Posted in #haiku

Haiku Series 2 #6

Lockdown is eased,

People moving out for work

Corona strikes back…

The second wave has struck everywhere, but the situation is such that we accept and move ahead in life. After all survival is an art…

Posted in festivals

Vinayak Chaturthi – 2

नमो व्रातपतये नमो गणपतये।। नम: प्रमथपतये।।

नमस्तेऽस्तु लंबोदारायैकदंताय विघ्ननाशिने शिव सुताय।

श्री वरदमूर्तये नमोनम:।।

(Namo Vraātpataye Namo Ganpataye. Namah Pramathpataye. Namaste astu Lambodaray Ekdantaay Vighnanashine Shiv Sutaay Shree Varadmurtaye Namo Namah.)

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Ganeshotsav. The days of rejoicement. A time when God arrives at our homes. It’s a beautiful concept in itself that God arrives as a guest at our homes.

Generally every household does have a Mandir (temple), so then why does God need to come home? Just to explain to Humans that every Sarjan (construction) has a Visarjan (destruction). The Ganesh which visits our houses is called the Parthiv Ganesh, Ganesh made from sand.

Today I want to talk about Ganpati as the Devi of Buddhi. What can we as students of life learn from Her? What does the Idol of Ganpati wants to convey? Does the concept of the Elephant headed God have any meaning?

My readers, our seers have done everything which has some logic and wanted to convey some understanding by celebrating a festival. They want us to ponder over many qualities and try to imbibe them into our lives. The festival celebration always has a learning part hidden in it.

Today we just want to dance to the tunes of music and pass our time. At the same time I see people being emotionally attached with Ganpati as the countdown of arrival begins many months before actual arrival, or even in some cases, from the day he leaves. People await the arrival as it liberates us from worries and sorrow and keeps us happy. But will we be stuck in this. Will we not move ahead in our understanding and let ourselves grow. Or just go on doing it the ritualistic way? At the same time am not against rituals. We all do the parayan of Atharvashirsh every year. Many of my friends do get the Parthiv Ganesh Murti at home. But let’s try to understand it today from a student perspective.

The Ganpati word itself has a meaning, the leader of the masses. Ganesh means the Eshwar of the Ganas (leader of the masses). So the Lord exhibits the characteristics of a leader. And to be a good leader, we need to educate ourselves (to draw out the qualities within us).

1. The Ganpati has an elephant head. Elephant signifies wisdom. So we all need to be gaining wisdom through what we study.

2. He has narrow and small eyes. It is not so that the eyes are small, but the face is so big, that the eyes look small. But the best part about the eyes is that they can see even a small needle in their path. As students when we study, we need to understand the smallest of the nuances of the topic which we are learning. We need to be alert for each and every information, and in whichever corner it may be, however small it may be.

3. His ears are like the “Sup” (grain whinning plate). The Sup keeps the grain intact and at the same time removes the dirt from them. The enormity of ears suggest us to be open to listen to all but decide what to discard while we listen. As a student, one needs to be focussed on studies. We may be exposed to various things around us, but we have to decide what to keep and which to blow off. Also at the same time keep our ears open for good thoughts however far they maybe or however faint they may be. In the different thoughts, we need to find out the most important one.

4. A crooked trunk signifies the length and the reach of oneself. The knowledge we get must be kept in such a way (folded) that it does not interfere in someone’s life. But it should unfold at the right time and be used for the rightful thing.

5. Ganpati is Mahakaay. A huge body. A big belly. Big belly is for keeping all things in the stomach. It is a storing place. Similarly we have to gain such huge knowledge that we need a big belly to keep it.

6. He has a small mouth. It signifies to talk less. A student needs to talk less and listen more. Keeping ones mouth shut means concentrating on what is being spoken and taught. At the same time, it also means that open up at the right time, ask questions, discuss, argue and draw conclusions.

7. The modak in his hand has its own significance. It is sweet inside even if tasteless outside. It reminds us, students, that go into the depth of every topic ones learns. Any topic is always sweet and interesting from within. Outside it is always bookish and boring.

8. He rides a mouse. It signifies a control over worldly desires. Similarly a student needs to have his own control over his desires and concentrate on his/ her studies. He needs to ride his wishes and will.

We can go on and on with lots of things about the Lord. But somewhere we need to leave the things for next time. Many thoughts still lie in my mind which need to be emphasized and talk about. But leave to it Ganesha to give me an opportunity to pen them down some other day.

Wishing you all again, a very grand Ganeshotsav.

MAY GANESHA BLESS US ALL WITH LOTS OF INTELLECT AND WISDOM

Posted in festivals

Parvadhiraj Paryushan – 3

If knowing or unknowingly, have caused “Dukh” (rough translation “pain”) to any one, living or non living, by my thoughts, words or deed, thenfrom the bottom of my heart, I bow down to you and ask for your forgiveness.

“MICCHAMI DUKKADDAM”

The 8th day also known as Samvatsari. It is a Day to ask for forgiveness from the creatures of the world and the creation itself.

In my last two blogs, we are talking about the ten fold path or the ten virtues we need to imbibe in our lives to be a good Jain, follower of Jin (The Teerthankar). We have talked about 7 virtues till now. Will briefly recap them before moving on to the last three.

Kshama, the virtue of forgiveness. Mardav, to be modest in all situations. And the straightforwardness, Aarjav. Satya to accept one’s existence and the journey of life is to find the truth. Sauch, the purity of body and our thoughts. Sanyam, restraining ourselves and our Panch Indriya. Tap, the art of practising non food intake. These seven if implemented on would help us in our quest to find ourselves. Now, we move onto the last three.

TYAGA (Renunciation) – To leave things behind. Here Tyaga also means keeping the bare minimum and slowly giving away that minimum too. That is what the Jain Sadhu does. Bhagwaan Mahaveer too had a loin cloth when he left the kingdom, and slowly that too wore off. It happened naturally.

Internally renuncing the attachments and emotions is like removing a big hurdle from the path of development.And this is possible by realising the true nature of the soul.

AKINCHANYA (Non-attachment) – This assists the person in detaching from external possessions. Historically ten possessions are listed in Jain scriptures: ‘land, house, silver, gold, wealth, grain, female servants, male servants, garments and utensils’. Being unattached from these, helps control our desires and leads to an influx of meritorious karmas.

Also akinchanya assists us in being unattached from our internal attachments of false belief, anger, pride, deceit, greed, laughter, liking, disliking, lamentation, fear, disgust, sexual desires. The more we are unattached, the more we purify our soul.

BRAHMACHARYA (Celibacy) – It might have been talked about at last but it is equally important as the others. It’s only sexual context needs to be clarified. It means staying away from desires and our wishes. To the extent of staying away from our senses. Not even being led off by the scent of a rose or a cool breeze.

Brahmacharya has two words in it. Brahma + Charya. Brahma here means the soul and Charya means to dwell. It simple means to dwell in one’s soul. When we reside in our soul, we can become the master of the Universe. To reside outside means to become a slave of desires.

All the above ten virtues make us a good Jain or the follower of Jin. Many of you may wonder that we never heard anything like what you have written. But dear readers, we are followers of Jin. Let’s go back to our roots. Follow what Jin Prabhu has said. Our Sadhu and Sadhviji’s are our teachers. They can show us the path and lead us unto it. It is we who need to walk on it.

My student (Khushi Maniyar) had shared with me the meaning of Paryushan which I reproduce here as it.

Paryushan introduces one to oneself. It reminds us of souls ultimate goal. पर्यूषण is actually made of two words. परि + उष्ण. परि means from outside and उषण means to come home stay. It means to come out of all materialistic things and stay in oneself ie आत्मा मा वास करवो.

Now if you read all the three blogs together than my writing would make sense. Fasting is good, but at the same time the person who is fasting is thinking about these 10 virtues and is in the thought process of how to imbibe them into our lives. So let us all who fast, pray or ask for forgiveness celebrate the greatness of these days, try and live in the divine and pure atmosphere and immerse ourselves in it.

At the end of this series, I beg for forgiveness if I have hurt any one by my words or thoughts or deeds. I ask for forgiveness from all Guru Bhagwan for any mistakes in these blogs.

“Micchami Dukkaddam”.

Posted in festivals

Vinayak Chaturthi

Ganesh – the Eashwar (God) for his followers

Ganpati – the caretaker of his followers

Ganadhish – the head amongst the followers

Gananath – the saviour of his followers

Gananayak – the leader of his followers

Frankly even after writing all the meanings I still feel that the names mean the leader of the masses. Also the different meanings convey the same thought that the one who leads.

The idea itself is so heart warming that the God himself comes to reside with us. We all go to the temples to get a regular Darshan. But today is the day when He comes to our place to meet us, to stay with us, to eat with us, to bless us. This itself is such a beautiful thought.

This year at our place

I always wonder who must have thought of this idea of getting the God home. How that idea must have percolated to the masses! The amount of time and energy spent on this idea is something beyond the pages of history, date and time.

This thought always keeps me trying to find answers to my questions. And I know Ganesh, the Goddess of Intellect helps and satisfies the curious with an answer.

There is a story that when Ved Vyas, decided to write the Mahabharata, he was trying to find a writer who would wite his story. It was a humongous task and the writer too has to be of the same iintellect as the story teller. So Muni Narad suggested that Ganpati, the son of Shiva, can write it.

Ved Vyas did approach Ganpati who readily agreed. They both had an understanding. Once the writing of the book was started, it would not stop till the end and the writer would just not write down the book as a dictation but uunderstand it before writing it down.

Two great personalities, and, one great epic.

Ganpati had decided not to stand up while writing, so sitting in one place would increase the heat within his body and make him uncomfortable. So Ved Vyas came up with an idea of applying mud packs on Ganpati’s body to keep him cool. Ved Vyas served Ganpati food that he loved to eat the most.

As the mud packs were applied, Ganpati’s murti, even today, is made from mud (Shadhumaati). Yet, even after these 10 days when the wrting of the book was completed, the heat had increased inside Ganpati’s body and the mud packs had dried and stuck to his body. So it is said that Ved Vyas took Ganpati to a nearby river to bathe him to soothe his body as well as remove the dried packs from his body.

Thus began the culture of getting Ganpati in the idol form at one’s house for 10 days and immersing them in water on the 10th day. Later, as it was found that it is difficult to get and look after such a big personality at home for 10 days, Rishis must have come up with the idea of keeping Him for 1 and half day or 5 days.

Some may disagree with this story, but it’s a start of the quest to find the reason behind it. Its going to be long journey, but will tread on it slowly and steadily. I trust that Ganpatiji will help me.

Wishing you all a very Happy Ganesh Chaturthi and a colourful Ganeshotsav.

Posted in festivals

Parvadhiraj Paryushan – 2

Happy Mahaveer Jayanti to all my readers.

My readers may ask me how is it that you Jains celebrate Mahaveer Jayanti twice in a year? Actually I too had the same question few years ago. Even many Jains call it Mahaveer Jayanti. But the fact is a little different. It is during these days, the Holy Book “Kalpsutra” is read. The life of the 24 Teerthankars is read and understood. On the 5th Day, the story of Mata Trishala’s 14 dreams (16 according to Digambar sect) and birth of Bhagwaan Mahaveer is read out. So it is called the Mahaveer Janma Vachan. And people celebrate with pomp as Mahaveer Jayanti.

We continue from my last blog about the ten fold path or ten virtues to be imbibed into our lives during these days of Paryushan. Last time, we gave a thought about 3 virtues. Kshama, the virtue of forgiveness. Mardav, to be modest in all situations. And the straightforwardness, Aarjav.

Today we talk about SATYA, SAUCH, SANYAM and TAP.

SATYA (TRUTH) – The only truth in this world is the existence of Self. Every other truth is relative. Excepting our own existence is the one and final step towards self realisation. Being in self denial, living in self denial is not going to help anyone. The first thing in life is to except oneself as one is and then move ahead in life.

At the same time, we can begin with small steps of speaking the truth and living that truth. At the same time being truthful does not mean to hurt others with our truthfulness. In our quest of the truth, we have to see to it that we do not hurt others with our truth. सत्यं ब्रूयात्, प्रियं ब्रूयात् . (Speak the truth, speak it with love). Any truth needs to be spoken with love and care. It also means that unless we share a good relation, we should not speak the truth. We need to develop relationships and let them thrive, for the truth to be told or spoken.

Also when we lie, we need to speak a hundred new lies to justify one lie. Which in turn hampers the process of imbibing Satya in our lives. So at the end, I will say one needs to realise the truth hidden within oneself.

SAUCH (Purity/Contentment) – Here the word means purity of body to purity of thoughts to purity of mind/brain. We all are aware about the external purity of our body due to the education, we receive in our schools. But we need to slowly go inwards, towards oneself. Getting contentment from material desires is not the only goal of life, but leading a contented, pure life so that it can be an ideal for generations, constitutes Sauch.

The characteristic of the soul is purity. So it is within us, which we need to find and not get stuck in material gains only. We need to go deep inside oneself and dig out this hidden virtue within us. And for this we need to practise restraint.

SANYAM (Self restraint) – I feel this is one of the virtues with whom Jains are largely identified today. Yes, we believe in restraint, not killing anyone outwardly as well as inwardly. But that is not only Jainism. Not harming anyone, not even the smallest of the creatures, is evident in all thoughts originating from Bharat. But here SANYAM means restraining oneself from desires. It is painful when our desires take over us. These 8 days constantly remind us to be away from desires. So to remember and learn this thought, we need to read the Kalpasutra. Learn from Teerthankar’s life. They never showed off. So should we?

It is also through SANYAM that we can win our desires and tread on the path of Moksh. Lesser we are attached to material things, nearer we are to ourselves and our goals of attaining Moksh. That is the reason Jains take up Sadhu dharm. The road to find one’s true self.

TAP (Austerity)TAP means fasting, control over food. Restricting the intake of food. But after that do we gain control over our habit of eating food. Are we able to control our desires? Why is there a queue outside restaurants a Day before Paryushan and a Day after Samvatsari/Rishi Panchami? Restricting food also means restricting desires. Do we think about it? Are the celebrations of TAP justified?

Do we meditate during Tap. Do We sit back and introspect? Do we feel the nearness with our self? Our God? Cause after abstinence of food we need to move onto the next step of going towards one self.

