Post No.7464

Date uploaded in London – 17 January 2020

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One of the famous mathematical works of Bhaskara is Liilaavati. There is a tradition that this work was actually composed by the widowed daughter of Bhaskara whose name was Lilavati. We have also a story how Bhaskara failed to determine the auspicious moment for the celebration of his daughter’s marriage owing to a defect in the ‘ghati-yantra’ — an instrument for measuring time -Caused by a small stone that had fallen into it from the ornament of LilavatI.

Though there is no written proof for this story we believe that Bhaskara  was the author of the Lilavati  and he has honoured her by naming it after her. All the mathematical problems in the book are addressed to a girl, often expressions by like  ‘aye bale Lilavati-

 — o young Lilavati , although Bhaskara may have actually written the book Lilavati for teaching the subject to his own daughter.



In Bengal there are a large number of popular sayings that are attributed to a female astronomer named Khanaa or probably Kshanaavatii . These sayings are in old Bengali and relate to astronomy and astrology, often with special reference to agriculture.

Tradition has it that Khana was the wife of an astronomer named

Mihira , who was the son of another famous astronomer named

Varaha . This tradition has been apparently fabricated on the basis of the celebrated ancient Indian astronomer Varahamihira, who flourished in the sixth century CE, but had hardly anything to do with Bengal. But Khana may have lived in Bengal and she may be renowned female astronomer.



In the traditions that have grown around the illustrious name of

Shankaracharya , there is a story about a great woman philosopher of Mithila – probably named Ubhayabharati. It is said that in the course of his ‘dig-vijaya’ – visiting various institutions for scholarly debates resulting in victory – Shankara reached Mithila . There he was engaged in a debate with another famous philosopher named Mandana Mishra.  According to tradition Shankara defeated Mishra and Mishra’s wife Ubhayabharati was the mediator in the debate. When her husband was defeated by Shnakara, she challenged shankara with some questions about family life. Being a Brahmachari (celibate) he didn’t have any experience in Kama shastra. He asked for some time to answer her questions and then entered another king’s body who had  just expired. He was able to with his supernatural powers. After gaining some knowledge in family matters Shankara defeated Ubhayabharati also and both Mishras had become followers of Shankara.

People who has faith in tradition believe in these stories though we have no written records from that period. Even three Semitic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism believe in Moses though there is no historical proof for Moses until today. So there is no wonder Hindus also believe in their tradition.

–Source book – Great Women of India , Advaita Asrama, mayavati, 1953

tags – Lilavati, Ubhayabharati, Khana, Kshanavati



Post No.7460

Date uploaded in London – 16 January 2020

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Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog.

The whole world knows about the importance given to trees in Hinduism. In fact 150 years ago, Christian preachers projected India and Hinduism as primitive, unlettered , illiterates mass and tree and snake worshippers. Now after the concerns regarding pollution and climate change hitting the headlines, the whole world salutes Hindus for respecting nature and for appreciating the value of natural resources.

Because of Buddha the Asvattha Tree (Pipal, Peepul, Ficus religiosa) became a worshipful tree. Now the world Buddhists flock to see the original Bodhi tree in India. But not many people know about the sacred trees of Jain religion. All the 24 saints (Tirthankaras) have sacred trees associated with them.

Just before going into the details, let me give some interesting tit bits:-

Lord Krishna said in  the Bhagavad Gita that he is the Asvattha Tree (Ficus religiosa) among the trees. Having read this, Buddha also went to the sacred tree and attained enlightenment. In Vishnu Sahasranama hymn, the three trees belonging to the same genus and  same family are given as Vishnu’s names (Ficus religiosa, Ficus benghalensis and Ficus glomerata or racemosa of Family Moraceae).

Tamils went one step ahead and called the Asvattha as the KING TREE (Arasa Maram). Even today the women who are without children go around it to get children. The oxygen that it produces is higher than that of many other trees.

Vedic Hindus even named themselves after this tree such as Pippaladan (Mr Asvattha). Brahmins use the sticks of this tree till this day.

Regarding the Banyan tree, a lot of things are in our religion and litrature. It is Vishnu’s name (Nyagrodha); it is worshipped by women during Vata Savitri Vrata. It is in the name of the world famous Anghor ‘Vat’ Temple (vata is banyan tree). Alexander amazed at the sight of it. Panchatantra and Tamil literature have beautiful verses on it.

With this in background we have to look at the trees associated with Jainism. Unlike other sages, Jains attained Mukti or Kevala Jnan under the trees. They did not go to the top of the mountains or into the caves. So we can even say that the Buddha followed them. Sanit Mahavir,last of the 24 Tirthankaras, was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha.

Here is the list of 24 saints of Jain religion and the tree under which they did the penance to attain liberation:-

(I have taken the list from the article written by Rachana Jain in ‘Essays in Honour of Caarusrii’, Bangalore, 2019; She has taken it from Suchitra Jain’s article in the internet.)


Many of the plants mentioned above are worshipped by the Hindus. Tamil Hindus have one Sthala Vrksha for every big temple in South India. Tamil Hindu Kings are associated with one particular tree. They have one Kaaval Maram (Guard Tree) as well.  If any one harms it, that led to big fight or war.

Hindus named their country as Jambudwip after the Jambu Tree. Tamils also used this word from ancient days (Naavalan Thivu). Hindus named big land mass after trees or plants such Kusa Dwip, Salmali Dwip. Tamil Hindus also followed this and named big land tracts after plants such as Kurinji, Mullai, Marutham etc. Several town names in India are named after trees such as Patalipuram, Thillai, Kanchi.

In short, Indians excelled others in living one with the Nature. If we return to those golden days, we can save our environment and avoid the evil effects of climate change.

