- Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Another noble and auspicious symbol is Swastika, which stands for purity of the soul. The four directions, which had been shown in the symbol, represent four Vedas and their harmonious existence.

Hindu philosophy:

There exist six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy. They are:

  • Nyaya
  • Vaishseshika
  • Samkhya
  • Yoga
  • Purva Mimamsa
  • Uttara Mimamsa (Vedanta)

Non Vedic schools are called Nastika. The schools that enrich Hinduism today are Yoga, Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta.

Practices of Hindu Religion
Hindu religious practices generally include seeking an awareness of God as well as and looking for blessings from different Gods. Hinduism has developed several practices that can help one to relate himself with the divinity.

Hinduism is actually based on idol worship. Hindus worship the idols of their Gods and Goddesses at the temple or at their home. For Hindus, visiting temples are not indispensable. In fact many of them visit temples during religious festivals only.

Hinduism is associated with many symbols and icons and these symbols get their meanings from mythology, scriptures and cultural traditions. Every symbols and icons have a sacred implication.

There is one more thing that most of the pious Hindus utter during worshipping, that is Sanskrit “Mantra”. “Mantra” is actually an invocation to God including prayer, praise, devotion and dedication and through its sound and chanting style, it takes one’s mind to the holy and divine thoughts.

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