The Oldest Known Symbol
The swastika is an ancient symbol that has been used for over 3,000 years. (That even predates the ancient Egyptian symbol, the Ankh!) Artifacts such as pottery and coins from ancient Troy show that the swastika was a commonly used symbol as far back as 1000 BCE.
During the following thousand years, the image of the swastika was used by many cultures around the world, including in China , Japan , India , and southern Europe . By the Middle Ages, the swastika was a well known, if not commonly used, symbol but was called by many different names:
· China - wan
· England - fylfot
· Germany - Hakenkreuz
· Greece - tetraskelion and gammadion
· India - swastika


Traditionally, when the swastika is drawn facing right handed or clockwise as above, it is a good luck symbol. It is sometimes claimed when it is drawn left facing or anti-clockwise, it is a bad omen and it is labelled a "sauwastika", however there is little evidence of this distinction in Hindu and Buddhist history from which it is supposed to derive. This symbolism has been modified because of associations with Nazism. Hindus all over India still use the symbol in both representations for the sake of balance, although the standard form is the left-facing swastika; Buddhists almost always use the left facing swastika.

Meaning of Holy Swastika

It is one of the oldestsymbols that mankind has known around the world. Swastika the word has its root in the world Suwasti meaning 'all is well'.If you see it closely then you would find a cross with extended arms in the Swastika symbol. There are two ways drawing Swastikas the Malevolent way and the Feminine way.In the Malevolent way the symbol would like similar to the Swastika symbol drawn above, the arms move in the clockwise direction. This is true symbole of the entire cosmos. Each line of the Swastika represents a God and can be understood from the following table.LINES.........................................GODS/GODDESS
Main Vertical line......................Devi Parvati
Main Horizontal line..................Lord Shiva
Centre of the cross.....................Lord Ganesha
Upper horizontal extension......Lord Brahma
Lower vertical extension...........Devi Saraswati
Lower ho rizontal extension......Lord Vishnu
Upper vertical extension...........Devi Mahalakshmi
The symbol also represents the four petals of the Mooladhara Chakra as per the Tantric scriptures.Right handed Swastika is used in all the Hindu rituals like opening new account books, marriage, Mundan ceremony and other religious rituals.None in whole of the three cosmos can handle Shakti once awakened except Lord Shiva in the Ugra rupa.-Mamsadayini TantraThe left-handed or feminine Swastika is rarely used and is considered inauspicious. Tantrics following the Vamamarga (left handed path or sexually oriented Tantra) ise this feminine Swastika to invoke Goddess Kali for getting the best results of the Chakra-puja.Each line of this Swastika is also has great relevance and has the feminine energies.
Main Vertical line.....................Devi Chinnamasta
Main Horizontal line.................Devi Kakalmalini
Centre of the cross....................Devi KaliUpper
horizontal extension.................Devi Sodasi
Lower vertical extension...........Devi Matangi
Lower horizontal extension......Devi Astibakshi
Upper vertical extension............Devi Mamsapriya

Thus a person who is not able and perfect cannot awaken the Shakti and unless the individual is pure he would not be able to handle the Shakti's thus invoked.This is the reason why Hitler failed miserably as he was an unstable person with high ambition and title understanding of occult sciences.

Geometrically, the Nazi swastika can be regarded as the area inside of an irregular icosagon or 20-sided polygon. The proportions of were fixed based on a 5x5 diagonal grid.Characteristic is the 90° rotational symmetry (that is, the symmetry of the cyclic groupC4h) and chirality, hence the absence of reflectional symmetry, and the existence of two versions of swastikas that are each other's mirror image.
The mirror-image forms are often described as:
clockwise and counterclockwise;
left-facing and right-facing;
left-hand and right-hand.

"Left-facing" and "right-facing" are used mostly consistently. In an upright swastika, the upper arm faces either the viewer's left (卍) or right (卐). The other two descriptions are ambiguous as it is unclear whether they refer to the direction of the bend in each arm or to the implied rotation of the symbol. If the latter, whether the arms lead or trail remains unclear. However, "clockwise" usually refers to the "right-facing" swastika. The terms are used inconsistently (sometimes even by the same writer), which is confusing and may obfuscate an important point, that the rotation of the swastika may have symbolic relevance, although little is known about this symbolic relevance.


Om (also spelled Aum) is a Hindu sacred sound that is considered the greatest of all mantras.
The syllable Om is composed of the three sounds a-u-m (in Sanskrit, the vowels a and u combine to become o) and the symbol's threefold nature is central to its meaning. It represent several important triads:
* the three worlds - earth, atmosphere, and heaven
* the three major Hindu gods - Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva
* the three sacred Vedic scriptures - Rg, Yajur, and Sama
Thus Om mystically embodies the essence of the entire universe. This meaning is further deepened by the Indian philosophical belief that God first created sound and the universe arose from it. As the most sacred sound, Om is the root of the universe and everything that exists and it continues to hold everything together.
The syllable is discussed in a number of the Upanishads, which are the texts of philosophical speculation, and it forms the entire subject matter of one, the Mandukya.
AUM is a bow, the arrow is the self,
And Brahman (Absolute Reality) is said to be the mark.(Mandukya Upanishad)
  • The essence of all beings is the earth.
  • The essence of the earth is water.
  • The essence of water is the plant.
  • The essence of the plant is man.
  • The essence of man is speech.
  • The essence of speech is the Rigveda.
  • The essence of Rigveda is the Samveda.
  • The essence of Samveda is OM. (Chandogya Upanishad)
All those activities which people start with uttering the syllable OM do not fail to bear fruit. (Shankaracharya's Commentary on the Taittriya Upanishad 1.8.1)
In the Puranas the syllable Om became associated in various ways with the major Hindu devotional sects. Saivites mark the lingam (a symbol of Shiva) with the symbol for Om, while Vaishnavites identify the three sounds as referring to the trinity of Vishnu, his wife Sri, and the worshiper.

Om is spoken at the beginning and the end of Hindu mantras, prayers, and meditations and is frequently used in Buddhist and Jain rituals as well. Om is used in the practice of Yoga and is related to techniques of auditory meditation. From the 6th century, the written symbol of Om was used to mark the beginning of a text in a manuscript or an inscription. Om Parvat, a sacred peak at 6191m in the Indian Himalayas, is revered for its snow deposition pattern that resembles Om.

More Detailed Symbolism

With its threefold nature, special shape and unique sound, Om lends itself to a variety of detailed symbolic interpretations.

