Megh (Monsoon Clouds)

अषाढ़ उच्चारं, मेघ मल्हारं, बनी बहारं, जलधारं,

दादुर दकारं, मयूर पुकारं, तडीतातारं, विस्तारं…

The advent of the month of Asaadh (June/July of English calendar) reminds every Gujarati literature lover the above ‘chhand’ (a type of poetry with particular number of letters and maatras) (in music we call it the ‘metre’) which he/she has been hearing from his childhood. It says thus,

“When the month of Asaadh is spoken about, it reminds us of the thundering of the clouds, the clouds condensing and falling down as rain. The frog and the peocock start calling out their mates, and the thin wires of lightening covers all the sky.”

Many poets have written about rains. Rains signify new growth. Rains signify germination. Rains signify toil. Rains signify coolness. Rains signify energy, enthusiasm and verve.

As the great poet Rumi says :

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is the rain that grows flowers and not thunder.”

Today, wanna talk about 12 types of clouds/rains which are mentioned in the Gujarati literature as follows:

1. ફરફર – फरफर (Farfar) Rain which just stimulates and wettens our hair on the skin. Very Romantic and mind boggling.

2. છાંટા – छांटा ( Chhanta) Rain drops which is a little more then described above, yet less.

3. ફોરા – फोरा (Fora) Rain having drops of size that can wet an area of radius 1 inch on the ground.

4. કરા – करा (Karaa) Rain falling down as ice. We call them hail. Better to stay indoors when it hails.

5. પછેડીયો / પછેડીવા – पछेडियो / पछेडीवा (Pacchediyo – Pacchediva) – Rain from which we can protect ourselves only if we have an umbrella or a covering.

6. નેવાધાર – नेवाधार (Nevadhaar) Rain which will not only wetten the clay roof tiles, but also drip through it.

7. મોલીયો – मोलीयो (Moliyo) Rain which is beneficial to the crops to be grown. This rain is absolutely essential for a farmer.

8. ઢેફા ભાંગ – ढेफा भांग (Dhefaa Bhaang) Rain which will break the pieces of soil formed during the year so that the soil becomes ready for sowing.

9. મુશળધાર – मुशळधार (Musaldhaar) Rain which falls in form of torrents. It prickles us like a pin, when it falls.

10. અનરાધાર – अनराधार (Anaraadhaar) Rain which falls continuously. Drops cannot be seen. It seems as if water is falling like that from a tap.

11. સાંબેલાધાર – सांबेलाधार(Saambeladhaar) Rains cats and dogs. Very heavy rains.

12. હેલી – हेली (Hely) It is a mixture of any of the above mentioned rains which goes on continuously for a week.

The above rains explain to us the life of a devotee. The ‘Farfar’ means the love a devotee experiences when he just starts believing in God. ‘Chhanta’ is when his mind and body start wetting up due to his experiences. When a devotee starts understanding that whatever he does is because of the blessings of the God, it is like the ‘Fora’. It is a small start towards the oneness experience. ‘Karaa’ means experiencing the wrath of God during the whole process. The next ‘Pacchediyo/Pacchediva’ is nothing but the guiding our actions towards truth or attainment of truth, ‘satkarma’.

Later, as we move up the steps of evolution, our lives need to be transparent enough so that the rain of love for God / devotion seeps in and starts transforming our life. So the next would be a combination of both ‘Nevadhaar’ and ‘Dhefa bhaang’. We should be able to break the vices in our lives due to the experience of love of God, so that love seeps inside and makes the ‘kshetra’ moist. Then rains the ‘Moliyo’. We now need to sow the values to build up a God loving character.

The last four “Musaldhaar”, “Anaraadhaar”, “Saambeladhaar” and “Heli” are experiences of moving towards God and becoming one with God. That is the ultimate goal of life of any human being. To merge into Him is another experience which cannot be described by me as I still tread on the path. And I urge you my reader to gain your own experience.

Some of the above mentioned rains may sound the same but this is the beauty of our language. It has words for different types of rain. Let us all try and collect such different words in our own mother tongues. Till then let us all enjoy a cup of tea and ‘Bhajiya’ in these Mumbai rains and reminisce the things shared.

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Motherland (Matrubhumi) – 8

दोग्ध्री धेनुर्वोढानड्वानाशुः सप्तिः

The next part of the mantra asks for milch giving cattle, and cattle which can lift heavy weights. It also asks for fast running horses. Both are very important for an agro-based economy. Indians have very well recognised the importance of these animals long back.

