Category Archives: Yoga

4 Keys to Slow the Aging Process (Youthing)

1. Reduce the amount of free radicals in your diet.  – This means you eliminate fast foods, fried processed foods, and focus on whole nutrient dense stuff full of life force. The more raw, steamed, or baked foods the better. If you don’t want to look like a potato chip at 85; don’t eat them.

2. Start the practice of intermittent fasting. Not only has eating within a restrained window of time been proven by research to extend your lifespan, it also activates autophagy. Autophagy is basically a really gangsta clean up and repair of dead cells. While your body fasts, you regenerate your cells and remain fabulous.

3. Stimulate the vagus nerve. So the vagus nerve is a part of our nervous system and is responsible for communication between the gut and brain. When our parasympathetic nervous system is turned on, our body is in digest and rest mode. Most people have their sympathetic nervous system turned on which is fight or flight mode. When the body is in fight or flight, it cannot heal! Simple way to stimulate the vagus nerve: take a hot to cold shower.  If you can handle it an extremely cold 60-90 second burst during your morning shower will not only energize you, but put your body into healing mode.

4. Reduce your refined sugar intake. When the body takes in sugar, it triggers a process called glycation – sugars latch onto protein molecules and because of this they get stiff and malformed. Some of the main proteins affected by this are collagen and elastin, which are KEY in keeping our skin youthful and supple. 

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you got lots of VALUE from this post! Questions or Comments always welcome!! Thank you!

~Sakshi Zion

Ps. Get Access Now to my FREE Ebook! How I use the Law of Attraction to travel the world and live my dreams!!

Baraka Kirtan – The Art of Spirituality

Baraka Kirtan – The Art of Spirituality (revised)

by Antonya Wallace (Anth-E200) 12/7/2010

Introduction: Baraka: a blessing, the essence of life, soul power. It’s a Thursday night, and while most people are headed out to the bars, I’m making my way across town to Sakshi’s house to sit in during a Baraka Kirtan performance. Kirtan is an ancient Indian tradition based on Bhakti Yoga, which uses music and chanting as an avenue to spiritual enlightenment. As I enter the house the smell of roasting vegetables, marijuana, and halava fills my nose. I later learned that food is almost always present and sanctified so that it can be offered to God. They believe that when one eats sanctified food, that the food purifies the soul. Since Kirtan has roots in India there isn’t any beef (or any meat for that matter) being served, due to their animals sacred role in India. Yet, not all Kirtankars (one who practices/performs Kirtan) are vegetarian. It just happened that everyone in attendance tonight was. Another thing that everyone shares is the use of marijuana, which is smiled upon, as it is believed to promote enlightenment, drive the music, and as an added benefit, make the food taste even more divine. Smoking was also used socially to bring everyone together to prepare for the beginning of the ceremony. I was only there to observe so I did not enhance my chances of enlightenment.

I thought it was important to note that as I entered the room; warm faces, hugs, and a plate of food greeted me. That hospitality was due in part because Sakshi used to be my neighbor and he was the first person I met when I moved to Bloomington. But the royal treatment wasn’t reserved just for ex-neighbors. As I sat watching I noticed that the Kirtan community is open and loving to everyone. As each person entered Sakshi’s house they were greeted by first name, a hug, food, and an offer to play music. I decided that I would not participate in the event so that I could have an etic point of view. I pulled up a chair slightly to the side of the group and began my observations. The heavy smell of incense being burned drowned out the colorful smells of food and ganja.

I really enjoyed the scent of the incense so after the event I asked what it was. To my astonishment it was part of another practice that I was completely oblivious to. “Agnihotra is a Vedic yajna and involves the burning of cow dung and ghee butter in an inverted copper pyramid at dusk and dawn precisely, while chanting Vedic mantras. Properly performed, this ritual according to the Vedic tradition brings about enormous healing and purification of the environment. The Agnihotra is a powerful yajna that in my experience brings about a deep sense of peace. This 5-minute process feels like coming out of an hour of meditation. It’s a grounding practices and assists in uncovering the real Self, hidden underneath all of the mental chatter. The fact that the dung of the cow is such an important part of this process is really significant given the way this culture brutalizes and tortures these sacred creatures” (ecovillage.wordpress.com). It seems that this practice speaks to the Kirtan community’s “love-all” mentality.

I learned that it was a good practice to do the Agnihotra before the real ceremony began, so that everything is cleansed. I learned, “The rites of the Morning-Agnihotra are almost the same as the rites of the Evening-Agnithotra; but, in many instances, the formulas uttered by the Adhvaryu or the Sacrificer are different” (Paul-Emile Dumont). I was only there for the evening Agnihotra so I cannot compare the differences with the morning ritual.

As the musicians began to take their seats, they ditched their shoes and sat in a semi-circle. The audience comprised the other half of the circle, therefore creating an atmosphere for the call and response style of the music. The simple act of sitting on the ground in a circle is an example of universal primitive behavior. Speaking generally, almost all ancient human groups have sat communally in circles during gatherings. Circular shaped atmospheres bring the listeners directly into the experience. They stop being just listeners, and become participants. The circle encourages each person to look into another’s eyes as they are beckoned to respond to the singer’s calls.

Each “Baba” grabbed their respective instrument; Sakshi Gopal Das on the harmonium, Arun Baba on the bansuri (a type of wooden flute), Zen-G on the guitar, and Ras D Hanubaba on percussion instruments, including the tabla, mridanga, djembe, and kartals. Kirtan events can be played in any musical style with any instrumentation. Baraka Kirtan chooses to stick with more traditional instrumentation on most nights. They also perform many different styles on their CD. Some of those styles include non-traditional instruments such as, electric guitars, bass, drums sets, and digital voice alterations. The style that they choose for each performance is generally based off of their mood that day.

The music begins and the first song (always) is Hare Krishna. Hare is the feminine energy of God, and Krishna means “all attractive one”. During the opening song, “a simple melody is repeated many times at continuously faster tempos and greater volumes until a climax is reached, at which point the whole process may begin again with either the same or a new melody…commonly a line of melody was first sung responsorily four times – leader, chorus, leader, chorus – before proceeding to the next line of the melody… [then] the whole procedure would start over…but at an increased tempo” (Slawek 80). Tonight’s leader, Sakshi sang,

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

The, the audience, some with eyes closed, some staring, some praying, would all participate on during the response. Everyone was completely indulged in their own self-awareness and spiritual being. The sound of all the voices in unison had a surprisingly rich tone. It was nice to be at a ceremony where everyone felt the freedom of creativity and experimented with harmonies, and adding their own flares to each response. The allowance of creativity offers everyone a unique personal experience for his or her spirituality. In some instances if the audience is really enjoying the performance, “The chorus of talkaris (kirtan) often interrupts the kirtankar’s sermon with the singing of a topically relevant abhanga and may take over the performance of a song that a kirtankar has begun. In fact, a warkari kirtankar can easily deliver an entire kirtan and only sing a few solo lines of the song” (Shultz 309). Since Indiana doesn’t have a very large Hare Krishna movement going on underground…Sakshi was more than welcome to solo until the cows (who weren’t eaten J) came home.

Main Argument: While I sat there watching everyone divulge all their energy into devotion through song, I found myself wondering why a genre of music that provides so much peace to people is not more mainstream. In fact, I can’t recall a time that I’ve ever heard Kirtan music on the radio, except when Sakshi would call me and tell me to tune it to Bloomington’s public radio station when Baraka Kirtan was playing.

Sakshi said that Kirtan is actually becoming a new genre in popular music, whereas before it was seated in the world music category. It seems that Kirtan’s growing popularity is due to its message of love, peace, and self-awareness; which can be contrasted by the mind numbingly idiotic music blaring on B97.7 day and day out.

I don’t want to come across as a racist person but I did notice that everyone in attendance (with the exception of me) was Caucasian, and none of us were from India. So my research question would have to be, How did an Indian tradition that’s not very well known, become a subculture in the United States? What makes this music more popular than other forms of world music?

Theory: Those who practice Kirtan disregard arbitrary attributes such as gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion. Kirtan is a catalyst to deeper spiritual awakening. People are instantly drawn to the ideology of togetherness that Kirtan offers. While most religions in our society offer a “Get Saved or Burn for Eternity” methodology, Kirtan’s job is to improve each person’s relationship with their own spiritual power.

Unlike most organized religions in the world, which ask you to abandon any other religious beliefs that may conflict with their doctrines, Kirtan lets you keep any, and all your beliefs. The point of Kirtan is to deepen your own spiritual awareness, in order to facilitate a deeper understanding of the spirit, self, and even other religions. It seems that since Kirtan offers such a contrast to more popular well-known religions like Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, etc…that people are also attracted just to get a taste of something new. Kirtan differs from other world religions in that they have never gone on some “convert or die” crusade. Instead of seeking out new members, they let the members seek them out, and then welcome them into their community with open arms. This method of gaining followers actually appears to have gained more devoted participants because each person is expected to find their own path into the Kirtan realm. If you want to become a part of the Kirtan community you have to make an effort to do so, unlike getting saved at a Baptist church which could be likened to going through a “McSalvation” drive through. Literally, anyone could walk into a church at any time and get saved, as many times as they want…without any real impact on their spiritual receptiveness.

Kirtan offers a tailored experience to each person. The natural feel of Kirtan takes away the hierarchal feel of organized religion. For example, the musicians take off their shoes before they play, everyone sits on the floor together, and shares food. It seems that those actions level the playing field between audience and performer, devotee and sit in, old and young, etc. Other factors that attract people to Kirtan are their love of the environment and preservation of ancient practices.

In the days when going to church has become “the thing to do” and if you don’t then you’re damned, people miss out on a real and physical connection with their spirit. From what I’ve seen many people just go to church to maintain their reputation, or they go but don’t practice what is preached. Churches have become kind of like fast food chains, in that they cater to the masses instead of the individual. The strength of major world religions seems to lie solely in the number of followers as opposed to the devotional strength of said followers. To see devoted followers, head over to a Kirtan event. Before going to the event I had no clue why it was growing, but now I understand that the personalized feel and unique musical styles is driving it to become a more prevalent part of our society (and most likely, many others).

Methodology: Being in such a laid back atmosphere, I thought it most appropriate to just jot down a few notes here and there, and casually start conversations. I began by asking Sakshi what Kirtan means to him. I used the genealogical method in a very loose sense so that I could get a grasp on which he learned from, since he was not born into the community. He actually mentioned that he thought it was a bit funny that here are four Caucasian men observing an Indian tradition, and really using it as a way of life. They have at times been misunderstood, but they simply just want to respect and enjoy the aspects of another culture.

I only observed during the event so as to remain neutral to my experience. We also met at Laughing Planet one day so that he could clarify the words of the songs for me. After talking to an insider, I thought I would interview someone who had no previous knowledge of Kirtan. I talked to Samy Estrada, who gave me her brief thoughts on the atmosphere and preaching of Kirtan. Since she was unable to actually attend the event with me, I asked her to watch one of Baraka Kirtan’s online performances. Since she is also a dancer I asked her to describe the music. She said, “the instrumentation was really unique, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought that it might be kind of lame because it was just acoustic instruments; but toward the end when they picked up the tempo it really got funky! They have a really cool message too” (Estrada)!

