Monday, June 2, 2014

Nostalgia Lane

 1. Miley Suur Mera Tumhaara:

 Timeless. Ageless.

2. Desh Raag:  

3. Purab Se Surya Ugaa:

4. Nostalgia lane: 

5. The Amul story: Hats off to Dr. Verghese Kurien and others, the unsung ones, who together created this inspirational success story. Also, one of the best ads ever created: 

6. Mahabharat (Mein Samay Hunn...):



Water vapour is converted to clouds that bring fresh water to land in the form of rain or snow. | There was a time when water bodies were not polluted and people lived in harmony with nature. However, given the condition of our lakes and rivers... it is not difficult to gauge the effect on rainfall patterns, agriculture etc.

Pollution of rivers and waterbodies, closure of ponds and lakes, indiscriminate felling of trees, shrinkage of fertile lands, unlimited non-biodegradable wastes, lack of an efficient waste disposal mechanism, so on and so forth ~ where will all this lead to?

History is never boring, the teacher is.

First discovered in 1920-1921 at Harappa by Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni, the Indus Valley Civilization came to be known as Harappa Civilization. Some of the most striking aspects of the discoveries are the town-planning and architecture, art and crafts and the social, cultural and economic condition of that era. Much has been known about the town-planning and architecture of the Harappan civilization. The cities boasted of well-planned roads - wide and straight, houses provided with an efficient drainage system and ventilation. ~ Like other great discoveries, the discovery of the Indus Valley civilization was grounded and shaped by the personal and professional experiences and interests of the various characters - ranging from the brilliant Rakhaldas Banerji to the tragic Luigi Pio Tessitori as also the institutional circumstances of those times.  ~ In about 1920 there was enough interest in the site of Mohenjo-daro ("mound of the dead") for the archaeologist Rakhal Das Banerji to excavate there. In the first season Banerji's team found the remains of a large city built mainly from baked brick. However, they did not know when it might have been built or who might have built it. Banerji's team found objects such as weights, beads and finely painted pottery. Perhaps the most important finds were small square seals like the ones found at Harappa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Excavations continued throughout the 1920s and 1930s with several teams of excavators. During this period, the site was divided into different areas. Each area was given a 'title' based on the name of the archaeologist working there. In doing so, they began uncovering a civilization so vast in its extent that at its peak it is estimated to have encompassed a staggering 1.5 million sq km - an area larger than Western Europe.

Between around 3500 BC and 2000 BC, people in the Indus Valley built more than 100 towns. The largest were Mohenjo-Daro (situated on the right bank of the River Indus/Sindhu, excavated in the year 1922 by Rakhaldas Banerji) and Harappa (situated on the left bank of the river Ravi/ParuSNI), with populations of 40,000-50,000. These towns had large granaries, brick houses, public baths, elaborate drainage system, and streets laid out in neat grid patterns. Farmers grew wheat, barley, peas, mustard, cotton, and rice on land fertilized by yearly Indus River floods. They also raised animals (animal husbandry?) Domesticated animals were kept in the house. In towns, people made cloth, pottery, metalwork, and jewelry. On the coast, they went abroad to trade. Agriculture was their main occupation. [Were they also agripreneurs? Did they convert waste to energy?]

While Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were rightly regarded as principal cities, there were at least several others such as Rakhigarhi in Haryana, Dholavira (in Gujarat), Banawali (in Haryana), Kalibangan (in Rajasthan - excavated in the year 1953 by A. Ghosh), Lothal (in Gujarat - excavated in the year 1957 by S.R. Rao and M. S. Vats) and Mehrgarh (in Baluchistan: 7000 BC - c. 2500 BC i.e. 9000 AD; believed to be one of the world's oldest cities... it represents the long-lasting early spring [and not quite the high summer] of the Indus Civilization). There's also Chanhudaro - one of the bigger sites - first excavated by Nani Gopal Majumdar in March, 1930 and again during winter field session of 1935-36 by the American School of Indic and Iranian Studies and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston team led by Ernest John Henry Mackay.

In the '70s, when Braj Basi Lal, a former ASI director-general, began excavating Kalibangan, a site in the desert sands of Rajasthan, he was amazed to find evidence of a field of crossed furrows dated to around 2900 BC, preserved by a strange quirk of nature. Looking around he found that farmers in the region used a similar ploughing technique even after 5,000 years. The ancient houses had tandoors (earthen ovens) similar to ones found in kitchens in the villages in the area. As Lal says, "It was as if the present was the past and that despite the passage of time not much had changed." Extensive study of skeletal remains in the region showed that the people were in good health and, more importantly, there was a diverse mix of population just as at the present. ~ The conclusion: we had unity in diversity even then! ... That the Indus was indeed the nucleus of the civilization's growth is fairly certain. However, given the vastness of the Indus civilization, the first casualty is the earlier notion of Harappan homogeneity. It is clear that there was tremendous regional diversity just as we have in modern India. And that this assemblage of people was originally from the subcontinent itself, they did not come as migrant hordes from Central Asia. [So, was the Indus Valley Civilization, rather the Sindhu-Sarasvati Sabhyata the oldest civilization in the world? ~ My guess is as good as yours.]

Was the Shivalik... enclosing an area that starts almost from the Indus and ends close to the Brahmaputra too part of where it all began? [Shivalik means 'tresses of Shiva'.] New evidence from several sites show a remarkable continuity of culture over a period of 2,000 to 3,000 years before the Indus Valley peaked. Dholavira, for instance, shows the existence of small farming and pastoral villages on the same site before it was transformed into a bustling metropolis. [Besides, the same kind of burnt brick appears to have been used in the construction of buildings in cities that were several hundred miles apart. The weights and measures also show a very considerable regularity, suggesting that these disparate cities spread out across vast swathes of land shared a common culture. ~ Although there is a general unity in style and symbol over this vast area, there are specific regional styles too. The manufacture of symbols is also slightly different for each region. The unified character of this culture continued for almost 700 years, after which there is evidence for a gradual trend towards regional styles (ca. 5000-2600 B.C).] The Harappans took the great leap from self-contained agricultural societies to a trade-oriented, luxury-conscious, sophisticated, urban civilization that gave the world the concept of town planning. Analyzing the evidence from various sites archeologists found that between 2600 BC and 2500 BC, the Harappans experienced a century of cathartic changes. A tremendous jump in human ability is evident. (This transformation could not have been sudden, it probably happened gradually - organically - over a period of 100-200 years. ~ So what or who caused it?) The beginnings of village farming communities and pastoral camps were reported as early as 7000 to 5000 BC. But developed farming communities, which grew wheat and barley, emerged around 4300 BC. 

The Indus 'Priest King' probably indicates "Rajarshi" [Raja + Rishi] ~ A non-extravagant, just, erudite, wise and benevolent ruler (chief/king/caretaker of the entire "pura"); a well-wisher of the people.  It could also mean "Purohith" - someone (a ruler/king/chief) who worked for the good (hith) of the entire "pur" or "pura" (region/place); someone who endeavoured for its all-round progress. | Maybe this word (purohith) later gave rise to "priest" (anglicized) - along with a change of meaning, of course.

The seven greatest capital cities of the Rama civilization were known in classical texts as 'The Seven Rishi Cities'. Rishi (Sanskrit: ṛṣI) signifies enlightenment, wisdom and knowledge; it was also an honorific for highly learned and knowledgeable persons. | Maybe, these Seven Rishi Cities were knowledge hubs or thinking hub. Priest-Kings (meaning: "Great Teachers" or "Masters") who governed the cities were essentially Brahmana statesmen. [Brahmana implies the light of wisdom or the wisdom of knowledge; Brahmana can also be interpreted as sensible and enlightened persons with a broader worldview or outlook. (Brahmana is not to be misconstrued for "Brahmin", that indicates priestly class).] Some of them belonged (probably) to the benevolent aristocracy of the Rama civilization. Today they are generally called "Priest-Kings". They were apparently persons whose mental powers/intellect were of a degree that would seem incredible to most moderns. (Maybe even Chanakya can be called a Brahmana-statesman.) 

