Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tea-totaler: Holmes, Professor Shanku, etc. (Part-II)

Also read: Part-I.

Byomkesh Bakshi: bespectacled, brilliant (nay a genius), urbane and dignified. Byomkesh is Satyanveshi (Seeker of Truth). However, can Satyanveshi [also] be interpreted as 'Truth in disguise'? Holmes too is a master of disguise. (Implying Avatar? The Eternal Divine in human form?) Byomkesh has an urge to unveil truth hidden underneath many layers of mystery. He is immensely likable, has an air of simplicity about him and an impeccable style of Satyanveshan. Rajit Kapur is the definitive Byomkesh Bakshi. Handsome, sharp-featured and charismatic. And perhaps the only Punjabi who has worn dhuti-panjabi with such grace, poise and style.

Byomkesh's attention to the smallest of details is meticulous. His amazing intuition, witticism, and courageous nature along with his impeccable reasoning are all reminiscent of Holmes. Tagore and Sukumar Ray influenced Satyajit Ray. Feluda, a fan of Sherlock Holmes, recited nonsense rhymes from Sukumar Ray's Abol Tabol (lit. Nonsense Rhymes). Sharadindu Bandopadhyay (author of the thirty three stories featuring Byomkesh Bakshi) too was a fan of Holmes. Satyanveshi (Seeker of Truth) Byomkesh Bakshi also uses his oratory skills at the climactic scenes, and often quotes Tagore to explain a certain situation to Ajit. In the later stories we find that the nonsense rhymes of Abol Tabol by Sukumar Ray too had attracted his attention. Byomkesh plays a good raconteur at the end of each episode to unravel [explain] the mystery (since his method is mostly intuitive). 

Byomkesh Bakshi is fond of tea and he often asks for tea during Satyanveshan. He is married to Satyavati. (Satyavati means one who speaks the truth.) However, Ajit Bandopadhyay (somewhat of a Watson to Byomkesh's Holmes) continues to live with them.

Satyavati is Pitamahi. Bheeshma is Pitamah. (Bheeshma means great. Pitamah means grandsire. Satyavati means: one who is truthful. It could [perhaps] also imply, personification of the Eternal Divine. (Truth is a reference to the Eternal Divine, the higher/divine power. Thus, Satyameva Jayate. 'Truth stands invincible' or 'Truth always prevails'.) There is a story involving a fish associated with Satyavati. Matsya-avatar? Fish-shaped birthmark or scar on the face? Feluda loves fish fry. Byomkesh Bakshi is married to Satyavati. Implying Byomkesh and Satyavati is one and the same?

Devavrata undertook a kathor vrata (a great/solemn vow - pratigya or pledge of silence?) and [thereafter] became known as Bheeshma. Destiny chose Vyasa's DNA to rule Hastinapur. Ganga could be a metaphor for a knowledge stream. Therefore, Ganga being Bheeshma's mother could be allegoric, implying a learned person (or [perhaps] a prodigiously knowledgeable person). Feluda's Gyanpeeth - implying a vast unfathomable reservoir of timeless wisdom, knowledge, inspiration and consciousness? 

King Santanu (the King of Hastinapur) gets married to Ganga. Are Satyavati and Ganga one and the same? Was it an unhappy/miserable marriage? Had Satyavati grown tired of her marriage?

There is a story involving Maharshi Parashara and Satyavati. (They have a Gandharva-Vivaha, which requires mutual consent but no rituals). Shara or Bāṇa = arrow. Maharshi Parashara. Bheeshma lying on a sharashajya (a bed of arrows). What could this imply? Bheeshma's Sharashajya (lying on a bed of arrows) and Christ's Crucifixion (affixed to the cross): is there a connection? What could crucifixion imply? Is it a metaphor? Something to do with the Swastika (also known as the gammadion cross or cross cramponnée) - a symbol that generally takes the form of an equilateral cross?

The word swastika derives from the Sanskrit svastika - which means "lucky or auspicious object" or well-being. It is composed of su- meaning "good, well" or "auspicious" and asti meaning "being" or "to be". The suffix -ka either forms a diminutive or intensifies the verbal meaning, and suastika might thus be translated literally as "that which is associated with well-being," corresponding to "lucky charm" or "thing that is auspicious." Thus swastika means any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote auspiciousness, good luck or well-being. Swastika literally means, "to be good". Suasti means "well-being." Alternatively: "swa" is "Higher Self" (higher mind or higher manas?), "asti" meaning "being", and "ka" as a suffix, so the translation can be interpreted as: "being with higher self".

'Cross my heart and hope to die' is a phrase. It means to give your heart to God (the Eternal Divine. Satyavati?) To tell the truth and nothing but the truth. Attest to the truth of something; solemnly assure someone that the truth has been spoken. It is generally accompanied by hand gestures such as crossing one's hands over one's chest. Breaking a promise/pledge = "hope to die".

Satyavati (also known as Ganga, Ahalya etc) was married to Santanu (also known as Ravana, Karna etc). However, Destiny chose Vyasa's DNA to rule Hastinapur. Maharshi Parashara = Maharshi Veda Vyasa = Bheeshma (Devavrata). (Maharshi is honorific for exceptionally learned/knowledgeable and wise personages). Satyavati sought solace in the arms of Devavrata, and he gladly acquiesced? Or did he offer a shoulder to lean on? (His kathor vrata: a non-disclosure agreement forbidding him to discuss anything that they do together)? Destiny chose Vyasa's DNA to rule Hastinapur. Did they have a baby together when Santanu was away? Or did Satyavati leave him? (In which case the notion that Vedic marriages were airtight may be incorrect.) Was there a quiet remarriage (or maybe Gandharva Vivaah) with Devavrata? Can this be considered as equivalent to "Immaculate Conception"? Devavrata undertook a kathor vrata (a great/solemn vow, pratigya or pledge of silence) and did not compromise [betray] Satyavati? She was unable to acknowledge her man (beau, spousal equivalent, husband?) publicly due to the various aspects associated with her position as the Queen of Hastinapur? (But then, since Gandharva Vivaah was prevalent and did not raise eyebrows, there may have been other reasons?)

