Questions And Answers Indian Civilization By Sanjeev Nayyar -5

Questions And Answers Indian Civilization
By Sanjeev Nayyar  

Q67 Why chant on stringed beeds?
It is tradition to chant mantras or sacred words in a certain number of times or certain duration of time. In a meditative mood the entire attention is required to be concentrated in the act of chanting. Keeping count of numbers is a problem. So how to do it?
Measuring it on time frame is tricky. One will have keep an eye on watch or hour glass which will be a distraction to spoil the solemnity of the exercise. And the most meditators prefer to chant with their eyes closed to avoid distraction and better concentration of mind.  The easiest solution was stringed beads (Mala) in a specific number to have a handy version of abacus which did not involve application of mind or visual attention. The end bead of large size (Master bead) conveyed that count was complete.
Customs: Mala (stringed beads) should be held over central finger and the beads turned downwards one by one with the thumb at every chant. The beads should not fall over one another. Shastra rule that the sound of one bead striking the other would cancel the chant. When the master bead arrives the mala should be turned over. In no case turning process should continue beyond it. Do six pranayamas as penance if the master bead is jumped by mistake.
The mala should not fall on the ground. It should be kept at some sacred place along side the holy books when not in use preferably in a box of pure metal or wood. No two persons must use the same mala. No one should lend or gift his mala to others.
Only a guru can gift mala to his disciple considering it the integral part of education. While using mala it is advisable to cover the hand with clean cloth. This provision is perhaps to keep the beads out of sight to prevent the mind from engaging itself habitually guessing the number of remaining beads to be turned over.
Q68 Why 108 beads in a mala?      
The concept of string of beads was naturally standardized by determining a specific number of beads in a mala to make it a religious abacus. But why 108? There are various explanations.
Theory 1: One stands for one God. Zero symbolizes God Unmanifest. 8 represent entire creation through eight natures namely – Earth, Water, Speed, Space, Air, Mind, Wisdom and Ego. In this way 108 makes one conscious of this world, deified God and Power Supreme unmanifest.
Theory 2: A person breathes 21600 times in a day. Out of the 24 hours 12 hours are spent in daily chores. The rest twelve are devoted to the thoughts of God as ruled by the Shastras. Thus, only 10800 breadths are spent in real spiritual exercise.
But human life is too busy. One cannot spare so much time for meditation. So the sages deleted the last two zeros from 10800 leaving only 108 for spiritual exercise.
Theory 3: One thought believes that the sun goes through 21, 6000 Kalas (some kind of phases) only half of which, 108000 are +ve phases. By omitting the last 3 digits we are left with 108. According to this thought 108 beads of a mala represent one phase each of the sun.
Theory 4: The astrologers connect 108 figure to their own concepts. There are 12 birth signs and 9 solar planets (as ruled by the Shashtras). Thus, 108 is arrived at by multiplying two figures. They think that it is the sum total of the fate of the world.
Theory 5: Astronomy sages have a different belief. The Indian sages charted out 27 constellations. Each of them goes through 4 phases in a year. Here 108 is a result of 27by4 which they consider a heavenly figure.
Thus over a period of time all these beliefs became part of a spiritual tradition and the figure of 108 became a holy number and saints began to write ‘108’ before their names as symbols of figurative holiness.
Q69 Why invoke Swaha during yajna?
According to Puranic tradition when demon defeated gods they destroyed the custom of yagnas as well. The gods used to get reinforced through yajnas. Thus, yajnas were the acts that fuelled the god forces. Hence, the yajnas were perceived to be the feeders and charges of +energies or forces represented by the various gods invoked during yajnas.
In yajnas when offerings were made to the fire, the mantras ended with the invocation ‘Swaha’ which literally represented ‘ashes’. The offerings were wished to be turned into ashes. There is one more important aspect of the tradition. ‘Swaha’ is the name of the wife of the Fire god. She is invoked because no Hindu rite is sanctified without the presence of the better half. In fact Hindu philosophy considers ‘power’ itself to be feminine gender.
Q70 Why Shriyantra is the greatest?    
‘Shriyantra’, the swastika figure represents the goddess of prosperity, Laxmi. Among yantras it enjoys the highest reverence.
According to Puranic tradition once Lakmi retreated to Vaikuntha domain in heavens from the earth angered over some matter. In her absence the earth suffered all kinds of shortages, famines, droughts and impoverishments. Vishnu and Sage Vashishta tried to persuade her to return to earth but failed. She would not listen.
