Rama or Ram known as Ramachandra, is a major deity of Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna and Gautama Buddha. In Rama-centric traditions of Hinduism, he is considered the Supreme Being. Rama was born to Dasharatha in Ayodhya, the ruler of the Kingdom of Kosala, his siblings included Lakshmana and Shatrughna. He married Sita. Though born in a royal family, their life is described in the Hindu texts as one challenged by unexpected changes such as an exile into impoverished and difficult circumstances, ethical questions and moral dilemmas. Of all their travails, the most notable is the kidnapping of Sita by demon-king Ravana, followed by the determined and epic efforts of Rama and Lakshmana to gain her freedom and destroy the evil Ravana against great odds; the entire life story of Rama and their companions allegorically discusses duties and social responsibilities of an individual. It illustrates dharmic living through model characters.
Rama is important to Vaishnavism. He is the central figure of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, a text popular in the South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures, his ancient legends have attracted bhasya and extensive secondary literature and inspired performance arts. Two such texts, for example, are the Adhyatma Ramayana – a spiritual and theological treatise considered foundational by Ramanandi monasteries, the Ramcharitmanas – a popular treatise that inspires thousands of Ramlila festival performances during autumn every year in India. Rama legends are found in the texts of Jainism and Buddhism, though he is sometimes called Pauma or Padma in these texts, their details vary from the Hindu versions. Rāma is a Vedic Sanskrit word with two contextual meanings. In one context as found in Arthavaveda, states Monier Monier-Williams, it means "dark, dark-colored, black" and is related to the term ratri which means night. In another context as found in other Vedic texts, the word means "pleasing, charming, lovely".
The word is sometimes used as a suffix in different Indian languages and religions, such as Pali in Buddhist texts, where -rama adds the sense of "pleasing to the mind, lovely" to the composite word. Rama as a first name appears in the Vedic literature, associated with two patronymic names – Margaveya and Aupatasvini – representing different individuals. A third individual named Rama Jamadagnya is the purported author of hymn 10.110 of the Rigveda in the Hindu tradition. The word Rama appears in ancient literature in reverential terms for three individuals: Parashu-rama, as the sixth avatar of Vishnu, he is linked to the Rama Jamadagnya of the Rigveda fame. Rama-chandra, as the seventh avatar of Vishnu and of the ancient Ramayana fame. Bala-rama called Halayudha, as the elder brother of Krishna both of whom appear in the legends of Hinduism and Jainism; the name Rama appears in Hindu texts, for many different scholars and kings in mythical stories. The word appears in ancient Upanishads and Aranyakas layer of Vedic literature, as well as music and other post-Vedic literature, but in qualifying context of something or someone, "charming, lovely" or "darkness, night".
The Vishnu avatar named Rama is known by other names. He is called Raghava. Additional names of Rama include Ramavijaya, Phreah Ream, Phra Ram, Megat Seri Rama, Raja Bantugan, Ramar. In the Vishnu sahasranama, Rama is the 394th name of Vishnu. In some Advaita Vedanta inspired texts, Rama connotes the metaphysical concept of Supreme Brahman, the eternally blissful spiritual Self in whom yogis delight nondualistically; the root of the word Rama is ram- which means "stop, stand still, rejoice, be pleased". According to Douglas Adams, the Sanskrit word Rama is found in other Indo-European languages such as Tocharian ram, reme, *romo- where it means "support, make still", "witness, make evident"; the sense of "dark, soot" appears in other Indo European languages, such as *remos or Old English romig. This summary is a traditional legendary account, based on literary details from the Ramayana and other historic mythology-containing texts of Buddhism and Jainism. According to Sheldon Pollock, the figure of Rama incorporates more ancient "morphemes of Indian myths", such as the mythical legends of Bali and Namuci.
