Lord Hanuman’s Adventures in Ramayana

Lord Hanuman is a deity and an ardent devotee of the Lord Ram. He is one of the central figures in the Hindu epic Ramayana and its various versions. He is also mentioned in several other texts, including the Mahabharata, the various Puranas and some Jain texts. Lord Hanuman participated in Ram’s war against the demon king Ravan. Several texts also present him as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He is the son of Anjana and Kesari and is also described as the son of the Wind-God Pawan, who according to several stories, played a role in his birth. He belonged to a tribe called “Vanar”, residing in a deep forest and not civilized as compared to other communities of their time, but certainly not a monkey as portrayed in various sources.

Lord Hanuman

Lord Hanuman



Hanuman was born to the Anjaneri mountain. His mother Anjana was an Apsara who was born on earth due to a curse. She was redeemed from this curse on giving birth to a son. The Valmiki Ramayana states that his father Kesari was the son of Brihaspati, the King of a place named Sumeru. Anjana performed intense prayers lasting 12 long years to Lord Shiva to get a child. Pleased with their devotion, Lord Shiva granted them the boon they sought. Hanuman, in another interpretation, is the incarnation or reflection of Lord Shiva himself.

Hanuman is often called the son of the deity Vayu (Wind God). Several different traditions account for the Vayu’s role in Hanuman’s birth. One story mentioned that Anjana and her husband Kesari prayed Lord Shiva for a child. By Shiva’s direction, Vayu transferred his male energy to Anjana’s womb. Accordingly, Hanuman is identified as the son of the Vayu.



As a child, believing the sun to be a ripe mango, Lord Hanuman pursued it in order to eat it. Rahu, a Vedic planet corresponding to an eclipse, was at that time seeking out the sun as well, and he clashed with Hanuman. Hanuman thrashed Rahu and went to take the sun in his mouth. Rahu approached Lord Indra, King of Devas, and complained that a monkey child stopped him from taking on Sun, preventing the scheduled eclipse. This enraged Lord Indra, who responded by throwing the Vajra (thunderbolt) at Hanuman, which struck his jaw. He fell back down to the earth and became unconscious. Upset over the attack, Hanuman’s father figure Lord Vayu (the deity of wind) went into seclusion, withdrawing air along with him. As living beings began to asphyxiate, Lord Indra withdrew the effect of his thunderbolt. The Devas then revived Hanuman and blessed him with multiple boons to appease Lord Vayu.

On ascertaining Lord Surya, the Sun God, to be an all-knowing teacher, Hanuman raised his body into an orbit around the sun and requested to Surya to accept him as a student. Surya refused and explained claiming that he always had to be on the move in his chariot, it would be impossible for Hanuman to learn well. Undeterred, Hanuman enlarged his form, with one leg on the eastern ranges and the other on the western ranges, and facing Lord Surya again pleaded. Pleased by his persistence, Surya agreed. Hanuman then learned all of the latter’s knowledge. When Hanuman then requested Surya to quote his “guru-dakshina” (teacher’s fee), the latter refused, saying that the pleasure of teaching one as dedicated as him was the fee in itself. Hanuman insisted, whereupon Surya asked him to help his (Surya’s) spiritual son Sugriva. Hanuman later became Sugriva’s minister.

Hanuman was mischievous in his childhood, and sometimes teased the meditating sages in the forests by snatching their personal belongings and by disturbing their well-arranged articles of worship. Finding his antics unbearable, but realizing that Hanuman was but a child, (albeit invincible), the sages placed a mild curse on him by which he became unable to remember his own ability unless reminded by another person.

Hanuman chasing after the Sun

Hanuman trying to eat the sun


Adventures In Ramayana

Meeting with Lord Ram

Lord Hanuman meets Lord Ram during the latter’s 14-year exile. With his brother Lakshmana, Ram is searching for his wife Sita who had been abducted by Lord Ravan. Their search brings them to the vicinity of the mountain Rishyamukha, where Sugriva, along with his followers and friends, are in hiding from his older brother Vali.

