Saturday, July 5, 2014

My Rainbow - seven riveting short stories | Water Under the Bridge by Dhritika Dhawan.

1. The Legend of Zalim Khan: link.

2. Water Under the Bridge (by Dhritika Dhawan): This story is of a girl who lives in the mountains. [Parvati, Girija, Shailaputri, Shailaja? Girija = Giri (mountain) + Ja (daughter). Parvati means: of the mountains. Shailaputri or Shailaja = Shaila (mountain) + Putri or Ja (daughter).] She loves the mountains, and as is usual there, begins to work when she is about seventeen. Her mother has brought her up alone... after her father abruptly left to chase inanimate, rectangular pieces of paper with numbers on them - so that he could build a mansion and live in style, instead of in a one-room home. Their daughter, Sally, was only four-years-old then. Her mother (understandably) does not want to talk about him. She closes all her attempts to discuss him by saying with finality, "He'll never come back." Sally misses her father... though he is a stranger to her, an estranged, absentee father who has never bothered to keep in touch. Sally's mother worked hard to make ends meet; she never let her daughter feel the need for anything. In the hills, there is a languid pace to life; the work is mainly sewing-stitching (darzi seeta hai), or being a nanny to a child or a housemaid in a big home. Her mother is very responsible and punctual about sewing the clothes she got, working eight to ten hours each day. [The 10th Vishnu, the Kalkiḥ-avatar, is synonymous with the 8th Vishnu, the Kṛṣṇā-avatar. Maybe that's why this avatar is regarded as the second coming of the Krishna-avatar. In other words: one who was known as Krishna (Kṛṣṇā) then, shall be known as Kalkiḥ now.] She also looked after the house. When Sally is about seventeen, her mother finds her work as a nanny to a six-year-old boy, Roman. Her employers, the Adams, lived in a beautiful, sprawling mansion called Appleyards. (Nandan-kanan? The fabled Garden of Eden?) The little boy, Roman, is very well-behaved and helpful. His mother is not bossy or rude either, though her standards were high. [Societal prejudices or double standards vis-à-vis women... which tends to see them as "bossy" or "rude" instead of clear-eyed, efficient, capable, possessing caliber and mettle, a do-er, etc?] But Sally did not mind hard work. At the end of the day she rushed home, tired but happy. Her mother has eased up a bit on her work and pays more attention to the house. Their little house looks lovely these days, with two fresh, bright cushions, a lace-edged tablecloth and some new curtains that she has stitched. However, after meeting the Adams Sally has begun to feel a little inadequate (ignorant) - about her general knowledge and about her lack of awareness of things and the world around her. She begins to read the newspaper every day. Sometimes she read the comic strips in it too. She learned about the world and also many new stories, which she shared with Roman, who liked to hear stories. She read about discoveries, inventions, people and everything that happened in the world. When in doubt, she stopped by the newspaper shop and asked the kind Mr. Namgyal (meaning victorious, vijaya) to help her understand the news. Gradually, she developed a habit of reading. She was also able to create new stories out of the comic strips. Instead of stagnating, she grew as a person. Her knowledge, general awareness, confidence, ability to converse, perspective, ability to channelise her thoughts, etc increased greatly.

One day while reading her favourite newspaper, something catches her eye - a picture. It is the picture of a man, who had eyes just like her - electrifying black eyes to match the jet-black hair, blunt nose and chubby cheeks. [Some parallels with Leonardo da Vinci's most famous portrait?] He is dressed in a fine suit; she could even see gold cufflinks (the metaphoric 'Golden Age' of progress, prosperity, intellectual and spiritual rejuvenation, etc - Sat/Satya/Krita Yug?) and an expensive watch. [BG 10.33: || aham evākṣayaḥ kālo || ~ "I am also inexhaustible time". Kalkiḥ, also referred to as Kalkin and Kalaki, is often a metaphor for "Eternity" or "Time". Time is Kaalah, in Sanskrit.] All the sounds of the evening around her fade away, she is stunned and her mind is flying circles. ... She looked so much like him. Could it be her father? Then she could finally answer insensitive people who said her father had abandoned her. Her gaze slides to the name at the bottom of the picture - Mr. Eleves Eggs, entrepreneur, investor, real estate developer. Her heart is beating faster than she can breathe. The man in the picture is her father. The eyes are unmistakable and so is the surname - Eggs. [Eggs - Brhmaanda? The 'Cosmic Egg'? An allusion to 'Shiva Linga' - very likely the depiction of the Brhmaanda or Brahmaanda (the "Cosmic Egg"; Brh = to grow or to expand; aanda = egg) and "Garbhodaka Ocean" that lies at the bottom of the Brhmaanda? 'Humpty Dumpty' - of the nursery rhymes? Easter Eggs? Is 'Shiva Linga' an allusion to the real Koh-i-Noor diamond aka Symantaka Mani (the Krishna-avatar)? The other Koh-i-Noor was an oval cut white diamond - the shape and size of a small hen's egg. [Koh = mountain. Noor = light.] | Elves are a type of supernatural being in Germanic mythology and folklore. Sometimes they are conflated with dwarfs. ('Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' - a reference to SarasvatI and the Saptarshi, the seven wise and learned personages? The Sanskrit ṛṣi is an honorific for exceptionally wise and learned/knowledgeable personages of rare intellect; the Saptarshi were Brahmarshi, they have received Brahma-Jnana, the supreme wisdom that destroys all illusions. Thus, the Saptarshi are the highest ṛṣi. Devaguru Brihaspati precedes them, and is therefore the foremost among the Brahmarshi.) A Christmas elf is a diminutive creature (elf) that lives with Santa Claus in the North Pole and acts as his helper. Christmas elves are often depicted as green or red clad with pointy ears and pointy hats. Santa's elves are often said to make the toys in Santa's workshop and take care of his reindeer, among other tasks. 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)" ... is very likely (in a manner of speaking) a reference to 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (aka Saptarshi). ... Uccaiḥśravā (Uchchaihshravas): the snow-white and seven-headed flying horse, considered the best of horses and king of horses, was produced/created during the churning of the ocean of milk ('samudra-manthan', 'sagar-manthan' or 'kshira-sagara manthan')... for the metaphoric 'amrit' (pijush or piyush). [Sagara = ocean. Kshira = milk. 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 of the ocean of milk (samudra-manthan or 'kshira-sagara manthan') alludes to intellectual manthan (intellectual stimulation, 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' help 'expand' the mind or 'ignite' the brain cells.]

Sally folds the newspaper, rests her back on the bench and looks around slowly. The world comes back in focus and all the noise with it. She traverses the 10-minute walk from the newspaper stand to her home with heavy steps, her thoughts weighing her down. She wants to talk to her mother, but instead decide to read the article first. The picture is big, but the write-up isn't much - it does not take her long to read. The article informs her that Mr. Eleves Eggs is the first man to have a marble floor mansion (Taj Mahal?) in the area. He has named his grand mansion The Royal and will henceforth be living there, since his old house has been transformed into a commercial area. He will start some sort of business there. There is another picture - of The Royal. It is royal, indeed.

Her mother is cooking dinner, humming happily. Sally has forgotten she cannot read. Her mother has told her often, with great pride, that she is the first person in her family who can read and write. She has made sure her daughter could read and write. Handing her the newspaper Sally points to the article. Her mother's large eyes (Vishalakshi) drop quickly to the article in question and rise painfully slowly. Sally thinks they are glistening with tears. Her mother now is a quiet mix of emotions - mostly sad and hurting. She asks Sally to read out the article for her, which she does. She waits for a reaction, but gets none. They eat dinner in silence. The delicious apple pie tastes like sawdust. Sally feels bad for her mother; she has prepared the meal with so much affection. She feels bad for herself too. She tries to talk to her mother about the article. "But he never bothered about...," her words remain caught in her throat as she tries to speak. Come dawn, her mother wakes her up gently, as she always does. She notices dark smudges under her eyes. They have both spent a miserable, sleepless night. Her mother advises her not to skip her meals in case her work takes more time, to take a short break and go to a bakery and eat something - a cake, maybe. (Christmas?) And to be careful since the road was bad, too many pot holes. She also brings the umbrella and hands it to her. Sally sees she is hobbling and spots her bleeding toe, and asks how it happened. Her mother dismisses it, saying: "Just a little cut. I think I stubbed my foot on the door in a hurry. It's nothing." (Crossing the metaphoric 'Lakshmana-rekha' - part of 'Ramcharitmanas', Tulsidas' retelling of the Ramayana?) She leaves thinking her mother cares too much. While walking to work, she thinks a lot. But little by little, she begins to see the light. And even before she arrives at her place of work, her mind is sorted. (Tamaso mā jyotir gamaya - the tamas [allegoric 'fog'] of confusion, worry, indecision etc clouding her thoughts [mind] recedes, followed by the emergence of clarity [light]?) She has decided to meet her father.

There is an air of expectancy about her, but she is not irritable or nervy, instead she is calm and determined. Later, she stops at the bakery for something to eat, remembering her mother's words. It warms her heart. On reaching home, she speaks to her again about meeting her father. She holds her mother's calloused hand between hers and looks into her huge eyes (Vishalaksha?) Her mother says: "I'm not worried about you meeting him, I know you want to meet him and won't rest until you do so. What I'm scared about is that he will break your heart the way he..." her words trail off, and she looks away. Only this time, there are no tears. "I won't let him break mine. I am his daughter, after all," Sally assures her, her chin up in the air. She has a feeling her mother thinks her as ungrateful and heartless, especially after all that she has done for her all these years. But Sally is not ungrateful, merely hard put to explain it to her. Roman's mother gives her leave the next day without a fuss. "You are a hard working girl. Go ahead; go where you have to go. We've just become so used to seeing your charming, smiling face each day. You can go early today, too, if you have to prepare for your trip, girl," she says affectionately. Her mother requests the good Mr. Namgyal to escort her to town. (Jatayu analogy? Or Garuda?) "It's her first trip out of here and I am concerned for her. ... My little girl has never been out of here, you know it. I am so sorry to bother you, but please make sure she goes and comes back safely," she urged him, worry writ large on her face. "She is like my own daughter, Mrs. Eggs, just don't worry. I had to go to town in a few days for my supplies. I will just prepone my visit. It's no bother at all," he assures her, smiling, as always. Sally is glad to go with Mr. Namgyal. He is a kind gentleman who wishes them well.

