Saturday, January 31, 2015

My Rainbow - seven riveting short stories | Fate by Isha Setia. (Part-I)

This is the story of a sixteen-year-old girl from Daltonganj (dal = pulse = heartbeat of whole universe, the base of spiritual consciousness, heart of divinity; the center of the cosmos = the world's spiritual powerhouse = Shambhala aka Kailasha?) in Bihar's (Mithila?) Palamau (sweetheart? foster parent? venom-tainted blood/Vishkanya? Vishahara: mist-dispelling, dispelling the 'fog' of tamasic aspects? mau = honey or honeybee?) district, nestled in the forgotten foothills (Vishnupadagiri – an allusion to VasukiNaga who is shown sitting at the feet of Vishnu? Forgotten = Bhola (an epithet for Shiva?) SarasvatI, the forgotten river? The story about Siddhartha Gautama deserting two-year-old son (Rahula) and Yashodhara (spouse) in the service of a greater cause? (Yasodhara = Yesu/Jishu/Jishnu?) The story is somewhat reminiscent of the Kunti-Suryadeva story; wherein foster parents brought up their son (Karna). Is this Karna an allegory for large (elephant) ears implying good listening skills? (Suryadeva = Ganesha?) Is the Dushyant-Shakuntala story [also] applicable, wherein (after their Gandharva-Vivaah) once Dushyant returned to his kingdom, he was unable to remember/recollect anything about Shakuntala?) of the Chhotanagpur plateau in the south. It is a blink (palak, eyelashes, moment, second, Kshan, Kushan?) of an eye (aksa, dice in general in Sanskrit are known as aksa, kanha - sightless/visually-impaired?) from the Betla (bet, as in a game of dice?) forest (vaan, Vrindavaan?) and its world famous tigers. (Jagadhatri/Durga? Shiva is shown clad in tiger-skin.) Daltonganj is also the gateway (dvara, Dvarka?) to the hill resort (Mt. Meru or Mandar Parvat supported on the back of the kurma(tortoise)-avatar - the second avatar of the Dasavataar?) of Netarhat (net = allusion to matsya-kanya Satyavati? tar = kali or ghanshyam? neta = leader or ruler, hat = market: where world meets, or crown, implying Prajapati (honorific for Brahma, the Creator), Daksha Prajapati (father of Dakshayani Sati/Parvati, aksa = eye, dice, skilled) or the crown chakra/Sahasrara - the 7th chakra, the highest chakra, possibly implying Jyotirlingam? BG 10.23: || meruh sikharinam aham || ~ "and of mountains I am Meru" or "I am the very pinnacle of Meru"), its thick forests (thick = heavyset or emotionally hardened [thick skin = metaphoric (rhinoceros-like) armour or chest fat or psoriasis], forest/jungli = coarse/unsophisticated/uncouth: a heavyset, emotionally hardened/shameless, uncouth person? Shravana? Ravana? Shravaan = to listen attentively, to keep the ears peeled = a stealthy meddlesome snoop = Karna? Ungli = Angulimala?), monstrous rain (varsha, flood) and breathtaking sunrises (Savitr = the sun, which is emblematic of positive aspects, can also symbolise a fresh epoch/maha-yuga; Savitri = SarasvatI, the embodiment/personification of the sun = dispeller of darkness/ignorance) and sunsets (shyam, dusk - implying fadeout of a maha-yuga, a cosmic or time cycle of four phases).

Breathtaking: a firm chokehold? Darbhanga (a city in the northern part of Bihar). Dharbhanga = decapitated. (Hinglaj, where the head is enshrined, is the most important of the 51 Shakti Peeths (believed to contain the remains of Sati). Dakshayani Sati is a reference to Parvati/Durga. (Sati is very likely the feminised version of Sat/Satya, an honorific for the divine power to whom all of humankind prays). Prajapati Daksha, implying a competent ruler, also known as Himavat, Himavaan, Himacala and Parvateshvar – was the ruler of the ancient Himalaya kingdom and a personification of the Himalaya Mountains [also known as the Himavat Mountains.]

Hing is asafoetida (asafetida), also known as asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, jowani badian, stinking gum, Devil's dung, kayam and ting. It is a a soft, brown, lumpy gum resin having a bitter, acrid taste and an obnoxious odour. (Fetid: having an unpleasant smell, having a heavy offensive smell, malodorous. The Putana analogy? Putana = devoid of virtue. Sanskrit: Pūtanā, lit. "putrefaction".) Putana as "stinky" can be a metaphor for pustulant sores, the eruption of which is a symptom of chicken pox. A figurative carbuncle or indigestion? Unclean mind and heart? One whose conscience is dirty? The Manthara analogy: symbolising crookedness of heart? Deviation from moral rectitude; perverseness? Deviousness? Conniving trickery? Bamboozling? Deceitful and underhanded? (Conscience is the inner sense of distinguishing what is dharmic or adharmic in one's behaviour, thoughts, actions, character, intentions or motives. A person of low moral values (sense of dharma) or with a psychopathic personality lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience. There is a failure (inability) to feel guilt or remorse for one's amoral or perverted actions or behaviour. Such a person (a sociopath or psychopath) is deluded, suffers from inferiority complex and intense egocentricity, indulges in alcohol abuse, has a failure to learn from experience, and shows a lack of regret in (i.e. a callous disregard for) his or her actions. Although these symptoms are present, they may not always be evident. A sociopath may appear charming and considerate, but these attributes are usually superficial. They are used as a way to deceive or fool others to the personal agenda behind the sociopath's behaviour. The causes of psychopathic personality are thought to be either genetic or environmental. The psychopath functions well under pressure because he/she does not feel the moral tension at all, since such a person is motivated by narrow/selfish considerations. The Angulimala analogy? Angulimala (lit. finger necklace/garland) was fully determined in accomplishing his task of stringing together a garland of one thousand fingers, a thousand human right-hand little fingers. However, he felt no remorse, so steeped was his (unenlightened, unscrupulous) mind in this gruesome habit. Paishachic (depraved) tendencies? A psychopath/sociopath with a mask of sanity?) Putana symbolises the lack of illumination of knowledge, an unenlightened mind. Putana is also described as a Vaki, a female crane, thus a symbol of crookedness and hypocrisy. Bakadharmic = insincere, pretense, willfully false or habitually deceptive. Adept at throwing dust/sand into people's eyes.) Asafoetida is used to aid digestion, is effective against influenza, remedy for asthma and bronchitis, an antimicrobial, antiepileptic, also used for balancing the vata and kapha (it aggravates pitta, enhances appetite, taste and digestion), is also speculated to be an antidote for opium. The odour of asafoetida is attractive to the wolf, it is also used as one of several possible scent baits, most notably for catfish and pike. Laaj = modest (demure: not showy, quiet and polite, a sense of decency), also laaj rakhna (obverse of a figurative cut-nose, implying loss of face/humiliation, personal insults or defaced).

Arjuna was conscientious. He could [therefore] differentiate between dharma and adharma (injustice, unpleasant aspects etc), he was [thus] anxious and agonised over contradictions, perplexing situations and uncertainty: to act or not to act. A selfish, unscrupulous person would not have behaved thus; such persons would have simply been motivated by greed, by narrow/selfish considerations. Krsna advised Arjuna to overcome dejection and pessimistic thoughts, since such ignoble or un-arya-like behaviour was for the mentally weak and [therefore] served no purpose. Sri Bhagavan advised Arjuna to resolutely strive for the larger good with optimism (a positive attitude) - without getting overwhelmed by despondency or without being too affected by the transience of things, events etc... and to remain steadfast in realising the larger goals and objectives. (Magnanimity or noble generosity is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be mean or petty, a willingness to face unpleasant challenges calmly, and actions for noble or progressive purposes.) ... Krsna possesses a keenness of mind, is not a lazy or selfish thinker or a naïve philosopher. The avatar prefers substantial content (ability, determination, a capacity for hard work and perseverance, sattvic-ness of thought and action, a fighting spirit, an optimistic/positive outlook, a can-do attitude, etc) over frivolous style. Krsna does not appreciate pusillanimity, grandiloquence (self-glorification, conceitedness), self-righteousness or knavishness couched in a heroic outward. The avatar is always inspiring and infuses positive and noble thoughts, instilling spine, a mental toughness and calmness in Arjuna as well as motivating him to try harder and excel, to overcome his diffidence. It makes Arjuna strong, it gives him mental and moral strength, emotional fortitude, confidence, clarity of thought and purpose in face of adversity, so much so he is ready to meet all challenges. There is no ego, no scope of negativity or anxiety of failure. (Dharma-yuddha = battle of principles/values/ethics - for a better society to emerge.) Arjuna was overcome with feelings of weakness, despondency and confusion... since he faced the prospect of taking on his own kith and kin. Responding to his confusion and moral dilemma, Krsna advised him to follow his 'sva-dharma' - his 'duty [dharma, kartavya] as a kshatriya' (one who protects/defends others, i.e. one who is an upholder of ethical or worthy values/principles/justice). Essentially, Sri Bhagavan advised Arjuna to remain true to his core skills: his innate abilities, his essential nature.

Catfish: for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers. A wriggling fish, catfish are nocturnal, and have no scales. In some species, the mucus-covered skin is used in cutaneous respiration, where the fish breathes through its skin. In some catfish, the skin is covered in bony plates called scutes; some form of body armour appears in various ways. (The Karna analogy?) Catfish also have chemoreceptors across their entire bodies, which means they "taste" anything they touch and "smell" any chemicals in the water. (A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they're not.) Pike: Pickerel is a carnivorous freshwater fish (having a broad flat snout, strong teeth, and an elongated body covered with small scales). A pole weapon, a very long thrusting spear formerly used extensively by infantry. A hill or mountain with a pointed summit. 

(Rahula: Ra is the ancient Egyptian solar deity. Ra is almost always portrayed with a solar/sun disc above his head, and often takes on the aspect of a falcon. Hula = a bee sting, a sting from a bee (honey bee, wasp, hornet, horse-fly, bumblebee, etc). The meaning of 'Rahula' is "able, efficient" in Sanskrit. The earliest meaning found in the Upanishads is "conqueror of all miseries." With respect to Gautama Buddha, Rahula is said to have the meaning "bandhan", since the baby was born when Gautama Buddha was [supposedly] about to embrace renunciation (to attain Buddhahood, Supreme or Highest Enlightenment - nirvana). Was the child born through surrogacy? (The 'Immaculate Conception' analogy?) Bandhan, as in something that holds back. It can also mean someone who is not bound by anything, always changing for the larger good.)

On a side note, a sting from a bee could imply what? An unpleasant end to something that began pleasantly? Heartache? A trusted protector who turned predator? (The bee stings with its stinger. The wasp can sting with its poisonous barb. In Shonar Kella ('The Golden Fortress') - a Feluda story, Feluda reaches Jodhpur; in the guesthouse he finds a scorpion in his bed. Rather, Topshe (Feluda's nephew and satellite) alerts him in the nick of time.) Crucifixion = Penance? Remorse? A tortured soul craving for a chance to make amends (for his erring ways? for having wronged someone?) Seeking forgiveness, peace of mind? Repentance? Atonement (Prāyaścitta)? Is the Dronacharya-Eklavya story [also] applicable?

