Saturday, October 25, 2014

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

1. The Legend of Zalim Khan: link.

2. Water Under the Bridge: link. 

3. Carnival in Lousytown: Part-III. (Also read: Part-I and Part-II. Certain concepts have been discussed.)

Saptarishi is a reference to the seven great Rishi. The 'Saptarshi' were Brahmarishi (Sanskrit: brahmarṣi). They had attained the highest divine knowledge or spiritual knowledge, Brahmajnana (knowledge of Brahmn). Thus, Brahmarishi = the highest Rishi (honorific for learned personages of rare intellect.) Both Vashishtha and Vishvamitra are mentioned as preceptors of Lord Rama of Ayodhya. Brahmarshi Vashistha, one of the Saptarishi and a celebrated Vedic sage, was the preceptor [guru] of the Raghu clan (Raghukula, Raghuvansh - the lineage of Raghu to which Sri Rama belonged). Are Vashistha and Valmiki one and the same? Maharshi Valmiki welcomes Sita (Sri Rama) into his ashram/hermitage. Does it imply a severance of ties with Ramachandra (aka Lakshmana aka Ravana)? In which case the notion that Vedic marriages were airtight may be incorrect. ... Why is Ramachandra considered an ideal man and a model spouse? Is it due to a superficial understanding and contemporising [to reflect the social milieu, the prevalent social mindset/values etc] or a cursory reading of our pracheen itihasa? Or is it the outcome of subjective analysis and [nonprogressive] points of view of various storytellers, dramatists etc? Ramachandra attended a yagna with a golden statue of Sita (Norman Bates-like? Who is the Shiva who did tandava with Sati aka Parvati's lifeless body? What do the 51 Shakti Peethas represent, dismembered parts of Sati's body?). Does it also mean Ramachandra ascended the throne, a culmination of his single-minded pursuit of power? But why did he, despite his ascent to the very top of the power pyramid, attend a yagna with a golden statue of Sita? Excessive devotion? Was he not a progressive person (in attitude etc)? Was he the Machiavellian sort (opportunistic behaviour, attempted to chart his own course, etc)? Did he see an opportunity for himself, if Sita were to be banished? Was their equation one of latent disdain and cold rejection, with an outward veneer of compatibility? 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 an "honourable man" and repeats the word "honourable" several times. He is really conveying that Brutus was the very opposite of "honourable".) 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. (From what we gather, Ravana is depicted as dark-hued, implying unclean mind and heart?) The word "black" or "dark" could suggest various concepts that extended beyond the physical colour of skin, including a wide range of negative connotations (characteristics, attributes etc). Was Ramachandra manipulative, neglectful, over-engaged or too controlling? Othello-like? Fueled by Othello-esque permeating jealousy? Were Ramachandra and Sita of completely different dispositions, motivations, perspectives? An impossible relationship? Did Ravana attempt to limit the limitless? Ravana held Sita captive in Ashok Vatika. Obsessive, overtly-possessive? Enthrall? Emotionally drained? (Ravana's ten heads: Swollen-headed? Deliberately deceitful? Egotistical maniac? A legend in his mind? Overconfident, just can't get over himself? Inability to view himself critically? Incorrigibly licentious? Boorish and emotionally hardened? Whimsical - erratic, capricious? Moody and impulsive? Restless behaviour pattern? Sulky and temperamental? Profligate? Narcissistic? A show-off? An insufferable know-it-all? Does not acknowledge responsibilities (operates as a child emotionally, refusal to grow up, or adapt and evolve)? Full of hot air, inflated ego, vainglory, anger, prejudices and self-importance? Excessively selfish, easily riled, emotionally immature, a unenlightened/vacuous mind, yet exaggerated self-image? A braggadocio? Deluded? A schizophrenic mind?)

Vashistha had in his possession Kamadhenu and Nandini. (Kamadhenu and Nandini are non-different. Nandini and Surabhi are synonyms of Kamadhenu - symbolising prosperity, plenty, good luck, sustenance etc. It is essentially a metaphor for Bhudevi, the earth goddess. Sridevi/Lakshmi and Bhudevi are non-different.) Vashistha is also associated with Mitra-Varuna. He is one of 9 Prajapatis. (Prajapati could be a title or honorific for an influential ruler or someone in a leadership role.) Vashistha is a manasputra of Lord Brahma. Does it imply a meeting [confluence] of minds, or immense knowledge and wisdom? BG 10.33: || aham evākṣayaḥ kālo dhātāhaḿ viśvato-mukhaḥ || ~ "I am also inexhaustible time, and of creators I am Brahmā" - possibly implying Secondary Creator or Secondary Brahma, i.e. creator of a new time-cycle (commencing with a new world-system). Dhata or dhaataa can also mean support. Thus, the Brahma aspect is the creator [re-energiser, re-invigorator, renaissance] aspect of the Cosmic Ruler (the Higher power, the preceptor [guru] of the Brahmaanda, the Almighty). ... In traditional Indian astronomy, pair of Alcor and Mizar in constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear) is known as Vashistha and Arundhati. (Ursa Major is known as Saptarshi, each of the stars representing one of the Saptarshi or Seven Sages.) Arundhati (Arundhuti, accorded much respect and described as possessing a character that is inspiring and worthy of emulation) is identified with the morning star and also with the star Alcor which forms a double star with Mizar (identified as Vashistha Maharshi) in Ursa Major. (The constellation could be a symbol of marital bliss [togetherness, support etc] implying an ideal couple... welded together by affection rather than duty or material gain. Domestic happiness instead of marital claustrophobia.) 

Is Maharshi Valmiki of the Ramayana the same as the prodigiously knowledgeable Maharshi Veda Vyasa (Krsna Dvaipāyana Vyasa) of the Mahabharata?

BG 10.37: || vṛṣṇīnāḿ vāsudevo 'smi pāṇḍavānāḿ dhanañjayaḥ munīnām apy ahaḿ vyāsaḥ kavīnām uśanā kaviḥ || "Among the Vrishni I am Vasudeva (Lord of Mathura, Dvarka and Vrindavaan; Vasudeva = the deity [deva or personification] of the Earth/dharitri), Arjuna among the Pandavas, Vyasah among the sages (enlightened personages of rare intellect and considerable wisdom), and Ushanaa among the great poets." (The 5 Paandavs = five different aspects of Panchali, also known as Krishnaa and Draupadi. However, is there another Arjuna? ... Panchali [pronounced 'Paanchaali'] = belonging to or hailing from the royal family of Panchala kingdom. Thus, Panchali = 'Princess of Panchala', the name of her father, Raja Drupada's kingdom, just as Sita is also called 'Maithili' after her father Raja Janaka'a kingdom, Mithila. (Krishnaa is also called Draupadi: daughter of Drupada. Similarly, Sita is also known as Janaki, daughter of Raja Janaka.) Panchali can also mean enigmatic or 'an enigma' - implying perplexing, unfathomable or inscrutable. Panchali = twist, possibly implying twisting of thoughts, i.e. muddling the mind, through influencing the emotions and/or thought process. Hypnosis? Maaya? Make-believe? "Indrajaal Rahasya" of the Feluda titles? Shonar Kella [The Golden Fortress] also refers to hypnosis. ... Krishna, Lakshmi, SarasvatI, Parvati are one and the same. Sri Parvati is also known as Mahamaya (one who can control the senses [and thereby the thinking process]).