Lothal - the cradle of the subcontinent's oldest civilization; Lothal, literally "Mound of the Dead" (in Gujarati), is the most extensively excavated site of Harappan culture in India, and therefore allows the most insight into the story of the Indus Valley Civilization, its exuberant flight, and its eventual decline (and subsequent diversification). The excavation of Lothal, an Indus port-town located off the Gujarat coast, created waves. It shattered notions that the Indus was a landlocked civilization, conservative and isolated, and as a result sank without a trace. Excavations (by Rao) uncovered a dock 700 ft long - even bigger than the one currently at Visakhapatnam. It took an estimated million bricks to build it. Next to the dockyard were massive granaries and specialized factories for bead-making. Hundreds of seals were found, some showing Persian Gulf origin, indicating that Lothal was a major port of exit and entry. [Indus seals were found both in Iraq, where the ancient Sumer civilization flourished, and in the Persian Gulf.] Indus sailors appear to have discovered the trade winds long before Hippolus, and their maritime interests were vast. "Harappan traders were among the most enterprising," says Jagat Pati Joshi, another former ASI director-general, who discovered Dholavira. Like modern-day Indian businessmen, the Harappans had a huge domestic market to cater to. The climate around that time was conducive for growing a variety of crops in the region. Harappans are credited with being the earliest growers of rice and cotton. The agricultural surpluses ensured craft specialization. And, at its peak, the Indus was dotted with over 300 cities of varying sizes, supported by hundreds of towns and villages, which supported a cottage industry. Quality standards seem to have been strictly observed, resulting in uniformity of arts and craft. And the flourishing trade was an energizer that powered Indus' phenomenal growth in the middle of the third millennium BC. It brought prosperity that saw the cities provide their citizens with the finest of drainage systems and reservoirs to supply water. And helped them evolve into one of the greatest civilizations ever. (What does seem clear is that the important sites were commercial centers. They are on rivers or near the coast. Various specialized manufacturing facilities suggest that they were heavily involved in trade with each other and far outside the region.)

Once a sleepy pottery village, Lothal rumbled awake to become a flourishing centre of trade and industry, famous for its expertly constructed system of underground sanitary drainage, and an astonishing precision of standardized weights and measures. Lothal passed through all the phases of society; from earliest development to most mature. At the height of its prosperity, it not only survived but also was strengthened by three floods, using the disaster as an opportunity to improve on the infrastructure. The fourth flood finally brought the settlement to the desperate and impoverished conditions that indicated the end of a once-glorious civilization. Lothal began as a small village on the Sabarmati river, inhabited by people using "red ware" micaceous pottery (similar to today's terracotta), during the Chalcolithic era. Sea-faring merchants, and later the potters, masons, smiths, and seal-cutters of the Indus Valley Civilization, established a colony at Lothal circa 2450 BC, bringing with them their tools, technology, crafts, and expanded sea-borne trade. Lothal soon became an industrial center, one of the southernmost outposts of the Indus Valley Civilization, and (also) its most important port. | Around 2350 BC, after all the houses were destroyed by severe floods, the people of Lothal rallied together, or perhaps were led by someone (SarasvatI?), to not only rebuild the town, but also to improve on it. They strengthened the walls of the fort, raised the level of the town, built an artificial dock, possibly the first in the world, and an extensive warehouse. A hundred and fifty years later, after the next floods, they again came together to reconstruct the town into a larger city. After the third severe flood circa 2000 BC, many inhabitants left the city to move to higher and safer regions.  When the city was again completely submerged around 1900 BC, what is known as the Mature Harappan period gave way to the Late Harappan Period. Farmers, artisans, and fishermen gradually returned in the hope of rebuilding their lives, but the urban center could never be regenerated. ~ The populace lived in poorly constructed reed huts, with no drainage, and perhaps even a return to illiteracy. Yet, somehow, the civilization continued here till the 16th century BC, long after it had disappeared from the northern provinces. Gradually the town was abandoned and silted up over the next few centuries.

Dholavira (on the salty marshes of the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat) was a well-planned city with broad roads, a city centre, a town with residential houses, and open spaces and stadiums for markets and fairs. It is one of the two largest settlements in India and the fourth or fifth largest in the subcontinent. Dholavira enjoys the unique distinction of yielding an inscription of ten large signs of the Harappan script: indeed the oldest sign-board of the world. A variety of funerary structures is yet another feature of exceeding importance throwing new light on the socio-cultural beliefs, thereby indicating the presence of composite ethnic groups in the Indus population of Dholavira. [Archaeologist Ravindra Singh Bisht says: "Exploring Dholavira is like opening a complete book on the Indus. We now have answers to some of the most enduring riddles about the civilization." For starters, Indus town planners are not as "monotonous" and "regimented" as archaeologists had us believe. In Dholavira they display a surprising exuberance that expresses itself in elaborate stone gateways with rounded columns apart from giant reservoirs for water. Experts regard Dholavira as the most exciting Indus find in recent times, one that threw up remarkable clues about this great prehistoric (pracheen) civilization. ~ It is both a revelation and a revolution. What they have been uncovering is turning accepted notions on the Indus on their heads.] | Lothal, on the other hand, was a flourishing city, connected to the sea at the Gulf of Cambay and there was active trade with Egypt, Mesopotamia and Persia. One can find ruins of neatly laid-out residential blocks, a township, a marketplace, and roads, public baths, drains and wells. Thousands of objects that reflect the daily life of the people have been excavated such as toys, utensils, beads, pottery, seals, weights and measures. [A possible fire altar indicates that the Harrapans may have worshipped Agni. The ruins of a fire-altar suggest that the people of Lothal worshipped Agni along with the sea god (Samudradeva, SarasvatI?).] The people of Lothal made significant and often unique contributions to human civilization in the Indus era, in the fields of city planning, art, architecture, science, engineering and culture. Their work in metallurgy, seals, beads and jewelry was the basis of their prosperity. A coastal route existed linking sites such as Lothal and Dholavira to Sutkagan Dor on the Makran coast. Lothal's dock - the world's earliest known, connected the city to an ancient course of the Sabarmati river on the trade route between Harappan cities and the peninsula of Saurashtra when the surrounding Kutch desert of today was a part of the Arabian Sea (earlier Sindhu Sagara). It was a vital and thriving trade centre in ancient times, with its trade of beads, gems and valuable ornaments reaching the far corners of West Asia and Africa. The techniques and tools they pioneered for bead-making and in metallurgy have stood the test of time for over 4000 years. | We know ancient India was a hub of trade and had robust trading ties with other lands. Foraminiferal microfossils, (around 4500 years old from the site of the Harappan settlement in Lothal), establishes that seawater once flowed in Lothal and there also existed a dockyard. There were healthy trading activities, bustling ports, dockyards, harbours and shipbuilding, (in fact, this land was renowned for building sturdy long-lasting ships).

Archaeological finds from the excavations testify to trade with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The hydraulic knowledge of the ancient Harappans can be judged by the fact that boats could dock at Lothal in the 1850's. In 1942 timber was brought from Baruch to nearby Sagarwala. It is said that then the dockyard could hold 30 ships of 60 tons each or 60 ships of 30 tons each. This would be comparable to the modern docks at Vishakhapatnam. ~ A fascinating fact is the existence of two more cities underwater in the sea nearby, which are as elaborate and advanced. | The planned urban city of Mehrgarh, one of the oldest structured settlements ever known was discovered and excavations begun by a French team led by Jean-François Jarrige and Catherine Jarrige; the site was excavated continuously between 1974 and 1986. Mehrgarh was equipped with water supply, sanitation, markets, and shops. The most unique discovery is the first known origin of dental surgery and related medicinal activities exercised in the Mehrgarh area. [Dental caries (or cavities) are the result of sugars and starches in the food we eat. Hunter-gatherers, who rely on animal protein, do not generally have cavities.] It is also one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming (wheat, barley, maize and dates) and herding (cattle, sheep and goats) in south Asia. The artisans were very skilled particularly in sculpture and jewelry-making, as well as in metal-casting. The oldest ceramic figurines in South Asia were found at Mehrgarh. It was also some sort of a centre for manufacturing various figurines and pottery; there are evidences of well-equipped workshops. An abundance of ornaments and jewelry have been found. Figurines of bronze and terracotta: women and animals, baskets, tools, beads, bracelets, pendants and necklaces too have been discovered. Most of the jewelry found are made of precious stones such as lapis lazuli, carnelian, agate, turquoise, shells and pearls.