For those interested in botanical terms I have given the botanical names of 24 plants according to Rachana Jain-

1.Bargad, Vata, Nyagrodha – Banyan tree, Ficus benghalensis – Moraceae

2.Semala, Salmali, Saptaparna, Bombax ceiba, Bombacaceae

3.Sala, Asakanni – Shorea robusta , Dipterocarpaceae

4.Chir pine, Sarala – Pinus roxbhurgii, Pinaceae

5.Priyangu- Callicarapa macraphylla, Verbenaceae

6.same as above

7.Sirisa – Albizzia lebbeck, Mimosaceae

8.Nagakesara – Mesua ferrea , Guttiferae

(Wikipedia gives the family name as Calophyllaceae)

9.baheda, bibheleya, aksa- Terminalia Bellerica, Conbretaceae

10.Bela, Plaksa, Ficus lacor, Moraceae

11.Tendu, tindu- Dispyros melanaxylon, Ebenaceae

12.Patala, Kadamba- bignonia spp., Bignonioceae

13.Jamuna, Jambu- Syzygium cumini, Myrtaceae

14. Pippala, dhamarukha, Asvattha- Ficus religiosa, Moraceae

15.Visnukaanta, girikandi- Clitoria biflora, Cleomaceae

16.Nandi, nandirukha- Cedrella toona, Meliaceae

17.Tendu, tilaka- Dispyros melanaxylon, Ebenaceae

18.Mango, amba- Magnifera indica, Anacadiaceae

19.Asoka, asoga, kankeli- Saraca indica, Caesalpiniaceae

20.Naga campa, campakgumma- Michelia campaca, Magnoliaceae

21.bakula, nimbakarya- mimusops elengi, sapotaceae

22.Kokama, Ambilasaya, mesashrnga- Garcinia indica, Guttifereae

23.Dhav, dhava, Devadaru- Anogeissus latifolia, Combretaceae

24.Sala- Shorea robusta , Dipterocarpaceae.

Following are my old articles on Trees–

Nyakrodha tree | Tamil and Vedas

 of trees | Tamil and Vedas

Trees in literature | Tamil and Vedas

Picture of Deodar: Tree of the Gods. We have heard about people adopting children. But the greatest of the Indian poets Kalidasa and Sangam Tamil poets give …

save trees | Tamil and Vedas

Trees of Wisdom | Tamil and Vedas

Picture shows Newton under Apple Tree. Hindu Saints composed Upanishads under the Himalayan Trees. Buddha attained wisdom under the Bodhi Tree.

water and trees | Tamil and Vedas

Posts about water and trees written by Tamil and Vedas.

Peepal tree | Tamil and Vedas

19 Feb 2017 – Trees are used as similes and metaphors in Tamil and Sanskrit literature from very ancient times. The upside down Peepal Tree(Ficus …

Bodhi Tree | Tamil and Vedas

Mahabodhi Tree in Bodha Gaya. Research paper by London Swaminathan Post No.1325; Dated 3rd October 2014. This article is part of my series on …

Nature | Tamil and Vedas

Posts about Nature written by Tamil and Vedas. … “Trees that have fruit but no flowers are traditionally known as the Lords of the Forest; those that bear both …

Hindus’ Respect for Trees and Forests | Tamil and Vedas…/hindus-respect-for-trees-and-forests/

18 Feb 2015 – In the Vedas, Lord Shiva is called the Lord of the Forests (Vanaspathi), Lord of the Trees (Vrkshanaam pathi) and Lord of the Animals …

Tamarind Tree | Tamil and Vedas

Posts about Tamarind Tree written by Tamil and Vedas.

Magic of Trees! | Tamil and Vedas

25 Nov 2012 – Buddha attained wisdom under the Bodhi Tree. Vaishnavite saint Nammalvar attained wisdom under a Tamarind tree. Sanatkumaras attained …

Tansen and Tamarind Tree! Ghosts in Tamarind … – Tamil and Vedas

26 Mar 2016 – Tansen and Tamarind Tree! Ghosts in Tamarind Trees! (Post No 2666). tansen tomb. Research Article by london swaminathan. Date: 26 March …

Indian Wonder: The Banyan Tree | Swami’s Indology Blog

26 May 2012 – There is a beautiful verse in the Panchatantra about Banyan Tree: “Deer recline in its shade; Birds in multitude gather to roost. Darkening its …

Swami’s Indology Blog

Nov 6th. வேதத்தில் மரங்களின் கதை (Post No.4372). Nov 6th. STRANGE STORIES ABOUT TREES IN VEDAS –Part 2 (Post No.4371).

Plants in Mahavamsa | Swami’s Indology Blog

3 Oct 2014 – In the same chapter we come across the story of Nigrodha (MrBanyan Tree). When Emperor Asoka killed his elder brother Sumana, his …

Significance of Neem Tree in Hinduism – Swami’s Indology Blog

11 Jun 2017 – 18 Mar 2013 – Reand and enjoy this article about “Banyan Tree” from Mr. Santhanam Swaminathan. Tamarind Tree | Tamil and Vedas.

tags – sacred trees, Jainism, Jain religion, Kevala Jnan, Tirthankaras

 Xxxx subham xxxxx


Sugarcane for Sankaranti
Pongal Greetings


Post No.7457

Date uploaded in London – 15 January 2020

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Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog.

MAKARA SANKARAANTI is celebrated by the Hindus throughout India. Tamils call it PONGAL and celebrate it on a grander scale. Actually, it is a three day festival of Hindus. Sankranti/Pongal eve is celebrated as Bhogi. And the next day to Pongal is celebrated as Cattle Pongal , i.e. In Tamil Maattup Pongal.

First let me explain the way Tamil Hindus celebrate it.

On Bhogi Pandikai/festival day they burn all the old things in a bonfire in front of their houses. The old things include all old clothes, furniture, mats, carpets old pots etc.,

Just two weeks before the festival, they start cleaning the house and white wash the house. Then they apply red border along the floor near the wall with saffron coloured red mud. Saffron colour is called Kaavi in Tamil. Wherever the red border is seen it means  some auspicious things are happening. Hindus draw such things on all auspicious occasions such as wedding, puberty ceremony, Valaikappu/Seemantham, Punul/sacred thread ceremony etc.