Vrishni: possibly a clan with a Bull insignia or emblem. Nandi (symbolising dharma, dharmic aspects: principles, values and ideals)? Nandi - the insignia of Dvarka, Mathura and Vrindavaan?  (Note: Nandi, the divine Bull, is known for his simplicity. He is Siva's primary 'vaahan' and is also the principal gana (follower) or foremost disciple of Shiva. Nandi is Chief in Shiva's army and leads the ganas. Thus, Nandi is Ganapati, the chief of the ganas. Nandi is the mind dedicated to Lord Siva. The lord was also very fond of him and trusted him completely. There are many temples dedicated solely to Nandi. Worship of Lord Shiva is incomplete if Nandi is not worshipped along with Shiva. 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.)

kavīnām uśanā kaviḥ, Ushanaa among the great poets: this could imply Brihaspati. Shukra or Shukracharya, is associated with Venus (as well as horse and crocodile). Horse could imply Asvapati ('Lord of horses') and/or Hayasirsa or Hayagreeva-avatar, the Horse-headed Vishnu. (Haya = horse; sirsa = head; greeva = jaw; avatar = manifestation in physical form.) 

In Sanskrit there are also many compound words, of which the dual word, like rāma-kṛṣṇa, is called dvandva. BG 10.33: || dvandvaḥ sāmāsikasya ca || ~ "and among compound words I am the dual compound." E.g. Rama-Krishna, Hari-Hara and Mitra-Varuna.

Mitra-Varuna: Mitra = the patron divinity of camaraderie (mayitree), agreements/contracts and meetings, and a figure of the Rig Veda, closely associated with Varuna (chief of the 12 Adityas, also considered the deva [deity or symbol] of all forms of the water element, particularly the seas = Samudradeva.) BG 10.24: || sarasam asmi sagarah || ~ "and of bodies of water I am the sea." (Samudradeva, Sri SarasvatI = AnantaSayana Vishnu? Sarasam = sarasa = fountain, spring or stream: a perennial knowledge stream or a vast unfathomable reservoir of timeless wisdom, knowledge, inspiration and consciousness. Feluda's Gyanpeeth?) Varuna's 'vaahan' is a makara (crocodile). Makara is also associated with Makara Sankranti, a very auspicious occasion. 

The Bhagavad Gita is part of the Mahabharata. Vyasa (also referred to as Veda Vyāsa and Vyasadeva) composed the Mahabharata, initially titled 'Jaya' - meaning victory... with Sri Ganesha's help. (Sri Ganesha wrote while Vyasa spoke.) Are Vyasa and Sri Ganesha (Ganapati) one and the same? Wise as an owl. What does the Barn Owl associated with Sri Lakshmi imply? 

Is Jatayu of the Ramayana, the same as Shakuni of the Mahabharata? Or are they different people? In the game of dice (Sanskrit: aSTApada, pAsa, pA.nsA, bindutantra, prAsaka) Shakuni (also known as Saubala) played with a loaded dice (courtesy a lizard nestling inside his dice). Unlike modern chess, chaturanga (recognised as the earliest form of chess) was mainly a game of chance; results depended on how well one rolled the dice. (Lizard is imagery for treachery, a stealthy meddlesome snoop. Judas?)

Dice in general in Sanskrit are known as aksa; the oblong dice are distinguished with the name of pasa, pasaka, parsa – all being variants of one another and connected with the Hindi pasa and the Punjabi phansa. (Can it also imply entrapment?) The oblong or cubical dice (akṣa) is the precursor of the more primitive vibhīṣaka - small, hard nuts drawn randomly to obtain factors of a certain integer.

Ravana, Vibhisana and Kumbhakarna (implying a couch potato: an idler, wastrel or slacker [someone who lacks work ethic], a feckless or indolent person, someone who is habitually lazy) - three brothers or three different aspects of the same individual? Is the sobriquet 'Vibhisana' derived from vibhīṣaka? Does Vibhisana imply excessive attachment to dice, a habitual gambler? Someone with a taste for gambling (rash decision-making) with a minimal sense of responsibility and disregard of outcome or significance? Excessively self-centred? Machiavellian? Too clever by half? Unctuous? Ingratiating? An out-and-out opportunist? Chance pe dance? Shakuni? Karna?

Indrajit is also known as Meghnadh or Meghnaada (voice like rumbling thunder?). Are Ravana and Indrajit one and the same, or are they different people?

The game Chaturanga was a battle simulation game, which rendered Indian military strategy of the time. (In 600 AD, the Persians who named it Shatranj, learned this game.) Some of the earliest archaeological evidence of oblong dice has been found in Harrapan sites such as Kalibangan, Lothal, Ropar, Alamgirpur, Desalpur and surrounding areas. Dicing is believed to have later spread westwards to Persia, influencing Persian board games. Early references to dicing can be found in the Ṛig Veda as well as the newer Atharva Veda.

"Ashtapada" Sanskrit for spider - "a legendary being with eight legs" was played with dice on an 8x8-checkered board. There were no light and dark squares like we see in today's chessboard for 1,000 years. Other Indian boards included the 10×10 Dasapada and the 9×9 Saturankam. Later this game came to be known as chaturanga. The Sanskrit name Chaturanga means 'quadripartite' - the four angas (divided into four parts). The earliest known form of chess is two-handed chaturanga, Sanskrit for "the 4 branches of the army." Like real Indian armies at that time, the pieces were called elephants, chariots, horses and foot soldiers. (The Sanskrit word Rakshak, which means a soldier or protector is derived from Raksha, which means 'to protect'.) ... Played on an authentic cloth game surface by 2, 3 or 4 players, Chaturanga combines the basic strategy of chess with the dynamic challenge of chance as the random roll of wooden dice determines each move. In fact, Yudhishthira and Duryodhana, in the Mahabharata, played a version of chaturanga using a dice. (Karna aka Radheya became the ruler of Anga, courtesy Duryodhana. What could this imply?)

The Game of Cards: The popular game of cards originated in ancient India and was known as Krida-patram. This game was patronised especially by the royalty and nobility. In medieval India, playing cards was known as Ganjifa cards which were played in practically all royal courts. The Mughals also patronised this game, but the Mughal card-sets differed from those of the ancient Indian royal courts. According to Abul Fazal's description of the game, the following cards were used. The first was Ashvapati, which means 'lord of horses'. The Ashvapati, which was the highest card in the pack, represented the picture of the king on horseback. The second highest card represented a General (Senapati) on horseback. After this card come ten other with pictures of horses from one to ten. Another set of cards had the Gajapati (lord of elephants), which represented the king whose power lay in the number of elephants. The other eleven cards in this pack represented the Senapati and ten others with a soldier astride an elephant. Another pack has the Narpati, a king who derived his power from his infantry. There are also other cards known as the Dhanpati, the lord of treasures (or did it imply archery since Dhanvin ["archer", or one who holds a bow] is a reference to Rudra-Shiva, the amazing "archer"?), Dalpati the lord of the squadron, Navapati, the lord of the navy, Surapati, the lord of divinities (positive factors?), Vanapati, the king of the forest and Ahipati, lord of serpents, and so on.

