Questions And Answers Indian Civilization By Sanjeev Nayyar -3

Questions And Answers Indian Civilization
By Sanjeev Nayyar  

Q21 Mama, whenever I talk to you about sex you gets distinctly uncomfortable but I have also seen the photographs of Khajuraho temple where sex has been depicted in an open way.  If we had such an open attitude towards sex why this discomfort on your part?
That's a good question Pooja. It’s taken me a long time to find an answer to this paradox. Indians had a healthy attitude towards sex till about the beginning of this millennium. Unlike the Christian attitude towards sex, the Hindu attitude had been more open & balanced. Sex was basically associated with the act of procreation ie having children. As far as the seeking of ultimate joy was concerned it was always associated with the realization of the Self. Women always got an equal position with men in the Hindu thought & system. Our value system does value respect towards our elders, and covering the head (which is not exactly purdah) was a part of our culture to express our respect towards our elders.
In the olden days temples were modern day community centers where the parents took their children every evening. As the parents approached the main temple, the bells, chants were started. At that time the children walked around the temple observing the exotic sculptures. While they were ignorant about their significance earlier, as they grew up the devotional ecstasy and the sensual presentation synchronized due to constant association of the two ideas. Later when they got married, the procreative function was automatically treated with spiritual beauty and serenity. It was Sex education at a very early stage in life, not like what we are taught today.
Prior to the 18th century European society was very conservative. In  Europe, in  18th  or  earlier  centuries sex was taboo....even  church  architecture  or  pictures always  showed  distance between  man  and  woman....Women  dressed  covering  whole  body  ....even  to  show  legs  was  not  permitted   ....even  the  heads  were  covered ....woman were  subservient  to  man  who  did  what  they  were asked to. It’s only recently that we hear of free sex.
The Muslim invaders brought their orthodox views. Strict veiling of women was a common practice among the Muslims. Hindus adopted Purdah as a protective measure to save the honor of their womenfolk and to maintain the purity of their social order. The tendency to imitate the ruling class was another factor that made Hindus adopts purdah. Purdah, however, was less rigorously observed in Rajput families where women were trained in all arts of warfare and would take part in hunting expeditions. So also, barring Muslim families South India did not have purdah.
Net net this progressive Hindu view has been progressively sidelined because of influences under Muslim, Christian rule & in the present times, Western influence.

Q22 Mom, why do you an Aarti every morning?
My dear kudi let me explain the symbolism/philosophy associated with the Aarti. Having worshipped the Lord with love, lit by the lamp we see the beauty of the Lord in all his glory. The singing, clapping is associated with the joy that accompanies the vision of the Lord. Aarti being performed with Camphor has a spiritual significance. Camphor burns itself out completely without leaving a trace. Camphor represents our Vasanas, unmanifest desires. So also if wewere to take refuge in the Lord obtain knowledge, these desires will get burnt out. Al though the camphor burns itself out, it emits a nice perfume. On a human plane it means that we should sacrifice ourselves to serve society, in the process spread the perfume of love and happiness to all.
We close our eyes while performing the Aarti as if to look within. The Self or Atman is within us. . Self realization can be achieved by knowing thyself, with the flame of knowledge. At the end of the aarti we place the hands over the flame and touch our eyes and top of the head. It means that may the light that illumined the Lord light up my vision, may my thoughts be pure and beautiful.
With the Aarti comes the flame which signifies light. There can be light in our lives only if we have knowledge. In an era of darkness there would be ignorance, we would be perpetually running to fulfill our vasanas resulting in unhappiness and stress all around.
Q23 Mom, after Dr Ambedkar became a member of the Buddhists sect, it has become popular today. But tell me why did Buddhism vanish from India?
Buddhism was exterminated from India for two reasons. The Muslim invaders destroyed Buddhists monasteries, killing the monks, leaving none to preach Buddha’s teachings. Having been embraced by people who no longer lived by the teachings of the Buddha, Buddhism showed signs of decay around the 8th century a.d. In such an environment Sankaracharya cleansed Hinduism of its ills, assimilated Buddhism’s good points, on the strength of his arguments unified various Hindu sects and convinced Buddhist scholars about the supremacy of Hindu philosophy.
Q24 Mama, you have told me that Classical music is a part of Hinduism, please explain?
Indian music can be broadly divided into Hindustani and Carnatic music. The former originated in North India, was influenced by Persian and Arabic cultures while the latter is a product of South India. Carnatic music has its roots in the Sama Veda and has no foreign influences. It is associated with devotional songs to deities. Very few instruments are used in this music. The music is based on the seven letters of Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni. These letters are mathematically improvised to make thousands of tunes known as Ragas and cyclic patterns known as Talas.
Q25 Mom, I was seeing the promos of Suraj Barjatyas latest blockbuster on Channel V and saw all the heroes standing doing Namaste. Iska meaning kya hai?
This is an Indian way of greeting. In Sanskrit namah + te = namste meaning I bow to you. It has a spiritual significance of reducing ones ego in front of another. It also means may our minds meet indicated by the folded palms placed before the Chest. The gesture of holding hands together is called Anjali Mundra. Both hands represent positive and negative forces and bringing them together affirms the singleness of the World.  The bowing of the head symbolises extending of love and affection with humility.
Another reason for Namaste is - So that we can close the circuitry of our energy bodies and prevent the trade of energies, eventually leading to the build up of karmas. True mom. When I did a Namaste know I actually felt that the energies in my body coming together. Also the position of my elbows made my body feel fitter. Also by doing so we bow to the god center in the other being.

