Monday, January 10, 2011

PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN

ARYABHATT (476 CE)

MASTER ASTRONOMER AND MATHEMATICIAN
Born in 476 CE in Kusumpur ( Bihar ), Aryabhatt's intellectual brilliance remapped the boundaries of mathematics and astronomy. In 499 CE, at the age of 23, he wrote a text on astronomy and an unparallel treatise on mathematics called 'Aryabhatiyam.' He formulated the process of calculating the motion of planets and the time of eclipses. Aryabhatt was the first to proclaim that the earth is round, it rotates on its axis, orbits the sun and is suspended in space - 1000 years before Copernicus published his heliocentric theory. He is also acknowledged for calculating p (Pi) to four decimal places: 3.1416 and the sine table in trigonometry. Centuries later, in 825 CE, the Arab mathematician, Mohammed Ibna Musa credited the value of Pi to the Indians, 'This value has been given by the Hindus.' And above all, his most spectacular contribution was the concept of zero without which modern computer technology would have been non-existent. Aryabhatt was a colossus in the field of mathematics.

BHASKARACHARYA II(1114-1183 CE) 

GENIUS IN ALGEBRA 
Born in the obscure village of Vijjadit (Jalgaon) in Maharastra, Bhaskaracharya's work in Algebra, Arithmetic and Geometry catapulted him to fame and immortality. His renowned mathematical works called 'Lilavati' and 'Bijaganita' are considered to be unparalled and a memorial to his profound intelligence. Its translation in several languages of the world bear testimony to its eminence. In his treatise ' Siddhant Shiromani ' he writes on planetary positions, eclipses, cosmography, mathematical techniques and astronomical equipment. In the ' Surya Siddhant ' he makes a note on the force of gravity: 'Objects fall on earth due to a force of attraction by the earth. Therefore, the earth, planets, constellations, moon, and sun are held in orbit due to this attraction.' Bhaskaracharya was the first to discover gravity, 500 years before Sir Isaac Newton . He was the champion among mathematicians of ancient and medieval India . His works fired the imagination of Persian and European scholars, who through research on his works earned fame and popularity.

ACHARYA KANAD (600 BCE) 

FOUNDER OF ATOMIC THEORY 
As the founder of ' Vaisheshik Darshan '- one of six principal philosophies of India - Acharya Kanad was a genius in philosophy. He is believed to have been born in Prabhas Kshetra near Dwarika in Gujarat . He was the pioneer expounder of realism, law of causation and the atomic theory. He has classified all the objects of creation into nine elements, namely: earth, water, light, wind, ether, time, space, mind and soul. He says, 'Every object of creation is made of atoms which in turn connect with each other to form molecules.' His statement ushered in the Atomic Theory for the first time ever in the world, nearly 2500 years before John Dalton . Kanad has also described the dimension and motion of atoms and their chemical reactions with each other. The eminent historian, T.N. Colebrook , has said, 'Compared to the scientists of Europe , Kanad and other Indian scientists were the global masters of this field.'

NAGARJUNA (100 CE) 

WIZARD OF CHEMICAL SCIENCE 
He was an extraordinary wizard of science born in the nondescript village of Baluka in Madhya Pradesh . His dedicated research for twelve years produced maiden discoveries and inventions in the faculties of chemistry and metallurgy. Textual masterpieces like ' Ras Ratnakar ,' 'Rashrudaya' and 'Rasendramangal' are his renowned contributions to the science of chemistry. Where the medieval alchemists of England failed, Nagarjuna had discovered the alchemy of transmuting base metals into gold. As the author of medical books like 'Arogyamanjari' and 'Yogasar,' he also made significant contributions to the field of curative medicine. Because of his profound scholarliness and versatile knowledge, he was appointed as Chancellor of the famous University of Nalanda . Nagarjuna's milestone discoveries impress and astonish the scientists of today.


ACHARYA CHARAK (600 BCE)

FATHER OF MEDICINE 
Acharya Charak has been crowned as the Father of Medicine. His renowned work, the ' Charak Samhita ', is considered as an encyclopedia of Ayurveda. His principles, diagoneses, and cures retain their potency and truth even after a couple of millennia. When the science of anatomy was confused with different theories in Europe , Acharya Charak revealed through his innate genius and enquiries the facts on human anatomy, embryology, pharmacology, blood circulation and diseases like diabetes, tuberculosis, heart disease, etc. In the ' Charak Samhita ' he has described the medicinal qualities and functions of 100,000 herbal plants. He has emphasized the influence of diet and activity on mind and body. He has proved the correlation of spirituality and physical health contributed greatly to diagnostic and curative sciences. He has also prescribed and ethical charter for medical practitioners two centuries prior to the Hippocratic oath. Through his genius and intuition, Acharya Charak made landmark contributions to Ayurvedal. He forever remains etched in the annals of history as one of the greatest and noblest of rishi-scientists.

ACHARYA SUSHRUT (600 BCE) 

FATHER OF PLASTIC SURGERY 
A genius who has been glowingly recognized in the annals of medical science. Born to sage Vishwamitra, Acharya Sudhrut details the first ever surgery procedures in ' Sushrut Samhita ,' a unique encyclopedia of surgery. He is venerated as the father of plastic surgery and the science of anesthesia. When surgery was in its infancy in Europe , Sushrut was performing Rhinoplasty (restoration of a damaged nose) and other challenging operations. In the ' Sushrut Samhita ,' he prescribes treatment for twelve types of fractures and six types of dislocations. His details on human embryology are simply amazing. Sushrut used 125 types of surgical instruments including scalpels, lancets, needles, Cathers and rectal speculums; mostly designed from the jaws of animals and birds. He has also described a number of stitching methods; the use of horse's hair as thread and fibers of bark. In the ' Sushrut Samhita ,' and fibers of bark. In the ' Sushrut Samhita ,' he details 300 types of operations. The ancient Indians were the pioneers in amputation, caesarian and cranial surgeries. Acharya Sushrut was a giant in the arena of medical science.

