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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How Krishna was transformed from a tribal deity to a Supreme God in the Puranic tradition

by Ruchika Sharma.

Krishna is one of the most popular deities of the Puranic pantheon. A warrior, a child god of a pastoral tribe, a preacher, and a love deity, his saga is an amalgamation of many disparate elements in one harmonious and coherent whole.

Krishna’s story, which developed over more than 800 years, was worked backwards. One first encounters the adult Krishna, a friend of the Pandavas and founder of the city of Dwarka, and then meets Krishna Gopala, the cowherd child and the lover of rasas, or dances.

Krishna’s journey begins as a hero of the Vrishni tribe, part of the Yadava clan, and ends with him being hailed as the Vishnu incarnate.

Krishna and Vasudeva

As Freda Matchett notes in her book Krsna, Lord Or Avatara? The Relationship Between Krsna and Visnu, both Krishna and Vasudeva were originally heroes of the Satvatta and Vrishni tribes of the Yadava clan who were eventually deified and with time, became synonymous with each other.

The first mention of Krishna, as early as sixth century BCE, in the Chhandogya Upanishad, refers to him as a sage and a preacher. He is also mentioned as Devakiputra (son of Devaki).

By the fourth century BCE, Panini’s Ashtadhyayi, a treatise on grammar, not only presents a deified Krishna but also gives details about the tribe to which he originally belonged – the Vrishnis.

Indica byMegasthenes, a Greek envoy to the court of a Maurya King, talks about how the Surasenoi (Surasens, a branch of the Yadava-Vrishni tribe) worshipped Heracles (Krishna) in Mathura. Thus, by fourth century BCE, not only is Krishna-Vasudeva transformed from a hero to a deity but he has also become fairly popular.

Krishna as a Vishnu incarnate

By the second century BCE, Vedic worship had become rigid and Vedic sacrifices expensive. Alongside this, Buddhism was gaining ground, fuelled by King Ashoka’s propaganda. The large-scale entry of foreign invaders, (such as the Shakas) who were favourably inclined towards Buddhism and other popular cults, weakened the authority of the priestly class.

Moreover, improved economic conditions of the lower varnas challenged caste rules. Hence, as Suvira Jaiswal argues in her book The Origin and Development of the Vaisnavism, “Brahmins seized upon the devotional cult of Vasudeva-Krishna and recognised it as a form of Narayana-Vishnu to infuse Brahmanical social ethics into this popular cult and re-establish their authority.”

Narayana and Vishnu were initially perceived as separate deities and later unified.

Thus, in this period, Krishna-Vasudeva was fused with Narayana-Vishnu and came to feature in the Mahabharata as a war hero and in the Bhagvada Gita as a preacher. Yet, the Mahabharata, in several places, reveals a hesitancy to accept a non-Aryan tribal deity as a higher god. This is why Krishna-Vasudeva is initially described as the incarnation of only a fraction of Narayana-Vishnu.

Bal Krishna

Till the first century BCE, Krishna was only worshipped in his adult form – as a preacher, a friend of the Pandavas, a Yadava-Vrishni hero and a Vishnu incarnate. What was missing from his grand narrative was a childhood.

Krishna-Gopala (or Krishna the cowherd) surfaced when Krishna was fused with another god of the Abhira (Ahir) tribe. Even though it has not been established whether the Abhiras were native to the Indian subcontinent or were immigrants, it is quite clear that in the first-century CE, the tribe was living in the lower Indus Valley and eventually migrated to Saurashtra. They became politically active under the rule of the Shakas and the Satavahanas.

The Krishna-Vasudeva of the Vrishnis was identified with the cowherd deity of the Abhiras because of the similarities between the two tribes, especially in the way they perceived women.

Krishna in the Mahabharata counsels Arjuna to acquire Subhadra, Krishna’s sister, by force and says that would be in keeping his Dharma, or religious law. He thereby hints that this must have been a common practice among Vrishnis.

