Krishna & Jesus: Striking similarities in the life of both God incarnations

Lord Krishna and Jesus Christ are two of the most worshipped Gods world over by Hindus and Christians respectively. Both are believed to have fascinating life stories. However, there are huge similarities in the life stories of both.

Although the similarities appear only during the events surrounding their respective births, they are too striking to ignore.

The events before and after the birth of Krishna:

As per legends, Krishna was born to Devki and Vasudev in Mathura. He had taken birth to wipe out evil, which includes his own uncle Kansa. Kansa gets to know about this and feels threatened. Devki had given birth to six other children along with Krishna.

Kansa orders to kill all children born to Devki in order to save himself from getting killed.

However, Vasudev gets to know this and secretly leads Krishna to Gokul on a rainy night.

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The events before and after the birth of Jesus:

According to the Gospel of Mathew, Herod, the king of Judea, felt threatened with the birth of Jesus.

He orders to kill all the male children of Bethlehem under the age of two, hoping that this would kill Jesus as well.

However, Jesus is saved after his father Joseph escapes with Him and mother Mary to Egypt. It is said that Joseph was warned by an angel.

There is no need to state how startlingly similar both the events are since they are self-explanatory.

The aim of this article is not to hold one superior to another or to accuse the followers of one God of copying the life story of another. It’s just that the similarities are so striking that they deserve a mention.

P.S: I am also just reminded of a book I saw in Ramakrishna Mission, Mumbai. It said that worshipping Krishna alone without worshipping Jesus doesn’t make sense.

By: Keyur Seta

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5 Eid songs to add more light to the festival

The festival of Eid is just around the corner as the holy month of Ramzan is about to end. It’s a Muslim festival but is also celebrated by people of all faiths around the world. It makes the end of a month long fasting period from dawn-to-sunset. For more information on the festival click HERE.

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Like any other major festival, Eid, which is known more as Eid-al-fitr, is also celebrated with rejoice. So, naturally, music plays a major role in any celebration. In India, songs from Hindi or Bollywood films are a rage during every festival and the same is with Eid.

Surprisingly, although Bollywood has a number of Islamic songs, there are very few that are actually based on Eid specifically.

Let’s have a look at the Bollywood Eid songs:

Eid Mubarak from Tumko Na Bhool Payenge (2002)

This one is the most loved Eid song from Bollywood. This is not just because it’s a fast paced dance number but also because it highlights that the festival is for all those who believe in the message of love and is not limited to Muslims. Sonu Nigam, as always, is in top form.

Wallah Re Wallah Wallah from Tees Maar Khan (2010)

This is another enjoyable dance number on Eid. Along with some energetic vocals and foot-tapping music, it also deserves to be noticed for the vibrant use of colours. The track is a smart fusion between Qawwali and typical massy Hindi film genre. The chorus singers also have a high amount of contribution here.

Chaand Nazar Aa Gaya from Hero Hindustani (1998)

This is yet another fast paced Sonu Nigam number on Eid. It speaks about the practice of fasting during Ramzan and how the aim of the festival is to spread peace and harmony. It might be an Eid song with the most energetic dance moves by Arshad Warsi.

Yoon Shabnami from Saawariya (2007)

This is a magical Eid song with some top-notch work from all departments like lyrics, music, singing, choreography. The typical visual magic born out of the production design by someone like Sanjay Leela Bhansali makes it even special. The song actually has two parts which are merged naturally.

Eid Ke Din Gale Mil Le Raja from Teesri Aankh (1982)

This old song on Eid is forgotten. In fact, it hasn’t received it due. It’s a dance number but not an energetic ones like before in the list. The song features the Qawwali genre which is also seen in the lyrics. It’s also a rare number where Mohammad Rafi, Manna Dey, Anuradha Paudwal and Krishna Mukherjee have given voice together.

What is the meaning of Vande Mataram and why it is controversial?

The phrase ‘Vande Mataram’ was widely used during India’s freedom struggle against the British. It is believed to be an expression of a person’s love for India or Mother India. But the phrase has been used in a controversial context since last couple of years after few Muslim religious ‘leaders’ claimed that it is un-Islamic to utter the phrase.

