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
The Vedas are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless". Vedas are called śruti literature, distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti; the Veda, for orthodox Indian theologians, are considered revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation, texts that have been more preserved since ancient times. In the Hindu Epic the Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma; the Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis, after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot. According to tradition, Vyasa is the compiler of the Vedas, who arranged the four kinds of mantras into four Samhitas. There are four Vedas: the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda.
Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – the Samhitas, the Aranyakas, the Brahmanas, the Upanishads. Some scholars add a fifth category – the Upasanas; the various Indian philosophies and denominations have taken differing positions on the Vedas. Schools of Indian philosophy which cite the Vedas as their scriptural authority are classified as "orthodox". Other śramaṇa traditions, such as Lokayata, Ajivika and Jainism, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities, are referred to as "heterodox" or "non-orthodox" schools. Despite their differences, just like the texts of the śramaṇa traditions, the layers of texts in the Vedas discuss similar ideas and concepts; the Sanskrit word véda "knowledge, wisdom" is derived from the root vid- "to know". This is reconstructed as being derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *u̯eid-, meaning "see" or "know", cognate to Greek εἶδος "aspect", "form"; this is not to be confused is the homonymous 1st and 3rd person singular perfect tense véda, cognate to Greek οἶδα oida "I know".
Root cognates are English wit, etc.. Latin videō "I see", etc; the Sanskrit term veda as a common noun means "knowledge". The term in some contexts, such as hymn 10.93.11 of the Rigveda, means "obtaining or finding wealth, property", while in some others it means "a bunch of grass together" as in a broom or for ritual fire. A related word Vedena appears in hymn 8.19.5 of the Rigveda. It was translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith as "ritual lore", as "studying the Veda" by the 14th-century Indian scholar Sayana, as "bundle of grass" by Max Müller, as "with the Veda" by H. H. Wilson. Vedas are called Vaymoli in parts of South India. Marai means "hidden, a secret, mystery", but Tamil Naanmarai mentioned in Tholkappiam isn't Sanskrit Vedas. In some south Indian communities such as Iyengars, the word Veda includes the Tamil writings of the Alvar saints, such as Divya Prabandham, for example Tiruvaymoli; the Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts. The Samhitas date to 1700–1100 BCE, the "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c.
1000–500 BCE, resulting in a Vedic period, spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE, or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The Vedic period reaches its peak only after the composition of the mantra texts, with the establishment of the various shakhas all over Northern India which annotated the mantra samhitas with Brahmana discussions of their meaning, reaches its end in the age of Buddha and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas. Michael Witzel gives a time span of c. 1500 to c. 500–400 BCE. Witzel makes special reference to the Near Eastern Mitanni material of the 14th century BCE, the only epigraphic record of Indo-Aryan contemporary to the Rigvedic period, he gives 150 BCE as a terminus ante quem for all Vedic Sanskrit literature, 1200 BCE as terminus post quem for the Atharvaveda. Transmission of texts in the Vedic period was by oral tradition, preserved with precision with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques. A literary tradition is traceable in post-Vedic times, after the rise of Buddhism in the Maurya period earliest in the Kanva recension of the Yajurveda about the 1st century BCE.