This task of Animal Husbandry and Farming was entrusted to a class of people known as the Vaishyas. As Shreemad Bhagwadgeeta says, “कृषिगौरक्ष्यवाणिज्यं वैश्यकर्म स्वभावजम्” (Agriculture, Cattle farming and business are the actions, karma that a Vaishya has to perform).

Rishi Kashyap with the help of such God loving and God centric Vaishyas has taken care of this mother Earth, when Brahmins and Kshatriya’s failed to do so. It is a long story which needs multiple blogs to be told, so if anyone is interested to know about it should read characters of Rishi Kashyap and Parshuram as explained by Pujaniya Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale in his lectures summarised in a book called Rishi Smaran and Dashavataar. Due to the huge work of the Rishi Kashyap and the Vaishyas, our mother Earth is also named as ‘KAASHYAPI’ and ‘URVI’.

‘Kaashyapi’ due to the efforts of Rishi Kashyap. He is the Father of the Indian soil. He holds a special place in our lives. During our rituals, Gotra-uccharan (repeating the name of the Gotra one is born in) is of utmost importance. Gotra means lineage or blood line as we call it nowadays. We Indians believe that we all have our common roots and we belong from the lineage of Sapt Rishis, the seven sages, who made a huge contribution towards buildings our civilisation, culture and society. During these many years many of us have forgotten our Gotra’s. Now being an integral part of our life it is a must to know our Gotra. Shouldn’t we know our ancestors and our lineage? Yet if someone forgets, he/she is considered from the Kashyap Gotra and made to say so ‘Kashyap Gotrotapannoham” (कश्यप गोत्रोत्पन्नोहम् – I belong to the lineage of Kashyap) in all the rituals whenever and wherever required. Today, there has been a huge scientific research related to DNA and Chromosomes, and if anyone is interested can research and find it out from the many information already available on the internet.

‘Urvi’ as She has been uplifted by the Vaishyas. In the Purush Sukta, where the Almighty has been described as creator of the Universe, one of the verses describes thus. “राजन्य: कृत: ब्राह्मणोऽस्य मुखामासीद्वाहू। ऊरू तदस्य यद्वैश्यः पद्भ्यां शूद्रो अजायत॥” (“The Brahmins originate from His Mukha (mouth), the Kshatriya’s from His Bahu (shoulder), the Vaishyas from His URU (thighs) and the Shudras from His PAADA (Feet)”. The Vaishyas come from His Uru and thus the name URVI.

While quoting this above shloka there has been a lot of misunderstanding that the caste system originates from this. And the Brahmins have put themselves at the topmost ladder in the hierarchy. But the thing is that while equating every Varna with the different body parts of the Almighty, the important thing is that they belong to the same Almighty.

At this point, the question I like to ask my readers is that whether your mouth is more important than your shoulders or legs? I think it is these different organs that make us an individual. Every part of the body has its own role and significance. Every part is as important as the other. In the same way, every Varna (caste) is distinct and equally important. No one is big or small, more pious or less. Every Varna (caste) is equal.

The fourth pillar of our society is as important as the first. Shudra’s (and not Kshudra) are the people who provide the basic necessities to the whole human race. In today’s world we call them the service providers. And today we all know and accept their importance in our lives. Yes, during the course of our history, the Shudra’s have been trampled upon and subjugated to different types of tortures from the other 3 Varna’s. And the 3 Varna’s need to correct themselves and apologise to them and take due care of each others sentiments.

But, can we imagine a society without cloth makers, shoe makers, jewellers and all such people who not only provide us our basic necessities but also take care of our needs? And if they are so important to us, how can they be outcastes or untouchables? People living in cities, can you imagine your plight when the regular waste/garbage picker does not come to collect your house waste or society waste. We all start cribbing. Then how can he/she be small? Work doesn’t make anyone small or big, does it? Rather I would say that they are the first people, whom we should be grateful to, as they are the ones who clean our houses by taking away the wastes/garbage and helping us create a pollution free environment in our houses and society at large.