It can be said that sages had invented the game of playing cards in ancient times; they took the number 12 as the basis and made a set of 12 cards. Every king had 11 followers, thus a pack had 144 cards. The Mughals retained 12 sets having 96 cards. These Mughal Ganjifa sets have representations of diverse trades like painter, bookbinder, Rangrez (dyer) and so on. In addition there were also the Padishah-i-Qimash, king of the manufacturers and Padishah-izar-i-Safid, king of silver, etc. Cards were known as Krida-patram in ancient India. Krida = sport, game; patram = leaves. (Is Krida-patram = Leela Purusha-uttama aka the Krishna-avatar's famous Raas leela?) These cards were made of cloth and depicted motifs from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. A tradition carried on today with floral motifs and natural scenery.

The pre-Mughal origin of the game of cards is evident if we examine the pattern of painting the cards. In Indian courts there were packs with 8, 9 and 10 sets apart from the usual 12. The numbers were derived from the eight cardinal directions Ashtadikpala, for the pack with 8 set, [possibly] from the Navaratna for the one with 9 sets and from ten incarnations (Dasavataar of Vishnu) for the pack with 10 sets. Themes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata are painted on these cards. All these cards were hand-made and hand-painted in the traditional style. The royalty and nobility usually commissioned painters to make cards as per their preference, while the commoners got their cards made by local artists who were to be found in urban and rural areas. In order to obtain the required thickness pieces of cloth were glued together. The outlines of the rim were painted in black and then the figures were filled with colours. Since this game was played by members of all sections of society, the affluent as well as the not so well-off, different types of cards can be found. Some cards were also made of ivory, tortoise shell, mother of pearl, inlaid or enameled with precious metals. The cards were of different shapes: circular, oval, rectangular; however, the circular cards were more common. The cards were usually kept in a wooden box with a lid painted with mythological (pracheen itihasa, ancient history) figures. This art of handmade, hand-painted cards gradually became extinct with the introduction of printed-paper cards by the Europeans in the 17-18th centuries. With the extinction of the art of making and painting cards also was erased the memory that Indians ever had played the game of cards with their own specific representations of the Narapati, Gajapati and Ashvapati. 


Sudarshana Chakra: Sudarshana is a reference to Krishna. Feluda's magojastro (brain-weapon) is a reference to the 7th Chakra (the Sahasrara, the highest chakra) and implies that Krishna is a cerebral warrior. The Chakra (in Sudarshana Chakra) could be indicative of the Mind Chakra (Manasa Chakra), which is connected with most of the head (especially the brain), and is a combination of sensing and intellect. (Intuition could be the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.) Therefore, hurling of the Sudarshana Chakra (divine discus) = to run rings around something. (Chakravyuh = entrapment). Sudarshana Chakra is the divine discus - the (allegoric) weapon of Vishnu-Krishna, which is usually used, for the ultimate decimation of an enemy (i.e. negative forces, negativity or imbalance-causing negative energy). Sudarshana Chakra = Pashupatastra? The Pashupatastra (Sanskrit: Pāśupatāstra) is the most effective personal weapon of Shiva, discharged by the mind, the eyes (implying hypnosis, make-believe?), words, or an allegoric bow (Pinaka?) However, it is never to be used against lesser enemies or by lesser "warriors". Pinakin = One who has a bow in hand. Shiva is PinakaPaNi, meaning one who wields Pinaka, or 'one who is the wielder of Pinaka'. Pinaka = Shiva's bow. What could this imply?

Sri Rama uses the Vishnu-dhanusha, the allegoric 'bow of Sri Vishnu'. Arjuna wields the Gandeeva (Gāṇdīva) bow. Rainbow is called Meghdhanush, Ramdhanu or Indra-dhanuSha in Sanskrit. It symbolises hope, optimism, fresh approach/thinking (perspectives), intellectual energy etc... that helps to dispel or weaken the thick 'fog' of pessimism, hopelessness, intellectual ennui/inertness, prejudices, inertia/procrastination, retrograde thinking/mindset or obsolete aspects... and thereby awaken the (metaphorically speaking) 'slumbering' consciousness.

Iconographically Siva may have two, three, four, eight, ten or even thirty-two hands. Some of the various objects shown in these hands are: Trisula, Cakra, Parasu, damaru, Aksamala (a mala made of rudraksha beads implying that Shiva is a master of spiritual sciences/philosophy), Mrga (deer - symbolising destiny and good luck), pasa, Danda (staff or shaft), Pinaka or Ajagava (allegoric bow), Khaṭvāńga (ritual staff that also acts as a vajra), Pasupata (the most effective personal weapon of Shiva, discharged by the mind, the eyes, words, or an allegoric/symbolic bow), Lotus, Darpana (mirror), Khadaga (sword, scythe) and so on. Rudraksha = eye of Rudra. Shiva is derived from Rudra-Shiva, thus the Shiva-dhanusha became known as Pinaka and Shiva as PinakapaNi.

Avatars are unlikely to carry equipment. Therefore, the weaponry associated with the highest Avatar could be allegoric. Trishula is [very likely] a reference to 'SarasvatI-Parvati-Lakshmi' (i.e. MahaSarasvatI-Jagadambika-Mahalakshmi = Sri Kalika or Shyama Kali). They are one and the same. (No matter what honorific is used, the Cosmic Ruler remains the same.)

Rudra-Siva is called "the archer" (Sanskrit: Śarva) or the amazing archer, and the arrow is an essential attribute of Rudra. (Shiva is derived from Rudra-Shiva, Rudra and Shiva is one and the same. Shiva ('the good' or 'the auspicious'), is an adjective and therefore can also be used as an honorific.) 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 darkness." (Darkness = retrogressive or obsolete aspects, negativity or negative energy in the hearts and minds of humankind, and resultant negative human karma). The names Dhanvin ("archer", 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).

Shiva's bow and arrow: Can this be understood through the imagery of ArdhaNarishvara (the syncretic form)? Two halves of the same consciousness? Brihaspati-Shukracharya? Shuka-Sari? Sri Ganesha-Sri Lakshmi? Gajapati ('lord of elephants')-Asvapati ('lord of horses')? Shonaar kathi-Rupaar kathi of Thakurmaar Jhuli (lit. Grandmother's Tales) - a collection of folk tales and fairy tales. (The mysterious) Radha-Krishna (the eternal divine couple, iconographically depicted through a pair of parrots, Shuka-Sari)? RadhaKrishna is a single word, like sun and sunshine. On a side note: Lanka means chilli. And chilli is a favourite with parrots. Is that why the parrot symbology has come about?

ArdhaNarishvara, the syncretic form: The concept of ArdhaNarishvara is that Shiva and Shakti are integral to each other, signifying two aspects: the male and the female, the masculine and the feminine. Thus, Shiva and Shakti are non-dual and inseparable. (Ardha: half, nari: woman/feminine, and ishvara, meaning "Lord" or "God." It represents perfect synthesis. Therefore, Shiva-Shakti (the masculine and the feminine) is two aspects of the same truth, Satyam. (Satyam-Sivam-Sundaram = the ever-auspicious, ever-honourable [Aryaman] and ever-humane, sentient eternal divine.) The right half is usually the male or masculine aspect, Shiva. This is the Shiva half. (It perhaps symbolises the best of traits, qualities, characteristics or attributes of a man. Nandi or Sri Nandikesvara? Nandi probably symbolises or embodies ethics/values, qualities, attributes and principles that is inspiring and worthy of emulation and chivalrous [gallant] masculinity - understated, confident masculinity. Ethics, values etc should not to be construed as impossible moralism or utopian idealism. Refer Part-I for Dharma and Karm-yog.) In Shakta ArdhaNarishvara, the dominant right side is female. (Shakta is derived from Shakti worship or Shaktism.) In India, the Zebu is considered as the contemporary representation of Nandi. The robust Zebu Bull or Brahma Bull, sometimes known as humped cattle or Brahman, a type of domestic cattle characterised by a hump on their shoulders, drooping ears and a large dewlap, if yoked to a plough can help reap a rich harvest and thereby make one prosperous.