All the Hindu festivals are associated with one special dish. On the Bhogi day they make Boli and Vadai.

Pongal Celebrartions


Pongal means rice pudding. They don’t use white sugar. They use jaggery and ghee to make sweet Pongal. ‘Pongu’ is a Tamil verb which means boil to the brim of the pot. When the rice is boiled in milk and water with jaggery and ghee, it boils and come to the brim of the new pot, usually a new mud pot. Then they make happy shouting/noise with the words ‘Pongal O Pongal’. The mud pot is decorated with turmeric plant and holy Kunkum and Vibhuti/holy ash.,

The mud pot is usually placed on a Kolam/rangoli and women do the cooking surrounded by children and men. Sugar cane and newly harvested turmeric plants are kept on both sides of the Pongal pot.

Orthodox Hindus draw a picture of Sun God and do Puja with flowers. All these things are done in an open place in the house, mostly backyard or in front of the house.

All the family members bathe in the morning and wear new clothes. Since Pongal follows the harvest season they will have new rice, new sugarcane etc.

Farmers get lot of money from the sale of harvested grains and hence there is a saying in Tamil, “ Thai Piranthaal Vazi Pirakkum” meaning if the month of Thai is born, a new way is born/found or seen. That is girls will get married sooner with the available money.

Cattle Pongal

Next day to Pongal is called Maatu Pongal (Maatu in Tamil means cattle). It is a thanks -giving day to Cows and Bulls. They decorate the cows and bulls with flower garlands and paint the horns with colour paints. They are taken in a procession and the chief of the cowherds Lord Krishna will follow the cows and bulls. If there is a temple of Vishnu, then the idol procession will follow the cows and bulls with big tom tom and music. Earlier in the day they give Sweet Pongal to the cattle.

Orthodox Hindus celebrate it on a wider scale. They wake up in the morning and use the left- over food to feed the birds. It is done ritually. They draw Kolams/Rangolis and on those Rangolis they spread turmeric leaf and make balls of food with different colours and spread it on the leaves. All women take part in this ritual. It is called Kanu Pongal.,

Meaning of Makara Sankraanthi

Pundit S M Natesa Sastri in his book Hindu Feasts (year 1903) had explained the word Bhogi-

Explaining the meaning of Bhogi festival he says the word ‘Bhoga’ comes from the Sanskrit root ‘BHUJ’, to enjoy ; so Bhogi Pandikai is a feast of enjoyment. It is celebrated to honour INDRA who helps us to get rains for the crops and good gravest.

Sankranti comes from the word Sankramana . Sun enters zodiac sign Makara/ Capricorn. And the Tamil month ‘Thai’ begins on that day. Thai is ‘Pausa’ in Sanskrit .,

This day is observed throughout India and South East Asia (see my research article about Thailand and Laos given below) for the worship of sun god. Rich men regard this day as a meritorious one for making charitable donations and every Hindu raja/king gives away large sums in charity. An assembly of pandits sits on this day in Baroda and gives rewards to Hindu scholars who have passed examinations in Vedas, Tarka, Vyakarana . Other Rajas also observe the same custom.

The Uttarayana Punyakala – northward journey of sun -begins on this day. The season for marriages in Hindu families commences on this day and lasts for six months up to the end of Uttarayana. Brothers send presents and gifts to their sisters. Newly wedded brides get special presents on the day.,

Bull fighting

There is a custom in the Yadava community- Lord Krishna’s caste—whoever tames a bull that is let loose will get a gift. This custom started with Lord Krishna who tamed seven bulls according to Bhagavata purana. Youngsters have to tame a bull to get a girl in the olden days.

Sangam  Tamil book Kalitokai describes in great detail the bull fighting or – taming the bull – by cowherd community/ Yadava caste. Now it is tamed by any strong man. In the olden days they used to tie some valuables or money to the horn of the bull and whoever tames the bull gets the money.,

Kite flying

In Gujarat state of India huge kite flying events take place.

Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sang (RSS) celebrates six traditional festivals and Sankranti is one of them. North Indians distribute sweet sesame balls to everyone on this day.

Thiruvalluvar day

Tamil Nadu government declared Cattle Pongal Day as Thirvalluvar day in honour of great Tamil poet Valluvar.

Orthodox Hindus pay homage to departed souls by doing Tarpana on the Sankranti day.,

Sankranti, being a solar festival it falls on the same day every year, either on 14th or 15th of January.


In his Madras discourse on 14th January 1958, Kanchi Paramacharya (1894-1994) said,

“Plant life is necessary for the growth and sustenance of animal life. The entire vegetable kingdom derives its  nourishment through rain and dew which fall during the Dakshinayana and attain fruition during Uttarayana by the warmth that it obtains from the sun. it is the all merciful Narayana who is ‘antaryamin’ in the Sun and who is the source of all this nourishment and fruition. And so, we devoutly offer the plants and vegetables which sustain human life to the Giver of all Good on this day – Makara Sankranti day – or Thai Pongal day – and use them with His Grace.,

Giving up all luxuries, we must restrict ourselves to necessities and use them with gratitude as gifts of the All Merciful God. We worship the sun on Makara Sankranti day as the agency through whom Iswara (God) bestows on us he necessities of life.

Fresh turmeric, which is evident in puja, is symbol of auspiciousness. Sugarcane stands for whatever is sweet in life. Grain, plantain and coconut are symbolic of the plenty of the season, which along with sweetened rice are offered to the sun.

In the same manner, the cowherds offer these gifts of god to domestic animals such as cow on the next day.

The observance of this day, betokening plenty and auspiciousness, is a reminder to all of us, including the unlettered masses, that the overflowing and abundant good things that support our life are the gifts of All Merciful Providence, personified by the sun, who enters the northward course. This is equated in the Bhagavat Gita and the Upanishads with a path with which a devotee is destined to reach the ultimate divinity.,

May plenty and spirituality overflow by His Grace , especially in the world of today where they are most needed.