[Pic: Devi SarasvatI depicted in all her sublime glory. (Deva or Devi emerges from daaivic, meaning auspicious and sattvic aspects/traits/qualities). | Devi SarasvatI: Brahmn. Brahma. Samudradeva. Purusha. Snow White. Satya (the Eternal/Primordial Truth; the Eternal Divine/Cosmic Being - Param-atma - Ksirodakshayi Vishnu or Anantashayana Vishnu: BG 10.24: sarasam asmi sagarah.) The Lady of Creation, wisdom personified, fountain of fine arts and science, the perennial 'river' and knowledge 'stream'. The deity of Gayatri - the goddess of dawn (symbolising supreme or highest enlightenment and auspicious, sattvic or noble aspects); SarasvatI is Savitri: personification, manifestation or embodiment of the effulgent sun-god/Savitr. Devi Sarasvati is also known as Vakdevi (deity/deva of speech) or Vani. She is described in the Rig Veda as not only speech (vāk) itself, but also as truth (Satya; eternal truth, as well as timeless essence/knowledge - para vidya) and perception, which allows humans to turn divine knowledge into words. | Devi SarasvatI is said to have invented Sanskrit, known as the mother of all languages, of scriptures and scholarship. She is also revered as the mother of the Vedas and as the mother of the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization or "Aryavarsha" (~ abode of the Arya people; land of the noble ones; Arya = noble, noble-natured or people who followed a pattern of life based on noble values and ideals. Varsha = continent, in Sanskrit). The region between the Sindhu (River Indus) and SarasvatI were regarded by the Rig Vedic people as the holiest of holy grounds - Brahmadesa. [Modern Burma (also: Burmah, now Myanmar) too was earlier known as Brahma Desha or the 'Land of Brahma'.] | SarasvatI is Bharati - the Mother of Bhataravarsha: the continent (Sanskrit: continent = 'varsha') that is dedicated (Sanskrit: dedicated = 'rata') to light, wisdom (Sanskrit: wisdom = 'bha') ~ the light of wisdom or the wisdom of knowledge - enlightenment (through inner perfection [Self-realisation or Param-atma realisation, i.e. communion or confluence with the Higher Self] - through the gentle 'awakening' or 'rousing' of the living and conscious energy - kundalini - the latent spiritual energy that lies dormant in the sacrum bone (a large, triangular bone) at the base of the spine. In other words: 'intellectual manthan' (intellectual vigor and vitality, also lack of cynical and specious aspects, indifference, intellectual ennui or degeneration, and the like.] Bharatavarsha is the oldest civilization of the world and thus the cradle of civilisation. ~ Bharatavarsha or Bharatadesam also means, "cherished land". Yet another name for ancient India is Jambudveepa or Jambadveepa. (Jambu or Jamba = Indian blackberry.) So, maybe, there was an abundance of this tree... and hence the name. Thus, Jambudveepa = island of the Jambu or Jambul (Indian blackberry) trees. Or perhaps, this land is shaped like an Indian blackberry (Jambu or Jambul). The oldest Indian script supports her appellation, Brahmi. Devi SarasvatI is also known as Brahmani. She is Brahmn (the Eternal Truth + eternal knowledge - para vidya). She is Brahma, the Lady of Creation. | The correct Vedic pronunciation is 'SarasvatI', though many pronounce it as 'Saraswati'. The Sanskrit name means, "having many pools". The Sanskrit word sara means essence and sva means self. Thus, Sarasvati denotes the essence of the self (possibly *atmavidya or "knowledge of the Self"). She is also known as 'Veena-pustak dharini' or bearer of the musical instrument (veena) and a book (pustak). The swan's ability to separate milk and water symbolizes the need to intellectually discriminate or differentiate between positive (enduring/durable/essential) aspects and negative/unpleasant (evanescent/ephemeral/trivial) aspects. | It is believed that Devi SarasvatI endows humans with the powers of fine speech/vāk (persuasive powers, elegance), wisdom and learning. Her symbolic four hands represent four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and self. She plays the music of compassion, wisdom, assimilation, love and life on a string instrument called the Veena. | *Before knowing God, it is important to know oneself (Ātmavidyā or "knowledge of the Self"). If one understands oneself... only then it is possible to understand God, i.e. only then one can gain Brahmavidyā or "knowledge of Brahmn," Manifested Nature, etc. With the realization of the Higher Self come universal compassion, love, and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). | BG 10.35: || ṛtūnāḿ kusumākaraḥ || ~ "and of seasons I am spring." ~ Heralding the onset of spring, Basant Panchami celebrates nature as beautiful flowers and greenery starts to blossom in all its glory. ~ Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the first day of spring, the fifth day (Panchami) of Shukla Paksha (the fortnight of the waxing moon) of Magh Masa (month) - January-February. ... Vasanta Panchami, which marks the end of winter and heralds in spring, is dedicated to Devi SarasvatI - the deity/deva of speech and learning, who blesses the world with vach (words) and the wealth of knowledge. This day is also commemorated by praying to Sri Krishna (Rose Red. Sundara. Garbodakshayi Vishnu. Hiranyagarbhah. Purusa-uttama. Purushottama Satya. Para-Brahmn. Brahma-putri). [Putri = personification, manifestation or embodiment.] | Basant Panchami is the festival/celebration of the king of all seasons: Spring (Rituraj Basant). ~ It commences from spring season and carries up to Panchami of Krishna Paksha of Falgun month, i.e. it begins with Makarasankranti and ends with Mahashivratri. Holi is celebrated at the approach of vernal equinox, on the Phalgun Purnima (Full Moon) - on the last full moon day of the lunar month, Phalgun. | Vasant or Basant is especially considered significant for lovers of art and education (wisdom and intellectual pursuits, not merely formal, text-bookish knowledge or classroom schooling). The day of Vasant/Basant Panchami is considered to be the beginning of new life. Spring season is the season of rebirth and bloom. Fields of yellow mustard charm the heart. Wheat crop starts swaying like gold. Colourful flowers start blossoming. ... The day of Basanta Utsab is (thus) celebrated as the welcoming of colours and happiness. | Coming before us as personified spring is Shyamsundar Krishna ~ full of colour, joy, and ecstasy and dressed as a daring dramatic dancer. Krishna is "all-attractive" - at her charming and captivating best - with a magical power to hold us spellbound. She looks like the full moon surrounded by its entourage of stars. Her effulgent white turban appears especially splendid sitting obliquely on her head. It is decorated with bunches of flowers, sprinkled with fragrant reddish powder (pollen or "gulaal", or maybe even the flaming-red Gulmohar, also known as "Krishnachura" or 'crown of Krishna'), and surrounded by butterflies shaking her peacock feathered-crest. Her curly dark blue hair is tied back, and she wears glittering yellow garments (Peetabasa; pitaH or HaridrabhaH = yellow in Sanskrit) just suitable for the spring season. A sachet of camphor is tucked in her gem-studded belt. ... While listening to the vasanta raga (i.e. the melody and the ecstasy of spring), Krishna holds a flute in her left hand and a ball of red powder (gulaal) in her right hand. The spring season arrives in the form of a playful lion cub showing her teeth as the stamens of the flowers. Creepers explode with new buds. There are abundant colours all around. With the disappearance of winter, the forests and trees beam with delight... and welcome the spring season with plentiful colours and the sweet fragrances of fresh flowers. The creepers appear to be smeared with rich aromas. ~ Even humans lose their lethargy and feel a new energy flowing through them. Delighted, they submerge in an ocean of joy and gaiety. There is gulaal, flying of colourful (and even innovatively designed) kites, sumptuous feast and unlimited happiness during the Holi festival. A new zeal of life can be seen coming in all around. Colourful flowers decorate the earth. Swarms of butterflies dance in mid-air and waltz among the flowering creepers. Krishna (personified spring) - the epitome of cool, the ocean of elegance, appears like a dramatic artist dressed in colourful garments. | Hopeful, festive, fresh flavour, evergreen (chira yauvana: the elixir of eternal youth), vibrant - a raag that is suitable for singing in the evenings, a raag that ushers in the festive spirit and one that dispels pessimism and instills hope - it's the raag Vasant. | "Vasant" means springtime, and this raag has been suitably named since all that is associated with it is hope and positivity. Vasant is a lively raag and the happiness it exudes is endearing and irresistible. Shyamsundar, whose joy­ous nature spreads in all directions, fills the horizon with the reflection of her enchanting blue complexion (symbolising sattvic aspects, auspiciousness, depth and boundlessness). ~ Whose mind participating in this flourishing festi­val of spring will not elate? | In the Rig Veda, the SarasvatI is described with all the grandeur of a mighty and a very large river (with perennial water). ~ She is called 'the best of the rivers' (naditama). Our enlightened ancestors (children of the mighty Sindhu-SarasvatI and inheritor, representative and expositor of India's age-old heritage, civilizational values and ideals) developed a unique world-view blending material prosperity with spirituality and a scientific temper (knowledge, innovation and creativity). Spirituality (not to be misconstrued for ritualism, etc) and contentment constituted the core of the accepted value system.]

'Pratham Aadi Taba Shakti':


'Tnaahare Arati Kare Chandra Tapan Deva Manava':


'Neel Digante Oi Phuler Aaguun Laaglo': link

'Phaaguun Haawaay Haawaay':

'Aanandadhvani Jaagao Gagane':

'Aanandadhaara Bohichhe Bhubaane':

'Ogo Nadi Apon Begey': 

SarasvatI Gayatri Mantra: || OM Sarasvatyei Vidmahe, Brahmaputriye Dhimahi, Tanno Devi Prachodayat || AUM. I pay obeisance to SarasvatI, the Fountainhead of Knowledge, for awakening my mind to this reality and helping me believe in what, at some level, I instinctively knew was the truth. May we meditate on the Great Goddess Devi SarasvatI. May that effulgent Maha Sarasvati Devi inspire and illumine our mind and understanding.

... The ancient Indus people couldn't have copied their town-planning from Egypt (ancient Miṣr) and Mesopotamia because in those civilizations the roads meandered like village streets. Nor was the writing similar to Sumer's (Sumerian Civilization - ancient Iraq) cuneiform or the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Harappans (the ancient Indus people) had their own distinctive style. The efficient and finest of plumbing/sewage/drainage systems, a network of underground drainage was a scientific system of drainage that shows a remarkably forward thinking concern for hygiene and sanitation. The cities were so well designed that (modern) Indians have not been able to replicate the town-planning feats/achievement of the ancient Indus engineers... even five millenniums later. The greatness of the Indus Valley Civilization (the Sindhu-SarasvatI Sabhyata) can be attributed to ancient Indian genius (and trade was the important factor.) | Excavations have uncovered a civilization so vast in its extent that at its peak it is estimated to have encompassed a staggering 1.5 million sq km - an area larger than Western Europe. In size, it dwarfed contemporary civilizations in the Nile Valley in Egypt and in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys in Sumer (Sumerian Civilization - modern Iraq). Its geographical boundaries are now believed to extend up to the Iranian border on the west, (one site in Afghanistan - so far), Turkmenistan and Kashmir in the north, Delhi in the east and the Godavari Valley in the south. Even extending to Rupnagar, in India, at the foot of the Shimla Hills 1,000 miles (1,600 km) to the northeast. Discovery of a large cache of gold and other ornaments reportedly belonging to the Harappan period (2600-1900 BC) by the villagers of Mandi in the Muzaffarnagar District of UP (in the year 2000) has also challenged previous notions about the geographic reach of the Indus Valley civilization. | Two things are clear: that Indus Valley was a misnomer, and that in size it was the largest prehistoric (pracheen) urban civilization - even bigger than Pharaonic Egypt. That it was governed much like a democracy (collectivism) and the ancient Indus people (the Rig Vedic people) were the world's top exporters. | What is now known as the Indus Valley Civilization (very likely) included the whole of modern India. | BG 10.24: || sarasam asmi sagarah || sarasam indicates SarasvatI. Sagarah refers to Sindhu Sagara. Asmi means, I am or is. Thus, SarasvatI is Sindhu (implying Samudradeva ~ Ksirodakshayi Vishnu (who reclines on the Shesh on Kshir Sagar). | Devi SarasvatI (in her earthly form [Adi Shakti?] is the Krishna-avatar) - Garbodakshayi Vishnu (reclining on the 'ocean of Garbha' - also implying amniotic fluid). [The famed Garba dance is part of Navaratri associated with Devi Durga. The name is derived from the Sanskrit term Garbha ("womb"). Many traditional garbas are performed around a centrally lit lamp or a picture or statue of the Devi Shakti.] 

Indus Valley to history buffs, school students, history classes on the Indus Valley civilization have always been simplistic. Even dull. Most history textbooks talk of how the civilization appeared like a meteor on ancient India's landscape, shone brilliantly for a while... and then was snuffed out either by 'marauding Aryans' or sudden floods. ~ It's dead boring, really. It's soporific - guaranteed cure for insomnia. Egyptian mummies somehow seem to evoke more interest than the town-planning feats of the Indus engineers. One wonders why there has been no study and/or discussion as to just how stone-age farming communities took a giant leap forward and transformed themselves into sophisticated urbanites living in cities so well designed that Indians have never been able to replicate the achievement even 5,000 years later. Devi Sarasvati is wisdom personified. She is a prominent figure in Buddhist iconography, and is also worshiped in Indonesia and Japan. So whether the Indus-SarasvatI Civilization stretched up to the Far East or not (at least over a period of time) ~ my guess is as good as yours.

Pic: The Japanese Goddess Sarasvati ~ the Japanese Goddess of love, beauty, eloquence, persuasion, luck, good fortune and music, as well as a sea Goddess. She is often depicted holding a biwa, which is a traditional Japanese lute (she is also shown riding a dragon). Worship of the goddess arrived in Japan during the 6th through 8th centuries, mainly via the Chinese translations of the Sutra of Golden Light, which has a section devoted to her. She is also mentioned in the Lotus Sutra. The Japanese Sarasvati is the goddess of everything that flows: water, words, speech, eloquence, music and by extension knowledge. She is one of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune who sails on the Takara-bune, the Treasure Ship. She is enshrined on numerous locations throughout Japan; for example, the Enoshima Island in Sagami Bay, the Chikubu Island in Lake Biwa and the Itsukushima Island in Seto Inland Sea. | The Japanese Kangiten is similar to Sri Ganesha.  Lakshmi to Kichijoten (Kichijjōten). Durga/Chandi to Juntei Kannon. Surya to Nitten. Chandra to Gatten. Hayagriva (the horse-faced Vishnu) to Ba-to Kannon. Vishvakarma (the divine architect of the universe, and the patron deity of architects, builders and craftsmen) to Bishukatsuma (sculpture, carpentry, and arts). Kubera to Bishamon/Bushamonten. Indra to Taishakuten. Garuda to Karura. (Karuras are sometimes depicted playing the flute). | Garuda is somewhat similar to Quetzalcoatl of Bali. Mayan Kukulcan and Gukumatz (responsible for teaching the Mayans about such things as how to run a civilization, agriculture, and medicine)? Among the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl was related to gods of the wind, of Venus, of the dawn, of merchants and of arts, crafts and knowledge. He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge. [Kukulcan is described in both Mayan myth and artifacts as being tall, white-skinned, with long flowing white/silver beard and hair and deep-blue eyes. The Mayans, on the other hand, were darker skinned Latin looking people, normally not very tall and with brown eyes.]

[Pic: An elegant Balinese version of Sarasvati. Balinese sometimes call her The Goddess of Knowledge and she is given homage every 210 days (some versions say every six months) by special ceremony and various offerings - Sarasvati Holy Day or Piodalan Sang Hyang Aji Saraswati. She is regarded as the source of knowledge and prudence, creator and protector of knowledge.] | The Balinese Goddess Vac: Artistic renderings depict Goddess Vac as an elegant, graceful golden-skinned (Gauri - the golden-skinned one or the radiant one?) woman dressed in gold (an allusion to solar energy?) ~ In Her secondary capacity (aspect) as a mother Goddess, She is depicted as a cow (allusion to kamadhenu - the allegoric "wish-fulfilling cow" ~ possibly a metaphor for prosperity, progress, auspiciousness, luck etc?) Devi SarasvatI is also known as "Varadey Kaamarupinee" implying kamadhenu. | The Balinese Goddess Vac: Vāk or Vāc is the Sanskrit word for "speech", "voice", "talk", or "language", from a verbal root vac - "speak, tell, utter". Personified, Vāk is a Goddess; She is also frequently identified with Bharati or SarasvatI, the Goddess of speech, creativity, music and art (and 'mother' of the Sindhu-SarasvatI Civilisation). ~ Devi Sarasvati is also known as Vakdevi (Goddess of speech) or Vani. She is described in the Rig Veda as not only speech (vāk) itself, but also as truth (satya; Eternal/Primordial/Ultimate Truth, Purusha - or the Eternal Divine/Cosmic Being, as well as timeless essence/knowledge/wisdom - supreme or highest enlightenment, the stage where nirvana is attained - para vidya) and perception, which allows humans to turn divine knowledge into words. | The Balinese Goddess Vac is associated with purification (cleansing, tidiness), protection, offerings and communication; She is also believed to be a dispeller of negativities/negativism. | Incidentally, water supply and sanitation in Japan is characterized by numerous achievements. It is essential for a sustainable society. Japan's waste management and recycling technologies and systems are among the most advanced in the world (including domestic wastewater treatment, sewage treatment). The country has achieved universal access to water supply and sanitation; has one of the lowest levels of water distribution losses in the world; regularly exceeds its own strict standards for the quality of drinking water and treated waste water; uses an effective national system of performance benchmarking for water and sanitation utilities. | In Japan, SarasvatI is known by different names. She is associated with different faculties like music, prosperity, grace/elegance, happiness, eloquence, and wisdom and as one who confer strength on warriors (this form of Sarasvati is worshipped by generals before going into battle). Sarasvati and Her forms are popular divinities in Japan. In one of Her form, She is an inspirer to poets and artistes; in another, for talent and willpower; in yet another, she is associated with Speech - and depicted with a flute in her hands (reminiscent of the Krishna-avatar?) The Martial form (reminiscent of Devi Parvati - popularly known as Devi Durga?) is worshipped by generals before going to war.  ~ Therefore, can it be inferred that the so-called Indus Valley Civilization (Sindhu-SarasvatI Civilisation) stretched up to Japan and Bali - in the Far East (at least over a period of time)? | Also: link. The 10-foot high statue of Sarasvati created by Nyoman Sudarwa (well known in Bali for carving statues). Mr. Nyoman was flown in from Bali along with his team (six of his stone masons) to carve the statue. In three weeks, he and his team sourced the materials and created the statue of Sarasvati, without knowing a word of English and worrying about snow that they had never seen.]