Then Guru Brihaspati devised the ‘Shriyantra’ figuration and advised its worship to attract Laxmi. Goddess Laxmi returned to earth and revealed, Shriyantra is my foundation. In it lives my soul. So I had to return.
Shriyantra is a very popular and sacred symbol with the trading classes because they are always praying for riches. The other common folk also rever it as a sign of prosperity. The prosperity is a cause of happiness, contentment, pleasures, luxuries, respect, glory and fame. Hence, Shriyantra symbolizes the powers of other gods and goddesses as well. Hence, it considered to be the master yantra of them all, the ‘logo’ of well being.
Q71 Why onions and garlic are no good?
Shastra forbids the use of onion and garlic. It suggests a fast as penance after eating them. It disapproves of all bulbous products that grow under the ground as root vegetables. Among them onion and garlic are singled out for refrain. The Shastra has even set refrain degrees for various edibles in categories. 20-25% fruits are refrainable, 30-35% a amongst grains, 40-45% for vegetables. Onion and garlic are 90% avoidable and flesh is 100% no no.
In Indian different sects employ different yardsticks. In Jain dharma onion and garlic are completely forbidden. Other sects allow up to 80% of forbidden items.
Onion and garlic are acidic and gaseous. Eating them produces an uneasy feeling. Eating them raw loads the breadth with unpleasant smell that can offend other people. One should eat these two items if one is scheduled to hold a discussion with other people.
No wonder that during religious ceremonies and solemn rites eating or serving onions or garlic is strictly forbidden by Shastras.
Medical science says that eating onions during rainy season creates stomach disorders. The onion chewing thins the semen. But it admits that they have medicinal values. Garlic is good for the heart. In fever onion paste is applied to the belly and the forehead of the patient. It brings down fever. Onion juice is given as medicine.
Q72 Why flowers are offered to god?    
God is the epitome of beauty and the purest purity. When a man sees around looking for the best symbols of beauty, purity and freshness his eyes naturally fixed on the flowers.
Nothing could match a flower in those sublime qualities. He thought that God could be nothing but the qualities of a flower raised to the power of infinity. The flowers were also related to the process of ongoing creativity by being the symbols of the formation of the seeds. God was also the cause of the creation. What could be more better way of paying obeisance to God than offering him the flowers, the humble earthly symbol of His qualities?
The love as the most intimate and greatest natural experience humans could go through. The people thought that love itself was God. Flowers aroused the feeling of love and romance. Offering a flower to the beloved as expression of love was a natural act. From whichever angle we look at a flower it leads to God.
Thus, flower became an ingredient in the very conception of the divine powers. Hindus conceptualized Lord Vishnu reclining on the Sheshnaga bed, a flower stalk sprouting out of his navel at the tip of which was a lotus flower abloom on which sat Lord Brahma, the creative power of Lord God. Then various Gods and the goddesses came to be associated with different flowers in different ways and the contexts.
The linking of the flowers to the divinity was a part of the spiritual evolution of man very naturally. Shastras also set rules for offering flowers to deities to make flower link a religious tradition.
Shastras rule that flowers should be offered to deities with stalks on and the stalk part must point towards the flower offering devotee. The flowers should not be crushed or in a withering condition. There are rules forbidding certain flowers for specific gods and goddesses to lend sanctity to the custom by providing the ground for creation of tradition through religious authority.
Shiva: The flowers of Kewra, Bakul and Kund are disapproved. In some regions Tulsi is also prohibited. But Shiva symbol Shaligram stone is an exception. Tulsi leaves can be offered on Shaligram.
Ganesha: Do not offer Tulsi flowers to Ganesha. But on Ganesh Chaturthi day the white Tulsi flowers can be offered.
Pitra (Ancestors) – Use of red flower in Shraddha (customs of religious offerings for dead ancestors) is not allowed.
Goddess Durga: Dhurva should not be dedicated to Durga. But for Chandi Havana it is essential.
Vishnu: For Vishnu worship leaves and climber parts are not permitted. Flowers should be offered to deities only till they are in fresh state. Shastra has determined periods for specifies of flowers they remain fresh after the plucking. There also order about not plucking leaves or flowers of different trees or plants on the days listed by it.
Q73 Why Shiva worship at night?
The 14 day of the descending moon phase of vernacular Falguna month (December-January), is celebrated as Maha-Shivratri. That is the night when Shiva is worshipped. The rest of the gods and goddesses are worshipped during the day but Shiva worship is reserved for the night.
