Category: Sarva Dharma Sambhav


 

Easter is a Christian festival celebrating the resurrection (rising from dead) of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion on Good Friday, which is a public holiday in most parts of the world. Mostly, Easter is a movable Holiday and is celebrated on the First Sunday between March 22 and April 25 in accordance to the Vernal or Spring Equinox.

 

Wishing all a Very Happy Easter. May there be new hope for humanity all around the globe!

 

For a detailed meaning and information of Easter, see these links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter

http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatiseaster.htm

 

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Picture Source: text.medjugorje.ws/

Picture Source: text.medjugorje.ws/

 

By: Keyur Seta

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, Pakistan’s renowned Islamic scholar and politician, is highly impressed by the teachings and message of Swami Vivekananda. In fact, for Swamiji’s 151st Birth Anniversary, he sent his wishes to India through his Indian friend Sudheendra Kulkarni, who is a socio-political activist and columnist.

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Picture Source: Mr Sudheendra Kulkarni

Picture Source: Mr Sudheendra Kulkarni

“I had a chance of meeting Qadri. But before meeting him, I sent him a few books about Swamiji. When I met him, he said he read the books and is highly impressed by Swamiji’s message. He praised Swamiji by quoting from his Parliament of Religion speech at Chicago. Just imagine, a Muslim, a Pakistani being impressed by Swamiji’s message.” said Kulkarni while speaking at Swami Vivekananda’s 151st Birth Anniversary aka National Youth Day function organized by Ramakrishna Mission and Math, Mumbai. He also stressed on religious tolerance by urging people to celebrate festival of all religions.

A large group of people gathered at the Vivekananda Hall were both surprised and delighted to hear this. Similarly, other dignitaries – Chitra Ramkrishna, MD & CEO of National Stock Exchange Mumbai, Dr Priya M Vaidya, Asst. Prof. of Philosophy, University of Mumbai, B. N. Srikrishna, retired Supreme Court Judge ((he prepared Srikrishna Report of 1992 riots) and Professor Narendra M. Naidu from Modern College Pune – too presided over the event encouraging people to walk on the path shown by Swamiji.

The event also saw a dance drama on Swamiji’s life and message by Keka Sinha and her group and a Classical concert by Padmashri Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty.

More pictures from the event:

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

Picture Source: Keyur Seta

 

Guru Nanak Gurupurab or Guru Nanak Jayanti is a Sikh festival that celebrates the birth of Guru Nanak, who was the first Sikh Guru. Like other major festivals of India, Guru Nanak Gurpurab is celebrated by people across various faiths. According to the Indian ancient calendar, it is celebrated Kartik Poornima, the full moon day in the month of Kartik. Guru Nanak was the founder of the Sikh religion and the first among the 10 Sikh gurus. The sacred book of Sikhs called Guru Granth Sahib is considered the 11th living Guru.

Guru Nanak was born on April 15, 1469 at Rai Bhoi Ki  Talvandi, now in Pakistan. The town is now called as Nankana Sahib. He was married at a young age and had two children. However, his spiritual urge compelled him to leave his wife and children and go to a spiritual pilgrimage with his best friend Mardana for 12 years. After attaining tremendous spiritual enlightenment, he started preaching against all forms of differentiations, especially religious and caste based. His movement of creating peace between people of various faiths gave rise to the religion of Sikhism. For the complete story of Guru Nanak, click HERE.

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Here’s wishing Happy Guru Nanak Jayanti to all! May his message of peace and unity among all human beings be spread far and wide! In his own words – Aval Allah Noor Upaya, Kudrat Ke Sab Bande

Picture Source: a1lucknowflowers.com

Picture Source: a1lucknowflowers.com

By: Keyur Seta

All over the world, human population is divided on the basis of religion. There are a large number of religions practiced universally and people from each one consider someone from another religion as different from him or her. But if we look at it closely, we realize that we all fall under the category of human beings; that we all have the same flesh and bones; that we all feel happy and sad at the same things. This universal truth was presented at the event Interfaith Dialogue for Modern Era in Mumbai by Ramakrishna Mission and Math, Mumbai. The Interfaith Dialogue was a part of the 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda, whose message was also spread widely at the event.

