Tuesday, 13 December 2016

"NANDANA-VANA" - THE PLEASURE GARDEN - WHERE THERE IS NO HUNGER


“NANDANA-VANA” - THE PLEASURE GARDEN  -  WHERE THERE IS NO HUNGER


















Nandana-vana is Lord Indra’s garden in his swarga located in the city of devas, Amravati, located in the realm of the stars,  where     stands the "Kalpataru"   tree under  which  all  desires are   fulfilled.  Nandana-vana is similar to Garden of Eden in the paradise where Adam and Eve lived.




                                                      Indralok - Lord Indra's swarga


Indra used to visit Nandana-vana on his elephant that had white skin, six tusks and seven trunks.  But Swarga is paradise but no heaven.  The owner of Swarga Lord Indra has everything, but lives in fear of losing it all.  When we accumulate more and more wealth we always live in the fear of losing it.





“Heaven is a place where there is no hunger.”

Under the Pole Star sits Shiva on a mountain of stone covered with snow. No grass grows there, but his bull, Nandi, does not complain.  Nandi does not fear eaten by Shakti’s tiger either.   The snake around Shiva’s neck does not fear being eaten by Kartikeya’s peacock and it does not seek to eat Ganesha’s rat.  Clearly, that is a place where there is no hunger.  In swarga there is prosperity but there is no peace.  The eternal peace is only in heaven.  The heaven is known as Kailas in Indu Hin  HHHHindu religion.


Do we have the strength to outgrow hunger?  As mortals our body needs food to satisfy the hunger.  In order to live without hunger we need to become like the immortals of the heaven.

Do we have the hunger for money (the material possessions) and sexual desires.  As mortals god created all human beings with the above weaknesses. Even the other creations of God such as,  animals and plants, all need food and has strong urge for mating.  For e.g. the flowers need bees for pollination.   To overcome human weaknesses one should aspire to attain nirvana or moksha, an ideal or idyllic state or place to enter heaven.







In Hinduism, Svarga (or Swarga), also known as Swarga Loka, is any of the eight loka or planes in Hindu cosmology, which sequentially are Bhu loka (Prithvi Loka, Earth), Bhuvar loka, Swarga loka, Mahar loka, Jana loka, Tapa loka, Satyaloka (Brahmaloka), and the highest Goloka. It is a set of heavenly worlds located on and above Mt. Meru.. It is a heaven where the righteous live in a paradise before their next incarnation. During each pralaya, the great dissolution, the first three realms, Bhu loka (Earth), Bhuvar loka, and Swarga loka, are destroyed. Below the seven upper realms lie seven lower realms, of Patala, the underworld and netherworld.

Lord Indra who is King in swarglok may have duties like maintenance of that loka. Everybody wants to take over swargaloka to take the thrown to enjoy the privileges or to show the power, some Asura may also want to win 3 loka to be called triloka pati which includes mrityulok and swarglok and patal lok. Ruling Indraloka is not only part of winning one of loka but is important as a victory as that is loka where many of the demigods will be living so conquering swargaloka means they conquered the demi Gods.

Amaravati (also known as Indra Loka) is a figure in Hindu mythology.  The capital of Svarga is Amaravati and its entrance is guarded by Airavata the white elephant. Svarga is presided over by Indra, the leader of the devas.

The heaven of Lord Indra is a region for the virtuous alone with celestial gardens called Nandana planted with sacred trees and sweet-scented flowers. The fragrant groves are occupied by Apsaras. Low sweet music plays. Indra's abode is eight hundred miles in circumference and forty miles in height.







                                                                Image 1 of an  Apsara

                                     


                                                                   Image 2 of an Apsara


 The pillars of Amaravati are composed of diamonds and its furniture is made of pure gold. Amaravati's palaces are also made of gold. Pleasant breezes carry the perfume of rose-colored flowers. Amaravati was built by Lord Vishwakarma, the architect of the gods, a son of Lord Brahma. The inhabitants of Amaravati are entertained by music, dancing and every sort of festivity.

The audience chamber of Amaravati accommodates the three hundred and thirty million celestials, together with the forty-eight thousand Rishis and the multitude of attendants.

Apsara, in Indian religion and mythology, one of the celestial singers and dancers who, together with the gandharvas, or celestial musicians, inhabit the swarga of the god Indra. Originally water nymphs, the apsaras provide sensual pleasure for both gods and men.


















Four apsaras, Urvashi, Menaka, Rambha, and Tilottama were the most prominent.

The other lesser known Apsaras were Tara, Anjana, Madura, Malini, Pushpavati and Chaya.

