“We have drunk Soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the gods discovered. Now what may an enemy’s malice do to harm us? What, O Immortal, can mortal man’s deception do?” – Rig Veda 8.48.3
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If I were to tell you, that once, no other country, save India, revered the cow as much as Japan, I could understand your disbelief. Today, we think of Japan as a meat-eating culture. However, this image is a product of the last 150 years of American influence. The traditional Japanese culture held the cow as the most sacred animal. What follows next is the true story of among the greatest protectors of the cow – the Samurai.
Among Vedic practitioners, Tulasi “The Incomparable One”, is vital in the worship of Lord Vishnu. As Vrinda Devi she arranges the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Krishna in the forests of Vrindavan. Devotees always offer food to the Lord accompanied by a leaf from Tulasi. In addition, Vaishnavas chant on and wear sacred beads made of her wood, and in some traditions anoint their body with sacred clay in the form of her leaf.
In 1938 the Nazis sent an expedition to Tibet in search of occult treasures. During this trek, the lead scientist, Ernst Schäfer stole an iron deity depicting a man in seated posture. On the deity’s chest was the sacred swastika and in his hand he held an unknown object.
In County Meath, Ireland, on the Hill of Tara sits a mysterious stone known as the Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny). According to The Annals of the Four Masters, an ancient document written by Franciscan Monks between 1632-1636 AD, this stone was brought to Ireland by the Tuatha Dé Danann, a supernaturally gifted people. Some speculate it was they who brought the power to make bronze to Ireland. They were the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland.
(This was originally written in 2001 for our email newsletter, Tattva Prakasha.)
Welcome to the seventh issue of Tattva Prakasha. This week our main topic of discussion will be the Vedantic conception of sound. If you are a new subscriber to Tattva Prakasha, I would like to mention that though most of our articles deal with general philosophy, this issue will be a little more technical due to the importance of the subject. Since the topic is technical, we have included a small glossary of Sanskrit words at the end of this issue. If you get confused while reading, you can refer to the glossary to put everything in proper context.
It has become quite popular nowadays to speak about mystical experiences and “siddhis”. Most yoga and meditation groups speak of them, along with other esoteric blabber such as the raising of kundalini, opening of chakras, and other things which no one has actually experienced. On one side we have new age gurus speaking of siddhis very cheaply as though they are as common as sand on a beach, and on the other hand we have “rationalists” who discount siddhis all together as mere fantasy.
The topic of this issue is the Mahabharata war in relation to world history and culture. We will begin the topic with a question we received sometime back:
“In the Mahabharata, the war seemed to have affected the whole world. We don’t find so many references to such of a huge event in other cultures. Why are there no references to a great world event?”