Witzel suggests the possibility of written Vedic texts towards the end of 1st millennium BCE. Some scholars such as Jack Goody state that "the Vedas are not the product of an oral society", basing this view by comparing inconsistencies in the transmitted versions of literature from various oral societies such as the Greek and other cultures noting that the Vedic literature is too consistent and vast to have been composed and transmitted orally across generations, without being written down. However, adds Goody, the Vedic texts involved both a written and oral tradition, calling it a "parallel products of a literate society". Due to the ephemeral nature of the manuscript material, surviving manuscripts surpass an age of a few hundred years; the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University has a Rigveda manuscript from the 14th century. The Vedas, Vedic rituals and its ancillary sciences called the Vedangas, were part of the curriculum at ancient universities such as at Ta
Matsya is the fish avatar in the ten primary avatars of Hindu god Vishnu. Matsya is described to have rescued Manu and earthly existence from a great deluge; the earliest accounts of Matsya as a fish-saviour equates him with the Vedic deity Prajapati. The fish-savior merges with the identity of Brahma in post-Vedic era, still as an avatar of Vishnu; the legends associated with Matsya expand and vary in Hindu texts. These legends have embedded symbolism, where a small fish with Manu's protection grows to become a big fish, the fish saves earthly existence. Matsya iconography sometimes is zoomorphic as a giant fish with a horn, or anthropomorphic in the form of a human torso connected to the rear half of a fish. Matsya is a Sanskrit word and means "fish"; the term appears in the Rigveda. It is related to maccha, which means fish; the section 1.8.1 of the Shatapatha Brahmana is the earliest extant text to mention Matsya and the flood myth in Hinduism. It makes no mention of Vishnu, instead identifies the fish with Prajapati-Brahma.
The central characters of this legend are Manu. The character Manu is presented as the ancestor king. One day, water is brought to Manu for his ablutions. In the water is a tiny fish; the fish states it fears being swallowed by appeals to Manu to protect him. In return, the fish promises to rescue Manu from an impending flood. Manu accepts the request, he puts the fish in a pot of water. He prepares a ditch filled with water, transfers him there where it can grow freely. Once the fish grows further to be big enough to be free from danger, Manu transfers him into the ocean; the fish thanks him, tells him the date of the great flood, asks Manu to build a boat by that day, one he can attach to its horn. On the predicted day, Manu visits the fish with his boat; the devastating floods come, Manu ties the boat to the horn. The fish carries the boat with Manu to the high grounds of the northern mountains. Manu re-establishes life by performing austerities and by performing yajna. According to Bonnefoy, the Vedic story is symbolic.
The little fish alludes to the Indian "law of the fishes", an equivalent to the "law of the jungle". The small and weak would be devoured by the big and strong, needs the dharmic protection of the legislator and king Manu to enable it to attain its potential and be able to help later. Manu provides the protection, the little fish grows to become big and saves all existence; the boat that Manu builds to get help from the savior fish, states Bonnefoy, is symbolism of the means to avert complete destruction and for human salvation. The mountains are symbolism for the doorway for ultimate liberation; the tale of Matsya appears in chapter 12.187 of the Vana Parva, in the epic Mahabharata. The legend begins with Manu performing religious rituals on the banks of the Cherivi River. A little fish called Matsyaka comes to him and asks for his protection, promising to save him from a deluge in the future; the legend moves in the same vein as the Vedic version. Manu places him in the jar. Once it outgrows it, the fish asks to be put into a tank.
The fish outgrows the tank, with Manu's help reaches the Ganges River to the ocean. Manu is asked by the fish, in the Mahabharata version, to build a ship and be in it with Rishis and all sorts of grains, on the day of the expected deluge. Manu accepts the fish's advice; the deluge begins, the fish arrives to Manu's aid. He ties the ship to the fish, who steers the ship to the Himalayas, carrying Manu through a turbulent storm; the danger passes. The fish reveals himself as Brahma, gives the power of creation to Manu; the key difference between the Vedic version and the Mahabharata version of the allegorical legend are the latter's identification of Matsya with Brahma, more explicit discussion of the "law of the fishes" where the weak needs the protection from the strong, the fish asking Manu to bring along sages and grains. According to George Williams, there are many versions of the Matsya mythology in the Puranas; the names of the characters, the details, the plot and the message diverge in this genre of texts.
