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One Mantra 3 Purposes

Vyasa collected a subset of Mantras at the end of the last Yuga or Era. Certainly a larger set of Mantras was in vogue earlier. Vyasa created four compilations from the subset. These compilations are today known as the four Vedas, namely, the Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. Several mantras are common between the Rig, Yajur and Sama Veda compilations. Almost every Sama Veda mantra is also in the Rig Veda compilation. However, not all mantras of the Rig Veda are in the Yajur Veda compilation. Because of this, Yajur Veda contains mantras which are not in the Rig Veda. What is the reason for the overlap of Mantras? Overlap of Mantras in the Rig, Yajur, Sama Vedas The tradition of Yagnas has continued through the ages. Secondly, the first step in the Yagna involves inviting appropriate Devas to the Yagna. Thirdly, Rig mantras alone can invoke the energies of Devas. Offerings to Devas is the second step in a

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Who is the Devi of Capitalism?

Wealth is an essential commodity in any society! Everyone seeks it for comfort and security. In brief, the capitalists have been right. However, there is a ugly face to capitalism. In other words, there is an ugly face to wealth itself. The Vedic texts remind us of a succinct distinction between two means to wealth. Lakshmi represents wealth and its pursuit in a responsible. On the other hand, Jyeshta, the elder sister of Lakshmi is the Devi of wealth from gambling and speculation. Is Capitalism controlled by Jyeshta today? The Rishis conveyed an important distinction through the story of Jyeshta Devi. The story of the churning of the milky ocean has several mini teachings. One among them is the emergence of Jyeshta Devi. The Devas and their rivals, the Asuras, churned the legendary milky ocean for Amrita, the nectar of immortality. Initially, their efforts remained futile. Later, the ocean began to yield gifts; some nice and some terrible. One of the most terrifying gifts was the Poison capable of

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Shankaracharya and Agasthiyar

Shankaracharya, a renowned spiritual master and Agasthiyar, the foremost Tamil Siddhar lived 2-3 millennia apart. Something is common between these two. One incident in each of their lives throws light on this. This are related to the Kaya Parvesh (transmigration) skills of Shankaracharya and Agasthiyar. Firstly, let us look at the incident in Shankaracharya’s life. Secondly, we can look at Agasthiyar’s life. The incident in Shankaracharya’s life centers around one of his prominent followers, namely, Mandan Mishra. Mandan Mishra was the foremost expert in Yagna techniques. Besides he adhered to the ritualistic tradition of ancient India. However, Shankaracharya was attempting to bring Vedantic tradition to the forefront. Consequently, the latter had to debate Mandan Mishra and establish the superiority of the Vedantic tradition. Shankaracharya finds his student The judge for the debate was none other than the wife of Mandan Mishra. Besides, his wife, Sharada equaled her husband in the ways of a householder. Therefore, she set a minimum qualification for admitting Shankaracharya into a debate. Only

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Alternate Viewpoint on Apsara

Apsaras are known for their legendary beauty and attractiveness. They find a place in temple carvings. Purana texts promulgate the idea of Apsaras being of a celestial origin. Secondly, they are dancers in the domain of Indra. We imagine Apsara to be amorous because the Puranas tell stories about their affairs with Kings and ascetics. Generally, in these stories, Indra sends them to the Earth to distract an ascetic. This is Indra’s way of testing an ascetic before they gain more spiritual powers. However, what is the real nature of an Apsara? Why are Apsaras known as the companions of Gandharvas? For an alternate viewpoint on Apsaras, we turn to the Vedas. Churning of the Milky Ocean To begin with, let us review the most famous story about the origin of Apsara. Apsaras emerged when the Devas, the celestials and Asuras (the enemies of Devas), churned the legendary ocean. In short, they emerged immediately after the Kalpa Vriksa, the wish fulfilling tree. Therefore, the

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Retrograde – Fact Check

Astrology considers retrograde to be a significant condition, usually in a negative sense. Astrologers call a planet which is seemingly moving in the reverse as a retrograde planet. How do we understand the retrograde phenomenon? For example, we all have noticed the following when the bus or train begins to move suddenly. The adjacent train appears to move backward. In the same way, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn appear to be in reverse when the Earth overtakes them during its annual rotation. The same also happens to Mercury and Venus during the far half of their rotation around the Sun. Certainly, from an astronomy angle there is no real reversal. Why do astrologers then feel otherwise? An astrologer holds the view that an horoscope is human centric. Firstly, perception determines one’s feelings. Secondly, the planets are indicators of human perception and feelings. In short, a planet when retrograde appears to have gone back against the background of fixed stars in the

