Thursday, November 13, 2014

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

1. The Legend of Zalim Khan: link.

2. Water Under the Bridge: link. 

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

The reporter took furious notes, adding some spice of his own. This was headline stuff. So much excitement.

People walked around a bit faster, and hey, they even greeted each other. (The thick 'fog' of cynicism, torpor, somnolence, cheerlessness etc having receded to some extent, less of ghor kaliyug phase (signifying a predominance of pessimism, ennui, confusion, indifference, ignorance, melancholy etc) and more of Sat/Satya/Krita Yug (vigour, optimism, camaraderie, progressiveness and so forth?) By the time night crept up on Lousytown, everyone was consumed with anticipation. Thursday slipped into Friday and Friday rushed into Saturday, but the excitement did not die. People waited and waited, wishing it was Sunday and really soon, too.

Time would not pass. Sitting around and twiddling thumbs made it creep by even slower.

So slowly, the folks of Lousytown began to actually, do some things. (Revival of dharma [shared societal values, non-selfish aspects, empathy, camaraderie, non-shirking of responsibility, social commitment - to do one's bit, in one's own way, for the betterment of societal aspects, etc] and karm-yog [work ethic; sustained, collaborative endeavours towards realising the larger social goals/objectives: to create a vibrant, progressive and healthy society.] For Sat/Satya/Krita Yug to emerge, it is [therefore] essential to regenerate (re-imbibe) dharmic principles/values/ideals and collaborative karm-yog, to eschew slothfulness, lethargy, platitudes, etc and to walk the talk.)

They worked, cleaned, and polished, to while away their time. (Regeneration of a collective sense of responsibility and collaborative karm-yog? The figurative 'dispelling' or cleansing of the accumulated [metaphoric] intellectual and spiritual 'soot' or 'grime' symbolising ghor kaliyug phase? The scrubbing of obsolete/retrograde mindset/thinking? Learning and unlearning?) The Bakers baked aromatic loaves of fresh bread and, lo and behold, and cupcakes, too. The gardeners trimmed the hedges and mowed the grass, the lamplighters polished the lamps (implying cleansing of the allegoric 'soot' or 'grime' from the hearts and minds of people... and the gradual emergence of 'light' - positivity/positive aspects, optimism, wisdom, conviviality, work ethic, etc?), the roads were swept clean and women tied bright scarves around their heads and dusted all the cobwebs away. (Collaborative and enthusiastic effort brushing away the allegoric cobwebs of disharmony, lethargy and vapid and obsolete aspects? 1. Self-help is the best help. 2. God helps those who help themselves?). 

It seemed that Lousytown was becoming Work-Hard-and-Be-Happy town all over again! Yes, that's what it was called before the nasty spell (implying a predominance of retrograde aspects, torpor, despondency, somnolence etc?) was cast on it. (Work-Hard-and-Be-Happy town: Aananda Math? 'Land of bliss' (land of happiness, land of true contentment)? On a side note, Shambhala is a Sanskrit word that to the Tibetans means, "the source of happiness". So, is Aananda Math = Shambhala? ... And, so long dharma and karm-yog is adhered to, the best of phases, Sat/Satya/Krita Yug - the metaphoric 'Golden Age,' will prevail?)

Sunday dawned bright and cheerful. The birds awoke first, fluffing out their feathers and chirping merrily. Then slowly, all the households woke up, too. From a distance, the cheerful tinkle of the newspaperman could be heard - he was well on time. And the honk of the milk van made sure no one stayed in bed. (A newfound respect for time? Re-discovery of cheerfulness, hope, camaraderie, work ethic etc - signifying a re-energised people and [therefore] an invigorated society?)

But that Sunday, nobody wanted to stay in bed, anyway.

Everyone hurried about his or her Sunday tasks. Smells of cooking filled the air, it seemed the bakers were busy, elbow deep in flour. Excited orders were barked at the apprentices, some with rolling pins, others making sure the ovens were red hot (Lava? Opportunities?)

A new flower (kali, bloom) kiosk had opened up (implying that the earlier kali - symbolic 'flower', indicative of a time-cycle [refer Part-I], had been replaced by a fresh one?) and the maid who operated it was not dopey or sleepy eyed. Her cheeks were charmingly pink, hair glistening in the sun and shiny white teeth showed when she smiled. She made such a pretty sight surrounded by the flowers she sold. (Personified Spring? The kali [symbolic 'flower', a fresh time-cycle] now in full bloom, signifying the figurative 'arrival' or emergence of spring, euphemism for Sat/Satya/Krita Yug, the figurative 'Golden Age'? BG 10.35: || ṛtūnāḿ kusumākaraḥ || ~ "and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.") 

Children ran off to play and some rode their bicycles, too. All the ladies then went to their homes to decide what to wear for the big event. It had to be today, it was Sunday. Dresses were aired and ironed, ribbons were set just right on pretty bonnets, hair was curled and posies were braided. The men secretly polished their shoes and buckles. They also groomed their moustaches. Everybody was so excited!

Come evening, they all trooped into the field. The lamps around the field had already been lit. Some of the folks carried huge torches, which they lit and stuck on the torch stands. Nobody wanted to take a chance and miss the event, lest it happened after sunset. (After sunset? Shyam? Yuga-sandhyāyām: at the cusp of two yugs: ghor kaliyug phase of one Maha-yug and Sat/Satya/Krita Yug of the next time-cycle/Maha-Yuga? Sandhyāyām = evening, cusp.)