The symbol of AUM consists of three curves (curves 1, 2, and 3), one semicircle (curve 4), and a dot. The large lower curve 1 symbolizes the waking state (jagrat), in this state the consciousness is turned outwards through the gates of the senses. The larger size signifies that this is the most common ('majority') state of the human consciousness.
The upper curve 2 denotes the state of deep sleep (sushupti) or the unconscious state. This is a state where the sleeper desires nothing nor beholds any dream.
The middle curve 3 (which lies between deep sleep and the waking state) signifies the dream state (swapna). In this state the consciousness of the individual is turned inwards, and the dreaming self beholds an enthralling view of the world behind the lids of the eyes.
These are the three states of an individual's consciousness, and since Indian mystic thought believes the entire manifested reality to spring from this consciousness, these three curves therefore represent the entire physical phenomenon.
The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, known in Sanskrit as turiya. In this state the consciousness looks neither outwards nor inwards, nor the two together. It signifies the coming to rest of all differentiated, relative existence This utterly quiet, peaceful and blissful state is the ultimate aim of all spiritual activity. This Absolute (non-relative) state illuminates the other three states.
Finally, the semi circle symbolizes maya and separates the dot from the other three curves. Thus it is the illusion of maya that prevents us from the realization of this highest state of bliss.
The semi circle is open at the top, and when ideally drawn does not touch the dot. This means that this highest state is not affected by maya. Maya only affects the manifested phenomenon. This effect is that of preventing the seeker from reaching his ultimate goal, the realization of the One, all-pervading, unmanifest, Absolute principle. In this manner, the form of OM represents both the unmanifest and the manifest, the noumenon and the phenomenon.
As a sacred sound also, the pronunciation of the three-syllabled AUM is open to a rich logical analysis. The first alphabet A is regarded as the primal sound, independent of cultural contexts. It is produced at the back of the open mouth, and is therefore said to include, and to be included in, every other sound produced by the human vocal organs. Indeed A is the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet.
The open mouth of A moves toward the closure of M. Between is U, formed of the openness of A but shaped by the closing lips. Here it must be recalled that as interpreted in relation to the three curves, the three syllables making up AUM are susceptible to the same metaphorical decipherment. The dream state (symbolized by U), lies between the waking state (A) and the state of deep sleep (M). Indeed a dream is but the compound of the consciousness of waking life shaped by the unconsciousness of sleep.
AUM thus also encompasses within itself the complete alphabet, since its utterance proceeds from the back of the mouth (A), travelling in between (U), and finally reaching the lips (M). Now all alphabets can be classified under various heads depending upon the area of the mouth from which they are uttered. The two ends between which the complete alphabet oscillates are the back of the mouth to the lips; both embraced in the simple act of uttering of AUM.
The last part of the sound AUM (the M) known as ma or makar, when pronounced makes the lips close. This is like locking the door to the outside world and instead reaching deep inside our own selves, in search for the Ultimate truth.
But over and above the threefold nature of OM as a sacred sound is the invisible fourth dimension which cannot be distinguished by our sense organs restricted as they are to material observations. This fourth state is the unutterable, soundless silence that follows the uttering of OM. A quieting down of all the differentiated manifestations, i.e. a peaceful-blissful and non-dual state. Indeed this is the state symbolized by the dot in the traditional iconography of AUM.
The threefold symbolism of OM is comprehensible to the most 'ordinary' of us humans, realizable both on the intuitive and objective level. This is responsible for its widespread popularity and acceptance. That this symbolism extends over the entire spectrum of the manifested universe makes it a veritable fount of spirituality.
According to Indian spiritual sciences, God first created sound, and from these sound frequencies came the phenomenal world. Our total existence is constituted of these primal sounds, which give rise to mantras when organized by a desire to communicate, manifest, invoke or materialize. Matter itself is said to have proceeded from sound and OM is said to be the most sacred of all sounds. It is the syllable which preceded the universe and from which the gods were created. It is the "root" syllable (mula mantra), the cosmic vibration that holds together the atoms of the world and heavens. Indeed the Upanishads say that AUM is god in the form of sound. Thus OM is the first part of the most important mantras in both Buddhism and Hinduism, e.g. Om Namoh Shivai and Om Mani Padme Hum.
Another ancient text equates AUM with an arrow, laid upon the bow of the human body (the breath), which after penetrating the darkness of ignorance finds its mark, namely the lighted domain of True Knowledge. Just as a spider climbs up its thread and gains freedom, so the yogis climb towards liberation by the syllable OM.
The omnific and omniparous quality of OM makes it omnipresential, and in-omissible from any spiritual practice. As an omnipotent symbol, the yogi who penetrates its mystery is indeed truly omnicompetent and omnipercipient, and as an omniscient source, it is a virtual omnibus of sacred and mystical inspirations.

Gayatri Mantra

Summary of the Gayatri Mantra
Gayatri Mantra (the mother of the vedas), the foremost mantra in hinduism and hindu beliefs, inspires wisdom. Its meaning is that "May the Almighty God illuminate our intellect to lead us along the righteous path". The mantra is also a prayer to the "giver of light and life" - the sun (savitur).
Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life,
Remover of pain and sorrow,
The Bestower of happiness,
Oh! Creator of the Universe,
May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light,
May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.
Word for Word Meaning of the Gayatri Mantra
Aum = Brahma ;
bhoor = embodiment of vital spiritual energy(pran) ;
bhuwah = destroyer of sufferings ;
swaha = embodiment of happiness ;
tat = that ;savitur = bright like sun ;
varenyam = best choicest ;
bhargo = destroyer of sins ;
devasya = divine ;
these first nine words describe the glory of God
dheemahi = may imbibe ;
pertains to meditationdhiyo = intellect ;
yo = who ;naha = our ;
prachodayat = may inspire!
"dhiyo yo na prachodayat" is a prayer to God

Origin, Benefits and Chanting of the Gayatri Mantra

The Vedas are widely considered to be the source of all true knowledge, the word "Veda" itself meaning "Knowledge". Gayatri Devi also gave to mankind the "Gayatri Mantra", also known as the "Guru Mantra" or the "Savitri Mantra". It is one of the oldest mantras, and generally thought of as being amongst the highest and most powerful mantras of all. This mantra is therefore often referred to as "the Mother of the Vedas". In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna had proclaimed to Arjuna - "Among all the mantras, I am the Gayatri".