The Apsaras danced according to the music and song of the Gandharvas to entertain demi gods in the Indralok..  Apsaras’ were used by Lord Indra to seduce powerful men including the kings and sages.


Ancient rishis


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Colonel James Todd (British East India Company) said of India “Where else can we look for sages like those whose systems of philosophy were prototypes to whose works Plato, Thales & Pythagorus were disciples? Where do I find astronomers whose knowledge of planetary systems yet excites wonder in Europe as well as the architects and sculptors whose works claim our admiration, and the musicians who could make the mind oscillate from joy to sorrow, from tears to smile with the change of modes and varied intonation?
Indian culture and nationalism have been evolved and fostered over the millenia by India’s ancient rishis, who at the banks of holy rivers of Saptasindhu and Saraswati had composed the Vedic literature – the very foundation of Indian civilization. The term “rishi” or “rsi” originally denoted the composers and singers of Vedic hymns. However, the rishi is also a “sage” to whom the Gods revealed the Vedas (knowledge of the eternal truths about the Creator, His creation and means to preserve it).
The three chief classes of Rishi are the Brahmarshi, born of the mind of Brahma, the Devarshi of lower rank, and Rajarshi or Kings who became Rishis through their knowledge and austerities, such as Janaka, Ritaparna, etc. The Shrutarshi are makers of Shastras, as Sushruta. The Kandarshi are of the Karmakanda, such as Jaimini. Sapta rishis are two Sanskrit words meaning “Seven Sages”.

Some of the great Rishis (sages) of India are:

 

Vyasa

Ved Vyasa is the most important rishi in the Hindu pantheon of religions, for he is the one who compiled the Vedas. He is also the author of the Hindu epic Mahabharata and the important characters in many Puranas.

Markandeya

Markandeya was an ancient Indian Muni (sage) and he is known as author of religious Hindu texts. It may be a surprise to many people that Markandeya was a devotee of both Lord Vishnu (vaishnavas) or Lord Shiva (shaivas). Markandeya is one of the Chiranjeevin – the immortals in Hinduism. On the basis of his interactions of people known in Hinduism, it is sure that Markandeya lived through more yugas. He is sometimes called Maha Muni (Great Sage) and he is the author of important Hindu scriptures like Markandeya Purana, which says that sage Jaimini, the disciple of Ved Vyasa, asked Markandeya to explain to him some difficult parts of the Mahabharata. Rishi Markandeya composed the ‘Devi Saptashati’ or the seven hundred hymns extolling the virtues of the Divine Goddess at the shakti peetha in Nashik.

Charaka (600 BCE)

Acharya Charaka has been crowned as the Father of Medicine. His renowned work, the “Charak Samhita”, is considered as an encyclopedia of Ayurveda. Acharya Charaka 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 an ethical charter for medical practitioners two centuries prior to the Hippocratic oath.

Aryabhatta

 

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Was a master Astronomer and Mathematician, born in 476 CE in Kusumpur (Bihar). In 499 CE, 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. Aryabhatta was the first to proclaim that the earth is round, it rotates on its axis, orbits the sun and is suspended in space – 1,000 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.

Sushruta (600 BCE)

Born to sage Vishwamitra, Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago, he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, Rhinoplasty (restoration of a damaged nose), 12 types of fractures, 6 types of dislocations, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India. Author of the book “Sushruta Samhita”, in which he describes over 300 surgical procedures and 125 surgical instruments, including scalpels, lancets, needles, catheters 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.

Bharadwaja

Also known as Bharadwaj Gotra, a descendant of rishi Angira (vedic sage who wrote most of the Atharva Veda). Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana (in the epic Ramayana) met many rishis and sages including Bharadwaja.
Acharya Bharadwaja had a hermitage in the holy city of Prayag, 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.

Kashyap

An ancient rishi, the Saptarishi. He was the father of the Devas, Asuras, and all humankind. He was the son of Marichi and Aditi.

Patanjali (200 BCE)

Called the 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.

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 2,500 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.

Kapila (3000 BCE)

Called the Father of Cosmology. Acharya Kapil was born in 3000 BCE to the illustrious sage Kardam and Devhuti. He also 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.

Bhaskaracharya

He calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart; Time taken by earth to orbit the sun: (5th century) 365.258756484 days. Born in the obscure village of Vijjadit (Jalgaon) in Maharastra, Bhaskaracharya’s mathematical works called “Lilavati” and “Bijaganita” are considered to be unparalleled. 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.

Chanakya (370–283 BCE)

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Chanakya or Vishnu Gupta or Kautilya (his gotra) was a teacher to the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta – the first emperor in the archaeologically recorded history to rule the complete Indian Subcontinent.