I hope, my readers, you will give a thought about what we have read today. I just want to point out that we are becoming too ritualistic. Am not against rituals but we cannot get stuck in the rituals. Jain philosophy is loosing it’s sheen due to this. It is like eating the coconut from outside instead of enjoying the original coconut inside. So my friends, let’s think.

Still have 3 more virtues to go through. But ours is a journey long and slow, so let’s tread on it.

Listen to the Kalpasutra carefully.

Listen to what the learned Sadhu-Sadhviji’s have to tell us.

Listen to the voice within and learn to live by it.

Posted in festivals

Pithori Amaavasya – Matrudin

नास्ति मातृसमा छाया:

नास्ति मातृसमा गति:।

नास्ति मातृसमं त्राणं

नास्ति मातृसमा प्रपा।।

There is no shade like a mother,

No resort like her,

No Security like a mother,

No other ever-giving fountain of life…

Today is the New Moon Day (Amaavasya) of the Shraavan month. The last day of the month. Month of Bhadrapad begins tomm. Today is celebrated as “Pola” in Maharashtra and South India. Cattles are worshipped today.

And today is Mother’s Day. A day to remember all the great mothers like Jijabai, Kaushalya, Devaki and many more and their contribution towards parenting their kids. Also a day to express our gratitude to the “Gaumata”, “Tulsimata” and “Bharatmata”. By naming them, I just want to convey that every person and every substance which has help us nurture our life, is like our Mother, and today is the day to remember them.

And overall our own Mother, who has not only given us birth but also took care of us and help us grow.Someone can ask me that shouldn’t we remember our Mother everyday? I agree with them. But today is the day to not only remember them but also express our gratitude towards them.

1. Mother, a shade : I still remember my mother standing rigat by my side with a ruler in hand and hitting me when I erred, while learning Gujarati. Coming from a convent school, again her decision to educate me in an English Medium School, she took the pains that I learn my mother tongue Gujarati, when I was in 8th std. She made me do it the whole vacation. Today, I say with pride, that if my language is good and my grammar strong, it is just because of Her. I thank her today for her efforts.

Secondly my English teacher. Can never forget her. Ms A Coutinho. The effports she has taken for my Grammar, rather for the whole class, is showing its effect with our cmmunications today. Every free period of our 9th standard was taken up by Her for grammar. We used to tease her and dislie her for this, but today we all are veRyan grateful to her for her efforts. She treated every child as hers and put in equal efforts in each.

2. Mother, the last resort : I still remember that whenever we siblings wanted to get our things done, my mother was our last resort. Rather when it came to dealings with my father, it was always Her, who stood strogly for us.

I, am a father today, and see the same trait in my wife today. The way she prods our kids, the way She pushes them to exceed their limits and excel in their doings is mind blowing. The way She always stand by them and always there to help them is something we fathers rarely do. And after all this, if the kids feel that She is their last resort, they are right.

3. Mother, a security-giver : Mom is the bst security a child can ever get. The way she takes care of her child can only be compared to a lioness taking care of her cubs. She will go to the extent of fighting and killing the enemy. She will pprotect and teach the kid to protect himself.

Am reminded of Jijabai who took Shivaji under her care and nurtured him to grow up to become a great king. In the initial years of growing up, she has played not only the role of a mother but also protected Shivaji from all the evils of the society.

4. Mother, the ever giving : A child growing up without a mother is a difficult job for a father, but the mother can also fill in for the loss of a father and bring up the child. A mothers showers all her love and warmth and affection on her child and does not leave anything for next time.

There is no great personality who wouldn’t acknowledge the contribution by his/her mother into their lives. Satyakaam Jabaal is known by his mother and so are many. Even today, a childs good mannerisms and characters are attributed to its mother more.

In the end, would just request all my readers to give a thought for what their mothers have done for them and always remember to be grateful to them.

Also that our great culture and civilisation has already given us a Mother’s day, centuries back, so we have been, foremost, in acknowledging the role and contribution of a mother towards building a home, society and country, which the West is acknowledging from last few decades ot maybe a century or two. Let’s not forget that and educate our next generation about it too…

मातृदिनस्य शुभ आशयः।

Happy Matrudin to all my readers.

Posted in festivals, matrubhumi, mythoughts

Independence Day

Wishing all the Indians a very Happy 74th Independence Day.

On this day, I first bow down to God as He is the one who got India, Her independence. You, my reader, may ask me, How come God gave India independence? What was His role in it? How come you Indians always get God involved in everything? On the onset let us clarify this point as such. Yes, God is always a part of my writings and our Indian thought cause we believe that we exist because of him. Not only us but the whole creation exists because of Him. And yes we can logically prove that India got independence according to His wishes. Also at this point I should clarify that this thought has been imbibed in me by Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale. The World War II ended on a victorious note for Great Britain and it’s allies. Winston Churchill, the then prime minister, had led his country to victory through one of the toughest wars. It was he who has given the world the sign of Victory as “V”. He had kept up the high morale of the British troops and citizens during the war. The elections were due that same year and after this victory Churchill coming back to power was a foregone conclusion. But the results were surprising. Labour party with Clement Atlee as its head came to power. Labour was of the view of granting independence to British colonies including India. Winston Churchill’s idea and arrogance about India and Indians is well known to us by now. Now how did this happen? How did the electorate change its mind? I feel that God must have changed their minds. God had his own expectations from India, that let Her be free and guide the world over. (Have we been successful in living upto His expectations? is another question). Thus I first bow down to God.

I secondly bow down to the people who left their careers, families and laid down their lives for the independence of our country. My young readers in today’s times, it is difficult for us to imagine the situation or the battle at that time. Whom were we fighting against? A nation on whom the sun never set. Yet these people (freedom fighters) just selflessly offered themselves to the country without expecting. anything in return. Neither success, nor an expectation from Indians to remember their sacrifice. They just jumped into the burning fire of the independence struggle. A 16/17 year kid, Khudiram Bose, went to the gallows with a smile on his face. One 65/70 year man, Lala Lajpat Rai accepted the brunt of the English batons and gave up his life. A youth of an age of 30/35, Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Sawarkar, accepted a two 50 year sentence in jail with a question “Will British Raj rule India for that much time?”. Our heads are held high even today while taking the names of Bhagatsingh, Rajguru and Sukhdev for their supreme sacrifice. Tatya Tope, Mangal Pandey, Vasudeo Balwant Phadke, Chandrasekhar Azad, Ramprasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipinchandra Pal, these and many other names make us feel a sense of pride. Let us also not forget the women power of India. Their participation too was to the fullest. Rani Laxmibai, Kittur Rani Chenamma, Kalpana Dutt, Aruna Asaf Ali and many such brave women participated actively in this fight. We can go on and on with these names, but we will just pause here and now bow down to all the known and unknown freedom fighters.

Thirdly I bow down to the person who unified India, as it exists now, and for that he travelled to every nook and corner of India. He is called the Chanakya of Modern India. He integrated more than 500 big and small kingdoms into India with love and understanding and persuasion. Those which could not be pursuaded through understanding and love were then integrated in the way and language they understood well. The person is none other than, the most ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. If Congress was strong then, ready to listen to and follow the Gandhian way, it was because of Vallabhbhai Patel who went around meeting person to person, village to village, city to city to propogate the ideas and ideals of Congress then. It does not matter whether we honour this great man with Bharat Ratna (the highest civilian honour in India), but he is truly a gem produced by Mother India. It is with utmost sadness, Will we be able to understand the sacrifices this man has made? is a question that I leave to my reader to ponder over. Does India know the living generations of his family? The behaviour / treatment with the family of this great martyr makes one think, that did we fight for this? He did not have any expectations, agreed. But the question is that do we have any responsibility towards people like Sardar?

As the day is of celebrations, so is the day to sit back and think about a few things. Where do we stand? Where does Bharat stand today in the world? Are we the torch bearers of humanity for the world? Will only technological development and strong economic policy make us one? There was a time when the world recognised Bharat for its spiritual doctrines and borrowed from them. Swami Vivekanand and Gurudev Aurobindo were it’s guiding light. We had selfless social workers in Vinoba Bhave and Ravishankar Maharaj (Gujarat) who tirelessly worked towards the betterment of the society as a whole. Where are we today? Lest someone understand am against technological development, let me clarify that am not. But only technological development is not going us to lead unto overall development. Don’t we feel that we are taking care of just one part of the developmental process and ignoring others? We, Bharatiya will have to think holistically. That will help us regain our prosperity and respect. We will have to change the way we think. Will have to imbibe love and emotions for our country through our education system. If we do this today, then we will be able to see it’s fruits a few years later, cause change is slow.

Today we need to inculcate one’s love for his country and the pride of being an Bharatiya amongst all of us. We will have to study our true history for this. We will have to come out of the dogmas of left wingers and right wingers and think; write in that manner and live what we write and demonstrate. . त्यजेदेकं कुलस्यार्थे ग्रामस्यार्थे कुलं त्यजेत् ।
ग्रामं जनपदस्यार्थे आत्मार्थे पृथिवीं त्यजेत् ॥ (For the good of many, we will have to leave out one. For the good of the village we will have to leave out many. For the good of our country we will have to leave our village. And for self development and realisation, leave this worldly pleasures) We all have to rise above the narrow mindedness of selfishness, victory and listen to each and every citizen of India. We do not know, who will be guided by the God’s to suggest or speak the truth!

We will have to take all our decisions keeping Bharat and Her greatness in mind. We have done this before. The best example is our constituent assembly consisting of people coming from different areas, thoughts and leanings. Yet, for India, they all discussed, argued, debated and made unanimous decisions. Every person should know that it is his responsibility, our responsibility to run this country in a proper manner. To take care of it and to carry it forward on the path of progress is my responsibility, our responsibility. The day we realise this and are able to do this, will be the day when we will be democratic and independent in its true sense.

And for this, we will have to reach out to every nook and corner of Bharat. Reach out selflessly to each and every Bharatiya and develop a relationship based on love for our country. Will have to rekindle the fire of Spirituality with love and affection. That will be the rise of true nationalism. From that day onwards, India will again be a true torch bearer of humanity.

My readers, if we are unable to do this, let us all be helpful to people who are into it. If not helpful, let us appreciate the people who are trying to do it.

On this 74th Independence day, let us all pledge to contribute to Bharat in our own small ways, so that our Bharatmata would be happy and would also bless us with Her most valuable blessings.

Bharat Mata ki Jay.

Vande Mataram.

Posted in 6 word story

6 word story #24

These times will be memories forever…

In context with the current situation, the different experiences of staying at home and spending time with family in this way is something one had never imagined. Later, to some extent, we are going to be reminiscent of these memories.

Posted in general, mythoughts

Education – 3

Intelligence plus Character – that is the goal of true education

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Education means to inculcate good qualities in Human Beings.

Education makes a human being.

Education, today, is bread oriented. It teaches a person to become a good engineer, a good doctor, a good Chartered Accountant. But it does not teach the human being to be a good father or a good son.

They learn from their teachers less and parents more.

Actually when I think that education should imbibe qualities in a human being, in todays context, it becomes quite impossible to do all the things that is expected of it. As kids stay at school for just 6 to 7 hours. The rest of the hours, the kids are at home.

Do parents complement todays education?

Do they give such an atmosphere that the child can grow and develop?

It is always easy to pass on the blame than take it on us. But today we need to think about what we are doing as parents. Paying up the school and class fees just does not suffice.

Spending time with kids and playing with them is also a very important part of their life and upbringing. I still remember my grandmother, my neighbour telling me stories of Ram and Krishna in my childhood days and they have played a big role in shaping my thoughts and life. My mother was always there for me and always helping me find new and new books. She not only inculcate the habit of reading in me, she thought me my mother tongue,(Gujarati) as I studied in a Convent school. I see my wife doing the same for our kids.

After all this, it is also the atmosphere the child stays in and takes decision of what to pick up and what not. He needs guidance even there, and we peers need to be present at all such times.

So, in all, education begins at home and should continue in school and society.

And it is not only the responsibility of the school or school teachers only. Only thing is that we all need to play our part sincerely and honestly. This would help us all to make good citizens and better human beings.

Let us all be responsible.

Let us all learn.

Let us all develop.

Let us all become good fathers and good sons.

Let us all become good human beings.

Posted in festivals

Madhurashtakam

Madhurashtakam is the sweetest description of the sweetness of child God, Shri Krishna by Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabhcharya. Every body part and all the actions of Shri Krishna are sweet and by his sweet contact anything living or non-living becomes sweet. Whatever sweetness we see in this material world should be understood as a small fraction of the sweetness of Shri Krishna. So the devotees of Lord Krishna should continuously remember the butter stealing form of his. It is not possible to describe the sweetness of Madhurashtakam; probably it contains the sweetest eight verses written in worship of Lord Sri Krishna on this earth.