After reading my last 3 blogs, my reader might find my writings as a thing of the past or too conservative. But I appeal to you to apply your minds and brain to the things I have shared. We all agree that we don’t want the caste system as it exists today which discriminates amongst humans. But the whole society is made up by its Intelligentsia (Brahmins), Army (Kshatriyas), Economists (Vaishyas) and Service Providers (Shudras). It exists and maybe known to us by different names but it does exist. At the same time, let us understand that every new born has / should have the right to decide, regarding what he/she wants to do.

These four pillars make our country and I bow to each of them for their contributions towards the society.

Next the Rishi asks for पुरन्धिर् .

What does this mean?

A very integral part of our society, the women who can administer, rule and run a kingdom.

Coming up next week…

Motherland (Matrubhumi) – 7

आस्मिन् राष्ट्रे राजन्यः इषव्य: शूरो महारथो जायताम्

The rishis in this mantra continue with what they wish for this country. After asking for Vedsampann Brahmins, they ask for brave and courageous rulers. Rulers who are well equipped not only in warfare but also in running the state. And at the same time be God loving too.

Let my readers understand that We, Indians, are God centric people. So anything and everything in our lives is God centric. Do we believe and live today in this manner? is another question! Also we need to understand that we have been God loving, not God fearing. As well let it also be clarified that Indian Culture or Vedic Religion does not have a concept of Satan or Anti-God, as some other thought processes do have in particular. Will dwell upon this subject in my later blogs.

The land of India, is the land of Kshatriya’s. Our country gets its name Bharat from three Bharat’s, two of whom are Kshatriya’s (which I have mentioned in my earlier blog), Shakuntaley Bharat, Ram’s brother Bharat and Jad Bharat.

Shakuntaley Bharat is a personification of courage. Bharat grew up in the care of his mother, as his father King Dushyant refused to recognise Shakuntala as his consort for a few initial years. It is said that Bharat in a very small age had opened a lion’s mouth to count his teeth. He is the first Chakravartin (the almighty emperor with all other kings of India as his vassals) of this Manvantar (era). He won over all the king’s by his love and those who could not be won over by love, by his sword. But he never annexed those kingdoms. They were given back to the rulers with a condition to follow the law of the land put down by rishis. The King’s reciprocated to adhere to this condition whole heartedly. The reign of Bharat has been one of India’s Glorious and Golden era. Also some people consider King Bharat as Bharat Muni too, who in his later age gave India, the Natyashashtra (The art of stage performance).

Secondly, Ram’s brother, Bharat. Frankly there are no words to describe this personality. We all have heard about him or read about him. His love for Ram is unparallel in human history. The dialogue between Bharat and his mother Kaikeyi, after realising what folly Kaikeyi had done by sending Ram to exile, on returning from his maternal uncle’s place is worth a read. He has taunted and to an extent even abused his mother for doing what she has done. This dialogue has been put in a song, by a recent but a great poet, G.D.Madgulkar (fondly called GaDiMa) in his collection of poems called Geet Ramayan. And after ruling Ayodhya for 14 years, he just gives it up for Ram, without even a thought of continuing or conspiring, when Ram returns from exile fulfilling his promise to Dashrath. We all know about the valour of Shri Ram and Laxman, but Bharat was equally brave and courageous.

As we are talking about Bharat, am also sharing the story of Jad Bharat – He is considered to be an reincarnation of King Bharat. There are many versions to his story. I share one which I like the most. He is born to a farmer who dies in a short time after his birth. Bharat’s mother too passes away when Bharat is still in his teens. His brothers and sister-in-law’s find Bharat useless and send him off to the fields to work. Bharat looks after the fields and the sheep every day and night. He develops a strong body due to this routine. One days it so happens that a king is passing by in his palaquin. One of his palaquin bearers dies and the King asks his servants to look for another. They find Jad Bharat in his fields and get him to lift the palaquin. But Bharat walks slowly, taking utmost care and walking one step at a time. This makes the King uncomfortable in the palaquin, as the palaquin is imbalanced. So the King shouts out at the bearers and they tell the King the situation. King now calls upon Bharat and asks him as to why is he behaving in this manner? And if he wants more money, he was ready to pay more. Bharat explains “O great King! Am not interested in your money. Nothing, neither happiness nor sadness move me. U cannot buy me out by money nor any worldly riches as I know that I am an Atman (soul). By walking slowly am taking care of not hurting the other Atman (the small organisms on the ground)”. This attitude of Bharat earned him a title of Jad (literal English meaning would be staunch). The King on realising his folly got down from the palanquin and accepted Bharat as his Guru.

