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How and What do we teach our children about Hinduism? Give them the right values.

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Nacchinarkiniyan

Well-known member
This is a question which arises in the minds of all parents. Especially those who are outside Tamil Nadu and India.

In the old days we learnt about Hinduism from our grand mothers who told us stories of Gods and Saints. But the present day children do not seem to be in a mood to listen to stories.

The children of these days are very intelligent. They pick up information from various sources. Internet, peer groups, newspapers and magazines. So it has become difficult for parents.

First of all let us understand some basic rules.

1. Do not expect the children to believe you because you have said so. This is the truth because I say so. That kind of attitude is way behind times and does not help at all. I have found that children have more faith in their teachers and peers than parents. My children would contradict me saying that this is what their teacher or friend said. So you start with this handicap.

2. Children are not born with prejudices. We make them slaves to our prejudices.

A couple of examples. When my son was about three years old we used to have a woman coming and cleaning the toilets in our house. One day I was surprised when he said "Bathroom theychikki Mami" has come. He was used to calling all men as mamas and women as mamis. So he described her work and added Mami to it. He did not consider her our social inferior. He used to call our sasthirigal "Om Mama."

Again I remember once about 50 years back when my nephew we about 3/4 yeras old, the servant woman had brought her son one day. Since he was in the same age group my nephew became very friendly with him. They were playing together. Then in the afternoon both of them disappered. After a frantic serch we located them walking together on the road. My nephew explained that he has gone with his friend to see his house.

Please do not burden your children with your prejudices.

I will post again. But the thread is for all parents who could tell us about their suceesses and failures. And also ideas.
 

sashikala

Member
This i am writing after my own experience, we should teach values.
we can buy everything in this world except love, wealth or money is important and neccessary at every point but to what extent and at the cost of what.
values cannot be taught . it has to be learnt and for this the elders in the family are responsible.children learn more by seeing .
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
my children grew up in toronto,where they were all born.

the exposure to our traditions was mainly visits to the temple, which is overwhelmingly patronized by sri lankan tamils.

i tell my kids, these are our cousins. how the temple here smells the same as in kapali temple mylapore - the sounds, the smoke, the din, the running children, the bell ringing, the murmur of the priests, the namaskarams, the young couples, the bhajan crowds in the corner. so many such things.

we go there. to sit and absorb the atmosphere, the religion tinged cultural tones.

i light the lamp at home. everyone does the namaskarams.

i tell them about india. caste. how it suppressed the dalits. how it categorized people by their birth.

i have taught them some rudimentary prayers, that i repeat. i do it several times a day. suggest the same for them.

i hope they have a hindu identity. which they all proclaim they do. no caste identity. they dont know what caste is. probably cannot relate to it.

i hope to pass on an hinduism that i practise. i wish my father had done the same to me.

... more later.
 
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Nacchinarkiniyan

Nacchinarkiniyan

Well-known member
This i am writing after my own experience, we should teach values.
we can buy everything in this world except love, wealth or money is important and neccessary at every point but to what extent and at the cost of what.
values cannot be taught . it has to be learnt and for this the elders in the family are responsible.children learn more by seeing .

Yes. Definitely we should inculcate values. I had quoted two instances to show how children do not perceive any difference in status. If we had told our son that the "Bathroom theichikki Mami" is not a Mami and should not be called so, or my nephew that his friend is a servant woman's son, it would have sent the wrong message. I remember the time when while on vacation in my village I started learning Chilambam from my servant woman's brother. Somebody complained to my father. My father allowed the lessons to continue, but cautioned me that he is a bad sort. Unfortunately my lessons came to an end when my Guru was arrested for some petty theft. I believe that all are born equal.

Neither myself nor my wife have any problem cleaning the lavatories if need arises or when we feel that the cleaning is not good enough. My children have no problem doing any physical work. We wash our cars. Carry our luggage unless it is very heavy. The plumbers, electricians and other service people who come to our house are treated with respect. They are offered a cup of tea if the work takes too long. I talk to them like I talk to any professional. Dignity of Labour is an universal value.

We never ask any one his/her caste or pass any comments about any caste. My wife is very fond of narrating an incident in her life when she was an young girl. She had visited the house of one of her class mates. They asked her whether she is a Smartha since both my wife and my father in law have typical Vaishnavite names. Since she had never heard of the term Smartha she replied that she is a Brahmin. We have friends from all castes and religions. We celebrate Easter and Christmas with the Christians and Id with the Muslims. As a family we were regulars in the Id lunch of my Muslim friend. Their biriyani is fantastic. When I was a student I used to attend Church on Christmas and New year with my Christian friends. I used to go to the Mosque on Id day with my Muslim friends. Many of us Hindus joined our Muslim friends in fasting during the Ramadan month.
 

sangom

Well-known member
My sons are now themselves having kids, or at least of that age, eldest 46, youngest 40. As I have said I was like any ordinary tabra following rituals, customs, etc., up to some extent till a point of time. My children grew up mostly in Trivandrum and I always used to buy as many books as my position would permit. (I was, and continue to be, a middle class person IMO.) The Chandamama comics were the favourites of my children and, naturally, they used to ask many questions about the various stories. I used to be very frank and sincere in my replies to their queries and since I had disbelief about many aspects of hinduism even at that time, I used to tell them what exactly I felt. Fortunately my father-in-law who was living in the next house, and to whom my sons used to go for more info., also had not turned into a confirmed blind orthodox then and used to give them balanced answers. (He later on started believing everything in our hindu lore as absolute and inerrant truths and used to fly off the handle if there was any rebuttal and he was forced to find logical answers. My brother-in-law's son, his grandson, once cautioned me saying "thaatha has become a sort of religious fanatic, so please be careful in arguing about anything relating to religion; just nod your head and let him be happy; this is what I follow now.")