It is just a two-hour ride from her town to the big city. But the difference between the two places is enormous. The noise of the city is relentless. Motor vehicles, buses, trams, all make for an out of tune orchestra. Here everyone's face is flushed and everyone is anxious about something. Sally takes a deep breath and sets out to meet the man who is her father, the fabulously rich Mr. Eggs. He doesn't know she's on her way. Sally wonders if he even remembers she exists. But she does exist and she is his daughter - his little princess from so many long years ago. Thirteen, to be precise. Thirteen long years.

Everyone seems to know The Royal. And before she knows it she finds herself at its towering gates. She remembers everything from the picture in the newspaper and recalls every word of the article. But the picture does the mansion no justice. Like some Roman-era palace, it has a majestic colonnaded façade, rich glass and shiny brass outlines and stucco white paint that hurts if one were to look too long at it. It is like a grand red-roofed palace. (Little Red Riding Hood?) Sally walks to the gates and tries to push them. The tonnes of black painted metal do not even budge. (The last stage of Kaliyug or the ghor Kaliyuga phase - euphemistically known as the 'Iron Age' of confusion/ignorance/stagnation/degeneration/decay? An age characterized by lack of humaneness/humanistic values and concerns (desensitized)... since tamasic-ness (the allegoric 'fog' of confusion, ignorance and negativism) holds sway, the heart of humankind is hard and cold like iron?) But an army of guards comes rushing at her. She cowers for a while and holds on to the bars of the gate for dear life. She soon regains her composure and stands her ground resolutely. The guards may not know who she is but she knows that she is the daughter of the man who owns the mansion. That is reason enough for her to feel better and enormously more confident, even though she has not driven up in a limousine and her clothes are modest, to say the least. The guards collectively try to shoo her away, but she is determined and stands her ground. She insists on a meeting with the owner of the mansion... even though she does not have an appointment and he has not invited her, either. She sees a man standing at the sprawling deck on the first floor of the mansion, with his hands on the carved rail, looking intently at the happenings at the gates. He speaks to someone who materializes next to him. The very next minute the guards' walkie-talkies start buzzing ('aakash-vaani'?) A man dressed in a black business suit (Kaalpurusha?) and carrying a walkie-talkie comes running from the gigantic stepped entrance of the mansion. (Parallels with a step pyramid or stepped pyramid - the polished, smooth faced true pyramids of the 4th Dynasty master builders? The Step Pyramid of Djoser or Mastaba of Djoser, according to tradition, was built for Horus Netjerikhet, better known as Djoser, a major ruler of Egypt's 3rd Dynasty. A wall of fine white Tura limestone surrounds the complex). The black-business-suited man speaks to the guards and they all step away, making room for him. He says: "How can I help you, miss?" His voice is cultured; he definitely is superior to the guards. They have all melted away behind the gates. "I am here to meet Mr. Eggs," she says with as much confidence as she could muster. "And who, shall I say, would like to meet Mr. Eggs," he asks, still cultured, though quite amused. "I am Sally Eggs." Silence. He waits for her to go on, but she has spoken. He walks a little distance away and speaks politely into the walkie-talkie, and returns, smiling. In less than a minute, Sally finds herself on top of the stairs that lead to the grand entrance to the palatial mansion called The Royal, the house of Mr. Eggs. The large carved beveled wooden doors of the house swoosh open, as a warm gust of delicious fragrances (fresh bread and cake baking and some exotic oil burning in a lamp somewhere inside the house) comes gushing out and greets her. She smells the smell of opulence, as she gazes stupefied at the cavernous interiors of The Royal (reminiscent of some grand pyramid?) Her escort leaves her standing amidst princely wealth - thick Persian carpets, overstuffed leather sofas, wall-to-floor curtains, glittering chandeliers and paintings and pieces of art that she has only read about and seen in magazines. [Parallels with Ravana's palace? ... A beautiful golden city, Lankaa was situated atop Trikoot Parvat, in the middle of the sea. Ravana is said to have become the King of Lanka by usurping Lanka from his half brother, Kubera. Kubera is often depicted as a dwarf, with fair complexion and a big belly. Very similar to Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas. BG 10.23: || rudrāṇāṁ śaṅkaraś cāsmi vitteśo yakṣa-rakṣasām vasūnāṁ pāvakaś cāsmi meruḥ śikhariṇām aham || ~ "Of all the Rudras I am Sankara [Rudra-Śiva], of the Yakshas and Rakshasas [small-sized beings, the Lilliputians of Gulliver's Travels?] I am the Lord of wealth [Kubera], of the Vasus I am fire [Agni], and of mountains I am Meru."]

Softly, a man - dressed in a frightfully expensive suit - descends the staircase, like he owns the place. Indeed, he owns the place. She is now face-to-face with Mr. Eggs, the man in the picture. Her father. Her heart skips a beat at first, then another. She has a bunch of emotions rushing through her. But she steadies herself, wraps her arms about herself and braces for Mr. Eggs to descend the stairs and approach her. ... He stops at the bottom of the stairs, one foot poised on the last step and the other gently touching down. "Sally? Is that you?" His voice is unmistakable. ('Bhairava' or Pranavah?) It is her father. Her heart is in her mouth. Thirteen long years. He continues walking, arms spread out, gesturing her to come to him. In a trance, she walks. "Come, my little princess," he whispers as he wraps his arms around her. A flood of tears is rising inside her, threatening to drown her and her whole world in it. She closes her eyes shut, clenches her fists, allows her father to stroke her hair, and kiss her forehead. Then she steadies herself and draws back. Tears are glistening in his eyes but she is completely dry-eyed. This was her father who left her and her mother thirteen long years ago. Her mother struggled hard, forgetting her own comfort to bring up her little daughter. Memories come rushing back to her. Her mother did not leave her side, when she fell ill. She managed everything alone, with no one ever there to comfort her. No one with whom to share her fears, worries, grief, pain, stress, work, suffering. No one. Sally wonders what she is doing in the company of a man who abandoned both of them. Someone who was too busy to meet his daughter all these years. Mr. Eggs smiles expansively and says she has the same eyes and gait, that signature Eggs gait. He is talking, but Sally is thinking. Thinking of her mother, her lonely, but brave mother. She is also thinking of their lonely lives. It hardens her resolve. She asks Mr. Eggs if he cared so much for her, why he didn't ever come to meet her? "You had thirteen years to do that." Mr. Eggs says something about thirteen years having passed in the blink of an eye. "Has it really been that many years - thirteen?" He seems surprised. Sally stares at him, glazed eyes and not a touch of warmth in them. Mr. Eggs gulps, in his own palace. Then he says something about not having enough time, since he was too busy pursuing his mission with single-minded focus. He had no time for anything else. "That's your part of the story, sir. For us, the years have passed very slow and very joylessly." She waits for a fraction of a second to let it all register on him... before giving him a piece of her mind. "You think I came here to live in this house and ride in your expensive cars and go to mindless parties and beg you for your precious gold coins? Or do you think I am here so that I can build myself a secure future and never have to work again? Or do you think I am here to dress up in designer dresses and buy obscene jewellery? Or do you think I am here for all of this?" Mr. Eggs gulps some more. ... How is this man? What sort of a person is he? Sally is suddenly relieved that only her looks have gone on him, she is not like the person he is. Her mother could have left her and followed her dreams too. But she stayed with her, for her. She knew her daughter needed her. "... I wanted to see the man who abandoned his daughter and wife. As for leaving the past behind, too much water has flowed under the bridge. I am here to see the man who brought me into this world, showed me golden dreams and vanished just like the unreal dreams he was showing me. I am here to meet the man who gave me his name and then took away everything that comes with it. I am here to meet the man who is not worthy of either my time or attention or love or mindspace." Sally is now shaking with rage. She is beside herself. "So, I have your eyes, maybe your gait and your genes. You are rich beyond words in the worldly sense. But you, sir, are a very poor man. And I am here to tell you that my mother and I have done splendidly, even though you abandoned us. Mother is not wealthy like you, but she is the richest woman I know. She is rich in love, caring, warmth. I seek those things, not your money. Keep it, you will need it. I have seen enough and I want none of it." With that she turns and walks right out of the lounge, his mansion and his life, leaving behind a crestfallen, flabbergasted man. A very small man in a very large mansion.

Mr. Namgyal is waiting for her. Her heart lights up. A big burden has lifted. For the first time, she feels completely satisfied with who she is. "Mr. Namgyal, may we stop on the way and buy mother some flowers? She so loves the yellow blooms..." [Yellow blooms: signifying Basant or spring ~ the king of all seasons, representing beauty, new life, and creation? BG 10.35: || ṛtūnāḿ kusumākaraḥ || ~ "and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring".] It's drizzling lightly and Sally doesn't have an umbrella. She turns her face upwards to let the life-giving rain (varsha of Bharatavarsha?) caress her soul. BG 10.34: || mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham udbhavaś ca bhaviṣyatām || ~ "I am all-consuming time, and I am too the generating principle/cause/energy of all that is yet to be." (Alternatively: "I am all-consuming time, and I am too the birth of all that shall come into being.")