–From Acharya’s Call, Part 2, B G Paul &co, Madras-1

tags – Pongal, Sankranti, Kanu, Bhogi, Bull fighting, Kite flying

sankranti in Laos and Thailand



Sankaranti | Tamil and Vedas › tag › sankaranti


Tamils in South India celebrate it as Pongal– Harvest Festival. Other parts of India celebrate it as a solar festival. All over India worship Sun God on that day.

பொங்கல் பண்டிகை | Tamil and Vedas › tag › பொங்கல்-ப…


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9 May 2018 – பொங்கல் என்று சொல்லும் பண்டிகையின் உண்மைப் பெயர் சங்கராந்தி. ஒரு உணவுப் பண்டத்தின் பெயரில் பண்டிகை இராது என்பது …

பொங்கல் வாழ்த்து! (Post No.5937) | Tamil and … › 2019/01/15 › பொங்க…


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15 Jan 2019 – வந்தது இன்று பொங்கல் – நனி. தந்தது இன்று … வேணும் பொங்கல் மகிழ்ச்சி – நாம் … Tamil and Vedas posted: ” Pongal picture from Bank of Baroda calendar > Written …,


Pongal Kolam or Sankranti Rangoli

Bridegroom ran away on Wedding Day! Bride became a Saint! (Post No.7452)

Bridegroom ran away on Wedding Day! Bride became a Saint! (Post No.7452)


Post No.7452

Date uploaded in London – 13 January 2020

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Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog.

Jainism has beautiful stories highlighting Ahimsa (non violence) and  sacrifice. They have women with exemplary character and one of them was Rajimati.

Hinduism appealed to Vedic believers.

Buddhism appealed to Kshatria warriors; and

Jainism appealed to Vaisya business community.

Here is a story of Saint Neminatha who was cousin of Lord Krishna, and lived probably around 3200 BCE. He was the 22nd Tirthankara and so must have lived before 6th century BCE. Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism was a contemporary of Buddha (sixth century BCE).

Chastity amongst women and faithfulness on the part of a wife towards her husband, even when the marriage rite has not taken place and she is only a ‘vaag dattaa’ – betrothed—is the highest ideal of Indian womanhood and Jainism made no exceptions.

An ideal woman of this type was Raajiimatii, the wife of the twenty second tirthankara Neminaatha, a cousin of Lord Krishna. When his marriage procession was on its way towards the marriage pavilion, Neminatha, the bridegroom saw a number of animals caged in a pen situated on the way. Upon enquiry he learnt that they were to be killed for serving the groom’s party with meat. Alarmed at the thought of impending large scale animal slaughter on his account, Neminatha immediately stopped it and turned his mind  away from this world, which involved such sins of killing and entered the life of a monk.

Rajimati followed the footsteps of her husband  and joined the ascetic order. Once while Neminatha and his brother Rathanemi and Rajimati were practising penance on the same mountain – Girnar – Rathanemi lost self- control and was attracted towards his sister in law. But Rajimati  boldly resisted and baffled his attempts by telling him  that he was preparing to drink from the vomit of another.

The theme of Rathanemi and Rajimati   also forms the subject of a very old and beautiful ballad in the Jaina canonical text – Uttaraadhyayana Sutra– which shows from very early times she was held an ideal of chastity.

(Neminatha is revered and worshipped by the Jains  along with Mahavira and Parswanatha through out India. Neminatha has shrines in many places. In ancient Tamil Nadu the tallest statue was Neminatha in a village called Tirumalai. It is 52 feet tall)

WE must include such stories in School syllabus and encourage students to do more research into the historicity of all religious personalities.

Let us salute  the great Saints Neminatha and Rajimati!

Source book – Great Women of India, Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati, 1953

Tags – Neminatha, Rajimati, Jain woman, Ahimsa



Abhirami bhattar praying to goddess.

Compiled by London swaminathan

Post No.7439

Date uploaded in London – 9 January 2020

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Tamil devotional poet Abhirami Bhattar is a house hold name in Tamil Nadu. Equally famous was Kalamegham whose name means that he pours down poems like a black rainy cloud. These two poets and and an anonymous poet prays to God and Goddess to pay them SIXTEEN GREAT THINGS.

Whenever a newly married couple seeks the blessings of the elders, they used to bless them saying LET BOTH OF YOU GET THE SIXTEEN and LIVE A LONG LIFE.

So there are at least three Tamil poems giving the List of 16 Great Things. Though the lists slightly vary, I will give below the most popular one of Abhirami Bhattar, a great devotee of Goddess Uma/Parvati/Abirami

English Translation
O, Goddess of old Kadavur, Younger Sister of Vishnu who is ‘sleeping’ on the ocean, who is inseparable from Amutheesar, O Abhirami, please bless me with the following:–

1)Good and Proper Education,

2) Long life,

3)Good Friends,

 4)Inexhaustible Prosperity,


6)Disease free (healthy) body,

 7)Calm mind (tranquillity),

8)Affectionate wife,

9)Children with good character,

10)Name and Fame,



13)Theft free Wealth,

14)Good government,

15)Worry free life, and

16) Association with your great devotees.

An alternative translation runs like this :– Life long Learning, Long life, Untarnished Friendship, Undiminished Prosperity, Eternal youth, Healthy Life, Unending exuberance, Ever loving Spouse, Unfaltering Children, Ever rising reputation, Truthfulness, Generosity at all times, Wealth that never ceases to grow, Honesty/ Fair play ( a country with a just government), Life free of sorrows, Love of God or association with god loving people/devotees.



A Prayer Found in Chester Cathedral

Give me good digestion, Lord,
And also something to digest;
Give me a healthy body, Lord,
With sense to keep it at its best.

Give me a healthy mind, good Lord,
To keep the pure and good in sight;
Which, seeing sin, is not applauded,
But find a way to set it right.

Give me a mind that is not bored,
That does not whimper, wine and sigh;
Don’t let me worry overmuch
About the fussy thing called “I”.