The two Bharat’s, Shakuntaley Bharat and Ram’s brother Bharat convey to us the characters of Kshatriya’s of India. Our kings have been learned and understanding as well as caring. They have always given patronage to art and artists. Built huge monuments like temples for God and forts for defending their kingdom. The great dynasties of Maurya’s, Gupta’s, Satkarni’s, Satvahan’s, Rashtrakoota’s, Chalukya’s, Chola’s have thrived in India and made Her stronger.

At this point, I also need to mention The Manusmriti, written by Manu, who is a Kshatriya. Manusmriti is a book of code of conduct of human beings. We may have differences of opinions about the things being written in it, but one needs to break the myth of Manusmriti being written by a Brahmin. I repeat it’s a book written by a Kshatriya. Such learned are the Kshatriya’s of India and have held an important position in the development of India.

Regarding the bravery of the Kshatriyas would mention only a few names and leave it upto my reader to find out about them. Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, Arjun, Chandragupta Maurya, Samudragupta, King Pulakeshin, Maharana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Raja Chhatrapati and many more…

Even today the fighting clan is present in the form of our brave Indian Army. The Rajputana Regiment, The Maratha Regiment, The Gorkha Regiment, The Sikh Regiment and all others not only defend our borders but keep our country safe. We sleep peacefully as they are constantly at watch at the borders.

We cannot imagine any country with out an army. Nor can we imagine one without its intelligentsia. So both the Brahmins and the Kshatriya’s are equally important. Both need to respect each other and accept each other’s might. Let us all understand, my readers, that every section of the society has an important role to play in the development of any society.

Now we move towards the third section of the Society, The Vaishya’s. But in the next blog.

Jay Hind!

Vande Mataram

Motherland (Matrubhumi) – 6

It took me long to write this post as had to understand the meaning, and then put it in words so that you, my reader can read it and learn from it…

आ ब्रह्मन् ब्राह्मणो ब्रह्मवर्चसी जायताम्

आस्मिन् राष्ट्रे राजन्यः इषव्य: शूर महारथो जायताम्

दोग्ध्री धेनुर्वोढानड्वानाशुः सप्तिः

पुरन्धिर्योषा जिष्णू रथेष्ठाः

सभेयो युवास्य यजमानस्य वीरो जायताम्।।

निकामे निकामे नःपर्जन्यो वर्षतु

फलिन्यो न औषधयः पच्यन्तां

योगक्षेमो नः कल्पताम् ॥

Continuing from last blog, the above Shlok is a prayer for wealth for our (any) country. Wealth of all types. People who will help spread knowledge, people who will rule, people who will fight, women who can administer and rule, healthy cattle, fast horses, swift chariots and above all the youth which is brave and courageous. Also for rains so that we get a good crop and so are carefree about our worldly life. Let us understand it one by one.

It talks about “Aa Brahman Brahmano Brahmavarchashi”. It says God! Please bless our country with Brahmins who are educated in the Vedas and lead a Veda-centric life. They will help our country prosper. The prayer asks for the Brahmins who are learned and work for God, not the ones who are Brahmins by birth or caste.

At this juncture itself, I would like to clarify that am in no way supporting any type of caste system by birth. But at the same time, I also believe that any society, overall, will be divided into 4 main sections. First section will guide it academically and put forth it’s philosophies. Second section, which will rule the country, administer it on the basis of philosophies. Third section, which will take care of countries economy through business and industry. Fourth section but not the least, the part which will look after the basic necessities of the society and provide them to it. Our seers have broadly classified our society thus and named them as Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. The sections have their well defined work areas which one cannot transgress and rules which one cannot overrule. But the choice of work was dependent on the person himself/herself who had the liberty to make his/her choice after gaining an understanding about these four sections. At the same time we should know and understand that all these four sections are very important to the structure of the society and in no way is one greater or better than the other. All are equal. Later they have become based on birth, which must have been due to some compulsions. My limitation, today, is not to go into the details of it. But some other day and with some other topic, would surely like to dwell upon it.

Veda, the word comes from “VID” which means “to know”. “Thought” is very important to the Vedas. “Thought with experience” is what is the Vedas. So many thoughts and many experiences make up the Vedas which have been guiding us over centuries. These thoughts were first passed on from the teacher to his student by word of mouth, that is by repeating and learning what the teacher has said. Hearing was an important part of this whole excercise, so the Vedas are called the “Shruti”. They are considered the highest authority as regards to rules and regulations to lead a wholistic life.