My twopenceworth: To understand the true significance of the spring festival (Vasant Panchami) it is important to understand the essence of Devi SarasvatI, the presiding deity of learning, aesthetics and creativity. After Makara Sankranti (January-February), when the earth begins to get closer to the sun, the cold winter begins to yield to delightful spring. Vasant Panchami marks the beginning of Vasant or spring, when it is time for every tree, branch and bower to spring to new life with blooms and bursts of colour and fragrance, vibrant in festive display. "Baasanti" is derived from Basanta (spring). Devi SarasvatI is also known as Baasanti - She who is draped in yellow-coloured attire. The effulgent sun is  Savitr. Devi SarasvatI is Savitri - the personification, manifestation or embodiment of the effulgent sun; goddess of dawn. (Maybe indicative of solar energy?) ... Devi SarasvatI is Savitri - the goddess (deity) of dawn who dispels the metaphoric (symbolic) 'fog' of ignorance and confusion... and lights the diya or lamp of Eternal Knowledge (true/eternal/non-transient knowledge - para vidya). In other words: The Wisdom of knowledge, or rather the supreme wisdom that destroys all illusions. | 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. It is the festival (celebration) of the king of all seasons - Rituraj Basant (Spring). 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. ... Basant Panchami marks the end of winter and heralds in spring, as beautiful flowers and greenery starts to blossom in all its glory. The day of Vasant (Basant) Panchami (also a harvest festival) 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. Spring signifies renewal or new life (rejuvenation): to turn away from the (symbolic) 'darkness' ('fog') of delusion, illusion, ignorance, pessimism, confusion et al, and to begin to build a new life with bright light (auspicious effulgence, light divine - within us) ~ to shine brighter and brighter (i.e. to progress, flourish and prosper). 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, ability to converse and articulate) and the wealth of knowledge (intelligence, wisdom, perspective, discerning - ability to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently). Praying to Sri Krishna also commemorates this day. ... If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? asked Shelley. Shyamsundara Krishna is personified spring, full of colour, joy and gaiety. The festive spirit dispels pessimism and instills hope and vibrancy. 

Thirteen is Trayodashi. In Sanaatan Dharmic thought Trayodashi is considered very lucky. Kaamadeva or Cupid is associated with Trayodashi. BG 10.28: || prajanaś cāsmi kandarpaḥ || ~ "of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa (or Cupid), the god of love." An auspicious day dedicated to Shiva, Pradosha falls on the 13th day (Trayodashi) of the lunar fortnight (Paksha). Pradosha Vrata occurs during the two different phases of the moon (waxing and waning). This vrata is regarded as highly auspicious and beneficial; it is believed that one would be blessed with wealth, children, happiness and honour. Dhanteras, also known as "Dhanatrayodashi" or "Dhanvantari Trayodashi" is the festival of well being and prosperity. It is celebrated by worshipping Dhanvantari (the Supreme Druid who emerged out of 'samudra-manthan' holding the metaphoric pot of 'amrit' [piyush], signifying rejuvenation, re-energizing, re-invigoration), Kuber, and Lakshmi. The word Dhan means wealth and Teras or Trayodashi means 13th day. It is celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Ashvin. Sri Lakshmi Devi is the deity (deva) who embodies all that is auspicious and abundant on the Earth. On Dhantrayodashi, Devi Lakshmi is worshipped to provide prosperity and well being. Devi Lakshmi is the devi (deity, deva or symbol) of wealth. She represents not only material wealth, but also the wealth of grains, courage, valour, spiritual wisdom, offspring, success, peace, prosperity, well-being (including psychological health) and spiritual contentment. [Though unhusked rice is kept near the idol, it means nutrition - healthy and balanced nutrition.] 

Sri (Sanskrit: Śrī) is a respectful honorific. Sri, also transliterated as Sree or Shri or Shree, is a word of Sanskrit origin. It is gender-specific in Sanskrit. In Sanskrit grammar, Sri has the feminine gender. | Sri has the root meaning of radiance (Gauri?) or prosperity (Lakshmi?) Thus, Shree means: 'Light; beauty; prosperity; rank/position; power''. [Light (Radiance, Gauri?); beauty (Sundara - inner perfection?); prosperity (Lakshmi? Kuber?); rank/position (SarasvatI?); power (Shakti?)] | The assumption that Śrī is masculine has resulted in the titles of Shrimati (abbreviated Smt) for married women and Sushri for women (independent of marital status). While Shriman is the equivalent to the English "Mr."] 

As a female Sanskrit name, Rama (pronounced with a long final vowel 'a' - Ramaa) means "rejoicing" and is a name of the Goddess Lakshmi. With two long vowels 'a', Rama (pronounced Ramaa) is a name of Sita. As a male Sanskrit name, Rama (pronounced with a first long vowel 'a'), means: "blissful, pleasing". Rāmachandra is a masculine name. Rāmachandra comes from the Sanskrit Rāma, which means: black, dark; Chandra means: moon (in Sanskrit). Therefore: Ramachandra means: the Rāmamoon (black/dark + moon). [Maybe Rāmachandra was dark-complexioned.] ... Sri Rama is described as 'big-eyed' (vishalaksha) and is also known as the 'lotus-eyed one' (i.e. one whose eyes are shaped like lotus petals). This Sri Rama is very likely a reference to Sita. Devi SarasvatI too is referred as Vishalakshi or 'the big-eyed-one' and as 'Padmakshi', 'Padmalochana' and 'Kamalalochane' - all of which means, the 'lotus-eyed-one' (i.e. one whose eyes are shaped like lotus petals). The SarasvatI Mantra, 'Pranam mantra' or Sanskrit prayer, says: || OM Sarasvati Mahabhagey, Vidye Kamalalochaney | Visvarupey Vishalakshi, Vidyam Dehi Namohastutey || ~ "O, the great Goddess SarasvatI, the lotus-eyed personified knowledge (Vidye Kamalalochaney)... O, large-eyed Goddess (Vishalakshi), taking the form of the whole universe (~ large-eyed in the Vishva-roop or Viraat-roop - the Universal Form, or [maybe] the Primal Form?), thou shower us with all the powers and glories of all knowledge that exist." Devi Durga has 108 names, one of which is 'Padmapatrakshi' or 'eyes like the lotus leaf'. Thus, the trimurti of 'SarasvatI-Lakshmi-Parvati' ('MahasarasvatI-Mahalakshmi-Jagadambika') is non-different. In other words: they are one and the same (trishula - "three spear"?) | There probably were two Rama-s (Sri Rama/Ramaa - implying Sita, and Ramachandra - her consort) in the Ramayana, and this similarity in names may have caused some confusion to later-day translators, commentators, poets et al (and thereby influenced the retelling). 

BG 10.33 || dvandvaḥ sāmāsikasya ca || ~ "and among compound words I am the dual compound." ... In Sanskrit there are also many compound words, of which the dual word, like rāma-kṛṣṇa, is called dvandva. In this compound, the words rāma and kṛṣṇa have the same form, and therefore the compound is called dual. [This also explains Rudra-Shakti, Siya-Rama or Sita-rama, Sridevi-Bhudevi, Lakshmi-Narasimha, Mitra-Varuna, Shiva-Parvati, Hari-Hara etc. | Hari and Hara means "dispeller" - of confusion, difficulties, miseries etc. Shiva (Sanskrit śiva) is also the Lord (deity or deva) of mercy and kindness. Shiva means auspicious, one who possesses inner perfection eternally. One who is non-deluded; i.e. one who eternally possesses the supreme wisdom that destroys all illusions. And so, 'Gauri-tanaya' Kartik and 'Hari-Hara Putra' Ayyappa may have been one and the same.] ... The Mahabharata ('The Great History of the Bharatas') has three Krsna-s: the Krishna-avatar, Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa (Sanskrit: Kṛṣṇā-Dvaipāyana Vyasa, better known as Maharshi Veda Vyasa), and Krishnaa-Draupadi (Kṛṣṇā draupadī) also known as Panchali and Krishnaa. Draupadi means 'daughter of Drupad' (the ruler of Panchala kingdom). Panchali means 'princess of Panchala kingdom' (or hailing from the royal family of Pañcāla). Panchali can also mean: an enigma. One of the many names Sri Krishna is referred to with in the Bhagavad Gita is Achintya, meaning enigmatic, incomprehensible, perplexing, unfathomable, inscrutable. It is also one of Shiva's many names. The title of Satyajit Ray's debut film 'Pather Panchali' is most interesting. And so is the title of its sequel, 'Aparajito' (meaning: unvanquished).

