Monday, July 21, 2014

My Rainbow - seven riveting short stories | Carnival in Lousytown by Harshavardhini Pareek. (Part-I)

1. The Legend of Zalim Khan: link.

2. Water Under the Bridge: link.

The Brahmaanda [Brhmaanda] or 'Cosmic Egg' (the Primordial Egg) can be indicative of two aspects.

1. The totality of everything (the entire manifested cosmos... which is ever-expanding. Brh = to grow, aanda = egg = oval-shaped, egg-shaped or elliptical).
 2. A kalpa (implying a world-system consisting of a time-cycle of four phases).

After the symbolic fadeout of a kalpa (i.e. the symbolic fadeout of a time-cycle), a new one emerges or is created (metaphorically speaking) by the Primordial Being (Primal Spirit/Energy, the Supersoul or Higher Self - the Paramatma or the Cosmic Ruler). Therefore, the 'Cosmic Egg' or Primordial Egg could also be w.r.t humankind and human civilisation, and hence, could [also] represent the emergence of new [fresh, imaginative, optimistic, thought-provoking, creative] aspects in a variety of arenas: art, entertainment, science, innovation, literature and whatnot - signifying intellectual re-energisation and spiritual awakening (re-imbibing or regeneration of humanistic beliefs and their accompanying values and ideals) and subsequent (intellectual and spiritual) evolution.

Shunya (the 'Cosmic Egg' or Primordial Egg) is [therefore] potential creation.

There is akhila-ātma, sarva-ātmā, paro jyotir-AtmA, viśva-ātmā or Param Vishva Atma (Brahmn or Brahmn Unmanifest, Parama Brahmn - the "supreme" Brahma, Ashabda Brahmn or 'soundless Brahmn', also called Brahma nirguṇa (the impersonal Nirguna Brahmn) and Paramatma (Para Brahmn or Para Brahma, Shabda Brahmn or 'Brahmn with sound', also called Saguna Brahmn, the active principle). Saguna Brahmn is 'sãkãr', possessing a divine physical/manifested form. Saguna Brahmn possesses innumerable divine qualities, such as: 'gnãn', knowledge; 'shakti', strength, diligence, dynamism, energy, enthusiasm; 'virya', valour, intrepidity or heroic courage; 'aishvarya', divinity; 'tej', brilliance, etc.

Param Vishva Atma or Brahmn nirguṇa = Universal Divine Effulgence/Essence or Primal Creative Energy, also known as Purusha or Brahmn Unmanifest. Paramatma or ParaBrahmn = Primal Spirit/Energy or Supersoul aka Purusha-uttama. (Atma or Atman, the Divine Essence, is energy. It is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless. Para = manifestation or representation.)

Brahmn (Mahā-Viṣṇu or Brahmn Unmanifest) is the Cause, the source of everything (Param Vishva Atma/Brahm-jyotih, Primal Creative Energy or Purusha) - and is, therefore, the Supreme Creator aka "supreme" Brahma, Almighty Absolute - the Absolute Truth [Satyam]. (Thus, Brahmn Unmanifest or Purusha = Brahm-jyotih = Cosmic Energy, Divine Essence or Primal Creative Energy.)

Para Brahmn (Garbhodakśayī-Viṣṇu, AnantaSayana Vishnu, Keshavah or Purusha-uttama) is the Primal Spirit/Energy aka Supersoul or Paramatma - the Primordial Being, Secondary Creator or Secondary Brahma (the Cosmic Ruler, Almighty). The Supersoul or Paramatma is also known as Purusha-uttama or Higher Self - since this being is the most perfect (the best) of all beings (possibly implying devoid of selfish aspects). Para Brahmn is also the Cosmic Teacher, and therefore, Leela Purusha-uttama (in physical body - as Avatar). ... The non-impersonal Purusha-uttama is (in a manner of speaking) the representation of the impersonal Purusha (Brahmn or Brahmn Unmanifest - the Supreme Creator aka Brahma, Almighty Absolute, the Absolute Truth). And so, Purusha-uttama is called Para Brahmn - representation of Brahmn [Brahmn Unmanifest]. Para Brahmn is Secondary Brahma, Purusha-uttama Satya, the Eternal Truth (something inexplicable, Achintya).

(Eternal Truth should not be construed in a superficial, mundane or narrow sense. Nothing remains the same. Humans too are evolving, and so everything is, in a manner of speaking, transient. The Primordial Being or Keshavah [Cosmic Ruler, Purusha-uttama, the Secondary Brahma] has always been there and shall always be there. Thus, is referred to as Eternal Divine reality or the Eternal Truth. [Primal Creative Energy too has always existed; it is self-existent. Satyam is timeless, ageless. Ananta = endless, eternal, infinite. Ananta can also mean endless in terms of the endlessness of cosmic time.] Leela = events through which divinity helps humankind - by advising and imparting life lessons etc, for humankind to become better human beings, which is likely to have a positive influence on societal aspects [values, etc]. Leela can also be events through which a mirror is offered to society - for a reality check, to dispel illusions.)