And from these came our surnames. The one who learned it directly from the Guru, are called Ek Pathi (one who learns by listening once) who are called ‘Pathak’. The next who learns after hearing it twice, from Guru and from Ek Pathi’s, are called Dwipathi. Then Tripathi, Chaturpathi and so on. The beauty of our surnames is that it has its own history, which some of you my readers, are not aware of. Every surname has its origin related to the characteristic of our genetical lineage.

The next question which comes to our mind Who owns the Vedas then, if written by so many people? It is but obvious question as the world and society we are living in has made us think like this. This question never came up for the Vedic people as the Vedas belonged to everyone. No doubt, the thought is an individual experience, but when shared becomes the property of all who hear it and know it. So the owner of the Vedas is the “Samaaj Purush” (the society). And this Samaaj Purush is God. So God is the owner of these Vedas.

And if these Vedas belong to the Samaaj Purush, then they have to be taken to them, shared with them. This was done by the “intelligentsia” at that time which we call as Brahmins. From this we infer that anyone who does this work of carrying the Vedas to the common people are the Brahmins.

As, Pujaniya Pandurang Shashtriji explains, that when this class used to work selflessly, they developed a relationship and a strong bond with people to whom they went to. So the people started sharing all good and bad happenings of their life with these Brahmins. The people felt that these people are truly selfless and so people started inviting them to their homes in all good and bad happenings /moments in life. And that is why a Brahmin comes in, in a marriage or a funeral. The people called them to marriages to bless the newly wed couple for a prosperous life and to guide them to lead a pious life. Otherwise the mantras of marriage are to be said by the bridegroom and the bride and not the Brahmins. He was called on the 12th day after the death of a family member so that he will console the family and help them cope up with the loss. Explain the process of death and explain life after death. But today, alas! all this is lost. And we have started worshipping just the outer covering (the tradition and not the thought).

The mantra calls for such Brahmvarchasi Brahmins. Next it asks for the Kshatriyas, ones which are brave and courageous. We will talk about them in my next blog.

Motherland (Matrubhumi) – 5

Jana Gana Mana Adhinayak Jay He, Bharat Bhagya Vidhaata,

Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha, Dravid, Utkal, Banga,

Vindhya, Himachal, Yamuna, Ganga, Uchchal Jaladhi Taranga,

Tav Shubh Naame Jaage,

Tav Shubh Ashish Maage,

Gaahe Tav Jay Gatha,

Jana Gana Mang-daayak Jay He, Bharat Bhagya Vidhaata,

Jay He, Jay He, Jay He,

Jay Jay Jay He…

Every Indian knows that this is the National Anthem. It resonates the feelings of the great poet Rabindranath Tagore. Rather Tagore resonates the feeling of every Indian through his words. Our modern founding fathers have offered their respect to Tagore by choosing the above words as the anthem.

At the same time, I don’t want to go into the controversy drawn up by some people regarding its origin and it’s meaning. I just say that it’s poetry, and everyone is free to explain / understand it, the way he/she wants to. It’s ones perspective that matters. I personally feel as if Tagore is calling up the common man of India as the Bharat Bhagya Vidhaata. And the common man is the one who is asking Mother India for Her blessings and wants to sing Her praise.

At the same time I was compelled, that Bharat has a huge philosophical and spiritual background in the form of Veda’s and the Rishi’s and having a history of more than 10000 years old, to lookout for some thought which would have guided the mankind of Aryavarta. Found many and there must be many more than what I found. But the one’s that touch me personally are two.

1. The Mantrapushpanjali offered at the end of every Aarti

2. The Vedic prayer asking for different class of people and all types of wealth and rains for India’s prosperity.

Let’s begin with the Mantrapushpanjali. It says thus:

ॐ यज्ञेन यज्ञमयजन्त देवास्तानि धर्माणि प्रथमान्यासन् | ते ह नाकं महिमानः सचन्त यत्र पूर्वे साध्याः सन्ति देवाः || 1 ||

ॐ राजाधिराजाय प्रसह्यसाहिने नमो वयं वैश्रवणाय कुर्महे | स मे कामान्कामकामाय मह्यम् कामेश्वरो वैश्रवणो ददातु | कुबेराय वैश्रवणाय महाराजाय नमः || 2 ||