My eldest son is not very religious but seems to read a lot about it. Lately, he is into Buddhism intensely. Second son is ordinarily religious and reads about everything under the sun. The third one is at present more influenced by Aurobindo's works, as per my assessment.

But I do not start discussing religion with them, because even though they are adults, their world views are different and I feel ego will perhaps not allow them to accept anything contrary. If they raise any topic of their own, I tell my views and why I think so.

The only caution I have given them is not to get involved with any swamiji, holy man, godman/godwoman, etc., and, if they happen to be so attracted and finally suffer the consequences, not to blame us their parents for not having cautioned them. In this context we once discussed the Bhajagovindam verse —

जटिलो मुण्डी लुञ्चित कॆशः
काषायाम्बर बहुकृत वेषः ।
पश्यन्नपि च न पश्यति मूढः
उदरनिमित्तं बहुकृत वेष: ॥

jaṭilo muṇḍī luñcita keśaḥ
kāṣāyāmbara bahukṛta veṣaḥ |
paśyannapi ca na paśyati mūḍhaḥ
udaranimittaṃ bahukṛta veṣa: ||

Since these four lines are grammatically unconnected with each other and are sort of independent statements, in a sense, these can be interpreted to mean also that "sporting jaṭā, clean shaven head, hair pulled out, wearing kāṣāyā (saffron coloured) clothes, making many types of dresses, the fool (however) does not recognise (that these are all) appearances made for eking out the daily food".

Who knows whether the composer of this verse was taking a dig on all saffron-clad ascetics of diverse hues. (I don't subscribe to the view that it is Adi Sankara who composed this because, IMHO, He would not have berated the clean shaven Sanyasi order set up by himself in this manner - even if one goes by the accepted meaning of this verse, not the above one. The other possibility is that Sankara was not a clean-shaven saffron-clad Sanyasi and the usual picturization of Sankara and his four disciples is pure artist's imagination. The Sankara mutts may be the authentic source for the truth.)
 

B.Krishnamurthy

Active member
IMHO most of the parents unknowingly teach their children how to spend money by sending their children to markets to procure things.
They never teach children how to earn the money that has been given to them for procuring things.Children come to know about value of money only after they start earning in their jobs.
I know of a friend (afterstaying for most part of his life with parents in their own house) found it difficult to manage his family(consisting of wife and two kids)when he was transferred to an outstation on promotion (he was 40 years at that time).His father had to guide him from his native place for running the family,managing the budget etc.It would be better if children are given sufficient guidance to lead an independent life after they become adults.
In my house I requested my children to be frank and fearless in discussing any topic in this universe with parents without concealing anything.
When I read a news about rape in newspaper I used to discuss with my children mostly my daughters as to how they can protect themselves
when they are required to go out to School/College/Job etc and how they may be subjected to harassment when they travel in public Transport.I welcomedopen criticism from my children about my conduct/behaviour/activities telling them that,I being the only breadwinner for the family, the family stands to gain if my actions are good and they stand to loose heavily,if I indulge in wrong activities.
In most of the families,occasions do arise,as it had happened in my family too, that we are forced to tell lies either over phone or on other occasions.When we live as one family unit,every member knew the reasons as to why we had to act the way we did.
I always wanted my children to extend help to outsiders even putting themselves to inconvenience.I am happy that my children are following this practice as a matter of routine.I find that parents of modern days may find it extremely difficult to inculcate value system to their wards as life style of people are drasatically changed in the last fifty years.
Recently I had an occasion to participate in a marriage reception of a Nattukkottai Chettiar Community in a Five Star Hotel in LA,California.
More than 200 community members were there.Though they are all settled in USA,they are able to maintain their identity as a community and follow their culture.
 
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kunjuppu

Well-known member
BK,

good note.

the nattukottai chettiars of the current generation, in canada (& probably the usa) are finding it difficult, caught as these 20 year olds inbetween community loyalty, and trying keep to the traditions of marrying within the community.

i know of divorce (guy from here, girl from india) and marriage outside the caste. i think their trend is just starting. quite a few of them remain unmarried in their 30s for not having the desire to oppose their parents. but unwilling to commit to someone whom they dont love.
 

renuka

Well-known member
How I teach my 11 year old son about Religion and Human Values.

Firstly I have told my son that most important is to be Human and have Human Values cos if you cant feel compassion for another living being its not worth even taking the name of God.

So far I have not had a problem with him cos he is still young only 11.
They are many things I have learnt from him instead when I teach him about spirituality.

