Categories
Indian Mythology Informative

Jambavant – One of seven immortals – Sat Chiranjeevi

In Indian mythology, there are seven immortals, who are also known as Sat Chiranjeevi. These characters are integral to Indian mythology and Jambavant is believed to longest living entity.

Jambavant

Jambavant is a famous character in Indian mythology. He is believed to be created by Brahma to help Rama fight Ravana. He is also an immortal entity. His presence is found at number of places, in the times of Rama, Shri Krishna and Bali. He was also present at the time of churning pf ocean.

Jambavant advises Hanuman – Ramayana

Jambavant in his previous life was the King of the Himalayas who had incarnated as a bear in order to serve Lord Rama. He received a boon from Lord Rama that he would have a long life, and have the strength of ten million lions. In the epic Ramayana, Jambavantha helped Rama find his wife Sita and fight her abductor,Ravana. It is he who makes Hanuman realize his immense capabilities and encourages him to fly across the ocean to search for Sita in Lanka. In the Mahabharata, Jambavantha had killed a lion, who had acquired a gem called Syamantaka from Prasena after killing him. Krishna was suspected of killing Prasena for the jewel, so he tracked Prasena’s steps until he learned that he had been killed by a lion who had been killed by a bear. Krishna tracked Jambavantha to his cave and a fight ensued. After eighteen days, realizing who Krishna was, Jambavantha submitted. He gave Krishna the gem and also presented him his daughter Jambavati, who became one of Krishna’s wives.

Jambavantha and Shri Krishna

Jambavant, together with Parasuram and Hanuman, is considered to be one of the few to have been present for both Ram and Krishna avatars. Said to have been present for the churning of the ocean and thus witness to the Kurma avatar, and further the Vaman avatar, Jambavan may well be the longest lived of the chiranjivis and have been witness to nine avatars.

 

Categories
Informative

An intriguing story on Lok Sabha 2014 , Varanasi and Social Media pulse

Lok Sabha elections 2014

The battle of titans at Varanasi

As Indian political scenario is hotting up, and there is lots of buzz on social media. A TV channel was saying that as per a study, about 160 LS seats will have influence of Social Media this election. This is natural to know how our leaders are faring on social media. So far, we only hear terms about how active someone is or how many conversations are being done.

AN EXCITING APP – PULSE (FREE)

But there has not been a single holistic view which could truly measure the popularity. There is a free android application “Pulse” available which provides exactly this information. No more and no less. It gives the one single view of Leader’s popularity. You can download this app on any android device and monitor the social media activity for yourself.

Pulse – the free app for android

Who tops the chart

This app provides a single view of popularity scores, and it also tells how much a leader’s popularity has gone up or down from the previous period. This app has really captured the sentiments as I noticed the day Arvind Kejriwal and Punya Prasoon Vajpayee video went viral, there was a sharp drop in the popularity of Arvind Kejriwal.

This app shows that Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi are the leaders on social media, while Rahul Gandhi is not necessarily at third place.  This also shows some not so obvious names such as Rajnath Singh well ahead of other national figures, telling that their social media campaign is managed well.

 

popularity timeline of leaders

The detailed report on Varanasi and its contestors

The site offering this app also provided a detailed report on  chances of Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal and how they fare on social media.  This is a very interesting article to read.

Categories
Informative

Miniature paintings – Mughal, Kangra and Rajasthan

Miniature paintings from India

Miniature paintings are popular folk art form. India, as diverse in flora and fauna and culture, has a range of these paintings which are so different, yet so mesmerising.

Paintings from Mughal Period

One of the important periods in Indian history is Mughal period, which contributed significantly to miniature paintings. The subject of these paintings varied and largely included scenes from court and representing significant events.

This style of painting is believed to be started with Humayun, who brought couple of artists from persia. This flourished in the reins of Akbar, Jehangir and Shahjahan.

Jehangir court scene in miniature painting
Hunting by Mughal emperor

The influence of these rulers is evident on these paintings as these have depicted the scenes of court of these emperors and other activities.

Another miniature painting depicting hunting scenes

 

Kangra miniature paintings

Kangra miniature paintings are also famous. They mainly depict scenes from Indian mythology involving Shri Krishna. This form of art is originated from Kangra, Himachal pradesh. This paintings also came to known as Pahari school of paintings. Kangra paintings flourished under the ruler Sansar Chand. Some of the masterpieces are available in the museum on his name, Maharaja Sansar Chand museum.

Kangra paintings – Shri Krishna and Radha
Shri Krishna taming Kaliya – Kangra painting

Another gem from Pahari Painting school.