Having seen Ram and Lakshmana, Sugriva sends Hanuman to ascertain their identities. Hanuman approaches the two brothers in the guise of a Brahmin. His first words to them are such that Ram says to Lakshmana that none could speak the way the Brahmin did unless he or she had mastered the Vedas. When Ram introduces himself, the Brahman identifies himself as Hanuman and falls prostrate before Ram, who embraces him warmly. Thereafter, Hanuman’s life becomes interwoven with that of Ram. Hanuman then brings about friendship and alliance between Ram and Sugriva; Ram helps Sugriva regain his honor and makes him King of Kishkindha by defeating Vali. Sugriva and his Vanaras (monkey clan), most notably Hanuman, in return agree to help Ram defeat Lord Raavan and reunite with Sita.

Hanuman and Lord Ram

Hanuman and Lord Ram

In their search for Sita, a group of Vanaras reaches the southern seashore. Upon encountering the vast ocean, every vanara begins to lament his inability to jump across the water. Hanuman too is saddened at the possible failure of his mission, until the other vanaras and the wise bear Jambavan begin to extol his virtues. Hanuman then remembers his own powers, enlarges his body, and flies across the ocean till he finally reached Lanka.

Hanuman remembers his powers

Hanuman remembers his powers


Finding Sita

Hanuman reaches Lanka through air jump and marvels at its beauty. After he finds Sita in captivity in a garden, Hanuman reveals his identity to her, reassures her that Ram has been looking for her, and uplifts her spirits. He offers to carry her back to Ram, but she refuses his offer, saying it would be an insult to Ram as his honor is at stake. In order to give Sita faith, Hanuman gives her a ring that Ram wanted Hanuman to give her. After meeting Sita, Hanuman begins to wreak havoc, gradually destroying the palaces and properties of Lanka. He kills many rakshasas (demons). To subdue him, Ravan’s son Indrajit uses the Brahmastra. Though immune to the effects of this weapon Hanuman, out of respect to Lord Brahma, allows himself be bound. Deciding to use the opportunity to meet Lord Ravan, and to assess the strength of Ravan’s hordes, Hanuman allows the rakshasa warriors to parade him through the streets. He conveys Ram’s message of warning and demands the safe return of Sita. He also informs Ravan that Ram would be willing to forgive him if he returns Sita honorably.

Hanuman gives Sita the ring

Hanuman gives Sita the ring

Enraged, Ravan orders Hanuman’s execution, whereupon Ravan’s brother Vibhishana intervenes, pointing out that it is against the rules of engagement to kill a messenger. Ravan then orders Hanuman’s tail be lit with fire. As Ravan’s forces attempted to wrap cloth around his tail, Hanuman begins to lengthen it. After frustrating them for a while, he allows it to burn, then escapes from his captors, and with his tail on fire he burns down large parts of Lanka. After extinguishing his flaming tail in the sea, he returns to Ram.

Hanuman burns Lanka

Hanuman burns Lanka


The War

In the war between Ram and Ravan, when Lakshmana is badly wounded during the battle against Indrajit, Hanuman is sent to fetch the Sanjivani, a powerful life-restoring herb, from Dronagiri mountain in the Himalayas, to revive him. Ravan realises that if Lakshmana dies, a distraught Ram would probably give up, and so he dispatches the sorcerer Kalanemi to intercept Hanuman. Kalanemi, in the guise of a sage, deceives Hanuman, but Hanuman uncovers his plot with the help of an apsara (celestial nymph), whom he rescues from her accursed state as a crocodile.

Ravan, upon learning that Kalanemi has been slain by Hanuman, summons Lord Surya to rise before its appointed time because the physician Sushena had said that Lakshmana would perish if untreated by daybreak. Hanuman realizes the danger, however, and, becoming many times his normal size, detains the Sun God to prevent the break of day. He traps Surya in his armpits and then resumes his search for the precious herb, but, when he finds himself unable to identify which herb it is, he lifts the entire mountain and delivers it to the battlefield in Lanka. Sushena then identifies and administers the herb, and Lakshmana is saved. Ram embraces Hanuman, declaring him as dear to him as his own brother. Hanuman releases Lord Surya from his armpit, and asks forgiveness, as the Sun was also his Guru (teacher).