On sunday mornings I teach him Sanskrit and then read along with him stories from Ramayan and Mahabharat and also teach him bhajans which he likes to sing anyway.
He likes to alter some songs and make it sound more rap like which i dont object cos thats his way of expressing his love for God and I too end up singing his 'composition' sometimes.

Last week when I was teaching him Ramayan where King Dasharatha was being praised as a virtous person and then the Shravan Kumar episode came where King Dasharatha had accidently shot him with an arrow mistaking him to be an elephant at water.

My son asked me" Ma just now King Dasharatha was being praised as a virtous King and how come he is hunting and killing an elephant? Didnt he feel pity taking a life of an animal that did no harm to him?"

Now that was not an easy question to answer..cos that would involve explaining about the passion of a King for hunting etc which my son will surely disagree cos he doesnt even keep the fan on in house if he sees a moth flying around cos he is scared the moth might get cut by the fan.

So I told him this.. "Yes you are right. I myself dont view it as a virtue even though its sanctioned for King cos if you want to improve target practise you can chose inanimate objects.So that i also dont agree for indiscriminate killing of animals"

I didnt tell him "Dont question and just listen!"
I encourage enquiry and a child asks a lot of questions too.

Like he asked me this 3 weeks ago while teaching him sanskrit.

"Ma what does a person feel right at the moment of death and what will be the last thought in mind? is it painful or fearful or just blank and can we hear and see or even think just seconds before death. is our vision blurred and what about hearing and how does our skin feel? painful of normal"

To which i said .. "I can answer your questions as a doctor that our senses do fail us at time of death but its very hard for me to tell you what exactly is the mind of a dying person just seconds before death"

I answer all queries about Life and Death to him( he loves to ask that mainly) both from a medical and spiritual perspective much to the objection of my parents who tell me avoid giving answers about life and death cos he is too young.
I feel each question need to be answered but i would modify it to fit a child's psychology( cos we always assume we know more than a kid but it might not be true) so that he/she doesnt grow up confused when his/her questions are not answered.

So this is what a present day kid is all about.
I dont force him to do what he is not comfortable with for example he doesnt like to pray in the prayer room but recites his Gayatri Mantra and other mantras when he wakes up sitting on his bed with eyes closed and also midday he likes to recite it in the car while coming back from school and also at night before bed time and he also listens to some bhajans and goes to bed.

I respect his preference of not getting into any formal method which sometimes my parents do tell me that he is not praying like showing arti etc and culture has to be maintained.
Even my husband gets a little worried cos my son doesnt prefer any form of image worship cos my son did tell us that all images are artists impression cos each pic and idol look different from each other and no one really knows what God looks like so he rather close his eyes and pray.This really worries my husband cos my husband feels image worship is important.

But i dont interefere cos spirituality is between God and Bhaktha and as long he knows what he wants i am happy cos its a delight teaching him not that i get to teach him but rather I also learn from him with his rather difficult questions.
 
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Yamaka

New member
As I wrote earlier elsewhere, I am not a religious person but married to a Pragmatic Brahmin girl - our marriage is an IRM; we raised two healthy kids - elder girl (now 26) and younger son (now 22) in a secular household.

However, very early on my wife would take the kids to nearby Meenakshi Temple at least once a month - I have driven them to the place, waited outside several times. My kids quickly understood that I don't worship any God, and don't have much interest in any organized religion.

Of the two kids, my son showed interest in all the rituals at the Temple... he observed what Mom was doing every time she worshiped.. daughter was just mechanical, showed no interest - perhaps, she was like her Dad! lol She doesn't want to disappoint her Mom!

I am not bothered at all about my kids going to Temple to worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi... I just want to know whether they have interest or not.

When my son was about 18, he started asking Mom lots of religious questions - one question is "Mom, are we all Shiva worshipers - the Iyers?" She answered, "Yes, what about it ?"

"Why are we worshiping the Lingham, anyway? I don't think any religion does it!"

My wife was taken aback... she was quiet for some time, then "Kanna, I don't know why we do, that's the tradition; I don't want to talk about it further"

My son appeared disappointed... I kept quiet...thinking how to "teach Religion and its rituals to a 18 year old American-born kid?"

Any suggestions?
 
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renuka

Well-known member
Dear Yamaka,

I think your wife had already answered your sons question by saying "Kanna, I don't know why we do, that's the tradition; I don't want to talk about it further"

See most of us dont really understand what we do cos we havent asked and no one has given answers which should be oriented to time, place and person.

There is no harm starting from basics even for any age be it a kid ,a teenager or a senior citizen.
Place of birth makes not much difference to an Indian cos we can take an Indian out of India but not take India out of him/her.

Your son asked a good question but he didnt get an answer..so may be you can start by telling him all about the significance of a Shiva Linga and both its physical and subtle attributes and also tell him that all religions have their own way of worship.. and the objects of focus might differ, thats all.

It might be an idol for some, a book or a doctrine for another or even a direction(as in north south east west) for some others..either way an impression is formed in our brain via visual,auditory or tactile stimuli..so no one religions mode of worship actually differs cos at the end of the day an impression is formed in our mind and thats what worship is all about.

The best way to handle a kids query is to answer him/her. If we dont know..take time to read up or find out from friends or anyone and tell the children give me sometime and i will get back to you or even better ask them to do some research along with us to find answers.

