The Skanda Purana is the largest Mahāpurāṇa, a genre of eighteen Hindu religious texts. The text contains over 81,000 verses, is part of Shaivite literature, titled after Skanda, a son of Shiva and Parvati, known as Kartikeya and Murugan. While the text is named after Skanda, he does not feature either more or less prominently in this text than in other Shiva-related Puranas; the text has been an important historical record and influence on the Hindu traditions related to the war-god Skanda. The earliest text titled Skanda Purana existed by the 8th century CE, but the Skanda Purana that has survived into the modern era exists in many versions, it is considered by scholars, in a historic sense, as among the "shiftiest, living" texts, edited, over many centuries, creating numerous variants. The common elements in the variant editions encyclopedically cover cosmogony, genealogy, festivals, temples, discussion of virtues and evil, of theology and of the nature and qualities of Shiva as the Absolute and the source of true knowledge.
The editions of Skandapurana text provide an encyclopedic travel handbook with meticulous Tirtha Mahatmya, containing geographical locations of pilgrimage centers in India and Tibet, with related legends, parables and stories. This Mahāpurāṇa, like others, is attributed to the sage Vyasa. Haraprasad Shastri and Cecil Bendall, in about 1898, discovered an old palm-leaf manuscript of Skanda Purana in a Kathmandu library in Nepal, written in Gupta script, they dated the manuscript to 8th century CE, on paleographic grounds. This suggests. R. Adriaensen, H. Bakker, H. Isaacson dated the oldest surviving palm-leaf manuscript of Skanda Purana to 810 CE, but Richard Mann adds that earlier versions of the text existed in the 8th century CE. Hans Bakker states that the text specifies holy places and details about the 4th and 5th-century Citraratha of Andhra Pradesh, thus may have an earlier origin; the oldest versions of the Skandapurana texts have been discovered in the Himalayan region of South Asia such as Nepal, the northeastern states of India such as Assam.
The critical editions of the text, for scholarly studies, rely on the Nepalese manuscripts. Additional texts style themselves as khandas of Skandapurana, but these came into existence after the 12th century, it is unclear if their root texts did belong to the Skandapurana, in some cases replaced the corresponding chapters of the original. Some recensions and sections of the Skandapurana manuscripts, states Judit Torzsok, have been traced to be from the 17th century or but the first 162 chapters in many versions are the same as the older Nepalese editions except for occasional omissions and insertions. There are a number of manuscripts that bear the title Skanda Purana; some of these texts, except for the title, have little in common with the well-known Skandapurana traced to the 1st millennium CE. The original text has accrued several additions, it is, therefore difficult to establish an exact date of composition for the Skanda Purana. Stylistically, the Skanda Purana is related to the Mahabharata, it appears that its composers borrowed from the Mahabharata.
The two texts employ similar stock compounds that are not found in the Ramayana. Some of the mythology mentioned in the present version of the Skanda Purana is undoubtedly post-Gupta period, consistent with that of medieval South India; this indicates. The Kashi Khanda, for example, acquired its present form around the mid-13th century CE; the latest part of the text might have been composed in as late as the 15th century CE. The whole corpus of texts which are considered as part of the Skanda Purana is grouped in two ways. According to one tradition, these are grouped in six saṁhitās, each of which consists of several khaṇḍas. According to another tradition, these are grouped in seven khaṇḍas, each named after a major pilgrimage region or site; the chapters are travel guides for pilgrimage tourists. The Maheśvara Khaṇḍa consists of 3 sections: the Kedāra Khaṇḍa the Kaumārikā Khaṇḍa or Kumārikā Khaṇḍa and the Arunācala Khaṇḍa or Arunācala Māhātmya, further divided into two parts: Pūrvārdha and Uttarārdha The Viṣṇu Khaṇḍa or Vaiṣṇava Khaṇḍa consists of nine sections: Veṅkaṭācalamāhātmya Puruṣottamakṣetramāhātmya Badarikāśramamāhātmya Kārttikamāsamāhātmya Mārgaśirṣamāsamāhātmya 17 chapters, Mathura Tirtha region) Bhāgavatamāhātmya Vaiśākhamāsamāhātmya Ayodhyāmāhātmya and Vāsudevamāhātmya The Brahma Khaṇḍa has three sections: Setumāhātmya Dharmāraṇya Khaṇḍa and Uttara Khaṇḍa or Brahmottara Khaṇḍa The Kāśī Khaṇḍa is divided into two parts: Pūrvārdha and Uttarārdha The Āvantya Khaṇḍa consists of: Avantikṣetramāhātmya Caturaśītiliṅgamāhātmya and Revā Khaṇḍa The Nāgara Khaṇḍa consists of Tirtha-māhātmya.