VARAHAMIHIR (499-587 CE)


EMINENT ASTROLOGER AND ASTRONOMER
renowned astrologer and astronomer who was honored with a special decoration and status as one of the nine gems in the court of King Vikramaditya in Avanti ( Ujjain ). Varahamihir's book 'panchsiddhant' holds a prominent place in the realm of astronomy. He notes that the moon and planets are lustrous not because of their own light but due to sunlight. In the ' Bruhad Samhita ' and ' Bruhad Jatak ,' he has revealed his discoveries in the domains of geography, constellation, science, botany and animal science. In his treatise on botanical science, Varamihir presents cures for various diseases afflicting plants and trees. The rishi-scientist survives through his unique contributions to the science of astrology and astronomy.

ACHARYA PATANJALI (200 BCE) 

FATHER OF YOGA 
The Science of Yoga is one of several unique contributions of India to the world. It seeks to discover and realize the ultimate Reality through yogic practices. Acharya Patanjali , the founder, hailed from the district of Gonda (Ganara) in Uttar Pradesh . He prescribed the control of prana (life breath) as the means to control the body, mind and soul. This subsequently rewards one with good health and inner happiness. Acharya Patanjali 's 84 yogic postures effectively enhance the efficiency of the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive and endocrine systems and many other organs of the body. Yoga has eight limbs where Acharya Patanjali shows the attainment of the ultimate bliss of God in samadhi through the disciplines of: yam, niyam, asan, pranayam, pratyahar, dhyan and dharna. The Science of Yoga has gained popularity because of its scientific approach and benefits. Yoga also holds the honored place as one of six philosophies in the Indian philosophical system. Acharya Patanjali will forever be remembered and revered as a pioneer in the science of self-discipline, happiness and self-realization.

ACHARYA BHARADWAJ (800 BCE) 

PIONEER OF AVIATION TECHNOLOGY 
Acharya Bharadwaj had a hermitage in the holy city of Prayag and was an ordent apostle of Ayurveda and mechanical sciences. He authored the ' Yantra Sarvasva ' which includes astonishing and outstanding discoveries in aviation science, space science and flying machines. He has described three categories of flying machines: 1.) One that flies on earth from one place to another. 2.) One that travels from one planet to another. 3.) And One that travels from one universe to another. His designs and descriptions have impressed and amazed aviation engineers of today. His brilliance in aviation technology is further reflected through techniques described by him:
1.) Profound Secret: The technique to make a flying machine invisible through the application of sunlight and wind force.
2.) Living Secret: The technique to make an invisible space machine visible through the application of electrical force.
3.) Secret of Eavesdropping: The technique to listen to a conversation in another plane.
4.) Visual Secrets: The technique to see what's happening inside another plane.
Through his innovative and brilliant discoveries, Acharya Bharadwaj has been recognized as the pioneer of aviation technology.

ACHARYA KAPIL (3000 BCE) 

FATHER OF COSMOLOGY 
Celebrated as the founder of Sankhya philosophy, Acharya Kapil is believed to have been born in 3000 BCE to the illustrious sage Kardam and Devhuti. He gifted the world with the Sankhya School of Thought. His pioneering work threw light on the nature and principles of the ultimate Soul (Purusha), primal matter (Prakruti) and creation. His concept of transformation of energy and profound commentaries on atma, non-atma and the subtle elements of the cosmos places him in an elite class of master achievers - incomparable to the discoveries of other cosmologists. On his assertion that Prakruti, with the inspiration of Purusha, is the mother of cosmic creation and all energies, he contributed a new chapter in the science of cosmology. Because of his extrasensory observations and revelations on the secrets of creation, he is recognized and saluted as the Father of Cosmology.



Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dattatreya Answers King Alark's Questions on Yoga (from Markandeya Purana)



After reaching youthhood, Prince Alark got married. By that time, his father King Ritudhwaj had also grown old. Hence before Grihastha, he crowned his son as the new king. At the time of crowning, queen Madalasa presented him a ring and said- 'O son! This ring contains a note which will teach you on how a king should administer the kingdom.' Saying this, Madalasa blessed Alark and left the palace with her husband Ritudhwaj to spend their lives in the forest.

DATTATREYA PREACHES TO ALARK
Alark says- 'O lord! With the arising of disenchantment in my heart, I have no miseries now. Only those people feel drowned in the ocean of miseries who are attached to worldly things. A man feels all kinds of sorrows due to his attachments towards the luxuries in which his mind indulges. Now neither sorrow nor joy can affect me.'

Dattatreya says- 'O king! Whatever you said is correct. Attachment is the cause of both sorrow and happiness. It is because of the knowledge I gave to you that the 'mist of attachment' has disappeared from your heart. A small sprout of ego ultimately develops into a huge tree of ignorance. Affection is the trunk of this tree. Home and family are the branches and wife and children are the leaves of this tree. Wealth and cereals are the flowers and happiness and sorrow are the fruits of this tree. Relation that emerges out of affection is the canopy of this tree. This tree grows day by day and obscures the path of liberation. This tree is full of desires and those who sit under the lee of this tree can never attain salvation. Hence felling of this tree is of foremost importance for a person desirous of attaining 'Brahmajitva.'

PERFECTION IN YOGA
Dattatreya says- 'During the process of conquering the soul, different kinds of allurements begins to divert the mind of the Yogis. It is imperative for the Yogi to keep his mind busy by observing fast, worshipping and contemplating God. It is the duty of the Yogi to always contemplate God, only then he can seek solace in Him. Thus, after controlling his senses, a Yogi ought to eat and sleep less, attain unification with the Supreme Being. O king! A Yogi unifies with Brahma once his physical and mental faults are removed. Then, he never separates from the Supreme Being.'

