Hot answers tagged

38

tl;dr; Worshiping God is not mandatory. But one who wants true happiness (which actually all do), can only obtain it by approaching and surrendering to God. But because God is both with and without attributes one can chose the path of worship and serving God or the path of meditating upon His formless aspect or only continue to do actions in a detached way ...


32

Because Hinduism is not structured like Islam or Christianity. There is no 'one' supreme god or 'one' single book to guide you. Everyone is free to find their own way to the ultimate freedom (moksha) and most of the religious books (Vedas, Upanishads, Geeta etc.) prohibit harming other living things. As long as you don't hurt anyone, you can live even ...


28

Temples are holy places. Footwears have dirt on them which could make the temple floor dirty. Hence, as a respect towards God's place, people leave their footwear outside. Even people should be clean when entering a temple; for example, in some places, people gargle with water if they have eaten something a few hours before visiting the temple. Also, this ...


26

Yes, you've heard correctly. As the four Yugas progress, the world becomes more and more evil. But as a way to help people deal with all the evil that surrounds them, in later Yugas it becomes easier and easier to obtain great benefits from even small religious activity. Here is how Vyasa describes the benefits of the Kali Yuga in the Vishnu Purana: ...


24

Here's the story of its origin. Shiva Bhagwan left his abode on Mt. Kailas in the Himalayas to meditate in a cave. Parvati’s friends suggested that she should have an attendant (gana) of her own because they were not pleased with Shiva’s ganas. Thus, she used her divine powers and bore a son. She named him Vinayak and instructed him to guard their home. ...


23

The verse you are referring to is as below: andhaṁ tamaḥ praviśanti ye 'sambhūtim upāsate tato bhūya iva te tamo ya u sambhūtyām ratāḥ This is present in the Isha Upanishad or the Shukla Yajur Veda chapter forty. But to say that this verse prohibits idol worship would be incorrect. All that it says is, those who worship only the asambhuta (which has ...


22

I am giving an additional account. The linga form of worship is the symbolic worship of Lord Shiva. As per Puranas like Brahmanda purana, Linga Purana, in the very beginning Shiva appeared to Brahma and Vishnu in the form of a bright splendor column of light whose beginning and end they both could not find out. So the linga form of Shiva also signifies the ...


22

Śrīla Prabhupāda has mentioned this as vedic sacrifice bali-dāna (kālī-pūjā or durgā-pūjā), in which a goat or other prescribed animal is slaughtered in a ritual performed for the demigoddess Kālī (Durgā) and its flesh consumed afterwards. This sacrifice, he says, is recommended in the tāmasika Purāṇas, Vedic literatures aimed at the gradual ...


21

The point that Karthikeya is not widely worshipped may be true in North India. But in Tamilnadu, he is very popular. This may be due to the fact that all the major incidents which involved Karthikeya took place in Tamilnadu. The Six Abodes of Murugan signifies such incidents. Apart from the Six main temples, there are numerous other notable temples dedicated ...


20

There is a stotra (hymn) called Bilwastakam, that describes the spiritual benefits of using even one bel leaf for lord Shiva. For example, the first verse says: tridalaṃ triguṇākāraṃ trinetraṃ ca triyāyuddham trijanmapāpasaṃhāraṃ ekabilvaṃ śivārpaṇam Meaning Offering one three petaled bel leaf which is like the three qualities, which is like the ...


20

The reason that the leaves of the Bilva tree are used in the worship of Shiva is that the Bilva tree emerged from the sweat of Shiva's wife Parvati, as described in the this excerpt from the Nagara Khanda of the Skanda Purana: The splendid Daughter of the Mountain; the goddess [Parvati] became tired due to her sports. Drops of sweat appeared on her ...


18

First of all the real name is not Shiva Linga, The real name is Jyotirlingam. It is a form of Jyoti. Jyoti is a fire, whose shape is exactly the shape of lingam. Question is why lingam for only shiva? "Shiva appeared in jyotirlingam form to solve dispute of Brahma and Vishnu" so for shiva, jyotirlingam is not full truth. We need to put focus more on ...


18

Indra is not the name of a person, its the name of a post, same with all other Lords and Gods. Same is with Trishanku, who is considered as a future candidate for Indra padavi, Hanuma is awarded as a future Brahma for his countless Rama Nama Japam. The person holding Indra's post will be changed after his term is completed. Until then he can do whatever he ...


17

Dharma, in spiritual context, can be loosely stated as right action. And what is the right course of action for a person depends upon many factors like time, place, situation, etc. Hence, dharma is subjective and varies from person to person. So the Gita states: sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah para-dharmat svanusthitat sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah para-dharmo ...


