The amrata is repeatedly referred to as the drink of the devas, which grants them immortality. Despite this, the nectar does not actually offer true immortality: instead, by partaking it, the devas were able to attain a higher level of knowledge and power, which they had lost due to the curse of Sage Durvasa.
The amṛta features in the samudra manthana legend, which describes how the devas, because of a curse from the sage Durvasa, begin to lose their immortality. Assisted by their rivals, the asuras, the devas begin to churn the ocean, releasing (among other extraordinary objects and beings) the amṛta.
Amṛta is sometimes said to miraculously form on, or flow from, statues of Hindu gods. The substance is consumed by worshippers and is alleged to be sweet-tasting and not at all similar to honey or sugar water.
Amṛta was the last of the fourteen treasures that emerged from the churning of the ocean and contained in a pot borne by Dhanvantari, the physician of the devas.
What is "bhakti?" What does "bhakti-yoga" mean?
"Bhakti means 'devotional service.' " (The Nectar of Devotion [NOD], p xii)
Bhakti connotes devotion, or love, and love implies service. Service refers to that activity which is intended to please the beloved. Thus "devotional service" is an eloquent definition of Bhakti.
Love is the most fundamental drive of every living entity. We cannot be happy without satisfying this desire to love, and we will not be able to perfectly fulfill this desire without permitting its expansion to the most inclusive extent.
"In the primary stage a child loves his parents, then his brothers and sisters, and as he daily grows up he begins to love his family, society, community, country, nation, or even the whole human society. But the loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until we know who is the supreme beloved." (NOD, p. xv)
Love can become all-embracing only when we understand that Krishna is the supreme beloved, the root of all creation. By embracing Him we successfully embrace everyone, just as pouring water on the root of a tree successfully nourishes every leaf and branch.
The Nectar of Devotion teaches us the science of loving every one of the living entities perfectly by the easy method of loving Krishna.
The word yoga means "to connect." Though yogas are commonly used for health and fitness, the Vedic texts explain that yoga is meant to connect with God.
Bhakti means "devotion," or "devotional service," or "pure love." So Bhakti-yoga means to practice connecting with God, and reestablishing our relationship with Him, through acts of love and service, or devotional service.
Bhakti-yoga and V
In other words, why is Krishna blue and Radha golden?
The tantric explanation for the symbolic colors of Krishna’s blue and Radha’s golden bodies is that these eternal lovers represent the creative lightning flash of Shakti and the blue ocean of Shiva. Tantric lovers representing yogic nondual union.
When we look at the ocean from afar its surface appears to be blue, but if we cup some ocean waters in our hands, then the ocean is transparent. The same holds true if we come close to the transparent being of Consciousness, of Shiva, of Krishna.
He appears blue from a distant, but up close, through our nondual gaze of meditational ecstasy, the Blue Krishna becomes transparent, as transparent as Consciousness, as Shiva Himself.
Hence Krishna is the devotional aspect of Shiva, of Consciousness. In tantric philosophy, in yogic philosophy, the devotional Krishna is the same as Purusha, the same as Consciousness.
So, when we chant the name of Krishna during kirtan, we sing the praises of Consciousness. The heart-melting blue boy represents nondual awareness, nondual Consciousness, the nondual God Shiva, nondual Purusha. Many names, some devotional (Krishna), some tantric (Shiva), some philosophical (Purusha) for the same nondual aspect of reality.
The sensuous and captivating consort Radha likewise takes part in her divine play with her lover Krishna and represents the creative aspect of nondual reality, that which creates the world of form. She is Shakti, the Goddess of creation; she is Prakriti.
Together Radha and Krishna dance and merge into one single current of nondual delight. They are not two; they are One.
As per tantra, you cannot realize the Absolute Divine without dancing in the world of the relative. Without dancing, moving, expressing in the form of a human body; we cannot experience the ethereal and Divine. Thus the body too is Divine.
Likewise, you cannot truly understand the traps of relativity without knowing the vast radiance of the Absolute. Thus the arms flung ecstatically toward the sky and the feet firmly rooted on the earth are One Body.