Loud greetings rang across the field. Some of the folks were meeting each other after months! (Revival of sAmya or śamaḥ - integrity, cohesion; mayitree [camaraderie, conviviality], and aikya - unity, harmony?) The fun and excitement was infectious. Mr. Grumpy strutted around, proud that his news had caused such a stir. You couldn't recognise the place! People began to look here and there, high and low, wondering what to expect. Would that thing appear out of thin air? Would it pop right out of the ground? Was it a person? (Avatar?) What was it? (Various faiths are anticipating the coming of an Avatar. However, due to myriad schisms, humankind is confused?) While the excitement was on, some folks began to strum their musical instruments. The drummers ran back into town to pick up their drums and hastily tightened the skins on them. Music began to play! (Music is synonymous with joyfulness, good cheer, optimism, hope, youthful zest, joie de vivre, positive energy, festivity, camaraderie, invigorating excitement, happiness etc. | "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo. "If music be the food of love; play on." - William Shakespeare. "Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue." - Plato. "I write music with an exclamation point!" - Richard Wagner. "All the sounds of the earth are like music." - Oscar Hammerstein. "After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley. "Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory with difficulty. Magical music never leaves the memory." - Sir Thomas Beecham.) Children began to swing their hoola hoops in tune to the merry band, which struck the cheeriest of songs, one after the other. People began to clap and sway to the music, some even sang along loudly. ("A song will outlive all sermons in the memory." - Henry Giles.) A group began to dance. Wow! This looked like a party. (Re-discovery of joyousness, shared values, good cheer, laughter, festivity, etc... that helps to overcome fragility and to find commonalities, forge cohesion and camaraderie? Gradual and organic transformation? Course-correction? Re-building people by changing their attitude/mindset/thinking process? The first and most important step in the work-in-progress called realising the societal goals?) 

The oldest baker in town looked around at the fun and quickly organised his trolley and filled it up with all the goodies he had baked. The others followed suit and soon, other bakers had set up little stalls around the field. The bells on their stalls rang cheerily (jingle bells?), welcoming customers and added to the happy din. Someone brought lemons, sugar syrup, and set up a lemonade stall. ("When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a can-do attitude in the face of despondency or adversity. Learn from mistakes/hardships/struggles or challenges. Try to make the best out of an unpleasant situation. And that with the right mindset, a perceived bad situation can be the complete opposite, an unexpected opportunity. Make the best of what has been given to you. When things turn sour, try to make them sweet. Life isn't about perfection, it's about doing the best you can. It is through experiences both bitter and sweet that you gain wisdom.)

As the evening progressed, the field was dotted with chairs and rugs; people were sitting around enjoying themselves. Jokes were cracked, dances were danced, songs were sung, and lots of cup cakes and muffins and biscuits and sandwiches were wolfed down in the bargain. (Smiling is infectious. It passes all around. Laughter is contagious. It is a joyful sound. Humankind will not know joy if it were served on a platter. Humanity [therefore] needs to laugh, embrace, move forward, open their hearts and minds, notice the beauty around them, adjust, decide to go the distance, and evaluate their significance in the universe. Measure life not by lemons, but by lifting high a glass of lemonade and toasting bright promises.)

It was not just an ordinary party, it was a carnival! And what a carnival it was! Since everyone was there with a common agenda, one could see rivals chat, enemies become friends, lovers hold hands, children swing from their parent's shoulders. It seemed that somehow in the past three days, all their matters were solved and everyone was finally happy. (Making heavy weather of issues/problems will not resolve them. Argument and conflict, prioritising narrow interests over finding a rational solution is unhelpful? Unraveling chaotic spaghetti thinking can improve decision making? Be optimistic; be open-minded; be analytical; be cautious, but use intuition and feelings to make decisions. Be creative, a free-form way of thinking. Adopt different thinking styles, different perspectives. Look at different aspects of a problem - and make better decisions (to come to wise, robust decisions), but seldom criticise, when you want a new solution for an old problem?)

The carnival began to wind down around midnight. The tired, though rather happy people of lousytown began to troop back to their homes. They helped each other pack their belongings and the rest made sure the field had no litter. (It is the nitty-gritty and the mundane, such as the ability to appreciate the small things, the simple pleasures, wit and humour, the joy of sharing, the spirit of co-operation. To let go of pettiness, small-mindedness or overtly selfish aspects. The willingness to do one's bit - for the improvement of societal aspects; to cultivate and imbibe a better civic sense, including aesthetics and an effective waste-disposal mechanism; etiquette and social behaviour, good upbringing. To eschew or rise above trivial matters or unnecessary/unessential aspects so as to be able to comprehend what is required/necessary. Camaraderie and shared festivities - the ability to laugh and have fun together, and so on is what adds up to the greater whole; these act as cohesive factors, and help forge a sense of oneness.)

While stuffing a gunny bag with paper cups, a man asked his friend: "Hey, what was that all about? Nothing happened, or wait a minute, just look at what happened!"

His mate stood up and lifted his hat to the skies. "Well, if it was a silly rumour then what a wonderful one it was. Look how everyone's snapped out of that spell. Thank you, oh stranger from Rumourville and thank God we are naturally such curious people who love to gossip." (Gossip as a unifying strategy?)

Both men picked up their bags and walked towards LousyTown, thinking aloud that maybe it was time to change the town's name once again. ("Into that Heaven of freedom... let my country awake". ... A town full of stories, good humour, laughter and camaraderie, a town full of happy, energetic, enthusiastic, optimistic and aesthetically conscious people cannot be called Lousytown; it, therefore, invariably transforms into Aananda Math? Tagore's "Heaven of freedom"? ... Sam means Chittaananda (Blissful Awareness, possibly implying awakening of the consciousness or the true contentment/spiritual ecstasy of Self-realisation, Sat-cit-ananda. Refer Part-II - for atma-gyana - Knowledge of the Self or Self-realisation). Kara means the one who causes it. Sankara means the One who causes blissful awareness. Sankara means auspicious, the Giver of Joy or the bestower of happiness (sankata + hara: dispeller of doubt, worries, difficulties), while the name Shambhu means the Abode of Joy. Aananda Math?)