Nandi: assertiveness, confidence, energy, incisiveness, determination, strength of mind and body, stamina, nobility, unselfish qualities/characteristics and leadership; to be strong and self-controlled and decent; to be confident enough to take defeat (disappointments, unpleasantness) on the chin and not pass the buck of blame unfairly; to have grace under fire [to remain relaxed and self-assured], to be dignified, to have pride but not boastfulness; to know how to behave with women or to treat women well but not allowing oneself to be pushed around; to take calculated risks, to push fear [of failure, disappointment] aside and to be dutiful and chivalrous. ... Bhringi, therefore, could represent machismo, a he-man complex; a strong or exaggerated sense of masculinity/manliness [or emphatic masculinity] stressing attributes such as physical courage, blatant virility, domination of women, and aggressiveness [being 'macho']. In other words, exaggerated pride in masculinity, perceived as power, often coupled with a minimal sense of responsibility and disregard of outcome or significance [reckless, brash or a rash decision-making?] (Sage Bhringi or Bhringisa – the Rsi with three legs: Sage Bhringi, due to the wrath of Shakti, is without flesh and blood; his iconographic depiction is [therefore] that of an emaciated figure – diabetic or fadeout of lineage?)

Shivah means one who is eternally auspicious and tranquil. Shivah also means: One who is non-deluded, of steady mind, i.e. one who eternally possesses the supreme wisdom that dispels all illusions (negative pride/ego/arrogance, conceit, vainglory, delusions, cynicism, anger, selfish aspects, coarse materialism 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/dharmic aspects.)

Shiva - the good or the auspicious - is also an adjective or a quality, and thus Shiva could be an honorific. Even Sri Nandikesvara is equated with Shiva. There are 11 Rudra-s and 8 Bhairava-s. Shiva could be a flood figure as well. Sage Agastya too is considered as a Shiva. (A-ga in Sanskrit means a mountain. Agastya is associated with Mitra and Varuna.) The exuberant, dancing Shiva, Nataraja, Dance-King or the Lord of the Dance - who is he? Shiva Bhikshatana or bhikshAtanar: The Supreme Shiva who asks for alms, wandering about for alms. (The Sanskrit word bhikshatana comes from the Sanskrit stem bhiksh, which means to share, to ask for, to pray.) One aspect of Shiva is Bhikshatana ("Supreme mendicant" or Shiva the enchanting mendicant) - the handsome youthful mendicant-ascetic wearing tiger-skin, sandals, unbound hair and carrying his few possessions on a staff. The sandals are unique and identifying feature of Bhikshatana's iconography. The left leg is firmly rooted in the ground while the right one is slightly bent, suggesting walking. Women were enamoured (fascinated and captivated) of this handsome Shiva, of his wonderful body, of his voice and his glance. Bhikshatana transforms into Nataraja. Who is this Shiva? (Shiva himself took the shape of a mendicant, Bhikshatana, to teach a spiritual lesson [spiritual awakening] to those proclaiming the superiority of the rigid ritual practices [which they performed with much stubbornness and pride] and of the spiritual offerings over the sincere love for Shiva. It was meant to awaken them from their ignorance. The colour of His skin is pure white, but His neck is blue.) Shiva Bhikshatana probably displays some Bhairava characteristics and could therefore be Bhikshatana-Bhairava. However, Kala Bhairava (Lord of Time) is very likely a reference to the Cosmic Ruler (the Almighty, who in physical form is the highest Avatar). Kala Bhairava could also be the Shiva known by the sobriquet Vaidyanatha (the Supreme Druid/Physician). Reminiscent of Vaiṣajyaguru [Vaishajaguru] - the Buddha of healing and medicine? Siva is also known as Nīlakaṇṭha (the blue-throated one): one who accepts toxic [unpleasant] aspects (known as halahala - euphemism for large quantities of negative human karma), which, if allowed to accumulate, would influence/affect humankind (and thereby societal aspects). Siva is said to have drank the halahala, the descent of which was in turn stopped at the throat, by Shakti, thus the throat turned shining blue (metaphorically speaking). There is another sobriquet "Bholanath". Does it imply sannyasa (renunciation, tyaga of fruitive action)? One who has achieved freedom from the anxiety or expectation of/for the fruit [outcome] of action... thereby concentrating on the excellence of action [karm-yog]?)

Neelkanth analogy: Symbolising determination, strength of mind and body, stamina, nobility, unselfish qualities/characteristics, correct motivation and dharmic aspiration? To have grace under fire (to remain relaxed and self-assured), to be dignified? Despite seemingly insurmountable challenges/difficulties, unwavering adherence to certain values and ideals? To not only withstand physical discomfort, but also to not be easily malleable vis-à-vis scruples? (In India the majestic Zebu bull (Brahma Bull, sometimes known as humped cattle or Brahman) is considered as the contemporary representation of Nandi. Zebu is well adapted to withstanding high temperatures. ... Nandini and Surabhi are synonyms of Kamadhenu. Kamadhenu is regarded as a form [manifestation] of dharitri/Bhudevi (the deity [deva or personification] of the Earth). Since cows are a metaphor for rivers, Surabhi can also imply Sri SarasvatI. Kamadhenu is also sometimes described as a Matrika (divine "mother"). 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, non-selfishness, sustenance etc. All the divinities are depicted in the body of Kamadhenu. This probably indicates that the Avatars are one and the same, merely various aspects/forms of Sri SarasvatI ('Snow-White' of the fairy tales). The manifestation in physical form [Avatar] is Sri Lakshmi ('Rose-Red' of the fairy tales). Thus the appearance of the highest Avatar does not change, despite myriad honorifics.)

Dhritarashtra's blindness is [probably] an allegory for his moral blindness (non-adherance to raaj-dharma, the duties and responsibilities of a ruler) as well as an allegory to his carelessness as a parent. Upbringing matters; it also has an effect on society (social values, social care/commitment etc). A positive karmic residue is also required, else the quality of humans will not be good, since the soul (individual soul or human soul, jivaatma - the eternal aspect of a being), will be affected... and this will in turn affect society. So, one must fulfill one's responsibility as a parent. However, Dhritarashtra turned a "blind eye" to the faults of his unworthy sons, which [eventually] led to his epic downfall. 