The Prabhāsa Khaṇḍa
The Mahābhārata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their succession. Along with the Rāmāyaṇa, it forms the Hindu Itihasa; the Mahābhārata is an epic legendary narrative of the Kurukṣetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes. It contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or puruṣārtha. Among the principal works and stories in the Mahābhārata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Rāmāyaṇa, the story of Ṛṣyasringa considered as works in their own right. Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahābhārata is attributed to Vyāsa. There have been many attempts to unravel compositional layers; the oldest preserved parts of the text are thought to be not much older than around 400 BCE, though the origins of the epic fall between the 8th and 9th centuries BCE.
The text reached its final form by the early Gupta period. According to the Mahābhārata itself, the tale is extended from a shorter version of 24,000 verses called Bhārata; the Mahābhārata is the longest epic poem known and has been described as "the longest poem written". Its longest version consists of over 100,000 śloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines, long prose passages. At about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Rāmāyaṇa. W. J. Johnson has compared the importance of the Mahābhārata in the context of world civilization to that of the Bible, the works of William Shakespeare, the works of Homer, Greek drama, or the Quran. Within the Indian tradition it is sometimes called the Fifth Veda; the epic is traditionally ascribed to the sage Vyāsa, a major character in the epic. Vyāsa described it as being itihāsa, he describes the Guru-shishya parampara, which traces all great teachers and their students of the Vedic times.
The first section of the Mahābhārata states that it was Gaṇeśa who wrote down the text to Vyasa's dictation. The epic employs the story within a story structure, otherwise known as frametales, popular in many Indian religious and non-religious works, it is first recited at Takshashila by the sage Vaiśampāyana, a disciple of Vyāsa, to the King Janamejaya, the great-grandson of the Pāṇḍava prince Arjuna. The story is recited again by a professional storyteller named Ugraśrava Sauti, many years to an assemblage of sages performing the 12-year sacrifice for the king Saunaka Kulapati in the Naimiśa Forest; the text was described by some early 20th-century western Indologists as chaotic. Hermann Oldenberg supposed that the original poem must once have carried an immense "tragic force" but dismissed the full text as a "horrible chaos." Moritz Winternitz considered that "only unpoetical theologists and clumsy scribes" could have lumped the parts of disparate origin into an unordered whole. Research on the Mahābhārata has put an enormous effort into recognizing and dating layers within the text.
Some elements of the present Mahābhārata can be traced back to Vedic times. The background to the Mahābhārata suggests the origin of the epic occurs "after the early Vedic period" and before "the first Indian'empire' was to rise in the third century B. C." That this is "a date not too far removed from the 8th or 9th century B. C." is likely. Mahābhārata started as an orally-transmitted tale of the charioteer bards, it is agreed that "Unlike the Vedas, which have to be preserved letter-perfect, the epic was a popular work whose reciters would conform to changes in language and style," so the earliest'surviving' components of this dynamic text are believed to be no older than the earliest'external' references we have to the epic, which may include an allusion in Panini's 4th century BCE grammar Aṣṭādhyāyī 4:2:56. It is estimated that the Sanskrit text reached something of a "final form" by the early Gupta period. Vishnu Sukthankar, editor of the first great critical edition of the Mahābhārata, commented: "It is useless to think of reconstructing a fluid text in a original shape, on the basis of an archetype and a stemma codicum.