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Fact Check of the Varga Chart system

Hindu astrology surpasses western astrology in its scope and detail. An area of distinction is the Varga system of deep-dive analysis. Hindu texts from two millennia ago contain a description of the Varga system. Many things including Karma is a part of the Varga chart! However, one can ask the question – “did an astrologer then have the tools to make full use of the Varga system”. Certainly astrologers depend on astronomers. An astronomer alone can tell the accurate positions of planets. What methods did ancient astronomers follow to track planets? How accurately could an ordinary citizen tell time two millennia ago? Let us fact check the Varga Chart system. People familiar with a basic astrology chart understand a few simple facts. Firstly, there are twelve divisions or houses in an individual’s astrology chart or the horoscope. Each house corresponds to a 30 degree arc in the sky. Secondly, each house represents a specific aspect of one’s life. For example, the 7th house represents partnerships and

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Shinshumara or Dhruva Matsya?

Shinshumara is the mysterious constellation which hosts the drifting celestial north pole. Several Purana texts make a reference to it. However, these references can not be anything but symbolic. We must refer to the texts of Vedic astronomers to get a clue. Only then can we understand what this constellation corresponds to in a physical sense. Let us look at the Dhruva-Matsya asterism in this regard. Presently, the celestial north pole is near the tip of the tail segment of the Ursa-Minor asterism. In fact, many call the star at this location as Polaris. Secondly, this asterism has seven stars. We can not but notice five of them forming an arc. Is this arc a part of the Dhruva-Matsya asterism? Firstly, Dhruva-Matsya means the fish. Secondly, it is in the vicinity of Dhruva, the celestial north pole. Thirdly, Hindu astronomers in the past have used it as a celestial clock. Twelve stars form the Dhruva-Matsya asterism. However, experts today are unable

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Katyayana and Sulba Sutra

Kalpa Sutra literature clarifies the steps related to Yajna rituals. They are highly specialized in nature. Sulba Sutra texts belong to this category. These texts explain the geometry steps in constructing a Vedi or a fire altar and the temporary structures around it. Experts in rituals wrote them, four to five millennia ago. However, the works of only four have survived. Katyayana’s work on Sulba Sutra is the shortest and the simplest among them. The Asiatic society of India hired European scholars to translate the Vedas. These scholars in turn took the generous help of native subject matter experts in the Vedas. Despite this help, early European scholars found some texts challenging. Therefore, they had to train junior scholars who were smarter.  Besides, a translator could not apply guess work of any sort with a text like the Kalpa Sutras. Let us understand the reasons by looking at Katyayana’s work. Katyayana’s text has only six short chapters. These chapters contain a total

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Mitra-Varuna Battery

Mitra and Varuna are a pair of closely related cosmic principles. Like every other principle, the Vedas attribute to them a celestial personality. The hymn to Mitra is recited after the morning Argya water offering to the Sun and the hymn for Varuna in the evening. This design is perfect per the following logic. Mitra enhances harmony which is essential to anyone engaging in the chores of the day. That is to say, clearer decisions arise in a harmonious mind. Some frustration or insult is normal during the course of any working day. Therefore everyone has to clear their minds of these to enjoy the leisure of the evening. Varuna enhances purity and allows. Certainly, a mind expands and feels the freedom only by dropping negative impressions. Surprisingly, the neurons in our brain reflect these two desirable mental states as electrical charges. A neuron has a negative electrical potential at rest. However, it becomes positively charges in preparation for action.

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The Yantra of Shukra

Venus is one of the two inner planets of our solar system. It, therefore, does not swerve too far from the position of the Sun in the sky. Consequently, one can only see Venus close to the Eastern or the western horizon. Venus appears for a few weeks in the eastern sky before dawn. After a gap for few weeks, it appears in the western sky immediately after the dusk.  Anyone charting the positions of the visible locations of Venus, can stumble upon to a startling pattern, namely, a Pentagon shape. Vedic astronomers specialized in pre-dawn and post-dusk observations. They made the Pentagon an integral part of the Yantra of Shukra or Venus. A magic square is also a part of the Yantras of the Navagrahas like Shukra. Astronomers recognize the above pattern as the five petals of Venus. Through astronomy software, we can plot the relative rotations of the earth and Venus. Five petals appear over eight cycles of

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