The five Pandavas could essentially mean: Yudhistira and Krishnaa Draupadi (Kṛṣṇā draupadī). [Bheem, Arjun, and the twins Nakula and Sahadeva could be different names given to different aspects of Krishnaa Draupadi. E.g. Arjuna is called the greatest of archers. Rudra is called "the archer" (Sanskrit: Śarva) and the arrow is an essential attribute of Rudra. The mighty Bheem is also called Pavana-putra. Putra could mean: personification, manifestation or embodiment. BG 10.31: || pavanah pavatam asmi || "of purifiers I am the wind (pavana)." The twins, Nakula and Sahadeva, supposedly born after the twin Ashvini Kumaras were invoked: The twin Ashvini Kumaras are the devas or deities of healing (allusion to Vaidyanatha?) Nakula is renowned for good looks. While Sahadeva is described as Master of the swords and "heroic, intelligent, wise", there is none who could equal Sahadeva in intelligence or wisdom. ... All these are attributes of the Krishna-avatar.] The game of dice could be allegorical. And so, Yudhistira 'pledging' Krishnaa Draupadi in the game of dice could be indicative of his extremely opportunistic, unprincipled, pliable and ambitious nature, in the sense that power and its associated aspects mattered to him. (He was Machiavellain and could 'stoop to conquer'.) 'Pledging' Draupadi in the game of dice could be: embarrassing her through his words and actions, and/or ignoring her stance and principles, thereby lowering her prestige. Maybe Yudhistira attempted to chart his own course (for the sake of gaining power). Also, despite insults hurled at Krishnaa Draupadi, he not only maintains a studied silence, but also makes every effort to make peace with Duryodhana (and his allies) and get a share in power. So, perhaps the throne mattered to him. Above everything. ... The narrative says he entrusts the Krishna-avatar to find ways and means to make peace with Duryodhana. However, we find Krishnaa Draupadi pouring cold water over Yudhistira's plans... by baiting Duryodhana (part of her arsenal of guile and wiles, she understood Duryodhana's nature perfectly). The Krishna-avatar was standing right next to Krishnaa Draupadi when she baited Duryodhana, and that the avatar had a hint of a smile on the lips. Ashvamedha Yagna is mentioned, it was part of Yudhistira's Ashvamedha Yagna. [Ashva = horse, implying Unicorn - ekashringa or one-horned horse. Medha = intelligence, power of the mind. Yagna = karm-yog. Yog = Yoga, meaning confluence or to connect - sanyog. Therefore, the title of "Dharmaraj" for Yudhistira - meaning "honourable", is quite ironical. Later we find, Karna's 'chariot wheel sank deep into the ground', at a crucial time. And he was (thus) unable to recollect the mantra (appropriate incantations) for unleasing certain weaponry. ... This 'chariot-wheel' is very likely a reference to Karna's mind chakra or Manasa Chakra, which is connected with most of the head (especially the brain); it is a combination of sensing and intellect. Krishnaa Draupadi aka the Krishna-avatar would have influenced it... and so, Karna's capacity to think coherently was affected - resulting in the dulling of his memory; he would have probably come under selective amnesia at a crucial time. BG 10.22: || indriyanam manas casmi bhutanam asmi cetana || ~ "Of the senses (indriyanam) I am the mind (manas - signifying the ability to think, to take cognisance etc); and in living beings (bhutanam) I am the living force (cit or consciousness - sentience, ability to feel)". Therefore, Karna's 'chariot wheel sank deep into the ground', at a crucial time, is indicative of some sort of "inception" or mind control. | Sidelining or weakening of Karna (a great archer) meant Duryodhan was tremendously and irrevocably weakened. Thus, we can see the many phases, and how the avatar (imperceptibly) influences/affects or changes the course of events. BG 9.11: || avajānanti māḿ mūḍhā mānuṣīḿ tanum āśritam paraḿ bhāvam ajānanto mama bhūta-maheśvaram || ~ "The ignorant deride Me when I descend in My human form (avatar). They do not know (are unaware of) My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be (~ as the Supreme Lord [maheśvaram] of all that be)." | The Jarasandha-Krishna rivalry too was a crucial one. Krishna was not motivated by personal glory. The opposite of Jarasandha in her goal, the Krishna-avatar would be no samraat (emperor)... for her status is that of svarat (svarāṭ) - one who removes negativism or impediments for the collective good of humankind. The fall of Jarasandha restored independence to nearly a hundred chieftains/kings, freed various clans and indeed the whole country of the spectre of the (proverbial) all-constricting imperialistic Magadhan python. Here is the idea of "welfare of all" or the "common good" exemplified. Krishna's brilliance, her overwhelming intelligence, far-sightedness and motives are precisely what should have engaged and inspired the likes of Dhritarashtra, Dronacharya, Bhishma Pitamah et al: to shun inertia, to overcome negative thoughts and narrow selfish motives, to perform their karm-yog - to rejuvenate dharma (noble or dharmic principles, actions that benefit society).]  

The Rama-avatar (Sri Rama) is depicted with a jata - matted coils of hair or dreadlocks (bunched up hair?) It could be an allusion to Rudra-Siva. Sri Rama is also depicted with a bow and arrow, implying "archer". [Rudra is called "the archer" (Sanskrit: Śarva) and the arrow is an essential attribute of Rudra. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root śarv, which means, "to negate" or "to dispel". Hence, the name Śarva can be interpreted as: "One who can dispel or drive away darkness". The names Dhanvin ("bowman", or one who holds a bow) and Bāṇahasta or baanahasta ("archer", literally: "armed with arrows in hands"; bāṇa = arrow, hasta = hand) also refer to archery (implying "the archer"). Rudra is described as armed with a bow and fast-flying arrows (baan or bāṇa).] The Rama-avatar is said to have taken "jal-samadhi" or "salila-samadhi". It could be an allusion to the "Byomkesh" allegory, absorbing the tide (force and intensity) of the allegoric 'Ganga' for the good of humanity - to allow it to transform and evolve (to replenish, to rejuvenate). The Ramayana ('The Exertions of Sri Rama' or 'The Way of Sri Rama') is also 'Sitayana' (SitaAyaNa or Sitaayanā - Sita's Way or The Way of Sita). She is the principal character, and without her there is no Ramayana, Sri Rama or Rama-avatar. That is her human/earthly identity. It is not a victimhood narrative, and she is not the groveling shriveling character that she has been turned into. ['Siya-Rama' or 'Sita-Rama' is therefore self-explanatory. It is a reference to Sita. Sita is Raghav - of the Raghu-s. She is Raghupati - best of the Raghu-s (Raghuvansh) or pride and jewel of Raghukula, lineage of Raghu, an illustrious ancestor of the Rama-avatar.] | Ayan (Sanskrit: AyaNa or ayanā) means movement towards or "way". It is associated with the travel of the sun, solstice or equinox. AyaNa or ayanā can also mean belonging to the solstice. BG 10.21: || adityanam aham visnur jyotisam ravir amsuman maricir marutam asmi naksatranam aham sasi || "Of the 12 Adityas I am Visnu, of lights I am the radiant sun, of the 7 Maruts (wind gods of the Rig Veda) I am Marici, and among the stars I am the moon." ~ Of the 12 Adityas, Sri Vishnu is the principal. 'Of lights I am the radiant sun' is a reference to Summer Solstice, it therefore (allegorically) implies 'harbinger/creator/initiator of a new dawn' and personification, manifestation or embodiment (Savitri) of the effulgent Sun (Savitr). BG 10.31: || pavanaḥ pavatām asmi rāmaḥ śastra-bhṛtām aham || ~ "I am the wind among the purifiers (implying, a breath of fresh air - change maker or transformative personage), and Sri Rama among the warriors" ~ i.e. warrior against the (allegoric or symbolic) 'fog' (tamas) of moribund aspects, retrogressive mindset, prejudices, narrow worldview, and so on. Implying: Asato mā sad gamaya - from ignorance, a movement towards knowledge and wisdom (the wisdom of knowledge or the light of wisdom, in other words: dispelling of illusions). Tamaso mā jyotir gamaya: dispelling of the tamas (allegoric 'fog') of negativism (ignorance, confusion etc) residing in the dark depths of the hearts and minds of humans, and the emergence of a new dawn (light, the path of wisdom, illumination - surya dvarena). Mṛtyor mā amṛtaṁ gamaya: a movement from (metaphoric) 'death' (i.e. slothfulness, torpor, moribund aspects, intellectual ennui, intellectual decay and stagnation) towards verve, intellectual vibrancy and fresh thinking. Aum śānti śānti śāntiḥ: a movement towards peace - within ourselves, in the world, and in the universe.]

Avatars are unlikely to announce themselves. They are nishkam (selfless) karm-yogi. Their purpose for being amongst humanity is different; they rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. The Ramayana makes for a very interesting read. Humans born through IVF procedure arrived (the birth procedure euphemistically referred to as 'yagna'). Due to Sri Rama aka Sita's efforts, these humans were accepted by society (and this would have helped childless couples too). While Dvapar rejected humanoids, as well as genetically engineered and cloned humans. Also, due to Sita's efforts adivasis (aboriginal people) and vaan-vasis (forest-dwellers) were accepted as full-fledged humans. There was dismantlement of nuclear weaponry after an all-round consensus. Sri Rama 'breaking the Shiva-dhanush' (Pinaka) is an allusion to this avatar dismantling destructive nuclear weaponry - for the collective good of mankind. [However, it is unlikely to have happened in a svayamvara.] Much of the powerful and destructive weaponry, including potent nerve agents (euphemism: 'naag-paas') and gigantic humanoid-robot equipped with an assortment of weaponry ('Kumbhakarna') too were destroyed. BG 10.31: || pavanaḥ pavatām asmi rāmaḥ śastra-bhṛtām aham || ~ "I am the wind among the purifiers (implying, a breath of fresh air - change maker), and Sri Rama among the warriors (implying problem-solver)".]