This is just a suggestion.
 
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KRS

Well-known member
Folks,

My elder brother (we are Smartha Iyers) married a Christian lady (who by the way, I consider one of the finest human beings on this earth). My bro was not interested in religion and was not much involved in raising his two sons.

His eldest son is now an agnostic and the younger one is a Christian.

The eldest has a son, who is six years old now. He is very precocious and from a very young age, he has been fascinated by different religions and cultures.

He visited our home town last year and since then, he calls himself a Hindu - no prodding. In fact he says he is Indian - he was bemoaning the fact that the British really screwed up India to me, about a couple of months ago, when he was visiting us.

I have no idea, why he is so. No one has tried to teach him anything about Hinduism, his father is agnostic and his mother is a non church going Christian. Where he gets this from?

I have no idea.

These are the magics in our lives. No rational explanations here.

Regards,
KRS
 
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OP
Nacchinarkiniyan

Nacchinarkiniyan

Well-known member
KRS,

I understand. This happens. My first son was very precocious and had his own ideas about Hinduism. When he was about 3 years old we got him admitted to a Nursery school. The school held special programmes for Hindu, Christian and Muslim festivals. Around Christmas time we visited the school. The Principal informed me that my son was selected to play the role of Infant Jesus in the Christmas play. It seems he refused saying that we are Hindus. He never told us about it.

We found my son's attitude towards religion and life in general similar to the attitude of old Brahmin men of my grand father's generation. We tease him saying that he is an old orthodox Brahmin reborn. He was educated in a residential school based on the model of Eton and Harrow. Six years in that school from the age 10 to 16 has not changed his attitude and ideas.

He has travelled and worked abroad, but refuses to work in any place other than India at a stretch. The public school education has given him the ability to move freely with people from all over the world. He was at home in Prague, Luxemburg and Ethiopia among other places.

But at home he is an orthodox Brahmin. He has taken Deekasha. He wears panchakaccham while doing Puja. All his spare time is used in Puja and Japa. He has studied Sanskrit and studies only the original Sanskrit texts because he believes that translations corrupt the text. He has a huge collection of the original Hindu texts.

We no longer understand him. He reminds me only of the old Brahmins depicted in novels and cinemas.

He has confirmed my opinion about Vasanas.
 

suraju06

Well-known member
As I wrote earlier elsewhere, I am not a religious person but married to a Pragmatic Brahmin girl - our marriage is an IRM; we raised two healthy kids - elder girl (now 26) and younger son (now 22) in a secular household.
However, very early on my wife would take the kids to nearby Meenakshi Temple at least once a month - I have driven them to the place, waited outside several times. My kids quickly understood that I don't worship any God, and don't have much interest in any organized religion.
Of the two kids, my son showed interest in all the rituals at the Temple... he observed what Mom was doing every time she worshiped.. daughter was just mechanical, showed no interest - perhaps, she was like her Dad! lol She doesn't want to disappoint her Mom!
I am not bothered at all about my kids going to Temple to worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi... I just want to know whether they have interest or not.
When my son was about 18, he started asking Mom lots of religious questions - one question is "Mom, are we all Shiva worshipers - the Iyers?" She answered, "Yes, what about it ?"
"Why are we worshiping the Lingham, anyway? I don't think any religion does it!"
My wife was taken aback... she was quiet for some time, then "Kanna, I don't know why we do, that's the tradition; I don't want to talk about it further"


My son appeared disappointed... I kept quiet...thinking how to "teach Religion and its rituals to a 18 year old American-born kid?"

Any suggestions?

Dear Yamaka,

I am sure "Any Suggestions?" means you too are looking for an answer to your son's question.
I have highlighted the portion of your post which contains the question as it is of interest to me here. I have come across this question from many educated grown ups too. When one belonging to another religion or a non-believer asks this question the answer is presumed and so it is usually to put you in the defensive or to make fun of you. I am sure,with a secular mindset, you are genuinely interested in finding the answer.

I think your wife, with her faith in her ancestors' wisdom, could have told your son "I will find out and tell you because in Hinduism they have a meaning for every symbol". She could have found out that Shivling means "indicative of Shiva" and not Shiva's lingam. Just as 'sthreeling' and 'pulling' in Sanskrit means 'indicative of female gender' and 'indicative of male gender' (not 'woman's genitals' or 'men's genitals'). The Westerners, with little understanding, had said that Shivling worship represents phallus(because the stone looks like an erect male organ) worship and our intelligentsia who have learnt our religion, culture and even our languages through the medium of a foreign language only have accepted it meekly without protest(except Swami Vivekananda). By that answer your wife could have also kindled interest in your son's mind about the need for an object (like a stone called shivling) to concentrate on God and how it makes the worshiping that much easier.

If your son is inquisitive by nature it would have taken him further into knowing what is Advaitam and Saivism.

Cheers.
 