What is possible? Our objective can only be to reconstruct the oldest form of the text which it is possible to reach on the basis of the manuscript material available." That manuscript evidence is somewhat late, given its material composition and the climate of India, but it is extensive. The Mahābhārata itself distinguishes a core portion of 24,000 verses: the Bhārata proper, as opposed to additional secondary material, while the Aśvalāyana Gṛhyasūtra makes a similar distinction. At least three redactions of the text are recognized: Jaya with 8,800 verses attributed to Vyāsa, Bhārata with 24,000 verses as recited by Vaiśampāyana, the Mahābhārata as recited by Ugraśrava Sauti with over 100,000 verses. However, some scholars, such as John Brockington, argue that Jaya and Bharata refer to the same text, ascribe the theory of Jaya with 8,800 verses to a misreading of a verse in Ādiparvan; the redaction of this large body of text was carried out after formal principles, emphasizing the numbers 18 and 12.
The addition of the latest parts may be dated by the absence of the Anuśāsana-parva and the Virāta parva from the "Spitzer manuscript". The oldest surviving
In the Mahabharata, a Hindu epic text, the Pandavas are the five acknowledged sons of Pandu, by his two wives Kunti and Madri, the princess of Madra. Their names are Yudhishthira, Arjuna and Sahadeva. All five brothers were married to Draupadi. Together the brothers fought and won the great war against their cousins the Kauravas, which came to be known as the Kurukshetra War; the word Pandava is derived from their father's name and means "descendants of Pandu". The other epithets of the Pandava group are: Pāṇḍuputra - sons of Pandu Pāṇḍavakumāra - young Pandavas Kaunteya - sons of Kunti Mādreya - sons of Madri Yudhishthira: The eldest Pandava brother, his name means "one, steadfast during war". His parents were Kunti and pandu, god of virtue and morality. Though he lacked the characteristic combat prowess of a Kshatriya, Yudhishthira was one of the most virtuous men, skilled in the duties of a king and steadfast in the path of dharma, he was a good king. In consequence of Krishna's machinations and by his brothers' conquest of the world, Yudhishthira became the emperor of the world.
He performed one Rajasuya sacrifice. Yudhishthira became good at playing chess, his other names are Dharmaraja. Bhima: The second Pandava brother, his name means "of terrible might". His parents were Kunti and Vayu, the god of air and wind, known for his might. Bhima has the physical strength and prowess equal to a hundred elephants and was athletic, he was prone to anger. Of all the brothers, he alone opposed Yudhishthira, although loyal to him, for his questionable decisions opposing common sense in the name of dharma. Bhima was their natural protector, he was a master in wielding the mace. He was a powerful archer, having fought Drona and Ashwatthama and Karna on several occasions. Bhima was very skilled in diverse areas of warfare, including wrestling, riding elephants and sword fighting. Along with Arjuna, he went on expeditions to conquer the kingdoms to the south. During the Rajasuya Yagna, Bhima subjugated the kingdoms of the eastern direction completely, he slew Krishna's most dangerous enemy, Jarasandha, in a wrestling bout, slew the Matsya commander, for molesting Draupadi.
During the war, Bhima was most famous for slaying one hundred Kauravas and Duryodhana himself. He was skilled in chopping wood, culinary arts and sciences. Bhima's other name was Vrikodara. However, he was selfish as well, he married a rakshashi Hidimba during their hiding in the forest in addition to Draupadi and had a son Ghatotkachh. Arjuna: The third Pandava brother, his name relates to "arjana" or earning. His parents were king of the gods and the god of the sky and war, he was virtuous and avoided unjust acts. He was known for his singleminded concentration and his devotion to Krishna, he was the only person. Arjuna was more fortunate than his brothers as he was the favourite of Bhishma, popular among the people, famous among the gods and attractive to women, he was the favorite disciple of his guru Drona. Arjuna was ambidextrous and the greatest of archers, having mastered archery to the highest possible level, he was rivalled by Bhishma and Karna. In those days, archery was considered to be the foremost of all fighting disciplines, Arjuna's mastery over it contributed to his popularity.