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There was dialogue and interaction by religious heads of various religions -

  • Christianity by Father Joshua
  • Zoroastrianism by Lion Yazdi Panthaki
  • Baha’ism by Dr Mangesh Teli
  • Buddhism by Prof. Sudhakar Arjun Pawar
  • Jainism Dr. Bipin Doshi
  • Islam by Maulana Syed Athar Ali
  • Sikhism by Mr. Harpal Singh
  • Judaism by Mr. Ralphy Jhira
  • Sufism by Mr. Sami Bubere
  • Hinduism by Swami Atmapriyanandji Maharaj

After listening to each one of them, it wasn’t hard to realize that all religions preach the same message of humanity, oneness, equality and love for all fellow beings.

Some pictures from the event:

Picture Source: DNAIndia.com

Picture Source: DNAIndia.com

Interfaith-Dialog-India

Swami-Vivekananda-religion

Diwali is a Hindu festival but, like all major festivals, it is not limited to people of Hindu faith. It is an Indian festival in actual sense. There are various reasons or incidents behind the celebration of Diwali.

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  • The biggest one is related to Ramayana, the great Indian epic. Circumstances forced Ram to undergo a forest exile along with wife Sita and brother Ram. One day, the demon king Ravan abducted Sita after he fell in love with her beauty. Ram was forced to wage a war against Ravan to free Sita from his clutches. After a long war, Ram ultimately turned victorious after killing Ravan. When Ram, Sita and Laxman returned victorious to Ayodhya after 14 y ears, people welcomed them in a grand manner by lighting lamps, decorating the city, bursting crackers, etc. Hence, Ram’s return to Ayodhya is said to be the start of Diwali as each year on that day people celebrated the festival.
  • There is another very similar theory about the origin of Diwali in relation to another great Indian epic Mahabharata. The Pandavas were forced to wage a war against their wicked cousins Kaurawas. After defeating their enemies when Pandavas returned to their city Hastinapur, the locals celebrated the occasion with much aplomb which marked the start of Diwali.
  • It is also believed that Goddess Kali emerged from the forehead of Goddess Durga to save the earth from the demons. However, she lost her sense of control and started killing anyone randomly. She stopped only when Lord Shiva intervened. This incident is marked as Kali Puja at the same time as Diwali.
  • There is another theory which states that once Gods and Demons desired to live forever and for that they churned the ocean to seek immortality. To stop them, Goddess Durga rose up from the ocean. Later, Lord Vishnu married her. Their marriage is marked as the celebration of Diwali.

Here’s wishing each and everyone a Very Happy Diwali. Well, we all wish each other ‘Happy Diwali’ but Diwali can be considered happy only if it is unpolluted. Each year, the level of air and noise pollution reaches sky high during Diwali due to various types of fire crackers. When we harm earth or mother nature in such a ghastly manner, we can’t be having a Happy Diwali by any means. It not only destroys nature and spreads various diseases, it creates hell for the animals. My sincere request to all of you is to have literally a Happy Diwali. This is the festival of lights so just light up someone’s life, be it anybody. Lighting up people’s life gives many times more pleasure than polluting the environment.

The festival  of Dussehra or Dasara marks the end of the nine day Navaratri festival. It celebrates the victory of good over evil. Its story originates from the Indian epic Ramayana, where Lord Ram defeated the demon Ravan, who had snatched away the former’s wife. The word Dussehra is derived from the Sanskrit term dasha hara, which means ‘defeat of the ten’. Over here, ten signifies the ten heads of Ravan. His ten heads symbolize ten evils – Kama Vasana (lust), Krodh (anger), Moha (attachment), Lobha (greed), Mada (over pride), Matsara (jealousy), Swartha (selfishness), Anyay (injustice), Amanavta (cruelty) and Ahankara (ego).

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When we look at today’s scenario, we realize that the story of Ramayana is so relevant even today. May all of us strive to destroy the various evils from our society. Unfortunately, there are not limited to just 10. However, strong will power and sheer determination by the masses would surely yield fruitful results.