The Matsya Purana evolves the legend further, by identifying the fish-savior with Vishnu instead of Brahma. The Purana derives its name from Matsya; the legend as it appears in section 1.12 states that when a little fish appears to Manu, he recognizes Vishnu Vasudeva in the fish. The fish tells him about the impending fiery end of kalpa accompanied by a deluge; the fish once again has a horn. The gods build it, they build it big enough to carry and save all life forms, Manu needs to just carry all types of grain seeds to produce food for everyone after the deluge is over. When the great flood begins, Manu ties the Ananta Sesha to the fish's horn; the fish carries everyone to safety. According to Bonnefoy, the Matsya Puranic story is symbolic though quite different; the fish is divine to begin with, needs no protection, only recognition and devotion. It ties the story to its cosmology, connecting two kalpas through the cosmic symbolic residue in the form of Sesha. In another version of the Matsya Purana, the story is closer to the Mahabharata version.
At the end of Kalpa, Brahma is resting and the demon Hayagriva steals the Vedas. Vishnu discovers the theft, he descends to earth in the Matsya avatar. One day, the king of Dravida desha named Satyavrata cups water in his hand to offer it to his ancestors. There he finds a
Mohini in Hindu mythology is a goddess and the only female avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. She is portrayed as a"femme fatale", an enchantress, who maddens lovers, sometimes leading them to their doom. Mohini is introduced into the Hindu mythology in the narrative epic of the Mahabharata. Here, she appears as a form of Vishnu, acquires the pot of Amrita from the thieving asuras, gives it back to the devas, helping them retain their immortality. Many different legends tell including union with Shiva; these tales relate, among other things, the birth of the god Shasta and the destruction of Bhasmasura, the ash-demon. Mohini's main modus operandi is to beguile those she encounters, she is worshipped throughout Indian culture, but in Western India, where temples are devoted to her depicted as Mahalasa, the consort of Khandoba, a regional avatar of Shiva. The name Mohini comes from the verb root moha, meaning "to enchant, perplex, or disillusion," and means "delusion personified." In the Baiga culture of Central India, the word mohini means "erotic magic or spell."
The name has an implied connotation of "the essence of female beauty and allurement." The earliest reference to a Mohini-type goddess appears in the Samudra manthan episode of the 5th century BCE Hindu epic Mahabharata. The Amrita, or nectar of immortality, is produced by the churning of the Ocean of Milk; the Devas and the Asuras fight over its possession. The Asuras contrive to keep the Amrita for themselves. Vishnu, wise to their plan, assumes the form of an "enchanting damsel", she uses her allure to trick the Asuras into giving her the Amrita, distributes it amongst the Devas. Rahu, an Asura, tries to drink some Amrita himself. Surya and Chandra inform Vishnu, he uses the Sudarshana Chakra to decapitate Rahu, leaving the head immortal; the other major Hindu epic, narrates the Mohini story in the Bala Kanda chapter. This same tale is recounted in the Vishnu Purana four centuries later. In the original text, Mohini is referred to as an enchanting, female form of Vishnu. In versions, Mohini is described as the maya of Vishnu.
Still, the name of the avatar becomes Mohini from the original phrase describing his deliberate false appearance. Once the Mohini legend became popular, it was retold and expanded in several texts; the tales of Mohini-Vishnu increased among devotional circles in various regions. The same expanded Mahabharata version of the story is recounted in the Bhagavata Purana in the 10th century CE. Here, Mohini becomes a formal avatar of Vishnu; this legend is retold in the Padma Purana and Brahmanda Purana. In the Brahmanda Purana, Vishnu-Mohini after meditation upon the Great Goddess Maheshvari, acquires her form to trick the thieving asuras. Mohini has an active history in the destruction of demons throughout Hindu texts. In the Vishnu Purana, Mohini defeats Bhasmasura, the "ash-demon". Bhasmasura invokes the god Shiva by performing severe penances. Shiva, pleased with Bhasmasura, grants him the power to turn anyone into ashes by touching their head; the demon decides to try the power on Shiva himself. Shiva runs terrified.