Sita and Mandodari were so alike that even Hanuman-ji was confused. Her foster father, king (rajah) Janaka, brought her up. ["Janak" was actually the title assumed by the kings of Videha, also known as Janakpur. Mithila (Sanskrit: mithilā) was capital of Videha kingdom. So Janaka was also Mithila Naresh. His original name was Shiradhvaj. Shira = head. Dhvaj = emblem, insignia or flag. ... Devi SarasvatI is also known as 'Veena-pustak dharini' or bearer of the musical instrument (veena) and a book (pustak). So, did king Janaka have a veena as his emblem/insignia?] From the Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) one gets the impression that Ravana was Sita's father. It is said that king Janaka of Videha (now known as Janakpur) found her abandoned in a ditch, adopted her and brought her up as his own daughter. Yet another story says that king Janaka while ploughing (ceremonial) after performing the yagya for the rains (in his drought-hit kingdom), struck a metal vessel with the lowest blade of the plough called 'Seet', and that this is how Sita's name originated. [It is also taken to mean furrow.] ... However, all this could be an allusion to Bhudevi - the deity or personification of the Earth (Dharitri, Vasundhara or Vasudha). Sita was none other than Bhudevi, Herself. ('Rose-Red' - of the fairy tales). She is Sridevi (Devi Lakshmi) and Bhudevi, simultaneously. [Wealth/prosperity and the earth are closely associated.] | The Sanskrit sita simply means white - signifying inner perfection (Self-realisation), purity of the mind - absence of selfish concerns and narrow perspective; possessor of true/eternal/non-transient knowledge (para vidya - the light of wisdom or the wisdom of knowledge - to destroy all illusions). In other words: One who is truly enlightened. Devi SarasvatI is attired in pristine white garments, and seated on a Pure White Lotus. [The 'Snow-White' analogy. ... Possibly also indicative of the gentle and complete 'awakening' or 'rousing' of the latent spiritual energy - kundalini; the highest state of Kundalini 'Fire' ~ the state of complete wisdom - Supreme or Highest Enlightenment, the stage where nirvana is attained, the state of a Buddha.] | Devi SarasvatI and Sridevi/Bhudevi represent 'Purusha' (Puruṣa) and 'Purusha-uttama' respectively. In other words: 'Purusha' and 'Prakriti' ('Primal Nature' or deity/personification of Nature), respectively. | There is the concept of sukshma-sharira (subtle/astral or Pranic body) and sthula-sharira (gross or Physical body). Devi SarasvatI represents sukshma-sharira (subtle/astral or Pranic body). While Sridevi/Bhudevi ('Prakriti' - personification of nature) represents sthula-sharira (gross or physical body/physical frame).] | 'Purusha' is a reference to subtle/astral or Pranic body (atma) - Bhuta Nath. (Satyajit Ray's 'Bhuter Raja'?) Also, 'Lord of Mankind', since the human body is essentially made up of five elements of nature, referred to as PanchaMahabhuta or MahaPanchabhuta: Earth/Soil (bhumi), Water (jala), Fire (agni), Air (vayu) and Space (aakash). ... Atma is energy; it has no gender or physical frame (physical body), and is therefore unmanifested (avyaktah) to mortal eyes. Atma is 'It'. However, since the human mind cannot comprehend something that is not manifested or is invisible (e.g. vacuum) - therefore, for purposes of comprehension and clarity, it is visualized or depicted. The visualization serves to bring forth various characteristics, qualities, essence, aspects, traits etc of the Eternal Divine/Cosmic Being (Param-atma/Purusha or Primordial Being). ... 'Purusha' does not mean male, it means: Eternal Divine/Cosmic Being, i.e. Param Vishva Atma, Param-atma or Mahat (~ all of which implies Cosmic Ruler: the motive power and guiding spirit, Highest Cosmic Intelligence or the Cosmic Mind, Universal Consciousness - variously known as Ishvar, Jagat-patih, Bhuta Nath, God, etc). ... Sridevi/Bhudevi (i.e. 'Prakriti') is a reference to sthula-sharira (gross or manifested/physical body; physical frame). In other words: Avatara. Also known as: Purusha-uttama, meaning 'greatest of all beings', implying direct manifestation, i.e. the descent (manifestation) of the Param-atma (Eternal Divine/Cosmic Being - Primordial/Primeval Being) into earthly form (physical frame). Sridevi/Bhudevi ('Prakriti') and Devi SarasvatI are (therefore) one and the same. And so, the cosmic trimurti of 'SarasvatI-Lakshmi-Parvati' ('MahasarasvatI-Mahalakshmi-Jagadambika') are non-different. Devi Parvati is popularly known as Devi Durga. Durga means fortress, implying invincible, unvanquished (aparijita).

The Ramayana ('The Exertions of Sri Rama' or 'The Way of Sri Rama'; in other words: 'Sitayana' - SitaAyaNa or Sitaayanā - Sita's Way or The Way of Sita) and the Mahabharata ('The Great History of the Bharatas' ~ indicative of the Puruvansh or Bharatvansh - the lineage of Puru (Yayati's youngest-born) or Dushyant-Shakuntala's son, Bharata, and/or the denizens of Bharatavarsha) is very intelligently written, with numerous allusions, metaphors, allegory, imagery, wisdom/philosophy, patterns of behavior, human excellence, human traits, thought-provoking insights (into events, human nature, societal aspects et al), life lessons, art and literature, politics, economics, scientific endeavour, ideas and ideals, anecdotes, as a repository of traits worth emulating, etc seamlessly woven into the narrative. [The original title of the Mahabharata is Jaya (Victory). We can speculate about the original title of the Ramayana, though Maharshi Valmiki may have (very likely) meant Sita aka Sri Rama.] ... Maybe our understanding and interpretation of the Ramayana ('The Exertions of Sri Rama') and the Mahabharata ('The Great History of the Bharatas') is largely influenced by the interpretations, including vernacular versions and folk renderings - both verbal and visual - that came about (possibly) after the decline of the Gupta era. This period was marked by intellectual ennui, intellectual decline and stagnation (absence of 'kshir-sagara manthan' or intellectual manthan - intellectual rigueur and vigour), a lack of scientific temper, degeneration of societal/civilisational values and ideals etc. Large swathes of the populace was illiterate, stratification of society along various aspects, including on gender lines came about, the status of women suffered a considerable decline (possibly through a readjustment of the epics, and also due to the views and ideals preached in the later Smritis'), and so on. The interpretations were therefore (very likely) social critiques and/or the outcome of the thought process, worldview and mindset of various translators, interpreters, commentators, dramatists, musicians, poets et al - who were also the product of that era, and so (in all likelihood) reflected the social milieu of the times. Much of it was also meant for stage plays, folk theatre etc and catered to a largely illiterate and ignorant audience (uninformed, unlearned, lacking knowledge or information). However, with the passage of centuries, or rather a millennium perhaps, we have, somehow, persisted with those translations, perspective, approach and interpretations.

Ravana is also known as Dashanan and Dasagriva, meaning: 'ten-headed'. (Dasaratha means 'ten-chariots'). Rāvaṇa is depicted and described as having ten heads and two ears in total. Two ears imply poor listening skills. (Maybe he was a legend in his mind; exceedingly headstrong and perhaps also loved to hear the sound of his own voice). Ravana's ten heads may also allude to his excessive ego/vanity, rage and exaggerated self-image - his temperament flaws; it may also represent ten kingdoms. Despite this, Ravana was not Cakravartin or Cakravartin-raja. Also, the overweening, ambitious Meghnadh was his favourite son. Ten heads can also imply top-heavy - 'too many cooks spoil the broth'. Ravana was knowledgeable, erudite, a patron of the arts, and a powerful king; he was also an excellent veena player, and this popular musical instrument is believed to have adorned his flag (dhvaj or insignia/emblem, coat of arms). Are Janaka and Ravana different people? | The name Ravana is derived from the root, 'Ra' which signifies the sun. Ravana means: 'he of the terrifying roar'. However, what could be the actual location/geographic area of ancient Lanka (and/or of areas that came under the suzerainty of Lanka)? The Ravanahatha (variant names: ravanhatta, rawanhattha, ravanastron, ravana hasta veena) - an ancient bowed fiddle, is popular in Western India (including Rajasthan where it is still played) and Sri Lanka. It is believed to have originated among the Hela civilization of Sri Lanka in the time of king Ravana... and can be described as the first violin in history.]

Ravana is believed to have been a great devotee of Shiva (Rudra-Siva? ~ BG 10.23: || rudrāṇāṁ śaṅkaraś cāsmi || ~ "Of all the Rudras I am Sankara" [Rudra-Śiva] There are 11 Rudras, of whom Rudra-Siva (Sankara) is preeminent). During one of the 'Ceremonial Yagya' by Shiva, Ravana was given the *'Boon Water', which he was told to give to his queen-consort, Mandodari (daughter of the famed architect Mayasura and an apsara named Hema). Mandodari was renowned for her wisdom and grace as well as beauty. She is often compared to Sita. While on the way back to his kingdom, both Ravana and Mandodari is said to have rested in a lonely forest. (Nandan-kanan? The fabled Garden of Eden?) During the night, Ravana felt thirsty, he drank the 'boon water' and was impregnated. While on the way back to his kingdom the next day, he coughed ferociously and Sita is said to have landed in Janakpur, the kingdom of king Janaka, who while ploughing (in a ceremony after performing the 'yagya' for the rains in his drought-hit kingdom), struck a metal vessel with the lowest blade of the plough called 'Seet'. And this is how Sita's name (according to popular lore) is said to have originated. King Janaka adopted her and brought her up as his own daughter, and so, Sita is also known as Janaki (meaning 'daughter of Janaka'). [*Boon is vara, in Sanskrit. Devi SarasvatI is also known as "Varadey Kaamarupinee" implying kamadhenu - the allegoric "wish-fulfilling cow". Possibly a metaphor for wish-fulfillment (vara, boon), as well as prosperity, progress, auspiciousness, luck etc. BG 10.28: || dhenūnām asmi kāmadhuk || ~ "among cows I am the surabhi". [Rivers and cows are often poetically correlated in the Rig Veda. ... In the Rig Veda, SarasvatI is a river as well as its personification as a goddess.] ... Are Ravana and Janaka different people? Is Dasaratha related to Ravana/Janaka? Are Dasaratha and Janaka different people? Are Ravana, Janaka and Dasaratha different people? Or does the exceptionally intelligent narrative merely use different names for different aspects, anecdotal purposes, to impart life lessons, wise philosophy et al and to also induce 'kshira-sagara manthan' (intellectual rigueur and vigour)? On a side note: Veda (meaning wisdom, knowledge) comes from the root "vid" (to know). This word, "Veda", has in turn given rise to "Vidya", which also means: knowledge. And so, the Vedas can be described as Book of Knowledge.] | Sita is Maithili ('princess of Mithila', hailing from Mithila and/or the royal family of Mithila). King Dasaratha was the ruler of Ayodhya or some other kingdom? Tusharatta or Tushratta, the son of Shuttarna II, was a Mittani king in North Syria. [Mittani is derived from Mithila or Mitra - the patron divinity of friendship (mayitree), agreements/contracts and meetings, and a figure of the Rig Veda, closely associated with Varuna - chief of the Adityas, and also considered the deva of all forms of the water element, particularly the oceans? ... Mitra-Varuna is thus a dual compound or dvandva compound. And, so, 'Mitra-Varuna' is very likely a reference to Devi SarasvatI. Varuna's 'vaahan' is a makara (crocodile). BG 10.31: || jhaṣāṇāḿ makaraś cāsmi || ~ "I am the crocodile among the fishes".] Tushratta (meaning "of splendid chariots"), is similar to Dashratha meaning "of ten chariots". Perhaps, the Vedic funeral altar (Smashaanacit or Smashaanachita) became the stepped pyramid - the great flat-topped Mastaba of Djoser, a precursor to later pyramids. The magnificent temple at Karnak in Egypt was dedicated to the sun god - and there is a magnificent sun temple at Konark in Odisha even today.