Pahari miniature painting

Rajasthani miniature paintings

Another popular folk art form of paintings are Rajasthani miniature paintings. Rajasthan is premier in this art form, which evolved from Marwar-Mewat region. Some of these priceless paintings are housed in National Museum, New Delhi.

 

Radha and Krishna playing blind man buff

 

Rajasthani painting – Krishna and Radha

Bundi is another region where this folk art form has been developed. The blend of Mughal and Deccani art elements in Bundi style is unique. Similarly, kota also provides these paintings whose subject are ram lila, krishna lila, etc.

 

Categories
Festival Informative

New year – across the world

Happy new year to everyone!!!

Every year, new year is celebrated across the globe. There are different ways to celebrate the beginning. In following paragraphs, we will find that how this is celebrated across different regions and countries.

New year all over the world

Christians all over the world celebrate this day on first january, the first day of the year. This is the first day of the year as per the Gregorian and Roman calendar.  Now, the most countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar,  First January can be treated as the de facto new year across the globe.

On New Year’s Day, people in some countries gather on beaches and run into the water to celebrate the new year. This is very popular in United Kingdom , Canada, the Republic of Ireland, , the United States and the Netherlands.

These events are sometimes known as polar bear plunges, and are sometimes organized by groups to raise money for charity. In Greece and Cyprus, lights are switched off at midnight.In Russia and in former republics of the Soviet Union, the celebration of Old New Year is accomplished by fireworks and drinking champagne. The year is also known as Novi God.

Indian new year

Though January first is the practical new year date across India, still following festivities traditionally considered to be the new year dates. Following regions celebrate various festivals.

Bihar – In eastern part of india, Holi marks the new year. The new years begins on  Chaitra, 1st day of the Krishna Paksha. For them on this day the last year has died. For this reason in some provinces like Bihar and UP.  Holika dahan is also called ‘Samvatsar Dahan’. On this day all the bitterness and evil memories of the last year are burnt in the fire and the New Year is begun with a celebration.

 

Kerala – This is celebrated on 14th April. This is Kerala’s summer harvest festival Vishu. Vishu Kani – In the wee hours people woke up to see the ‘Vishu Kani’, the ceremony of looking at auspicious articles such as rice, gold, the glowing seasonal flower ‘konna’ and fruits and vegetables tastefully arranged in platters.

Kerala new year – Vishu

 

Punjab – Baisakhi, which falls on 13th or 14th April, is the new year for the region of Punjab. This day is also celebrated as the beginning of the Hindu solar new year. This date is celebrated by people across Nepal, the Assam Valley, Kerala, Orissa, West Bengal and other regions of India.In Himachal Pradesh, the Hindu Goddess Jwalamukhi is worshipped on Vaisakhi. In  Bengal,  Poila Baisakh is celebrated.  Assamese celebrate this day as  Bihu.

Baisakhi – Punjabi new year

Chinese new year

This is also the spring festival which marks the end of winter. This is the most important chinese festival. Families gather to celebrate this festival. They take the dinner together. Food will include delicacies such as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweets. The family will end the night with firecrackers. This festival is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese calendar. This is a fifteen day long festival. Since China follows the lunisolar calendar, Chinese new year is also referred as Lunar New Year.

 

Chinese new year

The dragon

Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology. Contrary to European dragons, which are considered evil, Chinese dragons symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over elements, such as, water, rainfall, hurricane, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck.The worship of the Dragon Kings as rulers of water and weather continues in many areas, and is deeply ingrained in Chinese cultural traditions such as Chinese New Year celebrations.

Japanese new year

Japanese celebrate their new year on January first. Long time ago, they were aligned with Chinese new year. They have adopted the gregorian calendar, and now they celebrate this on January first. An important custom is Bell Ringing, where on new year eve, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells a total of 108 times to symbolize the 108 human sins as per the belief, and to get rid of the 108 worldly desires regarding sense and feeling in every Japanese citizen. A major attraction is The Watched Night bell, in Tokyo. Japanese believe that the ringing of bells can rid off their sins during the previous year.

On this day, Japanese people have a custom of giving money to children. This is known as otoshidama . This is given in small decorated envelopes called ‘pochibukuro,’ similar to Goshugi bukuro or Chinese red envelopes and to the Scottish handsel.

Japanese-new-year-christmas-illuminations

 

Jewish new year – “Rosh Hashanah” 

Rosh Hashanah is celebrated on the first two days of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. In Jewish thought, Rosh Hashanah is the most important judgment day, on which all the inhabitants of the world pass for judgment before the Creator. Next date for this is  Jewish Year 5773: sunset September 16, 2012 – nightfall September 18, 2012.