In a manner of speaking, the growth, expansion and evolution of the Brahmaanda (possibly implying spiritual and intellectual growth and evolution of humankind) are steeped with the knowledge of all that has transpired since the moment of Creation (of the cosmos/Brhmaanda?) and continues to propel the further evolution of the Brahmaanda (aka spiritual and intellectual growth and evolution of humankind/human civilisation). It is a knowledge that continues to flow through the expanse of the Brahmaanda gracefully and incessantly like waves. This knowledge power forms the root for all forms of knowledge, speech (vak), skill, arts, fine arts, craft etc. The source [repository] of this knowledge is called as the divinity SarasvatI, as it is a knowledge that continues to flow through the expanse of the Brahmaanda gracefully and incessantly like waves. (Saras means gracefully flowing.)

There are three aspects to Vishnu: 1. Mahā-Viṣṇu (Karanodakshayi Vishnu, who is said to lie in the causal ocean or the Karanodak). 2. Garbhodakśayī-Viṣṇu (who reclines on Garbhodaka, the Garbhodaka Ocean) and 3. Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu (who reclines on Kshirasagar, the ocean of kshira/shira/milk - possibly implying intellectual stimulation, intellectual upliftment and growth [expansion of the mind] and subsequent intellectual evolution). Garbhodakśayī-Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu could be one and the same. However, what has been meant by Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu? Is it the same as Karanodakshayi Vishnu

Maha Vishnu (Karanodakshayi Vishnu, who is said to lie in the causal ocean or the Karanodak) is Brahmn Unmanifest (that cannot be seen by human eyes, is beyond human comprehension). [Karana = Cause or Source].

Thus, Maha Vishnu, the Cause = Brahmn Unmanifest = Param Vishva Atma/Brahm-jyotih = Universal Divine Essence/Energy = Cosmic Light, Light Divine or Divine Effulgence.

Maha Vishnu is Svayambhu - Uncreated or Self-manifested. Maha Vishnu is the Divine Effulgence, the self-existent impersonal spirit, the Divine Essence, from which all things (including human souls) emanate, by which they are sustained, and to which they return. ... All creation-related work is [thus] the work of Cosmic Light or Divine Effulgence (Brahm-jyotih aka Maha Vishnu). 'Maha Vishnu' is [thus] revered as the "supreme" Brahma - the Supreme Creator (Srashtaa), the Almighty Absolute, 'sarva kartã', the all-doer and 'sarvopari', supreme and all-powerful. It is the source (or cause) of all creation - the One Source, the Cause, the Absolute Truth.

(The "First Law of Thermodynamics" [Conservation]:  'Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another.') ... Divine Essence is energy. It is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless. It can change from one form to another (i.e. acquire different outer forms), but is imperishable and cannot be created. Thus, the sum-total of energy in the universe remains the same. | The soul is not created. It is gender-less. Soul is energy, but not like what we understand as energy. It is part of the cosmos, part of the cosmic energy (Divine Essence) that is self-existing, uncreated, self-manifested... and has always existed. The Divine Essence (of which the soul is a part) is beyond human comprehension, and cannot be created. ... The soul has always existed, it is therefore birthless; it is the body (physical form) that is born. Thus, when the human soul is reborn (in a manner of speaking that is), it only acquires a new outer shell (physical form) based on the accumulated karma. ... The soul is also the eternal aspect of a person's being (human soul = Divine Essence), and therefore, it is the eternal aspect that carries ingrained personality traits (which are unlikely to change or at least undergo a significant change). This may help explain genius, innate ability, talents etc, i.e. being born with a particular biological capability. (Acquired knowledge or characteristics, including social conditioning, can be changed through continuous effort). The intrinsic (innate) personality traits of an individual are merely the reflection of the personality of the soul. ... The soul is gender-less, it is uncreated and is never born; it merely acquires a new physical form. Therefore, a male soul cannot have a female body or a female soul cannot have a male body. It is merely indicative of a third kind of human (that our ancients called 'tritiya-prakriti').   

Karanodak (Karana Ocean) is originally a cloud-like darkness in one corner of the spiritual sky (a part of the cosmos that our ancients called 'Vaikuntha') - from which the material world (Manifested Nature or Manifested Cosmos) is created. Thus, Karanodak or Karana Ocean = Vaikuntha. It could be a reference to 'dark energy' or invisible 'dark matter' hypothesized in modern physics, astronomy and cosmology.

Maha Vishnu is [thus] the light (Divine effulgence or Light Divine) that impersonalists perceive in the nirguna, nirvikaar (impersonal - without qualities), unmanifested or avyaktah (to human eyes) and without form (niraakar) mode of God. This is Monism (Monotheism) or Advaita

Brahmn Unmanifest (Maha Vishnu, the Purusha, Brahma - the Supreme Creator) and Para Brahmn (Purusha-uttama, Secondary Brahma, the Almighty or Cosmic Ruler/Teacher) is Dualism or Dvaita.

Brahmn Unmanifest, Para Brahmn (Almighty or Cosmic Ruler) and the Avatar (Bhagavan incarnate) = theism (astika).

Unlike the rigorous monism (Advaita) of the Upanishads, the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita also integrates dualism (Dvaita) and theism (āstika). 

Cosmic Ruler, Supersoul, Primal Spirit etc is a reference to the deity or personification of the earth/nature (dharitri aka Bhudevi and Prakriti = Vasudeva). Therefore, Nature is God. ... The (non-impersonal but unmanifested to human eyes) Primordial Being [Keshavah] or Primal Spirit in (manifested) physical body is the Avatar (Bhagavan incarnate - manifestation or representation of the unfathomable Brahmn Unmanifest, the Absolute Truth). The Supersoul is the most important Avatar - referred to by several honorifics and depicted through a variety of iconography. 

BG 10.33: || dhātāhaḿ viśvato-mukhaḥ ||  ~ "and of creators I am Brahmā." (Dhata can also mean support. Creator = Secondary Brahma, the creator [metaphorically speaking] of a new time-cycle, also implying a new world-system, commencing with the Sat/Satya/Krita Yug = the metaphoric 'Golden Age'. | Brahmaanda or Brhmaanda = the symbolic egg of Brahma. Brhm or Brahm = enlightened knowledge. Brahma, associated with immense knowledge and wisdom, is the creator aspect of the Cosmic Ruler. Aanda = egg. Thus, Brahmaanda signifies creation in the sense that it represents a new world-system, and also symbolises fresh and positive aspects, including fresh approach/perspectives [thinking process], re-imbibing of humane and empathic behaviour, and subsequent spiritual and intellectual awakening and evolution.) 

The Koh-i-Noor is an oval cut white diamond, the shape and size of a small hen's egg. (Koh = mountain. Noor = light). Can the Koh-i-Noor be considered as a symbolic depiction of the 'Cosmic Egg' or Primordial Egg? What could the Easter egg imply? What does the Shaligram Shila mean?

Hiranyagarbha (Sanskrit: Hiraṇyagarbha, lit. 'Diamond womb') can be vis-à-vis two aspects: The totality of everything (the entire manifested cosmos) and vis-à-vis a kalpa (implying a world-system consisting of a time-cycle of four phases). Thus, BG 10.33: || dhātāhaḿ viśvato-mukhaḥ || ~ "and of creators I am Brahmā" - may be applicable to both, the Supreme Creator as well as the Secondary Creator.

If the totality of everything were to be considered, Hiranyagarbha is Maha Vishnu (Karanodakshayi Vishnu, the Supreme Creator aka Brahma, Brahmn Unmanifest or Purusha). However, vis-à-vis a world-system (consisting of a time-cycle of four phases), Hiraṇyagarbha is a reference to Garbhodakśayī-Viṣṇu (AnantaSayana Vishnu or Purusha-uttama - the Secondary Creator or Secondary Brahma). 

Secondary Brahma is essentially a reference to the deity of the earth/nature (dharitri/prakriti). Hiraṇyagarbha = 'diamond womb'. However, Hiranyagarbha can also mean: One who (in a manner of speaking) dwells in the womb (garbhah) of the earth = the 'Primordial Egg' which (in a manner of speaking) dwells in the womb (garbhah) of the earth = a new world-system consisting of a time-cycle of four phases. Therefore, BG 10.33: || dhātāhaḿ viśvato-mukhaḥ || ~ "and of creators I am Brahmā" = the [secondary] Hiranyagarbha, that is to say, the deity of the earth/nature (in a manner of speaking) giving birth to a new kalpa - Brahmaanda (the 'Primordial Egg') aka a new world-system (implying re-energising = intellectual re-invigoration and spiritual awakening = positive aspects, progressive mindset/thinking process, optimism, empathic behaviour etc through the re-imbibing of dharma [dharmic values and ideals] and karm-yog).

Perhaps this has been conveyed through the imagery of the 'Shiva Linga'. ... Can it be that the 'Shiva Linga' = the 'Primordial Egg' = Brahmaanda = a new world-system? In other words, that the 'Shiva Linga' is essentially a depiction of the 'Primordial Egg' (implying a new world-system consisting of a time-cycle of four phases) supported from underneath by the (deity of the) earth/nature = BG 10.33: || dhātāhaḿ viśvato-mukhaḥ || ~ "and of creators I am Brahmā."

The Shaligram Shila can be indicative of the totality of everything, the entire manifested cosmos aka the 'Cosmic Egg' (Brhmaanda), which is ever-expanding. (Brh = to grow, aanda = egg, implying oval-shaped, egg-shaped or elliptical).

The 'Primordial Egg' (euphemism for a new world-system consisting of a time-cycle of four phases) supported from underneath by the deity of the earth/nature = prakriti/dharitri (metaphorically speaking) giving birth to a new kalpa - Brahmaanda (the 'Primordial Egg') or world-system. Maybe this has been conveyed through the imagery of Garbhodakśayī-Viṣṇu and "Garbhodaka Ocean" - that lies at the bottom of the Brahmaanda (the 'Primordial Egg').

The symbology of the Bull: In Sanaatan Dharmic thought, Dharma (dharmic ideals, humanistic values, social commitment, empathy, lack of excessive selfish considerations/narrow individualism, adherence to one's karm-yog for the larger good etc) is symbolised by the Bull (Vṛṣabha). Dharma is a set of values and ideals, personal and vis-à-vis society. It is a set of values, principles, qualities etc that not only help in self-improvement (self-fulfillment - to be a better human being, Self-Actualisation); it is also vital for the betterment of society, for the benefit of the country. ... Nandi (Sri Nandikesvara, the divine bull) is invariably found sitting right in front of the sanctum sanctorum in every Shiva temple either near the idol (the 'Shiva-Linga') or facing it from a distance. Nandi is sometimes also placed at the entrance of Shiva temples in a sitting or standing posture. Nandi is Shiva's watchman. Nandi is known for his humility and simplicity (perhaps implying lack of coarse material attachment). Nandi is the embodiment of strength, respect, restraint and surrender to the divine, and is [therefore] considered one of the main symbols [insignia] of Shiva. Nandi is revered as the symbol of correct motivation and dharmic aspiration. Only by imbibing and perpetuating these personal attributes can every aspect of divine law [dharma and karm-yog] flourish. Nandi, the constant companion of Shiva, symbolises the metaphysical ideal in the natural, physical form. Through Nandi, dharma becomes an integral part of Shiva's aura. To understand and absorb Light, the 'experience and the wisdom' is Nandi which is the Guru within. Nandi is the mind dedicated to Siva. Only those who are masters of their own impulses can be associated with the bull imagery. In paintings Nandi is shown as pure white in colour, though statues of the bull is mostly made from a black rock or white marble. The white colour of the bull symbolises purity of mind (inner perfection: devoid of ego, vainglory, arrogance, selfish aspects etc) and dharma (adherence to dharmic values and ideals). The hump is like the top of a snow-capped mountain. Nandi has a golden girth (cinch) round his body, tall horns, a shining coat and a black tail. ... Nandikesvara is said to have emerged out of the right side of Vishnu resembling Shiva exactly and given as a son to the sage Salankayana. (Salankayana means 'Vrishabam' [holy/sacred bull, imagery for dharma]). A zebu (Zebu Bull or Brahma Bull) sometimes known as humped cattle or Brahman is a type of domestic cattle originating in South Asia. They are characterised by a hump on their shoulders, drooping ears and a large dewlap. Zebu is well adapted to withstanding high temperatures. In India it is considered as the contemporary representation of Nandi. It is important to seek the blessings of Nandi before proceeding to worship Shiva. Devotees are supposed to look at the image of Siva from afar through the space between the ears and the top of Nandi's head. Since Nandi is also the embodiment of intuition and instinct, some devotees also try to view the image of Shiva from in between Nandi's horns, thereby gaining a perfect perspective of Shiva. (Intuition could be the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.) Many people whisper their prayers into the ears of Nandi. There are many temples dedicated solely to Nandi. Worship of Lord Shiva is incomplete if Nandi is not worshipped along with Shiva. Nandi (sometimes referred to as Nandin or Sri Nandikesvara) is a constant presence in most stories on Shiva. Of prolific stature, he is known for his courage, loyalty and kindness. Nandi is often portrayed in images (iconography) with a robust frame, tall horns and a loud roar. Nandi is very knowledgeable and represents the passion and love of Siva for humankind. Nandi conveys Siva in every sense; he conveys the presence of Siva and stands for Siva. According to Shiva if one wants to be dedicated one must be like Nandi, and that Shiva and Nandi are more or less the same entity. Nandikeshvara in his anthropomorphic form appears just like Siva. 

The Cosmic Ruler (Para Brahmn, Primordial Being, the Secondary Brahma) is called Vṛṣabha (Vrishabha) - the Great Bull. The illustrious god of gods [Mahadeva] is Vrisha Uttamam or Dharmadhyaksha [Supreme Dharma] = personification of dharma (Vrishaakritih or Vrishaparvaa). BG 10.38: || daṇḍo damayatām asmi nītir asmi jigīṣatām maunaḿ caivāsmi guhyānāḿ jñānaḿ jñānavatām aham || ~ "Among all means of chastisement/suppressing adharma (negative energy, selfish individualism etc) I am sagacious retribution [daṇḍo], and of those who seek victory I am statesmanship or right actions [nītiḥ]; I am silence [maunaḿ] of the secrets [guhyānāḿ], and the Self-knowledge [atma-vidya or "knowledge of the self"] of the knowledgeable (i.e. of the wise I am the wisdom - the supreme wisdom that dispels all illusions). Supreme or highest enlightenment is the stage where nirvana is attained; it is the state of a Buddha. Buddha = the Enlightened One; one who possess the supreme wisdom that dispels all illusions. (Karma is not comeuppance, it is an opportunity for redemption.)

Nandini and Surabhi are synonyms of Kamadhenu. Kamadhenu (the divine cow, symbolising unselfishness, as well as the source of all prosperity) is regarded as a form [manifestation] of dharitri (Bhudevi), who is often described as a cow in Sanskrit. Since cows are a metaphor for rivers, Surabhi or Kamadhenu can also imply Sri SarasvatI. Kamadhenu is also sometimes described as a Matrika (divine "mother" - possibly implying sustenance). Iconography of Kamadhenu shows her with the body of a white Zebu cow, crowned woman's head, colourful eagle wings and a peacock's tail. BG 10.28: || dhenunam asmi kamadhuk || ~ "among cows I am the Surabhi." Surabhi or Kamadhenu is the source of all prosperity and a symbol of good luck, plenty, unselfishness, sustenance etc. All the deities are depicted within the body of Kamadhenu, probably implying that the avatars are one and the same. (Sri SarasvatI is the deity or personification of the earth/nature: dharitri aka Bhudevi and Prakriti = Vasudeva).

Cows are a metaphor for rivers and are equated with mothers (implying support, maintenance, unselfishness, sustenance etc). Cows are givers; they require or take very little. Similarly, rivers provide sustenance to humankind (and human civilisation).  

Shivah means one who is eternally auspicious and tranquil. Shivah also means: One who is non-deluded, or of steady mind, i.e. one who eternally possesses the supreme wisdom that dispels all illusions (negative pride/ego/arrogance, vainglory, delusions, cynicism, anger, selfish aspects and so forth). In other words: one who is capable of helping humankind to become better humans (by dispelling illusions, so that they can discover their higher nature or humane aspects). Shiva (the good or the auspicious) is also an adjective or a quality, and thus possibly, an honorific.


Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration. That is to say, it is the genius of hard work and perseverance. Self-help is the best help. God helps those who help themselves. These proverbial sayings are indicative of the importance of hard work, patience and perseverance, of adherence to dharma (dharmic values and ideals) and karm-yog (continuous effort towards self-improvement, steadfast effort towards realising and sustaining the social goals, instead of merely wallowing in self-pity, procrastination or torpor). If only luck is to be considered, everyone will just wait till his or her luck shines up. The collective effort and endeavours of a people influence and shape a nation's destiny. And so, instead of being active participants in their own destiny, humankind cannot become idlers and mere spectators (indifferent, excessively selfish, prejudiced). Depletion in dharmic values, intellectual energy and social commitment eventually leads to a civilisational decline. 'Fortune favours the brave' = to 'shape/create one's own destiny'. It means, sincere hard-work (single-minded effort, tenacity, perseverance, positive attitude) can change [or shape] a person's or a nation's future. Contemptible timidity, irresoluteness or pusillanimity of the mind (lacking firmness of character or purpose) will achieve very little. The people, through their conduct and their actions, shape a nation's destiny (and by extension their own destiny as well). There is nothing better than the enlightened mind; the human mind alone is the principle cause and means of everything. A society's competitive advantage will only come from how well they stimulate imagination and creativity. Knowledge is one of the finest attributes of humankind. Wisdom is not a product of schooling (the learning of many facts), but the training of the mind to think (cognitive abilities).

A world-cycle consists of four phases and can be understood or explained through the imagery of a flower (kali = flower or bloom, symbolising a time-cycle). The four phases within this symbolic 'flower' (time-cycle) are: Satya Yug (the metaphoric 'Golden Age'), Treta Yug (the metaphoric 'Silver Age'), Dvapar Yug (the metaphoric 'Copper Age') and ghor Kaliyug phase (the metaphoric 'Iron Age' of Ignorance/Confusion/Spiritual and intellectual stagnation) - the lowest point of humankind. This 'Iron Age' should not be confused with the technical Iron Age. (Yug = phase. 'Iron Age' of Ignorance/Confusion/Spiritual and intellectual stagnation = lowest point of humankind/human civilisation, due to substantial depletion in dharmic values and ideals and [accompanying] karm-yog resulting in substantial intellectual and spiritual impoverishment: intellectual poverty, deficiency in empathic behaviour etc.) 

A significant deficiency or depletion in dharmic values and ideals (individual ideals and societal ideals: humanistic values, humane gestures, social commitment etc) = a commensurate degeneration in societal aspects (since mindset, thinking process, values and behaviour influence society). Thus when negativities/negative energy (ignorance, prejudices, indifference, pessimism [despondency, hopelessness], anger, selfish individualism etc) in the hearts and minds of humankind increases or accumulates, it affects the symbolic flower (kali or bloom, indicative of a time-cycle). The Vedas describe time in a cycle of four ages (phases) or yug. At the fadeout of the ghor kaliyug phase (signifying the symbolic fadeout of a time-cycle) a fresh bloom (time-cycle) emerges – i.e. is created, metaphorically speaking, through the re-imbibing of dharmic ideals and karm-yog (and subsequent intellectual revitalisation and spiritual awakening) = re-energising. Creating a healthy, progressive, humanistic and vibrant culture or society (a renaissance) is about self-improvement: Emotional and intellectual growth (including critical thinking and cognitive development, the growth of our thoughts). Character building. Empathy. Eschewing of retrograde or obsolete mindset. 

The (stagnated) thought process as well as the slumbering consciousness needs to be stirred, awakened and elevated (enlightened mind and a higher/enlightened consciousness). However, it takes time to outgrow unpleasant habits and social conditioning acquired over many generations - for a sustainable (organic) transformation to happen. Therefore, patience and continuous effort is necessary. Sat or Satya Yug is also known as Krita Yug. Krita = fulfillment of duty/kartavya (social commitment, to do one's bit for the betterment of society to the best of one's ability: steadfast endeavours, not ad hoc fixes or token effort, towards social growth, towards realising the social objectives). 

Reading (prose, poetry, stories, novels, including timeless pieces of literature) helps the mind to blossom. Prolific reading (reading variously and widely) and discussion (to think through, assay) will certainly help the mind to blossom, and [thus] can educate a person in more ways than one. A reading culture (not to be misconstrued for institution-based learning, academic learning or rote-oriented learning), and dialectic - the quality of wisdom through logical and lively discussion (logic not devoid of wisdom and imagination, that is) and exchange of ideas and points of view (speaking and listening) is the very antithesis of obscurantism and intellectual stagnation (intellectual poverty). It also encourages scientific temper (curiosity), awareness, critical thinking concerning longer-term developments, debate, discussion and effort to create wider participation. It is, after all, the people who are the creators of their own destiny (through the development or retrogression of their mindset); this not only influences the social fabric, but also shapes the minds of the afterceding generations. The beliefs (perceptions, presumptions, perspectives, world-view, thinking process) of a generation shape (or greatly influence) a society (societal aspects, values) by influencing or shaping the minds of people (including those of the subsequent generations).

