Friday, March 15, 2013

Reclaiming our History | Decoding the Ramayana: The *real* Shri Ram: Whether he was a "bad husband" and what is 'Ram-Rajya'? (Part-XXI)

Author's Note: Please visit - The 'Real' Ramayana/ Ram-Rajya - to read the other parts of this series, so as to be able to fully understand or grasp the contents of this one.

Thoughts on: Vishnuloka, Brhmaloka and Kailash (in the current four-yug cycle); Airavata and Vajrastra; Mahashivratri and the *Shiv Ling*. What does the joining of the palms indicate? A bit of history from the World War II era. Notes on: devi Aindri, Vrtra or Vrtrasura; serious food shortages in the 1940s, Shri Krishna and Chanakya. *Continuing* with our *discussions* on the "Devi Mahatmyam" - the "Sri Sri Caṇḍī Pāṭha".

In Part-XX we discussed about the three lokas (in the current four-yug cycle): #1. Svargaloka/Alkapuri/Indrapuri. #2. Gandharva-loka. #3. Patal-puri/Nag-loka.

Forming a confederation with Svargaloka (also known as: Alkapuri or Indrapuri) was Kailash, Vishnuloka and Brhmaloka.

Vishnuloka constituted an area in the foothills of the Himalayas and was the abode of Shri Vishnu and his consort, Sri Sri Lakshmi. While: Brhmaloka was the abode of the most learned person of the time, referred to as Shri Brhma (also: Brahma). Maybe, this was an honorific or title. [Brahma is associated with Maa Saraswati.] Incidentally, modern Burma (also: Burmah, now Myanmar) was actually Brahma Desha or the 'Land of Brahma'. The major river here has now been anglicized to Irrawaddy, but is pronounced very differently in the Burmese tongue as Ayeyarawati. This is because: it is derived from the Sanskrit name Airavata, the elephant mount of Devaraj Indra. 

The mighty pachyderm, Airavata, extends his massive trunk into the watery underworld to draw and spray the water into the clouds, which are then converted into life-sustaining rains. This probably means: Devaraj Indra undertook the massive project of outing the life-sustaining river from beneath the ground. Here, Airavata may have been a powerful machine used for drilling purposes, and was hence, given this name (likening it to the mighty pachyderm Airavata's massive trunk that extended into the watery underworld to draw and spray the water into the clouds). Indra's elephant mount - Airavata - is said to have been white in colour. It may have been an albino elephant, or a species that is now extinct. Alternatively: it could also have been an elephant from ancient Brahma Desha, where whitish-gray elephants are found. 

Also: Indra may have possessed yet another 'vaahan' - the "gaja-vimana" - with multiple engines, hence the allusion to a gaja. (Gaja means elephant in Sanskrit.) The "agnihotra-vimana" was a vimana with two engines. (Agni means fire in Sanskrit). The word 'vimana' is a Sanskrit word and comes from vi-mana, meaning 'apart' or 'having been measured'. Indra's gaja-vimana perhaps was a one-of-a-kind vimana equipped with deadly weapons, namely the 'vajrastra'. [Astra = weapon, missile.] This vimana probably was more awe-inspiring than Ravana's famed "Pushpaka-vimana" (that resembled the Sun, this excellent aerial car is said to have resembled a bright cloud in the sky. Maybe, it was extremely radiant: brightly/fluorescent coloured, made of bright metal, emitted energy, or had bright lights attached to it). Or maybe was sun-powered.

Indra's vajrastra was a 'blazing missile'. 'Indra's Dart', 'Vajra' or 'Thunderbolt' operated via a circular 'reflector'. When switched on, it produced a 'shaft of light' which, when focused on any target, immediately 'consumed it with its power'. [Clearly a reference to laser, perhaps: it was powered by energy tapped from lightning.] Rishi Dadhichi may have been the one who possessed the required know-how/knowledge and assembled this weapon, though this bit has been indicated in camouflaged language.]

[In another related myth: Vrtra or Vritrasura drank all the waters leaving the earth dry and tabescent. Thereafter, Devaraj Indra - mounted on Airavata - defeated Vrtra. This myth is very likely an allegory of the last ice age, when the waters were frozen into glaciers atop the major mountain ranges.  As the climate grew warmer, the glaciers broke up and great rivers gushed forth, resembling great serpents or dragons on to the plains. Ayeyarawati drained the melting glaciers of the eastern most part of the Himalayas pretty much like how Airavata drew the waters, hence the name.

Note: Vrtra is referred to as the god of chaos. Vrtra (Sanskrit, "storm cloud") is a dark cloud of ignorance and sloth personified by a demon serpent that was vanquished by Indra.

I interpret this as: the real Vrtra or Vrtrasura being a prominent member of clans that worshipped gigantic serpents. Or maybe, even a rogue Deva. For gigantic serpents and Deva, refer to: Part-XIX.]  

Alternatively: Ayeyarawati may have been a variant of Iravati. ['Ira' and its variant 'Ida', means 'refreshment', 'holy libation' etc. 'Vat' or 'vati' indicates 'possessor of'. And this makes me wonder about Iravan, Arjun and Uloopi's son. Was this Manipura (from where Uloopi hailed) same as the one we know now, or a different one?]  

There are some indications that a long time ago, some areas near the foothills of the Himalayas caved in, which was later (gradually) covered by another landmass that attached itself to the Himalayan foothills. So, did parts of Vishnuloka cave in? Was modern Tibet and surrounding areas a part of Vishnuloka? [BTW, 'Tibet' is Sanskrit 'Tripishtaka' or 'Trivistaka', meaning the supposed land of the Devas to the north of the Himalayas. Modern Thailand was ancient Siam Desha. [We will discuss this later.] However, I am quite keen to figure out the extent of Brahmaloka or Brahma Desha, since we have a mighty and sacred river, the Brahmaputra, meaning: son of Brahma. That ancient Brahmaloka or Brahma Desha extended further northward is reasonably clear though.]

As for Kailash, it was the marital abode of Shiv-Parvati.

[Do read Part-XVIII to know more about the Kalash people.]

If we are to examine the customs of the modern Kalash people, we find: milk festival, besides a great affinity for singing and dancing and drink. [In fact, wine is considered as a sacred drink and the locally brewed mulberry wine is drunk in copious quantities.] Looks like, though the Somaras [Part-XVIII] is no longer available, the traits remain. :) Their houses are constructed on solid stone foundation, but the walls are made of wooden planks - fashioned out of the Deodar tree. [Deodar is anglicized. In Sanskrit, it is known as devadāru, which means "wood of the devas", a compound of deva (the Sura/Deva people of Svargaloka/Alkapuri/Indrapuri) and dāru (wood, etym. tree).] 