Note:  Lava: Sri SarasvatI is the deity, the presiding deity of the great Sindhu-SarasvatI Civilisation, which is the foundation of the modern nation. (There are still many misconceptions about this civilisation that has resulted from the theoretical and cultural biases of the earliest excavators.) The Indus-SarasvatI Civilisation is an amalgamation of two distinct Civilisations, with shared commonalities: the upper Indus one is the Harappan Civilisation (possibly Ayudha or Ayodhya). It [very likely] included parts of modern India. The lower Indus one: Mohenjo-daro. However, this nomenclature is of much recent vintage. It could be ancient Melukkha or Meluhha. The seals and artifacts are immensely interesting. After the Indus cities fell into disuse, due to unbridled urbanisation that resulted in climate change: change in rainfall patterns, changing course of rivers, tectonic movement, catastrophic floods and earthquakes... these cities were abandoned. People migrated towards the Gangetic basin; the once great civilisation fragmented and shrank. A part of it became the Gangetic Civilisation. It is also possible that some migration happened westwards. A closer study of the archeological findings (artifacts, hieroglyphs etc) of the Babylonian, Jiroft, Gandhara, Maya, Inca, Sumerian or Mesopotamian Civilisations and the ancient Misr Civilisation could throw more light. Maybe the history of the Kushans, of Eastern Europe as well as that of the Roma people (the Romani or Romany) whose ancestors came from the areas that were a part of the Harappan Civilisation, too may be of some help. Perhaps even other epics like Rostam and Sohrab (a Persian epic), Epic of Gilgamesh (an epic poem from Mesopotamia), Epic of Manas (of the Kyrgyz people), etc. (These could help piece together our ancient history). The yet-to-be-deciphered Rongo Rongo glyphs (in Easter Island) are strikingly similar to the still undeciphered Indus glyphs. So, was there some sort of association [commercial and trade, military, other common purposes?] between Easter Island and the Rama Civilisation? What could the Stonehenge represent? Suryasiddhānt (the ancient astronomical text) locates Meru at the 'Navel of the Earth' and describes it as 'Passing through middle of the earth-globe, and protruding on either side' (a reference to Stonehenge and Easter Islands?)  Suryasiddhānt also mentions a Mt Meru in the middle of Earth, besides a Sumeru and a Kumeru at both the Poles - a Sumeru at the North Pole and a Kumeru at the South pole. (Is there some allegory involved? Mt. Meru is also known as Sumeru. The approbatory prefix "su" resulting in the meaning "excellent Meru" or "wonderful Meru".) ... Just as cultural homogeneity is chimeric, physiological homogeneity too is a myth. Across wide swathes of land there were diverse populations, cultures, folk tales, history, cuisines, languages and so forth, and yet there were similarities, commonalities and shared aspects (besides cultural and trading ties).

Romulus is given the credit for founding Ancient Rome - so legend has it. The story of Romulus, his twin brother Remus, and the founding of the city of Rome is one of the most familiar legends about the Eternal City. (Ayudhya or Ayodhya means: the Invincible City; it can also be called 'the Eternal City'. Ayodhya has evolved from Ayudhya: invincible, not to be fought.) Romulus was the eponymous first king of Rome. How he got there is a story like many others, involving a drastic or extensive rise in fortune, and a storied birth. ... Romulus and Remus was abandoned by their parents as babies, and put into a basket that was then placed on the River Tiber. The basket ran aground and a female wolf discovered the twins. The wolf nursed the babies for a while before a shepherd found them. The shepherd and his wife then brought up the twins (as foster parents). Romulus and Remus grew up as simple shepherds. Thus, Romulus and Remus are the twin brothers and central characters of Rome's foundation myth. Some parallels with Lava and Kusha? Does the shepherd have some parallels with Maharshi Valmiki? Is Ayudhya (Ayodhya) the real Rome? Is Ayodhya (Ayudhya) the fabled Garden of Eden, the mythical Nandan kanan? Can 'She-wolf' be an allusion to a woman belonging to a clan and/or kingdom with a wolf emblem, insignia or coat of arms? 

Hindu is derived from Sindhu (River Indus). To the ancient Persians, due to a lack of phonetics in their language, the people living to the east of them, was Hindu. In Old Persian, 'S' is pronounced as 'H' or 'HA'. Thus, the Vedic Sapta Sindhavaḥ became Hapta Handu, eventually culminating in the word Hindu. It essentially was indicative of a landmass, and the culture, ways of life etc that evolved there. ("Sindhu" means river, stream or ocean in Sanskrit.) Therefore, Hindu Kush probably had something to do with Kush or Kusha, Lava's twin. Possibly the areas he ruled. Maybe there is a need to study the Kushans as well. Harappan artifacts and archeological findings too may help. What we understand as Harappa could be Ayodhya (evolved from Ayudha, Invincible City). Incidentally, Rome is known as the Eternal City, while Ayudha or Ayodhya means the Invincible City. ... 'Rama-Rajya' or the Rama Civilisation is probably not what we imagine it to be. This Civilisation perhaps encompassed vast areas (wide swathes of land with diverse populations, cultures, folk tales, history, cuisines, languages and so forth), and yet there were similarities and shared aspects (besides cultural and trading ties). 'Rama-Rajya' or the Rama Civilisation was [perhaps] a coalition of sister civilisations. Bharatavarsha or Bharatadesha – enlightened land - engaged in the pursuit of knowledge/wisdom, the Indus-SarasvatI Civilisation, was [very likely] a part of the Rama Civilisation.

Siddhartha Gautama is the most recent Buddha to have appeared. 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. From what we gather, the Kalkiḥ-avatar 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. Bhagya-Vidhata? ... Sankara means the Giver of Joy while the name Shambhu means the Abode of Joy. Abode of Joy = Aananda Math? BG 10.23: || rudranam sankaras casmi || ~ "Of all the Rudras I am Sankara." There are eleven Rudras, of whom Sankara [Rudra-Siva], is preeminent). 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); this helps human beings to become better people. Brahmanasya can also imply Para Brahmn, the Supersoul or Paramatma in [manifested] physical/human form. The Paramatma (Divine Spirit) or Primordial Being is the Secondary Creator or Secondary Brahma - i.e. 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, or possibly, a gifted soul or a brilliant soul (Supersoul, Paramatma, Higher Mind - Maanikya, the Gem of the Sun. Refer Part-III for Maanikya). 