Ancient India had an enlightened, preeminent and long-lasting civilisation and culture. Collaboration is crucial to success in any venture, and this explains the multifarious achievements of the ancient Indians. The quality of a society or civilisation is in the hands of the people; it is the cumulative of their intellectual caliber, behavioural aspects, habits, social conditioning (mindset, attitude, beliefs, thinking process, worldview), civic sense or social ethics (social behaviour), scientific temper or lack thereof, common sense, social commitment, personal values and ideals, so on so forth - all of which influence and shape the minds of the following generations too, and thus have a very long-lasting effect. ... After the decline of the Gupta era, a gradual depletion in dharma (dharmic values and ideals) and karm-yog (effort towards self-improvement, personal growth [self-fulfilment] and social commitment) gave rise to selfish ambition, prejudices and shortsightedness (obscurantism, small-mindedness, intellectual stagnation). Thus, a once great civilization lost her preeminence... and rapidly crumbled into smaller and fragmented monarchies, independent kingdoms and feudatory states (that were antagonistic to each other). Ancient India was no longer the seat of innovation and learning. Also, the feeling of oneness and internal unity (confluence) despite the myriad diversity rapidly unraveled, all kinds of selfish and retrograde aspects came about. ... In the absence of a nucleus (a shared result-oriented vision) and a cohesive or binding factor (a Cakravartin - a sagacious [wise and insightful], far-sighted [planning prudently for the future], clear-eyed [discerning, perceptive] and clearheaded [calm, levelheaded, commonsensical, lucid - having an ability to think clearly] ruler) India (gradually and steadily) underwent a civilisational decline.


Dharma and karm-yog are intrinsic to each other. Dharma is not 'religion', ritual practices, self-righteousness or even righteousness. Dharma is an enlightened way of life. Ignorance and spiritual impoverishment (lack of empathy etc) is not part of it. Dharma is about sharing, about self-fulfillment or Self-Actualisation - to become a better person, to become a better people  (individually and collectively) - through shared values, humanistic approach, empathic concern and behaviour, spirit of co-operation and camaraderie. Dharma is about intellectual evolution (open-mindedness - not to be construed as tolerance, being open-minded is to possess the ability to assimilate: ability to read, think, listen, learn and evolve); a scientific temper (a curious mind) as well as the ability to appreciate the small things, the simple joys and pleasures. Dharma is about spiritual humanism (empathy, compassion, kindness, helpfulness, affection). Dharma is also a set of beliefs and ideals - personal and vis-à-vis society (not to be construed as impossible attributes, utopian principles or textbook moralism). There could be dharmic ideals but no ideal dharma. This world is a human world, and humans are not perfect. Therefore, there can be no such thing as 'epitome of righteousness' or 'idealised perfection'. Never is. One can lead one's life by adhering to (i.e. imbibing) certain principles or a set of beliefs and values: by endeavouring to be a good human being (making effort towards self-improvement, self-actualisation/self-fulfillment and personal growth - intellectual and emotional growth); by contributing towards the betterment of society (to do something for others, to care about the well-being of others, to care about the well-being of society, to be a good citizen) in one's small way - to the best of one's ability. However, one will still have to adapt to society. How much one adapts, or what one gives up in the process, matters. Some could compromise on the essentials and concentrate on selfish ambition/individualism (selfish materialistic tendencies, platitudes etc), while others could continue to strive for worthy causes, and [therefore] continue to do whatever they can to improve societal conditions (e.g. by imparting good upbringing, by displaying good social behaviour, by making effort towards changing retrograde mindset, negative stereotypes etc), so as to make a real difference. The former is tokenism, the latter substance and therefore, dharma. 

Dharma and karm-yog complement each other, since merely having a set of ideals (values, principles) or intention or empathy is not enough, it must be backed by well-thought out (logical, well-reasoned, though not devoid of common sense and pragmatic imagination) and sustained effort (with empathy, compassion, kindness). It is the quality of wisdom that matters. Also, perfunctory effort will not do, it will not give the required outcome (nor help in outgrowing unpleasant habits or behaviours). Therefore, there must be earnest, enthusiastic and diligent [continuous] effort (a conscious effort with application of mind, not routine/indifferent/cursory, insensitive/condescending or uninterested/superficial endeavours with non-application of mind, since such an approach will not help in spiritual awakening and evolution - self-improvement/self-fulfillment or self-actualisation, to become the best that one can be, and to care about the well being of others). ... Self-improvement is a continuous process. Creating and sustaining a healthy (progressive), humane and vibrant society is a continuous process. Thus, there is a need for continuous effort and endeavours (karm-yog) - individually and collectively. To be a better human being (not just vis-à-vis society but overall, in all aspects of one's life), to inculcate social values, to uphold worthy aspects (ethics, principles etc), there must be continuous and sincere effort. There has to be a genuine and sustained effort for the betterment of humankind and towards social progress (so as to make it sustainable), viz., to create a reading culture, to raise literacy levels, fostering scientific temper, to generate awareness (about diseases, health and hygiene, financial literacy, social responsibility etc), to promote health and sanitation, to inculcate social ethics/social behaviour, so on and so forth. Karm-yog is [thus] steadfast (sustained, sincere) result-oriented action with application of mind (and accompanying humanistic values and ideals); it is a means to the broader vision, not personal glory (selfish aspects). It is not enough to be clear about what needed to be done, but also (more importantly) how to go about it. Thus karm-yog is about shunning platitudes, ad-hoc fixes, narrow selfish motives et al and embracing toil wholeheartedly (whether physical or intellectual) - for a larger cause, for the longer-term, for the future. 