अधरं मधुरं वदनं मधुरं
नयनं मधुरं हसितं मधुरम्।
हृदयं मधुरं गमनं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥१॥

O Krishna! your lips are sweet, your face is sweet, your eyes are sweet, your laugh is sweet, your heart is sweet, your gait is sweet. O Lord of sweetness! everything about you is sweet only. ॥1 ॥

वचनं मधुरं चरितं मधुरं
वसनं मधुरं वलितं मधुरम्।
चलितं मधुरं भ्रमितं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥२॥

O Krishna! your words are sweet, your acts are sweet, your clothes are sweet, your bent posture is sweet, your movements are sweet, your roaming is sweet. O Lord of sweetness! everything about you is sweet only. ॥2 ॥

वेणुर्मधुरो रेणुर्मधुरः
पाणिर्मधुरः पादौ मधुरौ।
नृत्यं मधुरं सख्यं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥३॥

O Krishna! your flute is sweet, your garland is sweet, your hands are sweet, your feet are sweet, your dance is sweet, your friendship is sweet. O Lord of sweetness! everything about you is sweet only. ॥3 ॥

गीतं मधुरं पीतं मधुरं
भुक्तं मधुरं सुप्तं मधुरम् ।
रूपं मधुरं तिलकं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥४॥

O Krishna! your songs are sweet, your drinking is sweet, your eating is sweet, your sleeping is sweet, your beauty is sweet, your mark of forehead is sweet. O Lord of sweetness! everything about you is sweet only. ॥4 ॥

करणं मधुरं तरणं मधुरं
हरणं मधुरं रमणं मधुरम्।
वमितं मधुरं शमितं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥५॥

O Krishna! your deeds are sweet, your floating is sweet, your act of stealing is sweet, your love is sweet, your words are sweet, your silence is sweet. O Lord of sweetness! everything about you is sweet only. ॥5 ॥

गुंजा मधुरा माला मधुरा
यमुना मधुरा वीची मधुरा।
सलिलं मधुरं कमलं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥६॥

O Krishna! your berries are sweet, your garland is sweet, your river Yamuna is sweet, her waves are sweet, her water is sweet, her lotus are sweet. O Lord of sweetness! everything about you is sweet only. ॥6 ॥

गोपी मधुरा लीला मधुरा
युक्तं मधुरं मुक्तं मधुरम् ।
दृष्टं मधुरं शिष्टं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥७॥

O Krishna! your Gopis are sweet, your playing is sweet, with them you are sweet, without them you are sweet, your glance is sweet, your manners are sweet. O Lord of sweetness! everything about you is sweet only. ॥ 7 ।।

गोपा मधुरा गावो मधुरा
यष्टिर्मधुरा सृष्टिर्मधुरा।
दलितं मधुरं फलितं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥८॥

O Krishna! your friends are sweet, your cows are sweet, your stick is sweet, your creation is sweet, your destruction is sweet, your boons are sweet. O Lord of sweetness! everything about you is sweet only. ॥ 8॥

Now what is given here is the literal translation of the words and verses written. We need to dwell upon every word and find out the reason why Mahaprabhu has written every word and through his learn the Krishna way of life.

Jay Shree Krishna

Posted in festivals, personality

Shree Krishna Janmashtami – 3

After talking about learning and parenting in my last two blogs on Krishna Janmashtami day, today wanna look at all together another aspect of Krishna. His relation with his family. Am going to quote only two poems (pad) written by Surdasji, for the same and leave it upto my reader to find their meaning.

मैं नहिं माखन खायो

मैया! मैं नहिं माखन खायो।

ख्याल परै ये सखा सबै मिलि मेरैं मुख लपटायो॥

देखि तुही छींके पर भाजन ऊंचे धरि लटकायो।

हौं जु कहत नान्हें कर अपने मैं कैसें करि पायो॥

मुख दधि पोंछि बुद्धि इक कीन्हीं दोना पीठि दुरायो।

डारि सांटि मुसुकाइ जशोदा स्यामहिं कंठ लगायो॥

बाल बिनोद मोद मन मोह्यो भक्ति प्राप दिखायो।

सूरदास जसुमति को यह सुख सिव बिरंचि नहिं पायो॥

This is a pad written by Surdas describing the act of stealing curds by Shree Krishna. And when caught by the mother, Jashoda, the different reasons given by Lala how curd is seen on his face.

Another pad where Surdasji describes Krishna’s question to his mother Jashoda, regarding the colour of her skin and His skin. And how it has become a point of mischief for his friends. A beautiful pad explaining the relation of Krishna, his brother Balaram and mother Yashoda

मैया मोहि दाऊ बहुत खिझायौ ।

मोसौ कहत मोल कौ लीन्हौ, तू जसुमति कब जायौ ?

कहा करौं इहि रिस के मारैं खेलन हौं नहिं जात ।

पुनि-पुनि कहत कौन है माता को है तेरौ तात ॥

गोरे नंद जसोदा गोरी, तू कत स्यामल गात ।

चुटुकी दै-दै ग्वाल नवावत, हँसत, सबै मुसुकात ॥

तू मोही कौं मारन सीखी, दाउहि कबहुँ न खीझै ।

मोहन-मुख रिस की ये बातैं, जसुमति सुनि-सुनि रीझै ॥

सुनहु कान्ह, बलभद्र चबाई, जनमत ही कौ धूत ।

सूर स्याम मोहि गोधन की सौं, हौं माता तू पूत ॥

All I want to say is that Krishna, the Divinity Himself, came to earth to guide us, Humanity, on how to live life. Instead of studying and understanding that, we are just interested in dancing, singing and making pyramids to break the pot of curd hanging at great heights. Am not against any form of celebration cause I myself too participate in it, but cannot leave such a great life, limited only to these things.

On this day of Janmashtami, I bow to Krishna, the Purnavtaar, for guiding mankind, on how to live through his life.

I bow to Krishna for giving us Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta, a guide to lead a better life.

I bow to Krishna for accepting us as we are and leading us on the oath of finding oneself.

Jay Shree Krishna

Posted in general, mythoughts

Education – 2

Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man – Swami Vivekanand.

Continuing from my last blog, where we were talking about curiosity. Am attaching the link of the last blog just for reference.

https://ameetkothari.wordpress.com/2020/08/08/education-1/

The next part is that education removes vices. Was thinking over it that how can education have a negative definition; actually it should have been education means one which draws out the hidden virtues with a person.

But sometimes to build a positive narrative, we need to understand its opposing negative part. This helps in making our understanding about a subject as a whole.

We begin with a simple vice, laziness. Who doesnt love to be lazy? But it is not a virtue at all. I still remember my dad switching on all the lights of the house early even on a sunday or even in vacation. I didnt like it then, but thank him now at my age for imbibing the quality of diligence, at that age, which is helping me now. Now I feel that early morning schools are always a better option than afternoon schools as they leave the whole day free for kids to play and study.

Let us take another one like anger. But the educationists need to talk about patience and compassion. Patience is the key to success. It is the impatience in today’s lives that is the root cause of major problems in our lives. We need to be taught to learn to be patient. “Jam yesterday, Jam tomorrow, but no Jam today” – is a sentence we all will remember learning at school or home. Compassion comes with maturity, but that is possible if one has learnt to patient.

We can go on discussing many such vices which need to be substituted with a virtue, for example greed – generosity, pride – modesty / humility, jealousy – gratitude and so on.

Now we come to our question that does today’s education helps us do this or rather makes us do this? The clear answer is NO.

Frankly today education has nothing to do with character building, it is just career – making and bread oriented. Ethics and values do not form a part of the curriculum. Economics goes to the extent of saying ethics has no part to play in economics. Now if this is the state of education in our country, why expect loyalty or ethical behaviour in our society.

So we need to find a solution to this. Right now the onus is on the parents to impart value education to their kids which sometimes is overlooked in case of working parents or parents having only a money-minded attitude. Also the society as a whole need to sit back and think about this.

Let us, parents and teachers, together find a solution to this

Let us draw out the hidden qualities with our child so that he / she can become a better son / daughter, a better father / mother , a better brother / sister and so on…

And that is the reason I began my blog with Swamiji’s sentence that these things are already there inside, we need to draw them out…

To be continued…

Posted in general, mythoughts, personality

9th August 1925

9th August 1945 – Nagasaki was bombed by America

9th August 1942 – Quit India movement was launched

9th August 1925 – This is an important date in the independence fight of India against the British.

Members of Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) looted the government treasury from the mail train near Kakori, 22km away from Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)

The members of this association were keen on not only throwing but uprooting the British rule from India, through an armed struggle.

The idea of this robbery was the brainchild of Ramprasad Bismil. It was not for money that they planned this lot but to make the government at that time aware about the problems of the Indian people and their cry for self rule. Agreed that the path taken by revolutionaries was not approved by many Indians, and so they did not support HSRA in any way. So our history teaches us that they did this robbery out of need of money. But people who have decided to die for the independence of India, would loot the train for money is something which does not appeal my mind and conscience.

People involved in this plan were Ramprasad Bismil, Chandrashekhar Azad, Ashfaqullah Khan, Keshab Chakravarty, Sachindra Bakshi, Murari Sharma, Mukundi Lal, Manmathnath Gupta and Banwari Lal.

On 9 August 1925, the Number 8 Down Train travelling from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow was approaching the town of Kakori (now in Uttar Pradesh), when one of the revolutionaries pulled the emergency chain to stop the train and subsequently overpowered the guard. It is believed that they looted that specific train because it was carrying the money bags which belonged to the Indians and was being transferred to the British government treasury. They looted only these bags (which were present in the guards’ cabin and contained more than 100,000 rupees) and escaped to Lucknow. 

More than 40 people were arrested from all over India and sent to trial.

Ram Prasad Bismil and some others were charged with various offences, including robbery and murder. Fifteen people had been released due to lack of evidence and a further five had escaped, two of them — Ashfaqullah Khan and Sachindra Bakshi—were captured after the trial. 

Chandrasekhar Azad, reorganised the HRA in 1928 and operated it till 27 February 1931, the day he died in a heroic act in Allahabad. On the day, He was surrounded by police and after a long shootout, holding true to his pledge to never be captured alive, he shot himself dead with his last bullet on 27 February 1931 at Chandrasekhar Azad Park, Allahabad.

Charges pressed against a further four men were dropped. Damodar Swarup Seth was discharged due to illness, while Veer Bhadra Tiwari, Jyoti Shankar Dixit and Shiv Charan Lal have been suspected of providing information to the authorities. Two other individuals – Banwari Lal and Indu Bhushan Mitra came to be approvers in return for a lenient sentence.

The punishments given were as follows:

Death sentence: Ram Prasad Bismil, Thakur Roshan Singh, Rajendra Nath Lahiri and Ashfaqullah Khan

Deportation to Kala Pani (Port Blair Cellular Jail, Andaman and Nicobar Islands): Sachindranath Sanyal and Sachindranath Bakshi

14 year’s imprisonment: Manmathnath Gupta

10 year’s imprisonment: Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee, Mukundi Lal, Govid Charan Kar, Raj Kumar Singh and Ram Krishna Khatri

7 year’s imprisonment: Vishnu Charan Dublish, Suresh Charan Bhattacharya

5 year’s imprisonment: Bhupendranath Sanyal, Prem Krishna Khanna, Banwari Lal and Pranawesh Mukherjee

4 year’s imprisonment: Keshab Chakravarthy

I have purposely highlighted the people who were sentenced and their sentences as the kids today do not know about all this. NO books of history teaches us all this. We do remember different occasions today, but do not recall such events which also are proud moments in our fight for independence.

On this day, when we pay our respects to the people who does in the “Fat Boy” explosion at Nagasaki, or the people who gave their everything for Quit India,

Let us also remember all those who lead and fought an armed struggle for the Independence of our Motherland.

Posted in mythoughts

Education – 1

Education means to “to draw out”.

To draw out questions, to draw out vices in life and to draw out the already imbibed yet undrawn (hidden) qualities in a human being.

Keeping in context with the above definition, let us have a fair discussion about the same. First I raise a few questions.

Does our Education encourage curiosity?

Does our Education remove the vices from our life?

Does our education inculcate good qualities in us?

There can be many questions but I will stick to the above mentioned three.

Curiosity (the art of asking questions) is an inborn characteristic of a human being. It is out of curiosity, that human kind has developed and progresses to where it is. From the Stone age to the artificial intelligence age, it is this curious nature which has kept the humankind going and growing.

It is this curiosity which helped man discover the art of lighting a fire to lighting a bulb.

It is this curiosity which helped humankind, transcend the shackles of earth and even the solar system and move beyond it.

It is this curiosity that helped him looked outside as well as inside.

It is this curiosity which helped him to move to broad mindedness from narrow mindedness.

Does today’s education do this? The plain answer is yes and no both. The courses are designed in such a way that they do support a few questions coming to our minds. The teachers are well trained but do not have the time to answer each and every query of their students as they need to finish their portion in a stipulated time. So this acts as a hindrance in teaching.

Some schools, I have seen do not cover the whole portion and do a few chapters during the year, so at least the topics that are taught are taught nicely and at length. But then the other parts not covered are left behind, so the students missed out being exposed to them.

Also students learn in language that they do not speak at home. They think in their mother tongue and learn and write in another language which again psychologically possess a big problem. The problem of finding correct words to express themselves possess a problem due to lack of knowledge of words. At the same time we also know that learning different languages from a small age helps a lot. I know from my own example that from my childhood days, I was exposed to Gujarati (my mother tongue), Marathi, Hindi and English (my medium of learning). Later was exposed to French, Urdu and Kutcchi (a local dialect). Due to this it has helped me communiacte easily with people around me and understand them too.

According to psychologists there are 5 dimensions of curiosity:

1. Joyous Exploration – this is the prototype of curiosity – the recognition and desire to seek out new knowledge and information, and the subsequent joy of learning and growing. 

2. Deprivation Sensitivity – this dimension has a distinct emotional tone, with anxiety and tension being more prominent than joy – pondering abstract or complex ideas, trying to solve problems, and seeking to reduce gaps in knowledge.

3. Stress Tolerance – this dimension is about the willingness to embrace the doubt, confusion, anxiety, and other forms of distress that arise from exploring new, unexpected, complex, mysterious, or obscure events.

4. Social Curiosity – wanting to know what other people are thinking and doing by observing, talking, or listening in to conversations.

5. Thrill seeking – the willingness to take physical, social, and financial risks to acquire varied, complex, and intense experiences.

It is education which will help us inculcate these 5 dimensions in ourselves and our kids. The pshycologisys further go on to say that from their experiments, they have found evidence of 4 types of curious people:

1. The Fascinated – high on all dimensions of curiosity, particularly Joyous Exploration

2. Problem Solvers – high on Deprivation Sensitivity, medium on other dimensions 

3. Empathizers – high on Social Curiosity, medium on other dimensions

4. Avoiders – low on all dimensions, particularly Stress Tolerance

So now let’s decide how we want to be? How do we want to mould our life and that of our kids? And how can education help us with all this.

Shouldn’t we think together?

Posted in 6 word story

6 word story #23

HE got His house, won’t we?

It’s the conviction as well as trust and patience, that He will provide us the roof which we can call ours…

Please read between the lines for the spiritual message and do not take it as a political or social or a religious comment…

Posted in Uncategorized

Ram

Was thinking what to write as the issue has been made political on the terms of being a secular country! And so I decided that instead of touching upon the issue of politics would dwell upon the history a bit.

Yes, the Mandir did exist before the Masjid was built. The Mughals came here to loot India and they knew that temples were places of abundant gold. So they looted temples and took away the gold. They justified it by saying that they are in this world to annihilate the idol worshippers. I have my own version that they justified their loot in the name of religion. So in turn they earned following from the teachers and followers.