Vishnu, witnessing the unfortunate turn of events, transforms into charms Bhasmasura. Bhasmasura is so taken by Mohini. Mohini agrees, but only on the condition. In the course of the dance, she places her hand on her head. Bhasmasura mimics the action, in turn, reduces himself to ashes; the legend of Bhasmasura is retold in the Buddhist text Satara Dewala Devi Puvata, with a slight variation. In this tale, Vishnu charms Bhasmasura; the female Vishnu asks Bhasmasura to promise never to leave her by placing his hand on his head as per the usual practice to swear on one's head. On doing so, Bhasmasura is reduced to ashes. In a similar legend related to the birth of Ayyappa, the demon Surpanaka earns the power to turn anyone into ashes by his austerities; the tale mirrors all other aspects of the Buddhist version of the Bhasmasura tale, where he is forced by Mohini to severe fidelity by keeping his hand on his head and is burnt. The prelude of the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana, the demon Nontok is charmed and killed by Mohini-Vishnu.
Nontok misuses a divine weapon given to him by Shiva. The four-armed Mohini-Vishnu enchants Nontok and attacks him. In his last moments, the demon accuses Vishnu of foul play saying that Vishnu first seduced him and attacked him. Vishnu decrees that in his next birth, Nontok will be born as the ten-headed demon Ravana and Vishnu will be a mortal man called Rama, he will fight him and defeat him. In a lesser-known tale in the Ganesha Purana the wise asura king Virochana is rewarded a magical crown by the sun-god Surya; the crown shields him against all harm. Vishnu as Mohini enchants Virochana and steals his crown; the demon, thus unprotected, is killed by Vishnu. Another South Indian legend about the demon Araka associates Mohini with Krishna rather than the god himself; the demon Araka had become invincible because he had never laid eyes on a woman. Krishna marries him. After three days of marriage, Araka's bonds of chastity are broken, Krishna kills him in battle. Transgender Hijras consider Krishna-Mohini to be a transsexual deity.
Stories about Mohini and Shiva have been po
RadhaKrishn are collectively known within Hinduism as the combined forms of feminine as well as the masculine realities of God. Radha and Krishna are the primeval forms of God and His pleasure potency in the Vaishnava school of thought in Vedic culture. Krishna is referred to as svayam bhagavan in Vaishnavism theology and Radha is illustrated as the primeval potency of the three main potencies of God, Hladini and Samvit of which Radha is an embodiment of the feeling of love towards the almighty God Shree Krishna. With Krishna, Radha is acknowledged as the Supreme Goddess, for it is said that Krishna or God is only satiated by devotional service in loving servitude and Radha is the personification of devotional service to the supreme, she is considered in Vaishnavism as the total feminine energy and as the Supreme Lakshmi. Various devotees worship her with the understanding of her merciful nature as the only way to attain Krishna. Radha is depicted to be Krishna himself, split into two, for the purpose of His enjoyment.
It is believed that Krishna enchants the world, but Radha "enchants Him. Therefore She is the supreme goddess of all. RadhaKrishn". While there are much earlier references to the worship of this form of God, it is since Jayadeva Goswami wrote a famous poem Gita Govinda in the twelfth century of the Common Era, that the topic of the spiritual love between the divine Krishna and his devotee Radha, became a theme celebrated throughout India, it is believed that Radha is not just one cowherd maiden, but is the origin of all the gopis, or divine personalities that participate in the rasa dance. Vigneshwara cannot be broken into two – Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, his shakti Radha such was the love of Radha towards Krishna that they became one. Krishna in Vrindavana is depicted with Radha standing on his left; the common derivation of shakti and shaktiman, i.e. Female and male principle in a god implies that shakti and shaktiman are the same; each and every god has its partner,'betterhalf' or Shakti and without this Shakti, is sometimes viewed being without essential power.