The Kalash people are agro-pastoral people who live in tune with nature, surrounded by lush green fields and natural springs. There was a famous ruler, Bala Sing. [Note: Sing is a clear a variation of Sinh or Singh, meaning: lion.]

The Kalash people adhere to a tradition based on ancestor worship. They believe in a single, creative God, though different Kalasha altars and temples are incorrectly understood to be places of worship for separate and distinct Kalasha deities. [While it is correct that the Kalasha people do have different names of altars such as Sajigor, Indrain and Warin etc., these altars are all ultimately a place to offer sacrifice to that single, creative God. Indrain is probably an altar dedicated to and/or named after Devaraj Indra.]

The Kalash also worship Mahandeo. [And aren't we familiar with Mahadev?]

The Kalash do not have any routine daily prayers. They do pray whenever they initiate any activities like harvesting, ploughing and construction + whenever the favour and honour of that single, creative God is needed. Most prayers are offered during Kalasha festivities.

Their myths and beliefs centre on the relationship between the human soul and the universe. This relationship, according to Kalash mythology, manifests itself in music and dance, which also contribute to the pleasure of gods and goddesses. In their festivals, music and dance are performed not only for entertainment, but also as a ritual. The Kalash celebrate four major festivals commemorating seasonal change and significant events in agro-pastoral life. These festivals are Joshi or Chilimjusht, Uchal, Phoo and Chowmos. They celebrate these festivals by offering sacrifices on altars, cooking traditional meals and dancing to traditional music during the week-long events.

[Now, let's take Joshi or Chilimjusht. Shiv smokes Chilim, right?]

The festival of Joshi is for spring harvest, and lasts 4-6 days in mid-May and the Uchao festival in August celebrates the pre-harvest with cheese, corn and wine. The Choimus in mid-December for the winter solace is the most impressive, lasting 10 days. [The pastoral god Sorizan protects the herds in Fall and Winter and is thanked at the winter festival, while Goshidai does so until the Pul festival (pũ. from *pūrṇa, purnima - full moon - in Sept.) and is thanked at the Joshi (joṣi, žōši) festival in spring.]

The most important Kalash festival is the Chowmos/Choimus/Chawmos (cawmōs, ghona chawmos yat, Khowar "chitrimas" from *cāturmāsya), which is celebrated for two weeks during winter solstice (c. Dec. 7-22), at the beginning of the month chawmos mastruk. It marks the end of the year's fieldwork and harvest. It involves much music, dancing, and the sacrifice of many goats. [And... aren't were familiar with the concept of Chaturmaas?]

The main Chaumos ritual takes place at a Tok tree, a place called Indra's place, "indrunkot", or "indréyin".

It also involves rituals with men dressing as women. [And this makes me wonder about the episode mentioned in the Mahabharata - involving Arjun and Urvashi - with Arjun becoming 'Brihannala' for a year. 'Coz during the cusp of Dvapar-Kali (almost that is, since that's when this famed Dharmayuddha occurred) was there an Indra? Therefore, we need to figure this episode out. Perhaps, Arjun ventured into Kailash and had some encounters with the ancestors of these people? Perhaps this episode was a later addition?]

There are clear references to Yama Râja (called imr'o in Kâmviri). There is a creator god, appearing under various names, not as the single, creative God, but as lord of the nether world and of heaven: Imra (Yama Rāja).

Indr has a demon-like counterpart, Jeṣṭan, who appears on earth as a dog. 

[Maybe: something to do with the story mentioned in the Mahabharata about Yudhistira being followed by Dharmaraj disguised as a dog? Was this story a later-day addition? Allegorical? Or was it to indicate that Yudhistira had been to the Kalash areas + interacted with the people?]

There is a mention of a female deity who seems very similar to Yama Raja's sister, Yamuna (after whom one of our sacred rivers is named).

Another important practice in Kalash mythology is astronomy. The Kalash believe that a new sun is born on December 21 and that the new sun affects the flora and fauna of the land.

The Kalasha way of life is finely balanced, allowing both men and women to do their duties freely. The Kalasha society is not a male-dominated one, their social organization is very effective, and ensures there is no cruelty or discrimination based on issues of gender. [All this reminds me of the concept of Ardhanarishvara.]

In the Kalasha culture, one cannot marry a close relative, including second cousins. [BTW, I also came across a Ramput Valley in these parts.] The Kalash society is optimistic even in the face of significant challenges. Crows represent the ancestors, and are frequently fed. The rituals is basically, though not always, temple-less, involving fire, sacred wood, three circumambulations, and the *hotṛ. [The latter may be a reference to yagna or the place containing the sacred yagna fire/agni. Or maybe: a reference to the one(s) conducting the fire-ritual.]

Though a lot of water has flown under the bridge, yet we can clearly find traces of their ancient and original way of life. I, for one, have no doubt in my mind that the modern Kalash people are the descendents of the ancient Kalash people that inhabited the areas that constituted ancient Kailash - the marital abode of Shiv-Parvati. [Of course, over time some intermixing of blood, culture, heritage, languages and rituals with the ancient Devas/Suras, the ancient Dardic people, the ancient Chiliss people, etc may have happened, besides the seepage of other influences of course.]

A study of the culture + sorting out of the numerous later-day add-on and myths that the current people of Kalasha Desh (the three Kalash valleys) have come to embrace... may give us more information. Also, a study of the attire and personal effects of the Kalash people and/or some other groups/clans that live in the foothills of the Himalayas (along the entire stretch of the mighty Himalayan ranges), may give us some clues about what the Devas/Sura people or even Shiv and Parvati wore. ['Coz the way Shiv is depicted is loaded with various symbolism. And I, for one, cannot believe that Parvati and her comrades went into battle kitted out in the sort of attire that is more suitable for Shakuntala or Kapalakundala.]

BTW, while studying the Kalash culture, we find references to Apsaras [Part-XVIII and Part-XIX] and Suchi - who help in hunting and killing enemies, and the Varōti, their violent male partners. [Suchi could very well be a variant of Sachi devi, the consort of Devaraj Indra, while Varōti probably comes from Vritra/Vrtra or Vritrasura and his companions.]

This is what the "Devi Mahatmyam" (also known as the "Sri Sri Caṇḍī Pāṭha") says:

Kiriittini Mahaa-Vajra Sahasra-Nayano[a-U]jjvale |
Vrtra-Praanna-Hare Ca-[A]indri Naaraayanni Namo[ah-A]stu Te ||17||


17.1 Kiriittini = shining, emitting exceptionally brilliant light; Mahaa = great; Vajra = lightning, dart: a reference to Indra's weapon, the vajrastra; Sahasra = thousand; Nayano[a = eyes; U]jjvale = brilliantly lit.

