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Anonymous said: hello! ive been doing yoga lately along with doing a university course on ancient india. ive become very interested in hinduism! i just have a couple questions that i was curious about. there are three main gods, brahman, vishnu and shiva? and shiva is the destroyer but is in us all? does that mean we are going to be the destroyers of the universe that brahman created? also with yoga i've heard the term "pranayama" and was wondering what that means? sorry if these are dumb questions =S

thehindublog:

Namaste,

It’s wonderful that through your study you’ve become interested in Hinduism! 

Firstly, know that in Hinduism there is only one pervading, all-present God (Bhagvan) in everything; the controller of karma and the universe itself. Each God and Goddess in Hinduism is a facet, or personality of that same all-present God (Bhagvan) that was revealed to humankind to better explain Its unexplainable ways. There aren’t necessarily three ‘main’ Gods per say, but more like ‘root Gods’ to which many of the other Devis and Devas are reincarnated from. These are Lord Brahma, (please note that Brahma and Brahman are completely different; Lord Brahma is God’s facet of creation while Brahman is the all-pervading God soul within every person), Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.

Each of these facets (as well as most other Devas, or male God facets) have a female equal/companion, or Shakti (Devi). These are Maa (Mother) Saraswati, Maa Lakshmi and Maa Durga.

In Hinduism, each and every thing on this world and in this universe is of God (Bhagvan). The grass is God, the birds are God, I am God and you are God. The purpose of Hinduism is to realize your place as God in the universe with the help of scriptures, devotion and study of the ways of God (explained to us through the Devas and Devis). So, when you heard that Shiva is ‘in us all’- that person was probably a worshipper of Lord Shiva, meaning he/she put Lord Shiva as his/her personal God. I could say the same about Lord Krishna being in us all, or Maa Durga being in us all- because it’s simply God in us all.

Lord Shiva is ‘the destroyer’ because the three ‘root Gods’, or Trimurti represent Bhagvan’s eternal method of the universe. Everything in the universe must be created (Lord Brahma), temporarily sustained and cared for (Lord Vishnu) and inevitably destroyed (Lord Shiva). This does not necessarily mean we have to go around destroying things, but to realize that destruction is necessary in the cycle of life, death and rebirth. 

I’ve put a lot of things in parenthesis to better help you understand the meanings of some of these words that you may not be familiar with. 

Also, “pranayamais the yoga of breath control, or awareness.

I hope I’ve helped you and feel free to reach out to your local Hindu community for more answers!

Jai Ambe Maa!

A very  insightful piece on Hinduism.

Reblogged from The Hindu Blog ॐ
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Devotion does not mean performing worship and offering flowers to God. Worship amounts to good actions alone. One should have good thoughts within. One will not be redeemed if one undertakes good actions with bad intentions. For instance, if someone offers a donation of 10 lakh for a charitable cause, another person may come forward with a donation of 15 lakh only to attract public attention. In reality, he may not give even 10 rupees. Such people are heroes at platform and zeroes in practice. There should be unity in thought,word, and deed.

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My FIRST Book in #2013 #Religion #Hinduism (at Hindu Monastery Of Africa (Krishna Temple))

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Lord Krishna. #Religion #HinduismInGhana #Hinduism (at Hindu Monastery Of Africa (Krishna Temple))

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The #Arthi Light. #HinduismInGhana #Hinduism #Religion (at Hindu Monastery Of Africa (Krishna Temple))

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Maha Shivaratri | Celebrating Lord Shiva

 Maha Shivaratri also known as Shivaratri is a popular Hindu festival celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva, one of the Trimurtis in Hinduism. This year, the auspicious day is today, February 20, 2012 and Hindus and Devotees of Lord Shiva worldwide celebrate Him.

Maha Shivaratri means “The Night of Shiva”. Lord Shiva was married to Parvati on this day. This is the night when Shiva is said to have performed the Tandava or the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction. There are numerous legends recorded on this great occasion.  

Am at the temple as I write this and I just can’t keep the feeling and vibration all to myself. The worship begun early this morning and it ends the next morning. The first worship, Linga worship is on going. The recitation of mantras(prayers) echoes through the temple. The vibration is awesome. “Om Namah Shivaya" both the young and old are actively chanting this whiles the main worship is on going. The excitement and happiness on devotees faces can be felt.

All is to be pure and holy this day. See all as one, stay pure and offer a helping hand to one. Be a sacrifice to another. Don’t conceive evil against any creature.

The temple is nicely lit with lamps and decorated with flowers and sandalwood is all over in the air. Wow! Most devotees entered the temple with gifts to the Lord. Can’t wait for Puja(singing melodies to the Lord). 

In Ghana, Maha Shivaratri is being celebrated in five temples across the country: Accra, Tema, Cape Coast, Kumasi and Ashanti Mampong.

Hold your palms together and say to a friend ‘Namaste’.

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Namaste, its insight.

 

Have you ever wondered or pondered over the word namaste or heard any one saying it? Indians greet each other with namaste, the two palms are placed together in front of the chest and the head bows whilst saying the word namaste. This greeting is for all - the old, the young, co-equals, strangers,priests, everyone. 

Namaskaram, one of the formal traditional greetings enjoined in the shaastras is understood as prostration but it actually refers to paying homage as we do today when we greet each other with a namaste.

Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. However there is much more to it than meets the eye. In Sanskrit namah + te = namaste, meaning, I bow to you - my greetings, salutations or prostration to you. Namaha  can also be literally interpreted as “nama”, not mine. It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one’s ego in the presence of another.

The real meeting between people is the meeting of their minds. When we greet another, we do so with namaste, which means, “may our minds meet,” indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The bowing down of the head is a gracious form of  extending friendship in love and humility.

The spiritual meaning is even deeper. The life force, the divinity, the self or the Lord in me is the same in all. Recognizing this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we salute with head bowed the divinity in the person we meet. That is why sometimes we close our eyes as we do namaste  to a revered person or the Lord as if to look within. The gesture is often accompanied by words like “Ram Ram”, “Jai Shri Krishna”, “Om Namo Narayana”, “Jai Siya Ram”, “Om Shanti” and others, indicating the recognition of this divinity.

This greeting is not just a superficial gesture or word but paves the way for a deeper communion with another in an atmosphere of love and respect. NAMASTE! 

Source:  Hindu Rituals and Routines. Why do we follow them? by H.H Swami Ghananand Saraswati (Head, Hindu Monastery of Africa, Ghana)