Rishis selected the words of the Gayatri Mantra and arranged them so that they not only convey meaning but also create specific power of righteous wisdom through their utterance. The ideal times for chanting the mantra are three times a day - at dawn, mid-day, and at dusk. These times are known as the three sandhyas - morning, mid-day and evening. The maximum benefit of chanting the mantra is said to be obtained by chanting it 108 times. However, one may chant it for 3, 9, or 18 times when pressed for time. The syllables of the mantra are said to positively affect all the chakras or energy centres in the human body - hence, proper pronunciation and enunciation are very important.
Chanting of Gayatri Mantra removes all obstacles in our path to increased wisdom and spiritual growth and development. The teachings and powers incorporated in the Gayatri Mantra fulfill this purpose. Righteous wisdom starts emerging soon after Jap(recitation) of the Gayatri Mantra is performed. Sathya Sai Baba teaches that the Gayatri Mantra "will protect you from harm wherever you are, make your intellect shine, improve your power of speech, and dispel the darkness of ignorance (Dhiyoyonah prachodayaath)"
Women & Gayatri Mantra
Generally it is said that when women chant they should start from the 2nd line.
The Gayatri is a 24-syllable hymn from the Rig Veda (III, 62, 10). The phrase Om Bhoor Bhuvah Svah is generally added when the mantra is recited. The Sanskrit word Gayatri is formed by two words, ganat (or gayanath), which means "that which is sung," and trayate, which means "that which delivers." In other words, the Gayatri is a song of deliverance.
Some other books says :
Gāyatrī = Gāya + Trī.
Gāya is derived from Ga
Trī = Female defender.
Tra = Trā = male defender,
Gāya = song; Gāyak = singer; Gāyan = singing
Gāyatrī / Gayatri = Song that protects; Gayatri Devi is the protector.
The five graces of God or Gayatri are also His or Her names: SadyojAta, Vamadeva, Tat Purusha, Isana, and Aghora.
SadyojAta: Sadyo + jAta = fresh + brought into existence, born = Creator.
VAmadeva: VAma + Deva = pleasant, agreeable, fair + god = preserver.
Tatpurusha: Tat + Purusha = That + man = Original or Supreme Spirit.
IsAna: The grace-giving form of Siva, Sadasiva. He is invisible to the human eye
Aghora: Not terrific. Destructive aspect of Siva as prelude to regeneration. It is fire that is followed by new growth.
It is the most renowned mantra of the Vedas. It is addressed to the divine life-giver as supreme God, symbolized in Savitri, the Sun. For this reason this prayer is also called Savitri.
Tat Savitur
Savitur is radiant brilliance shinning forth from nowhere.
Savitur must not be regarded as only the light of the solar sun.

Often our solar sun is said to symbolizes Savitur, the illuminator of existence. The light of the solar sun may be a symbol for Savitur however the sun can not actually be Savitur.

Let us examine the Mantra. Here is how it starts:
It is "Tat Savitur" with which the Mantra begins.
It is "Tat Savitur" which is the body of the Mantra.
Also the appeal of the Mantra is directed to "Tat Savitur".

Tat Savitur is "The essential Illuminator"
The brilliance inherent in cognition, in perception.
"That" which illuminates the three worlds.
The three worlds:
1.Existence (the imaginary, the apparent, material, physical and all that it contains).
2. Consciousness (the field of cognition, infinity and eternity and all that may occur within it).
3.Totality (the incomprehensible, un-dividable, Absolute, Potential.)

The Solar Sun is perceived by the power of Tat Savitur. It is not Tat Savitur.
When all the stars and solar systems in space have died away, Tat Savitur will again be the illuminator of what may, what can, be experienced, forever.
If it were not so, the mantra would not appeal for the Enlightened Awareness for all.
It is Enlightenment, which empties out every last trace of appearance or concept that may be perceived. Including the Solar Sun and all that it nurtures. This mantra speaks of a power that is itself beyond (and immanently saturates) the perceivable and im-perceivable cosmos. Life as it is experienced.
The Gayatri Mantra is extremely powerful and its divine implications are not easily comprehended. The Mantras power is so universal in scope that we can not confine it to actually understanding it's subtle nuances. The language of the mantra is a more symbolic and metaphysical one. It is similar to Enlightenment, Impossible to understand and yet so very intimately present.
The three worlds, Bhūr, bhuvar [or bhuvah], svar are the habitats of men and gods. It is confluence of body, mind and soul. In a subjective sense, life on earth is waking; life in the atmospheric domain, dream sleep; life in heaven, deep sleep. A note: Man in deep sleep is the Purest Being known to man; he gives up all good, bad, and indifferent deeds of his awake life; thus, a man in deep sleep is a spiritual being or the purest being; he is in touch with his God in deep sleep; thus deep sleep is heaven. Have you ever heard of a thief stealing or planning to steal in deep sleep? Here is another example. The man holding on an umbrella when awake is the man with worldly attachments; the man (dozing off in a moving train) going to sleep lets go of his umbrella and gets in touch with his god in deep sleep. When he comes out of deep sleep, he is disconnected from his God and temporary bliss and looks for his loose umbrella (lying on the floor of the moving train). When we are in deep sleep, we are awake to the world of Spirit. The progression is from spiritually marginal condition of awake life (Bhūr, Earthly life) full of desires, to a dream world of aspirations and expectations of Bhuvar, and to the world of deep sleep of Svar (heaven), where flesh dies along with desires, and spirit rises. When we are in deep sleep we are all virtuous (Sattva); when we come back to awake life, we resume our old personality which is a combination of Sattva (virtue and goodness; the quality of truth, goodness, reality, purity), Rajas (motion, passion, desire), and Tamas (darkness, ignorance, heaviness, illusion, anger, pride, sorrow, dullness, solidity [dense]).

Dasavatara: Ten Avatars of Vishnu

The ten most famous descents of Vishnu are collectively known as the "Dasavatara" ("dasa" in Sanskrit means ten). This list is included in the Garuda Purana (1.86.10"11) and denotes those avatars most prominent in terms of their influence on human society.
The first four are said to have appeared in the Satya Yuga (the first of the four Yugas or ages in the time cycle described within Hinduism). The next three avatars appeared in the Treta Yuga, the eighth descent in the Dwapara Yuga and the ninth in the Kali Yuga. The tenth is predicted to appear at the end of the Kali Yuga in some 427,000 years time
* Matsya, the fish, appeared in the Satya Yuga.
* Kurma, the tortoise, appeared in the Satya Yuga.
* Varaha, the boar, appeared in the Satya Yuga.
* Narasimha, the half-man/half-lion appeared in the Satya Yuga.
* Vamana, the dwarf, appeared in the Treta Yuga.
* Parashurama, Rama with the axe, appeared in the Treta Yuga.
* Rama, Ramachandra, the prince and king of Ayodhya, appeared in the Treta Yuga.
* Krishna (meaning "dark coloured" or "all attractive") appeared in the Dwapara Yuga along with his brother Balarama. According to the Bhagavata Purana Balarama is said to have appeared in the Dwapara Yuga (along with Krishna ) as a descent of Ananta Shesha. He is also counted as an avatar of Vishnu by the majority of Vaishnava movements and is included as the ninth Dasavatara in some versions of the list which contain no reference to Buddha.
* Gautama Buddha (meaning "the enlightened one") appeared in the Kali Yuga (specifically as Siddhartha Gautama).
* Kalki ("Eternity", or "time", or "The Destroyer of foulness"), who is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the time period in which we currently exist, which will end in the year 428899 CE.
The Story of MATSYA Avatar

In MATSYA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as a fish in this world. In the earliest yuga (era) of Sata-yuga, a king named Manu was performing severe penance for thousands of years. One day as he was performing ablutions with river water, a small fish came into his hands and just as he was about to throw the fish back into the river, the fish requested the king to save its life. Heeding its request, the king put the fish into a jar of water but the fish started growing and the jar was not big enough for it. Then the king threw it into the river, but it soon it outgrew the river and the king then threw it into Ganges and then into the ocean. The king realized that it was Lord Vishnu himself and then the lord made an appearance and made a special request to the king. It predicted that the world would come to an end by a huge flood in seven days and requested the king to build a huge boat and take the seven sages(hermits), seeds of all plants, one animal of each type and told him that he would appear as a fish to propel the boat to Mt Himavan for surviving the flood to the next yuga(eon). True to his word, after seven days the Lord appeared and the king tied the boat to the fish by using the royal serpent Vasuki and the fish took all of them to Mt Himavan and kept them there till the flood was over and in the new era, the king started procreation for the new era.