Bheeshma's sharashajya (Bheeshma lying on a bed of arrows). What could this imply? Shiva's bow and arrow: Can this be understood through the imagery of ArdhaNarishvara (the syncretic form)? Two halves of the same consciousness? 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). ArdhaNarishvara (the syncretic form) represents perfect synthesis. Therefore, Shiva-Shakti (the masculine and the feminine) is two aspects of the same truth, Satyam (the Eternal Divine). The right half is usually the male or masculine aspect, Shiva. This is the Shiva half. (It perhaps symbolises the best of masculine traits, qualities, characteristics or attributes). In Shakta ArdhaNarishvara, the dominant right side is female. (Shakta is derived from Shakti worship or Shaktism.) Avatars are unlikely to carry equipment. Therefore, the weaponry associated with the highest Avatar could be allegoric [symbolic]. Shiva (the good or the auspicious) is also an adjective or a quality, and so [probably] can [also] be used as an honorific. The Pashupatastra (Sanskrit: Pāśupatāstra) is the most effective personal weapon of Shiva, discharged by the mind, the eyes (implying hypnosis, make-believe, deception by stratagem?), words (part of wiles and guile?), or [an allegoric/symbolic] bow (Pinaka)? However, it is never to be used against lesser adversaries. 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? 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 also an adjective or a quality 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 [narrow/selfish aspects, parochialism, antagonism, vainglory, pessimism, despondency etc] in the hearts and minds of humankind). The names Dhanvin ("archer", or one who holds a bow) and Bāṇahasta ("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). Could it be that the Avatar is the said "bāṇa"? While the twin soul, the other half of the same consciousness is the symbolic bow (Pinaka)? Therefore, Bheeshma's sharashajya (Bheeshma lying on a bed of arrows) = Shuka-Sari (iconographic depiction through a pair of parrots). 

Sukh Bole:

Aami Tomaar songe:

The Dronacharya-Eklavya story: Eklavya, a great "archer", is self-motivated, resolute and determined. What he did is a phenomenal feat of dedication, discipline and imagination, an extraordinary learning activity leading to mastery of the art. Eventually, Eklavya became an archer of exceptional prowess. The story goes that Eklavya created an image of Dronacharya and considered the image as his guru mentoring and inspiring him. He practiced the arts of Dronacharya in front of Dronacharya's image. And practice makes perfect. Eklavya [however] ascribed his skill to Dronacharya, who in turn asked for the thumb of his right hand as gurudakshina. 

(Dr. Watson has that "shy but rugged" thing going for him (contrary to his popular image or contrary to popular perception). He was war service [a former army surgeon] and suffering in his past, yet he still stumbles over his words when left alone with Mary Morstan. He is [otherwise] very verbal, a great narrator, his literary skill is evidenced in his writings.)

What could Eklavya's dakshina of his right hand thumb to his guru imply? Eklavya considered Dronacharya's statue or image as his guru. So the revered acharya was Ekalavya's inspiration and mentor? Though not physically present the guru pervaded the thoughts of the shishya? Someone who gave him confidence, instilled spine, a mental toughness and calmness in him as well as motivated him to try harder and excel? Someone who helped him overcome his diffidence or awkwardness? Eklavya's dakshina of his right hand thumb to his guru: Self-surrender? Without a thought of jealousy (ego, envy, selfishness etc) to accept a life of self-effacing devotion to the guru? ~ Premika ko teerth mano pyaar ko bhi svarg jano, pyaar ke sangeet mein uhoo mohini suragini (consider your beloved to be a place of pilgrimage, consider the love also to be heaven, in the music of love, in your beauty, in you divine lady). Vishnu is the Mohini-avatar. Probably it is a variant of Mohani-avatr. Mohani or Mohini is the feminine of Mohan, implying pretty or attractive. (Real love is a pilgrimage. Something of this sort is also implied in Rishi Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay's Debi Chowdhurani.)

Eklavya found his Dronacharya, his guru, mentor and inspiration. He made steadfast/committed efforts towards self-development, to make an impression on the acharya (to make a strong, lasting, happy or favourable effect on the acharya). Eklavya doted on Dronacharya, had a great affection or liking for the latter. Satyavati-Bheeshma = Dronacharya-Eklavya? Eklavya ascribed his skill to Dronacharya, who in turn asked for the thumb of his right hand as gurudakshina = tomaake chai. Eklavya was only too happy to oblige.

Purano Janiya:

No boredom, no routine/drudgery, no selfishness/small-mindedness. Always fresh (energetic, enthusiastic, ever-youthful). Love is an act of celebration. Love will remain undiminished, unjaded, even when the hair turns gray, when the smooth softness of youth is replaced by the delicate softness of age. To be very giving (gracious and generous) in love. Passionate about and using one's ingenuity to enjoy life's most elementary joys, the simple pleasures of life, and to nurture inner peace and balance. Mutual joy causes contentment. One is constantly happy, cheerful. Love is a beautiful feeling. Love is inspiring, motivating, invigorating, nectar-like. A sweet, serene melody. Love knows no bounds, its timeless and endless. Love grows by giving it, without limit, without restriction. Love is Worship and it always will be. Love can enrich one's life in more ways than can ever be expressed in words. Aamar diner shhakol nimesh (every moment of my life) bhora (filled with, is pervaded with) ashesh-er (of the eternal, infinite, imperishable) dhaney (treasure).

Katobaro Bhebechhinu:


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 (unreflecting decision-making) with a minimal sense of responsibility and disregard of outcome or significance? Excessively self-centred? Too clever by half? Unctuous? An out-and-out opportunist (totally unscrupulous, easily malleable vis-à-vis scruples)?