17

The Swami has every right to hold such an opinion. Ordinary Hindus also have the right to disagree with his opinion. The Swami does not have authority over Hindus. Bhishma said in Mahabharata Santi Parva Section 132 that a man "is said to be conversant with duty, who knows duty as depending on all four foundations§". Footnotes § These four ...


16

dve vāva brahmaṇo rūpe, mūrtaṃ caivāmūrtaṃ ca [Brh. Up - 2.3.1] God (Brahman) has two modes, formless (nirakara) as well as form (sakar). So when God has two forms, it is just obvious that there will be two different ways to worship Him. Those who worship the formless Brahman, require no image and idol. But worshiping the formless Brahman is difficult for ...


16

From the Vaishnava perspective: Taken as the summary of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 11, Chapter 27. Click here for the specific verses. Worshiping the Deity form of the Supreme Lord automatically brings purity and satisfaction to the mind. Thus it is the source of all desirable gains. If a person has no engagement in Deity service he will simply remain ...


16

To ward off the obstacles that may happen in the work, be it puja (worship) or something else, Ganesha is first worshiped always. You will find the mantra that is usually chanted to be as below: vakratunḍa mahākāya suryakoṭi samaprabhaḥ nirvighna kurume deva sarva karyeṣu sarvadā The mantra itself is self explanatory why He is first worshiped. The ...


14

This question can be answered into two aspects: 1) Why is Linga form worshipped ? 2) Why is Shiva primarily worshipped in Linga form ? 1) Why is Linga form worshipped ? Among the 18 major Mahapuranas one of the Purana is named Linga Purana, thus glorifying the status of Linga. Linga is worshipped because Linga contains everything of this world. In ...


13

This is actually an important and fundamental question. So I am re-framing it for providing the explanation: If the law of karma is as such that a man reaps what he does, then what is the necessity of worshipping God? If one will do good, then irrespective of whether he worships God or not, he will obviously get good in return. So is also the case for doing ...


12

There are many folk tale behind the drinking of the milk, the famous one is :-; A tale of a farmer living in a village. He had two sons and one of whom killed three snakes during ploughing operations. The mother of the snake took revenge on the same night by biting the farmer, his wife and two children and they all died. Next day the farmer’s only ...


12

Yes, chanting holy names generates good karma. This can be seen from the fact that people in past and even today use to name their children with some God names (e.g., Krishna, Shankar, Shiv, Vishnu, Mahesh, etc), such that when they call them by their names, they remember God as well. People in some parts of India while meeting other people often say 'Ram-...


11

@AksharRoop and @Tejesh Alimilli has already explained two mythological stories which tells us how Lord Ganesha became the 'Pratham pujya' (the one who is worshiped first). I want to give one more reason for why Lord Ganesha is worshiped before starting any task. Yogic Belief: According to the yogic perspective, the presiding deity for the Muladhara ...


11

This excerpt from the Uttara Kanda of the Padma Purana recounts the story of how Shiva worship came to be restricted to the linga. A group of sages were once conducting a yagna (ritual) on the banks of the Saraswati river, when they started to wonder which god to dedicate the ritual to. So they sent sage Bhrigu (famous for his short temper) to test which ...


11

Varaha Purana suggests to bathe the images of Naga in milk on Naga Panchami and it doesn't mention anything about feeding milk to snakes. If one remains austere on that day, give us all that is sour in food and bathes the images of Nagas in milk, they become friendly towards him. Nagas were sent to Patala on Panchama tithi and people celebrate ...


11

To clarify some more things (rightly pointed out by Mr_Green), we CAN take footwear inside a temple. The footwear allowed inside a temple is called Khadau. It is purposely used by priests, and those who work inside the temple. A Khadau is essentially the old style footwear. It is made of wood. Modern day footwear are not considered holy as these are. We ...


11

It is not completely necessary to burn incense sticks while praying. It has just become a traditionally followed practice. What is necessary is to create an environment of sweet fragrance and aroma made out of pure material (like natural products). Because that purifies the air and it helps higher beings and ethereal beings to roam there if you are calling ...


10

As per the scripture, river Ganga is considered sacred because it has arisen from the feet of Vishnu and destroys the sins of a person: caraṇābjasamudbhutā gaṃgā nameti viśrutā pāpāanāṃ sthūlarāśīnāṃ naśinī śeti nārada [Padma Pu. - 6.22.3] Meaning O Narada, renowned as Ganga, it has arisen from the lotus like feet (of Vishnu) and destroys ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible