Vishnu’s Avatars

Lord Vishnu in the form of Boar, third Avatar

It is my personal opinion that the Hinduism introduced the concept of Trinity during the time of either Valmiki or Vyasji, the great sages who wrote Ramayana and Mahabharata. The concept of Vishnu’s Avatars undoubtly reflects the modern day Theory of Evolution. Did the sages explore the possibilities of Evolution vs. Creation?

Lord Vishnu is prominent as the Preserver of the universe. Vishnu’s restoring, shielding and conserving powers have been apparent in the world in a sequence of ten mortal incarnations known as Avatars. The avatars appear in order to balance the effect of good and evil upon the earth. It is believed that nine avatars have already descended, three in non human form, one in hybrid form and five in human form. Of the ten universally recognized avatars, nine have already appeared whereas the tenth is yet to appear. These ten avatars are also known by the name of Dasha Avatar of Vishnu.

All the Avatars are mortal form of Lord Vishnu, who himself is eternal, consistent and undeniable. The Dasha Avatar of Vishnu are briefly discussed here:

1. Matsya Avatar – Lord Vishnu in the form of Fish
The first avatar, Matsya, was taken by Lord Vishnu at the end of the Satyuga (last age), when a flood destroyed the world. Through this avatar, he saved humanity and the sacred Veda text from the flood.

2. Kurma Avatar – Lord Vishnu in the form of Turtle
The second avatar, Kurma, was taken in the Satyuga (last age) to help the Devas and to obtain the amrut (nectar) of immortality which was also sought after by the Asuras (demons). He helped in creating the world by giving support of his back through this avatar.

3. Varaha Avatar – Lord Vishnu in the form of Boar
The third avatar, Varaha, was taken at the end of the last flood in the Satyuga, when Bhoomi Devi (Earth Mother) sank to the bottom of the ocean. Vishnu, in the form of varaha, dived into the ocean and raised the goddess out of the ocean, supported by his two tusks.

4. Narsimha Avatar – Lord Vishnu in the form of Half – Man and Half – Lion
The fourth Avatar, Narsimha, was taken in the Satyuga (last age) to kill a tyrant demon king. Narsimha is the only avatar which was Hybrid in form being half human and half animal.

5. Vamana Avatar – Lord Vishnu in the form of a Dwarf
The fifth avatar, Vamana, appeared in the Tretayuga in order to destroy Bali, the king of demons. He came during a huge ceremony conducted by the king and cleverly asked for just three feet of land, measured by his own small feet. Vamana covered whole of the earth and the heaven, subduing Bali into his feet.

6. Parshurama Avatar – Lord Vishnu in the form of a Brahmin
The sixth avatar, Parshurama, appeared in the Tretayuga to destroy the warrior caste. When the kings of the earth became despotic and started to harm people and saints in the forest, Vishnu incarnated as Parshurama and destroyed all the kings who were harassing the people.

7. Rama Avatar – Lord Vishnu in the form of the King
The seventh avatar, Rama, the prince and king of Ayodhaya, appeared in the Tretayuga, to rescue Sita with his loyal servant Hanuman and his brother, Lakshmana, and killed the demon Ravana. Lord Rama became one of the most popular gods in the Hindu religion.

8. Krishna Avatar – Lord Vishnu in the form of a Cowherd’s Boy
The eighth avatar, Krishna, along with his brother Balarama, appeared in the Dwaparyuga to kill the demon king, Kansa. Lord Krishna conveyed the message of love and humanity to the world. Krishna told the epic poem Bhagavad Gita to the warrior Arjuna ,in which he acclaimed : ”Whenever Dharma, or the situation of law and order, is endangered on this world, I incarnate onto this world to re establish Dharma, law and order, and to protect the Sadhus or saints and to destroy the evil elements of the society.”

9. Buddha Avatar – Lord Vishnu in the Form of Buddha
The ninth avatar, Mahavira Buddha, appeared in the Kalyuga, to teach the lesson of following a middle path in life. ”Buddha” means ‘the enlightened one’. He taught that all sorrow comes from attachments and desires, so it’s better to curb all attachments in order to remain happy.

10. Kalki Avatar – Lord Vishnu in the form of Horse
The tenth Avatar, Kalki, (“Eternity”, or “time”, or “The Destroyer of foulness”), is yet to appear on the earth. And it is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the time period in which we currently exist.

Courtsey of :  http://www.iloveindia.com/spirituality/gods/vishnu/vishnu-avatar.html

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Farewell Father (Bapu-Bapuji-Father)

It was early morning of Christmas 2010. Beautiful powdery snow had fallen during night covering the ground in pure white color. My sisters and their family had gathered at our house for Christmas celebration. December 25th was picture perfect day, just like it has been described in the Christmas stories.

It was Sunday, January 2, 2011 when my sister Indu and her husband Mohanlal visited my father.

Since that day, Bapuji begin to say things that were divine. Somehow he knew that his death is near and his telephone conversation with my sister, Indu, was absolutely precise and to the point that his Swaminarayan Lord had come to visit him and had assured him that all the preparations are in place and that the Lord had dispatched two sadhus (saint) to take him home.