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kunjuppu

Well-known member
yamaka,

very interesting post. thank you for sharing that.

even though both me and the spouse are palghat brahmins, i come from a non ritual basically default brahmin household. so does my wife, though her dad got into ayyappa stuff seriously in his later years.

in our house, the wife is agnostic, and it is i who light the lamp. when we go to the temple, which is not often, it is more to appreciate the culture, the sounds, the smoke, the smell, the chants and suchlike. to me it gives peace. the children, though grown up, dont volunteer, but willingly come and have not expressed any unwillingness. we do an archanai, but it is God's name.

my older son considers himself an agnostic, and whomever he marries, will be the same. as he is dead set against organized ritualized religion, especially which is bathed in regular formalties and congregations. such things are simply not for him. the younger ones, i am yet to find out.

we are non ritual now, since i feel, i have paid my dues to my parents with doing the obsequies in kasi & gaya. so there is hardly any visit by a priest or an occassion to celebrate the tradition. but interestingly all my 3 children identify themselves as hindus, something the spouse would hesitate to do, and i would not boast about. don't know what it is.

mercifully they have no caste badge. that i am proud.

i would imagine it is more a cultural and heritage thing. if you are indian, there is an amount of history that is your heritage. i guess you carry that baggage, and it is upto us as parents, to remove the wheat from the chaff. i try my best to inculcate the 'tamil' in their heritage. with so many sri lankan tamils around, it is easier now, than before.

mercifully, my chldren have not asked me for explanations that your son did. frankly i do not know now what i would have said. probably, 'i dont know' or maybe 'i will try to find out'. but the spouse would have answered very much like your wife.

best wishes.
 
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renuka

Well-known member
Just one more point I want to highlight..I feel we should drop the word Hinduism when we teach our kids cos thats not really the correct word.
We should try to reinstate the word Sanathana Dharma cos Dharma is universal.
And I have a suggestion here..children should be told that each one step leads to another and rituals are fine as long it doesnt overide the understanding of Spiritualism.
Most people are under the impression that sans rituals = sans bhakti.

With regards to vegetarianism i would like to highlight that vegetarianism should be on grounds of compassion and not as a lifestyle where non veg food is looked as impure and unfit for the body cos that just instills that "we cant eat it cos its impure for body and not becos we love the animal and dont wish to inflict pain on it".

I remember when I was intern there was this one Sri Lankan Tamil surgeon who was married to a Tamil Brahmin female doc from India and once he was mocking me being a vegetarian during surgery and told me "You know my wife is a Brahmin and she never even used to eat garlic and onion and today she eats beef also..so you being a non Brahmin why are you even veg and if you hang around with me longer even you will start eating beef"

To which I replied "Sir may be for your wife she was vegetarian as a lifestyle and now her lifestyle changed..for me I am veg cos of compassion and that wont change no matter where i am or who i hang around with"
 

kiruku

Member
With regards to vegetarianism i would like to highlight that vegetarianism should be on grounds of compassion and not as a lifestyle

My explanation to my children was (they are following the rule of their own volition):

Understand that everyone can not be a vegatarian but we have a choice.
We are Brahmins and are expected not to hurt any living being or be a cause in their killing.
 

Yamaka

New member
Dear K, Renukka, Raju and others:

Thanks for your kind reply.

I asked my wife about the issue of Shiva Lingam and her answer to our son after a few days of the event; this is what she said:

"It's all my fault.. growing up I didn't know what to ask or how to ask religious questions - I was just "going with the flow" "Go along to get along"-type. Even had I asked poignant questions to my parents or relatives, I would not have gotten any clear answer - the best answer could be "just follow the tradition"!!

"Here, I am with my very observant eager son who wants to talk about religion and the rituals, I shut him out... very shameful how I felt. After coming to the US I thought about Shiva Lingam worship etc., I talked to some "learned" people in Hindu philosophy - all I got was very shallow explanation, nothing Awe Inspiring... for example

a) Yes, we worship the Lingam of Shiva - that's to show the supremacy of the male, which I just can't accept. This is very convenient small talk.

b) Yes, it is a Lingam, not necessarily of Shiva - just a symbol of vigor and vitality, which again I just can't accept it. Another very shallow explanation. When we have the majestic Nataraja as Shiva why we keep worshiping a Lingam?

c) No.. it is not a Lingam of anybody, including Shiva - it is a column of Fire - He took that form to tell Brahma and Vishnu that He is the Superior of the THREE Mighty Gods.
This kind of appeals to me.. but again why there is competition among the Gods, anyway.

I believe our son has already read about all this (on the Net) or through his Hindu friends at school and he wanted to go for a debate on this topic with me... I shut him out! Very shameful of me...It hurts me so much, that I don't know how to explain my religion to my kids"

Anyway, she is still searching for an Awe Inspiring Explanation regarding Lingam Worship among Shiva followers.

Thanks.

Cheers.