Hanuman lifts the mountain

Hanuman lifts the mountain



Shortly after he is crowned Emperor upon his return to Ayodhya, Ram decides to ceremoniously reward all his well-wishers. At a grand ceremony in his court, all his friends and allies take turns being honored at the throne. Hanuman approaches without desiring a reward. Seeing Hanuman come up to him, an emotionally overwhelmed Ram embraces him warmly, declaring that he could never adequately honor or repay Hanuman for the help and services he received from the noble Vanara. Sita, however, insists that Hanuman deserved honor more than anyone else, and Sita gives him a necklace of precious stones adorning her neck.

When he receives it, Hanuman immediately takes it apart, and peers into each stone. Taken aback, many of those present demand to know why he is destroying the precious gift. Hanuman answers that he was looking into the stones to make sure that Ram and Sita are in them, because if they are not, the necklace is of no value to him. At this, a few mock Hanuman, saying his reverence and love for Ram and Sita could not possibly be as deep as he implies. In response, Hanuman tears his chest open, and everyone is stunned to see Ram and Sita literally in his heart.

Ram & Sita in Hanuman's heart

Ram & Sita in Hanuman’s heart


After the War

After the war, and after reigning for several years, the time arrived for Ram to depart to the world above. Many of Ram’s entourage, including Sugriva, decided to depart with him. Hanuman, however, requested from Ram that he will remain on earth as long as Ram’s name was venerated by people. Ram accorded Hanuman that desire, and granted that his image would be installed at various public places, so he could listen to people chanting Ram’s name. He is one of the Chiranjivi (immortals) of Hinduism.




Lord Indra

The King of the Gods

The King of the Gods

Lord Indra is the leader of the Devas (Gods) and the Lord of Svargaloka or a level of Heaven in Hinduism. He is the God of rain and thunderstorms. He wields a lightning thunderbolt known as Vajra and rides on a white elephant known as Airavata. Lord Indra is the most important deity worshiped by the Rigvedic tribes. His home is situated on Mount Meru in the heavens.

In the Puranas, Lord Indra is bestowed with a heroic and almost brash and amorous character at times, but he also commits many kinds of mischief for which he is sometimes punished. His reputation and role diminished with the rise of the Trimurti.

Aspects of Lord Indra as a deity are cognate to other Indo-European gods; they are either thunder gods such as ThorPerun, and Zeus, or gods of intoxicating drinks such as Dionysus.

Lord Indra is, with Lord Varuna and Lord Mitra, one of the Adityas (the chief gods) of the Rigveda besides Lord Agni and others such as the Ashvins. He delights in drinking soma.

In the Rigveda, Indra is the god of thunder and rain and a great warrior who battles with the water obstructing serpent Vritra. He also leads the Devas (the gods who form and maintain Heaven) and the elements, such as the god of fire, Lord Agni, the sun god Lord Surya, and Lord Vayu of the wind. He constantly wages war against the opponents of the gods, the demonized Asuras.

As the god of war, he is also regarded as one of the Guardians of the Directions, representing the East. As the most popular god of the Vedic Indians, Lord Indra has about 250 hymns dedicated to him in the Rigveda. The rainbow is known as Lord Indra’s bow.


Significance of Lord Indra

Lord Indra is described with more human characteristics and vices than any other Vedic deity. Modern Hindus tend to see Lord Indra as minor deity in comparison to others in the Hindu pantheon, such as Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, or Goddess Shakti. A story illustrating the subjugation of Lord Indra’s pride is illustrated in the story of Govardhan hill where Lord Krishna, an avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu carried the hill and protected his devotees when Lord Indra, angered by non-worship of him, launched rains over the village.

