Vedic Encyclopedia Topics
Vedic Encyclopedia Topics
Adventure – 88 Mile High Jump
Our Vedic Scriptures describe many adventures which were earlier available to all the class of men without much endeavor. Adventures were natural sports or leisure activity which anyone could take part in. Krishna and Balarama and Their cowherd friends performed many adventures throughout their lives. One such adventure is described below:
When Krishna returned to Mathura, which was still under siege by the barbarian army, He destroyed the army and collected all the valuables which the soldiers had been carrying, and set off for Dvaraka. Just then Jarasandha arrived on the scene with a force of twenty-three aksauhinis (unit for military calculation). Balarama and Krishna, acting as if fearful, left their riches aside and ran far away. Jarasandha could not appreciate their true power and ran after Them. After running a long way, Balarama and Krishna came to a mountain named Pravarsana and proceeded to climb it. Jarasandha thought they had hidden inside a cave and looked all over for them. Unable to find them he lit fires on all sides of the mountain. As the vegetation on the mountain slopes burst into flame, Krishna and Balarama jumped off the peak. After reaching the ground unseen by Jarasandha and his followers, they returned to the Dvaraka fort, which floated within the sea. Krishna and Balarama fooled Jarasandha and Jarasandha thought that Balarama and Krishna had burned to death in the fire and he took his army back to his kingdom.
Ancient History – Prediction about Chanakya
Vedas has predicted the appearance of many great personalities much in advance like Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Lord Krishna and Chanakya Pandit. Brief description of great brahmana scholar Chanakya Pandit is described below:<
Chanakya Pandit was a great politician during the reign of Alexander the Great. A wise seer and a learned brahmana – with a tremendous mind -- who counseled a politician. Chanakya counsel-led Chandragupta Maurya, Alexander's advisory. Chanakya has stated that we can learn from the animals: We can learn one good quality from the lion and the crane; six from the dog; three from the ass, five from the crow; and four from the rooster. The lion teaches us how to perform our work with virility. From the crane we should learn how to restrain our senses, remaining quiet, and then, at the right time, place, and circumstance we should properly go about our business. The dog is able to eat large amounts of food and yet satisfied with little food. He goes to sleep easily and yet wakes quickly at the slightest sound. The dog is devoted to his master and is heroic. These are the six qualities. The ass carries burden without fatigue he doesn't mind heat or cold and is always satisfied. Five from the crow it uses one eye while examining an object scrutinizingly. It is fearless and shameless while collecting food—in other words, it does what is necessary and always alert and puts forth exertion in its endeavors.
Annihilation – Lord Sivas Great Dance of Destruction
We find systematic description of the material world in the Vedas about creation, maintenance and annihilation. Below is the description of how annihilation or destruction of material world takes place:
As with Lord Brahma, sometimes when Lord Siva is not available Krishna accepts management of the modes of ignorance. Siva is a direct expansion of Krishna and is in the department of ignorance and not quite a God. Siva means auspicious. His business is destruction. There is a popular statue of Siva dancing, surrounded by the fires of annihilation. Material energy is under the control of Siva. Siva is the father and material energy (durga) is the mother. Unlike Krishna, Siva has this connection with illusory energy; Siva is not quite a God. He stands between the living entity and Krishna. Lord Chaitanya quotes the Brahma Samhita on Lord Siva: "If you mix something sour with milk, it becomes yogurt; such is the difference between Krishna and Siva." Once made into yogurt it cannot be changed back into milk although it has the same constitution. Those who worship Siva cannot derive the same benefits as those in Krishna Consciousness. Siva is non different from Krishna, he is altered by his association with matter -- as he takes on the jobs of destruction and tamas (ignorance) management.
Architecture – The Flying City of Pleasure
We can find about the refined skills of architecture in Vedas. Many temples built thousands of years ago are still existent in India and are appreciated for their finesse and good work. Below is the description of one such city built by a very learned sage.
Being a great yogi, Kardama muni was not interested in family life. Nonetheless, he decided to marry and Svayambhuva manu brought his daughter Devahuti to him to serve as a wife. Kardama muni was a yogi living in a hermitage and Devahuti was a princess a king's daughter. Not being used to work she became skinny and Kardama muni took compassion upon her thinking, "this girl has come to me, but now she is not in a very comfortable position." Therefore by his yogic powers Kardama Muni created a large palace with many servants, gardens and other opulence. Not only that, he created a great spaceship as large as a small city. Modern airlines have prepared a 747 and although these are very big, Kardama muni by his yogic powers was able to create a spaceship wherein there were lakes, palaces and gardens. This spaceship could also travel all over the universe. Modern scientists labor hard to make a small spaceship to go to the moon but Kardama muni could create a great spaceship that could travel to other planets. This is possible by yogic powers.