Firstly, let us find out the exact meaning of the phrase ‘Vande Mataram.’ The word ‘Vande’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Vandan,’ which means ‘salutation.’ ‘Mataram,’ in Sanskrit, means ‘to the mother.’ So, ‘Vande Mataram’ actually means ‘salutations to the mother.’

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Pictures: Juststickers.in

Interestingly, it doesn’t specify which mother in particular. Hence, it can be used for your own mother or any female Goddess. Similarly, it is used to offer salutations to India by those who consider it as ‘Bharat Mata’ or mother India. But its actual meaning remains as ‘salutations to the mother.’

Now, coming to the controversy surrounding ‘Vande Matara,’ it seems to me that there shouldn’t be a controversy in the first place. ‘Salutation’ refers to as ‘Salaam’ in Arabic. Muslims use the word ‘Salaam’ to greet anyone. It simply means giving respect to someone.

Similarly, ‘Vandan’ also means giving respect to someone. So, if you can offer respect to your family and friends, why not the country?

At the same time, I personally feel it is wrong and insulting to force someone to utter ‘Vande Mataram’ just to prove his or her nationalism or love for the country.

By: Keyur Seta

Pictures: River Godavari, adjoining temples and Sita Gumfa

The last time I had visited the banks of River Godavari in Nashik was more than 20 years ago. It was probably the first time I had spent so much time at a river bank then. Needless to say, I had fond memories of that place.

My next visit to Godavari was last month. I had expected massive changes in and around Godavari. However, much to my pleasant surprise, I realized that the river bank and the adjoining area had hardly changed.

Godavari

 

At a time when rapid change and urbanization is the norm of the day, this sight gave me the same kind of joy it had given me more than two decades ago.

Thankfully, the Govdavari, which is based in the Panchvati area of Nashik, was full of water the day we visited. To see people happily taking a dip in it was a happy sight. Surprisingly, it wasn’t so polluted, as is the case with other rivers.

There are a number of small but pretty temples ound the river. A big sthamba and a beautiful statue of Lord Hanuman also adorn the place.

The Shree Kapaleshwar Mahadev Mandir is one of the prominent temples here. It is a Shiva temple. Just ahead lies Shri Goreram Temple, in which the idol of Lord Ram is made from white marble. Similarly, in Shri Kalaram Temple, which is also nearby, the idol is made of black marble.

Once you keep walking ahead for some time, you will find the historic Sita Gumfa aka Sita Cave. It is believed that Sita, Ram and Laxmana prayed here during their exile period. The passage to the gumpha is extremely narrow and everyone is not advised to go through it.

By: Keyur Seta

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Hanuman

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History of Shree Goreram Temple
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Entrance to Sita Gumfa

Photos: Godavari-Kapila Sangam and Laxmana Temple at Tapovan, Nashik

The most important twist in the Indian epic Ramayana is when Laxmana cuts the nose of the evil Supranakha, the sister of Ravana. It was this act that played a role in Ravana kidnapping Sita, wife of Lord Rama.

It is believed that the incident took place near a place where lays the city of Nashik currently. The area where the encounter happened is called Tapovan, which was a part of the ancient Dandakaranya forest.

Tapovan-Nashik
On the banks of Godavari-Kapila Sangam

The name Tapovan is derived from Sanskrit words Tap, which means meditation and van, which means forest. Hence, the place was used by many sages for meditation.

 

Because of Laxmana’s act, a temple in his name is formed at this place, which is just a stone throw away from the place where rivers Godavari and Kapila meet (known as Godavari-Kapila sangam). At the same place, lie few holy water kunds (holy reservoirs).

Despite the heat, the place appeared pleasant and calm when we had visited it recently. We were told that this is the only Laxmana temple in the world. However, after doing a simple Google search just now, I realized that this is not true. There are Laxmana temples in Chhattisgarh and Khajuraho.

Nevertheless, it was an interesting experience being at this place. More than the temple, the Godavari-Kapila Sangam was more remarkable. The area where two rivers flowing and the various kunds (Mukti, Agni and Sita Kund) reside was quite adventurous. There are also three kunds signifying Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

On the far end one can see huge idols of Lord Rama, Sita and Laxmana.

