S: By Evan Murdock
BC: Sanskrit Maya International Vision. “William Jones and the Beginning of Sanskrit.” The Story of India. PBS. Accessed October 23, 2012. http://www.pbs.org/thestoryofindia/gallery/photos/2.html#sanskrit Ganges River Maya International Vision. “Ganges River”. The story of India. PBS. Accessed October 23, 2012 http://www.pbs.org/thestoryofindia/gallery/photos/4.html#hinduism Varanasi Varanasi Maya International Vision. "Varanasi" The Story of India. PBS. Accessed October 23,2012 http://www.pbs.org/thestoryofindia/gallery/photos/9.html Hindu Triad http://faithlenders.weebly.com/uploads/5/5/3/7/5537776/hindu_triad.pdf Vedas and Mahabharata Maya International Vision. "Vedas" The Story of India. PBS. Accessed October 23,2012 http://www.pbs.org/thestoryofindia/gallery/photos/10.html#vedas
1: I thought this story was very interesting and entertaining. It shows the common flaws of the gods. I find it interesting that there is a trinity in Hinduism, much like in Christianity. I noticed in the picture, that Shiva looks extremely similar to depictions of Rama. | The Hindu Trinity consists of three main gods. The gods are Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer. Red skinned, and dressed in white, Brahma is said to ride on a goose. In some literature Vishnu is said to be eternal, an all-pervading spirit. He is portrayed with four arms, and usually has black or blue skin. Shiva is depicted as white, with a dark-blue throat, with several arms and three eyes. He carries a trident and rides a white bull. Legend has it that one day, Brahma and Vishnu were arguing over who was the greatest of the three. They went to Shiva, to get a third party opinion. Shiva transformed himself into a lingam. The challenge was to reach the top of the lingam, which pierced through the sky and beyond. The first to reach it would be the most powerful god. As Brahma and Vishnu searched, Vishnu realized that it was impossible to get to the top. He admired the cleverness of Shiva and went down to congratulate him on being the most powerful of the three. Brahma however, was not going to give Shiva that satisfaction. He had a flower testify before Shiva that Brahma had indeed reached the top. Shiva was enraged at this lie, and cursed Brahma with never being able to be worshiped on Earth. 1
2: This is a very interesting topic, I'd like to see how Sanskrit is written. I wonder how Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit are all similar. It's cool how the Aryans were able to influence a whole area. | Sanskrit is an ancient language used by Indus Valley Civilizations, such as the Aryans. It was introduced by the Aryans when they invaded the area. Sanskrit is divided into two general categories, the more ancient Vedic Sanskrit (approximately 1500–200 BCE) and Classical Sanskrit (approximately 500 BCE–1000 CE). In the 1700's, a language scholar by the name of Sir William Jones found a connection between Latin, Greek and Sanskrit. Thanks to him, we now have a better understanding of India. Many languages are derived from Sanskrit. 2
3: The Vedas is the most sacred of two Hindu texts. It is made up of hymns and is the base of Hindu beliefs. The Mahabharata is a guide to the Veda. It helps explain what is written. For hundreds of years, stories and songs were passed on orally through generations and generations. Eventually, these stories were written down on Sanskrit. The Vedas are considered divine revelation or sruti ("that which has been heard") as opposed to texts of human origin, smrti ("that which is remembered"). It reached its "final draft" during the time of the Gupta Empire. The Mahabharata has over 100,000 verses in 18 books. The sixth book is the central book of Hinduism. Credit of this epic is given to Vyasa, a poet. 3 If you look at the second picture, and the picture on the other page, you'll see that that they are the same. This is because both the Vedas and Mahabharata are written in Sanskrit.
4: The Ganges River is a pilgrimage site for many people who wish to bathe in it. It's cool how Ganga ended up in these waters. Shiva, who I mentioned earlier, was a big influence in this decision. | The Ganges River became an important part of Hinduism because Hindu's believe that the goddess Ganga, lives in the waters. Bathing, drinking, and scattering ashes in the Ganges, is very common. Every year, thousands of people come to bathe in the Ganges River. It is thought to wash away your sins, much like Christians do when baptized. Scattering your ashes in the water, is said to give you good karma, and a better chance at moving up in the caste system. Karma, in lay mans term, means that if you do good things, good things will happen to you, but, if you do bad things, bad things will happen to you. According to Hindu mythology, the Ganges is a goddess, Ganga, who dwelled in the heavens until a human king, Bhagiratha, prayed to the god Brahma to have her descend to Earth. Bhagiratha made this request in order to help cleanse and release the souls of his ancestors who had been burnt to death and condemned to wander in the nether-world. Although Brahma granted Bhagiratha's wish, Ganga was displeased and threatened to descend with such force that it would destroy the Earth. Bhagiratha then prayed to the god Shiva. who caught Ganga in his hair and released her in small streams to the Earth. 4
5: Varanasi is a city in Northern India. It is considered the holiest of India's sacred cities. Thousands of people go here in the later stages of their life. This is because Hindu's believe that dying in the city will liberate them from the cycle of death and rebirth. | Varanasi is located on the Ganges River, another Hindu landmark. Many shrines, temples and palaces are located throughout the city. | Its famous sites include the Vishvanath Temple, dedicated to Shiva; the Durga Temple, with its throngs of resident monkeys; the Sankat Mochan, a shrine to the monkey god Hanuman; and the Gyanvapi Mosque built by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb on the site of an earlier Shiva temple. 6 | The top photo is of the city of Varanasi, the photo on the left is the Durga Temple, and the photo on the right is of Sankat Mochan