Shanta was a daughter of Maharajah Dasharatha and Kausalya, but was adopted by the king (rajah) of Angadesh, Raja Rompad, and her aunt Vershini, an elder sister of Kausalya. Vershini had no children, and, when at Ayodhya, Vershini, in a lighter vein asked for offspring, Dasharatha agreed to allow the adoption of his daughter. However, the word of Raghukula was binding, and Shanta became the princess of Angadesh. ... Shanta is also referred as wife of Rishyasringa. Rishyasringa (Sanskrit: Ṛṣyaśṛṅga) means 'deer-horned'. Deer implies (i.e. is an allusion to) "destiny". Rishyasringa is also known as Ēkaśṛṅga (ekashringa, one-horned), signifying Unicorn (the figurative 'one-horned horse') - an imagery for rarity and uniqueness. It is (perhaps) also indicative of Sri Hayagriva or Hayaśirṣa - the magnificent horse-headed Vishnu. [Haya means horse, sirsa means head, griva means jaw ~ all of which implies equine features. | On a side note: The 10th Vishnu (as per the "Dasavatara" - the ten principal avatars) is called the Kalkiḥ-avatar. Another etymology (for "Kalkiḥ") from Sanskrit is 'white horse', possibly implying Unicorn.] Were Shanta and Rishyasringa different people? Is Rishyasringa an allegory for Devi SarasvatI ('SarasvatI-Lakshmi-Parvati')? 

Devi SarasvatI represent the divine forces in play (euphemistically known as 'leela') in the growth, expansion and evolution of the Brhmaanda (the 'Cosmic Egg'). This aspect of the growth of the Brhmaanda is thus steeped with the knowledge of all that has transpired since the moment of Creation and continues to drive the further evolution of the Brhmaanda. This driving force of knowledge is called as the divinity SarasvatI, as it is a knowledge that continues to flow through the expanse of the Brhmaanda gracefully and incessantly like waves. [Saras means gracefully flowing.] ~ This knowledge power forms the root for all forms of knowledge, speech (vak), skill, arts, fine arts, craft etc. ... SarasvatI is therefore the divinity that promotes the development of all of these capabilities in mankind.

The 'Snow-White' analogy can be used for Devi SarasvatI (the unmanifested Param-atma, Purusha or Primordial Being). ... Sat/Satya (Shaashvata or the Sanaatana Purusha) = the Eternal (Ultimate/Primordial/Primeval) Truth; in other words: the Eternal Divine/Cosmic Being - the higher power embedded in the fabric of the universe and responsible for its continuing existence and operation. While the 'Rose-Red' analogy can be used for the direct manifestation - manifested avatar (physical frame). Sundar or Sundaram = dharmic, sattvic (noble) and auspicious aspects; inner perfection (possessor of eternal/true/non-transient knowledge [para vidya] - the supreme wisdom that destroys all illusions.) Sundara is also a reference to the avatar - the Param-atma in earthly, manifested form (physical body or physical frame). ... If we can comprehend this, Leonardo da Vinci's most famous work too can be understood. 

Sarasa means stream, pool (sarovara), fountain or spring in Sanskrit. In the Rig Veda, SarasvatI is a mighty river (flowing from the mountains to the sea, giribhyah asamudrat) as well as its personification as a goddess. BG 10.24: || sarasam asmi sagarah || ~ "and of bodies of water I am the ocean." ... It could essentially mean that SarasvatI is the personification of the once-mighty Sindhu (from which the word "Hindu" has evolved, courtesy the ancient Persians, who, due to a lack of phonetics in their language, pronounced 'S' as 'HA', thereby turning the Vedic Sapta Sindhavaḥ into the Old Persian Hapta-Handu). Sarasam asmi sagarah can also mean: SarasvatI is Samudradeva. [A masculine river is called "Nad", a feminine one "Nadi". Of all the Vedic rivers, the Sindhu is both masculine and feminine. ... Is it to imply that Devi SarasvatI is the personification of the Sindhu Nad? And that they (in a manner of speaking) 'flow together'?] Sindhu is Sanskrit for the River Indus. "Sindhu" means river, stream or ocean in Sanskrit. This river flows from the mountains to the Sindhu Sagara. The Indus (River Sindhu), it is said, issues from a lion's mouth. Hence this river is called Sinh ka bab ~ the lion's gate or mouth. The once-mighty River Indus, it is said, originates from the mouth of a lion (Senge Khabab or "Lion's Mouth") - a perennial spring (sarasa) in Tibet. Thus, it is also called Sengge Tsangpo or 'Lion River'. This river is a common lifeline, and symbolically binds the people of more than one nation. Few rivers in the world flow through as stunning a landscape as the Sindhu (River Indus). It flows through plains, villages, hamlets and towns, as well as by valleys, gorges and peaks of countless hues. (Is the imagery of "lion" associated with Devi Durga, a reference to River Sindhu and/or Tibet? | The Great Sphinx of Giza has the body of a lion and the face of a man. | Were the ancient Tibetans known as the Kirata people... and associated with a lion imagery, signifying brave-heart, majestic and noble? Or was Kirata or Kirati used to refer to the indigenous people of the Himalayas? [Kirat or Kirati: means "people with lion-like nature". It is derived from two words: Kira = Lion and Ti = people; it also means: "people from the mountain".] Who were the Kimpurusha and Kinnara - terminologies used for earlier groups of people? Were they sub-clans of the Kirata people? [The Kimpurusha have been described as "lion-headed beings". The "lion head" may be an exaggeration. It perhaps was indicative of the features and/or nature of people from the mountains.] 

SarasvatI (Sarasa + vati): the Sanskrit name means, "having many pools" (pushkara in Rajasthan and ketaksha in the Salt Range could be two of those pools). ~ The rare blue lotus (yet another imagery for unicorn?) is termed pushkara. It is also known as krishna kamal - signifying the 'perfection of wisdom' - wisdom of knowledge or absence of illusions (implying Supreme or Highest Enlightenment, the stage where nirvana is attained; the state of a Buddha). It, therefore, could also be indicative of the complete 'awakening' or 'rousing' of the kundalini energy. [Blue Lotus signifies wisdom and knowledge, and stands for the victory over the senses. It defines a person's control over his or her mind and consciousness, to let go of materialistic aspirations in life and rise to a selfless soul. ... The blue lotus flower is not fully open; the bud is closed towards the centre, which is never revealed. This state of the flower (the partially-opened bud) is indicative that one should not stop attaining knowledge and wisdom in life. It is also associated with the Bodhisattva of wisdom, known as Manjushri (Buddha Manjushri - the Wisdom Buddha, the embodiment of the omniscient wisdom of all enlightened beings), and Prajnaparamita, the one who signifies the 'perfection of wisdom'. | Ketaksha is taken to mean: "raining eyes" (aksha means eye; 'varsha' means continent in Sanskrit). Therefore, Ketaksha should mean: spring (sarasa) of Vishalaksha (large eyes, or the one with large eyes). ... Perhaps it was originally meant as: spring (sarasa) of Vishalaksha (a reference to Bharati or Sita/Sri Rama). However, mistranslations probably has turned it into 'spring of the raining eyes'. And, with the passage of time and changing phonetics, Ketaksha too became Katas. ... The ancient Katas Raj temple complex is believed to date back to the Mahabharata era. It is also believed that the very first "Shiva Ling" was in Katas. Ketaksha or Katas is also believed to have been Ayudhya. (Ayudhya probably became Ayodhya due to changing phonetics.) "Ayudhya" comes from the root word "yudh", and so, Ayudhya literally means, "not to be fought". In other words, Ayudhya means invincible (victorious), unconquerable or eternal. There is an Ayutha and Dvaravati in Thailand too. ... Ancient Ayutha or Ayutthaya - the former capital of Thailand apparently rose from the earlier, nearby kingdoms of Lavo and Suphannaphoom (Suvarnabhumi). The Southeast Asian country Laos and the Thai city Lopburi, originally named as Lavo or Lavapura, may have been named after Lava. The seaport city of Ayothaya is Ayothaya Si Raam Thep Nakhon - the Angelic City of Sri Rama. The new city was known as Ayothaya, or Krung Thep Dvaravadi Si Ayothaya. Later it became widely known as Ayutthaya, the Invincible City. It is believed that this city is associated with the Thai national epic Ramakien, which is a southeastern version of the Ramayana ('The Exertions of Sri Rama'). | Dvaravati was part of the Mon kingdom, and refers to both a culture and a conglomerate of ancient city-states or principalities in the lower plain (riverine region) of the Chao Phraya river. The term Dvaravati derives from coins which were inscribed in Sanskrit with śrī dvāravatī. The Sanskrit word dvāravatī means "she with many gates" (from dvar "door, gate"). Its name is probably derived from the city of Dvāraka (Dvaraka) in ancient India.]