[Pic: The image of a goddess (in ancient regal attire) at Indonesian National Monument, Jakarta. It is very likely the popular depiction of "Ibu Pertiwi" in Indonesia.] Since ancient times the indigenous people of the Indonesian archipelago often revered earth and nature spirits as a life giving/nurturing mother, a female deity of nature. Perhaps, after the adoption ('cross-pollination') of the Hindu way of life in the early first millennium, this Mother figure was identified with Prithvi (Dharitri/Vasundhara/Bhudevi), the Earth goddess (mother goddess of Earth), and was thus given the name "Pertiwi" (possibly a variant of "Prithvi" - due to change in phonetics). Ibu Pertiwi is a popular theme in Indonesian songs and poems. In the national anthem "Indonesia Raya" there is a reference to Ibu Pertiwi as the mother of Indonesian people. (Despite her popularity in songs and poems, her physical representations and images are rare.) | Our national song, Vande Mataram, too is an ode to the Earth goddess. [Sridevi (Devi Lakshmi) and Bhudevi (Earth goddess/Prakriti/Vasundhara/Dharitri) represent the mithuna rasi (Gemini) aspect. BG 10.33: || dvandvaḥ sāmāsikasya ca || ~ "and among compound words I am the dual compound". Sridevi and Bhudevi is the Krishna-avatar.]

The Shankhachil or Brahminy Kite (Red-backed Sea-Eagle) is distinctive and contrastingly coloured, with chestnut plumage except for the white head and chest and black wing tips. In India, the noble-natured Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) is considered as the contemporary representation of Garuda, the 'vaahan' (allegoric vehicle) of Sri Narayan (Vishnu). ~ The Brahminy Kite (often referred to as the Singapore Bald Eagle) is also called Shankhachil, since the white plumage of this bird is similar to the white of a conch-shell (shankha). | Brahminy probably is derived from Brahmn or Brahma (Devi SarasvatI - the Lady of Creation) - the Creator aspect of the Eternal Divine/Cosmic Being (Param-atma) and/or Brhm (pure/true/non-transient knowledge ~ light of wisdom, supreme or highest enlightenment). | Known as Elang Bondol in Indonesia, the brahminy kite is the official mascot of Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. | In Malaysia, the island of Langkawi is named after the bird ('kawi' denoting an ochre-like stone used to decorate pottery, and a reference to the bird's primary plumage colour). [A fable from central Bougainville Island relates how a mother left her baby under a banana tree while gardening, and the baby floated into the sky crying and transformed into Kaa'nang, the brahminy kite, its necklace becoming the birds feathers.] | Langkawi, officially known as Langkawi the Jewel of Kedah, an archipelago of 104 islands separated from mainland Malaysia by the Straits of Malacca, is a district of the state of Kedah in Northern Malaysia. Langkawi means island of the reddish-brown eagle in colloquial Malay. The Malay word for eagle is helang - which is shortened to "lang". It was given the title of "Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah" in 2008. The Dataran Lang, literally the Eagle Square, is the very first landmark that visitors to Langkawi get to see. Located next to Lagenda Park near Kuah Jetty, the square boasts of a huge statue of a reddish brown eagle (perched on a massive rock, looking afar into the vast Andaman Sea) all geared for a flight. (It is brilliantly illuminated at night).

The so-called 'Aryan blitzkrieg' or 'Aryan Invasion theory' is fictitious. It never happened. ~ When the British archaeologist (Wheeler) discovered a dozen or so skeletons, he propounded a theory about the final massacre by 'marauding invaders' that put an end to the Indus civilization. When an Indian scholar told him of Hariyuppa (or "Hariyupiyah") being mentioned in the Rig Veda, he took it to mean Harappa. ~ And since a fort was known as pur or pura, and Indra (possibly a 'title' for the king/ruler/chief of the ancient 'Deva' people) was known as Purandhara or destroyer of forts, it all fitted neatly. After all, weren't the Indus cities among the most fortified? ~ Archaeologists are known to stumble, but the kind of knocking that the 'Aryan Invasion theory' has taken has few parallels. [The correct pronunciation is Arya, Aryan is anglicized.] There are still many misconceptions about this culture that has resulted from the theoretical and cultural biases of the earliest excavators. One other misconception is that the Indus urban society was the result of colonization from Mesopotamia to the west (in modern Iraq). 

The 'Harappan' civilization is a phase (marked by the rise, intensification, diversification and subsequent evolution of an urban process) within the much earlier, more extensive and more durable Vedic Civilization that still continues. Across this wide swathe of land, there was no cultural homogeneity or monolithicism, whatsoever. There was a diverse mix of population too... and so, people of varied physical appearances peopled this civilization. And yet, an underlying cultural affinity existed - a shared 'way of life,' history, experience, knowledge, folklore, music, know-how, trade and so on. Thus, our unity in diversity go back a long way. The emphasis has been on acceptance and assimilation, not the condescending (superiority-complex-inducing) 'tolerance'. 

~ Climate change was a key ingredient in the (gradual) collapse and/or diversification and/or fragmentation/shrinkage of the great Indus or Harappan Civilization (beginning) almost 4000 years ago. There is clear indication that the rainfall pattern, which had initially brought fertility to the land, had become adverse in (what is now) the Sindh region. And given the instability of the Himalayan region, there may have been a massive earthquake that possibly changed the course of rivers and (thus) affected many Indus cities. Another factor was the steep decline in trade because of problems in Sumer (Sumerian Civilisation - modern Iraq) that resulted in a Great Depression and turned many urban centres into ghost cities. Dholavira, Banawali, Mehrgarh, Harappa - in fact, all the major cities show that as the cities declined, encroachments on streets that were unseen at its peak began to occur with alarming regularity. Houses became increasingly shoddy in construction. The city was dying. There was a breakdown in sanitation and cities like their modern-day counterparts in India simply ran themselves aground. They were replaced by massive squatter colonies and an explosion of rural sites as people, disillusioned with cities, went back to farming communities. 

Alternatively: It could also be that faced with multiple challenges arising out of over expansion, over-exploitation of nature and unplanned urbanization - disproportionate to essentials like water-supply and sanitation (besides a sharp decline in trade) the ancient Indus people, in their collective wisdom, decided to alter the course of their 'way of life' ~ and (thus) went back to living in harmony with nature. ~ And this probably helped them breath new life into the once-glorious civilization.

In a way, the Indus people simply adjusted to the changes and challenges (both natural and man-made) - and so, the civilization lived on. Rather flourished in its own way.

Although earlier scholars thought that the Indus civilization disappeared around 1700 B.C., recent excavations indicate that the civilisation gradually became fragmented into smaller regional cultures referred to as Late or post-Harappan cultures. The ruling classes and merchants of the major urban centers were no longer able to control the trade networks that served to integrate such a vast geographical area. The use of standardized weights, writing and seals became unnecessary as their social and political control gradually disappeared. The decline of the major urban centers and the fragmentation of the Indus culture can be attributed in part to changing river systems (due to climate change and change in rainfall pattern) that disrupted the agricultural and economic system. As the river dried up the Indus people migrated to the central Indus valley, the Ganga-Yamuna Valley or the fertile plains of Gujarat in western India. The Indus river itself began to change its course, resulting in destructive floods. Certain distinguishing hallmarks of the Indus civilization disappeared. Others, such as writing and weights, or aspects of Indus craft technology, art, agriculture and possibly social organisation, continued among the Late and post-Harappan cultures. These cultural traditions eventually became incorporated in the new urban civilization that arose during the Early Historical period, around 600 B.C. 
Evolution of the fluvial landscape: Landscape dynamics as the crucial link between climate change and people. ~ By 3900 years ago, their rivers drying, the Harappans had an escape route to the east toward the Ganges basin, where monsoon rains remained reliable. We can envision that this eastern shift involved a change to more localized forms of economy: smaller communities supported by local rain-fed farming and dwindling streams. This may have produced smaller surpluses, and would not have supported large cities, but would have been reliable. But then, such a system was not quite favourable for the sustenance of the Indus civilization as it was known (so as to maintain the well-knit 'high summer' phase of the Indus civilization, which had been built on bumper crop surpluses along the Indus in the earlier wetter era). This dispersal of population meant that there was no longer a concentration of workforce to support urbanism. Thus cities collapsed, but smaller agricultural communities were sustainable and flourished. Many of the urban arts, such as writing, faded away (possibly evolved), but agriculture continued and perhaps diversified. [Maybe, due to the change in rainfall pattern/monsoon coupled with a warming world (climate change) catastrophic floods (due to rising sea levels) turned much of the ancient Indus irrigation system, designed for a tamer river, obsolete.]