Arjuna was a complete master archer, a supreme chariot warrior and had obtained near-perfect mastery over all divine and esoteric weapons, along with the secrets of invoking and recalling them. He spent five years mastering divine weapons from Indra and the other gods, he acquired the mastery over the rarest and the most powerful weapon, the Pashupatastra, from Lord Shiva himself. He had command over devastating weapons like the Brahmastra. Nakula: The fourth Pandava brother, his name means "without kula". His parents were the Ashwin twin Nasatya, he was attractive, humble and helpful. During the Rajasuya Yagna, Nakula conquered the western direction. During the Kurukshetra War, he slew many warriors including many sons of Karna and son of shakuni, Uluka. Nakula and his younger twin brother, were excellent sword fighters. Nakula was a master of equestrian arts and sciences, skilled in wielding unusual weapons, in chariotry and in riding horses, he was known for special ways with horses. Sahadeva: The fifth and the youngest brother of the Pandavas.
His name means "along gods" or "with gods". His parents were the Ashwin twin Dasra. Sahadeva was the wisest of all the Pandava brothers, the most mysterious and introverted. Like Nakula, Sahadeva was a master of sword fighting, he was skilled in fighting and taming wild bulls. Additionally, he was a skilled cowherd, capable of maintaining cattle, treating their diseases, assessing their health, milking them and in producing milk products. Sahadeva acquired mastery over
Bhagavata Purana known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā Purāṇa, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata, is one of Hinduism's eighteen great Puranas. Composed in Sanskrit and available in all major Indian languages, it promotes bhakti to Krishna integrating themes from the Advaita philosophy and from the Dvaita philosophy; the origin of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam can be traced back to God Brahma who initiated Narada Rishi summarised in four verse called Chatur Sloki Bhagavatam. Narada Rishi submitted the same to Lord Veda Vyasa who elaborated to the presently available twelve skandhas and initiated to Sri Shukacharya. Lord Veda Vyasa has recorded the following narrations of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in seven days or in Saphaha format in the Puranas being worthy: Sri Shukacharya narrated Śrīmad Bhāgavatam for seven days to Parakshit Raja on the banks of Ganga and present Haridwar. Gokarna narrated Śrīmad Bhāgavatam for seven days on the banks of river Tungabhadra. Narada Rishi organized Śrīmad Bhāgavatam for seven days at Ananda on the banks of Ganga wherein Sanatkumara narrated.
Sri Sutacharya, present during the first narration of Sri Shukacharya to Parakshit Raja narrated Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to Sri Saunaka Rishi in Naimisaranya in an elaborate way and for a long period of time. The Bhagavata Purana discusses a wide range of topics including Cosmology, Geography, Legend, Dance and Culture; as it begins, the forces of evil have won a war between the benevolent devas and evil asuras and now rule the universe. Truth re-emerges as Krishna, – first makes peace with the demons, understands them and creatively defeats them, bringing back hope, justice and happiness – a cyclic theme that appears in many legends; the Bhagavata Purana is a revered text in a Hindu tradition that reveres Vishnu. The text presents a form of religion that competes with that of the Vedas, wherein bhakti leads to self-knowledge and bliss; however the Bhagavata Purana asserts that the inner nature and outer form of Krishna is identical to the Vedas and that this is what rescues the world from the forces of evil.
An oft-quoted verse is used by some Krishna sects to assert that the text itself is Krishna in literary form. The date of composition is between the eighth and the tenth century AD, but may be as early as the 6th century AD. Manuscripts survive in numerous inconsistent versions revised through the 18th century creating various recensions both in the same languages and across different Indian languages; the text consists of twelve books totalling 332 chapters and between 16,000 and 18,000 verses depending on the recension. The tenth book, with about 4,000 verses, has been the most popular and studied, it was the first Purana, translated into a European language, when a French translation of a Tamil version appeared in 1788 and introduced many Europeans to Hinduism and 18th-century Hindu culture during the colonial era. "Purana" means "ancient, old". Bhagavata means "devoted to, follower of Bhagavat – the "sacred, divine". An alternative interpretation of Bhagavata is "devotees of the Adorable One".