DESCRIPTION OF OMKAR
Dattatreya says- 'Those Yogis who abide by their resolution are never degraded from their supreme position. Such Yogis always recite Om while contemplating on the eternal God. 'A', 'U' and 'M', these three syllables constitute the body OM or AUM. These three syllables represent the virtues (gunas) of Sata, Tama and Raja respectively. Thus, by contemplating on God and reciting Om, a Yogi ultimately achieves unification with that eternal spirit. But there are still some disastrous traps that a Yogi should guard himself against, otherwise his entire penance might turn futile at the time of death. Hence every Yogi must be aware of these disastrous traps.'

ALARK MASTERS YOGA AND PENANCE OF JADA AND HIS FATHER
The words of Alark pleased the king of Kashi. Subahu got up gladly and after embracing Alark, said to the king of Kashi- 'O king, I had taken your refuge to win the kingdom. Now, I have got it without fighting a war and without a drop of blood being shed. But, I am leaving now, renouncing everything.'

The king of Kashi said- 'Subahu, why had you taken refuge in me? What have you received now?'

Subahu said- 'O king! My younger brother Alark had been so far indulging in luxuries despite having metaphysical knowledge. He was in fact experiencing miseries in his household. When the miseries cross all limits, only then renunciation arises in the mind, as is the case with Alark. That was why I had taken your refuge. My job is finished now. So I am leaving to attain perfection in Yoga. O king, I regard those people who ignore their near and dear ones in their miseries as heartless.

Such people are degraded from their position of Dharma, Arth, Kama and moksha and are criticised everywhere.'

The king of Kashi said- 'O Subahu, You have salved your brother Alark. Now kindly salve me also.'

Subahu said- 'Attainment of Dharma, Arth, Kama and Moksha are the four major objectives for the attainment of which humans have been created. You have already attained Dharma, artha and Kama. Only Moksha remains to be attained now. 'It is mine', 'It is me' etc. are expressions of ego. Guarding the self from these thoughts is the true knowledge. A man must know 'What is to be known? 'Who is to know?' and 'Who is he?' A knowledge of these automatically leads to the knowledge of all.' Saying these words, Subahu left the palace.

The king of Kashi too returned to his kingdom. Alark crowned his elder son as the new king and he began to practice Yoga in a forest. After many years of rigorous practice, Alark attained salvation and his abode in Brahma loka.

The Brahmin's son said- 'O father! Now you too must take refuge in Yoga in order to attain Brahma. I too will try to attain salvation.'

The birds say- 'O Brahmin! Thus the father and son began their penance and attained salvation.'

WISDOM OF ALARK
After his accession to the throne, King Alark ruled justly. In due course of time, he got many sons. He followed the dictates of Dharma, Arth and Kama while ruling his kingdom. Inspite of enjoying all the luxuries, Alark still could not experience bliss and felt as if he was missing something in his life. Very soon, Subahu came to learn about the royal luxuries of his brother Alark and got tempted to enjoy the same luxuries. To attain his objective, Subahu took the help of the king of Kashi. The king of Kashi sent an envoy to Alark with a message to give the kingdom to Subahu, which Alark refused. Instead, he sent a reply that the request must be made by Subahu himself. 'I will not give him my kingdom out of fear of war,' said Alark. But Subahu did not pay heed and with the help of the king of Kashi, launched a massive attack on his kingdom and conquered it. Now Alark's days of sorrow had begun.

He then remembered the ring presented by his mother Madalasa. He opened the ring and found a letter in it. The letter said- 'When you lose your everything, give up the company of your present advisors and join the company of learned sages.' This message made Alark pine for the company of the learned sages. Very soon, he went to the refuge of Dattatreya and requested him to remove his miseries. Dattatreya assured him of removing his miseries at once but before doing that, he wanted to know the reasons for his miseries. Alark said- 'I do not long for pleasures but my elder brother wants to grab my kingdom.'

YOGADHYAYA
Dattatreya says- 'O king! With the attainment of knowledge, people come to conjugate with the Supreme Almighty and which results into dispersion of their ignorance. To attain Moksha, it is necessary for a man to shun attachment first of all. Only after that, he will become free from sorrows. When he becomes free from sorrow, he unites with the Supreme Almighty. This phenomenon is known as Yoga. Unification with the Supreme Almighty enables a man to attain knowledge and finally Moksha (salvation). It is therefore essential for the all those seeking salvation that first of all they should renounce affection and attachment for the worldly objects including their near and dear ones.

Knowledge and renunciation are nothing but two sides of the same coin and one is necessary to give rise to the other. Home is nothing but the place for staying, food is nothing but the energy required for sustaining our body, and knowledge is nothing but an aid to attain salvation. Anything that caused obstacles in the way of salvation is ignorance. A living being is bound to receive the fruits of action no matter whether they are good or bad. Hence one should carry out his duties without bothering for the results. With the attenuation of the results of the action performed in the previous births, a living being becomes free from the cycles of life and death. With the attainment of Yoga, Yogis take refuge in none other than Brahma. But the path of attaining Yoga is indeed difficult, if not impossible. One has to conquer his soul first of all because the soul itself is regarded as invincible. Control of physical impurities with the help of Pranayam, sins by determination, lust by self-restrains and contemplation on God are the ways to conquer the soul.


DAILY ROUTINE OF A YOGI
Alark says- 'O lord, now kindly narrate about the daily routine, a Yogi should abide by in order to preserve his piousness.

Dattatreya says- 'O king! Respect and insult are the two reasons for love and hatred. Yogis attain perfection by understanding insult as respect and vice versa. A Yogi should therefore never attend social functions like Shraadh, marriage ceremonies or other festivities. He should not accept the hospitality of others and should shun unnecessary journeys. A Yogi should seek alms only after the householder and his family has dined. A Yogi should accept alms only from those households whose inmates are gentle, religious and free from blemishes and should accept things like whey, milk, fruits, edible roots, gram flour etc. Before going to dine, a Yogi should offer his food to the deities reciting he following mantras-

PRANANYAY SWAHA
AAPANAY SWAHA
SAMANAY SWAHA
UDANAY SWAHA
VYANAY SWAHA

After reciting these mantras one by one and offering food to the deities who are present in his body as different forms of air, the Yogi may now proceed to dine.