On that night devotees religiously celebrate Shiva all night along. ‘Nath’ sect of his devotees go around after midnight blowing conch shells creating an ererie atmosphere. In the hill areas of deep snow the effect is bizarre. But why is he worshipped at night?
Lord Shiva is the deity of destruction and the dark forces. So, the dark night is naturally dear to him. The night is the time of the predators when they set out to enact nightly destructions of life. The night is also the ender of the daily business life of human beings. He goes to sleep temporarily destroying his consciousness. The dark forces set out to torment the world in the form of ghosts, spirits and apparitions.
The dark nights of the descending moon phase encourage criminal and immoral activities.
Shiva is worshipped during this period of darkness to keep him in benevolent mood to keep the dark tendencies under check.
The question is that the 14th of the descending moon phase comes every month, so what is so special about that one night of Falguna month. Right, all the 14th are referred to as Shivratris in scriptures. But this one is ‘Mahashivratri’ because it occurs in the vernacular last month of the year. It is the last ‘Shivratri’ of the year.
There is one more reason. Mahashivratri comes right after the autumn when trees stand denuded of their leaves. All the leaves have fallen down to become a carpet of seasonal destruction over the earth. The trees stand bare providing a picture of desolateness, the happy hunting ground for dark forces.
Q74 Why co-gotras marriages are forbidden?
See question 38 also. First what is a Gotra? The Vedic Aryans had the concept of Kula or family. It led to the concept of Gotra, a group of families, claiming descent from a common ancestor.
Hindu Shastras strictly forbid marriages between co-gotra members. Gotra is indicating of a blood relationship.
Now it is an established fact of science that marriage between of the same blood line is unhealthy. The offspring of such unions develop serious genetic defects leading to deformity, physical handicaps or mental retardness. The more diverse the blood line the more healthy is the offspring. Nature also follows this rule.
There is definite indication that a genetic diktat is imprinted on our cells which inspires us to fall in love with members of the different group or race.
It is this effect which results in the youths of enemy clans falling in love with each other and giving birth to love legends the world cultures are full of. It is a natural phenomenon, a part of the evolutionary agenda of improving the breeds of various species.
Q75 Why married women apply vermillion?
In Indian culture married women apply red vermillion (Sindoor) in the parting of their hair. The widows do not apply it.
It is a very sentimental act. After all the marriage is the union of two hearts which is a very intimate affair. It is symbolic of expression of love. At the time of the wedding the groom applies red vermillion to the parting of the bride’s hair.
Then on, a young woman applies to her forehead to symbolically announce ‘I love you’. Indian society is not very vocal. Symbols are used to convey many sentiments. In the west newly marrieds say ‘I love you’ umpteen times every day. They like to be assured of being loved even when they know they love each other. Or they keep saying it through kisses.
In the joint family system it is not possible to do so. So symbols are used to express. After initial passion the women used to apply it only on special occasions.
Then at a point of time in history events gave vermillion a new role to play.
The women began to apply vermillion every day as a symbol of protection. When Muslim forces invaded India they indulged in plunder, rape and abduction of young women. No women’s honor was safe.
Later the locals discovered that Muslim women used to spare married women because Islam forbid touching of another man’s wife. Most invading soldiers abided by the tenets of their religion.
Thus Hindu women who displayed vermillion prominently to announce their married status. Vermillion (Sindoor) became the women’s savior. The practice continued when the Englishmen arrived.
In Independent India the application of vermilion began to loose popularity as the women felt normally liberated and secure and forgot its cultural and religious value.
But movies picked up the cause of vermillion and made it part of their stories. Sindoor became a symbol of Indian culture and women’s piety. Then the countrymen suddenly discovered the value of their own culture when western culture seemed to overtake them.
The scientific facts came to the rescue of sindoor when they proved that a person or society needed to cling to its culture in self-defense against the future shocks generated by breakneck technological advancements made by mankind in the later part of the 20th century. Or the snowballing future threatened to toss away the societies like rudderless boats.
As an emotional anchor people rediscovered the value of sindoor and its traditional and religious importance was once again accepted. In Indian culture, red color is a symbol of romance and auspicious feeling. The tilak is basically red, bindi is traditionally red and the bride wears red dress on the wedding day. The holy flower lotus is also red. Incidentally roses also used to be red.
Q76 Why offer water to the sun?
During the shraddha ritual if one is at a pilgrim center he is made to stand in the holy river in knee deep water and offer water to the Sun-god by pouring it from a bowl held at the level of his bent forehead. In domestic shraddha the priests asks his client to pour water facing the sun.