The Story of KURMA Avatar

In KURMA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as a turtle. It is an interesting story involving both the gods (devtas) and asuras (demons). In the ongoing saga of battle between the gods and asuras, on one occasion the gods suddenly lost all their strength due to a curse by the short-tempered sage Durvasa. The sage had once presented a garland of flowers to Indra, king of gods, who carelessly gave it away to his elephant which trampled it.
The Devtas approached Vishnu for help. Vishnu then asked them to churn the ocean of milk after adding medicines into the ocean. Mt Mandara could be used a the churning stick he said. He requested them to ask them help of Asuras in lifting the mountain in exchange for offer of the share of nectar of immortality that would ensue from the churning. Both the devatas and the asuras churned the ocean using the serpent Vasuki as the rope. At the start, playing a Machiavellian trick, Indra, king of the gods asked the asuras for the head end of vasuki. But asuras suspecting foul play, took the head end, only to be deceived as the poison from Vasuki was slowly weakening them. But as churning was proceeding the mountain was sinking and then Lord Vishnu took the form of the turtle KURMA and kept the mountain afloat. As soon as the bowl of amrita, the nectar of immortality was out, the asuras grabbed it. Then Lord Vishnu took the form of an apsara, a beautiful maiden, and seduced the asuras into letting her distribute the nectar and also to abide by her order of distribution. As soon as the devatas were served the maiden disappeared thus totally deceiving the asuras and making them totally weak.

The Story of VARAHA Avatar

In VARAHA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as a boar in this world. A demon Hiranyaksha, had prayed for Lord Brahma and got awarded a boon that no beast nor man nor god could kill him. But somehow from the list of beasts the name of boar was missing. This proved to be his lacunae. He then started a campaign of plunder across the worlds. He pushed the world to the Pataal loka, or the under of the sea. He stole the Vedas, the holy scriptures from the Lord Brahma, while he was asleep and performed huge atrocities. To retrieve the Vedas and to save the world the Lord Vishnu assumed the role of a boar and brought out the earth from the under of the ocean, using its two tusks. It then killed Hiranyaksha and retrieved the Vedas from the asura and brought it back to the safe custody of the Lord Brahma.

The Story of NARASIMHA Avatar

In NARASIMHA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as a semi-man, semi-lion in this world. The king of demons (asuras), Hiranyakasyapa, wanted to become immortal and wanted to remain young forever. To this end, he meditated for Lord Brahma and because of his severe penance, the gods were frightened and asked Brahma to pacify the king. Brahma was impressed by his austerity and granted him a wish. HiranyaKasyapa wished that he be neither killed by a man or beast, nor in daylight or at night and neither inside or outside a building. Having obtained the wish he considered himself the supreme God and frobade all worship of gods by anyone.
But his son Prahlada, was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. This enraged Hiranyakasyapa very much. He ordered numerous ways to kill Prahlada including asking his sister Holika to sit with Prahlada in the fire. But everytime Prahlada escaped unhurt. Enraged, once he asked Prahlad to show him the Lord Vishnu. Prahlad said, "He is everywhere". Further enraged, Hiranyakasyapa knocked down a pillar, and asked if Lord was present there. Lord Vishnu then emerged as a half lion, half man from the pillar which was neither inside the house nor outside, and the time was evening, neither night nor day. He then killed Hiranyakasyapa thus saving the life of his devotee Prahlada.

The Story of VAMANA Avatar

In VAMANA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as a dwarf priest in this world. Bali , the grandson of Prahlada was a very valorous and mighty asura. By his penance and might, he conquered the whole world. Indra and other gods fearing that he and asuras would conquer all the three worlds, went to Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu was then born as a dwarf Vamana in the household of a brahmana (priest). He went to Bali on growing up and asked for alms. Bali was delighted to offer him anything he requested even though his priest warned him that it was Lord Vishnu.
Vamana then requested for the amount of land that could come under his three feet. Bali gracefully agreed. Lord Vishnu then grew in size and covered the earth and heaven in two stride. And due to lack of space, he put his third leg on Bali himself and crushed Bali to the nether or the Patala loka(underground world), thus helping the Gods out.

The Story of PARASHURAMA Avatar

In PARASHURAMA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as a brahmana (priest) in this world. He was brought in this world to avenge all kshatriyas who had become arrogant and were suppressing the brahmans in the world. He was born to Jamadagni and Renuka, and belonged to the Brighu clan. Parashurama was always carrying an axe presented to him by Lord Shiva of whom he was an ardent devotee. Kartavirya a powerful king, once went to Jamadagni's home when he was out, and after a meal, stole the Kamadhenu cow, which was supposed to give endless quantity of milk.
Jamadagni was enraged and he went and killed the king and brought Kamadhenu back. On hearing this, the son of the king came back and killed Jamadagni.Parashurama was enraged at this and went and avenged the death of his father by killing all kshatriyas in 21 battles.

The Story of RAMA Avatar

In RAMA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as RAMA, the central character in the epic Ramayan. In the epic, the character RAMA is expected to show the world the characteristics of an ideal person, including ideal son, ideal husband, ideal king and an ideal person. RAMA was incarnated upon this planet to get rid of the asura with ten heads, Ravana, who had been granted a boon by Brahma of immunity from gods, and other celestial beings. Ravana was too vainglorious to be thinking of being vanquished by a man. Hence RAMA was born and Lakshmi, wife of Lord Vishnu was born as Sita, his wife to be in this life. The story of Ramayan, is an exciting nail-biting story of the war raged by Rama against various evil elements of the world and in the end against Ravana.Ramayan epitomises the ideal behaviour of man, with special focus on man-wife relationship, son-father relationship and the rules for ideal governance by a king.

The Story of KRISHNA Avatar

In KRISHNA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as KRISHNA , the central character in the epic MAHABHARATA. In the biggest epic of Indian mythology a myriad of topics are covered, including war, love, brotherhood, politics etc. It is essentially the story of two warring groups of cousin brothers, the PANDAVAs and the KAURAVAs. As a part of the Mahabahrata, during the war KRISHNA , gives a long discourse to his disciple ARJUNA, collectively termed as Bhagvad-Gita.Krishna , during his child-hood was responsible for the killing of Kamsa. Krishna is also considered to be an ultimate playboy who was responsible for charming all gopikaas around him.
Unlike Ramayan, Mahabharata deals with more down to earth issues like politics, human nature, human weaknesses, and does not attempt to idealise the characters as in Ramayan.