Krishna’s love is focused on the sparkling eyes of Radha. And her loving being plunges into the vast ocean of Krishna’s gaze. Thus the Absolute Krishna is expressed through the eyes of the relative reality of Radha. Two cosmic beings, One Cosmic Love.
That’s the tantric story of the two radiant lovers—Radha and Krishna. Hence yoga, from a tantric perspective, is both worldly and otherworldly, both physical and metaphysical.
Yoga is more than just a physical exercise. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root Yuj which means to link up with, or combine. Bhakti is derived from the Sanskrit word bhaj, which means – loving service. Bhakti-yoga means to connect to the Supreme by means of loving devotional service.
The Bhagavad Gita, the core spiritual text for ISKCON, describes variety of yoga practices. Among them are karma-yoga (the practice of conscious action), jnana-yoga (philosophical study and contemplation), and hatha-yoga (the practice of yoga-asanas and breathing exercises).
Today, some yoga practitioners consider the physical benefits of yoga to be the end in themselves. But according to the traditional yoga systems, physical exercises are just one step on path of God realization. The Gita ultimately prescribes bhakti-yoga (the path of dedication and love) as the culmination of other yoga practices. Bhakti-yoga focuses on developing our dedication, service and love for the Divinity, Lord Krishna.
The path of bhakti-yoga is developed through a variety of activities. These include mantra meditation, or the chanting of the names of God. The chanting is done either individually on beads (japa) or in community by chanting mantras accompanied by music (kirtan). The study of sacred texts such as the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, associating with like-minded spiritual aspirants, eating sanctified vegetarian food, and living in a way that upholds the principles of truthfulness, mercy, austerity, and cleanliness, are all core practices for a life of follower of bhakti.
Brigid is a continuation of the Indo-European dawn goddess. She is associated with the spring season, fertility, healing, poetry and smithcraft. Cormac's Glossary, written in the 10th century by Christian monks, says that Brigid was "the goddess whom poets adored" and that she had two sisters: Brigid the healer and Brigid the smith. This suggests she may have been a triple deity.
Saint Brigid shares many of the goddess's attributes and her feast day was originally a pagan festival (Imbolc) marking the beginning of spring. It has thus been argued that the saint is a Christianization of the goddess.
Proto-Indo-European religion is the belief system adhered to by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Although this belief system is not directly attested, it has been reconstructed by scholars of comparative mythology based on the similarities in the belief systems of various Indo-European peoples.
Various schools of thought exist regarding the precise nature of Proto-Indo-European religion, which do not always agree with each other. Vedic mythology, Roman mythology, and Norse mythology are the main mythologies normally used for comparative reconstruction, though they are often supplemented with supporting evidence from the Baltic, Celtic, Greek, Slavic, and Hittite traditions as well.
The Proto-Indo-European pantheon includes well-attested deities such as *Dyḗus Pḥatḗr, the god of the daylit skies, his daughter *Haéusōs, the goddess of the dawn, the Horse Twins, and the storm god *Perkwunos. Other probable deities include *Péh2usōn, a pastoral god, and *Seh2ul, a Sun goddess.
Well-attested myths of the Proto-Indo-Europeans include a myth involving a storm god who slays a multi-headed serpent that dwells in water, a myth about the Sun and Moon riding in chariots across the sky, and a creation story involving two brothers, one of whom sacrifices the other to create the world. The Proto-Indo-Europeans may have believed that the Otherworld was guarded by a watchdog and could only be reached by crossing a river. They also may have believed in a world tree, bearing fruit of immortality, either guarded by or gnawed on by a serpent or dragon, and tended by three goddesses who spun the thread of life.
he basic Hare Krishna beliefs can be summarized as follows:
By sincerely cultivating true spiritual science, we can be free from anxiety and come to a state of pure, unending, blissful consciousness in this lifetime.
We are not our bodies but eternal, spirit souls, parts and parcels of God (Krishna). As such, we are all brothers, and Krishna is ultimately our common father. We accept the process of transmigration of the soul (reincarnation).