Bheeshma (Devavrata or Bhishma Pitamah) on a sharashajya. Bhishma on a Bed of Arrows. Bound by his vow (kathor vrata) of eternal bachelorhood and celibacy. Does it imply 'lesser' or unsuitable genes? Or fadeout of lineage? Bheeshma was a great warrior, but a person of weak character (weak-minded); he chose to stand with the negative forces in the dharma-yuddha - the "battle" (effort and endeavours) to re-establish dharma. This shows his thought process, motivation etc. He shirked his responsibilities (his dharma). He was selfish and pusillanimous vis-à-vis worthy values and ideals, dharmic principles, larger goals and objectives; he lacked the temperament, mindset and spine for longer-term and continuous struggle required to re-establish dharmic aspects, to re-energise/re-vitalise society, to bring about organic transformation. Kumeru? (Meru means spine). We find Karna to be in the same mould. Bheeshma always found logic to justify his point of view, whatever it is that he wanted to believe, he was always right, implying rigidity in thinking, emotions and behaviour. Fixed mindset? Bheeshma, therefore, can also symbolise old school of thought. Bheeshma on a Bed of Arrows = to restrict, curb or withhold (entrapment, to transfix, to pin down?), breaking the shackles of rigidity? 

Krishna's VarnaH-dharma was about identifying an individual based on one's characteristics, qualities, mindset, innate abilities (core skills) and so on. It was [probably] done to increase or maximise efficiency. It was not a rigid social hierarchy; one's background did not matter. (VarnaH-dharma is based on an individual's mental capabilities; e.g. intellectual energy, knowledge, wisdom, original thinking, academic activities meant Brahmana. Brhm or Brahm = knowledge, wisdom, intellect, thinking process; high-minded. Kshatriya: physical strength (as in protector or Rakshak), and administrative capabilities. Vaishya: business-minded (trading, mercantile activities etc). While Sudra probably has evolved from mudra. Mudra means physical gestures or two hands. Therefore, Sudra probably means: the ability to create something with one's hands (labour-intensive manufacturing, agriculture etc; Su = good). Brahmana should not be confused for Brahmin (implying priestly class). VarnaH-dharma should not be construed as caste system. That probably has come about courtesy Portuguese culture. (Casta, meaning purity of descent, is a Portuguese word.)

At the start of the Mahabharata War (dharma-yuddha - "battle" of principles, values, vision and progress - for the future of humankind, for a prosperous, humane and vibrant society to emerge), Lord Krishna asked both Arjuna and Duryodhana to choose between Krishna and Krishna's mighty army. Arjuna wisely chose Krishna while Duryodhana, under the influence of maaya (make-believe, courtesy Krishna), chose Krishna's mighty army (the Narayani Sena). Krishna and Arjuna is guru and shishya. Krishna is Arjuna's guru and mentor. Arjuna seeks and values Krishna's approval. Sometimes it is withheld, which only spurs him to try harder. Arjuna is a true warrior, and therefore conscientious. He could differentiate between dharma and adharma (injustice, unpleasant aspects), he is [thus] anxious and agonises over contradictions, perplexing situations and uncertainty: to act or not to act. A selfish, unscrupulous person would not have behaved thus; such persons would have simply been motivated by narrow selfish considerations. Arjuna's surrender to Krishna is complete and unconditional. It is the easiest and simplest form of devotion. It is also the highest form of devotion. Unconditional, selfless, and complete surrender to Krishna, indeed conquers Krishna. ... Pointing to a bird, Krishna once asked Arjuna, "Do you see that peacock?" Arjuna responded in the affirmative. "Oh Arjuna, it is not a peacock; it is an eagle," said Krishna. Arjuna promptly agreed. The playfully naughty Krishna then said, "I am sorry; it is a dove." Arjuna approved again. "It is not a dove at all; it is a crow," asserted the mischievous Lord. Arjuna acceded yet again. Krishna laughed. Arjuna responded thus: "What you say is the truth for me. You can make a crow into a dove, or a peacock into an eagle. Why should I differ from what you declare? Your word is the truth I go by."

Who really was Satyavati? Was she a fisherwoman or was there a fish-shaped birthmark on her face? Destiny chose Vyasa's DNA to rule over the kingdom of Hastinapura... to be able to re-establish dharmic aspects? Veda Vyasa was Satyavati's son, or is there some riddle here? (Valmiki of the Ramayana and Veda Vyasa of the Mahabharata are one and the same?) Who was Maharshi Parashara (who entered into a Gandharva Vivah with Satyavati)? Kunti supposedly abandoned the baby Karna. However, who was Suryadev? Is it an allegory? (Note: Are Ganapati [Nandi] and Ganesha one and the same? Are Vashistha, Valmiki, Vyasa, Brihaspati, Vasuki Naga, Ganapati [leader of the ganas, Shiva's disciples], Ganesha, Nandi/Sri Nandikeshvara (refer Part-I), the mysterious Radha and Arjuna one and the same? Shuka? Narasimha (Lion Man implying lion courage or lion-hearted) of Sri Lakshmi-Narasimha? Narasimha-avatar of the Dasavataar? The Kausthubham or Kaustubha Mani - the unique/divine jewel believed to be adorning the neck of Sri Vishnu? Bodhisattva ("Buddha-to-be") Avalokiteshvara? (Refer Part-III.) Who really was Aananda, Sakyamuni Buddha's most famous disciple? Can Bodhisattvas Vajrapani and Avalokiteshvara be equated to Brahmarshis Vishwamitra and Vashistha? | "Naga" is a reference to higher beings (evolved souls or enlightened beings) - possibly on the basis of their kundalini energy or power of kundalini. Kunda = to coil or to spiral, thus the epithet 'naga'. (Refer Part-II for kundalini). BG 10.28: || ayudhanam aham vajram dhenunam asmi kamadhuk prajanas casmi kandarpah sarpanam asmi vasukih || ~ "Of weapons I am the thunderbolt (vajram), among cows (a symbol of good luck, plenty, unselfishness, sustenance etc) I am the Surabhi (Kamadhenu or Nandini, the source of all prosperity, also regarded as a form [manifestation, symbol] of dharitri/Bhudevi - the earth goddess), of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa (Kamadeva or Cupid), the god of love, and of Nagas (evolved souls or enlightened beings, based on kundalini energy) I am Vāsuki." ... Vasuki has a magnificent gem (Nagamani, the rare Naga Maanikya), on his head. Possibly implying vast knowledge, wisdom and rare intellect. Or does it imply intellectual intimacy, a meeting [confluence] of minds? So tightly woven together, it's almost the same thing? Vasuki is Shiva's Naga, and is famous for coiling around the neck of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva blessed Vasuki and wore him as an ornament (Kausthubham analogy? Vasuki = Kaustubham or Kaustubha mani?) The Shiva imagery (kayaheen aspect?) shows a coiled serpent around the neck: Vasuki Naga curled three times around the neck and looking towards the Lord's right side. The three coils of the Naga symbolise the past, present and future - time in cycles. Vasuki looking in the right direction of Lord Shiva signifies that the Lord's perpetual laws of reason and justice preserve natural order in the universe [Brahmaanda]. Shiva wearing Vasuki like an ornament is also indicative of the latent spiritual energy, called Kundalini Shakti, which resides within. Omkaara, PraNavaH Naad or praNavaH nAda = Shabda Brahmn = the voice of the Primordial Being. It could be a reference to the voice of the highest Avatar (Svayam Bhagavan, Purusha-uttama). Is the same applicable to Vasuki?)