The rest of my research was done on www.BarakaVision.com, the band’s official website. I used this page to access the band member’s bios, mission statement, and preferred instruments. I also read a few articles on www.jstor.org so that I could read about Kirtan from an Ethnomusicologist’s and Ethnographer’s point of view. These pages gave me insight into more of the cultural implications and history than I could have gained in personal interviews. I couldn’t find much information about Agnihotra so I used www.google.com which led me to a brief review on ecovillage.wordpress.com about the book “How to Save the World”, by Peter Proctor, a biodynamic farmer.

Data Analysis: First, I needed to satisfy my curiosity about how Sakshi even got involved with the Hare Krishna movement. He said, “I was attracted to it years ago due to its instrumentation; especially the sound of the harmonium (which looks like a Dr. Seuss instrument), the message, and the ancient prayers which made me feel in tune with my ancestors” (Sakshi). I accessed his biography on his webpage for more insight on his background. “he lived and studied with many Elders and Mystics (including Ras Pidow, Dr. James E Mumford, Srila Turiya Das Mahasaya and more). Lived and studied at several Ashrams, Temples, and Binghi Camps across North America, Jamaica, Hawaii, and India. In the summers of 2002 and 2003 he traveled across N. America with a traveling cultural festival called “The Festival of India” in which he was a main contributor of set-up and break-down, cultural plays, food distribution, chariot-parading, and sacred chanting. He has been in several musical projects, including: Baraka Kirtan, Santos and the Saints, The Nyahbinghi Livity Choir, Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble, Kuru Dynasty, La Onda, Roots Groundation Family, Parrhesia and more” (BarakaVision.com). I thought that his eclectic musical diversity alone spoke to his openness to new cultures and creativity. If we use Sakshi as an example of the average practitioner of Kirtan, we can see how interesting and appealing the community is. As a side note, he also told me that he does not adhere to any organized religion. But he also does not judge or discriminate anyone based on his or her personal religious choices. His opinion is that people have their own path to embark on to find spiritual peace.

What Sakshi and the Kirtan movement do not do is tell people that they need to submit to their code or way of life. Their message is one of understanding and compassion. In Kirtan, God appears in many forms and usually his/her appearance is different to each person, because God can have an infinite amount of forms. In Kirtan, God can manifest as any deity such as, Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Ganesha, Kali, and many more. These deities share similarities with, and are usually connected to Catholic Saints. To communicate with the deities, they use music, which can be in any genre, just like God can appear in any shape. The musical style creates an openness, connectedness, and receptiveness, among each person’s spirit as they sit in the circle. Just like the participants, each song as a different flavor and mood. To connect with the gods they try to achieve spiritual awakening. Though the Kirtan spiritual awakening may be called different things, spirit of devotion, divine connection, right brained experience, or spiritual openness, these things seem to be held as a common intention to the band members.

Another common intention among the band members is to maintain old practices, like call and response. Samy’s reaction to the call and response aspect of the event was that it was reminiscent of tribal chanting (the band’s desired affect). She also thought the music was calming and soft, until the tempo picked up and it got intense. But this particular event that she saw was calmer than others because it did not use any electric instruments, which are more stimulating to the listener than acoustic ones. She also noticed that each person seemed to be in their own world, yet at the same time connected to everyone in the room. It was almost like Sakshi’s calls put everyone in to a trance, and they could only come out of it by singing the response.

I found that their website was extremely useful for bios and band info. I chose to focus primarily on Sakshi because he is my closest friend out of all the band members. But I did make sure to look at everyone else’s bio and they proved to each have completely different yet extraordinarily interesting backgrounds. It’s compelling to see that people from such different roads can all meet in the middle and work toward a common goal of harmony. Some of the ways that the band members spread peace when they’re not performing is Story Time Yoga, a group started by Sakshi, which incorporates yoga into fairy tales. Ras D likes to change the environment by teaching sustainable farming to Bloomington’s Community. With Kirtan the sky is the limit on creatively spreading the word of peace, harmony, and love.

Conclusion: Unlike other world religions Kirtan offers more than just a guide for living which can be summed up by the golden rule. The Hare Krishna movement brings entire communities of varied people together to function as one spritual entity. Kirtan allows each person to find their own path and use Kirtan as a means to help them spread love and harmony in whatever way they choose. For example, Sakshi’s yoga, and Ras D’s farming; they are each doing what they love to do, while weaving in Kirtan to spread a message.

The beauty of Kirtan is that while it is a deeply personal experience it is also very communal. The participation of the person sitting next to you, chanting, and playing music will directly affect your experience, and vice versa. The “primitiveness” of it makes the participants feel as though they have just relived something that their ancestors probably did long ago. As the tempo speeds up, so does the heart beato f all those involved. The music literally seems to pull your body toward the instruments. Everyone in the room seems to into a spiritual trance, as they slowly forget all the hardships in life outside the Kirtan room. When I was there, I wasn’t even participating but I found that instead of thinking about my bills, homework, exams, or life drama, I was just focused on the rhythm of the drums pulsating through my body. It was as if my brain turned off, and I didn’t have a choice, it was time to meditate.

Kirtan offers an authentic feeling of togethness that people usually do not get from day to day living. After the event eveyone kind of looks around smiling, like “now what?”. In such a short time they ate, smoked, chanted, blessed, meditated, and laughed together. I can truly say that I understand now why Kirtan is becoming so popular. It is a message that can virtually be played with any instruments, in and setting, and any time. Most importantly I found out that it can be played by anyone of any color or creed, etc…as long as they embody the message of love.

Since Kirtan is so musically amorphous it appeals to a broad audience of musical tastes and can easily become a tool for social change. “[It] is an especially effective meduim for the propegation of nationalist ideas because of its devotionalized context and Kirtan music’s potential for group participation, experiences of emboiment, and multiple interpretive possibilites” (Shultz 307).

After doing this Project I think that I have learned that Kirtan has the potential to create strong and loving leaders, who don’t adhere to social convictions of discrimination. In Kirtan you can come from any background because the importance rests in the spiritual world instead of the physical. Hopefully the Hare Kirshna movement will continue to spread, and add much needed harmony to the crazy world we’re all living in.

Works Cited :

Hindu Nationalism, Music, and Embodiment in Marathi Rāshṭrīya Kīrtan

Anna Schultz

Ethnomusicology

Vol. 46, No. 2 (Spring – Summer, 2002), pp. 307-322

Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of Society for Ethnomusicology

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/852784

Moi. “Cow Dung and It’s Many Wonderful Properties « EARTHKEEPIN.” EARTHKEEPIN. 27 Sept. 2007. Web. 02 Dec. 2010. <http://ecovillagelife.wordpress.com/2007/09/27/cow-dung-and-its-many-wonderful-properties/>.

The Agnihotra (Or Fire-God Oblation) in the Taittirīya-Brāhmaṇa: The First Prapāṭhaka of the Second Kāṇḍa of the Taittirīya-Brāhmaṇa with Translation

Paul-Emile Dumont

Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society

Vol. 108, No. 4 (Aug. 27, 1964), pp. 337-353

Published by: American Philosophical Society

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/985912

Popular Kīrtan in Benares: Some ‘Great’ Aspects of a Little Tradition

Stephen M. Slawek

Ethnomusicology

Vol. 32, No. 2 (Spring – Summer, 1988), pp. 77-92

Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of Society for Ethnomusicology

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/852037

Wind, Arun B., Sakshi G. Das, Ras D. Hanubaba, and Zen G. “Divine Music”. Baraka Kirtan – Divine Music. DigitalNature, 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 04 Nov. 2010.

Baraka : From the Experiential to the Analytical

Baraka : From the Experiential to the Analytical

by Aaron Pollitt, (IU Folk 450) 4/23/10

It has often been the case that an ethnographer with the intention of developing their analytical and academic understanding will enter and immerse themselves within a culture, in order to gain an experience of it from the inside. In my case this is rather the opposite. I am a member of the band Baraka, and for the past year or so I have been the flamboyant, joyous, flute player and member of this band. I have immersed myself in a melting pot of ecstatic chanting, cultural co-creation, divine connections, and holistic exploration. I have traveled with this group to many interesting places, made many amazing friends, and felt an awesome sense of spiritual development within myself. This has been a profound and wonderful experience in my life, and my desire to enhance my abilities and participation within it has steadily been growing. In the creation of this document, I have set myself to the task of gaining a deeper understanding of this experience of Baraka. I am stepping out of the role of band member and friend, and taking on the role of the researcher and ethnographer. I am looking back at this band with my analytical mind, from a prospective that I had up until now, largely left alone. Through interviews with the band members and its affiliates, and comparisons to other studies of spiritual music and culture, I attempt to develop an understanding of what Baraka is, what effect the music has on its listeners and members, how Baraka fits in to the greater American culture, what Baraka and its members hold as their intention, and why they are using the methods they are. After answering these questions, I hope to step back into the role of band member with a greater ability to both experience this musical cultural process and participate in this co-creation.

The official members of Baraka consist of 4 young white males, native to Indiana. The members have all come from a relatively mainstream American upbringing, which is a stark contrast to the identity and style which they are now embodying. The band comes together to form a kind of spiritual and cultural anomaly, or phenomena within a greater culture. It acts as a bridge between mainstream America and an ancient Vedic tradition reaching back some 3000 years ago in India. “Yes, were all white and American, but we look for our identity outside of our culture. We are privileged, so we have the opportunity to do this. We happen to be white, but we are trying to represent different cultures.” (Ras-D, interview). The band Baraka is a bit hard to classify, as it is rather dynamic in its identity. The main musical style of the band is known as Kirtan. Kirtan is a form of devotional communal chanting sung in Sanskrit to the Hindu gods and goddesses. Along with this however, the band also plays Reggae, Nyabinghi chants, Hip Hop, Rock, New Age spiritual folk songs, improvisational instrumentals, and many fusions of these different styles. With all these different possibilities for style one may think that the band would be very scattered, but interestingly the underlying feeling and direction of their performance seems to be relatively the same. “Baraka is a hard working band that is unified in its intent of artistic effort towards a spiritual end.” (Bamboo Steve, Interview). The performance of this band is held as highly valuable and important to the band members. The development of this performance is given great attention during practices and shows for a few reasons. Certainly it seems to be the selling point of the band, the reason that they are seen as valuable to potential listeners and venues, but the band also takes a great deal of pride in their ability to create a very attractive performance. “This is largely about co-creation of a story, immersing people in another world that they aren’t used to or aware of, it’s the mythic and the mystic, it’s the the foreign, the colorful and the ancient” (Sakshi Interview). This development and structuring of the performance is very specific. It’s not everything all at once but rather carefully selected stories and styles used to create an atmosphere that is most attractive, and immersive to those listening. “It’s like getting into these epic stories of where things all came from. Taking ourselves back to a very simple time. These songs are so simple and often we don’t even understand most of the lyrics. It brings us into a Turning off of our analytical minds.“ (Zen –G, interview). “This is very primordial, many of these elements have been with humanity forever, communal chanting, deities, sacramentals, and ritual are part of our human story, but it’s very new and fresh, to our American culture” (Sakshi, interview). The band gives focus to connecting to that which is part of human history, trying to recreate a feeling of the lifestyle from long ago. This seems to connect with people on what might be considered an instinctual or intrinsic level, building off the universal similarities in primitive human cultures, and in doing so creating a very natural and welcoming feeling to the performance. In a normal performance the band often takes their shoes off and sits on the ground facing one another. The simple act of sitting on the ground in a circle is an example of this universal primitive human behavior. Most all ancient human groups have sat communally in circles on the earth. Creating this a part of the structure of the performance adds to the intended ancient mystic atmosphere, and brings the listeners directly into that experience so they are more than just listeners, they are participants. The instruments themselves are largely all authentic and traditional in style. They act as center pieces to the performance creating what appears to be an alter on the ground in front of the performers, often decorated by the band members with small figures, gems, feathers, and colorful cloth. The instruments, draw a lot of attention, and are marveled at by the participants. “These is a community of humans that exists across time, These instruments have been worked on over generations for thousands of years, and have been handed down through time and culture to us, they carry in them all this artistry and care and intent” (Bamboo Steve, Interview). Because of this the instruments are seen as having something of a mystical power within themselves much like the instruments described by Sue Carole DeVale in her writing, Power and Meaning in Musical Instruments.