17.2 Vrtra = the name of one of the slain negative or aasuric entities; Praanna = life; Hare = takes, to take; Ca = the one who; [A]indri = the consort of Indra (the Devaraj or the king of the Devas/Sura people); Naaraayanni = the balancer or the preserver; the restorer of balance in society and civilization + the protector of the noble principles of the Sanaatan Dharma, the Arya-Dharma and the Kshatriya Dharma. [Naaraayanni is an honorific - since the cosmic force/energy that our ancients called "Vishnu" was viewed as the "balancing or preserving force"]; Namo[ah-A]stu Te = salutations, reverential bow - in prayer.


17.1 (Salutations to You O Narayani) Who wielded the great Thunderbolt and blazed with the brilliance of a thousand eyes.

17.2 (I bow to) the great Aindri who took away the life of the terrible Vrtra.

[Note: The vajra or thunderbolt is not to be taken literally (refer: our discussions at the beginning of this post). In Part-XX we also mentioned about the 'Iron Thunderbolt' - a reference to atomic war. 'Vajra' also means: 'lightning'; it packs in humongous quantities of electricity. Lightning is a massive electrostatic discharge caused by unbalanced electric charges in the atmosphere, and resulting in a strike, from a cloud to itself, a cloud to a cloud or a cloud to ground, and accompanied by the loud sound of thunder. Hence, the 'vajra' wielded by Aindri was an extremely powerful weapon/missile, whose power was derived from lightning. It was capable of inflicting large-scale destruction/killing several entities at one go - by reducing them to ash and/or by electrocution - if suitably controlled. So, we may even consider the 'vajrastra' as a 'lesser' atomic bomb as indicated by 'blazes with the brilliance of a thousand eyes'. This phrase also indicates Aindri's rage at Vrtra or Vrtrasura - one of the entities that wrecked havoc on Svargaloka, and who (along with his companions) defeated the mighty Indra and his army of Devas (the Devasena) in battle. Consequently, Indra and all the notable Devas had to flee Svargaloka.

We must remember that Aindri fought and killed Vrtra using the same vajra 'wielded by' Indra. Therefore, all those stories mentioning Indra killing Vrtra may have been a reference to the slain Vrtra's son, or maybe a reference to some other event (described in camouflaged language). Aindri is also known as Indrani (meaning: consort of Indra). Aindri means: the powerful, belongs to the powerful. Her actual name is Sachi devi. She is depicted as riding Airavata and 'wielding the 'vajrastra'. Here, Airavata is not the mighty pachyderm, but the "gaja-vimana" fitted with the famed 'vajrastra' (hence the 'wielding of the 'vajrastra' bit).]

What does the joining of the palms indicate?

The gesture used when bowing in Namaste is the bringing of both hands together, palms touching, in front of the person - usually at the chest, or a higher level such as below the chin, below the nose, or above the head.

This gesture is a mudra, a well-recognized symbolic hand position in the ancient Vedic faith (Sanaatan Dharm) that has unfortunately shrunk (plus has become infested with unwanted aspects and impurities) over a period of time. One hand represents the higher, spiritual nature, while the other represents the worldly self. By combining the two, the person making the gesture is attempting to rise above their differences with others, to connect themselves to the person they bow to. The bow is a symbolic bow of love and respect. [Sanaatan = timeless, Dharm = path or way of life. Note: this word, 'path' has come into the English language via Sanskrit.]

Particularly in the Sanaatan Dharma (which has now come to be known as Hinduism), when one worships or bows in reverence, the symbolism of the two palms touching is of great significance. It is the joining together of two extremities - the feet of the Divine, with the head of the devotee. The right palm denotes the feet of the Divine and the left palm denotes the head of the devotee. The Divine feet constitute the ultimate solace for all sorrows. This is a time-honoured thought that runs through the entire ethos - of this timeless Vedic faith.

Meditation and prayer or puja are some of the instruments that aid us in our efforts to unite with the Supreme Being - the divine (variously referred to as: the Brahman, the Paramaatma or the Parameshvar; the Ultimate knowledge, the Ultimate Truth, the Ultimate Being, the Ultimate Reality or maybe even the forces of the universe or the energies behind the cosmos). At the end of it - the puja or the meditation, that is - we feel enriched, energized or rejuvenated... while a strange calmness envelops us within its fold.

The reciting of the mantras or the sacred hymns coupled with the fragrance of the incense fills the air ... and the surroundings resonate with a positive energy that mere mortal words fail to express.

However, mere instruments (such as: meditation, puja, incense, camphor, earthen lamps or diyas, et al) are not enough. The most important aspect (in one's communion with the divine) is one's mind or more precisely one's thoughts. If the mind is preoccupied with other more 'important' matters then... well, fill in the blanks.

Also: one needs to factor in the astonishing 'songs' with the weirdest of lyrics (gleaned from some or the other 'popular' number) that clog one's ears during any puja or festival. Strangely, only the modern Sanaatan Dharmis display this trait. One is yet to find 'others' behaving thus. Or for that matter, the free for all that ensues during a gathering (especially during pujas or auspicious times). Perhaps, we have much to learn and reflect, so as not to become ROFL-ing objects for 'others'.

Now for some change of taste: here a bit of history from the World War II era.

Allied forces had suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Japanese: first in the Battle of Malay at the end of January 1942, and then in the Battle of Singapore a few weeks later on the 15th of February. Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita, commander of the Imperial Twenty-fifth Army of Japan, having taken 50,000 Allied troops as prisoners in Malay, captured the Allied stronghold of Singapore with only 30,000 Japanese soldiers. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill described the ignominious fall of Singapore, where 80,000 Allied troops had surrendered, as the 'largest capitulation' in British history. A sizable fraction of these Allied troops were Indians who fought for the British army. Major Fujiwara Iwaichi, chief of intelligence of the Japanese Fifteenth Army, saw the Indian soldiers as potential allies who could help the Japanese fight the British.   

Major Fujiwara Iwaichi was in contact with an Indian revolutionary Giani Pritam Singh, and they both combined to convince Mohan Singh, an Indian captain of the British Army who had just been captured by the Japanese in Jitra town of Malay in December 1941, to form an Army of Liberation for India. Mohan Singh actively recruited among the Indian prisoners of war (PoW) to form the Indian National Army. In a conference held at Bangkok in June 1942 of the Indian Independence League under the leadership of Biplabi Rash Behari Bose, Mohan Singh was appointed commander-in-chief of the 'Army of Liberation of India' or the Indian National Army (INA). By the 1st of September 1942, General Mohan Singh of INA would lead 40,000 troops. [Later, Biplabi Rash Behari Bose handed over the baton to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.]

[Do read about this great son of India - Biplabi Rash Behari Bose: link1 and link2.]

