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Three legs of Agni and the story of Pururava

​ There is a rare and interesting stone carving of Agni, the God of fire. This image of Agni has three legs, two faces. Experts say that this iconic representation of Agni follows the literal meaning of a Mantra which invokes the power of Agni in the Yagna fire. Surely, the three legs of Agni too must be a metaphor. What is the metaphor? Can we gain some clues from stories related to Agni? The Vedas, the Puranas and the epic Mahabharata tell the story of Pururava and Urvashi, the celestial dancer. The great poet Kalidasa too has glorified this story in his literary work, the Vikramorvashiya. Therefore, most people are familiar with the episode of how Pururava and Urvashi fell in love and separated by the play of fate. In this episode, two rams (sheep) and the Gandharva who steals them cause their separation. However, later episodes more interesting to explore. However, these later episodes are not as well known. Pururava discovers fire Pururava

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A Yagna performed by Parasara against Rakshasas

In this post, we try to understand the significance of the Yagna performed by Parasara against Rakshasas. Rishi Parasara (Parashar) is the father of the famous Vyasa, brought him up. Parashar’s grandfather is none other than Vasishta, one among the seven Sapta Rishis. Vasishta brought up Parasara. Parasara, as a young man, came to know the cause of his father’s death. His father had died before Parasara was born because of a Rakshasa, a class of being. Firstly, young Parasara was well versed in the art of Yagna. Secondly, he wanted to annihilate the Rakshasas, in revenge. Therefore he began a Yagna. Using the power of Mantras, he drew Rakshasas, one by one. They fell helplessly into the Yagna fire. Vasishta realized the intention of Parasara and hurried to stop the Yagna against Rakshasas. In addition, Pulastya, another of the seven Sapta Rishis also arrived there. They both explained to Parasara that an entire clan should not bear the punishment for the bad

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Zoroastrian link to Bharani Nakshatra

Bharani is one of the twenty seven Nakshatras which are equal division segments of the sky. Secondly, Hindu astronomers used the arc portion of Nakshtras along the ecliptic to track planetary movements. Thirdly, every Nakshatra arc has a fixed anchor point. Prominent stars mark these points. Astronomers used these to refer to the relative the location of a planet within a Nakshatra arc. The anchor star of Bharani is Arietis 41. Its name in Avestan is “Upa-Paoiri”. Surprisingly, the Vedic people called Bharani as “Apa Bharani”. The strange coincidence does not stop here. Let us understand the Zoroastrian link to the Bharani Nakshatra and its ruler Yama. Upa-Paoiri is associated with a Yazata. The Avestan word Yazata has several meanings. Certainly, one of them refers to a departed spirit. Coincidentally, the ruler of Apa Bharani Nakshatra is Yama. Secondly, Yama is the ruler of ancestral beings. Certainly, Nakshatras have a religious meaning in the Vedic tradition. However, they were equally

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Nakshatra means Star?

The biophysical systems on the Earth are connected to the wider cosmos in a subtle way. Vedic Jyotish, the science of influences from space, explains this idea with the help of a few corollaries. Per the first corollary, cosmic influences are directional in nature. Secondly, any influence from the wider cosmos needs a localized channel. Without a channel, no cosmic vibration can impact our planet. Thirdly, objects in our own solar system are efficient channels. They are Grahas because of their ability to draw and direct influences. The moon is the most efficient among these Grahas because of its rapid transit in the sky through different directions. The Bhagavad Gita, refers to the dynamism of the moon in verse with the phrase “ṇakṣhatrānnāṁ shashī” ( Nakshatranam Shashi ). But first, let us see a few examples. Gold hidden under the Earth has no value until someone discovers it. Gold gains value when extracted out of a gold mine. Similarly, our

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Indra’s Penance for Enlightenment

Do Devas need to engage in Tapas or Penance to gain Enlightenment? How did Indra, the ruler of the Devas perform Penance? Did his Tapas last 101 years? Let us explore the episode related to Indra and his arch rival Vairochani. The Chandogya Upanishad, one of the major texts in the Veda tradition presents the narration of how Brahma tricked Indra and Vairochani to seek self knowledge. Long ago, the domain of the Devas or the celestials and the domain of the Asuras rivalled each other. Certainly, the rulers of these two domains were in severe competition to out do each other. They sought unique objects, creatures, animals, birds and architecture to prove their superiority. Brahma, the creator, felt sad for these two rulers. He saw how these two were missing the point! He sent out a Dindora message (like the viral messages which propagate on Social Media today). Indra and his rival came to know that a person who

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The Chakras and 21600 breaths

Is there a connection between the breath and Chakras? Firstly, a human being takes 21600 breaths a day, per Yoga literature. However, Scientists count the number of breaths to be between 20,000 to 24,000. Secondly, scientists now affirm what Yogis have said all along. Only one of the nostrils is active at any time of the day and after a gap of 2 hours the other nostril takes over. This means that 10,800 breaths flow easily through each nostril in a day. 10800 is a revered number in eastern traditions. So is there any truth also to the fact that these 10800 breaths are connected to the Chakras? Chakras are energy centers in the subtle body. Their locations roughly correspond to the endocrine system in the human body. Most people who practice Yoga are aware of seven major chakras. In what way do the 21600 breath map to these chakras? For example. 50% of the breath daily breath count maps

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The secret of Kinnaras

Chiron is the famous Centaur in Greek mythology. In addition, paintings shows centaurs as half horse and half human. The word for Centaurus in Mycenean language is Gantarus. This Mycenean word is the same as Gandharva in Indian literature. Therefore, Centaur and Gandharva must refer to the same entity. However, we do not find any reference to Gandharva as a horse-human being in Sanskrit literature. certainly, the horse-human form represents a Kinnara who is a helper of Gandharva. So, what happened during the sharing of ideas between the Indians and Greeks? What is the secret of Kinnaras? Nara refers to a human being. Therefore the word Kim-Nara or Kinnara refers to a human being but somewhat different. Besides the prefix “Kim” indicates a puzzle, a question (Kim?). Paintings and carvings illustrate Kinnaras as instrument players who accompany Gandharvas, the celestial singers. In addition, artisans in the past used their freedom of expression to illustrate Kinnaras as semi-human beings. Certainly, we

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The Secret of Yakshini

Every individual desires for comfort and joy. Besides, the pursuit of wealth is an aspect of this. Certainly, a majority of individuals in a society engage in this pursuit with faith, trust and cooperation. The collective psyche, with respect to wealth, is like a uniform field, because of this majority! However, it has some bumps and kinks. The cause of these is the fact that the wealthy seek grandeur and more fame. From this, let us understand the secret of Yakshini beings. Yaksha is an abstract being, an aspect of the collective psyche. They are related to power the structures in society. Yakshni is a female counterpart of Yaksha. They grant special favors. Mostly, the rich avail of these favors. Certainly, the worship of Yakshini was popular in earlier times. Buddhist, Jain and Hindu texts classify Yakshinis. For example, Bhandara Poorna Yakshni brings satisfaction in matters of the treasury. Therefore Kings and rulers in the past sought her favor. Similarly,

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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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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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