Rosh Hashana is a two-day holiday. Special services are held in synagogues. The hight of services is the blowing of the Shofar (ram’s horn) according to the commandment in the Torah. We pray that God forgives our sins and inscribes us in the book of life, planning a good new year. At home, families get together for festive meals featuring many traditional foods. Mostly it is costumary to eat sweet things on the New Year, bread dipped in honey, apples in honey etc.
The head of a fish or lamb is also costumary. During the meal many symbolic foods are eaten, each with a wish for a good new year. It is customary to eat a fruit you have yet tasted that year on the second night. People dress in their best outfits for this holiday, many times – wearing new clothes. People salute each other wishing a good year or sweet good year – Shana Tova or Shana Tova uMetuka.

Although Rosh Hashanah marks the change of the Jewish calendar year, Nisan is considered the first month of the Hebrew calendar. The Mishnah indicates that the year of the reign of Jewish kings was counted from Nisan in Biblical times. Nisan is also considered the beginning of the calendar year in terms of the order of the holidays.

 Zoroastrian new year – “Nowruz”

Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in parts of the South Asian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.

 

People across the world exchange new year cards to wish every one on New Year. Nowadays, after the advent of internet , e-cards are also used to exchange new year greetings. This day is celebrated on different days on different regions, but universally this day is seen as the onset of good things to come.

 

Categories
Informative

Independence Day, 15 August

15th August is a glorious day in Indian history. This day in 1947 India got Independence. India was colonised by British Empire for more than 200 years, and after a prolonged struggle for freedom, India got Independence on 15 August, 1947. This has come at a price, as India was divided into two parts, Hindu dominated -India and Muslim dominated-Pakistan. This unfortunate event is known as ‘partition’.
There are many men and women, who sacrifice their whole life for attaining freedom. Today is the day to remember all these people, who fought for this cause.
On this auspicious day, festival type atmosphere is found every where. People eat delicious Jalebi and Poori. Kites are flown today. In fact, Kite flying is an Independence Day sport in India.
Here are some glimpses of the olden/golden time.
Pandit Nehru
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru taking oath as India’s first Prime Minister
Nehru taking oath on first independence day
 
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru with Lord and Lady Mountbatten
 

Prisoners being released on Independence Day


Categories
Children stories Informative Interesting news

Wedding of frogs

Wedding of frogs

Sounds strange, but this is true. Frogs are married in some part of india, according to a mythological ritual. There is a purpose behind this. In extreme summer, when there is no sign of rain, a yagna is performed to please Lord Indra. In Hindu Mythology, Indra is the person responsible for rains.

This yagya is nothing, but wedding of frogs are per the hindu rituals. Vermilion is applied on the forehead of female frog to mark her as the life partner of the male frog. This is an age-old tradition that if frogs are wedded, then Indra Dev will be pleased and monsoon will come. People attend the wedding in large numbers.

Wedding of frogs – for rain

This wedding is performed with artifical frogs as well as with real frogs. The rationale behind this tradition is that during rainy season, frogs came out and croak to please Lord Indra. The wedding is performed for the same reason and this is thought that frogs will be pleased and welcome rain gods.

Read this article for a frog wedding in Varanasi.

This is not limited to India. The same ritual, wedding of frogs has also taken place in Bangladesh. The objective is the same, to bring rain on earth.The “bride” and “groom” came from two neighbouring villages 110 kilometres (68 miles) north of the capital Dhaka, according to the Bengali paper Jugantor. Villagers organised the wedding ceremony because the region was suffering a water shortage as it waited for monsoon rains to arrive, according to school teacher Noor Mohammad Kalon, who was a guest on behalf of the “groom.” More than 250 men, women and children came to the wedding. We all danced and sang,” the teacher, 42, told AFP by telephone, adding that the guests were served a traditional wedding feast of rice, lentils, fish, beef and sweets.
“The bride and groom were in special wedding dress. We blessed them in the ceremony and released them in a nearby pond afterwards.

Read the full bangladesh wedding story of frogs.

The most recent wedding of frogs has taken place inTakhatpur, India.  This is also celebrated in remote part of Assam.

 

Categories
Informative

What is Folk Art

Indian, Japanese and Chinese Folk Art

Folk  art is any form of  art which is local to a particular geography, and may have slowly gained the stature of importance. A folk art is not limited to any particular discipline. for example, music, painting and even sports can take the form of a folk art.

Weaving, jewellery making, are some forms of folk art which have gained credence. Sometimes, these folk art become so important that they are sought all over the world. An example of these is Madhubani paintings. This form of art has started from a small place in Bihar, India. Madhubani paintings are sought after around the world.  Another form of folk art is miniature paintings.  Art galleries over the world keep famous folk arts as well.