The silver-haired Maharshi Valmiki (also known as "Aadikavi" - the primeval or foremost poet) welcomes Sita in his ashram (hermitage). There she gives birth to her twin sons, Lava and Kusha. Valmiki takes them under his wing, overseeing their education and training, teaching them archery, etc. He was (thus) a foster parent to them. (The twins were erudite, courageous and well-brought-up.) ~ Did Ramachandra abandon his wife and unborn twins... in his determined ascent to the very top of the power pyramid? Was he a weak person, wilting in the face of all the bile directed at Sita? Did he not put in adequate thought (before their svayamvara), and then felt bowed down trying to be her equal? Was she totally out of his league? Was he overcome with feelings of insecurity, inadequacy etc? Jealousy or envy, perhaps? Did he direct his frustrations/resentment at her? Did he behave irresponsibly? Was he not a progressive person (in attitude etc)? Did he have an exaggerated self-image and/or excessive self-righteousness? Was he the Machiavellian sort (attempted to chart his own course)? Did he embarrass her (through his words and/or actions/demeanour)? Did he have a hand in her banishment? Did he see an opportunity for himself, if she were to be banished? Was their equation one of latent disdain and cold rejection? Were they incompatible (of completely different dispositions, motivations, perspectives etc)? Was he the one who ascended the throne? Was there some sort of a rapprochement between them, brought about by circumstances? Of the supremely practical (qui pro quo) kind? Valmiki speaking to Ramachandra and asking him to bring back Lava and Kusha to Ayodhya as Yuvaraja-s ~ was it to ensure that the boys were not deprived of what was rightfully theirs? [Even Lava and Kusha can be king Janaka, since "Janak" was actually the title assumed by the kings of Videha, also known as Janakpur.] ... From the narrative, we gather that Ramachandra ascended the throne, did not remarry, took care of the twins and performed a 'yagna' along with a golden statue of Sita. ... Maybe due to her extraordinary life and contributions, Sita had etched her name in the hearts and minds of the people. And this (perhaps) explains why Ramachandra - despite ascending the throne (and wielding power, influence etc) - did not remarry and performed the 'yagna' along with a golden statue of Sita. Is the honorific "Maryada Purush", interpreted to mean "honourable" (honour = maryada), used for Ramachandra? [In Julius Caesar, combined with irony, Mark Antony calls the conspirators "honourable men". He calls Brutus a "honourable man" and repeats the word "honourable" several times. He is really conveying that Brutus was the very opposite of "honourable".] Mother Earth splits and accepts Sita in her lap. Could this mean that Sita (Bhudevi, personification of the earth/nature/prakriti) chose to leave, rather than be Ramachandra's queen consort, given his disposition and opportunistic behaviour? Besides, had she acquiesced, would Ramachandra been able to cope with it? ... Also, people only remember the very good or the very bad. So, either Ramachandra's reign was an extraordinary one, a period of great peace and prosperity, making 'Rama-rajya' a reference point. Or it could have come about due to the efforts of renowned medieval poets like Tulsidas (and his immensely popular retelling of the Ramayana - the 'Ramcharitmanas'). Alternatively: SarasvatI is Bharati - the guardian, protector and presiding deity of Bharatavarsha; Bharati is also the personification of Bharatavarsha, possibly the oldest civilisation of the world. Sita is Sri Rama (the Rama-avatar). ... Therefore, was Bharatavarsha - the Sindhu-SarasvatI Civilisation (Sabhyata) - also known as the Rama Civilisation or 'Rama-rajya' (after Sita aka Sri Rama), and associated with enlightened leaders? And if so, what was the extent of this civilisation? Does the famous Pancha-janah (the five peoples of the Rig Veda) - namely, the Purus, Anus, Druhyus, Yadus and Tursvasas (descendents of king Yayati) an indication? Panchajanya is the Shankha (conch-shell) of Sri Vishnu. Panchajanya or Panchajanyam is also the name of Sri Krishna's shankha (conch-shell). Is Panchajanya or Panchajanyam a reference to the famous Pancha-janah (the five peoples of the Rig Veda, descendents of king Yayati)? ... Yayati hailed from a Chandravanshi clan. Sri Krishna too was a Chandravanshi Yadu, more precisely a Shurasena Yadu (Megasthenes' Sourasenoi) - a branch of the Yadu clan/kula that descended from Yayati's eldest-born, Yadu. The Shuracena Yadus can be identified with the ancient clan (lineage) of Harikula or Harivansh. The Sarakenoi or Saraceni (late Latin Saracēnus or late Greek Sarakēnos) could be the Shurasena Yadus, apart from the Vrishnis, that is. Vasudeva Krishna (Vasudeva, implying deity or deva of the earth - Vasudha/Dharitri/Vasundhara/Bhudevi), is the Lord of Mathura and Dvarka (Dvaravati), and is also known as Varshneya ('of the Vrishni'), possibly a clan with a bull insignia/emblem or coat of arms. The ancient Persians, on the other hand, can be fully identifiable with the Anus - descendents of Yayati's son, Anu, the particular Dasas (non-Purus) of the Rig Veda. A major Persian clan which is not named in the Rig Veda, but appears as a prominent Anu clan/kula in the Puranas and the epics is the Madrakas (also known as: Madras or Medes or Madai). [Madri hailed from this clan.] ... The name Anu or Anava for the Persians appears to have survived even in later times; the country and the people in the very heart of Avestan land, to the immediate north of the Hamun-i-Hilmand, were known, as late as Greek times, as the Anauon or Anauoi. Yayati made Turvasu the ruler of the far western regions. The descendants of Turvasu were known as Turvasus, who founded Turvaski. Even the Tusharas (Tukharas, Tócharoi) are believed to be descendents of Turvasu. The Tushara country mentioned in the Mahabharata could be Turkmenistan, now a Central Asian Republic and/or the Turkistan of Afghanistan. As for Druhyu, he and his descendents (known as the Druhyus) probably settled in the areas that came under ancient Uruk (modern Iraq)... and may have had something to do with the Sumerian Civilization. | "Persia" very likely evolved from "Parshva" (meaning: 'next door', 'neighbouring' or 'nearby'). The Rig Vedic Parsus or Parsavas has been anglicized to Persians. So, maybe, the people of Bharatavarsha called the people of the first/neighbouring port by the Sanskrit word "Parshva". Did Pārśva or Pārśvanātha, the twenty-third Tirthankara of Jainism, closely associated with compassion, have anything to do with ancient Persia? [King Yayati had two consorts. Devayani was the ancestress of the Yadus and Turvasus, while Sharmishtha was the ancestress of the Purus, Anus and Druhyus.] Sri Rama's lineage is also known as the Ikshvaku lineage. [Ikshvaku or Ikhaku or Ikkhaku; Skt. Ifahvaku; Pali: OjcTcaka, Okkaka.] Perhaps Akkadian could be a variant of Ikshvaku. And so, Mesopotamia or the ancient Babylonian Civilisation too may have been a part of 'Rama-rajya' and (therefore) a sister civilisation to Bharatavarsha. Naram-Suen (Naram-Sin) may refer to any of four kings in the history of Mesopotamia. Maybe, Naram-Sin (also transcribed as: Narām-Sîn and Naram-Suen) is a variation of Narasimha (Sanskrit: Narasiṁha) or Nrisingh (Narasingh or Narsingh). [Lakshmi-Narasimha is a dvandva - compound word or dual word, like rāma-kṛṣṇa. BG 10.33 || dvandvaḥ sāmāsikasya ca || ~ "and among compound words I am the dual compound."] Therefore, Rama-rajya (in all likelihood) extended much beyond the contours of modern India. [The Inca Civilisation and the Maya Civilisation are two of the most advanced ancient civilisations in the world. However, did a pre-dynastic Egyptian culture, known as Osiris, exist? Concurrent with the Rama Empire (Rama-rajya) or Rama Civilisation?]

Rustam was a Persian hero and a favourite of king Kaykaus. Did Kaykaus have anything to do with the ancient 'Kekeya', 'Kaikaya' or the 'Kaikeyas' - the clan (kula) from which Kaikeyi hailed? Kaikeyi belonged to Kekaya Mahajanapada (kingdom) and hailed from a clan known as the Kekaya (also: Kaikaya or Kaikeya). Hence her name was Kaikeyi ('of the Kaikeya'); it also refers to the ruling clan of the Kekaya or Kaikeya clans... who were settled in ancient Udyana (Sanskrit: Oḍḍiyāna) and is said to have dwelt between ancient Gandhara and the VipASa (Beas). She was the daughter of the mighty Ashwapati (Sanskrit: Aśwapati; Ashwa or Aśwa means horse; Ashwapati or Aśwapati means: Lord or Master of Horses, since the Kekayas were exceptional cavalrymen). Kekaya Mahajanapada was a long-term ally of Ayodhya. | Taksha and Pushkala were Bharata and Mandavi's sons. Mandavi was Sita's cousin. Yudhajeet (Kaikeyi's brother) and Bharata (Kaikeyi's son) assimilated the kingdom of Gandhara... and built the city of TakshaShila (named after Taksha - Bharata and Mandavi's son). Bharata also built another city after his other son Pushkala; this city was known as Pushkala-vati ("Lotus City"). Takshasila, to the east of the river Indus was known to Alexander and the Greeks as Taxila, while Pushkala-vati ("Lotus City") - to the west of the river Indus, was known to the Greeks as Peukelaotis. 

... Sita's story is a gritty fight against prevailing retrogressive societal aspects, mindsets and norms. She is 'everywoman'. It is not difficult to comprehend why she is victorious (vijaya) or unvanquished (aparajita). When someone attempts to break new ground, the proverbial hornets' nest and all that has to be factored in. Despite her contributions, hard work and effort, she has had to also withstand hardships, rejection, canards, innuendos and slights (the figurative 'agni pariksha', test by fire). Maybe even coped with a betrayal of trust. And yet, she has emerged victorious. She has remained aparijita (unvanquished). She had faith in herself and the necessary confidence to live a life of dignity in the most trying of circumstances, instead of being embittered by a life of torment. She does not infuse negativism for Ramachandra in her sons' hearts, to cite just one instance. The Ramayana (like the Mahabharata, 'Great History of the Bharatas') is an interesting tale. It also brings out various aspects of human nature, societal aspects and the changing countours of relationships in all its myriad shades. ... When power, unbridled ambition and their associated aspects are involved, mere emotions do not suffice, no matter what various saccharine-laced mushy novels and cinema tell us. ... Ramachandra's rejection of Sita is selfish and crude, and almost universally condemned while her rejection of him is an example of supreme dignity. It achieves majesty of its own, than what may have been possible through any overt display of hostility.

Romulus and Remus are the twin brothers and central characters of Rome's foundation myth. (Some parallels with Lava and Kusha?) Romulus is given the credit for founding Ancient Rome - so legend has it. The story of Romulus, his twin brother Remus, and the founding of the city of Rome is one of the most familiar legends about the Eternal City. [Ayudhya or Ayodhya - the Invincible City, can also be called the Eternal City.] Romulus was the eponymous first king of Rome. How he got there is a story like many others, involving a drastic or extensive rise in fortune, and a storied birth. ... Romulus and Remus were abandoned by their parents as babies and put into a basket that was then placed on the River Tiber. The basket ran aground and a female wolf discovered the twins. The wolf nursed the babies for a while before a shepherd found them. The shepherd and his wife then brought up the twins (as foster parents). Romulus and Remus grew up as simple shepherds. [Could 'She-wolf' be an allusion to a woman belonging to a clan and/or nation with a wolf emblem, insignia or coat of arms? E.g. the gray wolf (a type of Mountain wolf) is frequently used for insignia and images, as a symbol (embodiment) of the Chechen nation. ... Aranyadev or The 21st Phantom (believed to be an immortal ghost; also known as "The Ghost Who Walks", "The Man Who Cannot Die" and "Guardian of the Eastern Dark") has an assistant in his trained mountain wolf called Devil. However, is this aranya (meaning forest) of which the 21st Phantom is the deva - a reference to Nandan-kanan? The fabled Garden of Eden? The lonely forest where Ravana and his queen-consort Mandodari are supposed to have rested? Is this garden described in John Milton's "Paradise Lost" - written in a semi-Shakespearean prose that can be hard to get through at times? | Is Ayudhya (Ayodhya) the real Rome? Is Ayodhya (Ayudhya) the fabled Garden of Eden?] 