The archaeological survey clearly found the remnants of the temple beneath the structure which stood there before 6th December, 1992. For Hindus, it became a battle of their existence or that is the way it was projected. I sometimes wonder that even after 1000 years of loots and raids and the external incursion, the culture has still stood strong as its roots are very deep.

Today it is not the victory of Hindu over anyone, but it is the victory of the Indian identity or Indian culture. It has been consistent in its beliefs and according to the law of the land waited for more than a 100 years for justice to be done. So the celebration today is of the patience that the Hindus have kept for so many years.

It is also a celebration of the acceptance of truth, which was continuously being denied to Ram. The people have the audacity to question their own legacy and heredity and call Ram mythological. But the dumbheads need to know that it is our history. Just because Western history believes in Human existence or culture is from last 3000 years or 4000 years, our people who learn from them also talk in the same sense which is absolute nonsense. We have a very rich history, full of culture and civilisation. And we need to find out about it. We cannot depend upon the non-Indians to do that work for us.

So today we celebrate the rich history, culture of India, that is Bharat, earlier called Aryavarta.

Also we should not forget in the euphoria of building the temple, the qualities of Ram, that He is known for. We need to imbibe those qualities in our lives too. For us, God not only resides in the temple but also in every heart. So in all this excitement, let us not forget the ultimate goal that we have to achieve and got this life for.

Let the political masters fight their petty political fights,

Let the narrow minded religionists quarrel over the structure,

Let the agnostics and the leftist question the very existence of Ram,

Let us all, the believing Hindus, be the followers of any Gods / Godessess, celebrate the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and known over the unknown.

रामो राजमणिः सदा विजयते रामं रमेशं भजे
रामेणाभिहता निशाचरचमू रामाय तस्मै नमः |
रामान्नास्ति परायणं परतरं रामस्य दासोस्म्यहं
रामे चित्तलयः सदा भवतु मे भो राम मामुद्धर ‖

– रामरक्षास्तोत्र।

Seeing these pics of Ayodhya yesterday evening, am reminded of Tulsidasji’s words from Ramcharit Manas:

अवधपुरी प्रभु आवत जानी।
भई सकल सोभा कै खानी।।
बहइ सुहावन त्रिबिध समीरा।
भइ सरजू अति निर्मल नीरा।।

When Ayodhya comes to know that Prabhu (Ram)is arriving, then She decorated Herself, the atmosphere cleared and the waters of the Sarayu river flowed gently…

Let us remember Ram is no where but within us and Ayodhya too is nowhere but our body, in which He resides…

Jay Shree Ram…

Posted in festivals

Raksha Bandhan

रक्षासूत्र मंत्र :-

येन बद्धो बलि राजा, दानवेन्द्रो महाबल।
तेन त्वाम् प्रतिबद्ध्नामि रक्षे मा चल मा चल ॥

(O Brother! I tie you (towards your responsibilities) in the same way the King Bali was tied to, by his sister, Goddess Lakshmi. And pray that you may not waver from your path of responsibilities).

Am in two minds from many days whether to write or not on this caring and a beautiful relation. The great poet Valmiki too has refrained from describing Ram’s relation with his sister, Shanta. (Many of my readers may not that Ram too had a sister.) And Vyas too has not written any details about relations shared by Krishna – Balram – Subhadra or 105 Kuru Princes – Dushyala. If these great poets refrain to describe this relation, then I am just a student of this great culture and civilisation. At the same time, it is a relation which I want to write on and let the new generation also know and understand the real meaning behind this relation.

फूलों का तारों का, सबका कहना है
एक हज़ारों में मेरी बहना है
सारी, उमर, हमें संग रहना

I love these lines as they convey my feelings, or rather every brothers feelings towards his sister/s. Sister is the one and only relation where we can have fun and share what we like and don’t. She takes care of her brother as a protective Mother. She is a guiding force to her brothers. And so She is unique amongst the thousands of women on this Mother Earth.

This relationship is truly unique as there is a Day celebrated for it in our culture. We have Matrudin and Rakshabandhan. Both these festivals celebrate the most important and valued relations in our lives. It is considered a matter of pride to be a brother to a sister. It’s a truly selfless relation which needs to be taken care of and enjoyed.

Then why tie a Raksha (thread) around Brothers wrist? The understanding today is that the sister asks for her brothers protective covering. The brother would help and protect his sister in times of need. I feel this thought become the line of thinking during the last 1000 years of foreign rule. Our women needed to be protected from the foreigners and so who, but her brother. Question that arises to my mind is that in case of married man, what will he do for his wife? And a larger picture today is that woman today is herself quite qualified to take care of herself. And keeping this fact in mind, this festival will loose it’s sheen slowly and fade into memories in the coming years, if this would be our understanding. Or it will become just a ritual or a formality.

This festival is basically not for protection of women, but to develop an understanding amongst men on how to look towards women. Rather what should be a man’s attitude towards a woman. ‘Every other women, other than my mother and wife is like a sister to me,’ is what the festival wants to convey. The sister applying tilak on brothers forehead is giving him this understanding. It’s a third eye (tilak) for the brother through whose lens he learns to see every other woman as his sister. The thread around his hand conveys that the brother promises the same and promises not to deviate from this outlook or path (मा चल मा चल). It’s a Bandhan (commitment) that he is accepting. Hope, my readers atleast will understand this and try to inculcate this understanding in their lives.

I know am talking to a generation which asks “Can a boy and girl just not be friends?”, “My sister is my best friend.” I truly sometimes wonder whether todays generation thinks beyond friends and about the relations they have got. I personally have no such problems with their questions but do they think before they ask is what I ponder over later. My dear readers, let us all learn to enjoy every relation that we have got. Try to understand them and live in that way. And my question is if you both can be friends, then what’s the problem in accepting the girl as your sister or the boy as your brother. I leave this thought for you to think, discuss and debate.

God! Let my bond with my Sister be strengthened more in this coming year and let things get done from me, which will make Her happy.

May You grant Her good health and wealth.

May She always shower Her blessings on me.

Posted in mythoughts

Mitra – 2

पापान्निवारयति योजयते  हिताय
गुह्यं निगूहति गुणान् प्रकटीकरोति  |
आपद्गतं च न जहाति ददाति काले
सन्मित्रलक्षणमिदं प्रवदन्ति  सन्ताः ||

-भर्तृहरि (नीतिशतक)

Meaning – Wise and noble persons have pronounced that the symptoms
of a true friend are that he prevents us from committing sinful deeds and urges us to do things that are advantageous to us, keeps our secrets and brings out our virtues and qualities, does not desert us when we face misfortune, and helps us whenever we are in need of any help.

Do we get to meet such a friend today? And if we meet, will we keep such a friend? Need to ask this question as we every year in India celebrate the first sunday of August as friendship day.

We do give promises to each other but do we keep them? We make promises of being there always in life and death, but do we keep them? Do such friendships truly exist? Yes, they do.

The love and affection of Ram in his friendship with Sugreeva is something unimaginable today. Ram not only befriends the left out Sugreeva, but also gets his wife and kingdom back for him. Their bond of friendship is such that Sugreeva on learning that Rama is giving up his life in the waters of Sarayu, enthrones Angad, and joins Rama and enters Sarayu with him.

So we have many such ideals in front of us as a part of our history (though many foolishly call it mythology). We need to find them out, study them and learn to live like them.

On this day, let us try to find such a friend in our lives who is true. He / she may be only one but we need to have one true friend.

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Friendship Day…

Posted in personality

Lokmanya

Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it…

A man is standing in the criminal box in the court, wrongly being indicted for no offence of his. The evidences laid before the court will prove him guilty.what would a lawyer do in such a case? Give up. But he would not get bogged down. As he had complete faith in his clients innocence. So he asks time from court. The court Grant’s permission. Next hearing, the lawyer declares that his client is dead, when he is sitting in front of everyone. The reason given by the lawyer is that He has taken “sanyaas” (renounced the world), so now he does not live according to Hindu scriptures. He has already done his own “pind daan.” (A ritual done after someone’s death and a person taking sanyaas is expected to do so.) The court agrees and let’s the person go free.

The lawyer is none other than Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, whose 100th punyatithi is today.

He was not a strong advocate of non violence and so had his differences with Gandhi. He even urged Gandhi to drop his idea of complete non – violence, to which Gandhi did not agree.

It is also said that he met Swami Vivekanand accidentally while travelling by train and then Swamiji was his guest for a few days too. They held each other in great esteem and had a mutual respect for each other. Again it is said that they both agreed that Tilak Maharaj would work towards nationalism in his own political way and Swamiji would do so in his own religious way.

When Swamiji passed away at a very early age, Tilak Maharaj said thus :

“No Hindu, who, has the interests of Hinduism at his heart, could help feeling grieved over Vivekananda’s samadhi. Vivekananda, in short, had taken the work of keeping the banner of Advaita philosophy forever flying among all the nations of the world and made them realize the true greatness of Hindu religion and of the Hindu people. He had hoped that he would crown his achievement with the fulfillment of this task by virtue of his learning, eloquence, enthusiasm and sincerity, just as he had laid a secure foundation for it; but with Swami’s samadhi, these hopes have gone. Thousands of years ago, another saint, Shankaracharya, who, showed to the world the glory and greatness of Hinduism. At the fag of the 19th century, the second Shankaracharya is Vivekananda, who, showed to the world the glory of Hinduism. His work has yet to be completed. We have lost our glory, our independence, everything.”

(SOURCE : WIKIPEDIA)

His writings and contribution towards the society through his newspapers “Kesari” and “Maratha” and through “Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav” and “Shiv Jayanti” have had a tremendous effect on the masses which lead to a great transformation in the society as a whole.

In 1903, Tilak wrote the book “The Arctic Home of the Vedas”. In it, he argued that the Vedas could only have been composed in the Arctics, and the Aryan bards brought them south after the onset of the last ice age. He proposed a new way to determine the exact time of the Vedas. In “The Orion”, he tried to calculate the time of the Vedas by using the position of different Nakshatras. The positions of the Nakshtras were described in different Vedas. Tilak wrote “Shrimad Bhagvad Gita Rahasya” in prison at Mandalay – the analysis of ‘Karma Yoga’ in the Bhagvad Gita, which is known to be a gift of the Vedas and the Upanishads.

While bowing down to this great towering personality on his 100th Punyatithi, can also ask for the spirit of nationalism to thrive amongst us, like him.

Vande Mataram

Posted in #poem

Limerick #5

We fight and fight and fight all night,

To see the light nowhere in sight,

The morning dawn

And darkness gone,

We feel the sunlight shining bright…

It’s a sarcasm which I want to convey through the above lines that we can fight over things and want the nature to behave the way we want it too. But it works with it’s own rhythm and own beauty…

Posted in festivals

Shitala Saptami

Today is Shitla Saptami. It is the day of non cooking. Food is prepared one day before (yesterday) and is savoured today. Yesterday had its own significance too.

Yesterday was Randhan Chaatth (the day of cooking). It is the day of cooking the best delicacies possible and yeah at the same time, the ones which we can savour the next day. The women of the household start the preparations early morning itself. At some villages in Saurashtra, the women get together to cook. They sing and enjoy this whole process. Some households also offer this food as Prasad to the Annapoorna. This festival (It cannot be called a festival as it is more a gathering) of cooking is always awaited during the year.

Some of my readers may feel it unhygenic to eat food cooked a day before. But frankly we all love cold food. Especially many foods like Khichadi and foods made from spices tastes great when eaten, the next day after preparation. But it is unhygenic and unhealthy to eat it. So our Rishis have kept one day in the whole year when we can satisfy our urge to eat food cooked overnight through this festival. People who regularly eat canned foods need to understand the healthy habits inherent in daily cooked food.

In the morning, the lady of the household, wakes up early and worships the stove. She makes a swastik with red vermilion and put a twig of a mango tree over it as an offering. The mango twig signifies sweetness and it is believed that it imparts coolness. The lady prays to the stove to help her cook food which will be sweet to eat and impart coolness to the digestive system of the one who eats it. Many families chant “Annapoornastotram” as a prayer to the Goddess of Food, who provides and feeds us everyday.

Apart from this, it is also a way of expressing our gratitude to the stove / gas burner who burns the whole year for giving us food. This whole day, the stove is not lit. In our way, we would say that’s it’s a holiday for the stove. It is one way of looking at the presence of Chaitanya in non-living too.

Also it is day to worship Goddess Shitla, the Goddess of cleanliness and health. Goddess Shitala is represented as a young maiden crowned with a winnowing-fan, riding a donkey, holding a short broom (either to spread or dust off germs) and a pot full of pulses (the viruses) or cold water (a healing tool). Sometimes, she is said to be carrying a bunch of neem leaves, a herb used throughout India since ancient times that is believed by some to be an effective remedy to most skin diseases to this day. And so even today in India we keep neem leaves around the patient suffering from Chicken pox. And after 5/7 days, parents take their kids for a darshan of Shitla Mata and worship Her and thank Her for curing the child of the disease. (Medicines are administered regularly, but it is a matter of faith and gratitude towards nature). (Also reading reports nowadays that Neem is effective as a precautionary measure of Covid – 19). On this day, we are expected to offer our gratitude to the broom and every other object which helps to keep our food and surroundings clean. Some people do worship the broom and the winnow on this day.

In these days of Covid-19, hope we Indians atleast understand the importance of cleanliness of ones house, kitchen and surroundings. Also personal hygiene, today signified by taking a bath after coming from outside or back from work; or washing hands after coming from outside was a must in the olden days. These were not habits which consumed time or we did not use any tissues to rub, but it was a compulsory wash which was required. Even today there are many households where the lady of the house does not touch the utensils of her kitchen without taking a bath. There is nothing religious in it, but hygiene. Our Rishis were great enough to male such practices part of our day to day life through activities and giving a religious connotation to it.

Shitala is the also considered as the form of Goddess Katyayani. She gives coolness to the patients of fever. According to Devi Mahatmya when a demon named Jvarasura gave bacterial fever to all the children, Goddess Katyayani came in the form of Shitala to purify children’s blood and to destroy the bacteria of fever in blood. In Sanskrit ‘Jwar’ means “fever” and ‘Shital‘ means “coolness“. She is worshipped all over India by different names.