Through the processes of over-expansion and changes in important river patterns, the Harappan urban centers began to decline around 1900 B.C., and the unifying cultural symbols of the cities were no longer useful. However, the regional cultures that began to take form did retain some of the characteristic symbols and technologies of the Harappan culture. These continuities provide an important thread connecting the developments of the first urban civilization to later cultures that became dominant in the regions of the erstwhile Indus Valley civilization. Some of the technologies, architecture, artistic symbols and aspects of social organization that characterized the first urban centers of the Indus Civilization have continued up to the present in the urban setting of traditional South Asian cities.


[SarasvatI Stotram.] 'Snow White' is (very likely) an allusion to Devi SarasvatI.

Yaa Kundendu tushaara haara-dhavalaa ~ She, who is as fair as the Kunda flower (Star jasmine or Jasminum multiflorum); as white (bright) as frosted dewdrops [dew is the purest form of water] or as white as snow. And who is adorned in pure white garland. All imagery depicts her as very fair-complexioned. [tushaara = as white as frosted dewdrops or as white as snow (tushaara). haara-dhavalaa = and who is adorned in pure white garland.]

Can 'Seven Dwarfs' be an allusion to the 'Saptarshi'? [The 'Saptarshi' were Brahmarishi, the highest Rishi. They had attained the highest divine knowledge or spiritual knowledge - Brahmajnana (knowledge of Brahmn). [Sanskrit: brahmarṣi, a tatpurusha compound of brahma and ṛṣi.] The Saptarshi can be termed 'vidyasagara': a vast knowledge stream, a boundless ocean of knowledge and wisdom. Rishi (Sanskrit: ṛṣi): signifies enlightenment, wisdom, erudition and knowledge - the light of wisdom; it was also an honorific for highly learned and knowledgeable persons.

BG 10.27: || uccaiḥśravasam aśvānāḿ viddhi mām amṛtodbhavam || ~ "Of horses know Me to be Uccaiḥśravā (Uchchaihshravas) produced from the churning of the ocean of milk (amṛtodbhavam or amṛta-udbhavam)." | Uccaiḥśravā (Uchchaihshravas): the snow-white and seven-headed flying horse, considered the best of horses and king of horses, produced/created during the churning of the ocean ('samudra-manthan' or 'sagar-manthan'), also known as 'kshira-sagara manthan' - churning of the ocean (sagara) of milk (kshira) - an allusion to Sindhu Sagara - for the metaphoric 'amrit' (pijush or piyush). [However, shira can also mean 'head'. E.g. the ritual of Mastakabhisheka ("Head Anointment") - a ceremony wherein the head is anointed from above with a variety of substances (water, milk, flowers, etc.)] ~ This churning (samudra-manthan or kshira-sagara manthan) alludes to intellectual manthan (intellectual rigeour and vigour) - possibly indicative of the gentle 'awakening' or 'rousing' of the living and conscious energy - kundalini - the latent spiritual energy that lies dormant in the sacrum bone (a large, triangular bone) at the base of the spine. Upon 'awakening', it rises in a sensation akin to a slithering reptile, up the spinal column (Meru-danda) - also represented by the (allegoric) Mt Meru in the samudra-manthan or kshira-sagar manthan story. When kundalini is fully 'awakened,' it (in a manner of speaking) causes enlightenment of the brain cells. In other words: enflaming the Kundalini 'Fire' 'expand' the mind or 'ignite' the brain cells. [Fourteen ratna is said to have emerged from this 'churning of the ocean of milk (kshira-sagara manthan),' though we only know of the navaratna. | Is the exceptionally lustrous Symantaka mani (the Krishna-avatar Herself) one of the other five ratna? Garuda? Kaustubham (possibly indicative of the philosophers' stone - cintā-maṇI or cintāmaṇi-ratna)?]

Yaa Viinnaa-Vara-Danndda-Mannddita-Karaa: Whose Hands are Adorned with Veena (a stringed musical instrument) and the Boon-Giving Staff. Devi SarasvatI is also known as 'Veena-pustak dharini' or bearer of the musical instrument (veena) and a book (pustak). Yaa Subhravastravrta: And Who is attired in pristine white garments. Yaa Svetapadmaasanaa: And Who is seated on Pure White Lotus (blooming in a wide stretch of water [neluhini]). | Devi SarasvatI is depicted as extremely fair-complexioned, clad in *pristine white attire (subhravastravrta) and seated on pure white lotus (svetapadmaasanaa). ~ This could be indicative of the highly revered Puṇḍarīka (Pundarika) or Pankaja/Svetakamala/DhavalaH kamala or Shubhra Kamala - "pure white lotus". [Dhavala is pronounced as DA wahl.] | Pure white symbolizes pristine - purity of mind (sattvic aspects, and supreme or highest enlightenment or the stage where nirvana is attained), calmness, serenity and spiritual perfection + embodiment of true/eternal (non-transient) knowledge (Para Vidya - light of knowledge/wisdom of knowledge or enlightenment). It also signifies tranquility.  

[Pic: The seven chakras (wheel-like vortex) of the human body. Vital to our health, each chakra represented by a colour, is located and focused on different body parts, yet they are interconnected. The seven chakras are located at the crown (purple), brow (indigo), throat (blue), heart (green), solar plexus/pancreas (yellow), spleen (orange), and base (red).] | Pure white lotus could also be a reference to the final state of the living and conscious energy - kundalini energy (the latent spiritual energy that lies dormant in the sacrum bone [a large, triangular bone] at the base of the spine. Upon 'awakening', it rises in a sensation akin to a slithering reptile, up the spinal column (Meru-danda) - also represented by the (allegoric) Mt Meru in the 'samudra-manthan' or 'kshira-sagar manthan' story. When kundalini reaches the Sahasrara - the 7th chakra or crown chakra - the highest chakra, it (allegorically) shines forth like a diamond disc/chakra (symbolically depicted by brilliant white) ~ signifying the light of wisdom = Surya-Kotti Samaprabha; as radiant as a million Suns [the real Koh-i-Noor or Symantaka mani.] 

Yaa Brahma-Acyuta-Shankara-Prabhrtibhir-Devah Sadaa Puujitaa: Who is surrounded and respected by the Gods, bless us. [Yaa Brahma-Acyuta-Shankara-Prabhrtibhir probably alludes to Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva ~ the cosmic phenomenon of 'Creation, Maintenance(preservation), Dissolution' implied by the the cosmic trimurti of SarasvatI-Lakshmi-Parvati/Durga.] Saa Maam Paatu Sarasvati Bhagavatii Nihshessa-Jaaddya-Apahaa: May the goddess fully remove our lethargy, sluggishness, and ignorance.

Ksirodakshayi Vishnu or Anantasayana/Anantasayain Vishnu (who reclines on the Shesh on Kshir Sagar) is the subtle or astral body - sukshma sharira (Devi SarasvatI). This Vishnu is Param-atma or Higher Self. The Supreme Hari. Gyanpeeth ~ perennial knowledge stream; Feluda's Gyanpeeth (and 'Dhakuria Lake'). A vast unfathomable (achintya) reservoir of consciousness. Universal Consciousness. Highest Cosmic Intelligence. Cosmic Mind. | Ksirodakshayi Vishnu lives in Svetadvipa - where there is an 'ocean' (samudra) of milk (kshira or kheer) ~ Sindhu Sagara (modern A. Sea). [However, could 'ocean of milk' or kshira-sagara imply thought-waves? Feluda's telepathy? | "I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details." - Albert Einstein. Nicola Tesla, father of electricity, as we know it today, said, "My brain is only a receiver. In the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength, inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists."  Tagore's 'Aamar Byala Je Jaye': link.] Incidentally, the current kalpa is known as "Svhetavaraha Kalpa". (Svheta = white. Varaha = the great one-tusked boar; Varaha - the third avatara of the Dasavatara is also regarded as the Supreme form of Sri Vishnu - the (cosmic) Preserver.)] | The Avatara (the unmanifested/avyaktah Param-atma in gross body [sthula sharira] or earthly form) is the Krishna-avatara (Sridevi + Bhudevi/Vasundhara/Prakriti). Kalika or Mahakali/Durga. The Param-atma has no earthly form or gender. Since atma is energy. However, it has been visually depicted, probably for the purposes of comprehension. Param-atma (Ksirodakshayi Vishnu or Anantasayana/Anantasayain Vishnu) and Avatara (Garbodakshayi Vishnu or Hiranyagarbhah) are non-different. | Vishnu rules (i.e. is associated with) light, preservation, history, karma, infinity (boundlessness), sattvic or noble aspects, dharmic aspects (dharmic prnciples, etc) and the universe itself. This Vishnu is Anantajeet (The Victor/ruler of Infinity), Avinasha (Indestructible), Achyut (Imperishable), Anaadi (Eternal, ever-existing), Brahmavid (Knower of reality), Chakree (Holder of the Wheel of Cosmos), Anandi (Bringer of Joy), Dhanya (Bestower of prosperity, happiness etc), Eka (the One), Naika (the Many), Guruttama (the greatest teacher/guru), Ishana (controller of all spirits), Jyestha (the eldest, the foremost, the Primordial Being), Sukhada (the bestower of happiness), Rakshan (the protector), and Sarvagny (the all-knowing). | Vishnuh: Long-striding (as with vigour). In Vedic scripture, Vishnu's stride is said to be over the Earth, the Sky, and the all-pervading omnipresent essence of the Universe (Brhmaand). Hence Sri Vishnu is also known as Trivikram. Vishnu is invoked for balance, karma, healing, protection, preservation, discipline (self-discipline, character building), accomplishment, forgiveness (magnanimity, ability to rise above ego-consciousness, ego-centricity and narrow selfish perspective), dharmic and sattvic aspects, grace, love, intelligence, holistic solutions, overcoming darkness (confusion, indifference, ennui, ignorance, etc). Plants associated with Vishnu include holy basil (tulsi), blue lotus (pushkara or indivara), rose, and jasmine (Jasminum sambac). The Bodhi tree (asvattaha) is the sacred tree.