Krishna possesses a keenness of mind, is not a lazy or selfish thinker or a naïve philosopher. Krishna likes substantial content (ability, determination, perseverance, and a capacity for hard work) over frivolous style. Krishna likes purity (sattvikness) of thought, mind and action (a fighting spirit, optimistic/positive outlook, a can-do attitude). Krishna does not appreciate pusillanimity (cowardice), grandiloquence (self-glorification, conceitedness), self-righteousness or knavishness couched in a heroic outward. Krishna is always inspiring and infuses positive and noble thoughts. It makes Arjuna strong (gives him mental strength, confidence, clarity of  thought and purpose) in face of adversity, so much so he is ready to meet all challenges. There is no ego, no scope of negativity or fear of failure. As Arjuna stood in the battlefield of Kurukshetra ('dharma-yuddha', battle of principles/values/ethics that benefit society), he was overcome with feelings of weakness and confusion... since he faced the prospect of taking on his own kith and kin. Realising that his adversaries were his own relatives and revered teachers, he turns to his charioteer and guru, Krishna, for advice. Responding to his confusion and moral dilemma, Krishna advises him to follow his 'sva-dharma', his 'duty [dharma, kartavya] as a kshatriya' (one who protects others, or one who is an upholder of ethics/worthy values/principles/justice). In short, Krishna advises Arjuna to remain true to his core skills, his innate abilities, his true calling. Sri Krishna is also referred to as "Kshatriya-Shresht" (shresht or shreshthah = the finest, best of the best). After all, Vishnu-Krishna is the supreme protector and preserver. 'Sva-dharma' literally means: 'duty or responsibility [dharma] born out of one's innate nature/ability or pravritti'. ... The 18th chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad Geeta examines the relationship between 'sva-dharma' and 'swabhava' (i.e. one's essential/intrinsic/innate nature or inherent ability/talent). In this chapter, the 'sva-dharma' of an individual is linked with the 'gunas' or the 'tendencies or inherent talent arising out of one's swabhava' (one's innate nature, inclination/bent of mind). This 'Sva-dharma' - that Sri Krishna talked about - is also known as 'VarnaH-dharma'. (VarnaH = innate nature/ability/talent/aptitude; bent of mind or pravritti. Dharma = ethics, values and ideals, or way of life.) ... The verses can also be taken as a conversation between a jiva-atma (an individual soul or human soul - represented by Arjuna) and the Paramatma or Supersoul (Sri Krishna). Srimad is honorific. Bhagavad = of Bhagavan. Geeta, since Sanskrit is a mellifluous language. The Bhagavad-Gita consists of 18 chapters. It was spoken over 18 days.

BG 2.2 (Sri-Bhagavan uvaca, Sri Bhagavan said): || kutas tva kasmalam idam visame samupasthitam anarya-justam asvargyam akirti-karam arjuna || ~ "What is the reason for your dejection, which has overwhelmed you with sorrow at such a crucial time? Why Arjuna, are you indulging in depressive thoughts over things that do not deserve it? Such behaviour is ignoble (Un-Aryan-like) and for the mentally weak. It is unbecoming of you; it will not lead you to fame/respect/keerti or glory (Akirti karam) or a higher existence (Asvargyam – implying immortality, which can only be achieved by performing praiseworthy/commendable act/feat – an everlasting keerti.)" ... Krishna chides Arjuna in a forceful manner - for shirking or turning away from his dharma as a warrior (to strive for the larger good, for the benefit of others, for the betterment of society.) This is also an exhortation to all of humankind: to overcome dejection [despondency, pessimistic thoughts], to banish all sorts of negative thoughts, and to face the vicissitudes of life courageously and cheerfully (with optimism, a positive attitude) - without getting overwhelmed by sorrow or misery or drudgeries or being affected by the transience of things, events etc... and to remain steadfast in realising the larger social goals and objectives. There is no point in being frustrated, despondent or being overcome with sorrow, despair or self-pity; such behaviour is for the weak-minded or the weak-willed, and serves no purpose. Thus Krishna advises Arjuna to remain steadfast, unwavering and resolute in the face of challenges. BG 2.47: || karmaNi eva adhikaaraste maa phaleshu kadaachana, maa karma phala hetuH bhuH maa sanghaH astu akarmaNi || ~ "Perform your dharma to the best of your ability (i.e. imbibe the spirit of karm-yog to the best of your abilities) and leave the rest to Me."

Decision-making: rash (unreflecting, brash or reckless) decisions are regrettable, sometimes painful, counterintuitive and usually hard to undo. The results are usually not very good, or beneficial to anyone involved. It is the obverse of critical thinking, adaptive decision-making or problem solving, which is a combination of logic and common sense, and while not precise, can produce satisfactory solutions. It is important to work on matters that are important: strategising and prioritising; making incremental decisions to achieve an objective, to move cautiously in small steps toward a solution (by avoiding decisions that transfix into a single choice). Unlike a throw of dice, however, it requires a firm sense of purpose and direction, the necessity to create options based on experience, values, and gut feelings. To go slow if required - to make time to develop options. The path may become clearer as one reflects on it. With options, there is possibility to make better decisions. Without them, decisions become forced choices. One strategy towards delegation is to identify stakeholders of the problem/issue. It is also important to focus on the future... for opportunities and options that may help resolve the problem. By finding tomorrow's opportunities and developing options, one can make enduring, quality decisions. However, indecision, stalling, overreacting, vacillating or half measures are best avoided. There is no magic wand or quick-fix. Krishna uses wiles and guiles (overwhelming intellect, knowledge/understanding of human nature, patience, innovative strategy, far-sightedness and longer-term planning) for the betterment of humankind, to bring about a turnaround (progressive change/transformation).

(Note: Was Siddhartha Gautama a man or a woman? Were Chanakya and Vishnugupt the same person, or were they different people? Were they contemporaries? Or was Vishnugupt a redactor of Chanakya's thoughts and writings? Did subsequent translators (transcribers) and redactors contemporise Chanakya's writings (to reflect the social milieu, the prevalent social mindset/values etc) and/or incorporate much of their own thinking/understanding/interpretation into them? Could it be that the highest Avatar is always a woman? Why then does 'She' (the highest Avatar) have to be written/mentioned (talked about/referred to) as the generic 'He'? Questions. Questions. ... Krishna is a karm-yogi. Therefore, "Raas-leela" has to be part of the Krishna-avatar's effort and endeavours to achieve a positive turnaround. However, what is today understood as "Raas-leela" is largely folk-oriented dramatisation – possibly an outcome and combination of various aspects that came about in the last millennium or so. It is very likely the culmination of the points of view and imagination of various poets, storytellers, stage plays, folk theatre and so forth.