Jatayu and his brother Sampati were not birds but humans who (probably) belonged to the Shakuna clan (an ancient group or clan that may have displayed an Egyptian Vulture totem, insignia, coat of arms and/or headgear). This clan probably brought up Shakuntala (shakun means vulture, tala meaning beneath, implying care or shelter; thus Shakuntala means, 'sheltered by the Shakuna people' or 'brought up by the Shakuna people'). Perhaps the Shakuna clan was an offshoot or sub-clan of the Garuda clan (also known as the Suparnah clan) that may have displayed a Mountain Hawk Eagle totem, insignia, coat of arms, and/or headgear. ... Horus - the Falcon-god or the Falcon-headed man (of ancient Miṣr), is similar to Garuda. Also, who did Ramesses II (referred as Ramesses the Great), ancient Miṣr/Egypt's most prolific ruler, often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the (ancient) Egyptian Empire... derive his name from? 'Pharaoh' - is it a variation (due to change of phonetics etc) of Priyadarshi? [Priya: dear, cherished. Darsha: to see, to perceive. Darshee: blessings. Drisha: Mountain Lord. Darshi: Sri Krishna, moonlight.] Inside the great pyramids sun god Osiris is Orion (Mṛgaśira); Isis is Sirius (the brightest star as seen from Earth, apart from the sun); Horus is the Falcon-god or the Falcon-headed man. Similar to Garuda. Here it could be a reference to the Eagle Nebula. | Tibet is Tripishtaka or Trivistaka in Sanskrit, meaning: the land of the Deva people (an ancient clan or people) to the north of the Himalayas. (Even Himachal Pradesh is known as Deva Bhumi meaning: 'the land [bhumi] of the Deva people'.) Did Jatayu and Garuda hail from ancient Tibet? ... Tibet was (thus) a part of and/or a sister civilization to Bharatavarsha. Ancient Miṣr too shared close historical, civilisational, cultural and economic ties, and/or was a sister civilization to Bharatavarsha. The River Indus is perhaps the largest of all rivers in the world after the Nile. [Sanskrit: Nilah or Neel.] Goddess Isis, goddess of the Nile, shares much similarity with Devi SarasvatI (goddess of the Sindhu and/or Samudradeva). | Bharatavarsha means: the continent ('varsha' means continent in Sanskrit) that is dedicated ('rata' means dedicated in Sanskrit) to light, wisdom ('bha' means wisdom in Sanskrit) ~ implying, the light of wisdom or the wisdom of knowledge, i.e. absence of illusions or enlightenment. Surya dvarena: the path of illumination. In other words: 'intellectual manthan' (intellectual vigour and vitality, also lack of cynical and specious aspects, indifference, intellectual ennui (including learning by rote), intellectual regimentation and straitjacketing etc, all of which contribute towards intellectual decline and stagnation, narrow or unifocal/blinkered world-view and so on (~ the proverbial "dreary desert sand of dead habit").]

Hemis - as seen today - was founded in the 1630s by Kushok Shambhu Nath (the first Stagsang Respa, also spelt Taksang Respa) under the patronage of King Sengye Namgyal (regarded as Ladakh's greatest king). After 1730, Stagsang's third incarnation, Gyalsey Rinpoche not only added shrines, stupas, scriptures and murals, but also founded the Hemis Festival (Hemis Tsechu) - to commemorate Guru Padmasambhava's birth. | There is also the Hemis Gompa, now Ladakh's most revered and largest monastery... nestled amidst towering mountains, thus assuring its monks uninterrupted solitude. In the 13th century, Buddhist sage Gyalwa Gotsangpa zeroed in on this lofty, secluded and secure location for Hemis Gompa. It is inspired by a Vulture's Nest. [Gotsangpa means vulture's nest; Got = 'vulture' and Tsang = 'nest'. So, were the ancient Shakuna and Suparnah clans part of ancient Tibet?] | Guru Padmasambhava (lit. "Lotus-Born"), also known as the Second Buddha, was a sage guru from ancient Oddiyana. Padmasambhava is said to have transmitted Vajrayana Buddhism to Tibet, Bhutan and neighbouring countries in the 8th century AD. In those lands, he is better known as Guru Rinpoche (lit. "Precious Guru") or Lopon Rinpoche, or as Padum in Tibet, where he is also regarded as the second Buddha.

The Rig Veda refers to the Orion Constellation as Mriga/Mṛga (The Deer) - possibly implying "destiny". ... The term Mṛgaśira is a composite of two Sanskrit words, mṛga meaning animal (can also mean: deer - symbolizing "destiny") and śira meaning head or precisely, the top of the head. And this should help us understand what the 'golden deer' signifies. (If someone finds a 'golden deer' and pursues it too, how much illusion is that person under?) Mrigashīrsha, Sanskrit mṛgaśiras (also spelled Mārgaśīrṣa/Mṛgaśira), is the constellation Orion (also known as Kaalpurusha, meaning: Timeless, Eternal or Ancient). [Kaal, Kāla or kaalah is time, in Sanskrit. Mahakalaah or Mahakali. Kālabhairava or Bhairavi. Purusha is a reference to the Primordial Being (the Eternal Divine/Cosmic Being).] BG 10.35: || māsānāḿ mārga-śīrṣo 'ham ṛtūnāḿ kusumākaraḥ || ~ "Of months I am Mārgaśīrṣa [November-December], and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring." Kālabhairava Aṣṭamī (or Kālabhairava Jayanti) falls on Kṛṣṇa Pakṣa Aṣṭamī of the month of Mārgaśīrṣa (also spelled Mṛgaśira/Mrigashīrsha ~ November-December). On this day it is said that Rudra-Śiva appeared on earth in the manifestation (avatāra - with earthly form/physical frame or sthula-sharira) as Śrī Kālabhairava. | Perhaps various cosmic events and aspects can be understood or are (in a manner of speaking) conveyed through the Orion Constellation. And, maybe, this is what our ancients termed 'daiva-vaani' or 'aakash-vaani'. This could (perhaps) explain why the earlier emperors relied on great scholars (astronomers and astrologers) - who in turn (in a manner of speaking) had their eyes riveted to the sky. (Sanskrit: ākāśavāni, "celestial announcement from sky" or "sky-voice". The All India Radio [AIR], officially known since 1956 as Akashvani, is the national public radio broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati). ... Bhairava is the Primordial Sound (OM or AUM), the Shabda Brahmn - pranavah, Omkaara or pranava naad - the sound of the universe itself. Maybe it is a reference to the voice of the Avatara (the direct manifestation ~ the Primordial Being in earthly form/physical frame). OM or AUM is very auspicious. BG 9.17: || pitāham asya jagato mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ vedyaḿ pavitram oḿkāra || ~ "I am the father (pitā) of this universe (jagato), the mother (mātā), the support (dhātā) and the grandsire (pitāmahaḥ). I am the bestower of non-transient knowledge (the wisdom of knowledge or the light of wisdom... resulting in the absence of illusions, and leading to enlightenment - para vidya), the purifier (dispeller of unwanted aspects) and the syllable oḿ."

The Krishna-avatar is known as 'Leela Purusa-uttama'. 'Leela' are events through which the avatara imparts lessons, guidance and/or sets examples for others to imbibe, and/or take longer term measure(s) to roll back, mitigate or curb unpleasant aspects - for a better society to emerge, as well as to elevate the human consciousness (for humanity to overcome selfish aspects, egocentricity etc leading to introspection and thoughtful action). Leela is (therefore) also part of course correction. As the cosmic teacher, the avatara imparts lessons or instructs through acharan (own behaviour, words and actions). That is the mark of a true guru. It is for humanity to comprehend the lessons imparted. The avatara may also bring to the fore ignored or undiscussed aspects of human nature or social issues, prejudices, and so on - for people to see, introspect and discuss... and emerge with organic, well-thought-out and sustainable (long-lasting) corrective measures. When avatars arrive, they bring forth or accelerate karmas - thus, that which may have been latent comes to the fore. The avatars also hold a mirror to society (so as to dispel confusion, indifference, delusion, ignorance, ennui and so forth - for clear-headness or clarity to emerge), and therefore create situations - opportunity - to bring forth both the positive (good, enduring, essential) and the negative (transient, insignificant, unpleasant and/or degenerative aspects that require corrective measures) ~ for humanity to develop the mental maturity and intellectual discrimination to differentiate between the enduring (essential, necessary, durable) and the ephemeral, unpleasant or degenerative aspects; to urge/advice humanity into (collective) introspection... so that it leads to a natural process of unraveling (from ignorance to discovery and from reformation to [organic] transformation). There is no alternative to sustained karm-yog (collective, collaborative and sustained actions - whether tangible or intangible) to bring forth a steady, effective, positive and long-lasting turnaround. ... In other words: to rejuvenate or revive the doctrine of dharma (responsibility, duty, perspective, clarity of thought and purpose, ability to take cognisance, dharmic or sattvic [noble] principles etc) and karm-yog (as opposed to superficial measures, gimmicks or platitudes). [The Eternal Divine/Cosmic Being comes down to the level of humanity - since humankind does not have the same level of intelligence, wisdom, caliber, sagacity, discerning abilities etc. The purpose of the avatar is to help humanity, and to show the way.]

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