The ancient sage Valmiki used these morphemes in his Ramayana similes as in sections 3.27, 3.59, 3.73, 5.19 and 29.28. Rama was born on the ninth day of the lunar month Chaitra, a day celebrated across India as Ram Navami; this coincides with one of the four Navratri on the Hindu calendar, in the spring season, namely the Vasantha Navratri. The ancient epic Ramayana states in the Balakhanda that Rama and his brothers were born to Kaushalya and Dasharatha in Ayodhya, a city on the banks of Sarayu River; the Jain versions of the Ramayana, such as the Paumacariya by Vimalasuri mention the details of the early life of Rama. The Jain texts are dated variously, but pre-500 CE, most sometime within the first five centuries of the common era. Dasharatha was the king of Kosala, a part of the solar dynasty of Iksvakus, his mother's name Kaushalya implies that she was from Kosala. The kingdom of Kosala is mentioned in Buddhist and Jaina texts, as one of the sixteen Maha janapadas of ancient India, as an important center of pilgrimage for Jains and Buddhists.
However, there is a schola
Ganesha known as Ganapati, Vinayaka or by numerous other names, is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bali and Nepal. Hindu denominations worship him regardless of affiliations. Devotion to Ganesha is diffused and extends to Jains and Buddhists. Although he is known by many attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom; as the god of beginnings, he is honoured at the start of ceremonies. Ganesha is invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions. Several texts relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits. Ganesha emerged as a deity as early as the 2nd century CE, but most by the 4th and 5th centuries CE, during the Gupta period, although He inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic precursors. Hindu mythology identifies him as the restored son of Parvati and Shiva of the Shaivism tradition, but he is a pan-Hindu god found in its various traditions.
In the Ganapatya tradition of Hinduism, Ganesha is the supreme deity. The principal texts on Ganesha include the Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana, the Ganapati Atharvashirsa. Brahma Purana and Brahmanda Purana are other two Puranic genre encyclopedic texts that deal with Ganesha. Ganesha has been ascribed many other epithets, including Ganapati and Vighneshvara; the Hindu title of respect Shri is added before his name. The name Ganesha is a Sanskrit compound, joining the words gana, meaning a group, multitude, or categorical system and isha, meaning lord or master; the word gaṇa when associated with Ganesha is taken to refer to the gaṇas, a troop of semi-divine beings that form part of the retinue of Shiva, Ganesha's father. The term more means a category, community, association, or corporation; some commentators interpret the name "Lord of the Gaṇas" to mean "Lord of Hosts" or "Lord of created categories", such as the elements. Ganapati, a synonym for Ganesha, is a compound composed of gaṇa, meaning "group", pati, meaning "ruler" or "lord".
Though the earliest mention of the word Ganapati is found in hymn 2.23.1 of the 2nd-millennium BCE Rigveda, it is however uncertain that the Vedic term referred to Ganesha. The Amarakosha, an early Sanskrit lexicon, lists eight synonyms of Ganesha: Vinayaka, Vighnarāja, Dvaimātura, Gaṇādhipa, Heramba and Gajanana. Vinayaka is a common name for Ganesha that appears in Buddhist Tantras; this name is reflected in the naming of the eight famous Ganesha temples in Maharashtra known as the Ashtavinayak. The names Vighnesha and Vighneshvara refers to his primary function in Hinduism as the master and remover of obstacles. A prominent name for Ganesha in the Tamil language is Pillaiyar. A. K. Narain differentiates these terms by saying that pillai means a "child" while pillaiyar means a "noble child", he adds that the words pallu and pell in the Dravidian family of languages signify "tooth or tusk" "elephant tooth or tusk". Anita Raina Thapan notes that the root word pille in the name Pillaiyar might have meant "the young of the elephant", because the Pali word pillaka means "a young elephant".
In the Burmese language, Ganesha is known as Maha Peinne, derived from Pali Mahā Wināyaka. The widespread name of Ganesha in Thailand is Phra Phikanet; the earliest images and mention of Ganesha names as a major deity in present-day Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam date from the 7th- and 8th-centuries, these mirror Indian examples of the 5th century or earlier. In Sri Lankan Singhala Buddhist areas, he is known as Gana deviyo, revered along with Buddha, Vishnu and others. Ganesha is a popular figure in Indian art. Unlike those of some deities, representations of Ganesha show wide variations and distinct patterns changing over time, he may be portrayed standing, heroically taking action against demons, playing with his family as a boy, or sitting down on an elevated seat, or engaging in a range of contemporary situations. Ganesha images were prevalent in many parts of India by the 6th century; the 13th-century statue pictured is typical of Ganesha statuary from 900–1200, after Ganesha had been well-established as an independent deity with his own sect.