In Mahabharata, Lord Indra became afraid of the fighting prowess of Karna and he himself took the form of a bee and stung Karna’s thigh. Once at the end of his training, Karna happened to offer Lord Parashuram his lap so his guru could rest his head and nap. But while Lord Parashuram was asleep, Lord Indra in the form of a bee, stung Karna’s thigh and despite the pain, Karna did not move, so as not to disturb his guru‘s sleep. With blood oozing from his wound, it trickled down his leg and woke Lord Parashuram. Lord Parashuram had an intense hatred towards the Kshatriyas.

Convinced that only a Kshatriya could have borne such pain in silence, Lord Parashuram realized that Karna had lied and cursed his student that he would forget all the knowledge required to wield the divine weapon Brahmanda Astra, at the moment of his greatest need. Later this incident saved the life of Lord Indra’s son, Arjuna from certain death.


Lord Indra and the Ants

In this story from the Brahmavaivarta Purana, Lord Indra defeats Vṛtrá and releases the waters. Elevated to the rank of King of the gods, Lord Indra orders the heavenly craftsman, Vishvakarma, to build him a grand palace. Full of pride, Lord Indra continues to demand more and more improvements for the palace. At last, exhausted, Vishvakarma asks Lord Brahma the Creator for help.

Lord Brahma in turn appeals to Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Being. Lord Vishnu visits Lord Indra’s palace in the form of a Brahmin boy; Lord Indra welcomes him in. Lord Vishnu praises Lord Indra’s palace, casually adding that no former Indra had succeeded in building such a palace. At first, Lord Indra is amused by the Brahmin boy’s claim to know of former Indras.

But the amusement turns to horror as the boy tells about Lord Indra’s ancestors, about the great cycles of creation and destruction, and even about the infinite number of worlds scattered through the void, each with its own Indra. The boy claims to have seen them all. During the boy’s speech, a procession of ants had entered the hall. The boy saw the ants and laughed. Finally humbled, Lord Indra asks the boy why he laughed. The boy reveals that the ants are all former Indras.

Another visitor enters the hall. He is Lord Shiva, in the form of a hermit. On his chest lies a circular cluster of hairs, intact at the circumference but with a gap in the middle. Shiva reveals that each of these chest hairs corresponds to the life of one Indra. Each time a hair falls, one Indra dies and another replaces him.

No longer interested in wealth and honor, Lord Indra rewards Vishvakarma and releases him from any further work on the palace. Lord Indra himself decides to leave his life of luxury to become a hermit and seek wisdom. Horrified, Lord Indra’s wife Shachi asks the priest Brihaspati to change her husband’s mind. He teaches Lord Indra to see the virtues of both the spiritual life and the worldly life. Thus, at the end of the story, Lord Indra learns how to pursue wisdom while still fulfilling his kingly duties.

Lord Indra

Lord Indra

Lord Shani

Lord Shani is one of the Navagrahas (the nine primary celestial beings in Hindu astrology). Lord Shani is embodied in the planet Saturn and is the Lord of Saturday. Lord Shani is also known as Lord Sanaiscara. The word Shani also denotes the seventh day of the week or Saturday in most Indian languages.



Lord Shani is a Deva (Deity) and son of Lord Surya and his wife Chhaya, the Goddess of shadow, hence also known as Chayyaputra. He is the elder brother of Lord Yama, the Hindu god of death, who in some scriptures corresponds to the deliverance of justice. Lord Surya’s two sons Lord Shani and Lord Yama are judges. Lord Shani gives the results of one’s deeds in life through appropriate punishments and rewards; Lord Yama grants the results of one’s deeds after death.

It is said that when Lord Shani opened his eyes as a baby for the very first time, the sun went into an eclipse, which clearly denotes the impact of Lord Shani on astrological charts. He is known as the greatest teacher and well wisher for the righteous as well the greatest punisher for those who follow the path of evil, betrayal, backstabbing and unjust revenge. Lord Shani is also known as the Lord of Masses & God of Punishment and his blessings are thus considered very important in an individual’s horoscope for bestowing him with mass following and popularity. He is depicted dark in color, clothed in black, holding a sword, arrows and two daggers and mounted on a crow.


