Q&A: Why do we need Yamalokam?

Question Why do we need Yamalokam? Answer The answer to this question is linked to the concept of residual karma. This residual karma idea and what happens to evil-doers is explained in Brahma Sutra. But of others (i.e. those who have not performed sacrifices etc.) the ascent is to the abode of Yama, and after having experienced (the results of their evil works) the descent (to the earth again takes place)....

February 14, 2023 · 3 min · TheAum

Q&A: What is the difference between God and Devi-Devta or are they same?

Question What is the difference between God and Devi-Devta or are they same? Answer Yes, there is a difference between Gods and Devtas. In Hinduism, the Trimurti is the God. Bhagvatam further clears that Krishna is the supreme God (verse here). Devtas are God's helpers. All the Devtas are given some jobs. They are thus classified into each of their own department. Like Indra Dev looks into weather. Surya Dev is responsible for giving energy and light to plants, animals etc....

February 14, 2023 · 2 min · TheAum

Q&A: What is the reason behind fasting (vrat)?

Question What is the reason behind fasting (vrat)? Answer One reason for fasting is to atone for one's papa (usually translated as sin). For example, in Mahabharata Santi Parva, section 36, Vyasa said, By penances, religious rites, and gifts, O Bharata, a man may wash off his sins if he does not commit them again. By subsisting upon only one meal a day, that procured by mendicancy, by doing all his acts himself (without relying on the aid of a servant)....

February 14, 2023 · 2 min · TheAum

Q&A: Is it true that one can not convert to Hinduism from any other religion or vice versa?

Question Is it true that one can not convert to Hinduism from any other religion or vice versa? Answer No, there is no bar in converting from any religion to Hinduism or vice-versa. Vedas speak about Mlecchas as someone who is not Vedic and not Indian. Basically, mlecchas are people who speak an illegible language and not Sanskrit. The concept of geography, religion and language was all mixed with each other to be indistinguishable....

February 14, 2023 · 1 min · TheAum

Q&A: What is the significance of the festival Diwali? Why is it celebrated?

Question What is the significance of the festival Diwali? Why is it celebrated? Answer Diwali is also known as Dipavali which is a Sanskrit word formed from dipa (light or lamp) and avali (row or series). Hence, it means a "row of lights". There are many beliefs behind the festival. It is celebrated for the return of the lord Rama from vanvas as mentioned in Ramayana It is also celebrated for the return of Pandavas from 12 years vanvas as mentioned in Mahabharata....

February 14, 2023 · 2 min · TheAum

Q&A: Why did Lord Hanuman decide to spend his life as a celebate?

Question Why did Lord Hanuman decide to spend his life as a celebate? Answer No, Hanuman was technically not a bachelor (Brahmachari). His wife was Suvarchala¹ who was the daughter of Surya (the Sun god). According to Surya, Suvarchala was an ayonija (born without [the participation] of the yoni). Because he wanted to learn Nava Vyakarnas (the 9 Grammar Rules), he has to marry, and being an Aajanma Brahmachari (life-long bachelor), Hanuman was not eligible to study it....

February 14, 2023 · 1 min · TheAum

Q&A: What is the significance of the janeva (sacred thread)?

Question What is the significance of the janeva (sacred thread)? Answer The term "upa" means near and "nayanam" means leading. So Upanayam means "leading near". It's one of the 13 samskara prescribed by the Vedas. What does the Sacred Thread signify? The Janeu or yajñopavītam symbolizes the ability of the wearer to perform Sandhyavandanam and recite the Gayatri Mantra. There is a variation in the thread count of yajñopavītam. Bachelors wear a single thread, married men wear 2, and married men with children wear 3....

February 14, 2023 · 2 min · TheAum

Q&A: What is the significance of pouring milk on the Shivling?

Question What is the significance of pouring milk on the Shivling? Answer From shivmandirsarthali.com: (emphasis mine) Abhishek is a Sanskrit term denoting a devotional activity of giving Holy bath to a deity. It literally means “to cleanse.” Before starting the ritual, a devotee washes his hands and pours water over the Ling. However, this practice is not to cleanse the Ling, as God doesn’t need any cleansing. He is the purest—but it is an implication of cleaning oneself....