Similarly, when Arjuna is escorting Vrishni women, his entourage is attacked by Abhiras, who take the women away. The identification of Krishna-Vasudeva with the Abhira deity also introduced the amorous dalliances of Krishna with the milkmaids (gopis).

The Abhiras, being a nomadic tribe, allowed for a greater freedom of the sexes. Hence, their god came to acquire the erotic elements that were, in time, identified with Krishna.

Krishna as Supreme

We know that Krishna-Gopala is a later addition to the Krishna saga because the original story of the Mahabharata makes no mention of Krishna’s childhood. It is in the Harivamsa (dated fourth century CE), a later appendage to the Mahabharata, that the Krishna-Abhira identification was given concrete shape.

From the first to fifth centuries CE, Puranic epics such as the Vishnu Purana, and the Harivamsa weaved the fragmentary connections of Krishna-Vasudeva-Narayana-Vishnu into a coherent whole.

Krishna was now born as a Kshatriya (or warrior caste) of the Yadava clan and his second name, Vasudeva, was explained away as a patronym (the name “Vasudeva” was given to his father). Fearing the wrath of his uncle, Kamsa, Krishna was eventually smuggled into the cowherd tribe of the Abhiras.

In time, the lover of gopis and the pastoral god matured into Arjuna’s sarthi (charioteer) and preacher advocating the principles of Dharma. The narrative was finally complete when the initial hesitancy of accepting a tribal deity as an incarnation of a higher god was also removed when the Bhagvata Purana, dated to the sixth century CE, hailed him as the Supreme One.

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

~Sakshi Zion

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Narasimha Caturdasi 2017


Lord Narasimha was the fourth Avatar of Lord Mahavishnu, which was taken to kill the demon Hiranyakashipu. The story of Narasimha avatar is connected with the story of Hiranyakashipu and Prahlad. In Vishnu’s Varaha avatar the lord killed Hiranyakashipu’s brother Hiranyaksha. By this action Hiranyakashipu got angry towards Vishnu and decided to kill Mahavishnu. For this he took deep penance to appease Lord Brahma and attain magical powers to defeat Lord Vishnu. 
The Tapas continued for several years and Brahma Dev got satisfied with his great devotion and asked him what boon he need. Hiranyakashipu asked for eternity, but Brahmadev gave him the boon that he can choose his death according to his wish. Thus Hiranyakashipu wants his death to be in the following ways that, he will not be killed by any man or animal, not in air, water or sea, not in the home or outside, not at the day or at night, and not by any asthra or sasthra.
By attaining the boon Hiranyakashipu considered himself as immortal. With his powers he began to ruin the life of people in three worlds. He asked all devotees of Vishnu to worship him instead of the Lord. Those who haven’t obeyed to worship Hiranyakashipu was killed without any mercy. He captured whole world and made every one under his control. He imprisoned Devans and Rishis. 


Everyone was terrified with his mystic powers and went to Lord Vishnu for help. Vishnu gave them the relief that Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlad will become the cause of his death. So every Gods and Goddesses patiently waited to see how Prahlad will become the cause of the death of Hiranyakashipu. As years passed by Kayadhu, the wife of Hiranyakashipu, gave birth to Prahlad in the Ashrama of Narada Muni. Sage Narada used to tell stories of Lord Narayana to child Prahlada. Hearing the glorious tales he became the devotee of Lord Narayana. Hiranyakashipu who wanted everyone to worship him was greatly disappointed by hearing his own son chanting the names of Maha Vishnu. To change the mind of Prahlad the King sent his son to the Ashramam of Shukracharya’s sons Shaku and Amarka. 

However they were also unsuccessful in breaking the solid devotion of Prahlad. Picture of Prahlad and sage Narada All the efforts of Hiranyakashipu in changing the mind of Prahlad were in vain. At last he got angry with his son and decided to kill him. But each time Hiranyakashipu tries to kill Prahlad Lord Vishnu’s magical hands were there to protect him. The King’s soldiers tried to kill Prahlad by poisoning him, drowning him in water, and throwing him down from mountain. But Lord Vishnu saved him from all these attempts. The King then created a bonfire and asked his sister Holika to sit with Prahlad on her lap inside it. As Holika was immune to fire he thought that his son will be killed. But Prahlada escaped from fire without any harm. 