While the Japanese Twenty-fifth Army marched on the Malay Peninsula, the Japanese Fifteenth Army commanded by Lieutenant General Shojiro Ida overcame a weak Thai resistance en route to Burma. Thailand signed a defense pact with Japan, and on the 20th of January 1942, General Ida marched into Burma. Despite limited supplies and a hostile terrain, 35,000 Japanese troops out-manoeuvred the much larger British forces, and by the 22nd of February 1942 Japanese troops closed in on Rangoon. In a last desperate attempt General Archibald Wavell, the commander-in-chief of the American-British-Dutch-Australian command (ABDA-COM) ordered holding of Rangoon for as long as possible, but he resigned on the 25th of February 1942 after handing the command to General Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander. General Alexander realizing the hopelessness of the British position ordered the evacuation of Rangoon on the 7th of March 1942. Next day, i.e. on the 8th of March 1942, barely three weeks after the capture of Singapore, the Japanese captured Rangoon, the capital of Burma.  

One hundred and eighteen year long British colonial rule of Malay Peninsula, since the signing of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty in 1824, was overthrown by the Japanese military campaign in a mere two months. Moreover, the Japanese military took less than 120 days to liberate Burma that had languished for 120 years under a brutal British colonial rule, since the First Anglo-Burmese War of 1823. So intense was the Burmese hatred of the horrendously oppressive century-old British regime that after Burma gained her independence from Britain on the 4th of January 1948, the Burmese leadership decided not to join the British Commonwealth unlike India, Pakistan and Ceylon. 

The ease and the speed with which the Japanese had trounced the Allied forces in Malay, Singapore and Burma had well and truly terrified the British, and in fact threatened their hold over India. The British were now convinced of the Japanese military prowess, capable of outmaneuvering the Allied troops to invade and capture eastern India anytime. So after the fall of Rangoon, the Allied forces attempted to regroup in the north of Burma, essentially to thwart the progress of the Japanese military machine. But the prospect of total annihilation at the hands of the Japanese military, presently reinforced by freedom fighters of the Indian National Army and Indian Independence League, the army of Thailand, and a section of the Burmese army, made the British flee Burma by May 1942, before the onset of monsoon. The British and Chinese had sustained some 30,000 casualties in Burma at the hands of the Japanese, and by July 1942, the retreat of the British forces from Burma was complete while the Japanese consolidated their position.

Serious food shortages in the 1940s:

Between 1920 and 1940, the British colony of Burma was the single largest exporter of rice in the world. Fertile plains of the Irrawaddy River, and the Arakan region (that adjoined the province of East-Bengal of India) produced vast quantities of rice in a British-imposed virtual monoculture. The British Raj imported almost 15 per cent of India's total rice requirement from Burma, and with the advent of the Second World War, Britain procured even larger quantities of Burmese rice for the British troops fighting in the Middle East and elsewhere. When the Japanese liberated Burma, the British lost access to this vast supply of rice at a time when they needed it the most (for their troops). The British Raj then procured this large quantity of rice essentially from eastern India (for exporting to the troops stationed in the Middle East and elsewhere). The latter had been dependent on Burmese rice before. 

In morbid fear of the Japanese advance, the British systematically burnt and destroyed vast tracts of rice paddy fields in the fertile Chittagong region of East-Bengal that adjoined Arakan in Burma. This 'scorched earth policy' of the British further reduced the availability of rice in Bengal. And in a calamitous move the British horded huge quantities of rice for their troops, which drastically reduced the availability of rice for the people of (undivided) Bengal.  

The British Raj virtually initiated no administrative action, even when the scarcity of food became obvious. General Archibald Percival Wavell who had fled Rangoon in February 1942, had been promoted to the position of field marshal in January 1943. After Lord Linlithgow retired as the viceroy of India in the summer of 1943, the British Raj replaced him with Field Marshal Wavell essentially to rule the country with an iron hand. Wavell would hold the position till 1947... to be replaced by Mountbatten. When large-scale starvation deaths were reported, Viceroy Wavell and Secretary of State for India, Leopold Amery, wrote to the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill requesting the release of food stocks for India. Churchill totally disregarded the dire situation and refused additional supplies. [Incidentally, Leopold Charles Maurice Stennett Amery was born in India in Gorakhpur to a Jewish Hungarian mother and an English father, Charles F. Amery who worked for the Indian Forest Department. Charles Amery abandoned his young family, and the mother, who made great personal sacrifices to educate them, brought up the children. Leo Amery had seen hardship, and empathized with the suffering masses in India. Churchill on the other hand hated India, as evident from an entry in Leo Amery's diary, where Churchill is recorded to have said in September 1942, 'I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion'.]  

Churchill's response and disposition were ample demonstrations of the uncaring and contemptuous attitude of the British Raj towards the people of India. The British neglect further intensified the Bengal Famine of 1943-1944 that starved at least 3 million men, women and children to death. And as of today not a single British administrator has ever been punished for this genocide, nor has Britain paid any compensation. [Further reading: Part-XIX.]

Bengali literature is replete with many narratives and first-hand accounts of the famine in 1940s.  [Let's hope someone translates all these stories into English + other Indian languages - for a wider readership. 'Coz we are somehow unaware of our own history.]

Eastern India endured many famines and starvation deaths during the British Raj. Between September 1865 and December 1866, a horrendous famine had devastated the state of Orissa (now Odisha), which was then a part of undivided Bengal. A full one-third of the population, some 1.2 million people out of a total population of 3.7 million had perished in this famine. And the cause of the famine, you have guessed it right, was a 'total British administrative failure'. [Whether this 'failure' was genuine or something else... I leave it to you to decipher.] The arrogant British Raj, to quote Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, had ruled India by: 'Bandhook ki goli, aur Angrej ki boli', that in English would read, 'Gun shots and the alien language of English', however, maintained an uncaring and contemptuous attitude towards the people of India. 

Need for substantial increase in food-grain production:

India won her so-called 'independence' on the 15th of August 1947 after being ruthlessly dismembered. The singularly most important purpose of this dismemberment was to make sure that the once fabulously wealthy and powerful nation on earth, gradually reduced to an utterly impoverished one by the systematic siphoning of wealth over two hundred and fifty years of colonial rule, remained indigent and weak. [However, despite all this, many Indians would be unwilling to accept that Britain systematically destroyed the economy of India, but then, you see, Anglophilia is a potent form of Haemophilia... and not good for what lies between the ears. :)] There is a book titled, The Case For India, written by the well-known author and philosopher Will Durant.  This 228-page book published in 1930, was written when Durant was on a visit to India (to conduct research for his books on philosophy). He saw the systematic ruination of the Indian economy first hand. Will Durant most eloquently made a case for India and most tersely accused Britain of haemorrhaging the colony. The British Raj, in turn, very promptly banned the book.  