*White reflects all the colours of the visible light spectrum to the eyes. The sum of all the colours of light adds up to white. Thus, white is the blending of all colours. [White light is made up primarily of red, blue and green.] ~ Light appears colourless or white. Sunlight is white light that is composed of all the colours of the spectrum. A rainbow is proof. We can't see the colours of sunlight except when atmospheric conditions bend the light rays and create a rainbow. One can also use a prism to demonstrate this. Thus, white is a combination of all colours, i.e. white reflects all colours. White objects, tend to reflect all types of light equally well, and tend to reflect most of the light falling on it. ~ An object we call 'white' reflects all wavelengths of visible light and therefore could be considered all-coloured. White light contains light of all frequencies. In that sense, white is a combination of all colours. [~ Black, on the other hand, does not reflect light. In the case of black, all the colours making up white light are absorbed which makes that object appear black. | shyAmaH or kRiShNa means black - kaalah. ~ It could be indicative of Kalika or Mahakali. She is also known as Shyama Kali. Time is Kaalah in Sanskrit.]

'SarasvatI Vandana Mantra':

'Mangal-deep Jyele':

Bidrahi - 'Balo Bir Balo Unnata Mamo Shir': ~ The turns-of-phrase, imagery and metaphors are top-class. 'Bidrahi' is a poetic masterpiece. No other composition has quite been able to encapsulate the essence of the Universal Form of the Primordial Being (the Vishva-roop or Viraat-roop). | Bidrahi (Yug Purush; Change Maker, Renaissance or Transformative Personage) also brings out both the aspects: the metaphysical Param-atma, and the manifestation in earthly form (avatāra). ~ The unmanifested/avyaktah Purusha [Param Vishva Atma or Universal Cosmic Spirit - motive power and guiding spirit behind the mathematically precise universe; niraakar Param-atma, Supreme Hari] and the manifested/vyaktah Purusha-uttama [greatest of all beings], Avatara [saakar, with earthly form], Hari-Krishna. | James Cameron's 'Avatar' makes for an interesting watch. 

The Param-atma is adhaataa (above whom there is no other). The Primordial Being belongs to all - as the Creator, Cosmic Ruler and Cosmic Teacher. BG 9.29: || samo 'ham sarva-bhutesu na me dvesyo 'sti na priyahye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya mayi te tesu capy aham || ~ "I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. However, whosoever prays to Me with a pure (unselfish) heart (or renders selfless/nishkam service to humanity or possesses strong dharmic/sattvic/noble principles and virtues - for the greater good) I am also a well-wisher." | Swami Vivekananda's words too draw from it. || Bohu-rupe sammukhe tomaar aami, kotha khunjichho Ishvar? Jibe prem kare jei jan, Shei jan shebichhe Ishvar || ~ The divine is present in everything (the Universal Form of the Primordial - the Vishva-roop or Viraat-roop - incorporates everything). | Service to mankind (not restricted to humankind alone) is service to God. That is true worship. 

'Tamishwaranang Paramang Maheshwarang' (from Svetasvatara Upanishad): link. 

[Nath or Pati is indicative of monarch ~ mahaadevah (the great devah); deveshah (the Lord of all devas) and adhaataa (above whom there is no other). | Nath = Vishva Nath; Pati = Jagat-patih ~ Lord of Creation or the Cosmic Entity/Ruler.]  


Culture constantly evolves, it is never stagnant. | National progress and prosperity consists of an appropriate if not an optimum matrix of economic engines... that should be a source of support or major sustaining factor. An appropriate nation-wide grid of economic engines, a healthy matrix, is required for the most important machine ever - the economic engine.

There is an anecdote involving Tenali Rama or Tenali Ramakrishna - the great wit. Tenali Rama prayed to Goddess Kalika. After a while She appeared before him - carrying a bowl of milk (representing wealth) and a bowl of curd (representing wisdom). She asked him to choose. Tenali Rama (very intelligently) mixed the contents of the two bowls and drank it. The goddess, impressed with him, blessed him with wealth and wisdom. 

Perhaps the above anecdote indicates that Lakshmi and SarasvatI (representing two aspects) go hand-in-hand. And so, Tenali Rama chose both.

Investment in science and research is crucial. [Maybe a win-win collaboration or a symbiotic association can help. India could work towards identifying arenas to collaborate and co-innovate. Swami Vivekananda believed that Vedic science will get a more surer footing in collaboration with the West. He also met with many of the well-known scientists of the time. | Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila etc ~ will they rise from the ruins (backed by a strong clear vision, aesthetic design, a guiding team... so that their reputation and past successes is not diluted)? Can some of the top NITs be elevated to IITs? Can other well-reputed colleges (w.r.t. infrastructure, faculty, etc) be elevated to NITs? Will a streamlined 'IIT' or 'NIT' contribute towards collective branding, instead of prefixes? | Knowledge hub - to cater to the sciences, research, technology, innovation, creative pursuits (including karigari), publishing (proofreading, editing, transliteration) etc. Optimal capacity utilization is also important. Poultry hub. Hub in Specialty and Generic Pharma Services. Hub for medical care (tourism hub in both high-end and low-end procedures). Talent hub. E.g. in Burma there are at least two generations of students lost, and empty classrooms gather dust. It is a country severely handicapped vis-a-via skilled and semi-skilled workforce, but blessed with immense natural resources. And given their geography, there remains many possibilities. | Innovation incubator, incubation hub, entrepreneurship hubs, business incubator (incubating new businesses). Emerging-markets Product Development and Innovation. Innovation for the developing world (including domestic market, e.g. the farm sector). Jaipur prosthesis (below-knee and above-knee) - the continually innovated and world famous 'Jaipur Foot/limb' (dedicated to improving mobility for the physically challenged) - with its ease and speed of fabrication, lightness in weight, flexibility, durability, high impact resistance and high tensile strength, low cost and suitability for working people in the developing world, is a great example.] Empowering the farmers through co-operatives (co-operative societies, agricultural co-operative, water harvesting) and by putting in their hands the instruments of development (scientific knowledge and modern technology, basic amenities, organic farming methods, organic fertiliser, reviving indigenous seeds, etc). Renewable wind and solar energy, biomass energy or bioenergy - the energy from organic matter. Converting solid waste to renewable energy. [A water-stressed country such as Israel that received scanty rainfall had a thriving agricultural sector. A nation with a much higher annual rainfall could do much better.] Agripreneurship or rural entrepreneurship initiatives, to encourage setting up of enterprises related to the farm sector - to give a thrust to the farm sector. [MSMEs play a vital role in economy.] Multi-stakeholder cooperative model - for their mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit. Community health centers, health co-operatives, Credit unions, cooperative banking and Co-operative insurance. (Assistance with savings and loans. Micro-credit - to support entrepreneurship and alleviate poverty, to empower women and uplift entire communities by extension). Encouraging innovative thinking, collaboration, indigenising best practices. Restoring dried-up tributaries, groundwater recharge and integrated rain-water harvesting (practical solutions for urban and rural areas). Cleansing of existing lakes and ponds (from grime, plastic waste, water-hyacinth, etc). Soil sustainability and conservation efforts, transforming wastes into resources, reforestation (with forethought; not e.g. a million saplings planted in a small area). ~ India should also endeavour to become a manufacturing hub - skill and labour-intensive manufacturing. Labour-intensive activities not only generate employment and revenue, but also nurture creativity (concentration and application of mind). | Also, the cost of the container should not be more than that of the contents. It is not a healthy trend that the massive spends on advertisements and unproductive expenses incurred on product promotion is loaded on to the sale price. In the long run such a trend would severely impact the economy. 