ॐ स्वस्ति| साम्राज्यं भौज्यं स्वाराज्यं वैराज्यं पारमेष्ठ्यं राज्यं महाराज्यमाधिपत्यमयं समंतपर्यायी स्यात्सार्वभौमः सार्वायुष आंतादापरार्धात्पृथिव्यै समुद्रपर्यंताया एकराळिति || 3 ||

तदप्येषः श्लोको ऽभिगीतो |मरुतः परिवेष्टारो मरुत्तस्यावसन् गृहे | आविक्षितस्य कामप्रेर्विश्वे देवाः सभासद इति || 4 ||

My readers after reading this you must have realised that we all have recited or atleast heard being recited after the ‘Aarti’ during Ganeshotsav or Navratri or any pooja at home. It’s an invocation to Kuber, the God of Wealth and also remembers ‘Marut’ and ‘Avikshit’. It also makes a note of different types of kingdoms in India ranging from “Samrajyam” to “Maharajyam” which needs an independent blog to be explained.

For me its an ode for a single country. It says “पृथिव्यै समुद्रपर्यंताया एकराळिति” (meaning the land,consisting all the different types of kingdoms, till the ocean is all one).

From the very existence of the Veda’s, Rigved and Atharvaved both have the 1st hymn in them. The second hymn is from the Taitreya Aaranyak and the third and forth hymn from Aitreya Brahman. So from this we know that even years ago, our rishis have nurtured an idea of a single country. We have been repeating it year after year without even thinking what the hymn means. And then, we say that India as a country came into existence in 1947. Our secular historians and government appointed historians have always overlooked the above mantra. The question is Why?

The sad part about history of India is that we always get left leaning historians and right leaning historians but never factual historians. These so called historians have dented the Indian pride in all possible ways, making us aware to different thoughts around the world, but ours. Again I need to caution my reader that am not against any good thought and I believe any good thought can rise in any part of the world and so our (Rishi’s) clarion call is “आ नो भद्रा: क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वत:” – Let all the noble thoughts come to me from all the directions. But the fact is that we lack good historians who will write for the sake of India and to serve India.

History in Hindi has a synonym ‘इतिहास’. इति + हास means ‘this is how it has been’. And true to its meaning our historians have never tried to cover anything. Be it Pandavas were born of the Devas or Dhritrashtra, Pandu and Vidur were born by ‘niyog’ with Ved Vyas. Yudhisthir was good human but had a weak point of playing dice which led to many problems not only in his life but also his brothers, but Vyas Muni has not hidden this part. One can cite many instances from our history. But again Ramayan and Mahabharat, Ram and Krishna are mythology!!! We Indians truly need to understand our roots by finding them and studying them independently.

Back to our topic of One India, United India. This Mantrapushpanjali has been imbibed in our lives in a way that by the time a child grows up, he knows it by heart. But the problem is who will explain it to him as even the ones who are making him recite do not know its meaning! Right now I just want to convey that Bharat is united in letter and spirit from the day She has come into existence.

The second the Vedic prayer asking for everything possible for the growth of a nation.

ॐ आ ब्रह्मन् ब्राह्मणो ब्रह्मवर्चसी जायताम्

आस्मिन् राष्ट्रे राजन्यः इषव्य: शूर महारथो जायताम्

दोग्ध्री धेनुर्वोढानड्वानाशुः सप्तिः

पुरन्धिर्योषा जिष्णू रथेष्ठाः

सभेयो युवास्य यजमानस्य वीरो जायताम्।।

निकामे निकामे नःपर्जन्यो वर्षतु

फलिन्यो न औषधयः पच्यन्तां

योगक्षेमो नः कल्पताम् ॥

I feel that this is the most apt prayer for a nation. It could have been our national anthem too.

Have you heard it before?

What does it mean?

What have our Rishi’s asked?

Is it applicable even today?

I leave these questions for my next blog…

Motherland (Matrubhumi) – 4

A huge delay and sorry for that readers…

Was lost in some wild thoughts about poetry and rituals during the last few days and lost track. But yesterday morning, was awakened with the question, “What is a nation? What is India’s concept about nation? What work have our seers and ancestors done to make it a nation?”

Nation the word comes from the root word NAT, meaning ‘to be born’.