The angry Hiranyakashipu challenged Prahlad asked where his Narayana can be found. Prahlad replied “My Vishnu is omnipresent and there is not a single place Narayana is not found”. The King was furious and got up from his throne and asked Prahlad “Can you show me your Vishnu in this pillar as well?” Prahlad said “Yes, He is!” The King hit the pillar strongly with his mace. With a thundering sound the pillar cracked and Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Lord Narasimha – the half man half lion form. The furious Narasimha grabbed Hiranyakasipu, pulled him to his lap and tore open his body with his claws to kill the asura. Lord Narasimha took this way to kill Hiranyakashipu so that Lord Brahma’s boon could not be offended. As Hiranyakashipu’s death wish and Brahma’s boon, Lord Narasimha was neither a man nor an animal, the time was twilight neither day nor night, he sat on the threshold of the room keeping the body of the Rakshas Hiranyakashipu on thighs, used his nails to kill the demon instead of astra or sasthra. After killing the demon Hiranyakashipu Lord Narasimha was furious and was pacified when his devotee Prahlad touched his feet. Prahlad was crowed as the next King by Lord Narasimha.


The Nine Forms of Narasimha
1. Sri Ugra Narasimha: – Also known as Prahalada Narasimha or Ahobila Narasimha. The lord self-manifested from a pillar to protect his devotee Prahalada from his arrogant father – the demon king Hiranyakasipu. Praying to Ugra Narasimha helps his devotees win over competitors in professional life, especially in business. He gives courage to overcome all kinds of fear.
2. Sri Yoga Narasimha –Yoga Narasimha is referred to the form of the lord who taught Yoga to Prahalada to attain eternal bliss. Worshipping Yoga Narasimha brings peace, mutual harmony and eternal bliss. He rescues his devotees from difficulties.

3. Sri Jwala Narasimha – When Narasimha’s anger reached its peak he became Jwala Narasimha and this is when he tore Hiranyakasipu. Praying to Jwala Narasihma brings good health and success in endeavors, hurdles in marriage disappear.

4. Sri Bhargava Narasimha –Bhargava Narasimha blesses you with leadership qualities, authoritative position in politics and administration.

5. Sri Krodha Narasimha -Also known as Varaha Narasimha as the lord has the face of a boar. His blessings remove obstacles and assure success, especially in real estate business. He help devotees win land disputes.
6. Sri Pavana Narasimha –Narasimha in this form is very peaceful. As per the Sages, Pavana Narasimha can liberate his devotees from sins committed in their present and past lives. He fills their lives with love and compassion.

7. Sri Malola Narasimha – Also known as Lakshmi Narasimha. The lord is full of mercy, love and compassion. Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Narasimha is in a very happy and peaceful state with her beloved Lord. Worshipping Lakshmi Narasimha brings Brahmananda (unlimited joy) to this world and the higher world. Prayers are offered for peace and harmony and also for clearance of all kinds of debts. Goddess Lakshmi blesses you with Ashtaishwaryam (8 kinds of wealth).
8. Sri Chatravata Narasimha – It is believed that Ketu worshipped the Lord here and gained all comforts. Blessings of Chatravata Narasimha help those in the profession of music and arts to gain proficiency and excellence. The lord also ensures good agricultural produce and stability of economy.

9. Sri Karanja Narasimha – When you worship Karanja Narasimha with three austerities (thought, word and action) you get enlightened and all your desires are fulfilled. The lord protects you from your enemies.