These days are of showers. Showers heavy and light keep the atmosphere clean and cool. The combination of the showers and these festivals are like a combination of lime and jaggery. They are both good for health and taste.

On these days,

Let us learn to inculcate a feeling of gratitude towards even towards the smallest of the things which make out lives healthy and better.

Let us learn to keep our surroundings clean and keep ourselves clean and healthy, free from diseases.

Let us know our ancestors and their vision and their efforts to keep us civilised.

Bow down to the Sanatan Sanskriti..🙏🙏🙏

Posted in #poem

An ode to the slain soldier

26th July 1999…

Kargil Vijay Diwas…

A day to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice of our soldiers…

My ode to the slain soldier :

When the neighbour back stabbed us in the name of peace,

Let us be prepared to break his house piece by piece,

Let him not forget that he has messed up really bad,

We still remember our jawan bodies being ice clad,

We cannot forget the teary Mother or the widow or the kid,

For the enemy, who killed her son or husband or father, sordid…

One of the bravery stories from many which are a part of Indian history now…

July 7, 1999…

He was assigned the task of taking point 5140. (My readers also need to know that not all mountains are named like the Everest or Kailash or Kanchenjunga, but rather they are given numbers related to coordinates of their position). It was a hill top. The enemy was on the top and it was one of the important hills which needed to be taken for our successful defence and driving the enemy out. The warfare was going to be tough but Captain Vikram, decided to go ahead. Captain Vikram started moving through the rough terrain slowly but steadily and within hours the point 5140 was ours. ‘Yeh Dil maange more’ the code word was transmitted. His commanders were happy about his success when they received the radio message.

Mission accomplished. Vikram and his troops now had to return. But the son of the soil decided to move ahead and take point 4875. There had been casualties in his troop but the spirits were high. So on they went, with the permission from their superiors. Maybe Netaji’s words to his INA “Ab Delhi mein milenge” must be ringing in their ears by now. The task was impossible according to their seniors. But our brave troops tread on.

The enemy was anticipating the attack and was fully prepared. The attack was mounted but the Indian side suffered heavy casualties. One of the soldier was grievously injured and was in the path of the enemy bullets. The soldier was lying near the enemy lines. Captain Batra without even thinking for a moment lept out out from his position and ran towards to soldier. He was fired upon and he took five bullets in his chest and head. The enemy soldiers pounced upon him and in this combat he killed five enemy soldiers. But this assault was lethal. Captain Vikram Batra attained Martyrdom.

Captain Vikram Batra, who led the toughest mountain warfare, was often referred as Sher Shah in the messages intercepted by the Pakistani Army.

He could have had a good and peaceful life in the Merchant Navy, which he had initially joined. But being in the front, to fight for Bharat was his dream, which he fulfilled.

Bharat and Bharatiya’s indeed should be grateful to such soldiers who give up their lives for our peace. People will commemorate this day by wishing each other and changing their DP’s and updating their status, (which I am not against as I myself will also put up one once am done writing this blog) but hope they remember people like Captain Vikram Batra and the other 566 soldiers who attained martyrdom to liberate our Motherland from the enemy.

Lastly let’s end with two lines from the famous song sung by the soldiers of INA

“Kadam kadam badhaye jaa, khushike geet gaayeja,

Yeh zindagi hai kaum ki, tu kaum pe lutaaye jaa”…

Jai Hind

Posted in festivals

Naag Panchami

Today we talk and understand, the Vedic way of expressing ones gratitude to Nature. We believe that God resides in everything. Rather it is the will and wish of God, that He created us, the non living and the living. We both co-exist. We believe (even science today believes) that we have come from the non-living. Science believes that there is ‘chetan’ (atoms) in everything and we believe that there is ‘chaitanya'(God) in everything. The Theory of evolution as suggested by Darwin has already been proposed many thousand years back by us in the form of 10 avatars (incarnations) of Vishnu.

So with this broad outlook we will look into the festival of Nag Panchami (नाग पंचमी) being celebrated today. It is a festival celebrated to worship the Serpents. The serpents are representatives of the reptile world.

As civilisation thrived, we had to cut down forests to make big towns and cities to accommodate more and more people. We knowingly had to drive out the reptiles from their natural habitats. As these reptiles cannot speak and express their emotions to us, for a few time they must have resisted but after finding their fight futile, they sacrificed their homes and went deeper into the jungles.

Our Rishis had a great intellect and an emotional heart. They felt that we need to express our gratitude to this class of animals who are sacrificing their homes for Humans. So they inculcated this practise of celebrating Naag Panchami.

On the occasion of Nag Panchami also want to talk about, the Naga people and Naglok, and giving a broader cultural and social outlook towards the society at large.

Were Nag people humans? Were they part of India? Yes 100%. They were humans and they were a part of India. We have had social and cultural relations with all the different tribes which exist in India even today.

Even today, in modern India, we have the Nagaland. The people residing there are called Nagas. It is just one tribe residing there, from many.

From our history we are all familiar with Vasuki, the serpent King. Just feel like sharing an anecdote about Him. Vasuki has played an important part during the churning of the ocean. Vasuki took part in the incident of churning of the ocean (samudra manthan) by allowing both the devas and the asuras to bind him to Mount Mandar, which was used as a blender in the churning of the ocean to extract “amrut” (nectar). Today it is found that Mount Mandaar or Mandar Hill or Mandar Parvat, as it is popularly known, is located in Banka District, in the State of Bihar in India. A the temple of Lord Shiva, called Vasukinath, literally meaning “the Lord of Vasuki”, is just a few kilometres away from Mandar Parvat, in the State of Jharkhand, in Dumka District.

I believe that this is my countries history and the Serpent King must have played an important part during the debates and discussion which the Devas and the Asuras had during the yesterday years. All these serpents, devas and Asuras were basically humans but names of different types of people who got their names from their characteristics. And the Serpents must have been the anchors of the debate or discussion which took place between the Devas and the Asuras.

Lord Krishna in His celestial song, Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta has called the serpent Vasuki as one His “vibhuti’s.” सर्पाणामस्मि वासुकि: (Amongst the serpents, am Vasuki. And it is this Vasuki, which can be seen around the neck of the lord or lords, Mahadev.

We know and have read about the Nagalok and how Arjun was married to a Nagkanya Ulupi, who gave him a son Iravan, who had participated in the Mahabharat war. And also a reference to that when Bheem, the second Pandav, was poisoned in his childhood and was drowned into a river, it was the Nag people who had saved him. Bheem’s strength is attributed to the potions given to him by them.

So friends, Nag people have been an integral part of our civilisation from years and we have had cultural and social relationships with them. We might have adopted this Nag pooja from them.

So, my readers, our festivals have a divine but cultural and social outlook too, which we need to understand and not laugh upon them. The westerners may call us the land of serpents, but we are far more ahead in our understanding about nature and humans, unlike them. Hence, we need to develop our own understanding about all our festivals.

Posted in general, mythoughts

Quest to find oneself – 3

We began the quest to know oneself in the last blog. Furthering the cause to know oneself, we move a step ahead today.

We will sit at the feet of the great Guru of mankind and try and learn from Him.

Jagadguru Shankaracharya answers this question in His own way. The following 6 verses are together known as Atmashtak or Nirvanashtak. It is His own way and philosophy of non-dualism emphasized and explained in the 6 verses. It’s one of the best ashtaks I have heard (though my reading and understanding about the vast Vedic literature has its limitations).

मनोबुद्ध्यहंकार चित्तानि नाहं

न च श्रोत्रजिह्वे न च घ्राणनेत्रे ।

न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 1 ।।

Mano Buddhi Ahankara Chitta Ninaham

Nacha Shrotra Jihve Na Cha Ghrana Netre

Nacha Vyoma Bhoomir Na Tejo Na Vayu

Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham – 1.

I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego,

nor the reflections of inner self (chitta).

I am not the five senses.

I am beyond that.

I am not the ether, nor the earth,

nor the fire, nor the wind .

I am indeed,

That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva,

love and pure consciousness.

न च प्राणसंज्ञो न वै पंचवायुः,

न वा सप्तधातुः न वा पञ्चकोशः ।

न वाक्पाणिपादौ न चोपस्थपायु,

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 2 ।।

Na Cha Prana Samjno Na Vai Pancha Vayu

Na Va Saptadhatur Na Va Pancha Koshah

Na Vak Pani Padau Na Chopastha Payu

Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham – 2.

Neither can I be termed as energy (Prana),

nor five types of breath (vayus),

nor the seven material essences,

nor the five coverings (pancha-kosha).

Neither am I the five instruments of elimination,

procreation, motion, grasping, or speaking.

I am indeed,

That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva,

love and pure consciousness.

Jagadguru goes in to explain every detail in the remaining 4 verses. Would love if my readers would make an effort to find them out and learn them. As it a quest, we have to make efforts for it too.

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम्

Posted in festivals

The month of Shraavan

Mangala Gaur

Yes, I wrote the month of Shraavan and not the holy month of Shraavan as in our tradition all the months are holy. Who can decide which God of the trinity is superior? Shiv, Vishnu or Brahma? None as they all have their work decided for the and they just follow. So if someone says a particular God is more important and not another, then it’s the impression of the medieval thought that has become prevalent after the rise of Christianity and Islam.

I do not want to belittle even those schools of thought, but what I want to convey is that superiority was never a question which the Vedics had to answer or even tried to answer, as they knew very well that every work / thought has its importance. They believe in

“आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः।”

– Let all the good thoughts from all over the world come to me

And so Bharat never had a problem with welcoming Zorastrians, Arabs or the English. Nor did it have a problem with the rise of Jainism or Buddhism in Bharat itself. Rather it opened up its arms and accepted them with warmth and an open mind.

Let’s come back to our topic of Shraavan. Actually the farmer is now done with his sowing work and now he needs to take care of his growing crops and nurture them. His family is very busy with all this work. And lest they forget the indwelling God or the omnipresence of God in their work, our Rishis must have given these festivals to celebrate so that Work centered life returns / comes back to God centered.

Through these festivals, the Rishis want to inculcate a feeling of Reverence for the Creation and through them, Reverence for the Creator. At the same time, the utilitarian attitude or selfish attitude of humans should also be God centered. So a slow bit gradual change is expected in Humans while celebrating these festivals.

Yesterday I wrote about Deep Amaavasya. The new moon day is considered unlucky by many but the Rishis have given 4 festivals on all 4 amaavasyas of the Chaturmaas. Yesterday was Deep Amaavasya, next would be Matrudin, later Sarva Pitra Amaavasya and last one is Diwali. All 4 festivals have their own importance and also have tried to explain the importance of the festival culturally and emotionally. They do have a spiritual connect but I still have to develop that outlook, understanding and depth.

So next few days will keep sharing about the festivals during these months.

Today is a Tuesday. Shravan Tuesdays hold a different connotation for the newly married women of Maharashtra, especially amongst the women of Konkan. It is the day of “Mangala Gaur Pujan”. It is also known as “Sharavan Mangala Gaur Pujan”. The newly wed girl comes back to stay with her parents for the month of Asadh. Then on one of the Shravan Tuesdays, this puja is performed. The puja is for her well being.

It’s a time for the women of the family to come together and celebrate. Women play the whole night after the puja. The games are itself delightful yet completely physical as it would be evident from the pitcures see above. The women folk are fit and fine and play these games with festivities, laughter and a sense of competition. It’s a time to forget everything and just engross oneself in the game.

After this puja, the girl can now return to her in-laws. This puja is done for 5 years. The next 4 puja’s are performed at the in-laws place itself. At the end of the 5th year, the girl gifts her mother a pot full of cereals. A way to celebrate for the newly wed at her own place till she adjusts herself at her in-laws. Also a time to be oneself cause the bride would still be formal at her in laws but not at home. Just a way to help her adjust slowly to the new environment.

So as we can see that our Rishis have taken a lot of pain to understand the psyche of the people and given us these festivals. We will try to understand this outlook through my blogs in the coming days.

Posted in festivals

Deep Amaavasyaa

Today is the last day of Asadh as celebrated here in Western India. It is the last day of the month. But for the Northern India it is the 15th day of the 2nd month of Chaturmaas ie Shraāvan. (Why so? is another topic of research and study). In Western India, a month begins after Amaāvasya whereas in Northern India, Amaāvasya is in the middle of the month. So it is Amaāvasya (No / New Moon Day) today all around India.

Today is Deep Amaāvasya. The day to clean all the Diyas (earthern lamps) made of copper, steel, silver and gold. (Or any other metal) All the used and the unused Diyas are thoroughly cleaned today. And then in the evening time, they all are lit with rangolis (geometrical design with different colours) drawn around it. The Diyas are then worshipped and offered flowers. And the family members then share sweets with each other.

The worship has its own significance. It is spreading light in our lives and the lives of others too. Light is considered auspicious. It removes the darkness from the outer world and at the same time enlightens the inner self. We, Indians, light a Diya everyday and say the following shlokas invoking the blessings of the Gods :

शुभं करोति कल्याणं आरोग्यं धनसंपदः ।
शत्रुबुद्धिविनाशाय दीपज्योतिनमोऽस्तु ते ॥

दीपज्योतिः परब्रह्म दीपज्योति जनार्दनः ।
दीपो हरतु मे पापं दीपज्योतिनमोऽस्तु ते ॥

(I bow to the Light, which brings abundance and prosperity of Health, and wealth and which destroys the intelligent enemy [darkness]…

It is you O Light! That is the creator and the operator and you will lead me to light away from sins, so I bow down unto you…)

The Mother Goddess (Shakti) is also symbolised by a burning flame of a diya. Fire helps the mother cook the food. At the same time, they both symbolise energy. And so one of the names of the mother is “Shakti”. Will deal upon it in some later blog.

Lastly am reminded of a short story (or maybe it’s a poem). The Sun is ready to set. The Sun asks everyone in the Universe that who will take his place and give light to the world in his absence? No one answers. A small earthen lamp moves upto him and humbly says, that it might not be as large as the Sun and may not have enough energy to lighten up the world but it will try to lighten up the area around, in which it is kept. This makes the Sun very happy. It signifies the importance of small things in life. However small may one be, with determination one can do the work done by the great ones.

Also I understand the Sun as God and the earthern lamp as Humanity. The Human being promises to be His representation in this Universe and it is his/her responsibility to lighten up the world. So let us all try to be small and humble Diya’s and try to enlighten our lives and the lives of the people around us.