(Nandi is invariably found sitting right in front of the sanctum sanctorum in every Shiva temple either near the idol or facing it from a distance. Nandi is sometimes [also] placed at the entrance of Shiva temples in a sitting or standing posture. Nandi is Shiva's watchman (rakshak or protector) - possibly implying: the chief assistant (invaluable assistant, right-hand man), a confidant, defender, caretaker (to serve, care for, Jeeves was Bertie Wooster's man = Vasuki is Shiva's Naga), a champion, well-wisher, supporter, etc. Prajapati Daksha is believed to have gifted Nandi to Dakshayani Sati. (Nandi = VasukiNaga = Yashoda = Radha/Arjuna/Veda Vyasa/Ganesha-ji. Ramchandra/Rukmi = Mirabai.) RadhaKrsna is a single word, like sun and sunshine. The ArdhaNarishvara form (the syncretic form) implies better-half or two-in-one, two halves of the same consciousness, they are inseparable. It could also imply that they balance each other out, so in a sense they complete each other. Radha is Krsna's heart and soul. All this is self-explanatory. (The difference between Mirabai and Radha is in their conscious decision when faced with a choice between Krsna and something else. One walks away to pursue his personal goals/objectives/dreams (personal fame, glory and so on), and yet continues to mope around for Sita/Sri Rama, wanting to be "coloured with the colour of dusk". Lacking in courage, faint-hearted. A cagey (quiet, shrewd/crafty, beguiling) opportunist... hesitant about committing oneself, preferring empty bravado and frivolous style to substance? Hamlet-esque, possibly Byron-esque. Hamlet is about the difference between being and seeming. (Hamlet: depressive, vulnerable, cold-hearted, vague and philosophical, messed up, impulsive, irascible, self-absorbed, emotionally needy (needing a lot of attention, affection, or emotional support), knotted up inside, even punitive. Standoffish (sullenly aloof or withdrawn or haughty - as in silent resentment or protest.) There is no greater deception than self-deception. There is also an inability to withstand or endure hardships or tribulations that tests one's courage or perseverance, patience or endurance. "Bichar aache dhorjo nei, buddhi aache khoma nei, jenechhe shikhechhe shanti paye ni. Peyeo paben na, peyeii haraben, peye dhore rakhtey hobe shheta janen na (From Tagore's timeless creation "Shesher Kobita"). His nature is mukto. He cannot take responsibilities. That is how he is. That is his essential nature. There is also a certain eccentricity and childishness [immaturity] in him. He is unlikely to find inner calm [inner peace]. ... The other remains at a distance but never abandons or forsakes no matter what the circumstances.) There is no multiplicity of divinity. Despite myriad honorifics and iconography, the whole of humankind prays to the same divinity. Retelling, extrapolations, and regressive interpretations notwithstanding, what if the principal figure (the guru) in every faith were to be a manifestation of VasukiNaga? ... As the chief/most helpful or invaluable assistant to a deity, the vahaan serves the function of increasing the powers (efficiency, effect, etc). It helps to subdue negative/unpleasant forces (or aspects) over which the deity dominates. The vahaan is an accoutrement (that which accompanies and assists). Positive aspects of the vahaan are often emblematic of the deity (form, mode, aspect) it is associated with. The common factor, the factor with which deities are quite inseparable, and one can say incomplete in their imagery, is their vahaan (assistant, force-multiplier). Such is the complete imagery of deity-vahaan pairing, the vahaan becomes completely entwined with the deity; they become an essential part of the deity. Such is the strong relationship between them that the vahaan becomes an indivisible part of the attributes of a deity. It is believed, that if a devotee needs his/her prayers to reach across to the deity he/she is offering prayers to, the devotee can simply say it into the ears of the vahaan, and the prayers will reach the deity. The deity-vahaan is worshipped together. Worship of Shiva [Shivani] is incomplete if Nandi is not worshipped along with Shiva. Nandi [Nandikesvara] - associated with intuition and instinct, is [also] worshipped as a complete divine figure. Nandi is also the principal gana (follower) or foremost disciple of Shiva. Nandi leads the ganas. Thus Nandi is Ganapati, the chief of the ganas. Ganapati is Vignesh – someone who can overcome or surmount the greatest obstacles, someone who is an impediment to unpleasant aspects, and a facilitator/catalyst for positive aspects. Hence, Ganesha is worshipped before the commencement of any auspicious event, even before the deity is worshipped.) 

Siddhartha Gautama ('one who is self-content' or 'the one who has achieved perfection of the mind', also, the dispeller of darkness/ignorance; Siddhartha implies bhagya-vidhaata) was married to Yasodharā; their son was born when the latter was twenty-nine. (It is unlikely that the Buddha was married at sixteen. It probably implies a childhood connection, a childhood sweetheart or a teenage romance? An emotional relationship, a genuinely caring relationship, but then they lost touch - went their separate ways, but thought of each other over the years? Or could it imply Gandharva Vivaah?) Yashodhara = bearer of glory: an accomplished person, a well-respected person, of good reputation and well-liked by everyone. BG 10.26 || siddhānāḿ kapilo muniḥ || ~ "and among perfected beings (implying inner perfection, perfection of the mind – self-contented persons) I am the sage Kapila." (The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, is Kapila or Kapiladeva (SarasvatI). Muni = the 'awakened' one, the Enlightened One or the Wise one. It is the antithesis of Kumbhakarna, implying an unenlightened and lethargic person, lacking vitality.)

The one who is the Buddha is also Brahma, is also Shiva, is also Vishnu, is also Parvati/Durga, is also Jagadhatri/Jagadamba, is also Vaishno Devi, is also SarasvatI, is also Kalika (Kali, Mariamma), is also Krsna, is also Sridevi, and is also Christ (Maria) so on and so forth. Therefore, no form or aspect (of the divine) is lesser or inferior vis-à-vis the other(s). That is the essence of the Vishva-roop, the Universal Form, which encompasses everything. Divinity is divinity for everyone. The divine power (including the direct avatar, manifestation of the divine in human form) is about dharma. Dharma is different from religion or rituals. For purposes of comprehension, dharma is religion in the higher sense, as a divine experience. It is about kindness/humanity and positive values, about being open-minded, about progressive thinking/mindset, about social responsibility, to do one's bit to the best of one's ability for the betterment of societal aspects, to make continuous efforts for inner perfection (perfection of the mind), to be empathic, to strive to become a better human being and [collectively] a better people, etc. Service to humanity/humankind is service to the divine. That is true worship. The rise of regressive aspects, ignorance, myopia, parochialism and selfishness resulted in movements for the 'supremacy' of one avatar/divinity/form/aspect over others, and the 'rejection' of the Buddha-avatar. This was equivalent to the 'rejection' of divinity per se. Did non-progressive interpretations of the ancient texts and the epics bring about the worship of Shri Ramchandra, Lakshmana or Balarama? Ramchandra is called Maryada Purushottam (an 'Honourable Man', an 'Ideal Man', and a model spouse). Was he far from the ideal man he tried to project himself as? Was he lacking in empathy or humaneness? Could he have been a dissolute man, morally unrestrained, a libertine? Did he wear a mask of goodness, a camouflage for his own selfish motivations, domineering attitude, pervicaciousness, hectoring tendency, fierce ambition and instant gratification, something that [perhaps] Sri Rama/Sita saw through? Was he not a conscientious person, unable to differentiate between dharma and adharma? Could Ramchandra, Rukmi (Rukmini), Mirabai, Ozymandias (Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, Ramses and Rameses), Alexander and Shah Jahan have been the same jiva-atma/human soul or individual soul? ("Your idol is shattered in the dust to prove that God's dust is greater than your idol." – Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.)

Lakshmana and Balarama are considered as manifestations of SheshaNaga. Lakshmana/Balarama could be Vṛtra or Vritrasura (one who covers everything, the personification of drought), Karna, Satyabhama, Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Vibhisana, Mahisasura, Putana, Santanu, Hiranyakashipu, Bakasura, Mahabali, Shishupala, Angulimala, Dushasana and Pandu. Could Hector (to hold, he who holds [everything together]) – imply negative mastermind, antagonist, Maleficent? A deviously manipulating man? Lynchpin: something that holds the various elements, a central cohesive source? "He sits motionless, like a spider in the centre [sic] of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans." (Holmes on the creepy, diabolically brilliant Professor Moriarty. (The sobriquet 'Professor': to imply a hectoring tendency?) Holmes refers to him as "the Napoleon of crime." (Dice is aSTApada, pAsa, pA.nsA, bindutantra, prAsaka in Sanskrit. aSTApada = eight legged, allusion to spider, scorpion or octopus?) According to Holmes, Moriarty had a promising future ahead of him but then he went astray. "He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order." Holmes also says that the man had hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical kind. And, instead of being rectified, it was increased and rendered infinitely more dangerous by his extraordinary mental powers (allusion to Ravana's ten heads?) Daku Gandaria/Maganlal Meghraj of the Feluda stories, somewhat of an unsophisticated Moriarty, was not an expert at Mathematics and Astronomy as Moriarty was. Perhaps Maganlal is also modeled after Ravana. He engaged much more in brawn than in brain with his rival, Feluda. However, he also engages in a battle of the mind. 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 (metaphorically speaking) paralyses an individual, one [then] cannot even begin to move forward. To weaken, wear down or enfeeble physically, mentally, emotionally and morally, to deprive of strength and weaken the vigour. 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. Incidentally, Feluda wrote his notes (his observations, etc) in English but used the Greek alphabet. The entries he made into his personal notebook were in Greek. Allusion to Cicero? Or Achilles? Chilli = Lanka. (Chilly = excessively cold, frosty weather.) Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel. Achilles' heel has come to imply a person's point of weakness. Maganlal Meghraj 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. Maganlal chooses Jatayu (Lalmohan Ganguly). Vishnu (the Mohini-avatar) is Lohitah, ruddy or reddish-hued. (Mohan = pleasant looking, charming or attractive. Mohini could be a variant of Mohani, the feminised version of Mohan.) Could the knife-throwing scene in 'Joi Baba Felunath' have been Ray's hat-tip to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar? The noble-natured Brahminy Kite (Red-backed Sea-Eagle) is considered as the contemporary representation of Garuda, the insignia of Vishnu. The Brahminy Kite (often referred to as the Singapore Bald Eagle) is also called Shankhachil, since the white plumage of this bird is similar to the white of a conch-shell (shankha). Langkawi means island of the reddish-brown eagle in colloquial Malay. What realms were part of the ancient Himalaya Kingdom?) The colloquial saying 'Ghar-er Shatru Vibhisana' implies a snake in the grass, aastin ka snaap, it is a metaphor for treachery, it implies a sneaky, untrustworthy person. Vibhisana and Dushasana implies: an uncivilised or uncouth human being, a rude, loutish or boorish person, a brutal, vicious, ruthless/cruel or remorseless person, someone innately inhumane, lacking pity/empathy or compassion: crude, uncultivated or unsophisticated, intemperate or undisciplined. Dushasana can also imply: a selfish or pathetic ruler. ... Character cannot be acquired. A change of circumstances will not repair character flaws (weaknesses, deficiencies). The intrinsic (innate) personality traits of an individual are merely the reflection of the personality of the soul. This may help explain genius, innate ability, talents etc, i.e. being born with certain biological capability. (Acquired knowledge or characteristics/attributes, including social conditioning, can be changed through continuous effort.) SheshaNaga represents fixed mindset, an inability or refusal to change for the better: to learn, unlearn, adapt and evolve, to become a better human being. Instead, SheshaNaga (i.e. all the five or seven who together constitute SheshaNaga) have a set way of thinking and behaviour. Resolutely intransigent/obdurate, unreasonably obstinate/stubborn, resistant to change (i.e. resistant to organic or progressive transformation.) It is an innate quality. Therefore the intrinsic (innate, essential) personality traits are unlikely to change.

Akṣa = eye. Kanha = sightless or visually-impaired. (But why?) Rudrakṣa = eye of Rudra (Rudra-Shiva), smouldering eyes or lustrous eyes. Virupakṣa = a reference to Vishnu. Virupakṣa = oblique eyes. (Lokkhi-tyara). In the world of hypnotism eyes hold a very important position. Hypnotism can be inducted through eyes. Just by looking into eyes a person can be hypnotised and just by looking into eyes a person can be de-hypnotised. Krsna's eyes are variously described as: enchanting eyes, eyes shaped like lotus petals (Pundarikaksha, Padmalochana), and large-eyed (Vishalaksha, Vishalakshi).