Mount Meru is a sacred mountain with five peaks. It is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes. Mt Meru is believed to lie in 'the middle of the Earth' ("Bhugol-madhya") in the land of the Jambunad (Jambudveep or Jambadveep). Nad = river, a masculine river. Jambu or Jamba = Indian Blackberry. Thus, Jambudveepa = island of the Jambu or Jambul (Indian blackberry) trees. Maybe there was an abundance of this tree and hence the name. Or perhaps, this land is/was shaped like an Indian blackberry (Jambu or Jambul). Mt. Meru is also known as Sumeru. The approbatory prefix "su" resulting in the meaning "excellent Meru" or "wonderful Meru". Mt. Meru is also described as being surrounded by Mandarchala Mountain to the east, Supasarv Mountain to the west, Kumuda Mountain to the north and Kailasa to the south. ... Mt. Meru rests on the back of the Kurma-avatar (the second avatar of the Dasavataar). Rather, the kurma-(tortoise)-avatar supports Mt. Meru from beneath. The Hindu and Buddhist alike regard Mt Meru (the central 'mountain' of the world, possibly an allegoric mountain, and therefore, unlikely to be visible to human eyes) as the location of the fabled Buddhist land or mythical kingdom of Shambhala. (Mt Meru is taken as the true centre of the earth and the world's spiritual powerhouse; it is the heartbeat of whole universe, the base of spiritual consciousness, heart of divinity; it is the center of the cosmos. Its summit is believed to align to the wheeling constellation of Ursa Major, the Seven Stars that circle the Pole Star, Dhruva tāra or Lodestar or the Cynosure.) BG 10.23: || meruh sikharinam aham || ~ "and of mountains I am Meru." (Ursa Major is also known as the Great Bear. In Hinduism, Ursa Major is known as Saptarshi, each of the stars representing one of the Saptarshi or Seven Sages.)

Shambhala is a Sanskrit word that to the Tibetans means "the source of happiness". It is a mystical kingdom that guards the most sacred spiritual teachings of the world, including the Kalachakra ('Wheel of Time'), the pinnacle of Buddhist wisdom. Perhaps, Shambhala is synonymous with Shangri-la; or, maybe, the lost kingdom of Shangri-La was inspired by the legend of Shambala. Shambhala (ruled over by Lord Maitreya, the Maitreya Buddha) is also mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Kalachakra Tantra and other texts that predate Tibetan Buddhism in western Tibet. Another meaning of Shambhala: "Bhal" refers to the forehead. Therefore, Shambhala can also mean: Shyam and forehead, implying Bhagya-Vidhata? "Place of the Forehead" indicating "destiny"? Shambhala is the land of great Rishi-s (honorific for learned personages of rare wisdom). It is our past - our future - yet exists in our present. It is the 'land of bliss' (eternal bliss or spiritual ecstasy of Self-realisation: Sat-cit-ānanda) of the earliest Vedic times. It is also called "Aryavarsha" (realm of the Arya people; the Land of the Noble Ones, people who followed a pattern of life based on noble values and ideals) - the land from which the Vedas came from. (Veda comes from the root 'vid', which means, "to know"; it has in turn given rise to the word "vidya" which also means, "to know", knowledge). Shambhala is considered to be the real Haridvar, the actual Manas Sarovara, Prayag, Kailash and Rishikesh or 'Agni Tirtha' (implying kundalini-energy? Refer Part-II). It is a land of immortals. Maybe all of these have contributed towards Shambhala being regarded as the world's spiritual powerhouse. 

Shambhala is also believed to have been the ashram (hermitage) of Vamana - the seventh and current "Manu" - Vaivasvata Manu (also known as Surya and the father of Ikshvaku - the progenitor of the Ikshvaku lineage, also known as Raghukula or Raghuvansh). ["Manu" is honorific for "law-givers", there are fourteen "Manu" overseeing a manvantara. Does it imply that at the end of one or more manavantar new kinds of humans are introduced on the earth?] Born to Saranya and Vivasvat, Vaivasvata Manu's original name is Satyavrata. He is said to have saved humanity from the (previous) great flood/deluge (Mahajal Pralay) - by building specially-designed ships (nao) - as per the advise of the Matsya-avatar (Vishnu as Matsya, the first Avatar of the Dasavataar). Noukeshvar is at best an honorific and can mean: Principal/Captain of the nao. (Here nao or boat can indicate specially-designed-and-equipped-ship(s), coracles, or it may be allegoric.) It could be that Noukeshvar has been abbreviated/altered to Noah (due to the passage of time and change in phonetics), and [therefore] Satyavrat aka Vaivasvata Manu is [probably] also referred to as "Noah".