It is a not uncommon feature of Hinduism when worship of a pair rather than one personality constitutes worship of God, such is worship of Radha Krishna. Traditions worshiping Krishna, as svayam bhagavan, male, include reference and veneration to his Radha, worshiped as supreme. A view that exists of orthodox Vaishnavism or Krishnaism is that Radha is shakti and Krishna is shaktiman and are always found without any tinge of materialistic attributes or cause. From the Vaishnava point of view the divine feminine energy implies a divine source of energy, God or shaktiman. "Sita relates to Rama. As Krishna is believed to be the source of all manifestations of God, "Shri Radha, His consort, is the original source of all shaktis" or feminine manifestation of divine energy. A number of interpretations according to traditions possess a common root of personalism in the understanding of worship. Caitanyaite Gaudiya Vaishnava doctrine and mission is fiercely "personalistic," proclaiming the supremacy of Krishna, the identification of Caitanya as Radha-Krishna, the reality and eternality of individual selves, a method for approaching the absolute reality and the Deity as a person first and foremost.
Jiva Goswami in his Priti Sandarbha states that each of the Gopis exhibits a different level of intensity of passion, among which Radha's is the greatest. In his famous dialogs Ramananda Raya describes Radha to Caitanya and quotes, among other texts, a verse from Chaitanya Charitamrta 2.8.100, before he goes on to describe her role in the pastimes of Vrindavana. The central pivot point of the theology is related to the word rasa; the theological use of the word can be found early, about two thousand years before the Nimbarka or Caitanya school, in a phrase that the tradition quotes: "Truly, the Lord is rasa" of Brahma sutras. This statement expresses the view that God is the one who enjoys the ultimate rasa or spiritual rapture, emotions. Radha Krishna are worshiped in the following traditions of Hinduism: King Gareeb Nivaz ruled from 1710 to 1734 and was initiated into Vaishnavism of the Chaitanya tradition, which worships Krishna as the supreme deity, Svayam bhagavan, he practiced this religion for nearly twenty years.
Preachers and pilgrims used to arrive in large numbers and cultural contact with Assam was maintained. The Manipuri Vaishnavas Radha-Krishna. With the spread of Vaishnavism the worship of Krishna and Radha became the dominant form in the Manipur region; every village there has a temple. Rasa and other dances are a feature of the regional folk and religious tradition and for example, a female dancer will portray both Krishna and his consort, Radha, in the same piece. In Vedic and Puranic literature and other forms of the root >rAdh have meaning of ‘perfection’, ‘success’ and ‘wealth’. Lord of Success, Indra was referred to as Radhaspati. In references to Mahavishnu as the Lord of Fortune and used by Jayadeva as Jaya Jayadeva Hare – the victorious Hari, ‘Radhaspati’ all found in many places; the word Radha occurs in Taittiriya BrAhmana and Taittiriya Samhita. Charlotte Vaudeville, in the article Evolution of Love Symbolism in Bhagavatism draws some parallel to Nappinnai, appearing in Godha's magnum opus Thiruppavai and in Nammalwar’s references to Nappinnani, the daughter-in-law of Nandagopa.
Nappinnai is believed to be the source of Radha’s conception in
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
Ayyappan is the Hindu god of growth popular in Kerala. He is the son of Shiva and Mohini -- the female avatar of Vishnu. Ayyappan is referred to as Ayyappa, Hariharaputra, Shasta or Dharma Shasta; the iconography of Ayyappan depicts him as a handsome god, who has pledged an oath of naishthika brahmacharya, in a yogic posture and as an epitome of Dharma, who wears a bell around his neck. In the Hindu pantheon, his legends are recent but diverse. For some, he is an incarnation of the Buddha, he is honored by some Muslims in Kerala, with legends wherein Ayyappan defeats and gains worship of Vavar, an Hindu. In the Hindu tradition popular in the Western Ghats of India, he was born with the powers of Shiva and Vishnu to confront and defeat the shape shifting evil Buffalo demoness Mahishasuri, he was raised by a childless royal couple, grows up as a warrior yogi champion of ethical and dharmic living. In the South Indian version, Ayyappan images show him as riding a tiger, but in some places such as Sri Lanka he is shown as riding a white elephant.