February 14, 2023 · 1 min · TheAum

Q&A: Is Yami the twin sister of Yama?

Question Is Yami the twin sister of Yama? Answer The story is described in chapter 77 of the Markandeya Purana: The daughter of Vishwakarman [the divine architect] was the wife of the sun, by name Sajna who begat on her a son, by name Manu, who, illustrious as he was, was equally a master of various branches of learning. He was the son of Vivaswat and was therefore called Vaivaswata. As soon as she was espied by the sun Sajna used to close her eyes and therefore he, in anger, addressed to her cruel words: "...

February 14, 2023 · 2 min · TheAum

Q&A: What are the steps for a person to take if he/she wants to convert to Hinduism?

Question What are the steps for a person to take if he/she wants to convert to Hinduism? Answer Is it possible for anyone to convert to Hinduism? As P. V. Kane says in History of Dharmaśāstra, Vol II Part I, there is no provision in the Hindu smṛtis and dharma śāstras for people of other faiths to convert to Hinduism because one is simply born a Hindu: Hinduism has not been an avowedly proselytizing religion....

February 14, 2023 · 3 min · TheAum

Q&A: Is the Gayatri mantra used to worship the sun or Goddess Gayatri?

Question Is the Gayatri mantra used to worship the sun or Goddess Gayatri? Answer Gayathri is not a mantra. There are classes of mantra called Gayathri which follow a particular meter called Gayathri. The most popular Gayathri mantra ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।। happens to be one among the many. Gayathri Chandus is a format of 24 meters, any mantra set to this chandus is called a Gayathri (and there are many gayathries)....

February 14, 2023 · 1 min · TheAum

Q&A: What is that flow of water on the head of lord Shiva?

Question What is that flow of water on the head of lord Shiva? Answer I would like to state that, the water which comes out of lord Shiva's hair is River Ganges or Ganga, as Bhagavata Purana depicts... Lord Vishnu in one of his incarnations, appeared as Vamana in the sacrificial arena of Asura King Mahabali. Then in order to measure the universe, he extended his left foot to the end of the universe and pierced a hole in its covering with the nail of his big toe....

February 14, 2023 · 2 min · TheAum

Q&A: What is the significance of Sashtang Namaskar?

Question What is the significance of Sashtang Namaskar? Answer What is Sashtang namaskar or dandvat? Sashtang namaskar or dandvat is a symbol of complete submission that reminds devotees to respect God. Devotees perform sashtang dandvat pranam by lying fully prostrate on the floor with their arms stretched out towards the Idols. Eight specific parts of the body should touch the floor: thighs feet hands chest mind head speech eyes Why we must do it?...

February 14, 2023 · 1 min · TheAum

Q&A: The origin of 'Loka samastha sukhino bhavanthu'?

Question The origin of “Loka samastha sukhino bhavanthu”? Answer This phrase is from one of the Mangala Mantra often recited after a pooja or religious ceremony. स्वस्तिप्रजाभ्यः परिपालयंतां न्यायेन मार्गेण महीं महीशाः । गोब्राह्मणेभ्यः शुभमस्तु नित्यं लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनोभवंतु ॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः | svasti-prajā-bhyaḥ pari-pāla-yaṁtāṁ nyāyena mārgeṇa mahīṁ mahīśāḥ | go-brāhmaṇebhyaḥ śubham-astu nityaṁ lokāḥ samastāḥ sukhino-bhavaṁtu || auṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ | Translation May the well-being of all people be protected By the powerful and mighty leaders be with law and justice....

February 14, 2023 · 1 min · TheAum

Q&A: When did Hinduism begin?

Question When did Hinduism begin? Answer In ancient period, Hinduism was known as "Sanatana Dharma". Sanatana Dharma is by its very essence a term that is devoid of sectarian leanings or ideological divisions. This is evident by the very term itself. The two words, "Sanatana Dharma", come from the ancient Sanskrit language. 'Sanatana' is a Sanskrit word that denotes that which which is Anadi (beginningless), Anantha (endless) and does not cease to be, that which is eternal and everlasting....

February 14, 2023 · 1 min · TheAum