After India gained her 'independence', the British in particular and the West in general made all manner of disparaging remarks, predicting the disintegration of India into a million pieces by the end of the twentieth century. Say for instance, Winston Churchill in December 1930 in London had most disparagingly predicted that after the British departure, 'India will fall back quite rapidly through the centuries into the barbarism and privations of the Middle Ages'. He had also prescribed/predicted, 'an army of white janissaries, officered if necessary from Germany, will be hired to secure the armed ascendancy of the Hindu'. The West loved watching our beloved motherland going around in tatters, clutching a begging bowl cadging for food-grains. [The shortage of food-grains in the newly 'independent' India had been exacerbated by the disproportionate partitioning of the two fertile food-bowls of Punjab and Bengal of undivided India - with larger parts going elsewhere/carved out. Along with that a large number of the symbols of our ancient heritage + Sanaatan Dharma too were neatly cut-off from this newly 'independent' nation. Surely, our friendly colonizers were well aware of the fate that would befall these symbols of our ancient heritage (at the hands of a theocratic nation). Yet, we unfailingly make such a song and dance about having 'won our independence'. Sadly, we are yet to realize that the friendly colonizers have rubbed our collective nose in the ground and are still rubbing our collective nose in their dung heap. The truth is that: we did not 'win' our 'independence'. It was an abject capitulation of millions of people to an alien occupying force barely 3 lakh in number. And that 3 lakh included the elderly + small children. This is a shameful episode and unparalleled in history. We have never tried to understand what it has done to our psyche.] 

Gaining food security and energy security is paramount. 

We must improve our crop management practices, which involve proper watering techniques, optimum use of fertilizer, and pest control. And we must revive the mountains - the mahidharas - the sustainers of the earth.

Among the multitude of synonyms for mountain in Sanskrit and other languages of India, there is a word which is of particular significance for the prevention of desertification of eastern India. And that word is mahidhara, which etymologically means: the one who holds the earth or the one who sustains the earth. Our ancients respected the mountains, the mahidharas, as the sustainers of the earth. So great has been our reverence for the Himalaya that in the Sanaatan Dharma (rooted in Vedic wisdom), it is not just a chain of mountains, He is divine. Himalaya is not only the father of devi Parvati, but is also the 'father' of the sacred Ganga, Yamuna and the Saraswati. This reverence for the mightiest mountain-range is the acknowledgement of the central role He has played in preserving and sustaining our glorious mother-land. It is important that we become aware that the mountains play the singularly most important role in sustaining the environment in the Indian sub-continent. And we must also realize the importance of regenerating the mountains in order to revive the environment.

Mountains of the states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand in eastern India have played important roles too. In the past, say half a century ago, when these mountains, particularly of western Odisha, were crowned with dense forests, they successfully prevented the onslaught of the heat wave from the semi-arid north-west and central India. Evaporation from the dense foliage of the thick forests maintained the relative humidity at much higher levels throughout the year, particularly in the pre-monsoon summer months. Combined effect of these two processes kept eastern India much cooler than the hotter parts of the Indian subcontinent. Moreover, the cool mountain air at higher altitudes always initiated precipitations from the dark monsoon clouds that made eastern India receive much heavier rains than the rest of the country. The dense forests atop the mountains again played a very significant role by arresting the flow of the rainwaters that recharged the groundwater table at the upper end at higher altitudes, which in turn raised the water table over a much larger geographic area. [Today, water is a serious issue. We will use cement, but we will never use cobblestones for roads, pavements, footpaths, et al. Cobblestones allow the rainwater to seep below the ground, cement does not.]

As mentioned earlier, mountains of the states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have already undergone extensive denudation. The relative humidity in the pre-monsoon summer months comes down to as low as 10 per cent. Heat wave all the way from the deserts of Rajasthan blows unhindered right up to the coastal plains of Odisha at a speed of around 25 km per hour. If the ambient temperature of the forests continues to hover above 50 degree C for a period of time, the dry heat will ensure that spontaneous forest fires become a routine occurrence. Moreover, this extreme dry heat repels the moist clouds of the pre-monsoon months, which otherwise would produce rains. This ambient heat and the hot air blowing all the way from the deserts of Rajasthan will not only accelerate the extinction of many species of animals and plants but also seriously affect the rainfall pattern of eastern India. If the rainfall pattern changes significantly, despite the proximity to the sea and despite a long history of very heavy monsoon rains, eastern India will become an arid land pretty much like the countries of Ethiopia and Somalia situated in the north-eastern-most part of the continent of Africa. [Ethiopia and Somalia were not always dreary deserts, once upon a time they too were lush green. Right up to the beginning of the twentieth century, 35 per cent of the landmass of Ethiopia was under forest cover, which now - in the beginning of the twenty-first century - stands at a miserable 12 per cent. One of the oldest human settlements of the world, Ethiopia, has all but become a desert because of the systematic destruction of forests.] 

There are many who would like to blame this extreme hot climate of eastern India (of these past few years) on global warming, which has become a convenient excuse to mask all manners of mismanagements and negative practices. These days, there is a tendency to blame global warming for all the ills of the world. The extreme temperatures in eastern India is because of regional warming that we have brought upon ourselves by denuding our forests and destroying our water-bodies.

We must revive the Mountains. And we must plant trees. Unfortunately, we undertake this critical activity in an utterly thoughtless manner. Why, you ask? Well, 'coz we (somehow) plant a million saplings (with barely any space between the saplings) in a small portion of land, that's why. Meaning: we periodically plant numerous saplings in a small portion of land, and then pat each other and ourselves on this 'commendable feat'. What is the outcome? Are we planting bonsai or are we planting saplings that would grow into leafy trees? :)


Recently, we celebrated what has now come to be known as the 'Mahashivratri' or the 'Great Night of Bhagavan Shiv'.

However, this is probably a term of much recent coinage. The day commemorating the wedding of Shiv-Parvati has (perhaps) now come to be referred as: Mahashivratri, possibly as a result of the many movements or cults that sprang up in Shiv's name, besides the efforts of various great humans, and maybe even those of the Shankaracharya (a great devotee of Shiv).

For all his greatness and commendable work, the Shankaracharya was after all a TamBrahm. :)

Hence, not only has the change in name come about, but also things like: Parvati fervently prayed to Shiv, tried to please Shiv, performed austerities to get him as her husband or was subservient to him et al too has appeared. Besides notions like: Parvati/Durga was 'permitted' by Shiv to visit her parental home only for nine days in a year. [Note the immense attempts + thoughts that have gone into minimizing/subjugating the feminine. :)]

Frankly: Shiv is a great dancer and warrior, possessed knowledge of various weapons, of Yog and an assortment of medical plants (which is why he is also known as Vaidyanatha). But he is a rustic man, a wanderer and not all that pleasant to the eyes either (what with all that ash).