By: Keyur Seta

More pictures:

Tapovan

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Outside the Laxman  Temple

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Entrace of Laxman Temple. Pictures aren’t allowed inside

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Agni-kund

Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh-kund

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Godavari-river

Sita-kund

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Idols of Ram, Sita and Laxmana

Pictures: Khandoba Temple atop the hill at Deolali

The Khandoba Maharaj Temple or Khandoba Tekdi at Deolali (also known as Devlali) is an interesting mixture of mythology and history. As per a legend, it is believed that Lord Shiva took the form of Khandoba Maharaj to eliminate two demon brothers Malla and Mani.

After performing a lot of austerities, the brothers had received a boon from Shiva through which nobody could kill them. But they became extremely arrogant and started creating havoc on innocent citizens. Hence, Shiva took matters in his own hands and killed them through his Khandoba avatar.

Khandoba-TekdiThe legend goes onto say that Khandoba Maharaj, after killing Malla and Mani, took some rest at this place. That’s the reason why the place is also called Vishram (which translates to ‘rest’) Gadh.

It is believed that much, much later when Shivaji Maharaj was going towards north, he took rest at this place. Ever since, the temple was formed and it has been taken care of by Amle family.

Surprisingly, the premises of the Khandoba Temple start with a huge park meant for both children and adults. It ends where the steps to the temple, which is situated on a hilltop, start. The steps are wide and less in height. This makes it possible even for older people to climb them.

It’s an enjoyable climb due to it being easy and the view that it offers. One gets a peaceful and calm feeling after reaching the temple at the top. The entrance and the inner sanctum are well structured and maintained. The vibrant colours add to the beauty.

By: Keyur Seta

More pictures:

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History of Khandoba Temple
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Gita Saar on the way
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Hanuman Akhada (place where wrestlers fight)
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Almost there

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Khandoba temple

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The main idol of Khandoba

Khandoba temple-Deolali

Holi: The story behind the festival of colours

Holi is a Hindu festival but it is celebrated by people of al faiths in India. It known as the festival of colours. It is celebrated by colouring our friends, family and near and dear ones with various colours and water.

Over the years, the festival is also used to create all kind of nuisance and hooliganism. Since the last decade or more, it has turned into a modern big DJ (disco jockey) party where people have crazy fun.

I am sure many of them are not even aware as to why the festival is celebrated in the first place. Ask them and they will go blank.

Here is the story or legend behind the festival of Holi:

The story dates back to the mythological era when Hiranyakashipu is having the time of his life. He was the king of the demonic Asuras. He had a boon through which he received five special powers: he could be killed neither by a human nor an animal, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither at day nor at night, neither by astra (projectile weapons) or by shastra (handheld weapons) and neither on land nor on air or water.

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Picture: Hindudevotionalblog.com

Hiranyakashipu considered himself God and became very arrogant. He wanted everyone to worship him. However, his own son Prahlad didn’t consider his father God. He continued to be an ardent follower of Vishnu.

Hiranyakashipu showred Prahlad with cruel punishments but it didn’t break the latter’s resolve and devotion to Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu’s evil sister Holika thought of a plan. She had to cloak that made her immune to fire. She tricked Prahlad into a pyre and set it afire. However, the cloak got transferred from Prahlad to Holika due to strong winds. Hence, Prahlad was saved while Holika was reduced to ashes.

Hiranyakashipu’s anger rises as Prahlad’s devotion to Lord Vishnu deepens. He claims that the Lord is present everywhere (omnipresent). Hiranyakashipu points at a pillar and asks if he is present in it. When Prahlad answers in the affirmative, Hiranyakashipu breaks the pillar and to his horror, he finds Lord Vishnu in his Narsimha (half human, half animal) avatar.

Narsimha kills Hiranyakashipu in the evening through his nails (lion’s nails), thereby meeting every criteria of the boon.

In this way, the festival of Holi celebrates the victory of good over evil. The Holi pyre is burnt at night and celebrations take place the next day to pay tribute to the elimination of evil.

Wishing you all a very Happy Holi. May the various evils from your lives be wiped off this year and forever.