Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
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-HR 201.04
The Sacred Books Given to us by the Divine through our Sages
The Divine words explaining the Principles and Philosophy of Dharma
-~ Level - 2 ~
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Lesson - 63 :
The Ancient Texts of Itihasas and Puranas
It is our True History given also as Philosophy and Ethics
Please see below
for Lesson - 64
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Ithihasas and Puranas are the major mythological treasures of Hindu Philosophy and thought. They are considered to be real and actual historical events and not to be treated as "myths". These are factual narration of the manifestation of the Divine to uplift the Human Soul. "Ithi- ha- asam" really means "It happened thus". They are mainly stories of remote times and some travels through space and remote parts of the universe in different time period. They establish one aspect of the religious faith through the Agamic teachings of manifest Brahmam and prayers through devotional paths of Hinduism, to establish the faith for the devotee to one particular form of Deity 'Ishta -Devata'.

These texts were written for ordinary people, who do not study the Vedas, to understand the inner meanings of the principles and philosophy through mythological stories and chronicles of narration of historical events as concrete examples. Many of the incidents and stories discussed borders on from narrative texts of reality to imaginative stories of fictional characters. Even if one considers them as stories, they do convey the Truth and Philosophy of Vedic teachings to the masses.

The Puranas glorify various aspects of Siva, Brahma, Vishnu and Shakthi and were written by many sages. The Puranas are of the same class as the Ithihasas. They illustrate the philosophical principles, through various manifestations and incarnations, with God in the manifest forms of Saguna Brahmam. The aim of every Avathara is to save the World from great danger, to destroy the wicked and to protect the virtuous ones and to establish Dharma.

The Puranas were compiled by Sri (Krishna Dvaipayana) Vyasa. Sasthras say that he gave us the Puranas 5000 years back. There are Eighteen Puranas and an equal number of Upa-puranas. Of all these, the most popular ones are Siva Purana, Skanda Purana, Srimad Bhagavada Purana and Vishnu Purana. The popular portion of Markandeya Purana is the Chandi or Devi Mahatmiyam. It is usually read during the ten days of Dusserrah or Navarathri Pooja. It has worship of God as the Divine Mother as its theme. Srimad Bhagavatha Purana deals with the Ten Great Avathara of Sri Vishnu.

 
 
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Lesson - 64 :
Ithihasas explain the Principles of Vedas
Our History on Incarnations of God given as Epics
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The Four books known as Ithihasas are Valmiki Ramayana, Maha Bharatha, Yoga Vasishta and Harivamsa. These works explain the great universal truths contained in the principles and philosophy of Sruthis and the laws of Smrithis. They are given to us as historical narratives and stories, presented with analogies and parables in a tasteful form, written for the benefit of the common people, suitable for all mankind, from the inquisitive child and an illiterate devotee to the intellectual scholar.

Ramayana, written in twenty-four thousand Sanskrit verses by Sage Sri Valmiki relates to the story of Sri Rama, an Avathara of Sri Maha Vishnu, and his three brothers who are the sons of King Dasaratha, descendants of the Solar Race. The story describes their childhood, marriages, the exile of Sri Rama, carrying and recovery of Sita, the war with Ravana, and the reign of Sri Rama at Ayodhya. The epic teaches the Dharma and Karma, and every aspect of life in perfection is shown with Sri Rama and others as ordinary human beings. The brothers show examples of affection and mutual service. Sri Sita is shown as the ideal woman. Sri Hanuman stands as an example of an ideal and unique Karma Yogi. He is also an example of "Dhasya Bhava" form of Bhakthi or devotion to God as a Servant to Master.

The epic Maha Bharatha, written in one hundred thousand Sanskrit verses, by Sri Veda Vyasa (Krishna Dvaipaayana), is the story of two royal families of Pandavas and Kauravas, descendants of King Bharatha of Lunar race, who are cousins fighting the great war of Kurukshethra. This epic touches upon every aspect of Hindu religious teaching, the practice, philosophy, mysticism and polity and is rightly called the fifth Veda.

Sri Krishna, as an avathar of Sri Maha Vishnu, appears in this epic. He establishes the rules of righteousness with his Super Human manifestations and his teaching of 'Srimad Bhagavat Geetha' in the middle of the battle field. He explains the righteous path of Dharma and Karma and the path to moksha or liberation of Soul.

 
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Prayers to Sri Ãnjaneya
Mano' javam Maarudhathulyave'kam
Jithe'th-ndhriyam bhuddhimadhaam Varishttam |
Vadhathmajam vaanara yoodhamukyam
Sri Raamadhootham sirasaa Naamaami ||
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The devotee considers God to be his Master and looks upon himself just as a
humble servant in Dasya Bhava. He offers himself in total surrender [Saranaagathi]
and takes whatever he gets as a gift from God. He considers it is his duty to worship and
to serve God all the time. Sri Anjaneya or Hanuman is a good example of Dasya Bhakthi.
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Chapter - 4 - The Scriptures and The Sacred Works - Lessons 63 & 64
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Go to Lessons: - :~: 49 & 50 :~: 51 & 52 :~: 53 & 54 :~: 55 & 56 :~: 57 & 58 :~: 59 & 60 :~: 61 & 62 :~: 63 & 64 :
 
 
End of Chapter - 4 :~: Go To Chapter 5: The Hindu Philosophy and its Principles
 
 
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