Wish you all a Shubh Deep Amaavasyaa.

Tommorrow onwards is the month of Shraāvan. A month of Devotion and Festivals. Naag Panchami, Shitla Saptami, Janmashtami and many others.

Have decided to write a series during these months of monsoon on the different festivals we celebrate. Will write about the known ones and the lesser known ones too as I have done today. Will try to keep them as short as possible.

Posted in #poem

Limerick #4

Father of four children, once upon a time,

Whose sons would just do nothing but whine,

One day He took them

Out, to show His work,

They understood; from that day, they were fine…

As the sons understood, hope we all children of the Father in heaven also understand…

Posted in mythoughts

Quest to find oneself – 2

The Almighty made this world!

And he made His image in his dearest creation, the Human!

He bestowed upon his son the best of His blessings in the form of Intellect, Money, Power and Name.

He started using his Intellect, started gaining knowledge, got a lot of money and power. People started knowing him and calling him. His arrogance and ego grew. He started questioning his very own Creator. He didn’t realise that he has started questioning his own existence.

This is the time when the Mother Goddess ‘Maya‘ struck him.

Slowly, she engulfed the little human into her arms and he too lost himself in her, forgetting all his responsibilities and goals of life.

He forgot even himself and his Creator.

He lived in this world of illusion.

The question arose in his mind, Who am I?

One fine day, a Human Being descended on Earth.

Lived a life full of God’s blessings but didn’t entangle himself in the worldly pleasures.

He looked for his Father and looked here and there.

Around him he saw nothing but illusion.

He looked within and lo behold! he found Him! His Creator.

Sitting quietly in his heart and waiting to talk.

As the man sat back and talked, Maya decided that her days are now over and left.

The Human is no one now, but a pure and an infinite soul, a universal soul…

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहं शिवोऽहम् ।

Posted in festivals, Uncategorized

Reverence for Nature (Reblog with Changes)

Representational Image

Wish you all, my readers, a very Happy Vruskshmandir Din, Madhav Vrund Din and Yuva Din.

All 3 festivals celebrated by the Swadhyay Pariwaar, across the globe, on the same day, ie today, 12th of July.
These 3 days also coincide with the birthday of the current head or the Elder Sister of Swadhyay Pariwaar, Revered Dhanashree Athavale – Talwalkar. She happens to be my mentor and guide too. Will write about the parivaar and its founder Revered Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale (Dadaji – elder brother in Marathi) in another blog some day.

Today wanna talk about the outlook that they both have inculcated into thousands of lives in India and abroad.

The Vedic philosophy believes in the 4 basic principles
Reverence for self,
-Reverence for others,
Reverence for Nature; and
Reverence for the Creator.

The Creator himself resides within me as He, Himself said so in Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta.
“सर्वस्यचाहं हृदि सन्निविष्टो ।”
sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto श्री मद्भग्वदगीता – अध्याय 15 श्लोक 15 (I reside in every heart)
So am divine.
In the same way, He resides in every heart. So there is no question of looking down upon others too.

And goes a step forward to say,
“अश्वत्थ: सर्ववृक्षाणाम् ।”
Ashwathaha sarva vrukshaanaam
श्री मद्भग्वदगीता – अध्याय 10 श्लोक 26
(Am the Peepal (Ficus religiosa) among the trees)
So if the Creator Himself says so, the Nature is divine too. Then how can I even think of harming it!

But Human mind based on reasoning and scientific attitude talks about the need of tree or a cow once it loses it sheen as an object of utility. And slowly loses the feeling of reverence for everything, that has been inculcated in his or her childhood. I need to clarify that am not against the usage of things and objects in our lives, but at the same time it is distressing to see Humans become so emotionless towards fellow human beings, fellow living creatures and nature.

At such a time of distress, comes a Great Man (Human history is full of such great people) who takes us back to our roots and makes us understand to water them, and not bereave them from water. They come out of Law of Universal Necessity, and not out of Law of Attraction and Repulsion or Law of Karma. They teach the Universe about the morals and ethics of life and show the right path to tread on.

Param Pujaniya Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale, Dadaji, is one such person. He explains that people, that is we, look towards nature with a sense of Utility or a sense of Objectivity (being beautiful). But He further explains that we Humans who can think and reason and feel, should move a step ahead and try to find and see the divinity within everything. It is based on this thought that He has given an experiment called Vrukhsmandir (A temple of forests).

Swadhyayees from 20 villages around plant trees in a barren land. Take care of them as family members and grow them. As it is a community work, no one is the owner of the produce. It’s rightful owner is God, Himself. It may sound like some social experiment, but my readers I should draw your attention to the fact that it is purely divine. Everyone who participates here is learning to see God, even in the trees. Through this, I feel, that Shashtriji has revived the feeling of Reverence towards Nature. There are 27 such Vrukshmandirs in the state of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

And for this novel experiment of Vrikshmandirs, Shashtriji has been awarded the Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshmitra Award too.

It is an experiment which does have social impact, but Shashtriji explains and propounds that, we do plant trees and take care of them, but we are not environmentalist, we are ‘Bhakts’ (devotees). There are so many instances where lives of people going to Vruskhmandirs have changed and this is the basic idea of what Shashtriji wants to do. He further explains, that if we see changes in the mindset of the society or a positive attitude develops towards nature, for society as a whole, then it is the ‘side effect’ of this experiment. The Vrukshmandir is basically for a human to look into himself and change. This is Swadhyay.

Representational Image

Similarly, the people living in metro cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru or Kolkatta and Delhi and in town and cities have been encouraged to plant a small shrub at home to develop a healthy and a divine attitude towards Nature. Everyday morning, the family members get together and water the plant and utter the ‘Narayanopanishad’ while watering. Two small changes can happen. One is that the family comes closer and their bonding collectively with nature too increases. Singing the Narayanopanishad helps develop the understanding of seeing Narayan, ie God in the tree or sapling planted at home.

This understanding based on the thoughts of Bhakti has transformed lives of people and families. Created a sense of unity amongst society. And yes, indirectly helped in environment conservation too.

Shastriji has also asked upon Swadhyayees to conserve water at home, in fields and in lakes around their villages. Swadhyay parivaar has built thousands of lakes and check dams across many states in India. They call them ‘Nirmal Neer’. Also many Swadhyayees have taken upto rain water harvesting in their individual houses and many villagers have started helping in recharging the ground water levels through an experiment of “Shosh Khadda” (a pit that helps absorb kitchen water into the ground).

My readers might have a question that even after doing all this, we have never heard about it. Because both, Shashtriji and His daughter are of the firm belief that we have to go and share such ideas with people personally. First develop a relationship and then share. It is not a system but their conviction that changes are desirable in the minds of the people. The moment they realise and develop a bond with their God within, then a small Human can do big things. It is this firm belief that has kept the Parivaar together. And so they keep away from Media. There has been no such media propaganda of the ground work that they have done.

Today, also happens to be the birthday of Dhanashree Didi (Didi – elder sister). She has been nurturing the Parivaar with lots of love, warmth and affection. The way She connects with people through Her talks and action is just unbelievable. For people who dont know Her, they would feel that am just exaggerating. So even I would say that Seeing is believing. I have seen it and I believe it.

Representational Image

She has taken a lot of efforts to gather all the different pearls (people of different states, linguistic preferences, castes, creed, nationaities) into a single thread. The youth, in particular, will remain indebted to Her for generations to come. According to the wishes of Dadaji, She has organised the youth and given them dynamic activities through which the generation of today understand the morals, ethics and more importantly, the nearness of God. So the youth on Her birthday, celebrate Yuva Din (Youth Day). It is a way of expressing their Gratitude to both these ‘ Mahamaanavs.’

At the end, I pray to God that

May He, help us to develop strong bondings amongst Humans that these binds transcend faith and uplift Humanity.

May He, help us develop the understanding of oneness with Nature and the Universe as a whole.

May He, take us closer to Himself and bless us with understanding of oneness with God.

Posted in festivals, general

Moras – a Halophyte

Moras Bhaji is a beautiful salty succulent that grows in damp regions like mangroves, dunes, beaches, etc which is mostly available during early monsoons.

It is a perennial creeper with small thick flat leaves. The size of the leaves goes up to 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length.

It is considered as a Halophyte. Halophytes are salt tolerant plants that grow in waters with high salinity, such as mangrove swamps, marshes, seashores and saline semi deserts. Only two percent of the plant species found on the earth are Halophytes.

The reason I planned to write about Moras as I came to know about its importance and use in one of the ‘Vrats’ (penance) done by the unmarried girls of a small age, in Gujarat. It is called “Molakaat”. The girls stay away from use of salt in food for 5 days. It is unimaginable for people like me who like a pinch (a bit large) of salt in their food. But the girls do dedicatedly follow the rules and abstain from salt.

Here is where Moras comes in. As it is rich in salt, some girls consume it during these 5 days. As the vrat coincides with the onset of monsoons, Moras is also available in plenty. They consume Moras in the form of theplas, parathas or falafels. They are very delicious to taste and are eaten by all in the family. Many a girls even abstain from consuming these.

But overall, I was just thinking about the vrats have been made to coincide with the seasons so my Namaskaars to the people who have come up with these novel ideas to make us learn some control in life too.

Well, I was very happy to consume the falafels made at home, which have left a taste to savour more. Will ask everyone of my readers to find out more such local delicacies and enjoy them during this lockdown…

Happy Fooding…

Posted in #poem

Chocolates

Wishing you all a very Happy Chocolate Day!

Some like them white,

Some like them dark,

What difference does it make!

As all make us spark

Some like them hot,

Some like them cold,

Let us eat them all, I say,

The taste they behold

From Caramel to Eclairs and Five star

And Cadbury to Chips to Dairy Milk,

Lindt, Ferero Rocher, Bomboni to spare,

Whichever they may be, will never share….

I just love chocolates! Who doesn’t? Only a edentate would. On the World Chocolate Day, would urge people to eat chocolates daily, especially dark ones, as they keep you healthy

Wishing you all a Happy Chocolate Day again!

Posted in #haiku, #poem

Haiku – Series 2 #3

The rains and the winds,

With tea, chutney, pakoras,

And you too my love…

Just a simple thought but lots of love involved in it. The idea of having tea with your partner in the torrential rains is so romantic that it cannot be described in words…

Posted in general, personality

Pawankhind (The Holy Valley)

Pawankhind…

A place of battle for many but a place of utmost devotion for the 300 who gave up their lives for their beloved Maharaj… The history of the place is itself mindblowing… Shivaji Maharaj after killing Afzalkhan did not rest… He conquered territories from Pratapgad to Kolhapur within a span of 20/22 days… He reached Panhalgad… He was surrounded by the armies of Fazal Khan and the Siddi… They laid a seige to the fort… Maharaj’s movement became restricted…

After a gap of 8 months, after the onset of the rainy season… One fine night He thinks of a plan… He sends an emissary to Khan and informs him of surrendering… The Khan’s army is delighted… They relax and loosen up their vigil… Taking advantage of this situation, Maharaj with a band of trusted 600 Bandal mavlas escapes Panhalgad at night… It was pouring heavily which helped in the escape…

But the Khan and Siddi came to know of the escape and they start a pursuit… Rainy night of Amavasya (new moon day) and the eerie and mountainous area of Sahyadri’s… They both run… Shivaji Maharaj and his men on foot and the Khan and the Siddi on their horses… They start catching up…

Shivaji Maharaj and his trusted band reach Ghodkhind, a valley between two mountains… Now the head of the Bandal Mavlas, Baji Prabhu Deshpande, comes forward and requests Maharaj to move towards Vishalgad with 300 of his men and he himself with the remaining 300 will stop the enemy in the valley… Maharaj is not willing but Baji coerces him to do so… Maharaj moves ahead with a heavy heart…

Baji and his band of 300 stand there in the valley and fight the enemy… They fight till they hear the sound of the guns, the signal that Shivaji Maharaj has successfully reached Vishalgad… It takes Maharaj about 8/10 hours to reach… Baji and his men give their ultimate sacrifice… Shivaji Maharaj reaches, the guns boom and hearing these booms, Baji gives up his life… An army of 300 against an army of 1000’s… Valour personified… Today is that day when Baji Prabhu Deshpande and his band of Bandals gave up their life for Maharaj and Swaraj.

Shivaji Maharaj comes to know of this and He names Ghodkhind as Pawankhind… Baji and his men have given their blood and made this valley, pious…

Have been to the valley with my friends first and a second trip with my family… The valley is in shambles… One feels bad when we see that places of history are not looked after nor maintained… We climb down into the valley from one place and we all are lost in that world…

Spontaneously words flow out of the mouth “Kshatriyakulavatansh, Go Brahman Pratipalak, Sinhasandheesh, Shree Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jay” “Jay Bhavani, Jay Shivaji”… The sound of the slogans resonates… We spend lots of time down there and after an hour or so, we climb up the hill again… Refresh, rejuvenated, with a sense of pride…

Today, on this day of Pratipada, Bow down before the valour and ultimate sacrifice of Baji Prabhu Deshpande and his followers…

Bow down to Shivaji Maharaj who built a team of most trusted followers to realise His dream of Swaraj.

Bow down to the common people of Maharashtra, who trusted and stood by Shivaji Maharaj in His conquest of His dreams…

Posted in festivals, general

Quest to find oneself

A question mark bowing down to an exclamation mark. It’s mind boggling.

At the same time Awesome. Beautiful. Creative.

It wholly explains the openness of Vedic literature in a simple yet lucid manner. Vedas have always given an impetus to asking questions. “Veda” itself means “to know“. This is has been and should be the underlying principle of development of the Human, His soul and the entire Human race.

The questions:

Who am I?

Where have I come from?

What do I have to do?

Why am I chosen to play my part?

How do I do it?

need to be asked by one and all. Everyone might find a different answer to these questions. But the end result is the salvation of the soul from this circle of life and death.

The quest is the road from life to death to life, till the soul finds it’s rightful place. The day when the soul gets to sit in the lap of God, as “Dhruv” has found it. As many others have found it.