Control of senses and greed, celibacy, renunciation and non-violence are the five resolutions of a Yogi. Control of anger, service to the Guru, sanctity, eating less and studying Vedas regularly are the five norms for a Yogi. A Yogi must practice meditation at a desolate place, forest, cave or peak of a mountain. A true celibate has full control over his speech, mind and action. Iron and gold have equal worth in his eye; he loves no one and hates no one.'

DESCRIPTION OF DISASTROUS TRAPS
Dattatreya says- 'A person who is unable to see the path of the deities, or the heavenly bodies like Dhruv, Shukra (Venus), Soma (Moon), or his own shadow or Goddess Arundhati, must understand that his death is near. For those people to whom, the Sun appears without radiance but fire appears as the Sun, die within eleven months. Sighting of gold and silver in urine or stools signifies death within ten months. Those who see ghosts, Gandharvas and gold tree in the dreams live for nine months only. Those who become fat or thin suddenly live for eight months more. Those Yogis whose heels appear cracked while walking on sand or mud die within seven months. Getting perched on the body by volatile birds like vulture, pigeon, owl, crow etc. indicates that the concerned person will live for only six months. Those who see their shadow in opposite direction live for four or five months more only. Those who sight lightning without clouds or rainbow during the night time in their dreams live for two or three months more. Those who cannot see their reflection in ghee, oil, water and mirror die within a month. A person whose body smells like a cadaver dies within fifteen days. Those whose hands and feet remain dry even after taking bath and dry even after taking light refreshments live only for ten days. Those who sight hair, cinders, ash, snakes and dried rivers in their dreams, die on the eleventh day. Those who feel hungry even after eating their fill also die soon.

O king! There are many more disastrous symptoms that indicate death. A Yogi must always be alert regarding these signs. Whenever a Yogi perceives the appearance of all or some of these disastrous symptoms, he must at once take to Yoga to minimise the effects.

Brahmagyan- A Yogi experiences extreme joy when he meditates while doing Yoga. Only then can he experience Brahma. Physical body is ephemeral; hence a true Yogi does not mourn over the loss of physical body. Hence, a Yogi must train his mind in Yoga ignoring sorrow or affection. This is indeed a difficult task to achieve.'

Alark says- O Brahmin! By your blessings, my ignorance has ended. Now I will do everything so that ignorance does not grip me once again.'

Then taking Dattatreya's permission, Alark went back to the king of Kashi and said- 'O king! You have a desire for the kingdom, so take this kingdom and enjoy its luxuries yourself or give it to Subahu.' The king of Kashi asked Alark as to why he was renouncing the kingdom without fighting a war. He also tried to instigate Alark by saying that his conduct did not suit the Kshatriyas. Alark said- 'Only Brahma is truth, all the other things are false. Now controlling my senses, I will attain perfection in Yoga.

The Vedic Shakhas



The Vedic literature that has come down to our times is attached to various traditional schools of recitation and ritual called the ‘shakhas’. All the four Vedas have more than one shakha extant. In the past, the number of shakhas studied was many times more.

According to the Mahabhasya of Patanjali, there were 21 shakhas of Rigveda, 9 of Atharvaveda, 101 of Yajurveda (86 of Krishna Yajurveda and 15 of Shukla Yajurveda, according to later authorities) and a 1000 varieties of chanting of Samaveda. Maybe, the number 1000 for the Samaveda merely refers to ‘numerous’. Nevertheless, although only 20 or so Shakhas of the Vedas are extant now, we do possess names of most of the lost Shakhas of the Rigveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda. Fragments of many of the lost shakhas are also available as quotations in ancient works. For the Samaveda, we do not have more than 40 names extant.

Two different Vedic shakhas might share one or more texts amongst themselves. Conversely, the distinction between two shakhas of the same Veda might result from the use of a different Samhita text, and/or a different Brahmana text, and/or different Kalpasutra text and so on. For e.g., the Baudhayana and the Apastamba shakhas use the same Taittiriya Brahmana, Taittiriya Samhita and Taittiriya Aranyaka but follow different Kalpasutras. On the other hand, the Shankhayana and the Kaushitaka shakhas use the same Samhita and Shrauta Sutra but their brahmanas have slightly different readings and their Grhyasutras are quite different.

A group or a community of people who study a particular shakha in its entirety (Samhita + Brahmana + Aranyaka + Kalpasutra + any additional texts) and perform its ritual constitute a ‘charana’. For instance, Brahmins who study the Taittiriya Samhita/Brahmana/Aranyaka together with the Kalpasutra of Apastamba say - “I follow the Apastamba charana’.

In certain cases, we have instances of ‘mixed shakhas’. For instance, the followers of Shakala shakha have adopted the Kalpasutra of Ashvalayana. The Ashvalayana shakha, which had the now well-known Ashvalayana Sutra, has in turn lost oral traditions of its Samhita. Likewise, the Kaushitakins of Kerala often use the Samhita of Shakalas.

The various shakhas of the Vedas were, at one time, spread throughout South Asia. Their geographical location has not been constant down the ages, as communities of Brahmins professing a particular shakha migrated from one part of India to the other, or adopted another shakha when it became impossible for them to sustain the tradition of their own shakhas.

It is quite certain however, that the tradition of recitation of the Vedic texts originated in north India, and this region was the area where almost all the shakhas originally arose. From various sources, we can determine the following geographical distribution of Vedic Shakhas at various intervals of times, and their present state of survival:

Shakala RV:Thrives in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, and Tamil Nadu and to some extent in Uttar Pradesh. Might have existed in Punjab. Nambudiris of Kerala recite even the Brahmana and Aranyaka with accents. Accented manuscripts of Brahmana and Aranyaka are available to this day.