Have faith that you are all, my brave lads, born to do great things! Let not the barks of puppies frighten you — no, not even the thunderbolts of heaven — but stand up and work! – Swami Vivekananda

Destroying of Ravan during a Ram Leela function in India. (Picture source - Msn.com)

Destroying of Ravan during a Ram Leela function in India. (Picture source – Msn.com)

Picture source - shemrock.com

Picture source – shemrock.com

Ganesh Chaturthi is an Indian festival celebrated in honor of Lord Ganesha on his birthday. Lord Ganesha is worshipped as someone who removes all obstacles. Hence, he is also known as Vignaharta.

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It is believed that the festival was celebrated the very first time by Shivaji Maharaj, the great Maratha leader. But it was Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak who encouraged people to celebrate the festival on a much larger scale in order to unite against the British. The festival is celebrated by bringing clay idols of Lord Ganesha. The idols are immersed after 1 and a half, 5, 7 or 10 days. The idols are brought and immersed with great aplomb. The festival is mostly famous in Maharashtra.

Circa 2013, we are living in an era where immorality doesn’t cease to shock us day after day. It won’ be an understatement that humanity is slowly going for a toss. As we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, let us pray to the Lord to bless us by restoring the faith in humanity.

GANPATI BAPPA MORYA!

Ganpati-photo

As India celebrates its 67th year of getting freedom from the British, here’s wishing Happy Independence Day to Indians all over the world.

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And a grand salute to:-

- Those who sacrificed their lives for our independence.

- Those who fought in any manner against the British.

- Our Jawans who are fighting dangerous battles in deadly conditions so that me and you can stay in peace.

- Those trying to make a difference in a selfless manner.

Indian-Flag-New

But the situation in the nation is such that we need freedom from many evils including terrorism, corruption, poverty, casteism, anti-secularism, lack of education, various pollution and many more. So let us take an oath to make the country better in whatever small way possible. After all, even the smallest of deeds can lead to nation building!
“INDIA is to be raised. The poor are to be fed. Education is to be provided. The evil of priestcraft is to be removed.”
– SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

Ever since our school days, we are told that on Independence and Republic days, we should remember all those who sacrificed their lives or a part of their lives to free our country from the clutches of the British. But what I strongly feel is, we should also remember them on the days they were born and the day they left after serving the country. Sadly, many of us remember birth dates of filmstars and cricketers but go blank when asked about the birth and death anniversaries of India’s freedom fighters and revolutionaries. Remembering them is the least we can do for their super-great service to the nation.

So here is the list of the birth and death/ martyrdom anniversaries of these great souls. I have tried to include as many names as possible. Excuse me if I have left out some one. Would be grateful if you can add more names in the comments section.

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Name                                                      Birth and Death/ Martyrdom Anniversary  

Shaheed Bhagat Singh                        September 28, 1907 – March 23, 1931

Chandrashekhar Azad                       July 23, 1906 – February 27, 1931

Sukhdev Thapar                                  May 15, 1907 – March 23, 1931

Shivaram Rajguru                              August 24, 1908 – March 23, 1931

Batukeshwar Dutt                              November 18, 1910 – July 20, 1965

Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj            February 19, 1630 – April 3, 1680

Mahatma Gandhi                                 October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948

Ashfaqulla Khan                                October 22, 1900 – December 19, 1927

Ram Prasad Bismil                            June 11, 1897 – December 19, 1927

Dayanand Saraswati                        February 12, 1824 – October 30, 1883

Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel             October 13, 1875 – December 15, 1950

Tatya Tope                                          1814 – April 18, 1859

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar         May 28, 1883 – February 26, 1966

Madan Lal Dhingra                          February 18, 1883 – August 17, 1909

Jawaharlal Nehru                            November 14, 1889 – May 27, 1964

Swami Shraddhanand                    February 6, 1856 – December 23, 1976

Lala Lajpat Rai                                  January 28, 1865 – November 17, 1928

Lala Hansraj                                      April 19, 1864 – November 15, 1938

Shyamji Krishna Varma               October 4, 1957 – March 30, 1930

Vinobha Bhave                                 September 11, 1895 – November 15, 1982