Parvati on the other hand is the only daughter of Himavat (also: Himavan) - the influential mountain-king/chieftain (Shailapati, Shailendra or Shailesh - "Master/Lord of the Mountains") and his wife, Mena/Meena. "Parvati" translates to "She of the mountains" and refers to Parvati hailing from the Himalayan region + being the daughter of Himavan, lord of the mountains and the personification of the Himalayas. Other names that associate her with the mountains are Shailaja (Daughter of the mountains), Adrija or Nagajaa or Shailaputri (Daughter of the Mountains), 'Haimavathi' (Daughter of Himavan) and 'Girija' or 'Girirajaputri' (Daughter of the king of the mountains). Parvati's name is also sometimes considered a form of 'pavitra', meaning 'sinless' or 'holy' in Sanskrit. Her consort is Shiva and she is the sagun swaroop (human manifestation) of the Supreme Being Adi Parashakti.

[Human manifestation or sagun swaroop is not literal. It essentially means that through her we can "see" the greatest force/energy behind the cosmos: Maa Shakti or Adi Parashakti. This is because of the greatness and the magnificence of her deeds (keerti). Just as Shakti or Adi Parashakti holds the cosmos together, thus preventing it's disintegration; Parvati/Durga (along with her comrades) saved society and civilization from disintegration and degradation.

Through the sheer force of her Karm (Nishkam Karm), Parvati, the human... became Parvati, the immortal (mrityunjay), and Parvati - the woman - came to be revered as: 'Bhagavati'. In today's parlance: the mortal Parvati became the Goddess - devi Durga. "Durga" is derived from durg, meaning: fortress; Parvati's actions fortified this great land and her people, thus shielding them from negative or aasuric entities and their influence. Do read: Part-XIV - to know what "Bhagavan" / "Bhagavati" and "mrityunjay" means.]

Her legend has transcended yugs (eras) and will continue to endure. Parvati is described as very good-looking, she is also known as Gauri on account of her golden or radiant complexion.

We have already seen glimpses of her courage, leadership, besides her skills on the battlefield and knowledge of assorted weaponry. She is also known as "Trya[i-A]mbake Gauri" or the "three-eyed one" on account of her discerning and visionary nature. [And needless to say, she too may have possessed knowledge about medicinal plants, etc. In fact, she is a greater warrior than Shiv, hence her story is about her magnificence, her magnanimity and her glory - her Mahatmyam.] 

This is what the "Devi Mahatmyam" (Sri Sri chandipATh) says:

Sarva-Manggala-Maanggalye Shive Sarvaartha-Saadhike |
Sharannye Trya[i-A]mbake Gauri Naaraayanni Namo[ah-A]stu Te ||8||


8.1: (Salutations to You O Narayani) Who is the Auspiciousness in All the Auspicious, Auspiciousness Herself and Complete with All the Auspicious Attributes,

8.2: The Giver of Refuge, the One with Three Eyes and a Radiant Complexion; Salutations to You O Narayani. [This can also be interpreted as: I seek refuge in the Three-Eyed and Radiant-Complexioned One (Gauri); Salutations to You O Narayani.]

So, given their vastly different backgrounds, wouldn't their knowledge and outlook differ drastically? Wouldn't their experiences and perspectives be quite different?  

In short: what is the impression we gather about Parvati and Shiv? You decide. [Come to think of it, wouldn't a slightly rustic-looking chap pair well with a classy-looking girl? Think 'Band Bajaa Baraat'...?]

Here is a stotra from the "Devi Mahatmyam":

Sarva-Svaruupe Sarve[a-Ii]she Sarva-Shakti-Samanvite |
Bhayebhyas-Traahi No Devi Durge Devi Namo[ah-A]stu Te ||22||


22.1 (Salutations to You O Devi Durga) Who is the source of all forms (Sarva-Svaruupe), who is the God of all beings (Sarve[a-Ii]she), in whom all power exists (Sarva-Shakti-Samanvite).

22.2 And who destroys all fear (Bhayebhyas-Traahi No Devi). Please protect us, O Devi.

It is believed that without her (Durga, Shakti) Shiva remains as Shava or Corpse, for she is the ultimate source of power for all beings.

[The first line of the above stotra is addressed to the greatest force/energy behind the cosmos - Shakti or Adi Parashakti. And since Parvati is revered as the human 'manifestation' of this force/energy: Shakti, this stotra is addressed to her as well. The second line of the stotra is addressed to both Shakti and Parvati (also known as Durga).]

Therefore, why would Parvati perform austerities or pray to Shiv? Instead: wouldn't Shiv feel joyous and blessed to have her by his side and in his life? [Guess, all these 'amendments' have come about in the last thousand years or so - with the explicit intention to glorify the male/masculine vis-à-vis the female/feminine + making the husband deity-like. Result?]

Frankly: this auspicious day should have actually been about Shiv-Parvati in their 'Ardhanarishvara' form (ruup), and not Shiv alone. [He is incomplete that way... 'Coz Sanaatan Dharma regards marriage/wedding/vivah as a merger of the souls.] Also: it may not have been about 'praying for a husband like Shiv' at all. Perhaps, the 'Ardhanarishvara' form was worshipped earlier, before various cults sprang up to extol Shiv (and through him to glorify the masculine aspect).

And: to minimize/edit out Parvati's influence or even Shakti for that matter - in an effort to subjugate the feminine aspect.

But has that really happened?

'Coz despite everything, Parvati still stands tall: Ekam Eva Advitiyam. The One. The Peerless.

[There have been various movements extolling Vishnu too. Result?]

Also: if the female of the species are expected to perform austerities and pray for a husband like Shiv, it is imperative for the male of the species to follow suit and pray for a spouse like Parvati. :)

[Shiv-Parvati's wedding is a 'Bhautik Vivah'. Meaning: it was held on a no-moon night. So, even though people may get married, intimacy should be strictly avoided. This is because of the influence of the moon. Our ancients understood various events/things/aspects much better than us, including the whole birthing process. We just go by certain cut-and-dry explanations and have therefore, come up with some or the other 'custom' thanks to ignorance and half-baked ideas. The result is there for all to see.]

Maybe: we need to ponder over what the attempts to downsize (or rather edit out) Parvati or Shakti has achieved... don't you think?


Notes on: the "Shiv Ling".

What has now come to be known as the "Shiv Ling" or "Shiv's Phallus" has nothing to do with Shiv really. This is yet again a legacy of the various cult movements extolling Shiv (and through him glorifying the masculine) + copious efforts to minimize or cutout the feminine aspect. Besides attempts to depict the feminine as 'unclean', weak and subservient, while the male phallus/sperm is shown as divine and as a powerful life-force.

[One reading of the various narratives associated with Shiv + the birth of Shiv-Parvati's first-born, Kartikeya, is enough to figure this out. We will, of course, discuss and make a humble attempt to de-code the birth of Kartikeya in our later posts.]