Darbhanga Raj, also known as Raj Darbhanga and the Royal Family of Darbhanga, were a family of Zamindars and rulers of territories that are now part of Mithila and Darbhanga district, Bihar. Their seat was at the city of Darbhanga. It was the largest zamindari in India and was the best managed estate at the time of abolition of Zamindari. Mithila was a centre of knowledge, and the kings were great patrons of knowledge, music, art, crafts, culture and sports. This had a profound effect on the society of Mithila - a person's social standing was considered by knowledge instead of by wealth. Raj Darbhanga used several insignias. One of the insignia was a Ganges river dolphin riding the waves. The second insignia was a Ganges river dolphin inside a six-pointed star. The third insignia was a variation of the second insignia - with the fish curved upwards. ... The Matsya-avatar (a person, maybe with a fish-shaped birthmark or scar on the face) was a wise and benevolent guide through the swirling waters (possibly allegoric). It is said that the first avatar - the Matsya avatar - appeared as a dolphin. A dolphin is well-known for guiding ships through turbulent waters. (Description of the Stars of S'is'umâra, our Coiling Galaxy: Sri Vishnu, the Maintainer/Preserver or Stabiliser aspect of the Almighty is Swastika, the coiled baby dolphin of galaxy Sishumara. With its tail pointing to the end of the row of fixed stars in the sky [Dhruva] and with its head bent downwards, it has its body coiled. The right-handed swastika symbol originated in ancient India and is the symbol of the SarasvatI as well as 'Aryavarsha' (perhaps also known as the Indus-SarasvatI Sabhyata/Civilisation, the greatest civilisation the world has known and possibly the oldest civilisation in the world, and [thus] the cradle of civilisation). The Matsya-avatar is also depicted through the Rohu fish (Labeo rohita). It is a non-oily (silvery or creamy) white fish with a reddish tint. There is also a red variant of Rohu known as Sundari Rohu (due to its rosy hue) - found in Punarbhava River (North Bengal) - a small rain fed Perennial River, originating from the Himalayan foothills at Darjeeling. | Six-pointed star = the Pole Star, Polaris or Lodestar? Polaris from Latin stella polaris "pole star". It was formerly sometimes known as Cynosūra (English: Cynosure), from a time before it was the pole star, from its Greek name meaning "dog's tail" (as the constellation of Ursa Minor was interpreted as a dog, not a bear, in antiquity). Does this explain the story about dharma disguised as a dog following Dharmaraj Yudhisthira (possibly an aspect of Panchali)? Is it commensurate with the rhyme 'Mary had a Little Lamb' and/or the story of the Magi? Latin Cynosūra. Greek Kynósoura the constellation Ursa Minor, equivalent to kynós dog's (genitive of kýōn) + ourá tail. It was also known as scip-steorra ("ship-star"). In Hindu mythology, the pole star is called Dhruva.) 

The appearance of Lord Kalkiḥ would be during yuga-sandhyāyām: at the conjunction or cusp of two yugs (Kaliyug of one Maha-yug and Sat/Satya/Krita Yug of the next time-cycle or maha-yug; sandhyāyām = evening, cusp.) Lord Kalkiḥ will appear (prādúr) in the home (bhavanê) of Vishnuyasha in the future (bhavishyati). And be born to Vishnuyasha (janitā viṣṇu-yaśaso). Vishnuyasha is essentially a manifestation (maybe we can say re-incarnation) of Yajña, better known as Svayambhuva Manu (the first "Manu", honorific for "law-givers".) He is said to have appeared as Dasaratha (father of Lord Ram) and as Vasudev (father of Lord Krishna). However, since Lord Ram is [very likely] a reference to Ramachandra (aka Ravana) it could be that Svayambhuva Manu appeared earlier as Raja Janaka (father of Sita, also known as Sri Rama, honorific for Sridevi/Bhudevi – goddess of fortune and deity or personification of the earth/dharitri. Sridevi and Bhudevi are one and the same). Panchali (also known as Draupadi and Krishnaa) is the human identity of the Krsna-avatar. Therefore, Svayambhuva Manu probably appeared as Drupada (ruler of the Panchala kingdom). The five Pandavas = five different aspects of Panchali. It could be a reference to the Panchajanya, the conch of Vishnu. It is also the conch of Krsna. (Vishnu and Krsna are one and the same.) Panchajanya is [very likely] an allegoric conch (shankh). It could be a reference to the famous Pancha-janah (the five peoples), namely, the Purus, Anus, Druhyus, Yadus and Tursvasas (descendents of Raja Yayati). Yayati had two consorts/queens: Devayani and Sharmishtha. Devayani was the ancestress of the Yadus and Turvasus, while Sharmishtha was the ancestress of the Purus, Anus and Druhyus.

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"; Parsis are awaiting the coming of Saoshyant, and so forth. ... Will there be an all-encompassing Avatar - not only signifying the Universal Form (Vishva-roop or Viraat-roop), but also signifying spiritual confluence [yoga] and spiritual humanism (need for empathy, compassion, humanistic values etc)... a confluence (sangam) of all of humankind as opposed to religious fissures... since all of humankind prays to the same higher power? The Rig Veda says: || Ekam Sat Vipraha Bahudha Vadanti || ~ Truth or Satya (the Eternal Divine, the higher power) is one, but the wise know/speak it as many. In other words: God is one, but we can approach the Almighty in many ways. (Note: 'Saoshyant' may have been a term originally applied to Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra.)

The Paramatma or Supersoul (Divine Spirit, Primordial Being) is unmanifested [avyaktah] to human eyes. However, in manifested physical/human form, the Paramatma is the highest Avatar or Svayam Bhagavan (God manifest in human form). The appearance [physical/human form] of the highest Avatar (Svayam Bhagavan) is itself the Vishva-roop or Viraat-roop, the all-encompassing [universal] form. BG 11.7: || ihaika-sthaḿ jagat kṛtsnaḿ paśyādya sa-carācaram mama dehe guḍākeśa yac cānyad draṣṭum icchasi || ~ "O Arjuna, behold at once in this [manifested, vyaktah, saakar] physical/human form of Mine the universe! This universal form (since all of humankind prays to the same higher power) can show you whatever you now wish to see and whatever you may want to see in the future. Everything - moving and non-moving - is here completely, in one place."

BG 11.8: || na tu māḿ śakyase draṣṭum anenaiva sva-cakṣuṣā divyaḿ dadāmi te cakṣuḥ paśya me yogam aiśvaram || ~ "But you cannot see (comprehend) Me with your earthly [human] eyes. Therefore, I give you divine eyes [divyaḿ cakṣuḥ = manas cakṣuḥ, the mind's eye or transcendental eyes/vision]. Behold My mystic opulence (limitless, inexhaustible form, infinite or endless aspects, all-encompassing divinity)!"