Ayyappan popularity has grown in many parts of India, the most prominent Ayyappan shrine is at Sabarimala, nestled in the hills of Pathanamthitta of Kerala. The shrine receives millions of pilgrims every year in late December and early January, many of whom prepare for weeks before and climb the hill barefoot, making it one of the largest active pilgrimage sites in the world; the pilgrimage attracts a wide range of devotees, from diverse social or economic backgrounds, except women in their fertile age given Ayyappan is believed to be the celibate deity. Ayyappan may share a historical relationship with the Tamil deity Aiyanar; the most significant festival linked to him is the Makaravilakku, observed around the winter solstice. The name Ayyappan may be related to the similar sounding ancient term Arya; the Sanskrit term Arya is found in ancient texts of Hinduism and Buddhism, where it means the "spiritually noble, precious ones". However, the word Ayyappan is not found in South Indian versions of the medieval era Puranas, leading scholars to the hypothesis that Ayyappan may have roots elsewhere.
The alternate theory links it to the Malayali word acchan and Tamil word appa which means "father", with Ayyappan connoting "Lord-father". The alternate proposal is supported by the alternate name for Ayyappan being Sastava, a Vedic term that means "Teacher, Lord, Ruler"; the words Sastha and Dharmasastha in the sense of a Hindu god are found in the Puranas. Ayyappan is known as Hariharaputra – meaning the "son of Harihara" or a fusion deity of Hari and Hara, the names given to Vishnu and Shiva respectively, he is called Manikanta from Mani, Sanskrit for precious stone, kanta, Sanskrit for neck. In some regions and Ayyanar are considered to be the same deity given their similar origin. Others consider him as different. Ayyappan is a warrior deity, he is revered for his ascetic devotion to Dharma – the ethical and right way of living, to deploy his military genius and daring yogic war abilities to destroy those who are powerful but unethical and arbitrary. His iconography is shown with a bow and arrow upraised in his left hand, while in his right he holds either a bow or a sword diagonally across his left thigh.
Other depictions of Ayyappan paintings show him in a yogic posture wearing a bell around his neck and sometimes shown riding a tiger. The life legends and mythology of Ayyappa varies across region like other Hindu gods and goddesses, reflecting a tradition that evolved and enriched over time, sometimes in conflicting ways. For example, the Sribhutanatha Purana text presents Ayyappan as an incarnation of the brahmanical deity Hariharaputra, the son of Shiva and Mohini; this interaction between Shiva and Mohini is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, but Ayyappan is not mentioned. In the oral tradition as represented by Malayalam folk songs, Ayyappa is presented as a warrior hero of Pandala kingdom. According to Eliza Kent, the legends in the Ayyappa tradition seem to be "artificially mixed and assembled into a kind of collage". Ruth Vanita suggests that Ayyappan emerged from the fusion of a Dravidian god of tribal proverance and the Puranic story of Shiva and Mohini's sexual interaction. There once was a kingdom of Pantalam.
The royal family was childless. One day the king of Pantalam Rajshekhara found a baby boy in a forest; the king carried the baby to an ascetic in the forest to inquire about the boy. The ascetic advised the king to take the baby home, raise him like his own son, that in 12 years he would discover who the baby was; the royal family did so. At age 12, the king wanted to formally coronate Manikantha as the heir prince. However, Queen Dharmapriya under the influence of an evil minister objected; the minister had advised the queen. The younger child was disabled and lacked the ability to perform the duties of the king, something that the scheming evil minister thought would make him the de facto ruler; the minister persuaded the queen to feign an illness, ask for "tiger's milk" to cure her illness and demand that Manikantha be sent to get the milk from the forest. Manikantha volunteers, goes into returns riding a tigress; the king, realising Manikantha's special ability recognizes the adopted son to be a divine being, resolves to make a shrine for him.
For location, Manikantha shoots an arrow that lands thirty kilometers away. The young boy tra