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Special significance of number 18 in Hindu scriptures

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    Number 18 unquestionably has a great significance in Hindu scriptures. Apart from the fact that there are 18 Purans, 18 major Up-purans, and 18 Dharm-Shastras. The importance of number 18 is best explained in the great epic of Mahabharat, which is divided into 18 parvas or sections. The great war of Mahabharat was fought with 18 divisions of army. And out of this 11 were on the side of Kauravas and 7 on the side of Pandavas. The war lasted for 18 days. Finally, it is said that only 18 persons survived the war. The treatise Shrimad Bhagwad Gita is a part of Mahabharat and has 18 chapters. In Gita, Lord Krishna describes the ideal man in 18 verses at the end of Chapter 2, in which he lists the 18 traits that constitute the man with a steady wisdom.

    The central theme of all scriptures of all religions in the world are the same: Prime being the victory of the higher being over the lower one, or righteousness over unrighteousness, or of good over the evil, of dharma over adharma. Ved Vyas had originally titled Mahabharat as Jaya (victory). The word Jaya is in the opening stanzas of both Mahabharat and Gita.

    In the KatapayadiSystem (numerical notation system) of Sanskrit numerology, each letter has a formula-based numerical value, where the numerical value of the word Jaya is 18. To stress on the importance of the word Jaya, number 18 is given a prominent place not only in Mahabharat, but also in various other Hindu scriptures. Thus, number 18 is repeatedly used as an auspicious reminder, to be alert in our constant battle, for inner spiritual victory.

(taken from Hindu scriptures)

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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SHORT STORY: GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES

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    In primitive times there was a Mahatma who lived in a village located on the banks of a river. Where, many villagers, from in and around and even far off places used to come to him for help and advice.

    One day a moorkh (simpleton) from the nearby village came to the Mahatma and started weeping. And, upon Mahatma’s enquiring about the cause he replied, ‘Guruvar, people in my village are very bad, they always misbehave with me. So what should I do to protect myself from such rogues. Please advice to help me out.’

    Mahatma consoled him and politely said, ‘don’t you worry and have confidence in God, for he will set everything right.’ And upon hearing this, the moorkh was happy and soon he left for his home.

    After a few months there were severe floods in the village when everyone started running helter-skelter to save themselves, but the moorkh was cool. He just climbed the roof of his house and started praying to God. And when the flood water started touching the roof a kind person spotted him and extended his hand to help him. But he refused to hold his hand and said, ‘I don’t trust you but I’m confident God will help me.’

    In the meanwhile the flood waters had climbed further and reached up to his neck and seeing this, some people perched in a passing boat offered to help, by asking him to jump but he again refused and said, ‘I only trust God.’

    After sometime he started drowning, when some kind people finally rescued him. They helped him back to consciousness. But the moorkh instead of thanking them, went up to the Mahatma and started complaining, ‘you had asked me to have faith in God, but this tip of yours nearly killed me, for he never came forward to help me.’

    Mahatama smiled at him and sweetly said, ‘Hey you simple soul, in response to your prayers only these people and the boat were sent to you, to save you. But you refused to take any help. Even then God almighty who wishes and desires everyones welfare, to save you, sent some kind people, otherwise by now you would have been dead.’ But Mahatma was not finished as yet when he further sermonized, ‘always remember in response to your earnest prayers God will not come and do your “karma” for you. He has given you brains and you need use it.’

    This story is from Puran (Hindu holy script) and conveys a simple message–“God helps those who help themselves.”

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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