The Story of BUDDHA Avatar

In BUDDHA Avatar, Lord Vishnu incarnates himself as BUDDHA, the ascetic prince who renounced the throne to lead the world on the path of peace. He is the founder of the BUDDHIST religion prominent across the world. In certain sects of Hinduism, he is considered to be a divine incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He was born the crown prince of the Kapilavastu to Suddhodana and Maya. He was named Siddhartha, meaning "All thing fulfilled" by the king. But his mother died soon after his birth but Prajapati, the sister of Maya, brought Siddhartha up. Buddha was saddened by death of living creatures, since his childhood days and used to question: "Alas! Do all living creatures kill each other?" He wasn't happy with any answers that were provided to him and he decided to find out the meaning and the absolute truth and he left his wife and child to a hermit's life in the forest and one day, became the enlightened one. His preaching spawned off the religion of Buddhism now popular across the whole world.

The Story of KALKI Avatar

In KALKI Avatar, Lord Vishnu will incarnate himself as KALKI, the machine-man, who will come riding his white horse and with his blazing sword in his hands. This is supposed to be a future avatar of Lord Vishnu. At the end of Kali Yuga (present eon) He will punish all evil doers in this world, destroy this world and recreate a golden age again.
KALKI is the last of the avatars of Lord Vishnu


Lord Vishnu is the all-pervasive Lord who expands into everything. He is the maintainer of the universe and the complete cosmic creation. He is called Vishnu because He overcomes all. He represents sattva-guna, or the mode of goodness by which everything is sustained. He is also called Narayana, which means the shelter, resting place or ultimate goal of all living entities. It also means the one whose abode is the causal waters ( Karana Ocean ), and one who lives in the hearts of all living beings. It is this sattva nature which gives the living beings the tendency to grow toward a higher truth, the light, a more cohesive and intense reality. In this sense, Lord Vishnu is also called Hari, or one who removes the darkness of illusion. This illusion ultimately means the idea that the living beings live separate from, or without connection to, the Lord.
Lord Vishnu is often portrayed resting on the huge serpent of Sesha. We see that the thousand heads of Sesha are all turned inward, representing a tranquil mind, and looking toward the Absolute Truth of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is also seen in the yogic sleep called yoga-nidra. The yoga-nidra (yoga or the root yuj meaning to connect or join) is a cosmic sleep wherein the Lord is focused on the Infinite Reality of His own identity.
Lord Vishnu is also seen standing on the whirl of a lotus flower with four hands, which represent the four directions and indicates His absolute power in the four corners of the universe. Each hand holds an item, such as a disc, lotus, conch, and mace. Of the four items, the conch represents the five universal elements. When the conch is blown, it is said to produce a sound related to the original vibration of universal creation. The Lord also blows His conch in calling everyone to turn to the higher reality rather than remaining in the darkness of material existence. This calling is the inner voice which nudges all beings of conscience to seek the Absolute Truth. If man does not heed the call, then the Lord may still use His conch to cut asunder the ego and material attachments of those who do not turn toward the spiritual path.
The disc or chakra signifies the universal mind or awareness. It rids all darkness wherever it appears, and thus shows the path to higher awareness. The disc is called Sudarshan, the limitless power and light that destroys all forms of ignorance. Thus, Lord Vishnu allows it to cut off the heads of envious demons. It has six spokes and shows the revolving nature of the universe (maya) around an unmoving and changeless center. The Sudarshana Chakra, when shown alone, is often viewed as a person with four, eight, or sixteen arms, holding such items as a bow, arrow, trident, noose, and a poker. These are said to represent the will and power of the Lord to not only create but to also destroy the universe.
The mace represents the cosmic intellect or knowledge. It is called Kaumodaki, meaning that which captivates the mind. It is also associated with time, which destroys all, and is thus also related to Kali, the power of time.
When pictured as a deity, it is viewed as a female with two hands, positioned in respect. The lotus being twirled in His hand shows the revolving or changing nature of the universe. It also indicates the real purpose of human existence, which the Lord invites all to follow.

The Vaijayanti garland (garland of victory) with five rows of flowers that the Lord wears indicates the five senses and the Lord’s illusory power which affect the senses. Its fragrance represents the subtle elements found within the material manifestation. All this reflects the Lord’s mastery of the whole universe, which is created out of the mixing or revolving of the five elements and the universal mind and intellect. The Srivatsa or lock of hair on the Lord’s chest, which indicates the Goddess of Fortune, represents the products of the material creation, or the objects of enjoyment for which all living beings seek. And the gem, called Kaustubha (Treasure of the Ocean) represents the one who enjoys these products. Thus, this world of the enjoyer and the enjoyed is but a piece of decoration for the Lord, a spark of His energy.
Lord Vishnu is also sometimes seen with additional items, such as a bow, called Sharnga. This represents the darker form of false-ego that makes one think he is nothing but the material body, not connected to the Lord. The arrows are the activities of the intellect, which can cut through false-ego when used properly. His fish shaped earrings represent the two processes of knowledge, such as through the sankhya (intellectual) and yoga (intuitive) methods. His armlets represent the three goals of worldly life, namely dharma (righteousness), artha (economic success) and kama (pleasure). Lord Vishnu’s crown represents the highest and incomprehensible reality. The yellow cloth that He wears (Pitambara) is said to indicate the Vedas. Through the Vedic hymns the divine reality is revealed, just as the Lord’s dark color can be seen through the cloth that He wears. And His sacred string, made of three threads, is said to indicate the three letters of the hallowed word AUM.
The various forms of Lord Vishnu are composed of the different arrangements of the four symbols He holds in His four hands. For example, in one form He holds the conch in His lower right hand, the disc in His upper right, the mace in His upper left, and lotus in the lower left. In this form He has the name of Keshava, meaning the Lord with long hair, according to the Padma Purana (Book Four, Chapter 79). In other forms, in which case He holds the items in different hands, He has the names that include, Narayana (the universal shelter), Govinda (saver of the Earth and protector of cows), Madhava (Lord of knowledge), Madhusudana (the destroyer of the demon Madhu), Trivikrama (the one who conquered the three planetary systems), Vamana (the dwarf incarnation), Shridhara (the possessor of fortune), Hrishikesha (Lord of the senses), Padmanabha (whose navel produced the universal lotus), Damodara (who is self-restrained), Sankarshana (who reabsorbs), Vasudeva (one who dwells within), Pradyumna (who has the most wealth), Aniruddha (who no one can oppose), Purushottama (best of all men), Adhoksaja (the expanse of the universe), Nrisimha (the half-man and half-lion form), Achyuta (the inconceivable), Krishna (the dark and all-attractive one), Hari (He who removes obstacles or sorrow), Janardana (He who gives rewards), and Upendra (the brother of Indra).
Lord Vishnu is also called Nilameghashyama for having a dark blue complexion. This represents a number of things, including pure consciousness, the infinite, and the all-pervading power.
At other times Lord Vishnu is seen resting on the coils of the serpent Shesha, also called Ananta. Sheshanaga is the expansion of Lord Balarama, Lord Krishna’s brother, and serves the Lord in this way as the Lord’s support and paraphernalia. Shesha has a thousand heads swinging to and fro over the form of Lord Vishnu, creating a shelter and couch for the Lord. Ananta means endless, and Ananta is endlessly singing the praises and glories of the Lord from His thousand hoods without ever reaching the end. His hoods are also supporting the many planetary systems in the cosmic creation that are orbiting throughout the universe above His heads. Ananta also means endless in terms of the endlessness of cosmic time. This is also represented by His thousand hoods as divisions of time. The material worlds are created within the element of time, and are thus sustained by time. During the process of the universal annihilation, time ceases to exist, in which case the material planets are also forced into obliteration.
Lord Shesha is often seen floating on the causal waters of the Garbhodaka Ocean , which exists on the bottom of the universe. Lord Vishnu is thus resting on Sheshanaga as They float on the ocean. At other times, They are viewed floating on the Kshiramudra, or an ocean of white milk. This represents the Prakriti or the ingredients of the unmanifest material nature in its purest form.
Sometimes, Lord Vishnu is also seen riding on his carrier bird, Garuda. This is a half-man and half-eagle bird, whose name means “Wings of Speech.” It is described that he is huge and has a fierce expression. His color is that of molten gold. He has the head of an eagle with a red beak and feathered wings, and two arms like a man. Different divisions of the Vedas are parts of the body of Garuda. The sound of his wings reflect the utterances of the Vedic hymns, which can carry a person to another world with the speed of light and power of lightning. Thus, it is also the sound of the Veda that carries Lord Vishnu, and which can also transport Him into the hearts and minds of people.