What is now known as the "Shiv Ling" is essentially a depiction of the union of the male and the female, the male lingam/linga/ling (phallus) on the female yoni - to be more precise.

It signifies two things: #1. The Cosmic union: hence on this day the cosmic energies (viz, Shakti and Shiv) are symbolically worshipped with offerings of flowers, ghee, incense, special leaves (mango, bel, tulsi), milk, honey, etc. [The cosmic forces, Shiv and Vishnu (depicting the masculine) are one and the same. While, Shakti and Kaali - depicting the feminine - are one and the same.]

#2. The union of the male and the female: the union of the masculine and the feminine is also worshipped simultaneously, symbolizing the celebration of love, of life, of birth, of creation and the progress of civilization. [It is not for nothing that 'Sanaatan Dharma' and 'Arya Dharma' was rooted in illumined knowledge or Vedic wisdom. We have altered it, sadly.]

Note the flowers that are used for worshipping what has now come to be known as the "Shiv Ling": datura, akund and aparajita + the symbology of "milk".

a.      Datura: the flowers are erect or spreading, trumpet-shaped, and well known as an essential ingredient of love-potions.

b.    Akund: a pretty purple-coloured, and slightly-scented flower, having a sweet and agreeable smell. It is called Arca in Sanskrit and has two varieties. Akund forms one of the five darts with which Kamdev (the God of Love) is supposed to pierce the hearts of young mortals.

c.      Aparajita: the shape of the flower is self-explanatory. [It is also known as 'Shankhapushpi', but is it shaped like a shankh or conch? Wherever the 'yoni' has been mentioned, the name has been altered. Possibly... since it's 'unclean'. :)]

d.     Milk: poured in copious quantities. Guess I don't have to explain the symbology involved here, right? :)

So, as you can see, the "Shiv Ling" has nothing to do with Shiv. Poor chap. :)

We have altered Sanaatan Dharma and Arya Dharma. However, the regeneration or rejuvenation cannot happen by extolling one aspect. Sanaatan Dharma is derived from nature. And Mother Nature (Prakriti) or Creation (Shrishti) does not discriminate on the basis of gender or any other 'narrow domestic walls' for that matter. Wonder why we refuse to learn and mend our ways though. Any thoughts?

Frankly, the renaissance period that originated in the eastern parts of India (in undivided Bengal-Bihar-Odisha) has made a much greater + a far more positive impact. 'Coz it was largely inclusive. Hence, we were able to undo or minimize a variety of negativities (so-called 'customs, traditions and beliefs'). But there is a long way to go; the wheel has to keep turning. Though for several decades now, the wheel has remained idle, and that is very sad, indeed. [Do read Part-XVII - to know what the wheel or the Chakra represents.]

Talking about undivided Bengal-Bihar-Odisha, I would like to say that we are largely unaware of one of history's most horrendous events - which happened/was unleashed on undivided Bengal-Bihar-Odisha by our friendly colonizers. I refer to the terrible legacy of the notorious 'Indigo Cultivation'. The worst of apartheid + all the gloried -cides will not be able to match the horrible barbarism that was let loose on the hapless people of this region. [The stories of 'Neel-Chash' - the forcible cultivation of indigo; the 'Neelkar Sahebs' - the sobriquet for the friendly colonizers under whose iron hand + 'chabuk' + much else all this happened, and the dreaded 'Neel-Kuthis' - the exclusive bungalows that housed these Neelkar Sahebs... will chill your blood.] 

Deenabandhu Mitra's seminal play, Neel Darpan, published in 1858-1859 depicts the story of the brutal oppression faced by the Indian farmers cultivating Neel (indigo). In 1859, the farmers revolted and declined to cultivate Neel. [This play was a major factor in the Neelbidraha, or the Indigo revolt of February-March 1859 in Bengal, when farmers refused to sow indigo in their fields as a protest against the exploitative farming practices of our friendly colonizers.] They faced the brutalities unleashed upon them by the landlords and the officers of the alien raj with courage and determination. The educated elite of Bengal stood by them. In 1866-68, Darbhanga and Champaran (now in Bihar) witnessed agitations by Neel farmers. Later, the farmers of Jaisore/Jassore (East Bengal) revolted in 1883 and again in 1889-90. Bengali farmers have a long tradition of opposition to alien oppression. In 1782, for the first time, they stood against the Yeast India Company's taxman, the diabolic Devi Singh. The farmers in the plains of Assam too revolted between 1893-94 against high revenue rates. They declined to pay such high revenue rates... and were brutally suppressed by the alien regime.

Coming back to the Chakra and the turning of the Chakra, we seem to have (somehow) shirked this very important activity. E.g. if we are looking to bring down certain "narrow domestic walls" such as, negative perception of women or regressive mindsets, a massive amount of Karm Yog needs to be done... so as to gradually undo masculinization (found in large parts of the country). To achieve this: women must be made visible, hold important + responsible positions; debates and discussions need to happen, regressive mindsets perpetrated through various means/outlets need to be curbed; education and healthcare facilities strengthened and/or extended, so on and so forth. All this will gradually change regressive perceptions/mindset/'traditions'/'customs', 'coz, you see, there is no magic wand, and bringing about positive cultural change is a Herculean task. No amount of legislation will make any dent, unless and until regressive mindsets/perceptions are somewhat negated.

We don't need to study events halfway round the world to figure this out; a quick study of our renaissance period will suffice.  

However, the role of artists and other cultural icons is very crucial. Meaning: authors, artists, educationists, musicians, poets, et al have a big role to play, 'coz they wield a huge influence on society and on people's psyche. [A cursory reading of the various reform movements that have happened on this land will confirm this. Who do you think have been the ones that have led these reform movements? Who do you think have been the ones that were at the forefront of these reform movements?]

Yet, we shun the quiet and continuous turning of the wheel/Chakra (in every way, covering all aspects of our lives), and plump for bombastic words and much chest-thumping (especially when it comes to nation-building)!

Perhaps, the former is not glamorous enough. :) But what has bombastic words and chest-thumping achieved? Has it ever achieved anything??

Well, we only need to recall Chanakya's wise words: "The serpent, the King, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool: these seven ought not to be awakened from sleep."

Meaning: One aught to be discerning enough to gauge a situation or event correctly. One mustn't overestimate oneself nor underestimate an adversary, no matter what shape it manifests itself. And that: it is extremely imprudent to aggravate a difficult situation and/or to strengthen an already powerful adversary.

Have Siya-Ram, Shri Krishna or Chanakya been the bombastic-dialogue-dispensing type?


But what have been their achievements? Against what odds? [Frankly, can we even hope to achieve a tiny fraction of it?]