A Nation, as various English dictionaries define, is a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory.

A writer, Ernest Renan in his book “What is a nation?” writes as follows “A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Two things, which in truth are but one, constitute this soul or spiritual principle. One lies in the past, one in the present. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories; the other is present-day consent, the desire to live together, the will to perpetuate the value of the heritage that one has received in an undivided form”, emphasizing the democratic and historical aspects of what constitutes a nation.
The nation has been described by Benedict Anderson as an “imagined community and by Paul James as an “abstract community”. It is an imagined community in the sense that the material conditions exist for imagining extended and shared connections. It is an abstract community in the sense that it is objectively impersonal, even if each individual in the nation experiences him or herself as subjectively part of an embodied unity with others. For the most part, members of a nation remain strangers to each other and are never likely to meet. And herein lies the origin of the phrase ‘strangers in a nation.

Now let us turn to our, Indian, perspective about the nation. We call our nation ‘Rashtra’. Our Vedas have a particular meaning attached to this noun. Atharveda deals with not only the meaning of the word but also how to manage it.

Atharvaveda says “त्वत् जाता: त्वयि चरन्ति मर्त्या: त्वं बिभर्षि”. We are born from you and we play on you, live on you. The first and most important thing about definition of Rashtra is that one needs to love one’s own country to define it, understand it. Country is not mere a piece of land that we fight for it or draw borders. It is a place which is to be loved and worshipped. Many people say “Am Indian, as I am born on this land”. I want to ask them a question “Are you just a citizen because you were born here or as the Constitution of the land says so?” Let me clarify that have the deepest respect for the Constitution of India. But just because the Constitution says so, I believe it! Is there no other reason to believe that one is a citizen of India? So my argument is that if our modern founding fathers would have not stated it, I wouldn’t be a citizen of this country? Is there a feeling, deep inside, that I should have been born in USA or Europe or any other part of the world, but India and lived there? Such people / citizens are more dangerous for the country than Her enemies. So first and foremost one needs to love Her. One needs to feel that I belong to Her.

Next, the Atharvaveda also says, “यस्या: पुरो देवकृता: यस्या: पुरो देवरक्षिता:” This country is made by the Gods and is protected by the Gods. It is the Gods who have made it for me to play on. Only when a person understands and feels this, would he make a good citizen.

Now when we are discussing this, let us also be clear that Veda’s are not talking only about India, but the abovesaid sentences are for each and every citizen of all the countries in the known world. But our common argument is that as it is written in Sanskrit so it is applicable only to India. I ask “Can language be a barrier to any good thought with an universal outlook?”

When we understand and feel the above thoughts, we can define a Rashtra. Am too small to define the same so would take help from my teacher, Pujaniya Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale. He propounds that a country is one which has its own :

1. विशिष्ट विचारधारा (a particular and outstanding way of thinking / ideology)

2. विशिष्ट परंपरा (a particular and outstanding tradition)

3. विशिष्ट जीवनश्रेणी (a particular and outstanding way of living)

4. विशिष्ट धार्मिक दृष्टि (a particular and outstanding religious view)

5. विशिष्ट आध्यात्मिक कल्पना (a particular and outstanding spiritual outlook)

So the day we are able to think about our own country in these five aspects we will be able to grasp what our country is. And the need to love it.

An independent blog can be written on each of the above aspects with context to India (and every other country), but maybe later.

I leave it upto my readers to think about these aspects, and will write when my motherland, India, inspires me to write about it.

At the end I just want to emphasize that first we need to love our country. Feel Her. Understand Her. And for this as our seers said “चरैवेति चरैवेति”. (Walk on, Tread on).

Today I make a request to all my readers that before embarking on a trip to any foreign land, let’s go around our own country, first. Let us all admire Her beauty and behold it. There are so many facets of this beautiful land which are still unexplored and should be explored.

We have had a history of more than 10000 years to cherish.

Can we not know it?

Can we not learn from it?

Can we not understand it?

Can we not feel it?

Can we not try to imbibe it in our lives?

Vande Mataram.

Jay Bharat.

Motherland (Matrubhumi) – 3

Mother’s Day today, 13th May 2018. Celebrated on every 2nd Sunday of May in USA. A day dedicated to Mother’s around the world.