Give me a sense of humour, Lord,
Give the grace to see a joke;
To get some happiness from life,
And pass it on to other folk.



Enormous Wealth

What We Need

A little dash of purpose,
An effort made to cheer,
A little more of courage,
And less of doubt and fear;
A little more of lifting,
And pulling all our weight,
A little less of leaning,
And leaving it to fate.

A little less of grabbing,
Of selfishness and greed,
A little more of helping,
A fellow that’s in need;
A little more of working,
With smiles instead of frowns,
A little less of kicking,
A fellow when he down.

A little less complaining,
About the things that mar,
A little more adapting,
To all the things that are;
A little more of caring,
And willingness to fight,
A little more of daring,
For what we feel is right.

A little splash of humour,
To brighten up the way,
A little joy to follow,
And linger through the day;
A little touch of laughter,
To cause a little mirth,
Is simply what we’re needing,
To gladden this old earth.

Hope Spencer


about life

Hindus use cow’s urine for its anti-bacterial properties

Hindus’ greatest contribution to civilization is cow and its milk. They domesticated it and found out the value of milk.

16 Types of Gifts

(From Wisdom Library)

Mahādāna (महादान).—There are sixteen Mahādānas or “Great gifts”. They are: (1) Tulāpuruṣadāna, (2) Hiraṇyagarbha dāna, (3) Brahmāṇḍa dāna, (4) Kalpakavṛkṣadāna, (5) Gosahasradāna, (6) Hiraṇyakāmadhenudāna, (7) Hiraṇyāśva dāna, (8) Hiraṇyāśvaratha dāna, (9) Hemahastiratha dāna, (10) Pañcalāṅgalakadāna (11) Dhārādāna, (12) Viśvacakradāna (13) Kalpalatā dāna, (14) Saptasāgaraka dāna, (15) Ratnadhenu dāna, (16) Mahāpūtaghaṭa dāna. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 210).

Tamil and Sanskrit inscriptions say that the great kings did 16 Daanaas (gifts or Donations). The list slightly differs in different Hindu scriptures. But all include Food, Gold, Cows, Land.

Other common gifts were golden images of a Pipal tree, Meru Hills, Divine Tree Karpaka Vruksha, Divine Cow Kamadhenu etc.

The lists say that giving a girl to a worthy man is a good gift and it is known as Kanyaa Dhaanam.

Giving education and helping someone to get married are also great gifts.

The general term for Great Gifts is Maha Dhanam. But the actual meaning of the word is giving gold to a Brahmana equal to one’s own weight.

Great Tamil king Cheran  Senguttuvan weighed himself against gold and gave it to a Brahmin known as Matalan, according to Tamil Epic Silappadikaram.

Hindu king Mulavarman of Indonesia of fourth century CE and Krishna Devaraya of 14th century did 16 Gifts Ceremony.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mahadana in Sanskrit glossary (from Wisdom Library)

Mahādāna (महादान).the gift of gold equal to one’s own weight; अथातः संप्रवक्ष्यामि महादानस्य लक्षणम् (athāta sapravakyāmi mahādānasya lakaam).

Derivable forms: mahādānam (महादानम्).

Mahādāna is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and dāna (दान).

Tamil Encyclopaedia ‘Abidana Chintamani’ by Singaravelu Mudaliyar gives a list of over 30 Daanaas (gifts) with full information.

English word donation is derived from Sanskrit word Dhaana.

Hindus worship cow on festival days

Xxxx Subham xxxx


Written by London Swaminathan

Uploaded in London on  – 8 JANUARY 2020

Post No.7434

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By London swaminathan


Devotees of Lord Vishnu celebrated Vaikunda Ekadasi on 6th January 2020. Every year a famous Shiva Festival follows Vaikunda Ekadasi. It is known as Aardra Festival. Temples all over South India celebrate both these festivals in a grand manner.

What is Aardra?

Aardra or Aarudra or Thiruvaathirai (in Tamil) is a star in the 27 star system in Hindu astronomy. It is part of the Orion Constellation in the Northern sky. The name of this star is Betelgeuse .,

Aardra in Sanskrit means WET. This star is associated with Lord Shiva. It is customary for the Hindus to keep the statues of Shiva always wet. So in every temple, there is a Shiva Linga on which there is a vessel with a very small hole. Milk or water will always be dripping on the head of Lord Shiva. Hindus know the famous saying,



Vishnu idols are decorated beautifully with the finest jewellery and clothes.

Shiva idols are always bathed with water, milk or honey.

Alankara means decorating with ornaments and clothing.

Abhisheka means ritual bathing.

Kanchi Shankaracharya Swamiji (1894-1994) explains it beautifully,

“Lord Isvara (Shiva) in his manifestation as Dancing Nataraja , gives his darshan in the early morning of the day on which the confluence of full moon (Purnima) and the star Aardra occurs. This revelation of the Lord is known as Aardra Darsanam. The combination of Aardra and the full moon occurs once a year, in the month of Maargazi (Maargasiirsha in Sanskrit) corresponding to December-January. The meaning of the Sanskrit word Aardra is wet or dripping. In the context of Aardra Darsan, aardra signifies wet with COMPASSION or ‘nanaintha manasu’ in Tamil. This is the period of the year when Nature, which is nothing else than a manifestation of God, puts on a wet cloak of dew. What a wonderful combination is the cool soothing rays of the full moon and the dripping dew that envelops the earth! On such an auspicious day we should also perform abisheka with a heart overflowing with compassion towards our fellow beings and earn His blessings.”

-January 5, 1958 (Acharya’s Madras Discourses, B G Paul & co, Madras (Chennai).


Chidambaram is one of the Pachabhuta Sthala (Five Elements Shrines), where this festival is celebrated on a grand scale. Hindus in South India believe that five shrines are very holy because Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of five natural elements –,

Chidambaram – Akasa /  space or vacuum

Thiruvanaikovil near Trichy – Appu / Water

Tiruvannamalai – Agni / fire

Kalahasti – Vayu / air

Kanchipuram – Prithvi / earth.