Bhagavata Purana therefore means "Ancient Tales of Followers of the Lord". The composer of this work, Lord Veda Vyasa, in his second verse has described the Subject and the Fruit of studying and named it as Srimad Bhagavatam. Sri is used for abundance or richness; such Sri hence called Srimad. Bhagavata means Sacred or Divine or Holy; the holy or divine verses brings an abundance of happiness, Knowledge, in Vedas and Vedanta, Vairagya to the reader or listener and hence is called Srimad Bhagavatam. The Bhagavata is recognized as the best-known and most influential of the Puranas and, along with the Itihasa and other puranas, is sometimes referred to as the "Fifth Veda", it is important in Indian religious literature for its emphasis on the practice of devotion as compared to the more theoretical approach of the Bhagavad Gita. It is the source of many popular stories of Krishna's childhood told for centuries on the Indian subcontinent and of legends explaining Hindu festivals such as Holi and Diwali.
The Bhagavata declares itself the essence of derivative Smritis. Here Vedas are like seeds, Brahma Sutra, Bhagavad Gita, Vishnu Sahasaranama is like trunk, leaves, flowers; the fruit and its Juice being Srimad Bhagavata. As Srimad Bhagavata has the substance of Vedas and Mahabarata, it has high significance; the Srimad Bhagavatam is the essence of all the Vedanta literature. One who has enjoyed the nectar of its rasa never has any desire for anything else; the text has played a significant role in Chaitanya's Krishna-bhakti in Bengal, in the 15th–16th century Ekasarana Dharma in Assam, a panentheistic tradition whose proponents and Madhavdeva, acknowledge that their theological positions are rooted in the Bhagavata Purana, purged of doctrines that find no place in Assamese Vaishnavism and adding a monist commentary instead. In northern and western India the Bhagavata Purana has influenced the Hari Bhakti Vilasa and Haveli-style Krishna temples found in Braj region near Mathura-Vrindavan; the text complements the Pancharatra Agama texts of Vaishnavism.
While the text focu
Vidarbha is the eastern region of the Indian state of Maharashtra, comprising Nagpur Division and Amravati Division. Amravati division's former name is Berar, it holds 21.3 % of the total population of Maharashtra. It borders the state of Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Telangana to the south and Marathwada and Khandesh regions of Maharashtra to the west. Situated in central India, Vidarbha has its own rich cultural and historical background distinct from rest of Maharashtra; the largest city in Vidarbha is Nagpur followed by Amravati. A majority of Vidarbhians speak Zadi dialects of Marathi; the Nagpur region is known for cotton. Vidarbha holds two-thirds of Maharashtra's mineral resources and three-quarters of its forest resources, is a net producer of power. Vidarbha region contains Tadoba Andhari Tiger Project, Melghat Tiger Reserve, Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, Navegaon National Park And Famous Tibetan Camp in Arjuni Morgaon, Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary and Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary.
Pench Tiger Reserve is one of the premier tiger reserves of India and the only one to straddle across two states: Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Throughout its history, Vidarbha has remained much calmer than the rest of India during the communal troubles; however there is considerable malnutrition. It is less economically prosperous compared to the rest of Maharashtra; the living conditions of farmers in this region are poor compared to India as a whole. There have been more than 200,000 farmers' suicides in Maharashtra in a decade, of which 70% being in the 11 districts of Vidarbha region. There have been recent calls for a separate state of Vidarbha, due to perceived neglect from the Government of Maharashtra and incompetent political leadership in Vidarbha. Though rich in minerals, coal and mountains, this region has remained underdeveloped because of the continuous dominance of political leadership from the other parts of the state Western Maharashtra. Being culturally and financially distinct from the rest of Maharashtra, the calls for a separate state rose to prominence only when the leaders from this region were sidelined by other political leaders in recent years.