Was Chanakya a man or a woman? The Shikha ("crest" or crowning glory, a long tuft of hair on the top of the head) is associated with Chanakya as well as Krishnaa-Draupadi (Panchali, the human identity of the Krishna-avatar). The true Buddha head is bare, covered only with ringlets of hair and surmounted by a swelling (a cranial knob, ushnisha protuberance), the "uṣṇīṣa", considered one of the thirty two traditional "great marks" (Maha-Laksana) of a Buddha. The first representations of the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama, Gautama Shakyamuni) in the 1st century CE in the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara represent the Buddha with a topknot. The "ushnisha" (cranial protuberance or the crown of hair, bunched up hair, symbolic jata?) is also associated with the Buddha. It is a three-dimensional oval at the top of the head of the Buddha. It is indicative of great wisdom and Self-realisation, symbolising the spiritual power of the Buddha's enlightenment. In early Boudhya Dharma (way of the Buddha) it was associated with a Cakravartin (an ideal and wise ruler, Lord of Mankind) and a true Kshatriya (protector/Rakshak and all-purpose problem solver, upholder of ethics/worthy values/principles/justice). BG 10.27: || narāṇāḿ ca narādhipam || ~ "and among humans I am the monarch" (Cakravartin). Krishna is also known as Keshavah (Kesha = hair) and Shikhandee, the Lord who has a peacock feathered-crest. Does it indicate a Shikha? Can the ushnisha imply large brain or big brain, brainpower - epitome of intellect and sagacity? What if Siddhartha Gautama and Acharya Chanakya were to be one and the same? (Acharya is honorific, one who leads by example or one who teaches through one's own behaviour/acharan). The decline of the Gupta era brought with it a lot of negative changes, especially the stratification of society (based on various aspects, including on gender lines), intellectual inertness/laziness, a lack of scientific temper (a spirit of enquiry as opposed to learning by rote and intellectual mediocrity), selfish one-upmanship, so on and so forth. Could it also be that the 'masculinisation' of the divine too came about during this unenlightened phase?

Maitreya Buddha (the next Buddha-to-be, the successor to Buddha Sakyamuni/Gautama Gautama) is mentioned as the ruler of the fabled Buddhist land or mythical kingdom of Shambhala. The Krishna-avatar's forthcoming manifestation is the Kalkiḥ-avatar. Krishna and Kalkiḥ are synonymous. From what we gather, the Kalkiḥ-avatar (Vishnu-Kalkiḥ, Kalkiḥ Maitreya) too is associated with Shambhala (shambhala-grama-mukhyasya brahmanasya mahatmanah of the Kalkiḥ Puran): shambhala-grama-mukhyasya (chief/ruler of shambhala) could imply "Shambhu Nath" (the Monarch/Ruler/Guardian [Nath] or Prajapati of Shambhala). Shyam is also a reference to Krsna. Shyambhala = Shyam and forehead, implying destiny, Bhagya-Vidhaata? Brahmanasya implies erudition (knowledgeable), a repository of knowledge and wisdom (Supreme or highest enlightenment). Possessor of the supreme wisdom that dispels all illusions (negative pride/ego, conceit, delusions, etc). Brahmanasya could also imply Para Brahmn, the Paramatma in physical form. The Paramatma or Primordial Being is the Secondary Creator or Secondary Brahma - creator/initiator of a new epoch (Maha-yug, time-cycle, explained through the imagery of a fresh bloom). Mahatmanah implies higher soul or great soul (Supersoul, Paramatma, Higher Mind - Maanikya, the Gem of the Sun; Jyotirlingam - the symbolic "halo", Syamantaka mani). ... One of the Indus Yogi Seals (the other being the Pasupati Seal) depicts a deity with three faces (Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva/Satyam-Sivam-Sundaram/Keshavah?), seated in yogic position on a throne, with the hands resting on the knees, wearing bangles on both arms and an elaborate headdress. The heels are pressed together and the feet project beyond the edge of the throne (vajrasana?). The feet of the throne are carved with the hoof of a bovine as is seen on the bull and unicorn seals. Five symbols of the Indus script [hieroglyphs] appear on either side of the headdress, which is made of two outward projecting curved horns, with two upward projecting points, with a branch with three prongs or peepal leaves emerging from the center. ~ A Buddha-like figure? BG 10.26: || aśvatthaḥ sarva-vṛkṣāṇāḿ || ~ "among trees, I am the peepal (ashvattha)." The Peepal [aśvatthaḥ] - the Bodhi Tree, the 'tree of enlightenment', or Transpersonal World Tree is the personification of Sri Vishnu/Keshavah/Narayana/Hari. The Bodhi tree, the Tree of Enlightenment, is also the symbol of Sri Gautama Buddha's message in general, since the Buddha had overcome mundane (banal, narrow, selfish) boundaries - of geography, language, history, culture etc, and become one with the world spirit: someone who belongs to the world, someone who belongs to all of humankind. (Note: Buddha figures are typically seated in either vajra posture or with the legs extended forward. The latter posture can be found with both Shakyamuni Buddha and Maitreya. Figures with 'Buddha Appearance' can have a variety of body colours. Shakyamuni Buddha is generally described as golden in colour. Amitabha Buddha is reddish-hued. Vaishajyaguru, the Buddha of healing and medicine, appears blue in colour. A buddha also wears the patchwork robes of a monk.)

The Paramatma, the Eternal Divine Being or the Supersoul, is svayambhu – unborn, self-manifested or uncreated. Could this imply that this being [Supersoul] has no parents or forbearers, and is probably laboratory-created? The highest Avatar is the Paramatma in physical form, and therefore Svayam Bhagavan (God manifest in human/physical form) possesses exceptional intellect, unique abilities, as well as several divine characteristics, attributes and powers (although not quite what we understand by super-hero). Thus, the highest Avatar cannot be construed as a mere human [manava] or even considered as the best of humans, despite human-like appearance. Could it be that the Paramatma was always a repository of knowledge, wisdom and consciousness and was a clear-headed, enlightened, sentient being, although emotions may have been an acquired attribute – over many manifestations/appearances? BG 4.5: śrī-bhagavān uvāca (Sri Bhagavan said): || bahūni me vyatītāni janmāni tava cārjuna tāny ahaḿ veda sarvāṇi na tvaḿ vettha parantapa || ~ "O Arjuna, many are the births I have passed through and thou too. But I know them all, whilst thou knowest not (i.e. I remember all my manifestations, but you cannot)." (Parantapa = one who concentrates the most.) ... Is the highest Avatar robotic or machine-like with certain human attributes/emotions – so as to be able to perform the tasks of the Cosmic Ruler/Universal Teacher, the Almighty, the Secondary Brahma/Secondary Creator - the creator/initiator of a new epoch?)

The highest Avatar (Svayam Bhagavan, God manifest in human form) takes on a physical form for a specific purpose (only when things reach their lowest point/phase, when consciousness (that which makes a human a human) is [metaphorically speaking] somnolent). Therefore, certain events must run their full course for the earth to (in a manner of speaking) rejuvenate, i.e. for humankind to collectively re-invigorate/re-energise (to cleanse unclean hearts and minds, which will in turn help in substantially reducing negativity/negative human karma, thereby bringing forth positivity/positive aspects/mayitree/camaraderie). It requires patience. Until the quality of humanity improves (vis-à-vis their thought process, mindset, values, attitude, social ideals etc), human society/civilisation is unlikely to improve/evolve. Endeavouring towards self-improvement, and doing one's bit for the betterment of society, for the improvement of the country (to the best of one's abilities), is what matters; passing the buck of blame or indulging in rhetorical flourishes is no solution. It is [probably] part of samudra-manthan and Ashvamedha Yagna: sustained karm-yog/yagna (initiated by the proverbial Unicorn, the horse-headed Vishnu) in the spirit of service for a higher cause, for the benefit of humankind. As the Cosmic/Universal Teacher (Leela Purusha-uttama), the highest Avatar also teaches and imparts lessons; it is for humankind to comprehend them. And this requires intellectual energy/rigour (cerebral refinements, broadening the mind/thinking process, informed argumentation/debate/discussion/exchange of opinions), which in turn necessitates the eschewing of narrow-mindedness (intellectual shallowness or inertness/ennui/poverty, mediocrity or selfish points of view, prejudices, bigotry and so forth) as well as a cursory, superficial or simplistic understanding or inane discourses (regurgitation of retrograde or obsolete/archaic aspects, learning by rote). The highest Avatar (Svayam Bhagavan) also brings to the forefront ignored or neglected aspects (social aspects, human mindset and behaviour etc), i.e. the Avatar offers a mirror to society... to induce humankind to collective (and objective) introspection (sober reflection, informed deliberation) and (organic) course correction (an organic transformation, inner transformation, a change from within - via intellectual stimulation, learning of positive aspects and unlearning of retrograde or obsolete aspects, and subsequent evolution, to put things back on an upward trajectory, from the lowest phase (ghor kaliyug phase) to the best of phases (Sat/Satya/Krita Yug, a new epoch).