Symbolism and Traditions

Lord Shani along with Lord Yama, are associated with the crow in Hindu mythology. Throughout Hindu mythology crows represent harmful and inauspicious characteristics, both of which Lord Shani possesses. Hindu traditions often include the worship of Lord Shani in order to dispel dangerous ghosts and other supernatural beings. Worshipers also perform healing rituals and exorcisms that derive from local and regional folk traditions.

Lord Shani

Lord Shani

Warrior Ascetics

Ascetic life was historically a life of renunciation, non-violence and spiritual pursuit. However, in India, this has not always been the case. For example, after the Mongol and Persian Islamic invasions in the 12th century, and the establishment of Delhi Sultanate, the ensuing Hindu-Muslim conflicts provoked the creation of a military order of Hindu ascetics in India. These warrior ascetics, formed paramilitary groups called ‘‘Akharas’’ and they invented a range of martial arts.

“Nath Siddhas” of the 12th century AD, may have been the earliest Hindu monks to resort to a military response after the Muslim conquest. Ascetics, by tradition, led a nomadic and unattached lifestyle. As these ascetics dedicated themselves to rebellion, their groups sought stallions, developed techniques for spying and targeting, and they adopted strategies of war against Muslim nobles and the Sultanate state. Many of these groups were devotees of Hindu God Shiva, and were called “Mahants” in honor of their Lord who is referred as Mahadev (God of Gods). Other popular names for them was Sannyasis, Yogis, Nagas (followers of Lord Shiva), Bairagis (followers of Lord Vishnu) and Gosains from 1500 to 1800 AD.

Warrior monks continued their rebellion through the Mughal Empire, and became a political force during the early years of British Empire and colonization. In some cases, these regiments of soldier monks shifted from guerrilla campaigns to war alliances. The significance of warrior ascetics rapidly declined with the consolidation of British Empire in late 19th century, and with the rise in non-violence movement by Mahatma Gandhi.

It is said that some of these Hindu Warrior Ascetics were treated as folk heroes, aided by villagers and townspeople, because they targeted figures of political and economic power in a discriminatory state, and some of these warriors paralleled Robin Hood’s lifestyle.



An Ashram in Hinduism is one of four age-based life stages discussed in ancient and medieval era Indian texts. The four ashrams are:

Brahmacharya (student)

Grihastha (householder)

Vanaprastha (retired)

Sannyasa (renunciation)

The Ashram system is one facet of the Dharma concept in Hinduism. It is also a component of the ethical theories in Indian philosophy. Under the Ashram system, the human life was divided into four periods. The goal of each period was the fulfillment and development of the individual. While some Indian texts present these as sequential stages of human life and recommend age when one enters each stage, many texts stated the Ashrams as four alternative ways of life and options available, but not as sequential stage that any individual must follow, nor do they place any age limit.


1. Brahmacharya

Age: Till 24

DescriptionBrahmacharya represented the bachelor student stage of life. This stage focused on education and included the practice of celibacy. The student went to a Gurukul (house of the guru) and typically would live with a Guru (teacher), acquiring knowledge of science, philosophy, scriptures and logic, practicing self-discipline and learning to live a life of Dharma (righteousness, morals, duties).


2. Grihastha

Age: 24-48

DescriptionBrahmacharya represented the bachelor student stage of life. This stage focused on education and included the practice of celibacy. The student went to a Gurukul (house of the guru) and typically would live with a Guru (teacher), acquiring knowledge of science, philosophy, scriptures and logic, practicing self-discipline and learning to live a life of Dharma (righteousness, morals, duties).


3. Vanaprastha

Age: 48-72

Description: The retirement stage, where a person handed over household responsibilities to the next generation, took an advisory role, and gradually withdrew from the world. Vanaprastha stage was a transition phase from a householder’s life with its greater emphasis on Artha and Kama (wealth, security, pleasure and sexual pursuits) to one with greater emphasis on Moksha (spiritual liberation).