Dice is aSTApada, pAsa, pA.nsA, bindutantra, prAsaka in Sanskrit. (aSTApada = eight legged, implying spider, scorpion or octopus?) The five Pandavas = five aspects of Panchali (the Pancha-kanya). The five Pandavas could also be a metaphor: helping hands, a group of enthusiasts who worked towards a common cause or purpose. Bhagdevi is a reference to SarasvatI. Brahmacharini: treading the path of knowledge eternally. Yudhisthira is [very likely] a reference to Panchali. (The honorific Dharmaraja (Lord of destiny, Lord of Dharma – the arbitrator of destiny, the dispenser of destiny (Bhagya-Vidhaata) – based on efforts, endeavours, values, etc or personification of dharmic aspects) is used for Yudhisthira. Two other honorifics for Yudhisthira are Bharata (one who is always willing to learn, is open-minded, is ever-curious) and Ajatashatru (one without enemies). Yudhishthira and Duryodhana, in the Mahabharata, played a version of chaturanga using a dice. Chaturanga is an ancient strategy game. (Karna became the ruler of Anga, courtesy of Duryodhana. Karna = keeping his ears peeled? One who listens attentively or a stealthy meddlesome snoop = Balarama? Yudhishthira pledging Panchali in the game of dice is self-explanatory.) Chaturanga (Sanskrit: caturaṅga) means 'quadripartite' - the four angas (divided into four parts). Played on an authentic cloth game surface by 2, 3 or 4 players, Chaturanga combines the basic strategy of chess with the dynamic challenge of chance as the random roll of wooden dice determines each move. Unlike modern chess, chaturanga (recognised as the earliest form of chess, or a probable ancestor of the game of chess) was mainly a game of chance; results depended on how well one rolled the dice. Dice in general in Sanskrit are known as aksa; the oblong dice are distinguished as pasa, pasaka, parsa – all being variants of one another and connected with the Hindi pasa and the Punjabi phansa. (Could it 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 or slacker, a feckless or indolent person, someone who is habitually lazy and extravagant) - could be 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: of capricious temperament, given to whimsical decision-making, with a minimal sense of responsibility and disregard of outcome or significance? Someone who is excessively self-centred or too clever by half? Ravana is said to have usurped Lanka. (Ravana = Karna = game of dice?) There is one more dice game. Nandi (Nandikeshvara) is said to have acted as an umpire between Shiva and Parvati, when they were playing a game of dice (this could have allegorical connotations though). Nandi may have been the incentive for the winner; therefore Parvati tries her best to make the dice game interesting. But who is this Shiva? ... Siva is seen losing the game of dice every time. Parvati takes away all of Shiva's power and authority (Shiva's vestiges of position and influence), leaving him completely bare (some versions say with only a loincloth). This perhaps implies she forced him to retire to the forest (swansong? Mahabali's patala pravesha?) The essence being that the materiality (unbridled selfish ambition, gluttonous attachment to materialistic aspects, insatiable acquisitive instinct or coarse material attachment - the Bakasura analogy) of Siva is overpowered by the cosmic energy of Parvati (symbolising dharma/dharmic aspects). 

Mt. Meru: The Hindu and Buddhist alike regard Mt. Meru (the central 'mountain' of the world) as the location of the fabled Buddhist land or mythical kingdom of Shambhala. Shambhala is a Sanskrit word that to the Tibetans means "the source of happiness". (Bhala = forehead, implying destiny, Bhagya-Vidhaata.) 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 (Dhruva Tara: Pole Star, Lode Star or Guiding Star.) Mt. Meru is very likely an allegorical mountain. (Meru = spine, obverse of pusillanimity or genuflection.)

(Ananda-math = realm of joy. Of eternal bliss/spiritual ecstasy or true contentment of Self-realisation: sat-cit-ananda. Shambhu, one who grants happiness; Sankara: bestower of happiness. Sankara also implies, auspicious. Shankara is "shanka" and "hara". Shanka = doubt or worries, and hara = dispeller. It also means lord (ruler, a noble-natured person). Shankara or Sankara can thus imply: the One who dispels all difficulties. Sam means Chidananda/Chittananda (Blissful Awareness, possibly implying awakening of the consciousness, sat-cit-ananda.) Kara = the one who causes it. Sankara = the One who causes blissful awareness. Siva = graciousness, auspiciousness. Siva (the good or the auspicious) is all graciousness, ever-auspicious. That is the reason why the honorific, Sri, which indicates these qualities, is not added to Siva, Sankara, lsvara, etc. It is added to the Avatars, for the Avatars take on a physical/human form for a specific purpose. They have to be distinguished from other humans, by the honorific. However, Siva is eternally gracious, ever-auspicious, and so the honorific is superfluous. Siva (i.e. the Shiva aspect) is adored/revered as the teacher of teachers. The form of Siva is itself a great lesson in tolerance and forbearance.)

The Dushyant-Shakuntala story: Did Dushyant suffer from some sort of amnesia? Brain fog - characterised by a state of confusion and a decreased level of clarity, wherein a person is unable to think clearly? (Brain fog can cause an individual to be abnormally forgetful and detached. It can also lead to a feeling of discouragement and depression. Fatigue, adrenal exhaustion, food and chemical reactions, and nutritional deficiencies can cause brain fog. It may also be caused by high levels of stress, frustration, depression, etc.) Did he [deliberately] walk away? Had he led Shakuntala on for days and then just walked away like she was a waste of his time? Or, did he look for her... in vain? (Bharata was their son.) Dushyant was able to remember Shakuntala only after she showed him the ring he had given her. (Badshahi Angthhi, a Feluda story, is about a magnificent ring believed to have once belonged to emperor Aurangzeb. In Bankimchandra Chattapadhyay's Debi Chowdhurani there is a ring given to the eighteen-year-old Prafulla (yet to become the famous dacoit) by the twenty-two-year-old Brajeshvar. His father did not approve of her.) Is the Arjuna-Chitrangada story [also] applicable? Chitrangada, the princess of Manipura, is said to have been kurupa (plain Jane, ugly duckling, more masculine than feminine) despite her formidable reputation as a warrior. Gopichand (implying a lot of fangirls) is [very likely] a reference to Radha. What could the Dronacharya-Eklavya story be about? (Chitrangada = Panchali. Panchali = Shakuntala? Shakun = vulture. Kuntala = ear-rings. Shakuntala = sheltered or cared for by the vulture. Could it be a reference to Sampaati?)

Meghnaada = rumbling thunder. Does it imply: a voice like rumbling thunder, i.e. a strong, clear, easy voice (good vocal technique), a deep, resonant baritone voice that commands attention? Omkaara, Pranavah, PraNavaH Naad or praNavaH nAda, the Shabda Brahmn. (It could be a reference to VasukiNaga's voice. Omkaara: mouthpiece, representative or spokesperson, through which views are expressed, one that conveys or articulates the opinions or sentiments of divinity; a person who speaks on behalf of divinity.)  Sabyasachi is a reference to Arjuna. Sachi is the consort/queen of Lord Indra (the king or leader of the Deva, honorific for positive forces/persons). Could it also imply Devanāgarī, realm of the deva people and/or a geographic realm known for its scenic beauty? Sachi = Indrani = Indra? Meghnaada is Indrajit (one who has triumphed Indra?) What could this imply? (Arjuna's surrender to Krsna is complete and unconditional. It is the easiest and simplest form of devotion. It is also the highest form of devotion. Unconditional, selfless, and complete surrender to Krsna indeed conquers Krsna.) Eklavya, offspring of the Nishada King (Nishada = hunter) = Panchali. Dronacharya = Arjuna? Or someone else? Dronacharya asked for Eklavya's thumb, so that Eklavya could no longer practice archery. What could this imply? Bheeshma (Devavrata) and the story involving Amba, Ambika and Ambalika. Devavrata (an impulsive/impetuous, ardent/impassioned or excitable young man) is said to have abducted them. Or was it elopement? (Amba and Ambika is a reference to Parvati/Durga. Ambalika implies: as a young girl, perhaps as a teenager?) Could it be an allusion to Paisacha Vivaha (marriage to a girl that has not consented to the marriage - after forcible abduction, intoxication, seduction or molestation - without the consent of the victim, thus is married unwillingly?)

Eklavya, a great "archer", was self-motivated, resolute and determined. What Eklavya 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. Dronacharya asked for Eklavya's thumb, so that Eklavya could no longer practice archery. The idiom 'to have or get the upper hand' = a position of power and control over another person, a position of control or advantage, the dominating or controlling position, the quality of being at a competitive advantage. Could it imply jealousy or vanity? Self-promotion and self-projection? Someone with power issues? Misogyny? A bit of a chauvinist? Manipulative or calculative? Condescending/disdainful? Narcissistic? Sardonic? Pervicacious? Surly and outspoken (especially to belittle - attributing fault or inducing indebtedness?) Deliberately hurtful (through one's words and/or behaviour?) Arrogant, callous, pompous, fastidious and opinionated? Coercive and crafty? Bossy - offensively self-assured, autocratic, hectoring, overbearing, high-handed, a rather aggressive and dominating character? It came naturally to him, that's the way he was? It's part of his innate/intrinsic nature? 'To be under someone's thumb' = to be subordinate to someone, to be under someone's total control and management, at someone's command (to do one's bidding), to be controlled, greatly influenced or dominated by someone, to the extent that one cannot defy the other no matter how much one might want to. Alternatively: Dronacharya asked for Eklavya's thumb, so that Eklavya could no longer practice archery. Could it imply thumbprint, an impression made by the thumb, used especially for identification purposes? Something that identifies. Dronacharya had Eklavya's thumbprint. What could this signify? Dronacharya (Arjuna/Bheeshma/Ganesh-ji/Dvaipāyana Vyasa) had all the details about Krsna-Dvaipayana Vyasa, including thumbprint? A thumbs-up: a gesture of approval, appreciation, inspiration, reassurance, encouragement, harmony and kind feelings or hopefulness/optimism. To make attempts to please, cultivate, pamper or gain favourable acceptance. To butter up: to cultivate, to give special attention; to charm with lavish compliment or praise, to praise someone in order to get him/her to like you. To make efforts to bring oneself into the favour of someone by a curious admixture of modesty and knowledge. Doter? Totally enamoured? Dronacharya sought to become a part of Eklavya's life: a crucial part, a special part? To be that special someone, to share life together and grow together, to be there through the years. To give his all, to commit as a soulmate - with all (one's) heart. Romantic love. A dear heart. Courtly behaviour. Proposal. To have Eklavya with him heart and soul. To nurture each other, to be each other's anchor, to share responsibilities. To aspire to find a place in (one's) heart of hearts - in the place of one's truest feelings, since the heart is considered as the repository of one's deepest and sincerest feelings and beliefs. To be that one person who will try with all his heart and soul to help and encourage Eklavya. With smiles and sincere words of praise, one who Eklavya could always depend on. So Eklavya wasn't lonely or desolate. Someone was always there for her. Krsna is Arjuna's mentor. Arjuna seeks and values Krsna's approval. Sometimes it is withheld, which only spurs him to try harder. (Veda-Vyāsa: 'the one who classified the Vedas into four parts'. The festival of Guru Purnima (also known as Vyasa Purnima) is dedicated to him. Within Buddhism Vyasa appears as Kanha-dipayana. Dvaipayana = island-born. Is it a reference to him or is it an allusion to his tryst with Satyavati? A secret island wedding? Veda Vyasa is a Chiranjivi [Sanskrit: ciranjivi] implying eternal being or "immortal" living being, honorific for deva-s assigned governance or administrative responsibility.)