Arts – Krishna and the Eight Principal Gopis
When Krishna finally reappeared among the assembled Gopis He looked very beautiful, just befitting a person with all kinds of opulences. In the Brahma-samhita it is stated, ananda-cin-maya-rasa-pratibhavitabhih: Krishna alone is not particularly beautiful when His energy -- especially His pleasure energy represented by Radharani -- expands, He looks very magnificent. The Mayavada conception of perfection -- an Absolute Truth without potency -- is due to insufficient knowledge. Actually outside the exhibition of His different potencies the Absolute Truth is not complete. ananda-cin-maya-rasa means that His body is a transcendental form of eternal bliss and knowledge. Krishna is always surrounded by different potencies and therefore He is perfect and beautiful. We understand from the Brahma-samhita and Skanda Purana that Krishna is always surrounded by many thousands of goddesses of fortune. The Gopis are all goddesses of fortune and Krishna took them hand in hand on the banks of the Yamuna.
It is stated in the Skanda Purana that out of many thousands of Gopis, 16,000 are prominent, out of those 16,000, 108 are especially prominent, out of these 108 Gopis, eight Gopis are still more prominent, out of those eight Gopis, Radharani and Candravali are even more prominent and out of these two Gopis, Radharani is the most foremost.
Astrology : Effect of the Zodiac on Your Life
Vedas give detailed description of various planetary systems, their location, movement and position among the various planets with excellent precision. Based on these descriptions we have a detailed scientific line of knowledge known as Astrology. Below is a brief overview of the same.
Astronomical calculations of stellar influences upon a living being are not suppositions, but are factual, as confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Every living being is controlled by the laws of nature at every minute just as a citizen is controlled by the influence of the state. The state laws are grossly observed but the laws of material nature being subtle to our gross understanding cannot be experienced grossly. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (3.9) every action of life produces another reaction which is binding upon us and only those who are acting on behalf of Yajna (visnu) are not bound by reactions. Our actions are judged by the higher authorities, the agents of the Lord and thus we are awarded bodies according to our activities. The laws of nature is so subtle that every part of our body is influenced by the respective stars and a living being obtains his working body to fulfill his terms of imprisonment by the manipulation of such astronomical influence.
A man's destiny is therefore ascertained by the birth time constellation of stars and a factual horoscope is made by a learned astrologer. It is a great science and misuse of science does not make it useless. Maharaja Pariksit or even the Personality of Godhead appears in certain constellations of good stars and thus the influence is exerted upon the body thus born at an auspicious moment.
The most auspicious constellation of stars takes place during the appearance of the Lord Krishna in this material world and it is specifically called jayanti a word not to be abused for any other purpose. Maharaja Pariksit was not only a great ksatriya emperor but also a great devotee of the Lord. Thus he cannot take his birth at any inauspicious moment. As a proper place and time is selected to receive a respectable personage so also to receive such a personality as Maharaja Pariksit who was especially cared for by the Supreme Lord, a suitable moment is chosen when all good stars assembled together to exert their influence upon the King. Thus he took his birth just to be known as the great hero of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
This suitable arrangement of astral influences is never a creation of man's will, but is the arrangement of the superior management of the agency of the Supreme Lord. Of course the arrangement is made according to the good or bad deeds of the living being. Herein lays the importance of pious acts performed by the living being. Only by pious acts can one be allowed to get good wealth, good education and beautiful features. The samskaras of the school of sanatana-dharma (man's eternal engagement) are highly suitable for creating an atmosphere for taking advantage of good stellar influences and therefore garbadhana-samskara, or the first seedling purificatory process prescribed for the higher castes is the beginning of all pious acts to receive a good pious and intelligent class of men in human society. There will be peace and prosperity in the world due to good and sane population only; there is hell and disturbance only because of the unwanted insane populace addicted to sex indulgence.
Astronomy – Structure of the Universe
According to Sankhya philosophy the material cosmos is composed of twenty-four elements: the five gross material elements, the three subtle material elements, the five knowledge-acquiring senses, the five active senses, the five objects of sense pleasure and the mahat-tattva (the total material energy). Empiric philosophers unable to go beyond these elements speculate that anything beyond them must be avyakta or inexplicable. But the world beyond the twenty-four elements is not inexplicable for it is explained in the Bhagavad-gita as the eternal (sanatana) nature. Beyond the manifested and unmanifested existence of material nature (vyaktavyakta) is the sanatana nature which is called the paravyoma or the spiritual sky. Since that nature is spiritual in quality there are no qualitative differences there: everything there is spiritual everything is good and everything possesses the spiritual form of Krishna Himself. That spiritual sky is the manifested internal potency of Krishna; it is distinct from the material sky manifested by His external potency.
The all pervading Brahman composed of the impersonal glowing rays of Krishna exists in the spiritual world with the Vaikuntha planets. We can get some ideas of that spiritual sky by a comparison to the material sky for the rays of the sun in the material sky can be compared to the brahmajyoti the glowing rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the brahmajyoti there are unlimited Vaikuntha planets which are spiritual and therefore self-luminous with a glow many times greater than that of the sun. The Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna His innumerable plenary portions and the portions of His plenary portions dominate each Vaikuntha planet. In the highest region of the spiritual sky is the planet called Krishnaloka which has three divisions namely Dvaraka, Mathura and Goloka, or Gokula.