4. Sannyasa

Age: 72+(or anytime)

Description: The stage was marked by renunciation of material desires and prejudices, represented by a state of disinterest and detachment from material life, generally without any meaningful property or home (Ascetic), and focused on Moksha, peace and simple spiritual life. Anyone could enter this stage after completing the Brahmacharya stage of life.



Gautama Buddha in Hinduism

Gautama Buddha is viewed as an avatar of the Lord Vishnu in Vaishnavism. Buddhist teachings do not rely on the Vedas, are atheist and deny the reality of the self or Atman. Hindu philosophers classified Buddhism as Nastika or heterodoxy within the scheme of Hinduism.



Buddha as an Avatar of Vishnu

In 8th-century royal circles, the Buddha started to be replaced by Hindu gods in Pujas. Before the eighth century, the Buddha was accorded the position of universal deity and ceremonies by which a king attained to imperial status were elaborate ceremonies entailing gifts to Buddhist monks and the installation of a symbolic Buddha in a stupa. This pattern changed in the eighth century. The Buddha was replaced as the supreme, imperial deity by one of the Hindu gods (except under the Palas of eastern India, the Buddha’s homeland). Previously the Buddha had been accorded imperial-style worship (puja). Now as one of the Hindu gods replaced the Buddha at the imperial centre and pinnacle of the Cosmo-political system, the image or symbol of the Hindu god comes to be housed in a monumental temple and given increasingly elaborate imperial-style puja worship.

This also was the same period of time the Buddha was made into an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Some sources say that it was Sugata Buddha also called Adi-Buddha who was the avatar of Lord Vishnu. In the Dasavatara stotra section of his Gita Govinda, the influential Vaishnava poet Jayadeva (13th century) includes the Buddha amongst the ten principal avatars of Vishnu and writes a prayer regarding him as follows:

“O Keshava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Buddha! All glories to You! O Buddha of compassionate heart, you decry the slaughtering of poor animals performed according to the rules of Vedic sacrifice”.

This viewpoint of the Buddha as the avatar who primarily promoted ahimsa remains a popular belief among a number of modern Vaishnavism organizations, including the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.



Buddha as an Inspirational Figure

Other prominent modern proponents of Hinduism, such as Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Swami Vivekananda, consider the Buddha as an example of the same universal truth that underlies religions:

Vivekananda: “May he who is the Brahman of the Hindus, the Ahura Mazda of Zoroastrians, the Buddha of Buddhists, the Jehovah of the Jews, the Father in Heavens of Christians, gives strength to you to carry out your noble ideas!”

Radhakrishnan: “If a Hindu chants the Vedas on the banks of the Ganges… if the Japanese worship the image of Buddha, if the European is convinced of Christ’s mediatorship, if the Arab reads the Quran in the mosque… It is their deepest apprehension of God and God’s fullest revelation to them.

A number of revolutionary figures in modern Hinduism, including Mahatma Gandhi, have been inspired by the life and teachings of the Buddha and many of his attempted reforms. Steven Collins sees such Hindu claims regarding Buddhism as part of an effort – itself a reaction to Christian proselytizing efforts in India – to show that “all religions are one”, and that Hinduism is uniquely valuable because it alone recognizes this fact.



Interpretations, Opinions & Reactions

According to Wendy Doniger, the Buddha avatar which occurs in different versions in various Puranas may represent an attempt by orthodox Brahminism to slander the Buddhists by identifying them with the demons. Helmuth von Glasenapp attributed these developments to a Hindu desire to absorb Buddhism in a peaceful manner, both to win Buddhists to Vaishnavism and also to account for the fact that such a significant heresy could exist in India.

The times ascribed to one “Buddha” figure are contradictory and some put him in approximately 500 CE, with a lifetime of 64 years, describe him as having killed some persons, as following the Vedic religion, and having a father named Jina, which suggest that this particular figure might be a different person from Siddhārta Gautama.

Kumārila Bhaṭṭa disregarded the connection of Buddha with Hinduism, he regarded Buddha as the one who “transgressed dharma laid down for Kshatriyas and he took himself to the profession of a religious teacher, one who ‘deceives himself’ and acts contrary to the Vedas”.