Karm-yogis are doers (practical problem solvers, change makers), not dreamers. Doers are visionaries too. They are insightful and imaginative, they see the larger picture, and they emerge with new ideas and long-term plan. They see how ideas fit together. As doers they endeavour tirelessly to actualise those ideas. They know what needs to be done, as well as how to actually do it (i.e. how to implement them). Karm-yogis are the ones who give the saplings. They (metaphorically speaking) plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. 

There could be dharmic ideals but no ideal dharma. Therefore, impossibly idealistic or academic wisdom may not suffice; it is necessary to understand the collective strengths and shortcomings instead, and to take an organic approach, to take a balanced view of things. And so, development of critical reason (not quite devoid of common sense, sober reflection and pragmatic imagination) is necessary. One must have the ability to make reasoned choices in the face of value conflicts; there is and can be no predetermined formula to resolve value conflicts arising in different real time scenarios or actual contexts. Specious or impossibly idealistic discourses, impulsive action, simplistic points of view and explanations will only lead to rhetoric and textbook solutions, not tangible, workable (practical) and sustainable solutions. To make a positive difference one has to be a problem-solver (a change-maker) and offer real solutions for real problems, not imaginary ones... by understanding the genesis, and offering longer term solutions [measures], not quick-fix or ad hoc fixes. 

Values are preferences for particular forms of behaviour, the principles by which people conduct their lives. Beliefs/values systems are dynamic, they are meant to evolve. Ideas and beliefs should have the fluidity to evolve in order to broaden mindsets. Intellectual stagnation and spiritual impoverishment (a lack of, or a significant depletion in compassion, humanistic beliefs and their accompanying values and ideals) = accumulation of spiritual and intellectual 'dust' and 'grime' = all kinds of obscurantism. Spiritual development is meant to evolve; only then can humans evolve, individually and collectively. And once this happens (i.e. once there is a perceptible change in the thinking process and behavioural aspects of the people) can a society evolve. A broader progressive mindset = a progressive (healthy), humanistic and vibrant society. This is organic change. It requires objective introspection, deliberation (discussion, exchange of ideas and viewpoints), prioritising, patience and continuous effort (perseverance). A blinkered worldview is counterproductive. Stuff written (or interpreted) by people over the last many centuries (which saw the proliferation of retrogressive mindset, practices and spiritual impoverishment), if persisted with, will not help in intellectual and spiritual evolution, and thus there would be no cultural and social evolution either. ... By sharing, by empathising, by making continuous effort to be a better human being, a better people (spiritually, emotionally and intellectually - through our thoughts, words, and behaviour/actions) can there be happiness and contentment. Such a mindset, such a way of life is likely to have a positive influence on societal aspects too. Negative human karma (outcome of negative energy viz., indifference, retrograde mindset, prejudices etc) can only be overcome through intellectual energy (fresh thinking/approach/perspectives, broadening the mindset/thinking process) and spiritual awakening (empathy, compassion) and their resultant emotions and positive actions.

Pessimism is a state of mind that (if indulged long enough) can become an involuntary habit (accustomed behaviour or disposition). It is not wise to only chose to see the disappointing moments. Therefore, it is good to take a holistic approach, to have a broader perspective, so as not to disregard the wider realities, so as not to ignore the positive aspects or the brighter side. 

Tagore felt it was necessary to find out something common to all peoples/culture, which will prove their real unity (confluence, synergy), but that looking for a mere political or commercial basis of unity is not sufficient. Discovering the spiritual unity (empathy, kindness, humanistic beliefs and their accompanying values and ideals) is essential. Tagore, a citizen of the world, also believed in an intellectual union (confluence) of world cultures; he recognized the importance of what India could learn - from other nations/cultures/peoples - to/for her own benefit and progress. His vision was to take on a more holistic attitude towards understanding the dynamic flavour (zeitgeist) of his time (and beyond).


Various faiths are anticipating the coming of an Avatar. Hindu people are awaiting the incarnation of Keśava, the Kalkiḥ-avatar (Viṣṇu-Kalkiḥ or Kalkiḥ-Maitreya); those following Boudhya Dharma are looking forward to the coming of Buddha Maitreya (the next Buddha to be, the successor to Buddha Shakyamuni, also known as Gautama Buddha - the most recent Buddha to have appeared); Christians are awaiting the second coming of Christ; the Jewish people are waiting for the appearance of the Moshiach [mashiach, mashiah, moshiah] or "Messiah", and so forth. ... Will there be an all-encompassing Avatar - not only signifying the Universal Form, but also signifying spiritual confluence and spiritual humanism (need for empathy, compassion, humanistic values)... a confluence (sangam) of all of humankind as opposed to religious fissures? 