Achintya, meaning enigmatic, incomprehensible, perplexing, unfathomable, inscrutable. Panchali [pronounced Paanchaali] = twist, adept at muddling the mind = deception by stratagem. Tactics [ad-hoc fixes] is not the same as strategy [longer-term planning]. Within strategy there can [however] be a series of well-thought-out and integrated tactical moves, wiles and guile (deception by stratagem). Manipulation is different from angling for advantage. Ideals [principles and values, usually in the context of ethics, especially for the larger good, for the longer term, for the benefit of societal aspects/values] are different from idealism [utopian, exaggerated, or impossible moralism] and ideology [straitjacketing or regimentation of the mind; small-minded, narrow/selfish/obscurantist thinking process.] 

Dice (or maybe some other board game, such as a precursor to ludo) from before 2000 BC, made from stone.

A probable ancestor of the game of chess. Chaturanga (Sanskrit: caturaṅga) - an ancient Indian strategy game, (and the common ancestor of the board games chess, shogi, makruk, xiangqi and janggi) was developed during the Gupta era (around the 6th century AD).


Possibly Chaupar. A very similar but more skilful, complex and maybe a little older than Pachisi, a board game called Chausar, Chaupar or Chaupad. In this game, three long dice are used instead of cowry shells and there are no graces or extra throws. Also, castle squares are absent or, if played upon a Pachisi board, are ignored. Pieces can be melded together to form a "super-pieces". If two pieces of the same shade, land on the same space, then those pieces are lumped together and thereafter play as a single piece with double the power. Triple and quadruple pieces can be formed in the same way. Thus accumulated pieces move using the throw of the dice as if they were a single piece.

"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognises genius."

"Education never ends Watson. It is a series of lessons with the greatest for the last." (The Adventure of the Red Circle)

'You know my methods, Watson.'

Christmas commemorates the birth of Christ, it is an occasion of festivity, good cheer and merry-making. (On a side note: How did Christ become anglicized or Europeanised? Are Mary and Jesus mother and son or is there some allegory involved? (e.g. Like how Tagore refers to the Eternal Divine as "My Father"?) The Buddha, Chanakya, Jesus and Mary – do their stories converge? Did later translators etc extrapolate them? Is it an outcome of the Brahminical 'rejection' of the Buddha-avatar, the 9th avatar of Vishnu (the Dasavataar)? Maybe a closer study of the Gandhara Civilisation (archeological findings, artefacts etc) will help. (Hinduism itself is a coalition of myriad stories, history, languages, ways of life, festivities and paths, and so on. All leading to the same Eternal Divine. Advaitaism, Dvaitaism, Vaishnavaism, Shaivaism, Shaktism et al are part of the larger fold of Hinduism. Therefore, movements and discourses about 'supremacy' of one school of thought over others, attempts to monopolise the divine et al have proved to be deleterious, short-sighted and selfish. Subjective history too is unhelpful. Objective thinking will provide clarity, leading to corrective action (mindset change, etc). A broader outlook/mindset/thought process, multi-culturalism, inculcating a habit of reading, etc is inevitable. Intransigence have been unhelpful, and must be eschewed. We must [also] be grateful to the many thought leaders, progressive personages as well as the many reform movements. We have progressed because of their efforts. Our unity is because of our diversity. Let there be no illusions about that. Cultural homogenity is chimerical. Religion is not a binding factor either. Rather it is more divisive than can be imagined. Without our diversity, plurarity and open-mindedness we will self-destruct. Let there be no illusions about that either. Doing the same thing, over and over again, will not produce different results. When the population size increases, selfish aspects etc come about. Different paths are [therefore] part of the solution. They should not be viewed in a narrow sense). Incidentally, Jishnu is a reference to Arjuna. It means: the irrepressible one. Christ is also known as Kristu. Satyajit Ray's Charulata is most interesting.) 

Makara Sankranti or Pongal is the most important Sankranti and one of the most auspicious occasions, signifying invigoration/renewal/re-energising (positive aspects, transformation). It is [therefore] regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase. However, many people conflate Makara Sankranti (Uttarayan) with the Winter Solstice (December 21/22). Christmas is Bada Din. Sankranti means transition; transmigration of the Sun from one Rāshi (constellation of the zodiac in Indian astronomy) to the next. Makara Sankranti marks the transition of the Sun into Makara rasi (Capricorn). Scientifically, this day marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights; thus the chill of winter in on decline. In other words, Sankranti marks the fadeout of winter season and beginning of a new harvest or spring season. Makara Sankranti marks the arrival of spring in India. BG 10.35: || māsānāḿ mārga-śīrṣo 'ham ṛtūnāḿ kusumākaraḥ || ~ "Of months I am Mārgaśīrṣa [November-December], and of seasons I am spring." The spring season also [symbolically] indicates a new beginning.

(Note: Agrahāyaṇa or Mārgaśīrṣa: The word Agrahāyaṇa means the month of Ayana or Equinox (agra = first + ayana = movement of the sun, equinox). AgrahAYanI is related to 'beginning of the year'. Makara Sankranti is the day when the Sun begins his movement towards the northern hemisphere, and thus it signifies: 'Tamaso mā jyotir gamaya' (a movement towards knowledge, wisdom, spiritual light, intellectual illumination, progressive aspects, prosperity and so on). It is the time to shun negative thinking; positive thinking is invigorating/energising. The Sun is an embodiment of knowledge, wisdom, spiritual light, intellectual illumination, progressive aspects, prosperity etc.)