This example features some of Ganesha's common iconographic elements. A identical statue has been dated between 973–1200 by Paul Martin-Dubost, another similar statue is dated c. 12th century by Pratapaditya Pal. Ganesha has the head of a big belly; this statue has four arms, common in depictions of Ganesha. He holds his own broken tusk in his lower-right hand and holds a delicacy, which he samples with his trunk, in his lower-left hand; the motif of Ganesha turning his trunk to his left to taste a sweet in his lower-left hand is a archaic feature. A more primitive statue in one of the Ellora Caves with this general form has been dated to the 7th century. Details of the other hands are difficult to make out on the statue shown. In the standa
Shaivism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism that reveres Shiva as the Supreme Being. The followers of Shaivism are called "Shaivites" or "Saivites", it is one of the largest sects that believe Shiva — worshipped as a creator and destroyer of worlds — is the supreme god over all. The Shaiva have many sub-traditions, ranging from devotional dualistic theism such as Shaiva Siddhanta to yoga-oriented monistic non-theism such as Kashmiri Shaivism, it considers the Agama texts as important sources of theology. The origin of Shaivism may be traced to the conception of Rudra in the Rig Veda. Shaivism has ancient roots, traceable in the Vedic literature of 2nd millennium BCE, but this is in the form of the Vedic deity Rudra; the ancient text Shvetashvatara Upanishad dated to late 1st millennium BCE mentions terms such as Rudra and Maheshwaram, but its interpretation as a theistic or monistic text of Shaivism is disputed. In the early centuries of the common era is the first clear evidence of Pāśupata Shaivism.
Both devotional and monistic Shaivism became popular in the 1st millennium CE becoming the dominant religious tradition of many Hindu kingdoms. It arrived in Southeast Asia shortly thereafter, leading to thousands of Shaiva temples on the islands of Indonesia as well as Cambodia and Vietnam, co-evolving with Buddhism in these regions. In the contemporary era, Shaivism is one of the major aspects of Hinduism. Shaivism theology ranges from Shiva being the creator, destroyer to being the same as the Atman within oneself and every living being, it is related to Shaktism, some Shaiva worship in Shiva and Shakti temples. It is the Hindu tradition that most accepts ascetic life and emphasizes yoga, like other Hindu traditions encourages an individual to discover and be one with Shiva within. Shaivism is one of the largest traditions within Hinduism. Shiva means kind, gracious, or auspicious; as a proper name, it means "The Auspicious One". The word Shiva is used as an adjective in the Rig Veda, as an epithet for several Rigvedic deities, including Rudra.
The term Shiva connotes "liberation, final emancipation" and "the auspicious one", this adjective sense of usage is addressed to many deities in Vedic layers of literature. The term evolved from the Vedic Rudra-Shiva to the noun Shiva in the Epics and the Puranas, as an auspicious deity, the "creator and dissolver"; the Sanskrit word śaiva or Shaiva means "relating to the god Shiva", while the related beliefs, history and sub-traditions constitute Shaivism. The reverence for Shiva is one of the pan-Hindu traditions, found across India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. While Shiva is revered broadly, Hinduism itself is a complex religion and a way of life, with a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, it has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book. Shaivism is a major tradition within Hinduism, with a theology, predominantly related to the Hindu god Shiva. Shaivism has many different sub-traditions with regional differences in philosophy.
Shaivism has a vast literature with different philosophical schools, ranging from nondualism and mixed schools. The origins of Shaivism a matter of debate among scholars; some trace the origins to the Indus Valley civilization, which reached its peak around 2500–2000 BCE. Archeological discoveries show seals. Of these is the Pashupati seal, which early scholars interpreted as someone seated in a meditating yoga pose surrounded by animals, with horns; this "Pashupati" seal has been interpreted by these scholars as a prototype of Shiva. Gavin Flood characterizes these views as "speculative", saying that it is not clear from the seal if the figure has three faces, or is seated in a yoga posture, or that the shape is intended to represent a human figure. Other scholars state that the Indus Valley script remains undeciphered, the interpretation of the Pashupati seal is uncertain. According to Srinivasan, the proposal that it is proto-Shiva may be a case of projecting "later practices into archeological findings".