B.R. Ambedkar, denied that Buddha was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Among the 22 vows he gave to the Dalit Buddhist movement, the 5th vow is “I do not and shall not believe that Lord Buddha was the incarnation of Vishnu. I believe this to be sheer madness and false propaganda.”

In 1999, at the Maha Bodhi Society in Sarnath, Jayendra Saraswathi of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham and S. N. Goenka, after having a mutual discussion, gave a joint communique agreeing on the following three points:

  1. “Due to whatever reason some literature was written in India in the past in which the Buddha was declared to be a re-incarnation of Vishnu and other various things were written about him, this was very unpleasant to the neighboring countries. In order to foster friendlier ties between Hindus and Buddhists we decide that whatever has happened in the past should be forgotten and such belief should not be propagated.
  2. A misconception has spread in the neighboring countries that the Hindu society of India is organizing such conferences to prove its dominance over the followers of the Buddha. To forever remove this misconception we declare that both Vedic and Samana are ancient traditions of India (Lord Vishnu belongs to the Vedic tradition and Buddha belongs to the Samana tradition). Any attempt by one tradition to show it higher than the other will only generate hatred and ill will between the two. Hence such a thing should not be done in future and both traditions should be accorded equal respect and esteem.
  3. Anybody can attain high position in the society by doing good deeds. One becomes a low person in society if one does evil deeds. Hence anybody by doing good deeds and removing the defilement’s such as passion, anger, arrogance, ignorance, greed, jealousy and ego can attain a high position in society and enjoy peace and happiness.

We agree on all the three things mentioned above and wish that all the people of India from all the traditions should have cordial relations and the neighboring countries should also have friendly relations with India.”



Women in Vedic Culture

The Vedic tradition has held a high regard for the qualities of women, and has retained the greatest respect within its tradition as seen in the honor it gives for the Goddess, who is portrayed as the feminine embodiment of important qualities and powers. These forms include those of Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of fortune), Goddess Sarasvati (the Goddess of knowledge), Goddess Durga (the Goddess of strength and power), and other Vedic Goddesses that exemplify inner strength and divine attributes. Even divine power in the form of Shakti is considered feminine.

  1. Throughout the many years of Vedic culture, women have always been given the highest level of respect and freedom, but also protection and safety.
  2. There is a Vedic saying, “Where women are worshiped, there the gods dwell”. Or where the women are happy, there will be prosperity.
  3. Women must be honored and adorned by their fathers, brothers, husbands, and brothers‑in‑law, who desire their own welfare. Where women are honored, there the gods are pleased; but if they are not honored, there will be no rewards.
  4. Hence men, who seek their own welfare, should always honor women on holidays and festivals with gifts of ornaments, clothes and food.
  5. If there is a lineage in which daughters and the daughters-in-law are saddened by ill treatment, that lineage would be destroyed. When out of their grief these women curse these households, such households lose their charm, prosperity and happiness.
  6. Furthermore, in the Vedas, when a woman is invited into the family through marriage, she enters “as a river enters the sea” and “to rule there along with her husband, as a Queen, over the other members of the family.” (Atharva-Veda 14.1.43-44). This kind of equality is rarely found in any other religious scripture.
  7. Plus, a woman who is devoted to God is more highly regarded than a man who has no such devotion.
  8. In the matter of Dharma, in the days of Vedic culture, women stood as a decisive force in spirituality and the foundation of moral development.
  9. There were also women Rishis (sages) who revealed the Vedic knowledge to others. For example, the 126th hymn of the first book of the Rig-Veda was revealed by a Vedic woman whose name was Romasha; the 179 hymn of the same book was by Lopamudra, another inspired Vedic woman.
  10. There are a dozen names of women revealers of the Vedic wisdom, such as Visvavara, Shashvati, Gargi, Maitreyi, and Apala. Every one of them lived the ideal life of spirituality, being untouched by the things of the world. They are called in Sanskrit Brahmavadinis, the speakers and revealers of Brahman.
  11. In fact, in early Vedic civilization women were always encouraged to pursue spiritual advancement without hindrance.