Shankhayana Rigveda: Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Oral tradition extinct, only manuscripts of Samhita are extant. Ritual lives in a very fragmentary condition

Bashkala RV: Claims have been made about its existence in Kerala, Rajasthan, Bengal and Assam as a living tradition, but have never been verified. The Samhita exists in manuscript. Nambudiris of Kerala are said to follow this Shakha of RV as far as the Samhita is concerned but studies of their oral tradition do not seem to bear this out.

Ashvalayana RV: Manuscripts of the Samhita have been found in Kashmir, Maharashtra (Ahmadnagar) and Patna (Bihar). In parts of central and eastern India, Shakala RV texts are often attributed to Ashvalayana. For instance, the Aitareya Brahman is often called Ashvalayana Brahmana in West Bengal. Oral traditions extinct although the followers of Shakala Shakha in Maharashtra often term themselves as Ashvalayanas because they follow the Kalpasutra (Shrautasutra + Grhyasutra) of Ashvalayana.

Paingi RV: Existed in Tamil Nadu, in and around Andavan. Oral traditions lost but Brahmana texts rumored to exist.

Mandukeya RV: Magadha and eastern and central Uttar Pradesh. Possibly lower Himalayas in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. No text or oral tradition extant although the Brhaddevata and Rigvidhana might belong to it.

Shaunakiya AV: Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Avadh region in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh. Only Gujarat has maintained the oral traditions, and the shakha has been resuscitated in recent times in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and in Andhra Pradesh.

Staudayana AV: According to Majjhima Nikaya, followers of this shakha lived in Koshala (central and eastern Uttar Pradesh). The shakha is completely lost.

Paippalada AV: Followers are currently found in parts of Orissa and adjacent areas of Bihar and West Bengal and recite the Samhita in ekasruti (monotone syllable). Epigraphic and literary evidence shows that they once thrived in Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, and parts of Gujarat, East Bengal and in Tamil Nadu as well.

Devadarshi AV: According to literary evidence, followers of this Shakha once lived in coastal Andhra Pradesh. Other AV shakhas said to have been prevalent in that region were Shaulkayani and Munjakeshi. The shakha is completely lost.

Charanavaidya and Jajala AV: Perhaps existed in Gujarat, Central India and adjacent parts of Rajasthan. According to the Vayu and Brahmanda Puranas, the Samhita of the Charanavaidya shakha had 6026 mantras.

Mauda AV: According to some scholars, they existed in Kashmir

Madhyandina YV: Currently found all over North India- Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and even Maharashtra (up to Nashik), West Bengal, Assam, Nepal. Along with Taittiriya Yajurveda, it is the most prevalent Vedic shakha. Followers of this school were found in Sindh (Pakistan) in the 19th century but became extinct after Hindus were ethnically cleansed by the Muslim majority after 1947.

Kanva YV: Currently found in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. In Orissa, the followers of this shakha follow a slightly different text. Epigraphic evidence shows that they were once present all over India, as far as Himachal Pradesh and possibly in Nepal.

Charaka YV: Interior Maharashtra, adjacent parts of Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh. Followers of this shakha now follow the Maitrayani YV shakha, having lost their own texts.

Maitrayani YV: In Morvi (Gujarat), parts of Maharashtra (Naskik/Bhadgaon, Nandurbar, Dhule). Earlier, they were spread all the way east up to Allahabad and extended into Rajasthan and possibly into Sindh.

Kathaka YV: The oral traditions became extinct possibly a few decades ago. They were found in central and eastern Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, possibly west Punjab and NWFP. In later times, they got restricted to Kashmir, where all their extant manuscripts have been unearthed. Recently, the entire Hindu minority was cleansed from the Kashmir valley by Islamists, and so the shakha might be deemed extinct completely now.

Charayaniya Katha YV: Existed in Kashmir.

Kapisthala Katha YV: Found in West Punjab around the time of the invasion of Alexander. Also in parts of Gujarat. Only a fragmentary Samhita and Grhyasutra text exist, and followers of this shakha are said to exist at the mouths of Narmada and Tapi rivers in Gujarat.

Jabala YV: Central India, around the Narmada region. In Maharashtra, there still exist Shukla-Yajurvedin Brahmins who call themselves ‘Jabala Brahmins’, but there is no knowledge of the existence of any texts of this shakha.

Taittiriya YV: Buddhist texts and some versions of Ramayana attest their presence in the Gangetic plains but currently they are found all over Southern India. The Taittiriyas are themselves divided into numerous sub-schools. Among these, the followers of Baudhayana and Apastamba were found all over South India (including Maharashtra), while the Hiranyakeshins were found mainly in Konkan and Western Maharashtra. The Vaikhanasas have a more eastern presence- around Tirupati and Chennai. The Vadhulas are present currently in Kerala and earlier in adjacent parts of Tamil Nadu. The Agniveshyas, a subdivision of the Vadhula immigrants from Malabar, are found around Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. The Apastamba, Hiranyakeshin, Vaikhanasa and Baudhayana schools have survived with all their texts intact. The Vadhulas survive, with most of their texts while the Bharadvajas and Agniveshyas are practically extinct as a living tradition although their fragmentary/dilapidated texts survive.

Kauthuma SV: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu (tradition revived with the help of Brahmins from Poona), Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar (tradition revived a century ago), West Bengal (tradition has been revived recently). There are numerous varieties of Kauthuma chanting. This shakha is the most vibrant tradition of Samaveda.

Ranayaniya SV: Orissa (manuscripts available, status of oral tradition not known), Maharashtra, Karnataka (the Havyak community for instance), Uttar Pradesh (till recently in Bahraich and Mathura), Rajasthan (till recently in Jaipur). The existence of this shakha was endangered till recently, but it has been strengthened with the help of institutions like the Kanchi Kamakoti Matha.