Satyavati = truthful, one who speaks the truth or personification of the truth. (Ganga = nirmal, nishkalanka. Without blemish. Satyavati = Ganga.) Satyavati probably had a fish-shaped birthmark on the face. She (the matsya-avatar – the first avatar of the Dasavataar, not daughter of a fisherman) was the queen of Hastinapura. Satyavati married Santanu, king of Hastinapura. (Who was Santanu essentially? Balarama?) Bheeshma (Devavrata) is unlikely to have been Santanu's son. Bheeshma was born after eight attempts = Bheeshma-Satyavati's baby was born after the eighth attempt or eight months? Bheeshma = Veda Vyasa. (Vyasa was not Satyavati's son = Ganesha-ji was not Parvati's son.) Satyavati seeking Vyasa's help to beget offspring for Amba, Ambika and Ambalika = destiny (Bhagya-Vidhaata) chose Vyasa's DNA to rule Hastinapura. It [probably] implies Niyoga Pratha. Sahavas. Cohabitation. Vyasa was [thus] the sperm donor. (Destiny (bhagya-vidhaata) choosing Vyasa's DNA to rule Hastinapura is self-explanatory. It is a reference to Bheeshma-Satyavati's baby.) The Satyavati-Santanu marriage was [therefore] a marriage of convenience, a feigned (faux, pretend) marriage. But why could Satyavati not marry Bheeshma? A public marriage between them was not possible? However, since Gandharva-Vivaah was accepted, there must have been some other reason for this. (Chitrangada and Vichitraveerya: Satyavati's supposed offspring. Chitrangada = Satyavati. Vichitraveerya implies a different or alternative model of masculinity (not the mooch-twirling, boastful or macho kind - as can be understood from the iconographic depiction of Kartik. So, Kartik/Prahlada was very likely Bheeshma/Sabyasachi/Ganesha-Satyavati/Chitrangada/Parvati's son. Hiranyakashipu = Santanu = Pandu, implying pusillanimous, an incorrigible sycophant, an absolutely servile mindset, overtly or totally obsequious. (Daitya is a term used for the offspring of a deva and an asura. It is quite possible that Prahlada is known as daitya since he - despite being the offspring of deva-s (honorific for positive or enlightened minds: Satyavati/Parvati-Bheeshma/Ganesha) was brought up by an asura (implying unenlightened mind, a negative person: Santanu/Hiranyakashipu/Mahisasura/Balarama etcetera etcetera.)

Maharshi Veda Vyasa (Vyasadeva or Vyasa) is also known as Dvaipāyana Vyasa. However, Krsna-Dvaipāyana Vyasa is unlikely to be a reference to Veda Vyasa. Krsna, a Suracena Yadu, is also known as Varshneya, 'of the Vrishni' (possibly a clan/group with a zebu bull insignia). This is very significant. Nandi = Maharshi Parashara = Maharshi Veda Vyasa. (Maharshi is honorific for a prodigiously or exceptionally learned person.) The robust Zebu bull or Brahma bull (also known as Brahmana, implying immensely knowledgeable, an enlightened mind) is the contemporary representation of Nandi. The divine bull [symbolising a set of worthy/noble [arya] qualities/attributes] is also imagery for dharma, i.e. dharmic or sattvic aspects/values.) Parashara implies a poet's temperament, a romantic at heart. Satyavati and Parashara (Veda Vyasa) grew up to be Panchali/Kunti and Bheeshma (Arjuna, Ganesha-ji).

"Naga" is honorific for evolved beings [intellectually and spiritually evolved or enlightened souls] due to kundalini-energy. (In the sacrum bone (a large, triangular bone) at the bottom of the spine there exists a subtle and dormant coil of spiritual energy known as the kundalini. (Kunda = to coil or to spiral, hence the epithet "naga".) The gentle 'awakening' of the living and conscious energy, kundalini, help 'expand' the mind, i.e. energises the brain cells, which in turn leads to brainpower or intellectual prowess. Chhotanaga = the Vamana avatar, the fifth avatar of the Dasavataar? Vamana = diminutive (probably implying someone who is neither tall nor short). ... The Vamana(diminutive)-avatar of Vishnu taught King Mahabali that arrogance and false pride should be abandoned - to become a better person, and that excessive pride in one's wealth is counterproductive. Bali's patala pravesha = his downfall (metaphoric eclipse? swansong or something more?) However, the Lord allowed him to visit his people once a year. (Onam celebrates Mahabali's annual visit.) Vishnu as Trivikrama subdued Mahabali. (Vikrama means: one who is wise, diligent, brave and strong as well as victorious. The Sanskrit word -kram is a root word meaning 'step or stride', so Vikram can be understood to mean Vishnu's stride in itself, or that which reflects the qualities of Vishnu's stride. Vishnuh: long-striding (as with vigour, a confident walk). In Vedic scripture, Vishnu's stride is said to be over the earth, the sky, and the all-pervading omnipresent essence of the Universe. Hence Vishnu is also known as Trivikrama.)

(Kaalsarpa Dosha, Sarpa Dosha or Nag Dosha refers to genetic disorder. A genetic disorder is an illness caused by abnormalities in genes or chromosomes. If one observes the shape of DNA, it resembles two serpents coiled together (something we now refer to as: DNA coiled into the double helix structure as a ladder, a twisted rope ladder, or a spiral staircase.) The sages of yore used appropriate analogies, and thus (euphemistically or maybe symbolically) referred to DNA as 'Sarpa', and any disorder in the DNA was hence termed as 'Sarpa Dosha'. (Dosha = bio-energies found in the body.) The logo of the Indian Medical Association is self-explanatory. Parikshan indicates a test, possibly a medical procedure or treatment/therapy. Parikshit had become arrogant; power had gone to his head, so much so that he disrespected a learned sage. Padmavati is a reference to Manasa Devi, a form of Shakti. (Naga Panchami is observed on the fifth day of the bright lunar fortnight of the Shravana month. Manasa Devi is ceremonially worshipped on Naga Panchami. She is also known as Vishahara (the Neelkanth analogy: the dispeller of unpleasant aspects, mist-dispelling or dispelling the 'fog' of tamasic aspects), Jagadgaurī, Nityā (eternal, imperishable) and Padmavati. Jagadgauri = Jagadhatri or Jagadambika. Gauri, 'the radiant one': possibly implying healthy, flawless skin, or 'one who glows with an inner radiance'; a radiant personality, perhaps to whom even age had given a glow) is a reference to Parvati/Durga.) The five "Naga" (an honorific implying kundalini-energy, brain-power, intellectual prowess) worshipped on Naga Panchami are Ananta, Vasuki, Takshak, Karkotaka and Pingala. Parikshit was destroyed by Takshak 'hiding himself within an apple', it could imply: apple-polisher.)

Koh = mountain. Noor = light. Is this mountain an allusion to Mt. Meru? (The Koh-i-Noor is an oval cut white diamond, the shape and size of a small hen's egg.) The exceptionally lustrous Syamantaka mani = Jyotirlingam = Koh-i-Noor = Easter Egg = the thousand-headed (eternal, endless, imperishable) AnantaNaga? BG 10.29: || anantas casmi naganam || ~ "Of the Nagas I am Ananta." 

Sikharinam: sikh, harinam = the Buddha? (Sanskrit śiṣyaḥ, disciple, from śikṣati, one who is keen to learn, śikṣa; instruction. haritaH or PalashaH means green in Sanskrit. Hari is a reference to Hari Krsna/Sri Hari Vishnu/HariOm. Hari implies deity or personification of prakriti [nature].) 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 (a binding factor, an ideal and wise ruler, Lord of Mankind) and a true Kshatriya (protector/Rakshak, an 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, Prajapati). Krsna is also known as Keshavah (kesha = hair; Rishikesha = bunched-up hair, symbolic jata?) and Shikhandee, the Lord who has a peacock feathered-crest. Could it imply 'one with bunched-up hair' - symbolic crest? Does it indicate a Shikha? Can the ushnisha [also] imply large brain or big brain (implying brainpower = epitome of intellect and sagacity?) 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 Krsnaa-Draupadi (Panchali, the human identity of the Krsna-avatar.) Acharya is honorific, 'one who teaches through one's own behaviour' [acharan] - i.e. one who leads by example. That is the mark of a true guru. However, Acharya can also imply: one whose actions/behaviour [acharan] is befitting an Arya, a noble being, a Lord. (Skt: arya used in the way that Buddha Shakyamuni is said to have used the word - as meaning a person who is the best amongst humankind: intelligent, skilled, aware, cultured and sophisticated, in comprehension of the human condition) but in addition, possessing the merit and compassion to en-noble others.)

One of the Indus Yogi Seals (the other being the Pasupati Seal) depicts a deity with three faces (Brahma-Vishnu-Shivah? Keshavah?) seated in yogic position on a throne (Akal Takht - throne of the timeless one, or 'the Throne of the Immortal'?), with the hands resting on the knees, wearing bangles on both arms and an elaborate headdress. The heels are pressed together and the feet project beyond the edge of the throne (vajrasana?) The feet of the throne are carved with the hoof of a bovine (imagery for river) as is seen on the bull and unicorn seals. Five symbols of the Indus hieroglyphs appear on either side of the headdress, which is made of two outward projecting curved horns, with two upward projecting points, with a branch with three prongs or peepal leaves emerging from the center. A Buddha-like figure? BG 10.26: || aśvatthaḥ sarva-vṛkṣāṇāḿ || ~ "among trees, I am the peepal (ashvattha)." Aśvatthaḥ can also imply the mighty banyan tree. ... The Peepal (aśvatthaḥ) - the Bodhi Tree, the Tree of Enlightenment, is the personification of Vishnu/Keshavah/Narayana/Hari. (Kalpataru or Kalpavriksha, the celestial tree = Bhagya-Vidhaata or Lord of destiny = the arbitrator of destiny, the dispenser of destiny – based on efforts, endeavours, values, etc.) The Bodhi tree, the Tree of Enlightenment, is also the symbol of Gautama Buddha's message in general, since the Buddha ('the Enlightened One' or 'the Wise One') had overcome mundane (banal, narrow, selfish) aspects/barriers - of geography, language, history, culture, etc and become one with the world spirit. Thus the Buddha belongs to all of humankind. (Note: Buddha figures are typically seated in either vajra posture or with the legs extended forward. The latter posture can be found with both Shakyamuni Buddha and Maitreya ("the Buddha of the Future.") Figures with 'Buddha Appearance' can have a variety of body colours. Shakyamuni Buddha is generally described as golden in colour. Amitabha Buddha is reddish-hued. Vaishajyaguru, the Buddha of healing and medicine, appears blue in colour. A Buddha also wears the patchwork robes of a monk.)

Prajapati = honorific for Brahma - the Creator (Lord of Creation). It implies, ruler or sovereign (of the universe, Brhmaanda.) Brahmaanda or Brhmaanda, the 'Cosmic Egg': since the universe is egg-shaped or elliptical. Lord Brahma is the Primordial Being [the most ancient; jyeshtha, older than all.] Brahma is the permanent authority of the universe, the motive power and guiding force behind the mathematically precise universe.

Kesha = hair. The three faces: keshavah, one who is the three: kah (Brahma), ah (Vishnu) and Isa (Shiva-Rudra). (Kah = crow? Bhushundi-r kak? Sage Bhuṣuṇḍa, the crow-sage, Bhushunda - the personification of objectivity?) Keshavah can also mean: One whose rays illumine the cosmos, possibly a reference to (metaphorically speaking) the vast unfathomable reservoir of timeless wisdom, knowledge, inspiration and consciousness. The divinity SarasvatI (also known as Brahmani, Brahmi, and Vaani), is the deity of knowledge, wisdom, literature, creativity, music, arts, culture and eloquence. She is a perennial knowledge stream, the vast unfathomable reservoir of timeless wisdom, knowledge, inspiration and consciousness. Satyajit Ray's fictional detective character Feluda's Gyanpeeth.)