BG 11.53: || nāhaḿ vedair na tapasā na dānena na cejyayā śakya evaḿ-vidho draṣṭuḿ dṛṣṭavān asi māḿ yathā || ~ "The form [Universal Form - Vishvah-roop or Viraat-roop] you are seeing with your transcendental eyes (divya chakshuh, the mind's eye) cannot be understood simply by studying the Vedas (books of knowledge), nor by undergoing serious meditation or penances (austerities, rituals), nor by charity, nor by worship. It is not by these means that one can see Me as I am."

BG 11.54: || bhaktyā tv ananyayā śakya aham evaḿ-vidho 'rjuna jñātuḿ draṣṭuḿ ca tattvena praveṣṭuḿ ca parantapa || ~ "My dear Arjuna, only by undivided service [non-discriminatory and selfless acts in the spirit of service - for the betterment of humankind/society; through steadfast effort and endeavours towards achieving the societal goals and objectives, devoid of anxiety of fruitive expectations [anxiety of outcome, anxiousness for personal fame, glory etc] can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you begin to comprehend Me."

If the Bhagavad-Gita is universally renowned as the jewel of Eastern spiritual wisdom, it is because of Karm-Yog. One rarely finds books (including spiritual texts and discourses) laying emphasis on performing one's kartavya (i.e. fulfilling one's responsibility, including social responsibility, to the best of one's ability - for the betterment of societal aspects, for the improvement of the country, to become a better human being [self-improvement, self-fulfillment], to [collectively] become a better people). That's exactly what Krishna says here. Always do your best without being anxious about the fruitive outcome and you will be happy. Beautiful words indeed, simple and ever-relevant. The Bhagavad-Gita is [thus] a treasure-trove of wisdom, knowledge and practical philosophy as well as clear, objective advice across a broad range of issues/topics and much more.

Our understanding of dharma is [perhaps] skewed. It is not about utopian/impossible/unrealistic ideals, values or moralism. It is not about impractical idealism, inflexibility or impenitence either. (Ideals should not be construed as ideology.) Dharma is a set of values: individual and vis-à-vis society/people. It is about being a better human being [self-improvement], and collectively a better people. It is about doing one's bit, in one's small way, to the best of one's ability - for the betterment of societal values/aspects, for the improvement of the country. Karm-yog is continuous/sustained effort and endeavours to realise the larger social goals, it can also be steadfast effort towards Self-realisation (knowledge  of the Self, atma-gyana or atma-vidya). It is work-in-progress. Translators and interpreters [therefore] need to understand the essence of the stories, allegories etc. E.g. the Sanskrit language has no equivalent for a slave. Nor is dharma utopian idealism. ... It is not about whether a character is black or white (such an understanding is simplistic, the situations etc is never ideal or perfect). Rather, an ideal or perfect world will be dysfunctional. It is about motives, objectives (that spur actions) and their outcome. It is about the predominance of the kind of characteristics, qualities etc in an individual: positive or negative. It is about fixed mindset (intransigence, inability to change one's set way of thinking and acting) and growth mindset (ability to learn, unlearn, adapt and evolve). 

There is much to learn from history. However, a condescending or linear view of history may not be prudent. The societal conditions/mindset/values/aesthetics, wisdom, knowledge/know-how/skills, cognitive abilities, intellectual capabilities and caliber of humankind, etc differ, and this needs to be understood. Therefore, for a Socrates or a Plato, or a Chandragupta Maurya or a Vikramaditya... the analogous societal conditions must be conducive/complementary. 

The Krsna-avatar (the 8th Vishnu, the 8th avatar of the Dasavataar) and the Buddha-avatar (the 9th Vishnu) are non-different. The former talked about dharma and karm-yog, the latter about dhamma and karma (in Prakrit, Pali). (Refer Part-I - for Dharma and Karm-Yog and why it is intrinsic to a people, for them to remain civilised, and thereby for a society to remain civilised, vibrant, healthy, progressive and humane). The Arthashastra and Chanakya-Niti probably has been edited by a succession of redactors, etc. However, one may have to deliberate on the Bhagavat-Gita, make an attempt to comprehend its essence that is, so as to be able to understand Acharya Chanakya (Kautilya), Arthashastra and Chanakya-Niti. (Maybe Chanakya referred to the prevailing era and/or provided insights (as a cautionary note) about how events could turn out (in the absence of a shared roadmap/framework for the future and a Cakravartin - a wise, sagacious ruler for whom dharma and karm-yog took primacy.)

BG 10.38: || daṇḍo damayatām asmi nītir asmi jigīṣatām maunaḿ caivāsmi guhyānāḿ jñānaḿ jñānavatām aham || ~ "Among all means of chastisement or appropriate/proportionate punishments for suppressing adharma (negative energy/negativity or excessive negative characteristics and resultant negative human karma) I am sagacious retribution/retributive justice [daṇḍo], and of those who seek victory [organic change, progressive actions or positive change of course] I am statesmanship, i.e. manoeuvres or actions for achieving the strategic aims [nītiḥ - not to be construed as utopian principles or impossible philosophy or impenitence]; I am silence [maunaḿ] of the secrets [guhyānāḿ], and the Self-knowledge (atma-vidya or atma-gyana, Refer Part-II) of the knowledgeable." (In other words, of the wise I am the wisdom, the supreme wisdom that dispells all illusions, implying supreme or highest enlightenment, the stage where nirvana is attained, the state of a Buddha [the Enlightened One].)