Regards

Y
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
Y,

please tell your wife that she is not the only one with such a predicament. most of us tambrams, i suspect, of my generation, are like that. what more, i think my parent's generation were also like that similar.

i think, there was either a reluctance or ignorance - and this probably fed the prejudice against every other group. after all with knowledge comes confidence, n'est pas?

we tambrams have gone the route of rituals, just for the sake of it or for pomp. while one is comfortable with such traditions as feeding the baby at the right stage of life or the naming ceremony, when it comes to poonal and beyond, there comes an element of scriptures and exclusivity, which my father included, was uncomfortable in explaining, as he simply did not know.

i think, just for the sake of removing the hypocracy and ignorance, hinduism needs a simplified reformation. not sure whether it will come.

after all take islam. with little or no philosophical disagreement, and just based on historical quarrel for precedence for succession, look at the killings between the shias and the sunnis. i think as humans, we have a need to kill and feel superior to others. if we do not have an enemy, we will invent one. sad.

hinduism, with its hundreds of castes and creeds, i think, has little chance of reformation right now. what with the political winds blowing on the side of the underclass. a time may come in 50 years or so, when the society has stablized, and sufficient folks have become agnostic or stopped visiting the temples. just like western christianity, which in a short span of 50 years, has just faded. the threat to any religion always is from within, as folks walk away, either due to rejection or lack of interest. modern hinduism with its built in stratification practised harshly today has given room for both.

on a lighter note, in the movie ishqiya, the two leading protoganists, who are muslims, get caught in the cross fire in a caste war in UP. one of them does not understand what is happening, and the other explains, 'in islam we have only other group shia or sunni to kill; here the hindus have enough to kill everyone they see'.. or something like that, thanks to subtitles :)
 
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kunjuppu

Well-known member
talking of coincidences, one of my sons asked me if vibuthi came from the cow dung. this in context of me lighting the lamp, and asking the kdis to do a namaskaram.

my daughter who is more knowledgeable, said that she was reading about this a while ago, but could not come out with a coherent explanation.

i invited them both to the PC, and went through the explanation in wikipedia.

the truth is, i did not know myself. :(

the children went away, i guess their curiosity satisfied.
 

happyhindu

Well-known member
a) Yes, we worship the Lingam of Shiva - that's to show the supremacy of the male, which I just can't accept. This is very convenient small talk.

b) Yes, it is a Lingam, not necessarily of Shiva - just a symbol of vigor and vitality, which again I just can't accept it. Another very shallow explanation. When we have the majestic Nataraja as Shiva why we keep worshiping a Lingam?

c) No.. it is not a Lingam of anybody, including Shiva - it is a column of Fire - He took that form to tell Brahma and Vishnu that He is the Superior of the THREE Mighty Gods.
This kind of appeals to me.. but again why there is competition among the Gods, anyway.
Dear Sir,

The lingam was called pindi in some parts of india. The worship dates back to primitive periods of time in east india; and was prevalant around Bengal, and Northeast India. Historians say that pindi worship belongs to the Nagas or austroasiatic mundari tribes. I feel once upon a time, they had an advanced (spiritual) civilization. Some say the founding fathers of pindi worship belonged to haplogroup O. But no concrete proof of that as yet, though it is very likely.

The vedas call the lingam 'Sisna'. The Sisna worshipers fought against Indra (but i think the fight was more like how india-pakistan fights in contemprory history, they are so similar and yet they dislike each other and fight based on 'religious' identity. Dunno what they were fighting about. They fought despite the fact that Devas took Asura wives in the Yajurveda. Maybe it was all about land-ownership).

Some historians have written that Pindi and Sisna are the same. The term "lingam" is perhaps a later development. It also remains a puzzle to me how Shiva, the puranic personage got associated with it.

The Nagas were into 'magical' rituals. I feel that concepts in Kundalini yoga comes from them, though there is no concrete proof. Perhaps in early times man was in awe of the whole process of reproduction. He may have explored the 'energy' behind the organs that cause life to take birth. From such explorations, the linga (shaivas) and yoni (shaktas) worhipping groups may have arisen, each with their own set of philosophies.

To the kundalini yoga practitioners, the lingam is a symbol of the sushumna nadi, though which 'energy' rises from the coccyx to the shasrara. There are many kriyas into which a yogi is initiated peridically from time to time. All of these are secretive practices and not documented. When a yogi is able to stop breathing for prolonged periods of time, (that is when he can drop his breath and pulse at will), it means he is capable of 'samadhi'. Such a yogi is given the title "Paramahansa" by his guru.

The guru himself may not be a Paramahansa, but when he recognises his shishya has come to that stage, he gives his shishya that title. The whole concept of attaining brahman is fascinating indeed.

Sir, maybe this book will help you provide answers to your child: Naga Cults and Traditions in the Western Himalayas, written by Omacanda Hāṇḍā. It is available for reading on Google books: http://books.google.com.sg/books?id=Xd50t19YpJEC&pg=PA142&lpg=PA142&dq=pindi+lingam&source=bl&ots=vYjMpjwBSq&sig=DUxjwpgUnqIbBmYR5uSdQS0gFsU&hl=en&ei=Dau8TfbjMoakugOUkY3gDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CDUQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=pindi%20lingam&f=false

Regards.
 