Jaiminiya/Talavakara SV: Two distinct sub streams- the Namudiri recitations in Central Kerala, and the recitations of Tamil Nadu Brahmins in districts adjacent to Kerala and in and around Srirangam. The survival of these schools is endangered.

Shatyayaniya SV: Said to have been prevalent in Tamil Nadu and parts of North India. The shakha is no longer extant.

Gautama SV: Said to have been prevalent in Tamil Nadu and in Andhra Pradesh till the 17th cent. C.E. Many followers of the Kauthuma school in Andhra Pradesh still call themselves ‘Gautamas’.

Bhallavi SV: Said to have been prevalent in Karnataka and parts of North India

Other Shakhas of YV: A text called ‘Yajurvedavriksha’ gives the geographical distribution of more than 100 Shakhas of Yajurveda. This description is being left out for brevity.











Nrsimhadev as Gandabherunda and Shiva Sarabha


As mentioned in previous segments, a group of Nrsimha bhaktas in South India have long been engaged in the worship of Gandabherunda, whom they believe to be a rare incarnation of Lord Nrsimhadev, in the Form of a two-headed bird. This bird form appears to have a clear connection to Lord Nrsimha's pastime with Shiva Sarabha, as indicated by the Lord's name, "Sarabha", described in Sri Nrsimha-sahasra-nama as He " who is ferocious like a Sarabha monster".


Gandabherunda, Ceiling Painting from Thanjavur Brihadiswara Temple

Gandabherunda Narasimha is a combination of bird and animal with two heads, and is said to have manifested from Lord Narasimha in his post-destruction pastime of killing Hiranyakasipu, when He would not control his anger.

As with Shiva Sarabha, Gandabherunda is not mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, although it is mentioned in some Puranas and in certain regional scriptures in South India. For example, HH Chinna Jeeyar has observed that Gandabherunda Nrsimha Avatharam is mentioned in a minor text known as Nru Kanteerava abhyudhayam. Such references state that when Shiva manifested in his ferocious bird-form Sarabha to help contain the Lord's anger, that Sri Nrsimha manifested his own, even more terrible bird-animal form, with two heads.

Some have concluded that the bird mentioned in Rg-Veda as the 'golden winged bird, Suparna, is actually this self-same Gandabherunda.

One of the most well-known images of Gandabherunda is found in the Mysore Court, where the royal logo of the Wodeyars, former rulers of Mysore, incorporates the form. Another striking image of Gandabherunda (shown above) is painted as a decorative motif on the ceiling of the Nandi mandapam of Thanjavur Brihadiswara temple.

Murtis, paintings and sculptures of Gandabherunda are very rare, and those that are known to exist are primarily found in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. A Deity of Gandabherunda is worshipped at Sri Yadagiri Yadagiri Gutta (Pancha Narasimha Kshetram) near Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, and there is a murti of Gandabherunda at Balligavi town in Karnataka.

There are many other Sarabeshwara temples in South India. Between the towns of Kumbakonam and Mayiladuturai, at a place called Thirubhuvanam, Lord Sarabeswara is being worshipped as Kampakeswara. This site is said to be a place where Brahma worshipped Sarabha. There are also other places of Sri Sarabeswara worship at Gangai Konda Cholapuram, Dharapuram, Karaikkudi, Thiruvannamalai, and Chidambaram. In the vicinity of Chennai, Sri Sarabeswara is worshipped at Denupureswarar Temple (at Madambakkam near Tambaram), at Trisoolam Temple (near Meenambakkam), and also at Kurungaleeswarar Temple at Koyambedu.

Sri Sarabha Pratyangiri

Sarabha Iconography
The Sarabha Pratyangiri form pictured above is described as being the half-bird (Sarabha) and half-yalli (the lion creature) who enveloped Narasimha with his wings, calming him down. Because Sarabha removes trembling due to fear, one Sarabha deity in lingam form is known as Kambahareshwarar (kampa, trembling; hara, to remove). This is one of the few temples where the Moolavar (main deity), though a lingam, is a form of Sarabheshwarar.

At the Thanjvur Sarabheshwarar temple, the Utsava Moorthy draws a large crowd of worshippers. This distinctive murti of Sarabheshwarar is panchaloha, having the face of a lion, nose of an eagle, body of a human, two huge wings representing Soolini Durga and Pratyankara Devi, eight legs, four arms carrying fire, rope, axe and deer respectively, fingers with sharp nails, and holding Sri Narasimha firmly with his front legs. Narasimha is depicted fighting to free Himself from this grip using His legs, with two of His hands folded in prayer.

Many such fierce forms of Shiva Sarabha are found throughout South India, guarding the entrance to temples.


Bronze Sarabha Murti

The primary iconography of Sarabha is as follows: eight legs, four of them like a lion's, resting on the ground, and four long, clawed legs turned upward; a body that is half-man, half-lion, and two wings, which are associated with Durga and Kali. In one unpublished painting, Kramrisch notes that the figures of the goddesses are inscribed in Shiva Sarabha's golden wings; nagas move on and around his body, tail and wings, and the beaked head of Sarabha is hooded by a naga protector.

S.K. Tiwari refers to an image of a murti wherein Lord Nrsimhadev is positioned underneath Shiva Sarabha. A similar bronze image is preserved in a Shiva temple at Tribhuvanam in Tanjore district. In this murti, Sarabha is depicted with three legs, the body and face of a lion, a tail and four human arms, the upper right hand holding a parasu, the lower right one a pasa, the upper left hand a mriga, and the lower left one holding agni. With his front legs, Sarabha has pinned Lord Nrsimhadev, who is struggling against His adversary with eight arms.