Lala Har Dayal                                 October 13, 1884 – March 4, 1939

Swami Vivekananda                      January 12, 1863 – July 4, 1902

Virendranath Chattopadhyay October 31, 1880 – September 2, 1937

Ramakrishna Paramhansa          February 18, 1836 – August 16, 1886

Babasaheb Ambedkar                  April 14 1891 – December 6, 1956

Kartar Singh Sarabha                   May 24, 1896 – November 16, 1915

Subhash Chandra Bose                January 23, 1897 – Unknown

Shaheed Udham Singh                December 26, 1899 – July 31, 1940

Jatindra Nath Das                         October 27, 1904 – September 13, 1929

Hari Kishan                                  1911 – June 9, 1931

Bipin Chandra Pal                         November 7, 1858 – May 20, 1932

Sachindra Nath Sanyal                   1893 – February 7, 1942

Bal Gangadhar Tilak                      July 23, 1856 – August 1, 1920

Abul Kalam Azad                          November 11, 1888 – February 22, 1958

Surjya Sen                                      March 22, 1894 – January 12, 1934

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay   June 26, 1838 – April 8, 1894

Khudiram Bose                              December 3, 1889 – August 11, 1908

Rash Bihari Bose                           May 25, 1886 – January 21, 1945

Sri Aurobindo                                August 15, 1872 – December 5, 1950

Rani Laxmibai                               November 19, 1835 – June 18, 1858

Mangal Pandey                              July 19, 1827 – April 8, 1857

Pingali Venkayya                        August 2, 1876 – July 4, 1963

Ram Manohar Lohia                      March 23, 1910 – October 12, 1967

Gopal Ganesh Agarkar                 July 14, 1856 – June 17, 1895

Lal Bahadur Shastri                       October 2, 1904 – January 11, 1966

Rajendra Prasad                             December 3, 1884 – February 28, 1963

Jayaprakash Narayan                     October 11, 1902 – October 8, 1979

Jawaharlal Nehru                           November 14, 1889 – May 27, 1964

Sarojini Naidu                                February 13, 1879 – March 2, 1949

Gopal Krishna Gokhale                 May 9, 1866 – February 19, 1915

Bhikaji Rustom Cama                   September 24, 1861 – August 13, 1936

Dadabhai Naoroji                           September 4, 1825 – June 30, 1917

Aruna Asaf Ali                               July 16, 1909 – July 29, 1996

Usha Mehta                                    March 25, 1920 – August 11, 2000

Sucheta Kriplani                            June 25, 1908 – December 1, 1974

Vasudev Balwant Phadke              November 4, 1845 – February 17, 1883

Narendra Mohan Sen                     1887 – 1963

Bhagwati Charan Vohra                 July 1903 – May 28, 1930

Jaidev Kapoor                                October 24, 1908 – September 19, 1994

Durga Bhagwati Charan Vohra      October 8, 1907 – October 15, 1999

Important Historical Dates

Quit India Movement                     August 8, 1920

Kakori Kaand                                 August 9, 1925

Martyrdom Day of Bhagat
Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru          March 23, 1931

People celebrating India's Independence in 1947. (Picture shared by Lets Speak India group on Facebook.)

People celebrating India’s Independence in 1947. (Picture shared by Lets Speak India group on Facebook.)

Exactly 150 years ago, when Vishwanath and Bhuvaneshwari Devi Datta were blessed with a son Narendra Nath, who would have thought that this kid would one day shake the world with his philosophies on humanity and fearlessness? As one looks back at the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda (name adopted by Narendra after becoming a Sanyasi), there is no doubt that his birth was one of the biggest historic events ever!

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Heartfelt Namaskar to Swami Vivekananda on his 150th Birth Anniversary

However, just saluting or doing namaskar to him won’t be of any use if we don’t put his divine and spiritual principles into practice in our own lives. Looking at the miserable and anti-spiritual condition of India, following his principles is the only solution to the humongous problems our nation is facing. Doing this isn’t a huge task at all. Even if each one of us follow his teachings even in our personal lives, it will help the nation a great deal. We all know how intensely the fire of patriotism burnt inside Swamiji’s heart. So it is up to us to rejuvenate India as per his dreams and keep his fire of nation building alive.

(Swami Vivekananda’s Birth Anniversary is being celebrated through a number of events. Click HERE to know about them.)

(To read the biography of Swami Vivekananda, click HERE.)

Swami-Vivekananda-religion

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