Of these five temples, Chidambaram is the place where God is worshipped formless and so Hindus consider it as the most sacred place. Near the vacuum hall which is curtained, there is the most famous Dancing form of Lord Shiva known as Nataraja illustrating the cosmic principle. This explains all that is discovered so far in science from nuclear science to Black holes.

What do Hindus do on Aardra festival day?

In all the South Indian temples Abhisheka (ritual bathing of Shiva with water, milk, honey, coconut water, curd/yoghurt ,ghee, sandal paste, pomegranate juice, fruit salad/Panchamrita, cooked food , holy ash etc. Hindus flock to the Shiva temples in thousands and thousands. Many Shiva temples have ten day long festivals with Chariot Procession/ Rath Yatra during this season.

This ceremony commences at about midnight and lasts till late in the morning. When the bathing is over the image is choicely decorated with costly jewels donated by the kings and devotees. This is done behind the screen/curtain and when it is raised the whole hall rings with the hymns of praise chanted by thousands of pilgrims.,

Pandit Natesa Sastri adds in his book Hindu Feasts (year 1903) ,

“In Chidambaram the procession of Nataraja takes place in the evening. This is the most impressive scene of the Aardra festival and the Ananda Tandavam – the dance in ecstatic joy – takes  place on the occasion. The bearers of the image have a mode of marching slowly, so as to give the image the appearance of dancing. The garbagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is reached after a slow march of three or four hours; and this completes the Aardra festival.,

Shiva temples in Tiruvarur, Lalgudi, Perur, Madurai, Tirunelvely, Kanchipuram also celebrate it with lots of devotees visiting the temple.

Great Saiva philosopher Manikkavasagar spent his last days in Chidambaram and a small festival to honour the philosopher takes place in this (Chidambaram) temple . Manikkavasagar festival is celebrated in Tirupperundurai, Thiruvathavur and Madurai as well.

In Kerala

Malayalees celebrate Thiru Aathirai (Aardra) with dance and music. The women wear traditional dress and dance in circles with Ardra songs in Malayalam.

Saivite Hindus all over Tamil Nadu prepare special Sweet Pudding today called Kali with a special side dish (Kuuttu).

Two festivals with special Titles

Word Thiru is a honorific title in Tamil. This is a cognate word with Sri and SIR title in English.

T becomes S and S becomes T in many world languages. Thus we equate SRI=THIRU=SIR

(TION= SION in English)

Kanchi Shankaracharya (1894-1994) points out two relevant things in his discourses.,

He says that Tamils and Malayalees have rightly added the honorific Thiru with only two stars in the 27 star system.

Thiru Onam (sravna)

Thiru Aathirai (ardra).

Both these are celebrated grandly in Vishnu and Shiva temples. One for Vishnu and one for Shiva showing both are one. More over they are spaced in a way to cover the whole year.

How to solve your problems?

Kanchi Pramacharya (1894- 1994) concludes beautifully one of his discourses on Ardra festival thus,

“Many people come to me every day and pour into my ears heart rending tales of their sorrows and afflictions. What solace can I offer to them except to tell them that their heart aches from dukkha and taapa will be assuaged if they perform abisheka to Parameswara with faith and devotion, doing daily puja to Him. In this sacred Margazi (Margasirsa), everyone should get up at ushath kala, long before dawn, and turn his thoughts to God and thereby find remedy for all his troubles and tribulations.”,

Discourse on December 5, 1957 in Madras.

From The Acharya’s Call, Part 1, B G Paul & Co, Madras 1964.

Before concluding he quotes two beautiful Sanskrit verses which show all surrounding Shiva are cool such as moon, Ganga on his head, winter season and abisheka from devotees. By keeping Shiva cool, we get his blessings. Keep Lord Shiva cool to keep ourselves cool (happy).




Complied by  London Swaminathan

Uploaded in London on  – 31 December 2019

Post No.7404

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Gandhari made Sri Krishna responsible for the  Kurukshetra War  and uttered a fearful curse on the

Yadavas, of which he was the most distinguished representative. She prophesied that a cruel calamity would overtake the house of the Yadavas, inasmuch as Shri Krishna ignored or failed to prevent the ruinous war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. on the strength of her chastity and ascetism, she even said that Shri Krishna himself in no distant future would fall a prey to a foul death. It is important to bear in this mind that in this connection that Shri Krishna smilingly  accepted this curse and recognised her truthfulness, piety and penance.

After the Kurushetra war, Dhritarastra and Gandhari lived for sixteen years  at Hastinapura under the protection of Pandavas. They forgot to a great extent their grief at the loss of their sons on account of the wonderful care and sympathy bestowed upon them by Yudhisthira . At the end of the sixteenth year, however, they decided to go on a mission of pilgrimage to the Himalayas. In this mission they were accompanied by d Dhritarastra’s half brother Vidura, his minister Sanjaya and Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas .


 On the eve of their departure,  Dhritarastra addressed a big assembly of the citizens of Hastinapura and men from the countryside. In this meeting Gandhari appeared by the side of her husband with her eyes bandaged, and made a request to the assembled multitude through her husband asking their forgiveness of the sins of her sons.

The final departure scene of the old sorrowful King Dhritarastra  was pathetic. Kunti came forward to lead the journey, Gandhari  put her hands on the shoulders of Kunti and Dhritarastra  followed Gandhari , placing his hands on her shoulders. Vidura and Sanjaya were on either side of the procession. The citizens of Hastinapura wept like orphans as the procession came out of the main gate of the city, but Dhritarastra and Gandhari and others walked on unmoved.


In the Himalayas, they spent a few more years till they were burnt alive by a conflagration which had enveloped that part of the forest in which they lived. . confronted by it they showed remarkable courage and fortitude. They refused to escape from the fire; on the other hand, they sat down on the ground with calmness and in a spirit of resignation welcoming the approach of the fire.