According to the Kamikagama (Sthapatya Veda) , the body of Sarabha should be that of a bird of golden hue, having two uplifted wings, two red eyes, four lion-like legs resting on the ground and four others with sharp claws lifted upward, and a tail, and a man-like head with the face of a lion, wearing kirita-mukuta over his head. There should also be side tusks, and with a terrific appearance on the whole, Sarabha is to be shown carrying Nrsimha with two of His legs. The figures of Narasimhadev should be in ordinary human form, with the hands held in anjali pose.

Sri-tattvanidhi, a 19th century treatise of Karnataka, requires the figures of Sarabha to have thirty-two arms holding different attributes and weapons, embracing Durga with one hand. Umarkarandgama as well as Sarbhopanishad give somewhat different accounts of the Deity of Sri Sarabha.

Lord Narasimha and Shiva Sarabha






This beautiful painting of Lord Nrsimhadev being pacified by Sarabha-Shiva depicts Lord Shiva in his winged form as Sarabha. Images of the Devi's are iconographically depicted on his body. Lord Nrsimha sits nearby, the destroyed demon Hiranyakasipu on His lap, with Prahlad and Laksmi nearby.

The Puranas describe Lord Nrsimhadev's pastime of killing the demon, saying that the Lord consumed every drop of Hiranyakasipu's blood, then wore the demon's mangled body as a garland to make sure that none of the demon's physical remains made contact with the universe.

After the destruction, Prahlad, Laksmi and various demigods attempted to soothe the Lord's anger, but without success. Coming at the request of the rishis and demigods, Lord Shiva, along with Sri Soolini and Prathyankira Devis and Their respective entourages, manifested His supremely aggressive Sarabesvara form. He embraced Sri Nrsimha, cooled Him down and made Him accessible to all beings. This Sri Sarabesvara is Lord Shiva's universal omkara form.

As mentioned in yesterday's opening segment of this series, Lord Nrsimhadev's post-destruction and Disappearance pastimes were not discussed in any detail by our Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya Acaryas. While numerous temple deities, painted images and sastric references are found to Lord Shiva's Sarabha form, the major Puranas like Srimad Bhagavatam do not mention the Sarabha forms of Lord Nrsimha and Lord Shiva. Likewise, no mention appears to have been made in the Upa Puranas like the Narasimha Purana, or other Upanishads associated with Sri Nrisimhadev. Rather, they stop at the point in the lila pastime with the destruction of Hiranyakasipu and the pacification of the Lord's anger by Bhakta Prahlad and the demigods and goddesses.

Although the post-destruction pastimes are not mentioned in the primary sastra, there are many references found to Shiva Sarabha and to Lord Nrsimhadev's own Sarabha Form. Included amongst them are references to Sri Nrsimha's Form as Ganda Bherunada, a rare two-headed bird incarnation worshipped in South India, as well as to versions of a pastime wherein Shiva Sharabha actually fought with and killed Lord Nrsimhadev. Some have concluded that this incarnation of Shiva was simply created by a group of South Indian Shaivites as a means to position Shiva as being greater than Vishnu, and that question seems left to the discussions of academics and pandits.

In the Atharva Veda, the tenth of thirty-one Upanishads is the Sarabha Upanishad, which glorifies Lord Shiva in his fierce Sarabha manifestation. Verse 3 of this Upanishad states that Maheswara took the form of Sarabha and killed Narasimha. What follows is a translation by P.R. Ramachander:

Sarabha Upanishad
Om ! O Devas, may we hear with our ears what is auspicious;May we see with our eyes what is auspicious, O ye worthy of worship !
May we enjoy the term of life allotted by the Devas,
Praising them with our body and limbs steady !
May the glorious Indra bless us !
May the all-knowing Sun bless us !
May Garuda, the thunderbolt for evil, bless us !
May Brihaspati grant us well-being !
Om ! Let there be Peace in me !
Let there be Peace in my environment !
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !

I am saluting that primeval God who is the Lord, who is the best, who is the father of the world, who is the greatest among gods, who has created Brahma, who gave all Vedas to Brahma in the beginning, who is the father of Vishnu and other devas, who merits praise, and who at the time of deluge destroys the world. He is the only one who is greater than every body, who is the best and who rules over others. 1-2

That very strong Maheswara took the horrifying form of Sarabha and killed Narasimha who was destroying the world. (Sarabha is the avatar of Shiva which is a combination of eagle, lion and man.) 3

That god with his sharp claws tore, Vishnu who took the form of Narasimha. He who was wearing the hide became Veerabhadra. 4

For every one desiring to get all occult powers, he is the one who should be meditated. Salutations to that Rudra who tore away the fifth head of Brahma. 5

Salutations to that Rudra who kicked Kala the God of death and made him fall and also him who drank the burning Halahala poison. 6

Salutations to that Rudra whose feet were worshipped by the flower of Vishnu’s eyes and who being pleased gave him the holy wheel (Chakra). 7

The one, who has crossed sorrows, sees that God, who is atom within an atom, gross among the gross, who as Atma hidden in the heart of beings and who is beyond physical action, clearly because of these reasons. 8

Salutations to that Rudra who is the greatest god, who holds the Soola (spear) in his hand, who has a big swallowing mouth, who is the Maheswara and whose blessing has good effects. 9

“Chara”, indicates beings which move and because Brahmam shines in the half of their body as Hari, it is called Sarabham. Hey great sage, that can grant salvation directly. 10

Any twice born who reads this, which is called “the great Sastra of Paippalada” or makes others read it, would get rid of births and deaths and attain salvation. The Upanishad tells that he will become similar to Brahma.

Om ! O Devas, may we hear with our ears what is auspicious;
May we see with our eyes what is auspicious, O ye worthy of worship !
May we enjoy the term of life allotted by the Devas,
Praising them with our body and limbs steady !
May the glorious Indra bless us !
May the all-knowing Sun bless us !
May Garuda, the thunderbolt for evil, bless us !
May Brihaspati grant us well-being !
Om ! Let there be Peace in me !
Let there be Peace in my environment !
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !

Here ends the Sarabhopanishad, as contained in the Atharva-Veda.


Other References to Sarabha
In the Sri Nrsimha-sahasra-nama, the thousand Names of Lord Nrsimhadeva (which was translated by Sriman Kusakratha dasa), the name "Sarabha" is included as one of the names of Lord Nrsimhadeva which was recited by Lord Brahma to calm the Lord's anger after He had killed Hiranyakasipu.

Text 157

"Obeisances to Lord Nrsimha, who gives religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation (dharmartha-kama-moksha), who is always aloof from matter (virakta), who is the most pure (bhava-Suddha), who is perfect (siddha), who is the goal of spiritual life (sadhya), who is ferocious like a Sarabha monster (Sarabha)…"

The Shiva Purana describes Sarabha, also known as Sarabheswara, as follows:

"He had a thousand hands and wore matted locks. His head was adorned by the crested moon. He appeared like a bird with wings and beak. His body was fierce and fully developed.

His fangs were very sharp. Adamantine claws were His weapons. His neck was black in colour. He had huge arms and four legs. He was blazing like fire.

His voice was resonant and terrible like the rumbling sound of the clouds that gather at the end of the yuga. His three eyes were wide and blazing as the fire of the evil spirit of great fury.

His fangs and lips were clearly visible. He was producing a hissing sound of humkara. Shiva of such a form appeared in sight.

In addition to the description of Sri Sarabeswara's advent in Atharva Veda mention is also found in the Linga Purana, Skanda Purana and Brahmanda Purana. Special mention is made in Rigveda and Thaitriya as well, at the Uttara bhaga of Sri Lalitha Sahasra-nama.


Paayaanno Deva Sarabasthva Payaath
Sathaarirogath Vipinorakaapyam
Vaiswanaro Kugari Ritchakebya
Prethebyo Bhoothebyo Rusha Krudanthan

(Atharva Veda)

The Vedic mantras affirm that all ones sins are wiped away by chanting the powerful mantra of Sri Sarabha. Srila Vedavyasa in the 96th chapter of his Linga Purana categorically states that those who worship Sri Sarabeswara will be rid of all afflictions caused by bad dreams, chronic ailments, poisonous bites, disasters caused by earthquake, floods, cyclone, thunder, lightning, etc.
Sarva Vigna Prasamanam, Sarva Vyadi Vinasanam
Arichakra Prasamanam, Sarva Dukka Vinasanam,
Atraanyothpada Bookamba thaavagni Paamasu Vrishtisu
Thatho duswapna Samanam, Sarvabhootha Nivaranam,
Vishagraha Kshayakaram Puthra powthraadhi Vardhanam
Thathraksha Daaranam Kuryaath Jangamaangey Varaananey

Linga Purana, Chapter 96

One rendition (source unknown) of Lord Nrsimhadev's post-destruction pastime with Sarabha is described as follows:

"Unfortunately His anger and fierceness did not subside, even after annihilation of the demon and the three worlds trembled in fear. All the Devas headed by Lord Brahma appealed to Lord Shiva to appease the anger of Lord Narasimha. The compassionate Lord Shiva sent His lieutenant Agora Veerabhadra to do the job, but it went in vain. The rajoguna caused by tasting the blood of the demon did not let Lord Narasimha calm down. Veerabhadra, unable to subdue Sri Narasimha, prayed to Lord Shiva to intervene.

There appeared the most terrible form of a combination of man, bird and animal. It was a queer combination of man with Saraba (Bird) and Yaali (animal), celebratedly known and worshipped by the name Sri Sarabeswara, being the Thirtieth avatar of Lord Shiva amongst His Sixty four incarnations.

Sri Sarabeswara, sporting two huge wings, (representing Soolini Durga and Prathyankira Devi), eight legs, the nose of an eagle, four arms carrying fire, serpent, a deer and the ankus, with fingers having sharp nails looking very fierce and turbulent, came flying and comforted Sri Narasimha with his two wings to calm down. But the fiery energy stored in the latter came out in the form of a bird called 'Kandaberunda' and started to fight with Sri Sarabha, and this divine encounter continued for eighteen days.

Lord Sarabeswara decided to conclude this 'sport'. By His will, Goddess Prathyankira Devi came out of one of his wings, took a huge physical form, gulped the Kandaberunda bird and brought its end. Sri Narasimha realising his erroneous action, praised Lord Sarabeswara with beautiful epithets, which later became the Ashtothra (108 Names) of the victorious Lord.

Lord Shiva then revealed to all the Devas that: "To annihilate the Asura, Lord Narasimha came, and to appease Lord Narasimha, I have come as Sarabeswara. Be aware that we are both one and the same like water and water, milk and milk, ghee and ghee, both inseparable and to be worshipped as one".

Yatha Jaley Jalam, Kshiptham, Ksheeram, Ksheeray Kruthang Kruthey Yekayeva Thatha Vishnu: Shiva Leetho Nachanyatha

Lord Brahma, out of gratitude for saving the universe from the anger of Sri Narasimha, worshipped Lord Sarabeswara with Sri Sarabeswara Ashtothra. At the very appearance of Lord Sarabeswara glittering like thousand Suns, the rage of Narasimha subsided and the entire universe heaved with relief. Let Sri Sarabeswara protect us for ever, from any disaster.

INTRODUCTION

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Researcher of Yog-Tantra with the help of Mercury. Working since 1988 in this field.Have own library n a good collection of mysterious things. you can send me e-mail at alon291@yahoo.com Занимаюсь изучением Тантра,йоги с помощью Меркурий. В этой области работаю с 1988 года. За это время собрал внушительную библиотеку и коллекцию магических вещей. Всегда рад общению: alon291@yahoo.com