To a gross materialist this kingdom of God, Vaikuntha is certainly a mystery. But to an ignorant man everything is a mystery for want of sufficient knowledge. The kingdom of God is not a myth. Even the material planets which float over us in millions and billions are still a mystery to the ignorant. Material scientists are now attempting to penetrate this mystery and a day may come when the people of this earth will be able to travel in outer space and see the variegatedness of these millions of planets with their own eyes. In every planet there is as much material variegatedness as we find in our own planet.
This planet earth is but an insignificant spot in the cosmic structure. Yet foolish men puffed up by a false sense of scientific advancement have concentrated their energy in the pursuit of so-called economic development on this planet not knowing of the variegated economic facilities available on other planets.
According to modern astronomy the gravity of the moon is different from that of earth. Therefore one who goes to the moon will be able to pick up large weights and jump vast distances. In the Ramayana, Hanuman is described as being able to lift huge weights as heavy as hills and jump over the ocean. Modern astronomy has confirmed that this is indeed possible.
The disease of the modern civilized man is his disbelief of everything in the revealed scriptures. Faithless nonbelievers cannot make progress in spiritual realization for they cannot understand the spiritual potency. The small fruit of a banyan tree contains hundreds of seeds and in each seed is the potency to produce another banyan tree with the potency to produce millions more of such fruits. This law of nature is visible before us although how it works is beyond our understanding. This is but an insignificant example of the potency of Godhead; there are many similar phenomenas that no scientist can explain.
Everything in fact is inconceivable for the truth is revealed only to the proper people. Although there are varieties of personalities from Brahma down to the insignificant ant all of whom are living beings; their development of knowledge is different. Therefore we have to gather knowledge from the right source. Indeed in reality we can get knowledge only from the Vedic sources.
The four Vedas with their supplementary Puranas, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and their corollaries which are known as smrtis are all authorized sources of knowledge. If we are at all to gather knowledge we must gather it from these sources without hesitation.
Revealed knowledge may in the beginning be unbelievable because of our paradoxical desire to verify everything with our tiny brains but the speculative means of attaining knowledge is always imperfect. The perfect knowledge propounded in the revealed scriptures is confirmed by the great acaryas who have left ample commentations upon them; none of these acaryas has delivered in the sastras. One who disbelieves in the sastras is an atheist and we should not consult an atheist however great he may be. A staunch believer in the sastras with all their diversities is the right person from whom to gather real knowledge. Such knowledge may seem inconceivable in the beginning but when put forward by the proper authority, its meaning is revealed and then one no longer has any doubts about it.
Austerity – Hiranyakashipu Scorches the Whole Universe
The living entity can live merely by his own power without the help of skin, marrow, bone, blood and so on, it is said, asango'yam purusah -- the living entity has nothing to do with the material covering. Hiranyakasipu performed a severe type of tapasya or austerity for many long years. Indeed it is said that he performed the tapasya for one hundred heavenly years. One day of the Demigods equals six of our months; certainly this is a very long time. By nature's own way his body had been almost consumed by earthworms, ants and other parasites and therefore even Brahma was at first unable to see him. Later however, Brahma could ascertain where Hiranyakasipu was and Brahma was struck with wonder to see Hiranyakasipu's extraordinary power to execute tapasya. Anyone would conclude that Hiranyakasipu was dead because his body was covered in so many ways but Lord Brahma the supreme living being in this universe could understand that Hiranyakasipu was alive but covered by material elements.
It is also to be noted that although Hiranyakasipu performed this austerity for a long time he was nonetheless known as a Daitya and Raksasa. It will be seen from verses to follow that even great saintly persons could not perform such a severe type of austerity. Why then was he called a Raksasa and Daitya? It is because whatever he did was for his own sense gratification. His son Prahlada Maharaja was only five years old and so what could Prahlada do? Yet simply by performing a little devotional service according to the instructions of Narada muni, Prahlada became so dear to the Lord that the Lord came to save him whereas Hiranyakasipu in spite of all his austerities was killed. This is the difference between devotional service and all other methods of perfection. One who performs severe austerities for sense gratification is fearful to the entire world whereas a devotee who performs even a slight amount of devotional service is a friend to everyone (suhrdam sarva-bhutanam) BG 5.29. Since the Lord is the well-wisher of every living entity and since a devotee assumes the qualities of the Lord a devotee also acts for everyone's good fortune by performing devotional service.
Thus although Hiranyakasipu performed such a severe austerity he remained a Daitya and a Raksasa whereas Prahlada Maharaja although born of the same Daitya father became the most exalted devotee and was personally protected by the Supreme Lord. Bhakti is therefore called sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam Cc. Madhya19.170, indicating that a devotee is freed from all material designations and anyabhilasita-sunyam bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.1.11] situated in a transcendental position free from all material desires.