According to Narasimha Purana, the 9 planets worshipped the 9 forms of Narasimha to liberate themselves from the curses of sages and attained their status and powers as planets. Therefore, worshipping Nava Narasimha mitigates malefic effect of the 9 planets.
● Sri Ugra Narasimha protects you from the unfavorable energies of Jupiter
● Sri Yoga Narasimha protects you from the unfavorable energies of Saturn
● Sri Jwala Narasimha protects you from the unfavorable energies of Mars
● Sri Bhargava Narasimha protects you from the unfavorable energies of the Sun
● Sri Krodha Narasimha protects you from the unfavorable energies of Rahu
● Sri Pavana Narasimha protects you from the unfavorable energies of Mercury
● Sri Malola Narasimha protects you from the unfavorable energies of Venus
● Sri Chatravata Narasimha protects you from the unfavorable energies of Ketu
● Sri Karanja Narasimha protects you from the unfavorable energies of the Moon

Here is one of my favorite documentaries about Lord Narasimha and His Holy Place Ahovalam Dham in India.

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!!

Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra – Kirtan by Baraka (Sakshi Zion) Waldron Art Center Bloomington, Indiana

Enjoy this old school kirtan that we did at The Waldron Art Center 1st Annual Cancer Benefit in 2009! This is one of my favorite melodies of the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra.

You can Listen and Download more of our music here!

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!

Narayana Hari Om – Kirtan by Baraka – 2008 Healing Sounds Concert at UU Church Bloomington, Indiana

Enjoy this old school “Narayana Hari Om” Kirtan we did at UU Church in Bloomington, Indiana at the Healing Sounds Concert in 2008!! This was fun!

You can Listen and Download more of our music here!

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!

MC Yogi – Breath Control – Official Video

You gotta check out this awesome new video from MC Yogi called “Breath Control”. The man brings that yoga and mystic consciousness inna Hiphop stylee! The video is really cool too! I like the tracer lines when he moves his hands.

I got to see MC Yogi perform this song a few months ago when he came to Indiana for the Serendipity Festival, in which he performed with DJ Drez and the Kirtaniyas. His set was alot of fun! It was cool to see the mashup the 3 artists did by performing together. My reggae band The Tuff Tones also performed at the festival. It was a really great festival!

Watch the new video and support good music! Here’s MC Yogi’s website~

MC Yogi – Breath Control

Blessed Love
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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

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Kirtaniyas feat. MC Yogi – Nitai Gauranga Official Video

Last night my friend Pankaj sent me a link to a brand new music video he made. I had no idea what it would be. To my surprise it was a music video of the song “Nitai Gauranga” by my other friends Vijay, The Kirtaniyas, MC Yogi, and DJ Drez! I just performed with all of these guys at Serendipity Festival a little over a month ago and got a first sample hearing of this particular song when they performed it live there. I was loving it then. I actually thought it was my favorite song of the night when I saw them perform their set. My bands The Tuff Tones and Baraka also performed at Serendipity Festival, and myself and Vijay sang with Arjun Baba too. It was a blast! But doesn’t really compare to the fun they are having in this video! Filmed at the Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah during the “Festival of Colors“, the energy, and well obviously the colors really make this video a very enjoyable watch! If you didn’t already know, Kirtan is sacred chanting of God’s Holy Names. So check it out yourself!

Kirtaniyas feat. MC Yogi – Nitai Gauranga Official Video

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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

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HAPPY NARASIMHADEVA APPEARANCE DAY

“Lord Narasimha is here and also there. Wherever I go Lord Narasimha is there. He is in the heart and is outside as well. I surrender to Lord Narasimha, the origin of all things and the supreme refuge.”~Narasimha Purana

Narasimha is the Lion form of God in India. He represents Divine Majesty and Protection.

I always felt a connection to this Lion form of God because of how much I loved the form of Christ as the Lion of Judah.

Listen to Bob Marley singing the song Lion of Judah:

If you want to learn about the Cat Mystery Schools and divine parallels of Cats from around the world in sacred traditions, check out my friend Jahnagga Baba’s very well done video:

Enjoy! Jaya Narasimhadeva!

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!