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renuka

Well-known member
Read this..good explanation:

Meaning of Lingam

“Just as OM is the ‘sound symbol’ of God, the Linga is ‘form symbol’ or visible symbol of God – the most meaningful, the simplest and the least endowed with appendages of attributes. The Linga means, that in which this Jagat (world of change) attains Laya or mergence or dissolution (Leeyate). All forms merge in the Formless at last. Shiva is the Principle of Destruction of all names and forms, of all entities and individuals. So, the Linga is the simplest sign of emergence and mergence.” (Sai Baba, SS, 3/99, last cover page)

Different Types Of Shiva Lingas :

Hiranyagarbha / Hiranya-Garbha Linga
Sada-Shiva Lingam
Netra-Lingham
Narmada or Narmadeshwar Lingum
Jyotir-Linga
Jnana-Lingam
Atma Lingham
Angushta-Maatram Lingum
Anda-Pinda Linga
Aahtaloha Lingam
Vaidurya Lingham
Spatika Lingum
Padara Linga
Trapu Lingam
Ayasa Lingham
Seesa Lingum
Ashtadhtu Linga
Navanita Lingam
Durvakadaja Or Garika Lingham
Karpura Lingum
Ayaskanta Linga
Mouktika Lingam
Suvarana Lingham
Rajita Lingum
Pittala Or Kamsya Linga
Bhamsa Lingam
Guda Lingam Or Sita Lingham
Vamsankura Lingum
Pishta Linga
Dhadhidhugdha Lingam
Dhanya Lingham
Phala Lingum
Dhatri Linga
Gandha Lingam
Pushpa Lingham
Gosakru Lingum
Valuka Linga
Yavagodhumasalij Lingam
Sitakhanda Lingham
Lavana Lingum
Tilapista Linga
Netra-Lingam
Bana Lingham
Somnath Jyotirlinga
Bhoomi Lingum
Jala Linga
Agni or Thejo Lingam
Vayu Lingham
Akasha Lingum
Yajamana Linga
Chandra Lingam
Surya Lingham
Sthira Lingum
Ardhanarishwara Linga
Chaturmukhalingam
Amarnath Lingham
The Twelve jyotirlingas are:
Somnatha
Mallikarjuna
Mahakala
Omkara
Kedara
Bhimshankara
Vishvanatha
Tryambaka
Vaidynatha
Nagesha
Rameswara
Ghushnesha

According to the Agamas the lingas can be of two kinds, the cala i.e. moveable and the acala, i.e, immoveable. The cala lingas are again of different types: mrnmaya (earthen); lohaja (metallic); ratnaja (of precious stones); daruja (wooden); sailaja (of stone); and Ksanika (those made for temporary worship). The lohaja i.e. metallic lingas are made of 8 metals (gold, silver, copper, bell-metal, iron, lead, brass and tin) and the ratnaja ones are made of pearls, coral, vaidurya, topaz, emerald and bluestone. The acala or sthavara lingas are of 10 kinds (Svayambhuva, Purva, Daivata, Ganapatya, Asura, Sura, Arsa Raksasa, Manusa and Bana). The Makutagama calls them Sthira lingas and divide them into four classes: 1) Daivika; 2) Arsaka; 3) Ganapa and 4 ) Manusa.
 
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happyhindu

Well-known member
talking of coincidences, one of my sons asked me if vibuthi came from the cow dung. this in context of me lighting the lamp, and asking the kdis to do a namaskaram.
My daughter wanted to know why hindus worship "nandus and cows". She meant Nandi (the Bull) and Cows. Before that she wanted to know why we do not eat beef and pork just like her other friends. I tried to give her some answers which i hope worked for her. Basically she asks me questions only if her friends ask her any questions. On her own she is not the questioning sort (she is like the rest of the family, so obviously she is completely different from me).

My daughter lights the lamp everyday and tells some simple shlokas (My mother taught her stotrams on Mahalakshmi which my daughter likes to recite, apart from the usual ones like Shuklambharadaram..). My daughter was desperate for a sibling, and was gender-specific with her sibling preference; and she beleives God answered her prayers. Basically the kid believes all her prayers always comes true. Especially when she passes her exams.

I have not told her about the caste system, so she does not know about that yet. She knows we are hindus. She loves temples and all rituals, especially the grandeur of temple rituals and homams as well. I have told her Jesus and Allah are also as much Gods as our very own. I wish for her to be a hindu but I do not wish for her to be against other religions.

She was spell bound with the wedding of Prince William and Kate which she saw on TV. But she was disappointed with the actual ceremony itself. She said "they only sing, talk and put the ring". She has always wanted a wedding similar to that of Perumal-Thayar Thirukalyanam. A grand one. Hopefully we can fulfil her wishes.

Regards.
 
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Yamaka

New member
Vegetarianism - Balanced Diet - Compassion - Life

Folks, here is a small conversation in a Vegetarian Household: Place - T. Nagar, Chennai

Mr. is a CFO in a Multi-National Co. Mrs. Very Traditional has a M.Sc. in Botany. Daughter: Very obedient. Son: In high school, and is very talkative... Enjoy...have fun:

Mom: Hi Kanna, how was the school today?

Son: Good Ma, in the Science Quiz I made a perfect score.. the teacher was very impressed.. it's all because I read this "Scientific American" regularly.

Mom: What was the topic anyway?

Son: Well, it's about balanced diet, vegetarian food, whether plants have life and respire and have feelings or not.. and all those cool stuff!

Mom: Tell me more, remember we are all strict vegetarians.. we have compassion, we should not kill any living things..we just can't use animals for our use...