Some go to the extent of saying that stick to a thought and live your life with it and accordingly and you will find your salvation. Though I am no one to disagree with these Great souls, I feel that it is not possible. Say for example Mahatma Gandhi. By sticking to the lone principle of Ahimsa, he might have earned the title of a Mahatma, but if someone tells me that his soul was liberated due to this, is what I am not ready to believe. (Pls try to understand what I want to say and do not argue or counter argue on the example given. It can be anyone else.) I just want to convey that the development has to be whole, entire, complete.

Coming back to the quest, what I am fascinated by is the last question “How do I do it?”. There is no particular answer to this question. It will be varied. A “few” may find their own way to do it. They are the ones who have come, or rather, been sent to Mother Earth out of Law of Universal Necessity. The “many” need to follow them, do what they do and say what they say. Again accepting the master or a teacher is a human choice.

This is where I loved the picture, as for common people like me or rather us, we all need to bow down to these great people of wisdom – accept them as our Teachers, Guru

Bowing down is to find the answers to our questions.

Bowing down is to signify the acceptance of their being a step ahead of us in the quest of develooment.

Bowing down means ” समर्पण”. I offer myself and my life to you and please guide me.

Bowing down means having full faith in the person we bow down to, after testing and questioning and reasoning every word the person has said.

Bowing down means merging our life into his and walk onto his path.

And then,

Here the questions rest.

Here the quest for development not only through thought but action begins.

Here we tread on the path to become an enlightened researcher.

As Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta propounds “बुधा भावसमन्विताः।” (Chapter 10 Verse 8) (a combination of Intellect and Emotions), this can be the only way to find the answers to our questions.

So my readers, let us begin this journey and be blessed by the right teachers who show us the path on which we need to tread on.

तत् त्वम् असि” (Tat Twam Asi)

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहं शिवोऽहम् ।

Posted in festivals

Guru Poornima #2 (Reblog)

असित-गिरि-समं स्यात् कज्जलं सिन्धु-पात्रे।
सुर-तरुवर-शाखा लेखनी पत्रमुर्वी।।
लिखति यदि गृहीत्वा शारदा सर्वकालं।
तदपि तव गुणानामीश पारं न याति।।

Pushpadant in his Shiv Mahimna Stotra has written this Shlok for the Lord. It translates thus:

O Lord! Even if we make paper of the land mass present on earth and ink from the water of her oceans, use the trees as a pen and if Saraswati, intelligence personified, sit backs to write about you for the time infinite, then too, it’s a mammoth and daunting task to describe all your qualities.

Today is Vyas Poornima. People celebrate it as Guru Poornima. Indian culture / civilisation personifies God in the form of a Guru. To lead and follow a spiritual life, a guru is needed. Kabirji in one of his doha’s (couplets) describes the importance of guru thus

गुरु गोविंद दोऊ खड़े, काके लागूं पाय।
बलिहारी गुरु आपकी, गोविंद दियो बताय।।

Both the Guru and the Lord are standing in front of me and am confused whom should I bow down to first?.

The next line can be translated in two ways:

1. As you, my Guru, have shown me this form of the Lord, I bow down to you first

2. You being my Guru, pointed to the Lord saying, bow at His feet first.

It’s such a beautiful feeling that Kabirji has expressed stating that both the interpretations can be right. As they both, the Lord and Guru are no different.

Ved Vyas is the son of Rishi Parashar and Satyavati, a fisherwomen. The story goes that Rishi Parashar was in a hurry to reach a “Yaag” and had to cross a river to reach the other side. At that time, it was Satyavati who helped him cross the river. In lieu, Rishi Parashar gave her a mantra to beget a son. He also told her that the son would be very intelligent and no one would compare to him in intelligence. Satyavati at that moment invoked the mantra and conceived a child. The boy when born was called “Krishna” as he had black skin. The child was born on an island so was known as “Krishna Dwaipayan” (Dwaipayan – island born). [There may be other stories about the birth of Vyas, and I leave it upto my reader to decide which they like, but one thing is a fact that he was a son of Parashar and Satyavati].

As Krishna grew into an adult, he left Satyavati and promised her to return whenever she needed him. He gained knowledge from the four Kumar’s, Muni Narad and Brahma, Himself. After acquiring his education, he took upon a great task of bifurcating the Veda mantras.

Till then, the Vedas were all one. Krishna took upon him the task of understanding each mantra and started dividing them into Rigved, Yajurved and Samved. Rigved has all the mantra’s invoking Mother Nature and the Gods. Yajurved has mantra’s describing rituals and the technical modalities of performing them. Samved has the same mantra’s of Rigved (a few are different), but they are written in a meter and so can be sung.

It is easy for me to describe in three sentences the work he has done. But to be fair and to give you, my readers a fair idea about the volume of work, am just quoting one figure. Rigved had 12/13 shakhas of which only 2 are available today. The available 2 shakhas have more than 10000 mantras. It was a mammoth task. Also it was Krishna, who with a large heart accepted Tantra and Medicine as Vidya and clubbed them together to make a fourth Ved, Atharvaved. It covers many topics from the duties of the king to a common house holder. (Courtesy – Kanhaiyalal Munshi) The contribution of Krishna Dwaipayan cannot be put into words but due to his effort, people started calling him “Ved Vyas”. (One who has bifurcated the Vedas). He is considered by many as the incarnation of the Trinity, of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

अचतुर्वदनो ब्रह्मा द्विबाहुरपरो हरिः ।

अभाललोचनः शम्भुर्भगवान् बादरायणः।।

(He does not have 4 heads yet He is Brahma, He has just two hands yet He is Vishnu, He does not have a third eye, yet He is Shiv, He is none other than Bhagwaan Badrayan)

After his work was complete, which includes the writing of many Upanishads, he has written the 18 Puranas of which Bhagwat Puran is very famous and known to us. He wrote these Puranas as he realised that what he has written is difficult for a common man to understand. So he has written all the thoughts of Vedas and Upanishads as short stories. This is the height of intelligence when one starts thinking about all this mammoth work.

The one thing I should also mention is about Brahma Sutra. A collection of 555 sutras (aphorisms) in which is said to have compiled the whole philosophy of life. Brahma Sutra is associated with Badrayan as Vyas is also sometimes addressed as. It is said that the island in which he was born was covered with “Badara” (ber/ Indian Jujube) and so the name.

Last but not the least, Mahabharat. It is said to cover every relation and emotion under the sun. It has always attracted researchers from every field, be it historical, social, pshycological, archaeological and many more. It is said that when Vyas invited Ganesh to write the Mahabharat, Ganesh put forward a condition that Vyas will not stop when dictating the story. To which Vyas replied that he will not, but Ganesh too will first understand what is being told and then write. And so was written the Mahabharat of which Shreemad Bhagwadgeeta was the heart.

The Prasthantrayi of Upanishads, the Shreemad Bhagwadgeeta and the Brahmasutra is a gift to this world from Ved Vyas. All the Acharyas have written their commentaries on the three. The Trayi holds a very pious place in the Vedic culture.

It is very difficult to write all the work, in one blog cause as a point is written, a new thought arises which can be written about Ved Vyas. So on this auspicious day, believed to be his birthday and also the day when He completed and gave to the world the 4 Veds, I just bow down to Him with humility.

One last thing I wanted to share with my readers some of whom are my students too. I know that we all feel indebted to our school and tution teachers, rather we all should. But today is not the day to wish them. For them, in India, we celebrate 5th September as the Teacher’s Day. Today is a day to bow down to those teachers (guru) who have taught us how to lead a good and humane life and who leads us onto the path of spiritual development. The wishes should be “Guru Poornima ke Namaskaar” or “Bow down to you on this auspicious day of Guru Poornima”.

Let’s end with the Namaskaars to Lord Krishna as he is Jagadguru in the words of Ved Vyas, himself,

“Vasudevasutam Devam, Kansachaanuramardanam, Devaki Parmanandam, Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum”

Posted in #poem

Sonnet #1

The Neighbourly Way

Are the neighbours going to fight?

Is the question in everyone’s mind,

The clouds of war are in near sight,

The treaties they sign, nowhere bind…

We live along and share our borders,

And quarrel alike some brothers,

The old wounds that makes us bother,

There is fire which nothing smothers…

*

Panchsheel and Buddha gave us a way,

We chartered the path till we can,

Always a hand forward ready to sway,

A big heart, we kept, like a man,

The days of friendship are over now,

Cause Shree Krishna way, will we tow…

*

A sonnet is a 14 line poem which can be written in different rhyme schemes. I have followed a Shakespearen rhyme scheme of a b a b c d c d and e f e f g g. Its talks about a problem in the first 8 lines and then the solution in the next 6 lines. Have purposely kept my topic away from love and written about a geopolitical issue of my country.

Will be trying to write more sonnets in the near future and maybe a few romantic ones as well…

In the meanwhile, pls comment on the above that you read…

Posted in festivals

Do Gods sleep?

On the 11th day of the month of Asaadh, the Gods are put to sleep. This day is widely celebrated across India as Devshayani Ekadashi. (Do they sleep? Can we exist without them? is another question) But it is such a beautiful concept of “Sagun Bhakti” (Idol worship). As I sleep, so does my God. And our rishi’s have given a thought about people’s pshycology. The agrarian people will be busy with their work in the fields and will not be able to take care of the rituals associated with God’s. So the best way is to put Them to sleep. In this way, people can just concentrate on their work and give it 100% and at the same time do not feel bad or gulity about not doing their regular rituals and religious practises.

It is being celebrated today on 1st of July, this year, without any fanfare, in every simple manner, at Pandharpur, the residing place of Lord Vitthal or Pandurang. Otherwise, normally, Lacs of waarkari’s converge at the banks of Chandrabhagaa river and visit the deity residing in the temple. The waari ( वारी) as called in Marathi begins some 15/20 days before the Ekadashi. The devotees carry the Paduka’s (wooden sandals) of the great saints Tukaram from Dehu and Dnyaneshwar from Alandi, their birth places to Pandharpur for the Darshan of their Lord.

The roads are filled with the chants of

‘DNYANOBA MAULI TUKARAM”

“NIVRUTTI DNYANDEV SOPAN MUKTABAI,

EKNATH NAMDEO TUKARAM”.

All of them converge at Pandharpur on the day before Ekadashi. It is a divine trip from home to the temple, signifying the upliftment of the physical body to the spiritual soul. There are many waarkaris who have been taking this trip for years or from generations now. Their zest and enthusiasm irrespective of age and gender cannot be appreciated, but we can just offer them our ‘Namaskaars’.

The best thing about Warkari’s is that there is no distinction between caste or creed, rich or poor, King or layman and male and female. Not even between the child and the older people. They call each other ‘Mauli‘ and bow down to everyone whom they meet. It is a heartening picture to see a husband bowing down to his wife and a father bowing down to his son. The basic thought behind it is that I bow down to the God (Mauli – Mother) within you.

The saints Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram, Namdeo, Eknath, Gora Kumbhar, Chokha Mela, Muktabai and many others have done a tremendous work through this Bhakti movement in Maharashtra during the Mughal rule. They have visited hut to hut and touched the hearts of many a people and taken their Pandurang into the last person of the society.

Who is this Pandurang?

Who is this Vitthal?

Why does He stand with Hands onto his waist?

He is none other than Krishna who has travelled all the way from Dwarka to meet His Devotee Pundalik. Pundalik is the only son of two parents who have taken utmost care in his upbringing. Pundalik is a “ananya bhakt” of Krishna. He is spreading the word of Krishna to the people around him. His karmayog (work) is very big, but sadly lost today to history. When Shree Krishna hears about Pundalik and his work, He feels an urge to meet him. He rushes to Pandharpur in His chariot. The dusty roads make the dust stick to the skin of Shree Krishna. The already ‘Shyam’ (black) Krishna gets a new skin colour due to this dust. Hence He is called “Pandurang”.

When Krishna reaches the doors of Pundalik, He calls him out. It is said that Pundalik is busy with taking care of his parents, so throws a brick (eint) towards Him and asks him to wait. So Lord Pandurang puts His hands on His waist and waits for Pundalik to come out to meet him. Now this sounds a little weird to us. A devotee would never make his God to wait. Even the parents of Pundalik would have rushed out to meet Him. But due to poverty, there was no proper place to make Him sit, so they must have offered Him the brick shaped stone to sit on or stand on. We see Pandurang still standing on that stone at Pandharpur.

Jagadguru Shakaracharya gives us the meaning of this whole episode in his stotra “Pandurangashtkam.”

प्रमाणं भवाब्धेरिदं मामकानां
नितंबः कराभ्यां धृतो येन तस्मात् ।
विधातुर्वसत्यै धृतो नाभिकोशः
परब्रह्मलिङ्गं भजे पाण्डुरङ्गम् ॥ ३॥

Pramanam bhavabderidam mamkanaam,

Nitamb: karabhyaam dhruto yen tasmaat,

Vidhaturvasatyay dhruto nabhikosh:

Parabrahmalingam bhaje Panduranagam. ।।3।।

The God through this form of Pandurang wants to explain to His devotee thus:

For those who are mine and reside in my heart, the waters of the Sansaar sagar, the Bhav sagar, are only upto the waist. So there is no question of drowning. One just needs to walk through these waist deep waters to meet me

My dear readers, isn’t it big thing? It is generally, the devotee who goes to meet his God. Here it is the God, Himself, coming dow to meet His devotee. Namakaars to Pundalik and his karmayog.

From that day onwards till today, Pandurang through His various forms and lives, has guided His devotees to carry His word from heart to heart and hut to hut. It is through this thought, the saints came up with the thought of Dindi, or Wari, where devotees on their way to meet their Lord, walk from village to village. Visit hut to hut. Touch heart to heart. And spread the message of the Lord.

And after seeing, the work taken up and being done by His devotees, the way He wants them to, He goes to sleep. Why so? Is another topic which we will discuss and dwell upon when He gets up 4 months from now, on Prabodhini Ekadashi day.

PUNDALIK VARDE HARI VITTHAL.

SHREE DNYANDEV TUKARAM.

PANDHARINATH MAHARAJ KI JAY.

Today is also National Doctors Day… Wishing all of them a very Happy Doctor’s Day and expressing my gratefulness for taking care of the nation and its citizens….

Today is National CA Day… The Chartered Accountants look after the economic health of our families and society at large. Expressing gratitude towards them as well….