The Samskāra are a series of Sacraments, Sacrifices and Rituals that serve as rites of passage and mark the various stages of the Human life and to signify entry to a particular Ashrama. All Human beings, especially the Dvija or twice-born are required to perform a number of sacrifices with oblations for gods, Ancestors and Guardians in accordance with the Vedic dictums for a Dharmic or righteous life.
Sanskar is a commonly used variant of the Sanskrit word 'Samskara' and signifies cultural heritage and upbringing in modern Hindi.
Most Vedic rituals consist of Homa - fire sacrifies of elaborate and intrinsic designs and complex methodology, accompanied by recitation of Vedas by qualified Priests in honor of a particular Demigod or god, fire offerings of various ingredients, gifts to be given in charity, presence of elders for blessings, amidst sanctified sacrificial grounds, sacred herbs and good omens. Each important milestone of a Human life is to be celebrated by undertaking a particular Samskara wherein the significance of that milestone is ritualistically conveyed.
"Samskaras" mean sacraments. According to Max Mueller," the prescription of these ceremonies reflect the deep rooted tendency in the heart of man to bring the chief events of human life into contact with a higher power, and to give to our joys and suffering a deeper significance and a religious sanctification." Samskaras are rooted in the Rig-Veda, although the Atharva-veda is rich in mantras relating to marriage and funeral ceremonies. The objective of the Samskaras, are several. The removal of evil spirits, invoking blessings from gods for material gains, longevity and good progeny, are a few of these. The common thread holding all Samskaras is the worship of Agni (fire God) and Varuna (rain God) and the sprinkling or sipping of the holy water to wash away evil spirits and impurities. Different Mantras are chanted and different gods are worshipped depending upon the ceremony.
The Dharma sutras being mostly occupied with the Hindu laws and custom, not all of them care to describe or enumerate the Samskaras. They contain rules about the Upanayana. Vivcha, Upakarma, Utsarjana, Anadhybyas and Asaucha. The Gautama -Dharmasutra gives a list of altogether forty Samskcras with eight virtues of the soul (Chatvcrimsat samskarah, Astau Atmagunah)
Samskaras are Fifty two in number. They are
1) Garbhadaana
The rite through which a man placed his seed in a woman was called Garbhadhana. Saunaka gives the similar definition though in slightly different words; "The rite by the performance of which a woman receives semen scattered (by her husband) is call Garbhalambhanam or Garbhadhana."
The Garbhadhana Samskara is a purely spiritual act as is confirmed by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita 7.11. Such sex aimed at creating godly children is as good as God Himself.
" balam balavatam caham
dharmaviruddho bhutesu
kamo 'smi bharatarsabha"

"I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna]."

2) Pumsuvana

" Pumnamno narakadyasmat traya
tepitaram sutah" – Manusmrti "
his ceremony (Samskaara) is to be performed either on the sec-ond or third or fourth month. The preferable stars for the performance are
Punarvasu, Pushya, Anuradha, Moola, Shravana, Ashvini And Mrigasirsha (Male Stars). The purpose of this ceremony is to instill faithand confidence in the mother to beget a male Child.The scriptural sanction for this ceremony is authenticated by the following Mantra.

Pumanagnih. Pumanindrah. Puman devo Br.haspatih.
Pumamsam Putram Vindasva tam Pumananujayatam
"Agni,Indra, Brhaspati are all endowed with manlyvigour. Oh, Lady! May you beget a male child, and the prog-eny succeeding him be also Vigorous".

3) Seemantham.
This is performed during the period between the fifth and the eighth months of pregnancy. The specific materials used during this Samskara, that are for the lady only, are, the quill of a porcupine, an ear of ripe paddy and some Udumbara leaves. The deity invoked is Rika, the presiding deity of the full-moon.Their implications are: that the pregnancy should be fruitful; the child should be endowed with sharp and penetrating intellect (like the sharp quill of the porcupine). The child should be beautiful like the full-moon. The gist of the Mantra is: "I beseech the goddess Raka. May she make this ceremony blameless. May my son be endowed with sharp intellect."
The woman is dressed in new clothes and jewelry used for such occasions. Among some Nairs of Malabarm two local ritualistic additions called ariyidal and Garbha Prashnam are performed. In the ariyidal the seated pregnant lady is given rice and appams in her lap. In the Garbha Prashnam, an astrologer prescribes ritualistic remedies (if needed) for the protection of the mother and child as well as for smooth child birth in the event of any astrological obstacles. Afterwards, the pregnant lady visits four temples, including her own ancestral temple and prays to the deities for a healthy child and for a smooth delivery. After this she begins to observe Pula or birth pollution, which extends up to 15 days after childbirth. The family then holds a feast for all the relatives. Medicines and routines are prescribed for the woman, which are to be followed till childbirth. Ladies are asked to sing: "Be a mother of heroic sons" thus creating a heroic atmosphere. The mother fasts and keeps silent after the ceremony till night time when the stars become visible. At the close of the ceremony she touches a male calf, symbolizing a son.
At the time of pregnancy this is performed for the health and wealth of to born Baby and also for normal delivery.
4) Jatha -karma
After a child is born, a ceremony called Jatakarma Samskara is held to welcome the new born baby into the world and into the house. The father of the baby puts a small amount of honey and ghee in the baby's mouth(though it received flak in later time to feed a new born baby anything other than milk). After this, the name of Lord Krishna is said in the child's ear.
After ten days of the birth of the child, Namakarana is organized.