Makara Sankranti signifies renewal: to [collectively] turn away from the (symbolic) 'darkness' (confusion, delusion, ignorance, pessimism, ego, vainglory, selfishness, retrograde or obsolete aspects et al), and to progress, flourish and prosper together. To make efforts towards becoming a better individual, and [collectively] a better people. It is a festival/occasion celebrated all over the country with great fervour, gaiety and kite-flying. It is perhaps the only festival or occasion whose date always falls on the same day every year: 14 January, with some exceptions, when the festival is celebrated on 13 January or 15 January (in a leap year). Makara Sankranti (or Pongal) marks the beginning of Uttarayan. (This time of year is generally associated with SarasvatI and Lord Vishnu). Uttarayan is a combination of two Sanskrit words, 'uttar' meaning northward and 'ayan' meaning movement towards. It celebrates the Sun's northward movement. Uttarayan begins from the day of Makara Sankranti - heralding the arrival of spring and marking the beginning of Vasant Panchami (also known as Shree Panchami or Sarasvati Puja) - to pay our respect for knowledge and learning. After Makara Sankranti, when the earth begins to get closer to the sun, the cold winter begins to yield to delightful spring. Vasant Panchami marks the beginning of Vasant or spring, when it is time for every tree, branch and bower to spring to new life with blooms of myriad colour and fragrance, vibrant in festive display. The flower (kusumā) is a beautiful symbol of regeneration/invigoration. Hence, the spring season is kusumakar (kusumākaraḥ) or Rituraj, the king of all seasons. BG 10.35: || ṛtūnāḿ kusumākaraḥ || ~ "and of seasons I am spring."

(Vasant comes from the word spring as this festival [Vasant or Basant Panchami, also: Shree Panchami or SarasvatI Puja] heralds the beginning of the spring season. New blossoms appear in the trees... with the promise of invigoration, optimism and hope. At some point of time in the distant past, Makara Sankranti would have coincided with, or would have been closer to, the Winter Solstice but with the precession of the equinoxes the dates [probably] have diverged from each other.)

Happy winter solstice everyone. Merry Christmas. A very Happy New Year. Shubh Makara Sankranti.

Naba Aanande:

Satyajit Ray wrote thirty-five Feluda stories. Feluda's character made his debut in the popular children's periodical (Sandesh) founded by Ray's grandfather, Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury, which Ray co-edited, appearing regularly in novellas and short stories. Usually, a Feluda story would appear in the special Puja edition of that magazine. Nearly every Feluda story was published annually in the Pujabarshiki Desh (the edition of Desh commemorating Durga Puja published every year). Thereafter, Ananda Publishers published the stories as hard-back editions. The two Feluda movies under Ray's directorial baton are masterpieces.

One the greatest auteurs of all time. Legend. Polymath. A rare genius. Joi Baba Maniknath. 

Feluda is choosy about tea. Prefers tea from Makaibari Tea Estate in Kurseong and has chanachur (dalmut) with it.

Feluda: handsome, dashing, dynamic and intrepid. Pradosh Chandra Mitra, popularly known as  Pradosh C. Mitter. (Mitra Anglized to Mitter).

Da is a suffix, abbreviation of dada. Felu probably is derived from phal, implying freedom from the anxiety of fruitive actions (anxiety of outcome, personal fame, glory, commendation etc). There is also a proverb: kashto korle keshto meley. (Phalguna is a reference to Arjuna).

Height: 6'. A tall, athletic figure - physically fit and strong. (Despite being sturdy/physically powerful and robust, adept in martial arts (jujitsu, judo, karate), Feluda relies mostly upon his superb analytical ability and observation skill (euphemistically referred to as the Magajastra or brainpower/intellectual brilliance, allusion to Sudarshana Chakra?) instead of using physical strength. He is very choosy about taking up cases and prefers cases that require cerebral effort. He is witty, responsible, determined, focused, and tenacious and has a sense of kartavya. He also has a great appreciation for Sherlock Holmes and, according to the film Tintorettor Jishu, Bruce Lee.

Alma Mater: Scottish Church College.

His father, Jaykrishna Mitra (Mitter), taught Mathematics and Sanskrit at Dhaka Collegiate School. (Incidentally, Byomkesh Bakshi's father was much like Felu's.) Both his parents passed away when he was a boy and his uncle brought up Felu. 

Attire: shirt and trousers, with a jacket in winter. At home: kurta and pyjama with a shawl in winter.

Feluda is a connoisseur of delicious food, popular music and movies, and books. He can sing Rabindrasangeet well. He can easily stay without smoking for 10-12 hours if required. Goes to sleep late, but is an early riser. Wakes up before sunrise and starts his day with yogasana. Never sleeps deeply. He loves fish fry (allusion to the matsya-avatar, fish-shaped birthmark or scar on the face?), kora paaker sandesh (allusion to daiva-vaani?) and khoyer chhara mishti paan (allusion to Panchali, pronounced Paanchaali?). In the Ray-directed Charulata too there is something about paan. The picturisation is brilliant. Feluda has an omnivorous reading habit (reflecting that of Ray's own), which adds up to his enormous general knowledge. (This often comes in handy while socialising with people and unraveling mysteries). He remains open to anything that can further his knowledge. Often uses his oratory skills at the climactic scenes - sits straight, crosses his legs, and looks you straight in the eye before he starts speaking. Ray's interest in puzzles and puns is reflected in his stories. Feluda opened his innings and signed off around Shantiniketan, where the young Ray was groomed as an artist. (Who is the Shanti of Shantiniketan and Bharati of Visva-Bharati?) 

Feluda is a typical Bengali foodie. He is not known for amorous adventures. He was never a wanton, licentious or a promiscuous person, nor intemperate (an alcoholic). He has never indulged in annoying/vexatious, coarsely boisterous behaviour either. He epitomises Bangaliana (the Bengali essence or Bengaliness). He is urbane, a responsible citizen and has a cosmopolitan outlook (free of prejudices and stereotyping traits, very opposite of parochial). 

Topshe, Tapesh Ranjan Mitra (Mitter), is introduced as a young lad of thirteen. He is young, energetic, sharp; a wonderfully subtle foil to the flamboyant charisma of Feluda. He has a buddhidipta chehara, is neither loquacious nor ee(n)chore paka. Siddhartha Chatterjee is perfect as the young Topshe. (Thirteen is Trayodashi. In Sanaatan Dharmic thought Trayodashi is considered very lucky.) Though Feluda often playfully teases his young cousin, he is immensely fond (affectionate) and very protective (warm, caring etc) of him. Feluda's relationship with Topshe: what kind of a cousin is Felu-da? There is some ambiguity on this. (The word "cousin" covers almost every imaginable, familial relationship. However, in the Bengali universe every relationship is properly labeled, there is no scope for vagueness and confusion).