Q26 Mama, did you see the Hyundai ka advt today, it said Sampati Ghar Leha ho. Now what on earth does Sampati stand for?
Sat Sampatti stands for:
                Sama           i.e. calmness.
                Dama          ie self control.
                Uparati        ie detachment.
                Titiksa         ie endurance.
                Samadhi      ie creative concentration.
                Sraddha      ie faith.

Q27 Which are the holy cities in India?
They are Ayodhya, Mathura, Kanchi, Haridvara, Kasi (Benaras), Avanti (Ujjain), Dwarka, Amristsar, Palanpur, Bodh Gaya. Of the first seven, three are sacred to Shiva and three to Vishnu while Kanchi is sacred to both. Amristsar is sacred to the Sardars, Palanpur to the Jains and Bodh Gaya to the Buddhists.
Q28 Mom, when ever we have gone to the temple the pandit says Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi ie thrice at the end of the prayer. What is its significance?
The three repetitions are addressed to three groups into which all obstacles can be classifies –
Cosmic (God sent) or Heavenly wraths from unknown objects.
From Nature, the thermic or dynamic resources such as earthquake, lighting, excessive rain. >
Phenomenal or cruelties from objects known to us.
From objects like floods, fire, robbers, wild beats, environmental disturbances like human foes etc.
Purely subjective i.e. created from our own selves – obstacles arising from our own mind, body and intellect
Body ailment, inertia, lack of concentration, agitation of mind, disturbances from negative thoughts.

Q29 Why is the river Ganga so important to Indians?
The Ganga is considered to be a goddess and one of the consorts of Lord Siva. In the Mahabharat, Ganga was the mother of great hero Bhishma Pitama. After the Saraswati river dried up, the cradle of the Indian civilization shifted to the Gangetic plain. A river with the length of 1557 miles affects the lives of millions of people. Since people who lived on its banks, esp agriculturist were so dependant on it, they worshipped it and sought its blessings. According to mythology she was brought down from heaven by the King Bhagiratha in order to purify the ashes of his ancestors. The Ganges originates from a glacier called Gangotri which is high up in the Himalayas and is app a 15 kms trek from Gangotri. You know in college, I trekked all the way up to Gaumukh and have no words to describe the experience.
The concept of having a dip in the sacred rivers of the land ie Tirth Cult can be traced to Veda Vyasa. To have a dip in the holy Ganga was as important to a man from Gandhara as it was to a man from Kanyakumari. This was one of the many traditions introduced by the great Rishis to make Bharat into a single cultural unit. Since the river contains many minerals it having a dip has medicinal values too.
Q30 How did the dances of India originate?
They originated from Lord Shiva’s famous dance, Tandava Nirthyam. The first rules of dances were coded by Sage Bharata between 100 and 300 a.d. His treatise on dance, drama and music is called Natya Shashtra. It is said that he composed the first syllables of Bhava (emotion), Raga (melody), Tala (rhythm) and Rasa (mood). Dance is basically composed of Abhinayana (facial and body expression), Mudras (hand gestures) and Gati (all form of footwork). The four prominent dances are Bharata Natyam of Tanjore, Kathak of Uttar Pradesh, Kathakali of Kerala and Manipuri of Assam.

Om Tat Sat

(My humble salutations to  Sri Sanjeev Nayyar ji and hindu samskrit dot com  for the collection)


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