Son: Mom, listen, like animals plants have life, they breath and they grow to propagate their species... we kill plants and use it in our cooking all day everyday..plus we drink milk every day.. milk is an animal product..dah, Mom.. and many of the vegetarians even take eggs and fish (in Bengal).. do you know why? All because we should have balanced diet... plant food just can't give all the Essential Amino acids that we need: you must take some animal food also like milk, egg and fish... besides, Mom, the milk we take it's meant for the calf.. we deprive the calves of their milk.. instead our Milkmen trick the cows with a phony calf for the cow to secrete milk.. so that they can sell it for big bucks.. and we buy it for our consumption.

Mom: Kanna.. just stop.. we need to live.. we need milk, w/o milk our daily life will be totally destroyed!

Son: Man uses both plants and animals for his use, to make his life livable. see you have beautiful fine grain sofa here.. all are made of fine leather.. you have comfortable shoes.. all made up of fine leather from animals... so, the fact is we kill animals for our comfort... we kill calves to steal their milk, we kill plants to eat their fruits, seeds, tubers etc.

Mom: But we are very compassionate people, remember.

Son: We are.. and we are also a part of the Food Chain.. most people in the world are buried not cremated after death.. they are eaten by the bugs, worms etc.. they enter the Food Chain.. the cycle goes on; we are part of Nature, and so don't say we are compassionate people, that's why we are Pure Vegetarians... that's all funny talk, Mom.

Mom: I agree with everything you say... but we are vegetarians, period.

Son: Yes.. yes.. you keep saying that... you see, Dad.. he eats everything at his Office..since he is a big shot in his Company, they feed him all sorts of cuisines from that Five Star Hotel.. man he loves Salmon Steak, Kung Pao Beef, and Mutton Briyani.. and all that.. but when he eats at home he is a cool vegetarian...

You are very funny Mom.. anyway, just give me some money -pocket money - I have to take somebody for a treat- that girl you know, who always smiles at me! She loves that deep fried Prawn! Man... it's a very costly dish! She has expensive taste, Mom!! Your are the best Mom one can have in this whole world!!!
 
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Nacchinarkiniyan

Nacchinarkiniyan

Well-known member
There is always the question of caste system. As I had mentioned earlier we never talked about it in our house. Never bothered to find out to which caste a person belonged.

How did my children react to this? I am sure they picked up all abut the caste system in school. My children did have a tough time in the residential school because there were very few South Indian Brahmins in that school. Of course many of us would have read about the system in a public school. More about that later.

Now my second on used to pass through an area which is a sort of Dalit settlement in Madras, on his way to the college. He picked up a number of friends there. In a few years even his language changed to what we call Cheri Tamil. Tamil was not taught in his school. The friendships continued. Some of his friends occasionally dropped in my house for a chat. The elders of that area used to come and invite us for the festivals of the temple in that area. I had become a sort of patron.

Last year my son visited Madras after some years. He has become the top executive in a firm. He gave a lecture in the school in the Dalit area about how to come up in life by study and hard work. He donated a computer to the school.

What I am coming to is that my son was accepted by the Dalit community as their own. They wanted the youngsters to learn form his experience. Later my son told me how one of his friends has become a big man in Vidutalai Chirutthai movement.

Of course the down side of this which used to bother us that my son became one of the rowdies of that area. He is now telling his buddies how a erstwhile rowdy can become successful in life.

I believe that I have taken the caste feeling out of my children. My sons wear Poonal (always did), recite prayers, visit temples etc. etc. but remain without a feeling of caste superiority. Even my Uddhanda Brahmin son has no problem moving with his brother's friends in the Dalit area. He was a hero to them because he is a blackbelt in KungFu.
 

subbudu1

New member
There is always the question of caste system. As I had mentioned earlier we never talked about it in our house. Never bothered to find out to which caste a person belonged.

How did my children react to this? I am sure they picked up all abut the caste system in school. My children did have a tough time in the residential school because there were very few South Indian Brahmins in that school. Of course many of us would have read about the system in a public school. More about that later.

Now my second on used to pass through an area which is a sort of Dalit settlement in Madras, on his way to the college. He picked up a number of friends there. In a few years even his language changed to what we call Cheri Tamil. Tamil was not taught in his school. The friendships continued. Some of his friends occasionally dropped in my house for a chat. The elders of that area used to come and invite us for the festivals of the temple in that area. I had become a sort of patron.

Last year my son visited Madras after some years. He has become the top executive in a firm. He gave a lecture in the school in the Dalit area about how to come up in life by study and hard work. He donated a computer to the school.

What I am coming to is that my son was accepted by the Dalit community as their own. They wanted the youngsters to learn form his experience. Later my son told me how one of his friends has become a big man in Vidutalai Chirutthai movement.

Of course the down side of this which used to bother us that my son became one of the rowdies of that area. He is now telling his buddies how a erstwhile rowdy can become successful in life.

I believe that I have taken the caste feeling out of my children. My sons wear Poonal (always did), recite prayers, visit temples etc. etc. but remain without a feeling of caste superiority. Even my Uddhanda Brahmin son has no problem moving with his brother's friends in the Dalit area. He was a hero to them because he is a blackbelt in KungFu.
Very interesting. Almost like- from some movie.
Wish lot of people were as bold as you in caste experiments but who also retained the core of Brahmanism like poonal etc. l
I have to humbly submit - I am no way as bold or as broadminded as you.
Your family's life story will be an interesting case study.
 
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