Asko Parpola states that other archaeological finds such as the early Elamite seals dated to 3000–2750 BCE show similar figures and these have been interpreted as "seated bull" and not a yogi, the bull interpretation is more accurate. The Rigveda has the earliest clear mention of Rudra in its hymns such as 2.33, 1.43 and 1.114. The text includes a Satarudriya, an influential hymn with embedded hundred epithets for Rudra, cited in many medieval era Shaiva texts as well as recited in major Shiva temples of Hindus in contemporary times. Yet, the Vedic literature only present scriptural theology, but does not attest to the existence of Shaivism; the Shvetashvatara Upanishad composed before the Bhagavad Gita about 4th century BCE contains the theistic foundations of Shaivism wrapped in a monistic structure. It contains the key terms and ideas of Shaivism, such as Shiva, Maheswara, Bhakti, Atman and self-knowledge. According to Gavin Flood, "the formation of Śaiva traditions as we understand them begins to occur during the period from 200 BC to 100 AD."
According to Chakravarti, Shiva rose to prominence as he was identified to be the
Shaktism is a major tradition of Hinduism, wherein the metaphysical reality is considered metaphorically feminine and Adi Parashakti is supreme. It includes a variety of Goddesses, all considered aspects of the same supreme Goddess. Shaktism has different sub-traditions, ranging from those focused on gracious Gauri to fierce Kali, some Shakti sub-traditions associate their Goddess with Shiva or Brahma or Vishnu; the Sruti and Smriti texts of Hinduism are an important historical framework of the Shaktism tradition. In addition, it reveres the texts Devi Mahatmya, the Devi-Bhagavata Purana, Mahabhagwata Purana and Shakta Upanishads such as the Devi Upanishad; the Devi Mahatmya in particular, is considered in Shaktism to be as important as the Bhagavad Gita. Shaktism is known for its various sub-traditions of Tantra, as well as a galaxy of Goddesses with respective systems, it consists of the Kulamārga. The pantheon of Goddesses in Shaktism grew after the decline of Buddhism in India, wherein Hindu and Buddhist Goddesses were combined to form the Mahavidya, a list of ten Goddesses.
The most common aspects of Devi found in Shaktism include Durga, Amba, Lakshmi and Tripurasundari. The Goddess-focused tradition is popular in West Bengal, Assam, Kumaon and Nepal and the neighboring regions, which it celebrates through festivals such as the Durga puja. Shaktism's ideas have influenced Vaishnavism and Shaivism traditions, with the Goddess considered the Shakti of Vishnu and Shiva and revered prominently in numerous Hindu temples and festivals. One of the earliest evidence of reverence for the feminine aspect of God in Hinduism appears in chapter 10.125 of the Rig Veda called the Devi Suktam hymn: –Devi Sukta, Rigveda 10.125.3 – 10.125.8, The Vedic literature reveres various Goddesses, but far less than Gods Indra and Soma. Yet, they are declared equivalent aspects of gender neutral Brahman, of Purusha; the Goddesses mentioned in the Vedic layers of text include the Ushas, Sarasvati, Nirriti, Shraddha. Goddesses such as Uma appear in the Upanishads as another aspect of Brahman and the knower of ultimate knowledge, such as in section 3 and 4 of the ancient Kena Upanishad.
Hymns to Goddesses are in the ancient Hindu epic Mahabharata in the added Harivamsa section of it. The archaeological and textual evidence implies, states Thomas Coburn, that the Goddess had become as much a part of the Hindu tradition, as God, by about the third or fourth century; the literature on Shakti theology grew in ancient India, climaxing in one of the most important texts of Shaktism called the Devi Mahatmya. This text, states C. Mackenzie Brown – a professor of Religion, is both a culmination of centuries of Indian ideas about the divine feminine, as well as a foundation for the literature and spirituality focussed on the feminine transcendence in centuries that followed; the Devi-Mahatmya is not the earliest literary fragment attesting to the existence of devotion to a Goddess figure, states Thomas B. Coburn – a professor of Religious Studies, but "it is the earliest in which the object of worship is conceptualized as Goddess, with a capital G". Other important texts of Shaktism include the Shakta Upanishads, as well as Shakta-oriented Upa Puranic literature such as the Devi Purana and Kalika Purana, the Lalita Sahasranama.
The Tripura Upanishad is the most complete introduction to Shakta Tantrism, distilling into its 16 verses every important topic in Shakta Tantra tradition. Along with the Tripura Upanishad, the Tripuratapini Upanishad has attracted scholarly bhasya in the second half of 2nd-millennium, such as by Bhaskararaya, by Ramanand; these texts link the Shakti Tantra tradition as a Vedic attribute, however this link has been contested by scholars. Shaktas conceive the Goddess as the supreme, eternal reality of all existence, or same as the Brahman concept of Hinduism, she is considered to be the source of all creation, its embodiment and the energy that animates and governs it, that into which everything will dissolve. According to V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar – a professor of Indian history, in Shaktism theology "Brahman is static Shakti and Shakti is dynamic Brahman."Shaktism views the Devi as the source and substance of everything in creation. Its texts such as the Devi-Bhagavata Purana states: I am Manifest Divinity, Unmanifest Divinity, Transcendent Divinity.
I am Brahma and Shiva, as well as Saraswati and Parvati. I am the Sun and I am the Stars, I am the Moon. I am all animals and birds, I am the outcaste as well, the thief. I am the low person of dreadful deeds, the great person of excellent deeds. I am Female, I am Male in the form of Shiva. Shaktism's focus on the Divine Feminine does not imply a rejection of masculine, it rejects soul-body, transcendent-immanent dualism, considering nature as divine. Devi is considered to be the cosmos itself – she is the embodiment of energy and soul, the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe, yet in Shaktism, states C. MacKenzie Brown, the masculine and the feminine are aspects of the transcendent reality. In Hindu iconography, the cosmic dynamic of masculine-feminine interdependence and equivalence, is expressed in the half-Shakti, half-Shiva deity known as Ardhanari; the philosophical premises in many Shakta texts, states June McDaniel – a professor of Religious Studies, is syncretism of Sam
Vishnu is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, the Supreme Being or absolute truth in its Vaishnavism tradition. Vishnu is the "preserver" in the Hindu triad that includes Shiva. In Vaishnavism, Vishnu is identical to the formless metaphysical concept called Brahman, the supreme, the Svayam Bhagavan, who takes various avatars as "the preserver, protector" whenever the world is threatened with evil and destructive forces, his avatars most notably include Rama in the Krishna in the Mahabharata. He is known as Narayana, Vasudeva and Hari, he is one of the five equivalent deities worshipped in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta Tradition of Hinduism. In Hindu iconography, Vishnu is depicted as having a pale or dark blue complexion and having four arms, he holds a padma in his lower left hand, Kaumodaki gada in his lower right hand, Panchajanya shankha in his upper left hand and the Sudarshana Chakra in his upper right hand. A traditional depiction is Vishnu reclining on the coils of the serpent Shesha, accompanied by his consort Lakshmi, as he "dreams the universe into reality".
Yaska, the mid 1st-millennium BCE Vedanga scholar, in his Nirukta, defines Vishnu as viṣṇur viṣvater vā vyaśnoter vā, "one who enters everywhere". He writes, atha yad viṣito bhavati tad viṣnurbhavati, "that, free from fetters and bondages is Vishnu"; the medieval Indian scholar Medhātithi suggested that the word Vishnu has etymological roots in viś, meaning to pervade, thereby connoting that Vishnu is "one, everything and inside everything". Vishnu means "all pervasive". Vishnu is a Vedic deity, but not a prominent one when compared to Indra and others. Just 5 out of 1028 hymns of the Rigveda, a 2nd millennium BCE Hindu text, are dedicated to Vishnu, he finds minor mention in the other hymns. Vishnu is mentioned in the Brahmana layer of text in the Vedas, thereafter his profile rises and over the history of Indian mythology, states Jan Gonda, Vishnu becomes a divinity of the highest rank, one equivalent to the Supreme Being. Though a minor mention and with overlapping attributes in the Vedas, he has important characteristics in various hymns of Rig Veda, such as 1.154.5, 1.56.3 and 10.15.3.
