It is common for H parents to think that vegetarian food, ethnic clothing, deshabhAShA-s, classical dance & music, the occasional visit to a temple, a pompous upanayanam or dance show are the pillars of auto-acculturation. I'd say these are mostly peripheral. What is important is
that they provide:1) involved religious identity and praxis education. 2) H world view education from the texts and showing its difference and core robustness vis-à-vis the alternatives. 3) detailed H history education. Of course this is easier said than done for the parents
themselves are ignorant in this regard. Thus, it becomes the imperative of the community to facilitate this kind of education. The problem at that level is the mediocrity that is celebrated through much of H social discourse on matters outside of "name-bringing" secular education

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8 Apr
The question here is an often a difficult issue for both initiate & lay H. As usual, my considered analysis of it will not be pleasing to some; hence, don't @ me if you get hot from reading it. Manage your outrage in other ways: 1) Humans were not around from the inception in
this universe. In fact they are very recent phenomenon given the age of the universe. 2. The shAstra-s (in the broad sense) have been around for just a subset of that period of human existence. 3. A some point the humans & their shAstra-s will become extinct. 4. Thus, if the
devatA-s were dependent on the shAstra-s then their existence will be finite & conterminal with the emergence & extinction of species like humans. 5. This is contradictory with the very account of most devatA-s in a shAstra, be it naigamika or Agamika. 6. Hence, we posit that the
Read 10 tweets
7 Apr
The next page of our illustrates nakShatrasUkta: abhijit corresponds to the bright star Vega in Lyra. It is far away from the ecliptic and has been dropped even by the time of the mahAbhArata where indra mentions this to skanda in a cryptic legend. This probably was due to
precession making it no longer suitable for marking the days for the specific abhijit ritual in the annual sattra. Since this was recorded in the bhArata itself, I believe it is evidence for the actual coeval use of the kR^ittikAdi system in early history before its precession by
the time of the bhArata. Finally, from an observational standpoint we have the great Ring Nebula M 57 which is one of the best planetary nebulae for a small scope. I have even managed it with my 20 x 70 binocs on good nights. The double-double (Epsilon Lyrae) NW of abhijit is a
Read 4 tweets
5 Apr
The next page the 2 aShADhA-s: another glorious part of the sky associated with the Sagittarius arm & the center of the Milky Way. The globular clusters surrounding the halo of the MW are superimposed against it. Most spectacular of these is M22, 1 of the brightest seen just NW Image
of the teapot of Sagittarius. Of the other globulars M 28, M 69, M 70 & M54. Of these M 54 has a remarkable history of being the core the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy a companion of the Milky Way that is undergoing capture! While associated with the center of the MW &
unlikely to be a constellation for external galaxy sight on good nights with a telescope of at least 6in 1 could see Barnard Galaxy -- 1 to the NW of the teaspoon part of Sgr. I have seen this twice in my life once under v.clearl skies in Texas with a mere 6in & once with a 10in
Read 5 tweets
5 Apr
The next 3 nakShatra-s (mantra of only 1st shown) anUrAdhA; jyeSThA and mUla/vichR^itau are parts of the constellation of Scorpius. The glorious constellation in midst of the Milky Way. It is notable that if mUlam is root the vishAkhe are the dual branches. jyeShThA could mean Image
the foremost or the trunk. Thus it is possible that in old Aryan uranography the whole Scorpius-Libra complex was seen as a tree rooted ay the nether end of the equinoctial colure. This probably gave rise to the vaiShNava concept of the viShAkhayUpa mentioned in the pa~ncharAtra
texts & illustrated in some of the early vaiShNava iconography & coinage from the kuShANa age. The redness of Antares is recognized as it is termed the second rohiNI in the taittirIya saMhitA. The constellation is a heap of riches for the lay astronomical observer. The 3 glorious
Read 5 tweets
5 Apr
Next page of the illustrated nakShatra-sUktam: the 2 vishAkhA-s. This nakShatra is termed the nakShatra mistress of the nakShatra-s. It is easily visible but not particularly bright making this appellation more of mystery. Tradition holds it takes the shape of a toraNa or festoon Image
That is quite like the modern form. However, its old name vishAkhe with dual branches might relate to a larger constellation (see subsequent pages). It is the constellation of the ikShvAku clan. Coming 1/2 way across the sky from the kR^ittikA-s it is associated with dual form of
skanda: vishAkha. The astronomical significance is obvious: with kR^ittikA the nakShatra of skanda & vishAkhe being positioned antipodally as the 2 "branches" of kumAra. The skanda-vishAkhau dual of the kaumAra tradition might also evoke the older indrAgnI dual associated with it
Read 5 tweets
3 Apr
Traditions instinctively value historical antiquity because it signals an stable strategy to its votaries. Thus even the nirgrantha & tathAgata respectively claimed that they were one in a long series of teachers/incarnates who existed alongside known H historical figures like
uddAlaka AruNi or rAma the ikShvAku or kR^iShNa devakIputra or the pANDu-s. Their tradition wrote pseudo-rAmAyaNa-s and pseudo-bhArata-s to emphasize the deep history of their mata to their followers i.e. it is antiquity was not less than that of their ortho-religious (H) rivals
This idea was probably quite deep in the Indian psyche -- that's why perhaps kAlidAsa actually had a verse protesting the idea that not all that is old is necessarily a positive signal. Even as late as as the 1700s the H students of Euclid commented that it has value because it
Read 7 tweets

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