Bapuji begin to have chest pain on Monday, January 3, 2011. Dr. Thatti came to visit him and only then we found out that he may have suffered heart attack. Bapuji was transferred to Williamson Medical Center for further checkup. The emergency room’s attending physician had stabilized my dad when I went to see him. I found my dad very cheerful, peaceful and fully alert. The cardiologist suggested that we do angiogram in the morning.

At about 9:47pm my dad called me and told me to take good care of myself and our family, that he was very appreciative of the hospital staff who took special care of him. He was thankful to them and our family members for taking care of him during his golden years following my mom’s death on March 16, 2002.

At about 1:00am, I received a call from the hospital that my dad’s heart had stopped working. I along with my wife, Lata and my son, Vivek, went to the hospital and bid farewell to my loving father at 1:51am, Wednesday, January 5, 2010. My Daughter, Zarna, stayed home in case of emergency and was brought to the hospital later.

My dad was a divine person, living a lifestyle based on BHAKTI (DEVOTION) and RIGHTOUSNESS. He never hated or spoke ill words for anyone. He never eat or wore new cloths without first offering to his Lord Swaminarayan.

In his final moments, such discipline brought peace and comfort to his soul. Most importantly, it brought special joy to all who came to know him. Sadhu Sobhitswaruppswami and his bhajans during the funeral brought peace to our soul, especially mine. I know that is exactly the way BAPUJI would have preferred.

Bapu, I am so glad that you gave me a privilege to be your son. I wish and pray you will give me the same opportunity in my next life. Please bless me so I can learn to live with your BHAKTI and RIGHTOUSNESS.

I bid you farewell Bapuji, may you find happiness in AKSHARDHAM with LORD SWAMINARAYAN and your life partner and my MOTHER, DHANUBA.

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Merry Christmas

Last week Penelope Trunk wrote on her blog about “Why Christmas Is Destroying Corporate America”. She claims that Christmas celebration at workplace alienates employees and squashes diversity. She also claims that forcing people to take Christmas off is discriminatory and Jewish ornaments on Christmas trees are offensive.

I was born in India and practitioner of Hinduism. I came to USA in 1972 and made this country my home. I had learnt four languages including English that made my transition in American society very easy. It is therefore I also believe that American children should learn minimum of four languages before the completion of middle school.

I was exposed to all religions during the early years of my life and have developed a great amount of respect for all religions, especially their festivities. I believe in inclusivity of all religions and their festivities in our culture. Religion and their festivities provide FAITH and HOPE that plays an important part in every society. Every year my family and I have enjoyed the celebration of Christmas and its festivities. We have never been alienated by its affiliation with Christianity. I do not know the religious affiliation of Penelope Truck, but I am really alienated by her suggestions that we as an American should stop celebrating Christmas because we are a nation of diversity.

Separation of church and state does not mean that we exclude all religious based activities. We should not promote activities or teachings that take away rights of GOD loving people. As a GOD loving person, I disapprove the notion of exclusivity and disrespect for each other’s religion because in the end that will destroy the civilization and this society will become a land of violators of GOD’s teachings.

What is more disturbing is that media provides opportunities to these kinds of weird suggestions, good people do nothing about it or they are shut by the pressure from investors/donors and massive foolhardy protestors and eventually an empty headed legislator propose an amendments to the constitution where celebrating CHRISTMAS becomes offensive to the diversity and therefore must be banned.

Welcome to the land of the free. Merry Christmas, HO HO HO!

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Thanksgiving, Hindu Style

 

On Thursday, we were invited by Binny auntie for Thanksgiving dinner party. Binny and Brij are younger than me; however I like to call her Binny auntie because not only she is beautiful outside but more beautiful inside. Her caring personality reminds me of auntie’s love. So in great honor I like to call her auntie.

My son, Vivek (www.VivekSurti.wordpress.com), enjoys gourmet cooking and is a great food blogger. My parents are vegetarian and strict follower of BAPS. I believe in God but have my own value systems. My son has been raised with both value systems. So until now we always had our Thanksgiving dinner Hindu style, meaning all vegetarian meal in the name of Thanksgiving. We all sat down together for the dinner, prayed to the Lord for the blessings and enjoyed our evening.

Last year he asked me and Lata if he can prepare a true American Thanksgiving dinner including cooking turkey. Upon our permission, a turkey was cooked for the first time in our house along with typical complementary dishes. It was first non-vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner in the Surti’s house. The sad part was my DAD had to eat alone because he is vegetarian and does not approve eating non-vegetarian meal. My MOM passed away in March of 2002. If she was alive, I doubt we would have dared to cook non-vegetarian meal in the house.

So, the Surti family has made some compromises. Lata, who was non-vegetarian when I married her has become vegetarian and does not prefer non-veggie meal. Zarna (www.Zarna.Com), my daughter has been vegetarian by personal choice for long time. I am the only person in the house who gives company to my son even though I consider myself vegetarian but occasionally enjoy non-vegetarian meal.