Posted in festivals

Rath Yatra

At the onset of my blog itself, wishing all my Kutchhi brothers and sisters a very Happy New Year

असां जे कच्छी माडुओ के नव वर्ष की लख लख वधाई।

मेठो पांजो कच्छडो, मेठा पांजा माडु,

मेठी पांजी गालीयुं, ने मेठी पांजी प्रीत,

हलो हलो रे… आवई अषाढी बीज ।

The 2nd day of the month of Asaadh is a day celebrated as the onset of monsoons in Gujarat and Kutchh. The monsoons bring a smile on everyone’s face and people rejoice and celebrate as if it’s a new year.This day is celebrated all over India, especially Odisha, as the Rathyatra, “the procession of Chariots”. Lord Jagannath alongwith his elder brother Balbhadra and sister Devi Subhadra moves in their chariots around the Odia town of Jagannath Puri. This annual rath yatra attracts tourists from around the world. People get to touch their Lord and pull his chariot which is a one in a lifetime experience.

Jagannath Swami rides in the rath which is majorly decorated in yellow and called the “Nandi Ghosh.” Lord Balbhadra rides in “Tala dhwaj” decorated in green. And Devi Subhadra rides in her “Padma Dhwaj” black chariot. It’s the time when the siblings move out of their temples to meet the people, common folk, of their town. From their temple, they go to Gundicha temple, 3km away. Hence this yatra is also called as the Gundicha Yatra.

The names of the chariots and the colours too have their own significance. The chariots have their own charioteers. Daruka is on the Nandighosh, Matali on Taladhwaj and Arjun on Padmadwaj.

First the Deities are brought out from the temple in a very typical way. The deities do not have full body, but just a the face. So they need to be lifted and got out. This ritual is called the “Pahandi“. When one sees the deities being taken out, it seems as if they are being dragged. The multitudes of people try to catch a glimpse of the Lord and touch Him.

As soon as the Lord settles on His rath with His siblings (note that each deity has His or Her own individual rath), the erstwhile King of the Gajapati clan, arrives in a dress of a sweeper and cleans the rath and the roads with a broom in hand. This ritual is called “Chera Pahara“. It signifies that in the presence of the Lord, everyone is equal. The Kings, too through the years, have been very humble andgrateful to the Lord, to let them serve Him.

Then begins the journey.

The journey of the Lord to see His own people

The journey where the people can see their Lord

The journey of life to eternity.

The common man gets an opportunity to pull the three Raths and carry their Lord to His destination. The millions who have assembled, all, just try to touch the ropes attached to the Rath and feel grateful. The idea of a mere Human pulling the Rath of the Lord is in itself such a beautiful thought. It is He who pulls our lives throughout, but this day we get an opportunity not only to see Him, but pull his Rath as well.

Being elder, Balbhadra leads the triad. Followed by Subhadra and lastly comes Lord Jagannath himself. The idea of the brothers taking care of their sister is so divine. At the same time, it also signifies that Strength (Balbhadra) and Power (Jagannath), need to be balanced in Life. It would be possible only when one has the “bhadra” outlook (Subhadra).

Once the deities reach the Gundicha temple, they stay there for 10 days and will return back to their house after that, in the same manner as today. These 10 days are of Nagar Yatra and Darshan. The people get to see their Lords amongst themselves. The Lord too through this Yatra demonstrates that people in power need to keep their feet firmly on the ground and also keep in touch with the masses living in his or her kingdom.

The Yatra lasts for 6-7 hours and sometimes even takes 15-16 hours depending upon the wish of the deity. It is truly a very divine atmosphere in itself to be witnessed. I would request my readers to atleast visit Jagannath Puri once in a life time and if possible during the Yatra time.

A stotra written by Jagadguru Shankaracharya called Jagannathashtak is worth reciting. Quoting a shlok from it for Lord Jagannath.
रथारूढो गच्छन् पथि मिलित भूदेव पटलैः
स्तुति प्रादुर्भावम् प्रतिपदमुपाकर्ण्य सदयः ।
दया सिन्धुर्बन्धुः सकल जगतां सिन्धु सुतया
जगन्नाथः स्वामी नयन पथ गामी भवतु मे ॥५॥(“When Lord Jagannatha is on His Ratha-yatra cart and is moving along the road, at every step there is a loud presentation of prayers and songs chanted by large assemblies of brahmanas. Hearing their hymns Lord Jagannatha is very favorably disposed towards them. He is the ocean of mercy and the true friend of all the worlds. May that Jagannatha Swami, along with His consort Lakshmi, who was born from the ocean of nectar, be the object of my vision.”)

Today, in these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Lord will come out to bless us all and the world . Wishing you all a very divine and spiritual Yatra (journey).

Posted in general, personality

Megh – 3 (Additions)

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,”With the advent of the month of Asaadh, it is the thundering of the clouds, the clouds condensing and falling down as rain which is witnessed. The frog and the peocock start calling out their mates, and the thin wires of lightening covers all the sky.”

Rains signify new growth.

Rains signify germination.

Rains signify toil.

Rains signify coolness.

Rains signify energy, enthusiasm and verve.

Today is also the day of Kavi Kalidas, the great poet and writer. His treatise Kumarsambhav, AbhidnyanShakuntal, Meghdoot and many more are not only worth a read but are to be understood and savoured. I bow down to this great poet and writer, today. Even he has described rains in his poems.

Am always fascinated by rains and who isn’t? Atleast during the rains, every person turns a poet or a singer during these watery times. And my readers will have no different experience than this. The songs of the Hindi movies start resonating in our ears.

“ओ सजना बरखा बहार आयी”

“बरसात में हमसे मिले तुम सजन, तुमसे मिले हम”

“प्यार हुआ, इकरार हुआ, प्यार से क्यों डरता है दिल”

“टिप टिप टिप टिप बारिश शुरू हो गयी”

And many more which drive in us the urge to dance and sing to their tunes.Am equally fascinated by the 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) Raining 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 lover as well.

It all begins with a very hair raising experience of seeing her and falling for her.(Farfar)The beginning of romance. Then those slow but calculated overtures towards her even without letting her know about one’s own feelings. (Chhanta) Later the first approach for being good friends and the small happiness of being accepted. (Fora). Then those small and petty fights which lead to misunderstandings (Kara). Then keeping away from each other for a few days (Pachhediva)

And slowly as the misunderstandings are removed, the smile and the acceptance of each others mistakes. Love starts blooming (Nevadhar). Then the first step towards a relationship. The proposal. ((Moliyo). Then it just keeps on thriving. Would not write after this describing the later part, as my readers are quite smart

Wishing you all a very Happy Monsoon Season.

Posted in general

Solar Eclipse

A rare phenomenon… so beautiful…

Was watching a live webcam telecast from Rajasthan on YouTube and could not stop myself from clicking the following pics. Just sharing them with you all to enjoy the beauty of the moon coming in between Earth and Sun…

These pitcures of the Solar Eclipse seen at Rajasthan, India. I thank the YouTube channel Cosmo Sapiens for the live webcast.

Posted in general

SYMPHONY

Picture of a Mehfil organised by Symphony

S – Soulful and

Y – Youthful

M – Musicians

P – Practising

H – Harmonious

O – Objective of

N – Nurturing

Y – Yareness

(*yare – keen, lively…)

Came across a group called Symphony during this lockdown period. A group of young and budding musicians, lyricists, technicians who believe in creating music. Music which knows no boundaries, no inhibitions but just love and appreciation.

Was introduced to this group through one of its founding members, Mr.Chintan Parekh when he invited me to a demo session of ‘Writing lyrics and composition’, maybe a first of it’s kind in the musical world today. Before conducting these sessions for common people, the team, themselves had spent 3 days working on its module. They themselves had tried to write lyrics and compose them. They themselves went through the whole process and experienced it.

I did attend a demo and found it to be enlightening. First the participants introduced themselves by singing a song and later the same song had to be sung in a different way as suggested by the team. We played a small quiz related with music. Then we were given a theme, on which we had to write a few lines, as a part of a song. The theme our batch was given was ‘Family’. Music for the song was already decided so the tune was ready, we just had to put in words. It was an invigorating process. Some pens ran fast, some took time, but in a while, everyone around was writing.

As and when a verse was written, Mr Keyur Bhagat, with his sister, Priya Bhagat busied themselves to sing those verses on the tune. It was exhilarating and exciting as we could see what was being written by us, was being sung instantly. This motivated us all and within minutes the verse was written and finalised. It was sung too at the same time. Am sharing the version of the song which we wrote and was sung by the team of Symphony.

The team members of Symphony were continuously chipping in their ideas too. Imagine some 15 odd people together thinking up words and making a verse. One needs to experience this! And within an hour, we had bonded like family. Mr.Chintan has a unique ability of keeping people together, entertained and at the same time getting the required work done. Always a smiling facing, ever encouraging, cracking small witty sentences in between, he kept the environment light yet lively.

The next day, My elder son, Prabhav to attended a demo and he being into lyrics showed some interest in joining the “The Magical Journey of song creation : Lyrics and Composition” course designed by the team of Symphony, which spans over 7 days, 2 hour a day. He enjoyed the whole journey at the end of which he was left yearning for more.

Symphony has just begun the journey of music and its going to be a long but exciting. They are holding Mehfils every now and then so budding artists get to showcase their talent and at the same time be a part of their journey. Today, on World Music Day, I dedicate my post to them and call upon young and budding artists from all walks of life to come together and change the world.

Let us all today, reset the musician within us and sail on the journey towards setting a Paradigm of Life.

Wishing you all a very Happy Music Day.

Posted in #poem

First Rains… 2

The cold winds and the water falling from above,

Gets us drenched with a feeling of oneness and love…

Let us all dance and talk and play in this first rain,

Let us keep aside our inhibitions and brain…

Happy Monsoons…

This is what I had written last year, but the experience this year has been completely different.

Waiting at my window sill,

Watch the water droplets drip,

Dancing as if it is a drill,

Love the drop upon my lip…

I am fine no need of a pill,

The winds blow as they whip,

My life is great, no need of a fill,

Get out and love is the tip…

Am trying to write something in a different way. Maybe the poem might not make sense as a whole, but read the alternate lines and they tell a different story. You will find poem in line 1,3,5 and 7 as well as in line 2,4,6 and 8.

Please drop a message telling me if you liked it or suggesting some other ways to do my poems. Always open for love and criticism.

Posted in #poem

Limerick – 3

The art of mixing sugar, milk and tea

And the art of washing cups, to see

One to be prepared by you

The other be done by me,

Isn’t that what’s called a happy family?

Just a small state of affairs at all homes during lockdown. The otherwise trifle matter of making tea and washing cups have become a point of discussions with the range from how to wash them and which is the right method to wash the.

Making tea is an art. There are two ways practised in India. One add tea to boiling milk or second add milk to boiling tea. Both have their own different tastes, so I consider making tea an art. Even the Japanese would agree with me!🙃

Regarding washing cups being an art, ask the lady of your house, if you havent understand it till now. No one male would have been left without this experience during the lockdown days.

So just laugh and enjoy your tea!!!

Posted in #poem

रूद्रावतार…

Representational picture

शिवजी ने तीसरी आँख खोल ली है,

कैलास समेत पृथ्वी अब डोलेगी।

मातृभूमि के वीर जवानों ने कल खेली होली है,

अब चीन ही क्या! सारी दुनिया चरण चूमेगी।।

जागो माँ के सपूतों जागो,

समय बीता अब सोने का।

देश के वीर जवानों ने कल जान की बाझी लगा दी,

अब समय आया, हवन कर, अपनी समिधा का।।

राष्ट्र मांग रहा है आज हमसे,

आओ दें हम भी बलिदान

एक एक इंच इस जमीन को अरिमुक्त करें,

यही है सिंधु संस्कृति की पहचान।।

अपनी माँ को कोई कैसै आँख दिखाए?

हम उस आँख को नोंच लेंगे।

अब ना कोई हमें शांति सिखाए!

हम अपना रास्ता चून लेंगे।।

Dedicated to the 20 Soldiers who sacrificed their life towards their duty towards Motherland India.

I know it might not sound as a perfect poetry, but at the same time would not like to mince my words so have left it as it is without worrying about its metre.

Jai Hind!!!

Posted in #poem

Poem #26

Today I want to express my gratitude to all my students, past and present who have cooperated with us during all these times. With you all being there has always kept us young and always in the mode of learning.

My Students…

I dont why but I always wanted to be Teacher,

My parents despised this decision in worry of my future,

The idea of learning, all negativity to withstand,

Is the driving force of my passion, hope all understand…

The smiling face of my kids with questions ready,

Thir opening up with their likes, though slow and steady,

Their dislikes too need to be understood and heard,

So that they do not become the part of the herd…

I just love the days that I spend with my students,

Kids they are, facile, not a hint of fraudulence,

They make me noble and drive out my aggresion

For that’s the reason, that am a teacher by profession…

TYSM KIDS…

Am also a proud father of my son as he is my student too. A dedicated boy of this generation who is a normal child and is moulding me to becoming a better dad and a teacher.

Posted in general

World Environment Day

E – Earth

N – Never

V – Vilifies

I – Instead

R – Radiates

O – Openmindedness and

N – Nourishment,

M – Mentors

E – Empathy and

N – Nobility

T – Till eternity

Just tried to make an acrostic today.

Was thinking of what to write about Environment and also preparing for my lectures of Grammer where I chanced upon this idea of making an acrostic.

Wishing you all a very Happy Environment Day.

Just hope that we care for our environment the way we have cared during the last few months and also for years to come!!!

Posted in #poem

Poem #25

Never Give Up…

It was a day of tensed emotions,

The danger was coming over the ocean.

But the cyclone never hit the mumbai land,

It just caressed Mumbai with a soft hand.

The spirit and zest of her citizens is well known,

It never wavers nor leaves anyone alone.

They take care of every stray kitten and pup,

As they are indomitable and never give up…

Posted in #poem

Poem #24

UNLOCK 1

Lock or unlock

But please dont flock

Is the appeal from the PM…

Run or walk

But please do not talk

Is the new anthem…

Open shops on one side,

And close all on the other,

Is the new diktat of the CM…

Malls, salons and schools wont open,

But Hotels, Restaurants will reopen,

Let us understand the arrangement…

Food clothing and shelter are always the basic needs,

But we all want to educate and make a plant of our seeds,

We never want to understand the natural system…