By some Brahmins and priests of shall knowledge it is explained that by doing so the offered water to reach his dead ancestors? How can educated and thinking persons accept this explanation? The reasoning is very scientific.
A man offering water to the sun invokes the spirits of his seven generations gone up. The water being poured falls down in a twisting dream which at places gains the properties of a prism and splits the suns rays into seven colors.
Through this act the shraddha doer invokes the spirit of his ancestors of seven generations symbolically saying that he is the product of the cumulative effects of the deeds done by them during their life times.
And the sun that contributes the rays in this effort is the father of them being the life energy of all the living creatures of the earth.
But why seven generations only? Why no more?
Indian philosophy perhaps uses here mathematical logic. In the decimal system after decimal point we take cognizance of only seven digits. After that the digits calculative value if so reduced that it does not matter. Even in practical life expression of seven generations are quoted. In heated exchanges the quarrelling parties curse seven generations of each other.
Thus, figure of speech too accept the seven generation theory that has mathematical logic.
In the shraddha performance the fees and goodies prescribed for the Brahmin priests is debatable because here comes the greed and exploitative elements of our customs and rites.
If due to shortage of money one is not able to perform shraddha there is an alternate route provided by the Shastras. In such a situation come out of the house and say the following prayer facing south – Na May Asti Vitam Na Dhanam Na Chanyat Shradhopyog Swapivrita Na Toasmi, Triptyanatuphaktya Pitran Mayaite Bhujo Krito Vartasmi Marutasya’.
Meaning: ‘I have no money. Nor can I afford the rite material. But with true dedication I pay obeisance to my forefathers. Let my ancestors be pleased with my respect to them. So, I spread my arms sky wards’.
Raise your hands upwards flailing them to express helplessness. Shake your head in regret. It is the sentiment and the honest thought that really matters, and the formal rituals. After all you are the dear one of those who you are trying to connect with.
Shastra also have orders of various types of shraddhas namely Bharani Shraddha, Mahalaya Shraddha, Avidhwa Navami Shraddha and Apghati Shraddha.
Also – In Indian culture offering water is symbolic gesture of showing extreme reverence. It balances the life energies of biological systems. Shastras rule that while offering water all the names of the sun must be pronounced as prescribed through the respective mantra.
The water must be offered to sun by pouring it down from the forehead height from a copper bowl facing the sun which means eastwards in the morning and westwards in the evening. The prism effect is the symbolic acceptance of the fact the sunlight is what fills all colors in our lives. Some even believe that sun rays destroy harmful germs and bacteria on a person.
Q77 Why different directions for different rites?
Shastras have determined there are ten direction i.e. east, west, north, south, north-west, and north-east, and south-east, south-west above and below. The sunrise determines the east and the sun set determines the west. The worship, meditation, study of holy books, yoga etc religious duties are prescribed to be performed before noon facing the East. The similar duties in the evening are ordered to be done facing the west.
The sun is the very source of life in the solar system. In that sense the order is very sensible. The light is where the sun is. Where it is not there is darkness, the symbols of evil and sins.
Besides this, Shastras order west for charity and deity installation. During Shraddha North for the priest and South for the doer. North for self study, yoga and penance. East for father in doing caste rites and the readers while reciting the Veda. While initiation East for the pupil and North for the Guru. In marriages West for the groom while performing Akasatoropana and East for the bride. Many such orders have been determined. Now let is view it scientifically.
The east and the west are related to the sun and its energies. The north and the south are the poles of the magnetic forces.
From the dawn to the noon easterly space has charged the particles of the sunlight and the waves of positive energies through our bodies awaking the knowledge centres and the dormant spiritual conscience. Hence it is the perfect setting for devotional exercises.
According to Shastra the god of death ‘Yama’ resides in the southerly direction. So, the dead ancestors can naturally be in the south in spirit. When invokes they should naturally look Northwards where their living descendants exist. That’s why a Shraddha performer descendant is ordered to face South where his departed elders should be, although it is merely a hypothetic logic.
But why should ‘Yama’ be in the South. May be it is earthly truth? South has been called down-under side due to its global positioning on the format of the solar system and our concept of directions. The ‘down’ is a pointer to the death. The old age is ‘Down-hill’ journey. We are ‘down’ when ill or defeated. Hence, it is our own thinking which reasons that down is South which should be the end of life. After the end, where shall we find ourselves to be? Down south naturally.