January 26, 1960. It was raining. I was fourteen. (India was thirteen, as a republic, ten. What could the famed "Dancing girl" found in Mohenjo-daro signify? Could it be an early depiction of Nataraja? A bronze statuette dating around 2500 BC, it appears to be that of a teenager of fifteen or sixteen years of age. (Kansa = Bronze. There are many different bronze alloys, but typically modern bronze is copper and tin. The addition of other metals (usually tin, sometimes arsenic) produces an alloy much harder than plain copper. (Unlike arsenic, tin is not toxic.) The word bronze probably originates from "bell metal, brass". Putana = arsenic poisoning, water pollution? Of nourishment that kills?)

Shiva - the good or the auspicious - is also an adjective or a quality, thus Shiva could be an honorific. There are many Shiva-s. The exuberant, dancing Shiva, Nataraja - the Dance-King or the Lord of the Dance. For a dancer it is wonderful to visualise Nataraja. But who is Nataraja?

The Salim-Anarkali saga is one of the most famous legends of unrequited love - its historical basis though has never been established. (Is the story apocryphal? A folklore that somehow gained credence?) What might have happened had Anarkali found a way out from the stone prison (a dolmen? entombed alive?) she was walled into as punishment for her relationship with the Mughal prince Salim, who went on to become Emperor Jahangir? Did the story have allegorical connotations? Reminiscent of the story of Ahalya? Or Sita? Roman Holiday-esque? The petrification motif: "Woman of Stone". Stony appearance (stone-like, stoic, unhappy)? A lifeless stone (an allegory implying the obverse of vivacious)? Did Anarkali feel choked due to circumstances (for instance, by the figurative fortress-like walls around her, the metaphoric iron chains? Palace intrigue)? Did she want to breathe for the sake of breathing? To walk away from palaces and never look back? An unhappy (insipid, vapid), stony, tenuous or conflict-habituated marriage (lacking in warmth, emotional intimacy or affection)? An empty-shell marriage? Compatibility issues? Who was Noor Jahan? (Anar is pomegranate. Kali means bloom/flower. Is Anarkali a metaphor for someone with a peaches-and-cream complexion? Lustrous skin? A porcelain white skin with naturally rosy cheeks? A smooth, attractive, unblemished complexion with pleasing colouring? Allusion to Maanikya [Maanik], Gem of the Sun? Maanikya, also known as Ruby, Padmaraga, Red-lotus colour gem, Shona-Ratna, Red jewel, Ravi-Ratna, Gem of the Sun is Suryamani in Sanskrit.)

Tagore asked Uday Shankar to rejuvenate dance, to give new vigour, new impetus to dance. He also advised him to thirst for new creative expressiveness. ... Dance is a form of spiritual expression. Spirituality is what inspires and influences dance. It is the soul of Indian dance. The basic Indian cultural traditions - and religion (in the higher sense, as a divine experience) is a part of it - inspires dance, poetry, music, painting and other forms of art. (Dharma is different from religion; it is a different realm of discussion.) Dance originated in the temples. It was part of temple tradition, an important aspect of our heritage. There was the practice of dedicating women for music and dance in the temples. Some Devadasis were trained specifically to sing and dance as part of worship and other seva. They danced before the idol to the accompaniment of mantras. Their passion for dance was encouraged. They were also preserving our artistic tradition. Was the audience discerning and interested in things classical? About the decadence (moral corruption/degradation or malpractices) creeping into the temple dance system - that is a different realm of discussion. Did many young girls/women want to dance? Perhaps some were encouraged, while others faced family and societal restrictions, and so dancing remained a fond wish. A few would have learnt and enjoyed dancing but probably never felt a strong motivation to become a professional dancer. They may not have wanted to commercialise their art. Yet others probably reveled at giving their first stage/dance performance, strapping on their first pair of ghungroo... and later became professional dancers. (How did temple bells come about)? Dance, or any art for that matter, transcends barriers. Dance is a universal language - as is poetry. Dance has its own language and it doesn't really matter which language of poetry was being used. This combining of different languages and forms through dance is an example of integration, cohesion and creativity. It is a manifestation of how art brings people together. Any dance form should be studied in totality and not in a perfunctory manner. Many dance forms originated in temples and then moved out and found patronage from notables and connoisseurs. Perhaps there was experimentation with various dance forms, blending (synthesis) and adaptations of different dance forms (temple dances, classical and folk dances, dance dramas, storytelling through dance, dancing to vocal music, physical language/postures, emotive expression, different genre, different dance styles, different languages, interpretation of poetry in dance form, the use of celebrated literature, the male-female duet and so on), thereby adding to the richness of culture, a renaissance of cultural events, a veritable feast of festivals laid out for the connoisseur and the layperson alike. Many towns and villages probably sprouted festivals of dance and music for different occasions. Perhaps debate ensued between purists (the so-called defenders of art who frown at innovations or experimentation) and the (creative and progressive-minded) innovators. Maybe some considered dance and music in praise of divinity to also be forms of worship that can be practiced outside the temples. Some perhaps were fine with innovations, provided the basic techniques and the grammar (the essentials and aesthetics) are respected. Were there halls for practice - to hone one's talent, and gurus to impart knowledge, to teach various art forms? Maybe the great gurus were pioneers (foremost exponents) who gave their all to the art. Some of them probably believed in quality more than in numbers. With them, there would have been a genuine going back to being sishyas (the guru-shishya parampara). Their students would have carried on the tradition, their legacy (though some probably emerged with many creative formations in their choreography). Besides exponents, there would [also] have been very good singers, musicians, composers, scholars, dramatists, poets, choreographers and connoisseur of fine arts (from dance to literature to fine art to culinary culture). Any art or knowledge involves five stages: layperson, advanced beginner, competent, proficient and, finally, expertise. There must have been many a story: of adulation, of diligent practice and self-discipline leading to perfection (the Dronacharya-Eklavya story comes to mind), the characters and the creative process (including introspection/meditation and research and invention), of superhuman energy and sinuous grace and agility, stories of endurance, courage, patience, grit and passion, of creative and artistic expression(s), synthesis and experimentation, evolution of dance styles: dance styles blending into or influencing each other, of creation of a new phase, of engaging magnetism and enthralling stage presence, of costume (including evolution in costume), evolution of lyric, of controversy and ego clashes, of upstarts claiming their place in the sun, of fledglings (emerging artistes), traditional dance practitioners and maestros. All with bells on. Was stitched costume ever there in the temples? Did compositions, aesthetics and grammar of dance (that made the performances more attractive), dance styles/creative formations and movements dawn on them through their reverie or even in their dreams? Did the devadasis wear heavy jewelry (as shown in temple art/iconography)? How did they manage to dance then? When originally performed, was dance so technically challenging or intellectually engaging? When artists perform on stage, is it comparable to when devadasis performed in the temples? In those days, was it less challenging? Should beautiful textiles and traditional jewelry be used? Parampara is a good thing (not to be misconstrued for stagnation or intellectual laziness, though.) Parampara (tradition) has a pravaaha (flow), and [therefore] what is created has to contribute to the ongoing stream. Only then can tradition sustain and continue in a healthy and vibrant manner. For this to happen, experimentation or innovation has to emerge from the roots, it has to resonate, it has to be organic. Invention within folklore or traditional dance practices will endure if traditional forms are used more creatively. Transplantation of a totally different art/dance form will not sustain, since it will lack the essence (and aesthetics) and therefore, any lasting effect or appeal/acceptance. The objective of reviving parampara, therefore, must be to revive some of the neglected, but exciting, dance forms.

I stood at the door (dvara) of my tiny one-room hut, listening to the steadily drumming rain on the corrugated asbestos sheet that passed for a roof above our heads. Daltonganj was not a rich town, largely consisting of depressing, old, yellowed-out, single-storey houses. (Dvaraka, also known as 'the Golden City', an allusion to yellow limestone, Savitri - the personification of the sun (Savitr), solar-energy? Gauḍa or Gauda Kingdom? The realm of Gauri, 'the radiant one'?) But we were even poorer, without any land or permanent masonry. We lived off the people who lived there. My mother worked as a domestic help for houses in a relatively upscale neighbourhood. And, like scores of other such workers, we had cornered a twenty-foot-by-twenty-foot patch of land a little away from the colony, piled half-baked bricks one upon the other, raised four loosely standing walls, and thrown a cheap asbestos sheet over them. The sheet was weighed down with more bricks and some boulders, to keep it from flying off during high winds and storms that were common.  (Allusion to a dolmen? The word dolmen has a confused history. A dolmen, also known as a portal tomb or quoit, is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of three or more upright stones (megaliths) supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (table), although there are also more complex variants. Most date from the early Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BC). Dolmens were usually covered with earth or smaller stones to form a barrow. In many instances, that covering has weathered away, leaving only the stone "skeleton" of the burial mound intact. (Usually, dolmens were covered with earth to create a burial mound. Sometimes bodies were placed in the dolmen with artifacts; other times, the dolmens were places of cremation. It remains unclear when, why, and by whom the earliest dolmens were made. Archaeologists still do not know who erected these dolmens, which makes it difficult to know why they did it. Found in many parts of the world, the numerous still standing dolmens provide an opportunity to understand the values and beliefs of those who lived long ago. Their widespread appearance attests to a certain universality in human nature, particularly with regard to death and burial. They are evidence that even early cultures had the desire and ability to carry and place these enormous stones. The treatment of the dead is among the most significant aspects of ancient culture that archaeology studies. Requiring great planning, coordination, and collaboration, dolmens are understood as burial markers for those of significance in the society. Additionally, they served as places of ritual and worship, with many still containing funerary artefacts that indicate belief in the afterlife. While nowhere as complex as catacombs and later tombs, dolmens imply a large amount of thought and effort was put into treatment of the departed.) They are generally regarded as tombs or burial chambers, despite the absence of clear evidence for this. Human remains, sometimes accompanied by artefacts, have been found in or close to the dolmens, which could be scientifically dated. However, it has been impossible to prove that these archaeological remains date from the time when the stones were originally set in place. (What could the Stonehenge represent? Or the Intihuatana stone at Machu Picchu? The word Intihuatana derives from the Quechua word for sun, inti, and the verb to tie, hata. The Intihuatana was thus termed because the Incas are said to have "tied" the sun to a hitching post during sunrise on the solstice to stop it from moving any further. Machu Picchu's is the only Intihuatana to survive in its original state. Archaeologists believe that it was used for making astronomical observations and calculating the passing of time. Could dolmen be considered equivalent to what the ancients termed samadhi? Could Govardhana Parvat be an allegory for dolmen? The earth opening up and accepting Sita into her lap: could it imply some sort of burial ceremony? That would mean funeral pyre came about later, so as to be able to use land for other purposes. Krsna lifting the Govardhana Hill on the little finger of the left hand: achievement of a seemingly unachievable task, or allusion to being buried alive? Resurrection? Can the Buddhist Stupa - enshrining the relics of the Buddha - be regarded as a type of Dolmen?)