“O bride! May the knowledge of the Vedas be in front of you and behind you, in your centre and in your ends. May you conduct your life after attaining the knowledge of the Vedas. May you be benevolent, the harbinger of good fortune and health, and live in great dignity and indeed be illumined in your husband’s home.” (Atharva Veda, 14.1.64)

  1. It is not without reason then that women are identified with Shakti in Vedic civilization. If women are kept suppressed, this Shakti will be denied to the family and the society, thus weakening all of them.
  2. The nature of motherhood of women was always stressed in Vedic India. After all, we often find women to be the foundation of family life and of raising the children properly. Women usually provide the love and understanding and nurturing for the development of their children in a way that is unlikely from most men.

“The teacher who teaches true knowledge is more important than ten instructors. The father is more important than ten such teachers of true knowledge and the mother is more important than ten such fathers. There is no greater guru than mother.” (Mahabharata, Shantiparva, 30.9)

  1. Our own life is a gift from our mother’s life. We were nourished by her, we spent nine months in her womb, and her love sustained us. Even now we are loved by our mother. This includes Mother Nature and Mother Earth, which is called Bhumi in the Vedic tradition. The Earth planet is also like a mother because everything we need to live, all our resources, comes from her. As we would protect our own mother, we must also protect Mother Earth.
  2. Women in motherhood, after giving birth to a child that they have carried for nine months, is the first guru and guide of the child and, thus, of humanity. Through this means, before any child learns hatred or aggression, they first know the love of a mother who can instill the ways of forgiveness and kindness in the child. In this way, we can recognize that there is often a strong woman, either as a mother or as a wife, behind most successful men.
  3. In exhibiting the qualities of motherhood, women must be warm and tender, strong and protective, yet also lay the foundation of discipline and the discrimination of right from wrong. Furthermore, in the home it is usually the woman who lends to providing beauty in decorating the house and facility for an inspirational atmosphere. Also, she must usually provide the nutritious and tasty dishes that give pleasure and strength for the fitness and health of the body.
  4. By their innate sense of motherhood and compassion, women also make natural healers, care givers, and nurturers. Those women who have this intrinsic disposition for caring will also be natural upholders of moral standards and spiritual principles. By their own emotional tendencies and expressions, they are also natural devotees of God.
  5. In ancient India the Sanskrit words used by the husband for the wife were Pathni (the one who leads the husband through life), Dharmapathni (the one who guides the husband in dharma) and Sahadharmacharini (one who moves with the husband on the path of dharma–righteousness and duty). This is how ancient Vedic culture viewed the partnership of husband and wife.
  6. When a husband and wife are willing to be flexible to each other’s needs and move forward in love and mutual understanding, the relationship can go beyond equality to one of spiritual union. This means that each one appreciates the talents of the other, and views the other as complimenting what each one already has. This also makes up for the weaknesses or deficiencies of the other. In this way, each can provide support, encouragement and inspiration to the other. This ideal can only be achieved when they properly understand the principles of spirituality. It is also said that where the husband and wife get along well, Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of fortune) herself dwells in that house.
  7. It is also considered that a wife who serves a spiritually strong and qualified husband automatically shares in whatever spiritual merit he achieves because she assists him by her service.
  8. In the Vedic tradition it is common to see the pairing of the Vedic male Gods with a female counterpart, thus combining both sets of powers and qualities that each would have. We can easily see this in Goddess Radha with Lord Krishna, Goddess Sita with Lord Rama, Goddess Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu, Goddess Durga with Lord Shiva, Goddess Sarasvati with Lord Brahma, etc. Thus, we have the combination of male and female Divinities that make the complete balance in the divine spiritual powers.
  9. In Vedic history, all women should be respected and honored for the potential and talent they can provide to keep the family together, as well as bare and raise children, but also for the many women, who have taken up the cause to preserve, protect and carry on the spiritual standards found in Vedic culture.

Paintings of rural indian women - Oil painting (4)