BG 4.7 || yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham || ~ "Whenever and wherever there is a significant depletion or degeneration (glanir bhavati) in dharma (dharmic values and ideals: social commitment, humane gestures) and an alarming rise in adharma (negative human karma resulting out of an accumulation of intellectual and spiritual 'dust' and 'grime' aka negative energy in the hearts and minds of humankind, viz., ignorance, cynicism, hopelessness, indifference, selfish individualism and so forth - that creates great imbalance and misery), O Bharata, only then I manifest Myself (in physical body - Avatar)." In other words: Whenever and wherever negativism/negative energy gains the upperhand, the unmanifested (to human eyes) Supersoul (the Almighty, the Cosmic Teacher, the Secondary Brahma) manifests or appears in physical body (Avatar). The purpose is to offer a mirror to society - to induce objective introspection (individual and collective) so as to stem the descent [deterioration] into a proverbial quagmire, to bring about an organic transformation (inner transformation, a change from within - via learning and unlearning) and subsequent evolution (evolutionary change, i.e. to put things back on an upward trajectory).

BG 4.8 || paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam dharma-samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge-yuge || "To dispel or cleanse negative energy (imbalance-causing retrograde or obsolete aspects) from the hearts and minds of humankind, so that a progressive (healthy), humane and vibrant society can emerge, I manifest Myself time and time again (sambhavami yuge-yuge)."

The Bhagavad Gita also advises against attachment to inactivity or indifference (torpor, excessive selfish considerations, intellectual ennui, quick-fix or ad-hoc fixes, and the like). BG 2.47: || karmaNi eva adhikaaraste maa phaleshu kadaachana, maa karma phala hetuH bhuH maa sanghaH astu akarmaNi || ~ Imbibe the spirit of sustained karm-yog - the willingness to do one's bit, individually and collectively, for self-improvement/self-fulfillment and for the betterment of society, to actualise the common societal goals and objectives. Embrace toil (whether intellectual or physical) to the best of your ability. Overcome your limitations. Concentrate on your convergences. Do not highlight your divergences. Shun lethargy. Overcome inertia. Be positive. Never lose hope. (Combining the collective strengths of a people/civilisation or of humankind can help overcome the shortcomings.) ... A lot can be accomplished if humankind were to concentrate on synergy-creation (confluence), instead of worrying about the 'fruits' (commendation, fame, personal glory and so forth). Re-imbibing the spirit of karm-yog (sustained effort and endeavours towards actualising the larger social goals and objectives) is paramount, not its 'fruits' (appropriation of commendation). Collaborative karm-yog (synergy-creation) also contributes towards forging affinity and cohesion, which in turn helps in sustaining (nourishing, nurturing) the cherished societal values (shared civilisational ideals). Collaboration also provides a sense of contentment and a sense of national purpose, of collective achievement; it helps build character and mettle, otherwise a glorious past is no guarantee for a shining future.

The central concepts of Sanaatan Dharma, dharma and karm-yog, elude translation - since it is performative (not to be construed as ritual practices). It has [therefore] to be experienced to be understood, since it is beyond the domain of academic description and definition (terminologies etc). Impossible [unrealistic] ideals are futile. The larger [common] social goals and objectives (for social progress, social upliftment and evolutionary change) are important, and one's commitment and effort towards actualising them is what matters. This is dharma. And this is karm-yog. ... Dharma is also about striving for inner perfection, to be a better human being: to overcome one's prejudices, anger, self-centredness, delusion, vainglory and the like. Metaphorically speaking, it is about moving out of one's inferior manas (lower mind or maan) and into the superior manas (higher mind/maan) so as to reach a higher level of existence (so as to discover one's higher nature). By elevating one's consciousness one can also experience the joys of contentment. Dharma is thus a 'way of life'. Dharma is at the root of well-being (individual and societal). 

Dharma-samsthapanarthaya: Towards an enlightened mind, a new dawn: broadening the thinking process, eschewing retrograde or obsolete mindset, making effort towards emotional and intellectual growth, developing empathy (humane gestures, kindness etc). ... To dispel [to cleanse, to de-clutter or to wash away, metaphorically speaking] the accumulated spiritual and intellectual 'dust' and 'grime' (intellectual ennui/poverty, obscurantism, pessimism, prejudices, selfish individualism/spiritual impoverishment and so forth.) To stir, awaken and elevate the (stagnated) thought process as well as the slumbering consciousness (leading to an enlightened mind and a higher/enlightened consciousness) by the re-imbibing of karm-yog (kartavya), humanistic values and dharmic ideals (spiritual awakening... through inner transformation). A change from within - through learning and unlearning, through broadening the mind/thinking process: to be a better person, to become a better people - through character building; re-energising by re-building of humankind. ... Destiny is not an excuse for torpor, procrastination and inconsiderate or ignorant words and actions. A progressive (healthy, open-minded) and humane society supports dharma. Societal progress and sustainable economic well-being of a composite society (quality of life and contentment) supports dharma. A minimal sense of responsibility and disregard of outcome or significance is counterproductive. Ad hoc fixes is no substitute for well-thought out and longer-term effort, karm-yog.

From ghor kaliyug phase to Sat/Satya/Krita Yug signifies a complete renaissance: from the lowest point (the 'Iron Age' of Ignorance/Confusion/Spiritual and intellectual stagnation = the lowest point of humankind/human civilisation) to the best phase (the 'Golden Age'). However, instant transformation is impractical; it is akin to putting a lump of fine gold (signifying 'Golden Age') into a glass of water. The gold will remain gold; the water will remain as is. ... Immediate or instantaneous change is superficial, inorganic and unsustainable; it creates confusion and unrealistic expectations. Aggrandizement, desires focused on immediate gratification, is not the same as lasting, longer-term benefit. It is a sustained, gradual effort (with a realistic and clearly defined plan for the future), rather than an instant change.    


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