Sidhu Jyatha: "jyatha" is the endearing word for father's elder brother in Bengali. Jeeves has an encyclopedic knowledge on everything under the sun: philosophy, literature, poetry - especially romantic poetry, science, history, cuisine, psychology, politics, geography; even medicine. Ray created Sidhujyatha (Siddeshvar Basu). Ray's extremely popular fictional detective character - Feluda - describes him as 'the walking encyclopedia'. Sidhujatha describes himself as the Mycroft to Felu. Sidhu Jyatha is a bibliophile and immensely knowledgeable. He and Feluda's father were neighbours in their ancestral village. Feluda's jyatha is a vast source of information and comes in handy when Feluda is in need of some. His vast knowledge comes from his collection of varied kinds of newspaper clippings that he has accumulated over the years. He also keeps the windows of his mind open. 

Harindranath Chattopadhyay excelled in the role of Sidhu-jyatha in Shonar Kella. He is cute, amazingly knowledgable, intelligent and refined. He has by far been the best Sidhujyatha, and it is unlikely that he (or his portrayal) can be bested. (Sidhujyatha = Gyanpeeth, repository of knowledge?) 

Pradosh C. Mitter is Feluda in the novels, as the narrator Topshe - something of a Watson to Feluda's Holmes - is his younger cousin. He is just Felu to his elder family members, and, more endearingly, Feluchand to Sidhu jyatha. However, he is Felubabu to Jatayu (tr: Mr. Felu). Babu in Bengali is similar in usage to the honorific "Mr." in English.

Lalmohan Ganguly, the author of 28 bestselling novels, is a celebrity in his own right. (Makes his first appearance in Shonar Kella.) He is a writer of best-selling mystery and adventure thrillers for a young audience. Ray started drawing Jatayu's character in the likeness of Santosh Dutta (who played Lalmohan Ganguly aka Jatayu).

Jatayu is not a sidekick, simply because the Feluda aura is also partly due to his presence, and unique brand of humour, wit and charisma. One aspires to be like Feluda. However, despite his obvious brilliance, admirable qualities/attributes, handsome looks and heroism Feluda was never able to overshadow Lalmohan Ganguly/Jatayu. He is vital/integral/central to the Feluda genre. Without Jatayu the flavour of the Feluda stories is different. And yet, Jatayu has never failed to appreciate and acknowledge Feluda's erudition, knowledge, ability to do good, diligence, talent and efforts (though he maintains his own standout presence all through the series). (Note: Santosh Dutta was outstanding as Jatayu. No actor, including the versatile Rabi Ghosh, has been able to fill his shoes.)

Jatayu's penchant for sandesh, his love for tea, his simplicity, sincerity and enthusiasm, his middle class ethos, etc endears him. (The term sandesh means 'news,' and thus the sweet treat have traditionally become a "messenger" of good things and a sign of jubilation/celebration.) Jatayu is self-motivated and enterprising (having the ability to do new and difficult things, e.g. the camel ride or his grotesque experience with Maganlal Meghraj); he is ever curious and full of life. He is never lackadaisical, self-righteous, preachy/didactic or melancholic. He has a sense of humour, is intelligent, modest (sometimes self-deprecating), and not timid. (In 'Joi Baba Felunath' one cannot but appreciate Jatayu's indomitable spirit when (despite his ordeal) he cheerfully tries to tell Feluda that all is well, he was very much alive and [therefore] Feluda should just continue with his investigation, and not worry about him. There is no showmanship involved.)

Jatayu is a little older than Feluda who chides him (so as to correct or improve) and [also] enlightens him constantly. (But he is not vain. Outward behaviour, possibly. His reaction if Jatayu is insulted or slighted is obvious, self-evident). Jatayu is bald (and so is Professor Shanku). Unlike the enthusiastic and energetic Feluda who is meant to be admired and idolised (for his superbrain, heroism and other qualities), Jatayu's character is [ostensibly] portrayed as somewhat bumbling, timid, docile, modest/understated and also mildly eccentric, and (superficially) it seems like he is meant to be spoofed, made fun of - given his expressions, postures, voice modulation and so on. (But could it be a mere veneer? Another instance of Ray's interest in puzzles and puns, that are reflected in his stories)? Ray has often talked about his desire to adapt the 'Mahabharata'. His one regret being that it was too long an epic. Maybe he then thought a film could be made on one or a few aspects (not even a whole chapter or 'Parv') in the epic. So, it is not surprising at all that aspects from the epic find its way into the Feluda stories. Sukumar Ray influenced Satyajit. However, Tagore is clearly a pivotal influence on Ray's ouevre. His influence is more profound and pervasive (like a smooth, well-blended superplot, and one needs to be very discerning/perceptive) in Ray's ouevre than the others (who were mostly just source materials). All of Ray's movies are a testimony to his immense knowledge of the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, etc. Perhaps Tagore's songs and verses helped him gain a deeper knowledge and understanding. (Perhaps Ray could comprehend the Shanti of Shantiniketan and Bharati of Visva-Bharati.)

What could crucifixion imply? Is it a metaphor?

To be the focus of mean-spirited/malicious (spiteful, defamatory, rancorous, slanderous, unpleasantly severe) or deliberately hurtful comments or negative statements? To withstand caustic criticism, even unwarranted or unqualified criticism and unkind words/language (comments, insults, behaviour etc) with grace and dignity? 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 retain one's wit and wisdom? To be hit where it hurts the most, and yet to continue to perform one's kartavya admirably? Even stoically? Unable to show or share one's grief/loss? Penance? Repentance, atonement (Prāyaścitta)? Self-abasement - voluntary self-punishment so as to atone for some [real or imagined] wrongdoing?