Whenever negativity/negative energy (unclean hearts and minds and their resultant negative human karma: prejudices, despondency, bigotry, selfish aspects/orthodoxy, retrograde/obsolete/archaic thinking, monopolisation of the divine, spiritual impoverishment, coarse materialism, thought control or intellectual poverty (intellectual ennui, inertness/straitjacketing) etc gain the upper hand, the Eternal Divine Being (Satyam-Sivam-Sundaram: the ever-auspicious, ever-honourable [Aryaman] and ever-humane, sentient eternal divine) manifests (i.e. takes on a physical form) to reverse the trend – to put things back on an upward trajectory... as per a stated commitment. 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 principles, values and ideals, social commitment, humane gestures etc) and a substantial increase in adharma (negativity/negative human karma due to accumulation of negative energy in the hearts and minds of humankind, viz., cynicism, pessimism, selfish individualism, prejudices, delusion, retrograde or obsolete thinking and so forth - that creates great imbalance and misery), O Bharata, only then I manifest Myself (in physical body – the highest Avatar, Svayam Bhagavan)."

Krishna (Sanskrit: Kṛṣṇa) means: "that attracts" or "all-attractive". kRiShNa means kaalah, all-absorbing. (Turning a deaf ear to negativity?) Hari-Krishna implies association with nature (Prakriti), the deity [personification] of the earth, the personification of nature (Prakriti) - Parama Prakriti. Vishnu-Krishna is depicted as blue-hued. Sri Vishnu is also called Neelameghashyama - for having a dark blue [a cool blue] complexion. This [probably] implies Samudradeva. (AnantaSayana Vishnu, the creative mode? BG 10.24: || sarasam asmi sagarah || ~ "and of bodies of water I am the sea." Sri SarasvatI = Sri Vishnu (AnantaSayana Vishnu), born out of water, i.e. one who has spent an eternity in water?) Thus, Vishnu-Krishna too is depicted with a cool blue colour (a velvet blue or cobalt blue complexion), possibly implying neel kamal or krishna kamal, the Blue Water-lily (Utpala) or the rare blue lotus (Indivara). Neelesh means 'the Blue God', and is one of the many names of Sri Vishnu. Shyam = dark blue or deep blue. Dark-blue represents calm and serenity. Whenever there is something of unfathomable depth, it appears to be deep blue. The water of the ocean looks blue from afar. But if you go near and take the water in your palms, you will no longer find it blue; it will be very clear, transparent. "The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark. The small truth has words which are clear; the great truth has great silence." - Rabindranath Tagore. Blue also stands for: meditation (objective introspection, sober reflection), peace, tranquility, depth, stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intellectual energy, patience, decision-making and truth (timelessness). 

Imagery of Ganesha: Ganesha represents/symbolises the best of traits, attributes, qualities, characteristics or aspects of humankind. Thus, Sri Ganesha symbolises or embodies a set of qualities that an individual can imbibe to become a better human being. These attributes, qualities etc will also help in overcoming impediments (vighn: disappointments, despondency, unpleasantness, straitjacketing or excessive regimentation etc) and to perform positive actions that also benefit society. (The imagery of Ganesha can also symbolise an intelligent, wise, perceptive and persevering person.) The elephant-head represents great retention power or vast intellect (elephant's memory, brainpower), a calm disposition (grace under pressure), perceptiveness, knowledge and wisdom. Also, capacity to think big. The small eyes = concentration. (Parantapa = one who concentrates the most, single-mindedness; also, one who is capable of objective introspection, meditation/self-reflection. It is the mark of a conscientious person, someone with worthy values or dharmic principles. Krishna refers to Arjuna as parantapa). The small mouth and the bent trunk (Vakra-Tunndda) = less noise, more efficiency (opposite of 'empty vessels makes the most noise'). The bent trunk also indicates: one who is not given to boastful behaviour (lacks a penchant for talking unnecessarily), i.e. one who is not ignorant or vainglorious. (Someone who does not lack substance and therefore does not require the armour of grandiloquence or self-glorification.) The big elephant ears = good listening skills ('listening', and not merely 'hearing') and understanding power, ability to learn. (A vain person, on the other hand, would be enamoured with the sound of his/her own voice.) The single tusk = non-extravagant (not profligate). The big body (Maha-Kaaya): this implies immense strength, to withstand and surmount impediments vis-à-vis positive actions (that help others and is beneficial for society). The stomach: not constricted; digests (in a manner of speaking) unpleasant aspects [disappointments, unpleasantness, negativity etc] without being affected. (A zebu [Zebu Bull or Brahma Bull] sometimes known as humped cattle or Brahman, the contemporary representation of Nandi, is well adapted to withstanding high temperatures.) The swift mooshika-vahana (the 'mooshika' or mouse as 'vaahan'): "Mooshika" means "little hoarder." The intelligent and gentle steed that Ganesha - god of new beginnings and of knowledge, wisdom, literature and worldly success - rides upon. In Indian philosophy a mouse is associated with foresight and prudence. A mooshika finds its way through all kinds of terrain and overcomes all sorts of obstacles and impediments (vighn) with its sharp teeth. However, since the mooshika is the 'vaahan', it remains under control. In other words: control of negative thoughts, lack of avarice (negative greed) or avoidable desire. The parasu or axe: to overcome all obstacles [impediments] vis-à-vis positive actions. The pasa + lotus: pasa = game of dice. In the Game of Cards (krida-patram) a set of cards had the Gajapati (lord of elephants) which represented the king whose power lay in the number of elephants. (The Ashvapati, which was the highest card in the pack, represented the picture of the king on horseback. The second highest card represented a General (Senapati) on horseback.) The pasa can also represent a lasso: to pull an individual closer to positive karm (towards realising the larger social goals and objectives) as well as to pull away from negative aspects (negative thinking, etc). Lotus: a lotus grows in muddy water, yet remains pristine. (Refer Part-II for Symbology of the lotus). The palm in abhaya mudra (gesture) = blessings and reassurance. The tasty Modakas = the rewards, i.e. fruition of one's effort and endeavours [steadfast/sustained karm-yog.] ... All that the imagery of Sri Ganesha symbolises can satisfactorily achieve any objective or purpose. When one prays to Sri Ganesha, one is essentially praying to be bestowed with these attributes or qualities so as to be able to surmount all odds and impediments. Hence, Sri Ganesha is worshipped before the commencement of any auspicious event or occasion.

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