Sri SarasvatI is said to have invented Sanskrit, known as the mother of all languages, of scriptures and scholarship. She is also revered as the mother of the Vedas (books of knowledge) and as the mother of the Sindhu-SarasvatI Civilisation or "Aryavarsha" (realm of the Arya people; land of the noble ones; Arya = noble, implying noble-natured, people who followed a pattern of life based on [shared] noble values and ideals. Varsha = continent, in Sanskrit. Perhaps implying realm). When Sanskrit (saṃskṛta, "refined") progressively gained a higher cultural cachet (i.e. became the language of the "elite"), it was used to write 'classic' literature. Between Sanskrit and its modern derivatives lie a group of languages known as the Prakrits - the vernacular languages of ancient times (and [very likely] derived from Sanskrit). Prakrits were originally seen as "lower" forms of language (used by the common people). The term 'Prakrit' is probably derived from prakṛti - implying 'Mother' Nature or 'Mother' Earth - i.e. the deity or personification of nature and the earth/dharitri. (Here, 'Mother' is a respectful honorific). There was [perhaps] an effort to appropriate knowledge by monopolising Sanskrit (and thereby stratify society). However, Gautama Buddha and Mahavira spoke Magadhi and Ardhmagadhi to reach out to the common people. Later, Jaina Dharma adopted it for Jain canon of scriptures. (Pali is considered as a form of Prakrit.) The earliest extant usage of Prakrit is the corpus of inscriptions of Emperor Asoka (r. 268-232 BCE). Besides this, Prakrit appears in literature in the form of Pāli Canon of Theravada Buddhists, Prakrit canon of the Jains, Prakrit grammars and in lyrics, plays and epics of the times.

Parvati is also known as himAcala tanaya. Himavat (the mountain-king, also called Himavant, Himavaan, Hemavana, Himacala, Himaraaj and Parvateshvar) is a personification of the Himalayan Mountains, which are also known as the Himavat Mountains. He was the ruler of the ancient Himalaya Kingdom. Himavat's wife and queen consort is Minavati, the daughter of Mt. Meru (maybe some allegory is involved here.) Himavat is the father of Parvati, popularly known as Sri Durga. (Durga = fortress, implying invincible, unvanquished. It can also mean: dispeller [shatterer] of illusions and/or obsolete or retrograde aspects. Parvat = mountain. Parvati/Shailaja/Shailaputri/Hemavati = of the mountain, daughter of the mountain-king, Hemavana. Hima = snow). It is also said that Menavati and Himavat had three daughters, Ragini, Kutila, and Kali, and one son, Sunabha. Ragini was ruddy and dressed in red. The second daughter, Kutila, was fair and wore garlands and white coloured clothes. The third daughter was Kali. (Red is associated with Parvati and Lakshmi, white is associated with SarasvatI. ShyAmaH Kali is the benevolent form of Sri Kalika. ... Parvati, Lakshmi, SarasvatI and Kali are one and the same, merely implying different aspects - traits, facets, characteristics and so forth, not different entities). Therefore, the three daughters could be euphemism for the three aspects: 'SarasvatI-Parvati-Lakshmi' (MahasarasvatI-Jagadambika-Mahalakshmi) – the allegoric Trishula. ... Aparnā, Ekaparnā, and Ekapātalā too are daughters of Menavati and Himavat. Even Ganga and Uma are considered as their daughters. (Possibly implying different aspects of SarasvatI.) 

Who was Sunabha, son of Minavati and Himavat? (Janaka has an awesome dhanusha - a bow - Sunabha by name. It is also called Shiva-dhanusha.)

Kutila = the wily one. Acharya Chanakya is also known as Kautilya (the wily one, for wiles and guiles). Chanakya was a Brahmana, implying wisdom, erudition and rare intellect. (Brahmana = Brahm and mana [maan], implying high-minded or brainpower/brilliance [due to kundalini-energy]. Brahmana is not to be construed as Brahmin, implying priestly class).  The Shikha ("crest" or crowning glory, a long tuft of hair on the top of the head) is associated with Acharya Chanakya as well as Krishnaa-Draupadi (Panchali, the human identity of the Krishna-avatar). Acharya is honorific, one who leads by example or one who teaches through one's own behaviour (acharan). That is the mark of a true guru. (Pandit is honorific, implying a wise and knowledgeable person).

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, maybe Rishikesh is derived from Keshavah?) and Shikhandee, the Lord who has a peacock feathered-crest. Does it indicate a Shikha? Can the ushnisha imply large brain or big brain, intellectual horsepower or brainpower - epitome of intellect and wisdom/sagacity?

Krsna, Panchali - Achintya: enigmatic, perplexing, unfathomable. Chanakya, Kautilya - the wily one, for his wiles and guiles. Both Krishna and Chanakya were bathed in real-life struggle. Krsna is compassionate, but not sentimental about weeds. Krishna did not seek power for the sake of power. Chanakaya, ever the student (seeker of wisdom), learned some valuable lessons from an unlettered village woman, when he (?) heard her berating her son for attempting to eat from the middle from a piping-hot bowl of porridge. Eating from the sides was advisable. ... Chanakya did not have well-intentioned and principled/upright people as adversaries. Nor was the prevalent society perfect. On the contrary, it was fractious; besides people were either too self-centred, weak-minded or too aloof to even protest or do something to improve the situation. Things were simply spiraling out of control. His actions paved the way for watershed changes in the politics of ancient India and Pataliputra (Megasthenes' Palibothra). A masterful political strategist, Chanakya was an ace at turning tables irrespective of the circumstances. Praised for his profound political wisdom, diplomacy in a politically charged environment also shows his longer-term thinking and clarity of vision, besides the ability to stay calm in trying situations.

Keeping the strategic aims/objectives above him, Chanakya did not seek power for the sake of power; instead, he maneuvered and out-maneuvered (not to be misconstrued as manipulation, that is indicative of selfish motives), in a series of masterful strokes - eschewing myopia/short-term considerations. Instead, he prioritised, he thought of the future, of future generations. He was a problem-solver, a do-er with a rare clarity of purpose, vision and sense of mission, and not merely a talker or idealistic dreamer. His clear-eyed and dispassionate/objective nature (coupled with monk-like self-discipline and focus) probably helped him to take prudent and well-thought-out decisions that in turn helped him to bring together various regions/cultures/peoples; this temperament also stood him in good stead as an able administrator. Chanakya [thus] was not the one to squander momentum or to let go of strategic opportunities. (He wouldn't have been Chanakya then.) His motives, purpose, objectives were non-selfish. He recognised and acknowledged calibre even in his staunch adversaries. (A shallow person with a petty or small mind could not have done this.) Thus Chanakya did possess a great depth of character, large-hearted intelligence and magnanimity. He looked towards the future, and did what was best. His focus, untiring efforts, tenacity and determination remained unwavering; he kept the larger objectives above himself.