Once the stage is set and the instruments are in place the stories and songs can be brought in to the performance “in the energy of the great figures, be it Yahshua, Krishna, Jah, Buddha, Ganesha, or Bob Marley. These are characters and deities are symbols.” (Sakshi-I interview). These are all highly praised mythic characters, that the band is singing to and telling stories of. They are surrounded in symbology and ritual, some of them are deeply meaningful to of the participants on a very spiritual level, as they may likely have had or a profound connection with such a figure in the past, or at least know of someone who has. The characters most commonly brought up by the band are the Hindu deities. This atmosphere of mystery, story, symbolism and ritual, develops a very spiritually conducive mindset in the listeners. “Baraka makes the Kirtan so delicious that people really do stop. And intentionally or unintentionally become more receptive spiritual entities because of it.” (Bamboo steve, interview). The music has a certain quality about it that causes the listeners to go into a kind of trance, to allow their analytical mind to turn off and for them in that moment to sink into the experience and co creative flow of the music. This seems to be where the greatest power for the band is held, and perhaps their greatest intention. “The Sanskrit term rasa… rasa is a religious sense, a feeling of unity with the world beyond oneself, a transcendental experience induced by an artistic event. From the invoking of indigenous.” (Judith Becker, Tantrism, Rasa, and Javanese Gamelan Music) this Sanskrit concept of rasa seems to have carried over through this musical form and still holds true in this new context of modern day America. This trance like, unified, transcendental state seems to be a common side effect of the Baraka performance. “It’s about the spirit of devotion, unity, the love of story, the love of diversity,” (Sakshi, interview). “The divine connection transcending religious boundaries, coming together as one spirit in celebration, with common intention of co-creation through sound. “ (Ras-D, interview). “The underlying mission of our music is to get us into a Right brained experience, losing ourselves in the joy of creation” (Zen-G, interview). “We play to get ourselves and our listeners into a more spiritually open, receptive, connected state of being.” (Arun Baba, interview). Though it may be called different things, spirit of devotion, divine connection, right brained experience, or spiritual openness, these things seem to be held as a common intention to the band members, and understood that they are using music as vehicle to bring them and the participants into this state of being. “Each song has a different flavor, a different mood. The musical style creates this openness, connection, receptiveness, but the content is what is being opened up to, connected with and received. For example we chant a song to this elephant deity Ganesha, this figure represents beginning, good luck and overcoming obstacles, That is the kind of energy that we open up to and really are able to take in. Kind of like summoning the power of this deity to aide us.” (Arun Baba, interview) The band sees these different deities as symbols of different energies, and chanting their song will bring them that type of energy. There seems to be 2 ways that this is seen. One side sees this as an inwardly psychological change brought on by the action of focusing on a type of energy. The other side sees this as a more outwardly calling of energy, that through focusing on a symbol the associated energy will blessed to them from without. Though these 2 different viewpoints on chanting seem to exist within the band and its following, outcome seems to be entirely the same. Both seem to see the creation of this music as forming a personal relationship with the divine, weather the divine exist within them or without them seems unimportant. “Like trying to join the divine in heavenly song, in a mystical sense, trying create a personal relationship with the divine“ (Bamboo Steve interview). This concept of personal relationship and moving towards union with god seems to be a common on, and is very similar to many Sufi practices as described in the writings of Regula Burckhardt Qureshi, in the article, Sufi music of India and Pakistan.

The experience of Baraka seems to be received with such appreciation and relief by so many of its listeners and participants, as though the experience is greatly healing to them. “There is a need for this in our culture, the simplicity and spiritual drone of this music is something which is obviously missing. Our culture is such like a drive up window culture now now now. There is a profound loss of connection in it.” (Bamboo Steve, Interview). The type of mindset that this music brings about seems to be one that is highly uncommon in the society in which this band exists. The exercise of playing this music is such a contrast to the normal American life that those who practice it seem to do it as a way of healing and balancing themselves. “It’s a daily challenge to get into that. We come from a very the left brained society. How do I bring out my heart, my soul, my spirit, this whole other side of me? I think that’s part of our venture as a band; to strike balance between the analytical and the experiential.” (Zen-G, interview). “Even what we are doing right now (in this interview) is intellectualizing about this, and at a certain point you just have to shut all that off and just experience something. That raw experience is totally different from the concept and its way more fulfilling.” (Zen-G, interview). Some of the band members and followers see the society that they live in as being very spiritually immature, as though it has actually been trying to get rid of spirituality within it’s citizens. “this band is my spiritual outlet, to help me with my emotions, with maintaining my peaceful life, as a way for me to release pent up energy, as a way of healing. (Ras –D, interview). Many see this as something that is actually very rare and difficult to find in this society, so the band members are taking it upon themselves to create it. Though this style of music is relatively unique the intention seems to be very much connected to a broader movement. One of spiritual connection, community, and celebration of diversity, “It’s part of the spiritual consciousness movement, we are trying to embody, and set an example of a healthy, holistic, conscious lifestyle.” (Sakshi, interview) different manifestations of this commonly held intention seem to be popping up everywhere and secretly this is one of the fastest growing social movements there is.” (Arun Baba, interview)

Though the band’s intention seems to be pretty clearly that of creating right brained spiritual experience and connection, they seem to have another very important intention in their music. Through observation and much questioning of the members it seems clear that one of the most foundational concepts that this band bases itself on is the celebration of diversity, and love of culture. It seems that a mission of this group is to aid in breaking down the social boundaries and walls. “Baraka is trying to bridge 2 cultures with art. White American young people backgrounds and playing devotional chant form India. The way it’s played is a fusion, not the music itself, but the place they are playing it. It’s like a translation, Translating Kirtan into American, and making the underlying message accessible to American people.” (Bamboo Steve, Interview) The band sees itself as a cultural bridge, as carrying across valuable cultural experiences and presenting them to the people of this culture, in a way that can be easily understood and accepted. “I love to be able to opens people minds, this is a very mind opening band, open to how other people do things. Cross cultural collision; this is a big part of our country. We represent the essence of this collision, we as a band embrace many cultural elements, and are hoping to embrace more.” (Zen-G, interview) “We want to connect with other cultures and learn from them and share with them, we go in humbleness, We see so much beauty in diversity in other cultures, and we’ll share what we have, but we want to represent these wonderful and powerful stories and styles in an honorable way.” (Sakshi interview). Baraka has a commonly held view point that they are embodying a cultural openness, that diversity is beautiful and ought to be celebrated. Though at first glance Baraka may seem to have the identity of a purely Hindu group, they see themselves as being centered in the celebration of diversity, rather than the celebration of one culture. They believe that it is one of their greatest missions to aid the world in opening its heart and mind to the beauty of diversity, not to hide from it, or try to destroy it, but to celebrate it.

“We are about the essence of life within all religions. The spirit that inspires man to create a religion, people get caught up in the secular and dogmatic, but this is transcendental. We may have leanings towards one or another on a personal level, but this is about the mystical energy, whatever it is. Reggae and Kirtan are our means and they work great, they are beautiful forms of music, but it could be any style and I bet that it will be.” (Sakshi interview) “This is a universal thing, of coming together as community and howling at the moon, just coming together and chanting, is like a universal language. It’s not about which story is true; we accept all these different stories, it’s about the experience of sharing these stories through music.” (Zen- G, interview). This concept that no one story is the true story, that the act of experiencing the stories is what is really important, is at the heart of this band and the movement that they see themselves as being part of. These young men have found the vehicle of music to be the best way for them to spread this message, as it is so present, so mold-able and expressive, it can spread their message of celebration of diversity far and wide while at the same time actually manifesting it in what they are doing.

After a my time of immersion in this experience, and having a vague and dreamy concept of what we are doing as this band, it has been refreshing to take a different prospective on it. I myself I feel much more balanced now in my relationship to Baraka, having fulfilled both my right brains need to experience, and now my left brains need to develop an analytical understanding. I think that I can safely say that I have come to a much more clear understanding. Baraka’s intentions seem clear to me now, spiritual connection, and celebration of diversity through music. We use Kirtan and Reggae as our means because that is what we have come to know, and they seem to do the job very well. We are filling a profound and important niche with our culture and within ourselves. I’m sure there is far more for me to learn and reflect on regarding what this band is and my experience of it. Now with the clarity that I have found I hope to return to this multi-cultural musical conversation, with more strength I had before, and I hope that I can embody my own identity with more certainty as I aid the group in this co-creative process.

Resources :

Harvard University, Center for the Study of world Religions, (Enchanting Powers): Judith Becker, (Tantrism, Rasa, and Javanese Gamelan Music)

Marina Roseman, (Healing Sounds From The Malaysnian Rainforest (Temiar Music and Medicine))

Regula Burckhardt Qureshi, (Sufi music of India and Pakistan)

Sue Carole DeVale, (Power and Meaning in Musical Instruments) 95

Aaron Pollitt Field study, Interview with Steve Pollitt(Bamboo Steve), founder of Hymnosophy, 4/18/10

Aaron Pollitt Field Study, Interview with Baraka member, Sakshi Gopal Das 4/20/10

Aaron Pollitt Field Study, Interview with Baraka Member, Gabriel Lantz (Zen-G) 4/21/10

Aaron Pollitt Field Study, Interview with Baraka Member, Danny Atlas (Ras-D) 4/21/10

Aaron Pollitt Field Study, interview with Baraka Member, (Arun Baba) 4/20/10

Book Review : The Big Book of Soul

Wellness Reading: The Big Book of Soul

For my Wellness Reading assignment I read “The Big Book of Soul” by Stephanie Rose Bird. It was a great read about Holistic Healing and living a Wellness lifestyle from the African & African American traditions. This book highlights many diverse methodologies of wellness and healing including: drumming, spiritual dancing, singing, chanting, rituals, divination, Hoodoo, magical recipes, power objects, meditation, herbal healing and natural foods, prayer, midwifery and more. This book hopes to inspire African American people and anyone interested in the culture to live and practice a more holistic way of life and to know that Africa has a treasure trove of traditions and knowledge which has been utilized for thousands of years by African people.