There were two doors – one in front, where I stood, and the other at the back – each was, again, a single sheet of rippled tin, nailed into place with two wood planks, and swinging on two heavy-duty hinges. (The crucifixion analogy or double-cross? Dvarka: gateway? Heavy-duty = a fee (or toll) was assessed for passage? Two doors: When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us. It is about missed opportunities. Many people do not like and therefore resist change. Not all change is to be anxious about, but sometimes the ambiguity of the change makes it difficult to see beyond. A closed door to some may mean failure rather than an opportunity for development and growth. Those who do not emphasise on what might have been but continue on to what could be are able to see the open door before them and make use of the opportunities. It is not about being overly optimistic, but to learn from past mistakes and setbacks and to move forward. Mistakes or failure should not be taken as reasons to give up but to endeavour to do better.) That was an investment every such household had to make. A thick, heavy, blackened burlap curtain behind the back door covered a single man-sized enclosure, the same for every house – the lavatory-cum-bath. (A thick, heavy, blackened burlap curtain: the Buffalo demon analogy? Emotional blackmail or psychological manipulation in which one person attempts to coerce another into doing what he wants through the use of emotional threats, tantrums or sulky behaviour (e.g. by becoming depressed), and the creation of undeserved guilt? Controlling behaviour? Coercive persuasion? An abusive relationship that leaves one emotionally and psychologically exhausted? Tramped on? Feel trapped? Just as a person can be physically exhausted, so also can one become emotionally depleted. Personal boundaries (the figurative Lakshmana-Rekha) - rules or limits that a person creates to identify for themselves what are reasonable and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how they will respond when someone steps outside those limits. It is a reflection of their opinions and attitudes. Curtain: Although these symptoms or behaviour are present, they may not always be evident?) It was all right, because it drained into a deep and wide drain that ran behind these huts, washing away all the refuse. (Good riddance to bad garbage (negativity or pessimistic mindset?) Drain = nala. Nala is regarded as the son of Vishvakarma – the divine engineer. Nala, the illustrious one, was a noble and energetic vaanara who led the setu-bandhan across the ocean full of alligators. Is the story about Nala and Damayanti also applicable?) That's what we called home. There were scores of such huts in the cluster. A weed, left over from some grain imports, had spread itself all over town. In English, they call it Lantana but we called it thethar – shameless. Well, it was shameless. It grew everywhere, on roadsides, up hills, inside and around lakes and ponds, in fields, anywhere. And it was entirely useless. (Lantana: euphemism for Vṛtra or Vritrasura - one who covers everything, the personification of drought? The Kumbhakarna analogy - good for nothing, a loafer or indolent person? The Putana analogy? (Putana = devoid of virtue.) The Hector analogy? (Hector: to hold, he who holds [everything together] = Maleficient?) The Raktabija analogy? Proliferation of negative mindsets akin to a leech? (Energy-sapping but usually unnoticed. A leech is one who benefits, usually deliberately, from others' effort but does not offer anything in return, or makes only token acknowledgement. Other terms for this type of behaviour: a moocher, sponge.) Could Raktabija also imply contaminated blood? Health and hygiene? Need for generating awareness? Preventive health services? Effective measures to improve public health? Seeding of ignorant or unpleasant aspects (moral corruption: regressive mindsets, chauvinistic attitude, prejudices and stereotypes, homophobic attitudes, misogynistic mindsets and social conditions, portraying women as the lesser gender or as lesser parent, attitudes and behaviour that strip women of their dignity (denigration of women, the Draupadi vastraharan analogy), environmental pollution in the garb of rituals and traditions, religious schisms and prejudices - despite praying to the same divinity, so on and so forth? Need for adult education and access to and effectiveness of contraceptive methods?)

Lantana (one of seven desert plants; SheshaNaga is depicted as five or seven-headed) is a perennial, erect or prostrate shrub. (The Pandu analogy? Pandu, implying pale = pusillanimous, fatigued, jaded, fragile-hearted/timid (cowardice), irresolute, lacking vitality or one who lies prostrate in a submissive posture = excessively submissive, overtly or totally obsequious, an absolutely servile mindset, an incorrigible sycophant. Pandu was also unable to father children. A prostrate shrub = prostrate problems and/or a fragile heart?) A very low maintenance plant, some species are invasive (the Bakasura analogy), and are considered to be noxious weeds. (The Putana analogy? Toxic substances in milk; the souring of milk or the putrefaction of milk; arsenic poisoning; water pollution; of nourishment that chokes; malnourishment?) Lantana can be very vigorous. Foliage is coarse, lightly toothed and rough to the touch (allusion to psoriasis, Karna's metaphoric body armour [kavacha]?) Lantana leaves feel like fine sandpaper or a cats tongue. They have a pungent scent when rubbed. (Putana, lit. "putrefaction": an unpleasant smell, a heavy offensive smell, malodorous.) The leaves are toxic and thus avoided by herbivores. Flowers of lantana are clustered at the tip of stems. Small, multicoloured flowers change colour over time. (Chameleon-like? Excessively self-centred, incorrigibly opportunistic?) Lantana is tolerant of all soil types provided they are well-drained and slightly acid. It is tolerant to salt and prefers warm soil, not frost. Hardy lantanas will typically show no growth in the spring until soil and air temperatures are quite warm. While established lantanas are drought tolerant, bloom and growth rate will be reduced if they are too dry for a long period. Lantana is susceptible to powdery mildew if grown in shade. Sooty mold, causing a blackish discolouration on the leaves is usually caused by infestation by whiteflies. Root rot can be a problem if soil is poorly drained or plants are watered too frequently. Caterpillar damage can also occur. Mites can be a problem, especially if plants are very dry. Poor blooming is usually caused by too much shade or excessive fertilisation. Fruit of lantana is tiny, the edibility of Lantana berries is contested; they are thought to be mildly toxic. Common lantana (Lantana camara) is the most widely grown species, with numerous cultivars. It is grown specifically for use as an ornamental plant. Plants tend to be large and mound shaped, although some have spreading habit. Maintaining a healthy ecosystem with an abundance of native plant species will help deter infestations of lantana. Lantana camara reduces the productivity in pasture through the formation of dense thickets which reduce growth of crops as well as make harvesting more difficult. There are also secondary impacts, including the finding that mosquitos which transmit malaria and tsetse flies in Africa shelter within the shrubs of Lantana camara. Lantana reproduces vegetatively and via seed. Lantana can also regrow from the stem, but does not sucker from damaged or broken roots. It thrives in shaded or sunny, moist or dry locations. Leaf characteristics can be used to distinguish the native lantana (Lantana depressa) from the invasive lantana (Lantana camara). Native lantana has a tapered leaf base, whereas the invasive lantana has a truncate leaf base. Flower colour can also be used to distinguish between species. Native lantana has a yellow flower whereas invasive lantana has a multitude of flower colours. Lantana camara has successfully hybridized with native lantana, making identification of the invasive species more difficult.

But from where I stood, I saw a world that was the exact opposite of mine. The town's tallest, and perhaps brightest, building was less than a mile in a straight line from my house. It was a bright painted building, festooned with big bulbs and buntings and flags. In the grey light of the overcast sky, the rain-washed building was glittering. On a flagpole on top of the building, the tricolour fluttered proudly in the wind. I liked what I saw. A huge 50-by-50 foot movie poster covered most of the façade of the building. Yes, it was Vishnu Talkies, the town's only cinema, where a crowd was milling, in spite of the cold and the steady drizzle. And why not. It was Republic Day, people were off work and I had heard that tickets were at half price for the day – only 10 paise. I had often strolled outside the building, but never been inside it. I was forbidden to watch films. Besides, there was no money to spare for the ticket. But the film that was showing was called Mughal-e-Azam, and there was a buzz about it in town. One of my friends had seen the film, and could not stop raving about it. I would listen with rapt attention to every twist in the tale, as she related its story to me. The poster of the movie was enticing and glorious. (50-by-50 foot movie poster: the ArdhaNarishvara form or the syncretic form? It implies better-half or two-in-one, two halves of the same consciousness, they are inseparable. It could also imply that they balance each other out, so in a sense they complete each other. Vishnu Talkies: "All the world's a stage..." – William Shakespeare. Vishnu Talkies = Leela-kshetra. Earlier, the avatar may have been part of a certain geographic realm, but for the avatar-of-the-future (very likely an all-encompassing/combined avatar) the whole world is likely to be the leela-kshetra. Leela is events through which lessons are imparted, about dharma and adharma. Alongside the epics there are stories from the purANas, panchatantra, hitopadesha, Jataka tales, etc. Through them, the avatar (the Leela Avatar or Leela Purusha-uttama - the cosmic teacher) also offers a mirror to society – possibly to induce critical thinking, informed discussion/debate (to argue view-points vigorously) leading to self-reflection, and organic change/transformation, a progressive turn-around, an intellectual and social renaissance and reformation. (An Anna (ānā) was a currency unit formerly used in India, equal to 1/16 rupee. It was subdivided into 4 Paise or 12 Pies, thus there were 64 paise in a rupee and 192 pies. Sometimes, 50 Paise is colloquially referred to as 8 ānās or Atthanni, and 25 Paise as 4 ānās or Chawanni. ... Aamdani atthanni kharcha rupaiya? Bettering the lives of others? To increase the size of the pie or sharing the pie more equally? Poverty excludes people. It prevents them from getting access to services. It often renders them helpless. It is unjust. Poverty and injustice (inequality, discrimination and exploitation) are directly proportional? Economic growth that has not resulted in a better life for the poorest of the poor or the relatively deprived = structural injustice? People should be valued more than things?) Krsna is a Purna Avatar - possessing all the sixteen characteristics/qualities (kalah) of a total (complete) Avatar, apart from sixty-four other qualities, attributes and traits. ... Perhaps some details about the direct [highest] avatar (manifestation of the divine in human form) have been shared so that humankind can recognise the various characters that people the many stories. 'Gorasthaney Sabdhaan', a Feluda story, involves the 'Perigal Repeater', antique watch, horologists, etc. Repeaters should not be confused with striking clocks or watches. They originated before widespread artificial illumination, to allow the time to be determined in the dark, and were also used by the visually impaired. (Visually impaired. Kanha? The Phantom, also known as the 21st Phantom and Ghost Who Walks, is depicted wearing a mask with no visible pupils.) The avatar of the future is the Kalkiḥ-avatar (the 10th Vishnu or the 10th Maha-Avatar [manifestation in human form] of the Dasavataar). Kalkiḥ and Krsna (the 8th Vishnu) are synonyms. It is essentially the return of the Krsna-avatar, Keśava. Could it imply that Krsna-leela will gain precedence? The direct avatar (manifestation), despite myriad honorifics, is one and the same. The others are partial avatars or directly or indirectly empowered entities [based on abilities, knowledge, intellect, etc]. Alongside the Kalkiḥ-avatar there is Ramaa, Padmavati and Shuka (parrot). Ramaa is a reference to Sri Rama (Sita). Therefore, in the future, Ramayana/Sitayana could be part of the leela (although it would very likely factor in the prevalent challenges and situations.) Padmavati is a reference to Manasa Devi, a form of Shakti. She is also known as Vishahara (the Neelkanth analogy: the dispeller of unpleasant aspects, mist-dispelling, i.e. dispelling the 'fog' of tamasic aspects), Jagadgaurī, Nityā (eternal) and Padmavati. The five "Naga" (an honorific implying kundalini-energy: brain-power or intellectual prowess) worshipped on Naga Panchami are Ananta, Vasuki, Takshak, Karkotaka and Pingala. (Jagadgauri = Jagadhatri or Jagadambika. Gauri = 'the radiant one' implying a radiant (vibrant, vivacious) personality, it could also imply healthy, flawless skin, or 'one who glows with an inner radiance', to whom even age had given a glow) is a reference to Parvati/Durga. Devi Manasa is mentioned as the wife of the eccentric and easily displeased (fastidious, scornful, capricious) sage Jaratkaru, who appears as a subordinate character in the tales of Manasa. The union was unsuccessful, with hardly any emotional attachment between them. Their son is known as Astika. (Astika means, one who has faith or belief in something or someone. Could it be an allusion to Prahlada who had faith in Vishnu and thus remained steadfastly loyal to Vishnu, despite all efforts to the contrary by Hiranyakashipu? Prahlada refused to worship Hiranyakashipu = he refused to accept Hiranyakashipu as greater than Vishnu. Thus all the efforts of Hiranyakashipu in changing the mind of Prahlada were in vain. (Jaratkaru and Jara (the hunter) who pierced Krsna's left foot with an arrow: is there a connection? Krsna telling Jara (the hunter) about his previous life as Bali (who was destroyed by Rama): could it imply Jara = king Mahabali?) Is Astika = Prahlada = Kartik = Ayyappa? Hiranyakashipu means: one who is immensely fond of wealth (the Bakasura analogy) and is libidinous. (Kashipu = soft cushion. Maganlal Meghraj lazily sits upon a soft cushion, implying a couch potato: an indolent person, habitually lazy = the Kumbhakarna analogy. Kashi = cough. The tulabharam story refers to Rukmini's humble offering of a tulsi leaf. Tulsi leaf is used to cure cough and cold. (Rukmini is very likely Prince Rukmi.) Maganlal brought in a knife-thrower who constantly coughed.) Manasa Devi is also mentioned as sister of Vasuki, the king of Nagas. However, this could be an allegorical allusion - possibly implying twin souls, since Mainak Parvat is the brother of Gauri/Parvati. Hiranyakashipu is depicted with buffalo horns. Mahisasura = buffalo-like characteristics? Naga Panchami is observed on the fifth day of the bright lunar fortnight of the Shravana month. Manasa Devi is ceremonially worshipped on Naga Panchami. (Pancha and ami could also refer to the pañcakanyāḥ. The Pancha-Kanya is women who triumph over every adversity and emerge victorious. (Vijaya = Aparajita. Unvanquished.) The Pancha-Kanya, women of substance, represents everywoman, and offer a mirror to society. (Pancha-Kanya: pancha = five, kanya = woman.) The pañcakanyāḥ: Ahalya, Draupadi, Sita, Tara and Mandodari. Sometimes Sita is replaced with Kunti. (Sita, Kunti and Panchali are non-different). Shuka is one half of the eternal divine couple RadhaKrsna, depicted through a pair of parrots (love birds) - Shuka-Sari.  Krsna without Radha is unthinkable. Radha can never forget Krsna. The leela is a jugalbandi (jugalbandhi), Rhythm divine. Synergy. The veena adorning the arm of SarasvatI = the flute of Krsna = Shiva's Vasuki and Nandi = Sridevi's Uluka (Barn Owl) etcetera etcetera.)