In these hymns, the Vedic mythology asserts that Vishnu resides in that highest home where departed Atman reside, an assertion that may have been the reason for his increasing emphasis and popularity in Hindu soteriology. He is described in the Vedic literature as the one who supports heaven and earth. In the Vedic hymns, Vishnu is invoked alongside other deities Indra, whom he helps in killing the symbol of evil named Vritra, his distinguishing characteristic in Vedas is his association with light. Two Rigvedic hymns in Mandala 7 refer to Vishnu. In section 7.99 of the Rgveda, Vishnu is addressed as the god who separates heaven and earth, a characteristic he shares with Indra. In the Vedic texts, the deity or god referred to as Vishnu is Surya or Savitr, who bears the name Suryanarayana. Again, this link to Surya is a characteristic Vishnu shares with fellow Vedic deities named Mitra and Agni, where in different hymns, they too "bring men together" and cause all living beings to rise up and impel them to go about their daily activities.
In hymn 7.99 of Rigveda, Indra-Vishnu are equivalent and produce the sun, with the verses asserting that this sun is the source of all energy and light for all. In other hymns of the Rigveda, Vishnu is a close friend of Indra. Elsewhere in Rigveda and Upanishadic texts, Vishnu is equivalent to Prajapati, both are described as the protector and preparer of the womb, according to Klaus Klostermaier, this may be the root behind post-Vedic fusion of all the attributes of the Vedic Prajapati unto the avatars of Vishnu. In the Yajurveda, Taittiriya Aranyaka, Narayana sukta, Narayana is mentioned as the supreme being; the first verse of Narayana Suktam mentions the words paramam padam, which mean highest post and may be understood as the supreme abode for all souls. This is known as Param Dhama, Paramapadam or Vaikuntha. Rig Veda 1.22.20 mentions the same paramam padam. In the Atharvaveda, the mythology of a boar who raises goddess earth from the depths of cosmic ocean appears, but without the word Vishnu or his alternate avatar names.
In post-Vedic mythology, this legend becomes one of the basis of many cosmogonic myth called the Varaha legend, with Varaha as an avatar of Vishnu. Several hymns of the Rigveda repeat the mighty deed of Vishnu called the Trivikrama, one of the lasting mythologies in Hinduism since the Vedic times, it is an inspiration for ancient artwork in numerous Hindu temples such as at the Ellora Caves, which depict the Trivikrama legend through the Vamana avatar of Vishnu. Trivikrama refers to "three strides" of Vishnu. Starting as a small insignificant looking being, Vishnu undertakes a herculean task of establishing his reach and form with his first step covers the earth, with second the ether, the third entire heaven; the Vishnu Sukta 1.154 of Rigveda says that the first and second of Vishnu's strides are visible to the mortals and the third is the realm of the immortals. The Trivikrama describing hymns integrate salvific themes, stating Vishnu to symbolize that, freedom and life; the Shatapatha Brahmana elaborates this theme of Vishnu, as his herculean effort and sacrifice to create and gain powers that help others, one who realizes and defeats the evil symbolized by the Asuras after they had usurped the three worlds, thus Vishnu is the savior of the mortals and
Kartikeya known as Murugan, Skanda and Subrahmanya, is the Hindu god of war. He is the son of Parvati and Shiva, brother of Ganesha, a god whose life story has many versions in Hinduism. An important deity around South Asia since ancient times, Kartikeya is popular and predominantly worshipped in South India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia as Murugan. Kartikeya is an ancient god, traceable to the Vedic era. Archaeological evidence from 1st-century CE and earlier, where he is found with Hindu god Agni, suggest that he was a significant deity in early Hinduism, he is found in many medieval temples all over India, such as at the Ellora Caves and Elephanta Caves. The iconography of Kartikeya varies significantly. Most icons show him with one head, but some show him with six heads reflecting the legend surrounding his birth where six mothers symbolizing the six stars of Pleiades cluster who took care of newly born baby Kartikeya, he grows up into a philosopher-warrior, destroys evil in the form of demon Taraka, teaches the pursuit of ethical life and the theology of Shaiva Siddhanta.