It many not be the ultimate truth, but for us, the earthlings it is a fact.
In the marriages the groom faces East because he would need all the energies the sun would provide him. In ordering the bride to face West the basic fact is being acknowledged that a woman is the daughter of darkness. She would be bold in darkness but during sunlight she would be withdrawn coy and prudent.
Thus, Shastras order the directions considering the several scientific logics regarding physiology and psychology.
Q78 Why worship Yantra?
Yantra is a geometric figuration of a god or a goddess which represents his or her powers.
In worship Shastras rule that with gods/goddesses idol, the related Yantra should also be worshipped accompanied by the recitation of prescribed mantra according to tantra (specific purposes). The belief is that Yantras carry the powers of gods and goddesses they represent. The reverences shown to and worship or display of the yantra is itself rewarding.
Is there scientific logic behind this? There is.
In the modern scientific age the Yantra practice is an integral part of corporate sector activity. The corporate houses have their own yantras which they call ‘Logo’. Every big business house has its carefully designed logo which plays a big part in its activities.
In fact over a period of time logo becomes the symbol of quality of its products and services. Logo becomes a firm’s stamp which is cherished and trusted by employees, shareholders and consumers.
So also Yantra is a logo of god or goddesses. It symbolizes power of the deity. The worship of the yantra is as important as worship of the related deity.
Q79 Why sound Conch Shell?
In Indian tradition conch shell is blown on the occasions of worship, yajna, birth, funerals and other rites or ceremonies. It was also the buggle of war during ancient times and middle ages. There are different types of shells available in the market.
During the Mahabharata all the warriors had their own favorite shells with their fancy names. Arjuna had ‘Panchjanya’ conch shell to announce his intention to battle. Other famous shells were ‘Anant Vijaya’, ‘Pondra’, ‘Sughosh’, ‘Mani Pushpak’ etc.
It sounds like a fog horn. A special effort is required to blow the conch shell. The blower is required to concentrate his mind and blow a lungful of air with measured force into the shell through his lips pressed to it at a specific angle to make the booming sound. It takes some practice. The distinct sound signifies birth or death or start of a battle, or pooja or some other religious rite i.e. about to begin.
The booming sound sounds like long drawn ‘Om’, the most revered chant of Sanatan Dharam symbolic of the humming echo of big bang (Brahm) which the scientists also agree that still hangs in the space as a cosmic vibration.
The efforts of blowing the conch shell put entire body system in action mode to tackle the task i.e. about to begin. Some people also believe that the frequency of its sound waves is right at a level which charges up the brain centres related to spiritual and emotional awakening.
After blowing the conch shell it should be wiped clean.  It should be kept on a stool by the side of the home temple. Put some flowers and Tulsi leaves on it as a mark of reverence.
Remember, that it is the shell of a dead sea creature. In this fact lies the basic philosophy of Hindu thought that there is death in life and the death is the beginning of another life which also ends in death. And this cycle is our fate.
Q80. Why women in periods are not touchable?
Menstruation is a very feminine biological reaction or body functioning. It awakens her gender sense and charges her with femininity. She is no more a person but a woman. Her feminine feelings keep swathing her.
Naturally she is in a delicate frame of mind and touchy. She can be easily provoked or gets irritated. Shastra has ordered that a woman in her periods should not cook food. This rule provides her with a much needed relief from work. Otherwise working in the kitchen is a daily grind for Indian woman. It is like the Shastras granted her Menstruation leave on the lines of modern maternity leave.
Her quarantine is obviously to keep away from the crowds and celebrations where she is likely to come in contact with those of the opposite sex which not be healthy with her gender sense on the full alert.
Q81. Why five green pillars in a wedding?
Five green pillars are installed on a wedding altar of a Hindu marriage ceremony. Five is the most holy figure in Sanatan Dharam. We are the products of five elements. Five gods are prescribed for daily worship. Five things make Panchamrita, the holy nectar. Five members make Panchayata etc. Wedding pillars also in conformity to that five rule.
The green pillars symbolize nature’s color of life and bloom. The marriage is supposed to bloom and prosper. An evergreen bliss is wished for symbolically. It is made more expressive by decorating the pillars profusely with green leaves and fruits. The union is blessed to fructify.
As pillars banana plant and bamboo, both are accepted. Banana fructifies when it is transplanted just as the bride is transplanted in another family to martially fructify. Bamboo prospers when it stays rooted at one place just like the groom.