The film fascinated me, as did all things dramatic and musical. Music? Well, music did things to me. A song on the radio (aakashvani or daiva-vani?) somewhere or a dholak (drumbeat?) playing in someone's house was enough to get my feet tapping and yearning to break into a dance. It came so naturally to me that I had to hold on to something, to keep from dancing. I could never, ever, give in to my passion for song or dance. I was not allowed to. (Tongue-tied, painfully shy, stage fright, an introvert by temperament – reticent and quiet, a stammering problem? Never been a great communicator - the swan and peacock analogies.)

Drumbeat signifies festivity, a buoyant mood, cheerful or invigorating. Damaru: it produces Naada. Sometimes unexpected noise (e.g. vociferous or enthusiastic advancement of a cause) can help produce the desired effect or outcome. Thus, damaru can be part of integrated tactical moves (deception by stratagem). Is Krida-patram, the Game of Cards, the Krishna-avatar's famous Raas-leela?

(Arjuna is also known as Brihannala (also transliterated as Brihannada, Brihannata, or Vrihannala) while at Virata's court in incognito. Brihannala can imply an important person or a large reed. (Nala = pipe. A thin piece of wood used in many woodwind instruments. A reed pipe, a reed instrument, the mouthpiece of a musical instrument or musical pipe made from a reed stem. It vibrates when the player holds it in the mouth and blows over it (as with a single reed) or through it (as with a double reed.) Brihannada: a strong, clear, easy voice or a deep, resonant baritone voice that commands attention or charms an audience, i.e. keeps the audience entranced or fascinated. (Omkaara, Pranavah, PraNavaH Naad or praNavaH nAda, the Shabda Brahmn = mouthpiece, representative or spokesperson, through which views are expressed, one that conveys or articulates the opinions or sentiments of divinity; a person who speaks on behalf of divinity. Brahmn is a reference to the higher power [divinity] to which all of humankind prays. The Trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva = SarasvatI, Sridevi and Parvati, the three different aspects. Trimurti/Nataraja: One who is at the helm of the Cosmic Dance; the sutradhar of the cosmic phenomenon of Creation, Maintenance (balance, sustenance, preservation) and Re-energisation (renaissance, renewal, invigoration). The Trinity = three aspects, one voice, Omkaara.) Arjuna and Acharya Chanakya could be the same jiva-atma or human/individual soul. Chanakya is thought to have been a skinny person. Maybe he was a trim healthy man, physically fit and strong, energetic and in the best of health... and [perhaps] with a strong [deep], clear, resonant baritone voice that commands attention. (This could explain Krsna's flute, bansuri.) Brihannata: a sense of vigorous showmanship and flair, possibly a natural raconteur. Showmanship is the skill or tact of presenting something in such a manner that will appeal to an audience or aid in conveying the essential theme or essence. It is thus the quality or skill of giving an engaging or compelling presentation, i.e. to present anything in an exciting manner. It can, therefore, be considered as a force-multiplier. It is founded on the idea of psychological processes (e.g. to appeal to the audience's intellect, to their collective consciousness, to converse with the audience, to connect with the audience, to instill hope and optimism, to give voice to the minds of the people, to talk the talk - to speak with confidence, to say something important and to say it with conviction). Sometimes showmanship (exuberance, enthusiasm, etc) has a big part in achieving an objective. It requires what is known as stage presence, where one is excited to be on stage, and people feel like they're part of the narrative. One must feel comfortable, be graceful and have plenty of confidence to interact with a diverse audience. It is also about how appealing one is to the audience. It requires positive energy, common sense, intuitive assessment of the audience and environment, imaginativeness and spontaneous improvisations. Everyone warms up to someone who is honest without being awkward and is able to speak to a variety of people about a variety of topics. If a person can communicate honestly and help people open up, he or she will be on his or her way to being charming. Effective communicators (one who voice sounds confident and especially one whose voice sounds sincere) appear more trustworthy and competent. The ability to control the tone of voice is [also] essential; one's voice should be gentle and peaceful, yet direct (to articulate the words clearly and to project the voice). Speaking with confidence doesn't mean talking more than everyone else, or louder than everyone else. It is the ability to speak at a relaxed pace and to speak clearly, to vary one's tone, rhythm, volume, and pitch to emphasise the most important words and to keep the speech interesting. (The dynamic and intrepid Feluda uses his eloquence at the climactic scenes. He is a connoisseur of delicious food, popular music and movies, and books. He can sing Rabindrasangeet well. Goes to sleep late, but is an early riser. Wakes up before sunrise and starts his day with yogasana. Never sleeps deeply. 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. Feluda is not known for amorous adventures. He was never a wanton, licentious or promiscuous person, nor intemperate (an alcoholic). He has never indulged in annoying, vexatious or coarsely boisterous behaviour either. He is urbane, a responsible citizen and has a cosmopolitan outlook - free of prejudices and stereotyping traits, very opposite of parochial. Da is a suffix, abbreviation of dada. There's also a certain dadagiri, an upper hand in Feluda. Felu [probably] is derived from phal, implying freedom from the anxiety of fruitive actions (i.e. anxiety of outcome, personal fame, glory, commendation etc). There's a proverb: kashto korle keshto meley. (Phalguna is a reference to Arjuna. Keshto is rustic version of Krsna. Arjuna is also Svetavahana. Sarasvati is as fair as kunda flowers. Svetavahana possibly implies that if required Krsna can take on a supporting role to Arjuna.) Despite being sturdy (physically powerful and robust), adept in martial arts (jujitsu, judo, karate - possibly with allegorical connotations), Feluda relies mostly upon his superb brainpower and observation skill (euphemistically referred to as the Magajastra or intellectual brilliance - the power of the mind, allusion to Sudarshana Chakra?) instead of using physical strength. Feluda's world of unraveling mysteries is embedded in reason and logic. Smart, suave, disciplined, astute and hawk-eyed, no knot is difficult for him to untie. 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 Holmes. His father, Jaykrishna Mitra (anglicised to Mitter), taught Mathematics and Sanskrit at Dhaka Collegiate School. Feluda's erudition, knowledge, enthusiasm, ability to do good, his diligence, talent and efforts are commendable. He is energetic, confident, witty, genteel/impeccably mannered, and sociable; he is seldom unruffled (unless power cuts interrupted his reading). Cosmopolitan, a man of the world, he is at ease with all kinds of people. A sharp, intelligent, thinking hero, well-educated, of good taste, there is an educative aspect to him. Readers get to learn a lot from him.)

Life was tough. We had no money; I didn't go to school and there was absolutely no access to music or reason for celebration of any kind. Still, I was determined to make the most of what we had. My mother loved me and I loved her. (Yashoda? Devaki?)

But that was far from my mind at this time. I wanted to be inside Vishnu Talkies. Alas! I struck a pose quite like the heroine in the faraway poster, and stood framed in the doorway.

"What are you doing there?" It was my mother's voice, startling me. "It's no use staring at that poster. Come and help me with the cooking. My back hurts." She was irritated. (Mt Meru (meru = spine) probably implies mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, or temptation: the character of mind, the qualities, strength and firmness of mind. Character = moral or ethical strength: the sum of the characteristics possessed by a person; the combination of mental characteristics and behaviour that distinguishes a person; the moral qualities and ethical standards that make up the innate nature of a person. (Personality refers particularly to characteristics such as wittiness or charm, which determine the impression that a person makes upon others.) ... 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 foundation of spiritual consciousness, heart of divinity; it is the centre of the cosmos. 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.