On the day of her passing away from the earth, Gandhari’s eyes were still bandaged, and she made the supreme sacrifice  with unflinching loyalty to her ideals. She exemplifies the best ideals of Indian womanhood through the ages from the days of Mababharata , and remains immortal  in the minds of millions of Indians  who derive their inspiration from the Great Epic.

Source book – Great Women of India, Advaita Ashrama, Almora, Himalayas, 1953


Christian Blood Miracle கிறிஸ்தவ ரத்த அதிசயம் (Post No.7397)

Written  by london Swaminathan

Date – 29th December 2019

Post No.7397

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1992 மார்ச் 15 தினமணியில் நான் எழுதிய இத்தாலி நாட்டு நேப்பிள்ஸ் நகர கத்தோலிக்க சாமியாரின் ரத்த அதிசயம் பற்றிய  கட்டுரையை இத்துடன் இணைத்துள்ளேன் . 2019 செப்டம்பரில் ரத்தம் இளகிய செய்தி கத்தோலிக்க பத்திரிகைகளில் வெளியானது. அதாவது ஆண்டு தோறும் அதிசயம் நிகழ்கிறது .

The blood was shown to have liquefied shortly after 10 a.m. during Mass in the Naples’ Cathedral (19 September 2019).

The miracle of the liquefiction of the blood of early Church martyr St. Januarius took place Thursday in Naples.

The blood was shown to have liquefied shortly after 10 a.m. during Mass in the Naples’ Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary.

The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Archbishop of Naples, who in his homily, strongly criticized the violent crime of Neapolitan streets.

Despite the city’s recurring miracle, “the evil that the hateful and violent killers commit in Naples is limitless,” he said.” In effect they try to kill at birth just the possibility of making a future…”

This, he noted, generates fear and insecurity, and goes against the common good.

“We must ask ourselves: does Naples still have a great and sincere heart? Us citizens of today’s Naples have to answer this question with truth, therefore, with realism, with honesty and courageously, without letting ourselves be taken by a false nostalgia of the times we once had,” he stated.

St. Januarius, or San Gennaro in Italian, the patron of Naples, was a bishop of the city in the third century, whose bones and blood are preserved in the cathedral as relics. He is believed to have been martyred during Diocletian persecution.

The reputed miracle is locally known and accepted, though has not been the subject of official Church recognition. The liquefaction usually happens at least three times a year: September 19, the saint’s feast day, the Saturday before the first Sunday of May, and December 16, the anniversary of the 1631 eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

During the miracle, the dried, red-colored mass confined to one side of the reliquary becomes blood that covers the entire glass. In local lore, the failure of the blood to liquefy signals war, famine, disease or other disaster.

The blood did not liquefy in December 2016, but Monsignor Vincenzo De Gregorio, abbot of the Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro, said it was a sign that Catholics should pray rather than worry about what the lack of miracle could mean.

“We must not think of disasters and calamities. We are men of faith and we must pray,” he said at the time.

The vial has sometimes changed upon the visit of a pope.

On March 21, 2015, Pope Francis met with priests, religious and seminarians at the cathedral and gave a blessing with the relic.

Sepe then received the vial back from the pope and noted that the blood had partially liquefied.

The last time blood liquefied in the presence of a pope was in 1848 when Bl. Pius IX visited. The phenomenon didn’t happen when St. John Paul II visited the city in October 1979, or when Benedict XVI visited in October 2007.



Sri Naganatha Sivam and Sri M N Kalyanasundram

Written by London swaminathan

Post no. 7381

Date 25 December 2019

Uploaded from London

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A Saiva Agama seminar and Raurava Agama book launch was organised on 23rd December 2019  in London jointly by the Veda Agama Academy, Sri Kalpaga, Saiva Agama Sadas and World Hindu Mahasangam. Sri Kalyanasundara Sivacharya made all the arrangements for the event and welcomed the gathering. He said that in his recent meeting with His Holiness Sri Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peedam, he advised him to teach children living abroad the basic hymns. Veda Agama Academy is doing it.

Sri Naganatha Sivacharya, Chief Priest of London Sri Murugan (Skanda / Kartikeya) temple where the event was held, presided over the seminar and the book launch event. In his address he told that every year they used to go to a multifaith ceremony at the British Army Headquarters . And as a reciprocal gesture, the Chief of the British Armed Forces visited the Murugan temple. When that English gentleman was inquiring about the god in the temple Sri Naganatha Sivam told him that He is Hindu God Murugan alias Skanda who is the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces of Gods (Deva Senapati). Immediately he reacted by saying, ‘Oh then He is our man’. He showed keen interest in Hindu gods.

Elaborating on the same theme Sri Naganatha Sivam told the audience that we should present our old Puranic stories in such a way to create more interest in modern day youths. He gave one more instance to illustrate his point. Youngsters used to visit the temple and ask him with genuine curiosity who the gods in the shrine are. Immediately the priest asked them to count the number of gods in the main shrine. They would immediately reply that they see three gods there. Then Mr Sivam explain that they are the Iccha Sakti, Gyan Sakti and Kriya Sakti symbolising, ‘Thinking, Planning and Doing’ good things. This type of explanation creates more interest in them and pave way for more questions.

He also told that the Veda, Agama, Sastra and Tamil Devotional Hymns Tirumurai are complimentary to each other. The Late Chief of Dharmapuram Mutt used to explain that each branch mentioned the previous branch justifying the said order. He praised the relentless work of Sri Kalyanasundara Sivacharya in bringing out the Agamas and Saiva literature. He appealed to the people to buy such books and support the Veda Agama Academy.

Sri Vasanthan Sivacharya spoke on the topic Shadadhva (SixWays/ Adhvas). Sri Chandrasekara Sivacharya spoke elaborately on Siva Diksha. Sri Kamalanatha Sivacharya spoke on the Saiva Paddathis very briefly. All the Sivacharyas were adorned with shawls and presented with Special Titles. Sri Naganatha Sivam distributed the new edition of Raurava Agama.