The book gives information about so many simple ways of incorporating mindful and natural ways of healing oneself or living a healthy lifestyle. The author gives a history of the African use of herbs and foods like the Wild Yam. “Wild Yam is related to the African Yam but not to what we call a sweet potato or yam in the United States… Wild Yam is edible and medicinal. Ailments treated ancient healers include a plethora of female reproductive organ complaints, including managing PMS and painful or absent periods, childbirth pains, and menopause. The Wild Yam contains high concentrations of dioscin, which is converted chemically into diosgenin, used to manufacture progesterone and other steroid drugs to treat reproductive organs and ailments such as asthma and arthritis.” (Bird 124)

She describes therapeutic ideas such as ‘Living and Dying on Our Own Terms’ and while explaining her remembrances of her father and grandmother living with cancer she describes their use of Licorice. “True licorice sticks, (not the candy) were tied to the necks of some enslaved Africans during the journey across the Atlantic to quell stomachache and anxiety. It is believed to be how the seeds of the plants were transported and later established in the United States. Licorice is still used in the black community for stomach pains and has shown promise in the treatment of AIDS.” (Bird 49)

Bird also describes the practice of Hoodoo, which is a magical tradition within the African American tradition. She tells how Africans had many magical traditions in their indigenous African homelands, but that during slavery many of these traditions were lost. Somehow or another some of these traditions continued to be preserved and practiced on the slave plantations and eventually was mixed with Native American and some European magical traditions and became what is now know as Hoodoo. Hoodoo is not a religion like Voodoo, Vodoun, or Santeria. It is considered a magical system or science practiced by a wide variety of people but predominantly by people who identify themselves as Christian. Some of the primary goals of working Hoodoo are: “Blessing the home, keeping domestic environment peaceful, cleansing and banishing unwanted intrusions or bad vibes brought about by humans, animals, or spirits, love drawing (attracting love partnerships), and money drawing (attracting prosperity), and more.”

Some of the practices in employing Hoodoo are:

“Washes: Environmental washes to cleanse and renew the living environment or work space used blessed, magical, and sacred waters such as lightning water, seawater, and sweet (cologne) waters such as a type called Florida Water.

Baths with Incantations: These baths bring cleansing, relaxation, and a variety of magical herbs into the bathing experience, usually repeated on a set number of odd days (7,9,11,13); ingredients and incantations also often utilize numerology and set patterns.

Candlemancy: Dressed candles used in specific colors and symbolic shapes for a certain number of days or hours, provide space for enlightenment and focus on improvement of a situation.

Brooms: Also called besoms, brooms are natural and carry a great deal of symbolic and deity-related references from Africa. Brooms, especially when blessed, used correctly, treated with specific washes to match the job, are great tools for restructuring the home or work space in a more positive light.

Minerals and magnetic sand: minerals such as Dead Sea salt, chunks from various sources, pyrite dust, and magnetic sand all have specific purposes. Each of these substances might be added to the bath water to lend it healing power for various reasons.

-Pyrite dust, also called fool’s gold, is used in abundance and prosperity work.

-Magnetic sand is finely ground magnetic material sometimes called magnetic dust and used in Hoodoo baths and other rites and tricks to draw love, luck, and money to its user.

-Salt is used to alleviate pain, bring clarity, and cleanse the body, mind, and spirit. Salts have been used for cleansing and healing for thousands of years. They are enjoying a renewed interest by adherents of Feng Shui who use it in the same way as Hoodoo practitioners do. In these disparate practices, salt is placed on the floor and in corners of the room during spiritual cleansing.

-Crystals are used during bathing for curative and restorative properties.” (Bird 23-25)

There are lots more natural items that are used in this fascinating practice of Hoodoo. Bird goes on to explain the similarities and differences of Hoodoo with the religions which also use magic like Voodoo, Vodoun and Santeria.

There are a lot of diverse healing methods and therapeutic ways of living which the author describes with great knowledge, experience and research but that would fill this paper up for pages. I really enjoyed and learned a lot from this book and it also highlighted many of my already existing interests. I chose this book for that reason. I’ve been interested in holistic healing and wellness for years now and some of these mystical traditions like Hoodoo and Voodoo have always fascinated me greatly. African and African American traditions in particular have also been an interest for me as well, especially those shrouded in mystery, the mystical, and the occult or esoteric knowledge or secret initiations and such. What was particularly great about this book was that it covered both mystical and mundane needs of human life. It documents historical and practical information about certain foods and herbs as well as the mysterious science behind Hoodoo and such practices as art therapy, drumming, sacred dancing and chanting mystical names of God.

This book has helped me make wellness lifestyle choices such as utilizing certain herbs and foods for that wholesome and medicinal value and the book encourages a state of mind of abundance, prosperity, humility, simplicity and forgiveness. Also, the practice of Hoodoo fascinates me so much that I can see the book as a seed which has been planted in my heart and mind to grow into a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the sacred science of the Law of Attraction, Karma, willpower, prayer, and intention. Though, I’ve been attempting o implement these truths into my life already, it has reignited that interest and inspired my search for balance and wellness.

Overall, this book has inspired me and in combination with the Living Well class, I’ve come to see my life as an ever expanding search for complete balance and harmony. It is harmony with nature, humanity, sacred traditions, and ultimately my own emotions and aspirations that I seek. One day maybe, I’ll write a book similar to this, or create a documentary film about such topics. This class has been my favorite class and even though I considered myself healthy and living well before I took the class, it has given me the opportunity to see my weaknesses and what I should be working on. My goals are strengthened and now I have better resources to implement to my own personal healing and lifestyle choices. This book and assignment was a great addition to an excellent class. I think everyone regardless of major should take this class, as I believe it would benefit all.

Reference:

Bird, S.R. (2010). “The Big Book of Soul”. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.

Living Well – Wellness Goal Reflection

Living Well – Goal Reflection

S. pecific

M. easurable

A. ttainable

R. ealistic

T. imely

My wellness goal has always been at the core of my intentions. I began this class with what I would consider a pretty well-informed and experienced understanding of wellness. That being said, I gained so much from this class because it expanded what I knew of wellness and touched on areas of wellness which I was neglecting to consider or implement, and it also forced me into activities and learning processes which showed me some major weaknesses I had in my personal wellness which needs more attention. This assignment and others helped also by pushing me to construct a practical goal to attain for optimal wellness.

The pedometer project showed me how much I’m active and walking daily. It gave me a way to make a good estimate of how much I’m walking daily without the use of a pedometer too.

At first I was only walking about 5,000 steps per day without pushing myself. Using the pedometer and pushing myself to walk more, I reached an average of about 8,000 steps per day. My goal was 10,000 steps per day and I had to really try to walk extra each day to reach that goal. I enjoyed it but it was definitely an extra 15-30 minutes every day of walking and moving around. I appreciate the difference it made me feel, both physically and mentally.

Ultimately the S.M.A.R.T. Goal assignment gave me an idea of how I would like to implement and maintain a certain way of life scheduled with a regular routine of activities which build and maintain optimal health and wellness.

My goal to reach and maintain is to:

*work out at the gym 2-3 times a week

*a bit of yoga, push-ups, walks and exercise each day

*1 yoga class weekly or biweekly

*Capoeira Angola (martial art/dance) 1-2 a week or biweekly

*1-2 Dance classes or Dance games/videos a week or biweekly

*massage therapy weekly or biweekly

*good food daily (vegetarian/vegan diet)

*good sleep daily

*Study and Reading daily

*Meditation and Prayer daily

*family time

*social outings

*writing, playing, recording music weekly

Now this seems like a lot. But all of them are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, & timely. The idea is that I intend to create a sort of weekly & monthly schedule where I incorporate the type of classes I want to take regularly which contributes to my wellness such as yoga classes, Capoeria classes, work out at the gym, massage therapy, dance classes, playing music with friends and social outings. And the second half of the goal is the maintain a certain active lifestyle daily at home or wherever I choose to be with such activities as yoga, walks, exercise, stretching, good sleep, eating well, family time, meditation and prayer, my music, study and reading.

The challenge is to maintain a schedule which will combine and balance all these activities and not overwhelm myself in conflict with the daily activities or life in general. Really, the goal is to set up life in a more active way, in a sense aligning social activities around active and wellness activities and shared experiences. I believe that the greatest challenge is just allowing the lazy feeling to get out of hand, because while we all need to be lazy and lounge around and relax sometimes, it’s most beneficial when we have been active and accomplishing things in life when that lounging, relaxing and contemplation really is appreciated most.

Having a regular wellness routine will be beneficial for me, I know that I could not fit all of the activities in weekly in my life, but it is a list of my tried and true activities and ways of living which I know I’d like to fill my life with. So as I approach my days ahead in monthly preparation I will try to pull from these attractions to fill and schedule my days. Thus, in the near future I will hopefully have established a routine of activities and wellness-related social outings as well.