Yashoda [perhaps] was not Krsna's mother per se. It possibly implies that Nandi willingly took on certain responsibilities, and that Krsna happily accepted his nurturing (care and affection) and generosity. He was [thus] a source of encouragement, strength and positivity... and possibly [also] filled many voids in Krsna's life (emotional shelter). Nandi/Yashoda is Shuka. Yashoda saw the whole world (as per some versions the whole universe) inside Krsna's mouth = Krsna meant the whole world to him. Apart from being protective, he was [also] perhaps Krsna's cure for insomnia, etc etc. (Krsna would have been a very busy person, and despite being in human form [avatar] would have [also] been connected to the cosmos. Divinity is adhaata, above whom there is no other. So the divine power is responsible for the whole of the universe. The creator aspect, Brahma, also implies cosmic scientist-inventor-designer... a polymath. Thus the avatar is likely to have had all the idiosyncrasies of a creative person apart from myriad stress, tension etc.) Krsna (Panchali, Draupadi) - the princess of Panchala kingdom, was the daughter of Raja Drupada. Dronacharya and Drupada are unlikely to have been contemporaries. Drupada and Dronacharya studied together: this could imply they had similar qualifications or that they were students under the same rishi, though not contemporaries. Perhaps Drupada made some commitments to Dronacharya but did not honour them. The haughty Drupada's behaviour with Dronacharya was unbecoming. Despite his assurances he refused to extend any help to Dronacharya (who was facing difficulties along with his wife, Kripi and their infant son, Ashvatthama). Dronacharya had asked for a cow (a metaphor for rivers, Surabhi = SarasvatI/Krsna). Could it be that Drupada slighted Dronacharya when the latter asked for Draupadi's hand in marriage? Drupada slighted Dronacharya saying that they were not equal in status, and that if he were to beg for something he might give him more than what he had begged for. Dronacharya felt humiliated and pledged to avenge the insult. (Acharya Chanakya was a master politician and an excellent strategist. After receiving his education at Takshashila, he became a teacher of economics and political science. Thereafter, he came to Pataliputra. Dhanananda was the ruler of Pataliputra at the time. Chanakya/Kautilya (the wily one) became the president of the trust that managed the Royal charity. Dhanananda insulted Chanakya and removed him from his position without any valid reason. Chanakya vowed to avenge the insult, and was quite single-minded in his efforts. He pledged to dethrone the debauched king and destroy the Nanda Empire.) However, Dronacharya's rejection of Eklavya: what could that be about? Eklavya was hurt by Dronacharya's rejection and considered his statue or image as guru. So, Dronacharya was Ekalavya's inspiration and muse? (Radha is 8 years older, so when e.g. Krsna was fourteen, Radha was twenty-two. Radha could not have been Krsna's maternal aunt.) Drupada's son Drishtadyumna: possibly implying an upstart - someone that claims more personal importance than he deserves, a disrespectful, high-strung/overexcited/frenzied person and a braggadocio (dhrishta). Drupada longed for a son but a daughter (Yagnaseni/Draupadi/Panchali) was also born. Vasudeva implies deity or personification of the earth (dharitri or Bhudevi). Vasudeva = Krsna (the avatar). Devaki could [therefore] be a reference to Vasuki. Vasuki is (very likely) derived from Vasudha/Vasundhara or Vasudeva. Vasuki = one who belongs to Vasudeva. (Vasuki is Shiva's Naga.) It is unlikely that Vasudeva and Devaki were imprisoned together by Kansa (possibly a reference to Balarama, considered as an incarnation/manifestation of SheshaNaga). It could imply prison-like environment and/or tough times. Prison is also a colloquial word for wedlock. (Krsna's pastimes with Yashoda = Dvaipayana Vyasa and Krsna-Dvaipayana Vyasa were a normal husband and wife.) Kansa, the usurper king of the Vrishni kingdom with its capital at Mathura, is said to have heard an aakashvani (daiva-vani), saying, his days of tyranny will soon be over and that the eighth child of Devaki was to be his nemesis (the source of retributive justice for negative actions and undeserved good fortune). Kansa/Balarama/Dushasana was Krsna's ['chipku' type or very sticky type, unctuous] cousin and brother-in-law, not maternal uncle. He was maternal uncle to baby Krsna (i.e. to Vasudeva Krsna and Vasuki's baby). Chipku is a colloquial word derived from "chipakna" which means, "to stick". In informal talking it is used for a person who always tries to accompany someone whether or not that person likes it. ... Vasudeva carrying the baby Krsna in a basket across the turbulent Yamuna, with Vasuki shielding the baby from inclement weather: this perhaps implies a change of place from Mathura to Gokul. It could also signify the figurative 'birth' of a new kalpa or maha-yuga. (Mathura is associated with Krsna. Gokul is associated with Nanda. Nanda = Nandi = Vasuki. Kansa held sway at Mathura prompting Vasudeva Krsna to move to Gokul... which would nevertheless have helped them to be closer to each other.) Inclement weather = unfavourable circumstances. Upon reaching Nanda's house Vasudeva found (Nanda's wife) Yashoda fast asleep. He quickly exchanged the newborn Krsna with Yashoda's baby girl and returned to prison with the infant girl. (Nanda = Nandi = Yashoda = Devaki = Vasuki = Radha.) All this perhaps implies that Vasudeva Krsna and Vasuki/Nandi had a daughter (baby Krsna), considered as a manifestation of Mahamaya. Since Mahamaya is a reference to Parvati, it could [therefore] signify that the baby girl possessed several characteristics or attributes of Parvati/Krsna. It could also be that Vasudeva and Vasuki had a son (Kartik/Prahlada) and a daughter (considered as a manifestation of Mahamaya). But who was Rohini then? She could not have been Vasudeva's wife. Could it be that Vasuki/Nandi /Veda Vyasa was married twice, to Rohini and Krsna respectively? Could Rohini be the same as Arundhati/Arundhuti (spouse of Maharshi Vashistha, the preceptor [guru] of Raghukula, the lineage of Raghu, to which Sri Rama belonged? Raghu was an illustrious ancestor of Sri Rama.)

Shuka: one who strives to be happy, an optimistic and cheerful person, a very easy-going person: modest, gracious and approachable, always fresh (energetic, enthusiastic, ever-youthful). An inspirational person, one who brings a sense of inner peace and balance and sets an example by his positive outlook in life. (Pessimism is a state of mind that (if indulged long enough) can become an involuntary habit (accustomed behaviour or disposition). It is not wise to only chose to see the disappointing moments. Therefore, it is good to take a holistic approach, to have a broader perspective, so as not to disregard the wider realities, so as not to ignore the positive aspects or the brighter side. Tagore felt it was necessary to find out something common to all peoples/culture, which will prove their real unity (confluence, synergy), but that looking for a mere political or commercial basis of unity is not sufficient. Discovering the spiritual unity (empathy, kindness, humanistic beliefs and their accompanying values and ideals) is essential. Tagore, a citizen of the world, also believed in an intellectual union (confluence, yoga) of world cultures; he recognised the importance of what India could learn - from other nations/cultures/peoples - to/for her own benefit and progress. His vision was to take on a more holistic attitude towards understanding the dynamic flavour (zeitgeist) of his time [and beyond].) Brihaspati = someone with a big smile. (To put a big smile on someone's face. Someone who has a very big smile. A positive or inspiring persona. A highly positive person: an upbeat, happy and optimistic person. Pati = spouse, beau or spousal equivalent. Pati can also imply: leader or someone in a leadership or decision-makng position. (Note: A very big smile may not be the same as grinning from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat. Such a person lacks gravitas. The colloquial saying 'daant kyelaney banchharam' implies a grinning fool, a dullard. It can also allude to unctuous behaviour or sycophancy, an absolutely servile mindset, overtly or totally obsequious.) Shuka = Brihaspati = Maharshi Vashistha. Vashistha (implying a calm, tranquil person, a well-mannered and cultured person with a quiet demeanour and a graceful way of speaking) had in his possession Kamadhenu and Nandini. Kamadhenu and Nandini are non-different. Nandini and Surabhi are synonyms of Kamadhenu - symbolising prosperity, plenty, good luck, sustenance, etc. It is essentially a metaphor for Sridevi and Bhudevi – the deity of fortune and the personification of earth/nature. Sridevi and Bhudevi are one and the same.) Kamadhenu is regarded as a form [manifestation, personification] of dharitri/Bhudevi. Since cows are a metaphor for rivers, Surabhi can also imply SarasvatI (also associated with a forgotten river as well as a perennial knowledge stream and a repository of timeless knowledge, wisdom, inspiration and consciousness. Feluda's Gyanpeeth.) Iconography of Kamadhenu shows her with the body of a white Zebu cow, crowned woman's head, colourful eagle wings and a peacock's tail. BG 10.28: || dhenunam asmi kamadhuk || ~ "among cows I am the Surabhi." ... Surabhi or Kamadhenu is the source of all prosperity and a symbol of good luck, plenty, non-selfishness, sustenance, and so on. All the divinities are depicted in the body of Kamadhenu. This probably indicates that the Avatars [manifestations of the divine in human form] are one and the same, merely various aspects/forms of SarasvatI. (And so, their physical appearance is unlikely to change, despite myriad honorifics.) 

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

It can be said that sages had invented the game of playing cards in ancient times; they took the number 12 as the basis and made a set of 12 cards. Every king had 11 followers, thus a pack had 144 cards. The Mughals retained 12 sets having 96 cards. These Mughal Ganjifa sets have representations of diverse trades like painter, bookbinder, Rangrez (dyer) and so on. In addition there were also the Padishah-i-Qimash, king of the manufacturers and Padishah-izar-i-Safid, king of silver, etc. Cards were known as Krida-patram in ancient India. (Krida = sport, game; patram = leaves.) These cards were made of cloth and depicted motifs from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. A tradition carried on today with floral motifs and natural scenery. The pre-Mughal origin of the game of cards is evident if we examine the pattern of painting the cards. In Indian courts there were packs with 8, 9 and 10 sets apart from the usual 12. The numbers were derived from the eight cardinal directions Ashtadikpala, for the pack with 8 set, [possibly] from the Navaratna for the one with 9 sets and from ten incarnations (Dasavataar of Vishnu) for the pack with 10 sets. Themes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata are painted on these cards. All these cards were hand-made and hand-painted in the traditional style. The royalty and nobility usually commissioned painters to make cards as per their preference, while the commoners got their cards made by local artists who were to be found in urban and rural areas. In order to obtain the required thickness pieces of cloth were glued together. The outlines of the rim were painted in black and then the figures were filled with colours. Since this game was played by members of all sections of society, the affluent as well as the not so well-off, different types of cards can be found. Some cards were also made of ivory, tortoise shell, mother of pearl, inlaid or enameled with precious metals. The cards were of different shapes: circular, oval, rectangular; however, the circular cards were more common. The cards were usually kept in a wooden box with a lid painted with mythological figures. This art of handmade, hand-painted cards gradually became extinct with the introduction of printed-paper cards by the Europeans in the 17-18th centuries. With the extinction of the art of making and painting cards people also forgot that Indians ever had played the game of cards with their own specific representations of the Narapati, Gajapati and Ashvapati.

At the start of the dharma-yuddha - "battle" of principles, values, vision and progress, Krsna asked both Arjuna and Duryodhana to choose between Krsna and Krsna's mighty army. Arjuna wisely chose Krsna while Duryodhana, under the influence of maaya (make-believe, courtesy of Krsna), chose Krsna's mighty army (the Narayani Sena). Apart from moral support, some of Krsna's glory too would have rubbed off on Arjuna. Parvati/Durga is Mahamaya, adept at influencing the thinking process – perhaps through ostentatious behaviour and actions, muddling the mind through influencing the thought process, Panchali. Krsna is Achintya: enigmatic, incomprehensible, perplexing, unfathomable, inscrutable. Krsna appears open but is, in fact, enigmatic, unfathomable. Tactics is not the same as strategy [common sense planning, 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.

Krsna is often shown as having a dark-blue complexion. Not just blue, but, a deep blue, a velvet blue or cobalt blue. This perhaps can be explained thus: whenever there is something of unfathomable depth, it appears to be deep blue. The water of the ocean looks blue from afar. But if one were to go near and take the water in one's palms, he or she will no longer find it blue; it will be very clear, transparent. It's dark-blue hue is illusion (maaya), not the illusion practiced by modern-day magicians (also referred to as 'illusionists'), but something far deeper, something that is much more intense and unfathomable.

Shakuni is one of the most intriguing characters of the Mahabharata and is often thought to be the mastermind behind the dharma-yuddha. Shakuni (exceptionally brilliant, the prince of Gandhara kingdom) was Duryodhana's principal adviser. He also brought to an end the lineage of Kuru (the Kauravas). Is Shakuni a villainous character? Are Jatayu of the Ramayana and Shakuni of the Mahabharata one and the same? Yudhishthira pledging Panchali in the game of dice is self-explanatory. (Yudhisthira and Panchali are one and the same.) Between the Pandavas and the Kauravas it was not a 'battle' of equals. Duryodhana was in a position of strength. However, the pernicious effect (to affect intensely) came from within and not without. In the game of dice (Sanskrit: aSTApada, pAsa, pA.nsA, bindutantra, prAsaka) Shakuni (also known as Saubala, son of the Gandhara king Subala, also 'one who is equal to a hundred') played with a loaded dice, courtesy of a lizard nestling inside the dice. There is a story about Shakuni's dice being made from the bones (the back/thigh bone) of his father, though some versions say it was made of ivory. Shakuni had two sons: Uluka and Vrikaasur. He had vowed to slowly destroy the entire Kuru clan (lineage).   


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