Maganlal Meghraj (somewhat of an unsophisticated Moriarty) is perhaps modeled after Ravana. He was not an expert at Mathematics and Astronomy as Professor Moriarty was. He engaged much more in brawn than in brain with his rival, Feluda. However, he also engages in a battle of the mind. Utpal Dutt's performance as Maganlal Meghraj is understated, brilliant and unforgettable. In "Joi Baba Felunath" the detective is rendered helpless. In "Golapi Mukta Rahasya" he is clueless, as the devious mastermind fructified his plans. On both occasions he does not choose Feluda - to inflict the wound. The intent is to maximize damage. To inflict a debilitating (enervating) blow at an emotional spot of vulnerability. To weaken/wear down or enfeeble physically, mentally, emotionally and morally; to deprive of strength and weaken the vigour. Maganlal chooses Jatayu.

It is part of malicious tactics. To induce self-blame, one of the most potent forms of emotional abuse. It induces guilt and shame and paralyses an individual, one [then] cannot even begin to move forward. Blame leads to shame and, in the context of self-blame that means self-shaming. Taking on responsibility that is not one's own (implied wrongness) can not only paralyse an individual, it drags an individual down into the inertia of self-devaluation, setting him/her up for self-shame and self-devaluation. Instead of getting to be right (by doing the right thing), one gets to be wrong. (Taking responsibility is not the same as self-blame.)

Maganlal Meghraj: unctuous, creepy-looking, boorish, ungainly (coarse and unattractive), heavyset, supercilious, cold-blooded/ruthless. His gesture of usurpation, over-confidence, unbridled greed/acquisitive instinct and sense of entitlement defines him. He is relentless, extremely determined to get what he wants. He also has a take-no-prisoners style. He unsuccessfully tries to sweet-talk, bribe and finally coerce Feluda into abandoning his principles. (Maganlal wanted Feluda to abandon the task assigned to him by Ambika Ghosal.) Feluda remains firm, Maganlal turns his attention towards Jatayu. (Jatayu doesn't mind being the bait, though).

From the Ramayana we gather that Jatayu is wounded by Ravana, who slices off Jatayu's wings. But Jatayu is not a bird per se. In the Feluda stories, Jatayu (aka Lalmohan Ganguly) is Sarbogya Gangopadhyay. Sarbogya = all-knowing (perhaps implying intuition and instinct. Intuition could be the outcome of earlier intellectual experience). Vishnu-Krsna is Trikalagya, all-knowing (past, present and future). Lalmohan: lal (reddish-hued, ruddy; Vishnu is lohitah or rohit, implying reddish-hued. Mohan = pretty or attractive, implying Mohini-avatar? Perhaps a variant of Mohani-avatr? Mohani is the feminine of Mohan.) Jatayu. Vulture. Untouchable, etcetera etcetera?

Daku Gandaria: could it be a reference to Karna? Karna's [metaphoric] kavacha (lit. armour) and kundala (lit. ear-rings) possibly implies emotionally hardened, neglectful, shameless/insensible to disgrace (a cavalier attitude), inattentive, a poor listener. Dyspraxic? Could it also imply flesh tunnel ears? Cochlear implant? Eavesdropper?   

For Feluda it was about setting things right, about restoring balance in the equation between the good and the bad (between positivism and negativity). Retribution might be nice when served cold but some dishes taste better when piping hot. Feluda - smart, suave, disciplined, astute and hawk-eyed, no knot is difficult for him to untie.

After Jatayu is subjected to the grotesque ordeal, Feluda quietly vows to himself, to either set things right or quit goyendagiri forever. It is said in a very matter-of-fact [determined] manner. There are glimpses/allusion to Chanakya and Panchali (reminiscent of the untying of the shikha, "crest" or crowning glory, a long tuft of hair on the top of the head).

Maganlal had also tried to sweet-talk, then browbeat/intimidate/coerce Umanath Ghoshal into surrendering his priceless family heirloom. Umanath had politely refused to oblige. (Ravana is said to have usurped Lanka from Kubera). In the end, Feluda takes the priceless idol (Umanath's family heirloom) as his parishramic (the fruit of his efforts), though the real idol is elsewhere. Ambika Ghoshal readily and gladly acquiesces, as a token of appreciation/gratitude. (None can pull the wool over Feluda's eyes. He can recognise a fake).

(There is an idol of Buddha in the background). Kausthubham or Kaustubha Mani - the (allegoric?) unique/divine jewel believed to be adorning the neck of Lord Vishnu - is [very likely] a reference to emerald. (Could it be a reference to garland?) Green Emerald Gemstone or Panna: Velvety green in colour, Emerald harmonises and strengthens the positive influences of Budha or mercury. Budha or Mercury is the "prince" in Jyotish and is influenced by Surya and Chandra. Panna is associated with the brain, strong intellect, memory, intuition, education (teaching, learning), writing, drawing, perception, vitality, wisdom, communication skills, confidence, humour and wit, sense of understanding, generosity and affection. Emerald increases power of faculty, gives mental peace, pacifies the anger and increases eye-sight. Emerald helps to lift depression and insomnia, it keeps the body healthy and mind happy. Other names: Markat mani, jamuran. (Panna is associated with SarasvatI, the deity of wisdom and intellect. Mahāyāna Buddhism relates Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara to the six-syllable mantra: oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ (translated as "the jewel in the lotus"). Bodhisattava = Buddha-to-be. Buddha, the 9th avatar of Vishnu = the Enlightened One or the Wise One. Buddhism = Boudhya Dharma, the way of the Buddha. Avalokitesvara is regarded in the Vajrayana teachings as a Buddha. In the Mahayana teachings he is regarded as a high-level Bodhisattva. Avalokiteshvara ("looking on", "the lord who looks in every direction") - the bodhisattva ("Buddha-to-be") of infinite compassion and mercy, is possibly the most popular of all Buddhist deities and one of the more widely revered bodhisattvas. Also referred to as Padmapani ("Holder of the Lotus"). The bodhisattva's six qualities are said to overcome hindrances/obstacles (reminiscent of Vignesh or Vighn-vinashak?). Avalokiteshvara is the earthly manifestation of the self-manifested (svayambhu - laboratory-born, self-made?), eternal Buddha, Amitabha, whose figure is represented in his headdress. Avalokiteshvara guards the world in the interval between the departure of the historical Buddha, Gautama, and the appearance of the future Buddha, Maitreya. (Reminiscent of Nandi?) In Sri Lanka, Avalokiteshvara is called Natha or Natha-deva, and sometimes identified with Maitreya Bodhisattva, or confused with Maitreya, the future Buddha, the Buddha yet to come.)