Statehood demands have not been fulfilled due to the opposition from the Shiv Sena, a major state political party. Vidarbha was ruled by the Vakataka dynasty in the 3rd and 4th centuries BCE, it consists of two branches - The Pravarapura Vatsagulma branches. The Pravarapura Nandivardhana branch ruled from different capitals like Pravarapura in Wardha district and Mansar and Nandivardhan in Nagpur district; this branch used to maintain matrimonial alliances with the Guptas. The Vatsagulma branch was founded by the second son of Pravarasena I after his death. Sarvasena made Vatsagulma his capital; the territory ruled by this branch was between the Godavari River. They patronised some of the Buddhist caves at Ajanta. Prabhavatigupta was the regent of the Vākāṭaka Empire, her father was Chandragupta II of the Gupta Empire and her mother was Kuberanaga of the Naga. She married Rudrasena II of the Vākāṭaka. After his death in 385, she ruled as regent for her two young sons and Damodarasena for twenty years.
This region is named after the mythological Vidarbha Kingdom mentioned in the Mahabharata. Nagpur was the capital of the Berar Subah, known as the Gulshan-e-Berar in the Medieval period, from the rule of the Khaljis to the Mughals, according to the Ain-i-Akbari and Alamgir Namah. In 1724, when Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah declared independence, the existence of Berar as a Mughal Subah came to an end, it became a part of Nizam state. The Bhonsle dynasty of Marathas who in the mid-eighteenth century created an independent Hindu princely state that covered much of east-central India. After their defeat in the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1818, the Bhonsle dominions were reduced to the Nagpur division. In 1853 the last Maharaja of Nagpur died without a male heir and subsequently Nagpur division was incorporated into mainstream British India. Nagpur division became a part of the British Raj's Central Provinces in 1861. Amravati division known as Berar division, was administered by the Nizam of Hyderabad until 1853.
In that year, citing misgovernance by the Nizam, the British colonial administration took direct control over the province. Berar was added to the Central Provinces in 1903. During India's independence struggle Nagpur hosted the sessions of Indian National Congress several times. Sevagram in Wardha was arguably the capital of nationalistic India during the Gandhian era. After India's independence in 1947, Central Provinces and Berar became the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. In 1956 Vidarbha was transferred to Bombay state along with all other Marathi-speaking areas. In 1960 Bombay State was split along linguistic lines into the states of Gujarat. Marathi-speaking Vidarbha became part of the state of Maharashtra. Vidarbha lies on the northern part of the Deccan Plateau. Unlike the Western Ghats, there are no major hilly areas; the Satpura Range lies to the north of Vidarbha region in Madhya Pradesh. The Melghat area of Amravati district is on the southern offshoot of the Satpura Range. Large basaltic rock formations exists throughout Vidarbha, part of the 66-million-year-old volcanic Deccan Traps.
Bhandara and Gondia district are occupied by metamorphic rock and alluvium, making their geology unique in Maharashtra. Buldhana has the Lonar crater created by impact of a comet; the eastern districts of Gondia, Bhandara and Nagpur are i
Hindu deities are the gods and goddesses in Hinduism. The terms and epithets for deity within the diverse traditions of Hinduism vary, include Deva, Ishvara, Bhagavān and Bhagavati; the deities of Hinduism have evolved from the Vedic era through the medieval era, regionally within Nepal, India and in southeast Asia, across Hinduism's diverse traditions. The Hindu deity concept varies from a personal god as in Yoga school of Hindu philosophy, to 33 Vedic deities, to hundreds of Puranics of Hinduism. Illustrations of major deities include Parvati, Sri, Sati and Saraswati; these deities have distinct and complex personalities, yet are viewed as aspects of the same Ultimate Reality called Brahman. From ancient times, the idea of equivalence has been cherished for all Hindus, in its texts and in early 1st millennium sculpture with concepts such as Harihara, Ardhanārīshvara, with myths and temples that feature them together, declaring they are the same. Major deities have inspired their own Hindu traditions, such as Vaishnavism and Shaktism, but with shared mythology, ritual grammar, theosophy and polycentrism.
Some Hindu traditions such as Smartism from mid 1st millennium AD, have included multiple major deities as henotheistic manifestations of Saguna Brahman, as a means to realizing Nirguna Brahman. Hindu deities are represented with various icons and anicons, in paintings and sculptures, called Murtis and Pratimas; some Hindu traditions, such as ancient Charvakas rejected all deities and concept of god or goddess, while 19th-century British colonial era movements such as the Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj rejected deities and adopted monotheistic concepts similar to Abrahamic religions. Hindu deities have been adopted in other religions such as Jainism, in regions outside India such as predominantly Buddhist Thailand and Japan where they continue to be revered in regional temples or arts. In ancient and medieval era texts of Hinduism, the human body is described as a temple, deities are described to be parts residing within it, while the Brahman is described to be the same, or of similar nature, as the Atman, which Hindus believe is eternal and within every living being.