Buddhism and Hinduism: The Ancient Connection

A look at the traditions of Mahayana, Pure Land, Tibetan, Theravada and Zen Buddhism in comparison with the Vaishnava traditions of Hindusim and the culture of Krishna and the Bhagavad-gita which points to an ancient connection and irrefutable evidence of pervading theistic practices and traditions within all forms of Buddhism.
Buddhism and Hinduism: The Ancient Connection
By Sakshi Zion (12/10/13)
Thesis: While most people in the West think of Buddhism as an atheistic religion. I intend to show that the traditions of theistic Buddhism as well as non-theistic Buddhism may have closer connections to Hinduism and Buddha’s original teachings than one may recognize at first glance.
Outline
I. Intro: is Buddhism really atheistic?
II. Thesis
III. Connections to Hinduism
IV. Bhagavad-gita
V. Mahayana and Pure Land Buddhism
VI. Theravada and Zen Buddhism
VII. Vaishnavism and Shivaism (Hindusim)
VIII. Tibetan and Nepalese Buddhism
IX. Buddha’s 8-Fold Path & Krishna’s Bhagavad-gita
X. Historic Mathura and Gandara (Vaishnava-Buddhist Cultural Centers)
XI. Conclusion
It is common to think of Buddhism as an atheistic religion. Atheism is the absence of belief in gods, so it is true that many Buddhists are, indeed, atheists. But when comparing the various traditions of Buddhism and its path towards enlightenment with the yogic paths in the Bhagavad Gita, we see something very interesting.
The Buddha of history taught that believing in gods was not necessary for those seeking to realize enlightenment. So, for this reason, Buddhism can be more accurately called non-theistic rather than atheistic. But Buddhism did originate in Hinduism in the land of India, so there were Hindu groups which did associate Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu and some traditions such as Mahayana and Pure Land Buddhism which later developed in Japan and China that continued this theistic belief in God, and yet most people in the West think of Buddhism as an atheistic religion. I intend to show that the traditions of theistic Buddhism as well as non-theistic Buddhism may have closer connections to Hinduism and Buddha’s original teachings than one may recognize at first glance.
The Buddha said that he was not a god, but has “awakened.” Yet throughout Asia it is common to find people praying to the Buddha or to the many mythical figures that populate Buddhist iconography. Pilgrims flock to Stupas that are said to hold relics of the Buddha. Some schools of Buddhism are strongly devotional. Even in the non-devotional schools, such as Theravada or Zen, there are rituals which include bowing, offering food, flowers and incense to a Buddha figure on an altar. There are a lot of obvious similar signs such as this, yet also some deeper historical and theological evidences which can also support this claim.
The Bhagavad Gita is considered the holiest book of Hindusim in most circles and is believed to be uttered by the incarnation of God Himself, Sri Krishna. Krishna illuminates his friend Arjuna with the Supreme Knowledge of Yoga. Many of these philosophical ideas that Krishna shares within become very important in Hindu thought, tradition and rituals, and in turn many of the same concepts and traditions are found to exist within Buddhism too. All of the most essential principles of Bhagavad Gita can be found in some form with the various traditions of Buddhism that later developed. One will see that the idea of enlightenment is very similar to most Buddhist schools of thought, if not the exact same.
Mahayana Buddhism teaches the existence of infinite Buddhas, or incarnations of Lokesvara or the Adi Buddha, who preach the Dharma according to time and circumstance. The Buddha of Theravadin Buddhism is not the same as the Buddha of Mahayana Buddhism. The Buddha of the Theravadin Buddhists has been considered by them to be an ‘awakened’ man, the only Buddha, unique in world history to his time. This Buddha of the Theravadins definitely taught not only atheism, but voidism. However, the Buddha of the Mahayana Buddhists was originally considered to be the latest of infinite incarnations of Lokesvara Buddha, who can be compared to and often worshipped as the same Vishnu of Hindusim. Not only did He teach a transcendental theism, but He was considered to be an incarnation of the ADI BUDDHA Himself, meaning the original Buddha. These Buddhists (Sakyamuni worshipers) were indistinguishable from Hindu sects such as Vaishnavism and Shivaism throughout India, and only became perceived as belonging to a separate religion (Buddhism) as their traditions spread outside of India.
Buddhism is a ultimately a path of “waking up,” or being enlightened, to a reality that is not consciously perceived by most people. In many schools of Buddhism it is understood that Nirvana or enlightenment cannot be conceptualized or explained with words. It must be experienced to be understood. Simply “believing in” enlightenment and nirvana is pointless. For this reason, the Buddha taught his disciples to cultivate devotional and reverential habits of the mind. Thus, devotion is an expression of the virtuous and compassionate principles within Buddhism. Of course, devotion requires an object. In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna refers to himself as the object of worship and the original Godhead.

“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.”(Bhagavad-Gita 10.8) (Prabhupada, 1984)

Within Mahayana and Pure Land Buddhist tradition there is the theological belief in Buddha as a Deity who gives grace or mercy to his devotees. According to Mahayana Tradition, when the Lord descended as Sakyamuni Buddha, he preached to the humble faithful and to the proud atheists both. They believe in the Adi-Buddha or original Buddha and the ultimate goal of enlightenment is to attain the Pure Land where one can be Buddha-like and live, laugh, dance, eat, play and enjoy with Adi-Buddha, the Godhead Himself.
We know that Buddhism went to Asia and South East Asia to places like China, Japan, Vietnam, Bali, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Tibet. Although Buddhism is considered to have arrived rather late in Tibet, it certainly existed at an early time in Nepal. Tibetan Buddhism is practically identical to Nepalese Buddhism. The Tibetan Buddhists fleeing the Chinese helped easily integrate them into the Mahayana worship communities of Nepal. Despite the ‘mother tongue’ language differences, the Tibetan and Nepalese priests shared the same doctrines, icons, symbols, rites, and Sanskrit as an ancient liturgical language. In fact, Tibetan and Nepalese Buddhism are so similar to, and compatible with Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism in Nepal, that one can frequently see the same devotees worshiping at Vishnu, Shiva, Devi and Buddhist temples and/or shrines, sometimes all in the same day. Many devotees also clearly grasped that these were versions of the same tradition. If one was to go to a vender or business owner in Nepal looking for specific statues of Vishnu, they would likely hand you the corresponding statue of the Buddhist Lokesvara and explain that ‘everyone knows there is no difference…we only make one form of these murtis, and they are used by both the Buddhists and the Hindus. We do not have separate forms of Vishnu to sell to you’. This is very common in Nepal. Clearly one can see how in the places so close to India, where Buddhism was born, the similarities and long-standing traditions of Hinduism pervades most all of Buddhist practices, beliefs and rituals.
For those Theravada and Zen Buddhists who believe Buddha was not a god, why then do they still bow to Buddha-figures? From the influence of tradition and cultural customs one might bow just to show gratitude for the Buddha’s life and practice. But the Buddha figure also represents enlightenment itself and so it can mean many things for different Buddhists. In spite of Sri Lanka’s status as a kind of capital of Theravada Buddhism, there is astounding ancient evidence there of Mahayana Buddhism. For instance, on Wesak, the holy day of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and ‘nirvana’, in the public places and temples all the pilgrims chant Mahayana Buddhist births stories, as well as his enlightenment and death stories. And many of the rituals and practices are filled with Mahayana songs and traditions. You can hardly find a single ‘Theravadin’ temple where the lay Buddhists are not worshiping Buddha according to Mahayana traditions. The point being, that so many of the customs and traditions are remnants or related to the essential truths and teachings of Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita.
The many mystical creatures and beings of the Mahayana Buddhism art and literature are often called “gods” or “deities.” But, again, just believing in them is not the point. In the Zen monastery the monks liked to point to the Buddha on the altar and say, “That’s you up there. When you bow, you are bowing to yourself.” The iconographic devas and bodhisattvas are also seen as archetypes of the individual and a Buddhist might evoke the Bodhisattva of Compassion in order to become more compassionate. This idea of compassion and this sense of duty to be so is an aspect of what Krishna calls Dharma. Essentially, we all have our special mission in life and we’re not all the same, so Dharma is different for everyone, but the practice of compassion is one we all share, and of universal importance. This concept certainly derives from the principles laid out by Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita.

Krishna says in BG 12:13: That devotee of mine who is non-envious possessing benevolence towards all living entities, compassionate with no sense of proprietorship. (Prabhupada, 1984)

The original Sanskrit word for compassion in this verse is Karunah, which means to be sympathetic towards the sufferings of others, friend and foe alike. You find this principle very strongly in all Buddhist schools of thought, the practice of compassion and good will towards all living entities.
The Buddha has given the 8-fold path, which are the main principles of the Buddhist life and virtues. When one compares the principles of righteousness in the Bhagavad-Gita and the 8-fold path you will see the same essential principles of devotional life. Devotion to the Adi-Buddha/Sri Krishna or devotion to the path of compassion and ultimate enlightenment, it is still Yoga, and it is still a devotion towards the highest aspirations of the living being. The 8-fold path:

Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration

Bhakti Ananda Goswamis is a scholar, sanyasi and practitioner of both Krishna-Vasishnavism and Pure Land Buddhism. In his research he points out that during the 3rd Century BCE during the time of the great Buddhist King of India, Ashoka, that the area of Krishna’s birth Mathura and nearby Gandhara were centers of contemporary Vaishnava and Mahayana Buddhist universities and traditions living and worshipping together.

“In fact, in both of the university-like intellectual ‘Buddhist’ centers of Mathura and Gandhara, the Vaishnavas and Buddhists were completely compatible as members of various lineages or orders of the same religion. This fact cannot be contested. No honest scholar can deny that Gandhara and Mathura, the two greatest early Mahayana centers of Buddhist intellectual and artistic activity and diffusion, were also Vaishnava centers of the same. This was not a sequential phenomenon either. The Vaishnava and Buddhist presence in these centers of Bhakti Yoga was contemporaneous. In fact, there was a Western Bhakti Asyla Temple Federation representation in the visitors and residents of these two great Vaishnava and Buddhist ‘university’ centers of Gandhara and Mathura too. Greeks, Romans and other western Eli-Yahu / Heli-os / Heri-Asu worshipers visited and lived in these two centers.” (Sherman, 2001)

While many scholars claim that Ashoka patronized the atheistic Theravada Buddhism during his reign, Bhakti Ananda Goswami contests that considering the evidence, it is highly more likely that he patronized Mahayana Buddhism instead.

“When it is known that Mathura was the North Indian regional center of Krishna Bhakti, how is it possible that the very antithesis of Krishna-Vaishnavism and closely related Pure Land Buddhist Bhakti, namely atheistic Theravada Buddhism, could have been the Buddhism that Ashoka patronized there? When it is clear from evidence all over the region (and beyond) that Ashoka equally protected and supported Vaishnavism and Mahayana (Pure Land) Buddhism and that at the time these two great Bhakti traditions were considered part of the same religion, how is it conceivable that the ‘Buddhism’ that he patronized in Sri Lanka was Theravada, the historical and doctrinal antithesis of both Vaishnavism and Pure Land Buddhism?” (Sherman, 2001)

The evidence suggests that the traditions of Buddhism and the 8-fold path are directly related to the principles and teaching of Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. Hinduism and Buddhism are very much connected as they always have been, and even if the individual Buddhist does not recognize Buddha as the Godhead, the evidence suggests that the Mahayana traditions which are intimately related to the Vaishnava and theistic traditions of Hindusim pervade practically all of Buddhist life and ritual. The virtues of compassion and devotion towards the path of enlightenment and the Supreme Being within the individual are most prominent in all the traditions and the goal is the same: Nirvana, Bliss, Oneness, Pure Consciousness, the Pure Land, Buddha-hood and Devotion to Adi-Buddha /Sri Krishna or other such sacred form and names of the Godhead.
References:
Prabhupada, A.C.B.S. (1984). Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Australia: McPherson’s Group.
Sherman, D. (.A.G. (2001). Interim period: Mathura as the Vaishnava-Buddhist seat of culture and learning. Retrieved from: http://www.vrindavan-dham.com/interim-period.php

Abraham and Original Torah is Vegetarian

THERE IS AN ABUNDANCE OF EVIDENCE DEMONSTRATING THAT ABRAHAM AND THE ORIGINAL TORAH WAS VEGETARIAN.

The Sabbath and Sabaoth were named after Saba, a name of Shiva. The pillars Jews erected in the days of Genesis were called masseva. The name El Shaddai comes from Shiva as Sada. The name of Shiva as the Destroyer, Hara, pervades the Torah.

Abraham came from the kingdom of Oude in India. Hindus are called Hodu in the Old Testament. The word Exodus means the departure of the Hodu people: (Ex-Hodus). The Israelites of the Exodus wore the Hindu bindi or tilaka.

Abraham and his sons name their sons after Hindu deities, and Hindu tribes and places.

Shiva was known as Pasupati, the all-compassionate Lord of Creatures. The commandment to be vegetarian in Genesis came from the Lord of the Sabbath, Saba, or Shiva.