Incidentally, looks like our perception about Rakshasa is somewhat off the mark. 'Coz (it seems) the greatest compliment to him has been paid by none other than Chanakya himself. [We will discuss this in greater detail when we discuss Chanakya and Ashoka. Perhaps, we aught to inculcate the habit of studying the life and times of greats sufficiently enough... before arriving at a conclusion, instead of having pre-conceived templates and then trying to force-fit them into those templates.]

Additionally: we may need to take a re-look at the event that has (somehow) come to define Samraat Ashoka. I am referring to the supposed event that (apparently) prompted him to embrace air, thereby qualifying him for history's equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize. :) 

BTW, have you ever wondered why we are so besotted with the erotic Krishna (worshipped by the Vaishnavas etc)? Especially since he is a different Krishna [do read: Part-XX.]

Or what makes us to (sort of) ignore the tremendously fascinating personality of the Srimad Bhagavad Geeta and the Mahabharata, someone totally divested of his godhood/miraculous powers/mythical abilities + involved in nation-building... navigating through (a maze of) shifting power centers, politics, diplomacy, using peace and war according to requirement? In short: why do we not show any interest in the one who used his overpowering but human wisdom and intelligence in the struggle for supremacy, resulting finally in the re-establishment of good over assorted negativities and of right over wrong?

This Krishna is bathed in the complexity of real-life struggle, which is far removed from the flute-wielding romantic/gokul-ka-chora totally immersed in inane activities like 'sporting' with gopis. In the Srimad Bhagavad Geeta and the Mahabharata... we find a master strategist, a great visionary, a superb diplomat and a warrior. In short: a statesman par excellence. Yet we do not want to know him?!

This Krishna's ever-smiling visage and occasional levity is merely an elaborate façade; yet we are not keen to venture beyond that - so as to fathom his brilliant mind, his plans and actions? We do not even want to visualize the political situation of the country at the time of Krishna, meaning: the kind of situation that prevailed when Krishna appeared on the scene with his heroic abilities, superior intellect and tremendous political foresight. He, having been thrown into the situation, was quite clear in his objective. But are we?

The tremendous political acumen of Krishna is highlighted in the way he used all the four principles of Dandaniti to destroy the malignant power centers, create new alliances that emerged as counter balances to the existing power structure and used diplomacy to bolster what was right. He used his basic superior intelligence for this one purpose. It took some time. It also took some effort. But in the final analysis, he emerged as the leader whose judgment and veracity could not be disputed. His political acumen combined with his sharp intellect, personal courage and physical prowess established him as a major force. This remarkable transcendental man truly mesmerizes.

Yet, the current versions of the Mahabharata dwell on what? And why?

All we find is lengthy and weighty tomes, soporific sermons, and a thrust on excessive morality. [But what has all this done to us?]

History is never boring, the teacher is. :)

Sanaatan Dharma or Arya Dharma was never an organized religion. Our historical figures, whether ancient or of later periods, were just that: keertiman or keertimati humans, men and women who achieved stupendous tasks/deeds despite great odds. In turn, they inspired and were respected, some even revered. But they were never religiofied. Dharma was never religiofied. To us, Bhagavan Shri Gautam Buddh has always been a teacher, a guide... outside India he has been deified. Sadly, ever since the religiofication of our ancient history and greats have commenced, we have slid. 'Coz though we may be inclined to respect them, we may not be inclined to pray to all of them. We may not even accept the glorification of one over the other, right? [As it is, a vast chunk of the narratives is all about the feminine aspect/female always being subservient, seeking advice, praying to, being a mere shadow of, trying to please... the masculine. Or making mistakes; which the male then rectifies in no time! All this does not go down well. It has fractured us, mutilated our itihasa and heritage and weakened Sanaatan Dharma.] Plus: the dubious narratives supplanted (in the name of some or the other great human) to bring about a variety of social ills (the very ones that they struggled against!) - have tarnished whom? It has damaged the greats and their legacy very strongly, while the ones that have thought up these negativities + inserted them into our ancient texts have made merry. What has been the outcome? What has all this resulted in? :) India can be reinvigorated and Sanataan Dharma regenerated only if this mist of religiofication is pierced. That is our biggest challenge. It is a Herculean task. 

[Note: By religiofication, I do not mean the worship/puja or the reverence bit, but the attribution of myriad mythical and magical powers to our greats and to their inspirational deeds. Or the perception of them having been figures that inspired assorted cults. Disputes galore. As a result: today, we are left with no worthwhile role-model who can inspire us on the path of Karm Yog. We have been told that they were all celestial beings with magical powers!! Or deities/gods. Plus, the attribution of assorted negativities to them or the channelizing of adharm through them... so as to bring about negativities + give various social ills an unmistakable halo and thus sanctify them - have damaged their great deeds and legacy. They no longer inspire. As for Karm Yog, that has been replaced by a 'dip in the Ganga'. :)]

And... as for Krishna's able disciple (though they belonged to different eras), we are content to label him as "pockmark-faced", "skinny" or "ugly-looking". We have no interest in fathoming or even discussing just how a brilliant, stoic and intrepid young man (with no practical experience whatsoever - in the treacherous world of kutniti and politics) was (gradually) able to outmaneuver an assortment of experienced and powerful (albeit negative) entities + checkmated the rampaging white Macedonian python... to unite a fractured nation and lay the foundations of a glorious era.

Strange indeed, no?

We are dazzled by red pepper and want it to be like them. They are our role model. Period. However, we aren't too keen to figure out 'ventriloquism'. You know, Raja and Rancho. :)  

The decline of Takshasheela marked the destruction, persecution and decline in Indian education, thought and structure. Fewer and fewer believers, knowledge-seekers, students and travelers made the trip to India. "Ism" was appended to Bhagavan Shri Gautam Buddh's message (besides others of course). And... a few centuries after the decline of Takshasheela, Mlechcha invaders destroyed Nalanda, etc.

Our ruin was complete. The dance of destruction had commenced... We let it happen.

Result? A glorious nation and a civilized people whose history is defined by unceasing opposition to slavery, was turned into just that. You see, the Sanskrit language has no word for a slave. Daas/daasi is an attendant. Slavery as a concept did not exist... and does not exist. Earlier, the world looked to India for answers. Today, modern India looks to the West... and they gleefully gratify us by providing some irrelevant answers - a trail of red herrings.

[We will continue our discussions in the next post...]

(Do stay tuned…)

Pictures: Illustrations of: Devaraj Indra astride Airavata, Indra wielding the 'vajra'; Shiv-Parvati; devi Aindri, Indra 'killing' Vrtrasura; Biplabi Rash Behari Bose with the Azad Hind Fauj; Shiv; Parvati fighting assorted negative entities; Shiv-Parvati in their 'Ardhanarishvara' form, the "Shiv Ling"; the datura, the akund and the aparajita; the Krishna of Radha-Krishna, the Krishna of the Srimad Bhagavat Geeta and the Mahabharata; Chanakya. 

No comments:

Post a Comment