Deities in Hinduism are as diverse as its traditions, a Hindu can choose to be polytheistic, monotheistic, agnostic, atheistic or humanist. Deities in Hinduism are referred to as Devi; the root of these terms mean "heavenly, anything of excellence". According to Douglas Harper, the etymological roots of Deva mean "a shining one," from *div- "to shine," and it is a cognate with Greek dios "divine" and Zeus, Latin deus. In the earliest Vedic literature, all supernatural beings are called Asuras. By the late Vedic period, benevolent supernatural beings are referred to as Deva-Asuras. In post-Vedic texts, such as the Puranas and the Itihasas of Hinduism, the Devas represent the good, the Asuras the bad. In some medieval Indian literature, Devas are referred to as Suras and contrasted with their powerful, but malevolent half-brothers referred to as the Asuras. Hindu deities are part of Indian mythology, both Devas and Devis feature in one of many cosmological theories in Hinduism. In Vedic literature and Devis represent the forces of nature and some represent moral values, each symbolizing the epitome of a specialized knowledge, creative energy and magical powers.
The most referred to Devas in the Rig Veda are Indra and Soma, with "fire deity" called the friend of all humanity, it and Soma being the two celebrated in a yajna fire ritual that marks major Hindu ceremonies. Savitr, Vishnu and Prajapati are gods and hence Devas; the Vedas describes a number of significant Devis such as Ushas, Aditi, Saraswati, Vāc, Nirṛti, Ratri and bounty goddesses such as Dinsana, Puramdhi, Bharati, Mahi among others are mentioned in the Rigveda. Sri called Lakshmi, appears in late Vedic texts dated to be pre-Buddhist, but verses dedicated to her do not suggest that her characteristics were developed in the Vedic era. All gods and goddesses are distinguished in the Vedic times, but in the post-Vedic texts, in the early medieval era literature, they are seen as aspects or manifestations of one Brahman, the Supreme power. Ananda Coomaraswamy states that Devas and Asuras in the Vedic lore are similar to Angels-Theoi-Gods and Titans of Greek mythology, both are powerful but have different orientations and inclinations, the Devas representing the powers of Light and the Asuras representing the powers of Darkness in Hindu mythology.
According to Coomaraswamy's interpretation of Devas and Asuras, both these natures exist in each human being, the tyrant and the angel is within each being, the best and the worst within each person struggles before choices and one's own nature, the Hindu formulation of Devas and Asuras is an eternal dance between these within each person. The Devas and Asuras and Titans, powers of Light and powers of Darkness in Rigveda, although distinct and opposite in operation, are in essence consubstantial, their distinction being a matter not of essence but of orientation, revolution or transformation. In this case, the Titan is an Angel, the Angel still by nature a Titan.
Sita or Seeta, is the consort of Lord Rama and an avatar of Sri Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess that denotes good character, good fortune, prosperity and happiness. She is esteemed as the paragon of feminine virtues for all women. Sita is one of the central figures in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, she is described as the daughter of the earth goddess, Bhūmi and the adopted daughter of King Janaka of Videha and his wife, Queen Sunaina. She has a younger sister and the female cousins Mandavi and Shrutakirti. Sita is known for her dedication, self-sacrifice and purity. Sita, in her youth, marries the prince of Ayodhya. After marriage, she goes to exile with brother-in-law Lakshmana. While in exile, the trio settle in the Dandaka forest from where she is abducted by Ravana, the Rakshasa king of Lanka, she is imprisoned in Ashoka Vatika in Lanka. After the war, Rama asks Sita to undergo Agni Pariksha by which she proves her purity before she is accepted by Rama, which for the first time makes his brother Lakshmana get angry at him.