India is full of festivities, occasions, sights, weaves, crafts, cuisine, music and what not. Besides, holistic health (healing, rejuvenation, inner rhythm and balance - yoga, *ayurveda, naturopathy). And yet, barely any effort has been made to achieve the tourism potential. (However, this requires forethought and sustainability measures. Not quite 'putting all eggs in one basket,' not quite 'killing the goose that laid the golden egg'. Besides, basic civic sense (including aesthetics and an effective waste-disposal mechanism), etiquette and social behaviour too leave much to be desired.

~ Incredible India!

[On a side note: The white man is indeed more imaginative and a better manager than the brown man. ~ The tragic state of affairs of our rivers reflects that of India.]

Note: *Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term, made up of the words "ayus" and "veda." "Ayus" means life and "Veda" means knowledge or science. The term "ayurveda" thus means 'the knowledge of life' or 'the science of life'. According to the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka, "ayu" comprises the mind (manas), body (sharira), senses (indriyas) and the soul ~ implying holistic healing, rejuvenation - to protect health (prevent illness, eliminate dysfunctions and disorders, etc) and prolong life.]


[Pic: Bankura Horse or the famous Terracotta Horse from Bankura. The Bankura horse has now come to be regarded as a symbol of artistic excellence/craftsmanship, and is the official crest-motif of the All India Handicrafts Board.] | Heritage and crafts - an attractive harmony between the traditional past and contemporary present. It creates strong linkages between the two along an integrated value chain. It helps showcase all elements of our dynamic and visually spectacular elements of cultural practices; to share the experience of these timeless cultural traditions with an ever wider audience. India has immense potential. Gourmet tourism, Lifestyle tourism, Holiday tourism (unforgettable holiday experience: sun, sand, sea, mountains, desert, eco holidays, sports, wellness, unique flavours and cuisine to indulge the taste buds, unbeatable shopping, an exciting and intriguing traditional culture; however, a safe and welcoming environment is a necessity). Craft tourism, Jewellery tourism (including stylish and trendy unique, antique, designer, costume and ethnic jewellery, pendants, imitation jewellery, handicraft/handmade costume and fashion jewellery, accessories and nick nacks), Fashion tourism, Home décor tour (including decoratives, garden accessories, graceful and lively pottery art, crockery art, frescos/mural painting), Personal care (organic products), Heritage Crafts of India (including intricate crafts and designs, textiles, scarves and stoles, mats/rugs/carpets, handquilted/handmade products). | Cultural attractions and events are particularly strong magnets for tourism. Art tourism (the role of museums, fairs/festivals and theatres in sustainable tourism could also be explored, besides tourism gifts and merchandise). Medical tourism, Health and wellness tourism, Holistic and Spiritual tourism (holistic and spiritual approaches/services with a strong wellness base). Spirituality can be India's best Wellness Tourism asset (Spiritual and Holistic products and services, traditional, lifestyle defining approaches (e.g. yoga), wellness hotels and resort spas). [Therapeutic services and treatments are mainly based on the availability of natural assets e.g. thermal waters/natural thermal springs, geothermal hot springs, etc.]  

[Pic: The colourfully painted and richly decorated Chhau masks. One is super amazed by these Chhau mask designs. They're masks designed for the Chhau dance-dramas and are adorned by the performers who play those parts. The dances have been handed down from one generation to the next, and were used to educate the populace about their history, culture and heritage.] | Showcasing indigenous martial arts, tribal martial dance, the energetic and lively masked and costumed dance,  Chhau dance, ranging from the simple folk to highly evolved (the dancers perform magic with their body and choreography), other mask dances, etc. The masks are invariably integrated with towering headgear that gives them a resplendent touch. The movements alone become visual poetry. 'The Folk and Masked Dance Festivals of India' (along the lines of e.g. the very popular Bhutanese festival) to showcase India's magical mask dances. A symbiotic collaboration too may be possible. Aboriginal tourism (traditional folk music and dances, singing, traditional musical instruments, folk theatre, festivals, traditional toys and games, artefacts, cuisine, beverages, crafts, art, architecture, values and lifestyle, elements that helped shape their way of life). | Food stalls (A La Cart!) and food streets to showcase indigenous/local cuisine, street food and unusual dishes (a la Singapore). Indigenous/local/traditional beverages. Music tourism (music, dance and art forms including folk songs and music, music festivals). | Ethnic weaving and textile, fabric art, designs et al need not be confined to aesthetic kurtas/kurtis, saris or 'ethnic wear'. They can extend to vibrant, funky and cool T-shirts, shirts, tops, skirts, shorts, caps, tunics, cardigans, trousers, jeans, shawls, stoles, jackets, ties, bags, wallets, trendy belts and colourful cummerbund, upholstery and so forth. Stunning. Stylish. Classic. Smart elegance. Easy to maintain. ~ Holiday must-haves, leisurewear, workwear, corporatewear, festival/occasion-wear, winterwear, neckwear, hospitality uniforms (ties and scarves, aprons, vests and jackets), travelwear and so on. Natural dyed textiles. Tie-and Dye. Even fabrics can be mixed and matched. Tourism and hospitality sector: Crockery art. Interesting vehicle art. Frescos/mural painting. | Perhaps traditional footwear too can be adapted to cater to wider aesthetics and made user-friendly. [If the Aloha shirt, commonly known as Hawaiian shirt, or Hawaii T-shirt for that matter, is so well-known and sought after, surely we can do better. | Creative, innovative and distinctive names may be helpful, alongside smart advertising and promotional plan.]

Cultural tourism can play a significant role in regional development. Cultural tourism (or culture tourism) encapsulates beautiful vignettes of India. Showcasing a country or region's culture, specifically the lifestyle of the people in those geographical areas, the history of those people, their art, architecture, lifestyle(s), and other elements that helped shape their way of life. | Intangible Cultural Heritage: embodied in those practices, expressions, knowledge, and skills (handicrafts and the visual arts; gastronomy; social practices, rituals and festive events; music and the performing arts; oral traditions and expressions; and, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe) - transmitted through generations and constantly recreated. | Natural, artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage, to allow traditional cultural products, crafts and folklore to survive and flourish, rather than causing them to degenerate and/or become standardised. | Fostering the responsible use of this living heritage for tourism purposes can generate employment, alleviate poverty, curb rural flight migration, and nurture a sense of entrepreneurship, contentment and creativity. Tourism offers a strong incentive for preserving and enhancing intangible cultural heritage, since the revenue it generates can be channeled back into initiatives to aid its long-term sustainability. A symbiotic partnership between communities and the tourism and heritage sectors can make it happen... and help it flourish (i.e. ensure that the traditions of the past are maintained and adapted). | It will help bring as much benefit as possible - spiritually, in education and healthcare, and economically, through the direct and indirect creation of employment opportunities, and tourist revenue will continue, contributing greatly to the local economy.


Reviving 'Jugaad Innovation', a frugal, flexible, imaginative and inclusive/holistic approach to innovation - the spirit of Indian innovation. It is embodied in not merely the ability to effectively work with limited/scarce available resources, but also in creating something relevant and useful. Imaginative thinking, ingenuity and resourcefulness. The ability to think constructively and differently. To do more with less. The art of making more out of less. However, being economical, collaboration and adaptability are important factors. This approach (the jugaad mindset and its associated practices) can lead to growth and sustained revenue streams. The entrepreneurial spirit of jugaad is not improvising but dynamic and empowering... as long as the Indian spirit of "jugaad" is around. Jugaad is about extending our developing world understanding of entrepreneurial spirit by effectively tapping into the innate ingenuity of Indians (euphemistically known as 'dimaag ki batti') across social and economic groups and across the length and breadth of the country. Indian jugaad (our unique approach to innovation and finding cost-effective solutions/economically viable products) can also hold important lessons for emerging economies as well as for India. Affordability for the consumer and economies of scale for the manufacturer. [Intensifying competition and growing consumer aspirations need not be impediments or stymieing factors; it depends on the approach, product and opportunity. It could potentially bring even better products for the consumers. Frugal innovations can also have high technological quality and aesthetics. It can benefit end-consumers and firms, simultaneously. It may also encourage more firms to tap markets at various levels and sub-levels/intermediary levels of the economic pyramid.] Jugaad Innovation can (therefore) lead to a myriad of opportunities and breakthrough growth (over the next few decades). Medicine (including medical devices) needs frugal innovation. And so does the consumer electronics and automotive industry. Medical technology: the need of the hour is frugal innovation. The rebuilding of India's healthcare infrastructure will drive strong demand for medical systems. "Frugal Engineering" - the process of reducing the complexity and cost of a good and its production - is one of the aspects of Jugaad and can be a precious resource/talent. In an increasingly complex and resource-constrained business environment, Jugaad Innovation (Creative/Resourceful Innovation), the spirit of jugaad, the jugaad mindset, could be an invaluable asset. India could emerge as a laboratory/lead provider and market for Jugaad Innovation.

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