We don’t question whether it is right or wrong to have adopted the American dietary options that is against the Hindu teachings. We don’t try to justify our behaviors by claiming that Hindus do not follow each and every teachings of Hinduism and therefore we have the right to choose. We have adopted the festivities of the land we now called our own. What is important is not what you eat but how you become a good citizen of the country and its society by truly following the path of righteousness.

At Binny auntie’s house, there were friends of multi culture and plenty food choices, vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian. We all sat together and enjoy the dinner, the evening was just wonderful. Thank you Binny auntie and Brij uncle.

However, I missed my MOM and felt guilty that I did not eat my Thanksgiving dinner with my DAD.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends. Life is like the oceanic waves (Sagarki Laharen), just dive in and enjoy! What will become of a Sagar (ocean) without his Laharen (waves)?

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Cremation, a Hindu Tradition

Yesterday, our good friend Dr. Jayesh Patel cremated his father, Shri Ambubhai Patel. Dada, a grand-father in Gujarati language, was the nickname Shri Ambubhai had earned in his later years and was loved by many among the little Indian society in Nashville and surroundings.

Bhagavad-Gita, a Hindu scripture, describes that the human body is made of five material elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. In addition to the material elements, a living body interacts with jivatma, for the lack of suitable term in other languages denoted as soul.

Second chapter of Bhagavad-gita (2.20-25) describes characteristics of the soul: “For the soul there is neither birth nor death. It has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. It is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. It is not slain when the body is slain.

Jivatma of people with good karma go to the higher worlds and those with lower karma go to the lower worlds. It is a process of birth and death in which the jivatma purifies itself to become one with Parmatma, the ultimate soul, GOD.

The modern science wants to create jivatma, but all their experiences have failed. They have concluded that all these qualities of the soul are outside the field of perceivable molecular reactions. Niels Bohr (1885-1962), Danish nuclear physicist and Nobel Prize laureate, noted: “In physics and chemistry we cannot find anything at least marginally proving the existence of consciousness. And still we all know that there is something like consciousness, simply because we have it ourselves. Consciousness therefore must be a part of nature, or expressed more commonly, a part of reality. This means that aside of physical and chemical laws described quantum theory there are laws with completely different nature.”

Jivatma is eternal and its separation from the body is recognized as death of person.  The body becomes useless without jivatma and it is the ultimate reason why Hindu have adopted cremation theory rather than burial theory. Hindu believes that the body is made of organic material. Once the body is cremated the remains will recycle with the elements of the material world.

It is therefore I endorse CREMATION.

May Ambubhai’s soul rest in peace and may Lord give strength to the family to overcome such loss.

Some wording is courtesy of:

http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz/encyclopedia/dharma.htm

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Lion, the king of Jungle

 

Why a Lion, the King of Jungle, decided to take job in circus? Because free market economy destroyed his jungle & promised him better job and life in New York. I tweeted about this few days ago.

Frustration is all over the world about current economy and lost jobs. Politician promised better paying jobs to all Americans, an absolute lies that they will never be able to fulfill because of the free market economy where competition is unfair in Global world.

God created us differently. Yes, I do believe in God and his creation theory because all other explanations, including Darwin’s theory of evolution, do not provide real answers to all my questions. It is therefore I believe that there is a force beyond our comprehension and in my opinion that force is my “GOD”?

Society and education nurtures us and makes us what we are. Every human, in their early years, develops a skill that provides services to the different segments of the societies. Once such skill is developed, it is hard to acquire different skills at later days in our life.

However, the free market economy snatches away our jobs, transfers them to different part of the world and forces us to learn new skill every so often that is beyond our mental, physical and financial abilities.

Yes, there are new better paying jobs, but I don’t need them because I am not trained to handle those jobs. I am the king of the jungle and I don’t like circus or the New York lifestyle. Sorry New Yorker but I am just a jungle boy! I just want my old life back, please!

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Salmubarak

Salmubarak to all my Hindu friends as we celebrate the first day of Vikram Samvat 2067.  It is a lunar calendar based on ancient Hindu tradition and Vedic time keeping. The Vikram Samvat calendar is 56.7 years ahead (in count) of the solar Georgian Calendar. 

During last week we received many greetings with varieties of messages and good wishes. It is that time of year where everyone is nicer to one another.

The celebration of the ending and beginning of the year is associated with religious rituals, mythologies along with social responsibilities, such as bhaibij, where brother is required to visit married sister’s family.  His visit is one way to assure that his sister is doing fine and also to deliver gifts that was rightfully deserved by her.

What I noticed besides all the rituals and ceremonies during the celebration is the ultimate truth in such festivities. They say, “May the Lord Lighten your Inner Spirit during the Festival of Lights” and I truly believe that it is an appropriate message.

However, it is the good behaviors of mankind, being nicer to one another, wishing good for the coming year, exchanging gifts, shaking hands, hugging each other, forgiving one another, distributing wealth, sweets, home decoration, especially santhia, and fireworks. It all brings FAITH and HOPE, may be just for tiny moments of our lifespan, however, it is worth every moment. Mankind needs constant reminder and some assurance from the society that life will be better afterall and we are in it together. That is the message of “HAPPY DIWALI AND SALMUBARAK”.

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