Kausthubham or Kaustubha Mani could also be a reference to Yellow Sapphire Gemstone or Pukhraj. (Maybe to emerald and Pukhraj - both?) It is the gem of teacher [guru] of universe (Brhmaanda, Brahmaanda) - Brihaspati or Jupiter (associated with benevolence and Sattvik or noble aspects). Brihaspati is Devaguru. Hence, placed at the highest hill in the row of all gems. (Jupiter is said to be the minister of the galaxy. Jupiter has the power to change the decision taken by the king [Maanikya, ruby] by its knowledge and wisdom and logical speech.) Pukhraj signifies intellectual aspects, knowledge, wisdom, virtue, fortune, justice, education, future, dharma (dharmic principles, a set of values and ideals worth emulating), respectable towards elders. philosophy, devotion, spirituality (spiritual humanism, humane gestures, humanistic values, empathy), prosperity, generosity [charitable] and amicableness to all sorts of people. Yellow sapphire harmonises. Guru is the major instructor or teacher and influences action with the highest order and balance. (This should explain the imagery of Yashoda imparting lessons to [i.e. teaching] Krsna or chasing a baby Krsna, in an attempt to discipline. It is allegoric). Guru directs action in the most harmonious and uplifting manner and balances inner and outer input while simultaneously performing and monitoring action. Enlivens activity in the brain (intellectual energy – to stimulate the mind/thinking process?) while directing action. It signifies highest-order thinking - Knowledge has organising power. Its use brings about affection and harmonious relations. Jupiter (associated with benevolence and amicableness) is believed to bestow humans with the knowledge of law, ethics, wit, wisdom, worldly happiness, vitality, intelligence, longevity, good health/best of health, food grains (*bountiful harvest, implying association with the earth/nature?), general prosperity, success, mental peace, fame, respect, good offspring, spirituality (spiritual humanism, contentment) and freedom from health hindrances. In Sanskrit: Pusparaga, Yellow sapphire, Guru-Ratna, Gem of Guru, Pushparaaj or Puspa-Raja, King of flowers, Vascapati vallabha, Beloved of Jupiter. (*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.)

The one who is Durga (Parvati) is also Krsna, is also SarasvatI, and is also Rudra-Shiva, and so on. (Sita is Sri Rama, the human identity of the Rama-avatar. Panchali/Draupadi is the human identity of the Krsna-avatar). The epics and other stories/fables of our ancient texts are not mutually exclusive, although a fresh approach/thinking is required to understand and interpret them (the many allegories, extended metaphors, imagery etc). They need to emerge out of the cobwebs of superficial/archaic interpretations, biases, and intellectual laziness of several centuries. Sharadindu Bandopadhyay's Byomkesh Bakshi stories are also very interesting.

The Dronacharya-Eklavya story: Alternatively: Eklavya could be a reference to Panchali (Krsna, Draupadi). Dronacharya could [therefore] be a reference to Radha. (They could not have been maternal aunt and nephew as is popularly believed). From what can be gathered, Radha was 8-9 years older. When Krsna/Panchali was fourteen, Radha was twenty-two. Was there a childhood association? Could it be that Panchali was aware of Radha and, maybe, liked him? But was never able to convey it. Reticent? Unable to articulate emotions? Not good-looking enough? Too many imperfections? However, the story says that Eklavya was hurt by Dronacharya's rejection. (Did he walk away? Forgot? Had he led Eklavya on for days and then just walked away like Eklavya was a waste of his time? Or, did he later look for her but in vain? Panchali/Shakuntala one and the same? Dushyant and Bheeshma one and the same? Bharata was their son.) Is the Arjuna-Chitrangada story [also] applicable here? (Chitrangada was the princess of Manipura. Chitrangada = Panchali = Shakuntala? Manipura, the Panchala kingdom, Dvarka, Lanka, Janakpur, Mithila is one and the same). Chitrangada is said to have been kurupa (plain Jane, ugly duckling, more masculine than feminine) despite her formidable reputation as a warrior. However, physical beauty mattered to Arjuna, before he realised that qualities and traits (of the heart and mind) was more important than physical beauty/attractiveness. The ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan. Arjuna was infatuated, but after a while he longed for the kurupa warrior. (He was able to [finally] understand/realise the difference between infatuation and real love/emotions/feelings). Krsna was sent away to study at Sandeepani Rishi and Garga Muni's ashram (hermitage, gurukul). Eklavya was self-made. Diligent, determined - through relentless effort, through sheer hard work. Dronacharya, somewhat fastidious, possibly outspoken, a tad callous, pompous and arrogant, and/or possessing lofty ideals, was incessantly critical of Eklavya? But then, did they meet again - after many years? And, this time was there a [gradual] change of heart? Due to guilt? Remorse? A tortured soul (utter despair over his past)? Craving for a chance to make amends (for some wrongdoing many years ago? for having wronged Eklavya)? He wasn't the same person he used to be? Seeking forgiveness, peace of mind? Repentance, atonement (Prāyaścitta)? Wanting to reconnect? Since Eklavya could be the one to put him back together in so many different ways? Eklavya was his past and Eklavya now could become his future? So much so that during some difficult or trying times Dronacharya [voluntarily] came forward to hold Eklavya's hand... with a proposal [pledge, promise] of a lifetime of loyalty, commitment, togetherness, appreciation and emotional support? Did Eklavya accept it? Did Eklavya pretend not to recognise? But then, how did Dronacharya recognise? Due to some distinctive characteristic or feature? Or could it be something else? Of which Eklavya [perhaps] had no recollection but Dronacharya was old enough [or maybe sober enough?] to remember? And when they met, many years later perhaps, he realised who Eklavya really was? 