Sharp, alert and possessing plenty of common sense and pithy, unflowery wisdom, Chanakya perhaps foresaw it all. He was a fine statesman, a brilliant political scientist, a master economist, a nation-builder and a very able administrator. He eschewed parochialism, unrealistic/armchair worldview, textbook knowledge/wisdom et al, and clearly understood what needed to be done. And more importantly, how to go about it. Pragmatism and realism coupled with geo-political savvy, single-mindedness (focused effort, self-belief, self-motivation) and far-sightedness helped him to be clear about the priorities; he was also strategic in his outlook (longer-term thinking). His reading of events and regional dynamics was thus prescient. Fearless in his choices, meticulous in his preparation (planning - plan of action, strategising, alliance-building, etc), he was not confused or indecisive, nor possessed a unifocal view; he did not choose to look the other way, he did not choose utopian/impossible/unrealistic idealism, self-preservation or verbosity - to merely crib and carp and do nothing. Instead, he was proactive, he took the initiative; he chose nishkama karm-yog - the doctrine of selfless action (for a true karm-yogi). Thus, his too was the highest dharmic mission. Else, ancient India would have been very different. ... Self-made and selfless, he was an extraordinary personage for/at an extraordinary turn of our history. He was a Renaissance personage/Yug Purush (problem-solver, change maker). ... Deception, parochialism and survival of the fittest had become order of the day; there was lack of cohesion, as a result distopianism reigned - culminating in a greatly diminished quality of life or degradation of values, including shared values (shared societal or civilisational values and ideals), crumbling of the basic fabric of society and syncretic values - resulting in selfishness, gloom and distrust; lack of an underlying feeling of warmth amongst the common people, society was divisive and sort of dysfunctional, people lived in apprehension; humanity was in shambles; might was right; there was sheep in lion's clothing, none realised the gravity of the situation and spirituality was being sold for a price. ... At such a time and scenario - to salvage the situation, to uplift humankind/society back on firmer ground, to achieve a turnaround is a Herculean task. It was only with a firm resolve (born out of his longer-term vision and the unshakable courage of his convictions) that Chanakya handled the spiraling situation. Through a myriad of tortuous events, relying only on his unwavering confidence, sagacity and willpower, he united/galvanised a fractious nation and lay the foundation of a glorious era - that was marked by all-round progress, from the arts to the sciences, as well as trade and other economic activity. As a result ancient India developed from within and evolved into a preeminent nation that shared a multidimensional relationship with other nations. It was his innate ability and extraordinary brilliance and forethought that helped him tackle the difficult and myriad situations and challenges. He was valiant (shaurya) - a true braveheart. What he accomplished was phenomenal. He possessed the courage of the mind to make things happen, and the mettle of grit and fortitude (inner strength, the strength of his karma) and was clear-eyed enough to recognise the enduring (what was required/necessary, i.e. what had to be done) and what was transient (trivial or evanescent - to be ignored). Exhibiting the power of an enlightened one - the knower of the Bhagavad-Gita, he achieved the unachievable - given the circumstances and given the magnitude of odds and challenges. ... To work out an amicable solution when all seems haywire/precarious - it is only the power of Chanakya that can pin-pointedly give an effective solution. Chanakya [thus] epitomises Tagore's 'Akla Chalo Re'.

What if Siddhartha Gautama and Acharya Chanakya were to be one and the same?

The Eternal Divine (the Divine Spirit) in human form is also a Leela-avatar or Leela Purusha-uttama (universal teacher; Purusha = Divine Essence, Divine Effulgence or impersonal/unmanifested cosmic energy [Brahmn Unmanifest] which is the basis of creation. In other words, Karanodakshayi Vishnu, Supreme Brahma/Creator. (Karana = Cause or Source.) Purusha-uttama = best of all beings - the highest avatar, Garbhodakśayī-Viṣṇu or Secondary Brahma/Secondary Creator. (Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu or AnantaSayana Vishnu is [very likely] the creative mode). [Refer Part-I.] The Eternal Divine (Divine Spirit, Primordial Being, Paramatma or Supersoul) manifests in human form only when negativity and resultant negative human karma gains the upper-hand. The highest Avatar appears for a purpose, and [therefore] kartavya gains primacy. Samudra-manthan (metaphoric 'churning' - implying events initiated by AnantaSayana Vishnu, Ashvamedha Yagna = intellectual horsepower) happens between positive entities and negative entities (those with a predominance of negative energy/motives or negative characteristics, and therefore negative karma). Sri Vishnu, the Mohini-avatar, guilefully takes away the metaphoric pot of celestial ambrosia (possibly signifying opportunities, initiatives etc - from the clutches of the negative entities) and gives it to the positive entities... so that they can regain their preeminence. (However, sustained karm-yog is essential - for regaining preeminence.)

Persisting with illusions or incorrect/subjective understanding/interpretation or obscurantism etc is unhelpful. Stagnation (especially intellectual laziness or stagnation) is deleterious for a people and thereby for a society/civilisation (since behavioural aspects, attitude, mindset, thought process etc shape up the societal aspects). Open-mindedness is required. Evolution is necessary, inevitable. The Vedas say, Charaiveti, Charaiveti. Keep moving. To continually seek and keep moving towards the eternal quest (knowledge, enlightenment, creativity, self-improvement, Self-realisation, etc). Chara = moving + eva = alone, only; iti = thus. Change/evolution is inevitable. This advice is timeless. (Gautama Buddha too used these words as a message to the world to keep moving.)

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