He has inspired many poet-saints, such as Arunagirinathar. Kartikeya is found as a primary deity in temples wherever communities of the Tamil people live worldwide in Tamil Nadu state of India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa and Réunion. Three of the six richest and busiest temples in Tamil Nadu are dedicated to him; the Kataragama temple dedicated to him in Sri Lanka attracts Tamils, Sinhalese people and the Vedda people. He is found in other parts of India, sometimes as Skanda, but in a secondary role along with Ganesha and Shiva. Kartikeya is known by numerous names in medieval texts of the Indian culture. Most common among these are Murugan, Kumara and Subrahmanya. Others include Aaiyyan, Senthil, Vēlaṇ, Swaminatha, śaravaṇabhava, Arumugam or ṣaṇmukha, Guha or Guruguha, Kandhan and Mahasena. In ancient coins where the inscription has survived along with his images, his names appear as Kumara, Brahmanya or Brahmanyadeva. On some ancient Indo-Scythian coins, his names appear in Greek script as Skanda and Vishaka.
In ancient statues, he appears as Mahasena and Vishakha. Skanda is derived from skanḍr-, which means to "spill, leap, attack"; this root is derived from the legend of his unusual birth. The legend, translates Lochtefeld, states "Shiva and Parvati are disturbed while making love, Shiva inadvertently spills his semen on the ground"; this semen incubates in River Ganges, preserved by the heat of god Agni, this fetus is born as baby Kartikeya on the banks of Ganges. The "spill" epithet leads to the name Skanda. Additionally N. Gopala Pillai postulated. Kartikeya means "of the Krittikas"; this epithet is linked to his birth. After he appears on the banks of the River Ganges, he is seen by the six of the seven brightest stars cluster in the night sky called Krittikas in Hindu texts; these six mothers all want to take care of nurse baby Kartikeya. Kartikeya ends the argument by growing five more heads to have a total of six heads so he can look at all six mothers, let them each nurse one. There are ancient references which can be interpreted to be Kartikeya in the Vedic texts, in the works of Pāṇini, in the Mahabhasya of Patanjali and in Kautilya's Arthashastra.
For example, the term Kumara appears in hymn 5,2 of the Rig Veda. The Kumara of verse 5.2.1 can be interpreted as Skanda, or just any "boy". However, the rest of the verses depict the "boy" as bright-colored, hurling weapons and other motifs that have been associated with Skanda; the difficulty with interpreting these to be Skanda is that Indra and Rudra are depicted in similar terms and as warriors. The Skanda-like motifs found in Rig Veda are found in other Vedic texts, such as section 6.1-3 of the Shatapatha Brahmana. In these, the mythology is different for Kumara, as Agni is described to be the Kumara whose mother is Ushas and whose father is Purusha; the section 10.1 of the Taittiriya Aranyaka mentions Sanmukha, while the Baudhayana Dharmasutra mentions a householder's rite of passage that involves prayers to Skanda with his brother Ganapati together. The chapter 7 of the Chandogya Upanishad equates Sanat-Kumara and Skanda, as he teaches sage Narada to discover his own Atman as a means to the ultimate knowledge, true peace and liberation.
According to Fred Clothey, the evidence suggests that Kartikeya mythology had become widespread sometime around 200 BCE or after in north India. The first clear evidence of Kartikeya's importance emerges in the Hindu Epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata where his story is recited. In addition to textual evidence, his importance is affirmed by the archeological, the epigraphical and the numismatic evidence of this period. For example, he is found in numismatic evidence linked to the Yaudheyas, a confederation of warriors in north India who are mentioned by ancient Pāṇini, they ruled an area consisting of modern era Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. They struck coins bearing the image of Skanda, these coins are dated to be from before Kushan Empire era started. During the Kushan dynasty era, that included much of northwest
Sannyasa is the life stage of renunciation within the Hindu philosophy of four age-based life stages known as ashramas, with the first three being Brahmacharya and Vanaprastha. Sannyasa is traditionally conceptualized for men or women in late years of their life, but young brahmacharis have had the choice to skip the householder and retirement stages, renounce worldly and materialistic pursuits and dedicate their lives to spiritual pursuits. Sannyasa is a form of asceticism, is marked by renunciation of material desires and prejudices, represented by a state of disinterest and detachment from material life, has the purpose of spending one's life in peaceful, love-inspired, simple spiritual life. An individual in Sanyasa is known as a Sannyasi or Sannyasini in Hinduism, which in many ways parallel to the Sadhu and Sadhvi traditions of Jain monasticism, the bhikkhus and bhikkhunis of Buddhism and the monk and nun traditions of Christianity. Sannyasa has been a stage of renunciation, ahimsa peaceful and simple life and spiritual pursuit in Indian traditions.