The fact that Abraham father of the Jewish people made Haran, a center of the Sabeans, his home for many years has been glossed over by the orthodox, who are either ignorant of Sabean history, or simply do not want to rock the boat of orthodox Judaism. Sabeans were devoted to Saba (Tsaba), which is a name of Shiva, and were known as the Cebaiy in ancient Hebrew, which corresponds to Shaivites in contemporary English. Had Abraham been repulsed by the Sabeans, he is not likely to have made his nest among those who were considered heathens. Evidence both inside and outside of the Torah points to the fact that Abraham himself was a Sabean and a vegetarian.

The Shabbath was named after Sheba (Ancient Hebrews is based on consonants).

Shiva’s name Saba is easily seen to be the root of Sabbath and Sabaoth. The name El Shaddai comes from Sada, a name or description of Shiva. The word for pillars in ancient Hebrew is masseva (masseba) which contains the name of Shiva aka Siva or Seba.

Abraham made his home among the Sabeans of Haran for many years, because he shared their views and was comfortable in their presence, and because originally Jews such as Abraham worshiped Sheba, and honored the seventh day as his day. Thus we have the Shabbath (in ancient Hebrew) or Sabbath. The Sabaoth, the Lord of military hosts, was named after Saba aka Shiva. The Lord of the mountain introduces himself to Abraham as El Shaddai, and Shiva was known to Hindus as Sada. The numerous names given to Jews using the Isa or Is prefix, for example, Isaiah, Ishmael, Isaac, to name just a few, were intentional references to Isa, also a name of Shiva. When a pillar was erected on the grave of his wife Sarah, it was done so in the tradition of a devotee of Shiva. And any reader of the Torah knows that the ancient Hebrews erected pillars at sacred places, just as pillars had been erected by devotees to Shiva throughout the ancient world. The word for pillars in ancient Hebrew is masseva or masseba which in itself contains the name of Siva. Hara, the name of Shiva as the destroyer, was not only the root of Haran, but also the root of the ancient city of Harappa in India dated by some as existing in the 3rd millennium b.c.e, about 2500, though some scholars date it earlier. Shiva was venerated in Harappa.

The name of Shiva as Hara, the Destroyer, is pervasive and ingrained in ancient Hebrew and ancient Judaism.

And we find when looking at a dictionary of ancient Hebrew, that har or hara is the root of a number of words in ancient Hebrew signifying destruction in one form or another. In the Hebrew/Chaldee Dictionary of James Strong’s Concordance to the Old and New Testament) we find words such as

Entry 2026 harag, to smite with deadly intent, destroy out of hand, kill, murder, put to death, slaughter, slay.

Entry 2034 Haricah, from 2040, means something demolished, ruin. [Haricah appears to me to be the logical source of the English word hurricane, especially since Shiva himself is historically is connected with wind and storms.]

And entry 2040 Harac to pull down or in pieces, break, destroy, beat down, ruin, thrown down utterly.

Below are a number of Har and Hara words denoting mountains or hills, which is where Shiva and his consorts liked to live. Shiva was well known for living in the mountain wilderness, and the following ancient Hebrew words for mountains and hills also have the Har root:

2022 Har a mountain or range of hills, from 2042 harrar, an unused root meaning to loom up, a mountain, hill.

2025 harel, mount of God.

2039 Haran from 2022, mountaineer, the name of two men. Haran.

2024 Hara is defined as mountainousness, and as a region in Media.

A specific mountain is said to have been the favorite of Shiva, Mount Kaillaisa. And in ancient Hebrew Kallai means a mountain, and may well be a compound word carrying both the name of Kali, Shiva’s consort, as well as the name of Shiva as Isa. Moreover, the Lord of the mountain introduced to Abraham, El Shadday, or El Shaddai, is Shiva as well who is known as Sada.

One of the houses of ancient Israel was known as Beth Haran (Entry number 1028). Haran was also a center where Sabeans lived and venerated not only Shiva, but Rama and Kana (who is the source of the Old Testament name, El Kana, or El Qanna. The names of these deities got transliterated into Sheba, Seba, Saba, Rimmon, Ramman, Kanneh, and Cainan as we move into Ethiopia, which was indisputably one of the religious centers of the ancient world, and which was well known as an agricultural center. These names may be found in James Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible under Sheba. The pantheon shared by Ethiopia and India was shared by many cultures and was simply part of a united religious network that literally extended throughout the ancient world, throughout Asia as well as the Arabian peninsula, throughout Polynesia and Hawaii, the Yucatan and South America, as well as in Turtle Island, or North America. As Drummond noted, Abraham grew up in the midst of Tsabaism, or the Sabean religion, which was not just local in the Eastern Hemisphere, but universal, existing in various forms in the Western Hemisphere as well.

The Sword of Truth internet site demonstrates with an abundance of etymological and historical evidence that Tsabaism or Sabeanism, the religion of Shiva, exited in pre-Islamic Arabia as early as 1850 B.C. that this Sabeanism also existed in force during the time of Muhammad, and shows that Muhammad also derived his inspiration from Tsabaism, and that the sacred stone of the Islamic faith is the Shiva lingam. Sword of Truth quotes Sir W. Drummond’s Origines, Volumes 3 & 4″:

“Tsabaism was the universal language of mankind when Abraham received his call, their doctrines were probably extended all over the civilized nations of Earth.”

Drummond’s probably is really a definitely. George Matlock is the author of India Once Ruled the World, and has written articles showing that the Hindus and Jews worshipped many of the same deities, and he has his own contributions to the literature discussing the fact that the Hindu stories of Brahma and Sarasvati and Jewish stories of Abraham and Sarah are stories about the same people. His work, as well as cutting edge articles on ancient writings and petroglyphs found throughout the world may be found at Viewzone.com. Voltaire himself was aware of the interconnection between Hinduism and Judaism.

And the Theosophical Society’s glossaries on the internet provide abundant historical documentation for the fact that Hinduism didn’t pervade just the eastern hemisphere, but our own western hemisphere as well and that, interestingly, prisoners and outcasts were sent to the western hemisphere, much as they were from England millennia later. The western hemisphere’s lands were by the Hindus called Patala, meaning lower world or hell. And the Aztec culture which sacrificed humans may in fact be seen as a degenerate form of a disturbed minor sect consisting of the remnant of such outcasts who considered themselves devoted to Shiva and Kali as well. These carnivorous sects are considered degenerate by the mainstream devotees to Shiva (Shaivites = Sabeans) who are vegetarians.

Once the reader had seen the indisputable connections between the deities of Ethiopia, India, and Canaan and Palestine, it becomes logical to assume that Abram/Abraham made his home among the Sabeans of Haran for many years, because he shared their views and was comfortable in their presence, because originally Jews worshiped Sheba, and honored the seventh day, the Sabbath, in ancient Hebrew Shabbath, as the day of their God Sheba or Saba.

So now that we have adequately witnessed how thoroughly pervaded the ancient Hebrew language was by Shiva and Hara roots meaning destruction, we will have a much greater sense of what Haran meant to Abraham and his wife Sarah, whom many scholars have either likened to or identified with Brahma and his mate Sarasvati. The point is, Abraham and his family too were Sabeans, and vegetarians.

Terah, Father of Abraham, named his son Abram after Ram or Ramah

Sabaeans venerated Rama, who is known in the Old Testament times as Ramah, Rimmon, Raamah, Ram, Ramman, and Rahman. Let us recall that Abraham’s original name was Abram, or Ab-Ram. Abram means much more than the Hebrew Dictionary’s definition of high father, ram meaning high and ab meaning father in Hebrew, though we may see the connection between identifying Ram as the Most High. However, it is safe to assume that Terah named Abram, or Ab-Ram, after Ram himself, one of the Deities of Tsabaism. For as anyone can see who reads the Tanakh or Old Testament the name of Ram or Rama was ingrained in the ancient Jews who used the name as the root of the names of numerous people and places. Ram or Rama was the epic hero experiencing the adventures of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, and he was a deity in the Hindu pantheon, so Ab-Ram as a matter of fact meant Father-Ram or fathered by Ram, that is, of the lineage of the Hindu deity Ram, and the name was given by Terah to his son as a sign of Terah’s Hindu spirituality and spiritual allegiance to the ideals of Hinduism, namely Tsabaism or Sauvism. The Sabeans were known as vegetarians. One of the icons discovered in the Harappa and Mohenjodaro areas was of a fertility goddess giving birth to trees. And Shiva was known as Lord of Trees.

Mosheh is a contraction of Mah (Great) Oshea (Liberator)

Looking ahead to the discussion of Moses on this web site, let us keep in mind that Haran is also the name of a region in Midea, where Moses married Zipporah, a region that even early Christian Church fathers regarded as an extension of India. Moses’ father is named Amram, Am-Ram, which combines the sacred Aum or Om sound with the name of Ram. Moreover the Am word very interestingly means mother in ancient Hebrew, and is an abbreviation of Umma, the name of the consort of Shiva as Osseo. The name Umma means community, nation, or people in ancient Hebrew. In other words the nation of Israel in ancient times chose to name itself after the bride of Shiva, Umma, who was the mother of them all, as a people, a nation, and a community.

The Sabeans Used Astrology. Abraham is described as a Father of Astrology. Abraham referred to Enoch as his teacher.

The Hellenistic historian Eupolemus, writing in 158 BC contradicts the notion that Abraham was against the practice of astrology, and in fact shows him to be a teacher of astrology. Similarly the astronomical writings in the Book of Enoch implies that astrological concerns were part of the Jewish experience from the very beginning, that in fact the lineage of Methuselah, Lamech, Noah and Enoch, all of whom play a part in the Book of Enoch, were all part of a culture, that, like the Hindu culture, used astrology for guidance. This would tend to make the reader view the claim that Abraham disowned the gods of his father as simply a lie told to discredit the Hodus, or Hud people, the Hindustani people who originated Judaism and its vegetararian covenant in Genesis. While the written Ethiopic Book of Enoch has be given a date of 72 to 300 B.C., the fact is that it was preserved as a record of antediluvian Judaism, of Judaism before the flood. It is the prototype of passages of the Old Testament dealing with the Flood.

Eupolemos gives a detailed account of the biblical Abraham as having been taught astrology by Enoch, and as being a teacher of astrology to the people around him. In Eupolemos’ account Abraham is even regarded as a father of astrology. He taught the Phoenicians astrology, says Eupolemos, and introduced the priests of Heliopolis to the study of all sciences including astrology. He tells the priests that it is Enoch who first invented astrology.

The Great Orthodox Lie– That Abraham Abandoned the Faith of his Father– Is Disproven by the Torah itself.

The Torah’s Genealogies Reveal that the Sabean Tradition was continued by Abraham. His children were named after Sabean deities or Hindu tribes. Abraham did not abandon the faith of his fathers; he practiced it.

We are told a quite deliberate lie in the Old Testament: namely that Abraham abandoned the faith of his father, Terah, who worshipped many gods, and who used means of divination such as astrology. This is contradicted not only by Eupolemus, but by the genealogies presented in the Old Testament itself. The genealogy of Abraham’s family is in itself proof that that Abraham embraced Sabeanism.

“Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jok-shan, and Me-dan, and Mid-i-an, and Ish-bak and Shu-ah. And Jokshan begat She-ba and De-dan.” 1 Chronicles 1: 32

Abraham’s children are quite obviously in the Sabean tradition. Shan is a name referring to the destructiveness of Shiva. The name Dan and the name of the prophet Daniel, known for his vegetarianism, comes from the vegetarian Danu tribe in India that worshipped Shiva. And Shu-ah is named after Shu, the father sky God of ancient Egypt. Shu’s son was Seb (or Geb), the Lord of the Earth, who is none other than Seba. The Shuites were well known in ancient Israel. Ish is a shortened of Ishwara or Isvara or Eshwara, all of which names refer to Shiva or Krishna. George Matlock of Viewzone.com states in his article “Who was ABRAHAM?” states that Isaac (Ishaak in Hebrew) is derived from the Sanskrit Ishakhu meaning “friend of Shiva.”

Jokshan, Abraham’s son, continued to name his children after Sabeans, Sheba being simply a transliteration of Shiva, and Dedan once again referring to the Danu tribe of India, who were no doubt one of the ancient immigrating tribes that were responsible for the flowering of Hinduism and vegetarianism in the land of Canaan. Canaan itself was named after Kannan, the Tamil Hindu name for Krishna.

Midia, the source of Midian, was considered to be a part of India’s vegetarian culture even into the times of the New Testament.

Let me remind the reader still enamored of the notion that orthodox Judaism considers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the patriarchs of a Judaism that abandoned the polytheistic faiths of the past, that the name Isa-ac itself is a reference to Isa, a name of Shiva, and that Jacob names his son Asher, after Asherah, or Asura of the Hindus. Asura originally meant Almighty God. Only later did it come to mean demon. And that the tribe of Benjamin was named after the Yamini tribe of India.

From the evidence presented in this chapter, and elsewhere on this site, we may safely say that it has been correctly conjectured that the Jewish scriptures we now have are an intentionally garbled version of the Vedic vegetarian scriptures in particular, of which the vegetarian covenant of Genesis 1:29-30 is a remnant, and the scriptures are also a garbled version of Vedic deities that existed in the earliest days of Judaism. And just as Abraham is the Alpha, or Father, of Judaism, so too is the vegetarian covenant Genesis 1: 29-30 the original covenant of Judaism, as is admitted even by orthodox rabbis.

So too many students of history have discussed the similarities between the name Abraham or Ibrahim in Hebrew and the name of Brahma, the Hindu creator. Brahma’s mate was Sarasvati and Abraham’s wife was Sarah. Brahma is the creator in the Hindu trimurti, and Abraham is the father, or creator, of Judaism.

Abraham came from the Kingdom of Oude in India.

Hodu is the Name for Hindustani in Ancient Hebrew. The Exodus (Ex-Hodus) meant the departure of the people

of Hindustani belief, that is the vegetarians.

I refer my readers to the paper, Who Was ABRAHAM? by Gene D. Matlock, B.A., M.A., which can be found at the cutting edge site of Viewzone.com. Matlock’s work is of the highest quality, and should be known to the entire world of scholarship. Matlock meticulously details the interconnection between the religious cultures of India and Judaism. For example, he notes that Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, came from the Kingdom of Oude in India. In ancient Hebrew, Hoduw, or Hodu, is the word for Hindustani, or India, and the attributes of India may be seen in its likeness, the word Howde. From Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary:

1935 Howde, means grandeur, glorious, beauty, comeliness, excellency, goodly, honor, majesty.

1912 Hoduw, ho’doo, Hodu (i.e. Hindustan), India.

So we now also see the limitations of the traditional definitions of the word exodus, which has come to mean simply a leaving or departure. Exodus in fact means the departure of a very particular group of people, the Oude people, the Hodus (in ancient Hebrew), meaning the people of the Hindustani belief. In other words, the people of the Kingdom of Oude in India, who immigrated west, were the Hodus, the people of the Exodus, which may be read Ex-(h)odus.

Moses and the Israelites wore the Hindu Bindi.

“And it will be a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.” Exodus 13: 16

The word Oude became Hodu, Hod, and Hud in ancient Hebrew. The Hud root is seen in the original form of the word Juda, Jehudea, which translated means God’s or Jah’s Hindustani people. These terms were well known to Muhammad, who in the Quran calls the true prophet Hud and praises the vegetarian Sabeans. And, as many have said, the sacred stone, the Kabba in Mecca, is in fact a Shiva lingam.

Promoting Scriptural Lies for Profit

As this article demonstrates, the misconceptions or lies generated by so called religious orthodoxies are abundant. To ask “Why lie about the scriptures?” is a question that would be asked only by someone who is oblivious to, or does not care about the cruelty and disease that are perpetuated by the orthodoxies of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. One of their lies, fabricated by those who rewrote the Torah, New Testament, and Quran, is that an all-compassionate Deity wishes humanity to partake in the disease-promoting diet of carnivorism, even though animal fat contributes to diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and a legion of other diseases, as well as the weakening of the immune system. As the late Jewish vegetarian prophets, Jesus, and Muhammad knew, greedy people would change the scriptures for a financial gain, even though it would contribute to the moral and physical degeneration of their own people. Zechariah says it well: the orthodox are not good shepherds tending to the welfare of their flocks of cattle; they are businessmen profiting from the brutality of the meat industry.

“Thus said the Lord my God: “Become shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter. Those who buy them slay them and go unpunished; and those who sell them say, `Blessed be the Lord, I have become rich’; and their own shepherds have no pity on them.” 11:4-5.

The Scriptures of Baruch and Esdras both link the original vegetarian covenant of Genesis with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

“Wherefore the Lord has had compassion on our tears, and has remembered the covenant which he established with our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” “Baruch,” Chapter 6:21

And we also have further support from Esdras that the late vegetarian prophets and the earliest patriarchs believed and promoted the same vegetarian morality.

“…to them I will give as leaders Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and Hosea and Amos and Micah and Joel and Obadiah and Jonah and Nahum and Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, who is also called Malachi, who is also called messenger of the Lord.” 2 Esdras l: 38-40.

Though it is probable that even their scriptures were at least partially revised as well, it is well known that most of the late prophets, even in the orthodox New Testament we now have, are vegetarian. The contention held by Abegg, Wise and Cook, editors of their edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls, that there was an original Vegetarian Bible that was subsequently revised, is valid. We need only to look at forbidden history, history censured and suppressed by the orthodoxies of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, in order to discover that this is true.

(Author Unknown)

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Ancient Hebrews Worship Shiva, Lord of the Sabbath, Hindu Jewish Connection

Shiva is the Lord of the Sabbath. Shiva is Lord of Yoga, Loosing the Seven Seals.. Fulfilling the Seven Chakras.

Shiva meant Seven throughout the ancient world.

How the Sabbath Got its Name:

The Ancient Hebrew word Shabbath, meaning Sabbath, has its roots in Sheba meaning seven, and Shaba.

Sabaoth, meaning the military lord of hosts has its root in Saba, which also transliterates as Sheba and Seba. The Pillars erected to God in the Torah are named masseva or masseba. Both variants used the name of Shiva or Siva.

It is acknowledged even by the orthodox that Deity was addressed by various names, such as Baal, Adonai, Jah, Jehovah, El, El Shaddai, and El Kana. And we also know that divinity was not necessarily addressed as a singular entity as we see in the name Elohim which refers to a number of deities.

In the common translations available to the public, however, the original male deity of Judaism is never addressed as Sheba, a transliteration of Shiva, for obvious reasons. It would disclose the original deity of Judaism as being the Hindu Shiva and the original Jews as being Sabeans, that is, followers of Saba aka Sheba and Seba, all of which are names of Shiva. The deity Shiva venerated by mainstream Hindus commands vegetarianism as a diet, compassion for animals, and does not respect castes or classes. He starts to not at all fit in with what has become orthodox Judaism and Christianity, religions, or, more properly speaking, sects, which promote animal sacrifices as a diet, and elitist societies of rich and poor. The term, elitist societies of rich and poor, may be regarded as a euphemism for slavery in one degree or another. Slavery is an institution which is portrayed as acceptable in both the Old and New Testaments as well as in the Koran. As we shall see, point by point in this study, the original vegetarian and egalitarian values of Judaism were radically different from what orthodox Judaism has become.

Orthodox Jews ignore the root of the name of their place of study, the Yeshiva.

Shiva is known in the Old Testament as Sheba, Seba and Saba, Tsaba, as well as by other names. Shiva aka Sheba is the Lord of the Shabbath (Hebrew) and Sabbath (English). One easily sees the connection between the word Saba, which is interchangeable with Seba and Sheba, and the English word Sabbath. The etymology of the word Shabbath or Sabbath has been scrupulously ignored, as has, for example, the term yeshiva, meaning a school or academy for students of Judaism. The word is of course is a rather direct reference to Shiva, though it is not acknowledged to be so by the orthodoxy. When the relevant names of Shiva are aligned with the Hebrew and English designations of the seventh day, it is rather easy to see the etymological connection.

Sheba: Shabbath in ancient Hebrew.

The name Saba is easily seen to be the root of Sabbath in English

Sheba is an easily seen root of Shabbath, especially when we realize that ancient Hebrew is comprised of consonants, just as Saba is easily seen as the root of the English word Sabbath. As we examine the ancient Hebrew terms and names connected with the Sabbath, however, we will see that these correlations are not simply superficial or coincidental, but that they provide specific documentation of the Sabean tradition that gave birth to original Judaism.

Most of us are quite familiar with the term Sabbath day, the seventh day of rest which we understand as being derived from the sequence of days in Genesis: God creates the world in six days and rests on the seventh. And we are also familiar with the fourth commandment “Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.” But we usually aren’t informed as to the source or etymology of the word itself, Sabbath, or in Hebrew Shabbath.

7676 Shabbath in Hebrew is described as meaning intermission, the Sabbath, and every sabbath. It is a form of 7673.

7673 Shabath is a primitive root meaning to repose, to desist from exertion.

Understanding that the Shabbath or Sabbath is the seventh day, when we examine the roots of the Hebrew words Shabbath and Shabath, we come across a number of definitions that can make more sense from a Hindu perspective, since they refer to a yogic process.

The Sabbath and Shiva as Lord of Yoga “Sevening One’s Self”

An examination of the names Sheba and Shaba, words which may be seen as roots of Shabbath (in English the Sabbath), deal with sevening one’s self, and thereby reveal the ancient devotion that the original Jews had to Shiva as the Lord of Yoga, one who has “sevened himself,” that is fulfilled his seven chakras. In the Hindu system of Yoga, which tradition has it was begun by Shiva himself, there are seven centers, the root chakra or center, corresponding to one’s sexual energy, the power chakra above it, the solar plexus chakra above it, the heart chakra, the throat, the third eye and the seventh chakra at the top of the head.

The practitioner of Yoga, or for that matter, any human seeking spiritual perfection, is to deal with resolving, controlling or balancing sexual desires (the first center), resolving conflicts of power (the second center), controlling appetite addictions and using food for purification (the third and solar plexus center), controlling one’s emotional attachments (the fourth and heart center), expression of one’s will (the fifth and throat center), reception to the infusion of divinity through meditation (the sixth center in the third eye), all of which, when finally achieved, allow one to connect with divinity through the highest chakra in the top of the head.