He authored the ancient Indian political treatise called Arthasastra. Chanakya is considered as the pioneer of the field of economics and political science and his work is thought of as an important precursor to Classical Economics. Chanakya’s works predate Machiavelli’s by about 1,800 years. Chanakya was a teacher in Takshashila, an ancient centre of learning.

Vatsyayana

A Hindu philosopher who lived during the reign of the Gupta Empire (4th – 6th century AD), is believed to be the author of the Kama Sutra. In the second chapter , Vatsyayana describes 64 kama-kalas, or ways to make love. These are not 64 positions, but the categories of different modes of lovemaking, namely ’embracing, kissing, scratching, biting, the positions, moaning, the woman playing the man’s part, and oral sex.’ As each of these modes of sex is supposed to have eight different particular manifestations, there are thus sixty-four ways in which a man or woman could be said to be having sex in its broadest sense. But kama-kalas are not just tools for successful love making, they also lie at the heart of what constitutes an educated man.

 

Valmiki

The famous poet and the author of the epic Ramayana.

Panini (600 BCE)

Panini is known for his Sanskrit grammar, particularly for his formulation of the 3,959 rules of Sanskrit syntax and grammar known as Ashtadhyayi (“eight chapters”), the foundational text of the grammatical branch of the Vedanga, the auxiliary scholarly disciplines of Vedic religion.

Nagarjuna (100 CE)

Born in the village of Baluka in Madhya Pradesh, his dedicated research produced maiden discoveries and inventions in the faculties of chemistry and metallurgy, like “Ras Ratnakar”, “Rashrudaya” and “Rasendramangal”. As the author of medical books like “Arogyamanjari” and “Yogasar,” he also made significant contributions to the field of curative medicine. He was appointed as Chancellor of the famous University of Nalanda.

Vashishtha

One of the Saptarishis. He was the Maanasa-putra (“a brain child”) of Brahma. He possessed the divine cow known as Kamadhenu and the Kamadhenu’s child Nandini. Vashishtha is the author of some parts in the Rigveda.

 

Jaimini

An ancient rishi, a great philosopher of the Mimansa school. He was the son of wandering rishi Parashara, and a disciple of Veda Vyasa.

Varahamihira (499-587 CE)

Varahamihir’s book “panch siddhant”, noted 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, Varahamihir presents cures for various diseases afflicting plants and trees.



Some of the other sages were:
  • Astika (the son of Manasa and Jaratkaru, the Vyasa of the twenty-seventh Dwapara)
  • Atri (A legendary scholar and a son of Brahma – a Sapta Rishi)
  • Bhrigu (One of the Saptarishis and one of the Prajapatis (and Maanasa Putra – a brain child) that Brahma created as facilitators of creation)
  • Kraustuki (Markandeya’s disciple)
  • Kripacharya (an important character in the Mahabharata; one of the Chiranjivin (the “immortals”).
  • Marichi (The son of Brahma and also one of the Saptarishis)
  • Narada (A divine sage (son of Brahma) in the Vaishnava tradition)
  • Paráshara (A Rigvedic Maharishi and author of many ancient Indian texts. He was the grandson of Vasishtha and the author of some verses in the Rigveda)
  • Prahlada (amahajana – that is, a “great devotee”, in the puranic Vaishnava traditions).
  • Pulatsya (One of the ten Prajapatis – sons of Brahma, and one of the Saptarishis. He was the spiritual vibration through the power of which some texts of the Puranas were written)
  • Shukra (son of Bhrigu)
  • Vaishampayana (the original teacher of the Black Yajur-Veda)
  • Yajnavalkya (A legendary ancient sage, a pupil of Vaishampayana)
There are several notable female rishikas who contributed to the composition of the Vedic scriptures. The Rig Veda mentions Romasha, Lopamudra, Apala, Kadru, Visvavara, Ghosha, Juhu, Vagambhrini, Paulomi, Yami, Indrani, Savitri, and Devajami. The Sama Veda adds Nodha, Akrishtabhasha, Sikatanivavari and Gaupayana.




Nandana-vana, the paradise lost for the inhabitants of mother earth and human cravings for pleasure and power continues not only in Indralok but also in the modern material world.  The magical Indralok to eternal heaven where there is no hunger is man’s ultimate aim to reach in this gift of life.
Hindu mythology is the most interesting of all mythologies and being an Indian the background is laid to unearth the thrills and chills of the same.  The Hindu religion and culture is imbibed since the primary level education and side by side it becomes interesting to note the stories from Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha. 




It is not surprising that JOHNNY’S BLOG has many interesting blog posts those are intertwined with Hindu mythological characters.

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