In some versions of the epic, the fire-god Agni creates Maya Sita, who takes Sita's place and is abducted by Ravana and suffers his captivity, while the real Sita hides in the fire. During the Agni Pariksha, Maya Sita and the real Sita exchange places again. While some texts say that Maya Sita is destroyed in the flames of Agni Pariksha, others narrate how she is blessed and reborn as the epic heroine Draupadi or the goddess Padmavati; some scriptures mention her previous birth being Vedavati, a woman Ravana tries to molest. After proving her purity and Sita return to Ayodhya, where they are crowned as king and queen. After few months, Sita becomes pregnant. Rama sends Sita away on exile. Lakshmana is the one who leaves Sita in the forests near sage Valmiki's ashrama after Rama banishes her from the kingdom. Years Sita returns to the womb of her mother, the Earth, for release from a cruel world as a testimony of her purity after she reunites her two sons Kusha and Lava with their father Rama; the goddess is derived from the Sanskrit word sīta, furrow.
According to Ramayana, Janaka adopted her. The word Sīta was a poetic term, its imagery redolent of fecundity and the many blessings coming from settled agriculture; the Sita of the Ramayana may have been named after a more ancient Vedic goddess Sita, mentioned once in the Rigveda as an earth goddess who blesses the land with good crops. In the Vedic period, she was one of the goddesses associated with fertility. A Vedic hymn recites: In Harivamsa, Sita is invoked as one of the names of the goddess Arya: The Kausik-sutra and the Paraskara-sutra associate her as the wife of Parjanya and Indra. Sita is known by many epithets, she is called Jānaki as the daughter of Maithili as the princess of Mithila. As the wife of Rama, she is called Ramā, her father Janaka had earned the sobriquet Videha due to his ability to transcend body consciousness. Devi Sita while playing with her sisters in childhood had unknowingly lifted the table over which the bow had been placed; this incident was however observed by Janaka and he decided to make it a backdrop for Swayamvara because he wanted a son-in-law, as strong as his daughter.
The birthplace of Sita is disputed. The Sita Kund pilgrimage site, located in present-day Sitamarhi district,Bihar, India is viewed as the birthplace of Sita. Apart from Sitamarhi, Janakpur, located in the present-day Province No. 2, Nepal, is described as Sita's birthplace. Valmiki's Ramayana: In Valmiki's Ramayana and Kamban's Tamil epic Ramavataram, Sita is said to have been discovered in a furrow in a ploughed field, believed to be Sitamarhi in Mithila region of present-day Bihar, for that reason is regarded as a daughter of Bhūmi Devi, she was discovered and brought up by Janaka, king of Mithila and his wife Sunaina. Ramayana Manjari: In Ramayana Manjari, North-western and Bengal recensions of Valmiki Ramayana, it has been described as on hearing a voice from the sky and seeing Menaka, Janaka expresses his wish to obtain a child and when he finds the child, he hears the same voice again telling him the infant is his spiritual child, born of Menaka. Janka's real daughter: In Ramopkhyana of the Mahabharata and in Paumachariya of Vimala Suri, Sita has been depicted as Janaka's real daughter.
According to Rev. Fr. Camille Bulcke, this motif that Sita was the real daughter of Janaka, as described in Ramopkhyana Mahabharata was based on the authentic version of Valmiki Ramayana; the story of Sita miraculously appearing in a furrow was inserted in Valmiki Ramayana. Reincarnation of Vedavati: Some versions of the Ramayana suggest that Sita was a reincarnation of Vedavati. Ravana tried to molest Vedavati and her chastity was sullied beyond Ravana's redemption when she was performing penance to become consort of Vishnu. Vedavati immolated herself on a pyre to escape Ravana's lust, vowing to return in another age and be the cause of Ravana's destruction, she was duly reborn as Sita. Reincarnation of Manivati: According to Gunabhadra's Uttara Purana of the ninth century BCE, Ravana disturbs the asceticism of Manivati, daughter of Amitavega of Alkapuri and she pledges to take revenge on Ravana. Manivati is reborn as the daughter of Ravana and Mandodari. But, astrolo