Krishna is eternal, all-knowing, omnipresent, all-powerful, and all-attractive. He is the seed-giving father of all living beings, and He is the sustaining energy of the entire cosmic creation. He is the same God as The Father Allah, Buddha and Jehovah.
The Absolute Truth is contained in the Vedas, the oldest scriptures in the world. The essence of the Vedas is found in the Bhagavad-Gita, a literal record of Krishna's words.
One can learn the Vedic knowledge from a genuine spiritual master -- one who has no selfish motives and whose mind is firmly fixed on Krishna.
Before one eats, one offers to the Lord (Krishna) the food that sustains all humans; then Krishna becomes the offering and purifies the offered.
One performs all actions as offerings to Krishna and does nothing for one's own sense gratification.
The recommended means for achieving the mature stage of love of God in this age of Kali, or quarrel, is to chant the holy names of the Lord. The easiest method for most people is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Prahlāda Mahārāja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Viṣṇu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)—these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Kṛṣṇa through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.
Brigit rules the elements of Water (Uisge in Gaelic, Dwr in Welsh) and Fire (Teine in Gaelic; Tân in Welsh).
As Water deity, Brigit is the patroness of healers, with many healing springs and wells dedicated to Her throughout the British Isles. Water is also associated with psychic ability, music, and poetry.
Natural bodies of water were also sacred to her, particularly where three streams joined together. As a Fire deity, she is the patroness of blacksmiths and poets (a poet's ‘fire in the head’). The hearth is sacred to her in every home. Another name for her feast day is Candlemas, in which all the candles for the coming year are made and blessed.
Brighid is the Triple Goddess of Fire – the fire of poetic inspiration and divination, the fire of health and fertility, and the fire of metal working and crafts.
Water and Fire were important elements to the early Celtic civilization long before they reached the British Isles. The elements were especially venerated at the end of a long harsh winter – fire was welcomed as the returning warmth of the sun, and water was celebrated as the ice and snow melted
Imbolc, Feast of Saint Bride
Imbolc, or Óimelc, occurring the first of February, is one of the four major Celtic festivals in the year, going back to Druid times. The other three are Beltaine (the first of May), Lughnassad (the first of August), and Samhain (the first of November.)
The important Celtic feast of Candlemas
Brigit and Animals
Brigit had a way with animals, and could call birds to her hand. A hunted boar once found its way to her courtyard, and was granted sanctuary from its pursuers, remaining at the monastery for the rest of its life.
A white skinned red eared fairy cow is associated with her. This fairy animal provided the only sustenance she would accept as an infant – its pure white milk. This cow is said to be her favourite companion.
She saved a man’s life who had accidentally killed the King’s pet trained fox. The king condemned the poor peasant to death for his offense. Brigit replaced the animal with a wild fox from the woods who performed the same tricks that the king’s fox had performed. The fox disappeared back into the woods as soon as the peasant was set free by the king.
Brigit is also associated with a white snake, and with fish that sometimes appear in her healing wells.
Brigit, the Milk Maid
Cattle, milkmaids and milk were sacred to Brigid, ‘Thig a Bhride mhor na loin, Thig, a bhanachaig Iosda Criosda (‘Come, great Bride, the beauteous, Come thou milkmaid of Jesus Christ.’) ‘White Brigid’s Day’ is another name for her feast day, referring to her association with milk, a vital food product to the early pastoral Celts. Milk was left out for her overnight, or poured out on the ground as a libation to her.
She is associated with pastoral and agricultural enterprise – especially sheep and cows, during lambing and calving season, and thus a Goddess of animal fertility. She is particularly associated with milk and dairy products. She is thus a Mother Goddess with strong associations with Danu or Anu.
Shrines and Pilgrimage
There are many shrines and wells dedicated to Brighid throughout Ireland. In Faughart, the place many believe her to be born, there is an outdoor shrine where people come for healing. Cloths, bandages, ribbons, rosary beads and other items are tied to bushes around the shrine. A stream flows nearby with stations of the cross marked for pilgrims to honour her, usually the first Sundays in February and July.