The green ambience is the symbolic presence of the nature because a marriage is itself an act to meet the demand of the very basic nature of life.
Q82. What is the famous Yoga Vasishtha?
Q83. What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is one of the Upavedas of the Atharva Veda. The four popular Upavedas are Ayurveda, Dhanurveda, Gandharveda and Artha Shastra. It is said that the original text of Ayurveda, composed by Lord Brahma, contained 1,00,000 verses spread over one thousand chapters and was composed long before the creation of beings (Susruta Samhita 1:1-5). Now, the Atharva Veda contains only 6,000 verses so some call Ayurveda the Fifth Veda.
Ayurveda relies on clinical observation including the ancient art of diagnosing a patient’s ailment by feeling the pulse to identify imbalance of nature’s three basic forces known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
By definition Vata is responsible for both physical and psychological movements-both muscle tone and moodiness. People dominated by Vata are high strung, restless and prone to high blood pressure.
Pitta governs heat and metabolism. People dominated by Pitta are intense, have sharp intellects and are quick to anger. Skin rashes and ulcers may result from too much of this force.
Kapha maintains structure and stability. Kapha types are strong, even tempered personalities who tend to gain weight easily.
The gods of healing in Ayurveda are Dhanvantri, Brihaspati and Indra. The prominent physicians of Ayurveda were Charaka (who lived from 80 to 180 A.D), Susruta (who lived around 350 A.D.), Vagbhata (610 to 850 A.D.) and Madhava (who lived around 1370 A.D.)
Q84. What is Kama Sutra?
Kama means the ‘desire for sexual gratification’. As per tradition, Kama Deva (the God of Love) is a god with a bow and arrow, and when he strikes someone with his arrow, that person will desire sexual desires in him. The legends say that Lord Shiva burned Kama Deva to ashes with the fire of his third eye for trying to arouse passion in him for Princess Parvati. Lord Siva later gave life to Kama Deva, who thus became Anaga (bodiless).
The most important Kama literature is the Kama Sutra written by Sage Vatsyayana around the 5th century a.d. The book describes the daily routine of an ordinary man. It also describes picnics, drinking parties and games etc.
The book elaborately discusses the art of making love. All things one can imagine about sex are described in this book. The author has gone to the extent of categorizing different forms of embraces, kisses and types of women.
Editor – See Travelogue on Khajuraho Temples to know about the Indian attitude towards sex.
Q85. Why is Cow important to followers of Dharma?
In the Vedic age, cows were a real blessing to the community. Cows provided them with milk, meat, butter and yoghurt. The dead cow’s skin was used to make shelters and clothing. Cow dung was used to make homes.
So the community in the Vedic age was indebted to the cow in many ways. This later made them regard the cow with devotion. According to tradition there was a celestial cow named Kamadhenu which could grant and fulfill any wish. Lord Krishna was a cowherd and spent most of his childhood taking care of cows. Even in the writings of Sage Manu he forbids slaughtering of cows.
Editor – In earlier times and even in certain parts of India the cow plays an important role in the economic well being and life of a farmer. It also was a fertilizer and pesticide for crops. DASAGAVYA IS an organic growth promoter for crops, which is prepared by mixing certain plant extracts along with panchagavya. The term Gavya is given to cow's products. Male progeny Bullock is the backbone of Indian agriculture although its importance has reduced with the introduction of mechanization.
It is human nature to begin worshipping a being that bestows and blesses you with so many goodies.
Q86. What does ‘Born Again’ mean?
Long ago the Christian term ‘born again’ was exclusively used within the church as an important part of the church’s phraseology. Now it is widely used liked the word ‘Guru’. He actual word in the Greek version of the News Testament is Anothen, meaning ‘born from above’ or ‘born of God’. Jesus said, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3) and added, ‘Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again (John 3:7). The closes word in Sanatan Dharam to what Jesus said is Dwija. The actual meaning of ‘Dwija’ is twice born.
‘Who is a Dwaija? A Brahmin. Who is a Brahmin? He or she who knows Brahman. What is Brahman? That which is infinite---God’. So simply put, he who knows God is twice born, or he who is twice born will automatically realize God.
According to Sanatan Dharam, unless there is an absolute change in consciousness and absolute self-purification, nobody can achieve God-realization. So it is to be assumed that omnipresent Jesus Christ was referring to was a complete change in consciousness rather than any ritualistic or symbolic gesture. He who is born again is a Christian as well as a Brahmin.


Om Tat Sat

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


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