Mother’s Day has been celebrated in India from centuries on the Amaavasya (New Moon Day) in the month of Shravan, Hindu calendar (month of August/September of the English calendar). It is also celebrated as “Pola” here in Maharashtra (a day dedicated to Cattle as India has always been an agrarian civilisation).

So readers continuing with our blog, today an ode to our Motherland. Written by Bankimchandra Chatterjee in his novel “Anand Math” and today immortalised by Her freedom fighters, “Vande Mataram”. Written in Bengali, sharing it’s lyrics in Devanagari.
वन्दे मातरम्
सुजलां सुफलाम् मलयजशीतलाम्
शस्यश्यामलाम् मातरम्
शुभ्रज्योत्स्नापुलकितयामिनीम्
फुल्लकुसुमितद्रुमदलशोभिनीम्
सुहासिनीं सुमधुर भाषिणीम्
सुखदां वरदां मातरम्।। 1।।
सप्त-कोटि-कण्ठ-कल-कल-निनाद-कराले
द्विसप्त-कोटि-भुजैर्धृत-खरकरवाले,
अबला केन मा एत बोले।
बाहुबलधारिणीं नमामि तारिणीं रिपुदलवारिणीं
मातरम्।। 2।।
तुमि विद्या, तुमि धर्म
तुमि हृदि, तुमि मर्म
त्वम् हि प्राणा: शरीरे
बाहुते तुमि मा शक्ति,
हृदये तुमि मा भक्ति,
तोमारई प्रतिमा गडी मन्दिरे-मन्दिरे।।। 3।।
त्वम् हि दुर्गा दशप्रहरणधारिणी
कमला कमलदलविहारिणी
वाणी विद्यादायिनी,
नमामि त्वाम्
नमामि कमलाम्
अमलां अतुलाम्
सुजलां सुफलाम्
मातरम्।। 4।।

वन्दे मातरम्
श्यामलाम् सरलाम्
सुस्मिताम् भूषिताम्
धरणीं भरणीं
मातरम्।। 5।।

A simple yet lucid translation into English done by Sri Aurobindo Ghosh is worth a read as well :
Mother, I praise thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.
Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I praise thee. [Verse 1]

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands
When the swords flash out in seventy million hands
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Thou who savest, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foeman drove
Back from plain and Sea
And shook herself free. [Verse 2]
Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Thou art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nerves the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine. [Verse 3]

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleems,
Dark of hue O candid-fair [Verse 4]
In thy soul, with bejeweled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Loveliest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I praise thee,
Mother great and free! [Verse 5]

It still gets us excited when we read it again and again and again. A feeling of nostalgia and Divine.

People say that it starts with the abstract notion of the Motherland and turns to the praise of Goddess! But who will explain to them that for us Indians, we see no difference between the two. From time immemorial, this land has been our Mother. The comparison to Durga and Laxmi is nothing but a feeling that She is the one who protects us and She is the one who has so much of wealth to take give us and take care of us. People forget that Bharat has never crossed Her borders to conquer the world. Yes, She has conquered the world by Her thoughts of Vedic civilisation and Buddhism, but never their lands. People who look at their countries as mere land/s will never understand this. Their perspective of utility of anything and everything has killed the emotions within humans. Atleast people born in this land need to understand this. Under the grab of secularism, Reverence for Her cannot be and should not be undermined.

The feelings of She being everything is very well emphasised in the third verse (literally unknown to our generation as only the first two verses make the national song). This feeling of our motherland being everything, is something which one will find only in India. Some may disagree and can argue that my statement is wrong and prejudiced for others but let them answer one question. Will you be able to equate your country with the Divine? This, In Bharat, has been possible due to the efforts and lives given up for this by our seers and ancestors. And due to the thought that everything, living and non living is divine.

When one learns from modern sciences that even the living have evolved from the non living, it justifies the Bharatiya stand for reverence for the creation. We see Divine in everything. At the same time, we see Divine in each person and country. And herein lies the concept or thought or philosophy of “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam”, which my readers have read in the comments to one of my earlier posts. The whole world is one family.

This is the Bharatiya civilisation.

Who built it? How did they build it? Does the feeling exist today? Is it practical? Is a question I leave to my readers to ponder over and will try to answer it in my upcoming blog/s.

Till then let us just repeat those lines above and try to inculcate a feeling of motherliness for our respective countries. In our daily run of survival let us not forget the love of our country and the care She has taken, is taking and will be taking.

Jai Bharat

Vande Mataram