However, this has not always been the case. After the invasions and establishment of Muslim rule in India, from the 12th century through the British Raj, parts of the Shaiva and Vaishnava ascetics metamorphosed into a military order, to rebel against persecution, where they developed martial arts, created military strategies, engaged in guerrilla warfare; these warrior sanyasis played an important role in helping European colonial powers establish themselves in the Indian subcontinent. Saṃnyāsa in Sanskrit nyasa means purification, sannyasa means "Purification of Everything", it is a composite word of saṃ- which means "together, all", ni- which means "down" and āsa from the root as, meaning "to throw" or "to put". A literal translation of Sannyāsa is thus "to put down everything, all of it". Sannyasa is sometimes spelled as Sanyasa; the term Saṃnyasa makes appearance in the Samhitas and Brahmanas, the earliest layers of Vedic literature, but it is rare. It is not found in ancient Buddhist or Jaina vocabularies, only appears in Brahmanical literature of the 1st millennium BCE, in the context of those who have given up ritual activity and taken up non-ritualistic spiritual pursuits discussed in the Upanishads.
The term Sannyasa evolves into a rite of renunciation in ancient Sutra texts, thereafter became a recognized, well discussed stage of life by about the 3rd and 4th century CE. In Dravidian languages, "sannyasi" is pronounced as "sanyasi" and "sannasi" in colloquial form. Sanyasis are known as Bhiksu, Pravrajita/Pravrajitā, Yati and Parivrajaka in Hindu texts. Jamison and Witzel state early Vedic texts make no mention of Sannyasa, or Ashrama system, unlike the concepts of Brahmacharin and Grihastha which they do mention. Instead, Rig Veda uses the term Antigriha in hymn 10.95.4, still part of extended family, where older people lived in ancient India, with an outwardly role. It is in Vedic era and over time and other new concepts emerged, while older ideas evolved and expanded. A three-stage Ashrama concept along with Vanaprastha emerged about or after 7th Century BC, when sages such as Yājñavalkya left their homes and roamed around as spiritual recluses and pursued their Pravrajika lifestyle.
The explicit use of the four stage Ashrama concept, appeared a few centuries later. However, early Vedic literature from 2nd millennium BC, mentions Muni, with characteristics that mirror those found in Sannyasins and Sannyasinis. Rig Veda, for example, in Book 10 Chapter 136, mentions munis as those with Kesin and Mala clothes engaged in the affairs of Mananat. Rigveda, refers to these people as Muni and Vati. केश्यग्निं केशी विषं केशी बिभर्ति रोदसी । केशी विश्वं स्वर्दृशे केशीदं ज्योतिरुच्यते ॥१॥ मुनयो वातरशनाः पिशङ्गा वसते मला । वातस्यानु ध्राजिं यन्ति यद्देवासो अविक्षत ॥२॥ He with the long loose locks supports Agni, moisture and earth. The Munis, girdled with the wind, wear garments of soil hue; these Munis, their lifestyle and spiritual pursuit influenced the Sannyasa concept, as well as the ideas behind the ancient concept of Brahmacharya. One class of Munis were associated with Rudra. Another were Vratyas. Hinduism has no formal demands nor requirements on the lifestyle or spiritual discipline, method or deity a Sanyasin or Sanyasini must pursue – it is left to the choice and preferences of the individual.
This freedom has led to diversity and significant differences in the lifestyle and goals of those who adopt Sannyasa. There are, some common themes. A person in Sannyasa lives a simple life detached, drifting from place to place, with no material possessions or emotional attachments, they may have a walking stick, a book, a container or vessel for food and drink wearing yellow, orange, ochre or soil colored clothes. They may have long hair and appear disheveled, are vegetarians; some minor Upanishads as well as monastic orders consider women, students, fallen men and others as not qualified to become Sannyasa. The dress, the equipage and lifestyle varies between groups. For example, Sannyasa Upanishad in verses 2.23 to 2.29, identifies six lifestyles for six types of renunciates. One of them is descri