Decorative artistic things are used for home decorative ideas. Madhubani paintings, miniature paintings, wood handicrafts are few forms of folk art, which are used extensively.

Chinese art

There are different Chinese art forms, but the two most important  Chinese art forms are Chinese paper cutting and  Chinese paper folding.  These art forms date back to han dynasty. Similarly kite is also given by China and noted as an important contribution to Europe.  Kite flying is also a tradition in India. Here on independence day, kites are flown all over  the country. Puppetry is also widely used chinese art, a form of folk art.

Indian Art

Indian Paintings have always been famous for  creativity and imagination. Warli Paintings are the ancient Indian folk art tradition of Warli Tribe in Maharashtra.  Walri or Varli tribe is an ancient East Indian Tribe of India. These tribes are the scheduled Tribes of India. Warli is a small tribe inhabiting in the remote regions of Maharashtra. The style is some what similar to the pre historic cave paintings. These paintings are exquisite. This art was first discovered in early seventies of the last century. Since then the art has traveled across borders and has now become a famous art found on various home décor products.

Indian folk art by Warli tribe of Maharashtra

Miniature painting is another form of folk art which was made famous during the period of Mughals. The style gradually spread in the next two centuries to influence painting on paper in both Muslim and Hindu princely courts, developing into a number of regional styles often called “sub-Mughal”, including Kangra painting and Rajput painting, and finally Company painting, a hybrid watercolour style influenced by European art and largely patronized by the people of the British raj.

Miniature painitng – Folk Art – Shri Krishna

Japanese Folk Art

Etegami, a form of Japanese folk art consisting of simple hand-painted drawings. This has become popular from 1970s. These are done on small canvas, such as postcards, so that, it becomes easy to mail them.  The basic concept has been around for a long time; the tradition of handmade New Years cards testifies to this.  Today, etegami is very popular folk art.

Etegami – A form of Folk art (Japanese)
Categories
Informative

Simplicity

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” observed the genius & greatest
painters of all time, Leonardo DaVinci.

“We, who have so much, must do more to help those in need. And most of all,
we must live simply, so that others may simply live,” noted the American
actor and environmentalist, Edward Begley Jr. Mahatma Gandhi put it even
more simply when he instructed his countrymen thus: “Live simply so that
others may simply live.”

All over the place, we observe people saying and doing things in a
complicated way. The German-born poet, Charles Bukowski calls this the work
of the intellect. He says, “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard
way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” Charles Mingus, the
American jazz musician, composer and civil rights activist, put this
slightly differently when he said, “Making the simple complicated is
commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple – that’s
creativity.”

Bhagvad Gita, termed and accepted as the king of education, the most
secret of all secrets – by common men & philosophers world-wide – also
discusses this attribute at more than a couple of places. It lists
simplicity as a divine quality (in Verse 16.1) and a knowledge item (in
Verse 13.8). But, what is this simplicity? And, how should one go about
cultivating this sophisticated of all qualities?

Discussing knowledge (in Verse 13.8), divine qualities (in Verse 16.1) and
austerity of the mind (in Verse 17.16), the same Bhagavad gita offers an
answer to these questions. Accordingly, simplicity (or ‘aarjavam’ in
sanskrit) means – without diplomacy – one should be so straightforward that
he can disclose the truth even to an enemy. To cultivate this quality, it
recommends (in Verse 17.16) that the mind be devoid of duplicity (called
‘saumyatvam’ in sanskrit). And this, it says, is possible only when we
think of the welfare of all.

So, the secret is to keep the mind free from duplicity, placing others’
interests ahead of self. Experience and conditions come and go,
complications arise and fall away, but the simple man alone is loved and
remembered in the long run!

Categories
Informative

How social networking can harm you?

Here is an interesting observation from a leading newspaper about social networking. Read here for details:

Be careful when using social networking

Categories
Informative

Meet GOOGLE PLUS – new social networking avatar

Looks like Google is trying its hand on social networking with its new project Google Plus. Not much is available about the project, but it seems that various social networking items are rechristened. Have a look at the following:

1. Hangouts – Looks like this is similar to video conferencing.

2. Circles – Your circle, you and your friends. We already have it, Orkut, Facebook, Linked-in. How many social profiles can you manage?

3. Sparks – Way to find out about your interests, etc. Wasn’t buzz was something similar.

I really doubt that this project is just basic what I have wrote above and seriously hope that there is more to it. But the question is, this has to be really remarkable if it has to succeed. We have already seen people moving from Orkut, which was a huge success few years ago, to facebook.  It can happen again, from Facebook to GooglePlus, lets wait and see.

Note: The +1 button below is the building block of this project.