5) Nama karanam
Namakarana is the ceremony organized to name the baby. The name is decided according to the Jatakaratna of the child depending on the time at which the child was born and depending on the position of the planets at that time. The child is neatly dressed in new clothes. The decided name of the child is whispered in his ear three times by his father and is written on the rice filled in a plate to symbolically announce it.
6) Anna-Prasanam
This sanskar is related to the time when the child is to be given solid food apart from the mother’s milk. The object of this ceremony is to pray to the gods with Vedic Mantras to bless the child with good digestive powers, good thoughts and talents. It is performed when the child is six months old which is the weaning time. The father feeds a little of the sweet food anointed with gold to the child with Mantras that say he feeds the child with food that may ensure a healthy life to the child and prevent ill-health. Annaprashana ceremony should be performed at the time when the child gains strength to digest cereal and preparations made from cereals. The first feeding of cereal commences with this ceremony. He who desires his child to be brilliant and famous should feed cooked rice mixed with ghee (clarified butter) or the rice mixed with honey, curd and ghee . The samskar ceremony for the first feeding commences with prayer, followed by Svastivachana, Shanitkarana and complete Samanya Prakarana. It is indicated that this ceremony should be performed (when the child is six months old) on the day on which the child was born.
7) Chooda karma.
Chudakarana also called Chaula or Chudakarma, this is the ceremony in which a child's head is shaved for the first time, leaving a tuft on the crown. 'Chuda' refers to this tuft. This ceremony is also commonly called 'mundan' in the north.
This sanskara developed for reasons of physical hygiene. Usually performed when the child is approximately three years old, it is believed to have the power to cleanse the body and soul. The hair on a child's head when he emerges from the womb is considered impure and must be shaved off to make way for the strong, clean hair that grows thereafter. In addition, to shave the head, a razor or other sharp instrument was required. Chudakarana is also a symbolic release of the child from his mother. Usually by three, the child is no longer being nursed by the mother, and is no longer physically dependent on her. During the Chudakarana, even the hair that he was born with is removed. Therefore this ceremony is believed to mark the point in the child's life when the mother's influence is reduced, and the influence of the father becomes dominant. With the father's influence, the child's education is also believed to begin.
8) Upanayanam
In Hinduism, Upanayana, or ceremony to mark stages in the life of a Hindu. It is a religious ceremony undertaken by Hindu boys of the three highest castes. The ceremony usually takes place between the ages 7 and 11, indicating the entry into adulthood and the ability to deepen the individual's awareness of the duties they now embrace as a Hindu. During the ceremony, a sacred thread is tied. The thread is made up of three separate threads, each with a symbolic meaning – one meaning to worship God, one meaning to show love and respect to parents, and one meaning to learn from the religious teacher. Mantras from the Hindu scripture the Rig Veda are used during the ceremony. The ceremony may end with the boy acting out his departure on religious pilgrimage, re-enacting the ways of those in the past who set out to study under the tuition of a religious guide.

9 to12 Veda Vrathas
Four Veda vrathas.1.Prajapatya 2.Sowmya 3.Agneya 4.Vaishvadeva Performed After Completed Vedic Education
13)Samavarthanam (snanam)
(When studies are completed)
Then comes the end of the student stage, the Samavartana. The student, having completed the Vedic studies and the Vratas, presents his preceptor with a gift and obtains permission to take the formal bath which marks the close of his student-career. He returns home and performs the Samavartana, the returning ceremony. He is now ready to marry and enter the second stage or Grihastha Asrama, the life of a householder.

14) Marriage (Vivaham).
Vivaha means support to sustain. Sustain Dharma. Solemnized, with Agni as the witness. The marriage is complete when the couple take seven steps together (Saptapadi).

15 to 19 PanchaMaha Yagya
The meaning of Yagna is not confined to this sacrificial ritual. It has a much wider and deeper meaning. The word Yagna is derived from the Sanskrit verb yaj, which has a three-fold meaning: worship of deities (deva-pujana), unity (sangatikarana) and charity (daana). The philosophy of Yagna teaches a way of living in the society in harmony and a lifestyle which promotes and protects higher human values in the society, which is indeed the basis of an ideal human culture.
1. Brahma Yaj~nam , which is performed through the recitation of the VdAs and helps to discharge the debt to Vedic rishis or manthra drashtAs . They collected the Veda samhithAs through their spiritual powers .
2. Deva Yaj~nA, which requires the performance of pujAs and Yaj~nAs for Gods .
3. Pithru Yaj~nAs : The debt to one's ancestors is discharged through the offering of pindAs during the tarpaNAs as oblations.
4. Maanushya Yaj~nA : The athithi sathkAram or feeding of one's guest with respect , discharges one of his debts to the community . [Serving and helping humanity Feeding the hungry Clothing the naked Sheltering the homelessComforting the sad Rich are the stewards of the poor]
5. BhUta Yaj~nA : This samskArA consists of feeding the living entities other than human beings [Feeding poor, animals, birds] . Offerings are made to them as they are an extended set of human family.
20 to 26 Saptha Paka Yagyas
1) Ashtaka, 2) Parvana Sthaleepaka, 3) Masi Sradha, 4) sravanee. 5) Aagrahaayanee, 6) Chaithree, 7) Aaswayujee.
"Pakayajnas" are minor sacrifices and are performed at home in the aupasanagni or grhyagni . These are seven in number .They are Ashtaka , Sthalipaka , Parvana , Sravani , Agrahayani , Chaitri , Ashvayuji. The sthalipaka is to be performed on every Prathama (first day of the lunar fortnight) "Sthali" is the pot in which rice is cooked; it must be placed on the aupasana fire and the rice called "Charu" cooked in it must be offered into the same fire. The Parvana is to be performed every month . The other five are to be performed once a year .
27 to 33 Saptha Havir Yagyas
1) Agni Aadheyam, 2) Agni Hothram 3) Darsa Purna maasam 4) Chathurmasyam, 5) Aagrayanam, 6) Niruuda Pasubandham, 7) Southramanee.
The "haviryajnas" are more elaborate, though not as large in scale as the somayajnas. The haviryajna performed on every Prathama day ( every fifteen days )is "darsa-purna-isti", "darsa" meaning the new moon and "purna" the full moon. The two rituals are also referred to merely as "isti". The Darsapaurnamasa isti is the "prakrti" (archetype) for the haviryajnas. The first four haviryajnas - adhana, agnihotra, darsa-purna-masa and agrayana - are performed at home. The last three haviryajnas - caturmasya, nirudhapasubandha and sautramani - are performed in a yajnasala.
The Agnihotra is to be performed twice daily at sunrise and sunset immediately after the aupasana .The other five Havir yagnas are to be performed once a year , or at least once in a life time .
The last two havir yagnas have animal sacrifice as part of the ritual . However nowadays packets of flour etc are used as symbolic substitutes .
34 to 40 Saptha Soma Yagyas
1) Agnishtoomam, 2) Athyagnishtoomam, 3) Ukthyam, 4) Shoodasee, 5)Vajapeyam, 6) Athirathram, 7) Apthooryaamam.
The name "somayajna" is called after the juice of the Soma plant, said to be "relished by the devas", that is offered as an oblation. In these sacrifices, Samans are sung, and all Shrauta priests - the hotar, adhvaryu, udgatar and the brahman as well as their 12 helpers take part: each priest is assisted by three others. The Agnistoma, the first of the seven somayajnas is the "prakrti" (archetype) for the six others that are its "vikrti". These six are: atyagnistoma, uktya, sodasi, vajapeya, atiratra and aptoryama. "Vajapeya" is often regarded as particularly important. When its yajamana (sacrificer) comes after the ritual bath (avabhrtha snana) at the conclusion of the sacrifice, the king himself holds up a white umbrella for him. "Vaja" means 'prize of a race' (but is nowadays also taken as rice, food) and "peya" means a drink, thus 'drink of victory'. This sacrifice consists of the offering of soma-rasa (juice), pasu-homa (offering of 23 animals) and anna- or vaja-homa. The sacrificer is "bathed" in the rice that is left over. Since the rice is "poured over" him like water, the term "vajapeya" is apt.
Animal sacrifices are part of the ritual offerings in the soma yagnas . However , nowadays as and when they are rarely performed , substitutes made of flour etc are used instead of sacrificing live animals .