(Yashoda and Krsna incredibly close? Yashoda - very attached to Krsna, treasured Krsna?) Radhanath is a reference to Krsna. Gopichand (implying a lot of fangirls) is a reference to Radha. (Feluda is Feluchand to Sidhu-jyatha). Feluda is very different from Jatayu. Krsna is not Gopichand, Krsna is ugly looking, and despite having learnt to feel, possibly had difficulty in articulating emotions etc. (Holmes is reticent, possibly socially awkward, of eccentric manners and a tad bohemian in his habits. He also has a really hard time actually expressing his emotions to others. This [perhaps] makes him appear somewhat abrupt. Many regard him as a machine rather than a man, though Holmes does have capacities for human emotion.) ... Radha is mentioned as the sister of Nanda Maharaj of Gokul. However, could it be that Nanda Maharaj = Radha = Yashoda? ... From an unpleasant (?) past, from someone who was [excessively] critical and/or [possibly] condescending even, to becoming an unabashed admirer, to cherishing, to showing warmth, affection and great tenderness for; being very fond, protective, concerned, caring, nurturing etc (like a mother)? He was protective because he genuinely cared, and not because he was jealous or trying to be an alpha? Could Nanda Maharaj = Radha = Yashoda be a reference to Nandi? (Note: Nandi is worshipped. Stone images of a seated Nandi can be found facing the main shrine (idol of Shiva). Nandi is Shiva's watchman. It is important to seek the blessings of Nandi before proceeding to worship Lord Shiva. Devotees are supposed to look at the image of Siva from afar through the space between the ears and the top of Nandi's head. Since Nandi is also the embodiment of intuition and instinct, some devotees also try to view the image of Shiva from in between Nandi's horns, thereby gaining a perfect perspective of the cosmic lord. [Intuition could be the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.] Many people whisper their prayers into the ears of Nandi. There are many temples dedicated solely to Nandi. Worship of Lord Shiva is incomplete if Nandi is not worshipped along with Shiva. 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. [This Shiva is Parvati, popularly known as Durga, unvanquished, invincible.])

Yashoda - Krsna's cure for imsomnia? (What could the term "Holy Grail" imply? Something that was discovered in ancient India many millennia ago, but which the French have somehow patented?)

If Eklavya (of the Mahabharata) is Jatayu of the Ramayana, could Dronacharya be a reference to Sampaati of the Ramayana? Sampaati was Jatayu's brother? Or a trusted person? Sampaati = Shakuni = Sahadeva? The only trusted or closest associate of Panchali? An assistant/helper, protector/defender/benefactor, champion, well-wisher, partner or supporter? The proverbial guardian angel? Someone who could be relied on to give a great deal of support and comfort/encouragement? Could Gandhari-Shakuni be a reference to Jatayu-Sampaati? Shakuni is said to have been very unhappy with Gandhari's marriage to Dhritarashtra (implying someone with an unenlightened mind?). But then, why did Sampaati/Shakuni not marry Gandhari? A public marriage between them was not possible, despite intent? Maharshi Valmiki welcomed Sita into his ashram (hermitage). Sampaati/Shakuni/Sahadeva provided refuge to Panchali? A paying guest? Maharshi Valmiki (of the Ramayana) = Sampaati/Shakuni/Sahadeva? Krsna was born inside a prison. Does that mean Panchali was born inside a prison? Or is there some allegory involved? Jatayu-Sampaati or Panchali-Shakuni equation is multi-faceted? Someone who filled many voids/emptiness? Krsna is Damodar. Tied with rope (attributed to Yashoda, the supposed foster-mother). Is there some allegory involved? (To behave towards (someone) in a way which is kind etc but which nevertheless shows that one thinks oneself to be more important, clever etc than that person? Snobbish? Self-projection? A condescending attitude like a slave owner - who freed his slave but retained some rights over him? Or, is rope = umbilical cord? intestines/colon? bowels? the digestive tract? (The whole digestive tract is about nine metres long). There is a scar [marked with three lines] on the waist due to the rope tied by Yasodha (what could this imply?). Surgery? Fibroid? Cesarean section? Krsna's voice is described as deep as rumbling thunder, though the peacock and swan analogies suggests otherwise. Could this be an allusion to Meghnaad (also known as Indrajit?) – voice like rumbling thunder? VasukiNaga?

(On a side note: to be under one's thumb is a phrase implying to be completely under one's power or influence; in a condition of subservience. A figurative expression that alludes to being completely under another's control, at someone's command. The allusion was to a protagonist so powerful and a subject so insignificant that even the former's thumb was strong enough to control them. The phrase was always used to refer to a powerful person, like a king or lord, exercising control over a subject. The early references probably relates to falconry. When the birds were on a leash, it was customary to hold the leash under the thumb so as to keep control of the bird. It is also used for a man who is happiest when wrapped around the finger of his beloved wife. A relationship where the husband willingly and happily submits to the loving female authority of his wife. It could be an expression of the depth of his feelings. Many could have very outwardly dominant and strong personalities, successful in their social lives. But deep down they may be happiest if they can surrender to the woman that they love and trust. It could be considered as an expression of love, affection and adoration for her. By submitting to the wife only means: 1. becoming more caring and attentive. 2. making the married-life more understanding, dedicated and loyal to each other. 3. making the wife queen of the affairs (decision making, opinions etc.)

Bhalobeshe Shokhi:



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