Chandra sekhara Sivacharya of Kanchipuram based in Birmingham narrated some interesting aspects of Siva Diksha. He told that they are practical lessons for a Sivacharya. Even when God and Goddess are taken to bed room (Palli Arai) in the temple every night, the beds are changed according to seasonal weather. Everything that is taught to Sivcharyas while taking Diksha (Initiation Ceremony) is a practical lesson for a Siva devotee.

Sri Ram Satrigal of Chennai who is visiting UK, took part in the seminar as a special guest. He pointed out the Mantra connection between the Vedas and Agamas. He appealed to the youngsters to attend his Veda class in the same temple every afternoon. Now the students are learning about Udhaka Shanti and all are welcome to join it after Christmas Holidays.

The seminar was attended by a number of youths which was appreciated by all the speakers. The meeting was concluded with a vote of thanks by Sri Kalyanasundaram.

Sri Lambodara Kurukkal, Sri Gopi Kurukkal, Sri Ganesh Sivam and others helped the organiser in making the function a grand success.

Xxxxsubham xxxx


Research article by London swaminathan

Date: 22 December 2019

Time in London – 17-59

Post No. 7372

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Here is an alternate reading of the Vishnu Sahasranama, the oldest of the Sahasranamas. One thousand names of any god is a ‘’Sahasranama. Though every Hindu god and goddess has a Sahasranama Vishnu’s one is the most famous of all Sahasranamas. It is the oldest and part of Mahabharata. Great grandsire Bhisma said it in front of Lord Krishna. Saints like Adi Shankara, Parasara Bhatta and Madhwa have commented on it. Hundreds of articles are written by prominent religious leaders on the religious merits of it.

Though I also recite it everyday like any devout Hindu, being an amateur historian, I can’t stop thinking of its influence on world history. Roman and Mitannian King names are in it. I have interpreted the words or its sounds on the bais of history.  Let me tell you what I found in it:-

Five Generations

In the introductory First Part, we see five generations in one sloka- vyasam vasistha naptharam………………… Vyasa, his son Suka, Vyasa’s father Parasara, grand father Sakthi, great grand father Vasistha.

As all Hindus know Vyasa lived just before the beginning of Kaliyuga in 3102 BCE, we are talking about 3200 BCE here.

Sloka 16……yatha sarvani bhutani……….. talks about Big Bang and Big Crunch of cosmology.

Dhyana sloka sees the God as the universe with Sun and Moon as eyes, earth as His feet and Sky as His head. This is a repeat of Purushasuktam of Rig Veda and Viswarupa Darsan of Bhagavad Gita.

Concept of Time

Hindu concept of Time is very different from the Westrn concept of Time. In the main part of Sahasranama, the very first sloka describes god as master of time past, present and future. He is beyond the sway of  Time.

All Gods in Sahasranama

Though it is called Vishnu Sahasranama, all gods’ names are in it – Siva, Sambhu, Aditya, Prajapati, Indra, Sumuka ( Ganesa), Ganesvarah, Vasu, Varuna, Rudra, Indra

Sikkandi ,Nahusha – epic and puranic names

Skanda ,Purandhara , Parameswara,Guha

Lord Kartikeya, Indra, Lord Shiva, Sastha,  figure in the hymn.

Rama , Pranava, Krishna

Names of Rama, Omkara also in the hymn.

Mitannian king

Pratardhana was one of the kings who ruled Turkey- Syria region around 1400 BCE. It is one of the 1000 names of Vishnu.


World’s first law giver Manu is in the hymn.


This is a Vedic deity with lot of funny interpretations such as sexy monkey etc. Since it is in the Sahasranama it is as old as Vedic literature.


It is the name of the Gautama Buddha ofsixth century BCE


Another Vedic deity. Names of Vedic deities are found only in this hymn. That proves that Vishnu Sahasranama is the oldest.

Margo (Way)

I am the Way.

Indus valley God

Vishnu is called Maha Srnga- we see God with horn/ srnga in the Indus Valley Seals; though mistakenly identified with Shiva/Pasupati. Later we see Srngi (horned god) Na Eka Srngi (not just one horned) in this hymn.

Kapila (Tamil Poet’s Name)

Kapila is the name of a great rishi. It is in this hymn. Sangam Tamil literature has a Brahmin poet with this name Kapila. He is the most celebrated poet and highest contributor to the 2000 year old Sangam corpus.

Mr Doctor

Hindus are the only people who call god as a doctor and Medicine (Beshajam, Bishak in Rudra of Yajur Veda) here in this hymn God is called Bishak/ doctor).

Gupta dynasty

Gupta is one of the names here in the hymn; probably Gupta dynasty named themselves with this word.


Tamil poets describe God as a Brahmin. This is an echo of Sahasranama


Manetho is one of the Egyptian priests who wrote Egyptian history in the third century BCE. Here we have Manatho

Surya Namaskar

Names of Surya found in the Surya Namaskar Mantra are Vishnu’s names found in the hymn.


Rome’s greatest orator, lawer, statesman is Cicero. We see Sisirah in the hymn.

Sri Vijaya Dynasty

Sri Vijaya Dynasty of South East Asia took its name

From the Sahasranam. This is in the last part of Sahasranama


Sri occurs in many words. It simply means, wealth, auspicious , Goddess Lakshmi.

English title SIR and Tamil title Thiru came from Sri.


Many Indian kings including the greatest legendary king Vikramaditya has this name.

Garudadwaja -Flag of Eagle-

Today we see Garuda/ emblem in several countries including USA. Garuda Pillar was erected in Besnagar by Helidorus in 113 BCE. He was the ambassador of Indo-Greek king of Taxila. He called himself Parama Bhagavata/ great devotee f Vishnu.

Thus we see many dynasties and kings in the Sahsranama.

Trees and birds and Stars

Several trees, birds, fish and star names are also found in the Vishnu Sahasranama.

So, an alternate reading of the oldest Sahasranama sheds more light on the history of the world from Turkey/ Syria to Sri Vijayas of South East Asia.