We can easily see moreover how the term Shabbath or Sabbath is related to numerous other words which reflect the seventh day aspect of the word. Namely: the word shaba and the words sheba (pronounced sheh’ bah) and shibah (pronounced shib-aw’) which are the feminine and masculine forms of the same word. The ancient Hebrew words Shaba and Sheba both refer to aspects of the Hindu Shiva as Lord of Yoga.

7650 shaba, a primitive root; to be complete; to seven oneself.

The latter part of the above definition, to seven oneself may be interpreted in numerous ways, among them that seven is part of a natural cycle, and that the seventh day completes or perfects the cycle, were it not for the word oneself, which brings the completion of the seven part cycle to a personal level. On the personal level the phrase to seven oneself may seem to make little or no sense in the history of the orthodox Jews, but makes perfect sense in the history of Hinduism. The phrase refers to the ideal of the Yogic process, to eliminate all major negativity in one’s spiritual centers and to activate their positive potentiality.

Shiva is the Inventor of Yoga, and the Lord of Yoga. Shiva has nourished to the full his seven spiritual centers or chakras, and is now a fulfilled being elevated to divinity. It is Shiva who is being referred to as a divine model for human behavior, for in fulfilling the potentiality of each of his seven chakras, Shiva has sevened himself; he is a complete being.

Shiva was known throughout the world as the God of Seven.

Whereas the verb Shaba refers to the activity of becoming complete in one’s self, the following definition of Sheba, a frequently used noun and root in the Old Testament Hebrew, means seven, but seven as the sacred full one. In other words, the nominative case refers to the same occurrence: that of being in the state of having fulfilled one’s self, one’s spiritual centers, and once again seven, the number of the chakras, is mentioned. Sheba means seven. The Shabbath is the seventh day. Sheba is merely a transliteration of Shiva, sometimes spelled as Sheva.

7651 sheba (fem) or shibah (masc), seven (as the sacred full one); as an adverb, seven times; a week.

To anyone who is not familiar with the Hindu system of Yoga featuring the development of one’s seven spiritual centers, the above definition of seven as the sacred full one would be rather ambiguous, but to the Hindus and Buddhists, to the ancient Maya and Aztecs, who also revered the number seven and worshiped Shiva and Kali, and to the Hopis (though Hopis limit the centers to five), it is a system which meshes with their own. [The Aztec pantheon even has a vegetation goddess known as Kundalini (See Michael Jordan’s Encyclopedia of Gods).]

Shiva is associated with the number seven over and over again in Hinduism, as is the God of Judaism, and Sheba in Hebrew means seven. The link between the Hindu deity Shiva and the number seven includes the fact that Shiva is Lord of the seven worlds, he lives in the place of seven rivers on earth and in Shivaloka, the highest of the seven worlds, he is Lord of Yoga, having mastered his seven spiritual centers, and his name means seven. Zechariah Sitchin in Lost Realms says that the name Elisheva in Canaan mean “my God is Seven.” p. 82.

SHIBAH, meaning Seven in Genesis: 26:33

Isaac’s servants in the above scripture name the well shibah, meaning seven, to honor their God, Sheba, or Shiva, and thereby also to show that the wells are “owned” or cared for by Isaac (God laughed), the root of whose name is Isa, one of Shiva’s other names. The well therefore has been named after Shiva as Isaac himself has been named after Isa.

Let us let the above definitions show us the relationship of our own English Seven to the German Sieben, and the Hebrew forms of the word, such as Seba and Sheba, words which go back to a Sanskrit source. Perhaps we can get somewhat of an idea of how influential central essential concepts of divinity are, and how spin-off material is related to the phonetic structure and mental significance of the original concept.

Insofar as the Sabbath was named after the seventh day of creation and Creation is the Creator’s Harvest, we can see how the root of the word Sabbath is related with the following words meaning plenty, abundance and satisfaction.

The Lord of the Sabbath is the Lord of Creation, and therefore the Lord of Plenty, the Harvest, Abundance.

7646 saba or sabea (defined the same) to sate, fill to satisfaction, have plenty of, satisfy with, suffice.

Saba is the name of God to the Ethiopian Sabeans, who erected pillars and offered vegetation to him. The Hebrew Seba and Sheba are transliterations of Siva and Shiva. It is indisputable that Saba, Seba, Sheba, and Sheva, all Hebrew words, are transliterations of Shiva’s name and/or attributes. Like the Dravidians in India, the Ethiopians also worshipped Krishna as Cainan or Kanneh, and Rama as Ramman or Rimmon. For verification that these were the names of the Ethiopian deities, look up Sheba, Seba, Saba, in James Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible (1919 edition). Some Indian scholars affirm that Ethiopia may in fact be the mother culture of India, and given the evidence that the oldest human bones thus far found are Ethiopian, this would indeed be even more evidence to add to the fact that the Sabean religion was the first universal religion of the world. What is being conjectured is that the migrating Ethiopians became the aboriginal Shaivites who were later invaded by the Aryans.

7647 sabea, copiousness, abundance, plenteous.,

7649 sabea, satisfied in a pleasant or disagreeable sense, full of, satisfied with.

Sheba or Shiva, Lord of the Sabbath was known as the Lord of Creatures, and Protector of Cattle, The seven day cycle of creation and rest in Genesis 1 is a description of the Lord of the Sabbath, Sheba, or Shiva. He was the Deity who commanded the vegetarian covenant of Genesis 1: 29-30.

“And God said `Behold I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.'”

Mainstream Hindus for millennia have worshipped Shiva as the compassionate Lord of Creatures, or Shiva Pasupati.

Thus, this same Shiva or Sheba, after whom the Shabbath was named, was also the compassionate deity commanding vegetarianism for all creatures, not just for humans. In other words, the vegetarian covenant which commands that all creatures eat plants and not other creatures is a logical covenant commanded by Shiva. We should also realize, that after the fall, in “Genesis” cattle are singled out as those who will suffer. The rewriter of the Torah was obviously countering the previous influence of Shiva, or Sheba, Lord of the Sabbath and Protector of Cattle.

(Author Unknown)

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THE WORLD-WIDE INFLUENCE OF RAMAYANA

When Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia was gifted with a Ramayana by an Indian sannyasi, he smiled, and said they were all descendants of Lord Rama. He explained how the Ethiopians are called as Cushites, or coming down from Kusha, a son of Rama. The country is called Kushadwip, or the land of the son of Rama.

Ethiopians admit their ancestor as Kush, and they quote the Biblical story of Cush being a son of Ham (a phonetic misnomer of Ram). This only confirms to the widespread influence of Ramayana, even in a land that is 3000 miles away from the mainland of India.

Phonetic describes the way spoken words sound or are pronounced. When we closely examine the names of various places across the world, we can logically deduce how the culture of Ramayana must have influenced these lands, even thousands of years ago. Egypt derives its name from Ajpati, a name of one of Rama’s forefathers. Even the various legends in Egypt contain references to Dasharatha, the father of Rama, and thus even five thousand kilometres away, Ramayana had an influence.

The traces of Vedic age can be seen even today. Iranians have the culture of reverence to fire, an essential sacrificial tool in Vedic process. Armenia has an ancient structure, called the ‘temple of the little blue boy’-referring to Krishna. A French historian even claimed that the original Armenians were worshippers of Radha and Krishna.

This is explained in the Vedic scriptures: Parashuram was a great warrior who destroyed warrior class many times. As a result many kings ran to faraway lands and settled there. Over a period of time, due to the far distance from the main land of India, the culture of Rama and Krishna worship deteriorated.

Nearer home, in the South East Asian regions, Ramayana’s influence can be seen even today. Thailand’s national epic is called ‘Ramakien’– glory of Rama. Until the late 18th century, the capital of Thailand was Ayutthaya, derived from Ayodhya- the capital of Lord Rama. Most of the kings of Thailand are called as Rama-I or Rama-II and so on.

When Lord Rama shot an arrow at demon Maricha and disposed him off to the middle of an ocean, he settled in an island there. That place was called Mauricha or later evolved as Mauritius.

These instances prove that story of Ramayana is not simply a story that belongs to India; this is one of the most powerful stories in the history of the world.

Just as Bible has played a pivotal role in shaping the history of the Western world- you can read novels, appreciate art and history, and you will find some Biblical references there- similarly Ramayana has shaped all of Asian civilization. China, Japan and Korea have their own version of Ramayana story telling. Indonesia- the world’s largest Muslim country- even today has a popular puppet show on Ramayana.

Japan created an animated Ramayana made for the Japanese market by the Japanese; they too love to narrate the Ramayana. Over three hundred different versions- from South Indian to Urdu- Ramayana has captured the imagination of the people all over Asia for millennia.

In recent times, lands outside of Asia-like Africa and Europe- have revealed Ramayana’s influence. The Warner bros in US made a movie, ‘A little Princess’; the heart of the movie is the rendition of Ramayana by a young girl Sara.

The Ramayana story thus has a universal appeal. And that’s because it has all the ingredients of a good story: there is a hero, the princess, the damsel in distress. Adventure, romance, action, it’s all there. Yet, there is something more in Ramayana. It is the ‘adi-kavya’– the first poem. And the poetic masterpiece of Ramayana is known to humans for thousands of years.

Unfortunately modern scholars declare Ramayana to be a fiction; in most book stores, Ramayana is classified as ‘mythology’. However we need to remember that Ramayana is not a fairy tale born out of the fertile brains of some creative writers. Ramayana is a product of divine inspiration, revealed in the heart of a devotee by the Lord himself.

Even when Lord Krishna was personally present on this planet-5000 years ago- Ramayana was well known. That’s the reason the speaker of Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Sukadeva Goswami devotes only two chapters to the Ramayana. The epic was sung in the courts of kings even those days.

*Article written by Vraja Bihari Das*

Jai Rastafari! Jah Krishnafari!!

Jai RamaChrista! Jah RastaKrishna!!

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~Sakshi Zion

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Adventures to see Amma at MA Center & Indiana Dunes State Park

New Vlog! Check our adventures to see Amma the Hugging Saint at MA Center in Elburn, Illinois right outside Chicago. This year marks her 30 Year Anniversary of her US Tour starting in 1987. We had an amazing adventure camping at the Dunes, eating delicious vegan and vegetarian food at Third Coast Cafe in Chesterton, Indiana and Roots Cafe in Valparaiso, Indiana, swimming and dune riding/running and hiking at the Indiana Dunes State Park. We then spent some amazing time with Amma at MA Center and received our Amma Hugs and enjoyed the atmosphere of her ashram, Vegetarian food and all night Kirtans and Bhajans while Amma hugged thousands into the early morning nonstop!

We then had a bit of a challenge getting home but all is well and we had an amazing time!! Watch the video to see for yourself! I highly suggest both meeting Amma and visiting the Dunes!

I hope you got lots of VALUE from this post! If you have questions or comments, please share your comments below! Thanks for visiting my blog!

~Sakshi Zion

Ps. Get Access Now to my FREE Ebook! How I use Law of Attraction to Travel the World and Live my Dreams.