40 to 48 Athma Gunas
The eight gunas or qualities of the Self are are: daya, kshanti, anasuya, sauca, anayasa, mangala, akarpanya, aspriha.
"Daya" implies love for all creatures, such love being the very fulfillment of life. There is indeed no greater happiness than that derived by loving others. Daya is the basis of all qualities.
"Kshanti" is patience. One kind of kshanti is patiently suffering disease, poverty, misfortune and so on. The second is forgiveness and it implies loving a person even if he causes us pain and trouble.
"Anasuya" you know is the name of the sage Atri's wife. She was utterly free from jealousy: that is how she got the name which means non-jealousy. Heart-burning caused by another's prosperity or status is jealousy. We ought to have love and compassion for all and ought to be patient and forgiving even towards those who do us wrong. We must not envy people their higher status even if they be less deserving of it than we are and, at the same time, must be mature enough to regard their better position as the reward they earned by doing good in their previous life. "Sauca" is derived from "suci", meaning cleanliness. Purity is to be maintained in all matters such as bathing, dress, food.
In Manu's listing of Dharmas that are applicable to all, ahimsa or non-violence comes first, followed by satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-covetousness; non-stealing is the direct meaning), sauca (cleanliness) and indriya-nigraha (subduing the senses or even obliterating them).
"anayasa". It is the opposite of "ayasa" which denotes effort, exertion, etc. Anayasa means to have a feeling of lightness, to take things easy. One must not keep a long face, scowl or keep lamenting one's hardships. If you lose your cool you will be a burden to yourself as well as to others. Anayasa is a great virtue. In many of our rituals there is much bodily exertion. Here Anayasa means not to feel any mental strain. Obstacles, inevitable to any work or enterprise, must not cause you any mental strain. You must not feel any duty to be a burden and must develop the attitude that everything happens according to the will of the Lord.
"mangala", is auspiciousness. There is mangala or an auspicious air about happiness that is characterised by dignity and purity. One must be cheerful all the time and not keep growling at people on the slightest pretext. This itself is extremely helpful, to radiate happiness wherever we go and exude auspiciousness. It is better than making lavish gifts and throwing money about.
To do a job with a feeling of lightness is " Anayasa ". To be light ourselves, creating joy wherever we go, is mangala. We must be like a lamp spreading light and should never give cause for people to say, "Oh! he has come to find fault with everything." Wherever we go we must create a sense of happiness. We must live auspiciously and make sure that there is happiness brimming over everywhere.
"Akarpanya" Miserliness is the quality of a krpana or miser. "Akarpanya" is the opposite of miserliness. We must give generously and whole-heartedly. At Kuruksetra Arjuna felt dejected and refused to wage war with his own kin. In doing so, according to the Gita, he was guilty of "karpanya dosha". It means, contextually, that he abased himself to a woeful state, he became "miserly" about himself. Akarpanya is the quality of a courageous and zestful person who can face problems determinedly. "Aspriha" is the last of the eight qualities. "Spriha" means desire; a grasping nature. "Aspriha" is the opposite, being without desire. Desire is at the root of all trouble, all suffering and, all through the ages, it has been the cause of misfortunes. But to eradicate it from the mind seems an almost impossible task. By performing rites again and again and by constantly endeavouring to acquire the Atmic qualities one will eventually become desireless.
49 Grihastha Asrama
is the householder stage, which starts from 25 years and lasts till 50 years. In this stage, one marries, has a family, and works to maintain the family and society, in order to fulfil the emotional needs, the kama aspect.
50 VanprasthaAsrama
is life after retirement and lasts from 50 to 75 years. This retirement highlights the fact that all beings, including the members of one's own family, have their own destiny to fulfil. It is futile to interfere with the destiny of one's children or grandchildren. However rich you may be, you cannot change the destiny of others. But you can provide positive and good quality samskaras so that they can work out their own life and destiny.
51 Sanyasa Ashrama.
The concept of sannyasa ashrama begins from 75 years and lasts till 100 years or death. It is to maintain a balanced view of life. In pain and pleasure, in justice and injustice, one must maintain internal harmony and equilibrium.
52 Anthyeshti
(Funeral Samskaras)
The Hindu belief is that the soul is eternal, that is, it never dies. It continues to go through many rebirths until it merges with the supreme God, Brahman, and becomes free from . The soul, called atman, is given a new life and body as an appropriate reward for the kind of life he led before. During the period between one's death and the next birth, one's soul remains in a subtle form (that which cannot be seen) and roams in space until it enters another body at its birth.
Hindus cremate their dead because they believe that the physical body is not needed any more and it is the immortal soul that is important. It is believed that the body is made up of five elements which are earth, water, air, fire and either and that the God of Fire transports these five elements to their respective sources at death. Agni (holy fire) is the purifying agent that enables the soul to be liberated from the physical body.
Hindus believe that death generates negative attitudes like sorrow and grief in those who mourn the passing away of a loved one. It is believed that these negative attitudes will be passed on to others so the mourners stay at home and do not go out to mingle with people until the Anthyeshti or the funeral ceremony has been completed.
The Anthyeshti is to give a send-off to the soul of the deceased by the family members. The soul remains in the vicinity until the ceremony is completed.